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Friday, January 23, 2015

Top Posts of 2014 + A Couple Other Most Read

     The Top Ten Most Read Posts in the Last Year or So.  I know the list actually goes back 16 months, but a couple of these were my most read posts ever.  So I took the liberty of stretching the time frame for those looking for the “good stuff” to read.  Hope you look them up and enjoy them.

The Oil Light Just Came On                                   12/18/14

How to Escape Wage Slavery                                10/23/14

Warning, An Apple A Day May Kill You               7/2/14

Green Enough to Save the World                            6/19/14

When God Says, April Fool!!                                 4/11/14

Unfinished Business                                                3/8/14

A Wannabe Sky God                                               3/8/14

Putting Your Hand to the Plow                                12/15/13

Beware of Self Righteousness                             11/25/13

A Truckers Perspective - Why America                      9/9/13
 Is Losing the Manufacturing and Marketing Battle


Friday, January 16, 2015

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child/Nation/ World

            While preparing to write this I looked up the definition of Spare..according to Webster it means "Let Live"  It kinda gives a new perspective on whipping.  By that definition 80% of America would probably be dead.  If you include the observing the Sabbath and all the other old testament commandments. 

     Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child/Nation/ World

    Recently there has been a lot of talk in the media about what constitutes child abuse.  A professional football player is in the process of possibly losing his career over spanking his child with a switch.  Some argue that whipping a child is a horrible thing.  Some also hold the Bible view which says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

     When I compare those views to the attitude when I was growing up I almost laugh.  Corporal punishment was the standard back then.  When I was in the 2nd grade, on my 2nd time around, they found out I needed glasses and could not read the chalk board from the back of the room, but not till the end of the year on the first time through.  So they flunked me.  I still remember the humiliation of being held back. Suddenly I was the old kid in the class. I also learned what it feels like to be laughed at because you are different.

     One day I showed up for school and went to my classroom and instead of sitting down when everybody else did I remained standing.  The teacher told me to sit down and I told her I would rather not.  She then asked, “Why not?” I said, 
“Because I got a whipping from my dad and the whelps on my legs are oozing and my pants will stick to my legs and it hurts to pull them loose.”  She looked at me for a moment with a puzzled look on her face. Then she said, “Okay you may stand but move to the back of the room.”  That was the end of the matter.  There was no trip to the principal’s office. Those started in fourth grade.

     In the fourth grade I started getting whippings both at home and at school.  I was not a problem child.  I just did not listen well, today I know it was part of my dyslexia, but then it was just me being a problem.  In fifth grade they no longer whipped you in front of the class.  They had a special room that was situated so that all the students could listen to the whacks being administered with the “board of education.” The normal whipping was three whacks, the max supposedly was ten.  Tough kids refused to cry and it ticked the teachers off.  I had a friend who insulted a teacher. She called him a whop, which almost half the class were,  and he called her a pig. Gary got sixteen whacks and he came back in the room smiling.  I must admit that it was a forced smile.  He was my best friend and he was tough, he did not break.

   In my fifth grade year we got a new principal.  Mr. McKeever was tough as nails.  I went to his office several times and got my three whacks.  One day I went to his office.  He had a big cushioned chair that you sat in while he gave you your lecture.  First you would assume “the position” and bend forward with your hands on the arm of the chair. Then you got your whacks, sat down and received a lecture on how you needed to obey the teachers. 

     One day I entered his office and stood in front of his desk.  Originally the teacher would come with me.  I had to tell him what I did, or was accused of doing  and what punishment  I should get.  Then he would ask me if it was true and usually I was told to assume the position.  For some reason the teacher did not come with me this time.  She said I knew the way and was wasting her time.  Mr. McKeever sometimes gave you a choice between the board and a strap. This day he just looked at me and smiled.  He said, ”You know how this works right.”  I said, “Yes” He looked at me then told me to stand by the chair and that he was going to administer the punishment to the chair. He winked at me. My job was to yell at the appropriate moment.

