Pancreatic cancer

My physical challenge
The CAT scan that my doctors have used to examine my abdomen in response to some pains that I was experiencing there have revealed that I have a tumor on my pancreas that they assume to be cancerous. Although there are no other signs of other tumors on the other organs of my abdomen and the pain was due to an over secretion of acid in my stomach that has now been reduced, they have ordered more scans to test for visible tumors throughout the chest portion of my body. My expert cancer surgeon has assumed that this initial tumor has spread, so he is planning on starting a series of chemotherapy treatments to shrink it and begin to kill other cancerous cells that it has probably planted throughout my body. If no other cancerous tumors are spotted, then my doctor will remove this initial cancerous tissue and my spleen to end their threat to my health and continue with the chemotherapy treatments to kill any other remaining cancerous cells in my body. I understand that the chance of being cured from this form of cancer is very slight, but these treatments could extend my life for several more years.

My spiritual challenge
The presence of this cancerous tumor in my body also presents me with a spiritual challenge regarding my personal relationship with God and Jesus, my savior, that has been a major source of blessed ministry in my life. God has been and is very good to me, although I have not always been as obedient and faithful as I know that I should have been in my life and efforts to serve him with the special Spirit anointed gifts that he has given to me. I recognize this cancerous tumor as a spiritual source of discipline to implement more of the Spirit’s transforming and redemptive work in my heart and mind to bring me into a closer relationship with God and Jesus through a greater degree of self sacrifice in my efforts to serve God. I don’t know exactly what the course of this discipline is going to include in my body, but I do know that it will be good for my heart and mind and my soul’s relationship with God, my Father. I’m trusting Jesus and his Spirit to complete their good transforming and redemptive work in my life before they are through with my physical body.

Let’s talk about this
If you have some experience with pancreatic cancer, please share some of the details with me and the readers of this post. What are your recommendations regarding how I should face the challenges of this pancreatic cancer? How have you experienced the goodness of God in the face of such severe challenges in your life? Your comments regarding these experiences would be appreciated in this post.

Thankful Living

Thankful Living

During this Thanksgiving time it can be easy to express thanks to others as well as thanks to God.  Certainly it is a tradition in America, and as in most holidays, there is a purpose to the holiday – it is to remember.  Remembering is good – it helps us to keep connected to our family or our culture or God.

In ancient times, they would remember by building a pile of loose rocks.  The loose rocks would stand for many years.  When people would pass by, they would remember and tell the next generation the story and reason for the pile of rocks.  These early monuments helped people to recall how God had worked in their lives.  We so easily forget the good things that have happened and focus on current problems.  Reminders are good.

Holidays serve the same function; they help us to remember the good things and recall the stories of the past.  Hopefully these are good memories of happy times.

But whatever the past, we can choose to remember and be Thankful.  As the Young Frankenstein movie noted, “could be worse… could be raining” – and then it starts raining.  Its easy to think of current circumstances and focus on what’s missing or disappointments. It can take effort to change the focus of our thoughts to being positive and appreciative.  We can also choose to be Thankful and express appreciation.

Appreciation is a muscle that can atrophy with lack of use and build strength with effort.  Expressing appreciation to those who serve you such as wait staff, host staff, grocery store staff, etc.  The daily interactions we have with people throughout the day can be expressions of gratitude. People will notice.  People will appreciate the smile and the thank yous.  Verbal expressions of honest praise and appreciation can be just as valuable as a raise.  Such is the case for me at work.  When my manager notices accomplishments and says “good job, thank you”, it is a motivation that can last for weeks.  As Mark Twain said, “I can live for 3 months on a good compliment.”  I can still remember some compliments from years back.

And then expressions of gratitude toward God works the same way.  It helps to reduce our pride and thinking that I have attained everything I have by my own strength and will and might.  When in reality, it can all change very quickly with a car accident or serious medical report, or betrayal from a financial partner or other relationship.  So much of life circumstances is not in our control.  HOW WE RESPOND to these circumstance is TOTALLY in our control.  So being able to recognize the positive and express gratitude helps is to overcome difficult times and live with a fulfilling focus on others.

It is so ironic that when we focus on ourselves, we tend to never be content or satisfied.  However, when we give to others, we find meaning, purpose and fulfillment… which translates into contentment.  Showing gratitude and thanksgiving as a way of live takes the emphasis off myself and gives the focus to others – to caring for them, to serving them, to appreciating them.

While we cannot control how they respond, we are still giving to them.  Just as giving someone a gift can be rewarding, we cannot control how they receive the gift.  We cannot control their response, their use of the gift, or even if they re-gift or sell it on ebay.  Yet, it does not matter how they respond if the gift is given from the heart.

So it is with giving Thanks.  Give the gift of thanks to others and to God this Thanksgiving.  But not just 1 day, but all year. And you will find a new perspective on life.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  God’s best Blessings to you today and all year long.




