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.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


There is a special young lady, whose name I won't mention, that we have known since she was in elementary school. In fact we used to teach her when we taught the children at Pinebrook. We've watched her over the years grow into a young, talented Christian women. A few years ago she married a fine Christian young man and they both felt called to serve on the mission field. And for the past few years they have been serving in a project to reach unreached tribes in Tanzania. In time she became pregnant and they were surprised to find out that she was carrying twins. Unfortunately, complications developed and since there were no specialists available in Tanzania, she and her husband made an emergency trip back to the states. There they found out that her situation with the twins was extremely rare and critical. For twins the egg usually splits in much less than ten days. If they go ten days or longer, they are usually conjoined. Her twins apparently split on the ninth day leaving them with separate cords but nothing to separate them in the womb. The danger is that they will become entangled and strangle each other's cords. So she is now hospitalized so that they can monitor the situation and rush her into surgery if the problem develops. Recent pictures show they are entwined but not presently cutting of their supplies. Ideally they would like to get to 32 weeks (five weeks to go) to give the twins the best chance for survival. But, without a miracle, they will probably need to take them sooner. In situations like this they have a 50% chance of survival. We are praying with them that the Lord will perform the miracles needed. But in a situation like this, our question is usually "Why?". Why would God allow this to happen to a young couple who have dedicated their lives to reaching the unreached with the Gospel? There are so few young people who would respond to such a call. I've asked this question so often lately as we've watched a number of our Christian friends lose a spouse, as we now watch two Christian friends facing serious cancer situations, as we watch a 14 year old in a coma with a malignant brain tumor, and as we watch another friend go through very deep waters. And the age old question remains, "Why does God allow good people to face such challenges?" And there are many possible answers but they often seem to fall so short when one is in the midst of the stressful situation. And, in most cases we will never know God's reason or purposes, at least while we are here on earth. So all we can do is to trust God's heart and believe that He is in control. In fact, yesterday, while I was again pondering this question, I heard a well known pastor say that the most important lesson he had to learn in his life was that God was in control and that he wasn't. So we must just learn to live one day at a time, knowing that God is always good, even when we can't see His plan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Telephone Calls

I heard that the largest volume of telephone calls comes on Mother's Day and I don't find that surprising. But then I also heard that the largest volume of collect calls is on Father's Day. I guess it is hard to break away from the habit of having dad pay the bill. I don't usually watch Jay Leno, but the other night I caught part of his monologue. In it he said that the typical Father's Day call from son to father goes something like this. "Hi dad, happy Father's Day" ... "Thanks son, nice to hear from you. Hold on, I'll let you talk to your mother." And both father and son are happy and satisfied that they have bonded once again. Now Dianne and I both had to laugh when we heard that since that sounds like something I would do. I really don't enjoy talking on the phone and I usually let Dianne answer our phone for that reason. Now I love my sons and I enjoy being with them, but we can "bond" just by being together and watching sports on television. We don't need to talk for hours like women do. And most sons would really prefer to talk to their mother anyway and that is probably why the most calls are made on Mother's Day. Now daughters generally have the need to talk with their mothers or their sisters ... everyday ... for hours. Daughters talk to their fathers when they have problems or decisions to be made. Somehow that just seems to be the way that we are wired. When I walk each morning at Park City I notice that the women walk in groups and are talking constantly. When they walk alone, they are generally chatting on their cell phones. The men often walk alone, in silence. And if Dianne can't walk with me, then I prefer to walk alone, like most of the men, in silence. So am I strange or unusual? I'm sure there are a variety of opinions about that. But I think I am normal and like most men. So if you call, I certainly will talk to you. But, expect Dianne to answer the phone. And if we do talk on the phone, our conversation will probably be short and to the point. Oh, please excuse me a minute ... our phone is ringing ... "Dianne can you please answer that call?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

