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16 posts from May 2015

We couldn't resist going back to church--Ada Bible Church--this morning

Ada Bible Church worship leader Andy Ferris introduces new song this morning.
Andy Ferris leads the worship part of the service at our church this morning.

Right now, we have the Ada Bible Church worship service in our living room through  its live streamed service.  We went to the service last night and we were excited about having the service in our living room this morning.

The sermon will about to begin.  It's start of a new series--Movement.  Text for today's teaching is Acts 11: 19-21.  I need to hear it one more time.  

The "Giving Tables" were up last night at Ada Bible Church

When we walked into church--Ada Bible Church--we were greeted by "Giving Tables" where we show our support for people and groups in need of support.  Last night, it was a crisis pregnancy center and church members scheduled to go on mission trips.

The tables are filled with stickers listing items to be purchased.  These range from disposable diapers to strollers.  

Individuals then purchase them, attach the sticker and then bring them back to church the next Sunday.  

Sign for the "Giving Tables" at Ada Bible Church in west Michigan.
The tables seem to go up every few months.


Stickers from the "Giving Tables" at Ada Bible Church.
This is a sampling of the stickers with items to be purchased.


Lessons I'm learning from my journey to keep my vision intact

A mountain of spaghetti squash
At Horrock's, I saw this mountain of spaghetti squash.


It's been a little more than two weeks since I had major surgery on my right eye to deal with a implanted lens that keeps falling off its anchors.  

In the process of this experience during the past seven plus years, I've learned a lot.  The first time it happened, it was intimidating when I had double vision that wouldn't go away.  Then it was reattached and I took a "stuff happens" kind of attitude.

Then from late 2012 to this year, it happened four more times.  In the process, I was examined by more than a dozen ophthalmologists from various sub-specialities and had a surgery after each time it happened.  Along the way, I had a retinal detachment.

This process made me acutely aware of the importance of my vision and how being able to see is not overrated.  

A vat of radishes with a vibrant red color.
Check this vat of radishes.


I don't know what the future will bring for my eyesight, but I have it now and it's getting closer to normal.  

I was reminded this past week of how thankful I am to be able to see when my wife and I went to Horrock's Farm Market on the edge of the Lansing area.  

The mountains and variety of multi-colored fruit caught my attention right off and so did their shapes.  I hated geometry in high school.  But walking through the store, all I saw was shapes of all kinds and lots of color.

Thank-you God for the vision that I have right now.

Have you ever had Jackfruit?
Have you ever had Jackfruit?



What lesson can my grandkids learn from Lansing's Video To Go store?

This video store--Video To Go--has a deep history with our family.

My wife and I were just finishing lunch at Panera Bread in Lansing's Frandor Shopping Center when I looked out the window there and saw the Video To Go store.  When we rented a video tape for one of the first times more than 20 years ago, it was from this store.

With changes in the way movies and other videos are delivered with Netflix and other services, I have to wonder how much longer it will stay in business.

When I think about Video To Go and how much television watching has changed, I think of my three grandkids, one almost five, one who is two and one who is almost a year-old.  They will have never seen video tapes and the odds are that they will not see a whole lot more of DVDs.

Their lives will be much more affected by the pace of technological change than mine.  They are learning how to adapt to this rapid change.  They are also learning how to recognize truths that never change.  

How long will it be before one of them can call me on their later stage Apple Watch?  They have all had their dalliances with iPads and apps for kids.  They know about watching streamed movies over the web.  

Change is inevitable.  The pace of these changes seems to be running in high gear.

Here's the best advice I could ever give to my three grandchildren


My felt tip marker reminder wore off, but it's still true. I am God's truly loved son.


What if I was sitting around the table for lunch with my three grandchildren, Xavier, Gretchen and Miles and they asked me what was the most important advice I could give them?

It's probably the most important thing I've learned in my six-plus decades of life.  It's a lesson that's like a scab that won't go away.  Every once in a while I pick at it and it reappears.  I guess I have to just stop picking and accept it.  

The idea is not brand new to me, but I never heard put this simply.  Our pastor, Jeff Manion, of Ada Bible Church, was in the second part of a series on Ephesians called People of the Way.  It was on identity and how we get it.

He got to Ephesians 1:5 where the Paul, the apostle writes about how God, in love, adopted us as his sons and daughters.  He is our father.  

I had trouble imagining God as my father.  Sounds nice, but, I could never call him up and ask him out for a craft beer or a coffee and just talk.

And, then Jeff said, 

Remember Who You Are

I am a treasured son of the Almighty God.  He picked me up.  He saved me.  My primary identity comes from him.  That's what I want my grandkids to remember and never forget.  Tattoo it on your arm or on your hand. Make it someplace where you are always reminded.

Do I believe it?  Yes, I choose to believe it.  God is becoming more real to me.

On this Mother's Day, thinking about life with my wife of almost 34 years

Gladys in the forest.
This was taken on our first vacation without the kids. We are waiting for a bear to cross our path in Alaska.