      When he finished he told me to sit down and asked me what was wrong and why I didn’t listen.  We talked for quite a while and became secret friends.  We did this fairly often over the next couple years, but they got farther and farther apart as he helped me learn to deal with my emotions and to communicate with the teachers when I did not understand.    He realized spanking was not doing anything to change me and that I had some kind of learning disability.

     Later in life I had to raise my own kids and I tried to refrain from spanking and used the corner and other tactics, but not listening and flagrant disobedience would earn a whipping.  My weapon of choice was a belt.  The belt smarted, but it was not going to break anything like a hand might.  In our house whippings would come to be known as dancing lessons.  They are still called that in my family. Even my grandkids know what dancing lessons are.  My policy was if I told you, you were going to get a whipping, you were going to get it.  It might be deferred for a while, but it was going to happen.

      Dancing lessons came about when one of my children had a temper tantrum at the store.  I warned her that she was going to get a dancing lesson when we got home.  I grabbed her arm and led her in a circle around me. I looked at her very seriously and said do you understand me.  She realized what I meant and stopped fussing.  When we got home she got her whipping just like I told her she would. I see young parents threatening, and threatening, and threatening their children and then never following through.

     That is the worst thing a parent can do. It undermines their own authority as it tells the child that you do not mean what you say. If you say it, you should mean it. Whippings are not for fun, they are not for when you are having a bad day and don’t want to hear it.  They are for teaching that there is a price for not obeying. Letting the child meditate on the matter and then making them bring you the belt establishes who is in charge.  It also establishes that there are consequences for disobedience.  That final part is a big part of what is wrong with America today.
Children are no longer taught morals or values. That there are things that are right and wrong.

    Our society no longer has the lines between good and bad behavior.  The new rule is, “If it feels good, do it.”  No one should be condemned for anything they do.
Unfortunately the ones who have that mindset are much more vocal than the ones who don’t agree with it.  We are quickly becoming a non-Christian nation because Christians no longer stand up for what believe, or state what they believe. 

    That is not the example Jesus taught to his followers.  When the money changers were violating the temple Jesus threw them out. Today Jesus is all about love, peace and not making waves.  If you make waves you’re a trouble maker.  Jesus made waves and he made them big enough to get himself killed.  Not because he was wrong, but because he stood up for what he believed in.

    Jesus healing ministry offended the church leaders of his day. They said he could not heal on the Sabbath.  Jesus explained to them that if they had an animal in a situation it would die if not attended to, they would tend to it. Even on the Sabbath.  In essence he said to them doing good is never wrong, but they did not see it in that light. The law was the law from their point of view.  That is where they got their authority from.  If someone broke the law they were challenging their authority.  That is exactly what the Taliban and the extremists believe.  That they are enforcing God’s Word.  The problem is they have never read God’s Word.

   Muslims believe a man who lived almost 2000 years after Abraham.  He lived six hundred years after Christ.   Yet he is an authority on The Word of God.  He is a man that developed a faith system which made him superior to Jews.  He accomplished that feat by simply leaving out things written by the earlier prophets that contradict or do not agree with the program he desired to create.

    So how did we get from whippings to this point?  It is pretty simple really. The Bible teaches the need for discipline.  Discipline requires understanding and obedience to what it teaches.  Today we argue over what day the Sabbath falls on.  The answer can only be understood by reading and understanding the Bible.  That is something that does not happen very often in this day and age.  Having done away with the Bible as authority, Islam and the rest of the secular world can make rules to uphold any system they like.  They are going to create and uphold one that makes them right and others wrong.

It is time for Christians to come together and do what Christ commanded them to do and spread His Word throughout the whole world.  That may not make you popular, but you will plant the seed of truth in their lives.  Once they know the Truth they will continue to seek the Truth.  Slowly their eyes will be opened to the false teachings that are passed off as Truth and Lord willing they will seek to follow the Truth.  If they don’t they are lost.  Then they will come to know the price and cost of not having discipline in their lives.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Book Review of "Running from a Crazy Man

