So I haven’t been blogging much lately, and it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. Believe me!! I have plenty to say!!

Like….How ‘bout them Packers!!!?? 45 – 17 over the Rams last night.

Also, I ran into a very interesting small verse this morning. “then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation”. 2 Peter 2:9a NASB

Yes, I know. I have taken that verse completely out of its context. In this case, however, I would have to include the entire chapter to include the context, and since this is the second part to an if - then statement, suffice it to say if the Lord knows how to do all THAT, then He knows how to rescue the godly from our temptations.

Think about that verse for just a moment. How awesome does that make you feel? How much hope do you find in that little, itty bitty part of a verse? I find a mountain full of hope, and I find myself going over this verse in my mind, wondering how I never pinpointed this verse before?

We all have temptations. No one denies this. But do we all KNOW God rescues us from those temptations? Well, yeah, I guess so……………..

But how? And if so, why am I still sinning? What’s wrong with me? Why won’t God rescue ME? Have you ever thought that? So have I.

But the hope is this; if God can rescue me, and if I believe it, and if I ask God to rescue me, with each temptation, will He? Is this a promise? Or is this just a broad "possibly, maybe, but not likely" verse?

I want to know. So I am going to depend upon my Father to rescue me. I will not seek out temptation, but when I recognize it, I am going to depend on Him, and we’ll see what happens. Yes, I know…..that statement I just made doesn’t sound like I have a whole lot of faith in that verse, does it? Well, I am miles farther in faith today than I was yesterday, because yesterday, that verse had never jumped out at me.



I like to believe I am intelligent. However, in just a brief moment this morning, I paused for a second, and thought, “How many questions I have!”

For someone who is supposedly intelligent, I sure do ask God a lot of questions. Which leads me to my next one. Do I know more than that which I do not know? “Impossible”, my mind screamed, “There is so much you do not know, that you can’t even inventory everything you do not know.”


Alright, then do I focus on what I know? Or do I focus on what I don’t know? My heart is silent on this. My mind says, “Focus on what you don’t know! You already know all the other stuff, why bother relearning it?!”

Yes, you are getting a glimpse of a conversation my mind carries on with my heart. But this conversation is a bit out of the ordinary. Normally, I wouldn’t be worried about what I don’t know, I’d just take it for granted I do not know it, and set out to learn about it.

However, some things are beyond a mere intellectual exercise. Some things, I am finding, I have to rely upon God for, completely. There is one such place in my life right now, where I am totally in the hands of God, on a journey where if I try to manipulate, or try to step beyond what I know, I will be buried. But I love these times where I have to rely fully on God. I know nothing about what I am doing, thus praying and waiting seem to be all I can do. Yet there is this peace about it that could only come from such trust.

Do I trust God? Yes!! How did I ever get to such a scary place? How did I ever lose so much control? How have I gotten here, Lord? How have I come to a place where I don’t care what I know, I only care about trusting You? How do I feel so safe, in such a dangerous place?

You see, that’s the map I want to follow, in all areas of my life. I am not even close to using this map yet, for everything. But there is one place in my life, unnamed by my choice, where without God, I am lost, and I know it.

So you see, knowing I am lost is the key to trusting God. And once I know I am lost, once I trust God, I know I am safe, no matter what the outcome.

I am wisest when I admit I know very little, but my mind keeps wanting to say I know a lot. It tries to give me examples of what I know. Thank you God that the world doesn’t respond to my mind with examples of what I do not know. I’d never have time for anything else, if I had to listen to that list for the rest of my life.

My mind can be my enemy, I have learned this. I know that if I do not bridle my thoughts, if I do not harness my intellect, it will lead me to a pit, and I will fall. It is better to inventory what I do not know, than to count what I do. KNOWING can lead to arrogance, not that it is wrong to know.

But, in the end, I have found that it is good to know some things, so long as my mind is bridled with the reins of ignorance, those same reins which tell me, there is so much more that I do not know, that I should just be thankful the Lord has allowed me to know anything at all.

If you are wondering why this post was written, maybe it’s safer to admit to you that I don’t know.



Thanksgiving with the family is always a nice time, and today was no different. I enjoyed my brothers and sister, and the Larsen family today. (The Larsen family are the in-laws of one of my brothers. We share a thanksgiving meal together every year).

Just before the meal began, though, I spoke with my brother/host for a bit. What he had to say to me took my breath away. I’m still struggling with it, and finding myself sadder as time goes by. He told me that a good, old friend of mine named Wayne had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer. He also told me Wayne had just had surgery to amputate part of his leg. I don’t know about you, but hearing that sort of thing is enough to send me off, deep into thoughtland.

Wayne and I go back about nineteen years. He owns a tavern/Restaurant/banquet hall, and I used to tend bar for him, in the days when I was a little younger. If I recall correctly, he is about sixty years old now. Back when I saw him nearly every day, he was a big, strapping fellow, strong as an ox. He used to work about eighty-five hours a week at his tavern, and it truly was a place where everyone knew everyone else’s name, sort of like Cheers from television, but the cast of characters would have been much, much larger.

Wayne and I did not always see eye to eye, especially when I was younger, and more foolish than I am now. But over time, we came to understand each other. He once gave me the highest compliment he would give anyone. He told me that he looked at me as a son. Wayne has three lovely daughters, but no sons, and no grandsons…only granddaughters.

Last year, I had a chance to visit Wayne once a week, because I was working on a project that was in his area of the state. So, every Thursday, for six months, I ate lunch at his restaurant, and we would visit each other for a while. It was a nice reunion, and I found out that somehow, I had earned his deepest respect just for driving an hour and a half once to visit him in the hospital ten years ago. I never thought much of it. Apparently, he did. That really touched me.

