Tag Archives: Bradenton Florida

Issue 376 – The Florida Scene

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 376     –     June 20, 2018     –     An Occasional Blog by Stan Paregien Sr.

 

The Florida Scene

2018--06--17 02 Sarasota, FL - Ruth & Dr Brian Smith - Central Ch of Christ - by Stan Paregien - iPad

2018--06--08 01 Bradenton, FL - sunrise over Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--08 02 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien & light shoes - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--08 03 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien & light shoes - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--09 19 Palmetto, FL - signs in thrift store bathroom - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--09 20 Palmetto, FL - signs in thrift store bathroom - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

Birds -- pooping on cars -- cartoon

2018--06--18 01 Bradenton, FL - sunrise at Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien - Moto Z2 Play

2018--06--09 11--A Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien's flowers

2018--06--09 12 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien's flowers

New Technology, New Headaches

2018--06--11 01 Bradenton, FL - Verizon agent Keith Hardter helping us - by S Paregien

After being with AT&T for 18 years, we switched this month to Verizon. Also gave away our iPhones  and took ownership of our new Motorola Z2 Play. Nicer camera, but nutty organization. High tech product, but we’re low tech seniors and were adrift at sea for a week . . . and still struggling with where to find what.

It wasn’t like back in the “good old days” when we bought our iPhones at an AT&T store. They kindly set up an appointment with the Apple Store for a rep to walk us through those mind-boggling phones. We got down there, with maybe 50 other customers in the store, and a teenie-bopper with a ring in her nose came to help us. “What questions do you have” she said a bit impatiently. I didn’t appreciate her question so I said, “We only have one question how do we use it and every option.” She didn’t know what to do with that. Showed us how to turn it on and off and another thing or two. Then she looked at her watch and said, “Sorry, but your fifteen minutes is up.” “What???” says I, in shock that two seniors switching from flip-phones to iPhones only got 15 minutes of help. But that was it. She was done.

 I have to say the gentleman shown above, Keith Hardter at Verizon’s office at 14th St. & Cortez Road in Bradenton, was very courteous and extremely patient in answering our many, many questions (hey, in the last 6 or 8 years we had at least learned enough to have questions). However, as our beloved President Trump says five times a day, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”  Hmmmmm.

A Girlie Eatery

2018--06--11 02 Bradenton, FL - We ate lunch at the Chicken Salad Chick cafe - by S Paregien

2018--06--11 03 Bradenton, FL - We ate lunch at the Chicken Salad Chick cafe - by S Paregien

The restaurant above, was okay but not exactly my kind of place. Didn’t even list on the menu a chicken-fried steak or a side of mashed potatoes and white gravy. Oh, well. Peggy liked it. It is in the shopping center at 75th Street West and Cortez Road in Bradenton.

Wild Life in Our MHP

2018--06--12 01 Bradenton, FL - wild Florida bird - by S Paregien

Truth in Advertising, Maybe

2018--06--12 03 Bradenton, FL - Anglo American Lawn Services - hmmmm - by S Paregien

The previous owners of our 55+ MHP contracted with this company to mow and trim our lawns, some 270 of them plus the common areas. One day I actually paid attention to the name of the outfit, “Anglo American Lawn Services.” I was a bit taken back. Are they making a statement that they don’t hire Hispanic undocumented workers who are here illegally? Or are they saying something more? I know they have many different races working for them, so I’m curious. Guess I’ll just use my favorite non-dictionary word, “Hmmmm.”

