If the blind lead the blind, both fall into a pothole.

source:wfmj.com

Salt truck succumbs to a pot hole in nearby Youngstown, OH (source:wfmj.com)

It’s not like I haven’t been around potholes before. But, they’ve been extra bad this year. I’ve had conversations with co-workers who agree that it seems far worse than in the past.

As it turns out, we’re correct.  I read online that in 2015, the state of Ohio has been sued 256 times for automobile damage caused by these gaping craters – the most ever. Our local newspaper even has a “Pothole Patrol” so commuters can report the location of the most cavernous routes and whether or not they have been repaired. However, we have seen potholes before, and you’d figure that drivers would have some idea how to navigate them.

On my way to work last week, I took my normal route, which had birthed and expanded potholes overnight. At many points in a one mile stretch, cars slow to a crawl to safely maneuver a pothole minefield. I was at one of those points, and a driver behind me was in too much of a hurry to worry about the potential damage to his vehicle. 

Continue reading

Zach, the fish whisperer

A fish photobomb

A fishy photobomb

My intent was to get a picture of the bigger fish.  Zach, my 11 year-old, will have had that fish for two years this April. Goldfish are supposed to live like what, a few months? I’ve always thought that pet stores sell goldfish as bait or as a starter fish for kids interested in getting an aquarium. So, when we bought Zach this fish for fifty cents almost two years ago, we didn’t invest in gravel, plants or other fishy stuff. We didn’t think he’d last that long.

A few months later we bought the smaller fish because Zach was worried the first fish was lonely. They’ve been bowl mates for about a year and a half.

My wife and I can’t believe they are still alive. Zach doesn’t clean the bowl as often as he should, though it looks darker in the picture that it actually is because the room was dark. However, he never forgets to feed them each night. In the early days I would ask Zach at bedtime if he’d fed the fish. But, I could never remember their names so I’d just refer to them as famous duos in history. Zach stopped correcting me about a year ago.

Continue reading

My M&M friend wanted to take a selfie. I had to help him.

Do you know what this is?

Photo credit: Dave Knickerbocker (as you could probably guess by the lack of quality)

This little guy looks pretty good for being around for so long.  He’s an M&M (duh) from the Christmas tree lights I insisted on buying. It was for our first Christmas tree after getting engaged over 17 years ago. He’s been through a lot. For the first couple years, at the end of the season I would meticulously re-insert green and the colorful friends from his light strip neighborhood into the plastic case they had come in. My hope was that they would remain in mint condition for years.

Then the kids started coming. When Jess got tall enough to be able to liberate them from their coniferous cage to live out the rest of their days with Barney and a few Disney princesses, I was forced to adjust. I reassigned the plastic candy that hadn’t been claimed by a Knickerbocker toddler to the top of our plastic tree. Also, with more kids came more decorations and more frustration packing and repacking them every year. It took several years, but eventually I resorted to winding them up like any other set of lights and tossing them in the box.

Continue reading

Garbage Can Greeting

Garbage Can GreetingOn our way back from men’s retreat last Saturday I got a text from Vanda telling me to avoid Route 224. It’s a major road that goes through Boardman, OH.  As we approached our house we witnessed a steady stream of traffic on the little side street our house is on.  That’s unusual for our neck of the woods.

But, that wasn’t the only thing different that we saw as Dan Lewis pulled into my driveway to drop me off. Emma, my 13-year-old, had made a sign using our garbage can and some pizza boxes. It read, “Have a nice day.”

I wonder how many people saw that and smiled? Okay, there may have been a few who thought it was some sort of taunting. I mean, we all know people who get their knickers in a twist (as my wife would say) just sitting in the driver’s seat as evil powers emanate from the steering wheel. If I know my fellow Ohioans, it’s a safe bet that a majority of them appreciated her sentiment. Continue reading

Noah the movie. Yeah, I’ll watch it.

And as a Christian, I’m even looking forward to it.

