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26 posts from October 2012

Summer weather in October in mid-Michigan hits our backyard

It was cut your grass one last time yesterday here in mid-Michigan.  The temperature reached 76 and the backyard needed one last cut.  What's next weather-wise for us?  Does the summer-like weather mean that we will really get slammed with cold and snow soon?

Cutting grass during the last week of October
The weather was perfect here in mid-Michigan yesterday as we cut grass one last time in late October.

Cleaning out the flower beds.
Super-wife cleaned out the flower beds in the backyard yesterday. She took advantage of the great weather.


We are drinking "Velvet Devil" Merlot for Game One of the World Series

Watching the World Series tonight with the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants?  What are you drinking.  We are going with a good baby-boomer red wine, "The Velvet Devil."  Scientific literature says red wine is good for heart health.  So, it's healthy.

What are you drinking?  Any micro-brews?


Gas is $3.20 per gallon this morning at this Admiral Station on South Waverly

We walked by this gas station on South Waverly Road and West Holmes Road about 9:30 a.m., today and saw the price at $3.20 per gallon.  I don't recall the last time I saw it this low.  Do you remember?  There was not a line at the pumps.  What's causing the change?  This is a picture I took with my iPhone.


Gas prices
Check the price of gas on the sign at this station this morning on South Waverly and West Holmes.

Baby-boomers: Did you watch the third debate between Obama and Romney?

Super-wife and I just finished watching the third presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney.  I still hold the opinion after watching the last one in the series that there's not much difference between the two.  

I need to hear more.  I'm looking for some serious discussion, but I'm not sure it's findable.  

What do you think?

Third debate
We made it through all three debates. We should get a tax break for the stamina.


Third debate
During the debate, "super-wife" tries to put together the pieces of the debate and a jigsaw puzzle.

Looking at our weekend world through the lens of my iPhone camera

Gladys at Sam's Club
Yesterday, we stopped at the Sam's Club in the Eastwood Towne Center where Gladys took a quick look at outfits for our almost born granddaughter. This is what she ended up with.

Sizzling Kabobs in East Lansing, Michigan.
For lunch yesterday, we used Groupon to get a great deal at Somalian restaurant on Grand River near MSU. It's called Sizzling Kabob. Not fancy, but the food was worth the trip out.

Trees in our neighborhood are holding their color.
We get our own color tour on our daily neighborhood walk. How long before snow and ice?
Closer look at outfit for our granddaughter.
"Stella" will be styling in Bosnia wit this outfit. We are waiting for the call that our granddaughter has made her arrival.

Learning about Curious George over Face Time from my two-year-old grandson in Bosnia

It's hard to believe that one small app from the Apple App Store could bring such great joy to two baby-boomer grandparents in mid-Michigans who have a grandson in Bosnia and living on the edge of the Alps.

Using the app is simple and almost instant as we saw our two-year-old grandson showing off a fresh buzz cut.  He was able to pick up his Curious George book and point to his favorit pages and we could see and interact.  It was great.  It works.  Here's a pic from our conversation.


Apple's Face Time is a real gift to baby-boomer grandparents 

This is what I have to keep in mind after last night's debate

I can't believe that we watched the whole vice-presidential debate last night.  After a few minutes, I felt my partisan blood stirring.  It would be easy to get indignant at some of the things said and how they were said.

How much is one candidate or one political party going to change things in this country?  The answer I found was on the website.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know this.  You can "Fact Check" it and the answer will remain the same.  This is what it said:

Lasting change
You can fact check this and the answer is still the same.


Voters need to read "On Bullshit" by Harry Frankfurt before the next presidential debate

There's a whole level of political rhetoric that has been mis-identified by the establishment, including politics, journalists and voters.  It's "bullshit."  How do we put what candidates say through a bullshit sifter.  Professor Frankfurt sheds some light on that.  I will be re-reading it in next few days.

This book was a gift from my son Justin.

I'm unimpressed by Vice-President Joe Biden during the debate

We are watching the debate right now between Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Biden is constantly smirking and sarcastic.  He doesn't want to debate.  He comes across as a partisan thug and that's it.  I'm not impressed.  He shows no respect to his opponent.  

