Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

University of Cincinnati Graduation/4/26/2014

OK, as I said on Face Book, I'll just tell you right up front that I am one very proud Grandpa today. Yesterday my two local grand children Mike & Lisa Bosken graduated from the University of Cincinnati. Yea, they made it. The commencement ceremony was held in Fifth Third Arena where the Cincinnati Bear cats play basketball. There was a morning ceremony and an afternoon ceremony. Mike & Lisa were in the afternoon ceremony.The place was packed. Santa J. Ono, UC President made several remarks and the Commencement Address was delivered by Her Excellency, Tebelelo Mazile Seretse. Ambassador Of The Republic Of Botswana To The United States. The following are a few photographs of this great event.

Michael & Lisa Bosken, Graduation Day, 4/26/2014. Lisa Has A New Outfit Matching The University Of Cincinnati Colors ( Black & Red )
Mike & Lisa In Their Caps & Gowns, 4/26/2014, Outside Their Home
Mike, Lisa And Grandpa Bill
Dad Tom On the Left, Mike & Lisa In The Center, Mom Patricia On The Right. Shady One Of The Family Dogs Slipped In On The Left.
Perhaps This Is A Better Photograph
 Lisa Is Happy
 Lisa Is Proud
 Beautiful Lisa
Just Lisa
 Handsome Mike Just Glad It Is Over
 Mike Hold Shadow One Of The Family Dogs
 Mike Holding Shadow
Mike Holding Shadow Who Looks Like He Has Had About Enough Of This Holding.
Lisa With Shady Who She Rescued. Shady Is A Bit To Big To Pick Up And Hold Although If You Are Seated She Will Sure Jump In Your Lap And Squash You.

Lisa Pets Shady

Lisa & Shady With Shadow Coming Over To Get Some Of That Loving

Lisa, Shady & Shadow
University Of Cincinnati Graduation Ceremony Stage, Fifth Third Arena, 4/26/2014

 University Of Cincinnati Graduation Stage, Fifth Third Arena, 4/26/2014 As Shown On The Scoreboard

Graduate Seating Area On The Basket Ball Court And In The Stands. The Proceedings 
Were Shown On The Large Score Board.

The Graduates Are In Their Place
The University Flag And The University Marshal Holds The Mace. The Mace Is The Gift Of Sigma Sigma. From The Fourteenth Century, The Ceremonial Mace Was Used By Civil And Ecclesiastical Authorities. Today, Carried As An Emblem Of Authority And Prestige, It Is Commonly Used To Indicate The Official Opening Of Ceremonies.

Commencement Ceremony Stage. The University Commencement Band Wind And Percussion Is Seated In The Left Rear Of The Stage
Santa J. Ono, UC President Made Several Remarks And The Commencement Address Was Delivered By Her Excellency  Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador Of The Republic Of Botswana To The Unites States. She Was A UC student And Earned Her Master's Of Economics From UC in 1980. She Is Seated Behind President Ono In The Black Robe.
Tebelelo Mazile Seretse
Her Excellency, Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador Of The Republic Of Botswana To The U.S. 
 Lisa Has Crossed The Stage And Is Back In The Stands Just Waiting To Leave
Following The Commencement Ceremony We Went Downtown To The Banks. This Is A Newly Developing Area Around The Cincinnati Reds And Cincinnati Bengal Stadiums And Is The New Place To Go. So We Went To The Yard House To Eat And Celebrate.
Lisa And Patricia

Mike And Tom Study Menu

Tom, Mike And Grandpa Bill Study Menu

By the time I got home it was eight PM and I was dead tired. I watched the Cincinnati Reds playing the Atlanta Braves for a while and reintroduced my head to my pillow.

As I always say Remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekly Bible Study, West Chester, OH. 4/26/ 2014

This week lets look into God's word to study and learn about being genuine and making choices which we all do all the time. Interesting when we make decision/choices we do so deliberately and in doing so do we chose to trust and obey God or are we just going to rely on our own strength. I think all choices are made deliberately. In our study this week we will look at choices that were made by the Israelites as reported in the book of Joshua which is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. We will take a close look at the choices Joshua was urging the people of Israel to make. Specifically we will be looking at Joshua Chapter 24: Verses 1-33.

