Sunday, May 31, 2009

What? Me A Priest?

Pastor Doug started a series this morning revisiting the "Living Beyond Myself" series presented two years ago.
Ministry is touching another's life for Christ.
Pastor stated that this was a one-point sermon; but, he said, don't be fooled. That doesn't mean you'll get out earlier.
Every Christ-follower is a priest.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" --I Peter 2:9
Each person should use whatever gift he has been given to serve others.
"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." --I Peter 4:10
We all have different gifts but one is not more important than another.
"All these (gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." --I Corinthians 12:11
We are all to determine what our gift is, where we function most effectively in ministry. "Find your sweet spot," as Pastor says, then apply it in service to Christ.
[Some reflections on the scripture and the sermon, not necessarily presented in the sermon.
1. The chief privilege of the priest is Access to God. We may approach Him directly.
2. The function of the priest is sacrifice, which is fourfold. He offers a) his own body, b) praise to God, c) his substance, and d) to do good.]

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Orphans and Oddballs

The 1953 Kaiser Manhattan was not my first car; but it was the one I traded in my first car for. 226 ci Continental Redseal engine, Kaiser's failure to offer a V-8 perhaps being part of the reason for its demise in 1955. This was a fantastically great cruising vehicle and equiped with 4-speed hydramatic transmission attained a consistent 22 mpg highway. No EPA estimates back then; that was actual regular measurement by yours truly. Dad teased me mercilessly for driving "orphans." See more below.
The gorgeous white 1960 Valiant was the first new car I ever bought. Paid $2066 for it in Indianapolis. This beauty had a red interior and was powered by a 170 ci "Slant Six." This baby looked just as good going as it did coming! And I kept it swept and polished like you wouldn't believe. But again, not a mainstream choice.

I would be hard-pressed even to this day to explain why I traded the Valiant for the 1962 Dodge Lancer. "Just had to have a new car" nuts, I guess. This, too, came right off the showroom floor, so to speak. Same engine as the Valiant. I did drive this one 94,000 miles before I traded it for a new 1965 Mustang 289 V-8.

There were several vehicles that graced my driveway between the Mustang and the next car shown, a 1989 Eagle Premier. But this particular article is about orphans and oddballs. The Eagle was a weird Chrysler-French offering that would be too hard to explain, even if I understood it. Great driver, though.

Again, there were a couple of minivans, some Grand Ams and other stuff between the Eagle and the current "orphan," our Pontiac G6 GT. Yes, GM has disowned its Pontiac badge and leaves us to the wolves. But this one will probably have to last the rest of our driving lives; and bids fair to do so, as we have driven it less than 11,000 miles in almost three years.
Okay this is already longer than it should be, but I haven't even included some of the worst vehicular choices I have made; and certainly haven't shared all of the best, either.
[Happy Birthday daughter Ann, my firstborn]
[Happy Birthday brother Elvin]

Friday, May 29, 2009

What Next?

The President is addressing the nation concerning his establishment of the Office of Cyberspace Communications Coordinator. I picture Ben Franklin rolling over toward Thomas Jefferson and saying, "What the ... ?"
(And next month: Office of Management of the American Automobile Manufacturing Corporation, a principally owned subsidiary of the United States Government.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Supreme Court Appointment

President Obama has named his choice for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. So near as I can tell, and I haven't vetted her the way BHO has or should have done, nor have I grilled her as the Senate will or should grill her, she is a competent and capable individual. She certainly has a strong resume.
The problem for Sonia Sotomayor, though, will not be an issue of abilities but rather the picking of the pathway through the minefield of politics. It is unfortunate that everything, and I mean everything, is politicized, even to the detriment of the country. I think Ms. Sotomayor will be a good Justice of the Supreme Court. I base this hope very much on the fact that already we see the distaste for her being expressed on both ends of the political spectrum. The far right seem to think she is much too liberal, whereas the loons at the left end fear she isn't strong enough on their pet political agenda; i.e., she is not herself a loon. This gives us all hope that she will adjudicate in a fair, reasonable and legal fashion those issues which properly belong to the Court.
Fun days ahead. Looking forward to them.
(I do hold one reservation in my mind, and that has to do with the "compassionate" statement she is said to have uttered. Had Solomon been "compassionate" he would have ordered both women to undergo psychiatric evaluations and appropriate treatments as indicated, while the child would have been made a ward of the state, all at government expense, of course.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And It Didn't Do the Railroads Any Good

Ford Model T: the car that put America on wheels. The last "T" was built on May 27, 1927. The plants were closed to retool for the new Model A.

