Sunday, November 19, 2017

Song for Sunday: Come Ye Thankful People Come

This week's Song for Sunday is a hymn that takes as back to the original meaning of Thanksgiving, back to before the pilgrims, to the idea of giving thanks for the harvest. In England, they called it "Harvest Home." It was a civic, not a religious holiday, though many took the time to acknowledge God as provider.

We tend to focus on the pilgrim's and think of theirs as the "first" thanksgiving, but many cultures have harvest celebrations. It's even in the Bible. Our American holiday has become a reminder of  our shameful historical and current treatment of Native  Americans who, like all of us, deserve justice, consideration, and respect. And perhaps it should be. There is work to be done there.

But that also shouldn't take away from thanking and acknowledging God. Or simply being grateful that we have enough.

Let us remember.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Song for Sunday: God Help Me!

This song by Plumb is a reminder that faith and Christian life isn't all happiness and light. There are struggles, failures and difficulties. We all get sunshine, we all get rain. Faith doesn't protect us from the bad stuff. It was never meant to.

I cam across this song last week in the midst of a spiritual struggle. It helped a lot. I hope it can be of help to others.

Here's the link:

What songs help you? 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Song for Sunday: Piano Man

I really have no reason to share this, except that I am in a Billy Joel mood and it's a good one.

I hope that you enjoy it and it's hopefulness.

May your manager give you a smile!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Parenting Journey: New Step

My son turns 18 today. I am officially the parent of an adult.

I guess we are never ready for this. It feels like there is much more to do.

This is another beginning. A new path. 

I have to keep reminded myself that this is a legal designation and he's not planning to run off an leave me. He's still in high school, for pete's sake!

Still, it brings some changes. And, emotionally, this is new territory.

How's things at your house?

Have a blessed day!

(and if you see my son, wish him a happy birthday!)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hallowe'en Reflection

The other  day, as I was celebrating Reformation Day, it was also Hallowe'en. This isn't a coincidence. Martin Luther actually chose the eve of All Saints Day (All Hallow's Eve) to nail his 95 theses on the church door. It was a statement on his part about false saintliness, apparently.

Ever since I have lived in my own place, I have been excited to welcome trick-or-treaters, even though this really isn't my holiday. Well, I enjoy the fun parts of it, but I am not a celebrant of All Saints Day,  Dia de la Muerte, or Samhain.

Still, I like trick-or-treating and seeing families out visiting their neighbors.

The thing is, I seem to always live in places that don't get trick-or-treaters. When I lived on Main St, people would go to the houses but skip the apartment buildings, so I'd get maybe one knock at the door. Now I live on a dead end street. A big year is when five or six young visitors knock while their parents wait in the street.

Last year, I went out and sat at the bottom of my steps with candy bowl. This year, I even put paper lanterns (not as good as the one pictured) out in a line down my sidewalk, hoping for more kids to come asking for candy. We got one.

It makes me sad. I feel left out.

I don't know why the fact that families didn't turn down our street of eight houses, of which only three had the lights on, makes me feel rejected. It can't be personal these people don't know me. It just isn't worth the time to come to our house. Or they don't see it.

But it does. There you go.

I guess I just want to feel like I am participating in my community.

Ah well. I did visit a "Haunted House" neighbors around the corner setup. That was fun, but it was just me, my son, and the homeowners.

I think I long for the days when small neighborhoods did things together and neighbors knew each other. Holidays all had a communal aspect. We were together.

Maybe someday, I'll be part of that again.

Anyway, have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

500 Years Ago Today

 Martin Luther had hoped to reform the Catholic Church from the inside. Instead, the 95 theses this monk nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany sparked the protestant reformation, a movement which has grown and diversified over the past five centuries.

For those of us who are protestant this is a birthday celebration. It is the story of our brands of Christianity. It's had it's challenges, it's heresies, it's hiccoughs. But overall it is the story of a struggle to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to bring him to our communities. We share that mission with Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, but today is our day to celebrate our own heritage.

