Archive for June, 2007

A Man’s Lunch…always includes Stadium Mustard.

You know it occurred to me, there are several characterstics of a man’s lunch.

Stadium Mustard

1.  It should be prepared and devoured without have to wash anything.  All the packaging, knives, forks, plates (if used) should be disposable there is no cleanup required whatsover.

2.  Ideally it should be ready to go directly from the refrigerator to the table or lap as the case may be.  There is no need to reheat brats or pork chops.  They taste much better directly out of the fridge and you do not waste any electricity on the microwave or other heating mechanisms that only waste time and energy.

3.  Condiments.  If you cannot put Stadium Mustard on it, it is not worth eating.  If you want to see some of the folks who enjoy Stadium Mustard around the world and out of it, please click here! 

4.  Chips and pickles count as vegetables. (ketchup too!)

A little trivia for you.  Each of the suites at Comerica include Stadium Mustard as a preferred condiment.   Stadium mustard is served at over 150 stadiums worldwide.  I started attending ball games at Cleveland Stadium I would guess at least 45 years ago.  My fondest memories as a child involve sitting on our front steps (they were cement so they were not real comfortable) listening to the Indians on the radio with my Dad.  He would often go down to the stadium on Friday nights by himself before I was old enough to go along.  One Friday night he brought me home one of those little bats and a rubber ball.  I promptly broke one of the lamps in the living room and a star was born!  When I got old enough to go he would take me on a Saturday afternoon.  The hot dog vendors would carry steamed hot dogs and always served them with brown stadium mustard.  It is more spicey than yellow mustard and this was in the early 1960’s before designer mustards like “grey poupon” were all the craze.  The hot dogs were served in a paper wrapper that inevitable had mustard all over the wrapper.  You still see hot dog wrappers flying around stadiums on windy days.  Our sense of smell and taste buds are some of our strongest senses tied to our memories.  Stadium Mustard brings those childhood memories back… and it is really good too!  IDYBT.  IMBO…

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Cemetary for Sale

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You know it occurred to me that there was so many mighty works during the recent South Carolina trip I just don’t know where to start.  This photo (one of Donna’s most recent a pretty good likeness don’t you think?) was one of the lighter moments.  We were on our way over to Granny’s (thats the Granny of the Granny) after service at the Solid Rock Independent Baptist Church in Liberty, South Carolina when we saw this sign and felt compelled to take a snap.  As I normally like to include a person in a photo (I must have taken a photography class somewhere or read it on the internet) I asked Donna to get in the photo.  She graciously obliged and you have what you see!

But this raises questions for me.  Why would you want to sell a cemetary?  The residents are quiet and do not bother anyone.  They have already paid in full for the lot and do not plan to move out of the neighborhood.  On the other hand, why would you want to buy?  The revenue has already been received, you are left with the care of the place although future business can indeed be counted on.  I do not think I have ever seen a cemetary for sale before and frankly it just kinda struck me as odd, in a humourous kind of way.  It is these type of things you just can’t make up, life if much more unpredictable than any fiction anyone can dream up.  That is why we are always hearing about things we never heard before.  We are fascinated by new things or we like hearing about old things in a new way, you know I never thought about that like that before!

In Max Lucado’s Grace for the Moment devotional, one of his daily devos suggests that you make all your major decisions in a cemetary, keeping in mind the eternal consequences of your decision.  So if you have a major decision to make, you might want to take a visit to your freindly local cemetary!

PS… If you want to see the rest of the pictures from the trip, click here!

Mistakes don’t define Jessie Davis

It has been great to hear how people have been searching for Jessie Marie Davis and praying for Jessie Marie Davis.

And not dwelling on the fact she had one child with the husband of someone else and is pregnant with a second child from that same man.

This is not an endorsement of out-of-wedlock births or adultery.

There seems to be so much good about Davis, according to her friends.

There is a part of her life that is a mess, however. Like some very good women, she appears to have caught herself in an impossible relationship with a man who has fathered children with three women.

Right now, none of that matters. Finding Davis matters. Finding the baby (if the girl has been born) matters. Finding out what happened matters. That’s where the attention of most people has been, and it’s where it should stay.

I’ve heard this from a few people: How can Davis — supposedly a Christian — have real faith and have two children with Bobby Cutts Jr. when he’s married to someone else?

