The Halls Head West – Part One

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Had a good visit with my parents last week. Hadn’t seen them in two years! Was nice to visit them in Southern California, enjoy the weather, and tour some of the local sites.

Our plane flight, out of Gregg County, was a bit bumpy. Our pilot had to dodge thunderstorms while flying into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

View outside the plane as we took off from Longview, Texas.

Nothing like a little turbulence as we flew around thunderstorms.

We eventually landed at DFW and made our way to our second flight. The flight boarded but we had to sit in the plane as a second wave of thunderstorms made its way into the area. Tab and I caught up on much needed sleep (we were so excited that we hadn’t slept the night before).

Fun Fact: When lightening hits near the airport, a clock starts a countdown to an all clear (so much time has to go by). Apparently airport workers cannot work out on the tarmac when lightening has struck nearby. Safety first!

Landed in San Diego without incident. Loved flying on what appeared to be a new Airbus! Tab and I watched Netflix’s The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, on the flight. Super good movie about two former Texas Rangers hunting down Bonnie and Clyde. We had about 30 minutes till the end of the movie when our plane landed. Can’t wait to finish this film.

My parents picked us up in San Diego. The weather was cool, cloudy, and drizzling. Such a relief from the 80 degree humid weather we’ve been having in East Texas.

We made our way over to Old Town San Diego, ate lunch, and toured around.

I can’t imagine traveling in a wagon like this. Talk about back issues!

While there, we walked into Seeley Stables (which was pretty amazing and free). Came across some old gaming machines… something that one rarely sees in a museum. I was impressed.

THE JUDGE!

THE OWL!

Rolling history.

After a bit of walking around, we braved the traffic and headed to my parents house.

The next day, we woke up and headed to Anaheim. Spent the day at Disneyland. Wyatt loved it (his first trip) and we all walked quite a bit.

I do not have a ton of pictures from Disneyland. We spent the day being in the moment and absorbing the magic of Walt’s original park.

Highlight of our day was Wyatt getting to meet Darth Vader. Wyatt tried to pledge allegiance to him… and Lord Vader seemed pleased. He told Wyatt that when he was of age that Wyatt would make a great recruit for the Imperial Army. I’m taking this as a parenting win!

Click here for Part Two

An Evening Expedition – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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Wyatt wasn’t feeling well last night. I think Texas is trying to take him out. That’s right, the State of Texas decided to swap our weather from the high 90’s to cloudy, cool, and rainy. Overnight. The human body seems to take issue with sudden weather changes. Anywho, him not feeling great led to some great snuggle time on the couch (I love this). We watched Atlantis: The Lost Empire via Netflix.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get over:

  • The beauty of the animation in this movie. I love the style and mix of traditional and computer animation.
  • How many people die within the film’s opening 20 minutes.
  • How much action there is for an animated Disney movie. Wyatt loved it after snubbing the movie, for months, anytime I offered to watch it with him.
  • The Disneyland attraction we lost due to the film’s performance at the box office.
  • How cool it is to hear Michael J. Fox voice protagonist Milo.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - Milo

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is up there, for me, on my list of Disney movies that dare to be different. Movies such as:

  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Treasure Planet
  •  A Goofy Movie

While we were watching the movie, I let developer Greg Labanov’s Wandersong download in the background. Will be blogging about this game soon.

 

Playing with My Assassin Dolls

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Ever since I had back surgery, I have despised winter. The dropping temperatures bring pain. Removing the illusion of summertime invincibility. Reminding me that I can feel weather like an old man.

Woke up this morning in pain. We have a cold front moving through this afternoon. Temperatures will top out in the mid 70’s today before plunging down into the 20’s. Woo-hoo!

Pain equals not staying in bed. So I got up, fired up my PS4, and played some Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

2864167-assassins_creed_syndicate_combat-punch

Syndicate presents a world that feels lived-in. And yet, for all the simulated life going on, I feel like I’m witnessing/playing with Barbies. There is something fake about it all. Some barrier that the developers just can’t seem to break past.

I’ve also been playing Batman: Arkham Knight. Same type of open world game as Syndicate. However, Arkham Knight manages to move past the feel of playing with “action figures”. The combination of voice work, animation, and story blend together to create a believable reality.

My time gaming ended when my son got up. The quiet morning hour replaced with a kid who clearly wants the TV. Oh well. I enjoyed my time spent with my headphones on, playing with my assassin dolls.

Yielding My Heart

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Last night, I taught a Bible study on the Book of Joshua, chapter 24.  A chunk of Joshua 24 is about the Israelites recommitting themselves/ renewing their covenant to follow God. Towards the end of the chapter, right after the people have agreed to the covenant, Joshua exhorts the people to:

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (NIV)

This got me thinking about the “foreign gods” that I allow into my own life. One of my daily routines, when I wake up, is to check:

  • My email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • WordPress (for blog stats)
  • and the weather

I do all of these things before ever engaging in a conversation with my wife, let alone spending time with God. In a way, I have let social media become a god. So, today I didn’t go through my morning routine. Instead, I read my Bible for a bit (had trouble focusing) and then prayed for awhile. My time of prayer was awesome! I’ve been learning not to beat around the bush but to tell God exactly what I am thinking (even though He already knows).  In an act as simple as putting down social media as the first thing I engage in, in the morning, I have “yielded my heart to the Lord”.

What foreign gods do you need to throw away? What is keeping you from yielding your heart to the Lord?

God: Working Behind the Scenes

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I stood out in the front yard last night watching the clouds swirl by. A storm was coming. The sky was growing darker by the minute as the clouds rotated in an eerie fashion. Sirens blared off in the distance, a tornado had been spotted in the northern part of our county. Beauty and death danced before me in the clouds, such a mix of awe and fear.

Back in the house, the weatherman was drenched in full HD glorified sweat. I openly wondered if he was going to have a heart attack. He didn’t. He did, however, rant and rave about “rotations” and “charging up your cell phone”. There was no calm, no awe in his voice, just fear.

When the weather outside is possibly life threatening and the weatherman is swamped in a fear-induced froth, I find it hard not to become fearful as well. But fearful of what? Tornadoes, “death from above” as I like to call them, are random creatures. They can be slow moving and quick to strike without notice. In other words, I have no control over them.

Journeying through life, we live under the illusion that we are in control. We aren’t. Lately, I’ve been studying through the Old Testament. Reading through the book of Joshua, I have read time and time again of God orchestrating massive events, even using evil things for good. Though we are not in control, God is. Even in times where it doesn’t seem like He is answering our prayers, He is working behind the scenes as the book of Haggai points out. But even with God in control, our daily choices still matter. Choices such as whether to let fear rule our lives, instead of the hope of Christ (for those who have accepted Him), these choices matter.

Are the clouds of fear swirling around you? Does destruction seem to be looming on the horizon? Take hope in that God is orchestrating all things for the good of those who love Him.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Outside My Window

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The wind is slowly rocking the pine trees outside my office. Back and forth they move with the breeze. The skies are clear of any passing clouds or haze. Currently, the temperature is 80 degrees. This is one of those days where I wonder why I am inside. Oh well, less than 15 minutes until I get to leave and enjoy the allergen filled air. 🙂