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22 posts from November 2009

My Sunday a.m. online reading

I'm using my son's wi-fi to do some Sunday morning reading while everybody else is sleeping.  Here's what's catching my attention:

  • Our Daily Bread:  Bill Crowder writes about driving by a church that called itself The Galatia Church.  It's a quizzical name given the names Biblical background.  It makes a point for anybody who feels they can please God with their own efforts.
  • Washington Post:  Story about D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and how he's lost approval among locals with his arrogant style and his moving away from a promise of inclusion and transparency.  Nevertheless, the story says he has been able to make promised changes.  
  • Detroit News:  Columnist Nolan Finley dives into the fray between the Michigan State Senate and Gov. Granholm over the state's Promise Scholarship.  He says the scholarships to high school graduates could be funded by giving state employees raises to those going to college.  Granholm wants tax increases.
  • Detroit News:  Columnist Thomas Sowell writes about how history shows that the promises being made by politicians about reforming healthcare cannot be kept.  Is this true?
  • Wild Birds Unlimited:  Great post from a local store's blog about whether birds can predict the weather.  Birds, the post says, have a middle ear receptor that can sense small changes in barometric pressure.  Amazing.  It all started on the fifth day when God created them. 

How will federal rationing make healthcare better?

I just read this story in the liberal Detroit Free Press about the healthcare bills being pushed for passage in the U.S. Congress and they say it's rationing. 

You won't be able to get healthcare when your condition says it's warranted, but you'll get it when some federal bureaucrat says it falls within a quota. 

What's better about this?  

The American people need to reclaim their brains and check back into this debate and they need to carefully weight the pros and cons of what's being discussed. 

Does anybody feel that what's being proposed is better than what we have?  Can the federal government do it better?

Does the Bible say we should give thanks for all the bad stuff that happens?

Our family Thanksgiving celebration is still happening and last night we watched a couple of episodes of Band of Brothers, the story of a World War II Army unit in Europe.  It was a dramatic depiction of what they experienced with all the ugliness of that war.

I was struck by their discovery of a concentration camp they discovered in Germany where hundreds of Jewish men were being kept.  It was searing to the soul to watch and it had to be life-changing to have been there in person. 

Where does being thankful to God come in this kind of situation?  For the Jewish captives?  For their families?  For the American solidiers who found them?

In his blog post, I think Mart DeHaan of Radio Bible Class answers this.  You don't thank God for all the meanness and nastiness that happens in your life, but you thank him for being faithful to get you through it.

But, I don't see God wanting us to thank him for all the bad stuff that can happen.  Losing your health.  Losing a child, a spouse, your home.  Being hungry.  And all the other crap that is sometimes dumped on an individual.

Why am I not dead yet?

I admit that I've struggled with the transition from the having a day job part of the world to being retired.

It has made me think more about my own mortality and it has helped me clarify what is really important in my life.  I've tried to shuck off everything in my life that I find unimportant and do with intention those things that matter to me. 

I feel that if I didn't do this then I would more than likely start losing traction in my daily life and start looking at the question posed by Michael Hyatt in his blog post, "Why You Aren't Dead Yet."  He's the CEO at Thomas Nelson Publishers and has effectively engaged blogging and other social media to develop relationships around the world.

In this post, he describes a conversation with an elderly friend who Hyatt describes as being a source of wisdom and as a "living treasure."  His friend asked him if he felt that he had anything left to contribute to the world.  Were his best days over?

How do you respond?

Hyatt then shares: " I then began to make an argument that I first learned in The Noticer by Andy Andrews. In the book, Jones, the personification of wisdom, makes six points to Willow, a seventy-six year old lady, who had given up hope that she had anything left to contribute. (see chapter 6, pp. 83–85)."

The six points he lists are:

  1. God has a purpose for every single person.
  2. You won’t die until that purpose is fulfilled.
  3. If you are still alive, then you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do.
  4. If you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do, then your very purpose hasn’t been fulfilled.
  5. If your purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life is still ahead.
  6. You have yet to make your most important contribution.

Michael Hyatt, thank you for sharing that.  As a 63-year-old baby-boomer still trying to grab onto this senior citizen thing and onto my new place in life, I find this post helpful, really helpful.  I will check out the book.  I hope others do too.

