“On October 2, 2006, a shooting occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot eight out of ten girls, killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse. The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation in the response of the Amish community was widely discussed in the national media. The West Nickel Mines School was torn down, and a new one-room schoolhouse, the New Hope School, was built at another location.”

Nearly twelve years ago while taking a break from driving, sitting at a Midwest truck-stop, watching TV on my satellite connection, this breaking news story darkened my soul like nothing else in recent memory.  As a young boy I had attended public school with Amish boys and girls, I lived in communities…

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excuse me for living


My recent blood work was a disaster.  Lipids were screwed up, glucose was pre-diabetic, and my doctor was not in the mood for excuses.  Two bowls of ice cream the night before the testing was my reason for the high numbers.  No, I don’t eat ice cream in  excess.  I have it perhaps twice a month and this was just a matter of an old man forgetting he was having a blood profile the following morning.  Since I was in the dog house anyway, I added to my litany of complaints for the doctor the increased pain level in my right hip and leg which kept me from an exercise routine that included 25 miles of walking weekly.  Thus was my excuse for the 20 pounds weight gain and skyrocketing triglycerides.

She didn’t buy any of my excuses.  Instead, she increased my statin for cholesterol levels, threatened to increase my blood pressure medication and handed me a low-fat diet plan.  And then adding insult to injury, she ordered a colonoscopy.  Dangit woman!  I’m an old man, just leave me alone.  I don’t have a wife, never did have one, never will have one because y’all just nag a man to insanity and then he dies.  It’s not old age that kills us, it’s the nagging.

I don’t crash willingly.  I’m a fighter.  We all know that doctors today have to stay within the established guidelines put out by insurance companies.  We also know that we, as patients, have to play the same game if we want to keep our inusrance coverage.  We are no longer individuals with peculiarities and health oddities who used to have family GPs that knew us by first name on sight.  Now, we are just another blip on their statistics charts.  We are all playing insurance cat-and-mouse.  Only now we can smell a rat sitting somewhere behind a computer deciding who lives and dies.

How many of you remember the food pyramid of the 1990s?  Whole grains were the darling of the government’s dietary guide.  High carbs, low fats were the mantra of the day.  Eggs and butter and whole dairy were passe.  That government-approved diet probably killed as many unsuspecting people as a dozen Big Macs every week.  I knew it was bull crap because I gained 30 pounds, felt bloated always, saw my BP skyrocket and watched my blood lipids put me at risk for my first heart attack.  Then I returned to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats including fried beef liver a few times monthly, potatoes as desired and a slice of pie after supper.  And I cooked with butter.  My arteries did not explode, my weight dropped, and my blood pressure returned to normal.

Don’t even try to reason with your doctor.  If a man wants to keep his insurance effective, he has to play the game.  And how many of you have an insurance plan that covers oriental medicine or holistic healing?  That’s what I thought.  If you don’t want to play the mainstream pharmaceutical game, you may as well take your marbles and go play elsewhere.

Doctor says to drastically cut red meat.  But I know that a beef steak in my system will provide 24 hours of energy and mental acuity.  Doctor says to add a fish oil supplement to my diet.  I agree, but I know that a quality fish oil which is 99% contaminant free and guaranteed ultra-refined is about as expensive as a trip to Cancun. The capsules available with my insurance plan come direct from China.  Would you trust those little dioxin, PCB laden golden nuggets?   Doctor says to add more fish to my diet.  So tell me doc, why is it that California is considering warning labels on canned tuna products?  Hello, it’s because our oceans are polluted with all the chemicals we are dumping on our crops.  Doctor says to reduce stress levels and meditate.  OM, OM, OM, OMMMMM.  Yeah doc, you’re getting on my nerves. OM, OM!

Staying healthy in spite of our health care systems and environmental disgraces is a challenge.  It’s not for wimps.  I research as much as possible about food and nutrition.  The internet is a fantastic tool, but even there a person has to use common sense.  Grapefruit juice 8 times a day does not a healthy diet make.  Eating only spinach for 2 weeks will drop the pounds but who wants to wake up to a spouse who growls, “Arrrrrrrgh, matey,” and smells like Popeye?  Okay, okay, maybe Olive Oyl doesn’t care, but I do.

God gave to us miraculous bodies that can do amazing things.  Knowing what foods and nutrients are good for us is not a matter of rocket science.  Quite often it is as simple as paying attention to your body.  When my eyes and skin turn yellow and my muscles start to ache for no reason, the first suspect on my list is the statin which I take for cholesterol control.  Never mind that my liver is failing.  When my energy levels drop to a crawl and my brain suffers from a severe case of fog, I do a mini inventory of recent protein consumption.  Was it plant-based or was it meat protein?   Some of us do not process plant-based protein efficiently.

