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, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

from a woman's perspective

'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house
nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste,
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The cookies and cakes, the bread and the cheese,
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please".
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt -
I said to myself, as I only can,
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"
So - away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie - not even a lick. 
I'll only chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie, 
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore.
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

[forwarded by JR Whitby]


And to begin a happy new year,
Just remember that you have nothing to fear
If about her new pounds and her new daily diet
You learn a great lesson and stay very quiet.
Resist any temptation to open your mouth
Except to consume your pork and sauerkraut!

Today's Thoughts  ........

1.  A new years resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

2.  "But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."  Psalm 59:16

3.  Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Luke 2: 1 - 21

          I have always felt that the Christmas story from the book of Luke was one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible.  I was thoroughly disappointed when a few years ago the Lancaster Newspapers stopped featuring it on the editorial page on Christmas as they had done for decades.  Another sad case of political correctness.  For many years I read this passage to my classes in school as part of special activities which we did on the last school day before vacation.  And I never had any complaints.  And the reading of this passage has also been a family tradition before opening presents when we gather together on Christmas Eve.  And I must admit that the King James Version is still my favorite.
          So on this day before Christmas I have chosen to again share this beautiful true story of God incarnate with you to help you focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Luke 2   King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3    And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4    And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5    To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6    And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7    And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8    And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9    And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10   And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12   And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14   Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15   And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.      
16   And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18   And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19   But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20   And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21   And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Times Have Changed

          Times have changed and it is my opinion that not all the changes have been for the better.  We are now burdened with laws and regulations meant to improve our lives and make things safer.  But have they really worked?  Somebody recently sent me the following essay.  I don't know who wrote it but it certainly makes you think.  Possibly you've read it before, but it is worth reading again.  And for you younger readers - born after 1970 - you may have no idea what we are talking about.   Here goes ...
          First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked or drank while they were pregnant  (not my mother thankfully).  They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes. We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints and slats on the side.  We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets.  And, when we rode our bikes we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

          As infants and children we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, and bald tires.  Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.          
          We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.  We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.  We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.  We drank Kool-Aid with real white sugar.  And most of us weren't overweight.  Why?  Because we were always playing outside ... that's why!  We would leave home in the morning and play all day long and we were back when the streetlights came on or when it was time for supper.  No one was able to reach us all day.  And we were Okay!          
          We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scrap and then ride them down the hill only to forget the brakes.  After running into bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.  We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes.  There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.  We had friends and we went outside and found them.  We spent hours playing pick-up baseball, football and basketball with our friends.          
          We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.  We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or jut a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.  Some ate worms and mud pies made from dirt and the worms did not live in us forever.  Some of us were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses, made up games with sticks, tennis balls, and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.  We rode bikes and walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.  However, we did not walk across anybody's property.  We respected that.         
          Little League had try-outs and not everybody made the team.  Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.  Imagine that!  And there were no participation trophies given out to everyone who made the team, even if they didn't play. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the law!  And if we got in trouble in school, they supported the school and we were punished ever harder at home.
          Those generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.  The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.  We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility and we learned how to deal with it all.
          If you are one of those born between 1925 and 1970, congratulations.  You had the fortune to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.  Kind of makes you want to run through the house with a scissors, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

If you don't win ...

