New Years’ night, I made one of several trips outside so that Sadie could either take care of her business or so that she could sniff the ground where pesky rabbits had sat recently. The frigid temperature frosted the grass, and when I turned on the outside lights, my yard looked more like a field sprinkled with diamonds. It was a scene that made me smile, and that just doesn’t happen too often during winter.
The sad truth is that I hate winter. It’s nothing more than months of cold, blustery weather that drives me inside. There, I sit bored stiff in my office and look out the window. To make matters worse, I can see the pool from there, and that makes me even more miserable. Amy and I were married on December 20, and I am glad that we didn’t wait one more day. I’d hate to think the biggest day of my life took place during the season I like the least.
I do look forward to the first day of winter, however, for one reason. After it exits, each day’s light last just a bit longer. The countdown to Daylight Savings Time begins, and I gladly give up an hour of sleep to have longer time outside. If I were the president, my first act would be to make DST permanent.
The only thing good about this brutal season is that it brings snow that closes the schools for a day or two. Snow-covered fields and yards are beautiful, and the way the white lights up the nights has always fascinated me. With that said, I don’t much like wintry precipitation. The best snow days when I taught full time had enough accumulations to close schools, but the stuff disappeared by 10:00 a.m. as the sun beat down on it.
Many people have things rougher than I do. My car is parked under a carport. In earlier times before the structure was built, I trudged to my vehicle on winter mornings with scraper in hand. Clearing the windshield and other windows of ice had me sweating by the time I finished. Then, I climbed into a cold car with a heater that never warmed up enough to cut the chill.
Wearing layers of clothes to keep warm is another bummer part of winter. A shirt, sweater, and coat
bind my arms so much that performing simple things is difficult. Most of the time, I wear shorts and a t-shirt from spring through fall. Then I give in and pull on sweat pants. Having to put all those extra clothes on feels like carrying a lead weight.
I’ve been told before that the only way to escape winter is to die. That’s a bit too drastic for me. So, I’ll grin and bear the season. As I age, the cold doesn’t bother me like it once did. Someone told me that nerve endings in senior citizens aren’t as receptive so that things like cold and pain aren’t so intense.

I’ve also been told that I should be thankful for each and every day that I have on this planet. Don’t doubt for a second that I am not grateful for each breath I draw. I just wish I didn’t see them rise from my body as I stand in the cold temperatures of winter. Breathing some place like the Bahamas might better suit me during this most dreaded season. Of course, that would require more cash than I’ll ever have, so, the best thing for me to do is live with it. Brrr!


Not long ago, Rev. Larry Dial encouraged his flock to dare to tell their stories. He says that doing so is one way of carrying out our missions as Christians. He also stated that, just perhaps, we might connect another person who has experienced similar circumstances. So, here goes.
A little more than four years ago, Amy and I had the props knocked out from under us. She woke up one morning on vacation to discover that she had lost her job. In the blink of an eye, the majority of our income disappeared, and all that was left was my retirement check and any cash I earned from writing.
Our lives were a mess. We fretted and stewed over the entire situation. Along with that, we plotted what we could do to recover the income we’d lost. For hours, we sat together and road the tides of anger and worry.
What remained throughout everything was a belief in a higher being that watched over us. Our jobs were to do all things possible to correct a negative situation; after that, we had to let things go and trust that that watchful eye would be with us.
Even though I tried to be of good faith, questions and pure anger bubbled to the surface. I wondered why things such as this happened, especially since Amy and I had tried to do those things that we supposed to do. After much questioning, prayer, and discussion, I accepted that “I wasn’t driving the bus” in this situation, and I let it go.
Over the last four years, I’ve gone back to work. First, I moved cars for a rental agency; next I worked moving customer vehicles at a car dealership; then I substituted in high schools, and now, I am teaching a couple of English classes at Byington Career and Technical Center.
Amy has worked at temporary jobs. On a couple of occasions, she was to be hired permanently, but companies pulled the plug on that just as the temporary periods ended. It appeared that they had no intentions of hiring anyone on a full time basis. Those disappointments put us back at the starting blocks and left us, once again, wondering where the help that we believed would come was.
What we have discovered is that God is with us, regardless of our situations. No, we have no clues as to why things have occurred as they have. We have certainly tightened our belts and stopped much of our spending, but we still are doing all right. Each day, we wake up and wonder what will happen. The anger is no longer there. We simply have faith in our God and believe that He will watch over us. The questions linger, but we know that God’s time is not our time. We must continue to do the best we can and have faith in someone we can’t see but know is ever-present.
Some might look at Amy and me and shake their heads at what they perceive is our naivete’. That’s all right. We still have faith that grows stronger in the face of difficult times. At this special season that celebrates the coming a savior who will defeat death so that we have life everlasting, our problems seem small in comparison to what we’ve receive. Yes, I hope we find a bit more financial stability, but I also know that we must do our best and the God the rest.

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope your lives are filled with love and joy. Most of all, I hope you have or find a faith that passes all understanding but that brings you peace. 


Uh oh! The New Year is here, and it’s time for folks to make their resolutions. Most of them will be followed diligently, at least for the first 30 days. After that, we’ll settle back into our ruts and forget about changes to our ways of life. For several years, I’ve forgone making any resolution, but this year, I’m going to make a few promises to myself.
As of the first of the year 2018, I’m going to work on reshaping my body. Yes, I know that I’m 65 and that gravity and atrophy have taken their tolls. Still, I need to make a few changes.
As soon as Medicare kicked in, I joined the YMCA and began working out. The amount of weight I lift isn’t that much, but already I can see a difference in my strength and endurance. Three times a week I go through 14 different exercises and complete two sets of 15 reps. Some days, the workout is easy; on other days, I struggle to finish and drag myself to the car for the drive home.
Some folks simply love working out. They wear smiles and perform their workouts with gusto. It’s not that I don’t like to take part in physical exercise. No, I just don’t enjoy pushing dead weight over my head or out from my chest, curling it up with my arms, or maneuvering it with my legs. The
results are good for me. My arms and legs are more toned, and my core is strengthened.
The second part of my resolution deals with my weight. As much as I don’t like working out, I hate dieting even worse. It’s not so much that dieting is that difficult with the programs that are available today. No, the problem for me comes in that I’m being told that I cannot have some things included in my food intake, otherwise known as junk food. I admit freely that I love sweets and salami and Vienna Sausages, and bacon. Those things aren’t found on any diet as being all right to eat. As soon as I’m told I can’t have something, I crave it.
The second part of the problem with this resolution is my lack of commitment to it. Like most folks, I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to have to work at it too much. I’d rather just say I’m going to lose weight and then let it disappear. My life is already filled with enough things to do: getting out of bed, going to work, taking out the trash, vacuuming and dusting the house. Another “to do” item is just adding stress to my existence.
Perhaps the worst part of this vow to lose weight is follow through. Okay, I work at shedding some pounds and the bulging belly that come with it, and before long I have success doing so. The real kick in the behind is that I have to maintain this eating regimen or the weight reappears. It seems fairer that once a person loses weight that he doesn’t need to worry anymore about it returning.

I am not looking forward to the first of the year because I know what awaits me. In fact, the more I think about the whole thing, the less sure I am that this dieting thing is going to happen. I might look for a substitute to it, maybe by swimming laps at the Y or returning to DDP Yoga, the best workout I’ve ever used to get in shape. If I do take on this diet, try to understand any hateful comments that I might make for the next couple of months. My chewing people out is just a part of a new diet.