copyright 2013 by Jane Reinheimer


This has to be at the top of the page! It's such a joyful video and I like to play it regularly. It's fun to watch people having fun. Just a reminder that the world is place for each of us to enjoy one another and live a life without the strife of war.

And this, Starry Nights.

Check out this video of a mountain biker going down a mountain: -- wild two minutes!


It's April 2014 and I have to say that Quint and I are feeling much better - still trying to get up and out of the anemia which is left over from the cancer treatments. Quint is on an iron supplement. I'm not. He's more anemic than I am.

I'll be glad when I can comfortably stand for at least a half hour. Quint does better with that than I do.

But all things in stride. At least we feel ambitious enough to work out in the flower beds and take care of the yard this year. We had people come in an mow the last couple of years -- just so the yard looked presentable.


August 20, 2013

This is the most amazing bit of choreographer I've seen in a long, long time -- and I love university marching bands:

It's a tribute to branches of our military.

August 18, 2013

Hey, people -- have you found Duck Dynasty yet? If you start watching this series, you'll understand why it just broke gynormous viewer records of 11.5 million! 

It's a reality show about the Robertsons. If you've ever spent any time down South, you'll just relish the whole thing - from the brothers who tease each other unmercifully. Like the episode in the first season where a big old snake drops out of a tree and lands in the boat with the Robertsons. One of the brothers jumped out of the boat and into the river. Then the other one picked up the snake and threw it into the river. The other guy jumped back in the boat. Just good humored funnin'.

But I can relate to all that hunting and fishing. I remember watching my daddy making a net. I guess I was about six years old. I asked him how he learned to do that and he said, "Well, June Bug, (that's what he called me) it's just a bunch of knots tied together." He started out on mama's clothes line. Walked back and forth making those knots until he got it the length he wanted. 

He used to run trot lines in the Red River. His heart was in hunting and fishing. Work was something he tolerated. His job was what was called a "rough neck" in the oil fields in southwestern Arkansas. He'd take off every night if he could. Whatever he caught and brought back was what we ate for supper the next day.

But back to the Robertsons. I found this clip of one of the Robertsons 'plainin things about God to an audience.

He tells a story of how he challenged a man who called to order a duck call who kept taking the Lord's name in vain. It's worth a listen. I think.

What I like about the Robertsons is that they are congruent people. They say grace before they eat -- just to remind them of where all that goodness in their lives comes from. They've become multi-millionnaires with their duck calls that must be some kind of special; otherwise, why wouldn't someone just go to a sporting goods store and pick up a duck call? Beats me. But then, I'm not a duck hunter. I wouldn't know the difference between one from another.

So they started out poor but they aren't poor anymore.

I'm a little familiar with that story. We weren't just poor. We were dirt poor. I've survived all the unpleasantness of where poor puts you. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to stay down in that pit of poverty. Each of us can figure a way out of that horrid place. For me it was going to college. 

First an undergrad, then a masters, then a license to practice as a mental health counselor. 

But I'm here to tell you that when you reach some point of success, don't ever indulge yourself by being proud. Pride will get you in trouble. But you can be pleased with your accomplishments. I'm pleased with what God has gifted me to do. I'm pleased that I can go out on crisis intervention events for insurance companies. I'm also pleased that I have a busy private practice of helping a lot of people. I'll never sell duck calls like the Robertsons and I'll never be a millionnaire. But then, that was never my goal. As Si Robertson would say, I'm "happy, happy, happy." He also started almost every sentence with "Hey."
And when I look around and see the false pride that others have with what they think they got all by themselves, I shudder to think that I could have been there right with them in that little thought cave. Rather, owing to God alone, everything we have is a gift of His grace. So I don't need a big fancy house. The one Quint and I have is a far cry from where we both started as poor kids long, long ago. Our house has electricity and running water for starters. And if you've ever lived in a humble little house without those two things, you'll understand that they are the foundation of everything else that's nice about a house.

The very first thing you have to do is get right with God. If you do that, He'll keep an eye out for you.

I start every morning with that thought. 

Plus, God is watching me so I'd better not mess up.

August 17, 2013

In case you've never seen a copperhead up close enough to recognize what it looks like, here's an unbelievable video showing the snake biting itself after its head has been chopped off.

If you have an interest iin rocketry, the video 2nd in line shows a rocket ascending -- then coming back to its launch pad and either shutting itself off, or someone turned it off.

August 7, 2013

Hilarious! Here's 12 minutes of Ronald Reagan's best:

August 6, 2013

Who says animals can't make a plan? Take a look at this bear stealing an entire dumpster. Watch how deliberate the bear is. The bear even looks around to make sure his traffic path isn't cluttered:

July 27, 2013

Delta Honor Guard receiving remains of a fallen soldier:

I did not know that Delta had an honor guard! Hard to watch this without getting a bit emotional. 

And this, a soldier returns to Oklahoma to meet his widow:

July 23, 2013

A full peal of the bells at Westminster Abbey greeted the royal baby's birth. The bells rang for 35 minutes, they say. If that's true, this is going to be one noisy baby: But those who have never heard a full bell peal, enjoy! A full bell peal at our church sounds more like "ding dong."

July 21, 2013

Uh oh! A 6.5 mag hits New Zealand. -- Definitely not a good sign.

Here's a happy welcome home from a dog whose master just returned from a 6-month deployment. You can just tell that the dog wants so desperatevly to speak English - way too much joy for Bugaboo to hold. And this is not a lap dog!

Here's a clip of a beautiful golden lab being ever so gentle with a Downs baby: -- oh my goodness - the miracles of love that God creates.

Reminds me of a metaphor I got from the pastor at church today. He began with, "What are you going to do now that everything has been done for you? You can just sit on your salvation!"

I absorb metaphors like a sponge and I really like this one. It fills me with courage when days don't go right. It fills me with joy when I see little things that are going right. 

And what am I going to do now that Jesus died for my sins? My salvation is complete. I don't have to worry about a thing because Jesus already sweat blood for me in Gethsemane. 

My life has to fill up with little pebbles of trust and love for others. These little pebbles will pile up into one big mountain of faith.

Blessings to each of you --



July 20, 2013

Shadow dancing -- familiar with it? This troupe is from Hungary and this is their dance routine. Absolutely amazing! 

I could make lots of comments about the talent, dexterity, etc. etc. But what amazes me is something we call "muscle memory." When these folks are behind the "curtain," they have little else to rely on except what their bodies are supposed to feel like when in a certain position. Otherwise, Stonehenge would have little pieces of rock sticking out in places where it wasn't supposed to. Or any of the other poses and movements could really look funny or strange if the dancers did not have really good muscle memory.

Take a look:

It was especially poignant for me -- and to the audience as well -- to see the soldier being carried home. Reminds me of Quint's losting his brother when he was the U.S. Army. Noticed a few others dabbing at their eyes too.

Oh my -- what talent and how generous of the troupe to share their art with the rest of us. 

July 19, 2013

Funny rendition of what happens, according to Fr. Guido Sarducci,  when we die:

I don't think that's a real priest though.

Here he is on David Letterman:

And did you know that Fr. Sarducci founded the thought of the 5 minute university:

July 18, 2013

Check out this gymnast. She's 86! I couldn't do what she is doing when I was 16. 
< >**

July 14, 2013

If you have plans to see the newly released movie, Copperhead, you can get a quick overview of Civil War battles at:

I did not realize that Paducah, Kentucky, my home town, was the site of some Civil War battles. Grant even built a pontoon bridge across the Ohio River at the landing place that we call "the foot of Broadway."

July 9, 2013

Snakes on a train! Check this out: 

July 7, 2013

Here's a clip showing the flight coming in for landing and also showing the moment of impact:

Just a word of caution for your fliers -- always, always keep your seat belts fastened even when you're sitting in your seat and the plane is en route. Just an extra precaution, but one that could save your life. Wind shears and sudden air pockets could send you careening out of control and maybe make contact with the ceiling. 

This clip shows an animation of the plane coming in for landing. You can see how the tail came off at the sea wall:

July 6, 2013

News unfolding - plane crashed on landing at San Francisco Airport. Early thinking is that the plane experienced a hard landing which broke the tail of the plane off. I heard that there were 293 people aboard and it appears that all survived. But then, I just heard on the tv news that the U.S. Coast Guard has pulled someone out of the water. Also heard on one news report that there will be casualties because of smoke inhalation and burns. Also, reports on Fox News say that there have been two deaths. Prayers lifted for all.

For those who are interested in what a hard landing looks like, take a look at these clips: -- We had a hard landing going into Heathrow Airport in London several years ago. It was spooky and made us quickly realize that the old saying that any landing you walk away from is a good landing. But then our landing didn't damage the aircraft. It just sounded like the landing gear had come through the floor of the plane (it hadn't).

And here's a series of landings in Dusseldorf -- what do you get when you cross an icy runway, crosswinds and 747s?  you know there was some heavy duty praying during those landings.

July 4, 2013

Having a wonderful 4th of July! How about you? 

Gotta listen to the Voices of Liberty sing the Star Spangled Banner:

Have a safe Independence Day.

June 30, 2013

Want to know what you could see from a drone at 17,500 feet? Talk about the latest in technology!

June 29, 2013

Oh wow! 

Before you go see Copperhead, you might want to review what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is the first movie of a trilogy produced by Ron Maxwell. God and Generals is the third, and now Copperhead.

Quint and I have decided to go back and re-review our knowledge of the Civil War. And this link will take you to the Battle of Gettsburg. It's done by the Smithsonian and shows who was where during that bloodies of battles. What the generals saw and includes a map of the area.

Prepare to be amazed. It was a lot of work to put the battle plan together so that we can understand what each one of the generals saw.

June 23, 2013

Now this is what I'm talking about! Just listen to the fans' reaction to the National Anthem before a game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks: Thanks to the Boston Globe for the link.

Here's a little philosophy lesson from my good friend Cody:

June 19, 2013

Here's a great video that strikes a happy chord in my heart. It's called "Putting up the Flag."

Hard to believe that it's been more than a week since I sat down here at the computer. Been running. And today I'm continuing to make biscuits for the Father-Son Breakfast at church on Saturday. So far I've made 8 dozen. That leaves 8 dozen to go before Friday night. Love homemade biscuits. Am making them from scratch too! Another lady is making the sausage gravy to put ont the biscuits. Bon appetite.

So let me ask you a question. Do you think a snake could learn to open a door? Think not? Then this video will scare the beegeebers out of you!


June 11, 2013

Prayers lifted for all our friends and readers in Europe who are experiencing the devastating floods! We keep you in our prayers daily. Be safe.

Got this quiz from Cousin Mark. See if you can guess how many of these statements are true. 

(Answers are   below.)  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in   the morning.
                            2. Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button.  3.   A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years..
                            4.   People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot   more.  5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions
                           stop, even your   heart!  6. Only 7% of the population are lefties.  7. 40-people   are sent to the hospital for dog bites
                           every minute.  8. Babies are born   without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6       years old.  9. The average
                           person over 50 will have spent 5 years   waiting in lines.  10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.  11.   The average housefly
                           lives for one month.  12. 40,000 Americans are   injured by toilets each year.  13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when 
                            straightened.  14. The average computer user blinks 7-times a   minute.  15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any
                           other time   of day.  16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.  17. The   REAL reason ostriches stick their head in
                           the sand is to search for   water.  18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves   without turning their heads
                           are the rabbit and the parrot.  19. John   Travolta turned down the starring roles in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and   'Tootsie.'
                            20. Michael Jackson owned the rights to the South Carolina   State Anthem.  21. In most television commercials advertising
                           milk, a   mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the   milk.  22. Prince Charles and Prince William
                           NEVER travel on the   same airplane, just in case there is a crash.  23. The first Harley   Davidson motorcycle built in 1903
                           used a tomato can for a   carburetor.  24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical   cords cut from women who give
                           birth. They are used in vein transplant   surgery.  25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were   7th cousins.
                            26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be   green.   Now, scroll down for the   answers...        They   are
                           all TRUE  Now go back and think about 16 ! 


June 2, 2013

With all the tornadic activity in the central United States, and particularly Oklahoma, thought you'd like to see some footage shot by Tim Samaras and his son Paul. Sad to say that Tim died this most recent Friday was storm chasing. Carl Young also died on Friday while chasing tornadoes. Here's that story:

We also lost a sheriff in Arkansas, I believe. The sheriff was trying to rescue some people who were stranded. 


May 26, 2013

I don't know who said this, but I agree wholeheartedly:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.  

We thank all our soldiers and sailors and coast guards and marines and air force people and everyone else who ever served in our Armed Forces. We thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice that you have gifted the American people. And the sacrifices your spouses and children made in sharing you with a grateful nation. Thank you. 

Today I am "playing" in the food lab that I call my kitchen. I am making ice cream sandwiches. To do this, I'm using a red velvet cake mix and baking a thin layer of batter. Then I will use a 50/50 mixture of cheesecake flavored cream cheese and vanilla ice cream. Then put another layer of thin cake batter on it and freeze it. When it is frozen, then I will cut into ice cream sandwich sizes and put in baggies and stash in the freezer. Sound yummy? For the layer of batter, I'm using a square pyrex baking dish and putting a thin layer of batter in it. Then I baked the first layer for 12 minutes. The second layer is in the oven. I only have one square pan so it will take several steps to get it all done.


May 20, 2013

Inside fo women's handbugs are filty. At least one in five are. That's the news from a medical report released recently. And who would have thought that we had to wash out the inside of our handbags? More likely, maybe we ought to dunk the bags in pools of antiseptic. Oh yuk! But filthier than a toilet? C'mon, it can't be that bad. But apparently it is. Read more here:

Not only that but who designed those handbags to have a dark interior? I mean, how can I find anything if the inside of my purse is black? I made a vow not too long ago that I would not buy a purse of any king, shape or design unless it had a light colored material on the inside. Fortunately I'd guess that I'm one of the 80 percenters who have a clean handbag interior. That's mainly because I wash my hands a lot. And I use soap while I'm at it. But it still aggrevates me to no end when I have to just about touch everything in my purse before I find what I was looking for.
Ever been to the Sistine Chapel? Neither have I. Italy/Rome/the Vatican are not countries we made our way into when we went over there. So I am thrilled to find this link to a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel:

Oh my goodness -- is this ever adorable! Look at all those little babies dancing to their hearts content!


May 18, 2013

Funny little skit about Lutheran Airlines:

I've mentioned solar cycles and solar flares fairly often around here but you need to know that we are going to be in this sun cycle until 2019. And just during this next week alone, there's supposed to be some pretty disruptive stuff going on. Read more here:

We've never given up our land line just because of something disruptive like this -- as a possibility. The other reason is that in case of any national emergency, there's a very strong likelihood that all cell phone service would be interrupted  kind of like what happened during the Boston Bombing Massacre. No cell phones because there was a fear that, at least until the perps were caught, there might have been a likelihood that someone using his or her cell phone could have triggered another bomb explosion. 

There's a lot of other things I'll give up before I kiss my land line goodbye.


May 13, 2013

Ukraine's Got Talent! You bet they do. Just watch this amazing young acrobat --

Britain's Got Talent too -- take a look at these Shadow Dancers:

It happened yesterday -- Monday. It was one giant huge magnanimous burst of energy on the sun. Look at this article and bask in the marvel of the star in the middle of our solar system: 

May 12, 2013

How'd he do that? Good magic trick:

This is a song by Jackie Evancho -- an amazing 11 year old girl -- what a voice!!

May 6, 2013

Interesting animated cartoon about the history of money:


May 5, 2013

Check out Metallica playing the national anthem:

DeMint says immigration reform will cost Americans trillions: 


April 29, 2013

This is a hilarious Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a test drive in a 2009 Camaro:

April 25, 2013

So let me ask you something - when you see a deer crossing sign, do you think it's there for the deer, or for the drivers? Apparently this woman thinks it's for the deer because she has had several accidents at or near a deer crossing sign and thinks the signs ought to be moved so that the deer won't think it's a safe place to cross the highway!??


April 24, 2013

We're read about sinkholes in the news recently -- especially in Florida. But those sinkholes have to go a long way to rival this whirlpool in Latvia. My goodness, I've never seen anything like this before! Absolutely amazing.

April 25, 2013

Want to see something absolutely amazing? I know -- everything amazes me. But this is really, really amazing. It's a 3-year version of the Sun's rotation speeded up into a 3 minute video:   It's from NASA and it shows the sun boiling, rotating really fast and lots of solar flares. And for those who say there is no God, I say, "You do that."

And speaking of solar flares, watch this one: Good thing the sun is 93million miles away; otherwise, we'd all be fried with that spewing forth of hot plasma!

April 22, 2013

We need to celebrate the achievements of people who overcome outstanding odds. This young 16 year old sings the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss basketball game: 

She was born with a virus that kept her optic nerve from forming. She hummed before she could talk. She taught herself to play the piano before she was two. And yes, she apparently taught herself how to sing the National Anthem. Her name is Marlana VanHoose and if she isn't a national treasure, I don't know what is!
Beautiful voice! Andrea Bocelli sings The Lords Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:


April 21, 2013

Narrated by Fred Thompson, this video is entitled "And God Made A Patriot" -

Building the Three Gorges Dam in China:


April 10, 2013

Forget the snakes. What this link offers is a bunch of little kitties in awkward sleeping positions:

I picked daffodils this morning. Such a sweet fragrance from a big, big bouquet in the middle of the dining room table. I also have some tulips but they're still buds. People who know about such things recommend that if you want to keep squirrels out of your tulips, plant them among your daffodils. I tried it and it really works. Two years ago, I planted a bunch of tulips. I thought they'd be pretty in their own little bed. Unfortunately, I have some Master Gardener Squirrels living around here and they decided that the tulips would look good just about anywhere else. I spent a lot of time digging them up from the middle of the yard and other unlikely places. Apparently they even moved some of my tulips to other places n the neighborhood because a couple of neighbor ladies mentioned that tulips seemed to be sprouting in their yards all by themselves. Hmmm. Yeah, right.

April 8, 2013

So let me see now. A rattlesnake was found in a backpack at a school bus stop in Texas. Big snake. It was 42" long. Not likely that it would slither into the backpack all by itself, then zipper the thing shut so it could have a little siesta. I mean, nearly 4' long! Are you kidding me? Rattlesnakes are pretty close to the top of my list of unwanted critters. So the police, being the nice conservationists that they are, took the thing to a snake farm and it will apparently be returned to the wild after the investigation is complete. Check this out:

April 3, 2013

What do you know about atomic bombs? Here's an interesting link that shows how the mushroom cloud forms. I did not know that the temperature got to be 20,000 degrees -- that's hotter than the surface of the sun! 

Here's a real heart warmer. A Mama Duck had lain her eggs on the ledge of a bank in downtown Seattle (I think it was). Problem is, when it came time for the little baby ducks to go with Mama Duck to get into the water, Mama could fly but the babies couldn't. So this very big-hearted guy catches the babies as they drop off the ledge, one by one:

Now isn't that just about the sweetest thing you ever saw?

April 2, 2013

Whether you call it irony or coincidence, check out the photos in this link:
-- At the very least, they're comical.

If you had happened to be in a Catholic church in Miami for the Easter services, you would have enjoyed Andrea Bocelli sing Panis Angelicus during communion. If you weren't there and want to hear him sing, click this link: 
Absolutely beautiful!

Here is Bocelli with Ana Maria Martinez in a duet Time to Say Goodbye -- incredible!

April 1, 2013

Check out these dangerous mountainous roads from various places in the world: 

You'll probably have to cut and paste the address into your web address spot to get the link to work.


March 31, 2013

Another disastrous side effect of wind turbines: a golden eagle flew into one of those humongous blades and died. Never mind the bats that have met their untimely demise -- this was a golden eagle. The owner of the wind turbine farm is looking at a $200,000 fine. 

One of my favorite "must see" sites when I'm on the web is the NASA site. Here is a video of travels around the earth at night from the ISS: Amazing!

Did you hear about the bomb scare at the Eiffel Tower? Somebody called in a bomb threat and said explosives were put around the tower and were set to go off at 9:30. Along comes 10 pm and nothing happened but in the meantime, in an abundance of caution, the tower was evacuated. Take a look at these photos of what I think is one of the neatest landmarks in the City of Lights. We were in Paris in 1990 as the first stop across the pond as we embarked on our tour to see the Passion Play at Oberammagau but we landed in mid-morning, so we didn't get to see the spectacular Eiffel Tower all lit up. Quint did get credit for taking me to Paris for lunch on my birthday, though.

And speaking of views of landmarks, this is a photo of the destruction of Meigs Field in Chicago, Illinois. Happened 10 years ago today. What I like about this photo is the Chicago skyline. The other is the runways at Meigs Field after they had been bulldozed with big x-es. And for why? Not really sure.

Here's something not to do on Sunday afternoon -- unless, like this climber, you want to take a big slide down a snowy, rocky hill. This climber was one in a group of three climbers. The climber above him sent a chunk of frozen stuff down the hill and knocked Climber #2 down the hill. Quickly. Fortunately he only broke his leg:

March 25, 2013

Some of you may remember this crash of a B52 Stratofortress -- was in 1994. No one survived the crash. Story goes that it was a hot dogger flying the plane and he was practicing for an air show.

He flew too close to the edge of the air.

And here's a MIG pilot who was at the edge of the air on the tarmac and, of all things, pulled up the landing gear:

And on another matter, if you've been following the financial crisis in Cypress and wondered if such a fiasco could happen here in the U.S., you might want to take a look at this article by Roger Lowenstein. He traces the origins of finances, federal reserve, etc., in the U.S. Interesting reading if you're into the curiosities about how the banking industry has unfolded since practically the beginning of time.

I just have a question about the FDIC insurance in this country. According to this article, if you have an account that bears interest, you don't have any unlimited coverage. That would include money market accounts and NOW accounts, if I read the article correctly. If you are fortunate enough to have amassed a nestegg, you'll want to check with a financial advisor to make sure your account/s are safe.

What happened in Cypress, apparently, is that there's an insurance on deposits up to 100,000. The hefty tax on those accounts is on funds over the 100,000 euro balance.  Withdrawals in Cypress banks now are limited to 100 euros per day.

And so it begins. Maybe. This just out -- the UK Independent Party is urging Brits living in Spain to pull their money out of the Spanish banks.

Folks, be very careful. Do absolutely what you need to do to make sure your retirement nesteggs are safe and your funds on deposit are safe. If you have an interest-bearing account in any kind of financial institution, check to see what your safety net includes.

And how about the new research that says parents are introducing solid food to their little babies before the babies are developmentally ready. Developmentally ready? What's that? Well, the baby needs to be able to sit up. The baby needs to be old enough to make those good bacteria that help digestion of solids take place. The baby needs to have developed a chewing mechanism. And the baby needs to be able to swallow the solid food. Here's an interesting article that's going around the news outlets today: Read it and take care. If your baby is fussy, it doesn't necessarily mean the baby is hungry.

March 23. 2013

This has got to be the best Elvis impersonator I have ever heard: It caps off a week of the David Letterman Show where he did a week's worth of Elvis. 

Remember Steve Martin? Here's one of his best comedy stints ever: It's a repeat of a 1992 guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show. I did not know he could play the banjo, did you?

Here's a link showing how our military made a pipeline in WWII so that the banks and trucks and jeeps on the continent could get the fuel they needed. I mean, after all, they couldn't just pull up to a loal gas station.

March 19, 2013

One more day 'til Spring. It feels warmer already.

If you have pets, you'll want to check out this article. Here's a link to some things you can find around the house that can be very dangerous - even deadly to your little four-paws: Be especially careful with Easter coming if you have Easter lilies in the house.

March 17, 2013

You've probably never wondered what Lutherans do with their beer bottles -- but just on the off chance that you might have, here's something from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois:

What fun!

If you're missing George H. W. Bush yet, here's a re-run of the White House Correspondents'dinner:

Here's Carol of the Bells played on beer bottles.

This is a fantastic video of a gentleman who goes around the world compiling videos of dancers. Unbelievable. And such happy events that all the dancers shared: -- Thank you, Joyce, for sharing.

Jim Carrey does a funny job impersonating Clint Eastwood at a roast:

Some commercials are interesting: -- Emmmmmmma!

March 15, 2013

A coronal mass ejection occurred today about 3 a.m. EDT. It has directed particles heading for the earth and should "hit' us by late Sunday or early Monday. Take a look at this "incredilgusto" photo of this CME: NASA warns us that we can expect some geologic events as well as possible electronic problems. Stay tuned, as they say.  It will either be a big dud or something magnanimously out of this world.

You heard that there's going to be a competition for pole dancers right here in the good old USA! Only in America. Well, here's what a "pole dance" ought to look like. The Polonaise is just so exquisite. Why do we have to look at women who are grotesquely underdressed? Why can't we have some since of class and elegance? Look at this: In my view, this has real wow factor.

Here's something you don't see every day - a video of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This is a mean snake, I don't care what they say. Anything that long and that venomous is on my Run From list. The Eastern Diamondback's strike speed is 92 mph. That's faster than I can run so my best bet is not to be in the same state where they live. And venomous? OMG This thing can kill four people if they shoot out a full load of venom. I'd say that about the only thing they'd be good for is to vacuum out all their venom and make anti-toxin out of it. Well, actually they're good for keeping the rat population down too. Otherwise, we'd have a run on the plague.

Just to keep you up to date on what's happening to the politics in the US, today the House defeated that minimum wage bill. And you know that if it doesn't get out of the House, it goes nowhere. The vote was 233-184. It's just not a good time to raise the minimum wage by any amount with the economy racing toward a bubble burst. My concern is when the Dow hits $15,000. I think that, at that point, the economy will hit the slippery slope and the unsustainable climb will just go pop! By how much? I think I agree with a couple of the economists I've been following who are talking about a 4 or 5% slide into hell for some vulnerable investors. (That's what economist calls a "correction.")

March 14, 2013

Here's a wonderful quote from Francis I  -- the new pope: When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

Thank you, Francis I. Another of his strong convictions is that all politicians who support abortions should be denied communion.

March 10, 2013

Feel like taking a virtual 360 degree tour of what you'd see if you could enter the Sistine Chapel? Click this link: 

It's particularly appropos since the Conclave of Cardinals will begin meeting on Tuesday.

March 9, 2013

It doesn't happen very often but here's a video that is less than a minute of what will be agony for the rest of this high school basketball's memory. The player took his team out of the running of a semi-finals contest in Oklahoma just becasue he put the bball into the wrong basket:

Oops. "My bad" doesn't even cover that one.

March 8, 2012

For all those folks who are really really worried about global warming and the earth melting, good news is here. It has to do with a greatly reduced amount of sunspot activities. I realize that there have been some incredible sunspots recently, but take a look at this: See -- hardly any activity at all. Do you think all those proposed carbon taxes will disappear when we go into another mini ice age?

March 6, 2013

Hobby Lobby may close.
Hobby Lobby is filing suit as a last ditch effort to gain release from the mandates imposed by health care rules. In fact, here's the statement released by its Christian president:

With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court,but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

Stay tuned.

March 3, 2013

This link is to an amazing story of a young man who walked ten miles in snow and ice to get a minimum wage jog: -- I may have put the link on last week, but it's well worth another look. Besides, it wasn't this depiction of the story.

Here's some animals that aren't necessarily the cute, adorable little things we've seen in other links:


I have just had one of the most interesting experiences of my life. It was a live broadcast on Facebook. The president of the national LWML hosted the broadcast and this week's event focused on an article I had written some time ago about the blessings of stress for The Lutheran Women's Quarterly. People from all over the country were on live this morning asking questions about stress and how to wrap solutions about stress around a life with God.

Each week Kay, the LWML president, is inviting a different article author to join her in the live discussion.

My prayer is that God used me somehow to reach other people. You can also download the article that I had about stress at the Facebook site -- it's a Bible Study about the blessings of stress.

I also got friend requests from hundreds of new people. From Hawaii, to Texas, to Iowa, to Wisconsin -- to name a few.

I truly believe that within each of the countries that have readers to this web site are pockets of people who hunger, as I do, for a firm relationship with God. We seek out those people who can held solidify that relationship on our journey to get closer to Him. In so doing, we share each others burdens.

People are awesome, aren't they? I got this video from my cousin Mark. It's a video about amazing people doing amazing things.

Grandparents are awesome too. Mark sent me these comments from little tykes:

1.   She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her
young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before . 

After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But
Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put
lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how
old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he
asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and
a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting
more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel
around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern
warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was
like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung
from a tree in o ur front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish
I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and
God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?''
"You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor.
She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to
test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me
and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for
the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these
colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off
until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies
followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa.
Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."
"Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma,
guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a
little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do
you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," sa id a teacher.
The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took
the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire
truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.
The children started discussing the dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly,
"to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the
airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her
visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get
to see him enough to get as smart as him!

February 26, 2013

Want to know the real source of global warming? Hint: It's not from driving SUVs around.

Reading the caption, you will note that the time lapse says that the video took place over many, many hours. Global warming is not man-made. No doubt it's happening though. But man is just a tiny little being in the scope of things. There's a bigger hand at play out there in the universe and He's watching us all the time. One plasmic zap from the sun could wipe out our satellite systems in a flash, so to speak.

Changing the subject, we send our condolences to the families and loved ones of 18 folks who lost their lives in a horrible hot air balloon accident as the balloon was flying over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The balloon exploded and crashed.

Here's a heartwarming story about a young man who walked ten miles through snow and ice to get a minimum wage job: - Congratulations to the restaurant owner, too, for getting a real winner for an employee.

February 25, 2013

And they call the wind Mariah. Check out this link to a wind map of the United States: http://fm/wind amazing!

February 23, 2013

That was some crash at the Daytona 500 this afternoon. Wow! Cars were flying everywhere -- engines came off and went through the fence and got up into the stands. A number of injuries but miracle of miracles -- no fatalies. Check out this link:

And this video link takes you to an IMAX Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag event: -- I'd love to see this video at an IMAX theater like the one at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Those videos are on 80 mm film. What an incredible experience. This is a good experience too. All 48 minutes of it. Enjoy!

February 19, 2013

Do you know how much it hurts when you laugh so hard coffee comes out your nose? Take a look at this video - without any coffee in your mouth:

February 17, 2012

Are you ready for a little history? Mark sent me this story and if you ever get to Chicago, zipping through O'Hare Airport, you'll know why it was named as it was:

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for
anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything
frombootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy
Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for agood reason. Eddie was very good! In fact,
Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the
money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well.
For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with
live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved
dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars,
and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong.
Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he
couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to
rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al
'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name,
and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would
have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be
great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a
lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest
gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.
Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious
medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:
'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to
tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no
faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant
Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in
the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was
airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had
forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back
to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he
dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned
his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way
toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to
save the fleet.
Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only
one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the
formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he
charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in
and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as
until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to
clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible,
rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to
the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became
the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His
home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and
O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal
of Honor.
It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.

Prepare to melt away your heart. Here's a link to a little 5 year old girl who called 911 when her father was apparently having a heart attack. Just listen: Wow!
Big discussions about raising the minimum wage here in the United States from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Lots of studies are out there that show raising the minimum waige has a deleterious effect on employment. Take this for instance:

I'd just like to take the thought of a small business owner.

Let's say that I can only to afford to hire enough 1/4 time employees (after school students) and pay no more than $1500 in the aggregate every week.

At $7.25 per hour, that means I can buy 206 hours of employment.

Taking that same $1500 at $9.00 per hour means that I can only buy 166 hours.

The difference is 40 hours. I can compute that without my handy dandy little calculator. Forty hours spread over 1/4 time student employees if 4 real people who won't be able to work at my establishment. That means that you could work for me, but your three favorite buddies couldn't.

So, given that scenario -- will someone please tell me how raising the minimum wage helps improve the employment picture?

On another subject: this is about how you can set up an experiment to test for psychological stress and not let the subjects of the experiment know you're intentionally stressing them out. Stress is, after all, a continuing concern no matter where you live. How can you research how much stress a person is feeling when the "victim" is "in on it" and knows it's a scripted stress that will be over with when the research is done.

Some research, in fact, was halted by the American Psychological Association when the research went too far even when the stressed subjects knew about the experiment.

However, in Germany recently, someone at an airport walked around taking pictures of people at random. Then, very quickly, the photos were inserted into wanted posters and distributed throughout the airport. Then the posters made headline news on the overhead TV monitors. The people who were shown had no idea they were part of a big experiment on stress.

Watch the outcome here:

February 16, 2013

And then there was the Super Bowl. Where would the halftime be without the Clydesdales? Take a look at this precious ad:

This is one of my all-time favorites : I realize that it's a scripted commercial but don't you wonder how much animals really communicate to one another? I think they communicate much more than humans give them credit for.

I love to watch people who are enjoying themselves dancing. And I equally enjoy watching children dancing. When these two are combined, here's an incredible combination: -- You think they don't feel the rhythm? !!

I never rode a subway when in New York, but I can only imagine. Then Mark sent me this link: Who knows, maybe someday this is what the Chicago subways will look like.

I did read some while ago that a "good" panhandler back in the early 90s was making some $50,000 a year. Lived in a better condo than I did. Lost my benevolent spirit for street moochers. I mean, I can help more people by donating to human care agencies who help people who are in need. And, of course, the church.

Here's a compilation of what's supposed to be the best commercials of this year's Super Bowl:

February 15, 2012

Amazing footage of a big meteor hitting the earth. Happened in Russia. It was big and it exploded in the atmosphere before it actually struct the earth. Lots of damage, mostly from breaking glass.

If you love cats, you'll get a kick out of these felines showing how they amuse themselves. The folks over at Cheeseburger put a new video out every Wednesday. Remember, laughter is a good way to say good riddance to burnout.

February 13, 2013

A little mini-factoid that I found on my way to looking something else up. Some late research says that one of the most effective "cures" for burnout is laughter. So laugh until your sides ache, my friends. Something else you might want to know is this: Involve yourself in creative pursuits -- even if it's just observing a view that strikes your fancy. Creativity has a lot to do with dopamines that attach to pleasure centers in your brain. If you can't take a hike, then go on these visual excursions that Shirley sent. Enjoy life and life enjoys you!
Feel up to taking a little trip out west? Shirley sent clips to some incredible photos from Utah. But it isn't just the photos. You can hold your cursor down and move the view to the right, left, up or down: -- Canyonlands National Park - Grand View Point - Capitol Reef National Park - Sulphur Creek - Double Arch in Arches National Park - Wasatch Mountains -- Payson Canyon


A little language trivia from my cousin Mark:


This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word,
and that word is ' UP .' It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj],
[n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but
when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP , and why are the
officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP ) and why is it UP to
the secretary to write UP a report?We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room,
polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the
house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning . People stir UP trouble,
line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP .

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty
mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look UP the word UP in the
dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can
add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with
( UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out, we say
it is clearing UP . When it rains,the earth soaks it UP. When it does not rain for
awhile, things dry UP . One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now . . .
my time is UP !

And then, there's these funny little vignettes, also from Mark:

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.
An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married
as childhood sweethearts and had
moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.. Holding hands, they walked
back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk
they'd shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally.” 
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically
landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked
it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the
money - fifty thousand dollars!
Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in
their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the
money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that
fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
Sally said, “No”.
Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.
Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile”

The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.

One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ...”
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

And --

And Then:
Earl and Bubba are quietly sitting in a boat fishing,
chewing tobacco and drinking beer when suddenly
Bubba says, "Think I'm gonna divorce the wife - she
ain't spoke to me in over 2 months."

Earl spits overboard, takes a long, slow sip of beer and says, "Better think it
women like that are hard to find."

Oh my goodness, will you just look at this! The other day Quint and I were just talking about the newest, biggest, baddest TV screen. "How could anything be worth a half million dollars?" I asked. Then I saw this clip: -- It's wild. Now I know. That's some house. Probably doesn't come with the Porsche though. And wouldn't they worry about rain dripping down into that hole that the LED screen came out of? Just wondering. Thank you, Mark. I'll bet you don't have one of these in your back yard. I'm going to check next time I come see you.

I'm so lucky because I got this clip from both my cousins. It's about a lion cub that was raised from infancy, then returned back to the wild. This clip shows their meeting after some time has passed. They were warned that their pet lion had reverted back to being a wild animal and wouldn't recognize them. But you just watch!

And thank you, Mark and Al, for sharing this with all of us.

My final link for today is this one from Mark. He says it's about some masculine moments:

February 12, 2013

One of my favorite favorite places to go to on the web is - a most amazing place. To give you an idea, here is a link to a photographic excursion in the womb from conception to birth. Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. -- and especially to a microbiology student, Elizabeth, who is studying at Eastern Illinois University. Say hello to Elizabeth, everybody. And Elizabeth, watch this video if you have time or inclination. You will enjoy it. I suspect.
And today is the day we remember Abraham Lincoln, America's Civil War President. Happy birthday, Abe!

Got this funny -- or at least cute -- video link from cousin Mark. It's called The Green Side of the Grass:

February 10, 2013

And just who is this Dr. Benjamin Carson? Well, if you haven't looked him up in Wikipedia, let me tell you that he is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate twins who were joined at the head. He is a "pull yourself up out of poverty" kind of guy. He was invited to address the nation at the National Day of Prayer not too long ago. And in case you haven't heard his speech, here is a link:

Reminds me of my own childhood. We had next to nothing in money. And when I would go to my grandmother and complain that I hated being poor, she'd tell me that we weren't poor -- just broke. Big difference. And I've never forgotten it as I've gone through life. Sometimes broke; sometimes not. But poor? Nope. Poverty is a state of mind and I do not want to go there.

And here are the photos of Richard III's remains:

Everyone is buzzing about both these topics, from what I hear in my galloping around the internet.

Here's a link to a cat that I could just love. Cat-cat got run over and after many surgeries, has become a lesson of style and grace, not to mention grace. I just love cats!

Pink hair? So how many women do you think could pull off pink hair? Dame Helen Mirren seems to be doing just fine with it. But most of all, I love the dress. Elegant and very ladylike:

More photos of dresses, hairdos, tuxedos, etc. 
Oh, so those little peepholes in the ladies' dresses are called keyholes? Did not know that. And what's with that one yellow dress. It looks like half a dress that had the bottom half tacked on somehow. The woman who's wearing it should keep her arms down to her side so she doesn't give the dress' secret away. I could tell it if was supposed to be a mini that lost its identity at the last minute and had a bottom half added quickly in the dressing room. Guess those $gadzillion dresses are lost on me.

February 9, 2013

Found this beautiful rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's 42 minutes so I'm guessing it's all four seasons. Play it in the background while you're doing something else on your computer.

February 8, 2013

We've been watching a Netflix production, The House of Cards. It's Kevin Spacey at his best even though the story is about corruption and greed and politicians in Washington, D. C. However, in one of the later episodes, Spacey's character goes back to his alma mater because they are naming a new library after him. Francis Underwood, I think. Point is, he and three of his buddies sang Shenandoah. Nothing like good harmony for this wonderful song. This isn't them, but it's a wonderful glee club doing the same song:

Not the same group, but a wonderful group of harmony singing Finlandia:

Here's the same anthem set against some beautiful photography:

This anthem is also set against photography, with the lyrics as well as some of the history of Finland and its quest for independence from being a duchy of the Russian empire:

Here is a beautiful choral presentation: -- Finlandi, Hymni

Even a flash mob offers its rendition at an airport:  What a celebration of joy and peace and pride for a very young nation that has nourished its soil with the blood of its patriots. The world salutes you!

So for all our readers from Finland, enjoy. Our hearts are with you in your independence and freedom and liberty.

Adding one of my all-time favorites, Ode to Joy, here is a group from Japan -- all 10,000 of them -- giving us Ode an die Freude. Absolutely beautiful.

And this, I'll bet, you've not seen anything like it: 



January 30, 2013

My, oh my. This link shows a sinkhole that swallows up buildings!

Fortunately, no one was reported injured. But whole buildings?! Wow!

January 28, 2013

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's powerful message at the National Day of Prayer:

I pray that his message will be a wake-up call for many sinners who need to take that first little step toward regaining faith, or gaining a faith they may never have had.

It's simple. It requires crossing a threshold into a new beginning for your life. You don't have to make a big project out of it. Just find a church and walk through the doors. (I use the word church to mean any house of worship.)

Don't wait until you are doing "better" in your faith. Whatever that means. You are never going to get clean from your sins by yourself. Church is a place to go where you can get clean. It's where you metaphorically get cleansed by the blood of Christ.

If you feel like your sins have made you ill, then you need to know that the church is a hospital for sinners. You can exchange all those sins for a new life in Christ.

Just go through the door and feel the embrace of Christ's love.

If you believe that the church is full of hypocrites, then you ought to feel right at home if you think that at least you're honest enough to know you're a worthless piece of doodoo. But you're right -- as sinners we all live hypocritical lives. There's room for one more so come on in. Walk through the door.

Come on in and know the full salvation of Christ's love and what He did on the cross to save you and me alike. Just walk through the door. The Holy Spirit will guide you to faith and introduce you to the Savior of the world.

January 27, 2013

Want to see the five top scariest places on the planet? Take a look:

Here's a bear surprising a camera crew trying to set up a commercial in the frozen tundra north:

And to change the subject: 

Lent is about increasing consciousness.

The story of Easter starts at Christmas because there would be no Calvary without Bethlehem.

From Ash Wednesday, it's a forty-day journey of mindfulness. It's about a growing awareness of just exactly what Jesus Christ's death on the cross means to each of us as Christians.

So, how many of you out there would quietly lie down on a cross so that Roman Soldiers could nail your hands to the crossbar? Everybody who would be willing to do that, raise your hands.

Not many hands up. In fact the number is somewhere between zero and negative 10. The negative numbers are those people who are sitting on their hands just to make sure they don't spontaneously shoot up in the air.

How exactly do you increase your mindfulness about salvation. That's what the trek through the Lenten season is all about. It's about become more and more thankful for the tremendous sacrifice that our Heavenly Father made by sending His only Son to die for the wrongdoing of all sinners. As a parent and as a human mother, I can tell you that I could not have done that to any of our children. This was absolutely, positively certain death for Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was not a clone off another brother. God could have done that too. But He didn't. Nope. Jesus Christ was His one and only.

The willingness of Jesus Christ to lay down His life is something we need to think about during this trek through Lent.

