Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Visit from Steve and Tsao Li

Posted: July 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

We have house guests this week, and last. They’re staying with us while in the area, though their house is down the street. They’ve rented it out while they’re over in, of all places, Panama.

We’re really enjoying having them around. Tsao Li is a Chinese national, but green carding, and she exudes happiness. It’s great to be around this sort of optimism and her loyalty to her hubby. I believe they’re going back to China soon, and I’m sure she misses her family.

Steve, meanwhile, is asserting a new direction in his career, and we’re hoping for him that he’ll find something good in the next couple of years. They seem to be basing themselves in different areas, which is, to say the least, pretty neat.

On the other hand we have Tim and Kathy coming over tomorrow from Iowa. It’s Tim’s birthday and again, as always, I marvel that ¬†he’s even with us. He was so sick when he was a baby that we despaired of his health. Yet here he is, and so happy in his marriage, as a father, and he’s loyal and faithful as a son as well.

Not only that, it’s golf today. So, as you can tell, it’s a day of encouragement, good cheer and love.

I hope you’re having a fine day as well.


Posted: July 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

Sorry about being away for so long. I’ve been fired as an agent for the Rebecca Pratt Literary Group, I presume because I sent out letters for a client before the Queen Bee gave her approval. Still I don’t regret it, though. It’s really set me free to some extent. I just work on my writing, and I sent my publisher a new book today–one from the Mousegate series. I want to send him a new adult oriented novel, one called The Third Day. So I’ll work on that for a couple of days until my editor and co-author, Jacqi, while Bruce works on the Mousegate Entry I’m calling Marina and Dan: An Egyptian Adventure.

In the new book, Marina and Dan are juniors in high school, and with the help of a magic Amulet, find themselves transported to the time of Moses. There, in separate adventures, they see the giving of the law, the crossing of the Red sea, the appointment of Levi as the priest tribe, and an undersea rescue.

When I was a boy, I read a book for Sunday School, and while I can’t remember the name of the book, it was a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court motif. A young boy gets transported back to the early Christian church and learns something about the Christian faith, how it works and so on. Made quite an impression on me.

It is my hope that this book, when printed, might be used for younger audiences, say, junior high and high school. i think that the Christian church has done for less than she should to instruct her people in the Old Testament and the New testament in the first century. There Is such richness in, say, the book of Joel, which Joel Rosenberg described as his favorite OT book when he was young.

Let’s talk about the Old Testament this week. Let’s see if there’s anything modern about it.

Watching a new Show

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

We struggle violently with the dreck that TV offers. When we find a good show, we generally watch all of the episodes on Netflix. Certainly, we save a lot of time by not having to watch commercials, but we also can watch several episodes in a row. Also, we get to see a lot of shows that we missed: one good example is MacGyver, which was a great deal of fun, actually; Numb3rs; and on and on. Two hours of tv/night is plenty, I think. I’ve written about the pleasure we took in seeing the old MASH episodes–besides Alan Alda’s liberal self-righteousness, they did several very fine episodes. In one episode they used subjective camera, that’s to say, they filmed the entire episode from the point of view of a wounded soldier. In another, the soldier was dead, and we saw the action through his eyes; in another, they had about 23 minutes to save a soldier’s life, and they put a clock on the screen to count down.
Of course, there were classic tv shows–I love Lucy, Our Miss Brooks; All in the Family, Fernwood Tonight, Carson, Star Trek, and many others. There was also My Mother the Car; Me and the Chimp; and other idiocy that to name in print is to be-foul my computer.
Let me know if you have a show you like in particular. I’ll try it.

Back on Line

Posted: June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

I do need to be better re blogging. I’m struggling–are you?–with self discipline. Writing is my business. I have to write all the time, or I lose the edge, lose the discipline, and even lose the desire. Since two years ago, I’ve been publishing well-received books–people enjoy them, I must say with all modesty. If you have a gift–and with all due modesty, I seem to have said gift to some minor extent–you have to use it, or you lose it.

With writing, as well as other gifts, you have to use them. Over the last five years or so, I’ve noticed that I seem to be capable of praying with people who need it. My pal Arlen, in a Bible Study with me at First Baptist in Geneva, where I live, has been encouraging me to step out and pray for people who need it. The big thing is not the prayer, but sensing when I’m with someone who would benefit and appreciate it. On Friday, for example, I had to run down to Home Depot for some sod. As I was checking out, a lady was standing at the counter, finishing up.