Henry Ford: an amazing man.

His cars: amazing vehicles.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26

On this date in 1538, John Calvin was expelled from Geneva.
Did this stop or impede his work?

Monday, May 25, 2009


BBBH's youngest son just acquired one of these. Saturday at family gathering, he offered a "ride." I stayed glued to my chair, knowing full well what that would likely entail. BBBH, in her innocence, got in the R/T with her sons. I could but hope they would return safely and that bail, if required, would be attainable.
The return was safe, the report just what I expected. By her own admission, BBBH started screaming at ninety, and was in full-blown terror mode at 110. I refrained from comment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

To Know Me is to Love Me

Pastor Keith based this mornings sermon on Psalm 139, a psalm of David. To preface the message, Pastor asked us, "What's not to love?" Reflect on your life. Imagine that it is a movie. First, how would you categorize it: as drama, a documentary, a comedy, or perhaps a fantasy? Then ask, if I could edit it what parts would I leave on the cutting room floor, or even burn?
There is One who knows all about you, yet He loves you and wants a relationship with you.

1. You were created by God (vv. 13 - 15).
You are unique. God made billions of wonderful creations. You are one of them. God has a plan for you. (Jer. 29:11)
2. You are known by God (vv. 1 - 4). God searches your life; knows every detail of your life.
3. You are loved by God (vv. 5 - 12).
a) "You precede and follow me; you place your hand of blessing on my head." (v. 5)
b) "Your right hand will hold me fast." (v. 10)
c) By His presence. He is always there. (vv. 7,8)
There are many ways of showing love, but almost all of them include presence.
4. You are responsible to God (vv. 19 - 22). We are to love whatever God loves, hate what God hates. God hates evil. [note that He loves people, but He hates evil and wickedness.]
"Search me, test me, know my concerns, lead me in the way everlasting."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Freedom from Trouble

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker died May 23, 1934 in Bienville Parish, LA six weeks before I was born.
"For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever (sic) other car skinned"----Letter from Clyde Barrow to Henry Ford. Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

[Happy Birthday to Grandson Jeremy and Greatgrandson Kaden]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Stroll Along White River

Artists' Day, 21st of May

So proclaimed by Vanilla at String Too Short to Tie.
The world has been doubly blessed by men born on this date, for in 1471 Albrecht Durer was born in Germany. Scarcely exists a person in the Western World who is not familiar with at least one of his works. And although there exist literally hundreds of his great paintings and etchings, chances are the one shown here is the one with which you are most familiar. This work was a tribute to his brother, Albert, who went to work in the mines to support his brother as he studied art, though they were equally talented. Albert's mangled, arthritic hands were no longer able to hold a brush when Albrecht, now famous and well-paid, offered to support him as he studied. Good story. Look it up.
Albrecht Durer 1471 - 1528 RIP
Our second honoree is unquestionably the greatest poet of the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope. Pope was born in London on May 21, 1688. Having encountered a tough taskmaster (read "tyrant") as my high school senior English teacher, I committed a number of Pope's couplets to memory. (Thank you, Miss Bateman. I needed that. And I appreciate the effort you put into attempting to save me from philistinism.) I digress.
Pope suffered a serious and debilitating illness at age twelve and never grew taller than 4' 6", a true intellectual giant in a tiny body.
One of my favorite couplets is from "Essay on Criticism" in which Pope writes,
"Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."
And from the same work,
"Words are like leaves, and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found."
And truly every "critic" should have this drilled into his mind and heart:
"In every work regard the writer's end,
Since none can compass more than they intend;
And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due;
As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit,
To avoid great errors, must the less commit;
Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays,
For not to know some trifles, is a praise.
Most critics, fond of some subservient art,
Still make the whole depend upon a part.
They talk of principles, but notions prize,
And all to one loved folly sacrifice."
Alexander Pope 1688 - 1744 RIP

