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Animals in Heaven?

Yesterday my wife and I had to say goodbye to a dog who lived with us for almost 14 years and was, in every way that matters, family. She was a little toy poodle named Martha who I had got for companionship with another Toy Poodle named Bailey, who was all alone after my father died. While he never really warmed up to little Martha, an Apricot Toy, my beloved and I sure did. Over the next 13+ years she was with us, she developed into quite the character. After Bailey departed this life, she really came out of her shell and ended up "ruling the roost" when it came to the other two, a Shih Tzu named Einstein and a combo Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix named Kit we surprisingly picked up at a Rescue one day. 

Anyway, our little sweetheart developed kidney failure (diagnosed last January 1) and probably also had cancer (we had a tumor removed from her mouth). She also had developed a heart murmur. As our Vet said, age was overtaking her. We managed to make it until September 9, when w…
Recent posts

Poor state of health.

As a man in his sixties, I am starting to have more occasion to visit doctors and use my health insurance. What was once a relatively small amount of my budget has quickly grown these past few years to a large chunk. My wife and I share a $5,000 deductible responsibility and I pay a monthly deduction of around $560 from my paycheck. I know people who are far more worse off than that! Between that deduction and the amount of money I have to put in my HSA, it leaves little room for income growth. In fact, I had to increase my HSA deduction to meet rising costs to us and it basically erases my annual raise.
I am grateful that I got a cost of living increase to help offset the additional health care expenses, but that does not eliminate the need to ask the question: why is it increasing so much all the time anyway?
I remember the GOP voting some ridiculous number of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act when the Democrats held the majority. Purely symbolic and political, with no effect w…

Forgive

I just watched a really good message from Fr. Cedric called "Forgive and Live." As he pointed out, the Lord's Prayer instructs us to pray "forgive us our sins as we forgive others." Sure, as Christians we all know how much we need forgiveness from God and will even admit sometimes we do others wrong and should ask forgiveness from them. 
But, what about when people wrong us? Not so easy sometimes to forgive, is it? Perhaps we need to stop and think about the patience God has had for us that has produced the tremendous amount of forgiveness He offers.

Streaming Television

Well over a year ago (going on 2, I think) my wife and I made the decision to stop paying the ridiculous amount of money we were shelling out each month to the cable company and we starting streaming our T.V., paying the cable company probably way more than they deserve for Internet access, but foregoing the extra ~$100 a month for mostly garbage we would never watch, anyway.

At first, we subscribed to Sony PlayStation for our streaming TV needs, as Sling didn't work well for us (constant buffering) and lacked the channels we really wanted at the time, such as Fox News. For the record, I would think that Sling would have improved their quality in my area, but can't say for sure (have not tried them since). Too bad, though -- Sling was definitely affordable. Anyway, we dumped PlayStation TV as well (they went up n their price quite a bit) and tried AT&T's Directv streaming service. At first, it was satisfactory, but then started buffering like Sling did. Too bad, we lik…

Dealing in Hope

My Uncle Carl died recently at the age of 102. Having lived a long life, he was well-liked and respected by many. I can't really say a lot about him, because I only started getting to know him these past few years. He was my father's older brother from a rather large family of 9 brothers and sisters and two adopted nephews. I can get a little sad when I think about my father's dwindling family. I have lived long enough to see all but one of the brothers and sisters pass. Of course, I must remember that for everything there is a season -- as the writer of Ecclesiastes so eloquently wrote.

I attended his funeral for the sake of those he has left behind. It was not about him; we celebrated his life while he was here whenever we saw him or he passed a milestone on his journey. It's about those left here. It's about the Gospel message. After all, for a Christian, isn't it really all about the Gospel? It's about being a dealer in hope. it's about eternity wit…

Happy July 4th!

Godliness makes a nation great,but sin is a disgrace to any people. -Proverbs 14:34 (NLT)

This brief post is designed to wish the reader the very happiest of July 4th holidays. Although we live in the most disturbing of times  -- which seem to have seen the decline of America into some immoral cesspool where everything goes and the sky is the limit for sinful behavior, I still feel the presence of God's people and hope the Church can rise to the occasion. The word 'repent' means to change one's mind or have some regret for a course that somebody has been on. America must repent from the course we've been on in order to survive and return to being a great nation. History is replete with accounts of once-great groups of people who have turned from God and faced dire consequences. Is it really God causing harm and suffering -- or is it the fact that we deny God's protection from the enemy when we choose to live outside of fellowship with Him? If we search our hear…

Hate Speech

The amount of vitriol directed at President Trump seems to be unprecedented. At least, that is what those on the right seem to think. Of course, I remember plenty of criticism and hate speech hurled at President Obama during his time in office, as well. I don't think I really need to mention President George W. Bush, do I?

There has never been (in my lifetime) such a level of animosity between opposing viewpoints as I see in today's America. Democrats hurl murderous accusations against the Republicans for their healthcare proposals and those of a conservative view sling accusations of incompetence and hypocrisy back at them. Of course, either side is generally pretty good at documenting their accusations with freshly spun 'facts.'

No matter where you fit into the political spectrum, it is important to note that such contention is counter-productive. Whenever people react at the behest of their emotions, clear-headed and rational decisions are nowhere to be found. Moreo…