A Quote to Start Things Off

Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

2024 A to Z Challenge

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Thursday, March 30, 2023

A to Z Themes for Blogs on My Blogroll


Over the past few weeks I've posted about my A to Z Theme reveal for the upcoming A to Z challenge and I've posted a little about blogs that appear on my various blogrolls on my home page.  I'd like to combine those today and tell you about blogs I have on my blogrolls that are participating in this year's challenge and tell you about their themes.

One of my favorite blogs is Sue's Trifles.  Her theme this year is revisiting her theme from 2013 where she combined alliteration with content to help people learn more about Christ and Christianity.  I am really looking forward to her posts this year.  

When Sue isn't doing the A to Z challenge she mostly posts book reviews which is why Sue's Trifles can be found in my Writing, Poetry, Publishing, and Book blogs blogroll.

The next blog has recently moved from my Bloggy Blogs (more on that soon) blogroll to my Writing, Poetry, Publishing and Book Blogs blogroll where it fits the category much better.  hdhstory.net is using the theme of an adventure at the Kingdom of Selat.  I am looking forward to the "tales" that  will be found there.

Janet's Smiles is another blog I follow.  Her theme this year is the Illuminate SF - Festival of Light. I have Janet's Smiles in my Bloggy Blogs blogroll.  A bloggy blog is a blog that kind of sprays to all fields.  

I got the inspiration for the title bloggy blogs from a friend of my son when they were in high school together.  She and her family attend a local megachurch which doesn't really look like a church at all.  I was driving my son and his friends to an outing and we passed a local church that looked like your typical steeple and triangular roof church.  She wasn't looking at it at first and then when she saw it, she said "Look! A churchy church." 

John Holton who is a member of the A to Z team hosts a blog called TheSound of One Hand Typing. He can also be found on my Bloggy Blogs blogroll. His theme this year is really jazzy.  It makes my heart jingle and my mouth ajar in contemplation. He is going to juxtapose the letter j in each of the 26 words he's choosing for the challenge.  Well, that's what he said, hopefully, he didn't perjure himself.

The 5th and (so far) final of my blogroll blogs participating in the challenge this year is Wolf of Words.  This is the 4th time the wolf is using the theme of fan fiction.  I am especially looking forward to the Scooby Doo/Dr. Who Mash-up.

The A to Z Challenge starts this Saturday!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Happy Birthday Randy Stonehill! A 71 song salute.

On this Day March 12th, 1951 fellow baby boomer and my favorite singer   Randy Stonehill was born in California. He turns 71 today and to celebrate I will link 71 of my favorite songs (and yes, I have that many)  of his here on this very happy birthday post.  Many of these songs can be found on Spotify.  All of these songs are available for purchase at Bandcamp. Note: Songs are listed from the album they originally appeared. The song is not always being played from that album.

1. Never Can Repay - Born Twice


 2. Faithful - Until We Have Wings 


 3. Get Me Out of Hollywood- Get me Out of Hollywood

4. Starlings - Return To Paradise 5. Christmas Song For All Year 'Round - Welcome To Paradise  

 6. I Love You - Born Twice  
 7. Norman's Kitchen - Born Twice

8. Bad Fruit -The Sky Is Falling

 9. Still Small Voice - Celebrate This Heartbeat  
 10. Christine - Between The Glory And The Flame


 11. Can Hell Burn Hot Enough - Until We Have Wings


 12. Light Of The World - Equator
13. First Prayer - Welcome To Paradise

14. Keep Me Runnin' - Welcome To Paradise


15. Stop The World - Celebrate This Heartbeat  
  16. Sunday's Child - Mystery Highway

17. Love Beyond Reason - Love Beyond Reason 18. Ramada Inn (Live) - Until We Have Wings 19. Everything But Love - Stonehill 20. Didn't It Rain - Until We Have Wings 21. One True Love - The Sky Is Falling 22. Until Your Love Broke Through- Love Beyond Reason 23. Celebrate This Heartbeat - Celebrate This Heartbeat 24. The Hope of Glory - The Wild Frontier 25. Modern Myth - Celebrate This Heartbeat 26. Can't Buy A Miracle - Can't Buy A Miracle 27. Leonard Has A Toaster - Lost Art Of Listening 28. Glory And The Flame - Between The Glory And The Flame  

