Tag Archives: Bradenton Florida

Issue 370 – Christmas Cheer

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 370     –     Dec. 4, 2017

Christmas Cheer

Ah, here we are. Another holiday season with both Christmas and New Years Day fast approaching. Amid the din of noisy TV and radio commerials and the ads packing each issue of our newspaper, there is still an opportunity now and then to push the pause button and reflect on what the Christmas season means to me and to our society.

Oh, sure, there are those who see Christmas as just a time for more than a “cup of cheer,” more like a keg of beer and pretzels and tacos. Their anthem is,. “Let’s party! And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

I was reminded recently about how a great many Americans and people in other cultures around the world still pause on Christmas to speak a word of kindness or to actually do a neighborly act for someone as a way of honoring the man Jesus who outgrew that manger in Bethleham and devoted his life to doing good for everyone.

On Saturday, November 17, 2017, we were guests of our son and his wife at whole day walking around Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. People were there for the amusement rides, the Christmas parade, the lights and the vast selection of food items. In addition, though, at about 1:30 pm we joined an overflow crowd (I’d guess about 500 people) who found seats in the beautiful theater there. And then we were all treated to a live play, a really fine production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Like many of you grey-haired or no-haired folks, I have seen several versions of that play. 

However, I must say that this production on that day was the best I’ve ever experienced. The actors were simply superb. The orchestra was magnificent. The sets were like candy for the eyes. And the audience, . . . well, they clapped enthusiastically at the right times and wiped their eyes, as did I, at the quiet and emotional moments. I was so glad I got to experience that production and to do so with family and friends. Despite the fridgid north wind and the occasional rain, I was overjoyed to be there. Again I was reminded that people really do enjoy good stories with good moral values — honesty, loyalty to family and friends, sacrificial love of dedicated mothers and fathers for their children, and that still wonderful bond of community between people of diverse backgrounds.

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On Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we were out kicking around with friends Michael & Penny Letichevsky. Since Peggy and I had outfitted in “Christmas colors,” we all stopped by the Desoto Mall in Bradenton for Penny to take a few photos to try to get one we could insert in a few Christmas cards.

This shot was a great one, by our standards, but it came in 2nd place.

2017--12--03 03B Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

The “1st Place” photo was totally unexpected. Ol’ Santa himself left his station where he was available for photos with kids . . . and sneaked up behind us and got into one of our photos. We love it, because we were blissfully ignorant he was right behind us and getting in on the fun.

2017--12--03 03A Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

Yep, as you can probably tell from the above photo, both Peggy and I have trimmed down considerably over the last four months or so. I feel better now than I have in many years. And prettier, too. Yuk-yuk.

2017--12--03 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Penny Letichevsky

And Now, . . . A Word About

Football

Sooners.

Yes, as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. They sport a record of 12 wins and one loss. And on New Years Day they will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the one-and-only Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later that night, the Clemson Tigers will play the Univerity of Alabama Tide. Then the winners of those two games will play for the National Championship.

2017--10--12 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

Congratulations to the OU football players, to their coaches and to their supporters — “the Sooner Nation.” I am of the humble, unbiased opinion that the Sooners will neuter the Dogs in their semi-finals game and will finally reign as the National Champions.

2017--10--13 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

After all, we have a not-too-secret weapon in our quarterback, Baker Mayfield, likely the next Heisman Trophy winner as the best football player in America, the world and our universe.

2017--10--10 Baker Mayfield, quarterback at Oklahoma University Sooners

Go Sooners!!

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 1 of 3

[Don Betts’ poem, Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale]

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 2 of 3

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 3 of 3

Bravo, Mr. Betts. Another amazingly creative and always linguistically challenging poem. Keep up the fine work, my dear friend.

2012--Christmas--tree--Blondie Cartoon--Dagwood trims the new tree--2012--12--16

[“Blondie” cartoon about an ugly Christmas tree and how Dagwood made it uglier.]

Christmas Trees Don’t Have To Be Perfect

To Be Beautiful

 By Curtis K. Shelburne

My earliest Christmas memories are mostly wrapped around our family’s Christmas trees.

 I remember Mom making creamy hot chocolate and my sister stacking the spindle of the old record player with an inch-high pile of vintage vinyl Christmas music by Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Norman Luboff Choir.

 Most years the tree had already been bought at (where else?) Amarillo’s Boy Scout Troop 80 Christmas tree lot. I was a member of Troop 80 and thus expected to help sell trees each year. My younger brother was not, but he was a wheeler-dealer sort who liked selling trees and often, as I recall, managed to pawn off more trees than most of the bona fide boy scouts. Jacob (I mean, Jim) always felt Jacob of old settled for far too little when he sold his hungry brother Esau that bowl of stew and only got a birthright for it. Jim would’ve held out for hard cash and then the birthright at the end as a balloon payment.

Christmas Tree-- imperfect trees are okay

[photo of a not-too perfect tree]

We’d lean the tree in the garage for a day or a few on its amputation-site stump in a bucket of water while it waited to be lit and glorified. Anchoring the tree in the stand was a chore. Jim and I would crawl under the scratchy boughs and slide around on our wood floor to turn each screw just the right amount. It was never straight the first time.

Then my 15-years-older sister, the unquestioned head honcho of the process, would ascend to perform the task of highest honor as she put on the lights (bubble lights, snowball lights, and all), a job in later years graciously bequeathed to me.

 Then we would hang the ornaments, a tedious task but nothing like as bad as the final stage in the process: hanging the icicles.

I don’t see those long, thin, silvery strands of foil or plastic, those “icicles,” on trees much anymore. I hope never again to have to put them on one of mine.

1940s Christmas tree - with lots of tinsels

[ photo of a 1940s style Christmas tree with lots of icicles]

According to my sister, they had to be hung with great care, one at a time. Ten million or so came in a box. You’d drag one out of the box and carefully place it over a tree branch. It was essential, my sister assured us, to start at the back near the trunk and make sure the icicle hung straight down on both sides of the branch. Straight down. No clumps. Which is why Jim’s preferred method of grabbing a paw-full of icicles and launching the whole wad in the general direction of the tree was sternly forbidden. No. One at a time. Until you froze there, died there, decayed there, and Christmas never came, and it was spring and you were still hanging icicles. One at a time.

 I don’t know what we thought would happen—apart from sure death—if we didn’t hang the icicles exactly right. Would Santa’s sleigh suddenly crash in flight and the FAA later determine and publish for the whole world full of weeping giftless children to see that the cause was icing—not on the sleigh but improper tree icicling by two Shelburne boys at 125 N. Goliad, Amarillo, Texas, whose wanton and reckless disregard had killed Santa?

I’m sure we never did it “right.” But I remember wandering into the living room as a little lad clad in those great PJs that came complete with feet, lying down almost under the tree, looking up through its branches, and drinking in the beauty.

By God’s grace, Christmas trees don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Neither do lives.

[Copyright 2011 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.]

  * * * * *

an-christmas tree

Christmastree-dog

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Poem 139 - The Truth About Santa Claus -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Feb 1, 1992

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “The Truth About Santa” ]

Poem 393 -- A Holiday Greeting -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Oct 13, 2014

[Stan Paregien’s poem, “A Holliday Greeting” ]

Poem 402 Christmas Time in Florida - by Stan Paregien Nov 14, 2014

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “Christmas Time in Florida” ]Poem by S Omar Barker - One Snowy Christmas Eve - in THE ROUNDUP for Dec, 1978, page 7
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “One Snowy Christmas Eve” ]S Omar Barker, 'The Cowboy's Christmas Prayer'
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer” ]

2017--12--03 06 Bradenton, FL - Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46 v10

[ “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ]

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Honor Roll of Visitors

to The Paregien Journal

http://www.paregienjournal.com

I enjoy writing, as all of you can attest. My first published article was in the student newspaper at the first college I attended, back in the fall of 1961. Since then I have had hundreds of articles appear in scores of different newspapers and magazines. And three hardback books, two paperback books and 15 eBooks later, I haven’t lost that drive to find ideas worthy of sharing with all of you.

There is something singularly satisfying about my little blogs published as the title of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL at http://www.paregienjournal.com. That satisfaction comes from knowing that on any given day there may be people visiting my site from all over the world. Instantly. Amazing.

I am pleased and thankful that – just since January 1, 2017 — people from 72 nations visited this web page. Heck, I don’t even know where many of them are on a map of the world. But here is that list as of Nov. 10, 2017:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to all those who live in other nations and have honored us with a visit to this site. We appreciate it very much. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m giving some serious thought to doing a series of profiles next year about each of the nations listed above. I’m start with the first three — Albania, Algeria, Andorra — and see how that goes. If you are from one of those nations  or can put me in touch with a knowledgeable person with first-hand, recent information, I’d appreciate a note to me at:  paregien@gmx.com . Thanks.

an-christmas-fiveCats

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And if you haven’t done so as yet, why not take a small gift or a dish of food to someone who is sick or lonely? You could certainly cheer them up. Then that person would be blessed and so would you, especially if you warmly and graciously offer to pick that person up in your car and spend maybe just an hour driving around looking at all the Christmas lights.

Until next year, Lord willing.

— Stan Paregien

2017--12--03 04 Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

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Some Punny Poems & More

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 339  –  July 25, 2016  –  Stan Paregien, Editor

2015--10--13   2167--N   Sedona, AZ  -   Stan Paregien and Don Betts -  copyrighted by Peg Paregien

Don Betts and I and our much better halves– Judy and Peggy — spent a delightful week together in Sedona, Arizona last year. But the point of this current issue of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL is to put down persistent rumors and to established beyond a reasonable doubt . . . that Don and I can do something other than sit around and look pretty.

Or not.

Well, we’re going to try, anyway.

Secondarily, we have had thousands of people begging on bended knees for poetry based on puns. 

Or not.

Mostly not. However, I kinda like ’em. Most of my are short and on the funny side. Anyway, kind of like indigestion, I sure feel better getting them out of my system. So I am including several here.

However, we begin with a poem by my dear friend Don Betts. The man is a remarkable writer and poet, especially considering the fact he never tried his hand at it until he was 82. So we lead off with his extremely appropriate poem titled “Conventional Confusion.” It is just in time for the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and that is what it is all about. And, as with many of Don’s poems, the last few lines jump up and bite you on the butt. You’ll enjoy it.

