February 23, 2012

Moving On

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I haven't been blogging.  Life is always changing, and it seems time for me to move on to something else.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a creative outlet at a time when I had limited opportunities to be creative.  I have many more opportunities these days, and so my need to have a blog has diminished.  And frankly, most of my posts in recent months have been somewhat boring to me, and if they are boring to me, then surely they must be boring to others.  (One of my guiding principles when I write a sermon is that it has to at least keep my attention, if no one else's.  I think the same principle applies here.  This blog hasn't been keeping my attention, and therefore I certainly can't expect it to keep the attention of anyone else.)

If you still want to keep up with what I'm doing (and even have access to occasional essays I write), then you can find me on facebook (www.facebook.com/dannybradfield).  I will "friend" almost anyone I've met or heard of prior to receiving a friend request, although I usually deny friend requests to people I've never heard of.  However, anyone and everyone is welcome to "subscribe" to my facebook page.

Also, I post my sermons every week at dannybradfield.blogspot.com. Check them out. Most of them are pretty good, if I may say so myself. (A few of them are duds; I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.)

Finally, when my domain registration at fieldofdandelions.com expires, I think this blog will go back to its old address at fieldofdandelions.blogspot.com.  The old posts will remain there indefinitely, I guess.

It's been a fun journey.  Thanks for being my companion.


January 10, 2012

Church Design

During my post-Christmas vacation, I finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.  Different chapters focus on Jobs’ personal life, his love/hate relationship with Apple’s board of directors, and his personality flaws, but what I found most fascinating were the chapters that focused on how important important design was to Jobs.
I’ve never been much of an Apple person.  Actually, I’ve always been more of a “take whatever you can get” person.  Which is why I have a cell phone has more buttons than I’ll ever use or need.  I’m convinced that the only reason some of those buttons are there is to keep me permanently befuddled.  But I keep it, because I'm far too afraid and intimidated to get a new phone, and have to learn all over again how to accomplish even the simplest tasks with it.  
Steve Jobs insisted that all Apple’s products be as easy to use as possible, with as few buttons as necessary.  This would make them friendly and non-intimidating.  Jobs said that figuring out how to use one of Apple’s products should be “intuitive.” In fact, when an Apple board member visited an African village and showed his iPad to a child, the child picked it up and immediately figured out how to use it, even though he was illiterate and had never seen one before.
When designing Apple stores, Jobs insisted that the layout be simple, inviting, and open, so that a customer walking in would immediately perceive the layout and be reassured that this is a friendly, non-intimidating place to be.
Reading this made me think of Disneyland. When Walt Disney designed his magic kingdom, he wanted guests to feel that same reassurance.  Thus the buildings are almost, but not quite, full scale.  There is only one entrance, and only one way to go after you do enter:  toward a charming (not intimidating) castle you see in the not-too-far distance.
Attending a worship service can be an intimidating experience for someone who’s never been or who has been away from the church for some time.  One of the things I turn my attention to every now and then is the “design” of our church, especially the Sunday morning worship experience.  From the moment a person steps out of their car, do they experience a sense of welcome?  Is it immediately clear which way to go?  Does the layout of our building provide a sense of reassurance?  Does the bulletin give a clear indication of what is about to happen in a simple, easy-to-read format?
Of course, the absolute best way for a person to feel welcome and reassured is to be accompanied by a friend who has invited them to worship.  Helping people feel “at home” when they come to worship is one way we can be a movement for wholeness in our community.

January 05, 2012

Hike: Stough Canyon

As I mentioned, the weather was remarkably warm and clear in the days following Christmas. For those who are interested, here are some more details about a wonderful place to go on a day hike in Burbank....

The trail begins at Stough Canyon Park Nature Center, where there is a parking lot and restrooms. The parking lot gate closes at 5:00pm, so if you plan on being on the trails later than that, park along the street below the parking lot gate.

Parking below the gate would, in fact, be recommended in the summer, as evening hikes allow you to avoid the hot midday sun. However, it was a pleasantly warm winter morning when I began my hike.  Actually, I hiked this trail two days in a row; the first day, my companions were my family, my brother-in-law, and my two nieces.  Some of them weren't in a hiking mood, however, so I returned the following morning with my dog Saydee, who is always in the mood for a good walk.

I was worried about it being chilly.  It was December, after all.  I contemplated wearing a long sleeve shirt over my t-shirt, but upon stepping out of the car I decided it wasn't needed. In fact, after Saydee and I began running up the wide trails in the morning sun, my t-shirt soon came off as well.  In the summer, when  the sun's rays are harsh, I tend to avoid sunlight, or at least slather on a thick layer of sunblock.  But the gentler winter rays of sunlight felt good as Saydee and I made our way to the top.  And as you can tell, a little sunlight might be a good thing in my case...

The trails continue along the ridge, giving views of both sides of the Verdugo Mountains.  (As a kid growing up in Burbank, they were known as the Verdugo Hills, but I guess they have since been promoted to Mountain status.)  It is here on the backside that the trail Saydee and I followed nestled itself briefly into a few ravines where the sun's rays didn't reach, and there was a bit of a chill there, but the shade didn't last long.  We were soon back out in the glorious southern California sunshine.
On previous hikes in these mountains, I followed a side trail to the ruins of an old youth camp.  A building foundation and chimney are all that remain.  Saydee and I did not go to the youth camp on this trip, although from a few spots on the main trail I could see the chimney rising above the sage scrub.  
One option for hikers here is to continue along the ridge of the Verdugo Mountains and descend through Wildwood Canyon, and then cut through the golf course to return to Stough Park.  Because we (well, actually, I) had plans to see a matinee in Hollywood later that day, Saydee and I did not make the whole loop, but returned back the way we came.  As we came down the trail, views of Bob Hope Airport (as a kid growing up, it was Burbank Airport) and the San Fernando Valley stretched out before us.

December 31, 2011


This last week of the year has given us some incredibly great weather, even by California standards.  With our family taking some time to visit friends and family throughout the state, I've tried to find activities that would allow us to get outdoors as much as possible.  Here are some "postcards" from our week...

Toyon (aka "California Holly") in the Verdugo Mountains.  It is from this plant that Hollywood gets its name.
A trail in the Verdugo Mountains above Burbank on a beautiful day.  Downtown Los Angeles is in the distance.
Tristan and his friend (who we only see about once a year) on downtown Sacramento's Discovery Park Trail.

December 22, 2011

Happy Hannukah

Inspired by his best friend who is Jewish, my youngest son is curious to learn about his friend's faith. His best friend's mother gave us a menorah to use in our home, and we've been lighting candles.

December 20, 2011

Winter Solstice

Here in the Pacific Time Zone, the Winter Solstice occurs late tomorrow night. The days are short, the nights long. What a good week for a festival of lights and celebration of Christmas....