Peggy Sets a Lovely Table

2018--06--13 03 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien with our Franciscan 'Apple Pattern' dishes - by Stan Paregien Paregien

2018--06--14 02 Bradenton, FL - flags in our cowboy boot - by Peggy Paregien

2018--06--14 03 Palmetto, FL - gathering storm clouds - by Peggy Paregien

Flag Day in Our Community

2018--06--14 20--A Bradenton, FL - Flag Day in Plantation Grove MHP - by S Paregien

2018--06--14 20--B Bradenton, FL - flags in our cowboy boot - by Peggy Paregien

The above is our place, complete with a cowboy boot. My real, honest-to-goodness cowboy boots are in my closet. Can’t wear ’em, except for a short time that doesn’t involve much walking or extending standing. I found out out eight years ago I have an unpleasant condition called “plantar fasciitis” in both feet. Wearing cowboy boots was about the worst thing I could do for my feet that have hurt something awful for many years, but I often did so at cowboy events . . . and paid handsomely for it. I went through weeks of physical therapy and one operation and the end result is . . . drum roll, please . . . I have plantar fasciitis in both feet. Still.

2018--06--14 20--C Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--D Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--E Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--F Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

A Stranger in Town

2018--06--14 21 Palmetto, FL - Stan Paregien with 'Corona Man' - by P Paregien

Our MHP Just Sold for Only $21 Million

2018--06--16 10--A Sales of PG MHP and others - BRADENTON HERALD

2018--06--16 10--B Sales of PG MHP and others

The Night Virginia Fell in Love . . . 

With Spanish Food & Mariachis

2018--06--18 10 Bradenton, TX - Peg Paregien, Virginia Corbin at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 11 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 12 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 13 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 17 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 19 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 20 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin, Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 21 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin, Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

I dunno but Virginia seems to be saying, “Mercy, these guys are awfully good looking.” I doubt she even noticed their tight pants and how they sometimes strutted and shook their booty. Kinda like “Hooters for women,” maybe.

Holmes Beach Respite

2018--06--19 02 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - old geezer - by Peggy Paregien

2018--06--19 03 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - Peggy Paregien - by S Paregien

About 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 19th, I suddenly thought about how we hadn’t been to the beach lately (a week or more). I mentioned that to Peggy and one hour later we were nestled in a quiet corner of Holmes Beach. The water temperature was about 85 and the air temperature that or a little more. It was low tide and we were able to wade out about 50 yards to a sandbar where the water was about waist-high on me. Very relaxing, especially with the love of my life. Another day in Paradise well spent.

2018--06--19 04 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

2018--06--19 05 Bradenton, FL - old couple on Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

Aging -- Florida -- Dentures CLOSE TO HOME cartoon 2018

2018--06--19 07 Bradenton, FL - 2 young kids on Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

2018--06--19 03 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - beautiful day - by Peggy Paregien

Beach - Florida -- I need to go to the beach

2018--03--15 01 Bradenton, FL - ONE OF LEAST-AFFORDING REGIONS IN FL

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 01

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 02

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 03

. . . And Night Fell, Sorta

2018--06--15 01 Bradenton, FL - 'cotton-candy' sunrise - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

 

End.

Issue 375 – Old Friends, Revisited

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 375     –     June 17, 2018     –     An Occasional Journal

Old Friends, Revisited

Friends -- it takes a long time to grow an old friend

There just ain’t nothin’ quite like old friends.

Oh, sure, new friends are wonderful, too. That’s one reason we moved from Edmond, Oklahoma here to Bradenton, Florida exactly five years ago. Back there we lived in a larger, comfortable house in a very nice neighborhood. We were involved in church activities, and I often performed my original cowboy poetry and stories at Western venues and events from Arkansas to California and from Texas to Montana. We also hosted many music jams and church groups in our home with as many people as we could crowd into our spacious living room. But, still, we could only name a few of our neighbors on our street. And not one ever reciprocated our hospitality by inviting us into their home even for just a cup of coffee. Maybe we should have changed our deodorant more often. I don’t know.

After we both retired, we were thinking of moving to a “nice beaches and warm water” area. We liked the idea of living in a gated 55+ community with a clubhouse, a pool and lots of scheduled activities from which to choose. Our hopes were high that kind of environment would make it easier to make new friends. And I am delighted to say that is exactly what happened. Now as we take our regular two-mile walk around the inside perimeter of our community of some 270 homes, I am amazed at how I can look at so many houses and recite the owners names. We found the situation here encourages mixing with the current residents and getting to know the new ones. Peggy and I are very pleased with our lives down here. We are thankful for the way our little Florida experiment has worked out over the past five years. 