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dolley Madison

Dolley Payne was born on May 20, 1768. Born a Quaker, she married Quaker John Todd with whom she had two children. Todd died in 1793 and in 1794 at the age of twenty-six, Dolley married James Madison who was destined to become the fourth United States President in 1809. However, Madison was not the first president for whom Dolley served as White House hostess, for Thomas Jefferson, a widower, asked her to perform that role for him during his presidency.
As a Washington socialite, Mrs. Madison is legendary. Her sparkling personality and brilliant intellect charmed all with whom she came in contact. Indeed, following the death of her beloved husband at their home in Montpelier, she returned to Washington and resumed entertaining in the social scene though she was quite elderly at the time.

Cousin Dolley died in 1849 at the age of 81.
[Dolley Payne Todd Madison was indeed a cousin. Our nearest common ancestors are Robert Woodson (1634 - 1707?) and wife Elizabeth Ferris (1638 - 1689).]
[Happy Birthday grandson Alex; and also to good friend Joann]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


[Happy Birthday greatgrandson William]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer Camping Fun

[This is a "canned" entry prepared in advance, because if you are reading this, we are camping at Mounds State Park here in Central Indiana. Our Christian Campers Fellowship members gather at a camping facility for three to four days each month from May through October.]
We enjoy our summer campouts with a congenial group of friends, most of whom reside in central or northcentral Indiana. A typical camp week starts on Sunday afternoon when usually three or four "advance" units arrive and set up in the chosen location. By Monday evening, most of the group will be in attendance. We hike, bike, play games or just kick back and enjoy nature. Tuesday evening there is a "pitch-in" or pot luck or whatever you may call it, in which everyone shares a dish for all. Each evening, we gather around the campfire for a devotional time of singing and receiving a scripture lesson by one of the members, after which we hang around the fire and visit until someone starts to snore. By Wednesday afternoon, a few are leaving and on Thursday the rest break camp to leave the facility for the family weekenders.
At Salamonie State Recreation area last fall, we participated in Senior Week sponsored by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. One of the activities was learning to carve in cottonwood bark. These examples were the result of our efforts. The one on the left was done by BBBH and the other one by yours truly. Fun.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's So Bad About Living on the Edge?

Pastor Doug prefaced his sermon this morning by stating that a message usually falls within one of three categories. It is
1) a challenge, or
2) encouragement, or
3) a caution. This one falls within the third category.
The enemy likes to persuade us to live as close as possible to the world, to the people, to the situations that would lead us astray. The lesson is from Genesis, chapter 13, in which Abram and Lot settle together, then separate to different parts of the country.
We address three things about living on the edge.
1) People are always watching your life. (v. 7) Because of their great wealth and the inability of the area to support the agrarian pursuits of both men, quarreling arose between the employees of the two. Lot does nothing to stop this. Did this failure impair the witness of a godly man? We all have problems and conflicts. How we handle them bears on our witness.
2) Things aren't always what they seem to be. (v. 10) When Abram offered Lot his choice of lands, what did Lot see? To the east he saw a well-watered plain. Did this remind him of Egypt? This was his choice, an area of hundreds of square miles, but we are told "he pitched his tent near Sodom." That is, he was living on the edge of wickedness.
3) There is a heavy price to pay if you fall off the edge. Soon Lot found himself in the middle of a war that wasn't his, that he did not create and that he could not resolve. In fact, Abram had to send in a military force to rescue Lot from the conflict. Later (skipping ahead to chapter nineteen) we find Lot moving into Sodom. It seems that Lot, as many of us are, was a hard-headed man. When we choose to live near sin, it is amazing how soon we are living in sin.
Observe these steps to destruction. Study James 1: 13 - 15. God does not tempt. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Conclusion. Though Lot made bad choices and ultimately fathered Moab and BenAmmi whose seed became bitter enemies to Abraham's seed, there was redemption, and hope for us.
Read 2 Peter 2:7 which says, "Lot was a righteous man." Pastor stated that he pictures this conversation with Lot when he gets to heaven:
Pastor Doug: Lot, what is your greatest regret concerning your life on earth?
Lot: I wish I had never pitched my tent near Sodom.
Don't be a part of the world. Don't live too close to the edge.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tipton, Indiana

[l to r, t to b: Courthouse, Post Office, First Presby, frieze, TCP Library, farmland, 1st Christian, RR sta, seed facility, working movie house downtown, industrial area, Court Street looking toward Jefferson St.]

