We were sitting in Ron Anderson's living room in Destin, Florida and when we started talking, I knew I needed to get my Flip video camera. As a very young man, he was one of thousands of American in the South Pacific during World War II.
He was a small, but very important piece of the war effort. His job was to keep radio transmitters going on the several islands he was on. He did this right until the time that he went to Japan right after the atomic bombs were dropped.
My book reading has been tailing off over the past several years from what it used to be. I admit that as a 62-year-old baby boomer who has typically read a lot from books to magazines.
But, I've found it more difficult to read books for a variety of reasons. I like watching certain television programs at night and when they are over I'm generally tired and during the day, it's not always easy to pull out a book because of distractions. And my eyesight is not what it used to be.
So, when my son Justin got his Kindle 2 and I had a chance to use it, I decided to take the plunge. I've had it for a week and I've run it through it's paces. I've used it while waiting in the dentist's chair, while waiting for a long train to pass and in bed with my head firmly on one pillow trying to see if reading would make me feel drowsy tired.
Then when my wife and I decided to take a couple hour lunch at a state park on a lake, I took it with me.
A first conclusion: It's a conversation starter and a meeting stopper. In the dentist's waiting room, patients who typically have a look like they're waiting for their execution, excitedly asked me about who my Kindle worked and whether I liked it. A meeting where I participated got started a half hour late because everybody wanted to see it and had many questions.
The test was yesterday's lunch at the Sleepy Hollow State Park about a half hour northeast of Lansing, MI. We ate lunch on a picnic table in the sun with the wind blowing. It worked like a charm. I could see the page perfectly. I read 10 pages of my book and then I tried the audio where the Kindle reads the content to you. Perfect. My wife who was down by the lake shore could hear it.
And then I tried to download a book sample. The 3G inside the Kindle locked right into a signal and within a minute I had the content.
I will continue sharing as I use it. I'll also share my growing reading list where I'm starting to check off items that I've read.
Our neighbors got together last night for a meeting of the Averill Woods (Lansing, MI) Neighborhood Association to listen and share about mutual concerns, problems and future projects. I will be unpacking the details shortly and will put them on my neighborhood blog, Southwest Lansing (MI) and my neighborhood. But, in the meantime, here's a picture from the meeting held at Averill School.
My friend David Porter of Scottsdale and Boomer In The Pew is waiting on God for an answer and he's hearing little back. He's on a major life journey and looking for direction.
Can you identify with him? Perhaps you're looking for a job, healthcare, peace in your marriage or for a wayward child to come back.
His pastor pointed him to Andrew Murray's Waiting on God. He will be blogging about his reading and what he's learning everyday. I know he'd love it if you follow him and leave your thoughts on his blog.
I really wanted to hear and record what my Uncle Ron Anderson had to say about his World War II experience when he served in various spots on hotspots in the South Pacific, including New Guinea, Luzon and Cebu in the Philippines and Kyoto, Japan.
Super-wife and I were visting him and my Aunt Aileen at their winter home in Florida where I whipped out my Flip video camera when he started talking about his war experience. When my camera malfunctioned and I couldn't make it do anything, we tried again with the camera on my iBook where the sound was low and the visual quality was poor.
Then I was able to download the video of my talk with him. It's a lot better. The story is fascinating and shows how he as a 20-year-old contributed to the war effort.
Leave a comment and let me and him know what you think of part #1. I will upload part #2 in the next couple of days. I'm going to submit it to the Library of Congress Voice of Veterans Project.
I could tell that David Maier was answering my question based on very real and personal experience and faith. At a nearby Biggby's coffeeshop on South Waverly Road in Lansing, I turned on my Flip video camera and asked him, "What does Jesus mean to him?"
It was near the end of the day and it was a day after he got test results back that he was clear from the cancer he had had, he answered without hesitation. I invite you to visit his blog, Pastor David Maier-Fighting Forward, to read about his life and his faith. Living in Michigan right now can suck the hope right out of you. His blog points you to steps to keep that from happening.
Meet the expected new bishop for the Episcopal church in northern Michigan, the Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester, who according to the Associated Press has a non-biblical view about personal salvation.
The Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester denies that Satan exists, doesn't believe God sent Jesus Christ to die for the world's sins and teaches that many paths lead to spiritual salvation.
