Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know."
And so, thought I, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed--the hammers gone.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:17 AM
Friday, May 29, 2009
BOOK REVIEW--THE LOVE RESPONSE BY EVA M. SELHUB. M.D WITH DIVINA INFUSINO
The Love Response is structured around the three essential building blocks of mental health:
- Social love--connecting not only in your intimate relationships but with family, friends, and pets.
- Self-love--learning to nurture yourself with care and tenderness.
- Spiritual love--contributing in meaningful ways to the world beyond your personal needs.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:30 AM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Smiling Sally is a blogger's blogger!
I hope she and her husband, Johnny, don't mind me calling her Sal and gal.
She and Johnny recently sold their beautiful home in Southern Florida and rushed up to Central Florida to have a new one built. They then returned home and started packing.
Since the new home will not be ready for a few weeks they will move into an apartment.
Sally is one busy woman!
Everyday she receives thirty or forty comments on her blog which she continues to post to daily. She receives and immediately answers emails. I know because Charlotte and I send her some.
And here's the "kicker"--SHE ALWAYS RESPONDS TO THE COMMENTS LEFT ON HER BLOG IN ADDITION TO VISITING AND LEAVING COMMENTS ON FRIEND'S BLOGS.
SAL IS MY KIND OF GAL! SHE IS A BLOGGER'S BLOGGER!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Far too long I have cared too much about how people felt about me. Far too long!
As a preacher for forty-seven years I "lived in a fish bowl."
I have been retired for five years and I still feel my every word and deed is under a microscope.
Example: The books I read and review. I would love to read and review a new book, I Hate People. It's a book about people in the business world you might work with. I won't be reviewing it. I don't hate anybody and I don't want to have to explain the title. But I think I might like the book.
Bur frankly, I am tired of this crap of having to explain every word I use--like the word crap.
I'm almost seventy-five years old. I'm a good person. I live a good, clean life. I am not ashamed of anything I do or say--most of the time.
If I want to read a book that happens to have a few naughty words in it--I will. If a book I'm reading says a little too much about sex, I'm not going to start trembling and go blind.
Blog readers are just like T.V. viewers. You have freedom of choice. Don't stop by!
Bonnie was a member of our church. She wasn't the smartest member on the pew but she was writing a book--a book about the old West. I asked her one day, "Bonnie, does your book have any profanity in it?" She hesitated, grinned slyly and said, "Clif, cowboys don't say darn."
Bonnie was doing it her way. I like Bonnie. I think I might like her book.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:15 AM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I have broke with tradition.
Instead of going to bed after the evening news, I now close out the evening with comedy.
I go to bed laughing instead of with a feeling of sadness.
I end my day with prayer. I had rather have a smile on my face when talking to God instead of a heart filled with fear.
I am well aware of the fact that bad "stuff" happens and I pray about it.
But for me I had rather climb into bed trying to stop laughing than trying to stop crying!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:08 AM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I want to tell you the story of a young boy named Teddy Stollard. He was not the kind of kid who got invited to parties. He slouched in his chair and looked bored most of the time. He never dressed right; he had smelly clothes; he was a rather unattractive boy.
When Teddy's teacher would mark his papers, she got a certain perverse pleasure out of marking all the wrong answers. She could have known better because his history was on record. In the First grade it was noted he was a good boy and showed promise but had a poor home situation. In the Second grade he was quiet and withdrawn and his mother was terminally ill. It was noted in the Third grade that he was falling behind. His mother died that year and his father was uninvolved. In the Fourth grade Teddy was hopelessly backward. His father moved away. He started living with his aunt and he was deeply troubled.
Christmas came, and all the children brought presents to school. They were carefully wrapped, except for Teddy's, which was packaged in brown paper and held together with tape and marked, "For Miss Thompson from Teddy." The teacher would open the gifts for the class to admire. When she opened Teddy's it was a rhinestone bracelet with most of the stones missing, and a bottle of perfume that was almost gone. The other children started to laugh, but Miss Thompson caught herself. Snapping on the braclet, she said: "Isn't it lovely, class? And doesn't the perfume smell good?"
At the end of the class, Teddy approached her shyly. "I'm glad you liked my gifts, Miss Thompson," he whispered. "All day long you smelled like my mother. And her bracelet looked nice on you, too."