                  Running from a Crazy Man

Welcome to my first ever guest post.  The last three years I have attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference.  It is an adventure every year and this year I am glad to celebrate the publication of my friend Lori Stanley Roeleveld’s first book.  I have read it and it is an awesome and inspiring book. Her book endorsement by Jerry Jenkins says it like it is. “A book that is hard to put down.” As one of the authors of the Left Behind series of books he should know what he is talking about.  This may work out to be a little long but totally worth it as she is letting me print a short excerpt from her book.  First I would like to let you read a little of her background , so here it is. It is a book of about 70 short stories that will deal with a lot questions we struggle with daily as Christians. This lady walks the walk and she knows what she is talking about from true life experiences. I pray you enjoy it as much as I did and are as Blessed as I have been.  This excerpt was one of my favorites as it spoke to issues in my life at the time.

“Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored a disturbing blog since 2009; a pursuit that eventually resulted in her first book, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). Lori’s blog has a modest but faithful daily readership and yet, in the past year, one post was viewed over 1.7 million times and another was shared over 275,000 times on Facebook. Lori has published newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, and plays. Her novels, short stories, and Bible studies have won several awards. Besides degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori earned her Masters in Motherhood homeschooling her two children through graduation. Now, she draws energy from helping writers find their voice and see God’s vision for their work. In her day job, Lori writes the stories of real families in crisis so others see their strengths and values, not just their problems. You’ll find Lori at her website or on her front porch writing. If not, know she’s somewhere slaying dragons.”

So without further stalling by me here is the Excerpt. You can get the book on line at Amazon by clicking on the word book and following the link.

Sorry about the quality of the Cover Copy, I will try to fix it as soon as someone tells and shows me how.

How a Talking Pelican Helped Me Dance with God
Following Jesus into Self-Sacrifice

This story is strange but true. I haven’t changed any names because no one is innocent.
I’m an introvert. Sometimes I live as if I’m stuck in junior high and life is one long Friday night dance. I inhabit the wallflower me. I wait to be chosen, watching everyone else go off and become part of the scene while I try to look comfortable against the wall, perfectly content to be rejected, left out, without a partner as the music plays on.
Then I stop and slap my moody self in the head. Snap out of it!
Admittedly, sometimes God does the slapping.
This is about a day like that.
I felt, well, bleh.
Like I was waiting for God to ask me to dance, certain that He would pass me over and choose someone else.
I prayed. I read Bible verses. Yada, yada, yada. No lightning bolts. No deep insight. Just bleh.
Great. I thought. Passed over in my own life. Terrific. Well, I know how this goes.
 I started to work my way into a major pity-party. Fine, fine. I’ll just carry on with my gray little life. No need for You to show up and dance with me, Jesus. I’m sure You have better things to do with your time. I’m sure there are plenty of others who need Your attention. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I’ll just go live my boring old, gray, dreary, foggy little life today.
So I did.
Part of my work on that day involved leading a community health class through a weight-loss book that was a little touchy-feely. I needed to prepare for class, so I read the chapter. The writer instructs the reader to stop and ask herself what’s going on in her body. Be specific. How does your body feel? Give the feeling a color, a texture, a name.
Wow. How seriously stupid. Here I wanted to spend an amazing day with Jesus, and instead, I’m stuck leading a drum circle in the seventies.
"Self," I asked, "how does your body feel?"
"Bleh," my body answered.
"Be specific." I urged. "What color is your bleh?"
"Gray. Gray, bloated, and full. I don’t know, like something by a foggy harbor. A pelican. A big, old bloated-beak pelican. That’s how my body feels."
 And this helps me how? I don't know anything about pelicans. How does this help? 
Maybe I’ll just look up an online image of the bird.
Yup, there it is. A pelican.
That's when I heard God's offer to dance. With nothing more than a hunch and perhaps, the flashing image of a winking Savior, I wondered if pelicans had any spiritual symbolism.
Pelicans? Symbolic pelicans? No way. I typed into the search engine: "What do pelicans symbolize?" 
Greed? Scavengers? Nothing good, I’m sure.
You can do your own search to verify, but I learned that in medieval Europe the pelican was a symbol of the passion of Jesus and of the Eucharist (because a mother pelican would provide her own blood for her hungry young when no other food was available.)
In fact, Saint Thomas Aquinas refers to Christ as "the loving divine pelican" in his hymn, “Adoro Te Devote.” I searched numerous websites and everywhere I looked, sure enough, pelicans symbolize self-sacrifice and particularly, the sacrifice of Christ.
What did that mean to me on that gray day?
Well, first, it reminded me that Jesus shows up on His schedule and in His own ways, not at my pouting demand or by my pushing the button labeled "devotional time." Like a true friend, He decided to surprise me by showing up unexpectedly later in the day.
Second, pelicans are truly ugly birds. They’re not beautiful symbols like eagles or doves. They’re homely.
I was feeling homely. That month had been all about me sacrificing to serve my family. There hadn’t been much time for self-care. In one moment, God validated all of that. It seemed He was acknowledging that He noticed me but, at the same time, He was pointing to Himself and His own example of sacrifice, His leadership in the path of laying down one’s life, the spilling of His own blood.
In light of His example, my self-pity dissipated like fog at sunrise. Sacrifice isn’t beautiful—it’s bloody, painful, and unattractive. That’s why we need the power of Jesus Christ to do it right. He did it first. He did it best. The rest of us pale in our imitations.
I then remembered the scripture from my morning devotions, Mark 8:34-36.
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul[DL1] ?