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Good groups

Some common groups
The most common group, other than a special group that is personally selected, that individuals probably appreciate and enjoy is the one that is provided by their immediate family. Initially that is composed of the individual and his or her parents or adult guardians and then siblings as they are added to the group. And this group will grow as aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents all get together for various “family” occasions. In most such groups the “young” individuals experience loving acceptance and enjoyable activities as they learn some basic skills that will enable them to participate comfortably in the activities and fellowship of their families. As they became more independent in their personal abilities and attitudes and the “freedom” to express some of their personal independence, the group that they begin to cultivate and enjoy will be composed of individuals from outside of their families that live in their neighborhoods or that they meet in school or through some common non-family activities, like personal sports. These non-family groups can become very important and influential in the lives of their members, even providing more comfort and training experiences that are different from those that are provided by their families.

Special groups
Individuals in the process of growing up and building relationships with others may find themselves needing to experience some personal benefits from a relationship with others in a group that is different than just being enjoyable or growing in some personal skill. Such experiences may involve seeking direct personal caring support to enable the person to work through some personal threat to his or her daily abilities to function well or to feel good about his or her self perception. Such support is expected to be different from that which is commonly offered by one’s family or other social groups. This support may be sought by the individual to enable him or her to overcome some harmful consequences that he or she is experiencing from habits of conduct and desires that are individually difficult to change. The support that is offered by such groups may be based in the principles of healthy psychology or religious beliefs or wise economic practices or just good teamwork on the job, but in anyone’s life such support is “special”.

Let’s talk about this
How would you describe the role of “family” in your life? What are the social groups that you enjoy the most in your life? What special
group or groups have you sought for personal help with some issue in your life? What was it about this group that made your experience with them most helpful or particularly good? Everyone needs a good group in his or her life, because life cannot be well experienced alone.

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Religious spam

The nature of spam
Spam is a processed form of ham that has been particularly created to be protected from spoilage, tasty, easy to handle, and cheap. Although it is noted to be not very nutritious because of its high levels of fat, sodium, and preservatives, it is still occasionally consumed by some individuals who like its spicy taste. Some written comments that are published online may be easy to read and may be immediately pleasing or at least not offensive in the tone of their words, but they may be regarded as “spam” and not be accepted or appreciated by their intended consumer who has not requested this “product”. Some published statements that contain religious or spiritually meaningful words, even those that come from the Bible or other religious documents, may be regarded as “spam” and may be rejected by their intended readers.

What is wrong with religious spam?
I do not generally appreciate religious statements, even those that briefly quote passages from the Bible, that are so brief as to be impractical in their implementation in my life and a nuisance to handle in my online programs. So I regard such statements as religious spam that I have not requested or intend to save or to use. Religious spam is frequently published and displayed online as a post-it-note with a colored background, which draws one’s attention, but the content of the “package” has no practical or personal value. The authors of such religious statements and others that are displayed in other formats are probably very sincere in their efforts to write brief messages of spiritual help and encouragement for individuals in their audiences, but sincerity will not overcome the failure of their “product” to deliver anything of any real personal benefit. They should be regarded as religious spam.

Let’s talk about this
What do you regard as religious spam online? Why do you regard such statements in this way? What religious statements that you see on online or receive do you appreciate? What is about them that you appreciate? What religious topics or matters of personal interest or concern would you like to see getting more published attention online? Let’s talk about this.

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A good neighborhood

Basic factors for a good neighborhood
A neighborhood is determined by the street on which you live. Its factors include your neighbors who live there adjacent to you, any businesses that also operate on that street, the nature of the street, the way in which people and their vehicles move on that street, and the nature of the fellowship that you share with your neighbors. Each of these factors affect the quality of life that you and the residents of your house experience every day in your lives. Pulling the shades and locking the doors cannot isolate you all from the effects of these factors of your neighborhood upon you all. When you leave your house for any reason or your children go to school, the effects are there. Certainly when the children play or relax outside in their “free time”, they are personally affected by the quality of these factors upon their ongoing experiences of learning how to live and function with others.

Quality of these factors for a good neighborhood
The primary quality for these factors and their total effects upon you and the residents of your house is probably the matter of safety. Do you and the residents of your house feel safe each day living in your neighborhood? If not, you probably take some steps to avoid being exposed to any dangers, but the effect of living in fear much of time will seriously effect you and the residents of your house. Does the street provide for the easy flow of traffic in both directions and for parking vehicles? What kind of public vehicles regularly move on the street? Are there sidewalks for those who walk, especially for the children? Are they well maintained even in winter? Is there any space for the children and youth to play and to relax together? Are the businesses that operate on the street conducive to attracting visitors to the neighborhood who will maintain its “good” qualities? Do their hours of operation allow for some quiet time in your neighborhood, especially during the early morning hours of each day. Are the utilities to all of the facilities well maintained and all of the properties clean? Do the public law enforcement agents work with the residents to maintain a safe neighborhood and enforce the laws for civic order on the street and in the various facilities of the neighborhood? Is affordable trash pick up regularly provided for everyone in the neighborhood? Do you enjoy wholesome fellowship with your neighbors?

