Nolen Elam…that’s my name! Thanks for visiting!
I updated this page Tuesday, 7 July 2015.
This website is a place for me to share a little of who I am and who and what are most important to me.
Named for Nolen, my dad (photo link 1), I’m also called “Ned,” a childhood nickname still used by some of my family, friends and coworkers. Adele, my mom (photo link), gave me my nickname to help distinguish me from my dad. Although I prefer “Nolen,” I understand change is difficult for everyone, including myself, so I accept that some still call me “Ned.”
Other than my dad, I only know of one other Nolen Elam—Nolen, my son. Nolen and I are both named for my dad (photo link 2). Here’s one of my favorite photos of me and Nolen ‣
For those who don’t already know me, I’m from Houston, Texas and I now reside in Costa Mesa, California with Karen (my wife) and Maddy (Karen’s daughter). Like all families, we have our issues, but I’m very happy and blessed to have Karen and Maddy in my life! Here’s one of my favorite photos of me, Karen and Maddy ‣
I grew up in the City of Spring Valley, Texas (a suburb of Houston) with Adele (my mom), Carl (my step-dad), Bob (my brother) and Susan and Debbie (my two sisters). Don (my other brother) and Susan are still in Texas, Debbie’s in Colorado and Bob’s here in California. Adele, our precious mother, passed on a couple years ago.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed drawing. As a boy, my subjects were usually mechanical objects, like tanks, airplanes and motorcycles. Sometimes I drew living creatures or scenes from nature. We lived in an area with plenty of tall oak trees and pine trees, so trees were often a favorite drawing subject.
Today, with over 36 years professional design experience, I use my creative skills to design packaging and labeling for medical devices manufactured by my employer, Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Baxter hired me in 1990 after working five years as an independent contractor for Infusion Systems Corporation, a 1980s startup company purchased by Baxter in 1988. Today, after almost 30 years, we still manufacture the INTERMATE and INFUSOR systems, which are globally-marketed portable, disposable, elastomeric, intravenous infusion devices. My work is personally satisfying, knowing that I directly contribute to products that improve the quality of life for people all over the world. Visit my design page to read more about my career.
As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be a dad someday. My dad passed on when I was young, so naturally being a dad was what I wanted most in life. I remember wondering, “What will my wife be like?” and “What’s it like being a dad?” Thankfully, my dream of becoming a father came true when Nolen was born. Although Nolen’s mom divorced me when he was young (forever ending the possibility of a normal father-son relationship), Nolen and I only missed one regular visitation during the 12 years after the divorce. Nolen finally came to live with me his senior year of high school. He has since grown to become a fine young man and I’m very proud of who he is today and what he’s doing.
My other life-vision also formed during my childhood: the first time I saw someone standing on a surfboard riding a wave in Galveston, Texas, I knew I wanted to ride waves! Ever since that first vision captured my attention, surfing continues to be one of my greatest passions. Although I don’t surf as often as I did when I was younger, I still enjoy catching a few waves down at “The Point” at San Onofre State Beach, my favorite place to surf locally. Here are a few photos of me at San O’ ‣
In this first photo, I’m luggin’ my 10'6" x 25" Mike Minchonton Custom Surfboard out for a surf at The Point (it weighs 35 pounds!) ‣
In this next photo, I’m riding the Minchonton on a very typical wave at The Point ‣
And here I am crankin’ a big ol’ bottom turn (yes, everything about this board is big!) ‣
And last, the end of the day ‣
I first learned to surf in the murky, brown waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the beaches of Galveston and Surfside, Texas back in 1969. Later, after graduating from high school in 1977, my fascination with surfing and surf-culture compelled me to leave Texas and move to California. My mom and I loaded up my powder blue ‘73 Chevy Vega hatchback with all my surfboards, a skateboard, a bicycle and a big box of vinyl records and together we drove to California! My plan was: move in with my brother Bob (who had moved to California a year earlier), attend Orange Coast College, surf as often as I could and find the woman of my dreams! After all these years, I’m still here in California, still surfing and very happily married to my sweet and precious Karen…cheers to you, Karen!
The following image is my favorite photograph of me riding a wave ‣
The photo shown above was taken by professional surf photographer Matt Thomas in November 1992 at a break called “Killers”—a big wave break on one of the tiny “Islas de Todos Santos” (a group of small islands eight miles offshore from Ensenada, Mexico). In this photo, I’m way out in front of a wave that is small by Todos standards; it was one of the few waves I rode that day—an easy, makable wave I could see coming early enough to set up and get into without having to make a late take-off (riding big waves requires experience that I never attained). The bigger set waves that day were some of the largest I’d ever paddled through—16-18-foot faces with solid 8-to-10-foot backs. While the wave in this photo is small for Killers (maybe 6-8 feet), photographs of Killers breaking 60-70+ feet have been featured in the surf-culture media. Only a few other rideable surfbreaks on the North American West Coast rival the size of Killers’ waves: Cortes Bank (waves up to 100 feet break on a seamount 100 miles offshore from San Diego), Ghost Tree (a “mysto” surfbreak near Monterey that boasts waves breaking up to 100 feet) and Mavericks (a hugely popular surfbreak near San Francisco that also boasts waves breaking up to 100 feet). Oregon can also boast of a few lesser-known big-wave, offshore reefbreaks.
This next photo was also taken the same day as the previous image shown above. The photographer used a telephoto lens to get both shots from about 200 yards away on the island bluffs overlooking the break at Killers ‣
And there is one personal liberty I won’t neglect to omit… I enjoy collecting and smoking fine, premium, hand-made cigars. Visit my Cigar Quotes page to read some insightful, inspirational and even hilarious cigar quotes!
And finally, above all that I’ve shared so far, I saved the best and the most important for last…
Yes, I am a new creation possessing eternal, everlasting life in Jesus the Christ. I was spiritually born-again by the Holy Spirit of God in 1996. I was saved by His grace through my faith in the great God and my Savior: Yeshua HaMassiach—Jesus the Messiah, Lord and Christ—Jesus of Nazareth, Son of man, Lord of all and only-begotten Son of God the Father. I was crucified with Him. I died with Him. I was buried with Him. I was raised from death with Him. I ascended with Him. I am now seated together with Christ in heavenly places! I am now entitled to repeat the language of faith and say: “I am in Christ and there is, therefore, no condemnation” and “Not only am I in Christ, but Christ is in me.” I am now among “joint-heirs with Christ,” the Heir of all things!
My theological views are centered in the identification and position truths (the “not I but Christ” life) taught by the apostle Paul in his church epistles and expounded much later by John Nelson Darby, William Kelly, Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell and more recently Miles J. Stanford.
Here are a few of my favorite websites ‣
And what about you? Do you believe in the Christ of God? Who do you say Jesus is? The Christ? The Son of the living God? Do you believe and confess the divine glory of the Lord Jesus Christ? Without question, your eternity hinges on how you answer.
Thanks again for visiting!