Posts

A Victim of Shrinkflation!

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Monique picked up a brand name package of Swiss cheese recently. I immediately reacted, “Hey! That’s just like we bought when I was a kid!” It was labeled as a full slice, and I remembered how I would eat one of those every day for my after-school snack. In recent years, we have become accustomed to non-brand products that package only half slices. I had naively reasoned that the “economy slice” was following a more health-conscious approach. It is true that I don’t need the additional calories anyway!😉  Big Slice? What about the holes?! However, I discovered that the enclosed slices were not what a remembered from my childhood. These were a lot closer to half slices and contained more than the average number of holes in them! I counted seven or more “cheese vacancies” (holes!) in most slices. I asked, “What is this?” and a thought came to me that this might be an example of Shrinkflation! This new word has been used to describe how both packing and product have been downsized. The pr

Expressing Gratitude

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“I never want to miss an opportunity to express gratitude!” That statement became a caption that accompanied a picture of myself that was posted on social media the day after Thanksgiving this year. The occasion for the picture was a moment of reflection and prayer before the meal at my sister’s that day. I had read an article just a few days before about the need for specificity when expressing gratitude. "May I have your attention, please!" A surprising example was used in the article entitled, “Thank Outside the Box” by Jess Stillman, (Source: understandably.com, November 22, 2022). The article suggests that we need to be as specific in expressing our thanks as we would be in describing a good breakfast stack of pancakes! For example, we might tell someone about our experience and use words like “fresh golden pancakes drizzled with lovely, sweet, amber, Maple syrup.” I have prayed general prayers all my life. These characteristically have an airy and less than satisfying

Moon to Mars Mission!

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We were there! Well, not really, but we excitedly followed the news source coverage of the Artemis 1 launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, this week! This launch represents a major step in NASA’s return to the Moon. The Artemis 1 Mission occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was launched toward lunar orbit with the expansive Orion capsule as its payload. This twenty-six-day test run (without astronauts) was propelled to its destination by the most powerful rocket in NASA’s arsenal to-date! The launch exploded from the pad with a whopping force of 9 million pounds of thrust! A look back to the future! The Keppler’s made a return visit (our third!) to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, August 2016, when the idea of a Mars mission was beginning to gain traction. During that occasion, we had our picture taken next to a prototype of the bulbous, gum-drop shaped Orion spacecraft. This six-passenger spaceship is being designed to transport astronauts to the Moon and later, to

"Enough! Let's Move On!"

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Our eldest son, Matt, is taking a course with policy wonks from near and far. He is engaged in a program of professional development for several weeks this fall under the tutelage of a notable east coast institution of learning. He is loving it! It has been over twenty years since he has taken any advanced studies. The whole experience is demanding in its instruction, reading and class assignments. There is both a collegiality and competitive spirit among his study group as they work together on policy issues from various levels of government, educational and civic concerns. Don't Sweat God's Redirects! Recently, one of his group members offered a bit of advice as they were establishing norms for how they will relate to one another during group time. She said that, in her experience, when a group discussion was holding up the work, they needed to complete during their limited time together, they invoked the acronym – E.L.M.O. As current group members looked at each other puzzle

"I Am the Coach!"

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Our daughter, Melissa, graduated from SIU-E in 2004 with a degree in Kinesiology. She could have taken that preparation into several related careers: coaching, professional trainer, sports therapy, nutrition/ health education, or other related professions. Melissa chose to focus on being an elementary physical education teacher. Today, she finds it very fulfilling to build “fitness with fun” value into her students. This is her seventeenth year of teaching! Our Coach! Recently, Melissa has taken on the responsibility of coaching her fifth-grade son’s youth league basketball team She would prefer to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the games, but the team could not enlist a volunteer coach and was at the point of canceling the season due to a staffing shortage. So, Melissa reluctantly stepped up. I think her especially athletic son, Karter, had put considerable effort into persuading his mother to step into the vacancy! Even Melissa had to admit, “I think I am probably the most qualified

"Adding Value"

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Last week, Monique and I made a trip to Omaha, Nebraska to celebrate with a close friend his retirement from active ministry. It was the second time I had been in this city on the Missouri River in five months. The first occasion was to bring a funeral message for a close friend and former staff associate who had a sudden and untimely passing in April. This time, the reason was celebrative and affirming. Dr. Tim Johnson and I served together in Southwest Houston for five years until he was called to his first pastorate in North Texas. The Johnson's and Keppler's at Tim's Retirement Party, Omaha, NE I had been the lead pastor and Tim was one of our associates. His specific assignment was youth and music, but he served in all areas of pastoral ministry as needed. Tim immediately became an invaluable partner in ministry during our years of service together. He made me a better pastor! I never questioned his loyalty, work ethic, or competency in service. He gave 100% effort to

"My Conversion Story"

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Recently, I had a special visit with a senior adult in his home. Paul (not his real name) is in his seventies. He surprised me with this question, “Do you have time to listen to my conversion story?” How could I pass up this opportunity? I love to hear stories about how believers have come into the faith. Conversational Witness Image Credit: pixabay.com Paul grew up in an atheist family. His mother and grandmother had been atheists. He had never gone to any church and had spent his younger years vigorously defending the belief that there was no God. Retired now, Paul had spent his career working in journalism, and writing business articles for a major news organization in his hometown of Chicago. As fate would have it, a female friend of Paul, had been invited by her parish priest to bring a reading at the local Catholic church Mass. She had invited Paul to lunch with another coworker and persuaded Paul to go with her to the church with a promise that, “The service will only take a f