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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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We will be traveling north today -- probably before lunch. My beloved sister Cookie is going to be moved to Presbyterian-St. Luke Hospital for surgery -- probably this evening to place a shunt that will drain the largest tumor in her brain. The shunt will provide drainage into her stomach.

I talked with her this morning and she sounded up for the surgery but admits she's scared.

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels and also keep my sister, Anna Mae ("Cookie"), in your prayers.

I will resume my postings when this crisis has passed.

Thank you.


11:03 am          Comments

Monday, October 29, 2007


Good morning friends from Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, China, Malaysia, and of course, the United States! Your messages tell me that you are at this web site primarily to read the Bible Studies. I pray that your reading and studying will enrich your daily walk in faith and that you will be nurtured.

Not good news about my sister, Cookie. The MRI shows there are three tumors in the brain -- one is in the back which accounts for her losing her balance and falling, without warning. A second tumor is near the pituitary, or pressing on it. The third tumor -- the smallest of the three, is in the frontal area of the brain behind the right eye, I believe.

The oncology doctors are meeting with the surgeon and primary care physician on Tuesday morning to see what needs to be done first. There is still the malignant tumor in her upper right lung. At least for the moment, the surgery to remove the upper right lobe is on hold until all the doctors reach a consensus as to what needs to be done first.

I thank all of you for your prayers. I have copied each prayer that has been e-mailed and given them to Cookie. She thanks you too, from the bottom or her heart.

I'm making bread today. I found a wonderfully easy bread recipe and got lots of packages of yeast yesterday on the way home from church. Also got some whole wheat flour. So I absolutely know that the bread is 100% whole wheat. And very low sugar since I use the brown sugar that 50/50 sugar/Splenda. Here's the recipe:

EASY ROLLS -- over 450 degrees

3/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  (add 1 T. baking powder if not self-rising)*
1 egg
1/4 cup Crisco (I use the zero non-trans fat, butter flavored)

Dissolve yeast in warm water; add sugar and salt. Beat in egg and then add Crisco. Stir in flour mixed with baking powder and mix until well blended. Cover bowl and let rise 2 hours.

Stir down mixture. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead lightly. Roll to 1/2" thickness. I use an ice tea goblet to cut the dough out. The first time I used this recipe, I used a biscuit cutter -- wasn't big enough for a hamburger. I basically like to make the rolls about the size of a hamburger bun. Cut and place on parchment paper. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Check after 10 minutes. Different ovens heat differently.

*The dough didn't rise to suit me the first time. So I'm adding the baking power for account for the whole wheat flour not being self-rising, like the white all-purpose flour was. I'll let you know if the tablespoon is too much. I just might have doughy stuff exploding out of my oven. They did rise up some yesterday when I made them, but not enough.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 6:1-15

The apostles had been busy indeed in their ministries. Their continued preaching in the temple had brought many people to faith in Christ. And as others heard of this gospel message, word reached out to other people. Now there were Greek Jews who wanted to embrace this new faith in Christ, just as the Hebraic Jews were doing.

And so the word of God was spreading mightily throughout the region as the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostles.

But you guessed this wasn't paradise, didn't you?

What, pray tell, could people possibly be upset about? Their hearts were filled with joy in their newfound faith. They worked fervently for this new gospel message and belief in Jesus Christ. They prayed prayers of thanksgiving for the gift of salvation that became theirs through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Their joy reached out to their fellow man as they brought their offerings to the apostles for distribution among the widows and others in need.

But squabbling began. And it grew.

Seems that the Greek Jews were claiming that their poor people were being overlooked in this distribution of food every day. Kind of like they weren't getting their fair share.

So the apostles put their heads together to come up with a solution to this problem. They certainly had not intended to overlook anybody, and yet they wanted to concentrate their efforts on the ministry of spreading the message of salvation. In verse 2b, we read: It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.

So they came up with a plan. This plan sounds like the forerunner of a church council. They wanted their brothers to name seven men who were filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom to oversee the distribution of food. That way, the apostles could continue to concentrate on their ministry of prayer and spreading the word.

Well, what a great idea! It worked for them. They presented these men: (from verse 5) Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

When these men were presented to the apostles, they prayed and laid their hands on the new group of ministers.

It was a good move. Now the word of God spread even more. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, it says in verse 7, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Simple. The more priests there were, the more people they could minister to. And the more people that were ministered to, the more new believers who came to know and accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

This chapter of Acts particularly points out that Stephen did great wonders and miracles among the people (verse. 8).

But there were people watching him. They called themselves the Synagogue of the Freedmen. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia (verse 9).

In verses 9b-10: These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

So they scurried off into the shadows of their lies and (verses-15) ...stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us. All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel." 

In this chapter, we come face to face with the realization that lying -- bearing false witness -- telling little fibs -- whispering little white lies -- gossiping -- are all sins against the 8th commandment.

When they accused Stephen of blasphemy against Moses and against God, they were referring to Stephen saying that the worship of God was no longer to be restricted to the temple. Out of that, this group of Freedmen twisted Stephen's ministry to say that he was attacking the temple, the law, Moses, and eventually worked their argument all the way up to an attack on God.

Of course Stephen's preaching had nothing to do with attacking God. Just the opposite, in fact, because the Holy Spirit was speaking through Stephen to bring more believers to God.

Believers could be in God's presence walking down the street, in each other's houses, during their toil and labor, as well as in the temple. They could talk to God anytime, anywhere. In the temple or outside the temple.


9:48 am          Comments

Friday, October 26, 2007


Welcome to readers from Bulgaria, China and Malaysia -- and of course, the United States. And thank you all for your kind comments as you continue the Bible Study lessons. If you have comments you would like to post regarding any of the Hebrews chapters, you can do so at and click on the Bible Study tab. The Hebrews Bible Study chapters are also posted on in the Religion Forum.

Quint is now in Round 3 with the squirrels who have discovered a way to get into the bird feeder. Again. They can now jump from the ground to reach the bird feeder. They must be going to the fitness center for squirrels and working out those little leaping muscles in their legs.

We are going to take a ride this afternoon over to St. Elmo. A 76-year old Carpenter has built a prayer chapel by the side of the road on Rt. 40. The carpenter, Bill Stewart, says he was inspired by a similar chapel he had seen near Hannibal, Missouri. The little chapel has six pews which were supplied by a minister in Shelbyville. Some other materials were provided by local business people, as well as volunteer labor. It's called the Wildwood Prayer Chapel. A large Bible rests on a wooden lectern in the small pulpit area and there are hymn books in the pews.

What a great way to end up the week. It drizzled all day yesterday and the same is expected today. So we went to the library to return some books. I found six more that I am taking a look at on the Civil War, a subject that I'm dismally ignorant about.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 5:1-42

This chapter opens with Peter once again gifted by the Holy Spirit to perform miracles. This time, the particular gift allows Peter great powers of discernment that any judge or jury, police detective, even parent would really like to be able to do.

That gift of being able to figure out if someone is lying would be a great advantage. Can you imagine how honest we'd all become if other people could know what we're thinking and whether or not we're telling the truth?

We don't have those gifts. God knows what's in the heart of man.

We are introduced to a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira. They sold a piece of their property and brought a portion of the money to Peter. They didn't tell Peter about the part of the money that they held back for themselves.

Peter called him on it. In verse 3b and 4b, Peter said: have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? ... You have not lied to men but to God.

When Peter said this to Ananias, the man dropped to the earth dead.

The people who saw this questioning were filled with fear. Can you just imagine? They had already seen Peter healing the crippled man. And now just by being caught in a lie that he'd not told anybody about, except his wife, he just fell over dead.

But it wasn't Peter he lied to. Peter made sure that Ananias understood that he had lied to God.

So then later, Ananias' wife comes in. Peter asked her pretty much the same question. Even to the point of asking, "How could you test the Spirit of the Lord?"
She fell dead too. Now the people were really afraid! It didn't take long for this story to get around to the whole church either.

The Holy Spirit continued to work through Peter. The word got out pretty quick that he was able to heal the sick. And in verse 14, we read that "...more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number." The people were so certain of Peter's abilities to heal that they laid their invalid loved ones on beds and mats so that Peter's shadow could fall on them when Peter passed by. In verse 16b, we learned that "...all of them were healed."

But it wasn't just Peter who was able to perform miracles. In verse 12, we read: "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade."

Solomon's Colonnade was a porch along the inner side of the wall enclosing the outer court, with rows of 27-foot high stone columns and a roof of cedar. (Concordia Study Bible note)

They were told not to do that. The Sadducees weren't glad to see them back preaching in the temple. Besides that, they were jealous that the apostles could perform miracles.

Remember the Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet. The Sadducees wanted some of the same power to perform miracles that the apostles had. So they had the apostles re-arrested and thrown in jail.

During the night, an angel came to the apostles and opened the door of the jail. The angel brought this message to them in verse 20: Go stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full meaning of this new life.

Put yourself in their place for a moment. Here they were in jail. They expected to go back before a very angry bunch of Sadducees the next morning and then this angel appeared out of nowhere, unlocked the door to the jail, and told them to go back to the very place where they'd been arrested.

That's exactly what they did. At daybreak, the apostles were back in the temple preaching to the people who had gathered.

In the meantime, the Sadducees had called the entire Sanhedrin together. This was the supreme Jewish court made up of 70 to 100 men. They sent someone to the jail to get the men they'd arrested but the guards came back empty handed.

This guard had to explain that the jail had been secured for the night with the apostles in the cells, and in fact, was still locked when the guard went in to get the apostles.

Then someone came in to tell them that the men they were looking for were over by Solomon's Colonnade preaching. They sent a captain with his officers to bring the apostles back to them. Once the apostles were back in front of them, the high priest said in verse 28: We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.

The confrontation was rebutted by Peter and the other apostles in verses 29-32: ...We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead -- whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

That just made the Sanhedrin madder. They couldn't intimidate the apostles. So they took a recess. They made the apostles go outside and wait until they figured out what they were going to do. They sent for Gamaliel, one of the highest regarded teachers of the law. (Saul (Paul) had been one of his students.)

Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin to be very careful about what they did with the apostles. He reminded them of a guy named Theudas who had appeared once before. Theudas had said he was somebody too. In fact, he had about 400 people rallying around him. Well, Theudas was killed and eventually his group dispersed. Nothing ever came of it.

Gamaliel continued to remind them about Judas the Galiliean who had tried to stir up a revolt. He was killed too and his followers scattered.

But as far as the apostles were concerned, Gamaliel had this advice (verses 38-39): Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fall. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

The Sanhedrin was persuaded. They had the apostles flogged. Then they told the apostles to quit preaching about Jesus again.

The apostles were overjoyed because they had been counted as worth of suffering disgrace for the Name. In verse 42 we read: Day after Day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Go back and re-read verse 32 where God promises to give the Holy Spirit to those who obey him.

I think sometimes we forget that we can call on the Holy Spirit when we come up against challenges to our living a Christian life. These challenges might be those times when we just cannot seem to wrap our head around the fact that forgiveness is a choice. If we are unable to forgive someone, then we need to ask God to send his Holy Spirit into our hearts to help us out.

These challenges might be getting help to resist the temptations that Satan throws at us.

Let me ask you this, when God made you, what do you think he had in mind? He most certainly wants you to obey him, and if you are having trouble doing this, then ask for help from the Holy Spirit.


PSYCHOLOGY: Stress Inoculation Improves Coping

Stress Inoculation, as a therapy, has been around since 1977. It was introduced by Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D., as a method to pull together how we think and feel with how we act.

Stress Inoculation has been used to help people with a wide variety of stressors that come from rape, anxieties, tension headaches, public speaking anxieties, social anxieties, stress in surgical patients, cancer patients, anger control, post surgical pain, and pain management in severely burned adults.

There are three steps to stress inoculation.

In the first step, we have to identify the stressors. Then we have to figure out how we responded to similar stressors in the past and whether or not our responses were successful, kind of successful, a little successful, or just plain old didn't work for us. And here's the kicker: if the strategies we've been using haven't worked out all that well, then we need to figure out what we've been thinking that might be getting in the way of our success.

Kind of like the power of positive thinking. 

People can get stuck at this first step because they are either not willing to look at the part they play in their stress, or if they are, then they don't believe that they have the power to change their self-talk that tends to defeat their chances of success.

However, with persistence and help, the people who get past this first step -- either on their own or with professional guidance, the second step is all about learning new skills to replace those that didn't work, or strengthen what might be called lukewarm skills.

At this second stage, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves internally.

For instance, if your boss comes up to you about a half hour before you're ready to walk out the door -- it's quitting time -- your first reaction might be, "Doesn't he ever think of anybody but himself?!!"

How about saying to yourself, instead, "I ought to get some bonus merits just because I'm being cooperative."

Then you make a little note in your work diary so you can remember your spirit of cooperation when it comes time for your merit review.

One of the cheeriest persons I've ever met was someone I hardly knew. I called her one afternoon at work (her husband had given me her work number) to see if she would mind taking flowers I had placed in church to a friend of my mother's. It was a birthday and the lady had just come home from the hospital. So here I was calling from four hundred miles away, I had met her exactly three times in my life and one of those times was at my mother's funeral.

Her response was, "I'd be glad to do that for you."

I have never forgotten how cheerful and positive she was. I don't know if I added a lot to her already busy burden of getting dinner for her family after church. She was so quick on the reframe if she felt burdened. I suspect that she has developed a long repertoire of positive coping comments that she has at her immediate disposal.

Stress inoculation is all about learning skills that will help you cope. Those skills are generally thinking skills -- because that's what cognitive processing is -- how we think -- what we make of something. Then it's about how we respond. What we do about what we think.

The third stage is about applying these new strategies to more and more situations in the real world of our lives.

In my own work with battered wives, the stress inoculation techniques have been particularly useful. But I can tell you that it would often take six months of weekly sessions to get past that first stage. Mainly because of a lot of misperceptions about what I meant when I made comments that I intended to be helpful.

But sooner or later, things worked out and lo and behold, the light bulb moment came when a client realized, "Hey, I can use this stuff at work too."


And with your kiddos and anywhere else that might be a stressor in your life.

Now I know that many of you will have questions. So jot them down and email me at and I'll send you a private response. Just be sure to make a note in the subject line that you're coming from this website.



I just found out moments ago that my sister, who was waiting for the results on an MRI on her brain to determine the extent of any damage caused by previous strokes, has a large mass on the top of her brain. She is in the hospital and waiting for doctors to schedule radiation on the brain tumor, although she has surgery scheduled for November 7 to remove a lobe of her right lung where a malignant tumor is located.

Please pray for her.

Her nickname is Cookie. (She used to eat all the cookies when we were kids.)

8:51 am          Comments

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Quint can't keep up with his little feathered friends. Not only is his bird feeder empty (which holds a little more than a half gallon of seed nibbles) but also the thistle seed feeder is getting pretty low. He used to get corn on the cob for his squirrely friends but has cut back on that since the oak trees are releasing their bounty. Wouldn't you think the squirrels would be thrilled to run over and pick up some fresh nuts off the ground? Not! I think they would like to have us pick the acorns up and put them in a little dish so they would have to work so hard in their hunt. That's the problem with city squirrels.

I made sugar cookies yesterday afternoon. It's a new recipe and is absolutely scrumptious. The cookies were almost like a shortbread. I think next time I'm going to put some chopped pecans in them. I'll bet they'll taste an awful lot like my very own version of pecan sandies. I didn't use the corn syrup called for in the recipe, but substituted sugar free maple syrup, and also substituted Splenda. That way I end up with sugar free cookies. Keeps Quint happy.

I'm still experimenting with getting the freezer strawberry jam to set up right. It's just not cooperating. I like the freezer jam because it tastes like fresh strawberries since the berries don't get cooked. But strawberries have zero -- zippo -- pectin in them. So today I'm going to take the cores from apples after I make apple fried pies. I'll boil out the pectin from the apple cores and add it to the strawberries. See if that works.

Other than that, we're expecting rain this afternoon. It will be a good day to stay inside and do kitchen lab work, maybe wash some floors. And that will be about all the excitement I can stand for today.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 4:1-37

There was no way that the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees were going to let Peter and John continue stirring up people's passions about Christ.

This is especially true because this man, the one who was crippled and miraculously was able to get up and walk, was forty years old.

This really really bothered the temple people. So much so that they came after Peter and John and threw them in jail for the night.

The next morning they all got together with the rulers, elders and teachers of the law. Then they started with the questions. And more questions. They wanted to know where Peter and John got the power to perform this miracle.

Oh, and there were about 5,000 believers now.

Even by today's standards, a group of 5,000 believers is huge. So it was back then too.

The Holy Spirit filled Peter so that he could answer the question put to him (verses 8-12): Rulers and elders of the people. If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but some God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

This is as profoundly true today as it was in that first century after Christ died: There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

You can forget the witchcraft. You can forget all sorts of pagan deities. You can forget any religion that is not founded on Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Through him alone will you ever get salvation.

These temple rulers knew that Peter and John had been with Jesus. They were surprised, though, that these rather ordinary, uneducated men could be so articulate in their response to their questions.

There was no denying, however, that some miracle had been done. After all, the man was standing there in front of them. That needed some explanation.

But there was no explanation that Peter and John could give that would satisfy them. Befuddled, that's what they were. They couldn't best the Holy Spirit's defense that was coming through the voice of Peter, so they kind of kicked Peter and John out so that they could put their heads together and see if they could come up with a plan.

"What are we going to do with these men?" they asked in verse 16.

Then they had an idea. They thought they could just make Peter and John stop talking about Christ and that way, the whole thing would die down -- kind of like yesterday's news.

So they called them in again (verses 18-21): After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.

So Peter and John were free to go. They went back to their people and told them everything that had happened.

Wouldn't you just love to have been there to hear Peter and John, so filled with the Holy Spirit, sharing all that had gone on in court at the temple?

They raised their voices in prayer (verses 24b-26) Sovereign Lord, they said, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'

Peter and John reminded the people who had gathered that Herod and Pontius Pilate and all who had gathered against Jesus had done "what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen." (verse 28)

Then came their petition to God Almighty (verses 29-30): Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

Peter and John were asking for some help. Their hearts were filled with great joy, but they were human too and must have had some thought in the back of their minds that this might not be the safest thing to do. After all, they'd been told to cool it and quit talking about their friend Jesus Christ.

In verse 31, we find: After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Wow! Can you just imagine the power of the Holy Spirit moving through the assembly of people like a wave of strength and awe.

Have you ever heard a preacher speak with such conviction that it just moves you to new depths of belief because it touches the very soul inside you?

And the temple rulers thought they'd somehow be able to quiet that spiritual firestorm down!

