Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Today I traveled to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. This is a community of about 35,000 folks situated roughly 40 miles NE of Tulsa. It is HOT here! Low nineties. I am here for the Tri-State District Conference.

I am staying at the Phillips Hotel. This is an old hotel with a great history and a lot of class. I enjoy staying here. It is not your typical chain accommodations. It is warm and welcoming.

I do have a dilemma I am attempting to figure out. I connected on a flight through Minneapolis. I had a two hour lay over. While there I got some crackers individually wrapped in you know what I am talking about? Anyway, when I ripped them open, the little piece that came off stuck to my hand. Has this ever happened to you? I mean it clings. I tried to remove it off one finger and it simply attached itself to another finger. I don't know if it is static electricity, or some sick joke being played by those who package those crackers; but it can almost be designated a sport. Who can open their crackers and get the cellophane off their fingers the fastest.

I did finally get to eat my crackers. It really wasn't that difficult after I learned to hold them with little cellophane pieces stuck to my fingers. Actually, it made holding the cracker a bit more sterile. Kind of like little individual latex gloves, only cellophane. What?

Monday, July 28, 2008


Spent a wonderful week with all of our kids and spouses on an Alaskan cruise. Ryan & Desyrae Stevenson (Natomas, CA), Drew & Megan Simpson (Roseville, CA), Scott & Ashley Stevenson (McKinney, TX) and us Phil & Joni Stevenson (Fishers, IN). Friday, we departed from Seattle, WA and cruised full speed to Juneau, Alaska. A leisurely over night trip to Skagway. A day at a glacier. A day in Prince Rupert, Canada and then back to Seattle.

There was glorious scenery. We saw bald eagles, baby bald eagles, humpback whales, Orcas, playful porpoises, seals and many very interesting people. Here is a quick overview of my memories.

  • Being with family and laughing alot
  • Walking the interesting streets of Downtown
  • Watching them throw fish at Pike's Market
  • Drinking coffee at the original Starbucks
  • Eating Pizza for my wife's B-day
  • Running through the squirting fountain
  • Eating repulsive jelly belly's (e.g. vomit flavor...can that be a flavor)


  • Being with family and laughing alot
  • Ping pong (Ryan & Drew won the doubles tourney, Scott and I lost to Joni and Megan in round one...we will never get over that)
  • Drinking lemonade in the jacuzzi on a cold day
  • Running with Scott & Ryan from the jacuzzi to the pool...not a bright idea
  • Dressing up for dinner
  • Eating breakfast with the family and watching the glacier from a few hundred yards
  • Watching the shows
  • Playing canasta
  • Sitting and talking
  • Dinner around a nice round table with the whole family
  • Telling our server, AJ, excellent while extending two thumbs up
  • Getting lost on the ship the first day out...they are really big and I didn't have my glasses on.
  • Drinking Seattle's Best Coffee early in the morning
  • Seeing Orcas
  • Watching a large group of porpoises run with the ship


  • Being with family and laughing alot
  • Bus trip to the glacier
  • Going in shops
  • Purchasing an jade grizzle bear with a Salmon in its mouth


  • Being with family and laughing alot
  • 15 mile bike ride...mostly downhill, but the uphill into the wind made up for the downhill
  • Espresso after the bike ride
  • Walking with family around town


  • Being with family and laughing alot
  • Eating fish & chips
  • Playing darts with Ryan where we ate fish & chips
  • Playing pool with Ryan where we ate fish & chips
  • Tim Horton's (my Canadian friends know what I am talking about)
  • Visiting the Sunken Garden

This was just the tip of the iceberg regarding my recollections. But enough said for now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Today I got pictures of Brophee at eleven weeks in the womb. This is my designation for my grandchild. If he is a boy his name will be Brodee, and a girl Sophee. Thus I have dubbed he/she Brophee.

The little person has long legs. His dad has long legs, so the child comes by it naturally. In one picture the baby has his/her arm resting on the forehead. He/she is very much lounging. This is where the resemblance to me (Pappy) comes in. I am very good a lounging.

September we find out the rightful name as that is when the sex will be noted. Whether Brodee or Sophee I believe he/she will be very cute and adorable. I have great plans for this child. Lots of fun. I can hardly wait.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I flew into Mason City, IA this morning. This is THE smallest airport I have ever flew into, and I have been in some small airports. The terminal has two gates and one airline. When I fly out tomorrow I will probably get an incredible amount of scrutiny. It seems the smaller the airport, the less they have to do, so the more they observe those coming through. I'd be leery of folks who might fly out of such a non-descript place myself.

I drove forty-five minutes to Charles City, IA. I am here to participate in the Iowa-Minnesota District Conference. I arrived around noon. Too early to check into my hotel. The conference did not begin until 7pm. I went into downtown Charles City. The traffic was a bit congested, but I managed to find a neat little coffee shop. It had excellent coffee (by excellent I mean very strong) and free wifi. I spent close to three hours working in the peace of this environment. If I lived here, and I hope I don't, I would enjoy hanging out at this place.

