Saturday, May 31, 2008

There is much in the news today about pastors—almost all of it is bad.

The pastors being seen on television are making fools of themselves, not by preaching the gospel, but by ranting and raving about politics and being vulgar while doing it.

The sad thing is that many in society see these men and their churches as an example of what you find at most churches. This is just not true!

Quaker philosopher Elton Trueblood said, “I am as conscious as are most people of the inadequacies of the local church and though I am sure that the church is not the building…I can never forget that, apart from the poor little fellowships in such poor buildings, there isn’t a chance in the world that I would be enlisted in the cause of Christ.”

AMEN! Thank God for all the good churches, large and small across this great land!


Friday, May 30, 2008

Every Friday my wife and some of her blogging friends do what they call “Show And Tell.” They take pictures of various things of interest to them and then they post them on their blogs with information. I only look at what my wife has posted. I know I would not want to see the others because of what I see on hers. It is “stuff” that appeals to women—not men—usually.

Today is Friday and I don’t really have anything I want to blog about. But I will not be doing “Show And Tell.” I will not be doing it today. I will not be doing it next Friday. And I probably will never do a “Show And Tell” on my blog.

However, if I ever get as much “stuff” as my wife has I may eventually have something worth showing and talking about. Until then—all I have got for you is words—lots of words. Sorry!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places…”

Yesterday morning I had a cataract removed from my left eye. Being far sighted in one eye and near sighted in the other—I have worn glasses for years.

This morning I made my after surgery visit to my doctor and she said, “You are doing great”. Now, until my eye adjusts I only need glasses for reading. I can see fine!

If the time every comes that you need to have a cataract removed—don’t hesitate. Fantastic advancements have been made in this area of medicine.

Don’t ever, ever take sight for granted!

Isn’t this a beautiful world?


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It’s all in the way we look at it.”

Wow! I was looking at the back of my head in a mirror and discovered that a lot of hair is missing. There is a big bald spot developing on the top of my head close to the back. Why hadn’t I noticed this before?

“I didn’t know that bald spot on my head was so big.” I said to my wife. “Oh yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s been there a long time.” My son and daughter were there and they agreed with her.

When I look in the mirror I only see the front and sides of my hair unless I turn at just the right angle to see the back. So, the way I see it—I have a full head of hair. I like the way I see it better than the way others see it. However, my view of the situation is all fouled up.
I’m just not seeing my head and hair as it really is.

It’s sad but true that this is the way we get screwed up on so many things. “It’s all in the way we look at it.” We need to improve our vision!


Monday, May 26, 2008

It had been twenty-one years since I had been there, but a few days ago as the boat sailed smoothly across the water toward the USS Arizona Memorial old emotions came flooding back and I felt the same sadness I felt years before. We walked reverently around the memorial that hovers over the sunken ship where 1,177 crew members lost their lives. Those of us who are older were remembering. The younger ones were hearing the story as if it had just happened.

My mother and I had been to a Sunday afternoon movie. As we walked out of the theater there were boys on the street shouting, “Extra, extra, read all about it.” It was December 7, 1941 and the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. That marked the beginning of the United States entry into World War II.

Many lives have been lost in war—and today we REMEMBER!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Flying home from Hawaii I found myself thinking, “Will I be able to retain the wonder?”

For a week I had been held captive by the wonder of God’s creation. The anticipation of going to Hawaii had been building for months—and then one day it happened. It was wonderful! Now it was over. I felt a little like I do at Christmas time. There is the anticipation—and then it’s all over. How am I going to hold onto the wonder!

How do we live so that we avoid becoming at the end of life, the proverbial cynic or the “grumpy old person”? Why can’t we celebrate life right to the end?

I believe our sense of wonder is a blessing from God. And it’s not just found in places like Hawaii—it’s all around us.

I want, by the grace of God, to regain and retain the sense of wonder that I have had all through life. I want to die being continually amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. I want once again to have the enchantment I knew as a child.


When Life Is Hard

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Friday, May 23, 2008

I went to the Dr. this morning for my regular three month diabetes check up. Bad report. Knew it would be. I ate too much ice cream in Hawaii. To paraphrase the Dr. He said, “Go home, get your act together and come back in a month instead of three.”

Who knew? Yesterday it got down into the low 50’s. Is this Phoenix or did I get off the plane in the wrong city coming home from Hawaii?

