September 30, 2010. Boy, do I take blogging for granted sometimes. Imagine getting almost 20 years in prison for exercising your opinions on your blog. Hossein Derakhshan doesn't have to imagine it. Some even pushed for him to get the death sentence. Is blogging that much of a threat? Apparently so, in some parts of the world, where governments must maintain their respect by force. Of course, the other option is a government that actually protects the rights and freedoms of its citizens. That kind of government might just earn the respect of its people. Of course, giving people that kind of freedom can be risky. You could lose your job if your performance is bad. Imagine that.
September 28, 2010. Nowhere I have to go. Nothing I have to buy. Nothing I need to do. Everything I want and need is found in you. Not some future endeavor or goal. It's all right here in you. If all the trappings of this life fall away, you are enough. In you I breath and have life. The world and its pleasures leave me empty and dry. But a moment with you lifts me out, clears my eyes, fills my mind, opens my heart. And you are only a breath away, beside every one of us.
September 27, 2010. My son and I spent part of the day down in Basel, so this is one of the scenes we saw. He was teaching me how to count to ten in French. I think I have it now. He's a pretty good little teacher. We crossed the bridge and got some hot dogs, then went into a tech store to look at the latest iPads and gaming systems that he knows his dad could never afford. But, I splurged and got him some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor. And, of course, he had to take me over to the bank and check how the stocks were doing. A good day.
September 25, 2010. When I am falling, you fall with me. You lift me up. You take my hand. When I can’t see where to set my foot, you are my light. If I am afraid, if I feel like I can’t move, your right hand steadies me. If I begin to doubt, if the darkness attempts to gray the colors around me; if my foot slips and I reach out to find you, you are there. You are there. And in a moment, the light of your face awakens the brilliance of all creation and I see the glory of your power and feel the strength of your breath as it bends the trees over me and casts the clouds before you like leaves before a storm.
September 24, 2010. I remember his hands. As a farmer he plowed the ground. As a carpenter he wielded a hammer. As pastor he reached out and embraced others. As a musician he delighted us on the piano. Some things stand out to me. The time he hosted a young man fresh out of prison in his garage, much to the alarm of everyone. This was his love for people. I remember his slide shows of Africa and his stories of the African children he worked with there. I remember his early morning walks through the forest, where he would pray. I remember the time he took me panning for gold, teaching me how the old timers did it. I remember how he treated people. My impression of him is that he treated us all the same. His generosity was extended to those who never deserved it. I know he wasn't perfect, but he made a strong impression on my life.
September 12, 2010. As I sit here now, thunder and lightning take over the night skies, and I'm sure the rivers are swelling as the rain has been falling in sheets. When I drew this earlier today, there was no sign of a storm. It's Budenfest weekend in Kandern, and people come from all around to enjoy the amazing tastes and throngs of visitors. Just yesterday, as we sat in the wrestling club's booth enjoying schnitzel and onion pizza, I commented, "This is the first Budenfest I remember without rain."
September 11, 2010. I got out this morning before everyone was up, went down to Weil am Rhein and sketched this view of the Vitra furniture factory, where there's a very interesting architectural museum. This section of the museum was designed by Frank Gehry. My wife and I were checking out some old photo albums the past few days, looking back on years gone way too fast. Sometimes I feel like I'm an actor in one of those sci-fi time travel movies. I roll out of bed and the toddlers are replaced by teenagers- my back hurts, and there's some gray-haired guy in my mirror, trying to open his eyes. Crazy how it all blows by so fast.
To borrow from Lifehouse lyrics today: "You are the strength, that keeps me walking. You are the hope, that keeps me trusting. Your are the light to my soul. You are my purpose... you're everything. How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?"
September 4, 2010. This is the Kreiskrankenhaus (hospital) in Lörrach where my son was born 12 years ago. After Micah was born, he developed an infection that enlarged his left kidney and we were afraid he wasn't going to make it. He spent three weeks here recovering. The doctors were scheduling a major surgery for him. Everybody in our church prayed for the little dude. My dad came from California to help us out. After a few weeks it became clear he was completely whole, no surgery needed. This is also the hospital where the doctors rescued my daughter from an appendicitis just in time. Memory lane today.