Story Time- Conversations Yesterday

Yesterday one of my friends took me to my Rheumatology appointment in Omaha. We had a good time of fellowship on the way there and back. It was such a nice day that as we were driving back we had the windows open. We came to a red light and I noticed some construction workers on my side of the car.

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They were Hispanic, so I greeted them in Spanish. They looked at me like they were wondering who the crazy old guy was in the car. One of them responded, so I decided to continue with:

Necesitas comer tamales hoy- You need to eat tamales today.

He told me their work required Mexican power. I answered with Verdad pero necesitas comer carne asada- Truth but you need to eat carne asada.

Before we drove off I told him- Dios te Bendiga- God Bless You.

At the clinic there is a coffee shop. Yes I always find the coffee shop. While I was waiting for my order, I saw a woman from India. I greeted her with Namaste, which surprised her a bit. We chatted for a minute while we were waiting.

It is fun to greet people in their languages, One of my hobbies is to learn greetings in other languages. I can only greet in 30 languages so far. Doing so shows I respect them. It also opens opportunities to share Jesus at times.

The appointment went well yesterday. They even gave me my COVID booster, but no sticker or lollipop. Is that ageism? lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Kids Talk- Well At Least This One Did

The week before school started. I sat in on Kids Talk. It is a time for teachers to meet and share insights on children for example Kindergarten teachers meeting with 1st grade teachers. As I sat in, I remembered my childhood days in school.

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Each year whoever my friends from the previous year were I was seated away from them. I think I got a bad rap. Okay so I may have been a bit chatty, but in my defense, the work was a bit easy.

I would do the in class assignment quickly and then proceed to do the homework problems quickly. I always had good grades. So perhaps I would make friends with the kids sitting next to or behind me. I wanted to know things like what they were doing after school, did they have a dog and other pressing matters for a boy.

In my mind as a child, the reason the other children were there was for me to be friends with them. Sure the teachers thought they were there to learn, but why should that have been my concern. Child logic- fun is important and I wanted to make school fun not just for me. In my childhood mind, they needed someone to talk with. lol

As an adult and a teacher, I can now appreciate the problem I presented to the teachers in my school. I was above level in all skills, bored in school, and was perhaps a bit of an extrovert. They would give me extra work, and I would view it as a race to finish to talk some more with my friends. 🙂

What are some fond memories you have as a child in school?

As children return to school. let’s remember to pray for their safety.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Tried to Make Chocolate Ice Cream

Sometimes I think I should be banned from even my own kitchen. At times I get an idea that somehow does not turn out the way I thought it would. The idea seems like a good one, but I quickly realize it was a terrible idea.

Case in point is the time I thought I had a way to make a version of sugar free ice cream..

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The idea that came to mind was to take low fat cottage cheese and add cocoa powder. My thinking was the cottage cheese contains the milk product but no sugar. I added the cocoa powder for the chocolate.. I eagerly stirred this strange concoction in anticipate of my creation.

Then I did it. I took one spoonful and into my mouth it went. To my horror, it quickly came out of my mouth as the realization that what I thought was an ever so clever idea was actually monstrosity. It tasted nothing like ice cream.

In my defense, there was nothing to warn me the idea wouldn’t work. But then perhaps that in itself should have been telling. No recipe exists for what I was trying to do. 🙂

So okay I am no Master Chef. God seems to have given me other abilities such as teaching. The classroom is a place that ideas I have actually turn out well. Another would be ministry among refugees and immigrants.

The truth of Ephesians 2:10 comes to mind.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Apparently cooking was not something I was created for. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Reality Spoiled Ending of A Movie

An all time great movie classic is Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews. The movie is based on a true story. The setting is Saltzburg Austria.

The movie is about her character Maria being sent from a convent to be a nanny for the children of a man whose wife died some years before. They fall in love, get married, and escape from the Nazis who had taken over Austria.

At the end of the movie there is an inspirational scene of the Van Trapp family escaping to Switzerland by walking over the mountain to the song Climb Every Mountain.