In my view, how could anyone participate in gleeful festivals and parties?! At the risk of those of you out there who'd tell me to lighten up, I say go ahead. Just count me out. I'm thinking about other things while you're engaging in your not-so-mindful Lent festivals and parties. I have a right to practice my faith in ways that are deeply meaningful to me. You do too.

Does it mean that I go to heaven and you don't? Probably not. But for me, observing Lent is more about Sunday morning and midweek Lenten services. It's about an everyday-trek through my heart and mind. It's one long moment from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I'm not that good at multi-tasking where I can do that and also go to festivals.

So have at it. I'll see you at the cross.

January 26, 2013

Late Night Catechism -- very funny nun:  There are other vignettes at the link which you can watch.

Here's a link of a father and son team: The son is blind and wheelchair-bound. And thanks to his father, he is part of the University of Louisville Marching Band. Seeing is believing! And thanks to our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita for sending the link. It just reminds me that God gives us talent, but not necessarily fame or fortune.

What could be more adorable than a half dozen Scottish Terrier puppies? Well, watching them "eat" in a common puppy bowl and moving around it like a pinwheel. You're just not going to believe it:

I just love this video -- it's a little boy in who can't be more than 5 or 6 years old driving a front loader! He actually does a fantastic job and is so serious. I'm really impressed with his coordination:

After you watch it, answer me this question: do you think this young man would ever be satisfied playing with a Tonka truck? Not!

It seems to me that what makes these little boys so adorable is that they are doing big people stuff. Take this little tyke who crashed his dad's concert. Dad was singing Brown Eyed Girl and little Mr. Twinkie comes running over and decides to show off some of his moves to the crowd. Crowd went wild with appreciation. Baby takes pacifier back to his mom. Don't need this anymore since I'm out here playing with the big boys.

Want to see one good example of poetry in motion? Look at these Friesians. Beautiful black horses coming into their own in the field of dressage.

January 24, 2013

Here's a link to a beautiful train ride. Oh the beauty of the trip! Ride along with Floyd Kramer's piano:

Got this warning from my dear friend Norma:

>>>        Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating.. You walk
>>>        across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You
>>>        start the engine and shift into reverse..
>>>        When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your
>>>        parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle
>>> of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors,
>>>        and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it
>>>        is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of
>>>        your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere,
>>>        jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down
>>>        as they speed off in your car.
>>>        And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.
>>>        So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your
>>>        money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now
>>>        compromised!
>>>        If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just
>>>        drive away. Remove the paper later.  A purse contains all kinds of
>>>        personal information and identification documents, and you
>>>        certainly do NOT want it to fall into the wrong hands.**

This is a prayer that comes by way of my good friend, Cody, from Warrensburg. Thank you, Cody. I am especially happy to share with so many readers who live so far away -- many in countries that  persecute Christians. I lift each of you up in prayer for your physical and spiritual safety:

Prayer is one of the best and most powerful free gifts we receive. Read the prayer

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been
given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.


January 22, 2013

Remember when I was talking about over-learning yesterday?

Today I'm thinking about over-thinking as part of that path to learning. Remember that learning is defined as relatively permanent and leads to some sort of behavior change. That behavior change can be something as simple as realizing that you're different because you've learned something new. That is to say, you don't have to go back to hula hoops for self-entertainment.

Today I am thinking about a physics idea. Not even sure you can call it a theorem yet, so I'll settle for an idea. It's called Higgs-Boson. It's an interesting thought - an idea -- and I want to understand it. So I found this link that was prepared by a physicist at the Fermilab. I figure if I listen to it over and over, I'll get a handle on Higgs-Boson. I do question the example of the portly gentleman going through the water with difficulty where the barracuda did not. In truth, all of the man was not in the water -- only half of him was, whereas all of the barracuda was moving through the water. But I'll have to study that thought some more. 

Here's a web site for some basic physics:

My point is, we'd better be learning this stuff if we ever want to understand the world around us instead of having someone understand the world and explaining it to us. I mean, how do we know they'd be correct? We need to keep over-thinking and over-learning.

After all, my technique did get me through understanding some perplexing and difficult math structures in high school and my undergrad.

And my brain didn't even melt.

So I'm going to put this link about quantum physics here kind of as a bookmark because when I want to find it, I probably won't be able to: 

But then, I could always ask Quint and he could explain it all to me.

January 21, 2013

January 21st already. Wow! How time goes flying by.

I received this link from my dear friend Linda in Lawrenceville:

If ever there is a story of the need for closure, this video poignantly points to the need. This is the story of a WWII widow who searched and searched and never gave up. And all the time her late husband was found in a grave at Normandy. But it's more than that. That would be too simple a story. Just watch and see what the little town in France has done to commemorate her husband all these years.

Linda also sent a link entitled The Beauty of Mathematics. If you have not seen this before, prepare to be amazed:

It reminds me of when I was a little kid and used to "count letters." Don't know where I learned to do that but it was just fun. I counted the letters in my name, and words at school. For no good reason except as a mental exercise.

And thank you, Linda, for sharing this link with our readers.

While I was at the links, I noticed a video called Late Night Catechism. I knew the nun was Catholic. I mean, her habit was a big clue, right? So I clicked on this link:

Oh how funny she is! The above link takes you to catechetical lesson #2 -- and there are others at the site. Enjoy!

January 19, 2013

We watched a Neil Young concert - Prairie Wind -- on Netflix last night. His signature song, at least as far as I'm concerned, is Heart of Gold. So while I was listening to that song, I really wanted to hear Horse With No Name. I was so certain that it was a Neil Young recording too. But it wasn't. America recorded it and here's a link, if you're interested:

At one point, Neil Young asked, "If there a guitar in the house?" Next thing you know, he's got about 8 guitars lined up playing with him on stage. Having taught guitar years ago at a park district up north, I am amazed that all the guitars were so in tune with one another, and the guitarists were so synchronized.

I watched a TED talk about sychronicity not too long ago. It seems that "all" things in nature try to synchronize with each other. So I put on my mental health hat and wonder if, for whatever reason, people can't synchronize with one another it's doom for a relationship from the start.

Anyway, if you haven't discovered TED talks yet, go to and listen to some of them. One of the criteria is that the talks can't be longer than 15-18 minutes and the speaker has to talk about an idea that will change the world. There are all sorts of categories to plug into. Go ahead. It's an easy way to learn something new.

My grandmother used to tell me that a day was wasted if I didn't learn one new thing.

She didn't have to lecture me much about that either. I loved studying and learning when I was in school. Loved it so much that I made up practice tests for myself when I was an undergrad. I would pick parts of the text that were particularly difficult to grasp and make "fill in the blank" exercises. I made a key with the answers as I went along. I would only do 50 blank questions or so at a time. Then I would test myself. I was amazed that even after reading the text, then writing it down with an important word replaced by a line to fill in, and writing the correct word or term on the key, the first time I took my little practice test, I would only get 50% or so correct. So I'd keep taking my little test until I got 95% correct. Then I would move on to another part of the textbook and do the same thing. And that is how I aced my tests.

Was it a lot of work? Yes!

Was it worth it? You bet!

Later when I taught psychology classes to undergrads, I told them what I did. Believe it or not, several of the students duplicated my "system." They were amazed to add such a simple method to their toolbox of learning skills.

Students often make an assumption that if they read something, and take good notes, then review their notes the night before an exam, that's all they need to get a good grade on tests. Some people can do that. Most can't. Most people need a few other techniques to help them out.

But for all those people who say, "I never was good at taking tests," I say, "Of course not because the secret to taking tests well is overlearning. It's going over and over and over the material until you can practically recite the information."

One thing that we've all over-learned is the alphabet. Another is the multiplication tables. That is, if you memorized the multiplication tables.

On another matter not related to anything above -- here's a link that shows ships in their rustic rusty final states lying on beaches at various places around the world:

January 17, 2013

One of the benefits I have enjoyed over the past several years after doing some genealogy research is finding a long lost cousin of mine in southeast Texas. We are related through my father's sister. A side benefit is that Frances has as much a sense of fun-loving human as I do. She sent this and I think you'll enjoy it too:

Why I Like Retirement !!!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
and you know when it's Sunday
that's when the heavy paper comes

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep in the recliner.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.

Question:Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer:They are the only ones who have the time.

Question:Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer:They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store
stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.

Question:What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people
he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

And, my very favorite....
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday through Friday, NOTHING..... Saturday & Sunday, I rest.

Thank you, Frances, and stay warm. I don't think the Houston area is getting all that many blessings from Mother Nature these days. I'm bracing for a predicted 5 degrees on Sunday. Brrrrr.

January 15, 2013

If you like cats, you'll enjoy watching these two felines "sharing" their dinner:

I like cats a lot more than politics. Apparently they share. But I don't think they are compromising all that much, to think about it.

January 15, 2013

From our good friends in Wichita comes this suggestion of how to cook a turkey dinner. Something to keep in mind: Now, isn't that hilarious?

January 14, 2013

I can remember sitting around the radio when I was a kid -- kind of like we sit around the TV nowadays - to listen to the Bob Hope Show. What fun. I understand from listening to interviews with him that he also wrote his own material.

Got the following snippets from cousin Mark. So for those of you who are too young to remember the Bob Hope Shop, here are some funny bits from this wonderful comedian who passed on a number of years ago:

For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents..
And thanks for the memories. WHAT A WONDERFUL E-MAIL.


Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.

'I still chase women, but only

'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel
anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'.

'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'


'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,
Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.

'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the
stuff the audience threw at me.'

'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a

January 14, 2013

Here is a link to a video about interment about the USS Arizona that is carried out even in the present time:

Quint and I the opportunity to go aboard the Arizona when we went to Hawaii on the occasion of our 25th anniversary. It is, even after all these years, a moving experience. And a reverent one, just knowing that there were sailors still entomed beneath us.

January 13, 2013

Watch this clip of a golden lab trying to very gently interact with a young boy:

I'm fortunate to have had a golden lab when I was much younger. They're the gentlest dogs on the planet -- in my view. Dogs are amazing -- as you can see when this video shows a dog going onto a busy highway to rescue another dog that has been run over: Amazing. And the injured dog lived! That's the best part.

The link to this video shows an incredible affection from a cat trying to revive a cat friend:

These compilation videos are always interesting. I personally think everyone should take a Physics class in high school just to learn about forces of nature and what works and doesn't work. And apparently a shooting course too so you can know what to expect in a recoil. Or at least to hold onto the rifle.

But then, it's nice when everything works out all right too:

I guess we can talk about doctors and medicine in the new year. These funny vignettes come from my cousin Mark who is always funny!


Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. 
Everything wear out eventually.  Speeding up heart not make you live longer;

it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer? 
Take nap.  

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?   
A:  Oh no.  Wine made from fruit.  Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take
water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way.  Beer also made
of grain.  Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one.  If you have two
body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of single one, sorry.  My philosophy: No pain...good!  
Q:  Aren't fried foods bad for you?   
A:  YOU NOT LISTENING!  Food fried in vegetable oil.  How getting more vegetable
be bad?

Q :  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A:  Oh no!  When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing
sit-up if you want bigger stomach. 

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me? 
A:  You crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best
feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure? 
A:  If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q:  Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle? 
A:  Hey!  'Round' is shape!

Well... I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food
and diets.

And  remember:  
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay
in one hand -

chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO-HOO, what a ride!!"   

For  those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and
health.  It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer
fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION:  Eat and drink what you like.   Speaking English is

apparently what kills you.

Quint's cardiologist has a food philosophy that I like. He says we don't have to endure all that gravel-tasting food. Like that guy1

January 9, 2012

Today would have been my brother's 68th birthday. RIP, Al. Hope you were finally able to quit smoking wherever you are up there.

Under the general heading of "Are you kidding me?" is an activity called "zorbing." Not sure where that word came from, but a zorb is a big inflatable ball.

Well, these two Russians decided to get inside this inflatable, which is what youdo with a zorb, and roll it down a ski slope.

It did not end well. In fact, one of the zorbas was killed when the zorb rolled off a cliff, instead of sticking with the path it was "supposed" to take.

Here's the linkhttp:// 

Not serious like the antics of zorbing, but here's reactions from fast food drive-up window people who try to serve an order to a car that doesn't have a driver in it: Reactions are really interesting.

January 8, 2013

Eons ago when I was young and dirt was just a technological dream, I took a Psychology of Advertising course. How attitudes of the public are shaped by advertising was a new thought. How advertising reflects the social mores of a culture was also embedded in there somewhere. So I found these ads -- supposed to be the funniest ads of last year. Enjoy.

What do the ads say to you? Some of interesting, others downright funny. Ads have come a long way since the early days of television when it was all about a catchy jingle and a kind of in-your-face message. Nowadays, ads are more subtle and a whole lot funnier. And now with the ability to lip sync babies talking, and other computer gyrations, we get some pretty comical antics. Babies and animals still rack up the best sales.

This link takes you to "Top Tracks of Enya." Lots of beautiful graphics. Enjoy your respite.

Didn't get enough commercials in the Super Bowl? This link takes you to a big collection. Funnnnnny!


January 7, 2013

Oh the curse of unintended consequences! Take the electric cars, for instances. Notice how quiet they are. Peace, aren't they?

Apparently there are lots of problems where pedestrians are concerned. So much so that highway safety people have now developed a list of sounds that will have to be engineered into the oncoming electric car so that you will know they're around. You can listen to these sounds just so you will recognize there's a car nearby when you step off into the pedestrian walkway at the intersection. Here's the link:

January 6, 2013

Today is the Feast of Epiphany Sunday. It's the day that Christians celebrate the Magi who came to see the Baby Jesus. They brought expensive gifts which certainly came in handy when Joseph had to take his new family into Egypt for safekeeping because that mean old King Herod was looking for all the first-borns to be killed. Someone had told Herod that a new king of the Jews had been born and Herod, being the paranoid type, couldn't handle that kind of rivalry. So, he'd already killed his wife and his father-in-law and his mother-in-law and now was going to launch a genocide of innocent little babies.

At church we do our undecorating of Christmas trees and adornments after our Epiphany celebration. And even though it's called the Feast of Epiphany, we didn't have anything to eat. Not even one little cookie. Seems like this would be a good time to have one of those yummy Lutheran potlucks. Instead, we just put everything away for another year. Pretty much the entire congregation stays after church and gets that job done. We're done in less than an hour because just about everybody pitches in. Many hands make light work.

I have a link to a hilarious juggler. Michael Davis at the Ford Theater is one of those people I should know about. But I don't. He's really funny though. Loved the way he introduced his act -- juggling water.

Here he is in one of his Johnny Carson routines: -- again. He's too funny. is another link to Michael Davis.

Everybody needs a good laugh. At least once a day. Did you know that you change your body's chemistry when you laugh out loud? It's good for you.

January 3, 2012 pt. 2

Ever wonder why God invented machetes? Watch this video of a cottonmouth eating a rattlesnake and you might come close. The snakes are big too.

January 3, 2012

If I live to be as old as Methuselah, I will not be able to make all the "must have" recipes that I pull out of newspapers and magazines. So, since it's the New Year and I only allow myself one new resolution for the year, I am going to get out all the recipes that I thought we couldn't live without and decide which ones are all that glorious.

It's my "Do Something Terminal" technique. And it's foolproof. Here's how it works: for 15 min tackle any job that needs doing. But for only 15 minutes. By doing something terminal, I mean I will either throw the recipe away, or clip it to my grocery list for next week or toss it.

By limiting myself to 15 minutes, I assure myself that I won't get tired of the task. I mean, we can do just about anything for 15 minutes, can't we?

I do that with my desk too. And house cleaning which is my most unfavorite chore.

I know it sounds like I have the attention span of a snail, but I have to concentrate on what works for me as I go through life. Besides, I suspect that if I were to tackle that entire stack of recipes, it would probably take me months and months and months. And not having that much free time in any given morning is why this task got so big in the first place. I could change my own rule, though, and say that if I really want the recipe that bad but don't want to cook the dish next week, I'll copy it onto a 3x5 card and put the card in a little file box that's just for that purpose. Might only get a couple of recipes off the pile in 15 minutes, but the pile of recipeswill  get shorter anyway.

In the United States, this is the day that the U.S. Congress gets sworn in, including 90 freshman reps. It will be the 113th Congress for the United States. Might just watch. There's been fireworks threatened to unseat the Speaker of the House. Not sure if a "palace coup" will work. It was in 1923 that was the last time this happened. Only 17 people have to withhold votes for the Speaker to be unseated. The Republican party is not as conservative as it used to be, and that's what the fuss is all about. I think. Then there's all that pork in the disaster aid package that has been delayed. A vote on a $9 billion part of the aid package will come to the floor on Friday. It's sure to get a yes vote. The other $59 billion in aid will come later. It includes a lot of stuff like $336 million for Amtrak, a couple of million to do something to a room at the Smithsonian. Supposedly all these items have to do with disasters of some sort of other, even the fisheries in Alaska.

I think maybe -- and I could probably get outshouted on this -- but just maybe the House ought to just do one bill for one item. They ought to figure out exactly how much disaster aid the Hurricane Sandy victims need and that's the extent of the bill. Nah. That would never work. That would mean the congressionals would have to work all day, every work day. They might even have to come in at 9 am and work til 4 pm. Instead, bills seem to have all become giant bills that covers everything from soup to nuts.

But don't get me started on politics. What's going on in Washington, D.C. right now is pretty mean-spirited. Same could be said of state capitols. I think it has more to do with human dynamics. Seems like whenever you get more than 3 or 4 or 5 people together, the game of King of the Mountain becomes the name of the game.

Which reminds me of an excellent book of human dynamics -- for those who might be interested. It's called Games People Play. Not sure if it's even in print at this point. A used book store, or maybe even Amazon, might have copies.

A gameis defined as a set of transactions. In other words, if I do this, what can I expect you to do? Then, when you do that, what's my next step going to be?

This is a fascinating book and it's one that i read in my undergrad years when I was taking a psychology course called Transactional Analysis. The book called Games People Play is a lot more readable and enjoyable that a psychology course textbook though. There's also a book called Games Alcoholics Play. And Games Grandparents Play (I think).

If I had the extra  time, I would like to write a book called Games Abusive Bullies Play. Since I did my masters research in domestic violence, I think such a book would be helpful for both victims and abusers to get some good tools for their emotional toolbox.

January 1, 2013

We stayed up all the way 'til 10 last night. Figured it was 2013 somewhere in the world so we went to bed.

Fortunately we didn't get any snow but it's cold. Enough of this winter already. Now I'm starting my countdown to Groundhog's Day, that great little harbinger of spring.

Why the big fuss about Groundhog's Day? When I was a little girl -- oh, about 4th grade -- we used to get coloring book pages to celebrate Groundhogs Day. All of us thought it was just wonderful.

It has been many years since I was nine years old, but it dawned on me when I got into high school that the Groundhog was not all that great to color. After all, he's just a rat. And I had to use up my brown color crayons too fast. Blacks too. Crayola boxes didn't have various shades of brown in those little boxes. So after I got the groundhogs colored in, there wasn't a whole lot of brown left over for tree trunks and such.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of a 4th grader.

Maybe that's why I trekked on down to the library in the middle of Paducah and got a job putting books away.

On another subject, Quint and I are enthusiastic fans of Tom Sellek so we are enjoying his new series, Blue Bloods. He plays a police commissioner in New York City and his oldest son is a homicide detective. His younger son went to Harvard and Tom thought for sure he was going to get out of the "family business." But not so. He came back home and signed up for the police academy. Oh, and Tom is a widower. Not sure how his late wife Mary died. He also lives with his father who is a retired police commissioner. And Tom lost a son in the line of duty. He was trying to infiltrate a gang of some sort. Tom's daughter is a District Attorney and her daughter wants to be a police officer too. Just like her beloved grandpa.

Good story. And it's one of the reasons we really enjoy our membership in Netflix.

December 31, 2012

This is a funny piece of humor from my dear friend Shirley who's out there in Arizona until she returns with the snow birds in the spring.
Subject: Protestant humor

Ole is the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church and Pastor Sven is the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. 
One day they are seen pounding a sign into the ground, which said:  
  As a car speeds past them, the driver leans out his window and yells, "Leave people
>  alone, you Skandihoovian religious nuts!"  
From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash.  
Shakin' his head, Rev. Ole says, "Dat's da terd one dis mornin'." 
>   >
Pastor Sven agrees, then asks, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say, 'Bridge Out?'" 
Thank you, Shirley, I'm still laughing.

Happy New Year to all! Won't be writing 2012 much longer. If you're still writing checks, you might want to open your checkbook and "pre-date" a half dozen or so checks to 2013. Several years ago, I forgot to use the new year's date and the check was returned as "stale dated." I had to go to the bank and change the date and initial my change.

We are supposed to be having a winter storm watch again here in middle earth/Illinois. It's 35.8 F now. Looking at the radar on the weather page, it looks pretty bad. There's a huge blue snowdrift, then a band of pink weather -- icy stuff -- then green green. It's actually supposed to be raining here now but I guess we're in the 40% that's okay since there's only a 60% chance of precip.

Not sure if the roads are okay to get to the church where I'm supposed to spend the afternoon. When I left on Friday, I watched a pick-em-up-truck lose control on the ice road about a mile ahead of me. Oh brother. He wrestled with his truck on the icy skating rink that was the road and finally got straightened out again so I didn't have to do anything like change steering or speed or anything. Just watch him and pray for him to recover before I got down there. He did and all was well. Thanks to no one but God who continues to watch over me.

Quint did a really good job of getting the snow off the driveway and sidewalks. He now uses the leaf blower and it works like a charm. And is much faster too.

Prayers for your safety no matter where in this world you may be.

And keep your celebrations this evening down to a slow roar and don't get inebriated. We're not going anywhere. Much prefer to do our celebrating safely at home.

God bless!

Before I leave this year behind me in the dust, I have to tell you about an experience I had with a couple of people in the last few months with some women who tried to bully me. Yes, even when you get up in years, as I am, and because I try to always be a nice, friendly person, there are still people who perceive that as an attitude of weakness and try to get at some imagined underbelly of vulnerability.

It happened in, of all places, a church meeting. Big surprise, right?

Not for me. I've been around church groups for years and years and years and I know that the devil works the hardest when he crosses the threshold of a church group. So if you think that bullying is something that just happens on a playground and involves just children, think again. Bullying happens whenever there is a person who tries to even up a power game with someone who is perceived as vulnerable.

It happens when an abusive person tries to make a victim out of someone else. The problem is, in order to be a victim, you have to give the abuser permission to pick on you. 

There's nothing she can do to me that God and I can't handle.

What I will do is continue to pray for these individuals. What I know as a mental health counselor is that bullies are insecure people who are trying to gain some balance of power within their psyche. Their imbalance of power has its roots in childhood when they were overpowered by someone who made them a victim. 

An act of love and compassion levels the playing field. We are, after all, children of the same heavenly Father. As such, each of us is a child of God and we share a common communion when we interact with one another and with each and every other child of God.

But when we mistreat another child of God with whom we are supposed to have communion, then we have mistreated the very God who shares an inheritance with us because He adopted us into His family.

God levels the playing field. Bullies don't.

December 25, 2012

Quint and I are hoping that each and every one of you are having a beautiful Christmas.

And in keeping with the season of joy -- bringing joy to others, here's a link to the Christmas Drop Operation of the US Air Force as they deliver a lot of joy to the folks in remote villages in Micronesia. Good job, Santas! I had no idea that this was being done in places like Micronesia. I just love the little hut with a "room addition" on it. And the little girl wearing flip flops that would fit someone three times her size. but just try to take them away from her.

Another link is a message about life. Love life. Enjoy life. Share life with those you love. This is a "public service message" that was designed and developed by the man who's playing the dad in the "commercial." It brings a tear to my eye to watch it because life is so precious and something not to squandered by foolishly not wearing a seat belt.

If you've ever had any doubts that animals jump around just to have fun, this video will dispel that rumor: These little guys look like they have springs in their feet, don't they?

And so at Christmas, all around the world, we think of joy and life. Those gifts were given to each of us by someone who loves us dearly. His greatest gift is the gift of salvation.

Don't squander a minute of your life without Jesus Christ and the love of His Heavenly Father in your heart.

We enjoyed an ongoing Christmas tradition at church this morning. All the members who are present join each other in the altar area and sing Whose Child Is This? We are given the words to the song. I mean, who remembers all three verses? The only person not up there is our faithful organist, Joan Eirhart. We all manage to get ourselves shoe-horned into the altar area and are standing very close together and sing our little hearts out. It's a wonderfully close feeling to be there with our fellow Christian friends.

I cooked a ham for Quint's Christmas dinner. He made me promise when we got married that I'd never put a dead bird on his plate. It's an old childhood memory of pouring boiling hot water onto a hen I think it was. The smell was gaggy, he says. So there's a lot of other things to eat if he doesn't like fowl. And I treat myself to turkey and dressing, or duck, or some other favorite chicken dinner whenever we go out to eat. Works out just fine. But the ham today was a hickory smoked ham from Kentucky that was out of this world.

There will be plenty left over for ham and eggs, and of course there will be plenty for our New Years feast which, also a southern tradition, is to have Black Eyed Peas on New Years. The legend is that if you start out the year with a humble meal, your new year will go well for you. I actually believe that all our gifts are from God's gracious providence, but I cook the peas anyway. And it's always good to be humble too.

God bless you all,
Quint and Jane

December 24, 2012

With all the fun I was having yesterday skipping my way through videos, I neglected to put a link to the original Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simione Chorus. So if you're a Little Drummer fan enjoy. But first, here's the toned down Mannheim Steamroller's version of the drummer boy:

And back to the Harry Simeone Chorus: Enjoy to your little heart's content. It's as beautiful as it ever was.

If you enjoy Neil Diamond, as we do, here's his rendition:

This is a link to the recording from the Johnny Cash Show:

December 23, 2012

Today was Lessons and Carols at church this morning. It's a special service that we've enjoyed every year. Christmas Story is read from the Bible and we head all our favorite Christmas Hymns sung by some very talented people in our congregation -- even sing some carols ourselves.

I have a beautiful song and one of my favorite Christmas carols sung by a 7 year old: She is awesome!

Another beautiful song by a 7 year old -- Rhema Marvanne -- singing Hallelujah. 

Mary, Did You Know?
from Big Apple Futon reminds us of who Jesus is and why He came to earth in the first place:

He Came is a little more than a minute and a half that tells the Christmas story in words and music from Thrve Media. Beautifully done!

This isn't our church, but I just love to watch 2 and 3-year olds presenting the Christmas Pageant. One little boy keeps breaking loose and going off script to run over to his daddy -- no matter how many times he's brought back to the fold. And Mary takes off with the Baby Jesus a couple of times. It's absolutely precious. Brings a little humor to the day, don't you think?

Have you ever been in a food court in a shopping mall and had a "flash mob" start singing? Neither have I but just watch this! The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Wouldn't that be a treat beyond your wildest dreams? I'll bet my last ten dollars that this is not an amateur choir.

This has nothing to do with Christmas but the Cumberland Oratio surrounded a soldier on Father's Day and sang America. He was just walking through the mall, but what a wonderful tribute to a special army guy!

And from Antwerp, we can see how they do flash mobs in Belgium:

Another flash mob dancing up a storm in Singapore:

Coming back to Christmas, here's Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd singing Mary, Did You Know?

A snare drum ensemble presents Little Drummer Boy: It's totally awesome!

December 22, 2012

With a sense of humor, I watch the annual Christmas Goat in the little town of Gavle, Sweden. Every year since 1966, the Swedes in the little town of Galve have built this really humongous goat. Even put a fence around it to discourage the favorite activity of people in the area -- that of burning the goat down. It's been an ongoing tradition to see if anyone can burn the goat down. Some fear that if the Christmas goat isn't burned down, then all the Christmas presents will go to Finland. This year we have a video of the goat burning down

Watch this: You'll probably have to do a cut and paste of this link to get the link to open. The goat is very, very big!
There - now doesn't that sound like Merry Christmas to you? Merry Christmas to all our Scandinavian friends this fine bright sunny day here in Middle Illinois.

Hint: Maybe you could build a bigger fence. Think that might work? Probably not. The pyromaniac would just bring a taller ladder. I do think the person who shot the goat with a flaming arrow was a bit inventive.

Oh, this is so funny! At least I think so. Thanks Mark for sending:

It was Saturday morning as Jake, an avid hunter, woke up raring to go bag the first
deer of the season.

He walks down to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and to his surprise he finds
his wife, Alice, sitting there, fully dressed in camouflage.

Jake asks her, "What are you up to?"

Alice smiles, "I'm going hunting with you!"

Jake, though he had many reservations about this, reluctantly decides to take her

Three hours later they arrive at a game preserve just outside of San Marcos, Texas.

Jake sets his lovely wife safely up in the tree stand and tells her, "If you see a
deer, take careful aim on it and I'll come running back as soon as I hear the shot."

Jake walks away with a smile on his face knowing that Alice couldn't bag an elephant
- much less a deer.

Not 10 minutes pass when he is startled as he hears an array of gunshots.

Quickly, Jake starts running back. As Jake gets closer to her stand, he hears Alice
screaming, get the #$%^ away from my deer!"

Confused and frightened, Jake races faster towards his screaming wife.

And again he hears her yell, "Get the #$%^ away from my deer!" \ followed by another
volley of gunfire!

Now within sight of where he had left his wife, Jake is
surprised to see a Texas game warden with his hands high in the air. The game
warden, obviously distraught, yelled, "Okay, lady! You can have your #$%^ deer, just
let me get my saddle off it!" 

Oh, man, what a trooper! Bob Welsh. Great video

All police officers and troopers have stories to tell, and Trooper Bob is no exception. So heartwarming. The world is a better place because people like Trooper Bob are in it.

And apparently, watching news bloopers are everybody's favorite:
Some are incredibly hilarious!

In a tug of war between a cat and a snake, which one do you think would win? -- This cat looks a lot like daughter Teri and her husband Rick's Maine Coon -- Rocky Lee. Rockly Lee is the most ferocious cat ever to draw breath. When Rick and Teri go out for a walk and leave Rocky at home, he somehow gets out of the house and follows them down the street. They know he's behind them and when they turn to look, he darts behind a little tree -- sideways -- with much of him sticking out on either side of the tree. Then when they turn to continue their walk, he stealthily sneaks back into his walk. It's so funny to watch Rocky. I could swear that he's the cat in the above video.


December 19, 2012

It always seems like Christmas gets here especially fast when there are only three Advent services. Today was the last one. This time next week, Christmas 2012 will be just a memory. We put our tree up this year. Didn't last year or the year before. We just didn't have the energy in the aftermath of chemo for both of us followed by radiation for me. We're well on the mend now and in remission from all that stuff. We thank God every day for the miracle of modern oncology and so glad that we have an oncology center here in town. I met a lot of people who drove 70 to 90 miles just to come for radiation every day. The "session" only lasted about 15 minutes so it was quite a sacrifice for them. We thanked God that the oncology center was only 3 minutes from our door.

I found this really exciting video this evening. It's a guy going down a mountain on I have no idea what. It looks like it could be a little skateboard type of car that fits on a rail of some sort. It would be one thrill of a ride to actually be on it, but it's still awesome going with the rider from his helmet camera: Prepare to be amazed!

I found this hilarious Snowman on a sidewalk scaring people as they walk by: Kindly note that people remembered who God is and who Jesus is. The reactions of the passersby is really funny.

December 18, 2012

People take risks unnecessarily. Then they expect to be rescued. Here's a good example of a helicopter pilot making a rescue on top of a rock pillar.

There are so many things that could have gone wrong with that rescue. Side winds. Thermal updrafts that were hampering the pilot's efforts to set the helicopter down, etc. etc. etc.

Do you think hikers have a right to expect someone else to put his/her life at risk to make these kinds of rescues? Bravo to the pilot but I hope the Search and Rescue Department of the Utah State Troopers charged a gadzillion dollars to the hikers who went up there to play on a rock top that day.

Did you ever wonder how those trains get through heavy snowfall in the northern climes? Well, here's a train clearing the tracks of that white stuff: Amazing! Absolutely amazing. The plow is taller than the train.

Okay, when it's really really windy out there on the highways, slow down. Take a look at this truck trying to drive through some high winds and look at the trees on the side of the road. They don't look like they're blowing all that much, do they? I know when it's a little breezy on our trips, Quint and I try to guess what the wind speed is. Not that we know for sure, but it increases our mindfulness. Those big rigs are like driving a billboard, wouldn't you say? I was wondering what the second truck was going to do since it looked like he might try to pass the first truck. But prudence won out on that one.

What do you think one tiny little drop of snake venom could do to the blood in your body? Here's the answer if it's a Russell's Viper: Good grief! But you can see the medical implications for people whose blood won't clot and they just bleed and bleed until they run out of blood!

December 17, 2012

This is an unbelievable video! It's supposed to be the largest calving ever of an iceberg. The actual event lasted 75 minutes.

Reminds me of how very tiny we are as human beings and how absolutely magnamimous God is. You do believe that He can move mountains, don't you?

And you can tell I'm kind of getting used to the idea that winter is coming and I'm going to have to learn to drive on ice and snow all over again:

But my favorite is this little guy who is 6 years old and autistic, playing the piano like no other!

December 16, 2012

It's no secret that I brake for children - especially children who overcome all sorts of odds to do something wonderful in their lives.

You are just not going to believe what children who live in a slum in Paraguay do with some of the trash that they find. They make musical instruments! And play them very well too. Here's the link:

They call themselves the fillharmonic.

On another note, prayers continue for the children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and the families and friends who loved them dearly.

It's warmed up here in Central Illinois for a few days at least. It's now 53 degrees. A bit unseasonal for mid-December but I'm glad. After the longest day of the year, which is December 21, the countdown for me begins for Groundhogs Day, which is the first day of Spring in my heart. I'm told that this is the end of the Mayan calendar and there's this big debate about it possibly being the end of the world. But for crying out loud, it's the end of the Mayan calendar. They didn't make any more calendars because they were getting killed off by the Conquistadors and the Aztecs. So far, the Aztecs haven't figured out how to make a Mayan long count calendar yet. But then, Julius Caesar also made a calendar didn't he? So what's all the bother about?

If the world ends on December 21, I guess I won't have to worry about Groundhog's Day because I'll be in heaven with Jesus. No need for a calendar then, because it will be living in eternity.


December 15, 2012

Oh geez, you may wonder where in the world I've been for the past couple of weeks.

And I have to tell you that I don't remember having readers clock on from Kazakhstan or Croatia of Macau and a long time from Austria. Welcome, welcome!

In the first place, I found a really funny -- absolutely hilarious -- video to a link to the world's worst Christmas decorations.

I think my favorite is Santa being naughty. If you are reading this and wondering what Santa could possibly be doing that's naughty, you'll just have to look to find out. It's too funny for words.
At least much
I volunteered to help with a program that's dedicated to mildly handicapped people this morning. It was a Happy Birthday Jesus party. Some of the people were more handicapped than others. But everybody had a good time and ate a lot of cookies, drank a lot of punch and watched a nativity skit put on by some high functioning members of the "school." It was wonderful. And I'm glad to see these kinds of programs being successfully offered up through church congregations.

Quint is busy being my favorite Christmas elf making the world's best chocolate fudge for our friends and loved ones. And I have figured out a recipe for a hot sauce that is to die for. I like a lot of heat on my food and finally made one up that I dearly love. It's first ingredient is vinegar, followed by tomato ketsup. The rest is in the spices. Good stuff. At least, much to my liking.

And juxtoposed to that story of the horrible massacre in Connecticut was another story about 22 children stabbed in China. Funny, though, no one is trying to outlaw knives in China, where we're trying to outlaw guns again in the U.S. How about this? It's just plain sinful to kill innocents no matter what your weapon is.


November 28, 2012

Hard to believe that 2012 is rapidly drawing to a close. And then there goes that first month of the year when I really have to consciously write 2013.

One year I pre-dated the year on about 15 checks just to be sure. The bank we had actually returned checks that had the previous year on it as "stale dated." We don't write that many checks anymore but it's still handy to have the year predated on the handwritten checks just to be sure.

I have been fiddling around with my favorite barbecue sauce recipe for some time. I've tried to get as close as I can to the Starnes recipe in Paducah, Kentucky. Starnes is one of those places from high school that I remember fondly. And every trip to Paducah to visit friends includes a trip to Starnes for an open pit treat.

The recipe is different from all that stuff you get at the supermarket. In the first place, the main ingredient is vinegar; the second ingredient is tomator ketsup. So I started with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup ketsup. The rest is spices. We like a smoky sauce, so God invented liquid smoke for us. And we also like a lot of heat so in goes the cayenne. Add a pinch or two of onion powder and garlic powder and it's good to go.

It is delicious. And it will tide me over until we get back to Paducah. The recipe above fits nicely in the Starnes 10 oz. container.

November 25, 2012

Wow! Here's a link to an awesome site that shows an animation of the phases of the moon through the year 2013.

I have never seen the moon wobbling on its axis before. In fact, I didn't even know that happened.

OK folks. Here's the recipe for what is supposed to be a Twinkie filling. I'm sure it has some changes to the real deal. Just can't imagine the twinkie filling not being proprietary information. But I will say that it tastes a lot like the real thing.

I made it last night and made sandwich cookies with it. Then I stored the unused part in a glass canning jar. I expected it to be rock solid when we got home from church today but it wasn't. In fact, it was still very spreadable without having to warm up to room temperature at all. And easy? Oh my goodness. You really can't miss with this recipe. This would be a good recipe to frost a cake with and then put coconut on it. Yummy.


2 tsp very hot water
rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
7 oz. jar of mashmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the salt in with the hot water. Stir really well until the salt is dissolved. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature.

In a mixer bowl, mix marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well until it's fluffly. Then add the salt mixture and mix it in really good.

That's it.

Awwww - people, people, people! About those PIN numbers. Want to know what the most popular PIN number is -- out of about 3.4 million? Ready for this: 1234. Also in the top ten is 4321. Now that takes a lot of imagination. No wonder people have their goodies stolen from credit cards to debit cards. Wouldn't you think that if there was anything of value in your checking account -- anything at all -- that you could do better than 1234? You probably went all the way through school and couldn't come up with a better PIN number than that, could you? Couldn't you use your grandmother's birthday or something just as easy to remember that a thief or hacker would not be likely to guess?

But then, 1111 is also popular. More popular than 2222, actually.

November 24, 2012

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We spent turkey day with a kind of adopted family from church and had a wonderful day. The food was delicious and the conversations that went way into the afternoon were also great.

But did you ever wonder what cats might be thankful for? Here's a link from Furball Productions that has some furry clues: -- Great music too. Pachelbel's Canon in D.

November 15, 2012

Quint dug up all the canna lily bulbs this afternoon. He dusted them off and stored them in a plastic bag in the basement. They'll get a nice winter's nap. Then I went next door to tell the new neighbor that she needs to dig up the canna lily bulbs that I gave her last summer. They didn't bloom that robustly this summer but I'm just thankful that the drought didn't get them. I did start out the summer watering the outdoor flowers but then decided that the city water supply was more important than flowers. I mean, if our house caught on fire, I sure wouldn't want the fire department to run out of water.

It was in the high 20s today. That's a sure frost. My roses haven't given up though.

I made another batch of three dozen cookies this evening. These were gingerbread cookies. So far, I have 6 dozen cookies of the 70 dozen that I will need for church festivities. I'm hopeful that some of the other women at church will pitch in and help out. We're sending out 24 "care packages" to our college students, military folks from the congregation and shut-ins. That's a lot of cookies.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a chocolate cake cookie recipe and put peanut butter chips in it. That ought to be just dandy. I really like the convenience of using cake mixes to make cookies out of. If you don't have the recipe for using a cake mix and want it, drop me an email at and be sure to put "cake cookie recipe" in the subject line so I'll be sure to open your email.

I got a note from Irma in Tulsa. She says she uses the cake mixes all the time too. Heck, I can get an 18-1/2 ounce cake mix at Save-A-Lot or Aldi for about a buck. Hard to beat the convenience too.

I even made a "passable" macaroon with a white cake mix and about 1/4 tsp. of orange extract. Then I kneaded in some coconut before I put the cookies in the oven.

I like to roll the drop cookies up into a little ball. Kind of like making a dough ball. Then the cookies are all nice and round. Cookies with jagged edges don't taste as good, you know.

I have been working on getting a lot of clutter out of my office at home. One of these days I want to delve into another Bible Study I've heard rummaging around in my head. It will be about the Book of Daniel. He's one of my favorite Old Testament guys.

Well, Quint just called me. He's on his way from a Lutheran Brotherhood meeting at church and I promised I'd pour the milk. We drink our milk every night. The tryptophan helps us get to sleep. It's the same chemical that's in turkey, in case you wondered why eating a big Thanksgiving dinner makes you sleepy. Then we go to bed and open up the windows. Good to let fresh air in even if it's chilly. But then, we turn the electric blanket on and let it warm up the bed before we dive in for a good night's sleep. Fortunately Quint and I both enjoy a cool bedroom. It's an important compatibility area. Couples need to think about those little preferences when they're courting.

And that's about it for today.

November 13, 2012

We had a hard freeze this morning. Finally got my rose bush that was blooming its little heart out until yesterday. The roses that are closer to the house and more protected will last a bit longer until it drops down into the low 20s.

Well, after all, it's November. What can I expect here in central Illinois.

Quint is at church this evening. Since he went off the church council last year, he joins the Nominating Committee to finalize a slate of candidates for the election later this month.

When I look at the new countries that have added readers since I last updated the list, I notice that a lot of the countries are my darling niece Karen's favorite places to junket in Europe. So, Karen, Aunt Jane sends you lots of love and I hope you are enjoying yourself and that you and Alex are going to be able to get back to Germany around the Christmas season. Wish Uncle Quint and I could join you, but we're not going anywhere for a while.

We have been going back to the gym though. We used to walk a sassy three miles before cancer bogged us down a couple of year ago. So we started back a couple of months ago. Forget the three miles. That was far too ambitious. I worked my way up to a half mile. No kidding. It took me about three weeks before I could go a full mile on the treadmill. I can go a mile and a half now and still gaining on my old record. Then there were those strength training machines. Our doctor suggested only four that he said would be good for us. The rest would be too strenuous for now.

Exercise is good for us. And we feel so much better coming out of the gym. We're spoiled. Our gym has individual TV sets on each treadmill. How awesome is that? And since Quint and I both are newsies, we get a full dose of the news while we walk.

