Sep 09

Remembering 9/11


The following is part of my message the Sunday after eleven terrorists guided four planes and their passengers into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 others and shook our nation to its core. I believed then and I still believe that the events of 9/11 gave our nation a unique opportunity to turn to God in humility and faith. But, have we seized that opportunity?

…There is no making sense of this tragedy, but we can make their lives and their deaths meaningful.

If we walk away from this catastrophe without having learned anything, we would make this an even greater tragedy. We must not let their deaths mean nothing to us.

I hope this week has found you at times frozen from the busyness of project deadlines, soccer games, rushing from errand to errand. I hope you at times forgot all about the To-Do list that as you woke up Tuesday morning seemed so terribly important. I hope you used that pause in the hectic week to bow before the almighty God and confess your need of God.

If you did, then the sacrifice of so many had some good purpose. If not, what will it take?

If all this caused you to pause and reflect on the wonder of human life…then there is meaning in their deaths.

If this has caused you to hold your children closer…then there is meaning in their deaths

If this has caused you to bow your knee and confess your fear and pain to the Lord, and your dependence on God like never before…then there is meaning in their deaths.

Here is how we must respond.

We must respond as a nation:

We have been invited to a party we did not plan. It is a pity party of senseless misery, blame, hatred and violence and it has been going on for generations. Terrorists have invited the United States to join with them in a violent hatred that stops at nothing to get vengeance. We have been invited to dance with those who repay evil with worse evil.

But we must not join them. For if we do, we have lost and the enemy has won.

We must not give in to the powerful temptation to become the very likeness of the enemy we despise. We must not become blinded by hatred so that we strike out at those who are not our enemies.

As people across our nation scream out for somebody’s blood to run in the streets, we who follow the Prince of Peace, must instead urge our government to respond – not from rage, but out of a sense of justice. We must be assured that after we have responded, we will be better off.

Many will say: How can we do that? Terrorists will see us as weak.

It’s the hard reality. Sometimes justice is not ours. But there will be justice. Nineteen suicide terrorists are receiving justice right now.

Let us go to the weapon that is effective against terrorism: prayer.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
(and some in missiles and tanks – DWW)
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

Psalm 20:6-8

We must respond by seeking justice and mercy for victims of injustice no matter what country they are in.

The terror that hit our nation this week is nothing new to our world. But now terror has hit home. Let us make something good of this disaster.

Now that terror has hit home, we can empathize with and stand with the Christians in Sudan who are being driven from their homes and killed –genocide by their own government.

Now that terror has hit home, let us find it in our nation’s best interests to seek and demand the end of hostilities by both Israel and the Palestinians.

We must respond as Individuals:

We have an enemy of our soul. But the enemy cannot be defeated with bombs because our enemy is not sheltered in any country; it knows no boundaries.

Get right with God. When we stand before God, he will separate the sheep from the goats- not Americans from people of Arabic descent. Not good guys from the bad guys. But, those who have opened themselves up to Jesus Christ and those who will not.

You can experience peace, when the world all around is crumbling, because you know the one who loves you and has plans to prosper you.

Let us as individuals reach out in love – sharing the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Repay evil with good. Love your enemies.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24


From the message, “When Terror Hits Home,” Rev. Dave Weidlich, September 16, 2001, Cooper Mountain Presbyterian Fellowship, Aloha, Oregon.

Graphic by Keith L. Bell @kbellwether. Used by permission.

Aug 22

Kayaking Around Petaluma

Petaluma is at the northern tip of the San Fracisco Bay Area’s network of bays and estuaries.The Petaluma River is a tidal estuary that leads into the San Pablo Bay. I’ve often thought it would be great to take advantage of the many waterways and kayaking looked like the best way to experience the bay area. I can’t believe I didn’t start sooner, but at least now I’ve started. Kayaking has provided me with an inexpensive way to get out on the water for personal reflection, prayer and a little exercise mixed in. I can be part of God’s amazing creation without being too much of a nuisance to the fish, birds and plants.