Or not.

But mostly you’ll enjoy it, I think.

Friends, the pilot has turned the warning light signifying that we are about to take off. It may be a bumpy ride, so please buckle up.

Betts, Don  -  Conventional Confusion  -- July 19, 2016

And then things kinda go down hill from there.

Poem 447   About Those Old Accountants  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Poem 448   Old Anesthesiologists  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Poem 449   Procrastinators and Death  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Betts, Don   --   Home, Sweet Home  -- April 29, 2015

Poem 450   Old Quilters Never Die  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 451   Aging Football Quarterbacks  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 452   Four Sets of Twins  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 460  The Warning Sign -- A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien 2016--06--28  - pun

Poem 461  Canned at the Cannery  --  A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-06-28  - pun

Betts, Don - Unproblematic Solution - July 16, 2016 - Matt 1 v1-17

Poem 462  Excuse My Confusionality --  by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-2016

Poem 463  The Deer Slayer - A Punny Poem  --  by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 464  Sausage Links - A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 465  How to Attract Women  - A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 453    A Cure for Chili's Main Problem   --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016Poem 456   What Happened to Customer Service  -   by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted 2016-06-16Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 1 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 2 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 3 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 4 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 5 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 6 of  6

Some of you know that Peggy and I recently spent ten delightful days in bonnie ol’ Scotland. The photo below shows us standing in front of our hotel in Ayr, Scotland.

Or not.

2016--07--07   03G  Calzean Castle -  S and P Paregien -  by E Sklair

Right, it ain’t our hotel. But we did visit there. And in the near future I hope to have many of our Scotland photos posted online. More about that another time.

Thanks for stopping by the ol’ bunkhouse to visit a spell. Y’all come back soon, ya hear?

— Stan Paregien Sr. (aka, “Cowboy Stan”)

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Issue 333 – Life in Florida, Part 3

Logo -- The Paregien Journal  -- 2016--05--09  03

Issue 333  –  May 9, 2016

Life in Florida, Part 3

We had a mixed-bag start to the New Year of 2016 here in Bradenton, Florida. Some good stuff and some, well, challenges. 

Early in February I went back on medicine for high blood pressure. Lisinopril, to be exact. And for the next six weeks I experienced severe headaches most of every day, plus constant fatigue, frequent dizziness and nausea. It was six long weeks of misery.  I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, but I kept thinking that surely this medicine was going to kick in soon and I would get better. Little did I know.

Finally, some medical experts here in our clubhouse (i.e., the gang we have coffee with each Saturday morning) convinced me that I ought to see a cardiologist.

Well, my cardiologist told me he began taking medicine for high blood pressure some 25 years ago. At some point he put himself on Lisinopril, . . . and had symptoms nearly identical with mine. So he immediately took me off the Lisinopril and put me on Benicar. Within a couple of days, I began to feel better as the headaches disappeared and I regained my energy. I still have a bit of dizziness, but I can control most of it by just not standing up quickly from a sitting position. Many of you know what I’m talking about. 

In March Peggy had surgery for a “hammer toe” on her right foot. She was incapacitated for a while, and I was forced at the point of a gun to go on dog patrol morning, noon and night. I’ll have to admit it was a “bonding experience.” That is, I’m even more bonded to my deeply held belief we really don’t need a dog. However, Peggy and Allie still out-vote me on that subject. 

2016--0375   March - Bradenton, FL -    Stan  Paregien and Allie  - by Virginia Corbin

Anyway, Peggy had very little pain for the first couple of weeks after her surgery. Then it started. And she is still experiencing some “needle-like tingling” in that toe. We did make it to the beach a week or so ago, but she was not quite ready to get into the Gulf water. 

Here are a few photos from this winter into spring.

2016--0268   March 17 - Bradenton, FL  -- The Recipe Box Eatery

This restaurant is a couple of miles from our house, to the east. It has a nice variety of items on the menue and the staff seem friendly and welcoming. If you’re in the area, give it a try. They have some breakfast specials which are are pretty good deal.

2016--0269   March 17 - Bradenton, FL  -- staff at Cooper; Family Medical

These are some of the folks at the office of our primary physicians. Peggy’s primary doctor is Dr. Catherine Cooper, while mine is her husband, Dr. Christopher Cooper. We have gone there since Jan. 1, 2014. If you’re looking for a primary physician, they have several from which to choose.

Here are a couple of write-ups which our neighbor, Virginia Corbin, did of some of our favorite folks here in Plantation Grove MHP. 

2016--0271  --  Bradenton, FL  --  Ralph Iacovacci and wife Eunice - by Virginia Corbin

2016--0272    April 1 - Bradenton, FL  -- article about Mike and Donna Damico by Virginia Corbin

2016--0277    Bradenton, FL  -  Peggy Paregien

I failed to mention that we bought that shawl on our trip to Ireland for our 50th anniversary in 2012.
2016--0279--B   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0280   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0281   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0282   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0284   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0285   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0286   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0287   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

2016--0288   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

A few weeks ago I was on Facebook and telling a friend about the scarcity of events in our area related to cowboy culture — i.e., cowboy poetry, cowboy storytelling, cowboy and Western music, etc. Then, wham bam, a few days later I saw an ad about a cowboy storyteller and poet going to me at the library in Palmetto, Florida. So we took another couple with us and enjoyed his program. Kinda makes me want to crank it up and get back on the ol’ cowboy poetry circuit. Kinda.

2016--0290   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0291   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet
2016--0292   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0293   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0296--A   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0301   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Shirley Overfelt

2016--0302   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Holly Woolums - Peggy Paregien

2016--0303   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Peggy Paregien and Judy Teeuwen

2016--0304   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Peggy Paregien and Mee Yean Chin
2016--0305   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Mee Yean Chin and Rick Dorricott

2016--0306  --  Bradenton,  FL  -- Charlotte Richardson

This is Peggy’s sister, a full-time resident of Indianapolis and a seasonal resident in a MHP on south Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. 

2016--0308  --  Bradenton,  FL  -- wild bird feeding

2016--0310  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Liz Terpstra and Tracy Carson  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0311  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Evelyn Sklair  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0312  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Jean L'Huillier  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0319  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Jean L'Huillier and Peggy Paregien

2016--0325   April 27  --  Obituaries for both the Republican and the Democratic Party  --  politics

What a wierd and wacky political world we have currently in the U.S.A. The Democrats and the Republicans have looked through their entire rosters of bright, new political stars to bring forward as their presidential nominees . . . and, instead , . . . they trot out two old geezers (I can say that because I are one) who are each egotistic, power-hungry bottom-feeders.  Lord, have mercy, is this the best and brightest that America has to offer? It is a sad state of affairs.

Several decades ago, now, I saw the two presidential candidates as totally unacceptable. So I wrote in my choice for a more intelligent, energetic and personable candidate: Mickey Mouse. Hey, I’m serious here. Ol’ Mick just might get my vote, again.

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The marathon travel season is coming nearer and nearer for Peggy and myself. Soon I will be flying to the St. Louis area to witness our son, Stan (aka “Gene”) Paregien Jr., and his lovely and talented wife Becky as they renew their wedding vows on their 30th anniversary. We are exceptionally proud of both their personal and professional lives. They are making a positive difference in the lives of people around them.

That same week my lovely wife, Peggy, is running away from our home. Okay, she is flying not running. A friend invited her to go with her–as her guest–on a ship cruise which lives from Barcelona, Spain and 12 days later ends in Rome. In between they are going to two or three more ports of Spain, then to Gibraltar, and on to Monte Carlo (home of the late Princess Grace), and then to Florence, Italy. 

We take a short breather here at home after she gets back. And then the two of us will fly from here to Toronto and then on to Glascow, Scotland. We will spent 10 days there with a friend who will not only be our host but also our guide to the best things to see and do on the western and central part of Scotland. That will be a really special trip.

Then in the early fall we will both fly north to the St. Louis area for the wedding of our #4 grandchild, Daniel Justin Paregien, and his girlfriend. A couple of days later, we fly from there to Greenville, North Carolina. That’s when my cousin and his wife will meet us and take us up to their time-share at a beautiful resort on Lake Lure.  Take a look at the Town of Lake Lure web site to get an idea of the strikingly lovely mountains and the lake:  http://www.townoflakelure.com/

Add to that a possible week-long trip to either Minnesota or to Wisconsin (two states we have not yet visited) and maybe, just maybe at least a one-week or more visit to Costa Rica, one of the jewels of Central America. We should be back in our little seaside shack in time to welcome back many of our snowbird friends from Yankee Land or even further up, in Canada.

All of that travel is dependent upon whether the Good Lord is willin’ and whether the creeks rise, as folks used to commonly say. Lot of truth in it.

Oh, by the way, if you haven’t already done so . . . , please go to the top right of this page and sign up to receive a free email to simply notify you each time I post an article.

Best wishes to one and all.

— Stan

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Issue 327 – Life in Florida, Part 3

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 327  —  March 3, 2016  

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 3

 2016--0178--B   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- sunrise by Peggy Paregien

Florida  -- in the winter  -- 032016--0178--C   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- Holmes Beach at Anna Maria Island   --   by Peggy Paregien

Florida  --  winter-clothes-in-floridaFlorida  -- in the winter  -- 01

2016--0178--D   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- Holmes Beach at Anna Maria Island   --   by Peggy Paregien2016--0178--F   Feb 8  -- Sarasota, FL -- Peggy Paregien with sister Charlotte Richardson2016--0179   Feb 09   Bradenton, FL  --  Don Bett's 84th Birthday - born in 1932 -- by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0180--B   Feb 17  air orchids -- Peggy Paregien2016--0189   Feb 20  Bradenton, FL  --  wild parrots by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0191   Feb 20  Bradenton, FL  --  wild parrots by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0191--B   Feb 22  Bradenton, FL  --  sunrise by Peggy Paregien

On to Tarpon Springs, Florida

2016--0192--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Hella's Greek Restaurant and Bakery --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0192--B   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Peg Paregien with Becky Paregien --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0194--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr, Peg, Becky  --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0194--B     Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Sr and Stan Jr - by Peggy Paregien girl2016--0195   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0196   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0197   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0200   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver, Stan Jr, Peg, Becky   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0202   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Becky and Stan Paregien Jr in front of sponge boat   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0203   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sign - I'm a flipflop kinda girl2016--0204--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien

The man, above, drove the boat and described the history of the sponge industry.