After he left, Miss Thompson put her head down on her desk and cried. She asked God to forgive her. She prayed that God would help her to see what he sees when she looks at a motherless boy. From that point on she changed. She tutored the children who needed extra help. Teddy most of all. by the end of the year he had caught up with most of his classmates and was ahead of some. After that, she didn't hear from him for quite a while. Then one day she received a note:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating from high school, and I am second in my class.
Love, Teddy Stollard
Four years later came another note:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating first in my class. The university has not been easy. but I liked it.
Love, Teddy Stollard
Four years later, another note:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know that as of today I am Theodore J. Stollard, M.D. How about that? I want you to come sit where my mother would have sat, because you're the nearest thing to family that I've had.
Love, Teddy Stollard
The ability to assign value is one of the rarest and greatest gifts in the world.
So value what God values.
(This is one of my favorite stories. It was told by Dale Galloway in John Ortberg's book, Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them )
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 12:52 PM
Every day I see the power of women.
I see it everyplace I go.
My wife is a good woman. Her mother was a good woman. Most of my blogging friends are women and they all appear to be good women.
The world is full of good women and we couldn't get along without them.
But there are a lot of cheap, vulgar, slutty, foul-mouthed, women and a lot of them are mothers.
What a shame.
But I don't want to end on a negative note.
So much good that is done in this world is done by women. I thank God for you!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:45 AM
Friday, May 22, 2009
"Under the weather." Isn't that a silly expression?
I grew up in Oklahoma saying it and hearing it said. I guess they say it in other parts of the country too.
Well, that's where I am today! Right, smack dab, under the weather.
I know what I preach and teach--"This is the day the Lord hath made...."
I know, and I feel better when I remind myself of that fact.
I also like what Scarlett O"Hair said: "After all, tomorrow IS another day!
You have a good one now. You hear?
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 12:42 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'm really surprised that more of my blogging friends have not signed up for a chance to win a copy of Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope. Why? Is it because I only have five copies to give away and there are already ten signed up? Who knows who will win? It could be you. Is it because it is a true story of grief, rescue and grace and you're just not into grief? What about rescue and grace? This is a powerful, interesting story and I hate for you to miss it.
Pam Cope said, "This is the story of a journey that took seven years and the loss of everything I had. What I learned along the way is that maybe the answer to grief, or to feeling lost, is to give recklessly and passionately. It is in those acts of giving that you become open to receive life's most tremendous blessings."
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:25 AM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It's a rare day in the valley of the sun. No sun!
Oh sure, it's out there someplace. It's just not shining down on me today.
It's kinda nice. I like it.
The weatherman says the sun will be shining here on Memorial Day. Good.
I plan to be cooking on the grill and jumping into the pool.
What are you going to be doing?
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:58 AM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Many people love peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are very popular with most kids and many adults. I like peanut butter but I'm not especially fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
There is a P.B. loco peanut butter store at the Scottsdale Fashion Mall. They told me yesterday that they have been there over three years and that business is good. The peanut butter sandwiches they were making looked great.
I sampled several varieties of peanut butter and finally purchased a jar of Raspberry White Chocolate. This is premium peanut butter and it is delicious. A little pricey, but delicious.
Do you like peanut butter, love it, or does it just stick to the roof of your mouth and annoy you?
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:01 AM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
BOOK REVIEW--JANTSEN'S GIFT BY PAM COPE WITH AIMEE MOLLOY
Another picture in my mind is the one Pam Cope paints of children in Africa who are sold into slavery. This picture breaks my heart.The thought of my children being treated this way is more than I can stand.
It's estimated that one of every four children in Ghana has been sold into slavery. Some are as young as six-years old. They are forced to work on a lake with fishermen for fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. If they refuse to do the work or fail at it they are beaten.
In 2006, a New York Times article about these young children caused Pam Cope to travel thousands of miles to intervene on their behalf. Today, Pam is the director and founder of Touch A Life, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk children all over the world, and she is working to build a center in Northern Ghana that offers a safe shelter and a promising future for the children she is rescuing from slavery.
