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30 posts from April 2005

Live-blogging from Beaners on South Cedar

It's a beautiful end-of-April day and I'm blogging from Beaners on South Cedar in Lansing, MI, where they have a great wi-fi set-up.  It's incredibly easy to use and a great way and place to whip out the laptop and blog a little. 

Beaners is a local coffee shop that has grown into a major chain with franchises around the country.  I love their coffee, but may have to switch to decaf one of these days out of recognition of age, mine.  For lunch, I'm going to Kewpees downtown to meet with guys from Olivet Baptist Church about the July Promise Keepers event at the Breslin in East Lansing.

UPDATE #4-Senior citizen in-training

Now that I can see sixty someplace on the horizon, I'm paying more attention to health issues.  I probably should have done that before, but, hey, I'm doing it now.  Here's a biggie that I learned the hard way:

  • THIS IS IMPORTANT: Floss and floss often. I came to flossing late in life, but I learned what no flossing can mean.  That's why I have Mr. Partial in my mouth.  There's a cool little invention that made a world of difference for me.  It's a frame where the floss can be stretched and then easily used.  Flossing can prevent gum inflamation which can trigger all kinds of nasties like a heart attack. 

UPDATE #3--Senior citizen in-training

One more point about being pretty darn close to sixty and something that real seniors need to keep in mind:

  • DON'T DO IT--President Bush has proposed some major changes to Social Security.  AARP, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the labor unions are all over this issue.  I encourage you to not have a knee-jerk reaction to either side.  Get the facts best you can before forming an opinion.  More on this later.

UPDATE #2--Senior citizen in-training

Another item about getting older and that's older not old:

  • GET READY--Arthritis is something that my mom had when she was old(er).  I never really appreciated what that meant.  I DO NOW.  I feel it in my right ankle and my left knee.  Two remedies, so far:  Extra Strength Cold & Hot from Meijers and magnets from Nikken.  The magnets help, but I'm not sure if it's a placebo effect.
  • However, my son, Justin, and I want to audition for the reality show, the Amazing Race.  If a producer for the show is reading this, I will be ready and so will he.  We would make great television.  We'd have fun and we would be contenders.

Starved For Affection by Dr. Randy Carlson, the reason

A few friends have asked me about why I've posted Dr. Randy Carlson's book: Starved For Affection, as my book to promote as part of being an Amazon Associate or affiliate.

Let me emphasize that I don't feel starved for affection.  No way!  I get plenty of it from my wife, my kids and an affectionate Beagle named Snoopy.

Lots of people feel disconnected from their spouse.  The affection sparks are just not visible.  What's happening and how can it be remedied?  Dr. Carlson has a great way of pulling these issues apart and then putting them back together to help the reader understand in a way that can apply to their life.  It's worth checking out.

And, yes, if you buy it by clicking on the book logo on my blog, I will get a small commission.

UPDATE #1--Senior citizen in-training

Friends and acquaintances have asked me about my retirment as a staffer from the Michigan House of Representatives.  It's been four months and I've decided to post my observations in a series of posts:

  • IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC--I'm listening to the words of songs more.  For example, my son, Justin introduced me to a Christian singer--Derek Webb.  I really appreciate this guy's music and his heart.  In his blog, Justin wrote about Webb's song--Medication which can be downloaded on iTunes.  That really says it.  I have been listening to all types of music, including the Dave Matthews Band, Eric Clapton and others.
  • IMPORTANCE OF FOCUS--I am finding that I need to have what I want to do in an upcoming day more in focus.  As a legislative staffer and before that as a reporter, I relied on the random happenings of a day.  A paper day planner doesn't work as well for me now, as does my Dell Axim which is synched to the Microsoft Outlook on my Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop.
  • IMPORTANCE OF FOCUS AGAIN--A verse from the Bible that keeps popping into my head and my heart is John 3:16. At first, I thought I was just being nostalgic because I remember reciting it at a Christmas program as a child at Mount Olive Lutheran School in Bay City, MI  But, I know that it's a potent reminder of my purpose in life and why I was created.

John Piper's needs help

I first heard about preacher-author John Piper through a book given out by East Lansing Trinity Church at the showing of the Mel Gibson movie, the Passion of the Christ.  It was 50 reasons why Jesus Christ had to die on the cross.

Since then I've been a regular visitor to his website.  It's filled with valuable resources for anybody searching to start or expand a walk and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Apparently, the webiste and his ministry is running way behind.  They need some help.  I think I may send what I can.

Buying Business Week blog cover at Lansing's Barnes and Noble

Today after church, my wife and I ate lunch at the Panera Bread at the Lansing (MI) Mall, a usual post-church stop for their u-pick two of soup and/or a half salad and then on to Barnes and Noble for a look at what's new on the shelves.

That's when I put out five bucks--actually $4.95--for a copy of this past week's Business Week with the cover story package about blogs. I'm anxious to read it.  Are they fads or are they here to stay, a new communication channel?

