Monday, December 18, 2006

Wow! Grampy posted something on his blog!

No posts since September. Sorry 'bout that folks. Guess I just wasn't cut out to be a super blogger. Just can't think of much to say that wouldn't bore you all out of your skulls. Plus the blog here was supposed to be encouraging but it sort of turned into an "emo" kind of thing. It's depressing enough to worry about stuff yourself, blogging about it just spreads the depression around to everyone else.

I'm really encouraged about the changes that are being made in the way things are done at our church. While I'm basically a conservative and normally uncomfortable with "changes" in general, the way things are going so far isn't as upsetting as usual. A new balcony in the back is taking a little getting used to, but I'll get over it. It sort of reminds me of a hockey penalty box for some reason...maybe we can put the song leaders up there when they mess up on the lyrics of a song.

Well, this should have been a longer post, but it's getting close to the time for me to leave for work, so I've got to run. Maybe my next post won't be as long in coming.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Worry Wart

I guess I'm a little confused. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow. From these examples, I kind of get the impression we're being told to pester God with our worries until He gives in and resolves the problem. On the other hand, Jesus said not to worry because God knows what we need and will provide it for us. We're also told not to fear because He is with us. This seems to be a conflict to me. Should I pray about the things that bother me or not?

I'm really not sure what the answer is, but there have been a lot of troublesome things on my mind lately that I just don't see getting resolved. I've been praying about the issues, but no solutions seem to be presenting themselves at the moment. Yet, I have faced similar problems in the past and God stepped in at the last moment and provided a miracle solution. So do I trust that God will once again save me from the fire at the last minute? And why does it always have to be a "skin-of-the-teeth" kind of thing? For once I'd like to be able to resolve my problems a week or two in advance of things coming to a head. Of course if I did that, they wouldn't be as dramatic or noticeable. Perhaps He is resolving other problems before I realize they were potential problems and I'm just noticing the ones that He's still working on.

I've blogged about this subject several times you can tell, I'm still disturbed about it. I guess for now I'll continue praying about the matters and trust that God will once again come to my rescue with some sort of solution.

On other topics, after reviewing some of my recent posts I noticed that I haven't mentioned that my younger son is now employed full time. He's now working for a radio station as their news person. He's also doing some work on their website and seems to be enjoying the new job quite a bit.

Also, my wife's 9 week job turned into a full year, praise the Lord! She's moving to the elementary building (more to her liking) and will be substituting for a teacher who left to work in another school district. It's still sub-pay with no benefits, but beggars can't be choosers. I've also picked up a couple of odd-jobs fixing folks computers where I made enough to buy a couple tanks of gas.

As you can see, God IS working in our lives, so I kind of feel guilty about complaining so much. I know things don't always work the way we want them to, but it sure would be nice if I could relax and not worry for a little while.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Lord Will Provide

I've been working at my new job now for a little over a month and I have two weeks of teaching behind me. It's a new experience and a little stressful, but I think I'm going to enjoy it once I get used to it.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that, although the new job has a better pay rate, I'm actually taking a slight cut in earnings because it's not a full-time job. That didn't bother me a lot, but loosing the medical benefits did concern me to some extent. My wife's retirement package includes medical insurance that she was carrying as an individual policy. We recently discovered that changing it to a family policy is going to effectively cut her monthly retirement check in half. That concerned me a LOT.

Add to this the fact that the work she was doing last year for the school wasn't renewed this year. So, as of last week, she didn't have any solid prospects for a steady supplemental income in view. I was starting to sweat over how to keep up payments on the various bills we have when her check gets cut in half on September 1.

Then she got a phone call from the school a couple of days ago. God blessed their 8th grade Language Arts teacher with a pregnancy and she is due soon after school starts. My wife has signed on for 9 weeks of full-time work. So, praise the Lord, we are off the hook for a little while longer.

I'm starting to think that God is patiently trying to prove to me that he can provide for my family and that I should stop worrying so much about money. I'm a stubborn one though, I still have some lingering doubts about what we're going to do after my wife's 9 week assignment runs out.

Thank you, Lord, for bailing us out again. Help me to trust you more fully.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bulletin Articles

One of my main jobs as a deacon of my church is cranking out the weekly bulletin every Sunday morning. It's a job I enjoy doing and it brings a lot of satisfaction when I see somebody smile while they're reading it or they make a comment about something in reference to it. I've been doing it for over 20 years now with only a couple of short breaks for health reasons. I started typing it on an old manual typewriter on spirit masters and have worn out two or three copy machines along the way.