It started when I took advantage of “A Day on the River,” hosted by Clavey Paddlesports. I tried SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard). It’s not for me. I’d rather sit down and relax. I tried a tandem kayak with Kimmy and a few solo kayaks. I loved the red Eddyline 14 footer with rudder. Of course, it was the most expensive – a few thousand dollars. Too big an investment for a sport I might not pursue. The experience gave me an idea of what I wanted to own.

My next kayaking venture was a July 4th morning tour of Tomales Bay, hosted by Clavey. They provided everything we needed and included some basic how-to-kayak instruction. The group of twelve doubled up into tandem kayaks and set out from Nick’s Cove, across the bay, around Hog Island and Duck Island and back, a four hour trip. It was low tide when we began so we paddled over some shallow water to begin with. In a grassy area, we saw dozens of bat rays swimming around and under our boats. We were told you can sometimes see leopard sharks there, but we didn’t see any that day. There were harbor seals sun bathing on Hog Island and swimming around it. We saw an osprey flying above and, of course, lots of sea gulls, pelicans, cormorants and other birds. I was hooked. kayaking Petaluma

I picked up a used 14′ kayak and paddle and was ready to go. Almost. I still needed a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and a way to get the kayak from my house to the water. My first trip out, I jammed everything into my van, but that didn’t work well, so I invested in a roof rack. Now I have what I need for occasional, recreational paddling.

I love getting out with the kayak. It’s good exercise that I can sustain for hours and I enjoy the peace of being out on the water. I’ve been out on the Petaluma River, the Estero Americano, Tomales Bay and Keys Creek. Soon, I’ll be taking a bio-luminescence tour of Tomales Bay. I’ll be sure to report on that.

Here are a few thoughts from my excursions for my own future reference and to help others who need a little more info than what’s already out there for kayaking in the North Bay Area (San Francisco, California).

Know the Tide

For starters, here’s a good website for some tide tables. I’ve also added some tide table widgets below. It’s helpful to paddle out against the tide so you have the help of the tide when you’re returning. The wind is also a factor. The wind usually comes from the north on the Petaluma River and it’s especially strong in the late afternoon. Someday, when I have time, I’d like to paddle out with the tide, relax and eat lunch, and then paddle back in with the tide and, hopefully, the wind. Why work harder than you have to?

Petaluma River – Lakeville (map)

My most recent trip was on the Petaluma River, setting out from Papa’s Taverna (closed), on Lakeville Highway near Highway 116. There’s a boat ramp and dock there which you can use for $2. From there, I paddled north towards Shollenberger Park. I took a few excursions along the way, including a creek that led into the Petaluma Marsh Wildlife Area. It was beautiful. I was surprised to hear a train in the distance. It was the new SMART train and it whizzed by about 200 yards away.

 Turning Basin, Petaluma

Here’s a current tide table for the Petaluma River at the D Street Drawbridge. You can change the date and move the time to see what the tide will be later on.


Tomales Bay

One of my favorite places for kayaking is Tomales Bay. Nick’s Cove is a convenient place to park and launch. I believe the cost is $6. There are lots of birds and if you’re lucky, you might see bat rays and leopard sharks. There are some abandoned wrecked boats, but I don’t recommend going near them. Cormorants have taken over and have polluted them with their poop. Smelly! The same is true of Hog Island and Duck Island. The islands were available for camping at one time, but the campsites were closed and cormorants took over. The islands’ eucalyptus trees are filled to capacity with cormorants and the ground is white and smelly. Somehow, the harbor seals don’t mind. I see them on the beach and swimming nearby.

Be warned, the wind can kick up on the bay and make it difficult to get where you want to go. People have died there! I wasn’t able to get a cell phone signal there (I have AT&T. I think Verizon is better). So, watch the weather reports and by all means, wear your PFD. It’s best to go with somebody too.

