A week ago Saturday, our church held a Car Wash in the morning hours to raise some funds for special events coming up. We do not have enough youth at present for this kind of fund-raiser, so a lot of adults stepped up to wash all the vehicles that came in. That was awesome. Some of the men took the initiative to do some tree trimming the same morning.
That Saturday afternoon, Sondra and I went down to visit some friends, Ken and Beifei Edwards, who moved to Lake Forest (Irvine area of Orange County). We took a mission trip together last year to Great Britain. We ate dinner, strolled outside and talked at length. It is special and important to take time with good friends, even if it means taking time to drive an hour and get home a little late.
A little over a week ago, my brother John and his wife Cathy were down from Taft to visit their kids. All three of their children (John Ross, David and Alicia) and families now live in Riverside. John Ross and his wife Caryn (and two children) now attend and are deeply involved in the Youth Ministry of our church in Riverside. My brother John and Cathy attended our church on Sunday, October 14, and all their kids (spouses and children) came to our church as well for that day of worship. Afterwards, we all went out to Sundowners and had a wonderful time of "family reunion" at lunch. Roger and Julie had previous plans and therefore unable to get together with us.
When John arrived from Taft to our church, he gave me some papers that included a few of our dad's sermons. This is a photo of dad that I like as well. Dad was an inspiration for me in my pastoral journey of ministry. Here is just a portion of one of his written sermons on the Biblical account of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph was a great example of right attitude in life.
My father wrote this: Promise yourself.....
1. To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
2. To make all your friends feel there is something good in them.
3. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism real.
4. To think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
5. To forget mistakes of the past, and press on to greater achievements of the future.
6. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times.
7. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize.
8. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
I found this to be sage advice in these present days as well!
This past Tuesday, October 16, Sondra taught her weekly Ladies Bible study in the morning at a church member's apartment in Rubidoux. Afterwards, we drove down to San Diego for a "day trip." Sondra was checking on some dresses for her to wear at Evan's wedding next March (2013). It was exciting, because she found one that looked so good, fit right and was the perfect color. We then drove over to La Jolla Cove just to relax and view the Pacific. I have such fond memories of La Jolla Cove, and even to this day it is a place of tranquility and beauty.
That evening, we called some dear friends, Larry and Melodee Rupe, who had been members of First Southern Baptist Church in San Diego when I pastored there in the 1990s. We met at the El Indio Restaurant in the west part of San Diego, near Interstate 5 and Washington, for a wonderful time of fellowship and Mexican food. This "hole in the wall" place has been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with host Guy Fietti in the past on the Food Network! It was great fun being there.
This past Saturday, October 20, Sondra and I headed over to the Rancho Jurupa Regional Park in Rubidoux for a picnic to honor those who have served, helped and attended the Homeless Feeding the past several years at Fairmount Park in Riverside. "Big Jim" Ward is the coordinating pastor of this ministry and planned this picnic with BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs (with side dishes), time to sit around and fellowship at length, and sports activities as well. It was cloudy to start but then the sun broke through and we had great weather.
Yesterday (Sunday, October 21), a big day had been planned for some time. It was Pastor Appreciation Day with a special added bonus. A family friend and retired pastor, Rev. Earl Bigelow, came up from San Diego to put on a Fish Fry out of the goodness and blessing of his heart. He brought the fish and actually fried it during the Sunday School hour, while we all helped set up tables and chairs outside on the front lawn for a luncheon following the worship hour. During the worship service, special presentations were made to me (as Pastor) and to other volunteers pastors and other workers who have helped in major ways for ministry purposes in the life of the church. I was given a basket full of goodies -- gift certificate for Red Lobster, a San Diego Chargers blanket, a bottle of Dr Pepper, a huge bundle of various candy bars and a bright blue T-shirt with the words "Vision Plus" on the front!
I preached on the subject of affirmation, encouragement and appreciation. It was a blessed day.
Here are some photos of me with Earl and Ruby Bigelow from earlier this year down in San Diego.
These past two weeks have also been filled with daily day-care of our two grandchildren who live close by in Fontana, Bailey and Brynnlee. It is such a joy to see them grow and develop their personalities and abilities. Bailey is now taking both Gymnastic and Dancing lessons on two separate evenings during the week. She is three years old. Brynlee is a little over a year old and is walking quite well now.