Having said that, I’ll return to my main point: there is really nothing quite like maintaining old friendships. That is no small or easy thing to do, though, is it? Over our 56 years of marriage, and because of our different memberships and activities, some of our closest friends are those we only get to be with for two or three days each year . . . or two . . . or five years or more. Still, it is a joy each time we get together.

Friends in Council Bluffs, Iowa

2018--05--22 002-B -- Area map of Council Bluffs, Iowa2018--05--24 05 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian Church - by Stan Paregien

For example, Peggy and I moved with our two small kids from Stroud, Oklahoma to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1975. That was so I could serve as the preaching minister for the Southside Christian Church at 1919 S. 10th Street. During our relatively brief two-year stay, we made many friends. Lots of ’em. We were in and out of each other’s home, playing cards and games and going to the lake and on picnics and shopping trips to nearby Omaha, Nebraska. They were a great group of folks to be around.

Then in 1977, we moved back to Oklahoma where I became the preacher for our “home congregation,” the Stroud Christian Church in Stroud, Oklahoma. During the next three or four years, at least four families from Council Bluffs went off the beaten path to visit us. Slowly, though, we lost track of most of them. Life moved on. Oh, yes, there were a few we corresponded with for several years by letters and an occasional phone call. But it was more difficult to stay in touch, back then. You see, Virginia, there were no such things as “texts,” “emails,” or Skype back in the Dark Ages.

Time and distance took its toll on those friendships. Fast forward to 2018. We were invited to attend the 75th anniversary of the Kearney Church of Christ in Kearney, Nebraska. That’s where Peggy’s father preached from 1945 to 1954, before accepting a pastorate in Ventura, California. To attend this celebration, we would need to fly into Omaha and rent a car. Hmmmm. That got us to thinking. Council Bluffs is just across the Missouri River from Omaha. We wondered whether we should try to see whomever might be left of our old friends — from 41 years ago. We reasoned that many if not most of the people we had know fairly well in Council Bluffs had died. No doubt others had moved away or for whatever reason might have no interest in seeing us. Hmmmm. But . . . just maybe . . . . 

I was able to contact one of our dear friends from that era, Robert J. (“Bob”) Anderson. He and his son, Ron Anderson (who was a close friend with our son, Gene), and another Southsider named Larry Buckles (a current elder in the congregation; and a guy from Fletcher, Oklahoma) took the idea and ran with it. They decided to invite some of the old-timers to a reception for us at the church building on Wednesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm. We wondered whether anyone would show up. After all, it had been . . . 41 years . . . yep, 41 years since we last set foot in Council Bluffs.

Larry and Bob picked us up at our nearby hotel about 9 am on Wednesday morning. We went by the Southside church building and looked at the improvements they had made. Then we went to the upstairs offices and I got to stand inside my old office for the first time in 41 years. It was occupied by the current preacher, Scott Weber, and we visited with him for quite some time. He is a new friend but with an interesting connection. He laughed as he told me he heard me speak a long time ago. In about 1976, I was invited to speak at a Bible lectureship at Nebraska Christian College in Norfolk, Neb. (Johnny Carson’s hometown, by the way). “I was a student in that audience,” Scott said with a smile. Any, another nice memory to add to my collection. I really liked Scott and I pray he will have a long and productive ministry with that congregation. 

Among those at the 1 pm reception were Bob Anderson, Larry Buckles, Gary and Barb Williams, Leo and Roberta Martin, George and Pam Roush, Jack and Carol Swanger and another couple, Craig and Annette Kruse. It was a wonderful time of hugging each other and sharing a lot of “Remember when . . . ?” moments.