November 2, 2012

Hurricanes certainly have a way of messing things up! Take a look at this link and see just how the damage went:

Some of you may remember Paul Harvey. I really miss his radio voice, and his astute observations about life and what's going on around us. Here's a link to one example that my good friend Shirley sent me:

I found a new vocalist today while I was on my way to looking something else up. His name is Wintley Phipps. Here's a link to him singing It Is Well With My Soul:

October 31, 2012

Do crashing waves interest you? Here's a short video of Lake Michigan crashing against a sea wall. Wow!

And today marks the 7th year after my mother's death. Rest in peace, Mom! Miss you.


October 25, 2012

Beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner:

Riverdance has always held a fascination for me. First of all, I can't even dream that I'd ever be able to dance like this. And secondly, Michael Flatley has the fastest feet in the world. He grew up on the south side of Chicago, I'm told. Then when he got really good at Irish dancing, he went to Dublin and taught Irish dancing there. Watch this stunning and absolutely amazine finale of Riverdance:

Changing the subject, I have enjoyed my rest for quite some time now.

I mentioned that Quint and I have headed back to the gym for daily workouts. Today I walked 1-1/2 miles. Quint walked 1 mile, then went off to do some strength training. Mind you, I'm only walkng at the rate of 2.1 miles an hour but I'll get back up to the three miles a day that we used to walk when we hoofed our way around a lake in the middle of our condominium complex up north. The gym is fine. I work out on that machine where I have to pull something down, then send it back up. It kind of feels like traction when it stretches me to go back up.

Then I do some rowing. And some other machine where I have to stretch way back. It feels wonderful on my spine.

One other machine is good for the thigh muscles. It has helped tremendously because one of the medications I take really makes my thigh muscles ache to high heaven. I think it's spelled Anasterzole. It inhibits the manufacture of estrogen in my body. And since the breast cancer cells were Estrogen positive, this keeps me from running the risk of the breast cancer returning. But oh the aching muscles. It's getting better with this machine workout and the walking.

Quint's lymphocitic leukemia also continues in remission. He did have surgery this summer, though, for a skin cancer eruption on his face. Hopefully he's done with that.

At least that's our prayer.

And speaking of praying, if you and your partner do not join hands every day and go to the Lord in prayer for all the things you want to talk to Jesus about, it's time you started. For Quint and me, it's a perfect way to start our day. We each have a list of things to pray about and we pray out loud. It's absolutely profound and let me tell you, if you have any doubts whatsoever that God and His Son Jesus answers prayer, you are in for one big surprise. They are here with us, in the same room, listening intently as we pray for all the people we care about, and situations that sometimes nag us -- like interpersonal relationships at work where haughty, insecure people make ridiculous demands on me. Quint and I pray that God will keep a hedge of protection around me and it works. Believe me, it works.

And one of my all-time favorites is Susan Boyle singing I Had a Dream from Les Miserables.

Here's the Celtic Women singing You Raise Me Up. That's sent out to each and every one of you if you think you don't matter anymore. If you think you're going through trials and tribulations all by yourself. Just remember, you're never alone. He is always nearby, wanting you to reach out to touch Him. This life is not for the chicken-hearted, but you need big help too.

Blessings to all of you. -- Jane

October 11, 2012

There was a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on October 4-5 that I believe I posted a link to. Now we have a sky photo looking down on earth at the northern lights "floating" across Canadian nightscape. Also noted are the little points of light in the United States that are cities peppered here and there. And Lake Michigan is clearly visible, with Chicago hogging lots of photons on its shore. Check it out:

Thank you, cousin Mark, for the link to an incredible flight over America. Get a chance to look at some of our nation's monuments up close and person from a small plane:

October 2, 2012

This is an absolutely amazing video of a young women who rescued an 84 year old lady who ended up in the ocean: And the rescue happened with split second timing before the car dropped out of sight!

October 1, 2012

May I be the first person to welcome you to Autumn, if you haven't been welcomed before. And to all our readers down under, that would be a welcome to Spring!

I found this amazing video showing some very talented Spanish flyers harvesting water and flying over a forest fire to dump their big loads of water:


September 30, 2012

Here’s the link to the fantastic baseball play where the hit knocked the pitcher’s glove off but he caught the glove and then the ball:

September 17, 2012

Unbelievable photo of a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the sun: Totally awesome -- and listen to this: our cute little sun is going to be particularly busy for the next couple of years!

September 21, 2012

Quint and I celebrated 34 years of marriage yesterday. After I got home from the Effingham/Shelby Zone Fall Rally for church. We had some 75 people in attendance. Percentage-wise it could have been a lot more, but I am thankful for the ladies and pastors who came to be spiritually uplifted by the fantastic devotions by Pastor Gillet, Pastor Becker and a powerpoint presentation by Pastor Janssen, who was in the hospital. We all need times when we can isolate ourselves fromt he world and go into a retreat of spiritual calm and rejuvenate our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a great day that was hosted by the Ladies Aids from St.. John and Grace Lutheran in Dieterich. Officiants at Holy Communion were Pastors Gillet and Fortkamp.

Changing the subject, here is a link to a NASA video that shows some giant eruptions, or explosions, on our sun:

Amazing! I am always awestruck by the raw power of the sun. I don't know how long it takes for the plasmastic outbursts to reach earth but I'll just bet it's sooner than later. They are so ferocious.

September 11, 2012

Never forget what happened on 9/11! Prayers lifted for all who lost their loved ones, and for those who died so suddenly.

Here's a time lapse photograph of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center:

Feel like taking a little respite going along I-70 in Utah through the San Rafael Swell? Oh my, my, my! Beautiful scenery. At one point, we are reminded that this is the longest stretch of interstate that exists without services.

And the Virgin River Gorge along I-15 in Arizona is totally awesome!

If you want some vista visuals: I really don't feel comfortable driving in the mountains -- unlike Quint who grew up in Colorado. "Aw, shucks, it's nothing," he'd say. Then when he gets down to sea level, talks about how jittery it was for him. That's when I felt like clobbering him. But didn't.

This is purported to be the most dangerous jeep trail in Telluride, Colorado: I'll tell you one thing: I wouldn't want to walk down that trail. In the first place, it's not even paved. Just a lot of shifting rocks. And they call that a road? I don't think so.

This one comes under the heading of "There's not enough money in the world ..."

Goodness gracious -- people do this for fun and excitement. I mean, it's not like they have to deliver medicine or something like the Iditarod to commemorate the run from Anchorage to Nome to re-enact the run made decades ago when children were dying in Nome of typhoid fever and the mushers took off from Anchorage with medicine for them. Oh no. These guys are just having an adventure. Question is, are they testing the torment on themselves or their jeepies?

And just in case you were thinking they never roll these things over:

September 10, 2012

Here's a video of a four year old in Thailand playing the violin. Actually the violinist has to be around 9 or 10 now but this was the first expo of this talent: Well done!

Beautiful video of "Somewhere My Love" --

This guy goes into his bank to get an increase in his debt limit:

September 9, 2012

Here's a link to the most watched video of the 9/11 tragedy:

Funny music video of Wal-Mart shoppers:

Ever heard of a magician of Piff the Magic Dragon? Well, watch this funny man:

Here's another one:

Piff with bunnies:

September 6, 2012

We got really good news from the surgeon. He took one look at Quint's face and said the cause was using a razor, not an electric one. So off we went to Kohls to buy an electric razor. And sure enough, the inflammation disappeared and what felt like a tumor under the skin was not a malignant growth at all. It was just a bump from the inflammation. Whew!

We've been getting much needed rain in Middle Illinois. Now the grass is growing like crazy and my roses have started blooming again. Beautiful little creatures that they are.

I'm going to share some links to some videos that I find much to my liking. Hope you enjoy them too.

Here are the top ten videos of babies -- hint: laughter is so contagious twins dancing to Dad’s guitar

We love to watch little children - and the younger the better.

August 30, 2012

It looks like another skin cancer is on Quint's face. Fortunately, we have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning that was supposed to be the final post-op checkup. That will most likely change with this new event. Stay tuned and please keep Quint in your prayers.

I did want to share this link with all of you who love to watch children. These are twins who take advantage of the fact that Mom had just emptied out the refrigerator. It looks like she had given it a pretty good cleaning out but first the twins decided to dance in it a little bit:

August 6, 2012

We had some rain. Big deal -- nearly an inch. It was enough to revive the greenery left in the grass in the front yard. Enough for Quint to mow this morning. And the Red Bud that I planted a few years ago as a memorial to my mom when she died is holding up rather nicely. I have been letting the water trickle ever so slightly out of the hose for about a half hour. It was enough to get the little tree through the worst of the 100+ temperatures. Problem is, there's this lush carpet of green grass in a circle underneath the Red Bud. The rest of the yard is just in little patches of green here and there. I think Quint just wanted it all to be the same height.

Hope all of you are surviving the drought. We've heard from the newsies that if the drought continues, there's a strong possibility that we'll lose about 20% of our trees. Don't even want to contemplate that.

We pray that all of you are weathering the drought okay. It's a disaster, for sure, and our hearts go out to you.

Remember that you are responsible to God first. What if you woke up today and the only thing in your life was what you thanked God for yesterday?

Great weather map comes from friends John and Sherre in Wichita: --  All you have to do is put your cursor over one of the dots or crosses on the map and you'll get the weather for that location. to find location of speed traps across the United States

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Friday, August 31, 2007


We welcome our reader in the Philippines who joins us this morning. Glad to have you with us.

Quint is upstairs waiting for the gravel man to bring his big dump truck with 5 tons of gravel for the driveway. That ought to keep us busy for today, tomorrow and the rest of next week.

Oh, life comes at us in stages. We have to move a few tools -- like rakes, shovels, yard brooms, etc. -- that are standing at attention against the carport wall. Once they're moved out of the way, then we can put the gravel down in the carport.

In order to really be efficient about it, I need to go ahead and put the springloaded hooks onto the walls in the storage closet at the end of the carport. And in order to do that, I need to move the lawnmower out, and Quint's wheelbarrow, and my little red wagon that has a bag of dirt and a bag of mulch in it. They need to come out of the closet so that I can walk around in there with my handy dandy little Dremmel that I use to make pilot holes, and my cordless Black & Decker super screwdriver.

After all that, I'll be able to hang up the tools. I bought a dozen of the springloaded things. That ought to do it. I've been waiting for a day when it wasn't 110 degrees in the closet. I'm not kidding. It's been too hot to work in there.

Everyone knows that ladies aren't supposed to -- well, you know -- perspire.

It's only 60 degrees now. So it will be a good time to start hanging things up. That is, after I finish painting the patio furniture.



Perfectionism is a cognitive distortion.

In the real world, it doesn't exist.

In a world of magical thinking, perfectionism is a much sought after goal. It ranks right up there with the princess being rescued by the dragon slaying prince and they ride off to his castle where they get married and live happily ever after.

That's perfectionism. Walt Disney made millions and millions just by repeating this simple, magical plot to so many of his stories. And through these stories came a serious flaw in thinking because there is no Prince Charming. He lives, with his dragons, within our imaginations.

Most of us can survive the reality check that puts magical thinking back in the little jewelry box that has the dancing ballerina. She stops dancing when you close the lid, right?

So where does all this need for perfectionism come from?

Probably from different places for different people. If you grew up in a family where it was not safe to be flawed, then you're going to strive to be perfect. Being perfect was the expectation that you picked out as you were growing up.

Maybe you weren't really expected to be perfect, but you may have thought that was the expectation. And it's possible that you packed that mindset into your mental tools that you brought into adulthood.

Well, I have a liberating thought for you. Anywhere along the way and certainly by the time you cross the threshold into adulthood, you can throw that old thought away. The thought of perfectionism, that is. It will not serve you well. Ever.

All you can ever hope for is to be the best you can be. Accept the very real fact that your psyche has little chinks in it. And that's okay. Those little chinks were earned from the lumps you took on the hard road of life.

During one of my rest breaks the other day, I was watching a design show. One of the designers had made a really nice bench for a newly redone room. Then he came onto the set with a chain which was wrapped around his hand. When asked what the chain was for, he said, "I'm going to put some stress marks in this bench so it will fit in with the antique decor." Then he started beating up on this poor little bench.

To my way of thinking, he ruined a good little bench. But he wanted the look of "distressed" wood. Huh? I think I missed something. I guess because everything we had in our house when I was growing up was old hand-me-down pieces of distressed furniture. I longed for the day when I could grow up and have smooth wood and unstressed furniture. I do have a few antiques that have been handed down to me, but they are pieces that have been cherished and well cared for.

But that's as far as the analogy to human imperfections and furniture imperfections go. In real life, imperfections with my peeps don't mean a loss of love.

Quite the contrary, acceptance and forgiveness undo any preoccupation with perfection.

And maybe that's the root where perfectionism comes from. Just maybe, we need to feel like people who love us will love us anyway. Even when they realize that we are less than perfect.


Deuteronomy 5:1-33

Keep this homework thought in mind as you read verses 29 and 33: What do you read about the heart of our loving God?

Once again, Moses has gathered all the children of Israel around him. It was speech time, for sure. There were no PA systems -- no jumbotrons so everybody could get a good view -- it was Moses and God and the Israelites.

But somehow, through the powers of God himself, the voice of Moses could be heard by everybody who was standing around him. And they were all there. 

Wouldn't every pastor alive today just love to have 100% of their members sitting in the pews every Sunday morning?! You bet they would. And wouldn't it be great if people everywhere just couldn't wait to get in the door to hear more about God's love and acceptance and forgiveness? 

It was time for Moses to remind the children of Israel that the Ten Commandments were a covenant between them and God. This covenant wasn't between their forefathers and God but between them and God.

And the only reason God got in the middle of the children of Israel and God was because they kind of got freaked out with that burning bush and the big booming voice that was talking to them from the bush. That was when Moses got into the picture between them and God at Mount Horeb, otherwise known as Mount Sinai.

As if Moses, who was only human, could stop anything that God, who was and still is almighty, intended to do to the Israelites.

In this chapter, we have the entire restatement of the Ten Commandments. Just in case any of the details had slipped their minds.

Then a thought occurred to the Israelites. It goes all the way back to the stories their ancestors had handed down. That story was that if anyone even looked at God -- as if anyone could see him -- they would surely die.

Well, this burning bush scared them. Really scared them. Flames were shooting out of this bush all the way up to heaven. They knew that it was God speaking from the bush. Would that possibly mean that if they heard God they would die too?

I mean, what form did God have to take for certain death to come? Sure, they were scared all right. Can't you just hear them murmuring, "Does this mean we're going to die?"

At the end of verse 24 and through verse 27, they said to Moses, Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him. But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice the Lord our God any longer. For what mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.

Well, God heard them. God was listening to them. And don't think for one minute that this same God does not hear every word you say. Hopefully, what you say will be pleasing to God, just as the Israelites. But God gets very unhappy when he hears what people say sometimes too.

In the case of the Israelites, they finally got it. And God liked that. A lot. 

So he tells Moses to go on down there -- to the foot of the mountain and tell the Israelites to go on back to their tents, then come back because I have a few things I want you to write down. Kind of like taking notes so you get the exact quotes right. Just so there's no what I mean.

Moses brought this message from God to the Israelites, Walk in the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may life and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Wow! And there you have it. The secret of life from God himself.

In a more contemporary language, he could have said, "Just behave yourself. These are the rules. Follow them. If you follow the rules you'll live long and you'll live well."

How hard can that be? There are only ten rules. But they are rules, not suggestions.


JUST SO YOU KNOW -- The last of the Korean hostages have left the country. Afghanisan, that is. Except for the ones who, unfortunately, were killed, all nineteen surviving hostages have been accounted for and are headed home.

The Taliban had killed two male hostages and released two women in the early days of the hostage-taking.

read more at:



According to Forbes, it's Germany's Chancellor Angele Merkel.

Not HerMostWonderfullyRoyalSelf, Nancy Pelosi? Nah. Pelosi came in at No. 26, just behind HerMostSmartestWonderfulSelf, Hillary Clinton. Hillary was No. 25.

Condi Rice got bumped to fourth place. She was second last year, but the Vice Premier of China, Wu Yi, got her spot, and then there was that guy from Singapore, Ho Ching, who came in at No. 3. Ching is the head of Temasek Holdings. I'll get he's rich too.

Hey, Queen Elizabeth came in at No. 23. She even beat out Hillary.

Read the whole Forbes list at:



Remember her? She was one of Charles Manson's "family." She stabbed Rosemary LaBiana 14-16 times.

Because Manson told her to.

She wasn't sent out the night before on the "stab Sharon Tate" assignment though.

In 1971 she got the death penalty but it was changed to life imprisonment the following year when California abolished the death penalty.

Manson, who is 72 years old, was denied parole (again) last May.

Hopefully none of them will ever see life without a fence between them and us. Even if Van Houten was a cute little cheerleader. Looks can be deceiving, can't they.

Read the entire Reuters article at:


8:45 am          Comments

Thursday, August 30, 2007


First of all, a cheery good morning to our wonderful friends in Wisconsin -- Joyce and Rich. And we pray for safe travels for you in your journal to Colorado. We also send a really big hi across the pond to our readers in Germany who are logged on right now, as we speak.

We had rain -- finally -- yesterday. Though Quint reports it was only 0.3", the thirst grass really enjoyed their heavenly slurpees.

We saw two deer at the back of the property yesterday. My good neighbor Anna called me and said, "Go look out back. You've got two deer in your yard." She had a clear view of them from her kitchen window when she was washing dishes. Her house is around the corner from our house but our back yards abut on the perpendicular, if you know what I mean.

And sure enough, there they were. I got some good photos. So today we're going over to Rural King and buy a salt lick to enhance their dining pleasures.

We don't have a really ambitious day planned today. I'm going to be painting the patio furniture (still). Will definitely get the second coat on the table and get it back onto the patio when it's dry. And one chair is ready for its second coat. Then it's just the three other chairs to get both coats on.

Then we'll rest up for the gravel delivery tomorrow. Maybe go get the movie we wanted to see the other day, "Remember the Titans." 

I actually found some watermelon flavored Kool-Aid so maybe I'll make a big pitcher of watermelon flavored 7-Up later. Then we'll just sit in the shade and talk about how much we like retirement. Still.



The culprit is salmonella. It's from California. And it's salmonella, not E-coli.

Salmonella was named after the doctor who discovered it -- Dr. Daniel Salmon. It's a bacteria. There are three different varieties in a subspecies of Salmonella enterica.

The first type of salmonella bacterium is "serovar Typhi." This is the culprit that causes typhoid fever. It's not common in the United States. It can only infect humans and comes from contaminated water. Don't drink the bad water and don't wash your fruits and vegetables with it either. Boiling is a good way to get rid of salmonella. Because it's a bacteria, it won't survive boiling.

The second kind of salmonella is "servovar Typhimurium." This one causes a typhoid like disease in mice and it can produce a discomfort like the Typhi type, but not as severe. 

The third salmonella that we concern ourselves with is "survovar Enteritidis." This is probably the most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. It infects chickens and gets passes on to humans.

So what can you do to make sure you don't get a good dose of salmonella? Two things right off the bat: wash your hands with soap and water. Before, during and after cooking food. And keep your cutting board clean too.

I immediately rinse my cutting board with hot running water from the sink right after I cut anything up. Then I wash it with hot, soapy water. If I've been cutting meats, I also get out the salt shaker and sprinkle salt on the side that had been used for cutting meat. I let the salt sit on the cutting board for a bit. Because I didn't dry the cutting board after running the hot water on it, the salt makes a brine that deters bacterial growth. Then the cutting board gets another soap and water bath before it gets put away.

Too much trouble? Not really. Better to be safe than sorry.

Read more about salmonella at:

Fortunately, I don't have any spinach from my last shopping excursion. And another fortunate thing is that about 90% of the bagged spinach was halted before it even got out the door.

But just in case you do have some spinach in your house, you can check out lot numbers at:



My name's not Oprah and ordinarily I do not recommend books to read. There are a number of reasons why I don't, but that's another story.

Today, however, I'm going to tell you about a book that every parent should have. It you have no other book in your home besides your family Bible and a good cookbook, this book is the one to add.

It's called What Kids Need to Succeed. It's available on line from I believe it still costs $5.99, plus shipping, handling, taxes, etc.

It's written by Peter L. Benson, Judy Galbraith and Pamela Espeland. It's based on a gigantic piece of research and covers kiddos from 6th grade through 12th. 

These forty assets are nested within 8 topical areas that include:

1.) Support, including family support, other adult relationships and a caring school climate.

2.) Empowerment, including community that values young people and service to others.

3.) Boundaries and Expectations, including neighborhood boundaries and positive peer influences.

4.) Constructive use of time.

5.) Commitment to learning, including school engagement and reading for pleasure.

6.) Positive values, including equality and social justice, and restraint.

7.) Social competency, including planning and decision making, cultural competence, and resistance skills.

8.) Positive identity, including a sense of purpose, and a positive view of the future.

These forty assets are sibdivided into internal assets and external assets. 

But this is not just a learning book -- it has very specific things that parents can do in the home to grow these assets within their children. There are also things that schools, churches and communities can do to increase childrens' assets.

In each of the 40 sub-categories! 

The authors also share with you what the responses were from the kiddos to research statements. One such statement was "In my family, people care about me."

Or, "In my school, rules are administered fairly."

Or "my family has good boundaries."

The authors also tie the responses to school behaviors. That is, the more assets children have, the less likely they are to engage in high risk behaviors such as drinking and drugging, sexual activities, and illegal activities.

Conversely, the more assets a child has the better they do in school, at home and in their communities.

What struck me when I was going through the book was the low responses that the children gave for the categories. It seems that there's a growing number of kids out there who believe they are adrift at sea without role models, without good family boundaries, and adults who do not care about them -- either at home, at school or at church.

This research is not in language that requires a doctorate in psychology to be able to read it and understand it. Rather, the answers are from children who are telling us what's gone wrong, and what's working.

Listen to the children.


Deuteronomy 4:1-49

In today's homework assignment, we are supposed to identify what we can do better in proclaiming God's Word to our children or grandchildren.

Pay particular attention to verse 9.

The children of Israel are getting the 10 Commandments restated to them in this chapter. Moses especially wants the Israelites to know that God is a jealous God and will absolutely not tolerate worship of anything or anybody but himself.

Moses is giving his big send-off speech and he tells his peeps that if they follow these rules and let others know what the rules are that have been handed down directly from none other than God himself, then other people will really look up to them and think they are hugely wise.

Not only that, but it is apparently obvious to everyone that the Israelites have God very near to them and he doesn't go wandering off. The difference, at least to me, is that people who have idols for Gods -- you know, things, are at a clear disadvantage because they have to pack up their gods and take them along.

On the other hand, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob goes with the Israelites. These people travel with God, not the other way around. To me, that's a big distinction.

Moses must have thought so too because he reminds the Israelites that they are lucky to have God with them wherever they go.

He does bring a warning to them in verse 9, and this is the verse listed in the homework assignment: Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

And just in case the Israelites might be tempted to minimize all that God was to them, Moses reminds them about the day when they were all gathered around the mountain and there was this big giant fire burning all the way up to the heavens, and just this voice without a body they could see, giving them the outline of what they should and shouldn't do.

How many other people could make the claim that their gods actually spoke to them? Not just little speeches, but a big booming voice that could probably have been heard for miles and miles and miles.


And the Israelites couldn't see where this voice was coming from. "So you just watch yourselves," Moses said. "You'd just better be very careful that you don't go wandering off to those other places where there are these little tin gods that other people are worshiping. They'll corrupt you and you'll be in so much trouble. God will be angry with you and believe me, you do not want God to be angry with you."

And then, just to make sure he got his point across Moses told the Israelites that God had gotten mad at him. Mainly because of the Israelites. And now, thanks to the Israelites having worshiped Baal, Moses wasn't going to be able to go into the promised land.

And then comes the threat of future punishment -- all misbehavior carries consequences -- and the consequences of future infractions would be that God would scatter the Israelites.

But even if, in their scatteredness, they called out to God and asked for forgiveness, the mercies of God would be theirs because God said he'd remember this very covenant he had with their ancestors. In verse 34, Moses says to the Israelites, "For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers which he confirmed to them by oath.

At the end of this chapter, Moses talks about setting up Cities of Refuge for people who unintentionally kill another person, like involuntary manslaughter. The sanctuary cities were Bezer in the desert plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.

And then, just in case the Israelites were starting to feel like Mighty Mites, Moses reminds about all those battles they had been in. "It was God's doing -- not yours. You're not so big and brave as you might think you are. Just remember that."


So back to verse 9 and the homework question of what I can do better in proclaiming God's Word to my children and grandchildren.

Our first thought is, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Role modeling Christian faith is important. Our children and grandchildren know that we go to church every weekend. We could tell them how important it is to go to church but if we don't do it, the words, like seeds, fall on fallow ground and never take root.

With our adult children who are all at least forty years old, lecturing is not appropriate at this point in their lives. But Christian-themed gifts and cards are welcome. They bring reminders of the importance of the presence of God in our lives and their lives.

Speaking the words of affirmation and love is very important. God is love. Each child was given a Bible when growing up, and now each grandchild has a personal study Bible.

And most important, as the grandchildren are growing up, let them know that there is nothing they can do that would make God stop loving them.

8:55 am          Comments

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Some of you may think that this part of the daily blog is all there is. I was surprised to learn from some readers that this is so. But if you keep reading past this part, you'll find an article about something psychobabble and after that, I've just started a devotional from a Bible reading.

I am absolutely astonished with the growing Bible reading population. China and other places in the Far East are particularly hungry for Bible truths. So welcome aboard. I pray that your visits to this web site will help give you courage and strength in your daily walk with God.

We have a stowaway in our office downstairs (in the basement). It sounds an awful lot like Jiminy Cricket. We had one in the condo a few years ago. He stayed with us a long time.

Does anybody know what the life expectancy is for crickets? Just wondering.

I have a call coming in at 9:30 CDT so I'm not sure if I'll get all the segments of the blog finished by that time. But check back through the day when you have time because I'll pick up where I left off.

And then I'll be painting again. Tra la la la la. Makes my heart sing when a fresh coat of crispy paint goes onto things. The paint project now is the iron patio furniture. It's going to be a beautiful bright white.

That will take a few days, believe me. Mainly because Quint and I take a lot of breaks. When it's hot. Now that we're getting older, we rest more often and longer at a time.

Quint is headed out now to give the cute little pretties their morning shower since it's so hot. He says he has a basket of tiny little bars of soap and itsy bitsy towels for each one of them. He says he can actually hear them giggling with delight as they shower off the hot stickies from the 95+ degree temperatures of yesterday.

I wonder if they all sing separate songs, or if they join together in a chorus.



In an article just released to Bloomberg News, the Taliban has started to release South Koreans who were being held hostage. For nearly six weeks, the fate of the South Koreans had been in question.

Eight hostages -- 7 women and 1 man -- were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Three hostages had been released earlier.

The Red Cross was able to get the Taliban together with the South Korean government.

Four more hostages are to be released later today.

And what did the South Koreans agree to?

According to the article, the South Koreans promise to withdraw its military (some 200 strong) from Afghanistan by the end of the year -- and also promised to put a halt to Christian missionary activities in Afghanistan.

The South Korean hostages were members of a church group doing humanitarian work in Afghanistan.

Read article at:



I mentioned the other day that I was going to make some Ranch Dressing  for lunch. This prompted a whole bunch of requests for this very easy recipe:

1 cup light or fat-free mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. chopped green onion
2 T. Equal, or 3 packets of Equal sweetener (I used 3 T. Splenda)
1 T. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 t. minced fresh garlic
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk

Mix it all up and let it set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours just to let all the flavors romp around and honeymoon for a bit. This also makes a wonderful dip for fresh vegetables.

I wish I knew where I got this recipe, but I don't. It probably came from one of those magazines where I rip out half the recipes with the most earnest intent of actually cooking whatever it is. 

About once a year -- usually around New Years when things have slowed down a bit, I go through all the recipes and too probably half of them. But even so, if I live to be 200 years old, I'll never be able to make all the recipes.

This recipe is easy to adapt. I've added salsa; also fresh crumbled bacon bits; tiny little cucumber bits, etc.



There's something that all shy people -- socially anxious people -- alienated people have in common: they don't mix with other people for fear that they will be evaluated.

This fear of being evaluated, or judged, is an underlying theme that runs through anxious peoples' psyches.

My psych students were having a rather spirited discussion about shyness one day in class. The class had gone well and the semester's psych offerings had helped some students to start to come out of the turtle shell they have built over the years.

They were absolutely amazed -- deer in the headlights amazed -- when I told them not to ever worry about people at a social gathering evaluating them.
"There's one reason why you don't have to worry about that," I said. "That's mainly because people in a group are just not all that concerned about what you're doing. They're thinking about what they're going to do or say next."

"And," I continued, "If you're ever at a gathering and you don't know what to talk about, just go up to someone and let them talk about their favorite subject. Themselves."

Works every time.

Think about it. We'd all be better communicators if we were really listening to what someone else is saying. But most of the time, we're rehearsing what we're going to say next.

It's good therapy to make it a practice to go up to someone you don't know, or someone you hardly know, and get into a short conversation with them.

Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it about them. Works every time. Unless, of course, they're on the phone. Don't be a nincompoop who stands there waiting for someone to hang up. That'll make you look like you're eavesdropping so don't be surprised if you get a quick, "Go away."

You do have to pick your moments, but you don't have to be laborious about it.

Still can't do it? Then go all the way back to baby steps -- make eye contact when you pass someone's desk, or someone in the hall. After you've gotten comfortable doing that, then try a "Good morning." Now say it like you mean it. No mumbling.

Then you can advance to something like, "Have a nice weekend." Unless, of course, it's Tuesday. In that case, "Have a nice day" will do.

According to Dr. Phil Zombardo -- the clinical psychologist who wrote the book on shyness -- (yes, his book was literally called Shyness), shyness is a prison that people build for themselves. And the doors are locked on the inside. So the good news is you can get out anytime. Kind of like a cocoon. And just like the butterfly, you're going to have to come out all by yourself.

Don't worry. It's risky. But it's okay. You know that butterflies can't fly very well when people help them get out of the cocoon. Somehow their wings get damaged when they are hurried out of the cocoon by well-meaning butterfly-grower-uppers.

You have to take the risk and just do it. That way, you get to own your own success. And no matter how uncomfortable it is to take such a risk, it's not nearly as uncomfortable as those horrible feelings of alienation and isolation, is it?


IT WEDNESDAY: Deuteronomy 3:1-29

This is really an add-on to yesterday's lesson. The question was "What are some of the ways that you use your hands during the day?" The most obvious answer came to me just before I drifted off to sleep last night. Prayer. I use my hands when I pray because I fold them out of respect for God when I'm praying to him. And of course I would think of this when my head hit the pillow, because that's the last time of the day that I pray.

The question I'm supposed to ponder as I read today's Bible truth is this: What can you do with the Word of God to increase the Kingdom of God?

Oh boy. And I just printed something about the South Koreans agreeing not to do any more Christian work in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of the hostages held by the Taliban. But I'm just curious: how is that different from denying Christ on the world stage? Then again, getting the hostages released may be a part of God's bigger plan.

In this chapter, the Israelites are on the move again. They had stopped briefly to beat up the Amorites and were richer for it, I might add.

Now they are coming up on Og, king of Bashan.

I always wanted to meet someone named Og. "Hello, Mr. Og. My name is Ms. Blog. How are you today?"

The Israelites must have been showing some signs of wear and tear after their last big battle because God told them not to worry about it; he had their backs.

But oh my goodness. Mr. Og had sixty cities. They took no survivors. Just the booty. They destroyed everything except Mr. Og's bed. It was made of iron. It was more than 13' long and 6' wide.

Actually, guys, it's not so much a bed as a room. Maybe that's where the term bedroom came from.

And so, the Israelites came to a point in time where things were going to start to be divided up. They were standing on the edge of a high plateau overlooking the vast lands that were to be theirs.

Note the similiarites in verses 16-17: But to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory extended from Gilead down to the Arnon Gorge (the middle of the gorge being the border) and out of the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. Its western border was the Jordan in the Arabah, from Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea), below the slopes of Pisgah.

to Mark 1:16-17: As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

A footnote that my study Bible says that the Sea of Galilee is fed by the upper Jordan River. It was called the Lake of Gennesaret in Luke 5:1 and the Sea of Tiberias in John 6:1; 21:1, and in Old Testament times it was known as the Sea of Kinnereth in Numbers 34:11.

I find it interesting that this tract of land given to the Israelites was still being bestowed again in the New Testament to a new group of message deliverers -- the disciples of Christ.

But back from the sidebar. The Reubenites got some land. And the heirs of Manasseh got their acreage too.

Then it was time for everybody to rest a while.

They were free from any outside conflict. There were no plagues to bother them. They had the promise of lands that the Lord God himself had bestowed upon them.
Now comes Joshua's time. It's his big commission. And God reminded him, just in case it might have slipped his mind, that God was going to be right there with him, in the trenches so to speak. God promised to fight for him. This was a most serious reminder that unless you have God with you, you're never going to enjoy any victories. Anywhere.

Before this chapter ends, Moses makes one last urgent plea. If he wasn't going to be allowed to go into the lands that God was giving Israel, could he at least just have a peek at the lands?

Well, okay, then. God relented just a bit and said in verse 27: Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan.

It was going to be Joshua who would lead the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the promised land.

The Israelites had come home at last.


And back to my question as to what I can do with the Word of God to increase the Kingdom of God.

Simple. I'll can share. I'll bring a contemporary version of this important Old Testament lesson to people who might otherwise find the Old Testament a bit stuffy. I do not. Never have.

The Old Testament is alive with battles going on everywhere. I mean, I always thought the Battle of Gettsyburg with its 58,000 casualties in a single day was a bloodbath. That was nothing compared to what God could do when he wanted some ne-er do well king defeated.

Bam! You're done. And then he'd say to the Israelites, "Now go in there and get what you want. The plunder is yours for the taking."

And it wasn't even looting because God had given the plunder to them. When you think about it, everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God. He just lets us use it for a while.

But you'd better make sure you have his permission to use it. He doesn't like looters. That's stealing. And "Thou shalt not steal" is one of God's Big Ten. So don't do it.

We are here on earth to build God's kingdom. We can build his kingdom by talking about who God is and sharing with people that we have God in our lives.

Reluctant to do that? You'd be surprised how easy it is.

For instance, the other day we went into the video store to get a copy of Remember the Titans. It was out. The clerk said it was due back on Wednesday so we'll go back for it. Then she pointed out that it was a fairly old video. I said it didn't matter because our pastor had used a clip from it in the sermon on Sunday and it looked interesting so we wanted to see the whole movie. Besides, we're Denzel Washington fans.

Then she asked "What church do you go to?"

Bingo! We told her and she asked for the address. I asked her if she went to church. She said, "Not regularly. But any pastor who uses movie clips sounds like someone I'd like to hear."

So we left it at that. You know the standard, "Hope to see you there." But I always add, "If you don't have anyone to sit with, look for us. We'd love to have you sit with us."

8:42 am          Comments

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Welcome to 449 readers from the U.S., 1 from France, and 3 from China this morning -- as we speak. Don't know exactly who you are because I only get the country from which you are logging in. But it's exciting. I hope you'll return often.

I will admit that I was very surprised with the response I got from the devotional yesterday. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and prayers. Love your e-mails.

Just remember to put something that will tie you to this web site in the subject line of your e-mails.

Well, we got the patio painted with the second coat yesterday. The blue color is much more to our liking and will look very nice with the patio furniture painted a crispy white. The furniture is today's project. Not that I intend to get the table and all four chairs finished, but we shall see.

The weather here is holding out for us. Going to be another dry, un-rainy day with low humidity. Good for painting.

There are thunderstorms threatened for tomorrow, but they're "isolated."

We're actually finding triplicates of a lot of things. Mainly cleaning supplies and first aid supplies. I guess we weren't nearly as organized as we appeared. But now we have all our stuff under one roof and it's a lot.

I think I could open a little medical clinic in an undeveloped country somewhere. We now have found no less than six tubes of hydrocortisone cream. Hey, it's good for what ails you. If scratchy is what ails you -- like mosquitoes or poison ivy. I think we may be set for life.

And cleaning supplies -- well, I could keep Molly Maids going for at least a month. I have just about every kind of new product that's out there. A lot of them are just sitting collecting dust now that I've discovered a product called Awesome. I get it at the Dollar Tree. Have never experienced anything like it. If you're looking for an absolutely awesome cleaning product, this is the one.

But that's what happens when we had an office, a condo and a house. Then, all of a sudden, we only have the house. We do go through an awful lot of dish detergent since the house doesn't have a dishwasher yet. And dishes aren't allowed to stand in the sink for more than, say, ten minutes.

Actually, I don't mind not having a dishwasher as much as I thought I would.

In short, we love being retired. Quint and I have each worked more than 50 years. The hardest, longest jobs we ever had were when we worked for ourselves. We are absolute slave drivers.

Even Anna, my kind neighbor lady, tells us to slow down. We're wearing her out just watching us.


KIDS ARE QUICK -- from Alice Stubbe

Teacher: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
Maria: Here it is.
Teacher: Correct. Now class, who discovered North America?
Class: Maria.

Teacher: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John: You told me to do without using tables.

Teacher: Glenn, how do you spell "crocodile?"
Glenn: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L
Teacher: No, that's wrong.
Glenn: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spelled it.

Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J K L M N O
Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it's H to O

Teacher: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
Winnie: Me!

Teacher: Glenn, why do you always get so dirty?
Glenn: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground that you are.

Teacher: Millie, give me a sentence starting with "I."
Millie: I is...
Teacher: No, Millie. Always say, "I am..."
Millie: All right. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.

Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louis, do you know why his father didn't punish him
Louis: Because George still had the ax in his hand.

Teacher: Now, Simon, tell me frankly. Do you say prayers before eating?
Simon: No. I don't have to. My mom is a good cook.

Teacher: Clyde, your composition on "My Dog" is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
Teacher: No, teacher. It's the same dog.

Teacher: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
Harold: A teacher.


A GOOD WOMAN -- from Brenda Moore

A good woman is proud of herself. She respects herself and others. She is aware of who she is. She neither seeks definition from the person she is with, nor does she expect them to read her mind. She is quite capable of articulating her needs.

A good woman not only protects her children but she protects the men in her tribe.

A good woman is hopeful. She is strong enough to make all her dreams come true. She knows love and therefore she gives love. She recognizes that her love has great value and must be reciprocated. If her love is taken for granted, it soon disappears.

A good woman has a dash of inspiration and endurance. She knows that she will, at times, have to inspire others to reach the potential given to them.

A good woman knows her past, understands her present and moves toward the future.

A good woman knows God within by her character. She knows that with truth, the world is her playground, but without truth, she will just be played. Or continue the cycle of abusing what balances her. A good man. A good woman does not live in fear of the future because of her past mistakes. Instead, she understands that her life experiences are merely lessons, meant to bring her closer to self-knowledge and unconditional self-love if she displays Truth, Honesty, Love and Freedom.



In a matter of days, all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.

You will be charged for these calls.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:


It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It won't take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked.

You cannot call from a different phone number.

Tell all friends. It truly only takes about 20 seconds.



Actually, we all have self-esteem. Some just have more of it than others. That is, some people enjoy a greater self-esteem.

Today, I'm going to show you how to measure your self-esteem using the Reinheimer Self-Esteem Model.

The first thing you need to do is identify yourself.

I mean, if you can IDENTIFY something, you can MEASURE it. And if you can MEASURE something, you can MANAGE it.

When it comes to identifying who you are, you ought to be able to identify at least 15 different roles that you plan. These roles might be:

1 - Spouse
2 - Adult child
3 - Parent
4 - Sibling
5 - Grandparent
6 - Other adult relative
7 - Employee (or Employer)
8 -Job (different from being an employee)
9 - Driver
10 - Money manager
11 - Housekeeper
12 - Friend
13 - I have fun
14 - I take care of myself
15 - I am cheerful

I like to add those last three in, no matter how many other identifiers people come up with.

Yes, you can use phrases to identify yourself.

Besides, these last three items go a long way in helping you increase your self-esteem.

Step 1: On a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being pretty much the lowest mark you could give yourself, and 5 is sailing along pretty satisfied with how you're doing in this identifier, you'd have a total of 75 maximum points.

Step 2: Draw a number line. Make a mark at the midpoint -- and write "50%" at this point. Then divide the midpoints again and write "25%" and "75%" in their places.

Step 3: Review the list again. This is where you evaluate how you're doing in each of those identifying categories. I'm going to evaluate a fictitious person so you get the idea. I like to add the last three categories into everybody's list. These are three items that really drag down self-esteem. They're a challenge for people to work on -- but they need to.

Spouse - 3 (I stay at the office sometimes too late, miss too many dinners at home, and sometimes don't call when I'm running late)

Adult child - 3 (This is a hard one. I think I'm doing okay in this category but deep down I think I could do more -- maybe just sending a birthday card once a year isn't enough, or Christmas presents)

Parent - 4 (I work hard at this one -- never miss a birthday, keep in touch mainly by internet because the kiddos are spread out all over the country. But there's always room for improvement so I'm going to leave it at "4.")

Sibling - 2 (Oh brother. My brothers and sisters are spread out all over the country. Sometimes it seems like I've lost track of them. I really need to work on this item more.)

Grandparent - 3 (This one is a mess -- there's blended families where the kiddos have 6 grandparents, divorced kids where the mom won't allow contact with our son's kids, illegitimate grandkids, some just disappeared because of a divorce. We have 7 grandkids but we're only connected with 1 of them.)

Other adult relative - 2 (I'm an uncle so I evaluated this one. I only have two nieces and a nephew. One niece told me she hated my mother at my mother's funeral. She hasn't contacted me since. Another niece lives in Europe. She changes her cell phone every other month so it's difficult to keep up with her. The nephew who lives in this country is a workaholic and never answers his phone. It always goes to voice mail so he's either too busy to engage in family conversations or he's screening me out.)

Employee - 1 (I rated myself low because I've been written up twice at work for spending too much time on the internet during working hours. If I get caught once again, I'll lose my job, so I'm feeling pretty nervous about that right now. I try to stay at work to make up for the time I use on the internet but my boss says that's not the point. I'm supposed to be working while I'm at work.)