For those who have a historical bent, here are some links:

Luther's 95 Theses

Women Leaders of the Reformation

The Protestant Reformation

500 Years of Protestant Christianity

For everyone else, celebrate with us!

And have a blessed Reformation Day!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Song for Sunday: God Who Touches Earth with Beauty

We sang this hymn in church this morning. It was written by Mary Susanne Edgar as a Sunday School Hymn, but is now very suitable for adult worship. The link I am posting to involves a Children's Choir, however.

The verse that struck me was:

Like the arching of the heavens 
lift my thoughts above, 
turn my dreams to noble action: 
ministries of love.

Time to stop procrastinating on some things, I guess. 

Anyway, enjoy a moment of worship with this beautiful song and have a blessed Sunday.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Song For Sunday (a day late): Oh That Will Be Glory for Me

I had been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge and trying to revitalize this blog with a temporary theme of "Beginnings". Then a perfect storm of responsibilities, family needs and the like hit and this project took a back seat. But now I am trying to be back.

I heard this hymn for the first time yesterday at a funeral. It had been chosen by the deceased for use at her memorial service. It  touched me. It also fits where I am now, so it becomes today's Song for Sunday. May it inspire you!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Song for Sunday: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

We sang a version of this song in worship this morning, and it resonated. I sang it a lot with Bible study groups in college, so memory plays a part. Also,  it seems like a good reminder.

So, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus - an updated version --becomes today's Song for Sunday. May it be an encouragement to you.

What songs are resonating with you?

What songs help you worship?

I am participating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

In Need of Ideas

I am planning a dinner and I need ideas.

The main course is sausage stew and biscuits. The dessert is birthday cake and ice cream, with homemade caramel sauce.

I have no idea what to serve as an appetizer/first course.

Not exactly the problem of the year, but any ideas?

Any other food questions out there? 

I am participating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lentil Sloppy Joes

This is what we are having for supper tonight. We aren't vegetarians, but try to do meatless meals a few times a week for the sake of the environment and our health. Lentils work well for this because they can be made to almost look like ground beef. 


Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 to 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon  vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust according to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or more as needed)
  • 6  buns
  • Toppings of choice (Tabasco sauce, sriracha, pickles, onions, sauerkraut, coleslaw, avocado slices, etc.)
  1. Place lentils in a large pot, and cover with water (enough so that there's at least a full inch or two of water above the lentils). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are chewable, but still have some firmness to them. Drain them and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, chili powder, and paprika,  and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the garlic is quite fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, brown sugar or maple syrup, vinegar, salt, pepper, and broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add more broth as needed. Simmer until the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 15 to 20 minute, until as thick as preferred
  4. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Divide sloppy joes onto the buns and top with toppings of choice, including some Tabasco or sriracha for heat, if desired. Serve. 

What are you having for supper?  

I am participating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Faithful Soul

My church has suffered a loss. A woman has died who served us in many capacities.

She joined our faith community when she took on the directorship of a local home for retired women, but she had a varied and interesting career. She served as a nurse at a children's hospital, a missionary at a children's home, and as the Minister of Christian Education at a church in a nearby town before starting at the home here.

After here retirement, she became our volunteer minister of visitation. She has also offered pastoral care when our pastor was on vacation, written a devotional book, and helped organize various mission and service projects. She was a frequent visitor at our house as we faced losses.

She was a valued member of our church family. 

This is of course, a beginning for her. She is in Heaven -- has gone Home. She was ready to do so. We will remember her, mourn her, celebrate her life and then move on keeping a piece of her alive in our hearts. We will look forward to seeing her again.  For the moment we are sad.

We look to God and each other for comfort, and to the sure and certain hope of resurrection for those who know Jesus.

Who are you remembering?

I am participating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Sometimes, when I can't find the words to say about something I seek other's words. I have done that in the wake of the Las Vegas disaster.

I first heard about the tragedy shortly after I woke up yesterday morning. I saw a post from a friend who works at concert venues in Las Vegas saying he was safe. I had to look for why he needed to tell us that.