I would recommend you read earlier chapters of Joshua for background information. The Israelites have crossed over the Jordan River into the promised land. They have fought many battles and have not tasted defeat. Joshua has divided up the promised land among the Tribes of Israel and it was given to them as an inheritance. Joshua called the people of Israel to Shechem where he reminded the people of the many ways God had led and protected them. For instance, mentioned first of all, how God had freed them from slavery in Egypt and then led them on their way to the promised land. He mentioned how God had protected them at the Red Sea form Pharaoh's army and how God had opened the Red Sea so they could cross over on dry land and then destroyed the pursuing army.  Joshua again called to memory how God led the Israelites through the wilderness. How he fed and protected them and now how he has given them the land of Canaan. Now Joshua tells them they have a choice; they can be true to God and remain in the land of Canaan or they could worship the false gods and forfeit the land. The people promised to be true to God. A while after this Joshua died and was buried on his own inherited land

At this point we need to understand what genuine means. When we talk about a product we have purchased what does genuine mean. I have heard people say " this is the genuine article ". If we are talking about a relationship what does genuine mean?  Is it real, authentic, sincere, wholehearted. If so, then it is not fake like money, jewels, furs, and so forth. I would think that most people would want something that is genuine.

In our discussion today we want to deal with us having a genuine relationship with God. that is, not fake, put on , or make believe. If we are to have a genuine relationship with God we have to deliberately choose to have that kind of relationship and along with that goes deliberately choosing to trust and obey God.

Lets first look at Joshua 24: verses 1 and 2 which reads as follows: If you have your bible grab it and follow along. I am using the King James Version of the Bible.

   Verse 1. And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

   Verse 2. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel. Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor, and they served other gods.

Contained in verse 2 is a startling statement that I am sure most of us have never realized and that is the fact that Terah,  the father of Abraham, served other gods. I think we believe because of what we know about Abraham we just assume that his father was a godly man. Not so, he served other gods.

You might wonder why did Joshua choose Shechem as the place for the people to gather for this meeting. I suspect there were a number of reasons it was more or less centrally located about 40 miles north of Jerusalem. In olden days it was a significant city. There was special meaning of the place with the patriarchs. This was the place where God spoke to Abram            ( remember Abraham was renamed Abram ) and Abram built an altar at the site to worship God. Jacob came to this area when he returned from Mesopotamia and it was here that Jacob's bones were reburied after they were brought out of Egypt. You may recall in the movie  ( The Ten Commandments ) which tells about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. There is a beautiful scene of Jacob's remains ( bones ) wrapped and reverently being carried past the great buildings and monuments which the slaves worked so hard to build. They may have been called here to worship before this old altar in Shechem.

Through verses 3 - 13 Joshua continues to relate to the people what God has told him to say and the actions he took for them from the time of Moses to their present time.

Now lets look at Joshua 24: verse 24.

   Verse 14. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

Joshua gave the people three commands. What were they and do we understand their meaning. If given to us what would we be expected to do?
   1. Fear the Lord. We read these words and hear them so often. They do not mean to be in terror of the Lord but to reverence the Lord. Obey him.
   2. Serve the Lord in sincerity and truth. Sure we do this in prayer but it also means to adore him and to sacrifice in worship through charity and honesty in all our human relationships. God, then and now, required their/our worship to be sincere not half hearted. It bears to be noted here that to engage in worship and at the same time ignore God's moral and ethical commands is not worship; it is blasphemy.
   3. Put away false gods. Some of these people still had some of the false gods and they were to told to get rid of them. Does this have any application to us today? Do we have any false gods we worship? Unfortunately we do. Many, many of them. In fact they are so commonplace we never stop to think about them as false gods or idols. To name a few possessions,  employment/job title, hobbies/sports, the list goes on and on. The command applies to us today. This does not mean we cannot have a good job, nice home, car and enjoy our free time . It does mean that it has to be put into proper perspective to our relationship to God. It cannot be placed in first place and God second.

Now lets continue on in Joshua chapter 24.

   Verse 15. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and  my house, we will serve the Lord.

A very plain and simple choice was placed before the people and we have choices we have to make today. I have a couple of questions for you to consider.
   1. Do you like to make choices? Yes or no.
   2. How do you make choices? Flip a coin, evaluate all aspects of the situation or ask advise.
   3. Does it make any differences if the results of your choice doesn't matter much or if it may matter a great deal and have a long and lasting impact on you or someone else? There was a news story the other night of a driver that choose to pass another car on a hill in a no passing zone and plowed head on into an oncoming car resulting in one death.
   4. Does it make any difference if the choice involves someone or something that someone may, can or has done for you? 

It seems that some of us today in this modern sophisticated world we live in have lost sight of the fact that to enter into a genuine relationship with God we have to make a deliberate choice. In the verses above Joshua told the people to get rid of the false gods. He realized that for many of these people they had known no other gods but the ones they had in their home and they were so devoted to these gods that it might seem evil to stop worshipping them. But they had to choose between them and the true God.

So again we come back to the central questions we confront today and that is the same one the Israelites faced. Will we serve God or go our own way?

