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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

You'll Have Days Like This!

Sometimes the Lord allows us to have challenging weeks and days. Last week began with the tragic news that one of our elders, 45 years old with three teenage children, dropped over dead while working with his son on an Eagle Scout project at our church. A day later I learned that my cousin had died following a stroke. Then a very difficult problem with our Awana program developed which consumed much of my time. Next came the news that a senior friend of ours had terminal cancer with just months to live. That was followed by news that my aunt's condition had worsened and that the grandchildren were called home to be with her. But then the Lord allowed us to have a great break in the stress as we were able to go to Penn State on Saturday to watch an exciting football game. Despite the fact that the game started at 3:30 rather than noon as I had expected, we braved the heavy traffic on a beautiful day and really enjoyed ourselves there. Then, after returning home at about 9:45, we prepared for a challenging Sunday. My schedule called for me to teach the Awana training class, then work on solving the Awana problem between services, and then counting both offerings and preparing the church deposit during the second service. From there I was to rush to Ephrata at 12:15 to attend a luncheon honoring Bob Gehret, a close friend of my dad. Next it was back to church to visit our elder's family before the 4 pm memorial service. Finally it was to return home to host our small group from church at 6 pm. There was no time for supper, which I guess I don't need anyway. We didn't expect, however, to wake up that day and find that somebody had demolished and stolen our mailbox. So before leaving for church I called the police and was told that I would need to meet an officer sometime that day to file a report. I worked that in between the Ephrata trip and the visitation. Also, when I got to church that morning I discovered that because of rushing around I had forgotten my materials for teaching my class. Fortunately we are only a little over five minutes from the church so I was able to rush home to get what I needed. Later that night we were able to finally sigh with relief having made it through a busy week and day. Today we are just exhausted but we are also facing another very heavy week with appointments, meetings, a trip to Pinebrook, and our annual Awana conference on Saturday. How did we ever do it before I retired? Now we've all had days like mine was yesterday. So, I'm not complaining. And I wouldn't call it a bad week or day because much was accomplished. Here is what a bad day might really look like. I heard of a carpet installer who had worked for hours completing an installation in a room. When it was all done he went to have a cigarette, only to find that his pack was missing. Then he discovered a small lump under the carpet. Realizing that it would take hours to tear up the carpet and relay it, he decided to take his hammer and just smash the lump and then stomp on it to flatten it out. He did this and it worked perfectly. He then called in the owner for her approval. When she came she said to him, " Here is your pack of cigarettes that I found out in the hall. Now if I could only find my canary!" Now that's a bad day. I hope you have a great one!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am growing tired of the word tolerant. Maybe I am just intolerant. Today, when you disagree with a person you are told that you must be tolerant and accept that person's opinion and actions, even if they are dead wrong. Major companies now have tolerance workshops to make sure their employees accept everything and everybody. And so, my stomach churned yesterday when I read that a number of Islamic leaders have met to support the building of the new mosque at Ground Zero. And their plan is to open up their mosques for we intolerant people to visit, hoping that we will become more tolerant of their views. Sounds like a great recruiting technique to advance their cause. And they would like to have a week to proclaim and support religious tolerance and religious liberty. Now we "intolerant believers of Christ" know that in the last days false religions will grow and be accepted and they will play a major role in the end time events. Maybe those events are closer than we think. Now here is my proposal for supporting and proclaiming tolerance. If they can build a mosque at Ground Zero, let them show tolerance by opening all Islamic lands to allow churches to be built there. If burning Qurans is intolerant (and I do think that was a terrible idea), then let Muslims condemn and stop the burning of Bibles in Islamic countries. Let our soldiers carry their Bibles and read them in open when they are in Islamic countries. Let them shown their tolerance by allowing their citizens to own and read Bibles in Islamic countries. Let them stop persecuting or even killing those who convert from Islam to Christianity. Let them show their tolerance by allowing Christians to worship openly and without fear, as we allow them to do in this country. Let them show their tolerant attitude by allowing women the freedoms that women enjoy in this country. Let them demonstrate their tolerance by dropping their plans to build the mosque at Ground Zero out of respect to the millions of citizens who feel that this is insensitive to the feelings of Americans and especially to those whose family members died there. Now you see, at least in my mind, playing the tolerance card in this case appears to be just a way to get more of what they want. I think it is time that they demonstrate genuine tolerance by accepting Christianity worldwide, especially in Islamic countries. When they do that, then maybe we can discuss tolerance. But we all know, that isn't about to happen. Ah yes, that's right, since I disagree, I am just intolerant.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Who Will Make It?