Being somewhat of a joker–I mean, I enjoy telling jokes and funny stories–I told her and the clerk my turtle joke. It’s a true groaner, usually producing whacks on the arm. This woman, however, laughed sincerely. After I checked out, I walked into the parking lot and saw her sitting in her car. I walked over and struck up a little conversation. I learned that she is recovering from a desperate physical challenge; she’s a Christian, with a family; and she has a good deal of faith. So I asked permission pray with her and was granted that permission.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but I am aware on occasion of being prompted to ask if I can pray. The point is, my gift seems to be somewhat different from others. I need–as do all Christians–to learn how to embrace, use and be sensitive to the nudge when it comes.

Blessings on you today.

My Friend Nancy

Posted: June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

My Friend Nancy.

Hi, everyone: sorry I’ve been away for a while. It isn’t a matter of not wanting to write, I assure you.
I dated a girl when I was a sophomore in college named Janice. She went to Bradley, and while I could see her for vacations and like that, we couldn’t really be together. She’s been happily married for perhaps three years longer than I, and that pleases me. Really, apart from liking each other and enjoying one another’s company, we had little in common and we drifted apart to marry and be very happy in marriage to others.
Unfortunately, one thing that happened when we broke it off was that I really didn’t get to see her good friends, two of whom were Jaynie and Nancy Wichmann. Jaynie and I went to her sorority formal when we were juniors, and I remember a very pleasant, even delightful evening in her company. Nothing romantic, understand, but friendly and pleasant. I even rented a tux.
When I was a sophomore, I went to Bloom Community College in Chicago Heights, as a result of having been tossed out of a college in Indiana. Oh, I deserved it, and had a hard time dealing with it, but some things that made it bearable were the friendships I developed with several people at the school. My lifetime buddy John Morinec came to the college at the same time as I, and several others, including:
Nancy Wichmann.
Nancy and I became good friends, and I took her on a few dates even–mostly platonic, more like two good friends who enjoyed one another’s company. Janice came home for Christmas break and I took her to the college’s winter dance. Nancy came with John Morinec, a friendly date as opposed to romantic. To my delight, she was selected Queen of the winter dance. We stayed good friends for the next several months, and I eventually lost track of her when I transferred to the University of Illinois. Janice and I fell apart not long after that.
Janice and I bumped into one another on Facebook a couple of years ago and resumed a friendship. We’ve chatted back and forth a number of times, including a suggestion that she buy her golfballs from a spot I use in Florida. I wrote her a note a week or so ago and received heartbreaking news: Nancy had died, her body found by her sister.
I’ve been saddened by Nancy’s death. She was a talented, lovely woman with a delightful sense of humor and a profound faith. I’ve been saddened that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye, and to let her know that I valued the brief time that I knew her.
Perhaps–I know it!!–this life is not final. I look forward to communion once again with those we love, those we like and with whom we share an active faith. To Janice and Jaynie, I pray that you will be consoled in your unbearable grief. Thornton Wilder, in Our Town, wrote that People just wild with grief walked up the hill to the town cemetery, weeping and unable to imagine life without the loved one that they buried in that little plot of ground that day. But sunny days, and rainy days, and life itself goes on. God be with you, and with those who join you in mourning.

Tsao Li back in town

Posted: March 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

She’s our neighbor, and a very good friend. She and her hubby moved to Panama for a year, where he’s teaching school at the American school. They really seem to like it there, and I enjoy listening to her telling us about the place.

Two things have occurred to me. One is that Panama was the site of one of the most infamous–or perhaps more accurately, two of the most infamous raids by British pirates. Sir Francis Drake was there first and stole all the gold and silver he could get his mitts on, and it was substantial. Then, in 1672, about a century later, Henry Morgan arrived. He attacked from the east, having sailed up the Rio Chagres in his ship Satisfaction. ¬†Panama, inpregnable except for this direction–the sea, swamps, and other natural barriers were and remain prohibitive–yet was vulnerable across a bridge from the east. All the Panamanians had to do was wait for Morgan and his troops to cross the bridge and then pick them off like, in the words of cliche, shooting fish in the barrel.

However, incomprehensibly, the Spaniards crossed the bridge to meet Morgan, where they were picked off without mercy. Morgan went on to sack the town, also without mercy. He stole, for example, a life-size statue of the Virgin, cast from solid gold. But he took all the gold and silver he could find and raced back across the Atlantic.

Let’s deal with the second note about Panama tomorrow.