This central question is whether we will choose God and God's way. God offers love and acceptance through Jesus Christ. We must choose to accept or reject that love. The world we live in today offers and encourages so may alternative lifestyles. For example lust is offered for love and money for success. If we listen we can still hear Joshua saying to us today and encouraging us : " choose this day whom you will serve, the gods of pleasure or the gods of material gain. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Many Christians today, as I do, have a plaque with these words hanging in a prominent location in our home " As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. "

It is one thing to hang a plaque in our homes but we as Christians have greater responsibility and that is to encourage others to commit their lives to the Lord. Our testimony is strong when we show our commitment to God by our lifestyle. I have often heard it said that we may be the only Bible some people will ever see.

When a decision is made there is a promise or commitment made along with it indicating that the decision will be carried out. In our discussion today certain promises were made by the Israelites. Recall back in verse 15 Joshua called on the people to choose which god they would serve and worship. Lets look now at Joshua chapter 24 verses 16 - 18

   Verses 16: And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; 

   Verse 17: For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed;

   Verse 18: And the Lord drave ( drove )out from before us all the people, even the Amorites, which dwelt in the land; therefore will we also serve the Lord, for he is our God.

So the people after hearing Joshua remind them of all that God had done for them and their fathers made a deliberate decision that they would follow God. Do you see any promises made in this regard. Certainly, in verse 16 there is a very emphatic promise. " God forbid that we should forsake the Lord ". They promise to be loyal and faithful to the Lord.

Lets look at another part of this study and read Joshua 24 verses 19 and 20.

   Verse 19: Joshua said to the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord; for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

   Verse 20: If ye forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

Does it appear to you that Joshua was questioning the sincerity of their promise to put aside strange gods and serve only God? It appears to me that the answer is Yes. Joshua knows how fickle these people are having dealt with them for years and years personally and along side of Moses. He has seen them promise over and over again to be true to God. He has seen them go their way, get into serious trouble and come back begging to be saved from their trouble. So, yes Joshua had reason to question the validity of their promise.They must be totally committed. You know there are some relationships, take marriage for example, that require a total commitment. It is sacred and exclusive.The people's commitment must be the same.

When you consider commitments what do you see as some indications of insincere spiritual commitments? Would lack of faithfulness to commitments, absence of change in values and priorities, selfish seeking of your own recognition and praise, negative influence on others make your list. Speaking of influence have you ever thought about your influence on others? Oh yes, you do have influence on others whether you realize it or not. This influence may be positive or negative. That is, it may be a good influence or a bad influence. It is said that the most shy and quiet person in the world will influence 10,000 people over a life time. Consider your position in life you may influence many time that number of people. John Maxwell has made a career of teaching leadership and the part that influence plays in leadership.

In verse 19 above Joshua's statement that God will not forgive your sins must not be taken out of context. As long as the people were trying to serve their old gods and God they were not in a position to receive God's forgiveness. God will not forgive unrepentant sinners. God cannot ignore sins as unimportant. There is no such thing as " just a little sin " just like there is no such thing as " a little lie ".  You can see just how seriously God looks at sin when you look at the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. In Jesus, God took all human sins upon Himself. Because of this we absolutely cannot take God's gracious provisions of salvation in Christ as a license to sin.

You know aren't we the same in our relationship to God. We seem to be very dedicated for a period of time then slowly drift away only to get into trouble which is always of our own making and we come running back to God asking for forgiveness and help.  God wants us to stay committed to him but he does promise to forgive us when we stray away.

Lets continue by looking at Joshua Chapter 24: verse 21.

   Verse 21: And the people said unto Joshua, Nay, but we will serve the Lord.

So here it sounds like the people are committing themselves to serve the Lord. What does it take for them to make this commitment more than just words? The same applies to us today. It takes more than just saying the right words. Declaring a commitment can be easy in fact so easy it takes no effort. The Israelites, and we as well must work and be loyal. Today christian lives don't just happen  just like good marriages don't just happen. Both are the result of long term loyalty, unselfish service, sacrifice and hard work.

Let us continue in looking at Joshua Chapter 24: verses 22 - 23.

   Verse 22: And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, we are witnesses.

   Verse 23: Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.

So now when we come to where the rubber meets the road what is actually hindering the people serving the Lord? The answer is that some of the people were still serving and worshipping other gods.

In our society today we know that a person cannot be compelled to testify against himself. But, here what does it mean that the people are witnesses against themselves? It means they have freely made these commitments and knew when they did so what the consequences would be if they failed to keep their commitments. So if they did wrong they had no one to blame but themselves. They could not plead ignorance. They were in fact witnesses against themselves in the truest sense of the word.

Now we will look at Joshua chapter 24, Verse 25.

   Verse 25: So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statue and an ordinance in Shechem.

What is an covenant? Today we would call it an agreement, promise, pledge or a contract.
What did this covenant Joshua made with the people represent?  God made a covenant with the people when he gave them the Ten Commandments. He renewed that covenant when the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River into Canaan and now He renewed it again as the people face the challenge of life in the promised land.