2016--0204--D   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--F   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--G   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--H   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--K   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0205   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Peggy Paregien2016--0206   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge - by Peggy Paregien2016--0208--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Becky and Stan Paregien JR - by Peggy Paregien2016--0209   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Peggy and Stan Paregien SR - byStan Paregien JR

Holmes Beach, Florida

2016--0211   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Becky - Stan Paregien JR at Holmes Beach -  by Peggy Paregien2016--0212--E   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--F   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--G   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--J   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--K   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--L   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--M   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--N   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--O   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--P   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--Q   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

Florida  -- in the winter  -- 02

2016--0212--S   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--02--19  Bradenton, FL Herald -- Tourism numbers still breaking state records -- page 1 of 2

2016--02--19  Bradenton, FL Herald -- Tourism numbers still breaking state records -- page 2 of 2

Looking for a little pad, maybe even close to the beach?

Houses for sale in Bradenton, FL in Feb, 2016

Well, folks, there are plenty of things to interest most any visitor to Florida. Most come here from October through May to experience our relatively warm weather when it is cool or even down-right cold in other northern states. Others come to watch most major league baseball teams getting in their spring baseball practices. Some nerdy folks like me really appreciate the historic areas of Florida, from the tip of Key West up to far northeast Jacksonville and far northwest Pensacola. There are museums and old mansions and graveyards that are centuries old. There’s the art deco part of Miami, the Cuban community of Ybor City within Tampa, the old fishing village here at nearby Cortez, and the quaint Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs (as you’ve seen, above).

So, whether your passion is in music, hiking, photography, swimming in the Atlantic or in the more sedate Gulf of Mexico, bicyling, horseback riding, sailboating, fishing, golfing, birding, stock car racing, space craft, antiquing and shopping thrift stores, . . . whatever it may be, . . . Florida certainly has an abundance of opportunities awaiting you.

Oh, by the way, please . . . pretty please . . .  take just a moment to regisiter your name and email address at my blog. We’ll automatically send you a simply email notice whenever I’ve posted an item here. Pretty neat, huh? And we do not share your name or email with anyone else.

Until next time, so long from . . . ah, yes . . . Paradise.

AAC  List of eBooks by Stan Paregien Sr  -  2016-02-06

AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01

End.

Issue 326 – Music: Language of the Universe

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 326  —  February 28, 2016 

Stan Paregien, Editor

Music: Language of the Universe

We had another “Music and Poetry Show” on Friday night, Feb. 19, 2016 at our clubhouse at the Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida. Back in December, we had 42 present. Then we had 62 folks here in January. And last night we rocked the house with 72 people gathered for a good time. They were not disappointed.

Our new Canadian friends–Tom White (percussion), Neil Blair (guitar and singing) and Roger A. St. Jules (lead guitar) –made a delightful night even better. Our regulars, too, were right on top of their game with Virginia Corbin reading her original poem and playing several songs on the piano, plus Paul Cox and Clay Landes and Rod Myers each playing their guitars and singing. Very nice, indeed. Our final show “of the season” will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, March 18th. 

Below are some thoughts about music and quite a number of photos of people in various parts of the world enjoying “the language of the universe.” I have scattered among these items a few photos from last night’s event. 

Pete Seeger quote -- music and mistakes

Live music and poetry are all about making mistakes and adjusting to the circumstances. When I was really heavy into performing my original stories and poetry at cowboy festivals around the western United States, we repeatedly saw even the best poets and musicians flub up right in front of God and everybody. We called it “gettin’ bucked off,” and part of the fun was watching how the person recovered and got back on track. Life is like that, too. Don’t let your mistakes get you down or cause you to quit. Suck it in, cowboy up, and get right back into this thing we call “life.”

1949--culture--music--forgiveness--family--Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey--Reminisce mag - Aug-Sept 2011, page 30

1958--culture--teenage girls--music--45 records--REMINISCE mag - Aug-Sept, 2011 - Page 31

Music -- traditional instruments in India --  about 1900

2016--0182   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Paul Cox

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Church -- music -- contemporary worship -- church organist cartoon

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.  — Martin Luther, would-be reformer of the Catholic Church and founder of the Lutheran Church.

Music -- gospel music -- I write modern worship choruses

1940--OK--McIntosh County--musicians at a square dance - by Russell Lee - Library of Congress

This was the entire “orchestra” at a square dance in somebody’s house in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, in about 1939.Photo by Russell Lee.

Cowboys--and-dance-party---01

Aging--041--Hi and Lois cartoon - records were groovy - 2012

Aging--Music---Dennis the Menace cartoon - 2012-09-01

2016--0183   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Roger A St Jules

Karl Alex Smyser Banjoy Band in about 1931

Aging--teenagers--radio--music---Zits cartoon--2012--07--12

Band---BromideOK--about1920

Band-getFamousBeforeQuitting

Band--novelty act

Music -- traditional instruments in Africa -- band - The African Children's Choir

Music -- a musician is ---

Musicians  -- Marriage and musicians -- Hagar the Horrible cartoon

Music - I don't always talk with musicians, but

Music - how to make a small fortune, start with a big one

Music -- traditional instruments in China  - 1878 painting by Settei Hasegawa shows woman playing the koto

2016--0184   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Tom White, Neil Blair, Roger A St Jules

Cartoon--Blondie--Mandolin Lessons--2012--02--29

musician-makingaliving

Music -- traditional instruments in Scotland -- band - Ceilidh Trail

Fiddler  --  a song in the heart cannot be denied  --  HOLY MOLE  cartoon for 2016--02--17

Music - entertainment - our band was old from the start

“Out of the mouths of babes”

Music - it's not that I'm old, your music really does suck

Music--challenges--courage---disabled violinist and broken string--2013--01--07

Music -- traditional instruments in Rwanda -- about 1973

2016--0185   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

Music--NormanRockwell--painting--barbershop

Music--turn down the volumn--Hi and Lois Cartoon- 2012-10-22

Poster -- sometimes music is the only thing that gets your mind off of everything else

2016--0188   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

2016--0188--B   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

Singing--child singing at a piano

Singing---quote--MayaAngelou

Working--singing--happy--cooking---Hagar cartoon--2012--11--22

Music -- cartoon - we removed the tune stuck in your head

Those who wish to sing always find a song.  ~Proverb

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.  ~William James

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.  — Billy Joel

2016--0186   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me–like food or water.  — Ray Charles, blind singer and piano player

Andres Segovia, the great performer and teacher of the flamingo guitar style, said: “Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”
Okay, my friends, that is it for this time. 
Those of you in our area, please remember that our next and last “Music & Poetry Show” of “the season” will start at 6:45 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016. We hope you’ll come and join the fun.
2016--04--18   Flyer 1 - Music and Poetry Show - March 18 -- 03
 
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END.

Issue 308 – Time Out for Halloween

Issue 308   The Paregien Journal    November 2, 2015   Stan Paregien, Editor

Here are a few photos from our Halloween Party last Saturday night at Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida. Maryann Lalonde and crew organized a nice potluck supper at 6 p.m. Then Kathie Locascio and crew orchestrated a fun dance time from 7 p.m. to almost 10 p.m.

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D.J. Multer, Virginia Corbin & Jini Morrow

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Halloween -- cartoon - bad costume for a nursing home visit

Halloween -- cartoon - dentists

Halloween -- cartoon - different by age group

Halloween -- cartoon - hand sanitizers

Halloween -- cartoon - hard times this year

Halloween -- cartoon - the really scary part

ROMANCE--DATING--HALLOWEEN----vampire cartoon---2012-10-28 1920w x 150dpi

Storytelling--Halloween--BroomHilda--2011

Halloween -- cartoon - Snoopy - Happy Halloween

We will get back to “Marco Rubio, Part 2” in a couple of weeks or so, if all goes well.

END.

Issue 306 — The Donald Trump Song

Issue 306      —    The Donald Trump Song  —  Paregien Journal —  Sept. 29, 2015

Gather ’round the campfire, kids of all ages, and I’ll tell you a tale.

You see, folks, there was this time out in the wild lands of “The Land of Enchantment” (also known as New Mexico) a young feller and his beautiful, young wife did some serious praying. They wanted to expand their family from dos (just the two of them) to tres o mas (three or more). So they snuggled up real close on some of those cold nights in Albuquerque. And on one very hot day in a hospital in Las Cruces (The Crosses) they had themselves a boy child.

1966-046 Poem-GodBlessYouMySon

Now, reckon what they named the little feller? No, it wasn’t George. Not Pedro. Not Barak or Gladamir or Tex. Nope. The little lady deferred to her creative husband and they named the innocent and unsuspecting blue-eyed, blond-haired baby . . . Stanley Eugene Paregien, Jr., but they called him “Gene.” That was way back just after the ancient oceans had receded from New Mexico and left it mainly high and dry. The day was September 30th. And that, friends and neighbors, is how Peggy and I entered the mysterious, frustrating, enchanting realm of parenthood.

1966-036-B --Stan - Peg Pargien -- Stan Jr -- LasCruces

Okay, I said all of that so Peggy and I can say this: Happy birthday to our favorite son (also our only son), Gene Paregien, known better after high school as Stan Paregien. Junior, that is. We love you a bunch.

1807 -- 2015--08--01 B11 Holmes Beach, FL -- Stan Jr, Bailee, Dom - by P Paregien

Another Great Country Singer Passes

Those of us who are members of OTDC (Older Than Dirt Club) fondly remember the wonderful harmony of a trio of singers called “The Browns.” That was Jim Ed Brown (baritone) and his sisters, Maxine Brown (alto) and Bonnie Brown (soprano). There was a brief note in our local newspaper (I used the term loosely) today that Bonnie Brown of Dardanelle, AR is in the final stage of lung cancer and that, . . . oh by the way, . . . Jim Ed Brown died of cancer back in June. Never heard a word about his passing.

So I found Jim Ed Brown’s official web site at:  http://www.jimedbrown.com/ .  

It was Maxine Brown who sorta pushed her handsome brother, Jim Ed, into show biz in Little Rock. Before long, she joined him on stage. And in 1954 Jim Ed and Maxine became part of the hugely popular “Louisiana Hayride” radio broadcast in Shreveport, Louisiana. That same year their catchy song, “Looking Back to See,” hit Number 8 on the country chart, and they were off and running fast. Sister Bonnie made it a family trio in 1955. 

