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Stopping Drunk Drivers

Interesting exchanges, perhaps even controversial ones, arise when talk of the acceptable degree of governmental intrusion into our personal lives is considered. Nearly all of us agree that our business should remain our business, and that we are not fond of others dictating our actions, or for that matter even knowing what we do once our doors are closed and we are within the confines of our homes. Yet a rational person understands that for a society to operate in a safe and orderly manner, there are times when private activities may so affect the welfare of the general public that government directives must be issued, so as to safeguard its peoples.

Certainly such is the case when considering alcohol consumption. Now in order to further protect those on the highways, certain motorists will be required to install

breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars. Some believe this to be a remarkable development; others are of the opinion that this is again inappropriate government intrusion into private lives.

CHICAGO – Motorists convicted of driving drunk will have to install breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars under new laws taking effect in six states this week.

The ignition interlocks prevent engines from starting until drivers blow into the alcohol detectors to prove they’re sober.

Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska and Washington state began Jan. 1 requiring the devices for all motorists convicted of first-time drunken driving. South Carolina began requiring them for repeat offenders.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been conducting a nationwide campaign to mandate ignition locks for anyone convicted of drunken driving, claiming doing so would save thousands of lives. But critics say interlocks could lead to measures that restrict alcohol policies too much.

Users must pay for the fist-sized devices, which in Illinois cost around $80 to install on dashboards and $80 a month to rent; there’s also a $30 monthly state fee. And they require periodic retesting while the car is running.

“It’s amazingly inconvenient,” said David Malham, of the Illinois chapter of MADD. “But the flip side of the inconvenience is death.”

Read more of the AP story here.

As most people, I really don’t want the government peering into my bedroom, telling me where to go to church, how to spend my money, or where to shop for a bag of potatoes. But I do know this: In 1994, a young man, barely exceeding the measurement that marked him drunk, drove his red truck into my husband’s body and forever changed his life.

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Jayci Yaeger Dies

Jayci died a short time ago, mere hours after her father’s visit.

Jayci Yaeger

Jayci Yaeger
POSTED: 8:41 am CDT March 28, 2008
UPDATED: 9:56 am CDT March 28, 2008
LINCOLN, Neb. — A 10-year-old girl has died, just a day after her wish to see her father was granted.Jayci Yaeger’s imprisoned father, Jason, went to her bedside Wednesday — a visit federal authorities allowed only after being deluged with letters and phone calls from across the nation.

Father Sees Dying Daughter | Uncle Pleads With Prison | Dad Speaks; Politicians Respond | Complete Phone Interview With Jason Yaeger |

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The Backside of Euphoria

“She’s very scared and I think she’s holding on for her father.”

Those are the words of the mother of Jayci Yaeger. Jayci is ten years old, and she is dying with cancer.

“I want my dad to hold me,” Jayci says.

But no, it won’t happen, for her father, Jason, is in prison, serving time for a federal drug conviction. Appeals for a 30 day release have been denied.

A video of Jayci is here.

Peoples of the world–mothers, fathers, young people–please hear me today. Your drugs are killing you, they’re destroying us, our society is imploding. For you see, there is an ugly, dirty reality on the backside of your euphoria, a nasty, heart-wrenching place.

Ask Jayci.

EDIT: Thursday March 27 Jayci’s dad has been allowed to see her. Read it here. 


My devotional blog is here.

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To Confess or Not

In some way the senior pastor of 800-member Elim church learned that Calvin Inman, his newly ordained youth minister, had many years ago killed a person. After many weeks of talking with the young man, Ron Nissen persuaded him to admit his crime. On Saturday, Calvin Inman was charged with capital murder and locked in jail.

More of the story here.

There will be those who say Rev. Inman should not have revealed himself, but merely have continued his good life, for surely He had repented to God. Others, of course, will say he did the right thing by confessing this terrible deed.

What do you think? After many years have gone by, is it necessary to confess everything a person has done wrong? What about the grief such revelation brings to family, friends and the church? In this case, restitution was not possible, for life could not be restored. I’m of the opinion that he probably should have confessed, but understand the terrible ramifications such words would cause.


My devotional blog is here.

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Rod-Straight Parenting

Can you hear me clapping over here? that confetti flying through your screen and can you see my party hat?

A modern-day father has shown his backbone! Yes!

The Softpedia story was revealed on EBay when, after discovering his son smoking pot in the backyard, a father decides, as punishment, to sell the Christmas present he had bought for the son. Calin Clabel reveals some of the dad’s statements:

“So I was so relieved in that I had finally got the Holy Grail of Xmas presents pretty much just in the nick of time. I couldn’t wait to spread the jubilation to my son. Then, yesterday, I came home from work early and what do I find? My innocent little boy smoking pot in the backyard with 2 of his delinquent friends.”