There were a lot of unhappy and angry people in our city last night. High School graduation ceremonies all over the valley were planned for outside. When the rain came they were either moved inside where there was not enough room for everybody or they sat out in the down pour. What happened? It hasn’t rain here in May for over five years.
I’m sure that many of those people blaming God and taking His name in vain were the same ones who claimed not to believe in Him until the rain started coming down.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

After a week in Hawaii it’s hard to get back into the swing of things-- like getting over jet-lag, the three hour time difference, having to fix your own meals, kicking the ice cream habit, adjusting to the wind blowing sand in your face instead of water sprays, and a dozen other things. One of the biggest adjustments is to the temperature. However, the weatherman is cooperating a little today. Its overcast, a slight wind is blowing and it’s only in the 80’s.

Now, if I can only adjust to not just laying around on the beach and by the pool and get that crazy lawnmower going—I’ll be alright.

My biggest adjustment of all is going to be trying to kick the Lappert’s ice cream habit. This is my second day of going without it and I’m in withdrawal. It can be frightening and I’m horrified. The closest place for me to get a fix will be Palm Springs or Las Vegas. I don’t think Charlottes going to let me head off for either of those places right now. She will be out of the house for awhile so I’m thinking about pawning something from one of her collections of “stuff” and heading for Vegas!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WOW! We have just returned from a week's vacation in Hawaii. We had a fantastic time. Our son and daughter took us there to celebrate our 5oth wedding anniversary. They made all the arrangments, paid all the bills and all we had to do was just go along. Wow! What a wonderful gift from two wonderful people.

I hope you read and benefitted from Tim Hansel's writings that were posted while I was away.

We ate so much while on our trip that I thought I might never eat again. Guess what? I was wrong again. I have got to get on down to the grocery store. We need food in this house!

Have a great day!

Keep On Dancin’ #8

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. Proverbs 14:15

When you face problems, there is equal danger in underdefining them as there is in overdefining them.

Simple answers are not necessarily simplistic answers. Band-Aids are a simple, effective solution for cuts and scrapes, but they don’t do a thing for cancer. Likewise simplistic answers don’t address the real issues of a problem. If you use them, you will probably cover up what you don’t understand rather than take the time to see the problem clearly. Therefore, you won’t know enough about the problem to be able to sort the necessary from the unnecessary.

To simplify a problem means simply to remove that which clutters up your thinking.

Unclutter my thinking, Lord, and help me see my problem for what it is.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #7

Monday, May 19, 2008

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

You are “hooked” when your emotions dominate and you’re more concerned about your feelings than you are about the problem involving the feelings.

When you are emotionally hooked, you imprison yourself within a very narrow view of the problem. When you find yourself emotionally hooked, first focus on God and His perspective on the problem and the try to find out what the problem really is. Go for a walk, get some exercise, back away from the problem until you can see it from a more detached point of view. I’ve found that it helps to focus on a favorite Bible passage such as the one above.

“Unhook me” Lord, as I focus my mind on You and not on my problems.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book
Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #6

Sunday, May 18, 2008

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

On a Summit Expedition wilderness program for the physically handicapped, I was in excruciating pain, beginning to think, “Why me?” when I looked over and saw Pam Dahl ready to take on her first rock-climbing challenge.

Because of cerebral palsy Pam has never walked, and could not use her arms in climbing.

Our instructors tied her onto the rope at the bottom of the cliff and then for the next hour and a half she inched her way up the rock. At the top, instructors helped her over to a rock where she curled her bent legs underneath her and said, “That was fun. Let’s do it again.”

Needless to say, I became rather embarrassed about my “pity party.”

Changing our perspective sets us free to see problems as they really are.

Lord, set me free from my whining to see my life from Your perspective.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book
Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #5

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4,5

Change will be the norm in the ever increasingly complex future that faces all of us. We will no longer be able to solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. Nevertheless, we have a choice. We can either spend our time and energy complaining about how things aren’t as easy as they used to be or we can begin to employ and develop some of our God-given creative abilities and thus discover new ideas, new answers, and new solutions. As someone once said, “If you do what you’ve always done and think what you’ve always thought, there’s a good chance you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Open my heart and mind to new ways of looking at any difficulties, Father.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book
Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #4

Friday, May 16, 2008

Job’s wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:9, 10a

I asked a good friend what he thought life would be like without problems. He said, “I think a person with no problems would be in serious trouble. If you think about it, it’s our problems that provide us with growth opportunities. Relationships within a family without problems would lack depth and the children could not possibly mature into adults without the opportunity to solve many problems.”

Perhaps like me, you have a tendency to want to protect your children from having problems. Yet on a deeper level we must hope that they encounter significant problems in their lives, so that they can become mature people of God.

Lord, I do not want to protect those I love from having to deal with problems. Help me to release my loved ones and their problems to You.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book
Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #3

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33, 34, 36

We think that if we commit our lives to God, He will work things out for us so that everything will run smoothly for us without problems. When it doesn’t work that way we ask, “why?” We find it easy to believe that unbelievers or scoundrels have problems but inevitably we ask why does a just and loving God permit us to experience hard times. We are always ready to praise Him for our blessings, but we fail to see that so often our problems are really blessings in disguise. For without problems there would be no learning, no growth, no opportunity to change.

