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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Keeping Cool

          Oh how spoiled we have become in today's world!  Or at least I have become!
          One of the blessings of living in Lancaster County is the fact that we have four different seasons, each of which has a beauty of its own.  And I love each of them, except for those days when the summer becomes brutally hot and humid.  The humidity here can be very oppressive. When I went to Florida State, it was hot but not humid like it can become here. But air conditioning provides us with a way to get through those tough times.
          On Sunday we came home from church and I sat down at my desk to work on the church financial records.  Suddenly I realized that it was getting warmer than usual.  I went to the AC controls and was shocked to find that the temperature was 78.  I reset the AC and went back to work.  An hour later it was worse and I checked again.  Now it was 80!  So I did some investigating and discovered that while the fan was running, the compressor wasn't and nothing I could do got it to work.  
          We have an annual contract with Lefflers, so I called them.  They said they could send a repairman out within two hours. but since it was a Sunday, we would be charged about $130 for just the diagnosis.  I asked what the charge would be on Monday and was told that there would not be one because of our contract with them.  I quickly decided that for $130 we could "suffer" for 24 hours.
          Now we do have a window unit for our enclosed porch so we spent the evening there in comfort.  When it was time to go to bed we saw that the outside temp had dropped from 87 to 78, so we opened up the windows, turned on the fan, and went to bed. .... just like we used to do before AC.  And we were comfortable and survived.
         As I thought about it I realized that my parents never had AC in their house except for a couple of window units late in their lives.  On very hot days I used to sleep on the living room floor right at the screen door to the side porch.  Sometimes there would be a breeze there ... and, of course, I was 60+ years younger then. But I survived.
         When we were married we purchased window fans which we ran to pull in the cooler air from the outside.  Later we bought a window unit for our bedroom, but the boys had to survive with fans.  We lived that way for the first 30 years of our married life, and we survived.  
          I don't remember when we had our first air-conditioned car.  Growing up, AC was a luxury in cars so most of my life we drove with the windows open to catch a breeze while traveling.  And, again, we survived.
          But living and sleeping at home wasn't the only challenge.  For about 30 years I taught on the third floor of an old building. My office was also there. Above was a flat roof.  I was on the morning sun side.  In September, October, May and June my classroom and office were already in the low 90"s when we began the day and the temperature never dropped.  And there was no cross ventilation at all. I was usually soaked with perspiration by lunch and sometimes had to even change clothing. For years I tried unsuccessfully to get the district to install a large exhaust fan that would provide some moving air.  They always said it was too expensive.  But then they never had to work or study in such conditions since the offices were air conditioned.  They did allow us to purchase a floor fan for each room.   But, I survived (not sure about my students, however).  Oh yes, my last nine years I  had an air conditioned classroom and office.  It was great!
          As I've thought about it I have been reminded of how things have changed and how we've come to depend upon them.  Modern technology, vehicles, appliances, homes   have all changed the way we live.  And we've become dependent upon them.
           So what happened to our AC?  Well the technician came and found that the circuit breaker on the compressor kept clicking off, so he knew there was a short somewhere.  When he opened the unit he found that a little black bug had crawled into one of the contacts and shorted out the entire unit.  He scraped out the bug and showed it to me.  Then he hooked it up again and the unit started.  Now we are back in service once again, but without any charge.  And that's "cool"!   
            It is amazing what a little bug, the size of an ant, could do to a big compressor.  I guess there could be some really good life lessons there.  So often little things create problems in relationships and we lose our victory and joy.  Lord, help us to avoid those little things that can create major problems in our relationships.   May we learn to keep our cool!    

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Family Feud

          When there is nothing else on television, if one has cable, they can probably go to the game network and watch reruns of old game shows, such as Family Feud.  It is interesting and sometimes very comical to see the answers that contestants give to questions when they are pressed for time.  Recently somebody sent me a list of some of the bizarre answers that have been given over the years.  Here they are for your enjoyment.

