Saturday was The Hesperia Days' Parade.

Now, lest you envision something of Rose Parade quality, let me clarify: this parade is an annual offering by and for the community that includes a great deal of unlikely entrants. For instance, trash trucks. Yes, trash trucks. An entire fleet of them. They have loud patriotic music blaring, American flags on the mechanical truck arms, and scads of workers riding all over the trucks. It may sound a little fantastical but it's great fun and we all love it.

For the last half-dozen years our family has been helping with the parade at the Registration table; our grandparents are in the Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the whole hoopla, and we are their grandkids (!!!) so we are somehow allowed to wear "Parade Official" badges and pretend that we're very authoritative. I love it. It's always such an adventure; one year we had a saloon enter the parade and they arrived at nine am., tipsy. (Acts 2:15, anyone?) We tried to get them into the correct parade lineup which turned out to be quite a fiasco because their judgment had apparently been sufficiently impaired to make them uncooperative. We ended up rearranging other people around them instead of making them move because it clearly wasn't going to work. (The driver was one of the ones who had downed a few too many, but for some strange reason no one thought of reassigning him to some other iconic community institution, like, the county jail.) The sole purpose of the float was to give six or seven inebriated adults the opportunity to wow the community with their singing. To quote an infamous Jay-line, "What I'm trying to say is this: it was the worst karaoke I have ever heard in my entire life."

Anyway, this year Jay was at Leadership academy so he was obviously missed. We (mom, Emily, and I) arrived at six-thirty in the morning, and when we hopped out of the car it became very apparent that it was cold, windy, and, wet. Yes, wet! In all of the years I've been helping with parade registration we've had some pretty inclement weather but we've never had rain. (In fact, when the weather called for rain the day before, Dad said that if rain did indeed come he was sure the parade would be canceled.)

We must have looked rather imposing, three girls standing there in leather jackets with this, "Parade Check-In" sign out in the road next to us. The Public Works guys came by at precisely 6:30 to shut down the road. This was quite an interesting event as cars seemed to be completely oblivious to the orange cones and the public works representative(s) seemed to be very unused to shutting down roads. (It wouldn't be easy to explain what exactly they were doing, but it did not, at least for awhile, resemble closing down a road.) Pretty soon my grandpa showed up with unbelievably hot Hot Chocolate and muffins and we sat to await our first "customers". This year our family and our grandparents (my mom's parents and my dad's mom) were doing the registration for the parade single-handedly, so I was pretty excited about that opportunity.

Everything went along swimmingly until I saw this.....flatbed truck (think: truck you'd see on a farm in Oklahoma. Run by giants. It was HUGE.) with about 30 kids on it screaming something like, We are the Tigers, the mighty, mighty Tigers.... They actually didn't sound very mighty at all but the part I was worried about was the fact that I really didn't recognize the name of whatever entrant they obviously were. I went up to the window on the truck and a very jolly, very round man said, "Hi! We're with the White Tigers Tae Kwan Do."  Whoa. I nodded kindly, furiously consulted my paper, and returned with, "'re registered for the parade?"
Not a question that an Official Parade Official should have to ask.
About the time of my third or fourth list consultation, I looked up to see......The White Tiger. Actually, I just made up that name for him but it really fits. He was apparently the head honcho behind The White Tiger Tae Kwan Do Group In General, and this guy was huge, extremely fit, mouth tightened in a perfectly straight line, and hair almost completely grey although he couldn't have been more than thirty years old. He walked with an attitude, he was huge, and his feet never completely touched the ground. He was imposing, to put it nicely. "So, what seems to be the problem?" he asked.
I told him, and he had, or should I say, pitched, a little fit. Silently, of course. He just stared at me with this, I can't believe you just said that to me. He proceeded to say, "I signed up for this parade months ago so I wouldn't have to be in the back of the parade!"
He was furious. Anyway, I did the only logical thing to do in the situation: I turned him over to mom, who can make any mad person regret their attitude instantly. (I usually incite them to further riot; I've never been able to figure out why. :D) When he was in the actual parade (yes, it rained on our parade. Imagine that.) he did this demonstration that was astonishing. I'm so glad that I didn't get him mad because this guy was amazing. He would wield this little stick and go flying around in the air, seeming to be off the ground for way too long, kicking and hi-yah'ing and other stuff. Of all the people to provoke!

