Monday, December 31, 2007

miss me?

Your Way Monday
. . . . .
Two days in a row - no post.
We're home now.
Tuesday will have a post.
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

On this date

Tiger Woods, pro golfer, is 32
. . . . .
in 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
(Go to article.)
. . . . .
in 1899, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Manila during the Philippine-American War. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

been here before

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
We're traveling.
Just checked into Hotel.
Not sure if I'll be able to get something on today.
. . . . .

Saturday, December 29, 2007

On this date

Jude Law, Actor, is 35
. . . . .
in 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in England.
. . . . .
in 1906
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about President Theodore Roosevelt's appointment of Attorney General William Moody to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

was Thomas Becket ready?

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .
On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

. . . . .

On August 10, 1961, Pope John XXIII wrote these words:

As for myself, I feel like St Martin, who 'neither feared to die, nor refused to live'. I must always hold myself ready to die, even a sudden death, and also to live as long as it pleases the Lord to leave me here below. Yes, always. At the beginning of my eightieth year I must hold myself ready: for death or life, for the one as for the other...

As we commemorate the life and feast day of St. Thomas Becket, we reflect on these thoughts.
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Friday, December 28, 2007

On this date

Adam Vinatieri, NFL Football player, is 35
. . . . .
in 1945 Congress officially recognized the "Pledge of Allegiance."
. . . . .
in 1901
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Joseph Pulitzer, the owner of the New York World newspaper. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

je t'aime

Heart Way Friday
. . . . .
O
n the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

. . . . .
...and at the heart of it all -
(3:58)


'CLICK' the above > and be transported back in time
. . . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On this date

Carson Palmer, NFL Football player, is 28
. . . . .
in 1968 Apollo 8, the first spaceflight to orbit the moon, returned to Earth.
. . . . .
in 1879, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Senator Thomas Bayard of Delaware, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1880. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Help is on the way

Cause Way Thursday

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On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

. . . . .

One of the most recognized poor relief organizations in the world is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Inc. They operate with mostly volunteer personnel and operate many stores and centers which focus on helping the poor. Go to this link for more information.
. . . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On this date

Chris Daughtry, Rock singer ("American Idol"), is 28
. . . . .
in 2004 A tsunami triggered by a powerful earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean left more than 216,000 people dead or missing, mostly in southern Asia.
. . . . .

in 1868
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Reverdy Johnson, the U.S. minister to Great Britain. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On this date

Barbara Mandrell, Country singer, is 59
. . . . .
in 1223 St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.
. . . . .
in 1866
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Santa Claus and Christmas. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

what's it all about, alphie?

Vid Way Tuesday
. . . . .
S
ometimes, we gotta ask questions. Sometimes we gotta hear the answers. Sometimes we gotta get through the fuzzies, and let the light of truth be shown. Just as in the Trinity, truth has 3 parts, so does this event: 1 - incarnation, 2 - crucifixion, 3 - resurrection.
. . . . .

'CLICK' on the > above, then really Celebrate the day!
. . . . .
T
o all my friends and family and neighbors and blog-buds ... a very Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings ... show the world that today makes a difference to you!
. . . . .

Monday, December 24, 2007

who put the "W" in 'Christmas'

Your Way Monday
. . . . .
The following was sent to me by a friend, Missy Hathaway. Thank you, Missy.
. . . . .
The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.
Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.
Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
And, I believe, He still is.
. . . . .
Tonight is the night - God Bless You All !
. . . . .

Sunday, December 23, 2007

on this date

Paul Hornung, Football Hall of Famer, is 72
. . . . .
in 1823 The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore was first published, in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel.
. . . . .
in 1871
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

no pain ... no gain

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man part 8
. . . . .
There was a lot of water passed under the bridge between the time of Isaiah, the old testament prophet, and the birth of the baby Jesus, the long awaited Messiah - approximately 700 (+/-) years. There has been a lot of history, by our measure, taking place since Jesus returned to His Father - approximately 2000 (+/-) years.