2018--05--23 05--B2 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roush - Paregien

2018--05--23 06--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Larry Buckles

2018--05--23 07--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roberta Martin

2018--05--23 07--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Leo Martin

2018--05--23 08--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Jack Swanger & Leo Martin

2018--05--23 09--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Gary Williams

2018--05--23 10--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Bob Anderson

2018--05--23 10--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Craig & Annette Kruse

2018--05--23 11--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - group of men

Peggy and I first met George and Pam Rouse in 1975 or so when they were truth seeks, hungering for a closer walk with God. So Peggy and I and possibly some others met with them for prayer and Bible study over a long period of time. One evening Pam said she wanted to accept Christ, so we rejoiced at that and I baptized her. At this reception in 2018, she told me: “You gave me an inscribed copy of your brand new book, The Day Jesus Died. And in your inscription you suggested four things to remember and practice in my walk with the Lord. I have made those ideas part of my spiritual life ever since.” Another new memory for me, a very sweet and precious one.

George, on the other hand, was not ready to follow Pam’s lead. Not at that time. So we kept studying with and praying for him and loving on both of them. At this reception, George reminded us that one night we were all leaving the church building. Peggy was already in our car, but as George walked by she rolled down the window and said, “George, you know you really need to go ahead and accept Jesus as your Lord.” George smiled at her and said, “Peg, you’re kinda pushing me, aren’t you?” To which Peggy replied, “No, it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit pushing you, George.” He didn’t know quite what to say to that. But it wasn’t long before he, too, accepted Christ and I baptized him just as the apostles did Believers in the Book of Acts. Pam and George are still serving the Lord, and that is a tremendous encouragement to us.

The next day, on Thursday, May 24th, we spent all of the daylight hours being guided around to beautiful and historic sites in Council Bluffs and Omaha by Bob Anderson and Larry Buckles. The four of us nearly laughed ourselves silly, as we had often done “back in the good ol’ days.” Mid-morning we were joined for coffee by long-time Southsider Jerry Cook and also by Gary and Barb Williams (Gary retired from the CB Police Department some years ago with the rank of Assistant Police Chief).

2018--05--24 38--B Council Bluffs, IA - Gary & Barb Williams - by Stan Paregien

Larry Buckles drove us over to where his son, Travis Buckles, lives with his wife and children. Travis was just a pup when we knew him, a skinny blond-headed pre-teen who played on the church baseball team with our son. Travis has seven children and hasn’t strayed far from Council Bluffs all these years.

2018--05--24 39 Council Bluffs, IA - Stan Paregien, Travis and Larry Buckles - by Peggy Paregien

That evening, Bob Anderson invited us to his home for light refreshments. To our delight, we were joined by his son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Kelli Anderson, and by our mutual friend Aaron Jones. Aaron’s late parents, Harvey and Lilly Jones, were always kind and gracious toward us. And Aaron got the same gene. He actually worked with me as the Associate Minister at Southside for a time. He is a diligent student of the Word and a strong Believer. Aaron now lives at The Center in downtown Council Bluffs, a very nice senior citizen apartment complex built and operated by the city.

Ronnie Anderson spent a lot of time at our house there in Council Bluffs. He only lived a couple of blocks south of us, and he and our son were about the same age and on the church baseball team together, etc. Likewise, our son spent many hours at Bob and Chris Anderson’s house (she passed away, but he still lives in the same house) playing with Ronnie. Ron and Kelli have been active in youth ministry for several years, while working at other full-time jobs. Their son Noah Anderson is now a youth minister in Omaha.

2018--05--24 81 Council Bluffs, IA - Aaron Jones, Stan Paregien & Bob Anderson - by Peggy Paregien

2018--05--24 83--C Council Bluffs, IA - Ron & Kelli Anderson, S Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

As we hugged Ron and Kelli, I mentioned to her I had heard a lot of good things about her and I was so pleased to meet her. She smiled and then sort of shocked me when she said, “Oh, you have met me before. Both my sister and I were baptized into Christ by you.” Yikes. No covering up my senior moment that time. She reminded me she is a granddaughter of the late Wayne and Esther Rutledge (he was an elder back then and she played the organ in church).

