Monday, March 26, 2012

Firefighter's Parade - Delray Beach, Florida

This year I had the pleasure of attending the St Patrick's Day firefighter's parade in Florida. Not only did I meet up with some old friends and co-workers, but I saw some really neat apparatus there too.

Its been quite some time since being around the fire service. But after spending much of my 12 year career as a Driver Engineer, I have a soft spot in my heart for the machinery. Below are some samples of the fine pieces from firefighting history gathered in Delray.

I was told this truck from FDNY is one of the first to respond (& survive) the 911 World Trade Center disaster. It has been decommissioned and is now making appearances around the US in memory of those lost. It has a powerful impact on the crowd, and people didn't know whether to cheer or say a prayer when it went by.

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 1st Quarter Report

I regret it has come to this. I seem to be able only to manage a quarterly post to this blog. Actually, I have been quite busy and have much to write about. But busy-ness means I don't have as much spare time as before. But I JUST GOTTA tell about our vacation that ended yesterday.

We went on this trip by the grace of God and Phil Waldrip Ministries. The folks at PWM have been a tremendous blessing to us New England pastors for several years. But this was definitely "over the top".

Josey and I just finished up a 5-day Caribbean cruise that was HEAVENLY. Its the second time we have 'cruised', the first being for our 20th anniversary (12 years ago) when we went for three days to the Bahamas. The weather couldn't have been better this time - as the summer humidity has not yet settled in near the equator. Other than some rough seas and upset stomachs, it was nearly perfect!

We laid around the ship's pool most days, interrupted only by scrumptious meals where we probably ate too much. For the most part, we made healthy dietary choices. But its SO easy to eat more often when you don't have to prepare anything. You just have to show-up when they say its ready! And now I am afraid to step on the scale.

There are some real 'artists' that work on these cruise ships. I really is AMAZING what they do with food. I find the food does not always taste exceptional, but the presentation is outstanding. We saw some beautiful ice sculptures and food prepared every way conceivable.

Then there is the decadence of it all. This giant "Leaning Tower of Chocolate" was more than I could stand. I began to take a big bite when Josey stopped me from causing a scene. But you have to admit, it made a pretty good picture. I could have made myself sick right then & there.

Shore excursions were fun too. We disembarked on Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The flowers and plants were really pretty. We saw many native plants, flowers, and animals. They cause me to think of God's diversity and awesome creative power.

We mixed it up as far as island visits were concerned. We climbed Dunns River Falls while in Jamaica. Our guide was a "wild man" whom seemed to be entertained by making the tourists fall into water over their head. We were soaked to the bone and a little cold. But I must admit, we laughed a lot! And he taught me some Jamaican slang; When asked how I was doing, he said I should say, "Me irey mon" ... it means I'm doing fine or really good!

Maybe the most interesting was a swim with stingrays offshore in Grand Cayman. They take you out about two miles from shore in a smaller boat, then chum the water up with fresh squid. The rays come in from everywhere ... and some quite large! At first, I was a bit uncomfortable handling them - as these are the same variety that killed the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Erwin a few years ago.

So now its "back to the real world". Its gonna take some time - I know. But we are SO THANKFUL to have had this opportunity It was a "God-thing" no doubt. "THANK YOU, LORD"!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

There are a few things of great value I have experienced in my life. One is entering into intimacy with Almighty God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is difficult to put into words just what that means to me. But the closest earthly comparison I know, is the relationship I have with my loving wife. When we communicate well and are transparent with one another, there is nothing sweeter than to 'know' and be 'known'. The natural outcome of that kind of love was the creation of three beautiful children and a wonderful family. And looking back over the last 30 years, I feel deep satisfaction with that blessing.

This picture of the Faith, Cassy, & Harley takes me back to a very special time of building a new home and child-rearing in the western burbs of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. It was a wonderful time of adventure and challenge. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We had some great times over the years, and the three of them have been so much fun. They could add lots of laughter to family vacations, and have a good time almost anywhere. Capturing moments of bliss while eating smores, its too bad the cameraman didn't get the date set properly on his camera. But that doesn't detract from the experience and good memories.

Powerful feelings are evoked in thinking about how far we have come on the journey called life. I look at an adult family and realize how long it has really been. I don't feel old - but I am definitely older. And with the addition of little Ethan to our family, I am reminded again how blessed we are. Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wolfboro Regatta

The most fun I've had in a long time was attending this year's Wolfboro Regatta in Wolfboro, New Hampshire. It's a wonderful meeting of antique boat owners and retired race boat drivers at the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. And the weather was PERFECT!