In all this time, the message has remained the same. As a man, a Christian man, I need to heed it. One part of the message is contained in the letter written to the Hebrews. In Chapter 10, verse 36 it is written:
36 You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.
Endurance! Another aspect of endurance is patience. The ongoing act of endurance requires patience, as there is some longer passage of time involved in a 'distance' race than with a short race, or sprint. As a man of Christ, I must continue my effort, with patience. The end will be reached, but if it is still a ways off, I cannot give up, but must persevere to the goal line.

As with many long-term endeavors, suffering may be involved in reaching the end of the effort. That there is a prize or reward awaiting those who finish is understood. Yet, it is still difficult, and many do not make it not through. St. Paul in one of his letters, specifically a letter to the Christians living in Rome, wrote in chapter 5, verses 3-5:

3 Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,
4 and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Being a Christian man is intentionally goal oriented. Not only is my effort in behalf of myself, it is eminently the plan that my life affects other lives. I need to live my life in such a way that others will take notice, and allow the seed planted by my witness to flourish and grow in them.The goal is that they may also be called 'Christian'.
. . . . .

'CLICK' on the above > and welcome our Lord this last Sunday of Advent
. . . . .
Maranatha
and Emmanuel

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On this date

Jordin Sparks, R & B singer ("American Idol"), is 18
. . . . .
in 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, saying, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah." (Go to article.)
. . . . .
in 1906
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Secretary of State Elihu Root. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

blinded by the lights

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .
S
ome years ago, the missus and I took a summer vacation trip - unfortunately, it is one of a very few in our life ... we have never been very good at actually taking vacation trips, opting instead to visit family or some such thing. That particular year we went to 'upstate' New York into the Adirondak Mountains. We stayed at a ski lodge in the middle of July. Wonderful rates were available that time of year.

Living in the midwest, even when out of the city into the countryside, we had never seen the night skies illuminated as magnificently. From the vantage point of such incredible height, and distance from any population center, the stars seemed twice the size and thrice the brightness.

Imagine the view of that famous traveling star written about in the Holy Scriptures. Following such an object shouldn't have been all that difficult, I would think - especially in the absolute solitude of the landscape of the region.

It does seem more difficult today, though. Could it be the glitter and lights around us today that keeps us from seeing it ... and following it? Could we possibly be blinding ourselves in our creative celebration of 'the season'?


' Click' on the above > and watch in wonderment.
. . . . .
O
nly a few days away is an opportunity to relax in the presence of the King - I hope I don't let all the lights blind me.
. . . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

On this date

Jane Fonda, Actress and political antagonist, is 70
. . . . .
in 1988, a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. (Go to article.)
. . . . .
in1895
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Congressman Thomas B. Reed, the powerful speaker of the house. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

'tis the season to think about gifts

Heart Way Friday . . . . .
T
alent and giftedness comes from God. Why can one sing and another cannot? Why can one teach and another cannot? Why can one administrate and another cannot? Yet we are all part of the creation of God - we are all part of the Body of Christ. We each have gifts that in some way contribute to the wellness and functioning of the whole.

Here is one of God's very gifted. ['click' on the link]
Enjoy and rejoice!
. . . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On this date

David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, is 25
. . . . .
in 2005 A federal judge ruled that "intelligent design" could not be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district.
. . . . .
in 1902
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about cartoonist Thomas Nast, who had recently died. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)
Cause Way Thursday . . . . .
There are a lot of organizations who work to help others in needs. One such group that helps unwed mothers is known as Life Call. According to the founder Kathy DiFiore:
"Since 1981, we have helped over 15,000 women. Over 200 pregnant women call our National Hotline every month seeking our assistance. Through this website we hope to help many more."

Look over the site, and help if you can. However you help others during the Christmas holidays, please give consideration to these types of organizations - I'm sure there are other similar organizations in your locale.
. . . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On this date

Jake Plummer, Football player, is 33
. . . . .
in
1998 President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice.
. . . . .

in 1863
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about a Union drummer boy during the Civil War. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Kill the Christians

The Way Wednesday
. . . . .

