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40 posts from June 2014

Starbucks is helping us get ready for a visit from our almost four-year-old grandson


Yeah, we are getting more than a little excited by the upcoming visit from our two grandkids, one almost four and the other being nineteen months old.  I'm sure we will be the only sixty-somethings around here with a slip and slide in the backyard.  

We've been combing through our collection of toys and adding to it with purchases from neighborhood garage sales.  

Our grandkids live in Bosnia where their parents work which means that they have travelled a lot.  They are used to other countries and to getting around airports. Our older grandson soaks in every detail from his visits to Turkey, Croatia, Germany and the United States.

When they come, we will let him pick a Starbucks mug from our growing collection from cities around the world.  We will let him pick a city, like Budapest, Vienna, St. Louis, Las Vegas and other places we've been or where others have been and purchased  them for us.  We have a beautiful Starbucks mug from Seoul where or son and daughter-in-law were last year.

When he picks his mug, then we will challenge him to find that country on our shower curtain which has a huge world map on it.

Indeed, we have toys for his younger sister.  As we think about our pre-born grandson in St. Louis, our excitement grows.  We will be ready.

Michigan has two Republican Parties, one for "country clubbers" and the other for regular people

Justin amash
This was on Facebook late this morning. This is Amash's take on what's happening.

When I grew up in Bay City, everybody knew there were two Republican groups.  There were those whose attitudes were epitomized by their membership in the country club and who had liberal and very establishment political views.  

Then there were the everyday people who believed that there dangers in big government and who were way of its dangers.

That same scenario is being played out all over the country.  Michigan's big dog Republicans who only get close to real people on their way to the club are trying to take down U.S. Rep Justin Amash from Grand Rapids.  They're using a big business guy from the area who might have trouble identifying a real conservative if it crossed his path.

They are trying to make Amash sound like some reject from a mental hospital.  Amash has insisted on following the U.S. Constitution and has admonished leaders for cutting corners or completely missing them.

How will this play out?  Can Amash keep his seat?  Can he get out his voters on election day?

Why should you be interested in Barry Goldwater and who he was?


As gifts, I got Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative from my son and I got the t-shirt from my son-in-law.


Barry Goldwater from Arizona  served a distinguished career in the U.S. and he ran unsucessfully for president on the Republican ticket in 1964.  He has firm conservative credentials.  He was very principled in the same way that Rand Paul is.  Goldwater was respected and he was influential in legislation passed during that time.

It seems, right now, that we are on the brink of not being able to govern ourselves because of all the acrimony and division.  In the early sixties, the division came from Richard Nixon and his criminal acts.  Goldwater brought people together during this time.

What would be his take and what would be his advice on handling what is happening now.  He adhered to his principles, but he also knew that we had to govern ourselves.  And, he knew that there were a wide-range of views.


Quotes: Influencing your world, turning to Bible and valuable advice for Republicans

One of the most important sources of news for me is Twitter.  I go to its feed several times a day to look for latest happenings from a wide-variety of individuals, groups and geographic areas.  Most tweets contain valuable link.

Some are from people who are in the midst of a major news happening and they might include a photo or a video clip.  

As a former speech writer, I'm always looking for good quotes.  Here are three that caught my eye from recent Twitter feeds:


This is great quote on taking time to ask God to share what's on his heart and how I can plug into it in my life today.

2Many try to portray Rand Paul as an right-wing extremist who is so out there that he meets the left.  This quote makes great sense.  Think about all those 2,000 page bills that no member of Congress has most likely ever read.

3It's so easy to be distracted away from the Bible.  For me today, it's the New York Times and the Drudge Report to find out about why U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor lost his primary election.  The Bible is God speaking directly to us and to me.  What else do I need.


Is West Michigan going to be the hot place this summer to get a job?

Hmm.  I just read this piece about how West Michigan might be the hot place to look for a job this summer.  Employers are expect to be hiring.  Click here for the story.  When will this optimism move east to other parts of the state?

Does this mean that our kids looking out of the state for a job need to take a look in the Grand Rapids area?

Does anybody have advice about going to your 50th high school class reunion?


High school reunion
This is my invitation to my class reunion. I graduated in 1964.




I graduated from T. L. Handy High School in Bay City, Michigan exactly 50 years ago.  That means a big reunion in the fall.  I'm not sure what to expect.  Is there a way to prepare yourself before you go?  Is there a right mindset?  

Our high school was on the westside of the Saginaw River and was one of two in our town.  I flew below the radar for most of those years, except for two years I spent as a photographer for the school newspaper.  Because I moved from our town, my ties to classmates were reduced dramatically.

