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, January 30, 2012

70 Amazing Years!

Tomorrow is a very special day for our family. On January 31, 1942, my Aunt Ellen Kauffman was married to John Derck. So Tuesday is their 70th wedding anniversary. Wow, 70 years! They were married after the start of World War II and then they were separated for over three years while Uncle John was off to serve his country. He has written his fascinating memories of his war experiences, including his unbelievable experiences at Normandy. This account has given me a new appreciation not only of him but also for the thousands who served and gave their lives during those years to protect our freedoms. I can't even begin to imagine what he went through during the war or even what my aunt and uncle went through during those three years of separation and danger. It must have been a very difficult time for the young married couple. During those years my aunt was instrumental in leading me to the Lord in the parsonage in Sunbury and for that I will be eternally grateful. During my elementary school years we spent much time together. In fact, for a short time we lived above them in a house on North Queen Street in Lancaster. They later moved to Skyline Drive in Lancaster and we continued to visit with them regularly, especially on nights when boxing was on television. They were blest with two children, Jerry and Nancy, who have always been very close to me. We all share together not only as relatives but as members of the family of God and that has enriched our relationships. Uncle John was a manager of JC Penneys and as a result they moved quite frequently, including years in Virginia and Connecticut. But while our paths separated during those years we still visited during the summer and at Christmas time. Such great memories. My uncle and aunt have always been an important influence in my life and especially my spiritual life. They have been an encouragement to us and our boys. During our years of family ministry they often visited us when we presented programs, especially at the Old Mill Bible Conference near Coatesville. While they were raised by a very special stepfather, my aunt and my dad shared the same earthly father, Horace Kauffman, who died before my aunt was born. I think that resulted in a very special bond between them and also between our families. After retirement, the Dercks moved to a small town in northern Wisconsin to be near their daughter. They enjoyed their years there. But a few years ago, after a stroke limited my aunt, they sold their home and moved to a retirement complex in Rhinelander. We had the special joy to visit them there a few years ago. It is a lovely place and they are surrounded by caring staff. The Lord has continued to use them in such amazing ways especially as they've shared their faith with doctors, nurses and attendants. The Lord still has had a ministry for them. Uncle John was 93 in December and he still loves to go to shop at Penney's where he uses coupons, store sales, and his discounts to get unbelievable bargains. He says that he wants to have the best dressed grandchildren on either side of the Mississippi River, and with his purchases, I imagine he does. On Friday Aunt Ellen celebrated her 93rd birthday and while she is somewhat limited from the effects of her stroke, she is still vibrant, sharp, and a joy to those around her. She is a special lady. And so I say to them, Happy 70th Anniversary and thank you for all that you have meant to us over the years. You are a special part of the great Christian heritage that the Lord has allowed us to have. We have been blessed by your impact on our lives and Christian walk! Thank you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