Jantsen's Gift is a true story of grief, rescue, and grace.I can't remember when a story has touched me so deeply. I cried like a baby when I read about the sudden death of her fifteen-year-old son who died from an undiagnosed heart ailment. But I cried even more when I read the heart rending stories of these precious children. But Pam Cope did more than cry--she acted, and it cost her everything!
I wish I had five hundred or more of her books to giveaway, but I don't, I have only five. But if five of you will read this book, pass it on to others who in turn will pass it on, and then we all pray. God will smile. Pam Cope will smile and little children will be blessed.
Thank you in advance for caring and for requesting a copy of Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope with Aimee Molloy.
WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK
- Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please. You do not have to be a blogger to win.
- I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
- Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
- I'll close the comments June 1 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 1:31 PM
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Ten years ago, Pam Cope owned a hair salon in the small town of Neosho, Missouri. Her life revolved around her son's baseball games, her daughter's dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.
Then, on June 16, 1999, her life changed forever when her fifteen-year-old son Jantsen died from an undiagnosed heart ailment. Drowning in sadness and needing to get as far away from her loss as possible, she accepted a friend's invitation to visit orphanages in Vietnam. From the moment she arrived, everything began to shift. By the time she returned home, she had a mission: to use her pain to change the world, one small step at a time, one child at a time.
I want to tell you the rest of Pam's inspiring story, and will if you return to my blog on Monday. I want all of you to know her story because it will inspire you and draw you closer to the heart of God. I will be giving away five copies of her new book, Jantsen's Gift. I wish I could give away five dozen. No--five hundred!!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 11:32 AM
Friday, May 15, 2009
If you are interested in hope, truth, prayer, miracles and religion in general, then you will really like Robert Whitlow's Higher Hope. This is book two in his Tides of Truth series. The Tides of Truth series follows one lawyer's passionate pursuit of truth--in matters of life and the law.
Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal dramas set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. Whitlow is a practicing attorney making his home in North Carolina.
If you are not interested in spiritual themes then this book or series is not for you. You will only be aggravated by the many references to spiritual matters.
Tami Taylor is a law clerk assigned to a libel case against an abrasive, out spoken preacher who is either a prophet or a lunatic. As she becomes involved in the case she is troubled by the preacher's uncanny prophetic abilities. She is also troubled that the firm's client seems to be hiding something. At the same time two very different men from the firm vie for her heart.
Just when the challenges seem insurmountable, hope for Tami arrives from a surprising place. And it's a higher hope than she's ever imagined.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 6:00 AM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
BOOK REVIEW -- FACE OF BETRAYAL BY LIS WIEHL
Face of Betrayal is receiving much praise. Bill O'Reilly, Fox TV and radio anchor said, "This novel is a blast to read!" Another Fox anchor, Sean Hannity, said, "Feels fresher than today's headline story. One of the best suspense novels of 2009." Former DA, Jeanine Pirro remarked, "Three smart women crack the big case! Makes perfect sense to me. This book blew me away!"
I don't read many mystery novels but I found this one hard to put down. It is an incredible read and I recommend it. I wish Liz Wiehl had written it sooner. I would have taken it with me on that long flight to Hawaii last year. It would have made a tiring, boring, flight a pleasant adventure.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:42 AM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This kid is not so bright. Watch while I prove it to you."
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?"
The boy takes the quarters and leaves the dollar.
"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store and says, "Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"
The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the dollar, the game's over."
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 11:16 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
BOOK REVIEW -- ANNIE'S GHOSTS BY STEVE LUXENBERG
Walter Isaacson, Author of Einstein called Annie's Ghosts a gripping detective story and a haunting memoir. He said, "It will leave you breathless." And it did leave me that way. It arrived in the afternoon mail. In the evening I had to attend a concert. I could hardly put the book down. The next day I picked it up and read until I reached the last page. I was breathless.
Steve Luxenberg's mother always claimed to be an only child, but a chance mention led to the discovery that she had been hiding the existence of a sister, Annie. The girls had grown up together, living in a series of cramped apartments until Annie's commitment to a mental institution at the age of twenty-one. Why was Annie committed? Why did her sister so thoroughly erase her existence? Why had she wanted to? Annie's Ghosts is the engrossing, eye-opening story of Luxenberg's search for the personal motives and cultural forces that influenced his mother's decision to create and harbor her secret.