Do you think the world’s aborigines back in year 200,000 BC had a website to google healthy eating.  No, they learned by trial and error and were keenly aware of their bodies’ reactions to foods, they did not pollute their berry patches and rivers, and they did not import sushi from China, and they probably did not suffer from high blood pressure, clogged arteries, or dementia issues.  The biggest worry was that ferocious lizard over across the river and Billy Stonehead with the humongous club.

My point is this.  We’ve got to have the cojones to stand up to our doctor, health insurance company and U.S. government, then we must learn to fend for ourselves with our health care because we are nothing more than statistics on a graph in some faraway governmental office or insurance company’s actuarial department.  How personal is that?

We are responsible for our health because, just like the government, our health care system is flawed and broken.  Pharmaceutical remedies may keep us standing upright and pumping blood, but at some point in the “golden” years of life, one must ask if merely having a pulse and a brain wave is the finale we desire.


Beggar in the presence of a king


If your life is perfect, if you have no problems, if your faith is strong as an ox, then this post is probably not for you.  On the other hand, if you are like me, a man who questions everything, doubts everything as the disciple Thomas did, reels between ecstasy and bewilderment when considering the things of faith, then we can appreciate the title of Matthew West’s song, BROKEN THINGS.

“If it’s true you use broken things – then here I am Lord, I’m all yours.”

People don’t like broken things – they throw away cracked dishes, broken vacuum cleaners, flickering lamps, worn clothing.  I remember my grandfather who took his shoes to a cobbler to be re-soled rather than buy new shoes.  Thinking he could not afford new shoes, I bought him a pair for Christmas.  Graciously he thanked me but continued wearing those old shoes.  That new pair…

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My Story


If I told you my story, I would tell you about the enemy, alcoholism.  For you, I would remember again the self-loathing, the despair, the brokenness, the heartache, the shattered relationships…..if you wanted to hear my story.  I would be thrilled to tell you my story because it ends with victory over the enemy, an unearned, undeserved victory won for me by a Savior’s grace that was greater than all my sins.

I would tell you about a Father’s love that never gave up on me.  As with the prodigal son returning from the far land, my Father saw me from afar wanting to come home, met me on the road, threw his arms around me with caresses and kisses saying “Welcome home, my son.”

If I told you my story, you would hear about mercy and forgiveness.  From the filth and mire of a life spent in the depths…

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Who’s your Daddy?



“Turn Your ear to me, rescue me quickly.  Be a rock of refuge for me, a stronghold for my deliverance.” PSALM 31:3 TL

Where do you go when your world is being challenged from all sides?  I know you have been there because you and I are not uniquely different and, trust me, I have spent a lot of time begging the above verse penned by the authors of Psalms.  It is my signature plea to a timeless, Universal entity whom I name God.  You may name yours by another name, but when we cast aside man’s theological philosophies there is just one who is the I AM.

I like the word phrasing, “rock of refuge.”  It inspires in my mind a place, or state of consciousness, which is protected from the ravages of an insane world, a place where the intents of vile men cannot reach me…

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Jesus in disguise


Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest beckoning me.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.


“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger………

The fiercely defiant woman holding her travel bag refuses to release the arm of a small child, her 6 year-old son.  Guards surrounding her now, she screams profanities at the men who are attempting to take the child from her.  They understand her Spanish words and react more harshly to accomplish the mission of the border agents.  Since three days before, when a new government directive ordered that children crossing the border with their families be separated from parents  and confined for further relocation, detention centers were created from abandoned retail centers to house the detainees.  Within those buildings fenced cages…

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John McCain’s legacy



Did you watch any of the service from our National Cathedral for Senator John McCain? Did you shed a tear, pray with the clergy, become misty-eyed with the singing of “Danny Boy,” smile with the numerous anecdotes from the speaking dignitaries? Did you share with your fellow Americans remembrances of a better time, a more civil time when opposing political positions honored each other’s differences while pursuing their vision of greatness? Did it move you?

That which we witnessed from the National Cathedral at John McCain’s funeral service truly showcased the greatness of a country which at one time was able to compromise in a varied political spectrum where agendas and opinions were vastly different yet solutions were achieved. In today’s gathering darkness, that which made America great has been sacrificed for the privilege and profit of a few of the financial elite and politically powerful.

Did you listen to…

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