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Escaped by the “Skin of Their Teeth”

Amazing. Today I learned of two incredible escapes from almost certain death and destruction


TOKYO — A China Airlines jet exploded into flames at an airport in Okinawa after arriving from Taiwan on Monday, but all 165 people aboard escaped alive, officials said. Police said terrorism was not suspected.

All 157 passengers — including two small children— fled the Boeing 737 unhurt on inflated emergency slides just minutes before the plane burst into a fireball, Transport Ministry official Akihiko Tamura told reporters.

Look at that picture. Amazingly, no one was hurt.

As we sat at lunch today with people from our church, Janey told us that one of her relatives–a nephew, I believe–was part of the crew that is still missing deep inside the mine in Utah. The Monday of the accident, he had taken the day off.

Sad and gripping stories abound. Mixed in with death and dying scenarios, though, are happy accounts. Have you thought much about such escapes as these? Did God cause Janey’s relative to have that particular day off? If we answer yes, I suppose we must question God’s plans for the others–the ones who are missing. Can it be that God would spare one of the crew, and deliberately leave the others as the mine crashed in on them? Or is it chance? Mere chance? Huh? What do you think?


My devotional blog is here.


My devotional is here.

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The Naked of Homeless

Within the past year, somewhere in the United States, the following incident occurred.


From across the sidewalk, he spoke. “It’s like being naked.” He paused, staring at me as though to gauge my response to his extraordinary statement. I stared back.

Only minutes before had we been introduced, this sixty-year-old man and I, and when our names were announced, he at once moved forward and extended a brown leathery hand. His grip was fierce. Suddenly, his solemn face changed, and as would be the opening of a fine gift that had been crudely wrapped, his mouth dashed a friendly line across his wizened face, his bright eyes glittered, and around each of those deep eyes, grin wrinkles flashed.

Most revelatory of the disguised gift were his expansive vocabulary, the elucidation of his philosophy and his clarity of thought. “It’s like being naked–this homelessness. Think about it,” he admonished me. “Consider carrying your possessions with you, not having a place to launder clothes or to bathe yourself.”

Would that I could show his picture, but I cannot, for that was my promise to him. He extended the pleasure of my snapping his image, but when I asked to post it, he immediately said no, and asked why I would want to do so. I told him of my blog, and that I write about a variety of subjects, and that the article would be positive and respectful. He turned his head as though to ponder, but with a smile and another swift flash of the delightful eyes, said, “No. I’d rather not.”

“He is homeless,” my introducer had said, “and has lived on this property for twenty-seven years.”

“He what?”

“He has lived here for twenty-seven years.” We had just pulled onto the property and were preparing to exit the vehicle. She could see him standing on the sidewalk.

“He’s been homeless for twenty-seven years? Did you say that?”


“Well, I want to meet him.” And so we were introduced.

He is slightly built, maybe 5 feet 6 inches tall, and probably weighing no more than 135 pounds. He is Caucasian and his ample hair is brown with a stripe or two of grey. His mustache is brown. When I saw him, he wore a white tee shirt and jeans, tightly cinched with a leather belt. His neck is long, showing well defined ligaments, and his rosy cheeks are set on bones high in his face. I believe his eyes are blue. He is a brilliant man. He told me he had engaged in religious studies at Berkeley, but quickly assured me: “However, I came through those days, and emerged yet a conservative thinker.” His crinkled eyes turned on again as he offered this information.

After our conversation on the sidewalk, I went inside the building where my homeless friend was trying to locate a longer drop cord, and when again we engaged in conversation, both my introducer and I pulled out chairs, as we continued our talk. From the sides of the room a couple of other people lingered, and although they didn’t engage in the conversation, I knew they were listening.

I’ve never met anyone such as this before, although I’ve often heard that among the homeless population are many educated and highly accomplished people. The knowing of this man has startled me. I longed to hear his thoughts about why he is homeless, and why he has remained that way so long, but I was reluctant to probe, since my relationship with him had existed for less than an hour.

It is reported that the death of his wife many years ago may have devastated him and may have thrown him into deep depression, and that from such a malady he continues to suffer. It is also told that at one time he was a professor in a state university. It is known that university students often come by his sleeping place and that he assists them with calculus problems. Of a surety, he sleeps in a bus. I have seen his two dogs who keep him company and who guard him. My introducer told me that sometimes people are mean to him, and that not so long ago, vandals stole his possessions, including his bedding.

