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, January 31, 2016

Trying to Adjust

          One of the biggest challenges in my 39 year teaching career was learning how to teach a classroom of students that had a variety of  learning styles.  There were some that were very logical and that was my style.  There were those who were visual and needed drawings and pictures.  Some were verbal and needed to discuss ideas.  Some needed to handle objects and some learned better when I put things to music.  And of course there were those who were very social and worked well in groups as well as those who much preferred to work alone.  We are all different and this is a real challenge for good teachers.
          I'm not sure how many years of teaching it took me to begin to realize that I needed to use a variety of approaches.  Not all students learned best the way I learned.  And, unfortunately, some teachers never learn this or never learn how to cope and adjust.  For example, when we introduced manipulatives and open ended problem solving in the elementary grades, many teachers just couldn't handle it.  They continued to depend upon how they were taught and how they learned even if this wasn't best for many of their students.  It is often hard to see and accept alternate approaches.
          Now while I recognized this as a teacher and tried to adjust to it in the classroom, I must admit that I haven't done as well in my day by day living and working with others.  There are some things that just get under my skin.  And I am working hard to get over these issues because I will never change others.  The only one who can be changed is me.
          For example, I have trouble with folks who are late for everything.  You can count on the same people to arrive in church 15 minutes late and march down to the front seats, week after week, after week.  If you have a meeting or a class, the same people will always be late.   And if you have a deadline for submitting something or doing something, you can count on these people to miss the deadline.  In school I was able to deal with my students who had these problems, but in everyday life it seems more difficult.  Maybe all of these people should be made to make up their time - after the church service or meeting.  Now I must admit, I have the opposite problem - I am usually very early for everything.  That's why I usually carry a book or my diary with me so I don't waste time.  
          I also have problems with folks who can't or won't follow directions.  When I was judge of elections we posted many signs with directions.  We even used ropes to guide them in the correct directions.  And yet we had people climb over the ropes or go around them.  They went out the wrong doors.  They didn't fill out their ballots properly.  I often found their actions unbelievable although I shouldn't have after having taught school for all of those years.   In Awana some  leaders won't pick up their name tags as instructed.  Some won't complete their registration cards or won't complete them fully.  And at times it drives me crazy.  But, as I said before, in school I could handle it.  Daily living is different.
          Then there are those who make promises but don't follow through.  Yes, they say, I will take care of that for you.  But they forget and you end up having to do it yourself.  We have recently had three different friends who started different jobs for us at our house.  In all three cases these good folks have never come back to complete the jobs.  Do you keep after them or pester them especially when they wanted to help you out or do you just move on and find somebody else?  I just don't understand.
         Then there are the bosses or the fellow workers who are idea folks but can't handle details.  They have the ideas but let you stuck with figuring out the needed details and then doing the work to implement them. Or they change their mind and don't tell you. Or they don't pass on needed information to you.  Or, if they eventually do, it comes at the last moment and you then need to change what you have already done.  I guess that is the price that you pay for being a conscientious detail person.
          Of course there are those who can't plan ahead.  I guess they don't use calendars.  You schedule something weeks ahead and then the day before they tell you that they have other  plans.  Drives me crazy.  As financial secretary of our church, I spend many days at the beginning of each year preparing about 400 giving receipts.  I pride myself in getting them distributed by the first or second week of the year.  But, just like clockwork, come April, I get calls and e-mails - "I've lost my receipt and I need another one for my taxes and I need it today."  On this one I've finally learned to roll with it because I just know it will happen - every year.
          Then there are those who love to share their horror stories when they know you are facing surgery.  It seems that almost everyone has stories of friends or relatives who had a similar surgery and ended up with more problems after the surgery.  OK, but why must you share those stories with me before mine?  Are you trying to talk me out of it?  Do you think you'll make me feel more comfortable?  I actually resisted telling folks about my surgery or talking to folks who had had it because of the reactions I received.  I only had one person tell me of a person who was helped by the surgery.  If I based the possibility of a successful surgery on the stories I was told it would only be about 8% and those aren't great odds.  Thanks folks for all the "encouragement".
          Oh yes, one more gripe which I have mentioned before.  It grinds me when people walk by and say "How are you doing?" and you know they don't want an answer and don't really care.  I'm to the point where many times I just ignore them and they don't even realize I have done so.
           Well my premise has been that we have different styles and we must just learn to try to adjust to them or we'll go nuts in this crazy world.  And, maybe given 39 more years as I had in the classroom, I will someday learn to adapt and handle it.
         As somebody has said, "To live with saints above, oh that will be glory.  But to live with saints below, well that's a different story."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Get the news!

