19 June 2024


…the men won both games. About time!

18 June 2024

The way a crazy mind works…

…. Truth is, I have an order that I like to do things in. I get set in my ways. Yesterday, Dave needed a hand early in the morning, and so Cindi headed over to help him. We’d started breakfast, but we just put it on hold. And so I waited and didn’t do much of anything besides making sure the steak got taken out and the pan for the eggs was turned off. I did look at the phone a little bit. Cindi made it home and we resumed right where we had left off with our normal routine. And then I didn’t really have time to do my workout or puzzles as I usually do. So I decided to skip workout for the day. I was taking a walk later when it hit me what an absolute idiot I was not to just do the workout while Cindi was gone. It never even occurred to me! I mean, that would require shuffling my routine. Good gravy! How pathetic is that? Well, at least I hope I have stored it in the old brain: “your schedule is not written in stone like the Holy Ten Commandments; you can change it to work better with your day.” I’m going to say this to myself repeatedly until it finally sinks in. 

17 June 2024

Installation of Pastor RenĂ© Castillero…

 …as associate pastor and headmaster of St. Paul’s Hamel. And Kantor outdid herself (again): timpani, trumpet, violins, violas, cello, bells, children’s choir and adult choir on Bach’s “Who Puts His Trust in God Most High” and “Thee, Lord, Would I Serve.” Oh, and there was “smells, bells, and yells” too (incense, bell at the consecration, and chanting). Liturgy was the Common Service, of course, with propers for Christian Education. 

To watch FB video, click here.

13 June 2024

We’ve had a plenty of these days lately…

…but the spell seems to have ended and the heat to have returned. Still, when we have those clear June days, I cannot but remember my mother reciting James Russell Lowell’s “And What is So Rare as a Day in June?”

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip starlets in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,--
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,--
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,--
'Tis for the natural way of living:

Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.
Photo by my brother Butch in Idaho


Well, I am a poorer man…

…but at least now the power is on for good. We just had a whole-house Generac installed. I read somewhere that it actually increases the value of the house by about 5%. I expected it to be noisier in the house when it was running, but it wasn’t bad at all. So, the next time a raccoon or squirrel decides to fry itself around here, I can STILL enjoy my coffee and heat or AC. Cindi thinks it’s about the freezer and the sump; it’s really ALL about the coffee. 

Yet Another Gem…

…from my dear friend, Kurt Reinhardt, inspired by some reading he was doing in Cardinal Bona

Our Sins and Misery Are All 

Our sins and misery are all 

That we can call our own.

For ev’ry other work or thing

Is ours by grace alone.

Our faults and failings we can claim;

From You they do not flow.

Our wretchedness is also ours;

For it You did not sow.

You are the Author in our lives

of all that’s good or grand.

All that is praiseworthy in us

Is penned by Your great hand.

Since You alone are truly good,

All good must come from You.

Since we are sinful to the core,

We sin in all we do.

Forgive and save us, Gracious Lord, 

From all that we can claim,

And fill our lives in ev’ry way

With all that bears Your name.

08 June 2024

On Tea and Coffee

I was experiencing some health issues a while ago that led me to eliminating my most beloved beverage: coffee. It was hard, but I did it. I gave up all caffeinated drinks for over six months upon my doctor’s advice. But then I decided in the winter to return to an old favorite: tea, something I also enjoy very much.

These days, mornings usually start out with several cups of my favorite: Irish Breakfast Tea. It’s strong, it’s rich, and it goes like a charm with, well, breakfast! Who’d a thunk? So I’m typically enjoying it with my steak, eggs, and bacon. By late morning, I usually want a change from that robust flavor and opt for the more delicate Darjeeling, or very occasionally, an Earl Gray. At first, I was drinking them with a splash of raw milk, but we’ve stopped going to the dairy to pick that up, so now I’m drinking them straight (though very occasionally will add a bit of cream). 

Growing up, my mom was always the tea drinker. She had numerous cups each day. Sadly, though, she used to fix it with hot tap water and stir in no less than three heaping teaspoons of sugar per cup. Her favorite was Red Rose (and I was delighted when visiting Pr. Peters and family in Canada for them to serve us up some Red Rose after supper!). In mom’s case, I think it’s more accurate to say she liked sugar than that she liked tea. I am not sure she ever tasted a plain, unsweetened cup of tea in her life. That’s a pity, since it is quite satisfying in its own right. And for some reason (even with the caffeine) I find it to be utterly calming.

After over half a year off the java, I have cautiously added back in a SINGLE cup of joe a day, and have not had any of the health issues recur. So I’m keeping it at that. Limiting the coffee, I find I look forward to it more than ever. I plop in a pat of Irish butter, put a metal mesh cone on top of my cup (same cup that the tea was in earlier), line it with an unbleached filter, and then put in two small scoops freshly ground organic coffee beans from Peru (thank you Aldi!). After the cup is full, I dump it into a metal blender and mix it well. It comes out frothy and delicious, and I pour it right back into the cup.