The Browns -- Maxine, Jim Ed and Bonnie - he died June 11, 2015

It 1959 they made recording history when “The Three Bells” (also known as “The Chapel Bells Were Ringing”) crossed all kinds of music borders. You may watch them sing that song from a 1963 TV video now posted on YouTube [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTkbj56bnYs and then, just for old times sake, watch as senior citizens Maxine, Bonnie and Jim Ed sing the song in about 2008 at: https://youtu.be/EoU_Od2nJj0 . Still mighty nice.]. Their fabulous three-part harmony rocketed the song to Number 1 on the Country chart, Number 1 on the Pop chart and Number 10 on the Rhythm & Blues chart. The trio became members of the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1963, but just four years later broke up.

Jim Ed Brown continued to perform solo. He had a hit with “Pop-a-Top,” . . . but it just wasn’t the same. Then in 1976 he had the good fortune of forming a duet with golden throated Helen Cornelius. They had a Number 1 Country hit with “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You.” [ Watch them sing that song 32 years later, in 2008, in a TV video posted on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFpcR3GvmVc .]   And in 1977 they were named the Country Music Association’s Duet of the Year.

Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius -- 2

Many years later, in the late 1980s, I got to do a phone interview with Helen Cornelius. She was in her home in Nashville and I was in our studio at KSNY Radio in Snyder, Texas. She was a very personable and talented lady.

On March 25, 2015, the CMA organization announced they would induct Jim Ed Brown and The Browns into the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville later in the year. Unfortunately, the melodious Jim Ed Brown died of lung cancer on June 11, 2015. He was 81 years of age.

The Trump

The other night I watched as Donald Trump held court in another of his “Ain’t I Just Great!” interviews. His Highness, the only multi-billionaire in the contest to become the Republican party’s candidate for president, chants his matra that he alone has the business acumen to save we commoners. Not surprisingly, that is also the theme song being sung by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She would have us believe that, as a multi-millionaire, she knows the pain of the working class and if we elect her she will set all things right. My guess is she lies about other things, too.

But I digress.

Mr. Trump bangs his big drum — thump, thump, thump — for his favorite person. Himself. And that reminded me of a very old song that might work well for his campaign. It is, “I Love Me, I Love Me, I’m Wild About Myself.”  

I Love Me, I Love Me, I'm Wild About My Self -- 1922 - Jack Haley and Will Mahoney--Page 1

I Love Me, I Love Me, I'm Wild About My Self -- 1922 - Jack Haley and Will Mahoney--Page 2

2039 -- 2015--09--24 Snook, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness and hubby John - 25th Anniv

2040 -- 2015--09--24 Snook, TX - Stacy Paregien Magness and hubby John - 25th Anniv

1990--0003--Wedding--John Magness - Stacy Paregien - Snyder, Texas

They were a beautiful couple back in 1990, and they still are. Congratulations to Stacy and John, “The Magness Team.”

2017-B -- 2015--09--05 Sarasota, FL - Landes 50th Anniversary -- Clay Landes and Pat -- by Stan Paregien

We got to share this great moment with friends Clay and Pat Landes back on Sept. 5th., in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Amazingly, Clay’s parents back in Indiana recently celebrated their 75th anniversary. Wow. 

2035 -- 2015--09--23 Bradenton, FL - Smiths - Karin - Jean Pendergrass

We have known Jean Pendergrass (right; lives in Venice) for over two years. She marches to the beat of three different drummers, all at once and while chewing bubblegum. She is a super-nice and a super-active Christian lady. She and her new friend Karin (to her right) of Jamaica came for lunch at our home last week. Joining the party were new residents of Venice, Dr. and Mrs. Brian (Ruth) Smith, M.D..  Brian and Ruth (a retired R.N.) met in Africa while on their own respective Christian medical missions, and Africa is where they were married. They moved here from McAllen, Texas, where he served as an elder in their local church for the last 15 years or so.

Muslim Logic -- posted on the internet in 2015

Reynolds, Lisa -- The Hanukkah Stomp - REMINISCE, Dec-Jan, 2013, page 58

Logo -- Plantation Grove Notes -- 01

These next few items may be of particular interest to the residents in Plantation Grove Mobile Home Park, where Peggy and I hang our straw hats. 

2036 -- 2015--09--24 Ed Hutchinson and Stan Paregien by Virginia Corbin

Here are the birthday folks for October that I know about here in Plantation Grove Mobile Home Park:

Stan Paregien (2nd), Kent Abel (5th), Keith Carsen (10th), Peggy Paregien (13th), Holly Woolums (15th), Elaine Chartier, Ray Chartier, and Rick Dorricott.

2038 -- 2015--09--23 Peggy Paregien's 'Poopmobile'

As we say down here in Paradise, into each life some poop . . . er, I mean . . . some rain must fall. And we have had a lot of it (rain, that is) this summer and now into the start of fall. The best days are coming up fast, though, as we get slightly cooler days and less rain and more sunshine. Ah, yes, now I remember why we moved down here.

— END.

Issue 304 — Focusing on Jesus

Issue 304    —    The Paregien Journal    —    July 25, 2015

Focusing on Jesus 

by Stan Paregien Sr

I have chosen to devote this page today to some issues with our religious thinking and behavior. The articles which I have selected highlight the fact that, through Christian history, our God’s desire has been for us to focus our faith on loving Him and pleasing Him by loving others and caring for the needy and downtrodden.

Where we have all hit road bumps is in such areas as (1) erroneously equating Bible knowledge with personal knowledge of Him and His Son, Jesus; (2) creating creeds, rules and rituals and then dividing from any believer who doesn’t accept that package; and, (3) focusing our faith on our performance-based and knowledge-based religion.” That is, believing we are always “right” (and others always “wrong”) on understanding the Bible, on doctrinal clarity and correctness, and on moral perfection.

Religion  --  knowledge-based, cartoon 'You Might Be Wrong'

This evil spirit of sectarianism and arrogance has dishonored God. It also has divided believers into hundreds of narrow-minded groups who believe they, alone, are God’s people. And It has kept honest searchers for God confused and discouraged.

However, all is not lost. We must confess our failures and give up our do-it-yourself religion, and focus our faith on Jesus Christ as the only way to God’s salvation. Please keep these concepts in mind as you read the rest of this material. 

–SP

A  -   Bar  --  The Paregien Journal  -- brite blue, white and maroon  --  created by Stan Paregien   2015--06--20

Can Jesus Survive Religion’s Failures?

by Dr. Rubel Shelly

One of the great strengths of the Christian faith has been its ability to endure, accommodate, and use the cultural shifts across the centuries without losing its essence. Even in its most misguided forms, the Christian religion has continued to pass along its central message about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

People in the most abysmal of churches in the most corrupt of cultures still have been counted among the redeemed. There were people in a church Jesus pronounced “dead” whose names were still in his Book of Life (cf. Revelation 3:1-6). They had been granted divine favor on account of God’s great love and in spite of church inadequacies or their personal failures.

Some who have been kicked out of churches became more vitally engaged in the Kingdom of God for their sufferings – whether Luther or Tyndale or myriad individuals and groups whose names are unknown to us but precious to Christ.

Over the past 500 years, a type of institutional church has functioned variously as a club, nation-state, forensic society, and irrelevance – all too frequently obscuring the presence and activity of God in the world.

It taught the gospel as laws and steps, creedal statements and confessions. There was little tolerance for leaving anything unexplained and even less tolerance for persons who did not hail the explanation offered – contrived as it might have been – as conclusive.

The Christian faith was termed a “system,” and one’s place within that system was determined by an all-or-nothing attitude toward it.

When agreement on some fine point of doctrine was not forthcoming, individuals and groups felt free to break off and further fragment the body for the sake of maintaining doctrinal purity. Thus came the formation of literally hundreds of denominations and non-denominations, with each group believing there could be unity only when others renounced their error and embraced its interpretation.

Catholics have done it, and Protestants have too. Churches of Christ have been bad at it, and so have Baptists and Pentecostals. It’s everywhere! And the marvel of it all is that God has been working through those flawed forms and incoherent formulas to reach people, save people, and transform people.

“So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of himself and his fellow-preachers, “yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus.”

Religion hasn’t killed what Jesus started. When we cut through the forms and failings of church history and look past our own bungling, Jesus is still there.

[Published online on July 18, 2015 at http://www.gracecentered.com/jesus-survive-religions-failures.htm%5D

A  -   Bar  --  The Paregien Journal  -- brite blue, white and maroon  --  created by Stan Paregien   2015--06--20

All Human Beings Worship Someone or Something

By Curtis K. Shelburne

Copyrighted on Jan. 16, 20014

 Human beings are inherently religious. We will worship someone or something.

 Of course, some folks claim to believe in no god. Truth be told, the deity they refuse to bow before and direct prayers to is rarely a god of the “to whom the universe may concern” generic variety; it’s almost always the Judeo-Christian “God.” 

 Not even the small capital “G” God of truly off-the-rails “left of left, touchy-feely” religion and aging flower children (denying that wispy cut-rate deity must be as satisfying as denying the existence of a cumulus cloud), the God most atheists deny is the large capital “G” God of Believers, Bible-lovers, Baptists and such. God with a holy name. God who is a Person and not an it. The God they can deny and feel like they’ve accomplished something. The God they can slap in the face and feel like they’ve hit Somebody.

 The God many atheists spend their lives resenting (so much that they let themselves be defined by a resentment of Someone they don’t think exists) is often the God of their parents, or their childhood church, or some other group they think has been overly strict with them, potty-trained them poorly, or otherwise ticked them off. Atheism is payback.

 The God they deny is the God whose standards and rules are as real as the law of gravity, but gravity is confining, and they’ve decided to shake it off. Never mind that ignoring gravity on a globe governed by it is uphill business fraught with bumps and bruises.

 Most atheists are unable to espouse disbelief as quietly, as, say, a person who doesn’t believe in collard greens as food. No matter how sincere he is in his conviction that collard greens are a weed and not a food, he feels no particular need to found an Anti-Collard Green Society or take out a sanctimonious ad in the paper; he just doesn’t eat them, and, if you do, he may look down his nose at you, but it’s no skin off his snout.