Tonight, I am just very sad over this news. I have tried to think of a way to visit him, but work is so cramped for time right now, I don’t see how it’s possible. So, I searched the internet, to see if I could find an email address, and I found a link to a quilt guild his wife Jeanne runs with an email addie. I sent a message to it (not knowing if it was still valid), hoping for a reply, and hoping maybe we could talk with each other by email, for now, until I can get down by him.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to call him, but really, how can I approach that? What do I say? “Oh…sorry you lost part of your leg?” sigh…………………

God…help me to help him. It hurts to even think about this. I saw my dad today, and for the first time, I noticed how old he seems lately, too. Time is advancing, Father, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Wayne needs you, NOW. Please help him to know You, to find You, to have some peace. He has worked so hard serving people, and I know that taverns aren’t the cleanest places, but I know Jesus would go there. I am asking you to send Him, send me, find a way, please? I want Wayne to know You, now, while he can still gain peace in this life. I want for You, Father, to save him, but also to give him Your Rock to lean on through this. Will you? Please? Amen


Happy Thanksgiving day to all who are visiting here today. I hope your day is filled with reunions, and joy, and may God grant you a heart of thankfulness. I have decided to list a few of the things I am thankful for, as a way of sharing with you just how important and fulfilling giving thanks to God really is.

Recently, my daughter and I have been discussing whether we should dedicate a wall in our kitchen/dining room to giving thanks to God. What’s the best way to do it? My first thought was to use Sharpies (permanent black markers), and just write on the wall. However, that would leave the wall unable to be painted, ever. You see, indelible marker bleeds through any paint known to man.

Then, my mind began thinking of ways. We could post a huge bulletin board, or tape little post-it notes with our thanks on the wall. Each day, we would write something new we were thankful for. Post-it notes? Needless to say, I’m back to the sharpies directly on the wall. Something about the permanence of it strikes me as good.

The other thought is that I don’t want it to be something of an image-driven activity. People will see this wall, and I can imagine the comments already. “Oh! What a wonderful idea!! Showing your thanks for God, for ALL to see!” Okay, on the one hand, showing I am thankful is not necessarily bad. However, I don’t want the compliments, or the pride that might go with it. That is the biggest hindrance to our start right now. So, I am hoping to do this, because I feel strongly about writing it down, in a place Ally and I see every day. But, I am leery of how it will LOOK.

I believe that to remember the Lord in thankfulness will set my day. Thankful people are usually happy people, whereas people who forget to be thankful can often get stuck pondering only the things that are wrong with their lives. There will ALWAYS be something to complain about (like why I keep hitting the semi-colon when I really want to strike the apostrophe!), but how often do we also remember that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for? Here’s my list.

Thank you, God, for….

2. my little girl, who isn’t so little anymore
3. for a certain new friend who has been a source of joy to me beyond anything I could have hoped for. You know who you are
4. the forest down the road from me
5. the squirrels in my yard, yes, even the fat grey ones who are so large by now, they can barely hop.
6. a warm house, warm clothes, and Your warm heart
7. all You have provided us with this last year.
8. Oscar and Blackie, our two fish swimming serenely (most of the time) in their tank.
9. the men in the Boy’s Club, each and every one of them
10. green grass in the spring, and white snow in the winter, golden and red leaves in the fall, and overbearing, sweltering heat in the summer. (I love hot, hot days)
11. Brett and Sherrie, Amber and Brandon, Glenn and Beth, Winston, Torie, and Mackenzie, and a whole earthly host of future heaven dwellers.
12. Dr. Jon, and his heart to serve you, and his country.
13. Dr. Mike, thank you for giving him back to us two years ago.
14. all those who visit here, and leave their pearls of wisdom, and encouragement. It means more to me than any pot of gold.
15. Reeces Peanut butter cups!! Yeah!!!
16. Silence
17. Hope
18. any days to come which I have not lived
19. all days past which You showed me how to live
20. Forgiveness
21. Wood
22. Healthy hands
23. Books
24. Trouble and pain, without which, we would not have learned how to appreciate all the good things You give us.
25. my little red Mustang. Vroooooom!!! Vrooooom!!
26. my rusty grey pick-up truck. 239,000 miles and counting. Amazing!! I’ve been to the moon, and I’m on my way back.
27. Ally’s recent willingness to talk.
28. Opening my eyes to other people’s perspectives.
29. power tools!!!
30. Light. I truly do not like the dark
31. Electronic gadgets that are so easy to figure out, it makes you wonder why it took the manufacturer two hundred pages to explain how they work?
32. rest
33. teaching me patience through not giving me everything I want right away, or ever.
34. helping me to remember that this list is about You, God, not me.
35. wisdom. Someday, I’ll be thanking You for giving me some.
36. Help when least expected
37. the safety of all the people I love
38. the beautiful yard I see everyday behind my house
39. Deer, and all other manner of wildlife.
40. Diet Pepsi, since Coke probably won’t be made for much longer. Hah ha!! : )
41. memories, even painful ones
42. color
43. humor
44. tears
45. the night sky in the deep north woods. Wow!!!!
46. that my Achilles tendon has not yet torn all the way
47. that despite my tendency to ignore maintaining my body, heck, to my absolute abuse of it, that You have kept me healthy regardless.
48. butterflies in my stomach
49. that You have made me able to feel my heart constantly.
50. Carpenter Jeans, of which I really DO use all of the neat pockets.

I am now smiling ear to ear. Thank you for that, God, as well.



The following is an update from Dr. Jon, who is serving in Iraq. I forwarded a few questions to him, and he was very kind in answering them last week already. I am sorry it took so long to post them, but I was out of town over the weekend. If you guys want to know anything else, just let me know, and I’ll make sure Jon gets the questions.

I do ask, though, that if you are willing, you would remember Jon and his family in your prayers. Thank you.

1. As you serve there, do you have any feel for how long it might take until US soldiers are able to go home again?

Our US soldiers generally rotate with their unit every 12 months; they serve a 12 month deployment then go back to their home base if they are active duty or to their civilian life if they are reserve or National Guard.

As far as our military presence here in Iraq (and Afghanistan), my information is no more complete than what has been publicly reported. We will be here until the insurgency is ended and an elected government, supported by a loyal national military force, is able to maintain peace and stability. My sense is that this process will take years to accomplish, although I am hopeful that we will be able to decrease our military presence after the upcoming elections.

