Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them. So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord. That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime. My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ. So, thanks again for joining me. Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.
This week Christian music lost one of its greatest musicians, but heaven gained a superb trombonist and vocalist. What an addition has been made to the music of heaven! I have only had a few musicians over the years that I would call my favorites, but Bill Pearce certainly would rank in the top one or two. Bill had such a beautiful mellow voice and his trombone stylings were the best that I have ever heard. Since I used to play the trombone, I would always marvel at his beautiful mellow sounds when he played. For years I have also listened to his radio program "Nightsounds" which he has produced since the 1960's. It is still played on 300 radio stations, including 30 here in Pennsylvania. Every Friday and Saturday night we listen to it on WDAC at 11:30. I also remember hearing him sing and play duets with Dick Anthony and sing with the Melody Four Quartet and with the 16 Singing Men. A few years ago we were with Bert Kettinger who is a soloist from Moody. Bert used to work with Bill and he had several stories to share. I was surprised to learn that Bill was really an introvert and uneasy in front of groups of people. One would never know that from his easy, mellow style of ministry. He played the trombone from the age of ten which is about when I started. Unfortunately, I quit many years before he did. It was never as easy to me as he made it appear. What I also didn't know until today is that he was the voice of one of the characters on Ranger Bill. Even though I don't care for this kid's program, I will probably listen to it for a few Saturday mornings to see if I can recognize his voice. But after suffering from Parkinson's Disease for several years, the Lord took him home this week at the age of 83. I guess the Lord needed one of the world's best trombone players and soloists to add to the praise choirs of heaven. Hopefully his taped programs will continue to be aired on radio stations so that we here on earth can still be challenged by his ministry. I've listed a few links for you if you would like to hear more of Bill.
Bill with the Melody Four Quartet. MELODY Bill playing Joshua. JOSHUA Bill playing Over The Sunset Mountains SUNSET Bill playing What Wondrous Love LOVE An article about Bill's trombone playing. TROMBONE
We have enjoyed spending many hours this winter in our enclosed porch room with its new nine large windows, sitting near the fire, watching the snow, our huge pine trees, the birds and completing jigsaw puzzles. Finishing difficult puzzles together is a challenge that we both have enjoyed. Earlier we have shown here the others that we've completed this winter. This is the last one that we finished Sunday. This 1,000 piece scene was really a challenge. Now we are waiting for three additional ones to arrive that I just purchased for less than $9 (including postage) on e-bay. Hopefully this will give us something to do if we get the 40-inch "Snow of the Century" on March 7, as so many are predicting. And if it doesn't come ... we'll give a sigh of relief and still enjoy the new challenges.
Well I think it might be time to open the old mailbag or the e-mail account and share with you some of the vast number of comments (I think there have been about five of them) that I've recently received from my many readers (actually probably about ten including me and my family). Three folks told me that they really enjoyed the snow shoveler story. Maybe only three read it. Actually, I thought it was a lot better than that, but it is probably much better if you've just finished shoveling your driveway for the sixth time. If you didn't think it was funny, read it again next week when I am told by some that we will receive 30 inches of snow. Or read it after March 7 when I am told we will get 40 inches of snow. Just thinking about such storms makes me relate even more to the shoveler in the story (see link in Feb. 12 blog). Another reader commented on my Feb. 6 blog as follows. "It is faulty to base your winter weather predictions on just one caterpillar. You, being a mathematician/statistician should know that you need a proper sample size to do a credible statistical analysis. But, even though you made a mistake in your prediction, you are still qualified to be a weather man. It seems like their jobs are secure even if they are wrong about the weather." Do you mean the weather men/women make mistakes? I hope that they make mistakes about the 30" and 40" storms. And statistics was never my favorite subject and since I'm retired I have forgotten all that exciting information that I crammed in to the minds of "eager" students for 39 years. That's another lifetime now. Then a reader said this about my January 23 blog. "When you did your illegal renting of a motel room for your underage grandkids, I was going to tell you that I hoped they would let you continue doing your blog from your prison cell when they arrested you." At times like this I'm glad that only a couple of relatives read my blogs - please don't let the word get out. I do wonder if I can take my laptop into prison with me. A final reply came from a reader who liked the Snow Shoveler Diary. She sent me the following poem, entitled Winter Poem.
