Growing up with a father who worked at Caterpillar Tractors, our family vacation schedule was set by the company. It wasn’t until I was in junior high or high school that I realized summer vacation wasn’t called "Cat vacation." Entire plants would shut down for weeks at a time as the employees went on vacation.

Cat vacation affected everything in and around Peoria. Businesses would experience slow downs and our church would have a combined Wednesday night Bible class in the auditorium, instead of the normal age-graded classes.

Part of our family ritual every summer was to pack the car -- either a Bonneville or Impala, depending on the summer -- and head for southwest Missouri. By the time I was born I had only one living grandparent, my grandmother Grace. This meant that we would spend at least one week visiting my dad’s mom and his family who still lived in West Plaines.

The town was typical small town: courthouse on the square and blue plate specials at the diner. It even had a pool hall but I was expressly forbidden from going in.

One of my favorite vacation memories was when we opted to go to Syracuse, New York, to see my Aunt Golden. We roamed the Adirondack mountains and even went to Niagara Falls. Somewhere in a scrapbook is a picture of me standing in front of the falls, long hair and no glasses.

The best vacations provide a time for restoration, adventure, and learning. They also create the memories that become a key part of our life stories. I hope as we look at faith destinations this month that you will find the same to be true in your spiritual life.

an interesting week

It's been an interesting week. On the job front, still no breathroughs with job interviews but the resumes are still going out. But I may have a few freelancing opportunities. On the same day, I met with two different guys who are looking for a web designer to outsource to their clients. It may produce a little work and possibly a lot of work. It may also provide me the necessary flexibility to do other stuff.

On Friday I went to one of these business networking meetings. It was more structured than some I have been to. The idea is to generate leads and tips for other members.

And on Friday I also started to come down with a cold -- the runny nose, coughing, type of cold. The weather is just too nice to have this stuff!


a few paris hilton t-shirts

Note: Shameless plug follows ...

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opportunity camp

For the past ten years, I have been privileged to serve as the Director of Spiritual Development for Opportunity Camp. Opportunity Camp is a camp that serves kids who live in foster and group homes. This year was another great year! Below are a few snapshots of the week ...

fourth of july stuff

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ping pong ...

... or "table tennis" as the sophisticated like to call it. After meeting Adrian Gonzalez and taking a three hour tour of the outlets in San Ysridro, we went to Balboa Park where the Southern California Table Tennis Tournament was being held. It was incredible! It was inside the Activities Building and had three long rows of ping pong tables. Men, women, children, young, old, and even a guy in a wheelchair were playing!

It took me back to my days when I worked in the student activities center in college. As part of my work study program, I would operate the activities center for a few hours each day. This usually allowed me ample time to play a few games of ping pong. There were several of us guys who were pretty hardcore ping pongers -- nothing quite like the level I saw today but not too shabby either.

Some of my best ping pong memories are from playing the Miller brothers, these two guys with incredible wingspans. Then there was Wasim, who would sit back and wail on the ball. There were several others ... all of us ping pong warriors.

But the people I saw today were on another level altogether. They had carrying bags for their rackets, special shoes and shirts, and coaches. It's made me think of getting a new paddle and hitting the gym. Stay tuned ...

meeting adrian gonzalez

OK, most of you are probably saying, "Adrian who?" That's understandable unless A) you like baseball and B) you live in San Diego. Adrian is the first baseman for the San Diego Padres and was born and raised in Chula Vista. I noticed in the the San Diego Reader that he would be signing autographs for two hours today. Hannah and Hope were excited to shake his hand and get his autograph; they even left with an autographed picture. Here are a few I shot myself ...


Reagan Library

Back during our days in Georgia I was privileged to serve as the campaign manager for State Senator John Douglas. He had previously served in the Georgia House of Representatives; I managed his first campaign for the State Senate. We won ... in large part because John is one of the hardest working politicians I know (not that I know too many).

He recently came to Anaheim as part of delegation from the City of Covington. On Thursday I drove up to LA and we then drove together to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It's located high on a hill in Simi Valley. It's really quite a remarkable location -- fitting for a president who referred to America as the "shining city on a hill."

I've included a few pictures for those of you who are more visually inclined :-)


summer vacation