Monday, April 28, 2008

Tree House USA

for·est /ˈfɔrɪst, ˈfɒr-/
1. a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush; woodland.
2. the trees on such a tract: to cut down a forest.
3. a tract of wooded grounds in England formerly belonging to the sovereign and set apart for game.
4. a thick cluster of vertical objects: a forest of church spires.
–verb (used with object)
5. to supply or cover with trees; convert into a forest.

During the years I have planted several...

The river birch. I actually tried planting two other trees here but they kept dying. Too much water but this one liked it.

This Japanese Maple was a twig when I moved to Germany in 2001. I was hoping the renters would not pull it out thinking it was a weed.

I am thinking of cutting this trinity or Cleveland pear down. It never grew right and now it is damaged from the ice storm.

Now the backyard...

A crabapple. I took this picture too late. The blossoms were better a few days prior but nobody wanted to take another picture by the tree!

The purple leaf plum. It is actually my second one. I had planted a purple leaf plum in the front yard. Well, actually I thought it was a purple leaf plum but it turned out to be a plum tree. Real nice to but it was planted between my driveway and retaining wall so every summer we had plums in my driveway and my neighbors yard. So when I was renting it out, I told the neighbor he could cut it down if it was a nuisance - i left July 2001 and I think he cut it down the next day. Too late right?

Another crabapple. I am thinking about moving it.

Another cleveland or trinity pear. Probably firewood someday when a strong wind or ice storm comes through again.

Okay I went a little overboard with the trees! But I love planting them, digging a new hole and moving them. Some people collect comics, toys, cars - I collect trees. My weird obsession.

When I moved in all I had was this cedar tree in the backyard. A friend actually offered to cut it down. But oh no. I could not cut down a 20+ year old tree. Now I have a real eyesore in the backyard. Hmmm, maybe I can plant something in front of it. As you can see, it too was damaged in the GREAT ICE STORM OF 2008.

This is one of the first trees I planted - my red bud (gotta support the Sooner state) and a Bradford pear - because I actually liked these trees at one time.

The Bradford pear did not survive the ice storm and here is my only picture...

So I cut it down - RIP Stumpy 1994 to 2008.

Soon to be replace by this Flame Amur Clump Maple - red leaves in the fall.

So come on over and check out the trees in the spring when they are blooming or the fall when the leaves change. But watch out for the "treats" Lucky leaves behind.

Wow and while editing this post I realized I forgot to mention the Chinese Pistache...How could I forget that! Next to the cedar tree it is now my biggest tree in the backyard.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Eph 2:10 (TLB) It is God himself who mas made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others

Wow talk about coincidences. Yesterday our pastor spoke on "Consumeranity." His premise was in America our faith tends to be processed as consumers. Christianity might be more accurately described as consumeranity. He pointed out the American dream is really a nightmare and gave Britney Spears as exhibit A. We are not about American dreams but kingdom dreams.

He concluded we must be OTHERS focused! Until we have broken HEARTS for broken PEOPLE we can't be like CHRIST.

Then I read a post today concerning "Confronting our culture of consumerism"

So another coincidence or is the Holy Spirit trying to tell me something?!

P.S. Some other takeaways I jotted down:

Volunteer in your school/community

Build some relationships - with pure motives not to gain anything

Go into work early and have a good work ethic (now he is meddling with me)

Don't try to preach at the world - Get into their lives.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My friend Dave described our fellowship at Vogelweh Assembly of God in his blog. It truly was a place where you were taken out of your comfort zone and had the opportunity to grow.

What is church? Part 1
I recently got back in contact with some friends from our previous church–it was a small church of Air Force and Army families in Kaiserslautern, Germany. My family loved that church, and I’ll tell you why. Thanks to the fact we were a bunch of Americans in Germany, and through a great pastor (and family!), we lived out a real “fellowship of believers.” This family provided a great example of how church is supposed to be, and we have missed that family ever since.

We worshiped together, learned together, and grew in our walks by meeting twice a week at the base chapel. But more importantly, we ate together, talked together, traveled together, cried together, and rejoiced together. Each of us had our own spiritual gifts and talents, which were encouraged and nurtured by the pastor and his wife. Sometimes we were aware of and already comfortable with our gifts–sometimes our gifts were recognized by others who then pushed us to grow, sometimes in ways that stretched us. In each case, it was a spirit of love and love of Christ that allowed us to function as a church and community.

Most of these people, being in the military, have moved on–but we still talk, sometimes meet, and continue to live out the gifts that were grown in that church. Many of us have brought our gifts to other communities, and have spread the love of Christ around the world. For Rebecca and I, it was the closest thing we’ve had to “church” in all of our travels.

Next time, I’ll talk about our future plans for community…

I miss those relationships. Phone calls and e-mails are not the same. Treasure your friends while they are near! Push past the chit chat and get to know them, share hurts, pray for one another, sharpen each other, and provoke one another to press in to Christ. It will hurt when you part ways but it's worth it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My father's eulogy

I came across this in my old Dake's bible. Handwritten notes from which I read one morning in August 1996:

On Sunday morning my father passed on from this place to a better place. That same morning I was singing I must tell Jesus which conveys that in our distress Jesus will kindly help us. I shared with the congregation how Christ has many times been my source of strength and comfort. Of how we must share our burdens with Him. Those words meant to comfort others would soon be a source of comfort to me. I can't help but believe that my Heavenly Father was preparing my heart for what was to come that day.

On Sunday morning my father did not wake up in a mansion. He spent the fruit of his labor storing up treasures where moth and rust do not corrupt. He supported several ministries and often would help those less fortunate that himself. Although he did not wake up in a mansion, I do believe that Jesus prepared him a place that far exceeds anything this world's treasures can buy.

My father's focus was on Heaven. Often when talking with him our conversation would drift to the condition of the heart - mainly my spiritual walk. He encouraged me to keep my focus on Christ. He longed for the day that he would enter into Heaven. He wanted others to share that hope also.

After my mother's passing he shared with me that if he ever had a similar trajedy he just wanted me to hold his hand. On Sunday morning I couldn't be there to do that but someone greater than I held his hand. Our precious Lord, the author and finisher of our faith.

I miss him!