My Father cigar band
Here's to you, Dad
Dad, here's to you.

My Dad, Thomas David Brown, died last Monday, January 2, 2017.  He was born on January 25, 1935 and in February, my mom and dad would have been married for 58 years.

There's still a lot of processing going on.  Memories shared.

A lot of back story - last August my mom fell and broke her leg very badly.  She's had several surgeries, and has been in several hospitals - she was in "Hills and Dales" in Cass City, MI. (I mention their name because the nurses are very wonderful!)

Dad took a really bad turn for the worst with his heart and lung conditions, and we spend Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital with Mom.  So Phil and I, and my kids, were able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with both of my parents for my Dad's last Thanksgiving dinner in this life.

I spent some good quality time with Dad before the rest of my family got to Sandusky, Michigan.  And I knew that he was ready to go see Jesus.  He made no secret that he didn't want to live like that.

After Christmas, my mom was released to an assisted living home (on Thursday.) My dad was released from a different hospital to the same home, in the same apartment with Mom on Saturday.  They were able to spend Saturday, Sunday and on Monday morning he was gone.

He wanted to be with my mom.

Mom and Dad at Stonegate
Mom and Dad at Stonegate
I think we were ready to let him go, but we weren't ready for him to go.  Are we ever?

I was going to commit to blogging from the very first of the year, but missed the whole first week because I was with my family saying "bye and I love you" to my Dad.

And still longing to hear him say, just one more time, "Love you back."

I intend to blog more this year.  Even now, I just feel a little more put together; my head, heart and spirit a bit more straight.  I have a few interesting projects in mind, including for my head, my heart and my spirit.

 

 

Lunes Linkage is the occasional Monday post linking to articles I have run across and found interesting...

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Here's one from a while ago (April) - Trump is a Fool.

Donald Trump is a fool—not because he is wrong about so many things, but because he is right about a few others. The fool is not only one who speaks nonsense, but one who speaks sense on the topic no one else will touch. He is the court jester pointing out the king’s failings. Were any sane man to make the same statements, he’d be put on a pole. But the fool, amid a general stream of nonsense, is able to touch on the rare uncomfortable truth.

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A possible treatment for the gene that I carry, and that affects my son,

Patients with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a rare genetic mitochondrial disease that leads to vision loss, show sustained improvement in a follow-up to a Phase 1/2 clinical trial with GenSight Biologics’ therapy candidate GS010.

Patients recruited to the study had been diagnosed with LHON for approximately six years. After 78 weeks of follow-up, promising results were reported, with improved vision in the eye that was treated.

LHON is inherited through the maternal mitochondrial genes. It causes degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, a specific type of neurons in the retina. This condition begins with blurring and clouding, generally in a person’s teens or 20s.

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In the spirit of Christmas season, I want to be charitable to President-elect Donald Trump and express my thanks for his success in 2016.

While there still remains plenty of cause for concern, the continued boldness, energy, and vigor exhibited by the Trump transition team is giving me real hope and excitement. Here are 10 reasons this conservative is having a merrier Christmas season thanks to Donald Trump.

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At the heart of Christianity and the gospel is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from the “Word becoming flesh” (John 1:14) and the incarnate Son of God living and dying in our place as our Savior, there is no salvation. Apart from the coming of the eternal Son, his taking on human nature and acting as our covenant representative, there is no hope for the world.

It is appropriate at Christmas to think more deeply about the incarnation. Here are 10 things we should grasp.

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Another from a while ago - courtesy Doug WIlson (there's a lot of political incorrectness, but good information.)

The Scars on Your Forearms -

Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.

Here's a little civics lesson.

I'm hearing a lot of suggestions that The United States drop the Electoral College and move to a direct democracy.  So I started reading up.

(I'll put the "moral of the story" right up front:  CHILL OUT.  This is a design feature, not a glitch.)

The Founding Fathers feared the tyranny of the majority and set up a Three-Branch Republic. They designed a delicate system of Checks and Balances to insure that the government they set up would not allow this.

We know about "checks and balances" (if we paid attention in Civics Class)- we have three branches of government (Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial.) The three branches are supposed to put a check on each other*.  If one branch goes off the rails, the other branches are supposed to step in and stop them.  The three branches are also supposed to provide balance - roughly equal amounts of power to govern should not allow either party (in a two-party system) to control the country

I didn't realize (or it just didn't click) that all three branches of government are selected through different processes.