It 's still happening.  How can people pull aorund a common vision and move forward? Doesn't seem like it will happen tonight.

We are watching with an ache in our stomachs.

Get ready pull out a five-dollar bill for a copy of a skinned-down version of Time magazine

I've ready Time magazine for a good chunk of my life.  I got it when I was in high school, college, in journalism school at Michigan State University and as a full-fledged adult.  I let my subscription lapse in September because of the cost and the reduced size of the magazine.

But, then I saw this cover story about the Fact Wars in the U.S. Presidential campaign.  Each side is throwing out reams of numbers.  How do you decide what's the truth.  I wanted to what the Time cover story said about both sides.  

Then I went to Barnes & Noble in the Lansing Mall today and found this copy of that Time.  First, the issue was really thin, really, really thin and second the price was $4.99.  Pretty stiff.  I did find this link to the story.

Has anybody read it?  Who is more truthful in the campaign?  Who has facts that are facts and who hs facts that are fiction?


Time magazine
Time magazine on Barnes & Noble shelf today in Lansing, Michigan.


Best time of the day is our walk and talks on Lansing sidewalks

Talking Galatians on the sidewalks of southwest Lansing

Because I am meniscus free in my left knee, my doctors says I need to walk faithfully everyday. Otherwise my knee will seize up like a car engine getting way too low on oil.

My walking partner is my wife.  She's been unstinting in her support to walk and, as part of it, we talk. On these walks we have talked about everything.  On any given day, we talk about our kids, our grandson, about teachers in the classroom, about politicians on all levels, about our pre-born granddaughter, about moving to Florida, about going to Haiti to work on an orphanage, about our volunteer work and about church and our relationship to God and Jesus Christ.

Right now, our conversations center around our church's special effort to have everybody read through the New Testament in eight weeks.  The goal is to get whole books of the Bible, rather than pick and poke through individual verses.

Today, we read through Galatians, a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians in what is now modern-day Turkey.  Some believers of that day said that Gentile believers had to obey old Jewish law to have a relationship with God.  Paul said they were wrong.

He also talked believers who were filled with the Holy Spirit and the fruit that came from that.  On our walk, we picked apart the "who, what, when, where, how, why and so what" of that.

Tomorrow is the book of Romans.  We should have a good conversation.  We might have to expand the walk by a couple of miles though.

My two-year-old grandson called me today from Bosnia

This guy, my grandson, called me today from Bosnia

Somehow I had missed the call today on my iPhone 3G, but there was a very special message there from my two-year-old grandson Xavier in Bosnia.

When I listened on voicemail I knew right away that it was him.  He said, "I love you grandpa" in an almost one syllable sort of way.  Then there was another loud "grandpa."  His parents were guiding him in the background.

It's amazing how one word can have so much power to make you smile big.  I'm still smiling from hearing him on the other end of the phone calling for "grandpa."

I can't wait to see him in January when the whole family will get together for a visit. I'm excited.  I love being part of a family.  I feel like Zeke Braverman played by Craig T. Nelson on the television series Parenthood.  I'm proud of and thankful for all of them.

There's lots of stuff I want to share with Xavier.  For starters, when I see him in January, I have a big book of trucks for him that I got at Sam's Club.  When we were at his house in the spring, he loved big trucks.  This book is filled with them.  For one week, if he wants we can look at trucks.  I can't wait.

In another month, he should have a sister who my wife and I have given the code name "Stella."

Even though they live a long distance from us, I want them to know me and their Grandma Thorp.  How will that happen?  I'm working that out.

Celebrating my daughter-in-law's birthday today

Our daughter-in-law Lauren Thorp is really important to us.  She's really a special member of our family, all almost eight of us.  She and our son Justin live in Washington, D.C. and today is her birthday.

Super-wife and I will have a little extra pumpkin spice in our latte today and maybe even have a little Great Lakes Red as we watch the television series Parenthood tonight.

She's a young woman who loves God, really loves our son and who fits our family like a hand in glove.  We thank God for her and for what she had added to our son's life and to ours.