2. Could you share your opinion, or if you have facts, as to why some areas of Baghdad seem so against the US occupancy?

Although the majority of the country is stable, there remain pockets of insurgency throughout, presently most active within the Sunni Triangle. This region includes Baghdad, Falluja, Sammara, and Mosul amongst other less active areas of fighting. I do not claim to understand all the motives behind the insurgency, but I believe they are largely rooted in cultural and religious differences. Most Iraqis, I believe, simply want peace.

3. How many Iraqis have you treated? Have they all been due to results from terrorism? Are there some you treat who just need surgery as the result of an accident, or anything like that?

Most of the Iraqi patients we treat are soldiers injured in combat. Along with taking care of our US soldiers, this is our primary mission as a Combat Support Hospital. Nevertheless, we have treated many civilians--US, Iraqi, and other foreigners of all ages with a variety of injuries and illnesses. Occasionally an injured combatant is brought to our hospital for treatment. Regardless of an individual's nationality, allegiance, or loyalty, our response remains the same to provide the best care possible.

4. Can you tell us of anything you believe was maybe a miracle? Have you seen God at work there? (That one is my question). I guess what I am saying is, do you have any feeling that God is doing mighty works in Iraq.

I could relate many stories where soldiers escaped life or limb threatening injuries seemingly by divine protection. One example is a young soldier who was guarding the front gate at a small base when a mortal shell exploded only five feet away. While this would normally cause serious casualty or death, he suffered only superficial shrapnel wounds to his arm and leg.

Another example occurred when a suicide car bomber detonated alongside an armored troop carrier. The soldiers inside were protected by the armor, but the soldier working the turret (lookout/gunner hole on the top of the vehicle) was directly exposed. Miraculously, he suffered only a soft-tissue arm wound.

There have obviously been many injuries and deaths during this war, and none are insignificant. Though difficult to justify, this is the nature of war. All of our soldiers make tremendous sacrifices. With very few exceptions, they serve with utmost integrity and honor. Many of the men and women in our military forces have strong Christian faith. Living in a combat environment and faced more directly with one's own mortality tends to strengthen one's faith. I believe that God is at work in Iraq, protecting our soldiers and civilians and bringing many into His service. I pray and ask that you would join me for God's continued protection and blessings for our troops, our military leaders, and for progressive peace and stability in Iraq.



There was terrible, shocking news this weekend in the Northern Wisconsin woods. Just outside of Meteor, a very small town in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, a man shot eight people, killing five of them.

The “attack” as it is being called, occurred on private land about noon Sunday, the 21st of November. Details are sketchy, but reports are indicating that a hunting party saw a hunter they didn’t recognize occupying a tree stand that belonged to them. It has not been revealed whether the private land belonged to anyone in the hunting party, but all sources I have read confirm that the stand which the shooter was sitting in did.

The attack began after a confrontation with the hunter. That is the depth of the details I have at this moment. They have given the name of the attacker, but I will not show that name on this blog, nor any of the names of the victims. Apparently, the hunter who had been sitting in the stand which did not belong to him shot one man, and then continued to shoot as other hunters belonging to the party showed up to try and help.

The shooter was arrested around 4:00 pm as he was leaving the forest. One of the hunters he shot and killed was a teenager.

I am saddened by this news, as both a human being, and as a hunter. Let me try to help you understand what happened here, as I am a hunter, and can understand how something like this could escalate to five dead, and three wounded.

Okay, I can’t understand how it can escalate. But, I can explain what might have happened. You see, when a hunter decides to sit in a hunting stand that doesn’t belong to him, it is considered bad hunting etiquette. That the stand was on private land meant not only that the hunter was rude, but he was trespassing, as well, if he had not received permission to be on that land for hunting purposes. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he had permission to be there.

If that was the case, still, he had no right to climb the ladder of the stand, and sit in the stand that did not belong to him. When the hunting party that owned the stand showed up, he should have apologized, and left the area. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

My hunting stand is on private land, and if someone wanted to sit in it, all they would have to do is ask me, and I would have no problem allowing them its use. However, no such report has been made that the attacker asked anyone to use the stand, or that he ever asked the hunting party if he could remain where he was. The reports I have read all state that a confrontation ensued upon the hunting party’s discovery of the man in their stand.

Maybe the hunting party did not allow the man to explain himself. Maybe they attacked him verbally before he could say anything. We have to be realistic here; people of this world would just as soon flip someone the bird for cutting them off on the highway as allow that the maneuver may have been made without intending them harm. I drove with a fellow on Sunday evening who actually flipped someone the bird because he thought that the driver was going to pull out in front of my truck, as I was driving. No harm had been done, I didn’t feel offended, yet here this fellow was, giving the man in the other vehicle the finger, merely for ALMOST pulling out in front of me. I didn’t say anything at the time, but upon reflection, I should have told him to never do that in my truck again.

The fact is, this attack escalated beyond reason at some point. But I wonder if reason was present in the first place.

I am not saying at all that the attacker had any right or reason to fire his weapon. But, I am saying that a confrontation was reported to have occurred, and confrontations require input from two sides at least.

Every member of a hunting party usually carries a high-powered rifle or shot gun. The attacker was armed with an SKS semiautomatic “assault” rifle, similar to the gun I use, which is a 30.06, only mine is a bolt- action rifle, and thus not labeled an assault rifle. Consider that the damage done by an SKS bullet is the same as that of my 30.06, and you can see why five people died very quickly.

The 30.06 penetrates the flesh a fair distance, then tumbles inside the body as it slows, ripping to shreds everything in its path, with a diameter similar to a large grapefruit. In a human being, it would completely emulsify a heart, a lung, liver, or any other internal organ it came into contact with. Any of these organs being hit would mean a fatal wound. The fact is, every deer I have ever shot dropped the moment the bullet entered, and died without moving again. That is how powerful the 30.06 bullet is, and the SKS used in this attack is its equivalent. The damage done to deer weighing in excess of one hundred eighty pounds is frightening. That is why hunters do not ever knowingly aim their weapons at another human being.

