Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

California Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015! What will I do and where will I spend Christmas this year? This is a question I ask myself each year and have since Jan went to heaven in March 2011. I start asking this question about October because if I am staying home I need to start planning on what Christmas decorations I will put up. I need to start checking light strings to see which need to be replaced and if there are any new decorative items I need to buy. This year that question was answered easily for me when my daughter Janice in California sent me tickets to fly there and spend Christmas with them. This was a blessing (as always) because I was anxious to see my new Great Grandson Carter Michael Bruce. Since I won't be home for Christmas I will only decorate a few things in the front of the house and nothing inside. The downer to this is I will not be able to spend my first Christmas with my two adopted dogs (Annabel and Peggy) from Afghanistan. I will have to put them in boarding and I will really miss them. In fact they have so improved my life I hate to be away from them at all. As you know they sleep with me and when they wake up they spend a few minutes loving on each other and then that is enough of that and they get down to some rough house playing and having fun before one of them kind of hurts the other and then it is more keep your distance the rest of the day. I prepared enough food for them - treats, toy, and blankets for their stay in boarding. I want them to have the same food they get at home and not have to get use to some other kind of food. I took them to boarding early morning December 23 and went back home to make final preparation for my afternoon flight to Chicago, change planes and on to San Francisco.
This is Annabel (white)l and Peggy resting and loving on each other after a period of play. Just look at how they have rearranged my bed.

I parked in long term parking at CVG airport and rode the shuttle to airport, checked my suitcase and on to security screening which took 20 minutes. Went to the gate and this is where the fun stated. A few minutes after getting settled in a comfortable seat the announcement was made that because of thunderstorms in Chicago my flight was being delayed. My flight which was a turn around, the announcement further indicated that any of us that had a short time between connecting flight ought to check with the check in desk. A few of us went up and were told that the flight was further delayed and we most likely would not get to Chicago in time for the connecting flight. We were told (for San Francisco passengers) we would be booked automatically for the later flight or to be sure we had a seat he could make that change for us here in Cincinnati. I chose this option. So as things seem to happen the flight out of Chicago to Cincinnati not only was not late it was early. The young guy on the desk told us off the record he was just telling us what flight ops was telling him. So this meant that we now got to Chicago in time to make the original flight but of course now all the seats were gone. All the flights on the 23rd were over booked. I noticed on my flight out of Chicago to San Francisco there were 35 people on standby. So I watched the flight I should have been on leave and waited an hour for the next flight. When I boarded I found my seat, which was in the middle (which I hate), was occupied by a young child. I was about ready to see a flight attendant when the child's mother ask if I would mind taking the isle seat so the child could sit next to her. I was overjoyed to say yes. We were just about ready to push back from the gate when the flight attendant came and told me they had sold my seat to three different people and they would find a better seat for me. Besides the overbooking they were trying to get the father together with mother and child. So I sat waiting and the attendant came back and said the seat they planned to move me to didn't work out but they would get me a much better seat. I'm thinking could that be moving to a higher class seating. Finally she took me to an isle seat in an exit row and asked would I be willing to do what was required of people sitting in an exit seat. Of course I was. These seats have a lot more leg room and are a lot more comfortable from this point of view. After we took off I got to thinking now wait a minute I now have some of my stuff in different overhead bins and I have to not forget that. I was not the only one in this predicament. All the switching around those folks had the same problem. There were probably 4 to 6 people had their seats switched and this is after the doors are already closed. I never cease to be amazed at the younger folks especially young guys. When we got to San Francisco a lady who had made three moves was struggling to come back toward my seat to get two items form overhead bins.She was short and was struggling with all of us in the isle. I tried to help her but I could not reach her bags. There was a young guy probable in his upper teens standing there and she was struggling to remove the bags from over his head. I asked him why don't you help her. She heard me and said she needed help. I ask him again to help her and this young idiot looked at her and said " are you asking me to help you?" I told him certainly she is asking so help her. At this point my military background was starting to kick in and I guess the tone of my voice got the message across. He helped her and we were able to continue to deplane after this several minute unnecessary delay. I went to baggage claim and my son-in law Bami was waiting for me. He checked the baggage for the flight I was on while I went to check baggage that came in on earlier flights. Sure enough my bag got there before me. We got to my daughter's beautifully decorated home to some excellent food and rest. Parisa Howard my grand daughter who lives in New York City was here for Christmas as well and she was waiting for her husband Daniel to arrive.

