Learning Spanish

I took a couple of years of Spanish in school, but that’s been…..um….quite some time ago, and if you don’t use it, you lose it.  I couldn’t carry on a conversation en espanol if I had to.

But I’ve decided that I want to brush up on my Spanish.

I really like (and heartily recommend) Duolingo’s online language learning courses.  Fun and painless, and all you have to do is watch a few advertisements.

Some of the vocabulary they start you out with is a little odd, though.

On the plus side, if I need to reassure Mrs. Garcia that there are no penguins in her bathroom, I am prepared.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Semi-Listicle About My Day

I’d like to apologize for missing last Thursday’s post.  I could have gotten it done, but things were a little full up and I had to make some choices, and I chose to let it slide.  I’m not sure that was the best course of action.  A commitment is a commitment, right?  I’ll do better.

On the up side, my daughter turned twenty-five years old, and we did spend a little time in video chatting, so that was cool.

Anyway, I thought I’d tell you about my Saturday.  In bullet points.  Sort of a listicle.  Did you know that “listicle” is a new word?  It means an article that consists of pretty much just a list.  “Twenty-Five Rising Young Stars” or “Top Ten New Words I Didn’t Know Were Words.”

I love language evolution.  But that’s the etymology/grammarian nerd geek coming out.

Anyway, my Saturday.

  1. With half a dozen friends, reorganized the storage shed at the community theater.  Threw away a boatload of stuff we don’t need, which is always a satisfactory experience.
  2. Did some self-study in Spanish.  I’ve decided I want to dust off my Spanish skills and become a little more proficient at it.  If I need to tell somebody en español that ducks don’t eat oranges, I’m all set.
  3. Took my son to his basketball game.
  4. Stopped by the church and did a few chores, mostly relating to leading the children’s worship time on Sunday.  Copied some coloring pages.
  5. Did recycling and composting and some yard clean up.
  6. Assembled a new footstool from Wal-Mart.   Thirty second chore.
  7. Went through a bunch of paperwork and was able to recycle a bunch of stuff Again, a very satisfactory experience, and it’s nice to be able to walk away from a shelf that looks much neater.
  8. Played some Lego Batman on the Wii.
  9. What?  I happen to like Lego Batman.  I never claimed to have grown up.
  10. Played cards with my wife.
  11. Had a good conversation with my daughter.
  12. Did a little writing and Facebooking and emailing, and this post.
  13. Reset a bunch of clocks and my watch.  Daylight savings time starts tomorrow.  Whee!  (Yesterday by the time you read this.)
  14. Fed the cat.
  15. Had my daughter’s chinchilla run its exercise ball over my foot.  That was kind of weird.
  16. Bought milk at the grocery store and was able to get a lot of empty cardboard boxes for our church’s food pantry at the same time.  Serendipitous.
  17. Knocked on the neighbor’s door to check on him, but he wasn’t home.  Poor fellow.  Elderly man whose wife quite recently passed away.  I think he might be staying with his family for the weekend, which is nice.  I’ll try him again later.
  18. Took a shower, ate, various other odds and ends.  Nothing else substantive comes to mind.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Didn’t Get the Joke?

I’m sympathetic to people who don’t have a sense of humor.  But I find it very difficult dealing with them.

Now, when I say that, let me hasten to add that I don’t find everything funny that other people do, and I appreciate that there are those who aren’t going to share MY sense of humor, either.  Not everything is for everybody, and not everybody is going to “get” every gag.  The expression “I get it; I just don’t think it’s funny” is perfectly valid.  Most of us can tell when something is said jokingly, whether it appeals to us or not.

But I’ve run across a few individuals, here and there, otherwise intelligent, who don’t seem to understand the concept of humor at all.  Relating to them is tough for those, like me, who are constant jokers and clowns.  I can be serious when the occasion calls for it, but it’s not my default state.  Interacting with someone who’s nothing BUT serious?  It’s like we’re speaking different languages.

