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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Saturday, September 29, 2007


This is a rare Saturday when I do any postings. Quint and I usually are off on excursions, having adventures.

Today, however, I'm going to catch up since we stained the deck late yesterday afternoon and I painted a couple of big cement containers after I took the old, faded marigolds out and put in some perky dark pink/lavender mums. Then the mosquitoes invaded us and we came indoors.

The honeysuckle I transplanted a few weeks ago has really taken hold. They were a gift from our kind neighbors across the street. Same is true of the blackberry bushes that were moved from another neighbor's yard. They were growing practically under the foundation of her garage. Kind of puny, if you ask me. But they got their little tippy toes down in dirt now and I think they'll be in good shape before the first frost which is weeks and weeks away. (I hope.)

If you're looking for fall colorations, the Farmers Almanac has a really neat interactive map at this site:

From the information in the states I clicked on, the fall colors are going to be fully loaded in the next week or so. Good time to pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and fruit and head out on the open road with a camera. I know, gasoline prices are horrible. Might even add all of $3 - $5 to your trip. Unless, of course, you're driving a SUV.

We have a little Focus. Gets 35 MPH on the open road. And since we've retired, a tank of gasoline lasts at least two weeks. That compares to filling up every about every 5 days when we were working up north. There are actually days when we don't even start the car.

According the Farmers’ Almanac’s outlook, tropical storms are likely to threaten the East Coast over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the first week of October holds the possibility of flurries for the Great Plains. Early snowfall is also expected visit New England and the Great Lakes region during the opening weeks of November, with cold, damp, unsettled conditions looming over the Thanksgiving holiday in most areas.

Another interactive map on the Farmers Almanac site is located here:

I guess our daughter and her husband in Sandpoint, Idaho, have already had their first frost. It was predicted for September 17. They're about the farthest north living relative we have.

The Chicago area can expect its first frost on November 2 -- while we're supposed to have our first frost 200 miles south of Chicago around October 21. Guess Lake Michigan helps the folks up north delay the frost.

So today we're going to put a weather-proofing clear coat on the deck. The stain should be dry by late in the afternoon.

I am going to make a cheddar cheese soup this afternoon. It has vegetable chunks in it so it's not like eating a cheddar cheese sauce. That's always been my objection to the cheddar cheese soup that's served in restaurants. It's more like eating a sauce. If this new recipe turns out okay, I'll share it with you. 

So we have two more chapters in Deuteronomy before finishing this book of the Bible. We were supposed to finish Chapter 34 on Friday in order to keep up with Pastor Rensner's schedule. I've noticed that he doesn't include each and every chapter on his assignment list, but I've included them anyway -- mainly for our friends and readers in the far east who have more of a challenge getting their hands on Christian reading materials. Don't want to leave anything out for you folks.

Speaking of the far east, I especially want to ask each of you to keep the people in Burma -- now renamed Myanmar -- in your prayers. The people have risen up to end 45 years of military oppression. Myanmar is a country nestled in between Thailand and India, with China on its northern border.

Lots of bloodshed and 48 fatalities, according to government released figures. The protesters make the claim of over 200 deaths.

Prayers lifted.


Deuteronomy 33: 1-29

In this book, Moses blesses each of the tribes -- twelve sons borne to Jacob and two sons of Joseph.

In the land of Canaan, each of the Israelite tribes settled a different region after they crossed the Jordan River.

These tribes are Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulun.

Settling in the eastern area were: Judah, Issachar and Zubulun.

The southern tribes were Reuben, Simeon and Gad.

In the west, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin settled down.

And to the norther, the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali made their homes.

The sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Menasseh, were also given the status of independent tribes, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

Hold your thoughts about the twelve tribes of Israel for a moment because I want to tell you a little story that you can read about at a site that will be supplied in a moment of two.

Okay, so the Israelites are just about all packed and ready to go across the Jordan River -- their camels are probably moaning and groaning under the loads and the kiddos are probably running around chanting, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" before they had actually stepped off on the final leg of their journey. You know how that goes. Probably some wise mom even devised a game about identifying license plates from the different tribes on each camel. Who knows. But they hadn't left just yet.

My story, though, fast forwards into a later period of time for the Israelites. This would be the time after King Solomon died. The tribes were split, both politically and in these territorial pockets that had just been outlined.

Remember -- God draws the boundary lines on countries and continents and states, right?

Another story of mighty battles and wanderings about will reveal more answers, but for the point in time of King Solomon's death, realize that Judah and Benjamin were in the southern areas.

These two tribes make up the Jewish people that we know today.

The other ten tribes? Don't know. They got lost. Kind of scattered to the ends of the earth. There is still hope, to this very day, that all the lost tribes of Israel will be found.

The prophet Ezekiel dreamed of this when he said: Behold I will take the children of Israel ... and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their land. And they shall be divided into two kingdoms no more.

Many Bible scholars believe that the Jewish Messianic Age will be ushered in when these ten lost tribes are found and rejoined with the children of Israel. For Christians, the Messiah has come to earth in the celebrated birth of Jesus Christ even though the lost ten tribes have yet to rejoin the tribes in the Holy Land.

If you want to read more about these lost tribes and where some believe they have settled, go here:

But for now, let's go back to our 33rd chapter of Deuteronomy.

In verse 8, the distinction about the Levites is made. They are to watch over the word and guard the covenant ( from verse 9b-11), teach the laws, offer incense and burnt offerings on the altar.

So they Levites were going to live in the temples. They were not going to get into the agriculture of shepherding or animal husbandry.

And in verse 12, we learn that Benjamin is ...the beloved of the Lord...for he shields him all day long, and the one the lord loves rests between his shoulders.

Moses announces to all the tribes of Israel just who was going to get what and how God would bless each one of them.

Deuteronomy 34: 1-12

In this chapter, we learn of the death of Moses at the age of 120 years.

Before his death, Moses had laid his hands on Joshua who was then (verse 9) filled with the spirit of wisdom the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.

Moses occupies a special place in God's eyes down through history for we read in verses 10-12: Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt -- to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Note that until Jesus came, no one had ever been superior to Moses. A distinction is made in Hebrews 3:5 between Moses as the servant, and Jesus as the son (Hebrews 3:6).



Many of you may not be aware that the fiscal year for the United States begins on October 1st.

So what happens when new fiscal years begin? Well, for starters, new budgets go into effect. At least that's what's supposed to happen.

Apparently the 110th congress hasn't quite gotten around to passing any of the 12 spending bills. What they did get around to is passing an emergency package that will let the business of the taxpayers continue until they can get around to resolving whatever differences they have with each other and maybe -- just maybe -- debate a compromise that will bring an end to their suffering from do-nothing-itis.
Remember, folks, these congressionals are making $162,500 a year to take care of the business of the taxpayers in the United States. All 435 of them, plus 100 senators, although spending bills do not originate in the senate. Or the White House either for that matter. And that doesn't include the cost of running their offices -- either in Washington or in their districts, or the salaries for all their employees.

Getting legislation started such as spending bills is strictly a function of the House of Representatives.

So for now, a stop-gap measure ended up at the White House and President Bush signed it. That will allow the taxpayers' business to continue for 7 more weeks.

The wrangling continues because the politicos have proposed bills that would increase the budget request by the White House by an extra $205 billion.

Here's what that would mean in tax increases:

Taxes would rise $500 for each child.

For a family of four, making $60,000 a year, taxes would increase by $1,800

For a single mother with two children, taxes would rise by $1,000

Small business owners would have a tax increase of $4,000 for payroll taxes

In his radio address this morning, President Bush also pointed out: These are not the only taxes Congress wants to raise. They're proposing higher taxes on dividends and capital gains. They're proposing higher taxes on cigars and cigarettes. They're proposing to raise taxes on domestic oil and natural gas production. They're proposing new taxes on stock and bond transactions. And they refuse the make the Internet tax moratorium permanent. If this tax ban expires, it would open the doors for State and local officials to impose new taxes on your access to the Internet.

To read the entire text of this morning's radio address, go to this link:

[Note: in the coming weeks, you're going to hear a lot from Congress about Bush's threatened veto on the children's health matter. The reason he says he's going to veto this bill is because it has tons of other spending dollars stashed in amongst the nooks and crannies, hidden from view unless you really get in there and read each item. Since we don't have line item veto in the federal legislation, Bush has to veto the entire package and send it back to congress with the message: Fix this.

You also need to know that Hillary wants to fund her proposed $5,000 bond for each new baby born with a 61 cent increase on each package of cigarettes sold in this country.



There are 41,907 people killed every year on our highways. Of those, nearly 2/3 can be attributed to road rage -- or aggressive driving. That's 27,658 human beings. In essence, that's wiping out an American small town every year. Men, women and children. An entire town! Poof. Gone.

So what's happened to our once safe highways?

There's a lot of part answers.

For instance, there's been an increase of 11% in the number of drivers in the last ten years.

In that same length of time, people now drive 35 miles farther to get to and from work every day.

But -- and this is an important distinction -- there have been only 1% more road lanes added to the nations' highways.

That adds up to some serious overcrowding, folks.

Then there's the stress factor. Okay, the roads are overcrowded. We've got a lot of things on our minds. We're juggling kids' schedules. Getting to work. 

It's enough to make you want to hibernate.

Especially if you think you're the only truly safe driver on the road. Then, you notice that the driver in the next lane is eating a cheeseburger. Or talking on a cell phone. Or writing notes while using the center of the steering wheel as a mini-desk.

And all the while, you're going down the interstate or toll road at 70 mph because anything less would have drivers blasting horns at you. And they're 20 feet off your rear bumper. Or less.

Just in case you aren't quite sure if what you're doing is road rage, take a look at this list of what defines aggressive driving:

Running red lights and stop signs
Passing on the shoulder of the road
Cutting off another vehicle
Slamming on brakes in front of a tailgater
Improper hand or facial gestures at other drivers
Repeatedly honking the horn
Repeatedly flashing headlights

If you are the victim of road rage, my suggestion is that you do some immediate cognitive restructuring. For instance, you could say to yourself that the road rager is on the way to the hospital for a medical emergency -- either for a family member or for himself/herself.

Add to that an attitude of Make A Difference Day. We need to do this more than one day a year. 

Remember: courteous driving is safe driving. And when you're out there, you're going to run into people who are either 3-year-olds disguised as adults, or just plain old imbeciles who have no business with a drivers license in their wallet.

So here's how you can play your own private game of Make A Difference:

Always be patient and courteous.

Don't drive when you're upset or tired.

Give yourself at least enough time to get where you're going, for crying out loud. It would be better if you padded your schedule with a safety net of fifteen minutes. I remember getting stuck in a horrible traffic jam on the way to the office one day last winter. Traffic was blocked at the intersection of 142nd and Harlem Avenue, and we had to go all the way to 167th Street. At this point, Harlem Avenue cuts through the Cook County Forest Preserves so there were no side street intersections where we could turn. We just had to sit there and wait it out, practically cheering every time we could go forward three feet. So I decided that I'd just time how long we were stuck. And then at about 150th Street, there was the carcass of a burned out car and the ambulance was just leaving. But get this: the total time we were stuck was only seven little minutes! After we got to the point where the broke car was being loaded onto a tow truck, traffic opened up again. So don't cut your schedule too close to where you can't even accommodate a ten minute emergency delay.

When possible, change your schedule to avoid congestion. Traffic 'copters are giving updates all the time in urban areas. There are usually alternate routes that you can take. Unless, of course, you live in Cook County, Illinois, where forest preserves block construction of any new reasonable roadways. 

Listen to relaxing music or books on tape. Or here's an even better idea: use your driving time for prayer time. You do have a list of people who need your prayers, don't you? If you don't, then start one today with at least your immediate family on the list. Pray also for our leaders, and our military service personnel. And pray for all your fellow drivers, especially the aggressive ones. They are somebody's mom or dad, son or daughter, brother or sister -- they are somebody's loved one. Pray for them. And pray for God to bless your day and everything that you do.

Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. And no, they did not wake up this morning with the idea that they wanted to make you, or any other driver, miserable just for the fun of it.

Most of all, avoid conflict. Even if you're in the right. A lot of road ragers carry guns and knives or other pointy things. Morgue slabs are cold steel -- don't become a statistic.


10:36 am          Comments

Friday, September 28, 2007


Good morning, Vietnam! And Singapore. And, of course, everyone in the United States who is logged on this morning. It's going to be a beautiful day where we are. A great day to go pick out stain for the deck. Maybe this afternoon, we'll get it stained and sealed.

Quint says he doesn't care about the color -- I'm thinking color -- he's thinking seal. Him protect wood. Me want pretty. Fortunately, we can get both. In the same application.

Better living through chemistry, says Quint the chemist.

We were the guests of Midland States Bank here in Effingham -- and Stan, our new friend from church -- at a dinner honoring the work of the Family Life Pregnancy Center.

Jill Stanek was the guest speaker. She is a nurse who used to work at Christ Hospital until she got fired. She shared some of her experiences with abortions at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She's been a guest speaker on the Bill O'Reilly Show at Fox News, was present when President Bush signed into law a bill protecting all babies who are born. It's called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.

The Family Life Pregnancy Care Center serves people who are facing unplanned, unprepared pregnancies in Effingham. If you would like to assist this wonderful group financially, the organization is located at 605 Eden Avenue, Effingham, IL 62401. All donations of any size would be most welcomed.

They wrap their important work around 2 Corinthians 4:1 -- Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

We are going over to the Silk Purse today. It's a resale shop that raises money for the Center. We have lots and lots and lots of stuff that someone can probably use. We'll be glad to donate our "extras" (by the carloads).

You'll be happy to know -- and maybe surprised as I was -- that Indiana has added a co-designation for state beverage. It's water. So, for those of you who live in Indiana and anybody asks you what your state beverage is, just tell them "water."

And in South Dakota, the newly named state fossil is the triceratops. This was a horned dinosaur that roamed South Dakota some 65 million years ago. See, nice things come to all who wait. And wait. And wait.

Our trip to Altamont yesterday was fruitful. Quint got his money for the chairs so he's happy. All's well that ends well.


Deuteronomy 32: 1-52

Our homework assignment for this chapter is to figure out which of the verses of Moses' song means the most to you today. We are challenged by Pastor Rensner to read this song often and remember all that God has done for you. I would suggest that you download this and put it in your wallet. Seriously.

Also -- the homework reading assignments for this week take us through Chapter 34 and since today is only Chapter 32, check back tomorrow and Sunday for the final two chapters of this important book of the Old Testament.

I am glad to hear from you about the book of Deuteronomy. It finishes off the Pentateuch, which is a collection of the first five books of the Bible. It also is known as the Torah. The Torah was written on kosher animal parchment. Because of its central part in worship services, the Torah is dressed or wrapped in silk and often has a crown placed at the top. Even today, the Torah is stored in the holiest part of a synagogue. For sure, there is no longer an Ark of the Covenant, but synagogues have a very revered place where the Torah is kept when it is not being used in worship services.

Bible scholars generally accept that Moses wrote the Pentateuch -- Genesis, Exedus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is one of the reasons why the Pentateuch is considered a literary unit.

My view is that all of the Bible is the Word of God. For me, it matters not who actually picked up the pen and dipped it in the inkwell.

Peppered throughout the first five books of the Bible are words like, "God said to Moses: write this down."

There are even references in Joshua, 1 and 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel and Malachi that make the claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

One source of contradiction that the Pentateuch, in its entirety, was penned by Moses are the inclusions of references to Moses' death and burial. Some scholars believe that these references might have been added, perhaps by Joshua.

Here's a link to the Song of Moses that will, no doubt, interest you. It's well worth the time to study. There are some beautiful pictures also at this sight:

This is the Song of Moses that is found in Deuteronomy 32:1-43 --

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;
hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

They have acted corruptly toward him;
to their shame they are no longer his children,
but a warped and crooked generation.
Is this the way you repay the Lord,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,
who made you and formed you?

Remember the days of old;
consider the generations long past,
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will explain to you.
When the Most High gave the
nations their inheritance,
when he divided all mankind,
he set up boundaries for the peoples
according to the number of the sons of Israel.
For the Lord's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.

In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste,
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.
The Lord alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.

He made him ride on the heights of the land
and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
and with oil from the flinty crag,
with curds and milk from herd and flock
and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.

Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, he became heavy and sleek.
He abandoned the god who made him
and rejected the Rock his Savior.
They made him jealous with their foreign gods
and angered him with the detestable idols.
They sacrificed to demons, which are not God --
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your fathers did not fear.
You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
you forgot the God who gave you birth.

The Lord saw this and rejected them
because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
"I will hide my face from then," he said,
"and see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation,
children who are unfaithful.
They made me jealous by what is no god
and angered me with their worthless idols.
I will made them envious by those
who are not a people;
I will make them angry by a nation
that has no understanding.
For a fire has been kindled by my wrath,
one that burns to the realm of death below.
It will devour the earth and its harvests
and set afire the foundations of the mountains.

I will heap calamities upon them
and spend my arrows against them.
I will send wasting famine against them,
consuming pestilence and deadly plague;
I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,
the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
In the street the sword will make them childless;
in their homes terror will reign.
Young men and young women will perish,
infants and gray-haired men.
I said I would scatter them
and blot out their memory from mankind,
but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,
lest the adversary misunderstand
and say, 'Our hand has triumphed;
the Lord has not done all this.'"

They are a nation without sense,
there is no discernment in them.
If only they were wise and would understand this
and discern what their end will be!
How could one man chase a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
unless the Lord had given them up?
For their rock is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies concede.
Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison,
and their clusters with bitterness.
Their wine is the venom of serpents,
the deadly poison of cobras.

Have I not kept this in reserve
and sealed it is my vaults?
It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
In due time their foot will slip,
their day of disaster is near
and their doom rushes upon them.

The Lord will judge his people
and have compassion on his servants
when he sees their strength is gone
and no one is left, slave or free.
He will say, "Now where is their gods,
the rock they took refuge in,
the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
Let them rise up to help you!
Let them give you shelter!

See now that I myself am He!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
I lift my hand to heaven and declare:
As surely as I live forever
when I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand grasps it in judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
while my sword devours flesh:
the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders."

Rejoice, O nations, with his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies
and make atonement for his land and people.

Moses and Joshua came together before the children of Israel while Moses recited these words that had been dictated to him by God.

Moses then warned the Israelites in verses 46-47: Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you -- they are your life. By them you will live long.

This is the passage that I hold most strongly when I counsel parents to get their children to church and Sunday School -- and not to fall folly to the notion that they ought to let their children "decide" someday what they want to do about God. Oh no -- to the contrare -- God was very specific about what he means when he says "...command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law."

How are you going to instruct your children about the Laws of God if you don't introduce them to God?

Turns out this Song of Moses is one of the last "official" acts before the leadership of the Israelites is turned over to Joshua.

Now God tells Moses to go up on Mt. Nebo and take a look at the promised land because he's not going there. Instead, Moses is going to die before the Israelites take off to cross the Jordan River.


9:55 am          Comments

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Welcome readers from Chile, China, the Russian Federation, and, of course, the United States. I guess it's too early -- or late -- for my niece (Karen) who lives with her husband Alex in Kuwait City. Alex is some kind of computer genius.

Greetings to you all!

It's going to be an "abundantly sunny" day, says the weather channel. But cool autumn breezes and not too much humidity. I can tell fall is coming because the leaves are starting to come down. Not too much, but just enough to remind me that the seasons are about to change.

We are going over to the big town of Altamont this morning. We had a couple of wing chairs that just would not fit anywhere in the house, but we brought them down from the condo anyway and had a consignment person sell them. So he says he has our money for us. Altamont is all of 11 miles away. That will be a nice after-lunch excursion.

This evening we are going to a fund-raising dinner with a group from church. The occasion is a right-to-life organization. Quint and I are very much in favor of pro-life activities.

I read yesterday that one state -- I believe Oregon -- is introducing legislation that will require doctors to show mothers who want to abort their babies an ultrasound of their baby. There are other states that have enacted such a law and the abortion statistics drop quite a bit once mom sees her helpless little baby inside her.

