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One Year Older

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022


68

09/14/22 09:30 AM

Today I turn 68. Grateful & Blessed are two important words that come to mind.

It's funny how perspectives on age change as we get older. I still remember when I thought that a person in their 30's was old. Looking back, I can only chuckle at that.

When I look at the pictures of the old ham radio operators I've contacted, I now realize that there are young people trapped inside those old bodies. I see it that way because I know that as my body ages my mind still feels young.

Well, sort of...

Um, has anyone seen my keys, phone, and wallet?

What's really nice is that I have no regrets. I don't wish to be young again for life back then had its own set of problems that I would not care to revisit. And life today comes with blessings I could have only imagined back when I was younger.

Without a doubt, the greatest blessing in my life is (and has been) my soulmate, my Patty! She truly makes life worth living and brings joy, vitality, and youthfulness to every day!

Thank you, Patty!

And thank you, Lord!




Dad

AUGUST 31, 2022


Dad

08/30/22 12:35 PM

I posted this picture of dad and blogged about it back in January of this year. That's a very young Noah Snow (his great grandson) sitting with him.

If my math is right, today would have been dad's 93rd birthday. We lost him about nine years ago at age 84.

Dad was fit as a fiddle up until he wasn't. I don't think I had any idea back then what he must have been going through as his decline came so suddenly and dramatically.

Dad was pretty much a go it alone kind of guy, both in life and at life's end. Only as I get older do I begin to understand what he must have been going through.

He often said, getting old is not for sissies and those words have rung more and more true with me as I enter my senior years. As I get older, remaining grateful for God's blessings always trumps complaining about the challenges. The former He served to bless me and the latter He allowed both to strengthen me and to provide me with a great appreciation for the former.

Footnote

More Tennis Stuff

More Tennis Stuff

08/31/22 08:50 AM

Well, day two is finished at the US Open and with it all 64 men's single matches in round one are done or are close to it. Today we begin with the first half of round two and will see 16 of the 32 men's singles matches slated for this round.

It will be the same with the women's rounds. We're down to the first half of round two for them as well, not to mention men's, women's, and mixed doubles.

Serena plays the number 2 seed tonight, so I'm guessing that will be her exit from the event and the end of all the hoopla surrounding her finale. We'll see...

Serena Williams

08/31/22 08:45 PM

I've got to give credit where credit is due. That was a different Serena Williams who defeated the #2 player in the world. Serena's been playing poorly lately which led many of us to believe she wouldn't even make it out of the first round. But, to her credit she won her second round and continues onward. Good for her!




God is Good...

AUGUST 23, 2022


God is Good

08/22/22 06:15 PM

I'm delighted to report that the healing I mentioned yesterday continues and the first day back for weights and running was a great success. It felt good to get back in the swing of things.

We dropped by our eye doctor so Patty could order some contacts and I could get adjustments to the frames for my glasses. The men on my dad's side of the family all have a wonky ear which makes one ear a tad lower than the other.

As a result, glasses never sit quite right when I put them on. But, after a bit of tweaking, the doctor's assistant had things working for me.

How level my glasses sit on my face has never been that important in the past, but with a small amount of prism added to reduce the tendency toward double vision, it seems much more important now. The prism that has been added also further reduces my ability to look at anything unless my head is upright. It's nearly impossible to describe the effect that it has on my vision, but it's not pretty!

Still, I'm so grateful to have found a good eye doctor and eyecare center, and even more grateful for the provision that affords us the opportunity to utilize their services. I'm the first to admit that the contemporary quote I hear these days seems a bit corny and over-used, but it's still true:

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!

Foot Note

08/23/22 01:45 PM

Yard Guys

We have a great group of yard guys and they do a superb job! Monday used to be their day but they come on Tuesdays now since they have a new and large project on Mondays.

They came today and did their normal job plus they hauled off some stuff I wanted carried away. I was glad to pay a small price for that since we no longer have a service that does those kinds of pickups, like they did in Spanish Fort.

On the other hand, our second solar light has also gone missing. We replaced the first one after it went missing, but I'm not going to replace another one. I guess that address sign it was shining upon will have to be a daytime only sign.




The View

AUGUST 14, 2022


The View

08/14/22 07:50 AM

Interesting how the view changes from moment to moment. I really thought of a mountain view as a more static thing, but it's proving to be quite otherwise.

This picture was taken this morning from the back deck and the fog cover in the distance was quite unexpected. But, at the same time it was new and amazing to see.

I'm still very thankful that the Lord saw fit to move us to this new and beautiful area, and also to move us closer to Jonathan and Amy.




We the People

AUGUST 07, 2022


We the People

08/07/22 07:25 AM

With our new Sling account, I've been watching a lot of golf and tennis. Took a break from all of that last night and watched God's Not Dead: We the People. That's one I'm delighted to have in my DVD library and I watch it when I'm looking for inspiration.

The writing on the God's Not Dead series is quite good in my opinion. Of course I'm no expert at writing a screenplay, but I do know what works well for me and that entire series has been an inspiration on all sorts of levels for me personally.

I have quite a lengthy list of DVD's in my library that have a strong spiritual component and it is always inspiring to spend an evening engrossed in one of the stories. I suppose I'm like those readers who don't mind going back to the same book over and over again, except for me it's movies.

Foot Note

08/07/22 9:50 AM

Weight Training

Well, yesterday I added a bold title for my footnotes topic. Pretty cool.

I also got in day 2 with my 3 day weight rotation. Day 2 also works out good with the missing 15 pounder. I'm doing two exercises with 20 pounders and two more with 10 pounders. Day 3 will be a rest day.

I like the intensity of the the Day 1 and Day 2 workouts and also the short length of only 10 reps x 3 sets x 4 exercises. I also like looping in a rest day to give me a day off even though I'm not taking any days off with cardio.




Credit Where Due

JULY 22, 2022


Jesus

07/21/22 05:48 PM

I love this picture of Jesus. It was painted by Akiane Kramarik, whose story was featured in the movie Heaven is For Real. We purchased a copy and it hangs in our home.

Now, I need to provide credit where credit is due. I wish I could take the credit just to know that I'm capable of controlling what I need to control and when I need to control it. However, I can't. That's all there is to it.

Patty and I prayed consistently that the Lord would go before us and clear a navigable path for us to travel with all that was involved in this move.

And, He did!

Looking back at all the challenges and the stress that wanted to accompany those challenges, it's clear that God was in charge. Every step of the way He was raising up valleys and chopping down mountains and making our path straight!

There was so much that could have gone wrong and we were living in a just-in-time world with the move. So many things had to come together and they did in such a way that I could never have accomplished or even imagined.

Thank you Lord for taking the lead. Please help me to always turn that lead over to you and to trust in you for your highest.




Kids

MAY 25, 2022


Kids 2

05/23/22 01:10 PM

I spoke to a friend recently and what he shared led me to realize just how easy it is to take significant blessings for granted. I knew I was blessed in the area he mentioned, but what he shared took my thinking to an entirely new level.

My friend was talking about some other friends we have in common and he shared that he and each of those other friends has at least one child who has turned away from God, some of whom have even turned away from their parents.

What a blessing and a true honor not to be facing that type of crisis. And from my perspective, it would indeed be a crisis.

Sure, I would still love a child who has decided to go in a different direction, but I'm so grateful that I don't face that in my life. And, I pray I never will.

I cannot say enough about how thankful I am for Allie and Jonathan! No father could ask more of two kids (now young adults) than all that they have done and become. I don't feel worthy to be a father to two such amazing people but I am indeed grateful for the privilege!

Lord, let me never be a stumbling block or offer an example that discourages my kids and aims them away from you. I pray that you continue to make yourself known to each of us in our family and that you continue to guide and direct us in the path you have set before us. Please provide us with the wisdom, foresight, and stamina to stay the course and know that we are forever grateful that you chose to call us.




My Soulmate

MAY 23, 2022


Soulmate

05/20/22 10:23 AM

Have you ever read a book or seen one of those movies where the leading guy or gal finds out he or she doesn't have long to live and they both start trying to make up for the time together that they are soon to lose? I'm suspect we've all read books or seen movies like that.

Well, somewhere along the way I realized how much I've been blessed with this beautiful, wonderful, and amazing woman who, for some odd reason, was willing to share a lifetime with this less than average guy. Every time I think about her, I feel like I want to do for her as if this was our last day together. And still, in close to 50 years together, I have yet to be able to out-give or out-love her. She treats me like the hero in her story. The one to which I could never measure up.

The feeling is almost like being given a second chance at a long life together, only because I've seen others who weren't afforded that opportunity, whether in a story or in real life. I get the feeling I don't want to waste a moment we have together, but would rather cherish each moment as if it was our last.

The term grateful doesn't even begin to express the way I feel about this incredible gift I have been given! Thank you Lord for this dear, sweet, soulmate. The one whose love is a gift I could never match, earn, or deserve.




Micah Wilder

MAY 22, 2022


Micah Wilder

05/20/22 09:31 AM

On a side note, I'm amazed that Patty saw rain coming today when there was none in the forecast. It came in a couple of spurts and didn't last long, but it was there.

I have no idea how the algorithm works that presents me with specific videos when I'm on YouTube. But, yesterday it introduced me to Micah Wilder in a video where he gave his testimony. It was quite unexpected in that it was nothing like anything I've watched on YouTube, except for the fact that that it had a Christian theme.

I was really touched by his testimony and sent a link to Patty and the kids and their spouses. I don't mind saying that one of the things that truly spoke to me was the fact that his conversion had such a far-reaching impact on his girlfriend and his entire family.

It's one thing to go through a change as he did, but it's entirely another when God uses that in such an amazing way to convert his girlfriend (now his wife), his brothers and sisters, and his mother and his father. That really speaks to me of something pretty amazing.

Here's a link.




More Spiritual Stuff

MAY 17, 2022


Molinism Shirt

05/16/22 5:00 PM

Despite all that I'm involved with in the technology sector behind the scenes with this blog, I want to get back to writing about my real passion in life, which is the world of the spiritual. In particular, it's the process of following Jesus daily and my search for truth that provide the ultimate focus for my attention in the spiritual arena.

Patty and I left Douglasville, Georgia close to ten years ago and headed for Florida following our (my?) dream to live on the ocean. Before we left, I was attending a small men's bible study on Monday mornings hosted by one of my friends. And, in that bible study we constantly wrestled with the tension that existed between Man's Free Will and The Sovereignty of God.

Each of us wrestled individually and as part of the group. I remember one person suggesting that perhaps the two were not mutually exclusive. For me, that almost bordered on heresy. How in the world could the two possibly coexist? It was a stretch too far for me in my thinking and in my belief system.

It had to be one or the other unless or until someone could adequately define how the two could coexist. I needed a rock-solid basis for belief in such a matter. I couldn't go there just because I wanted to, and believe me when I say that I think we all wanted to go there.

Some chose to take a position that we just can't know everything that God can do and reconciled the two on that basis. For me, that was a slippery slope. That's how cults accept the unacceptable. That's how false religions are born. It's also how Christians avoid study when it becomes necessary. Sure faith is important, but it has to be a reasonable faith. That's why I believe study is so important.

In my struggles, and as I was yet unable to reconcile the coexistence of man's free will with God's sovereignty, I begrudgingly opted to go with the sovereignty of God option because it seemed like the more important of the two.

After all, if our God isn't sovereign, then our claim is just one of many and offers no real merit upon which to stand. Even with the resurrection, if God is not sovereign then what would be the basis for my hope in Him?

In assuming the Sovereignty position, I didn't like the resulting theology into which I was forced. I couldn't accept that God authored evil, but was forced to go down that road if my Reformed Theology and the T.U.L.I.P. were to provide support for the importance I placed on The Sovereignty of God. I was beginning to wish that I could go back and enjoy the bliss of ignorance that I had once known.

I remember my last Monday with the men's group before we moved. I remember saying that I would be praying for guidance for all of us in this difficult matter. I would be praying with the hope that one day God would provide an answer.

Well, it happened. At some point in the past year, I was watching a Dr. William Lane Craig YouTube video and was introduced to Molinism. This idea, complicated though it might be, does indeed allow for man's free will and God's sovereignty to fully coexist. I called my friend who hosted the old bible study up in Douglasville (they're still going) and introduced him to the idea. It was great to catch up and to talk a bit about Molinism.

I've watched and read the critics of Molinism but so far, as I told my friend, I am compelled to believe in its legitimacy. And, I'm grateful to those who have gone before me and demonstrated what I have come to believe is the truth behind the idea. If you're intereseted and want to watch the William Lane Craig video that I mentioned, here is a link to it on YouTube.




Happy Mother's Day

MAY 08, 2022

Click card to enlarge.


Mother's Day

05/07/22 07:40 AM




Leading By Example

MAY 03, 2022


Leading By Example

05/01/22 11:08 AM

Just finished a good run and thought I would start this post before I get to my workout. Today is Core day so I'm in no rush to start LOL! And now, to the focus of today's post.

As I get older, I continue to see the wisdom in all that my parents said and did. They tried to lead by example, but I'm not sure I was smart enough to take my cue from their leadings. I had to find my own path.

The thing that's interesting to me is how much I have become like my parents as I have grown older. Back when I was in the 5th or 6th grade I remember mom telling me that she wished she had a tape recorder so she could play back for me some of the things I was saying. Every time I recall that story, I thank God that she didn't have that tape recorder. I'm sure I said some very foolish things.

Dad was a man of few words, but as I have aged, I've begun to understand why. There's great wisdom in guarding our words, and giving careful thought to each utterance. Gosh, I can go back in my mind's eye and see so many instances where dad did or said something that I thought was coming from an uninformed perspective. Boy, was I wrong! Such wisdom and I missed it! Had to learn it the hard way. And, my oh my those were some hard ways!

Wish I could travel back in time and thank mom and dad for their patience in dealing with things in me that weren't known back then. Things like Asperger's and the Autism spectrum. Although I've never been formally diagnosed, an Autism diagnosis sure does answer a lot of my questions.

There were lots of things that I wasn't programed to be able to pick up on, but as those things have come into focus for me, I'm so sorry that mom and dad aren't around to enjoy more of the fruit of their labors.

Thank you Lord for opening my eyes.




Christian Films

APRIL 26, 2022


Do You Believe

04/25/22 09:45 AM

Last night I watched a great movie entitled, Do You Believe? It would definitely be categorized as a Christian, or Inspirational, movie and I always enjoy watching a good one, even multiple times, since they always seem to encourage me and lift me up.

Other Christian or Inspirational films I have watched and that I really like include (in no particular order) Risen, Woodlawn, Luther, Amazing Grace, God's Not Dead, God's Not Dead 2, God's Not Dead: We the People, Love Finds You in Charm, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, and Unbroken: Path to Redemption.

I find that watching a Christian or Inspirational film often reminds me just how blessed I truly am!

Foot Notes

04/24/22 10:25 AM

Tracked my running time today using a different app on my Garmin Vivoactive 3. Instead of the Running app, I used the Cardio app and was still provided with all of the same data except for the mile one time, of which I just made a mental note when I reached my estimated mile one location.

I'm using estimates for mile one and mile two based on GPS readings on my watch when all seemed to be working well. Still not sure, but based on the times I'm going with it until I take time to do something more 'official' and determine something that is more accurate.

Today, my mile one time was 9:33 and mile two was 8:52. I'm thinking that should be pretty close to accurate considering the fact that mile two is more down-hill.




'Unbroken' Continues

APRIL 17, 2022


Unbroken's Sequel

04/16/22 04:27 PM

Not too many years ago, I had the opportunity to watch Unbroken. It was quite a story and the tidbits that they added at the end really brought home the inspirational aspects of Louis Zamperini's life.

