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On a snowy road in America: snow, politics and wood-burning stoves


christine-131.jpgCrossing the state line into Vermont, the first thing I spotted — beside the snow — was a Ron Paul sign. Blue state, it screamed.

My first memorable stop on this On The Road In America sojourn was Brattleboro, a quick pause at the roadside trailer that serves as the Vermont Trailways bus terminal, and the first bit of local news: a story about the upcoming town meeting and a petition to charge President Bush and Vice-President Cheney with war crimes. That was followed by a jumble of news stories about the inroads John McCain is making in his New Hampshire presidential primary bid. I felt right at home. Snow on the ground and political discourse hot enough to melt it. «Read the rest of this article»

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Replace those resolutions with goals, objectives and dreams


co-quill.jpgNew Year’s Resolutions. We’ve all made them. Lose weight. Save money. Eat healthy. Buy a new car. Some happen. Most don’t. I gave up New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I work with a difference plan now, and its not limited to just one year.

That down time between Christmas turkey and the glitter of the New Year (which I usually view through closed eyelids), is the time I set aside to assess, re-assess, red line discontinued items and add to an ever shape-shifting list of — dreams.

Dreams are just plans that haven’t come true yet. «Read the rest of this article»

Life beats us up; spiritual fortitude gets us through those tough times


co-more_bad_news-headlines.jpgWe are daily reminded through various announcements — radio, TV, news magazines, newspapers of our humanity, and as such are vulnerable to thousands of emotional shocks and setbacks.

As we gaze at the lives of our neighbors and examine our own situations, we know that there are multiple times when “life beats us up.” Unmerited illness and injury, conflict, controversies, house fires, disappointing test results (academic or professional), loss of a friend, the plight of an adult child — these are fresh wounds to our sense of well-bring. On occasion, “life beats us up.” Our diligent efforts to be good and courageous are frustrated due to circumstances beyond our control and/or the choice we made. Frequently our well-intended choices, made rationally, prayerfully, and sensitively, result in adversity and stress. Every day of the week life continues to hurl obstacles into our path of joyful and victorious living. «Read the rest of this article»

December boating: Who would have thought it?


Boating in December, who would have thought it?

Most of our Tennessee December temperatures threatened ice and snow and one morning we were in the below 10 degree temperatures, but surprise; two days after Christmas and we are in the 70’s.  A few of us decided to go with Dan Rachlin as he tried out his new (to him) kayak and also to enjoy this, oh too warm, December weather.  Six of us went to Sycamore Creek near Ashland City.


Kerry Alsbrooks, Randall Boen, Nathaniel Alsbrooks, Dan Rachlin & David Boen

The water was frigid, as tested out by me when I immediately fell in while pushing off my kayak.  I’ve pushed off my kayak hundreds of times so falling in like that seemed kind-of (all-the-way) stupid.  Just to keep me company, Kerry’s little dog fell in also in a separate incident and shortly after me.  Kerry’s dog had Chihuahua-like leg shaking for awhile but we were both fine and the air was so warm that I chose to kayak in wet clothes and was totally comfortable.   Wet clothes, on the river, two days after Christmas.  That’s warm. «Read the rest of this article»

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