In the invite to the reunion, there was a request to write a personal update about the past 50 years to be used in a 50th memory book.  It asks for accomplishments, awards of recognition and hobbies and other stuff.  

This is a milestone occasion and I look forward to going with my wife.  I'm just not sure what to expect.

What do you give your son on his 30th birthday?


Our son Justin and his wife Lauren when they arrived in Lansing right after a major ice storm.


Me holding Justin and Gladys holding Krista soon after he was born. 

Happy Birthday to our son Justin who turns 30 today.  I ruminated over what we could get him for the big three-zero.  I thought of tech stuff, books, a family picture and then I saw this picture.  This dude has it all.  Since he married his wife Lauren, he's never seemed happier.  And, she's carrying his son in this picture who will be born soon.

Yeah, we did buy him a present.  We had Amazon send him a cookbook to their new home in St. Louis.    He got the cooking gene from his mom.  It was a copy of Michael Ruhland's new book on cooking eggs.  

My memory bank has a big partition filled with items labelled Justin.  As he progresses with his family life I hope that he's taking good notes, so he's able to look back with his own son.  I know that Baby Boy Thorp has a special dad and a special mom.  This means one dynamite kid.

I look forward to the next chapter.  We are proud to be part of your life.  I pray that we have many miles to go together as an extended family.  Happy Birthday.  Talk to you tonight.  Face Time, right?

Thirty-years ago today Gladys was taking long walks to get labor going to deliver almost nine pound son

 It was a hot day in early June and Gladys was in very early labor with our son Justin.  We knew he'd be coming in the next several hours.  We dealt with the issue of speeding up the process.  Does walking help labor go faster.  We walked and we walked that day.  We went from one garage sale to the next.  

We went to bed after watching a movie, the Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond and within an hour and a half we were on the way to the hospital.  He was born within and hour of walking or rolling through the door of the hospital.


Thirty-years ago today she walked to get labor jump-started for our son Justin. An almost nine-pounder, he came quickly right after midnight next day.


His birthday is tomorrow and even though he and his family live in St. Louis, we helped celebrate over FaceTime.


This is our walk today in honor of our son Justin's birthday tomorrow. Yeah, we use Runkeeper to record our walks. It's great, easy and very useful.



Can you still have those Dove "#Real Dad Moments" when the kids leave the nest?

My son just sent me the link to this video done by Dove soap about special moments that dads have with their kids.  This video really touches me.  For anybody who enjoyed being a dad, this is worth watching.  It speaks for itself.  Pardon me while I get a tissue to wipe the tears away from my eyes.  BTW, my son and his wife are pregnant with a boy.  He's scheduled for arrival in July.  I encourage you to share this video on your Facebook page.

We took our blood pressure at Sam's Club in Lansing

How many of you take your blood pressure at a pharmacy or a store like Sam's Club?  We are both at an age where we keep an eye on our BP knowing its effect on overall health, especially the condition of our cardiac and vascular system.

Today we took our BP at Sam's and below is the results.  Are there any opinions about the accuracy of these readings?  Are they close or do they measure high or low?  I'd love to keep my reading, but I'm not sure if it's the real deal or even close.


Wes bp
This is my blood pressure at Sam's Club this afternoon


Gladys bp
This is Gladys' blood pressure at Sam's.



My notes from last night's sermon at Ada Bible Church on 1 Corinthians 8

Pastor Jeff Manion delivering his sermon on 1 Corinthians 8.

I know that I need to get God's Word deeper in my heart to make it part of me and my daily life.  And I need the Holy Spirit's help with that.  Sermons play a role in that.  That's why my wife and I went through the sermon text at lunch yesterday and drafted a list of questions that might be covered.

Then we carefully took notes when we heard it.  We looked for principles based on the text and for application to our everyday life.  Did I find it relevant?  Yes.  I felt more convicted than I would like to admit.

It was from 1 Corinthians 8.  This is one of the chapters where the Apostle Paul addresses the controversy about eating meat offered to idols.  At first, it was hard to see the application for today.  But looking at it as an example of how to settle conflicts, it made sense.  