          Now here is an interesting story that I'm sure that you haven't heard before because it is fiction and written for fun by me.   So don't get too excited about it.
          The word is that Rutgers, a team that could not win a Big Ten football game this year, has filed a claim in Federal Court demanding a recount/review of the Penn State victory over Wisconsin in the recent Big Ten championship football game.  They are doing it to "maintain the integrity of the game".  One of their professors claims that the scoreboard and clocks could have been hacked by Russia to give Penn State the surprise win. However there is no evidence of that having happned. But they want every minute, every play of the game, and every decision by the officials reviewed to make sure the game wasn't rigged in Penn State's favor.  They also want all the electronic equipment reviewed to make sure it wasn't hacked by an outside force.
          They note that Penn State was a major underdog and expected to lose.  Wisconsin was a very experienced team and had been to the championship game many times before.  Penn State had no experience in Big Ten play-offs and can not properly represent the league as champion. They actually lost two games this year. And years ago a former coach was charged with sexual abuse. That should disqualify them.
          How could a team like that win a league title and serve as champions?  It had to be rigged and we can't accept it. It will be the end of the league. The league must do everything possible to cancel this victory and discredit this team  ... Of  course this situation is pure fiction and ridiculous. 
          But, unfortunately, what has happened in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin isn't, even thought it is so similar.  A losing candidate in the presidential election has done the very same thing.  Even though she gained a very small percentage of the votes and even though there is no evidence of any tampering, she has raised millions and gone to court to get recounts and hinder the democratic process.
          She claims that she just wants to verify that the election process was fair.  If that is the case, why didn't she choose states like New York and California where Hillary won?  Instead she has chosen three states where Trump pulled upsets.  It is clear that she is trying to find a way to take the election away from Trump and hand it to Hillary.  And, of course, Hillary and the democrats are supporting her efforts.
        Now as I said in a previous blog, many good people were upset at Trump's win. I fully understand that. But it is over and it is time to move on for the sake of our country and the democratic process.  Riots, protests, recounts, promoting illegal votes by the electoral college, and all sorts of other actions are sick.  Have we reached a point where democracy is being replaced by mob control?   That is a much more serious problem for the future of America than having Trump serve as president.   Are we now a country of sore losers?  We will do anything to get our way and not accept any other result.
          And there is one more thing that grinds me about the call for recounts.  This is costing millions of dollars.  And we can look around and see the poverty, homeless problems, states on the verge of bankruptcy, pensions underfunded, social security and medicare in trouble and a huge federal debt that will never be funded.  And yet, instead of solving these serious problems, millions are being wasted to do recounts without any evidence that they are needed.
          It's been a very sad experience for what was once a great country.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Time Passes On

The Wise Family
          We often joke about how one knows when he or she is getting old.  Sometimes the answers are funny, but sometimes they are so true.
          I realized again this week how old I am getting when I received word that my Aunt Ethel had died.  After many years in a nursing home and in her 90's, she passed away peacefully in her sleep last week. Another family member gone.
           There were seven children in my mother's family and with their spouses the Wise clan included a total of 14 of my uncles and aunts.  Now there is only one left.  That is my Aunt Marge who will celebrate her 90th birthday tomorrow. She is a daughter-in-law. Mother's brothers and sisters have all passed on. And while there are many cousins still remaining, some of whom are older than I am, it's hard to believe that my mother's Wise family is almost gone.  Where have the years gone?
           On Wednesday of this week I received a call from my Uncle John in Wisconsin.  He is remarkably well with a sharp mind and will celebrate his 98th birthday later this month.  He called to see how we were doing.  He is a son-in-law on the Wolf/Kauffman side of our family where there were four siblings and four spouses.  The four brothers and sisters are now all in heaven.  He is the only one remaining out of the eight.  And I am the oldest of the cousins.  If I outlive Uncle John, I will be the oldest left in the extended family.  That makes me feel even older.
          So out of 24 brothers and sisters and spouses, only two remain and they are both in-laws. And out of a combined 23 cousins, 19 are still alive.
          Now I add to that the physical challenges I have been facing.  There have been three major surgeries and two additional hospitalizations in the last year and a half.  This year there were also 36 sessions of cardiac rehab and 20 of physical therapy.  And now I am encountering a rare blood disorder with little improvement.  Now I'm not complaining since the Lord is in control, but I would have never thought of such encounters years ago.  But it is part of the normal aging process whether you expect it or not even if your life has generally been free of serious physical problems as mine has been. 
          But believe me, if you are young, you too will one day reach a point where you will face similar situations and you will wonder where the years have gone.  Time passes so quickly and the challenges mount up so unexpectedly.  When we were young we never thought about days when we would have trouble walking or taking care of ourselves.  We never thought about hospitalizations and nursing homes.  We never thought about funerals for our loved ones.  We never thought about the lonely days of being a senior or being dependent on others.  These things would never happen to us.  But somehow they did.  We thought that they only happened to "old folks" and maybe we were more right than we realized at that time.
          But the senior years would be so much tougher if you didn't know Jesus and have a relationship with Him.  The knowledge that He cares for you and is always with you is what can keep you going.  The assurance that He has a plan for your life which eventually includes a home with Him in heaven is the hope that gets you through the challenging days.  I can't imagine facing these years and challenges without Him.
          So as I leave the Thanksgiving season and head for a wonderful Christmas season, I have been spending time recalling the great years I had with my grandparents, uncles and aunts, parents, cousins and friends. Blessed memories.  But I'm thankful that I still can have great days with my relatives and with my children and grandchildren and friends.  God has been so good to me and I know He will continue to be faithful in the years and challenges that are still to come. Things may change, but He won't.  
          I pray that you can say the same.  Great is His faithfulness!