I give you glory, wise and loving God – You take problems and turn them into blessings!

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #2

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

One of the most liberating discoveries of my life was that problems can be potential blessings. They can be a means of growth. I also know that in Christ I have the capacity to be a very capable problem solver.

The Bible encourages us to have a sane estimate of our abilities. Many people interpret this to mean that we should think less of ourselves. In having a sane estimate of our abilities, we realize the amazing things that God can do in us and through us. When we do that, we become much less intimidated by problems because we know that God is not only for us but in us.

Therefore, I am not afraid to fail.

Oh God, when I remember that You actually live in me, my limitations become Your opportunities.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book
Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings

Keep On Dancin’ #1

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12

I overheard a golfer saying, “What an incredible course this is. It has a wicked dog leg, two huge sand traps, and a pond.” He went on describing all the obstacles of the course, and then he said, “I love it! It’s the most exciting course I’ve ever played!” The course was difficult and it brought out his best golfing skills. With the right attitude about the course, he turned something difficult into something fun and stimulating.

Life is a process: a complex, ever-continuing, ever-changing set of problems. The choice is not if you’ll accept problems, but how! Your attitude determines whether or not you will succeed. William James said, “Perhaps the greatest discovery of this century is that if you can change your attitude, you can change your life.”

When it comes to my problems, I need an attitude adjustment, Lord.

Taken from Tim Hansel’s book Keep On Dancin’ Daily readings


Monday, May 12, 2008

Contrary to what Jeremiah Wright may think—God has blessed America and I believe He will continue to do so until we move so far from Him that there just isn’t any hope. I don’t think we are there yet.

Yesterday morning my wife, daughter and I sat with about two thousand other worshippers praising God and listening to His Word preached. I thought to myself that all across America, in churches large and small, God is being worshipped.

A ninety-nine year old woman played “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” on the piano and everybody came to their feet and gave her an extended standing ovation.

Yesterday was the Lord’s Day and in America it was also Mothers’ Day. Mothers—one of God’s greatest blessings to mankind, were being honored all across this great country.

God bless America. I love this great country!


Sunday, May 11, 2008

This world has many wonders,
God’s many vistas grand;
But none can ever rival
The beauty of Mother’s hands.
Wilma Heffelfinger

A mother was visiting her daughter and asked her to go shopping with her. The daughter didn’t normally like to go shopping with other people and was not a very patient person. But since it was her mother she set off for the mall. They visited many stores and her mother tried on dress after dress, rejecting them all. As the day wore on the daughter grew weary and frustrated.

Finally, at their last stop the mother tried on a lovely blue three-piece dress. The daughter watched as her mother tried with great difficulty to tie the bow. Her hands were so badly crippled from arthritis that she couldn’t do it. Immediately, the daughter’s impatience gave way to and overwhelming wave of compassion for her mother. She tied the bow for her mother and they bought the dress.

For the rest of the day the daughter had in her mind the vision of her mother’s hands trying to tie the bow. She said, “Those loving hands that had fed me, bathed me, dressed me, caressed and comforted me, and most of all, prayed for me, were now touching me in a most remarkable manner.”


Saturday, May 10, 2008

I like this story by Arthur Gordon:

Not long ago I attended a memorial service for a well-known business leader. In a subdued atmosphere of mourning, various friends paid tribute to him. Near the end, a young black man arose. The other speakers had been assured and eloquent, but this one, under great emotional stress, could barely speak at all. A deep hush fell as he struggled for words.

Finally, with tears streaming down his face, he told the gathering that when he was just an office boy, the industrialist had noticed him, helped him, encouraged him, paid for his education. “For a long time,” the young man said, “I was no good to him or anyone else. I just failed and kept on failing. But he never gave up on me—and he never let me give up on myself.”


Friday, May 09, 2008

My “first” library was on the corner by my “first” elementary school. I loved that library!

I passed it everyday on the way to and from school. I stopped in often to look over books and check out a few. It was in that building that I learned you are supposed to be quite while visiting the library. As a child I respected this rule with reverence. I broke this rule quite often in high school and college but I have returned to it in my old age and now noise in a library really annoys me.

I have enjoyed the library in every city I have ever lived in. It makes me sad that they are closing the one I visit most often. I think this is happening because more people are now buying books of their own. At least I hope this is true and not they we are reading less.

“Book love, my friend, is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure.” Anthony trollope


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Margaret Mason has written a book about how to keep blogging interesting. She says, “No one cares what you had for lunch.” Oh yeah? Sorry Margaret, I’m afraid you’re wrong.