          As it turns out, Jesus had showed up at my devotions. He'd had a message for me from the very start. I was the one refusing to dance.
I’d read the verse on sacrifice and thought He was gearing up to lecture me, so I shut Him down. All along, He was reaching out to support me, to teach me to dance in the midst of sacrifice. Thankfully, He kept at me until I heard His voice coming from a gray pelican.
Are you listening or are you shutting out His voice? Are you ready to join Him in the dance? Are you willing to hear the message of the holy pelican?

Ponder the Perplexities:
Have you ever experienced a day of random connections that seemed woven together by the hand of God? He does that for all of us, but we have to be looking, we have to be open to it.
Every message from God should line up with biblical truth, but He’s active in the world and in believers’ lives today, even when we feel weird, off, or “bleh.”
No matter what’s going on in your emotions today, keep your eyes open for Jesus. He just may ask you to dance.

Remember: As it turns out, Jesus had showed up at my devotions. He'd had a message for me from the very start. I was the one refusing to dance

Monday, January 5, 2015

How To Not Go Down A Hill

                             How To Not Go Down A Hill..or..Murphy's Law At Work

     Sometimes you can kill more than one bird with a stone.   It requires taking a hard look at the problem and believe me I have had many years to look at it.  I learned to drive a truck OJT in 1967 in Vietnam.  That education went on till I retired in 2004.  Over the years I had some, let's say, interesting experiences.  Shippers who were paying for the use of the truck always tried to get their money's worth.  One time I hauled a load of lumber from Louisville, Kentucky to Phoenix, Arizona.  Unfornately I went to load with a half full tank of fuel.  The shipper loaded me to my maximum legal limit.  Which at that time was 80,000 pounds.  This created a problem as if I filled my tanks with fuel I would be almost 800 pounds over weight which would get me fined if I pulled on a state scale.  It was a hassel stopping for fuel several times, but it all went okay until Flagstaff, Arizona.  Then the fun really started.

    A few miles south of Flagstaff on I-17 near Sedona is a long steep grade.  Shortly before the top of the grade there are signs that warn of a very long grade ahead.  It also advises all drivers to  pull into the rest area before the grade and adjust your brakes.   This is good advice.  However if it was marked like Emigrant Pass in Oregon it might be a lot safer.  On Emigrant a sign tells you what gear to go down the hill in based on your gross weight.  This being my first time driving down a long mountain grade, at least first in a civilian truck, and having been trained OJT, the lack of formal training would become an issue.  Being a good little trucker I pulled into the rest area and adjusted my brakes.  Well a couple of them anyhow.  I mean how steep and long can a hill be.

