Geminid Meteor Shower in Northeastern Nevada

Quick post! I’m not going to pretend to be cool. When it comes to events like the solar eclipse, the conjunction of planets Venus and Jupiter, or the few good meteor showers we’ve had in the Northern Hemisphere in 2017, I turn into an astronomy fanboy. I’m not a super technical person, but I’ll read up, obsess, and gab to my co-workers about how cool these things are. When it comes down to it, I’m sort of like that annoying 90s kid back in first grade who liked Power Rangers. There he goes, attempting to roundhouse kick off the playground equipment again. Yes, that was me. It still is—minus the campy martial arts TV show. 
Last night the Geminids put on a fantastic display of shooting stars. My wife and I counted sixty-six meteors (and among them were more than a few fireballs) in a clear sky out in frigid December weather. Every time one streaked across the sky, we let out a “Wow!” as the vapor from our breath steamed in the night air. We stayed out  doors under forty-five minutes, opting to warm up next to our wood stove before we went to bed. I don’t have a sweet camera set-up so here’s a sketch from my pocket notebook.

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My First Golden Gate Bridge Sketch

Visited my brother earlier this year. He showed us around the Bay (Baker Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Marin Headlands—the works). Our time together flew by faster than a BART locomotive. Sort of like 2017. 

Dad Life: Lego Gun

This is a shout out to  sleep-deprived dads (and moms), especially to those who’ve been awake most of the night comforting a cranky baby or tending to sick kids. For parents with little ones, sleep is practically a barterable commodity. If it were possible, we’d all get together like a mountain man rendezvous, trying to trade a few packs of gummy snacks and dryer lint cash for a few hours of uninterrupted REM sleep. When I was a single man, I took sleep for granted. But I also wanted to eventually get married and have children. So on the other end of the spectrum, I understand there are people longing to start a family, and some who aren’t presently able to do so would give up a whole lot to make that a reality. Laying that all aside, I would go back and punch my bachelor counterpart in the face, give him an ice pack, then tell him to enjoy his good night’s rest. I now leave you with a verse of dad poetry.

A day off at home for a family man with six kids

Is probably different than a bachelor without a daughter or son:

On a quiet wintry morning the single man blissfully sleeps with closed eye lids

While the dad, in silent repose, gets jumped by a kid with a Lego gun.

Advent Ruminations: The Light Shines in the Darkness

I jotted down a few verses today as I was thinking about Jesus’ incarnation—the eternal God dwelling with sinful man. Forgive my clunkiness. Besides a few scant words in my pocket notebook, I haven’t written much during the past twelve months. Before the poem, here’s a little of what I’m ruminating on.
Every year right around the day after Thanksgiving, when most of us are still getting over pie coma, our thoughts turn towards the hustle and bustle of Christmas. And it’s often customary or, as in Christian culture, even obligatory to reflect on the “real meaning of Christmas.” While it is true that this is a cliché, I personally resist letting that get in the way of dwelling on Christ during Advent as well as the rest of the calendar year.

In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer wrote, “The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.” As I ruminate on Christ again and again, I realize the nature of his birth, nothing short of miraculous, only sets the stage for his accomplishment on the cross. Still, his birth ought not to be skimmed over to get to the good part. The poem below is but a small result of my ruminations.

I turn to Packer again: “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity–hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”

We were dwelling in darkness, mired in selfishness within,

Reaping rubbished good, tasting the bitterness of our sin.

But in the midnight of our folly, a slough of our soul’s decay,

We saw, like Zebulun and Naphtali, a great light brighter than noonday.

 

Despondent in guilt and shame, still, we delighted in doing wrong.

The light shined in the darkness, convicting and revealing we needed Christ all along.

You chose us to be yours before you laid the foundations of the world.

Your Son came to seek and save us, and upon him our sins were hurled.

 

God of gods, it is only right to emphasize that you came to the lowest of the low,

To shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors, publicans—moralistic dead people—to show

Your love in the light you sent to us to who dwelt in darkness on this Earth.

O that the God who made the Universe came down to man through a virgin birth!