Who Knows You

Dearest Rachel – There’s a cynical saying that’s gone around for generations that “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Essentially, all the education in the world won’t necessarily get you as far as having certain contacts. And, depending on the field you’re trying to break into (and your definition of success) thatContinue reading “Who Knows You”

O Tempora! O Morales!

Dearest Rachel – While I might have considered Macomb to have been a tiny little backwater town even before I met you, it had plenty of advantages for you that wouldn’t have existed in your average backwater little town. What with the university being the main ‘industry’ of the town, there were cultural opportunities availedContinue reading “O Tempora! O Morales!”

The Other Side of the Conversation

Dearest Rachel – For all my talk yesterday about being able to lean over to you and say whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, there is, of course, another aspect to the newfound silence in my life. That is to say, the lack of response to anything I might say to you in the hereContinue reading “The Other Side of the Conversation”

I’m With Stupid (Times Two)

Dearest Rachel – You know, one of the things that I really miss about your absence is the fact that I’m no longer able to just say whatever I want to. If something popped into my head, I could just lean over to you and say it, without too much fear of you judging meContinue reading “I’m With Stupid (Times Two)”

Christmas in the Pest House

Dearest Rachel – You might remember it from one of your parents’ books of old New Yorker cartoons. There was a particular artist in the magazine’s early days, one John Held, Jr., whose style tended towards old fashioned woodcuts, as opposed to the typical line-and-shadow drawings one thinks of. Whether that’s what they really were,Continue reading “Christmas in the Pest House”

from Rachel: When Your Thought Closet is Blue

In Psalm 42:5, what question did [the psalmist] record? “Why are you downcast, O my soul?“Why so disturbed within me?” Why do you think the psalmist asked this question? Check one: He was… “searching for the reason for his despair.” What colors make up your thought closet? “purple” What color are your personality, your memories,Continue reading “from Rachel: When Your Thought Closet is Blue”

Signposts and Detours on the Road to Recovery

Dearest Rachel – I can’t say that it was as regular as clockwork, but you should remember how, more or less once a year, I would come down with a cold that was so bad (for one day, at least) that I would feel like I ought to be informing my mates that my kangarooContinue reading “Signposts and Detours on the Road to Recovery”

Five-Year Plan

Dearest Rachel – I’m gonna preface this later by admitting that I really don’t feel like doing anything today. Even something as small as dictating to Siri feels like a herculean effort. So you’ll understand if it turns out that this letter is rather short. The thing is, however, that it’s the moments that areContinue reading “Five-Year Plan”

Sick Day

Dearest Rachel – The only bit of good news when I woke up this morning at 4:30 (yeah, I guess I still haven’t gotten used to the time difference yet) was that my temperature was only 97.2°, so at least I know there’s no fever. That’s not even taking into account the fact that lastContinue reading “Sick Day”

How Long Until You Knew?

Dearest Rachel – Just think, it was only yesterday that I was congratulating myself for having reacclimatized to the local time zone. I really should have known better. But last night, I had already woken up once, at three, so I was mildly disgusted with myself about that. At the same time, my head wasContinue reading “How Long Until You Knew?”

First Contact

Dearest Rachel – After discovering last night (or rather, this morning, I suppose) at 3:30 that I had fallen asleep in the bedroom rocking chair five hours earlier, I made to brush my teeth, get myself undressed, and drop myself into bed where I belonged. It was easier than it had been for some time,Continue reading “First Contact”

Just Another Town… Again

Dearest Rachel – I want to say that it wasn’t all that long ago, but we both know better than that. High school, for both of us, was more than half a lifetime back – more like two-thirds, in fact – but the gaps tend to fill in with so many days that were indistinguishableContinue reading “Just Another Town… Again”