This time, however, was different. For whatever explanation, reason left the scene, and five people are dead. Three more are seriously wounded. One man sits lonely inside of a jail cell tonight, maybe even wondering how it all came to this so quickly. You see, the attacker was not a known criminal prior to this incident. Had he been, he could not have legally hunted in the state of Wisconsin, or carry a firearm of any caliber. The fact is, the authorities knew who he was before they arrested him, because one of the victims had written down his deer license back tag number, and reported that number to police when he called for help.

The attacker was a hunter, a man who could legally own, possess, and carry a hunting rifle in the state of Wisconsin. Tonight, he is considered a criminal, a murderer, and my heart breaks for him, as well as for the victims, and their loved ones.

Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I remain COMPLETELY convinced that if even one person had done that during the confrontation on Sunday that ended in the death of five people, no one would have been shot, no one would have been killed, no one would have been wounded, and no one would have been branded a murderer for life. The confrontation proves that someone had a chance to back off, and pull others with him. Someone had a chance to see reason, to see everyone at the scene with high-powered rifles, and to see that arguing could no longer resolve this conflict. Someone had a chance to prevent five deaths. I don’t care who had that chance, whether it be a member of the hunting party, or the man who shot his victims. It doesn’t matter who had the chance, because the chance passed withou tbeing acted upon by anyone present.

Selfishness, and unwillingness to back down caused this tragedy. The human condition caused this tragedy. The guns were present, but they didn’t kill anyone. No, a gun can’t kill unless someone pulls its trigger. And before that trigger was pulled, someone had a chance to stop it, and refused.

If only the attacker had just removed himself from the stand, as he should have, none of this would have happened. If only the hunting party could have seen that this attacker was not going to back down, if instead of continuing to argue, they had left, and just said, “it’s not worth it”, would they be alive right now?

A hunting stand is not worth five human lives. No deer, no matter how big, is worth being labeled a murderer. The attacker was not looking to kill people when he set out to hunt in that stand, I am convinced of that. No confrontation would have taken place at all, had he been predisposed to kill without reason. He would have simply shot anyone on sight, had that been his plan.

No, he is a murderer because he shot and killed five people after the confrontation had escalated. And now, because of the actions of one man, the left wing liberals will attack hunter’s rights once again, using this story as further ammunition to tell people that guns are dangerous, and no American should own one.

Guns aren’t dangerous, I know, I have used two of them for many years. Ninety-nine percent of the time, my guns sit unloaded in a locked case, completely harmless. The other one percent of the time, they are loaded for hunting, with the safety to the trigger locked right up until the time I squeeze the trigger to kill a deer. They are never, ever, aimed at anything else, save maybe a target for practice. But what is inside of my guns can kill instantly, and there is never a moment when I am handling them that I am not fully aware of that. It seems this one fact was forgotten during the confrontation. It seems that pride and tempers reigned, and all caution was thrown to the wind.

If I ever run into a man holding a gun who I think I have a beef with, I will try to reason with him. But, if he does not see my reason, I will acquiesce, and allow him his space. It’s just not worth it to argue when two people are holding loaded guns.

But we in this world hold loaded guns every day, with our words, our deeds, our thoughts. It doesn’t take a bullet to kill someone. It takes a human heart. We kill people every day with our words, and some words on Sunday doubtlessly caused a reasonable situation to escalate into a deadly one.

It has just been reported that the death toll is now six, as one more has succumbed to death. God have mercy.



Okay!! I bought a new digital camera today, and had it completely figured out in about ten minutes. Hmm...... I guess that's what happens when you don't read the instructions, which would take me days to read, and still, I wouldn't know any more than I do right now.

So now I guess I actually have to take some pictures with it, huh? Well, rest assured you forty or so. I will, and I might even include a few here. I threatened my daughter tonight that I was going to post her picture on my blog. She just gave me the look. You know....THE LOOK!

She actually told me she was going to miss me this weekend, right before she said, "if it will make you get out of my room, I'll say anything." Yes, she was laughing as she said that. Things are going well for us right now. There seems to be an open line of communication between us, and I haven't done anything apparently to screw that up. Thank you greatly, God.

Anyway, this will be my last post for a few days, as I am taking a holiday to hunt, but more importantly, to find silence. (Anticipatory sigh).....

I will not be posting pictures of a deer on this blog, if I happen to have a successful hunt. Sorry, but there are way too many people who are offended by that sort of thing, and quite frankly, who cares how many points my deer's antlers have?

I will post some pictures of something at sometime somewhere. Now, if you paid attention, you know exactly when, where, and what will be posted. I am THAT precise.

As you no doubt have noticed, I am jumping around in this post tonight. Just the way my mind has been working lately. I need to get that fixed, fast!

I am reminded, as I prepare to leave, of Elmer Fudd. I just loved the way he used to hunt "smaw fowwy woodwand kweetchos" in that raspy voice of his. He is my favorite cartoon character. So I have a question for you. Who is your favorite cartoon character, and why?



I usually do not post during the morning, but this morning is different. Things look brighter today than they did at any point yesterday.

In two days, I will once again don the hunting gear, and head for the North woods. What will I find there? Maybe a deer or two, but frankly, it doesn’t matter if I see even a single deer. That’s not why I go. Yes, I love hunting, but there is a reason far larger than the hunt which draws me.

For three solid days, I will be sitting in an enclosed stand (I’m a carpenter! What did you expect? That I would sit out in the cold, when I have the ability to build a nice warn shelter as I hunt? Please!!). In that stand, I will bring my Bible, and I will bring another book. I will also be bringing many questions to the Lord. But the one thing I do not have to bring, the one thing I have been seeking for so long, I will find in copious amounts right there in my stand. SILENCE.

Solitude has always led to peace for me. I have no doubt I will come away from this experience with answers to many questions. I have no doubt that I will encounter God in the forest this weekend. I have no doubt that I will not care whether I come home having a deer in my truck or not. It just doesn’t matter. Yes, I am a serious hunter, and I always eat what I kill. But I don’t really care if I see anything, other than the face of God through silence, peace, and nature.

May God keep all of you safe this hunting season, and for you who do not hunt, may God fill your time with joy, peace, and hope. Amen.



Pain. I know something about that. Not a lot, at least not compared to some living in nations where they are persecuted for their faith, or compared to some who are dying of cancer, or are crippled, or treated as a sub-human by a spouse. But I know a little of it.