When we left Council Bluffs on Friday morning, it was with both joy and sadness in our hearts. Extreme joy from such an uplifting and inspiring reunion with friends from 41 long years ago. And some sadness from knowing we’ll probably not see most of them again in this life. We praise the Lord, though, that there will be an eternity of reunion time when all of the Redeemed reach heaven.

NOTE:  I have posted a large number of “Albums” on different topics on my FLICKR account. You may view lots of photos of our visit to Council Bluffs in the “Iowa” Album on my FLICKR account, found at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/114140996@N07/albums/72157695908387504

A High School Friend: John Ford

John Ford and I are right about the same age (I think he turns 77 this summer and I do so in October). His first eight years were spent with his parents in Bakersfield, Calif. Then his parents moved to Fillmore (Ventura County), California. That’s where he started 2nd grade. His father was a certified welder, working mainly in the oilfields. His folks (or maybe his grandparents) had migrated to California from Balko, Oklahoma — a tiny community in sparsely populated Beaver County in the panhandle.

I, on the other hand, was born in tiny Wapanucka, Oklahoma (south central Oklahoma, south of Ada and north of Durant). My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien), paternal grandparents (Frank and Mattie Paregien), and several uncles and an aunt and maybe an outlaw or two headed for Ventura County in 1942 to take advantage of all the war-time jobs available in the area. Several went to work for the U.S. Navy at Port Hueneme. My dad did that until the war ended, then he went back to farming. This time it was on the Todd Estate about three miles west of Santa Paula, working in the orange orchards. 

We lived for about three years near the Los Angeles County/Ventura County line on Highway 126, about six miles east of Piru, Calif. My dad worked in the orchards of English walnut trees owned by the large and historic Newhall Land & Farming Company (aka “Newhall Ranch”). The company provided an old, wood-framed house (no insulation) for us, located on the south side of the Highway, about 150 yards inside the Los Angeles County line. That was just enough that my sister Roberta and I could not go to the nearby schools in Ventura County (Piru and Fillmore). Instead, we rode the school bus a long way over to Castaic Elementary and me on to William S. Hart High School in Newhall (now Santa Clarita) for junior high. 

We left the Newhall Ranch in the summer of 1955 and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not since 1942 had my mom been able to live close to her parents, John and Vada Cauthen, who lived maybe four miles west of us. However, the wages were much lower there, so we loaded up another U-Haul trailer and moved back to Ventura County. My dad went to work farming orange trees on the Edwards Ranch, about a mile west of Piru. My mom soon became the Cafeteria Manager at Piru Elementary School. Later, she would be promoted to Cafeteria Manager at San Cayetano Elementary in Fillmore, then to Supervisor of all the school cafeterias in Fillmore and Piru. After a while that position was eliminated and she gracefully returned to her starting place: Piru Elementary, with Glenda Gregory DeJarnette helping her. Glenda also graduated with the Fillmore Class of 1959 and, when my mom retired, she became the manager.

So in September of 1956, I enrolled in the 10th grade at Fillmore. That is when my path crossed that of John Ford. In the spring of 1957, we were both on the Boxing Team under coach Simmons. We were both in the Lettermen Club (the he-man, me Tarzan organization on campus), though John lettered three years in track and I played two years of football, lettering my senior year. We were also in the social . . . and may I dare say, Christian . . . organization called Hi-Y. John played a mean clarinet in the band, while I horsed around in the Choir where the girls far outnumbered the boys and I liked the odds. And, of course, we attended various classes and special events together.