 Atheists tend to be testy about disbelief. Agnosticism, a more honorable position I think, may partake of these self-righteous qualities, but is often less militant. In our culture, atheism is often an “in your face,” “up yours,” full-blown religion. Agnosticism is a question; atheism is a statement that seems to require, at the least, a raised eyebrow, a gaze down the nose, a snooty sort of disbelief. 

 But gods we will have, even if we toss out God. The psalmists made unmerciful fun of folks who carved statues carefully so they wouldn’t topple over, then put them on stands and worshiped them. But the god-makers the psalmists lampooned had more sense than modern pagans in business suits who worship only themselves and their 401k’s.

 A few decades ago liberals made fun of conservatives who worshiped a God with rules; now many of the same liberals worship rules with no God. They tack up many more commandments than ten. Lacking belief in an afterlife, they center on constricting this one, all in the name of salvation; it’s just that “salvation” is mostly about saving your body (no trans fat and no cigars ever, and don’t even think about taking a Coke can into a school cafeteria) or saving the earth (you never met a Bible thumper more self-righteous or blindly believing than a devout environmentalist so green his brain has molded).

 Human beings will worship someone or something. We may be sure of that. So . . . who or what will we worship? That’s the question.

[Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.Visit his web site: http://www.curtisshelburne.com ]

A  -   Bar  --  The Paregien Journal  -- brite blue, white and maroon  --  created by Stan Paregien   2015--06--20

Bad Religion

by Rubel Shelly

The bulk of the finest people I have ever known are devoutly religious. But some of the meanest people I’ve ever known are also among the most religious people I’ve ever encountered. I struggled for a long time to figure it out.

For example, one lady I grew to fear and avoid could quote more Scripture than just about anybody in our church. Little kids had better not touch her, though, or she would screech at them and make them cry. Her husband was a cowering little fellow who hardly ever spoke. I never wondered why.

A preacher whom I recall very distinctly had a withering wit that he turned on people to mimic, mock, or otherwise humiliate them. As I think back on it, the worst thing about that memory is that I sometimes laughed as he did it.

If you think I’m making it up that truly devout religious people can be mean-spirited and evil, just read the online comments made to stories in the New York Times or your local newspaper that speak positively about evolution or homosexuality. The invective is too harsh to reproduce here. Some of the comments even use profanity, assign the “godless evolutionist” to hell, or tell the “shameless perverts” that God will damn them at the Final Judgment.

I’ve read a few of those pieces that made me think the writer would kill somebody if he thought he could do it without getting caught. So is it his religion or his fear of the police that keeps him from doing something evil?

Nobody ever read one of those postings and thought the harsh language and judgment it contained helped them see Jesus. Understand his mission to the lost. Want to be his follower. Or give her a positive impression of his people.

So I think I’ve figured out the mystery: Religion can lead people to do hateful and wicked things to people, but loving and following Jesus never does.

Aren’t “religion” and “following Jesus” one and the same thing? Hardly! Religion is the system of beliefs and institutional loyalties one embraces, while following Jesus is the conscious imitation of the person one learns about in the Gospels. And the only people Jesus ever called names or declared in danger of hell were the most religious people of his time and place. They prayed, made pilgrimages, gave money, worshipped with pious looks on their faces, and quoted Scripture. They had no clue about the loving, compassionate nature of God.

Defending a pattern or system, proving my church is better than yours, or trumping my argument with your counter-argument breeds defensiveness. Makes tempers flare. Alienates friends. Starts wars. Makes people nasty. Breaks God’s heart. Following Jesus produces humility and keeps you from being mean.

Jesus never called us to be religious. He said, “Follow me.”

[Dr. Rubel Shelly is the chancellor of Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He writes a weekly online devotional called, “Good News: The Fax of Life” This essay was published  for the Week of September 29, 2014. A collection of his essays and sermons may be found at:  http://www.rubelshelly.com/default.asp ]

 

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Flowers -- Lavender fields in France - copyrighted by Antony Spencer - aka 'Erasmus T'

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“I’d Like To Try Being Spiritual But Not Religious”

By Curtis K. Shelburne

I’ve thought about it, and I’m pretty sure I’d like to join the cool crowd, the growing numbers of folks in our society who are button-bustin’ proud of being “spiritual but not religious.”

A good friend who reads a lot and, consequently, thinks a lot, pointed me to an interesting book the other day. Written by Lillian Daniel, the book is entitled, When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church.

 It’s strange, she says, that folks who are so “spiritual” they can hardly stand themselves, but proud as punch of never darkening the door of a church, nowadays feel such a burning need to “witness” to out-dated religious folks, particularly ministers, about the weaknesses of church and organized religion.

 Daniels says she’s never felt a particular need to educate every teacher she meets with the knowledge that she’s always hated math, or to inform cooks in her presence that she can’t cook, or to tell clowns she runs across that she’s always thought clowns were scary. But, for some reason, folks lock-stepping along to the popular “spiritual but not religious” tune feel a need to evangelize or poke the unenlightened old-fashioned.

 Well, except that I’d be unemployed, I might like to try joining the “spiritual but not religious” folks. I’ve long wondered if I was religious enough to be a preacher anyway. And I think I could be as practically “spiritual” as any of the popular crowd.

 I like birdies and sunsets. I like lakes and rivers (even more since ours here are all drying up.) I’m particularly fond of mountains and snow and sliding around in snow on sticks. If you want to find me looking “spiritual” and know it’s what passes for the real deal and not just intestinal gas, catch me on top of a mountain in the snow.

 I’m sure I’d like sleeping in a good bit more on Sunday mornings than I get to, which is, sadly, almost never.

 I’m certain I’d like not giving tithes and offerings. I’d be willing to try mentally assenting that all blessings come from God but never being thankful in a way that involved much painful check-writing.

 But I think I’d miss a lot.

I’d miss joining my heart and voice and prayers with others so that faith becomes a river and not just a dried up trickle.

 I’d miss being encouraged alongside others of the centrality of Christ and his cross and what his people have always held most deeply meaningful and true and dear. 

 I’d miss being a genuine part of a fellowship of folks who love me and mine as family and laugh with me, cry with me, live in hope with me.

 I’d miss being part of something bigger than me and the flavor or style I happen to like best at this moment. I’d miss the opportunity to follow a crucified Lord by at times crucifying my own desires so that others in his body might be blessed.

 I’d miss being a real part of a group called to follow an unchanging Lord and his will rather than being led around the nose by society’s latest always-changing opinion polls.

 I’d like to try being spiritual but not religious. I just have a really bad feeling that, the more folks who try it, the more we all lose. Come to think of it, it’s being religious and not just spiritual that forces me to believe a genuinely inconvenient truth: I need to care about how my decisions affect others and not just me.

[ Copyright 2013 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice. Visit his website at http://www.curtisshelburne.com ]

 

A  -   Bar  --  The Paregien Journal  -- brite blue, white and maroon  --  created by Stan Paregien   2015--06--20

No Mexican Jews?

Author Unknown

 

Two old Jewish men, Irv and Abe, are sitting in a Mexican restaurant one day. Irv asks Abe, “Do you know if any people of our ancestry were ever born and raised in Mexico?”

Abe replies, “I don’t know, let’s ask our waiter.” 

When the waiter arrives, Abe asks, “Are there any Mexican Jews?”

The waiter says, “I don’t know senor, I ask the cooks.” He returns from the kitchen after a few minutes and says, “No senor, the cook say no Mexican Jews.”

Abe isn’t satisfied and asks, “Are you absolutely sure?” The waiter, realizing he is dealing with “Gringos” replies, 

“I check once again, senor,” and goes back into the kitchen. While the waiter is away, Irv says, “I find it hard to believe that there are no Jews in Mexico. Our people are scattered everywhere.”

The waiter returns and says, “Senor, the head cook, Manuel, he say there is no Mexican Jews.”

“Are you certain?” Abe asks again. “I just can’t believe there are no Mexican Jews!”

“Senor, I ask EVERYONE,” replies the exasperated waiter.  “All we have is Orange Jews, Grape Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews and Apple Jews, but no Mexican Jews.”

[From Johnnie Benson Ward (Bakersfield, Calif.) on Feb. 14, 2015]

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Bible Study - kids - FAMILY CIRCUS CARTOON  2015

[The copyrighted cartoon, above, is used for educational purposes, only.]

Bible Interpretation--Jesus--Listen up

Reading the Bible in Churches of Christ

 By Patrick A. Mead

 In the churches of my youth the Bible was read several times during each worship period. A passage would be read before communion (usually First Corinthians 11:23ff or a portion of Isaiah 53), another before the sermon (usually a few verses that were part of the text being used by the minister), and during Bible class where we used the text as you would a “Wordsearch” puzzle, finding answers to fill in blanks in our class workbooks.

Scripture was considered holy and perfect. It was a rule book and quite a complex rule book at that, full of hidden laws, man traps, and gotchas for those not schooled properly in how to “rightly divide the Word.” We were certain we had found the proper method of interpreting it and most of us made it through high school with a dozen or so passages etched in our minds – proof texts to keep us on the straight and narrow. All of this was done by well meaning, honest, good hearted people who devoted their lives to serving Jesus the best way they knew how and I will owe them the rest of my life.

But…there were problems, problems we never talked about and were never encouraged to ask about. For me, it all started with lasciviousness and the Moabites. But I’m getting ahead of my story…

We were told that the Bible was dictated by the Holy Spirit, word for word, to holy men who wrote it down just as they were told and then other holy people preserved those words perfectly, exactly for us in our Bibles. One illustration on how God dictated every single word – told to us by more than one preacher – was the story of Balaam and his donkey. The donkey, when beaten by Balaam, turned to the prophet and told him that there is an angel blocking the path. Balaam doesn’t seem to be surprised that his donkey is speaking to him but that isn‘t the point. The preachers told us that God made the donkey talk and gave him the very words he was to speak. “He didn’t just tell the donkey to talk to Balaam and put it in his own words” they said and we all laughed.

The problem came later when some of us read the parts of the Bible we never read in church or Bible class and when others of us studied how the Bible came to be written and then gathered in the first place. While those two items alone were enough to knock us silly and cause us to question what we’d been taught (and which may be why we lose so many of our teens once they leave the nest) we can’t fully explore either of them here. Allow me to give a few illustrations of the problem and a possible solution and then allow you and the Spirit of God to take it from there.