Well, well, well -- Captain Marmalade went back to Iran. Says he felt very insulted by comments made by the president of Columbia University. Hugo Chavez didn't come to the United Nations big-mucky-muck meeting. Probably afraid that if he left Venezuela, a coup might have grabbed power. Especially since he's socializing everything in sight down there. So he stated home and entertained Kevin Spacek from Hollywood. Now all that's left in the United Nations besides the country regulars and movie stars who think they are roving ambassadors of some type or another.

As for me, I stayed home and cleaned my kitchen floor. That takes care of my priorities. Clean house -- clean mind.


Deuteronomy 31: 1-30

When you read this chapter, keep these questions from Pastor Rensner in mind: Moses warns the people that this covenant will fail because human beings cannot fulfill it. Who ushered in a new covenant that will never fail? What was that covenant sealed with?

In the early verses of this chapter, Moses admits to being 120 years old. He also tells them that he is unable to lead them anymore.

Then he adds that he's not going to cross the Jordan River with them. But the Lord God himself will cross over with the children of Israel. That must have been a tremendous relief to the Israelites.

It reminds me of one of those ancient maps of the world. Probably one like Christopher Columbus had to use when he sailed away from Spain. At the edge of the known world, there was written "There be dragons."
The children of Israel must have been very afraid with the possibilities of what lay ahead of them. Either that or they relied totally on their faith in God who promised that he would go on ahead of them and take care of the armies that needed destroying.

Oh, yeah -- Joshua was going to head on over ahead of the Israelites too.

I always wonder when I read this chapter of Deuteronomy whether Joshua and God walked along together. We shall see. There just weren't all that many people who actually saw God. But God could have been a presence who walked along with Joshua.

In verse 6, we read: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

We have some logistics to clear up at this point. I guess the children of Israel were packing up their tents and loading up their camels.

The Levites -- the priests who were the sons of Levi -- got to carry the ark of the covenant. This is where the laws of the covenant were contained. Moses told them that every seven years, in the same year for cancelling debts, and during the Feast of Tabernacles, the laws were to be read out loud to the Israelites again.
Everybody was to come around for this reading. Even the aliens who were living among them. And the children who hadn't heard the laws would hear them as they were growing up.

Then God said something to Moses that must have made his blood run cold. God said in verse 14: Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, where I will commission him.

And that's where God presented himself. But not so they could see him. No, the Lord was inside a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the Tent.

And the Lord, who knows everything -- past, present and future -- said to Moses in verses 16 - 17a: ...You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them...

After all that the children of Israel had gone through as they made their long, long trek through the desert, wouldn't you think they would have figured out that they won't supposed to disobey God?

Each and every time they disobeyed, God's wrath rained down on them. Then they developed insight again real quick, repented, and God forgave them. And they repeated the cycle of disobedience again and made God mad at them.

It takes disasters and difficulties to make us realize just how weak we really are. Our strength comes from God and he walks among us -- even to this day. He watches us and sees how we are living our lives.

He wants to make sure that we are careful to put him first. Absolutely #1 in our lives.

God will not accept second place. Never has. Never will. Be careful with that one. He doesn't want you to lie. He doesn't want you to cheat. He doesn't want you to steal, or murder anybody. He doesn't want you to go off flirting with someone's spouse (or worse), or take their car (we don't commute by horse anymore).

If you do any of these things, he watches and thinks, "I really wish you hadn't done that."

God knows that we are all sinners. He knew that from the early days when he banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

But just knowing that we are helpless to resist the powerful pull of sin does not mean that we can go ahead anyway, thinking that all we have to do is confess our sins, say we're sorry and ask for forgiveness, without trying with all our heart to resist the very sins that separate us from God.

Resist sin. Don't think for a moment that you can sin freely, then ask for forgiveness and God won't know what you're up to.

He knows.

And who ushered in the new covenant?

None other than our Lord Jesus Christ. This new covenant was sealed by the blood of Christ. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had any hope of salvation.


BE COURAGEOUS -- from Brenda Moore

2 Timothy 1:7 -- For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear is not of God. Have the courage to step out on faith and do the seemingly impossible. Start your own business; go into the ministry; apply for that promotion. Anything that you've been afraid to do and you know that God has called you to do -- JUST DO IT!


Philippians 4:13 -- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Remember, greater is He that's within you than he that's in the world. You have the power of the Most High God working in you, and you have His Son steadily making intercession for you. You have nothing to worry about! Walk with your head up! You say you have low self-esteem -- somebody told you that you'd never amount to anything; the devil is a liar! Know that you are somebody -- not because Jesus said it, but because you are a child of The King!


Romans 8:28 -- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Does anything else need to be said? The jury has been out and the verdict is in -- YOU WIN!

In your finances -- YOU WIN!
On your job -- YOU WIN!
In your relationships -- YOU WIN!
In your health -- YOU WIN!

God has already worked it out for you. It may not come out the way you think it should (or when you think it should) but remember -- CALM DOWN, SHUT UP, AND QUIT TRIPPIN'! He's working it out for YOUR good -- in HIS time.

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet! Have a blessed day.



"I'm trying to have everybody understand that this is going to cost and that it's going to have a measure of pain that you're not going to like," Rep. John Dingell, who is marking his 52nd year in Congress, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Dingell will offer a "discussion draft" outlining his tax proposals on Thursday, the same day that President Bush holds a two-day conference to discuss voluntary efforts to combat climate change.

Read more:

Here come taxes on taxes. Get ready to call your representative. Or fax. Or e-mail. Let him/her know that this is just not acceptable for a couple of reasons.

First of all, global warming is a cyclical phenomenon. It's not caused by man. So say the scientists who have bigger brains than I do. No matter how much they raise taxes, it's not going to reduce global warming.

But to put a 50 cent tax on top of the gas taxes that are already there is outrageous. It's nothing but punishment for people who have to put gas in their cars.
Congress ought not to be in the business of punishing the very people who vote them into office. They're supposed to be managing the business of government for the people who elected them -- not figuring out new ways to tax the socks off of us.

Doesn't that make you angry enough to register to vote in 2008 if you aren't already?

Doesn't that make you angry enough to keep a tally of how your congress persons are voting on issues that affect your pocketbooks? Don't rely on the media to give you that information.

If you are reading this, then you are on the internet. You can get information about how your congressman voted on each and every bill in congress.

Go to or
Look for voting records. They're recorded by law.

What I'd like to see is a list of members of congress who fly on commercial flights, in the coach section, just like the rest of us.

Get off those private jets and stay out of first class. You're just a human being like the rest of us -- you know, your taxpayers!



3 T. olive oil
4 T. fresh lemon juice (I used red wine vinegar)
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
Dash of salt
2 ripe but firm pears, cored, unpeeled and cut in chunks
3.5 ounces (5 cups) greens
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I used blue cheese)
1/4 cup crushed almonds (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine oil, lemon juice, honey, thyme and salt. Add pears, while gently stirring, and bring to a rapid boil. Simmer at high heat for 1 minute. Pears should hold their shape and not be mushy. Refrigerate until cool.

To assemble, divide greens on 4 plates. Top with pears, including liquid. Add cheese. Garnish with thyme and almonds.

Nutrients: 259 calories, 7 g. protein, 19 g. carbohydrates, 19 g. fat (6.7 g. saturated), 21 mg. cholesterol, 3 g. fiber, 40 mg. sodium



It's a British study released about a week ago.

There were 10,000 government employees in a 17-year analysis.

"Not enough sleep" is less than seven hours of sleep a night.

Those people who cut their sleep from seven hours of sleep a night to five hours or less faced a 1.7 fold increase in mortality from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.

The findings were presented by Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick's medical school.

Other studies have been presented in the past that correlate health risks and lack of sleep, but this is the first study that links duration of sleep to mortality rates.

Curiously, there is a higher mortality rate for people who sleep more than nine hours a day.

In the United States, 40% of the population regularly sleep less than five hours a day.

Read article at:



For years and years and years -- probably eons -- binge drinking has been relegated to Anglo-Saxon cultures.

This is primarily due to the fact that Mediterranean cultures have historical and social roots. Mainly wrapped around wine, with meals and with friends, at a moderate level every day. Drinking to the point of drunkenness has not been a Mediterranean norm.

Anglo-Saxons cultures add drinking without food, and drinking without the company of friends.

A recent study presented by José Lorenzo Valencia-Martín, a medical doctor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and corresponding author for the study, shows that binge drinking is on the rise in Mediterranean countries.

The study looked at more than 12,000 people -- both male and female -- and noted that drinking patterns appear to be changing.

"Binge drinking seems to be an 'imported drinking pattern,' based on spirits -- such as gin, whisky, vodka, etc. -- which are not culturally rooted in Spain," said Valencia-Martín. "We think that spirits are mainly used in binging because drinkers may seek the psychoactive effects of alcohol in a relatively short time."

Binge drinking was defined as consumption of eight or more standard units of alcohol (about 3 shots) for men, and six or more (about two shots) for women during any one drinking session during the previous 30 days.

Keep in mind that there is an ounce of alcohol in a 6 ounce glass of wine or in a 12 ounce bottle of beer or in one shot of distilled spirits.

Who in the world could drink eight glasses of wine? Or eight cans of beer? Or eight shots in one sitting?

Answer: a binge drinker.

Quit that!

Read more:

10:01 am          Comments

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Welcome back to our readers from South Korea and China -- and, of course, our regulars here in the United States. Let's see, what time is it in the far east? In the first place, it's across the dateline -- so it's Thursday, and Quint's recollection is that the far east is about twelve hours ahead of us.

That's fascinating. We're just starting our day and you're probably just finishing dinner and getting ready for your evening devotionals and catching up on the day's events.

We are still enjoying a slow, warm, gentle rain here in central Illinois. Reminds me of the time we were in Lucerne, Switzerland. Humidity was about 94% and the temperature was in the high 70s. Made the rain seem very warm and comfortable.

Not like the bone chillers that are coming in November. Just enjoy what we have today.

And our readers in South Africa and Australia are getting ready for spring.

We don't have anything ambitious planned for today. I'm still trying to come out of my self-imposed period of rest. I may just concentrate on clearing off some horizontal surfaces. And get this, Quint. I will be throwing some stuff away.

I'm telling you early so you can get the drum line ready. I want to see crab walking from one end of the basement to the other, and lots of clickety clack of the drums to keep momentum with my newly acquired tossing arm.


Deuteronomy 30:1-20

This chapter is loaded with promises from God.

We read in verse 3: ...then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.

Not only that, but in verse 5b: ...He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.

And in verse 7 there is vengeance: The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you.

The children of Israel must have been thrilled to realize that the Lord God of their fathers and grandfathers was still willing to take them under wing and help them get settled, overcome their enemies and bring their labors to prosperity. Just like he promised in verse 9: ...The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Now I don't know about you folks, but that doesn't seem to be all that hard to do.

Breaking even one of the ten commandments is not on my list of things to do today.

I choose life -- to live in the glow of God's eternal love. I do not want the Decider to become the Destroyer, like he threatens in verses 17 - 19: But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. ... Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life...


It's easy to slip back into this thought that the words of Deuteronomy are old bits of history that just had to do with the Israelites coming up out of Egypt.

If that's your rationale for not making God the centerpiece of your life, then you ought to take great care. You see, when Jesus Christ came down to the earth from heaven, he brought the good news that through him, each and every one of us become the children of God.

God gave up his son to die for our sins. All that is required of us is to make God the Lord of our life and to keep his commandments. This good news brings Deuteronomy out of the ancient times into the present day promises of God.

He's here -- blessing up with prosperity today!


CALM DOWN -- from Brenda Moore

Psalm 46:10 -- Be still and know that I am God.

So many times we make situations more than they are due to our anxiety.

CALM DOWN -- God has your life under control. He knows how to handle even teh seemingly complex situation with ease.

SHUT UP -- Stop having pity parties and talking about your business all the time. Don't you know that the power of death and life is in the tongue. Stop speaking negative things into existence in your life and in others.

QUIT TRIPPIN'-- When you look at your situations through your eyes, you often read more into the situation than what is there. It's not as bad as you think particularly if God is in your life. Stop over-analyzing your life.



A tourist siting may just well be that of four-year Madeleine McCann. The tourist in Morocco was so certain that a woman carrying a little girl on her back was the missing four-year old that she snapped a picture and took it to the police.

It's now in the hands of Interpol and experts are studying the photo to determine whether the little girl is, in fact, Madeleine.

Keep in mind that Morocco is not all that far from Portugal -- only about 30 miles by ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar.

Want to see the photo? Check this out:

I pray that it is Madeleine and that she will soon be returned to her parents. And if it is, what an ordeal! I'll bet they never let her out of their sight again.



That's it, except for the details which will probably be released today sometime.

At 3 a.m. this morning, the strike ended when both sides bargained their way into a contract agreement.

Good news for the economy. The stock market opened higher.



We've known for a long time that people who are depressed have different sleep patterns, with sleep disturbances being the big complaint.

But now comes new research reported by Dr. Michael Craig Miller, a practicing psychiatrist who is also an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in addition to his teaching duties in the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program.

New research has identified a gene they are calling the Clock gene.

This is the gene that helps regulate the body's circadian cycles -- those ups and downs of the body functions that cycle about every 24 hours.

Okay, so it's another rat study. But we can't ethically put human beings through the rigors of scientific research just to find out whether or not different chemicals work for this or that, and whether serious side effects (if present) lead to death.

In the world of scientific labs, human beings get preferential treatment over lab rats.

In the continuing study of bi-polar disorder, it appears that this clock gene that was identified in mice showed similar signs in human mania.

The scientists gave the mice lithium. That's the oldest treatment that's been used for bi-polar (used to be called manic depression, and before that was called cyclothymic disorder). When the mice got their little dose of lithium, then they settled down and behaved -- well, ordinary.

When we take that story out of the lab and put it into human context, we get refusals for treatment that sound like, "I don't want to take drugs. I like the way I feel. I don't feel like myself when I take the medicine."

To which I say, "When you're in your manic phase, you are not behaving like you ordinarily would. The manic you is not the real you. You're out of step with the rest of us and it isn't our job to run and keep up with you while your mind is racing. It's your job to cool down and keep pace with the rest of the population.

"If you can't do that on your own, then medication will bring you back to what we'd call ordinary behavior."

Bi-polar people who refuse to take medication sometimes think they can diet their problems away, or wish them away.

To which I say, do you have any idea how challenging it is to re-engineer the genetics of your body?

So just relax and take advantage of some multi-million dollar research that is being done with your best interests at heart.

Now, just for review, here's a brief list of what bipolar looks like:

Extremes in moods. These can be good highs (euphoria) or uncomfortable highs (rageful behaviors)

Bipolar people have a pretty grand idea of how great they are. And wonderful. And smart. And beautiful/handsome. And talented.

They talk, talk, talk, talk. My grandmother used to say that trying to get a word in edgewise with some people was like trying to thread a sewing machine with the needle running. She was describing a conversation with a bipolar person who's in a manic phase.

Bipolar people have so many many unfinished projects that they embarrass themselves. Then these embarrassments get redefined as unproductive failures. Then their self-esteem gets eroded when they start to think of themselves as useless and hopeless.

Then their manic phase plummets to the bottom of their mood swing into a depressed mood.

Lots of bipolar people go for help. They get prescriptions. They take them for a while, then they want their old used-to-be selves back because they think that's their normal behavior.

But it isn't. It's themselves when their brain is delivering up a high, elated mood. They have lots of jumping chemicals at their disposal when that happens and they become addicted to all these euphoria driven compounds floating around in their brains.

They long for the chemicals they have become addicted to. The quit taking their medicines and they become non-compliant patients when they need their "fix" of bipolar euphoria chemicals.

But what goes up, comes down. The misery of those depressive lows scares the bipolar and this is when they come back for help.

So thanks a lot, Eve. You had a perfectly perfect body with everything synchronized until you messed it up with that little conversation with the devil. Remember that one?

They should rename the clock gene "Eve."

If you want to read Miller's entire article, click on this link:


8:26 am          Comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It isn't that we're getting a slow start this morning -- but we had a nice, gentle rainfall before sun-up and we just sat and lingered over our morning coffee.

There was a cooled down breeze. It was sending us whispers of the fragrance of rain coming across the front yard that Quint mowed yesterday afternoon.

Our dining room has windows on the south wall and the west wall. It's the favorite room in the house for the succulents. They compete with each other as they try to elbow their way up to the windows. Guess they like to peek out at the blackbirds chowing down on something of interest on the lawn.

We welcome readers this morning who are logged on from Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam, China and South Korea, plus our regulars in the United States. And it looks like we're going to go over 63,000 hits by the end of the day. I just find that truly amazing for a site that runs on a Bible study, some politics if our politicos in Washington try to get away with something you ought to know about -- or once in a great while if they do something interesting -- and psychobabble.

The psychology part of the columns usually come from topics suggested in your e-mail questions, or matters of interest from the telephone coaching/therapy sessions.

As a side note, I have to say this again if you are a new reader. If you send an e-mail, be sure you identify yourself somehow as coming from this website. You can do this in the subject line of your e-mail. It's real easy. All you have to do is type in "jane reinheimer web site." If you've sent e-mails in the past, you don't need to be concerned because the computer will recognize your address and put your message through.

I do enjoy reading your e-mails, so please identify yourselves somehow.

Have you been reading the "quotes" that I've been adding? Am trying to add some every day. I have bags and bags of little slips of paper from years of writing down things that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy them too.


Deuteronomy 29:1-29

There are a couple of questions to think about as we read this chapter. The first is: The Christian life is a process of continual repentance and renewal. Where are you in that process today? Though we break God's covenant with us all the time, he never does.

And -- When God made you, what do you think he had in mind for you to do with your life?


If we have learned nothing else about the children of Israel in reading this book of the Bible, we realize that the Israelites are a bunch of world-class grumblers. They moaned and they groaned.

Early in this chapter, God speaks to them again through Moses.

He just wants to remind them of everything he's done for them -- they've not had to go hungry -- they've not been besieged by enemies when they've been in flight out of Egypt.

So in verse 5, God gives them a pretty good reminder of how well off they are: During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.

Hmmm. Imagine that! They've been walking for forty years and their sandals haven't worn out. And you'd think that if they were still wearing their Egypt duds that they'd be pretty raggedy by now, wouldn't you?

Nope. According to this verse, they're still looking pretty spiffy. Yes, this was a miracle. And just like the miracles that Jesus performed in later days, the miracles were to make sure the Israelites knew they were straight from the Lord.

Apparently they didn't pick up on that right away, because the Lord had to remind them that these miracles had a purpose. And that was to make them realize that all these miracles came straight from God, not from some magician sent by Satan.

Then there's that reminder again in verse 9: Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.

Continuing in verse 12, he pretty much spells it out, just in case they missed his point: You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

And what of this covenant? What's that all about?

Did they forget? God wanted to make sure they didn't forget that there is one thing that God absolutely despises. That is, starting in verse 18: Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe even though I persist in going my own wy." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. The Lord will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, an the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. The Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law."

Oh boy. That's pretty plain to me!

I think if I were standing in this assembly that Moses had gathered together, if I had any creepy little golden gods hidden away in my tent, I'd run back and melt them down. I certainly would give up worshiping them -- or anything else that interfered with my worship of the Lord God.

It may be that as you read these ancient passages, you think of this book as just a history book of how the Israelites came up out of Egypt.

But make no mistake about it -- the warnings are just as real to us today and they were back then. That is: don't go making any idols.

So what's an idol? Simple. It's anything that you make more important than God.

It could be your anger. It could be your insisting that you are not a lovable person. It could be a spouse or a child. It could be your job. And yes, it might even be your car. Or your house or your farm. Or money.

Whatever you worship and adore is your idol.

Be careful with that. Make God and worshiping him the most important thing you do every day of your life -- not just on Sunday or Sabbath -- but every day.

So we go back to the question of how I break God's covenant -- and I have to watch myself all the time.

I have to watch that I don't give in to the temptation of being a workaholic.

I have to make sure that I reserve time to study God's word and hear what he has to say to me.

I have to make sure that I also talk to God throughout the day -- not just at mealtimes, or only in the morning or at night before I go to sleep -- but all through the day, I try to keep a running conversation going in my head with the very God who created me. For sure, they aren't big fancy prayers filled with all the glowing words I could muster up, but rather, they're pretty simple little sentences like, "Thanks for keeping me safe," when I get back from an excursion. Or "thank you for blessing my life with wonderful family and friends," when flowers arrive or cards or letters come in the mail (or e-mails).



