Friday, October 31, 2014


So, yes, I talked M'Lady into going and seeing the movie Fury last night. She isn't much for blood and guts and violence. Fury was pretty grisly, but she managed her way through it.

It is set in WWII, and has Brad Pitt in it. That's probably all you really need to know. It was pretty good. Certainly not a comedy or chick flick though. Not only was the acting and action good, but it left you with a lot of thinking to do as well. Even as a pacifist, it makes you wonder.

So, that's about all I have to say about that right now. It's Halloween, and I already ate all the candy I gave to pass out at work today. Such is life.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Random good things

I'm sitting at work on this serenely slow Thursday morning, looking out the front windows at silent trees taking in the Fall air. I like days like this. It also seems a lot of good things have been happening. Some of which are...

It is our daughter-in-law Ricci's birthday today. We are very fortunate to have wonderful kids, and they both ended up with similarly wonderful spouses. Parents can't ask for much more than that.

Last night I had my first of three coaching sessions with an already-certified coach. I thought it went very well. I really enjoyed it. I don't mean to brag, but this just seems like something that I could possibly be good at.

A few minutes ago I took a gander down my Facebook news feed and stumbled upon three gems that really spoke to me in a powerful way today.

  • First I read this Letter from Pastor Steve Tompkins. Dave Fitch shared it. It is a letter of repentance from a leader at Mars Hill Church to the current and former attenders. Very heart-wrenching; really struck a nerve in me; and I hope it's a sign of good things to come.
  • Next, Fitch also shared this article Shia LaBeouf Gets Born Again. The highlighted part was Shia's statement, "I became a Christian man, and not in a f***ing bull***t way, in a very real way." Apparently it happened while he was making the movie 'Fury.' I wanted to see it before I knew this, but now I really want to. Good for you, Shia. He could definitely have spoke at my church when I was a pastor.
  • Third was this splendid Chris Tomlin song, "Jesus Loves Me," on the Worship Together link. Chris has always been a favorite of mine for church music. We probably do this song where I go on Sundays, but I didn't recognize it. It makes me kinda want to pick up a guitar again... a little.
Anyway, I'm enjoying this quiet morning. I have a lot of good things in my life. Just wanted to share a few. Now I'm thinking of closing the office for a bit to run down the street and see the Oscar Mayer wienermobile.

Peace out, folks; and in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dying or resting

Yesterday morning I was in especially good cheer. I'm not entirely sure why, but as I drove to work through the colorful scenery we in the Midwest know of as 'Fall'... it brought even better thoughts to mind.

I love the Fall season. The trees changing colors, losing their leaves, the crisp air, the notion that something is about to happen... change is taking place... It gives me a feeling of calm and hope at the same time. Better writers than me might liken it to the smells on Thanksgiving morning, or waking up at grandma's house.

So as I wound my way through the city, I began to think about Fall. I know many people who prefer Spring. Some say Fall is when things are dying, and they don't like it. They prefer to see things come to life. Personally, I don't see Fall as a time of dying, but more a time of resting. Things are coming to rest; the trees, the leaves, the plants, many outdoor activities... Life begins to sloooooow down.

It reminds me of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-29:
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

That's good stuff. How can anyone NOT want that?

It also reminds me of the teaching from John 15:1-8 about abiding in the Vine (God). I like the 3dm teaching using a semicircle to represent the need to balance work and rest. Yes, fruit comes from work, but it can only come as we abide/rest in Him. It's part of the rhythm of life. I see that as what Fall is all about. It's a time to rest in the love and mercy and grace of God; to allow Jesus to gently teach us; restore us; give us hope.

I like thinking about that. Lately I have felt more comfortable and at peace with myself than I have in a long time. I look forward to a Spring, but I love the idea of resting in God's love and grace; of becoming who He wants me to be. Nurture.

Life is long. Falling down is not the end. It's not dying... it can be a time of rest for our souls.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New links

I have recently updated some of the links in my sidebar. My blog is pretty old and dated, and I hadn't paid much attention to the sidebar for quite awhile. So I removed some of the dead links, and updated some others. Some I still need to get too.

I also added a couple links. Under 'blog links' I added Kathy Escobar. I have been familiar with her in blogland for years, and I think she might actually be an acquaintance of an old acquaintance of mine, but her stuff is ringing truer for me now than it used to. So I thought maybe I ought to give her a read now and then.

I also added the faith community she co-leads under 'Faith, Churches, etc.' It's called 'the refuge,' and seems kind of like the type of place Jane and I could use. This is their "invitation to community":

the refuge is a mission center and christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other.

we love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can.

we're all hurt or hungry in our own ways.  we're at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the bible.

we find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts.

we find dignity as God's image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another.

we all receive, we all give.

we are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberals, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, book-smart, street-smart, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving.

yet Christ's love binds our differences together in unity.

at the refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. 