Not On the Same Wavelength

Dearest Rachel – It was nice to hear your voice again last night, even if we clearly weren’t on the same wavelength – or even in the same time zone. And I’m not talking about those few hour differences that I’m still coping with throughout the last week (although they clearly have something to doContinue reading “Not On the Same Wavelength”

from Rachel: Speaking Hope to Your Soul

What’s the most significant thing you “recognized” about your self-talk so far? “I hadn’t realized how often I call myself names.” What lie or lies have been the toughest to “refuse?” “Klutz” Which lies have you “relabeled” with truth? Lie: “Klutz” – Truth: “Beloved child of God”Lie: “all three faulty assumptions on page 45” –Continue reading “from Rachel: Speaking Hope to Your Soul”

The Cost of Things Lost

Dearest Rachel – It would seem that the conventional wisdom, the rule of thumb, is more accurate than I had considered giving it credit for. Daniel and I have been waking up at ridiculous hours throughout the entirety of the past week since arriving back home, including today. I can’t speak for so much forContinue reading “The Cost of Things Lost”

Among the Savages

Dearest Rachel – I am of the understanding that, in that last hour before wakefulness, our mind puts us through R.E.M. sleep for the purpose of getting us ready for the day. On rare occasions, the dreams it generates appear to be so much like our normal life that we find ways to deal withContinue reading “Among the Savages”

The Thrill of the Hunt

Dearest Rachel – One of the particular advantages of still being far out of sorts, with regard to time zones (not to mention suffering from the effects of the food coma kicking in early on in the fourth quarter between New York and Dallas, not that I had any concern about the outcome of thatContinue reading “The Thrill of the Hunt”

Plus Ultra

Dearest Rachel – No, honey, this letter has nothing to do with My Hero Academia, despite that anime making a catchphrase out of this Latin motto. I don’t know enough about the series to comment upon it; I may have been the first otaku in the family, but I know better than to get involvedContinue reading “Plus Ultra”

The Lengths Gone To

Dearest Rachel – I don’t recall the family ordering Thanksgiving pies from Baker’s Square before, to be honest. Or maybe it’s just that I was never tasked with picking them up before. In any event, it never crossed my mind as to what to expect when I got there. I’d planned on picking up lunchContinue reading “The Lengths Gone To”

Passing Another Milestone Upon the Verge of Joy

Dearest Rachel – Tomorrow, as you know, will be Thanksgiving. A day where we Americans collectively stop and try to remind ourselves how good we have it, and how we should be grateful for all those blessings in life that those of other places and times could only have dreamed of, as well as certainContinue reading “Passing Another Milestone Upon the Verge of Joy”

Rent and Responsibility

Dearest Rachel – I have to say that, when the folks dropped us off after driving us home from the airport, it was really nice to have Logan there waiting for us, with lights on and everything. The fact that he’d also prepared dinner (southern-style baked macaroni and cheese) was an added plus. Yes, heContinue reading “Rent and Responsibility”

Club Megumi

Dearest Rachel – Another early morning, another thing to write you about before I go back to sleep and forget all about it. Don’t know how far I’ll get before that happens, but I might as well try and see where this goes. Anyway, this is about a dream, which have been fewer and fartherContinue reading “Club Megumi”

Not Wee Enough Yet

Dearest Rachel – I’ve heard it said that, when you travel long distances, it takes a day to recover for every hour in time change that you make. I personally think that’s overstating things, as that would mean that by the time we were adjusting to the time in Israel, we would be pretty muchContinue reading “Not Wee Enough Yet”

Politics and the Public Sphere

Dearest Rachel – You know, I really thought I had weaned myself off of my political news feed over the past week and a half. What Internet I could get over in Israel was, to be frank, less than reliable, so its main purpose was to be used to assemble and send my updates toContinue reading “Politics and the Public Sphere”

All or Nothing at All

Dearest Rachel – For all that it’s been an edifying trip (even with the distraction of me trying to write everything down as I’m walking through every single site), it’s really good to get back home, and pile myself into my own bed. Daniel agrees, despite the fact that his bed is essentially the familyContinue reading “All or Nothing at All”

from Rachel: Temple Talk (What to Say to Yourself About Your Body)

