My grandson and I spend some time on Wrightsville Beach, NC.
I've been wondering if you'll grow a beard when you get older. I have one. Your dad has one and so does your Uncle Justin. There are a whole lot of advantages to having a beard. You never have to shave.
My beard and Cuba
When this picture was taken beside the Atlantic Ocean earlier this year, my beard helped keep my face a little warmer during the winter winds that were blowing in late January.
Ask your dad what he likes about his beard and send your Uncle Justin an email and question him about what he likes about having hair on his face.
I grew mine when I went to Cuba a long time ago with a friend of mine for a vacation. It's a very poor country and their stores did not sell razor blades. It started there and I've had it ever since. Your mother has never seen me without it and your Grandma Thorp has seen me beardless only once or twice.
We celebrate having beards. I'm the one in the middle.
You need to know
What are some things you need to know about me before you and I set down for a cup of juice? It's important that you know about the people you came from, like your grandparents and your aunts and uncles.
What sports did I play as a kid? I didn't really play any. I tried and I wanted to but it never worked out.
I would play catch with one of the guys in the neighborhood. We would throw a baseball back and forth and occasionally a football. I tried hockey as a kid, but broke my leg on a neighborhood ice rink. It healed after several months and I did it again. I played a couple of games on my grade school basketball team. It wasn't my game.
My mother, your great grandmother
You need to know a little about my mother. She raised me as a single-mother. Her life was epic. She was a one of a kind person who never gave up even when life seemed impossible.
There are lots of lessons that you can take from her life. She had victories and she had defeat. It was her love and her commitment to me that made the difference in my life. She showed me that love is a verb where you do something. It was more than an emotion.
Your Great Grandmother Thorp was one of a kind who knew where her strength came from. She knew Jesus and that's where she got her hope.
What about my father? Now there's another story. I have only one memory of him and it wasn't pleasant. There are lots of lessons to take from his life and how he handled his responsibilities and how he loved other people, especially my mother.
Before I was two years told, he left our house and never came back. He never wrote and never called. I found him when I was in my twenties. He didn't want anything to do with me. I was devastated. It took me a long time to deal with that.
This is just a taste of who I am. Part of me is in you through your mom. You need to know about the people you came from.
My grandson and his dad working together to haul wood into their house to keep it warm during the winter.
I love looking at this picture of you and your dad working to haul wood into your house to burn this winter when it gets cold. I've watched you and your dad closely for a long time, from a couple of hours after you were born to now and I can say one thing with certainty.
Really need to remember this
He really loves you. I know that he see you as a gift from God to your mom and him. To him, you are a winner. He loves doing things for you, spending time with you, talking to you, as well as listening. Your dad has an ear-to-ear smile whenever he talks about you.
We have a grandpa and grandson talk before he goes to bed.
So, keep doing what you and he are doing everyday. Spend time together. The time you spend with him where it's just the two of you are really special. Dads are really important. You will appreciate that more and more as you get older.
There's so much you can learn from him. Ask him questions about anything. You love trucks and big machines. Ask him.
There are all kinds of sports. Ask him about them.
Your dad loves football and basketball and I know he really likes soccer.
Right after you were born, the World Cup was on the television in the birthing suite. He was kind of watching the games, but the smiles were because of you.
Your mom and your sister
I'm not forgetting your mom, my daughter. She's really important to you, as well as your sister Gretchen. Mothers really play a vital role in the life of a young guy like you. In your
This is your mom and your Uncle Justin when they were about the ages of you and Gretchen. I can't forget Pooh Bear in the middle.
mom's heart, I know there's a special place for you and it's filled with a love that can only come from a mother. She knows you are a winner.
You can learn lots from her too. You can learn about everyday stuff like how to pick out a shirt and pair of pants that match. There's so much more. This list is long, from cooking to relationships to loving God.
Those are the two key people in your life. There's one more and that's your sister. As her big brother, you've been put in a special position to love her in a way that Jesus loves you.
I can't forget the other people in your life who love you and who can go to for everything from advice on whether to buy an iPhone or Android to finding your purpose in life.
Four grandparents and others
Your family on your mom's side.
You have four grandparents in your life and they all love you with that special love that can only come from a grandparent.
I'm your mother's dad which makes me your maternal grandfather. I was there when your mom was born, as I was for your Uncle Justin. I like drinking diet Pepsi. I like Macintosh computers. I have an iPhone and an iPad Mini. I almost forget to mention that I like drinking coffee while sitting around a table talking with others.
I need to mention your aunts and uncles and your cousins. In that group, I know your Uncle Justin the best. He's my son and a super-loving guy. I'm really proud of him and how he lives his life. Your Aunt Lauren is the same way. Get to know them. Call them. Let them know what you're doing and ask about what they are doing.
Ask your mom and dad if you can FaceTime on their computer with them and with your Aunt Abby and Uncle Kevin. They have a daughter, Emma, and another who will be born this fall.