Remember I said that it started with lasciviousness? We were told that God condemned it but we’d never heard the word before. It’s a great word, a wonderful old King James word and we were told it was why we weren’t allowed to dance or go to our prom (even if we refrained from dancing and “just watched”). Tracts – small booklets available in racks in our foyer – told us about the dangers of dancing and each made the point that the word “lasciviousness” meant dancing and since God condemned it, we shouldn’t even want to dance.

When I was 13, I overheard some older teens doubt this wisdom from the elders and I was offended at their questioning of the faith. My father had an extensive library (I’d read over half of it by then. It was a requirement in our family) so I spent a day going through Greek and Hebrew lexicons, thesauruses, and commentaries…and was devastated at what I found. It became plain that one could dance in a lascivious manner but the word most certainly did NOT mean “dance” and, in fact, most dances in the Bible were in honor of God and He didn’t care for anyone who disapproved of them. If I was being lied to about THIS…what else was I being told that wasn’t true? I tried to ask a question about this twice and the fierce reaction I received from my father and, later, a Bible class teacher taught me to never ask questions again.

After spending time in agnosticism, I came back to God because of the intricacies in the human brain (I eventually became a psychotherapist and neuroscientist). I wanted to be a deist but I just wasn’t sure if that was a safe option… So I did something I had never done before: I read the Bible and paid attention. I wasn’t looking for rules or patterns or ways to prove other religions wrong. I just wanted to read it and see what it said.

And here’s the thing: I wasn’t alone. I have since found a very large number of Church of Christ members have been doing the same, many of them for much longer than I. Fact is, I was a bit late to the party.

As a church without a bureaucracy, we can change our direction much faster than other religious tribes. And when the younger generation came up and took its place as leaders, it brought with it an honest look at some scriptures we had never dealt with before (or swept aside with a “things were different back then. Just trust God. He must have had His reasons”). It wasn’t just the young preachers passing on a different way of viewing scripture: we had Cecil Hook, Leroy Garrett, Carl Ketcherside and many others who’d been cast out of fellowship by most of our churches but who kept writing and living lives of faith and love. We read their stuff and it changed everything. At least it did for me.

That’s why I wanted to mention the Moabites. They are merely one of a couple dozen examples I could bring up but since this is a blog and not a book…

If you carefully read the Old Testament you would be excused for being confused about God’s view of Moabites. In Deuteronomy 23:3-6 they (and the Ammonites) are expressly barred from the assembly of God. They are unsaveable and unconvertible – even to the tenth generation. If you had a single Moabite ancestor even nine generations back, you were forbidden from coming into the assembly or worshiping with the Jews. This wasn’t a temporary rule – it is recalled and enforced in Ezra 9, Nehemiah 13 and elsewhere.

God goes after the Moabites again in Isaiah 15-16, Jeremiah 48-49:6, Ezekiel 21 and 25, and Zephaniah 2:8,9.

But then we have the Book of Ruth. And she was a Moabite woman who was not only loved and protected by a Jewish man, he married her and she became the king’s grandmother and a grandmother of Jesus. Whaaa?

We have God telling the Hebrews to kill everyone in Jericho but they save a prostitute (I am interested in how they ended up at her house but that’s beside the point) who lied to protect them. Later, she married a Jew and she, too, enters the line of Jesus. Seriously? That seems to go against a lot of Deuteronomy and Leviticus…

Then we see Jonah. It isn’t about the fish/whale – it’s about God’s love for people that a lot of His followers hated. They were convinced God wanted the Ninevites and all other foreigners dead or banished. Instead, God sends them a prophet and forgives then when they repent, changing the decree He had made against them earlier.

It seems that God’s dislike/hatred of Moabites was overstated. At a minimum. And that changes the way we read scripture.

Skip to the New Testament and you find Paul saying a couple of things to the church in Corinth and Ephesus that people use to overrule other things he says about women in leadership and teaching. People ignore his conversational remarks and lists of workers, teachers, and leaders and go for what looks like rules and I understand their motivation; that was the way I was told to read scripture, too.

So how do we deal with the fact that Philip’s four daughters preached alongside him or that Junia was an apostle or that Phoebe is the only person in scripture expressly titled a deacon?

I haven’t figured it all out yet but I find one story very helpful: The Trans-figuration. Jesus is praying when Elijah and Moses show up. The apostles are overjoyed – this is their entire Marvel Comic universe showing up, their pantheon of heroes, their fearless leaders! They want to build altars to them but God’s voice thunders and indicates Jesus, NOT the representatives of the law and the prophets. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

I – and a great many in the churches of Christ along with countless others in other religious traditions – now see the Bible as a narrative, not a rulebook. It is our story that points us to Jesus. When I get confused by Deuteronomy or Joshua or Paul or James I remember: go back and listen to Jesus. Hear him.

My path out of deism and into faith in Jesus had many steps but none so important as my decision to read the Gospels over and over for six months. It was easier back then to maintain an electronic-free room but I believe it is still worth the effort to do so. Go in there and read the story of Jesus again and again. Get to know his voice. As Hebrews 1 says, Jesus is what God looks like, sounds like, IS like.

The Bible is a finger pointing to Jesus. I love the Bible but I love Whom it points to even more.We are, after all, the Church of Christ – not the church of those other guys.

[November 17, 2014; from Re-examining How We Read the Bible; found at: http://wineskins.org/2014/11/17/reading-the-bible-in-churches-of-christ/    Dr. Patrick Mead preaches for the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Franklin, Tenn. A scientist by education, he holds doctorates in psychology and psychoneuroimmunology. Patrick he comes to faith by a different path and looks at scripture with a different lens than that used by most ministers. Remaining active in his field, he works with various police agencies as well as federal and international law enforcement agencies as a trainer in ethics, leadership, and avoiding burnout or PTSD. He helps several churches a year restructure their leadership, vision, and programs to better match the world in which they find themselves.]

2015  --  Christian Appeal magazine -- Part 1

To call them “The Legendary Shelburne Brothers” may sound like I’m introducing a country music band or referring to a family in the Texas Mafia. Nope. They are, in fact, highly respected ministers — B. Shelburne, Gene Shelburne, Jim Shelburne and the relative baby of the bunch, Curtis Shelburne. They are the sons of the late preacher and educator, G.B. Shelburne, Jr. I was quite fortunate to have G.B. as my Bible teacher at the Amarillo Bible Training Work over 50 years ago.

Anyway, these four have distinguished themselves in many ways and over the years their respective ministries have blessed thousands of folks around the world. Two of these men, Gene and Curtis, are particularly gifted speakers and writers. And the religious journal shown above, THE CHRISTIAN JOURNAL, is their publication. These two gentlemen, like their esteemed father, work in a very conservative wing of their denomination. Yet they have been steady voices advocating (1) the appreciation of what other belivers in other groups are doing for Christ;  (2) the need to expand our vision of who is a Christian; and (3) the command of Christ that his followers walk in unity.

So I highly recommend that you write to the address below and request your own FREE SUBSCRIPTION. Or as they say in Texas: “It don’t cost nuttin’; it’s plum freeee-ah.” Okay, okay. I exaggerated that accent just a week bit. But it really is free because other people who believe in that ministry provide support for it. Try it, you’ll like it. 

2015  --  Christian Appeal magazine -- Part 3

Oh, hey, also check out the magazine’s new and improved web site at:  http://christianappeal.com .

2015  --  Christian Appeal magazine -- Part 2

2015--03   The Christian Appeal -- Page 2

2015--01--16   Islamic reformer, lashed  -- torrorism, Saudi Arabia

One of the most thoughtful, insightful, influential and loving men I have ever known has stopped writing articles for the first time in some 76 years. Dr. Leroy Garrett, a retired university philosophy professor, is now 96 years of age and his body has just about wore complelely out. I first discovered Dr. Garrett’s soul-companion, W. Carl Ketcherside, and his “MISSION MESSENGER” magazine in 1963 as a ministerial student at Lipscomb University in Nashville. He was an outspoken advocate of Christian unity. I began to correspond with him and, then, discovered a similarly focused magazine, RESTORATION REVIEW, published by Dr. Leroy Garrett. Those two men were God’s instruments to liberate this wet-behind-the-ears, narrow-minded kid from the idea that folks in our little religious group were right and anyone who didn’t agree with us was not only wrong but on a greased slide right to hell. Yikes! Sad, but true. Anyway, I have loved those two men since that time. Carl died decades ago, and Leroy cannot be far behind. 

A mutual friend, Edward Fudge, broke the news about Leroy’s retirement from publishing this way in his email on June 17, 2015:

“LEROY GARRETT SAYS GOODBYE — After many decades of consistent written ministry, Leroy Garrett has said his last goodbye and laid down the pen. The old warrior and iconoclast for Christ, 96, mentor to many of us who came after him, announced in his bulletin for last Friday that fatigue due to “old age” required him to call his bulletin two weeks ago his last.

“‘My fatigue is often so bad that I can hardly get to my bed,’ he wrote, ‘and I feel like I must be dying. If that be the case, so be it. Our time is in His hands, the Psalmist assures us. Among my 485 essays is one on ‘the Abolition of Death,’ one of my favorites and which is a testimony of my faith. ‘I do not like goodbyes,’ Garrett wrote, ‘but I do like farewells, a meaningful felicitude. May you fare well, right into God’s tomorrow.’ Garrett said that he saved his last sentence ‘for the one that matters most: God loves you and I love you.’

Dr. Bob Lewis has put practically all Garrett’s writings online–the menu is found at http://www.leroygarrett.org

A  -   Bar  --  The Paregien Journal  -- brite blue, white and maroon  --  created by Stan Paregien   2015--06--20

Here is another interesting tidbit, dated June 10th, from Edward Fudge:

“A PLACE IN HISTORY — Finding their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Churches of Christ, edited by D’Esta Love (ACU Press, 2015), 254 pages. This new book not only relates history, it also makes history, preserving sermons of 29 women from Churches of Christ, a new notion during the past 100+ years among this fellowship, although its earliest days saw more than one woman evangelist on the American frontier.