1950G graphic - a blast from our past1957-004--A Fillmore, CA - Boxing Match brochure - March 21, 1957

1957-004--B --Boxers - Stan Paregien

1957-004--C BoxingTourament - FillmoreCA

1957-022--A Boxing Team FillmoreCA - March, 1957

1957-022--B Boxing Team FillmoreCA March, 1957

1957-023--A--BoxingClips1957-023--C--BoxingClips

1957-024zzz-- BoxingCoach EdSimmons

1957-025 Boxing Team Winners

1957-026 FootballTeam-FillmoreCA

1957-001--C Stan Paregien---football - fall of 57

1957-252 Fillmore, CA - Track Team

1958-001--G--Football--FillmoreCA--Fall1958--StanParegien

1958-045--H--1984 article about '58 Football Team by Charles Mozley

1958-109-FUHS-HiY--Stan

1958-128-FUHS-Lettermen

1958-143-FUHS-track

1959-026--K1 Seniors--Large Group - Stan Paregien, John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K2--C---Seniors-- John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K3--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- Stan Paregien

1959-026--K4--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- John Ford

1959-031 LettermanClub-StanP

1959-031-B Fillmore, CA - Letterman Club - StanParegien, Clint Anderson, John Ford

1959-071 Fillmore, CA -- Officers for the Class of 1959

1959-120--B Hi-Y-Club---FillmoreCA Ferrill Williams, Stan Paregien & John Ford

1959-136--D--TRACK - Fillmore, CA

1959-136--E--TRACK - Fillmore, CA - John Ford

1959-202---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

1959-203---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

However, . . . John and I never did double-date at the drive-in movie theater in Santa Paula or take our respective dates up in the balcony (passion pit) at the Fillmore Theater; we were not beer drinkin’ buddies; we never backed each other in street rumbles; we never did sleepovers at each other’s houses; we never burned any midnight oil together at any late-night study sessions; we never did go fishing together up Sespe Creek; we never got together and went cat hunting at night, driving by the orange orchards and shining lights down the rows; we never did drag racing together; etc., etc., and so forth. There were just a whole lot of thing we never did together. We were certainly acquainted, but we ran in different circles I guess.

Then came graduation night in June of 1959. And afterward, like those tiny fluffy cottonwood seeds, we scattered with the wind to here, there and everywhere. I would never see most of those classmates again. Ever. That fall I drove my 1955 Ford to Amarillo, Texas to study ministry at a small private school. John Ford, meanwhile, put his track shoes on and tried to outrun the military draft. Yes, Virginia, the government did such a thing back then. Ever hear of Viet Nam? It was coming, and eventually John would go there. But before that he enrolled at nearby Ventura College. He told me he lasted about 13 weeks before seeing he was not college material right then. So he decided he would join the U.S. Marines, but . . . their recruiting office was way up in Santa Barbara or such. “Not to fear,” he thought, and turned around and joined the U.S. Navy because their office was in Ventura.

While in the U.S. Navy, he was trained in electronics. Very sophisticated electronics. He worked in that field the rest of his working career. Somewhere in that process, John married a Fillmore girl from the Class of 1962. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he eventually earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He went to work for the Department of Education in their Information Technology department. He and his first wife had a family, then as things sometimes happen, he and his first wife divorced. Later, he married a native of China named Ying, who had a son by a previous relationship. They are all active in hikings, biking, etc. Ying Ford even competes in the “Iron Woman” world events, the next being in Chattanooga, Tenn., in late September.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Piru, . . . I married a foreigner myself, a cutie named Peggy Allen (daughter of W.W. “Woody” & Pauline Allen) from way over yonder in Ventura, Calif. That was on May 31, 1962. We moved to Nashville, Tenn., that August and I entered Lipscomb University. I graduated with my B.A. in Speech Communication in 1965. Next we moved to Albuquerque, N.M. Peggy went to work as a new accounts rep at the Bank of New Mexico and I started work on my master’s at the University of New Mexico. Little did we know, there was something suspect about the water supply there . . . because in a few months she was very much pregnant. 