It was also interesting to see Irish actor, Domhnall Gleeson, who provided an understated performance as Lt. Russell "Phil" Phillips, a close friend of Louis Zamperini and one of two who spent 47 days adrift at sea with him.

Gleeson captured my attention in the films About Time and Ex Machina. I liked his delivery in both and have definitely become a fan.

But, the real focus here is about the Sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption and the incredibly powerful and inspirational story it brings to the silver screen. I had no idea that there was any follow-up to the original story beyond the tidbits at the end of the movie that I mentioned earlier.

But, the spiritual theme reflected in the trailer caught my attention and reeled me in. And, I must say that I was not at all disappointed. I managed to purchase the two-movie set for about $6 online and am so glad to have them in my film collection.




Faith and Reason

APRIL 11, 2022




04/10/22 09:00 AM

I hope I can find the right words to share what it is that I want to share here. Over the many years the Lord has had me on this journey, I've learned that my walk in Him and with Him has to be grounded in a combination of Faith and Reason. I am 100% confident that a journey grounded in only one or the other will not last.

When the storms of life arrive, and for most of us they will arrive, only a solid foundation in both Faith and Reason will provide us with the equipping we need to stand firm in the tests that are sure to challenge us.

The faith side of the equation is easy. The bible makes it plainly clear that it is by our faith that we are saved. But, I have also learned that there is a faith element involved in this walk. In other words, it was only in my search for all of the answers that I discovered the faith element and its importance.

But when those storms arrive, and we start to ask the difficult questions, our faith will be tested and must be grounded in the reason that is built upon the study to which we are called in scripture. It is by that dilligent study that we learn to discern truth and how to walk in that truth.

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, we have entered a new era whereby the atheists are boldly shouting their claims against God. And, ill-equipped Christians are buying in on what they have to say.

That's why I'm so glad I happened across the above video on YouTube. It was so encouraging, and strengthening to my faith, to hear a former atheist provide an inspirational testimony regarding the manner in which he was called to the Christian faith and the importance of it in his life.

If you haven't heard Dr. Sy Garte's testimony on one of several YouTube videos out on the web, I hope you'll take a moment to click above. Dr. Sy Garte is a retired Biochemist who grew up under the influences of three generations of atheists who, as he says, were very left-wing, strong, and militant.

Sy shares the tough questions that he had and the answers he discovered which led to his conversion. It's quite a story and one that I hope touches you like it did me.




Going Deep

APRIL 05, 2022


Going Deep

In my post on December 06, 2020 I wrote about three guys whom I credit with a lot of the spiritual growth I have been blessed with over the years. Each has been an amazing example in my life.

One of those guys, Joe Fowler, used to talk about Going Deep. It was a spiritual reference to diving deeper into the things of God. I've always been grateful for those moments in my life when I was encouraged and enabled to go deep with someone I loved and respected.

Since those wonderful days when I used to go deep with those guys, I have seen it happen with my son and daughter. It's really an amazing thing and I have grown to realize that it's actually the Holy Spirit who is taking me on that deeper dive.

In sharing spiritual things with my son and daughter, I have been amazed at the many instances when the Holy Spirit used me to deliver wisdom that was far beyond anything I knew or understood. It was not beyond me to take a moment and marvel at the things God gave me to share.

Wow! Where did that come from? was usually the prevailing thought. Actually, I knew exactly where those bits of wisdom came from, but that's the very thing that made those moments more amazing and special, and even inspirational.

Despite all of that, nothing tops those moments when the Holy Spirit uses my wife to take me to the deep end of the pool. My brother and friend, Joe, used to say, It's lonely in the deep end. I knew just what he meant, and because I did it only made me more grateful that I had a wife who often invited me to swim with her in the deep end. Such amazing moments!

Thank you, Lord, for providing me with a wife and kids who inspire and encourage me to swim with them in the deep end of the pool. And, thank you Lord, for the wisdom that is so often provided in the deep end by your Holy Spirit.

Foot Note

04/04/22 06:03 PM As I've done here, I'm going to start adding a date and time to posts and their foot notes. Whether I write a day ahead or not, the reader will be able to better determine when the post was written and should be able to better understand the context for what is being written.

For example, Patty and I just got back from a walk (read stroll.) We've already done our daily exercise routines so this was meant to be a casual stroll and will hopefully be the first of many. It was great just to take in the homes and scenery, not to mention other strollers and dog walkers.

Patty does a fast walk for her morning routine and is able to take everything in on that walk as well. I, on the other hand, don't have much opportunity to look around and take things in when I'm running, so our evening stroll promises to be something special for me each evening we choose to go out.

I'm looking forward to keeping it casual. No goals or time targets, just an opportunity to get out when we both feel like it and to enjoy a quiet stroll and potentially the beginnings of a beautiful sunset.




Romance

MARCH 27, 2022


Romance 2

When we left Derby Lane in Georgia, I had no idea that so many changes would take place in our living quarters and that the Lord would provide such a rich blessing along the way, and through all of that.

We lived in Georgia at the same address for about 25 years where we raised our kids. However, while we were still there both of our kids moved out to begin their new lives. And, not long after we did the exact same thing.

As I have said before, Patty and I decided to go after life's romance and we moved to a townhome on the water in Pensacola, Florida where we thought we would retire. Clearly, God had other plans for our retirement.

Shortly after we purchased our place, and before we moved in, a big storm passed through and put two or three feet of water in the entrance to our townhome. That was the bad news, but the good news was that the entrance was small and immediately led to a set of stairs, at the top of which was a beautiful home facing out on Perdido Bay. Suffice to say, the damage produced by the flood was minimal and was easily and cost effectively repaired.

Little did we know that this would be the first of three homes for us in Florida before we left the state and landed here in southern Alabama. And, little did we know how rich His blessings would be and how much we would learn about ourselves and our search for the romance that I spoke of earlier.

They say, If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans. He must have had a good chuckle at all we did, but despite His laughter he loved us, cared for us, and provided blessing after blessing for us.

We still don't know what we want to do or be when we grow up, but we are doing our best to listen out for His voice in all that we do. And, as we listen to His voice there is still a lot of life to be lived, things to take care of, and romance to be discovered. All by His grace and guiding hands.




Boldness

MARCH 21, 2022


Boldness

I was watching a YouTube video yesterday about the Name It, Claim It leaders and followers who profess the Christian faith. I've been in a cult before so I know how easy it is to fall blind to the truth and live by something completely different instead. These preachers of prosperity play on the ignorance of the masses.

I truly hurt for those who follow these Charlatans with their incredible wealth, all made possible by those blind followers. We don't know how blind we have become until truth finally makes its way into our war-torn lives and the scales fall off of our eyes.

In my experience, I've seen how easy it is to trust in the belief system and the confidence of someone else. It's so much easier than investing in God's truth by investing in study, prayer, and seeking the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit and that is confirmed via God's written word. But, isn't this life worth all of that?

Let me say that while I have mentioned the prosperity preachers, I'm really talking about anyone who wants to impose their belief system (or lack thereof) upon you. It's easy to mistake a person's intensity toward changing your life for confidence in what they believe. Whether their motive is money, power, or the pride of a notch on their belt, it is anything but God-based.

The mature and spirit-filled Christian would much rather stay out of God's way and have Him change you in line with His plan for your life. The mature Christian will not push anything on you. He or she may share scripture in the hopes that the Lord will speak to you, but from a mature Christian, even that will be limited.

Like all sincere believers, I want to walk in obedience to Jesus Christ. But, I pray that God would provide me with the boldness to trust in my study. Let me trust in my prayers. Let me trust in the wisdom and discernment that is afforded me by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, let me see what is true and what is not in the lives of others. Let me be influenced and taught by those where God's truth is apparent by seeing the same thing in one's life that I read about in the scriptures. Let me run from those who believe and teach lies. And Lord, I pray that your Holy Spirit would provide me with the wisdom and discernment to know the difference.

Lord, let me walk with boldness in your truth.

Foot Note

I was also watching a YouTube video put together and published by Johnny Harris. I've become a big fan of his political commentary, but this particular video was his story of how and why he left the Morman Church.

I have great respect for what he offered and it demonstrates a lot of intelligence and forethought. I could really relate to a lot of what he shared.

Where he and I might tend to differ is with our use of the term church. You see, as a Christian I too left today's broken church but in no way have I left the Christian faith.

Honestly, I'm glad Johnny left the Mormon faith and I hope he has an opportunity to discover the same Jesus Christ that I have discovered in the Christian faith.




Perfectionist

MARCH 14, 2022


Perfectionist

Before I get into the topic du jour, I should mention that today would have been mom's 93rd birthday. We lost her in 1998 when she was only 69 years old. Happy (celebrating her memory) 93rd to mom!

I'm far from perfect in any area. But, that doesn't stop me from trying. Yeah, I have the unfortunate trait of being a perfectionist and have learned over my lifetime just how problematic that can be!

They say that perfectionist are also the world's worst procrastinators. That's because they know they can't do something perfectly, so they just put it off. That's one characteristic I haven't had to battle. I'm only too glad to attack something believing I can do it perfectly, only to discover somewhere in there that I can't!

What happens thereafter is almost humorous. I'll just keep attacking it until I either run out of time or money, or until I abandon the effort having finally come to grips with my perfectionist tendencies in the matter.

Combine my perfectionist tendencies with a need to control the outcome and it makes for a very unfortunate situation. It means I won't like the result that anyone comes up with, including my own. That's tough to admit, but when I justify that behavior with a more reasonable always do a good job mindset, well..., I can be sure there's a trap up ahead! After all, that's just pretending that I'm not a perfectionist.

I suspect those of us who battle perfectionist tendencies realize that those tendencies are part of our DNA and will make for a life-long battle that is never really overcome. We're doing well just to recognize the potential problems those tendencies can bring about, such that we try to become students of the matter and fight the good fight when necessary.




Change

MARCH 11, 2022


Change

Too often I write things or talk with my wife or one of the kids about things that result in deep discussions but bring about little or no change. Even the two books I'm going through can point out the need for change, unfortunately without my following through.

If deep thoughts and discussions don't result in needed change, then what good are they? To me, deep equates to both new and good. If I'm presented with new and good ideas whether from God via the Holy Spirit, or from my wife or kids, why wouldn't I act upon them and allow them to bring about change in my life?

My wife and I had just such a deep discussion today. It was the kind of discussion that brings about ideas that are new and good to me and that clearly demonstrate a need for change in my life.

So, here's the catch. Introducing changes to my life in this senior season of life is like adding tint to a can of orange paint in an effort to produce a different color or shade. It's one thing to make changes to a can of white paint, but quite another to try and change an existing color, like orange.

At this point in life, doing something often first requires the undoing of something. Can I make yellow paint from blue, or should I get rid of the blue and start fresh with white in an effort to produce the yellow that I need? Or, more to the point, can I really become something without first addressing what I've already become?

The good news is that when we were forgiven, God took away all of our old paint and provided us with a large and fresh batch of white. But, aren't some things just wired into our DNA? What do we do about those?

That's why I believe being a Christian is synonymous with being on a journey. We're all sinners. It's in our DNA. Even though we're forgiven and saved by grace we remain sinners and will always be in constant need of God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It's a good thing that we are saved by God's grace and that He forgives us daily and that His mercies never come to an end and finally that they are new every morning.

Lord, help me to change what I can, learn how to live with what I can't, and please provide wisdom, that I might know the difference.




Organic Living

MARCH 06, 2022


Organic

I started thinking about my relationship with Jesus Christ this morning and somehow the word organic came to mind. So, I went searching online for definitions.

Here's what I found on a couple of different sites including Webster's:

relating to or derived from living matter
of, relating to, or derived from living organisms
having systematic coordination of parts : ORGANIZED

The definitions confirmed my thinking. I want an organic relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to remember that He is the person to whom I pray, and not a thing to which I pray. I want to walk and talk with Him daily and not just think of Him as the thing I seek out and talk to when I need something and when it's convenient.

I want to always remember that He is alive and has a plan for my life. I want to remember that He can and will guide my steps if I let Him. I want to do what He wants me to do and not what I imagine He wants me to do. I want to live daily in His perfect will.

I don't want to live in an inorganic world of monuments built by men, but in the organic world with those whom Christ places in my path. Lord, let me always be aware of those you have placed around me and how you would have me walk among them and interact with them.




Others

FEBRUARY 26, 2022


Others

My memory is horrible! If it's important, it goes somewhere on my calendar. If it's not important, it never really gets registered anywhere. As a result with my short-term memory, it doesn't get remembered either.

There's a real risk in thinking that way. The question becomes, important to whom? Is it important to me or to others and, if to others, isn't there a real possibility that it still should be important to me?

My solution to that is a simple one. If it's important to others, then it goes on my prayer list under the name of the person to whom it is important. And, with that, it also ensures that it remains important to me.

Honestly though, that's still not good enough for me. Why? Because I don't believe it's good enough for God. I believe God wants the cares of others to be important enough to me that they are always on my mind. Not only am I praying for them without ceasing, but I'm praying (and more importantly caring) throughout the day for the needs and cares of others.

My wife and my son and daughter and their respective families provide good examples of what I'm talking about. I want their cares to be my cares and on my mind throughout the day, not just on my physical prayer list. I want those cares to be cared for (and even prayed over) throughout the day and not just reviewed and prayed over once a day.

I've got some work to do on that one.




Evidence

FEBRUARY 25, 2022


Evidence

When I think of evidence I think of a courtroom. I've been in one a few times but I suspect my real image of courtrooms and what goes on in them comes from both movies and TV news.

I think of the prosecuting attorney entering things into evidence. But when I think of that evidence, I keep coming back to Romans 1:20 and the evidence for God.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Scripture calls us to test everything, and hold on to that which is good. For me, that's a simple thing because testing everything seems to be present in my DNA. However, I've also come to realize that test results are sometimes limited and that's where faith still has to kick in. That was and still is a big lesson in my life.

As Christ and His world-wide church are more and more called into question by our ever evolving culture, for me the evidence continues to stack up in Christ's favor. I can say that with all confidence, not because of what I've read or been told, but because of what I've experienced and seen with my own eyes.

Yesterday, I made a visit to the ear doctor. While in the examination room, waiting for the doctor to come in, I looked at the diagrams of the inner ear that were framed and posted on the walls.

There it is! More evidence of our intelligent designer. Add to that the evidence found in manuscripts, archeology, prophecies, and pure statistics, and I'm 100% a believer and follower of Christ, the one and only true God and our intelligent designer.

If I'm looking for evidence, it's there to be found in Jesus Christ.




Grace Unplugged

FEBRUARY 21, 2022


Grace Unplugged

Last night I watched a movie titled Grace Unplugged. It's a Christian based story and one that I enjoyed. Like so many Christian based films, it was lacking in some areas. But, one of the things that really touched me was the fact that I was able to let go of those issues and let God speak to me through it.

As one who has been involved in the world of film making, I know too well the problems (and expense!) associated with a good film. It's no wonder that a big budget film costs many millions of dollars when the lighting guy may spend the better part of a day putting together something special just for one scene.

In my film making exploits, I didn't have the luxury (or to be honest, the knowledge) that comes with a big budget and the years of experience necessary to be involved in that arena and at that level. I suppose that's why I find it easier to look past those expensive problems and see if there's a good story in there somewhere. And, to my surprise, quite often there is.

One thing I've learned with my limited experience is that movie magic can occur with any budget size. You can't create it. It just happens. And, when it does all you can do is hope that you don't get in the way. That's been my experience anyway.

I'm so grateful that there is an up-and-coming film genre for the Christian market. As demand becomes greater, so do the budgets. I'm grateful that very talented people are telling some wonderful stories and I'm grateful for the blessings that are experienced by those of us who are Christians and Christian movie consumers.