This is going to be short and sweet.

If you are clinically depressed or fall victim to bi-polar disorder, go straight to your doctor for an evaluation. If your doctor recommends medication, take the advice of this health care expert.

Doctors do not prescribe medications frivolously, and if you think you'd rather not be medicated, you'd most likely get an echo from your physician.

But if you need some medication for assistance, don't be ashamed of that.

If you don't think you can follow the regimen of remembering to take your medication, quit making excuses and get one of those 7-day plastic things. That way, if you wonder whether you took your medicine, just see if today's bin is empty or not.

I have Graves Disease and had my thyroid removed in 1985. That means a replacement hormone for the thyroid. What a nuisance! It took the endocrinologist about a year to get the dosage to where it needed to be.

Quint discovered about ten years ago that he has Type II diabetes. We were wondering if this genetic marker would show up later in life because his mother was diabetic. It did. Now he takes several medications to control his blood sugar, not to mention a diet that no longer contains his beloved sweets. There are lots of sugar free choices so he's no cookie-deprived.

But hey, I will be the first to admit that taking medications every day is a big fat nuisance. We couldn't deny the need for thyroid and diabetes medications.

For people who are depressed, the need is just as powerful. I believe there are over 200 medications now available to treat depressions. So if one doesn't "fit," talk to your doctor about it and see if a switch will work better for you.

But don't avoid seeing your doctor if you meed the criteria for depression. Not being diagnosed doesn't mean that you are not depressed.

And if you are being treated for depression, good for you. There does seem to be a genetic element to depression so don't be ashamed of the genes you inherited.

Adam and Eve were the last human specimens who were perfect. And since their eviction from the Garden of Eden, we've all had to live with faulty genes of one sort or another. Depression is one of those faulty genes. Embrace it and get treatment for it and get into cognitive therapy so you can get it into remission (that is, become symptom free).



Members of congress are elected to take care of the country's business for the American taxpayers.

That means lots of real business needs tending to -- like making sure the country is defended and that our military doesn't dwindle away -- like keeping our borders non-porous so that terrorists can't sneak across and people -- same goes for people who are not legitimate immigrants -- and taking care of a lot of actionable pieces of legislation.

But non-binding resolutions? Even if it is for denouncing Ahmadinejad from Iran -- the big bloviator who took the mike at Columbia University and started whining about being insulted by the university president.

Wah wah wah.

Academic freedom or not, he should not have been allowed to touch one square inch of American soil. The United Nations is one thing. He's a member nation who was making a speech. That was forum enough. That should have been it.

No "tour" of Ground Zero. It's hallowed ground and Iran can't go there. We may never know for sure if Iran played a part in the terrorist activities that brought down the World Trade Towers.

Leaders of any terrorist/rogue nation have no business at any burial place honoring America's loved ones. This is especially true for Americans who have died because of the murdering brutality of terrorists.


You got out of a bad relationship because it was bad, but you are still resentful and angry. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of financial debt, but you still can't control the desire to spend on frivolous things. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of a bad habit or addiction, but you still long to try it just one more time. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You said, "I forgive you," but you can't seem to forget and have peace with that person. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You told your unequally yoked mate that it was over, but you still continue to call. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of that horribly oppressive job, but you are still trying to sabotage the company after you've left. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You cut off the affair with that married man/woman, but you still lust after him/her. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You broke off your relationship with that hurtful, abusive person, but you are suspicious and distrusting of every new person you meet. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

You decided to let go of the past hurts from growing up in an unstable environment, yet you believe you are unworthy of love from others and you refuse to get attached to anyone. (You let the devil leave his bags.)

When you put the devil out, please make sure he takes his bags!


Happiness keeps you sweet.
Trials keep you strong.
Sorrows keep you human.
Failures keep you humble.
Success keeps you glowing,
But only God keeps you going!

9:35 am          Comments

Monday, September 24, 2007


And welcome, right now, to readers from Australia, Brazil and South Korea, plus all our buddies here in the good old United States of America!

The big news at church -- well, not the big news -- but the news everybody was talking about while we were standing around in the vestibule before church was about the farmer who was harvesting his bean field. It caught on fire. All 30 acres.
The fire was attributed to bearings going out in his machinery and it got hot. The bean field was super dry because, well, that's the way you want bean plants to be when you drive your harvest machines down the rows -- all dried up. Didn't take much of a spark to set it off.

So the guys were standing around computing how much yield per acre times what the going rate for beans is times the number of acres. Comes to about $10,000.

Farming is risky business.

On a much, much smaller scale, we started turning over part of the back yard for a garden next spring. One of our newest toys is a small cultivator which will be great for weeding in between the rows. But to get the garden ready, spade is the best answer. Quint says we need to just go rent one of those big, turbo-charged cultivators to do the turning the first time.

But I'm doing this, at least 90% of it, for the exercise. That means using a lot of muscles and spending a lot more energy than just guiding a cultivator around a little 8x10 garden to turn the dirt over.

Burning calories is good. So is gardening. And getting ready for the spring gardens is part of my autumn ritual.


Deuteronomy 28:1-68

Moses, once again, is telling the children of Israel that if they fully obey the Lord, blessings in abundance will be theirs. Even when it comes to fighting their enemies.

In verse 7: The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

Well, that's pretty plain. I'll bet there's many a kiddo on a playground that would love to see the bothersome bullies run off in seven different directions!

But in verse 20, the consequences are pretty much spelling out if the rules aren't followed: The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.

Much of this chapter spells out all the different ways that the Lord will punish the children of Israel if they mess things up and disobey God.

In this chapter, we realize that God is not to be teased with such vague promises as "I'll just do this one time, and after that, I'll plead for forgiveness and promise to be good again."

But heed the words of verse 63 carefully before you enter into such a trifle: Just as it pleases the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.

And in verse 65b: ...the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.

We need to take these words of Deuteronomy very very seriously. Don't think that just because this is an ancient Old Testament book that it has no relevance today.

Time flashes by quickly for God. In the blink of an eye he goes from one millennium to another. He zipped past the children of Israel after they crossed over the River Jordan, watched with great joy as the Christian faith budded and opened into full blossom in the early days following Christ's ascension into heaven, then zipped through the Dark Ages, skipped across the Renaissance and watched the great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century. 

Now we are in the 21st century. And he is watching us fervently right now.

Has he slowed down a bit to see what we're doing down here on earth?

Is he reading our hearts to see who his believers really are?

I believe that he is watching each and every one of us. I believe that he cares about what we are doing each and every day of our lives.



Each and every one of us has an ego. Some egos function better than others.

The ego is that part of your mental processing that allows you to make good choices -- choices that serve you well.

If your ego weren't working all that well, then you'd give in to each and every temptation that comes across your path. You'd fill up your grocery cart with cookies and goodies from the candy aisle. And ice cream.

That would be the whimsical miniature 3-year old that lives inside us. It's the ego that says "Put that back!"

You could say that the ego is the executive. The boss.

Our fun-loving, kidscreeching 3-year-old needs a boss to keep us from getting into trouble. Oh, sure, there are times when it's appropriate -- even needful -- to have a ton of fun.

We go on vacations. We take mental health days from work. We have all sorts of ways to pamper our 3-year old and let this little tyrant have its way. For just a while.

And if this little whimper wort doesn't get its way, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
If the three-year-old gets too outlandish, then the executive -- the ego -- steps in and puts this little tyke in a time-out.

You over-indulge on the ice cream that you managed to sneak into your cart anyway. And you ate half of the half-gallon container at one sitting. Now the executive gets wind of what you've done. But since you've already gotten away with it, the ego/executive starts to fret.

This fretting comes from the lame excuses that the 3-year-old offers up as excuses for misbehavior to the boss and leads to anxieties. The boss does not like to suffer the pangs of anxieties.

So, in order to reduce the anxieties, the boss has a powerful mental mechanism available for its defense. In fact, they're called Defense Mechanisms. And there are a few of them. Some are healthier than others.

It often happens on the way to maturation, when the 3-year-old starts to own up to its misbehavior and take some responsibility for misdeeds.

It could be when the 3-year-old gets caught stealing one time too many and finally recognizes that this isn't a good idea. Continued stealing just gets the tyke in trouble. Every time. So instead of coming up with an alibi, eventually the 3-year-old will figure it out and take one big step toward becoming a rational being -- that is, the inbound message from the boss takes root and starts to grow into a healthy, rational plant. The 3-year-old starts to resist the impulse of stealing when temptation presents itself.

There are all kinds of alibis to make the 3-year-old part of our mind think stealing might be okay. For instance, "It's the only way I can get what I truly want because no matter how hard I try -- no matter how hard I work, I never get what I want, so I'm just going to take it. It's my turn." 

We would call that rationalization.

But the defense mechanism I want to talk about today is called projection

Projection happens when the 3-year-old in all of us recognizes some very unpleasant, even scary, thoughts about himself/herself. These thoughts are trying to come up to the surface from deep inside. The thoughts need to find a way to be safely expelled.

Well, the child inside us -- this 3-year-old -- doesn't have the reasoning skills of an adult and certainly hasn't developed a repertoire of thought processes that will guarantee successes.

So when the 3-year-old recognizes that he is, in fact, stealing, he will eventually recognize it as something he shouldn't be doing. That is, if the ego has been doing its job successfully. Otherwise, the 3-year-old is going to come up to someone else and accuse that person of stealing.

There -- got it all out in the open. Stealing. Stealing. Stealing. I hate that word. Glad it's you and not me. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for just walking up to someone else's stuff and taking it. Shame on you.

That might work except that the boss knows what the 3-year-old did. And this causes the boss to become anxious.

Try as it may, the boss will continue and continue and continue to keep after the little tyke.

People use projection as a defense mechanism when they accuse others of whatever is going on in themselves that they find either unpleasant or unacceptable. They blame innocent people of the very thing that they're thinking or doing. Or thinking about doing.

For the most part, defense mechanisms are alibis that a person uses on the way to maturing. Or the alibis provide a safe harbor for a brief respite, like a moratorium, when a person just wants to "sit on the bench" for a while and gain more strength.

The most dangerous projection of all is when a person fears they are capable of harming themselves and accuses someone else of threatening behaviors. A paranoid person has incorporated the projection defense mechanism into its rationale to the point where it teams up with the delusional defense mechanism -- the delusion.

Now we have a person who is potentially harmful to himself/herself or to others. In all likelihood this person is suffering enormously and professional intervention should be a top priority.



In a big ceremony in Munich, the mayor tapped the season's first barrel of beer.

Now the festivities will begun -- and from now until October 7th, under a tent that houses 100,000 of your favorite friends, beer will flow and flow and flow.

With its 12-gun salute, it's "mass" time. That's what they call the two-pint mug. Gee, we call it a half-quart on this side of the pond.

Want to know what the cost for the half-quart is? A rather prices $10.30. At least that seems pricey to me.



The deadline was 11 am this morning. No contract. No workee.

The last time the UAW struck General Motors was in 1984. Strike lasted 13 days and affected 25 plants.

Hope this one ends sooner than 13 days and that both sides can reach an agreement.

First they'll have to take another vote to see how far apart they are. That's just Negotiating 101. Then they'll go back inside the "situation room" where contracts are hammered out.

Then they'll send out for sandwiches and pizza.

Then they'll recess and take naps.

Then tomorrow, if they didn't get a contract, they'll see how far apart they are, etc. etc.

This could amount to a lot of sandwiches, salads, and pizza.

Stay tuned.

read more:


8:27 am          Comments

Friday, September 21, 2007


Welcome to our readers in Great Britain this morning. Or, I should say good afternoon. I believe it's after lunch over there.

We were in Great Britain in 1997. Loved the tour of Windsor Castle, and seeing Stonehenge, and shopping at Harrods. We went down to the seashore at Bournemouth and spend a night there, then carted ourselves around Wales. Quint is part Welsh so we are interested in the Lewellyn family name. Didn't find anyone who would claim -- or admit -- to being related to us, so we just moved along. It was our big congratulations trip on Quint's retirement.

Yesterday was our 29th anniversary.

I know -- that was the day we spent in Bloomington at an all-day workshop about bi-polar disorder. We're probably the only people you know who go to libraries, museums and educational workshops for entertainment. After I digest what I learned, I'll be sharing with you in the psychobabble part of this blog.

Someone sent us flowers. There was a tag on the door when we got back home last evening. So Quint called them this morning to let them know the flowers could be delivered today. When he hung up, he said, "This is why I love living in a small town." -- turns out the flowers were from daughter Sharon, husband Ron, and grandkids Jerry and Heather. They're very pretty. We love flowers.

There was no button to push for speaking English. The lady at the other end of the phone said, "We'll get those right out to you this morning." He didn't have to give her anything but our name. She still knew where we lived and we didn't have to repeat it back to her or spell it. And then, before she hung up, she wished us a happy anniversary. We feel like we're surrounded by neighbors. Everywhere.

I am going to put another coat of polyurethane on the linen closet door after I sand it lightly. Then we'll hang the door when it's dry enough to touch. After that, I'll hang up three wire shelf basket type thingeys I bought. Thought they'd be great for holding all those envelopes of Windex cleaning wipes, and Pledge dusting wipes, and bottles of Old English scratch cover.

I have eight bottles of Old English -- six dark, two light. They're great for touching up hardwood floors. I'm not sure I remember how I got eight bottles. I had some in the office for furniture nicks. And some in the condo. With dark furniture, I use it like a furniture polish.

Anyway, it works. And people think my furniture is all new! Not. It's thirty-five years old. Many of the pieces pre-date marrying Quint. Except for my cedar chest. It was a wedding present from Grandma Stubbe. She had gotten it as a wedding present from Grandpa Stubbe in 1924. Clearly, it's one of my treasures.

Oh -- I want to share with you a really quick and easy dessert. All you need is a package of refrigerator crescent rolls and a can of prepared pie filling. You put a little bit of the pie filling -- not too much because it will squoosh out the sides of the crescent rolls when you're rolling them up. So just put some of the pie filling kind of in the middle of the crescent roll. I make a line that goes the length of the crescent roll. Then roll them up and put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar -- or Splenda for us who are sugar free. We've even been able to find the reduced sugar cherry pie filling. Bake them at whatever temperature is on the package.

Then put the rest of the pie filling in a plastic storage container and stick it in the refrigerator for tomorrow's dessert. Warning: they disappear into thin air when you get them out of the oven.


Deuteronomy 27:1-26

The children of Israel were getting closer and closer to going across the Jordan River.

The anticipation must have filled the air with electric anticipation.

Now comes Moses with some final marching orders from God: The children of Israel are supposed to set up two big rocks and put a coating of plastic on them. That way, they can write the commandments on them.

These rocks are to be placed on Mount Ebal.

Not only that, but after they had crossed over the Jordan, they were supposed to build an altar on Mt. Ebal. But they couldn't use any iron tools to make the altar. They have to use fieldstones to make this altar. God was very particular about these instructions.

There was another mountain in the area: Mount Gerizim.

The two mountains were in close proximity to one another. Beyond them lay the Shechem valley.

This Shechem valley is quite historic for it is here that Joseph's bones will be buried (Joshua 24). 

It was here that Abraham camped (In Genesis 12:6-7, God said to Abraham: Unto thy seed will I give this land. And He builded there an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

It was here that Jacob camped and bought a piece of the land (In Genesis 33:18-20 we read: And Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram; and encamped before the city. And he bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it God, the God of Israel.)

And it is here that God wants tribes placed on Mt. Gerizim to pronounce blessings. These tribes are (verse 12): Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin.

And on Mt. Ebal to pronounce curses were (verse 13): Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zubulun, Dan and Naphtali.

These are the curses that are outlined:

Cursed is a man who carves an idol,
Cursed is a man who dishonors his father or his mother,
Cursed is the man who moves his neighbor's boundary stone,
Cursed is the man who leads the blind astray,
Cursed is the man who sleeps with his father's wife,
Cursed is the man who has sex with any animal,
Cursed is the man who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother,
Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law,
Cursed is the man who kills his neighbor secretly,
Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person,
and Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law.

Just as a sidenote, this Mt. Ebal is the higher of the two mountains. It rises some 3,000 feet above sea level, and is about 1,500 feet above Shechem's valley floor. From Mt. Ebal you can see the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the Jordan River is in plain view to the east.

Actually, we don't get confirmation of this until we read in Joshua, but it was Joshua who actually led the Israelites to build the altar on Mt. Ebal. This was done according to the instructions handed down from God through Moses, although we won't see the transition from Moses to Joshua for a little while yet.

Read more at:

This web site will give you an archaeological perspective of the Shechem area where the Israelites had been camped from 1250-1000 B.C.E.

The digs at the Mt. Ebal satisfied three criteria that are necessary to identify a Biblical site:

1.) chronological (beginning of the Israelite settlement;
2.) geographical; and
3.) nature of the site (a center with a burnt-offering altar)



First he jumped bail to go to Colorado.

In Colorado he was picked up for failure to appear in court in California. He forfeited the $2 million he used to bond out of jail.

Then he was extradited back to California to face the music.

Then the feds in New York filed charges for campaign funding violations. Seems he had a reputation as a heavy hitter in Democratic power circles. Want money -- call Hsu!

Now he's in California and wants the $2 million bond forfeiture back since he's now willing and able to go to court there.

But wait. It's highly likely that the $2 million may just belong to all those people you rooked out of some heavy duty greenbacks in your $60 million Ponzi scheme. The money wasn't yours to begin with.

So, no bail for you, Mr. Hsu.

You don't have any money. You're broke. Get it?



And yes, children can be bi-polar too.


This web site has a 22 minute video you can watch with lots of good information.

Any discussion of bi-polar will talk about the importance of what's happening in the brain -- particularly in the prefrontal lobe. If you aren't sure about where this part of the brain is, go here:

People often ask me what the symptoms of bi-polar children are. I've found a really good web site that has a list of the common symptoms. This site is:

But back to the brain. When a bi-polar person has a manic episode, it's like their prefrontal lobe just clicks off like a light bulb. From that point and for the duration of the manic episode, you're going to get information straight from the "bowels of the brain." This could be potty mouth. It could be paranoid accusations. It could be an irrational tirade. It could be a lot of things that would ordinarily be filtered by the rational, executive prefrontal cortex.

After the tirade and things calm down, you need to know that the chemicals in the prefrontal cortex are going to be "curing" for a month or so. Maybe six to eight weeks before the prefrontal area is back to where it was.

So just what is the duty of the prefrontal area?

To put it simply, this is the Captain Executive Smarty Pants. Captain can see what I'm thinking and decides whether I'm going to say it or not. That is, ordinarily. When I'm not in a manic or depressed state. Captain can only do his job well when moods are stable. That means the lights are on in my prefrontal lobe.

Prefrontal activities are the highest of the mental functions. That's why it's referred to as the "Executive Function." This type of thinking/behavior usually kicks in when kiddos get to mid-adolescence.

Prior to that time, they were limited to a cognitive mentality. That blooms when kiddos are five or six. It could be earlier for some, later for others. That will be when your first memory is experienced.

Before then, we were running on mammal mentality. This is strictly a stimulus response mentality. I get hungry -- I want food.

This mammal mentality goes shopping with me too.

I go into the produce section of the supermarket and I pack a half-watermelon, a couple of cantaloupes, more bananas than we can eat in a week, apples, bananas, oranges, bags of lettuce types, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, potatoes. That fills up an entire cart. And it's just for Quint and me.

My mammal mentality must think I'm a monkey or something. "Better get some of these," it whispers to me. "There might not be fresh strawberries until next year." So I get two quarts. Maybe I'll have time to make some strawberry jam, or a shortcake or something.

But then I think, thanks to my prefrontal lobe, I've got some apples in the crisper drawer. And I don't need three pounds of oranges. Nobody likes them but me, so why not just get two? And put all that other stuff back too. A serving size of banana is one-half a banana. You don't need twelve bananas for 2 adults for a week. That would be 24 servings!

Somehow I manage to convince myself that I can get by with only one bag of lettuce, one cantaloupe, and the watermelon.

So I just hope my prefrontal lobe gets control of my mammal mentality before I hit the cookie aisle.