      After taking what I considered an adequate break I got back up into my Cabover Cornbinder.        (trucker slang for an International brand of truck, oh yeah a cabover is one where you sit above the engine and there is no hood.) and pulled out of the rest area and started off the top of the grade.  As soon as I went over the top it occurred to me that adjusting all the brakes might have been a better way to go.  The start of the grade is very steep.  All of a sudden a pickup pulling a camper went to the right shoulder then back across to the left shoulder.  I could tell he was out of control.  Suddenly he cut back right to quick and his trailer went over on its side and pulled the pickup over with it.  Being only a couple hundred yards behind I was standing on my brakes.  While I was slowing down it did not seem enough. The camper finally slid to a stop across both lanes of traffic.  My truck stopped about ten feet from the wreck.  First thing I did was yell on the CB for somebody to stop the southbound traffic and why.  Then I helped the elderly couple crawl out of their truck.  They were shaken but okay.   I went back to my truck and moved it a couple hundred yards down hill to a small dip where their was a little rise.  As I walked by my trailer I could smell that my brakes were hot.  It was twenty to thirty minutes before the state police showed up.  I had been directing the  traffic that had come down the hill.  There was barely room to squeeze past the wreck on the shoulder.  Once the wrecker showed up, about an hour later, the state trooper told me to leave and that they would take care of the problem.

     After saying goodbye to the couple I walked back down the hill to my truck.  Again I could smell the brakes. I started easing down the hill and in second gear my truck could hold itself back with the engine compression.  Feeling a little more confident I pulled out into traffic and started shifting  gears.  Rule one is keep a steady pressure on the brakes.  However not knowing this I kept speeding up and then using the brake pedal to slow down.  It seemed to be working except I kept having to push the brakes a little harder to slow down.  Just as I was feeling pretty confidant about it all.  A voice came over the CB, "How about that southbound load of lumber.  Do you have your ears on?"  "Yes" I replied and he kind of burst my bubble.  He said, " You might want to check your rear view mirrors.  You have a problem.  As much as you are smoking you are not going to make it to the bottom of this hill."  I looked in the rear view mirrors and sure enough I was smoking pretty good.  "Thanks," I said.'"This is my first time going down a hill like this.  What do I do?"  He replied,  "I would stop if you can. If you can't I would start praying."

    Suddenly I realized this might not be a good day.  I tried to stop but couldn't but slowed, almost, to a stop.  I tried to down shift to a lower gear but kept missing it.  My speed was picking back up as I was out of gear and free wheeling.  Finally I got it in about seventh gear.  As I pressed on the brakes the pedal started melting into the floor.  Even with the pedal all the way down I was picking up speed.  This was suddenly not fun.  I looked in the rear view mirror and so much smoke was rolling out behind me I looked like one those World War II bombers you see in the war footage going down in flames.  Not sure what to do I remembered the Emergency Brake knobs on the dash.  In desperation I pulled them.  Nothing really happened except the amount of smoke increased dramatically and my speed was steadily climbing.

    The chatter on the CB was not comforting.  They were taking bets on how far down the hill I would get before I lost it.  Suddenly a voice from heaven started talking on my CB.  It was a trucker right behind me and he knew the hill very well and asked me how I felt about it all.  His voice was very soothing.  He asked me how my brake pedal was feeling and what I had done so far.  He told me to push the emergency knobs back in as all they would do is get all the brakes hot.  He said so far most of the smoke was coming from the trailer.  He asked what gear I was in and I told him.  He said regardless of what happened leave it in gear.  He said the worst that could happen was I would blow up the engine.  The speedometer slowly climbed and the engine was over revving quite a bit, but I seemed to steady out a little.

     He advised me to let off the brakes entirely as we were getting into a stretch that was not as steep.  The truck started to slow a little.  That was a relief.  He started explainng what we were going to try to do.  Now I believe a big part of the talking was to keep my mind settled down.  The shallow grade ended and we started off and another steeper grade.  My engine had gotten back into its RPM range which made things feel a little better.  He told me there was an escape ramp another little bit down the hill and that I should use it.  Finally the escape ramp came into view, but their was a problem.