What did the story you just read say to you? I don’t have to feel guilty for not exercising regularly as long as I keep praising the Lord. Are you balanced in your approach to managing and maintaining your temple? Why or why not? “I think so. I try to generally make good food choicesContinue reading “from Rachel: Temple Talk (What to Say to Yourself About Your Body)”

Mealtime Moments

Dearest Rachel – While I’ve been writing you mostly about the places we’ve gone, the things we’ve seen (many of which might be at least of nodding familiarity to you, having been here several times before), there are other things going on that have little to do with the trip itself. Or maybe they haveContinue reading “Mealtime Moments”

Let Cooler Heads Prevail

Dearest Rachel – There are so many reasons why I wish you were still here. Some are obvious at any point in time that you look at it; others, only in certain situations that come up so infrequently that even I tend to forget about them. This is one of those latter things, and oneContinue reading “Let Cooler Heads Prevail”

An Ungodly Hour in God’s City

Dearest Rachel – There are many cities around the world that seem to pride themselves on being ‘the city that never sleeps.’ New York and San Francisco come to mind in particular, being celebrated in song to that effect. Jerusalem is not one of those places. On the contrary, part of its pride lies inContinue reading “An Ungodly Hour in God’s City”

Return to Israel

Dearest Rachel – After visiting Bethlehem and the shepherd’s caves, we head back into Israel proper. While we never needed our passports (because isn’t it still Israel? I mean, there is no separate country of Palestine at the moment), it has all the feel of a border crossing otherwise. As we arrive at Nebe Samuel,Continue reading “Return to Israel”

Shopportunities

Dearest Rachel – The first time we heard this phrase was the last time we were in Israel. Our guide, Irad, claimed no credit for it; he had, on a recent tour previous, been asked about them from a pair of twenty-something girls, and liked the expression so much as to ask permission to borrowContinue reading “Shopportunities”

Losing Sharpness

Dearest Rachel – I’m not going to claim that this wouldn’t have happened if you were still here with me. You did a lot of the packing for our many trips, to be sure, but there were certain personal things that were left up to me to handle. In fact, I would generally be theContinue reading “Losing Sharpness”

Praise Allah, It’s Thursday

Dearest Rachel – I gather that just by using this title, I’m marking myself as an impious infidel; however, I can’t help but wonder if, since their day of worship is tomorrow, and they party tonight, whether Muslims have a similar attitude toward Thursday evening as we Westerners tend to think of Friday, and thankContinue reading “Praise Allah, It’s Thursday”

A Stone’s Throw Away

Dearest Rachel – As we drive off from our lunch stop (and that’s a quick story for another time), Yael discusses the reforestation of Israel; it would seem that it was denuded of trees in the late nineteenth century for hardwood to build a rail line between Istanbul and Mecca/Medina for hajj travelers. Over 90%Continue reading “A Stone’s Throw Away”

Calm Amid the Chaos

Dearest Rachel – Since thus far, we really haven’t had the time for shopping, it would seem that merchants have decided to come to us. I mentioned about Junior plugging tattoos yesterday; today, we had a guy aboard the bus, shilling personalized necklaces and rings. I’m not gonna lie, I was briefly tempted to getContinue reading “Calm Amid the Chaos”

The Satisfaction of Dreams

It’s often the little things in life that can be the most satisfying, particularly after a relatively long absence. For instance, after a week of irregular sleep, the fact that I woke up from a dream lets me know that I’ve finally gotten a good night’s sleep. It wasn’t anything fancy, to be honest. TheContinue reading “The Satisfaction of Dreams”

This You Cannot Make Me Do

Dearest Rachel – The climax of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the moment when Scrooge brushes the snow away from the tombstone of the ‘unknown’ man he had seen lying dead earlier in his travels with the Spirit of Christmas Future. It’s the turning point in which he realizes how worthless his life hasContinue reading “This You Cannot Make Me Do”

The Sacred and the Secular in the City of the Savior

Dearest Rachel – We hear the bleat of a horn (and I’m not kidding – it drops a tone mid-honk) as we step off the bus this morning. It’s normal for the inhabitants, but it’s odd for us to land on an angle this steep. At least it’s easy to make our way out ofContinue reading “The Sacred and the Secular in the City of the Savior”

Too Tired to Wash?

