Post Christmas Chilling

Autumn is napping, Randy got home from work and the rest of the family is talking about the all of the possible details for the Benjaca (Ben-Jessica) Wedding in April.

So, it seemed like a good time to test Word 2007's ability to post a blog from straight from Word. I am skeptical about whether I got the Picture uploading right.

This picture was taken by Nancy a few days ago – it is called "Autumn and Friends".


Autumn in the Hood... Whup, wup.

Looks a Lot Like Christmas... And More

Joy has brought her decorative skills to bring Christmas to our living room.

This called the Slump and Sleep!

Arms of Love...


Sweet Sweet Autumn

Ben, Joy's bro and a stud, took these and more that we have not seen yet. Check out his other stuff: www.studiobenjaminjames.com


Autumn Catching Some Fashionable Shut Eye

After returning home from church, Joy found Autumn in the back seat like this... asleep.


Need a Plan?

Do you like to swim for fitness? Wow, I sound like an infomercial - I know that some of us do not have access to a swimming pool but if you do and need some fresh ideas for workouts, check out this site for free swim plans (swimplan.com). It doesn't have as much variety as I would like (I have been using it since February) but its a pretty cool tool that takes into account your fitness level and time constraints.


Saddleback vs Rock Harbor Turkey Bowl

This motley crew of Saddleback staffers took on Rock Harbor Church in a friendly battle of flag football the day before Thanksgiving. I am still sore... oh yeah, we snuck a win 35-28. Great game, RH played very well.
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Ben and Jess Engaged!

Family Photos


Hanging with the Von Eberses

Von Ebers (aka Abs or Michael) and Elisabeth stopped "allegedly" to simply meet and hold Autumn. When Von Ebers started chanting "Bear Down"(a Chicago Bear fanatic mantra) and place his Cubs hat on her brow, I had to put a stop to that.

Thankfully, my wife took over and sang sweet Dallas Cowboy songs to console her.


Jordan Meets Autumn!

We picked Uncle Jordan up from the train today! He got to meet Autumn for the first time. Such a special day just hanging together and catching up on life for the past year since he lives in Washington DC. Auntie Lindsay flies in on Tuesday and we'll all be together for Thanksgiving. I think Autumn really likes her uncle...just chillin' in his arms!




Las Brisas lunch in Laguna Beach... great guacomole and chips. Thanks to Mormor and Grandpa, Autumn could relax at home while we enjoyed two hours overlooking the ocean, celebrating three years together!

Grandpa and Mormor Visit!


Eddie and Karens Wedding

These picts were taken at a wedding that has special significance for me and Joy.

Yesterday, we were at our good friends' Karen and Eddie's Wedding. It was in San Pedro at the Double Tree, overlooking the harbor. It was such a cool occasion for a fantastic couple, and I got the opportunity to perform the ceremony. Out of all the family and friends that came, Joy, Autumn, our couples small group and our worship guy John Stearns and friend "Auntie" Molly came as well.

Eddie and Karen's story is fun. Apparently, Karen (a diehard sports fan and chargers fan) listened regularly to the Fox Sports show Eddie broadcasts on. She appreciated his perspective, his humor and his good nature. She would even call in regulalry - and Eddie NEVER remembered her calls.

It wasn't until years later that they met at a coworkers bday party and began a friendship. They overcame their differences of allegiance - her to the Chargers and him to the Steelers and found themselves moving towards more than friendship. Eddie realized he wasn't going to see this relationship turn into something more serious until he took another look at this Christian stuff Karen was in to. He started coming to Saddleback but still had a lot of doubts. He didn't want to compromise his beliefs and so he started asking questions - this is where I got to start meeting with him regularly to process through his great questions.

Eddie eventually came to Christ at Saddleback Church last year. He was baptized a few months later and popped the question to Karen at a romantic setting - Qualcomm Stadium, Denver vs. San Diego, Monday Night Football. Over the past year they have been a key couple at our new church. He now has been leading our small group, serves in the traffic ministry at Saddleback Irvine and serves alongside Karen in a ton of other ways. We are so happy for them and loved being a part of their story together.

