Changes Coming

Since I began this blog last July, an overwhelming list of changes have occurred in my life. Saying goodby to my wife of 51 years, starting a non-profit community service corporation, buying and moving into a new (to me) house, an endless cycle of medical tests and procedures and getting re-married to name a few.

I have been planning some changes to the blog for some time and hope to begin implementing them soon. In addition to the occasional editorial entry and the series I began on Remembering Sandy, I plan to introduce several advertisements and another series titled Milestones on the Journey.

As I am sure you know, the internet runs on advertisements. However, almost no one is a big fan of ads that offend and annoy; so the decision to include them is not to be made lightly. I have decided to include several ads for companies that I endorse and personally do business with.

The series, milestones on the journey, will be based on events in my life, which had a lasting impact on me and changed me in some way.

Look for these changes soon.

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Rescue Operation

People like to rescue things. Some people rescue dogs or cats or birds or whatever. Me… I rescue night crawlers. Now don’t get me wrong. I applaud people who perform rescue services; especially for the unborn and those trapped in human trafficking, but that is another story.

When there is a warm spring rain, worms and especially night crawlers come out of the ground and start crawling. I think they are looking for other worms, but for some reason, they crawl right across sidewalks and even roads. Well, as you know, the road can be a very dangerous place and they often get run over by passing cars. This can be very harmful to the worms not to mention messy. One morning when I was walking in my neighborhood, one of the neighbors came out to chat with me. She asked me if I knew what the strong smell was. I had to tell her it was just dead worms!

When I was taking my morning walk, I would notice the night crawlers crawling on the road and how many were getting run over by the traffic. One day I finally decided to pick them up and take them home. I even built a fancy holding bin to keep them in where they would be comfortable and couldn’t get out and hurt themselves.

Worm Bin

Occasionally, I get out my fishing pole and try to teach the worms how to swim. So far none of them has really learned how to swim, but at least they are not getting smashed on the road and stinking up the neighborhood. As a fringe benefit, I sometimes accidentally catch a few fish.

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Remembering Sandy – 2

Families of Origin

The girl was the oldest of four daughters. Her father, who she loved deeply, suffered his first heart attack in his twenties and he died of a heart attack at age 48. His health put a great deal of stress on the family with the mother needing to earn a living and other family members helping to raise the children. The girl had to accept significant responsibilities at a very early age.

The girl grew up in a family where little girls were routinely molested by some of the men in the family and nothing was done about it.. This set up a situation where the older girls tried to protect the younger girls from suffering the same kind of pain. Alcoholism, diabetes and heart disease were common and life expectancy was short. Divorce and long-standing grudges were very common.

There was very little religious influence in the family and the Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star and Rainbow Girls organizations served as substitutes for church. When the girl was senior in high school someone invited she and her sister to a young peoples group at a small local church. The first time they heard a presentation of the Bible message, they both decided to follow Jesus and that made all of the difference in their lives.

Historic building where church met

The boy was the oldest of three sons. His father and mother were both strong and very capable. The home provided a stable, loving environment. The boy’s father was a self-taught tool maker and was never out of work for more than a day. He could fix almost anything and he taught the boy how to hunt and fish and do everything men were supposed to do. The boy grew up believing that men could do

Open Air Restrooms

anything.

Because he was one of the older, more responsible young people in the neighborhood, the boy worked on neighborhood farms from the age of 13 to earn a little spending money. The local 4-H club was a very important part of his life with the county fair being the high point of the year.

Golden wedding anniversaries were common in the family and divorce was rare. Extended family get-to-gathers were common activities. His grandmother on his mother’s side was legendary for entertaining large groups of friends and family.

When he was able to drive, the boy began attending young people’s activities at one of the larger churches in town. The associate pastor’s wife was very gifted at presenting the truths of the Bible message. One evening after he got home from a meeting, the boy knelt beside his bed and committed himself to follow Jesus.

Although they came from very different backgrounds and experiences, the girl and the boy were both following Jesus and that made a solid foundation for a life together.

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Wellness as a natural extension of Christian Faith

When I take off on a topic like this, at least a few definitions are required. So… When I say Wellness, I mean: “The scientific meaning of wellness, ie. being healthy and disease free.” That seems pretty straight forward. However, when I say Faith, I mean: “…often used in a religious context, as in theology, where it almost universally refers to a trusting belief in a transcendent reality, or else in a Supreme Being and/or this being’s role in the order of transcendent, spiritual things.”

Now, as most people know, when I insist on using this definition for Faith; most “enlightened” people leave the room. And… when I insist on using Christian as the adjective for Faith, I thereby specify the identity of the “Supreme Being” as Jesus Christ and now the lawyers start to enter the room. For those of you who are still left (and are not lawyers), here is what I am thinking.

Discipleship and stewardship have always been fundamental components of Christian Faith. The New Testament concept of stewardship has always been the idea of managing something that is not our own for the benefit of someone else. The Apostle Paul told his friends at Corinth: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

The clear implication is that after we have been born again or saved or decided to follow Jesus, we (including our bodies) belong to someone else.