Many of these boats were top competitors in their day ... a few were World Record holders. And the current owners still take speed very seriously. The boats are in race-ready condition - some with more horsepower than ever before. And they really FLY around the race course.

It has been many years (40?) since I went to Miami Marine Stadium to watch these old-school hydos run. They are as much fun to watch now as back then. These pictures were taken from a dock in the pit area - right in the apex of a turn. But the water was good and drivers were getting them to skim the water at about 150 mph in the straights.

This Switzer Craft really brought back memories for me ... haven't seen one in a VERY long time. When I was a kid (late 60s), I used to go to our neighborhood bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway and watch these boats run in the Miami Marathon. Running up over 100 mph, they were always first to come through. It was SO EXCITING!!!

There was some really 'sweet' lake boats there too. These old beauties are a work of design art, and took hundreds of hours to build. There is a club in the Wolfboro area that provides a wonderful resource center for those working to keep these old relics afloat. Some of them are worth $$$$$.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Laconia Bike Week 2011

Getting ready and loaded-up for the trip down to Laconia was REALLY exciting. This year I decided to trailer the bike down - instead of making the ride there and back. IT'S MUCH BETTER THIS WAY!

Each year I get more time away to participate in the activities of Bike Week, and can't wait til the next year. Something about seeing the Weirs Beach sign each season makes my heart run a little faster. Of course, if you've seen the sign during Bike Week you have been stuck in a major traffic jam. Took me almost two hours to get through there on Wednesday afternoon.

A brother from the CMA lives a few miles outside of Weirs Beach and let me camp-out on his property (free) as part of the Christian Motorcyclist's ministry for Bike Week. The picture is a bath-house with hot running water, showers, and refrigerators built specially for his camping guests.

Most of the campers are riding big touring bikes pulling mini travel trailers. I choose the "low-buck" approach by sleeping in the back of the SUV on an air mattress. Not the most comfortable - but very mobile. It rained while I was there and mosquitoes were very active. Not a problem for me.

The Annual Hill-climb was an awesome experience. It was my first time attending this event. There was hundreds of spectators, and about 99% came to the event on a bike. It was a sea of motorcycles ... and a huge audience stood on the hillside for hours watching crazy people defy death.

Best of all, the CMA represented with a highly visible display canopy - giving away free ice-water, a few hundred gospel tracts, and several Bibles. Doing evangelism this way among Hells Angels, Outlaws, and the like makes my adrenaline run. We were there talking about Jesus and praying with people all day, but the time went by in a flash. Our motto is, "Riding For The Son", and that is EXACTLY what CMA-ers do.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Fools

As we were talking about the end of a long winter and spring finally arriving, the bottom fell out! Visions of those beautiful Mid-coast Maine summer days were dancing in my head. But "April Fools Day" fooled us all! In blew some more of the white stuff, and there was a big surprise in store for those of us living in Northern New England.

My little Toyota does not drive so well on slippery roads. And this day was no exception. I was unexpectedly 'home-bound' for the day as the snow just kept coming! We had about 8 inches of accumulation at our house, and I had to go searching for my snow boots just to get the mail.

I actually got out some lawn equipment the last Saturday in March -preparing it for use again. Previous snows had melted, and the grass was turning green . I even cranked up the motorcycle. But that was all premature, as this spring 'nor-easter' kept pounding away. You just never know ....

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Addition to The Fam

Meet Roxee! This 5 yr. old brindle & white English Bulldog is the latest addition to our family. With her super-broad shoulders and under-shot jaw, she looks like she could be REALLY mean. But she is really mellow and shy. We are having fun welcoming her into our home.

Roxee is the sweetest dog I've ever met. We have owned several dogs over the years, and our first (33 yrs. ago) was a male English Bulldog that looked very similar. We've wanted another for quite some time, but just couldn't spend the bucks to get one. Then we discovered a bulldog rescue group online.

Roxee's previous owners had to move and could not take her to the new location. They obviously did a great job training her. She is well-behaved, obeys commands (pretty well), and has been easy to care for in the transition. She already brought joy to our home - as we get a real 'kick' out of watching her. Let's face it, she "has a face only a mother could love."