Sunday, June 29, 2008

Knee deep in family time

Getting Fuzzy
Baby Bell sharing love with Mamma H

Critters from backpacking at Blakely State Park

Fishing Buddies

Back to Granny's

BAY MINETTE, Ala. -- 1,486 miles logged in our journey so far as we return from Dad's house to Mom's house for a few more days. 

Tomorrow, we start making plans for painting Grandma Jacobson's house, but of course the incredibly unpredictable weather on the Gulf Coast is probably going to dictate when we get to start our first coat and that means I will be spending every dry day between now and mid-July planning to paint, and any spare moments with Grandma.
Daddy and Patricia will be coming down directly after Brandon and Rebecca's wedding July 12 and we'll be spending Daddy's July 14 birthday at the beach, where we'll hopefully be taking Liam out on a fishing trip for a day. At the very least, he'll be able to get his feet wet in my beloved Gulf of Mexico.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Trying to get Photos Online

Okay, for the time being, if any viewers would like to check out the photos that have been happening on Brendan's Isle's Cross Country Journey of Creative Discovery and retirement celebration, try going to  . Until I can get something posted through blogger, maybe that will be of assistance.

A Fisherman is born

CHATAHOOCHIE RIVER,  Alabama Bank, Ala. --- Brendan's Isle Blogging continues along its mobile journey tagging along with Liam on his first fishing venture.

Now, I believe the knowledge of fishing was not necessarily innate - though his lineage would suggest otherwise - but rather came from watching a Outdoor World video about how to cast. Ever since seeing it, he rushes into Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World, which generally feature 10 foot deep aquariums of local fish, and immediately looks for the nearest fishing pole. He has been intent to fish for months, so his Grandaddy took the opportunity to take him out on the boat today for a little angling. 

Now, you must remember that this is a 3 1/2 year old who has an extraordinary attention span, but fishing appeared a bit too Zin of an activity as he talked - constantly - from the time we got in the boat until we pulled back into the docks. He also created an imaginary world in which he caught a gaggle of fish, though he did not want to catch the shark (not really a threat this far up the Chatahoochie River). 

We had decided to let him take a swim before the afternoon showers started today, but alas, as I was getting us tied back to the dock, I kicked a nasty, rusty, protruding nail and tore a gash in my foot, so the late afternoon has become a great opportunity to kick my bandaged foot up in the air and let some stuff off the chest. My kudos go out to Heather who took a huge steep toward her future medical occupation by clipping torn bits of skin and digging out bits of foreign matter out of my bloody foot.

Pictures of the past few days are soon to appear as soon as we get some better reception and I'm able to get them to upload. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blogging from beside a cool mountain stream

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. --- We arrived yesterday at a campground in Eastern Tennessee and immediately found a family of interesting ducks to follow. They were much more interested in us of course after we arrived on the back with the leftovers of our Cracker Barrel French Toast. Pictures will follow soon.

We are in a campground, but we are more Mobile Homing rather than camping. I guess you could call it Home Roaming too, since we are staying cozy and cool inside an RV that almost seems bigger than my house. Its nice to stay in, but I'm looking at doing a bit more camping and hiking later on this summer.

We are contemplating changing our route slightly since my cousin Sharon is getting married on Sept. 6 and I am hoping to be there for the wedding. We've just got to figure on when and where we can go to catch up with all the family and friends we are hoping to see along the way. 

Have I mentioned my series on Creation? I am preparing for an art show in October where I am going to unveil a series of illustrations and essays about the beginning of history. That being said, I have one 14x17 illustration on "In the Beginning of God's Creating ... " that has been started at mom's house, which I chose not to bring on this leg of the trip, but I successful broke the rest of the first seven days into 16 manageable illustration sections covering Genesis 1:1 - 2:3. I did my original sketches of 8 of them yesterday on our trip to the mountains, and gathered all the pertinent scriptures I'll be using for both the illustrations and the essays.

So here we are, less than 3 hours away from our near-future home on the other side of a mountain range ... if you close your eyes and block out all the tourist, it almost smells like home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On the Road ... again

I-85 TROUP COUNTY, Ga. --- Today our tour begins at the crack of dawn voyaging in the Bell RV spearheading toward Townsend, Tenn., for a day of fun and mortgage.

Daddy Wayne and step-mom Patricia are buying a cabin near Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and are meeting with their contractor at 2 p.m., so since we are visiting, we've decided to take the RV up and spend a few days in the mountains ... specifically for the elder adults to take the younger child to a theme park. More on that news later.