"It's winter in Pennsylvania, And the gentle breezes blow, Seventy miles an hour, At five below. Oh, how I love Pennsylvania, When the snow's up to your butt, You take a breath of winter, And your nose gets frozen shut. Yes, the weather here is wonderful, So I guess I'll hang around, I could never leave Pennsylvania, Cuz I'm frozen to the ground!"
So take this as a warning and don't stand still in the 30 inches next week or the 40 inches on March 7. Keep the cards, letters, and e-mails coming - they give me something to read when we're snowbound.
Today I spent time trying to shovel out some areas around our house that I hadn't gotten to the last two days. It was a real chore, especially for an old man. Not only was it two to three feet deep, but some of it contained ice. Our front step never gets sunlight so it is a sheet of ice and I have not made much progress with it. Today when I was coming in from shoveling I took a big spill on the ice. Maybe that was a fitting way to kick off the winter Olympics! The Olympic judges might have given me a 9.8 for style. I don't think anything is broken, but I am certainly going to ache for a few days. This experience brought back to my mind a story that I had enjoyed many years ago. It is too long to put in my blog, but I've set up another page for it. I hope you'll take time to go there and enjoy it. Here is the link. SNOW I think you'll enjoy it and maybe at this point you can relate to it. In the meantime I'm going to look for the heating pad.
What do you do when you get hit with a third major snowstorm – a new record for any season since they began to record such information? And what do you do when you receive about 43 inches of the white stuff in a five-day period? Well, obviously you shovel and run the snow blower, and shovel and run the snow blower, and then shovel and run the snow blower again. But in between all that hard work we enjoy putting jigsaw puzzles together and we have completed several recently. But we have also enjoyed, somewhat unexpectedly, another activity. Many years ago we built an enclosed porch on the back of our house. It originally was intended for summer enjoyment, but over the years we added baseboard heat, finished it off and furnished it, and added a gas stove. But because the windows were not meant for use in the cold of the winter, the room often went unused during the cold months. But this year we decided to take advantage of rebates and we replaced the windows with nine large, energy efficient windows that provide a great view. And now we have been using this room almost every day during the winter. It has been nice to relax there, sitting by the fire, reading, watching television, listening to old records, and putting puzzles together. Then came the snow and suddenly we had great views of our backyard, our snow-covered large pine trees, and our bird feeders. We have been treated to beautiful views of falling and drifting snow. And during these storms our bird friends have returned to the feeders. Yesterday, during our blizzard, we were entertained by several cardinals, numerous woodpeckers – including a redheaded woodpecker, mourning doves, and many others. We have also watched gigantic icicles form to lengths of at least four feet. We have watched the heavy winds blow the snow and form beautiful drifts. We have also watched the heavy snow break huge limbs off our white pines and while I don't know how we will get rid of them, they will be fine until spring. And even when my back aches from all the work outside, I remember that this is the day that the Lord has made and we should rejoice and be glad. And the last few days I have often been reminded of God's faithfulness not only through the beauty of His creation and His protection through the storms, but by His dealings in our lives. This weekend was the first anniversary of my dad's death. What if we had to make plans for his funeral and burial in this kind of weather? But last year at this time it was mild and sunny. PTL. And if he were alive and living at home I would be worrying (Yes, I am the family worrier) about him and wouldn't have been able to get to Lititz to help him. And what if we hadn't sold his home so quickly and I had to take care of it in this weather? But my loving heavenly Father knew all about this and he chose to spare us from all of those problems and concerns. And so, while I have seen enough snow the last few days to last me for a decade, God has been good to me. And I know that He never gives us more than we can handle and when we take time to worship Him we can see His handiwork all around this. And, hopefully, I will remember this when the next snow arrives Monday night. This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice!