Four Killed by Shooter Who "Hated Christians"

The Wired Word for December 16, 2007

In the News

In the early hours of Sunday morning December 9, a man appeared at the door of the Youth With A Mission missionary center in Arvada, Colorado. He soon opened fire, killing two young staff members and injuring two others, one critically. He then fled the scene. Police attempted to track him through the fresh snow using dogs, but lost his trail in a heavily tracked area.

About 11 hours later, as parishioners were leaving New Life Church in Colorado Springs, some 80 miles from the missionary center, a gunman opened fire on people in the parking lot, killing two teenage sisters and wounding their father. The shooter then entered the church, where he was shot by a member of the church with law enforcement experience who was working as one of several volunteer security guards for the congregation. After being dropped by the guard's bullets, the assailant fatally shot himself.

It was subsequently learned that the shooter in both incidents was the same man, Matthew Murray, who had a history of strange behavior. He had once been a participant at the missionary center, where he was dropped from a mission trip because of issues of either health or behavior (reports vary). He had no known connection to the New Life Church, but between the two attacks, he posted angry statements on the Internet threatening Christians and saying that they "are to blame for most of the problems of the world." His victims appear to be randomly chosen.

The guard who stopped Murray was Jeanne Assam, who said she ran toward the shooting, indentified herself, engaged him, and then took him down with several shots. "It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," Assam said. She later extended her sympathy to the families of the victims "and the gunman -- and I mean that very sincerely," she said.

The church's senior pastor, Brady Boyd, said that the church had instituted additional security measures after hearing about the shootings at the missionary center. He called Assam a hero. "She probably saved over a hundred lives," Brady said. The gunman was heavily armed and had as many as 1,000 rounds of ammunition with him.

A press release from the church made it clear that Assam was not a hired outsider but "a volunteer -- this is a person that comes to our church and is a worshiper here. We have two services -- so she sits in one service and worships, and then serves in the second service as security many times."

More on this story may be found at these links:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22914780-5012748,00.html

http://www.kcci.com/news/14829814/detail.html

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/11/shooter.youth/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/10/colorado.shootings/index.html?iref=newssearch

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/opinion/12wed3.html?_r=2&th&emc=th&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

http://www.newlifechurch.org/nln.jsp?id=20 (click on "Download PDF of 9 a.m. press conference here")

http://ywam.org/articles/article.asp?AID=493&bhcp=1

. . . . .

The Big Questions

1. Is it true that high-profile mega-churches have a greater security risk than small, rural churches?

2. Do you think that churches are likely to be the next venue of choice for people seeking to make a murderous statement? Why or why not?

3. How do our concerns for security in this life mesh with our Christian belief in eternal security?

4. How do we minister to those who are disturbed and have access to firearms?

5. In general, should churches routinely employ armed security personnel? Why or why not? How does this square with our mission to take the gospel to all the world?


Confronting the News with Scripture

Small group discussion of topics and issues like this can be very enlightening. If you belong to such a group, consider bringing this article to the group to look at.


Here are some Bible verses to guide us


Psalm 84:10

Isaiah 11:9
Matthew 10:28
Hebrews 13:2
Matthew 10:16

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On this date

Katie Holmes, Actress, is 29
. . . . .
in 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first civilian nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went online. (Go to article.)
. . . . .
in 1909, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about airplane travel. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Emmanuel ! ... Indianapolis south-side

Vid Way Tuesday . . . . .
T
he People of Praise is an ecumenical Charismatic Christian Covenant Community. They have a team of young missionaries [mostly in their 20's] working to evangelize people to Jesus in the South-side of Indianapolis. This video is on YouTube and shows some of their efforts this past summer, including prayer meetings held in neighborhood houses. [3:38]


'Click' on the > and view their efforts.
. . . . .

Monday, December 17, 2007

On this date

Jim Babjak, Rock musician (The Smithereens), is 50
. . . . .
in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful man-powered airplane flight, near Kitty Hawk, N.C. (Go to article.)
. . . . .
in 1898, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the annexation of Hawaii by the United States. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

a Street Carnival

Your Way Monday
. . . . .
from Father Valenchek at Adam's Ale
posted on Sunday 12/16/07
R
EW sends news of a new Vatican Web Site to help people in their reading of Scripture. Thanks! This program offers Sacred Scripture, its interpretation in light of Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Magisterium, with appropriate theological commentary and exegesis. It can be very useful to anyone wanting more resources.
. . . . .
From Adoro Te Devote
's post on Thursday December 13, 2007
O Come O Come Emmanuel...