 29. Stand Like Steel - Return To Paradise 30. Hand of God - Thirst

 31. Barbie Nation - Wonderama

32. Old Clothes - Until We Have Wings

33. Charlie The Weatherman - Stories 

34. Try Havin' Some Faith - Spirit Walk

35. Turning Thirty - Equator

36. Lazarus Heart - Lazarus Heart

37. This Old Face - Lost Art Of Listening

38. Baby Hates Clowns - Thirst

39. Strong Hand Of Love - Welcome To Paradise

40. Curious - Uncle Stonehill's Hat

41. Die Young - Between The Glory And The Flame

42. Who Will Save The Children - Celebrate This Heartbeat  

43. We Were All So Young - Edge Of The World

44. King Of Hearts

45. That's The Way It Goes (Live) - Edge Of The World

46. Shut De Do (Live) - Equator


47. Jesus - Breath Of God  

48. Big Ideas (In The Shrinking World) 49. The Gods Of Men - Love Beyond Reason

50. Broken Places - Spirit Walk 51. Hymn - Love Beyond Reason

52. Billy Frank - The Lost Art Of Listening

53. Venezuela - The Sky Is Falling 

54. What Do You Want From Life? - The Wild Frontier

55.Brighter Day - Can't Buy A Miracle 56. Get Together - The Wild Frontier

57. Ready To Go - Welcome To Paradise

58. Sing In Portugese - Wonderama

59.In Jesus Name - Lazarus Heart 60.Last Time I Saw Eden - Spirit Walk 61. Everything You Know (Is Incorrect) - Thirst

62.I've Got News For You (Paradise Sky Version) Welcome To Paradise -

63. Awfully Loud World - Can't Buy A Miracle 

64.When I Look To The Mountains - Celebrate This Heartbeat

65.Mercy In The Shadow Land - Lost Art Of Listening

66. Backwards On Her Bike - Mystery Highway 67.Cosmetic Fixation - Equator

68.A Promise Made Is A Promise Kept - Lazarus Heart

69. The Keeper Of The Bear - Thirst


70. I Don't Ever Want To Live Without You - Return To Paradise

71. Finish Well - Spirit Walk
Happy Birthday Randy! I encourage anyone who spends time listening to these songs to buy some or all of them on Bandy Camp and give Randy a gift for the wonderful music he's been giving to us for a half-century.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Yo Yo Man

First, the good news.  I have lost 20.2 lbs this year, 7 lbs this week alone.  The bad news in addition to losing 20.2 lbs this year, I have also gained 13.2 lbs.  In other words, the 7 lbs. I lost this week is the only weight I truly lost all year.  And since I tend to gain back all the weight I lose, we really can't be certain that those 7lbs we'll stay gone.

At the end of last year, I weighed myself as I do every Saturday and I weighed 259.6 lbs.  I estimated by losing 1 lb a week for 10 weeks I could be below 250 by Saturday, March 11th. Today is March 11th and I now weigh 252.6 pounds.  During those 10 weeks, I lost weight 6 different times and I gained weight 4 times. 

Perhaps a little historical perspective would be helpful here.  I weighed 174 lbs when I was a Freshman in high school. When I graduated high school I weighed 174 lbs.  During high school, I could eat all the time and never gain weight which is exactly what I did.  Between 18 and 33 the year I got married my weight went up gradually to somewhere between 200 and 220.  In the first 16 or so years of my marriage it continued to go up until about 8 years ago I weighed myself and saw that I was 285 lbs.  

In the past 8 years is when the yo-yo-ing began.  Yo-yo-ing is only marginally better than unchecked gradual increases.  Since June of  2021, I've gone from 262 pounds in June to 227.6 on Christmas Day 2021 but was back up to 263 by January of this year. That's a year 1/2 long yo-yo. 

I've been wanting to post about my weight loss/weight gain struggles here for a while.  I feel a little like Piglet in the opening of Winnie The Pooh and The Blustery day. He's raking leaves and generally gets blown around by the wind when he says I don't mind the leaves that are leaving, But I don't like the ones that are coming.  I don't mind losing 20 lbs in 2.5 months. I just hope the next time I say that I weigh 20.5 lbs less than I did 2.5 months before not just 7. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Blog Tryouts Results Show

Blog Insider: An unsolicited and superfluous look inside the minutiae

I'm a big fan of blogroll (Don't know what blogroll click here to find out.) At present, I have 8 different blogrolls on my home page,  and we all know how painful that can be. The most recent one is called Blog Tryouts.  I just started it earlier this year.

Blog Tryouts is exactly what it sounds like. I chose 8 blogs that I was not currently linking anywhere else in my blog and placed them in their own section.  Some of these blogs like The Comics Curmudgeon and We Are That Family have been on my blogrolls before and I have decided to have another look at them.  Others like Chicken Spaghetti and Laws of Gravity are blogs I have recently discovered and placing them on a  blogroll for the first time. 

