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7 posts from July 2018

Here's why I've been thinking of the day that my daughter Krista was born

My daughter and her youngest son.
Krista, our daughter, and her youngest son, Jacob Wesley.

I remember vividly the day that Gladys told me over the phone that she was pregnant with our first child.  Driving home that afternoon, the smile on my face was so big that I had to look high.  And I remember every detail of her birth on March 17, 1982.  

Her birth taught me what real excitement was.  I had no siblings and I was raised by a single mom and up to that point, I may have held a baby for no more than 30 seconds.  Then Krista came and I couldn't get enough of holding my daughter and just looking at her.  I quickly got into changing diapers and giving baths.  When she was awake, I would talk to her non-stop about everything.

Then, she married Adam and we got his call that our first grandchild was on the verge of being born.  We aimed for the hospital in Carmel, Indiana and we were welcomed into the grandparents waiting room where Gladys and I drank French press coffee and then Adam came and got us and we saw our first grandchild Xavier.  That was eight years ago.

Now the news; Krista called us a short time back and told us that number four was coming along sometime in March.  Wow and wow.  What started as just Gladys and me is now twelve counting our pre-born grandchild.  

It's a big cliche, but each one has their own unique personality.  Our son Justin and his wife Lauren have a son and a daughter.

I wish God had a section of the Bible for grandparents on how to effectively plug into your grandchild's life.  There's a lot to share in a "here's what I learned" fashion for each of them.

Maybe I should write it down.  It could be a gift for each one, a little piece of me.

And for grandfathers who have taken a pass on developing a relationship with their progeny, I would encourage them to stop and take a deep breath and rethink their position.

I know one grandpa who wrote off his grandkids and it was the kids who lost.  And the grandpa was a big-time loser too.

Thank-you God.  "Guide me as I continue on as the patriarch of this side of our family."

Why do candidates for our state legislature hold voters in such low regard?


We moved to our condo a little more than a year ago and I am still not sure who is running for state representative from our area.  I'm registered to vote, but I'm not sure I will.

How do you decide who to vote for?  Do you wait till you walk into the voting booth and go by the sound of someone's name?  I think an incumbent county commissioner, Sarah Anthony, is running for state rep.  I saw one sign for her while driving down a main drag in our community.

It's not Sarah Anthony who is running for state rep in the Holt Mason area.  I went to the Lansing City Pulse that has a thumbnail sketch of each candidate in the Lansing area.  The Democratic candidate for state rep is Kara Hope another incumbent member of the Ingham County Commission.  Check out her campaign website.

It shouldn't be this hard to find the candidate in your area.  What role does the local political parties play in informing and educating people about their candidates?

The website for the Republican candidate Leon Clark can be viewed here.  I should have guessed that his domain name would be Leon for Michigan.  

Going to Google and searching her name, I found her website.  It says nothing about boundaries of the district that she's running for and her stand on the issues is filled with platitudes.  Hey, these issues are multi-layered and are important.  What about roads?  It is acknowledged that our state has the worst roads in the country.  Driving in our state is like driving through Haiti after the earthquake.

I see no signs of her going door-to-door and I see none of her literature anyplace.  I just saw the lone sign.

How do I decide who to vote for?  There's no daily paper to check.  The candidates are no where to be found.  Do we want them in office, if they have such a low profile?

Am I missing something?

How important is it to a boy to know that their dads love them?

Father and sons photos.
My son (right) and my son-in-law (left) with their sons.

I just about crapped my pants when I saw a picture of a dad holding his baby son.  The father and son images were part of a group of people in the shot taken more than 70 years ago.  Everybody was having fun at a picnic.  To check the father and son part of the image, I turned on the magnifier on my iPhone and could identify my dad holding me when I was a baby.  I had to be less than a year old.

Why do I mention this?  I want to celebrate my son and his son and my son-in-law and his sons.  Their sons will never wonder about the love of their fathers for them.  This in my opinion is key to the growth of a man.  

During the time when I was still trying to connect all the wires with my son-in-law, they emailed a picture of him walking around a track with his barely old enough to walk son's finger in one hand and a basketball in the other.  The look on my oldest grandson's face told it all.  He was proud of his dad and he knew that he was loved by him.

My son is the same way.  His son knows that his dad loves him.  He has no doubt.  My son is a hands-on dad.  He and his son enjoy each other.  The dividends will be paid out down the road.

How many guys never knew if their dad really loved them?  A lot, I'm sure.  As a man that makes you doubt yourself and you wonder about your worth.  Relationships are harder and less close.  

