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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So Much To Learn

It's that time of the year when our schools send out another wave of graduates to face the world.  Hopefully they have learned their lessons well.  But so many of the important lessons in life are only learned through experience.  Recently somebody sent me a list of things that are learned with time.  I thought it was so good that I am passing it on to you.  I only wish that I had written it.  Here goes.  (1) I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life."  (2)  I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll  miss them when they're gone from your life.  (3)  I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.  (4)  I've learned that people will forget what you said ... people will forget what you did ... but people will never forget how you made them feel.  (5)  I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.  (6)  I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.  (7)  I've learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.  (8)  I've learned that money doesn't buy class.  (9) I've learned that under someone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.  (10)  I've learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?  (11)  I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.  (12)  I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.  (13)  I've learned that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.  (14)  I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.  (15)  I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.  (16)  I've learned that it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.   And finally,  (17)  I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Helicopter Parents

People have often asked me how I thought students changed over the 39 years that I was in education.  That question was always hard to answer because conditions had changed so much over the years.  More students now stay in school.  More opportunities and advanced courses are available.  Technology has changed so much.  Standardized testing and government interference have increased greatly. And parents and home life have changed radically.  Single parent families are now common.  Kids go home to empty houses.  Conditions have changed, but I'm not sure if students have changed that much.  However I do feel that many are now more immature.  And much of this I blame on parents.  In my opinion they have become more involved, demanding, and defensive concerning their children.   Teachers and schools are now blamed for many student problems and shortcomings in parenting.  It wasn't unusual, later in my 39 years in education, for parents to defend their child's lack of effort and failure to meet deadlines.  They often demanded special assignments and extra attention.  Many intervened in situations when the students should have been conferring with the teacher and taking the responsibility for their actions.  For that reason I was not surprised when I recently read an article in the local newspaper with the title "Helicopter parents swoop in on adult children's job hunts, too". The article began by describing a "polished well-dressed woman (who) went booth to booth (at a job fair) passing out resumes, asking about job openings.  Not for herself, however.  For her son. He just graduated.  He has a degree.  He's sharp.  He doesn't know what he wants to do, but I think he'd be good at human resources."  Claudia Buck, the author, says "For baby-boomer parents, who have diligently - some would say obsessively - followed their children from diapers to diplomas, that encounter was perhaps the next logical phase of the so-called "helicopter parenting."  To back up our opinion she shared a 2007 survey of 725 U.S. employers who interview college seniors for jobs.  23 percent of them reported that parents "sometimes" or "very often" get involved.  Here's how:  Attending the interview - 4%; Advocating for promotion/ salary increase - 6%; Negotiating salary/benefits - 9%;  Making interview arrangements - 12%; Complaining if son or daughter isn't hired - 15%; Attending career fair - 17%; Promoting their child to company hiring managers or officials - 26%; Submitting resume on student's behalf - 31%; Obtaining information on company - 40%.  Now I spent nearly 36 years hiring math teachers. Here is my statistic.  Chances of me hiring you if your parents got directly involved - 0%.  I wanted teachers who could speak for themselves and be responsible, not still controlled by their "loving" parents.  I guess some parents will never let their "children" grow up and take responsibility.  It is hard to see your children get rejected, but it is a life lesson that they need to learn.  For that's the way life is.  Well, after reading this article, I realize that my feelings about interfering parents weren't just the result of growing older.  Many others are experiencing the same thing.  Cover them in prayer.  Give them helpful advice.  But let them loose to learn real life lessons and make their way to success or to failure. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The "C Word"

If we live long enough most of us will have experiences with the "C word".  It may be our friends who are afflicted with this dreaded diagnosis.  Often it may be closer to home such as a beloved family member.  This can be devastating, especially when the disease is discovered with no warning.  We have all heard sad stories of folks who find they have an advanced case and within a few quick weeks they are no longer with us. And we've heard of those who have battled with it for years before losing the battle.  It can be a devastating situation.  We all hope that it will avoid us.  But sometimes it doesn't.  That is the nature of the world that we live in.  A few days ago the "C" word, that is cancer, was used by my doctor in an evening telephone call to me.  He called to tell me that my recent biopsy showed cancer cells.  He said that it is low risk right now, and I guess that is comforting, but it still is cancer - the same type my brother died of just three years ago.  Now I'm not sure yet what the treatment will be and I won't know until we meet with the doctor on June 1.  That is the earliest meeting with him that we could schedule. Having such a meeting is not exactly how I wanted to observe our 50th wedding anniversary, but often such things are out of our control.  I knew this day would eventually come because the statistics were against me with my family history.  And, I do understand mathematics and probability.  I guess I just hoped that it would be sometime in the future, not now.  And this did take me a little off guard since I didn't have the normal symptoms.  But the specialist just wasn't sure, again because of my family history, and he recommended more tests and a biopsy just to be sure.  And his intuition was correct.  Now I have watched many wrestle with cancer.  In particular, I was impressed with the way that my brother handled his 15 year battle and also with the way that my my Aunt Thelma handled her very brief battle.  They were so positive, even when in horrendous pain, and they drew nearer to the Lord as He comforted them in their journey.  And both had the hope of an eternal home with the Lord and being reunited with loved ones.  I don't know what lies ahead in my journey, but I pray that I may also stay positive and be an encouragement and a testimony to others who watch my journey.  There is so much that I would like to see and do before I leave, and maybe God will grant that to me.  But I also must admit that the older I get, the better the alternative - heaven - really looks.  And I have learned that God's ways are always best and right.  God is good, all the time. And He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  So the journey ahead may be long or it may be short, but I know He will lead me now as He has always done in the past. Great is His faithfulness. Hopefully my cancer is really of low risk and treatable.  But if not, the future is still very bright.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Old Friend

