Versatile Blogger Award

I am grateful to J. David Peever of Live 4 Him who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  It would be wonderful if you visited his website.  Thank you.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Share seven interesting things about yourself.
  3. Nominate seven blogs.  


Seven interesting things about me:

I create spreadsheets for almost everything. When there is a project to be done, the spreadsheet comes first to track progress of the project.  I have created fantasy football spreadsheets to track each player’s progress.  When I was in college, before the days of spreadsheets, I had the idea that anything to be reduced to numbers (ah, the blissfully too-smart-for-his-own-good engineer).  Then, I realized that you couldn’t always quantify the human element.  Then I spent most of my working career trying to improve the skills and knowledge of the workers (Technical Training).  Yet, everything else became a column or line in a spreadsheet.

I had Grave’s Disease. Grave’s Disease is an immune disorder that attacks the thyroid, shins, and eyes.  When I checked my resting pulse and it was over 200 beats per minute, I had to admit I had a problem.  The thyroid was revving up the heart.  After three years of cycling between remission and recurrence, I took a radioactive iodine pill to destroy the thyroid and get off the roller coaster.  Thus, the Grave’s Disease is no longer active, but the aftermath is that I have to rely on medication to have any metabolism.  When it gets off, I gain a lot of weight rapidly, presently losing a little – slowly.

I am not a natural public speaker. I spent thirty years as a public speaker (Technical Training), but a few years before I would shake all over with a shaky voice.  I could sing and act on stage, but I couldn’t give a technical talk.  Even so, in college I got a couple of awards for ‘presentations’ because of the content of the information as opposed to my speaking skill.  What changed in me?  I had to give a safety talk ‘in an unusual fashion.’  I dressed up as Justin Wilson, who had a cooking show on public television at the time, and I adapted his accent to give a talk.  I was in character, as if I was on stage.  The audience laughed and begged for similar talks, but what happened to me at that moment is that God led me to the realization that if I can make people laugh, my nerves calm down.  Please, don’t ask me to be completely serious during a presentation.  I might not be able to do it.

I have only circumnavigated the earth once.  Okay!  Most people have never done it, but when my last full-time employer (for over 20 years) sent me to India three times, Thailand twice, China five times, and South Korea once, only one trip around the world (my first to India) is kind of unusual.  The rest were simply there and back.  I was not a good international traveler.  I couldn’t sleep on the plane (many 12-14 hour flights) and I am terrible with languages.  Yet, the trip around the world went from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, OH (the wrong way!) to Frankfurt to Mumbai.  After a month in India, south of Mumbai, the trip concluded with stops in Singapore, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and back to Pittsburgh.

I helped an Indian Couple at O’Hare Airport using my Hindi ‘Skills’. Okay, helping people is what we should all do, but using a foreign language?  Each time that I went overseas, I tried to learn a little about the culture and language.  I already mentioned how difficult foreign languages are for me, but I at least tried to count a little.  After a month in India, I could count to ten and if I mentioned Sachin Tendulkar in conversation, my companion would jabber away, thinking I knew all about the sport of cricket.  A few months after I spent the month in India, I spent more than a month in Thailand.  On the return trip, I was rushing from Concourse B to Concourse C at O’Hare, through the underground tunnel.  I had plenty of time, but I like to get to the gate and read.  There was an elderly couple from India who were not moving to the side to let people by on the travelling walkway.  People were shoving their way past.  I could see that they were distressed.  Alone.  In a foreign country.  People were rudely shoving them out of the way.  No one spoke their language.  Above all else, they thought they were lost as they travelled through a dark tunnel with other-worldly neon lights flashing everywhere.  I spotted their boarding passes and called out the gate number in Hindi.  They reacted with a combination of surprise, excitement and relief.  I held their hands and guided them to the gate.  When I saw the destination of the flight, I knew they were going home.  Once the gate personnel had them in hand, I went to my gate.  Don’t ask me to count to three in Hindi now.  That was nearly twenty years ago.  God talks to you through your own experiences.  I had been just like them in their country, but I had a guide.

When in Germany in the US Army, I was a member of the Canadian Air Force Base’s Golf Club. I was stationed in Karlsruhe, about halfway between the US Army golf club in Heidelberg and the Canadian Air Force Base near Baden Baden.  The Canadians had a lower membership fee.  You could walk in without a tee time almost any day.  I could use my club membership to play as a ‘guest’ in Heidelberg, if I could ever get a tee time.  And having a bag tag that said you played at the noisiest golf course in the world was a bonus.  The course was extremely close to the runway.  I don’t know how many times that a pilot turned on the afterburners in the middle of my back swing.  And the pros can’t play unless it’s quiet!

I am approaching my 48th re-birthday.  I accepted Jesus as my savior on 17 October 1969.  It hasn’t been a perfect journey, but I have been growing in the faith ever since, with occasional growth spurts.  I am writing this blog so that others can grow in faith, especially for those who may find the path arduous at times.

Seven blogs I’m nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award:



Cookie Crumbs to Live By

Elihu’s Corner

Grace from the Heart

Just One Train Wreck After Another

Murdo Murchison

A Pilgrim in Narnia


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