Posts

Another Epic Sky Show!

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Wow! What a year this has been for us! In the fall, we experienced a dazzling annular “ring of fire” solar eclipse during our October 2023 visit with family in New Mexico. Next, and about a month ago, we marveled at a near total solar eclipse here in central Illinois! It was another feeling of déjà vu for us! And to cap it off, this week, we (and millions of others in all fifty states!) were treated once again to another spectacular light show – the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. What color and beauty! This latest show has been more memorable because it has extended into a week-long nightly astronomical pageant. Locally taken photograph: J. Goss I am not a scientist, but I do wonder at times how those in this important field of study understand these “sky shows.” A cursory reading around the news coverage assures me that the finest minds have no problem describing this phenomenon in exacting detail. They speak of “solar flares and storms,” “chemical interactions with earth’s magne

"A Flared Nostril Winner!"

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Once a year, I am a Kentucky Derby fan! When I was a boy, I was fascinated by the stories my great uncle talk ed about regarding his frequent trips to the horse racing track at Cahokia Downs in St. Clair County. I was never allowed to be such an enthusiast! We had some compulsive behaviors in our family and Mother did not believe in gambling of any kind. However, I do get excited about the hype surrounding the annual “Run for the Roses!” It may only be a momentary interest, but I try not to miss the annual television coverage at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. adobe.stock.com There was nothing quite like the drama of this year’s epic photo finish! One of the most prized, beautiful, and spirited three-year-old Thoroughbreds, Mystik Dan, won the race around the mile and a quarter oval in a breakneck 2.03.43 minutes of time and his owners claimed the 3.1-million-dollar purse! It was exciting to see Sierra Leone and Forever Young, the second and third place horses, compete side by side in

"Stir Up Trouble!"

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It’s been a long while since I have participated in a revival service, let alone three consecutive nights long! Our Methodist church had such a renewal experience this week. Personally, it was spiritually refreshing. We had altar calls at the end of the services where there was soul searching and confession of sin. There were also prayers of recommitment to Christ, intercession for healing (physically, spiritually, and relationally!), and genuine prayers for revival both in our church and throughout our city, country, and the world. Image: stock.adobe.com On the first night, we heard Bishop Jonathan Franklin, founding pastor of the Mt. Zion Apostolic Church, and president of the Springfield Ministerial Alliance. He brought a stirring message from the Great Commission in Acts 1:8 and Jesus’ teaching to the disciples at the scene of the pagan temple of Pan in Matthew 16:13-19. Bishop Franklin spoke like a prophet when he said, “Our nation needs prayer! We have evicted God from our nation

"I'm So Disappointed!"

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One of our granddaughter’s friends at Pathfinder Church, serves once a month, like many of her peers, on Sunday mornings in a first-second grade Bible class as an assistant. Recently, Matt, who volunteers as a helper with attendance in Eloise’s department, saw this pre-teen rushing down a long hallway to catch up to the others before worship. She was out of breath from covering half a football field distance. Matt inquired about her hurried pace and the girl answered, “I’m running late because an older person wanted to talk to me!” And Matt surmised that she meant someone closer to his late-forties age range! We laugh because we say that age is relative, until it isn’t, and becomes personal!😉 Credit: shutterstock.com Common themes that arise all too often in my visits to seniors residing in independent and assisted living facilities are the matters of loneliness and isolation. Many middle-aged adult caregivers are stressed by their busy lives and hectic schedules. They are trying to m

"Hands-On Learning"

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When I was a boy, I spent my summers building forts in a locust tree grove. The setting was just across the street from where I lived on an uncleared vacant lot. I never knew or even thought about who owned the property, but I have a feeling that the lot owner was grateful for the industriousness of the neighborhood boys. After all, we were saving him the trouble and cost of clearing out those thorny little trees! 😊 We used our imaginations every time we went to work. Usually, we were building a small community of shelters with a barrier or fence around it for protection. We pretended to be a party of hardy explorers setting up camp and building defense structures to protect it against any enemies, real or imagined! Hours of work sawing, knife scraping, trimming, and rope tying were invested in the project each day. We did not care how hot it was or how much we sweated! In our minds, we were adventurers creating a new world! At the end of the day, we would bathe, eat dinner, and ret

"Look Way Up!"

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The hoopla surrounding this week’s solar eclipse was contagious! Even though I was nonchalantly saying to Monique, “Honey, we just saw a solar eclipse last October during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! For me, it’s just ‘Deja vu all over again!’” (Thank you, Yogi Berra!). However, as the event got closer, even I couldn’t resist the hype! "I see it!" At 12:55 pm Monday, we stepped outside, put on our eclipse glasses (a must have!), and stood by the side door of our garage. The view was perfect… at least for me! Mimi was trying to get her balance and crane her neck upwards, but she still couldn’t see the sun. I moved over next to her and gently moved her head even further up while coaching her to “Look way up!” Finally, she exclaimed, “I see it! It’s a crescent shape!” During the next thirty minutes or so, we enjoyed a partial eclipse! What was only a partial eclipse for us in central Illinois became a total eclipse for nearly 32 million in the 100-mile-wide pathway of total

What's The Nudge?

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I have been using all methods of persuasion throughout my years as a church leader. It involves verbal and nonverbal communication in formal and informal settings. I have presented ministry ideas on paper, through email, texts and over the telephone. There have been numerous one-on-one meetings with key individuals, and there have been even more meetings with committees, teams and multiple groups covering tasks with diverse responsibilities. Credit: vectorstock.com The goal behind all this activity has been to facilitate collaboration and hopefully gain “buy-in” to ideas, action plans, implementation strategies, and the advancement of the organization’s mission. I have found this process both exhilarating and exasperating. It requires patience, support, and openness to divergent ideas. The latter has always been a particular challenge to me and to my impatience! But I have found all of this to be a necessary process for getting things done! I have been a student of communication all