Each Spring I enjoy sitting in my recliner, on our back porch, and watching our beautiful rhododendron as it bursts into bloom.  The plant is actually like an old friend for it has been there for  over 40 years.  It has often been an encouragement to me as it shares so many life lessons.  It has continued to thrive over the years while most of our other plants have gotten diseases and have died or have just disappeared. Gone. As you get older you experience the same thing as close ones are called home to eternity and are no longer here.  All of the men who were in our wedding party are now with the Lord. For some reason the Lord has allowed me to continue. Our beautiful plant has had its share of diseases, too, but with careful care it has continued to grow and bloom.  Annually I have had to prune and cut out limbs which are no longer healthy.  I often wonder if it will continue to thrive after my pruning.  I am reminded of how the Lord also prunes us through problems and sickness and spiritual teaching. And we all experience this pruning and should grow as a result. He does this for us so that we may bloom more beautifully for Him.  And my annual pruning has also changed the physical shape of my dear old friend.  It is no longer as symmetrical as it had been and it has holes were branches have been taken out. But it is still beautiful as it blooms.  And I guess that I no longer look the way I used to - somehow our shapes change as we get older.  Now my old friend continues to survive with regular care.  I do feed it regularly.  It needs its food, just like I need my spiritual food.  But I think there might be another secret to its survival.  It is planted near the main down spout where all the water from the back half of our large ranch style home flows when it rains.  Now the water doesn't run over the trunk or roots which would make them rot.  But, it does soak into the ground so that the plant can pull from it as a needed source of nourishment.  This reminds me so much of the verse in Psalm 1 which says "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."  What a reminder to me that I also need the spiritual nourishment to keep me growing and being fruitful. And every spring, for over 40 years, my old friend has bloomed and produced beautiful fruit or flowers.  And shouldn't that be our desire and goal?  Too often as folks get older they withdraw from ministry and from opportunities to grow spiritually.  They become stagnant and their fruit is no longer bountiful and beautiful.  What a tragic way to live.  Now I don't know how much longer my plant will survive.  Every year I think it might be its last year.  But the same is true of my life.  Our years are numbered and in God's control. We don't know what tomorrow may bring.  So, to my friend, my beautiful plant, keep blooming while you are able.  And thank you for your annual reminders of how to live and bloom.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Regrets!

If only I could send her flowers.  If only I could send her a meaningful card.  If only I could give her a call. If only I could stop by to visit her.  If only I could take her out to eat.  If only I could give her a kiss.   If only I could tell her that I love her and wish her a happy Mother's Day.  But I can't.  And I haven't been able to do that for 18 years.  She was taken from us so unexpectedly and so quickly in an automobile accident.  In a moment everything changed.  Thankfully I was with her the night before, on her birthday, and I was able to wish her a happy birthday.  In some ways that seems just like yesterday and I still miss her. I will always miss her.  I think there is often a special bond between mothers and their sons.  And I had a special mother who loved and served the Lord.  I was blessed.  I realize now how much she sacrificed for her children.  Somtimes you need to be older until you really understand that. I wish I could say thank you to her once again.  I was blessed.  Now I don't have any regrets except that I can no longer share with her.  I know that she is now with the Lord and that she and dad are reunited.  She no longer has the physical ailments that bothered her here on earth.  And the Lord spared her from the difficult days that so many seniors endure in their latter years.  And I do not wish her back.  But at mother's day there is still a deep hurt that one feels when mother is gone.  Our days here on earth pass so quickly and it is so easy to forget those who we love.  If your mother is alive, make sure that you do something special for her this weekend.  If you are away from home send her flowers and call her and thank her for being your mother.  If you are close by, make sure that you at least visit with her or take her out for dinner.  You may never have the chance to do that again on mother's day.  You don't want to live with that regret.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Maybe This Time

After contacting the PUC and also posting a picture and the problem on UGI's Facebook page, there was a flurry of calls and e-mails from UGI on Friday.  It appears that I have now gotten their attention.  I am told that I will hear from them about their plans by the middle of next week.  No progress yet on when the work will actually be done, but at least I finally stirred things up.  So we'll see what happens next.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

UGI, clean up your mess - now!