The Kauffman/Wolf Family
The Kauffman/Wolf Family

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Start the day by thanking the Lord for another day to live for Him.  Then live it for His honor and glory.  Be a blessing to others for Him.  Then when you get in bed at night, thank Him for His presence and direction in your life that day.  Each day is a gift from Him and should be a day for real Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Is It Over?

        After the most brutal and surprising presidential campaign ever, most of us couldn't wait until it finally ended.  Thankfully now there are no more nasty television ads, no more recorded phone calls, no more campaign mail, and no more ugly debates.  Both candidates were very disliked, deeply flawed, and terrible. But now the voting is done and a surprise winner has been named, at least for now.  But is it really over?
           In most years the answer would be "yes".  But who knows for sure this time.  There is a major campaign and petition drive to urge the members of the electoral college not to cast their ballots for Trump as they are supposed to, but change to Clinton when they meet to make the election final in December?  Can they do that?  Yes, I understand that they can.  Electors who change their vote can be hit with a small fine for doing so, but the petition organizers are offering to pay the fines for them.  This would be a horrendous move, never before known in our history, and a real blow to democracy.  But nothing should be unexpected in this election.
          Protesters have been marching in cities and even destroying property because they didn't get their choice for president.  Mob rule may be on the way in this country, effectively destroying democracy.  A younger intolerant generation expects to always get its own way, and this election is no exception.  I even read where one employer, the CEO of GrubHub, told his employees that if they agree with Trump they should immediately submit their resignation.   This is America?  The land where government transitions have proceeded peacefully, unlike those in other countries, ever since the start of elections here?
          Now the election results have been very hard on many, even some of my dear friends.  I have good friends who have not only been shocked but deeply hurt by Clinton's loss.  They can't believe that a man like Trump could be elected, and maybe they are right. But Hillary wasn't any better. There have been tears and angry replies from a few.  Some of them feel that they will lose many of their recent gains made under Obama, just as many of us felt we would lose more of our religious liberties under Hillary.  And I do understand their pain and fears.  Both sides should have known they could lose, although I am sure that the Democrats never really thought it could happen to them.  And I realize  that this is very tough for them to live with.
          And in response it is very important for those of us on the "winning" side to be kind and understanding.  And sometimes that isn't easy.  One of my friends has claimed that she is being harshly treated by the "winners", and she probably is.  I see many folks "gloating" by their posts on Facebook, the mark of a poor winner.  I am trying to be kind in return, although I must admit that I was upset by one friend who sent me a post that asked me to sign the petition to upset the electoral college vote.  I did post a very negative comment in return, but then a few hours later realized that it was the wrong response from me and I deleted it.
          However, it is hard to sit back and listen to the accusations about why Hillary lost.  Many are saying it is because she was a women.  Nonsense, there are many good women that could have been elected if they were honest, qualified, and had values that we could support.  Neither Hillary or Katie McGinty met those standards in my estimation.  Unfortunately Trump really wasn't much better.  So I don't feel it was a gender situation as many do.  I also don't think it was a racial issue as many are also now claiming. The media's favorite lost and now they are pushing this excuse and making things worse. 
          I do think there were numerous reasons Hillary was unexpectedly upset.  First there were her tragic positions on abortion and Planned Parenthood. There is no way to ever defend killing babies.  Then there was her superior attitude which caused her to cause we common people despicable. That was nasty. We just weren't in her class and she couldn't hold back on her disdain for the common person who held different values.  Of course there was also her illegal handling of the e-mails which she botched and resisted and by her actions demonstrated that she felt she was above the law.  There was also her use of and support by Hollywood stars, especially in the final days. Their lifestyles and values are so opposite to those of most common folks.  They gave to her and raised for her big bucks.  They campaigned for her and provided free advertising.  And they are part of a much different social status than those of us who actually provided the margin of victory for Trump.  Trump campaigned the final days without the "stars" and drew huge crowds of common folks while the stars campaigned for her to try and draw crowds.  Hollywood and the media just don't get it.  It was also obvious that the liberal media promoted her throughout the campaign.