I don’t know Davis. I don’t know her faith. I do know her church, The House of the Lord in Akron. I know that Bishop Joey Johnson preaches about purity with power, and I know that it’s not a place where poor decisions are endorsed or where sin is ignored.

“Our stance is there is no such thing as an illegitimate child,” said Johnson. “Some relationships are illegitimate, but not the child. The child is from God.”

He mentioned how when babies are dedicated in the church, the church wants the single mother to feel comfortable upfront with the child. They will pray over both. They will try to contact the father and see if he will attend.

“Often at the dedication, the single mother will feel the spirit leading her to repent for the relationship, but then pray for the child and commit herself to being the best mother possible,” he said.

When a church is at its best, it is patient. It is kind. It shows the kind of love that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 13, where one of his lines is “… if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Johnson is working in a world in which 37 percent of all U.S. births — and nearly 70 percent in the African-American community — are out of wedlock, according to federal health statistics.

He is preaching a series on Wednesday nights called: What Kind of Love Is This? It’s about how we have trouble understanding what God’s love is about, and how it can affect us.

A church should be a spiritual hospital. Jesus was once asked: “Why do you eat with sinners?” He replied in Luke 5:31: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Johnson said Davis’ mother has been attending the church “regularly for quite a while.” He added that Davis was “starting to come much more regularly,” and that she had a “real spiritual experience” when Bishop T.D. James spoke at The House of the Lord in April.

Jakes’ message was called Repositioning Yourself.

Johnson said his associate, the Rev. Dennis Butts, knows the Davis family and had been working with them. He thought Davis was in the process of doing spiritual repositioning.

When it comes to single mothers, Johnson said: “We want to welcome them with arms wide open.” As time passes, the church does point out that her decisions have led to some major problems and lots of heartbreak.

“A person’s heart can be right, but some of their actions can be wrong,” said Johnson. “Look at David and Bathsheba. David was not a kid when he committed adultery with her. And it wasn’t a one-night thing. But he repented, and the Bible tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart.”

There’s a great gospel song, We Fall Down. The chorus is: “For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up.”

During this crisis, it seems a lot of people have been remembering that as they pray for Davis and everyone in her family.


Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com.

Be thankful to fathers, real or not

By Terry Pluto Beacon Journal columnist

For many people, Sunday is one of the worst days of the year.

It’s Father’s Day, and that can really hurt as we hear stories about great dads who were there for us when it mattered.

Some people say, “My dad was NEVER there.”

Or, “My father was there physically, but I never knew the guy. All he did was work and complain.”

Or, “My father married someone else. He liked the kids he had with that woman a lot better than he did me.”

Here’s something else that happens on Father’s Day — so many dads believe they are blowing it. They really are doing a good job with their families. You don’t need to grade them on a curve to give them at least an A-minus.

But down deep, they wonder if they are “doing it right.” They may not even be sure what “it” happens to be. They just sense they missed the mark.

So it’s a day with colliding emotions. A day some of us have to fight the jealousy of believing our father liked a brother/sister better than me. It’s also a day when some of us feel abandoned by our fathers. Or believe that we never measured up to what our fathers expected.

It can be a day when fathers wonder whether they are worthy of the title.

“People are much tougher on fathers than they are mothers,” said Bishop Joey Johnson of the House of the Lord.

Why?

“Because if your mother rejects you — the one who gave you birth — it’s so painful, many people just can’t go there,” Johnson said. “It’s easier to aim all the anger at the father. It can make it hard to trust any men if you feel your father did you wrong.”

Lots of fathers have made so many terrible choices with children — or bad decisions in life that tore apart the family. In some cases, it was the mother who left and took the kids — and the father can’t be the father that he longs to be.

It’s a mess.

A few fathers just die. It’s not their fault, but neither is it yours. At 10 or 12 or 17, you just know your dad is gone. Doesn’t matter if it’s cancer, a bomb in Iraq, a car accident.

I need him, and he’s not there. If there is a God, why did he allow this to happen?

That’s why this e-mail from Randy Barle meant so much to me: “I lost my dad at 16 and I was close to him. At 18, I went to work for old Fisher Foods. Your father was there and he took me in. He was morally strong and led me in the right direction. I’ll never forget that. I believe God led me there.”