December 24, 2015 at my daughter's home in Pleasantan,California. It looks like Santa has made an early stop off at this house. In the afternoon we went to one of the four Christmas Eve services held at the Blue Oaks Church where my daughter Janice attends along with her daughter Nicku and husband Corey Bruce. Following the service we went to Nicku and Corey's home for snacks and Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner was delicious (prime rib) with all the trimmings. As good as this was the best part was to get to meet my Great Grand Son Carter Michale Bruce.
Corey and Nicku share a kiss by their Christmas tree. Baby Carter in the middle.
Starting around the table from the left is my daughter Janice, her husband Bami, then Nicku, then her husband Corey and Parisa. Parisa's husband Daniel will arrive later Christmas Eve night.

Janice holding baby Carter who is interested in all the people around him. He is precious.
Grandpa Bill holding Great Grand Son Carter. His bib says  "no mistletoe required" obvious reference to kisses and believe me that sweet little head gets a lot of kisses.
Right to left are Grandpa Bami, Great Grandpa Bill holding baby Carter, and Carter's Mom Nicku

After we returned to Janice's home Parisa went to San Francisco Airport to pick up her husband Daniel who is in his 4th year internship in New York City where he and Parisa live.

Christmas morning December 25, 2015 at Janice and Bami's home in Pleasantan, California. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast sat around and talked and after Nicku, Corey and baby Carter arrived we opened gifts and took a lot of photographs. How blessed we all were with the bountiful gifts we each received. Thank you Lord for your blessings but most of all thank you for your son Jesus..
Nicku and Corey Bruce by the Christmas tree. Corey is holding baby Carter.
Janice and Bami by the Christmas tree. Janice is holding baby Carter.

 Four generation. Grandpa Bill holding Baby Carter, My daughter Janice, Janice 's daughter Nicku and of course Nicku's son Carter. 
Family - Top row left to right Bami, Janice, Grandpa Bill, Parisa, Paisa's husband Daniel. Seated is Corey, Nicku and Baby Carter.
Baby Carter trying to get to his reindeer.
 Christmas meal turkey and all the trimmings prepared by Janice.
 The star at the table this beautifully prepared turkey.
Top row left to right - Grandpa Bill,  Nicku holding Baby Carter.
Parisa's husband Daniel, Parisa, Bami, Corey. Seated is Janice
And as Tim said God bless us one and all. Amen.

On Sunday December 26, 2015 Janice and I attended one of the morning services at the Blue Oaks Church. Throughout the day others were resting, out for a run and all sorts of activities. Upon returning from church we went for brunch here at golf course club and enjoyed a marvelous meal.On the 27th I got to use one of my Christmas Present as shown in the following photograph.

What can I say about this movie that has not already been said. It was great and I enjoyed it. I can't wait for the DVD to come out so I can sit and watch it over and over again. This is the first time I have attended a movie where the seats move with the action on the screen. I suspect that anyone with a back or neck problem might have a hard time with the way the seats suddenly jerk and move. I am still trying to decide if this adds anything to the enjoyment of the movie. Still not sure. The theatre we attended only as one row of seats that move and they are a lot more costly than normal seat.This row of seats are very good and often people enter the theatre see empty seats and find they have to move as the ticket holders arrive.

What a wonderful Christmas I had with so many of my family and loved ones around. I thank God for the safe travel of all concerned both coming and returning to their homes. I have more photographs I want to share but I am having trouble down loading them so I will try again when I get home to my desktop computer and some programs I don't have on my lap top computer. Again I want to remind everyone that we need to remember that amid all the festivities, giving and receiving that Jesus is the reason for the season we celebrate and call Christmas.