I really can't find the words for this. I looked for prayers to use in times of tragedy and found this page: Prayers in Times of Tragedy and Disaster.  I think perhaps they couldn't formulate the words either so they went straight to the best source of all, God's word itself. The first prayer is taken straight from Psalm 46:

Prayers in Times of Trouble and Disaster 
God is our refuge
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;

God will help it when the morning dawns.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

(from Psalm 46)

An affirmation that God is with us, holds us keeps us. Not a final answer. There were hundreds not physically safe, thousands traumatized. But God is there and we can run to Him. Like a father, he will open his arms and hold us close.

Another appropriate prayer:

A Prayer in a Time of Distress
Almighty and everlasting God, You are strength to those who suffer and comfort to those who grieve. Let the prayers of your children who are in trouble rise to you.
Hear our prayer.
We claim your promises of wholeness as we pray for those who are ill or are suffering loss and long for your healing touch.
Hear our prayer.
Make the weak strong, the sick healthy, the broken whole, and confirm those who serve them as agents of your love.
Hear our prayer.
To everyone in distress, grant mercy, grant relief, grant refreshment.
Hear our prayer.
As we begin to rebuild, we commend our neighborhoods to your care. Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create a community where your will may be done.
Hear our prayer.
God of compassion, you watch our ways, and weave out of terrible happenings wonders of goodness and grace.
Hear our prayer.
Surround those who have been shaken by tragedy with a sense of your present love,
and hold them in faith. Though they are lost in grief, may they find you and be comforted;
Through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives and rules this world with you. Amen.

I want to do something. I want to stop this from ever happening again. I want to change things. But the solutions won't come over night. So I pray. I hope you will, too.

 I am participating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost

Monday, October 2, 2017

Ongoing Hurricane Response

It seems like the hurricanes (and the wildfires) are fading out of the news, but they have disrupted many lives for the long term. It would be easy to decry the response of the occupant of the White House, but let's not go there. I'd rather look at some people who are helping.

My denomination (American Baptists) has always been mission-minded. In fact, it was formed to support missionaries.

The day after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies launched a long-term initiative to help the people there. Questioned as to why Puerto Rico over other places, they replied:

We certainly hold the other US territories and nations impacted by the numerous natural disasters of the last few weeks in our thoughts and prayers. Next week, ABHMS disaster response director will be going on a needs assessment trip across the Gulf Coast and Florida as well as Puerto Rico. We will be posting regular updates here and on our website at I invite you to follow along. In addition to Puerto Rico, we expect to be coordinating recovery efforts in Florida and Texas, but needs are still being assessed. We expect to have a clearer picture of our response after the needs assessment trip next week. Our pledge to Puerto Rico is a long-term commitment. Puerto Rico is where a large American Baptist infrastructure — including 114 American Baptist churches, an American Baptist seminary and a community center — and a historic partnership allow us to have an immediate and sustainable impact.

"An immediate and sustainable impact." They want to be in this for the long haul. Indeed, I have been following the blog posts of the ABHMS team which is touring Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico -- "6,100 Miles, Seven Days" Here is more on what they are doing:

Rebuild, Restore, Renew Puerto Rico

Our International Ministries people have a presence in Puerto Rico as well. The American Baptist Men have disaster teams in various places. Most of our churches are appealing to their congregants to give to One Great Hour of Sharing, a charity which has already released thousands to hurricane affected areas.

Our denomination is moving, doing what it can where it can, and trusting that God will send others to supply the needs of those we can't reach.  We don't have the resources on our own. But we aren't alone -- others are working to.  We can't do it all. Christians need each other. Humans need each other.

I appeal to you to do what is set before you. Pray. Give. Go. We can all do something.

Have a blessed day.

 I amparticipating on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Song for Sunday: Autumn

It feels like Fall!!

Even though the official start of autumn was nine days ago, it's felt more like summer here in my little corner of New England. Until yesterday. Now we have refreshingly cool temperatures in the day and need blankets at night to be comfortable. Soon the leaves will be brilliant colors. The season inspired today's Song for Sunday.

So, in honor of Fall -- Autumn, from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Enjoy!