I connected with this book immediately because my father was in a mental institution during the same period of time that Steve Luxenberg's aunt was. I was fascinated by the similarity of his story and mine and drawn into an emotional ride back through time.
Tony Horwitz, author of A Voyage Long and Strange and Confedrates in the Attic said, "Steve Luxenberg sleuths his family's hidden history with the skills of an investigative reporter, the instincts of a mystery writer, and the sympathy of a loving son. His rediscovery of one lost woman illuminates the shocking fate of thousands of Americans who disappeared just a generation ago." Helen Epstein, author of Where She Came From and Children of the Holocaust wrote, "This is a memoir that pushes the journalistic envelope...Luxenberg has written a fascinating personal story as well as a report on our communal response to the mentally ill."
Steve Luxenberg has been a senior editor with the Washington Post for twenty-two years, overseeing reporting that has won numerous awards, including two Pultizer Prizes for explanatory journalism. Combining the power of reportage with the intrigue of mystery, Annie's Ghosts explores the nature of self-deception and self-preservation. The result is equal parts memoir, social history, and riveting detective story.
Bob Woodward, author of The War Within and State of Denial said, "Annie's Ghosts is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read." I agree with Woodward. This is indeed a remarkable book and I recommend it to all, but especially to anyone who has had any experience with mental illness in the family or with friends. This is a beautiful book.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 11:57 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
When I became a Christian my father was resurrected.
When I was growing up the mentally handicapped were referred to as lunatics who belonged in insane asylums. In the 30's, 40's and even later these people were looked upon as hopeless and needed to be put away from society.
Shortly after my mother became pregnant with me, my father was committed to a mental institution. He remained there for the rest of his life and a large part of mine.
It was easier for me to write "deceased" describing him on a written form or when asked about him to just say he was dead.
It wasn't until I became a Christian at seventeen or eighteen that I was able to face the truth and tell the truth! My father was resurrected in my mind.
I have just finished reading a book on this subject by Steve Luxenberg that left me breathless. I will be reviewing this book in a few days. Bob Woodward said this is one of the most remarkable books he has ever read.
Steve Luxenberg's mother carried the same kind of secret about her sister that I did about my father. His book helps to understand the great growth that has been made in the treatment of people born with what we now call special needs.
I hope you will watch for my review. I think you may want to read this remarkable and interesting book. It reads like a detective story. It's hard to put down.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 12:10 PM
Saturday, May 09, 2009
There is an old story about a man desperate for a job, who responds to a want ad at the zoo. The warden explains that their gorilla has died; they can't afford a new one, so they'll pay this man to dress up like one. He balks at first, but needing the money badly he finally agrees.
Each day he gets a little more enthusiastic in his cage. One day he swings on a vine so hard he ends up in the cage next door: the lion's cage. Feeling the lion's breath on his face he forgets his disguise and begins to scream for help. At which point the lion says, "Shut up, you idiot, or we'll both lose our jobs."
Wearing masks can become a way of life. Pretending to be happy when you carry a secret ache. Pretending to be spiritually healthy when there is a great distance between you and God. Pretending to have a perfect marriage when the truth is your relationship has a hollow chamber where its heart should be.
If you're going to receive help from the Lord of the second chance, you will have to acknowledge the truth about your condition.
(Adapted from John Ortberg's Love Beyond Reason)
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 2:10 PM
EMPATHY! That's the first thing I notice about the Samaritan traveling on the Jericho road.
When he saw the bandits' victim lying on the road, he didn't just observe him, he identified with him.
He helped him. He cared. He showed compassion.
There is a quiet power in compassion.
When we show empathy it's almost like we become a part of the person we care about.
We may be a victim in need of empathy. We may be a compassionate "Samaritan."
We may not be able to control everything that happens on the road, but know this--we are on the road doing something.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:10 AM
Friday, May 08, 2009
This is my second post for the day. I deleted the first one.
What I wrote in the first post was true. I decided it didn't need to be said. It wasn't kind.
Man, if there is one thing we need in this old world--it's a little more kindness.
So even though my first post was full of truth, probably needed to be said, and I liked it--I deleted it.