A lot of the credit goes to the fine help I've gotten from our preachers who pass along the news items to fill the inside. Our current preacher does about 90% of the composition on the news articles, I just rearrange them to fit the available space. Occasionally I'll need to whittle down a lengthy item, but for the most part I cut and paste his stuff verbatim.

While I write an occasional article for the front page, I usually get them off of the Internet. The bulk of the articles over the last couple of years have been from an online database of several thousand articles. Prior to using the Internet as a resource, a lot of the articles came from a print publication that compiles bulletin articles. It has gone through several owners over the last few years. I'm not sure who's running it at the moment, but it often had some good resources.

I take a fair amount of time selecting just the "right" article for the front page each week. Several criteria have to be met for an article to "make the cut."

First, it needs to fit the space available. I can increase or decrease the font size a little to make an article fit, but most of the time they need to be around 500 to 700 words. That's in the neighborhood of 2500 to 3000 characters. Once in a while I have some blank space on the inside and can bleed a larger article over to page three, but usually that's not the case.

Second, I try to find an article that's not to "preachy." Only a fraction of a percent of the folks who read our bulletin are people who don't already attend church on at least a semi-regular basis. I'm not putting out a tract to teach basic beliefs or "show sinners THE WAY." My readers are typically regular church-going folks who were handed a bulletin as they came through the front door on Sunday morning.

Third, I try to make sure there's some "entertainment" value in the article. Not too philosophical, maybe a bit of humor or sometimes something that brings an important topic that's currently in the news to light. Maybe an article with a new spin on an old verse. People don't pick up the bulletin to get their daily dose of hermaneutics, they're looking for something to pass the time while they wait for the worship service to begin.

Fourth, and this is just me, I don't use poetry except on an occasional basis. I know there's a lot of folks out there that are poetry lovers. I don't have anything against a good poem, I just don't find a lot of them that I really enjoy. Personal taste I guess, but I have trouble finding poems that inspire me enough to put them in the bulletin.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dagnab Kids, Get Off My Lawn!

I've gotten to know several fellows recently that are about my age and we occasionally joke about being old codgers and chasing the "dagnab kids" off of our lawns. But it really wasn't funny when I read a news item a few weeks ago about an elderly man in the Cincinnati area who shot a teenager for walking across his lawn. The news item disturbed me and I feel a little hesitant about making jokes about it now.

What is it that makes folks get mean and nasty when they get older? My wife sometimes complains that I get a little crabby now and then. It's not intentional and I don't even realize that I'm acting that way until somebody points it out.

I don't really know where I'm headed with this post, it's just something that's been on my mind lately. I don't want to be a mean person, I want to be a loving and caring one. I think I am for the most part, but that mean old geezer is just under the surface waiting for me to get impatient or upset about something so he can make an appearance.

"As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient." Col 3:12

I guess that's the answer. When I get crabby, I'm straying away from what God has called me to be and I need to get back on track.

By the way, what's the difference between a scallywag and a whippersnapper?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Two Down, Two to Go

I thanked everyone after Wednesday evening Bible study for their prayers regarding my success in finding a job this evening. Soon after arriving home I received a call from my oldest son to let me know that he's being hired to teach Social Studies full time. Praise the Lord! Keep on praying folks, My younger son and my wife still need jobs, but the prayers are working. Thank you all for your love and concern, it's a blessing to know we have such good friends in the church.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Grampy Gets A New Job

I just found out yesterday that I got the job I've been talking about here for the last couple of months!

Starting June 12, I will be working as a computer repair instructor at the local vocational school in the adult education program. It's part time and a cut in pay with no health benefits, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. We can transfer my health benefits over to my wife's provider. If I can find some freelance computer repair work in the evenings to supplement our income, we should be able to squeak by for another year. I'm taking this as an opportunity to learn some new skills and get some certifications that I've needed for a while. One nice thing, although I'm done with my duties on June 9, my contract runs through the end of I'll be getting double paychecks for a little while.

Thanks to everyone for all of your prayers, I'm sure they are what made the difference.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Quick Update

Well, I got the chance to interview for the job I've been talking about this morning. I thought it went fairly well, although there were a couple of questions that I sort of fumbled the ball on. A couple of those "off-the-wall" questions that always catch you off guard. "Recall an incident where you weren't able to fix a problem and how you dealt with it." What kind of question is that? I couldn't recall anything recently that I couldn't handle...drew a complete blank. I dunno, maybe that was good.