If you are a baseball fan, you have to enjoy what is happening right now in the National League. With just two weeks left in the season, there are still six teams competing for four play-off positions. And several of these spots may not be decided until the last weekend when several of these teams play each other. That is much more exciting than the American League where all four play-off spots are already settled. What makes this race even more interesting is that three of the six teams - Philadelphia, San Francisco and Colorado - are there because they are finishing the season strong. Two of the teams - Atlanta and San Diego - led most of the year and are now struggling in the final weeks. And, of course, many of the other teams dropped out weeks and months ago. Now even if you aren't a baseball fan you probably can appreciate how this race models the lives of so many Christians. All six teams started the season at the same place and throughout the year they experienced many different trials and challenges. The Phillies, for example, had most of their starters on the disabled list at various times during the year. Yet they did not quit and they stayed in contention. And as I write this blog, they are finishing strong. Hopefully that will continue. But we all face different trials and challenges on our life journey and we may face them differently. Some grow closer to the Lord through them, while others quit and often even become bitter. And then as we face our senior years some just give up. Some "retire" from Christian service with the attitude "let the young folks do it." And, unfortunately, many do things which ruin their testimony and reputation. It is sad to see Christians who fall into sin or shift into neutral for the Lord. It is so sad to see those fail in their latter years. On the other hand, it is inspiring to see others who continue to grow in the Lord and serve Him, often despite physical challenges. I was encouraged a few weeks ago when I visited my aging aunt and uncle in Wisconsin. Despite a recent stroke and a move to a nursing home, their love for the Lord shines. There is no complaining, but there is thankfulness. That is what I call finishing strong. And how we finish our lives is our choice. We can be bitter or better. We will all face very difficult and unwanted challenges in our senior years. The question is, how will we react? How will we finish, and how will folks view our stretch run? My desire is to run the race well and finish strong. And that is much more important than winning a major league pennant and the praise of fans. For the scriptures tell is that our life race is being viewed by a cloud of witnesses and at the finish we will see the Lord. Let me encourage you to run well, with patience, and finish strong, keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I love doing things with computers. If I were 50 years younger I think I would become a computer major and maybe be a programmer or web designer. But that is another story. Sometimes computers can also create frustration. When I retired I bought a laptop and a desktop computer - the laptop is over five years old and my desktop is older. They have worked well without any problems all of these years. I used a special piece of software on both to keep records of individual contributions at church. I have about 400 individual accounts stored in the software. It has worked very well and is easy to use. Unfortunately, a few years ago, Apple updated its chips and operating systems and the old Classic system needed for my software will not work on the new computers. Also, the software is not available for the new operating system. In the meantime, I was saving for new computers since I feared that one day my old ones would crash because they were getting old and were used very hard. In July I went ahead and purchased a new modern laptop and a new modern desktop. My plan was to keep the older two computers and use them just for the church software and backups. Good plan. But, a week after my purchase, the old desktop crashed and needed a new logic board. I felt that I had to have it repaired to maintain my ability to have a back-up. I bit the bullet and shelled out $650. Then, while at Pinebrook, my printer died. I was able to purchase a compatible refurbished printer on the internet only to find that while it would print out my church reports, it printed them so slowly that it would probably take me many weeks to print out the final individual reports for the year. So I went on ebay and bid on a used model like the one that had died. I won and I was excited when my $40 purchase came, only to find that it was defective. I finally was able to return it and get my $40 back, but it cost me $20 to send it back. Then I went shopping again and finally found a new one on ebay at a cost of $120. It works and is great. Problem solved - not really. Now my old laptop has begun crashing. I've had it to Apple twice to be diagnosed and they can't find the problem. Today they suggested reloading all of my system software to see if that might solve the problem. I guess I need to do that, but right now I am afraid to try it. I just might just mess everything up and be in a worse situation. So far, just to keep being able to use the church software, I have shelled out "only" $800 and the problem still isn't corrected. Then add to that the cost of my two new computers and a printer - I really don't want to think about it. Actually, if I could start all over, for about $700 I could have just purchased new software. And with all the time I've spent on solving this problem, I probably could have entered the 400 records and giving information for eight months in the new software. Well, maybe not. As I said, I love doing things with computers ... except for spending money to keep them going. But on the bright side, I have learned quite a bit in this little adventure. But did I really want to learn it?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Favorite Season

