I’m Invincible!

sidewalk gum

I just received my final follow-up vaccination for my trip to Egypt last February. It was my 3rd trip to Africa in the last 4 years. In all, I visited 4 African countries – all which have a long list of needed vaccinations.

I asked the doctor yesterday if I could now chew sidewalk gum. She said she doesn’t recommend it – but she did concur that my body probably has enough immunity to do so.

I might.

The Real Truth About Marriage and Divorce

50% of all marriages will end in divorce. This is the stat that I’ve come to believe because that’s what “they” say (whomever “they” are). The same “theys” also say that this number is not much different among Christians – 50% of Christian marriages will experience divorce as well. Not good news for the institution of marriage.

However, I can happily say that the “theys” are wrong! Recent studies show that the divorce rate in our culture is not nearly as high as “they” say it is, and that Christian marriages are actually faring even better. Here is the real truth about marriage today:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married are still married to their first spouse. And the 28% who aren’t includes everyone who was married for many years until a spouse died. No one knows what the average 1st-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, it is probably closer to 20–25%. For all marriages (including 2nd marriages and so on), it is in the 31–35% range, depending on the study. Regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25–50%. (The Good News About Marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn, Multnomah, 2014)

According to Glenn T. Stanton, the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith – be it Christian or other – have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.

Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver, working with an absolute all-star team of leading sociologists on the Oklahoma Marriage Study, explains that couples with a vibrant religious faith had more and higher levels of the qualities couples need to avoid divorce: “Whether young or old, male or female, low-income or not, those who said that they were more religious reported higher average levels of commitment to their partners, higher levels of marital satisfaction, less thinking and talking about divorce and lower levels of negative interaction. These patterns held true when controlling for such important variables as income, education, and age at first marriage.”

This is all good news! Contrary to popular belief (and contrary to what “they” say), marriage is not a dying institution in our culture, and the marriages that are most vibrant and secure are those where God is central.

Ghost Town in the Mountains

The signs are clear, and there are a lot of them: “Stay Out!” And we did. But my zoom lens did not.

IMG_6141

At the end of our weekend get-away in the mountains outside Albuquerque, Michelle and I decided to drive on a little-known dirt road to return to Albuquerque. The road cuts through the mountains rather than going around them, and with our newly acquired pick-up truck (with a Hemi, of course), we decided to take the challenge.

We had been told that if we could make it all the way, we would possibly be rewarded with seeing a herd of wild horses (which we did) and a ghost town that once was home to over 200 people in the 1930′s. After being banged around for 30 minutes on the dirt road, we saw a row of black tires attached to poles along the side of the road. All of them with the same message: “Stay Out!” We stopped, and in the distance we could see the ruins of a small town once known as Hagen, New Mexico.

Hagen

In the 1920′s, a coal mine was developed on the land as well as a brick-making plant. Over 100 adobe structures were built for homes and Hagen was born. Water was piped from a spring 2 miles away to a reservoir above the town, and a general store was built which housed a bank, post office, barber shop and pool hall as well as the general mercantile. Even an eight-grade school was set up to serve 70 students. All was going along well in Hagen until 1933 when the miners hit a layer of shale which soon widened, eventually choking off coal production.

Today, only the foundations and a few brick walls of the power plant, general store, reservoir, and a few smaller buildings remain.

Hagen3

Hagen4

21 Years Ago Today

21 Years 2

21 years ago today, I married the love of my life.  We haven’t changed much, have we?

Michelle is my best friend, my fellow adventure seeker, the one who laughs at my humor (most of the time), my soul-mate, the mother of my children, the grandmother of my grandchildren, my sounding board, my lifelong companion, the beauty I never grow tired of looking at, my joy, and definitely my better half.  I love living life with her, and I really do thank God for her every day.

Caught on Camera!

While drinking my coffee this morning and enjoying the view from my front window, I saw it.

But before I could do anything, it quickly turned and sped down a side street.  Knowing the migration patterns of this elusive sight, I ran and grabbed my camera expecting it to flash in front of my house a few minutes later.  One only gets a quick glimpse of this predator every few years, so I knew I had to act fast.  I set up  the camera in my front window not wanting to be seen by it.  And I waited…

Suddenly, and without any warning, it appeared right in front of my house.  It came from the north so quickly that all I was able to capture was its hind quarter.  Not good enough! I wanted a full shot, and I knew I would only have one more chance.  So I waited again, but this time with my finger on the camera’s trigger.

After a few false alarms and several empty pictures, I caught it on camera.  It flashed in front of my house one last time – this time from the south, and I was ready.  My heart leapt and my finger fired three shots.  The first shot caught the front quarter, the third shot caught nothing – but the second shot caught all of it!  And here’s the photo…

GoogleCar

The Google Maps camera car! I took a picture of it taking a picture of me, and besides probably triggering a lapse in the space/time continuum by doing this, I also secured my spot for the next few years on Google Maps.  I can’t wait to zoom onto my house from the street view and see if I can see myself.

Who says I don’t know how to hunt?

On life, learning, love, and laughter.