Do you or somebody you know share the same challenge?

Thoughts from my 63rd Thanksgiving

This year when I think about Thanksgiving I think about four people in my life, my family.  It's my wife, my daughter, my son, my son-in-law and my unborn grandchild.  I thank God for each one of them.

Being part of a family is the closest that I've come to true joy.  It's belonging.  It's loving.  It's being Video 22 0 00 00-01 (2) loved.  It's sharing.  It's having a purpose.  It's being part of something bigger than yourself.  It beats anything I've ever done or been a part of. 

I say, "Thank you God for the privilege of being part of this family."  I know that I'm blessed by the grace of God.  I don't deserve what I've received.  But, God gave them to me anyway.

My wife is the second woman to be a life-changer for me.  The first was my mom who was left to raise me when my father vanished in 1948 to be found in the mid 1970s still married to my mom, married to another woman and who had a whole different family.

My mom loved me unconditionally and sacrificed to see that I got what I needed.

My wife loves me unconditionally.  But more importantly, she loves Jesus Christ more than she loves me.  As a result, she reflects back to me, to our kids and to others, the pure love she feels from him.  I've experienced true partnership with a mate, something my mom never felt.

Each of our kids know His love too.  I've felt their love.  They are love reflectors too who feel the steady love of Jesus Christ.  And let me emphasize that I include my son-in-law in this category also.

I don't know what lies ahead.  But, I know that I can give thanks for everything.  I just heard Pastor Joe Stowell mention the Bible verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 about giving thanks in all circumstances.  And by the power of God, I can do that.  And, it says I should pray without ceasing.

As a member of the first-class of baby-boomers, I am learning how to pray.  It's so simple that it's hard.  I'm talking to God throughout the day. 

I am thankful.  The list would be long. 

I know what lies ahead in eternity.

I'm really thankful for that.

Here's Dr. Joe Stowell on Thanksgiving.  It's worth watching:

How long will it take Lansing (MI) City Hall to respond to water main break on our street?

UPDATE: The response from the city of Lansing to my concerns was impressive.  I write about it in my neighborhood blog, Southwest Lansing and my neighborhood.

Two houses down there has been water gushing up on a city street from a valve linked to the water main.

My neighbor called more than 12 hours ago and city workers only place a orange traffic cone over it.

In this day of scarce financial and natural resources like water, it seems like a waste where the continued leak could get worse and develop into a problem affecting the whole neighborhood.

Taking this video and writing about it on this blog and on my neighborhood blog is part of my due diligence as a resident to let city officials know that this needs attention.  What's an appropriate amount of time to wait for a response resulting in a fix to the problem?

Pooh Bear: a gift for my first grandchild

Super-wife and I were in Sam's Club and I couldn't resist this Pooh Bear for our first grandchild which our daughter and son-in-law are expecting next summer.  Super-daughter received one before she was born and after she was born, it went everywhere with her.  She still has it.

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Weight Watchers Online: I continue to lose my baby-boomer belly

I stepped on the scales this morning as part of my Weight Watchers Online program and found that I lost a pound this past week.  This takes me to just about twenty pounds down since I started at the end of July.

I started this as a member of the first-class of baby-boomers and knowing that being overweight was a big risk-factor for stuff I don't want to mess with if I can help it.

Doing this has not been hard.  I eat ordinary food, but I keep track of what I eat to stay within a number of points assigned to me for each day.  I do this online using either my computer or my iPod Touch. 

To reach my goal, I still have to lose another 20 pounds to reach the maintenance part of this which may be harder than taking it off.

I'm sharing this as an encouragement to others who face the need for weight loss and to keep myself accountable.  


Federal stimulus money creates no jobs for Michigan

Where are the jobs in Michigan that were created with the federal stimulus money that was charged to the taxpayers' credit card?

They are not there, according to a special analysis by the Detroit Free Press this morning.  Because I don't want to go to church this morning with an attitude about our elected representatives, I'll read it later.

Here's the lead of the story: 

WASHINGTON -- Seven months into the massive federal stimulus program, the vast majority of government grants, contracts and loans in Michigan so far have created or retained virtually no jobs, a Free Press analysis shows.

Taxpayers should loudly ask a whole lot of questions. 

Were they sold a pack of ideological lies that have put this country on the edge of financial banqruptcy?