I care! You may tell me I need to “get a life” and I probably do—but I am always interested in what people are eating and where. My wife is friends with dozens of bloggers. One of the few I read on a regular basis is justabeachkat. Kat writes quite often about where she, her husband and friends eat and what they eat. On a trip to the Palm Springs area she gave a daily report which I found very interesting.

There is always interest in my blog when I write about food and restaurants.

What can I tell you Margaret? Maybe if you were old and retired you would get excited knowing I am over at In-N-Out Burger having lunch.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is blogging good for you? Honestly I don't know, but I think it is. My wife has finally started blogging and she smiles a lot.

I have recommended blogging to a few people, including my wife, but none of them started blogging because of me. In fact, only three of them have started at all and they didn't start because I recommended it--not even my wife.

Maybe you would start blogging if you really thought it was good for you. Don't listen to me, nobody does. Read the article found here and see what you think


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

William Randolph Hearst was a “stuffaholic.” After visiting his castle in California, I like thousands of others who have visited there, said, “Wow, he sure had a lot of stuff.”

The truth is—most of us have a lot of stuff!

We almost need an exorcist to help us get rid of some of it. When we finally do get up the nerve, moxie and guts to let go of some of it, guess what? We immediately start re-stuffing.

Oh, did I mention that after collecting all that stuff for eighty-eight years, Mr. Hearst died? Yep, that’s what he did. He just up and died and left all that stuff.

Every weekend I see signs all over our area advertising stuff for sale. Happy people stand in their driveways counting their money while other smiling people load stuff into their cars. One family is getting rid of stuff and another family is re-stuffing!


Monday, May 05, 2008

When I was young we learned moral values from: Our parents, grandparents, other relatives, preachers, church members, neighbors, and friends and although we were not taught directly by them we respected the moral values of almost all people in authority

Today a large percentage of the population does not believe there are any absolute moral values—no absolutes at all. You can not say that anything is absolutely right or wrong. For millions the only venue where moral questions are discussed and weighed is the talk show, where more often than not, the primary aim is to entertain, even shock. When Geraldo and Oprah become the arbiters of public morality we are in deep trouble. Athletes, movie stars, TV stars and politicians are telling us how to live.

What a mess!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

John Ortberg tells a story about a busy florist.

It was a very busy day and the florist got two orders mixed up. One arrangement went to a new business that was opening, and the other went to a family who had a death. The man with the new business came in ticked off: "The flowers that got delivered to my opening day said, "Rest in peace." The florist said, "You think you're mad; you should have seen the peope who just left. A bouquet was delivered to their family's funeral that said, "Good luck in your new location."

Anne Lamott has written, "For the Christian, death is simply a change in address."


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Don’t worry!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (New International Version)

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (The Message)



Friday, May 02, 2008

For years I have kept a daily organizer. I even do it now that I am retired. It not only keeps me organized it serves as a kind of diary. I write down what is going on in my life—a new purchase, something breaks, I receive a gift—just simple life events.

I haven’t been doing it but I could and should write down things that I am grateful for. Things like eating a great lunch with my wife, stopping by for an ice cream cone in the middle of the afternoon, laying by the pool, running into an old friend at the mall, getting a call from someone I haven’t seen or heard from in awhile—just simple things but things that mean a lot to me.

Every good gift comes from God. He is good! I need to keep track of these things and tell him how grateful I am. I also need to express my gratitude to others who are blessing my life.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

We should always be in the spirit of prayer. Today is recognized as a National Day of Prayer. I have had these praying hands on my desks for years. They constantly remind me of Albrecht Durer’s story and that prayer and friendship belong together.

The story is told that around the year 1490 there were two young struggling artists who were close friends. Albrecht Durer and Franz Knigstein were very poor and had to work to support themselves, training as artists in their spare time. However, their manual work was too demanding to allow them proper training. In desperation, they at last decided that they should cast lots to decide which of them should carry on working to support the other in art school. Albrecht won the toss, so he went off to spend time with famous artists in training, while Franz worked extra hard to support them both. Eventually, Albrecht returned to relieve his friend. Because he had become successful as an artist, he would now be able to send Franz off to school. But to his horror, Albrecht discovered that the heavy manual work had ruined Franz’s hands forever. He had forfeited his own artistic future out of loyalty to his friend.

One day, Albrecht found Franz on his knees, his hands clasped in prayer, gnarled and yet offered to God in loving sacrifice. Hurriedly, Durer sketched the moment and produced a symbol for the meaning of prayer. Ever since, the intercessory prayer symbolized by that etching reminds us that prayer and friendship belong together. The person to whom we pray had his hands pierced on our behalf.