Witnessing the Witness of Queen Elizabeth II

Much has been discussed recently regarding the memorializing, mourning, and burying of Queen Elizabeth II. Most of us were attuned, in varying degrees, through the services of technology, to the unfolding of events since her passing on September 8 . I too followed along. Watching both the state funeral at Westminster Abbey and the committal service at St. George’s Chapel on Monday, September 19, one particular item (among numerous fascinations) caught and maintained my attention.

Each attendee held a copy of the Order of Service and followed along.

The Order of Service.

I listened. I observed. I watched people reading or singing from the substantial bulletin. The speakers read their contributions from the printed liturgy.  Every word appeared scripted. (Even the funeral sermon, not printed in the liturgy, is printed and available online.) But what was the content? What was the focus? What was the meaning? And who may have believed it? Who will believe it?

Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Christian Reader, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Inscrutable Paths of God’s Blessing and Love

Today, I will try to conclude this series I started a few posts ago describing some real life, surprising “tales” about a number of friends.

I’ve told you some sad-sweet stories about my cousin, Sherrie, about friends, Michael and Loretta, and about 96 year old Paul Haney.

My husband, Paul, moved Sherrie from Phoenix (Glendale), AZ to Findlay, Ohio last summer, but our sweet Sherrie succumbed to Covid in the hospital two days before Christmas! We’ve been reviewing sweet memories and adjusting.

My husband, Paul, moved our friends, Michael and Loretta from Prescott Valley, AZ to Florida a little over two years ago, so they could be near one of their daughters. Michael, growing weaker last fall, succumbed to his Alzheimer’s this past December 30. Paul and I are at Loretta’s house in The Villages, Florida, right now, and I’m typing this in the dining room. We just had a lovely Valentine’s coffee breakfast and devotional this morning at the kitchen table.

In the last post about Paul Haney, Mr. White Tufts of Wisdom, we saw a man who practiced “redeeming the time”! Now, today, on Valentine’s Day, I will tell you a sweet story of a long-time friend, Jayne Russell, who bought a man’s tie when she was about age 53, and prayed for a man to fill it. Well, she had been praying for decades, and she  waited — sigh, sigh — patiently. The tie was an addition to her prayers, to add emphasis. And then last year, surprise! She was not the only one waiting patiently!

Continue reading

Categories: Biography | Tags: , | 4 Comments

White Tufts of Wisdom

From his determined, shuffling feet to his wavy, white tufts, Paul Haney charmed and impressed me when he visited our home last June with his daughter, Sarah.  Energetic and bright at age 96, he was ready to surprise me.

In my recent posts, I’ve been writing about being surprised. Surprised by people. Surprised by the turns in their stories. Surprised by God’s intervention in unexpected ways. Today, I write about Paul Haney.

He has not had a major role in my life. However, this past year he left his mark. He impressed me, nudged me, challenged me, and with no intention, reproved me. Will I heed his encouragement? I pray so.

Paul Olsen and Paul Haney walk the halls in Grace Village one Sunday afternoon after a satisfying lunch in the cafeteria. July 11, 2021.

Continue reading

Categories: Biography | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The G. of G. # 7: Vision, Collision, and Mission

This is my fourth attempt in the last week to write a blog post. There is so much to say that I don’t know what to say. Wearing my biblical worldview lenses, I’m always looking to interpret the visible world through spiritual lenses — seeing the temporal in light of the eternal.

When we entered 2020, many people were excited about the year, seeing some special meaning in the number 2020 — as in 20-20 vision. Admittedly, we were hearing news of some infectious sickness tormenting some cruise ships, how terrible, but that was just a dark blotch in the corner of our vision. “God, have mercy on those people,” we thought, and continued on our way. No 2020 vision there. Looking ahead, many thought the year was looking good. I too had this sense. It never occurred to us that those cruise ships were a microcosm of what we would become worldwide — a foreshadowing of the year and maybe years to come. And pandemic was but one (very large) aspect of the coming collisions. I don’t need to name them.

I just finished reading the new biography of Elisabeth Elliot written by Ellen Vaughn entitled Becoming Elisabeth (published in 2020). Hmm. And what does this title mean? What was she before? She was Betty. Betty. Not Elisabeth. She became Elisabeth after the publication of a side work she did at the bidding of others, taking her away from Ecuador for a year, to do a work which would introduce her to the world. She returned to her missionary work before her manuscript was published, drawn back to the people who killed her husband and four other missionary men.  Through Gates of Splendor introduced Betty to the world as Elisabeth, and so she has ever been. Elisabeth Elliot. E.E.

Elisabeth (Betty) Howard was born on December 21, 1926.  Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren died on June 15, 2015. Interestingly, this biography of her early years was published in 2020. A sequel is expected.


And who are we? What are we becoming? As individuals? As Christians? As whatever identifying group? As a nation? Becoming ________________?

Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Government | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The G. of G. #4: In God We Trust

Are you familiar with how the motto, “In God We Trust,” came to be placed on our coins and bills? It’s interesting. Often times, it seems that conflict is necessary for humans to be humbled and to face their need. I’m sure that each of us can personally concur.

I’ll get to a short version of that story. But first, I want to ask you this. Did you read any of the four Christian worldview articles that I listed in my previous post? If not, I’d encourage you to check out this site:!

These worldview articles will not only help you to see biblical principles that impact social issues and public policy, but they will also give you good examples of how to build biblical perspectives on issues and show you how to improve the biblical shape of your own worldview. A Christian worldview is not static. No matter how old I am,  I’m finding that I can continually grow toward a more sound view and practice.

This is the fourth article in a series entitled The Grammar of Government.*1  I plan to write one or two more articles in this series before moving on to another theme.