Now, if tea was always mom’s beverage, daddy was the coffee drinker. He usually had a couple cups to start the day - back in those days, it was a percolator that brewed the beverage and it sat on the breakfast table. He fixed it with half and half and some sugar (not as much by a long shot as mom used in her tea). He must have had a shaky hand, because I remember his saucer always had a bit of coffee in it. That’s how I learned to drink coffee. I sipped the cooled stuff he had spilled and found that I liked it. As in, a lot! I used to drink it that same way until I went to Concordia College, Bronxville, where I made the happy discover that if there were no sugar in the cup and you spilled it on your hand rushing from class to class, it wasn’t sticky! Thereafter, I came to mostly drink it black. And drank it in great excess. Before the doc ordered me off of it, I was regularly downing two to three POTS of the stuff a day, not counting stopping at every Starbucks I passed! 

So these days, I’m loving my tea (about four cups a day) and enjoying that single cup of joe, and am grateful to God for them both! 

07 June 2024

05 June 2024

Happy 42nd Anniversary to us…


Sadly, Three of my groomsmen are now dead: Maup, Bob, Joe.

Been a wild and crazy ride! But wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to my best buddy since Jr. High: thank you for saying “yes”!

31 May 2024

Lovely Virginia

With Nancy, Jimmy and Sissy

My mom’s family home

26 May 2024

Apple’s Ad Ticked Off a Lot of People…

…as it showed how one of its devices (in this case, the iPad) has become a functional replacement to a whole pile of things we used to use. Have you ever really listed it out? My “digital world” these days consists of an iPad, an iPhone, bluetooth earphones, an Apple Watch, an Apple TV and HomePod. For me, by far the most used items are my iPad, my iPhone, my watch. What have these things eliminated for me? 

Much of my library
All of my collected CDs / Albums 
Record players / CD Player / Hifi
My wallet and, well, money and credit / debit cards
Any regular use of paper, pencil, pens
Sticky notes
Tape recorder
Phone (we haven’t even ever had a landline in our home since we bought it in 2012)
Video recorder
GPS Device
Atlases and Maps
Photo Albums
Letter writing (for the most part)
Trips to the Bank
Trips to the Movie Theatre (for the most part)
Broadcast TV
Cable TV
File cabinets
Trips to the Library (our library provides access via the cloud and we download what we want)
Any number of games that I now play almost exclusively on my devices
Magazines / Newspapers

I’m sure I’m leaving tons of things out. Now, some people think that this is all pretty awful, and over all a loss. I honestly don’t feel that way at all. I am profoundly happy NOT to have all those things cluttering up my home and my life. Apple’s devices have streamlined my life. I could NEVER see going back to using a laptop or desktop ever again, let alone a camera or a GPS device. I still buy the occasional book. I’ll never give up my Bible for what’s on my phone. But over all, I think it was a great move to consolidate as many tasks as possible into a single machine. What do you guys think?

22 May 2024

Memory is such an odd thing…

…my one remaining brother and my sister and I usually text each other every day. My sister still lives on property that my grandparents left to my father. She’d put in a lovely in-ground pool some years back, but just put up new fencing around it this year. It looked so nice. I mention to Sis and Butch, “I wonder what on earth Grandma Bess and Granddaddy Chance would have thought of that!”

And so that set my mind to remembering and for some reason, I conjured up the picture of the old cat they used to have. Quite ornery, and with a damaged front foot. They called him “Hun.” Mom told me that one Thanksgiving, Grandma Bess had set out the turkey on the stairs to cool before dinner and that Hun had helped himself to a quite sizable portion!

But thinking of Hun, I had the vaguest memory of an old dog, sort of yellowish in color but running to white due to age, stretched out on his back on the back porch, wanting his tummy rubbed. And then the name came out of nowhere: Toy. I wasn’t even sure of the memory, so I just asked Butch and Sissy and they both confirmed it. Yes, they had a yellow dog named Toy. I’m guessing those animals died something like 55 to 60 years ago, and yet seemingly out of nowhere, the thought of them both came back today. Yes, memory is an odd thing.

Prepping an Issues Show…

…on Trinity 1, so the Rich Man and Lazarus. I don’t know why but it never occurred to me before how well Proverbs 21:13 fits with it: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” Lutheran Prayer Companion picks this thought up in the daily prayer for Tuesday morning: “Therefore awaken me each morning; awaken my heart, that I may hear Your holy Word with a heart of faith and keep it firm in my memory; that I may incline my ears to the cries and supplications of the poor and not forsake them in their need. And when I cry to You in anguish, hear the voice of my supplication also, and do not despise the groaning of my final distress.” pp. 16-17.