Six & Five

This September 4th is the 3rd time in my life that my government has, unbidden, designated me to be a certain thing:

  1. At birth, 65 years ago, I was designated as “born”
  2. At 18 years old, I was considered “draft ready”
  3. Today, I am “retired senior citizen”

To all of you who have wished me a happy day, thank you!  To my government, however, I have a different response, namely… Continue reading “Six & Five”

The surprise that almost wasn’t

In the midst of Iceland, we had been making surreptitious plans with Rainey (Sarah’s husband), to come down and surprise her for her birthday.  The ice threw a kink into those plans.  Serena volunteered to stay home to look after things, since she had to work Friday, anyway.  But we weren’t comfortable leaving her when it involved kerosene heaters and generators.  Enter our wonderful cousin, John Graham, who lives in Shelbyville.  He agreed to come out and be with Serena during the nights, and help her oversee the mechanical devices that were powering and heating the house.  His wife, Ann, took Serena to work Friday, after Serena hiked down to the end of the avenue.  (By then, we’d had a few more inches of snow over the ice to make the driveway even more treacherous.)  More on that in a minute. Continue reading “The surprise that almost wasn’t”

Receprocity & the 2nd Amendment- UPDATED

Caution–New York is the only state that prohibits the transportation of handguns without a license. Travelers should therefore be particularly careful since they face severe consequences should they inadvertently violate the state’s highly restrictive statutes.

On June 26 [2008], the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment—”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”— protects a purely individual right, as do the First, Fourth and Ninth Amendments. “Nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to ‘the people’ refer to anything other than an individual right,” the court said. “The term [‘the people’] unambiguously refers to all members of the political community.”

On Sept. 8th, while traveling home from a building seminar in NY state, I got a first hand look at how law enforcement in a “gun unfriendly” location interprets my right (see above) to individually carry a weapon as a means of protecting myself and my wife.  Although I was not actually arrested, I was effectively taken prisoner Continue reading “Receprocity & the 2nd Amendment- UPDATED”

There went the Bride

Well, it’s over. Sarah got married! She is now Mrs. Hartman. It was a grand occasion, and everything went beautifully and smoothly. My impression, looking back the next week after we got home was, “Gee, that was only a blip on the radar screen! It seems as if it should have made a bigger impression. Maybe the Jewish folks, and others who celebrate for a week have the right idea after all!”

So many people asked me if I was stressed over wedding preparations. The answer is, no, Sarah and Rainey did most of the planning and preparation down there (in GA). I ordered her wedding gown, which fit perfectly so that I didn’t have to alter it. I had to find a mother-of-the-bride dress to match some jewelry I already possessed — a deal, but not a big deal. Hey, I got to shop, didn’t I? I went down 2 weeks before the wedding to take them 2 chest-of-drawers, alter Sarah’s reception dress, and help her with a little bit of shopping. I helped set up the church and arrange a few flowers and bows the day before the wedding. The most stressful part of the whole affair was fixing 3 people’s hair the morning of the wedding. And the best part was hearing Sarah say, after I finished her hair, “That’s perfect, Mom; it’s exactly what I wanted!”

I’ll put in a picture that I took of Sarah when she was all dressed and ready. Ted will fuss over the way I do it and go back and edit the post! If anyone is interested enough to want more pictures, go to this website: . The password is “thomas0816” There are over 400 pictures there, but only a fraction of those actually taken. It takes 15 or 20 minutes to view as a slide show.  To order pictures as prints, please contact Brenda Brooks at BB & Company.


My Last Week of School

Dear Friends and Family,

NOTICE: This is the last weekly e-mail you will get from me until I get back from China (I think) because I am going to get my own blog page where I can easily upload pictures, so you get to visit that once a week and read my post. However, I know that the internet is a little weird in China because the government messes with it, so if for some reason I can not access my blog in China, or you can not access it or something, I will go back to weekly e-mails. We will figure all that out when the time comes, but just don’t be alarmed if you don’t get anymore e-mails from me. I will let everyone know the web address of my blog once I get it (probably sometime this week).

Back to the main message. Yeah! Continue reading “My Last Week of School”

Danger & Heartache in China

In a few weeks the latest “Indiana Jones” movie will open at theaters. One of my memories of that series is the big, round boulders that keep careening out of some passageway at the hero, along with his nick-of-time escapes from being crushed. But how about boulders the size of the kitchen table, or your car, coming at you in real life?! Our cousin, John Graham, was in south central China the afternoon of the 7.9 earthquake, and he has an amazing story to tell: Continue reading “Danger & Heartache in China”

Happy New Year (Guo Nian Hao)

Happy New Year friends and family!

No, I have not mistaken the time, for the new year has just come around and up here there is much celebration. I am talking of course of the Chinese lunar new year which was on Thursday, Feb 7. The Asian community at OSU had many parties and it felt a lot like international new year, only all in Chinese ;)> This year is the year of the rat Continue reading “Happy New Year (Guo Nian Hao)”

A feeling of spring

Friends and Family,

This week I had a wonderful conversation over dinner with a friend of mine, named Hongmei, who is native to Qingdao, China. I met her through IFI; she is a respiratory doctor in China and is at OSU as a visiting scholar doing research. She is not a Christian, but is interested and impressed with Christianity which is why she has been attending the potlucks on Friday nights. We got together at the cafe in the RPAC and had dinner and talked about ourselves and about Qingdao. She is very nice and has said she would love to have me visit her family while I’m in Qingdao, and she wants to take me around and show me the sights!

I had my first Math midterm this week and, Continue reading “A feeling of spring”

Speaking in Tongues

Dear Friends and Family,

Sigh, every time I write to you I want to burst into the typing of exotic and foreign words that come so often from my mouth during the week. I just wish you all could understand them. You know, when God confused the languages at Babel, it was because the people were united against him in rebellion by one language. Now, in this present age, would God want all the world to speak one tongue? What would change if the whole world all spoke the same language? What would it be? Arabic? Chinese? English? (See I’ve planned it all out, either way I come out on the top since I’ll be able to speak all those languages :)>

But now, the language barrier is a barrier for the spreading of God’s word as well. Think of all the millions of hours and thousands of days spent by committed missionaries to translate God’s word into a different language so that those people can be saved. Communication is a funny thing, and that’s one reason I like it so much.

With communication in mind, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my last potluck at the IFI’s Friday night bible study. I met some new people (as always), and we had a wonderful bible study. After the bible study we broke up into our small discussion groups. My discussion group happens to be composed of Tom, the leader (American), me (American), and then four Chinese and one person from Singapore. We were discussing in Luke 9 where Christ asks Peter who Peter thought he was, and Peter says “The Christ of God.” And Jesus told him not to tell anyone. So we started discussing Continue reading “Speaking in Tongues”