   Some older couple was out walking their dog.  However their car and camper trailer were parked directly in the path I needed to take.  I debated going through the trailer and at the last second decided somebody might be in it.  Cursing the elderly as I passed, my speed started to build again and the engine was almost off the tachometer.  I kept waiting for it to explode.  The steering wheel started vibrating from the engine shaking so hard.  We made it to another area where it leveled out a little.

     He told me there was a rest area ahead and the road went through a little upgrade stretch and maybe I could get it stopped in the rest area.  As the grade leveled out my engine slowed down quite a bit.  He talked me through how I should rev the engine to downshift to a lower gear which would help me slow down even more.   It worked and I kept at it as quick as I could.  While I was going much slower I realized I could not go into the rest area because if someone pulled out in front of me I would not be able to stop.  Finally I got down to second gear.  All that was left was granny and I knew I could not hit it.  Slowly I pulled to the shoulder in front of the rest area.  As I looked to the right I saw many people watching and waving.  My situation was going down the hill, no pun intended, by radio even faster than me evidently.  My truck slowed, and slowed and just before I hit the crest where the hill would start down again I stood on the brakes.  However stopping was evidently not meant to be.  At about 5 miles per hour my truck crossed the crest and the hill started down again.

    Slowly I started building speed.  My guardian angel started talking me down the hill again.  I discussed that this was not exactly a ship and I thought maybe it was time to jump and let the ship go down by it self.  He told me we only had a few more miles to go and if I could make the next corner ahead we would make it to the bottom.  We made the corner and out in front of me was a couple of miles of straight but down hill grade.  Looking harder I could see that once you hit bottom it started back up grade.  Slowly my speed started building.  My angel talked me through using the gears as much as possible.  Finally he told me to put it in high gear and to hold on.  The speedometer passed 75 and then 80 which is as far as it went.  I was gaining on the cars in front of me with no way to slow down.  Suddenly I saw my path.  I pulled over on the right shoulder and down the hill I went.

    The RPM guage was way past the end mark and the truck was vibrating like and excercise machine.  I figured my speed had to be just over a 100 miles per hour.  Finally I was down and crossed the bottom of the hill and started up the next one.  My guardian angel told me not to stop under any circumstances.  If I did, he informed me, the brakes would catch fire.  It was several miles of upgrade and I rode as far as I could before I stopped.

      When I did my guardian angel pulled over and told me how the road was the rest of the ways to Phoenix.  While the truck cooled off I took a much needed break and when the truck was cool enough I adjusted the brakes.  However there were problems as a couple wheels were covered with oil on the inside.  My angel informed me that the heat had gotten so hot the wheel seals had melted.  He gave me some oil and showed me how to add some which I had to do a few times before Phoenix. The next morning I unloaded the lumber and took my truck to a shop to get checked out.  They had to replace several seals and all the brake pads.  The repair bill was well over $2000 dollars.  To me the only thing that mattered was that I was alive to tell about it.

     It was several years before I ever went west again.  When I did I sat down with several experienced drivers and absorbed all the knowledge they could bestow on me.  This was a life changing experience, but being honest I had a worse one in Viet Nam and a couple not quite so bad ones after, but I did finally get it figured out.  The old saying is.  "You can go down a hill too slow a thousand times, you can go down too fast once."  It is the truth.  Slowing down solved my problems.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in a Nutshell, Travelling

                      2014 in a Nutshell, Travelling

    Gotta love America.  It is the only country I know of you can leave a place 2 ½ hours before midnight, drive two hours and get home after midnight and then call the place you left and wish them Happy New Years and then find out it still isn’t midnight where you left.  Driving into the New Year was fun and I had not done it since I quit trucking in 2004.

     This year just passed was one of adjustment for me.  In October of 2013 my income overnight quadrupled.  Not only did it quadruple it did it tax free.  Being a good little Christian the first thing I did was to tithe on that money.  Then I had to figure out how to do it in a way that the Lord would approve and it would bless lives in a way that would truly help people.  Initially I gave to three ministries and they are all good ministries but while I was helping in some ways. It soon became clear to me that there were plenty of people in my area that were falling through the cracks and needed assistance and I decided that with my share of the tithe I would try to help remedy that situation. 