So long, Joe

Events of this past week have made me think about the national figures who lived in my lifetime that I most admire. It wasn't hard for me to come up with the names of Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, Reggie White, George W. Bush, and Joe Paterno. I have admired each for different reasons but all have had outstanding careers and have made outstanding contributions which I have admired. Of course, with his recent death, many folks have shared stories about Joe. I have had two interesting contacts with him over the past two decades. When I reached the 30th year of providing leadership to the Penn Manor math program I wrote to him sharing how that I admired the way he had served for so many years as head coach while retaining his enthusiasm, his drive, and his effectiveness. I thanked him for providing this example to me since few people can do this over such a long period of time. He wrote a personal letter back to me, thanking me and encouraging me. Unfortunately, this week I can't find that valued letter even though I am sure it is somewhere in my files. In 2001 I had some concerns about some of the changes that had taken place at the stadium. I wrote to the Penn State athletic director about these concerns and he apparently shared my letter with Joe. A few days later I received a letter from Joe who said that the athletic director would work to address the problems I had mentioned. I do have this letter. But that sort of response demonstrates what so many are sharing about his friendliness and concerns about those around him. There are several reasons that I have admired him. The first was his down to earth attitude and his openness and friendliness to those who crossed his paths. No wonder students for generations loved him. The second was his ability to continue for many years in the same position with such great enthusiasm and leadership. Unfortunately, maybe he should have retired a few years sooner. A third reason was his loyalty to the university, his players and his staff. His staff was with him for many, many years. And they were loyal to him because he was so loyal to them. But I think the thing that attracted me most to him was his goal of success with honor. This past year the team's graduation rate was the highest in major college football in the nation. He stressed graduation first and football second. Most schools and coaches reverse those priorities. He often refused to give scholarships to accomplished, promising athletes who didn't have their priorities straight. They were readily accepted at other colleges. He benched players, even for bowl games and key games, who weren't maintaining what he expected in the classroom. Few coaches would ever risk a big win by doing this to key players. He had principles and stood behind them. His players felt like he was their father or grandfather and hundreds of them made the return trip to State College this week to honor him. Unfortunately, during his last few months he was unfairly chastised by the media for doing what, according to the attorney generals report, was just what he was supposed to do. He was then treated terribly by the Board of Trustees who used a note and a late night phone call to fire him and made him the scapegoat. What a horrendous way for them to end his great career. Then the Paterno's still gave another $100,000 gift to the university. And the only contact he had from the president and the trustees after he was fired was a note thanking them for the gift - not even a get well card or a phone call to check on him! Sad, sad, sad! Unfortunately, we don't know where Joe is now. I'm sure that thousands of his admirers feel he is in heaven, based on his life of good deeds. But that won't get him there. He was a very religious man and encouraged his players to obey God. But being religious won't get him to heaven. He certainly heard the Gospel throughout his life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Believing the Gospel and the work of Christ is the only way to heaven. Even following sound doctrine is not the prerequisite to getting to heaven, as important as that might be. So where is Joe today? Only God and Joe know. But thank you Joe for many great memories

Monday, January 23, 2012


Do you enjoy waiting? Have you ever thought about how much time we spend waiting? I imagine that if we kept a record, we'd be amazed how much of our day is spent doing so. We wait for traffic lights. We wait in grocery lines. We wait to be served. We wait for appointments. We wait for family members. We wait for the mail. But that type of waiting is just a part of our normal day by day living. Sometimes our waits are in anticipation of something very special happening and often we don't mind such waits. Children wait for Christmas and presents. Teens wait for their 16th birthday so they can get their permit and begin to drive. Seniors wait for a letter of acceptance. College students away from home wait for that visit from their parents and family. We wait in anticipation for a big game or a special concert or a wedding or an anniversary. We wait for a special vacation or a special trip. We wait for the birth of a child or a grandchild. We wait for our spouse to return from a long trip. Sometimes workers wait for Friday and the weekend break from work. Sometimes we wait for the day that we can retire. But often waiting is very hard and emotional because of the possible consequences. I remember many long nights of sitting with a sick child or spouse just waiting for the fever to drop and for the sun to rise. Often we have to wait for days or weeks to see a doctor when we have a problem. We wait for a loved one to come out of surgery. Then there is the waiting for the results of a biopsy or a medical test. Sometimes parents sit and wait for a child to come home late at night. Sometimes we wait to see if we will still have a job when the company is going through downsizing. Times waiting like this are tough. Human nature is to be impatient and not wait. We want things done immediately. We live in a time of instant foods, fast food restaurants, fast internet connections, and fast cars - we want things done now. But God doesn't always deal with us like that. While he is always there where we can speak to him immediately, even faster than the internet with no waiting, his answers are sometimes "yes", sometimes "no" and even sometimes "wait". After the death of my father, I inherited several of his pictures and mottos. One of those which had hung in their dining room for many years now hangs near the sink where I dress each morning. And so each day I am reminded of Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." And while I usually don't like to wait for things, I have this daily reminder to wait upon my Lord and he does give me the strength and courage to face the rest of the day, with Him. What more could I want?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daily Interruptions