Name something a blind person might use: a sword

Name a song with moon in the title: blue suede moon

Name a bird with a long neck: a penguin

Name an occupation where you need a torch: a burglar

Name a famous brother and sister: Bonnie and Clyde

Name an item of clothing worn by the Three Musketeers: a horse

Name something that floats in the bath: water

Name something you wear on the beach: a deck chair

Name something red: my cardigan

Name a famous cowboy: Buck Rogers

Name a number you have to memorize: 7

Name something you do before going to bed: sleep

Name something you put on walls: roofs

Name something in the garden that's green: a scarecrow

Name something that flies that doesn't have an engine: dishes

Name something you might be allergic to: skiing

Name a famous bridge: the bridge over troubled waters

Name something a cat does: goes to the toilet

Name a continent: Italy

Name something you do in the bathroom: decorate

Name an animal you might see at the zoo: a dog

Name something slippery: a con man

Name a kind of ache: a pancake

Name a food that can be brown or white: potato

Name a potato topping: jam

Name a famous Scotsman: Jock

Another famous Scotsman: Vinnie Jones

Name something with a hole in it: window

Name a non-living object with legs: plant

Name a domestic animal: leopard

Name a part of the body beginning with 'N': knee

Name a way of cooking fish: cod

Name something you clean: your sister

Name something dumb:  this blog

Friday, June 17, 2016

Constantly Abiding

         Father's Day always stirs many memories of the good times I had with my father and with my family.  God blessed me with a godly father and mother who served the Lord and taught me to love and honor Him.  And he blessed me with a great brother and sister as well.
          Recently my memory was stirred when I heard a hymn that I hadn't heard in years, "Constantly Abiding".  I don't think it will be found in hymn books anymore. Since most churches no longer use hymn books it certainly isn't a part of today's praise and chorus music, although, maybe it should be
            I remember it for a special reason - my family sang it several times for special music in our church during those early days when we didn't have too much special music for services. None of us were trained, but we learned to sing hymns as soon as we could sing. We didn't have a car until I was in second grade and, if I recall correctly, we didn't have a radio in our first car. So everywhere we went together, we would sing as we traveled. As a result, I grew up knowing the words of all the verses to hundreds of hymns. 
          But for some reason, the hymn "Constantly Abiding" was the one that we sang several times together in church. Maybe it was the words, maybe it was the back time in the chorus, but whatever it was, we enjoyed it. My mother sang soprano, my sister alto, my dad bass, I sang tenor, and I think my brother either sang melody or else harmonized. 
          I could not find out much about the background of this hymn. It was written by Anne Murphy (1878 - 1942) whose husband ran a pottery business in Ohio. However, she was widowed around 1929. Having lost her wealth, she then moved to California to live with her sister. I don't know what her music background was or even if she wrote other hymns. I can only guess that this hymn was written as a personal testimony to the hard times she had endured after her husband's death. She must have experienced the peace that she writes about that believers can experience in times of trial. She must have experienced the constant abiding of the Holy Spirit in her life. And she knew that some glorious day her Savior would take her to her heavenly home. 
          So I believe this may have been her personal testimony. Is it yours? Concentrate and meditate on the words of this hymn.

(1) There's a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
A peace it cannot take away;
Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud,
I've a peace that has come here to stay!
Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
"I will never leave thee"— Jesus is mine.

(2) All the world seemed to sing of a Savior and King,
When peace sweetly came to my heart;
Troubles all fled away and my night turned to day,
Blessed Jesus, how glorious Thou art!
Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
"I will never leave thee"— Jesus is mine.

(3) This treasure I have in a temple of clay,
While here on His footstool I roam;
But He's coming to take me some glorious day,
Over there to my heavenly home!
Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
"I will never leave thee"— Jesus is mine.