After the parade we upheld a longstanding tradition to go Jack In The Box for milkshakes. Always my Grandpa Alves' treat. He usually has a habit of ordering at least half again as much as we need, and the shakes there are in no ways small. Thankfully this year during the parade he passed around a "sign-up sheet" asking people to mark how many they wanted (the universally accepted number was "One") and what variety (most people picked Strawberry or Vanilla but some defected to Blackberry when that option became available). Keep in mind that there were sub-freezing temperatures outside (well, not really, but the closest thing to that for So Cal in the fall) and here we were all shivering drinking our milkshakes. They were really good and very cold; we're gluttons for punishment. :D

Saturday afternoon/evening was very quiet! Dad and Mom went out for their 22nd anniversary (they went out to dinner, then went grocery shopping, and then went to the hardware store to buy a squirrel trap. Very typical of them. Those two!), Jay was gone (obviously), and Emily was at a birthday party. Therefore Daniel, Mally, Whitney and I were the only ones home. I never thought I'd live to see the day when having three of my siblings home with me would seem like an empty house! For so many years it was just me, Em, and Jay. :D
The little kids helped me make supper, we watched a movie, and had caramel popcorn. It was great fun.

Sunday a friend came over with his two daughters, Asa and Monet (I can just hear the crowds clamoring for a proper pronunciation key. Asa: A-suh, Monet: mo-NAY). I enjoyed lunch but I was antsy, carrying my cell phone around with me almost religiously to make sure that I wouldn't miss Jay's call....if he called. Finally he did, but on the house phone! We'd all been guessing whose cell he would call, so it was a bit of a letdown for him to call on our house phone. :) Dad went to go pick him up, and when they came back he was tightlipped and wouldn't tell us anything until he'd told us the whole story, which took three hours..........we all sat in rapt attention. It's so much fun to hear stories from his perspective, especially after a brutal week like that one. I'll write a separate post about that, because it really deserves its own. :D

It was a great weekend!


As a Division Chief (in charge of 1/4 of the Academy), and the Public Information Officer!

More (extremely exciting) details to follow at a later date (read: as soon as I'm coherent, likely tomorrow).
I think I'm actually shaky. He drew the story out over 3 hours before he told us the good news. I can't possibly tell you how excited I am.

I think I'm probably the proudest sister that the world has ever known. Really.

Leadership Academy

As I'm typing this, Jay is running around the house packing up all of his gear for Leadership Conference. I'd appreciate if you all could pray for him; I know he'll do well but....still, it's going to be a very stressful week. Every waking hour (which is too many every day) Firefighters who can do 17,000 pushups in the course of a midmorning and who have a voice so loud they can probably wake the dead, sitting around and staring at you, yelling at you for every conceivable (and sometimes manufactured) reason. It's virtually impossible to do things right; this year Jay is running for a position on "The Six Pack" (Division Chief level) and so he's guaranteed to come under extra scrutiny. Yikes!
Plus, it's held up in the mountains and they're predicting that it might....snow! Yeah, snow!

So anyway, if you could pray for him, I'd really appreciate it! I'm really proud of him and I'm praying that he'll have the capacity and the maturity to be a great leader while he's there, and that he'll have favor with the folks who are doing the officer designations. Thanks!

Here are some pictures from Leadership and Academy last year.

A Quote Post

Random Quotes:

Jay: These potatoes could use some sodium.

Dad: Hi, Michael David. Wait, I'm Michael David. You're Michael....Somebody.

Jay: It's cheaper to buy toothbrushes than to buy dentures.

Catherine: That guy is bald.
Lisa: Oh, come on; it isn't his fault that he grew a little taller than his hair.

Danae: She was eternally sorry. After getting in huge trouble.

Em: There was a syringe with a really sharp needle that was blunt.

Jay: On Firefighter Appreciation Day, don't call 911; they're all dead drunk.