Father Cavanaugh

FEBRUARY 20, 2022


Priest

One day I will move on to my heavenly reward. No one knows the time or place, but it has never seemed so real to me as it does now, knowing that God has brought me forward from my years as a young lad and into my senior years.

Like most anyone else I could imagine, I would love to have many more years in this wonderfully blessed life God has provided for me. But, at the same time, I am so grateful to have enjoyed 67 years and all of the experiences a man could ask for - especially so many amazing years with my wonderful soulmate and two incredible children.

I look forward to as many more years as God has set out for me in His plan, but I intend to take things a day at a time, lest I try and control that which cannot be controlled.

On my prayer list, I have written inic which is intended to help God continually remind me that I'm Not In Charge. I often feel like Father Cavanaugh, the Catholic Priest in the movie Rudy, when he says:

In 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.




Major Problem

FEBRUARY 17, 2022


Major Problem

I was reading my daily devotion in Regi Campbell's Radical Wisdom and something I read really clicked for me. It said:

Here's a major problem. Mankind has always turned God into a set of rules. God is a someone, not a something.

Wow! God has been working on me for a long time in the area of faith and my need to pursue faith in Him to balance my pursuit of His rules. But, Regi has taken things a step further. He's pointed out a matter of which I needed to be reminded. He's pointed out that there's a difference between a something and a someone.

Lord, I know faith and rules are important, but help me to keep them in perspective and to remember that, first and foremost, it is you I am pursuing.




Awareness

FEBRUARY 16, 2022


Awareness

I was watching YouTube videos last night and couldn't believe how many things have happened of which I was not aware. Pretty surprising!

I'm sure it sounds strange, but there's a lot of things about which I would prefer to remain unaware. Awareness brings with it a burden and it's my perspective that we should be careful about what we watch, hear, and consume.

I mentioned recently the idea we live in the world but are not of it. My thinking is that becoming aware of worldly things places us at risk of being influenced by them.

I'm not saying we should bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich, but I do believe that turning a blind eye to the evils of the world can and will protect us from their potential influences.

I sincerely believe there is a reason that we let our curiosity get the best of us and that we feel we need to be aware and informed of all matters. Even our pursuit of entertainment often places us at risk. Seems innocent on the surface, but often ideas are screaming at us in an effort to gain entry.

I would suggest that some matters are better left unseen, unspoken, and untouched.




Truth

FEBRUARY 15, 2022


Truth

In a spiritual sense, I'm comfortable with my belief in the concept of truth. In a worldly sense, not so much.

The problem as I see it is that while we may not be of this world, we are most certainly in it. And to me, that means I must be able to engage a worldly mindset without being influenced or changed by it.

But, equally important, I must be a discerner lest I react negatively and fail to engage worldly situations just because they are worldly. After all, how can I hope to be salt in this world if I'm not willing engage it.

That's a lot to think about!




Eating Out

FEBRUARY 13, 2022


Food 2

My mom and dad didn't spend a lot of time instructing me in matters of life. Sure, there were times when they sat down with me and tried to explain things to the best of their ability. But, most of what I learned from them was more by example than with words.

Looking back, I'm amazed at the things I picked up and how I applied them. It all reminds me of a story I once heard about a daughter who cut a roast in half before putting it in the pot and decided to call her mom and ask why her mom taught her to do that. To the daughter's surprise, her mom chuckled and explained that she never owned a pot big enough to hold an entire roast.

That story paints a real picture of so many of the things I learned. It also explains my willingness to apply those things, exactly as I learned them, even when they went beyond my understanding. Eating out provides a great example of what I'm describing and it does so on so many levels.

Growing up, we ate out a lot. It was always a pleasure since we got to choose what we wanted to eat with very few limitations. Eating out kind of trained me to consider what I wanted to eat, right at meal time, and then to indulge that craving as I placed my order.

Dad was on the road a lot and he once told me that being on the road always made him long for a good home-cooked meal. However, we lived off home-cooked food when dad was away and mom always wanted to eat out when dad came home. She wasn't a big fan of cooking or home-cooked meals. As a result, when dad came home, we ate out. And looking back, we ate out a lot.

Holidays always presented an interesting situation. Grocery stores started offering ready to carry out holiday meals and dad was there, front and center, to purchase them and bring them home.

As we got older, dad prepared the meals himself. This was often done with the help of the rotisserie and soft ice cream machines he sold with his business.

Somehow, I had it in my mind that I was doing Patty a favor by taking her out. Little did I realize that Patty preferred to eat at home and I was the one who was receiving the benefit. Sure there were times when Patty wanted to eat out too, but not nearly as often as I was pushing for.

Only now in my senior years, and particularly in recent months, have I been able to see the need to retrain my thinking. Only recently have I been able to see the selfishness inherent in my way of looking at things. How I have been able to impose a culture for so long, based on the way I was raised, and more importantly my selfishness, is truly beyond my understanding.

Perhaps it took a pandemic to help me understand and start me down the right path. Thank you, Lord for opening my eyes.




On the Scale

FEBRUARY 11, 2022


On the Scale

On the scale? I'm not talking about the one that checks our weight. These days I seem to constantly be on that scale. Perhaps too often.

The scale, or spectrum, I'm referencing has to do with Asperger's or, as of the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Autism.

I'm convinced, as one person put it, that being on the spectrum has always been, and will continue to be, my Super Power. I'm quite happy with the positives it brings to my life and am still learning to deal with the struggles. I bring it up because of what was mentioned in my 365 devotions book on Radical Wisdom written by Regi Campbell.

Earlier in my life, I struggled with anxiety and lived in the Glass Half Empty category of life. But now, in my senior years, I have a strong sense (like I've never had before) of gratefulness and with it, an absence of anxiety. I'm clearly enjoying the peace and power that seem to be inherent in the Glass Half Full category of life.

Some of my family members do this cool exercise each year where they pick a word and focus upon it for the year as a means of bringing it to life in their day to day activities. The first year I heard about that exercise, I chose the word Grateful.

I must confess that I probably chose that word less for my need to focus upon it, and more for its importance in my life at that time. That was several years ago and even though I'm sure I'm missing the whole point of the exercise, I have yet to be able to choose another word.

Thank you, Lord for bringing me to the Glass Half Full side of life.

I am eternally grateful!




Mikaela Shiffrin

FEBRUARY 09, 2022


Mikaela

Remember those institutions that I mentioned yesterday? The ones that bring us our news? Well, it's bad enough when they get liberal on this conservative, but it's quite another thing when the values they are espousing cut across mine.

Such has been the case with NBC's coverage of the Olympics. To be honest, it's not just NBC. It's most every news organization out there and their need to get ahead no matter the cost to whatever or whomever is being covered.

All too often, our news organizations love to create a good story and when the story doesn't play out the way they thought it would, they love to cover the downsides. And I guess news consumers get caught up in it to the point that these news organizations are left with no alternative but to play up those downsides.

It's been interesting to get on Twitter and see what people think and are saying at a grassroots level. There's a large segment of the audience that thrives on both sides of the story. There are those who are eating up the critical coverage and those who are screaming out against it.

I'd ask how we got here, but its possible I may already know the answer to that question.




Institutions

FEBRUARY 08, 2022


Institutions

Not long ago, I heard a man speaking on television and he was talking about the importance of institutions. I found myself immediately reacting to what he was saying and I had to stop and process my thoughts.

I've suffered spiritual abuse at the hands of spiritual institutions and find it difficult now to trust them. In fact, I don't mind admitting that the kind of abuse I have suffered makes it difficult for me to trust certain types of institutions, including many of the companies I worked for. After all, those institutions are made up of people and people are capable of terrible things.

On the other hand, I recognize that some institutions can be incredibly beneficial and, to me, are worth the potential problems that might be inherent in them. The institution of family comes to mind. However, I don't tend to view family in an institutional sense, but more a spiritual sense, and that may explain why I'm able to function well in that arena and why I place such importance upon it.

Perhaps my disdain for institutions explains why I liked President Trump. He fought political institutions and the institutions that provide our news. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. I relate well with all of that.

In fact, our social media outlets were useful until their institutional nature showed its ugly head in banning our president and other conservatives from 'using' them to get past the news media.

What about Covid-19 and our governmental medical institutions? I'm not talking about hospitals and doctor's offices but rather the government's supposed need to get involved in our decision making process. I guess that's the anti-institutional Libertarian coming out in me. My handyman friend said it best when he told me that he feels essential.




God's Provision

FEBRUARY 07, 2022


God's Provision

At this point in our lives, I thought things were supposed to slow down. Apparently, that's just not the case. God seems to keep me busy, and I'm thinking that's actually a good thing.

I doubt the reader of this post needs a laundry list of all the things God is doing in my life, but suffice to say it's already been a busy morning. Still, it's not been too busy to be a spiritual day as I mentioned yesterday, but there's something truly satisfying about productivity and getting things done on a busy day.

My spiritual mentor in life, Joe Strickland (who has now moved on to heaven and is enjoying his reward with our Lord) used to talk about how wonderful it was to be able to pay his bills each month and what a sense of satisfaction he received from the experience.

I must admit that at that time in my life, I was barely able to pay my bills and was living paycheck to paycheck and captivated by fear that the day might come where I actually could not pay my bills.

Speaking of fear, today's radical wisdom (daily devotion) talks about the idea that Hate is not the opposite of Love but rather Fear is actually the opposite. That's profound and really speaks to me, especially as I'm writing this post.

Some how or another, God had placed in me a supernatural trust that his provision would always be there and just in time. Little did I know God's plan to prosper me and bring to me, in my senior years, that same sense of joy that Joe Strickland had described.

Thank you, Lord for your provision. May I never take it for granted.




Spiritual Day

FEBRUARY 06, 2022


Spiritual Day

Today is Sunday. Our culture tells us it's a spiritual day. But actually, every day is, or should be, a spiritual day. I love this quote:

We're not earthly beings having a spiritual experience, we're spiritual beings having an earthly experience.

I'm grateful that God has pointed me to the two books I'm going through. I've mentioned them before but they have become part of my routine and both help me to ensure each day becomes a spiritual day.

I don't want to wait and hope that happens. I need to pursue God in the start of each day and provide Him an opportunity to make that happen.

Lord, let today and every day be a spiritual day focused upon you!




Back To Germany

FEBRUARY 03, 2022


Allie 3

Well, it doesn't seem like that many days ago that we were just picking up Allie from the Mobile, Alabama Airport after her long flight from Germany. And now we've said our goodbyes and have delivered her back to the airport where she will soon travel via Huston, Texas and Frankfurt, Germany to reunite with her family just outside of Stuttgart, Germany.

The three of us provided a lot of support for the eating establishments in and around the Spanish Fort, Alabama area but it's time to get back to what we tend to call normal around here and that will include lots of Patty's amazing home cooking.

If all goes according to plan, we look forward to hosting the entire Snow family this summer. I'm sure the boys will make good use of the pool, and that may include the big boys. If the ladies don't join us in the pool, I'm sure they will be watching the fun from the comfort of the lounge chairs.

Until then, we'll be wrapping up a cold and windy winter season and looking forward to the arrival of spring. Not far behind will be a yard that will need tending and pool water that will be warming up just in time for the arrival of the entire Snow family.

Can't wait!




Day Nine

FEBRUARY 02, 2022


Allie 10

Day nine! Our last full day with Allie before she returns to her husband and two boys in Germany. I have mixed emotions because it's been a real treat and a blessing to have her here, but I can only imagine the sacrifice that has been provided by Josh, Noah, and Gabe to enable the blessing of having her with us!

Will we miss her? Absolutely! Will we be glad to see her reunited with Josh and the boys? You better believe it!

It sure was good to catch up with her and all that has been going on back in Germany. What an amazing trip they are all on! I can't wait to hear all about the next chapter in their adventure.

It's the same with Jonathan and Amy. Only God could design such an amazing journey for both kids and their respective families. And what a wonderful thing to be in a season of life where we get to be observers. And what an amazing blessing that our kids and their families allow and enable us to watch all that is going on and in some way to be a small part of the excitement.

Here's to one more wonderful day with Allie. Thank you Josh, Noah, and Gabe for allowing us the incredible blessing of this time together with our daughter!




Day Eight

FEBRUARY 01, 2022


Allie 9

Day eight! Made me think of the old Beatles song, Eight Days a Week. Not sure where that came from but it brings back some great memories of life in Hialeah, Florida many years ago.

Well, we finished up the left-overs last night and enjoyed another movie. I wasn't sure if Allie and Patty would enjoy Desert Dancer as much as I did, but it seems they had the same wonderful experience I had. The movie starts off slow and early on may even seem like it's not worth watching until the end. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a wonderfully touching (and true) story!

As we were departing the front room last night and preparing to head to bed, I told Allie that I was already missing her, even though she hasn't left yet. It was just one of those special moments where God reminded me how much she has blessed us and where I realized that it might be quite a while before we get to see her once again after she leaves on Thursday.

I'm so glad that we've been able to give her our full attention while she's here and that we are in a position to do just that. Thank you, Lord for the amazing blessings you have provided Patty and I via our daughter and our son. May we always be mindful of all that you have done for us in that respect.

Also worth mentioning is the blessing I received from my 52 Hebrew Words book. Today's word was Shalom and I was confident that I already had a pretty good handle on that word. Boy was I wrong!

While we may all know that Shalom represents peace, I was not aware that back in the day peace was considered more important than truth. How can that be I thought? I've always placed such high importance on truth and did not know that Shalom also means being fully unified with God. Wow! Now I understand. What is truth if we are not fully unified with God?




Day Seven

JANUARY 31, 2022


Allie 8

Busy day! Today is day seven with Allie and here at 3:10 PM we've already done quite a bit. The ladies started out the day with a bunch of shopping, so that Allie could find the things she can't find in Germany and so that Patty could pick up one more piece of art for our bedroom. (See picture above)

From what I'm told, Allie actually found the exact thing Patty was looking for. It's a graphic mosaic piece that sort of goes along with the one we already have on another wall (see picture below.) We just finished mounting the new piece and it looks great and really fits in.

Allie 8a

Allie found what she needed and she's trying to figure out how she will get everything packed in her limited space for the trip back to Germany. It looks like she has a good plan that will work for her.

Allie picked up a supply of Chic-fil-a sauce for the boys and a meal for herself for lunch. Patty and I picked up a salad from Rouses Market. They are our go-to place for anything and everything when it comes to good food and drink.

The girls got in a walk and I got in a run and had time to paint over the white lines out on the street where the basketball court used to be defined. I did it with some black paint that I picked up from Ace Hardware today while we were out and around.

I guess we'll do some left-overs tonight from Patty's birthday meal that we enjoyed yesterday, and I'm sure the evening will include another movie or two.




Happy Birthday Patty

JANUARY 30, 2022


Allie 7

I can't think of anything I'd rather write about than my wife, Patty; and, today is her birthday so it seems like the perfect time!

I've blogged before about Patty and Allie choosing a new word each year as their primary focus, and I've included a mention that my word, from year to year, has continued to be grateful.

I suppose it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that my wonderful and amazing soul mate tops the list of things for which I am grateful. What am incredible gift from God I've been given! And what a joy it has been to walk together!

On a different note, today is also Day 6 with Allie. The three of us enjoyed two Christ-focused movies last night and we've been swapping notes about our respective take-aways from each. What a wonderful thing it is to have our walks enhanced by true stories to which we might otherwise have not had access.

Speaking of grateful, I'm glad that warmer weather is on the schedule and am looking forward to a more comfortable run this afternoon. And, as I've said before, what good things are in store beyond that is anyone's guess.




Day Five

JANUARY 29, 2022


Allie6

Another wonderful day with Allie. I chauffeured the ladies around as they took in some shops and then we had a nice lunch at the Mediterranean Sandwich Shop. I couldn't resist the Greek Salad with the Gyro meat on top and it was just as good as I hoped it would be.

