Don’t Mix the Reds with the Whites

I lean on Susan Kline so often I should put her on salary. Her devotional fits my recent Facebook posts.

“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5).

My daughter was visiting the other day and noticed piles of clothes on the floor waiting to be washed. A tiny pile of red items sat to the side. “You still do your reds separately?” she inquired. “Of course! Don’t you?” If you’ve washed a load of whites where a stray red t-shirt got mixed in, pink becomes the new white.

Everyone grows up with rules. Some rules carry into adult life; others we leave on the path behind to become guidelines, not absolute truths. Your rules are yours; mine are mine. We choose what works.

Some rules are absolutes, like government mandates. Many argue the Bible has absolutes, rules all must obey. But how do we know which rules are absolutes?

In “A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God,” Larry Osborne proposes that many spiritual disciplines in Scripture are “tools” rather than rules; guidelines to help us serve God better. The messy part comes when I take one tool as a rule—absolute—and expect you to see it the same way. I might view tithing as a rule; you may see it as a guideline.

We may want to help others by sharing our rules. If they work for us, why wouldn’t they work for others, right? Not necessarily. Most spiritual disciplines (rules) are actually tools. Others are free to see what works for them.

We must always remember: What works for me may not work for my neighbor. Perhaps you’re okay with pink.

Thanks Susan.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

A Man Walked into a Bar


Elsie and I sat in the big room off a bar with four men and two women around a table; some with liquor glasses. The chairman came out of the bar with his glass. He was a prominent business man bent on saving a decaying kids’ camp forested by magnificent pines from a developer.  He convened the meeting.

The camp was founded to honor the first Eagle Scout of the area to die in World War Two. It served the community for years then lagged. The American Sunday School missionary stepped in, giving the camp a Christian focus. When the missionary died and no successor stepped up, the camp languished and finally closed, its buildings decaying. The vacant property caught the eye of a developer and began the process of taking ownership.

Leaning of this, the businessman, with broad connections and a heart for the community, turned his lawyer loose, who dug out the legal papers. The businessman recruited a board and called an organizational meeting.

Knowing nothing about camping, he contacted Christian Camping International. Knowing Elsie and I lived in the area, they put the businessman in touch with us. We knew none of the people around the table but learned they represented different Catholic and Protestant churches. A stimulating discussion ranged from finance to volunteers to potential users.

We talked for an hour or more then the business man summarized and whisky glass in hand said: We can put together a fine, safe facility and fill the summer schedule, but ultimately we rely on the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of kids. The group adjourned: some to the bar, others outside for a smoke. The business man gave us a hundred bucks.

We drove home aglow, grateful to the Holy Spirit for giving us a small role in renewing another life-changing outdoor ministry, whisky and all.

Old Grandpa Lloyd





What a Month!

March: What a month! And it’s we’re not half way through. Here’s a summary of stuff you may or may not know:

The assisted living scoop: We know the where and a lot about options of Edgewood Vista.  We know nothing about when the move will occur. No time soon. The thought of living apart brought lots of tears in 301 and 313. I’ll stay at Woodland Garden as long as I can.

Norma is now my official go-to person. She has phone numbers in case of an emergency. I’ll not mess with the will. Kevin has power of attorney; Keith is executor. I’m cutting back: No more long trips.

Thanks to Cousin Patt Carlson and Clyde Rogers. They often transport us to appointments.  We use STRIDE whenever possible—cheap, reliable, walker-friendly.

Books: When move time comes, the Salvation Army will pick up surplus books. S.O. Norma (superior officer) will allow me one small bookcase for must-reads.

Pacemaker: It ticks happily away. The twofer wasn’t fun, but all is well now. A new home monitor checks it between annual office visits. Thanks for prayers and notes of concern.

Executive decision: No more birthday parties. Maybe we’ll put the coffee on for my 100th.  Mark your calendar.

Can’t do list: It grows as balance deteriorates. I have help: a health aid each Wednesday—two hours; a laundry-housekeeping woman every-other Thursday. The girl in 313 shops, cooks suppers, and reminds my forgetter.

Exercise: I exercise every night. I walk from the bed to the lounge chair to the computer and to the kitchen and bathroom. Evenings at Jeopardy and news follow Paul’s advice to Timothy (1 Tim 5:23) to head off stomach disorders.

Always love to hear from you. Visit when you can. Thank dear, patient Norma: 218-724-4896.

Grampa Lloyd





The Unintended Publisher

I was delighted when Grandma Jeanne posted the photo of my Door County sweetheart Alice enjoying a small book I sent her. Two Nisse in Santaland was the only Christmas book I ever published. Here’s how that came to pass:

For several years I wrote stuff for Pat Sherman’s Woman Today magazine, just getting underway. On one occasion, I was assigned the story of a grandmother who was completing a children’s book she started when her children were small. Fifty years later, she was finishing it for her grandchildren.

