Monday, September 29, 2008

What if...

I am having a good time reading the few blogs I look at each day. Today I read one written by the Jr. Hi. Pastor at our church. He took the time to point out that amidst the economic "crisis" we are experiencing we still have running water, electricity, over 95% of us have jobs, food and freedom and choice, etc. You should check out

It is absolutely true that we are rich beyond measure compared to much of the world we live in. But what if we lost access to our available cash tomorrow? Wait, let me phrase that better...What if YOU lost access to your available cash tomorrow? What if you could no longer purchase fuel for your vehicles? What if on Thursday your electricity, gas and water was shut off? What if men with guns began threatening your family regularly? What if your place of business shut it's doors tomorrow? What if grocery stores were looted and shelves were emptied? What if fire and rescue failed to perform their function in your city? What if the government began making decisions about things that you were accustom to deciding?

Maybe I'm alone, but I wonder about these things. Not because I think I deserve the vast richness that I enjoy as an American. I wonder because I am used to this life. I don't know what another type of existence is like. I only visited Mexico for a day. I only passed through a small portion of the Middle East. All is know is middle class West Coast America. I wonder what it would be like if all we are used were to go away.

I asked a friend what she thought about the House stopping the bailout today. Her immediate comment was "I don't worry about it. I've got God." Her response was quick and sure. She went on to say "I gave my finances over to him and said 'Good luck with this mess.'"

It is one thing to say I trust God with my finances. It's another thing to truly trust God with my finances and not worry about tomorrow. Now, I'll tell you I have made progress. I'm trusting more today than last year or 5 years ago, or 10 before that. However, I still have a long ways to go.

And just because we're Christians does't mean "What if..." couldn't happen to us. Right?

What do you think about when you wonder about the future of our country economically?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Rambling

Things happen to me.
I think they're funny and weird and probably not interesting. But the beauty of blogging is that I can write them anyway. Things like nearly dropping my medium Diet Dr. Pepper from Carl's Jr. but making an amazing catch. If only it was on video. Or standing at a "Don't Walk" sign, talking on my cell phone, totally missing the "walk" cycle. Or filling the Power Steering resevoir with Stop Leak Break Fluid or something like that. Or holding up the cell phone to my ear for about 2 min. before I realize that we had been disconnected when she said "just a minute." Or taking my Diet Dr. Pepper from yesterday and pouring it into my cup of Diet Dr. Pepper with ice, only to realize that the can I poured from was only water. I had finished the soda and refilled it with water, but I forgot.

If funny things like that have happened to you recently, tell me about them.

McCain has suspend his campaign to focus on financial crisis. Looks like Obama will do the same. Or will he? He almost has to. Can Democrats and Republicans truly work together? Is the government action regarding the crisis and their potential bailout just rewarding banks for bad lending, and borrowers for not paying them back? One of my friends thinks so and says "Heckuva system we've got."

Lindsay Lohan likes girls, or does she? Clay Aiken likes men, that is confirmed. Does that surprise you? I'm not upset by that. I'm upset by the fact that he had to try to hide for so long. I don't condone homosexuality. I also do not condone people treating others badly because of certain sins. Plenty of hurtful gossipers are accepted in the Church all the time without repercussions from their actions.

Did you know that at the K-2 Back to School Night the Principal had to ask parents to determine if their child really needed to bring a cell phone to school. Really? K-2? He said he saw a 2nd grader making a call as she got off the bus. Maybe she was calling her broker regarding her investments.

So, thats kinda random and I kinda rambled. If you read this, you should really make a short comment. It's nice to know. The other day I actually got a comment from someone I don't know from somewhere I've never been who actually liked something I said. If you don't like what I said you're welcome to comment too. This is America!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Make A Difference

I think everyone wants to make a difference. I think that desire begins sometime around 8th grade. That is the time one begins to see a bigger world than what is right in front of their nose. It’s when kids begin to think about careers, not because being a fireman looks cool, but because being a fireman will include me in saving others. It’s when kids realize they don’t want to live with mom and dad forever, not because it isn’t good there, but because they can someday have a family of their own to guide and mold and begin to set free.
By 11th grade, one’s focus shifts from the drama of fitting in to the drama of moving on. There are credits to gain. There are applications to complete. There are requirements to fulfill. There are decisions to ponder, savings accounts to build, paths to choose. At the core of these decisions is the desire to make a difference.