Next step will be to see if I can brave the 45 degree temps and 10 mph winds to get in a run. It sure is tempting to wave it off, but then I would have to deal with the regrets and that tends to be worse (and lasts longer!) than the cold run.

After tonight, we won't have any more freezing or below freezing temps for the rest of Allie's stay with us. That means I can add the cut-on and cut-off switches back to the pool pump/filter timer tomorrow and get things running on a more regular and automated basis.

I've really been enjoying my Radical Wisdom and my 52 Hebrew Words books that I purchased while we were down in Fairhope with Allie recently. She also purchased the 365 Devotions book for Josh and the 52 Hebrew Words for herself, which she has also been reading. I love Regi Campbell's Radical Wisdom in his 365 Devotions. The Lord really uses that book to speak to me!

Looking forward to the rest of the day!




Day Four

JANUARY 28, 2022


Allie5

We're entering day four with Allie and what a wonderful time it's been so far! Allie and I rose early as usual and had a very nice time sharing deep things with each other. What a blessing to have her here and to receive such a detailed update on all that is going on with Josh, Noah, and Gabe and life in Germany.

I got some chores (and this blog post) done while Allie and Patty spent time together. It was fun to hear Patty sharing some of her favorite youtube sites with Allie. And, it was fun hearing them both swap notes and ideas specific to what they were watching.

It will be lunch time soon and I suppose we'll get a run/walk in shortly after. From there, it's anybody's guess as to what the day will hold for us. We'll see!




Day Three

JANUARY 27, 2022


Allie4

Today is Fairhope day! In other words, today is the day we took Allie down to see and do all there is to see and do in the city of Fairhope, Alabama. Well, maybe not everything, but we did take in a lot of the shops and found a very good place for lunch. If you make it to lower Alabama, it's definitely worth going just a bit out of your way to take in everything that Fairhope has to offer.

The picture is of the Fairhope pier there on the Fairhope coast. That's where we started our day before making our way up to the shops and to a great restaurant for paninis, burgers, and a salad with grilled tuna.

We made our way back home just in time to get in our walks and runs. What we do for the rest of the evening is anyone's guess. Hope you're having an equally wonderful day wherever you are and whatever you're doing.




Day Two

JANUARY 26, 2022


Allie3

It's day two and we are so excited to have Allie with us. We've gotten into a routine but also know that routines seem to have been created just so that we can break out of them and do something different. Less eating may be just such an example.

Today was a Rouses day with a lunch-time salad bar and a pickup of some take-out sushi to place in the fridge until supper time. We set pennies aside just for the possibility to enjoy such opportunities and have not been disappointed with the way things are turning out for us.

Last night I was able to swing back by the airport and pick up Allie's bag. It was an unexpected treat to see all that she had brought us from Germany and that was stored up in her bag. What a blessing!

More tomorrow!




Day One

JANUARY 25, 2022


Allie2

Well, as expected we picked up Allie last night at the airport. Her flight was delayed and her bags didn't make it from Houston, but all in all it was still a good thing since we got to host our daughter.

We had a wonderful time talking on the one hour ride back to the house and we crashed when we got home - at about midnight. Allie and I were up our early and enjoyed chatting until Patty joined us. We also got to enjoy a nice video call with Josh and the boys and Allie.

Allie's bag should arrive today from Houston and I'll probably confirm that by phone and then head over to pick it up. Otherwise, it's probably going to be a pretty easy-going day. We'll take it as it comes and the posts will be short and to the point while Allie's here.




Big Day

JANUARY 24, 2022


Allie

Well, today's a big day! Our daughter Allie is flying in (alone) from Germany to spend some time with us. It promises to be a wonderful time together and I'm sure we'll talk until we solve all of the world's problems.

I've been grateful that this is the only night where temps are not projected to be at or below freezing since it's also the night we pick up Allie from the Mobile airport. Unfortunately, I discovered why the temps are not going down too far - it's supposed to rain. Ugh!

Oh well, a little rain never hurt anyone. It will make for less than exciting driving conditions from the airport back to the house (rain and dark) but, as I've said many times before, if that's my biggest problem in life, I've got it made!

Josh and Allie and the grandsons are all big fans of Chic-fil-a so I'm sure we'll hit that a few times while she's here. In fact, I think she has plans to do a carry out on her last night and take some home for the family. I'm sure that will be fun for the boys!

We want to take Allie down to Fairhope since it's such a cool place to shop and eat. Beyond that, we don't have any big plans. We'll just take things as they show up on our radar.

It's my understanding that the boys (Josh, Noah, and Gabe) are goning to be doing a lot of guy stuff while Allie's over here. I hope they have a great time and enjoy a wide variety of guy stuff, which I'm sure will include cooking out on the grill, wrestling matches, outdoor stuff, and whatever else those guys like to do.




Retired Life

JANUARY 17, 2022


Retired Life

I went in search of online images to use for the Retired Life theme for this post. I found all the pictures I had imagined with the nice looking gray haired couples walking on the beach as if they had not a care in the world.

Initially, that was exactly what I was looking for. Back when I was much younger, I prayed for an intelligent, loving, kind-hearted, feminine, and extremely beautiful wife and that she and I would age well (like those pictures) as we got into our senior years.

Well, from my perspective that's exactly what God delivered and I couldn't be more grateful. I don't have to look any further than the incredible soul mate that God provided for me to realize just how grateful I really am. Anything and everything else is just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

One of the things I had not anticipated, but for which I am equally grateful is my wife's passion for the Simple Life. She has taught me an entirely different way to look at life and I'm all in on it. She even has, and often enjoys, her rocking chair outside by the pool. It's just like the one in the picture. From my sweet wife I have learned that simple is simply better.

Simple is downsizing. Simple means taking in more than you spend. Simple is debt-free. Simple is a quiet day with time together. Simple is my wife's passion in the kitchen and the simple but restaurant-quality eating it affords. Simple is living in the moment and simple is enjoying the variety that life has to offer.

Simple is also putting God first in everything. Simple means quietly listening to Him and walking His walk, not just talking His talk. Simple is being a student of life and living to learn while learning to live. Simple is loving our grown children and their children, and letting go and letting God take the lead.

Lord, help me to keep my focus on the many simple things in life.




90 Minutes in Heaven

JANUARY 12, 2022


90 Minutes in Heaven

I watched 90 Minutes in Heaven last night. I must say that was quite a story!

I had seen previews of it long ago, but never paid it much attention until I came across it on Pureflix last night. I decided to give it a try and it was all that I had hoped for.

Based on a true story, I suppose only God could weave a tale like that one. It had everything on a scale from tough and gritty to touching and inspirational. And, it seems that while watching the story I felt as if I had experienced all of the pain and trials the lead character was going through.

Of course that's far from true when I look at all he had to go through, all of the pain he experienced, and the length of his journey in the midst of all of that. Knowing that he and his wife made a conscious decision to travel that difficult road with no guarantee of a positive outcome was sobering to say the least.

His wife, who stood by him through it all, reminded me of my wife and the amazing support and devotion I have received from her on our journey. Thank you, Lord for using this movie to remind me just how blessed I am in so many ways!




Molinism

JANUARY 09, 2022


Molinism

My family and I have walked in a Reformed Theology for quite a while. When I lived up in the Atlanta area, I used to be a regular in a men's Bible study. It was a small group of about 6-10 men on any given early Monday morning and I think we were all pretty much reformed in our theology.

There's no doubt in my mind that we all struggled with the conflict between God's sovereignty and the free will of man. Reformed theology favors the sovereignty of God, which lead to our second struggle. If the sovereignty of God wins in that proposed debate, doesn't that also suggest that God must be the author of sin since evil takes place here on earth during God's watch?

I remember attending my last Monday morning Bible study before my family and I moved to Florida. I remember mentioning to our host, PB (his initials), that I hoped we might one day discover a solution to our sovereignty of God / man's free will struggle.

Well, I confess that I haven't totally bought in yet on Molinism, but it sure goes a long way toward resolving that difficulty. I like what is being said by some of the contemporary supporters of Molinism, but I also find myself supporting the Reformed theologians and their comments critical of Molinism.

I've got a lot of study ahead of me if I am ever to make a decision on this one.




Grateful and Happy

JANUARY 05, 2022


dad
We lost dad in 2013 at the age of 84.
That's him with Noah Snow, his great-grandson.

Dad used to say that getting old is not for sissies. Still in my mid-sixties, I sure do know what he meant. I'm amazed at how many things about the human body can become so demanding here in my senior years.

I'm not really interested in getting online and sharing all of my struggles, but I am grateful for the wonderful insurance we have and I do intend to take full advantage of my doctor's expertise, if for no other reason than to do everything I can to enjoy these senior years as much as possible.

There's another saying I like that says attitude determines altitude. Boy, is that one ever true. I think Lincoln put it best when he said you're about as happy as you decide to be. As long as God gives me strength to be happy, I fully intend to stay headed in that direction.

As I've said so many times before, I'm grateful for everything God has done in my life. And, I've become convinced that remaining grateful is the key to happiness.




45th Anniversary

DECEMBER 11, 2021


Anniversary 45

If it was for no other reason, in my mind celebrating our 45th would be worth starting up the blog again. I'm so grateful for the years I have enjoyed with my soulmate and literally thank God daily for placing her in my life.

She has made such a difference in my life and I'm thankful for all I have learned from her, the time with her, and the many blessings that God has set out for us on this wonderful and amazing journey together.

Thank you my love and Happy Anniversary!


KILLER

JUNE 05, 2021



Killer

It grieves me that I can't find the picture I need. I know I have it tucked away in a safe place somewhere. I hope I will be able to dig it up and come back and insert it, but until then I'll have to go with the mystery photo, which actually reminds me of him.

It's so easy to remember things in a favorable light when the truth is something less appealing. I look back at my past. And, for the successes Patty and I have enjoyed, it would be easy to lay claim to the good choices I made. However, the truth is a bit different.

I was still in college and working at Wickes Lumber Company. I was making what looked like pretty good money back then, but at a job I really didn't much care for.

Still, the idea of marrying Patty and settling down made the job with Wickes seem much better than it really was, and I had even reached a point where I could justify leaving behind college and a degree.

We decided to share the good news with Patty's mom and step-father.

Then it happened.

Patty's step father was a very good man. To say that he had an incredibly difficult upbringing would the understatement of the century! But, what he had been through growing up helped me to give pause and listen carefully to what he had to say.

He walked over quietly to the table where Patty and I were sitting, placed a pen and sheet of paper in front of me, and challenged me to show him how I was going to make it work. His voice was stern but, because I knew him well, what he had to say rang out with love and concern and not anger.

Without really trying, he had me. He knew it and I knew it. There was no argument and no debate. Right then and there, I agreed to finish college and stay with the original plan.

Henry Kane (or 'Killer' as they called him - and I'll explain why in a moment) grew up in an orphanage. He had everything working against him, and yet by all worldly measures he was a success.

At almost six and a half feet, and with a stocky build, he had a commanding presence. With thick framed glasses and grey hair, he had a look of strength that betrayed who he really was. But the frequent and gentle smiles revealed the truth. Killer Kane was truly a tender-hearted soul and a friend to everyone!

At one point in his younger years, and because of his size, he was egged on by his friends and agreed to get in the ring with a fighter only to be knocked out with the first punch. Thus the name 'Killer.'

So, any successes I have enjoyed in life weren't born out of my ability to make great and smart choices. They were born out of the wise counsel of the Killer Kane's of the world and the risks they took to share godly wisdom with me.

Thank you, Lord for giving me ears to hear. I'll always be thankful for the many ways you used Killer Kane in my life!


AN EXPERIENCE...

JUNE 04, 2021



An Experience

"An experience is never a bad one if you learn something from it."

That's my thinking anyway. Someone famous probably said that somewhere, but I didn't see anything close attributed to anyone on Google.

The thought crossed my mind after our 750-mile round-trip visit to a property up in North Alabama. It's the same trip that I mentioned in yesterday's post.

In terms of our primary objective, the trip was a bust. But, Patty and I both agree that we learned quite a bit about ourselves and our thinking through the experience. For that reason, the trip was far from a bust.

And, based on what we learned, we're closer to our target.

Now, that's real progress!


TEN YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

MAY 30, 2021



10 Year High School Reunion

The year was 1982 and I had received an invite to my ten year high school reunion from a former classmate. To go or not to go? It was a tough decision!

Probably like many before me, my imagination ran wild with all of the possibilities of what might occur at the event. In particular, would there even be anyone attending that might interest me enough to go? Would I be comfortable with my faith in a potentially antithetical event?

I went through a litany if possibilities and finally decided that I was making this whole thing far too difficult, and that I should probably just go. My wife's ten year event would be one year later and so we both decided at that point to go to both events.

I remember sitting at a table at my reunion with three other couples. I remembered them well from high school, but hadn't really known them well. There was one other couple that we had all known well back in school, and we were all surprised that the other couple had decided not to attend.

One of the guys at the table mentioned that he had talked to them and that they had decided not to attend because most of the people they knew from our graduating class were not Christians. They feared that this might make for a difficult evening. I was thinking just how familiar that sounded.

As we went around the table I learned that all of the couples with whom we were sitting had become Christians since attending high school. And, I remember thinking how ironic it was that I might have missed out on something good based solely on what I had imagined.

Lesson learned.


THE GRANDSONS

MAY 20, 2021



The Snow family has moved to Germany and the grandsons seem to be having a great time over there. Here's just a sample of the fun...

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family

Snow family


THROUGH THE BIBLE

MAY 17, 2021



Through the Bible

In 2005, I followed one of those plans to read the entire bible in one year. I had a particular focus for my journey through the bible that year. And, in that arena in which I focused, I was quite surprised with all I discovered versus the things that I had imagined I would discover.

Sometime earlier this year, Patty and I decided to take on a less accelerated approach with a chapter a day and we decided to start in the New Testament. In fact, we've sort of streamlined our approach and will probably go back and fill in the gaps when we get to that point.

In the meantime, we started in the book of John and selected it to represent the gospels in the short-term. In other words, we read it and then moved on to Acts. From there we read Romans and are currently very early in 1 Corinthians.

We haven't made a formal plan, but I suspect we'll finish the rest of the New Testament, go back and pick up the other three gospels, and then move 'Back to the Future' with the Old Testament. That's just a guess, but we'll see how the Holy Spirit leads us.

Patty and I have both been surprised with how much the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in this particular journey through His Word. We both have commented that we feel like we're reading so much of it with new eyes and for the first time. I say new eyes in the sense that we've grown and now, years later, we're in a very different place and see much of what we're reading from a very different perspective. We are both so thankful for the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit on this journey through His Word, and on this path through life that God has set out before us.


KINDNESS

MAY 12, 2021



Kindness

A couple of days ago I was at the gym. As I was driving out of the parking lot after my workout I noticed a bumper sticker with flowers all over it on one of the other cars. The sticker also contained two simple words:

Kindness Matters

As a guy with Asperger's (and who knows what all else is in that mix) my focus on the task far too often leaves me insensitive to those around me. In fact I'm learning that there must be some OCD in there as well because I'm too often focused on being efficient when there's no real need to be. And, it often becomes a distraction to pull my focus away from the people around me.

It truly pains me to look back at what I didn't know. In fact, it really pains me to consider the season with my parents when Asperger's wasn't even on anyone's radar. What must they have thought? I wish I knew then what I know now and could go back and offer them an explanation for my odd behaviors.

The good news about being a dude with Asperger's is that I don't tend to fight anxiety and I don't tend to look back or cry over spilt milk. That's fortunate because it enables me to let go and let God...