Jay: That guy was so nervous he was chain-drinking Diet Cokes.

Em: He was an anti-protester.
Jay: Is that kinda like a civilian?

Dep. Allison: What do Fire Explorers and Deputy Sheriffs have in common? They all want to be Firefighters when they grow up.

Jeff: How much would you get tazed for?
Jason: Fifty bucks.
Jeff: Fifty bucks, are you serious? Mark, go to the ATM!

Jay: This sermon should be PG-13 for Violence.

Mom: Peggy is like a walking time bomb.

Jay: Mom, according to Nicole, all of the men in this picture are--look carefully--men.

Dad (swatting flies): Nicole, this one's for you, babe! Whoops....I missed.

Jack: He was so mean his mother called him sir.

Quote of the Week:
Grandma: Chuck was on Nova.
Jay: Is that a drug?

Office Questions

I was just notified that I've made it to the "testing" stage for an office job at my dad's work. I'll test on Sep. 29. (Along with a few hundred other people I'm sure.)
I'm a little....antsy....especially because they said to set aside 3 hours for a test relating to "office questions".
What could an office question possibly be?

If you see an item that is marked, "Trash", what would you do with it?
a.) Put it in the trash.
b.) Take a quick peek at it to see if it's confidential information
c.) Ask your boss if he really meant to throw it away
d.) Fold it up and make a paper airplane

If a caller asks to speak to your boss, what is the common protocol to respond to him?
a.) He's in a meeting and can't get back to you. Click.
b.) He's....sick at home with the flu and I'd give you his cell phone but he's probably puking right now
c.) A....choo!
d.) Excuse me, sir, is this the party to whom I am speaking?

If a belligerent customer is harassing you, you should....
a.) Return the favor
b.) Tell him matter-of-factly that you don't believe expletives should be used when there are children and/or adults within 300 yards
c.) Throw the (trash) paper airplane at him
d.) Turn around and walk away

If your computer breaks you should....
a.) Start hollering, "YAY! WOOHOO!!! I get to go home for the rest of the day!"
b.) Go on a leisurely break, get a Starbucks, and then call IT and ask them what's wrong
c.) Attempt to conceal the problem from your superior
d.) Start crying. Uncontrollably.

Yeah.....I could use an extra dosage of prayers.

Corinthian Questions

Today we had a very rousing discussion on I Cor. 7, which we're currently at in our Bible reading. Here are some of the questions we had; I'm curious as to your feedback.

1 Corinthians 7

 1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

A man? A woman? Under what circumstances? Any? "Man" in this case is gender neutral; woman is inclusive of any woman's state whether unmarried, married, widowed, or divorced. When does the "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" stop applying? After marriage? If so, by what justification? What does "touch" mean? It is generally interpreted by mainstream Christianity to be along the lines of carnal knowledge, but is that unsubstantiated? The words must have some other meaning than their literal one, because Jesus himself (a man) touched (the same word "touch") a woman and obviously it was not disallowed.

 2Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

To avoid that an extension of the previous verse?  And is the opposite of a man having a wife and a woman having a husband assumed to be fornication?

 3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

 4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

 5Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

These words are rather self-explanatory, although I do have some opinions on them that are rather unique.

  6But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

He seems to have a great grasp on God's permission or lack thereof. Did he specifically ask God about this subject?

 7For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

 8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

So does verse 2 still apply?

 9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Is the inability to contain one's self ever an attribute of a godly person? It would seem that if the solution to the problem of control is marriage, it would suggest that it isn't necessarily a bad thing. In other words, if "burning" was an ungodly state to be in, the answer would be to gain control, not to enter a marriage without it.

 10And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

How did the Lord give permission for this? Was permission given because the principles to follow were red-letter?

 11But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

 12a But to the rest speak I, not the Lord:

Does this phrase mean that he is speaking without divine authority? Is it an opinion? If so, is it inspired? Is it of greater, less or equal authority as words written without any sort of disclaimer regarding doctrine or practical Christianity?