      I give my 10% to the church like I should.  Several years ago I felt truly blessed and started tithing at 20%.  I realized for many years I did not tithe and I owed the Lord big time so I decided if I gave 20% sooner or later I would be even with the Lord.  That way I put the burden on him.  I mean if I don’t live long enough to get even then it is not my fault.

      Even tithing that much I still had plenty of money for projects and for traveling.  This year I went to Zephyrhills, FL via Savannah, GA. I spent the better part of a week watching skydivers.  If you follow the highlighted link it will take you to a story of how I got into skydiving and why I love it.  I got out of skydiving when I compressed my back on my very first civilian jump.  That was sad, as a friend and former student of mine offered to make me a partner in a commercial drop zone he had started in Rolla, Missouri.

    Anyhow my back is pretty well healed now and I was checking into starting jumping again.  When I asked about it, they said step on the scale.  The manager said no problem.  You just need to lose about 80 pounds first.  I had lost 90 before I had my heart attack so I know that is doable.  Problem was I had found about 50 of those 90 pounds over the last 10 years.  Now I have a goal though.

    I also went to a writer’s conference in May which I go to every year.  Then in Sept I went to the United States National Parachuting Championships in Ottawa. Illinois.  A short side trip to Para-Gears Offices in Skokie, Illinois on the north side of Chicago cost me a $100 for stretching a red light.  They had it on video.  I actually stopped and then drove right on through the light before it turned back green. Too much time in the sticks of southern Indiana I guess.

    From there I went to a National Veterans of the Vietnam War event in Kokomo, Indiana and spent a day with about forty thousand Vietnam Veterans.  It was a really neat thing and it is my goal to go to the whole event next year.  It lasts about four days. It just happened that while I was there I got to take in the Indoor Sk
ydiving  Championships.  If you would like to see what that is like check out the video on the link.

     From there I went to my grandson’s graduation from Basic Training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.  Irony was I graduated from Basic Training thirty nine years earlier to the month in Ft. Knox, Kentucky.  I went from graduation to Sanford, North Carolina for a get together for the new National Skydiving Museum which I found out about while I was at Ottawa.  After two days of watching high intensity skydiving events and seeing my first swooping contest my travels took me to Ft. Lee, Virginia.  Once there I met with my grandson who went there for training from Ft. Jackson.  I went to Rigger School to learn to pack and maintain parachutes at Ft. Lee back in 1966.  After a short visit that got rained out I moved on to Norfolk, North Carolina.  Spent a day there saw some lighthouses and crossed the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge on my way to Ocean City, Maryland which is where Mile 0 of U.S. Highway 50 is located.  Definitely need to go there in the main season.  The rooms are a lot cheaper in the off season, but lots of the places close once the tourist leave.

     Then I drove across U.S. Highway 50 to Washington, D.C. and spent two days there.  I managed to spend another $100 on a10 minute overage on my parking meter.  Traveling can get expensive if you don’t pay attention.  After trying to go to the National Library I was about frustrated with D.C., it is not the city it was years ago.  Really enjoyed going to D.C. years ago, but that fire went out. 

     Left Washington and after a brief stop in Arlington National Cemetery I managed to drive U.S.50 all the way home.  Hopefully I will get to finish that trip all the ways to the west coast this summer.  Going across 50 allowed me to go through Marietta, Ohio where my Great, Great, Great Grandfather had a land grant from Thomas Jefferson for his service in the Revolutionary War.  It is amazing that just five generations takes me that far back in our nation’s history

     So I had a great year traveling and while I don’t think I did anything wrong, I don’t think that is what the Lord Blessed me with ten more years of life for or gave me the financial blessing he has poured out on me.  Spending all that money affected my blog output.  I only had twenty-seven posts this year which is less than half of my previous years.  My goal is to improve the blog in 2015 and have some guest posts by other writers.  Also to learn to listen to what the Lord is calling me to do. This was basically a year off, which is not a sound use of the time the Lord has blessed me with.  Much of the year was spent learning what my comfort zone is and trying to go back to my past.  That is not what the Lord has called us to do though.  We need to move forward.