She deserves fields of heavenly-scented marigolds and daffodils today on Mother's Day and every other day.  This morning I went to my online depository of digital pictures and plugged in her name and it kicked back bold reminders of how we have lived lots of life together.

A big chunk of it has revolved around her being a mom.  We started out with the two of us and now have nine in our immediate family.  Our kids and their kids are living life daily with smiles on their faces.  They all love God and they are making a difference.

We've travelled to some far off places including Haiti, Alaska, Mexico and Eastern Europe.  Much of it was to see our kids.  We did it together.

We have moved into the senior citizen phase of life.  There's downsizing and a move in the future.  We are looking at where we want to land next.  We have picture of grandchildren all over the place.

I'm looking forward to everyday that God gives us together and I thank him for the very special mother of my children and my best friend.


Renewing our vows on our 30th anniversary. This was really special when our son-in-law Adam Jones, a pastor, took us through a backyard ceremony of renewal.
As I've woven my way through some pretty serious eye problems, Gladys has been with me to a myriad of ophthalmologists appointments. She's never lost the smile.
She bathed our kids and our dog Snoopy. Notice the big smile on our dog's face.
This was taken a few years ago in Petoskey during a wedding weekend for one of my cousin's kids.

MOTHER'S DAY--My mom never gave up and she always loved me

My mother was a real life hero. When circumstances seemed crushing and life impossible, she wouldn't give up on life or on me.

Tomorrow's Mother's Day and I wish I could have all the mothers who have been part of my life sitting around a table.  There's my mother, my wife's mother, my daughter and my daughter-in-law.  They are special people who have a vital role.

This above picture was taken in 1947 the year before my father--Claude H. Thorp--vanished.  He left, never came back, never contacted us and never divorced her.  I was barely a toddler when he cast us by the side of the road with no means of support.

My mom didn't quit.  Life was hard and somedays were an emotional roller coaster for her.  She made it work.  She died in 1996.  She had a love that could only come from one place.  It was the overflow of the love that Jesus had for her and she passed it on to me.  Even though, we had been both rejected and cast aside, she made me fill the love of God and reminded me that I was a treasured son of His.

The fact that she made it is not her story, but it's God's story about how he never abandons us, even if human fathers do.

Mom, I hope you have a good table up in heaven for dinner on Mother's Day.  I'm thinking of you.  And I thank God for you and your strong will and conviction.

He's a World War II vet who served in the South Pacific and who's in the hospital thMis morning


Part #1-World War II vet shares from Wes Thorp on Vimeo.

I've been thinking a lot about my 92-year-old Uncle Ron Anderson, a World War II vet who served in the South Pacific, and his wife Aunt Aileen, 90, in the past few weeks.  They were key players in my life as role models for how to live life with all its challenges and messiness. 

This morning my Uncle Ron is in the hospital in Charleston, West Virginia dealing with declining health while my Aunt Aileen is at home dealing with her health challenges.  They are both special people and I have them on my list of people to thank God for.

As a boy who grew up without a dad, Ron was one of the guys that I turned my focus to as a role model.  I had 11 uncles and he was one of six who I had frequent contact with.  I need to spend some time thinking about all the contact I had with him and then share it.

Today, I just want him to know he's not forgotten, nor is my aunt who left a big, positive footprint in her life.

This picture of Uncle Ron holding me was taken in the very early fifties. On many Sunday's their house was a destination for dinner.


My Aunt Aileen loved to cook and she loved having family over for Sunday dinners. This was taken in the early fifties at their Farragut Street home in Bay City.


This was taken in their much younger days. They've been married for more than seven decades. They were a couple, but very much individuals.

What says Happy Mother's Day better than a big snake looking at your grandson in the Budapest Zoo?

I continue to thin out my massive collection of digital photographs.  I found these, including this picture of our almost five-year-old grandson when we visited the Budapest Zoo.  We went through the reptile house where he made a friend with this big guy who kept looking at him.

I share these as we get closer to a special holiday where the moms in our lives are celebrated.  My wife is an extraordinary person who has shared her love with me and our kids.  They reflect her in so many ways.  Her legacy is a loving family and a husband who marvels that our almost 34 years together have gone by in a flash.

Right now I'm not driving very much, so I'm restricted to getting her virtual flowers. These are from Lansing Gardens on the southside.
My grandson was not quite two years old when he made friends with this guy. I bet he was thinking that he would make a great pet.
This is the same grandson before he was a year-old. He could really make that jumping jack move.
This is our granddaughter walking to the market this morning with her mom. She's a carbon of her mom when she was that age.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Was former Gov. John Engler getting the politician's syndrome back in 1975


Click on the above picture to read the column

The above clipping was one of several hundred that I found in a box of newspaper columns I wrote in the 70s and 80s while working for a now defunct company called Panax.  I worked in their State Capitol Bureau in Lansing.  The company had a long string of weeklies around the state that published our columns.

Most of our reporting was done as columns because in 1975 when this column was published the only way to distribute our reporting was through the mail.  So each piece had to have a longer shelf life.  

I wrote the above column about then State Rep. John Engler who was a 27-year-old political hard-charger.  He went on to serve two terms as governor where he became somewhat of a legend in the way he dealt with political opponents.  

