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.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do Nothing Bob

Last week I expressed my opinions about the important presidential race.  But there is another race that is almost as important, the race for senator in Pennsylvania.  While who is president is certainly important, who controls the house and the senate may be even more important.  This year Senator Bob Casey is running for reelection and little is being said about that race.  Part of the problem is that his competition, Tom Smith, is not very well known.  Casey got the job originally because of his name.  His father had been governor of Pennsylvania and was well known for his major disagreements with his party, the Democrats, on the issue of abortion.  His dad was pro-life and was ostracized by his party because of his stands.  And Bob Casey was elected into office mainly because of his name.  But he isn't his father.  He has defended and approved Obama's programs and legislation.  To the best of my knowledge he has done nothing important for the state in his six years in office.  And now he wants six more and this time he may get it again because of his name and because he is riding the support for Obama.  He has done almost no campaigning, just like he apparently has done almost nothing of importance while in office.  He had refused to debate the challenger but recently was forced into one.  Even fellow Democrat Ed Rendell has criticized him for running a "non-campaign".  His advertising so far has been criticism of his challenger.  He has labeled him as "Tea Party Tom" and tried to paint him as a radical who will end medicare and social security and cut everything else.  To the best of my knowledge, he has done nothing else to get reelected.  I have not yet seen a single ad which tells of his agenda or accomplishments, maybe because they don't exist. Even his website is filled with negatives about Smith rather than positive plans and goals. I understand that he did make a rare campaign appearance recently and used this speech to directly attack his Republican challenger. However, I understand that he and his party are now running a little scared and so they plan to pump big money into his campaign the last week. We deserve much much more than that from our senators.  It is interesting that Tom Smith has run a new ad which features his mother and shares that he would never cut the benefits for seniors like her.  This contradicts the statements that Casey is promoting to scare voters.  While Smith has also attacked Casey's record, at least he has outlined many of the positive things that he proposes and stands for.  That is refreshing to hear.  He also appears to have been a very successful businessman and that is something our senate could use.  But, unfortunately, "Do Nothing Bob" will probably be swept into office once again by the Democratic majority and that is too bad for Pennsylvania and the nation.  But at least I know one person that won't be fooled by him and his negative campaign.  I will be casting my ballot for Tom Smith.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Sure Who To Vote For?

If you still are undecided about who to vote for in the presidential election, you need to view this video from YouTube.        The President

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Crying Towel

Many years ago when my brother served as a football coach and later as athletic director at Warwick High School, he began a tradition of a "crying towel" which would be presented to one of us at Christmas, depending upon who won the Penn Manor - Warwick football game.  Unfortunately, during most of those years Penn Manor played terrible football and I almost always ended up with the towel.  Finally, after many years of frustration and losing, I "retired" the towel and ended the brotherly tradition.  Last Friday I returned to Warwick to watch the annual football game between these schools.  The weather was to be nice and it actually was Warwick's Homecoming. I am an alumnus of Warwick even though my allegiance is now to Penn Manor. It was with mixed emotions that I found a seat in the stadium.  It was the first time that I had returned to watch a game at Warwick since my brother died three years ago. And much of their excellent stadium and athletic complex was planned and developed by him in his job as athletic director. I was proud to see the fruits of his hard labor, but I really missed his presence. It just wasn't the same.  Penn Manor jumped to an early 13-0 lead at the start of the second quarter and it was obvious that this year they were the better team.  Then suddenly they announced that an unexpected severe storm with lighting and hail was coming.  They stopped the game and advised spectators to leave the stadium.  I have never experienced anything like this before.  I reached my car before the rain really started and I finally decided to just go home.  The entire way home it poured.  At times it was even very hard to see the road.  It turns out that we actually received almost 2.5 inches of rain in just an hour.  It was a freak storm that the weather bureau didn't see coming.  Warwick has artificial turf on their field so they were finally actually able to restart and finish the game.  But I wasn't there to see the last three quarters.  And, as it turns out, Penn Manor continued its undefeated season with a 40 - 6 victory.  Their 8-0 start is the best in the school's history.  Too bad that this didn't start 20 years ago. But now there is no longer a "crying towel" to return at Christmas and even if there were, Terry is no longer here to accept it.  He is enjoying more exciting things in his new heavenly home.  Oh how times change.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

