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 30, 2017

Not Growing Old?

          Probably this blog has too often centered on medical issues and topics about growing old.  And those topics may only be of interest to some of us who are seniors and are experiencing these situations.  But the rest of you will also get there - sooner than you expect.  I have no idea what the interests and ages are of those who navigate to this blog on a regular basis.  But maybe my choice of topics is one reason why the readership of this blog, unlike my hymn blog, has never grown.  And there isn't too much that I can do about it since I tend to write about my experiences and things that I think I may know a little about.
          So as we begin another year, I have decided that the first blog of the year will again be aimed at those of us who are seniors.   While others may not yet appreciate these challenges, we who are seniors understand them well.
         John E. Roberts penned an interesting poem, "Not Growing Old", which I will share as we begin 2018.  Hopefully some of you can relate to it.

They say that I am growing old;
I've heard them tell it times untold,
In language plain and bold—
But I'm not growing old.
This frail shell in which I dwell
Is growing old, I know full well—
But I am not the shell.

What if my hair is turning gray?
Gray hairs are honorable, they say.
What if my eyesight's growing dim?
I still can see to follow Him
Who sacrificed His life for me
Upon the cross of Calvary.

What should I care if time's old plow
Has left its furrows on my brow?
Another house, not made with hand,
Awaits me in the Glory Land.

What though I falter in my walk?
What though my tongue refuse to talk?
I still can tread the narrow way,
I still can watch and praise and pray.

My hearing may not be as keen
As in the past it may have been,
Still, I can hear my Saviour say,
In whispers soft, "This is the way."

The outward man, do what I can
To lengthen out this life's short span,
Shall perish, and return to dust,
As everything in nature must.
The inward man, the Scriptures say,
Is growing stronger every day.

Then how can I be growing old
When safe within my Saviour's fold?
Ere long my soul shall fly away
And leave this tenement of clay;
This robe of flesh I'll drop, and rise
To seize the "everlasting prize."
I'll meet you on the streets of gold,
And prove that I'm not growing old.

—John E. Roberts

Have a blessed and happy 2018!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Here We Go Again

Dr. David Fuchs
         Life is full of changes and the older we get the more we seem to face.  Some of the difficult changes that we face during our lifetimes come when people who have served us well decide to retire.  We miss them and the wisdom and support which they have provided us over the years.  Good replacements are usually hard to find.

         One of the first times we faced that problem was when our first family doctor, Dr. Richard Bryson, decided to retire because of a heart problem.  When our kids were growing up we depended upon him for their care.  It seemed that he was always available, at all hours of the day and night, and he went out of his way to help us and care for us.
         Years later it was another doctor, Dr. Robert Stengle, who became our family doctor only to be struck with cancer.  One Monday morning we called his office for an appointment and, through her tears, the nurse told us that he had just announced that he was suddenly closing his practice because he was just diagnosed with cancer.  Later, in a time of remission, he returned to our new family practice at Oyster Point where he served until he passed away a few years later.
         Good plumbers who are also inexpensive and honest are also hard to find.  For many years the Rice Brothers took care of us.  They were crude, but they were good and were not nearly as expensive as other plumbers.  Among so many other things, they hooked us up to LASA, the new sewer system, when we were forced to hook up and could barely afford to do so.  We missed them when they retired.
         A good auto mechanic who is honest and doesn't overcharge is also a special person.  For many years Bill Miller kept our cars running for us.  He would help us quickly when we needed repair work done.  He was fair and honest.  His retirement was hard for us to handle and we have never really been able to replace him to our full satisfaction.
         For most of our married lives we bought all of our cars from a high school classmate and friend of mine, Glenn Zartman, in Lititz. He owned the former Zartman's Dodge. Glenn understood our needs and our financial situation, especially during our time of ministry, and he would shop to find the right car for us. He often even left us use the car for several days to make sure it met our needs.  I never had to bargain with him over price for he always gave me the best price he could, immediately.  And he stood behind everything he sold to us.  Then a few years ago he sold the business and retired.  Where do you find an honest and fair car salesman?
         Now it is happening again.  Sadly, on December 30, another longtime family doctor, Dr. David Fuchs, is retiring.  Dr. Fuchs established the Oyster Point Family Practice in 1985.  After Dr. Stengel's initial retirement, we began to go to Oyster Point.  Soon we learned that Dr. Fuchs was an exceptional family doctor and we began to see him.
         In recent years I have had countless physical problems and have relied completely on him to treat me or to send me to outstanding specialists.  I may have been his most frequent patient over the last number of years.  He has always been compassionate and has become a real friend.  He is wise with a wealth of experience, especially in dealing with older patients like us.  He has done so many favors for us such as working us into his schedule when he was really full, corresponding by e-mail when other doctors have been reluctant to do so, providing us with samples when he could, and referring us to good specialists when needed.
         One of his special strengths was how he seemed to stay on schedule without rushing you during your appointment.  Rarely have we waited more than five minutes to see him.  I don't understand why other doctors can't be this organized and thoughtful.  Unfortunately, many other doctors have kept us waiting 30 minutes and sometimes longer to see them.  And the doctor that I have often used as my back-up when Dr. Fuchs was away is also retiring this week.  Double whammy!
         This will be one of the more difficult adjustments that we have had to make.  He knew us and our conditions.  He treated us fairly and warmly.  And in recent years we have needed much more medical advice than ever before. We are already missing him as I am again struggling with some challenging physical problems and already miss his wisdom and advice.
      But he deserves to retire and hopefully live a much more normal life.  And so I thank him for all his care and friendship and wish for him the very best in his future.
     And for us, life will go on, but it just won't seem the same.  We will adjust once again. And, fortunately, the Lord never retires or goes on vacation. He never changes.  He is always there when we need Him and He always will be.  And in Him we have placed our trust and our hope.  What a great God we serve.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Greatest Walk