If he doesn't believe in the basics of Christianity, I wonder where he gets his hope for the present and the future. I feel sorry for the churches that he will be over. They will be cheated from the message of John 3:16.
Read this Detroit Free Press story about how the city of Detroit continues it's downward spiral into inhabitability with the thousands of street lights that don't work. Residents complain and get no action.
Instead of ignoring the city of Detroit, the Michigan Legislature needs to take its problems seriously. Republicans need to have an urban policy that places the concerns of the city high on its list.
What are the answers?
I don't know, but we all have to pull together to stop the slide of the Motor City.
I find myself waking up more in the middle of the night and quite often find myself waking up earlier. This happens despite the fact that as a member of the first class of baby-boomers, I'm retired and have the ability to sleep longer than five a.m.
Can any of you retired baby-boomers identify with these changing sleep patterns?
For me, I think I know the reason. Let me explain:
I think God wants me to pray more. My role as a father of adult children has changed, but their need for my prayers has not. For example, my son is traveling this morning to San Francisco for work and my daughter and her husband are leaving today for a weekend ministry trip.
I need to spend more time alone with God. How do I do this? For me this happens in a variety of ways.
To pry my thoughts loose and get my brain going, I use several devotional tools, including Our Daily Bread from Radio Bible Class. I have both the dead tree and online version.
Today's devotion is about a bus driver and how he was affected by a group of Christian kids who showed love to him and to each other. It's based on 1 John 4:7-12. This affects me today right where I'm at. I pray for help to reflect back the love I've been shown.
Another devotion I use is from Pastor Greg Laurie, a guy who I was introduced to at Promise Keepers several years ago. I find myself being able to relate to him and how he thinks. Today, he writes about how we should back away from bragging about how we love God, but, rather point to how much he loves us. Check the Bible verses he uses to support what he writes.
And I can't forget to thank God for everything he has given me. The list is long.
Here's what I'm seeing of our world today online from my couch in Lansing, MI :
CBS News reports: "An astonishing 43.4 percent of Americans now pay zero or negative federal income taxes." Does this mean that a high percentage of people make too little to pay federal income taxes? (HT-Raging Bull-Detroit News) 7:56 a.m.
Is Ford starting to make a comeback with its new mid-size Fusion? Detroit Free Press says the reworked model is an Accord and Camry beater with all the changes in the new model. Remember that Ford didn't take any fed money. Does that mean anything? 8:02 a.m.
Former MI Gov. John Engler says a decade has been lost in our state with Gov. Granholm. He says there's no way a Democrat can win the governor's job next year,according to the Detroit Free Press. Anybody agree? 8:07 a.m.
Fiat might be waiting for Chrysler to go bankrupt and then buy off pieces of the company that it wants, according to the Detroit Free Press. Remember, the feds have said that the company must partner with the Italian car company to continue receiving bailout money. Would the situation have been better if the feds had not gotten involved? 8:17 a.m.
Wayne County busts a bunch of hookers and johns who were doing business through Craigslist, says the Detroit Free Press. Isn't Craigslist violating some sort of law with its erotic services ads? 8:23 a.m.
A Greenville, MI man lost his bid to become the national champion Monopoly player,according to the Grand Rapids Press. Story has no details about how he played his game. Any competitive Monopoly players out there? 8:27 a.m.
This Grand Rapids Press story describes implementation of the state's new medical marijuana law by talking to law enforcement and to advocates. It also provides details about what the law allows. The story is from April 4, the date of the story. 8:37 a.m.
Here are just a few quick photo memories of our test snowbird trip to Florida where we traveled from our home to Destin, Florida where my aunt and uncle invited us to stay with them for a few days. On the way back, we are celebrating Easter with our kids.
It's Easter morning and super-wife and I are in Indianapolis at our daughter and our son-in-law's house with our son who flew in from Washington D.C. for our extended family weekend.
Gladys and I are on the last leg of a trip that took us to Destin, Florida in the Panhandle and then back up north.
We know that lots of people are looking for real hope during this time when jobs by the thousands have been lost with little hope of finding a new one. People are struggling to put food on the table and to pay for necessary healthcare. In Michigan, the gloom is so thick that you can almost cut it with a knife.