If you'd like to read an article by Jay Carter, PsyD., click on this link:

It's about the contagiousness, generationally, of verbal abuse. He's also written books about nasty people, bullies, etc. And if you ever get a chance to go to one his workshops, do it. He's very informative and fun at the same time.

9:42 am          Comments

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Good morning, all you insomniacs -- that is, for those of you who live in the United States. If you live a long, long way away -- it might even be good evening. In any event, welcome to my world.

It's very early. In fact, in the corn country here in the United States, it's only 4:25 am and it's still dark outside.

The crickets who have decided to move into my basement are shreiking! Don't they ever sleep? Oh, but I love the sounds of summer.

I'm usually turning over about this time. Time for the last nap of nighttime. But today Quint and I are headed for a workshop. New research about bi-polar disorder will be presented. We have to be on the road by 5:30. so I'm not sure how far I'm going to get with today's blogs. But we'll be back in the early afternoon. Check back if you like.

Today I'm going to reverse the order of things and put the Bible discussion at the "top" of the discussions. That seems to make more sense anyway.


Deuteronomy 26:1-19

In the early verses of this chapter, we hear again that the Lord heard the prayers of the children of Israel when they were living under the oppressive rule of the Egyptians.

They were able to see firsthand what the might wonders of God can do. Verse 8: So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders.

This is the chapter where tithes are first talked about, I believe. In verse 12 we read: When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

This tithe is to be a sacred portion of what they produce.

And like the man, Jabez, many years before them, they looked up to the heavens and prayed, in verse 15: Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.

God heard the children of Israel, for Moses brings this messae to them from God in verses 16-19: The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands, and laws, and that you will obey him. And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.

Wow! Don't you think that if you were living back in those days and heard Moses as he preached to them about what God wanted them to do, that all these things would be pretty high up there on your "things to do" list.

They would be on mine, I can tell you for sure. I mean, this was the very God who had parted the waters of the Red Sea just so they could hightail it out of Egypt -- the land where they had thought God had forgotten about them.

So now here they were -- just about ready to put their little tippy toes onto the dirt of the promised land and once again Moses is reminding them that God has blessed them as his chosen people.

Well, we may not all be Israelites but I can tell you one thing: We are all children of God and because we are his children, we share in that blessing of all blessings -- the inheritance that God gives his children.

That was the whole point of God sending Jesus Christ, his son, to earth. (But that wouldn't happen for another 1400 years or so.) By Jesus' death on the cross, each one of us who believes that by his very death, this inheritance became a gift to all mankind.

By this act of belief, we become the children of God. This inheritance that God gives is not just a piece of real estate anymore. We don't have to go to Israel and walk about in the desert to claim ownership in the land of milk and honey.

All we have to do is bring Jesus into our own hearts. And by this very act of believing, we become the children of God.


It's 6:15 pm and we just got home. Long day. Four hours of it was spent driving but the workshop about updated bi-polar research was well worth it. The workshop facilitator was Dr. Jay Carter.


Nurture is key. Nature plays a part but it doesn't cause us to become who we are.

The nature vs. nurture debate has been flaming for generations and generations. And even now, after the genome project has reached its level of success, the nature/nurture question has not been answered except to say that both play an important part.

This question plagued me all through my undergraduate and graduate school years. I think that was because of two daughters who shared the same parents, the same home growing up, even the same schools, church and Sunday School.

So how, I wondered, could they be so very different? They were only 15 months apart.

Or even in my own family of origin. We were dirt poor. All four of us kids shared that same unfortunate experience. We shared the same two parents. We went to the same school, church and Sunday School.

What made one of the brothers become the black sheep of the family?

And where did I ever get the idea that I could even get an undergrad degree much less a masters. Nobody in the family had ever done that.

After a while, after going to enough workshops and seminars and reading the research, I learned the answer to the "big why."

It isn't what we all share when we're growing up that makes us turn out different. No no. It's not that easy. If that were the case, we could come up with some kind of a cookie cutter formula that would pretty much guarantee success. Then successful parents could write books on how to raise successful kids.

And they'd get filthy rich, believe me.

But the truth of the matter is, absolutely lousy parents raise some pretty incredible kiddos who go on to become valuable members of the communities they grow up in.

And the converse of that is also true. Parents who, you'd think, would have the financial, educational and emotional resources to raise wonderful children end up with spoiled brats who don't even know how to say "please" and "thank you."

What makes people different from one another is the unshared experiences they have while they are growing up.

While it was true that my sister Cookie and I both went to the St. Paul Lutheran School. We were even in the same classroom even though we were in different grades. Small schools often doubled up like that.

Cookie was the compliant one who followed instructions, turned in her homework on time and paid attention to every word the teacher said.

I, on the other hand, was a daydreamer who looked out the window, wrote little poems, talked to my neighbor across the aisle and other naughty gabby things.

So my experience with the same teacher as my sister was a different experience. Mr. Wentzel yelled at me. A lot. He never yelled at Cookie. To her credit, he didn't need to.

Fortunately for me, Cookie was not a tattler. But then, she didn't need to be. Mr. Wentzel could report to my mother about me all by himself.

So my sister and I had unshared school experiences. As we grew up, we had many other unshared experiences -- job experiences, dating experiences, girlfriend experiences, boyfriend experiences.

It was those unshared experiences that shaped our dreams.

That's a big determiner of who we become -- we take our genes and the shared experiences and make them different by molding different dreams of our future.



Don't you just know that the Democrats are wishing they'd never heard of Mr. Hsu, the money bundler!

He's been arrested in New York for running a giant Ponzi scheme.

A Ponzi scheme (see Wikipedia), distilled down to its bare bones of ugly fraud, simply means that you promise a big payout. Really big payout. Abnormally, out of your mind with glee payouts.

Problem is, all these payouts come from future donations or money you don't have yet. For a Ponzi scheme to be truly successful, you have to have a continuous flow of cash coming in so that you can pay all those outrageous claims you promised.

It's been around since the early 1900s, thanks to an Italian immigrant named Charles Ponzi.

Unlike a pyramid scheme where new investors are brought in by already-in-investors, the Ponzi scheme revolves around a central schemer. And because the returns are so green and juicy, very often investors want to re-invest.

I mean, if you were promised and received a 20% return on your money, wouldn't you want in for more?

If your answer to either of those questions was "yes," then Mr. Hsu would be glad to make your acquaintance.

Problem is, Mr. Hsu, who was extradited to California from Colorado on a 15 year-old felony theft charge.
Today, Mr. "Ponzi" Hsu was named in New York in a federal complaint of campaign violations and running a huge Ponzi scheme. According to the complaint, he bilked some $60 million out of people.

Fraud fraud fraud! Not good, Mr. Hsu. Now you've done it. You have tarnished your ancestors' memories.

Read more:




First it was a play on words -- General Petraeus was likened to "Betray-us."  That's a name even a 7th grader could have come up with as a bullying taunt. And the ad accused the general of "cooking the books" to come up with the numbers that the White House wanted.

Problem is, this is the general who is leading the United States fighting forces in a war against terror in the Iraqi deserts.

So at the very least, it was in horribly poor taste even if this is seen by some as just mean-spirited political rhetoric.

Then there were the senate hearings. If any of you have ever watched a half hour of senate hearings about anything, you'll quickly learn that they're basically photo ops for the august ones who come to the mikes with prepared speeches and distilled talking points. Very few questions.

The senate hearings were no exception. Hillary Clinton went on and on and one for seven minutes, then closed her diatribe with this statement which is a stolen quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1817) which she didn't bother to acknowledge. She just kind of lifted it as if it were her own stroke of genius when she looked at General Petraeus and said that what he was telling the senators required the "willful suspension of disbelief."

On that very same day, the New York Timesran the ad about General Petraeus. It was a full page ad. It was greatly discounted. I think the charge to Move was $65,000. So what's a full-page ad usually going for these days? $160,000?

And is that $95,000 difference kind of like a soft money campaign contribution of sorts since it was heavily supportive of one political party's point of view? So do the Republicans get a shot at a full-page ad for the same price?

Giuliani thought so. And the New York Times kind of sort of had to agree. They sold him an ad at the same rate. And now we have the war of the words going back and forth on the pages of the New York Times.

So today the United States Senate passed a resolution condemning the ad about Gen. Petraeus. It passed handily with a 72-25 vote.

Hillary voted against the condemnation.

Christopher Dodd voted against the condemnation.

Obama didn't vote on the condemnation.

Biden missed the vote to condemn also.

Read the play-by-play at this site:,2933,297498,00.html

and at:



4:24 am          Comments

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We don't need to go the cat store to get a cat; the one next door seems to have adopted us. She belongs to Mr. Grumpy but it doesn't seem to have bothered her disposition much. She likes to walk on our car and leave her little footprints in the morning dew.

Yesterday when we got back home from an errand, we found her lying in the cool shade of the Impatiens by the back door. I mean, she wasn't curled up beneath the flowers. Oh no. She was stretched out the full length of her. All the more flowers to squash.

Even when Ms. Kitty saw us, she just laid there as if to say, "Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?"

The neighborhood is her regal realm.

She struts down the middle of the street, crosses into the yard across the street and checks to see if there are any new bugs under one of the evergreens at the corner of the house, then hops up on a ledge and saunters from one window to another until she reaches her jumping off place by the front door.

By this time the Border Collie who lives in the house across the street is going full throttle bow wow berserk. Ms. Kitty taunts him when she stops by the big window in the living room to stare at his yapping face.

She could lick his face an inch away on the other side of the glass if she wanted to. But she doesn't. She just gives him a "ha ha" stare and moves on to her next big adventure.

We like cats. Even when Ms. Kitty does her figure eights around our ankles.

P.S. I have three coaching/therapy telephone calls coming in today, so if the entire set of columns isn't all here, please check back throughout the day. I'll get to everything eventually.



According to the latest approval ratings, the approval for the way Congress is handling things in America has dropped to a low of 11%!


Keep in mind that most of the little presidential wannabees are part of this congressional set of 11% flunkies. So how is it that they can run around the country lambasting a president who nearly triples their approval ratings?

I have a word for that -- arrogance.

Here's the poll:

One reason given for the low ratings is the public's fear of the economy.

But since the feds lowered interest yesterday by a half a point, the economy ought to get a boost -- at least for lots of people who were going to have their ARMs and/or other loans coming due to re-set. Lower interest rates ought to help the auto industry too. And home equity loans that are tied to the prime.



Believe me, it only takes a minute and you get the satisfaction of being involved with the political process.

Does it matter?

You bet it does. Go to this web site and fill in your name and address and the computer program will figure out who your elected politicos are in Washington. You can even send a short message to tell them what you want them to do and how you want them to vote on a particular bill.

Get involved. Go here:



I've used this story as an example of communication skills many, many times. And I might add that I have the individuals' permission to share the story with you.

It involves a young couple who came for marriage counseling. They had a three year old boy. A very busy, "Dennis the Menace" type three year old who could not be left along for a microsecond.

Mom had a part-time job as a playground/recess monitor at a nearby school. Her mother could be counted on to babysit in the mornings when she went to work.

But Mom was not happy with her rate of pay. She complained often. And finally her husband said, "Look, if you're that unhappy, get another job."

He thought that was pretty plain.

So she did. She got another job working at a telephone answering service from 4 pm to midnight. And she kept her playground job.

Now she was making more money but she was more tired. All the time. Couldn't keep up. Her little darling was wearing her out. He wouldn't keep quiet. Lots of kidscreech. Life was horrible.

Then her husband asked her, "Why are you working so much?"

To which she said, "You told me to get another job!"

You saw that one coming, didn't you?

What he meant was for her to get another job instead of the low paying playground job. Not another job in addition to the one she had. Besides, they finally agreed that it wasn't the best of ideas for her to work in the evenings when their threesome could be together as a family.

Is this a credibility problem? Yes, in a way it is.

Credibility is a context matter.

Within the context of this couple's discussion of her part-time job, there had not been a clear idea of what one little word meant. And that word was another. The husband was finally able to convince his wife that there was no way he'd ever want her to work an eight hour and be away from their home and family every night of the week.

Not with their three year old who needed close supervision. And her working for minimum wage when he was making over $100,000 was another matter too.

Language requires credibility.

Language shares meaning between two or more individuals. If one single word means two different things, there could be a problem. And there was with this couple until they came to a shared definition.

They learned a lot about how they valued each other within the context of their roles in each others lives.

Her playground job was a social outlet, she realized. She just needed to be away from her son for a few hours a day. After supervising a bunch of little runaway tykes, her one didn't look so bad.

But the money was not the object. It was part of her rationale to justify leaving her son to got to work. As it turned out, she quit the low-paying job and, instead, volunteered at her church's preschool for a few hours a day. She said she felt more valued at the church.

And that's often the case. Volunteers will feel like they're making an incredibly valuable contribution when there isn't a dollar figure put on their time.


Deuteronomy 24:1-22

If there had been a television station in the desert, the children of Israel would probably have had a Desperate Housewives show. Why else would Moses give them instructions from God about how a man could divorce his wife if she wasn't pleasing to him. Then if she married another guy and didn't please him either and he divorced her, the first husband was not allowed to remarry her.

In verse 4b: That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the Land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

In this chapter, the children of Israel are supposed to remember those less fortunate than they are. God wants them to think of the times when they were slaves in Egypt and were rescued by God.

God does not want them to go over their grape harvest a second time, or their olive picking, or their sheaves in the field. Instead, they are to leave these behind for the people who are fatherless, the aliens and the widows.

Deuteronomy 25:1-19

How a man gets to be known as The Family of the Unsandaled.

It goes like this: If a man and his brother are living together and one dies and leaves a widow without a son, that man's brother is to marry the widow so that they can have children.

But then, if the brother says, "I don't want to marry her," then she can go to the elders and report him. If he still refuses, then she can take one of his sandals off, spit in his face and say, "This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother's family line."

And that brother's line will then be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

There are some other interesting edicts that God passes down insofar as fair fighting rules that you will want to read.

However, if you are in a country where the Bible is not widely available and you would like me to e-mail the text to you, please send me an e-mail at this address: and be sure that you put "Deut study" in the subject line.

This chapter closes with a favorite passage in verse 19: When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

The reason I find such comfort in this verse is that I am reminded, again, that the Lord is always with me. He watches over me and he gives me comfort and rest. And most of all, he protects me from evil and from people who bear false witness against me.

And my inheritance? It's all the accumulated blessings that God has prospered me with.

The Lord protects me and those I love.

Always has. This, I believe.


9:04 am          Comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


We send happy, healthy greetings to all our readers in Canada and South Korea -- and the United States, of course -- who are logged on and reading right now. Isn't that amazing? From Canada and the U.S. to places halfway around the world. Must be the middle of the night in South Korea.

I don't know about you but I'm not ready to give up summer yet. I was just starting to get summer organized. Now, the next thing you know it, leaves will be falling and you know what that means!

We have lots of leaves. I mean, lots of leaves. If you've ever seen a thirty foot maple tree you know exactly what I'm talking about. We have a big maple in the front yard and two in the back yard, plus the box elder. They drop a lot of leaves too.

I did paint the lattice on the deck. Now I just have to figure out how to get at the lattice that's underneath the steps. Maybe spray paint what I can't reach by hand. It looks like it's not going to rain by the end of the week so we'll be putting a waterproof stain on it. 

And Quint is absolutely thrilled that two beautifully bright yellow finches stopped by for lunch yesterday. He's been patiently putting thistle into the finch feeder but  had only had other little brown birds eating all the thistle. Then Mr. and Mrs. Finch showed up to dine. They are very pretty. And quite a splash of color too.



First of all, don't go swimming in lakes if alligators live nearby. Like in South Carolina.

A snorkeler just that and guess what? The 500+ pound alligator bit his arm off. (see:

The man is in critical condition at the hospital. The alligator was shot dead and quick surgery removed the man's arm from its stomach but even so, doctors aren't sure the arm can be reattached.

Then there was this man who put the head of his pet Eastern Diamondback into his mouth. Guess what happened? You guessed it. There was enough venom in his system to kill 12-15 people. The man will survive but only because of a miracle and apparently one very kind guardian angel. (see this video:

Don't try this at home!

Besides, you may not know this but a rattlesnake is moving at 90 mph when it's striking. So don't ever think you can get out of the way fast enough. You're so much better off not going into their territory. But it happens accidentally anyway when walking paths in nature preserves.

Just be careful.

I personally do not swim in anything but a chlorinated pool. That's for several reasons. The first is that I had a healthy fear of snakes instilled in me from my father. He was of the opinion that you should never get close enough to a snake to even worry about being bitten. 

There were times when he'd end up watching my sister and my younger brother. I think my mother may have been pregnant at the time, or maybe just sorely in need of a break from the three of us. We tended to run around and jump up and down a lot in the yard. She probably got tired of all that kidscreech. 

So off we'd go with dear old daddy to run his trotlines on the Red River. The mosquitoes down in the bayous were huge and there were always snakes lurking in the shadows. We just knew that. Mainly because he kept reminding us. He'd chide us, "Watch where you put your feet!" And he was not kind and gentle about his advice either. The paths through the woods weren't very wide and there were big black water mocassins or rattlesnakes around every turn, we feared.

If it was getting late in the day we'd have to stay in the car with the windows rolled up. That way we were safe from the four-legged creatures that scared us out of our wits. We could hear them off in the distance. And yes, they do sound like a woman screaming. Daddy said they were panthers. Nobody would argue that point as we sat there eyes wide open with our silver dollar size eyeballs.



If you're one of our readers from Australia, you've probably seen this on the news over and over and over. But for those of us in the United States who are amazed at how any driver could survive something this fiery, here's a video:

It reminds me of Purdy, a neighbor from across the street, when I was growing up. For weeks and weeks he'd be busy at the curb putting what he said was a jet engine on hit hot rod.

We all came out to give him advice after school, and basically just watched, and told him he was craze and then told him he was going to get killed. But all to no avail. The day finally arrived when he said he was going to start 'er up and give us a thrill of a lifetime just to watch history in the making.

It was very noisy. Guess he didn't have a muffler on the thing. We just stood there like the dumb kids that we were. Probably had our mouths hanging open too.

Then Purdy put the thing in gear. It didn't go anywhere. Unless you count vertical. It stood up on its rear tires, then fell back to the ground. It was all over in seconds. I don't think he ever did anything else to it, except pick up the pieces of his wounded pride and go back in his house across the street.

It was fund growing up in Paducah, Kentucky. We never knew what was going to happen next. The town was just big enough so that we didn't know everybody, and small enough so that everybody in the neighborhood knew everybody else's business.



Each and every one of us has a talent -- and probably a bunch of talents. It's up to us to find out what those talents are.

Becoming aware of our talents will lead us to relationships.

These relationships build on the honesty of who you are. So if you have created these masks that you hide behind, don't be too surprised to learn that your relationships are going to continue to falter.

One disappointing relationship follows another.

If you're lucky, you'll have one of those "hmmmm" moments. These are different from the "aha" moments that provide bursts of insight.

The "hmmm" moments force you to see dilemmas. Maybe you find yourself at a fork in the road. On the one path you can follow your usual techniques of relationship building -- whatever those may be. You know -- the ones that didn't work.

Or -- and this is a biggy -- you can follow a different path. Instead of doing things the same old way, you may just come to the conclusion that it's time to do something different.

Maybe this time you're going to focus more on the other person, rather than on yourself.

Maybe this time you're going to put the mask you've been hiding behind in the closet in your head. If you're really really brave, you'll toss the mask, but it may take a while to do that.

Maybe this time you'll go after the truly emotionally intimate relationship -- the healthy kind you've yearned for all these years.

Maybe your time has finally come and you are going to take the courageous leap of doing something about embracing a truly honest relationship.

If that's the case, then you are going to need to be absolutely and truly honest in all your communications. If you don't, then intimacy and fulfillment will evade you once again.

Instead you'll have communication that is, well, just noisy.

Better to go after a good, old-fashioned healthy relationship that's built on the solid virtue of honest communication.


Deuteronomy 22:1-30 and Deuteronomy 23:1-25

There are primarily social concerns addressed in Chapter 22. I find the first one interesting. It says that if your brother's ox or sheep run off, don't ignore the animal -- take it back to your brother. But if your brother doesn't live nearby or if you don't know who he is, then take care of teh animal and hang onto it until your brother comes looking for it. Same holds true if it's a donkey. Even if its his coat.