Today I attended an "Advent Day of Reflection" designed for we who work in parishes, and found it to be very refreshing and enlightening. It was exactly what I needed, although it was actually at Mass that I had my "special moment". And because it was a retreat, the moment was allowed to continue.

The communion meditation was "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and, never before had I so clearly understood the hymn. Never again will I hear it the same way. [read entire post]
. . . . .
from the Dawn Patrol
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Quote of the day

"In 50 years, the sexual pendulum in Britain has swung from one extreme to the other, from an era in which nice girls didn't until after they were married, to one in which teenage abortions are drearily routine and the Government - like some deranged hippy mum - is wheedling 14-year-olds to please 'be responsible' and go on the Pill.

"The 1950s philosophy was pinned in place by shame, and a reluctance to discuss sex at all. There were dark whispers around unmarried mothers, and desperate panic in single women who fell pregnant. There were hushed-up backstreet abortions, and hurried adoptions, and the cruel denial of children born out of wedlock for decades to come.

"I have no desire to go back to those days, but it seems to me that young people now are being fed an even more complicated set of lies."

Jenny McCartney, "Why our teenage girls get lost," in tomorrow's UK Telegraph

. . . . .

from Abbey-Roads [aka: Terry Nelson]

posted on 12/13/07

More Christmas legends and lore...

Mistletoe
The use of mistletoe dates back to pagan times of course, just as the Christmas tree, advent wreaths, and the use of other greenery does. It is actually a hemiparasite plant that grows upon tree trunks. It was once considered an aphrodisiac by the ancients and associated with fertility by the ancient Celts and Germans. The idea of kissing under the mistletoe originated with Saturnalia, the ancient pagan feast, and later extended into pagan marriage rites.
Before the invention of toilet seats, many young girls claimed to have become pregnant after having kissed a boy under the extremely potent mistletoe. However, this notion died out when young maidens realized they could get pregnant simply by sitting on toilet seats.
. . . . .

from Father Schnippel at Called by name

post dated 12/14/2007

Church Squirrels

Just in time for the Christmas turnout:

There were four country churches in a small Texas town: The Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church. Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But -- The Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

. . . . .

and this, from Adrienne at Adrienne's Catholic Corner

form her post dated 12/10/07

Discernment simply means that we exhibit sound insight and good judgment. We tend to be good at this when it comes to everyday objects or occurrences. If we don’t like a certain food, for instance, we don’t eat it. If we are cold, we put on a sweater.

Yet, when it comes to our immortal soul, we often exhibit far less care. We live in an age of information overload. If you are reading this, you have probably already checked out the number of Catholic websites, blogs, and news agencies. Some of them are a source of great wisdom and some are a scandalous barrage of nonsense. [read complete post]

. . . . .

from The Judge Report post on 12/11/07

Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow Could Have Been a Victim of Abortion:
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 9, 2007
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) -- University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore in the history of the NCAA to win the coveted Heisman Trophy as the best football player in the nation. However, Tebow's accomplishments may never have been supported had his mother followed a doctor's recommendation to have an abortion. [read post]

. . . . .

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On this Date

Hallee Hirsh, Actress ("JAG"), is 20
. . . . .
in
1944 The Battle of the Bulge during World War II began as German forces launched a surprise counterattack against Allied forces in Belgium.
. . . . .
in 1871, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the Academy of Music in New York City. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Set-up and shot down - I blew it

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man part 7

Ask anyone who has ever had to 'endure' company meetings out of town. You'll find stories galore about the revelry that carries on into the night after a day of meetings and conferences - even if it is only in the hotel bar / cocktail lounge. What transpires under the influence of alcohol does not make the list of tales carried home. A prevailing company 'look the other way' unwritten policy actually encourages this type of camaraderie in the name of 'team building'.