To top things off, Jeannie Wilson (extended family) did the wedding shoot so she took these pictures of us!

Interesting Poem


We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before during
and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
You can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha
Mohammed and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same,
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes The Nothing
because when you ask the dead what happens
they say Nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between
warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth
that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds.

Steve Turner


Good Times with McFaddens, Grammy and Baby Shower #73

Kelly, a very calm Autumn and Mike "Ferris" McFadden (the guy who sent an awful pict of Autumn in a Bronco uni)... stopping in while out from Denver (yes, ironically the Eakins were here and from Denver as well - good memory people!)

"Grammy", Autumn and Joy ready for shower #73...

Thank you Lord, she slumbers... and so do I.

Yahoo - thanks Denise and McFads (Correction - THIS ONE IS from McFads, Denise's arrived in the mail! Sorry - thanks to both!). And to the Garcias, whose PINK version is also a HIT. The McFaddens atoned for their Bronco prank by getting us a THIRD Cowboy outfit. Too bad they (the Cowboys) are horrible right now. Thanks everyone!

Good Times


Autumn Top Ten Update

We Love Autumn more and more! Here is her Top Ten Update
  1. Joy and I have also fallen in love with the baby video monitor - set it up tonight. Brilliant.
  2. Autumn's acne is subsiding - now she will be cute to everyone else as well:).
  3. I have also noticed I am watching baby gear commercials with surprising interest like diaper fit technology and such.
  4. I may accidently kiss her right (facial) cheek off if I am not careful.
  5. "Grammy" (Joy's Mom) has discovered Autumn's ability to stand with someone else balancing her.
  6. Joy is a natural at being a fantastic momma.
  7. You are all ridiculously generous - friends, family and church family... meals are still coming this week from church. How can we keep this going until Christmas?
  8. Autumn's #3 ranked favorite spot is being held while me or Joy bounce on the blue yoga ball.
  9. Her perch retains the #2 most desirable location after three weeks ( #1 Mommy).
  10. At 3 weeks old, she has more christmas outfits than I have cowboy paraphenalia.


Prop 8 - What Should I Be Considering?

I am writing this as Erin (and not Joy - not that she disagrees with me, just that she didn't write this, I did).

I am sure you have been thinking a lot about what to vote for on Prop 8. Why are you voting the way you are?

  • May we dialogue with civility?
  • What do YOU THINK about Prop 8?
  • Is Yes on Prop 8 fair or not (and if so, based on what reasoning?)

I know this is an emotional and divisive issue for many and at the risk of being written off immediately due to my profession (licensed pastor), this isn't about attacking the homosexual lifestyle. Anyone who really understands the teachings of the Gospel, knows that hating people is not part of it. The love of God and neighbor is the greatest commandment - this includes people from all walks of life, religion, socio - economic backgrounds and sexual preferences.

I honestly haven't looked at much of the material out there on this issue... I just know the basics and I wanted to share my thoughts as I long to hear yours. I am not arguing for people to change their lifestyle here, I am simply questioning the deconstruction of a traditional marriage definition in the California State Constitution to allow for same sex marriages.

I also understand that this is a deeply emotional issue, and for some are who have placed hopes in being viewed by society as "legalized couples" - this is paramount on their list of "social injustices". Some well-meaning heterosexual people out there maybe even think it "would be the right thing to do" to let the State of California allow the changes to the definition of marriage to include same-sex (meaning No on 8). The tv ads have been pretty good, like most ads, tugging at the emotions, inciting fear or anger...

...but what should I be considering here?

Here is a quote off the NO on Prop 8 website, whose banner reads "Unfair. Wrong." - how so?

“Proposition 8… would eliminate the fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marrytraditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment – by definition relegates them and their relationship to second class status.”
- Los Angeles Times Editorial, August 8, 2008

Please, bear with me, this sounds persuasive but is the logic behind it?


