Two Great Speakers

We hadn’t known this before we booked our cruise, but one of the speakers for the week was our own former U.S. Senator Al Simpson.  We were thrilled to know he would be speaking throughout the week.  In addition, his close friend, Norman Mineta would be sharing the speaker’s platform.  Norman was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush, the only Democrat to hold office on his cabinet.  He was in this position on 9/11 and was the man who issued an order to ground all U.S. civilian aircraft, something that had never happened before.  He also worked on the implementation of the Transportation Security Administration department for airline safety. Here is an excellent video of Norman’s recollections of the events on 9/11.

We listened to all their speeches throughout the week and they were fascinating, funny at times and entertaining.

The story of how the two became best friends is amazing, and they took turns sharing the story with us.  Norman’s family had been detained at Heart Mountain–near Cody, Wyoming–one of the Japanese internment camps during World War II.  Al’s Boy Scout leader decided to take his troop of young boys out to the camp to play competitive games and camp-out together.  They ended up in the same tent and became fast friends for life, though one joined the Democratic party and the other joined the Republicans.  Maybe this is why Al was always so good at crossing party lines and working to compromise rather than hating the other side, something that is badly needed now.

We had met Al several times before, and he invited us to have lunch with them in the Palm Court; it was a special treat to sit with these two giants of the political world–men with integrity, kindness, intelligence and openness.  Their wives, Ann and Deni, are also about as kind and caring as anyone you could meet.

We asked a lot of questions about Washington and about 9/11, of course, and they willingly answered them all.  What an honor and privilege to dine with these special people!

Here are some photos from breakfast and from our dinner that evening.





Shoveling Leaves

It happens every year, like clockwork.  Miraculously, the Lord does two things at once:

  • Drops fruit off the tree for the deer to eat
  • Sweeps leaves into one big pile on our driveway (by His amazing breath of wind)

colorsimg_7873All that’s left for me to do is to get out my camera for photos and sweep the pile of leaves into the trash — easier said than done.  Sometimes he piles up the leaves more than once and I have to repeat the act on successive days. It certainly has been a gorgeous fall in our front yard though.

I discovered a couple years ago that the easiest way to sweep up a pile of leaves on my driveway is with a snow shovel.  Imagine that.  It works.  

So whose ready to shovel up all the political ads and pundits?  How about the phone calls and arguments?  Do you get tired of seeing your favorite candidates slammed and shamed?  Is anyone ready to sweep away divisions, resentments and criticisms?  Who needs to put aside anger, disappointment and anxiety?

When all is said and done, we each have our own dark leaves to put in the trash — whether judging others, lack of trust, resentment, bitterness or a controlling nature.  

As Christians, we need to come back together and stand for our most basic tenets: 

It was he who gave some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:11-15