I was in Salzburg Austria in August 2004. I had gone to Romania with the college group from my church and some of us spent four days in Austria before coming back to the USA. We took the train from Vienna to Salzburg to spend a day there.

While we were in Salzburg, we went on a bus tour into Germany in the Bavarian Alps. During the bus tour, the tour guide talked about the movie Sound of Music and pointed out that it is geographically impossible to walk over the mountains from Salzburg to Switzerland. He informed us the Van Trapp family actually took the train to Italy and then came to the USA.

I knew the geography but hadn’t stopped to think about the movie ending until that time. I laughed to myself.

There is one ending that nothing can change. It will happen and nothing can change it or prevent it. One day Jesus will return to earth. We read about it in Revelation 19.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God

No Hollywood movie could ever match that ending that is going to happen one day.

I still like the ending of Sound of Music even though it is impossible, but that is just a movie. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Can See the Mountain- It Will Rain

In the summer of 2004, I was blessed to teach Conversational English in Saint Genis Laval a suburb of Lyon France. The scenery was beautiful. The food was exquisite. I enjoyed my time with my students. It was a wonderful ministry trip for me.

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Lyon France is 157km, 100 miles, from the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc. Usually we could not see Mont Blanc, but one day one of the men in my evening class said, “It will rain tomorrow. I could see Mont Blanc today.” That caught my attention because where I live, we are 500 miles away from the nearest mountain.

Evidently when Mont Blanc was hidden by clouds, people did not expect rain in Lyon, but if Mont Blanc was visible to them, it meant rain was coming. Seeing Mont Blanc was a sign of rain. Sure enough it rained the next day.

Jesus spoke of signs of getting close to his return such as in Matthew 24:

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Each generation since Jesus ascended to heaven has thought they were in the end times. The signs Jesus spoke of could have applied to events in history such as World War 2. But I have to admit that it seems we are inching ever closer to his return.

The important thing is to be prepared for his return by coming to faith in him. Just as nothing could have stopped the rain from coming that day in Lyon, nothing can stop the return of Jesus.

By the way, even though there are no mountains anywhere near me, I can still see if rain is coming. I just check the radar on the local TV station weather on its website 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- My Strangest Wake Up Call Ever

I have awakened to strange things in the past, a rooster crowing in Lyon France and seagulls in Constanta Romania to name a few. But this past Sunday was the strangest wake up call I have ever had.

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My Spanish speaking friends could not come to my Sunday group due to working. They told me the night before, so I decided to stay home and get some sleep and watch the worship service online. I had taken some medicine that causes drowsiness, so I was sleeping peacefully until it happened.

I woke up to the sound of a man yelling hello in my apartment. Not outside, inside my apartment. I peaked out of my bedroom only to see two police officers with my door open. Needless to say it was quite a surprise. lol

I was somewhat confused as to why they were there. I haven’t broken any laws. They were smiling and quite friendly and let me know someone had called out of concern if I was okay because I was not at church and when they stopped by they saw my van and I did not answer the door. My doorbell hasn’t worked for a long time which I like because living in an apartment building, I don’t have to worry about anyone’s late night visitors ringing the wrong doorbell.

They asked me if I needed an ambulance, I assured them I didn’t. They left and I went back to sleep.

After the police officers left, my first thoughts were along the lines of, “I have walked the streets of cities in many countries I can take care of myself,” and “maybe I need a new church.” But then I calmed down and realized it was out of concern the call was made.

One day there will be a huge wake up call when Jesus comes back. 1st Corinthians 15:


in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

That is a wake up I am looking forward to.

But I still do not plan to get my doorbell fixed. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Digging Up Clams As A Teen

One summer day when I was a teenager, some of my friends and I decided we should go to a local lake and get clams and have a clam bake like we saw in movies and on TV. So off we went wearing our blue jeans cut offs, sandals, and t-shirts to the lake. We went to a shallow area, took off our sandals and waded in the water.

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We used our feet to feel for the clams. We had buckets to put them in. We spent over an hour digging up clams with our feet and got good tans along with the clams. We filled four buckets with clams and were very excited to have a clam bake.