We never know what a day will bring. No matter how we may plan our days they are often filled with interruptions. Sometimes these may be minor and we just need to rearrange our plans for that day. Sometimes these are even welcomed and make our days extra special and sometimes even memorable. However, sometimes the interruptions are very unexpected and can even be life changing. I'm sure that the couple celebrating their honeymoon on the recently wrecked cruise ship never anticipated how their lives would change just three hours after they began the cruise. And with the knowledge that we may face many unexpected interruptions during the day, I have learned that it is a good habit to begin the day by asking the Lord for guidance and direction for the day ahead. And it is also good to ask the same for our loved ones. With the knowledge that your day is committed to the Lord it is easier to face what may come your way in the days ahead. I have learned to ask Him for His leading and will before I roll out of bed in the morning or else while I am shaving and preparing for the day. Interruptions and problems are easier to face when you know that He is directing your paths and actions. I was reminded about how quickly things can change or go wrong by a story that Charles Swindoll shared on the radio yesterday. He told about a new modern commercial airliner that was taking its maiden journey from New York City to Los Angeles with a full load of passengers. About a half hour into the flight passengers heard the following announcement. "This is a recorded message. Today you are part of the first fully electronic passenger plane. There is no pilot aboard. There is no copilot aboard and there is no flight engineer present. We took off electronically. We are flying electronically. We will land electronically. So bit back and enjoy the trip. There is no need to worry since nothing can go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong." Have a good day knowing that if you've placed the day in His hands that all that happens - good or seemingly bad - will be in His plans for you. Rest in that knowledge.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Flown Away

When I retired I loved to get up early and spend time in our back room watching the birds fly in for their morning food. We had several feeders and containers and the birds were always there. We purchased a bird book and began to watch for new types. The cardinals were always there and we had all types of woodpeckers. Flocks of cedar waxwings used to come in a couple of times a year. Of course there were the mocking birds, robins and sparrows. It was fun to watch part of God's great creation. In preparation for this winter I purchased a big supply of food and we were ready to feed them plenty. Then a strange thing happened. There were fewer birds at our feeders each day. At first I thought that the food wasn''t good. But it was fresh and a top brand. Maybe the feeders were jammed up because of all the rain that we had. But that wasn't the case. I then thought that maybe the birds were being attracted to our neighbor's feeders. Maybe their food was better. But I don't think that is the case. Then I wondered if all the trees that we had cut down had eliminated their nesting places or their ability to hide from predators. And possibly this is partially true. But a few days ago we found the problem. Sitting in the tree, right over the feeders, was a young hawk. He was patiently waiting for his food and that wasn't the food that we had put out. He was looking for some fresh meat. Now I understand the balance of nature and how important that might be. But why couldn't the nature be balanced at somebody else's backyard? I wish I could get my birds back again. But I guess for now the birds are gone. Now what do I do with all the bird food? I wonder if it might be good in a salad or as a snack. No, I'm not that desperate or depressed, just disappointed. I'll keep the bags of food. Maybe our guests will return when the snow comes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I am a Philadelphia Eagles football fan, not a crazy fan like many, but they have been my favorite team over the years. My second favorite NFL team would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. This year the Eagles left us down and didn't even make the play-offs. So I expected that I would follow the Steelers in the play-offs. Then they were matched up with Denver and suddenly I had a problem. I have enjoyed watching Tim Tebow this year since he became the starting quarterback for Denver. Now if you don't know anything about Tebow, he is the son of missionaries and apparently a solid Christian believer. He has taken many stands for his faith and has been outspoken about the evil of abortion. Because of this he has been the target of many jokes and taunts by others, especially the media. Now I admit that he doesn't have a very strong arm and his passes are often off target. But there is one thing that he can do, in addition to sharing his faith, and that is win. His conduct and moral standards are so opposite that of the Steeler quarterback that last Sunday I actually found myself routing for Tebow and Denver, against the Steelers, to pull another upset. And he did, in overtime, with a perfect pass for the winning touchdown. Denver and Tebow move on in the play-offs. Pittsburgh is done for the year. Now Tebow is just one of many fine Christian athletes in pro football. But, unfortunately, he has been put under real pressure mainly because of his Christian faith and stand on moral issues. It is refreshing to see him have the success that he has had this year and he continues to give the Lord credit. Now there is another Christian quarterback that is still in the play-offs and that is Drew Brees. I recently heard him on a radio broadcast and his testimony appeared to be very solid. It wasn't one that you hear from some athletes who have learned the Christian talk without doing the Christian walk. So, what will I do if these two end up facing each other in the playoffs? That's a good question. I don't expect that to really happen, but it would make for an interesting play-off game. Time will tell.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