  • the Legislative Branch is selected by direct ballot (although originally, the State Legislatures voted on Senators)
  • the Executive Branch is chosen by the Electoral College
  • The Judicial Branch is chosen by the President and confirmed by the Senate

The Legislative Branch is selected through direct ballot

- each person in a state has one vote (in an ideal world, not accounting for fraud) to elect Representatives and Senators to represent their state.  Even within this branch, the two houses are different.

The Senate has two Senators from each state, allowing the *states* to have equal standing - the most populous states would have no more power than the least populous states.  Vermont knew that New York would have New Yorkers' interest in mind when voting.  In the Senate, those from the less populous states are protected from the tyranny of the more populated states.

In the House of Representatives, the number of Representatives from each state is based on the population of that state.  New York had way more Representatives than Vermont, so those from the more populated states are protected from the tyranny of the less populated states.

This is also "checks and balances" - it is also brilliant.  Each state is represented in two chamber - in one, the less populous states are "over-represented" and in the other, the more populous states are "over-represented."

The Judicial Branch is chosen by the President...

And confirmed by the Senate.  Supreme Court appointments (as well as some others) are for life (although justices can and do retire.)  A president cannot just appoint any old person - the appointment must get past the Senate.  Unfortunately, this process has been hijacked a couple of times, and as things get more fractured, will continue to be.

In my lifetime, there has been only one time that one party has held the White House for more than two terms.  This means that each party will be able to appoint justices during their hold on the White House, so that an *overwhelming* left/right split is less likely.

Granted, in the *impartial* standard was *impartial* adherence to the Constitution, none of this would be an issue - but it isn't the standard, and it is an issue.

The fact that both other Branches are involved in the appointment of Justices is another example of "checks and balances."

The Administrative Branch is chosen by Electoral College

The voters don't elect the president (like they elect Senators and Representatives.)  Each state has Electors, based on the population of the state and the voters elect Electors.  Many states have laws that insist that all Electors throw their ballots to the Presidential Candidate who won the majority of the ballots in the state, and two (Maine and Nebraska) split their Electors - 2 Electoral Votes go to the majority winner, and the remainder are split according to Congressional districts.  So Electoral Ballots can be split between Candidates.

Without this system of Checks and Balances, the most populous states would *CONSISTENTLY* be able to control the least populous states.

With a smaller country, a direct election might work.  But the United States is so vast and diverse, the Electoral College serves as checks and balances between the States.

It's brilliant.

*check - definition #2 - stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable.).

 

 

Reading Challenge: now reading

A book on Christian Living:  The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment (Tim Challies)

a biography: Crazy Horse and Custer (Stephen Ambrose)

A Classic Novel: Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)

Off-plan: The Hammer of God (Bo Giertz)

Big for last year -

we remodeled our bathroom.  We hope to put the finishing touches on this weekend.  Phil worked so hard on the part he's doing and it all looks great.  I hope that means more entertaining here.

I finished reading through the Bible in a year.  It only took me seven years.  But I had some really good side trips along the way.

I started a business.  My goal is to be a blessing to families and a help for kids.  And let them pay me to do it.

Knee surgery - after four months I'm finally starting to feel "right" - but I've been so sedentary that I'm way far behind on fitness.

I started serving our church by scheduling volunteers for Sunday School.  Again...a blessing for families and a help for kids.

What's up for 2016 -

Grow my business.  I'm aiming at helping home school families with special needs kids, growing Barton Reading System (for people with Dyslexia) and forming summer enrichment activities.

Starting reading through the Bible again.  This time, using a two-year plan, via "ReadingPlan."

A "goal" is to keep up with reading organization - what I'm reading, what I read.

Part of this is a targeted reading plan - that will give me a structure of what sort of books to be reading, which will give me a little better diversity than I have now.  I'm using Tim Challies' "reading challenge" - who wants to join me?

Almaden Quicksilver - the goal is to hike every trail.

And the other health - use "my net diary" to track food, to lose 1.5 pounds per week - with a focus on "real food."

Work on being a better wife...

and the usual...blog more.

We've been considering buying our own stock of "pew Bibles" so that we know that we will have enough ESV Bibles for the Sunday School class that we teach.  We'd bring them with us, or store them in a locked cabinet for our use.

I was looking for Bibles, and (when looking at a book, I find the 1-star reviews more useful than the 5-star reviews) I saw a few 1-stars.  There were a couple of "the print is too small" and "the binding fell apart."

But the majority of 1-star reviews were people who simply reviewed a variety of Bibles in order to mock Christianity.

In what is supposed to be a country based on liberty and religious tolerance, there is an increasing amount of vitriol aimed at Christianity.

It's not going to stop and American Christians are simply not prepared for the coming "worst hard time."