For some it is to make a difference in one’s own life. Maybe they want to be richer than their parents. Maybe they want more fame or prestige. But for many it is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Why else would someone choose to complete a teaching degree to teach in a private school rather than become a financial genius in a Fortune 500 company? Please don’t get me wrong. Financial guru’s can make an incredible difference but it’s often a very different process than a teacher in the trenches.

For many years I tried to make a difference in the lives of people. I taught school. I worked in church ministry. My profession involved trying to make a difference. However I missed making a difference in my own life. I neglected my own emotional well-being as well as the emotional well-being of the people closest to me. When I left those familiar professions I struggled with my own identity because it was so wrapped up in “what I did”. My emotional self and the emotions of those around me continued to suffer.

So now, in the 5th decade of my life, I have to make a difference in my own life. I am chin deep in looking at who I am and who I should be. I’m re-learning how to make a difference in the lives of those closest to me. I’m using music to make a difference in the lives of others in ways different from how I did before. Now, my music is being used to help charities impact others.

The hard part of this is that it’s the 5th decade of my life. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I wish I would have spent the right amount of energy when I was young making a difference in my own life. I wish I had built in the emotional and relational strength that truly went deep. I wish I had prepared the parts of me that really count rather than relying on my natural charisma and superficial strengths. So now I am re-thinking and re-learning, re-evaluating and re-focusing.

Why did I blog all of this? I guess just to put it out there that I’ve got a lot of growing to do. I’m giving it a shot. Maybe you have a lot of growing to do and needed to hear that you’re not alone. If you think you don’t have much growing to do, maybe you should look a little closer and check your own honesty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do you Google yourself?

I think it’s really strange to see what I have done in my life as I read Google.

-I never knew that I cared about this issue…DON HOFER: “We live in a state today that is in dire need of new housing.”
-I didn’t know I started a company…Don Hofer Construction company profile in Huron, SD.
-I can’t remember starting an account with the Rock Hill Bicycle Club…Don Hofer. Member. Real Name: Donald Hofer; Email: n/a; Account Created: May 4th 2006.
-I don’t even know what this means…Don Hofer" wrote: “The other day our Event Viewer stopped working…”
-I haven’t been Vice President of anything that I recall…Vice President Don Hofer says the state needs such development.
-Apparently I’ve joined an artist colony with these folks…Elizabeth Gawronski, Johanna Hanks, Don Hofer. Marion Hylton, Ruth Ilg, Kate Lagaly, Tora Johnson.
-I’ve studied oil and watercolors with these people…Bill Haney, Bill Christ, Don Hofer, and Inez Gornall.
-I’ve guess I’ve been making people smile…"...Last month brought us the work of Don Hofer from Ludlow, VT, whose pen and ink prints of a variety of domestic and wild animals made us smile."
-And I don’t recall being a Superintendent…the board asked Beach Superintendent Don Hofer about the use of Old Silver Beach for the wedding.
-I’m just not that good with technology…Donald Hofer IBM Research Division

It is fun to see the real me out there in cyberspace.

Just one voice
About Me. Don Hofer: husband, father, conductor, slowly on The Path, newly converted blogger, not sure why anyone will care. View my complete profile - 62k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Don Hofer Facebook
This is Don Hofer's public search listing on Facebook. Don's friends can view photos, videos and more. Everyone can join - 19k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Voices of Hope Choir About Us
Don and Jill Hofer have a story to tell. It is not a story they chose on their own, however it is now theirs to tell: It is a story of how Grace and Hope is - 56k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

California’s Crimson River Quartet Celebrates 10th Anniversary ...
That group, Mission Viejo, CA based Crimson River Quartet, will celebrate ... Joining them will be current member Don Hofer, plus past members Tom Moore, - 23k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Monday, September 15, 2008

Peace In The Midst of The Storm?!

I think the economy is in a very bad way. Today we saw Lehman Brothers file Chapter 11 and Merrill Lynch sold to Bank of America. AIG is in trouble. This is territory that I have never had to even think about before. The Economist I am listening to is saying “…America is broke…”

Today someone I know went to his bank and took out most of his money, which is a small drop in a very large bucket, but he did so none the less. The reason was rumors of the bank closing as soon as tomorrow. Rumors were substantiated by the board member of a large credit union. Several others who were consulted suggested the way of safety.

My friend isn’t rich. But everything he has was in this one institution. He had no liquid cash savings available for immediate use. It was all in the bank. He didn’t close his accounts, but took most of what he had, out.