Have you re-read The Constitution of the United States recently? The Declaration of Independence? Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are often studied in conjunction with The Declaration of Independence and compared with colonial charters and constitutions, and colonial self-governing perspectives and practices. Fascinating.

Have you noticed that the Constitution of the United States never references God?

Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Christian Reader, Government | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Part 1: “The Beauty of Truth” and other Ravi Thoughts

It was just one week ago today.

I was comfortably positioned on our leather, sectional sofa in the living room, reading the news online on my laptop. An article referenced the seriousness of Ravi Zacharias’ recent, cancer battle. A minute later, the page refreshed itself (or did I click on something that refreshed it? I don’t know), and suddenly a new headline announced that Ravi’s daughter had posted that her father passed away that very morning, May 19.

I sat quietly. I didn’t call to Paul, who was upstairs. A stunning stillness washed over me. All of my adult life, Ravi Zacharias and his ministry have been “out there,” a kind of soothing encouragement, support, and inspiration. Aware of my emotional- physical-spiritual response to this news, I remembered my response to a phone call from my Aunt Miriam, sixteen years ago, to inform us that my father had just passed away, unexpectedly soon, although expected within the year, of cancer. My response then was also quietness in my spirit mixed with an utter surrender. I want to come back to the meaning of this response, but not in this initial post in this new series. First, “take a listen.” Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Perspectives on Culture, Theology | Tags: | 2 Comments

Thinking About Deborah: Thank You, Deborah!

Today, I’m thinking about Deborah. Hmm. I’m getting too personal. That’s because she told a personal story, which makes me think very personally about her. I’m referring to Dr. Deborah Birx. Everyone paying any attention to the news concerning the coronavirus knows about Dr. Birx. Dr. Deborah Leah Birx.

Her father, Donald Birx, was a mathematician and electrical engineer. Her mother, Adelle, was a nursing instructor. One brother, I’ve read, was or is a nuclear engineer and the other a mathematician. This family is both inspiring and intimidating.

According to Wikipedia, “Birx lives with her parents, husband, and one of her daughter’s family in a multi-generational home.”  My curiosity was piqued. Birx is her maiden name. She has a husband and  daughters, but who is her husband? She goes by her maiden name, lives in a multi-generational home, and I learned she has grandchildren. But I couldn’t discover the man. Then I found a name.

At least, a last name. At the follow site ( ), I discovered the names of her daughters, which listed their last names: Raybuck. Actually Birx-Raybuck. So, the mystery husband is Mr. Raybuck. I wonder. What he is like? What does he do? How does he support his wife in her work?

I would love to live in a multi-generational home. Wow. How wonderful to have your parents in their own apartment, you and your spouse in yours, and one of your grown children and family in the rest of the house, the main portion, with a big, back yard. To me, that would be a dream.

Deborah seems so calm and measured. I wonder if her daughters are like that. Generally, each child is so different from each parent, yet has characteristics of each. This Birx-Raybuck family has grandchildren, but I don’t know how many.

So, you may wonder why I’m particularly fascinated with Dr. Deborah Leah Birx , but I would guess that she’s caught your attention too! Well, I have at least three, specific reasons, and the third I find to be inspirational.

Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Sir Roger Scruton and Mick and Lilly: Dignity, Tenderness, and Eternity

‘Ive been reading lately about Sir Roger Scruton from Great Britain who died on January 12.  As the dust of his life scatters, I’m appreciating his enduring imprint. I see patterns resonating with themes that pervade the book I’m currently writing.1

Every person’s life illustrates patterns. Patterns worth repeating and patterns worth avoiding. I’m trying to illustrate  each concept in my book with true stories. I discover good stories in my listening, reading, and daily living.

Listening to Sir Roger speak, I sense grounded reasonableness (for the most part) carried on the soft breezes of his temperament.  Even his striking criticisms of modernity leave me quiet in spirit rather than agitated.

I suppose his tone is shaped by his full-faced acceptance of his humanity and mortality (rooted long before his cancer diagnosis) plus his compassionate awareness that the rest of us grasp no more than he does. In our hubris (ignoring our brevity), he is humble for us. We should learn.

Sir Roger is a British philosopher (a lover of beauty and truth), a conservative (wanting to conserve the rich roots of his culture), an author and professor, a husband and a father. I write in present tense, because Sir Roger’s life and legacy are still here, even though he does not walk among us.

In contrast to the high brow of the humble Sir Roger (about whom I listen and read), my daily living is currently in Florida, among the needs of dear friends I’m calling Mick and Lilly. Not highbrow. But like Sir Roger, respectable, humble, limited, and needy. Lilly knows she’s needy. Mike doesn’t.

Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Perspectives on Culture, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Child is Father of the Man

I hope you are enjoying this continued story about my father and his family. Throughout Dad’s life, from childhood to deathbed, Dad tended to bubble with a kind of joy, a Jesus-joy. It made him delightful to many and peculiar to others. William Wordsworth’s poem, “My Heart Leaps Up” reminds me of my father’s heart — established in childhood, shaping the man and his life.

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety. Continue reading

Categories: Biography | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Problem Was the House

Part III: We left off here:

“The problem was the house. Now, the house becomes a main character in this real life story.”

If I were writing a book about my dad and his family (which I’m not), I could develop this “main character”, the house,  beyond the details I’ve been given. I’m thinking of houses as characters in literature.

I think of the professor’s house in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Or, there’s  221B Baker Street in London, the “home” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creates for his character, Sherlock Holmes. Last summer, my first daughter visited a place in London, a museum, actually designed to match Doyle’s descriptions of Holme’s apartment! Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Moving | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Blog at