Today is also a beginning, as I am embarking on the October 2017 Ultimate Blog Challenge. A blog post every day in October. #blogboost

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nuclear Threat

If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
                                                         ~C. S. Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age (1948)

We are hearing a lot about North Korea and possible nuclear strikes. I pray they don't happen. I pray for cooler heads, saner minds, and better people to prevail all around.

But I agree with C.S. Lewis. Let's get on with our lives and not worry. Thankfully, I haven't yet heard of any equivalent to "duck and cover" drills starting up. I expect they'd be pretty useless anyway, I don't live near a targeted area, but I assume nowhere is safe and that, at any rate, a nuclear strike anywhere will have consequences everywhere.

Get outdoors, raise funds for earthquake victims, read the Bible, play a game, help your neighbors, fight forest fires, take a hike, watch a movie, study, work,  feed the hungry. Do what you are called to do today. Worrying doesn't change anything anyway. So, go an live.

Blessings on your day!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Song for Sunday: Seasons in the Sun

I always thought of this as a nostalgic song. It sort of is, but I guess my knowledge of the lyrics didn't go beyond the chorus.I always thought of it as a happy song.

Yesterday, I heard this played by a band at an Out of the Darkness Rally/Fundraiser to prevent suicide. The lyrics really are sad. I did some research, and learned that Terry Jacks actually wrote this about a friend dying of cancer and saying good-bye to a friend, his father, and his daughter. However, it was based on a French song, le Moribund, which was basically a suicide note, though not from the author, rather from a charchter.

The French song:

Jacques Brels version .. le Moriband.. the original of Seasons in the Sun Translated from French into English

Good-bye, my wife, I loved you well
Good-bye, my wife, I loved you well, you know,
But I'm taking the train for the Good Lord,
I'm taking the train before yours
But you take whatever train you can;
Goodbye, my wife, I'm going to die,
It's hard to die in springtime, you know,
But I'm leaving for the flowers with my eyes closed, my wife,
Because I closed them so often,
I know you will take care of my soul. 

Even though Seasons in the Sun is not about suicide, it has a tone that fits with suicide prevention. A few facts a gathered from my brief stop at the rally. 

  • 90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of their death. Five to 10% of suicides take place in mental hospitals.
  • First responders have a suicide rate four times that of the general population, but there is no funding for programs to help
  •  Older adults have the highest suicide rates, more than 50% higher than young people
 Good mental health care would be the best suicide prevention. Something to work for. 

Here's today's Song for Sunday. May it lead you to prayer for the suicidal and the dying. 



Saturday, September 23, 2017

The End of the World

So it is supposed to end today. The world, that is. A rather drastic interruption to a month of  blog posts about beginnings.

Or it would be. But really, it's not happening.

Be ready. Always be ready. Because Jesus is coming.

But there is no particular indication that he is coming today. Could be today, could be tomorrow. Could be 40 years. Could be a thousand.

We don't know and Jesus said we wouldn't know. He also said not to be deceived. So I like this meme. Memes used to be for Monday's on this blog and maybe I'll get back to that. But this one is for today. Jesus does have feelings, being real and all. I suppose that false predictions of the end would bother him.

Are you ready for the end of the world? Whenever it might come?

Friday, September 22, 2017

More Beginnings

Well, today is the beginning of Fall. A new season - my favorite actually because of the colors and temperatures. For me that is all it is. A turn of the calendar, a change of season. But each new beginning, each change of season, makes me consider time and how precious it is.

I also took a step on what may be a new journey today. I sent in my resume for a job. A temporary, part-time ministry job. I don't know if I will be offered the position, but I felt God encouraging me to knock on the door. I am seeing it as part of the discernment process for my future work. With the homeschooling journey ending, I'll be starting something new this time next year. Hoping to figure out what it is. So I begin and try to trust God for the journey.

So, what's new with you?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Song for Sunday: Gotta Serve Somebody

I heard this old Bob Dylan song while listening to a local jazz band on the steps of our library. Summer jazz on the library plaza is a great feature of my town.

It's message is a good one.

Who am I serving? A good thing to keep a check on.