You need to know that you are special in the eyes of lots of people. You are important to all of us.
Do you or somebody in your family take eyedrops everyday for glaucoma, a disease where high eye pressure can lead to blindness?
Right now, I have three different drops that I take everyday to maintain a healthy eye pressure. My visual future depends on me taking these medications. This means that over the years I have had to learn how to instill the drops in a way that ensures their effectiveness.
It's easy to squeeze the eyedrop bottle and have them hit an eyelid or some other area where their effectiveness is diminished or lost completely. My ophthalmologhist who diagnosed me never showed me how to do it. I was handed the prescriptions and told to start using them.
That changed with a glaucoma specialist I started seeing this spring who at the first exam had me watch this video showing an easy method for doing this and for making sure that you hit the target.
I invite those who take these types of meds to watch this.
How does it compare to what you're doing now?
Have you felt confident that your drops are getting where they are supposed to go?
How will the death of the Lansing State Journal affect daily life in Michigan's Capital city?
Read this story from the Lansing City Pulse's website and you see that our city's daily paper continues a death dive that it doesn't seem able to recover from. Meanwhile, the citizens in mid-Michigan don't have an independent set of eyes and ears to keep public officials and public bodies accountable.
I'm listening for his voice as I get ready for another birthday. As a member of the first class of baby-boomers, I turn 67 years-old in a couple of weeks. As I move into this next chapter of my life, I want to make sure that I'm listening for his guidance on the rest of my life. Am I doing what he wants me to do?
As a retiree, it's easy to get distracted by a lot of interesting stuff, a lot that can be described as good. But, am I following Jesus and what he wants me to do?
My church--Ada Bible Church--emails everyday a short Bible study to extend personal thinking and talk about the previous Sunday's sermon. Today, it said:
Think of your life. Are you really interested in following Jesus? Have you held anything back from him? If you have, how well are you really following him?
Remember, following Jesus doesn't necessarily involve earthly riches or self-advancement--it may lead to suffering. We're called to place our whole lives at Christ's disposal.
Then, it linked to this YouTube video by Francis Chan on listening for the Holy Spirit. He's the author of Crazy Love and other books.
My son Justin and I were sitting in our rented car parked at the Thomas Mack Center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas eating lunch. On the way to the car, he bought a Third Day CD which we then listened to as we ate a sandwich with a view of the Luxor Hotel in front of us.
That's where I heard Mac Powell sing two songs that stuck with the recesses of my memory, "Cry out to Jesus" and "The Creed."
In an email that our church--Ada Bible Church-- sent out this morning as part of their Beyond the Weekend effort, pointed to the Cry Out to Jesus song. I clicked on the link.
I know that parts of daily life can quickly turn to mush and there seems to be no place to go. This morning's email said:
Our "cross" may involve the burden of rejection, temptation, loss, and possibly even death. Nevertheless, we can find inspiration and strength as we "fix our eyes on Jesus" (v. 2)--remembering his suffering, his faithfulness, and his promise to be with us.
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash from Grand Rapids has been a leader in the Congress on the issue of the federal government spying on ordinary, everday citizens. He says they are also reading the e-mails of everybody in this country.
Here's an idea: Why not just add the feds to my cc: list so my emails go directly to them? Why not?
It's time to let the U.S. Congress know that it has gone too far. Our federal spy network needs to rein it in. At one time, privacy was a commonly-held value that was guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Here's what Amash said today in a Tweet:
Gov't getting *content* of Americans' e-mails w/o warrant if 6+ months old. Anonymous R Senator holding up bill to stop unconstit'l policy.
My mother and me in a picture taken a long time ago.
As I get ready to turn 67 in less than a month, I keep looking over my shoulder at the past and what I've done and not done and I hear the voices trying to get my attention. Then I shift my focus to what lies ahead as I get older.
These voices get louder when I get up in the middle of the night to pee and I find myself wide-awake. Everything seems to be fair game when I'm sitting in the darkness in our living room. My thoughts go down a freeway where I can stop off just about anyplace in my past. I find myself wishing I could have a "do-over" on lots of stuff.
Then I start itemizing in my head a list of reasons to praise God. These are things specific to me and they can be big or small. But, they touched me in some way. I usually get tired by the time I get to number 50 on my list.
I keep asking myself, could I list 10,000 Reasons? How many more than 10,000 could I list?
On the top tier of my list, I'd have to list my mother who died many years ago, but had a birthday on July 29. Her name was Frieda. She was a single-mom who took on the impossible job of raising a child by herself in the forties. My mom reflected the love that she received from Jesus. I got my start from her. Life could be bumpy, but she never gave up.
She was an example for me, for my kids, my grandkids and for everybody else.
It was God who lined the two of us up together. I continue to learn from her example. She wasn't perfect, but she knew where her strength came from.
She paid it forward. I hope I can do the same with the rest of my life.