Family is where it is!!!!!

Family is where it is!!!!!
Christmas in Disney
Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if there are topics I should be spouting                                   off on.  

Remember that "Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,                love fully and laugh uncontrollably....."


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A prayer for 2009

BLESS you with what you PRAY for,
REWARD you with what you WORK for,
GRANT you with what you HOPE for, and
SURPRISE you with lots of MIRACLES in your life.

Dr. Salvador Ortiza,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A "special" Texas High School Football Game (ESPN story)

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The future (Written by 10 year Mattie Stepanek)

Even though the future seems far away,

It is actually beginning right now.

And while we are living in the present

We must celebrate life everyday.

Knowing that we are becoming history

With every word, every action,every moment.

Because we, today,are the history of tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thanks kids

We just finished opening Santa's presents with the grand children.

The gratitude & excitement from the younger set is always so refreshing. Whether the present is large or small, expensive or inexpensive, the receiving joy is there. In so many ways, children should be our role models. To often, however, we (I) forget to look, listen and emulate them and loose their message of joy, forgiveness and acceptance/

Thanks kids where ever you are. Oh, how much we can learn from you.

The Lord's Christmas letter to Christians (author unknown)

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival although I do appreciate being remembered anytime. How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now having said that, let Me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen, and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that, there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can and may remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish. I actually spoke of that one in a teaching explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks is. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth, here is My wish list. Choose something from it.

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know. They tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms, and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past, and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile. It could make the difference. Also you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line. They talk with people like that every day.

7. Instead of nitpicking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas," that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day, they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't), buy some food and a few gifts, and give them to the Marines, the Salvation Army, or some other charity that believes in Me. They will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of Mine.

P. S. Don't forget: I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me, and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above, and get to work. Time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember: I LOVE YOU.

Let the Light In

Whatever we do, however we share, we mark the time,
the season, the feast as a place of light and love. And
in so doing, the gift of the Baby under the star has a
chance to transform our world into a bright oasis of
grace and mercy.

So as you gather today, whether with friends or even
by yourself, mark the time. Mark the day. Mark the
feast. And let the light of Christ come into the world.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blessed are the cracked! Thats us. (author unknown)

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it is the cracks and flaws we have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. Just take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

Remember, blessed are the cracked for it is they who let in the light.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas is.....

Christmas is not just a season,
Christmas is not just a day,
Christmas is more than a reason
For parties, presents and play.
Christmas is truly the essence
Of joy that the Saviour brings;
Christmas is surely the presence
Of Jesus, the King of Kings!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We're number 1

Last night the Richmond football team played Montana in the National Championships (Division 1AA) and won. I am so happy for our players who have worked so hard and so pleased for our coach. He is such a wonderful human being, family man, Christian and coach.

This is the first time in the Universities history that we have had a national championship. Happy holidays guys. This was a great gift to our Institution and to all of our constituents.

Go Spiders!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Prayer from Billy Graham concerning the values of today

> 'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to
> seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who
> call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our
> spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited
> the poor and called
> it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have
> killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists
> and called it
> justifiable. We ha ve neglected to discipline our children and called it
> building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have
> coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have
> polluted the air
> with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have
> ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it
> enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today;
> cleanse us from every sin
> and Set us free. Amen!'

Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Advent Message (Dr.Gail Inlow)

Shortly before my father died, he wrote the following Advent message which I have referred to often, particularly the last paragraphs beginning "The Advent expanded......