“I thought I could still justify getting him this present. Maybe it would make him stay home more and ‘rock out’ on this fake guitar thing. He pretty much spends all his free time at his friend’s house playing it anyways (while high on marijuana, I would imagine”

“After I caught him getting high on my patio I did the typical yelling, screaming, kicking out the friends, etc… but I had not decided on a suitable way to punish him. As of the time of me writing this, he does not know I got him Guitar Hero 3. I will show him the auction once it is posted and we can watch it finish together. Sort of a “‘Father-Son bonding experience'”

Unfortunately, this dad’s actions flies in the face of the norm for 21st century culture here in the United States. What do you think? Is that action too harsh? After all, it is Christmas. Could he have chosen a better way to discipline his son? Will this make his son bitter and more likely to rebel further?

I told you my thoughts in my opening lines. What are yours? Be brave now.

Image of painting from Walter Kane at Google images


My devotional blog is here

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Ban the Water, Bring on the Spittoons.

Once as Jerry and I sat in a hospital room in California, the handsome, finely dressed son of our friend whom we were visiting, reached beneath his chair and pulled out what appeared to be a pound-size coffee can. It was capped with a plastic lid. He removed the lid, leaned over slightly, and with sure aim, spat a large shot of liquid brown stuff into the can. He replaced the lid, shoved the can beneath his chair, and calmly joined the ongoing conversation. I was astonished. The disposing of the tobacco juice from what must have been a wad in his cheek seemed distasteful and nasty, although I must admit he accomplished the deed with a certain dignified aplomb.

There’s a stir going on down in the Arkansas State Legislature where they seem to have some peculiar regulations, especially as regards liquids sitting out on the desktops. Check out this Associated Press report.

“At the Arkansas Legislature, it’s against the rules for a lawmaker to have even a cup of water sitting on his or her desk. That cup of spittle with a day’s worth of tobacco juice is fine, though.”

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By ANDREW DeMILLO, AP Posted: 2007-08-30 06:56:30


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – At the Arkansas Legislature, it’s against the rules for a lawmaker to have even a cup of water sitting on his or her desk. That cup of spittle with a day’s worth of tobacco juice is fine, though.

A state representative disgusted by the expectorate wants a state law that would rid the House and Senate of Styrofoam spittoons.

“It’s gross,” said Rep. Pam Adcock, a Little Rock Democrat who plans to file legislation that would ban all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, from the House and Senate chambers.

The complete story is here.

Sometimes they appear kind of strange down in Arkansas…but remember, I’m from the unique state of Missouri which bumps up against Arkansas, so I won’t laugh too exceedingly loud nor too long. Is funny though…those lawmen can’t have a cup of water on their desks, but a handy spittoon is a great idea. Never know when the urge for a long, brown splat might arise within the hallowed halls of the Arkansas legislature.


My devotional blog is here.

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No Smoking, Please



Smokers across England sparked up at work and in the pub for the last time before the ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into force.

From BBC and Getty images

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Philosophy For Recovery, From a Clown

Andy’s 1962 Falcon Ranchero, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

What you see here is the pride and joy of Andy; his 1962 Falcon Ranchero, which is fully restored–all original, except the custom made cover for the back of it. The art work was done in 1998 and is signed Fraser. He keeps the vehicle garaged at a relative’s so as to avoid the hot sun, but often takes it out and drives it around a bit. He was eager to let me take pictures of it, and when I walked over to his place yesterday, he was lovingly dusting it.

Andy is a crusty, remarkable man, and more than once I’ve seen his spectacular eyes fill with tears. He attended the funeral of Tonya, whom he had never met, just because he was so touched by her untimely death.

A few weeks ago, he gave me a copy of a poem he wrote several years ago. This writing is very important to him, and I believe will be to you also.

“…I’d like to close with my football story, which sums up to me a whole lot of what this deal is. I like football, and I just like to think that this morning the God of my understanding is saying to me: ‘I’m getting up a football team and I’m making you the quarterback. And I’m going to give you eleven men on this team that you lost during your active alcoholism. I’m going to give you three men in the backfield that you lost during that time, and I’m going to give them back to you in the reverse order in which you lost them. I’m going to give you hope, faith and charity.’