It wasn't meant to be. Not back then. Not now. Oh for sure -- there are people walking among us Christians now who would like to be able to command us to be quiet and go away.

The Spirit of the Living God moves through us. Makes us remember all that Christ did. We walk the path he took with the cross over and over again in our minds. We anguish with him in the pain of his death because we know that he died for us. Our sins are the cause of his death.

We did it to him. But there is such joy in knowing and believing that he rose from his death. We learn that he died just exactly the way that the prophets of old said he would.

The same Spirit of the Living God who guided the prophets in their predictions that Jesus would die for our sins is the same Holy Spirit who beckons us to follow Jesus Christ today, in this modern age.

And just like Peter and John, there is work aplenty for each one of us.

This chapter closes with an introduction of a new person entering the landscape. It follows after the believers had sold their possessions and shared with all those in need. Then comes Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus (verses 36-37): the apostles called him Barnabus (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.


PSYCHOLOGY: Anxiety Has a Purpose

Believe it or not, you can harness the negativity of the fears that anxieties dump on you. Whether you experience anxiety as a mentally crushing weight of tension and worries or body symptoms like nervousness and tension.

Either way, it's great when you come to the realization -- and belief -- that you can tame this mental beast that has taken up residence inside your head.

First thing you do is stop feeding your anxieties! Anxiety chow is made up of delicious little tidbits that sound like, "Yeah, but..." and "If only I'd..." Those two thoughts alone can feed an anxiety attack for days. So stop doing that. You're only arguing with yourself.

And when you argue with yourself, there's a 50-50 chance that you'll win. Or lose. Either way, you're the one who experiences the end result. So go for the winning thoughts.

Instead of saying, "Yeah, but..." say instead, "I can do this."

Instead of saying, "If only I'd..." say instead, "And the world didn't even end."

Truth is, anxiety gives us a chance to rehearse different outcomes to whatever challenge we're faced with.

Let's say, for instance, that you are living with the horrible fear that you're going to lose your house. The economy may be trucking along for most folks but you never dreamed that the ARM which looked so appealing five years ago would turn into a huge threatening pit that's gonna gobble up your home, family, and peace of mind.

You realize you have some pretty deep anxieties but you aren't sure what they're all about. Well, it's time for you to sit down in your favorite armchair and play Monday Morning Quarterback.

Keep in mind that the Monday Morning Quarterback always wins the game. Always. So don't even contemplate fumbling and losing the game.

As you're sitting there quarterbacking, think of all the possibilities you have available to you. You can think of even the zaniest solutions because you're not getting out of the chair anyway, and the solutions you're contemplating are quietly dancing around in your head. It's not like anybody can hear you.

The key to success here is not to talk yourself out of any possible solution that might be the Magical #1 Zesty Winner that will make the most sense for everybody.

Okay, so start with the solution that you like the best. Keeping the house you've got, kids stay in the same schools and commuting stays the same. Your wife is still a stay-at-home mom and all is well. Except that the ARM keeps peeking in your window and rattling the blinds -- just to let you know money time is looming fast on the horizon.

Since you don't have the money to resolve the ARM, that's not a solution at all. 

It's a situation that requires -- begs for -- a change of some kind.

This is where it gets interesting. And since it involves your wife, she'd better be sitting in the chair across from you. And since the conversational debate might get just a tiny bit heated, it would be a good idea to have this conversation after the kids have nodded off for the night. Let them keep their childhood innocence for as long as you can.  

First possible solution is to paper-and-pencil your budget to death. Sit down and figure out exactly what you spend your money on each and every month. You have got to know where you are at in the money battle.

What would it take to make the ARM go away?

Can you afford to re-mortgage? Let's say -- just for the sake of argument -- that you can't. The wolf is at the door and it's not going away until it's eaten a pound of your flesh. At least that's what you're telling yourself.

Hightail it to your banker and find out what your options are. I'm not kidding. You need to find out if it's as bad as you think it might be. Or do you have any wiggle room at all. Or keeping the house is out of the question and you're just going to have to move.

Question: Can your wife go to work at all? Even a part-time job? If you're $1,000 short of meeting your expenses every month, it's possible that a part-time job could fetch $250 a week, on a temporary basis.

Question: How much money can you trim from your budget? This is where the "s" word first appears. "S" for sacrifice. Get rid of the movie channels if you have them on cable. Stop buying potato chips in those little individual serving sizes. In fact, stop buying them at all. They're outrageously expensive and can be reserved for a once-in-a-while treat. Is there any way at all that you could get down to just one car? If you're going to the commuter lot and parking your car all day, this is a very real option. You could save a ton of money if your wife could drop you off at the train and come get you in the evening. Not only that, but you'd save car insurance and the parking fee for the commuter lot. Try it out. Park one of your cars and see if you can get through a whole month without driving it. If you can make it a month, you probably can live without it. Would it be better to cut down to one car rather than moving?

Soul-searching. It's hard. But the more you start identifying the challenges you've been grappling with -- the ones that haven't been identified -- the better able you'll be to start solutions popping up inside your head.

And as far as moving is concerned, think about those days long, long ago. Or maybe not so long ago. But remember those days when you had a thousand dollars left over at the end of the month after you'd paid all your expenses. Didn't that feel great? Wouldn't you like to be able to do that again? If you had to sell your house, would it truly be the end of the world?

If you bought the American dream once, you can do it again. But for now, maybe you need to take a breather and you and your wife need to get out from under all that pressure you're under right now.

So keep rehearsing all the possible solutions you can come up with. I've only touched on a few. The point is, the more you can get the ambiguities out of your head, the less anxious you'll feel.


9:39 am          Comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

Quint got breakfast this morning. Cheerios, banana and toast. Then I gave the set of shelves that are going into the bathroom a second coat of paint. That way, three hours from now when I'm finished with the columns for the day, we can hang the shelves. The paint ought to be plenty dry by that time.

It actually got down to 47 degrees during the night. Haven't had our first frost yet, for which I'm grateful. We're at that point in the seasons when I know winter is coming but I want to squeeze as much of autumn as I can out of the rest of the days.

This will be our first year that we've never had to worry about commuting. We plan on cuddling up and watching the snow fall. I hear it's pretty when you don't have to go out in it. And for those times when we feel especially guilty about being so self-indulgent, I'll just call my cousin Mark who is a Chicago police officer. You know, just to see how things are piling up and how traffic is snarling. Stuff like that. But then, maybe not. He'd probably hang up on me and change his phone number.

Maybe we'll just watch WGN out of Chicago. We get that here in Effingham.

It did stop raining so the leaves can dry out before we burn them. Wouldn't be a good idea to do any burning this afternoon.

I'll make oatmeal cookies instead. That's a good plan.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 3:1-26

In this chapter, we see that Peter and John were going to the temple at 3 p.m. for prayer.

There were three prayers times for the Jews: the first was the third hour, or 9 a.m.; the second was at the time of the evening sacrifice, 3 p.m.; and the third at sunset. (Concordia Study Bible note)

As they were about to enter the temple gate called Beautiful, there was a beggar who had been crippled from birth. This beggar was put at this particular gate every day so that he could beg from people who were going into the temple.

The beggar noticed Peter and John and asked them for some money. The two disciples came over to him and Peter said (verse 6-9): "Silver of gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Something jumps out at me from these verses. The first is that this man, who had been crippled from birth, was even able to stand. Okay, the miracle was that he was able, miraculously, to stand up and walk.

He didn't hobble along and walk feebly. Oh no. He was walking and jumping about. His muscles, if they had atrophied at all, were now strong enough to support his weight. He didn't need six weeks of physical therapy and massaging to make him whole. He instantly was able to walk about as if he had never been crippled.

And people who were regular worshippers -- maybe even regular contributors to this crippled man's welfare -- recognized him.

All the people came over to Peter and John who had, by this time, made their way to Solomon's Colonnade with this man. And human nature being what it is, maybe they figured Peter and John were some kind of magicians who could do all sorts of fancy tricks.

Well, Peter sets them straight when he said (verse 12): "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?"

Peter was not about to take any credit for being able to perform miracles. He knew full well that this new ability of his had been gifted to him straight from the Holy Spirit.

Then, Peter begins his ministerial sermon that would be the template for the disciples who travelled in their missionary journeys (verses 13-26): The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.

"You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

"Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you -- even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

"For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people. Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed. When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

This basic outline of bringing the message of Christ would be repeated often as the disciples embarked on missionary journeys. First they would explain what had happened to Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.

Then they would bring the good news out of what happened to Jesus -- that even though he suffered and died and was buried -- as the prophets of old had predicted, Jesus rose from the dead.

The apostles had witnessed his death -- and they had walked with him in life after the crucifixion. So they were able, firsthand, to bring a most compelling witness to unbelievers.

At that point, the disciples would call for all to repent of their sins and turn to a new life in Christ. Very often, this would culminate in baptisms.



In a Tokyo hotel lobby: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thin is please not to read notis.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a Yogoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?

In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance: English well talking. -- Here speeching American.


PSYCHOLOGY: Of course, you can overcome test anxiety!

Students who do best on tests are the ones who have over-learned the subject.

Over-learning takes a lot more effort than just cramming at the last minute. Over-learning means going over the material over and over and still over it again. By the time you go into the classroom to take an exam, you're probably going to be plain old bored with the material.

Actually, we over-learn a lot of things. We've over-learned several things -- like the alphabet. Or the states in the United States. Some students have over-learned the capitols of each state. Or the multiplication tables.

So let me ask you -- do you have to stop and think about which letter comes after the letter "h" -- probably not. But if you way back in your tiny tot years, you'd have to stop and think. That is, until you over-learned the alphabet.

I grew up Lutheran so in Confirmation Class, we all had to over-learn a bunch of Bible verses. Could never figure out why I needed to know all those Bible verses. But you know what? When I got to be an adult and came up against more than a few crises, those Bible verses would just pop into my head out of nowhere.

Over-learning has its rewards.

Let's figure out how you can over-learn the material for your tests without having to memorize the textbook.

First of all, I think it's a good idea to pretend you're the teacher. If you were teaching this class, what would you want your students to take out of the class with them? And while you're at it, what questions would you zero in on for the test?

Students usually have a good feel for what teachers are emphasizing. It's a rarity for a student to get hit with something on a test that's a total surprise. Instead, there are thoughts like, "I knew I should have studied this more."

Have a "Plan B" -- what would be the worst thing that could happen to you if you just totally bomb the test? What's the percentage of the grade for the term you're taking? Is it half the value of your final grade? Or is it one of five tests that are sprinkled throughout the semester or quarter?

If you bomb the test, is it possible to do an extra credit project to show the teacher that you have a grasp of the material that was tested?

What about your study skills? How much reviewing are you doing? I hope you're reviewing after each class. This kind of cements the material into that pocket of consciousness that you've reserved for this class. Keep stuffing new information into this pocket and keep reviewing it so that it's not like completely new material when it comes time to review for the test itself.

Make a commitment to yourself -- a semester is seventeen weeks. Out of that time, the last week is finals week. So for sixteen weeks, give this class everything you've got. Practice what I call "active studying." That is, don't just sit and look at your notes or your textbook. Really read the material.

Discover something about how you learn -- are you a visual learner? An oral learner? A muscle learner who has to take a lot of notes to learn?

I was a junior in college before I realized that I was a kinesthetic (muscle) learner. I took detailed notes in class. Made up practice tests (fill in the blanks that I got from text quotes). This proved to be the most effective and it was a method that I used all the way through grad school.

It worked something like this: From a textbook on psychology, for instance, I might use this:

1._________________________ refers to following a response with an aversive (unpleasant) consequence. It 2.________________________ the likelihood that the response will occur again.

And on a separate sheet of paper, I would have a key:
1. Punishment
2. decreases

By the time I'd get through a chapter, I might have 80 questions or so. And if the test covered four chapters, I had a lot of review material. When it came time to review, I'd take my "test" and score it. Scoring is dividing the number of correct answers by the total number of questions. So if I got 70 questions right out of 260, my score would be 26.9%, obviously failing.

Then I'd retake the test, only answering the questions I missed. And I'd keep going, over-learning the material by taking the test I'd made up until I could get 95% of the answers correct.

That may be way too much work for some of you. But I absolutely hated that horrible feeling of going into a test being petrified that I'd flunk it. So I ended up making up harder tests than the teacher ever did.

And one other thing -- when the test is handed out, read through the questions. Each question. We tend to file our experiences into long-term memory grouped together. So everything you know about Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 are probably filed in a single "file drawer" in your head somewhere and if you can find one of the questions that fits into that drawer, it will probably be enough of a key to unlock the whole draw. If you can do that, then out comes all those answers you've tucked away.

And don't forget, you want to be just a bit anxious going into a test. Anxiety unlocks long-term memory, so don't be too terribly relaxed. And if you've over-learned your material, you'll be fine.



Dear Jane: Do you think people can fall out of love? I know I still love my husband but I don't feel like I'm in love with him anymore. We have been married twelve years and have three daughters, ages 10, 7 and 4. My husband is a very active father and coaches our oldest daughter's soccer team. He is hard working and an active member of our church, as am I. Am I wrong for wanting a little excitement in my life? Signed: Wish I Weren't Here

Dear Wish: Let's see now. I'm guessing that at one point the two of you thought you may have invented love. But that was before the kids came along and the parent stuff. Now there's church activities, soccer activities, and busy busy things to do.

Did you stack up a bunch of activities to the point where you no long took time for each other?

Notice I said took time for each other. You have the same 24 hours a day that everybody else has -- marriages that are working well and marriages that are not. Marriages that work well have two people in them who take time to be together. They make time to communicate with one another. They keep on renewing their relationship.

In the first place, I have no idea what you mean when you say you are not "in love" with your husband anymore. I think what you might mean is that you miss the romance you once shared with your mate. Remember those days when you couldn't stand it when you were apart?

You know what love was then and you were definitely "in love" with your husband at that point. So much in love, in fact, that the two of you decided to get married and took a vow that you'd spend the rest of your lives together.

And now the two of you have let the fires of your passion cool down. Well, you'd better get busy and flame it up again because, in the process of becoming too busy for each other, you've created three children -- the oldest of which is halfway to adulthood. She practically grew up while you two were racing around trying to be busy busy busy -- at soccer practice, at church, and who knows what other activities you've volunteered for.

It's time to stand back and say "Enough!" Get your vows out and read them again to one another. That's where I suggest couples start. Let's see if I can help you out: To have and to hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.

Unless there are the three As hanging around, you ought to get in there and re-engineer some pretty big gaping holes in your marriage. What you're looking at now is exactly the marriage that the two of you created. The "engineering" that you two did may be in need of repair, but that's no reason to toss it out the window.

(The 3 As are: adultery, abuse, alcoholism)

10:24 am          Comments

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Welcome to all our night owls, and early birds -- readers from Zambia, China and Brazil. This is a first for readers from Zambia. Used to be called Northern Rhodesia. It's just north of Zimbabwe, which used to be called Southern Rhodesia.

I'd like to know who is going around re-naming all these countries. I just learned that there is no Burma anymore. It's now Myanmar. I pray for the safety of the monks who are having a bad time of it right now.

How about those wild fires in California. Heard on the news last night that the fire line goes all the way from Santa Barbara down to the boundary with Mexico. So far there have been 500,000 people evacuated from homes and at least 1,200 homes and buildings lost to the blazing inferno.

That's not the worst of it. When the rainy season starts here in a month or so in California, the mud slides will be horrible. Let's all pray for everybody's safety.

Today I am painting shelves again. These shelves are going into our bathroom. Remember the adage -- if you're running short of storage, use your walls. So these shelves are going to hang in our very small bathroom. It was kind of a culture shock since the condominium that we moved from had very big rooms. But this house was built in 1949 and I guess bathrooms weren't very "spa-like" back then.

Small price to pay for our beautiful back yard. It's nice to have our own dirt again.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 2:1-47

This chapter opens with a reference to "when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place."

Pentecost is also known as the Feast of Weeks or also the Feast of First Fruits.

This is a major celebration because it means the spring grain harvests are complete. It was a time when the Jewish people were to go to the temple with a tribute to God that was over and above their tithe. They came to give thanks to God who had poured out his blessings on their harvest. And they, in turn, shared their bounty with the poor among them, for they did not harvest the corners of the fields. These corners were left for the poor to come into their fields and take what they needed.

Remember that Jesus had told them earlier in verse 5: For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus now had ascended into heaven, and the disciples had gathered together to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. Little did they know that the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised them was about to come to them.

The house filled with big sounds -- like a violent wind that came from heaven. Well, that got their attention! And what's more, when they looked around them, they saw tongues in the air. These tongues looked like they were made out of fire. A fiery tongue came to rest on each of the disciples. When that happened, the Holy Spirit enabled each one of them to speak in a different foreign language.  A language that they had not learned before.

There is a question here as to whether the tongues of fire rested only on the disciples or on the heads of everyone in the gathering. If we go back to Acts 1:15-16: In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as a guide for those who arrested Jesus -- he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."

Just from a grammatical look in Acts 2:1: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. "They" refers back to the nearest antecedent, which would be those people mentioned in the closing verses of Acts 1, namely the disciples, including Matthias.

On this particular feast day there were people in Jerusalem from everywhere in the known world. They heard all this commotion of the mighty winds and came to see what was going on. Imagine their surprise to learn that the disciples could talk to them in their own language!

They were absolutely amazed. They tried to figure out what it might mean. Some said that they were just drunk.

Then Peter got to his feet and said to the crowd (verses 17-21: "These men are not drunk. Don't you remember what the prophet Joel said:

"In the last days, God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

"Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

"I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Then follows in this chapter a kind of template which the disciples used in their ministries to the various churches to bring others to Christ: First there was an explanation of what was happening. This was followed by a gospel message about Jesus Christ -- his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. Then there was an exhortation, or counsel, to repentance and baptism.

After this message was shared with this large group of people, in their own tongue, the crowd was amazed. They asked Peter in verse 37: Brothers, what shall we do?

Peter answers them in verses 38-41: Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call."

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Can you imagine the excitement that was running through the disciples? Here at last, their ministry was revealed to them! And they stayed with each other in fellowship, and they ate together, and prayed.

They sold all that they had and gave to the poor. They were glad to be where they were, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

We read in the closing verse of Chapter 2 (verse 47b): And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This was the first Pentecost where the gifts of the Holy Spirit were showered on the followers of Jesus Christ. It was a harvest, all right, but not an agricultural one.



Today is the day. Students at more than 4,000 junior high schools and high schools and on college campuses are joining together for a silent message against abortion.

This marks the fourth annual Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity.

The annual event is put together by Stand True Ministries. Bryan Kemper, president of the group, says that more than 100,000 students plan to raise the pro-life standard.