Dearest Rachel – I’m not gonna lie, honey; when I heard that we would need to be on the bus as early as we would this morning, I considered taking a shower last night, instead. The trouble is that, by the time I was finished telling you about all the things that we had seenContinue reading “Too Tired to Wash?”

The City of David

Dearest Rachel – “♫ Jerusalem, if I forget youLet my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do ♪” We bounce in to the strains of reggae, if you can believe it.  Jordan claims it’s a tradition among us at the Bridge, but I don’t recall that from past visits to Jerusalem.  Our first timeContinue reading “The City of David”

Streams and Songs in the Desert

Dearest Rachel – We’re warned not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or feed the animals as we make our way into the En Gedi nature preserve. I wonder about smoking the animals for eating, but Daniel nudges me like you would for a crack like that – which I probably deserve. I thought that EnContinue reading “Streams and Songs in the Desert”

The Last Stand

Dearest Rachel – We’re back at Masada yet again; and although it doesn’t factor into the Biblical record, it seems to be de rigeur for a tourist in Israel to visit, it would seem. It’s a symbol of heroism for Israelis, despite involving what was effectively mass suicide, a serious breach of Jewish morality. However,Continue reading “The Last Stand”

Confusingly Early

Dearest Rachel – Morning at the Royal Dead Sea hotel, and we get our wake-up call at 6 o’clock.  That’s half an hour earlier than we’ve ever had a wake-up call, and actually earlier than I’ve set my alarm for today.  It makes me wonder if we have enough time to get ourselves put together, outContinue reading “Confusingly Early”

Not Going South Just Yet

Dearest Rachel – It’s 8 a.m., and we’re underway – to some applause, as we actually pulled out at 7:59. Considering that I felt like I was being order to be ready to go by 7:45 (and I know, I shouldn’t take it personally if I’m not the one guilty of being late) I don’tContinue reading “Not Going South Just Yet”

Gobble, Gulp and Go

Dearest Rachel – A week or so ago, I finished transcribing my notes from our first trip here back in 2014. I had meant to use them to compare what we’d seen and heard then versus now, but also as filler, under the assumption that I wouldn’t be likely to be able to write fullContinue reading “Gobble, Gulp and Go”

Our Dinner With Omer

Dearest Rachel – Omer’s home overlooks the cliffs of Gadara (the site, as I always say, of the original deviled ham), and the city of Susita, on the northern half of the Sea of Galilee. Basically, to hear Omer tell it, he can see where half the events of the New Testament took place fromContinue reading “Our Dinner With Omer”

Galilee Afternoon

Dearest Rachel – Sunday dinnerOn the shore of Galilee At a… Chinese restaurant? Actually no, we’re not eating at the Pagoda this time. But, we find ourselves eating outdoors in November – another unfamiliar combination of concepts for a group of Chicago natives. But as time wears on, and the sun beats down on us, evenContinue reading “Galilee Afternoon”

By the Waters of Jordan and Galilee

Dearest Rachel – For the third time in my life, I’m here at Yardenit – the banks of the Jordan. Junior asks me if I’m going in, and I respond in the negative.  I’ve already been, after all – there’s no need to be baptized twice.  Indeed, you’ll recall that neither of us had beenContinue reading “By the Waters of Jordan and Galilee”

from Rachel: Who Is In the Center of Your Thought Closet?