Yesterday the Bell clan of three spent the morning with Grandma Jacobson at the nursing home and then went hiking around Blakely State Park with Ginger, Paul and their wee three. There were lots of spiders, snakes, armadillos, dragonflies and humongous black grasshoppers to keep all the kids entertained and the tranquility of the day took me back to the quieter days of growing up around the waters of the Tensaw and Perdido Rivers.

We finished our day with a mad dash from Spanish Fort, Ala., to Phenix City, Ala., and our miles logged in the Vue went over 1,200, with Liam sleeping in the car for four hours, needing the rest after spending two days chasing after Benny, Nalen and Zack. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Family Gathers

BAY MINETTE, Ala. --- The Jacobson Clan gathered for the day to bring some music to Grandma Jacobson who is currently staying at a local nursing home.

There was lots of music, mostly Southern Gospel, with the exception of some classical piano pieces by some of the astute students in our family, some Catholic hymns from Aunt Mary, who is an absolute saint, and some Irish hymns from Heather to Aunt Mary, though we couldn't agree on the correct pronunciation of some of the Gaelic to actually sing one of those.

We capped off the day with a pool party for the kids and today its off to Blakely State Park for some hiking and then on to Daddy's house for a few days.

Summer in the Swimming Hole

Mine and Ginger's kids take in some Veggie tales

A Day of music for Grandma

Scrappy on guard

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My cousin Ginger gives a lesson to her little Benny
Brandon and Uncle Leo lead a song for Grandma
Heather breaks down a beat while Aunt Bren gets lyrical
Uncle Mick catches up with Mom
Rebecca ... still planning on joining the family after sitting beside Aunt Yvonne
Brandon and his soon-to-be-bride Rebecca
Naptime on Granny

A dynamic duet from my favorite aunt and my lovely wife
A sweet smile for the musicians
Benny takes a swing

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some books for our travels

BAY MINETTE, Ala. --- We brought a library with us for this trip. 
I am researching many elements of the first seven days for an art exhibit and essay series I am working toward so I have my Strong's Bible Concordance, Tanach, and Greek/English Literal Translation New Testament.
We also have Rob Bell's SEXGOD and VELVET ELVIS which we are going to buy for everyone we know Donald Miller's BLUE LIKE JAZZ, which is a weirdly wonderful book, and finally SHANE CLAIBORNE, who established a New Monastic community in Philly, has JESUS FOR PRESIDENT which talks about how Christians should really be involved with politics ... and how most Christians are not involved with the right things politically, and ORDINARY RADICAL which is about being like Jesus. There's also a book by Brian McClarren, who I probably just mispelled his name.

Along with this we've also got Rob Bell's NOOMA series of videos and EVERYTHING IS SPIRITUAL.

So why do we have this? Why did we abandon most of the books we had before this trip for this new cast of literacy? Because we have become painfully aware of how our Christianity, while far from the normal acceptable Christianity was not where it could be. Readers should start seeing more about our new take on Hell, and what walking the way of Christ really should look like.

Yesterday was great spending time with Grandma and tomorrow most of the family is coming to make music for her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

975 miles down

At our first major layover during the trip to Mom's house, we found an Outdoorworld where Liam was thrilled to spend some time with the fishes.
Go speed racer ... Hey Grandpa. What kind of boat are you going to buy me?
A perfect fit!
But Daddy, How can you go Boof when your sliding backwards down a vertical drop?
Oh no! there's still more traveling? But everything we could ever want is RIGHT here!
Liam packed in with everything else we're carrying on the trip. At least there's easy access to the Trader O's and drums.
First Stop: Patrick Street and the home of Clan Deakin
The Fire Engine sitting on top of the Vue and ready for one long journey

First Leg Complete

BAY MINETTE, Ala. --- We left Dublin, Va., without seeing any Irish ... except ourselves of course.

We traveled 300 miles the first day, leaving us with a balance of more than 600 more to travel today, but we arrived at Mom's house a little before midnight to a supper of homemade pasta sauce, ziti pasta and Georgia cornbread. Liam could care less about all of this since there was also a pony, albeit a stuffed toy, but a stuffed pony he can sit on.

As it's after midnight and Liam is on the upswing acting out a scene from FLICKA, I should cut this short, but we'll have photos to upload tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where were we going?

DUBLIN, Va. --- We finally pulled out of the driveway in Bowie at 2 p.m. yesterday. Our intentions of dropping off all of our frozen food and some other things at Meaghan an Eddie's house got altered, since we sort of forgot to call them before we pulled out of the driveway. Instead we stopped by the Patrick Street house of Clan Deakin to see Brynn who gladly took the food and other things to distribute to their rightful homes.

We took a break along the way to run around a Target near Port Royal and a Cracker Barrel along I-81, before finally stopping at a hotel here. Liam took a great nap which gave Heather and I time to read a couple of chapters of "SEXGOD" by Rob Bell which we'll be sharing along the trip.