If you don't know it, you can hear it sung here, actually by a family.  I wish I had a recording of my family.  But these folks are probably better musicians than we ever were.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cardia Rehab

        When I was checking out of the hospital following my heart surgery, one of the last things they did was give me a list of follow-up visits - with my surgeon, my heart doctor, my family doctor, x-rays, and cardiac rehab.  Cardiac rehab?  What in the world was that.  I pictured several sessions of walking on a treadmill and that wasn't too exciting.
          Well we kept our appointment with cardiac rehab I was stunned when they told me it would be 36 sessions, lasting about three months.  Three months?  That would be a long time to walk on a treadmill.  
          The initial interview was very thorough.  Of course they went over all my meds, my medical history and things about my family's medical experiences.  They weighed me, measured me and talked about our diet.  They discussed my exercise plans. They asked me psychological questions - it is common for heart surgery patients to develop depression.  They went over the rehab plans and then showed me the facilities.
          What I found out was that the first two weeks I would be scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday for an hour seminar and then an hour of exercise.  Following that I would be scheduled for every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an hour of exercise until my 36 sessions were completed.  At that point it seemed almost overwhelming.
          Now when I reported for an exercise session the first thing I had to do was put on a heart monitor.  They would track my heart rate for the entire hour and if they noticed anything irregular they would stop your exercise and report it to your heart doctor.  In a few cases they would call an ambulance and send you right to the hospital.  You could see your heart waves on big screens hanging from the ceiling.  The nurses could follow you on their ipads and one nurse would take pictures of the waves at various times during the hour.  These would become part of your permanent record.
        As a diabetic, I had to have my blood checked before I began.  If it was too high they would send you home.  If it was too low they would give you food until you reached a proper level.  You were checked again at the end of the session and if you were too low they would hold you there until it improved.  They had big trays of fruit that you could snack on if you felt you were getting a low.  Water coolers were all around the facility and you were told to have a drink every time you completed a particular activity.  Hydration was stressed.
          Every session began with about 5 minutes of group stretching or warm-up exercises.  Then you would be given your clipboard with all your previous exercise session summaries and your instructions for the present session.  At the end of each session each person was to complete a series of cool down exercises before having your blood pressure taken and getting the approval to take off your monitor.  Blood pressures were always also taken at the beginning of the session and sometimes at various times throughout the session.
         Now it turns out that the session was not just using the treadmill.  For me it was generally 11 minutes with speeds increased throughout my months there.  Then there was a machine called the Newstep which exercised your legs and arms.  I spent 14 minutes on that with increasing levels and I actually enjoyed that.  Then there were wall pulleys and I spent 6 minutes with those and again the weights increased as the weeks went on.  Then finally I had strength training which included more exercises, using weights in a variety of ways and strengthening my legs with two special pieces of equipment.  Because of my surgery I wasn't allowed to do this part until a set number of weeks after my surgery.  But I think that was the part that I enjoyed the most.
          There was a big emphasis on cleanliness.  We were told to use hand cleaner after every exercise.  We had to wear gloves and clean our monitors when we took them off.  That was interesting since I read that more people pick up harmful germs in gyms that they do in public bathrooms.
           The nurses were so kind and helpful.  They kept their attention on you throughout the session.  One of them, Carla, was assigned to me throughout the three months.  She checked on my progress and made regular reports to my doctors.
          In my final sessions they had me review my eating, my emotions, and my plans for follow-up.  They strongly suggested that you join a gym and keep up this program and that is good advice.
          When I started I did not look forward to three months of it.  But the time went by so fast and it was so beneficial.  I actually looked forward to each session and was very sad to see the sessions come to end.  It is a great program and the nurses and aids are so professional.  I miss our times together.  I feel so much stronger and healthy after completing the 36 sessions.  Unfortunately, I was hindered a little by my back problems.  And since I never was able to have my physical therapy following my back surgery, that is the next step in recovery.
          Now I would never wish for anyone to have heart surgery.  But the one good thing is there is a great rehab program following your surgery, especially if you go to the LGH Health Campus.