Today's event allows students to stay silent the entire day and to distribute pro-life literature to their peers and teachers to explain why they are being quiet.

One student said, "I was almost aborted! So I am standing for all babies who weren't as lucky as me."

Kemper said that he heard of 16 girls who changed their minds about having an abortion last year just because of this event.

Read more:


want a really good web site for answers for a zillion questions? here it is:


PSYCHOLOGY: Anxiety's High State of Misery in Children

Anxiety probably accounts for half of the people who go looking for professional guidance and help in getting out of the mental maze they find themselves in.

Simply put: anxiety is based on fear. Because anxious people can't figure out what they are afraid of, it's an irrational fear. We say that because if it were a rational fear -- that is, if you knew what you were afraid of, you could develop a plan and go after the fear.

Children fall victim to anxieties because of a wide variety of things going on in their young lives.

In the first place, children have not built a repertoire of coping skills that adults have. So when something is amiss in their home environment, it can knock these little kiddos off their moorings pretty fast.

For one thing, parents who have declared war on each other -- or are talking about divorce out in the open -- are bring anxieties to their children. Outwardly they may not think they're afraid of anything.

Adults usually don't understand anxieties, so how could children wrap their minds around this psychological phenomena?

Here are some things to look for in your children, if you suspect anxieties, or if your pediatrician has counseled you to get help for your child's anxiety:

1. Watch for a child being keyed up and restless most of the time. Kiddos just can't seem to settle down and relax.

2. Watch for early signs of lingering fatigue. This is the contradictory signal of being keyed up. Your child may either be running on full alert, or has backed off completely and is sitting somewhere napping or looking like he or she is just ready to nod off.

3. Then there's the mind just going blank. In the middle of a sentence, a child may stop cold and forget what the subject matter was. Yes, I know, it happens to me too. And guess what, it happens when I'm really stretched emotionally. When children are using up too much of their emotional resources, they hit blank spots in their thinking.

4. Irritability. Imagine that! Children get cranky when they become fearful and don't know what they're afraid of. Children get cranky when they are afraid they aren't going to be able to copy. Children get cranky when they suspect that the adults in their lives are too busy fighting, arguing, suing each other. Children get cranky when they fear that no one is going to be available to take care of them.

5. Muscle tension. Watch for this one most carefully. It may mean that stress has joined the anxiety. And if you haven't gone to a counselor yet, and are delaying for whatever the reason might be, you're going to have to spend extra time unbundling stress when it gets embedded with anxieties.

Some homes that seem to produce high anxieties in children include:
Homes where there's domestic violence
Homes where there's alcohol and/or drug abuse
Homes where there's a divorce threatened or pending
Homes where children do not have emotional access to an adult in the house
Homes where children are left to fend for themselves

Remember -- little people can solve little problems. If little people think they may have to solve adult problems, they become anxious.


9:10 am          Comments

Monday, October 22, 2007


Happy good Monday morning to you all -- except for those people who are living on the other side of the international date line. Then it's Tuesday. Boy, time goes by fast enough but to think that it's already a day later in China and South Korea makes me want to hurry and catch up!

The soup supper at church was wonderful. The menu was lots and lots of chili and a second choice of chicken noodle soup. All the soup suppliers brought 2 gallons of their favorite recipe and it then got all mixed together. (The two soups stayed separated though.) And there were hot dogs and ham sandwiches. And lots of pies. 

I'm making another sugar free lemon meringue pie today. It's one of our favorites. The one I brought to church yesterday disappeared pretty fast. There must be others who have to watch their sugar intake.

It's just wonderful to get back into the social life of a church congregation again. And church people do love their potluck suppers. There was a lot of visiting going on in the kitchen as we busied ourselves dishing up soup and keeping the soup bowls washed and ready for the next line of customers who came in the door.

Don, our neighbor from across the street, came over this morning to rototill a 12' square for a garden next spring. That ought to give me plenty of room for a few tomato plants, some pole beans, and green bell peppers. Maybe another Tabasco plant too.

We're expecting our first frost by this weekend. That means I'll have to put those ugly little cones on all my pretty roses pretty soon. Then the countdown starts for spring. We move back to standard time on November 4, and the days get shorter until December 22.

Then the days start to get a bit longer, even if almost a minute a day, as the sun turns north again to make its trek back across the equator. Then there's Ground Hog Day and right after that -- spring.

That just about covers my winter which will be spent embroidering and writing and counseling on a scaled back, part-time basis. And oh yes, my new hobby: genealogy. So far I've traced the Haltom side of the family back to 1790 in Maryland when John Haltom married Nancy no-last-name. And from there, begat Ezekiel who begat Zachariah who begat Leonard who begat Allison, my father.


BIBLE STUDY: Acts 1:1-26

Authorship: As early as the middle of the 2nd century, there appears to be consensus that Acts was written by Luke, the physician, the friend and fellow traveler of Paul.*

*(from Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume One.)

In the very beginning of Acts (verses 1-3, it seems apparent that whoever wrote the third gospel also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. In this first verse, there is a reference to an earlier writing to this same person, Theophilus: In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.

A further inference can be drawn as to Luke's authorship since Acts picks up where the Gospel of Luke leaves off. We read in Luke 24:51: While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

In the first chapter of Acts, Luke reiterates this event in verse 9: After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

There are a couple of curious notes I make from verses 10-11: They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressing in white stood beside them. "Men of Galiliee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

First of all, these two men dressed in white seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Do you think, like I do, that there were angels?

The message is for the apostles to go on back to town. There's nothing left for them to do standing around on the Mount of Olives.

So they headed on back to town. In verse 12, we learn that it was about a "Sabbath day's walk from the city." How far would that be?

Well, we know from Exodus 16:29 that this distance is about 3,000 feet. That's the maximum distance that a faithful Jew could walk on the Sabbath, the day that he was supposed to be resting.

There is a transition of apostolic leadership in this first chapter of Acts. It's a replacement for Judas Iscariot, the apostle who had betrayed Jesus and who had committed suicide.

There were two candidates to take Judas' place: verse 23: Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

The apostles apparently were not so sure how they should replace someone to take Judas' place when, in fact, Jesus had called each of the original twelve to his ministry.

So they prayed, verses 23-26: Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

I believe that the reason the apostles cast lots was to take the selection process completely out of their human hands and put the choice back into the hands of God. There are no coincidences with God. I believe that. The apostles apparently believed it too. They knew that God would select the next apostle by selecting the lot that was drawn.

Interestingly enough, this is the last time that the casting of lots is mentioned in the Bible.

When you are walking through your days, do you consider that God has put challenges in your path. That he has put people in your path that you are supposed to help. People who might annoy you. People who you'd really rather not bother with sometimes. People who are empty fields into which you are to plant the seeds of faith.

Memorize this Bible verse and file it in your heart, from Ephesians 2:10: For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So your days may be blueprints filled with challenges drawn up by God, but what you do with your days depends on your choice -- you have the gift of free will.

Sometimes those challenges are opportunities that have a small window of time that won't open again. Let your heart be guided through prayer as you walk through your days.

I pray that God's richest blessings will be with each of you.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Improve Their Life Skills As They Age

Resilient people are able to look back on their lives -- even their lives five or six years ago to figure out what they've learned. Following a near tragedy or traumatic event that happened to them, they are able to reflect on the experience as horrible but one that allowed them to grow and develop.

As time goes by, we get better at solving problems. When we look back at the problems we've survived, we get better at seeing the "silver lining" in the clouds of gloom.

We get better at seeing freight trains coming down the track at us. We don't kid ourselves into thinking it's the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Nope, we see a freight train and we know we have to do something about it before it gets too close for comfort.

When we're in our twenties, we are much better at problem-solving than when we were a mid-adolescent. We've matured into a better, more dynamic thinking person.

When we're in our thirties, we start to see the trees standing in the forest. It's not just a blur of green anymore. We're able to look back on our twenties and think to ourselves, "Boy, I had some close calls."

Then in our forties, we're really starting to get good. We've honed our problem-solving skills to a fine art. We get so good at anticipating some problems, it feels like we can kind of see around the bend.

We continue to learn how to solve problems and to figure out what we've learned from our problems as we keep on going through life. The more we evaluate and pick a problem apart to find what it was good for, the most we develop resilience.

Remember, you don't learn how to become resilient.

Instead, you learn how to cope, how to solve problems, how to evaluate your problem-solving. And this allows you to develop resilience.

This concludes this little series on resilience. I hope it has helped.



Dear Jane: I don't think my marriage will ever work the way I want it to anymore. I admit that there is a wall between my husband and me. We'd both like to make the marriage work out because we have small children, but I'll never trust him again. He had sex with a woman at work after we'd only been married four years. I couldn't believe that he'd ever do such a thing. He tries to assure me that this is the only time he has ever been unfaithful but I just can't believe him. He says he's sorry and wants me to forgive him. We only had one of our children at that time. We now have three. Do you think we'll ever be able to make our marriage work? Oh, and another thing. He is the son of a pastor. Signed: Forgive and Forget?

Dear Forgive: Of course you can make your marriage work. The two of you are the only people who can make it work.

But will it be easy? Nope.

I don't know what the dynamics of the relationship were at the four year point of your marriage, but there is nothing that could excuse adultery.

And -- if he asks you for forgiveness, as a Christian you are supposed to forgive -- just like you want God to forgive you for your sins.

Look, no one is free of sin. But in the list of the Big Ten, is adultery more grievous than murder? Is it more grievous than gossiping about someone at work, or telling fibs about someone? Or is adultery more grievous than not remembering the "Sabbath to keep it holy?" Is it more grievous than stealing? Or wanting something that doesn't belong to you?

Who decides? You? I don't think so.

The wall that exists between the two of you is something you constructed. It's your job to take it down. That is, if you truly want this marriage to work. Your husband cannot tear the wall down that you built.

What the two of you need to do is sit down and figure out -- and I mean, really figure out -- whether or not you want your marriage to work. If your answer is yes, and you kind of hinted that this would be the case, then you each need to commit to getting to know one another all over again. Sounds like you've become strangers.

You say that your husband is trying to assure you that this is the only time he has ever been unfaithful to you. But you don't believe him. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

What we know is information that we take in through our senses. Did you see your husband do anything that would prompt you to accuse him of continuing his adultery? If not, then you have to believe him.

Did you hear your husband talking with this other woman, or any other woman, in such a way that would cause you to doubt his fidelity? If not, then you have to believe him.

You do not know that he is being unfaithful until you either hear him or see him. Everything else is suspicious. How far are you in letting go of your suspicions?

To get past this, you may need to go to a marriage counselor. This would especially be true if you are not able to get past your doubts and suspicions. You can't punish your husband for something he did a few years ago that he apparently has deep regrets about.

Forgiveness is a choice. But more than that, it is a gift we give to ourselves. When you reach the point where you choose to forgive your husband, a giant weight will be lifted from your heart.

Start by becoming friends again. If you don't have parents in the area who can watch the kiddos, then get a babysitter from your church while the two of you go out to dinner. Doesn't have to be expensive. Could even be a picnic lunch if finances are tight.


9:16 am          Comments

Friday, October 19, 2007


It's menu making day and later, grocery shopping. I've taken to cleaning out the refrigerator except for condiments on shopping day. It's a new habit that I developed since moving into the house. I figure that if those little storage containers sat there with food in them all week, it's not going to get eaten up next week either. Besides, it's my duty to feed the garbage disposal too. I think I hear it growling at me if I don't.

We're having a Soup Supper this Sunday evening at church. I volunteered to make 2 gallons of chili and a sugar free lemon meringue pie. That way Quint is sure to have some dessert, just like everybody else. 

It's gloomy here. Some would say cloudy but I say gray and gloomy. It's the kind of day where you have to make your own sunshine. Tomorrow will be bright and shiny. Good autumn day and perfect weather for burning leaves. The maple trees turned a vivid yellow practically overnight. So pretty.



Since I won't get the next Bible Study assignment until we go to church on Sunday, and finished up the book of Hebrews in mid-week, I thought I'd make a comment about the historical records about crucifixions during the first century A.D.

I will admit that as a Christian, I accept the Biblical truth that Christ indeed was crucified. Taking that on faith, I really do not need historical data to back up my beliefs. But in making the comment that records of crucifixions were kept, I need to at least share where that information came from.

I will admit that when I made that statement, it was from a memory of (theology) class discussions at Concordia University where I received both an undergrad and masters degree.

Could I cite the work of the person I was referring to? Not really. But I did remember the prof quoting Josephus. Josephus was a real live human being -- a historian who compiled lots of information in the first century A.D.
"Josephus was a Jewish historian who lived from 37-100 A.D. He also mentions Jesus' crucifixion (Josephus, p. 379). This passage has been hotly contested. Some believe the early Christians altered the passage. This belief has arisen because the passage appears too "Christian" for a Jew to have written it.

"However, an Arabic manuscript omits the questionable passages while retaining the phrase, "Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die" (quoted in Habermas, p. 92).

"The Jewis Talmud (70-200 AD) records, "On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu (Hebrew for Jesus) was hanged" (Quoted in Habermas, p. 98). "Hanged" is used in the NT to describe crucifixion; so there is no contradiction (Luke 23:39; Gal. 3:13).

"Lucian, a second century Greek satirist, writes of the early Christians that they, '...worship the crucified sage' (Quoted in Habermas, p. 100)."
"When the New Testament was written, Christianity was banned by Roman law. The Romans, well aware that they had executed Christianity's founder -- indeed the reference to Jesus' crucifixion by the Roman historian Tacitus is among the earliest allusions to him outside the New Testament -- had no reason to rescind their anti-Christian legislation.

"To mention just one example, contrary to the above claims, Tacitus mentions the death of Christ under Pontius Pilate in "Annals" 15.44:

"...But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind...."
"Although Tacitus does not mention expressly the word 'crucifixion' ('crucifixio', in Latin), but uses the Latin word 'supplicium' meaning literally 'torment', 'punishment', 'penalty', it is clear that Jesus was crucified since in the Roman Empire the crucifixion was the capital punishment generally inflicted on all those who were not Roman citizens, like Jesus for example, while Roman citizens were condemned to be beheaded (St. Paul for example).

"See Tacitus and Jesus for further discussion...The historical evidence for the crucifixion and resurrection is discussed in countless books and web pages. Whoever wants to carefully study the issue, will find plenty of splendid expositions on this topic. There is no need to repeat the arguments here."

In fact, there are 236,000 web pages that came up in response to my question about "Roman crucifixion records in 1st century."

So, to the individual who challenged my comment that Jesus' death is a matter of historical record, I hope that this will be a sufficient commentary.

The truth of the matter is, over the period of some 65 years of living on this earth, I have learned things, heard things, inhered information that I couldn't tell you where I learned them. But I know I heard things in lectures, read about things in books, or had a conversation with someone about something -- but I can't remember where in each and every instance because I do not have encyclopedic knowledge and I don't make a hobby out of collecting cites.

It's like making a cake, sort of. I know a cake is a sweet dessert. I also know I need to put sugar into the batter. But I can't sit here and write out a recipe for making a cake. I can still make the comment that cakes are sweet.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Are Self-Confident

And, I'd like to add, self-confident people have an internal locus of control. More about that in a few minutes.

Play with the term "self-confident" a bit. We use it to describe people who are, well confident in themselves. "Self-confident" as opposed to what? "Other confident?" But now I'm being silly.

When we are self-confident, we believe in ourselves.

It means that you feel a sense of certainty about yourself. You can make a decision and be confident that it's the best choice at the time.

Self-confident people don't go looking for approvals from others in order to make decisions. They can weigh data, facts, consequences. All these elements go into making good, solid decisions.

That's not to say, however, that other people's point of view shouldn't be considered -- like a spouse, for instance! We extend all sorts of such courtesies to others. It's just the thing to do when we share an environment with someone else.
But that's not the same thing as making those decisions you're entitled to make and you're required to make all by yourself -- with confidence.

Self-confidence comes from a long list of abilities. As we go through life, we learn things. We acquire knowledge. We acquire the ability to engage in critical thinking -- hopefully. We learn to rely on our ability to make choices that work for us.

And the more we do that, we more self-confident we become.

Then there's the term locus of control that I referred to above.

When we have an internal locus of control, we do not need to take a vote from a bunch of other people to determine what we should do about something.

When we have an internal locus of control, we are able to affirm ourselves. We feel like we are a valuable person. We don't need to seek affirmation from others.

Sure, affirmations from others are great but we shouldn't require them in order to feel good about ourselves. They're great when they are layered over onto our affirmations about ourselves.

People who have an external locus of controloften think they're impostors. That is, they don't view themselves as competent individuals unless other people are telling them they're good at what they do.

We want to own our own personal success. In order to do that, we need to have a strong internal locus of control.

We need to keep ourselves centered and leveled. That means staying grounded so that someone can't nudge you off center.

Need more self-confidence? Then get some. Nobody is going to give it to you.



This next piece isn't really from an e-mail. I want to share it with you anyway, just in case you don't get a chance to read about such things elsewhere.

Several weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh got lambasted by the U.S. Senate. Apparently Rush said something on his radio talk show which airs daily that gave the senators some idea that Rush called our soldiers "phony soldiers."

I didn't hear the show so I don't know what the context was. Limbaugh explained that he was referring to people claiming to have participated in the war in Iraq when, in fact, they had never been in to Iraq.

However, Senator Majority Harry Reid saw to it that the U.S. Senate tried to pass a resolution demanding Limbaugh's apology. The resolution didn't pass, but 41 senators signed it. The letter went to the president of Clear Channel from which the Limbaugh show is broadcast.

This letter/failed resolution was passed on to Limbaugh from the Clear Channel president. Limbaugh decided to sell it on E-bay. He said all the proceeds -- all of the proceeds -- would go to the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation and would be used for scholarship assistance for the children of Marines or federal law enforcement officers who died while on duty.

Limbaugh offered to match whatever the final bid was came up to.

Well, friends, the bidding just ended. The final bid tally comes to $2,100,100! This is the figure that Limbaugh promised to match. And piggy banks and all, he's good for it.

Now what the senate needs to do is get back to the business for which they were elected and manage the taxpayers affairs, don't you think? For instance, congress has yet to pass a budget for the new fiscal year even though the old budget expired on September 30. President Bush had to sign an emergency tax bill just to keep government going until congress gets its work done and sends a budget over to the White House for approval.


10:29 am          Comments

Thursday, October 18, 2007


We had tornado warnings when we woke up this morning. Unusual to have the risk of tornadoes in the morning. Then when we were watching the news, there were tornadoes that ripped through an Oktoberfest in Oklahoma. Now, who would go to an Oktoberfest, sit out there in a big old tent when there is a sky so threatening that it looks like it could spawn a tornado or two?