Too many of us want the blessing and acceptance of a father who can’t or won’t give it. This day then feels so empty.

But there are times when other men are available. They may not be the father you imagined — or do fatherhood as you expect — but they come into our lives at just the right time.

Psalm 68: 5-6 records: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in

families…. ”

So much is made of the impact of fathers on sons, teaching them to be men. The power of older men to deal with young men is obvious when it’s done with the proper spirit.

But girls and young women desperately long for a dad, too.

“They need a safe man to tell them that they are beautiful, that they are a good person, that they matter to him and to God,” Johnson said. “Because if they don’t get that from a safe man, they’ll look for it somewhere else — and that can be terribly destructive.”

Johnson said we have to be open to some who are willing to be our “surrogate” fathers or grandfathers. You want to make sure that you know the man well. But if you do and he seems interested in helping and does it in a proper way — accept it.

Many people do have powerful stories of God “setting the lonely in families.”

Sunday should be about more than giving Dad a card, a tie or a stiff hug. It should be about being thankful — children for their fathers, biological or otherwise. And for the fathers to tell their children how much they really do mean to him.


Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com.

Don’t Stuff It…Talking helps heal loss of job

When my father lost his job, I wish he had talked to me about it.

It was 1974. I was commuting to college, and I came home one afternoon and found him sitting there… in his favorite chair… staring.

He barely said hello.

He barely noticed me there.

He barely seemed alive.

I don’t even remember how he told me he’d lost his job, but he finally did. He had been at the same company for more than 30 years. He started at the bottom, worked up to middle management.

Upper management was changed, and they changed him.

Many of us know the story. You’ve been downsized. The company has been sold. The company is moving. Or the infamous, “We appreciate all you’ve done for us, but we need to go in a different direction.”

Some people get a gold watch — or better yet, a golden parachute — when they leave a company.

My father wasn’t even given a thin tissue to soften the blow. He was hit hard, and never really recovered.

He was 59. He had other jobs after that, but none paid as well or offered the same status as the one taken from him. He never said that. He never said much of anything about it.

He was from the generation that didn’t talk, just stuffed it inside.

His marriage to my mother always was tenuous, as they were incredibly mismatched. My mother loved to talk about everything. My father didn’t want to talk about anything.

Someone once said, “People like that have great dates and terrible marriages.”

On the dates, she thinks: “He really listens.”

He thinks: “Great, I don’t have to talk. I can just be with her.”

Then they get married, and she thinks: “He never talks to me.”

He thinks: “She never shuts up.”

So they didn’t have much fun at home, kind of two warring tribes. I tiptoed between both sides, getting along reasonably well with both of them. But they didn’t last long together before tension ruled.

It was like that for at least a year after he lost his job. My mother and I wanted to help but couldn’t figure out what to do. I did transfer schools, then worked my way through Cleveland State to take away some of the financial strain. My mother had a good job, so we were not in any real danger of being booted out of the house.

But I know my father was chewed up inside, and we could have helped. But he was too embarrassed to bring it up.

I tell this story when friends are in a similar situation.

They need to talk about it. Probably not right away, but sometime soon. Everyone is a little scared when it happens. You don’t have to bring up all your fears, but you need to be realistic.

You may have to say, “Right now, Mommy will not be making as much as she used to, so we all have to work together. We won’t be going on vacation this year, and you may not be able to go to the private school.”

Or you may say, “Daddy is going to get a new job, but it will take a while. In the meantime, here is what we have to do… ”

Parents sometimes think this will scare the children. Or the working spouse feels a sense of failure. But the most frightening part is when someone’s job is gone and no one is willing to say what it means to the family.

There is no shame in admitting what is obvious to everyone — right now, things are going to change, and it may be tough. But together, we can make it through.

When my father went through his ordeal, I wish I had stronger faith. I wish I could have prayed with him. I wish my mother and I could have prayed together for him. But that was not a big part of our family. Sunday church was it; there was no real sense of family prayer.

Praying together or alone doesn’t find a job. But it can lead to calmness in the family. It can help everyone make wiser decisions. It can bring the family closer when so much seems to be splitting it apart.

I still can see my father sitting silent in that chair, staring at nothing. He did it for days, maybe weeks. And the sad thing was that it didn’t have to be that way.


Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com.

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