But even if you don't know who your brother is?

And I thought our present day nuclear families were becoming more and more disconnected. But then, the children of Isral were spread out all over the desert, I guess.

Other concerns are also addressed in this chapter.

Like in verse 5: A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.

Several concerns in this chapter have to do with chastity, and what to do in those instances where adulteries are committed.

God said to stone both parties -- that way the evil would be purged out.

I wonder what God thinks when he sees people watching TV shows like Desperate Housewives. Or Dallas a few years ago. Or movies that show sleeping around as something glamorous and titillating.

Moses probably would have been at his wits end with J. R. Ewing.

God would have had Ewing taken out to the gate and stoned. Him and all his girlfriends.

In Chapter 23, the children of Israel got strict orders about who they could worship with in their weekly assemblies.

That would be the Ammonites and Moabites. And why? Because they did not come to meet the children of Israel with bread and water when they were coming out of Egypt. (verse 4) Instead, they hired Balaam to put a curse on the children of Israel.

But God turned the curse into a blessing for the children of Israel.

So the children of Israel were not to worship with these people for 10 generations.

This chapter has an interesting note about how the children of Israel are to relieve themselves.

They are to go outside the camp and dig a hote, then cover their excrement (verse 12). But, get this, in verse 14 Moses says For the Lord yoru God oves about in yoru camp to protect you and to deliver yoru enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

In other words, God is watching them.

In other words, God is watching us, so we ought to watch our Ps and Qs.

8:31 am          Comments

Monday, September 17, 2007


And here we go into another glorious week. Hope your day will go well for you. Today is the day I get up off my you-know-what and get busy again. Enough of this sitting around. There are things to do outside and a limited amount of good weather that's comfortable in just shirt sleeves.

Quint wants to replace the downspout on one of the gutters. He says he doesn't really want to tackle it until I get the lattice painted because the gutter will be brushing up against it.

That makes sense. So he's off to Menards for some of that plastic downspout. I think he plans on diverting the rain water gush-off in another direction. He did pick up three of those accordion-looking extensions for downspouts, so I'm not sure where the water will end up after he's done.

Oh, and we bought a battery-powered cultivator. It's charging now so later on, after I get today's writing taken care of, we're going to turn the soil for our new garden next spring.

It's not a farmer-size cultivator but it digs down four inches. That ought to do it. The plants roots can do the rest if they want to dig their way to China. -- For all our readers in China -- if you're ever out there digging in your back yard and see some roots that look very unfamiliar, they would be mine. You can clip them if they make it that far. They would obviously be too long.

So there will be no HGTV for us today. I really like those programs. Get lots of good ideas of how to do things. I also get the courage to think "out of the box" and do things I might not otherwise have had the guts to try.

Problem is, I can spend an entire afternoon watching design shows. Then I don't have any time left over to do anything except cook and eat.

That is not a good thing!



I watched the news for a bit this morning to see about the airline crash in Thailand. Instead I got the best part of an hour watching what the news people were trying to feed us. It included:

The Sopranos got the best drama series at the Emmy's last night. CNN has a whole fistful of other winners and losers at:

Sally Field was censored when she started a rant about war. Chances are, her speech would have been carried in its entirety if the language had been cleaned up. I thought I saw her lips purse the word "bastard" but I couldn't be sure. But the cameras went to a picture of the glittering globe without the audio of her speech.

To which I offer this from Voltaire: It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are to be punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

There -- fixed it.

There was lots of coverage of that OJ thing out in Las Vegas. So far, OJ has been charged with 6 felonies. I listened to the tape and am wondering if one of those charges has to do with holding someone against their will, at gunpoint. Could that possibly be called kidnapping? OJ said later that he was just conducting a sting operation to get his stuff back. Aren't you supposed to be a law enforcement person before you can sting somebody? If you want to hear the audio tape of what was said as OJ and a few of his buddies stormed the hotel room in question, TMZ has the filthy, unexpurgated version at:

So to get the latest on what is really happening in the real world, I had to go to the internet.

And "news" shows wonder why viewers are running away.

Incidentally, some forty people survived the fiery airplane crash that killed ninety passengers. The black box recorders have been sent to the U.S. for interpretation as to what happened to make the plane go down. Early prognostication is wind shear.

Michael Mukasey has been named by the White House as the nominee for Attorney General to replace Gonzales. We'll see how the confirmation hearings go on Capitol Hill. Read more:

And then there was another headline about Britney. Guess she's going back to court today. Things don't look good for her and her baby custody fight. A new surprise witness is supposedly coming forward. This witness might just blister Britney. If you have any interest, here's a link:,2933,296969,00.html

And that's about all the non-news I can take for one morning.



This is going to be a bit different today.

Guess I'm waxing poetic when I think of all the people, myself included, who want little more than to love and be loved in return.

Here's a clue: your attractiveness increases greatly when you express interest in something that your intended is interested in. That's not hard to do if you want to be a charming person.

Charming people don't use psychological weapons against other people. And it doesn't matter if you're the most unkempt person in the room -- if a charming person is also in the room, that person will approach you and engage you in conversation and make you feel like what you have to say is valuable. And that you are valuable.

Charm. So what is it?

It's like love. It moves along without being forceful and it doesn't try to dominate other people.

The poet John Donne said this: No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Recognize Ernest Hemmingway? He must have been a fan of Donne's if he named a book after one of Donne's quotes, wouldn't you think?

Charming people don't have any interest in "owning" other people. They don't want to destroy others.

Paul Simon wrote a sad poem that he and Garfunkel made into a hit song:

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It's laughter and loving I disdain
I am a rock, I am an island.

Don't talk of love
But I've heard the word before
It's sleeping in my memory
I won't disturb the slumber of the feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried
I am a rock, I am an island.

My goodness -- what a sad song.

Paul Simon apparently had never read the poetry of Khalil Gibran when he wrote in Under the Sun:

But if in your fear your would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-like floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears...

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

Charm is like love but not quite. Again, Gibran says: Love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."

Anyone who loves and loves deeply feels that unmistakable pull towards God. Love brings you in contact with that quiet little voice within you that is the voice of God.

Charm, on the other hand, provides a vehicle for you to interact well with other people here on earth. Charm allows you to find something acceptable and worthy in people you meet, no matter where you meet them.

Charm lets you get passed the flaws in other people. Then you can take heart with the words of Leonard Cohen, the musician, who said: There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.

If charm isn't working for you, then remember the words of this writer, Anne Lamott: You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Not much inner peace for you when you do that. And you'd hardly be considered charming by people who meet you on the path of your life.

Remember: The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears. That's an old Indian proverb.

And finally this from Sarah Breathnach: Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons of life do not last. The spring rains will come again.

I personally think that what makes charming people so attractive is their lack of deceit. They bring harmony and balance to life around them because their lives are not lies. They are not fakes who are just trying to be charming. They are genuinely interested in other people.


Deuteronomy 21:1-23

Wow! This chapter opens with the discovery of a dead man.

What if a man died and no one saw who did it? He was just laying there, alone and dead.

What were the Israelites supposed to do?

Were they supposed to go to the nearest city of refuge and see who the newest "citizen" was?

No. Moses said that God wants the children to Israel to go out to the highway and measure the distance of the body from the towns around him. Then, it would be the responsibility of the people in the town nearest the corpse to find a new heifer and take it out to a stream and break its neck. Now this was to be a heifer that had never worked in a field, had never plowed a field.

Then all the elders were to come out from the nearest town and wash their hands over this heifer and say, "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see if done."

Then the death of the dead man would be atoned.

God addresses another social concern starting at verse 10. This has to do with rules of engagement again. But this time it has to do with captivating, charming, beautiful women who were the spoils of war.

Moses said that God would allow the Israelites to take such a woman but first the woman had to shave her head, clip all her fingernails off, and take all her clothes off. Then she was to have a month to grieve leaving her mother and father.

After all that was done, then the guy could take her as his wife. But if she wasn't pleasing to him, he had to send her on her way. She could go anywhere she wanted to go. The Israelite couldn't sell her after he had dishonored her.

This chapter also includes some rights of inheritance that may be of interest to you. The section about the rebellious son who is a drunk (verses 18-21) was a way of purging evil from the children of Israel. We don't haul the drunk out of town and stone them to death anymore. They have to go to detox and we pray that it will work. Sometimes an alcoholic has to go again. And again.

And finally, in verses 22-23, come the instructions about what to do with the body of someone who has died. This is the Biblical verse admonishing the children of Israel to bury their dead the same day that they died.

Keep in mind that these verses were talking about capital punishment by hanging someone on a tree. The children of Israel were not to leave the body hanging overnight.

God says that this is more to keep the land pure and not desecrate it. God wanted this land he was giving to the children of Israel to remain pure.

I liken this admonishment to another verse in the Bible that says I'm not supposed to let the sun go down on my wrath. Coming to grips with anger and extending forgiveness before I go to sleep is one of the ways I try very hard to keep my heart as pure as I can.

Mind you, I'm not saying I'm always successful, but I try hard. And if I have difficulties managing forgiveness, then I ask God to help me. He does promise to send the Holy Spirit to us to counsel us.

9:14 am          Comments

Friday, September 14, 2007


We welcome readers from Australia who are logged on this morning. Let's see -- it's got to be springtime down under. Right? Happy tulips and daffodils, then.

We are getting ready to mow the grass one final time. It feels more like we should be gathering up the leaves to make our towering inferno except that the leaves are still green and on the trees. Only the air feels like autumn.

I do plan on painting some lattice on the back of the deck on Sunday afternoon, so while you're enjoying yourselves, just think of me slaving away with my thera-brush making all things white and new again.

I am happy to report that I finally found the marigold seeds that my sister, Cookie, gave me a year ago. She packed them ever so carefully in a plastic baggy then mailed them. I have been chasing them from the condo which we sold, to the office which we vacated, to the house where great mysteries abound.

Well, today when I was moving out of my summer purse into another one, there were the seeds at the bottom of the summer purse. What makes this a stupendous find is that I also know where allof my seed packets are. They're in a really big basket hanging above my craft table in the basement. Into this basket went envelopes of vegetable and flower seeds that I've been corralling as I've found them. Now they are all in one place. And the marigold seeds are going into the basket to wait for next spring.

Marigolds are one of my favorite summer treats. I plant them among the tomato plants. It keeps those little wormy looking things off the plants and, more importantly, off the fruit. Dill also works. So between the marigolds and dill, I have a pretty critter free crop of tomatoes and green peppers. The Tabasco peppers are kind of on their own. If the creepies eat any of those, they deserve what they get -- indigestion.



He was a pretty heavy hitter until the scamola hit the front pages. The Democrats loved him. He could be counted on to come up with mountains of cash. $50,000 here -- $100,000 there. Pretty soon it got to be big money.

That's not the problem I have with Mr. Hsu. He represented politics as usual for the Democrats and who knows, maybe even some money found its way into Republican piggy banks.

It's the money, folks. That's why the Democrats head out to California. The Hollywood types splash cash. And lots of it. Don't know what they think they're buying. The elitist intelligentsia don't go to movies. Rather, they stand around at cocktail parties in the Hamptons, Marthas Vineyard and Up-High-Places-In-Manhattan and listen to their own voices singing accolades of "How great I am!"

They don't really care about the boorish Hollywood types. They just like their money. If the glitterers didn't donate a dime, the politicos wouldn't give them the time of day.

The Democrats are playing the Hollywoodies. Just like they're playing the mediarites. And everybody plays along because they all think they're getting something back.

No. What bothers me about Mr. Hsu is that he was a fugitive. Since 1992 he has been a wanted man.

The question I have is this: How does a man who donates heavily to political campaigns stay under the radar? When I say "donates heavily," I'm talking millions of dollars.

But then, maybe I just answered my own question.

Check this out:,1,5486953.story?track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true



It was Hillary Clinton's twisted, convoluted attempt at disguising vocabulary. She had listened to General David Petraeus' report to congress for hours. He had given his assessment, based on his experiences in the field -- his military successes in the Anbar Province where blood stains the desert sands west of Baghdad.

Then Hillary, sticking her tongue into the mouth of her noose, looked the general straight in the eye and told him that all he had told congress so earnestly and truthfully required a "suspension of disbelief."

What arrogance to insult a 4-star general who has removed himself from his battlefield to come to Washington, D.C. to give his report! Here's a man who has a masters degree and a PhD (1987) in international affairs from Princeton University (

What arrogance to call this man a liar -- a man who bravely and valiantly leads our fighting men to the conclusion of the military need to be in Iraq! A man who has service records in Haiti, Kuwait and Bosnia. He has five Oak Leaf Clusters and a Bronze Star.

What arrogance to insult this general and all the service personnel he represents -- men and women who put their lives on the line every day.

What arrogance -- that's Hillary and her ilk. Her best pal looks like the leader of, Eli Pariser. He's a graduate from Simon's Rock College and moved up the ladder to executive director of Move His claim to fame is being a web page designer and is politically connected to everything Democrat.



The vote was 381-47 in Russia's lower house of parliament. The new prime minister's name is Viktor Zubkov.

But wait. I read only just the other day that Mr. Putin had dissolved his parliament.

Guess now. He only kicked out the former prime minister. This new guy is promising to clean house and get rid of corruption.

Wait! Is he borrowing from Nancy Pelosi's playbook? Isn't that what she said when she got the gavel from Dennis Hastert as Speaker of the House over here?

read more:



There is a war going on in each one of us between our true selves and the masks we wear.

Becoming authentic is not just psychobabble. It's the search deep inside ourselves for what's real.

We're no longer defining ourselves with what we acquire -- power and riches.

Rather, we fine ourselves with who we are.

How do you define yourself?

By your job? How much you have in the bank? How many people love you? How many friends you have? How many kids you have? How many grandkids you have?

Defining yourself in the abstract is difficult. But when you do, you are strengthening your Authentic Self.

When you break habits that do not serve you well, you authenticate yourself.

When you behave well, even when no one is watching you, you authenticate yourself.

Simply put, your authenticate self is your character.

Your authentic self may well be at war with those masks you wear.

For instance, if you prize honesty and you are asked to "look the other way" at work if some numbers need a bit of fudging just so a report looks good, our authentic self gets a temporary suspension. That will need some un-doing to get back to authenticity.

We are all authenticas-in-training.

We will meet up with suspension opportunities as we go through life. Each and every time that you resist these suspensions will strengthen your authenticity.

Your authentic self means that you are who you say you are.

Every time you just sit still for a few minutes and listen to that voice deep inside you -- your inner voice -- you strengthen your authenticity. This voice is the manifestation of your soul breaking into your conscious layers.

Your soul is where God lives inside you. When you listen to your soul, you are listening to God. You are becoming more authentic. Take the time to get to know and strengthen your inner, most authentic self.

You can do that in little five minute excursions into your psyche. Just take a few moments wherever you are at and focus on a tiny little spot. Then take quiet, relaxing breaths and say to yourself, "Oh Spirit of the Living God, let me hear you."

Just be quiet and feel the mighty roar inside your head calm down. Many people have trouble becoming quiet. They say they "can't" get there; that they're too busy to take the time. I say "bologna." It's what you choose to do. It's your choice if you want to keep a noisy head where you have all these little thought critters running back and forth between your ears. Tell them all to sit down for a moment and just be quiet.

Becoming authentic is the best psychic work you can do, so get to it. At least two or three times a day. Hit the mute button when you're watching TV and stare at the screen during commercials. That will get you 20 minutes out of every hour of television, for instance. But you certainly have the time if your choose to do it.


Deuteronomy 20:1-20

The question for today is: When was the last time you felt truly afraid? Remember that during these times that God is with us and no one can stand against us.

Pastor Rensner skips over Chapter 19 in his Bible study assignment for Deuteronomy. This Chapter 19 talks about cities of refuge.

The children of Israel were to name three cities of refuge. They were to be spread out over the new promised land with new roads built to get to them.

It was to be a place where people could go if they had accidentally killed someone, like if they went into a forest to cut down trees and the head of the ax accidentally flew off and hit someone in the head, thus killing him.

We'd call that manslaughter in some states, or justifiable homicide. In other words, you have a dead person but not killed on purpose.

The killer could make it to one of these cities of refuge and he'd be safe. Vengence could not be meted out against him.

But then, there are the other kinds of killers. The killers who lie in wait and then think they can run off to one of these cities of refuge. Uh uh! When that happens they get extradited back to where the murder took place. He goes back to be executed.

This chapter closes with verse 21: Show no pity, life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Moving on the Chapter 20, Moses tells the children of Israel that when they get into this new land and when they see these huge big armies coming at them, they are not supposed to get scared because God is going to be with them.

Fainthearted is the word Moses uses in verse 3. Oh, and don't panic.

The rest of this chapter outlines the rules of engagement, so to speak. For instance, the children of Israel are instructed as to the proper way to conduct a siege against people who start a war against them.

Simply put, they are not supposed to leave behind anything that breathes.

Then, at the end of the chapter, there's talk of which trees that can be cut down and which ones can't. If it's a fruit-bearing tree, leave it standing. That could be good for food.

If it's not fruit-bearing, then it could be cut down because the Israelites could make siege works out of those trees.

So I don't really remember that last time I was truly afraid. I know God is in my corner. And I know he takes care of me and the people I love and pray for.

But I admit to being human. And every one in a great while, a tiny little interrupting thought invades my peace. Usually this happens in the quiet darkness of night and it wakes me from slumber. I pray myself back to sleep and whatever problem or fear I had during the night is answered with a billboard thought when I open my eyes the next morning.

Glorious God has given me a new day and with the dawn comes a new supply of good answers. Not my kind of answers that are flawed with my humanness, but good answers. His answers. They work better than mine.


8:49 am          Comments

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We made a very quick trip north to attend the funeral of Rev. Jonathan Strand. He died at the tender age of 27 after having been ordained a little more than a year ago. He was the fifth generation pastor in his family. Besides his parents, he is survived by a brother, Joshua, who plans to attend law school after graduating from Roosevelt University in May 2008.

Joshua lost his big brother. That's a difficult loss for Joshua, because Jonathan was also his buddy. Jonathan has also been part of Joshua's life. Jonathan was a toddler when Joshua was born. No doubt, they had some good romps around the living room when they were both young, playful kiddos.

There were probably a thousand plus who came to pay their respects and extend the embrace of consolation in the hours of profound grief for the whole Strand family.

It was fun to watch both the boys grow up from 5th graders -- or thereabouts -- to exquisite young men, each pursuing their educational/career goals with deep passion.

Words can't express the depth of sadness we feel only because losing someone we know leaves a gap that won't be filled. It will just be, well, a gap. And every time we look over at that gap, we'll say, "Oh, yes. That's where Pastor Jonathan lives in my memory."

And as Quint and I have gotten older, we seem to be accumulating more and more gaps to the point where our memory looks like slices of Swiss Cheese. It's a function of aging, Quint says.

I will give you a corn report though. As we zoomed up and down on I-57, we noticed that a great number of Illinois farmers have harvested their corn crop. Not sure why some did and others didn't. I mean, we're talking next door neighbors here.

Some of you fellows need to get out there and crank up the old combine or whatever that big monster machine is that you use to pick ears of corn off the plants. It's going to be a wet, soggy end of September, I predict.

Not that I'm a meteorologist, but all you have to do is look at the outer bands of hurricanes down there in the Gulf of Mexico and recall that the Mississippi River is one huge pipeline for gulf moisture. So put your big umbrellas on your tractor-mobiles if you wait too much longer.



She says "it's not enough," when talking about a troop draw down suggested by the military leaders and George Bush in the White House. (

I'm not big-brained enough to come to the same conclusion as Pelosi, but I would like to only say one thing to her, and it's not about Iraq, per se. It's about a principle. That principle is protecting people from genocide in their countries.

I would like for Pelosi to read Left To Tell, a story about six women who survived the genocide in Rwanda because a pastor helped them remain hidden in a bathroom that was so tiny that they couldn't all sit down at the same time, much less lie down to sleep. And they stayed in this tiniest of little spaces for months! The people of Rwanda had begged and pleaded for some international peace-keeping forces -- from anywhere -- to come over to Rwanda and help them. The UN peacekeepers had either left or been murdered, so they weren't any help at all.

