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8 posts from May 2016

What should my grandkids know about me?

My grandpa book
My almost two-year-old grandson gave me this book to use to tell him about myself

We were sitting in the sun room of my son's home in St. Louis when he and my daughter-in-law gave me a special Father's Day present last year.  It was a small book that asked me a long list of questions about myself from the time I was a small child to my life as a husband and a dad.  The goal is to fill it out and then transfer the answers to a computer app to make a special book.

I've delayed filling out the book for the past year.  It got tucked behind other books on my shelf.  I've finally dug it out and want to start sharing about myself with my now almost two-year-old grandson and our four other grandchildren.

As I get ready to make the turn to being 70-years-old, I find my memory about things in the past getting fuzzier.  Now's the time to start sharing with those who carry some of my genes, three grandsons and two granddaughters.

One of the questions asks:

What were two major news events of your life?  How did you feel about them?  What influence did they have on you?

The answer is pretty easy.  The first is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  When it happened, I was in my high school typing class when the announcement about his murder was made over the school public address system.  I remember people starting to cry.  School let out and I went home.

This is long before the day of social media and cell phones.  For news, we had radios and black and white television.

The second news event was the 9/11 when terrorists flew passenger jets into the twin towers in New York City and into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I was just walking into work when it happened.  It was on the television of the office building where I worked.  People were afraid.  They didn't know what was happening.

I will write more.  This is a start.  Those two events did help shape me.  

I admit that I'm an almost 70-year-old fanboy of filmmaker Casey Neistat

I have my morning routine which usually starts with an eyedrop and then a beeline to the living room where I sit on one end and my wife on the other with our devices in our laps.  My first go-to is the Beyond The Weekend devotion from our church, Ada Bible Church and from there I read a couple of emails and then go to some news.

But sandwiched in there is a visit to Casey Neistat's YouTube channel.  Who is he?  Casey is a 30-something YouTube filmmaker who is reinventing how to tell a story with video.  

He does a daily vlog where he chronicles his everyday life in New York City.  In addition to being a filmmaker, he's has a web app company where he and his cohorts have developed one called Beme.  It's for taking raw unedited video with either an iPhone or Android and then sharing it with the world.

I have faithfully watched his vlog everyday for the past year.  He shoots it himself and includes everybody around him.  He moves through New York City  on a motorized skateboard made by Boosted and he tells the daily story of his wife, his toddler daughter and his son along with his business.  All this is punctuated with lots of travel which he records.

Why am I fascinated?  Just think of the possibilities.  What if politicians and pastors could become more real by using such a technique.  That means they would have to be transparent.  Casey establishes a template for doing it.  Above you will see the vlog episode uploaded today.

My voting for Trump would be an insult to my mother, my wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters

Unless there's a political tsunami, Donald Trump will be the nominee for president for the Republican Party.  Lots of Republicans are jumping on board the Trump train for the sake of party unity.  They point to his perceived business acumen and verbal boldness.  This includes many who describe themselves as Bible-believing Christians.  They say that Jesus Christ is the center of their life and their purpose for living.

Now overlay Trump on top of the Bible and what it says about how God wants you to treat women. Read today's story in the New York Times about how the presumptive nominee treats women in his daily life.  His regard for women seems to be straight out of the Satan's playbook.

The in-depth story shows a man who looks to women as playthings to be graded by how well they look.  Would I want that to be the criteria by which the women in my life are judged.  Answer:  No. 


The source of our problems in the United States is the devil, according to old newscaster Paul Harvey in 1965

If you're an older baby-boomer, more than likely you remember Paul Harvey who brought the news on radio everyday.  Growing up in Bay City, I grew up listening to his reporting.  As the years passed, he added his observations.

Check this newscast from 1965 where he talks about if he was the devil and how that would affect the choices he would make for turning this country upside down.

What about it? Is the problem the politicians or is it the devil?  How do you deal with getting rid of the devil?  That's not a mystery, is it?

Was the snow in mid-Michigan a few minutes ago some kind of sign?


It's still spitting snow here in the heart of mid-Michigan on Sunday, May 15.  We had just gotten up looked out the window and saw the snow coming down hard.  It even stuck on our deck.  What does that mean?  A sign from God?  Move to Florida or just a fluke.  Probably the latter.  But it's worth marking down and remembering for the next family dinner.


Snowing in May.
Here's the evidence about snow on May 15.

Drinking less expensive wine-under $3 a bottle-while living on a pension and Social Security

Winking Owl merlot
We bought this under $3 per bottle of Merlot this week at Aldis

What wine do you drink when you watch television on a Sunday night?  While watching Madam Secretary or the Good Wife, we occasionally get out our stemless wine glasses and have a taste of wine.  This can be expensive, especially if you're a retiree living on a fixed income.

This week we shopped at one of the Aldis in our area and found Winking Owl Merlot for under $3 a bottle.  We haven't opened it yet.  We hope it's drinkable.  Perhaps, we don't have to spend the equivalent of three gallons of gas for a decent bottle of wine.

Have any of you drunk Winking Owl wines?  What do you think?

As I move towards turning 70, this is my constant prayer

I know that 70 years old is just a number, but it's still a milestone and it means that I need to pick my priorities more carefully.

This song "Close" from Hillsong states clearly what I want to be at the top of my bucket list.  I want that close personal relationship with God the Father, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  

However, there are so many distractions to that goal.  I need to pray it everyday, maybe even more than once.  I put it here as both a reminder to me and as an encouragement to others.  

I'm a member of the first class of baby-boomers getting ready to turn "seven-oh" this year



My birthday this year on August 31 will be a landmark.  I turn 70 which means that I can admit with confidence that I'm older if not old.  I'm a member of the first class of baby-boomers, part of a group of more than three million born in 1946 right after the end of World War II.  

To reach this point, scares me in many ways.  I know that I need to carefully consider what I want to do with this rest of my life.  I have a limited amount of time to make a plan, 120 days,  17 weeks, three months or 2880  hours before I reach that mark.  

What about a rocking chair

The only way I'd consider wiling my time away in a Cracker Barrel rocking chair is if it was right on the Gulf of Mexico and there was good wi-fi.  There's no likelihood of the former happening.  

Things that occupied my attention during my day-job years hold little interest to me now.  In the past, certain things could excite my passion.  I was trained to be and worked as a journalist for many years.  Then I worked as a staffer in our state legislature where I worked with and around many different reporters everyday.  At one time, I could get excited about politics.  That's changed.  Governing has morphed into gaggles of people at all levels trash-talking each other without regard for the consequences.  The truth of an issue was immaterial.

Effective communication interests me

I still enjoy the whole area of communication where those with a message try to communicate it effectively to change behavior.  Over the years, I have written hundreds of news releases, speeches and newsletter articles.

I've watched as people have changed the way they communicate, particularly through the use of social media and the web.  I've watched and participated in the changes in this area pretty closely.

Telling stories with video

Story-telling is another area that has caught my attention.  I have a personal story that I feel is worth sharing and I know many others who have the same.  It's fun to see how this is done through the written word, video and still pictures.  

My role as a husband, father and grandfather still excites me.  I'm having to be alert to how these roles change as I and my family get older.

Remember the television show Parenthood with a group of grown kids who have their own children?  There was a patriarch named Zeke Braverman and his wife.  They all dealt with real life issues.  They lived their own lives, but they came together as a family unit.  

As I traipse through the challenges of aging, I want to continue blogging about it.  There are things I will give a lot of thought to and others that will roll off the top of my thoughts.