family, what I am working on right now

Liquid History Pt. 3








This is a picture of a day in the canoe with my son Caleb in Arizona.

He and I have floated in a lot of places but this is one of the most scenic.

Here is a partial list of a few more gifts we have floated.

The Gaconade, the Little Piney, the Meramec, the Courtois, the Huzzah, the Bourbesue,the Northfork, the Current, the Jacks Fork, the Black, the Big Creek and our (ROC) river of choice, THE ELEVENPOINT RIVER in Southern Missouri……….It is the crown jewel! JUST THINK……THAT RIVER IS FLOWING RIGHT NOW JUST LIKE IT DOES EVERYDAY.

Some of the greatest memory makers for my son and I have been in a canoe or at least around one.


Liquid History pt. 2


Issac Walton says it perfectly when he quotes an old Spanish Proverb that says; “rivers were made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration.”


“The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it”. – Chinese Philosopher

Someone told me along time ago that families that play together, stay together.
Then a friend a couple of years ago told me this one, “married people shouldn’t canoe together.”

I have found the opposite is true. Tandem canoeing has at least for Brenda and I been a great barometer for our long term success in marriage.

The canoe literally and figuratively, forces two people to work together through some very challenging circumstances. White water, “sweepers”, log jams  and situations can really bring a couple together and help you handle other difficult water in life as well.

A trip on a fast moving river can present in a single day challenges and opportunities that a couple might otherwise only experience over a lifetime.

How two people interact under such circumstances says a lot about their compatibility both on and off the water.

Two people can become one as they work their way down a stream bound together by a sixteen foot canoe and one common destiny.

Rivers are great marriage counselors . 





The Colorado River in Topock Gorge

This is an 11 mile float trip that eventually takes you

to a “take out” just above Lake Havasu.








I talked with John Rodgers today. John  is the Environmental Coordinator  for the Phoenix Expansion Project and the Transwestern Pipeline Company.

His job is to make sure the pipeline that is being laid from New Mexico to somewhere south of Phoenix with the purpose of providing natural gas to the masses of the Southwest is complying with the environmental agreements made between the necessary parties.

As I hobbled past him on my crutches at the coffee shop, I could not help but notice the picture displayed on his lap top. It was a great photo of a southwestern stream.

Being someone that absolutley loves rivers, I had to stop and ask what river was pictured on his lap top.

He told me, it was a picture of the upper Verde river where the company was laying pipe under the river.

With that, I couldn’t help but show him the picture on my computer of my wife and I canoing the Verde river  just south of his pipeline crossing.

He was impressed and we had a nice talk about his line of work and about how mountain biking is fun but risky.

The picture above is taken of Brenda and I  at this year’s Verde River Canoe Challenge.

The Verde was flowing at 550 cfs and we floated 10 miles in about three hours.

It was three hours of absolute fast flowing  fun and a great memory maker for us.

Brenda did great on the trip and she has been my canoe partner for the past three years for the Verde River Canoe Challenge.

The Verde River is becoming liquid history for her and I.

More on rivers in the next few blogs.



The 2008 Tour de France is the 95th Tour de France. The event is currently taking place from July 5 to July 27, 2008. Starting in the French city of Brest, the tour will enter Italy on the 15th stage and return to France during the 16th, heading for Paris, its regular final destination, which will be reached in the 21st stage.

Over the past few days I have been watching a six disc dvd set of the amazing 2005 Tour De France in which most people know that Lance Armstrong won his 7th Tour De France race.

While watching the dvds, I kept seeing another American  riding in the pack up front with Lance.  The rider was Floyd Landis who ended up placing first in the 2006 Tour De France, but later was stripped of his title due to a high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio after stage 17 .

This past April during the 2008 Whiskey off road mountain bike endurance race, I was able to meet two great bike riders.

On Saturday night I met and shook hands with Floyd Landis at the awards ceremony in which Floyd was awarded 3rd place at this years 50 mile level.

Floyd is pictured in the front row middle








Another great bike rider I was able to speak with Friday night at our orientation was Nat Ross.

I purchased a mountain bike from Nat this past Spring.

It was great to be able to speak with one of the top mountain bike competitors in the country.










Thanks to Steve and Cindy at High Gear Bike Shop for the twelve hours of inspiration.