Well, two tents fell down. These weren't little bitty tents either. They were the big old things you could use for a small plane hangar. Lots of people injured.

Don't they teach weather in earth science anymore? It's easy -- sky is black, stay out of tents. Better yet, stay home. Fortunately no one was killed.

I can just hear them standing at the front door. "Hey, Myrtle, you still want to go?"

"Oh sure. It'll blow over." Well, it did. With them in it.

We had an inch and a half of rain during the night and boy, did we need it. The ground was bone dry -- like concrete. You just know those poor little plants had ouchy pinchy toes.

We are enjoying each and every day of nice weather. The sun is shining gloriously so we'll be pushing leaves around as soon as we can get outdoors. Even though they're wet. We'll just put a plastic drop cloth on them so we can burn them Saturday when the weather turns dry again.


BIBLE STUDY: Matthew 5:1-16

In this reading, we are reminded that Jesus says we are the light of the world. How is your light burning these days? When was the last time you shared the light of Christ with someone in darkness?

I do hope that you are reading these Bible Studies with your favorite translation of Bible next to you. This particular chapter in the Gospel of Matthew contains Christ's beautiful Sermon on the Mount in the first twelve verses.

In verse 14 we read: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

When we were members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Pastor Landgrebe would often close his sermons with this thought: Be careful of the life you lead, you may be the only Bible someone will read.

How true that is.

I remember counseling a client a number of years ago who came to me with an addictions problem. He told me his story -- of a mother who had deserted the family when he was a little tyke. And a father who couldn't seem to stay out of trouble with the law. And finally, when this young man turned twenty-three, his father began serving a sentence for hard time at one of the maximum security prisons in Illinois.

I was amazed that he had no legal troubles. Had never been arrested, in fact.

So I asked him how in the world had he managed to stay out of trouble. And where did he get his sense of ethics?

Then he told me that he figured out that he didn't want to be like his father. But he didn't have anybody around him that he wanted to be like. So he did the only thing that made sense to him. He started watching successful people. He wanted to be like them. His observations told him that successful people usually went to church. So that's where he headed. He was in church every single Sunday.

He wasn't sure why that ought to make a difference, but he kept going. Then he started getting something out of the sermons. He never socialized with the people at church -- he just wanted to be among them. He said he figured that successful people were good people and he wanted to be like them.

He's doing well. He's married with a couple of little tykes. He's a different kind of daddy than he had. He's a sergeant for one of the suburban police departments. But then, negative role modeling can be just as powerful as positive role modeling. That is, sometimes we don't know what we want, but we do know what we don't want.

The first question we are given to ponder is this: How is your light burning these days? Just the thought that you are even reading this Bible Study says that you are fueling the flame inside you.

And pray. Make your prayers sound like conversations. Prayers don't have to sound like Elizabethan English with all the "thees" and "thous." I'm not sure God speaks like that anyway.

A prayer could be something as simple as, "You know what -- I know I'm supposed to be doing this but I just can't. I don't know if it's because I don't want to or I just don't know how. Would you please help me out because something tells me that it's what you want me to do." Yes -- that's a prayer. A very sincere one.

The next question is: When was the last time you shared the light of Christ with someone in darkness?

You don't have to get out of bed every morning ready to write a sermon, but you can get greeting cards that have a Bible message as an inspiration. You can write a cheery little note to someone who is lonely. Or maybe make a telephone call to someone, or offer to take a shut-in out to lunch. There are all kinds of ways to do acts of kindness. Then you can be a sermon in shoe leather.

I have started a Bible Study blog at and just yesterday, added a Bible Study on in the Religion category. Maybe you don't want to write a Bible Study but you can share your faith in many other ways. Today, you can be the presence of Christ to someone you meet.

God bless you!


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Profit From Their Misfortunes

Or to put it another way, resilient people can learn from their mistakes.

One sign of intelligence is to change tactics when something doesn't work. If something doesn't work, it's not the time to keep doing to same thing only harder.

No. Instead, try to come at your problem-solving from another direction. Try something you hadn't thought of before. Remember -- you ought to have at least three alternative solutions for each problem you're trying to solve.

What you don't want to do is marry your solution. By that I mean refusing to try something different.

When you reach the point where you learn to take something valuable from solutions that work for you, then you feel less victimized. When you no longer feel like a victim to your problems, then you start to feel more resilient.

Remember -- you can't learn to be more resilient. But you can learn new tools that will help you develop resilience.

To try this out on my psychology students when I was teaching, I had two poles, each four feet in length and one C-clamp. The class, as a whole, was assigned to make a coat "rack" and they could put it anywhere in the room. But they had to use all three items.

They pondered and pondered. They thought so hard I swear I could smell the smoke. Every once in a while someone would come up with the solution I was looking for. (Now before I go any further, let me just say that this is one of those trick problems that theoretically only has one solution. Balancing a checkbook is like that too. Math problems generally only have one correct solution. So I'd have to re-think my position that there ought to be at least three solutions to every problem. In the gray areas of life, there ought to be more than one. In the black and white world of hard science, like the engineering problem I gave to the class, there can only be one solution that I can think of.

That solution is to hold the two poles together with the C-clamp, between the floor and the ceiling. It works as long as the ceiling is not greater than 8', which my classroom wasn't. Then the C-clamp "handle" operates as a kind of hook to put the coat onto.

Resilient people literally thrive in situations that are just too distressing for other people. Maybe rising to the challenge of finding a workable solution is seen as a challenge to test their problem-solving skills. I suspect that this is the case.

First thing a resilient person asks is, "How can I solve this problem?" And then, "What can I learn from this problem?"

Life's a hoot. Get out there and laugh a little!



Dear Jane: How can I make sure my children aren't at risk for staph infections? Do schools monitor this and is it viral or bacteria? Signed: Worried Dad

Dear Worried: One of the most powerful deterrents for the bacterial staph infection is wash, wash, wash those hands. As parents, we have to do a better job of role modeling.

Even watching the food channel, I see the chefs splash water on their hands but they don't really wash good. Look -- running water from the faucet over your hands is only slightly better than nothing.

Splashing a little soap in there is better. But if you really want to take care of possible bacteria, you're gonna have to suds it up and roll your hands around in the lather. Sing to yourself the words to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and by the time you get through the little ditty, you'll have lathered enough to get a whole bunch of bacteria headed down the drain.

Do schools monitor staph bacteria? Don't know. You'd have to check with your individual school principal.

When I was in school many many years ago, the teacher lined us up for hand washing before lunch. I wonder if they're doing that anymore. It ought to be every time the kiddos come back in from recess.

I shudder to think of what they're exposed to out on the playground. Birds fly overhead and you know what those little deposits are. They land on playground equipment. Kids hold onto equipment when they're playing on it. There's just all kinds of places where bacteria can hide and multiply explosively. 

Hand washing works. It helps the little staph demons slide off the skin and down the drain.

Dear Jane: I'm basically a shy person and my husband is a successful corporate attorney. When we go to company functions, he often leaves me alone, which terrifies me. How can I get over my fear of meeting strangers. I could never just walk up to a bunch of people I don't know and start talking to them. Signed: Desperate in Orange County

Dear Desperate: You might not be able to walk up to a group of people you don't know but you probably could approach just one person.

You didn't say whether this is true or not but I'm guessing that your husband is interacting with upper middle management persons or vice presidents of the company he works for. If that's the case, there are probably other women in the same boat as you are in. Some of them would probably rather be anywhere else. See if you can single one out to talk to.

If you don't think this would work, then I'd suggest giving one of the other wives a call before the event and get to know her a little over the phone. Either way, it's going to feel pretty risky until you get to know a colleague or two.

One trait that shy people share with all other shy people is this notion that everybody is evaluation them. Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. People are too busy evaluating themselves than to worry about what you're up to. Pick out one of the other wives and walk up to her and say, "What a gorgeous color! It really sets off your hair." Then talk about her favorite topic -- herself or her children (if she has any) or her husband.

Two topics to stay away from: corporate politics and gossip. Maybe even governmental politics too.

It gets easier the more you do it. Trust me.


9:36 am          Comments

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Welcome to readers in Germany and China and our good buddies here in the United States. So glad to have you stopping by.

And thank you very much for your kind response to the new section "Since You Asked Me." As promised, I will not use your real names even though some of you are not too terribly innocent (by your definition, not mine).

We're still pushing leaves around in the yard. We spent about three hours yesterday afternoon with the leaf blower and Quint's burning in the fire pit. Then we transplanted some trumpet vine interlopers way back at the end of the property, just before the back yard drops off into a ravine. Certainly don't want our back yard to wash down in there, especially since we burned that mountain of brush in one of our ambitious projects. Now there's just bare dirt.

But the trumpet vines ought to take care of the need for roots to hold the dirt in place. Trumpet vines very happily grow anywhere. And next spring I'm planting a million sunflowers and myrtle. Anything that will grow in cracks in the sidewalks will be welcome back there.

Good news for my sister. The PET scan says there's no cancer anywhere in her body except the small mass on the upper right lung. But I told you that already. Yesterday afternoon she met with the surgeon and he says all he needs to do is remove the upper right lobe. That sounds scary enough to me. There are a few tests at the hospital before any operation can be schedule, so please keep her in your prayers.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 13:1-25

This final chapter of Hebrews brings many exhortations to the Jewish people.

So what exactly is an exhortation? It's defined as the ability to help others reach their full potential by means of encouraging, challenging, comforting and guiding.

Chuck Swindoll says it is the ability to bring encouragement, to help others see the relevance of Scripture, to give insightful counsel, to motivate, to comfort and to offer hope that prompts action.

That's a big "to do list," don't you think?

The Apostle Paul was always the teacher -- giving us lists of things to do and how to minister to others.

So what was on his list of things he wanted the Jewish people to do?

Keep loving each other, like brothers. Family always gets a special place in our hearts. So we're encouraged to embrace each other as if we were all one big, happy family.

Don't forget to entertain strangers. Some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Abraham certainly did. Remember when the angels appeared out of nowhere to him out in the middle of the desert? They came right up to his tent, knocking on the door. Weren't exactly in the neighborhood, would you think?

Remember those in prison. And put yourself in there with them as if you were a fellow prisoner. I remember going to a women's prison here in Illinois with a group of church women years and years ago. There was one woman who was illiterate when she started doing her time. But she had learned to read because of a Prison Ministries group of church women who came out each week to do Bible Studies with the inmates. True, the Bible was the only book that she read, but it was all she said she needed. What a ministry and a fellowship the Prison Ministries group is for all these women.

Remember those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. How often we get lost in the comforts of our own worlds. We forget that there are people living in mud huts in other places in this world. We forget that there are women who are victims of domestic violence. We forget that there are people who live in terrifying places in their minds where there is no peace and comfort for them. We forget that there are children living in poverty because their parents drink and drug their food away from them. They go to school hungry and their parents lay in hungover heaps. We cannot individually solve their problems but we can pray for those who are mistreated. We can remember them.

We should keep our marriage beds pure and let God judge the adulterer and sexually immoral people. This is one of the most difficult challenges that threatens to rip a marriage apart. There's just so much anger for so many reasons that interferes with the victim being able to forgive the adulterer. In this exhortation, we are reminded that God is the one who avenges this wrongdoing.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. So much for keeping up with the Joneses.

Remember your leaders who spoke the world of God to you. That goes all the way back to your earliest Sunday School teachers. And on up the line to youth ministers when you got older, and then to pastors in churches who bring the message of salvation to each one of us. This exhortation reminds us to look at the lives that these people are leading and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ has not changed from the early days of your Sunday School lessons to the depth of faith as you grew. He may have a deeper faith message to you today, but it's because your faith has matured; he hasn't changed at all. Not since the beginning of time, and not even when he returns to collect all his believers for all eternity. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

There's an exhortation in this chapter to do away with the ceremonial foods. There were certain ceremonial foods from the sacrifices offered that the people could eat; others were to be eaten only by the temple priests. The sacrifices were brought to the temple so that the blood could be sprinkled, but the animals were taken outside the city where they were cooked. In like manner, Jesus Christ, being the perfect sacrifice for mankind's sins, also lost blood when he was scourged inside the city walls, but was taken outside the city where he died in a final offering for sin.
Because of Jesus, we are to continually offer a sacrifice of praise and with our mouths, we are to confess his name. Don't be shy about letting other people know you are a Christian. Pastor Landgrebe used to remind us "to be careful of the life you lead -- you may be the only Bible someone will read." Does your life give testimony to your Christian faith? Doing good deeds and sharing with others are ways that we can offer life sacrifices that are pleasing to God.

We are to obey our leaders and submit to their authority. That way their work will be a joy and not a burden. There are a lot of laws to obey, aren't they?

And then Paul asks for prayers from the Hebrew people. He says he wants to be restored to them soon. He closes the chapter by telling them that Timothy had been released already.

And finally, he prays that the Lord Jesus will equip them with everything good that they need for doing his will, and that Christ will be able to work through them in their work which is pleasing to Christ.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Are Empathic

Without a doubt, the ability to see things from another person's perspective is one of the most powerful tools available to resilient people.

When I used to see people in couple counseling, I liked to hear them describe what it would be like to be married to themselves.

That was a shock. Here they were prepared with a long litany of things they didn't like about their partner, but had a really difficult time describing what their partner  thought and felt while experiencing them.

Even though people often think they are wonderfully empathic when it comes to "reading" others -- they aren't necessarily.

There are just too many psychics in the world -- and for sure, there are too many psychics in marriages.

When I talk about being able to "read" someone, I'm not talking about reading their minds. Oh no. Empathic understanding is not the same as claiming to be psychic.

Besides, if they're so psychic, how come they don't win the lottery. Or how come I have to tell them who I am when I call. Or how come they don't have perfect understanding of what's going on around them in their lives.

The reason is obvious. They aren't psychic. And they can't read anybody's minds. They'd do good to concentrate on their own minds and get to really know themselves. For any of us, myself included, that's a monumental task.

The more resilient you are, the more empathic you are.

The more resilient you are, the better you are at seeing the world from someone else's perspective. You don't have to subscribe to someone else's point of view, but you ought to at least be able to see their point.

Resilient people look for win/win solutions to problems. Somewhere in every conflict is a nugget of legitimacy for a point of view -- even one that differs from our own.

If you can't see it, or won't see it, then maybe you need to practice an exercise that isn't so emotionally threatening. If you can't talk safely about going to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner or the nuclear arms race or something equally threatening, then talk about the advantages of taking mini-vacations next summer instead of one big, expensive trip.

Practice getting the little empathies right before you move on to bigger game.

Empathy is something you can learn to do.

Resilience develops when you get better at it.



Dear Jane: My wife is having a relationship with someone she met online. At first it seemed innocent enough but now she's online just about every night. She waits until she thinks I'm asleep then gets out of bed and tiptoes to the computer. She denies that anything is going on but it doesn't seem so innocent anymore. We never have sex. She says she's just interested in sex. We have three young children. They demand a lot of her time during the day yet she's able to take a couple of good hours out of her sleep to chat with this guy. It's been over a year since anything intimate has happened between us. What should I do? Signed: Frustrated in Nova Scotia

Dear Frustrated -- Who would have ever thought the computer could ever be anything but a wonderful tool! Truth is, it has brought emotional affairs literally into our living rooms.

Satisfying the whims of a heart throb is what adolescents do. Marriage is where adults play. This game that your wife is playing has long-reaching and potentially devastating consequences for both you and her, and your children as well.

She obviously sees this cyber chatting as an innocent thing but here's the kicker: if it were all that innocent, don't you think she'd be willing to let you read the messages and participate in this friendship?

You don't think so? Well that's how we define doing something wrong -- at the point of shame recognition. Kids do it all too well when we catch them in a fib or doing something they aren't supposed to be doing.

Adults are the same. If your wife doesn't want you to see the dialogue going back and forth between her and this guy, then it's not all that innocent.

You need to let her know that you have deep feelings that are being ignored, for whatever her reasons are. And you need to think about her feelings that sent her looking for something titillating and fun.

Married couples have to really work at keeping their relationship fun and vibrant. It takes both people to do this.

There are four kinds of intimacies: spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional. Spiritual intimacy is a recognition of where God fits in your lives; physical intimacy is want to share space with one another -- any of the five senses play into physical intimacy. Talking on the phone, holding hands, enjoying the fragrances of each other, and even sex; intellectual intimacy means you can have a discussion about ideas. Then there's emotional intimacy. This is where you're willing to be vulnerable with each other. Remember those early days of courtship when you bled your soul with each other. You could talk about anything and everything. Even things you might not have ever told anybody else.

Lack of emotional intimacy sends people running to places outside their coupleness. The two of you need to sit down and figure out where this emotional intimacy got away from you. You both need to make new commitments with one another. Cyber friends do not take the place of a flesh and blood marriage.

But she may not feel like she needs to get her needs met with you if she's spending the best part of herself sharing with someone else.

That needs to stop. Marriage is only a big enough place for two people. There's a reason why the marriage vows include "forsaking all others." She may not see an emotional affair as adultery, but it wouldn't be the first time that it's ended up there.

Dear Jane: I have a four year old daughter who is very temperamental. She seems to go into rages for no reason. She also spends a lot of time staring into space. If I try to get her attention, there are times when she jumps out of her skin. The lady at her preschool has told me that she needs to be on Ritalin to help keep her focused. Do you think this is a good idea? We don't have any attention deficit disorders in our family on either side. Signed: Bewildered Mom

Dear Bewildered: Oh how I wish teachers would quit practicing medicine without a license. Take your child to her pediatrician. Attention Deficit Disorder with or without the hyperactive component is a medical diagnosis.

There are a number of reasons that children don't stay on task. I remember when I was four years old I had some pretty profound conversations with God. At least, at the time, I thought they were. I could stay on task. Problem is, the task I stayed on was whatever was going on in my little head. I'm too old to have been part of a preschool class but I can tell you that if I had been, jumping into reading when I was busy thinking would not have made me happy.

Anxieties can also make children look symptomatic of ADD/ADHD. I'd rule out anxieties with your physician too. If there's a lot of turmoil in the house -- if there's any alcohol or drug abuse -- if there's domestic violence -- if there's talk of divorce -- all these things can make children afraid. And what could they be afraid of? Well, for starters, they're afraid that no one is going to be able to take care of them.

Children need all kinds of assurances from the adults in their lives that they are going to be cared for, cared about and taken care of. Does that make them selfish little creatures? No, it makes them children.

Make an appointment with your pediatrician right away and follow his advice. Diagnosis ADD is a medical diagnosis. End of story. And good luck.

9:50 am          Comments

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Welcome to our friends in Germany, Israel, and Canada -- and of course, our regulars here in the United States.

