Donny's Ramblings


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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!


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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!


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Cadenisms

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.


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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?


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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)


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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?

——————————————-

PHOTOS FROM YESTERDAY’S HIKE TO BRANDY CREEK FALLS:

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


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Dad, If I Was a Policeman

“Dad, if I was a policeman I wouldn’t be mean even to the bad guys because the Bible says we should love people even if they don’t love us.”

Spoken today as we drove together on our way to hike to Brandy Creek Falls. Couldn’t have come at a better time (thanks for the reminder, my son). Kinda reminds me of the day we had the following conversation more than two years ago, before I gave my life back to God:

“Dad, do you want Jesus in your heart?”

I didn’t know what to say, because at the time I didn’t care about it.

“I don’t know, Caden. How about you? Do you want Jesus in your heart?”

“I already do dad. So…. do ya?”

“Sure.”

“Then ask him!”

Out of the mouths of babes…


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Thoughts from Duffy’s Tavern

I’m sitting at Duffy’s Tavern in Chico, California, reminiscing on the events of my life while sipping a margarita and listening to Frank Sinatra on the Jukebox. I’ve fed that jukebox full of music for the next hour. The playlist includes Frankie, Prince, and several selections from the Grease soundtrack.

Beautiful, I tell ya. I love this music.

Some Christians might be tempted to ask why I’m hanging out in a bar and sipping a margarita. There is no answer for those who would ask. I just felt like writing here. I love Chico, and Duffy’s Tavern is a Chico icon.

There are 7 other people here at the moment, each engrossed in conversation with those who came with them.

None have complained about Sinatra.

As for the margaritas:
My constant readers, Jesus did not turn water into kool-aid. Alcohol consumption isn’t up for discussion, so don’t bother.

This afternoon after church (each of us in a separate church), Wendy and I had lunch with our son at the new Chili’s restaurant by the Chico Mall. We accomplished something today. See, we’ve been doing quite a bit of arguing over a pretty serious issue we’ve both had to face, and we’ve been facing it for what seems an eternity. Today I think we made progress. She’s an amazing woman, I’ll tell ya. I really love and appreciate her so much. If only I’d done so when we were married…

But speaking of progress, I’m very happy to have come to a “truce” with Belinda’s new boyfriend. A few days ago, the two of us talked on the phone, man to man, as we should have done quite some time ago. Here’s to hoping we’ll stop ripping into each other with insults on public internet message boards, as well as in conversations with mutual acquaintances. Mark used to be a friend of mine. Speaking with him on the phone made me kinda miss that friendship (just a little). I don’t think we’ll be sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya together anytime soon, but at least we’ve made some progress and have hopefully put the petty bickering in our past.

…which really makes me happy. Because the hatred I harbored for Mark was eating me alive. It was way out of hand. It was definitely preventing me from moving forward and pursuing a closer relationship with my Creator. I don’t want to go into any details, but the conversation we had was a healing experience for me. At one time I really loved Mark’s friendship. He can be a very funny, charismatic man. I hope I can focus on those positives from here on out. That sure would make life better.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

—–

When I think of God, I can’t help but think of my relationship with Caden. There really isn’t anything my beautiful son could ever do to make me love him any less.

In my mind, I can’t fathom ever loving anyone or anything more than I love my son. He is my life. When he hurts, I hurt. When something negatively affects his life, I’m nearly driven out of my mind with pain. I’m not being dramatic. I’d die for that little boy.

The other day I was at Wendy’s house with Caden. Wendy was out of town. Caden and I had a wonderful time together, bantering about lots of things that are important to 7 year old little boys. At one point he wanted to go outside and ride his bike with his friend Isaiah. I had a few things to do in the house before I could go out and watch him pedal around, laughing his head off with that angelic laugh he has. I let him go ahead of me.

5 minutes later I left the house to go watch him play. His hands were scraped and his knee was bloody. He was in pain.

Can I tell you how that affected me?

Even though he was fine, I had to fight to keep from crying. There was my precious little boy with blood dripping down his leg. He’d been riding around and his front tire had gone off the pavement and onto the gravel. That caused him to lose control of his bike and scrape his leg up pretty good. Although the injury was minor, everything inside of me cried out to run to him, hold him in my arms, and do whatever I could to make the pain go away.

He wasn’t crying. He’s a tough little guy.

I kept my emotions under control and acted like it wasn’t all that big a deal. I told him in a matter-of-fact tone that we should probably clean his wounds. He agreed. We went inside, where HE instructed ME on how MOMMY would clean and bandage his wound. That in itself made my heart attempt to leap through my chest. My little boy loves his mommy so much, and every word that comes out of her mouth, every routine she has for doing things her own way… well, that’s the way things should be in Caden’s mind.

I love that, so much (perhaps the day will come when I’ll tell you about how he wants to grow up to be a soldier, guarding his mommy’s door).

So after using Bactine instead of Neosporin (because mommy does it that way so it has to be better) Caden was back outside riding like a mad man on his “fire bike” with Isaiah.

And I was watching.

And cringing.

And hating yet loving every minute as he rode almost-out-of-control over speed bumps while looking over his shoulder wondering if daddy saw that and had recognized just how cool it was. And can there be anything more AWESOME than a long skid mark left on the pavement, dad?