          In my estimation, the final fatal mistake that Hillary made was devoting a slew of repeated ads the day before the election showing all the unkind remarks that Trump had made in the past, and sadly there were many.  Over and over the same ads played every time there were breaks for ads on television.  That was all she pushed at the very end instead of leaving a positive message.  What Trump said was terrible and wrong, but her push was obnoxious and negative.  It left a very bad taste for her in my mouth right before voting.
          Now while I felt both candidates were terribly flawed, I will admit that I voted for Trump because of some values which hopefully might protect our religious freedoms as well as in the hope of getting a conservative Supreme Court.  These are the important issues to me, despite the two personalities.  Now will he follow through?  Nothing is for sure in this election cycle.  Only time will tell.  But it was obvious Hillary would not have.  Under her our religious freedoms would definitely have continued to erode and we would be stuck with a liberal Supreme Court for decades.  And that is why I reluctantly voted the way I did.
          Finally, it is interesting to note that massive amounts of prayer went into this battle, especially since so much was at stake.  Folks like Franklin Graham took the election all over the country, without backing a specific candidate. Evangelical churches urged their congregations to vote but never backing a party or a candidate.  If they had done that, as some falsely claim, the ACLU would have stepped in immediately.  This election process may have been prayed for more than any other in history, without backing a candidate.
           Now some of my close friends who are rather liberal claimed to be praying for Hillary and often sent me articles from pastors who were doing the same. And I believe they honestly were.  But I guess I believe that many evangelical Christians were fervent in their prayers for the maintaining of Christian values, the rejecting of ultra liberal policies, and the formation of a conservative Supreme Court. And I personally believe that God answered in a positive way.  But I must admit that I felt that maybe this country had turned its back on God so much in recent years that He would just leave us to suffer the consequences.  Maybe there is still some hope for the United States despite its sin.
          Now I realize that some of you who will strongly disagree with me.  I am sorry if I hurt you. I really don't want to do that. I am just expressing my personal opinions as I often do in this blog. Your friendship is important and I trust that we can just disagree, as friends.  And maybe we can join together in praying for our country, for the new president, and for a peaceful acceptance of the results and new administration.  The election is over and it is time to move on ... with a common purpose.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Post Election Thoughts

          We've just completed a nasty season of annoying election ads and debates.  And things just don't always go as we expect. I have good friends who are thrilled with the results of the election and I also have good friends who are shaken by the results.  It is very easy to get discouraged when you go through something that is as sickening as this was.  But we need to remember that if we are believers, we are in the Lord's hands.  He knows our ways, our needs and our future.  And that knowledge can help us face today and tomorrow with hope.
         Recently I was looking for a theme chorus to use as I led the worship for a Sr. Saints Retreat at the Pinebrook Bible Conference.  An old chorus that we used to sing in prayer meetings when I was a youngster came to my mind and I thought it was very appropriate for the times that we live in.  I am including the words this week as a reminder to you that no matter what happens around us, God is still on the throne and He never forsaketh His own.

God is still on the throne.
God is still on the throne,
And He will remember His own;
Tho' trials may press us and burdens distress us,
He never will leave us alone;
God is still on the throne,
He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne.