Since the beginning of the year, I have been enjoying going to these blogs on multiple occasions and have added 3 to some of my more permanent blogrolls.  

Laws of Gravity as I mentioned last month on my Januarying post is a blogger/substitute teacher and I have really enjoyed her tales from the front lines of education.  I have added her blog to my Education and Special Needs Blog blogroll.  Her most recent post is called Oblivious.

Rambling Ever on may well be my favorite of the blogs from blog tryouts. I feel like I have found kindred spirits in the group of writers who contribute to this blog.  They have a very good 5 part series called The Forgotten History of Christian Rock with 5 Spotify playlists to help you not forget.  I really enjoyed their recent post called I Love My Boring Church as our family has been on a church search for some time now and the post served as something of an oasis for me. I wasn't sure which blogroll to place Rambling Ever On, it could certainly go into my Bloggy Blogs category as they spray all to fields, but for now, anyway, I'm including them in the News, Faith, Opinion, and Insight Blogs section.

The Third Blog that earned a place on my blogroll team is Reflections On The Teche. I've seen this blog on several occasions through Poetry Friday.  This week's Poetry Friday is at  My Juicy Little Universe by the way.  Feel free to stop in. I really like the poetry at Reflections On The Teche. I've even signed up to take part in the kiddie-lit progressive poem she's spearheading in  April. One feature she does on her blog is This Photo Wants To Be a Poem. I particularly liked the submission called Sunrise Field. I have placed Reflections On The Teche in my Writing, Poetry, Publishing, and Book blogs section.  

I will keep all 8 blogs up in The Blog Tryouts section until the end of March.  In May I plan to link blogs that I discovered or rediscovered during April's A to Z challenge.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Remembrances of a Lost Friend

 I graduated High School in 1983 at the age of 18.  In 1987 when many of my classmates were completing their undergraduate studies I moved to Macomb, Illinois, and began attending Western Illinois University.  I saw those years as a time to learn but also an opportunity to be involved in ministry.  I came onto campus and became part of the leadership team of the local ragtag chapter of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.  

Like most campuses, ours had a new student fair each year.  I helped man the I-V table. I met many people that day and many signed up for more information.  One of those people was an 18-year-old freshman by the name of Frank Charles Rusan the fifth.  I don't remember if I met him at the table or later when I visited him in his dorm room.  Frank didn't introduce himself as Frank Charles Rusan V, I just remember his middle name because it is also my middle name. 

Frank started attending a Bible Study I was leading.  He and I became good friends during his time at WIU.  Before I met Frank I knew very few people who lived in Chicago even though I grew up in the Chicago suburbs.  Frank was the first black person I really got to know.  Frank and I both had a vision of breaking the color barriers of our campus's Christian ministries.  In his freshman and sophomore year, I visited the campus black church with him on many occasions.  The services were much longer and had so many different types of worship than I was used to.  I remember singing songs like Jesus is on The Mainline (Tell Him What You Want.).

I remember one day I was in Frank's room after a bible study and I don't remember exactly what he said but the gist was "Dave,  you love people, you treat them with respect.  You could be black.  He meant it and I took it as a compliment.  It reminds me now of something that happened a few years after that during my first year as a missionary in Russia.  I was in the home of my friend Vladimir.  His dad who was also named Vladimir was sitting with us at a table drinking tea with family.  Vladimir's dad commented something along the line that with me sitting at the table with them enjoying fellowship with them it was like he had another son.  Both those comments reminded me that even though blacks and whites and Russians and Americans have a history of mistrusting each other, true Christian fellowship transcends race and nationality.  

Frank graduated from Western in 1991 and we lost track of each other soon after that.  From time to time over the years I would think about him and our times together and wonder what he was up to.  Every few years I would google him without any success.  

Yesterday, my wife, oldest daughter, and I  were volunteering for Compassion International by handing out sponsorship packets at an event in Rockford, Illinois.  The Event was the 2023 Soar Awards a gospel music awards show.  We were about the only white people in attendance.  

When you volunteer at an event like this, there is a lot of downtime between responsibilities.  During those times I listened to the music emanating from the stage, and started thinking about Frank.  I thought this might be the exact kind of place I could run into him.  Perhaps in an act of symmetry, he would be manning one of the many ministry tables set up inside the atrium of the theatre.  I decided to google Frank and see if I had success locating him this time.  