My other friend isn’t rich either. But she had College Savings funds in that bank as well as her regular checking and savings. She actually closed her accounts and liquefied everything. She was very freaked out about the rumors of closure.

What I am wondering in all this is the FDIC Insurance on deposits up to $100,000. But how quickly can the Feds get us cash if our financial institution were to close its doors tomorrow. You and I have bills that are due Thursday or Friday or Monday. If your bank is locked, how will those bills get paid? I believe the government assistance would take weeks at the least and months is probably more realistic.

Insiders at the branch told my friends that she has her money there and isn’t moving it. She said she would be worried about losing her job. Yet she also said that she would have nearly as late a notice as any of the clients. One bank employee told my friend he hadn’t even heard the rumors.

Well, in another town in Oregon, over 50 people were lined up pulling their money. The bank had to issue cashier’s check because they ran out of cash. My friend said there was no line at her branch.

This should be an interesting week. I wonder if I can trust God more in the midst of the storm?

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My friend just shared a moving tribute as she remembered the 1 year anniversary of her Grandfather's passing. It prompted me to remember my own Grandpa. He passed away in 2004, and I still think about him often. I had the priviledge of conducting his funeral service. It was amazing to prepare and share stories about his life. He was one of my closest friends. But that is a topic for another blog, probably in October. Today's story takes place months after his funeral, from my first visit to his grave since his burial.
Grandpa Hofer, my dad and I grew up in Central California, about 30 miles south of Fresno. Grandpa was born in his father's farmhouse and lived his entire life within miles of the homestead. It was his Grandfather, I believe, that started the little country church. It was the cemetary that was first installed out of necessity before the sanctuary was even built. My Grandpa laid his parents to rest here as well as he and Grandma's first child. I remember as a young boy peering at this cemetary after church and sometimes even walking in to find the tombstone of the aunt I never knew.

So in this small, rural cemetary, the graves are dug by hand. The sandy soil is too soft to get heavy equipment in. It is carefully dug and a mound of sand is left near the gravesite to be replaced after the mourners have gone. Someone comes in later and fills the sand back in. Due to the sandy soil there are few weeds. The flat ground is marked only by markers placed by family members and occasional flowers left by visitors. When I left the cemetary that October day of Grandpa's funeral, his was still an open grave. I don't recall if his casket had even yet been lowered into the grave. However, I knew that there were others in charge taking care of the finality of his resting place.

My next visit home wasn't until the next summer. If you've never been to Central California in the Summer, it can get hot. Temperatures often reach 100 +. I believe that was the case on this day. One of the things I needed to do that day was visit my Grandpa's grave. I didn't know I would feel the need to do that as strongly as I felt. I knew that is marker had been placed, although not all that long before my visit. I was a little bothered by that, but there were reasons. It wasn't a big deal. It was there now and I wanted to see it. And I wanted to honor his memory and spend some time remembering him.I went alone. This was something for my own personal journey.
I arrived to find a nice fence around the cemetary. A nice improvement over the chain link of the past. As I walked through the gate I looked across the sand and tombstones and could not believe my eyes. There was still a mound where the hole had been. His gravesite was not flat like those around it. I imagined the men had lowered the casket into the grave, used the pile of sand to fill the hole, placed all of the remaining sand on top of the grave and nobody ever returned to flatten out his final resting place to make it look like the rest of the cemetary. I was devistated and angry. Are you kidding me? My Grandpa's gravesite has not been cared for? I was furrious. It felt like he had been dishonored.
I raced back to the farm. One can drive very fast on the country roads. I think the 2 miles to the farm took me about 30 seconds. I pulled up to the barn, grabbed a shovel and rake, threw them into my car and raced back to the cemetary. And on that 100+ degree day I began to shovel sand and throw it to the edge of the cemetary near the fence. And it was a lot of sand. The center of the pile was probably 8 - 10 inches tall the entire length of the gravesite, tapering off to the sides.
I worked hard that day. My Grandpa deserved his final resting place to look finished and well cared for, just like the field he and my dad had worked for so many years before. What did other visitors think of how it looked until now? I worked until that pile of sand was gone, scattered around the perimeter of the cemetary and the site was raked flat. I worked off my displeasure. I did it to honor his memory. I did it so nobody else would have to. And I told no one.
No one until we got to Jill's dad's a few days later. I told him all about arriving and being horrified by the unkept grave. I told him how I sped home, returned with a shovel, broke my back flattening out the mound. And then I noticed the look on his face. It wasn't the look of pleasure that I had done a noble thing. As if his look wasn't enough I then heard the words "Oh, Don..." The horror I felt arriving at the cemetary was now overshadowed by the horror I began to feel as Jill's dad proceeded to tell me how little country cemetary graves work. Apparently, once the grave is filled in, time and weather take it's toll. When sand absorbs rain it becomes heavier. The weight of the wet sand compresses the sand below it, sometimes even collapsing the casket below. So, to compensate for the compression that will take place over the first year or two, A MOUND IS LEFT ON THE GRAVESITE and as the ground settles it flattens out.
Horror. What had I done? Now, instead of a nice, flat, respectable looking gravesite, Grandpa's will have a cave in and will look horrible. Someone will have to find sand and fill in the holes, continue to come back time and time again to fill holes as the ground compresses. Someone's going to be upset.
Well, I don't know what you would do from 300 miles away. I called my brother, asked him to call the cemetary caretaker, ask some question, check from time to time and see how it looks and take care of it. And yes, about a year ago I told my dad what I did to Grandpa's grave. Oops!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Flying High and Flying Free