I had dinner with my good friend Al, his wife Pam, and several of the leaders from his church. He even treated! I had steak :)

I attended their district family celebration. Lots of awards. Tons of clapping. Ron McClung, the District Superintendent, is a wonderful leader. He is has instilled much vision into his pastors. He knows how to honor folks. I am glad I got to be with them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Today we had the small group we participate in over for a grill out. We have always called this a bar-b-Que, but here in the Midwest it is called a grill out. It makes sense. We didn't bbq anything, but we grilled everything. We grilled hot dogs, brats with little cheese balls build right into them and hamburgers.

Other folks brought great extras. We had an outrageous homemade onion dip. It was hot and cheesey. The only other onion dip I have had was onion soup mix blended with sour cream. I like that too, but this stuff was, well...just let me say I could have buried my face in the middle of the dish and eaten my way out! We also had some homemade bbq (not grilled) beans. These too were excellent. We then finished the whole meal off with some lemon meringue pie and coconut cake. I liked the cake, not a real lemon meringue kind of guy. See no use for meringue. Nothing but sugared air.

All and all a great afternoon. We sat on the back patio under the umbrella. Ate, talked movies and other stuff. Nothing really of eternal value except relationship building...which is really the most eternal work we can do.

Friday, July 11, 2008


It's July and for me that means my annual physical. Today was the day. This year I broke two of my physical rules: I had an afternoon appointment and I didn't strip nearly naked when they did the weigh in. Let me explain.

I typically prefer a morning physical, first thing if possible. My reasoning is that the Doctor should be reasonably alert first thing, thus no mis-diagnosis. The doctor has not seen other patience recently, so no mixing me up with someone else. I have eaten little if anything, had only a small amount of coffee and I can dress in shorts, flip flops and a light cotton shirt. This leads into my second rule broken.

I typically hate to get weighed. It makes no sense to have to step on the scale. And they have you do this ALL the time. I went in once just to pick up a item and the nurse had me step on the scale. I am sure they do this not for health reasons, but for personal enjoyment. One time, as the nurse wrote my weight in my chart and she verbalized it (supposedly so I knew what it was) I heard a voice from the reception station say, "who had over 200?"

This is why I like to go to my physical as scantily and discreetly dressed as I can. Having an afternoon appointment waylayed that strategy. Fortunately it was casual Friday, so I could be a bit less dressed up. But I did have bluejeans on (denim is very heavy), shoes that weigh quite a bit, my watch (1lb) and money in my pocket which I am sure was 3-5 lbs in money clip wieght alone. I thought it was a doctor's office so seeing people in their underwear could not be all that odd, but I resisted the urge to shed any un-necessary weight.

I boldly stepped on the scale. And to my delight the lower slider never had to get close to the "200" number. I was ecstatic. I asked, "How does it compare to last year?" The nurse informed me she would have to check. Another indication they do this primarily for fun rather than fitness. But I pushed the envelop and would not rest until she gave me the comparison. 16lbs less than last year!

The physical went great! The stuff that was suppose to be lower was. The stuff that was suppose to be higher (e.g. good cholesterol) was. The doctor used adjectives such as: Fantastic. Great. Wonderful. He was very delighted at the results. I still had to endure the "latex glove," but all things have their challenges.

I have felt I am in the best shape of my life. This physical was a tangible evidence of this. So what did I do? First, I called Joni and bragged. Second, I had a brownie with ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Come on, nobody likes to be good all the time. Not to mention it is twelve months until my next trip to the doctor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Today was the district conference for Pacific Southwest. This is my home district. I always enjoy being here. Great people! Great enthusiasm! Huge vision. Two years ago this district spun off a Hispanic District. Now they are cultivating the growing Korean population in their district. I would not be surprised if they spin off a Korean District in the not too distant future. It goes to show you that believers multiply believers, churches multiply churches and districts can multiply districts.

Two HUGE highlights for me: First, Vicki, the church administrator at the church the conference is held, brought me a apple fritter. Never mind I have been begging her for weeks to bring this the morning of conference, that she did it was greatly appreciated. I have no idea where she gets these, but they are the best fritter I have ever had. Second, and really THE highlight, was getting to hang out with my oldest son. We sat next to one another. Shared some laughs. Just simply got to be together. I don't get to do this enough so it was awesome.

I head back to Indy later today. Ready to be home for three whole days before heading to Iowa.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Began today very early. I am on the west coast, but on east coast time. I woke up every hour on the hour from 1:30am on. At 5:15am I decided to get up and get my run in. I ran a bit over five miles. I had forgotten the number of hills in San Diego. I am a flat lander, so got a bit more work out. Still I finished my run mostly intact.