Anyway, I must have impressed at least one of the interviewers (there were four), because they called me later to schedule a second interview on Monday.

Keep praying folks, it seems to be working.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May Update

I guess it's time for a monthly update.

My job search is sort of lingering at the moment. The job I mentioned in previous posts has not started doing interviews yet, but I've heard through the grapevine that my resume is one of those being given serious consideration. I've sent out a couple of other resumes, but none of those are really too promising. I'm also planning to start doing some computer repair work on my own, "be your own boss" type of stuff.

My wife is nearing the end of her work for the school as well, about six or seven more days and she's done for the summer. No prospect of a full time job, but she'll probably have some opportunities to do substitute work next fall...which she doesn't really enjoy too much.

My younger son graduated from college last weekend, he's now looking for work in the realm of newspaper and broadcast journalism or graphic design. There is also a possibility that he may be able to get a job working for the school as a graduate instructor.

My older son has been doing some substitute teaching, but that's about to dry up with summer vacation upon us. He's hoping to get a full time teaching job this fall, several good prospects and a lot of resumes have been sent out, but nothing definite as yet.

So...all of the members of our family are sort of in limbo in as much as the employment arena is concerned.

Your continued prayers on our behalf would be appreciated!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's Too Quick

Having been unemployed twice before, I have sort of discovered a few things through experience. One is that the best qualified person for a job isn't always the person that gets hired. Even so, whenever I see a job that I know I would be a great candidate for, I get my hopes up that I'll be the one that gets hired.

I knew back in December that I might be looking for work this summer and got the confirmation about three weeks ago. Two weeks ago I asked the folks in my home Bible study group to pray about the situation. I also asked some online friends on a message board I hang out on to pray about it as well. I got a call from a friend on Tuesday about an almost "perfect fit" job that was advertised in the local paper. Not only do I fit the job description, I know some folks that work there already that I can use as good references. I've already mailed out my resume to apply for the position. Now I get to wait for the phone to ring.

Two weeks seems like an awfully short time based on my past experience. The two previous times I've been unemployed it took me nearly a year to find a decent job. I know God works in "mysterious ways" and that it's entirely within His providence to provide me with a new job tomorrow if He wants to. Yet I don't want to get my hopes up. It's too good to be true. It's too quick. It's too easy. I haven't suffered enough. Other "sure things" never came true, this one probably won't either. There's my problem of doubt and trust popping up it's head again. I can really identify with Thomas. Show me the scars, Jesus! As Yogi Berra said, "I'll belive it when I believe it."

Anyway, I'd appreciate everyone's prayers on this one. I probably won't hear anything until the deadline for applications passes, April 24, so keep praying about it and I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Friday, March 31, 2006

David & Bathsheba

I ran across this today and just had to post it. Sort of puts a modern light on the whole David and Bathsheba thing. Click the picture for a readable image. Thanks to peteykins for the picture and have a happy day!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Monthly Update

Hmmm, I'm surprised there aren't cobwebs hanging from the HTML tags here. Has it really been over a month since my last post? I've been letting this and my other blog linger for a while...haven't really felt like blogging. I was sick for a week and, well, I just haven't been too inspired lately.

I got my formal notice the other day that my current job position is being eliminated at the school, so I'll be officially unemployed effective July 1. I've been brushing up my resume and getting ready to hit the road looking for another job of some sort. I'd appreciate your prayers on this matter, I'm afraid I've got a few strikes against me in the job market what with my age and weight. I do have plenty of experience and talent though, so hopefully potential employers will pick up on those.

It's easy to get depressed over a situation like this, and I do have short bouts of it, but overall I think I've been pretty positive about it so far. I'm sure God has something in store for me, I just haven't gotten the memo about it yet.

Well, that's about it for this round.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Sorry I haven't posted anything here in a while, I'm still here. Time just seems to slip up on me and before I know it weeks have passed by. I've been fairly active on my other blog, but this one has been languishing for a little while. It's mainly because I feel a need for what I say here to be significant in some way. I'd like for everyone who visits to have something to take with them after they've read one of my posts. A thought or an idea that maybe somehow will help them thru their day. I haven't had a lot of deep spiritual revelations I haven't posted.

I guess I go through life with blinders on a lot of the time. Busy with trivial personal stuff and not really giving much thought to spiritual things. Get up, get to work, do the job, go home, crawl in bed and start all over the next day. Most of my free time I spend surfing around on the Internet. I enjoy reading the news, particularly the weird stuff. My other blog is a reflection of that, but I don't run across a whole lot of things that deal with religion...not in a positive sense anyway. Anything about religion is usually dealt with in a negative way by a lot of websites. There's a lot of disillusioned non-religious people out there, and a lot of religious folks that just can't seem to get along with one another.

