Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The other morning I was driving to work and thought "I haven't written on my blog lately!"

The obvious question was "Why?"

The answer was because I wasn't sure that I was using the blog appropriately.

I don't know that there is a definitive protocol vis-a-vis blogging but I wasn't overly comfortable with the entries I had posted. It wasn't that I thought they were inappropriate because I figured it was really up to me as to what I posted.

One of the thoughts that occurred to me was that maybe my most recent post were too long but I dismissed that because a person didn't have or wasn't compelled to read a post if they didn't want to.

The thought also occurred to me that I didn't want to post anything that was depressing and last week was a little depressing. A friend passed and went on to join the Lord. I didn't think that was particularly uplifting or something I wanted to post. So to make a long story short, I decided to wait a while before posting again.

Well, I'm at the point where I want to post!

Have you ever considered what a relationship is? There is a lexical definition of relationship but I'm not so sure that is what I had in mind. When you think of the term relationship, what immediately comes to mind?
  • Cultural relationships?
  • Familial relationships?
  • Human relationships?
  • Male-female relationships?
  • Sexual Relationships?
  • Spatial relationships?
  • Temporal Relationships?
  • Temporary Relationships?

I welcomed your comments.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another Christmas Story


The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm - hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth? "The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid Who says God does not work in mysterious ways. I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today. To guide you and protect you as you go along your way....

His love is always with you,
His promises are true,
And when we give Him all our cares
You know He will see us through.

So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best, just remember I'm here praying, and God will do the rest.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Feel Good Indiana Christmas Story

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed, crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whoever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.

The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.

I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids.

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boy’s pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.)

It was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement.

My old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, scrambled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


The only way not to age is to give up your space. :-)
I don't know anyone who is interested in giving up their space!
I'm not! Are you?

Why would one contemplate such a fate?
Could be a lost of faith!
Maybe because it is inevitable?
You're not going to get out of this world alive!

Another reason to contemplate giving up your space might be Alzheimer's!
There was a Law & Order on today involving Alzheimer's.
Gee it was depressing!
It was depressing for a lot of reasons but depressing none the less.
Made me think about a lot of things that one loses as they age.
Perhaps that is why I work trying to make things better for older adults.
Living with arthritis, being an empty nester, not being as active as I used to be:
These are all constant reminders of aging.

On the other hand, there are some positives to aging -- I think!
Retirement -- don't know, not there yet
Grandchildren -- don't know, don't have any!
Travel -- been there, done that -- it's okay, but expensive!
However, I could get used to traveling -- I think!
My wife and I went on a seven day cruise last summer --
read seven books in seven days!
Great way to relax.
Reading was peaceful and restful!

As I read and edit this entry, it is obvious I don't have anything to say!
Bears and the Giants are on the tube but I'm not really paying attention.
I just got tired of the Law & Order reruns.

Hey! How about local news?
That's an option!
Would you believe it?
They're at commercial!

Well, since I really didn't have anything to say.
Guess I'll log off for now.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Greatest Gift of Christmas

The greatest gift of Christmas is Jesus Christ and His love.

God so loved the word that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Learned it when I was a child, not even ten years old. Here I am, at least 56 years later and haven't forgotten yet. Probably never will! Is it from the King James version of the Bible? Probably, but does it matter? There is no mistaking the sentiment. God is Love!

When I think of love, I think of I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV):
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

If we read on, verses 8b through 10 tell us (NIV):
But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
Where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
Where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

The it goes on to address the concept of "Aging" -- something I deal with on a daily basis (11)
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought liked a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Then it addresses the great hereafter (12)
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; Then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

It concludes with the reality of life and death (13):
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Love is ..... God is ..... I am!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Gifts



“... whoever loses his life for my sake will find it!” (Matthew 10:39)

I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
(John 10: 10 & 11)

  • Regeneration -- i.e., the change of the sinner’s nature by the action of the Holy Spirit!
  • Justification -- i.e., the change of the sinner’s standing by a declarative act of God in which sins are remitted and the sinner is freed from condemnation!
  • Sanctification =d the process by which regenerate persons are gradually transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ!

Salvation by Grace through Faith!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Christmas Reflections

St. Nicholas
  • He lived during the 4th century in Lycia, a province on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.
  • Traveled to Egypt and Palestine.
  • Became Bishop of the church at Myra.
  • During the period of Christian persecution he was imprisoned by Diocletian.
  • Later released by Constantine the Great who issued the Edict of Milan in AD 313 which called for a toleration of all religions.
  • Protestant churches in Germany transformed St. Nicholas into Father Christmas. Kriss Kringle -- Christ Kindle, meaning Christ child.

