January 25, 2013

God's Presence

Sometimes, when things are going wrong, it can be tempting to believe you're all alone in your problems. It's easy sometimes to feel like your back is up against the wall, and it's just you against the world...

But that's not true!

This past Sunday, at the little country church where I pastor, our attendance was particularly low because a lot of our folks were out sick. I know that's a reminder that many people need our prayers, but some of those who showed up seemed to almost take it personally that others were out. On one hand, they cared about their friends, but at the same time, they expressed the notion that if people really wanted to be there, they'd be there. It reminded me of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19, where he lamented, "I alone am left!"

But in the middle of the service, my wife chimed in with this beautiful observation, and it seemed to change everything!

January 22, 2013

Being Born

40 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion, and our nation has been divided about it ever since. It's still a hot-button issue that gets a lot of people fired up both in support and in opposition - especially whenever an election is coming up.
Some people see a legal abortion as a safe alternative for a woman in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, maybe particularly if the timing interrupts other important plans. Others would say that a new human life is more important than convenience.

Some would say an abortion is a humane choice when it's known that a child will have disabilities. Others would say that everyone deserves a chance.

Some would say it's unfair to expect a woman to raise a child born as the result of rape or incest. Others would say it's unfair to punish the child for something that wasn't his/her fault, either.

Some argue that the mother's life should be more important than the child's. Others argue that the child's life should be more important than the mother's.

Some say a woman should have the right to choose what to do with her body, regardless of the circumstances. Others say the child should have the right to life regardless of the circumstances. Still others say the circumstances make all the difference. Data from The Pew Forum shows that even now - all these years later - only just over half of Americans think that abortion should be legal in most cases.
Without getting too deep into it, I just want to say...

I'm happy to be alive!!!

January 21, 2013

Lost Luggage

I definitely did NOT feel blessed the last time Amber and I flew with United Airlines!

We were flying into Chicago to catch a connection to Baltimore, but our plane was late and they were already boarding when we arrived. As quick as we could, we RAN to the gate where we had to go, but if you've ever been to O'Hare International Airport, you realize how big that place is!

We finally got there JUST IN TIME for our plane's take-off...

We watched it out the window!

The next flight to Baltimore wouldn't be until the next day, but the nice lady at the counter said we could either wait for that or she could put us on a plane to Philadelphia in a couple hours, which actually worked out for us since our final destination was a couple hours' drive from either city. We asked about our bags, and she assured us they would be re-routed with us, so we breathed a huge sigh of relief! When we arrived in Philadelphia, however, our luggage was nowhere to be found: apparently, it had gone on to Baltimore without us! That still would've been fine, but then the airline tried to say it was OUR responsibility to drive to Baltimore to get it! It took quite a bit of arguing to finally convince them otherwise!

If an airline has ever lost your bags, I feel your pain. At least we finally got ours back in the end!

But sometimes, NOT getting your bags back...
...can be a GOOD thing!

January 14, 2013

Religious Freedom

In the news lately, they've been talking about this middle school up in Jackson, OH, where there's a lot of controversy over a portrait of Jesus that hangs in the school's "Hall of Honor". The portrait was donated by a student group back in 1937, and has hung there with no complaint ever since, but a couple weeks ago, a group called "Freedom from Religion" wrote a letter demanding it be taken down, and last week, the ACLU jumped in and called its display unconstitutional. The school board believes the portrait should stay since it was a student donation and a long-standing part of the school's history. So lawyers are preparing for battle, and it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

A portrait similar to this hangs
at Jackson Middle School
On one hand, many see this as just one more example of the growing movement to eliminate Christianity from the public square, and that has a lot of people upset. When the school board held its first meeting to address the situation, hundreds of people showed up to voice their opinions - most in favor of keeping the portrait up. People are upset because they see this as an attack on their religion and traditions by outsiders. And a lot of people don't see why we should take something down if the majority wants it there - if there are really very few people who have seen it and been offended.

But on the other hand...

January 8, 2013


Ever since I can remember, I've always been a fan Elvis Presley. There are just so many things about him that I like, and I talked a little about that on my other blog last year.

A painting of Elvis Presley's Graceland by Thomas Kinkade
Elvis was born to a poor family in Mississippi on January 8, 1935, and the Presleys went through many hardships before he was eventually discovered and catapulted to fame and fortune. In 1957, after taking the world by storm, Elvis bought the Graceland mansion and called it home for the rest of his life. Today, more than 35 years after his passing, this house looks much as it did when Elvis lived there, and it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year!

Thinking about Graceland brings a smile to my face, but not just because I'm an Elvis fan. When I think of Graceland, I think of the love of my family and the love of God.

January 5, 2013

Extra Eyes

One of the things about being blind is that you can't always see what you need to see. That might seem like an obvious point, but that's what leads me to the next blessing I'm thankful for...


January 3, 2013


As I said before, the right perspective can make all the difference. It's easy to see how being legally blind could be a negative thing - it presents challenges every day, and sometimes it's downright frustrating - and it's certainly nothing I would wish on someone else. I'm sure that being able to see well is a gift that makes life a lot simpler for those who have it! But just because something is challenging, that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing.

In a lot of ways, I feel like God has blessed me with blindness.

My vision (or lack thereof) does not define me, but it has certainly shaped me:

January 1, 2013


A penny is relatively small, but if you hold it close enough to your eye, it can be big enough to block the sun. Time always ticks at the same speed, but somehow it flies by when you're doing something you enjoy and it barely crawls when you're waiting to get off work. Depending on who you ask, the glass can be half full, half empty, or just twice as big as it needs to be! And if you want to, when you look at this picture...

...you can see a vase, or you can see two faces looking at each other.

Things are not always what they seem, and perspective can mean everything.

I have been legally blind since birth, and I'm OK with that.