Monday, June 25, 2007


I'm sure you've seen this. But if you missed it, this is awesome! I now want to go fishing with a flaming bow and arrow on a rope.... and maybe some body armor.



Today my wife has officially tolerated, loved, and supported me for 13 years. I'm super blessed. I'm a lucky man. Happy Anniversary sexy wife.


Friday, June 22, 2007


Thanks Dad for modeling Fatherhood in ways I'll never be able to repay you. I'll treasure this week with you for a lifetime.



We spent some time at Clam Lagoon, seems like ever time we drove by we saw some different animal in it. Sometimes it was birds. Sometimes it was the seals. Sometimes it was the otters... sometimes I'm pretty sure they thought it was us.



After patroling the old roads on our cloudy and drizzling day 3, we decided to take a drive out to the back side of Mt. Moffett and go for a short hike to the shores of the open Bering Sea. While the view was not as "amazing" as the one from the top of Mt. Moffett, it was my favorite of the week. The birds. The crystal clear sea water. The cliffs. The long wind blown and grass covered mountain sides. All of it was beautiful. If I was going to live on this island. I'd live over there. Here's the photos in a collage and a few I pulled out full size.



One of the things my Dad and I did was tour the island's old buildings. Some date back to the days of World War II when the island was first turned into a base for the Navy and they go all the way up to 1997 when the Navy eventually closed up shop on the Island and turned the land and buildings over to the native Aleut people.

Lots has changed over those years and some was sad to see (destroyed by neglect or vandalism) and some was fun to explore (old and rich with heritage). We drove the dirt and gravel roads in our rented beater four wheel drive early 80's suburban- no mufflers, no plates, and lots of rattles, but it did the trick all week (even took it mud bogging in the rain. Yeah boy.) Here's the pics.



I fished a lot as a kid in streams during the summer. Mostly really small fish. So, it doesn't take a lot to please me. Give me a pole, a river, and somewhere to hike next to cold water and I'm good for days. I really enjoyed fishing in the lakes and streams of Adak. There were some salt water dolly varden trout that were starting to run up the streams- and most were between 14 and 16 inches long and put up a pretty good fight... they even jump a little which is cool. Most we threw back. Some we kept... to watch the eagles eat and to eat ourselves. Yahoo for fishing!



I even took pictures of plants. I have to confess, I do this a lot. If we go to Disneyland, I take pictures of my family- and the plants. I do it at the San Diego Zoo. I do it all over the place. I think it's a disease I caught as a post 30 home owner who does his own gardening. But for whatever the reason of this metamorphosis going on inside me, here's the photos I took. Like the birds, I have no idea what most of them are.

(photographers note: almost all the flowers in this set and the ones above are about the size of a pencil eraser head. Like really really really small... but beautiful and plentiful. Due to the high winds and the extreme cold, the island has no native trees on it. Every plant is knee high or lower)



Well, one thing that Adak has is birds. It's evidently a world renown bird watcher destination- one of the few real tourist attractions that causes people to come to this island is to watch the migration season at Clam Lagoon.

So, I tried my hand and my camera at bird watching this week. I have to say, I could get used to this.... I had some fun.

Here's three photo sets. This one is of the like 50+ pictures I got of Eagles this week. They are all over the mountain cliffs, streams, and river ways.

This one is of the same American Bald Eagle, but in it's pre-sexually mature juvenile state where it's plumage is brown and it's beak black. Go figure... I even sound like a bird watcher with that sentence.
This one is of the many variety of birds I saw and photographed as I traipsed all over the place with my camera. I have no idea what most of them are- cuz I suck at being a bird watcher. But it can be lots of fun. Be sure to click on it to make them large enough to enjoy.



When you're 1300 miles from the mainland on a remote artic island, you try your hand at a lot of stuff you don't normally do in our busy world of sunny San Diego.

Day one in Adak found us in a weather situation that is so rare that my mom claims it only happened twice in the 15 months she was on the island while my Dad was stationed in the Navy. It was so clear that you could see for miles to the other islands in the chain. Simply breath taking. My dad and I siezed the opportunity to get some elevation under our feet and try our hands and feet at mountaineering to take in the big views. So we hiked to about 3100 feet, to the top of Mt. Moffett, one snow covered summit shy of it's peak at 3600 feet. The view was breath taking. I took a panarama with my new camera but it's too large to post... but take my word on it. It's sweet!!!

Here's my photo collage of our hike and the distance we hiked is from our beater rental suburban to the top of Mt. Moffett, viewed in the far right of the picture.

And here's my favorite picture of the week.. my Dad standing in view of the rarely seen from Adak- and a sight that very few people on the planet will ever enjoy face to face- the perfect volcanic cone of Kanaga Island.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I have returned to my birthplace and discovered what's wrong with me... I'm from buttcrack nowhere.

But, believe it or not, they have espresso and free wireless internet here! Go figure! I'm sure starbucks will be here in a year or so :)

Anyway, my Dad has been telling stories to me and anyone who will listen since the plane ride. It cracked me up to see my Dad showing the map of the island to the stewardess on Alaska Airlines who has been flying out here for the last 20 years. She was so excited to hear my Dad's stories and he was happy to share. (My sister and brother-in-law would be proud of Dad's infamous and creative use of his transitions this week... speaking of __________, let me tell you about ________. )

Our first two days here were very rare clear days which we maximized and I'll share more to come. It's been funny to be here in a small town and a fun to walk around. For my Dad, who was in charge of some of the maintenance here- it's been a mix of fun and sadness I think to see somewhere he had fond memories of be so trashed by vandalism, neglect, and the weather for much of the old buildings... but all in all... we've had a great time.

Here's a collage of the arrival our first day....



Dad and I spent Father's Day on ice. We had one day to burn before a 5pm flight to Adak, so we chose to go hiking on a glacier about 95 miles outside of town. It was a little lazy of a hike... I would have enjoyed a little more adventure or risk... but besides that, it was beautiful. Lauren from Minnesota and Cornelia from New Zealand- of all places- were our guides.

The weather was nice, it was fun to hike in crampons, and to see a glacier face to face. It was a great way to spend Father's Day with my Dad.



Well, I met my dad in Seattle... one of the nicest airports in the world if you ask me. I actually stopped and took some pictures it's so pretty there. They have this HUGE glass wall where you can sit and watch the planes take off and land. It's amazing.

Dad and I then flew together to Anchorage where it was ridiculously warm. Everyone was in short sleeves and we spent some time poking around town, signed up for a guided hike the next day, and then ate a sweet fresh seafood dinner- Alaskan style.


Saturday, June 16, 2007


For as long as I can remember, my dad and I have been talking about going back to my birthplace. You see, when I was born in 1972, my Dad was in the navy and was stationed with my Mom at the US Naval Air Base in Adak, Alaska. It is so far out in the Aleutian Islands (1300 miles from Anchorage) that if you head due South, you actually will end up West of Hawaii. But for a long time, the only way to get on the island was with an invitation from Uncle Sam and the Admiral. But not anymore. The cold war is over and this cold island is open for visitors they say.

So the time has come and my dad and I are flying to Adak, Alaska on Father's Day for some father/son bonding. Since the Navy has since stopped using the Island, it is now home to a small community of people who fish and try and drum up some historical navy tourism or something. They have 2 flights in and out per week. One on Sunday and one on Thursday and if they can't land due to weather, you're stuck there until the next scheduled chance they have to come get you. I have no idea what we will be doing on a cold, wind swept, 280 square mile island with a population of like 50 or something ridiculous like that for 4 days.... but it is bound to be memorable. I'm pretty sure we're staying in someone's like guest room they call the "motel" and probably renting Jethro's extra pickup to get around. Don't worry, if we get stuck in the mud somewhere, they send Jimbo and his dog Spike to come searching if you don't check in with the grocery clerk by 5pm in the general store.

I've packed my new digital camera and my fishing gear and some warm clothes (it's supposed to be like 40 degrees) and I'm off to hang with my Dad and some Caribou on the frozen tundra of my birthplace. I'm definitely carving my name in something and peeing all over the place to mark my territory... you can count on that!!!!



Tuesday night at dinner, pretty much staight out of nowhere, TJ says, "Mom, can I bleach my hair?"

Shannon, without a moments hesitation, says "Yes."

I look at my wife kinda crooked and wonder who is currently living in her shell, cuz this is not normal verbage coming from her mouth on such a topic as this.

Tyler immediately seizes the opportunity and asks, "Can I dye my hair?"

Shannon again, without hesitation, says "Yes. What color would you like?"

Tyler says, "Blue".

Shannon says, "Ok. Blue is cool."

I now am looking under the table and searching for the hidden camera. At which point my wife announces that it's summer time and you can have crazy hair for the summer only.

I simply nod, wondering how long she has been brewing on this grand leap in mothering boys.

Jake, now, not one to ever miss a party says, "Can I have a mohawk?"

Shannon says nothing, but I immediately announce, "Yes." It was my chance to not be shown up by my bold new wife who is now looking at me like I just gave our son permission to kill a cat. Evidently, she had been thinking about dying hair, not cutting it stupid style.

Within minutes I had the cell phone ringing the infamous Ziegler casa to ask Brooke (a self professed hair dying/cutting veteran from a family who invented crazy hair) if she had anytime on Friday, the boys first day of summer, to help us put some action to this new found idea. She said yes, and now:

  • Tyler is blue.
  • TJ is very very very blonde and blue eyed.
  • And Jake... well Jake has a full on bonified mohawk.


here's the transformation in photos. You really must click on this one and let it fill your screen and scroll around to enjoy the full effect of this craziness.



Well, this year marks the end of the Pre-School season for our family. Shannon has been in Mothers of Pre-School children programs at our churches for years now. There have been lots of play dates and park trips with friends and such while one of the other kids was still in school. We both have signed our share of check in sheets. 6 years worth to be exact. All our kids did 2 years of pre-school and last wednesday, Jake closed the chapter for us. Wow how time flies.

Next year will be the first and only year that all 3 of our children are in the exact same school at the exact same time. Jake starts all day pre-school. Tyler starts 2nd Grade and TJ heads into 5th in the fall. I'll have 3 mouths too feed, 3 lunches to make, and 3 boys to drop off to school every day, all year long. Sounds like a lot of work, but I actually think it will be the most fun. I'm not looking forward to writing a post a year from now telling you it's over. So, I'll just savor the moments all year long as best I can.

Here's jake in all his glory rounding the final corner on the Berrytribe pre-school relay race.


Friday, June 15, 2007


On mother's day weekend I started to complete phase 2 of a 3 phase yard remodel we did to the front of our house..

PHASE ONE was to remove the old yard and hire some help to move our side fence to the front of our property adding two planters and a matching retaining wall/column thingy. I then isntalled the fence. That phase started way back in October and finished around December.

PHASE TWO was to fix the sprinklers, add the plants and rocks to the front yard, and finish the lights. Now all that's left is to re-seed some of the lawn in this phase and to add the low voltage lights that I bought for the columns.

PHASE THREE_ is evidently called Journey UP cuz we donated phase 3 to our church building program. It's on hold for a while... but eventually, it will be some palm trees, a new concrete pad behind the fence, some lawn furniture, some shade umbrellas, and some large planting pots... if God says it's ok that is.

here's the pictures of the update.



There was a day when the world watered itself. God made the plants and then sent a mist and a river and stuff to water it and humanity just enjoyed creation in the presence of God. Seriously, you can read it in Genesis 2. Well, then sin entered the world and it screwed up a lot of stuff... including the whole self-watering world thing.

So, I have officially declared that if it were not for sin, we would not need irrigation, thus irrigation is sinful.

I stumbled upon this grand realization while fixing my sprinklers. We needed to finish up some yard work and well, the sprinklers needed to be moved and a couple more added. In the process of doing this, I discovered that whatever genius put this stuff in before me ran it through concrete so I had to chip the concrete away, little by little under my grass to get at the pipe. Then, once i finally got to it, it broke. So I had to chip more away, only now with the precision of a dentist. This is ridiculous. While my wife was watching me sweat and offering advice on sprinkler placement and development (she's a pro you know), she said these words: "Everything we do seems like such work." This was when I realized it... it was like an aha from heaven. Yeah.. it is work. In fact it's a curse. It's sin. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I almost cast a demon out of my plastic water pipes right there on the spot.

Then yesterday, Shannon called me at work to notify me that while running through the sprinklers, my kids busted a big one. This too brought great joy to my ears and another hour of labor to my day to fix the stupid thing.

I hate the consequence of sin.. especially on the earth. I now find great joy in the realization that in heaven, there must not be sin, and therefore... there are no sprinklers. 3 cheers for big heavy ridiclously misty self watering places like Heaven.



