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11 posts from September 2010

Should public schools give free breakfasts to all students?

This school year, Linsday Elementary, 607 LaSalle, joined MacGregor Elementary, Washington Elementary and Wenona Center in the Bay City Public Schools district in offering free breakfast in the classroom to all students.

Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the same agency that funds free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs in all Bay County schools.


This story about Lindsay Elementary School in Bay City giving a daily free breakfast to all students caught my attention.

I grew up a short distance from the school and went to a Lutheran school right next to Lindsay's playground.

The two schools are on the westside of Bay City in a section of town called Banks because of its location on the Saginaw River.

It might be struggling economically, but it's not poor and it's not a slum.

Should it be the parents' responsibility to feed their kids before they go to school in the morning? Are the schools overstepping their proper role?

Getting my heart ready for church this morning

Do you view worship as a burdensome activity? If you do, your worship has little to do with God. You have yet to know what it means to appreciate the most helpful, patient, kind, loving, honorable, valuable, creative, imaginative, amazing, exciting, powerful, awe-inspiring Person in the universe!


It's too easy for me to buzz into church and go through the motions of worship without engaging my heart into what I'm doing.

It's early Sunday morning and I'm on the path of my routine for oatmeal, a shower and then off to church.

As I do that this morning, I want to keep the paragraph above from Radio Bible Class about worship right at the front of my thinking.

My relationship with God has got to be my number one focus. He's my only true hope.

Report shows how Michigan taxpayers are getting shaft for Hollywood film program

Michigan's film subsidies may be enhancing the state's image and producing pockets of new economic activity, but they're a net loser for taxpayers, according to a new report from the Senate Fiscal Agency.

The state treasury spent $37.5 million in subsidies in 2009 and is expected to distribute about $100 million to the makers of TV and film productions. But the estimated additional state tax revenue generated by film-related economic activity was $3.7 million in 2009 and $10.3 million in 2010, the report found.


After reading this Detroit Free Press story about how Michigan taxpayers are getting the big shaft in the wallet through a program to pay for almost half of Hollywood productions made here, I am about ready to join the tea party.

The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency in a report says the state treasury has gotten $3 million from the $137 million that the state has given to Hollywood.

Do the math? Does this make sense to you? Is it worth asking about as you talk to the candidates who enacted this in Lansing?

How can this be repealed?

Michigan residents should at least get free video rentals.

Is the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page right about gang violence?

When gang leaders go out of their way to tell the media that the latest police crackdown tactic isn't going to work, the tactic already may be working.

That was the hidden message in the rambling, poorly focused news conference that current and former gang members held recently in Chicago. The city has been associated famously with gangsters more than once, although the gangs usually don't hold news conferences.


How do you get rid of youth gangs in a city? These are young organized criminals who have bought home-grown urban terrorism to many of our towns.

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist, points to one answer from the Windy City's police superintendent who met recently with gang leaders to warn them that they were in his crosshairs where he would use federal law to go after them as racketeers.

Some have been critical of this approach. They point to the need to first deal with the factors that promote youngsters to join gangs.

With street murders in Chicago by gangs mounting, Page says it's going to take both approaches.

He emphasizes that law enforcement measures need to be pursued with vigor, however.

Anybody disagree?

Are you pulling your extra money out of certificates of deposit?

People are bailing out of bank certificates of deposit and parking their cash in checking and savings accounts that earn little or no interest but also don't have penalties for early withdrawal.


So where are you putting your extra bucks, if you have any?

Click the above link and read this Detroit Free Press story about how consumers are bailing out of certificates of deposit to put their money in their checking accounts for little or no interest.

They want their money close to them. Can you identify?

Baby-boomer alert: The rules and expectations of retirement are changing

This is the retirement ideal -- a pension bolstered by Social Security, health care coverage to fill gaps in Medicare, a home that's rising in value to augment savings and investments. It's an ideal that is quickly becoming a thing of the past.


If you're a baby-boomer, somebody born between 1946 and 1964, then read this Detroit Free Press story about how the rules of retirement have changed for you.

Younger baby-boomers, according to the story, can expect to work longer to eventually kind of, sort of retire in the future sometime.

How are those of us in the older baby-boomer category going to be affected by the changing economy?

Will our pensions, our healthcare coverage and Social Security stay steady? What are the prospects?

Letters to my two-month old grandson Xavier-#3

Dear Xavier-It's Saturday afternoon and I was wondering what you're doing right now.  I bet you're Xaviersmile watching college football with your dad.  Enjoy every minute you spend with your dad and when your words start coming talk to him, ask him questions.  He's a quality person and a key influencer in your life.

Another major person in your life is your mom, my daughter.  For much of your early life, your view of the world and everything in it will be affected by her along with your dad. 

You will be affected by what she views as important, fun, necessary, responsible, life-giving, healthy to your body and your soul and much more.  She's the product of her DNA (see letter #2) and of her environment while growing up.  She had two grandma's, your Great-grandma Thorp and your Great-grandma Frank.

Today, I would like to share about Great-grandma Thorp, my mom.  And, as your read, see if you can spot any similarities to your mother.  It's amazing to see how God passes on traits, characteristics, attitudes, mannerisms and preferences for food from one generation to another.

I will probably write many letters about my mom because her life had many pieces.  Here's a start:

  • She was born on a farm in 1909 in the Thumb of Michigan into the Charles Moll family.  She was the oldest girl of 12 brothers and sisters, six boys and six girls.  They were all born in their farmhouse. 

