On Enchanted to Remember

Wedding

That was August 23, 1952. Their wedding eventually led to their daughter introducing me to them before a college football game in the fall of 1974. We married in April 1977. August 2012 was their 60th anniversary celebration, and the delightful footnote that the entire wedding party was still alive.

My mother-in-law loved both of these songs. A toast to a good person with the gentile heart that everyone enjoyed and respected. We will miss her, but the love and memories she gave us will last forever.


On a Symbolic Bike

BikerFriend

This is my friend – the one who someone fatally shot from the outside while sitting in his favorite chair inside his house. I post this as a tribute to a wonderful person missed by many.

This picture is from his ride across the country for his 60th birthday. After all, the bicycle is a symbol for him and his life

Bicycle is a symbol for outdoor activity

  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Working outside

Bicycle is a symbol for working with his hands

  • Working on his own bike
  • Daring to fix anything
  • Baking bread
  • Willingness to help those who ask or are in need
  • Work at church on the property maintenance
  • Cooking for Men’s Breakfast group
  • Volunteering on a local bike trail

Bicycle is a symbol of freedom

  • Freedom of outdoor activities
  • Freedom to bicycle across the country
  • Freedom to try something new
  • Fought for freedom as a Marine in Vietnam

Bicycle is a symbol of his personality

  • Smiling as he rode
  • Free spirit of adventure
  • Daredevil to try
  • Outgoing friendliness
  • Ease of talking with strangers

Bicycle is a symbol for what he loved

  • Outdoors
  • Meeting people
  • Country
  • Chocolate
  • Wine
  • Cake
  • Helping people
  • Friends
  • Wife
  • God

Cheers to my friend! After all, he would smile at this.

On Love or Fear?

Some preachers deliver a message of fear through fire and brimstone – thus many in the flock fear God. Since that is not my background, I have often pondered how that message conflicts with my view as I see God through a different lens.

I see a God of love, life, and peace.

I see a God of trust, compassion, joy, glory, and endless mercy.

I see a God who is full of infinite wisdom, forgiveness, grace, and goodness.

I see a God who is a firm foundation, an anchor for life, a positive beacon of hope, a guiding light, and a sunshine of everlasting life.

I simply see a God that is good – so how can I be fearful?

On Being at Peace

This is the final day in a 3-part post. For those seeing this for the first time, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.  In the story, it’s now Monday and I’m at the pulpit during my mother’s funeral.

I thank God for giving me the strength to write his and ask for continual strength in delivering a message to you in my mother’s memory.

The essence of the Christian religion lies in these very simple words: faith, hope, love, and suffering.

Love is special. Yet not easily defined in words, its meaning is shown through its presence and our actions. God expects us to demonstrate and show two basic loves: the love for him and the love for others. Guidelines for both come to us though numerous verses in the Holy Scriptures.

The love for others is the love we are to demonstrate to our fellow people. We must care for the sick, the homeless, the elderly, the oppressed, and for those full of sorrow. During this time of need for my family, the outpouring of love has been overwhelming. The way many cared for Mom by mail, phone, flowers, visits, and through prayers has been reassuring; but God also asks us to love our friends and neighbors who are full of well being.

In Romans 13: 8 & 10 St. Paul writes, “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Love never does any wrong to the neighbor; hence love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Mom is loved by many and she loved many – that’s why you’re here. She’s one full of kindness and carried very little malice toward anyone.

But a special lover that I wish to say is the love that our dad showed to Mom. He’s gone through much emotional pain, but God gave him tremendous love and strength to be there for her. We thank him and thank God for his gracious giving. Dad, may God’s strength continue to be with you in the days ahead.

Faith and hope serve as a concrete foundation for our beliefs. They are immaterial, yet ever so strong. All of us go through time when we question God or question his presence, but it’s faith that brings us back to him. Our faith in God guides us through our hope for eternal life.

The road to eternal life does have its share of bumps along the way, and each bump is accompanied by some suffering. Any suffering we have here on this earth is our own trip to Calvary.