Write what the psalmist told his soul to do in Psalm 146:1 “Praise the Lord” In your own words, what does it mean to tell your soul to praise God? “I try to focus on His greatness and holiness, and on His great love. I like to try to imagine future praise sessions in personContinue reading “from Rachel: Who Is In the Center of Your Thought Closet?”

A Light from the Heights

Dearest Rachel – After lunch at Caesarea Philippi, we take an hour-long ride into the Golan Heights (still a part of the Galilee region), to a town called Gamla. You would think that a nation barely the size of Rhode Island wouldn’t have such long drives from place to place, and yet, here we are.Continue reading “A Light from the Heights”

Dan in the North

Dearest Rachel – No, this has nothing to do with Daniel being with me as we head to the northernmost point of Israel (at least, not at first); this area was named Dan long before that. I should point out that I haven’t been bringing our itinerary with us; since I’m not the one driving,Continue reading “Dan in the North”

Blessed Are…

Dearest Rachel – After barely making the bus (it looks like I’m starting to fall into your habits, sweetheart), we listen to a little recent history from Yael as we travel to the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee; basically, that of the two-state proposal as drawn up in 1948 (and summarily rejectedContinue reading “Blessed Are…”

Too Harsh for a Laugh?

Dearest Rachel – You’ll remember staying at the one in Jerusalem; now we’ve gotten ourselves moved into a room at one in Nazareth. And for whatever reason, I can’t help but be reminded (as unfairly as it might be applied to them) by this song: I’m pretty sure you would have shared in the giggleContinue reading “Too Harsh for a Laugh?”

On the Edge of Shabbat

Dearest Rachel – For all our familiarity with certain Jewish traditions – and ever more so, now that Logan is living with us (although he cheerfully agrees with my assessment of him as a ‘cheeseburger Jew,’ which is to say, rather loose with regard to the strictures of his religion) – Israel proper takes whatContinue reading “On the Edge of Shabbat”

The Site of Armageddon?

Dearest Rachel – It’s a strange thing to consider; while we’re well aware that the name Armageddon comes from a specific place – the valley of Megiddo, where we are now heading to – it goes against our understanding to think of the end of the world happening in a single specific place. Armageddon seemsContinue reading “The Site of Armageddon?”

The Difference in Mornings

Dearest Rachel – It says something good about a hotel bed when you wake up in it thinking year at home in your own – although I think it may have had more to do with the ambient traffic noise that I’m so used to back there. It’s less complementary when you check the alarm,Continue reading “The Difference in Mornings”

A Rest Arrested, A Connection Made

Dearest Rachel – I really thought I’d be better at this; given that I was yawning like crazy even as the folks were driving Daniel and I to the airport, I assumed I’d be able to fall asleep on the plane without any difficulty. It was certainly late enough in the evening, and I hadContinue reading “A Rest Arrested, A Connection Made”

“I Was Told There’d Be Outlets”

Dearest Rachel – I’m not sure that I want this to become frequent enough to be routine; there’s a certain point at which, I’m sure, travel loses its luster. That being said, I would certainly prefer to be sufficiently accustomed to the process to not feel so queasy every time I arrive at the airport.Continue reading ““I Was Told There’d Be Outlets””

Pa(ni)cking

Dearest Rachel – In the eponymous book describing it (and the many adventures Arthur Dent takes under its influence), The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy has emblazoned on its cover two critical words: “Don’t Panic.” In theory, it’s good advice for the traveler, whether you’re escaping a planet that’s about to be destroyed, or justContinue reading “Pa(ni)cking”

The Point of Power

Dearest Rachel – As soon as I wrote it out, it occurred to me that someone might read the title and assume it was something like the Five Point Palm technique from Kill Bill or some such. And while I understand that something along these lines actually exists among certain aboriginal tribes in Australia –Continue reading “The Point of Power”