"Throughout Christian history, Christ's advent has precipitated almost never-ending thought and controversy. Just who was the Babe of Bethlehem? Why do we know so little about his childhood and young manhood? Just who and what was He, having reached maturity? The Son of God? (Mathew 3:17). The son of Man?(Mark 10;45). Or relatedly, the son of Mary?(Mathew 13:55). Or, as portrayed intermittently throughout the New Testament, was the the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the cornerstone of all humanity, the high priest, the prophet, the Word made flesh? Or, all of these and more?
Or was he, as portrayed in Sabine Baring Gould's "Onward Christian Soldiers," a war like commander, leading his legion of
followers into combat against the forces of sin and evil? Obviously not, for Christ was a "man" of love, caring and peace.
Throughout Christian history, the Advent commemorates the Birth of Christ who ultimately was to
become the catalyst of and central figure in a way of life called Christianity. A way of life verbalized primarily in the "New Testament," which says, in effect,
to mankind: read and learn about Christ's birth and life, make the words part of you, and most important, confine them not exclusively to churches, cathedrals, and tabernacles, but apply them to the world of daily activity--to the home, to the community, to the marketplace.
The Advent, expanded, tells man to love his neighbor, to reach out to the have-nots of the world, to opt for peace over war, forgiveness over thoughtless punishment, and gentle tolerance over hasty opposition.
During the oncoming Christmas season, the Advent says to mankind: cut materialism down to size, share more generously with the needy, and never forget that Christianity at its best is a phenomenon of action as well as words and ideas. Its mandate is:
put the letter to work."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Message

As an old english major with a keen interest in poetry, I share this "wonderful and timely work of literature" (author unknown--I wonder why?).

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New definitions for stock investment terms :-) :-(

Because of today's rapidly changing stock market and the financial conditions in the industry, the following terms have had to be revised for investors in order to more clearly reflect today's economic market place---author (s) unknown.

My apologies to my corporate friends for this timely but "not so funny" humor.

CEO -- chief embezzlement officer.

CFO -- corporate fraud officer.

BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the
market keeps crashing.

BROKER -- What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW -- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS 2008 -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought

Yahoo @ $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT -- an archaic word no longer in use

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great quotes on government all on one page

> "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed,if you do read
> the newspaper you are misinformed." -Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress....But then I repeat myself. -Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a
bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -Winston

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -.George Bernard Shaw.

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what
to have for dinner. -James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor
people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to
teenage boys. -P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian.

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what
it costs when it's free! -P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money
as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you! -Pericles
(430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the
legislature is in session. -Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it. -Unknown

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy
appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. -Ronald

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin. -Mark Twain

There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress. -Mark

What this country needs are more unemployed
politicians. -Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to
take everything you have. -Thomas Jefferson

A nation that sacrifices its principles to maintain its privileges is destined to lose both.
Dwight Eisenhower


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A graduating college class of 2010

According to Beloit College, their entering students of 2006...

*Never knew the Soviet Union existed and therefore found it is as scary as the student union
*Only knew two Presidents
*For most of their lives, grew up with major US airlines being bankrupt
*Knew that Manuel Noriega had always been in jail
*Have grown up getting lost in giant retail stores known as big boxes
*Have always know one Germany
*Have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on the cash register.
*Are wireless but always connected.
*Know that a stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third rate burlsry was to their parents.
*Because of pervasive use of headphones in the back seat, have parents who have always been able to speak freely in the
*Know that coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
*Have never been permitted to smoke on US Airlines.
*know that Faux Fur has always been a necessary element of style
*Know that the Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
*Have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
*Know that DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible in court.
*Grew up pushing their own minature shopping cars in the supermarket.
*Grew up up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
*have always thought of Google as a verb.
*Have always used text messaging as their e-mail.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A friend is like a rose.......

A friend is like a flower,
a rose to be exact,

or maybe like a brand new gate
that never comes unlatched.

A friend is like an owl,
but beautiful and wise.

or perhaps a friend is like a ghost,
whose spirit never dies.

A friend is like those blades of grass
you can never mow,

standing straight, tall, and proud
in a perfect little row.

a friend is like a heart that goes
strong until the end.

Where would we be in this world
if we didn't have a friend?

~By Crystal Kirk Preece~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Want to become a stronger Christian.....?

Leonard Sweet in his book Jesus Drives Me Crazy, suggests the following for becoming a stronger Christian.

Want to get the most—Go to where the least is.
Want to be free. Give complete control to God
Want to become great as a Christian, become least
Want to discover yourself. Forget yourself to God
Want honor. Honor yourself with humility
Want to get even with enemies Bless and Love them

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christians in conflict with society................