Good thing we like to walk. We walked back uptown yesterday afternoon to go to the library. We decided to do some book work on the Civil War. Quint's great grandfather Commodore Perry Llewelyn walked with General Sherman on his &quot;March to the Sea&quot; and my great great great grandfather Ezekial Haltom fought in the Civil War on Confederate side.

So there's a huge gap between what I know from Bible history events and World War II. Things were going on in that in-between time that I am woefully ignorant of. We're both starting with the Civil War just to start our quest for information. Next time we decide to check out a bunch of books, though, we may just take the car to the library. We limited ourselves to three books each but they got mighty heavy by the time we got back home.

If you ever see us walking down the street, you can point and giggle (quietly) and say "There goes Get and Smart again. Must be going back to the library to take books back."

We're about a mile from town. We have time to walk. The bank is right there. So is the supermarket, although that's a trip limited to a loaf of bread only. And the post office. Walking is good exercise.

This afternoon is leaf blowing time. That's really good exercise, even with a super dooper electric leaf blower. Good for the triceps. And lots of bending over to pick the leaves up to put them in the fire pit.

We got great news from my sister late yesterday. The PET scan shows only the one small mass in her upper lung. It's encapsulated and hopefully operable. She meets with the surgeon this morning so I expect a report later on today.

P.S. Lots and lots of e-mails this morning. I'm adding a column today and including some of the questions and my answers. I will always protect your identity, though, by not using your real name or where you're located. And, of course, if you absolutely do not want me to use your question at all, please let me know when you e-mail me. There is such a wide variety of questions from you. It absolutely amazes me. The column is going to be called, "Since You Asked ..." and it will be after the "Psychology" column. 


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 12: 1-29

It's important in this chapter to differentiate "punishment" and "discipline."

Punishment makes sure that a certain behavior will not continue.

Discipline makes sure that a behavior will continue.

For instance, if we are speeding up and down the highways, eventually we'll get a speeding ticket -- as a punishment. Speeding tickets are punishments. They're a way of making sure speeders stop speeding.

Discipline is a little trickier to define. Making a child sit down and do homework is discipline. Discipline breeds self-discipline and eventually the child develops good study skills that come up out of parental discipline.

Discipline sets up good behavioral habits. We read in verses 11-13: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

The fifth warning (all five warnings are cited at the end of this Bible Study) to the Hebrews can be found in this chapter in verses 14-29: Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile man.

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded; if even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living god. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.'

The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken -- that is, created things -- so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

This particular passage draws a clear distinction again between the old covenant and the new covenant that Jesus brings with him.

The old covenant is the Mosaic law -- all who laid eyes on God would die -- except Moses. And even touching the holy mountain was cause for death, even for the animal. Touching this holy mountain meant being stoned to death.

But then Jesus came to the earth. He brought with him a new covenant from God. Now, the holy mountain was replaced by a holy temple. And all were welcome to come in and hear the message of God. All were welcome, and still are, to come in to the assembly where God is and hear his messages being spoken. This is the new covenant.

But the Hebrews are warned to take care. Back in Moses' day, the voice of God shook the earth.

What will happen if immorality and wickedness continue? God says in the last part of verse 26: "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."

Oh for sure, there are thousands of earthquakes every day here on the earth. Little wigglies that help relieve stresses between tectonic plates of the earth's mantle layer. But every once in a while, there's a really big earthquake in a 9 or greater magnitude. That sends people reaching for their Bibles.

Wouldn't it be better if we all searched our Bibles regularly to see how God wants us to live our lives now -- before he "shakes the earth once more."

Thank you for joining in this Bible Study.

Here are the verses for the five warnings that are included in this Book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:1-4
Hebrews 3:7-4:13
Hebrews 5:1-6:12
Hebrews 10:19-39
Hebrews 12:14-29


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Put a Positive Slant on Life

Resilient people look for solutions, not restatements of old gripes. Anybody can complain but it takes a resilient person who is not indulging in self-sympathy to look for solutions.

We have to train ourselves to look for alternate solutions to problems. And every problem should have a minimum of three solutions. The first, of course, is the ideal solution. The way I want things to be.

The second and third solutions may not be as idealistic -- not the best solutions, but solutions that would work to solve the problem anyway.

We want to build resilience -- in ourselves and in our children.

Adolescent Suicide was a major concern that zapped me in the head when I was in grad school. I wondered and wondered what was going on in this country -- the richest country on earth -- the country with the best, world class medical facilities available -- why were our youngsters killing themselves? And why were the incidences of suicide increasing?

One of the answers is that the suicidal person truly believes that suicide is the only thing they can do. To the person who is contemplating suicide, there are no other solutions that they can think of.

So I started speaking up about suicide -- to every adult who, in any way, had any contact with children -- parents, teachers, Sunday School teachers, vacation Bible school teachers, babysitters.

Everybody. Listen up. Teach children to find at least three solutions. It's not so hard to play solve problems when kiddos are little. They just love to think outside the box and some of the solutions they come up with as #2 and #3 are downright comical sometimes, but they get into the habit of hunting for three good solutions.

I'm not saying this is the only answer to the suicidality of our nation's youngsters. But it's one element that we can work on every day of our lives that we come in contact with kids who have problems.

Learn how to hunt for three solutions and then teach children to do the same.

You'll also help them become more resilient along the way.

Because of this positive slant that resilient people put on their world, they try to turn chaos into stability.

We just can't live our lives with all that frantic nonsense going on. It wears us out and depletes us. Resilient people don't use up all their reserves. That's mainly because they don't have to. Resilient people bring a positive attitude with them.

This positive attitude says, "I can do this. I can figure this out. I can solve this."

Resilience is not about having good luck. It's about carving out a new you. It's about becoming a positive thinker -- a positive problem-solver.



Dear Jane: My kids start screaming and acting up something awful every time they get in the car to go somewhere. It's like they know I can't do anything about it. They fight about everything. I thought that the DVD player would be a good solution but now they fight about what to watch. Any suggestions? Frantic and Frustrated

Dear Frantic: I have a perfect solution for you. But you may not believe it will work until you try it two or three times. When the kids start bellowing and screeching, just pull over to the curb, or into a parking lot and turn the ignition off.

(I recommend you bring your favorite magazine to read while they're calming down.)

Tell them that you are not going to turn the car or van back on until everybody gets quiet. This may take what seems like an eternity, but in truth, it will probably only be five or ten minutes.

Lock the kiddy-locks on the doors so that they can't jump out of the car.
Then just ignore them.

If you have trouble ignoring them, you're going to have to learn to not pay attention to their screeching. Don't look up from your magazine until you hear the blissful sound of quiet.

(They won't be able to watch their videos either when the car is turned off.)

Okay, so you may be late by ten minutes or so the first couple of times you try this. But it won't take long before the kids get the idea that you are the person in charge, not them. And you can't drive your vehicle safely if they're going to distract you.

Remember this: Reinforce the behavior you want to continue. When the kids settle down and get quiet, just say "thank you" and go on your way.

10:19 am          Comments

Monday, October 15, 2007


Quint and I walked uptown to the post office to mail a letter to my sister. I copied all the prayers for her that have been lifted up by the prayer warriors on Free Republic. There are so many prayers and each one is very touching. I'm sure it will give her some peace and maybe comfort as well.

She had a PET scan on Saturday. She says she hopes she never has to have another one. It really made her nauseous. Please pray that the cancer has not spread from the one inch mass in her right lung to other places in her body. She meets with the surgeon on Tuesday and I pray that she will get good news.

How much we take our health for granted. Even just the ability to walk to the post office is something we seldom think about. Just get on our walking shoes on off we go. Since the library is only one block past the post office, we're going to walk over there later this afternoon and see if there are any good books that we've missed.

Both of us have pretty much sworn off TV. There's 20 minutes of commercials in every hour, so why bother. We do have ON DEMAND, so we catch a good movie every now and then.

Quint and I both are working on family genealogies. What fun!


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 11:1-40

This link will let you see the trek of the Israelites from the time they left Egypt, where they crossed the Red Sea, and finally to the promised land.

This chapter in Hebrews is known for its testaments of faith.

In fact, it is often referred to as the "Hall of Faith."

Faith is defined in verses 1-2: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

And in verse 6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This Hall of Faith in this chapter gives testimony to such faithfuls as Abel.

In verse 4: By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.

This Hall of Faith includes Enoch -- Verse 5: By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God has taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Then there was Noah. He started building this huge big boat in his back yard long before it started to rain. What do you think his neighbors thought? Yet Noah knew that if God said he'd need a big boat because the rains were coming, Noah had every faith that it would happen -- verse 7: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

And there was Abraham. God told him he was supposed to just pick up and move his whole entire family. Didn't tell him exactly where he was going, but just get ready. Oh, and it's going to take you forty years and you'll wander around in the desert, but I want you to do this. Forget that nice little house where you could go up on the roof and watch the sun go down and catch the evening breezes. I want you to live in tents for a while. You can explain it to the missus. She'll understand. In verses 8-12: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and building is God.

By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age -- and Sarah herself was barren -- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

In verse 17: By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son.

In verse 20: By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

In verse 21: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

In verse 22: By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

In verse 23: By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

In verses 24-28: By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

In verse 29: By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

In verse 30: By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

In verse 31: By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

And from verses 32 through the end of this chapter, there is a dissertation about so many others who exhibited great faith and made their choice, took their stand against what would have been more popular, and pleased God by their choice.

In verses 39 and 40: These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Did you learn something about your faith in today's readings? Is it a strong faith that would please God?

Practice your faith and lift your prayers to heaven. God hears each and every one of our prayers. It pleases him greatly that we want to talk to him and bring our thoughts and concerns to him.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Adapt Quickly and Are Comfortable With Contradictory Personality Traits

This is an area that I am constantly working on to improve myself.

I'm not so sure I adapt all that fast. Ideas have to grow on me. I admit that I like the status quo, especially if it's a "place" where I like to be. But sometimes change is necessary. And no matter how much I've dug in my heels, off I go to new adventures that I end up liking a lot. Sometimes it's just time to shut my mouth and get in the car and listen to Quint. He has yet to steer me wrong.

As far as the contradictions are concerned, that's me to a tee. I can be logical. I can by a contradiction of intuitive thinking.

I learned a long time ago that those gut feelings are often insights coming from above. And the more you pay attention to your hunches, the stronger they become. To the point where they can be, yes, somewhat precognitive.

I often wake up with intuitions. They're those little wavelengths that are delivered to me on the moonbeams of my slumber. You bet I pay attention to those ideas. They are never wrong. I think they may be the whispers of angels. If you ever wake up with such thoughts, better listen to them.

Other little incongruencies might be a sense of playfulness next to a serious nature. I know a lot of you are very, very serious. Just remember that it's okay to be playful too. Have some fun. Don't be so serious that you get to be gloomified.

What do you do to have fun? If you can't remember, then it's been too long. It doesn't have to be a big magnanimous vacation -- it can simply be a stroll through autumn hiking trails.

You'll have to hurry this year, though. At least here in the middle of the state of Illinois, it's been very dry so the leaves aren't going to have all that fall color like they usually do. And their teeny tiny little fingers aren't going to hold on to the twigs very long either.

Can you be strong and gentle at the same time? I think you can. Strong spirited, strong willed. Yet kind and compassionate. Wouldn't that kind of be like graciousness?

What are some of your contradictions? Subscribe to them. Put them in your mental pockets.

The Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran said that pain carves ruts in our soul so that the ruts can be filled up with joy. And boy, I'll tell you -- I've got some deep, deep ruts. Maybe that's where my sense of silly playfulness comes from.

Oh well. Better that than shallow little pool of joy. Nope. I much prefer the deep stuff. It goes all the way down to the bedrock of my soul.

I just hope I'm done with the anguish. I think I've had enough, thank you very much.

10:45 am          Comments

Friday, October 12, 2007


Welcome China and Germany and our mainland buddies here in the United States. And special wishes for Laura and Paul who are moving today. They closed on the sale of their home yesterday. Moving is hugely stressful. I believe it's rated #2, second only to the death of a mate. So I'm hoping that you're resilient enough with good coping skills to look at the move as a big adventure.

Having just moved out of a condo where we lived for nearly thirty years, I can tell you that there are many emotional ups and downs.

Life is about change and change requires adjusting. Problem is, adults don't adjust as quickly as children do.

Kiddos are constantly being exposed to new events and conditions in their lives. They go to school and find a new teacher or a substitute teacher for the day. Or someone moves into the neighborhood and there's a new face in the classroom. Or a new playground monitor. And lots of new things to worry about when the teacher introduces a new math concept that they just can't understand. Changes.
Maybe not so big as selling a house and moving hundreds of miles away, but changes rock a children's world too. Sometimes daily. They're big enough for little people.

But adults get to adjust to big changes. Supposedly we've developed a whole list of coping skills over the years that kiddos haven't put in their Life 101 basket yet.

We all need to just keep telling ourselves, "I can do this." Why? Because you can.

It's all in keeping your perspective. I got an e-mail from a soldier who's in Iraq. When I asked him how he was doing he said, "My unit didn't get shot at today. We had a good day."

So you go out and have yourself a good day. Each and every one of you.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 10: 1-39

We are reminded again in this chapter, in verse 4b, that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to redeem a person from sin.

Then in verses 5-7, Christ addresses his father directly: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, "Here I am -- it is written about me in the scroll -- I have come to do your will, O God."

These words are actually the same as David's in Psalm 40:6-8.

The Hebrews are reminded in verse 10: And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Again, in verses 11-14, we get another contrast between the Levitical priests and Jesus Christ: Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The Levitical priests always stood. Their work of offering sacrifices was never complete. But look at what Jesus does after his sacrifice to his father: he went to heaven and sat down next to his father. Christ's sacrifice was complete. His work as the sacrificial lamb was completed for all time.

The Hebrews are also reminded again, as they had been told by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31:34): The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. (verses 15-17)

Now we have permission to enter the Holy of Holies through the curtain that is the body of Christ. We are cleansed by the blood he sacrificed for us.

The Hebrews are told to hang onto this thought. And then go on to encourage each other in the Christian love they have for one another and to do good deeds. They had been told in verse 22 that there are four conditions for drawing near to God. They are: 1.) have a sincere heart, 2.) have the full assurance of faith in their hearts, 3.) have their hearts cleansed from a guilty conscience, and 4.) have their bodies washed with pure water.

This did not mean that the priests were to give the worshipers a bath, or that the priests were to sprinkle blood onto the worshipers. These references are used figuratively as reminders that the Hebrews were to remember what the priests had done under the Mosaic covenant and now, with Christ, there is a new cleansing under the Messianic covenant.

These next several verses compare Moses' law further with Christ's law -- especially in terms of obedience.

In the old days, under Moses' law, in verse 28: Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

And then comes the stern warning in verses 29-31: How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I wish that all people who have trouble forgiving those who have walked across their psyches, leaping about with glee at the anguish they cause, would memorize these verses. These verses carry the very powerful reminder that we are not supposed to try to get even with these ne'er do wells who bring pain and suffering to us, we are not supposed to be unforgiving either. Rather, we are supposed to let God avenge them for us, if there is any vengeance to be had.

We are not supposed to be running around acting like we're little gods who have the right to make other people miserable. They're miserable enough or else they wouldn't be projecting all their misery onto us. So let God decide what they need to learn as a life-changing event in their lives.

Sure, the Hebrews are reminded that they had been exposed to insults and persecution; that they had their properties confiscated. But no matter. In verses 35-36 they are comforted: So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Learn From Their Experiences

Life is a long series of trials and errors.

That's it in a nutshell. If all people could do this, then everybody would be resilient. There would be no more snipe attacks. There would be no more turf wars. There probably wouldn't even be any more divorces. We'd all be coping well with whatever life throws at us.

But life isn't like that.

With the very best of intentions, we do things that don't work out well. When that happens, we are faced with choices.

The first choice is to evaluate the experience. Boy, that sounds lecturey, doesn't it? But it works every time. People who tend to enjoy successes get really good at evaluating what went wrong with their plans.

Evaluations don't have to be deeply soul-searching. It's a simple list of two questions: what went right and what went wrong?

In the "what went right" category are all the things you want to do the same way the next time you do something.

And guess what -- if there are some things that didn't go well, those are the things that you either don't want to do the same twice, or could do a little bit different next time.

When you are able to identify what you're going to do differently, then you are learning from your experience. This is particularly true because next time, those are the very things that you'll be able to put in the other category. You know -- the one that's the list of things that went well.

The better you get at evaluating and learning from your experiences, the more resilient you become.

And then there are those experiences that seem to get forced on all of us.

Could be that you lost your job recently. How in the world do you learn from that experience when you had nothing to do with the reason you were terminated. Could be downsizing because of something you didn't even know about, much less have any control over.

You may have been going to work every day thinking the company's profitability was just fine. After all, there's new bushes being planted, the company cafeteria is being remodeled, the bathrooms have a fresh coat of paint on them. Maybe a new vice president has recently been hired. These are all things that people read as "company doing okay -- my job is secure."

Then you find out -- in your exit interview -- that the new vice president is a "turnaround" guy.

Oops. Things weren't as rosy as they appeared. Then came the rumors of layoffs. How in the world could a company be spending money like there's no tomorrow if they have to hire somebody to turn the company around?

Remember how you felt when you turned your car out of the parking lot for the last time? Fear? Probably.

But don't let fear immobilize you. Fear is a normal reaction to looking down the barrel of your future. Fear reminds you that you have to cope with something new. It's going to be uncomfortable and you're probably not going to like it.

But fear gives us energy too. Fear will make you get out that resume, dust it off, massage it a bit until it giggles and smiles up at you from the paper. Then it squeezes into an envelope and moves through the mail -- or maybe it moves through cyberspace.

Fear bonks you in the head and reminds you that you haven't updated your resume for a long time. That's supposed to be one of the first things you do when you get your new job, remember? But very few people do it.

So what would you learn in this case? Well, first off, I'll bet you learn to "read" the signs of a company's success a bit differently.

Another thing you might learn is that you ought to be thinking about your next career move. Complacency is a luxury.

Maybe you worked long hours. Maybe you took a whole bunch of time away from your family while you stayed at the office. Maybe you sacrificed your physical well-being when you sat at your desk and used it as an excuse for not working out, or not going for walks.

Maybe you learned that you were letting your job consume you, your schedule, and other people and things that were also important to you.

And maybe you learned that you need to go back for training to update your job skills. Does your evaluation of this life changing event include a desire to sign up for a course that will enhance your job-seeking abilities? You know -- the course you've been putting off taking for a couple of years?

Been there -- done that. Not going to do it that way anymore!

There, now you're on the way to becoming more resilient. You may not want to write down things you wish you'd done. But you do need to be honest about what you know you should have done differently.