He Steals for Us

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure I really should be focusing on our preparations for our flight out tomorrow evening to Israel, but my mind is preoccupied with other things at the moment. Sure, there are personal things that I need to attend to, but today, the events of the world at large – or atContinue reading “He Steals for Us”

One’s Soul For One’s Country

Dearest Rachel – When one thinks of things one would be willing to sacrifice one’s life for, thoughts tend to run toward the things one loves. If there is to be anything worth dying for, it would be (ironically) the things that make life worth living. Possessions rarely fall into that category, although some thingsContinue reading “One’s Soul For One’s Country”

The Value of Sacrifice

Dearest Rachel – It may have been last night’s game of Civilization between Kevin and myself, which, upon being joined on the line by Erin, I found myself explaining my mild fascination about history, and the great men (and women) throughout it that helped to sculpt the world into the shape it is in, forContinue reading “The Value of Sacrifice”

from Rachel: Grumbles in the Thought Closet

Think about what you say when you talk to yourself. Do you ever grumble? If so, about what? “Yes, petty annoyances.” According to Philippians 2:3, how much are we permitted to do from selfishness? “nothing” Rather than out of selfishness, we are to act with what? “humility” Are your grumbles more justified than theirs were?Continue reading “from Rachel: Grumbles in the Thought Closet”

The New Saturday Routine

Dearest Rachel – I think you might remember me telling you back in the day how odd it was that, once I was able to retire, I only ever had to set my alarm on Sunday mornings. Of course, that’s to be understood; when we volunteer to work at all three services on a givenContinue reading “The New Saturday Routine”

Tapped Out (for the Moment)

Dearest Rachel – There are days when the slightest thing can trigger a flood of memories for me to write you about. Like Marcel Proust going on for pages about the shape, texture, and mouthfeel of a madeleine cookie, there are days when I could write for ages on the smallest thing, if I feltContinue reading “Tapped Out (for the Moment)”

An Unexpected Choice

Dearest Rachel – Well, that serves me right for trying to draft a letter to you while waiting for things to shake out. It’s amazing how much things can change in a matter of a few hours. I’ll start at the beginning, as best I can, since it’s not really my story – I’m justContinue reading “An Unexpected Choice”

The Pile of Questions

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure that you would tell me that I’m a too bit free-spending these days, dropping money on frivolities that I neither need nor even want, if I really were to think about it. Granted, part of it could probably be attributed to the combination of prices going up as our portfolioContinue reading “The Pile of Questions”

Water, Oil and Wine

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know how my mind can go from black-and-white line drawings one night to full (if dimly lit) color and tactile sensations, but it was good to see and hear from you last night, even if it left me with more questions than answers – and I still had to letContinue reading “Water, Oil and Wine”

La Ofrenda Inadvertida

Dearest Rachel – It’s the sort of thing to only think of talking about today, on what would be the Día de Muertos if we were of the sort to commemorate that. Certain concepts only come to mind at certain times of the year, prompted by seasons or holidays, and this is definitely one ofContinue reading “La Ofrenda Inadvertida”

Mercy, Grace and Pity

Good morning, honey – This morning’s visions are going to be considerably more disjointed than most – dreams can be like that, after all – but it’s the sort of thing you’d likely be telling me about if it happened to you, so I think it’s only fair. This letter might also be the sortContinue reading “Mercy, Grace and Pity”

Not Suited for the Season

Dearest Rachel – Halloween was never celebrated much at our place, was it? What with it being on a major thoroughfare, our house was only ever visited a handful of times at best on any given year. and that was before we were dealing with things like the pandemic and social distancing and the polarizationContinue reading “Not Suited for the Season”

