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11 posts from April 2014

Do Sean Hannity of Fox News and Ed Schultz of MSNBC reflect what's wrong with this country?

Everybody complains about the partisanship that exists at all levels of our government, especially the federal government.  One thing seems to be missing in all the sharp and angry words and with the heated name-calling is respect.  If you raise a different point of view in many circles, watch out.  You're going to find yourself full of verbal urine.  Watch this piece from Sean Hannity which includes cuts from MSNBC's Ed Shultz and from Al Sharpton.  Both sides do it.  Anybody tired of this?  I am.

We look in our bathroom for help in figuring out what's happening in the world


This is a great way to follow world news and where it's happening

 It was love at first sight when I saw this shower curtain at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It's a big map of the world that's easy to read and really helps when you're trying to follow happenings in the world.  

Before we got this, we'd have to either pull out our computer or an atlas or a faded National Geographic map if we could find it.

Most recently, we've been following happenings in the Ukraine.  When the Russians took over Crimea we were able to pinpoint where it was right away.

I can't wait for our four year old grandson to see it.  He is growing up in Eastern Europe and has travelled to several countries.  Now he can see them on a big map everyday when he takes a shower.

When we make our baby-boomer move to a smaller house, the shower curtain goes with us.  It has become indispensable.

PHOTOS: A quick look at the St. Louis leg of our family

Until last week when we visited our son Justin and his wife Lauren, my view of St. Louis and Missouri was shaped by my time at Fort Leonard Wood in the 1970s.  It was hard to think about that area without seeing green Army fatigues and drill instructors in my mind.  Then my son and his wife moved to St. Louis a little more than a month ago.  We spent last week visiting them.  Here are some pictures.

Their dining room table was the gathering spot for a FaceTime visit with our kids in Eastern Europe. With the computer, we have been able to stay connected as a family.


We went downtown one day to St. Louis City Hall where our daughter-in-law did some paperwork for their move to the area.


Super-wife walks through their dining room in their home on the city's south side.


A key member of their family is their dog Latte. She's a sweetheart pit bull who is filled with affection and thrives on attention.


She's going to be a grandma for the third time in July. Here she examines Baby Thorp's new stroller.


Great kitchen in their refurbished house. They both love to cook.



My wrinkled retina, rising eye pressure and Walgreens drugstore

This is the instruction sheet I got with the new eyedrops. Walgreens needs to make a change to make it more readable.

I noticed the changed in my vision when we drove to and from St. Louis where we visited our son and daughter-in-law.  Road signs were fuzzy until I got real close to them.  This doesn't happen everytime.  

This is the latest of my eye challenges which started with cataracts, a dislocated lens which had to be reinstalled several times, glaucoma and a detached retina.  I tried to ignore the fuzzed-up road signs thinking that it could be a dirty windshield or even dirty glasses.

On the way home when we were driving out of the city and when I was presented with a choice of multiple lanes to take, I knew it was my eyes.  However, I had a GPS with a big than usual monitor and I had my wife sitting next to me reminding me of the correct lane to take.

The diagnosis after visiting two different ophthalmologists this week was that I have a wrinkled retina.  This seems to be a by-product of several eye surgeries I had this past year.  At the same time, the pressure in my eyes increased.

The retina doctor said my wrinkles weren't bad enough to surgically repair them.  It's something that will be monitored.

In the meantime, my glaucoma doctor switched eyedrops.  I now take Zioptan when I go to bed and Timoptic in the morning.

When I picked it up from my neighborhood Walgreens pharmacy, I got an instruction sheet that contained several hundred words.  This is an eyedrop that can have harmful side effects and it's one that has to be handled in a certain way.

The problem is that the instructions are written in big long paragraphs and in a type that has to be eight points or less.  You think Walgreens would know better and make the type bigger.  I find it almost to difficult to read.

What about other baby-boomers with eye problems?  How are you working through the changes and the eyedrops?  Anybody else have a wrinkled retina?

EASTER WEEK 2014--What about the earthquake on Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross?

When Jesus died on the cross, there was a big earthquake.  So what?  I've been asking myself that question as we move closer to our celebration of Easter.  

I wonder how the people of Jerusalem reacted to that earthquake.  Did it really shake the buildings in Jerusalem?  Was there much damage from all the moving of the earth?  Did the people in the area connect it with the death of Jesus?  Did they get it?  