We received a bouncing baby boy in Las Cruces, New Mexico in September of 1966. And I received my M.A. in Speech Communication from UNM. Upward and onward, as I worked toward my goal of one day teaching speech in some college. In the summer of 1968, we moved to Oklahoma City. I enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. Sixty class hours and one language later, I received . . . nothing. I had run out of both energy and money without completing two more things: (1) one more language requirement; and (2) writing my dissertation. 

So I dropped out of graduate school and took a sales job. Later, I would return to preaching full-time, and then back to sales of one kind or another, mainly. We spent twenty years (1993-2013) living in Edmond, Okla. Peggy spent most of that time working at the Southwest Airlines reservation center in Oklahoma City. After we both retired, we moved here to Florida. We had two children: Stanley Jr. (aka Gene through high school and Stan, afterwards) and Stacy.

We have been married for 56 years and are now grandparents and great-grandparents, thank you very much. When Peggy slipped up and accepted my marriage proposal, some folks said it would be a “slip knot” and it wouldn’t last. Most of those folks are dead, now, and we are still in love. Those doubters just didn’t know what a loving and forgiving person Peggy was and is. That is the plain secret of our longevity. 

Well, neighbors, let’s return to our mini-reunion with John Ford. Somehow, a point lost in my foggy memory, John and I began touching base once in awhile via emails and/or Facebook. Recently he told me he and Ying would be vacationing at Treasure Island Resort on Gulf Avenue in Treasure Island, Florida. That is a small beach community due west of St. Petersburg and about 40 miles north of us. So we exchanged more emails and a couple of phone calls and made a meeting happen. Together, again, after only 59 years. It was really nice meeting Ying and John, as well as John’s son Jeff and his family.

1950B Treasure Island, FL - Ying & John Ford with Stan & Peggy Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

1950A Treasure Island, FL - John Ford and Stan Paregien, classmates in Fillmore, CA in 1959 - by Peggy Paregien

Well, John Ford and I are card-carrying members of that big group of “Fillmore Flashes” (our school’s dorky mascot), only our cards have “Emeritus” on them. And the “Flash” in our “Fillmore Flashes” has dimmed considerably with the passing years. Still, our’s was a very enjoyable reunion and I found out more about John than I ever knew before. John, old buddy, we’ll have to get together just a wee bit more often than every 59 years.

In June of 2018, John and I and the remaining folks of our original 125 classmates in 1959, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of our graduation. John has already told me he cannot make it out to Fillmore for that Alumni Association meeting. I’m still debating the pros and cons of such an event. 

Cartoon-ClassReunion-Shoe

Anyway, here is a copy of the lyrics and guitar chords for Roger Miller’s song, “Old Friends.” I like it a lot, and so I share it with both old friends and new . . . like you.

Old Friends -- song by Roger Miller

True friendship brings sunshine to the shade, and shade to the sunshine.  — Thomas Burke

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man . . . should keep his friendship in constant repair.  — Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1775)

friend-like-a-bra

A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. — Proverbs 17:17, Contemporary English Version

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at least in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (American philosopher) in Friendship

Friends -- Peanuts -- 02 -- Snoopy

The sweet smell of incense can make you feel good, but true friendship is better still. — Proverbs 27:9, Contemporary English Version

My grandfather Wood advised his large family of seven daughters and one son, “When you move to a new place and want to make friends, go to the church, for there you will find the best people.” I agree with him. They may not be perfect people (indeed, who is?), but most of them know that. That’s why they go to church—for help to become better people and to grow in the knowledge and love of God.  – Dale Evans Rogers (1912 to 2001; singer, actress, movie star and author; wife to cowboy movie star Roy Rogers), Time Out, Ladies! (1966), p. 81.

Friends -- make new friends, but keep the old

Don’t desert an old friend of your family or visit your relatives when you are in trouble. A friend nearby is better than relatives far away. — Proverbs 27:10, CEV

 

Friends - until we are old and senile, then we'll be new friends

You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, CEV

friends -- forever

 

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Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

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The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 373  —  Feb. 24, 2018  —  Published Occasionally

Six Freebies for You

Free--002--round, red button

I have a number of free documents posted on my Google Drive storage account in a public folder.They are all in the popular PDF format, and all you have to do to read them is to go to the link below.