In Leonard Sweet's book, Jesus Drives Me Crazy, he suggests that to be a successful Christian puts you into conflict with society’s yardsticks for success. For example:

The way up in Christianity is down
The way in is out
The way first is last.
The way of success is service
The way of attainment is relinquishment
The way of strength is weakness
The way of security is vulnerability
The way of protection is forgiveness (even seventy times seventy)
The way of life is the way of death.

What do you think? More Sweet tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years..

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a
cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A prayer for the World by Rabbi Kushner

With all of the rain we have had here in Richmond and the challenges that are going on in the world now, I thought that this might be a an appropriate prayer to share.


Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations.

Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect.

Then let the sun come out and fill the
sky with rainbows. Let the warmth of
the sun heal us where ever we are

Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly. So that we can see beyond labels,beyond accents, gender or skin color.

Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness. So that we can share the joys and feel the sorrows of our neighbors.

And let the light, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers to surround us with beauty.

And let the mountains teach our hearts to reach upward to the heavens.

Amen. In Parade Magazine 3/23/03

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kids say the "smartest things"

Author-- Mattie Stepanek (10 years old)

Even though the future seems far away,

It is actually beginning now.

And while we are living in the present

We must celebrate life everyday.

Knowing that we are becoming history

With every word, every action, every moment.

Because we, today, are the history of tomorrow.


How will I be viewed? Don't ask my kids :-)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Get to Heaven / Some Sunday afternoon levity

From a fellow friend in Williamsburg, comes this "funny" from a Sunday School experience that could happen in any of our churches:-)

"If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?" I asked the children in my Sunday school class.

"NO!" the children all answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into heaven?"

Again the answer was, "NO!"

"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?" I asked them again.

Once more they all answered, "NO!"

"Well, I continued, thinking they were a good bit more theologically sophisticated than I had given them credit for, "then how can I get into heaven?"

A five-year old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!"

Crabby Old Man or young guy inside? (author unknown)

I ran across this poem which has a powerful message I think to all care givers but is also a reminder to all of us that each and every person has an on going story to tell, a story worth remembering and a story that impacted and impacts family, friends and the world around them.

What do you see nurses? What
do you see?
What are you thinking….when you're
looking at me?
A crabby old man…not very wise, Uncertain of habit…with faraway
Who dribbles his food…and makes
no reply.
When you say in a loud voice…”I do
wish you'd try!”
Who seems not to notice…the things
that you do.
And forever is losing….a sock or a
Who, resisting or not….lets you do as you will, With bathing and feeding…
the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?....Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse….you're not looking at me. I'll tell you who I
As I sit here so still, As I do at your bidding… I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten….with a father and mother,
Brothers and Sisters…who
love one another
A young boy of Sixteen……with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now…a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at twenty….my heart gives a leap. Remembering, the vows…..
That I promised to keep.
At twenty -five, now….I have young
of my own.
Who need me to guide….and a
secure happy home.
A man of Thirty….my young now
grown fast,
Bound to each other….with ties that
should last.
At forty, my young sons…have
grown and are gown,
But my woman beside me…to see I
don't mourn.
At fifty, once more,…..babies play
'round my knee,
Again we know children….my loved
one and me.
Dark days are upon me….my wife is now dead. I look at the future…..
I shudder with dread. For my young are all rearing….young of their own.
And I think of the years…and the love that I've known. I am an old man……
And nature is cruel. Tis jest to make old age….
Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles ….grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone….where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass….a young guy still dwells,
And now and again….my battered heart swells.
I remember the joy the joys……I remember the pain. And I'm loving and living…..
Life over again.
I think of the years…all to few…gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact….that nothing can last.
So open your eyes people….open and see…Not a crabby old man.
Look closer….its ME.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Good Old College Days

I wrote this several years ago for the Alumni Magazine at Northern Illinois University after seeing a photo of my old work location while in college. Ah the good old days.

The picture of Williston Hall’s dining room in the 40’s in the last issue of Northern Today brought back many memories for my wife and I.