What are some of the experiences you've learned from? And how well do you evaluate experiences you've had?

That's how you develop resilience.

10:59 am          Comments

Thursday, October 11, 2007


First of all, welcome to our readers in Germany and Israel who are signed on, as well as our US buddies. And a big good luck to Laura this morning, who's closing on the sale of a house today. (Along with her husband, of course.) It's a momentous occasion so keep your chin up there, lady. You're off on yet another life adventure.

It's a bit chipper this morning. I think it might have been about 48 degrees when we headed out the door for our little stroll. We got a late start today -- mainly because old slugabed here didn't fall out of bed until about 7:45. That's very late for me. And by the time I had just one measly cup of coffee, we were running behind getting our walking shoes on.

By the time we got outside to play in the yard yesterday, it was about 3 o'clock. Quint manned the leaf burning while I pushed 'em to the back of the lot with my handy dandy leaf blower. Even so, it was just at the absolute deadline of 6 pm for burning leaves before we were done. It's a big yard (195 feet deep). It seems even bigger when I'm pushing leaves. But I love it. And it's great exercise.

Quint made pancakes for breakfast this morning. He makes the best pancakes in the whole entire world! I sliced and diced a peach to put on them. Then I have a layer of honey (believe it or not I found a sugar-free honey at Wal-Mart), Molasses (not sugar free), and Sugar Free Maple Syrup. And a great big glass of ice cold milk. That's a breakfast that even Maria Antoinette would love.

Speaking of Maria, if you have On Demand, there's a movie on right now about her. Don't know how long it will run but it is really enjoyable. The person who designed all the costumes got an Oscar for costumes. They're gorgeous gowns. Whoever did it must have had a lot of fun playing with the designs.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 9:1-28

This chapter of Hebrews will speak to all of you who feel like you are not forgiven for something or other that you've done in your life.

Read it. And read it again. Copy the verses that are particularly meaningful to you -- those verses that bring you peace when their meanings flow like a river through your consciousness.

This particular chapter is one of my favorites in the entire Bible. I hear God speaking to me especially through these verses. I feel Christ looking over my shoulder as I write about him. I feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit once again reminding me that Christ's death on the cross brought a whole new meaning to the fulfilment of my worship.

If this doesn't happen to you in a single read-through of this chapter, I encourage you to read it again. And again. And again until the words take root in your heart. This chapter promises to unlock answers to the secrets that you've anguished about.

I pray most earnestly that this the Holy Spirit will bring you the profound peace of knowing that Christ's salvation is a gift that is yours for the claiming. You can't earn it. You don't deserve it. And even if you had been willing to die for it, it wouldn't have been good enough because your blood is contaminated by sin. This great atonement had to be fulfilled by someone who was without sin.

The first part of this chapter -- verses 1-5 -- is a description of the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

If I have it right, there was this huge curtain that separated the two parts of the tabernacle. It was thick as a man's palm. It was sixty feet tall -- that's six stories high! And it took 300 priests to get it in place. So there it hung. Nobody could go into the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place, except the High Priest. And he could only go in once a year on the Day of Atonement (also known as Yom Kippur).

On that day the High Priest sprinkled the sacrificial blood that was a sin offering onto the atonement cover of the Ark of the Covenant. This atonement cover was a slab of pure gold. It is also called the mercy seat and this is where God's presence appeared. At either end of this atonement cover are two cherubim.

What the author of this letter to the Hebrews is doing is reminding the Jewish people that God was very precise in his expectations of just how the sacrifices were to be offered to him under the old Mosaic system.

Be sure to remember that part of the Ark of the Covenant that refers to the Mercy Seat. This is where God's presence was. When the high priest came back there to offer the special sacrifice on Yom Kippur, you just know that God was watching.

And then things changed. God decided that the old Mosaic system wasn't good enough anymore because it didn't have any way for people to become inwardly clean. Tp be redeemed from their sins.

The Mosaic system had a bunch of sacrifices that could be offered up for all sorts of things that people do wrong in their lives.

But there was no sacrifice at all to cleanse people on the inside -- in that innermost part of their being that is their soul. This is the place inside each of us where God comes to rest; watch how we're thinking. How we're behaving. What we're doing with our lives and how we're serving him.

Each one of us has this place inside. In a way it's a Mercy Seat where God himself is seated. It's the very seed of our spiritual being. It's where God lives inside us. It's our soul.

What this chapter of Hebrews is telling the Jewish people, and is telling us today, is that the Mosaic system was replaced forever when God sent his son to become the sacrifice for all the sins that had ever been committed and will ever be committed -- even for people who hadn't been born yet.

It's that forever thing that God does. The blood of animals was the sacrificial offering that God told Moses he wanted. And every year after that, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place and offered the sin offerings by sprinkling the blood onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark.

In verses 14-15 we have the great tipping point in this message of salvation: How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance -- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

This chapter also explains how the tabernacle was ritually cleansed by the sprinkling of animal blood.

But wait. This new covenant is better than that because Christ didn't go into the earthly tabernacle and purify it. Rather, he went into the heavenly most most holy place and offered himself up. This heavenly holy of holies is where God the Father sits.

But Christ doesn't do this again and again, year in and year out. No indeed. He only did it once. And it was for all time. We don't see Christ coming back to earth each year to re-sacrifice himself.

Oh, for sure, we honor what he has done in our remembrances in worship, but these are not re-sacrifices in the literal sense.

No indeed. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God right now, as you are reading this. Christ is renewed and is now free of any pain that he suffered during his crucifixion.

We are made new again, each and every time we ask for forgiveness from our sins. It is how you can know with full certainty that salvation for you is assured. It's how you know you are going to heaven. It's how you know your soul will never die for that is where God lives inside you.


PSYCHOLOGY: Resilient People Have Warm, Caring Relationships

And yes, there's a test to see how resilient you are. In fact there are a number of tests. The on-line test that I like is here:

It just takes a couple of minutes and you can score it on-line immediately to see how resilient you are. It's developed by Al Siebert, PhD, who is also the author of The Resiliency Advantage.

I'm going to spend the rest of the week talking about resilience, and maybe even into next week if I don't get it covered the way I want, or if you have e-mail questions. ( and put "resilience" in the subject line)

First of all, when we talk about resilience, we are talking about how well we bounce back. Resilience is not about just surviving an incident. We've all gone through horrific experiences. Each and every one of us.

And we've pretty much survived them. I say that because we're all walking around on planet earth.

So resilience and surviving are not the same things.

If you are resilient, then you are functioning at least as well as you did before the bad thing happened to you. If you got professional help, then there is every likelihood that your level of functioning will be at a higher level.

That research has already been done and don't ask me to explain it. I can only postulate an opinion but that wouldn't necessary give you the reason.

Most of the researchers I've read make the statement that you can't learn to be resilient, but you can develop resilience.

That sounds like psychobabble mumbo jumbo. But think of it like this. You can't learn to be a good student but you can develop into one. You can learn good study skills. And learning those study skills will help you develop into a good student.

What I'd like to do is talk about some of the building blocks that you can learn. These will help you develop into a resilient person.

Remember this:

If you can identify something,
You can measure it.
If you can measure something,
You can manage it.

So as you're doing this self-evaluation about your resilience, keep in mind that you're at Step #1 -- you're identifying something. As far as measurement is concerned, all you need to do is ask yourself, "Am I doing the same old thing over and over and over?" Haven't I learned one new thing in that last fifteen years that would help me cope just a little bit better?

Okay. There you have it. You've measured your progress. Or lack of it.

Then, when you decide that you're going to do one thing different every day -- or every couple of days -- than you're managing your improvement, or growth.

For instance, if you aren't very good at relationships, try this. Next time you go to the store, pick out a couple of those cheery little "thinking of you" cards." Don't get big giant ones. Just a nice little size that you can jot down a couple of thoughts on and send the cards to people you care about.

That will make your charm-o-meter start to go up the scale. Now you're managing improvement because you're changing it for the better.

I like sending notes. They make going to the mailbox a wonderful experience. And unlike telephone calls, they can be opened when it's convenient. They can be re-read and maybe even saved.

People don't always get around to opening their e-mails every day -- some not even every week. But the mail arrives with clock-stopping regularity. And warm, handwritten notes are always welcomed.

Resilient people enjoy friendships with other people. And they have loving family relationships. These caring relationships help us maintain self-worth and weather the storms of life that swirl around us.

more tomorrow ...


10:39 am          Comments

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It is not good news for my sister Cookie. We pray that the chemotherapy, and possibly surgery, will bring her back to health. Thank you for your prayers. Prayers really do help. God hears each and every one. And he will answer them in his own fashion and according to what his plans are. We can only ask -- we can't tell him what to do.

It was a beautiful sunrise. And our walk this morning was brisk in the 50 degrees when we left our driveway. This is the time of the year that we're grateful for each and every day that lets us be outside.

This afternoon will be leaf blowing/burning day. There's actually enough leaves on the ground that it's worthwhile to get the leaf blower out. Might as well get at them rather than let them pile up, then get rained on. But for this afternoon, it will be nice to play out in the sunshine.

Changing the subject, I've been getting quite a few new e-mails that look like people type e-mails, not spams. Problem is, I can't recognize who the sender is. So unless you're someone I know and have an e-mail address that I recognize, please put something in the subject line that would give me a hint that you're coming from the web site. In fact, if you just type in "from reinheimer blog" -- then I'll know and I'll open your e-mails.

I really enjoy reading e-mails from all of you around the world.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 8:1-13

This part of the letter to the Hebrews is a reminder that the original covenant that God had made with the Israelites was not a perfect law. It was not perfect because it did not have any method of redemption.

It was a kind of "do this -- do that" list of expectations that God had of his children. On the other hand, when he sent his son Jesus to deliver a new covenant, he also included redemption. And through this redemption came the promise of salvation.

This new covenant is stated in verses 8-12: But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

"For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more."

This new covenant is a verbatim restatement of that promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34. It would not be unusual for someone as scholarly as the apostle Paul to remind the Hebrews of what the earlier prophets had said. Paul would certainly have had access to earlier Hebrew writings.

And there is a reminder here that Jesus is the true high priest. As a man he couldn't have been, but as God, he brought perfection to his priesthood.

There is much peace available to all of us sinners in the closing verse of this chapter: By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.


PSYCHOLOGY: Emotional Trauma -- How Good Are You At Adapting? (Part 3)

Reacting to an emotionally traumatic event shows up in our behaviors.

Big surprise. Of course it would have an impact on what we do, how we think, and how we feel.

If we have trouble sorting through the trauma, we run the risk of picking up what we call maladaptive behaviors.This could include substance abuse. Alcohol is included in this list of substances -- but also marijuana, cocaine and a wide variety of other psychoactives that work on the part of the brain that brings emotional discomfort.

Human beings don't like to feel discomfort.

If we can't make sense out of the trauma, or if we can't reassess the trauma and bring it in line with thoughts that allow us to mentally move forward, then we have other powerful mental opportunities at our disposal.

For instance, we could engage in superstitious behaviors. These might even become compulsive if what we did in one particular instance happened at the same time that a very slight change for the better occurred. Then we, in error, think that the change occurred because of what we did.

We tell ourselves that we have to keep doing what we're doing or else we'll have bad luck.

Some people are able to dissociate. When folks are highly traumatized, they can split off the horrors of their anguish and put them in a little mental box and set the box on a shelf. Things go along okay until they get the box out to look inside. Unless we've developed some really strong resilience, that might not be the best idea. At least for the present.

Generally, though, people fill up with despair and a sense of hopelessness. They don't believe they can cope and then begin to believe their are completely ineffective. Maybe even damaged permanently.

Emotionally wrecked, traumatized persons have difficulty maintaining close relationships. They withdraw socially. They argue with family members, their bosses -- even co-workers.

They are hostile and disagreeble. No matter what you say to them, they will rebut it. Their counterarguments may be more delusional than logical. This is mainly because their rebuttals are being filtered through their pain and suffering.

So out of all this, is there hope?


Tomorrow, we'll talk about resilience. Get some!


9:34 am          Comments

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Good morning, Canada. And I failed to mention a big cheerio to readers in South Korea and Germany yesterday. Of course the readers in the United States are always most welcome.

Good to see you again and thanks for stopping by.

My sister Cookie goes to doctor this morning, not tomorrow as she had planned. I pray for good news for her and I hope that you are praying for her too.

It was a brisk 60 degrees this morning. The maple trees are starting to shed their leaves. Not very splendid coloration. It was too dry this summer so the leaves aren't hanging on very well. Many of the cottonwood trees have already lost their leaves. Early autumn, looks like. I expect that the trees will be bare by Halloween.

We went for a walk before breakfast. Talk about feeling revitalized! The oatmeal was on the stove, steeping and waiting for us to return. I add a few raisins and walnut halves (for Omega-3) to the oatmeal. By the time we sit down to eat, it's an ultra-nutritious breakfast to start the day with.

It ought to hold us over until we get to a late lunch. That will be stew and it's cooking on a very low heat now, as we speak.

I have a couple of coaching/therapy phone calls between now and then. That always is something I look forward to.

And this afternoon I'm going to make another batch of oatmeal cookies. They don't last long around here. Maybe I'll bake two batches.

Quint is still working on the spice shelves. I can't wait for the time when I can have all the spices out in plain view. I'm sure I have duplicates of some of the spices.

We have lost our enthusiasm, truthfully, for putting things away. I suspect it's because we've actually found everything that we need. All this other stuff could probably go over to the resale shop and we'd never miss it. So far we have three big bags of various things in the trunk of the car.

I keep a running list going on a legal pad of when I add something to a bag. That way, when they give us a receipt for tax purposes, I just staple the receipt to the multi-page list. It just says "four bags of donated goods" on it.

When we do our income tax, I go to the IRS website and get the list of what you can deduct for various items, like "men's dress shirt" or "ladies dress shoes," etc. Actually IRS will let us deduct more probably than we'd get if we had a yard sale. So this way we get the tax deduction and someone else gets the benefit of our stuff. And we don't have to sit in the front yard all day.

I can't sit that long unless I'm embroidering. Or reading. Or at the computer.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 7:1-28

In this chapter we read about Melchizedek again. In these opening verses of this chapter, there is some clarification, I think, as to whether Melchizedek is an allegorical incarnation of Christ.

Aside from being the King of Salem (verse 2), and actually meeting Abraham (who gave him a tithe from the plunder that Abraham had gathered up when he beat the socks off the kings during that mighty war), Melchizedek, in verse 3, is described as: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert Bible scholar. Rather, I believe that God speaks through the Bible and he says what he means to say, so when verse 3 tells me that Melchizedek is "made like unto the Son of God," I don't infer from that passage that Melchizedek was a predecessor incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Melchizedek was a most high priest. He wasn't even a Levitical priest and he got Abraham's tithe.

Bible scholars go back and forth on what to make of Melchizedek's genealogy not being mentioned in the Bible.

Some say his not having a mother or father makes him pretty special. Then others say that he was a man, so he must have had a mother and a father. I mean, he didn't just spring up out of nowhere.

Besides the Bible didn't record the family tree of every single person who walked the earth at this time in Bible history. At some point, the family tree of mankind (that started with Adam and Eve at its base) branched off to the point where every little twig of a family failed to get recorded. 

Nowhere is it written or suggested that the Bible is a complete written history of the entire world. However, it is a complete list of the line of Adam and Eve all the way to Jesus Christ.  

I mean, there's no reference in the Bible about London being incorporated as a city in 43 A.D.

There's no reference about the first wrestling match in Japan in 23 B.C.

And I can't find any reference to the Romans first use of soap which they learned about from the Gauls in 50 A.D.

Plutarch isn't mentioned in the Bible and yet he was supposed to be one of the best historians that the Greeks had to offer. He was born in 47 A.D.

The first date in Mayan chronology is -3372. The Mayans aren't mentioned in the Bible at all.

But much is made of the fact that Melchizedek's parentage is not recorded. It would have been recorded if God had wanted it recorded. He didn't so it wasn't.

But it is noted that Melchizedek received Abraham's tithe. Abraham was supposed to give a tithe to the high priest at the temple. The fact that he gave the tithe to Melchizedek says what? That Melchizedek was a higher priest than a Levitical priest? That's what Biblical references to Melchizedek note when he is referred to as the "priest of the most high God."

Maybe this will help explain. "Once a year, on the Great Day of Atonement, the earthly high priest of the Jews was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of animals in order to make propitiation for sins. The author of Hebrews discovers a parallel between this high-priestly figure and the Lord Jesus, who by his death on the cross as a lamb of sacrifice has shed his blood once for all, and with that blood has passed into the heavenly sanctuary.

"A further parallel is drawn between Jesus and Moses. Just as Moses brought the Jewish people through the wilderness to the threshold of the promised land on earth, so Jesus brings men to the promised land of heaven..." (van Unnik, W.C., The New Testament In History and Message," Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1962., p. 150)

In this letter to the Hebrews, no claim is being made that Melchizedek is an immortal being. To the contrary, in verse 13 we read this: For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

So Melchizedek had his lineage in another tribe, not the tribe of Levi. And Jesus' lineage is from the tribe of Judah.

And why is all this talk about the rules of priesthood going on? Well, we get a good clue as to the reasoning in verse 19: For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.

And in verse 24: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Jesus, you see, because he was a man, became a priest. He became a priest because he appointed to be a priest. And because he is God, his priesthood lasts forever.

Now Jesus can say that people can come to God through him -- forever!

Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices like other priests were doing in the temple. The temple priests could only offer animals. Quite differently, Jesus became the sacrifice.

He died in our place.

Translation: King James Version

Historical references are from "The Timetables of History."


PSYCHOLOGY:  Emotional Trauma -- How Good Are You At Adapting? (Part 2)

This is the second part of a three-part column about emotional trauma. The first part can be found in yesterday's column.

Emotional trauma shows up in three different areas of our well-being. The body, of course, is the first way that we get the idea that we're not quite operating at full capacity.

Then, there are those feelings we get. This is where we feel emotionally shipwrecked.

And finally, how we think may very well change a bit when our feelings get stretched beyond our mental resources.

Let's go back to the physical.

I don't care what those commercials say, if you're experiencing or trying to survive a round of emotional trauma, you're likely to experiencing some decrease in sexual delights.

You're probably not going to be sleeping all that well either, and your food may taste like Styrofoam. So much for appetite, huh?

Then you may get a good case of what I call the "mopes." You probably know about that one. You could just sit and watch air move. You're lost inside your head and it feels like you're being held hostage. So you're just going to sit there and rest until someone comes up with the ransom.

Speaking of being inside your head, there may be a problem with how you're thinking. Maybe feel a bit distracted. Going to write a note to somebody but can't remember who. Maybe you're going to send a birthday card but can't remember how old someone now is. Going to make a grocery list but since you don't have any appetite anyway, why bother!