1.     Have you started for glory and Heaven?
Have you left this old world far behind?
In your heart is the Comforter dwelling?
Can you say, "Praise the Lord, He is mine"?
Have the ones that once walked on the highway
Gone back, and you seem all alone?
Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies;

2.     Burdened soul, is your heart growing weary
With the toil and the heat of the day?
Does it seem that your path is more thorny
As you journey along on life's way?
Go away and in secret before Him
Tell your grief to the Savior alone;
He will lighten your care, for He still answers prayer;

3.     You may live in a tent or a cottage,
Unnoticed by those who pass by;
But a mansion for you He is building
In that beautiful city on high;
It will outshine the wealth and the splendor
Of the richest on earth we have known;
He's the Architect true, and He's building for you;

4.     He is coming again, is the promise
To disciples when He went away;
In like manner as He has gone from you,
You will see Him returning some day;
Does His tarrying cause you to wonder,
Does it seem He's forgotten His own?
His promise is true, He is coming for you;

Be encouraged.  Keep looking up!  God is still on the throne!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Political Platform

          This has been a very difficult and disgusting election season.  I am tired of all the negative accusations and advertisements.  Like many, I don't like our choices, although I will vote.  I am tired of lies, slanted editorials, letters to the editors, and statements on Facebook.  I am already sick and tired of all the phone calls which we will receive in the coming days.  It is all like a bad, irritating dream.
         And what is a Christian to think and do?  Recently I found a blog by a Rick Thomas.  I don't know much about him except that he is a pastor and counselor who has his own organization to encourage and equip people for effective living.  That is all that I know about him.
          However, he has published his own political platform with eight planks and I have found them very interesting.  His platform is based on Philippians 3:20, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
          And here are the eight planks of his political platform:

1.     Temporary - America is not my home, I'm a stranger passing 

           through this country.
2.     Love - I will love my temporary country and do my part to make it 
           better, which means I will vote.
3.     Faith - Due to my temporary citizenship I will not get bent out of 
           shape when things don't go my way.
4.     Responsible - I will seek to fulfill my human responsibility, though 
           my vote is not where my faith rests (Luke 22:42)
5.     Proclaim - Regardless of who is in office, I will continue to seek to 
           tell others about Jesus.
6.     Prayer - I will pray for the person the LORD allows in office 
           (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 9:17)
7.     Sovereignty - I trust my Sovereign LORD to take care of all things.
8.     Victory - We win!  (Read the last book of the Bible)

          Maybe his platform is a good reminder for believers as we approach the presidential election, hopefully with prayerful hearts.

          "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, and I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Election Thoughts