Job - 5 (I'm an accountant and a darned good one. I go to seminars every year to keep up with changes in the tax codes, etc. But I really need to buckly down and finish my degree.)

Driver - 4 (I got a speeding ticket last year, otherwise, I'd have given myself a 5)
Money manager - 2 (I've been spending a little too much time at the boats, so I'm giving myself a low number here. Mainly because I've let some credit card payments go just so I have a little extra cash to use for my new gambling hobby.)

Housekeeper - 3 (I guess I'm about average. I don't get around to running the vacuum as often as as I like. I'd definitely need more than two hours notice before I'd want friends to come over. Drop-ins would definitely be an embarrassment.)

Friend - 5 (I think I'm a good friend. A very good friend that you can count on.)

I have fun - 3 (I'd like to have more fun but I'm worried about my job and my family.)

I take care of myself - 2 (I thought I was doing okay until I started talking about the different categories. I need to work on this one. Big time.)

I am cheerful - 1 (Are you kidding? The wolf is at the door. I may get fired next payday. Especially if my boss finds out what web sites I've been going to. Can they find that stuff out? Sure hope not. I really need to cut that out.)

Step 4: Add up the total of your evaluation points. In this case, the total comes up to a raw score of 43.

Step 5: Divide the total evaluation by the perfect score of 75. In this case it's 0.57333.

Step 6: Multiply this number by 100 to get a number you can put on the number line. This person's evaluation would be the number 57.333.

Okay, so this person's self-esteem is just barely more than the halfway point. My experience with clients over the last seventeen years or so tells me that people feel much better about themselves when their self-esteem scores at the 75 point or better.

So, for this person to get up to a "75," a raw score of 56.25 is needed.

Subtract the real raw score of 43 from 56.25. This gives a number of 13.25.

In other words, if your real raw score was 56.25, you'd place yourself at 75 on your number line. You'd feel a whole lot better about yourself if you were way up there.

So how do you get there? Remember, I said if you can identify something (we did with the list of roles), you can measure it (we did that too by evaluating how this person was doing in each of the categories).

And if you can measure something, you can manage it. That means that you can start to grow your self-esteem.

This person needs to pick up about 14 points. Where could 14 points come from?

Well, for starters, I'd strongly recommend curtailing those trips to the boat. That would bring up the Money Manager category. Over time, that "2" could grow into a 4 or 5.

The potential disaster looming across the horizon is the "employee" category. It is clearly time to have a heart to heart talk with the boss. The fact that this person wasn't fired on the spot says that there's still some thought of being a valuable employee. There's clearly a compulsion going on here with some internet sites that could, in fact, threaten the job. Some of these sites can be addictive and I think employees have to look at them like that. You can't smoke at work anymore, and you can't look at some off limit internet sites. This person needs to get into some kind of behavior modification program. Fast. Doing so could raise this score up a couple of points. Going back to college to finish that degree will also help.

By doing so, this person could also pick up a point for "taking care of myself."

Being a more considerate spouse will get another point.

An adult child can become more accessible. That's worth a point.

Same is true for the sibling category. What could you do to bring that score up one point?

Think baby steps. Little changes make life changes.

Anything you can do to make your score on the number line start moving to the right will help you manage and grow your self-esteem.

I suggest re-evaluating and adding to the list every couple of months. Keeps us on our toes.


BIBLE STUDY: Deuteronomy 2: 1-37

The Israelites are on the move again. And they have their marching orders, so off they go. Back to the desert.

Their instructions are very clear. They are not to pick on anybody along the way or go stirring up any wars with the Ammonites.

They're just supposed to pass through the Ammonite land and stay on the roads.

Somewhere along the line, the Israelites got ahold of some silver. I'd have to do some research to find out where their money came from. I mean, when they left Egypt, they were slaves.

Slaves don't get paid. So where'd the moolah come from?

Anyway, God told them -- through Moses -- that if they used any food or water while they were passing through, they were to pay in silver.

The Israelites are walking around on land that their ancestors had tred before them. They hadn't been born in this land though, so it didn't look familiar to them.

I mean, they didn't have any photo albums or videos to look at. Don't even know if some of the old folks remembered anything that might have been familiar.

But you can be sure, God was watching out for the Israelites. That is, as long as they obeyed him and did what they were told. That is, they were supposed to bypass Edom, Moab and Ammon because these people had a blood relationship to Israel.

God has already given the land of Edom to Esau.

Lot's descendants got the lands of the Moabites and Ammonites.

And while they were marching along over hill and dale and across the Zered Valley, and across the Arnon Gorge, God put fear into the hearts of people they met along the way. When they crossed the gorge, God brought them face to face with Sihon the Amorite. He was the king of Heshbon.

God said they could have this land. Fighting Sihon would be okay. Oh, they tried to be nice to Sihon. They offered to pay him for the food they ate and water they drank when they passed across his land. Just like God told them to do.

But Sihon was not going to let that happen. Mighty kind that he was -- and a doomed one at that -- he was being pretty ungenerous. In verse 30 we learned that God had made him stubborn and obstinate.

Then God told the Israelites that they could go on ahead and have a fight with Sihon.

It was conquering time! Woohoo!

But it was God's conquest, not the Israelis. God delivered Sihon and all his lands, and his towns to the Israelites. They destroyed everybody -- men, women and children. No survivors. Just the livestock.

Oh, and they took some plunder too. They carried everything off.

In verse 36, we're told that not one town was too strong for us. The Lord our God gave us all of them.

So see -- you don't go making war with other people just because you want to. If it's meant to be, God will make it happen. In this case, the lands of the Amorites were handed over to the Israelites. This land on the other side of the rim of the Arnon Gorge was east of the Jordan River -- the territory known as Transjordan and Canaan. 

And if he doesn't bless what you're doing, you are doomed.

Back to verse 7 for the homework assignment: The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through the desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

The question is: What are some of the ways that you use your hands during the day? Today think of one way you will use your hands to bless someone who needs the touch of the Savior's love.

I am blessed with typing abilities. So as I sit here sharing this Bible Study with you, I believe this is one of the ways that I can use my hands to serve God today.

Also, this afternoon I am going to catch up on my correspondence and sent notes to people who live far away.

Isolation is dreadful to people who feel lost and alone. Today I can bring a cheery message to others.

What can you do?

8:21 am          Comments

Monday, August 27, 2007


We enjoyed the refreshment of spiritual renewal yesterday, Sunday. We went to a new church and enjoyed ourselves so much! Quint and I believe that we have our new church home.

One of the things we like right away was Pastor Rensner's "homework" assignment. What a novel idea. In the worship bulletin was an insert that had assigned Bible readings for the week, with questions to ponder while reading.

I'm so enthused about it that I'll be adding a section each day as part of this blog. I hope you enjoy the readings. I know there are many of you living in countries around the world who do not enjoy the religious freedoms we have here in the United States. For that reason, any kind of Bible study is most like a very welcome treasure for a great mean of you.

Sad to say but we tend to take things for granted when we have them so readily available. I suspect that we'd all have a deeper yearning for Bible study if our Bibles were all confiscated and we were told that we wouldn't be allowed to study the Word of God anymore. It's one of the faith practices that we ought to engage in on a daily basis.

What a way to start the week. And a new reader from Macedonia -- and yesterday, a new reader from Puerto Rico joined us. Welcome aboard. Help you come back every day.

Quint and I painted the patio in back of the house. It's really just a concrete slab -- about 8 feet wide by maybe 12 feet long. It's a nice size and has plenty of room for a round table with four chairs. I do believe the furniture is made out of iron. It's very heavy. That's going to get a coat of crisp white as part of the patio project.

We had painted the patio last fall. Unfortunately, the color we picked out didn't dry exactly like the swatch color we'd selected. So instead of a deep blue, it looked like a very fake swimming pool aqua. The new color is more a deep federalist blue.

Better. Better. Better.

And the jasmine that I planted on next door neighbor Mr. Crabby's side of our yard will hopefully get very tall and block out his negativity. I'm hoping the jasmine gets about 8' tall. And 20' wide. If not, then I'll add some honeysuckle. That grows in profusion and wanders about. If all that doesn't work, I'll put a trumpet vine over there. Then we'll have a blooming jungle with lots of little flowers serving up gleefully giggling little smiles all day. Kind of like a foliating choir.

And we'll continue to pray for him.



We tend to go ga ga when it comes to billion dollar items. Like that's a whole bunch of money.

And indeed it is. The price tag for repairs for Hurricane Katrina is now set at $75 billion.

I remember reading somewhere that we spend $1 billion on our favorite beach and beach bum cuisine -- the hot dog.

But $4 billion on summer movies? That's a bunch of zeroes.

Of course, it took the Simpsons, another pirate show in the Caribbean, another Shrek show, another Bourne ultimatum, Harry Potter and another mission impossible to get it done.

But even with all those millions, how come the glittering ones out there in Hollywood are so unhappy?

They can't seem to make marriages work -- or even relationships if they kind of step over the marriage stage of their definition of permanence. But the kiddos start coming along anyway.

I thank God my mother had zero tolerance for all those shenanigans. I remember in days of yore when every Christmas yielded me another boxed set of underpantsies. With the days of the week embroidered on them. Remember those?

Woe be unto me if the laundry had some days missing. I can't even imagine how much trouble I'd have been in if there wasn't a pair in the laundry for each day. I would never have gotten away with skipping the underwear department when I went out on a date. But that's not the case for the Hollywood types these days.

Even Bruce Willis made a recent statement calling for the "ladies" to put their pantsies back on.

Horrible, cheap, trashy role modeling for the young people in this country. Every time we turn around, some glittering one is being held for a DUI, or going to jail for misdemeanor drunk driving. Or serving 23 days out of a 60 day sentence.

Can't they find anything useful to do?



We'll come back to relationships, but today I want to talk about anger.

Anger can wreak havoc for relationships so in a way, it's appropo to speak of the two of them in the same sentence.

The 3 Rs of anger are: Resentment, Revenge and Rehearsal.

Your mind can snap up resentment for just about anything that someone does to you that you don't like. If you let it, that is.

Somehow, small-minded people just aren't able to let things go.

They're not worth a diddly squat when it comes to a powerful cognitive process called thought stopping. They can't change that old, worn out tape that keeps going around and around in their minds -- you know, the one that says "everybody is mean to me."

They can't jump out of bed and say, instead, "This is going to be a great day. I am going to meet someone today who is going to challenge me. Maybe even challenge my sense of Christianity -- like my ability to forgive as God has forgiven me. Thank you, God, for another wonderful day and for giving me an opportunity to serve you."

Nope. These unhappy people jump to revenge-baking thoughts. They, unfortunately, think of ways to bring misery -- even harm -- to the person to whom they have handed over the power to control their psyches through all this resentment.

Their mantras seems to be something like, "They're going to be so sorry for messing with me. I'll figure out a way to get even -- big time!"

That kind of thinking leads to the third stage -- which isn't really a final stage at all, but rather, a fork in the road -- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

At the left of the fork is the choice to start rehearsing ways to put your vengefulness in motion. I would pray that you never take this fork in the path, but I know that some of you often do.

When you choose the rehearsal fork in the road, you start writing your script, or developing a scenario that may not be fit for man or beast.

The reason you don't want to take this fork in the road is because every time you write the script that has you rehearsing your revenge, the resentments just get bigger and bigger.

Pretty soon, your resentments are too big to live inside you. And try as you will, they will sneak out sideways on you. You may think you have all of them under control and on a tight leash, but the first time you get distracted -- like in an argument about something else completely unrelated -- all those old resentments find cracks in your psyche and they start oozing out.

Kind of like pus coming out of a wound. It's toxic. It's where your wounds are.

So if you take the fork in the road to the other path, what's it like?

That's the path that leads to repairs and resolutions. You know, the wounds that forgiveness puts a balm on.

Healing. Ah -- healing. Feels good when the fevers of resentment start to heal.

You have to watch out for that left fork for another reason. It's filled with idolatrous thoughts of whatever caused your resentments.

Don't make the pain of your resentments your idol. Oh, yes. You certainly can make an idol out of your pain and suffering.


TODAY'S DEVOTIONAL: Deuteronomy 1:1-46

Moses is generally thought to the writer of the Book of Deuteronomy. Probably around 1400 B.C. They're all still out there in the desert, just east of the Jordan River. In the land of Moab.

You might think that once Moses led the Israelies out of slavery in Egypt back to the land of Canaan, that all they had to do was walk over there put their big toes in the sand, and the land would be theirs.

Because God had told them so.

Well, it was and it wasn't. First of all, they had to do battle with some people -- the Amorites -- to get land to travel through.

Oh, God had every intention of getting them safely back to Canaan. But it wasn't going to be some little Sunday afternoon stroll through paradise. All they had to do was trust in God to get them through it. To trust in God to show them the way.

Oh, there were troubles all right. "Travails," I think the Bible calls them. And there were more than just a few. Sometimes it seemed like every time they turned around, the Israelies were in some kind of trouble or another.

And just like today, 1400 + 2007 years later, we're all still going through our personal troubles. But God is with us. He never abandons us. Even when we're going through our troubles, he's watching over us. Hoping we pick the right path. Hoping we say the right thing. Hoping we make the right choice.s

And when we do all those things, he smiles at us with a big, huge approval.

But back to Moses.

Moses is getting ready to transfer his leadership of the people of Israel to Joshua and we have a farewell message from Moses. This farewell address is a kind of restatement of the laws that he had delivered earlier in his life -- those laws were very matter of fact, kind of like "here's what you have to do, because God said so." And who knows -- maybe Moses was the first lawyer to walk the face of the earth.

But now, here comes a new, improved Moses. He's speaking warmly from his heart and is really quite personable when he is talking to the Israelis.

And that's what we see in Deuteronomy -- the warmth of the love of God to the people of Israel. It's a reciprocating love because the people of Israel started showing their love back to God.

So God says in verse 8 -- See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers -- to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- and to their descendants after them.

In this very first chapter of Deuteronomy, God has the children of Israel divide up into different tribes with the instruction that each tribe was to choose a wise person to run the show for them. These smart persons, or tribal leaders, would have authority over the individual tribes.

But, in verse 18, these tribal leaders were told in no uncertain terms that judgment belonged to God. So if there were any particular cases that were too hard for them, they were to bring the matters to God and he would hear them.

Has it ever occurred to you that even today, you can bring any troubles that are too hard for you to figure out straight to God? God answers us when we do this and he helps us sort things out and he kinds of nudges us in the direction he wants us to go.

Are we lucky, or what!?

So there went the Israelites -- out into the desert again. You'd have thought they'd become good at nomading their way through deserts. But they didn't like it one bit.

This land of the Amorites -- that was a big "oh no" moment.

Pretty soon, here came the tribal leaders. They asked, "Don't you think it would be a good idea if we sent spies out to see what the Amorites are up to?"

And they were right. It did seem like a good idea to God. So he picked twelve men -- one from each tribe. (The tribes are named in Numbers 13:4-15.) They kind of went sneaking into the hill country and found some pretty luscious fruit. That's what they brought back to Moses. When they brought these samples back, Moses said in verse 25, "This is good land."

You could tell right away that it wasn't desert land. Not if it grew stuff this good!

Then Moses kind of adopted an "I told you so" attitude because he reminded the Israelites that they had been secretly grumbling in their tents about going on this little spy mission.

To their defense, the Israelites came up with the old blame trick -- something that has been going on since the Garden of Eden -- they said "their brothers" made them grumble. After all, these Amorites were bigger and taller. And they built huge cities with walls that went all the way up to the sky.

Moses reminded the grumblers that none other than God himself had promised to go before them -- kind of pave the way for their successes.

Moses said, "Open your eyes, folks. Don't you remember that God has done this for you time after time after time? All the way back to when we left Egypt? Then you got your grumbling suits on again and God said to you, "Okay, now you're gonna wander around the desert for forty whole years."

Counting up the years, Moses must have figured out that they had pretty much come up against the forty year deadline that God had pronounced in his anger a long time before.

But now the Israelites had gone and done it again. They had lost faith and sat around grumbling in their tents, trying to figure out how not to do the very thing that God had told them, in no uncertain terms, what to do.

It was that old "Woe is me" song.

Then God told Moses to tell them not to go fight the Amorites because nothing good would come of it now.

God said, "Fine. Now you're not going to see the land of Canaan. Ever. But your children will, because they're still innocent to where they haven't been contaminated by your moaning and groaning. You're not going to see it either, Moses. But Caleb will. And Joshua will.

As for the rest of you, I want you to turn around and head on out to the desert. I told you not to go fight the Amorites but you went anyway. In your arrogance, you thought you could do it on your own without me. Bad move. The Amorites came after you like a swarm of bees. You can cry all you want. I'm not hearing you."

Just a reminder here, folks. We don't want God to ever get angry with us.

So we'll pick up with Chapter 2 of Deuteronomy tomorrow.

Back to Pastor Rensner's questions for my own enlightenment. The first question is easy: We skipped church for two weeks. No good reason. We weren't sick. I don't know what we did, but I vaguely remember sitting around drinking coffee saying things like "We should have gone to church today."

So this Sunday we went to church. A different church this time. We found a wonderful group of fellow believers. And it will be a joy to assemble with them every week.

The church is people.

The second question is, "Recount evidence of God's faithfulness even when you were unfaithful."

Well, except for this gentle nagging at the back of my head that I had intentionally been disobedient to God's express rule that his followers are to meet in assembly with each other once a week, no great mishaps came to us. We were a big de-energized, not like our usual selves. We just got through the days feeling like something was missing in our lives.

It was. Worshiping God. We're back on track now.

Thankfully, we didn't sit around grumbling about how horrible life is and how dare God desert us.

He never has. Not once. Never will.

Thank you, God.


10:52 am          Comments

Friday, August 24, 2007


Boy, the folks up north are getting it. I talked with my sister this morning. She says that the sky turned an ugly dark last evening, with a greenish cast to it. Then the winds started. The tree branches started falling in her front yard.

There were 80 mph winds in the Chicago area -- caused lots of damage -- but  the meteorologists are saying it was a "straight line wind" not a tornado, even though some folks saw twisters. Technically, it's not a tornado until it touches the ground.

Yeah, sure. Technical damage still looks an awful lot like real damage.

We drove out to take a look at a church we want to attend on Sunday morning.

It was a Thursday so we thought we could just drive out and walk around the building, maybe peek into the windows and just generally be a bit snoopy. But lo and behold, the pastor was there and we got to talk with him. He gave us a tour of the building and we talked for probably the best part of a half hour or so.

We felt really welcomed and we're going back on Sunday for sure. We'll definitely transfer our membership if the rest of the congregation is as open and friendly as the pastor is. It'll be another "moving into the neighborhood" milestone. Worshiping is a big part of our lives. And being part of a community of fellow believers is important to us too. It's that "gathering in an assembly" that God kept talking about in the Old Testament.

But for today, while the temperature prances its way up to 97 degrees, with a heat index closer to horrors, we'll be doing inside work. Inside and air conditioned, that it. Except for dashes out to water the poor little pretties who are languishing in the hot sun outside.

Poor darlings.



There are earthquakes everywhere.

Here's a web site that gives you the listings by day and time, magnitude intensity, etc.:

There were even four earthquakes out in the middle of the Atlantic off the shores (NNE) of Brazil several days ago.

I have a curiosity about rumblings and goings on when there's a biggy anywhere in the world. I like to draw a line through the earth and see if there will be earthquakes in a week or so on the opposite of the earth.

It's just one of the ways I keep my thoughts occupied. That way I'm prepared with something interesting when Quint asks me what I'm thinking. He hardly ever expects me to give him a miniature earthquake report.



More people are working. And because unemployment is low, people are paying more taxes. When people pay more taxes, the deficit gets paid down.

Is that good news or what?

According to their own report, the Congressional Budget Office is now saying that the deficit for 2007 will be $19 billion lower than they originally expected.

Isn't that good news?

Well, yeah. But there's still that huge deficit out there on the horizon. It $158 billion. (Read article in The Hill at:

Here's a thought. Quit spending money on stupid pork projects. Guess you call them earmarks these days.

Pay attention to the deteriorating infrastructure in this country and let some of those projects like sports stadia, art museums, etc. find ways to fund themselves locally. Those projects ought not to be federal concerns.

Providing for the common defense and keeping our infrastructure -- that is, the federal interstate system -- ought to be top priorities.

Take a clue from the bridge collapse in Minnesota. I read a headline that there were thousands more overpasses in this country that are in at least as bad shape as that overpass.

So, congressionals, if you want to keep your jobs, you'd better start taking care of federal concerns and stop licking the bootstraps of high rolling constituents in your districts.

I think the 2008 election is going to be the year of the big disconnect. And since the congressional approval ratings are in a free fall -- from 14% to 18% depending on which poll you read -- you can get a pretty good portent of which way things are gonna go.



And while you're at it, say something nice to your beloved.

I don't care if you've been married 50+ years, it's still nice to hear "That color looks good on you." See if you can focus on making nurturing comments like that. Who cooked dinner? Did you like it? Did you say "thank you" to the chef?

Don't waste your time doing catharsis kinds of venting. Venting doesn't work, you know. All it does is transfer discontent from one person to another. Besides, if venting or cathartic screaming truly did work, you wouldn't need to keep on going over the same old stories over and over and over.

Charles Darwin once said that when we express our anger, we multiply it.

I know people who are still moaning about things that happened to them twenty years ago. They wonder why they've lost their friends. Why people won't return their phone calls for days -- if then. Why people avoid them.

It's like people are saying to the harper, "Excuse me, but I've heard that story about 400 times now. Haven't you figured it out yet?"

Staying stuck is not a nurturing thing to do. Forgiving is. Going forward is. Giving up grudges is very nurturing.

Those are all attitudinal things that change.

Somewhere along the line, people have this inner plan that when things get better, their attitude will change and then their behavior will change for the better.

The exact opposite is how things really work. If you want your attitude to change, then change your behavior first.

If you want a warm, nurturing relationship with your partner, be more forgiving. Be more open. Be more friendly. Go out of your way to do nice things.

Remember, nurturing means filling the needs of someone else. That's one sure-fire way to get your own needs met because chances are, when you are nurturing to your true love, you'll get a lot of nurturing in return.

So toss the negativity and think positive. The positive energy comes back to you. So does the negative energy. Which do you want?

Hopefully you said you want more positive energy to come your way. If that's the case, then you're just going to have to start project positive energy out from yourself. Then sit back and feel it flow back to you.

Nurturing people get nurtured.

Do something nurturing -- that is, fill the needs of someone or something else -- no less than ten times today. Make this a daily routine.

I have news for you. This is a big secret that happy, contented people know. But I don't think it ought to be a secret so I'm telling everybody to be nurturing if you want to get nurtured.

9:21 am          Comments

Thursday, August 23, 2007


It's going to be a sitting-in-the-shade kind of day today.

I don't know about you folks but I'm growing a bit weary of living in a broiler. And to our friends this morning in Germany, Finland and Norway who have signed on, you can take some of this heat away, thank you.

But I shouldn't complain. The people in Oklahoma and Ohio are deluged with too much water. I guess Wisconsin needs to be in that list too. Things look pretty soggy up there too.

I will definitely not be canning today. Or baking cookies. We'll just have to suffer through -- somehow.

Actually, it looks like today is the last of it. Tomorrow morning, hopefully, will break the 90s threshold and we'll just coast on into September with highs in the 80s during the day and 60s at night.

Quint thinks we ought to go exploring some today. That wouldn't be bad. Air conditioned car. Driving about. Dart into a cool (literally) restaurant for lunch. Then do some grocery shopping before heading for home.

Quint nearly panics -- not really -- but I did say nearly -- when he runs out of ice cream. And we're out of 7-Up too. I have been using the 7-Up to make carbonated Crystal Light beverages. Talk about refreshing! Wow! It does tend to expand a lot when you stir the two together so you don't want to put a lot of 7-Up into the pitcher until you've mixed the flavor packet in and stirred it around a bit.

We just absolutely adore the peach flavored 7-Up. I'm going to look for other flavors to taste test when I'm at the store.

We haven't incorporated all our books into the office yet. We're using 5-shelf bookshelves as room dividers. They won't hold all of the 3,000+ books we have in our collection, but we're getting really good at putting up shelves. But in the meantime, I'm at least trying to get the books put away onto the empty bookcases.

It's cool down here in the basement. We have a tower fan and a ceiling fan in our basement office. It's a good place to camp out on hot, sultry days. Even better than being under the shade tree out back.



Russian President Vladimir Putin goes fishing without his shirt on. And the world watched. In an AP article posted in the International Herald Tribune, a description of Mr. Himself goes like this: The 54-year-old Russian leader, who is married with two daughters, has long cultivated an image of machismo and manliness. Well-known as a downhill skier and black belt in judo, Putin has appeared on national television driving a truck, operating a train, sailing on a submarine and copiloting a fighter jet.

You can read the entire article at:

The actual photo of him isn't included in that article though. I did find the photo of him wielding his fishing rod at this site:

Then the BBC ran an article about French Presidenteur Nicolas Sarkozy in a canoe without a shirt on. Except that the BBC article shows a slight maneuvering of Himselferino with love handles and without. I want one of those photo repair kits that would allow me to instantly look like I want to look like. At least in photos.

Here's the site for the BBC article:

Today's Drudge Report ( had the fixed up photos.

So I tell my kids they'll know when my diet is finished because they'll start to see more photos of me. And when Quint learns to snap the photo when my eyes are open! Nobody wants to see pictures of a slightly overweight grandma with her eyes closed.

So if the BBC can't supply me with their magic wand to fix my photos, I'll just have to stay on my calorie reduction lifestyle.



Three women go down to Mexico one night to celebrate college graduation, get drunk, and wake up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed in the morning, though none of them can remember what they did the night before.

The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric chair and is asked if she has any last words. She says, "I just graduated from Trinity Bible College and believe in the almighty power o f God to intervene on the behalf of the innocent." They throw the switch and nothing happens. They all immediately fall to the floor on their knees, beg for forgiveness, and release her.

The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives her last words. "I just graduated from the Harvard School of Law and I believe in the power of justice to intervene on the part of the innocent." They throw the switch and again, nothing happens. Again they all immediately fall to their knees, beg for forgiveness and release her.

The last one (you know it), a blonde, is strapped in and says, "Well, I'm from THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN and just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'll tell ya right now, ya'll ain't gonna electrocute nobody if you don't plug this thing in.



So how do you know if your family is a nurturing one?

Simply put, nurturing just means that you are filling the needs of a living thing.

For a child, it could mean you don't drown out your ant farm. For a gardener, it means you keep the weeds pulled and you feed your cute little darlings. You can't just plant a flower and leave it alone and expect beautiful blooms all season long.


Every time you walk past your flower bed and you hear that little chorus singing, "Over here, we're dying over here. Give us some kibbles and bits. Please, please, please."

But if you're one of those people who says, "God put them there, God can take care of them," that's okay if you want a garden filled with wildflowers.

There's nothing wrong with wildflowers. I admire them growing by the side of the road. Do I want them in my flower bed? No.

I want flowers that have been cultivated by horticulturists down through eons. Flowers that have the good, decent manners to bloom in double and triple profusion. I want flowers that immediately send up another flower shoot when the old blooms are picked off. I like civilized, well-mannered flowers.

In exchange for their profuse beauty, I feed them and water them. And I admire them. Do I talk to my little beauties? Yes, but I wouldn't tell anyone else but you, lest people think I'm the old kook who lives down the block.

Nurturing others is also a big requirement in relationships that thrive. And, like plants, if the nurturing isn't taken care of, the relationship withers.

Take for instance, nurturing children.

One of the most powerful ways that parents can nurture children is to set boundaries. Boundaries are rules. Rules that are enforced.

When there are rules, it tells youngsters that there are adults who are in charge. When there are adults in charge, then it's safe for me to be a child.

If there aren't rules, children become fearful and filled with a gnawing sense of unrest. They develop anxiety disorders. Deep down inside them, children know they don't have the resources to cope with all that life throws at them. That's what the adults are responsible for.

Deep down, children know they can't take care of themselves -- whether it's learning in school or learning social skills or learning how to live in a nurturing family. Children need parents who love them and care about them and care for them. Children need parents who fill their needs.

When parents don't fill the needs of their children, then the children become anxiety-ridden.

So the first thing parents need to do is set boundaries.

But don't expect these boundaries to be met with "Oh, this is great. I've been wanting rules for so long now."

Rather, it's like the rancher out on the plains. The rancher builds a fence to keep his herd from straying over too close to the mustard patch -- or too close to the cliff that would be dangerous if all the cows and cowlets fell into the ditch and broke all their leggies.

Do you think the rancher just sets up a fence and goes back to the ranch house and watches TV all day? Nope. He rides the range all the time. He checks out his fence to see where his four-legged herd pieces have breached the fence and left  gaping holes in the fence.

The fence is a nurturing thing for the herd. It protects them from their own inabilities to take care of themselves.

Not too long ago, Diane Baumrind did some excellent research on the types of parenting and which parenting style produced the most settled down, well-adjusted adults.

Was it the permissive parent? Definitely not. Children can't be allowed to run amok. They can't be encouraged to be narcissistic little tyrants who have no regard for the rules.

Was it the authoritarian parents -- you know the ones who have tight-fisted rules that are unbending, no matter what? Authoritarian is not the answer either.

Was it the authoritative parents? Yes. Authoritarian parents teach children respect for authority. They teach them, by role-modeling nurturance, how children can eventually nurture themselves.

Baumrind is a prolific writer and a well-seasoned researcher who has devoted a life study to how children and parents look in nurturing and not-so-nurturing relationships. Do yourself a favor and google Diane Baumrind.

She was an absolute favorite among my psychology students.

But not every relationship is a parent-child one, so tomorrow, we're going to take a look at nurturing the man-woman partnership.

And I have to tell you that I just got an airmailed article from the person who sits at the desk next to me. He's reading his latest issue of Science Magazine. The article is entitled "Missing Gene Makes Mice Compulsive."

I'm getting behind because last week he gave me an article entitled "Clinical Depression Linked to Abnormal Emotional Brain Circuits." This article is from Science Daily.

9:18 am          Comments

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Now that Hurricane Dean is not a threat to the southern United States, the weather attention has shifted to something potentially more damaging -- there are floods everywhere.

We watch the weather in the morning. It's one of the habits I picked up from Quint in the early days as our marriage morphed. That, and watching the news. I can't believe that days and weeks would go by before I'd pick up a newspaper -- those were the days before the internet.

Now, we have become those statistical people who rarely look at TV news. We get 99.5% of our news from the internet. It's a lot easier to go to our favorite web site and click on the headlines we want to read about. No commercials. Just the facts, ma'm.

So CNN was interviewing this big cattle rancher in Oklahoma. The news reporter was asking this guy standing out in his field about what happens to cows when they get wet. The rancher said it's definitely not a good thing because the cow hooves get soft. And they have to be fed.

Well, looking at those big black angus on the hoof, I'd say they get fed a lot. Then, when it was time to move on to another mini story, the reporter thanked the rancher whose ranch was about 40% under water at the time. "I'm sure you speak for a lot of people out there in Oklahoma."

Yeah, right. The guy has a 7,000 acre ranch in Oklahoma and several more in other states. Sure. A lot of people can relate to that. I can't even fathom how big a 7,000 acre ranch is.

Two city blocks? More? A half mile? Don't know. If it's bigger than my back yard or the block I live on, you lost me. 

Speaking of back yards, we definitely will not have to mow this week. We're having a little mini-drought here in the middle of the state. That orange rain that was promised for yesterday turned out not even to be a spit. And there's nothing on the radar for the entire state today.

Going to be hot, dusty and dry. Unlike our friends in Ohio who are under water too. Kind of like the people in Oklahoma except you're not standing out in the middle of flooded fields.

I read yesterday that a seven mile stretch of I-75 was closed because of flooding. You know things are serious when they start closing the interstates.

It's going to get up to 92 again today. Time to bake cookies since we've burned the whole the yard trash pile. Sometimes it doesn't seem like we have good sense.


In the first place, people are either too tired, too bored, or too sleepy to be reading at night before they go to bed.

And 25% of Americans said they had not read any books last year -- not a single, solitary book.

People who do read are women and senior citizens. They read religious material or romance novels. Oh, and southerners read more books than their northern counterparts.

So big, long, windy books don't seem to be popular. Is the return of the short, quick composition now the norm? You know -- the essays or compositions that we now call blogs.

Blogs are short versions of long stories. Most blogs are three to five hundred words. That's something you can read on the run. Blogs are real people talking to other real people. They're not usually celebrities and their blog spaces aren't generally big commercial enterprises.

Some could say that the short, quick compositions are refreshingly entertaining. Not exactly O. Henry who was the master of short stories. But short and well-written compositions have become the genre of choice again. Especially if it's entertaining and informative at the same time.

Read this AP article that was filed by CNN this morning:



I will admit that these little compositions are quick and to the point. And they could all be deepened and expanded.

For instance, I am going to pursue forgiveness a bit more in response to many, many e-mails wanting to hear more.

Actually some of the e-mails started out talking about the frustrations of understanding this notion of forgiveness not being a learned but rather -- a choice. Then the e-mails drifted into talking about powerlessness and not having feelings of self-control.

It's good to express those thoughts, but keep in mind that we think in perfect logic. It's only when the thoughts become out-loud-words that gaps in the logic appear.

And we feel unbalanced when our inner and outer worlds are not rational and logical.

So how could powerlessness or lack of self-control tie in with forgiveness?

Imagine those three elements as part of a chain -- all tied together. Heavily tied together. Strong when they're together. If you get enough of these heavy chain pieces, you can lift an anchor to a huge, big ship.

Bonded pieces of a chain. Ties together years and years of feeling powerless, out of control, and unforgiving.

And the ship? It's called the I Don't Have To If I Don't Want To. It sails the seas of torment and unhappiness. Can't find a port to put into that doesn't require at least some forgiving spirit. So this boat stays afloat -- just out there slightly visible against the horizon.

If it's your boat, you reckon that it'll head back to port someday. And maybe when it heads back, you'll be ready for it to dock.

So much for metaphors.

The easiest way to break a chain apart is to either eliminate or destroy its weakest link. Which link in our chain is the weakest, do you think?

Does powerlessness lead to self-control? Or is the opposite true?

One of them is a behavior -- the other is a cognition.

If you guessed self-control as the behavior, you are correct. The sense of powerlessness is a cognition, or a thought process.

You can change your sense of powerlessness without even getting up out of your easy chair. You can change it all by yourself. It doesn't require any interaction with anyone else in your life. This notion of powerlessness is a thought that exists only in that space between your ears. That's territory you can control all by yourself.

So work on changing that powerlessness tape that keeps playing throughout your days to something like these:

I can fix this.
I can ignore insults.
I can learn more about this... (whatever the subject may be)
I can rise above this.
I am strong.
I am a good sport.
I am an ethical person.
I like myself.
I am in charge of me.

Repeat that list to yourself throughout the day. Every day. Add your own power messages to the list. Just be sure they are positive and active.

What I mean is to not say things like "I'm not a bad person." That's a negative thought. Instead, say "I'm a good person."

Active thoughts keep you in charge of your thinking. Saying "I can do this," is so much more powerful that saying something like, "Good thoughts will help me." No no no. Change that to "I will have good thoughts."

You're in charge of your thinking. Start today to build a positive framework on which you are going to construct the new building of yourself.

These thoughts of powerlessness and lack of self-control lead to feelings of guilt. And shame. Everybody knows that, right? Stay away from guilt and shame. If you've done something you regret, remorse is okay. Then you probably owe somebody an apology.

But shame and guilt? They'll keep you in a perpetual state of needing forgiveness -- both from yourself and maybe from others.


8:36 am          Comments

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


We have orange-red rain headed our way. It looks like it's going to get to us in about an hour. I can already hear the rumbling around up there so it will probably be a real frog strangler.

I love the internet. I know -- I know. It contradicts my small town comfort zone. But just think about it -- right now, while you are reading this -- and there are 254 people in the United States clicked on to this site right at this very moment. And so is one reader in Germany and another in Norway.

I just find that truly amazing. How in the world did all of you find this site? Just curious.

Did I tell you that I found a Crystal Light peach flavor here? It says southern joy to me. So you know what I did? Dissolved it in a big pitcher of 7-Up! We drank that up in the heat of the afternoon. Then I did the same thing with pink lemonade last night.

I also made a kind of strawberry shortcake quesadillas for dessert. Talk about "outside the box." But they were delicious. Just smeared cream cheese on two flour tortillas, then sprinkled with Splenda and covered one tortilla with sliced strawberries. Then put the top tortilla onto it and heated them up. Yummy.

For lunch today I'm going to made tomato/provolone/basil quesadillas.

Quint's poison ivy seems to be getting better. He got into a mess of it when we were burning the other day, but it was nothing like last year. That was bad. If you ever get into poison ivy trouble, we highly recommend Zanfel. It clears it right up. We got a tube of it from a nurse friend. Last year she took one look at Quint and said, "Whatever you're doing, stop." Then she turned and went out the door to the office and said, "I'll be right back."

See, it pays to listen to people who know what they're talking about. She came back with a tube of Zanfel. It's a scrub that Quint used for washing the poison ivy spots. It brought immediate relief for Quint's itching. The healing started right away. Within a week, his hands and forearms were back to normal.

If you live near woods or go hiking or go camping, you ought to have a tube of Zanfel in your first aid supplies.

Today is a day for more indoor projects. I'm still looking for two of my favorite saucepans. I thought I had all the kitchen supplies kind of corraled but somehow these two pans snuck away from the rest of the herd. I know they're in this house somewhere so today's the day I'm going to find them.



It's not so much that the weather in Florida is bad for a landing, but rather, NASA isn't so sure about the weather at Mission Control.

I mean, we don't want to hear something like "Houston is a problem."

Better to be safe than sorry. Truthfully, though, I'll feel much better when the shuttle is on the ground safely. I don't like the look of those tiles that have gouges in them. And NASA says "We don't need to fix that right now."

A thought just struck me though. How come we can communicate so well with the astronauts way up there in the sky, flying around in orbit, docked in the space station, and we can't make a cell phone during a flight here on earth for fear of messing up the pilot's communications abilities?

I mean, a number of people aboard Flight #93 on 9/11 made cell phone calls and it didn't cause the plane to crash. Okay, so the plane crashed. But cell phone calls weren't the culprit. Bad guys were the cause of that crash.

Read more at:



When I talk about toxicities, I'm thinking about those little pockets of poison that people keep under lock and key. That's where they hide all the details of everything painful that's ever happened to them.

It's where scripts and scenarios are filed away. Over time, those little pockets of poison become giant file cabinets because of all the accumulated junk that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

That is, unless you're one of those persons who needs to feel pricks of pain in order to feel vital and alive. It isn't that you want to feel uncomfortable and in pain. It's just that you never learned how to write your own original scenario that has happy endings. These are scenarios that bounce around inside you with gleeful, hopping-about joy.

These scenarios are a lot more fun. They reward you with belly laugh moments. They calm down to a wonderful feeling of well-being deep within your soul.

So, you may ask, how do you switch from toxicity to these feelings of wonderment?

I will tell you, but I'm not sure you're going to like the answer.

You have to be willing to choose to forgive.

Forgiveness is a choice. It's not something you learn. I cannot teach anyone to forgive. No one can teach you how to make a choice. It's something you decide you need to do.

What I can do is help you add up the reasons you ought to choose to forgive, versus the reasons you would continue to invest in your misery. Any good counselor could do that. But the choice of whether to forgive or not is yours to make.

Here's the rub: Forgiven people find it easier to forgive others.

So without getting in here too deep -- I mean, after all, this is just a column -- not a book -- I would want to know what an unforgiving person still feels guilty about.

Ah, there's that "g" word again. Guilt is an toxic thingey.

What is that all about?

I mean, there's nothing you could do that would ever make God stop loving you. And he promises forgiveness to each one of us. So if God is willing to forgive you, then whatever you did is erased from the heavenly scoreboard.

That only leaves your little pus pocket of toxicity that needs to be washed out, cleaned out, and doctored up so that healing can take place. First you forgive yourself. It's the beginning of loving yourself.

Maybe that's what God mean when he said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." It starts with forgiving yourself.

There are other toxicities that plague us in our daily lives. And make no mistake aobut it -- it's our daily lives as human beings. We are not robots who can be expected to do the same thing exactly the same way each and every time. We are not perfect creatures who never make mistakes. We hurt other people as we walk through life. Other people hurt our feelings.

It's all part of our humanness. This is not paradise. There was a time when life on earth was paradise. But Adam and Eve messed that up for all of us. Since that time, we've all suffered from being sinful humans beings.

We cannot expect ourselves to be perfect. And we have no right to expect perfection in other people either.

But we must all strive to make good choices. Choosing to forgive is one of the choices you must make.

And don't tell me I don't "get it" when you hold onto those old pains. When you choose not to forgive.

I do understand. It goes like this -- self-mutilators slash out at their bodies. They continue to run shards of glass across their arms or legs. Or scissors. Or knives. And they continue to slash away until the very moment they feel physical pain. By that time, they are a mess. They mark their bodies with lines of pain and suffering.

Maintaining an unforgiving heart is similar except that the pain is toxic and psychological, not physical. An unforgiving person runs shards across their heart and soul. They continue until that moment when they feel their own psychic pain. 

Forgiving others is better and healthier and more loving.


9:40 am          Comments

Monday, August 20, 2007


There is a huge big blob of green on the weather map and it's headed straight for us out of St. Louis. Should be here in about 90 minutes.

That was cue enough for Quint to head to Menards and get downspouts that have not been replaced since the carport was repaired.  He has just enough time if he hurries.

We were sorry to learn that Quint's sister, Frances, passed away quietly in her sleep last Tuesday in California. A memorial service was held yesterday afternoon but we didn't learn of the death in enough time to head out there. She had Alzheimer's for a number of years. No matter how much you anticipate -- no matter how imminent death seems -- it's never the same as the reality of the finalness of a dear one's passing. Fran was the quintessential big sister who took care of -- and cared for -- and cared about everybody in the family. We'll miss her. She leaves a big open space in the family tree that can never be filled.

Yesterday was burn day. We finally finished the project of getting rid of years and years and years of twigs and pruned out tree parts, even some little trees. The fire pit was full of burning timber -- rotten timber -- dried out woody things for a good eight hours yesterday.

