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14 posts from August 2011

"Thank-you God for the news I got today from my father's family"

I'm still trying to process what happened to me today when I got the email today from a member of my family on my father's side.  What's unusual about that?

As I've written on this blog in other posts, my dad vanished from our home in 1948 leaving my mom My mom and dad and me when I was just 18 months old.  He never communicated again in any way.  He disappeared period.  

The void left by his absence was huge.  My mom had to use all her survival skills to support me and her right after World War II and the culture that I grew up in labelled me as part of a minority within a minority where the dad just skips out.  My personal identity was chopped in half at a very young age.

I got small bits and pieces during the past five decades, but not much.  As a newspaper reporter, I found my dad when I was in my 20s I found him living in Florida as a wealthy man and with a whole different family.  He completely disowned me.

I was left with scant information about my dad and with no template to pattern myself after as I grew as a man.

Well, life happened after that and it wasn't alway pretty, but I learned and I found my way through the maze of challenges.  But I was still in the dark about my dad's family.

Then today, I got an email from a nephew, a half-nephew, whose mom was my half sister who I never met.  He had been on a life long search for information about his grandfather.  The details he sought were elusive until he plugged my dad's name--Claude H. Thorp--into Google and found this blog post that I wrote on Father's Day this year.  That happened today.

He emailed me and invited me to call back.  Within minutes, I called him and "wow."  There are real people on my dad's side who seem like just regular folks.  

I still trying to sort through what this means.  There's lots of emotion, lots of history and there's still that little boy part of me trying to learn more about his dad.

I know I'm not alone.  There are many others who have lost contact or who have never had contact with loved ones, especially fathers and mothers.  I'm going to be 65 in a couple of days.  But the desire to learn about the other half of me never left.  

I'll never have an earthly father who will say, "Hey Wes, you're a neat guy.  I'm really proud of you."

But as I connect with close family I never knew, I have a feeling that I'll learn more and that I'll see my family grow.  I had two brothers and a sister.  They have passed away.  But I look forward to getting to know their children.

Only God knows where this is going.  But, I thank him for today and for the contact with people I never knew existed.

God is faithful.  I've prayed for more info since I was a little kid.  Today he said, "Okay" and I was given a special gift.  I'm grateful.

Super-son quoted in Associated Press story about Washington, D.C. earthquake

I was sitting in front of my computer in a McDonalds in Dewitt just north of Lansing when I saw the news breaking about the Washington, D.C. earthquake.  I looked for my son on "I-M" to hear how he was affected at his office near the White House.  I got no response and then found his wife on chat where she talked about the shaking and the precautions she was taking.

There were no injuries and visible damage was minimal, but the shaking was memorable for midwesterners not used to earthquakes.

My son Just was quoted in an Associated Press story about how he got home that day and how he navigated through the hundreds of thousands trying to leave the downtown area.  Here's the top of the quote and click here for the rest of the story.


LINKS: Michigan Court of Appeals ruling on medical marijuana

What's the status of medical marijuana in Michigan after the State Court of Appeals rulig and subsequent statements by state Attorney General Bill Schuette?  Here are links about the latest that I'm reading through:

  1. Michigan Court of Appeals:  Here's the opinion from the court that changed the business landscape for medical marijuana in the state.
  2. Detroit Free Press:  Here's their story about what the court did and it's implications for medical marijuana shops and patient caregivers.
  3. Jackson Citizen Patriot:  Here's another good summary story about the changes in this whole issue.
  4.  Columnist Peter Luke writes about state Attorney General Bill Schuette's greenlight to local prosecutors to close down medical marijuana dispensaries.

Do you have the right to record video of a political townhall?

Check this story and the video of a public citizen townhall held by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio. Citizens were using their cellphones and small video cameras to record the congressman's presentation. And then the Cincinatti police swooped in and confiscated the phones/cameras.  What do you think? Can they do this?  Were any rights violated?

Has this happened here in Michigan?  Anybody have details?  What was the outcome?

Click here for the UPI story about what happened.

What about Michigan limiting cash welfare payments to four years?

Statewide, 11,188 adults and 29,707 children will lose their benefits in just over five weeks. By September 2012, there will be 13,789 families to drop off the rolls, said Sheryl Thompson, acting deputy director of field operations for the Department of Human Services.


What will Michigan's 4-year-limit on cash welfare limits mean for those who receive them and will be dropped?

Did the committees in the Michigan Legislature just take testimony from the professional advocates for the poor who make handsome salaries or did they actually hear from those affected?

Did any of the news media write stories or do profiles of those affected?

There's a whole community of professional advocates for the poor in Lansing whose sole job is to perpetuate programs for the poor. Does their getting a big paycheck to do this affect their credibility on this issue?

Online registration and payment of fees at Michigan public schools

A growing number of Metro Detroit school districts are accepting online payment for activities, supplies and equipment — and asking parents to get out their credit card before school even starts.


In the Detroit-area more public schools are institution online registration and up front payment of fees for all kinds of things from gym clothes to fees for working on the school newspaper.

Does anybody know of outstate school districts using this method?

How many Michigan businesses will continue offering employe health insurance?