Late in February UGI spent a week installing a gas line down our street.  The process went well until they reached our property and ran into heavy rock.  It took them several days to complete the line in front of our house - on our lawn.  And we weren't even getting gas to our house.  For several days their equipment dug up our lawn and created many deep ruts in the lawn.  The workers assured me that within a few days another crew would come to complete the work and restore our lawn.  Weeks went by and nobody showed up.  We were left with rocky soil, ruts and weeds.  So I tried to call UGI.  Twice, after long delays, I got cut off.  On the third frustrating try I finally reached someone who told me that UGI would be in touch with me the next day.  That never happened.  So I wrote a letter.  A few days later a UGI workman showed up to promise me that a restoration crew was on the way.  If it didn't show up he'd even hire somebody local to fix the problem so that I could cut grass and complete my spring lawn care.  Promises, promises! Weeks passed by again with no response.  Finally I wrote a second letter to the man who had visited us asking him for a date when the work would be done.  He never replied.  Finally I reached him on phone and he said that he would have the restoration crew contact me.  Unbelievably, within an hour I did receive a call from the foreman of the crew.  He told me that the work would be done within a week and definitely by last Friday. They were working in Lititz and would here in a day or two. I guess I wasn't the least bit surprised when that didn't happen.  And we are still waiting.  No work, no response, nothing!  If this is typical of UGI's customer service then they have talked me out of ever dealing with them.  I have been lied to, I have been misled, I have been ignored and I am frustrated and upset.  I don't know who to even contact. I don't trust any of them.  Is this the new American way - promise, lie and ignore? Maybe it is time to go public with my frustration.  So if you deal with UGI, when you pay your next bill tell them to clean up their job at 180 W. Charlotte St., in Millersville.  It's now two months and I am still waiting.  UGI, clean up your mess!   Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Problems of the Handicapped

Have you ever really thought about the problems that even moderately handicapped people face? I doubt that most of us do until we are faced with the problem ourselves. I imagine that probably was true even with me until my wife began using a cane. It has been interesting to see how folks interact with you when you are forced to use something like a cane. Now in all fairness, there are some people who are very considerate. They let you go ahead. They ask if they can help. They hold doors for you. Fortunately there are still some people with manners who are considerate of those with special needs. Now as you might expect, children are the worst problem. They run, they bump into you, they rush ahead, and they cut right in front of you. But they do that even to older folks who aren't handicapped. On a Sunday morning I have often been bumped by running children while I am trying to carry my coffee. At times that can almost be an adventure and even a little dangerous. But teens and young adults usually aren't much better. In the malls they don't get out of your way. You need to move for them. And they rush to beat you in and out of the doors, especially those which open automatically. But many adults act the same. It is common when we walk at Park City to have folks cut right in front of us or stop suddenly right in front of us. And many of them also like to beat you through the automatic doors. Then there are those who park in the striped areas between handicapped parking slots which are designed for vans and room for the handicapped to exit or enter their vehicles. As I said, I guess we just don't think much about those things until we have a handicap or we spend time with somebody who does. Maybe all students should be required to spend a day or two as a "handicapped person" to experience these problems. And we have also become more aware of the problems handicapped have with access to facilities. We have been learning the problems of dealing with steps when ramps and elevators are not available. On our trip to Commanders College last week, we visited the church where Awana really developed sixty years ago. Surprisingly it was not the least bit handicapped accessible. There were steep steps everywhere to get into the building and then again into the sanctuary. No ramps or elevators were provided. At one point my wife had to wait until everybody in our group had passed before she could begin difficult task of using the steps. She had struggled halfway when somebody from the church suddenly appeared and told her to be careful because they didn't have any insurance if she should hurt herself. We weren't sure whether to laugh or cry about his warning. But, unfortunately, that is often the attitude of people who aren't handicapped themselves - at least physically handicapped. And maybe that comment also tells you why this formerly thriving church, with an auditorium that seats about 400, now only averages 30 to 40 each Sunday. I sure hope this guy wasn't the church greeter!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I don't know who to give credit to for the following cartoon but I guess it describes how I feel.  Last Saturday night we celebrated our 30th year of Awana at Faith Bible.  It has been our special joy to have started the program and then led it through these many years.  And in just a month, Lord willing, we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  And as I said, time flies when you are having fun.  When we reflect upon the past we can't help wonder where all the years have gone and how fast they have gone.  And please understand, this happens to all of us.  And we can honestly say to the Lord, great is Thy faithfulness.  He has led us in the past and we know He will lead us in the future no matter what our coming days on earth may include.  God is good, all the time.
Source unknown