Today’s blog is brief. Jeny and I spent last week preparing, enjoying and then recovering from a special weekend. I have not had a lot of time for today’s blog.

Reunion. Last weekend, a group of men came to our cottage in Gulf Shores. We had formed ties to them during our ten years living in Normal Illinois. Some had lived with us; others were in our fellowship group; some were my former students. They were joined by our sons, Scott and Shane.

We compared surgeries, ailments, jobs, retirement, faith and family. I learned from their experiences and am delighted to have them as friends. I ate too much but enjoyed every bite. I hope to share pictures in the future.

Unfortunately, bad weather and personal obligations prevented several others from joining us, but hopefully we can gather again. Fortunately, in Gulf Shores we had spectacular weather enjoyed by all.

Also unfortunately, Shane’s brother-in-law was in hospice care and died the last day. Shane was able to share some time with us. He was delighted to recall stories of being the youngest and the men enjoyed seeing him as an adult.

Scott put on a low-country boil, and it was a highlight of the weekend. His great food is one of the reasons I ate too much.

We hope we will have enough interest so that we can have a gathering of women from Normal. We are going to see if there is any interest.

Do not let the picture fool you–the service was great.

Flora-Bama. Sunday, three men were waiting for plane flights and had the opportunity to join me for church. I took them to the Flora-Bama. The Flora-Bama is a famous bar in LA (Lower Alabama.) The bar sits astride the Florida/Alabama state line.

Sunday morning, Central church holds services for regulars, snowbirds and others in the bar. Several hundred people attend two services. The church motto is — a church where it is okay to not be okay.

The guest speaker was a young pastor from Nevada who had been an atheist. He shared many things from his life, but the one that got my closest attention was the idea that his heart changed when he began to serve others.  He did not change his heart and then start serving. In serving his heart was changed. His service was not a big spectacular program; he served in simple ways.

There are always needs. People with hearts of love can always find ways to serve. What I had not considered was — engaging others in service can change hearts.

Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras began in Mobile. We just ended the season and are beginning Lent. I need a food fast, but I am choosing to fast from Sudoku and Spider Solitaire. My stroke taught me time is precious. How I use what time I have is important. Fasting from games is a good reminder for me.

Ukraine. We are all concerned for the people of Ukraine. A friend I trust sent me the following message from a friend he trusts.

“A literary friend with family in Ukraine tells me that this site is completely reliable, should you or a friend wish to make a donation: 

https://linktr.ee/RazomForUkraine  Not all of the subsites are in English.”

I am passing it on because some of you may want to help and do not know a good site.

In these days of war, I need good news.

Two heart-warming stories:

‘So I Hugged Her’: Garbage Man’s Act Of Kindness Captured On Film (sunnyskyz.com)

He Sold His Home To Pay For His Granddaughter’s Education, So Internet Strangers Bought Him A New One (sunnyskyz.com)

A story of strength and animal love:

Boater Who Fell Into Ocean Swims 5 HOURS At Night With Help From ‘Angel’ Seal (sunnyskyz.com)

In these days of spoiled athletes here are two good stories:

Shaq Buys Large Family A New Van, Then Tips Struggling Waitress $1,000 (sunnyskyz.com)

Former NFL star Jerome Bettis returns to Notre Dame 30 years later to get his degree (today.com)

Peace,

Jerry


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