One day, I launched from a turn-out near a bridge along Hwy 1 (free) and paddled Keys Creek to Tomales Bay and back. That was a tamer way to start and beautiful. 

 Tide Table for Nick’s Cove, Tomales Bay

The Petaluma River – Downtown

For me, the Petaluma River is close by and a great way to get into the water fast for some exercise and serenity. It’s a tidal estuary, complete with murky saltwater. There is no current to speak of. You can float downriver or upriver depending on the tide.

There are two places to launch in the city limits – the dock on the Turning Basin (free) and the Petaluma Marina at the Sheraton Hotel. The river in between is beautiful. It’s a view of small town Petaluma that you can’t see any other way. You pass by kids fishing, barges and yachts as well as fishing kayaks. You might see a team of rowers in their hull. It’s also safe. The water is not very deep since the river has not been dredged in years and there are more people around, so someone is likely to see you if you capsize.

Petaluma River at Black Point/San Pablo Bay

If you follow the Petaluma River all the way, you will enter San Pablo Bay. Or you can take Hwy 37 and launch from Black Point boat launch ($6). I spent a little time on the bay. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not very choppy. Still, I only ventured out about a mile and stayed near the shore, since I was alone. I did take the excursion along Novato Creek, a calm, marshy area.

San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge

Estero Americano, Valley Ford

2016-08-22 15.48.38

From Petaluma, follow Bodega Highway through Valley Ford and turn left at Dinucci’s Restaurant and left on Valley Ford Estero Road. There’s a small place to park and launch (free) at the bridge. It was beautiful on the day I went out. I started out paddling against the wind and had it to my back when I returned, which was helpful, since I overdid it going out. If you go far enough, you’re out on the ocean. I’m not ready for that.

Spring Lake, Santa Rosa

Kayaking on Spring Lake Santa RosaIf you don’t want to worry about the tide or waves, you can kayak on Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa. You can rent kayaks at the boat house on weekends. The kayaks are the sit-on-top kind. They’re not as maneuverable and you get wetter, but there’s an advantage. They don’t sink if you capsize.


Recommended: Get the Tide Graph App by Brainware ($1.99 for Android) Look for it in the Google Play store and the iTunes store.


Aug 04

In Memory of Misty

To Misty,

Dogs in heaven? Yes

photos by Kimberly Weidlich

Our dog for 11 years, until today. Now you belong to our Heavenly Father.

We’ll never forget when we first met you at the animal shelter. They found you near a dumpster at a Chinese restaurant. We knew you belonged with us.

We will always remember you for your warm greetings, often accompanied by wild dog runs. It didn’t dampen your enthusiasm when you lost traction and skidded across the hardwood floor and into a wall. You provided companionship to us. You never left us. You were a comfort when we went through hard times. Your love was unconditional. Your love was more enthusiastic when we had food to share or when one of us picked up the leash.

Misty and KimmyJesus called himself the Good Shepherd, which assumes he loves animals. Secondarily, it means Jesus loves and cares for us in the same way. Animals were given to man to teach us to love and we can tell a person’s character by the way they treat their animals (“A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” – Proverbs 12:10).

We know there are animals in heaven. It was one of God’s earliest and best ideas. God created animals and placed them in the Garden and it was good. The first man and woman’s job was to name and care for the animals in the garden. When man brought judgment to the earth, God told Noah to save the animals. It makes sense that the new heaven and the new earth spoken of in Revelation (21:1) would also include animals. Jesus is described as a lion of the tribe of Judah and a Lamb of God. Those metaphors have no meaning if there are no lions or lambs on earth and in heaven.

God loves animalsWe hope you are reunited with Grandma Jane and Grandpa Bob, so you can bring a smile to their faces and they can hold you again. We hope we will see you again. We can’t imagine heaven without you. Until then, we will picture you in the arms of the Good Shepherd.