Interestingly is the fact that the covenant Joshua wrote was written on the scrolls of the five books of Moses. Shortly after this Joshua died and he was 110 years old. He was buried in the land he had chosen for his inheritance. To me the life of Joshua was a life truly lived for God. We talked earlier about influence. Consider this and the influence Joshua had on the people of Israel. The scripture tells us that Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua. What an influence he had and the influence of how he lived his life.

In closing lets think about our relationship to God. Remember when we started today we were talking about what is genuine and what genuine means. Try to make this personal. Is your relationship with God genuine. If not it can be by calling on God to confess your sins and asking for His forgiveness and asking Him to save you. I pray that you will do this.

I will close this as I always do by saying the God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Morning Of Resurrection, West Chester, Oh., April 20, 2014

Recorded in the Holy Scriptures in Matthew 28: 1,2 is the following:

" In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."

What a glorious morning that was. Just imagine the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen and it would have paled in comparison to the sunrise this resurrection morning because God resurrected his son Jesus Christ and he walked out of that tomb when the stone was rolled away. There have been and continue to be individuals who try to find contradiction in the scriptures which record the events of this morning but there are no contradiction and it is verified by the historians of that day and the Romans as well. You see the Jewish leaders had gone to Roman authorities and asked them to place guards on the tomb so Jesus followers could not steal the body and " claim " he was resurrected as he predicted that he would be. The Roman soldiers when they arrived at the tomb they inspected inside to make sure Jesus body was there because they did not want to be guarding an empty tomb. Satisfied they sealed the tomb. Also, interesting Jesus body was inspected numerous time before burial verifying that he was dead so they settled in for guarding the tomb in shifts around the clock. But, sometime between Saturday after sunset and before the women arrived at the tomb there was a great earthquake. Matthew in his gospel described the earthquake as great. The Greek word for " great " is " mega "  which suggest something huge, massive or enormous. This same word is used to describe the stone that blocked the entrance to Jesus tomb. When this happened the Roman soldiers were terrified and fell in a stupor like condition and later ran away from the tomb.

It is interesting that the two Marys had been busy preparing spices and ointments with which to properly anoint Jesus body for burial at the time the Romans sealed the tomb and place guards at the tomb 24 hours a day so they did not know it was guarded. As they walked to the tomb they discussed among themselves about how they would get the stone removed so they could anoint Jesus body. To their surprise when they arrived at the tomb they found the stone rolled away and a dazzling angel sitting on the stone which had been rolled away and when they entered the tomb Jesus body was not there but there was another angel sitting inside the tomb. The Roman soldiers were gone when the women arrived. To say they were confused, amazed and afraid would be an under statement of the highest magnitude. Suddenly the angel who had been sitting on the stone joined the angel inside the tomb and now they were standing there in their shining garments. The women bowed down before the angels and the angels asked them  why they were seeking the living among the dead? Isn't that an interesting question? When you come to a tomb you would be expecting to be looking for a corpse not a living person. But the angels had it right. He is not here but is risen. He continued, remember how he spoke to you in Galilee, when he said, " the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men,and be crucified, and the third day rise again". At this point they remembered Jesus words. The angels told the women to go and tell Jesus disciples and Peter that he is going to Galilee and they would see him there. The women hurried, I suspect, ran would be a better description  to tell what they has seen and experienced. Can you imagine how excited they must have been probably both talking at the same time and the disciples not believing or hearing what they were being told. I can just imagine the disciples thinking to themselves what they are saying just isn't possible and doesn't make sense and sound just like an idle tale. To better explain the women's problem the words  " idle tales " come from the Greek word leros which means nonsense, idle talk, babble, or delirium. Regardless of what they thought of the women's story Peter and John got up and took off for the tomb to see for themselves and of course they found the tomb empty.

To better appreciate what Jesus death, burial and resurrection means to us all lets look back to the day Jesus died on the Roman cross. As Jesus hung on the cross the skies increasingly  became overcast and eventually becoming darker and darker actually a better description would be very dark. The word used here actually indicate the entire earth was darkened. Several historians talked about a darkness that covered the earth at the  time of Jesus crucifixion. Over time critics have tried to explain this event as a eclipse of the sun but this is impossible because the Passover was at the time of a full moon. The Bible indicates that this darkness started at the sixth hour ( noon time ) at the very moment the high priest Caiaphas started the procession into the temple where he would slaughter a pure, spotless Passover lamb. The darkness lasted until the ninth hour the exact time the high priest would be entering the  Holy of Hollies to offer the blood of the Passover lamb to cover the sins of the nation ( Israel ).  At this very moment Jesus cried out " It is finished ". What happens then is amazing and ever so important to all mankind from that day till now. " The veil in the temple itself rent in twain from top to bottom. " There were two veils inside the temple. One was at the entrance to the Holy Place and the other one at the entrance to the Holy of Hollies. Only the high priest once a year was allowed to enter this area. That second veil was sixty feet high and 30 feet wide and was a hand breadth in thickness. Early Jewish writers indicated the veil was so heavy to took 300 priests to move or manipulate it. No human  hands could have done this renting or tearing. Imagine the shock to Caiaphas when he heard and saw the veil being shredded in front of his very eyes and he saw that the veil was gone and the way was open for man to approach God. God was saying the way was now open for man to come to him through the blood of Jesus. It was no longer necessary for the high priest to continually make sacrifices year after year. Jesus took care of that by his blood on the cross. The Holy of Hollies once restricted to the high priest is now open to all of us and we need to take a few moments to enter into the presence of God to worship him and to thank him for his blessings and to make our prayers known to him.