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Our son Justin and his wife Lauren
Lauren and Justin hanging out in their wine cellar at home

Going back home for the day in Bay City, Michigan

Older baby-boomers, do you live away from the town or area where you were born and raised?  How long have you been gone?  How often do you get back?  Think you could ever move back?

Today, my wife and I went back to Bay City, Michigan, my hometown.  We helped a longtime friend celebrate 25 years as a Lutheran school teacher at Immanuel Lutheran where I attended school and where I went to church.  Then there was lunch at her home with her husband, her grown children and with the grandchildren.  

We then went to my aunt and uncles house  where I ate many, many meals and experienced many family get-togethers.  They are closing up their home as they approach 69 years of marriage and a change of residence to be near a daughter.

Could I move back?  I don't know.  The town feels different, with an overwhelming vibe of familiarity.


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This is the sanctuary of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City. I grew-up at this church. I went to the grade school here, Sunday School and attended Sunday services with my mother.



Can I learn something from the life of 17-year-old Melissa Branon?


Our daily bread
I just read a short account of the life and death of 17-year-old Melissa Branon written by her dad Dave Branon of the Radio Bible Class and a frequent contributor to their devotional Our Daily Bread.  A longer account of the lost of his daughter can be found here.

He tells how she was an ordinary kid who tried to balance all of life's demands at that age.  She loved Jesus, went to school, had a job and friends.  Then she died in a car accident while still in high school.

Her life, her dad says is still producing fruit for the Kingdom of God, he adds.  It was a witness to the love of God.  When her story in told people are still affected.  He points to John 15:8--"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit."

The point is made that each believers life touches others.  And our prayer is that each of our lives does it in a productive way for others to see the love of Jesus in you.

My prayer as I start my day:  "God give me the grace to trust you today."

Are "real men" transparent with their kids about their wounds and their hurts?

"Importance of fathers being transparent with their children about their hurts, wounds and fears"

Father effect
Afshin Ziafat

I had never heard of Afshin Ziafat before I clicked on this link where hetalks about the importance of fathers being transparent with their children about their hurts, wounds and fears.  He said there's a lie that men need to put up walls so others can't see into their heart.

Here's a link to the video on You Tube where he talks about the importance of men being transparent.  Interesting issue.  How many men do you know who feel the freedom to be that transparent.

By the way, the link was on Facebook from the Father Effect Movie which I have yet to see.  I'm not sure it's made yet.

I need to memorize Psalm 46

Our daily bread

My first read of the morning on the web was the Our Daily Bread devotion where Joe Stowell talks about Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God."  Lots of stuff can happen in daily life and it's easy to let that rule your life.  There are just times when you have to let God take the responsibility. You have to know he's there.  I need to marinade my heart in that Psalm and in that promise.  

Getting ready for our granddaughter to be born in Bosnia very soon

We are excited about our pre-born granddaughter who's expected to make her entry into this world either later this month or early November.  Super-wife loves shopping for our grandson Xavier, but has a special twinkle in her eye when he shops for little girl stuff.

Our daughter Krista and her husband Adam live and work in Bosnia.  My cellphone will never be far from my pocket when we leave home and it will have a full-charge.

When we were at Sam's Club this week, I bought my grandson a big full-color book with nothing but truck pictures.  There's all kinds of big trucks.  His two-year-old eyes really lit up every time he saw a big truck when we visted them last spring.

My daughter Krista and my son-in-law Adam

Xavier's ready for his new sister

My Lutheran pastor friend took on the State Department about wearing his clerical collar and won

My friend Mark Powell is a Lutheran pastor just south of Indianapolis who just challenged the U.S. State Department and won.  He was denied a U.S. Passport because the picture he submitted showed him wearing a clerical collar.

For him the clerical collar on his shirt is part of his daily work clothes and important to the practice of his religious beliefs.  When the State Department said he had to change his clothes he recruited a lawyer to send a letter on his behalf.  The passport agency backed down and apologized.

Way to go, Mark.  He and I worked together in the Michigan Legislature where we were both staff members.  He also baptized my grandson Xavier.  Here's a tv news story from Indianapolis about what happened:


Mark powell
Click on this picture to reach the video player for the story.