          The old riddle was "what is white and red (read) all over?"  The answer, of course, is the newspaper.  But some newspapers are no longer just white and most probably aren't read "all over".
          Newspapers have always been an important part of my life.  Over the years I have worked on the editorial staffs of the Lititz Record Express (8 years), the Lancaster Sunday News (27 years) and the Sunbury Daily Item (1 year).  Growing up I used to write and make my own newspapers.  However, when I was in high school I wasn't good enough to be on the staff of the school newspaper, but that is a different story for another time.  I was yearbook editor however.
          But newspapers are changing.  Many are going out of business or merging.  Most news is now available on the internet.  In fact, when we are away I read our local newspaper on the internet, free of charge because I am a subscriber to the print edition.  Unfortunately, our local newspaper has gone down hill in recent years.  There is actually little news in it now and much more white space.  They've just added color to the comics to try to spark some interest, but I seldom read the comics.  And now they only have one editorial viewpoint and that is usually the liberal viewpoint.  Maybe, after being a subscriber for decades I may soon do like many others have done and cancel my subscription.  Time will tell.
          But who reads newspapers today?  Probably not the younger generation.  Maybe it is just we old-timers.  Well recently somebody sent me their opinion of who still reads them and I am sharing that with you for your enjoyment ... I hope.

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie chart format.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave LA to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy, as long as they are democrats.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Challenge Answers

     Here is what you have been waiting for - the answers to the challenges.  Grade your own test.  Hope you had some success and some fun.

1.    Spelling question -
        mispelled should be misspelled.  The others are all correct.

2.    The sailor is named Yvan.   (Hint spell the names of the son's backwards)

3.     The sequences

a.     Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, ...

b.     Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, Sunday

c.     December, November, October, September, August, July, ...

d.     One,  Two,  Three,  Four,  Five,  Six, .....

e.      18,  001,  121,  441,  ....

4.     a.  ONE WORD

        b.   70   ....  25

        c.    you have two apples

So how did you do?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Some Challenges For You

         I've recently begun to sort through my old files of things I've collected and materials that I used when I was teaching.  It is amazing how much one can accumulate over the years.  Some of the things I've found have been interesting and are filled with memories. Others I can't figure out why they were ever saved.
         One of the sets of things I found were challenges that I used to present to my students just for the fun and to encourage creative thinking.  As we start a new year it might be a good idea for each of us to take on some mental challenges to stretch or at least maintain our brain power and creativity.  So with that challenge in mind, I am including - hopefully for your interest - a couple of the problems I recovered.  Give them a try and either reply with a comment or else wait a few days and I will share the answers.  Ready? ... set ... go!

I.  How many words are mispelled?
Ukulele  .....   Desiccate .....  Ecstasy .....  Inoculate .....  Obbligato .....  Fuchsia .....  Supersede .....  Graffito .....  Sacrilegious  .....  Immaculate

II.  (From Lewis Carroll, 1829)
A Russian had three sons.  The first, named Rab, became a lawyer.  The second, named Ymra, became a soldier.  The third became a sailor.  What was his name?

III.   Complete these sequences:

1.     T, N, E, S, S, ...

2.     S, F, T, W, T, ...

3.     D, N, O, S, A, ...

4.     O, T, T, F, F, ...

5.     ..., 61,  52,  63, 94, 46, ...