This is my second Father's Day without my father. I thought about him this morning when I went to church - he was always there. I thought about him when I counted the offering - a task which he did for many years. I thought about him when we had lunch at Wendys - we always had Sunday lunch there together. I wish that I could give him a hug and a kiss and wish him a Happy Father's Day - but I can't. I don't really grieve for him, for he is so much better off now. But at times I do miss him. Often I wish that I could share with him what is happening in my life and in the lives of my family. I often wish that I could tap his wisdom in so many subjects. I wish that I could ask him more about his life and his experiences. Next month is the 60th anniversary of the start of our church. he was the key person in that process and while I was part of it, as a youngster, I wish that I would have the opportunity to talk with him again about all that was involved. I hope to devote some future blogs in July to what I remember about that time since those memories will soon be gone forever. As I've shared before, I had a very special dad. In my early years we moved so often. Jobs and finances were tough during those postwar years and dad had many jobs before he landed a permanent one. As a result, he was often working but I never regretted his absence since I realize how hard he worked to support us in those years when we had nothing. I remember how he modeled faithfulness in the Lord's house as for years we would drive an hour to attend all the church services in Harrisburg. Later I saw how he devoted his energy to the establishment and growth of our church and from that I saw what it meant to faithfully and fully serve the Lord. Dad modeled that and our church flourished. Later I saw how he trusted the Lord when he lost his job at RCA, after 25 years there, and then when we lost mother in the auto accident. He never complained or blamed God. In fact, I don't ever remember hearing my dad complain about anything, especially his circumstances. Dad served the Lord until the end - the literal end - even when his health was failing. I owe so much to dad and I think that the older I get the more I appreciate his legacy and impact in my life. I wish that I could tell him that. I wish that I could be even half the model to my boys and grandchildren that he was to me. But while I miss him, I would never want to wish him back. For he is where he always wanted to be, home in heaven, with mother and His Lord. But dad, just in case you can hear me, thank you ... and Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Watching The Grandkids

One of the joys of being a grandparent is that you often have the opportunity to repeat some of the same activities that you shared with your children, but with much less stress and without being crammed for time. We've attended baseball games, soccer matches, rugby matches, band concerts and performances, choral concerts, orchestra concerts, youth competitions, graduations, exhibits, and even parents' nights. And we don't even have to be a band parent, a soccer mom or a fund raiser to participate. Recently we attended our granddaughter's kindergarten graduation – wow, we didn't even go to kindergarten when we were kids. I wonder how we made it through life. We enjoyed seeing her in her pretty dress with her graduation cap walk across the stage to receive her diploma. We were proud that she was so well behaved. And we also had the opportunity to watch other kids act like clowns in front of their embarrassed parents. It made me realize how glad I am to be retired and not to be around to teach the Class of 2022! We didn't get to our oldest grandson's high school graduation because with a class of about 580, tickets were limited. Maybe schools are just too big. But we did get to his high school band concert and I was really impressed with the quality of the concert. We also had a chance to watch their award winning band's marching show last Fall. Excellent! Kindergarten and eighth grade soccer games were entertaining this Spring. Our eighth grader even took and passed a course to become a hockey official – there is good money to be made doing this if you can take the grief from coaches and parents. In April we traveled to Altoona to watch two of ours compete in the regional Word of Life Teens competition. Our grandson was involved with a puppet group and played in the praise band. Our granddaughter was also in a puppet group, sang in the praise band and read a poem and a story that she had written. Both of them qualified for the national competition in all of their events. We are proud. We also enjoyed a sixth grade band concert in one of the best school district music programs in the area. We especially enjoyed watching a particular French horn player. Unfortunately, we also had to sit through three other instrumental groups' performances until the band played. I've come to the conclusion that there is a direct correlation between how much you enjoy an elementary concert and who you know in the performing group. I imagined the parents of those in the first three groups thought it was great, but I didn't. We are blessed that all seven of our grandchildren are in three area public school districts so we have an opportunity to watch them and support them in these experiences. And while one of ours is now moving on to college, the other six will all be in school next year. So, hopefully the experiences will continue. And we will enjoy them all! But the greatest recent experience was watching one of our grandsons follow the Lord in baptism. The other events are special, but watching them grow spiritually is a thrill. And for that we thank the Lord.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama Care