If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

 13And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

  14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Whoa......this verse has some serious implications. Does this contribute to generational covenant, and, if so, why isn't the principle of inherited sanctification represented elsewhere in scripture?

 15But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

 16For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

 17But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

 18Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

 19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

  20Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

 21Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

 22For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

 23Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

What were you when you were saved? Free? Stay that way. Slave? Stay that way. But if you don't, don't. And if you can, do change.


  24Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

 25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

Is this a cross between biblical permission and independence?

  26I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

What present distress?

Basically, without the added words, the sentence says thus-- "Now concerning virgins.......I say that it is good for a man so to be." (Yes, the word "virgin" there, Strongs 3933, can apply to a male.)

 27Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

Loosed? Bound? Those must be defined. They are different;

First loosed -- basically means divorce. (3080)

Second loosed -- in this context (3089) applies to a single man who has either been married before or has never been married.

Hmph.  It's hard to reconcile with my theology.

 28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Here again---one of those catch-22's. It seems like the chapter is contradictory; Let Every Man Have His Own Wife. If A Man Marries, He Will Have Trouble In The Flesh. Trouble in the flesh? Is that something wicked? If so, how can you marry and yet not sin?

 29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

When and how?

 30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

 31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

The fashion of the world......does that mean marriage?

 32But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

 33But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

 34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

 35And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

If he were to sanction marriage fully, would he be responsible for "distracting" them? Is marriage a distraction?

  36But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

 37Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

Is a father stronger to require his daughter to remain unmarried than he would be to let her marry?

  38So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

 39The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

 40But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Doesn't Paul encourage widowed women elsewhere to remarry?

Anyway, the questions are all very ominous. What a huge chapter. I have definite of the most interesting factors here, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that Paul's frequent (4x) disclaimers regarding who is speaking (God, Paul with permission, Paul without permission, etc.) are so significantly absent elsewhere. If the "permission" from God comes from a red-letter status as many people believe, why isn't every doctrinal issue that didn't proceed from Christ's mouth during His earthly ministry (or from God through audibly spoken words) accompanied by a similar label about its authenticity and/or origination?


 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

An "Apostolic" Day

Susanna Kocher just left. We had such a good time! At first I was a little know how it can be when you've known someone so well online....and yet you have almost no idea how you'll relate in "real life". I know I'm a lot different in person than I am online sometimes, so I think I was a little nervous about that. It turned out that I had nothing to worry; she was exactly like I pictured her being, we laughed so hard we practically cried at times, and we ended up sharing an absolutely fabulous day together with so many "funny quotes" it would be impossible to write them all down. We showed Susanna around the booming metropolis of Hesperia, laughed, played very hysterical rounds of Dutch Blitz, laughed, laughed, discussed family histories, laughed, managed to avoid a resuscitation of our former debate about Torture, and laughed some more.

One interesting event; we took her out for ice-cream and as we were calmly walking up to the ice-cream store I saw this guy staring at us a little....I ignored him and we went on our way. I happened to be taking another peek over at him a little while later and this time our eyes met. "Hey!" he said.
"Hi," I replied. The term "reply" doesn't really do it justice; we were shouting at eachother from across a parkinglot.
He now had our attention in full. "EXCUSE ME?"
Truth to be told, I had absolutely no idea what an Apostolic Church was.
"I'M SORRY.....YOU JUST LOOK SO........"
We waited.
"NO," I hollered back over the Main Street traffic, "WE'RE JUST CHRISTIANS."
(A conversation ensued shortly thereafter discussing how he'd come up with his ideas. It was the first time any of us had been asked such a different question. We schemed that maybe he was searching for an unmarried Apostolic Girl since there were plenty of eligible females over eighteen, well, two anyways, in the group.)

It was so funny! We had such a great time. Thanks so much for coming, Susanna!!!!!!!!!!! It's so much fun to have such a godly friend. I love you!