No Debates Needed For Me

No, I did not watch the debates.  That doesn't mean I'm not interested in this presidential election.  Far from it.  It means that I know who I am voting for and no debate is going to change my mind.  And I can always predict the outcome of the debates before they even happen.  It never fails that the Democrats will claim that they have won and the Republicans will claim that they have won.  And all over television, on the internet and in the newspapers they will make these claims.  Now I must admit that a few weeks ago I did hear candidate Ryan interviewed on the radio show Focus on the Family and I was thoroughly impressed, especially with his views on morals and the family.  That clinched my vote for him, although that really wasn't ever in doubt.  Incidentally, Biden was also invited to share his views on that program but I don't think he ever responded.  But there is no question that my vote will be for Romney and Ryan.  Here are the important issues to me.  First there is the economy which is in terrible shape.  People are out of work.  More are now classified as poverty than ever before.  Do I think either candidate can solve the economic woes?  I'm not sure, but Obama has had four years to do so and he has just made things worse - no matter what he says.  Who do I trust more, a former community organizer or a man who has successfully led a state as governor and even more importantly, major businesses? I'll take my chances on the latter.  Then there are family values and moral values.  Obama has refused to enforce the Marriage Defense Laws.  He has advanced the homosexual agenda which is contrary to Biblical marriage standards.   And given four more years of the same, it can only get worse since he will no longer be accountable to the voters.  Now would I prefer an evangelical Christian as president rather than a Mormon?  Certainly, if he were qualified.  However, there is no question that the Mormons stand for many of the important moral and family values that  true Christians stand for.  And I trust Romney much more than Obama with these key issues.  As somebody told me, we are electing a president, not a pastor.  When it comes to international events and security, the president may have more experience than Romney, but I personally feel that we have lost ground around the world during the past four years.  And it is so wrong that we have wavered in our support of Israel. We need stronger policies and actions. It also upsets me that the president and his party have tried to evade defending their record by bringing attention to Romney's wealth and tax returns.  Now come on, when you have that much money, what does it really matter how much you have.  Both candidates are really millionaires.  And the president has continually spent huge amounts of our money to send his wife to exotic vacations all over the world. Is that something the middle class could do?  And I am appalled at his attempt to create class warfare and to distribute wealth to all - isn't that socialism?  But I guess my biggest fear and criticism is the fact that he has attacked religious liberties unlike any former president.  And I think these liberties are at risk in this election, especially since the next president will probably make key appointments to the Supreme Court and those choices will tilt the court  to that president's views, whether they be liberal or conservative.  So much is at stake in this election - maybe even more than ever before.  For that reason my vote is for Romney.  Let me remind you -to stay home and not vote is a vote for Obama.  To vote for another candidate such as Ron Paul is also a vote for Obama.  Now I wish that I felt better about the probable outcome of this election but I have taken this concern to the Lord in prayer.  I hope that you are doing the same.  And, regardless of the outcome, we must remember that God is still in control and we need to accept whatever He allows to happen.  But, hopefully, the Lord's return is near anyway.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do You Matter?