Sometimes our medical care is outstanding. Many of the surgeries that can be done today are incredible and there are many doctors who really do care about their patients. And many of the modern drugs prevent or cure serious conditions (while often creating new ones). But sometimes one gets hung up with the many problems in this profession. And this is very hard when you or a loved one are personally involved. For example, have you ever had to wait days and weeks to hear how your tests or biopsies turned out? Wait, wait, wait – worry, worry, worry! Then you find they have just forgotten to notify you. Been there, done that. Or have you had to wait an hour or more to see the doctor when you had an appointment? I guess that is what they mean by "waiting" rooms. Or have you tried to make an appointment with a specialist? We know of folks with very serious conditions who have had to wait months to see a specialist. A few years ago when I had to see a voice specialist it took me six months to have my first appointment. Dianne has recently had problems with her feet and has had trouble walking. Two family doctors and her podiatrist didn't know what to do so she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. His first opening was over two months away. So instead, she chose to see a physician's assistant who diagnosed her as having posterior tibial tendonitis. He had her leg put in a cast up to her knee. Three weeks later she did get to see the specialist (that's one way to get around the appointment problem). He put her in a new cast for two more weeks and had her measured for a brace. While she was in the cast she had no pain. Last Thursday they took the second cast off and put her in the brace only to find that the brace was not made correctly. Rather than put her in a third cast, she was told to wear the brace all day until a new one could be made, and then to come back – in four weeks. Well the new cast is very painful but she is forced to wear it until the new brace is done – almost a week and a half. Then she will need to wear that one for three weeks until she can see the specialist again. So much for personal and timely care. That's almost as bad as the doctor in Florida who diagnosed my foot pain as an infected ingrown toenail, without even ever looking at my foot or coming within three feet of it, even though my toenails had been cut by my podiatrist just two days earlier. But as they say, they are … "practicing" physicians . Of course all of this is going to improve with "Obama Care". Well we've had our first experience with his new healthcare law. If you are on medicare you know what is meant by the dreaded "donut-hole" in the drug prescription program. That is where you must pay full price for your meds until you spend about $4,300. "Obama Care" now provides a rebate of $250 to any senior who hits the "donut hole". Since Dianne's meds have already cost over $3,000 for less than six months, she is eligible. I'm also in the "hole" but the federal government hasn't noticed that yet. So yesterday Dianne got her check for $250! I expect that until the year is over this will amount to about a 3% rebate. Wow, what a great bonus to seniors, especially those of us who will probably face a 10% increase in their coverage costs for 2011. But I guess it is better than nothing, at least 3% better! So I guess we need to say "thank you", not to Obama … but to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will be paying for the costs of "Obama Care" (and all of his other costly programs) all of their lives. Thanks kids! Oh yes, the new medical motto must be, "take an aspirin and call me in five weeks … if you can afford to or if you can get an appointment!" Keep well!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good Bye!

They say it is hard to say "good bye" and it often is. During the past 19 months we have learned much about doing this. We said "good bye" to our fathers, my brother, and an uncle and aunt. But there are difficult times that follow those experiences where one must also say "good bye" and move on. One of those experiences came for me last October when we sold my dad's home. He had built this and lived there for almost 60 years. We moved there when I was in fourth grade and the house and neighborhood held many memories. But I had about eight months after dad's death to prepare for that last day. And walking though the house and around the property for the final time was very difficult. But that day had to be faced and then we moved on with our lives. However, the many memories are still with us. Then we faced having to say "good bye" once again last Monday. My wife's father died 19 months ago, but her step-mother continued to live in their apartment. We visited her there quite often but it wasn't the same without Dianne's dad. Then, last week, her step-mother had to move to assisted living, vacating the apartment. So we spent a few hours there going through things that had belonged to her dad. This time vacating the apartment was really final and it was especially difficult for Dianne and her sister. Saying "good bye" was hard. But I guess I didn't expect some of the other closures that happened during that visit. We took time to drive through the campus of Susquehanna University, in Selinsgrove, which is just a few blocks from the apartment. We had often done this when we went to visit Dianne's dad. I had spent four great years at SU and have so many great memories of those times. During those years I met Dianne and we were married. I suddenly realized that by vacating the apartment we were also "vacating" Selinsgrove and we would not have any real reason to return to this spot that was so important in my life. Then going home, we drove through Sunbury. Crossing the bridge over the Susquehanna River we were able to enjoy a panoramic view of the town. We both remarked about the many good memories we have of Sunbury. We drove past the old church where we were married. We drove down the main street and saw where Dianne used to work. We crossed the railroad where a watchman used to wait to stop the traffic when trains passed through the town. We passed the neighborhood where Dianne's grandmother used to live, where her dad went to school, and where my mother worked. We passed the property where we had so many church gatherings and where they held our wedding shower. Then we headed south, out of town, as we used to when we so often visited our many family members who used to live there. But now most of them have passed away and there are few reasons for us ever to make that trip again. And so, once again we had to say "good bye" and leave with just memories – great memories. But that is the way life is – nothing stays the same. So we say our "good byes", hold on to our great memories and thank the Lord for them, and we move on with the next phase of our life.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Pleasures Of Life