As a freshman in 1961, I worked for dining services as the Williston Hall maitre d during the dinner meal. My main responsibility consisted of ringing the dinner chimes signaling the residents to line up in the living room in a double row facing one another. Dr. Carol Troescher, the Hall Advisor would walk down the lines of students at which point I would open the dining room doors and escort her to her seat. Then and only then were the residents permitted to enter the dining room to enjoy dinner.

Weekday dress code called for dresses or skirts and sweaters—certainly not shorts, slacks or sweatshirts. I was attired in a shirt, tie and blue sport coat. The “Willy” women could not leave their tables until the hall advisor had finished her dinner and greeted each of the students around the room. To say the least, evening study and recreation time was cut short because of the formality of the evening. While Dr. Troescher relished this time together with her “kids”, those poor students that I served had quite a different view of weekday dinners.

I lasted the year in this rather interesting but menial job because I met my future wife at one of the Williston Hall dinners. We agonized together over the rigidity and inflexibility of the dinner hour but did enjoy the opportunity to get to know one another a little better. Along with marriage in 1964, the Williston job piqued my interest in the hospitality industry which I have worked in and around for the last 41 years.

As I look around me now and see my family specifically and society in general eating meals on the run and at all hours of the day and night, I miss those dinners at Willy when a good meal consisted not only of good food but fellowship and discussion. I am not sure I want to be a maitre d again but I have a whole new respect for Carol Troescher and her formal dinners. Ah, the good old days………………………

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Intelligent Design

Having worked on a college campus for some 40 years, I obviously have been exposed to and a been a part of evolutionary/scientific thought. Having been a Christian my entire life and an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church for decades, I am also a believer. I bridge these two seemingly contradictions by a personal belief in Intelligent Design.

My thoughts then are as follows.

As an educated individual with some science background ( I am not a scientist), I am convinced that evolution is for real and that the world is millions of years old--not 2000 years old as our bible states.

Having said that, I can not believe that the complexity of evolution, the beauty of the world, the beauty and process of human birth happened as an accident. The science principles that the world functions within occurred because a supreme being made it all possible.

I choose to believe that the God we Christians believe in is that supreme being.

Sermon over. Have at me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Some random thoughts about growing old:

For those of us that are maturing nicely and can still laugh at ourselves, I share the following. Sorry kids, you had better skip this one!

(Author unknown)

This is the period of life that Disrael referred to as anecdotage

Nothing is more ridiculous than discounts for senior citizens, when people in their 60's have far more wealth than people in their thirties.

These are my declining years: I decline all sorts of invitations and opportunities.

People who talk about earlier and simpler times are usually too young to remember those times--and how complicated they were.

And old body is like an old automobile, where the brakes need repairing today, the steering wheel next month and the transmission after that.

Looking at old photographs makes it hard for me to believe I was ever that thin physically. And remebering some of the things I did in those days makes it hard to believe that I was ever that thin mentally.

You would think that young people, with decades of life ahead of them, would look further ahead and plan more for the future than older people. But it i just the opposite.The young tend to be oriented to right now, while old-timers think about the future of their children and grandchildren and worry about where the country is heading in years ahead.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But maybe the old dog already knows about tricks that only seem new to the young--and doesn't think much of those tricks.

When I was young, age 40 seemed so ancient that I couldn't imagine what I would be like to be 40. Now I can barely remember what it was like to be forty.

Age gives you an excuse for not being very good at things that you were not very good at when you were young.

And finally, let's not forget our ABC's. Need help remembering them. Try this. :-)

The ABC's of Aging Gracefully (author unknown)

A void collagen
B loom late
C elebrate
D ance at weddings
E at more chocolate
F all in love again
G o gray
H old hands
I nspire
J ettison grudges
K iss like you mean it
L augh
M end fences
N urture friendships
O pen doors
P erspire with aplomb
Q uit whining
R ekindle romance
S poil babies
T each someone to read
U pset convention
V olunteer

W ear Red

eX pect Joy
Y ield gracefully
Z ing

but above all be bold - WEAR RED!


With the election now history and all the rhetoric, promises and slams now over with (at least for a while), lets not forget England 's former Prime Minister Tony Blair's words during an interview about America. When asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes so much in America , he said: "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." Yesterdays election certainly opened the door for an even greater validation within the world that America truly is the land of opportunity.