IV.   Some easier quickies:

1.     Rearrange the letters of NEW DOOR to make one word.

2.     Divide 30 by 1/2.  Add 10.  What is the answer?

3.     Take two apples from three apples and what do you have.

Have fun!

Friday, January 8, 2016

We've Always Been Provided For

          I have been working on going through my file cabinets and trying to get rid of so many things that I no longer need.  While doing this I found an old poem, "We've Always Been Provided For" which was a favorite of my grandparents.  Having lived through very hard times, including the Depression, the words were almost like their personal testimony.  I am not really sure, but I think I remember that they may have even sung these words as a duet.  Anyway, I think the words are interesting and I have decided to share them with you in this blog.
          I did an internet search but found nothing about the poem except that it was once printed in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald on December 26, 1912.  The language and the story may be over a century old, but the lesson is just the same today as it was then.

Good wife, what are you singing for?
You know we've lost the hay;
And what we'll do with horse and cow
Is more than I can say;
While like as not, with storm and rain,
We'll lose both corn and wheat,
She looked up with a pleasant face,
And answered low and sweet:
"There is a Heart, there is a Hand,
we feel but can not see;
We've always been provided for,
And we shall always be."

He turned around with a sudden gloom
She said: "Love me at rest,
You cut the grass, worked soon and late,
You did your very best:;
That was your work, and you've naught at all
To do with wind and rain;
And do not doubt but you will reap,
Rich fields of golden grain:
"There is a Heart, there is a Hand,
we feel but can not see;
We've always been provided for,
And we shall always be."

"That's like a woman's reasoning -
We must because we must,"
She softly said: "I reason not
I only work and trust;
The harvest may redeem the day -
Keep heart whatever betide;
When one door shuts, I've always seen
Another open wide.
"There is a Heart, there is a Hand,
we feel but can not see;
We've always been provided for,
And we shall always be."

He kissed the calm and trustful face;
Gone was his restless pain:
She heard him with a cheerful step
Go whistling down the lane,
And went about her household tasks
Full of a glad content,
Singing to time her busy hands
As to and fro she went;
"There is a Heart, there is a Hand,
we feel but can not see;
We've always been provided for,
And we shall always be."

Days come and go - twas Thanksgiving time,
And the great fire burned clear.
The farmer said, "Dear wife it's been
A good and happy year;
The fruit was gain, the surplus corn
Has bought the hay you know."
She lifted her smiling face, and said:
"I told you so!"
"For There is a Heart, there's a Hand,
We feel but can not see;
We've always been provided for,
And we shall always be."

As I read this I was reminded of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:25, "I have been young and now am old: yet have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging."

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Your Vision For 2016

          What does 2016 have in store for all of us?  As a nation, 2015 was somewhat of a bummer ... increased terrorism ... attacks on our religious liberties ... protests ... changes in our culture ... increases in medical costs ... bad weather ... growth of liberalism ... persecution of Christians ... enough negative things to lead one into depression if you allowed the events around you to control your attitude.  And, from a human point of view, there isn't much to promise that 2016 will be any better.
         But, for true believers in Christ, there is real hope, for Christ has promised never to leave or forsake us and His promises are sure.  My grandfather who was a pastor for many years, used to encourage his congregation with the admonition, "Keep Looking Up".   And that is such good advice because that is where our relief and help comes from, both now and in the future. 
         One of these days Christ will take us home, either through death or through His rapture.  Then we will be rescued from the problems of this sinful, decaying world and taken to that perfect home He has gone to prepare for us.  
          That was probably the hope and experience that led Helen H. Lemmel, in 1922, to pen the words of this inspirational hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus".  And as we enter a new year, prayerfully consider these words.  Let them challenge you today to turn your eyes to Jesus. He alone is the answer for our needs.

(1)    O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

(2)    Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

(3)    His Word shall not fail you — He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.