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