‘I’m going to give you seven powerful men on the line. At the two ends I’m going to give you honesty and humility. At the two tackles I’m going to give patience and tolerance. At the two guards, I’m going to give you unselfishness and gratitude, and at the center, I’m going to give you willingness, and it’s going to be necessary that you use willingness on every play because this game is going to last a lifetime and there will be NO timeouts.

‘So I’m going to give you some ground rules. The ground rules are the ten commandments. The first four of these commandments have to do with your relationship with your coach and manager, God. And the last six of these commandments have to do with your relationship with your teammates. Now the ball is your eternal soul and goals are the gateposts of Heaven.’



My devotional blog is here.

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Face of a Clown, Soul of a Man

Ding A Ling’s Face, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

All faces are masks. Lurking beneath the smooth buttery skin of youth, or behind the deep cragginess of the aged are secret stories, unspoken lusts, restrained tears, ragged dreams and unattained vision. There, too, may be lofty ambition, frank accomplishment, unseen generosity, even rare midnight poetry, whose words at the moment were tucked away–humbly poked to the back of the keeping place, well hid from the peer of judging eyes.

DJs RV park here in Lake Havasu is a such a place, a place of both face and mask, of openness and closure. Consistent with the human being, the face is the easier to see, but, know also, that the face of DJs is a mask, a covering that shields people of dream and vision, and covers those of decay and plunging despair. In its 102 spaces are sleek, expensive rigs, at some junctures set side by side with the most modest of dwellings. Inside these units, whether regal or humble, is the soul of DJs.

One such person is Andy Anderson, whom Jerry met a few weeks ago, and who since then, I have had the pleasure of meeting. He is a charming, club of a man, whose twinkling clear blue eyes somehow seem misplaced in his bunched-up furrowed face. His stories are captivating as he frankly tells of his life of sorrow and crime, and then of his ripping off the chains of alcoholism some years back.


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The following is a reprint from a 2003 issue of Home and Garden.

Now a devout Christian, Andy admits to succumbing to one youthful indiscretion after another, from petty crime and vagrancy to alcohol and drug abuse. “If I had any money then, I probably would have been a compulsive gambler too,” he says. Not surprisingly, his hard living costs him dearly . a divorce and a five-year-stint in the Nebraska State Penitentiary were the bitter fruits of his aimlessness.

After a successful tenure as a truck driver, Andy embarked on a career path that would change his life forever. He became a clown. Literally. “I had a lot of sorrow, hurt, and heartache in my life,” he says. “I wanted change. I wanted to make people happy and see them laugh.”

To realize his goal Andy attended clown school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. At graduation, he became Ding-A-Ling the clown , a hobo/tramp clown in the style of Red Skelton and Emmett Kelly, though unique, of course. “Rule Number One at clown school,” says Andy, “is that you don’t copy another clown’s face. Ding-A-Ling is my own creation.”

As Ding-A-Ling, Andy worked as a rodeo clown (“Now they call ’em bull fighters” he laughs) for nine years. during the off-season, he used to work birthday parties, grand openings, picnics, parades, etc., where his specialty was in balloons. “At the time, I could make 68 different figures out of a balloon. Now I can barely blow one up,” he laughs.

The height of Andy’s career as Ding-A-Ling was an appearance he made with Emmett Kelly and Red Skelton at a fundraiser for a children’s hospital in Florida. The lowlight came at a rodeo performance, where he was knocked down by an angry bull and savagely bitten in the arm. At the hospital, he had to have skin removed from his leg to act as a skin graft for his damaged arm. Yet he still considers himself fortunate. “People get killed every year on the rodeo circuit. I was lucky that nothing really bad ever happened to me or the other rodeo people I worked with.’

Like an aging NFL quarterback whose reflexes are slowing down, Andy wisely retired from his physically dangerous occupation in the late 1980s. He still loves clowns, though, and is an avid collector of clown paraphenalia. His most prized possessions are a pair of authentic, bright red Bozo the Clown shoes and an Emmett Kelly doll. At one time, his collection totaled more than 350 items. “When it’s time to go to the big rodeo in the sky,” he says, “I want to donate my collection to a children’s museum.”

On December 20, 1996, Andy suffered a stroke. Five days later, on Christmas day, he had a life-affirming heart-to-heart chat with God, vowing never to touch alcohol again. Recalling the experience still brings tears to Andy’s eyes. He’s been clean and sober ever since.

Because of Andy’s unique story, and because of his honesty and frankness in talking about his past mistakes and his winding road to recovery, he’s frequently called upon to speak at substance abuse treatment centers and alsohol rehab clinics throughout California and Arizona. He’s also spoken at high schools, colleges, and churches. His life hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s filled with lessons that others can learn from.