The DVD’s are great!

Mountain biking, What I'm missing right now









RECOVERY DAY 9 – It is four o’clock mountain standard time and Monday afternoons I usually get home from the office and gear up for the tipical two hour ride through the Prescott National Forest.

But today I will just have to think about it.

This single track pictured above is just outside of Durango Colorado. The Horse Gulch trail system is prime and is a must if you are close to Durango.

During this downtime I can at least dream of some of the best trails the Southwest has to offer.

Life experiences, Ministry














Yesterday was a first for me.

I preached my first sermon from a wheel chair.

Over the past 28 years as a pastor, I have been able to experience some unique ways of giving people the Good News. Yesterday was another opportunity of doing it  from a different vantage point.

Life from a wheel chair is a totally different view as oppossed to standing up on two feet.

Here are some of my observations of life from the chair:

– Children can talk to you face to face.

-You depend on people to “PUSH” you around.

– Stairs are not your friend.

– Narrow hallways and furniture are a hassle.

– Doorways are never wide enough.

– It takes you twice as long to get from point “A” to point “B”.

– Minor cracks in parking lots are a major pain.

– You look at how other people in wheel chairs, on crutches and walkers are adapting to  alternative transportation”.

And probably the biggest thing I have noticed is this, What a gift walking is.


These are just a few observations I have been able to notice as a novice person who just got the chair. I’m sure that there are many, many more.

“The chair” is teaching some good stuff about what other people  go through everyday of their lives that I have taken for granted.



For more than a quarter of a century Brenda and I have taught people in seminars, in marriage and family sessions, this very important principle: “Become a family-centered family”.

Selfishness can cause us as families to get so out of focus and off track.  You see, it can creep up on you without you even knowing it.

What do I mean? Well, when you first get married you fall in love with the most importantant person in your life, right? Your spouse becomes the most important person in your life.  Then….a few months can go by and instead of staying a family-centered family, we get the new job and we become a “JOB-CENTERED FAMILY“.  Not on purpose,it just becomes the most important thing.

Then we buy a new house and we become a “HOUSE-CENTERED FAMILY“.

Then we have children, and it seems everything else gets put on the back shelf because the children have so many needs that are so urgent, so we become a CHILD-CENTERED FAMILY.

So many things get us off track from staying a FAMILY-CENTERED FAMILY… where every member of the family countsand no one becomes more important than anyone else in the family.

In our family, we always joke about becoming a “DOG-CENTERED FAMILY” because we have two golden retrievers that seem to get alot of our attention a lot of the time. They are important to us but not more important than the human members of the family.

Anything can get in the way of the most important thing. (boats, bikes, mortorcycles, hobbies, you name it).

These past few days because of my injury and surgery, my pain levels have been off the charts and everyone in the house (even the dogs) know not to hit dad’s foot.

I laughed a couple of hours ago when my two adult children, Brenda,the dogs, and the cat were in our bedroom and there it was larger than life……my big fat throbbing, aching, hurting, suffering foot!


There it was in the middle of the room and everyone was concerned about the foot to make sure IT was o.k. and IT was comfortable.

I laughed and told everyone that we had become a “FOOT-CENTERED FAMILY”.


One of my goals during this recovery season is going to make sure we don’t become a “FOOT CENTERED FAMILY” …..but we stay a  “FAMILY-CENTERED FAMILY” where everyone counts and everyone matters.

Life experiences


Sorry for the weblog delay but last Saturday morning I took a detour from normal life.

The morning was a great start to a group mountain bike ride through one of my favorite Arizona single track trails.

We started at 7:00 AM up the 396 climb and two hours later came to the end of our venture with one last episode.

At 9:00 am I bumped the riders wheel in front of me and in a matter of three seconds found myself laying on trail 396 with what doctor Pfluger later told me was a Broken Ankle – Displaced Trimalleolar Fracture.

In everday language, I broke three bones in my right ankle.

From the time of the ankle break to the xray taken at the hospital pictured below was 56 minutes.

I want to thank the four mountain bike buddies for the excellent way they handled my outdoor emergency.    

Robert middlemore for the carry out to the SUV and excellent 4 wheel
Scott Lopeman for the carry out to the SUV.
Billy Reagan for the ride to the hopital.
Robert Coomsie for the help and encouraging words.

