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.
You hear them everyday ... At the end of the day ...I personally ... At this moment in time ... with all due respect ... 24/7 ... it's not rocket science ... your call is very important to us ... no offense, but ... in order to serve you better ... no problem ... please listen carefully as our menu options have changed ... our computers are slow today. These are just some of the many phrases which have become part of speaking today and I am getting tired of "modern day phrase speak" (although I guess I do it at times myself!). But there is one phrase which really drives me crazy - "Thinking outside the box". Today I have already heard it used two times, it was also in a book I am reading, and there is a guy running for governor of Pennsylvania who uses it constantly in his television campaign advertisements. I shudder every time I see him waddle across the TV screen sharing how it is time to "think outside the box" to solve the state's many problems. Actually I think he should "think outside the box" to come up with better commercials (and to lose some weight). Maybe that is the problem with today's society, everyone is "thinking outside the box" and neglecting all the common sense and moral values that have been "inside the box" for years. Now I really wonder, if everybody is really "thinking outside the box", isn't all this thinking and behavior really "inside a new box". What's the difference - maybe it just depends on what the box is (whatever that means). Maybe this candidate should say that he "thinks outside the box" but he really is "inside the new box of modern thinking". At the end of the day, with all due respect, I personally think, at this moment in time, this might be more appropriate. In order to serve us better, thinking outside the box, 24/7, might be better, even if the menu has changed. But, no problem if you feel otherwise, because it's not rocket science. And that folks is my "outside the box" blog for today. Think about it, either inside or outside the box.
As I've gotten older I've enjoyed reading funny lists which share things that show you are getting older. And I usually laugh along and think, yes, I can relate to many of them. But today I've been doing some reflecting and I've developed my own list of twelve observations that make me realize how old I really am. I don't know if they are funny, but they certainly are true. So here goes. I know I am getting old ... (1) When my former high school students are now retiring ... (2) When I read that my physics prof who came to Susquehanna when I was a freshman is considering retiring next year - his 51st year at Susquehanna ... (3) When daily I read the obituaries in the newspaper (and not really to see if I am there) ... (4) When all the nurses and secretaries at our family medical practice call me by my first name - because I have been there so often ... (5) When people ask me if I am going to retire from an activity that I have directed for years - probably they think I should ... (6) When the daughter of a friend of ours is about to graduate from high school and I actually remember when the friend was born and said her first words ... (7) When I suddenly enjoy reading about history, especially local history, which I never cared for before ... (8) When my youngest son talks about what he wants as a gift - for his 40th birthday ... (9) When I purchase salt for the water softener knowing that our family is coming for dinner and I will have somebody to carry it to the basement for me ... (10) When the term "donut-hole" means medical insurance to me and not something related to a tasty food that I used to be able to eat - years ago ... (11) When my youngest grandson not only enjoys computer games, but is very good at playing them ... (12) When my family comes for a birthday dinner and two of the three family cars are driven by my grandsons. It will only be 13 more years until the third one is driven by a grandson - then I know I will be old! Getting older does have some disadvantages - your body no longer works like it used to, your wisdom and experience are no longer valued, younger folks have little time for you, you really aren't really needed anymore, and many of your closest friends have graduated to heaven. I guess that is why so many older people become bitter and critical. But there are also many advantages to getting older - you get senior citizens discounts and you get to support many different doctors. But in all seriousness, each day is a gift from the Lord and a chance to grow closer to Him. Each day gives you a chance to secretly intercede for others - and you now have the time to do it. We never know what a day will bring, but I am learning every day to say. "this is the day which the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it." Have a great day today!
On Monday night I watched a one hour documentary on TMC titled "From D-Day to Berlin". The movie featured rarely seen color movies of the allied march into Berlin during World War II. The movies were shot by professional photographer George Stevens who was part of the allied team chosen to film the war in black and white. However, he also had his personal camera and took his own "home movies" throughout his time there. These undeveloped films were found by his son many years after his death and were used to create this stirring, one of a kind, documentary. (Incidentally the dvd is available for purchase through Amazon). The film followed the American troops from D-Day in June of 1944 until they stood in Berlin in May 1945. I saw the horrors of the war in a way which I have never been able to see or realize before. The film showed dead people lying along the roads, dead people in the concentration-camps, dead Wehrmacht-troops, dead civilians, dead Americans, and all the pain which was present during the war. Highlights included the Battle of the Bulge, refugees, crossing the Rhine, the largest underground factory at Nordhausen that made the V-1, the largest surrender of German soldiers, meeting the Russians at the Elbe, Dauchau concentration camp April 29, 1945, liberated POWs, Bertchesgarten in Bavaria, and ruins of Berlin. Despite all this horror, the film also showed the real joy of the people who were liberated from the Nazi-regime. You could almost rejoice with them as you watched them celebrate their liberation. As I watched this film several thoughts went through my mind. First, I thought of my uncles who were there and were so hesitant to even talk about the events which they experienced. They could probably never forget the horror they viewed in person. My Uncle John did tell me how he recited "The Charge of the Light Brigade" to his buddies as they prepared to storm the beach. Many of these men never came back. I was astonished to see the devastation of the country. But I was shook emotionally as I viewed the prisoners at Dauchau and the piles of human, nude bodies. That was a sight one can never forget. And as I watched, many age old questions flooded my mind. How could the world have allowed this evil to exist? How could one doubt that evil does exist? How can one believe that man is basically good? And to answer these questions, all we need to do is look around the world today. See what is happening in places like Iran and North Korea and the Sudan. Look at terrorism all around us. See how Christians are being killed and persecuted in many parts of the world today. And see how most of the world does nothing, except to try to negotiate with evil. Yes World War II was real and yes the world is no better today. The Bible reminds us that the human heart is desperately wicked. And our only hope is to know the Lord Jesus as our personal savior and to walk daily with Him. And while our road ahead may be filled with trouble, true believers know how it will end. And that is our hope.