          If you are like me, you can hardly wait for the election to be over and for all the negative election ads to disappear.  These campaigns have been disgusting.  And yet this election is one of the most important in the history of this country and evangelicals must get involved and participate if we are to maintain any of the moral values and freedoms which have made this country great.
          And while most folks are focusing on the presidential race with its flawed candidates, probably the most important races are those for the house and senate.  The liberal democrats are pouring millions of dollars into races where they could take over the control of both houses, especially the senate.  And despite who the new president will be, the real legal control for laws and spending is placed on the congress.  A president will not get his/her agenda through without the support of the Senate.
          The major question facing the nation in the next few years is who will control the Supreme Court.  With one vacancy already needing to be filled and with the possibility of several more vacancies in the next few years, the control of the Court will affect us for decades.  Liberal appointees continue to threaten our religious liberties while conservative appointees could help maintain the freedoms which we have enjoyed and need.  While the new president will nominate, the senate will need to approve or reject the nomination.  And that is why control of the senate really becomes the prize of this election.
          For those living in Pennsylvania, our senate race is one of the key battles for control of the senate.  And the liberals have mounted a major campaign with money and ads to defeat the incumbent, Pat Toomey.  They have chosen Katie McGinty as their champion and they are trashing Toomey who has been an outstanding conservative senator who has worked with both sides of the aisle.
          McGinty strongly supports Hillary and all of Obama's policies.  Her ads attack Toomey for a variety of reasons but especially because of his opposition to abortion and Planned Parenthood.  She has been caught up in numerous lies and has failed to get the support of any of the police organizations throughout the state, even though her father was a policeman.  Joe Biden has promoted her because she is a wife, mother, enjoys basketball and is a homework supervisor.  Wow, what qualifications to be a senator. Maybe she should coach a middle school women's basketball team instead. At least she wasn't a community organizer like her idol Obama.
          I've only ever once asked for the personal help of a senator and that came a few years ago when I had a major problem with the incompetence of Medicare officials.  I contacted Senators Toomey (R) and Casey (D) and Representative Pitts (R).  Casey and Pitts ignored my request but Toomey's office contacted me.  They assigned one of their workers to my case and she diligently worked with me for several months to get the issue resolved.  I was impressed and as a result I've become a Toomey supporter.  He really has helped an average person like me.  And that's what I think an elected official should do.
          So I implore those of you from Pennsylvania to get out and vote for Toomey.  The future of our religious liberties may depend on our votes.
         Now the presidential race is another issue.  I can't even think of voting for Hillary although I expect that she will win - probably by a landslide.  She is a solid liberal who is a liar.  She has exploited her position and contacts to build her fortune and influence.  She is devious and opposed to religious liberties for evangelicals. She loves children, but only after they are born.  In my estimation as a president she will be as bad as and probably even worse than Obama.  And her choice for vice president is no better.
         Trump is also a terrible candidate who has run a horrendous campaign.  At times I wonder if he didn't run just to insure that Hillary gets elected.  He is rude, egotistical (as is Hillary), and has questionable experiences.  But there are two reasons I will vote for him.  First, he has made an outstanding choice for VP.  Pence is a born again Christian with positive values and experience.  He is the only one of the four candidates worth supporting.  And Trump has promised to nominate conservative judges and to defend religious liberty. Now will he if he is elected? We can only hope so.  Hillary certainly won't.
         And that is why my vote will go to Toomey and to Trump.  And my prayers for the election and for the future of our country will continually go to the Lord.
          Now I know that many believers have decided not to vote at all.  But not voting is actually a vote for Hillary.   So will evangelicals stay home and hand the election and our future to Hillary and Katie and their liberals?