It seems to me that pain is one of the things we rarely hear about in a sermon. Yesterday, to my pastor’s credit, it was mentioned, and it was forwarded, again, and again. I’d like to give my thoughts about it, and include some of the things he said. Keep in mind that for a pastor to talk about pain and danger the way my pastor did is not necessarily viewed as a good thing by most.

One thing he said that really struck me was, if you wanted a safe life, then you may not want to know God. After all, God is in the business of stretching us, causing us to call out to Him for help, and CHANGING us. None of that sounds very safe to me. Does it sound safe to you?

Safe, to me, is a walk in Point Beach State Forest. It’s riding a bicycle on training wheels, swimming with a huge float tied around you. It’s doing what I am best at, and never doing anything else. Safe is staying within myself, and never inviting anyone else inside again. Safe…is death.

I am a risk taker. At least, I have been since I met Jesus. Prior to Him, I used to do what I was best at, and I was very good at it. The trouble is, I was missing LIFE!! Now, even though I still do things I am good at, I also venture into areas I am not good at. As God stretches this closed off heart, I find myself wanting to resist, and yet also wanting to follow.

I am hazarding into areas I have not been in some time. Talk about dangerous, talk about fear. There is always going to be fear in our lives. I am sick of living as though I am dying. I want to live as though I am eternal, and so I will go where God leads, and if it is dangerous, and although I may hesitate, you will always find me choosing to follow the path God has laid out for me, regardless of the danger, to my body, or to my heart.

Life is full of opportunity. I don’t want mine to be missed opportunities, especially opportunities for joy. There is no joy without great risk. Pain? I have lived through it, and I have found that the hope of joy is a greater attractant than fear is a deterrent.

We live for the Lord, and because we do, this is a dangerous life. There is going to be trouble for us, and there is going to be pain and sorrow. There may even be persecution. As we quietly go about our lives, trying to live peaceably amongst man, we will called out for our faith, ridiculed for our beliefs, and gossiped about because we are different. And if these things are not happening in our lives, we can either thank God for sparing us for a time, or wonder if our walk is salt, or if it is bland.

Christianity is not a popularity contest. It is at times a lonely, desperate struggle up a sheer mountain face without any rope except the One we cannot see. We are already in danger, we are not promised a safe life. There are risks, and I will take them, because I trust in God.



What is going on in this world? Have you ever studied it? Have you ever looked at even one nation, take the USA, for example, and studied the trends and popular opinions of the day?

I know, to do that would take a super-computer. Or….would it? Can computers compile real data on real people? I doubt it.

Here is what I mean. A computer, no matter how sophisticated, cannot read human emotions, and then remember how it felt during the same type of emotion. See what I mean? So, how do we study people? By raw data? By gathering a census and asking a few questions? That is what politicians live for. But we are believers, there must be something deeper about the things we look at.

I study people by observing them. Then, I study the world, by observing it. I have noticed a very, very disturbing trend with long legs these past years. Approaching half of all adults in America have at one time or another required medication for some type of mental disorder. (depression, anxiety, etc.) This begs the question, why? Why, in a time when we are so technologically advanced that we make the Romans look like cavemen, are we so screwed up inside?

How is it possible for us to know as much as we do about the human body, the brain, emotions, and all other factors, but not know how to prevent mental disorders? Or, are the “disorders” maybe not really disorders at all? Maybe they are just excuses to find relief in a bottle, to not have to look inside? Maybe they are real, but we aren't even close to understanding the real reasons they are so prevalent?

What will you find when you look inside? What will you see when you STOP. You see, part of the trouble of our culture is that we rarely stop. We are on the go, we are busy, and we are in the know. Except we don’t really know what’s going on inside too well, do we?

So maybe in the question lies the answer? STOP! Wait? And….do…..what?

Exactly! Do nothing. Be silent, and wait. Think, probe. That thing you said to your sister, yeah, that one! What were the effects of that on her day? That man I passed on the highway, the one I swore was too old to drive, what affect did I have on his day?

And, while we are stopped, what affect has Jesus had on our day? Have we talked with God? Have we even acknowledged Him at all? One of the best ways I have found to worship God is to be honest, and there is nothing more honest than telling God you still believe. Then, STOP again. Wait. What’s going on inside? CHANCES ARE, WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE IS WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD.



It seems that my daughter is wiser than many bloggers out there, at least in regards to how she handles her “Christian” freedom. Allow me to expound, please.

I have been blogging approximately four and one – half months. In that time, I have read many posts, and many snippets of posts from bloggers around the world, mostly Christian. But you’d never know it, to hear what some have to say about certain things in our “Christian” culture. Today, I’d like to talk about just one of those things. Christian music.

There are many believers who listen to various types of music, and Christian happens to be one of them. Personally, I listen to Christian Rock, because I like the harder edge to that type of music, and the lyrics agree with how I feel so very often.

My daughter listens to the same type of music, however, her tastes tend to be a bit softer than mine. Nevertheless, she loves her “Christian” music, and she loves hearing it on the radio. Here is where the waters appear to get muddy.

Many of the posts I have read have very little, to almost nothing good to say about “Christian” Music. I have heard it described as secular music with the name of God in it, as well as garbage written only to make money. It looks like many believers are caught up in the fear that our so called “culture” is way too secular for their liking. That’s okay. Everyone has their opinions, and stumbling blocks.

However, what is not okay is the judging that goes on, especially regarding books and music. To say one refuses to listen to Christian music because it is nothing more than a money-making venture by a group of long-haired secular Jesus-freaks is going too far.

Here is what I have to say about all of this. Maybe the groups who wrote this music really did write it to make a buck. Maybe they didn’t. None of that matters, not even one bit. You see, it doesn’t matter what reason the music or book was written for. It only matters what we do with it when it is available to us.

My daughter finds a sense of worship and joy for her God when she listens to “Christian” music, even though there is little difference between the way it and secular music sounds. So, who is right? Those who bash “Christian” artists because they think the music is too secular, or capitalistic, or my daughter? Ask my daughter that question, and she’ll raise an eyebrow at you, and wonder if you’ve lost your marbles. She would wonder why even the need for such a silly question. After all, if she listens, and finds joy, and somehow praises God for it, is that not right? Of course it is, regardless of the type of music.