“The editor was Pepperdine University’s first chaplain, and I applaud Pepperdine for leading the way in that regard. A more personal point of interest to me is that four of the 29 women who speak for God here had direct connections with Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, my church family now for 33 years, one of whom is my daughter. I can speak with personal experience from the inside, therefore, in saying that the motivation and rationale for welcoming the word of God from our sisters can be (and for many of us, is) based on long, thorough and prayerful study of scripture. (Perhaps more on that later.) That led us in turn to welcome preaching and teaching based on divine giftedness and not on gender.

“Read these sermons and hear–not just women speaking–but women speaking messages from God, given (as always) to build up bind up, and stir up his sons and daughters alike. To order, go to http://www.acupressbooks.com/ “

Logo  -- Stan's Footnotes from Florida  --  01

We are on our way to becoming a light on a hill here in Bradenton. Okay, that is an insider’s joke because we have no hills here or anywhere in Manatee County. Apparently our County Commissioners never saw a development they didn’t adore. They admit our city street capacity is at least ten years behind the population growth, and the best advice our Transportation Director has is “You better get used to it.” 

While we are not a light on the hill, we may be headed toward underwater lighting. Here’s the deal. A nurseryman-turned-developer is asking approval to convert his 1,300 acres of farm land in . . . the flood plain . . . of southwest Bradenton to a “mixed use community” featuring 6,500 residential units . . . and 1 million square feet of retail space . . . and 2 million square feet of commercial space (which includes the building two hotels with about 250 rooms each). 

I don’t get it on several levels. First, I don’t get in on the sea level. There is precious little “high ground” (i.e., not within flood level) in the Bradenton. We had no clue about elevations when we bought here two years ago, but our community is not within any designated flood zone. That was simply blind, dumb luck on our part. Very few areas in Manatee County are so fortunate.  Most other areas are in danger zones for potential flooding, to one degree or another. We have been here for two years and I have watched with amazement as developers have built homes and businesses on low ground. Amazing.

I also don’t get why County Commissions don’t blow the whistle on development/growth until street, water, sewer and electrical infrastructures catch up. Actually, I suspect the answer is pretty simple: more tax revenue from new homes and businesses, plus the glory of running a hot-growth county. If they would restrict growth for two or three years, and then force the developers to pay for the installation of all such future infrastructure, then it would be headed toward commonsense growth. Right now it is as crazy and wild as living in California during the 1849 gold strike. It’s nuts.

Alzheimer's Disease and Senior Sexuality -- Philadelphia Inquirer -- 2015

 Oh, by the way, please take a moment to sign up for your “Free Subscription” by simply putting your email address in the box at the very bottom, center of this site. Once you do that, you’ll get an occasional email each time a new entry is made.

If you want to make comments on this site, and you’re welcome to do that, you simply need to register under the heading “Register.” It’s that easy. We’d really like to hear from you.

And, as the rumpled police detective Columbo often said, . . . “Just one more thing.”

I also edit and publish a new web site called STORYTELLING DIGEST.COM  (http://www.storytellingdigest.com). This last week I’m been tweeking it quite a bit, dealing with some technical issues. I think I’ve got that under control. Please take a look at it. If you would like to contribute a storytelling short article, a storytelling photo or poem or video, please read the “Submissions” page and send a couple of things to me at the email address you’ll find there.

Thanks, friends, for stopping by my little virtual living room. Come back, again.

End.

Issue 278 – Mandolin Orchestra and More

Issue 278    —    The Paregien Journal    —    May 1, 2014

Mandolin Orchestra and More

by Stan Paregien Sr.

When was the last time you went to a concert featuring a “Mandolin Orchestra?”

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Peggy and I had never been to one, either, until recently. That’s when we drove to nearby Sarasota to watch the “Sarasota Mandolin Orchestra” perform. They were great. The audience at the main library numbered about 200 people.

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 The orchestra had five or so “standard” mandolins, plus an “alto” mandolin and a “bass” mandolin. They also had three guitars in the group.

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A few months ago the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota, where we are members, was in negotiations with Florida Power & Light and a private solar energy company. We agreed to have the private company install a mass of solar panels on the west side of the roof of our building. That private company, managed by some strong Christian folk, asked if we would like to have the solar panels (blue, above) installed so as to display a Christian cross on the roof. Our leaders thought that was a terrific idea and thanked them for the suggestion. What you see, above, is the result — a Christian witness to anyone flying nearby. We are anticipating the panels will reduce our monthly electric bill by about $250.

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2014 -- 0402--A  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach - map

2014 -- 0402--C  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach 2014 -- 0402--D  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach

2014 -- 0403  Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0404 Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0405 Sarasota, FL - Lido Beach - sail boat - by Peggy Paregien

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2014 -- 0418   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0419   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0420   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0421   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0422   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0423   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0424   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0425   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - fishing dock - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0426   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - house - by Stan Paregien 2014 -- 0427   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - house - by Stan Paregien

2014 -- 0428   Bradenton, FL -- Longboat Key - tree with yellow buds - by Stan Paregien

This tree early in the spring put on yellow flowers. (Longboat Key)

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Easter Sunday – April 20, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Peggy and I went out to eat on Easter Sunday. We went to Cody’s Roadhouse in Bradenton with Kent and Marilyn Abel and Kent’s sister, Kit Humphry (all residents here at our MHP). Kent and Marilyn were celebrating their 41st anniversary. Our congratulations to them! 

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Kent with our waiter, Daniel                                                            This osprey was nesting on the top of a nearby light post.

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Poem 366--B  Those Unlovely Lovebugs - by Stan Paregien -- 2014--04--29  Graphic 2

2014 --0586   Sarasota, FL - Hispanic roofer wearing sombrero  --  April 22 - by Peggy Paregien

It is not everyday you see a roofer wearing a full-sized, color sombrero. But that is exactly what Peggy saw and caught on her Iphone down at Millie’s Restaurant in Sarasota the other day.

Friends, I must go. Duty calls.

Well, the sea siren calls. It is another sunny day in Paradise and supposed to get up to 88 degrees. So we and our two guests from the North Country are heading for the beach.

See ya,

Stan

Issue 277 – Coquina Beach . . . and More

Issue 277    —    The Paregien Journal    —    April 29, 2014

Coquina Beach . . . and More

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Hello friends and neighbors:

Well, I guess another senior moment reared its head a few days ago. That’s when I intended to post “#13  We Get Visitors” on my “Stan’s Paradise Report.” And I did post it there, but . . . WordPress in its infinite wisdom actually posted here on my “Paregien Journal” blog.

Then just now, I again tried to post (what you see now, below) to that “Stan’s Paradise Report” blog and, . . . Bingo! . . . it, again, posted the info on my “Paregien Journal” file.

Okay. The internet gods are working against me, here. I’m much more frustrated by all this that I want to be. So . . . , I will abandon the “Stan’s Paradise Report” blog and just combine it with “The Paregien Journal.” Now I’m probably telling you more what what you want to know.

So let’s just move ahead.

Meanwhile, here in Paradise . . . 

I want to share with you some photos from last week (Friday, April 25th) when we spend from 5 pm to dark (8 pm) at lovely Coquina Beach some 7 miles or so from our house here in Bradenton. The air temperature was about 83 and the water temperature was 77, a few degrees below “comfortable” for us. But it is getting there. And we did actually get into the water for a while, making it our first swim in the Gulf for 2014.

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Miss Peggy as she was about to rise and shine and go looking for sea shells. Say this six times real fast: “She was searching for sea shells among the sea gulls by the sea side.” Yeah, I couldn’t do it either.

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Guy illegally fishing in the public beach area. He is not a good “poster child” for other fishermen.

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I stepped up close to a tree at the edge of the beach to get a good shot of the beach. And, lo and behold, I was staring right into the beady eyes of this little character up on a limb in that tree. He/she was busy chewing on a peanut and didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence.

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Another beachcomber. Note the sweatshirt. This photo was taken some time after 6 pm. The ocean breeze had picked up and the temperature dropped considerably. By 7 pm I was looking for a pair of long pants but, alas, I was out of luck.

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You remember Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, don’t ya? Bob and the boys had a big hit with a song called, “Faded Love.” And a part of one lyric says, “As I watched the mating of the dove.” Well, we didn’t see any dove mating on the beach. The this pair of seagulls was getting with the program, as were several other agitated and noisy, dancing birds. Hmmm. 

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Shhhhh. This old guy thought he was the only one on the beach. Hey, wait, that’s me. Sad, but true. I was deep in meditation about the mysteries of life. Well, that’s my story and I’m keeping to it.

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Well, folks, that’s about it for today here in Paradise.

We have two visitors coming down from the North County on Wednesday. They will be staying about a week, so we will no doubt have some more photos to share about life here in Florida.

— Stan

Issue 275 — We Get Visitors

Issue 275    —    The Paregien Journal    —    April 25, 2014

We Get Visitors

by Stan Paregien Sr.

There’s a joke down here in Paradise to the effect that only after you move here do you suddenly become popular with those relatives who refused to speak to you for years, and with those high school classmates you thought had died years back, and with friends of your friends who stop in to give you your friend’s best wishes.

As I said, it is a joke. But it is only funny because there is an element of truth in it. This is a Big Tourist State with loads of things to see and do, so people do seem to flock here to see the new resident in town. And, hey, that is okay with us. Peggy and I are people persons, so we enjoy seeing our family and friends from far places, even friends of our friends. Those in that last category, however, we limited to a two-night stay. 

Here are some of the folks who have blessed us with a visit since we moved here:

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Glenda & James Cotton with Stan & Peggy Paregien at the Ringling Mansion & Museum

in Sarasota Florida on Oct. 25, 2013

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We tend to go a little crazy when guest come. Glenda Cotton and Peggy

are shown getting a little carried away.

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Woody King (Peggy’s nephew) with his wife Lisa and baby Ella.

The Kings are from the Portland, Oregon metro.

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See, Santa came all the way to Florida to find us. Bet ya didn’t know that when ol’ Santa Claus crosses the border into Florida, he gives up the sleigh and reindeer for a golf cart. In this case, Santa and his helper are former Kentuckians Gary & Holly Woolums

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Phil and Kay Coldiron are from the Oklahoma City metro area.

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The Allen Sisters (Indianapolis, Portland & Bradenton)

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Muriel & Jerry Paregien with Stan & Peggy Paregien at St. Petersburg, Florida on March 2, 2014.

