Apr 07 2016

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 2016

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 2015

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 2015

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 2015

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 2015

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 2015

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

Jan 24 2014

Praying for Rain

praying for rainLast Friday Governor Jerry Brown announced an emergency drought in California. Almost 99% of California is considered abnormally dry or worse; almost two-thirds of the state is in extreme drought. 2013 became the driest year on record in California; San Francisco had the least rain since record keeping there began during the gold rush of 1849.

If you’re the praying kind, join me in praying for rain. Leave a comment below if you will.

“…If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Let’s save water wherever we can. Cleaning carpet and rugs? You can save 90% of the water ordinarily used with Dry Carpet Cleaning.




Image credit: serov / 123RF Stock Photo

Nov 28 2013

Hope and Healing

Divorce for Christians - Petaluma Argus-Courier

This article appears on the Petaluma Argus-Courier’s website, Petaluma 360. Click image to read the full article.

Divorce was a tragedy that happened to others, not to me. When we married, my wife and I agreed that divorce would not be an option. We were determined to work through every illness, character flaw and financial issue.

We had been married eighteen years, and were living with our two children in a cozy Petaluma neighborhood, when my wife moved out with our children. The court document that was delivered to me the evening of our separation was hard to understand. If I read it correctly, it meant my wife was suing me, not only for separation, but for divorce. I was immediately and unexpectedly cast into a very dark world.

Suddenly I was dealing with court documents and hearings, support payments and preparations to sell our home. I struggled to re-connect with my children and help them with painful, unarticulated emotions, which affected their confidence, relationships, education and faith.

To make matters worse, I was a pastor. Everyone in my church would know by Sunday. As the news quickly spread, I wanted to crawl into a hole for a few months or maybe years. I was the one who helped others. Now I needed care. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I knew God forgives sin. I preached it. Still, I felt guilt and shame for the ways I had hurt my wife and contributed to the deterioration of our relationship.

I found comfort in prayer and reading the Psalms. I held on to the hope that, with time and God’s grace, I would get through this dark time. I found out who my real friends were and was blessed with their support and love. It was the toughest time of my life, but also a time of blessing. I knew I was not walking this valley alone.

Read the full article in the Petaluma Argus-Courier

Read My Story of Divorce and Hope:  DivorceCare at the Vine Church of Petaluma

Nov 08 2013

My Halloween Scare

Heart sculpture at Kaiser Permanente - San Francisco

Heart sculpture at Kaiser Permanente – San Francisco

(Originally published Nov. 8, 2013)

I just returned home after three days and two nights in the hospital. It started with a  Halloween doctor’s appointment for a treadmill EKG test. I had asked my doctor about feeling discomfort in my chest when I carried equipment up stairs. After a few minutes on the treadmill, the discomfort returned. The heart specialist stopped the test. He told me that my symptoms and the results of the test showed I have heart disease – angina – which means my heart is not getting enough oxygen. He insisted on a heart catheterization (angiogram) the following Monday. He told me I would probably need a stent or more as my blood flow was restricted and I was in danger of a heart attack. He prescribed drugs to lower my risk of heart attack.

I was hoping the doctor would assure me I had a chest cold – nothing to worry about. Instead, he confirmed my worst fear. I have heart disease. And this at the young age of 57! It seemed unfair. I’ve lived a safe lifestyle in every area. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I seldom drink alcohol and I don’t abuse my body. I have been accused of having a Type A personality, but I’ve learned to deal with stress through prayer and meditation. I have been blessed with good health throughout my life. I’ve only broken one bone – a toe. The only stitches I’ve received were dental. I’ve never spent a night in the hospital. My name is David, which means “beloved.” God smiles on me. This can’t happen to me.

That was my Halloween 2013 – a day of despair and catastrophizing. I soon pulled myself together. I prayed. I meditated on scripture. I ate some fatty foods and welcomed a dollop of denial. Over the weekend I had the appointment pushed back to Friday. But, when symptoms increased, my new heart doctor insisted that I go to the ER immediately. That was Tuesday. My son, Daniel, drove me to Kaiser Hospital – San Rafael.

I felt God’s hand of protection throughout the process. Prayer was my constant companion. I brought my Bible but didn’t open it. I didn’t need anything long or complex. The Shepherd’s Psalm – as much as I remember it – was enough. The words often scrolled through my mind.

“The Lord is my shepherd…He maketh me lie down…”

For three days and two nights I laid down. It was my greatest exercise in trust. I had to let go of control. I had no choice but to trust my son to take care of customers without me. I had to trust nurses, technicians and doctors with my life. I appreciated constant re-assurances, asking if I had questions, checking to be sure they knew my name and what they were doing for me.

I had to trust God to take care of me and those who depended on me. I wasn’t worried about my future. Just the needle pricks.

“…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

When you’re in the hospital, they let you adjust your own bed and you have a remote control for the TV. Aside from that, you’re not running the show. I was reminded of the old movie, “the Doctor,” where the arrogant doctor, played spectacularly by William Hurt, became the patient and developed a new appreciation for healthcare professionals, especially those who listened and truly cared. He found it’s not enough to be incredibly smart and talented. Healing requires the personal touch.

