Let’s Have Some fun

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In our topsy-turvy world, where there is seemingly always a crisis going on with several more lying in wait, I thought for today we ought to simply have some fun. I am not saying to bury our heads in the sand (or snow here), ignoring the issues of today. But I do believe we are all subject to burnout and disillusionment if we do not occasionally take a step back and have a little fun. That is the simple goal for my blog today. I’ll go first and after reading maybe you will feel like sharing some fun fact about yourself.

From 1999 through 2009 the United States Mint released quarters from all 50 states and the U.S. Territories. Like most people, I had one of those tri-fold holders to insert each new coin in.

Unlike most, I suspect, I decided from the start in 1999 to save all the Commemorative Quarters I came in possession of. Over time, I purchased three plastic containers with dividers that would separate each state from the others. When I get to $10 of a particular state, I roll them up, noting the date and what state this was and place the roll in a sturdy container. In keeping with my nerd-like tendencies, a journal is kept of each roll, with a graph of yearly totals. (2007 has single the largest total, 41, and South Carolina leads all individual states with a total of 20).

From humble beginnings, my fascination/obsession with these quarters has become known to many of my friends and of course my wife. She has faithfully turned over any she has received in change from the start. My kids are on board as well, each saving up ‘Dad’s quarters’ for when I get to see them in person. Some of my acquaintances from my old job still participate too.

Sadly, with the passing of time and as I  find myself doing more and more business online, the quarter supply has dwindled, to say nothing of the restrictions the Covid pandemic has placed on some of my discretionary spending, where getting at least one quarter in change is always a goal.

That being said, as of this writing, I have 416 rolls of these quarters in various boxes around our house (it is a good thing we do not have a basement, for they have gotten quite heavy!).

“What are you going to do with all these?” you might be thinking. My honest answer is that I don’t know. I have searched the internet for other ‘collector of bulk quarters’ like myself, but so far my search has come up empty. So until I find out, I can tell myself that I have the largest privately held collection of U.S Commemorative Quarters in the world! And if that claim doesn’t hold up, it is still a unique way to save some money.

So there you have it, Dear Reader, a quirky little insight into me. I hope it brings you a smile and a willingness to keep this going should you feel inspired to do likewise.

As always, be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

I Must be Having Fun

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“Times flies when you’re having fun.” We’ve all heard this and, hopefully, many have experienced it as well. I got to thinking about this old saying during my morning meditation time today. You see, today is rather important anniversary in my life: 29 years ago, May 3rd 1991, God placed me on the journey of sobriety. A journey He has kept me successfully on ever since. Let me start today by thinking Him for this inexplicable gift and life saving gift. I have been blessed by tremendous support from my wife, family and many friends over the years, but without God’s intervention, nothing would have been possible.

Nearly 30 years have, pardon the cliché, flown by in the wink of an eye. Hence my oft repeated phrase, ‘I must be having fun because the time is going by so quickly.’ I recall the earliest days of sobriety as I marveled at the men and women at AA meetings who spoke of their length of sobriety in terms of decades! Fresh from de-tox and rehab, those numbers seemed more like fantasy than reality. I can also recall thinking that if I were to reach those lofty heights of time away from I drink, I would be 60 years old. (Guess what Charles, you hit that number a few months ago!)

My message today is to encourage each of you to embrace the gift that today is. I realize that many, especially in these times, are struggling in ways never thought possible just a few short months ago. My prayer for you and me is that no matter what cards we have been dealt, we hold onto hope. Hope that not only brings a properly timed end to shutdowns, but also a hope that opens our eyes and hearts to the tender care of our Creator.

May these words from the Apostle Paul be a light in the darkness for you: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).

Relying on God’s strength can help you to do so much more than simply endure another day; it can make it possible to experience the joy and peace that only God can give. God’s peace is not restrained by our circumstance. It is abundant and can overflow into your life. Admit your need to Him, whatever it is, and God’s faithfulness will not only see you through but will lift you nearer to Him.

Give it a try and see if today doesn’t zip by in warp speed as the joy of life lived by the loving lead of God fills your heart and mind.

Thanks for reading,

Pastor Chuck

Of writer’s block and half-moon cookies

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Due in large part to a recent uptick in views, likes and followers of my blog (each of which I am very grateful for!), I have decided to make the effort to post things here more frequently than I have.  Initially, I have had plenty of ideas to get from brain to paper, as it were.

One downside to this that I had not anticipated was the time(s) when the idea tank would run dry.  Contemplating this today leads me to write a different type of blog this time.  As you know, Faithful Reader, I use this platform to promote the wonders of life as a follower of Jesus Christ.  At the suggestion of my wife Betsy, I entered the blog-o-sphere as a another means to get the Gospel message out.  I take this calling quite seriously, devoting the majority of my writing time to this end.

But facing the above-mentioned block today, I decided to use this space to let you get to know me a little more personally.  From previous entries I’m sure you are aware that I am married to a wonderful girl (my High School Sweetheart, no less), have two adult children, Kenny and Auger, of whom I am proud and share our home with a delightful Goldendoodle, Violet.

What you may not know about me, however, is my infatuation with half-moon cookies (though many other sweet treats will do in a pinch).  I have taken on the self-appointed task of finding the very best one of these favorites of mine (It’s tough work, but someone has to do it), by checking out local bakeries in the locales I visit.

Though I do not have an accurate count as to how many half-moons have dedicated themselves to my research, suffice to say it is more than a few.  This painstaking approach has covered a number of different states in our union and many cities and towns in my area as well.  To date, as I am always ready for more testing, the single best half-moon cookie I have ever eaten is made in a small bakery in Oswego New York.  Cakes Galore produces a light batter with the kind of ‘tooth-pain’ sweet frosting that I so love.  All those other establishments who have participated come in tied for 2nd place (I don’t want to hurt any feelings and who knows, my research may bring me back to one of them in the future.)

I often tell anyone who will listen, and even those who don’t, about my fondness/obsession with half-moons.  These discussions have spawned a second branch of research, that being how do you eat a half-moon.  For example, on what side do you take the first bite? On the chocolate or vanilla side. (I take my first bite right at the line where they meet).  Do you eat one side before the other? Or maybe you just randomly chow it down.  For me, I start at the dividing line and always eat the chocolate side first, saving the sweeter vanilla for last.  The folks who have responded with more than just a look of ‘don’t you have anything better to do’, run the gamut of responses.  My study has revealed no indication of any distinct pattern of half-moon cookie consumption.   I’ll will no doubt continue to ask folks as it is usually a good conversation starter in a coffee shop where I might not be known.

So let’s keep up the fun! How ‘bout you? Half-moon cookies: do you prefer white or chocolate cookie mix? Do you have a preferred order in which you enjoy a half-moon? Would you care to send me some? (Remember to delete that question before publishing.) My questions pre-suppose you like half-moons.  If you don’t, I’m sure there is a support group out there for you somewhere.

As always, thanks for spending some time with me,

Pastor Chuck