Habits and Hashbrowns

What a weekend!
First there was the wedding, complete with rehearsal (and cane-twirling entrances to "Oh, When The Saints Go Marching In" on the part of the groom) and actual ceremony.
Sunday was supposed to be a fairly normal day, but, no.
You see, Sunday was "potluck Sunday", a once-a-month event at church where everyone comes together to bring an overabundance of quantity and options and where one must only take about 1 in 5 things in order not to overfill their plate.
Anyway, now that it seems I've gotten quite educational about church eating habits, I'll get back to why I was originally mentioning potluck......
I was going to demonstrate an admirable degree of initiative and make my mom's potluck dishes for her. I made the dessert but as it would happen she chose to also make some type of hashbrown casserole. Now, if she would have been making anything else from potpie to stuffed mushrooms (yuck) I probably could have handled it but, no, she had to choose my culinary Achilles heel: hashbrowns. I can't cook hashbrowns, period. I don't know why but it always ends up being a grand-scale disaster almost to the point of declaring a county-wide state of emergency. Sunday was no exception. I was using a griddle and every possible location where some hashbrown piece could embed itself (and even a few impossible ones), it did. Half of the potatoes would burn and the other half would be undercooked. To say the whole thing was pathetic would be a glaring understatement. Thankfully, my dad has a beautiful family policy called, Dad Does Dishes On Sundays. When he came out and saw the mess I profusely apologized but he just shrugged and said, "Hey, I enjoy it," further strengthening my conviction that dads are a very good invention.
Lest the story seems hopeless, don't worry, my mom, who has absolutely no problem controlling hashbrowns, rescued me. I reassigned myself to the less disastrous job of stirring butter and sour cream into the potatoes and she handled the frying pan with a great degree of skill.
Monday was very relaxed; we did yardwork....well, I use the term "we" loosely, since I really had very little to do with it...and that night we had a BBQ, got ice-cream and watched a movie. It was tons of fun!!!!!
As I type this a good friend from PA is on her way here; I'm really excited! I can't wait to see her......

An concluding and unrelated post-script: I think Whitney is about to start crawling!!!! YAY!

Weddings and Funerals

The wedding is over!

The rehearsal was very....entertaining. The representation was rather sparse; the bride and groom, a granddaughter (who I think was acting as a chaperon of sorts), the pastor, our family, and the sound guy and his daughter. It was a little unorganized in some ways, but in other ways "some people" took everything a little too literally (such as actually rehearsing all of the vows, exchanging rings...not the real ones but some substitutes....etc.) so it wasn't really like what I'd want my wedding rehearsal to look like but it was nice anyway. The one most refreshing aspect was probably the fact that there was absolutely no "wedding coordinator". I have a strong dislike for wedding coordinators in general; they seem to think that the world revolves around them a lot of the time. Anyway, now that I've effectively gotten way off topic, I'll move on to the wedding.

There were a lot of family members and I did the music, which turned out well....I was so nervous but thankfully nothing catastrophic happened. The groom came in to a very lively trombone trio version of, "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In", which had been reworded to say, "Oh, When the Saint Comes Marching In".  The word "unique" really doesn't do it justice. My biggest fear was that I would mess up something critical when it came time to play the Bridal Chorus, but, much to my surprise it was practically over before it began. One other amazing thing was that Whitney was fussing (dad was watching her at the back of the church) and as soon as mom and I started playing, she recognized the music and promptly fell asleep, not to awaken until everyone was applauding at the end!

On a more somber note, Jay was helping with Brandon Smith's funeral today; he estimated that there were about 800 people in attendance and they had cars parked over a quarter mile away. Brandon (19) died in a motorcycle accident; all of his pallbearers were in full racing attire and the canopies that they put up for the graveside service were racing canopies. Pray for the family; I think they (and Brandon's fiancee) are having a pretty hard time with all of this. Death, especially at a young age, is always such a jolting reminder of how fleeting life is.

So we had a wedding......for an 85-year-old.
And a funeral........for a 19-year-old.
It seems so incongruous.

I'm very thankful that God knows what He's doing even if we do not.


We just received a prayer request regarding Jason (the young man who was driving under the influence and in an accident); he's taken a turn for the worse and is now in a deep coma. The family has to give the doctors a verdict by Monday on whether or not they want to keep him on life support.
Please be praying for this family, and for Jason, urgently.
Thank you.