A colleague at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne sent me an email this evening to let me know that one of their rockets would be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, at 7:28 PM PST, this evening. Here's the photo from just a few minutes ago...
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It gets dark early and since it's already dark in the forest, we had a perfect night sky for viewing. Shortly after lift-off, we saw a bright trail of fire moving upward. As the rocket headed off, the trail turned into a fireball as we looked directly into the rocket from behind.I'm not a photographer, but I managed to get a shot without the flash. This does not do it justice.

Apparently, it was a Delta 2 Rocket, carrying an Italian Radar Satellite into space. Details and the launch sequence are available here.

How do you hold up under extreme circumstances?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
Like many Americans my age, my father served in the Vietnam war. Although I was young at the time, I remember watching the evening news reports and hearing about the prisoners of war. This afternoon, needing a break from work and studies, I decided to surf the web for a bit. I ended up at WikiPedia looking over the pages for both presidential candidates and following the links for each. (I think we need to learn about the events that influenced the men that we are considering as the next president.) I found many interesting links for both presidential candidates.  After reading about Obama, I read the McCain page. There was a link with details about McCain's 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. I clicked on one of the WikiPedia links and ended up finding a first-person account of that experience as published in the May 14, 1973, issue of U.S.News & World Report. It's not a short read, but it provides a very detailed  perspective of one man's experience. John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account

I cannot begin to imagine what this experience was like, yet this article provided a glimpse of what many men endured, some fatally, in service to our country.

I'd like to think of myself as someone who would do equally well but these are the harder areas of resolve - areas that we will never know how we will do until we are tested.

I remember the time I asked my grandfather what it was like when he stormed the beach at Normandy. He told me, "it was hell." No doubt, that experience shaped him, too.

The Wealth Wall Street Can’t Touch

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
I always appreciate how my friend, Michael Hyatt, places things into perspective.

Recently, Michael posted a beautiful piece on the impact of the market's downward slide. He proposes that we can have two responses: we can focus on what we have lost or on what we have. Michael's started a list of some of the things most important to him:
...I also realized that I have a choice: I can focus on what I have lost or I can focus on what I have. I started making a mental list:
  • I have my health.
  • I have a loving wife, who is also my best friend.
  • I have five wonderful daughters, two sons-in-law and (so far) two beautiful grandchildren.
  • I have several profound friendships that encourage and challenge me.
  • I have meaningful work that I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid.
  • I have incredibly competent co-workers whom I truly love and respect.
  • I have a church that grows dearer to me with each passing year.
  • I have a relationship with God that is endlessly fascinating and fulfilling.
Michael is blessed. As I read through his list, it reminded me of just how blessed I am, too. With the exception of bullet point #3 * , I could have written the same list. It fits me perfectly.

We have so much to be thankful for.

I encourage you to read the full blog post: The Wealth Wall Street Can’t Touch

* I have only four daughters, none are married yet. That's a good thing. Daddy's not quite ready for that yet. :-o
Kathy was my kindergarten crush, then she became my princess bride. I have been greatly blessed since.

Today, for the 19th time, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

Majesty in Worship

Sunday, October 5th, 2008
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This morning, the mountains of Pine Mountain Club were alive with the voices of Majesty, as they ministered to us and challenged us from Scripture. Majesty, a ten member singing ensemble composed of full-time students from The Master's College, lead us in worship. These young people serve as ambassadors for Christ and for the college as they minister in churches throughout Southern California each week.

After church, the ensemble remained to visit and to answer questions. My daughters enjoyed visiting with the ensemble, too. We learned that the ensemble is a small group from the Master Chorale and that they travel throughout the West Coast during the school year. During the summer, they tour throughout the United States and the world. After a church potluck in the log cabin, we helped load up the van before sending the group off for their next event.

As a graduate of The Master's College, I was blessed to hear various iterations of this group at our CPS Chapel. Now, as an adjust professor, I have the opportunity to return and serve others as well.

It was not the first time our family has been blessed by their voices, and I certainly hope it will not be the last. If you live in Southern California, I encourage you to visit their Web Site to see if Majesty will be serving at a church near you.

Thank you Majesty!