Sunday, May 31, 2009


I have been way behind in getting some of my reading on my blog. I have finished a number of books that I want to share with you.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. A powerful and well written book about Afghanistan over the last 30 years. I read this for a book club that Nancy and I am a part of and the most common comment was concern over the violence in the book. I too have great concern over the violence, but not because it is written but because I imagine that it is all too true. What I found most interesting about the book is that it is written by a man but tells the story through the perspective of a woman. He does a great job, but I think, at times it influences his storytelling. I think that I have a better handle on the situation in Afghanistan after reading this book and understand some of the horrors of the Taliban. I would highly recommend the book.

Seasons of the Machete by James Patterson. I am a big fan of the Alex Cross novels -- this is not one of them. It is however, a fascinating book. Instead it is the story of two serial killers who are the most sought after contract killers in the world. The story goes really fast, and keeps you on the edge of your seat, as most Patterson novels do. It is an older book (written in 1977 -- I bought it at the church rummage sale), and if you like Patterson you probably will like this one. I don't give it high marks, but I would recommend it.

The Appeal by John Grisham. I have read almost everything that Grisham has written. This book follows his typical pattern. It centers around a small town in Mississippi that has the highest cancer rate in the country. A law suit is filed against the New York owner of the company that has caused the pollution, and the story centers around the case going to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The intrigue in the story is around a vacant seat on the Supreme Court and the attempt to buy the seat. It is a well written story --- hard to put down --- and one that I would highly recommend.

Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin Kearns. I am a big student of the American Civil War, and this is one of the best treatments on Abraham Lincoln and his relationship with the men who would become members of his cabinet This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is not an easy read, nor a quick read. But if you are at all interested in Lincoln and his motivations, it is worth the effort --- You will be rewarded.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I listened to an abridged version since I had read the book this winter and it was our book group book. The book is great as I shared earlier, but the abridgement was horrible too many important things were missing. It was a big disappointment. Take the time to read the book!

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Wow talk about a blast from the past. I haven't read Hemingway since High School. This is the latest book for our book group. The preliminary comments from the other members were that they hated it -- I loved it. I think they hated it because the had a hard time imagining that anyone could live the way that Jake the main character and his friends live. But if my memory is correct, the story is rather autobiographical about Hemingway and his friends. The story centers around the bull fights in Pamplona, Spain. Although it really is about relationships and love. If you like stream of consciousness style of writing and hearing about the Bohemian lifestyle of the 1920's you will love this book. I am going to read some more Hemingway!


Last month Lindsey and a number of other students from Munster High School traveled to Anaheim, CA to compete in the International Career Development Competition. Students from throughout the world and all fifty states participated in the competition. Lindsey and her partner Sarah received a top 10 in their role play.


Thanks to everyone for all the phone calls, emails, facebook notes and of course cards. I am doing much better today, but not as good as I planned. I had planned on preaching this morning, but Friday I chickened out. Probably a pretty good thing. My voice is still pretty shot from the anesthesia and I don't have a lot of energy.

The surgery went great. From what I understand, the doctor said that my gall bladder was pretty inflamed and had evidence that I had passed a number of stones and that their were others on the way -- so I got it out at a good time.

I really don't remember anything about the surgery. They came to get me, and before we were even in the surgery suite I was out --- next thing I know I am in recovery and ready to go home. Recovery has been slower than I expected. I have had quite a bit of discomfort and then the whole issue of getting the plumbing working properly again (if you get my drift). Tomorrow night I will lead the last class of DISCIPLE IV and on Tuesday I plan on attending Rotary, but that is about it for the week. I had talked of going back in the office on Wednesday, but I kind of doubt it right now. Maybe I will go back on Friday?

Regardless, I don't have to preach this coming weekend since it is graduation Sunday and Lindsey is graduating. I know, I can't believe it! It is going to be really weird with her gone this fall. The following Sunday we will have an open house for her. If you are in the area, stop on by anytime from 4 -8 pm, it should be lots of fun :).

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and prayers --- they have made a huge difference. Now if I can just remember that I am not 20 anymore . . .

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nelson's BBQ Chicken

John Mybeck was one of the best ambassadors for Ridge Church. Whenever we had an event, he was always out inviting and encouraging people to come. Since his passing, his son Kevin has informed me that I have the privilege (responsibility) to sell the tickets that John would have sold. Kevin told me that means I have to sell 100. Some come and be my first one sold!

Nelson's BBQ will be back at Ridge Church on Friday, June 12 from 4-7 pm. We will be selling BBQ chicken halves just like last fall. We are looking to sell as many as we can in advance, so we have set up a link on the Ridge Church web page for ordering tickets online.

We will also sell them on Sundays prior to the event and in the church office during the week. We need to sell about 600 to make the event worthwhile, so we need help getting the word out and getting the tickets sold. Please take time to forward the link to local friends and family who may be interested.

Tickets are $5 in advance. Online they are $5 as well + a $1 charge per order to defray the postage and credit card fees -- we are mailing the online ticket purchases to make the process flow smoothly on the day of the event. There likely be limited amounts of chicken available for sale on the day of the event, but we are charging $6 to encourage advance ticket purchases.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your support.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Butler Magazine

Check out the cover of the most recent Butler Magazine.

Yep, There in the upper left corner is Jessica.

She may be off in Australia having a good time (and hopefully studying) but that is not what her pictures suggest. -- Butler has not forgotten her. Nice article too about the Jordan School of Fine Arts.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Anyone who is interested in environment issues should check out this blog. It is called Green as A Thistle and it is written by a journalist in Toronto. She has a new book out called Sleeping Naked is Green which looks real interesting. Not available in USA until next month.


In January I started feeling totally run down. Not surprising since I had not taken any time off since the floods had hit in September and had been juggling doing my church work and serving on the LARRI (Lakeshore Regional Recovery of Indiana) executive committee. I decided to make an appointment with my doctor, because frankly, I thought i was on the verge of a heart attack. Since that initial appointment, I have been having tests, tests, and more tests done. As I shared last time, we think (hope?) that most of this has to do with my thyroid. But, just to make matters a little more fun, I also have gall stones. I will have my gall bladder removed on Wednesday, May 27th, and will take a week or so to recover. At this point, I am scheduled to preach on the 31st, which I plan on doing; as well as leading our final DISCIPLE IV class that evening. I do not plan on doing anything else!