“I’m not afraid to let people know who I am and what I am, so long as I never forget,” says Andy. “My message is simple and straightforward. If you commit your life to alcohol and drugs, you’re gonna end up in one of three places–in the state pen, in a mental hospital, or in a horizontal position wearing a suit and tie.”

Though Andy’s message is often blunt and to the point, he always sprinkles his talks with humor and amusing anecdotes from his life. He puts it this way: “For the first 45 minutes, I got’em laughing; but I got’em crying for the last 15.”

Andy knows that his inspirational story of recovery won’t change the hearts of everyone, but he keeps plugging nonetheless. He believes that if enough people–especially kids–listen to his story, he can make a positive difference in their lives. The key is to get them not just to hear, but to listen.

“You know why God gave us two ears and one mouth?” smiles Andy. “It’s so we can listen twice as much as we talk.”

I’ll finish up this article tomorrow.


My devotional blog is here.

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Understanding Abnormal Behavior

Since Jerry and I have been in Lake Havasu, we have come across a large number of people who have terrible alcohol and other drug addictions. In our years of ministry, in either of our churches, I can’t recall ever coming in contact with such a high percentage of people who are fighting these problems. I’m not sure if this is just a reflection of our current society, or if such is peculiar to the area here.

I have a hard time understanding the actions of these people, and have made a concerted effort to gain knowledge about their problems. I have contacted ministers who work with restoration programs for persons with addiction problems, and have asked them specifically about cravings. “Do they crave alcohol in the same way I crave food,” I asked Rev. Rick Faulker.

“Yes, they do. They crave the sugar in alcohol.”

I’m not at all “putting-down” these people. Quite the contrary is true. During recent weeks I have met precious women who are as bound by drugs as is a hardened criminal bound by shackles, and I weep for them. I’m desperate to have them emerge from these black days into the light of redemption and deliverance. I know God is their ultimate answer, but I see they need help from every available source. I want to understand them.

I sat in her living rooms as Jerry and I gave her and her husband a Bible study. Full of resolve, promising to be in church on Tuesday night, the very next morning after the Bible study she was drinking again, and could not keep her promise to her family, to Jerry and me, and to God. I grieve for this beautiful young mother.

This past Tuesday night, she and her family came into our Bible study session. “How are you doing?” I asked her as, before the service, we hugged.

She laid her head on my shoulder as she replied, “Not well. Not well at all.” We stood embraced for a long time.

Her husband greeted me, and as I asked the same question of him, he replied. “She’s not doing well, and it gets very hard.” A beautiful young lady stood beside him, and the man introduced her. “This is my daughter.” Later I learned her age to be 15.

During the service, when Jerry asked if anyone had a prayer request they wanted to speak aloud, the wife said, “I do,” then proceeded to speak. “I have a terrible addiction and I want to get over it.” She looked around the room, as though pleading with all of us. “I don’t want to do it. I really don’t want to.”

“Let’s all reach our hands to her now and pray for her,” Jerry said later, and so we did. My heart nearly broke as that sweet family of three sat on the front row and prayed, the dad reaching across his daughter as he extended his hand to his wife. The daughter had placed her arm around her mother, and now wiped tears from her juvenile eyes.

So then, I was intrigued to read the following article from Wired Magazine. Please read it and let me know what you think, and more especially tell me how to help these precious people I know. If you’ve had success working with addicts, or if you have been down that road yourself, I am eager to hear from you.

Being crazy is hard, but it’s worth the effort. Especially if you’re a cop, paramedic, or social worker who may someday need to deal with a person having a psychotic episode. At those times, empathy can be crucial.
That’s where Virtual Hallucinations comes in. The training device, created by Janssen L.P., is a rig with earphones and goggles that plunges the wearer into the mind of a serious schizophrenic. The system offers two interactive scenarios. In one, you’re riding a bus in which other riders appear and disappear, birds of prey claw at the windows, and voices hiss, “He’s taking you back to the FBI!” The other features a trip to the drugstore, where the pharmacist seems to be handing you poison instead of pills, and hostile customers stare at you in disgust.
Developed with psychiatrists and endorsed by advocates for the mentally ill, Virtual Hallucinations is being used by law enforcement, corrections, and health care professionals in at least half a dozen states. “It’s very effective,” says Margaret Stout, executive director of the Alliance of the Mentally Ill of Iowa, who’s tried it herself. “It really allows you to feel like your mind is just not working well.” For cops who have gone through the training, she says, that can make all the difference when it comes to understanding what a mentally ill person is going through. And there’s nothing crazy about that.