Monthly Archives: September 2012

Editorial response to Tucson being named as the 6th poorest city

my editorial reply to:

Tucson being named as the 6th poorest city in the U.S.

While I am a Christian, Focus on the Family does NOT speak for me.

I do feel that the erosion of family values is a contributing (but not the single cause) of poverty. Traditionally, widows and orphans were taken care of by the church. The intrinsic values of our society are not being promulgated to the next generation, caused by the deterioration of the integral family unit.

How do you overcome poverty? Education plays a key role. Charity DOES begin at home, but if that value is never taught, how does that trickle through the society?

If I see a homeless person on the street, I DO give them money. I am my brother’s keeper. If they spend it on alcohol or drugs, that is their choice. I gave for the right reasons. I believe ultimately, they are accountable to God, for how they utilized the assistance they received.

I am on Social Security. SO I know full well the decision many seniors face: do I eat this month, or do I buy the medicine? No one should have to make that decision, but I and many seniors face that dilemma daily.

It should not be incumbent on the state to provide welfare. That function was originally handled by the church. Maybe that is where it belongs.


Letting Go (of our past)

Flying Trapeze

Day 50
“The Search for Significance Devotional”
Robert S. Mc Gee
page 121-123
1992, Rapha Publications

that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:22-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Too often, our self-image rests solely on an evaluation of our past behavior, being measured only through a memory. Day after day, year after year, we tend to build our personalities upon the rubble of yesterday’s personal disappointments.

Perhaps we find some strange kind of comfort in our personal failings. Perhaps there is some security in accepting ourselves as much less then we can become. That minimizes the risk of failure. Certainly, if we expect little from ourselves, we will seldom be disappointed!

But nothing forces us to remain in the mold of the past. By the grace and power of God, we can change! We can persevere and overcome! No one forces us to keep shifting our feet in the muck of old failures. We can dare to accept the challenge of building a new life.

Dr. Paul Tournier once compared life to a man hanging from a trapeze. The trapeze bar was the man’s security, his pattern of existence, his lifestyle. Then God swung another trapeze into the man’s view, and he faced a perplexing dilemma. Should he relinquish his past? Should he reach for the new bar? The moment of truth came, Dr. Tournier explained when the man realized that to grab onto the new bar, he must release the old one.


What memories and wounds of the past enslave you?

How can you let them go and build a new identity, new qualities in relationships, and a new hope?

What sources of input reinforce a low view of yourself?

Jesus, the past has left some scars on me. Some of them are small, others are quite apparent. You know my wounds, You know my needs. It’s not always easy to let go of the past, but I realize I must if You are going to be in control of my present and future….

From my reflection this week I learned…(fill in what you learned below)

…About God.

…about myself.

…about my motivations.

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

Compassion for the Elderly

Reprinted from a Facebook Article

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

The entire purpose of our existence is to learn how to discipline our natural passions and tendencies, and in the process, develop the highest of all attributes – that of charity. Never forget, however, that charity and service are not the same. Charity is a characteristic trait, service is a kind act! And while charity is certainly developed through continual kind acts of service, charity also seeks no reward and is initiated because of unselfishness and love rather than the hope of recognition.True service and charity are usually not accomplished through great one-time opportunities or philanthropic acts; but they are most often demonstrated best through habits of small, quiet, humble, and unrecognized actions of every day. Albert Einstein perhaps said it best when he penned: “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” This truth explains why happiness is found from within, not without; and perhaps more importantly, it more fully explains why confidence and self-esteem improve and depression and sadness flee the moment we start to think of and help others. Ironically, our lives are found in the losing of them!

Participation in these simple acts will certainly not be acts sufficient to be recognized on the news, be worthy of some award, or be justifiable to carve a name on a plaque. However, the continual participation in these unselfish acts of service and love will in time produce the greatest reward – that of the development of character, a life of service to others, and the eventual possession of charity. And while the reward for such acts is usually only an appreciative and grateful benefactor of the charitable act, the real satisfaction comes from the happiness that will inevitably result from a life of unselfish service.

Elderly and Senior Citizens:

1) Visit your local nursing home and simply visit and talk with patients, sing songs, tell stories, read books, play games, take them on a walk, put on a performance, etc.

2) Help an elderly neighbor by raking leaves, mowing lawn, weeding flower bed, shoveling snow, wash car, clean house, etc.