Also, those of us who  know Christ as our personal savior need to be diligent in telling the good news to others. I know we often feel uncomfortable telling others about Jesus but we should not feel that way. All we need to do is tell them what he means to us and what he has done for us. That's it. The Holy Spirit will take over from there.

The facts relating to the trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection are found in detail in the Bible in the gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

As I always say remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Husband Of A Military Wife, 4/12/14, West Chester, Ohio

A couple of days ago I posted about military spouses and now I want to comment on being a military husband of one of those wives. My wife, Jan was one of those wonderful military wives who followed her man all over the United States and to Japan a couple of times. Yes we lived in a number of apartments, government quarters only once and owned our own home three times. I will limit my comments for the most part to our first few years of active duty. I graduated from college the spring of 1955, received my commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force and a short time later I  received orders to report for active duty and in October 1955 I left Arkansas by train to go to Sheep's Head  Bay Air Force Station, Brooklyn, New York to report on active duty. So what is so unusual about that. Well, our second daughter, Joyce , was born just 7 days before I left. I left Jan and our two babies to live with my parents. After processing in, I flew to Goose Bay Air Base in Labrador. After a year there I returned to the United States for assignment to Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D. C.  After landing at McGuire AFB, New Jersey I came first to Washington, D.C. and found an apartment for us then flew to Arkansas for vacation and pick up Jan and the kids for the trip back to D. C.  The apartment complex was known as Glass Manor and was just over the state line in Maryland. Introduction to being a military wife started by being apart from me for an entire year then moving to D. C. to an apartment selected by me. Apartment were scarce and expensive and you had to be careful about the area you selected to live in because many of the areas were high crime areas and the safety of my family was top priority for me. It was a 2 bedroom unit totally furnished. About all we had was a few dishes and silverware, book case a few toys and our clothes. As a junior Lieutenant  we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel to survive. Jan had to use the one community laundry room which each building had. As I recall there were roughly 24 apartments in each building so the use of  the laundry facility was heavy and the equipment few in number. That is no different from thousands of other enlisted  personnel and junior officers who were all struggling to make ends meet. We did not live on the ground floor so there was the carrying the laundry up and down the stairs plus baby Joyce with Janice walking the roughly 50 yards to the laundry room. You say that doesn't sound so bad. Well it would not be if that was just one trip but the routine was this. You go to the laundry room and put your laundry in a washing machine ( if one was available ) them back to the apartment,  A little later back to the laundry room to put another load in the washing machine. Then put the washed cloths in a machine called an " extractor " which spun additional water out of the cloths and then put them in the dryer. If you did not use the extractor it would take 2 times in the dryer to get the clothing dry. Back to the apartment. Wait awhile and back to the laundry room. So when you talk about laundry day that was certainly true because it took just about the entire day. And, oh by the way all the machines in the laundry room were coin operated so there was always a made scramble to have the necessary change. It was prohibited to have your own laundry equipment in your apartment. A few people were evicted because they had portable washing machines that through some mishap had a major water spill and caused a lot of damage. Then of course there was the occasional apartment dweller who did not think it wrong to take your stuff out of a machine while it was running and put their stuff in. On the rare weekend when I could I would stay in the laundry room to catch the person who did that.Their excuse was always the same I was in a hurry and I did not think you would mind. Between trips to the laundry room Jan is busy taking care of the apartment and the two girls. Joyce being just a year old and required a lot of attention. Perhaps Jan can lie down and rest a few minutes when the girls took their naps. Some where in the after noon Jan has to start getting the evening meal. Also by the way we only had the one car so Jan was stuck. In my duty I never wore the military uniform always a business suit, white shirt and tie meaning more washing and ironing for Jan as we hardly had any extra money for using a commercial laundry. That was one of the remarkable things about Jan she always made do with what she had and where ever we were she made that a loving home for the girls and I. 