When we got back to my friend’s house, we showed his dad the clams and told him we were going to have a clam bake and he could join us. He told us, “Fresh water clams from lakes are no good. Throw them out or take them back to the lake.” Our spirits were dashed. We took them back and threw them in the lake.

If in our excitement we had talked with my friend’s dad before we went, we would have know it was not a good idea.

Too often we come up with our own ideas and then pray for God to bless them. It is much better to pray first and ask God for direction and guidance. The best opportunities I have had were after praying for opportunities.

By the way, funny thing is that one year later I worked part-time in a seafood restaurant. I tried clams and discovered I don’t like clams. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless,

Story Time- My First Drama Monologue in my Church

In 1996 one Sunday morning I performed my first drama monologue in my church. At first preparing for it did not seem like a big deal. I had been part of a theater group performing dinner theaters in the 1980s. I had experience acting. But something happened a few days before.

It was Friday afternoon and I injured my left hand which resulted in a visit to the emergency room, having a splint put on my hand and wrist, and being prescribed pain pills.

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A few days later I drove to church, in a stick shift car, only using one hand. I did not take a pain pill that morning so my performance would not be affected. My church has two services, so I performed the monologue twice. My hand was throbbing, my stomach was churning from the pain, but by God’s grace I did it.

The following week when I showed up to church still wearing the splint, people told me they thought it was a prop. That was due to my character in the monologue having been in an accident. One person asked why I didn’t cancel telling me everyone would have understood. The thought never occurred to me.

When I told the worship pastor I almost threw up on stage, he joked, “that would have been an interesting prop.”

Now here I am after having not been involved with drama ministry, except for one I wrote and directed for Christmas Eve a few years ago, since I started ministry for refugees and immigrants in 2000. Here I am talking with people about making short films and perhaps doing a night of short sketches for an outreach. Full circle time.

There are no past experiences that go to waste in serving Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Remembered for My Jokes :)

A few weeks an interaction gave me cause to ponder how people know us or should I say what they know us by. How we treat people and interact with them develops our reputation in their minds.

I had an appointment for my first of three knee injections. The clinic has three or four receptionists working. The one I approached remembered me from December the last time I had the series of injections. When I walked up to her, she started laughing and said, “You’re back. What joke do you have today?”

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Yesterday as I walked in, she printed out my paperwork before talking with me, handed it to me, and smiled. Yes I shared a few of my splendidly humorous jokes with her. She calls me by first name before looking at an insurance card or ID.

We leave impressions on people in life. Those impressions are how they know or at least feel they know us. Jesus spoke about it more than once.

In John 13 he taught the disciples that by their love for each other people would know they were his disciples.


“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

For those of us who follow Jesus, we would do well to remember this in our relationships with other believers.

He spoke to them about unity in John 17 and that through unity people will know God the Father sent Jesus.

“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

In a warning about false prophets Jesus acknowledged we know people by how they live their lives.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them”

How we treat people with first impression, other interactions over time, develops the reputation we have in the eyes of other people.

I won’t be back in that clinic until December. Hopefully she will be working, so I can tell her some more of my brilliant jokes. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Other People’s Trash Was A Little Boys Treasure

The things that little boys think as being valuable can be amusing. When I was a boy, I had a collection box filled with things like cool rocks I found, bird feathers, and baseball cards among other things.

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But the 4th of July topped them all for amusing things this blogger collected when he was a boy. It was actually the morning of the 5th of July that my treasure hunt would commence. I would get a red wagon and pull it behind me as I went up and down both sides of my street to collect the used fireworks still on the sidewalks. Sure they had already been lit and fired off the night before, but in my eyes they were gems waiting to be collected and played with.

I would get home with my red wagon full of spent fireworks and then reenact the night before pretending to light off the fireworks along with making the sound effects. I am sure it was a slightly entertaining site for my neighbors. But those burnt out fireworks were a boy’s priceless discoveries.

As I think back on it, what was trash to the adults was a little boy’s treasure.

In the eyes of Jesus, everyone has value. Each person is a treasure to Jesus. We might feel burned out in life, used up, but in the eyes of Jesus, we are worth so much that he came and died for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.