This weekend we received a brief taste of my favorite season of the year - Fall. Now I do like all four seasons and am glad that I live in an area where I can experience all four. But, without a doubt, I love the season that will soon begin. The brief relief from the heat and the low humidity that we experienced this weekend made me realize that this beautiful season is on the way. There is no question that I do enjoy the cooler temperatures. There is something special about Fall evenings, especially when the smells of burning leaves and active fireplaces mix with the crisp, cool evening air. And I love the beauty of the changing leaves - if only they would stay on the trees a little longer. It is so beautiful when the mountains are painted in mixtures of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. God is such a masterful artist. Then there are the fields of corn stalks and pumpkins which are so evident in Lancaster County. And I look forward to fresh, tasty apples. In fact I could eat one right now. But with this season comes football which is probably my favorite sport. I enjoy baseball, but it is so slow. Basketball is fun, too, but it is played indoors. Football is exciting, fast, and filled with excitement. And what can match a great football game on a crisp Saturday afternoon or a great night game with heavy coats, gloves, and blankets. Oh yes, it is a great time to look forward to in the months ahead. Unfortunately, those months pass so quickly and then comes the snow - opps, let's not ruin the thought with four letter words. Let's just enjoy the beautiful days ahead. Grab an apple, watch a football game, take a walk in the woods, and enjoy this time of beauty which comes once a year. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Do I Miss It?

It is hard to believe, but this is now the ninth year that I am retired and not heading back to school. And actually, I spent 55 years returning to school - 12 years in elementary and high school, 4 years in college, and 39 years as a teacher/administrator. That's a long time. Yesterday somebody asked if I missed it. I did really miss it the first year that I was retired and there are still some things that I do miss. I miss the computer in-service sessions where I was able to keep current with new technology and software. Now I must teach myself. I miss the excitement of new classes and new students each semester. New beginnings were always fun. I miss the excitement when vacations neared, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. I actually miss grading tests - it was fun to see my students progress, although not all did. I miss many of the kids and the fun of supporting them in their activities, especially sports, music, drama and contests. Believe it or not, I miss Parents' Nights. I always enjoyed meeting the parents, some of whom were my former students. I enjoyed sharing with them my goals and expectations. And I do miss teaching in-service sessions for elementary teachers and working with my elementary math committee. They were always so gracious and appreciative. I also miss some of the staff members, especially at Central Manor Elementary School where I had my office for many years. I miss math conferences and conventions where I learned so much and met so many key contacts. But there are many things I don't miss. I don't miss leaving for school at 6:45 in the morning. I don't miss many of the required in-service programs, or the faculty meetings, or department meetings, or administrative meetings. Meetings, meetings, meetings! I don't miss assemblies and other duties supervising kids. - in the cafeteria, study hall, or parking lot. I don't miss evaluating teachers. I don't miss all the reports and paper work. I don't miss budget times with the usual required cuts. I don't miss having to make up snow days which always shortened other vacations. But considering all of the pros and cons, I was fortunate to have really enjoyed all of my years. But, alas, that was a different lifetime. Now I am enjoying retirement, even though I seem to be busier than ever. So in answer to the question that I was asked. Do I miss it? Not now. I saw a shirt that sums it up, "I'm retired, and you're not, na-na-na-na-na-na!" Enough said.