3) Visit widows or homebound individuals – make them a meal, stop in to say hi, help around house, etc.

4) Spend an evening teaching a senior citizen how to use the computer or internet, painting or drawing, scrapbooking, etc.

5) Go to nursing home and have a Karaoke night – sing songs they want (the ‘oldies’). Have them teach you their dance moves!

6) ‘Adopt a Grand-friend’ – every once in a while, pick up the phone, send an email, write a letter, or go and visit your ‘grand-friend.’

7) Help an elderly person by picking up their medicine, retrieving their paper, helping them with grocery shopping, taking them ‘out.’

8) Put together a puppet show, performance, or take a game – and have a fun game night with the senior citizens. (Take them a treat too).

9) Make a meal and just go visit an elderly, sick, or widowed person in the neighborhood and just have a fun evening together playing games, telling stories, and talking.

10) Visit grandparents, widows, or local elderly people in the neighborhood or nursing home – and write down their history. Just talk to them, ask them questions, and record their answers. Then, present that history to their family (decedents)

Dealing with Death

Startling as it seems, I spent over an hour on the phone with my best friend, helping me to understand life.

Brad helped me understand that I am powerless to change the situation in which I find myself in, regarding my Dad.

There is no going back to the halcyon days of yesteryear. It is, after all, what it is. Dying is a process I am just beginning to understand, as I myself, enter my 6th decade on this seemingly rotating ball of boredom at times.

I am learning that time is perhaps the most precious commodity we humans have. Memories are fashioned in the context of time, whether they be good or bad.

I have not been here. It is painful. It is powerful. The lessons being taught, are not what I desire. Control. It is an illusion, to an extent. I want control of the situation, but it it not mine to orchestrate.

Perhaps as we look back at our own life, and understand the necessity of brokenness and barren spirit, we begin to understand the essence of life itself. We sequester that which is painful. Which is tedious. Which is dull, and mundane.

It is in these things, we find the true meaning of life. Simply to love, and to be loved.

Thanks old friend, for reminding me of the value of friendship. “To rejoice with them that rejoice, and to weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)

“A joy shared, is a double joy. But a burden shared, is half a burden.”
— Jewish Proverb

Original text,


What is unit pricing?

Okay I have received some questions regarding my mythical $1000/month budget.

The most questions I received are: “Why are food and gasoline variable expenses?” It is because I can directly control how much I spend on these items. I can choose to drive less. I can choose to eat less.

One of the keys to successful budgeting, is predicting the cost. Which means you probably need to make grocery shopping lists, BEFORE you go to the grocery store. Another tip: eat BEFORE you go to the grocery store. You will buy less impulse items, which can wreak havoc on budget.

Let’s talk a bit about unit pricing. It is NOT always the lowest price you are looking for, you are looking for the BEST value. Unit pricing allows us to compare apples to apples sort of speak. What is it?


For example. A dozen (12) eggs might cost $1.86. So the unit cost would be $1.86/12 = .155 — or 15 1/2 cents a piece.

18 eggs might cost $2.25. Okay the dozen eggs DO have a cheaper price. But what about our 18 eggs?

Well, $2.25/18 = .125 or 12 1/2 cents per egg. So, buying 18 eggs, instead of a dozen eggs, saves 3 cents/egg. I know this may seems trivial, but like my Dad always said:

Worry about the nickels and dimes. The dollars will take care of themselves.

It’s about value. And that is NOT always the lowest price. You can compare 2 boxes of cereal, (cost/ounces) or milk (cost/ounces). Sometimes it is cheaper to buy 2 half gallons of milk, then to buy a whole gallon. Do super markets do this? YUP!

So let’s talk about stretching those dollars. What to buy? Staple food items:





Peanut Butter



Some fresh fruit you like: (Apples, bananas, whatever)

ALWAYS check unit price, to make sure you are getting a good value, and you are on budget.

One of the biggest complaints I hear is: well I can’t do long division in my head. Bring a calculator. I am getting older, and can not always figure it out either. Using a calculator makes it easy. Yup, some people use pen and paper to figure unit cost. Whatever works — DO IT! I usually estimate my bill in my head, and I am usually within a few dollars of the budgeted amount.

This does require pre-planning, and the D word: Discipline.

In the next post, I will talk about some of the other items in our budget.