One thing that caught my eye in the last couple of weeks has been the furor over the cartoons of Mohammed that were printed in the Danish newspaper. I don't know if you've seen the cartoon, but it was pretty tame. Nothing spectacular, yet it caused a great deal of commotion including quite a few deaths. A lot of media outlets have been sympathetic to the Muslim viewpoint, stoping just a bit short of endorsing the violence. Where are these sympathizers when Christian sensibilities are offended? I can't begin to count how many times somebody has portrayed Christ in an offensive fashion. For example the artist who created a copy of Da Vinci's Last Supper using elephant droppings as his medium. To me this would have been much more offensive than a cartoon...yet it was permitted to be displayed with only a smattering of complaints.

Another item that I found interesting was one about an Israeli construction company that is digging up a Muslim cemetary and moving the bodies to a different location for reburial. The Muslims are understandably upset over this and are complaining loudly to the local government, which is turning a deaf ear to their complaints. The ironic part of the whole thing is that the construction company is clearing the land so that a museum can be built on the site. A museum whose purpose will be to promote tollerance and understanding between different religions.

The bombing of the temple, mosque, or whatever you want to call it in Iraq last week is another prime example of how some folks just can't seem to get along. One day we're all going to wake up and say "why is it so hot and why am I in this handbasket?"

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Devo

I've got to admit I'm not much of a sports fan. I was always the last kid picked when they chose sides for baseball or any other game. I was overweight, had two left feet, couldn't hit the ball and certainly couldn't catch it. So, for some strange reason, I never developed much of an interest in sports.

When someone invited me to a "Superbowl Devotional" yesterday, my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic. "Superbowl? What's the big deal?" It's just another football game as far as I was concerned. I don't really have a favorite team and certainly couldn't name a single player on either team. Yeah, I've watched some of the Superbowls in the past but I couldn't tell you who won any of them. I remember the commercials more than the games.

But I got to thinking, why not? Just because I'm not interested in sports shouldn't be a reason to skip out on the fellowship. I skip out on too many things like that as it I went.

And I'm glad I did. I was impressed that the fellows kept the devotional discussion going way past kickoff time...and nobody said a word about it. Big deal, we missed the kickoff. Of course there was pizza and chips and a lot of noisy hooting and hollering during the game, but it was all in fun.

Halftime rolled around and instead of watching the Rolling Stones, we watched a video of Bono's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. He gets a little slow start, but once he gets going he makes a lot of thought provoking comments.

Anyway, I had a good time despite not being able to hear the commercials for all of the noise. Thanks for the fun, food, and fellowship, guys. I'm looking forward to doing it again next year!

Monday, January 30, 2006


I just finished a book the other day by one of my favorite authors, Matthew Reily. If any of you are familiar with his works, you know he writes action adventures. One of the trademarks of his stories is that the action never stops. His heroes go from one nail-biting scenario to another with hardly time for a bathroom break. From the first or second page they're either in a gun battle or swinging from cables over molten lava. And of course, all of these perils are surmounted with split-seconds to spare. For example, in the book I just finished, the hero has to defuse a nuclear doomsday machine with seconds to spare. When it's all over the timer has 5 hundredths of a second left on it.

So what does all of this have to do with Dry Crusts? Split-second rescues: do they happen in real life? When I see this kind of cliche used in a book or a movie, I want to say "no way, that dude would have been toast in real life." Yet time and again, I've witnessed this kind of thing in my life. No, I haven't had to defuse a nuclear doomsday machine lately, but there have been countless times when I needed help of some type (usually financial) that I didn't know where to turn. Almost invariably, an unexpected check arrives in the mail. Either that or somebody repays a loan that I never expected to be repaid, or a gift from out of the get the picture. I never expected it, but there it is, the solution to my problem. It has happened too often for it to be mere chance. I should be homeless on the street...and maybe someday I will be. But I thank God that, for the moment, I'm not.

