Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gone Away on an Adventure

October 25, 2015

Good morning, Friends,

Writing each week something that I have labelled a ‘blog’ has been an adventure. The task has provided helpful exercise for my brain and a cyberspace equivalent of Sunday morning coffee with you.

As an equivalent it has been far from the pleasure that the real thing would have provided, but it has been good, none-the-less. Writing has provided a connection that I have valued.

It is time, however, for the “blog” (if indeed that is what it has been) to retire.  Like Bilbo Baggins, the blog now says, “GOODBYE!!”  and vanishes.

Bilbo’s abrupt disappearance at the birthday party caused a great deal of comment among the Hobbits, as you will remember. Nevertheless, while Hobbits love a story, even they soon tired of discussing Bilbo and his ridiculous behavior, and went on about their sensible lives.

Frodo Baggins, however, remembered the birthday party, and from time to time wondered about Bilbo and the adventure he had chosen.

If you occasionally wonder what adventure I am pursuing, or what I am thinking about, check back here.  I will leave an occasional note.

I am considering a different kind of writing project that I have titled, The Broomtree Epistles.

If The Broomtree Epistles materialize in some readable form you will find information about them here.

Thinking with you that this time together has been a good journey.

Go with God, safe in His faithfulness.


P.S.  You can reach me personally at

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Safety-net of Boredom

October 18, 2015

Good morning, good friends,

While the idea of hallowing diminishment is not exhausted either in concept, materials, or my experience, I am. I think I am bored as well. 

Boredom can be a highly productive experience. Boredom functions as an important component of the immune system of the authentic self. If permitted, it can serve as motivation to move on in the journey. Boredom signals: enough study of the condition of the traveler and the details of the map. Travel.

Boredom also functions as an antidote to narcissism. 

From time to time most of us in the pursuit of worthwhile self-awareness can develop a mild preoccupation with analyzing ourselves and our lives. At that point, a healthy sense of humor usually convicts us of the absurdity of over-devotion to the study of oneself. If laughter does not correct the error, boredom eventually (thankfully) comes to our rescue. Enough already. Been there and seen that. 

Self-understanding and the effort required to achieve it are essential disciplines of effective living. But the capacity to become bored with ourselves, and to recognize that boredom for what it is, seems to me a sign of good sense and a hopeful artifact of maturity.

For those of you who wish to continue thinking about aging in the context of human development, I have a very wise and reader-friendly book to recommend—Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande.

Do not settle into an incautious sense of relief, however. I have not abandoned thinking about aging, simply laid it aside for now. I will, however, give you a heads-up when I suspect a return to thinking about the challenging end-stage of the life journey. You can decide if you want to continue the journey with me at that time.

Meanwhile, in the intermission, consider with me another question.

What are the significant distinctives between mercy and grace?  While both express God’s love, they are not synonyms.

Thinking with you that aging well requires us to look away from ourselves. Ending well requires paradoxically self-attention and benign neglect of the individual through focus on something larger than ourselves.

In God’s mercy and grace, I will see you next week.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Back again--Part way!

October 11, 2015

Good morning!!!


Yes—well, I am too!!

It has been some time and a long journey since I last spoke with you. 

The changes that have occurred in the structure of my daily living will provide things for us to think about for a number of blogs to come. The computer story, likewise, will provide large potential for mining wisdom in the months ahead.

While events and experience have supplied ample raw materials, I am not yet ready to write.

A story to explain:

While growing up, our nearest neighbors were first generation immigrants from central Europe. My sister and I addressed them as Uncle Frank and Aunt Emma. 

One of my rich memories concerns the wonderful smells, the hard work, and the beauty that accompanied Aunt Emma’s busy kitchen this time of year as she canned and stored the last of the harvest. There was fruit and vegetables in their shining glass jars. There were herbs drying on wooden racks. There was jam, jelly, and plum preserves with their wonderful color and the sticky feel of the “tasting spoon.” And always, the smell of bread—bread rising, bread baking, or bread cooling on the board on top of the large crock that was the “bread box” of the family (and the neighborhood).

I am remembering too one of Aunt Emma’s bits of wisdom.  When she perceived someone to lack a sound understanding of the principles of living, she would sometimes say in her heavily accented English, “The jam with the green grapes is not good even when lots of sugar put in.”

I think the grapes of this season of my life are not quite ripe yet.

Thinking with you that autumn harvest--like spring planting--cannot be rushed.

See you next week.


Friday, September 4, 2015


September 6, 2015

Dear Friends,

Alas, the search and destroy mission continues but has not yet produced fully satisfactory results.

The virus appears to be cornered, but continues to attack guerrilla style from various dark corners of cyberspace.


I am taking the month of September off.

Look for a report of the mop-up operations on October 4.  

Diminished and TEMPORARILY defeated.

Not thinking at all, 


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Computer Diminishment

August 30, 2015

Dear Friends,

Major type glitches on computer. 

The computer has been rescued by two genius type friends.

I am overwhelmed by the impulse to take a nap.

See you next week.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Diminishment Celebration

August 23, 2015

Dear Friends,

As you historians know, August 23 is Diminishment Celebration Day.

In honor of this traditional holiday I am taking the day off.

See you next week.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Turtle and the Snail and an Old Question

August 16, 2015

Dear Friends,

Today’s blog is brief: a story, a smile, and a question.

The story:

Two turtles had a severe collision on the garden path.
The turtle police were called.
They soon located a snail who had witnessed the accident.
“What happened?” they asked.
“Well, I don’t exactly know, officers,” the flustered snail said. “See, it all happened so fast.”

The smile:

When I laughed, my friend who had told the joke, added his own punch line. “See,” he said, smiling himself, “Everything’s relative.”

The question:

It is my strong conviction that all experience incorporates its context. However, I am by no means convinced that as a result everything is relative in the sense in which my friend was arguing his point. 

Recalling the joke later, I wondered again about knowing and meaning (not a new question).

Granting for the moment my friend’s argued point—i.e., that relativity shapes all knowing—I asked myself: Was Freud right? Does biology determine destiny?

If so, does biology do this through limitation of knowing? Does who I am biologically determine what I may know? 

The problem that my friend’s clever joke ignored, of course, is the human differential between perception (sense-based knowing) and meaning. 

For example, I may (and do) perceive diminishment in the context of the aging process. I know my present strength as relative, remembering the young woman who ran up the hill, wind in her hair, for no reason other than the sheer exuberance of strength and energy that made this possible.

Today, my diminished strength limits not only my capacity to run but limits as well my capacity to create a product. No question: today’s blog will be short.

But. . . what does that mean? To what degree does limited physical strength reduce my capacity to create meaning?

Thinking with you today that it is not possible to consider biologically-determined, sense-based perception without considering another factor.

Is it not in our choice to make meaning that our essential human freedom lies?

See you next week.