Jan In 1956 In The Play Ground Of Our Apartment Complex Called Glass Manor One Of The Many Apartment Building Is In The Background.
I Know I Said I Was Going To Limit My Comments To The First Few Years Of Active Duty
But I Just Have To Show You This " Paddy " House We Had Built In Northern Japan That
Jan Made Home For Us.

For the first few months I was working a regular 8 to 5 schedule while I waited assignment to the Air Force Office Of Special Investigations Basic School so I was able to help Jan a lot with the laundry. After I graduated from school I continued a regular office hour schedule working in the Personnel Security Investigations Division but that did not last long because I was selected to work in the Criminal Investigations Division and the days of regular hours were over. Many hours of overtime were required. It seemed that crime does not follow normal working hours. Lack of money was getting to be a problem and we did not want to go into debt. Jan just tightened the belt more and made ends meet. We realized, as the rent started going up, that a part time job was going to be needed and we desperately wanted to get our own furniture and move to a first floor apartment. We were on the waiting list to get a first floor apartment. Jan was most willing to find a job but I was really against that idea because I felt, as did she, that she needed to be home with the kids. Those early years in the care of a loving mother are so much better for the child. Just down the hill and across the street was a medium sized shopping center and I found a job selling children's shoes. I had no experience in selling shoes of any kind but the owner took a chance on me and it worked out. In retrospect I realized that because of my background and current work she could trust me and in retail that was priority number 1. Also it helped because we got a good discount on the girls shoes. We did not sell any adult shoes. In addition to normal shoes we sold prescription shoes and would fulfill orders from doctors who wanted certain  wedges or lifts put into the shoes. I worked 6 - 9  P. M. most Monday through Friday and 9 A. M. to 9 P. M.on Saturday. This of course eased our financial bind but it just added to the workload on Jan.  We were fortunate to find a USAF Sergeant whose work normally required his assignment overseas. He had just returned and had been scheduled for two or three years of stateside duty. He bought  complete furnishings for a 2 bedroom apartment when the Air Force suddenly needed him back overseas. I learned of this and met him to buy all his furniture for $300.00. I did not have that much money so I went to the on base bank and borrowed the money which was the first time we ever borrowed money. Now we had nearly new complete furnishing for a 2 bedroom apartment which brought our rent down just about enough to make the payment on the borrowed money. We were grateful for these event but at the same time sad for him because he practically gave the furniture away because he had to get rid of it in such a short time. Eventually we did get to move to a first floor apartment just below ours. That was helpful. As I said, long hours at the office were getting very bad. This was compounded by the fact that I was selected as one of only three Special Agent who were the ones that the Morals and Vice Squad of the Washington, D. C. Police would talk to and would  release arrested Air Force personnel to. These officers were all undercover and were very particular who knew them and who they met with. And this is where the rub came in because the police would pick up one of our Air Force guys in the middle of the night and two of us would have to go into town and take custody of them and this would generally be about midnight. We generally would work the rest of the night because what we had to do could not wait until normal working hours and be back at the office for regular office hours to brief the boss and then the various commanders. Literally there would be many, many days in a row when I would not see the girls awake. This was extremely hard on Jan. She never complained she just accepted it as part of the deal of being a military wife and as you might suspect somewhere along the line she became pregnant with our third daughter. I was working so many hours that even in the night when one of the girls would wake up needing something Jan jumped up to take care of it so I could sleep. I would beg her to wake me so I could help but she never did always saying you need your rest.