One of my grandsons works for a food service at a local shopping mall. Often. after a day of working with the public he says, "People are idiots!". Well here are just a few examples to show the truth of that statement which were compiled by a Shannon H. Williams.
(1.) Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.
(2.) A man in Johannesburg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting beer cans off each other's head.
(3.) A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.
(4.) The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.
(5.) A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.
(6.) Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the 250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds when a worker confused the copier with the shredder.
(7.) A convict broke out of jail in Washington, DC, and then a few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At lunch, he went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him and thus had him paged. Police officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.
(8.) When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.
(9.) A Los Angeles man, who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a steam roller and led police on a 5-mph chase until an officer stepped aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.
(10.) A bank robber handed a note to the teller which said "place all of your cash in a bag and quietly give it to me". After leaving the bank the teller noted that he had written the note on the back of his paystub. With that information the robber was quickly located and arrested.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Tolerance and discrimination are two terms that grab many headlines today. There is no question that over the years there has been much discrimination, especially against different races and women. But the flip side of that is that attempting to eliminate discrimination often results in reverse discrimination. For example, attempts to eliminate this problem have often resulted in things like quotas. I have been very fortunate that in my lifetime only once have I not been offered a job, permanent, part-time, or summer, that I have applied for. After I retired, a friend of mine pressed me to apply for a part-time teaching job at an area college. After 39 years of teaching math I certainly was qualified and even though I really wasn't too eager to work for this college, I applied. However, I was never even granted an interview despite the fact that jobs were open. I later learned that despite my qualifications, the college was forced to fill its positions with minorities, including women, because of quotas they were forced to meet by the government. Today folks like me who stand for Biblical standards concerning marriage are also facing reverse discrimination, especially from the media. We are condemned because of our stands. We are seen as being intolerant. People, especially educators, have lost their jobs because of their stands against homosexuality and gay marriage. Being a Christian is often no longer popular in our culture. But that is a topic for another time. I am thinking about discrimination presently because of a recent experience that I have had. I believe I have been a victim of sexual discrimination by our government. About a year ago I was having stomach problems and my gastroenterologist placed me on a heavy dose of reflux medicine, despite the fact that I had been taking two reflux prescriptions for a considerable time. At that time there was some new research released that showed that these meds could cause osteoporosis and patients should be monitored for this condition. He suggested that my family doctor should have me tested and monitored. So I was sent for a dexoscan, which fortunately showed that I had no signs of this disease. A few months later I received a bill for $283 for this test. I had been told that medicare would cover it especially since I had never had one before. Medicare claimed that it was just routine. My family doctor then requested the biller to resubmit the bill but with a different diagnostic code to make sure it was covered. But late in December I received another bill saying that medicare had again denied payment. I again contacted our family practice and they were amazed that it had been rejected again. So they did a little research on the problem. Then they told me that part of the problem was that I was male. If I were female the bill would have been covered because osteoporosis is more common in women. Now if that is true, it is sad that medicare is using discrimination against me, based on sex. But I really can't prove that. My family practice intends to submit the bill again, with a variety of codes and a supporting letter from my doctor. However, I am no longer hopeful that it will be covered. I guess it will be a $283 lesson learned. Discrimination is alive and well!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Leaky Pail List