So then go from Rwanda to Iraq where hundreds of thousands of Kurds were massacred. You may think, "They were just mountain people -- just Kurds -- nothing to see here, move along."

Then go back to Germany at the height of the death camp popularity. Can you, likewise, say, "They're just Jews." And clank went the oven doors and the chemical jets opened up. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Have we truly become a nation of people who believe that as long as we've "got ours" we don't need to concern ourselves with victims of peril at the hands of bloodthirsty tyrants?

I sure hope not.



Trustworthy people have integrity. They don't lie. They don't steal.

They have moral courage and will do the right thing even when other people are not looking or watching them.

So is trustworthiness a learned skill or an inborn trait? Or both?

I go with trustworthiness being a learned skill. I say that because trustworthiness rises up out of honest behavior -- and behaviors are learned.

Honesty must be reinforced.

Remember: you reinforce the behavior you want to continue. If you want honest behavior, then you most certainly have to reinforce it.

On the contrary, one way to reinforce dishonest behavior is to have your children lie for you. Although it may seem relatively innocent at the time, if you're very busy and you get a phone call, don't ask your child to lie and say you went to the store or you are in the shower or are taking a nap.

Trustworthiness is complicated, though. Trustworthiness is a three-legged stool that rests on honesty, sincerity, and respect.

In addition to walking along a path free of deception, a person also lives up to expectations of people who are important in their lives. When that happens, then we say that another person trusts us. We are no longer little mysteries that cause wonder if others can rely on us to behave in ways that they expect of us.

When we are trustworthy, people are willing to cut us a bit more slack because they expect that we are saying is honest.

Lack of trustworthiness can cause great harm to relationships.

Honesty, or truthfulness, also shares the stage with another leg of this three-legged stool. And that is sincerity.

Sincerity says we're genuine, authentic human beings. We don't live our lives under false pretenses. Sincerity advertises to the world around us that we are who we say we are. Sincere people say what they mean and mean what they say.

And the last leg on my three-legged stool is respect.

We'd have no problem at all with being a respectful person if we all lived by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

When you're faced with a dilemma, this is easy. Just ask yourself how you'd feel if the other person had the same opportunity to exercise the choice that you're facing. What would you want that person to do?

When we're respectful of others, we are tolerant. We accept them without judging them. True, we may not put them on our Christmas card list, but we can tolerate and accept them in our lives simply because their lives have crossed paths with ours.

And that quite frequently is God's doing. I believe that with all my heart. I believe that God puts people in my path and he watches to see how I respond to that person, or those persons.

That thought alone often keeps my stool from falling down.


Deuteronomy 18:1-22

The study question in today's reading is: How is it that Jesus Christ bore the office of Prophet?

This chapter reiterates that the Levites are to be the priests and as such, they are to have no inheritance with Israel. Their lot in life, if you will, is to live on the offerings made to the Lord (verse 1).

Moses then proceeds, in this chapter, to divide up the bulls and sheep, and grains and wine and oil, and wool. Looks like the Levites were not going to want for anything.

Then Moses goes on to warn the children of Israel about sacrificing their kiddos. This would be a big no-no. And they specifically were not to practice witchcraft or cast spells or consult the dead for anything (verse 11).

And why would that be? Well, in verse 14, Moses says that God was going to select a prophet for the Israelites. This prophet would be one of their brothers.

This is the person God wants the children of Israel to listen to. In verse 18 God says that he will put his words in the prophet's mouth. This is the person that God wants the Israelites to listen to.

And how would they know if the person prophesying to them was really speaking from God?

That's the easy part, God said. Because what the prophet says will come true. In verse 22: If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.

And so, because everything that Jesus said was going to happen, did happen. He died and rose again. That's the biggest prophesy of all.

And when he was ascending into heaven, he promised to come back for us.

Because all his promises had come true, we can believe with full assurance that the promises yet to come will happen.

Jesus is the epitome of trustworthiness. His word is truth.

11:29 am          Comments

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I guess because I wrote about moratorium the other day, I decided to give myself one. Maybe I just got tired of putting stuff away. Who knows -- but whatever the reason, I'm taking a break from finding places to put things.

Actually, now that I've found my two favorite copper-bottom saucepans, the desperation to go looking for things has greatly diminished.

I thought I'd be inspired by my friend, Joyce, who retired and moved to Wisconsin a few years ago. I asked her how long it actually took her to find everything. I thought, because she was always super organized when we were in Rotary together, that she'd say something like six months.

Nope. She said five years. She was a lot more organized than I was, so I guess that might mean ten years for me. That means, in earth years, that I'll be 74 years old by the time I actually find everything. But, she laughed, it's like Christmas all over again when I find things.

No wonder moving is so stressful. The problem I have is I don't know what's missing. Isn't that awful? That clearly means I have too much stuff.

I think what I'll really do is find one of those charity resale shops. I don't mind getting rid of little treasures as long as I know they'll be in a good home. There is a resale shop over in Vandalia for a battered women's shelter. That might be my next big effort.



Hurricanes are not the problem this morning. Earthquakes are.

Two powerful earthquakes rattled Indonesia again.

The big one was 7.9. It was about 385 miles WNW of Jakarta, while another one in the Sunda Strait registered 5.1. It was 90 miles WNW of Jakarta.

I believe I read that tsunami warnings were issued for the Indian Ocean. Not a whole lot of risk for us in the United States. But there was an earthquake in Colombia in this hemisphere.

And if that isn't close enough for you, how about Arkansas and southern Missouri -- like south of St. Louis. Now that's getting too close.

If you want to look at the world map where all the wiggling and shaking is going on, take a look at this link:



It's an earthquake of sorts. And a massive one at that, if it's true.

Putin's term of office is up in the spring of 2008 so this move could be viewed as replacing the prime minister with someone that Putin would prefer to succeed him.

That man would be Sergei Ivanov. Supposedly he will be replacing Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov is out. But wait, there's someone else waiting in the wings. His name is Dmitry Medvedev.

He wants to be prime minister too.

At least there's only two. Not like here in the United States where we have the 7 Dwarfs running on each of two tickets. Then there's this giant from Tennessee, Fred Thompson, who towers over everybody at 6'5". I can just hear the jokes starting about Thompson's cabinet being likened to a basketball team.

Read more at:,2933,296505,00.html

If you aren't all that interested in world politics, you ought to be a little bit curious because Russia is now claiming to have field tested the world's biggest non-nuclear bomb.

It's even bigger than our MOAB, which has been affectionately called the Mother Of All Bombs.  (,2933,296441,00.html)

Russia says it has the Daddy. And Russia is making supportive sounds for Iran's side of the conflict in the Middle East. Something like the United States is being mean to Iran.

This sounds very real, folks. Get interested.



It's an old wound that you brought forward from a long time ago.

It's a learned program that set your way of thinking and it's perpetuated by years of finger pointing.

Powerlessness is kept alive by the ego's little trick of bricklaying -- you know, building walls around personal pain and suffering.

It goes like this: I feel powerless because I learned early on, when I was a tiny little person, that I was not lovable.

Well, kiddos can't survive that kind of thought. That's mainly because children -- all children the world over -- are lovable. That's what makes them worthy and deserving of getting good things. Like new toys and love. Mostly love. Kids can survive rather nicely without a bunch of toys, but they have difficulties surviving without feeling loved. It makes them feel unworthy.

As we grow and mature, that feeling of unworthiness gets an existential wrap put around it. Now we have a problem just feeling worthy of "being."

When it gets to that point, we're going to be even more challenged with overcoming feelings of powerlessness. That's because by this time, we've become adults.

We're no longer the kids on the playground who feel unloved -- unlovable -- unworthy -- powerless.

We have become full-blown powerless adults.

And our ego, in its very sincere and earnest attempt at keeping us safe, has built a huge wall around us so that we will feel safe inside.

We may not feel emotionally safe anywhere else on the planet, but there is one place where we will, thanks to our very overprotective egos. That's within our self.

And if anyone wants to get through that wall, they have to be like-minded thinkers. We don't want any spies getting inside who's going to make us start thinking about maybes and other possibilities like emotional growth and changes.

But the ego only sees our pain. The ego doesn't know how much we yearn for those deeply satisfying intimacies that everyone else seems to be enjoying in their relationships. The ego's only concern is protection of my self. It doesn't give a rip about human emotional growth. That's just too intellectual for the ego.

Nope. In order for us to grow and keep on growing, we are absolutely required to challenge our library of negative self-messaging. Oh, and by the time we get to be adults, we have lots of little snippits. You know what I mean. They're those fast little phrases like, "I'll never amount to anything," or "I can't do this," or "I always let everybody down."

You can recognize the failure-building snippits as part of the negative self-messaging because they are superlative type messages. You know -- the words always and never run through the negativity like a river. Those are the messages that need to be challenged. They don't serve your purposes anymore because you've outgrown this need to hide behind the wall that your ego has helped you build.

And how do you know this? How did you get to this point where you even recognized that what may have served you once is not working anymore?

Somewhere along the line you got to be emotionally taller -- and on those occasions when you get the emotional courage to stand up all by yourself, you realize that the wall is not as tall as you are. But because you have this existential negativity going on, you actually believe you can't cross over the wall.

If you ever did, well, you know what would happen. There are people over there who will recognize your wound and make you come back because you are defective.

Congratulations! You have reached the very important -- all important first step of overcoming powerlessness. You have identified yourself as being powerlessness.

Now you're on your way.

Is it going to be easy? No.

Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

What's the next step?

Step 2 is undoing the faulty programming. That's a cognitive thing. That's making a list of all your faulty self-messages. No, you don't have to write them down, but it makes it easier if you do.

Then take every negative message and replace each one with a positive message. If you can't come up with something, then just use a standard one like, "I can do this. I can definitely do this." Or "I am good to go." Or "I am a good person."

You get the idea.

Re-programming your internal messages are not any harder than changing the channel on your TV set. You just slip the switch. For instance, if I sit down to watch my favorite do-it-yourself design program and get wrestling instead, how long do you think I'm going to watch wrestling?

Clue: about a microsecond. Don't think for one minute that I'm going to torture myself with watching wrestling when I have the clicker in my own hand. That clicker gives me the power to make a choice. That is, if I want to.

You're getting closer and closer to the last step. That step is recognizing that you are not defective. And you are not limited in your associations with others only because they are people you trust because they have a similar wound as you do.

Now you're at the point where you can access your own feelings of personal empowerment.

You can overcome that feeling of being wounded. You don't have to perpetuate feelings of woundedness that leads to powerlessness because you're going to re-program your internal messages. Then you can get access to your real self.

Getting access to your real self comes in getting to know yourself. You're going to have to spend some real quality time with your self in order to do this. This will require some rummaging around in your spiritual attic. That's where you've really hidden the good stuff.

Prayer works. That's when you talk to God.

Meditation works. That's when you listen to God.

You are going to need to recapture this sense of your spirituality if you want to access your feelings of personal empowerment.

Karl Jung, the psychological guru of world renown, said that no one ever truly healed until they realized cosmic fidelity. By cosmic fidelity he meant recognizing that there is an intelligent force out there in the cosmos that's bigger and smarter than you are.

I say, get access to that and let it bloom within you. It's your spiritual nature -- your spiritual self.


Deuteronomy 17:1-20

Our study questions for this text is: How do you know God and how do you obey Him?

Actually, Chapter 16 is a description of the Feast Days that the Israelites are to observe. A good review.

In this chapter, there are warning and warnings and more warnings for the children of Israel to purge the evil that was among them.

In fact, if they have any questions about legal wrongdoings, they are supposed to head for the Levites and judges who have been appointed to hear such matters.

Important: they are supposed to do what the Levites and judges tell them to do.

In verse 11, they are told: Act according to the law they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left.

The children of Israel are being prepared psyched up to into this land that God has been promising them. They're thinking that maybe they'd like to have a king to rule over them. After all, the lands that they are taking over were ruled by kings. Now they want kings.

Ah, but be careful, Moses warns. You'd better be sure that you have a king that God approves of. It had better not be a foreigner though. God specifically says in verse 15: ...He must be from among your own brothers.

There are other instructions as well. For instance, in verse 19, we learn that this king is to read the laws every day so that he will learn to revere God.

And in verse 20, the king is warned not to consider himself better than his brothers and he is not to turn from the law.

So if this king does all this, then the promise of God is that he will reign a long time over his kingdom of Israel.

And how do you know God? And how do you obey God?

Just by reading these Bible passages will help you to know God. Reading the Word of God is as important for you to do every day as it is for you to eat breakfast.

Simple, if you read the Word of God, then you'll know what God wants you to do.

7:37 am          Comments

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


And good morning to you, readers who are logged on right now from the Russian Federation. Would love to hear how you found this web site and what you like about it.

Well, today marks the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. 9/11 is one of those watershed days in our lives. It divided our lives into a before and an after.

It also brought defining moments from a rag tag group of little monsters who thought they could take down the United States government. We have the mightiest weapons in all the world. We have the best trained fighting military. We have humvees. We have smart bombs that can be dropped from miles away, or shot off big boats, and hit a target within an inch or so. Maybe dead-on for all I know.

Then came these monsters who, at best, had box cutters they probably bought for a couple of bucks each. There were five or six guys on each plane -- so, for less than a hundred dollars, the terrorists stole our planes that had just been loaded up with fuel and exploded three of them into highly symbolic buildings.

They did it with box cutters. But that wasn't their only weapon on 9/11. Fear was the biggest weapon of all.

The fourth plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania when the passengers on board took matters of counter-terrorism into their own hands. We may never know the destination of that fourth plane, but we do know for sure where it ended up.

FDR said it, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself." For the passengers on the plane in Pennsylvania who learned of the fate of the three other planes, and looking down the barrel of their own deaths at the hands of hijackers, fear was replaced by a collective act of bravery.

Terrorism can only succeed if fear can be aroused. Terrorism succeeds when monsters are willing to die and take a whole bunch of innocent people with them.

In Pennsylvania, terrorism was halted because the monsters who held the box cutters weren't the only people who were willing to sacrifice their lives.

We may never know if there were other hijackers out there that day. But supposedly the cleanup crews on the grounded airplanes found other box cutters that had been stashed prior to flights.

And the United States of America lives on. We live on because we are a God-fearing nation. As long as we have God with us, we will continue to live as a nation.



Whatever we worship -- whatever we put before God becomes our idol.

For Kathy Griffin, she could have just been thankful for her Emmy for her role in "My Life on the D-List." Now she's censored for her in-your-face put-down of the role of Jesus Christ in her life.

Or should I say, lack of Christ in her life.

She picked up her Emmy and said, "This is my god now."

Hey, Kathy, want to see your life on the F-list -- "f" for flunky, for failure, for flopping in the ratings.

Now your comments are going to be edited down to something that won't be so offensive to all of us Christians who will not be watching your show anymore.

Maybe then, you'll be "o" for off the air.

read more:,2933,296382,00.html



Mourning is time limited. Grieving is not.

Bereavement, by definition, is that time period following a tragic event in our lives. That first anniversary of an event marks an end of mourning. We've gone through all the "firsts" and passed them as milestones in our health-building recovery.

But we still feel horrible and we wonder why. We dont' feel like we've put ourselves back together at all.

That's because we still grieve. Grief and mourning are two different things.

Mourning is a behavior. Grief is an abstract -- a feeling that houses many feelings that we don't necessarily act on.

Eventually, we stop mourning. We begin to move on. Widows and widowers often remarry to fill a huge cavernous empty spot in their lonely lives. How many times I've heard an explanation like, "I just want a friend again." Or "I'm so tired of being alone." Mourning stops. We hear the sound of our own laughter once again. We like that sound. We like the way laughter feels as it ripples through us.

And then there are those moments of quiet grief when the shadows pull us back into the darkness of our pain. We remember the suffering. We try to talk ourselves out of the anguish that we feel. We become pretenders and put on a mask when we're around other people.

We grieve.

For all the days of our lives, we grieve the loss of so many loved ones. Brothers. Parents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. A grandchild. They'll be listed in our obituaries as "predeceased loved ones."

We grieve all sorts of things. Anything that caused us to suffer a loss brings us grief. We grieve the death of a marriage. The end of childhood. The end of carefree days of high school or college. The loss of a body part -- yes, even that. The loss of the way things were.

Grief. It forces us to adopt a new perspective. Otherwise, we end up in a situation where we are unable to make the adjustments necessary for our own mental wellbeing.

Grief. It's part of the human condition. That's because we live on this side of heaven's shore -- not over there.

Over here, we have to meet our challenges wrapped in a shroud of faith. We have to believe that we are not alone in our suffering. We are invited to unburden our weary hearts with someone who promises to get into the yoke of all that weariness with us.

People of faith are less haunted by their grief.


Deuteronomy 15:1-23

Our study questions today are: When was the last time you halfheartedly served God? Do you see your service to Christ as a burden or a blessing? Have you said to your Master, "Pierce my ear?"

This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It is rich with God's promises -- not just to the children of Israel but to all of us.

For instance, in verses 4b-6: ...he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

God also reminds the Israelites that they had once been slaves in Egypt. And they were approaching the seventh year which is the year for cancelling debts. For Israel, it meant that if slaves had been in bondage to them, they were to cancel that slaves debts.

But even more than that, when it came time to release the slave, the Israelite was supposed to load him up with enough money to tide him over so he could make a fresh start, give him some animals and chickens and some seeds, then send him on his way rejoicing. That went for female slaves too. The end of bondage came with the seventh anniversary.

But then, the slave could say, "Wait a minute here. I don't really want to go out there. I've got what I need here and you've been more than generous to me and my family. I don't want to be freed. I want to stay here and continue to live as I always have, as your servant."

Well, guess what happened then?

The slave owner would take the slave and with a pointy thing -- like an awl -- pierce the slave's ear up against his door. The slave's pierced ear meant that he had once been a slave but, once freed, had chosen to stay with his master as a servant.

The chapter ends with a restatement about the animals that are to be sacrificed and which ones the children of Israel can eat and which ones they can't -- such as the firstborn creatures. Those belong to God and they are to be sacrificed at a place that God appoints.

And animals that are flawed -- for whatever reason -- are not to be sacrificed. The children of Israel could eat the flawed animals, but they couldn't offer them as sacrifices.

Above all, though, they were not to drink the blood of the animals. That blood was to be poured out on the ground.

So back to the question about my halfheartedness to serving God. That would be doing anything with a minimum of enthusiasm. For sure, I see opportunities to serve God as blessings, not burdens. I just need to do more. I never do enough, do you?

Every day of my life I open with the prayer that God will send his Holy Spirit with a little mini-vac to dust out the cobwebs of my heart and replace them with a strong servanthood. In my humanness, I never measure up to what I think I ought to be doing.

And yes, I have asked God to pierce my ear. My life and everything I do belong to God.

9:29 am          Comments

Monday, September 10, 2007


It was sad news that came to me on Sunday. Our young friend, Rev. Jonathan Strand, lost his battle with cancer and went home to his Heavenly Father at about 7:30 on Saturday morning. His had been a long regimen with chemotherapy and radiation.

We lift our hearts in prayer to his family, Rev. Paul and Mrs. Connie Strand, and his brother, Joshua Strand. And prayers also for grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Not to mention many, many friends who will miss his earthly presence.

Surely a new light shines in heaven. If these days of mourning that lie ahead seem filled with dark and gloom, then Pastor Jonathan will shine a light forward for us to see in this trek of loneliness without him. His brief life will make small things big again.

I believe that God looks down on the rest of us here on Earth and wonders why we are so saddened when he calls one of his faithful home to be with him. Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't want to say to us, "Look, Jon is very happy. He's here with me. Doesn't have a care in the world. Besides, I have important work for him here. If you only knew the enormous joy he feels since he's come home, your tears of sadness would quickly turn to tears of joy. He did not die. His soul will live forever -- here, with me."

Well, Jonathan, for those of us here on Earth whom you left behind, I say, "Congratulations! You fought the good fight and now victory is yours. Your best ministry is yet to be on the other side of heaven's shores."

We will all be saddened, for sure. For our loss. Your earthly death left a little hole in our hearts that will be empty because you are gone.



This might be an interesting read for you, although I realize that Pope Benedict is in Austria and not Lithuania.