Do I really want it to be God?  Attitude plays a big role in service (and worship!)

How can I serve God best? Examining my life and working to improve.

But it is also a good song. So be inspired by it or just enjoy it.

And have a blessed Sunday!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Song for Sunday (A day late): Peace Be Still

Seem to be a lot of storms about lately. Hurricanes, monsoons, forest fires fueled by wind. And on and on.

Also, metaphorical storms involving medical emergencies, family trauma, spiritual crises, and feuds.

So this song for Sunday, based on Mark 4: 35-41, seems apropos. It is my prayer.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Reflections on Natural Disasters (From Afar)

I was about to send off a donation of hair to a charity when I realized that there only office is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Right in the path of Irma.  I put it aside to send after the hurricane, when things are settled. But it makes wonder. How will nonprofits ride out the storm? What will become of their work if their facilities are devastated? How can we help?

A friend commented that she will need a rain plan for her wedding next weekend because that is when the rain from Irma will hit New England. I began to wonder about all the people in Florida and Texas and Mexico and Montana whose weddings and funerals and baptisms had to be postponed because of natural disasters. Or maybe they won't happen because bride or groom perished. How can we help?

I am not in the path of storm or a wildfire. There has been no earthquake or tornado here. From my position of safety, I feel the need to help, but I don't know what to do.

We used this prayer, published by Xavier University, at youth group tonight. Prayer, of course, is real and effective. But part of my prayer is to figure what actions I should take.

Let Our Cries Come Unto You

Most merciful and compassionate God,
Giver of Life and Love,
hear our prayers
and let our cries come unto you.
We weep with your people 
We hear the cries of orphaned children and laments of bereaved parents
We feel the desperation of those searching for loved ones
We behold the silence of vanished villages.
We see the devastation.
We are overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
Our hearts are hushed, our minds are numb.
Let not our hands be stopped, our voices dumb.
God of the universe,
Open our hearts to feel your compassion
Galvanize in us the act of continued giving
Bond us to our sisters and brothers in need
Comfort and heal the injured, the bereaved, the lost
Strengthen the aid workers and medical personnel
Bolster the resolve of governments and those with power to help
Open through this tragedy pathways to partnerships and peace
In Your Name of mercy and healing and compassion we pray

Brothers and sisters in danger -- let me know how I can help. And God keep you safe!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bittersweet Beginning

Today was another beginning for our family.

A bittersweet one, because it is also the beginning of the end.

Today is the first day of my son's senior year of high school. So it is the beginning of the end of his school years. The last first day of school he will ever have as a student.

It is also the beginning of the end of our homeschooling journey as we have no younger children.

And the beginning of the end of our parenting journey, as when this boy leaves for college or wherever he might go, we will encounter the beginning of the college years and the start of empty nesting all at once. This is how it is for parents of singletons. We have moved through the other stages and now need to move toward becoming consultants to our child.

I want to be conscious of savoring this year, of enjoying this final year of our learning adventure and the transition of my son to adulthood.  We will have senior pictures and final fairs and, ultimately, a graduation ceremony. The rituals that mark endings that are also beginnings. Today has been both joyous and sad and I am sure that other events will be also. There are also the routine endings. It struck me this morning that I will never again assign summer reading to Jordan. I'd forgotten that at the start of the summer.

Letting go can be sad and that is what this season is for. I hope that it doesn't become to overshadowed by college applications and FAFSA forms. Or my need to complete what I see as unfinished.

I pray that this final year cements us as a family and allows for the final forming of both roots and wings.

God bless your journey my boy, both this year and after. I love you and am proud of who you are becoming.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Prayer for Those Affected by Natural Disasters.

With Harvey having devastated parts of Texas, Irma threatening the Caribbean, drought causing famine in Uganda and other parts of Africa, and wildfires blazing in the Pacific Northwest of the US, it seems time for a prayer for those affected by natural disaster.

This one comes from

May we who are in Christ pray it sincerely.