In Mathew 16, Jesus tells the disciples that he is to go to Jerusalem and suffer, be put to death, and then rise from the dead. Since this is not what they want to hear, Peter stated, “Heaven preserve you, Lord. This must not happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Go away from me Satan! You are an obstacle in my path because the way you think is not God’s way, but man’s.”

Then Jesus turn to his disciples, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mathew 16: 21-27

In Romans 8:18, Paul writes, “I consider the suffering of the present to be nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.”

So how does all this relate to this moment, this situation? My love for Mom and God, along with the faith and hope provided by Christ kept me going. From the beginning I knew and accepted that liver cancer was terminal, but I never lost faith and hope through the battle. I continually prayed for increased strength for my parents; meanwhile, we were suffering. However, Dad tells us that she suffered more from chemos and radiation than she did in her final days.

The day before we lost her, I sat alone at her bedside praying. I asked God, “Why her? She never harmed anybody!” Within seconds I smiled and looked at the nearby cross and said to myself, “It’s because he suffered for us.” That thought has given me a great amount of reassurance.

I have no bitter feeling against God and none against cancer. God loves all of us regardless of sex, color, or nationality. Mom is most special to our family, but unfortunately that didn’t exclude her or us from a very painful journey.

Love, faith, and hope will carry me through the suffering today and tomorrow; that is the Christian way. Let this be a reminder to all who have faith in Christ and God.

She hasn’t died, but rather only left us temporarily as we will see her again. But let us remember that is she is now at peace – no suffering. She achieved the happiness of eternal life; the very goal we are pursuing. As St. Paul says in First Corinthians, “Death is swallowed up by victory” …. And my Mom won!

August 31, 1987

PS:

  • Happy Mother’s Day Mom. We miss you; we love you; and we’ve OK.
  • To everyone who’s mother has passed on, remember good thoughts today.
  • To everyone who’s mother is still here, do the right thing.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 11

On the President’s Cabinet
Since Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) is withdrawing his name from nomination, President Obama has another chance to name a business person to this position.

On Alternative Energy
In the recent presidential campaign we heard both candidates promote alternative energies. Since President Obama continues to use the same theme, here are two excellent sites.

  1. Cincinnatus – Although this blog doesn’t limit itself to energy, here’s a link to the Energy category with his latest post about solar energy.
  2. On the other hand, Energy Power Alternatives is dedicated to the subject.

On Recipes
The March ’09 issue of Food and Wine has many easy and tasty recipes. We’re subscribers, but this issues is outstanding.

On College Basketball
Although the population density in this area is less than the east coast, a 2-hour drive gets me to a college basketball game at Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton, Louisville, Kentucky, Butler, Ohio State, Miami, and Wright State. There’s probably someplace better, but this is pretty good.

University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher, known as the one who pushed Bob Huggins out of town, is leaving for the New York state system… meanwhile Coach Huggins will be honored when WVU plays UC later this month. Ironically, both were announced the same day.

On Bengal Season Tickets
The average Bengal ticket is $74 per game – thus $740 for a season ticket. Let’s see, what else could be done with $740? It feeds holiday meals to 413 people at City Gospel Missions. It gets blankets for 30 families of five. It pays for 148 hot meals for disaster victims. It buys who knows how many grocery-store sale items for a local food bank; and this list could be endless.

On Other Blogs
The Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, a once-a-week post, stimulates your mind through photographs and accompanying thoughts. Joe provides a great way to start the week.

Heather and Paulette at Let Us Talk will comment on a variety of topics. Given ’em a try.

Football News from a Chick is just that, and this chick is passionate about the NFL, knows the NFL, and has connections.

From Reel to Field features anything from movies to sports, thus everything in between; including the always popular “caption this” to comment on pictures.

On Valentine’s Day
Thoughts of Valentine’s Day conjurs thoughts of personal loved ones. This story touched me about a week ago, but thanks to Tim Valentine, it’s a fiting message of love for everyone on this day.