Marian Wright Edelman, with the Children's Defense Fund, said in a letter to the funds supporters the following: "Yesterday's election is a reminder that the United States is still a place of bold ideas and a beacon of hope. It says to every child of color and every poor boy and girl that you belong too, and you do have a future. Throughout America's history, race has been a noose choking our capacity to soar. At a time when we face a great litany of problems, it is moving to see the American people's common sense and faith trump fear. It is truly a triumph that yesterday Americans voted for competence and a new vision, regardless of race.

How exciting!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Words of wisdom from Professor Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a University Professor who died from pancreatic cancer. He was asked to give "His Last Lecture" which he did but said the following: "Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children." That "last lecture" is now a best selling book and has been featured, along with Randy, on Oprah's show. Exerpts from that lecture are printed below as outlined by today's USA Today (April 8th).

These are ideas and words I hope to benefit from. How about you?

* Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I am going to keep having fun every day
because there is no other way to play it.

* Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

* No one is pure evil. Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.

* Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to stop people
who don't want it badly enough.

* It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way. the karma will take care of
itself. The dreams will come to you.

* We can't change the cards we were dealt, just how we play the hand. If I'm not as depressed as you you think I should be, I'm
sorry to disappoint you.

Read his book if you haven't done so. It's wonderful!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grandchildren--What a blessing :-)

Since I gave my grand children credit for shaming me into this blogging thing, I thought I better share a little information about each of them. I do this with some risk given my grand kids will read this blog and take me on for misrepresenting or embarrassing them. Oh well........

Alex Hale says "... Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children". I beg to differ. It is the grand children that spread joy, love and stardust over our lives. Thank God for their innocence and their unconditional love :-)

Where do I begin? I suppose the easiest way to start would be by family. 

In Florida, I have five grandchildren. They range in age from 22 down to less than a year. Caitlynn, the youngest daughter in the Florida clan is loved (????) by her three brothers but teased at every opportunity.  She is a dancer and does very well in school. She organizes the house for her Mom and takes good care of her newly arrived brother Evan. Lauren Reed is our 22 year old granddaughter who loves animals, works for a vet and is undertaking course work leading to a dental hygiene degree. Adam, is driving now (stay off the road everybody),  works for a vet part time, is starting to look for college scholarships and joined the high school crew team this past year. He also carries a Blackberry so is always in touch with others. Brandon, 14 years of age, is a whiz at technology games of all kinds. I  play him but have no chance of winning or even understanding the basic nuances of the game. He is very active in his church youth group and school activities, takes special care of the family's two dogs (and vice versa) and is busy learning more about his computer for school assignments and e-mailing his extended family. Evan, the youngest of all the grandkids, is starting to crawl (watch out folks) and according to Mom is well behaved and rarely cries (lucky you). 

My Chicago clan is home to three boys.  Ryan, the oldest, is a very good student, plays high school sports, lifts weights with his Dad and has found girls or have they found him?  Colin is in Junior High, loves basketball, is on the middle school and high school feeder team, loves family time with all of his relatives and is teaching his little brother, Owen ( 4 years old),  all of the ins and out of athletics. Owen must have been born with a ball in his hands and gym shoes on his feet. From early on, he became a sports fan and has been adopted by all of the parents and players on his brothers teams.

Our North Carolina family is home to Jordan Elizabeth who is soon to be 5 (going on fifteen) and ready to start school next year although she has to wait a year :-(   She loves to dance, enjoys educational games, has a wonderful sense of humor, takes great care of her dolls ( a good little mommy) and is quite the actress-- all the while wrapping her Dad (Mommy too) around her little finger. She loves going to the other grandparents farm to play.

Each of our grand children have grandparents on both sides of their family. I know we feel blessed and I know the other grand parents feel the same way. I have such fond memories of my Mom's parents. I only knew my Dads father for a short time and never knew his mother. While I don't know that I recognized it then, I missed out on the fun, joy and security of having two PaPa's and Grandma's.

There is so much more to say about each of these special young family members. There will be a time and place for additional bragging. Stay tuned.......I'm not shy.