In yesterday's blog I talked about how exciting it was to see a talented group of teens ministering by sharing their talents and testimonies for the Lord. Aren't they a great looking group? Please pray for each of them that they will grow closer to the Lord and continue to develop a passion for loving and serving Him.
It's called Teens Involved. It is part of the Word of Life youth ministry in which teenagers are encouraged to develop and use their gifts to glorify the Lord. There are three steps in this annual competition leading to the international finals during the summer at Word of Life in New York state. This year our teens entered the first level that was held in March at a church near Lebanon. Twenty-nine of them, competing in 21 different categories, qualified for the regional level that was held this weekend in Altoona. On Saturday all 29 of them qualified in 20 categories to go to the international level. This is the third year that we were able to attend the Altoona TI and it is a real thrill to see hundreds of teens gather to play, sing, preach, write, and act, using their talents for the Lord. If you ever get discouraged observing teens hanging around and looking like bums in your community, you would be greatly encouraged to see such a group of well-dressed, mannerly, and talented teens serving the Lord. Of course we had a personal interest in the day since two of our grandchildren were involved. Both were involved in puppet teams. Zachary also played guitar in the praise band. Taylor sang in the praise team and read both a poem and a story she had written for this year's contest. We also had teens qualify from our church in vocal and instrumental solos and in vocal and instrumental groups. Now I guess there are some who don't care for the competition angle, and I understand that. It would be better if these teens had opportunities to use their gifts to actually minister to others rather than to compete. But such opportunities are limited, even in the church. Over the years I have watched many of these teens grow spiritually through these experiences. I have seen them develop and refine their gifts through this process of practice and preparation. I have seen them come together as a group and care for each other. And these observations alone make me excited about this program. For if our teens wouldn't have this opportunity, their alternative would be the secular opportunities, such as county and district music events, where a Christian testimony would be limited. So Saturday was a special day for us, despite the long trip, and I was encouraged and proud to see such a fine group of Christian kids praising the Lord in such a variety of ways. My prayer is that they will continue to develop and use these gifts and talents for the Lord throughout their lives.
This blog may get me in trouble, but here goes. Did you hear about the new Husband Store that opened in New York City? It is a store where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates. You may visit the store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors, and the attributes of the men increase as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch: You may choose any man from a particular floor, or you may choose to go up a floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building. So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor, the sign on the door reads: "Floor 1 - These men have jobs and love the Lord." The second floor sign reads: "Floor 2 - These men have jobs, love the Lord, and love kids." The third floor sign reads: "Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love the Lord, love kids, and are extremely good looking. "Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going." She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads: "Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love the Lord, love kids, are drop-dead good looking, and help with the housework." "Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims. "I can hardly stand it!" Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads: "Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love the Lord, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak." She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads: "Floor 6 - You are visitor 4,363,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. Watch your step as you exit the building, and have a nice day!" Now I don't really understand this story, do you? But I am told that it is funny, at least to some men.
If you watch television news, listen to the news on the radio, or read the newspaper you hear so many unusual stories that often are very hard to believe. You wonder if people make up some of these stories. But, we really do live in a strange world where little should surprise us anymore. Today on the radio I heard of an interesting incident in a pentecostal church. It happened in a service where people were being "slain in the spirit". One lady who was "slain" fell backwards and the usher failed to catch her before she hit the floor. I don't know how seriously she was hurt but she has hired a lawyer and is suing the church and the usher for failing to catch her. Now I have four questions about this incident. First, if "miracles" were really being done there, why couldn't she also be "healed" of her injuries immediately? Second, if this event was real, why didn't the Spirit arrange to rescue her before she hit the floor? Third, if she expected to be slain and fall, why wasn't she wearing a helmet or some protection? Fourth, if she was really slain or filled by the Spirit, why would she now have the desire for revenge? Somehow I just can't see a Spirit filled person suing to get revenge over an event where they claim that the Spirit came and filled her. I'd love to be at this trial and hear the arguments from both sides. Unfortunately, I'll probably never hear how this case is settled. Well the two outcomes that I am sure of are that some lawyers will get rich and famous and that once again followers of Christ will be the laughing stock of many. I wonder if she will also name the Holy Spirit in her suit.