Compassionate Lord

Compassionate Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent natural disasters. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayer for strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May they have the courage to face the long road of rebuilding ahead.
We ask your blessing on all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope. Bless the work of relief agencies and those proving emergency assistance. May their work be guided by the grace and strength that comes from You alone.
Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, in aid to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of those affected, even after the crisis is over. We ask this in Jesus' name.

Have a blessed day. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Hike

I have always felt that forest trails have an elvish quality. Perhaps, because I have a Tolkeinian view of elves.

The leaf patterns dancing in beautiful patches of light, the wind murmuring in the branches overhead. It all makes for a lovely feel to things in the woods.

Today, my family tried a new hiking spot in a nearby town. Another beginning. It was fun to be explore somewhere we hadn't been before.  It was good exercise and a good time together.

I encourage you to get out in the woods. Who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of an elf.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Song for Sunday: Movin' Out

Today's Song for Sunday is just for fun. I am posting it because it's Billy Joel.

The other day, Billy Joel was local and I didn't get to go. A friend had two extra tickets for sale, but I didn't bite at his post -- figured it would be too expensive and I wouldn't have anyone to go with me. Maybe I should have gone for it anyway. I've never been to a live Billy Joel concert. 

Also -- and this has only to do with the title. My goddaughter started college (more beginnings) and moved out of her house yesterday. My son's turn will be coming soon. *sigh*

But, still. Billy Joel. Awesome music. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Drive Carefully

Labor Day weekend is one of the most dangerous on the roads, because of an increase in drunk driving. So be careful out there.

And please remember to drive responsibly. There are no excuses for:

Driving Drunk
Driving after smoking pot
Driving on drugs or medications that make you drowsy or affect motor coordination and reaction time
Driving exhausted
Texting and Driving
Calling and Driving
Speeding and being reckless on the road.

Just don't do it!! Your life and the lives of others are at stake.

In 2010, I lost a friend to a drunk, drugged, wrong-way driver. Tom was just 24 years old and left behind a wife and two very young sons. Gone far too soon, because someone was irresponsible.

Another friend lost her husband to a drunk driver over Labor Day two years ago.

Please be careful. And please, bystanders, take those keys or that phone if the need arises!

Love you all and like you alive!!

Learn more about Tom and how to end drunk driving here:

Drunk Driving
Ending Drunk Driving
Drunk Driving
Celebrating a Life
Drunk Driving: In Memory of Tom Serewicz

The Thomas J. Serewicz, Sr. Foundation for Kind &Responsible Living remembers Tom’s loving and generous spirit by supporting a variety of charities and hosting an annual memorial picnic.

I met Tom and his wife, Cherise, at the Christian YouthConference at Ocean Park (CYC), when they were teenagers. It was where they met and decided to marry. (I looked after Cherise’s engagement ring once while she was out on a service project doing physical labor.) CYC meets for two weeks every August in Maine and is open to all high schoolers. The 2018 Conference will be August 5-18.

Usually I post a blog about Tom on July 17, the anniversary of the accident. But my blog was on hiatus this year on that date. Hopefully, I am back now for a good run!

Friday, September 1, 2017


As far as calendars go, I am most attuned to the academic one. I suppose because I was a student for 17 years and then a teacher for more than 18.  So September always feels like a time of beginnings to me.

Perhaps even more so because my family of origin had it's beginning then. My parents were married on September 1, 1962. Today would have been their 55th wedding anniversary. Sadly, they both died young. My father of ALS in 1995, my mother of a virulent form of cancer in 2011. They were a blessing and I miss them. And I am grateful to them as will. So there is no celebration today. Just a quiet acknowledgement.

Still beginnings resonate.

So today feels like a good day for a beginning.

I am beginning anew with this blog.

I will be posting about youth ministry, escape rooms, family stuff. The sort of thing I posted about before. Just trying to restart.

Hope you'll come along with me!

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 1, 1921

It was an awful day in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A day of pain and sorrow.

A day of race riots.

The day "Black Wall Street" burned.

There are many theories as to why the Greenwood Area of Tulsa was firebombed from the air and why shots were fired on the ground. But whatever the answer, it was a tragedy of large proportions.

