Marriage and the “loaf of bread test”

I was pleased to read an Australian article offering a fresh perspective on what makes a good, sound relationship.  It may seem trite, but it echoes what I used to say to couples in marriage counseling (as a pastor) for many years. The Loaf of Bread Test was unwittingly invented by the husband of a friend. He made sandwiches for my friend and himself. There wasn’t much bread left so he made his sandwich with the crusts and gave her the good slices. It was such a tiny gesture — mundane even. It’s not Insta-worthy, you wouldn’t put it on Facebook and

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It depends how you look at life

I was somewhat taken aback by a British survey claiming that four out of ten people were unhappy about life choices they’d made. According to a survey of 2,000 British adults commissioned by UK charity consortium Remember A Charity, four out of ten people regret how they have lived their lives so far. Spending too much time at work and not traveling enough were among respondents’ biggest regrets. Other common regrets among those surveyed included neglecting their health and not spending enough time with their family. Many wished they had been a better parent to their children. All of that regret seems

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Homelessness: the bureaucrats just don’t get it

There have been many articles bewailing the increase in homelessness in West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.  Here’s one recent report about Los Angeles.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent over the past year, officials announced Tuesday, despite $619 million in government spending to help alleviate the problem. The annual point-in-time count recorded nearly 59,000 homeless people countywide, with the largest number — 36,000 — coming from the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a county agency which conducted the count, delivered

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The world is much more understandable

. . . if we reduce population statistics to a more manageable level.  This video adopts that approach, and does a good job of explaining how the world works. And what if we want to look at the USA alone, rather than the entire world? This video adopts the same approach. Helpful, no?  YouTube has a number of other video clips on the same subject.  I haven’t bothered to look at them all, but I’m sure they don’t agree on all the numbers.  Nevertheless, it’s an interesting perspective on our world. Peter

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“Write us, as we are, were, and shall be, not your assumptions”

Writing at Mad Genius Club, reflecting on Memorial Day, Jonathan LaForce (whom I’m pleased to call my friend) examined the way writers (and, by extension, other entertainment content creators) portray military service personnel and veterans.  Like myself, he finds many such portrayals to be lacking.  Here’s an excerpt. I grew up listening to the stories of the men who went ashore at Omaha and Utah.  I wondered how they could summon the very wherewithal to commit such acts of heroism.  I had those, the stories of those American boys drafted in Korea; my first Cub Scout Master was a brown water sailor

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The first Memorial Day

Memorial Day, celebrated today in the United States, wasn’t always called that.  It was named Decoration Day by the man who started it, General John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of veterans of the Civil War Union forces.  The celebration was first observed on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.  It was renamed Memorial Day in 1967. Here’s the original Proclamation that started the ball rolling. General Order No. 11 Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868 I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the

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A sobering reminder of an eternal reality

Daniel Greenberg, who blogs at Sultan Knish, is going through the slow, but inevitable loss of a loved one.  He’s written about it, very personally and very movingly. Our lives are defined by numbers. Our deaths are defined by them too. Somewhere out of sight, in the world or in our bodies, a clock ticks insistently away. Most of the time we are fortunate enough to be deaf to the relentless clockwork march of time. Until we begin to hear. And are unable to stop. There are many clocks in the hospital room where she lies dying beneath a plastic blanket inflated

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RIP, Tim Conway, and thanks for all the laughs

Beloved actor and comedian Tim Conway died this morning in Los Angeles.  He was famous for his roles on The Carol Burnett Show, as well as other productions. He was truly a comic genius, and a master of timing.  To illustrate, here’s one of his most famous sketches from The Carol Burnett Show:  the Elephant Story. Hilarious, human, and touching.  God rest you, Mr. Conway, and thanks for many happy memories. Peter

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Navies, ships, culture, and learning to get along

I was both interested and amused to read of cultural complications between French and Australian participants in the latter country’s new submarine program. “Not everyone thinks like the French,” explained Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group’s program director for the project to build 12 new “Attack class” submarines. “We have to make a necessary effort to understand that an Australian does not think like a French person, and that it’s not better or worse, it’s just Australian.” He cited the barbecue as an example of Australian culture, which is an important part of fostering good work relations, but said there was a reciprocal need for

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