Donny's Ramblings


Doing Homework At Starbucks

Caden doing homework at Starbucks

Caden doing homework at Starbucks

I don’t get to help him with homework very often. When I do get the chance it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Today we decided to do his homework at Starbucks. Since it takes at least an hour, and since half of that is silent reading, I decided to grab a book. As I was looking through the bookshelf for something to read he handed me his Bible. What a kid!

He really warms my heart, and I cannot imagine a life without him in it.

His Bible





God’s Word for Boys, handed to me as I was looking for something to read.

And yes, that is Blue Like Jazz in the background.   I’m re-reading it for the 3rd time… ’cause it’s that good!  If you’ve never done so, I highly suggest reading it!


Caden: 2, Dad: 0

Caden and I went camping this weekend with The Fishers of Men, a Christian sportsmen club.  We camped and fished all weekend.  Since there were no showers at the camp, we got pretty dirty and stinky.  Perfect!  🙂

My son is quite the little fisherman.  I’d love to take credit, but the truth is that his mommy takes him a few times a year, and she’s a great teacher.  This weekend I was skunked, but Caden caught two fish.  Here’s a photo of Caden holding one of them, a rainbow trout caught using a night crawler on the Hamilton Branch of the Feather River, right as it feeds into Lake Almanor (the other fish he caught was practically identical in size – very decent, eh?):

Caden The Fisherman
(click to enlarge)

There is nothing better than spending a weekend with my boy.  Nothing.  What a GREAT time!



On Sunday evening, as we were traveling, I told Caden a few Bible stories. Speaking about God, Caden informed me:

“I’ve known Him longer than you, dad, so I know more about Him.”



One of the Bible stories I told him was about how Lot and his wife and daughters were called out because the cities of Sodom and Gomorra were about to be destroyed. I knew he’d crack up when I told him Lot’s wife looked back at the town and turned into a pillar of salt. I was right. He did. His laugh, for those who know him, is very infectious.

Yesterday as I was speaking to his mommy, she told me that Caden had shared the story with her that night.

The one about Lot’s wife turning into a salt shaker.


Thoughts From Yaks Koffee

The Magic Chair

Earlier this afternoon I was sitting in my easy chair reading one of the textbooks for my Church History class. In case you’re a new reader, I’m currently a student of the Londen Institute for Evangelism, on my way to a degree in Ministry. From Porn Producer to Pastor? Perhaps.

Hmm… maybe I should contemplate that italicized sentence as a possible book title?

Anyway… where was I? Oh yeah, the easy chair. The chair is a magic chair. No, really, it is. Wendy and I bought it before Caden was born. I used to rock him to sleep in it late at night. Wendy was not a late-night type of person, so when Caden was an infant and woke up in the middle of the night, as infants do, Wendy would nurse him and then I’d take him downstairs to rock him to sleep. I’d pop in a movie and the two of us would have Daddy and Caden time. It was magical.

The magic chair… it wasn’t cheap, which is one of the two reasons why I still own it today, even though it doesn’t match the rest of the furniture in my apartment. One thing about that ex-wife of mine is that she will not settle for cheap furniture. I could tell you stories about the dressers that have been purchased for my son and the bunk bed set she’s currently talking me into buying. I didn’t realize such price tags could attach themselves to bunk beds! But I digress…

As I was sitting in Magic Chair reading A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FROM PENTECOST TO PRESENT, by James B. North, I started thinking “I could be reading this at Yaks.”

And so… here I sit at Yaks Koffee. But I’m not reading. I’ve got the laptop fired up and am LOOKING at my text books while I type. Does looking count for anything?

Instead of being a good student, reading my textbooks and preparing to write the papers assigned to me, I am instead writing to you, my constant readers, about a few thoughts I’ve been pondering in the last few days. I want to share them with you and ask for your opinions and input.

