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January 30

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

I’m celebrating today. My bride of 50.7 years has a birthday today. They say it is not wise to ask or tell a woman’s age so I won’t. I’ll just it is somewhere between 72 and 74. You do the math. 🙂

Just to show you what kind of woman she is: I was going to surprise her with a trip to Ohio to see our daughter and grandson. Things didn’t turn out so well. He is with his dad this week so after baseball practice (over at 8 p.m.) he will head off to his dad’s. Janna’s significant other has to work so that would leave the three of us (which would have been okay). Braden has baseball practice until 8 Wednesday morning then has to be back at school by 10 for class. That would make for a very short “wham-thank-you-ma’m” breakfast. Then Jo saw it was supposed to snow in Ohio (90%) and that scared her off. So I cancelled the hotel reservation. To top it off, I started losing my voice by the time the second service was done and I ended up with the creeping crud. Coughing. Sneezing. Aching. Lots and lots of sleep. (I haven’t been like this in years so it is a strange experience). So…not much of a birthday.

But she took it all in stride, much like she has during our 50+ years of marriage. While there have been moments of frustration (as in all marriages), I could not have asked for a better helpmate. I read the following this morning:

Adam was created first, then Eve was made to fill a void in his existence. Adam was the head; Eve was his helper. Adam was designed to be a father, provider, protector, and leader. Eve was designed to be a mother, comforter, nurturer, and helper  (40 Lives in 40 Days- MacArthur- p.62)

Jo has always been there. The above words fit her to a “T.” They are not misogynistic or any other “istic” or “phobic” you can come up with. I can give her no greater compliment that to say she was just like Eve: a filler of empty space; a helper who stuck with me through thick and thin; a mother who gave her all to our two daughters, but also allowed them to fly (and she is still there if they need her). Well done, my dear, well done.

Now…if I can only get her to read what I wrote about her I might win some brownie points. 🙂

December 20

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

Last night the Owen County Chamber of Commerce hosted a movie night at our local theater, the historic Tivoli. You can read about its history here.

Tami, our daughter, has been a chamber captain for the past two years and her commitment is up. I have been asked to come back onto the board after a year off and I accepted. The movie was a thank you to the captains for their service to the Chamber.

The movie was one of my favorites, especially at Christmas time: The Santa Clause. It was part of my regular Thanksgiving Day staple to watch, along with It’s a Wonderful Life. Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) puts on the Santa suit and thereby agrees to become Santa Claus. It’s a fun and funny romp, a light-hearted step back in time to the innocence of a childhood belief. Tim is in rare form (Can anyone say Home Improvement?).  I know what people say about Santa Claus. “You are teaching them a myth.” “You are teaching them mistrust.” “You are teaching them to believe a lie.”

Seriously? I was told all about SC, the Easter bunny (a bit harder to believe), the tooth fairy, etc and I turned out okay. (Although some do call that into question from time to time). 🙂

I’m not advocating the worship of SC.  But come on! Don’t you think we ought to let kids be kids? Let them learn from fantasies. Can anyone say Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars, or Back to the Future?

I have to admit I did a lousy job of perpetuating SC. I was a Scrooge. If I had to do it all over again, I would do some things differently. But I can’t, so there’s that.

But…I can help put (or keep) the wonder in Christmas for the little ones I meet.  Maybe even the big ones. I think we lose the wonder, the magic, the childhood “playfulness” of Christmas. No, I’m not saying adults should believe in SC. That would be ridiculous.

But how about reviving the spirit of Christmas in our hearts? Love. Joy. Peace. Wonder. Awe. Worship. Excitement. (and a whole lot of other words which fit). Can there truly be anything more amazing, more spectacular, more breath-taking, more captivating than God became flesh and lived among us?

You tell me.

September 9

Friday, September 9th, 2022

As always, Friday is my day off from work and also from posting here at “Shadow.”  I invite you to see what we have been up to lately by looking at some previous posts. If you care not to do that, we have been looking at discerning and following God’s will…whatever that is. 

I have been using the book by Ed Underwood:

The Trail: A Tale about Discovering God's Will

You are invited to join me and take part if you like.

On another note: Jo and I will be leaving early this morning for Ohio in order to see our grandson plan football on Saturday morning. Hard to believe the dude will turn 16 in October. But I got him beat by a mile! I turn 70 in October. He can outplay me, outrun me, out smart me any day of the week.  🙂  I have the looks though…and his dreamed-of height.  Prayers for our safe travel would be much appreciated. We will be heading back Saturday afternoon following his game and lunch.