Most of these qualities have little to do with the economic level of the residents who live in the houses in your neighborhood. Responsible adults should be motivated to maintain a normally “good” condition to their residencies and to keep them clean. Everyone in the neighborhood should be motivated to respect the rights of others for safety and privacy. Being a “good neighbor” should never be a matter of economics.

Let’s talk about a good neighborhood
What factors of your neighborhood are important to you to make it a “good” place to live with the residents of your house? Which of these factors could be improved? Who should make the appropriate improvements? What are you willing to do to make your neighborhood a “good” place to live? Meeting with local community officials in a convenient center to discuss various issues of concern will probably not be a permanent strategy to providing a good neighborhood for you and the residents with whom you live.

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Good Tools

The need for good tools
I’m sure that you recognize the necessity of having good tools at your convenient use every day. I assume that you probably could not create an itemized list of all of the different items that you use as tools to help you with all of your various actions that you carry out every day. And the manufacturers of such tools are constantly changing them and creating new ones to provide you with more effective help in your daily tasks and you have to find more space in your home for their storage in cabinets and desks and their display on many flat surfaces that will still keep them conveniently available for their regular use.

The quality of a good tool
I’m sure that the basic quality of a good tool has to do with whether or not it enables you to effectively do what you intend to do with it. If it works as it should, you probably evaluate it as a “good” tool. If it gets damaged or wears out it may no longer work as it should. If the items that it was initially designed to enable you to handle are changed to the extent that the tool no longer works on them, then it is no longer a “good” tool in your cabinets or desk on your counters or tables. What other factors, in your opinion, determine the quality of a tool that you keep for regular use in your daily activities?

Let’s talk about good tools
Let’s talk about this. The qualities that you deem to be necessary for the good tools in your homes is a worthy topic for some thoughtful discussion beyond the benefit of saving some of us from making some expensive purchases.

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Personal Safety

The basics
There seems to be a high level of agreement among American citizens, legislators, and judicial officials that personal safety is a right to which everyone is entitled in our country. And it is generally recognized that it is the duty of legislators to pass laws that will make any action that threatens the personal safety of another person a crime. And it is the duty of all elected and appointed judicial officials to enforce these laws in order to secure the personal safety of the individual children, youth, and adults who live in these American states. It is also clearly understood by most mature individuals and government officials that it is a crime to take the life of another individual unless its necessity is specifically justified by laws of self defense or laws that authorize the use of such action by duly appointed officials for the common good of our residents. And this level of civic action is also implemented to prevent individuals from inflicting other degrees of physical and emotional harm or abuse on someone else by citing such actions as crimes that are subject to the imposition of personal restrictions on the freedom of anyone who has been judged to be guilty of such harmful or abusive treatment of someone else. It is also basically understood by all of these individuals that guns, knives, box cutters, clubs, stones, drugs, or any other item that can be used to kill or to harm another person cannot take any such action on its own apart from it being used by an individual for such an action.

Challenging details in the establishing of laws and order
There is some disagreement among legislators and mature adults regarding what types of guns should legally be available for purchase and personal use by individuals in these American states. For example, should the purchase of all guns that are designed to be used to automatically fire large numbers of bullets to inflict maximum harm or a violent death upon another person or living target be allowed to be purchased by any ordinary individual who is not authorized to use such weapons as part of their judicial or military duties? And there is some disagreement among such individuals regarding who should personally be legally allowed to purchase any gun. For example, should individuals with a particular level of mentally impaired functions for healthy decisions regarding their own safety or that of others be allowed to buy a gun or guns? There are laws against screaming “fire” in a crowded enclosure if there is none evident because of the potential harm that might be suffered by individuals who in their haste to escape personal injuries might act in disorderly and violent ways against themselves or others. But I don’t believe that there are any specific laws that make a person subject to any legal action for just expressing hateful words or being angry with someone else or being bitter about something that someone else has done to them, even if it was not justified or was unfair in accord with the details of the personal actions. And then we have the Constitutional right to personally purchase and to “bear arms” in a political system that is more committed to doing what is “popular” and able to be funded by the monetary policies of our divided government and people than what might be practical legal solutions to the threats to our personal safety that confront us all. And I’m not hearing a lot of reasonable proposals being offered by our legislators or politicians or even a majority of our mature citizens that could practically secure the right to personal safety for children, youth, and adults in our country no matter where they are at any particular point in their lives.

Let’s talk about this
What do you think of my perspective on this matter of personal safety for individuals in America? What reasonable laws would you propose to be enacted and consistently enforced by the appropriate legislative and judicial officials in our country that could provide a reasonable level of personal safety for everyone? For a previous post about this matter go to Let’s talk about this.