This beautiful tribute page is what alerted me that Frank had died almost 5 years ago.  Frank is the third (as for as I know) of friends who I met during my first year at WIU who have passed away. I wish I had reconnected with Frank before he died but I don't feel any deep regret.   Reading all the tributes I realized that Frank had continued to be the same type of person he had been in college, faithful, available, teachable, and a person who radiated Christ.  There are many testimonies of him caring for people, praying for them, and being genuinely concerned for others.  This is the Frank I knew and loved and it brings me solace to know he continued to walk in that way for another quarter of a century before passing on to eternity with God in Heaven.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

A to Z Challenge 2023 Theme Reveal: A Month At The Movies

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AtoZChallenge theme reveal 2023 #atozchallenge

 I have some good news.  I just saved 15% by switching my insurance to Geico.  No, my news is better than that.  The A to Z Challenge is coming to a blog near you and I am very excited.  The event begins in earnest on April 1st, but on March 12th you can participate in the theme reveal at A to Z challenge.com.

 I love the A to Z challenge. I don't think it's any great stretch to say that I am still blogging in no small part due to the A to Z challenge. From 2012 to 2021 I participated nine times in the challenge.  Over that time I have entered 5 of my blogs in the challenge sometimes as many as 3 in the same year. 

I love almost everything about the challenge.  I love reading other people's blogs and commenting on them. I love how so many of the blogs I currently have on my blogroll have participated at one time or another in the challenge.   I love creating a theme and disciplining myself to post 26 times on that theme. I especially love putting things in alphabetical order.  I think I'll put that last sentence in alphabetical order: "alphabetical, especially I in love order. putting things" (Yes, I put the punctuation marks in alphabetical order as well. Who Wouldn't?)

Every year until they make the big announcement  I get a little concerned that maybe they won't be doing the challenge this year.  I'm a weird dude, 49% optimist, 49% pessimist, and 2% milk in a glass half full. But I have been blogging for a long time and I've seen lots of blogs and blogging events be lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry Clementine over the years.  So when I heard the A to Z challenge was coming back and better than ever I was stoked.  

Since I am so jacked that the Challenge is on, I decided to announce my theme a little early this year. My 2023 Theme is A Month at the Movies.  

2692117 © Laura Domenica Cantisani | Dreamstime.com 

 I have been posting a lot lately about films.  I am spending this year revamping my 100 favorite film list.  I am trying to watch 12 new movies to me this year and post about them here.  I have been thinking about a simple movie theme for the challenge for the past few years.  I say a simple theme because in the past, I have participated in the challenge at more than one blog at a time, and last year I had 3 themes in one challenge: home runs, limericks, and wordle starting guesses.  Compared to those 26 movie reviews will be a walk in the park, but not A Walk to Remember, as my A film will be Arsenic and Old Lace.  

The A to Z Theme for 2023 is resiliency.  With each film I choose, I will incorporate how that film demonstrates resiliency in one way or another. 

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I am super excited about this year's A to Z challenge.   I'm so excited that I've already thought of my theme for the 2024 challenge.   Since I'm already in full reveal mode, and since my ADHD will probably interfere with remembering it for next year I'll just reveal my 2024 A to Z challenge theme now. The 2024 theme will be Narnian characters and creatures from A to Z.  My working title is Narnia: From Aslan to Zardeenah.  

Before I get too far ahead of myself here are the important dates for this year's challenge.

March 12th - March 18th:             Theme Reveal

April 1st:                                          The Letter A

April3rd -April 8th:                         Letters B-G

April 10th -15th:                               Letters H-M

April 17th -22nd:                              Letters N-S

April 24th-April30th:                       Letters Letters T-Z

May 1st - May 6th:                            A to Z Reflections

May 15th:                                            A to Z Road Trip Begins

 Check out   A to Z challenge.com for more information I may have missed. Click here for more on the Theme Reveal. Click here to see who has signed up so far.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

February Stats

 1/6th of the year is in the books.  It's now time again for a look at last month's posting trends.  A look at my blog archive shows I published 10 months last month and 9 in January.  While that is technically true, I actually wrote 11 posts last month and backdated this one as it was supposed to originally appear on January 23rd. The breakdown goes like this 10 posts in February,  A total of 11 posts from December to January, and 7 posts from September to November.  The 10 in February is quite a bit higher than the 6-month monthly average of 4.67 and is 2 more than February '22 and 4 more than February 21.  

At the end of January, I was on pace to get 96 posts this year.  The 19 posts in 2 months have me slated at this pace to get 114 posts by year's end.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip