Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Washington DC

A few weeks ago, Joan's boss told her he wanted her to go to Washington DC in his place for a meeting. Joan's reaction was, "Yeah, right, whatever!" They both laughed and she thought nothing else of it, that is until a couple weeks ago when he asked Joan if she had made her reservations yet. Joan was surprised, exclaiming that she didn't think he was serious. Turns out he was in fact quite serious. And so, off to DC we went, at very little out of pocket expense I might add! All so Joan could attend a 4 hour meeting!!

So, we flew into DC on Thursday. After settling at our hotel, which was only about 4 blocks from the White House, we headed out on foot for the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. On our way there, we had a little time to kill, so we took a little stroll by the White House. The Pope had been in town, so they had the awning up blocking the front entrance, and they had the street blocked of so we couldn't get very close. But we were close enough for a decent snap shot. There must have been some dignitaries coming to the White House, because shortly after taking that photo, the police started asking people to move on. I thought it odd that we the people couldn't hang around and watch the dignitary arrive at the White House. Even the vigilant protesters were asked to move one. Oh well, the thought of a burger at the Hard Rock was urging me forward anyway!

So, off we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. The food wasn't the greatest, but it was more about the experience then the food quality anyway. Loved the rock & roll memorabilia, especially the guitars. We had to take this photo for our daughter. Anyway, for those of you who've never been to a Hard Rock Cafe, be prepared for slow service. This is not a complaint, just stating a fact. The place is so popular that there's almost always a long wait for seating, the then a bit of a wait to get served. As I already said, the food wasn't spectacular, but they served a good burger!

Nevertheless, is was worth the walk because we discovered that Ford's Theatre (where Lincoln was assasinated) is right next door! However, they were closed until Fall of 2008 for renovations. Dang it!!! Anyway, check out Ford's Theatre web page for a virtual tour.

It was dark by the time we were done at Hard Rock, so we walked back up Pennsylvania Avenue so we could see the White House at night. Unfortunately, the camera we were using didn't take good night photos, but you can Google the white house and see probably hundreds of images. Here's a good one.

The White House, as well as all the memorials and monuments look pretty specatcular at night. I think it's all in the placement of the lighting against the white stone and neoclassic architecture. Joan and I are both fascinated by the greek neoclassic archtecture styles of the early government buildings. It is like a walk through time as you walk away from the center of DC (the National Mall) observing the progression in architecture styles. If you haven't already, you should make it a point to get to DC soon.

On Friday, after Joan's meetings, we set out to the National Mall to view the monuments and memorials. Unfortunately, the camera battery died when we got there, so we weren't able to take pictures. I would have to say that my favorites were the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the World War II Memorial. I am so thankful to God and to all those who gave their lives in to achieve or keep our freedom, so I have to admit that I became very emotional when I visited these sites.

On Saturday, we first went to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Friends, if you ever go do Washington DC, you must go to this museum. I've tried for the last few minutes to come up with a description of what you will see and feel, but the only thing I can come up with is that you have to see for yourself. It's not merely a museum, but a memorial to all those who suffered and died in the holocaust, and to those who suffered and survived. In fact, we were told that many holocaust survivors still visit the the memorial to remember their loved ones who were lost. A short commentary: I can't believe that there are people in this world who say that the holocaust is a myth that didn't happen. Give me a break people! Honestly, these people need their heads examined!

After the Holocaust Museum, we checked out the National Air and Space Museum. What fun! It was cool to see all the various aircraft and space craft on display. I was most impressed with Glamorous Glennis, the Bell X-1 in which Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, but also excited to see a Lunar Module. I can recall watching the television broadcast of Moon Landing and how excited and awestruck I was. Joan was most excited to see the Apollo 11 comand module. Her favorite movie is "Apollo 13: and she is fascinated by the Apollo 13 saga.

The weather was sunny and warm on the first three days there, but then turned cool and rainy on Sunday. After living in southeast Washington where our thunderstorms usually consist of lightning and brush fires, it was refreshing (and even nostalgic) to see an east coast thunderstorm. It poured down rain off and on all day. However, we did not let that stop us from visiting the National Archives. This was the highlight of the trip for me! As you probably know, the Freedom Charters--The Delcaration of Independence, The Consititurion of the United States of American, and the Bill of Rights--are all on display here. It's hard to describe the pride that welled up in me as I viewed the documents that outline our freedoms! All I can say is, "Wow. The Magna Carta was also on display. Oddly enough, it seemed in better condition than the Declaration of Independence.

We spent the remainder of Sunday going to the various Smithsonian Museums. Much to our dismay, The American History Museum was closed until fall of 2008; The National Art Gallery (breifly to see the building) and The National Museum of Natural History. The Hope Diamond was on display here and was quite spectacular. We also checked out Smithsonian Castle, which is the original building that housed the Smithsonian. We found the architecture of the Castle to be an interesting departure from the neoclassic greek style of most of the buildings.

We managed to stay fairly dry most of the day ducking in and out of the different buildings we visited, but toward the end of the afternoon, I was unable to avoid becoming drenched. It was either walk back to the hotel or sit it out for a while until the rain quit. That would have been a long wait, so we trekked on. On our walk back up 14th street, we passed by The Old Post Office Pavilion and decided to go inside to get out of the rain for a while. Nothing spectacular to see except the old clock tower, however that was closed due to the weather(?). By the time we made it back to the hotel, I was weary of being soaked to the bone! Joan faired a littel better as she had bought an umbrella earlier in the day. Guess I should've listened to her!

Our plan for Monday was to go see The Library of Congress. I've always wanted to see it and even more so after the National Treasure movies! :o) However, we ended up pretty much spending the day at the hotel as wee didn't feel like getting drenched again. Yes, it rained all day Monday as well. And thus ended our trip. We flew back to Washington State Monday evening.

We're both thankful for the opportunity to have made this trip (even more thankful that it cost us very little). I've posted a slide show of some of the photos we took while in DC. Thanks to 9-11 and high gas prices, travel is difficult these days, but you should not wait too long to go to DC. It is well worth it. Hope you weren't bored by my commentary. I posted this mainly for family and friends who wanted to hear about the trip.

God Bless.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tired of the status quo?

Yeah...I am. It seems there's never anything new or different going on. Same old stuff in the news.; Obama and Clinton bickering, celebrity gossip, glorification of horrendous crimes committed. Reality TV shows have reached the ridiculous. Case in point: the reality shows on MTV and VH1. (If you've not seen them, don't bother; they're ridiculuous and grossly immoral).

But television wasn't intended to be my focus here. The status quo is what I'm talking about. Same old, same old. For instance, you go to work, do your job, go home, eat some food, perhaps do stuff around the house or yard. Occassionally there's some other functions such as kids sports, or ministry functions that occupy our time, but again, the same old stuff.

CHURCH: again the same old thing every week. Go to church, play some music, sing some songs, here some announcements, here a sermon, blah blah blah, yada yada yada! Yeah, there's some praying thrown in the mix, but it seems staged. (Don't get me wrong here. In no way do I intend to communicate any derogatory statements about our Pastoral Staff, church staff or Deacons.) I'm not even sure what it is I'm trying to pinpoint, but suffice it to say that there seems to be a lack of sincere desire (?) to seek the face of God. And I think that I'm the most guilty of that part of the time.

Anyway, perhaps I'm complaining about nothing, but I'm always wondering: "Is this all there is?" I know I'm probably not alone in that thought and I know the solution. I need to sincerely seek the face of God, putting everything else away for the moment. Matthew 10:37-39 says: "If you love your father or mother or even your sons and daughters more than me, you are not fit to be my disciples. And unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples. If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it."

I guess I need to give up trying this on my own.