We even went down a little ways into the ravine and dragged out an old, rusty oil drum and watched the garbage men squash it this morning. I'm going to dig up some rooted upshoots of my trumpet vine and put back there. Trumpet vines will grow anywhere and the hummingbirds just love the trumpet shaped blooms. Maybe the trumpet vines will choke out the poison ivy that's growing in abundance back there.

First we have to get rid of all the ashes from yesterday's inferno. But no matter. We have moss spaces that need to have the acid level of the soil reduced. Ashes will do that nicely. And we have a pine tree that also has some spaces underneath it where nothing will grow. The ashes will fix that problem too. Ashes, I am told by my chemist husband, neutralizes the acidic soil. Go Quint! Thanks for that tip.

I know the ashes work because we already did that in the "no grow" spaces beneath what had been spruce trees before we cut them down. The spruces had become scraggly, starving and diseased. We probably used up all our carbon credits by cutting them down, but they were starting to go bad from the inside out.

So today is going to be an indoor work day. And from the looks of things, the rest of the week is going to be soggy too. We are getting the remnant rains from Erin's outer bands.

But you just wait until Hurricane Dean comes ashore. It looks like it's going to be a giant hurricane. I did not know that the water temperature out there in the Gulf of Mexico is 80 degrees all the way down to about 500 feet. That's going to be a real strengthening factor for Dean which is already a Category 4 hurricane.

It may not make landfall in the continental U.S. but its outer bands are wide enough to make a big mess with flooding and tornadoes and all kinds of wet disasters.

So for all our readers throughout Texas and the southwest, stay safe. And please stay out of the water that rises in your streets. It's called a flash flood and the water can float a car or truck even if it's only a foot and a half to two feet deep.

Besides, there are often big bad snakes in those waters. Even people walking around in Katrina's street floods got bit by water mocassins. Taking care of yourself means staying on dry land!



But schools and hospitals that were waiting for the release of funds they believe had been promised to them -- as far back as 2002 -- learned that there is a slight little boondoggle (my word) that means their funds aren't coming this year.

According to an article in the Quad Cities Times, "Money for the pay raises, schools and hospitals is contained in a supplemental spending package that is separate from the main budget legislation lawmakers sent to Blagojevich last week. The separate legislation was approved by the General Assembly two months ago and was intended to be used by schools and hospitals in the fiscal year that ended June 30."

See, the schools and hospitals didn't fill out some additional paperwork that had a July 1 deadline.

Well, to the amazement of the agencies that were waiting for the release of the funds, they didn't know there was more paperwork that was required.

Read more at:



Emotional bonding is a learned partnership skill. It relies on friendship and cooperation -- not luck.

Too much investment in the thought that good marriages are the result of good luck means someone in the partnership is engaging in magical thinking.

Truth is, there's nothing magic about plain old hard work, and building a good marriage is often hard work. Just like building a friendship is also work.

And there's nothing magical about having a sense of cooperation. This spirit of cooperation is what I call a partnership imperative. We choose to cooperate.

Consistently being coopertive builds trust between partners.

The oppostive of cooperativeness is argumentativeness. People who are argumentative are hostile, angry people -- but that's another story. Hopefully you aren't in a partnership with an argumentative person.

This spirit of cooperation starts to build early in a relationship. It starts from the first moment that we notice someone who interests us.

First thing we want to know is whether or not this person is going to be available to us -- are we going to have access to this person?

From the start of a wonderful relationship that may bloom into a partnership, there is an attraction that pretty much confirms there are going to be interesting things happening.

We're going to be finding out things about this person who has captivated our interest. It's fun to share our personal history with someone who's doing the same thing.

We even find ourselves getting more and more candid with this other person. Maybe it's at this point that we realize we're becoming more and more emotionally intimate. This person likes us -- warts and all.

And we didn't even know there was such a thing as emotional intimacy.

And then something else starts to happen. It's so subtle that we may not even be aware that it's going on. But it is. Right there in front of our noses. The relationship is starting to develop what I call the rules of engagement.

"Oh no, not rules again," you may say.

It's true. Every relationship we have is a covenant relationship. That is, there are promises to keep. And there are consequences when those promises get trampled on.

These covenants make up the rules. The rules set the structure or the boundaries of the relationship. Suddenly there appears to be a definition of what the relationship is going to look like.

For instance -- is this a relationship that is utimately going to lead to marriage? Give yourself nearly a year to make that decision. No less than nine months, for sure. And no more than a year and a half.

You don't know enough about a person in less than nine months to decide whether you're ready to commit to this person for a lifetime. And you need time to develop a friendship building on the spirit of cooperation. It's not something that can be hurried.

On the other hand, if you're taken almost a year and you still can't decide, maybe you have decided. Maybe you know you aren't going to marry this person but just can't say it out loud just yet. Especially to the other person.

I'm not saying you have to be married within this time frame, but the decision to marry ought to be made within this nine month window. Very often, the people who do get married in less than nine months, or prolong the courtship to four or five years, are the very couples who show up for couple counseling. They want some help in finishing the social engineering process of building their relationship.

If this relationship is headed for marriage, will there be children? I've done a lot of premarital counseling with couples using a test called PREPARE/Enrich. The pastors I work with like this test instrument -- and I do too -- because it highlights a couple's strengths and identifies areas that could be a challenge to the marriage.

There is also an opportunity to answer some very personal questions, like "how many children do you plan to have?"

I remember getting the computer printout/answer guide for one couple where the bride-to-be had answered that she planned to have two children and the guy said none.

Prior to coming in for their premarital counseling, they had never discussed the number of children they planned to have until they took that test. They came for more than the required four sessions. They continued counseling after their returned for their honeymoon.

Eventually they worked it through and I got an invitation to a christening a couple of years later. I still get Christmas cards from them. They now have four children.

I'll bet they had some very interesting conversations over the years. They removed the barriers they had placed on their relationship. It's easy for a couple to do this if the barriers were put there by one person or another. Or both.

Is this relationship going to be a "let's take a look and live together first" type of relationship? If that's the case, you need to know that the research says the failure rate of cohabiting prior to marriage is about 87%. Those aren't good odds and they do not duplicate the commitments of a marriage relationship.

Is this a relationship that is going to have a strong faith base? If that's the case, are you practicing your faith together now? You don't have to wait until you walk down the aisle to go to worship every week. And I have to tell you another piece of research that says couples who become active in a church home have a divorce rate of 6%! Those are incredible odds for success. Becoming active in a church home means that you do more than just warm a pew or a chair on Sunday or Saturday, as the case may be. You go find yourself a job to do in the church whether it's teaching Sunday School, working in a church library, helping out with folding the worship folders, etc.

Cooperation with one another -- builds trust.

Trusting your partner -- builds intimacy.

Building intimacy -- lets you find yourself back to each other. Remember -- it's the partner who left who has the responsibility of building the bridges back.

Need help? Ask your partner for help.

See if you can recapture that feeling of something wonderful happening between the two of you.

Tuesday -- we'll talk about getting rid of the toxicities in a relationship. Warning -- forgiveness plays a big part.


9:21 am          Comments

Friday, August 17, 2007


Hah! We thought we were gonna sneak out to lunch yesterday after we updated our cell phones.

Then we looked at the sky. There were these huge dark clouds swirling about overhead that looked as if they could pick up our house and whisk it away. We made a mad dash back across town -- mainly to shut the windows -- then watched the blustry mess blow over. It left us slightly less than a tenth of an inch of rain.

But it did cool things down a bit. I'm grateful for that.

Not sure what we're going to do today. We still have a five-page Things To Do List. Problem is, whenever we finish one thing, three other things get added on. But no matter. That happens to be how we remember to get things done.

If I didn't have my paper and pencil brain, I'd never remember half this stuff.



Beijing is getting ready for the Olympics in all sorts of ways.

Not just building projects or stadia at various venues.

Nope. They're going to clean up the air. And how, you may ask, are they going to do that?

Well, they aren't going to scrub it, that's for sure. The game plan on the table right now is to cut number of drivers way back. Way way back.

Today is the first day. If you are a Beijing driver and your car ends in an odd number, your car is allowed on the road. What a great idea! Think it would work on our snarling interstates here in the U.S.?

Sure. Would anyone ever dream of doing it? Never gonna happen.

We'll see how happy the Chinese are after a few days and the novelty has worn off. There's a growing middle class of people over there and they have gotten pretty used to having their little car cars. Just like us in the U.S.

Don't mess with our wheels!

Read more at:



Hey, listen. We all bring the unfinished business of carrying childhood wounds around for a while. Eventually they get too heavy a burden to cart around and if we can't make them get off our backs, we go see someone who can help us do just that.

There are a great many people who are able to clean up these wounds on their own after some good, cognitive nudging that leads them down a different path.

Cognition distortions are ways that a wounded self can confront reality that may be too threatening.

Cognitions are mental processes -- how we put things together in our heads. We are always trying to make 2 + 2 = 4. If our thought processes don't get distorted along the way into adulthood, things work out. Otherwise, we may get 5 or 6 for the answer. That's just a mathematical error. But when we come up with what looks like the right answer (4) by adding the wrong things together, we could have a distorted thought process.

So you say it doesn't matter as long as you come up with the correct answer. That's not necessarily a true statement in the real world of human relationships.

For instance, two children plus two parents equals one American pie family. But one child plus three parents also gives you four people. But see how things changed? In the first place, what did you do with the other kiddo? And having three parents? Do they all live under the same roof? Are we talking about a blended family where the "odd parent out" is a part-timer who gets visitation rights?

So it's true, though, that you ended up with four people who are interdependent on each other for nurturance, but the picture of how they interact with one another is quite different from my simple version of 2 + 2 = 4.

Perfectionism is one of these cognitive distortions. These kiddos grow up with the notion that they can't ever do anything right -- they never will either.

They don't get much nurture or affirmation as they race toward adulthood. But they keep trying. Harder and harder, they try. Eventually, lack of perfectionism just can't be tolerated.

They make exacting partners. Woe be unto you if you leave your cute little socks by your chair in the living room -- planning to pick them up in the morning. That just will not do.

And if you don't pick up your socks, you'll get a very unpleasant label tagged onto you -- something like irresponsible.

But it's just a pair of socks. I've always done that.

Well, not in my house, one partner says.

Oh, so now it's about your house. Funny, I thought it was our house.

There, now you've got a little mini-war on your hands. Now it's become a matter of territory.

Actually what has happened is that one partner has gotten too close to the wound. The wound, in this case, is perfectionism.

Can't fight about that. The parents always won that battle. But we can fight about territory. That kind of flattens the playing field a bit. We can kiss and make up about the territory thing. It's not a wounded part of my psyche.

But perfectionism? Never. Must never fight about that. The house must always be perfect -- like a magazine picture. No mess. Nothing out of place. Always dusted. Less than perfect is too stressful. Leaving your socks on the floor upsets my perfectionistic sense of order.


Because my mom said so. Or my dad said so.

Doesn't matter who said it. The problem is, you believe it. Time to clean out that wound, put some antiseptic in there and let it heal. All the way down to the psyche where the wound is resting. Just feel the soothing balm of the medicine reaching all those little outer edges of psychic pain as you let go of the perfectionism.

On Monday, I'll talk about another wound, though not necessarily a cognitive distortion. That is: having trouble bonding with your partner. It's kind of like lack of emotional intimacy but slightly different. Maybe deeper.


9:10 am          Comments

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Yesterday was an adventure day. We drove over to Altamont and had lunch at the Dairy Bar. It has a nice salad bar and pizza slices and meatloaf and fried chicken, plus many side dishes.

Then when we were watching the news last night, some channel was doing an investigative report on salad bars in New York City. The cold dishes are supposed to be sitting there at no more than 41 degrees all the time. But all the salad bars that were tested -- there were seven of them -- had salad bar items that ranged in the 70 degree area.

Our salad bar at the Dairy Bar must have been okay because we didn't even get sick.

We had several big moments when we got back from Altamont -- registered to vote at the county building, filled out a homestead exemption form, got our library card, changed our address at the Secretary of State's office, and came home for some iced tea and burned more of the pile of yard rubbish that was piled up at the back of the property.

I've been writing about that pile of rubbish for some time. It was a good seven or eight feet high when we bought this place. No kidding. Well, we've been whittling it down little by little when we were coming down here on weekends. We are almost finished. That will be one project that we'll be glad to also have finished.

On the other side of the rubbish pile is a fairly deep ravine. Don't know if it had been a creek that is now dried up or just erosion or something else. But we are re-claiming the land that's underneath the pile of limbs that must have been accumulating over a long time.

It's hard to believe that we actually took ownership on this property one year ago today and that we've been living here full-time -- not just on weekends -- for an entire month.

And the referring insurance companies have found me and are sending new clients. So I guess the vacation is over. There went my short-lived retirement. At least I don't have to commute very far.



So far there are 337 souls perished. Unlike the huge earthquake in 1970 that killed 60,000 owing to a landslide that was triggered by that earthquake which buried an entire village.

This earthquake's epicenter was out in the Pacific a little ways, nearly 90 miles south of Lima.

We lift our prayers for safe rescues for all the survivors.



No matter what kind of relationship we're talking about -- whether marriage, dating, work, or the like, we need three different elements that will make us feel connected to another person.

Those elements are: empathy -- sensitivity -- reciprocity

Big words. Lots of meanings. So I'll talk about them one at a time.

Empathy -- When we have an empathic relationship with someone, we are able to figure out what they mean when they say something.

Doesn't that sound easy?

It would be nice if it were. But it isn't all that easy. Different words have different meanings for different people. And we attach meanings sometimes when the words get filtered through feelings of discomfort or pain.

We need to really listen to the other person to see what they mean, so that we can figure out what we think they mean. Best way to figure this out is to say something like, "Let me see if I understand what you mean." Or "See if I got this right."

Now keep in mind that you aren't going to get it right 100% of the time unless you're one of those persons who can make the claim of being infallible. So far as I know, there aren't any perfect people walking about anymore, so you're going to have to give yourself a "check off" and at least be willing to say "Correct me if I'm wrong."

Keep in mind that the only person who really knows what the other person means is that person.

The second area of connectedness is sensitivity.

We all like to think we're sensitive people.

We like to do nice things for people we like.

We like to comfort people who are suffering.

When we are sensitive to other people, we try to accommodate their needs. If, for instance, a person is crying, we can offer them a hanky -- or embrace them.

There are many ways to show someone we care. Sensitive people seem to know how to do this really well.

The third area of feeling a connection with someone is reciprocity.

Couples who are surviving well are reciprocating in their relationship. A lot.

It's what my grandma meant when she said, "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." Or "one hand washes the other."

If you do something for me, you're far more likely to get something back that you want.

And if I do something for you, I expect something in return. It's part of our humanness.  It's the way we play the game in relationships.

A sidebar here: a game is defined as a set of transactions. It's not checkers or chess or football, etc. In human relationships, it's an mental outline of how things are done.

This outline has a lot to do with what my expectations are and whether you are  meeting them.

If they aren't, I'm gonna think you've hit me a foul ball. I will not be happy.

We all make emotional investments in our relationships. The longer the relationship, hopefully the more emotional coinage there is in the piggy bank.

But I can tell you one thing for certain: when you are feeling depleted adn you go to that piggy bank to get some more emotional coins, you bet you expect some increase to be there. Reciprocity adds emotional coinage to what's in your piggy bank.

Without reciprocity, relationships just kind of sit there and stagnate.

For instance, going to longwinded, sometimes boring (mainly because I don't know much of what the lecturer is talking about) speeches with Quint is how I get him to take me to the ballet or a concert.

Reciprocity. Powerful, powerful stuff.

On Friday, I'll pick a topic from an e-mail to respond to. So if you have a burning question, send me an e-mail (remember to put something about my blog in the subject line so I'll know you're coming from this blog). Please do not leave the subject line blank.


8:50 am          Comments

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We are done with the ceiling fans. Last one went up yesterday in the laundry area.

That was a really big project -- kind of like getting ready for a big holiday and then, suddenly, it's done and you sit around waiting for family members to come over to help you celebrate.

So we'll sit around for a bit and see which one of our projects on the list we want to tackle next.

Maybe we'll just decompress a bit. You know, be good to ourselves. Have an adventure. Go check out one of the towns nearby. Transplant a blackberry bush that the next door neighbor is giving me. (The nice neighbor to the south, that is. Not Mr. Grumpy who lives just north of us.)

Quint says he's going to mow the back yard. So that means I need to make lots of iced tea.

Today is supposed to be the day when the inferno breaks and we get back to just plain old summertime. Don't know about you but this 95+ degree temperature is a bunch of nonsense.

Check up on your friends and neighbors to make sure they are staying cool and have plenty of water available to them.



Okay, so he's a politicians. We're not supposed to expect good manners from them, I guess.

But to leave a crowd standing and waiting for an hour and twenty minutes on concrete is ridiculous.

Was it hot yesterday in Des Moines, Iowa? You bet it was.

But a concrete parking lot? No trees for shade?

Who were these people who would stand out there for that long?

AARP members, that's who. I would have left after about fifteen minutes, folks.

So who are AARP members? Seniors, that's who. The very ones we're supposed to be concerned about when it's riproaring hot!

Shame on Mr. Edwards.



There are basically four kinds of intimacy that make a relationship really, really work well.

The first of these is physical intimacy. If it weren't for physical interest, people wouldn't even get together in the first place.

First you meet somebody. Then you figure out that this may be an interesting person to get to know. Or maybe it's a person who is just plain old drop dead gorgeous. Or maybe it's a soothing tone of voice when you listen to this person.

No matter what, there is something physical that draws you to this person. When you are using your physical senses -- sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste -- you are developing physical intimacy.

Just wanting to be together. A telephone call. Meeting for coffee. Going to a movie and scrunching down in the seat to fit into each other's embrace. Measuring yourself up next to this person -- how well do you fit together? That's getting a sense of physical intimacy.

Next is intellectual intimacy. Okay, so now you've been introduced. And you like each other enough to at least go to lunch or dinner together.

Then what do you do?

You sit around and talk, that's what. And talk some more. And then you said ...

Intellectual intimacy involves sharing ideas. It could be writing letters or e-mails if you aren't very close to each other -- or talking on the phone if you aren't able to actually be within hand-touching physical contact.

It's talking about people, places and things.

Couples who are interested in each other want to eat, drink and sleep each other. They chatterbox all the time. "What did you think of..." they ask.

Or, "You want to know what I think about that?"

When this is going on, we have a couple in the midst of developing intellectual intimacy. This kind of intimacy will seek a new level of understanding that I call perspective taking.

Perspective taking is one of the most powerful things that can happen to a couple from an intellectual standpoint. It's being able to look at another person's point of view. Doesn't mean you have to agree with it. Doesn't mean you have to change your own point of view.

But eventually we all reach a level of maturation where we realize that not everyone on the planet holds the same point of view that we do. And even in our most cherished relationships, there are actually times when we disagree with what our true love says.

Hopefully, in those times, you can at least be willing to look at the other person's point of view. If you think you're really good and maturely grounded, I'd suggest you flip your points of view and discuss them. I sometimes have couples try this in a counseling session.

Is it easy? My goodness no. Is it a learning experience? Profoundly and powerfully so.

Third on the list is spiritual intimacy. This is where you find out, as a couple, where God fits into your lives.

It isn't about religion, specifically. Although it could be. Spirituality has to do with your relationship with God.

You definitely want to get this one powerfully embedded into your relationship before you start bringing children into the world. Parents are supposed to be spiritual lighthouses for their children. You don't want to launch your children into a free fall in space and let them find God on their own.

Spiritual intimacy, for you as a couple, works best when you both recognize that God is in control of your lives and that you are living within that God part of each of you -- your soul.

Your soul is alive deep within you. It's where God takes up residence within you. Believe in God. Live for God. As a couple, and as individuals.

And finally, there's emotional intimacy.

If you didn't build in emotional intimacy, it's going to cause unrest for all your days.

Emotional intimacy is where you become willing to be really risky with your relationship. You can finally feel like you can take a chance in confiding how you feel about yourself. Warts and all.

And all the time, you're hoping against all hope that your true love will still love you even when you divulge your flaws.

When you are able to do this, you have achieved emotional intimacy.

You need all four types of intimacies if you are going to head for the "run for the gold."

But which intimacy gets set aside? Emotional intimacy. It's the one that couples either don't work on because it's too difficult for them. Or they think it will just fall into place because they love each other so much.

That kind of magical thinking will get you in trouble fast.

You have to think of yourselves as structural engineers when it comes to building a relationship. Good solid relationships take time. They take a lot of work and effort. And if you're going to get married, or stay married, you'd better be willing to put in a lot of time and effort building and nurturing your relationship.

Otherwise, you're just wasting time.

On Thursday, and while we are talking about relationships, I'll share with you three different ways that say you're connected with each other.


9:54 am          Comments

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I doubt if you're going to be thrilled to know this but we are planning on installing the very last ceiling fan in the laundry area of the basement.

Then we will be done with our hanging ceiling fans career -- as in "stick a fork in me" done!

Yesterday we had an adventure. Went to Mt. Vernon to the nearest Lowes. Mt. Vernon is about an hour south of us. We needed another gallon of sand colored concrete paint to match the basement floor that we're half done painting.

Got it. Had lunch at Chilis and came back home.

Well, actually I stocked up on some other items. I'm going to try my hand at staining the linen closet door and frame that was recently built in a hallway. If that works out well, then I'll tackle window frames. But first I'll try refinishing a little step stool. That will give me practice in removing some pretty old stain.

When we got home I put up the trellis at the back of the carport and put up some very nice flowers we had gotten the other day at Wal-Mart. The yard is filled with color -- some real plants that are blooming profusely -- like the Impatiens and Petunias and Roses -- and others that are "planted" on the trellis and here and there.

I'm not trying to win a garden walk competition so I don't mind admitting that lots of the flowers are designer originals, the others are God's creations. Both types have been planted by me.



My, oh my, oh my! Where did the Freedom of Information Act go? And whatever happened to the "the public has a right to know?"

There are some 2 million pages of Hillary documents from her days at the White House that are locked up at the Clinton Presidential Library and they aren't going to be released until after the election.

Now, any adviser who's worth her salt would surely tell Herhonore the Hillaryness that hiding behind all that secrecy just makes the American voter salivate all the more to learn about what's been hidden away.

Schedules and calendars and documents galore. Hiding behind all that secrecy will cost her votes, doesn't she know that?

I mean, if she's got nothing to hide, then why hide?

Read more details in this LA Times article:,1,1086895.story?track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true



I just cannot resist a comment here. Everyone else is speculating and they probably don't know any more than I do so here goes.

First of all, Rove has a reputation for being the architect of Bush's success to the White House.

And then, there was all that scuttlebutt to keep tamped down.

Now, Rove is resigning.

What is it about the end of August?

Well, the speculation with a capital "S" is that Fred Thompson will be announcing his White House run in early September. Let's see now, Labor Day would be a good time to connect with the American workers, er taxpayers.

So who could he get -- who could he get -- who could he get to be his vice presidential nominee?

Why, none other than Jeb Bush, of course.

What a team that would be!

Karl Rove, the Magnificent, gets the work with another Bush dash for the Oval. Sort of.

There, fixed it. End of rumoring.



Well, at least, one of the ultimates.

You can have twin peaks. I saw a movie about that once.

But seriously, there are basically four kinds of intimacies: Physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional.

Today I want to talk about the emotional intimacy because it's the one type that get's shoved aside, ignored, or just plain old denied.

If you've got emotional intimacy in your marriage, then you've got a really good chance of going for the gold. If you don't, chances are your marriage is going to dry up on the vine of good faith and die out.

So what is emotional intimacy?

It's a willingness to be vulnerable to the one you love. It's a willingness to take a really big risk and share all those feelings you have about yourself that you thought you'd never tell another living soul.

It's even owning up to admitting that you're less than perfect. And hoping against all hope that your partner will love you anyway.

Now, do you think a passive aggressive person can do all that?

Not likely.

The passive aggressive person operates on a day-to-day basis from a pallette that has shades of fear around the outside edges. If you start to get too close to the PA, they're going to feel like you're invading them. Meddling in areas that don't concern you. Trying to get on their good side. Must be up to something.

Start to sound just a teensy bit paranoid?

Of course! Where do you think that fear gets triggered?

Old, old fears. Reaches back across huge gulfs of time. Goes all the way back to times the PA would just as soon not remember, except that the memories keep getting pushed up to the surface anyway.

It's all those good feelings that are underneath the bad feelings. The good feelings are pushing the bad stuff up to the surface. Has a velocity of its own. Maybe one of these days all the bad feelings will come to the top and get blown away.

That's mostly what happens during lovers' quarrels. Most of the bad feelings get tossed overboard and what's left is a euphoric moment or two when life is absolutely wonderful. Just the two of you. Ah, it's so great to finally be understood and accepted and loved.

Then the cycle starts all over again because the psyche of the PA wouldn't let all the bad emotions get sorted out and tossed out.

Saved some, didn't you?

Well, hang onto the memory of those wonderful times. Life -- all of life -- can be like that when you finally are able to let the good memories come up the surface and stay there.

When you are finally able to say, "Just let it go."

When you finally allow yourself a mafioso moment and utter, "Just forgetaboutit."

When you finally decide that you will choose to forgive all those mean people who have been mean to you because they did mean things.

When you finally realize that you don't want to be passive anymore. Take full and complete charge about what that 3-pound organ sitting at the top of your neck is doing. Your brain will believe exactly what you tell it to. It's the most gullible organ in your body.

So just announce to your brain that you are in charge and it can just settle down and behave.

No more passive stuff. "I'm in charge here." Say it. And say it again.

Passivity is hostile. It's a quiet retaliation against all the shadows that live in the cave of your head. Aggression is hostile. It's an outward retaliation against anything and anybody that threatens to harm you, whether those threats are real or perceived.

Passive aggression is a ridiculous combo that does not serve you well. So put a leash on it and train it to just sit there and behave.


NOTE: Unless I hear otherwise, on Wednesday, I'll talk about the other 3 kinds of intimacies in a relationship.

Also, I've had a huge number of e-mails in the last several days that did not have anything at all in the subject line. They were deleted without being opened.

So if you are sending me an e-mail, give me some clue that you are coming from my web site, or, you can use my maiden name: HALTOM. Then I'll know for sure that you got it here.

When I was teaching psychology at Joliet Junior College. I used to tell my students to make sure they put the class in the subject line, whether it was Abnormal Psych, Intro to Psych or Life Span Development. But there would always be one in a class who wouldn't do that.

One such student disturbed me and I was tempted to open the e-mail. It was from a person who called himself "suicideattempter." So in the next class period I put his "name" on the board and asked the him to see me after class. It turned out to be a male student and why didn't he put the class in the subject line?

"Oh, yeah," he remembered. I also suggested he change his name. He didn't. His choice.

9:05 am          Comments

Monday, August 13, 2007


It's still hot, hot, hot! Quint got the new thermostat installed so we kicked on the air conditioner to give it a test run. It was so successful that we decided to leave it running through the night.

We actually had rain in the wee small hours. More rain is forecast this morning. The lawns really need it. Those poor little parched blades of grass must be feeling pretty abused right now.

The big project of the day is to install the last of the ceiling fans in the laundy area of the basement.

Then I promise not to buy any more ceiling fans.

It's hard to believe that we moved in just a couple of days shy of a month ago.

The place is starting to reflect our fingerprint. That would mean lots of flowers. I had planted a border of bright pink petunias out front. I can just hear their happy little giggles when we pull into the driveway. Poor little things have nearly died of thirst though. On some days when it was over 100 degrees in our yard, I gave them a drink twice a day. They've survived nicely and the added watering kept them from dying off, I think. Plus, I feed them with a "blooming plant" food.

Yesterday we got two trellises at a wonderful store called Rural King. They were season closeouts and since I couldn't make them for the amount being asked, I grabbed them. Promptly installed them two minutes after we got back to the driveway. I have a handy dandy Black & Decker power screwdriver and I use a Dremmel to make the pilot holes. They're on the ends of a work area on the outside back wall of the newly repaired carport. I have some 2x12 shelves where I'm putting my clay pots. I also have a table for a nice flat work area for gardening stuff.

I went to Wal-Mart after supper and picked up eighteen bunches of flowers that I'm going to arrange on the new trellises. I have no shame. Artificial flowers are just fine -- especially when it's this late in the year and there's no way I could get anything planted in time to bloom.

Next year, I'll put some vining roses on the trellises and all will be well. In the interim, my roses' silk cousins will do just fine.



This time it's the Endeavour which is already out there circling the earth.

Now, some spectacular photos of Endeavour's belly shows three heat tiles that may have to be replaced. NASA hasn't decided what to do about the yet, or even if the gouges are a problem.

They are contemplating the possibility of sending astronauts up there to fix them.

For the rest of the story and some spectacular photos by AP/NASA, go to:



And yet, women have a lot to lose by not voting as much as their male counterparts.

They say they aren't as politically connected. I say get connected.

They say they don't know who to vote for. Find out. Research the candidates.

They say it doesn't matter. Oh, but it does. It matters a lot -- maybe especially to women.

But let me make something clear here -- I am not a feminist. I don't believe women should have more rights than men, but I do believe both men and women should have the same opportunities available when they are equally qualified to do a job.

Women need a voice. If you don't vote, your voice will not be heard. Don't believe for one minute that all the politicians running around out there on the campaign trail have your best interests at hearts.

Nope. There are more than a few who are just collecting campaign money and will fade away when they lose this election. You won't hear from them again until it's time to vote again.

So ask yourself: what has any of these politicians done for society to make it a better place?

Do they go to church regularly. For me, this is a big factor. I simply will not vote for a politician who can't even get up off his/her you know what once a week to go to church to worship God who provides all the bounties under heaven. If they aren't thankful to him for that, they don't get my vote.

I want to vote for someone who worships God, not themselves.

Learn to recognize talking points. Most of these can be ignored. Talking points are idle promises that politicians can't deliver. They either do not have the constitutional authority to deliver or they would need a majority in congress to deliver.

But talking points sound good. And they're very persuasive. They are meant to be believable. Mostly, they're B.S. Don't fall for the talking points. They were written by people who have been hired by the politicians.



Passive aggressive people perpetuate a feeling of victimhood. That is, until they get pretty sick and tired of being sick and tired.

PAs know they don't feel good about themselves. They'd like to but no one has shown them how to do that.

And I mean going all the way back to being a little kid when feelings of victimhood of set up in a child's psyche.

For instance, a child may make a mess. A big mess. Instead of letting the child clean it up -- or requiring the child to clean up the mess -- one of the parents will berate the child for making a mess.

It doesn't take too long before the child will get the idea that they can't do anything right. And that's a very short psychic distance from the thought of "why bother. I never get it right anyway."

And so the early threads of passive aggression start to weave themselves together. Pretty soon, PA, Jr. starts to look outside himself or herself for someone to blame when things don't go right.

Look, in a functional (as opposed to dysfunctional) family, when a 3-year-old spills a glass of milk, it's just something pretty cascading out of a glass.

When an adolescent makes a mess, the first thing the adolescent does is to look around and see who to blame.

When adults make a mess, they start looking for solutions to the problem.

Children who have been trained to be PAs could stay stuck in emotional adolescence for all their lives. They may be leading productive, successful lives within their careers. And doing very well, at that.

But their emotional lives are filled with heartaches and fears.

When they come for couple counseling, my first challenge is to describe what is going on in their relationship -- without making a blame statement about the partner.

Oh, that's hard for some to do.

They can't make psychic statements either. That's another crutch that PAs use. They want to convince you that they "know" what's really going on, what makes you tick, why you do things, and what motivates you.

Well, if they're so good about being psychic, they ought to go hang out in a restaurant and charge people $40 for a fifteen minute psychic session. The truth is, they don't know what their partner's motivations are unless they ask. They don't know what their partners are thinking unless that information is shared.

I am always amazed at what Quint is thinking. When he's been quiet for a while, I usually ask him what he's thinking about. Once, on the way to the office, he responded to that question with, "Oh, I was just wondering how much debris is trapped in the Arctic Shelf and where it came from."

Another time it was "How'd they ever figure to use horses as a gauge for measuring the power of cars."

Passive aggressive people can most certainly become good problem solvers. And in passive aggressive homes and families, it's just not possible to simple make a mistake. There's something more sinister going on that requires blaming.

But there's a better way. 

Learn to be self-forgiving and practice saying "Oops, wish I hadn't done that. I'm sorry."

Since passive aggressive people form magnetic relationships with other passive aggressive people, they have to both decide to re-engineer their inner psyches -- preferably at the same time.

The first step?

No more blame statements. That's where the faulty foundation is. It needs to be repaired with lots of love and acceptance.

On Tuesday, I'll talk about the passive aggressive's fear of emotional intimacy. Big surprise -- it comes out of today's message.


8:36 am          Comments

Friday, August 10, 2007


Success! The ceiling fan in the downstairs office (the basement) is duly installed. And the magnetized screwdriver worked like a charm. It reduced our installation time by at least an hour because we did not have to spend any time on our hands and knees looking for dropped screws and washers. Oh, the marvels of modern technology.

My big deal project today is to can about 6 pints of Salsa. That's been on my agenda for at least two or three days. Then I'm going over to the farm stand and get a whole bunch of green beans to put in the freezer.

We like green beans. A lot. I microwave the frozen green beans and when they're ready, put in a 3 oz. package of cream cheese. It makes a nice gravy and tastes delicious. The first time I prepared green beans that way, the grandkids kept asking for more. It's a good way to get both a green vegetable and calcium from the cream cheese.

Fortunately, the hot weather has relented a bit. I just may be able to get outside today and weed some flowers. I think the Impatiens and Petunias are a little perturbed at me because of the interloping weeds that decided to grow in amongst them.

And that should just about run me out of ambition for the day.



That is, the American public does not trust the news media -- 64% says the news organizations' reporting is biased.

Too much editorializing (columnists) and not enough reporting.

And 53% of the people polled say that the news organizations don't stand up for America. To me, that's the worst of the worst. When did news organizations get to be so un-American?

Can we really put our fingers on the tipping point of when things started to change?

I don't know the answer to that, but I do know this: the old-time newspapers are bleeding red ink on their balance sheets. Readers are running away as fast as they can.

When the readership keeps dropping, advertisers run away too. Then newspapers start laying off reporters.

The internet has played a part, for sure.

We don't watch TV news at all anymore. Can't tolerate the 16 minutes of advertising pumped into ever hour of broadcasting. But then, that's why we don't watch TV all that much either. And then, have you noticed that just before the advertising break, the commentators promise to have a news story that you may have been interested in, but you have to wade through all those commercials?

Don't do that anymore. If they can't report the news when they have it, throwing in a teaser is just another game they play.

Where did I put that clicker?

Breitbart ran the story this morning:



Two things I did not know about Merv Griffin: (1) he has had prostate cancer since 1996 and (2) he is 82 years old.

He is now in the hospital in southern California in "grave" condition.

That does not sound very hopeful.

We need to pray for Merv Griffin and all who love him and care for him.



In a perfect world, there would not be any passive aggressive (PA) people running around.

Their world is filled with fears -- fears of being intimate, fears of being called on to take responsibility for what they've done -- fears of being viewed as inadequate -- fears of being unable to deliver on promises.

And that's just a small little list of some of the things that plague the PA.

PA manifests itself in a lot of ways.

In what appears to be innocence and helplessless, a PA begs and pleads quietly. If they've somehow gotten the "right" partner, their lives appear to be blissful. Their partners seem to just know what the little darling hopes for and will do just about anything to alleviate the PA's frustration.

Here's where the roots start to emerge. The PA doesn't know how to set goals to get what they want. They spend much of their time and energy getting other people to recognize what they want and just, well, supply it.

Being psychic should help a lot when it comes to living with a PA. If not psychic, then being extremely intuitive will be helpful.

So if all behavior has a meaningful goal in mind, what in the world would be the goal of a helpless PA?

Simple. This is how they get their dependency needs met.

Oh, for sure, the PA yearns for independence and somehow equates this independence with having enough money to buy anything and everything out there. But somewhere along the line, the PA realizes that it isn't about money, or shopping their way through all those negative feelings about themselves. 

The PA doesn't really want to be dependent on others but they don't know how to become truly independent and autonomous. That is, self-governing. And if they can't have autonomy, they'll settle for control.

Remember that word -- "control?" People use control methods to make their lives predictable. And if the PA can't be autonomous, they'll try every trick they know to control their environment and the people in it.

Autonomous people can make their lives pretty predictable without having to resort to passive aggressive methods of controlling others.

Remember -- aggression is a hostile act. Passive aggression is hostile too, even though it appears that the PA may be agreeing with you. The PA may just be taking a recess and marking time for a while.

By the time the PA gets to be an adult, there's a whole menu of opportunities that have brought success in the past. For instance, these are the young adult whose parents have always been right there to solve all the problems and hand out a few bucks for emergency cash.

There's an interdependence going on here. The young adult becomes a full adult, but not an autonomous one. He's still hitting up on mom or dad when the car payment didn't quite get paid, or the rent. Mom and Dad don't mind. They shrug their shoulders and say, "Will he ever stop needing us?" or "What's she going to do when we aren't here anymore?"

The payoff for Mom and Dad is the continuing feeling of being needed.

The payoff for the PA in training is the continuing supply of needs and wants.

That's just one example of how the PA-in-training becomes a full-fledged PA.

But there's another aspect of passive aggression that's murky. They tend to be really good at sabotage. In a work environment, if another worker gets noticed by the PA's boss, you can bet that the PA is going to figure out a way to undermine all that. It might be an important message that didn't get delivered. Or a project only got finished halfway and sloppily at that. Either way, the PA is going to figure out how to make the other person look bad without it ever being traced back to the PA.

After all, PAs don't take responsibility for their mistakes. There is no accountability for the PA.

Their lives are driven by fears. And the primary #1 fear in their minds is that of being discovered for what they are. They are absolutely terrified that someone will see them as imposters.

Monday's subject: fear of intimacy (another passive aggression) -- and I can tell you that at 1 pm, there have been a lot of other questions about passive aggression in general, so we may stay on this topic for several days.



As it turns out, 1934 is the warmest year on record. In fact, according to new data supplied from NASA five of the top ten hottest years on record all occurred prior to World War II.

Turns out that a Y2K bug showed up in the reporting software that NASA uses.

A blogger on the website broke the story this morning. 

Steve McIntyre of Toronto, who operates the website began to investigate both the data and how they were arrived at. McIntyre discovered a discontinuity in the data in the year 2000.

He then challenged NASA and, although NASA does not reveal its methods or its source code, the agency did quietly correct the data on its web site. The big news is that 1998 is not the warmest year on record. 1934 is.

Read the blog here:

So, do you think Al Gore is going to quietly correct his inconvenient truth? Or is he just going to fade away with all the other snake oil salesmen that rode into town during the frontier days?

Guess the answer to that question depends on which way the money tree is shaking.

I sure am glad all this came to light before congress made summer illegal, what with it getting hot during that time an all.

We just can't have any of this global warming. It's too hot. Someone make the sun cool down, will you?

Maybe we could send a giant space ship filled with ice cubes to the sun! Al Gore would be my recommendation for pilot.


8:36 am          Comments

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Supposedly this is the last day of really hot steamy weather. Truthfully, though, I can't tell the difference in subtle changes in temperature when it gets into the 90s.

Then there's Quint who keeps saying, "These are the days we long for when it's 10 below in the winter."

And how about that tornado in Brooklyn this morning? That's something you never expect to see in the Big Apple. An F2 at that.

Well, let's see. We crossed off two things on our Things To Do List and added four more this morning.

We did get the pegboard hung up in the craft area of the basement and am using the back side of bookcases as a room divider with the pegboard above them. Then we put shelves on the pegboard -- two shelves, but we need one more. We already have the table for crafting, wrapping presents, etc. It came from the office.

High on the priority list today is installing a ceiling fan in the office area downstairs. We've been talking about it for days now. But today is the day when it comes to the top of the list and stays there. Then there will only be one more ceiling fan -- in the laundry area. Hopefully we will never need to put up another ceiling fan in our entire life.

Today we are trying out the new magnetized screwdriver. It ought to save us about an hour since we, hopefully, won't be dropping any more screws on the floor. Black screws going into the black housing of a fan motor to fasten blades onto the fan was a nightmare.

By the time the last one gets installed, we will have put up seven. There were two in the condo before we sold it: kitchen and dining room. Then, in the house: one in the office upstairs, one in Quint's workshop area in the basement, one in the kitchen at the house, now the office downstairs, and one in the laundry area.

I am forever grateful for my handy dandy Black & Decker cordless screwdriver. Got it for Christmas last year. And I have a cordless Dremmel which I use to make pilot holes. Quint and I can put shelves up in practically no time.



It was 135 miles an hour of ferocious fatality. Trees uprooted. A lady died in deep water at an underpass she probably ought not to have been driving in.

Scary stuff for Kansas, huh?

But it was terrifying for Brooklyn. One neighborhood lost some 40 percent of its trees. Lots of them fell on cars. Winds blew off roofs. Even JFK Airport was in the line of fire. More than three inches of rain fell on JFK in less than an hour. That put a damper on landings. Same was true of LaGuardia Airport.

See the story on CNN:



According to an article on Fox News, rescue efforts have a lifeline -- a 2" pipe that could bring fresh air -- within 200 feet of where the miners are believed to be. Another pipe that's about 9" in diameter ought to reach the chamber by Friday.

We pray that the miners will be found alive, and we pray for the anguished family members who are holding onto the thinnest thread of hope for their loved ones who are trapped in the mine.

Read more:,2933,292669,00.html



If so, try this recipe for ranch dressing. It makes 16 servings.


1 cup light or fat-free mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. chopped green onion
3 T. sugar substitute
1 T. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 t. minced fresh garlic
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix all the ingredients together but the buttermilk. After everything is mixed really well, then add the buttermilk and whisk really well. Then refrigerate for a couple of hours to let all the seasonings get to know one another. Kind of like a little party going on in your refrigerator.

It's absolutely delicious. You can add your own variations to the recipe, like bits of bacon, or bits of finely chopped cucumbers. I've even added a little salsa and some ground red pepper to add some zip.

But if you look at the recipe, can you see anything mysterious that would warrant a huge price at the supermarket? I don't think so.




Every couple ought to have a list of expectations -- an understanding of what they expect a partner to do and how they expect a partner to behave.

That list of expectations ought to be in two parts -- a short list and a longer list.