Teachers that made a difference — Mr. Donscheski

Robert Donscheski -- Math/Pre-calculus

Robert Donscheski — Math/Pre-calculus


Teachers that influenced me — Robert Donscheski Math/Pre Calculus

Math was never a strong suit for me. Mr. Donscheski knew it. From the outset, he and my friend Ernie T. were determined I would pass his pre-calculus class. Many a lunch period was spent in the classroom, and at my friend’s home, while they went over the material from previous classes. Math never clicked for me. It is mostly visual. I DO NOT learn visually. I learn by hearing. Something I would not discover till college.

He might have been just another Math Teacher. But he also taught the value of investing time in another person. Yeah. The time I spend mentoring others in the Linux operating system, came from Mr. Donscheski. He listened, and he was always there.

That is not all he taught. He was the advisor for the local Key Club (Kiwanis Educates Youth.) Another lesson he taught: civic pride, and civic responsibility. Want to change your corner of the universe? This is where you start. The Key Club would meet Saturday mornings after football games, and clean up the stadium. Why? Because Key Club earned money for cleaning up. He seemed to live at school. You would find him there, during lunch, after school, and Saturday mornings.

We would attend the local Kiwanis meetings. Anyone who was anyone in my little hamlet, was there. They taught me that one person does make a difference. In my senior year, I and a couple of other students, became involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, through the efforts of the local Kiwanis Chapter. It was Mr. Donscheski’s fault.

What I did in my senior year with Key Club, did not go unnoticed. At the meeting of the California/Nevada/Hawaii (Cal-Nava-Ha) District, I received KEY Club’s highest honour: The Sandy Nininger Award. The award is presented to KEY Clubber’s who have gone “above and beyond” the call of duty. What? Me? Yes. Me! Who is Sandy Nininger? He was the first soldier in World War II, to be posthumously given the Medal of Honour.

I may have gotten a C- in Math, but the inspiration infused by a dedicated teacher who gave freely of himself, was also honoured. He was the behind-the-scenes teacher. The values he taught continue to inspire and guide me, as I do volunteer work today.

Remembering 9/11 — Ann Guerrini

From the Benson News Sun

Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 12:00 am

Dana Cole/News-Sun

Every year as we approach 9-11, people across the country pause and think about that tragic day. The vivid images of New York City’s majestic twin towers bursting into flames, the skyline suddenly overpowered with thick, billowing plumes of smoke and people gazing in shock as the catastrophe unfolded, are images Americans will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Benson residents Ann and Louis Guerrini are from New York state and used to vacation there in their RV regularly. They were visiting Long Island and had left their RV in Syracuse when the attack happened.

“We were planning to go into New York City to see a Broadway play, but found tickets for a show on Long Island, so we changed our plans and didn’t go into the city,” Ann said as she recalled that day. “If we had gone into New York City as planned, we would have been right down in the area of the attack.”

Instead, Ann and Louis were watching the attack on television as it happened. “When my husband watched that first plane fly into the first tower, he said, ‘that was no accident.’ He was in the military and worked with planes, and he knew we were being attacked. Then the second plane hit. It was a sad, sad day for America.”

Ann also recalls how clear the New York skyline was as she and her husband drove over the bridge into Long Island the Sunday before the attack. “It was the clearest, most beautiful New York skyline we had ever seen,” she said. “We kept talking about how pretty the city looked and how clear the sky was. The attack happened on a Tuesday, and when we left Long Island on the following Sunday, you couldn’t even see the city because of the smoke.”

Because bridges leading in and out of New York City and the surrounding area were closed for security reasons, the Guerrini’s thought they would have to take a ferry back to Syracuse where they left the RV. But the bridges reopened again after a week, so they were able to leave Long Island by taking the bridge.

“One of the things we noticed when we were out driving, is there was very little traffic,” Ann said. “We usually had to sit in long lines of traffic as we were going over the bridges, but no one was out driving. It was eerie. It reminded us of when President Kennedy was assassinated. People were staying close to their televisions to hear the latest news coverage, and no one was driving around.”

Ann is a volunteer at Benson Hospital and says because she and her husband are getting older, they don’t travel as much as they used to.

“It’s hard to believe the attack happened more than 10 years ago,” she said. “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

(Editor’s Note: Sara Brown contributed to this report.)