July 25

Monday, July 25th, 2022

I will be MIA today and tomorrow (and possibly Wednesday depending on Jo’s report from the nursing home about her sister). The original plan was to leave after worship on Sunday and head to Ohio, stay until Tuesday morning and then head home early so I could spend part of the day either helping Tami with getting her classroom ready, or to do church ministry. But a phone call late Saturday from the nursing home about Jo’s sister, Vicki, may add another day to our trip.  Vicki is older than Jo but has been suffering from Type 2 diabetes for many years and also has dementia. She was having trouble breathing so they were going to have an X-ray done to see what was going on. The results will determine whether we go to visit her on Tuesday before we head home. So we may end up spending another day in Ohio.  Since I don’t take my computer and don’t like to do my blog on my phone, I don’t see me posting anything unless it would be really short or an update.

Jo and I would appreciate your prayers for our safe travel. It has been over a month since we have seen Janna or Braden and we were looking forward to just getting away (which I have not done this summer or in quite awhile).  I know Jo would also appreciate prayers for her sister, and also for her as she is POA.

Thanks. I will try to keep you posted in some way. Perhaps you can check back each day for an update.

April 13

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Another interlude this morning.

It is Wednesday, April 13, 2022. My thoughts? The power of memories.

To many people today is just another day. To me, not so. If my mother had not died in March of 2004 from a rare form of lung cancer (I could tell you what it was if I could spell it) which mostly struck women who never smoked, she would have turned 90 today. Ironically, my father passed away in 2017 at the age of 90.  He had dementia at the end. I’m guessing about the last 3-5 years. He lived in PA so I rarely got to see him. (Once I was his son. Once I was a family friend.  The last time he was clueless). There was a big difference between mom and dad. Dad left home in 1976, about 6 months after they celebrated their 25th anniversary. The reasons are irrelevant here.

What I do know was the difference. Mom’s faith was tested and taken through the fire and proven to be true. My dad’s? I’ll not judge, so I will again remain silent.

She loved Jesus. She loved the One who died for her. There were times she could have cashed it in. When dad left her she was almost 44 and had to go to work. Except for a short time when I was in elementary school and he was laid off from the railroad, mom didn’t work outside the home. She was a full-time mom. When my great aunt was unable to function and live on her own, and suffered what I’m thinking was something dementia-related, my mom kept a promise to her my father made years before when she put him through computer school. My aunt lived with my mom (I’m guessing) until the last few months when mom could no longer go to work and stay up all night taking care of her, because mom kept the promise my dad made to my aunt of not letting her be put in a home. Mom watched her own mother fight cancer twice-15 years apart-and eventually die during the second bout. She took care of my grandfather afterwards, even when he had a stroke as they were contemplating moving to Florida where my grandparents spent their winters. Mom eventually left the bank she had worked at for years when all the new stuff and requirements got to be too much. But she soon found another job she absolutely loved.

She could be pushy. And maddening. (I never am… 🙂 )

Most of all, she loved Jesus. I treasure the last 6 weeks of her life when I made the weekly trip from Sandusky, OH to West Mifflin, PA (5 hour trip by turnpike) to spend 2-3-4 days with her. Work suffered.  But, oh well. My very patient and understanding wife encouraged the visits. She even made a day trip with me when mom was in the hospital and not expected to come out (she defied their prognosis). I can still remember our weariness coming home from that whirlwind trip.

I can also remember her last days. She would fall asleep and wake up and say, “Oh, I’m still here.” She longed to see Jesus. Grandma. Grandad. Friends and other loved ones. She is enjoying that reunion now.

Thanks for listening. And thanks mom for showing me Jesus and loving me.

March 25

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Hey everyone!  Okay all 2 or 3 of you. 🙂  Thanks for coming by Living in the Shadow today. Unfortunately, there is no devotion for you to read.

Jo and I left Tuesday for Ohio to visit our daughter and grandson. I like harmony in the home so I had to do this or get threatened with bodily harm from Jo. Well…not really. I have been wanting to see them both as well. With Janna having to work from home, and Braden being with her every other week, going to school, and now being full-bore into baseball season, we have to take the opportunity when we can. My April schedule is already getting full so Jo asked about going this week. Of course, being the magnificent husband (cough cough) I am, I said, “Sure we can go.”  It helped that I had a cancellation of a couple for premarital counseling on Tuesday night.

Anyway, I had posted yesterday’s post early since I had it done. But I am not going to do a second hand job just to post for today. So thanks for stopping by. I hope you will make Living in the Shadow a regular part of your day. You can sign up to receive them via email.

Meanwhile, I’d appreciate your prayers for a safe return.

June 16

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Today is our 47th anniversary and we are soon to be heading to Ohio to watch Braden play his first baseball game of the year (thanks “rona” for messing things up). We found out last week, and since I was already taking the day off, I surprised Jo by suggesting we head to Ohio (4 hours); watch him play; stay the night; take him to IHOP; then head home. Wonder of all wonders she was agreeable! 🙂

Anyway, for the full story (and I mean much fuller) check out my other blog here.  I will not be posting tomorrow since we will be on the road early. Thanks for reading.  I’ll be back here on Thursday.