After I had an almost overpowering experience of God's Holy Spirit, I found those activities to be terribly difficult to enjoy. When the groups headed for the bar, I usually stayed long enough to be cordial, then excused myself and went back to my room. It didn't take long to hear the comments behind my back, which were meant to be insulting but only proved to be affirming to my behavior.

"Where's Jim?" someone would ask. "Oh, he's back in his room reading his bible - he's got religion now you know!" was a typical reply. Spilled blood? No, but certainly a form of suffering visited upon me because of my seeming anti-social behavior.

I survived and grew stronger in my convictions. St. Paul wrote to Timothy in his second letter to him [2Tim 2:3] "Share suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." Soldiers need to be ready to suffer the slings and arrows of the enemy. Good behavior often requires supernatural assistance to maintain. We all want to be liked, to be a part of the group, to be recognized as a team player. I really had to stay 'on top of my game'. My performance had to stay near the top or I risked being judged adversely, not because of valid criticism of my work, but because of my counter-cultural behavior.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews viewed the effort needed and the reward given. In the 10th chapter it is written, starting in vs 32 to the end of the chapter:
32 Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering.
33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
34 You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.
36 You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.
37 "For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay.
38 But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him."
39 We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.
One year I attended a large company Christmas party on the north side of Detroit. Many of the company staff were present. A lot of company clients were also there. Attendance was pretty 'mandatory' for those of us who had normal day-to-day contact with these people. My wife seldom attended these events - she didn't like them, and I didn't like subjecting her to the behavior that usually reared its head after the alcohol had been flowing for awhile.

Most knew that I would be a gracious host to our customers, but not too long after the dinner, I would be leaving for home. One of our senior sales reps came to me and asked a favor. He said that one of the owners' secretary needed a ride home - she didn't want to spend the whole evening at the party, and since I was headed south of Detroit to go home, maybe I could drop her off en route. I graciously accepted.

I saw it as a way to leave earlier than even I thought I would. I knew the woman - a divorced single mother in her early thirties who appeared to have her act together - and besides, she was the personal secretary to one of the owners.

We arrived at her home in a very blue collar neighborhood. While she might have been secretary to one of the owners, she wasn't living high on the hog. She asked me if I would walk her to her door - a reasonable request living in this neighborhood. As she opened the door, she asked me if I wanted to come in. I declined. She got in a kind of a huff and said something like "What's the matter? You afraid someone might find out? I didn't become a 'private' secretary by not being able to keep secrets, you know."

I commented I was sure she was very good at keeping secrets but I needed to go home. She turned, gave me a quick brushing kiss on the cheek and said, "You're sweet...see you in the office tomorrow."

Tomorrow came. I hadn't been in the office long when the senior sales rep who asked the favor came in. He came over to me and started in. "The word's around already ... you blew her off - you absolutely blew it. I worked very hard to set you up and you blew it!"

Well, so much for innocence and naivety - I never suspected I had been 'set-up'. Hit on when I got her home I recognized, but I never suspected a set-up. Just another thing they could talk about around the water cooler that day.

There are lots of ways I can be called on to suffer for Christ. Sometimes it is not easy - but it is so necessary. If I am going to be a true Christian man, I may have to suffer for what is right.
. . . . .

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On this date

Don Johnson, Actor ("Miami Vice"), is 58
. . . . .
in 1791 The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, took effect following ratification by Virginia.
. . . . .
in 1888
, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about speculation concerning the cabinet appointments of President-elect Benjamin Harrison. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Bad News ... Good News

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .

The snow started falling around 9:15am. Forecasters are saying it will let up in the later afternoon for awhile after depositing 3 - 5 inches in our band. The precipitation will then turn to a wintry mix of rain and freezing rain and sleet and ice. An all snow event will return during the night and through most of the day on Sunday with near-blizzard to blizzard like conditions. Additional snow accumulations of from 7- 12 additional inches, for a total event of from 10 - 17 inches before this system clears our area Sunday evening. It looks like it could be a long day on Monday.

That is the bad news.
. . . . .
Now for the good news.