Last year we remodeled our bathroom. We spent weeks selecting all the right fixtures, tile, fans, paint, etc. We were excited to watch the work progress and when they were finally done, we were very pleased. That is, we were very pleased until we tried to take a bath. We hadn't realized that modern tubs weren't nearly as deep as the ones which were installed fifty years ago. We thought the sizes were standard. We quickly found that one couldn't recline in the new tub and expect to be covered by water as had previously been the case. (Of course, maybe if I lost 75 pounds it might be a little different). Now we love our shower, we really do. But, comfortable, relaxing baths are no longer possible for us. And I really do miss a good relaxing bath, especially when my muscles ache and my back hurts. But I am now a "shower person", just not by choice. However, recently we stayed in a motel and I thought that I would enjoy the luxury of a relaxing bath while we were there. While the tub was large enough, it was low, and I encountered my first problem trying to get in. I quickly discovered that there was nothing around to hold on to and getting a firm grip on the side of the tub was nearly impossible. But finally I managed to get in - very slowly. Then the next problem developed. The bottom of the tub had anti-skid material applied and it worked. I couldn't move, let alone skid. It felt like I was stretched out on rocks or broken glass. It was painful to move, but I thought I'd just rest my head on the back of the tub and lie still to avoid the "pain". But guess what? The ledge was so narrow that you couldn't rest your head on it. Unbelievable! So I decided it would be better to get our ... and take a shower. But, alas, getting out was the next problem. As I said, there was nothing to hold on to and I couldn't pull myself up. I imagined the fire company coming to pull me out. Finally, I was able to roll over, enduring the jagging of the anti-skid material. Then I was able to lean over the side of the tub and roll myself out. Success and the fire company wasn't even needed. So I've resigned myself to the fact that showers really are not too bad and that a good, warm, relaxing bath probably belongs to the good old days. It's amazing how we take some of the pleasures of life for granted until we no longer can enjoy them. Oh yes, it's Saturday, so don't forget to take your weekly bath tonight. Enjoy! Guess I'll settle for a shower.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Special Day

Quite often in life you face the question "Would You Do It Again?". In my life answering that question is usually very easy since I don't know that there is much that I would do differently if given another chance. God has been so good to me and I have found that His ways are always right, even when we don't know what may be ahead. There certainly is one thing that I would never consider doing differently and that is marrying Dianne. As I write this blog, it is 48 years, almost to the minute, that we both said "I do" in Sunbury before a church full of witnesses. Some couples have renewed their vows on their anniversaries, but we have no desire or need to do so. We made those vows before God and have not violated them – in the good times and in the tough times. And God has blessed us in so many ways. We have tried to put Him first in all that we have done – in our time, in our decisions, in our possessions, in our worship, in our finances, and in our raising of our family. And He has given us all that we have ever needed. We thank Him for that … But this blog represents another anniversary – it is the 200th blog that I have posted on my public site. (Many more have been on my Awana site). Now if asked if I would do it again, I'm not sure what I would say. And asked if I will continue to write, I'm not sure what I would answer. I love to write and it has become a hobby. But finding interesting topics is very hard and that is backed up by the decline in readership. Where I hoped it would increase, the counters show that it is declining. So I don't know if I will ever hit 300 or 250 or even 225. Time will tell. Now what is interesting is that the readership of my weekly hymn blog does continue to increase. I probably should run a survey on that blog to learn more about who is visiting there. But my readers seldom add comments or participate in surveys. But I'll still give it some thought. … And before I quit, my few regular readers of my public blog might note that I took the "scoreboard" off. I was keeping track of how many times I've notified the Republican Party that my father has passed away. I think I had returned 57 of their mailings, at their expense, asking to have him taken off their mailing list. I stopped adding to the scoreboard a week ago since I thought they finally listened. But guess what? As I am writing this, Dianne brought me the mail. She was laughing as she handed me a "second chance" for my dad to return his ballot. Some things never change!