We'll share a bit today about our little spot in the world. Tipton County, Indiana consists of 260 square miles of primarily primo agricultural land boasting a population of something over sixteen thousand. The county seat is the City of Tipton which has about 5300 residents. As you can see in this map, we are pretty much centrally located. The city of Kokomo is just north of the county line and Hamilton County to the south sits between us and Indianapolis which is in Marion County.

BBBH cannot refrain from reminding me on occasion that I have moved her to a place that "doesn't even have a Walmart." Well, there's a big drawback.
[snicker] Spouse has wheels, though, thanks to Pontiac (oh, remind me to do an "I could have told you" story about GM) so she can easily get to a couple of excellent shopping venues, Noblesville 18 miles to the south or Kokomo 16 miles to the north. She's not hurting in that regard. Do. Not. Feel sorry for her.
As we hinted in the first paragraph, agriculture is a leading industry in this place. The topography is just a tad short of table-top flat and the soil was made for growing things.
The corn and soybeans lead the list of produce, but one can also find wheat, oats and tomato fields in the area. Corn and soybean seed production is a major industry and several companies grow and process here.
We also have a brand new and unoccupied half-billion dollar manufacturing facility, no thanks to Chrysler and Getrag who couldn't line up their ducks. Someone PLEASE move in and open up shop! Contact TCEDC. This is not a commercial blogsite, but we need an occupant--desperately.
[Wedding today! Granddaughter Janelle marries Brandon.]

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're Back!

We should be rested up and ready to roll. Herewith are a couple of images of the "tree spirits" that inhabit the ash trees in our yard. Perhaps they will ward off the green ash borer which threatens our ash trees here in the Midwest. We acquired the one in the upper picture several years ago while visiting Cousin Jacqueline in Carencro, Louisiana. She had several of these on the trees in her yard; and when we admired them, nothing would do but that she would take one of them down and send it home with us.

Two years later on another visit to South Louisiana, she presented us with a package when we were departing. It contained the stern-looking though I'm sure friendly monster shown below. He inhabits the younger, smaller ash tree in the backyard. Thanks again, Jackie.
[p.s. As much as we love our trees, we do not believe that there are spirits in them that will ward off anything, but these are fun, aren't they? Probably our best defense against borers is a watchful eye and immediate action if such is indicated.]

Monday, May 11, 2009


Roxana Saberi has been released! Thanks be to God, and to those who exerted sufficient pressure on the Iranis to accomplish this end.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Poor Little Robin

Born to eat worms.
And yet its morning song seems a song of praise for another day.
How sorry are you feeling for yourself?

[Yes, this breaks the self-imposed hiatus on posting; but as I watched a young robin and its parent hopping across the yard this morning, this impulse was just too strong.]
[and tomorrow, Happy Birthday, Granddaughter Jacques]

Friday, May 1, 2009

May is Here!

Froggy went a courtin', uhummm.
There'll be crabapple jelly this fall!

The clematis is pretty now, will be gorgeous soon.

I'll leave you with this image from the front entry.
When I was a boy of seven or eight, we made May baskets to leave surreptitiously on the front porch of friendly neighbors. No one does that anymore. The world we live in today is not the world in which we grew up, for better and for worse. Do any of your grandchildren know any nursery rhymes?

I think I will step away from the blog for a bit, and step into the world which is Springtime in Indiana. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I am going to hang out in the yard for a while. There are flowers to enjoy, birds to hear and see, and garden to be planted.

I hope you will return when I do. I'll be back on May 15 for an update and at the least an occasional note.
[Happy Birthday tomorrow, Mike]