Newlywed couples coming back fresh from honeymoons will absolutely swear that they love their partners so much just the way they are and don't have any expectations of them.

Somehow or other, that list of expectations gets re-translated into "how I want my partner to change."

That is not the same thing as a list of expectations.

For instance, would you condone your partner's physical abuse? Of course not. So one expectation would be a marriage free of domestic violence.

And would you condone your partner's having sexual relations outside your marriage? Of course not. So another expectation would be fidelity.

And would you condone your partner's running up $25,000+ in Visa cash withdrawals to maintain a cocaine addiction? Of course not. So another expectation would be freedom from drug addictions.

There you have it. In less than five minutes, I've listed three biggies.

That might be enough for your short list.

The long list might include such things as expectations of being prioritized, of being told at least once every day that your partner loves you -- and is glad to be married to you. Another expectation on the long list might include some effort on both your parts to at least pick up after yourselves so that the house doesn't look trashed.

Your long list might have ten or fifteen things on it. But you can be sure that you do have expectations when you live in a close, emotional, passionate relationship called marriage.

It's a really good idea to get the list of expectations nailed down before kiddos start coming along.

It makes no sense to bring children into a war zone -- even if it's a "cold war" where words never quite erupt into a full-blown disagreement. They just sit there and smolder. And become snipe attacks during an argument.

Keeping disagreements out in the open for discussion would be a good expectation to add to the list above.

What's on your list?

Tomorrow: Passive aggression (unless I get e-mails requesting some other topic for discussion)

8:50 am          Comments

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


And we have another whole day of these monstrous temperatures.

It got as high as 100.6 yesterday afternoon. We're staying cool but we aren't doing much. We did manage to hang some pegboard in a craft area that I'm setting up in the basement.

The craft area is right in front of the deep freeze, lest there be any doubt as to who owns that little piece of basement real estate.

Today our big project is to install one of the two ceiling fans we have left. This one will go into the office downstairs. Hopefully the problem is solved about losing the screws and having to crawl around on the floor looking for them. We got a screwdriver with a magnetized head on it.


As far as those teensy tiny little washers are concerned. A teensy tiny bit of rubber cement ought to keep them attached just long enough until the screw gets started.

Sometimes our genius absolutely astounds us. Quint and I together make one good brain.

Yesterday I made a kind of peach dessert. The peaches I bought from the Amish ladies were so ripe and sweet. Tastes like childhood memories.

Anyway, I had some  pizza dough that I had bought to make a kind of crispani where you roll out the pizza dough, brush it with olive oil, spread some sliced mushrooms and chopped onion on it, then some shredded parmesan cheese and pop it in the oven for about a half hour. (Got the idea from Panera Bread. We used to stop there on our way home from Monday night church services when we still lived in the Chicago area.)

Well, when I popped open the pizza dough, it wouldn't unroll. It just layed there on my cookie sheet like a defiant three-year-old saying, "What are you going to do about it?"

That called for an instant change of plans. So I rolled out the dough as far as my hands could push it, then put thinly sliced fresh yummy peaches (didn't need any sugar at all) all over the dough. I then very carefully and tightly rolled up the dough as if it were going to be a cinnamon roll. Worked out just fine, especially after I had sprinkled Splenda all over it. I baked it for about 35 minutes and kept a close eye on it after that.

Do I mind heating up the kitchen when it's 95 degrees out? Nope. When it gets above 90 degrees, I can't tell if it gets hotter or when it starts "cooling" down a couple of degrees so who cares!

I mean, you can't stop living your life because of the weather.

And for that matter, a big blob of pizza dough can't determine who runs my kitchen either. If you don't want to be a pizza dough, then you are going to become something else. Either way, you're going to get eaten, so there. (I had this conversation with a blob of dough, I know.)



If you're one of those people whose goal in life is to get to a point where there's no more stress, I have sad news for you.

It's not going to happen.

The best you can hope for is that somewhere along the way, as you matured, you were picking up a whole trick bag of ways to maneuver around stressors, digging under them, flying over them, or just blasting your way through them.

But in any event, stress appears to be part of the human condition.

Stress doesn't have to shipwreck you, though.

By definition, stress can be measured by how far apart reality is from your expectation of how you want things to be. Changing your expectations is a lot easier than changing reality. That's especially true if your expectations border on wanting a perfect world.

It's just not going to happen. There was a time when it did. But Adam and Eve screwed that up for us. The rest of us down through the ages have had to learn to cope.

For instance -- if you lived in a little village of hunter-gatherers and your life depended on sending Bwana Husband out every day to catch a steak for supper, there would be stress. Especially if you had ten little kiddos to feed.

So after you get up, tidy up around the house, feed breakfast mush to the babies, then plant a good luck kiss on Hubby's cheek, then you could put your feet up for a couple of hours and maybe get a chance to watch the Weather Channel on the community TV out in the middle of the hut circle.

That way, if it's raining out on the plains, you'd have an idea of whether you ought to make a nice tossed salad to go along with the steaks. Or if there's a huge thunderstorm going on out there, it's not likely you're going to see a side of beef coming back to the village on a pole between two hunters.

In that event, you start looking around the pantry hut and try to figure out what you could make a big pot of porridge out of. Make it taste good too!

To alleviate the stress of never knowing for sure what you're going to have for dinner, you might daydream about moving into the big city of giant huts. That is, if you could talk Bwana into settling down in a condo. 

That would be a big change in reality.

Or you could lower your expectations of what to prepare for dinner in a variety of ways. Like having an alternative plan of a vegetarian dinner when Bwana comes back empty handed.

Either way, supper's on.



Last time Gallup measured how well Bush was doing, his approval rating was 29%.

It seemed to have bottomed out there.

This last measurement shows he's at 34%. Not a big jump but certainly going in the right direction.

And the economy is steaming right along. It even broke records not too long ago by closing at over $14,000!

Another good reason to have an MBA in the White House. America's economy is pretty complicated and it helps to have someone who understands finance and economics sitting in the Oval Office.

Not like, for instance, the Most Powerful Woman in the World -- Herself the Pelosi -- who says the $14,000 Dow is obscene and it's just one more reason (she says) to start levying some really big taxes on rich people.

"The rich get richer" will just not be tolerated on her watch.

But wait, your highness, lots and lots of working class people have 401(k)s that are invested in the stock market. If you start putting big taxes on those kinds of gains, aren't you undermining the future well-being of the plain old folks who are working toward retirement?

Doesn't matter, she says. It's just another way for the rich to get richer and I won't have it.

This woman is not your friend, folks. She wants all of her money. And all of her husband's money. And now she wants your money too.

But not to worry about her -- she'll get hers in the polls when the Republicans take back the majority of the house.

Back to President Bush. The surge is working. It's not just a perception. It's really working.

And people who read the tea leaves are saying that because of that, Bush's approval ratings are starting to swing back up.

So Bush is now at 34%. Congress is at 14% the last I saw.

The congressionals blame Bush for just about anything. It is not in their genetic makeup to take responsibility for anything. There's no wonder that their approval ratings appear to be in a freefall.

Why would anyone -- least of all voters -- have confidence in the congressionals?

Here's the link to the latest poll:


8:50 am          Comments

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


The watch word for today is "stay cool." Even if you have to sit in front of a fan all day, stay cool. Even if you have air conditioning and don't want to turn it on, or can't because the cost of electricity is so prohibitive, stay cool. And if you really want to do something refreshing, sit in a cool bubble bath. Guaranteed to cool you down.

We are under a heat index until 7 pm Thursday. Since today is only Tuesday, I can tell you that I'm going to be making many pitchers of iced tea. Which reminds me -- I'll be right back.

I'm stocking up on ice for the weekend bounty again. I got a big bag of green beans when I bought the canning tomatoes from the Amish ladies. When they were all snipped down and cut into bite sized pieces, I got eight bags out of the whole deal. I like to put them into snack sized baggies for just the two of us. That provides a serving size for two people. Then I put the snack baggies into a gallon sized ziplock freezer bag.

Double bagging the freezer stuff goes a long way toward preventing freezer burn. Especially when I lay the snack bag on its side and push the air out before I put it into the second gallon sized freezer bag.

And, of course, you know I date all the freezer bags.
I do not have an inventory of what's in the freezer, though. It's easy enough to just open the lid and say, "Wow, that's a lot of stuff." Then close the lid real quick before too much cold air escapes.



If you have one of those electronic gadgets that let you zoom on through toll booths without having to slow down, come to a stop, toss coins into a coin catcher, then you can applaud yourselves for being efficient.

Unlike us dinosaurs who wait in line at toll booths for our turn to play "hit the bucket" with our quarters, dimes and nickels.

Quint and I very seldom use the tollways. So we never really felt all that inconvenienced because we didn't have the electronic gadgets.

Then there is this lady out in Pennsylvania who makes a weekly 20-mile trip on the Pennsylvania tollway. She figures it ought to be a 75 cent charge against the amount that gets reduced each time she drives.

Imagine her surprise when she learned that she was being charged $5 per trip for what is called an "orphan exit."

It works like this. If you get on the tollroad at mile marker 100 -- but the gadget doesn't reflect where you entered the tollroad -- and you get off at mile marker, that ought to have been a 75 cent charge.

But because the gadget doesn't know where you got on, it uses a different formula. Kind of like charging you for the entire mileage across the state's system if you happen to lose your ticket.

In the case of this lady in Pennsylvania, the tollway authorities said that since noone knew exactly where she got on, but they do know where she got off, they only charged her for 1/4 of the total ride across Pennsylvania.

Never mind the fact that she was only on the tollroad for 20 miles.

And not only that, but they didn't even send her a bill. She really had to go digging to the company's web site to find out what charges were gobbling up her fees so fast.

It's a very interesting story that's reported on today's Red Tape Chronicles, published by MSNBC:

What I also learned as a result of reading this article is that the Indiana tollroad is operated by an international consortium headquartered in Spain -- Cintra-Macquarie.



Consumers waited and waited and waited. Then, reminiscent of the 100-yard-dash from high school days, they hurried off to get one of the latest electronic toys available -- the iPhone.

Problem is, the battery that powers this iPhone will only survive 300 to 400 recharges. This battery is in a sealed compartment of the iPhone, so you'll be needing to send it back to the company for a new battery to be installed.

This will cost you $79 or so. (plus shipping)

If you can't wait for the three or four day turnaround time, then you can rent an iPhone for $29.

Apple didn't mention this in the fine print of the much touted iPhone's advertising. So even if you'd read the mouse print, it wouldn't have mattered much. You pay anyway.

Read more:

Quint says Apple was really thinking ahead on that one. Mainly because all those millions of iPhones will probably go dead about the same time. And Apple has an automatic second market -- the sale of batteries.

Not to worry though. No doubt, this iPhone will be updated and replaced by some new improved gadget.

I guess we're neanderthals since we don't have any PDAs, iPods, iPhones, or pagers. We do have cell phones though. We use them a lot.

My darling grandson Jerry has a cell phone that he takes photos on. So one day I thought I'd go to the cell phone store where I got mine and ask them to show me how to take pictures.

I was told that I need to upgrade my cell phone because the one I have isn't programmed to take photos. So I'm due for an upgrade. Maybe tomorrow.

Or maybe I'll just wait until the next time I'm going to see Jerry. He has a lot of patience with his grandma. I think he may secretly giggle a little with my lack of electronic abilities. He did try to explain text messaging to me one time, which I still don't have the hang of.

I still don't know what "bluetooth" technology is. But then, it took me a while to get the hang of what a "blue dog democrat" is.

Hmmm. Wonder if they anything to do with each other.



The truth of the matter is that at a very early age, children learn to manipulate their environment.

They do this when they begin learning what happens if they do "this" or "that."

Pretty soon, even the littlest of kiddos have some idea that if they ask mom or dad for a drink of water, the request will most likely be answered. Now, you could put a negative twist on that simple request and say that little Susie has learned how to manipulate her parent into doing what she wants just by asking for a drink of water.

Like there's something sinister going on in the mind of a three-year-old that says, "I can make mom give me a glass of water. Watch this." That's just generally not the way most three-year-olds think.

Instead, the three-year-old builds a repertoire of successes. The kiddos grow and mature and add to this repertoire as they go through their young lives.

And my goodness, by the time they've reached early adulthood, there's a full range of behaviors that form what we could call "If ..." statements.

For instance, a 20 year old might say, "If I want this job, I will have to fill out an application and prepare for an interview."

"If I want good grades, then I'll have to study for the exam."

"If I want to get married, then I'll need to at least go on some dates."

We learn that we can make things happen in our world. We learn that people respond to us when we behave in certain ways. So, in that respect, we learn to control our world -- our environment -- and the people in it.

Each one of us does it.

And why is control important to us?

Because it makes our lives predictable. We need to think with some certainty that if we want to get a raise at work, then we may need to get out our job description and make certain that we're measuring up to our boss' expectations.

If we want to be happily married, then we need to learn to live in a give-and-take relationship with another person.

You bet we like to have predictable lives. Because of that, we are all controlling persons. The question becomes how much control we allow someone else to have over us. And how much control over other people do we think is fair.

And yes, controlling our environment and the people in it, is a manipulative device. It's this manipulation that makes our lives predictable.


8:49 am          Comments

Monday, August 6, 2007


Knock, knock, knock -- it was the sound at the back door late Saturday afternoon.

"Would you like some corn?" asked my neighbor.

"Are you kidding! Fresh corn grown in Illinois fields? You bet I would."

So in she marched and set a big bag of corn in the middle of the kitchen floor. She was followed by her son with another bag. Then her husband brought in a bag. As they were leaving, she said, "We'll be right back. There's more. Hope you weren't planning on doing much of anything tonight."

They came back with a big box of corn that was still warm from the fields. You could smell the fragrance of sweet corn goodness rising up out of the box.

In total, there were 106 ears of corn. They made a big mountain on top of the table. Quint dashed out to get big bags of ice and I started the water bath for our evening goodness.

Plans changed. I had been to the Farmers Market in town on the way back from the supermarket and picked up twelve pounds of tomatoes that I was going to make sauce out of.

Tomatoes could wait 'til tomorrow. Corn couldn't. Easy choice.

The repairs to the carport are finished, complete with a fresh coat of exterior paint. Our carpenter neighbor is now working on a linen closet in the hallway just outside the bathroom.

We went to church Sunday morning. That always feels like we've found our community. Don't know anybody by name yet. But that will come.

We're going to install a ceiling fan in the basement office. Little by little we're reclaiming pockets of stuff we'd move in haste. It's starting to feel really nice and settled in for us.

Well, the dog days of summer are still with us. Probably will be for another week or so. Quint tells me that it's called the "dog days of summer" because it's the annual time when the dog star does something. Don't remember the rest of the story. The ancients sure liked their cosmos lore to solve all their mysteries in life.

And now I have to make a quick dash upstairs to get my seven quarts of tomato sauce out of the water bath. Maybe after I turn off the 21-quart canner the humidity on the first level will start to go down. Do you think?

Hey, listen, some people pay hard cash money to go to a spa and sit in a sauna. I can get a steam bath for free and can the summer's glory all at the same time.



It's called FISA -- short for Foreign Intelligance Surveillance Act, according to an article published in The Hill this morning.

Since the surveillance act was first established decades ago, there have been technological advances on top of advances.

Electronic surveillance used to be just about telephone conversations. Mainly because that was just about all that was out there to listen in on.

Then there came the microwave transmissions. And faxes. And cell phones. And wireless laptops. And PDAs. Did I miss anything?

Terrorists, it seems, sit in those internet cafes all around the world pushing their evil little buttons in their evil little minds while waging war on anybody who disagrees with them (infidels, they call us).

Guess they thought they were protected by wiretap laws.

Now comes congressional legislation that says, "Yep, we can listen in. And if you're plotting to blow us up, you're going to be in so much trouble, because we got that on tape."

FISA now goes to President Bush for signature. It's a sure think because he says he's going to sign it.

Read more:



Congress rewards itself for all the hard work it did passing this one piece of legislation (FISA)  by giving itself a vacation -- called the August recess.

That's another piece of work that needs to be updated. The August recess has no place in a congressional building that luxuriates in central air conditioning for its inhabitants.

You certainly don't see the construction industry shut down in August. You don't see courts adjourning, or hospitals shutting down.

Why in the world do congressionals think they can just shut down because it's August. They get way too many vacations, as far as I'm concerned.

I know -- I know. They'll say they're out there working in the district.

Who do they think they're kidding? They're out there pumping their little hands up and down. You know, those hands that keep coming back for more and more handouts. Political donations, in other words.

Do golf outings and hosting fundraisers constitute working in the district?

I don't think so.


THE SECRET -- from Mark Stubbe

One day, one friend asked another, "How is it that you are always so happy? You have so much energy, and you never seem to get down."

With her eyes smiling, she said, "I know the Secret!"

"What secret is that?"

To which she replied, "I'll tell you all about it, but you have to promise to share the Secret with others."

"The Secret is this: I have learned there is little I can do in my life that will make me truly happy. I must depend on God to make me happy and to meet my needs.
When a need arises in my life, I have to trust Go d to supply according to HIS riches. I have learned most of the time I don't need half of what I think I do. He has never let me down. Since I learned that 'Secret', I am happy."

The questioner's first thought was, "That's too simple!" But upon reflecting over her own life she recalled how she thought a bigger house would make her happy, but it didn't! She thought a better paying job would make her happy, but it hadn't.
When did she realize her greatest happiness? Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren, playing games, eating pizza or reading a story, a simple gift from God.

Now you know it too!

We can't depend on people to make us happy. Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that. Trust HIM! And now I pass the Secret on to you! So once you get it, what will you do?

YOU have to tell someone the Secret, too! That GOD in His wisdom will take care of YOU! But it's not really a secret... We just have to believe it and do it...

Really trust God!


OUR BANK ACCOUNT -- from Mark Stubbe

This is AWESOME...something we should all remember.

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait. "

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the  difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

I am still depositing. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.


8:48 am          Comments

Friday, August 3, 2007


This is going to be one of those days when I'm not moving around too much. We're expecting another day of 90+ degrees.

But I do have a trip to the local farmer's market planned. Depending on what I can find will determine how much I move around. Maybe I'll be canning some more with a fan blowing on me.

I was nice to myself yesterday though. No painting when it was so hot. But it's only 75 degrees now so I could paint a little bit. Maybe finish the wall that we're going to hang the bikes on. But that may interfere with Quint's putting in those little shelves that I want to store plant food, weed killer, Sevin and a whole variety of other necessities for the flowers and garden.

And we didn't burn any trash. My most ambitious project was watering my little pretties about six last evening. I could hear them giggling and slurping when I turned the hose on them.

Then I gave my dancing little roses some of their very special rose food. Well, I'm telling you, it must have been a T-bone the way they carried on. I am amazed at how well the roses are doing. This is my first year at attempting roses.

Having lived in a condominium for 29 years, my gardening has been severely limited to what would grow in containers. Quint called me the Queen of Jade.

I also had a Ficus Tree that I was very proud of. Bought it at the supermarket right after Quint and I got married. It cost $1.69 and was about six inches high. It grew and it grew and it grew. Got all the way to the ceiling. We cut it back a couple of times. Then it kind of held at about 5 and a half feet. It's now found a new home in our daughter Sharon's living room. Looks real nice there.

Hope you all stay cool today. Remember -- keep drinking lots of water or iced tea.



If they aren't careful with how they're doing things, all the congressionals are going to end up in big pickles on election day.

And I do mean all of them. Take yesterday, for instance. It was time for the agricultural spending bill to come up for a vote.

Okay. That's a legitimate matter. Taxpayers have been noticing that the lawmakers haven't been legislating all that much. Instead, they've been conducting those congressional investigations that appear to be little more than photo op grandstanding.

So it was a good thing to hear that they finally were going to get about the business of legislating.

And good for them.

The problem is the agricultural spending bill just happened to include a lot of federal funds for handouts for undocumented immigrants. Gee, would that be the same thing as illegal aliens?

The voteswereclose. In fact, they were thisclose.

Details remain fuzzy, but numerous Republicans argued afterward that they had secured a 215-213 win on their motion to bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal funds apportioned in the agricultural spending bill for employment or rental assistance. Democrats, however, argued the measure was deadlocked at 214-214 and failed, members and aides on both sides of the aisle said afterward.

If you want to read a description of the whole sordid event, you can go to this site and take a look:

Guess the lawmakers didn't get down to making any compromises on this one. Taxpayers from back home are keeping a very close eye on how the congressionals from their districts on voting on things.

The subject of "undocumented immigrants" has become a hot topic for taxpayers. Lo and behold, taxpayers are calling their representatives and their senators. And we're sending e-mails and faxes.

Just to let you know, all you people up there under the Dome. We're paying attention. And we're going to the polls with slips of paper in our pockets that have your voting results on them.

If you don't vote the way we think you ought to, then we consider ourselves as not being represented by you. In that event, I'll bet you have an opponent running against you who'd like to have my vote.



In an article this morning in The Hill, Rep. Murtha managed to earmark some $150 million in pet projects for his district.

"Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.)."

Just got under the wire there, guy. The new Ethics Reform Package goes to the White House for signature. Hopefully, after that, you're going to have to spell out exactly what you intend to spend the money on.

And who knows -- maybe spending matters will somehow manage to get on the floor of the House for debate.

Apparently Bill Young didn't exactly earmark chump change either, coming in with a little more than $117 million. Read more at:

The problem is -- bacon frying smells like breakfast to me.

Then congressionals got greedy. Really greedy. Now it all smells like BS. From the top where Nancy Pelosi sits, all the way down to the Running of the Pigs in Balogna, D.C.



U.S. Senator Patty pointed her finger at Bush for not supporting the Democrats for spending more money on critical infrastructure.

But hold on just a minute. Neal Boortz developed a list of pork projects/earmarks for Minnesota projects.

Curious that bridge repairs isn't on that list anywhere.

Let's take a look at Citizens for Government Waste's "The Pig Booklet" for the state of Minnesota for the year 2006. Take a look at all of the "pork" projects. I'll give you a taste of a few:

  • The state bailout of the Minneapolis Teacher's Retirement Fund, which puts state taxpayers on the hook for $972 million in unfunded liabilities
  • A new $776 million Twins Stadium to be paid for with a Hennepin County sales tax increase -- (approved by state legislators with no voter referendum)
  • $97.5 million for the Northstar Commuter Rail line
  • $34 million in subsidies to ethanol producers that have seen a 300 percent increase in profits in the last year
  • $30 million for bear exhibits at the Minnesota and Como Zoos
  • $12 million to renovate the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis
  • $1 million for a replica Vikings ship in Moorhead
  • $500,000 for a skating rink in Roseville
  • $310,000 for a Shakespeare festival in Winona
  • $129,000 for state art grants for North Dakota museums and theaters
Is it Bush's fault that the congressionals from Minnesota didn't ask for some money to be appropriated for bridge repairs?

Should Bush had walked over to the Minnesota delegation and stuffed some good old cashola into their pockets and said, "Here's some money for you folks in Minnesota. You need to really look at the safety of your bridges."

Next time you're pointing fingers at the White House, think about how cozy and cute the new bear exhibit is going to be at your zoo.

Add that to the new sports stadium and you could have an additional $776 million.

Wake up all you people who are elected. You took an oath of office to look after things for the taxpayers. When you let bridges fall on our heads, you aren't looking after us.

Maybe your next campaign motto ought to be "Buy Bolts Not Bears."

Shame on each and every one of the politicians who could have brought up a budget request for bridge and road safety.

I think when taxpayers get killed because you don't look after public safety, you ought to be able to be recalled. Immediately. Clean out your desk and get out of town. You have funerals to go to.

Read more:


7:51 am          Comments

Thursday, August 2, 2007


The carport construction is done. Now I'm doing guess what? -- Painting!

Got the interior nearly half finished yesterday. Then Quint convinced me that it was too hot to be painting the inside of a closet. It was 93 degrees out.

Good for the pores, Quint. People pay hard cash money to get this kind of pore cleansing at spas. Didn't you know that?

Well, I stepped out of the carport into the shade of the backyard and walked over to the patio where he had brought me an ice cold tea. I was convinced. I'll paint this morning after I finish my blog for today.

But what we did after I stopped painting makes even less sense. We burned more rubbish. We inherited this giant pile of old limbs that have been pruned from trees, twigs and all manner of dead tree parts.

So when the temperature reaches 94 degrees outside, it must be time to burn.

Me and my handy dandy little power saw make pretty quick work of little limbs. We has a lopper and a bow saw. For really big jobs, he can always go get his chain saw but he hasn't seen fit to do that yet.

One of the neighbors walked across her yard to our backyard and asked if we wanted some more trees to burn. We could have some of hers. I looked over to her yard and sure enough -- she's got a good little pile started. Her name is Anna. She brings me tomatoes and cucumbers. So maybe I will burn some of her yard trash.

But only if the temperature gets over 90 degrees, mind you.

Otherwise, I'll be somewhere on the premises painting something.

My motto is: If it doesn't move in about 5 minutes, I either dust it or paint it.



First of all, CNN has this video footage from a security camera:

According to the latest news we heard this morning, four souls are reported dead, many injured, and 20 missing.

The bridge collapsed at 6 pm last night. That would be about the time when the evening rush hour was in full bloom.

Terrorism has been ruled out. Not sure how the powers that be figured that out. But apparently they know things that we don't know.

Please pray for all the wounded and for the families who have lost loved ones.



No, it doesn't have anything to do with itty bitty parts that could choke itty bitty babies.

This is worse.

These are toys coming in from China. At least a million of them, says Fisher-Price. They are painted with lead paint.

Fisher-Price listed all the toys at this web site:

Guess I won't be getting the Giggler Grabber Chef Cookie Monster for Christmas.

But be warned: the toys carry the Fisher-Price label so if they go on sale just in time for Christmas -- seriously -- make real real sure they didn't come from China.


EXERCISE FOR PEOPLE OVER 50 -- from Mark Stubbe

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you h ave plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Tryto reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each dayyou'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks. Then try 50-lb potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack > in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.   (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks. 



For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If you don't think you have something specific that you're supposed to be doing, go back and read the above verse again.

Each and every day of your life, there will be things required of you to do.

There will be people who cross your path whom you are supposed to meet. For some reason that you do not know yet.

God prepared these things in advance for us to do.

Okay, so maybe you're in tune with this verse and you think you've been doing all the right things. But you still get these angry people popping up in your life.

Maybe -- just maybe -- you haven't learned the lesson of this verse yet. Maybe angry people keep intersecting your path because your response to them is not yet what God wants.

Since I can't read God's mind, I would not know the answer to that. Becoming angry at or because of another person's anger is not exactly the peacemaker God has in mind.

Peacemakers are the people who are able to de-escalate conflict. They do not respond to other people's anger with anger of their own. Peacemakers do not live on an island called "Bad Vibes." 

So, heads up! As you go through today, be ever mindful that you may meet someone or may get into a situation that will challenge you. Ask yourself if you are having an Ephesians 2:10 moment.


7:56 am          Comments

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


The repairs to the carport are coming along nicely. Don, the carpenter, has all the right tools, his measurements accurate so he bought the right amount of lumber and supplies.

So my question is: Can I paint yet?

Painting is almost like a yoga experience for me, except for the repetitive motions. I guess it's not yoga though unless I keep still and stay in one spot.

Not going to happen.

Quint and I both have noticed that our clothes are fitting differently. Not quite as snug. We attribute that to going up and down a lot of stairs. All day long.

We don't need no stinkin' stairmaster.

And we have our cell phones when we can't find the other person. Or when we're getting ready to put up a ceiling fan and need to turn off the power from the main switchbox which is in the basement.

Even I know that it's very important to get the right switch so he can cut the juice. Cell phones come in very handy for that.

"Anything happening?"


"How about this?"


"Is this it?"


One of his next projects is to put a schematic on the inside door of the breaker box. That way he'd be able to tell right away. As it is, one wall of the dining room and the ceiling in the kitchen were on the same switch. Who would have ever guessed?

I did get my peach preserves made yesterday afternoon. I took a jar over to a neighbor, Anna, who had come up behind me at the checkout counter at the IGA. She asked me if I needed some tomatoes to can.

You bet I can use some tomatoes. That was going to be tomorrow's adventure -- driving out to the country and looking for farm stands to get a bushel of tomatoes. One bushel will give me eight quarts of good old tomato sauce. Low salt and sugar free. No bug parts or the FDA allowed number of rat pellets or little also allowable worms.

Just pure tomato sauce made in my own clean kitchen.

Today I planted yellow squash in one of my very big containers. The experiment with the squash on the clothes line didn't work. The containers were too small, but they were doing okay. I had some very little squashes. The problem was the watering. That was when we were still driving back and forth and I have learned that container gardening requires some diligent, daily watering. Can't just do it on weekends.

I'm hoping there's still time to get a few squash before frost. It doesn't usually frost until the end of October so maybe there's time. We shall see.

It's an experiment. Life is an experiment and for Quint and me, life is also an adventure that we're enjoying together. Hope you can say the same. But you have to find your own adventurer.



He runs his life as if he thinks life began here on earth the day of his birth.

He runs his political campaign as if he thought the Oval Office is where the King of the World operates.

Obama says he's going to invade Pakistan and hunt down terrorists. That's out of one side of his mouth. Out of the other side of his mouth, he's been known to criticize George Bush for not respecting the sovereign power of Iraq. Seems like I recall at least on one occasion where he thought Bush was being heavy handed in the Middle East.

He's operating as if he has the power to do all these things.

He seems to forget that he would need some approvals along the way from Congress.

I don't think the President of the United States can just start running across borders of countries to ferret out terrorists.

In an article for Associated Press written by Nedra Pickler, Obama said, "... Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid."

Read the entire article at:

Oh, that's a good idea, Obama. Threaten to invade a sovereign nation.

And while you're at it, threaten to withhold military aid.

Such threats will not endear you to your buddies on the left and certainly won't earn you the respect of conservatives on the right.

Besides, I thought you were supposed to be a centrist. When did you jump off the fence and become so hawkish? Or is this how he plans to "sit down with dictators" and talk about stuff. That's what he said after one of those silly "debates."



Now it seems like old Grandpa Hilton is saying all those threats of disinheriting his blonde bombshell Paris were taken out of context. The inheritance is still intact and supposedly Paris will get hers, just like the plans were originally written.

Can't these people make up their minds?

Guess not.

Hopefully he'll still give the bulk of his fortune to charities that help people get back on their feet. Maybe that will be enough of a kick in the you know what to get Miss Priss Paris off of hers and start doing something useful with her life.


7:30 am          Comments

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We welcome July readers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and United States

This video is the most beautiful depiction of what happens in the womb when the baby is developing and growing. The video was developed by Yale professor Alexander Tsiaras. Just beautiful. Warning, though. Some of the images are graphic. But nothing gross. It is just a reminder to me that life is a beautiful baby and life is absolutely precious.!

July 29, 2012

Update on Quint:
He is making an incredible recovery. The skin cancer is essentially gone. When we met with the surgeon for a post-op appointment on Friday, we learned that the biopsy of the frozen section shows all the cancer was removed. The incision is healing nicely. It's about a 6" incision down the side of his face in front of the left ear. The doctor put so many stitches in that any scar is hardly visible. Thanks to all for prayers you have been lifting up for his health. The surgeon says there are dissolving stitches in three levels of tissue. We also met with our oncologist last week and he says the lymphocitic/leukemia will continue to make Quint vulnerable to skin cancers. Please keep him in your prayers so that all his cancers, and mine as well, will remain in remission.

I received the following about a child's reason for why he believes in God from our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita, KS:

Little Boy's Explanation of God

                                He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment,

                                to 'explain God.'

                                I wonder if any of us

                                could have done as well? 


                                'One of God's main jobs is making people.

                                He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there
will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I
think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable
time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

                                'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some
people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to
the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in
his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

                                'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you
shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you
couldn't have.'

                                'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
there aren't any who come to our church.'

                                'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles
and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him
preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his
father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

                                'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him
he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps
his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of
and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more

                                'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of
them is on duty all the time.'

                                'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to
make happy, it's God!

                                Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach untilnoon anyway.'

                                'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your
parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when
you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big

                                'But. . .you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can
take me back anytime he pleases.

                                And...that's why I believe in God.'

July 13, 2012

Quint is recuperating from surgery on July 11, 2012. Surgeon removed a growth on left cheek that turned out to be squamous cell cancer. Prognosis is good because doctor says he got good margins. Please continue to pray for him. He has a 4" incision on left cheek from about the corner of his eye all the way down to jawbone. Looks worse than it is.

In another matter, this link: shows some incredible artwork that a young, 9-year old in England, artist has painted and his work is beginning to sell handsomely.

July 1, 2012

I'm a Lutheran and I sure wish the Lutheran Church had authored this video or one like it:

No matter, it's a message that needs saying so hats off to the Catholic church!

On another subject, the temperature here in Middle Illinois at 6 p.m. as 102.8 degrees. That's really hot.

Stay safe out there. If you do not have air conditioning, or if your AC goes out in this heat, sit in a tub of cool water. It will do wonders pulling heat out of your body. And let's remember in prayers all those folks on the eastern seaboard who don't have electricity. They don't even have fans to plug in.

Kind of reminds me of going to church when I was a kid. Oh, was that hot. And remember those hand fans that funeral homes gave out free to churches? We wore ours out.

June 24, 2012

The heat is the story here in the Midwest part of the United States. I can't tell you when the last time there was rain, but the corn stalks are starting to look pretty wilted. The word "parched" comes to mind. The beans don't look any better either.

So the big conclusion that some people have arrived at is that God is punishing the United States because so many people have turned away from Him?

Oh really?

Who said.

And how many?

These gloom and doomers pontificate about how we're all going to die and go to hell can't give any numbers. Can't offer any hope.

Well, folks, don't you believe it. God is a God of love. He wants all of us to be saved.

And to those people who think they can define the reasoning of God are being sacrilegious. They are talking when they should be listing to God.

My God is a God of love. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. Because of that, we are assured of salvation and life eternal.

But there are those who are going through these crises of faith. They're noisy. When God talks to you, listen to Him. It's that still, small voice inside you. And don't believe the naysayers who think they have he last word on what means and what God intends to do. They don't know. They just don't know.

Your faith is what will bring you closer to God. Let Him into your hearts and listen to Him.

June 6, 2012

We don't laugh enough. We are not light hearted enough. Way too serious. Oh, there are times when serious is good for you, but there are many more days when we just are not enjoying a good laugh.

So someone sent me a link to Mark Lowry. He's a Christian comedian and good for a real belly laugh, I can guarantee you.

Here's the link:

I'm going to You Tube and search for him and see if he's got other material. He's really funny.

May 15, 2012

Our U.S. Constitution is not flawed. It's not dead. It's not irrelevant!

Those who think it's out of touch with today's "modern thought" fail to realize that the U.S. Constitution is modernized each time the United States Supreme Court reviews a law or an incident and decides whether the rights of our citizens are abridged or impeached.

The language of the U.S. Constitution does, in fact, reside in a little book small enough to fit inside a man's jacket pocket or in a lady's handbag. However, volumes and volumes of interpretive material fills libraries. Interpretation by the sitting Justices keeps our Constitution up-to-date.

May 12, 2012

Our God is awesome! God controls the waters and the seas. Take a look at this video of the angry sea.

May 10, 2012

I am in the process of researching the involvement and the role that the National Road (U.S. 40) played in military activities -- specifically troop movements. If you know of any such movements, please email me at and put "National Road info" in the subject line. I'd be ever so grateful. If you do not want your name used, be sure to tell me. Otherwise, I'd like to share that you found the information. This is for a funding opportunity for Effingham County and it will focus on the role that the National Road has played in the significance of Effingham.

April 27, 2012

Well, that was a nice little rest.

Since I've last posted, I've fretted that frost would get my lovely irises. It didn't. Nor did the frost chip away at my roses. I have never had roses blooming in April before. They have exploded into full bloom. Bright red blooms against our white house. Wow!

And the irises are just as beautiful. I have some really deep purple irises, light lavender, some two-toned purple and white, bright yellow, a lighter lemon chiffon color, a pink iris and a peach colored one that is a double.

The spirea finally decided it would bloom too.

All in all, considering that I did absolutely nothing last year in the flower bed, it's amazing that my little troopers have done as well as they have. The irises apparently are no longer upset with me for snipping them back at the end of January and early February. Again in March when they started sending up things that looked like they'd bloom.

We've still had frost tucked in between 80 degree days but nothing serious enough to hurt my darling little flowers.

Quint and I are doing well. We continue to see our oncologist every three months and get blood work to check markers for cancer that might have decided to invade us again. So far, so good. Platelet counts are coming back to normal and we're working on our stamina.

I do have to take some medication for five years -- well, four years now -- that inhibits estrogen. It will keep breast cancer from recurring. Problem is, it makes the long bones in my legs and muscles in the thighs really ache. Nothing that can't be tolerated though. Compared to the benefits of what the medicine does for me, I'd say I came out the winner at this point.

Quint's lymphoma is still in remission too, so we're pretty health for the shape we're in.

And now I'm going to fix us a snack of yogurt, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and walnuts. Then we're going to watch some spy thrillers on Netflix streaming.

Nice to be back and thank you for not giving up on me.

April 10, 2012

I am getting over the grandaddy of all colds. I expect to be better by morning, after having laid around all day today. Finally just gave it up and stayed in bed.

Until now, that is.

And you know how I love kids and their entrepreneural spirit. Well, here's a video of a young lad in east LA who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's auto parts store. His name is Caine and he's 9 years old. It's just precious!

Oh, and one other thing before I head back to my comfy easy chair. We have frost warnings for tonight. 30 degrees! My irises and roses are blooming. Wonder how that's going to set with them.

I just thought I'd mention something about all those spam emails and telemarketer calls you may be getting. Even if you're signed up for "do not call" lists, you still can get calls. Here's how. If you take part in an online voting request, or if you call to participate in a TV vote, you are setting up what is known as a "special relationship." Special relationships with a state allows any advertiser of that station of promo outfit to put you on their callers who are exempt from the "do not call" status.

If you live in Illinois and you get a telemarketer call, just tell the caller that Illinois is a "do not call" state and you do not want to be on their lists. They are required to hang up at that point. I've tried it and it works.

Also, here's a tip for getting rid of all those preapproved gimmicks that find their way into your mailbox. When I get the offers, the first thing I do is draw a big diagnonal line through the offer and write VOID on it. Then I stuff the document back into the self-addressed postage paid envelope that they provide. The advertisers are going to stop sending you stuff pretty quick rather than pay postage twice.

April 5, 2012

It's Maundy Thursday - the first part of the Easter trilogy.

Maundy Thursday was the night when Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples and commemorated the event that we've followed in the Lutheran Church for ages since that time.

When I was confirmed on Palm Sunday many years ago, Maundy Thursday was the first opportunity I was given as a new confirmant to take my first communion. It was an awesome experience then, and it continues to be every chance I get.

I hope that it is the same for you as you draw near to the Easter story.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Part 2 with the significance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

And then, of course, there's Easter Sunday when we celebrate Christ's resurrection.

Sin and death no longer have a hold on us because Christ died for our sins.

April 4, 2012

Ready to watch a miracle? Here's a video showing a woman in an SUV sinking. She couldn't swim. The SUV sank. But the miracle is not that she was somehow pulled from the SUV but the after-story: --

May the blessings of Easter catch you up in the miracles going around you every day. Life is a miracle. God brings miracles to us today just as He did thousands of years ago when Jesus died and rose again. I pray that you will get caught up in the miracle of the Easter story all over again. Christ died for our sins and rose again, and because He rose again, we have eternal life guaranteed to us by our Heavenly Father.

April 2, 2012

Want to know what video of a couple of famous dancers has gotten more than 118 million hits? None other than the big routine from Dirty Dancing!

Another trivia question that some of you may know the answer to has to do with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's failure at sea. April 15 is the date of this tragedy. If you thought most of the folks on board perished in the icy waters, you'll be surprised to learn that only half died. Well, maybe "only" is not a good word. One would be too many on a ship that was touted as unsinkable. There were 2,223 passengers and crew. 1,517 died. A little more than half.

April 1, 2012

If you haven't heard this song by the Barn Again Gang -- On My Father's side -- am sure you'll enjoy it. And thanks to you, Joyce from Frankfort, IL for sending:

And here's Kaitlyn Maher, a 4-year old, singing in America's Got Talent. Mind you, she's had 26,585,501 hits on her debut on the national stage. She is absolutely adorable!

Kaitlyn Maher again, this time singing Ave Maria -

And she got to sing for President and First Lady Laura Bush:

Here she is singing the National Anthem:

I have not ever heard the story about the "Praying Hands" so I am especially thankful to Cody in Warrensburg, MO for sending Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with
eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob,
the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost
eighteen hours a day at his tradeand any other paying chore he could find in the

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and
Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew
full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally
worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby
mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.
Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he
would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and
went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his
brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's
etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his
professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees
for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive
dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and
memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored
position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the
years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing
words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you
can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat,
tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while
he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long
table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek,
he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look
... Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every
finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from
arthritis so badly In my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your
toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.
No, brother ....for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful
portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, water colors, charcoals, woodcuts, and
copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great
that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.
More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction
hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer
painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers
stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire
world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

March 30, 2012

I have to share with you that the operators of this web site have become increasingly frustration to work with. The way I see it, I have two choices: (1) shut down the site altogether and discontinue the blogs, or (2) find a site that is more responsive to what I want from a web site.

In the meantime, one of the questions that Jesus asked is #80 -- If you do not believe Moses' writings, how will you believe me? (John 5:47)

Old Testament writings often come under fire as being "irrelevant" or "out of date" or just "too old."

All of those excuses are flawed, in my view.

In the first place, the Word of God is eternal.

Because the Word is eternal, it transcends time and space.

For that reason, when you read the Bible, the breath of God is still on the paper; still on the words. The Bible is the Word of God. It will never get "too old" or "out of date."

Get into the Word. Absorb it; take it in. If you find any challenge whatsoever about understanding what some passages mean, then the Counselor will be sent to you, just for the asking. Just pray that Jesus will send you His Counselor to assist you in your readings.

Blessings to you in your spiritual journey through the Word of God.

March 27, 2012

Here is one of the most precious tapes I've ever heard of a child: From my friend Shirley in Arizona. It's just precious!

