Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Year Older!!!

What can I say! I experienced yet another birthday this past Sunday 8/31/08. Those readers who sent birthday wishes, I thank you! Though I feign disgust, I am truly thankful to experience love from my spiritual family. No significant health problems yet; and since I am below par in taking good care of myself in consistent diet and exercise, that is God's graciousness being bestowed!

I share a birthday with a co-worker; interestingly enough, we each have a twin sibling! I also have the privilege of having the same birthday as my senior pastor. We actually had plans for a birthday luncheon, but he emailed me the day before to postpone; his wife had surgery so we are planning for a couple weeks from now! I am looking forward to it as I have never really gotten to know his family.

No worries--some friends and acquaintances from church treated me to lunch after the service at a nice seafood restaurant. After a quick nap upon arriving home, I returned to evening service. During the pre-service run through, the choir insisted upon singing the infamous birthday song to me despite my protest. They did not buy my exhortation of possible sin in upstaging the pastor on his birthday. So they called the pastor onstage along with me since he was within earshot! I guess that took care of that...(rats!). Anyhow, there was an extra dose of fellowship after feeding upon the Word and then feeding upon the ice cream after the evening service.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. Since the next day was Labor Day, my roommate treated me to a movie and popcorn. We saw "The Dark Knight". Not really my type of movie, but glad to have gone.

I pray that my remaining days here on earth, no matter how much or how few are fruitful, productive. (How I long for my heavenly home!!). Oh Lord, teach us to number our days, and make each day count to your kingdom!!!!

I appreciate your patience as I am still feeling my way among my new blogging hobby. It is more difficult than I thought; not only time-consuming, but also figuring out what is appropriate to share, and what I wish to share!!! Also how to direct the main focus and purpose of this blog. Please pray for guidance on how best to use this avenue of communication.

Until then, see you later if the Good Lord is willing and the creeks don't rise!!!!

"Now to Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us." Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More House Pictures (Indoors) / Dinner Party Tonite

Hello Folks.

This evening, just hosted a small dinner gathering at my home. I had the Bickels and Swindles for Bill's 80th birthday (see previous post)...oh yes and my own birthday coming up tomorrow...(that's all I will say about that!!). We had the Stouffers lasagna (but of course!) , bread, vegetables, cake and ice cream. The highlight of the evening was hymn singing around the piano; some of which I myself had not sung in years!!! It was refreshing especially during these days of contemporary songs dominating most church services today! (A subject to discuss in a near-future posting!) Jim Swindle was kind enough to take some shots that I would share with you. I don't know of captioning options within blogspot.com, but I figure most of the shots you can figure out yourselves. Pardon some of the disarray; the shots were taken immediately after dinner and before cleanup!!!! Anyhow, made for a wonderful evening! Enjoy the photos!!!!!
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!" Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday Bill Bickel

Boy, I bet those of you beginning to read these blogs are wondering what is up with me talking about aged friends. I am actually only middle-aged (honest!!). But I just cannot let this special day pass by without an acknowledgment of the 80th birthday of my friend Bill Bickel. I sing with him in choir. He is not very outspoken, but his presence seems to command leadership and respect. He certainly has mine!

I praise God that both he and his lovely wife Priscilla are blessed with great health and are able to enjoy serving the Lord together. Since mine and Bill's birthdays are fairly close together, I decided to host a small dinner party for us this Saturday so we could celebrate together. I have been wanting to have the both the Bickels and Swindles over for some time now, and what an occasion...yep you guessed it...Stouffers lasagna again!!!!!!! What can I say!

Also, some of you are probably wondering about my friend Sharon who I mentioned a few days ago. She is progressing marvelously! She has been moved out of ICU, the ventilator removed. She is mentally alert and starting to eat a little too! Though I mailed out a card ( which I hope she receives!), I am choosing not to call her for another week or so, as I am sure talking must be wearing her out...(never thought I'd see that one, LOL!) But I am anxiously looking forward to speaking with her soon. Please continue in your prayers for her.

A verse from an old hymn "Spirit of God, Descent Upon My Heart" by George Croly:

"Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love."

Until then; will post again later if the good Lord is willing and the creeks don't rise!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Death Of Faithful Church Member in Boyhood Town

I ran across an obituary in an online site of the Belleville News, the only known online newspaper site in my hometown's (Marissa) county. It was for 95 year-old Florence Incze. I did not get to know her real well as she had lived away from the area for many years after getting married until her retirement. She and her husband moved back around the time my family and I moved to CA.

However, she is associated with some of my childhood memories as her sister Dorothy and Ray lived next to me on the main street in town. Dorothy had several other siblings in town as did Ray had a brother, most of whom were also members of my church. Quite often, they and their spouses would all gather on her front porch for evening coffee, chatting while traffic passed by. I would be riding my tricycle down the sidewalk and would stop to tell them the normal nonsense a young child would tell them. Somehow, I think they were rather entertained. Anyhow, I remember Florence and her husband being there whenever they were in town.

Over the years upon my visits to Marissa, I would observe Florence (by then a widow), serving in my boyhood church in many ways. She aged very gracefully, often waiting on her younger siblings who were less ambulatory than she. She was faithfully serving the Lord until she had to move to a nursing home a few years ago where she passed away a few days ago. I am thankful that some church members took time to drive her to church from there on occasion as most of her local siblings were now with the Lord or themselves convelescent.