I think dad understood because he exhibited some of the same behaviors as did his father before him. So, maybe the apple didn't fall too far from the tree, as they say.

On the other hand, my neurotypical mom must have felt completely out of place in our household. Fortunately, I can look back and see that her deep love for me stood stronger than did my oddities. And now, the wife with whom I am so blessed picks up right where my mom left off and carries love, patience, kindness, and understanding to a new and much higher level!

Thank you, Lord for showing me these things. Please help me to learn how to be more like my dear, sweet, and servant-minded wife!

SIDE NOTE:

In our bible study, Patty and I were in Romans 14 today. It's really interesting to see that God formed each of us unique to the other and that his mercy and grace meets each of us at a different place, sensitive to our uniqueness. That really is amazing when I think about it, that God recognizes the strengths and weaknesses that He put in me and that He utilizes my strengths and cares for me in my weaknesses.


PATIENCE

MAY 11, 2021



Patience

Wow! Do I ever have a story from real life for today's post!

I was going to title this post Patience & Kindness and it was my intention to write about what God's doing in my life in both of those areas. However, God moved in a (technical? and humorous!) way to point out that each topic deserved its own post. So, I'm saving Kindness for tomorrow and opening with Patience today.

Both topics also sit on God's fruit of the spirit list, which consists of nine important things including Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. I could use a lot of work in all of those areas, but I'll start with the two that I tend to believe are in need of the most attention.

I should also mention that my NIV bible lists forbearance in the place of Patience. Personally, I prefer Patience because I think it better distinguishes itself from Self Control, which is also on the list.

Yesterday I had one of those real life experiences. If I could rewind the tape, I would have responded very differently. As I rounded a bend in the road, I pulled up on a police car with flashing blue lights and a wrecker. Both appeared to be stopped so I pulled on around using the left lane. What I did not know was that they were finished and were both pulling out to depart that location. So here I am, still in the left (wrong) lane, with both of them picking up speed over in the right (correct) lane.

What was my hurry? In retrospect, I wish I had stopped and waited. I wish I had show a little patience. What would it have hurt for me to wait? In the way that only a person with Asperger's could and would do it, I decided to be more efficient and get on around so I didn't have to wait. I could have easily caused an accident with my attempt to avoid a perceived inconvenience that in reality would have been no inconvenience at all other than a few minutes of my time.

Lord, help me every moment of every day to discover opportunities to be more patient, and to exercise those opportunities. Help me become more aware of my surroundings and remind me that there are real people in each scenario that could be helped by my patience or hindered (and possibly hurt!) by my impatience.

Lord, please remind me that it's not about me but it's about the witness to others that my patience might provide! Lord, let me demonstrate that I care about those other individuals, even if and when they might not be concerned about me.


HOME RUN

APRIL 28, 2021



Home Run

Last night I watched Home Run, a faith-based movie that really touched me on a number of levels. I was very impressed with the vision for this film and the willingness of a community of Christians to take on such a difficult, risky, and gritty ministry topic as Recovery.

In years past, it's been my view that the failure of faith-based movies has centered around three problems. Those movies were full of naive ideas, clichés, and stereotypes.

Naive
1. Showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.
2. Natural and unaffected; innocent.
3. Of or denoting art produced in a straightforward style
that deliberately rejects sophisticated artistic techniques
and has a bold directness resembling a child's work,
typically in bright colors with little or no perspective.

Cliché
1. A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack
of original thought.
2. A stereotype.

Stereotype
1. A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or
idea of a particular type of person or thing.

However, there's a catch! To be what we are called to be as Christians (e.g. child-like, innocent, etc.) we have to be willing to deal with these three obstacles in life as well as in a film that we might be producing or just simply watching.

Take the word naive for example. In one sense, naive suggests a person who is honestly unaware because they are, perhaps, immature. But, in a Christian sense it's quite possible that the appearance of being naive may be quite intentional and a reflection of anything but immaturity. It may be the result of an intentional, mature, and experienced-backed faith-based decision to follow Jesus Christ.

As I seek to follow Christ and remain innocent and child-like, there is always a false level of sophistication that wants to make me a cynic toward everything and everyone around me, especially toward Christ and the Christian faith!

I've seen it over and over in my own life. Will my faith lead me to give God total control when that cynic is telling me I don't need any help taking care of a problem? I've discovered that the more I listen to that cynic, the more he winds up doing all of the talking and the easier it is to follow his guidance.

Lord, help me turn a deaf ear to that cynic.

May I find the strength to always trust in your plan!


IN, BUT NOT OF...

APRIL 12, 2021



World

I love this quote:

The world will ask you who you are and if you do not know, the world will tell you.

When we spend all day, every day, living in a world that is constantly seeking to influence our behavior and define our culture, it's amazing that any of us are able to avoid those influences and hold fast to the knowledge and wisdom that only comes from God.

Lord, help me to keep your word close to my heart.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


GABE SNOW

APRIL 09, 2021



Gabe Snow

Today, I want to write my blog entry about Gabe Snow. Gabe is Mr. Athletic from all I can see and will be playing in the upcoming soccer season. Not only is Gabe a skilled soccer player, but he has a real love for the game. His passion for the sport is bound to help him take his teams to the championship round!

Back at home, Gabe is Mr. Handy-Dandy in the Kitchen. Just like the trendy guys who are making amazing dishes in their kitchens, Gabe seems destined to have a similar opportunity if he decides to go in that direction. He seems to have a real passion for assisting in his mom's kitchen and seems to have already acquired the necessary skills to make a real difference with any dish.

Gabe has a great personality and loves to laugh. He also likes to tell everyone about the latest excitement in his life and loves to tell, and laugh at, a good joke! With that in mind, I just couldn't resist sharing a joke here on the Gabe Snow web page in honor of his ever-present wit and charm.

Why do elephants paint their toenails different colors?

I don't know - why do elephants paint their toenails different colors?

So they can hide in the box of crayons!

Haven't you ever seen an elephant hiding in a crayon box?

No, I haven't.

I guess they're pretty good at it!


NOAH SNOW

APRIL 08, 2021



Noah Snow

The picture above was taken about seven years ago when Patty and I lived at the townhome in Pensacola, Florida on Perdido Bay and hosted our daughter, Allie; our son-in-law, Josh; our oldest grandson, Noah; and the younger grandson, Gabe.

Noah and I decided to grab the little blue kayak and go for a ride in the bay, and Allie captured this great picture of our adventure. What a fun time that was, and what a great memory it still is!

And now, years later, Patty and I live on Live Oak Island, Florida and Noah and the rest of the Snow family are on another exciting adventure on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. They've moved to Stuttgart, Germany and are learning all about life and culture in the southern part of Germany.

Noah, is a bright guy and is quickly becoming an expert in the world of technology. He and I have swapped a lot of emails and he told me he has set a goal to learn to type fast, and that he wants to become a video game developer.

He likes different video games and is quickly becoming an expert at Minecraft. Whenever I have a question, all I have to do is ask Noah and he always takes good care of me with the right answer. Recently, he rescued me out of a Minecraft pond where I got stuck.

Noah has a cool computer lab set up in his bedroom and uses a ceiling mounted projector to project his computer screen up on the wall. Leave it up to Noah to figure out how to do something cool like that. I can't wait to see everything that he accomplishes in the world of technology and in the years to come as he gets older.

Way to go, Noah!

Tomorrow, I'm going to be blogging about our other grandson, Gabe!

See you then!


HE IS RISEN

APRIL 04, 2021



He Is Risen

FROM JOHN TO ACTS

MARCH 29, 2021



From John to Acts

Patty and I started a morning bible study about 4 weeks ago. After just over a week, we decided to move to the book of John and take a chapter a day. Even with different versions of the bible, I usually read the first half aloud and Patty takes the second half and does the same.

Today is our last day in the book of John. God's timing couldn't have been better with us reading about the crucifixion of Jesus and that story serving as a lead-in to Easter this coming Sunday. Tomorrow we move to the book of Acts. It seems like a natural follow-up to the book of John.

I've been pleasantly surprised at how alive the scriptures have been with both of us reading aloud. I don't think we've done this before, and I've truly sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit in our reading.

In fact, it was quite special to read about the introduction of the Holy Spirit here in the book of John, not to mention the depth and breadth of the story of Jesus and his disciples. Today, we went through the introduction to Acts from my study bible and will pick up with chapter 1 tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it.


SAYING GOODBYE

MARCH 23, 2021



Saying Goodbye

Two days ago our son arrived, and today he is headed back to the place that he and Amy call home. Our wonderful time with him came to an end far too quickly. Still, we squeezed in all the food, fellowship, laughter, and love that could have possibly been enjoyed in such a short time.

And now we say goodbye until next time. As usual, Patty and I stand by his car, do our group hug, and share time before God in prayer for safe travel, and Jonathan's safe arrival back home to his lovely bride.

As spring and summer arrive, we know it won't be long before Jonathan will be back to see us, next time with our amazing daughter-in-law, and to all enjoy this incredible piece of paradise that Patty and I call home.

Thank you, Lord for such a wonderful opportunity to share life and love with family!


QUALITY TIME

MARCH 22, 2021



Quality Time

We're so blessed to have kids, in-laws, and grandsons, where time together is always quality time. And with our son it's never any different. He arrived yesterday and by the time he leaves tomorrow it will be too soon. It would be too soon if he left after a week or even a month. But, it's good to share quality time with him while he is here.

It was so neat to have him join us on our daily three mile walk today. It was such a joy to share time with him and to have him experience the joys that we experience every day on a walk together in this beautiful countryside with which we are blessed.

A visit from Jonathan is sure to include a full slate of late nights. It's like we don't want to miss a moment together. Sharing around important topics like life, love, and family are sure to take us to deep places. Still we always manage to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together.

Lord, thank you for the blessing of Quality Time!


DO YOU BELIEVE?

MARCH 21, 2021



Do You Believe

A couple of days ago I wrote about faith based films, and how much I've grown to love good stories in that genre. When I find a movie that seems to have the potential to combine encouragement with inspiration, and that might actually touch me in a potentially positive and life-altering way, I'm willing to go all in!

Yesterday, I watched just such a movie. If it isn't deserving of an award, I would at the very least provide it with an honorable mention.

Now, I'm the first to admit that when I watch the trailer of a faith based film, anything that hints of a cliché makes me a bit nervous. Do I really want to invest my valuable time in watching the movie? On the other hand, is there enough in the trailer to persuade me of a story with real depth? If so, then I'm ready and willing to take the risk and will dive in on it.

Such was the case with Do You Believe? It turned out to be a faith based film that was well worth the risk and provided me with two hours of time well spent!

I hope to find many more faith based films like it!


COMPANY'S COMING

MARCH 20, 2021



Company's Coming

Every day I wake up with my soul-mate and consider it a blessing to enjoy yet one more day here in the heart of paradise. That God delivered to us this impossible dream is just one more example of His goodness, grace, and mercy in our lives.

Add to that the wonder of a visit from any of our kids and I'm filled with an overwhelming sense of awe. It's simply impossible for me to comprehend God's power and majesty in providing Patty and I this deep and lasting relationship with our family.

We're so looking forward to a visit for a couple of days from our son. Amy's super busy with her new job so he's going to come down for a short visit and the three of us will all enjoy some great food and fellowship. In addition to the hot mess dip, we're sure to feast on some crab stuffed, bacon wrapped, shrimp. Yum!

Thank you, Lord for the amazing blessing of family and all that it entails!


FAITH BASED FILMS

MARCH 19, 2021



Faith Based Films

I love faith based films, but for a lot more reasons than one might expect. Certainly that they are faith based leads the list, but there are so many other things that attract me to this genre.

It's been amazing to watch these films literally take off in terms of the quality involved. Not only are we seeing larger and larger budgets with better and better production values, cast, and crew, but the stories run deeper than ever before.

Often based on true stories (a personal favorite of mine) writers deliver heart-felt themes like never before and are no longer afraid to approach difficult questions and controversial topics. What was once a genre full of clichés has led to an arena filled with cast and crew members more able and equipped than ever before to reach out to both believer and non-believer alike.

Whether I'm searching for wholesome entertainment, thought-provoking story lines, or a combination of the two, there is much to be found out there these days in this up-and-coming reality-driven trend.


MORE GOD STUFF

MARCH 07, 2021



More God Stuff

I'm honestly amazed at all that God is doing in Patty and me. Our morning Bible study has brought with it all sorts of tie-ins to real life. The comments we share and the spiritual questions we ask ourselves are always great lead-ins to real life issues and the honest day-to-day, all about life, questions we have.

And from the answers come extra stimulation to do a better job with the things which we might consider our required daily routines - everything from taking better care of ourselves to taking better care of our home and all of the things with which we have been so blessed.

We also have agreed that we want to get back to a prayer time before we go to bed at night. For me, that is mostly born out of a grateful heart and my need to express my gratefulness to the Lord, at the end of the day, for all He has done and is doing in our lives.

Each year, Patty selects a new word upon which to focus in her prayer life and in her day-to-day activities. I've tried to join her in that leading, but for several years now I haven't been able to get beyond the concept of gratefulness and the significant way in which that concept has changed, and continues to change, my life for the better.

We both agree that that we really like all that God is doing in us and the way He has brought about a more concentrated focus upon Him in our lives. I remember, when I used to still be in the work-world, that I was looking forward to the free time retirement would provide, in order to give more of myself and my time back to God. Well, now that I'm here, in this wonderful world of retirement, I'm so grateful that God has encouraged and enabled me to stay true to that desire of my heart.


ANOTHER BUSY DAY

MARCH 06, 2021



Another Busy Day

The combination of temps still in the 50's and strong gusty winds is not going to make for a good walking day. Looks like we're going to take this one off. We were also supposed to have rain mixed in with this, but the weather prognosticators are backing off of that one.

With all of the wind, I'm still not ready to pull out the paint brushes and rollers. We're supposed to have some very good days next week and I'm planning to get back to my painting project with the arrival of better weather.

For our bible study we decided to choose a book and do one chapter a day. I read the first half out loud and Patty reads aloud the second half. If there's anything that seems of significant importance from my study bible, I share that as well. Finally, we share with each other anything that the Holy Spirit has prompted within us about what we've read to each other.

We started our study yesterday in Proverbs and went through Chapter 2 today. The study seems vey alive to me, and I believe we both agree that it's been a great experience so far. I'm truly looking forward to all that is yet to come.

I'm also going through The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and we both talked a little about that as well today. I've only made it through 4 chapters of a 33 chapter book so there's plenty left to read and consider.

We also decided to revamp our diet and menu yet again. There's a lot going on in that arena and I'll spare the details here, but suffice to say I'm very encouraged with the steps we are taking and the changes that should result, both in our health and our weight maintenance.

Last but not least, we're taking steps to start with a new doctor since our former doctor has moved to a practice closer to her family. Claire was a great doctor and we will truly miss her, but our new doctor was looking after Patty's mom and so we are quite familiar with her and feel very good about the change.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Since we're fully vaccinated now for Covid-19, Patty is already on the schedule for an eye appointment and I'm going to schedule a hearing test. I'm not looking forward to the prospects of dealing with my apparent hearing loss, but playing and teaching in loud school bands, playing in rock bands, and listening to loud music, have all taken a toll on my hearing. I guess it's time.


THIS IS WHAT WE DO

FEBRUARY 25, 2021



This is What We Do

I was recently watching a faith based movie when a particular line of dialog captured my attention and got me to thinking. In fact, as I considered that line, it had such an impact on me that I began to imagine how fitting it might have been in serving as the title of the movie.

The whole thing kind of reminded me of the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler. A guy is serving time by doing community service at a local church and approaches everything with the aim of serving his own selfish interests. When the folks at the church need him most, a better offer comes along and he bails out on them with no concern for the trouble he has caused by his untimely departure.