Nearly one of every 10 midsize or big employers around the country expect to stop offering health coverage to workers once federal insurance exchanges start in 2014, according to a new survey from a large benefits consultant.


The future of employer-provided health insurance is in doubt, according to the above quoted Detroit News story in today's paper.

With the new federal healthcare reform, employers, the story says, will push their employees over to federal insurance exchanges where they can purchase insurance and have it government subsidized if their income levels meet set criterial.

What will this mean for Michigan? Does this make the economic hill the state is climbing more steep? Will it result in more people not having healthcare coverage?

What percentage of your city's police department actually goes out and patrols the streets?

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Detroit?  Crime?  That's probably the answer for a lot of people, including the one's who live there.

Check out this Detroit Free Press column by Stephen Henderson this morning about how only half of Detroit's cops are actually on patrol duty and then what half of those folks do?

Does that raise questions about your city and what percentage of your cops are actually on the streets and in the neighborhoods?  It should.  Who would have the answers?  City council members might be a good start.

Getting ready for church on this Sunday morning late in August

image from

The above picture was taken by my son Justin Thorp.  It has to be in front of a tavern.  Right?

I'm waiting in line to use the shower in our busy little household as we get ready to go to church.  It's a perfect time for me to get my head and heart in a right place where I am ready to meet God and fill up my internal hope tank for another week.  I find it too easy to breeze into church, get a cup of coffee, sit down and let it happen.

I know that I need to position myself to be open to God and his love.  I have to be ready to receive it.  Here's a couple of the things I've been reading to help me with that this morning:

  • Oswald Chambers from his devotional book My Utmost for His Highest writes about being Christ aware, rather than self-aware.  I find it too easy to focus on circumstance of the present whether in politics or in the culture before I focus and be more aware of Jesus Christ and who he is, what he has done and continues to do.
  • From the Twitter and Facebook feed of David Maier, president of the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod who sent this tweet this morning:


Maier shares a serious and very important point.  I need to live more intentionally, particularly as I more firmly enter my senior citizen years.  The clock is running on my life and I need to make each moment count.  It' easy to get distracted.

It's my turn in the shower and then off to church.


Baby-boomers: Counting down to birthday number 65 in two weeks

I offficially cross-over to being a senior citizen in two weeks--August 31--when I turn 65.  I've been getting the discounts at restaurants and theaters for the past couple of years, but with a Medicare card in my pocket, I will be a real deal senior.

During the past couple of years, I've been doing what Jane Fonda describes in her new book as a life review.  I first heard her description of this process in an interview she had with Diane Rehm on her radio show.

So what have I found and how will that affect this new and important chapter of my life?

It's time for me to engage this issue in this blog.


How will doctor shortage in Michigan affect baby-boomers and everybody else?

Michigan faces a shortage of 4,000 doctors by 2020 in nearly all specialties, said Dr. Ananias Diokno, chief medical officer at Beaumont, based in Royal Oak.


I caught the above paragraph about the growing doctor shortage in Michigan where in less than 10 years there will be a shortage of 4,000 physicians.

What wil this mean for baby-boomers in our state with many at that time being in their mid-70s? Where will the shortage exist? All over the state? Just rural areas?

How will it affect young families and others?

I hope somebody in Lansing is thinking about this.

Sermon today: My notes about "demon man" from Mark 5:1-20 and God's mercy

What should you get out of reading the story of the demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-20 who slept in caverns with dead people and who demonstrated his condition by screaming crazily and by cutting himself?

This was the text of the sermon today at Ada Bible Church where we attend and it's part of a summer series entitled Simply Jesus which digs into many of the things Jesus said and did and to apply what we learn to our everyday life.

2011-08-07_20-50-04 I've either heard or read this story of this man that Jesus encountered after sailing with his disciples from Capernaum across the Sea of Galilee to the area of the Gerasenes.  They were met by this mad man.  Even though I've been exposed to this story all my adult life, I have never had it applied to my everyday, mid-Michigan life.  

I guess my focus was on the wrong person, the demon-possessed man and not on the mercy of Jesus. The man ran to Jesus and knelt down.  The demons inside the man resisted but Jesus was more powerful and restored this man to sanity and clear-thinking.  

The story is about the power and holiness of Jesus and his mercy in the life of this man and his mercy in my everyday life.  Do I have a "mercy story" in my life?  Have I tapped into his mercy as the sands of my life pass through the hour glass?

Yes and yes.  I've been thinking about this story and its relevance to me all day.  This story is assurance that if I receive what God is offering me then I will be okay regardless of what happens.  

What else?  I'm going to follow the Beyond the Weekend exercises in the church bulletin for today's sermon and I want to meditate on it much more.  His mercy is what gives me true hope and I don't want to take my focus off that.

Today in church: An Encounter With Holiness--Mark 5:1-20

Just before I head to the shower, I checked the text for the sermon in church today and it's Mark 5:1-20 about Jesus' encounter with a demon-possessed man.  I'm anxious to see how Pastor Jeff Manion of Ada Bible Church ties this story into everyday Michigan life.  I'm in the market for some hope that can be grabbed onto easily.  I'm asking God to clear out obstacles in my heart that would keep me from hearing his Word and seeing his grace.