Should we give Michigan back to the Indians?

Michigan belonged to the Indians at one time.  Is it time to give it back and move on?

Look at this Detroit Free Press story about a Pew study putting our state on a fast track to nowhere.  Good jobs are a thing of the past with replacement jobs lost with the auto industry not even a realistic faint hope.

The only hope for the state budget is to raise state taxes sky high which will be a strong disincentive for workers and businesses.

But most troubling is lack of political leadership.  It seems that their chief interest is to score points against the other side and to hold power. 

What's it going to take to turn this around? 

We are losing a great state with little hope of getting it back. 

Any thoughts?

Most Detroit City Council member pack guns

The city of Detroit has a new city council.  Read this Detroit Free Press column by Rochelle Riley about the number of council members who carry a concealed weapon because they feel the need.  Guns are apparently commonplace in the city and this helps confirm that.

The Motor City is part of us, the rest of Michigan and it's really important that those of us who live outside of it understand what's happening there.  Freep needs to be encouraged in their coverage of life inside the city.

One word to Ben: Super, super, super, super, super and super

I was admonished yesterday by my friend Ben for overusing the word "super" as it relates to individual members of my family.

In blog posts, I've often referred to my wife as super-wife, to my daughter as super-daughter and occasionally super-pumpkin and my son as super-son.  I don't do it all the time, but I do it often.


I'm excited about my family.  They're "super" as a group and they're "super" as individuals.  I've done some neat stuff in my life, met some outstanding people and been to some unusual places.  It would be an impressive list by most people's standards.

But, when I'm sitting back in my easy chair drinking my Biggby's Traversey City Cherry coffee, what makes me smile the most is my family.  Yes.  Yes and yes.  Especially my super-wife and my super-kids, including my super-son-in-law and my super unborn grandchild.

And, I believe in a super-God who has a super-Son too.  And, I can get excited about both in a super-sized way.  

For any of my friends who are concerned about my enthusiasm for using the word "super" as it relates to my family, I have a super-suggestion.  Metamucil.  They need to loosen up.

Will somebody be killed today for their faith in Jesus Christ?

I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are people going to church today who may be killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.  But, that apparently is the case.  Somebody will be persecuted in someway, someplace in the world for their faith. 

Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids says in their Our Daily Bread that today's the day--Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church--to lift them up in our conversations with God.  Wherever there's the potential for that kind of persecution to happen, I promise that I will pray for these Christians and I will continue to do so.

I'm expecting . . . our first grandchild!

4083272288_00b4586ce8_m Got the news yesterday: Krista, our super-daughter, is pregnant with our first grandchild.  Wow!  Super-cool.  We are excited for her and for our son-in-law Adam.

Gladys and I were vibrating with excitement after we got the news yesterday.  Super-wife was off tutoring when our pregnant daughter called and told me.  I was looking out our living room picture window when she dropped the news.  My smile had to light up our portion of our street. 

We are ready.  For me, thinking about myself as a grandfather has been a transition.  A few years ago, I never thought of myself as being old enough to be a grandparent.  Now I can see clearly that I am and I can see that I can revel in my new role.

Any advice out there for expectant grandparents? 

I thank God for my family, my wife and my kids, including Adam, my son-in-law.  Now our family gets bigger with a baby.

I've been practicing in my head what I will be saying to my friends.  "Hey, let me show you pictures of my grandchild."  It sounds pretty good.

I'm going to like this.  And to Krista and Adam.  Enjoy every minute of it.  It's a real "wow" experience to do something like this together.  Take it all in.

Here's some tips to improve your Facebook Fan Page

Our town elects a mayor tomorrow and each of the candidates and the incumbent has a Facebook Fan Page.  The two seem to have grabbed a certain number of fans an then plateaued with their pages seeming to have minimal or no effect.  Here Geoff Livington on his blog Buzz Big provides Fan Page best practices.  It's worth a read if you, your company or a cause you're involved with has a Fan Page.

What to do if you're young, single and unmarried?

Are you young, single and unmarried and wishing that the unmarried part would change?  Read these bulleted points from Perry Noble, the pastor of New Spring Church in South Carolina.  He brings this up in his Sunday evening post where he always describes what's on his mind after a day of church.  He's now preaching about being single and looking to his young congregation.