Then, when God reveals to him the wrong he has done and changes his heart, he comes back humbly and broken and seeks forgiveness. Instead of the typical cautious reception that would have certainly been justified, the church members almost immediately welcome him back in with open arms and no questions asked.

Not having been a Christian, he understand neither how nor why they were so quick and able to forgive him. I can't help but think that the Rich Young Ruler must have had a very similar experience when his father approached him. So, I'm back in? he asks. The response was, This is what we do.

I've experienced that kind of love and forgiveness and it's absolutely amazing when it happens. It will catch you by surprise and even take your breath away.

It's called GRACE.

It's amazing when God provides it, but there's also something really special that happens when Christians extend that grace to someone else, whether or not that person might be a follower of Christ. As Christians, we can afford to offer our love and forgiveness, even to those who have hurt us, because when we were not worthy of it, Christ first loved and forgave each of us.

Serving others? Turning the other cheek? Forgiving the unforgiveable? Extending kindness to the unkind? Extending patience to the impatient? Placing ourselves at risk of being taken advantage of? Trusting God and waiting on Him? Doing what seems silly and mindless to the world?

This is what we do.


WORTH SHARING!

FEBRUARY 24, 2021



Santa 1

This is a long story, but it's a worthy story!

Back in the mid-1980's I lived with Patty and the kids in Savannah, GA and had the privilege, honor, and especially the joy of an incredible friendship with an amazing brother in Christ, Rick Monroe.

Rick and I met doing lay witness mission trips together with our dear brother in Christ, Joe Strickland. We also spent Saturday mornings together over coffee sharing our hearts in pursuit of a deeper walk with Christ our Lord.

In fact, Allie joined Patty and I on a few mission trips and worked with Rick's youth team. And when it came time for Allie and Josh to marry, I suggested that Rick might be the guy to officiate at the ceremony. Rick had to get approved and certified in order to perform that task and, just like Rick, he did so just for this special occasion.

Do a fast rewind back to Christmas morning at the DeLoach house in Savannah in the mid-1980's and Santa (Rick) notifies me that he and his elves will soon be dropping by with the sleigh to visit our kids. His elves (two young ladies from Rick's young life organization) gave up their Christmas morning to travel with Rick and fulfill the Christmas dreams of young children all over Savannah!

Santa 1

When Santa and his elves arrived, we captured the event on video (which is long gone) and in pictures (two of which survived.) Those pictures were recently electronically scanned and saved for posterity by our daughter, who now has two children of her own, but had twinkles in her eyes back then when Santa arrived with his elves.

Rick and I still write and talk from time to time, and I felt sure he would want to see those old photographs, so I sent them his way in the following email.


Hey Rick,

Allie has been scanning literally hundreds and hundreds of old pictures and I thought you might enjoy these. We sure have!

Thanks again for the great experience and wonderful memories! And if you still keep up with these ladies please send our love and feel free to share the pictures!

Much Love,

Hutch


I wasn't prepared for the heart-breaking news in Rick's response.


Hutch:

Thanks for the pictures! Sunday was the first anniversary of the day the Lord called Elizabeth home after a valiant 4 year bout with cancer. (She is the blonde in the photo) The attached Word Doc will explain it. (A Facebook post on a Young Life Alumni page)

Judy and I had the honor of spending time with Mike this past Sunday. He came here because Elizabeth is buried here. He left today to return home.

He lives in San Diego with Elizabeth’s two kids and his…..a Brady Bunch….all within 2 years of age. (High school)

I have sent the photos to him. He has no photographical record of Elizabeth as an “Elf”. Now he does.

Thank you for providing good medicine for a hurting heart. But…that’s just you.

Great to hear from you. I look forward to heaven when miles and years no longer separate.

Rick


Here's the Facebook post that Rick mentioned.


When you get older you tend to take inventory on what you have done in your life…..and what you have not done.

I never won a championship….at anything. In high school I had no idea that there was a National Honors Society. I was never a best man in a wedding. Marrying late, I have never contributed to the gene pool….I will never walk a daughter down the aisle….and I never had the awesome privilege of witnessing the miracle of childbirth.

But…. I would not trade anything for God’s gift of witnessing the miracle of someone being born again. I had that privilege numerous times during my time as a YL leader.

One of those someones was Elizabeth Emmons.

Today, those who loved her most said goodbye at her funeral. Her earthly life ended when she was promoted to Heaven. God answered our prayers for healing in His way rather than ours.

It was a sad day…but there was joy. Sadness and joy coexisting sounds like an oxymoron. But it’s possible, because the Promise Maker is the promise keeper.

I had the privilege of introducing Elizabeth to her Savior when she was in high school. From there I had the honor of being able to watch her grow in her faith from a high school kid who was a new Christian into a vibrant, contagious powerful woman of God.

Elizabeth’s relationship with Jesus morphed from Savior to Lord….from believing in Jesus to believing Jesus. Her hope became assurance, elevating her “hope so” to “know so”.

On Friday, Feb. 21 the internal became eternal….the heart into which Elizabeth invited Jesus to make His home was brought to a new home He had prepared for her.

During her funeral today my mind wandered and wondered…..if one day Elizabeth will return the favor and introduce me to our Savior she now sees…not just by faith, but by sight.

God gave Elizabeth a gift in her husband, Mike. When we witnessed them at the marriage altar and he vowed “…in sickness and in health….” he had no idea what he was promising. But….Mike lived his vows faithfully. He was God’s provision for her….an answer to prayer that was every bit God’s “very present help” in time of need. Elizabeth’s vibrant faith throughout her illness, combined with Mikes bold walk of faith alongside her has preached sermons without words that have changed trajectories and eternities that we’ll never be able to count this side of Heaven.

It’s an amazing love story: early one Friday morning Elizabeth left the arms that loved her unconditionally and landed in the arms that love her infinitely.

I heard someone say “We’ve lost Elizabeth.” I understand that…but in reality Elizabeth has not been lost since that day she asked Him to come into her heart.

And today, I know exactly where she is….

….because the Promise Maker is the promise keeper.


GOD STUFF

FEBRUARY 22, 2021



God Stuff

facet: one side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem.

If my studies of Christ have taught me anything, it's that He is a savior with countless facets. I'm sure it's been said before, but the study of Christ and His many facets could easily take a lifetime with a result of only barely scratching the surface of all there is to know, not to mention all that we will never know.

In my walk with Christ, I've come to understand two things: I need to know what I believe and, equally or more importantly, I need to know why I believe. The 'what' without the 'why' is like saying, I believe because somebody told me.

Most Christians with whom I'm familiar, and myself included, have had a real God experience via the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking about the types of day-to-day experiences we have with God such as an answered prayer, rather I'm talking about the powerful kind of God moment that brings us to that level of faith that is required of us to see what we cannot see, hear what we cannot hear, and do what we otherwise would not be able to do.


AMAZING FRIENDS

FEBRUARY 16, 2021



Amazing Friends

In 2011 the company I was working for (Netezza) was acquired by IBM and in 2012 IBM sent me to Bangalore, India to teach a Netezza class to a large group made up of IBM customers, IBM partners, and IBM'ers. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget.

What an honor it was to work with such kind and hard-working people. I don't think I've ever had a more incredible classroom experience or felt more touched by a group of students than I was by this wonderful and amazing group!

We had a limited number of workstations in the class and had to put three people to each workstation. In any other situation that might have been a problem, but these people worked so well together that it was just never an issue - even when seated with people they didn't know.

Bangalore is a city of approximately 8.5 million people and the ride to and from class each day was an amazing and educational experience in its own right. Still, it was the warm and caring people behind all of these smiling faces that ultimately won me over.

I will always be grateful for the many friends I made on that trip! After five days together in the classroom, I fear I learned much more from them than they did from me.


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

FEBRUARY 14, 2021



Happy Valentine's Day

The happiest day in my life was the day I found my soulmate (and every day since!)

Happy Valentine's Day My Love!


CHOOSING TO SEE

FEBRUARY 10, 2021



Choosing to See

Have you ever taken the time to consider the difference between the ideas of being child-like and being childish? Matthew 18:3 calls us to the former while 1 Corinthians 13:11 calls us away from the latter.

I fear, over the process of many years, that I have allowed myself to be trained by the world to see being child-like as a flaw in the life of a mature individual. While accepting this idea may feel like it protects me from the evils of the world, all it really does is make a statement that I don't trust God.

I fear more importantly that there are real consequences to rejecting that passage in Matthew 18. I fear that it shields me from the ability to see, hear, believe, and receive all of the wonderful lessons and blessings that Jesus Christ has for me in this incredible life with which I have been gifted.

I want to continue to be child-like in my faith. I'm choosing God's view over the world's view. I'm choosing to see, hear, believe and receive all that God has for me. I'm choosing to be in the world without becoming of it. I'm choosing to be wise as a serpent while remaining innocent as a dove. I'm choosing to remain child-like as I'm putting away childish things.

I like the way Arthur Mendelson said it in the movie Patch Adams.

See what no one else sees.
See what everyone chooses not to see...
out of fear, conformity or laziness.
See the whole world anew each day!

I'm choosing to see!


GOD IS WORKING

FEBRUARY 09, 2021



A God Moment

Among Christians, Romans 8:28 tends to provide a foundation for our lives like few other passages. It says:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Some of us like to call them, God Moments. They are those special moments where we see God working out a plan and in a way that we could have never imagined. For many of us, God moments can be found not only in Life's most significant events, but also in those simple and quiet moments that barely show up on our radar - until we see God working.

In either case, my experience with God moments is that they very often turn out to be ah-ha! moments. That's because I'm unable to find an answer to my question until God draws open the curtain and presents me with that which He has already done for me.

Such was the case yesterday.

In recent posts I've described my quandary over the shift from weight-loss to weight-maintenance. It doesn't seem logical, but the former actually seemed easier than the latter, probably because I've never really been at a point in my life where I reached the latter.

Anyway, I'm a record keeper. And, in the same way that I've kept a running log to measure my success, I've also kept a log to track my weight-loss progress. But, watching the results in that log, when I made the shift to weight-maintenance, was a bit depressing. I felt trapped in an up one day, down the next cycle and I really had no idea how to deal with it. I had even shared my frustration with Patty at that time.

Cue the God moment.

On the same morning that God brought an answer, I discovered that Patty had been praying for me. I didn't know that she was praying and she didn't know that her prayer was being answered as she offered it.

It came to my attention that I could make changes to my log to show a favorable result as long as I kept my weight in a predefined range. Up one day and down the next no longer mattered, as long as the ups and downs kept me in that range.

Thank you, God - for those You Moments!


PROMISE LAND

FEBRUARY 05, 2021



Promise Land

When we moved Martha in with us, we rented a storage facility to store all of her belongings that she would not need in our home, both big and small. The facility is only about 6 miles away and the folks there have been very supportive.

When getting our house set back up after Martha's passing, we were able to squeeze everything into storage except her beloved recliner. We advertised it as a free give-away with a picture on our Next Door app and within only a few short hours it was picked up by some nice folks who live just a few short miles away.

We had planned to offer everything else in storage to the local Habitat for Humanity but they didn't provide a pick up service and we had no cost effective manner for getting everything to them. By the time I had discovered that the Habitat for Humanity in Tallahassee did have a pick-up service, my wife was reminding me of the local ministry called Promise Land who also just happens to take care of the common area landscaping for our humble HOA. They have a pick-up service so I called them last week for a pick-up appointment.

We were scheduled for today but rain was in the forecast so they called yesterday and asked if they could meet us to take care of the mattresses and any other items that would not do well in the rain. We met yesterday and handed off what we could and set up a 7:45 am appointment for this morning so they could get everything else - hopefully before the rain moved in.

Today's weather has been very cooperative and the good folks at Promise Land made the pickup as scheduled and as promised. JJ and his team were awesome and I hope to have an opportunity to work with them again real soon!


MARTHA

FEBRUARY 04, 2021



Martha
When we all lived in Pensacola, Patty and I took Martha over to Foley, Alabama to enjoy a home cooked meal at Lambert's Cafe.

We lost Martha a month ago, on January 2, 2021. Today would have been her 91st birthday and I thought it might be nice to take a moment to remember her here on the blog.

Like so many parents, Martha wanted to stay close to her only child and so we helped to get her moved up from Albany, Georgia, where we had all lived for so many years, to Douglasville, Georgia where Patty and I spent 25 years and raised our two kids.

When Patty and I decided to make our big move to Florida, we took Martha with us and once again helped her find a nice place to live and to call her own. Fast forward to October 2019 and with Martha's declining health, we decided to move her in with us.

Only the Lord could have designed such an awesome master plan to provide Patty and I with over a year of time together with Martha before He called her home. I will always be grateful to God for the way He worked things together for good in a plan that neither Patty nor I could have designed or even imagined.

Rest in peace, Martha.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

JANUARY 30, 2021



Happy Birthday!

SEASONS

JANUARY 06, 2021



Seasons

Seasons come in all shapes and sizes. There are seasons of the year, seasons for sports, seasons for hunting, and down here on the coast we even have seasons for hurricanes.

There are also the seasons in our lives that God gives us. There are seasons of waiting, seasons of struggle, seasons of service, seasons of joy, seasons of mourning, and the list goes on and on and on.

With the passing of Patty's mom, we have just closed a busy season of service in caring for her in our home, and I'm doing my best now to support Patty in her season of mourning for the loss of her mom.

Out on the horizon, I can see an approaching season of joy for Patty and I as we turn our focus back toward each other. I'm trusting there will be rich years ahead of us as we dive deeper into our relationship with each other and as we engage in and enjoy the seasons ahead with our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren.

Lord, thank you for your seasons!


COUNTLESS MIRACLES

JANUARY 04, 2021



Countless Miracles

I need to share a bit of the backstory here to sort of set the scene. God's been working on me for some time now and it's been a rather unusual experience, unlike anything I've ever experienced before.

I attended Sunday School and Church at various points while growing up and even had experiences that were clearly God-ordained and anointed in the sense of a picture of the things still to come in my life.

Finally, in 1973 and at the age of 18, I gave my Life to Jesus Christ. And for some years thereafter, I was the epitome of the Proverbs 19:2 Christian. I had the zeal, but I didn't have the knowledge to support the things to which I was committing and to make sense of it all. I observed the wonderful benefits and blessings that so many seemed to enjoy, but I had no idea that a commitment was required and that there might be an associated system of beliefs that was involved.

Sometime in the very early 1980's I made some changes and took on a more academic approach to Christianity and my relationship to Jesus Christ. It was a big step in the right direction. Becoming grounded in the Word of God became instrumental to my walk with God. But in recent decades, and even in recent years, I've still struggled.

What I discovered was that an academic approach will only carry someone so far. At the end of the day, there is still a faith element involved. And the Christian walk can become very dangerous if we believe academics has provided us with all of the answers as I once did. It won't and it can't because there is always going to be that looming element of faith that is required while we walk with God here on earth.

And with that, I realized that academics without faith was cheating me out of the real power found in a deep and abiding personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was cheating me out of the ability to join Christ where He is working as Henry Blackaby suggests, and to witness the countless miracles He was performing right before my eyes and on a daily basis.

In Martha's struggle and in her passing, I saw the countless miracles God was performing, just like those mentioned in the Book of Job. I saw God answer our prayer and stop the rain (2 times!) so we could travel safely on our 40 mile journey each way between our home and the Big Bend Hospice.

I saw God answer Patty's and my prayers to remove the burdens and worries that plagued Martha with fear about the prospects of dying alone and uncared for.

I saw God's concern for Patty's burden in caring for her mom and His attention to releasing her from that burden.