I interacted with one lady recently on social media who took a tongue-in-cheek thing I’d posted and treated it absolutely at face value, and was rather offended and delivered a small lecture.  It was a gentle and affectionate jest,  nothing mean-spirited.  Dozens of people “got it,” with hers being the only negative reaction, so I don’t think it was the content itself that was the trouble.  It’s possible I’d touched on some sore spot, but in that case I think she would have said something along the lines of “I realize you’re only joking, but…..”   I think I’d just found one of those poor souls who, for whatever reason, don’t recognize humor.

I didn’t respond to her comment, and don’t plan to unless she persists.  I feel bad for her, but we don’t speak the same language.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Reading Esther

The book of Esther is unique in the Bible because nowhere does it mention “God” at all, or make any direct reference to Him.  There are only three places (possibly four) it gets anywhere close: when Mordecai tells Esther that deliverance will arise “from another place” if she doesn’t act, when he  clearly believes in a purposeful force behind events, suggesting that Esther has risen to the queenship “for such a time as this,” and when Esther calls for a time of fasting, no doubt with prayer in mind.

The possible-fourth place is when Haman’s family and friends suggest that Haman will not prevail against Mordecai because he is a Jew, perhaps thinking of the Jews divine history under God’s protection.

I almost skipped it in my Bible reading.  I love the book–it’s one of my favorite “adventure stories” in the Bible, and Esther and Mordecai are fascinating characters.  And I’d come to it in the course of my regular Bible reading, having just finished Nehemiah.

But I was going through some challenging personal things and I thought of maybe skipping Esther and going to the Psalms or the Gospels; someplace where the hand of God was evident and powerful.  I thought my faith could use a little building up, and Esther wasn’t where I needed to be.

Esther was exactly where I needed to be.

Here’s the lesson, and I won’t belabor the point: even when things seem grim and God seems a long way away, He is very close and in absolute control.  Everything is going to work out all right for those whose trust is in the Lord.

I needed to be reminded of that in this season.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Love in Action

Hello, friends!  Awhile back I posted an interview with Kathy Coomer.  I need to report, asking for prayer, that her husband Roger passed away this week.

Kathy was a full-time caregiver for Roger since 2011, when he suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him severely disabled and unable to do anything for himself.  In addition, Kathy essentially single-parents their special-needs son.

I’d like to salute her.  When she said “for better or for worse” she MEANT it.

Please be in prayer for her.  Roger was a devout Christian and we know that he’s delivered from the prison of his crippled body and having a wonderful time right now.  And Kathy knows that she’s going to see him again.  But right now she has to completely readjust her entire life, come to grips with the loss of her great love, and figure out the future.

Thanks for reading, friends, and God bless.  Hope all’s well out there.

Billy Graham–Advice for, Well, Everyone

Billy Graham, so sources say, died yesterday.  Dr. Graham claims otherwise.  To quote him:

Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead.  Don’t you believe a word of it.  I shall be more alive than I am now.  I will just have changed my address.  I will have gone into the presence of God.

I normally like to do these pretend interviews as though the interviewee and I are having an actual conversation, and I’m using their recorded words as their answers.  Not doing that this time.  Dr. Graham’s graduation to Heaven is too new, too fresh, and it feels disrespectful.  But I’d wanted to share some of his wisdom:

“I feel sorry for the man who has never known the bracing thrill of taking a stand and sticking to it fearlessly. Moral courage has rewards that timidity can never imagine. Like a shot of adrenaline, it floods the spirit with vitality.”

“What is the greatest surprise you have found about life?” a university student asked me several years ago. “The brevity of it,” I replied without hesitation. … Time moves so quickly, and no matter who we are or what we have done, the time will come when our lives will be over. As Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

And, as he neared the end of his earthly travels, he shared this:

No, I don’t know the future, but I do know this: the best is yet to be! Heaven awaits us, and that will be far, far more glorious than anything we can ever imagine. I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life. But I look forward to Heaven. I look forward to the reunion with friends and loved ones who have gone on before. I look forward to Heaven’s freedom from sorrow and pain. I also look forward to serving God in ways we can’t begin to imagine, for the Bible makes it clear that Heaven is not a place of idleness. And most of all, I look forward to seeing Christ and bowing before Him in praise and gratitude for all He has done for us, and for using me on this earth by His grace—just as I am.

