Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Saturday, January 3, 2015

I just started getting serious about making plans for my funeral.

I have to admit it feels a bit weird to do it, to say the least.

What's even stranger is the good feeling I had when I hung up from talking with the funeral director in my Pennsylvania hometown of Shamokin.

I'm still a long way from completing plans for my final exit because living in one state and planning to be buried in another presents its own set of complications.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It's a chill evening in December 1978, and I'm sitting quietly in the second row of a Bucks County funeral home. My grandmother, my father's mother and the matriarch of our family, has died.

A formidable woman, barely 5 feet tall, Nanoi held her priorities dear. Chief among them were order and cleanliness, quiet and discipline.

Her home, where we often gathered for Sunday dinners, birthdays and holiday celebrations, was always immaculate. Furniture gleamed, doilies were pristine and starched, the leaves on each carefully tended houseplant shone.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

When the end of the year arrives, it's natural for us to pause and take stock in the previous 12 months.

Well, I did just that, and from what I saw, the end of 2014 can't come soon enough.

For me, the past year has been one of the most difficult times in terms of tragedy and sorrow.

I lost lifelong friends and classmates Tom Shea and Bonnie Schuetrumpf.

We first met at school, where we were thrown together by the alphabet, last names starting with sc, se and sh. But we quickly became close friends.

At times, the Three Musketeers.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Like Martin Luther King, I, too, have a dream.

My dream is about "church." Not just my church. Every church.

I have a dream that church simply won't be a building with a collection of people sitting next to each other for a service.

In my dream, church is a place where there are no strangers. People will want to know each other.

I have a dream that in every church, people will greet each other with more than smiles. Genuine caring will be there along with that smile.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

First, I would like to wish all of you a slightly belated but very Merry Christmas. It is difficult to believe in a few short days we will be saying adieu to 2014 and welcoming 2015.

It has been quite a year as several well-known icons and personal inspirations left this world much too soon, and in some cases under circumstances that created such a shockwave of sadness.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dec. 25 has come and gone. The gifts have been opened. The cookies are just crumbs. Perhaps the lights on the Christmas tree shine less merrily than they did a week ago. But hopefully all the warm feelings and our dreams of peace and goodwill toward our fellow man will remain with us all the year.

I received a gift from my good friend Cindy that made my heart ache, filled me with appreciation of great music and left me with renewed determination to follow through on the "peace and goodwill to my fellow man" thing.

She gave me a CD titled "Beautiful Life" by Jimmy Greene.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

When you have three-quarters of a century in the book of life, it's not unusual to survey those 75 years for some improbable, zany moments where you slap the side of your head. You don't necessarily proclaim: "I should have had a V-8," but you smile in embarrassment and marvel about the unlikelihood of the adventure.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Well, another Christmas is in the books.

The real reason for the season, Jesus Christ, has been born, Santa Claus has come and gone, and the presents, which wrapped so neatly and piled under the tree prior to the holiday, are scattered around the living room as my 1-and-a-half-year-old son Logan plays with the boxes they came in.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


The question of the month surely must be: What do you want for Christmas?

I know it's the big question with my family each year.

When my daughters were younger I thrived on surprises. Seeing the look on their faces when I managed to hit a home run in gift selection was priceless.

But through the years I noticed some of those looks of appreciation were fake. I watched the girls open clothing I knew they would never wear, rewarding the gift giver with their ahhhhs!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


As of this writing I have received one Christmas card.

And I've mailed out one less than that.

As recent as four years ago, I would send 50 cards, with a complete letter of all the happenings in our family.

The next year I was kind of busy so we just sent cards without letters.

The following year we revived the letter, but emailed it to all our friends and relatives, without a card.