A second issue would be the question: Do we have any control over our bodies being “healthy and disease free”? Here the evidence is overwhelming… we have almost total control, but exercising this control is not a very popular topic (just check out the profiles of the next 10 people that walk through the doors of any church on any given Sunday).

I am not sure exactly what is going on here, but one rather uncomfortable possibility is that living the lifestyle that we want to live has become far more important than obeying God.

Thoughts?

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Remembering Sandy – 1

The year was 1956.  It was Halloween time and a bashful 18 year old boy was walking down the basement stairs of a house he had never been in before.  He was very uneasy in the unfamiliar environment, but he was attending a costume party put on by the youth group of the church and he wanted to meet some girls.  He was dressed as Daisy May with a blond wig and pigtails that he had worn in a school play and some kind top and skirt, as I remember it.

A really cute girl with a sparkle in her eyes came around the corner dressed as Raggedy Andy with suspender overalls, a plaid shirt and freckles made with lipstick.  She said something like: “Hi!  I’m Sandy; who are you?”  The boy, who was quite embarrassed, immediately thought in his head: Oh my goodness. That’s my future wife.

The girl had graduated the year before and had just moved to the city from two counties away.  The boy had lived his whole life in the county and had grown up in a rural farming neighborhood.  He had just graduated from high school and was already working in the local GM factory as a co-op student.

The relationship developed slowly over the next several years centered on church and related activities.  Going to Youth for Christ meetings downtown was a regular activity.  Special meetings at church were a good excuse to see each other.  Her father was ill with heart problems and died of another heart attack in 1958.  The boy did not think he knew the family well enough to attend the services.

Who were those youngsters?

Somewhere along the way things got serious and the boy proposed on Valentines evening in 1959.  He gave the girl a custom made engagement ring with a blue star Safire stone in a Tiffany setting of white gold.  They were going to wait until he graduated to get married, but she was trying to live alone and not making it so they set the date for August 15, 1959, the hottest day of the year (this was before air conditioning was common).  The pastor introduced them as Mr. and Mrs. Robert Porter. He had just finished painting his 1951 Oldsmobile convertible the day before. There is a rumor that the boy wore white socks and was late to his wedding, but I am not sure about that story.

Around the time they were married; they both were singing in the church choir and teaching juniors in Sunday school.  Except for working, they did everything together.  She worked as the secretary to the senior Pastor and they attended church three or four times a week.

They lived two years in an upstairs apartment in the city and three more years above a garage on the Porter family homestead.  They didn’t have anything and were incredibly happy.  However, troubles were coming (they always do).  During the time they were in the apartment over the garage, Bob served six months at Fort Knox to fulfill his military requirement.  Being apart for that length of time seemed unbearable even though he made one trip home and she made one trip down to Kentucky with his aunt and uncle.  Sandy sold his car while he was gone without asking him because she needed the money, but true love doesn’t dwell on that kind of thing.

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Announcing a New Series

Tomorrow I begin an extended series called “Remembering Sandy“… The joy of my life for 54 years

Here is a copy of a letter to the editor that I sent to the local newspaper just to get an idea of where I might be going…

“Medicating Ourselves to Death

Question:

Why does the United States spend more on health care per capita than any country in the world and still have results far lower than many other countries?

Answer:

A major collusion between drug companies, insurance companies (think AIG, etc.), medical schools and congressmen (think Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Obama Care, single-payer system, etc. etc. etc.).

We have all known for some time that the United States has the best government that money can buy.  During the last few years, we have seen it all played out before our eyes in disgusting detail.  The mood of the country is to do something about it.  This could be very interesting…”

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Where have all of the heroes gone?

This getting old thing gets old in a hurry.  When you’ve lived as long as I have, you’ve seen a lot of things change; and it seems to seldom be for the better.  I can remember when our heroes were people who did something difficult and dangerous simply because it needed to be done (think Invasion of Normandy).

I think of one of my 4-H advisors, Bill.  He and another young man gave up many hours of their lives to invest in a group of country boys who learned a significant set of skills under their careful coaching.  During that time, 4-H was a significant part of my life and I still clearly remember the projects that I completed during those formative years.  I know what a number of those boys did as they grew up and I cannot think of any who became an embarrassment to their community.

Bill lived about a mile down the road and had a horse that he pastured on his farm.  We used to ride our bicycles down to the farm and climb up on the fence to ride the horse bareback once in a while.  One day we heard that there was a “conflict” taking place on the other side of the world.  It seems that communists from the north were attacking the people in the south and somebody in Washington D.C. decided we, the United States needed to do something about it.  Almost before we knew it, Bill was shipping out to “do his duty”.

I do not know how much time passed, but one day we heard that Bill would not be coming back alive.  The other young man did his best to take up the slack even though he was starting a farm and wanted to get married, but we all really missed Bill and struggled to understand what had happened.

The heroes of today’s young people seem to be silly little girls who wear clothes that do not cover anything and post tweets that tell you when they are going to the bathroom and all kinds of young people who can do something amazing with a racket or ball or a club, but only if they get paid thousands of dollars per second and pout if they do not get their way.

During the last 50 years, I have seen this great country on a freefall into the sewer.  I think I know what happened, but more to come…

In the meantime, I think I will stick with the Bill’s of this world for my list of heroes.

What about you?

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