I said in my posting about the military spouse that I resonated with so many things that were said so let me explain that. When we first got to D. C. of course we started shopping at the base commissary and base exchange because the prices were much lower than the regular grocery stores and shops. This immediately became a problem because the commissary did not allow children inside ( except for perhaps a baby in your arms ) so this meant they had to go into the child care area which was provided by the base. Strollers were not permitted as the commissary was small and very cramped for space. That is all well and good except for the fact that our girls would not accept it. They would literally cry until they made themselves physically sick and we would be called to see about the girls. So what to do. The decision was Jan would stay home with the girls and give me a shopping list and send me off to pick up the things she wanted. Jan was not comfortable driving in the heavy D.C. traffic.That was like a bull in a china shop. I can remember standing in front of shelves full of merchandise trying to find what Jan wanted and trying to see it right in front of my face.  I know just like the old man in my earlier posting there were many women who became very frustrated with me being in the way and saying " men don't belong in the commissary " and by their actions and looks they let you know it to the extent I was hesitant to ask where I might find a particular product. I need to tell you that back in the 1950 time period the standard product both Jan and I were use to using were not available on the east coast and in fact had never been heard of. I remember having heated discussion with stocking personnel about certain products not being available then going home without what Jan wanted and trying to explain to her they had never heard of that item. On occasion we would go to a regular grocery store and sure enough they did not have it and never heard of it. Let me give you just a couple of examples of things we grew up using and literally taking for granted. Jan " had " to have faultless starch in a spray can to use when she ironed. No other would do because the shirts, girls dresses, etc.she ironed did not come out like she wanted them to look. She wanted the girls and  her man to look just right. Unfortunately she was working on an uphill battle in that regard as far as I was concerned but I appreciated it and the shirts were perfect. You see this was important because I, along with the other Special Agents, were in constant contact with the public and officials at all levels and our organization randomly sent letter out to people we contacted to check on other things as well as our appearance. One letter coming back with a negative comment about grooming or dress meant you were in for a face to face discussion with the commander and that could have a negative impact on your career. For example we were forbidden to wear anything other than a white shirt. Not off white but white. We grew up drinking a lot of ice tea. Now this is brewed tea not any kind of instant. My family and Jan's family and everyone we knew drank a lot of ice tea and to a pitcher of tea we added one bottle of " Royal Crown Cola " not " Coke " but  RC Cola. Guess what they never heard of it on the east coast. I doubt that any of you reading this ever heard of it putting RC Cola in ice tea either. We thought that ice tea without RC Cola was not fit to drink so I think Jan started us drinking water and milk. But, Jan made do with what she had. As for me, in Arkansas I was a Phillip 66 gasoline man. They never heard of it on the east cost and I had to find another brand that I trusted. Jan use to tease me about my fussing about not having Phillip 66 gasoline and I would remind her of how good starches other than Faultless were. End of the discussion and both of us agreeing that we are just going to have to learn to live without our many customary products. I know it must have been frustrating for Jan because I did not have the ability to read the labels and find a product that would substitute for what she wanted. She never complained but accepted my efforts. Oh how blessed I was to have had Jan as the person to take care of me.

I uprooted Jan from her friendly/family oriented environment and moved her across the country to a place neither of us had ever been and did not know a person there. There were no family to call on to help when help was needed. There were no relatives to help when a new baby came along or to even visit and see the baby. There were no teenager in the apartment complex who we could get to baby sit so we might enjoy a dinner out of the house if we could afford one. Going to a movie was a distant memory. Every one was just like us with a house full of small children and babies. Fortunately there was a McDonald's just outside Glass Manor and that was usually our night out and a place to go Sunday morning after church. I won't say D. C. is an unfriendly place but it is a place where it is hard to make friends. Mainly because it is such a transient place. No one stays in place long enough to make fiends. When ever we had a free Sunday we tried to visit all the historical places in the D. C., Virginia and Maryland area. I wanted to expose the girls to those things although in looking back on that they were to young to recall most of it if you asked them about it today. But, my main objective was to get Jan out side of the four walls of the apartment for some free time although I know there may have been times she would rather have stayed home and relaxed but she wanted to be with me and help in doing things I thought were important.. 

So to have been the husband of a military spouse was the greatest blessing and I thank God daily for permitting me to have had Jan as my partner to look after and take care of me and she did. To finish this I know it sounds like it is about me and it is because their is no way to describe Jan's love and care of her family without making it personal. Just like the old man in my previous post who just wanted to smell his wife again. I can relate to that to this day. Jan always used a particular body powder which she loved. I always had one present for sure to get her and that was her favorite powder. After she passed away I kept certain things which still had the odor of this powder because I wanted to smell her. They have now lost that odor and have been disposed of. I still, on occasion will be in church or shopping and a lady will pass by who has used that same powder and the smell just overwhelms we with wonderful memories of my military spouse and just typing this brings a few tears to my eyes. Thank you Jan.

COMMENT: This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. 
John: 15: 12.

Remember that God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Military Wives, April 10, 2014, West Chester, Ohio

What military wives are made of-- that is an interesting comment. Those of you that know me know that I spent 26 1/2 years in the U. S. Air Force before retiring and going to work for industry. The following story was passed on to me in March 2005 by my boss at General Electric. It was written by Paige Anderson Swiney in Chicken Soup for the Military Wives. Some of you who have not had the experience of being a military spouse might find it interesting.  I was married to one of those marvelous military spouses so I can speak with some knowledge on the subject. In a later posting I want to share a few comments about being the husband of a military spouse.

It was just another harried Wednesday afternoon trip to the commissary ( grocery store on military  bases ). My husband was off teaching young men to fly. My daughters were going about their daily activities knowing I would  return to them at the appointed time, bearing, among other things, their favorite snacks, frozen pizza, and all the little extras that never had to be written down on the grocery list. My grocery list, by the way was in my 16 month-old daughter’s mouth, and I was lamenting the fact that the next four isles would wait while I extracted the last of my list from my daughter’s mouth, when I nearly ran over an old man.