So... that's about it on this rainy day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rat race 5k and trunk or treat

I ran another 5k yesterday. Jane, Carrie and I ran in the 15th annual River City Rat Race in downtown Fort Wayne (their Facebook page). It was a gorgeous day, temps were in the upper 60's, it was sunny, and we ran through some fantastically beautiful areas of the city along the rivergreenway and through some neighborhoods. I have no idea what place we finished in, because, at this point, who cares. I think Jane and I ran around a 34-minute 5k, and Carrie was a minute or two ahead of us. I forgot my knee brace, and it didn't really bother me.

Later in the evening we went to a trunk-or-treat event at the church where Anna's preschool is. Holy cow, I could not believe how many people there were. I wanted to get a crowd picture, but there was simply no way to take one that would have done it justice. Anyway, they had quite a few people passing out candy, and they also had several 'bounce house' toys there. The kids had a blast.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mowing leaves

I mowed the yard yesterday. It was full of leaves, so I tried to mow all in one direction as much as I could to sort of push them towards the curb. I also lowered the deck down another notch, so it is in the 3rd lowest position (2 notches left below). The little guard/drag thing that goes across the back of the mower also started to fall off, so I took it all the way off. It was much easier to pull it backwards after that. And... I also felt the mower deck crack a little more, so I'm thinking this may really be the last year for the ol' gal. Kind of sad.

Also, I got to wondering if this might be the last mowing of the year, so I looked back through my archives. Shoot, last year it was November 19. I'd say we still have at least a couple more to go.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On washing clothes...

Lately I've been doing this thing where I wear the same shirt and pants all week long without washing them. Sometimes I even wear the pants longer if I can. I don't go so far as to sleep in them - I take them off and hang them up at night - and I change my undershirt, underwear and socks just about everyday, but as long as I'm not sweating through my clothes or getting dirty, there's really no reason to wash the outerwear after only one or two wearings. So our weekly clothes washing usually consists of one medium-sized load of coloreds and a small load of whites. It should also help my clothes last longer. I don't really know why I started doing it, but it just makes sense now.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Smoking update

I just had to look back in my archives to see when it was that I quit smoking. It was September 14th. Other than the night I bummed a bunch of cigarettes while still wearing the patch - and almost died - I've only had one here and there a few times. I don't really even remember the last time I had a cigarette though.

One thing I did different this time (in regard to quitting), is I didn't count the missteps. If I stumbled, then that's all it was... It didn't mean I had failed, or that I was "smoking" again. I just overlooked it and moved forward. I don't know if I recommend that as a strategy or not, but that's what I did.

I actually quit wearing the patch after I got sick. I think I went about a week without anything. I then moved to the 'step 2' patch... probably a couple weeks ago... because I could tell I needed some help. I think there was stress at work, and I was starting to get that "agitated" feeling again. The patch seems to help.

Honestly, though, I would still rather be smoking. If it just wasn't so unhealthy and didn't make me feel like crap. Not a day goes by that I don't want a cigarette. Maybe I will start again when I'm 72. How much can it hurt then? I don't know. It's going okay, I guess.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gas for $2.91

I bought gas yesterday morning for $2.91 per gallon. I keep track of my gas expense in a little book in my car, and that's the lowest I've paid since I've been using that particular book starting in March 2012. Although, when I got up by my workplace on the North side, two gas stations there had it for $2.89. However, by the time I got back home last night it was back up to $3.19. For a change I actually got it before it went up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The mark video

So, Mark D's name has been in the news again, and again, and again. Now he has finally resigned, and it's in the news as much or more than ever before. Make no mistake, I do not wish to defend anything he has done, nor comment on his resignation. Actually, I don't really know much about anything having to do with him. However, after watching this video, I would like to hear a defense for the behavior of those attacking his family (that's a rhetorical question - I can't think of a Christian defense for such a thing).

I will say this, I can relate to his situation only insofar as the pain I felt for my family when I was let go as a pastor. Say what you want about me - and, yes, it hurts too - but when my family is mistreated... well, that's not easy to take. To be perfectly honest, that's really the only thing that still gets me riled up.