However, his garment has been compared to wheat beneath a sky of blue. It's yellow and blue and the curious purists in this country are wondering about how these combined colors in one vestment tie in with the colors that go through the church year.



But then, that's the point of the whole story.

Where in the world is Madeleine McCann?

The Portuguese would certainly like to know. And they'd especially like to get more information from her parents. But even though both parents were named "persons of interest," then "suspects," they were allowed to leave Portugal and go on back home to England.

With their other surviving children.

Now comes the headline that they plan to use the one million pound "find Madeleine fund" to pay for their mounting defense legal fees.

Read more:

And now I hear, on a quick trip by the TV, that the police in Portugal are saying that they have enough evidence to charge Kate McCann with manslaughter.

It gets curiouser and curiouser as the plot thickens. Read this account for a hint of Madeleine's disappearance:,,2165469,00.html



Erik Erikson, that world renowned guru of psychological development, said that in the course of human development, individuals take a break to catch up with their identity development.

Identity occurs in those years between childhood and adulthood.

Some call the stressors at this time "adolescent angst."

Sometimes the pressures to perform, to develop, to become a unique person become so enormously stressful that the individual kind of coasts for a while. During this time, they enjoy being on a plateau where they can walk along on level emotional ground.

It's here, at this time, that they recuperate enough psychological energy to get ready for the next burst of development to an even higher plateau. 

We all keep reaching for higher psychological ground in our developmental march through life. We reach plateaus when we're pretty satisfied with the new vistas we enjoy. We rest up, thinking that we've "arrived."

That satisfaction doesn't last too long, though. We give ourselves a moratorium for one purpose, and one purpose only -- to build strength for the next push upward.

In the case of identity development, we take pieces of admirations for our heroes. We're going to sew all the psychological descriptions of what we admire into a kind of metaphorical quilt. It takes a while because it's a time of tossing out what we thought we'd like, but might have discarded if the piece wouldn't "fit" into who we want to become.

Eventually, though, we end up with a beautiful, seamless quilt. We call it our identity. It's what makes us unique.

We become aware of the permanence we feel in the world.

We develop our own sense of personhood.

We become an individual. We can have separate views from others. We drive the adults in our lives to distraction because we think we have finally learned everything we need to know.

And so, for now, we give ourselves a moratorium since we've reached this place of "pretty good." Or mildly awesome. No, make that "grandly awesome."

We're going to stay in this moratorium -- neither going forward nor going backward. We kind of like it just fine that way we are. For now.

But the moratorium won't last long. We have yet to develop some more. Mainly because we look around us and figure out that maybe -- just maybe -- we don't quite know everything yet. Adults seems to be annoyed at our grandiosities. Something inside our psyches nag at us because the puzzle pieces don't quite fit together all that perfectly.

In a couple of years we'll be ready to take another step toward climbing up to a new plateau. We'll become less challenging in our pontifications. We'll develop more conciliatory behaviors. We'll reach for new heights.

We'll respond differently to our parents who have expectations of us to behave more responsibly.

We'll throw off the mantle of our moratorium and start moving forward again.

Even in counseling, clients work through tremendous challenges in their quest to reach higher ground. And even though they've passed the developmental milestones and come to counseling as wounded adults, they also reach plateaus when a moratorium is a well-deserved respite where they can take a break, give themselves a time out and recupe their strength for the next spurt.

We have to keep telling ourselves that we will continue to grow as we go through life. We never really finish completely developing.

Even as we retire, Quint and I enjoy the changes we make in our lives and the ways we respond to the world around us. And yet, we continue to grow. We aren't perfect yet -- never will be.

The best we can hope for is that we will be the best that we can be. And that view of the self changes as we climb onto a new plateau and enjoy a new horizon with wider vistas.

We can only imagine the wonder as we reach the next plateau, and the one after that, and so on. And since our goal is to live until we're well into our centenarian years, we're set for some pretty exciting vistas.

So far it's working for us. How's it working for you? You didn't think you'd ever get finished, did you?


Deuteronomy 13:1-18

The homework assignment from Pastor Rensner asks these two questions: 1) Have you ever been confronted with a false prophet in your life, and 2) Where is that you go to know the truth?

Moses warns the children of Israel to be careful if they ever run into people who claim to tell the future through dreams and then demand some kind of allegiance.

You know the type -- some people read their horoscopes every day. Wouldn't go out their door before reading the horoscope. Or people who claim they can tell you what's going to happen tomorrow.

Moses warns in verse 3b: The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Oh, for sure, there were prophets who were gifted. They specifically were able to bring God's message to kings and false prophets. Their gift of prophesy came straight from God.

But false prophets were supposed to be executed because they were preaching rebellion against God. The children of Israel were warned not to follow such false prophets.

And we're not supposed to either.

This Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy is not just a piece of ancient history that we're supposed to read and endure. Quite the contrary, God's message that he sent to the children of Israel through Moses is as valid for us in the year 2007 as it was for them back then.

It's the same God. It's the same message. It's the same warning. We'd better behave.

God warns the children of Israel to purge the evil from their communities. Even from their families.

So have I ever been confronted by a false prophet? I can't say that I have. But I will say that as a professor on a very diverse college campus that I had students whom I knew worshipped differently than I did, and when subjects of religion came up -- and they did manage to spark through no invitation from me -- I made it very clear that I am a Christian.

The thought, or fear, never entered my mind that making it known that I was Christian would get me fired. I must have given the appearance of not moving from my steadfastness. No student or colleague ever challenged my beliefs.

So where do I go to know the truth? That's easy: the Bible.

From the Gospel of John: 8:31b-32: If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

This Bible verse is the cornerstone of my alma mater, Concordia University.


9:00 am          Comments

Friday, September 7, 2007


It's Friday! We finally got rain -- nearly a quarter of an inch overnight. Hardly enough to end any drought. But then, we're not in a drought. We're just precipitation challenged for now.

The crops will be harvested so we won't have to eat weeds during the winter.

As long as I can get to Kroger or IGA, I'll be okay. Don't buy food at Wal-Mart anymore. The produce never lasts more than two days in the refrigerator no matter how gorgeous it looks in the store.

And the eggs are stuck to the container. It's bad enough that I have to check to make sure there are no cracked eggs. But now I have to make sure that the eggs aren't stuck to the carton itself. That means twirling each egg.

I shouldn't complain, though. We're a long long way from going hungry.

We have an electrician coming over this morning. We're going to finally have receptacles everywhere to plug things in. It's amazing that we need so many outlets.

Quint is getting moved in to his workshop area. It's starting to look like a real shop instead of a tool bin where things just got tossed. He actually was able to put his new radial arm saw onto one of the tables. But I guess he calls that a workbench.

I expect to see him "become" his father who was a world champion putzer. His dad could sit and ponder the inner workings of a carburetor for hours. And hours. And now Quint, his only surviving son, has taken on his mantle. Maybe as a labor of love. Maybe because Quint now has time to become a ponderer.

Either way, he wears it well.



Dishonest people look different when they smile. That's just PSYCH 101 stuff. My psych students were fascinated by just how different. For instance, those little lines that appear at the corner of the eyes? Some call them "crows feet." They're a good indication that it's a sincere, honest smile. Just having a "lip smile" without the eyes smiling is supposed to be a sure sign of an insincere person.

Now comes a writer who spends a lot of time examining politicians and he thinks he can pick out the fakes.

His article appeared in this website: Here's a fascinating article:

Basically, he says the politicians are trying to convince the voting public about two things: their expertise and trustworthiness.



A judge in California had already forfeited his $2 million bond. He was on a charter flight out of Oakland, California. Then he took a train but got sick on board. So the Grand Junction sick people team got him off the train and took him to a hospital.

Then someone asks, "Hey, isn't that the guy they're looking for?"

Sure enough, it was the boy named Hsu.

The train eventually would have made it all the way to Chicago. From there, who knows? By car to St. Louis for an international flight to Hong Kong? Not that he couldn't get an international flight out of Chicago's O'Hare Field. But that would be just too obvious.

I hope he's heavily guarded and on a suicide watch. He needs to talk. He especially needs to talk about heavy money he's handed over to Democratic candidates.

Especially people he could have relied on for a presidential pardon if they made it all the way to the White House.

Read more:



Used to be that diagnosing bi-polar in children was practically unheard of.

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) published by the American Psychiatric Association has a list of criteria in its fourth edition but it's for adults. What about the kiddos?

A recent study conducted by Demitri Papolos, MD, and Janice Papolos has outlined a list of symptoms that are common to the childhood version of bi-polar.

These researchers have also outlined behaviors that are exhibited by bi-polar children.

These red flags are included in this web site:

I am looking forward to attending an all-day workshop later this month for counseling therapists that will address this very topic.

I applaud parents who persist in seeking treatment for their children who suffer deeply from bi-polar disorder. Yet, for some, the first line of defense is to get a diagnosis of some form of attention deficit disorder, especially the hyperactive variety.

Maybe this is because one of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD is the child's inability to "stay on task." Yet the bi-polar child will show symptoms of learning difficulties also and excessive daydreaming.

Sometimes the child will get keyholed into an OCD diagnosis, that is -- obsessive/compulsive disorder. Yet these two behaviors are also on the hot list of red flags for bi-polar children.

And then other children who claim they hear or see things that aren't there, or have other delusions that do not stand up to the rational light of day, will get put underneath the schizo umbrella -- either as schizoaffective, schizotypal, or schizophrenia.

All the while, these children are suffering deeply. They are dragged from one doctor to another. Specialists have attended their lives so frequently that they are at risk for developing what we call the "white coat syndrome." They are very uncomfortable when they have to see yet another doctor.

And yet, the one doctor who can help them the most is never consulted. That is, a pediatric psychiatrist or a neuropsychiatrist.

And why would that be?

Do you suppose it could possibly be that about 80% of the children who are bi-polar are born into families where mood disorders, and/or alcoholism on both sides, are present?
Now we're getting too close to the parents and the grandparents and aunts and uncles. It was different when it was just the kid who had the problem.

But I leave you with this thought: not diagnosing bi-polar in children doesn't mean they don't suffer from it. And this sobering thought: untreated bi-polar increases the risk of suicidal thinking.

So why in the world would any loving parent not want to reduce those risks?


Deuteronomy 12:1-32

Pastor Rensner says that three times in this chapter Moses commands the people to rejoice. This day and everyday, no matter what the circumstances we face we are to rejoice in the Lord. What ways can you rejoice in the Lord today?

Oh my goodness. We are closing another week in our walk through the book of Deuteronomy and we aren't halfway through it yet. But not to worry, by the time we get through the 34th chapter, Joshua will be leading the children of Israel after Moses' death.

And the next book of the Bible? It's called Joshua.

In this chapter, God is telling the children of Israel -- again -- to destroy all the idol places and altars and everywhere that those other guys were worshiping their idols.

Smash it, burn it, cut 'em up -- do whatever they needed to do -- but get rid of all the reminders of idolatry.

And then, after all that, they are to built an altar to God. But here's the kicker. They can't just build a temple or a synagogue any old place they want to.

Oh no. They will get very clear instructions about where God wants this place of worship to be. And that will be that.

God makes a distinction about the animals that the children of Israel kill for their own food when they are hungry for meat. They can eat the meat. That's okay.

But they cannot drink the blood. They are to pour the blood out on the ground.

They are told that the blood is life. They can't drink that.

Doesn't that sound a bit like one of the trees in the Garden of Eden that was forbidden to Adam and Eve? Namely, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:17)

Now God is saying in this chapter of Deuteronomy, verse 24: You must not eat the blood: pour it out on the ground like water.

That's a pretty clear order, don't you think?

But -- and this is an important distinction -- when you bring your animals to the altar to worship me, then bring both the animal and the blood. (Verse 27)

In verse 31 God instructs further: You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

And now, to think of the instructions of God, through Moses that the children of Israel are to rejoice: in verse 7: and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to; in verse 12: And there rejoice before the Lord your God, you, your sons and daughters, your manservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own; and in verse 18: ...and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to.

So we are to rejoice in everything we put our hand to. Guess that says a lot about sloppy workmanship or just "getting by" with doing the minimum. When we rejoice, we do the best we can do.

We're supposed to critique our work because it identifies itself just as surely as if we'd signed it or put our fingerprint on it.

If it's the best we can do, then it will be pleasing to God. God wants us to understand that just as surely as he commanded the children of Israel to rejoice in the work that they did.

6:51 am          Comments

Thursday, September 6, 2007


A special welcome goes out to our new readers this morning in Lithuania. If I knew how to do this broadband thing better, I'd send you some coffee cakes for your morning coffee. But I guess it isn't morning where you're at. It would be more like a snack for afternoon tea. Welcome anyway.

We're still bone dry here in mid-central Illinois. We didn't even get the 30% chance of a sprinkle. Maybe later. We're supposed to get rain from now until Sunday evening. Oh well, that's why we have hoses to bring water out of pipes.

I swear we have lots more than one cricket now singing to us in the basement. The one we heard a week or so ago must have been pregnant. It sounds like a chorus. If a cricket in your house means good luck, does luck multiply when they do?

Just wondering.

Quint will be moving into the set of shelves we put up yesterday in his workshop. They'll help him get organized and get some of the stuff off one of the worktables. He has two worktables, neither of which he can use for his radial arm saw. It's on a makeshift "table" that he devised with boards across two sawhorses.

We went to the Dollar Store and bought cobalt blue plastic baskets that he can use to corral stuff. Like surge protectors. And hopefully, after the electrician finishes up tomorrow, there'll be lots more surge protectors that will not be needed as electrical extensions.

The electrician is also going to take out the two-thing outlets and give me quads -- on three different walls. And they'll all be on different circuits so they won't trip circuit breakers when I launch my cooking lab into low orbit. The man is a genius to be able to read my mind like that.

He just stood in the kitchen yesterday afternoon and asked, "Is this all the juice you've got coming up here?" (Up meaning the kitchen up from the basement where the circuit breaker box is.)



And now he moves to a bigger place across the great divide between heaven and earth. Pavarotti will sing on heaven's other shores. Surely he will join the heavenly hosts with new, more melodic hosannas!

Pavarotti was 71 years old when he died early this morning in the town of his birth, Modena, Italy. He had pancreatic cancer.

For a quick read of his singing career, go to:



Yes, he announced his intention last night on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.

And what's wrong with that?

Some say he's too late because the field is already crowded. Are you kidding me? Since when do we need a two year campaign to run for president? Some of these candidatepeeps have been out there raising money for presidential campaigns for months and months and months.

I agree with Fred Thompson -- we don't need that long of a campaign. They're all starting to be b-o-r-i-n-g. Now they're starting to say the same thing using different words. Their campaign speeches -- all of them, whether Democrat or Republicans -- will be straight out of thesaurasville. Like we're not supposed to be able to tell the difference! After all, what do voters know?

Now comes Fred Thompson. Everybody will be listening to him because it will be new and fresh. Oh, there I go again, using synonyms.

Go Fred! I'm all ears.

Read more:,2933,295900,00.html



Each and every one of us is looking for validation and affirmation.

We need to believe that we are a valuable part of someone's life.

In our human experience that gets sandwiched in between birth and death, we need to believe that what we are doing is worthwhile. It doesn't necessarily have to be something gigantic like finding a cure for polio or cancer or Alzheimer's.

Doing something worthwhile could be walking your kiddos to school, helping them with homework, taking them to Sunday School and worshiping with them on Sunday mornings, or countless other ways that we help children bring those golden memory nuggets into their adult years.

Doing something worthwhile could be making warm, squooshy Brownies served up with ice cold milk.

Doing something worthwhile could be doing that little extra something at work that makes a project shine.

Whatever it is that you do, it has your fingerprint on it. You authored it. It's yours. Cherish what you do well and claim it. It's your way of seeking social approval in socially redemptive ways.

Seeking social approval does not mean, though, that you are looking for applause. Rather, it means that you do things that get you social approval from others.

When this need for validation gets satisfied, then a person finds the place where they fit in. They become part of a social group. And when it comes to the dynamics of a group, each individual plays an identifiable part, or role. Those roles are valued because they guarantees the success of the group.

Children learn, at a very early age, that there is a role which they are expected to play. That role changes, at least according to some of the psychological gurus, in accordance with the birth order. In other words, the first born child has a different role to play than the second born child, and so on.

Be very careful that you don't minimize the importance of getting social approval.If you don't learn how to do this effectively when you are a little tyke, you will come into your adulthood with holes in your soul.

Your psyche will look like swiss cheese until you are able to figure out how to get the social approval that you, and every other person on the planet, requires in order to become a good psychologically adaptive individual.

In a sense, we are all becoming who we are.

So don't ever say to yourself, "Oh no, I don't need applause for what I do." If that's what you're thinking, then you've changed the context of what I'm talking about because social approval is not about getting applause.

It's about being recognized as a valued part of someone else's life. In some cases, for really psychologically hungry individuals, we have to start way back to the point where a person doesn't feel like they are a valued part of their own lives.

We don't ever want to feel like that -- useless, worthless, psychologically hungry while others around us are feasting, disempowered.

It's so much better to believe you have value in the lives of other people.


Deuteronomy 10:1-22

Chapter 9 is not in this study guide, but I went back and re-read it anyway. It's basically a restatement of God's messages from before and that is for the children of Israel not to get too uppity about getting all this land for free.

God wants them to know, in no uncertain terms, that it is God who is going to drive these leaders off their lands and then hand the lands to the Israelis. It is because the leaders of those lands were wicked. There's a warning here too.

That is, the children of Israel had just better watch out for their own righteousness or else the same thing could happen to them. Then God, through Moses, reminds the children of Israel of the times when they had been rebellious and doing all sorts of things to tick God off.

Even building a golden calf, for heaven's sake. I mean, if you really want to make God angry, just go out in your backyard and build an idol.

Who says dirt can't burn!?

But in Chapter 10, we are to reflect on our obedience as we read this chapter -- both our outward show of obedience and our inner obedience as well.

It's kind of like the need for social approval I was talking about above. We need to do things that get us social approval from others. But more importantly, we need to feel like we are valuable, even to ourselves.

Well, we need to do things that people will see us do and recognize that we must be God-fearing people.

And when we put our heads on our pillows at night, the last person you need to be talking to is God himself. It's just you and him in those last few mini-seconds before you drift off to sleep and rely totally on God to keep you safe through the night until you wake up the next morning. This inward obedience that you feel is just between you and God.

The world can't see you. The world can't hear you. It's just you and God. And only God knows what's truly in your heart and mind. Are you coming up short because you just can't quite get there, no matter how much you want to?

God can help you with that. Ask God for some help from the Holy Spirit. Then, bingo, peace flows through you in wonderful waves of quiet rest. It's God soothing your troubled waters.

This is, after all, the very God who owns everything in even the highest heavens, it says in verse 14. And the earth and everything in it.

And he loves you. And me. Talk to him when you're driving. When you're playing. When you feel bad. When you feel good.

He thinks you're pretty awesome. After all, he did create you. Even when you were in your mother's womb, he put his fingerprint on you. Now he's watching you to see what you're up to. Every day of your life.

8:36 am          Comments

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Good morning, Lu Lu -- and also a very big welcome to new readers from Thailand, and we welcome back our "regular" readers in Germany. That's not to mention, of course, the many of you in the good old USA!

I had a student in a psychology class at Moraine Valley College who was from Thailand. Very studious young lady. She was always prepared for class discussions and had her writing assignments ready to turn in on time. That was generally true of the foreign exchange students.

An electrician is coming over today to let us know how much it's going to cost us to correct some wiring situations. When we moved in, the basement was just one big empty room. It was lighted with hanging light bulbs from overhead junction boxes. So we need outlets and a dedicated line running to the deep freeze so that the lights don't dim whenever it kicks on.

And I can tell that Quint is going to need lots of juice to his very electric workshop area. Not to mention the computers and printers and lamps and fans in the office area.

Then there's my craft area. And the laundry area.

But mainly the garbage disposal in the kitchen. It's been plumbingly installed but not electrically.

Fortunately the whole electrical system was upgraded when the air conditioner was put in.

After the electrical guy works his magic, the house will be upgraded. Then what? You can bet there'll be something. Just please, dear God, make it little problems.



They had big plans to bomb the U.S. military base in Ramstein (Germany) and also do some major damage at Germany's busy airport in Frankfurt.