Winifred Stanley was a charming, articulate, long-retired college professor. The book told about the visit of two Nisse’ kids (Norway’s little people) as they visited Santa’s little people (elves). In the course of the interview, I asked Winifred about her publishing strategy. She named a high-priced firm in the East and showed me proposed illustrations. I was appalled:  comic strip stuff.

A Minneapolis publisher immediately came to mind. I suggested Winifred put her project on hold while I poked around. The Minneapolis firm was not accepting new projects so I turned to my Wordshed artist, Harvey Sandstrom, for advice. He knew publishers. Harvey scanned the story, reread it, and said, “That could be interesting!” Thus Wordshed Books became Winifred’s unintended publisher.

While Harvey worked on illustrations and design, I tackled editing. Winifred’s writing was grammatically meticulous but hardly kid friendly. My suggestions met cool resistance. I worked gingerly. Then Harvey to the rescue: his pages design called for small blocks of type matching illustrations. That called for text adjustments.

Page by page, a charming book came together. One page showed two dancing fairies that bore a striking resemblance to Winifred’s grandchildren. It was a fine book. Then, a goof: Winifred choice for a front cover was a mountain scene of the Norway coast. Harvey captured it wonderfully, but we had a kids’ book with an adult cover, dooming off-shelf marketing.

Ah the peril of too much zeal and too little knowledge.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

What a Week!

Monday morning, Dr. Nisswandt, primary care doc, gave me two thumbs up on the required post-op check-up. All systems go.

Tuesday’s six-month cleaning appointment saw dentist Tod Hansen and his crew hunting in vain for something to repair.Nothing but a glitch in the upper partial. Yea!

Wednesday found us at St. Mary’s where pacemaker techies found the new implant and leads functioning perfectly. The first pacemaker was installed 26 years ago in the same space. Two replacements followed. Thank God for his angels in white.

Thursday morning, 13 residents took Arrowhead Transit to Wally World to shop two hours. Norma shopped: I supervised and drank coffee. Bus fare: two bucks. I ride free because I am old.

About 1:00 Thursday my cleaning lady came for two hours. She does good work. At 4:00, the Sage of Juniata Street arrived to take us office-chair shopping. Finding one, we celebrated at a Perkins’ supper..

Friday mid-morning, Emmanuel friends Gerry Thilmany and Mike Nelson from Emmanuel came with accordion and fiddle. We visited briefly in my apartment then I dug out my harmonicas for a concert in the library. Standing ovation; both listeners. Norma served a nice snack in 313 and our guests departed.

Next, Son Kevin from Viroqua arrived. He camped in my office a couple hours.  He kindled my Kindle, fine-tuned my computer, and in late afternoon headed for Edgewood Vista to gather info against the day—hopefully long from now—when assisted living becomes necessary. A tall young man, Austin Lundeen, became our guide He showed us possible rooms and answered a bunch of questions.

The visit over, Kevin drove us home and headed south to Viroqua. Norma and I collapsed in 313.

What a week!

Old Grandpa Lloyd


Meet Jack Reacher

Sorry, Joe. I have never met Lee Child’s Jack Reacher but I suspect I’m about to. The girl from 313 loves him more than me. Norma looks after our library and maintains well over two feet of Lee Child books. I buy each new title as it appears. His books have sold a bazillion copies worldwide.

For the uninitiated: Reacher is Child’s tough protagonist. Norma likes the way he beats up on bad people. Joe Grove, a Reacher fan, is a Facebook friend from Texas. We met years ago in Anchorage where he salvaged the little church I served in 1958-’62. Joe is a blogger and exceptional writer.

I read little fiction these days, and when I do, I insist on good writing in an authentic setting.  I never read fantasy. During my travelling years, Louis Lamoure was my companion. Good company on long flights. I read Kent Krueger, the Tony Hillerman of the North. Krueger knows the Minnesota canoe country. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, former sheriff of Tamarack County, part Irish, part Ojibwe, and all heart.

I’ll give Reacher a shot. I ordered a small book of his short stories. Maybe that will drown out the raucous yowl of the nightly news.

What are you reading?

Old Grandpa Lloyd


The Song of a Man and a Land

Back in 1938, I proudly carried the American flag for Scout Troop 18 in a parade led by Albert waving from an open convertible. He died at 109, the last Civil War veteran. Thirty years later I told about Woolson’s war in “The Song of a Man and a Land.” To read the whole poem, go to  t Here are the opening and closing passages:

I am the nation that gave to the World

The man who is called Abe Lincoln.
I watched legend born in fire-lit books,
River rafts, the smooth shovel slate.
Quiet myth, gaunt truth,
the sad portrait speaks
of Lincoln, Head of State.

I watched from a mountain my new people at war;
Homes torn, lands ravaged, men fell.
I grew sick from the stench of Andersonville
And the northern dungeons of hell.
Spades tore my sod,
The weight of the dead!
Men hid their shame in my soil.

Then peace. No, not peace, War never brings peace,
But a stupor before the next conflict.
Abe, tired, faced the task of mending his land,
But one shot was yet to be fired.
The last soldier to die in that most tragic war
Was the man from the cabin of logs.