And in the ordinary course, you're sharp. Your decisions are right on. Now you can't even choose what to order for lunch. "I'll just have a glass of water," is not a good option. Besides, serving persons would go bankrupt with a bunch of customers who just ordered water.

Then there are those memory lapses. It does not mean you're losing your mind. Even if your concentration is a bit off.

It will all come back to you, so just relax. If you can. When you can.

Don't be surprised if you have some kind of transitory amnesia, especially about the time just before and just after some traumatic event. Our souls are kind to us and for some reason, memory of maybe 15 to 20 seconds immediately before or after the event will not be available to you. Don't go trying to dredge it up. It's buried for a reason -- mainly because you're not supposed to keep reliving a traumatic event.

We'll pick up with Part 3 tomorrow.


9:34 am          Comments

Monday, October 8, 2007


We went note this weekend to be with my sister. Her real name is Anna Mae but she's always been "Cookie" to me. That's because she used to eat a lot of vanilla waters. Then, when it came time for mom to make banana pudding, there were not enough vanilla wafers. So we nicknamed her Cookie.

She's only 15 months older than I am. We have never had an argument. It's one of those cherished relationships where we didn't have to stand ground against each other. If there ever was a disagreement, it was easy to defer to her unless something really, really mattered. In that case, she'd defer to me. So we never butted heads about anything.

We couldn't be angry with one another. Ever.

Besides, when you only have one sister, it's easy to figure out who your best friend it.

We survived the deaths of our two brothers, a father, a step-father, and most recently, our mother. Cookie was widowed twice. So now, it's just Cookie and me left in our nuclear family.

Last week she called to say a needle biopsy was scheduled for Friday. There's a tumor about the size of a golf ball on her upper right lung. That was a psychic earthquake that I can't even measure.

The aftershocks will continue until she gets the report from her doctor this Wednesday, about noon.

Please pray for Cookie.


BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 6:1-20

This chapter contains another stern warning to the Hebrews. We find it in verses 4-6: It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God, and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

That's a stern warning, indeed. For if we reject Christ in our lives, we are crucifying him to ourselves.

And who would want to commit this kind of spiritual suicide? Oh, no! As Christians, we need to keep the death and resurrection of Christ very much alive in our hearts. Because he rose from death, we are given the key to eternal life. Rejecting Christ undoes all that and it's the same as if our sins had never been forgiven.

This passage in Hebrews warned those guys to get back with the program of living a life of redeemed people who claimed the gift of salvation from God. The warning in these verses is just as serious for us today.

We just cannot let ourselves wander off into fields of temptation where Christ doesn't matter.

And it's pure folly to live our lives with this notion that when times get rough, or times get short, then we'll get ourselves back to worship like we're supposed to.
The message to the Hebrews is that it's easier to stay connected than it is to get reconnected.

So don't go wandering off. Keep Christ alive in your heart.

Then this letter to the Hebrews takes on a note of promise, starting at verse 9: Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case -- things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Remember the promises, the Hebrews are asked.

All down through the ages, prophets and leaders from Moses forward, the people had to be reminded that God had made a promise to them. And then, because Jesus came to earth, died and was resurrected, all people who believe in Christ can have that same promise for themselves.

In this very act of God's divine love, all of us can read the promises God made to Abraham and know that we, too, have this very same promise. We became children of God through Jesus Christ.

We become heavenly heirs and inherit the kingdom of heaven through Christ's suffering and death and resurrection.

From verse 13, we read (NRSV): When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to disputes.

In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.

Keep in mind that "this hope that enters the shrine behind the curtain" is a reference to the curtain separating the Holy of Holies. This curtain in the temple marked the boundary beyond which only the High Priests were allowed to go.

It is also beyond this curtain where the Torah was stored, when not in use for worship. The Ark of the Covenant was also there.

It is this huge, heavy curtain in the temple at Jerusalem that was torn in half -- from floor to ceiling -- at the moment of Christ's death. Jesus went behind that curtain even though he was not a Levitical high priest. But he became the most high priest when he died for our sins.

Melchizedek was also described as a "most high priest." Melchizedek had occasion to minister to Abraham. And even though Melchizedek was called a most high priest, he was not from the tribe of Levi either. So he and Jesus shared the fact that they were both referred to as "most high priests," although neither of them were Levitical high priests.

That was a very big deal to the Hebrews. And it is to Bible students even today.

Incidentally, the tearing of the temple curtain coincides with an earthquake that occurred at the time of the death of Christ. This is a real moment in recorded time. I can't find my reference at the moment but I remember reading that this particular earthquake is purported to be in the range of a 7.5. That's a huge earthquake.

From Wikipedia, I found this: The church historian Eusebius of Caesarea (264-340) in his Chronicle, cited a statement of the 2nd-century chronicler Phlegon of Tralles that during the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (AD 32/33) "a great eclipse of the sun occurred at the sixth hour that excelled every other before it, turning the day into such darkness of night that the stars could be seen in heaven, and the earth moved in Bithynia, toppling many buildings in the city of Nicaea. In the same passage, Eusebius cited another unnamed Greek source also recording earthquakes in the same locations as well as an eclipse. Eusebius argued the two records had documented events that were simultaneous with the crucifixion of Jesus. (read more at:

Christ entered the Holy of Holies and takes us with him into that special place. His death and resurrection wills our soul with the hope of eternal salvation.

We become gifted in the promise of God, just as Abraham had.

So, whenever you get in a position where you tend to lose hope, when you feel yourself slipping back into the humanness of your temptations, when you want reassurances of the promises of God, put a paper clip at the top of the page in your Bible that will mark Hebrews 6 for you.

Let this chapter be one of your Biblical anchors that will keep you moored to Christ.

And just like the Hebrews had to be reminded, we too have to be reminded sometimes that there's one thing for sure in all of heaven and earth and that is: God's promises come true. 

And how do we know that? Because it is impossible for God to tell a lie. It says so in Hebrews 6:18.

Believe it!

Note: Just to make a clarification about the Temple Veils. They were big -- 60 feet long, 30 feet wide and the thickness of a man's palm. They were so heavy, says one writer, that it took 300 priests to move them into place.

The Veil being torn from top to bottom was of such significance because it meant that God's own hand tore it in two. Other notes about this event and the resulting requirement for the Sanhedrin to move out of this area of the temple to a trading area, can be found at:


PSYCHOLOGY: Emotional Trauma -- How Good Are You At Adapting?

The definition of emotional trauma includes such events as the breakup of a significant relationship, surviving horrific experiences such as earthquakes, tornadoes, car crashes, hurricanes, a deeply disappointing experience, the discovery of a life-threatening illness, or some other occurrence that takes a particularly high emotional toll on our sense of well being.

There are three criteria to meet in determining whether an event brings emotional trauma to invade us. They are:

1. We did not expect the event
2. We are not prepared to cope with what happened
3. We couldn't do anything to stop it from happening

Okay, so we had something happen that we didn't like -- didn't see it coming -- couldn't stop it and it just came out of nowhere.

But how is that traumatic? We feel like I've been shipwrecked. It surprises us because we can usually cope with anything. In fact, we're downright proud of the fact that we can handle the zingers that life throws at us.

Traumatic stress is a lot different from our average, ordinary stressors that we encounter just because we're human beings living in complex life situations down here on planet earth.

In order to differentiate which is which, we need to take a look at how quickly we return to normal.

We also need to see whether or not the upset is triggered with any frequency.

Then there's that old bugaboo of how threatened we feel. Over and over and over. How threatened do we feel? It's one thing to have a window blown out of the front of your house. That's a stress that the housewives in small towns could get used to, but when big waves of tanks came creaking across the landscape with their big booming cannons shooting holes through houses, day and night, that would be a different story. That's not stress -- rather, it's a traumatic event because it's a stressor that kept repeating itself. And there wasn't time in between tank shots to recuperate and regain equilibrium.

That helps explain, at least in part and to some degree, how battered women are able to cope with the stress of domestic violence, even though it's a repeating event. There's that period of the honeymoon phase in the cycle of violence that gives the victim time to recuperate and get back to what feels like normal again.

When we take too long to calm down, when stressors grab us and hold on too long, then we may well be frozen in emotional trauma.

This is a good time to go looking for a well-trained cognitive therapist. Interview potential therapists and ask them if they do cognitive therapy. If they can't define it, then keep looking. Otherwise, if you aren't seeing a cognitive therapist, you're going to spend a ton of money and take forever to make teensy tiny little gains. With a good cognitive therapist, you just may be back to normal inside of six months.

I'll pick up at this spot tomorrow.


11:29 am          Comments

Friday, October 5, 2007


Good morning to readers in Brazil and Bulgaria -- and of course, the United States, this morning. Always glad to see you stop by and rest a spell.

Life is peaceful and quiet here in the middle of Illinois. However, we'll be going on a corn patrol later this morning. Just curious to see where the harvest line is. Most of the corn here in the center of the state has been taken in. Beans too.

I told you about the poor guy whose bean field caught fire didn't I? He lost 30 acres and some out buildings.

But we're mainly going north to be with my sister, Cookie. I need a Cookie fix.


Hebrews 5: 1-14

What does it mean that Christ completely obeyed the Father for us? How can you, in turn, seek to obey the Father?

This chapter introduces instructions about how high priests were to be picked out. In verse 1, we read: Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

Not only that, but they couldn't nominate themselves to be priests. It's not like the nominating committees for church council offices in this day and age that often go begging for people to fill vacancies.

You know how it is. People get running scared when it's time for the church council to be elected. Especially when they get a call from someone they know is on the nominating committee.

But in those early days of the Hebrew church, it was God who called people to serve. Try to turn him down!

In verses 4-6, this matter is cleared up: No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

That "other place" referred to above is an exact quote from Psalm 110:4b -- "you are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

So who exactly was Melchizedek?

The first Biblical reference to Melchizedek goes all the way back to Genesis 14:18-20: Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed by Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.

What does it mean that Jesus Christ is a priest in "the order of Melchizedek?"

Jesus, like Melchizedek, was not a Levite. Because of this, neither of them would "qualify" for Levitical priesthood.

If you want to explore a diversion into Melchizedek and the fact that the Bible offers no lineage for him, no recorded family tree, there is plenty of information available from Internet sources.

One view says that just because Melchizedek's geneology is not recorded probably means that he was not a big enough "player" in Biblical history -- that is, compared to Abraham -- to have his lineage printed up.

I'm not sure I believe this. Melchizedek is mentioned several times in the Bible, and always in a position of comparison with Jesus Christ. That does not say "unimportant" to me.

Truth is, Melchizedek has a place in Bible history. But we can't trace his Biblical genealogy to Levi, so he couldn't qualify as a Levitical high priest.

But Jesus, on the other hand, is the Son of God. Because of his divine lineage, Jesus' ability to be a high priest more elevated than Melchizedek is assured by God himself.

All his life, Jesus was dutiful and obedient. And without sin. Even at the very end of his life, during his anguished suffering and death, Jesus cried out loudly to God above to be spared the painful suffering. He was not spared.

But Jesus submitted and because he submitted to death, we learn in verses 8-11: Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

But the Hebrews seem to have forgotten all that. In this chapter, they are called "big babies."

They've been lollygagging about when, in fact, they should have been teachers bringing others to the Lord. They were told that, quite frankly, they were slow to learn.

Might just as well have called them ignoramuses.

Now they had to learn the most basic, most elementary truths about salvation all over again. To make it perfectly plain to them, the Hebrews are told that (verses 13-14) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.



I was reading quite a bit about Melchizedek this morning. I don't know quite how I got off on a diversionary track, but it's easy to do on the internet.

But I went down a road off the information superhighway about atheists.

Oh, I remember now. It has to do with Obama saying he was no longer going to wear an American flag lapel pin. He said something about being known by his actions that would determine whether or not people perceive him as an American patriot.

He's about three steps away from making a bait-hit for irony. And that might be something like, "Most people who wear a flag lapel pin are just showing off," or "Just wearing a flag lapel pin doesn't make you a real patriot (like me)," or "Most people who wear a flag lapel pin aren't real patriots."

If he says it long enough -- and there's plenty of time before the election in November to say it long enough -- the other candidates, Republican and Democrat alike -- will jump in and say "I am too. Who are you saying is not a patriot?"

And at that point, he gets a politician on the defensive. And he gets back in the news. He's been losing a lot of percentage points lately so he needs to figure out some way to get his name back in print.

I mean, after all, these dummy politicians started out so early that they have run out of things to say. There's only a certain number of times that any of them can go on the talk shows. Nobody listens to old, rehashed stuff. So they have to keep re-inventing their game plans.

Otherwise, people are going to do more interesting things. Like mow their grass on Sunday afternoons, or weed the flower beds.

Ratings then go down when these politicos come on. Pretty soon the TV show ratings go down. Then they go looking for interesting guests -- not political re-runs.

But the irony is an interesting ploy. We'll just have to wait and see if the political candidates bite Obama's bait.

If they do, it ought to be interesting. They're about ready to start cannibalizing each other.

Anything to grab a headline.


8:29 am          Comments

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Today is going to be a better day. Yesterday, from about noon on, my back was a bunch of screaming bundles of nerves. So after I finished up the Bible study, I sat on a heating pad most of the day.

This particular heating pad is wonderful. It has little wiggling vibrations for the upper back, lower back and upper thighs. I also have the option of having heat added to the wigglies.

Not only that, but because I intended to lie down most of the afternoon, I did without the coffee. All the better to nod off. But I didn't. Not with HGTV changing programs every half hour.

I was just a mess. I'm not even going to cook today. Quint is going to Papa John's to get a Tuscan pizza. It has six different cheeses. Sounds yummy. We've never had a Tuscan pizza before.

Quint is putting the Grandfathers Clock together. It had been disassembled by the movers months and months ago. He has the clock works put back into the clock and I think there are other pieces to add in -- like the clock hands and the weight, etc.

And we can hang the single shelf unit that will be for CDs and DVDs. That was going to be yesterday's project but I wasn't much good for anything.


Hebrews 4: 1-16

The note for today is: "Find time today and everyday to rest in the Lord."

This chapter talks about two kinds of rest: God's rest and the rest he insists that his faithful followers take part in.

So what is God's rest?

God rested after his created the world. And then, when he had completed all things necessary for a smooth running of the world which he handed over to Adam, administratively, God rested on the seventh day.

But in verse 3 there were differences in this command to rest: Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

"So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest.'"

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."

In order for me to be able to wrap my thoughts around this, I have to backtrack a bit to the time when the Israelites were gifted with manna from heaven. God specifically told the Israelites (Ex. 16:31) that they were to pick up only enough manna for the Today.

It required a lot of faith to resist hoarding. Some of the Israelites did hoard. Guess they weren't sure that God would keep his promise to supply them with the nutritious manna that fell from heaven.

The problem was that in their hoarding, their disbelief was met with a bunch of manna that got worms in it when it was stored.

It was like God saying to them, "Look, I told you people that I would give you fresh manna every day. You are supposed to have faith in my promises and not hoard any manna for tomorrow."

Okay, so now fast forward to the God's promises here in Hebrews that the people who have faith in him are to rest on the seventh day. I repeat, in verse 3, God said, "Now we who have believed enter that rest ..."

This command continues in verses 8-10: For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

There it is as plain as day: work as hard and as furiously as we want, but on the seventh day, we are to rest. So put your feet up and enjoy your day of rest and have faith that God will give you energy aplenty for tomorrow to get your work started up again.

God wants us to show evidence of the faith we have in him.

Farmers have a saying that work done on Sunday has to be re-done on Monday. For that reason, you seldom see farmers out in the fields working on Sunday.

And don't think you can ever sneak around and do something that God wouldn't be aware of. Read this in verse 13: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

And are we ever tempted? You bet we are!

Consider this: We have Jesus the Son of God, who encourages us to hold onto the faith that we say we have. Jesus, as our high priest, has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.



He's clearly the king of talk radio. He has an army of fiercely devout listeners from coast to coast -- or better yet, around the world. Particularly listeners on U.S. military bases.

But he ignited a firestorm last week when he made reference to phony soldiers.

For sure, he was not referring to the soldiers who are out putting their lives on the line.

But what Mr. Limbaugh clearly has no use for are the phony soldiers who claim that they are decorated heroes who have, in fact, washed out of basic training. Phony soldiers are also people like the guy in Iraq in the early days of the war who tossed a hand grenade into another soldier's tent.

For sure, there are phony soldiers in every war who lay claim to Purple Hearts when they never got their injuries in combat, but rather, got bandaid injuries performing minor repairs to equipment. They weren't facing down the enemy at all.

So in response to Mr. Limbaugh's latest rebuke of all things dumb, his words got taken out of context. And Chief Senator Harry Reid actually took it to the senate floor and had the talk show host censored.

Never mind that the senate hasn't done any of the work of the people that's necessary to pass a new budget -- and this do-nothing senate caused President Bush to pass a temporary emergency measure to keep this country funded.

But in the meantime, both the house and senate are so busy trying to single out one talk show host that they don't seem to be able to find the time to do the job they were elected to do. At a cost to the taxpayers of $162,500 each!



It's in orbit about 60 miles away from the moon in an egg-shaped lunar orbit.

It weighs about two tons. That's about the size of a couple of cars.

It's going to launch two satellites that will assist in getting the lunar explorer into a circular orbit.

It was launched by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). It was launched September 14 from the Tanegashima Space Center.

read more: and at



I listen to the polls and wonder who the pollsters are talking to.

I, for one, have never been contacted by any pollster. And I don't know anyone who has been.

Now with the "don't call me" list in place, I have learned that people who are on that do not call list cannot be contacted by any of the political candidates.

Unless --

and not until a "significant relationship" has been established with any candidate.

Making a donation to a candidate's campaign would establish such a significant relationship.

So, no wonder the candidates can report high numbers. They can only contact people who have donated to their campaigns. And we can assume that those people would most certainly be in favor of that particular candidate.

Do we have a bias going here? Certainly appears so.

I'm not sure if just going to a candidate's web site also qualifies as a significant relationship.

Either way, I'm not donating and I'm not going to any candidate's web site unless it's for the person I actually want to be elected to office, like president.


10:50 am          Comments

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Welcome to readers in Japan, Finland, Pakistan, Iran, and, of course, the United States. In looking at the time charts, there are only two hours -- 4 am and 7 am -- when the web site is quiet. Other than that, there are readers on every hour of the day. I still just find that absolutely amazing.

By far, this page is clicked on most frequently. I am also happy to report that the Bible study is one of the reasons (conclusion reached from your e-mails).