          Get out and vote!  It is your responsibility as a Christian and as an American!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Medical Notes

          During the past two years I have spent more time with the medical profession than I ever expected.  I have seen countless doctors, had many tests and three major surgeries.  And these experiences have made me take much more interest in the medical field that I would have expected.
          These experiences perked my interest enough to want to attend a free workshop on finding one's way through the medical maze. This was offered through our financial advisor.  Unlike some workshops, this one was very interesting.
          Among other things, the speaker discussed four major changes that are now available in how some doctors may treat you.  One is concierge care where you hire a doctor for your individual care.  Another aspect of this is Direct Primary Care where you pay a monthly fee to a doctor and then everything you need is covered.  In both cases doctors would limit the number of patients they sell contracts to so they can spend more time with each client.  He also discussed Employee Based Care where  you need to use the company's clinic.  Then there is Virtual Care which relies heavily on technology.
        He felt the future would also be in things like E-Care, Telehealth and E-Consults where internet visits and contacts would take the place of office visits.  Some of these services are now available with sites where you can pay for an online consult.  Many family doctors are still willing to reply to some concerns, free of charge, to their patients by email through their portal.  We have done this successfully several times and avoided office visits.  He predicted more home monitoring which is now possible for things like blood pressure, heart monitors and pacemaker checks.  Wearable technology, such as fitbits, will become more common.  The future should be very interesting.
          He also suggested five things that patients should do to improve their visits to doctors.  He noted that these are important because the doctor generally has just 10 - 15 minutes to visit with you and make a diagnosis.  If  the doctor spends more time than this, then other patients need to wait or else his work load and pay will be reduced.
          (1)  Come with a written list of 3 or 4 questions.  These may be from your symptoms, test results, previous visits or whatever.  But this preparation will make better use of the doctor's time.  We generally do this.
          (2)  Come with a list of your symptoms in priority order.  He said one of the things that doctors dread are the "open door" symptoms.  He means that when the patient is ready to leave and the room door is open, the patient suddenly remembers things he hasn't told the doctor.
          (3)   Honesty is the best policy.  Many patients are fearful of sharing all of their concerns because they either are embarrassed or are fearful of what might be found.  He reminded us that doctor's have heard all of these things before, so share what is bothering you.  He said that men are the most guilty of not sharing everything.
          (4)   Have an extra set of ears when you visit.  It is easy to forget things the doctor recommends, especially if something major is shared and you are nervous or upset.  Having somebody else with you can help you recall details after you leave. If the extra set is your spouse, he or she may be able to share something you've forgotten. My wife and I almost always go together.  I know that is not true with some of our friends.
          (5)    Organize your results.  Today with the required visit summaries and portals, it is possible to collect all your reports including test results.  My wife and I each have a large notebook.  In it we keep our list of meds, our complete list of medical tests, copies of test results and copies of key visit summaries.  These have been very useful when doctors question us about previous tests and results. And since many doctors have different portals (we are on five), they might not have all our results from other doctors.  We can usually answer their questions and find the results before even they can on their computer.  This not only saves time but makes sure that the doctor has all the information that is pertinent.  Several doctors have commended us for doing this.  And it is your life and you should want to be sure that everything is considered properly, especially when seeing multiple doctors.
          The medical field is going through some very challenging times and I believe it is essential for us to try and follow the trends and changes in order for us to get the best care that we can.  We need to take care of ourselves.  If we aren't getting the help or the service that we need, we need to speak up.  We need to be our own advocate, otherwise we may become just a number in the system.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What If?