I’ll close with one of my favorite sayings from Dr. Graham, one I quote on a regular basis:

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”

Thank you for your life, Dr. Graham, and all glory be to the God Who did such great things through you.  God bless, friends.



I said this was going to be a happier post than the last one.  I try to be a man of my word.

Let’s talk about sin.

I’m going to paraphrase a few Bible verses here.  Just for the sake of writing flow, I won’t be giving the references, but I strongly, strongly, strongly encourage you to check to keep me honest.

The Scriptures tell us that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  We know that we often hide sin in our hearts, and refuse to own up to it.

Unconfessed sin cuts us off from fellowship with God.  His joy, His peace, His power can’t and won’t come into a sin-hardened heart.

Ah, but confessing sin?  Better yet, asking God to search our hearts and reveal our sin to us so that we can BETTER confess it?  It brings a tremendous freedom, and a tremendous peace.  I speak from personal experience, as one who likes to stubbornly hold on to pet sins.

….okay, I’ll quote two verses.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  I John 1:9

And, a favorite prayer: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24

Unburdening, friends.  Pouring out our sins before God, agreeing with Him that we are sinners, and asking for (and receiving) His mercy and forgiveness.  There’s nothing like it.

Violence in Schools

This is not the happy post.  I promise, Monday I’ll try to be witty again.

Doing lighthearted stuff is sort of my thing.  I want to be the guy who gives you a break from the world, not the blogger who pushes it at you.

But, yeah, ANOTHER school shooting.

And, Lord help us all, we’ve gotten to the point where this is commonplace.  Where it’s not really “big news” anymore.  Where our teachers and students are, rightfully, afraid to go to school.

I don’t want to be alarmist, I really don’t.  And I tend to lean conservative politically, whatever that means.  But if any leaders have plans that could stop this, whatever their political persuasion, we’re years past due to do something about this.

But, yes, I know “thoughts and prayers” are mocked.  And they are indeed empty if that’s as far as they go.  But may we indeed pray for the families and mourn the loss.

And may we pray that God may turn the hearts and minds of this nation back to Him.

God bless, friends.

Sunday School Antics

I was filling in for a children’s Sunday School class.  The regular teacher is taking a cruise and completely neglected to invite me.

The lesson was on Jesus and His healing miracles and on how we should show His love for others.  We eventually got to it.

First we apparently had to talk about movies.  Then Adam was flipping a coin, and he dropped it and I thanked him for bringing me a coin.  He protested that it was his lucky coin, and I told him okay, but put it back in his lucky pocket.  He grinned and complied.

Then Mark was on the floor on his back because he said he was a turtle and he couldn’t get up.  I flipped him over and said “okay, shell-boy, get in your seat.”  And he did.

Some other shenanigans, but we got to the lesson.  And then they answered the review questions correctly and had some very sweet and insightful comments on being loved and showing love.  So, you know, no big deal with the antics, because they’re learning something.

I love kids’ Sunday School.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Miscellaney February 8, 2018


  1. I’ve had “Lead Me to Some Soul Today” stuck in my head and been praying about it.  It’s hard to sing, because I don’t know QUITE all the worlds, so I have to hum along until I get back to the lyrics I’m comfortable with.  I should probably look it up.

2. I took a chunk out of a fingernail this morning.  It doesn’t bother me until I hit the “w,” “s,” or “x” key, then it stings.  Typing Wessex is kind of painful and I should probably avoid working it into the post.

3. I had an injection in my knee Tuesday, and was warned there would possibly be some discomfort for a couple of days.  Um, yeah, I’ll say.  Tuesday afternoon I had to go home and lie down, yesterday was pretty rough, this morning honestly is much less sore.

4. I’ve interacted with some VERY cute and sweet children the last couple of days and really wish I could show you pictures, but I’m leery about that since they’re not actually my kids.  I have one of a three month old baby girl staring at my camera with a “what’s this all about” look.

5. You can’t do ANYTHING when the doctor insists you use two crutches.

6. The doctor and I disagree about “avoiding strenuous activity.”  I personally consider that moving tables and chairs isn’t all that demanding, but he rather unreasonably sees it differently.  My wife, friends, and co-workers are siding with him.  Frustrating.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.