Question on "fundamental right"
and "right to marry"
Where does that fundamental right come from? A group of lawmakers, scientists, the majority of a society?
To those lobbying for it? Can someone tell me what we all should be fundamentally basing this decision on - it sounds like some sort of an absolute truth or something.

Question on "traditionally"
and "same sex marriage"
How ironic that he is using tradition as a logical basis for establishing recognition among society. What is the traditional definition of marriage ... is same-sex part of that vocabulary, practice and do we have good historical, biological and religous evidence to shape that tradition (I think so generally speaking- see below).


Some thoughts on "fundamental rights" and "right to marry":
This quote from the LA Times presupposes that we all know what FUNDAMENTAL VALUE is being talked about here and WHO decides what is FUNDAMENTAL. In other words, the writer is assuming we all know as a society the moral or ethical foundation of truth we can all go back to and agree upon. Or does he?

WHO determines what is FUNDAMENTAL? Well, without making this a ten page paper, I would say it is hard to have a FUNDAMENTAL (an absolute truth we can all hang our hats on) without a transcendent being (i.e. God. And my biased fundamental) providing the basis for it. Love, justice, beauty, sexuality - think about it, where does those defintions come from originally - chemicals firing in an evolutionary morass at the beginning of time?. Without God (or a god) in ones worldview, one has to have another FUNDAMENTAL to begin with that comes from OUTSIDE oneself.

Does government or society determine the type of FUNDAMENTALS the writer is talking about (there are some good examples but also really bad ones... wait, did I just make a moral judgement on what is good and bad? Think Naziism, Stalinism, Rwandan genocide. Why does the rest of humanity condemn such atrocity)? Sounds good but, take it one step further, is there something beyond society because maybe it TRANSCENDS society? If you say SOCIETY determines that FUNDAMENTAL (such as values like... love your neighbor, same-sex marriage or rape is wrong), then WHICH SOCIETY? And WHO determines that?

Do we notice the slippery slope? I understand not everyone is a believer in God of some kind, let alone a Christian, but to hear these arguments that say No to Prop 8 using ethical language (like fundamental right) begs me to challenge the basis for it. There is probably a lot more to say here but I will leave this here for now (see RZIM, Ravi Zacharias for more on this line of reasoning).

Some thoughts on "traditionally" and "same-sex marriage":
I think it makes sense to retain the terminology of "civil union" for those who want to make a commitment to live a homosexual lifestyle together with a partner but to change the definition of marriage is where the line must be drawn. (Some of these are from Rick Warren's News & Views)
  1. Why are we going to change the definition for marriage for 2% of the population in North America?
  2. Why are we going to change the definition of marriage when all major religions though out history have stated it was between a man and a woman?
  3. Why is there a need to change it now after 5000 years of human existence?
  4. How would humanity have multiplied to the 6 billion people on earth today without the understanding that marriage was between a man and a woman?

My point is this (all-caps below for emphasis not anger):


  • IT (Yes on 8) IS NOT UNFAIR because FAIR would IMPLY AN INJUSTICE based on a FUNDAMENTAL DEFINITION of what marriage is SUPPOSED TO BE.


  • I AM VOTING YES on 8

What does this mean for how I treat my family, friends and neighbors that are homosexual?
  • I lovingly disagree with changing the definition of marriage but I still love my family, friends and neighbors.
  • If they desire to make a lifelong commitment to a same sex partner at a civil union - I would not oppose that even though I would disagree with the lifestyle choice (I disagree with other lifestyle choices like not exercising or spending over $20 on a haircut).
  • If they ever want to talk about it personally with me, I would love that.
  • I still consider anyone gay, straight, bi, trans, "fill in the blank" inherently valuable to God, deeply loved by Him and will treat them with dignity, respect and love as I believe Jesus would.

This is not a term paper or a philosophy test so I have no illusion of being smart or that I have it all figured out. I am sure there are some significant holes in my thinking. Help me understand your perception.

Please share with me what you think and why you plan on voting the way you are.

Thanks for your consideration.

More beautiful and heart warming pictures of Autumn will return shortly.