Death-felled, yet Abe Lincoln stood tall,
North and South lowered flags that day.
The Union reborn in hearts called to mourn,
They wore blue coats and gray.
A dirge from the South,
A moan from the mouth
Of the people Abe Lincoln set free.
Men gathered the Clod,
Turned back the sod,
My earth folded close,
Abe was gone.

From the north Arctic snow
To the summer green South,
One flag, Abe’s flag, was unfurled
To remember God’s clod,
A new kind of man,
In a new kind of land in the World.
A mingling of earth and faith and breath
Wrought by God for the dark and the fair,
From bold hybrid seeds of hymn tunes and creeds,
Of courage and daring and prayer.
In the man, in the Land,
See the Book and the Cross.
Don’t lose them; freedom lies there.

Old Grandpa Lloyd


My Apologies

My apologies, Hole News friends:

I have been so consumed by political and religious rants on Facebook, I have neglected you. Last evening, my staff advised me to quit.  She’s a wise advisor and super supper-cooker. I vowed: Cease ranting forthwith.

Ranting resolves nothing; just so much blood and thunder, sometimes slaying friendships.

Such thinking stirred the muse: Oh, I ain’t gonna rant no more, no more; I ain’t gonna rant no more.But how’s this old dog gonna blog his blog If he ain’t gonna rant no more?

You might scan my FB home page occasionally in case I backslide, a term from my Methodist days.

Keep an eye out an occasional olden goldie posted for new subscribers. The Hole News began in late 2008.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Thoughts on My Very Best Gift on Christmas Eve

From Epilogue in Lloyd’s Story Tree: The Mailbox Caper 

The morphine left its mark. My emotional responses grew less stable; I grew increasingly reflective. I understood aging—our parts wear out—but I had given little thought to relationships. I cherished each friend. Falling in love? That was for kids. How wrong I was!

As I resumed evening chats with Norma, I realized how much I had missed her. I took every opportunity to be with her. One morning we joined the group in the lobby waiting for the mailman. Spirits ran unusually high. The mail finally came and the group moved toward the mailboxes, Norma just ahead of me. She collected her mail and befitting the jovial mood she kissed me then turned to the elevator. Something walloped me. I elbowed to my mailbox, arthritic fingers struggling with the key. The lock finally yielded and I snatched my mail and hurried to the elevator, gripped by a compelling desire to hold Norma and tell her I loved her.

The elevator finally came and I punched floor three, the library. Norma was gone. I didn’t dare knock on her door. I grabbed a book and sat two hours pretending to read, hoping Norma would appear to check returned books. I returned to my apartment but lunch held no interest. Back to the library. I puttered through the afternoon. Time dragged. I finally gave up. Supper was out of the question.

Early winter darkness fell. I fired up the computer and began a mushy love letter, fully intending to delete it. Dearest Norma, please don’t laugh, but I’ve fallen in love with you. Clichés worthy of a lovesick teen tumbled out. Writing brought some relief and I read the screen one last time. I reached for delete, be foolhardy abandon swept over me. I hit print, found an envelope and padded down the hall to 313.

I returned to my apartment in near panic. What kind of fool was I?  Surely she would laugh! It was a long, long night. I was making morning coffee when I heard a knock on my door.  Norma stood there, love letter in hand. And she wasn’t laughing.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

The Littlest Tree on the Mountain

She was the littlest tree on the mountain and she knew it.  Not only was she little, she was different.  All around her tall cedars reached to the sky, spreading magnificent branches. Their fragrant wood was much sought after by the king’s builders. The littlest tree wished she could hide her crooked limbs and rough, dark bark. She was a stranger. She didn’t belong among cedars.

The cedars dreamed they would one day see the king. The littlest tree heard them boasting. “I will be a mast on the royal ship,” sang a young slender tree. Said another, looking proudly down his straight, sturdy trunk, “I will live in the king’s palace, a beam in the royal banquet hall,” A huge cedar boomed, “I will be a pillar in the throne room, the grandest place of all.”

The littlest tree looked down on her gnarled dark trunk. Oh, she was strong and almost straight, but she was so small, so plain!  She fought back tears. She would never see the king.

One morning the woodcutters came. They laid down their axes and looked about. A gruff voice called, “Over there; a fine young tree for the king’s ship.”  Axes rang and the young cedar fell. “Over there,” called the gruff voice, “The smaller one will be just right for the palace. And take the bigger one for the throne room.”

All through the day the woodcutters worked and the littlest tree grew sadder and sadder. “I will grow old and die on this mountain,” she cried, “I will never see the king.” With all her heart she wished she had never been born.

In her sadness she heard the gruff voice say, “Just one more. It need not be big or fine. The Bethlehem innkeeper asked for a small tree to repair his stable.” The axe bit her trunk and the littlest tree wept. “A stable? I’m fit only for a stable?  Now for certain I will never see the king.  What king would come to a stable?”

Old Grandpa Lloyd