          According to Abraham Lincoln, "If you read it on the internet, it must be true!"
          Unfortunately, the internet is filled with misinformation and lies and one must be very discerning about what one believes and accepts.  And so when somebody sent me the following story, I enjoyed it but I have no idea if it really happened.  I personally suspect that it didn't actually happen, but I share it with you because I think it is at least very thought provoking.
          A preacher transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church where that morning he was to be introduced as the head pastor. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service .... only 3 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food .... NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told by the ushers he must sit in the back. He greeted people but was greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
          As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation ........ "We would like to introduce to you our new Pastor" .... The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation ..... The homeless man sitting in the back stood up ..... and started walking down the aisle ..... the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him .... he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment .
         Then he recited: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
          "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
           After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning ... many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame ....  he then said .... "Today I see a gathering of people ...... not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples ... when will YOU decide to become disciples?" He then dismissed service until next week .
          Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others.  2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
          Would this be any different if it happened in your church?

Saturday, October 8, 2016


My dog Spike
          Pets are something that most families have at one time or another, especially if there are children in the home.  While they often create loads of work, especially for the parents, they generally are lovable and fun and often become one of the family.  But growing attached to them is especially difficult when they are ill or eventually must be put to sleep.
         My one son and his family recently faced such a problem when one day their pet cat suddenly had a heart attack and died right in front of the children.  That was even more difficult since when that happened my son was actually at the vet with their very sick dog.  But even in difficult times like this, families can learn valuable lessons concerning life and death and separation.          
          Over the years I've had a variety of pets - fish, canaries, ducks, rabbits and dogs.  But it was the dogs that held special places in our lives.          
          When I was two or three we had a small dog named Penny.  I don't even know what breed it was, but I do remember being with Penny in front of our home in Selinsgrove when it ran into the street and was killed by a car.  I don't remember much more except that the driver agreed to place the dog's body in a box and take it to be buried.  I don't remember much more at that age, but the picture of that event is still in my mind.  I regret never asking my parents more about Penny, but they are now both gone and the stories of Penny are lost forever.
          When I was in elementary school we became the owners of Frisky, a Boston Terrier.  It came from my aunt and uncle in Sunbury who raised this breed.  Frisky was a good dog.  It was trained to stay in the kitchen and it never ventured into the rest of the house.  My first memories of Frisky were when we lived in Elizabethtown with a huge lawn on the college campus.  But then we moved to Lancaster where we lived in a second floor apartment in the city.  To take Frisky out meant going down an outside set of wooden stairs which was hard for us and the dog, especially during the winter.  Eventually it became too hard to care for this loving dog and we gave it to a family that lived in the country outside of Sunbury.  Later we heard that Frisky was also killed when hit by a car. 
        Years later when we had out boys, a good friend of ours asked if we would be interested in having an older Kerry Blue Terrier which was raised by a relative.  And so Peanuts, a show dog, joined our family.  Unfortunately, Peanuts was older and raised by a bachelor and so there was considerable adjustment with our boys and their friends.  The worst situation came when Peanuts attacked a friend of my son who had done nothing but come into our home.  Fortunately he had a heavy winter coat on so the bite didn't cause any serious damage.  But it showed that Peanuts was a great guard dog who would defend our family.          
          Unfortunately, Peanuts continued to develop lumps on his body and we decided not to pay big vet bills to have these continually taken care.  We were stunned when one day my wife returned from the vet without Peanuts.  He had been put to sleep and we did not expect that.  We missed him for a long time.  Personally, I still wonder if the vet really put him to sleep or if he operated and then sold the dog to somebody who wanted a show dog such as Peanuts.          
          Our final experience with a pet came when we picked another Boston Terrier from a litter of pups at an area farm.  He was the runt of the litter.  Spike soon captured all of our hearts as well as that of many who visited us.  He was very intelligent and loving.  I still miss how he used to jump up on my lap and cuddle while I sat on my recliner.  But one problem was that he loved to show his affection by licking and we never could break him of that no matter how hard we tried.  He was well trained and obedient.  The only other problem we had came when he had to be boarded while we were away.  He apparently became a terror for the workers and they had to put him in a special cage.  I still have a hard time believing that lovable Spike could have been like this.
         Then, after living with us for many years, one day he and I were in the backyard when suddenly he no longer could figure out where he was.  He ran around the house to our front yard which he had never done before.  I got him inside and he had some sort of seizure.  We took him to the vet who told us that he couldn't cure him but he could give him something to slow him down.  But we knew that Spike wouldn't be the same that way and I very reluctantly decided to have him put to sleep.  I couldn't stay to see this happen and I never will forget the sad look that Spike gave me when I tearfully left the room while he remained on the table.  That look still haunts me today.  And years later we still miss Spike.         
          Well pets are nice, but they are a lot of work and can be costly.  So my days of owning pets - even fish - are done. Instead I'll just feed the beautiful birds in our yard and fight the nasty squirrels that invade our property. I just wish that one of my friends had a lovable Boston Terrier that I could visit and play with.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Back Nine

          Recently somebody passed this on to me and I thought it was worth sharing, especially with any seniors who read my blog.  However, no matter what your age, the "back nine", or the senior years will be here before you know it.  So as they say, enjoy ...
          You know  ...  time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.
          But, here it is ...  the back nine of my life and it catches me by surprise ... How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?
           I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I was only on the first hole and the back nine was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.   But, here it is ... my friends are retired and getting gray ... they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me ... but, I see the great change .... Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant ... but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd become.
          Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore ...  it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will ...  I just fall asleep where I sit!
          And so ... now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!   But, at least I know, that though I'm on the back nine, and I'm not sure how long it will last ... this I know, that when it's over on this earth .. . it's over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done ... things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.
          So, if you're not on the back nine yet ... let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly!  Don't put things off too long!!  Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you're on the back nine or not!  You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life .... so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember ... and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!
          "Life" is a gift to you.  The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.  LIVE IT WELL!  ENJOY TODAY!  DO SOMETHING FUN!  BE HAPPY !  HAVE A GREAT DAY!   Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS:~Your kids are becoming you ...... but your grandchildren are perfect!~Going out is good. Coming home is better!~You forget names ....  But it's OK because some people forgot they even knew you!!!~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything like golf.~The things you used to care to do, you aren't as interested in anymore, but you really don't care that you aren't as interested.~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV 'ON' than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep".~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch.~You tend to use more 4 letter words ... "what?"... "when?"... ???~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.~Everybody whispers.~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet....  2 of which you will never wear.
          But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!    So stay well, "OLD FRIEND!"    So share this with other "Old Friends!" and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!!    It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.