Here's the text and here's a link to the live stream of the service and here's my notes:

#2 Normal Like Me Notes from Ada Bible Church

  1.  Intro was a question about what kind of grills people in the service grilled on, charcoal, propane or a pile of wood.
  2. In the Corinthian church, the question of what grilled stuff you can eat was about to tear the church apart.
  3. He gave short profile of the city of Corinth.  There were all kinds of gods who had their own temples.  Animals would be sacrificed.  Priests would sell the excess meat.
  4. Sounds like the priests had their own meat shops where they sold the excess.
  5. The challenge:  Should Christ believers eat meat offered to false gods?
  6. (At this point, the question is what does this have to do with me?  Is this food story?  Something else?)
  7. The church in that city turned to the Apostle Paul to resolve that question.
  8. APPLICATION:  In this story, Paul gives important lesson about handling conflict.
  9. In conflicts, Jeff said, the operative question is what’s helpful.
  10. THE CORINTHIAN QUESTION:  4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God.
  11. An idol is nothing
  12. THOSE WHO SAID DON’T EAT:  7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.
  13. Because idols are nothing, Christian’s have the freedom to eat the meat.
  14. However, some people have hyper-sensitive consciences; we need to be careful about how we use our rights to eat the meat.  9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.
  15. I need to be careful that I don’t derail the faith of others by what I do.
  16. Those who eat the meat offered to idols have the knowledge that it’s okay to do, but they should use love with those who don’t feel that freedom.
  17. Paul’s thought:  What helps somebody spiritually is more important than what he eats.
  19. Example:  Two siblings fighting over a dresser left by a parent with each claiming that their mother promised it to them.  What to do?  
  20. Fights over dresser type arguments can linger for years, decades.
  21. Question should not be whose right, but what is helpful?
  22. He pointed to Ephesians 4:29: 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
  23. He gave another example about a big argument between his grandparents who argued over a roll of nickels left in their Nevada hotel room.  The money was to be used in the hotel casino.
  24. His grandma wanted nothing to do with money that had been given by the casino to be used for gambling.  His grandfather vehemently disagreed.
  25. What would have been the right thing to do?


Rand Paul might be worth a second look as a presidential candidate

I was going through my Twitter feed this morning and I found this quote from Rand Paul who is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate on the  Republican side.  I had to share it.

Rand paul

I spent most of my working life around the Michigan Legislature and I've read plenty of bills and I've helped draft them.  I've been blown away by the number of legislators who never read them.  They take the word of a partisan analyst or special interest lobbyist.

Is that what happened with the passage of Obamacare?  Did your member of Congress read the bill and understand it?

Rand Paul nailed it.  But, does he read the bills?  How do we find out?

What should I look for tonight in a sermon on 1 Corinthians 8, the food chapter?


Super-wife and I ate lunch today on the back deck and talked about tonight's sermon at Ada Bible Church.  The text is from 1 Corinthians 8 and it's part of a series  entitled "If Only You Were Normal Like Me."  Last week we got background on ancient Corinth and what it was like to live there.  There was a whole lot of "who, what, when, where, how, why and so what."  

The text for tonight centers around the diversity of ideas on what Christians see as normal.  It used to be eating meat on Friday.  Now, it can be people raising their hands during a worship service or about drinking or not drinking a beer.

My background is in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod where many believe that it's wrong to worship God without using a present liturgy.  How about it?  What's normal?  Your normal?

We are both going to be taking notes.  We agreed to list principles and applications and compare what we heard.

Does Apple get you excited with its use of "awesome" and other hyperbole?

Did Apple overdo it during their recent developer's conference where every other word in their presentations of new products seemed to be "awesome" or similar hyperbole? Can these words be overused? Do they build excitement for anybody outside of high school? Watch this video. It's a clear example of how the language has changed.

My Uncle Ralph Moll and his role in making gliders for D-Day Normandy landing



I remember my Uncle Ralph talking about his Army days and how he worked on gliders at an Army post in Texas that were used in the American landing on Normandy on June 6, 1944.  The problem is that I was really young when he talked about it.  

My recollection of details are fuzzy because I didn't take notes.  If he had told me now, I'd probably take a video with my iPhone 5 and put it on this blog or on FaceBook right away.  

Those conversations with him were sparked when I read this New York Times article this morning where individual soldiers involved in the Normandy landing were interviewed.  Check the first profile about a soldier who flew in one of the gliders.  It's riveting.  I was born a little more than two years after that happened.

What would American youth say is their biggest need?

A young woman in the country of Georgia was asked about the biggest need of youth in her country.  Check her answer:

It’s not a trick question. But still Elza Satseradze paused for a second before answering.

When it comes to the youth of Tiblisi—and all of the Republic of Georgia for that matter—what is the biggest need?

“Jesus Christ,” Satseradze, 22, said. “Many people here are living in darkness.”

How would American youth answer that question?  Do they understand who Jesus Christ is and the role he plays in this world?  

Should you let the local tax assessor come in your house?

The tax assessor wanted to examine the inside of homes in Davison Township, near Flint, Michigan.  When homeowners refused, they got their assessments raised.

Do you have to let the assessor inside your house?  And, if you refuse is that automatic grounds for an assessment raise?  

Watch this video from the Mackinac Center in Midland, Michigan about this very real situation.  

Does this happen in your local unit of government?