This morning was 'Graduation Day' for one of the occasional commenters to this blog, Miss Emily. She has achieved her goal and has been officially accepted into that rarefied consortium of the educated. She has a very special giftedness and heart for working with the severely handicapped. Her Bachelors Degree in Education, with the emphasis of specialization in that area, will serve her and the school system that subsequently employs her very well indeed. Her future students will greatly benefit from her talents and heart.

I've know this young-woman for several years, and will attest to her drive and determination. She has worked extremely hard to accomplish the recognition garnered this morning. I congratulate her on a job well done - I am proud to have known her as she worked so diligently towards completing the requirements of her degree. She had a little advantage in being a couple of years older than most of the graduates, and from the life experiences that were paid for with her share of difficult obstacles to be overcome - and she did.
. . . . .

Friday, December 14, 2007

On this date

Patty Duke, Actress, is 61
. . . . .
in
1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1967.
(Go to article.)
. . . . .
in 1901, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the children of President Theodore Roosevelt. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On this date

Hank Williams III, Country singer, is 35
. . . . .
in 1863, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the Chattanooga campaign during the Civil War. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)
. . . . .
in 1998 The House Judiciary Committee approved a fourth and final article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton and submitted the case to the full House.

a great virtue - Moderation

The Way Wednesday
. . . . .
From a fourth century Bishop and Doctor of the Church, we learn a lesson too easily forgotten. In our efforts to bring people to the Lord, we often times chase them away with our application of 'justice'. We apply the gospel in a legalistic manner instead tempering our message with moderation and compassion.

How many times do I hear stories of 'former' Christians who left the flock because of the misused 'rod & staff' of the shepherd? How many times have I applied a harsh word when a compassionate word was called for? Is there real justice in this world, or only in the next? How am I to be 'Christ' to others?
. . . . . . . . . .

Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
On Repentance, 1, 1 (SC 179)
. . .
Go out to others in the same way as the Lord draws near to us

Moderation is surely the most beautiful of virtues… It is to this alone that the Church, bought at the price of the Lord’s blood, owes its expansion. It mirrors the heavenly gift of universal redemption… From this it follows that whoever would apply themselves to correcting the faults of their human weakness must bear with and, in some sense, carry this weakness on their own shoulders, not rejecting it. For we read that the shepherd in the Gospel carried the exhausted sheep, not that he abandoned it (Lk 15,5)… Indeed, moderation ought to temper justice. Otherwise, how could someone towards whom you show distaste – someone who might think himself to be an object of contempt towards his doctor rather than compassion – how could such a one come to you to be healed? That is why the Lord Jesus gave proof of his compassion towards us. What he wanted was to call us to himself and not send us flying in fear. Gentleness is the sign of his coming; his coming is marked by humility. Moreover, he has told us: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” So then, our
Lord Jesus brings comfort; he does not exclude or reject. And it is with good reason that he chose as his disciples men who, as faithful interpreters of the Lord’s will, would gather together the People of God rather than turn them away.
. . . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On this date

John Kerry, U.S. senator, D-Mass., is 64
. . . . .

in 1909, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about Settlement Houses, establishments with programs designed to assist the urban poor. (See the cartoon and read an explanation.)
. . . . .
in 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind. (Go to article.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

On this date [Correction}

Correction [thanks to Miss Emily]
Both items listed below happened on December 8
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kate Voegele
,
Rock singer, is 21
. . . . .
in 1980 Rock musician John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by Mark David Chapman. The former Beatle was 40.
My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man part 6

2 Cor 3:12, 17-18, 4:1-2 [NAB]
Chapter 3
12
Therefore, since we have such hope, we act very boldly...
17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Chapter 4
1
Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged.
2
Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.
Christian is my calling, and as a Christian I am called to be fearless and confident. I have been given the freedom, in Christ's Spirit, to act boldly and with the same confidence as did Peter and the other disciples. I am to announce the gospel and speak the truth.

There is an account written by St. Luke in his Acts of the Apostles [Acts 4:7-13] that should be the example I follow in being bold and speaking the truth. I pray to God I can follow it.
. . . . .