This man clearly had no appreciation for the fact that I had 45 minutes left to finish the grocery shopping, pick up my 4-year old from tumbling class, and get to school, where my 12- year old and her carpool mates would be waiting.

I knew men didn’t belong in a commissary, and this old guy was no exception. He stood in front of a soap selection staring blankly, as if he’d never had to choose a bar of soap in his life. I was ready to bark an order at him when I realized there was a tear on his face. Instantly, this grocery aisle roadblock transformed into a human being.. “ Can I help you find something? “ I asked. He hesitated, and then told me he was looking for soap.

“ Any one in particular? “ I continued. “ Well, I’m trying to find my wife’s brand of soap. “  I started to loan him my cell phone to call her when he said, “ She died a year ago, and I just want to smell her again “

Chills ran down my spine. I don’t think the 22,000-pound Mother of all Bombs could have had a the same impact. As tears welled up in my eyes, my half- eaten Grocery list didn’t seem so important. Neither did fruit snacks or frozen pizza.

I spent the remainder of my time in the commissary that day listening to a man tell the story of how important his wife was to him-how she took care of their children while he served our country. A retired, decorated World War II pilot who flew missions to protect Americans still needed the protection of a women who served him at home.

My life was forever changed that day. Every time my husband works too late or leaves before the crack of dawn, I try to remember the sense of importance I felt that day in the commissary. Some times the monotony of laundry, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and taxi driving leaves military wives feeling empty-the kind of emptiness that is rarely fulfilled when our husbands come home and don’t want to or can’t talk about work.

We need to be reminded, at times; of the important role we fill for our family and for our country. Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot about military spouses…how special they are and the price they pay for freedom too. The funny thing is, most military spouses don’t consider themselves different from other spouses. They do what they have to do. Bound together not by blood or merely friendship, but with a shared spirit whose origin is in the very essence of what love truly is. Is there truly a difference? I think there is. You have to decide for yourself.

Other spouses get married and look forward to building equity in a home and putting down roots. Military spouses get married and know they’ll live in base housing or rent, and their roots must be short so they can be transplanted frequently.

Other spouses decorate a home with flair and personality that will last a lifetime. Military spouses decorate a home with flare tempered with the knowledge that no two base houses have the same size windows or same size rooms.

Curtains have to be flexible and multiple sets are a plus. Furniture must fit like  puzzle pieces. Other spouses have living rooms that are immaculate and seldom used. Military spouses have immaculate living rooms/dining room combos. The coffee table got a scratch or two moving from Germany, but it still looks pretty good.

Other spouses say good-bye to their spouse for a business trip and know they won’t see them for a week. They are lonely, but can survive. Military spouses say good-bye to their deploying spouse and know they won’t see them for months, or a year, or longer. They are lonely, but will survive.

Other spouses, when a washer hose blows off, call Maytag and then write a check out for having the hose reconnected. Military spouses have to cut the water off and fix it themselves.

Other spouses get used to saying “ hello “ to friends they see all the time.  Military spouses get used to saying “ good-bye “ to friends made the last two years.

Other spouses worry about whether their child will be class president next year, Military spouses worry about whether their child will be accepted  in yet another school next year and whether that school will be worst in the city …again.

Other spouses can count on spouse participation in special events…birthdays, anniversaries, concerts, football games, graduation, and even the birth of a child. Military spouses only count on each other; because they realize that the flag has to come first if freedom is to survive. It has to be that way.

Other spouses put up yellow ribbons when the troops are imperiled across the globe and take them down when the troops come home. Military spouses wear yellow ribbons around their hearts and they never go away.

Other spouses worry about being late for Mom’s Thanksgiving dinner. Military spouses worry about getting back from Japan in time for dad’s funeral.

The television program showing an elderly lady putting a card down in front of a long black wall that has names on it touches other spouses. The card simply says, “ Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. You would have been sixty today.”  A military spouse is the lady with the card, and the wall is the Vietnam Memorial.

I would never say military spouses are better than other spouses. But, I will say there is a difference. I will say, without hesitation, that military spouses pay just as high a price for freedom as do their active duty husbands and wives.

Perhaps the price is even higher. Dying in service to our country isn’t near as hard as loving someone who has died in service to our country, and has to live without them

God bless our military spouses for all they freely give. 

Over the years I have taught many bible study classes while in the U. S. Air Force and in my local church as well as numerous training classes both in the USAF and industry. During this time I have accumulated many, many funny stories, inspiration stories, items of military humor and items based on the Holy Scripture along with some puzzles and brain teasers which I used in these classes. Many I have no idea where I found them or who gave them to me. Here, from time to time,  I want to share some of them. If you liked them share them with others. Many if not most will be on Face book, but lengthy ones will be on this blog.

COMMENT: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1 - 2.

Remember that God loves you and so do I. Grandpa Bill