What does that earthquake mean for us?  

Is it a reminder for life today that there is a God and he's in control of everything?  

Super-wife and I plan on going to a Good Friday service.  I wonder if the pastor will talk about it.  Hope so.  Here's a short video about the earthquake as mentioned in Matthew 27:50-54:


What Does Your Father Mean To You?

How would you answer the question in the title to this post?  What does your father mean to you?

This is a clip from an upcoming movie about families.  Think about your answer.  Be honest with yourself.  

How many people are out there who are still struggling with their relationship with their father?  How has it affected them in their daily life?  If you father experience was negative, can you switch it around for your kids?  Too late?


We spent a week visiting with our son, his wife and pre-born Baby Thorp in St. Louis

They live in a really nice home on the southside of St. Louis.  They've been there a little more than a month and it looks like they've found a place where they will settle.  

Our son Justin and his wife Lauren are getting settled in their new home and getting adjusted to the city where they will raise their son.  

Spending a week with them was special.  Gladys and I've seen our kids grow and prosper and live daily life in their individual environments.  I've got more pictures which I will share soon and some thoughts about an invitation to move closer to them and their family.


How are you doing with your chronic open angle glaucoma?


I've had chronic open angle glaucoma for a long time.  Eye drops and ophthalmologists have become part of my life.  I've been told over the years that my vision should be good as long as the disease is managed.

The effort has been a journey with lots of steps.  It started with cataracts that were removed and with lenses in my eyes replaced with ones that I wasn't born with.  Along with the high eye pressure, the lens in my right eye has fallen from its perch several times and I've had a retina detachment.  

My pressure during the past six months has been low until now.  It's high again which means I'm seeing more of my friends in the eye doctor's office.  

Meanwhile, my vision has shown signs of being out of whack and I'm not sure why.  What's next?  The glaucoma doctor seemed satisfied.  He said it might be my retina again.

There's another appointment tomorrow morning.  Glaucoma patients, how about you?  Is your glaucoma experience pretty steady without many bumps and grinds?  Has it been a roller coaster ride?


This is the instrument used today to measure my field of vision.



EASTER WEEK 2014--Memories of Good Friday services at the Empire in Bay City

I think my wife and I are going to go to a Good Friday service this year to recognize the death of Jesus on the cross more than 2,000 years ago.  It's an important occasion and it's one that's too easily left by the side of the calendar.

If my grandkids and I were sitting in the coffeeshop eating scones and drinking espresso and they asked me about how I celebrated Good Friday as a young boy, I'd have to tell them about the services at the Empire Theater in Bay City which were sponsored by local Lutheran Churches.

The services were held around noon time and were at one of the nicest places in our small city on the side of the Saginaw River.  Hundreds would attend.  One of the local pastors would give a sermon where the Good Friday story would be told.  There must have been choir music, but I don't remember it. 

When it was over, I remember walking out of the theater onto Washington Street and everything would be quiet on the busiest street in town.  Stores had shutdown as part of the observance.

Here a picture of the Empire from the Cinema Treasures site.

Empire bay city

EASTER WEEK 2014--Getting ready for Good Friday and Easter Sunday

We celebrate Easter this coming weekend.  For me personally, it's easy to let the relevance of the occasion slide by without tbinking about why we take time out for this special day.  

If I was sitting around the dinner table with my three grandchildren and if they asked how I celebrated Easter as a child, I'd go back to an archive of memories.  Growing up in Bay City, right at the door way to northern Michigan, my first memories of the season were at Immanuel Lutheran Church on the eastside of the Saginaw River.

The organ music was grand and the church was decorated with lillies and other elements that emphasized light.  There were always lots of people, many of whom sat on chairs set up in the aisles. And when they sang the Easter hymns, you could actually hear the people singing louder than the organ played.  

As a young child, I almost expected that Jesus was waiting off on the side ready to make an entrance. For an hour or so, the hope inside the church was thick and bright.

I wonder what Easter is like at Immanuel these days.  

I don't remember hearing this song when I was a kid, but I think Sandi Patty captures the essence of Easter Sunday.  It's a special day that these days seems to have been co-opted by the Easter Bunny.