Saturday, December 8, 2007

death will have to wait

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .
I've been / we've been traveling today, so I didn't get a post done. Just got checked into a hotel for the night with the missus and am plenty tired. Went to visit a brother-in-law who suffered a heart attack last Sunday morning and is still in ICU, although he 'woke-up' yesterday. So we saw him and could talk to him. Please pray for Larry, and his wife Mary Ann.

Ice-storm due through here tonight, so I'm not thrilled about tomorrow morning's scheduled departure for home ... we may get started and stop enroute to see a son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
. . . . .

Friday, December 7, 2007

On this date

Larry Bird, Basketball Hall of Famer, is 51
. . . . .
in 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the home base of the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, drawing the United States into World War II. More than 2,300 Americans were killed. (Go to article.)

"A date which will live in infamy." - FDR

Heart Way Friday
. . . . .
It is a little over two weeks until Christmas. We still have time to get packages and letters and cards on their way to members of our armed forces. They are stationed around the world for us, and for others. Remember them this Christmas.

The following poem was sent to me by my friend Missy Hathaway. Thank you Missy.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a
Christmas 'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"
But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

. . . . .
There is snow on the ground here, maybe 4 - 5 inches overnight. It helps it feel a little more like Christmas is coming soon. I hope we can make it feel more like Christmas to our loved ones away from home.
. . . . .
I also invite you to look at a story at the very bottom of this page.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

On this date

Dave Brubeck, Jazz musician, is 87
. . . . .
in 1923, a presidential address was broadcast on radio for the first time as President Calvin Coolidge spoke to a joint session of Congress. (Go to article.)

you got the stomach for it?

Cause Way Thursday
. . . . .
Every generation, it seems to me, has its own set of musical stars - singers, musicians, you name it. It also seems to me that each generation doesn't like the music of the generation coming behind them. Occasionally we'll be 'big' enough to look back to the generation before us and appreciate some of what they idolized.

For more years than I care to admit, my wife and I have been involved with kids - raising our own, and working in youth ministry at almost all levels, though primarily with teen agers. Up until more recently, I tried to stay in touch with the music and artists of the day on a regular basis - now it is less often as I get even older, but I still do more often than most of you who are over 30. It is a good way to stay in touch with the culture in which the kids are living.

Can you name even one of the current top 10 songs? Can you name the artist? Can you tell me what the song is about? Can you tell me to which genre of popular music it belongs [rock, rb hip-hop, rap, etc.]?

You can stop asking your kids, now. I'll give you a little help. The following is from the current e-zine newsletter from Youth Pastor Jonathan McKee. He provides tons of FREE youth ministry material that users from all Christian backgrounds can use and adapt to their particular need. I encourage you to go to his site [here] and subscribe to the weekly newsletter - it is FREE.

Here's the list for the
. . . . . . . . . .
TOP 10 SONGS December 1, 2007
No One - Alicia Keys
There is no one else for her in life.
RB Hip Hop

Apologize - Timbaland
It is now too late for her to apologize.
RB Hip Hop

Kiss Kiss - Chris Brown
One guy's resume on why he's qualified to kiss kiss the girl that wants it so bad.
RB Hip Hop

Low - Flo Rida
Describing a girl's very provocative dance. Very provocative!
RB Hip Hop

Crank That - Soula Boy
Describing sexual moves with a girl.
RB Hip Hop

Bubbly - Colbie Cailat
Singer describes the feeling her significant other gives her.

Clumsy - Fergie
Singer describes the powerful effect her significant other has on her.
RB Hip Hop

Good Life - Kanye West
Singer describes the life of a star, including materialism, alcohol use, and sex.
RB Hip Hop

Hate That I Love You - Rihanna
Singer laments her strong feelings for her lover that overcome her hatred for him.
RB Hip Hop

Cyclone - Baby Bash
Singer describes the way his girlfriend dances. Very sexual in overtones.
RB Hip Hop
. . . . . . . . . .
Whatever your current involvement is with young people, I encourage you to be familiar with their music. It will enlighten you - and may even give you some credibility with the teens around you. I cannot think of many better causes than to work with our youth.

you got the stomach for it?
. . . . .