Showing posts from October, 2021

The Unspeakable Cost of War!

The matter of family history has come up many times during our recent visit with my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, a French citizen. She has been gathering facts and photos on our Breffort family for some time now. Many of these resources are from close family members who are still alive and able to recall their conversations with those who have passed away. Some memories are passed down through oral stories by extended family. And other sources are hand-written government documents that specifically record the dates, settings and names of family. It is often tedious and time consuming to record a family history. It is also painful to consider some of the losses that occurred during times of war. The Breffort's Sons: Lucien (left) and André Mother: Jeanne (center), Daughter: Mireille (right front) I did not realize that Monique, Phil and Elizabeth's grandmother, Mireille Breffort, had tragically lost both of her brothers during World War I and that these beloved family members were

World Series of Snoring!

Since my teenage years, I have been visiting a beautiful retreat setting in Southern Illinois for spiritual enrichment. Lake Sallateeska is a denominationally-operated facility about seven miles north of Pinckneyville. It has a small and tranquil lake surrounded by several buildings and becomes a setting throughout the year where church groups, individuals and families of all ages gather for rest, recreation, fellowship and of course, the study of God’s Word. We need such places where we can retreat from time-to-time to replenish our weary spirits! Tranquility and Snoring! "The calm before the storm!" For some thirty years now, I have been an active part of a pastors’ fellowship affectionately known as the “Majestic Fraternity".  At its inception, the “fraternity” regularly numbered around fifty pastors and associate ministers. We have hosted some very well-known and capable scholars that have taught us in what used to be a three-day conference of serious and concentrate

Burgers and Quality Time!

When I was a boy living in the county seat town of Vandalia, we didn't have the larger fast food chains. We did have a smaller franchise by the name of Reabans. I don't ever see them anymore, but they were dotting the landscape in central Illinois during my growing up years. They featured an affordable burger that, as I remember, was close to the "smash burger" varieties we see at Freddy's and Steak 'n Shake today.  Centralia, Illinois Image Credit: Some burgers are valued by their weight, height and overall size. There are pound burgers, half-pound and one-third varieties with all kinds of toppings added. The Reaban's burger was modest by comparison, but often you could buy a sack of five and sometimes seven of them, for only a dollar! That was impressive to a teenager! During my early high school years, my dad would take me to school in the morning and pick me up around 4:00 pm in the afternoon. On occasions, he would swing by the nearby Re

What's Your Survival Tool?

Last week, we received a curious incentive from a not-for-profit that we have given a donation to on occasion. Monique immediately brought this shirt pocket-sized tool to me to see if I could determine what it was and in what way it could be useful. I held the item in my hand and studied it without any success. I had never seen anything like it! Handy Dandy Pocket Tools! Since it came with a modest plastic sheath around it, I opened the protective covering to see if there was a clue inside. I found a very thin white card with a list of eleven items typed in red ink under the heading, “Multipurpose Pocket Survival Tool.”   Some of the uses for this singular tool included: can opener, knife edge, screwdriver, butterfly wrench, saw blade and a “Direction Ancillary Indicator!” I had to go to YouTube in order to decipher this feature. Because this “credit card-like tool” is magnetized, it can also function as a water compass! Why do we use such big words for something this simple?! As I r