I saw nurses, doctors, medical staff, hospice staff, EMT's, volunteers, and even funeral home staff care for us in a manner as if they felt called by God to do so. Perhaps they were, but either way, many miracles were involved!

Before I became a Christian, I was one of many who saw other Christians and said, I Want What They Have! And, with the passing of Martha, I witnessed so many who reached out to us, loved us, and who cared for us while we were on this portion of our journey. It is for them that I say:

Lord, I Want What They Have! I want to be more like them! Help me Lord to notice the hurting during my day and to reach out to them. Help me Lord to care for them like these people cared for me and like you care for me.


THE CALL

JANUARY 02, 2021



Pic

Patty and I had only been in bed for four hours when he phone rang. I woke slowly while realizing Patty had accidentally hung up the phone while attempting to answer the call, and was trying to call back.

We both knew what the call was about and I reached over and put my hand on her shoulder as she returned the call. After a short phone call we were up and getting dressed to return to the hospice.

Patty's mom had passed at 2:05 AM and we were praying for a break in the heavy rains as we prepared to head down the stairs to the car and travel back to the hospice. We did get the break in the weather for which we had prayed, and arrived back to the hospice around 3:15 AM.

We spent time with Patty's mom and provided the staff with the requested information and then made our way back home. By then, as one can imagine, we were fully awake and considering the monumental number of tasks that lay ahead.

In our efforts to plan ahead and be as organized as possible, Patty and I had already composed several to-do lists and were starting the tedious and tiresome job of packing Martha's stuff and notifying all of the appropriate individuals and organizations. We knew we had a season in front of us filled with to-do's and were preparing mentally and emotionally for the days ahead.


HOSPICE CARE

JANUARY 01, 2021



Hospice Care

The New Year arrived without fanfare and I made my way to the hospital to be with Patty as she awaited the discharge orders from the hospital and the transfer order over to the Big Bend Hospice there in Tallahassee and just a short drive down the street.

We found out it was a very busy day and that our transfer was scheduled for some time after lunch. Patty and I knew that could be anytime on into the late afternoon and waited patiently. We were notified that the transfer had been finally scheduled for 5:30 PM and anxiously awaited the move.

5:30 PM came and went and due to a series of snags it was 8:30 when we pulled out to travel over to the hospice. The rain had been pouring down and continued to do so as we drove over.

We finally located the correct building and made our way inside to see Martha. We waited while they bathed her and decided to get a coke and some crackers while we waited, since we had missed supper while on standby for the transfer. When they invited us back, I must say that they had done a wonderful job of preparing Martha for our visit. I remarked to Patty that her mom looked like a china doll in the beautiful setting and with the light that was being cast down from the ceiling.

After the bath, Martha seemed to have settled in pretty well and didn't seem to be breathing as hard either. Despite the pouring rain and the 40 mile drive each way Patty and I decided this might be our best opportunity to drive home and catch a shower and a cat nap before getting up early to return to the hospice.

We got home, showered, and were in the bed by 10:15 PM.


THE STROKE - PART 2

DECEMBER 31, 2020



Stroke Part 2

The doctors ran a number of tests on Martha over the period of a very long day. Patty remained at the hospital with her mom, and I stayed home to clean up in preparation for the return home of Patty and her mom.

The news was not good. Patty's mom had experienced a massive stroke and it must have occurred much earlier in the evening before we woke her up. As a result, the doctors informed Patty that it was too late to take any kind of proactive or preventative action against what had happened to her brain.

The doctor shared with Patty the image of the brain scan and indicated that it told the entire story of the severity of the stroke. She shared the image with me at a later time.

Patty remained with her mom for the rest of the day and the night, but by this time it was clear that Martha would not recover from her stroke. As such, we made preparations for Martha to be transferred to hospice care on New Year's Day.


THE STROKE - PART 1

DECEMBER 30, 2020



Stroke Part 1

There's an old saying that says, if you want to see God laugh, just tell him your plans. Well, we know better than to tell him our plans, but we sure weren't expecting what laid ahead for us today either.

We moved Patty's mom (Martha) in with us in October of 2019 due to her failing health. To be honest, we moved her in after a hospital visit that was followed up by several weeks of rehabilitation. At the time, things didn't look so good for her short or long-term prognosis which is why we went ahead and chose to move her in. Very shortly thereafter, she improved dramatically and I feared we may have jumped the gun moving her in with us.

For the past year Martha has had great days, good days, and days that weren't so good. Still, we were all thinking pretty seriously about finding a place for her where she could enjoy more independence. That's until today!

Martha's been enjoying sleeping in more lately (even as late as 11:00 am) but when it got to be around 11:18 today, we started talking about lunch and decided it might be time to wake her. We were able to get her to open her eyes, but she was still relatively unresponsive and in short order we realized she had experienced a stroke.

We called 911 and they sent an ambulance and we followed it to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) where we both stayed and where Patty wound up spending the night.


THE DAY AFTER

DECEMBER 26, 2020



The Day After

Just when we thought Christmas was over, our mail lady showed up with another Christmas package. It was a box lovingly filled with Christmas presents for Patty's mom, Patty, and for me.

Each item was wrapped with extra love and care, as only our daughter Allie could have envisioned them, and each and every item also included a post card with notes from Allie telling us more about what it was and where it was from.

Allie, Josh, and the two grandsons have been in Germany for over a year now. It's been so neat to hear about their adventures and see the pictures from their exciting trips. What a neat way to share in their joy and excitement.

Beyond all of that, it's truly been special to be so kindly blessed on Christmas with some of the knick knacks, historical keepsakes, and food and drink related items that they collected and set aside for us on those fun-filled adventures.

As if all of that wasn't interesting enough, I even found myself reviewing some of the culture in the German newspaper used to protect one of my fragile gifts. Patty and I can't wait to get beyond the pandemic and visit them over in the place they now call home.


MERRY CHRISTMAS

DECEMBER 25, 2020



Merry Christmas

CHRISTMAS EVE

DECEMBER 24, 2020



Christmas Eve

The picture above is what I imagine when I think of Christmas Eve. Even though it's a picture of yesteryears long past, the charm and even the romance are indicative of the visions that dance in my head.

Unfortunately, the picture below more clearly depicts the reality of our current Christmas Eve Day and the Christmas Eve to follow. It's highly unusual to see white-caps out on the gulf where we live, but that's just what we're seeing with these gale warnings that were introduced last night and predicted to hang around from 7AM this morning until 7AM Christmas day.

We just finished lashing down garbage bags and bed sheets over the pots and plants outside and are hoping both plants and covers survive the high winds that have already arrived and are predicted to remain as the subfreezing temperatures fall in behind later this evening.

White Caps

THE REST OF THE STORY

DECEMBER 17, 2020



Rest of the Story2

We lost Paul Harvey in 2009 at the ripe old age of 91, but his radio show entitled The Rest of the Story lives on, at least in my mind anyway. There was always a surprise at the end and it was always a strong take-away!

Well, back on December 10th I shared a post entitled Yikes! and am now able to share The Rest of the Story. If you read the post you know I had a busy evening. If you didn't, here's the complete story.

My 91 year old mother-in-law was in the hospital and my wife had been spending the days with her, mostly to get a first-hand report from the doctors after their daily evaluations. I was on the way to pick her up on the evening of Wednesday, December 9, when the excitement started.

I was driving east on highway 98, a two lane blacktop, and in heavy fog. I was not far from the Wakulla river when I saw what I thought might be the shadow of a black bear that was being back-lit from the cars approaching in the other direction. I watched as best I could, with the fog and the lights behind him, util he crossed the road and headed down the shoulder toward the woods.

When I looked back to the road it was too late. I was still driving near the speed limit and only a few feet from several young wild hogs which emerged from the fog and which took a direct hit from my car and rolled beneath me as I passed over them.

In a matter of seconds I considered my situation and decided to press on. After all, I was out in the middle of nowhere, on a pitch-black dark night with what was by now less likely a bear and more likely a wild momma hog coming back to check up on her younger youth. I talked myself out of that confrontation as I began to fear for what had happened to our car.

Sure enough, within a mile or two I received a check coolant warning followed in the next mile or two with an engine overheating warning. I was less than a mile or two from a well lit gas station and barely made the turn in before the car turned off, bells started ringing, and additional warning messages began to appear - mostly related to an overheating engine.

My first thought was to call my wife, share my situation, and encourage her to get comfortable until I arrived. She offered to spend the night at the hospital with her mom, but I knew it had already been a long day for her and assured her I would be there to get her. I hung up but knew she was concerned and praying for me.

I got on the phone with Avis at the Tallahassee airport (the only rental car company open that late) and secured a vehicle to be picked up one way or another. I then found a tow company who arrived in about 30 minutes. I didn't have the heart to ask for a ride because I was pretty confident that his insurance probably didn't cover a rider in the vehicle. When I asked him about the availability of a cab in our small town and that late at night, he assured me there probably wasn't one.

I was quite let down at the prospect, that is until he offered to get me wherever I needed to be. He mentioned he's a full service wrecker company and that came with the basic price, a price that didn't even change for after hours service. Wow!

We dropped off my injured car and drove to his office to swap the wrecker for his pickup truck. He then proceeded to carry me between 20 and 30 miles to the Tallahassee, Florida International Airport. On the way, we were confronted by some very large items strewn all over the road and took a sharp turn into the ditch to avoid them. I felt the truck fish tail as we left the road and was sure we would begin to take a spinning roll as we headed down the steep embankment. I was relieved when we arrived at the bottom, still upright and uninjured.

We finally made it to the airport and I paid my new friend, picked up my rental, and headed over to the hospital to pick up my wife. The immediate crisis was over but there was still the concern about whether or not an overheated engine survived the chaos, not to mention what else might have been damaged and might require repair.

Since we're retired with only one (now damaged) car, I took it upon myself to use the rental to check out the used car inventory at a couple of used car lots just in case our 20+ year old vehicle was not going to survive the event. Fortunately, the vehicle did indeed survive and we're back to life as usual. Only now we've got a new and wacky story to share. I'm grateful to still be here to share it.


44 YEARS

DECEMBER 11, 2020



Anniversary 44

Most of the people in my age group, the audience for which I'm best suited to target my posts, don't drive stick shift vehicles anymore - if they ever did. So the analogy I wanted to use probably falls short in that area.

On the other hand, it's my guess that most of us remember vividly that period in life when the 3 speed English Racer (and even the 10 speed follow-up) became available and we put aside our old banana seat bikes and pounced on the newer option with the improved technology.

We quickly learned that first gear involved a lot of pedaling that didn't produce much speed or progress, but was great for up-hill battles. Well, that is the perfect analogy for the way life feels right now. With a hospitalized mother-in-law and a car that went out of commission at the same time (for this one car family) I felt like I was back on an English Racer in first gear on flat ground and pedaling madly without making much progress.

Today is our 44th anniversary and up until yesterday it looked like our plans for celebration were going to have to take a back seat to more urgent needs. But without warning, it seems that everything broke loose and now it looks like our pandemic-sensitive plan is back on once again.

Here's to 44 more!


LILY

DECEMBER 08, 2020



Lily2

Sometime earlier this year, we rescued a cat from the local animal shelter. The lady at the shelter had already named her Lily and we loved the name, thought it suited her, and so decided to stay with it.

It was clear that the lady had fallen in love with Lily and she certainly teared up when we took Lily home with us. I don't know if I could handle that job either - getting attached to animals and then seeing them find a new home.

We were told that Lily was a feral cat and all evidence certainly points in that direction. She doesn't really like the kind of affection that other cats often enjoy and we've kind of had to get used to that. She will sit with us as long as we're scratching her but he moment we stop, she's off to lay down somewhere or do something else.

Sometimes, if nothing else is going on, she will climb up on my desk and lay on my warm laptop (also shown in the picture.) And, she loves to bring her squeaky mouse to my door for me to toss it and let her chase it.

In fact, better than that, she loves to chase the red light from my laser pointer when I make it dash on the floor and all around the room. Of course, and as you can imagine, that game doesn't last too long. Once she gets tired, she is only too glad to watch the pointer and imagine that she's chasing it.

Her very favorite thing, other than pointing out the need for more cat food in her cat food bowl, is sitting by one of the many sliding glass doors in the house and watching the wildlife outside. It really brings out the feral hunter in her!


THREE WISE MEN (part 3)

DECEMBER 06, 2020



3 Wise Counselors 3

After our departure from Savannah, Georgia, we found ourselves just west of Atlanta and in the city of Douglasville. It was a reasonable drive from there into the offices of Amoco Fabrics and Fibers where I worked and Patty was recruited for a teaching position with the public school system there in Douglas County.

Wise Counselor Number Three

When looking for a church in that area, a friend suggested we check out First Baptist Church and, in particular, the Sunday School class of Joe Fowler. Shortly thereafter we visited Joe's class and were immediately captivated by Joe's spiritual depth, his wonderful knowledge of and passion for Christ, and his deep and apparent love for everyone around him.

At one point, Joe was the Vice President of the student body at the University of Georgia where he studied law. He later joined a successful law practice there in Douglasville where he ultimately became a partner.

But more importantly to me, Joe was the consummate servant to everyone around him and a wonderful example of Christ to each of us. In fact, at the Wednesday lunch and Bible Study that he hosted at the church, I once heard a fella call Joe his best friend. To that comment, another fella responded, Joe is everyone's best friend! That pretty well sums up the Joe Fowler who I got to know.

It wasn't long before Joe and I were meeting for coffee early on Saturday mornings at the Shoney's there in Douglasville. Joe Fowler was about 5 years my senior, but just like with Joe Strickland and Rick Monroe, there was a lot there for me to learn from Joe and I was hungry for, and quite honored by, the time he made available to me.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christ used Joe Fowler in a powerful and wonderful way to make a significant and lasting difference in my life; and, one for which I will always be grateful.

One of the special memories of my life was having an opportunity to have all three of my aforementioned wise counselors at my daughter's wedding. It was there that I had the opportunity to introduce them to each other and to share with them collectively all that they have meant to me, over the years, as the three wise counselors in my life. Of course, Joe Strickland and Rick already knew each other but it was truly a special moment to pull them aside and have just the three of them together.

We lost Joe Strickland recently, but I'm sure everyone in heaven is rejoicing after a job very well done, and I'm confident they are all still celebrating his welcome home!


THREE WISE MEN (part 2)

DECEMBER 05, 2020



3 Wise Counselors 2

Joe Strickland had a very gifted friend - a young man about my age who also served on the Lay Witness Mission Team led by Joe. This young man was in charge of the Young Life organization there in Savannah and I believe was at one point a leader for Young Life in Georgia.

His gift extended well beyond the Young Life organization as he was a constant presence at high school football games and basically any place where a crowd of young people were gathered. He was known and loved by many of the youth of Savannah.

Wise Counselor Number Two

I met Rick Monroe, who was also a resident of Savannah and owner of Monroe Marketing, on one of the first Lay Witness Missions in which Patty and I participated. Joe Strickland recognized Rick's amazing gift for young people and recruited him and his team to work with the youth on our mission trips.

While we ministered to adults of all ages, Rick and his team of young people were at one moment hosting a competition to see who could stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth and, at the next moment, taking the young people on a heart-felt journey into the deep things of Christ.

Despite being close to the same age, I saw early on that there was much I could learn from Rick and we became good friends. We both had busy lives, but managed to carve out time to meet regularly for breakfast very early on most Saturday mornings.

And, just like with Joe, when Patty and I left town my friendship with Rick, and our working together continued to flourish. As she got older, our daughter, Allie, also started working on Rick's team on some of the Lay Witness Missions. And, when Allie prepared to marry Josh, I suggested that it might be a real special thing to have Rick marry them. In fact, and at our request, Rick became licensed just for the event and turned what too often is an ordinary event into a very special time together.