In 2007 a comedy-drama film called The Bucket List was released. The plot followed two terminally ill men on their road trip of things to do before they "kick the bucket". If you haven't heard about a bucket list, it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life-experiences you desire to experience before you die. Now I don't have a bucket list because I don't really have things that I want to do before I die. But I do have a list of things that I wish that I could experience once again, even though many of them are no longer possible. Maybe it is my "Leaky Pail List" .... For example, their are four church buildings I wish I could visit once again. The Ebenezer Church building in Bethlehem is now gone, but I still have those memories of that building with its two balconies where my grandfather ministered for nine years. In Sunbury, the old Emmanuel church where Dianne and I met and were married is still standing, but appears to be unoccupied. There are so many good memories there and I'd love to walk through the building one more time. My grandfather was our pastor there. Then there is the old Calvary Church in Lancaster that no longer is standing. We used that building for a few years before we built our present building. It was a monster of a facility with rooms everywhere, three balconies, and many offices - a great place to explore. I guess I would also like to tour the Prospect St. building in Lancaster since I was there when we built it and we worshipped there for many years. .... I would like to visit the George Ross Elementary School which I imagine has completely changed since I attended there 60 years ago and I would like to tour Malta Temple in Lancaster where we held our first inside church services in 1950. I imagine the interior has been changed to apartments and the bowling alley is probably gone ... There are some homes that I wish I could tour once again - my home we lived in the second time we moved to New Cumberland (it still exists on Eutaw St.), our home in Elizabethtown which is no longer there (torn down by the college), 448 N. Queen St in Lancaster (I enjoyed city living - then), our home on George St. here in Millersville, and of course our homestead on Lemon St. in Lititz. At Christmas I think of the former parsonage in Bethlehem, with the laundry chute, which holds so many memories of great family times. .... Over the years Dianne and I were fortunate to attend about 25 math conventions in various cities around the country and Canada. There are a few favorites that I'd love to visit once again - San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Boston in particular. .... I'd love to see and hear in person the Boston Pops and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir once again .... I'd also love to ride the train between Harrisburg and Sunbury as I did when I was in college. But sadly they stopped passenger service to Sunbury many years ago. .... Even though I've never been there, I'd also like to visit Austria, Switzerland, Normandy, and Alaska. .... I'd love to taste my mother's special macaroni salad once again. Her secret recipe died with her and nobody has been able to recreate that taste, no matter how hard they've tried. I'd love to have a piece of my Mammy's peach-raspberry pie. So delicious when fresh, right out of the oven. She was a great cook making cookies and pies on her coal stove. .... I'd also like to be able to spend some time with the Susquehanna basketball team from when I was a student there. For four years we traveled and spent many hours together, but now we haven't been together in almost 50 years. .... I'd also love to meet with all the math teachers that I hired over 36 years. I've lost count, but there must have been at least 50 that I hired and supervised during my years at Penn Manor. Some of them are now deceased and I have no idea where most of them are. .... I'd love to be able to learn to play the piano. I did take lessons as a youngster, but all we had was a beat up piano in our basement and it really wasn't fun to play it. But now I wish that I could. I also wish that I could still play my trombone, but the years and lack of wind have taken their toll on that. It's sad that we don't appreciate some of these things until we are old. .... I'd love to drive my yellow VW bug once more. That was such fun in the snow and it was a great car - until the floor rusted out. .... I'd love once again to be able to sing duets with my wife in church . But our voices aren't needed there anymore and there are many more very talented folks who now minister to us. But singing duets was part of our life for about 40 years. .... Even though I was a math/physics major, I'd love to take college physics and college calculus courses again and I'd love to take a major in computers and maybe become a real web master .... And there are so many friends and loved ones I would like to visit again. But that is one thing that on my list that will happen because they are in heaven and I know that I will see them again there. And that is exciting. .... so well others make their resolutions and then break them, I have made my "Leaky Pail List". Happy New Year!