Everyday, I thank God that my son and son-in-law love their boys beyond all measure.  And they love their daughters in a way that they fully-know that they are the apple of their dad's eye.

Me and my dad picture.
A picture of my less than year old self draped over my dad's shoulder.



I think the Detroit Free Press is right about picking Whitmer and Calley for the governor's race in Michigan


Check out today's Detroit Free Press editorial for its endorsements for governor in our state. Read it slowly and soak in what it has to say about the level of political ineptitude in Michigan.

Is it a bad thing to be a professional politician?  Does that help or hurt the operation of our government?   

The editorial states:

"Politics isn't just a lost art in Michigan; it's an under-valued skill.

The worst thing any candidate for public office can be called is a professional politician. Admitting that one has made a career of running for elective office is only slightly less embarrassing than revealing a history of felony convictions. Both confessions suggest a life devoted to unsavory pursuits."

Think about what it takes to get one more than half to agree on anything.  You have to have a vision.  You have to be able to communicate that vision and you have to be able to convince people.

Many people say the word politician with the same kind of tone that would be used for pimp or dope dealer or drug lord.  

Free Press says Whitmer and Calley have the skills and the experience.  They know more than how to find the bathrooms in the State Capitol building.

I think I can cross off Sandy Pensler from my list for U.S. Senate from Michigan


I feel really disconnected from the Michigan political loop as we get ready to vote in early August in the primary.  Take the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate where the incumbent Debbie Stabenow is up for reelection.

Two Republican candidates are sending me mail.  Most recent is Sandy Pensler from Grand Rapids.  I believe he's a businessman.  I think I've seen a couple of his television commercials .

What grabbed me was the opening sentence a Pensler fundraising letter.  "Donald Trump is making America great again and Debbie Stabenow can't stand it," he writes.  

Has Pensler been listening to or watching the news the past 18 months.  News commentators are openly questioning whether he's guilty of treason.  He gave the finger to U.S. intelligence agencies and backed the Russian president Putin.  Hmm . . .

Then there's the personal morals side of the equation.  Porn star Stormy Daniels is old news.  Now it's a Playboy model and his affair with her around the time that his youngest son was born.  He and his people are not denying it.

The list could go on and on.  And Pensler describes the president as making America great again.

I might be left with one choice.  I might make my mark for Stabenow.  There's no guessing about what side of the tracks she's on.  She's honest and you don't have to look over your shoulder and keep your hand on your wallet when you talk to her.

Antidote to "Too Much Trump" is going to see Mama Mia II--Here We Go Again

Check the senior citizen rate for Mama Mi 2.
At the noonish showing of Mama Mia II, there were a fair number of people.


We needed to get away from all the chatter and bloviating about Trump and Putin and all the other stuff relating to politics.  We found a way to get a two hour break--going to see Mama Mia II, Here We Go Again.  It worked and this morning we still have songs from the show bouncing around our heads and out our mouths.  It's a good story with the movie shot on a small island where we stayed on a family vacation.

The music is from the Swedish group Abba.  I found my body responding to the rhythm of the music while sitting in the theater seats.  And the actors had smiles that were wide and infectious.  But, of most interest to our family was where the movie was filmed, the Island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea between Croatia and Italy.

It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to with a history that goes back to Biblical days.  While there, we rented a place for nine people.  What we got through was perfect.  The movie describes the location as being a small Greek island.  It is actually Croatian.  

The actors were great with Meryl Streep, Lily James. Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Cher and many others.

Tonight, I bet we will be watching the original Mama Mia through live stream.  I don't want to let go of the music or the smiles.

My vision report: My new cornea has a scratch which has really affected my vision and it hurts

Selfie with my scratched cornea
New cornea is in my right eye which is on the left in this selfie

I have no idea about how my new cornea is my right eye got scratched, but it did.  I followed instructions about no more cage fighting or hiking in dense woods with lots of low-hanging branches.  Somehow, it happened.

It has reintroduced me to white knuckling my way through concern and worry about the future of my vision.  Right now, it is impaired and my troubled eye can really hurt.

My ophthalmological team has weighed in and they seem to be optimistic about getting the cornea back to health without worsening my glaucoma or my chronic dry eye.  

Right now, I'm praying a lot more and that's good.  I know that the strength to cope with this won't come from me, so I need every bit of strength God can give me.  I'm also much more conscious of what I see around me and of the things I see in my visual memory.  

By the way,  Gladys and I have a new grandchild on the way.  Our daughter is pregnant and I want to see "Izzie" or "Bubba" when he or she is born in March.  There are Bible verses I want to memorize yet and there are some places I still would like to see.

God willing my vision will allow that.

My eye journey is not over yet.