Which reminds me. Much news coming out of Britain this morning from Princess Diana's inquest and never-before-shown photos of the accident. The three photos that were being shown over and over and over showed the back of the princess' head as she apparently was looking out the rear windshield at a rapidly approaching photographer on a motorcycle; another photo taken immediately after the crash; and the final photo showing a doctor after he arrived.

All the photos do is tell us what happened. The world knows that Diana died because the car crashed.

The photos do not seem to tell us why she died. Dodi's father is making all kinds of conspiracy accusations against the monarchy.

The truth of the matter is there would probably not be anything that would convince him to the contrary. He's either holding on to this delusion or something will come out at the inquest that will answer the why question -- and he may or may not accept it.

It would not be the first time that perfectly plausible explanations come forward in other death matters only to be met with skepticism by someone close to the deceased who insists on holding onto their delusions.

Truth of the matter is, this particular accident that caused the death of Princess Diana could be a safety poster for reasons why you should always wear your seat belt. She didn't have her seat belt on. Apparently she didn't like to wear a seat belt.

Physics says that if you are in a vehicle that is going forward at 80 mph and you have your seat belt on, when the vehicle makes a sudden stop, so do you. If you don't have your seat belt on and the vehicle stops, you continue going forward at 80 mph until something stops you.

Would she have lived if she had her seat belt on? Who knows. Maybe. Only God knows the answer to that. Everything else is speculation.

Quint is still working on the spice shelves. At least I think that's what he's doing over there in his corner of the basement kingdom. I see long boards that look like the uprights laid out on the sawhorses. And I heard his super dooper saw making a lot of noise yesterday.

He did make something the other day that looked like it could have been the start of the spice shelves but he used an 8" board for the back, not the 10" width. And he had used that gorilla glue, along with screws to hold the thing together.

Then I pointed out that it wasn't the right width.


So he offered to try to take it apart. But gorilla glue is stronger than Quint and all of his tools, so we just turned it horizontally and put it on a wall in the hallway. It's the perfect size for CDs and DVDs. A CD shelf unit was on the list of things to do anyway, so we're ahead of ourselves.


Hebrews 3: 1-19

The point to ponder as you're reading this chapter is this: When you think of the way that Israel wandered do you ever say to yourself, "I would never have acted like that." Is that really true? Pray to God to show your weakness to you and ask for his help to correct your weakness.

This chapter begins with a metaphor.

Moses is compared to a servant in the house.

God is the builder of the house.

Jesus, as God's son, takes better care of the house than a servant would.

We hear the Holy Spirit talk in this chapter. The Holy Spirit warns the Hebrews not to harden their hearts like they did in the rebellion when they were being tested in the desert.

So the Holy Spirit reminds the Hebrews that this is why he was angry with their ancestors. In verses 10-11, he says: That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"

A series of rhetorical questions begin at verse 16 and continue through the end of the chapter: Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to either, because of their unbelief.

This chapter defines rebellion as disobedience. As unbelief.

The children of Israel were rebellious. Even though they had hoofed it out of Egypt enjoying the umbrella of God's protection, Satan was wandering among them too.

Can't you just see the evil one whispering in their ears?

Redefining what he wanted the Israelites to think when they pondered what God had said to them through Moses.

Whether they bored or tired or just in the mood to grumble, they did the one single thing that would get really tick God off. They made an idol and they worshiped this idol.

And somehow, out there in the dry heat of the desert, they figured out how to make wine. Wine tastings led to debauchery. Adulteries followed. Probably murders too. Crimes of passion are easily wrapped around adultery.

They disobeyed God and this made him very angry.

And no matter how hard he ministered to them and preached to them, Moses couldn't stop the Israelites when they plunged themselves into some serious sinning.

So Moses didn't get to go to the promised land. He could only see it from afar.

Now the Hebrew people are getting another warning. It seems that they are on the brink of being disobedient. Rebellious. Sinful.

This chapter gives the Hebrews a stern talking to. A serious heads up.

We also need to look into our own hearts. We need to make sure that we don't become complacent in our faith. We need to make sure that we don't become fair game for the Big Liar who comes whispering when we are at the low points in our lives; when it's very easy to feel like God has abandoned us.

God does not abandon us. He is faithful to us every day of our lives up until the very moment when he welcomes us back home -- to him. Until we reach the other side of heaven's shores.

But if we get bored. If we get mad at God because things didn't go the way we thought they should -- not the way God had in mind -- then we put on our shades and prance off with the slithering Big Liar!

Then follow puny little alibis like when we say "I was so mad at God!"

And you say that like you're proud of it!


9:38 am          Comments

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Welcome to readers in Slovenia, Finland and the Philippines. And, of course, everybody here in the good old U.S.A.!

Quint mowed the grass yesterday for probably the last time this season. First frost in this area is generally before Halloween. We've already gotten the deck stained and waterproofed. That was last week's big project.

The big project this week is making a set of shelves for all my spices. There's a nice little nook that isn't quite an arm's length from the stove. The shelf unit is 6' tall and 10" wide with many shelves. The shelves are only 4" deep. I should be able to get all the shelves in one place.

I made more oatmeal cookies yesterday and put three dozen in the freezer. I volunteered to make 6 dozen for an after-school program at church. My cookie day is November 2. I'll probably add a couple of dozen because kids don't eat broken cookies. Everybody knows that. Anyway, these cookies ought to freeze really well.
This afternoon I'll be gathering up some stuff to take to the resale shop. I already have two big bags in the trunk of the car. The bags are filled with treasures that I didn't think I could live without. But I'm actually going to part with some knickknacks and shoes I haven't worn for nearly five years. They're very nice dressy shoes.

Can't part with all the extra cleaning supplies. You'd think my house would be spotlessly clean with all the cleaning stuff I have. Not! I have more cleaning supplies than time or inclination. And when I was putting the bottles of Old English scratch cover away in the newly constructed linen closet, I discovered that there are at least ten bottles of scratch cover. That might just be a lifetime supply.


Hebrews 2: 1-18

There are five warnings to the Hebrews contained in this book of the Bible. The first of these warnings can be found in verses 1-4: We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?

This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

There are three points that come out of these first few verses.

First of all, there's a discussion about angels. Angels are messengers sent by God. They are heavenly beings that he created specifically to serve him. In this web site:,com_frontpage/Itemid,157/ the author says that angels are sent by God to watch over the human race, to deliver his message, to guard and protect us from danger, to do battle with other spiritual beings on our behalf.

The author goes on to say that since the beginning of time, angels have delivered God's messages to mankind. Sometimes the messages are warnings of impending danger, sometimes instructions as to what to do in a particular situation, sometimes they are simply "there" as protection from enemy forces. Sometimes they bring joyful announcements as in the day they announced the birth of Jesus.

What we need to remember, though, are three truths about angels:

1. The ministry of holy angels will never contradict the Bible.
2. The actions of holy angels will always be consistent with the character of Christ.
3. A genuine encounter with a holy angel will glorify God, not the angel. Holy angels never draw attention to themselves. They typically do their work and disappear.

Another web site that defines angels and gives us some Bible history of angels is found at:

But back to this first warning in Hebrews: the messages of angels are binding. We ignore these messengers from God at our peril.

The second point that jumps out at me is that this message of salvation was confirmed by people who had heard it first hand. This indicates to me that the writer of Hebrews was not a person who walked with Christ. Instead, the message of salvation was confirmed by those who had actually been with and heard Christ bring the message to them.

And lastly, the author of Hebrews says that God distributes gifts of the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are given to each person.

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? The Apostle Paul refers to individual spiritual gifts several times in his letters. He identifies 20 different spiritual gifts in Romans 12:-48; 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11; 1 Corinthians 12: 27-30; and in Ephesians 4: 7-12.

I would encourage you to determine what your spiritual gifts are. There is an excellent inventory to help you figure this out at:

This is the inventory that Quint and I participated in and discovered what our spiritual gifts are at a church workshop several years ago.

The two of us share the gifts of intercession, exhortation, administration and teaching. This particular web site not only identifies the spiritual gifts by name, but also explains what each one is.

This chapter goes on to bring us more truths. Insofar as Jesus Christ is concerned, in verse 7: You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.

Jesus was made man. By taking on flesh of humanity, (verses 14-18) by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the devil -- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are bing tempted.

For Christ, the cosmic clock had struck the minute hand of his destiny for he came to earth to become human, and yet his destiny was to bring salvation to all mankind who are born into sin. 

His destiny was to die for our sins. If he were not human, how is it that he could die?

And we know that he died. The Romans kept execution records. And we know that there was a horrific earthquake on that same day when Jesus died. This was, no doubt, the earthquake that tore the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. (Luke 23:45)

Christ's death was an act of atonement for all of humankind. Embraced within that atonement is the assurance of forgiveness for our sins.

It is up to you to claim that forgiveness by confessing your sins, by your contrite spirit and your promise to God that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you will not continually commit the same greedy little sins over and over again. Don't be complacent about this forgiveness because there is not a promise of another atonement for you anywhere in the Bible.

Claim forgiveness today as the gift from God that it is. Salvation for you is assured. So get down on your knees in a place where it's just you and God, and have a conversation with him.

I pray that you will feel the presence of God in this place. Even if it's a tickle that won't stop. Might just be his way of letting you know he's got you in his sights and is listening.

Heaven won't fall apart while he concentrates on hearing what you've got to say. He created lots of angels to be his servants. You are that important to him. Believe it!



Just up the road from my home is a field with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.

If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her. As you stand and watch these two friends, you will see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is -- trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringer bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see. Good friends are like this. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there. Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours. Thanks for being my friend!

If you are one of those persons who have what we call trait anger, then you are at risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Trait anger is defined as a tendency to experience anger because of a wide variety of situations. In fact, just about anything could trigger an angry response.

Having trait anger makes you an angry person. Just about anything could set you off, so don't blame other people if you have never learned to control your anger.

All this expression of anger creates long-term stress. And that leads to heart problems.

Angry people need to learn to work it off -- to develop alternatives that do not include biting the bait of people who are trying to intentionally set you up just to watch you become angry.

Yes, there are people like that. And guess what? They tend to form intensely intimate relationships with people who have trait anger.

The two people, when coupled, go through their lives doing a "dance." Problem is, when they eventually wear themselves out and get a divorce, they usually end up with in another relationship with a person who has similar traits.

It's not until we change ourselves that we attract a different kind of person. Then we can build a warm, healthy, caring relationship.


9:15 am          Comments

Monday, October 1, 2007


Yesterday was oatmeal cookie day. Crispy autumn afternoons beg for making two things: chili and oatmeal cookies. Since I already had made a couple of gallons of chili a week ago and my deep freeze is getting pretty full, oatmeal cookies it was.
I freeze them, eight to a bag. I'll include the recipe in today's blog, along with the recipe for the Cheddar Cheese Soup that I promised (if it turned out okay). It was more than okay so I'm glad to share it with you.

What I like about this particular recipe for the oatmeal cookies is that you can mix the entire batch up with your mixer. You can't do that with every kind of cookie recipe. At least I can't because I don't have one of those turbo charged electric mixers. Mine is just a hand-held mixer, and a wimpy one at that. But that's okay because I don't use an electric mixer all that much so it stays in a kitchen drawer until I let it come out and play on the kitchen counter.

It's starting to look more and more like autumn around here. I think that's mainly because we're in corn country -- and beans and alfalfa too -- and the farmers are bringing in their harvest. And the moon this month ought to be what we called a "harvest moon" when I was a kid. It looks like the moon is a lot bigger than it really is. It isn't really but apparently the moon orbits a bit closer to the earth and it just looks bigger. I think the full moon is around October 25th.

Big wigglies on the earth crust again. This time in the south Pacific -- like a 7.3 in the New Zealand area, 6.8 south of the Mariana Islands, another 6.8 in New Zealand and over on our side of the globe, a 4.9 in the Santa Cruz Islands. If you want to see where in the world the earth's crust is wiggling, go to this site:

And not only that, but a volcano erupted off the coast of Yemen. It's the first time there's been any volcanic activity in that area since 1883. Yemen is a little country off the coast of the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and this island where the eruption took place this morning is only two miles wide. Well, it's probably getting wider as we speak. You can read more about this amazing volcanic eruption at:


We leave the Old Testament behind for now. I had thought about continuing with the Book of Joshua just to keep up the continuity, but decided to go with the homework assignment from Pastor Rensner at Faith Lutheran Church in Shumway. This is where we are going to be transferring our membership.

Anyway, our new Bible readings will be from the Book of Hebrews.

Keep in mind that the people in and around Judea called Jesus "Rabbi." When they went to the synagogue to worship God, they read from the Torah each and every week. And they would chant a psalm.

Jesus would have been very familiar with the writings of Moses that are contained in the Torah, or Pentateuch.

Of course, they didn't have any readings from the New Testament because the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Hebrews 1: 1-14

There is some dispute about who wrote the Book of Hebrews. It's been widely credited to the Apostle Paul. But Paul identified himself in all of his other writings. There is no indication anywhere in the Book of Hebrews as to who physically wrote the book.

We have to remember that all of scripture is from God, our Heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit. Not sure if it matters a whole lot as to whose pen the Holy Spirit decided to use to bring these messages to mankind.

It does appear though, from the writings, that Hebrews was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. That occurred in 70 A.D. Again, scholars are of the opinion that whoever penned the book would surely have mentioned the temple being destroyed if it were written after the destruction.

Well, that's a good assumption if you think of the Bible as a kind of Fox News on the Plains of Moab. Maybe yes. Maybe no.

I like to view the authorship as the late Dr. Walter Martin did when he said: The Book of Hebrews was written by a Hebrew to other Hebrews telling the Hebrews to stop acting like Hebrews. In truth, many of the early Jewish believers were slipping back into the rites and rituals of Judaism in order to escape the mounting persecution. This letter, then, is an exhortation for these persecuted believers to continue in the grace of Jesus Christ.

(read more at:

The Apostle Paul was Jewish. Remember that his ancestry was from the Tribe of Benjamin. He was temple-trained by the Pharisees and was, himself, a Pharisee. That made him very well versed in all the laws that we just read about in the Book of Deuteronomy.

And when I say "very well versed," I am talking about being recognized as the #1 instructor of the law. If you could liken him to the law leader of his land, then comparing him to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court would be close. The Apostle Paul was it.

As far as timing of the writing is concerned, we know that Pope Clement quoted from Hebrews in 95 A.D. Clement was pope from 88 - 97 A.D.

Timothy was alive at the time the book was written.

There is widely accepted belief that the Book of Hebrews was written about 65 A.D.

By this time Paul had already sent his letter to the Corinthians -- in 58 A.D.

The first Christians were massacred/martyred in 64 A.D.

St. Peter was executed in 67 A.D.

Nero succeeded his father Claudius in 68 A.D. (Claudius had been poisoned by his wife Agrippina.)

Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D.

The Jews revolted against Rome in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was captured and destroyed also in 70 A.D. Vitellius was emperor at that time.

So back to the first chapter of Hebrews:

In the very first verse of the first chapter, the Hebrews are reminded that God spoke to their ancestors by using many prophets are his mouthpieces. But in the most recent times, God the Father spoke through his son Jesus Christ.

It was through Jesus Christ that God made the universe. (verse 2b)

It is Jesus Christ who provided the purification for sins. And Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (verse 3)

In verse 4, Jesus Christ is noted as being more superior than the angels. In fact, throughout this first chapter, the difference between Jesus and the angels is repeated.

But make no mistake about it -- angels are ministering spirits whose duty it is to serve. In verse 14, the chapter closes with this kind of job description for the angels: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Those are powerful words. Are you among those who will inherit salvation? You are if you accept that Christ came to earth, lived and died for your sins.

Salvation is yours to claim. It is a promise from God our Heavenly Father.

The next time you pray, say to God, "I'm really sorry for all the lame things I've done that must have broken your heart. I'm really really sorry. Please forgive me and give me the strength to resist Satan and all that is evil. I want your forgiveness and I thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for my personal sins, and the sin of mankind. But for my sins, I thank you for the gift of salvation."


DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE -- from Cody Droege

I am God's child (John 1:12 )
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17 )
I am bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19 -20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt. 5:13 -14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27 )
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18 )
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 )
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16 ).  I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).  I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1).  I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10 )
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14).  I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God. 
Do you know
who you are!?

CHEDDAR CHEESE SOUP -- makes 8 servings

5 T. butter
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup ham, finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
1 tsp. Chinese mustard
2 t. crushed red pepper
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (3 ounces) chopped mushrooms, drained

Melt butter in a large stockpot, add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender, but not brown. Stir in ham.

Add flour and cornstarch, and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Add broth and cook, stirring constantly, until soup thickens slightly.

Add milk and spices. Heat just until the soup is desired thickness. Be sure not to bring to boil.

Note: you may not want to add the red pepper, Patti, since your kiddos probably don't like the heat, like Quint and I do. But this is absolutely the best cheddar cheese soup you'll ever taste. We just loved it. In fact, I used some of it for steamed broccoli the next day. That was delicious too.


CHEWY OATMEAL COOKIES -- makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies

3/4 c. butter flavored Crisco (yes, it's 0% trans fat)
1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1-1/2 t. vanilla
3 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking sheets. (I use parchment paper.)

Combine Crisco, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until just blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. (I added the dry mixture in three different steps.)

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheet.

Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling rack.



This could come under the category of "Oh, so that's how he's going to do it."

Has to do with Vladimir Putin. You know his term is up pretty soon. And Russia has term limits -- 2 terms and that's it.

But he likes being president. He really, really likes it.

Well, I had this thought back a few weeks ago when he just kind of dissolved the Russian government that maybe he'd figure out a way to keep his power base and still run things even though he wouldn't actually be president anymore.

Wow! That paragraph has too many words in it. Forty-three in fact. I try to limit my sentences to three or four. Six at the most.

But you can tell I'm reading Hebrews, probably penned by the Apostle Paul who is known for writing the longest sentences in the Bible. I can't remember where it is but Paul wrote one sentence that had more than 50 words in it. When I find it, I'll let you know.

But back to Putin.

He's thinking he'll become the Prime Minister of Russia. See -- that's how he's going to keep his power!

Just call me suspicious. Or intuitive. Whatever. I just figured he wasn't going to get off the stage just because his second term was up. Isn't he clever? But then again, maybe he's just a lawyer.

read more:



Hla Win, a senior official in Burma, has fled to Thailand. He refused to take part in the massacre of Burma's holy men.

The monks led a peaceful march into the capitol of Rangoon last week to protest human rights abuses.

There are about 20,000 troops in Rangoon now to quell the protests. The monks have been put in school classrooms that are being used as makeshift jails. The police have gone into the temples and are rounding up dissidents.

read more about this developing story at this link:


9:03 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.)