In addition, you may download any or all of them to your own PC’s hard drive . . . or upload them to your own cloud storage. One big advantage of a cloud account – such as Apple – iCloud; Google – Drive; Microsoft Outlook – OneDrive; etc. – is this: then you will be able to access that material through your PC, your tablet, your laptop, your smartphone, and so forth.

Here are the items I’ve posted there so far:

  1. Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling: Her Story  (1922-2011)

Article cover -- 1975 Photo of Evelyn Paregien Spradling

This is my personal tribute to my mother. I completed this 179 page document and released it on the 7th anniversary of her death – Feb. 23, 2011. This is a remarkable story of her growing up in south-central Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the daughter of dirt-poor sharecroppers, getting married and moving to California where life became a whole lot easier and better. I worked hard to let her love, faith and integrity clearly show. 

This essay really amounts to a book, since it is 180 pages long. It contains well over 300 photos and documents, mainly from her total of 30+ years in Oklahoma and 52 years in Ventura County, California. Many of the stories and photos relate, specifically to towns in which we lived: Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and Newhall (in Los Angeles County).

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Friends  (May 18, 1972)

Book cover -- 02 - Open Letter -- May 18, 1972

This document will be of special interest to who grew up in (or are still in) religious groups which grew out of the “Restoration Movement” which started in the United States in about 1804 and rapidly grew. It was a recognition that followers of Christ by those days had divided into warring factions, and an effort to unite those Believers by using the Bible (not denominational creeds and disciples) as the standard for work and worship.

I wrote this letter to a few dozen friends way back on May 18, 1972 to explain why Peggy and I were changing from one Christian segment to another. Then in 2018 I rediscovered the letter and added an explanatory preface and a list of resources. It may also be of historical interest to those who study . . . or have to deal with . . . divisions within Christianity.

One of the factors in our leaving the group we’d been part of for our whole lives was their theological position regarding the use of instrumental music in worship. They were a’gin it. That is, they favored a cappella (voices only) in worship. There are other churches who advocate the same thing, though maybe not was loudly as we did. But that is only a part of the equation, as you will read.

  1. The Day Jesus Died (eBook in 2013)

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

This book was published as a hardback in Austin, Texas in 1970. Back then I was a minister, first with the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, New Mexico and then with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a collection of my sermons and magazine articles. It went out of print, but in 2012 or so I started revising many of the chapters. So, as with the more than a dozen other eBooks of mine, you may find them and buy them by simply Googling “books by Stan Paregien.” This PDF copy, however, is free.

  1. Oklahoma Almanac of Facts & Humor: Part 1

Cover--Part 1 -- Oklahoma Almanac--2013 --- Nigh 1773w x 2400 x 95dpi

Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction. Foreword by the Honorable George Nye, former Governor of Oklahoma. This eBook is Part 1 of 2 containing facts about the state of Oklahoma. Part 1 covers Achille to Nowata. It is not your grandpa’s boring history book. The author starts by telling the unique stories of 148 towns, including those which are a county seat in one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. He includes photos, prominent people and humorous stories. Part 1 covers such towns as Ada, Atoka, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Durant, Eufaula, Elk City, Erick, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.

  1. Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

This eBook is a combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice. There’s all kinds of factual information about our beautiful beaches and our vibrant history. But you’ll want to spent a lot of time in Chapter 3. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

  1. A List of Stan Paregien’s eBooks

This lists the 16 eBooks by Stan Paregien which are available at various retailers online. Also a brief bio.

Here’s the magic link for any or all of the above:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AYwU8g8IZo9v4nwXIBnDaXrpqmd6InRI

PLEASE NOTE:  The link above is subject to being changed at any time without notice.

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

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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.

     *  *  *

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

 * * *

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 ]

* * *

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

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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

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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 ]

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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 ]

 

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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

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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