The Fortress With Two Open Doors

Dearest Rachel – Evenings at the house, if they weren’t falling into something of a routine, and thereby likely to be considered to be ‘normal,’ are, I suspect, anything but that, when observed objectively. While it’s understandable that the boys would hang out together – and that I should stay out of their way, muchContinue reading “The Fortress With Two Open Doors”

from Rachel: I Will Remember

Rate your memory by circling the number that most closely matches you – 1 being poor, 10 being excellent. “7” When it comes to criticism or past failures, rate your ability to remember. “8” When it comes to successes, compliments, or God’s benefits, how good is your memory? “7” What do the circled numbers inContinue reading “from Rachel: I Will Remember”

Taking A Ribbing

Dearest Rachel – On my way home from the Halloween festival at church, I stopped at several different places to pick up lunch for the boys. Some things never change; even if they’re able to agree on a place they’re both willing to eat from – and unlike the three of us, they can usuallyContinue reading “Taking A Ribbing”

The Pull of Responsibility

Dearest Rachel – While you spent much of your life trying to maintain a certain level of childhood (and fairly successfully, I might add – certainly in comparison to myself or nearly anyone else we knew), there are certain aspects of that station in life that leave one longing for the joys of the imaginedContinue reading “The Pull of Responsibility”

Preparations and Purchases

Dearest Rachel – You were instructing me to help you out in finding a protective screen for your touchscreen computer, as you were planning on taking it with on our travels. You seemed to be looking forward to the trip. For my part, I didn’t know how to react to your request. I hadn’t intendedContinue reading “Preparations and Purchases”

Untouchable

Dearest Rachel – In a few ways, I was actually quite prepared for life on my own. Thanks to our vastly different sleep schedules, I was already used to retiring to an empty bedroom. Similarly, the quiet mornings on my own aren’t that much different than before, apart from the fact that they’re not nearlyContinue reading “Untouchable”

Spoiled

Dearest Rachel – For all the improvements to the house over the past few months, you would think I would be satisfied with everything, now that the dust has settled. But not necessarily; after getting myself dressed, and heading to the dining room to get myself a bowl of cereal to start the day with,Continue reading “Spoiled”

Between Fashion and Utility

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know what prompted the images of last night’s dream – and they were mostly images, rather than any sort of coherent storyline – but I suppose that dreams, by their very nature, don’t require a logical explanation. My best guess, however, is that of various memelords and other Photoshop experts,Continue reading “Between Fashion and Utility”

What Other People Think

Dearest Rachel – After heading downstairs from the home office (a bit on that near the end, by the way), getting ready to have breakfast and start my day, I realized that Daniel was awake, and listening to some of his usual stuff. Granted, this morning it seemed to be some sort of news report,Continue reading “What Other People Think”

The Benchmark

Dearest Rachel – I’d fill you in about last night’s dream – something about the Incredibles, with the kids more or less grown up, duking it out against a league of supervillains basically representing the Seven Deadly Sins (honestly, what is it about supervillains that compels them to a.) insist on some sort of themeContinue reading “The Benchmark”

Just to Let You Know…

Dearest Rachel – To a certain extent, this particular letter might seem a bit perfunctory. After all, what’s the point of commemorating something when I’ve already missed a month? It isn’t as if there’s a streak I need to keep up, nor would you hold it against me – or even be aware; I’m neverContinue reading “Just to Let You Know…”

from Rachel: The Library in Your Mind

Pour yourself a cup of coffee (ha!) and turn to Psalm 103. What did the psalmist say to his soul in verse 2? “Bless the Lord“Forget none of His benefits” What do you think makes the difference between the memories becoming friends or foes? “Which ones we dwell on, what effect they have on us,Continue reading “from Rachel: The Library in Your Mind”

Don’t Know What I Expected

Dearest Rachel – “Are you… Dave?” I was to meet a fellow by that name, according to Lisa, and he would direct me and the other volunteers as far as setting up the room for last night’s activity. In fact, she even gave me his contact information, just in case I arrived too early, andContinue reading “Don’t Know What I Expected”