Our October hymn sing was titled "Serving Joyfully".  As part of the program we showed a DVD by Max Lucado, "The Fear Of Not Mattering".  After the DVD I shared some observations that I've had about the decisions folks often make about serving the Lord as they reach their senior years.  Afterwards a retired pastor thanked me for my comments and said that somebody needs to share this topic - not only with seniors, but with all ages.  But seniors in particular do face this fear for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is the physical challenges of getting older that prevent them from serving, or at least serving as they have for years.  Sometimes it is the false belief that they've put in their years and now somebody else should serve instead.  And, unfortunately, sometimes seniors just aren't needed or used.  Even ministries often favor those who are young, full of energy and physically able.  And when you are no longer needed or valued by a ministry, you can easily develop the attitude that you really don't matter anymore.  And this fear of not mattering isn't just limited to seniors.  It can affect all adults as well, especially men who often see their personal worth in what they do or what position they hold.  Recently I have been using a new devotional book, "Living In The Psalms", by Charles Swindoll.  Some of his comments on Psalm 8 (take time to read it) caught my eye and mind.  Here is some of what he said. "It's humbling to think that the Creator of the universe, whose power, knowledge, and goodness show no limits, actually cares about us and loves us individually and personally.  Think about how difficult it would be to reach the CEO of a major corporation to discuss your problems with a product.  Or imagine trying to get a few moments alone with the President of the United States to talk about your foreign policy concerns.  We all know how poorly that would turn out.  It's not their fault; with limited time and energy they have to prioritize.  Furthermore, we who have large families sometimes find it difficult to stay current with all our little ones.  Keeping up with the daily lives of our ten grandchildren could turn into a full-time job; almost impossible for mere man.  So, the fact that the Ruler of the universe takes personal care of me is more than I can fathom.  He takes a personal interest in each one who trusts in Him.  He adds oil to our grind of feeling overlooked by reminding us of His personal interest.  Perhaps as you read this you feel alone, deserted.  What a distressing, barren valley is loneliness!  But listen!  If you have the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you have a constant Companion and Friend.  He never leaves you in the lurch.  This psalm is positive proof that He does not consider you unimportant or overlook you.  He isn't irritated by your coming to Him with your needs.  He never looks upon your prayers or requests as interruptions.  Even as James reminds us: He gives "generously and without approach" (1:5).  He provides good gifts without "variation or shifting shadow" (1:17).  Do you know why?  The answer is Grace - sheer, undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor.  Therefore, right now, cast your feeling of insignificance and despair on Him."

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Bonus

Sometimes things turn out much better than expected.  We had such an experience last weekend after a tough bout with colds and fevers.  On Friday we were committed to leading a monthly hymn sing at Pinebrook and we just weren't sure how we would do it, especially with our coughs and sore throats.  Then for Saturday we had tickets for the Penn State Northwestern football game and since they were calling for rain we felt that we might just need to "eat" the cost of the tickets and stay home. That happened to us last year when a surprise snowstorm hit in October.  But the Lord allowed us to finally improve enough physically and we decided to at least meet our commitment at Pinebrook.  It turns out that He gave us just a beautiful day.  The leaves in the Poconos had begun to change and it was refreshing to see God's beautiful Fall display.  And the hymn sing was well attended and went extremely well.  And an added benefit was being with a number of long time friends and being surprised by a special couple that we hadn't seen in several years.  It was a very special day for us.  Then we had to make a decision about Saturday and since we were both feeling somewhat better we decided to get out our rain gear and go for it.  I knew that we had excellent seats but it would also be a long walk in the rain to get there.  So we were on the road again at 5:45 am and we did drive through some rain.  But once we got parked the rain seemed to end.  And, in fact, during the first half of the game the sun came out and it ended up being another beautiful afternoon.  The pregame activities were great.  It was Homecoming so the Alumni Band was there and with the Blue Band there must have been over 500 instrumentalists on the field.  The drum major made his flips and split successfully to the roar of the crowd. The stadium was electric.  We were just 15 rows up and on the 20 yardline with a great view of the field. The game was very exciting and excellent.   In fact, Penn State rallied from behind in the fourth quarter and most of the action was right in front of us.  It was one of the best games that we have witnessed in our many years of going to Happy Valley.  And because the game was so close right to the end, the fans didn't leave early.  So we were able to wait until the closing seconds, then leave and get to our car before most of the others.  In fact, we were the second car out of our lot and we drove away without any of the traffic that 95,000 fans would soon create.  A great day, a great weekend, and a great experience.  And it was almost a perfect weekend for my three P's.  Penn Manor won, Penn State won, and the Philadelphia Eagles almost won.  I guess not everything can be completely perfect.  But I do thank the Lord for a memorable, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend.  Sometimes when we trust Him He provides us with some great and unexpected bonuses.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Robocalls, Junk Mail And Spam

