Monday, April 24, 2017

Social Media Diversity

I'm not a big social media freak, but I do have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
While all of my accounts are public (anyone can see them), I have only been selective about friends on Facebook.
I have to admit that I often wonder what the people with healthy accounts (yoga, exercise, diet, etc.) think when I post a pic of my latest cigar or a sauerkraut smothered ballpark hotdog!

Some of the fitness accounts that I follow are business accounts and only post about their particular healthy lifestyle area. Others are personal accounts that share other aspects of personal life -- some have strict, healthy lifestyles, others have moments of weakness and indulgence.

I am generally surprised when someone that I don't know chooses to follow me on Instagram or Twitter. Most of them come from one or more mutual accounts that we follow. My guess is that they are more interested in me following them back than they are in actually following me.
The truth is -- I rarely post anything that resembles fitness or healthy living. I post pics of food (some healthy, some not), cigars, motorcycle, baseball, coffee, life, etc. That I post an occasional pic of my daily step total does little to offset the rest.

The pics I post on Instagram show up on my Twitter account and then on Facebook. I tweet UFC, baseball, hockey, motorcycles, Haikus, memes that I find interesting or humorous, and occasional things related to my faith in Jesus.
I rarely post directly to my Facebook account. Those post usually come from Twitter.

While I follow a number of celebrities (athletes, actors, journalists, politicians, etc.), none of them follow me back. No real surprise, there! (Actually, there is one sports writer that follows me on twitter.) As far as I know, only a couple of my blogger friends follow me on social media sites.

If you are interested, you can find me as @magicianary on Twitter and Instagram (or /magicianary on Facebook).

Just something I think about occasionally.

John <><

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Another moment to remember...

Earlier tonight, Chris and I went out to eat. One of the simple side effects from Chris' chemo treatments has been a loss of taste, so when Chris gets something in mind that she'd like for dinner, I'm all for accommodating her desire.
The two things she wanted tonight -- a restaurant with outdoor seating and a particular dish from Houlihan's.

When the waiter brought the bill at the end of the meal, the only two items on it were what we ordered for dessert. He said the rest of the bill had been taken care of, but wouldn't say by whom. We were both very touched by it and a little emotional.
I don't always think of Chris as a cancer patient and have gotten used to her wearing a cap or hat instead of a wig. When he brought the check back for me to sign, Chris was still feeling the emotion of the moment and he hugged her and shook my hand. He said, "I feel you more than you know."
Chris asked if it was him and he just said that he really couldn't say anything more but that he would be praying for us.

If you happen to stop by Houlihan's on the south side of Springfield MO and have a server named Devon, treat him well for me.

John <><

God loves you. Jesus died for you.

God shows He loves us
In that while we were sinners
Jesus died for us

Romans 5:8

John <><

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Friday Devotional Haiku

Jesus, the suffering servant.
From the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, ESV.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4  Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

The innocent one
Was pierced for our transgressions
And so, we are healed

John <><

Marking time...

Just a quick note to mention that yesterday was a significant day in our lives.
Chris completed her final chemotherapy treatment. We still have the negative effects to endure in the coming days, but other than that, this closes that chapter and we move on to recovery.

Her prognosis is good and we feel blessed in spite of everything.

In the lobby of the treatment center is a bell that patients ring as they have completed their chemo or radiation therapy. Chris rang the bell on our way out and people started clapping and cheering when they heard it.
It was pretty cool.

And life goes on...

John <><

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Devotional Haiku

It is an interesting concept.
God is in the darkness.

When we find ourselves in the dark places of life, God is there with us.
He moved in the darkness before the creation. He is in the darkness, even now.
We often think of God as light and so we feel alone and vulnerable in the dark.
In the dark, we cannot see.
We can only sense -- and our senses often deceive us.

In the fourth chapter of John's gospel, Jesus says that God, the Father, is seeking for those that worship him in spirit and in truth.
When you are in the darkness and can't seem to find God -- stop looking for him and start worshiping him.
He will come and find you.

In the beginning
Darkness, emptiness, nothing
God spoke. It was good

John <><

Monday, April 10, 2017


It seems impossible that our Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers (OCACW) has nearly reached the end of our year. Our working year mirrors the academic year and runs from September through May. That means we have only one meeting remaining.

I keep thinking that I need to be more disciplined in writing.
I don't know if that means writing towards a specific goal every day (like a book) or just writing every day.
I do know that writers need to write.

I have a couple of ideas on writing.
One is a sci-fi/Christian apologetics book that uses a fictional story line to share the truth of the gospel. The basic idea is there, but it will take a lot of research and development to bring an end product about.
Another is a daily devotional using Haiku or short verse poem to summarize a text of the Bible.
Although I enjoy putting miles on my motorcycle, my interactions while riding are rare and so I don't know that I would have much to write about as a biker.

In truth, I feel that I have abandoned my more creative self at some point and will really need to nurture that part of me in order to see and write more effectively. The speaker at our meeting last Saturday said that writers and artists see the world differently than others -- a bird doesn't just fly, it soars through the air with purpose or playfully challenges the wind.
I need those eyes.

I also need to develop an attitude that allows me to write about stories that are ordinary. I believe that we can find lessons or entertainment in everyday kinds of happenings. Even though there is little excitement and few extraordinary events that take place in my quiet little life, it is what I experience and I can write about and I'll just have to let others determine its value in their world.
Or, I suppose I could fantasize about living a much more exciting life and write about a life that only exists in my imagination.

I guess I'll just write and see what happens...