The Squeaky Wheel

Dearest Rachel – I never intended to make this story into a multi-part tale. I fully expected to be telling you about what happened (or, more to the point, what didn’t happen, as I’ve no expectations that anything will come of tonight’s get-together, any more than anything has come of my attempts at online dating,Continue reading “The Squeaky Wheel”

Can’t Help But Compare

Dearest Rachel – Waking up ridiculously early this morning isn’t anywhere near as unpleasant as it has been, now that the fan motor has been replaced in the bedroom space heater. Still, without an immediate topic at hand to talk to you about today (since by waking up, I seem to have completely punctured whateverContinue reading “Can’t Help But Compare”

A Second Adolescence

Dearest Rachel – It’s been long said that senility and dementia result in something that is referred to as a ‘second childhood’. You no longer know the things you used to know, so you’re about as ignorant and helpless as you were as a little child. You remember how this was, especially with your mom’sContinue reading “A Second Adolescence”

Cringe

Dearest Rachel – I woke up rather a bit too early this morning; while I wanted to get an earlier start on the day because of various errands I need to take care of, five a.m. is a bit too much. But upon attaining consciousness, my mind started rifling through various topics to write youContinue reading “Cringe”

For the Sake of Former Adversaries

Dearest Rachel – Back in the day, I rarely had nightmares about work – or at least, not that I can remember. After all, I would wake up a little after five in the morning in order to begin preparations to get myself ready for work, and the alarm would essentially interrupt any dream thatContinue reading “For the Sake of Former Adversaries”

Barely Even Half

Dearest Rachel – On the mornings you would wake up without having had a dream to relate, you would often have a song stuck in your head. Now, you and I had different methods for expelling earworms; if mine was annoying enough, I would usually try to conjure something else up in my head toContinue reading “Barely Even Half”

from Rachel: Fire in the Closet

What does James 4:1 say about our fiery potential? “They ‘come from desires that battle within you.’” What kind of words ignite your anger? “Mostly actions spark my anger, but I do feel righteous indignation over false accusations, especially when my self-defenses are dismissed without the slightest consideration.” What situations trigger frustration or ignite anger?Continue reading “from Rachel: Fire in the Closet”

Cold Open

You know how it goes; you remember how the episodes began when the revival fired up. It’s the top of the hour, and what you’re watching is too good, too professionally produced to be a commercial. The visuals are stunning, and the action has you already hooked on what’s going on. But there’s been noContinue reading “Cold Open”

If You Could Read My Mind…

Dearest Rachel – I think I’ve told you a couple of times about how easy it is to write by dictating to Siri. Rather than bothering to find every letter on the keyboard, I can just talk to her, and everything shows up pretty quickly thereafter. Sure, there are moments when I have to stopContinue reading “If You Could Read My Mind…”

More Nothing Than I Know What to Do With

Dearest Rachel – For the most part, yesterday was my own fault, so I really have no right to complain about what happened – or rather, what didn’t happen. To be fair, I enjoy my retired life; the lack of deadlines and responsibilities to a boss, the (admittedly somewhat theoretical) freedom to do or goContinue reading “More Nothing Than I Know What to Do With”

Like a Drunken Sailor

Dearest Rachel – Most people would rather not be thought of as profligate when it comes to their spending habits; I certainly don’t. Sure, my family raised me to be generous with regard to giving (and I’ll get to that later on), but they also taught me to be prudent with what money came myContinue reading “Like a Drunken Sailor”

Bolt From the Black

Dearest Rachel – It was half past three; I checked almost immediately after it happened. My mind was just wrapping up a dream about a flight that was forced to land in the packing lot of our church’s Des Plaines campus when there was this thunderous explosion, as if it was coming directly from ourContinue reading “Bolt From the Black”

Filling A Need

Dearest Rachel – For all the mornings I talk to you about meaningless things like my dreams from the previous night, you’d think I’d take the time now and again to fill you in on the more important things that are actually happening in and around my life. Monday nights would be a particular sourceContinue reading “Filling A Need”