We're eating our evening meal when suddenly the telephone rings.  We don't like to be interrupted when we are eating our meals but we know it could be something important so we give in and answer the phone.  Most of the time it is a disgusting recorded message offering us a chance to reduce our interest rates on our credit card.  Sometimes it is a call asking Mr. Kauffman, Horace Kauffman that is, to make a donation or collect donations for some charity. My father, Horace, died three years ago and never lived here or used this phone number, but they call here anyway. Sometimes it is a hang up.  But lately it is often a call from some politician telling us how we should vote in the November election.  Well we have now hung up on some very important people such as congressmen and Tom Ridge, Joe Pitts, and even Laura Bush, just to name a few. And unfortunately these political calls will pick up as the November election approaches. Now please tell me, how many folks actually listen to these political messages?  How many folks are really influenced by them?  How dare they interrupt my meal for this useless activity!  We supposedly are on the no-call list, but callers apparently aren't following this list and law anymore.  And, calls involving charities and politics are still allowed.  Today there are 209 million numbers on the list including 84 million with landlines.  The Federal Trade Commission reported that they received about 65,000 complaints about "illegal" calls in 2010 and that has increased to about 212,000 already this year. Of course there is also the junk mail that comes regularly. But at least that doesn't interrupt my meals.  Every week, towards the end of the week, I can expect my letter from Comcast offering my business a "special deal".  What business?  Writing blogs?  Why don't they use the cost of these weekly mailings and reduce my cable rates?  Then there is the weekly letter from Dish offering me spectacular cable service.  And of course there are the regular offers for preapproved credit cards.  And for we who are seniors there are the regular advertisements from retirement villages and, as the end of the year approaches, multiple offers for health care packages to supplement Medicare. Maybe if the post office would charge them first class rates they wouldn't need to run in the red annually. Of course then the delivery folks wouldn't have much to deliver. Can the economy really be as bad as we think it is when all of these groups can afford to send out mass junk mail on a regular basis?  But now they are joined by the numerous pitches from parties and people running for office.  Have you seen the "spectacular" multicolored post cards that candidates are sending out?  They have to be expensive to print and yet they are flooding my mailbox.  And they quickly get filed in my waste basket.  Some how priorities are out of order when candidates can spend loads of money to get elected while folks are unemployed, homeless, and in deep need.  Comparing the robocalls and junk mail to spam, give me the spam.  At least I can quickly ignore and delete that, unless, of course I am looking to be a mystery shopper or a personal assistant or a purchaser of vitamins or other spectacular meds.  But such is life - so much time dealing with junk.  Oh yes, if you need to call me at meal time, let the phone ring two times, then hang up and call again.  That will be our signal that you have something to share that is worth interrupting my meal!  Just make sure it is important or I might hang up on you!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

To Facebook Or Not To Facebook? That Is The Question.

Facebook - is it of any value?   Months ago I decided to try Facebook.  I'm not sure why, probably because I was curious.  Over the months I have obtained 72 Facebook "friends".  I don't go looking for new friends but I will generally accept those who ask to be my friend.  And, for a variety of reasons I have not accepted some invitations and have also eliminated some who I had originally accepted.  But my so called friends rarely respond to anything I post.  In fact, of the 72 who are listed as my friends, I think I have only ever seen or received responses from 24.  It can't be my bad breath or deodorant since you can't smell on Facebook - at least not yet. Maybe I am just that dull or over the hill. However, I do enjoy hearing from some of my friends once in awhile, especially those who are my relatives.  But I do often wonder if it is a waste of my time.  As I pondered that question this week I did think of several good things that have happened because I was on Facebook.  Recently a former student of mine and an ex-Awana clubber found me and I have enjoyed catching up with him.  He has completed his doctorate at Michigan and is now teaching at a college in Minnesota.  That was special.  I also found that I could use Facebook to get some action from UGI on the restoration of my lawn. By posting pictures on their homepage I was able to get the original work done.  But when I wasn't satisfied with their work I posted follow up pictures and again got their attention. I am convinced that without my postings on Facebook they would have continued to ignore me.   I also was able to participate in a Facebook contest run by Isaac's Restaurant in which I shared a story and picture of my father.  Several Facebook friends helped vote for my story which came in second.  And for that we received a $100 gift card to use at any of their restaurants.  My fourth positive experience on this social media involves Awana.  I have enjoyed following the postings on their page and I have picked up numerous ideas which were shared by others.  I have also been able to help others with their questions by providing suggestions which have worked for us.  That is one of the real positive uses of Facebook.  So I guess with those four positive experiences I  will continue to participate, at least for a little longer.  But as far as daily sharing and give and take, I guess maybe I am too old for most of my friends.  It appears that most who participate that way are women or young people.  Maybe men are just as private on Facebook as they are in real life.  Well, if you are one of my friends on Facebook, please drop by and at least say "hi".  (If you don't, maybe I'll just defriend you!)