We'll be stepping out as soon as we can peel Liam away from PBS Kids and we'll be at Granny's house late tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Journey of 7,000 miles begins with a night of packing and doing laundry

BOWIE, Md. --- At 1 a.m., the Bell clan begins its day of departure for a 3-month coast to coast tour with stops in Boone, N.C., Alabama, Las Vegas and various stops in the Rocky Mountains.

Our house in Upper Marlboro went on the market today as we drove away with the last bits of our belongings and left behind our first purchased home together, but it was left clean and much improved with new appliances and a fresh wood floor, so hopefully it will make a great home for its next owner.

Our journey is scheduled to officially begin in about 11 hours. I have a chiropractor appointment at 9 and a meeting with our pastor at 10, so Heather is loading the last of our things into storage so hopefully we'll be ready to roll on time.

Cowboy up

The Cowboy way
A real buckaroo
Saddle up partner
Finding a fuzzy worm
Its not everyday you get to hold a super hero's hand
Mommy's turn
Up, Up and away ... back to the car and on to Mor mor's house

Sunday, June 01, 2008

sensational gifts, sightings and setbacks

BOWIE, Md -- During our recent trip to Pottstown, PA to see Jeff and Ashley and Carter, we were gifted with an amazing gift from Jeff and Ashley - Jeff gave me his Nikon D100 kit. I couldn't ask for a better camera. I love the function on it and its a Nikon. I started taking some fantastic new photos while we were there, but we need to get a converter for the computer since the media card is a little different from the one we've been using.

We also added to our visual capabilities with the addition of a camcorder, so we will be diversely documenting our travels this summer.

Of course, everything can't be all rosy -- we had a terrific storm last night and it left us with a shattered windshield, a pickup that resembles a golf ball, and one of our bedroom windows smashed in. This is going to add a few extra chores before we head off for the summer, but with luck the extra time I built into the next few days will allow us to make it up so we can get out of town in time to see my cousin Ginger before they head back to Indonesia where they are working as missionaries.

As for the sightings, Liam has increased his range of characters - we bought him a leather pilots helmet and goggles and he has taken on the persona of Super Grover from Sesame Street. He's also taken to dressing as a cowboy - who knows who'll be riding with us across the country.

Explaining the Yoke of Christ

Matthew 11:29-30 (Young's Literal Translation)
28`Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest, 
29take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls,
 30for my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.'

Matthew 16:19 (Young's Literal Translation)
 19and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.'

Matthew 18:18-19 (Young's Literal Translation)
 18`Verily I say to you, Whatever things ye may bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever things ye may loose on the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.
 19`Again, I say to you, that, if two of you may agree on the earth concerning anything, whatever they may ask -- it shall be done to them from my Father who is in the heavens

Its a fact, whether people believe it or not, Scripture was not originally written in English. The message was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, first and foremost for a Jewish audience, and the Jewish culture is very different from our own.

There is a message in God's word for everyone, no matter what culture you come from, but understanding that the words were originally written in Hebrew opens the interpretation to a deeper, more beautiful meaning. The Scriptures written above have a distinct link that is missed by not understanding this fact.

When Christ spoke of his yoke, it was not the type that bound an oxen to a cart. It was a type binding the heart to Scripture.

A rabbi, which is what Jesus was, would teach under another rabbi's tradition, or interpretation. This was called that Rabbi's yoke. When Jesus came along, he was doing something extraordinary in teaching a new interpretation of the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible. When he said his 'yoke was easy and his burden light' he was talking about the interpretation he gave of those scriptures. When a rabbi gave his authority to a disciple to interpret the scriptures and teach under his authority, he was said to be giving them the 'keys to the kingdom of heaven' and with that came the power to 'bind and loose' the moral code of the Torah teaching.

What this is saying is this. God is giving us the authority, to read the Scriptures, make determinations about their meanings, and to live accordingly. This isn't an individual effort though, it is meant to be made in community with others, therefore 'where two or more are gathered together ...' comes into play. 

When Christ said, "I have not come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it," he was saying, "I have come to show you how to live out the commandments in the Torah completely and fully. All those places where scripture says, "You have heard it said ...., but I tell you ..." was Christ's emphasis that the interpretations had gone askew, but he was there to correct the misunderstandings.

Obviously, all of his interpretations of the Torah are not recorded in the New Testament, but he gave us enough to make determinations of how others should be interpreted, and he gave us the authority to do just that. 

Christ's message was one of Love, not judgement. He didn't tell us to make judgements about people, he said to Love God and Love our neighbors; he also said a lot about social justice -- taking care of the poor and needy. Maybe we should try fulfilling that commandment for a while.