A Thanksgiving Poem?????/

Being an old english major with an eye toward wonderful poetry, I share this timely piece of work (author unknown--I wonder why?)

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Lords ministry for over 20 years

After church today, I had both an interesting and kind of emotional meeting. 

Some twenty years ago, my father, living in Evanston, Illinois seeded a fund for our Presbyterian Church (in Virginia) with the hope that the interest and dividends from the endowment would assist in his words ".... folks less fortunate than he". For twenty years, the fund has grown to over a quarter of a million dollars with the income assisting over 700 families and or individuals with medicine, heat, lights, food, shelter, funerals and burials. He asked that I act as trustee until my death or my transfer of church membership. 

I have not passed away (phew) nor have I moved my membership. Given my age and retirement status,  both those scenarios have to be considered. 

So today, I met with a transition committee that will take over the fund some time in the not to distant future. It was interesting because of the readiness of these church members to undertake such a worthwhile and needed ministry yet expressing anxiety for the unknown and sometimes gut wrenching work ahead.

It was emotional because of the trust that Dad had in me to grow the fund and to use it appropriately. I lived the Lords ministry through my Dad almost daily. His wishes will be carried forth I am sure. The church has named the fund after Dad and his family. Hallelujah!

On his death bed in hospice, he wrote an Advent message which is to long to print in its entirety but shared in part here. 

Christianity    ".... is a way of life verbalized primarily in the New Testament which says, in effect, to mankind: read and learn about Christ's birth and life, make the the words part of you, and most important, confine them not exclusively to churches, cathedrals, and tabernacles, but apply them to the world of daily activity--to home, to the community, to the marketplace.
The Advent, expanded, tells man to love his neighbor, to reach out to the have-nots of the world, to opt for peace over war, forgiveness over thoughtless punishment, and gentle tolerance over hasty opposition.....The Advent says to mankind: cut materialism down to size, share more generally with those in need, and never forget that Christianity at its best is a phenomenon of action as well as words and ideas. Its mandate is: put the letter to work."

By the way, I made it to the church on time despite the time change. Its always easier "falling back" than "springing forward"

Till later....

A beautiful weekend and more on the election

It is a beautiful weekend. Unfortunately, my football team has a bye this Saturday so I am relegated to "honey do" projects around the house. Given the weather, staining part of our deck seems in order. I would rather be at the game tailgating and second guessing the coaches.

I went to my other office (McDonalds) this morning to discuss the problems of the world with my other cronies that camp out there each day. The election of course was the big topic with the "oldies" speaking up for McCain and the younger generation pitching Obama. 

As has been the case to often however, the subject invariably turns to Palin.  When that happens,  the discussion usually goes down hill from there. It will be interesting to note how history portrays the "Gov" and her impact on this election. If the Republicans loose, the loss will be blamed in large part on her by fellow Republicans. If through some miracle, McCain wins, he will be given credit for the astute and daring choice of Sarah Palin, soccer mom, beauty queen and first amendment advocate. Without question, she has positioned herself for bigger and better things the next go around. Stay tuned for the Palin/Clinton match.  If nothing else, Tina Fey has become a house hold name :-)

The deck calls,  damn it. Oh well...............

Friday, October 31, 2008

The beginning

My grandkids have challenged me to start blogging so here goes. I am clueless how to begin but I will struggle along and you all with me. 

With the current election only three days a way, subject matter shouldn't be a problem.

I know the polls are indicating a landslide victory for O'Bama. I think it will be closer than that. Some voters who have stated in the polls and publicly that they are for the Democratic candidate will vote for McCain when they get in the booth. O'Bama  will be victorious when all is said and done however and I am OK with that. We need change and as a charismatic leader, he maybe able to buck the status quo. I have not been for big government and gun control but McCain is tied into the current regime which has been a disaster. Lets hope for a brighter tomorrow with less war, a growing economy, better health care and a renewed pride in America. If he is elected, I can say hallelujah that we have matured as a nation and elected the best man for the job. 

I hope my kids are not grading me on this first blogging attempt. Perhaps I'll keep the site hidden for awhile  :-)