This is a video I found on my own. I love the innocence of this little girl. I pray that she will hold onto her dreams all her life and never let anyone snatch them away from her.

God keeps the dreams of children in his right hand pocket. And woe be to those who steal the dreams of a child.

Today I am going to discuss Question #66 from Luke 18:7 -- Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?

In the first place, I consider myself one of God's chosen ones because I claim the inheritance of being a child of God.

And how did I get to be a child of God? Simple. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died for my sins and offered me salvation. By doing this, He names says that I share in the inheritance of God's richest blessings.

And you most certainly can enjoy this same inheritance and become a Child of God by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins too.

It's just that simple. You have only to believe.

This is my right, in God's own words. He says: Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? I believe that because I know that God does not lie. He's good for His promises and when He says He's going to secure my rights, what do I have to fear?

And do I call out to God day and night? Yes. In my car when I head out to work. I pray that some idiot does not plow into me head-on. I pray that I don't get tee-boned by someone running a red light or a stop sign.

I pray that when I enter that miraculous place of empty thoughts of what seems to be unconsciousness, that the veil will be lifted in the morning and I will re-awaken to a new day. Sleep itself is a miracle. We fall into a mindless abyss every night and awaken refreshed to a new day. Is that a miracle or what? How does God do that?

I remember reading or hearing this "what if" thought that when you awaken in the morning, what if the only things you had in your life were the things you thanked God for yesterday! Kind of put a new perspective on things for me. Instead of just nagging and nagging -- which I can be pretty good at -- for things I think I want, or things I think I need -- I stop every day and thank God for what He gives me. The gifts are enormous and I only get them because He is a gracious God. I certainly deserve nothing.

But all day and all night I talk to God. We have an ongoing conversation. Help me with this, please. Oh, and thank you for that. Or how about all those problems that you just can't seem to solve. Then He says, "I can help you with that." Or, after the problem is solved and I nod a quiet thank you, He says "All you had to do was ask."

God is my friend. This King of the Universe took notice of me when I was about four years old. That's when I started talking to Him in my head. I knew it was God because I learned about Him in Sunday School. My Sunday School teacher told me I could just talk to God simply like he was an ordinary person. I took her at her word and have never thought of God as anything but.

Even though I know for sure, now that I have a few more years on me, that God is nothing ordinary at all. But I also know that He is never too busy to secure my rights as one of His chosen ones.

Enjoy your day and rest easy in your sleep, dear friends. God is watching out for you.

March 26, 2012

Question #32 that Jesus asked was, "Could you not watch for me one brief hour?" -- Matt. 26:40

There are lots and lots of ways to travel through the Lenten season on the way to Calvary. And the reasons for doing things differently are many and varied.

People offer up the thought that they can worship anywhere. They feel just as close to God, they say, when they are listening to a beautiful piece of music, or walking through the woods in the late afternoon.

Those things are true.

But it seems to me that if you want to go down that path to Calvary, you ought to do it the way that Jesus wants you to do it. Not the way you think, in your not-so-infinite pseudo-wisdom of coming up with these cute little excuses. Cute, you think.

Truth is, Jesus wants you to go to your church, or your temple and watch with him there, in that place.

This question that Jesus asks from Matthew sounds like a plea to me. Couldn't you watch with me one hour?

Well, sure you could, if you thought it was important enough.

Quint and I go to Lenten services and the church is not even half full. Where is everybody? Working? Playing? Doing homework? Driving around? Out to dinner? Where are you? Those who couldn't come to this worshiping place to watch with Jesus one hour.

What if I told you that I had learned that Jesus was going to make one of those rare earthly appearances for one week only. He was actually going to come to church because He wanted to talk to me.

I'd move heaven and earth to get there on time. I want to meet this man while He's still alive. You bet I'd watch with him an hour. In fact, I'll stay up all night if he stuck around to talk to me.

And talks to me He does. When I'm sitting in that pew, I can almost feel his eyes burning a hole in my skin. Kind of at the back of my neck. I can almost feel his hand on my shoulder while he bends around to look at me and whispers to me, "I'm so glad you came tonight. I'm doing this all for you, you know."

He's my Savior. We're connected. It must break His heart to see so many empty pews when they should be overflowing with people who are willing to give Him one hour of their busy schedules.

"Why couldn't you watch with me one hour?" He asks. It's a question you'll have all of eternity to answer Him one day.

March 25, 2012

Now this is precious! It's a two year old dancing to Jailhouse Rock. He's got some good moves too.

March 24, 2012

At this time of year, one of my favorite places on earth is Kentucky when the dogwood and redbud are in full bloom -- and nowhere are they more beautiful than my home town -- Paducah, Kentucky.

Just look at these gorgeous photos and you'll see what I mean:

These quips come from my cousin who lives in a small town not too far from Houston -- well, in Texas, 200 miles is a "small distance" I think: THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:                

                        Living on Earth is expensive, 
                        but it does include a free trip   
                        around the sun every year.    

                        How long a minute is
                        depends on what side of the
                        bathroom door you're on.   

                        Birthdays are good for you;
                        the more you have,
                        the longer you live.    

                        Happiness comes through doors you  
                        didn't even know you left open.    

                        Ever notice that the people who are late  
                        are often much jollier
                        than the people who  have  to wait for  them?    

                        Most of us go to our grave
                        with our music still inside of us.    

                        If WalMart is lowering prices every day,  
                        how come nothing is free yet?    

                        You may be only one person in the world,  
                        but you may also be the world to one person.    

                        Some mistakes are too much fun  
                        to only make once.    

                        Don't cry because it's over;  
                        smile because it happened.    

                        We could learn a lot from crayons:  
                        some are sharp, some are pretty,
                        some are dull, some have weird  names,
                        and all are different colors....but
                        they all exist very nicely in the same box.    

                        A truly happy person is one who  
                        can enjoy the scenery on a detour.    

                        Have an awesome day, and
                        know that someone
                        who thinks you're great 
                        has  thought about you today!..    

                        "And that person was me.".....  
                        Please don't keep this message
                        to yourself.....send  it to those  
                        who mean so  much to  you.... "NOW". 

Thank you, Frances. I love the one about some mistakes. Hope you don't have too many people out there who are all to eager to point each and every little mistake you make. Those, I think, are the ones who go to their graves with the music still living inside them. It's just too much "vinegar energy" to look for flaws in people. And God knows I have more than my share, it seems. But here's the thing: I don't make mistakes on purpose and I never make mistakes with the idea of making someone's misery index go up. I just thank God that I am surrounded by true friends who cut me some slack. You know the ones. They really care about you. I like the idea that we are all living in a big crayon box. That has to be one of those lessons learned in kindergarten. But then, I'm old enough to realize that we didn't have kindergarten when I started school.

I celebrated kicking off my educational pursuits by going down the big slide on the playground with a somersault from the top. I was grounded from recess for the rest of the week. 

These beautiful thoughts also come from Frances:

When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm
whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that
I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm
weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have
failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too
visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of
heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who
received God's good grace, somehow!

Today is Beautiful Christian Person's Day.
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..

I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful People,
and you are one of them!!!

March 21, 2012

From the sermon text at our 5th Midweek Lenten Service in Matthew 28:16-20 comes the command of Jesus that we are to go into all the world and make disciples of all men.

Well, I don't know about you but I can't go to the airport and get a ticket to go to some faraway place and work in a mission field. But those very words are the marching orders of the church.

What I can do is partner with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and be a supplier of stuff that missionaries can use. Quilts, for instance. Quilts are made in Lutheran churches all across this country. They find their way into orphanages. In hospitals. In remote villages where they are placed over a low branch and become the roof of a home. If the villager is lucky, a second quilt could be a floor. We need more quilts -- more than the 355,000 that have been made this winter. That means there will be an unmet need.

Our church is going to put baby kits together. These baby kits will have a few diapers in them. Some tee shirts. Some tiny little caps. Diaper pins and little sleepers. We're making the receiving blankets and it will have a bunch of baby supplies in it, then pinned with the diaper pins. Missionaries can take these baby kits and go into villages and give them to new mothers who often don't have clothes for newborn babies. And if they have a receiving blanket at all, it was made from their old clothes that were too worn out to use anymore. Imagine the joy when a new mom gets a bright, colorful receiving blanket that has been made with so much love and joy and prayers!

Yes, the women of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League can partner with missionaries who are in a position to tell others first-hand what Jesus has done for them. They can ground others by bringing them the Word of God.

And how long are we supposed to do all this?

Jesus says "Until the end of the age." That is, we're supposed to keep on keeping on until Jesus comes back for us.

In the meantime, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of ways that I can reach out to people around the world and spread the wonderful message that Jesus Christ died for our sins and because of his death on the cross, we can claim salvation as a child of God.

So this is the reason I write this blog. It's my way of going around the world to talk to people about what Christ has done for each one of us. That would be you. And it would be me. My computer is my magic carpet and on it, I can ride through cyberspace to reach you in 23 countries so far this month.

God bless each and every one of you.

March 20, 2012

Election results in Illinois: Not all results are in at this writing.

If you are anywhere near middle Illinois on March 23, you could do yourself a favor and go to the Effingham Performance Center at 8:00 p.m. and catch the show headlined by Scott Wattles of Blue Suede Crew. Tickets are $5. He's an incredible performer for those of us who wax nostalgia over Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, and a host of others. What a voice!

We had an opportunity to hear him for the first time on Sunday evening. All Gospel songs. And a standing ovation for How Great Thou Art!

If I tried that it would come under the category of making a joyful noise, but I am filled with appreciation for anyone who can sing really well. We are fortunate because own Pastor Rensner is also a wonderful vocalist. I love listening to someone who loves to sing. And both these gentlemen do!

Earthquake near Acapulco registers 7.6! That's a really hefty earthquake even if it is about 200 miles from Acapulco. God is sure rattling the earth these days. Two hundred miles is nothing when an earthquake ripples its way through the earth.

It is still 78 degrees in the house. And Quint mowed the grass -- or part of it -- yesterday afternoon. Don't remember that happening in March. Ever. We sure do enjoy having the windows open and soft warm breezes blowing across us when we're sleeping though.

We pray for God's blessings to all of you. Some of you are living in dangerous area and you are especially in our prayers.

And we thank you for prayers too.

March 19, 2012


It's time for a patriotic song and this just arrived from Shirley, my favorite snow bird who has not returned from Arizona yet:

And here's a cute little story sent by our friends John and Sherre in Wichita:
Subject: A New Pet

                  The Talking Centipede

                  A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.

                  So he went to the pet store and told the owner
                  That he wanted to buy an unusual pet.

                  After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede,
                  (100-legged bug), which came in a little white box
                  To use for his house.

                  He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box,
                  And decided he would start off by taking his new pet
                  To church with him.

                  So he asked the centipede in the box,

                  "Would you like to go
                  To church with me today?
                  We will have a good time."

                  But there was no answer from his new pet.

                  This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes
                  And then asked again,

                  "How about going
                  To church with me
                  And receive blessings?"

                  But again,there was no answer
                  From his new friend and pet.
                  So he waited a few minutes more,
                  Thinking about the situation.

                  The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.

                  This time he put his face up against
                  The centipede ' s house and shouted,

                  "Hey, in there!
                  Would you like to go
                  Church with me
                  And learn about God?"

                  YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......

                  This time,
                  A little voice
                  Came out of the box,

                  "I heard you the first time!

                   I ' m putting my shoes on!"

March 17, 2012

Today is the day when the whole world is Irish. That includes my cousin, Mark, who sends this blessing. It's beautiful poetry by Phil Coulter and narrated by Roma Downey. I thank you Mark for this beautiful blessing and, in turn, send it along to all my friends: Looking at the beautiful photos, I am reminded of a wonderful vacation that Quint and I took to Ireland a few years ago. It's a beautiful country and I got an answer to why the green grass is so vibrant and emerald colored. Supposedly it's because of the high level of minerals in the soil, most particularly calcium. And that's one of the reasons why Queen Elizabeth sends here pregnant horses to Ireland to deliver. Munching on good Irish green grass makes for healthy bones for the baby horse in the mom's womb, and also when the little baby horse starts to grow and develop. The grass really is emerald colored. They aren't just kididng.

Ready for a little humor? This comes from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:

Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his
Plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.

As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.

'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never

Driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?'

The driver said,

'No problem. Have at it.'

Billy gets into the driver's seat and they head off
Down the highway.
A short distance away
Sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.

The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.

The trooper pulled out
And easily caught the limo
And he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver's door
And when the glass
Was rolled down,
He was surprised to see
Who was driving.

He immediately excused himself and went back to his car
And called his supervisor.

He told the supervisor,
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Important people are
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
Very important person.'

The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's more important
Than that.'

The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'

The supervisor finally asked,

'Well then, who is it?'

The young trooper said,

'I think it's Jesus,
Because he's got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!'

Smile - God loves you! I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today;
To guide you and protect you, as you go along your way
God's love is always with you, God's promises are true.

And when you give God all your cares, believe with all your might that God will see you through.

March 16, 2012

I see a lot of anxious people who come for counseling. And even though anxious people want very much to not be anxious anymore, they resist doing the very thing that un-anxious people know all about. That is, un-anxious people live their lives on a foundation of faith. Christ lives in their hearts. The Holy Spirit is used as a daily ever-ready counselor.

In going down the list of 100 Questions That Jesus Asked, I come to Luke 12:26 which asks: If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?

It's a humbling thought that we don't  have all that much control over the external events of our lives. For instance, there's that old Liar, Satan, who likes to poke his nose into every facet of our business. He'd like to think we're easy pickings for his nasty little harvest. And beware that you say such things as, "I'd give anything ..." Satan is the one who will seize that opportunity and yes, he can grant your wishes, too. Many times he does. Then he comes back for payment from you a nickel at a time.

You want wealth? Satan will give it to you. Then what? How many lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? But you say you'd like to just try it? Don't bother. Satan doesn't play fair. He wants to own you, lock stock and barrel.

The Lord, on the other hand, says, Do my work and I will prosper you. God is not against prosperity. It's not money that gets people in trouble. Rather, it's the love of moneythat leads to sin. The love of money leads to greed and corruption. People who are thousandaires strive to become millionaires. Millionaires strive to become billionaires. No matter how weather they are, they are never satisfied with what they have. Prosperity, on the other hand, comes with contentment.

When we are prosperous we thank the Lord that we have enough to spare and some left to share.

Lots of people are anxious about money because they have this idea that they want more and more and more, and never realizing that they don't have enough, and probably will never have enough to suit them.

But money isn't the only thing that causes so much anxiety. It's the fear that we're never going to be in control of situations or events in our lives.

When you look at your life, what is it that you think you do have control over? Your children? Your addicted spouse? Your job? Your ability to drive down the street and not have an accident? Your shopping for food and making the assumption that the food hasn't been tampered with by an idiot who has figured out a way to slip a poison into your food without it being detected until you get sick and are rushed to a hospital? Or you order and egg at a restaurant and get a dose of salmonella.

How's that control thing working out for you?

But here's what you do. First of all, get down on your knees and pray to God. Pray to Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you figure things out better. God likes our prayers better when we are reverent, I've found. That's why kneeling is best; it's humbling.

Don't want to do that? Well, you don't have to. Life can continue the way it's been going for you if you are filled with fears and anxieties. But if you want your life to change, let Jesus Christ into your heart. He has solutions for you that you can't even imagine.

He's the Master of the universe and it's Jesus Christ who is the agent of change in your life, not you.

March 15, 2012

Oh my, what a beautiful day we had today. It warmed up to a perfect 74 degrees. Soft, gentle breezes. Then there was this dark, ugly row of clouds that I had my eye on as I drove to work. It was about twenty miles away. Never did get a drop of rain. The clouds scooted east and stayed out of my way. The storm must have hit Detroit. I saw some pretty ugly video of tornadoes over there late this afternoon. Lots of damage and rubble. Hope there were no casualties.

On another subject, I have been thinking about compassion a lot these days. The people who are able to express and share it with others are so welcome in my world. Here's the deal. We all have to fashion our responses to other people similarly to what our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would do.

Compassion and gentle tenderness. And love and kindness. And helping one another.

This comes from good friend Shirley all the way from Arizona:

This  is SIMPLY AWESOME!I’ve never seen this before! Whoever put “The Resume of
Jesus Christ” together is surelya  blessing to us all! Please share it!  The last
sentence says it  all...
The  Resume of Jesus  Christ
Address:  Ephesians  1:20
Phone:  Romans  10:13
Website:  The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and  Jesus
My  name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent  you my resume because
I'm seeking the top  management position in your heart. Please consider  my
accomplishments as set forth in my  resume.
I  founded the earth and established the heavens, (See  Proverbs  3:19)
I  formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis  2:7) 
I  breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis  2:7)   
I  redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians  3:13)   
The  blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life  through me, (See
Galatians  3:14)   
Occupational  Background    
I've  only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49  ).   
I've  never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or  disrespectful.   
My  employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See  Matthew 3:15  -17)   
Skills  Work Experiences   
Some  of my skills and work experiences include: empowering  the poor to be poor no
more, healing the broken hearted,  setting the captives free, healing the sick,
restoring  sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are  bruised, (See
Luke  4:18).   
I  am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who  listen to me shall dwell
safely and shall not fear evil,  (See Proverbs 1:33  ).   
Most  importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to  cleanse you of your
sins, (See I John  1:7-9)   
Educational  Background   
I  encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge,  wisdom and understanding,
(See Proverbs  2:6).   
In  me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,  (See Colossians  2:3).
My  Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a  lamp unto your feet and a
light unto your path, (See  Psalms  119:105).   
I  can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See  Psalms  44:21).   
Major  Accomplishments   
I  was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting  of all times, (See
Genesis 1:26  ).   
I  laid down my life so that you may live, (See II  Corinthians 5:15  ).   
I  defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a  show of them openly, (See
Colossians 2:15  ).   
I've  miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised  the  dead!   
There  are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention  here. You can read
them on my website, which is located  at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need an
Internet  connection or computer to access my  website.  
Believers  and followers worldwide will testify to my divine  healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration  and supernatural  guidance.  
In  Summation  
Now  that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the  only candidate uniquely
qualified to fill this vital  position in your heart. In summation, I will properly
direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you  into everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ). When can I  start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15  ).  
Send  this resume to everyone you know,
you never know who 
may have an opening!
Thanks  for your help.  

'Nuff said.

March 14, 2012

I just got this link from my friend in the Quad Cities area in northern Illinois. It's an eagle mom sitting on her nest. And the article points out that the nest if seven feet in diameter!

Got this from Mary, a friend who lives in Springfield. It comes to her from an attorney. And just an aside, when your credit card is stolen, you do know that you have to file the report in the police department where the fraud/theft took place, don't you? There's lot of good advice here and I thank you, Mary, for sending this. I'm going to write "photo ID required" on each card as I receive new ones. That's a great idea!

All Credit Card Users Advice
- Tel Numbers

Advice for all credit card users posted by Bluwolf at Caps Corner
Sunday morning 03/11/2012
bluwolf] Read this and make a copy
for your files in case you need to refer to it
someday. Maybe we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his company:

1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'

2. When you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
'For' line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company
knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it
passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.

3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO
Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!)
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get

Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each
license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of
the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in
a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here
or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in
stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line
approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my
driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you
know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc.,
were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is
perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had
never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means
any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they
have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I
was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had
been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'
purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this
weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax:

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along
just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care about.

March 13, 2012

It has been a really long day at an all day board meeting for Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML). The location of the meeting is some 95 miles from home. We passed a resolution for mission grants in the amount of $75,000.

The women of the LWML are amazing. They collect small amounts of change on a regular basis and add them all together and pretty soon, there are thousands of dollars in our district, and almost two million at the national level. Then the money is sent all around the world to help feed hungry children, start new churches, help church workers go to school, and a wide variety of projects that we receive.

One of the member groups, called Societies, is finishing up some 170 quilts they have been making this winter. Another group, from my zone, has made 127 quilts. These quilts will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and shipped to people around the world wherever they are needed.

It's a long day to meet for quarterly board meetings but it's refreshing to partner with so many other women of faith who share a single commitment to help make the world a better place to live in.

We had a mission pastor speak at our church last Sunday and he tells of the horrible poverty in Central America. Did you know that there are children who do not have clothes to wear. And they eat maybe once every two or three days?

Why aren't more people on fire with a passion to join in a partnership with churches that are working hard in these poverty-stricken countries? These are the groups that make sure almost 100% of any money that's collected goes right where it's needed. And much of that money is spent distributing the goods that are collected.

Pray for the hungry and the naked children who live in squalor and poverty.

God bless you, each and every one.

March 11, 2012

Today is the day when it feels like we've moved into another time zone -- one just to the west of us because the sun stays up longer. ha ha

My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.

It's about a mother black bear and her three newborn cubs getting tagged in the wilds of Ontario. The commentator is pretty funny too. Thank you, Joyce.

Here's another one from Joyce. It's about a young woman who's talking to her grandpa about the ipad she gave him. He assures her that he's using it and knows all about the apps, etc. Watch this:

 -- See, don't tell fibs.

And this comes from my cousin, Frances, in southern Texas:

How children perceive their Grandparents......

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one
said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I
will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet
for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own
childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I
said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think
you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I
did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm
not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says
I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies
today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant,"
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder
pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one
day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the
fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the
dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said,
"she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.
Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks
and they blame their dog.

March 7, 2012

Got this earnest prayer from a dear friend, Diane, who lives in Hidalgo:

Hi Lord, its me.*   *We are getting older and things are getting bad here.*
*Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* *I
know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even* *Christmas,
but Lord I'm asking you to come back* *and re-bless America .* *We really
need you!*   *There are more of us who want you than those who don't!* *Thank
You Lord,* *I Love you.*   *If you agree, send it on---if not just delete.*
*Only you & the Lord will know.*
*"Life without God is** **like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."*

As a side note, there is a prayer group that stops to pray at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. The prayer is for America to return to its Christian roots and rid Washington, D. C. of all corrupt politicians. People all over the country are joining together in this common prayer. Join in if you can.

Last night was Ladies Aid at church. What a privilege it is to meet with other women of like Christian values and to share God's word in a Bible Study, then our hostess for the evening, Melissa, made a wonderful spread of fresh fruit. She also made cookies but I didn't have any. It seems that sugar has become my enemy since learning that I have gout that settled in my lower back and my right thumb. The medicine that I now take is for people who specifically took Cytoxan as a chemo treatment for breast cancer. So, no sugary desserts. But then, since Quint is diabetic, Splenda has become my friend. And I can also get chocolate covered cherries from Figi's and have them shipped to me. Yummmmmmy!

It's really windy here. So bad that the windmill has blown over twice in the last day or so. I also heard that there were 90 mph gusts in Las Vegas. Not that anybody who goes to Las Vegas goes outside to stand on the sidewalks to enjoy the weather. I mean, they don't even have clocks in the casinos. They'd probably like it if people took their watches off, but that's not happening much either.

Got this from both cousins, Mark and Alan, so you know it's serious stuff:

  Seems Reasonable 

            Can't eat pork,

            Swine flu...

            Can't eat chicken,

            Bird flu.

            Can't eat Beef, Mad cow


            Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.

            Can't eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.

            Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.














            I believe that leaves Chocolate and ice cream!!!!!!!!


            Remember - - - 'STRESSED'

            spelled backwards!



March 5, 2012

Got this poignant story from cousin Mark. Enjoy! Gratitude is a acquired pleasure.Have a great day full of love and happiness. 

Change Your Thinking

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain
the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement
in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass
the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young
lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the
other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye
as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the
lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to
the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was
comfortable, she left him alone. 

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the
real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

And these quips from "kids in church" comes from dear friend, Cody, in Warrensburg, MO:

A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps,
stop, and turn to the crowd.
    While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar.
     So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear." 

One Sunday in a   Midwest City ,
a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
but were losing the battle.
   Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
     Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
the little one called loudly to the congregation,
"Pray for me! Pray for me!" 

One particular four-year old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

A little boy was overheard praying:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

A Sunday School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church
service, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
      One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping." 
      A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
looking at the old pages as he turned them.
     Then something fell out of the Bible.
He picked it up and looked at it closely.
It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
"Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
      With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
"I think it's Adam 's suit". 
          The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
jerking the mike cord as he went.
     Then he moved to one side,
getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.
     After several circles and jerks,
a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"

Six-year old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
"See those two men standing by the door?
They're hushers."

  My grandson was visiting one day when he asked ,
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
      I mentally polished my halo, while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.

A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
      Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the  King James Virgin ?"

 A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments.
     They were ready to discuss the last one.
     The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
     Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."

March 3, 2012

Please lift your hearts in prayer for the victims of this horrible rash of tornados today. These are killer winds. In addition to fatalities reported, there's dangers with houses being lifted off their foundations. It's a good night to stay in, be safe, and pray that God will embrace all those people who are suffering with heavy losses. Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, was particularly hit, it seems to me. But there are other areas, with just as deadly outbreaks. I heard on one of the news channels that this year would be as bad as the tornado season in 1978.

We pray steadfastly, also, that our nation will return to its Christian roots on which it was founded.

I look forward to going to church on Sunday and hearing a message from the Gospel lesson that, at least in part, says For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. March 8:38

I think there are a whole bunch of people out there who have kind of postponed thinking about what they're going to do with all this Christianity stuff. "I'll worry about all that when I get older," they seem to think.

Oh yeah?

Well, think of Andrew Breitbart, who now lays cold and quiet at the tender age of 43. He was one of my favorite reads. He was the kind of journalist that Pulitzer hoped to reward for courage through the printed word. I pray that he was okay with God before he took his last breath. I have a feeling that he was.

But what about all the other people out there? You know the ones -- they don't want the children to pray in school. They don't want to say the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want to hear anything that sounds like Christian talk. Woe be to those who turn their backs on God. This verse in Mark tells them exactly what God will do in retaliation. And don't think for one minute that they can appease God with some half-witted excuse like, "I didn't mean it. You know I wasn't serious, don't you?"

It's time to pray like you mean it. It's time to spend your days thinking about God. Oh, you don't have to jump up out of your chair screaming "Hallalujah." But you can think about the Great and Wonderful Creator of the Universe who allows you to take each breath throughout every day of your life. Be thankful for that.

I have always wondered about the people who want to go to heaven. Don't they realize that they will spend their time praising and worshiping God? If they are looking forward to the time when they are able to do that, wouldn't you think they could spend more time worshiping and praising God every day, in some way?

There are so many things a person can do to worship God. He sees us when we are kind to others. He sees us when we are compassionate and generous. He sees us when we try with all our heart to lead a life as free as sin as we possibly can - not that we'll ever be totally sin-free, what being human and all. But we ought to try as best as we can to avoid temptation and sin in our lives.

God likes it when we strive to do that.

February 29, 2012

Questions to ask yourself --

Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?

Easy answer.

When you're tempted, it involved a sin of some sort.

Being tested is a form of discipline. Discipline makes you grow in faith. It enriches you and tempers your faith into a tool as strong as steel.

The passage that started all this thinking about being tempted was from the Epistle lesson a week or so ago. It's from the Book of James, and says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. -- James 1:13-14

So if you feel like you're being tempted, who do you think might be the culprit?

Another easy answer -- Satan himself.

Satan is the author of evil. Not God. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Temptations involve sins. Testing involves love through discipline.

This notion that there is a person named Satan reared its head out on the campaign trail a few weeks back. Santorum made the comment that "...Satan had his eye on Washington." What a firestorm that set off. Here came the spindoctors who tried to make Santorum look like a religious kook. Until some organization did a survey and found that 70% of Americans believe -- truly believe -- that Satan really does exist.

Remember way back in Sunday School days hearing that the best trick Satan has going for him is that he convinces people that he does not exist. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States.

We're a Christian nation and we know he's real. And his favorite game is Gotcha!

If you want an inkling about who Satan is, take a look at the Book of Job.

In the very first chapter, in verse 6, we read: One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

Then follows a conversation recorded between the Lord and Satan. So if the Lord recognizes Satan and calls him by name, who are we to even think that he does not exist?

Rest safely in the arms of the Lord, my friends, and pray fervently for his protection from Satan and all that is evil.

February 28, 2012

Before I go off in a different direction, you have to watch this video of the Daytona 500. Talk about races, burning cars, fast bumps, and one big brewhaha. One spill took out six cars:

Here's a video that is precious. It's about Pastor Ed Dobson, who developed ALS. He talks about his new role as a different kind of pastor now that he no longer has an active church.

Pastor Rensner talked about how come God, who has the power to stop the storms in our lives, doesn't do that. Pastor said that sometimes God calms the person going through the storm rather than calming the storm. And why would He do that? His reasons are his own and they are not my ways.

I am working on a thesis of the difference between being tested and being tempted. I hope to have it finished by this time tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back to read it.

Blessings, prayers and hugs,

February 27, 2012

This story comes from Connie today. She says it will give you the chills....... GOOD chills. See if you agree.

A young man had been to Wednesday Night Bible
Study.  The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice

The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'

After service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed
the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o'clock when the young man started  driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, 'God...If you still speak
to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.'

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop
and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and
started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God,
and how little Samuel ran to Eli. 'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem like too hard
a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the
gallon of milk and started off toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.' This is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.

Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street .

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.

Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay, God, I will.'

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop He pulled over
to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't
the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across
the street.' The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the
people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door
and then sat back in the car seat.

'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the

Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I
will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want
to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer
right away, I am out of here.'

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A
man's voice yelled
out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the young man could
get away.

The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out
of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some
stranger standing on his doorstep. 'What is it?'

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man
took the milk and rushed down a hallway.

Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man
was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming
down his face.

The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our
baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'

His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you
an Angel?'

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him
and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears
were streaming down his face.
He knew that God still answers prayers. 

This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that
cause us, if we are obedient to what He's asking, to be able to hear His voice
more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey ! He will bless you (and the world).
Phil 4:13 

February 25 -- 26, 2012

I'm adding this video at the front. It's from my cousin Mark and it's a video showing an owl coming in for a landing on a security tower. It's unbelievable footage showing the owl "putting on the brakes," so to speak. And look at those wing maneuvers! It's only a minute long, but fascinating.

Beautiful photograph by Paul Bunyard, set to music -- called Chasing the Light. It's a four and a half minute respite!

One of my favorite videos -- this is a dog in a contest -- apparently the judges don't give him very high marks because he can't seem to get it right. But then, just wait until the amazing end!

This is a video (1:40) of cranes flying over Venice, Italy. Fascinating photography of the landscape below, but also of the cranes communicating with one another while flying:

Here's a video, also from that shows a little bird coming into a bluegrass festival and sitting on the lead singer's guitar. Too funny!

Now, before you watch this next one, please realize that dogs are not supposed to stand upright and walk, much less dance. But here's a cute little dog doing a Paso Doble. Yes, dancing:

Danica Patrick crashed intot he wall at Daytona today:

Oh dear. This video shows someone getting creamed by an oncoming traffic. Just another reason why I don't do any road ranging during ice and snow and black ice weather:

Here's a recently discovered amateur video of the shuttle that exploded. After watching it, the videographers didn't really understand what had happened. It seemed like they thought the crash was the booster rocket separating.

And this final video is about a man named Omar and his seeing eye dog Salty. Omar was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when the building was hit. Watch this video of this remarkable dog rescuing and saving his best friend, Omar:

February 24, 2012

You do know that 2012 is a leap year, don't you? Just thought I'd bring that up, in case you overlooked the fact that February has 29 days in it this year.

So it's Friday night here at home. It's cold outside with the wind whipping around the corner of the house. And we're about ready to settle down to a good old mystery on Netflix streaming and Quint asks from the kitchen, "You want popcorn with that?" Who could say no? Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.

I made 3-2-1 cakes for dessert. If you remember, I have a big plastic bag into which I mixed together a sugar-free yellow cake mix and an angel food cake mix. Really mix them well. Then, whenever you want a quick little cake, you mix 3 tablespoons of this cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave that for 1 minute and you have this unbelievable little cake.

Well, I got fancy, I did. I put about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar blend (with Splenda). Microwave that for about 5 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir that up and put in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed pineapple. Then add the mixed up 32-1 cake mix and microwave that for 1 minute. Yummmy!

I'm going to see if sliced strawberries in the bottom of my little dish (which is about the size of a ramekin), then put the 3-2-1 mixed up cake mix and see if it passes for a strawberry short cake. It might. Or it might be close enough to pass for a suitable substitute.

Changing the subject, the weather here has taken a dive down to 36 degrees. This time yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. For those of you who just joined us from the United Arab Emirates, it probably doesn't matter that much. You have heat all year round. But you also have sand. I don't know if I could really get used to living on a sand hill. It just looks - well, dry.

But since readers are from all over the world, it's probably a curiosity for some who never experience snow. (You're not missing much at all.)

And as a side note, I'm so glad that you liked the blog from a few days ago about the man praying the Lord's Prayer. It's unbelievable how many emails I've gotten in favor of this prayer. And how it's made you pause and think about what you're saying when you pray. You know, God really is right around you every minute of the day. And he cares about you, so keep on praying.

My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with many wonderful people and opportunities that God will put in your life today. Enjoy each and every one of them.

February 23, 2012

Last night was Ash Wednesday service at church. It marks a time when we begin a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection three days later at Easter. It's a somber time and as I sat in church and looked around me, I saw the usual faithful worshipers. I felt closer to them than I do at other times of the year. The imposition of ashes reminds us that we came from dust and it is to dust that we will return. In the meantime, we are to live our lives as Christians and walk through life behaving as if -- if Christ were right beside us, visibly point out pitfalls,

... as if Christ were steering us around the misdeeds we might otherwise get ourselves into,

... as if we remember that we are never alone,

... as if we realize consciously that Christ is watching us,

... as if we remember that it is Christ who sits at the right hand of God interceding for us on our behalf,

... as if we remember, also, that it is Christ who will judge us when we catch up with eternity,

... as if we always remember that we are to pray to God, our heavenly father, and we can only get there through Jesus Christ,

... as if we want more than anything to please God and Jesus Christ,

and finally, as if we are truly sorry for all our sins.

This isn't one of the questions that is listed as having been asked by Jesus, but sometimes, when I do really silly stuff, I have this vision of Jesus asking, "What in the world did you do that for?" It helps me not to do things anymore that I really don't want to do and know that I shouldn't do.

February 21, 2012

Did you feel the earthquake this morning? It registered 4.0 on the Richter Scale. I'll have to tell Quint that it wasn't the wind that was rattling the windows that woke him at 4:00 am, but rather, the temblor shifting around close to the New Madrid fault line. Here's a map that shows exactly where the earthquake was:

But if you really want to see something, take a look see at this map of the United States -- 806 earthquakes in the last 24 hours. California and Alaska are always feeling a lot of shaking going on.

Stay safe out there, my friends.

Changing the subject, back to the List of 100 Questions that Jesus Asked:

Question #79 -- How is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? John 5:44

Walk through this question with me for a moment. Remember the last time you went to get a new outfit? You found something that you thought would look good on you. You looked in the 3-way mirror to make sure the outfit draped across your body just the way you wanted it to. And why is that?

Simple. When we buy something new to wear, we're thinking of what others will think of it. Then they'll tell us how nice it looks.

We'll get praise.

But hold on here for a moment. The question that Jesus is asking is how come you're thinking about what others think?

How come you aren't all that concerned about what God thinks of you?

I think there might be a couple of answers to this question.

One of the thoughts I have is that because we don't physically see God, it's sometimes hard to imagine that he's right here, right now, in this very room, reading over your shoulder. Maybe watching you curiously to see how you get through your day. But, our humanness sometimes fails us spiritually because we aren't always consciously thinking that God is present everywhere at the same time.

How can that be? I don't know the answer to that. My brain can't get wrapped around that possibility, but I know it's true because the Bible says so.

I know that after Quint and I finish our breakfast and we join hands for our daily prayers, God is in the room with us. And I also know that it pleases God when his children talk to him. That's what we do. We let him know what we're thankful for because he does so much for us. We wouldn't have a thread to wear if it weren't for God's grace. Oh, I don't mean that he puts a hanger with clothes on it in our closet. But he makes provisions for us to get the things we need as we go through our lives. And it's been like that since the day we were born.

God has always been a stellar provider. He has never failed to provide us with what we need.

By the same token, he puts situations in our paths to see what we're going to do about them. He brings people to us to see how we're going to react to them.

We need to always think about what we are doing so that we live our lives in ways that please God.

To me, that's a lot more important than whether someone else likes a dress I bought.

I care what God thinks. I most definitely care what he thinks. And I hope that anything and everything I do in life tickles him. He is not a person I ever want to be displeased with at me!

February 20, 2012

And who couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:

A female journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going
to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.

      So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was,
walking slowly up to the holy site.

      She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave,
using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

      "Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith. What's your name?

      "Morris Feinberg," he replied.

      "Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?" 

      "For about 60 years."

      "60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

      "I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."

      "I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop."

      "I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to
love their fellow man."

      "I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people
ahead of their own interests."

      The reporter then asked, "How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

      "Like I'm talking to a wall."  

And our good friend Joyce sends us this cost analysis of how much it costs to run a Volt. Can you tell that Joyce is a banker by trade?

Subject: Cost to operate a Chevy Volt

Take a few minutes to read thru this analysis. This is truly an economic failure,
until technology improves to change these costs! This is what the Obama
Administration is pushing in his new budget! Just another "cash sink hole", from our
taxes, and huge debt!
Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt at
the invitation of General Motors.

For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the
Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.

Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery.

So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is
approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to
charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.

In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph. 

According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh
of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. 

The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up
what I pay for electricity. 

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 

16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. 

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the

Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg. 

$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile. 

The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000......... 

So Government wants us to pay 3 times as much, for a car that costs more that 7
times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across country..... REALLY

- I have a question. After the battery just up and dies, how much will it cost to destroy it? I doubt if the batteries will be allowed in landfill. I mean, if you can't even put an old, dead cell phone in the landfill, what are you going to do with the Volt battery?

But what if you keep the Volt and decide to replace the battery. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the battery alone cost $25,000. Can that be right? Does anybody know? If you do could you shoot me an email. Please.

And this from my dear cousin Frances in Broaddus, Texas:

                  We need to show more sympathy for these people.
                  * They travel miles in the heat.
                  * They risk their lives crossing a border.
                  * They don't get paid enough wages.
                  * They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
                  * They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a
different language.
                  * They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day
~ every day..

                  I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans ~ 

                  I'm talking about our troops! 

                  Doesn't it seem strange that so many are willing to lavish all
kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our

                  Wouldn't it be great if we took the $360,000,000,000 (that's
billion) we spend on illegals every year, and spend it on our

February 17, 2012

This is one of the best versions of an interactive Lord's Prayer that I've ever read. It's sent to us from my dear friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO. I do pray that it will enrich your life today and that you will think about this when you pray the Lord's Prayer:

THE LORD'S PRAYER- Rather cleverly done. This is in two parts,
The prayer(in blue type) and GOD(in red type)-in response.
It is very, very good.
"Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you..
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense.. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
Control, of everything down here like you have up
There. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
But, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend
Your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
Who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
But I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
And all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?
I didn't -- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.
There now!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Do you know what would bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly behave like Christ
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me .. . .
How do I make you happy?
YOU  just did".

February 15, 2012

Taking a break from the questions that Jesus asked, I have to share with you that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took Secretary (Health and Human Services) Sebelius to task today about whether or not she had consulting with any bishops before drafting the contraceptive order for the White House. Her response was that she had not, but assumed that the folks over at the White House must have.

Well, that wasn't quite good enough to Hatch who then made the statement that he believed all religious organizations should be exempted from the contraception demand. (See article at:

There are several layers to this argument, if you ask me. One is that of whether you believe women ought to be able to buy contraceptives.

The other is a question of honoring all religions who are opposed to abortion and believe that abortion is about killing an unborn child. In that event, then the "morning after pill" would make the trip down that slippery slope.

Then there is the constitutional camp which is inhabited by people who believe that the government has no right in tampering with freedom of religion. Forcing organizations, whether directly with religious organizations, or imposing on the insurance companies who insure employees of religious organizations makes no difference. The question isn't about who pays for the contraceptives -- the religious organization or its insurance company. It's about whether the government has the right to mandate any such behavior.

Clearly there is not a lot of wiggle room with folks who believe strongly that they have a right to hold onto their religious beliefs without interference from the government. And yes, of course, the fed have overstepped its constitutional boundaries.

Bet this one makes it to the Supreme Court.

February 14, 2012

The next question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?

This was when Jesus was meeting with the Pharisees and they wanted to test him. Guess they wanted to see if he could really perform some good magic tricks. They asked him in verse 11 for a sign from heaven. You know that Jesus must have been a bit perturbed because verse 12 starts out with Jesus sighing deeply.

Well, if you were the Son of God and you knew you could move a mountain if you just wanted to, wouldn't you get just a bit exasperated with people trying to put you on the spot all the time?

Why couldn't people just believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Would you? If you were expecting the promised Messiah to be more, well, kingly, would you still believe a person who arrived on the scene dressed in something that looked like a homespun robe? So he went around doing miracles. These were real miracles. They weren't magic signs that could be explained by a slight of hand.

No, no. Jesus healed the sick. He made the lame walk. He even touched the leper and made him clean. And he saved his best miracle to last when he raised a dead man back to life.

Was that sign enough?

Not really. Because the very idea that he had brought a man back to life was used to prosecute him.

If you were reading the Galilean Daily Chronicles and there was this banner headline about a dead man walking again, wouldn't you call to get a ticket to this man's next event?

Of course you would. And you'd probably try to get a front row seat so that when this guy Jesus asked if anyone in the audience would like to come down to the front and ask for anything they wanted, you'd hop on down there. What would you want? Win the lottery? Cure for your arthritis? A baby for your barren womb? A fairy tale, drop dead gorgeous superman for a husband? A shiny new Corvette to tool around the Galilean countryside? A big fancy yacht to troll around the Sea of Galilee, catching fish and stuff?

If you could have anything you wanted, what kind of a sign would satisfy you that Jesus is the true Son of God. In fact, he's the only Son of God.

Jesus must have grown weary of people who had to have this proof that he was who he said he was.

Do you think it's any different now -- 2,000+ years later? Aren't people still looking for a sign?

Can you just accept in your hearts that Jesus is Lord? No signs are needed for those who believe.

And for those who do not believe, there aren't enough signs in the whole world to bring the proof that they require.