AND ALL OF THIS JUST MAKES ME THINK:

God feels the same about his children. There’s nothing any of us could ever do to make HIM love US any less.

Nothing.

Nothing!

Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?

Does he bandage our wounds and send us back out to play with Isaiah, watching from the sidewalk and loving us so much it literally hurts?

 

Click any photo to enlarge:
Within Minutes of Birth On the Plane Caden the Ring Bearer Flowers for Mommy


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Thoughts from Duffy's Tavern

I’m sitting at Duffy’s Tavern in Chico, California, reminiscing on the events of my life while sipping a margarita and listening to Frank Sinatra on the Jukebox. I’ve fed that jukebox full of music for the next hour. The playlist includes Frankie, Prince, and several selections from the Grease soundtrack.

Beautiful, I tell ya. I love this music.

Some Christians might be tempted to ask why I’m hanging out in a bar and sipping a margarita. There is no answer for those who would ask. I just felt like writing here. I love Chico, and Duffy’s Tavern is a Chico icon.

There are 7 other people here at the moment, each engrossed in conversation with those who came with them.

None have complained about Sinatra.

As for the margaritas:
My constant readers, Jesus did not turn water into kool-aid. Alcohol consumption isn’t up for discussion, so don’t bother.

This afternoon after church (each of us in a separate church), Wendy and I had lunch with our son at the new Chili’s restaurant by the Chico Mall. We accomplished something today. See, we’ve been doing quite a bit of arguing over a pretty serious issue we’ve both had to face, and we’ve been facing it for what seems an eternity. Today I think we made progress. She’s an amazing woman, I’ll tell ya. I really love and appreciate her so much. If only I’d done so when we were married…

But speaking of progress, I’m very happy to have come to a “truce” with Belinda’s new boyfriend. A few days ago, the two of us talked on the phone, man to man, as we should have done quite some time ago. Here’s to hoping we’ll stop ripping into each other with insults on public internet message boards, as well as in conversations with mutual acquaintances. Mark used to be a friend of mine. Speaking with him on the phone made me kinda miss that friendship (just a little). I don’t think we’ll be sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya together anytime soon, but at least we’ve made some progress and have hopefully put the petty bickering in our past.

…which really makes me happy. Because the hatred I harbored for Mark was eating me alive. It was way out of hand. It was definitely preventing me from moving forward and pursuing a closer relationship with my Creator. I don’t want to go into any details, but the conversation we had was a healing experience for me. At one time I really loved Mark’s friendship. He can be a very funny, charismatic man. I hope I can focus on those positives from here on out. That sure would make life better.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

—–

When I think of God, I can’t help but think of my relationship with Caden. There really isn’t anything my beautiful son could ever do to make me love him any less.

In my mind, I can’t fathom ever loving anyone or anything more than I love my son. He is my life. When he hurts, I hurt. When something negatively affects his life, I’m nearly driven out of my mind with pain. I’m not being dramatic. I’d die for that little boy.

The other day I was at Wendy’s house with Caden. Wendy was out of town. Caden and I had a wonderful time together, bantering about lots of things that are important to 7 year old little boys. At one point he wanted to go outside and ride his bike with his friend Isaiah. I had a few things to do in the house before I could go out and watch him pedal around, laughing his head off with that angelic laugh he has. I let him go ahead of me.

5 minutes later I left the house to go watch him play. His hands were scraped and his knee was bloody. He was in pain.

Can I tell you how that affected me?

Even though he was fine, I had to fight to keep from crying. There was my precious little boy with blood dripping down his leg. He’d been riding around and his front tire had gone off the pavement and onto the gravel. That caused him to lose control of his bike and scrape his leg up pretty good. Although the injury was minor, everything inside of me cried out to run to him, hold him in my arms, and do whatever I could to make the pain go away.

He wasn’t crying. He’s a tough little guy.

I kept my emotions under control and acted like it wasn’t all that big a deal. I told him in a matter-of-fact tone that we should probably clean his wounds. He agreed. We went inside, where HE instructed ME on how MOMMY would clean and bandage his wound. That in itself made my heart attempt to leap through my chest. My little boy loves his mommy so much, and every word that comes out of her mouth, every routine she has for doing things her own way… well, that’s the way things should be in Caden’s mind.

I love that, so much (perhaps the day will come when I’ll tell you about how he wants to grow up to be a soldier, guarding his mommy’s door).

So after using Bactine instead of Neosporin (because mommy does it that way so it has to be better) Caden was back outside riding like a mad man on his “fire bike” with Isaiah.

And I was watching.

And cringing.

And hating yet loving every minute as he rode almost-out-of-control over speed bumps while looking over his shoulder wondering if daddy saw that and had recognized just how cool it was. And can there be anything more AWESOME than a long skid mark left on the pavement, dad?

AND ALL OF THIS JUST MAKES ME THINK:

God feels the same about his children. There’s nothing any of us could ever do to make HIM love US any less.

Nothing.

Nothing!

Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?

Does he bandage our wounds and send us back out to play with Isaiah, watching from the sidewalk and loving us so much it literally hurts?

 

Click any photo to enlarge:
Within Minutes of Birth On the Plane Caden the Ring Bearer Flowers for Mommy