And one I first hear of only a few weeks ago.

Why is this history hidden?

For more information:

May God grant us peace with justice.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Song for Sunday: Uptown Girl

Song for Sunday is back!!  And I'm going with Billy Joel, cause I just love his music. You know the lyrics to a few of his songs are a bit iffy, but he's got some others that are just amazing. Not quite sure where this one falls.

The song is sung by Billy, probably in character. He sings as a "downtown man" or "backstreet boy" going for an "uptown girl." A snippet:
I'm gonna try for an uptown girlShe's been living in her white bread worldAs long as anyone with hot blood canAnd now she's looking for a downtown manThat's what I am

As I listen to this song, I think of a brash man, driving a motorcycle, in a  leather jacket. He's loud, he drinks too much, he might do drugs. A bad boy.

Going for a pretty, well dressed rich girl. A girl who's been good, but wants to sow wild oats, maybe get at her parents.

I suppose I am partially influenced by a novel I have been reading in which a boy form a "trashy trailer park" falls for a girl from the other side of the tracks after they reconnect at meetings for recovering addicts. She uses him to get at her rich father. Eventually the boy discovers she is not really interested and kills her, goes to prison, meets Christ, get executed, yada, yada.

But what makes me think a backstreet boy is "bad" and an uptown girl is "good"? Good and bad folks live on both sides of the tracks, right? I mean, it's silly to think otherwise. But many of us do. Inherent bias, reinforced by years of media images and social conditioning.

I am reading the book Waking Up White and attended a workshop by the author, Debby Irving. These resources have helped me begin to see more deeply into my own biases and the way they were formed.

So, I see Billy Joel's song Uptown Girl in a new light. Still enjoy the music though.  Here's a link for you?

What inherent biases do you see in yourself?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day and Science

Today is Earth Day. 

There is also a march for science happening, as people feel that science is being threatened by the current government. Along with the big march in Washington, there have been marches in cities all over the country. People are pointing out how science as helped us and how badly needed it is. 

One quote going around is: 

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”

                                                                          ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

My personal response to that is this statement, that I posted on Facebook:

Science helps us explore the universe and our own back yards. It gives us a systematic way to observe and test what's around us. Science really isn't true or false, it helps us discover what is true or false about the physical world. It is highly important that we have people well educated in scientific method and aware of what has been learned and discovered in the past. Science and science education need to be supported. 

Science isn't something to be "believed in." It's a process (or a set of processes) which help us to learn many things. It has it's limits. It changes over time.

Put it in the context of Earth Day. Climate change is a big issue. It would be hard to say based on scientific evidence that global warming isn't real. It would also be difficult to argue that it isn't human driven. But scientists don't claim to have found out everything about this phenomenon. They are still studying, seeking causes and remedies, refining theories. Views on the specifics change all the time and vary from scientist to scientist. Also, no scientists studies all aspects of it. Some study the greenhouse effect, others melting glaciers, others the connection to increased severe weather events.

Here's another thing. Science doesn't tell us how to behave. Scientific discoveries can show us what the consequences of certain actions will be, but it doesn't offer moral evaluation. It's not meant to do that.

Science also isn't either good evil. It is how it is used that determines that. Remember scientists  have brought us both the cure for polio and the atomic bomb. Healing and destruction.

Personally, I believe that God gave us the inquiring and curious minds that have lead to the development of science. His Word can also give guidance in how to use it, to build the Kingdom of God rather than tear people down. 

Judeo- Christian culture historically supported science and allowed it to flourish. Check out more on that here: Are Christianity and Science Compatible?  There have been many clashes between science and the church, but really theology and science, if each is rightly understood can be complementary. 

One final response to Mr. Tyson's statement: 

God is real and alive and good, whether you believe in him or not. 

And that doesn't change the fact that science is important.

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 7, 1933: The Return of Beer

My great-grandfather was a poet. An unpublished one, but I have his poems in a little green book with little red labels saying "My Poetry Book" and Vol. 1 on the side. It's not full, so I don't know that there ever was a Vol. 2.