It's all about faith. And believing.

February 13, 2012

I have my hands on a wonderful list called 100 Questions that Jesus Asked.

What a wonderful springboard for our conversations here on this thread.

Eventually I want to go all the way through the questions that Jesus asked. And the first one is from Matthew 6:27 -- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?

My recent - and I call the last two years of my life as recent -- bout with breast cancer jumps up and out of the depths of that rusty barrel that houses my brain.

I will say that never during that entire ordeal did I feel desperate and anxious about living or dying. That was because of a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the verse quoted above. I know that somewhere in Jeremiah, there's a reference to the fact that God said he knew me when I was still in my mother's womb. In another verse way back there in the Old Testament, probably from a psalm, there's a reference to God knowing how many hairs I have on my head, and also how many days I will spend here on earth.

Some might view those cancers for both Quint and me as God specifically not answering our prayers. I take a counter view because we have both gone through that long, black tunnel of chemo. Radiation added for me. When we talked it through, all the way to the core, we came to understand that God had, in fact, answered our prayer. You see, at our age, if there was to be cancer, it was far better to get it out of the way, so to speak, before we got really old. Advanced age puts severe limitations on what chemo you can get and what you can't tolerate. We are blessed to have gone through all that and are now in remission. In fact, we just may be in better shape now than a lot of people who are incubating cancerous cells and don't know about it.

So, knowing that God knows all those details about my life, I have little to fear because I also know that he walks with me through all my days.

Besides, God doesn't seem to put the same sense of desperation on dying that we humans do. Perhaps that's because God thinks of death as the death of a soul. I figure that he's elated when a person's body dies because those persons get to come back home to be with him in heaven. Who could cry about that?

It doesn't mean we don't go through a grieving process when we lose our loved ones. And there might even be a few people who will be said when my creaky old bones end up in the fiery pits of a crematorium. But I hope they will be overjoyed when death finds me skipping through that tunnel that near-deathers describe.

After all, as Pastor Rensner says, "What are you going to do, threaten me with heaven?"

So, no worries. Enjoy each and every little sunbeam as you travel down the road of life. And get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above for all the blessings he has given you in this life, right now.

February 12, 2011

Navy Seal quote of the week

Dana Perrino ( Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL .
After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?

His reply:

"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."

February 9, 2012

I almost ran over a hawk on the way home from work this afternoon. How could I ever explain how I could kill a bird on the wing! But sure enough, the silly thing flew right in front of me about a foot higher than the hood of the car. He got real close to the edge of the air.

That's Quint's reason for airline crashes. Planes crash when they go past the edge of the air.

Changing the subject, I'm making cookies for little kiddos at church. We have an after school program and offer the kiddos a snack when they get off the bus and come into the play area with tummies that have caved in from hunger. They get a half sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. Then they go charging around the gym and burn it all off and go home starved for supped.

I'm making cookies from a cake mix. To do that, you out two eggs into 1/3 cup oil and mix well. Then, mix that into the dry cake mix. Makes a bit more than 2 dozen little cookies. The cookies are baked at 375 degrees for 6 - 8 minutes.

I got a confetti cake mix since little darlings adore confetti and sprinkles.

And I got this beautiful story from my cousin Mark:

Tell me this one doesn't put life in perspective.  

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
Dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of  determination.

Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked,

'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted   to be once you grew up ?

Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met   Fireman
Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix .

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be   possible to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
make   him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire
station, eat with us,   go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards !

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy   one   with the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear
and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'  

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it
back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,   and
even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so
deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to
call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to
the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will
you please do me a favor ?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing,   will you announce
over the PA system that there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the   window to his

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------  

16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
told him how much they LOVED him.  

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels have been   singing.'

He closed his eyes one last time.  

February 8, 2012

So there's this mountain of mud sitting at the edge of the yard. It's the residue from the sewer line repair the other day. Rather than spread it out flat with the rest of the yard, we were told that the spring rains would pound it down so that the trench would eventually be filled in. Sounds reasonable to me, but I think I'll get out there with a rake one of these days, all of the same. Otherwise, I'm going to go out there in the next day or so and find a ski lift with very little people using the little mound for their winter fun.

It got cold in the last day or so. Even had a dusting of snow. We are woefully behind with our snowfall. According to the old wives' tale, since we had our first snowfall on the 27th of December, we can expect 27 snowfalls in total. Last night's dusting was only #4. Now, mind you, I don't mind not having 27 snowfalls. It's not like it's a goal or something.

Oh, another thing. Changing the subject, NASA says that the oceans are not rising, but rather, the level of water went down a bit. According to the weather/climate change/global warming gurus, weren't we told that because of global warming, the ice sheets would be melting and we'd have so much more water in the oceans that our eastern coast would be flooded. So how come the water level is going down? Faulty theory = flawed results. But then, just maybe because the Russians drilled a hole in the ice sheet in Antarctica to get to an underground lake, maybe water is draining down into the hole. Hey, it could happen!

Quint took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel today. When we were coming out to go back to the car, we noticed that there had been a bunch of pansies in bloom before they got frosted. Now, who would plant blooming pansies in the middle of winter? Sure enough, they got frostbit last night. I love the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel. If I close my eyes, I can imagine that I'm back at Grandma Stubbe's boarding house in Paducah. Cracker Barrel's meatloaf tastes just like hers. Maybe they found her recipe somewhere. It's delicious. So is their Cream of Potato Soup which is my favorite soup anywhere.

And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.

February 6, 2012

Want the world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.

I know this is old data, but it's the source I found when I went looking. It's a research article on volunteerism in America written by Richard D. Young. He cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says 59% of people in the United States who are 16 years old or older volunteered for an organization in some capacity. And that was for the year way back in 2001 to 2002. that was 27.6% of the American population.

Volunteers most often donate their time to religious organizations (33.9%). Second on the list is educational organizations who get 27.2% of the volunteers. But it's the old folks who are 65 and older who donate
the most time to churches -- 45.2%.

Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies several activities in which volunteers engage in consistently. The list below shows which activities are most predominate.

Teaching or coaching (24.4 %).

Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).

Collecting, making, serving, or delivering goods (22.2 %).

Serving on a board, committee, or neighborhood association (16.3 %).

Providing care or transportation (12.3 %).

Consulting or administrative work (14.0 %).

So this ties in with the Gospel lesson at church yesterday. It's from Mark 1:29-39 and tells the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. What's the first thing she did when her fever went away? She got up and began to serve them.

Not because she had to, as Pastor Gillet said. But because she wanted to.

When it comes to serving in the Kingdom of God, it's something we get to do. We don't have to, but rather, we are allowed to serve.

In another article, again pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we read that ... nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from 2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time. The volunteer rate has not changed significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What's neat about this article is an interactive map of the United States that compares the percentage of volunteers in a state and compares it to the national average when you move your cursor over the state.

So get out there and be a good neighbor. While you're at it, volunteer to help out at your church too.

February 4, 2012

Quint and I headed over to Culvers after closing up the junior quilting shop at church. When we started looking for a spot to sit down at, I heard a familiar voice say, "Jane." It was the vice president of the Effingham/Shelby Zone and she invited us to sit with her and her husband. They were just finishing up the flavor of the month (chocolate eclair) ice cream, so we sat down.

After talking about a dizzying list of favorite subjects, Chris and I then started talking about cake recipes. I told her I was going to start visiting churches in the Zone. Tomorrow is my first outing. It's at a church where the church council is making soup for lunch. I told her I was going to make a yellow cake with a peach pie filling and after sharing that quick recipe with her (it's on the recipe page over there on the left), she said, "I'll tell you how to make a cake."

She explained, first you mix a cake mix with an angel food cake mix. It can be any kind of cake mix you want, but it has to be with an angel food cake mix.

Then, when you get those two cake mixes mixed well, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 1 minute.

She says it's easy to remember because it's 3-2-1.

When I got home I mixed a sugar free yellow cake mix with an angel food mix that I picked up on the way home.

Sure enough, it works! So I have this cake mix in a ziploc bag ready to make a cake in a minute.

I even bought one of those new cans of frosting mix that Pillsbury has. It looks like a whipped cream container where you kind of bend a plastic tip a bit and out comes the frosting.

What an amazing age we live in!

I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would send me to the bakery to buy two layers of a yellow cake if she didn't have time to bake a cake for a church event. And she thought that was cheating. But no one ever knew. She always covered it with her famous 7 Minute Frosting so who would have ever been able to tell.

One of my other favorite memories of my grandmother was her little forest of African Violet leaves. She had a big pan of sand which she kept wet. Then she would take leaves from her African Violets and stick them in the sand. After some mysterious length of time, she'd know when to take the leaves out because they'd have roots developed. She'd plant them in little pots and after a while, little baby African Violets would pop their little faces up through the dirt. Eventually, she'd cut the big leaf off and put it back in the sand to make a new generation.

I got up enough nerve to try that this year. A nurse at the oncology center assured me that this method would work so I gave it a try. I now have a beautiful purple and another pink African Violet and when I get a little new plant, I give them to clients who want them.

Except that I only use African Plant Food water. That makes them bloom like happy little campers. Pretty much all the time too.

February 2, 2012

If the groundhog can be believed, we don't have to worry about winter weather so much. We had fog as thick as pea soup. Not only could the rat not see his shadow, I doubt if he could see his cute little paw in front of his face. Yay! Go groundhog.

I received this from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:

One of the best I've seen lately........

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!

I read another article today on the web warning about yet another scam. This one has to do with jury duty. Supposedly someone sends you an email or calls you to let you know there's a warrant for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty.

After you pick yourself up off the floor and start to explain that you never got a summons to appear for jury duty, then the most helpful scam artist at the other end of the phone asks you for your social security number and birthday so it can be double checked against the list of warrants. Now, we aren't going to give anybody that kind of information, are we?

Please say you won't.

Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals live.

If you live in Illinois, you need to know that Illinois is a "do not call" state. That means if you get an annoying telemarketing call, immediately tell the caller that you are aware that you live in a "do not call" state and want your name taken off the list he/she is calling from. The caller has to stop the conversation immediately.

Also, there's a link on the Links page on this website to put your phones on the "Do not call list." I probably need to do that again because I'm starting to get calls again. Putting your phone numbers on the list is not a permanent solution but when you start to get calls again, just go back in and renew your numbers.

February 1, 2012

We're zipping through the Bible at an accelerated pace in our Sunday morning adult discussion class. It's an ambitious undertaking because we're actually going to go from Genesis to Revelation in a 10-week segment. Oh, for sure, we aren't going to do any really in depth stopping over points. We can always go back and focus on aspects of the textbook we're using individually at a later date.

One of the quick points that was made in an early chapter was that Genesis 15:1 was the first time that the term "the word of the Lord came to..."

In this particular instance, the reference was to Abraham. He was the first man to whom the word of the Lord came. Abraham was a prophet. In this particular instanc, the word prophet means one who receives the word of the Lord.

Don't you think it would be exciting to pick up the Bible and get into the Word? Page after page after page of the Word brings us richness and depth to our soul. It's a blessed journey to walk every day with the Lord.

There's mending to be done when we weep from heavy grief. Our soul yearns for healing and it's right there, in between the covers of the Book.

There's learning that jumps off the pages with so much history. The Bible is not a complete history of what was going on in the world. For instance, from 1250 to 1190 BC the Greeks and Trojans were fighting the famous Trojan War. It happened. We know that from recorded history. But it's not a Bible story.

And did you know that from 1750 - 1040 BC, China's Shang Dynasty had a system of writing. They organized a bunch of armies too.

There were earthquakes too. From 1150-950 BC, earthquakes rattled the area around Cyprus.

Accupuncture was first introduced during the Chou dynasty at 1030 BC.

For sure, there were people in other places doing other things. Their stories were not captured in the Bible.

What the Bible does bring us is the bloodline of Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible traces this lineage through the House of David, through his line of history to a little town of Bethlehem.

There's much in the Word to sift through and think about. Absolutely no other book in the history of mankind has had the impact as the Word of God. Nor has any one single individual, save Jesus Christ, had as much of an impact on civilization than the Son of God who came from heaven to become flesh and blood and to live among us. Then he died as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of each one of us.

This month we recognize Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the season of Lent. It's a time when we stop what we're doing and ponder the miracle of God's great love which he so graciously gifts us with.

Let the Word of God come to you. Pick up the Bible and just hold it in your hands. Then open it and start to read.

Prepare to be amazed.

January 31, 2012

It's hard to believe that here in Middle Illinois, it's 58.1 degrees. Highly unusual for January 31. Only two days 'til Ground Hogs Day and this year, do I dare say, "Who cares?"

Actually, when you think about it, it doesn't matter whether the rat sees his shadow or not. Spring is six weeks away no matter what. Just count the days on the calendar.

When I left you last night I was talking about the bad rap that controlling and manipulating people have gotten over the years. We've put a negative connotation onto those two words when, in fact, they can be life-saving.

I mentioned that the reason people are controlling is because they want life to be predictable. And who doesn't want that?

But maybe we're asking for trouble in trying to control people, places and events that we don't have any business messing with. There's all kinds of attempts at controlling that could even land you in jail. For instance, if you forged someone's signature because you wanted to control your ability to get out of debt so you think stealing someone's identity and/or money is acceptable. Not.

That's not even close to be included in this discussion.

What you can control, though, is your behavior. How you react to events and people in your life can be a healthy way to control your environment.

Babies, for instance, who smile and giggle at you make it awfully easy and heartwarming to pick them up and cuddle them. They've learned at a very early age that positive behaviors get more favorable attention from the big people in their lives. In a small way, they've figured out how to control someone to come over and pick them up.

I remember when my daughter and her husband were trying to get back to Los Angeles when, for some reason, their flight was abruptly cancelled. No new flights were scheduled at that airline. So she went over to another airline and said to an already overstressed service attendant that she realized the burden that this lady was under and she certainly didn't want to push her for help, but she was hoping ever so much if there was anything that she could do to get them on a plane. She engaged the lady in a few light moments and the next thing you know, she and her husband were on a flight, with a "Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver." And off the went to the other end of the airport where the other airline's terminal was.

She learned when she was a little girl that when you're reasonable, you're more able to operate on your environment and more often than not, get the results you want.

Call it whatever you want, but being pleasant will get you farther along than being pushy and ignorant and belligerent and demanding.

When you wake up in the morning, look at the daylight and say, "Today is going to be a great day. I'm going to have some adventures and come in contact with people I enjoy being with." Then get up, get dressed, and put your very best smile on your face as you out to operate on your environment. Make things happen. But in a pleasant way that shows people you care about them.

January 30, 2012

I'm actually in between clients right now, so this will be a bit brief. I'll finish my thought tomorrow in a bit more detail.

What I want to discuss before the thought goes too far away is this whole idea that controllingness and manipulation is a bad thing. I say -- not necessarily.

The reason we need to control or manipulate things is to make life more predictable. We all need predictability in our lives. So the question really wraps itself around why we feel insecure when our lives are not predictable.

Jean Piaget, the psychological guru who developed the school of cognitive development, says we all learn how to "operate" on our environment and the people in it.

It does not make you a bad  person.

More about this after I've had a good night's rest.

About the time I think there's not much new under the sun, this comes to my email. It's from Linda over in Lawrenceville. Thank you, Linda!

Subject: Monday Morning Message

        This is SIMPLY AWESOME! I've never seen this before! Whoever put The Resume
of Jesus Christ together is surely a blessing to us all! Please share it!
The last sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening!   Powerful!
        Have a blessed day!
        The Resume of Jesus Christ
        Address: Ephesians 1:20
        Phone: Romans 10:13
        Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
        My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume
because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please
consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
        I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19 )
        I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Gal at ians 3:13 )
        The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me,
(See Galatians 3:14 )
        Occupational Background
        I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ) .
        I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
        My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17 )
        Skills Work Experiences
        Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be
poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing
the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are
bruised, (See Luke 4:18 ) .
        I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6 ) . People who listen to me
shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ) .
        Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of
your sins, (See I John 1:7-9 )
        Educational Background
        I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and
understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6 ) .
        In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians
2:3 ) .
        My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105 ) .
        I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21 ) .
        Major Accomplishments
        I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times,
(See Genesis 1:26 ) .
        I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ) .
        I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly,
(See Colossians 2:15 ) .
        I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
        There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can
read them on my website, which is located at : www dot - the BIBLE. You
don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
        Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
        In Summ at ion
        Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation,
I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6 ) , and lead you into
everlasting life, (See John 6:47 ) . When can I start? Time is of the
essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ) .
        Send this resume to everyone you know,
        you never know who may have an opening!

        Thanks for your help.

September 26, 2012

Got these one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:

Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
Until you try to sit in their pews.. 
Many folks want to serve God, 
But only as advisers. 
It is easier to preach ten sermons 
Than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close. 
When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there. 
People are funny; They want the Front of the bus,
the Middle of the road,
And Back of the church. 
Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever. 
Quit griping about your church; 
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong. 
If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has .. 
God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
Some minds are like concrete 
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. 
Peace starts with a smile. 
don't know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make
which one you stay home from?
lot of church members singing 'Standing on the Promises'
Are just sitting on the premises. 
Be ye fishers of men. You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
Forbidden fruits create many jams. 
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
God loves everyone,
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
'religious nuts!'
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
who angers you, controls you! 
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats! 
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us. 
Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
don't change the message,
The message changes us. 
You can tell how big a person is
By what it takes to discourage him.
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given . 

Do you think the US Navy would ever name a ship after an army guy, even if he is a Green Beret? Well, if your name is Roy Benavidez, it would. Benavidez got the Medal of Honor too. You have to see his story to believe it. This comes from cousin Mark:

Oh my goodness - what fun! This letter from a New Orleans attorney provides, in addition to a good argument, a bit of history at the same time. Thank you, Mark:

You have to love this lawyer.......

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich
with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along
through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish
ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be
granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered
as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer
three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received
the following reply:

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that
the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able
manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out
that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.
Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back
to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you
wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present
application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly
those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by
Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of
Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had
been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch,
Queen Isabella.

The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold
her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may
know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly
accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God
also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the
owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world
as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory.
Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

September 24, 2012

Before I do another thing, I want to share a link with you from a friend of mine. It's an outstanding vocalist, a ten year old young lady named Jackie Evancho. You know how I love to watch and hear people who excel at anything, regardless of their age. Just listen: She was on America's Got Talent, and boy does she!

Changing the subject, today was the day when one of those mega-mega-zoom-zooms arrived from our sun to lay havoc with the Earth's magnetic fields. Even Delta Airlines re-routed some of its flights to dodge the solar winds from the Coronal Mass Eruption.

Wow! The northern lights must have danced quite a little Texas Two Step.

Now, on to other matters of some import. It's all about retraining your communications ability so that you don't fall victim to people who want to get and keep you on the defense.

In the first place, don't think you have to jump in and answer someone who demands an immediate answer. No no no. Take a deep breath and give yourself a bit of time to send a response back over the fence, so to speak.

Yes, it's more than okay to answer a question with a question. In fact, it's how you get out of all those defense-intended maneuvers that are being shot at you. You simply do not have to answer with all that immediacy.

For instance, when someone says to you, "Why don't you want to talk to me?"

Your response could be, "About what?"

Or, "Why didn't you call me?"

"Was I supposed to?"


"Who said that?"

Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame your response.

Try it. It will take some time to get in the habit of allowing yourself to proceed slowly. In the long-run, it will help you set your boundaries and maintaining them. Especially if you get the inkling that someone is trying to invade your peace of mind by demanding that you defend yourself.

And how can you recognize defense maneuvers? Aside from your gut reaction, densive maneuvers usually start with the word "Why."

"Why" questions are not part of polite conversation. The intent is for one person to try to get and keep the upper hand over someone else.

September 23, 2010

This is one of those off the beaten path pieces of information that you may not have known. I didn't either until today's issue of American Profile arrived.

The there it was on Page 12. Yet another reason that Chicago can claim to be a winner at something.

The Field Museum in Chicago has won the 2011 America's Best Restroom Award.

So what, you may ask, does a "best restroom" have going for it that would beat out other competitors? Well, for starters, it has little people potties. And there's a nursing room complete with a sofa in it.

So congrats, Chicago. 'Nuff said about that.

Now it's official. Quint is in remission from his chronic lymphocytic/leukemia. We made our trip to the oncologist today and learned that the results of the CT scan he had a couple of weeks ago show that the lymph nodes have returned to normal. Thank you for answered prayers. We're both now on the once-in-three-months regimen. I did have a new medication to the list of what the doctor has in my file. That's Allupurinol. So when I told him, he said, "Oh, you've got gouty athritis."

Yep. That's me. The medication is specifically for people who has been given Cytoxa for chemo with breast cancer.

But then I found out that eating cherries -- only 6 a day -- will help out a lot. Sure enough, we found cherries in the produce aisle. Fresh from Chile. They are delicious. After only a week of cherry snacks, I've seen an improvement. I can now bend my thumb with no pain at all. That's the only place, plus my back, that seems to be bothered. Oh, it's just a nuisance. Nothing fatal. I'll take nuisances.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link:

Here's a link to Gene Simmons of KISS performing for the troops: Makes me want to stand up and march around the dining room. Thanks, Mark, for sharing.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link:

January 18, 2012

Okay, so here's my ignorance showing. I don't know where either of these teams are from -- Trinity and Millsap -- but this link that my cousins Al and Mark sent to me shows one of the most phenomenal football plays I have ever seen in all my born days:

Talk about teamwork! This one play won the game. Wow!

And Mark  sends these tips too:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be toimmediately clear your computer
history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to
nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know
how to get out of my neighborhood.

I especially like #7.

As for the second point, I'll have to see if Quint can even remember a time when he was wrong. About anything. ha ha

Me? I try to keep my mouth shut unless I know pretty much what the answer is.

Reminds me of a fella in grad school who had a most unique form of discipline. He says it's more effective than time outs and has been using it since his kiddos were real little. He makes them sit down so that he can tell them the entire history of slavery. All total, it takes about 45 minutes.

January 17, 2012

We went from 61 degrees this morning to a cool 28 now. There's a raw wind blowing that makes it feel like 2 zillion below zero.

Thank goodness Ground Hogs Day is only weeks away. That's the day I first celebrate spring.

I remember when I was a little girl the teacher would pass around those mimeographed pictures for our class to color. After I became an adult, I realized that the ground hog is nothing but a big rodent and the whole thing used up all my brown color crayons. Big deal.

My irises did die back again though. Poor little things. I can hear them shivering under their little dirt shoes. I have a huge variety of colors. Some are yellow, a peach color that's really a double. Looks pretty and frilly. Various shades of purple, one almost black. And finally a pink iris. I like irises. They remind me of Vincent Van Gogh. He painted irises for the whole year that he was in the asylum. People sometimes comment about how they must have been Van Gogh's favorite flower. The truth is, they were the only flower planted at the asylum. So of course he painted irises. What else were there? Besides, by that time he was probably tired of doing self-portraits, being one ear shy of having a full face and all.

Thank you for all your "as if" comments. It was very interesting to hear about how you are using the same concept. Actually it's little more than positive thinking. But it works. People who are negative get dumped on a lot. They aren't any fun and they suck all the air out of relationships, out of the sky and out of their hearts. So lighten up everybody and live your lives as if you are the successful person you want to be!

January 16, 2012

Live your life as if --

It's a Biblical concept. Believe you will get what you pray for, and it is yours, we are promised.

It's the underlying principle of the best-seller The Secret.

So let's all put a whole bunch of positive energy out there. The idea is that if you send positive energy out from yourself, it will come back to you.

That's where you embrace the idea that you'll do better in life if you live your life as if.

For instance, married couples who live their lives as if can somehow keep a vibrancy alive in their relationship. Remember those days when you tried to do all the thoughtful, courteous things you could to attract this handsome guy, or gorgeous lady, into your life? If you're going to be late, do you call and let somebody know you're being detained? If you're living your life as if, then you're going to do such thoughtful things like making a call.

Or how about getting that dream job? What happens when you are sitting in your cubicle doing some grunt project and wishing the clock would advance a few hours so you could get out of there? Well, if you're living your life as if you'd just gotten into an interview and were trying to convince a prospective boss that you really wanted the job, you'd go ahead and do the best you could do, even if every day isn't always exciting and creatively challenging.

Or how about parenting. Remember those days when you couldn't wait for Little Baby Ten Toes to arrive? Live your life as if those days beckon you and you back to the days when you promised yourself that you'd be the best parent you possibly could be to the new baby yet to be born. Living as if will help you get through long, fright-filled nights when you're waiting for an errant teenage to wander on back home.

And most of all, live your life as if Christ were headed this way from the other side of the universe and he is just about ready to come down out of the clouds. Living your life as if he were just about here just may change your life choices.

Good luck with that. Think about ways you could live your life as if.

January 13, 2012

Yes, we got the snow. Not much. Just a couple of inches. Then it stopped for a few hours. I reminded Quint that when the snow started up again, it counted as a new snow. At least for my reckoning. He doesn't have to count the snows separately if he doesn't want to. It's just that if you don't, you end up with some extra snowfalls anticipated by the end of the season.

Yesterday I saw a red fox loping along across the neighbor's yard across the street. At first I thought it was a dog, but then, that tail is a giveaway. Red fox it was. Pretty good sized one too. We have some woods behind our house. Figure he lives back in there with the deer who come out every once in a while looking for good chow, like when the neighbor's beans are about ready to pick. I told her to get a bottle of Liquid Fence at the hardware store, last year. It works. It's kept deer, squirrels and rabbits away from my garden goodies ever since I planted a garden down here. Not too cheap, but it does the trick. You spray around the perimeter of the garden, not on the veggies. A quart bottle lasts most of the season.

It even works on those naughty dogs who like to hike up their legs and take a leak on my rose bush out front. Actually they're probably marking their territory. Doesn't matter, me and my Liquid Fence go out there and give the bush a squirt where the dogs squirted. They don't come back so much. Nothing to reclaim if they can't get a whiff of their aroma.

Tomorrow I'm going to my first meeting of the Christian Writers Group here in town. Looking forward to meeting others who are plying their craft too.

I'm anxious to see if anyone else uses what I call the Ernest Hemingway approach -- you know, three to four word sentences. He was a master at it and I figured if he made it work, so could I. Problem is, my spell checker does not like fragmented sentences. But hey, that's the way people talk. So I say I write "conversationally." ha!

Oh, changing the subject. What do you think the stock markets are going to do on Monday morning, now that Standard and Poors has downgraded the financial houses of Yerp? France and Austria lost their AAA ratings. A total of 15 European nations' ratings were cutting in the S&P slash and burn come-uppance move. One of these days, the US is going to get downgraded again if we don't get a grip on spending.

You can't spend all your money!

I watched one of those news interview programs, maybe a Jay Leno man on the street. Not sure. Anyway, the commentator was asking the people where they thought money came from. One lady said she thought the president printed the money in the basement of the White House. Unfortunately, she was serious. She even knew who the president was.

God said something about wasting the blessings He gives us. We'd better all listen up and pay attention, folks.

January 11, 2011

I'm so glad that Netflix survived the stupidest marketing debacle yet -- raising money on top of money by doing a double tier charge system. Never could figure out what they were going to charge so we canceled everything but the streatming, which we used mostly anyway. We do get one video still, though. What we have both come to really like is the video of a fireplace burning. That's all it is. Just a fireplace burning. It makes the living room seem warm and cozy. Okay, so it doesn't make the room actually warm, but the crackling fire and licking flames do okay by me.

Just in time, too, for a winter storm heading our way. I fear that this one isn't going to miss us. We might get several inches out of it. It's heading SSE out of Iowa and looks to cut a big swath across Illinois as it heads east. I guess that's the end of our 40 degree winters.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Now, on to Groundhog's Day which is February 2. Somehow I don't think the little groundhog is going to be a harbinger of spring. This is going to be one of those winters where it's going to be snowing for Easter, I'll bet. When the girls were little tykes I remember them hopping through snow on the way to the church on Easter Sunday. Didn't do their little patent leather slippers any good.

Not much news going on except politics, in case you haven't noticed. Politics in the US has become a mult-billion dollar business. So the ads and speeches and debates and spin doctoring are going to continue until November.

One good thing did come out of the Supreme Court today. Believe it or not, the justices reaches a unanimous decision that says churches can hire people of their own choice - whether it's a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam. The supremes said the government had to "butt out" in so many words.

Well, it's about time.

And my cousin Frances in Texas says the jonquils are sprouting and the bluebells are really thick, though not blooming just yet.

I will add that my irises are totally confused. I have cut them back twice now and could cut them back again but I'm not gonna. If they decide to bloom when it snows, I'll take a photo for posterity.

And with that, no matter where you are, please drive carefully. I know that some parts of the midwest are supposed to get 10" of snow or more, but the rest of us can expect 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff. I don't care if we only get one inch of snow. If it's sitting on icy pavement, it can still be deadly.

Prayers for safety for all of you.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

But what about this point that the Mayans supposedly thought the world was going to end? Did they actually say that? Not really, unless you interpret their writings to fit into that concept. But what if it'd the Mayan calendar, not the world, that is supposed to end in December 2012? After all, we have Bible texts that say only the Father knows. If He didn't get around to telling His much beloved Son, Jesus Christ, do you really believe He would have told some Indians out there on the Yucatan Peninsula.  

So what did God tell the prophet?

In the New International Reader's Version, in Hebrews 12, we find:

25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)

There are also references to God shaking the earth in Psalm 115:3 and Haggai 2:6.

I am reminded of the reference in Verse 28 that "...we can worship God in a way that pleases him." That pretty much takes care of people who say they don't go to church because they believe they can worship God in a forest, or somewhere else. In fact, God tells us that he wants us to meet in assembly with fellow believers.

So get up on the Sabbath, get dressed and make your way to church where you can "assemble" with "fellow believers." Just do it. Don't say "no" to God.

And then there's this Tebow guy. Don't you love him?! Over the weekend he rushed 316 yards. That was the accumulated passes he threw and I think he ran the ball some too. When he heard the stats broadcast with his last winning throw of the day that he was responsible for 316 yards that won the game for the Denver Broncos, what does he do? Did he swell up and sing, "How great I am?" Not on your life. He dropped to his knee and thanked God for his blessings. He later explained that when he heard that, all he could think of was John 3:16.

January 7, 2012

I'm stuck at the weight where I've plateaued so Quint and I headed for the gym today. That's how you get off those plateaus - either drastically cut back on calories or step up the exercise.

Well, since our life is pretty sedentary as it is, just walking out the door to get intot he car is an improvement on the sedentary lifestyle. So, since we're Silver Sneakers on our Humana insurance, we headed for the gym where we used to go faithfully before all this cancer nonsense started. We walked on the treadmill for a big fat 20 minutes. We got all the way up to a 27 minute mile. Then we did some work on the strength training machines. I got on the machine that works the hamstrings. I personally think my hamstrings have completely atrophied, but that could be just a bit hyperbolic. Truth is, I don't like needing to hang onto something just to stand up, for crying out loud.

Okay, so I don't expect to jump up out of my seat, but I would like to look less like an invalid. I'll work up to walking for an hour, or get up to five miles. I remember when I was a Girl Scout leader I used to go on five mile hikes with frequency. But then, those were called "all day hikes" for Brownies.

Oh well, we're expecting it to take some little while to get some semblance of stamina back.

On our way home, we stopped at Walgreens where I got my flu shot. The doctor only had one left when we were there for our last checkup, so Quint got it.

We also stocked up on sugar free candy. Russell Stover is my friend!

Changing the subject, I can always rely on my cousin Mark to send the Darwin Awards for the previous year. And here they are:


You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado, here are the
2011 Darwin Awards:

Eighth Place

In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.

Seventh Place

A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.

Sixth Place

While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection from the
wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom, when it collapsed, burying
him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying
to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment
almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Fifth Place

Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop
he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his
mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.

Fourth Place

Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he
would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the

Third Place

After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man
walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of
customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the
officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few wild shots from a
target pistol.

The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew
their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics.
Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The
subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7
different weapons. No one else was hurt.


Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so
they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to see what would
happen. Apparently they failed to notice that the window was closed.


Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew
a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The
conversation grew more excited, and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the
bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that
no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered
and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay nearby. They secured one end
around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet
before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously
survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen.
Bingham's foot was never located.


Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant
22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes
before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators say ill-fated
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast unloaded.

The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200
pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised  in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

So what did God tell the prophet?

In the New International Reader's Version, we find:

25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)  

January 4, 2011

Warning: this could be the beginning of a developing article about recognizing saboteurs within an organization. You know -- they're the ones we refer to as alligators. Every organization has them. And they show their true colors more prominently than you might think.

Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself likable.

That takes care of the bossy ones. People run from these guys. They sit in their chairs and issue edicts and "fetch orders." "Get me this," or "get me that" seems to be their motto. You don't see these people surrounded by a big crowd of people, do you? Organizations are full of these little chiefs.

So what can you do to make people like you? Easy. If you want something, go get it yourself. That's for starters. The world does not raise citizens who wait for you to beckon them.

That is, unless you're a politician or a monarch, or something that gives your blue-blooded attitude the self-imposed right to sit on a chair and make demands.

Tied to likability is another maxim: Good leaders make good followers. You can spot the good leaders in your organization by looking around to see who the workers are. They're the ones who make the good leaders. The people who don't want to do any real work in a group are the same ones who will keep the organization at the status quo. No growth. They say, "I liked it better when we were smaller." All too often, these little-minded people have a secret agenda of their own. They seldom do anything to help the organization grow. Does the definition of passive aggressive come to mind?

Just remember, aggression is always a hostile act.

And passive aggression is disguised as sabotage. Each and every time. Passive aggressive people are on a perpetual search for power. And what do they want the most? Whatever strength you've got. They're trying to run a little micro counter-culture in your organization.
But there's good news. You reward (reinforce) the behavior you want to continue. That's behavior modification rule #1. If you find yourself surrounded by people who don't share your values, then for your own sense of well-being, find another venue. There are plenty of organizations and opportunities out there in this big, wide wonderful world that welcome hard workers.

It's even Biblical to shake the dust from your sandals and walk away. Whatever happened between the "shake the dust from your sandals" theory and the "turn the other cheek motto?"

Well, that thesis can be bridged with a good sermon. I'm not a pastor so I'll leave that one for theologians to wrestle with.

January 2, 2012

Therefore, be it resolved -----

I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.

I can trace my weight gain all the way back to 1985 when my thyroid was removed. I had what's known as a "thyroid storm" at work and was taken by ambulance to Northwest Memorial Hospital from the law firm where I worked. An endocrinologist diagnosed Graves Disease, an autoimmune nuisance. Problem was I had my daughter's wedding gown about half done and was looking down the barrel of her wedding in about two weeks. I finished the gown, had the thyroid ablated with a radioactive iodine. Quint said I glowed in the dark. The doctor released me much earlier than he would have ordinarily because I promised to return post haste after the wedding for quick checkups. That only entailed a quick cab ride over to his office from the law firm where I was back at work.

The problem was, my weight started to slowly rise. At about a 60 degree slope upward. I put on seventy pounds in a year!

I tried lots of diets. All the wrong ones. Low carb diets, for instance, are never any good. I don't care who recommends them, they are not good for your body's chemistry. The human being is meant to eat grains and grain products. Problem was, I wasn't eating anything differently than my pre-ablation days.

Then, in 2006 Quint and I moved. We bought a Cape Cod. People thought I was nuts to move into a house that had three levels when we had lived in a condominium that was all on one level. Not to mention that my knees were giving me fits. But after we moved I started to lose weight. Slowly. Ever so slowly. After about six months my knees were not giving me any problems at all. I wasn't doing anything much different except I was out from under the sedentary lifestyle that came with my counseling practice. I was walking around more. I enjoyed the physical activity. At the end of a year I was 49 pounds lighter.

But now is the year I'm going to take off the rest of the 25 pounds that I packed on. And how am I going to do this? Simple. Give up most of the flour products I eat.

Following a gout diet is not that difficult. Sugar is my enemy. Yeast products are also my enemy. Meat is my enemy too. No more bacon with my eggs. No more smoky links that are stuffed with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.

No more cookies. At least not more than two at one sitting. Ice cream is okay so it's a good thing that I really like Eskimo Pies -- sugar free that is. This afternoon I'm going to make a cookie that has a chocolate turtle stuffed inside. The cookie dough is a Pillsbury sugar free cake mix and the chocolate turtles are sugar free from Russell Stove. I'll cut the turtles into quarters to make them go farther. Does it cost more to make them? You bet. But it's cheaper than all the medicines that you have to take if you're diabetic. I can have a couple of cookies with impunity.

Low-fat cheeses and cottage cheese are also very good for me. And for some reason, tart cherries are also good for the gout diet. They are low in purines. The lower the purines in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of too much uric acid in the blood. Fresh apples and oranges and bananas are good for the low purine diet too. But I seldom eat bananas. Once in a while we'll put them on cereal for breakfast. (Did you know that a serving of banana is only 1/2 of the banana?) It has too much sugar in it. I learned that from Quint's diabetic diet.

Two weeks ago I started a lifestyle change that will allow me to get control of the gout. I've now lost 5 and a half pounds.

I'm looking forward to being at least ten pounds lighter by the end of January. That's the only resolution that I've made so far.

I'm thinking about slowing down a bit. Especially now that I'm working at a job that I really enjoy in the afternoons. It's working for a dual parish church office. Fortunately, the pastor I work with was a friend of mine before I started working with him.

I'm not willing to give that up. But I am willing to give up my "over-do" list. It's too easy for people to mistake my generosity with my time and energy. So I'm going to step back this year and let other people do some of the things that I used to do. In the meantime, I have joined a Christian Writers Group that meets here in Effingham County. It's a group of about ten people who are writing for publication. 

And I have a couple of grants that I promised to write for some business people here in the county. I like writing grants. It keeps my paralegal skills honed. And I like helping business people get their enterprises off the ground.

I also want to continue with my own writing projects.

And that should keep me busy and productive in the new year.

That's only two resolutions. They're two that I can commit to that I know I will follow faithfully. That's the key to success when it comes to re-inventing yourself. Pick a re-invention project that you are willing to commit to completely. And don't take on too many projects at the same time. You'll only frustrate yourself. Pick a project that you are motivated to work on. For me, it was the dreaded fear that if I kept on gobbling away, I'd hit 300 pounds. That's just something that I'm not willing to embrace. Besides, losing weight is all about math. If you eat more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.

I've watched people who claim that they "just can't lose weight." They'd have you believe that they have tried everything. Yet, when you look at their plates, there's potatoes, noodles, and bread and butter. Then there's the entree and maybe, just maybe a little bit of green vegetable. Never ever eat potatoes and bread in the same meal. And I don't know what they think they're doing by dumping noodles or dressing onto the plate. After all, you're not required to eat everything on the menu. So, if you're an adult, make a fist. That's about a cup. Half of that amount would be a serving. If you're eating a closed fist size of mashed potatoes, you're eating too much. Oh, you could have that much in green beans. That's for sure. But not if the beans are highly seasoned with butter and bacon bits, silly.

I figure you've probably seen this letter that my cousins Mark and Al sent to me, but it's worth another read through:

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking
about how much she missed Abbey.
She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God
would recognize her.
I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss her very much.
I ' m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.
Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope cause she said it would
take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she
dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed,
'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it.
Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
picture in so I ' m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and
have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it
and sending it to me.
What a wonderful mother you have.
I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.



January 1, 2012

What a beautiful message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:

> This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen :
> I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We
> walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel
> guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the
> Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.
> I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels
> sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from
> people all over the world.
> Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
>  The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section.
> Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and
> delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how
> busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station,
> since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged
> for delivery to Earth.
> Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of
> a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated
> there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel
> friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
> "How is it that there is no work going on here? I asked."
> "So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they
> asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
> "How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
> "Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
> "What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
> "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
> overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
> If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
> you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on
> your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that
> opportunity."
> "If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
> "If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of
> imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... You are
> ahead of 700 million people in the world."
> "If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest,
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion
> people in the world."
> "If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare."
> "If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're
> unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
> "Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
> The Angel said, "If you can read this message, you just received a double
> blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are
> more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at
> all."
> Have a good day,  count your blessings , and if you care to, pass this
> along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are..........
> ATTN:  Acknowledge Dept .
> "Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for
> giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
> If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been
> blessed with, how can you  not  send it on?
> I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.

(And do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)

And here's a profound story from my friend Linda, in Lawrenceville:

                    Read it before but just as powerful the second or third time.
GOD BLESS. Please do not forget the real reason for the
Christmas season!

                         This is so beautiful!
                       John 3:16

                       A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people
were in and out of the cold.

                       The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many

                       He walked up to a policeman and said,  'Mister,
                       you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could
                       find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?

                       You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down
the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure
would be nice to have a warm place to stay.'

                       The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go
down the street to that big white house and you knock
                       on the door. When they come out the door you just say John
3:16, and they will let you in.'

                       So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked
                       on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,
'John 3:16 .' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.'

                       She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker
in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.. The
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
                       John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
boy warm.

                       Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry? 'He said,
'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days,
and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,'

                       The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...           

                       Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
boy full.

                       She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
                       filled with warm water, and he sat there
                       and soaked for a
                       while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...
                       I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
                       clean... You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
                       The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
                       tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up
around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the
lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
                       window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
                       he thought to himself: John 3:16 .....I don't understand it
but it sure makes a tired boy rested.

                       The next morning the lady came back up and took him
                       down again to that same big table full of food. After he
                       ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
                       rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.

                       She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face..
                       'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied,
                       'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last
night when the policeman told me to use it,'
                       She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
                       to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old
fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought: John 3:16,“I
                       don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.

                       You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either,
                       how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the
agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched
Jesus suffer
                       and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it, but
it sure does make life worth living.

                       John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life....

                       If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the
directions .

                       Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of
you before my Father.' Pass this on only if you mean it.

                       I do Love God . He is my source of existence... .. He keeps
me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love God
and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done
for you, send this on..

                       Take 60 seconds & give this a shot !  Let's just see if Satan
stops this one.

                       All you do is:

                       1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you
this, 'Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that
You know he or she may be needing this day.  In Jesus' Name,
Amen ! '

                       2) Then send it on to other people.  Within hours many people
have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to
pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the
power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you
know He loves.

(This is a good example of what I call Network Prayers. It really makes me feel great to know that people are praying for me, and I love to pray for others too. Thank you, Linda, for sending.)