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, 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.