10 page paper for seminary. Check.
6 Bible Studies for Simply written. Check.
Summer Calendars designed and printed. Check.
Final finished for seminary. Check.
T-shirt design finished and turned in. Check.
Kids out of school and parties and stuff all done. Check.

the list could go on... but I'm DONE. I finally can blog again.


Saturday, June 09, 2007


Today, I woke up and had nothing on the calendar. On a Saturday. That's a first in forever. I think we've been in little league baseball since the dawn of time. I wish I could say that I had no work to do, but this week was 2 papers for school, a bible study writing project, a science project with TJ, and youth group: so I pretty much was slammed all week with lots of late nights. When I got up today, I decided it was a good morning to do something with my family and remind them who I am, since I was a lousy dad and husband last week with all the other stuff I had to be. I decided we should go to OB.

(QUICK SUMMER BEACH FRONT LINGO CRASH COURSE FOR THE THOSE OF YOU OUTSIDE OF THE BIG SD. San Diego is SD. OB is short for Ocean Beach. Mission Beach is called Mission Beach and it is not MB. La Jolla Shores in La Jolla is also called La Jolla. Pacific Beach is PB. Go figure. Oh.... and for what it's worth, if you're headed to Northern California (were I spent the first 30+ years of life)... very few who live there call in Nor Cal and no one except tourists call San Francisco - "frisco"- it's either SF or The City.)

But anyway- we went to OB- which a lot like Santa Cruz or Berkeley. It has high hippy factor. Lots of little random shops with some great food. People sleeping on the streets. Even though it is right by the shore, some of it is closest waterfront properties are pretty run down. Nothing like the La Jolla or even the PB area. But I enjoy it a lot. It really feels different than anywhere else in SD. It's super laid back and has a small community feel. For the last 2 years I've been there for 4th of july to watch the fireworks. Tons of fun.

We went there for 2 reasons.
  1. SHADES.
    Shannon and I went here for our anniversary dinner last year. But, while in Palm Springs recently I had a lovely pile of bread pudding. Linda said it was amazing at Shades. Way better than the pile I had on my plate and there it came with yogurt and fruit and granola. So I went to go check out breakfast. It was great. Linda was right. Except it should be called a "bread brick" cuz it sat like one in my gut all day. I didn't eat til dinner. The pictures look like we're not happy. But I think we're just focused on eating. Yum.. however the one draw back was the 4- twenty somethings who sat next to us having a conversation about their drunken sexual escapades and us trying to talk louder and often enough so that our kids would miss it. Welcome to OB.

    The only beach you can take your dog to is here in OB. I've wanted to go for quite some time. I was glad I went. The kids had fun. There were tons of dogs there. So many that we decided that next time we need to put a flag on ours so we can sort him out. After a while, every black dog looks the same. I was a little leery, but it was surprising clean. It didn't smell weird. Not one dog fight. My kids played in the water and so did Zeus, our dog. Everyone had a great time. We said we'd do it again. Only one warning. Don't touch the sea weed piles. The dogs pee all over them.
here's the pics.


Thursday, June 07, 2007


I've been thinking.

About my job as youth pastor and my life as a Jesus follower.

A lot.

I still struggle with my value and worth and ability to build something that builds someone that God is proud to call his own.

I get glimpses where I think we're doing that.

I have other days where I wonder.

Right now. 2 school years here are under my belt.

As I enter this summer. Here's what I think:

  • year one was about discovering my job in a new context. I felt like a worker.
  • year two was a lot of doing my job. I felt like a manager.
  • year three is going to be about re-thinking and re-writing my job. I think some changes are coming as to how and when and where and what I do in youth ministry. I pray that those are Kingdom focused and Jesus led. I also pray they will be joy-filled, passionate, visionary, and gutsy. I want to feel like a dreamer. That's really who I am.
Hold on kids. I think we might go for a ride.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Well, per my previous post I've been working on giving a rip about problems that are technically not mine. Here's a list of experiences as of late.