As the title of this post suggests, I haven’t seen the movie that opens today. So this isn’t a critique. I’m writing my four reasons to see the movie, before I actually see it, because now is the best time to say what I have to say, which has nothing to do with my estimation movie’s quality or possible lack of Biblical integrity.

My first reason: the trailers look awesome.  Russell Crowe and the rest of the cast have been in their fair share of great movies. This one looks like it will measure up.  I really enjoy movies and stories about people having courage to stand up for what is right, especially when so much is on the line.  Yes, my first reason is that basic.

Secondly: historical fiction is a widely accepted genre.  It’s when creative people make up stories set around real historical figures and events. And if some people have a problem with this movie because it’s fiction based on holy writ, why don’t they have a problem with Christians who do just that – and whose efforts we laud – like with books by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (John’s Story, the entire Left Behind Series) and Tosca Lee (Iscariot). Continue reading

Why punish yourself more than God does?

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

People can’t make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them.  That’s a concept that has helped people who struggle with poor self-esteem to develop a healthy outlook about themselves.

What if the reverse of that concept could be useful as well? I don’t mean that I can only make someone else feel bad if they let me do it (though that is true).  But what if it’s true to say that other people can’t make you feel good about yourself unless you let them?

Guilt is a powerful emotion that is unnecessary for Christians. When you were saved you were freed from all the burdens of sin, including this one.

Continue reading

Glenn Beck didn’t do his homework

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

God never punishes us.  That’s what Glenn Beck said on the radio on Friday, November 9.

There are some who classify him as a right-wing nutter.  I listen to his show (obviously) from time to time whenever I’m in the car between 9 am and noon.  I listen because he can be very funny.  He and his team make some good points as well, though I don’t agree with everything.

Somebody I had coffee with last week noted his own propensity to challenge the validity of everything he heard.  He was apologetic. I assured him that his approach was a good thing as long as his purpose was to search for Truth instead of making truth fit his desires.  I told him that because I’m the same way, and I’ve learned that this approach is far better than to just accept everything someone tells you.

Continue reading

Not sure I agree with Oswald Chambers on this one

Basketball ouchie

My Basketball Ouchie

By far, the most injuries I’ve had in my life revolve around sports.  I’ve had two root canals because of an accident during a High School baseball game. I’ve torn ligaments in both ankles numerous times playing basketball in my younger years. One of my teeth that had participated in the aforementioned baseball accident was knocked out playing football a few years later at camp, and I just kept playing.

That beauty you see in the picture above is the result of a basketball encounter from Monday night. When it happened I had a feeling there’d be a mark. Kept playing.  It wasn’t that I felt pressure to look like a man in front of the other guys.  Okay, there was some of that.  But, my major motivation was simply that I didn’t want to stop playing.

Continue reading

A nuance to nostalgia

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry because I continually make the same mistake in my spiritual journey – and it throws me off.  But it’s so easy to do!  Especially during the Christmas season.

Sadly, nostalgia is waning in this great country. But Christmas has remained a great theater for remembrances of the good ol’ days. Is that by your design? We are drawn to Christmas, perhaps subtly, by more than an excuse for extravagant spending. I think that maybe adults still have a child in them who desires, whether they know it or not, for these great gifts than only you can give to them.

Continue reading

God the Jokester

Zechariah meets an angel, Fordham

Zechariah meets an angel, Fordham (Photo credit: TheRevSteve)

I love scaring my kids. Creeping ninja-like to avoid the sound of creaky floorboards . . . waiting in silence for several minutes at just the right spot, and then . . . “Raaaaaaa!”  Recently, my daughter Jess jumped and threw all of her laundry in the air, and she and her accouterments fell to the floor. I’ve taken to getting video records of their reactions (which are hilarious), but I won’t share them with the world so as to avoid expensive therapy.

Zechariah, who would become the father of John the Baptist, was performing his priestly duty when an angel crept up on him in Luke 1. It was his turn to offer incense before the Lord alongside the daily sacrifice.  It’s an honor that priests had only once a lifetime, if they had a chance at all.

Continue reading