Germany arrested three master terrorists who are supposed to have links to Al Quaeda. They were two Germans and a Turk. They were going to blow up clubs and discos and other places that Americans like to go to.

The group had hoarded over 1500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide to use in their explosive devices. If the bombs had been completed, it would have been the biggest ever on German soil.

See story in CNN:

Authorities have had their eyes on these guys for some time, apparently. They were just days away from creating chaos. "Days away" -- as in the 9-11 anniversary just days away?

Just goes to show you that these masterminds aren't quite the geniuses that they think they are. And who knows how many other terrorist plots have been frustrated but never made the big time press.

And why were they going to blow everybody up? Well, they said they just hate Americans.

Like that's a reason. And why do they hate Americans? If we're so bad, and we're so successful and we're the richest country in the world, then why do they want to come to our universities? Why don't they stay in their own countries and go to their own schools if America is so awful?

Maybe we ought to make foreign exchange students stay home unless they can convince us that they mean us no harm at least when they are on American soil.



Alfred Adler defined inferiority back in the early 1900s. The overwhelming feeling of inferiority is one of the wounds of childhood that needs to be healed if adulthood is going to be productive and successful.

It seems to me that people who have inferiorities are stuck in a narcissistic time warp that is a result of old psychic injuries. These injuries are spawned from a history of being humiliated. Eventually, humiliators will erode a child's sense of self-acceptance. Then the child no longer likes himself or herself.

"I don't like me." All I can think about is that I don't like me. This is my narcissistic bubble. It encapsulates me and blocks all my potential growth. Instead, I'm stuck in this prison of humiliation and I don't know how to get out.

So goes the internal dialogue of a person who feels inferior.

Cognitive therapy comes rushing into your life, lights ablazing, like an ambulance filled with lifesaving tools. These psychic plugins will help you unbundle the pain you tied together with humiliation and lack of self-acceptance.

When you say, "I'm stuck in this bubble of humiliation," cognitive therapy says, "No you're not. That bubble is pretty fragile. All you have to do is give it a good little poke and you're free."

When you say, "I don't like myself," cognitive therapy says, "I'm going to start to like myself for all the little things I do well. Then I'll grow some bigger ideas. I can get things done."

When you say, "My growth is blocked," cognitive therapy says, "Shoot for the moon. No one makes it the first time, so don't expect that you will either. But you'll be successful if you fall down seven times and get up eight." (That's an old Japanese proverb, I believe.)

Cognitive therapy is about challenging your mental processes. Those mental processes are wrapped around old, worn out messages that you've been sending yourselves for years. They probably got started when you were a little kiddo.

It's time to throw away that tape and replace it with something that will be helpful for you.

It's as easy as getting new thoughts -- these are called cognitions. But it's also hard to throw away something familiar, even if the "familiar" is a negative message.

Throw it away anyway, and put something bright in there in its place. Then you'll start to like yourself more.

Next challenge is to get other people to like you. But that's a subject for another time.


Deuteronomy 8:1-20

Today's Bible reading is supposed to make us think about how our lives have equal shares of troubles and blessings. And the question is whether these draw us closer to God or push him away?

Moses reminds the children of Israel that God took pretty good care of them while they were wandering around in the desert. In fact, he says in verse 2: Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Okay, so the children of Israel might have wondered if all those things that happened to them were just tests.

They were.

God wanted to see if they would obey him anyway. Even if things started to go bad for them. That's how God would know. Oh sure, they might say they were going to do what God wanted them to do, but when it got right down to it, they faltered.

When the food dried up, they got hungry. God told them not to worry about it; he'd send them food at sundown and they could pick it up off the ground and eat it for supper. It would be nutritious and power-packed with vitamins and minerals. Just don't go hoarding it.

Well, guess what the Israelis did? You guessed it. They started stockpiling it. Guess they thought God might forget his promise.

Didn't do them any good though, because the food (manna) got worms in it.


God warned them that after they got into their new land and build their fine, new homes and took care of their huge herds, they'd forget God and how he'd brought them up out of slavery.

Somehow, God thought the children of Israel would eventually forget to give God all the credit for their blessings, and instead, think that they did it all by themselves.

But at the end of the chapter, Moses warns the children of Israel that if they ever did forget and started worshiping other gods, making idols of them, they'd be oh so sorry. God would destroy them.

Yep. We have to be really careful not to worship anything or anyone but God. Sometimes we make our jobs our gods. Sometimes a parent will make a child a god. Sometimes we make our bank accounts our gods. Sometimes we make our beautifully sculpted, fitness-centered bodies our gods. Sometimes we even make  an idol out of our pain and suffering. Sometimes we make old sins an idol.

Whatever we hold onto instead of God could be our idol.

Don't do that. God says. And God says he's watching.

7:59 am          Comments

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I'm late. I'm late. I'm late.

Who said that? Someone from Alice in Wonderland.

But getting up at a quarter to eight seems so much more civilized. And to think, I used to be in the office at 8:00 am. Now we're just sitting down to breakfast at 8. We are loving retirement!

I didn't get much done yesterday. It was, after all, a holiday. What I intended to do -- paint some of the wicker furniture -- didn't get done at all. I did manage to put away a bunch of stuff that had kind of gotten tossed into the basement in the final hurried days of moving in.

I just kept looking at the piles of stuff and had no idea what was in the bags and boxes. So it was time to take stock again. Just to see. I think I put away one ton. The rest of the stuff got moved to a corner in the basement. Kind of reminds me of the movie Holes because I know the day will come when I'll forget what's in the boxes and go through them again, sorting and putting away another "batch" of stuff. At the rate I'm going, it will be a ten year project.

Haven't even contemplated the stuff in the spare bedroom upstairs. But if I close My eyes, I can't see it.

This is how I get to live to be a hundred. My things to do list is at least that long.



People are staying away from the movies. How's that for rocket science.

One movie big shot says TV and the internet are killing the movie industry.

Not really, guys. It's the movie industry that's killing itself off. In one word, I can tell you why a lot of people are staying away: t-r-a-s-h.

Too much nudity. Too much filthy language. No good plots or stories.

Oh, and that makes me a prude? Well, me and millions of my very best friend-prudes are staying away from your garbage by the boatloads. Why in the world would I want to pay you $10 so I can go sit in a theater and have my eyes and ears and my morals assaulted? Simultaneously.

See, Quint and I are in that very low majority of 25% of adults who still read books. At least a book a year. We read a lot more books than that. We also like to just sit and talk to each other. For hours. Without the TV.

Read more:



Okay, so he's been chided for waiting so long to announce. "It's a mistake," they say.

And his response? He actually admits to being not perfect. I like this guy already!

But wait, if he'd come on in a long time ago when everybody else was throwing their hats into the ring, he could have participated in the debates.

Are you kidding me? Those simultaneous monologues that these politicos call debates are jokes. They are nothing more than opportunities for them to parade out their sets of talking points.


They get points in rhetoric, not in whether they out-persuaded another candidate. And the logic of premises doesn't even have to flow from major premise to minor premises. That's because they don't have minor premises flowing out of their first points. After watching one or two of these stand-up politico presentations, I'd heard enough to last me a lifetime.

Frankly, I want to hear someone talk about solutions, not nitpick the other candidates to death. Or the president. They can't seem to find anything right that the president is doing either. Everything that comes out of their mouths is what other people are doing wrong.



In order to even discuss bonding, we need to get on the same page and agree that bonding means forming a close relationship with another person.

Initially this happens between children and parents.

In the first twelve years of a child's life, this bond is incredibly powerful. The parent is perceived as just about all-powerful. Parents have twelve years or so to convince the child that he or she cannot live without the parents.

That's called dependence. Nothing new here.

But along comes the teen years. During this time period, the teenager starts to debond emotionally. There's this feeling that the teen can stand alone, but reminders come along now and then that they aren't quite as independent as they thought they were.

For instance, sixteen year olds don't pay mortgages. They may make car payments but the title to the cars are probably still held in the parents' names. Unless a teenager has reached the ripe old age of majority, they can't enter into a legally binding contract, so mom and/or dad have to go along to the car dealer to sign documents.

We call that interdependence.

That parents are getting that first gut wrenching pang that the teenager is pulling away from them.

It does not feel good. I don't care if you've gone through it a half dozen times. It never feels good even though it's kind of a natural order of life.

Kids grow up and in doing so, they debond emotionally from their parents.

But if -- and this is an important if -- they are not allowed to debond, they will not be able to come back and rebond as an adult friend.

It's kind of like the old song that says, How can I miss you if you won't go away?

Kids grow up. They get their own place where they can start feathering their nest. They buy furniture or maybe they raid the basement or grandma's attic. They buy their own food although it takes them a while before they realize just how much they are used to eating. 

And then after they've got themselves settled in and they're feeling pretty proud of the nest they've made for themselves, a gnawing feeling starts to grow inside them.

Something is missing. What could it be? They look around and everything appears to be just about the way they like it.

But still --

Then it occurs to them that they're just a bit homesick, or more to the truth, peoplesick.

The time comes when they want to go back to rebond with people who love them. But as adult friends, not as needy children.

Hopefully, parents will welcome them back into the fold and see this rebonding as part of a bigger process of growing up.

So let your kiddos debond. Otherwise, they won't be able to rebond.


Deuteronomy 7:1-26

Think for a few moments -- as you are reading this passage -- about the fact that you are precious to your Lord and how this changes your purpose for living. And does this change your attitude toward other people in your life?

In today's reading, Moses tells the children of Israel that God is going to deliver up seven big nations to the Israelis. They are not supposed to take any prisoners. They're not supposed to intermarry with any of them. They are not supposed to make an treaties with any of them -- the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

These nations are bigger and stronger than Israel. But it doesn't matter because the Israelites have a secret strength that the other nations don't have. They have God.

God makes the rules. The Israelites are supposed to tear down their altars and burn their idols in the fire.

In verse 6 God tells them why he's doing all this for the Israelites: ...The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

How about that? I tend to think that everything that was happening on earth was happening over there in the land where the children of Israel were wandering around in the desert.

But the other night Quint and I were watching a program about some group of now extinct plains Indians in the American southwest. Someone had found a bison skull in a river and embedded in the skull was a spear tip. Turns out the spear tip had been made by a particular group of Indians that dated back 5,000 years. 

Well, remember that Moses came out of Egypt about 1400 BC, and here it is 2,000 years later. So that means that these plains Indians were hunting bison here in North America before Moses even left Egypt.

When God says that he chose the Israelites out of all the people on the face of the earth, it tells me that God had a lot of choices. Including Mayans. And dynasties in China. And people living in many other places around the globe, for the world was inhabited.

In verse 7, we learn that God didn't pick the children of Israel because there were more of them. Quite the contrary. There weren't as many of them.

No, God picked them because he loved them. God had made a covenant with their forefathers to redeem them from slavery. And God promised to keep this covenant for a thousand generations.

Now, statistically, a generation is considered to be a twelve year period. So if a person wanted to be serious and literal about this covenant, we could say that he is talking about 12,000 years before this covenant runs out for the children of Israel.

That would be 12 millennia.

But we can't say that because we don't know what God means. He could just be using a big number, like I do when I say zillions when something is too big to be measured. Like when I run out of fingers and toes for counting.

Moses was quick to point out, though, that the children of Israel had just better follow the decrees and commands and laws. Or else. Because if they didn't it would be just too bad. God's anger would burn into them.

But if they did obey God, then God promised to love and bless them. How much? In verse 14, God promises You will be blessed more than any other people...The Lord will keep you free from any diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you.

So right here, in this very chapter, God promises to build a hedge around the people who love him and live according to his commandments.

Just as an aside, that's one of the complaints that Satan had about Job. Satan said to God, "Well of course, Job loves you. You've built a hedge around him. You've given him everything he ever wanted. Why in the world wouldn't he love you?"

Maybe hedge isn't a good analogy. Maybe it's more like a mirror. Maybe all the negative energy that people were trying to dump on the children of Israel was going to be reflected back to where it was coming from.

In verse 15b, Moses says that God promises: ...[to] inflict them on all who hate you.

Oh, and one other thing. In these particular instances, the children of Israel were not to take any plunder. Whatever gold and silver they came upon as they were taking over these new nations, they were to leave behind.

Everything bad had to be destroyed.

It would take the birth of Jesus Christ 1,400 years later before all people would become children of God. That's because God sent his son to earth to make a new covenant with everybody living on the face of the earth.

Everybody. Even you and me. So we ought to embrace others because we are all God's redeemed children. And we ought to live our lives according to the Ten Commandments. I personally believe that God still puts a protective hedge around those who ask for his help and his blessings.

9:27 am          Comments

Monday, September 3, 2007


We welcome readers this morning from Germany, Japan and China.

Today is Labor Day in the United States and Canada. Big holiday for workers in these countries. Steaks on the grill -- barbecued ribs -- hot dogs -- hamburgers. What else do you want? Anything that can be cooked on an open flame is fair game!

Labor Day is also the unofficial end of summer -- although autumn doesn't really arrive until the 21st of September. When I was a little kid, it was the last day of summer vacation because the day after Labor Day was always the first day of school. Now a great many schools start in August, so Labor Day just kind of gets tucked in there.

We planted a Red Bud yesterday. It's one way of keeping mother's memory alive. The Red Bud was one of her favorite trees, if not the favorite. But then, she liked the Dogwood too.

We also planted a Butterfly Bush. The butterflies practically followed us home from Rural King. Since the flowers are a pretty blue, I may plant three or four more next to the patio. Besides, I adore butterflies.

Did you know that the Monarchs migrate back to Mexico. I always wondered what kept them from getting so tired flapping their fragile little wings all that way. Then I read that they go way up high and hitch a ride on the thermals. That way they can just coast along until they reach their getting off point. Then they glide on down to their winter vacation spot in old Mexico.

Quint is making things today. He got a radial arm table saw over the weekend. It miters and does many other tricks. It will take a while for him to train the saw but I have every confidence that he will be successful.

The patio furniture is completely painted with its second coat. It's installed on the patio and -- wonder of wonders -- I even found the cushions that go on the chairs. They had been packed separately and were hiding out in the coat closet, of all places.

Today he's going to put up a couple more shelves and I'm going to start painting the wicker furniture that's on the deck. It will be white, of course.



In the first place, anyone who has ever worked in a politics -- whether as a precinct worker or way on up to the "inner sanctum" -- knows one thing for sure. Politicians know all about the people they let rub up next to them.

Maybe they think they're like Jesus Christ and so they turn to the crowd of sycophants and ask, "Who touched me?"

They know. Oh, they may not know all the hangers-on who pay $1,000 a plate for a photo op and a signature copy of an 8x10 glossy, but they know who's in charge of their fundraisers and they know who the heavy hitters are who are handing over $25,000 and raising money for them.

They know.

Bill, of the HillandBillary Show, says you could have knocked him over with a straw when he found out that Fundraiser Mr. Hsu was a fugitive from justice. Well, there's probably a lot of things that would knock Bubba over with a straw because, frankly, he's not that grounded.

The only thing the man has going for him is his charm. And he slathers that on to women like butter on toast. A great many women gobble it up as if it were Wheaties. 

Watch You Tube "Hannity & Colmes Show" about Hsu: 

and Hillary's knowledge about the fundraising efforts of Paul:



These two emotions try to lock you up in a hand-to-hand battle deep down inside your psyche.

Guilt comes from feeling bad because you did not live up to expectations -- either your own or someone else's. You did something wrong that caused someone else pain.

Shame, on the other hand, usually comes about because we feel bad that causes someone pain when we didn't do something that was expected of us.

First of all, let me clarify something. I'm not talking about guilt in a legal sense where people run around breaking laws. Like robbing banks. Or scaring people half to death by holding them hostage. Or even killing someone.

In those instances, you didn't live up to the expectations of a law-abiding society for sure. If that's you, I hope you feel really really guilty for what you did. The problem is, the professional criminal type is generally an antisocial person who does not feel remorse when he/she ought to.

Rather, I'm talking about the people who live their lives besieged by guilt. And shame.

Of the two -- it's easier to go after shame. That's mainly because shame comes from inactivity -- of not doing something that we believe we should do or should have done.

Shame springs up out of a sense of worthlessness.

Know how to start working at overcoming that? Go back and check your self-esteem. People who have a good sense of they self-esteem don't fall into the pool of quicksand called shame.

Take some time to understand what it would take to feel better about yourself.

Grow some self-esteem. If you're new to this website and want to know how to check your self-esteem, go back a couple of days ago when I printed a rubric on how to do this.

The better you feel about yourself, the less shame you'll feel.

The better you feel about yourself, the more initiative you take to do things you think you ought to be doing. That sounds like ambition starting to come back to you, doesn't it?
Oh, what a great feeling to just feel like you want to get up out of your easy chair and do stuff again!

Shame is easier to go after because it starts with you. You've got it self-contained. It's built out of the nothingness of thin air. When you start to move to the right on your number line, then "poof" -- shame starts to evaporate.

Guilt, on the other hand, has a lot to do with doing something wrong. You caused someone pain and you meant to. We have violated our own standards of behavior.

Guilt brings an internal message that keeps repeating itself over and over. It says, "I'm no good."

We definitely want to change that tape. When you feel this guilt starting to come over you, just say, "Stop that!"

Let me put it this way: Guilt is imprinted by emotional abuse. It is a learned way of thinking. If you allow yourself to continually be victimized, then you will continue to feel pangs of guilt.

The worst kind of guilt is the kind that we push off on ourselves. When we say, "I can't change." Or "I can't do that," then we have built our own cage. It is no longer someone else victimizing us, because we're doing it to ourselves.

If you do something wrong, then say you're sorry. And go forward.

But if you stay back there where guilt has a grip on you, then you're cheating yourselves of your future because you can't go into your future if your feet are stuck in the concrete that's your past.

I say "concrete" because you can't change the past. What happened is what happened. But you can react to is in new, healthier ways that let you walk into your future.

Do some cognitive thought-stopping. When these guilt-ridden thoughts come to you, say something like "Stop that." Or "That was the past, this is my now."

Remember, you need to say you're sorry only once. Not over and over and over for the same thing you did. But you are the one who has to let something go. When you do that, you have forgiven yourself.

Emotionally healthy days are coming your way.


Deuteronomy 6:1-25

"Write these rules down," Moses told the children of Israel. He wanted the Israelites to write the rules down everywhere -- on their hearts,on their children's hearts, on their foreheads, on their door frames. Everywhere.

In verses 15-17, Moses warns the Israelites -- and it's a warning that carries truth today too -- ...for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not test the Lord your God as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you..."

God is indeed here among us. He watches the politicians spew forth their lies.

What else do we lie and cheat about? Look on the west coast toward Hollywood. Look at the trash and filth that comes out of the movie houses. Look at the adulterous trash. Look at the murderous gore.

God is here among us. And he's watching us.

This is the same mighty God who did miracles back in the days when the Children of Israel were summoned out of Egypt.

Don't believe that God parted the Red Sea? You think it might have been just a freak of nature that happened at about the right time? Just a coincidence?

And you say you'd believe if you could witness a modern, all-powerful earth-moving miracle? Well, you don't have to go back too far to the ocean rift in the waters of Indonesia. It was a tear in the ocean floor that was great enough to nudge the island of Sumatra over a few hundred feet. (Sumatra is an island about the size of Florida.)

Is that a big enough miracle?

Moses wanted the Israelites to tell their children about the miracles of God bringing them out of slavery in Egypt. And he wanted them to tell the story over and over and over so that the children would not forget.

And most of all, the wanted the children to remember that God walked among them, just as he walks among us today.

He's watching. He's walking. He's listening.

Be good. Obey his commands.

Moses closes this chapter in verse 25 with this thought: ...if we are careful to obey all these laws before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.


The study question for this reading is this: Christian parents have a very big responsibility and influence for the spiritual life of their children. How is the faith of your children? Ask and find out.

I truly believe that each of our four kiddos believe in God and they believe that Christ died for their sins.


THE CARDIOLOGIST -- from Kim Lysen

A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop.

The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage: "Hey, Doc, want to take a look at this?"

The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on a motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So, Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in. When I finish, it works just like new. So how come I make $79,000 a year and you get the really big bucks (over a million) -- when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The cardiologist paused, leaned over and whispered to the mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."


9:39 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.)