  • ROADSIDE BREAKDOWN: I saw a couple who were broken down on the side of the road. I saw them on our way home from Palm Springs. I was in the fast lane as I past them up. By the time I got all the way over to help, they were so far back that I'd have to get off the freeway, turn around to go back, get back on the freeway, and comeback and help. My wife said "I didn't have to save the world." We kept driving. I hope they're not still there. Evidently it was not my problem.
  • HOMELESS GUY: last Friday I was driving back to church with a truck load of stuff and there was a homeless guy with a sign that said he was hungry. There was an In-N-Out burger joint on the corner 500 yards from where he was. I thought about stopping and buying him lunch and bringing it back to him. But, the dude looked pretty well fed, so I kept going. Not my problem either. I suck.
  • OUT OF GAS: Yesterday, I was meeting with Kyle, a former student of mine who just graduated from Azusa and is headed into full time youth ministry. I haven't seen him in over a year, so it was good to get caught up at Starbucks. As our conversation was ending, there was a college age young man who walked up and asked us for money cuz his car ran out of gas and he said his "card didn't work" and the gas station wanted to charge him to borrow/buy a can to fill it up. I said that we'd help him push his car. So, we pushed his SUV out of the parking lot he had rolled into on funes and then 2 blocks to the nearest gas station. Then I bought him $10 worth of gas. Maybe I got taken. Maybe I was living like Jesus. Either way, his problem became our problem.
  • LOST DOG: This morning, I came home from dropping my kids off at school to find a lost dog on my front yard. A big ol german shepherd with a collar and no tags. I let him in my backyard and babydog sat him. I called and then waited until the animal shelter came to get him. I couldn't keep 2 dogs (ours and the new homeless one). So, I'm hoping that his owners call the shelter and reclaim him. If not, they said he'd be fine cuz he'll go to the "abandoned german shepherd lover" people. I decided this was my problem.
  • SICK TEACHER: Today Shannon went to volunteer at school in our kids classroom and got pulled out of class to be a sub for the day due to teacher who had become sick. This was her chance to say, "not my problem". But in order for her to help, I had to pick up some minor Dad duties. So it became "our problem". Becky then agreed to watch Jake so I could go to work the last hour before Shannon got out of school with our boys. Wow- it takes 3 adults to relieve one sick teacher. Amazing. It was our problem today.
  • OFFICE FREEZER: not sure why, but when I get coffee in our office, sometimes I open the freezer next to it. I never actually have anything in the freezer. I never even take anything out of the freezer. Someone has had a half gallon of ice cream in there for months that I think I should steal. But it's still there. Today, I got my java and opened the freezer by habit and inside there was a diet pepsi someone had placed in there. It had EXPLODED all over the freezer like a diet pepsi bomb. It is now solidly frozen all over the place and the freezer will have to be unplugged, thawed, and then cleaned to solve the problem. I quietly close the freezer and walked away as if it was NOT my problem. I'll probably be struck by lightening soon.
Guess I have a ways to go. 3 out of 6. 50%. Bummer. I really do have a problem.


Saturday, June 02, 2007


I have ZERO time to be blogging much less watching videos and yet today, of all days, I have friends sending me these two hysterical clips.

THIS ONE INSPIRES ME AND TREVOR SAYS IT MAKES HIM THINK OF ME. Personally, it makes me think of Pat Moore who likes to quote Red Green, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."




This last week we went to an amazing resort for an annual get away weekend with our church staff to the Westin in Rancho Mirage. It came after a long season of hard work and for me, right at the birth of a new season of even harder work.

But, it was nice to bond with my wife, eat some nice food, and soak up the sun. Last year it was like 114. This year, maybe 95. You can definitely feel that 20 degrees.

Here's the highlights:

  • Dinner with Mark and Maryln- the ones who gave me my first youth ministry job are now living in the valley there. We ate ice cream while we chatted. It was nice to see them again.
  • I found an adidas soccer warm up suit at the outlet. I wanted it for Christmas but it cost $110 bucks and it was too much. I found it for $80 and so I splurged and got it. Yeah for soccer.
  • I had a cockroaches in my 5 star hotel. I caught one in a cup. I took it to the front desk for show and tell. They offered to move me to another room. I said I was in a suite and that it would be hard to find an open one and we were only here for one more night. They said, how about $100 credit. I said, that'll work. My wife wasn't so sure.
  • So, we ate breakfast at the 5 star breakfast the next morning and it was free- thanks to my $100 cockroaches. So, incidently, was my wifes poolside smoothie the day before. I had enough mula to help some friends eat for pseudo free. It was like a $60 buffet breakfast and I had the biggest strawberries I've ever seen in my life. They tasted like God hand crafted them for me- cuz evidently stuff God hand crafts tastes really really good.

So, my advise, the next time you stay at a 5 star hotel, go find a cockroach and eat for free.



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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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