I was familiar with every place they took me. I had visited patients in those facilities as a pastor. I had reminded patients of God’s promises and prayed with families around the beds of patients. Now I was the one in the bed. There were a few times when I wanted to tell the medical professionals, who wore name tags boasting their credentials, that I am a doctor myself (Doctor of Ministry). But I was treated with dignity at every turn. I didn’t need to prove my worth.

I was given an insider’s view of the healthcare pros at Kaiser Permanente in three locations. Without exception, they were personable, thoughtful, thorough and communicative. They kept asking whether I had any questions.

The ambulance personnel who transported me from Kaiser Hospital in San Rafael to Kaiser – San Francisco were also thoughtful and communicative. They explained the process, warned me that the trip would be bumpy and assured me that they were triple-strapping me in for my safety. They were chatty, friendly and positive. Their conversation was focused on me and they were quiet when I showed that I was not feeling chatty.

They delivered me to Kaiser Hospital – San Francisco, where the angiogram would take place. The heart doctor there, Dr. Mahrer, clearly explained the three possible outcomes of the angiogram. If the angiogram showed that my arteries were open, I would be prescribed medication to lower the chances of plaque clogging my arteries. That was not likely. Another unlikely outcome would be by-pass surgery. I had been praying fervently to avoid that path. Most likely, I would need one or more stents, which they could place immediately after the angiogram. I remember something he said about one other possibility – that the angiogram itself could cause a heart attack. He spoke quickly, like he had given the speech hundreds of times before, but he slowed down to ask if I had questions.

An orderly wheeled me downstairs to the room where I would be prepped for the procedure. A friend had warned me they would “shave my balls.” I had some concern that the process might be arousing. Some of the nurses and doctors were attractive. In my need, I wanted to hold them tight.

There was no need for worry. The older woman who approached me with electric razor in hand was all business. And rough! She vigorously raked through my groin hair until there wasn’t any (not my scrotum, Dan). No anesthesia. It was worse than the every-two-hour needle pricks.

“Thy rod and thy staff. They comfort me.”

The adjectives, cold and sterile, best describe the room in which they conduct heart catheterizations. As I gazed up at the massive camera machine with its large screen TV, I wondered if they’d let me choose the channel. No, but they did ask what type of music I’d like. I replied, “anything but country.” Classical music seemed right. Not the marches and not the kind in movies where the sopranos sing in the midst of bloody battles. The soft, soothing kind that makes you feel like everything is going to be all right. I was sedated, but aware of what was going on. I remember seeing pictures of blood vessels on the screen and the camera – a large white cube mounted on a mechanical arm moving around my chest and very close to my face. I drifted into sleep but was awakened to hear the doctor calling for consultations with my Petaluma heart doctor and another who came into the room to discuss my situation. Dr. Mahrer told me there was one area of blockage. I think he said it was 90% blocked. He was concerned that it was near a junction, so placing a stent would have to be precise but he wanted to attempt it. I asked if it doesn’t fit, can he pull it back out. I don’t remember his answer.

Later, when Dr. Mahrer visited my room, he gave me pictures of the artery, which he said is nicknamed the “widow-maker.” I remember him saying it had been 90% blocked. Maybe he said, 95%*. He said he was delighted with the placement of the stent and showed me how the artery was now completely open.

The Lord is My Shepherd - Before and After pictures of the stent

The picture on the left shows the blocked artery. The picture on the right shows the artery with the stent. Yeah! It worked.

“Thou art with me…surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

In each facility I was asked about my religious preference and whether I would appreciate a visit from a chaplain. I said I would appreciate that. But in my short stay, no chaplain visited. If one came while I was sleeping, they didn’t leave a business card. I guess that’s the only area in which I was disappointed. That, and the burly Kaiser staff person who came to my bed early Wednesday and told me I have a $2,000 co-payment. “How would you like to take care of that?” she inquired. I might have had a heart attack if they weren’t pumping me full of drugs.

Now I’m home. I am feeling very blessed and grateful. I did not have a heart attack. There is no heart damage. I’m alive. I have more time to enjoy life on earth with family, friends and church.

Now comes the hard part – and this part is within my control. Lifestyle. I don’t have to quit smoking, since I don’t. I could probably drink more wine, not less. But, I do want to cut back on the donuts, fast food, the quickie meals that fill but don’t nourish. And I have to take pills. I hate that I now have one of those plastic containers with a little pill box for each day of the week. I feel like I’m officially “OLD.” I won’t just rely on my work to provide my exercise. I’ll get regular about walking and biking. I need to trust people more and give up control. I’m going to live more healthy.

“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Were the pictures not dramatic? Okay, here’s a before and after shot:

Dave before the stent - Halloween 2013after the stent :-)

Before the Stent 🙁  |  After the Stent 🙂

I’d love to read and share your comments.

* Update November 26

2 1/2 weeks later, I’m feeling great. A few days ago, I met with my doctor in Petaluma. We read the written report of the angiogram procedure. I was surprised to see that the artery blockage was “95-99%.” That was sobering. I didn’t accomplish much the rest of the day.

I am grateful for life. I’m not taking it for granted.

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