Another observation was it was gratifying to observe rare sibling closeness among that family that you do not see often in our own generation. I only hope to see this more prevalent within the Body of Christ. No other real thoughts on this posting, but just thought I would mention it.

Later as the Lord wills,


No other thoughts, but it was just something I thought mentioning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Illness of Friend Sharon

I have what most consider an odd friendship with someone named Sharon Heil. She is the mother of my childhood classmate Lindy, also a friend. In fact, during my Kindergarten through 11th grade in Illinois (spent my 12th grade in California), I had more classes with Lindy than any other person, so I knew her pretty well.

While I did know Sharon who was actually a teacher, I was never a direct pupil. I did like her as she seemed to be one of the most fun-loving and likeable teachers. She was reputable for knowing her craft as an English teacher (even in her retirement is a reading workshop consultant). She was also known to be an attentive mother to her children. Most important, she is a devout Christian, involved in her church in Edwardsville. While we differ on a few minor doctrinal issues, her unwavering faith and enthusiasm is quite contagious and inspiring to all who know her.

However, it was not until I had been gone from Illinois for several years that we struck up a friendship and became occasional phone pals ever-since. I remember wondering about an upcoming 10 year reunion, and called their house trying to track down Lindy. Sharon and I had a long chat lasting over an hour. Sharon and another teacher pal of hers looked me up later when visiting California and we three had a good time hanging out. (Can you imagine hanging out with 2 of your teachers?!?!?). But we had such great fun. I consider her now like a 2nd mom. She actually hosted me in her home on my last reunion visit to my hometown.

The reason I write this, is that I learned this week that she has suddenly become seriously ill. I do not know the medical term (much less spelling) of her condition, but it essentially involves kidney blockage and blood infection among other ailments. She had some surgery and went into cardiac arrest. Per Lindy, her heart actually stopped. But the doctors revived her successfully. Thankfully the doctors are optimistic about a full recovery, but will take several weeks, and I understand she is not yet of the woods. This though is nothing short of a miracle for which we give thanks to our God

Naturally, Sharon is heavily on my heart in prayer (of which I have been lifting up to the Lord). I ask all you readers to join me in accord. It is wonderful that we have a great God Who is a great God of miracles Who is the Source of peace and comfort, found only in Jesus Christ Alone.

I am grateful that Sharon does know these things and places her confident in this great truth. The possibility of her premature homegoing to Heaven shook me up, but I am comforted to know that should the Lord had chosen to take her, she would be in her long desired Heaven experiencing this joy and perfect peace.

However, our prayer of course is that she remain here on earth in restored health. While we selfishly want her here in our lives, I am confident that God has more purpose for her here on earth. In fact, in my most recent conversation with her, she was sharing with me recent ailments of her sisters (what irony!), and she had told them that she knew they would get better...when asked how she knew, she would let them know that her faith made her confident of the Lord's intervention.

Please be in prayer with me and her family.

"We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose." Rom 8:28.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Visitor From California

Today, I enjoyed a visitor from Brendan Clancy and Patty, his wife of a year and their precious new daughter Maggie. (I was thrilled Maggie seemed to enjoy my company). Brendan has a special place in my heart. I first met him over 10 years ago at Grace Community Church. We did not hang out much then, but I was greatly encouraged by him. I observed what a humble servant of Christ he was (and is), how he would deny himself continually. One such sacrifice was putting his life on hold while he would live with a family in Michigan to help them build a monstrously large house.

This family had other friends who were starting a church, and asked me to come and help that church out about a couple hours away. While there, Brendan would come and visit occasionally and provided good-buddy companionship for a lonely soul I was. I cherished those rare special times of fellowship. He has since moved back to California, attending the Masters Seminary. Due to his abbreviated schedule on top of ministry, fulltime job and raising a family, it is taking seemingly forever to finish. But I look forward to the unfolding of the great plans God has for him and how he will be greatly used.

The Clancys were had taken a cross-country car trip to his native upstate New York to have his side of the family meet Maggie for the first time. They took the southern route on the return trip, stopping to stay with his sister in Humble, TX (near my residence!); so we took advantage of the time to fellowship together; it was just a short 2 night stop, having to squeeze in visits with other local relatives. Though my time with them was short, it was sweet!

Digital photos were taken of the visit; as soon as those arrive to me, I will upload them as cherished memories of this great day!

"Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My First Blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is my first attempt at blogging. I have never done anything like this before. I lead a rather boring life (at least boring to most people, but I'm okay with it!). Being that I am just writing an introduction, I am not choosing to introduce any topics at this time....but feel free to visit in the future. I am posting a link on my Facebook profile. But I hope my other non-Facebook friends can visit also. I will also try to post things like book and sermon reviews. I guess I will eventually need to get a digital camera too!!!!

I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois, about 35 miles southeast of St. Louis, MO (go Cardinals!) I guess you could say I had a double life of small town living and urban access. My rare trips to St. Louis were mostly Cardinal games, or going to the airport, or school field trips. Then while still in high school, my family moved to the Los Angeles, CA area. Talk about change! I spent most of my adult life there until moving to Upper Peninsula Michigan 6 years ago, and then 2 years ago to Spring, TX, a Houston suburb. I bought my first home 8 months ago. I have uploaded a given photo of the house. (I have done light landscaping since!)
****New update on 8/28; just uploaded an after shot of my home (the top picture). Too bad the mail box was not in the shot, but as you can see, I did a little sprucing up in the front since the other shot was taken!!!!!