Posts

Showing posts from December, 2018

Hug A Horse!

Image
I am a chaplain for a senior residential community in our city. It gives me an opportunity to preach, teach and encourage older adults who are no longer able to participate in their own churches. These friends are receptive and engaging. They express their appreciation by speaking words of affirmation and with warm smiles on their faces. I find this ministry fulfilling because we are doing what God requires, "honoring and encouraging older men as fathers and older women as mothers." It has been said, "This is what 'gospel living' looks like in relation to our elders" (1 Timothy 5:1-2, ESV Bible study notes).

While I was "making my rounds" among the residents and staff the other day, I heard conversation and laughter from individuals gathered in the commons area. As I turned down the hall into the open, I was delighted to see that there were two miniature horses that had everyone's attention. I soon learned these cute little animals were specia…

Goodbye Old Friend!

Image
Greetings of "Happy New Year!" are being shared everywhere I go these days after Christmas. And you will also hear this expression, "Out with the old and in with the new!"as we transition from 2018 into 2019. Just a few weeks ago, I had some dental surgery and I was sharing that phrase with family and friends, but I meant something quite different. I had my "Old #19" tooth extracted and now, I'm healing as I wait for a new bridge in the new year!

"Old #19" had served me well over the many years. I have had it worked on a few times: root canal, post implanted, silver cap applied, and then a filling drilled into it as well. There wasn't much else to do with it when it recently was diagnosed with a fracture that resulted in an infection. Three specialists and my general dentists appraised it and said, "It's got to go!" I pushed back initially, "You guys are supposed to save teeth!" And they replied, "This one is …

Christmas 2018

Image
This is our family picture and greeting card! When Monique and I met in January 1970, it was love at first sight! At least for me! I knew that this woman was really special and I wanted to get more acquainted with her. We dated a couple of years and then took the plunge into marital bliss on June 10, 1972. That was forty-six and a half years ago! From that initial meeting on the campus of Eastern Illinois University just after the Christmas break of our freshman year, God has blessed and blessed our lives and now our large family. What started out at just two young college students in love has now blossomed into a beautiful family of four children and spouses and eleven living grand children that are scattered out from Austin to Albuquerque to St. Louis and Sherman. I never had a vision for this, but Monique would later confess that we had actually fallen one child short of her goal to have five children. We will never know what kind of kid "Jonathon Michael" would have grow…

Starry Skies

Image
It was almost bedtime when our son, Marc, casually appeared at our doorway that Wednesday evening, August 8, 2018 at nine o'clock. We were on summer vacation and visiting with his family in Georgetown, Texas. He said, "Dad, I want you and mom to come outside for a minute." I was more than a little curious. Soon it became apparent that Monique and I were joining others on planet earth who were stargazing and viewing the heavens at a  truly timely occasion when a unique phenomenon was occurring in the Milky Way.

On this special night, we were able to clearly view four of the six planets that were visible to the naked eye for those observing in the southern states. It was, in many ways, a miracle of the perfect convergence of planetary alignment and clear night skies that synced with our earnest attention and the use of an app on Marc's smart phone that served as our "telescope."

Venus was so clear it was almost blinding in its radiance. Mars was sharply and …

A Fanciful Christmas Story

Image
I saw a different rendition of the Christmas story recently at Springfield's Chiara Center. I attended the Franciscan Nativity Festival and enjoyed a cursory review of more than 120 nativity scenes on loan to display for the festival. When I first saw this particular nativity, I was taken aback by the simple depiction of three figures inside an igloo with a large star prominently displayed at the top of the ice block house. What really captured my imagination were the three unique figures symbolizing Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger. Presumably, a Chicago artist depicted these Christmas characters as a family of Eskimos dressed in traditional Alaskan hooded parkas.

However fanciful this take on the Christmas nativity was for the creator of this piece, the owner of this set told the story of why she was taken with it. This unique piece reminded her of the years she had spent as a volunteer, living in Alaska among the Yupik Eskimos. The Yupik (pronounced, yoop-eek) are an i…