So, my question is, why are so many bashing the Christian music industry at all? Is it really because they are concerned about capitalism? Or is there some deeper reason for their disdain and judgment? If I put the name of Jesus on a tee-shirt, is that wrong? If I use it to remind myself of Jesus throughout the day, what of it then?

This truth is a truth that will never change; There is not now, nor will there ever be anything of the flesh that is pure in and of itself. But our Spirit can take a pile of doggy doo, and turn it into gold. However, there are many things we can do, that are done in a way that is evil. One of them is judging others as if we know better. One of them isn’t listening to Christian music. But, if it causes one to stumble, then he is better off not listening to it. If it is going to cause him to judge it wrongly, then he should flee from it, but he shouldn’t drag anyone else with him. Thank you.



I don't normally get into saying thigs like "thank God it's Friday". But today, thank God it's Friday. It's the earliest part of Friday, as it is 5:50 AM. My day lies before me. What will all happen on this day we have never had before? I wonder.

This has been a long set of weeks, and it's getting longer as each week passes by. My business has grabbed new "business", which I am now trying to schedule around my main goings on, namely that project at the Elderly care home for which I was hired.

So I have been asking a question of God ever since last night, when I went to look at yet another small project, which needs to be done soon. I asked God if I am getting greedy. I truly do not know the answer to that question, yet.

My trouble is, in order to complete this new project on time, I will have to take a week away from the large project. I have spoken with the project manager, and he told me the week I wanted to take off would be perfect, because it's going to be a slow work week at the site anyway (deer hunting season finds construction workers scattering to the four winds). Well, I am a deer hunter, too. So......

The fact is, I never take more than three or four of days for hunting, so it may SEEM like this will work out, but I am questioning if it really could, or if, as I mentioned before, I am getting greedy. I have less than three days to decide.

On the one hand, I could take the time at the large project, and get some major work done while no one is there to get in the way. That can truly be a problem with so many different contractors all working at the same time. That would be one option. The down side of that is, I can't get too much done anyway, because without the other contractors around, I can only do so much, before I need them to do their part in whatever area I am finishing. Hmmmm

Or, I could take the small project on, complete it quickly (and with a job well done, or it isn't worth doing), cash a large paycheck, and save for a trip I want to take next year. So, choices, choices, choices.

What is the reason I am telling you this? Because I am unashamedly asking for prayer, as I am also praying, asking for clarity of mind so that I do not make an uninformed, hasty, and unwise decision. There is a lot riding on this, or so it seems. It also seems as if God is helping me to make up for what was lost during the late summer, when work was scarce for whatever reason. But, this could all be smoke, too. I think too much, sometimes, don't I?



So….what do you all know about Baal? Did you ever wonder what all the fuss was about him?

I did some quick fact checking, and found out some very interesting, and quite frankly, sick stuff. Let me just put it this way; it’s no wonder God became so angry every time the Jews bowed to Baal. Here is a little history of the mythical character.

The great Baal was of Canaan. He was the son of El, the high god of Canaan. But what set Baal apart from every other false god was one fact. The myth of Baal is that he died, and was resurrected. Now, who does that sound like?

It gets worse. Baal had a great rivalry, or conflict, with Mot, the god of “death”. When he announced that he would no longer acknowledge Mot, he went too far. Apparently. Mot plotted against Baal, and lured him to his abode to taste his fare, “mud”. Baal was terrified, but was unable to avoid the summons of Mot, and seemingly perished.

Baal’s wife, Anat, however, assaulted Mot, and somehow, as I read it, must have convinced El, or Mot, to bring Baal back from the dead.

Baal, then, is a false forerunner of Christ, which would fit, since we know that among Satan’s greatest (or worst) acts are counterfeit gods and religions.

Baal was worshipped by the Canaanites, as previously mentioned, as well as the ancient Phoenicians, and the Israelites, as far back as the fourteenth century BC. He was predominantly known as the god of fertility, and emerged as the god of rain during later times. There is an interesting story here developing, if you care to go back into the Bible, and see that God shut up the rains during Elijah’s time for three years. Interesting, don’t you think, considering that Baal was the god of rain?

Baal has also been called Beelzebub. We know who we thought that was, don’t we?

Check out 1 Kings 18:20-46, which is the story of the great battle between God and Baal in ancient Israel, on Mount Carmel. See what God did to the prophets of Baal, and how he upheld His servant, Elijah.

Now, back to what I mentioned earlier about Israel angering God. One of the most obvious reasons would have to be what Baal represented, which was a false god whose worshippers claimed rose from the dead. Look at the battle between God and Baal on Mount Carmel again, and see why God dealt so strongly with His own people, especially with Baal’s prophets. What an amazing picture of how God handled the idea of another god being able to resurrect himself, or a being that was thought to be as powerful as the Almighty and Only God.

And it wasn’t just Baal’s resurrection that angered God. It was what Baal demanded of his worshippers. At times, his priests would worship him by dancing around his idol, working themselves into a frenzy, often cutting themselves with blades, and even going to the point of placing an infant into the arms of Baal, and lighting that infant on fire. But, it didn’t stop there. The prophets of Baal would then proceed to fornicate, literally to have sex to the sounds of the screaming, dying infant.

I am humbled tonight, by the love of God for such as us. After doing just a quick research on Baal, and finding what I did, I am amazed that God did not destroy the world then and there.

God’s people, the Israelites, joined in this. Does that not just blow your mind? And see how He made a fool of Baal, and of Baal’s prophets? I don’t know about you, but I am truly shaken from this study. Shaken to the core of my faith.

We MUST know a merciful God. How else can one explain His long suffering of Israel, and of us? How else, even without the appearance of Christ, do you explain that people still walk this earth?

Here is just a final piece of trivia for you. Guess who got rid of Baal in Israel? No, it wasn’t Jesus, nor was it John the Baptist.

It was the party of the Pharisees, who removed every evil idol from the land of Israel. Now doesn’t that just blow your mind completely?