My docter tells me that I have two plates and seven screws holding my right ankle together and the recovery process could be 10 to 12 weeks before I could start to get back on my bike again.

I will keep an update about the recovery process as the days go along.

Just for kicks, here is a medical diagram of the surgey doctor Pfluger did on me this past Saturday.

family, Ministry

Coffee Roasters is our third place

The Third Place
As a kid growing up in the west end of Davenport Iowa, I used to love going to places that my friends and I would go to just to hang out. Nothing really important happened there ……or did it?
Places like the friends garage that had everything from an old stereo in the corner playing the best 70’s rock n roll KSTT had to offer to bicycle parts and everything you could imagine that kids love to tinker with. An old couch, or a wood burning stove that gave off the best smell in the world, firewood smoke.
Another place was our favorite tree house in the oak tree just outside the view of civilization and our neighbors view. In that tree house we could dream of anything and spend hours talking about the possibilities.
I guess those places still exist today. They are known as your “third place”.
Our family loves our third place here in Prescott Arizona, Coffee Roasters is a place to connect and have conversations that keep us connected to the people we love and cherish.

Brenda and Caleb enjoy a “third place” day

at Coffee Roasters.

Many others more gifted than I have described just what a third place is and how important it is for us to find one.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
Oldenburg calls one’s “first place” the home and those that one lives with. The “second place” is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true “third place”: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.

Starbucks speaks the “third place” language.
Starbucks uses the term the third place in its marketing because it vies to be the “extra place” people frequent after home and work. This idea came from a marketing concept by Howard Schultz. In an attempt to make Starbucks a “home away from home”, the café section of the store is often outfitted with comfortable chairs, as well as the usual tables and hard-backed chairs found in cafés. Free electricity outlets are provided for patrons, and many branches also have wireless internet access, provided on a charge basis by T-Mobile and AT&T. Many larger retail stores also host “mini-concerts” for local musicians.

Further reading
Oldenburg, Ray (2000). Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories about the “Great Good Places” at the Heart of Our Communities. New York: Marlowe & Company. ISBN 978-1569246122.
Retrieved from “”

Also, Mark Batterson’s blog talks about the churches roll in our culture of creating a third place for people to connect and stay connected.

I think great dreams come from your third place. Look for one and stay fresh.

Mountain biking

20 things mountain biking teaches you about life









Here are 20 Things Mountain Biking Teaches You About Life – by Steve Kohler



Big thinkers and good writers have often used sport as a metaphor for life: the lessons of the playing field or arena applied to daily living.
If Norman Mailer (boxing), William Kennedy (baseball) and John Irving (wrestling) had spent time on a mountain bike, they would have learned that:

Boldness pays.
Desperation breeds mistakes.
The hardest parts are also the loneliest.
There’s fresh horse flop in the trail ahead.
Balance is first among the virtues; momentum is second.
Success requires confidence, but cockiness invites failure.
Sometimes, the best way past an obstacle is straight through it.
Some people get lucky at parts; nobody gets lucky at everything.
It’s all about the being and the going, not the having and the arriving.
At each intersection, there’s the easy way and the hard, rewarding way.
It’s tempting to focus on the immediate problem to the exclusion of the big picture.
The thing that nails you is the one you don’t see coming.
It’s worth stopping for a breather to see where you are.
Thousands of tiny decisions shape the trip.
The fun starts when you push the limits.
You can get hurt, heal and go again.
Ups are followed by downs.
Practice makes you better.
No quitting allowed.
Love hurts.

Tonight I mountain biked with five guys that I consider way above average riders.

We left the parking lot at 5:30 and headed for the dusty single track in the Prescott National Forest.

The great thing about tonights ride was that we climbed high , descended fast and took the long way through stuff I had not seen before.

I love riding with guys younger than me, faster than me and stronger than me……because it pushes me.

I also love riding the 23 pound carbon fiber Trek Top Fuel mountain bike. It is great on the ascent and handles the down hill like a dream.

Anyway, Thank you Brenda for the great birthday present. The trail performance of the Trek Top Fuel works absolutley fantastic.

Just one more thing…. Just like in life ….mountian biking can’t teach you anything unless you are teachable.

Staying teachable, bendable and flexable alows me to look forward to the next adventure.

Time for a shower and some pasta.