Anyway, back to this video, I don't know who the guy is that asks Mark up to the stage - and I've never heard of this conference - but I think it's worthwhile to listen to. I like how he said, "Since someone's already been crucified for him, let's restore him with a spirit of gentleness." Hard to argue with that. I know I greatly appreciate those of you who have been there to help me find healing and journey towards restoration. Give the video a watch...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekend in atlanta

M'Lady and I took a visit to son Isaac and his bride (Ricci) in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend. We had a splendid time. Everything from the scenic drive, to the activities there, were fantastic. We arrived Friday evening and went out to eat in Decatur (near our hotel). Saturday we toured the Emory/Candler campus, and then went to the Martin Luther King Jr. national historic site. We went out in Decatur Saturday night. Sunday we visited some unique shops in Atlanta and kind of just hung around, then had supper at Isaac and Ricci's on their screened in porch. Monday we drove home. Below are just a few random pics I took on my phone.

As for the drive... It took us about 11 hours both ways. Google said it would be 9 hrs 40 min. That obviously didn't account for road construction and traffic. Ugh.

On the way down, we left around 8:30 am and took I-69 to Indianapolis and picked up I-465 and then I-65 South. We stayed on that all the way to Nashville, TN, where we picked up I-24 East, and stayed on that until Chattanooga, TN where we picked up I-75 South. That goes straight into Atlanta. The worst parts of the trip down were the stretch between Indianapolis and Louisville. There was SO MUCH construction, and traffic moved so slow, that whole stretch. Then we hit Chattanooga right during rush hour, and it was really slow going there. Other than that it wasn't too bad. I believe we stopped 3 times for gas on the way down.

On the way home we left around 8:15, but we got kind of turned around. The GPS on Jane's phone was being stupid, so we went back and forth, and it was probably 8:30 when I finally remembered that I had printed off actual directions. So we grabbed those and then stood still in traffic on I-285 in Atlanta. It literally took us almost an hour just to get out of Atlanta. Then, once we finally got to I-75 North, we were right behind a car that lost control. They crossed all 6 (or 8) lanes of traffic going in both directions sideways before finally coming to a stop in front of us. Then they just took off again. When we passed the lady she was just chatting away on her headset. I can't believe no one hit her.

Anyway, the rest of the way home was pretty clear all the way through Nashville. There was some construction in Nashville, and then about half way home I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore so I asked Jane to drive. It wasn't bad until getting into the construction going through Louisville, and then it was just insane again from Louisville to Indianapolis. Jane did a good job of driving though, and we made it home around 7:30 pm.

Isaac and Ricci are doing well. She seems to like her teaching job (4th-6th graders), and I think Isaac is enjoying being in school again. They seem to be making friends - even though they haven't found a church yet. Their house is set up really cute, and Crosby seemed excited to have visitors. He's a pretty cool dog. We didn't hang out at their house too much - didn't want to cramp their style - and fortunately we had a pretty decent hotel this time. We stayed at the Emory Holiday Inn Express. It was really nice for a small, non-fancy hotel. We ate the free breakfast there every day. There was also a nice little grocery store within walking distance.

Atlanta is a really nice city. It doesn't seem to be as "urban" as a lot of cities. There are trees and grass and stuff everywhere. And everywhere we went it seemed that people were nice. I guess that's what they call "southern hospitality." The roads are a bit strange though... I guess as a result of segregation and racial issues from years ago.

We ate at a 'slice & pint' on the first night. Saturday we had lunch at a little place by campus, then supper at a Spanish place off the Decatur square. Sunday we had lunch at 'Yeah! Burger' (it was fantastic), and had supper at Isaac and Ricci's. They took us to their "world" grocery store (or whatever it's called), and that was a cultural experience in itself. It was crazy, but fun.

I'm sure there is a bunch I am forgetting. The MLK Jr. museum and things were very cool. I really enjoyed that. We also went to a really nice (and big) antique store. I saw a bunch of religious pictures that I wanted, but they were all kind of expensive. I did pick up some Yuengling beer while I was there though. Priorities. All in all it was a great time and I'm glad we got to go.

The Candler School of Theology where Isaac is a student.

Banner inside the door at Candler.
The Emory ethics department is housed in the Candler building.

Jane, Isaac & Ricci outside the Emory University Hospital.

The entrance to the church MLK Jr. attended & led.

This is where MKL Jr. grew up, and later preached.
A plaque in the basement of Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

No church today

It's a Sunday morning and we are just hanging around our hotel room. We are visiting son Isaac and his wife Ricci in Atlanta, Georgia. We're going to their house around lunchtime. So we slept in, watched some tv, and took a walk around the block this morning. There was a day when I would have used this as an opportunity to visit an Atlanta area church - maybe Andy Stanley's church, or Ebeneezer Baptist (where MLK preached), and I even thought about Eastside Church (the pastor is from Huntington, IN) - but instead we're just lazing around. I'm not proud, or ashamed, just saying that's how it is. So... that's how it is this morning.