I've thrown away several hundred columns I wrote and saved about 50.  I would love to have my grandkids see them.  They may never see real newspapers, except in a museum.

I wonder if I can take an Instagram picture from the operating room before my eye surgery

IMG_3564-1 (dragged)
The lens in my right eye has dislocated for a fifth time. Surgery on Wednesday. Hopefully, it will stay this time.

The lens in my right eye has come loose for the fifth time.  On Wednesday, two ophthalmologists will replace it and put it in front of the iris in that eye.  One of the doctors will take it out and the other will put the new one in.

This problem with my right eye from what I've learned in my visits with more than a dozen eye doctors is from my life-long nearsightedness.  It changed the grippers that the handles of the artificial lens goes into.

Is vision overrated?  Not at all.  I want to hang onto my vision as long as I can.  I've been talking to God about that.  I've been taking a visual inventory of everything I've seen in my life, so I can have these images firmly in my brain.  I thank God for ophthalmologists.  I especially pray for the two who will be working on me next week.

These are from my collection of eyedrops left over from my past eye surgeries. I've thrown away about an equal amount.

My cousin Colleen Anderson sings her testimony to the West Virginia legislature


I took this with my iPhone 5 at Colleen's concert last week at Michigan State University.



I've been to hundreds of legislative hearings at Michigan's State Capitol and at various places around the state.  But, I've never been to one where somebody sang their testimony.  

Then I went to a concert at Michigan State University given by my cousin Colleen Anderson who has been a long time resident of West Virginia.  She went there as a VISTA volunteer in 1970 where she got involved in organizing Cabin Creek Quilts.  She never left.  

Through the years, her love for the state and it's people was billboarded in her design and writing business, her music and her art.  

When there was the recent chemical spill in West Virginia waters which contaminated drinking water for a long period of time, she took her concerns to a hearing of their state legislature.  She sang her testimony, rather than speak it.  National Public Radio (NPR) reported on her effort.  This is the song:


I just did my first vlog to my grandkids using my selfie pole and iPhone 5

While my wife and I were walking at Hawk Island Park here in Lansing, I did my first vlog to our three grandkids who live in different parts of the world.  With a selfie pole in hand with my iPhone 5, I took three minutes of video.  I'm anxious to do more vlogs. Take a look:


My wife and I during our walk and while talking to our grandkids.

What can baby-boomers learn from filmmaker and story-teller Casey Neistat?

I have to come clean about my addiction to the daily vlogs by Casey Neistat, a young New York City filmmaker who has taken personal story-telling to a new level.  

Every morning I have a routine on the web where I first go to the daily devotion from Our Daily Bread to let God know that I want him in my life that day.  Next I go to YouTube for the latest video blog from my friend Casey who I only know through his videos about his daily life.  He's married, a young dad, a filmmaker and knows how to make his everyday life interesting.  I feel like I know him.

How does this affect baby-boomers?  We all have a story that's lived daily.  Most of us have a smartphone which can shoot videos.  Most of us probably don't have a selfie pole to help shoot videos as we move around our day-to-day activities.  I'm learning how to use mine.

I've been thinking about my daily life and how I can make the mundane interesting.  Next week I have some serious eye surgery.  I wonder how far they'll let me go with my iPhone video.  Pre-op?  Talk with the doctor?  OR?  

Do you shoot video with your smartphone?  How would your daily life look if you made a short film and told your story of a day?

 Here's an example of Casey's work:

What pictures would you want your mother in heaven to see on her iPad this Mother's Day?

I wonder if my mother in heaven who died in 1996 has an iPad with good wi-fi.  When she was living, I remember how much she liked pictures of our kids.  These were her first grandkids.  Now she would have three great grandkids.  I'd love to see her smile if she saw their pictures.

My picture collection of our family is massive.  I started when we brought our daughter home from the hospital more than 30 years ago and it has only increased with our grandkids, digital cameras, Instagram, Facebook, FaceTime, Picassa,  and all the other ways to share pictures.

This morning I combed through my most recent pictures and found a sampling for her to look at.  I know that she would share them with my wife's mother Catherine who is also in heaven.


This is her great grandson Miles who's within spitting distance of being a year old. This is her grandson's baby. He's a great little guy, really loved by his parents. We see him often either in person or on FaceTime using our iPad Mini.




This is her great-granddaughter Gretchen and the guy next to her is her dad Adam. Gretchen is full of life and has a great spirit. She was born in Bosnia where she lives with our daughter and Adam. My mom would smile big time when seeing this little darling.




The little guy on the right is her great-grandson Xavier and that's her granddaughter on the left, our daughter Krista. Xavier is a perfect mixture of his mom and dad. He's full of life and has a craving to learn. He's happiest when he can help with everyday chores.




This picture shows a part of my mom's legacy. She spent her life helping people. She'd come alongside them at their point of need and stick with them even when it was hard. This is the story of Dorcas from the Bible. At church, we were reminded of Dorcas. My mom was a Dorcas and it has rubbed off by God's grace.