Remember as I always say God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas At Creation Museum 2015

December 18, 2015 Jim McGruder and I went to the Creation Museum for two reasons. The first was to see and enjoy the beautiful Christmas Lights throughout the Botanical Garden and around the lake. The second and main reason was for Jim to ride the Zip Lines. A few months ago I attended a fund raiser for the life size Noah Ark that is being built by the Creation Museum. Part of this event was a silent auction and one of the items I successfully bid on contained two tickets for rides on the Zip Lines. I knew that Jim has always talked about he always wanted to ride the Zip lines so I gave these tickets to him for his Christmas present.The Creation Museum, located at 2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg, KY 41080 Petersburg, Kentucky, is operated by the Christian Creationist apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis was established May 28, 2007.

When we arrived at the Museum we visited the book store for some shopping. Next we went to Noah's cafe and enjoyed their turkey dinner. Following this we went to the Star Gazer Planetarium and saw the presentation of "The Christmas Star" which was very interesting.
 In the bible, in the book of Matthew chapter 2 you find the account of the Magi also referred to as "The Wise Men" who followed a star to Jerusalem searching to find the child born as the king of the Jews. That account follows as seen in the New International Version of the Bible.

"1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 

2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 
4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 
6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' " 
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."
Throughout history man has tried to explain that this account is not true because stars do not move like this passage says they did. For example this star moved slow and it lead them over a long period of time. This star stood still over specific spots according to the scriptures. This presentation about the Christmas Star debunked all of the scientific explanation. If God who created the entire universe and put all of the celestial bodies in place and in orbit then he certainly was able to have "one" special star perform as the Holy Scriptures says it did.

Following the Christmas Star presentation we went out side for Jim to ride the Zip Lines. Since he had two tickets he wanted me to use one of them but I told him they were his Christmas present and I wanted to try and get some photographs of his rides. Unfortunately it was much to dark and I was only able to get a few photographs of his getting suited up for the rides and none of him on the line or at the top of the towers for that matter.

Jim the second from the left listened to instructions.
 Riders waiting to go up the tower.
Steps leading up tower number one
Riders as the climb tower number one.
 Tower one the start of the zip line ride.
Riders preparing to start ride going from tower one across the lake to tower two.
Looking from tower two back toward tower one as zip line crosses the lake.
Tower two the highest object top right of this photograph. From here the riders walk over to tower three and ride to tower four and then tower  five. I was unable to walk to those areas. Jim said the rides were great fun. I would bet they were very cold as well because the temperature was well below freezing because I was getting mighty cold. Following his rides we had hot chocolate, brauts and funnel cake all of which was very tasty. Following these treats we walked around the botanical gardens and looked at the beautiful lights.I have to tell you I failed to get a lot of photographs because while trying to capture photographs of him on the zip line with my fingers numb and wearing large gloves I somehow pushed an incorrect button on my camera and really screwed up my settings. For several frustrating minutes of not being able to take photos I finaally figured out the problem and  I had to reset the camera back to the default settings and start over which really makes things difficult. Enjoy the photographs. I will add notes under certain photographs and tell you many of the most beautify views are the reflection of the lights in the lake.
Our treats following the zip line ride.
Tower one the start of the zip line ride is in the upper right of this photograph. Beautiful reflection of lights in the lake.

The string of blue lights are along the walk by the edge of the lake.

These large "balls" are actually shrubs trimmed in this fashion and decorated with lights.

Strong winds cause a lot of distortion

Large Candy canes

Strong wind creates small waves on lake which make for a nice photo effect.

 The feature in the middle of this photograph is a viewing area at the end of the lake. From here you can see the zip line riders come almost over your head as they come into tower number two. They have coin operated dispensers here where you can buy fish food for the fish who gather around this platform. There are some large beautiful Koi fish in this lake. They have these dispencer along the path of the lake also. In the summer these fish get a lot of food.
This large dinosaur appears to have his front foot on this lighted bush but actually the 
bush is some distance to his side.

The lake has all sorts of water plant around the edge. Cat tail, lotus, lilies and others which 
are beautiful when in bloom in the spring and summer.

To see a larger selection of the Christmas Lights at the Creation Museum you can go to my blog posting 
" Christmas Lights at Creation Museum", December 28, 2014. The blog can be found at wdiven.

Until the next time remember what I always say God Loves You And So Do I.

Grandpa Bill