I have experienced what relatively few parents experience in their lifetime. A the age of 41 I was able to ride in an airplane that was being flown by my 13 year old son. Before you get to be too impressed you need to know that he has had no lessons and I'm not sure what all the pilot was doing to help, but I know Jordan's hands were the only hands on the wheel for a good, long time.
That experience brings to the forefront of my mind the fact that as a parent one of my greatest desires is to see my kids soar - to see them fly high and fly free. There is nothing like watching my daughter, now an upperclassman relate to other students, instructors, adults, everyone around her. There is nothing like listening to her ideas, hopes and dreams and wanting her to soar. There is nothing like taking a teachable moment and reminding her that "you have what it takes."
I'm seeing the same things in my so, in his last year of middle school. His mind and heart is conflicted as to whether he is a kid or a teen and his actions are conflicted as to whether to act as a kid or a teen. (Yes, there is a difference.) He's been a WEB Leader (Welcome EveryBody) at his school, showing 6th graders the ropes. He's also expressed his desire to get all A's this year. And I've got to take the teachable moments to fill his mind with the fact that "he has what it takes."
Grace already knows she has what it takes. At least it appears she does. She rode her bike about 6 miles today with Jill and Jordan, doing as well or better than Jill, so I'm told. Yes, I was home on the couch. lol. When do the experiences come that eat away at the passion in a child's heart and mind that steals the notion that "she has what it takes." May it never be lost!
So, on I go. Plodding through life, trying to make my way. Still I wonder "do I have what it takes?" I know I still have a lot of changing to do. I know I still have a lot of wisdom to gain. I know I still have a lot of challenges to face. Yet, at this moment in my life, what I really desire is to watch my kids fly high and fly free. Each of them are at different stages of flight, but each of them are on their way.
Oh, by the way, as Jill and Grace and I sat in the back of the plane Jordan gave up the co-pilot seat to Ashley. In the dark of night, Ashley lined up the plane for the runway and had her hands on the wheel as the plane landed. Grace begged to fly it herself. My guess is she would have demanded to control the throttle as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Proof Reading and other bits of stuff

I never proof read. It always embarasses me. Never did rough drafts in school. Didn't want to waste the time. "Don't let homework interferre with your social life." That was my college mantra. So laugh at me all you want. Wonder how I got a Master's Degree. Believe me, so do I...every day.
This campaign better become about issues soon. McCain is the candidate. It's just about time to move on. I wonder what Abe Lincoln thinks about the Convention. Did you see him there?
If you haven't sung in the Sunset Choir, you really should think about it. The music selections are great. The director is hot.
Am I supposed to be numbering these?
Don't you hate when ideas and concepts you are questioning are later confirmed by someone else who had no idea you were already considering those ideas and concepts.
Do you always use "?'s" and ".'s" in the right place?.
This is not at all interesting like Tyler's lists in his blog. (But maybe you are laughing.)
It is always enjoyable to have someone around you who is excited about the same things as you are. Tom Davis is my new friend. I'm learning to know him more because he decided to join Voices of Hope Choir. He's got to be as excited about the group as I am. It is likely for different reasons, but it is inspiring. You know, leaders need to be inspired too. Yes, one of their roles is to inspire, but we need to remember that leaders need to be lifted up, encourged, valued and that valued expressed to them. Are you giving enough "at a boy's?"
I hope you comment on the blogs you read. I hear the writers like that. Even if it's a few words.
By the way, I didn't proof this blog.