Election Day Reflection

40 years ago today, I voted for the first time. It was the 1976 Presidential election and I remember walking to the Lutheran church in the small Illinois town where I was attending college and having a large paper ballot to mark. Within a few years, I was one of the precinct poll watchers for one of the two parties. I had two sets of lists to mark and the precinct committeemen (who, if I am remembering correctly, was one of the professors at the college) would come in and take one of the lists and give me another one.

Twelve hours ago, I stood in line with my oldest son, recently turned 21 and this was the line that had formed 10 minutes before the polls were open.

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This was his first time voting and his first Presidential election.  Here are some thoughts and photos about what I was thinking earlier today.

you know you’ve lived in a small town for quite a while when you are greeted by people you haven’t seen in a while…

…when you know the pastor of the church where you go to vote…

you give one of the precinct workers a hard time for having to be ‘carded’ because you know you look way over 21 and she replies,  ‘just barely.’

Your son talks to one of his former high school teachers while standing in line…who taught his government class

You see your neighbor at the front of the line and then hear that he has been there since before 5 AM…

The parking lot is packed and people park in the grass and one has to get pulled out of the muck because the front wheels have sunk in the ground!

You notice the young couple in front of you with their two young children and realize your voting will have some kind of an impact on them when they are your age.

And having read a bio/autobio of every American president, you think of Andrew Jackson and his railing against the status quo and viperous nature of the attacks on him and by him in the 1828 election as well as the loss to John Quincy Adams in 1824 via the US House of Representatives vote 

You are grateful for the privilege and responsibility of voting and it makes you want to sing for the right reasons, “God Bless America,” out loud…

I also carried this in my pocket today…

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It was my late father’s Combat Infantryman Badge.  I was struck by the realization that while my 21 year old son was voting with me, 1952 would have been the year my late father turned 21 and could vote. Maybe he did but it is very likely…he was on the front lines in South Korea when the ’52 election was being held.

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Engage Sunday: Out of the Building and Into the Community

This past Sunday our church joined five other churches in our Northeast Indiana small town as well as five churches in the Ft Wayne area to get out of the church building and into the community.

We were privileged to partner with two churches  and care for a neighbor who lives next door to our church and needed some assistance in getting her yard cleaned up.

It was good to get out of the building and put faith into action!

I will let the photos tell the story from here…

 

The Envelope Please, “And the Changes Coming to My Blog Are….”

 

It has been fun and a privilege to blog here on Word Press since 2008. When I started, I had trouble deciding what to write. Soon came the weekly sermons to the congregation I have served for over 15 years. Then came the book reviews that have been fun to write.

I am looking forward to 2016 and more blogging. But it is time to make some changes here.

I will be adding three  new topics that I plan to write about on a regular basis.

I am going to be merging my creative writing blog with this blog and plan to do several of the WordPress daily prompts as I can to sharpen my creative writing. I also plan to continue participating in the wonderful A to Z blogging challenge that takes place in April. That merger will take place on the 1st of January.

I am also going to  share some thoughts of being a father now that both my sons are going to be in university settings over the course of this year and I want to serve as an encouragement to fathers who are starting that wonderful journey.

A significant part of my life journey since April 2013 has been that of caregiver to my mother who is 91. I plan to share my experiences and suggestions on this important role of caregiver.

There are other changes coming to the blog as well…

A name change. This is something that will reflect the turning the page aspect of this this coming year. I have had fun with Le Padre Ver Livre (Pastor Book Worm) but it is time to re-brand, if you will, this blog to reflect a new direction in and season of life.

A new look. I have had this look, which I really like, for about several years and I think that it is time for a change given the new direction of the blog. I plan to highlight my Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads feeds so I will be selecting  a new theme which allows me to do this.   I will also be reducing the number of categories to these indicated here.

As for some of the current themes and topics I write about….

My weekly sermons will be edited and become a Wednesday meditation. I know that many have benefited from them over the years (they went off blog about a year and a half ago before I was granted full intellectually property rights to/of them by the congregation I serve) but I am going to shorten them into a meditation of maybe 750 words. I will be editing both current and past topics to write these meditations.

I plan to return to writing a weekly prayer. I  notice that they continue to be among the most read of my posts. I believe in prayer and in the power of my God to work through  prayer to accomplish His love, grace, and mercy in our lives.

I will be continuing both my book reviews and the frequent On the Book Table and Kindle posts that let you know what I am reading and what I think of the books I have reviewed. I will be dropping my rating system and utilizing my Goodreads rating system.

I have found help and focus in  selecting My One Word in lieu of multiple New Year’s Eve Resolutions since 2012. This year’s has been fast and the practice of fasting all year long has been very eye opening and revealing to me.  My One Word emphasis for 2016 has also influenced some of the changes to the blog that you are now reading about.  What is it? The reveal will come on January 1st!

I hope that you will join me on this journey!

And thank you for reading!

Regards and Blessings

Jim

 

A St Patrick’s Day Blessing

English: The Leaf of a trifolium repens plant ...
Image via Wikipedia

Dia leat laistigh de do anam.
Dia leat gan chomh maith do chosáin.
Dia leat tríd an olc agus an dea-.
Dia grásta tú le sé a ghrá.
Amen agus Amen.

God be with you within your soul.
God be with you without along your path.
God bless you through the bad and the good.
God grace you with His love.
Amen and Amen.

Tweaking my Rating System

I know that there are some readers who find it hard to believe a reviewer who consistently gives good review ratings to books as it is a credibility issue for them.

I understand this.

As a book lover and reviewer, I like books and, quite frankly, always look for something good in what I read.

I have thought about this quite a bit, well not quite a bit, but enough to determine that I am changing my ratings to reflect an honest assessment of the books I read without resorting to a ‘number’ rating.

Henceforth from today, my rating system will be as follows:

An ‘OK’ Read

A ‘Good’ Read

A ‘Great’ Read

An ‘Outstanding’ Read

and perhaps every so often I might rate a book A ‘Magnificent’ Read

and in my thinking I will not be linking these categories to a star rating.

See you behind the page!

Christmas Greetings

 

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15t...
Image via Wikipedia

 

 

May the blessings of Christmas and this holiday season be to you and yours!

Thank you for your readership!

Jim

 

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

The Journey of the Magi
TS Eliot

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