Friday, February 6, 2015


The other day I was teaching the students about how to prepare a sermon.  One of the authors we were studying argued that we should read the text several times so that we could get a feel for the scriptures.  One of my favorite texts is found in Luke 15.  I call it the trilogy of the lost, i.e., the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.  In one of the verses it talked about the joy that one would feel in the fogiving.  I never thought about the word joy in context of the lost.  Of course, I recognized the joy one would feel in finding something: the sheep, the coin, a returned son.  However,  I pondered the meaning of the word for several blocks as I was walking to work.  Almost to school, and two block from the stairs that ascend up to my office, I noticed that a student had driven his car into the cement irrigation ditch that the residents used to use to water their gardens.  Now defunct but a hazard to those who do not pay attention, he looked frustrated as he was  calling (I suppose) someone to help him.  I stopped and we chatted for a few seconds.  He told me that he had called a friend and he would be there soonest. I suggested that he get into his car and when his friend arrived, we would push him out.  No sooner had he entered the car then his friend with his girl friend rushed over to help.  They greeted each other with the usual banter, and all laughed at his predicament.  On the count of three, his car was pushed out of the ditch and as he exited his car he high fived his friends.  He gave me a handshake and thanked me.  What struck me was the joy in that instance that he felt when his car which was stuck was released.  I could see it on his face.  He was laughing with his friends and the world was, at that moment in time, right for him.  Perhaps, that is what the scripture meant concerning the joy.   Interesting what can happen to you as you walk to school and ponder a few scriptures.  Just a Thought

Friday, July 18, 2014

I have not written on this post for years.  I have been retired from the military now for six years.  The time goes quickly.

The other day I was with Father Ortiz, a legend in the Special Forces community.  I hadn't seem him since Panama in 1988.  He was just as spry and engaging as when I knew him in Panama.  We visited the Mission Training Center in Provo Utah.  It was fun to see Father Ortiz interact with the missionaries.  While we were watching a class of missionaries go through their daily tasks, Father Ortiz asked the missionaries "why they serve?"  He added, please don't tell me it is because of Jesus Christ.  I already know that.  He wanted to know 'why" they served.  After he heard two or three missionaries explained their reasons he commented that what they told him was right.  He blessed them, and chatted with all ten missionaries.  When he left the classroom all of the missionaries rang out in loud happy voices, "Goodbye, Father Ortiz."   You could see that in their short 15 minute interaction, they had come to have agreat  fondness for the old priest.

I wonder what our short interactions are like with people.  How do they feel when they leave us.  They might never see us again.  Do they feel uplifted or down?  Are we just another immemorable face in a sea of faces, or is our interaction worth noting.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives if we but treat people with kindness, charity, and a good dose of humor.

Just a thought

Monday, May 26, 2008

This is mom and I at the retirment ceremony. It was a sad happy time. Mom received an award for her accomplishments. In fact it was a medal. It was all very nice. You can also see that i am addressing the troops with my classic hand pose. It was nice. We had root beer, pizza, ice cream and apple pie. The root beer was in glass bottles, very classy.

My assistant made me a beautiful stain glass cross in a mahogany frame. He also made mom a stained glass turtle. Mom was impressed with the artwork. It was all quite nice. It was an exhausting day. Saying goodbye is not easy. After almost 25 years, it all came back to perspective as I stood there and tried to talk. I must have stood there for about 15 seconds before I said anything. I was trying to control my emotions. I said things like its the assignments that help you grow and its the people that lets you serve. I was grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve God and Country.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Today was my birthday. It was a good day._.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just a thought. I have not blogged for a while. Tonight I spent the evening with a Soldier who was having difficulty in his life. It's interesting to see how people manage stress or how they try to help. Over the years, I have noticed that most people do not like to be told how to fix their problems. Most people like to talk and in the talking they come up with solutions. I sit and listen, adding a few comments to keep the conversation going or asking a question so that I can get more information. The key to good listening is to listen, of course, and to respond with the right question. Usually, in an hour of listening, I might respond with a minute or two of questions.

I am always amazed how people want to help. However, after a week or a month or two, most tire of the helping process and just want to get on with their own lives because it is more interesting. Most of us spend our time thinking about ourselves, our dreams, our life, or what and where we want to be. It can be our careers, money matters, or our personal relations. Perhaps, that is the purpose of the gospel to keep us others oriented instead of self oriented.

Well, I am tired - to bed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The other day, I heard someone say, why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good
airplane. It makes sense. There have been times in my life when I have thought the same, and I hear similar questions. Why do I get up so early in the morning? Is this all there is to life? Why doesn’t the Army make different MREs (meals ready to eat)? I am tired of sleeping on the ground. When will this deployment be over? When will I be going home? Why is it always raining when we are training? Do we have to go to the range today? That looks a bit scary (rappelling), who is on belay? When is the PT (physical training) test? Let’s see, I have been gone the last three years out of five, you say that the unit I am transferring to is deploying in June.

We all who have trained and been in the Army for a few years have many stories to tell about war, deployment, units where we have served, what we have done and what we have experienced in serving. Hopefully, our service has been rewarding and that we have all felt a sense of accomplishment.

In serving, what I have been most impressed about is the quality of those individuals with whom I have served. There is nothing better than a good jumpmaster who will check out your equipment before existing from a perfectly good airplane. Or, the great NCO (non-commissioned officer) who has your back covered and is always there to advise, support, and to let you know how it might be done a little bit better or differently. We all have experienced those great leaders whom we would go to combat with. And, we all have had the opportunity to trust in others.

One of the most comforting leaders that I know is the Lord. He has always been there for me. He always has my back covered and has listened when I have been scared, alone, away from home, in danger or not quite sure what I should do. He has been there to check my equipment, to lift me up when I am tired and to be on belay as a safety to catch me when I fall. He is my refuge in the storm, and my comfort in times of peace.

As it says in Psalms 121:3-8 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Just a thought

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Christine visit taught the young woman seated in the Black Hawk helicopter.