John <><

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Simple Moments

I know that not every life is a noteworthy life.
Nor is every moment a story to be shared.
In fact, most of us live a quiet life that others barely notice as they live their quiet lives along side of us.

But that doesn't mean that our lives are without simple pleasures that we enjoy for a moment. Many of them are not un-ordinary happenings; just simple things that caught our attention for a moment.

As I was riding home through central Illinois this past week, I passed a bald eagle perched in a tree. I thought briefly that I should stop and take a picture, but was already moving on and turning back on the interstate would have been more trouble that I wanted to add to my day. And it's not like I'd never seen a bald eagle before, but it was a notable (if very brief) moment in my day.


I like my motorcycle.
I think it is an attractive bike. Although it isn't a very big bike as cruisers go, it works for me.
I was getting ready to mount up in a parking lot last week. An older couple was parked across from me and walking to their car. The woman said, "I don't know anything about motorcycles, but I know pretty and that is a pretty bike!"
Yeah, it made me smile as I thanked her.

And for a little added affirmation, just moments later a younger man walked past me and said, "Pretty bike."

This is my ride, packed and ready for the road.

The 400+ mile ride out was a cold, damp day.
The ride home was windy, but much warmer and sunny.

I stopped for gas and something to drink on the way home and an older gentleman wanted to talk. He looked like he may have been on a lunch break or maybe just off work. He was wearing a security guard's uniform and mentioned (a few times) that he is 72 years old!
He told me a little about his day and walked out of the building so that he could see where my bike was parked and take a look at it. He asked what kind it was and how big the engine was. I asked if he rode and he said he never had. (I may have heard a little regret in his answer.)


I am beginning to pay more attention to those small moments in my days.
They are worth pondering.

John <><

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

SCOTUS Nomination and Integrity

Just a few thoughts on the political climate in DC as it relates to the filling of the Supreme Court and the US Senate.

Although it may be an unpopular stance among Democrats, I do not think that the Democratic Senators should withhold a vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch.
If you believe that it was wrong for the Republicans to withhold the hearing and vote for Merrick Garland, than it has to be wrong to do the same for Gorsuch. Though it may be fair and you believe "what goes around, comes around," it still doesn't make it right.

Show a little integrity and do the right thing.
Most of the Dems already had a positive view of Judge Gorsuch when they voted for him for his appointment as a federal judge. When we let the bad behavior of others dictate how we behave, we become the people we despise.
In every case, I believe that doing the right thing is always an easier thing to defend than the schoolyard claim of, "Oh yeah? They did it first!"

On the other hand, getting rid of the 60 vote threshold isn't necessarily a bad thing, The 60 vote cloture rule has a different place than was intended in today's political climate. I've always thought it to be an interesting rule that it takes 60 members to bring an item to a vote that only needs 51 votes to pass.
The Senate claims that waiving the 60 vote threshold on the SCOTUS will be limited to that only, but I see it as a beginning that will change how the Senate works. I see both good and bad that could come from this. In the end, I don't think either side wants to do this, but I think the GOP is going to call the bluff and everyone will regret it.

Just my thoughts.

John <><

Monday, April 03, 2017

Discussions on faith

In the past few weeks I have had several conversations (with different people) about eternity and eternal life. Some of the conversations were with people that believe as I do and others were with people that have somewhat similar beliefs but with some significant differences, and some with different beliefs.

I'm glad that people are open to such conversations and was surprised that most of these conversations were not started by me, but the topic of eternal life and religious beliefs were introduced by them.

In spite of our discomfort in sharing our faith with our unbelieving friends, statistics show that most people are willing to discuss religion and often even welcome such discussions. I should say that I'm thankful that people feel comfortable enough with me to bring me their questions about faith and ask for my thoughts and opinions on eternal matters. The unfortunate truth is that I should be the one bring up the topic more often than I do.

I am not one to be a hell-fire and brimstone type of preacher, but it should be clear that I do believe in hell and its eternal torment for the souls of the damned. I once had an unbelieving coworker tell me that he could talk to me because "I get it."
When I asked him what he meant by that, he said that other Christians are always telling him he's going to hell and he can't talk to them.
I made it clear to him that I also believed that without proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior--he was going to hell, but I never want to get to the point that he feels he can't talk to me.

Maybe that's part of the key.
I realize that it is not my place to be condemning about their decisions of what to believe or not believe. I would love for them to believe as I do, but I do not get the privilege of choosing for them. If God loves us and is good with free will, why should I feel like I have to bludgeon people into choosing one way or the other?
I believe strongly in what I believe and will share it with passion. I should expect others to have the right to do the same. I don't always expect to change someone's thoughts but I would like to give them something new to consider.

How do you feel about discussions on faith?
Are you open to sharing what you believe?
Are you open to listening to what others believe?

God loves you.
Jesus died for you.

John <><

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Opening Day!

For baseball fans in the US, today is the day!
We have been waiting for the day when our teams take to the field.
As this day begins, no team has a winning record; no team has a losing record.
Every team is tied for first. Every team is tied for last.
But that will change.

Today there will be winners.
And there will be losers.

Someone once said (I think it was Tommy Lasorda):
At the beginning of the season, you can expect that every team will win 50 games and every team will lose 50 games. The other 62 games will separate 1st place from last place.

Today, we all have hopes that our team will win it all!
But only one team will.

Many are saying the this year's World Series will be a rematch of last year's Series.
As a fan of one of the other twenty-eight teams, I hope not.

It's spring.
It's baseball season.
Life is good!

And if that wasn't enough,
It's also National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!
So have a PBJ sandwich and enjoy a baseball game!

John <><