He wrote about his world, what was happening to him, and his own family. On April 7, 1933 he penned his only poem with a date. That was the day that Congress repealed the Volstead Act, allowing the sale of beer with less than 3.2 percent alcohol. Eight months later, Prohibition was repealed altogether. My great -grandfather wrote a poem rejoicing in the return of beer, but also sounding a cautionary note.

To the Return of Beer
April 7, 1933

Well, good old beer is here again
And has caused quite a sensation
And with it comes prosperity,   
And an income to the nation

Now a man can drink a glass, 
And not feel he's doing wrong, 
He has gained a new freedom, 
That he has wanted, so long.

Let's hope he will enjoy it,
and not abuse, this new right,
Let's hope he'll be contented, 
And drink in a way that's right.

There is no harm in drinking, 
Amongst a gathering of friends, 
But the beer, let's have cheer, 
And good fellowship to the end. 

                                               ~ John F. Henderson, Sr.

What do you think of the message of this poem? 

Do you have any writers in your background who have left a perspective on history?

For more information on the repeal of the Volstead Act and Prohibition, go here: 

April 7, 1933: Gimme a Tall, Cold One - Wired

Sunday, April 2, 2017

100 Years Ago Today: Wilson Asks for War

On April 2, 1917,  Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany and bring the US into World War I.

Wilson was solemn as he spoke to a joint session of Congress which he had called for the purpose. He really didn't want to go to war, but he knew that our allies needed our help to end the war -- without the US, the conflict would go on for an extended time.

As quoted in Life magazine, Wilson told Congress:

"It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance, but the right is more precious than peace. 
Congress, which had been waiting to hear this request, cheered.

Wilson was appalled. "Think of what it was they were applauding," he told his private secretary Joseph Tumulty. "My message today was a message of death for our young men. How strange it seems to applaud that." And then, he sobbed.

Wilson was not a perfect president. None of them have been, really. But if there must be war, I would want my president to have this attitude going in: a combination of understanding the reality and reluctance because of it and also a willingness to do a right and necessary thing.

I pray for peace. For no more death for young men (and women) because of war. I pray for those places where there is war. I pray that our leaders know what war is and enter into reluctantly only when the right is more precious than peace.

God bless us all. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hidden Figures: A Review

I saw the movie Hidden Figures a few days ago. It is a film that everyone should see, one that illuminates a portion of our history that has been shadowed. It tells the true story of three exceptionally intelligent people who did not allow the discrimination and prejudice shown both women and African-Americans to hold them back for long. They made incredible contributions to the space program while they worked at NASA. 

This movie is a reminder of a past full of prejudice and segregation. It makes a strong statement that we were wrong back then. Sadly, it can’t be thought of as just a look back at a dark period in our history. It’s message is very relevant today as women, African-Americans, and others still struggle for equal opportunity and recognition. 

Hidden Figures allows for good discussion in the areas of history and government, and we took full advantage of that in our homeschool. We also analyzed the movie based on the principles of rhetoric. I will explain our thoughts, but I am going to attempt not to include spoilers. You’ll have to see the movie to see if we are right. 

Ethos: The movie appears credible. Styles of clothing and cars, the influence of faith and the black church, and the pervasiveness of “Jim Crow” laws are all portrayed in an historically accurate manner. Several times, real news footage is shown on what appear to be period appropriate TVs. The movie is, of course, a fictionalized account of true events. I am sure that timelines, dialogue, and the details of incidents have been altered for dramatic effect. But the movie gives the impression that it is telling the real story in a reliable way. 

Logos: The story dramatically builds it’s argument that segregation and prejudice were and are wrong. It logically shows that women and African-Americans should be provided with equal education and opportunity. It is consistent in this message. 

Pathos: There are many points at which the movie successfully tugs at the  emotions. At various points we found ourselves feeling empathy, sorrow, frustration and joy. We ended up rooting for some characters, despising others. Characters grew and, as their views matured, we found  ourselves glad. 

I strongly recommend this movie. It tells a powerful story, and does it well. 

What movies have you found helpful lately?