It just wasn't kind.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 1:44 PM
Thursday, May 07, 2009
We live in a time of change. The is a fact.
Attitude is more important than facts. We have to keep shifting, adjusting, trying to improve our attitudes to fit the changing realities of life.
We once were young. We now are old. We once could run, jump, dance. We now struggle just to creep along. Our bodies change! Prices change. We may lose a job, a loved one, our home--everything. Life changes. It just does. Oh yes, some things do not change and should not change. These are the absolutes.
Flexibility is one of the keys to success in a time of change. Charlotte and I lived in California for over thirty years and then moved to Arizona. We traded the cool, sandy beaches for the hot, sandy desert. We had to adapt! If we had been rigid, we would not have made it here.
We learned that we had to experiment with new philosophies and life-styles. We had to change ourselves and the way we looked at things.
As a preacher I have spent my life telling people how to live. The truth is, most of the time, I have been preaching to myself.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 7:23 AM
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
"The trouble with most of us isn't active or deliberate wickedness; it's lethargy, absence of caring, lack of involvement in life."
Too many of us are practicing the deadly art of non-living.
We go to bed early, not because we need the rest but because somebody told us we should. Far from burning our candles at both ends, most of us seem to be reluctant even to light a match.
We have so many warnings about what not to do and what might happen that we are afraid to do anything.
The feeling of adventure has gone out of life.
"There's only one answer, really. Each of us must be willing, at least sometimes, to chop wood instead of sitting by the fire."
"Every day, for every one of us, some distant trumpet sounds. But never too faint or too far for our answer to be: "Wait! I'm coming!"
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:50 AM
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
When do you read? Summer? Winter? All the time?
I read all of the time--winter, spring, summer, fall. But living in the desert I probably read more in the summer in the house with the air conditioner going. However, I like to curl up by the fireplace with a book in the winter. Yes, it does get cold here in the winter.
I assume that those of you living in the colder climates may read more in the winter and get outside and run around more in the summer. But, of course, I could be wrong.
My daughter is a voracious reader and she likes to lay out by the pool and read. Not me!
I see people reading novels while waiting for an appointment, on an airplane, in a restaurant, sitting on a bench in a park or waiting for a bus. Not me. I like to be alone when I read.
What about you? When do you read?
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:19 AM
Monday, May 04, 2009
Joe's Crab Shack sits on the banks of the mighty Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky. I ate there once with my wife, Charlotte and my daughter Carol. The food was great and we enjoyed lunch while watching the boats go up and down the river. I don't know if there is much blue around the restaurant or not. However, you see blue just about everywhere you look at Joe's Crab Shack in Tempe, Arizona. That's where these pictures were taken and where Charlotte and I enjoyed a great meal. Blue is my favorite color and sea food is one of my favorite foods. It doesn't get much better than that--eating sea food surrounded by blue. Have a Happy Blue Monday.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 6:38 AM
Friday, May 01, 2009
IN-N-OUT BURGER---A Behind-The-Counter Look At The Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All The Rules by Stacy Perman
"At last, the great American small-business story gets told. It is a reassuring read in uncertain times, reminding business owners to listen to customers, do what you love, and have fun while you do it." -Sir Richard Branson
If you live anywhere in the West you know about In-N-Out Burger. It has become nothing less than a cultural institution that can lay claim to an insanely loyal following. For years I lived in El Monte, California the first city to the West of Baldwin Park, the home of In-N-Out Burger. Then for a few years I lived in West Covina just to the East of Baldwin Park. To me, Perman's story was both familiar and fascinating. If you love In-N-Out burgers you will love this book.
TWO GIVEAWAYS YOU SHOULD NOT MISS:
THE GOLD STANDARD --Building a World-Class Team by Mike Krzyzewski
You don't have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than one book on my blog. A simple comment is all it takes to enter. If you like basketball, Coach K and books about leadership, why wouldn't you take the time to leave a comment? There is only a few days left for this giveaway.
HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM by Charles Grodin
Carol Burnett said, "The fault I find with this book is that it ends too soon." This giveaway also ends soon, so leave a comment if you are interested. You may not win, but five people will--so why not give it a try.
If you are interested in either of these two giveaways, scroll down to the reviews and leave a comment. I hope I get to send you a copy!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 7:58 AM