I had coffee with Jim Bogear. He is the Lead Pastor of The River Church in Sacramento. He has a great heart for those in his community, especially those disconnected from Christ. They had not seen the number of folks come to Christ as they have in past years...and this bothered him. Nice to come across a leader who is concerned they are not reaching people for Christ as opposed to some other fringe concern. Winning people to Christ is our main thing. Jim wants to keep it that way for his congregation. May his tribe increase.

Drove to Oceanside. This is a community about 45 miles north of San Diego. I had lunch with Mark Williams. He is the Vice-President of Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI). They have trained thousands of church planters all over the world. God has really enlarged the "I" of dcpi. His heart is to see churches plant churches, so we get along marvelously.

Tonight, however, will be the highlight of my trip. I get the privilege to pray for my friend Jeff Jennings. He is getting ordained tonight. He has asked that I pray over him during this service. It is a high honor. Jeff is an incredible leader who develops leaders. He has a deep passion to see people come to Christ. He wants to see the church he has just been called to Pastor to multiply many congregations. He is called, gifted and been granted a God-sized vision. I am thrilled to play this small role in his journey.

Different people, doing different things, in different places...but this they have in common: They are uncommon leaders relentless pursing their God-given visions!

Monday, July 7, 2008


Today I have made my way to San Diego. I am here for the Pacific Southwest District Conference. This is my home district and my home town. I always enjoy visiting. I arrived on a beautiful day, as if there are any other kind here.

I got to spend some time with my mom and oldest, older sister. You see I am the youngest of three and the older two are sisters. So I have an oldest older sister and a youngest older sister. And regardless of how I refer to either of them, and no matter how we all age, I am still the baby.

We had a nice dinner at Chili's. Wonderful conversation and lots of laughter. Our family likes to laugh. It is a gift from my dad. He had a great sense of humor. He passed it onto us and, fortunately, it has passed on to my kids.

All three of my kids are hilarious. They enjoy laughing, and kidding each other. They all view life a bit oddly and see the humor in most anything. Joni and I are blessed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


This week-end we, with friends, traveled to Chicago to attend the "Taste of Chicago." This is an annual event held downtown. It features many eateries making their secret blends of herbs and spices..., wait that is KFC. Anyway, there is a great deal to indulge in.

I don't typically like to travel anywhere on three day week-ends. Too much traffic, too many people. I would prefer to stay at home, go to a movie and simply watch all the traffic and crowds on TV. However, our good friend Scott is the CEO of International Teams (ITeams). This is a inter-denominational missions organization. So he and his wife invited us, along with another couple (The Haymonds), to make the trek to join them on this adventure. So we did.

In preparation for The Taste (this is how the locals refer to it) I ran eight miles prior to embarking on the journey. We took the train from Elgin right into Union Station in the heart of Chicago. This is only the second time I had been on a train outside of Disneyland. It was my first train trip with a ticket. My first time on a real train I did not have a ticket, but this is for another time.

Disembarking from the train we made the 10-12 block walk to The Taste. The tender inside the Taste are tickets that you purchase...twelve tickets for eight dollars. You then exchange these tickets for full portions, or "tastes" of offerings at a variety of booths. And I do mean a variety. There is much to choose from. All kinds of ethnic food are on display. My personal favorite was something with a very fancy name. What it turned out to be was a lump of dough deep fried and sprinkled with powder sugar. Now that is what I call healthy and tasty. I determine long ago I will pretty much try anything deep fried.

Once making our way through the various taste venues, we ventured down Michigan Avenue, part of which is called the "magnificent mile." This mile is littered with many stores all providing you the opportunity to spend money. Fortunately we resisted. The one store that really caught my attention was called a Basement. Here is the interesting thing: We took an escalator to gain entrance into a store known as a basement. Does this stike anyone else as a bit odd? Once there, I spent my time looking for the way down to the attic. Made perfect sense to me.

Other week-end highlights: Riding in a water taxi, eating at Cheesecake Factory, walking with friends, Starbucks stops (twice), sitting in the shade looking out over Lake Michigan, laughing, almost getting separated from the others and me the only one without my cell phone, deep dish pizza, Burnt Toast (a restraunt, not a bread's condition), making fun of Scott for how he backs up a 15 passenger van, Fair Oaks Farms, memories that will last most of my life, if I don't forget.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Tonight I replaced our doorbell. To many this would not be a big deal. But I am not a "fix it" guy. I have limited tools: Basic ratchet set, hammer, pair of pliers and one Phillips and Flathead screwdriver. I know how to use the hammer best. Unfortunately this job demanded the Phillips and Flathead.

Replacing a doorbell demands a multitude of skill sets. I had to remove one bell and replace it with another. I needed to disconnect and reconnect two wires...this is huge! And I did it. I was so excited that it worked I intentionally locked my wife out of the house so she would have to ring the bell to get in.

I am so stoked I am considering removing the ceiling fans I purchased last fall. I am not saying I will attempt to install them, but taking them out of their yet unsealed box would be a show of extreme confidence. I may be a "fix it" guy after all!