How About This Weather?
The weather in California this Spring has been downright odd again this year as it has been elsewhere in the U.S. but that's another matter. As I type this there is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning in California's Gold Country and it's not for monsoonal moisture but from Gulf of Alaska moisture such as one would expect to see during the Winter into Early Spring. Not too far away in the Lake Isabella area there was a series of brush fires today. Go figure! This follows multiple episodes of tornadoes and hail and other severe thunderstorm activity in the Sacramento Valley in recent weeks. We are in a waning La Nina pattern but there continue to be lingering effects from it and there are other patterns at work including the Pacific Decadal Oscillation of which we are in the negative phase of that one.
Arizona has seen all it's largest fires in its history just in the last ten years which is remarkable when one considers that firefighting technologies and tactics are the best they have ever been. Something has fundamentally changed as these fire do not relate to population growth into fire-prone areas as the areas that have burned have been mostly in wildland areas of the state with fortunately limited interface zones interfacing with these fires. One of these days a crown fire in ponderosa pine forest will sweep into a populated area like Flagstaff and a catastrophe will ensure but thus far society had dodged a bullet in regards to casualties and anything more than the several hundred burned homes from fires like the Rodeo-Chedeski Fire in 2002 (468,638 acres and 400 homes burned), Cave Creek Complex in 2005 (243,950 acres burned), and the Aspen Fire in 2003 (84,750 and 340 homes and businesses burned).
Now Arizona faces a new and unprecedented phenomenon with two historic fires burning simultaneously as opposed to in separate years. To the north the Wallow Fire is 0% contained after burning 144,000 acres with running crown fires, long-range spotting and pyrocumulus clouds building up to 30,000 feet high over the fire. To the south the Horseshoe 2 Fire is 55% contained after burning 100,200 acres. This makes the Wallow Fire the 3rd largest fire in Arizona history at present and the Horseshoe 2 Fire the 4th largest fire in Arizona history at present.
The Lord Works In Mysterious (and Often Complex) Ways
In early 2010 shortly after moving to Paso Robles from Atascadero I had to sell my Fisher & Paykel washer and dryer set as I neither needed them in a place with access to its own washer and dryer nor did I have the space in which to store them. I sold them to a person who turned out to be Chris Swanson, pastor of Harvest Bible Church. At the time of the purchase Pastor Swanson invited me to his church which is located three blocks away from my house and I had walked passed it before and contemplated visiting it as I was in search of a church home at the time. I did attend it on numerous occasions thereafter but could not make it my church home as it meets early Saturday evenings which often conflicts with my work schedule. The reason they have been meeting at that time is because they have been conducting their church operations in rented space on the grounds of First Baptist Church which conducts worship services on Sunday mornings meaning Harvest must work around that and worship on Saturday evenings. Given my inability to consistently attend Harvest I made my primary church home at North County Christian Fellowship while Harvest became my secondary church home.
Pastor Swanson is now leaving Harvest and moving to North Carolina to work for Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse. He has sold a car he and his wife Mara owned to a childhood friend of mine (and Sister-in-Christ) who is an essential volunteer at Harvest. Last year she received the free gift of a used car donated to Harvest and now she needed to get rid of it in light of her purchase of the Swanson automobile. She asked Pastor Swanson what she should do with the car given to her and he told her to "pay it forward".
During the time frame this was happening I posted on my Facebook "wall" a "cry for help" for an affordable car that was able to run right now with affordable being defined in my comment as between one and two grand. For many months I had been seeking the Lord's help on the matter of how to replace my aging and terminally ill 1994 Chevy S-10 4WD pickup as I had over the course of the past year come to accept that it was not worth fixing my old friend of the past 17 years. The only affordable autos in my price range all appeared to be money pits or complete jalopies. I felt a rising sense of urgency and despair as to what to do and inwardly cried out to God to provide for me a solution. I did so with the utmost faith that He not only could but would help but I wondered how far He would take me to the edge before help arrived as He is oft wont to do that to teach us faith and patience and to make us stronger. The very night of my public appeal for help the aforementioned childhood friend/Sister-in-Christ contacted me by phone and offered me the car as God led her to do it and she knew it was what she was to do with the car the moment she read my appeal. By the end of our phone conversation I knew just as certainly as she did that I was to take this generous gift from both God and my friend and indirectly Pastor Swanson and Harvest Bible Church.
Speaking of That God Thing
Last evening after Pastor Swanson's final sermon and farewell assembly at Harvest Bible Church my childhood friend/Sister-in-Christ took possession of her new car purchased from the Swanson's and I took possession of her 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue that God gave Harvest and then her and now me.
Tomorrow I will get this car smogged and new brakes installed and an electrical issue dealt with as well as an oil change and any other issues that come up including tires as they look like they are getting down there but hopefully have some more life in them. I hope to keep all of this under $400 but we'll see, especially if this car does not pass smog or needs new tires. This car did pass smog on the first try last August so I have hope it will this time. After that I will need to go into the DMV office and get the registration squared away and pay some more money and then go down to my auto insurance agent and pay whatever increase in my premium that will occur if any at all. I hope all of this adds no more than an additional $400.
As I shared with you here recently I have lately installed a small pond in my small backyard. Below is a photo of it I shot today.
The yard around it is barren other than for three small trees. In this space I will be planting an herb garden as I previously mentioned. However, this yard has had the dirt from the margins moved towards the center and dirt from a project in an adjacent yard on the same property was deposited onto this space. Consequently, this yard area is now elevated from the surrounding terrain and needs to be bordered off with some sort of retaining construct. I had been in a quandary as to what to use given my budget. Then I noticed yesterday in mom's backyard is a large stack of old eucalyptus tree logs that will never be burned in her fireplace which would make a perfect and funky-looking retaining wall-like structure and boundary for my little backyard area in which the pond now resides.