Random Thought #1: Sin and God’s Jealousy

While driving, I was thinking to myself, “God is a jealous God, right? That’s what I’ve read and heard. But why is that?” The following thoughts came to mind (pardon the example used to illustrate these thoughts – it just seems that I often come to spiritual “realizations” by thinking of events from my life – is that normal?):

When I was playing that horrible game with Belinda I would find myself fighting jealousy from time to time. While it didn’t start that way, it wasn’t long before I was battling for her affections. If an idea was suggested by Mark, I didn’t want Belinda to like it. I wanted her to realize that anything coming from Mark was evil (I guess that didn’t work out quite as I planned because she now lives with him) and anything coming from me was good (of course). If she did happen to think one of his ideas was a good one I’d feel a surge of jealousy. In your own relationship, if you have one, imagine how you’d feel if the person you’re in love with found pleasure or delight in the suggestions of another.

In the case of real-life Good vs. Evil, all good comes from God. His opponent, and ours, creates and perpetuates evil. Most of us can agree on that, I’m sure. So it makes sense to me that when those God loves choose something that was created or suggested by His opponent, He feels jealousy.

I realize this is basic for most of you, but this is a perspective I’d never considered before. Input, anyone?

Random Thought #2: Is There ANYONE God Won’t Forgive and Use for His Good?

Somewhat related to the above line of thought, I began thinking of David, and also of Saul/Paul. As King, David was a man who had it all. He was wealthy. He could do whatever he pleased. He was in a position of leadership, and part of his duties were to protect his people. So when he murdered one of the men who served in his armed forces in order to take the poor man’s wife, in my opinion he deserved to die. How many of us could forgive such a thing if it happened today? But after his sin was called out and he became a broken person, begging God’s forgiveness, God did just that. And he even called David a man after his own heart.

We all know the story of Saul, the Christian killer. He found a lot of joy in hunting Christians down and persecuting them. Yet Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, temporarily blinded him, changed his life and used him to change the world. As the Apostle Paul, 13 books of the New Testament were written by him.

I wonder if God took pleasure in snatching these two men out of Satan’s hands, purposefully using them to do his work, in part, to rub it in Satan’s face? At one point, both of these men must have elicited an enormous amount of jealousy within God. After all, they were choosing to pursue Satan’s “suggestions” over God’s plan.

Gimme your thoughts, will ya?


Rob Bell and the Samurai

XXXChurch calls Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan home. In case you don’t know, Mars Hill is the church founded by Rob Bell. So when Craig Gross told me he’d been speaking with Jon Bell (Rob’s brother), that he had tickets for me to Rob’s The God’s Aren’t Angry tour, and that Jon and Rob wanted to meet afterward… well, to say “I was very excited” would be an understatement.

In October of 2006 I asked for book suggestions. Rob’s book Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith is one of the first Christian books I read after surrendering my life to God, and it blew me away. I loved it. I’ve read it once and listened to it on audio twice. I highly suggest reading it. I also highly suggest viewing as many of Rob’s Nooma videos as possible. But I digress.

Wendy and Caden took the trip with me. We spent the early afternoon on Pier 39, checking out the Aquarium of the Bay while we had the chance. After a long, brutal battle, my son charmed his way into a samurai sword (he really had to fight hard for it: showed it to mom and dad, smiled, made cute “Shrek Cat” face… sword acquired).

And so it happened that Rob Bell was later photographed with the world’s newest, deadliest samurai:

Rob Bell, Samurai Caden, Donny Pauling

Rob Bell, Samurai Caden, Donny Pauling

(Rob’s talk was great, by the way)


Turd Burglar

Preface: I often make up odd names to call people. They just roll off my tongue from time to time… names like “butt nacho” or “butt nugget”. Yes, very mature. I know.

Daddy and Caden are horsing around:

Daddy: “Hey you, turd burglar!”

Caden (matter-of-factly): “Nobody would be mad about that, dad.”

It took me a second to get what he was saying. Then I couldn’t stop laughing. Of course nobody would be mad if he stole turds! What was I thinking?



Caden the Photographer

I shot hundreds of photos. He wanted to his turn with the camera. Fortunately I had a Fuji Z5 as backup so I was able to shoot photos of Caden shooting photos. He shot at least a hundred pics. Some of them turned out really good!

Caden at Brandy Creek Falls Caden and Daddy At Brandy Creek Falls A Typical Caden Face