Where can you go to find a real and a lasting way to cut through it to the other side?
Look online at the news sites and you will be disappointed.
Politicians and other leaders will disappoint. I've found this from my own experience which had ultimately made me more cynical.
What or who can give you a real heart hope?
Here are links taking you on the journey where it is found:
My friend David Porterin his blog Boomer In The Pew shares a link to the new video from Radio Bible Class retracing the steps of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem that led to the first Easter and his resurrection. This is a clear and powerful explanation of the events and reasons for the hope being offered right now.
In this devotion from Our Daily Bread, check how it recognizes everything people have lost and lost big because of what's happening in the world because of sin. What happened on the first Easter trumps all the bad stuff. It's beaten and it gives you the power to overcome in your own life.
Here Billy Graham and his son Franklin describe clearly and powerfully about why today's celebration is so important and how what happened on the first Easter gives real hope to everybody regardless of their situation or where they live.
In the next couple of days as we move towards Easter Sunday, many will be talking about what Jesus Christ did and how he came to earth as the Son of God, took abuse, was killed and then came back to life.
So what does it mean to me?
One word: Hope for now and hope for the future.
I know sin and I know what it has done in my life and in the lives of others. For help, I've looked to myself and I've looked to others. Doing that I've found nothing but disappointment.
With what happened on that first Easter I find hope. I need to be reminded of that hope everyday.
We are returning from a visit to my aunt and uncle, Aileen and Ron Anderson, at their home in Florida where I had a chance to ask about their life experiences, including my uncle's experience in the South Pacific during World War 2. This is Part #2 of that conversation where he talks about what he did while in Cebu in the Philippines and Kyoto, Japan after the atomic bomb was dropped, but before the end of the war.
It seems like almost every generation has its own war. My Uncle Ron Anderson's was World War 2 where he served in the South Pacific. He's now 86 and he looks back at a time when he was in his early 20s with a wife, my Aunt Aileen, 19-years-old waiting for him back in the states.
His job in the Army Signal Corps took him to three places, New Guineau, the Philipines and Japan just after the bomb was dropped. His main responsibility was to maintain radio transmitters used to relay coded messages to and from U.S. Army commands throughout the region.
This is part #1 of a video taken with my iBook's webcam:
As a child my aunts and uncles would frequently get-together and play cards. My memories about them playing "smear" and usually said as "schmeer" go back 50 years. The game never interested me until this week.
I'm pretty new to playing cards having played a real card game for the first time on our honeymoon in southern Mexico almost 28 years ago. The game that my then new wife taught me was canasta. I enjoyed it.
This week while visiting my Aunt Aileen and Uncle Ron in Florida I was reintroduced to their love of card games and found myself playing "schmeer". Usually my palms would sweat and my heart would skip a beat when I was involved in a game involving bidding and that sort of thing.
Let it be known that I really enjoyed it. My uncle and my aunt and my wife were very patient in teaching me.
I thank God for my mother's family. They are real people who have a really amazing story. And I'll try and share more about that later. Their picture across the card table:
Anybody over 50 who lives in Michigan knows that lots of state residents make the trip to Florida every year during the winter and stay for awhile.
How about super-wife and I? Are we ready to graduate to being snow birds as they are called in Michigan?
We have been in Florida since Saturday visiting with my aunt and uncle who stay here in their own home from the late fall to early spring each year.
Perhaps we will give snow birding a shorter trial attempt next winter. It does have appeal. There's a cleansing and curative quality to walking and sitting on the beach of the Gulf. Most everybody we've run into has had some connect to Michigan and they seem plenty friendly.
I've collected plenty of literature about places to stay and things to do.
When's the right time to start thinking about spending time in Florida during the winter?
Are there many babyboomers who have made this part of their annual routine?
At least the voters in this Florida county know about their former sheriff and how he handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to key employes and then have them kick back a portion of that bonus to him.
Read this story from the Northwest Florida Daily News about how the former Okaloosa County Sheriff handed out $1.35 million in performance bonuses and all the other side issues involving the perks he gave himself and his key personnel. As taxpayers, everybody should feel outraged.
But the key thing and let me repeat that, the key thing is that the light of this newspaper shined brightly on what appears to be blatant corruption.