Sunday, June 5, 2016


          Recently I was reading in Acts and I stopped when I read Acts 16:7, "After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them."  Paul and his companions were on his second missionary journey and they had planned to preach in Bithynia but "the Spirit did not permit them."  Why?  We have no idea.
         I doubt that Paul had any idea either, but he recognized a divine obstacle.  And shortly, in a vision, God revealed a different direction - Macdonia.  God had a better plan for Paul and his companions, just as He always has a better plan for us when He says "no" to our plans.  And yet, how often we question, Why? Sometimes our faith is weak and we think our plans are best. We need to learn to hold our plans lightly and live flexibly as God guides.
           Has God ever said "no" to your plans?  I asked myself that question when I read this passage.  And I can think of numerous times when that has happened.  But there are four major situations in my life that came to my mind when I asked myself this question.
          When our long time pastor retired, I was elected to the search committee.  Twice during that process we had dealings with experienced pastors who led us to believe that they were very interested in filling our pulpit.  We were very excited.  But at the very last moment both decided to stay where they were.  In fact the one even candidated for us and then dropped out just when we were ready to have the congregation vote.  It was very hard to accept that God was saying "no" to our plans.  After all we had invested many hours and much work to reach these points only to have the door closed. As a congregation we claimed Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things that thou knowest not."  And He did.  God had a better plan for us and months later we called the man who was God's choice and He has been our pastor now for over 35 years.
          A second such situation came early in our married life when we felt called to missionary service.  A guest speaker and his wife joined us for lunch after a Sunday service and shared the ministry of their school in the Philippines.  We were challenged and interested but once again the Lord said "no".  Some physical situations and other problems closed the doors.  But God again had something else special planned for us.  First, he made me realize that He had called me to be a missionary in the public schools in this country and for 39 years I had a unique ministry at Penn Manor.  For most of those years I had a large Bible club - on school time.  We also were able to organize an annual Christ-honoring Baccalaureate Service for the seniors.  I had the opportunity to minister to many young people over the years because God said "no" to our plans.
          He also opened the door for a family ministry that spanned 25 years in churches, Bible conferences and at banquets.  Some years we had over 100 programs where we could present the Gospel to families. And He also gave us the opportunity to start and grow an active Awana ministry in our church. All of this came after God has said "no" to our plans.
          A third situation came three times in my teaching career when I was offered jobs.  Two of them were in other school districts, one of which was a very elite district.  The other opportunity was a chance to be a sports publicist for a college.  All of these were very attractive opportunities, but the Lord said "no".   And in turn He provided me with more opportunities to serve Him at Penn Manor and at Millersville University.
          As I approached retirement I thought the Lord would call me to serve Him in some church ministry.  But as I explored these opportunities I found that I couldn't be considered because I didn't have a formal Bible School background or degree.  And I also became disillusioned at the rude ways I often was treated in this process.  In many years of hiring for jobs at Penn Manor, I never even thought about treating candidates the ways I was treated by several ministries.
         But one opportunity did develop and eventually reached a point where I was even told to develop a job description for my abilities.  Then I was called to a meeting with the hiring committee assuming we were to negotiate final details.  But I was stunned when they told me that they no longer wanted me.  They suggested that I begin another ministry on my own which I personally knew was a duplication of existing programs.  I never found out why they said "no" to me at this point, but I realized that it was really God saying "no".
         And God, once again, had something better for me.  Little did I know that in the early morning hours the state legislature, in order to give themselves raises, increased the multiplier for my retirement plan.  If I had taken the job with that church, I would have missed a substantial raise in my annual retirement.  And as a result, I have been able to volunteer and minister in many ways since my retirement without the need to hold a regular job to live.
          So, just like Paul many years ago, I have learned that God's ways are always best.  And when we follow Him sometimes He will close the doors to our plans.  But He always has something better for us.  It's fine to plan as best as you can, but every plan must be submitted to God. "Not My will, but Yours, be done"  (Luke 22:42)  If Christ yielded His plans to God, shouldn't we?