I know he is taking computer classes, that he is learning to use the internet, and that he will probably read this post. I hope he will comment here. I know I wish him well, that I will never forget our few minutes together, that I admire his intellect and his spirit, and that I grieve for his situation.

Assaults on the homeless are becoming more common and are often captured on video, like the image above, which was taken earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale.
Assaults on the homeless are becoming more common and are often captured on video, like the image above, which was taken earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale. From

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A Child Molester Set Free to Roam Our Streets

If I weren’t so troubled about our judicial system, and if I weren’t so distressed about the morals in our society, and if I weren’t so touched by helpless children, and if I weren’t so concerned about the seemingly downward spin of my country, I might be quiet about the incomprehensible rulings that are routinely and blatantly slammed down by liberal judges. These decisions must not be ignored–they cannot be ignored–but we as caring citizens must speak out against such ridiculous, outrageous and downright dangerous behaviors. The threads and weavings of our country have taken on strange and twisting pattern; pattern that demonstrates insidious and deliberate ravelings, so that in recent years has become visible a decaying fray and an evil undercutting of moral thought, judgment and accountability. We occupy a fearful place.

Mere days ago, Judge Katherine Savage dismissed a case against Mahmu Kanneh, in which he was charged with repeatedly molesting a seven-year-old girl. The judge dismissed the case saying the delays in the three-year-old case had violated Mahamu Kanneh’s guarantee of a speedy trial. The man is now free–roaming our streets. He served a total of one day in jail.

It’s hard to imagine what prompted Judge Savage to such action. Consider these facts:

1. Although insisting that the case was dismissed because an interpreter in Mr. Kanneh’s native tongue, Vai, could not be found, Mr. Kanneh attended and graduated from an American high school. He also attended a Community College where the classes were taught in English. As far as I have been able to determine none of the classes in either of the schools he attended were in his native language. He conversed with detectives in English.

2. He had waived his rights to a speedy trial.

3. It was judicial responsibility to find an interpreter.

4. There were qualified interpreters available–even on the day of the trial. The Washington Post reports that they were able to find three Vai interpreters.

Thank God that breaking news indicates the prosecutor is filing an appeal.  We must continue to be aware of the society around us. Thoughtfully, but bravely, let us use every vehicle available to speak out against the  drastically liberal trend of our judicial system.  Our children  and grandchildren are depending on us; they cannot fend for themselves. We cannot leave such decisions as these to go unchallenged.

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The prosecutor in the case of a Liberian native charged with repeatedly raping and molesting a 7-year-old girl said Monday that he is filing an appeal of a controversial judge’s ruling that dismissed all charges because an interpreter who spoke the suspect’s rare West African dialect could not be found.

Rest of the story is here. 


My devotional blog is here. 

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Gigantic Show of Gratitude from France

This is one of those stories whose hearing arouses an exceptional surge of enthusiasm and gratifying goodwill. It hurls high the day, elevating the moment to a superior plane of insight and value. It speaks of brotherhood and kinship and sets aglow the human heart. For the hour, we lay aside disagreements and disappointments, political slants and personal and national agenda.

“The French Will Never Forget” organized an extraordinary gathering of approximately 2500 people in Omaha Beach, Normandy for July 4 th 2007. The crowd formed on the sand the letters of the phrase: “FRANCE WILL NEVER FORGET”, aimed at honoring the fallen American heroes who scarified (sacrificed) their lives to liberate France at the end of WW II.

The Embassy of France has posted stunning pictures and a great deal of information here. I give honor to these people who in such a magnificent way have expressed their gratitude to the United States of America, and who have so honored those who fell in battle in order to liberate France at the end of World War II.


My devotional blog is here.


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Sextuplets and Mom Doing Well

Yesterday, I reported the birth of sextuplets to a family who lives here in Lake Havasu, and that the babies were remarkably large and healthy. A later edit of mine noted that Mrs. Masche had been rushed into intensive care. I’ve followed up on this story, have printed part of it here, and also created a link, which you will probably want to follow. There are about 40 pictures available, I believe, beginning with her early learning of the multiple births, pictures of the dad, and ending with striking pictures of each of the babies when they were delivered yesterday. Late breaking news here says the mom continues to recover and will soon be released from the intensive care unit. It’s a day of rejoicing here in Lake Havasu as we all root for the Masche family.

