Posts

The Blessing of Diversity

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Rice University's Kinder Research Institute has reported that "Houston, Texas is the most ethnically diverse city in America." ( https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/05/14/not-only-houston-getting-more-diverse-residents-households-are-too ) That's a pretty bold statement and I could expect that some residents of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York might take exception to this research conclusion. I do know that it was the most diverse city I have ever lived in! From 1984 to 1991, I pastored in southwest Houston and witnessed firsthand how Sharpstown was undergoing demographic and ethnic changes. At that time, the Houston I.S.D. was a reflection of this shift with 125 languages being spoken within its school population. Our children were in the minority attending their neighborhood schools that were approximately 40% Hispanics, 40% Asians and the other 20% divided among the Blacks and Whites. Linking Hands and Hearts! Image Credit: clipart-library.com Our church was si

I Love Hero Stories!

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I love hero stories! I grew up with a lot of guys who inspired and entertained me as a kid living in a small town. Jim Carter lived next door to me and was my dad’s age. He taught me how to use a rifle and 410 shot gun to hunt (and yes, clean!) small game. Jim also played catch with me after school when Dad was busy servicing cars in our backyard auto repair shop. It was perfect for a kid to have so much attention! One of my favorite summer past times was to walk the half mile down the “old shoe factory hill” where we lived to the park next to the town branch. The park had two ball diamonds which drew some large crowds of sport’s enthusiasts during the evenings. I’d hustle down there to watch Jim and a couple of my uncles play softball for their respective teams.  Many evenings, Jim would be pitching in one of the games and my uncles in another. Uncle Charlie and Kenny (Junior) Keppler, drew some considerable attention as they formed a family battery of pitcher and catcher. Both Charli

Symbols Connect Us Too!

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Many stories have been told about the importance of relational connecting during the Pandemic days of social distancing and isolation. However, there are other levels of connecting that link us to each other. Symbols can also be a tangible way we connect with the memory of loved ones and friends. Recently, our daughter, Michelle, wanted to "connect with her grandmother" by making a blackberry cobbler from her grandma's recipe book. Since my mother passed away nearly three years ago, Chel sought the help of some beloved family members in obtaining a copy of the cobbler recipe. Image credit: sarabakesgfree.com Calls were made to aunts about this need, but there was some misunderstanding. We think now that the request was not all that clear after analyzing the suggestions that were offered, "Can't you just buy the box of tapioca and follow the directions? Why don't you come and visit soon? You can watch me make one!" Even grandpa tried to get in on the acti

A Three-Score-and-Ten Celebration!

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  70th Birthday Rib-Fest with Dad! I went home to Vandalia the day before my 70th birthday. It had been more than a year since I had last been with my Dad. While we were faithfully keeping up with each other during our weekly Sunday evening phone calls, there is nothing to be compared with "laying eyes on a loved one" in person!  During the days of the 2020 Pandemic, we had been trying to stay in our place to model for our loved ones and to some extent, protect them as we all were managing very different responses. Now that I have received two doses of vaccine, I am feeling a lot more comfortable in reconnecting with my extended family near and far.  Dad and I went over to Effingham to eat baby-back ribs at Fridays. We have been doing this for years during our mutual birthdays and have logged several special memories from these experiences. Based upon those previous years, we were fixated on one particular entrée, the dry and perfectly crusted, delectable fall-off-of-the-bon

"When You Don't Get What You Want"

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In these past weeks leading up to the Masters golf tournament, I have been watching some Sunday afternoon televised play. I tell Monique that I'm trying to familiarize myself with those elite competitors who will likely face off at Augusta National, the much anticipated spring classic scheduled during April 8-11. In all honesty, though, my motivation is to justify why my golf game has never risen above "duffer status!" When I see the professionals struggle as they have at the recent Players at Sawgrass in Florida or the Dell Match Play tournament in Austin, I still feel that there is hope for me! Credit: clipart-library.com You see, my golf game is characterized more as using the whole course...water, rough and sand! I have "rinsed more balls" than I can count in trying to get over a body of water. I have spent more time in the tall grass, across the cart paths and in the course landscaping areas than on the fairways or greens. I yell "Fore!" and then

Jim Byron: Care in Motion!

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Over the years, spectators at Williamsville Bullet Football events have likely witnessed numerous occasions when a student athlete has had the misfortune of a hard hit injury. Sometimes the player's condition was assessed as getting "the wind knocked out of him." At other times it was a muscle strain, a twisted ankle or something like a hyperextended knee, or even a fracture. Whenever a player on our team goes down in pain, a coach and an official or two are usually the first to respond. But there would be another significant resource that could be seen among them. Jim Byron, long-time sports therapist, has been standing nearby and ready to render a healing touch, a relieving massage through his blessed hands and therapeutic expertise. Photo Credit: Jim Byron Family Jim has spent nearly forty-five years springing into action and rendering aid to Williamsville athletes in distress. In fact, Jim has served student athletes through his Sherman Sports Therapy Center in over f

Jelly Bread Imagination!

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We have an after-meal practice of slathering our favorite jam or jelly on a slice of French or Italian bread as an easy dessert. Since bread has some serious carbs and jellies have those tasty sugars, we have to guard against the excess of these kinds of habits that over time can wreck a fitness diet! It has also become a regular occurrence for Monique's imagination to run wild after the first bite. I guess this is a gift of sorts, but she holds and usually rotates the bread as she points out to me what she sees from the tooth marks left behind. Delicious Jelly Bread! Image Credit: unsplash.com  I can honestly say that I never get it! I think I am too linear or literal. If there is a figure left from the bite of bread and jelly, I don't see it like she does. Sometimes I want to play along as she describes the figure. She will ask, "Don't you see the head, the floppy ears, and the big eyes?" I'll answer, "Uhhh... no, I don't! Can't we just eat our