Which leads me to the final point of this soul-searching post. Why can't I trust God more? I know He cares. I know he has pulled my butt out of more scrapes than I can count on both hands. I say publicly that I trust him to see me through my trials and tribulations, but privately...deep down...there's this nagging doubt. What if this time God doesn't save my sorry butt from whatever disaster is looming on the horizon this week? I suppose it sounds like another cliche to say that's Satan doing his thing, but I think it is. That nagging doubt is him telling me to give it up, to stop trusting God. And no matter how close the timer gets to 00:00:00, that's one thing I can't do. I'll never give up on God to defuse that bomb.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hillbilly 10 Commandments

I stumbled across this today and got a laugh out of it. I thought it was mildly humorous, so I'm passing it along for what it's worth...slightly edited for overly offensive verbage.

The Hillbilly Ten Commandments

  1. Don’t read the horoscopes ‘cuz they’re based on the planets, like Jupiter and Mars and those other fellers and heathens and jezebels that were fake gods in that there mythology so if you read your horoscope it’s just like worshippin’ fake gods not real ones like me, ‘cuz I’m the one and only God. So don’t do that, ya’ll.

  2. Don’t worship nothin’ that ya carved outta wood—even tho’ that there seven foot pine tree bear carvin’ that ya made with yer chainsaw is pretty darn impressive.

  3. Don’t say my name as a cuss word even if ya did just smash yer thumb all to bits with a ball peen hammer, ‘cuz that ain’t right, usin’ my name like ‘at an’ all.

  4. Go to church ever’ Sunday like yer s’pposed to, unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday; ‘cuz even the preacher ain’t gonna be at the church on Super Bowl Sunday. Oh, an’ don’t work on Sunday either, unless yer scheduled for that shift or ya need the overtime real bad.

  5. Be good to yer Mama an’ Daddy — even if yer Mama is a drunk an’ yer Daddy is a jailbird. Just be glad yer Mama didn’t abort ya an’ yer Daddy didn’t let her take ya down to the dump an’ leave yer cryin’ butt there like she wanted to.

  6. Don’t kill nobody unless it’s a huntin’ accident or you’re protectin’ yer property.

  7. Don’t cheat on yer wife even if she did git all fat an’ ugly. You shoulda known she’d turn out that way—just look at her Mama.

  8. Don’t take nothin’, ‘cept fer little thangs like them free pens an’ refrigerator magnets from the bank an’ the grocery store an’ whatnot.

  9. Don’t lie ‘bout nothin’ or nobody unless it makes fer really good gossip or you’re tellin’ a huntin’ story an’ you’re sure ya ain’t gonna git caught (or if yer wife asks ya if she looks fat in her new hot pink polyester pantsuit—you’d best better lie your butt off, then).

  10. Don’t want nothin’ just ‘cuz somebody else bought somethin’ ya like a whole bunch — just borrow it and fergit to return it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Has it really been a week since my last post here? Wow, how time flies. I've posted a few new things on my other blog this week, but that doesn't require a lot of thinking. All I have to do is find a funny or unusual news story, locate some clipart to go with it and post the link. Here I've got to do some thinking...and I think my brain is still suffering from paradigm strain.

Nothing much new to say about things in general. Everything is about the same ol' same ol' around here. I wonder if it was like that for Jesus? I mean, when we read about Him in the Bible, He's always running around preaching, telling stories, praying, healing folks, attending a banquet or stuff like that. I don't recall a mention of any significant amount of "downtime" for the Savior in the gospels. Of course things like that don't make for a good do you suppose the gospel writers just sort of edited those parts out? I'd like to think that He had time to relax once in a while. Maybe watch the chariot races, read a good scroll, or perhaps play a game of chess or something. Wait...forget the chess. He'd beat you every time. After all, He is a Grand Master. :)

I've had several visitors leave comments, I want to thank you all for that. The comments are appreciated and help let me know that my opinions are actually being read and the visitor counter isn't just racking up hits from people just passing thru.

Well, that's it for today, I'll try to post a little more often if I can squeeze something significant out of this ol' brain of mine.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Brain Strain

This "blogging" thing is fun, but it can be a hassle as well. I have time to work on it, but having the time and taking the time are two different things.

There was a new post on the church blog a couple of days ago about new paradigms, postmodernism and such things...some heavy stuff. Things that strain my feeble old brain to think about. I'm comfortable with my "religion" and tend to resist change. I don't want to think about new paradigms, I'm happy with the old one.

I guess that's sort of what it must have been like back in Jesus' day. The Saducees and Pharisees were happy with the status quo. They didn't like Jesus rocking their boat. They were comfortable where they were.

Change is inevitable. For the church to appeal to new generations, I realize that some things need to change...just don't change them too fast or change them just to be changing. Have a good reason for the change and make sure it's not going against the scriptures. I might be able to accept it...or at least tolerate it.