Jenny Masche is wheeled into the delivery room to give birth to her sextuplets at Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix.

Sextuplet mom ‘doing great’ after heart trouble


Barbara Yost

The Arizona Republic
Jun. 12, 2007 03:56 PM

Jenny Masche, who suffered heart problems Monday after delivering sextuplets at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, is “doing great” and should be out of intensive care by morning, said Timothy Byrne, a cardiologist and director of Good Samaritan’s cardiac catheterization lab.

During normal pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases by as much as 30 percent, Byrne said, and much more when she is carrying six babies. After delivery, Masche’s body was flooded with excess blood and fluid no longer needed by the babies.

That caused a “transient decrease in heart muscle function,” Byrne said, that verged on heart failure but was not life-threatening. Masche was given medication to reduce fluid and ease breathing.

On Tuesday, he said, “she’s perfect. She’s breathing great. She’s done remarkably well, all things considered.”

Link to Arizona Republic article here.


My devotional is here.

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Thank You

The Tomb At Dusk

Picture courtesy of the Department of Defense

To all persons who have given their lives so that I may live in peace and comfort in America, the land of the free, I say thanks.

To each troop, who at this moment, bravely serve around the world so that my sons and my daughter and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren remain safe, I say thanks.

God bless America, land that I love.

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The World’s Highest Swing is Terrifying

highestswing.jpgAdam Frucci writes of this swing, situated in China which is 1100 feet off the ground. I’m pretty adventurous, love to fly in planes, and I’m known to wander off in strange places to explore. But I’m not too fond of amusement park scary rides. And you? Do you like to pay good money to have the liver scared out of you? 🙂

Read it all here.


My devotional blog is here.

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Trembling Feet, Royal Protocol Armageddon and a Wink

I love to read of the telling actions of highly placed people, especially when it involves their response to challenging and unfamiliar situations. The “humanity” and sameness of us all intrigues me. While I certainly know I will never meet Queen Elizabeth or President Bush, I enjoy thinking of the preparation each of them must have made for their recent meetings with each other. And, again, though I will never be in the presence of royalty, throughout my lifetime, there have been times when I brushed up on etiquette rules and considered essential protocol for certain meetings. For of course, I want to be “cool” when I meet VIPs, avoiding any profound gaffes.

So then, I snickered and laughed aloud when I read this article about our President and the Queen at last night’s white tie dinner. Think what you may of President Bush, I believe almost everyone would agree that he possess a boyish, tender side to him. I can just see his shoes tapping away from the Queenly visit jitters.

Hope Matt Frei doesn’t mind, but I’ve brought over his entire article from BBC. It’s a charming piece.

Washington diary: Royal jitters

By Matt Frei
BBC News, Washington

Queen Elizabeth II and George W Bush at the White House for a state dinner

The Bush White House hosted its first white tie dinner for the Queen

I have seen George Bush fumble for grammar, cringe in front of the cameras and shrug off insults from world leaders.

I have seen him joust gamely with opponents and stare down enemies with a cold eye.

But I have never, ever seen the commander-in-chief of the mightiest nation on earth look utterly terrified.

This week an elderly lady, who is at least a head smaller than the president and who, by all accounts, has never harmed a fly, achieved – unwittingly – what Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Nancy Pelosi have all tried and failed to do: reduce George Walker Bush to a quivering mass, make his lower lip tremble and – I promise you I saw it with my own eyes – make him blush to the roots of his Texan rind.

Yes, the 43rd President of the United States was smitten by her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Memorable gaffe

The endearing thing about George Bush is that his body language and the spoken variety both betray his true emotions at every turn.

At Monday night’s state dinner, the first white tie event in the Bush White House, a pair of lacquered black shoes could be seen virtually tap dancing with jitters on the red carpet next to the royal footwear.

George W Bush welcomes the Queen to the White House

Her Majesty was not amused by President Bush’s gaffe – and wink

Then there was George Bush’s hesitant “should I sit or should I stand” toast which left the Queen on her feet, sipping her Riesling all by herself.

The most memorable gaffe had been committed earlier that day, when the president almost implied that the Queen was 200 years older than her current age by thanking her for attending America’s bicentennial celebrations in 1776.

He corrected himself mid-date, then did what he often does in sticky circumstances. He winked, smiled and lunged for recovery.

