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Comfort Through the Storm!

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Last night around midnight I heard a storm that was beginning to roll in with lightning and thunder.  Soon I began to hear our dog Sadie, who is petrified of thunder, begin to whine downstairs behind her gate. So, although I know this might seem a bit over the top to some, I got out of bed and went down to her. I could see the fear in her eyes and the fact that her breathing had become rapid.  So, I laid down on the couch and when I did, Sadie jumped up on it as well, laid down next to me, put her paw over me. and laid her head on my lap. I petted her head as I spoke softly to her, trying to get her to calm down. For the next hour, that’s how we rode out the storm.  
Of course, I knew that Sadie was safe and that the storm wasn’t going to harm her. I could have just left her downstairs to herself knowing everything would be ok. Sadie, however, didn’t know that. She had no concept that she was safe. She needed someone to comfort her and calm her down. And, that comfort came not by means…

So Sad....

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I’ve watched the video over and over again and I’m not really sure how to articulate what I’m feeling. After all, I’m just a white guy who has never really felt the sting of racism. I’ve never had to have the “talk” with my boys about how to handle themselves if pulled over by a cop. I’ve never had to explain to my kids from a personal perspective a history riddled with the pain of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and a host of negative events that have marked the black experience here in America.  So, I can’t (and ought not) pretend to understand what my black brothers and sisters are feeling in light of the horrific events that have taken place this week—i.e. the unjust killing of another black man, this time at the hands of a police officer.
All I can say is, I just feel so sad. I’m sad for what my black brothers and sisters have had to endure through the years. I’m sad for what they continue to face in light of the persistence of that terrible sin called, “racism.” I’m sad for another life …

Breaking Free!

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Last week, Kim, Joanna, and I took our dog Sadie with us to one of our local parks that is filled with wooded trails to walk and run.  As Joanna and I were running with Sadie, I stopped to switch her leash to a different part of her collar. What I didn’t realize was that I hadn’t clipped her leash on completely. Thus, after going just a short distance Sadie broke free and took off into the woods (chasing deer and squirrels, I presume!). About twenty minutes later when we finally found her—or, she found us—she was totally exhausted, to the point that she could hardly walk! And, she seemed very, very glad to be back with us, if not a bit remorseful. Maybe breaking free wasn’t all she thought it was going to be.
What Sadie didn’t (or doesn’t) understand is, the leash we put on her is actually for her good.  Because she is not able to set boundaries for herself, she needs us to do so for her. Without the leash, she could end up in the street and be hit by a car or get lost to the point tha…

Stuck at Home!

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have spent a lot more time at home than we normally would. A lot of people are now working from home—including Kim and me. Others are not able to go to work, and thus just happen to be at home. Without shopping malls, restaurants, churches, and movie theaters open, our options as to where we can go have become quite limited. Many of our seniors, for the sake of their health and safety are not going out.  And, the call of our state has been to remain home as much as possible.  
Of course, Netflix and other streaming services are loving the fact that people are using their services a lot more than they usually would.Others are getting lots of home projects done.Many parents are saying they are using the time to spend more time with their kids—even if it’s because of all of the online schooling that’s taking place. We might say, many of us are just stuck at home.
If you’re like me, you normally spend much of your time rushing from one thing to the n…

The "Over Sixty" Checkout Line!

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I have found that every age has its benefits. When you’re a child, your age gives you lots of freedom. When you’re a teen or young adult, you have lots of strength and energy. As one moves through their adult years, each decade has its blessings. In fact, when you hit sixty you get to go into Trader Joe’s before the rest of the population is allowed in and get on a special checkout line at Shop Rite!
I never thought I’d admit it, but in the midst of this pandemic, being sixty has had some perks. Of course, I might rather be a bit younger. And, I am doing my best to stay healthy and not look too sixty-ish! But when I realized I could get through the checkout at Shop Rite a bit faster by going on the “60 plus” line, I swallowed my pride and hopped on. And yesterday, when I realized I could get into Trader Joe’s with the “60 plus” crowd, while all the younger people waited outside the store, I thought to myself, why not?  After all I am sixty! 
The book of Ecclesiastes describes the aging …

Empty Shelves!

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So, what has your grocery shopping experience been like recently in the midst of this pandemic? If you’ve been to the supermarket in the past couple of months, you know things are quite different than they once were. For one, we are all now wearing masks. Secondly, we have to make sure our shopping cart or basket has been wiped down. Some stores have lines outside limiting the number of people who can be in the store at any one time. And, some have taped arrows at the beginning of the aisles, directing you as to which way you are to travel as you move through the store, as well as taped lines six feet apart showing you where to wait as you go to check out. And then, there are the empty shelves.
I’m still not sure why there has been a run on toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins, but those shelves are consistently empty. Then there have been those times when there have been no cans of tuna or no pasta or no eggs. Now we are learning that there is a shortage of meats, especially poultr…

Are You Wearing Your Face Mask?

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These days, face masks are not all that easy to come by. With the call for everyone to wear one when they are in a public space, we have all been scrambling to find them online or to make our own. At first Kim made a couple out of fabric that she had in the house. They were ok, but so thick I could hardly breathe! Then we were able to order a few washable ones online. I thought they were just a plain black color, but when they came, we realized they had a little bunny on them—complete with a little fuzzy, pink tail! Well, they were perfect for Easter!  Then, a friend of ours from New York gifted us some disposable ones to have on hand. They seem to work the best. Whatever the case, at this point Kim and I are thankful to have some face masks on hand for when we do need to go out. In fact, I usually keep some in the car so that they are always available.  
Yet, to be honest, I hardly find the wearing of a face mask a pleasant and comfortable experience. They make it a bit harder to brea…