Friday, November 28, 2008

Rampant Consumerism Gone Bad

The Associated Press: Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down

I just gotta say, THIS is why I don't get up at 4am to go shopping on Black Friday.

It's getting worse each year.

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Watching Star Trek

Those that know me know that I really like Star Trek.
I've never been to a convention (I may rememdy that some day), and don't own any costumes. But I DO watch the show every chance I get. I enjoy TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and even Enterprise (if you have to ask what those mean, Google it).

I'm also a big fan of those discourgaing posters, which show a lovely photo, with a discouraging, funny statement beneath it.

So, imagine my joy when I found a site that combines the best of these worlds! I stumbed on Star Trek Inspiriational Posters today, and proceeded to laugh for quite a while.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Because He Lives

What with dealing with the loss of Deputy Canfield, my mom having been in and out of the hospital with congestive heart failure (she's home and doing well now, by the way), and friends who have been in and out of the hospital, dealing with painful health issues that just won't go away......

I've had occasion to think on the question of "why?" We all tend to think on the "why" question at times like this. And the conclusion I've come to is.....

I dunno why.

I do know we live in a sinful, fallen world. Pain surrounds us, death stalks us, and all too often fear is our constant companion. Living in such a world has evoked philosophers over the eons to ponder the "why" question. The answer each and every philosopher has ever come to, ultimately is....

I dunno why.

But I tell you what comforts me: the fact that Jesus died and rose from the tomb, physically, at a true, real point in actual history, and lives on to this day in whatever form and fashion God has for those that sit as His right hand. And because Jesus lives, that he actually resurrected in real true life, I can have my life justified and rectified before God. I have reason to continue to live in this painful, fearful world, because Jesus has replaced the fear in my life with reassurance. He's replaced the suffering of pain with joyful hope, and death with eternal life.

Because of the fact that Jesus lives, I'm singing a song this Sunday in church which is truly one of my favorites: Because He Lives.

God sent His son, they called him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
the empty tomb is there to prove my Savior lives!

Then one day, I'll cross that ol' river,
and fight life's final war with pain.
And then when death gives way to Victory,
I'll see the lights of Glory and I'll know He lives!

Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone.
Because I know Who holds the future,
and life is worth the living just because He lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Loss in the Line of Duty.....

I'm going to take a break from the chronicles of life in the mountains to say something about life back in the Big City.

I work for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, and we lost a deputy today. Deputy Larry Canfield worked as a motorcycle officer for the city of Rancho Cordova, California. By all accounts he loved his work, and the two or three times I had chance to meet him, he was a very happy, positive man.

Deputy Canfield was hit by a driver who was apparently made a left turn in front of him as he was accelerating on his motorcycle to catch up to a speeder on Coloma Road. By most accounts tonight, this is simply a tragic accident. The driver involved pulled over immediately, and returned to the scene to offer assistance. My heart goes out to his family just as much as it does to my co-workers and Sheriff's Department family tonight.

This particular incident is sensitive for me, since I was the dispatcher working the radio for this particular incident. My co-workers have all handled difficult situations, and it is, in point of fact, what we are trained to do. But it's sometimes difficult to set aside your emotions while you deal with the rescue effort and have to listen to the strained and emotional voices of the first-responders on the scene.

My job is to stay calm. Sometimes, in the heat of incidents like this, the dispatcher is the only calm voice on the radio. But it's hard to stay calm when deputies that I know are yelling that they need "fire and ambulance here right now!!" Its hard to remain calm when I know that they are there, on scene and hands on, trying to save the life of their friend, knowing that they are watching that life slip away and there's not a thing they can do about it.

I did my job today. I have no regrets about how I performed, or how we as a Department responded to the crisis. Citizens from the surrounding homes were in the street trying to comfort and offer aid to the deputy as his partners raced to the scene. Help was on the scene within 4 minutes of the call coming in on 911.

But sometimes, no matter how fast you get there, its not fast enough.

This was just one of those times.

So I'm taking a minute now to let go of those emotions, and vent some of the frustration that is inevitable at times like this.

Why do these things happen? Why did the driver just happen to turn at that moment? Why did Deputy Canfield chose that moment to accelerate after the speeder? There is no direct answer that will absolve or implicate anyone. Sometimes things just happen.

So, tonight I turn to my God and acknowledge His sovereignty over all things in this life. Nothing happens that God doesn't know about, or that He permits or even ordains. To understand this give ME comfort. I don't know if that gives comfort to his family or my co-workers, but....

I know that God causes all things to work together for good in the lives of those who are in Christ Jesus. I know that among the first responders at the scene, there are believers in Jesus who worked hard to save their friend. I know that God will cause the events of this day to work for good in their lives, and to further His glory in this world. I'm not sure how.... but I know He will.

To Deputy Canfield's family, my most sincere condolences go out and my deepest prayers for their future. I wish I could have done more to get help on the scene faster, I wish a citizen could have called 911 sooner, or I wish the driver could have hesitated just one second before pulling out. But none of that happened. I pray that God would comfort and calm and bring along friends and family to help the family through this most difficult time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Signs of Winter

I took a drive today. I love to drive. Back when gas prices were low, I used to go on a drive just about every weekend. I decided to take a trip up Highway 50 and Highway 89 to Hope Valley, up on Highway 88.

This photo is the American River near White Hall.

I hit snow at about 6500 feet, and it gradually got deeper and colder until I stopped here at about 7000 feet, just short of Echo Summit on Highway 50. Granted, the snow as just an inch or two, but the signs of winter were definitely here.

Coming down Highway 89 into Hope Valley, I stopped at the side of road where I had a wonderful view of the valley. Autumn colors were still very evident.

I wish I had gotten up here a little bit earlier, while the Aspen trees still had their leaves, but the reds and yellows were still spectacular.

This old cattle-driver's home sits in Hope Valley, just north of the Highway 88/89 junction. I'd driven by this for years, and finally stopped to investigate.

West Fork of the Carson River, from Highway 89.

This isn't a Thomas Kincaid print. It's a scene in Myers, CA along Highway 89, just south of Highway 50. The snow was coming down, the wind was blowing, and the trees were resplendent in their color.

All in all, it was a wonderful drive. See the entire slide show here.