The Queen was heard to mutter: “Wrong year!”

The president responded with disarming honesty. The Queen had given him “a look that only a mother could give a child” he told his guests and the world, under a glorious Washington May sky.

Call me churlish, but I thought this was a charming escape from Royal Protocol Armageddon.

To my knowledge no reigning Queen of England had ever been winked at.

The first Elizabeth would surely have had George Bush’s guts for garters. This one responded with dead-pan aloofness. Her Majesty was not amused.

There wasn’t even a flicker of a smile and the stiff upper lip of the House of Windsor remained resolutely stiff in the land of the free.

Shared ancestry

If I may take the presumptuous role of presidential shrink for a moment, I would say there are three reasons for George Bush’s quivers.

Barbara Bush and her son George W Bush

Does the Queen remind Mr Bush of another matriarch in his life?

It is not royalty per se that makes American presidents nervous. It is British royalty.

For all the loathing of the Red Coats, Mad King George and British colonial rule, America feels the Stockholm syndrome of its ancestry. Even an abused child sent for adoption is fascinated by his or her real mother.

Secondly the Queen probably reminds George Bush of his own Mama, the formidable Barbara, the matriarch of the Bush clan, who apparently raised her eldest son with a patrician mixture of love and discipline.

He may argue with his father over Iraq and diplomacy. They have a vexed relationship. But, I’m told, it is the mother he cherishes and dares not contradict.

Britain is to history what Saudi Arabia is to crude oil. We have lashings of it and don’t feel the need to draw attention to it


The third point is a more general one about the role of Britain’s history in the United States.

Americans nurture their historical shoots like a gardener fusses over a sapling. In Virginia, where the rich earth moans with the memories of the civil war, the war of independence and the lives of the founding fathers, every brick and beam dating back a hundred years or more is festooned with a plaque.

History is such a precious commodity because it is so rare in a young nation.

By comparison Britain is to history what Saudi Arabia is to crude oil. We have lashings of it and don’t feel the need to draw attention to it.

The Queen and Vice-President Dick Cheney watch a performance at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia

Americans are proud of their young nation’s relatively short history

Despite lattes and paninis, suicide bombs in London and the foreign takeover of English football, Britain lives, breathes and governs unselfconsciously in a historical context.

Which American politician doesn’t at some stage enlist the help of the founding fathers or invoke the American dream enshrined in the Bill of Rights? Which British politician ever mentions the Magna Carta?

For Americans, the Queen and her pageantry embody an exotic reality tinged with a whiff of shared ancestry.

It is a matter of affection mixed with curiosity verging, sometimes, on incomprehension.

It is the same attitude found when Washington grandees munch cucumber sandwiches on the British ambassador’s lawn and are too polite to ask about the missing crust.

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Police Hand Out Tickets to Good Samaritans

This morning I read of two “good samaritans” who tried to rescue a lady from the Snake River. Sadly, they failed to reach her while she was alive, and after they “paddled” her body back to shore, they were stunned when an officer approached and handed them citations.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Canoeist Dennis Bohrn and his companions were stunned when they saw a woman jump off the Perrine Bridge, her body landing near them in the Snake River. Many in the group were crying by the time they managed to reach the woman and paddle her body to shore.

So Bohrn was shocked when an officer walked up and instead of thanking or comforting the group last Sunday, wrote out a couple of $85 tickets for failing to have life jackets on board either of the two canoes.

Read rest of the story here.

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Miss America—Now a Granny—Shoots

Jerry read this story first, and I hooted when he told me about Venus Ramsey shooting out the tires of a would-be thief. It’s a great story. Here’s to us Grannies—Grannies with and without guns! 🙂 I wish I had a picture of Venus standing with her walker.

Update: 12:55  Wednesday I found another picture. Take a look!

Everyone please stay calm as you read this story. I know we have come through a terrible week that involved a hand-gun story with a far different outcome. This post is definitely not a statement concerning handguns, nor is its intent to raise such issues. It’s just a neat story about a courageous lady.


Venus Ramsey was crowned Miss America in 1944.

WAYNESBURG, Ky. — Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle’s tires and stop an intruder.

Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. “I said, ‘Oh, no you won’t,’ and I shot their tires so they couldn’t leave,” Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

“I didn’t even think twice. I just went and did it,” she said. “If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now.”

Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Read the rest of the story here.


My devotional blog is here.