Continue reading "Buying Business Week blog cover at Lansing's Barnes and Noble" »

Bernero and Benavides will decide whether Lansing becomes a Flint

The Lansing State Journal's lead story today is about the anticipated race between Mayor Tony Benavides and State Sen. Virg Bernero for the rights to lead this capital city.  The reporter who wrote the story anticipates a campaign that will reach new levels of dirt.

The city of Lansing, MI is at a pivotal point.  It's at a fork in the road.  It will either enter a social and economic funk that it will never get out of or it will correct its course and get back on the path of municipal health.

Michigan's capital city is looking at the possibility of becoming another Flint, a once proud city that keeps descending to the point where hope is something that people there only read about.

Continue reading "Bernero and Benavides will decide whether Lansing becomes a Flint" »

The Morning After Getting Out of Prison

By Ken Alexander
Daily Grit Guest Blogger

February 16, 1988. Wes and I were in prison last night. I shared my story with a group of guys in the Michigan Reformatory chapel....some of them, I had done time with a number of years ago. The thing that surprised me the most was the renewal of hope for some of them after they heard my story.

Continue reading "The Morning After Getting Out of Prison" »

I'm not going back to prison

For more than a decade-and-a-half, I have been in and out of prisons throughout Michigan.

I've spent more time behind bars than I care to think about.  I've been in the highest security institutions, as well as the lowest.  And, it was all because of a friend of mine, Ken Alexander.  He roped me into a lifestyle where I became all too familiar with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Being "inside" changed my life.  That's where I saw Jesus, face-to-face and where my heart was worked on in a major way.

But . . .

Continue reading "I'm not going back to prison" »

I forgot about our wedding verse

Before we got married, my wife and I spent some time picking out a wedding text, a verse or verses from the Bible that had special meaning for us.  We had some serious discussion about this.  We went through every verse we memorized, through those special verses from Christmas program and even our Confirmation verses.

We settled on two verses from Romans 1 which summarized our relationship and we hoped our soon-to-be marriage.  It was verses 11 and 12 where Paul tells the Roman believers that he was looking forward to visiting with them and being an encouragement to their faith, but then he added something else.  Their faith would be an encouragement to him. 

The pastor who married us, Rev. Leslie Tyvela of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City, MI, preached  our wedding sermon on those two verses.  It was really special.  I still remember it.

And my wife of almost 24 years has always been an encouragement to my faith in Jesus Christ.  I've been up and I've been down.  She's encouraged me.  I've been fired from more jobs than many people hold in a lifetime.  She never blinked in her encouragement.  I could go on and on.

You don't see this attitude of encouragement in church that often, at least, not among the guys.  That's too bad.  We are missing out on something that could make a real difference in people's lives.

I pray that I can be that encouragement to my wife and others.

Lutheran school teachers in Indy-final thoughts

INDIANAPOLIS--It's Saturday morning and the final day of the Lutheran Education Association (LEA) national teachers convention which is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).  Here are some final thoughts and observations:

  • Looking at the individual teachers, I wonder what stories they could tell about struggles they've faced in the classroom with students and in the church.   What about the victories that come from only one source, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Too bad each teacher doesn't have a personal blog.  I think we would really see the hand of God involved in each of their lives. 
  • Most of the teachers attending this national get-to-together look like they will be aging out of the system either soon or in the not-to-distant future. They're baby-boomers.  This raises the question about the future of Lutheran schools.  Will they be forced to go to contract teachers, rather than called teachers. 

Continue reading "Lutheran school teachers in Indy-final thoughts" »

Lutheran Education Association Notebook

INDIANAPOLIS--Day two of the LEA conference for LCMS school teachers from around the country has just ended and here are some odds and ends:

  • Female Lutheran teachers must all shop at Christopher Banks.  There's a look and they walk around with the shopping bags.
  • Yesterday at a mass worship services, almost five thousand teachers sang "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know", one of my favorite songs period.  I have a story to go with that.  Maybe, I'll share it sometime.

Worship leader the Rev. Victor Belton is African American.  I didn't see any African American teachers.  None.  I wonder what that says about LCMS being multi-racial.  They aren't?  Is that important?  Should it be?

Continue reading "Lutheran Education Association Notebook" »

Michigan could become wasteland, according to studies

Tom Walsh, business writer for the Detroit Free Press, has a story about two important studies that should make every Michigan official, both local, state and even the federal ones, stand up and take notice. Our state's economy is in deep trouble.

Every voter in the state needs to read this story and ask their public officials what they're going to do.  Both parties are so busy grabbing for power that they've lost the ability to work on a problem that affects everyone of us.

Political fingerpointing can be fun, but it's not productive and, in this case, can be destructive.

Read this before your nest empties

I picked up a bookmark from Usborne Book at the LEA confab with these words:

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.

Continue reading "Read this before your nest empties" »