Misty training to be a sith lord

A photo posted by Kimberly (@platypuseggnog) on

Apr 07

Straubville, CA

What and Where is Straubville?

Straubville is an area located a few miles west of Petaluma on Bodega Avenue near the intersections of Eastman Lane and Lohrman Lane. The old-timers describe Straubville as a bustling hub of commerce back in the days of Petaluma’s chicken farmers.

Straubville, CA west PetalumaStraubville is home to many sheep and goats. People also live here. Here’s a picture from 1928 showing an auto repair shop, now the home of Dave’s Auto Repair. (Thanks Sonoma County Library)

Kimberly Widdlesticks declared herself Mayor of Straubville, claiming that the goats of Straubville elected her unanimously when she promised to build a 100 foot wall between Petaluma and Straubville. The wall was never built and Ms. Widdlesticks’ website expired, ending her covert and unceremonious reign.

Straubville may well have been the inspiration for the song, “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” (1972 by Loudon Wainwright III) as you’ll often find fresh roadkill in the middle of Bodega Avenue or Lohrman Lane. Not coincidentally, Straubville welcomes a high population of turkey vultures who feast and sometimes perish, fulfilling their duties as wildlife managers. Bodega Avenue is a busy road.

What do you remember about Straubville? Comments are welcome, below…

Straubville, CA west Petaluma

Jan 16

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.



From Rick Warren: In honor of Pastor Martin Luther King on this MLK holiday, I give you my 10 FAVORITE QUOTES from a man who was model to many other pastors.

10 Favorite Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Bruni1. “The purpose of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure nor avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.”

2. “I just want to do God’s will.”

3. “When I took up the cross I recognized it’s meaning. The cross is something that you bear, and ultimately, that you die on.”

4. “The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

5. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

6. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

7. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

8. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

9. “The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being as well.”

10. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Sep 20

Our Greatest Resource: Time

Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each

morning with $86,400, carries over no balance from

day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and

every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had

failed to use during the day.


What would you do?


Draw out every cent, of course!


Well, everyone has such a bank.

Its name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.

Every night it writes off, as lost,

whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.

It carries over no balance.

It allows no overdraft.


Each day it opens a new account for you.

Each night it burns the records of the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.


There is no going back.

There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”.

You must live in the present on today’s deposits.

Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!


The clock is running. Make the most of today..


To realize the value of ONE YEAR

Ask a student who has failed his exam.


To realize the value of ONE MONTH

Ask a mother who has given birth to a pre-mature baby.


To realize the value of ONE WEEK

Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.


To realize the value of ONE DAY

Ask a daily wage laborer who has ten kids to feed.


To realize the value of ONE HOUR

Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet or . . .


To realize the value of ONE MINUTE

Ask a person who has missed the train.


To realize the value of ONE SECOND

Ask a person who has survived an accident.


To realize the value of ONE MILLI-SECOND

Ask the person who has won a silver medal in Olympics.


Treasure every moment that you have!


And treasure it more

because you shared it with someone special..

special enough to have your time…

and remember time waits for no one …

Copyright 1998 by Thom Reese? Also in Ann Landers



May 08

Convert Your Doubts

“One must verify or expel his doubts, and convert them into the certainty of YES or NO.” – Thomas Carlyle

Thomas (the disciple of Jesus) did that: “My Lord and My God.” – John 20

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The deplorable mania of doubt exhausts me. I doubt about everything, even my doubts.
Gustave Flaubert

The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.
Pierre Abelard

Mar 16

An Irish Prayer for St. Patrick’s Day

May God give you…

For every storm, a rainbow,

For every tear, a smile,

For every care, a promise,

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends,

A faithful friend to share,

For every sigh, a sweet song,

And an answer for each prayer.


Mar 16

Watch your thoughts

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” -Frank Outlaw

Mar 16

God does not die

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” -Dag Hammarskjold

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