Friday, November 28, 2008

The Lord of The Rings/This Is My Father's World

"Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadow lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring the all in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadow lie."
(from The Lord of the Rings)

Around Thanksgiving I get the urge to watch The Lord of The Rings Trilogy. So we got out The Fellowship of The Ring last night. I love that movie and find so many deep thoughts and concepts to chew on.

Today I caught a few of the “extras” and found out that J.R.R. Tolkien disliked the use of allegory. "As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical... I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.” However the reader, or in this case the observer can interpret or apply meaning to what is seen. And I have had a haunting sense from what I’ve heard throughout the movie in it’s musical theme.

Maybe you have noticed it, the haunting melody with varying harmonies; “This is my Father’s World…” You can find some audio examples and some comments of similarities between this hymn and the Shire Theme at the following website:
It is stated on the site, “This is My Father's World…is hymn 111 (Eleventy-one) in the United Methodist Hymnal. He writes, "If you think about it, he is quite clever really. Bilbo's is at the heart of the Shire. It is through Bilbo that we are first introduced to the Shire. And he is about to celebrate his 111th birthday." I don't know if this is deliberate on Shore's part, but it makes for great serendipity if not.”

Here are the lyrics to the hymn by Maltbie D. Babcock.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!God reigns; let the earth be glad!

This is my Father's world, dreaming, I see His face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, "The Lord is in this place."
This is my Father's world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son, Came - a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father's world, should my heart be ever sad?
The Lord is King - let the heavens ring. God reigns - let the earth be glad.
This is my Father's world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father's world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father's world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate'er my lot, it matters not,My heart is still at home.

The first 3 stanzas are what are typically sung and so many of the lines resonate with the story of Frodo and his band of characters as they travel and face the challenges of good and evil. I can’t help but allow the lyric “This is my Father’s world…” to resonate in my mind as I watch the film. I would challenge you to do the same and see what types of thoughts and feelings are arisen as a result.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Divine Appointment #1

First let me say thank you to you blog readers, especially to my special friends and family who leave comments. It's a lesson to me that I should comment more.

So, most know that I am an Associate Insurance Agent for Nationwide
(is on your side). Through a series of events completely out of my control, my compensation package recently changed. I am no longer receiving the base along with my commission. However, my commission percentage has increased. I had an idea how it would impact my income but didn't now forsure. My first pay check ended up being my 2nd largest since I started at the agency nearly 3 years ago. Unfortunately my next pay check was about the 6th lowest since I started. I'm not sure what my next check will be. I do know that the last 3 weeks have been very bad for sales and I'm nervous.

Now our Agent/Owner has some plans to build the business. We are moving our office from retail space to office space. He gave us a book by a top producing Farmers agent about successfully growing an agency. As I began reading I found out that this agent is from Visalia, a town just miles from where I grew up. So with a desire to learn and grow in my business I looked at this author's website and e-mailed him to let him know I would be in town and to see if I could spend 15 minutes with him to gain some knowledge from him.

To my surprise I got a call from him on my cell. He would be in town and would have his secretary add me to his calendar. I hung up and turned to my boss and said "That was Troy Korsgaden..." His jaw dropped.

So I met with him at his 3rd story private family apartment in downtown Visalia. After giving me a short tour and showing me pictures of his family we sat down and he shared with me the key to being successful in this business and how to retool the way I work to accomplish my goals. He said "This crap sells itself." He told me I have to talk to 10 people every day and set 4 appointments every day. I don't have to sell them anything. In fact, many of my appointments will include me saying "I'm not here to sell you anything..."

After my 30 minute meeting and a short tour of the first and second floors of his building, a restaurant and nightclub he owns called Crawdaddy's, I left feeling energized and excited to get back to work. And now I'm working differently, trying to work smarter, developing a list of people to contact and beginning a new attitude of growth. Oh, I sold a fair amount this week, even though it was only 3 days long.

So if you would be willing to introduce me to your friends, I promise to build a relationship with them before I ask them to buy anything. But when they think insurance I want them to think Don Hofer.

And when I think Insurance, I'm thinking "Divine Appointment."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Divine Appointments

This past weekend I went to my home town of Dinuba, CA. My purpose was to visit my Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma was recently moved into a Convelesent Home. I wanted to make sure she was doing OK and being well taken care of. She is very happy and doing very well. It was wonderful to see them.

But come to find out that was NOT the reason that I was to go home. I had 3 "Divine Appointments" plus some much needed R & R. One of them is a bit to private to share. One is in regards to my career in insurance. One is in regards to my personal journey. So in the coming days I'll tell you more about these "Divine Appointments."
As to the R&R...I got to see the Gaither Concert in Fresno. My favorites, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound was on the program, as was The Gaither Vocal Band, Janet Pascal, Russ Taff and others. My Uncle and Aunt drove my mom and dad and the rest in one of their Limos. Nice way to travel to an evening on the town. I also got to drive my dad's 1986 Corvette. I have never driven such a car. Amazing. A nice way to travel when your need is to go from 0 to 100 in only a few seconds. I ate great Italian food at our favorite spot, DiCicco's. I visited Bass Lake, a wonderful resort spot between Fresno and Yosemite. I saw my brother and his wonderful wife. She was a great "date" to the concert since my brother was out of town. Pamela and Daniel were fun to see. It's great to see how they have grown. I got to visit my sister's new home in Visalia and had a great time with her and her husband. I was blessed to celebrate my niece's 3rd birthday. Haley is a beauty. Her brother Alan schooled me on Wii. I treated my mom to a birthday lunch. I watched some football. I took a nap and had a Thanksgiving Turkey dinner almost a week early.
Since so few read my blog I figure most don't care. But it's still fun to write about that stuff. I hope you will be blessed in the next few days as I share some neat events and let you see what God did over that weekend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

“Dad, I know 2 boys are in love with me.” “How
do you know?” I asked. “Josh and JD told me.” That was the beginning of the first of many conversations between my 7 year old princess and me this week. I wish I remembered all of the stories like this one relating to my oldest daughter from years gone by. They are all cute to remember and even cuter when they happened. We all have stories like those from our growing up years. I was “engaged” in Kindergarten. I bet you spent hours chasing your “crush” around the playground or the church lawn.