Speaking of Allie, one year on Christmas morning in the mid 80's, Santa and two of his elves came to visit Allie and Jonathan at our house in Savannah. Actually, it was Rick and two of the teenage young ladies from Young Life and something they had been doing for several years. What a blessing (and an honor) to have Santa visit the kids on Christmas morning!


THREE WISE MEN (part 1)

DECEMBER 04, 2020



3 Wise Counselors

In 1984 we left Albany, Georgia and moved to Savannah, Georgia where I took a job with the Georgia Ports Authority. And with that move, God unfolded His plan for a completely new chapter in our spiritual lives.

We had been part of a small singing group there in Albany that was made up of four couples and known as The Joy Group. Only a few days before we left for Savannah, the group threw us a going away party.

As the party came to an end, one of the men encouraged me to look up a guy named Joe Strickland when we got to Savannah. He told me that Joe was with what was then Nation's Bank, and has since become Bank of America. I took the suggestion seriously and called Joe at the bank when we arrived.

Wise Counselor Number One

Joe invited me to join him for lunch and so I made the trip over to the bank fully expecting to ride with him to one of the local restaurants. To my surprise, Joe took me up to his office where we were presented with an elegant and upscale seafood lunch. Only then did I discover that Joe was president of Bank of America there in Savannah.

While at the bank, Joe pulled out a map of Savannah to point out some of the better areas for purchasing a home. He helped me with a number of other things in our transition to Savannah, and also invited Patty and I to a Bible Study that he and his wife, Janet, hosted in their home.

Joe was ten years my senior and I saw in him a lot of what and who I wanted to become. I asked if I could treat him to lunch the following week and that turned out to be the first of many weekly lunch meetings together. In those meetings, I quickly came to recognize Joe as a mentor and wise counselor in my life.

In addition, Joe invited Patty and I to become members of his Lay Witness Mission Team and we worked together on numerous Lay Witness Mission Weekends in a number of different churches over a number of years. At some point the team also got involved with Emmaus Walks and started several Walk to Emmaus communities in south and east Georgia.

In 1988, Joe and his family left Savannah due to a promotion with the bank. At the very same time, Patty and I left Savannah to take on a new job within a division of Amoco Oil that would relocate us to Atlanta. Despite the geographical differences, we would continue to work together for many years on both Lay Witness Mission Weekends and Walk to Emmaus Weekends, not to mention meeting up at each other's homes and spending delightful weekends together enjoying our wonderfully blessed friendship.


THE ROMANCE

DECEMBER 02, 2020

Romance

My dear love and soulmate has asked me many times what I like most about life and living down here on the gulf. And, my answer is always the same. I enjoy the variety that life and this location have to offer. And, I particularly enjoy the the romance of it all.

I'm not much of an outdoor sportsman like so many who have a second home in our neighborhood. I enjoy kayaking and casting a line every now and then, but I'm not much interested in boating and all that has to be in place to support a serious fishing or hunting hobby.

This is indeed a sportsman's paradise, but that's honestly not what attracted me to this area. I came here first and foremost for the romance. I came here for the ocean view and for the peace and the quiet that come with a place like this. And, I enjoy each of those every day.

So many here, including my soulmate, spend a great deal of their time outdoor. As for me, doing my outdoor chores or grabbing the mail or a quick glance out the window is all I really need to sustain me in the midst of my otherwise indoor geek life.

What about my passion for daily running, those who know me might ask? Well, truth be told, that did not come about due to anything in my DNA. It's one of several things I have adopted, with great effort and sacrifice, to serve my goals of better health, fitness, better diet, and weight maintenance. Running did indeed become a passion, but it definitely did not start out that way.

Still, at the end of the day this Florida life is about all of those things that work so well together to provide the romance. In fact, we made a conscious choice very early in 2013 to leave a relatively secure situation up in Georgia and take on a risky and adventurous move to Florida. Well, now we're here and grateful to God every day for this beautiful place we call home!

Here's to the romance!


UNPACKING MY FAITH

NOVEMBER 28, 2020

Unpacking My Faith

I have a weekly standing phone call with my 37-year-old son. It's something I really look forward to and it always promises something new and interesting. We both seem to have been cut out of a similar fabric and enjoy going deep together in our discussions.

Sometimes when he wants to explain something that might take a moment, he does a great job of preparing me by saying, let me unpack this. I know what comes next will be a thoughtful presentation of an idea in which he wants to paint a clearer picture for me. I really like and appreciate it when he uses that phrase to prep me. And as a result, I put aside any processing of my thoughts and make a conscious shift into listener mode.

In my post yesterday, I made reference to the importance of a foundation built in faith. And now, borrowing from my son's reference, I want to unpack that idea just a bit.

We often use the term faith to represent our system of beliefs. However, in this case I'm using the term to represent the reference in Hebrews 11:1 where it says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In recent years, I've had quite an epiphany regarding the application of faith (and the importance of it) in my life.

I'm by nature a rules type of guy. I'm the kind of guy who finds peace, comfort, and even joy in the academic side of this system of beliefs called Christianity. I like the opportunities I've had to study the Word of God and the wise writings of so many of Christ's teachers. And, I like the perception that everything I've learned fits together in a neat package.

But, I've come to understand in recent years that what I've learned really doesn't fit into a neat package. There was something that was missing and I didn't know what it was. I went from being a guy who found peace in the academic side of being a follower of Christ to a guy who found something missing in that same academic side. And, the experience shook me to my core and challenged everything I had grown to believe.

I didn't know it yet, but I had stepped away from the necessity of faith. It represented an unknown quantity and there was no place for it in the academic world to which I had become so engrossed. After all, I saw so many individuals putting their faith in systems of belief with far less evidence.

If I was to be a witness to Christianity and following Christ, it needed to be something in which I could place my total and complete trust and confidence. Otherwise, I was a fraud perpetuating a lie. And, I didn't want to follow a system of beliefs where faith so often seems to be a required substitute for the lack of anything reasonable.

Fortunately, for anyone willing to do the due diligence, the faith that Christ requires is not only a reasonable faith, but a far more reasonable and evidence-based faith than any other. And with that said, I remain grateful for the call in my life, and this system of beliefs that Christ has laid out for me, and that brings true meaning and purpose in my life.


SPIRITUAL LIFE

NOVEMBER 27, 2020

Spiritual Life

Patty and I were talking the other day and, in our discussion, I was reminded of how important my spiritual core is to everything I believe and hence everything I do. There was a time in my life where I saw my spiritual core as just one of many components vying for equal time. Well, I don't think I actually visualized it that way, but I fear I behaved as if I did. That was rather unfortunate.

What I want is to see all of life through the filter of my faith. To ask what Jesus would do is not practical to me. But, to ask what He would have me do, as confirmed in His word, is the filter to which I believe I've been called.

There was a season early on where I found myself ensnared in the trap of seeking man's approval. It's a terrible trap in which to find one's self. But, I finally discovered the truth, and the truth has indeed set me free. And with that freedom came a level of understanding and commitment that was not there before. It's an understanding that I no longer belong to myself and a commitment that I belong to Christ.

Probably the most important lesson I have learned in all of this is the importance of a foundation built in faith. A close second to that would be my understanding, based in faith, that I'm called into a personal relationship with Christ. It goes beyond the academic and the emotions to something that resembles a combination of both. I am called into a personal relationship with Christ where He first loved me and where, in a state of mercy and grace, I learn to love Him with my heart, my mind, and my soul.

For all that Christ has done for me, there is a single word that describes the constant state in which I live.

For I am indeed Grateful.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


NOT TODAY!

NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Not Today

I love the caption on this picture!

Okay, but first a bit of backstory here...

When I was in that college class in 1973, sitting across the room from the most beautiful young lady I had ever seen, I remember thinking to myself, she's the one! My heart and my head were in complete agreement. It was love at first site! The rest was just details. I married her three years later, we've had 44 wonderful years since, and she is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!

Unfortunately, I had no such similar experience with a love for running when I started out. My head bought in early (I knew it was good for me) but my heart was a conscientious objector and a hold out (the passion just wasn't there!)

If you ask me when my heart finally bought in, I couldn't really tell you. The good news is that my head carried me until that point finally arrived. And when my heart took over, and the passion kicked in, I'm not sure I was even aware that it had happened. But, for a long time now it's been clear to me that it did.

On February 28, 2014 we purchased Sea Glass Cottage in Pensacola and on Sunday May 4, 2014 we made our big move to Florida (with much help from, and a big thanks to, our son and daughter-in-law.) I was still several months from the 60 yard line of life, but somehow I conjured up a notion that I might be getting to old to run.

With that thought trying to assume control, what followed for the next couple of years was a mix of running days, walking days, and neither days. I had not yet come to understand that there was great benefit in running and walking in the same activity on the same day and equal benefit in understanding the difference between a too lazy to run down day and a need to recover down day.

I had been in plenty of distance races with men who were many years my senior, and they were still running. So, I honestly have no idea where that aforementioned notion came from. But I did come to realize that the lack of commitment to running was just not working for me.

Now what I have come to understand is that there is a delicate balance between pride-running and health-running. Pride-runners pay a dear price in terms of their health because they're in it for all the wrong reasons. Health-runners keep a focus on health first and adapt and adopt as their aging body demands.

If I have my preference, I would be glad for my last day on earth to be a running day. Otherwise, I'll go with the caption on the picture up above!


WORKS FOR ME!

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Works For Me

I want to follow up on the theme I chose for yesterday. I talked about the idea of what works for me from a very high level but today I want to dive into specifics.

If I don't have a photo to go with my blog post, I usually type the title in Google and see what comes up in the images category. Well, today my working title started out as What Works For Me but when I put that in Google I was presented with picture after picture of something I used to say much more often way back when.

Works For Me!

I've always thought of that comment as another way of saying that something wouldn't be my first choice, but that I could still go with it. Or, it might be another way of saying that I'll defer to another person's approach for the sake of working together.

Well, that's a long way from my focus for today's post. This really is about the idea of learning what works for me, even when it doesn't work for anyone else. I'm not trying to pursue originality for the sake of originality, but I'm also not interested in being who I'm not in order to attain the affirmations that too many seem to be seeking these days.

So, let's get into some specifics.

I've always been able to hide my extra weight and to sort of get away with being a heavier version of myself than I really wanted to be. I envied those who were trim and either had the genetics or the discipline to stay that way.

My battle has always been a battle with food. I got away with it as a kid when I had a hyper-fast metabolism, but as I grew older and the metabolism slowed the bad habits remained and I found myself with more weight than I wanted to carry. In my battle between extra food and losing weight, the extra food always won! In my battle between more sweets and less sweets, more always won.

Six months ago, in June of 2020, I finally got tired of sugar crashes and living on wishes and excuses. I knew I had a tough battle ahead of me and that it was one I had failed at many times before. I also had no idea what would be different this time in my battle, but I knew something had to be different if I were to succeed.

I was amazed at what I discovered and it has been revolutionary in my ongoing battle toward weight loss and finally weight maintenance. By the way, the operative word in that last statement was ongoing!

It is an ongoing battle, but I've turned it into a hobby or better yet a lifestyle and new way of living. And, more importantly, I've been able to identify and incorporate those things that work for me instead of battling those things that don't. That's been the key to my success in this effort - finding a replacement for the things that haven't worked in the past and focusing upon the good instead of the bad.

One key thing I have learned about myself is that this has to involve an all or nothing approach. I can't do cheat meals. I can't do occasional sweets. Others might be able to, but I can't! I have to be able to commit to a firm plan and stay the course at all costs.

And guess what? For six months I've done it. If you would have told me that I could replace all processed sugar with natural sugar I would have never believed you. If you would have told me I could drop 20 more pounds I would have laughed - especially knowing how difficult it has been for me to drop just ten or even five.

The real good news is that success breeds more success. I knew that going in, but it's a great feeling to enjoy success and the strength and momentum that come with it. I'm even running more consistently than I ever have before and my training runs are better and stronger than they've ever been.

Here's to success, yours and mine!


WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

NOVEMBER 23, 2020

What Works For You?

It's not even in my top 10 list of favorite Mark Twain quotes, but when it comes to good advice it's hard to beat! So, why don't we pay heed to that advice, stake a claim on it, and run with it? Here's an example right from the pages of my own life.

It's the week of Thanksgiving. We've always gotten together with family to celebrate. And when we gather in a circle for the prayer right before the meal, it's always been a tradition to go around the circle and have each person say one thing for which he or she is thankful. You can tell that some struggle with it and some tolerate it, but most get in the spirit of it and participate. Some even go into the deepest recesses of their hearts for an honest and vulnerable answer.

Still, the thankful list turns out to be generally the same year after year. There's more than a few tired answers and always one or two that border on eloquent, but could be considered insincere. So, what is it for which I am truly thankful? In the absence of a large gathering this year and with the feeling that I have lost my Thanksgiving mojo, I asked myself that same question. And guess what? When I finally landed on my honest answer, I didn't like it!

One might think that I've lost my Thanksgiving mojo because of the pandemic, but that sincerely has nothing to do with it. Truth is, the generation that has always taken the lead in pulling the event together has pretty much passed away. The rest of us have begun to gather with the new patriarchs and matriarchs in our individual, smaller, and much more geographically diverse, family units. There's still a few holdouts, but it seems things (and the times) have changed.

Then where did my Thanksgiving mojo go? Well, to be honest I am incredibly thankful for all that God has done and has provided in my life and the lives of everyone in our family unit. So, in that sense, my Thanksgiving mojo is still there and will always be there.

Then what is the problem, you might ask? I wish I could offer some super spiritual answer relating to the loss of those more senior generations and, in particular, my mom and dad! But, this one is much more simple than that and frankly a bit embarrassing, if truth be told.

Six months ago I took on a major change in my life and now it's going to be time to pay up! I discovered what it is that works for me and I'm going to have to be true to it, despite the sacrifice for which it calls. It sounds a bit trite, but this year will not be a year where I include those delicious and delectable desserts that have played such a prominent role in my life in years past. This year's event will not include a primary focus on eating way too much either!

This year's event will continue to support my newer eat to live focus with a continued refrain from my former live to eat lifestyle. This year will include a continuation of my six month old diet and the weight maintenance program that has worked for me in such an effective manner. I will eat well, and will enjoy what I eat, but all within the new limits I have set out for myself. And, in all of that, I will have discovered a wonderful and healthy contribution to my newly reformed and revitalized Thanksgiving mojo.


FAMILY

OCTOBER 20, 2020

Family
The picture above was taken in Pensacola, Florida in 2015. Left to right in the picture are my wife and I, our son Jonathan and and his lovely bride Amy, our daughter Allie and her awesome husband Josh, and our two amazing grandsons - Noah and Gabe.

When it comes to family, I can't imagine any husband or father who has ever been more blessed and grateful than this guy! There are not enough bytes on the internet to capture all of the good things I could say about my wife, the kids and their spouses, and those amazing grandsons.

I'm grateful because my family members have all taken on the challenge to become students of this life. There is so much to be learned in this gift of a lifetime, and there is so much to be gained by pursuing those lessons of life and the experiences that come with them.

I crossed the 66 yard line of life last month and I find it hard to believe that there are so many simple lessons still to be learned this far down the path. I suspect each of us could spend several lifetimes and not even begin to scratch the surface of all that there is to learn and experience. But, discovering the peace and contentment that come with these lessons has been well worth the effort!

What a blessing it is, in these retirement years, to sit on the back deck with my soul mate and talk about the things God seems to be doing in our lives. I married such a wise, caring, and beautiful woman. And, I am grateful every day that she made a choice to spend her entire life with me. That's something that is still difficult for me to imagine, much less understand.

And, what a treat it is to hear from the kids and the grandsons and to share in the joys of their lives. All things considered, what more could this guy possibly ask for?


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