May we all remember the reasons God had for wrath, and remain thankful that He chose to show mercy instead.



The following is the first of what will hopefully be a series of updates, and answers to questions, by Dr. Jon, a good friend of mine, and brother in Christ, serving in Iraq. If you have any questions for him, be sure to leave them in the comments section, and I will forward them to him. Thank you, and God bless you all.

Update from Iraq
By Dr. Jon,

I am currently on active duty in Iraq serving as an orthopedic surgeon and member of the US Army Reserves Medical Corps. This is my second deployment in the past 18 months. My first was to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. This deployment is for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) 2, the rebuilding phase of the war in Iraq. I am assigned to a Combat Support Hospital (CSH) located in the north-central region.
Since deploying to Iraq, I have received many questions from individuals back home regarding my experiences here. The purpose of this letter in addressing some of these questions is to provide not only an update of my situation but also some perspective on the current war-related events in Iraq.

Question 1. What is your typical day like?
My daily schedule and work environment are similar to my experience in Afghanistan. A typical day includes early morning exercise (to take advantage of the cooler temperatures), morning rounds, scheduled surgeries (usually 2-3 per day), and orthopedic clinic. Meals prepared by a civilian contractor are served at our hospital dining facility. Our work day is usually done by late afternoon, though we remain on call 24/7 for any incoming trauma patients.

Question 2. What types of injuries are you treating?
Our hospital provides a wide spectrum of medical services. We treat US, coalition, and Iraq patients alike. My service is limited to orthopedic conditions ranging from minor sprains and strains, to overuse injuries, to severe extremity trauma. As a result of protective body armor, most combat related injuries primarily involve the extremities. Given the tactics of the ongoing insurgency, most of these result from IEDs (improvised explosive device)—roadside bombs and suicide bombers—and gunshots.

Question 3. How do you cope with the nature of your job in a combat zone?
Living and working in a combat zone requires preparation, precaution, and professionalism. Our duty is to provide each patient, regardless of nationality, with the best medical care possible. It is never easy to see individuals with severe injuries, no matter how commonplace in this environment. However, efficient and effective treatment leaves no room for an emotional response. There is often opportunity for personal interaction later, once the patient is stabilized. For non-English speaking patients, our interpreters play an essential role.

Question 4. Can you describe a high point and low point of your experience so far?
The low point of my experience here occurs with every individual loss of life or limb.
The high points occur with each successful treatment. One recent “success story” is a middle aged Iraqi man who suffered a severe blast injury to his lower leg. By the end of his prolonged hospital stay, after undergoing multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, he returned home on his own power. As of sign of his trust and appreciation, he offered us gifts and has maintained ongoing correspondence.

Question 5. How is the morale of the soldiers?
I have met many soldiers serving various roles in OIF 2, and with few exceptions morale is positive. Most soldiers here believe in their mission; they believe our forces have and will continue to make a positive difference in this country. I am most impressed with the attitude and commitment of our combat soldiers, who face danger and adversity on a daily basis. Their level of maturity seems beyond their young ages. On occasion, when counseling an injured soldier about the need for medical evacuation and further treatment, I’ve witnessed expressions of disappointment and even reluctance to leave his unit and mission behind.
I am proud to serve with the men and women of our armed forces. Politics aside, it disappoints me to see so much negative press about our military efforts here in Iraq. Our soldiers and their families are making tremendous sacrifices to serve our country, to protect our freedom, and to give the people of Iraq a chance for freedom. Despite the ongoing insurgency, likely to escalade before the elections, our soldiers working with coalition and Iraqi forces continue to make remarkable progress rebuilding the infra-structure of Iraq, supporting and protecting the interim government, and preparing for a nationwide democratic election. They need and deserve our support.

Question 6. How do the Iraqis feel about the war and the current situation in their country?
I’ve asked this question of many of the Iraqi’s that I’ve met at our hospital, both patients and employees. Granted this is a small number of individuals with potential bias, their responses have been consistently positive in support of our US and coalition forces. They report that although the sentiment of the Iraqi people varies by region of the country, the majority appreciate their opportunity for freedom, understand and accept the necessary sacrifices, and remain hopeful for a better future.



I am stoked tonight. Absolutely FIRED UP!! I just received an email from a friend of mine, Dr. Jon , who is currently serving in Iraq. I had asked him if he would be willing to write about his experiences, and some of what is going on over there from a factual standpoint, as well as his opinions every so often. Also, he will be possibly giving us some feedback on help for the Iraqi people.

I will be posting those contributions soon, and hopefully, God willing, this can continue until he comes back home. I don’t know how much time he has available to him, and I don’t want overwhelm him with requests for writing, when he may well have many other more important things to do. But, he did ask if I would like him to answer any questions, and I thought about that a little bit. I think I’ll leave it up to him.

If any of you have questions you’d like to ask him, please post them in the comments section below. I will expand the number of posts that stay visible, so that his posts will stay around longer. Feel free to post any questions you have, and I’ll see to it that he gets them, although I did give him this address, so it’s likely he’ll see them before I can even get them to him. We’ll see.

Jon is a surgeon, and he served last year in Afghanistan. He is married to Annette, and has four very wonderful children, two boys, and two girls. He lives with his family, when he is not serving his nation, in a wonderful old farmstead. Jon and Annette are remodeling that farmhouse step by step, but really, it is already a beautiful place to behold. And, he has something in common with me. He is a good carpenter, and loves working with wood. The man truly has good taste, doesn’t he?

I asked Jon if he was willing to do this, because the media does not give us any of this news. All the world knows of the US military is its ability to destroy. It’s no wondering the world feels threatened by that. It’s time to show them the other side, as well. Thank you. God’s grace be to you all like a cool breeze on a hot day.



I feel like writing tonight. Things are going okay, and my heart feels light. Thank you God, for opening it a little more.

Can you all say “wassup?!!!!” I can. I can also say that I was amazed by the turn around of a fellow over at a very close friend’s blog today. I am glad, and am hoping it can open up the door for real community at that blog, rather than community only when ALL are in agreement of whatever topic is being discussed. The blogger has done her very best to make sure everyone feels welcome, but sometimes, feelings get trampled where there is no previous compassion. I will continue to pray that compassion is the mortar that connects us all in this foundation called Jesus Christ.