I've been deceived! Yes, I admit it, I've been deceived … by a little wooly caterpillar. If you are a regular reader, you might recall that in my blog of December 21 I said the following. "I used to enjoy the recently deceased columnist from the Lancaster Newspapers who annually would give his winter predictions based on observing the wooly caterpillar. And his predictions were as accurate as the professional forecasters, although that isn't saying very much. Well this year I've seen exactly one wooly caterpillar and he had a black neck and the remainder of his body was brown. So my interpretation is that this means we will have a stormy beginning to the winter, and we have, and then the rest of the winter will be mild. And on that I am counting! I'm dreaming of a … mild winter!" But was he correct? No! And I thought I could trust that caterpillar. He seemed to be as reliable as the weather men and ladies. And certainly he is as least as good as a ground hog. And until this weekend he appeared to have given me correct information. We had a record snowstorm and cold weather in December. Then January was milder and we had very little bad weather. Then came February! Today we had about 24 inches of snow in Millersville. According to the caterpillar, that shouldn't have happened. And to make it worse this is only the fourth time in 80 years of record keeping that we have had two major snowstorms (over 12 inches) in the same year. So this was a very rare event. Fortunately, it wasn't a blizzard, which requires sustained winds of 35 mph, or we might be housebound for days. So I was deceived – unless maybe the caterpillar I saw was wearing a Halloween costume because it was late in October when I saw him. Well I hope he didn't deceive himself and that he is keeping very warm somewhere. I guess it is really easy to be deceived if you aren't alert. The Bible has many warnings that Satan would like to deceive us – he walks around like a roaring lion – not as a caterpillar – seeking whom he may devour. The Scriptures also warn us, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Today many folks are being deceived by false promises, false religions, and secular (politically correct) beliefs. And those deceptions are much more serious than a caterpillar's stripes and a snowy day. Keep warm and stay away from caterpillars.
When we began our Awana ministry 28 years ago, I never thought that 28 years later I would still be involved in this ministry and certainly not as commander. But it has been a great experience and we have really seen the Lord bless this ministry over the years. There have been many challenges including two moves to new buildings, working with kids from inner city Lancaster through a van ministry, finding new leaders and directors, and handling the challenges of a growing ministry. But it has been a special blessing to see children memorize scripture and come to know the Lord as Savior. It has been fun to watch them compete in quizzing, Awana games and the annual Grand Prix. It has been rewarding to be involved in training almost 250 Awana leaders, some of whom have served with us for many of these 28 years. It has been a joy to present over 280 Sparky and Timothy Awards for achievement in completing handbooks. It has been a very special honor to present some of these awards to family members, especially my grandchildren. Six of our seven grandchildren have or are presently attending (one is still too young) and by the end of this year three will have earned the Timothy and five will have earned the Sparky. This year has been a special year since we have set numerous attendance records (145 K-6 clubbers and 233 total attendance) and are well on our way to having 85 completed handbooks (40 so far). But last evening was very special since we completed our annual adopt-a-club drive by raising $4,954 to support 14 clubs that we have adopted around the world. About $1,500 of this will go to help five clubs in Haiti try to reestablish themselves after the devastating earthquake. We plan to keep the offering open for one more week in hopes of going over $5,000 and possibly collecting $2,000 for Haiti. Being part of this missions project has been another highlight of my time in Awana. My one regret – at times - is that I am not the same as I was 28 years ago. I see the special ministry of Awana to boys and girls and families and I know that there is so much more that we could do to expand the ministry and reach others. But, unfortunately, while I have a bigger heart for Awana than I've ever had, my body, nerves, and stamina just aren't what they were 28 years ago. My mind tells me there is so much more to be done, but my body just can't do it anymore. Being a good commander of a growing vital ministry can be a full-time job. And one of the problems that we all will face as we age is when to give up key things in our life – whether it be something like our home, our driving, our activities, or even our ministry. And, unfortunately, society today does not value age or experience. But that's just one of those things we all will face, if we are fortunate enough to live that long. But, in the meantime, we rejoice in being part of the Lord's work, both in the past and in the present. It is a great God that we serve and there are so many who di not know Him. God is so good to us!
Former teacher/administrator (39 years) in public schools. Awana Commander (30 years). Financial secretary at church. Judge of elections locally. Married for 50 years. Father of three sons and grandfather of seven. Fan of Penn State football.