Sunday, September 26, 2010

50th Anniversary Celebration

We had a 50th anniversary celebration of our church's founding today. Paradise Valley United Methodist Church has a beautiful campus on the East side of Camelback mountain. 50 years ago it was not much ... just a patch in the desert but today it sits on a few acres off Lincoln Boulevard and is quite picturesque. Our church has such a wonderful mission statement: "Creating Community in a Diverse World by Manifesting God's Love Through Action" ... and today was all about community. Lots of music and food all in a 50's theme. While most of our community building is outside of the church walls today was an opportunity to celebrate within our church community. In this picture Fran is wearing her poodle skirt and just about to set off dancing with her friend Karen to 50's music. Jim and I wisely moved to the side as the girls danced something that looked like the Boogie.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

August 26-30 2010 Visit to WDC

Fran and I went to visit Matt and Jessica in Washington DC in late August. We'll get to see Matt at Christmas time but this was our last time to see Jessica before their wedding on January 8th.

WDC is my all time favorite city and with Jessica's undergraduate degree in history and Matt's interest in history we made really good travel mates! In our short time there we were able to visit multiple historical sites and museums and restaurants. It was a very nice way for us to spend time with each other while learning quite a bit as well.

This photo of the four of us is from the back porch of George Washington's home in Mount Vernon overlooking the Potomac River. The home is in beautiful condition and is meticulously maintained. As we walked the home and the grounds you could get the sense of what life was like 200+ years ago.

The large front lawn (bowling green) is quite spectacular and Matt and Jessica are shown looking across the green towards the mansion. Below we are looking across the back lawn over the Potomac River. This must have been quite a sight and the home and location are a testimony to Washington's wealth and influence in the pre-revolutionary era.

After Mount Vernon we went to President Teddy Roosevelt's monument and then out to dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Potomac adjacent to the Kennedy Center.

The restaurant setting is quite nice and people are able to bring their boats right up to the pier ... a valet will dock their boats and they can step out for a very nice dinner. Unfortunately ... we forgot our dinner cruise boat and had to use the pedestrian mode of travel :-)

On Sunday Matt and I worked out at his LA Fitness ... that is about two times the size of any gym I have every seen! It was so well done ... but hardly anyone was there ... so Matt and I played some basketball and I was going to challenge him to a game of hoops till he hit about five in a row from five feet past the outer arc ... then I decided I would be better off challenging him to swimming :-)

After the workout we went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Extension at Dulles airport. I love this stuff! We saw many things including the Space Shuttle, the F-35 JSF that I helped Honeywell win some sub-systems on, the Concorde, the Blackbird, the F14 and many others. I even stopped and bought a book on the F14 signed by a Top Gun instructor and had it addressed to "Fly-Bo" as a gift to one of my swim friends. After the Smithsonian we went to the American History museum where we primarily focused on the dresses worn by the presidents wives and again on George Washington. Turns out this statue of George dedicated in 1832 was a little scandalous with his bare chest and elevating him to almost deity status ... they thought a lot of him back then! His left hand holds out a sword to the citizens signifying one of the most momentous events in the history of democracy ... a leader who almost single handedly kept our 13 colonies together and fought off the British during the revolution was giving up his leadership so that a country of the people could move on through democratic principles. Pretty inspiring symbolism.

On Monday Matt had to get back to work and Jessica started up her final year of school at Georgetown Law so Fran and I were on our own until the Supershuttle was to pick us up for the trip to Baltimore airport. While we were waiting I wanted to make a visit to the George Washington monument right near Matt and Jessica's apartment. George Washington along with many of our presidents was a member of an organization called "Masons" and as its most prominent member the erected a wonderful monument to him overlooking WDC. There is a lot of mystery about the Masons and a lot of myth but in my own experience I have found them to be quite a benevolent faith based organization (think Shriners Hospital for Children) who have done much good for our country over the last 250 years. Anyway, the monument is quite a national treasure but I suspect a little unknown by most people. If you have the chance I would definitely recommend a visit and learn about how Freemasonry has contributed to our country.