The day before we left for Florida, I had an appointment with my foot doctor for my diabetic foot check and to have my toenails trimmed. That morning, while taking a shower, I was surprised to see that the bottom of my big left toe was black and blue. I could not remember having bumped it or doing anything which would have caused this bruising. I showed it to my doctor that morning and he didn't find anything wrong. He guessed that I had just broken a blood vessel. The next day we traveled to Florida, followed by two days of extensive walking at Disney. On the second day at Disney, I bumped my foot against a cement wall and my foot really hurt. Later that day I began to have a stabbing pain in my toe that would hit suddenly every 30 seconds or so. I took some Tylenol, but that didn't give me any relief. I tried to sleep that night but the stabbing pain kept me awake. I got up and rubbed it and walked around and nothing would give me relief. Finally, about 4 am, Dianne got awake and I told her that I thought I needed to go to the emergency ward to get something for relief. I knew there was a hospital about a mile from our motel. So we got up, dressed, and drove there. Fortunately, we were checked in very quickly – earlier they had had a very busy Friday night but when we arrived there was nobody waiting. Finally, after all the insurance forms were completed, they took me to a waiting area. Then a physician's assistant showed up and, without even looking at my foot, he informed me that I had an infected ingrown toe nail. I informed him that this couldn't be the case since my feet had just been checked by my foot doctor. Again, without even looking at my toe, he guessed that it could be gout, a guess which he later reversed. He then guessed it could be broken and sent me for x-rays. Actually, he never ever even looked at my toe. Finally I had an x-ray taken and a male nurse then appeared to tell me it was broken. He taped my toes, gave me a boot to wear, and gave me instructions to stay off of it for two days. He gave me three prescriptions and released me. I felt that it was a wasted adventure, except for the pain pills, and decided to leave. On the way out, the physician's assistant, knowing that I didn't believe the diagnosis, asked me if I wanted to see the x-ray. I said sure and he showed me something I couldn't interpret anyway. So we left to prepare for our trip to see the Phillies play later that day. The one prescription helped (I didn't try the other two) and three days later the pain was gone. The great boot that they gave me fell apart the next day. I imagine that my insurance was probably billed $150 or so for it. I thought of going to see my family doctor when we returned home, as they suggested, but there was no longer any pain or discoloring or anything that indicated I had had a problem. I have heard stories about Florida doctors and hospitals. I now believe most of them. But the physician's assistant and I do have two things in common. First, neither of us wanted to be there at 6 am Saturday morning. Second, neither of us know what was really wrong. And that, folks, is the big toe mystery.
This morning, an article in the newspaper drew my attention to the subject of Lent. To learn more about this, I went to Wikipedia and here is what it says. "Lent, in Catholic tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Conventionally, it is described as being forty days long … This practice was virtually universal in Christendom until the Protestant Reformation. Some Protestant churches do not observe Lent, but many, such as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Episcopalians, do." That is interesting … through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and selfdenial … self-denial of what? Chocolate? Desserts? Or, as the morning newspaper says … Facebook! Now I shouldn't question anyone's motives, but giving up Facebook and getting public recognition for it doesn't seem to me like great preparation for celebrating the death and ressurection of Christ. But then, in my mind, neither does giving up chocolate. But the newspaper and area college students think it does. We had a very meaningful Good Friday service last evening and we were reminded of the unbelievable suffering of the Lord Jesus, for us. Nothing can begin to measure up to that event which changed history. And nothing we can give up can adequately prepare us to celebrate that event, certainly not giving up Facebook for 40 days. Not that giving up Facebook isn't a good idea. I still remain a member, but I tire of reading things like … I feel lazy today … I can't wait for the weekend … What can I make for supper? … I scored 500 points today in Farkle … I slept in this morning … I'm bored … and all the other extraordinary comments which frequent the wall. And I don't think giving up this time-waster is that great a sacrifice … especially for Lent … unless you use that time to spend with the Lord, thanking and praising Him, for the wondrous sacrifice and free gift of eternal life. And maybe making a sacrifice for Him would be more appropriate to done for 365 days rather than just 40. Oh well, that isn't for me to judge, is it? It is a personal matter between you and the Lord. So, last night we remembered and celebrated His death. Friday was here, but Sunday is coming! He is Risen! PTL!
We recently had a very special opportunity to make a quick, unexpected trip. It happened so quickly that most of you were not even aware that we were gone. It was a very unique experience and we haven't had the opportunity to share it with you since our return. I know how we really don't enjoy looking at other people's vacation photos and videos, so we've shared just a couple of special photos and details on a special webpage. We hope that you will take a few minutes of your time today to look at this special page fbfawana.com/trip.htmlIf this link doesn't work you may need to type it into your browser. We wish that all of you could have joined us in this once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for visiting the page.
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.