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WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Palm Desert hiking • Joshua Tree hikes • The other side of happiness

TO ESCAPE THE COLD OF WINTER, I drove from Albuquerque to Phoenix to Palm Desert, where it’s usually 15-20 F degrees warmer. I was a temporary snowbird! Palm Desert is really a suburb of Palm Springs, California. It’s what you call low-desert because the altitude is close to sea level. But the mountains are impressive….. rising over 10,000 ft straight up from the sandy plain.

We took three hikes while we were in Palm Desert, and these are described below with pictures (to enlarge, click on a picture then hit back-arrow to return to blog).… More

Prayer answer – WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • When pain is so bad you cry out in the night • Special song • God-intervention — a prayer answer • Disappointment before joy

We pray about things. And sometimes, when it’s serious, we pray and pray and pray. And sometimes no answer comes from God. Or it appears that way. A recent book called God on Mute  explores unanswered prayer in an honest and refreshing way. The book may shake up our glib beliefs about prayer and the role of suffering.

While I was reading this book, and engaged in wrenching prayer, God provided an answer.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Birthday blahs. • Birthday happiness. • What turned it around?

I AWOKE THIS MORNING, AND IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY. So I lingered in bed, listening to National Public Radio.

As I was brushing my teeth, my step-daughter Kim called from the classroom. An enthusiastic chorus of Happy Birthday Popper came through my iPhone. About twenty 6-year olds remembered me from a class I once taught in there…..a memorable experience playing a didgeridoo for them!

Lots of birthday wishes came through Facebook, and that was pretty cool.

HOWEVER MY ARTHRITIC HIP WASN’T FEELING SO GOOD, and the promise of a third snowstorm in one week left me feeling down.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Interview with Nicolas Henin, prisoner of ISIS for 10 months. • What startling insights he gained during this time. • A brief chat he had with Kayla Mueller who was later murdered by ISIS. • A different take on how many Syrian refugees the USA should allow in.

French journalist and author of Jihad Academy: The Rise of Islamic State spent ten months as an ISIS hostage in Syria. His special insights are startling, as revealed in an interview on 1 January 2016 by Democracy Now [DN], excerpted below (with minor paraphrasing by me). Henin has definitely earned the right to speak out calmly and clearly on this subject.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • My father and my brother • What did Jesus say about grace? • The astonishing life of footballer David Johnson (see two inserts)

MY FATHER AND MY BROTHER: This occurred many years ago. Early in the morning I found my father digging in the garden. His face was contorted and he was angrily turning over sod after sod. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Your brother stayed out partying until 3 am, and then drove off to his Airforce base near Sydney, an 18-hour trip by himself.” “So what’s wrong with that?” “What’s wrong! It’s a long trip…..… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • A beautiful pay-it-forward story • Tips: how to be more thankful • Tips: how to be more giving • Toward a healthy balance

A BEAUTIFUL PAY-IT-FORWARD STORY: This comes from my step-daughter Kim McGrath and occurred during the week of Thanksgiving. She teaches a class of twenty 6-7 year olds in a public school. In her own words…… “I had the most wonderful lesson this week. Told my students Monday that if they read 10 stories by Tuesday lunchtime, they’d earn a coupon for a Braum’s single-dip ice-cream cone. They all did lots of reading and earned their coupon.… More

IN THIS ISSUE ABOUT LIFE CROSSROADS: • A wonderful verse from the Old Testament which I just discovered. • What the verse means practically. • How Jesus used it and applied it. • Takeaways.

A WONDERFUL BIBLE VERSE I NEVER KNEW ABOUT Thus says the Lord, Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the eternal paths, where is the good, old way. Then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. [Book of Jeremiah, chapter 6].

Old Testament prophets, such as Jeremiah who lived about 600 BC which is 2,600 years ago, often interpreted to the Israelites what God wanted to say, and this is one example.… More

WHAT’S IN THIS ARTICLE? • The Neewollah festival. • Results of the pageant…..two young ladies (one is my g-daughter). • Why I admire these two young ladies.

THE NEEWOLLAH FESTIVAL. Independence is a small town in southeast Kansas, not far from Bartlesville in Oklahoma. Only about 10,000 people. Surrounded by a vibrant farming community: corn, beans, and cattle. Oh yes, and quite a few oil and gas wells.

In this small town they have a big festival, called Neewollah, which lasts a week in total. People flock in from miles around, and many folks come from other states. If you haven’t figured out where the name came from, try spelling it backwards.… More

What’s in this article about fracking truths? • The revolution that is shale gas and shale oil. • Do fracs contaminate surface water? • Disposal wells…..and earthquakes.

Fracking Truths: The revolution that is shale gas or shale oil has been successful because many frac treatments are pumped one at a time along the length of a long horizontal well. Typically a mile long. Most of these horizontal wells are a mile deep, or deeper. This new technology has opened up enough conduits in the shale to get the gas out fast enough to make a profitable well.

The revolution took off around the year 2000 in the Barnett shale close to Fort Worth, Texas.… More

My Australian football team won the Grand Final…..YES !!! Just a couple weeks ago I was glued to my laptop here in Albuquerque at 1 am (5 pm in Australia), cheering wildly.

This blog gives some valuable lessons for living, even if you are not a sports fan of Aussie rules. I will summarize these learnings in the conclusion below, so you can skip down there if you choose. However, the learnings will mean a lot more if you read the entire blog.

First, if you don’t know that Aussie Rules is the greatest spectator game on earth, click on this video link to see some action.… More

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