         I wish that somebody would give me a dollar every time the Lord brings an old hymn to my mind, just when I need it, and then for days it continues to play in my mind.  I would give all of that money to our Awana Global Outreach project where every $10 given allows one new boy or girl to attend an Awana club somewhere in the world.  That could be quite a contribution.  Do I have any takers?
          It happened again very recently when a friend sent me an e-mail telling me how the old hymn "Jesus Will Walk With Me" came back to her.  I did some checking and found that in 2013 I included this in my hymn blog.  And the reminder of this old hymn, written in 1922 by Haldor Lillenas, flooded my mind for days.  Again, just at a time when I needed its message.

(1)    Jesus will walk with me down thru the valley,

Jesus will walk with me over the plain;
When in the shadow or when in the sunshine,
If He goes with me I shall not complain.
Jesus will walk with me,
He will talk with me;
He will walk with me;
In joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow,
I know He will walk with me.

Life is not easy.  There are some days when everything seems to go right.  But there are times when things go wrong and the path is rough and we seem to walk in the shadow  Unfortunately, if you are like me, contrary to the words of the hymn, we do complain.  But He is with us in times of both joy and sorrow and He has promised never to leave us. And He doesn't.  How much better the rough path is when we recognize His presence and we walk together. May we never forget who our companion is.

2)   Jesus will walk with me when I am tempted,
Giving me strength as my need may demand;
When in affliction His presence is near me,
I am upheld by His almighty hand.
Jesus will walk with me,
He will talk with me;
He will walk with me;
In joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow,
I know He will walk with me.

And the temptations do come.  Sometimes we are tempted to complain.  Sometimes we are drawn to sin.  Sometimes we gossip or tell "white lies".  Sometimes we just think things that are wrong or go to places we shouldn't go to. I think that temptations in our mind are some of the most difficult to handle.  I often pray "let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight".  But we are told that He was tempted in all things like we are, yet without sin,  And He provides the strength we need to face temptation.  And in times of failure or even affliction, His almighty hand is there to lift us up.

(3)   Jesus will walk with me, guarding me ever,
Giving me victory thru storm and thru strife;
He is my Comforter, Counselor, Leader,
Over the uneven journey of life.
Jesus will walk with me,
He will talk with me;
He will walk with me;
In joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow,
I know He will walk with me.

I love the truth of verse 3. He is our guard and we may never know all the ways He has protected us. He is our Comforter and I have often experienced His peace and comfort.  He is our Counselor providing us with the wisdom that we need here on earth.  And He is our Leader no matter how uneven or difficult our journey.  At times I wish that He would guide us as He did His children in the wilderness, with a pillar of fire and and a pillar of cloud.  But He does guide us more silently through His Word and by His Spirit.  What a blessing.

4)    Jesus will walk with me in life's fair morning,
And when the shadows of evening must come;
Living or dying, He will not forsake me.
Jesus will walk with me all the way home.
Jesus will walk with me,
He will talk with me;
He will walk with me;
In joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow,
I know He will walk with me.

But this verse may be the toughest truth we need to face.  While we haven't yet walked the valley of death ourselves, we have watched others do it. And we dread watching our loved ones take this journey. It hurts.  And our day is coming and nobody can avoid it.  And while hopefully we have the assurance of that better life ahead, nobody looks forward to the shadows of evening. For some they might last just for a few hours but for others they go on for years.  Believers face that time with both fear and anticipation.  But the beauty of that final journey is that our Lord will not forsake us and He will walk with us all the way home.  Yes, I know He will walk with me.
          Now the key to all of this is making it more than head knowledge, even though that is important.  It needs to be heart knowledge built on our personal experience and our relationship with the Lord. Maybe you don't know this hymn, (you can hear it at Jesus Will Walk) but hopefully you know the experience of walking with the Lord in joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow.  How else can we make this journey as pilgrims in this foreign land.  Thank you Lord!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Politically Correct Santa

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the C.A.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd never a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passé;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even YOU.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

Now if Santa were real and what Christmas was really about, 
I imagine he would face these problems in this strange culture 
in which we live.  But, Jesus is the real reason for the season 
and it is becoming increasingly politically incorrect to talk about 
Him and celebrate His birth.  But that shouldn't keep true 
believers from celebrating the real meaning of Christmas 
and thanking God for His unspeakable gift.  May this Christmas 
be a special time of worshiping and thanking the One who left 
all the beauty and glory of heaven to come to this earth to 
provide our eternal salvation.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Puns 4U

          After all the recent world and national negative news, I felt that maybe I should follow with a blog that might even make us laugh a little.  I love all sorts of humor, but puns are one of my favorite forms.  So here, for your enjoyment and hopefully some laughter, are a set of puns.

1.   The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Circumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2.   I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian . 
3.   She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.  
4.   A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5.   No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
6.   A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7.   A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart
8.   Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9.   A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10.   Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11.   Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12.   Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
13.   I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14.   A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
15.   The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
16.   The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
17.   A backward poet writes inverse.
18.   In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
19.   When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
20.   If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine .
21.   A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'
22.   There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
23.   Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
24.   Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.' The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'
25.   Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal?  His goal: transcend dental medication.