CHRISTMAS comes from the Old English term Cristes maesse meaning Christ’s mass -- a festival service of worship help on Dec 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Three masses in the Roman Catholic Church on Christmas day.

  • Midnight represents the birth of the Lord before the ages.
  • Dawn supposedly represents the birth by the Blessed Virgin.
  • Daylight hours represents the birth in the hearts of the faithful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Reflections

One year while preparing a Christmas message, I ran across some interesting information.

Clement of Alexandria said some people believe Christ’s birth was April 20th, others say it was May 20th, and others say January 6th.

The Eastern Orthodox church reportedly chose January 6th – Epiphany – which some say was the date Jesus was consecrated and the three wise men arrived (Matthew 2: 9-12 and Luke 2:39).

The Western church based in Rome claims December 25th as the date to celebrate Jesus' birth.

In the 4th century, Christmas tide – 12 days of Christmas from December 25th through January 6th -- was established.

During the 6th century, Dionysius Exigus (a monk) invented the calendar system AD & BD to calculate the correct date for Easter.

  • The death of Herod was established as 4 BC (Matthew 2: 19).
  • The Epiphany - the star (Matthew 2: 1-2) = a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in 6 B.C.
  • 6 B.C. was also about the same time that Herod reportedly slew children 2 years old or younger (Matthew 2:16).

The term CHRISTMAS comes from the Old English term Cristes maesse meaning Christ’s mass -- a festival service of worship held on Dec 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Saturnalia -- an ancient Roman pagan festival – Dec 17th – Roman winter feast of merrymaking and gift exchange

Christmas Colors of Red & Green --Green denotes continuance of life through winter and Red symbolizes the blood Jesus shed at His Crucifixion\

Holly -- prickly leaves and red berries reminded people of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and the berries symbolized droplets of blood.

St. Nicholas

  • lived during the 4th century in Lycia, a province on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.

  • Traveled to Egypt and Palestine.

  • Became Bishop of the church at Myra.

  • During the period of Christian persecution he was imprisoned by Diocletian but later released by Constantine the Great who issued the Edict of Milan in AD 313 which called for a toleration of all religions.

  • Protestant churches in Germany transformed St. Nicholas into Father Christmas -- Kriss Kringle -- Christ Kindle, meaning Christ child.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Second Post

It is Rivalry Saturday -- the Iron Bowl, and all the rest. To quote an old television commercial, "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?" You betcha!

Cherai, my daughter, is visiting for the weekend with her friend Bryan. He seems like a nice fellow. We are going to have to come up with an additional or other name for Bryan since Cherai's brother is also named Brian. Of course, we could always go with Bryan Y and Brian I since you really can't hear the difference.

Well, it is the time of year when some people like to put up the Christmas tree(s). Now that all the children are grown, gone and we are empty nesters, we have two Christmas trees! Go figure? Hey! Isn't life grand? Since Cherai is the Christmas Tree Putter Upper designate and she has asked for assistance -- when I'm finished -- now that is a motive not to finish --however, it is inconceivable to me that i could go typing this for days just to avoid putting up a Christmas tree -- oh silly me! One tree? No way Jose! Aha, my destiny awaits.

Actually, I came into, my study to work on getting passport applications together but got sidetracked into this blog thing. By the way, do you know that in Indiana they want each individual to come and apply for their own individual passport in person. What's up with that? You'd think they don't trust people? You think? I mean after all ........

Obviously I really have no idea what to write here. Kind of a diversion type activity. Isn't it? Oh well, since it is kind a like a public diary, I figure it really doesn't matter.

Have fun. I think I did!

Have a good day, Bob

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Post

I have no idea what I am doing! My youngest son and his beautiful wife are bloggers. They convinced my daughter to establish a blog. I think my oldest son has a blog. I am pretty sure my wife doesn't have a blog but who knows?

I bet "The Shadow" knows.

In any event, it seems like this might be a fun thing to do -- AND -- Since they have gotten me into the world of texting, I might as well explore the world of blogging. I think this technology may be useful to me and the Council On Aging of Elkhart County, Inc. (Indiana) where I am the Executive Director. So, in order to figure this whole thing out and get started, here goes my adventure into the world of blogging.

Obviously this thing doesn't have spell check because as I reviewed what I just wrote, I see where old (literally and mentally) fat fingers blew a couple of words. If you see others, please forgive this aging relic of a person.

I sure hope no analyst reads this stuff -- they may think I have some phobia with the whole (half or any portion thereof) idea of aging -- which is not true! I mean after all, no one is going to get out of this world alive! There was only one person who did that but then he created the world so for him it was no big thing but for the rest of us, I don't believe it is going to happen!

Oh well, it is time for me to stop rambling and see what kind of trouble I've gotten myself into. Until the next time, "take care and God bless!

Love to all, Trebor Siwel