Continue reading "Letters to my two-month old grandson Xavier-#3" »

Letters to my two-month old grandson Xavier-#2

Dear Xavier-There's so much that you and I need to talk about that I don't know where to start.  It won't Xavierbottle be long and you will be able to talk and ask questions and give your opinion.

While we are waiting for that time to come, I would like to share some information about your extended family on your mom's side.  These are some of the people whose DNA (you can learn about what that is later) you share and who helped contribute bits and pieces to who you are.

But, first, you need to be reminded of the two most important people in your life right now, your mom and your dad.  They love you with an unconditional love that comes only from very special parents.  I know your dad pretty well, but, I know your mom really well.  She's our daughter and I'll tell you some stories about her down the line.

You also need to know that you are loved by God.  He created you specially as one of a kind.  You are His child too.

These are some of the people from my side of the family that you need to know and who we will talk more about later:

  • Great-grandma Thorp, my mom and your great grandmother:  She's a very special lady who was born and raised on a small farm in the Thumb of Michigan and who had five sisters and six brothers. Her life and that of her brothers and sisters should be a movie.  She was full of love, she was stubborn and she never gave up and she loved Jesus with all her heart.  I'll share more about her.
  • Grandma Thorp, your mom's mom and my wife:  What a lady!  Look at your mom and your Uncle Justin and you will see your Grandma Thorp.  She loves with a love that can only reflect the love that she gets from Jesus.  She's been a world-changer for me.  She and I have done a lot of living in the past 29 years.  I want to share with you what makes her special.
  • Uncle Justin, your mom's brother and our son:  He's an extraordinary guy who has a special place in his heart for you.  He's incredibly loyal and he's a person you can count on.  He and I have done lots of stuff together.  I will tell you about some of it and I bet he will too.

Continue reading "Letters to my two-month old grandson Xavier-#2" »

Letters to my two-month old grandson Xavier-#1


Meandmygson Dear Xavier--

Why would your "grandpa" write you a letter on his blog when you're just a couple of months old and can't read? 

It's simple.  When you get old enough and when you need reminders about your extended family and where you came from, I want you to be able to go to Google and be reminded.

I've learned that knowing your background and being familiar with your roots is really important as you grow older.  It gives you a sense of identity that helps you understand who you are and gives you answers for simple things like that dimple in your chin and complicated questions that come up when you least expect it.

I can only speak for one side of your family, your mom who is my daughter.  However, I've come to know your dad through many conversations, cups of coffee, a few beers and through a bunch of daily life experiences.  I saw the excitement in his eyes the day you were born and I see how much he loves you and your mom.

When you mom came last weekend to can applesauce with grandma, you and I had a chance to spend a lot of time together.  With you sitting on my lap on a favorite corner of our couch, we talked. Actually, I talked and you listened.  I gave you a bunch of bottles.  We watched a MSU football game.  Then there was a long stroller walk through our neighborhood.

It all reminded me of one important thing.  God has blessed me greatly by giving me a tremendous family.  Never forget that you were created specially by Him and never forget that He made you one of a kind. 

And because of that you are special and you are a winner. Don't ever forget that.

I miss you.  More later.

Grandpa Thorp


Spending some extended quality time with my two month-old grandson

I've only been a grandparent for a little than two months, but I can say I love this new role.  While singing in church tomorrow, I need to sing a little louder to let God know how much of a gift he has given me in bringing our grandson Xavier into our lives.

For me it's a whole new level of relationship that I never experienced because my grandparents died before I was born. 

I've had a chance to experience it again this weekend for an extended period of time when our daughter drove north from out-of-state to can applesauce with my wife.  While they worked I spent extended periods of time with my grandson. 

I gave him six bottles, held and talked to him, walked throughout the house looking out windows and talked about birds and other animals, watched MSU play Western Michigan at football today and took a long stroller ride.

Xavier has great parents and a tremendous extended family.  He is loved.  But, I'm particularly happy to be one of his grandparents.  Here are a few pictures:



Video 1 0 00 10-29




Super-wife and I are getting ready to go on a short-term mission trip to Haiti

We were so close to saying "no" when a good friend asked us to join him and others on a short-term mission trip to Haiti early this fall.  We weighed each aspect of the trip and where we thought we could fit in and we talked about the harsh realities of that country post-earthquake.

Vaccine Then after many discussions about it on our daily walks, we decided not to go.  When we walked through the door after one, we grabbed a book on the couch by John Piper entitled "Don't Waste Your Life" where on the back cover, he tells a story about a couple of younger retirees.

They lived in Florida, had a 30-foot trawler, played softball and collected shells.  Piper wrote: 

"Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment where they say 'Look, Lord.  See my shells.'  That is a tragedy."

Pretty much at that moment and in unison, we decided that we had to break loose of our comfort zone and our unanswered questions and go.  We are going.

We will be working through the Haiti Lutheran Mission Society, USA and Martin Luther Chapel in East Lansing (MI).  While in the country, we will be helping to restore an orphanage in an area called Lilavois that was damaged during the Jan. 12 earthquake.

I will be blogging about our preparations and cross-posting on the blog, The Haitian Chronicles.

We are trying to both prepare our hearts and our bodies for the trip. 

We want to be used by God to help where and how he wants us to help.  I invite comments, especially from those who have already gone.

The photo in this post is of a reminder to take the oral vaccine for thyphoid.