We have decided to be “counter culture” when it comes to dating and relationships. The culture says it’s OK to date anyone starting at 6 or 7th grade, maybe earlier. Many will give their hearts away over and over again before they actually solidify the relationship with marriage. The physical acts of love have been made a “rite of passage” for some and reduced to a “benefit” of friendship for others. I don’t need to repeat the statistics, because they are probably more shocking than what is reported.

We are training our daughters that Daddy is the only man in their life. When it is time to choose a man to give their heart to, Daddy and Daughter will choose him together. One-on-one, exclusive dating leads to the releasing of the heart before one is fully prepared for the consequences of that and is not healthy or necessary for H.S. teens, or 7 year olds for that matter. I did say “counter culture”. We also teach that the feelings of “crush” are normal and natural. Acting on them only leads to unnecessary heartache and as parents, we can protect our teens from that heartache by teaching them that there is a better way than one-on-one, exclusive dating in H.S. The conversation about these principles are as important as the application of them, in my opinion. I believe my teen is thinking more deeply about love and infatuation than most teens her age.

There is so much more I could write about this topic. We are navigating the waters of group activities involving “the crush”. We bought a Prom Dress and were prepared for that event should it happen. We field questions and hear stories almost daily and pray even more than that. And some day she will bring a boy home whom we will have impressions about, make judgments about, and surely deem unworthy of our daughter’s affections. Then one of those boys will persuade me to give my blessing, thus the process of choosing together.

Lest you think us sexist, the same standards apply to our son. That’s a whole other lesson in going “counter culture”.

And when they start knocking at our door, they will find an application in our foyer with questions like these:

In 50 words or less, what does 'LATE' mean to you?

In 50 words or less, what does 'DON'T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER' mean to you?

What do you want to do IF you grow up?

Complete these statements:

A woman's place is in the… T

he one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is…


Thank you for your interest, and it had better be genuine and non-sexual.Please allow four to six years for processing.You will be contacted in writing if you are approved. Please do not try to call or write (since you probably can't, and it would cause you injury). If your application is rejected, you will be notified by three gentleman wearing white ties carrying violin cases. (you might watch your back)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

in a Benefit for

Christmas Concert 2008
Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 7:00 pm
Portland First Nazarene Church
6100 SW Raab Rd., Portland, OR 97221 503-297-6100
Special Guest

Kari Virding
Miss Oregon 2007

Admission is FREE!
Donations to be received to benefit The House of Ruth & Voices of Hope Choir.

For more information, contact or
or phone 503.347.3576.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Small World Connections

Yes, it's been nearly a month since I posted. However I've noticed that a lot of the other bloggers have slowed their blogging as well. Maybe it's a passing fad.

Tonight I talked to someone I've known casually for several months. I heard his "small world" story about how he met his wife, whom he found out grew up less than a mile from a home he lived as a child. The world got smaller when that town was 20 min. from the town I grew up in.

So maybe there is a small world story between you and I. Lets see...I grew up in Dinuba, CA.
Went to school at Wilson School, Grand View Elementary and Washington Jr. Hi.

Spent about 1 week a summer for about 12 years at Hartland Christian Camp.

In addition to church camp, my family enjoyed camping at Shaver Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I was fortunate to attend Immanuel High School in Reedley where I had great friends, a quality education and discovered a love for choral music. So I pursued a Music Education and Music Theory degree at Azusa Pacific University
in Southern California. There I received an outstanding education in the field of Choral Conducting. I also met my wife, Jill Klassen, with whom I share another amazing "small world" story, which I'll wait and blog about another time. I remained a student at Azusa Pacific University from 1985 until Dec. 1994. In that time, in addition to my B.A., I received my Single Subject Credential in Music and my M.A. in Music with an emphasis in Conducting.
During my senior year of college I served at Montebello First Baptist Church as their music director. this was my first job outside of working on the farm that I grew up on.

The summer of 1989 I worked a second job, part time, at Wynn Oil to earn money for our upcoming marriage and honeymoon. I also began a 10 year career as Worship Pastor at Whittier Hills Baptist Church. We made our first home in Azusa, then moved to La Mirada, then Whittier and finally landing in La Habra before leaving Southern California in 2005.
In 1989 I did a semester of student teaching at Nogalas High in La Puente and then took a position at Western Christian High School in Covina as the Choral Music Director, where I taught for 5 years.

Upon leaving Church work in 1999 I worked at Rose Hills Memorial Park. This started a stint of several job changes. I worked for American Uniframe and then Superior Building Products where I sold Screen Doors.
It will be interesting to see if any of you find "small world" connections with anything I have shared in this post.
Until I'm inspired again...Goodnight.