Jerry, Stan’s cousin, has always been more like the brother Stan never had. They live in Tennessee, 

but we are trying to get them to see the error of their ways and to move down here to Paradise.

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Daniel Paregien with his parents, Stan Jr. & Becky Paregien in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 10, 2014

They are from the St. Louis area.

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Here Daniel and I are at the Classic Car Museum in Sarasota, sitting in a “Flintstones” cartoon “car.” When Stan Jr. posted this photo on his Facebook page, Peggy’s outlaw nephew in Indianapolis, Terry Gardner, commented: “It is nice to see Stan Sr. back in the kind of car he used to drive in high school. I’m thinking about suing Terry for elder abuse, except he was about half-right. 

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These were two visitors to the music jam we had at our house when Stan Jr., Becky & Daniel were there. Abe Guillermo is a native of Hawaii and as a 9-year old, stood on his family’s hillside farm and watched the Japanese pilots bomb Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He lives near Gainesville, Florida now. He and Jean Pendergrass (at right, from Venice, Florida) attended Florida (Christian) College in Tampa during the 1950s and have been friends ever since.

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Note these honorary old people playing shuffleboard. Back home in Illinois, they sorta poo-pooed this “Sport of the Kings” (very old Kings), until they came down here and actually played it. They liked it and came back for more. This Becky and son Daniel deciding on a strategy . . . or something or ‘nother.

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Daniel Paregien, Stan Jr., Becky, Peggy and Stan Sr. are shown here as they were getting ready to get on a Marina Jack’s ship in Sarasota to take a dinner cruise of Sarasota Bay. The food was great, the company was wonderful and the sunset was spectacular.

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So, boys and girls, this ends our little storytime about life in Paradise. Well, at least it ends this chapter, and with a magnificent sunset to boot. Thanks for dropping by. More later.

Issue 271 – Paregien’s Bed and Breakfast

Issue 271    —  The Paregien Journal    —  March 17, 2014

Paregien’s Bed and Breakfast:

Rules of the House

by Stan Paregien Sr.

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Well, neighbors, we have been invaded by visitors to our little piece of Paradise here in the Florida swamp. So we have decided we have to establish some guidelines for such visits. So here they are.

Paregien's Bed and Breakfast - 01 - Part B

It all began with visits, however brief, here by Darrell and Martha Russell of Edmond, Oklahoma (and now of . . . the open road, as they have retired and are cavorting  around the nation in their RV), then James and Glenda Cotton from Edmond and Phil and Kay Coldiron from near Wellston, Oklahoma.

Then for a week we hosted Peggy’s sister Paula Allen King from near Portland, Oregon. She had previously lived in Guadalajara for some 20 years, so she seemed glad to get back to some warm, dry weather.

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We took Paula to the airport in Tampa on a Saturday and then the next day, on Sunday, we went to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater airport and picked up my cousin Jerry Paregien and his wife Muriel. Jerry was born in California, while I just grew up there from the age of one. Neither of us had a brother, so we are about as close as brothers as you can get. We laughed and laughed, and ate and ate, and laughed some more while they were in Bradenton with us.

2014--0217  Bradenton, FL - Logo Jerry and Muriel Paregien - March 2 to 9

2014--0218-E  St Petersburg, FL - Muriel Paregien and Jerry plus Stan Paregien and Peggy-- March 2

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STAN PAREGIEN JR., BECKY and DANIEL

Well, folks, we took Jerry and Muriel back to the St. Pete/Clearwater airport on Sunday, March 9th at . . . gulp . . . 2:30 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. flight which did not leave until 9:00 a.m. Their carrier, Tree Tops Airline, says it took the ground crew longer than usual to re-wind the rubber-bands which turn the plane’s propeller. But they got back to the mountains of East Tennessee just fine.

The next day, Monday, March 10th, Peggy and I drove to Tampa International and picked up our son, Stan Jr., and his wife Becky and their son Daniel. During the course of the next week we took them to three of the finest beaches in the region — Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island here in Bradenton, to Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, and to Venice Beach & Pier at Venice. We also spent considerable time around the pool and hot tub here in Plantation Grove MHP, plus seeing other area attractions.

2014--0315 -- Bradenton, FL - logo - March 10--16 visit by Stan, Becky & Daniel Paregien

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On Thursday, March 19, Peggy and I hosted a music jam here at our house. There were 19 of us squeezed together in our little cabin, including two guitar players (myself and #1 Son), a mandolin player (Daniel) and a violin/fiddle player (Christine Haines). Everyone seemed to have fun as we also consumed a mountain of “finger foods.”

2014--0368 -- Bradenton,  FL - March 13 - music jam - group - by Peggy Paregien

2014--0355D -- Venice, FL - March 11 - Venice Pier - Stan Paregien JR  and Becky - by Peggy Paregien

2014--0355H -- Venice, FL - March 11 - Peggy and Becky Paregien - by Stan Paregien JR

2014--0374--A Bradenton,  FL - March 14 - shuffleboard - Becky Paregien and Daniel - by Peggy Paregien

We also indoctrinated them with the joys of Senior Citizen and Mobile Home Park shuffle boarding and bicycling. They left without experiencing Senior Citizen bingo (is there any other kind?) and Euchre, not to mention horse shoes.

All good things must come to an end. So about 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, we took Stan Jr., Becky and Daniel to Tampa for their plane ride back to St. Louis, where they were scheduled to have freezing rain and 2 to 5 inches of snow. Yep, that reminds me again as to why we moved to Florida.

COUSINS “PSYCHO” & “BUBBA”

Well, the real pressure to come up with a set of rules for the Paregien Bed & Breakfast is this: We just got word that two more cousins are headed our way. Those would be biker Willard “Psycho” Paregien from Sioux City, Iowa and Homer “Bubba” Paregien from Sandusky, Ohio (see photos, below). They told us they can’t stay more than a month or so.

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2014--0357 -- Sarasota, FL - March 13 - car museum -  by Stan Paregien

Where is that doggone “No Vacancy” sign of ours when we really need it?

End.

Issue 269 – It’s a Small, Small World

Issue 269    —    The Paregien Journal   —  Feb. 27, 2014

It’s a Small, Small World

by Stan Paregien Sr.

Way back in the mid-1950s my wife and her two elder sisters were bubbly teenagers in Kearney, Nebraska. “The Allen Sisters”–Charlotte the Eldest (now Mrs. Bill Richardson of Indianapolis and in the winter of Sarasota, FL) and Paula the Elder (now Paula King and living in Keizer, Oregon) and Peggy the Younger (now Mrs. Stan Paregien and full-time residents of Bradenton, FL), along with their much younger adopted brother Tim, were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Woody (Pauline Meador) Allen. Woody Allen was the preacher for the local congregation of the Church of Christ.

Well, they were all acquainted with a teenage boy at their church named Robert (“Bob”) Jacobson. The Allen girls also went to the local public school with Bob and to various youth events such as summer church camps, etc.

Woody Allen and a large group of others worked together to “re-tool” an existing–but going broke–state-owned campus into a thriving Christian college. Some years later Bob Jacobson graduated from Kearney State University and took a job as a business education professor at that college — York College in York, Nebraska. It is still in existence today.

Fast-forward nearly 60 years. On Sunday, February 23, 2014, the Allen Girls and Bob Jacobson had a reunion in Sarasota, Florida. Bob and his second wife Regina (Whitman Summers) came up from their home in Ft. Myers, Florida and attended Bible class and worship services with Paula Allen King (visiting from Oregon) and Stan and Peggy (Allen) Paregien at the Central Church of Christ on Proctor Road.

Afterward, Charlotte (Allen) and Bill Richardson joined them for a nice lunch and even better reunion and visit at Elaine’s Restaurant in Sarasota.

Now there were a couple of things we discovered on this day which really point out just how small our world really is. First, Bob Jacobson at church earlier in the day had met one of the church elders named Clay Landes. After a few minutes of visiting and comparing their pasts, they discovered that they had each served on the Board of Advisors of York College . . . at the very same time. Yikes. It is a small world.

Then during lunch, I was visiting with Bob’s wife, the former Regina Whitman Summers. She told me she had been a Baptist and was originally from Greenville, Kentucky. I told her that during 1963-1964 I was a sophomore at Lipscomb University in Nashville and that as a student minister I had been the part-time (weekend) preacher at the Church of Christ in Greenville, Kentucky. Although she attended the Baptist Church, she was quite familiar with the congregation of the Church of Christ. She knew, as did we, an elder there named Mr. Wells (I cannot at the moment remember his first name). And she knew the children and Mr. and Mrs. Wells, Rita Wells and her younger brother Freddie. I remember after preaching one Sunday morning, going home with a family at Greenville, and after lunch sitting and watching some TV program (in black-and-white, of course). A bulletin interrupted with the news that Lee Harvey Oswald (the man who shot and killed President John Kennedy a few days earlier) had just been shot and killed while being transferred from the Dallas County Jail.

Well, the plot really thickens here, because my wife Peggy went to work in the business department at Lipscomb University in early 1963. One of her co-workers was Mrs. Vernon (Rita Wells) Martin. And we became close friends with Rita and Vernon. It may have been Rita who told me about the church in Greenville being in need of a part-time preacher. In any event, I began preaching there and did so for about a year.

After Rita’s husband graduated and they divorced, we maintained a long-distance friendship with Rita Wells Martin until the present time. We last saw her face to face was when we visited Nashville in about 2011 and had supper together at a nice restaurant near Vanderbilt. Rita (Wells Martin) married Russ Burchett some 27 years  ago. They live in Springfield, Tennessee.

We always enjoy making new friends. But there is nothing quite as good as rediscovering old friends . . . and finding new friends with unexpected mutual connections with us.

It is, indeed, a very small world.2014--0202  Sarasota, FL - Feb 23 -- Stan and Peg Paregien  - by Robert L Jacobson 2014--0203  Sarasota, FL - Feb 23 -- Peg, Stan, Paula, Bill, Charlotte  - by Robert L Jacobson OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1963-026 StanpreachesatGreenvilleKY 1963-027 GreenvilleKY--01 1963-028--A  Ray and Lyddia Geibel, Church of Christ,  Greenville, KY 1963-028--B The Carver Family -  Greenville, KY