Man!! I feel good!! The week is over, I survived, and I still have a miniscule amount of energy left. God truly has given me an abundance!!. Peace and grace, and I hope truly joy will be all yours, and as I continue to write here, I hope maybe I can contribute to your joy.

Last Saturday, I replaced the front door of my house. It was something that was scheduled to be done in summer, but I never got around to doing it. So, I decided to see if I could do it in four hours or less. I had to cut quite a bit of the old framing away, and as I started yanking the door out of its moorings, plaster on the wall above and to the side of the door began to crumble and fall.

What was supposed to be a four hour job is now not even done as I write this. But fear not!! I cleared ALL of the plaster off the wall, got the new door at least into the new framing I had to build, and now stand ready to install the new screen door.

The studs on the wall remain exposed, as I have decided to do this right. Rather than use drywall, I am going to put a pattern on the wall surrounding the door, and use hard maple wood as the material of choice. Hopefully, it will turn out as I am envisioning it. If I can convince Brett (Pumpedup!) to let me borrow his digital camera, I’ll try to post “before and after” pictures.

So, that’s most of what is new with me. Some things are new that I won’t tell you all about, because some things are private, and very good. I hope you all understand.

Okay, I said I felt like writing tonight, but this only took a few minutes. Oh well, there is always the book to work on, and emails to write.

May God make his face to shine upon you all, and may His grace overwhelm you with joy. Amen.



A rather interesting discovery was made today by a plumber on the job site I am working at. He was removing an old, old brass steam valve, and noticed as he was cutting it off the pipe, that there was a swastika on the casting.

Once he had it removed, he brought the valve down from his ladder, with help, to inspect it, and sure enough, he found the valve to have been made in Germany, although I never did find out what year was stamped on the body of the valve.

This, of course, started an interesting discussion, one day after our presidential elections. We talked about the value of the valve, to collectors, war buffs, and possibly even museums. Some said it was worth thousands of dollars, not only because of the swastika stamped into the cast brass body of the valve, but also because it was a valve for a steam main, a six inch steam main. Those types of valves new are worth over a thousand dollars, and this one was in working condition, full brass, with the swastika.

One fellow said it had to be worth at least twenty-thousand dollars. When I was asked how much it was worth, I said what I believed. I told them I wouldn’t pay a dime for it. I of course, got a lot of looks of the type, “you must be crazy!!” When I was asked why I said that, I said anything that was cut out of an old steam system to be thrown away obviously meant it was worthless, regardless of what sort of markings were on it. It wasn’t fit to be in the remodeled building, therefore, it was worthless. I still got those looks.

Brothers and sister in Christ, when the Lord cuts off the old steam valves in our lives, the ones with the swastika stamped on them, throw them away, they are worthless. Why would we hang on to something that isn’t fit for the new body God is building?



I have a problem. I am struggling with my desire to write. This is strange for me, since I have never struggled with this in the past. It is all I can do just to post this little bit tonight.

Am I writing too much? Am I not thinking enough? Is there some other reason why the desire to write has suddenly left me?

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but my posts over the last few days have not been what I would call stellar, and quite frankly, if I don’t have the desire to write, then why bother writing garbage?

Work is busy, my time is less and less, and I find that by the time I get home at night, I just have no desire, no energy to do it. Have any of you out there experienced this? Is it just a thing I am going through? Or is this something that is a change within me, a lasting change? Admittedly, it has only been a week or so since I have felt this way. Right now, however, it just isn’t enjoyable. It’s more like work than it has ever been.

What does that mean? It means I may not be blogging as much. So for you forty or so people who read this blog daily, thanks for checking in, but the pickings may be scarce, at least for a short while. As I said, I will not write just for the sake of writing, and I will not post just for the sake of posting.

I will write when I have some news to share, or something to say. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I just don’t have much to say right now. If that is the case, then silence seems like the best choice to make. I hope you all will be patient, but if not, there are many blogs out there, and many are better than mine, I am sure.

Please don’t pity me. I’m not crushed over this, at all. I’m just being honest. It’s a happening in my life, as many other happenings in my life occur daily. This is just one of those.

Take care all. I may see you tomorrow…then again, I may not.



I found the following at Anothermansmeat. I was alerted to it by Phil, the author of that blog. Be sure to stop by his blog, and read what he has to say about all of this. He asked me if I had any comments about this.

“MEMRI also translated an analysis of bin Laden's statement from the Islamist Web site al-Qal'a, well known for posting al-Qaeda messages, which agreed that bin Laden's use of the word "ay-wilaya" was meant as a "warning to every U.S state separately.""It means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president, it means that it chose to fight us and we will consider it an enemy to us, and any state that will vote against Bush, it means that it chose to make peace with us and we will not characterize it as an enemy," the Web site said, according to MEMRI's translation.”

Here is what I have to say.



Not afraid.

Going to vote the way I want, if I vote. My state will most likely end up an enemy of Osama's. Still not afraid, because Osama is not greater than He who is in me.

By the way, Osama, you need to remember for yourself the real reasons you attacked us. Don’t you remember? It was all about Israel? Yeah, that country. At least that’s what I heard you say in your own words some four years ago, even before you attacked us, remember? I’m not buying your rhetoric, any more than I am buying a certain Democrat’s rhetoric that “he has a plan.” Nobody has a plan.

If you want to vote, don’t let the big bad wolf scare you. He has no honor, and you cannot trust a word he says, because he has broken promises before to the US, haven’t you, Osama? You didn’t think I’d remember, did you? I’m not the only one, I am sure.

Osama may be planning something big, but it does not hinge on the elections, you can rest assured of that. In fact, it doesn’t hinge on anything he said. It hinges on hate, and Osama has more than enough of that to move him. Our elections won’t sway him one bit.

By the way, did any of you happen to see Saturday Night Live this last Saturday? Great piece at the beginning on Osama. I found the comments about Theresa Heinz-Kerry to be hilarious!!