Friday coffee with PJ

It's Friday! So it's time to pour a cup of your favorite coffee brew and join me for a few random thoughts… But I hope prove profitable for you!

1. Today is National Dog Day.  So for all of the 43 million plus households in the US who own dogs, today is a day to celebrate your little or big canine friend (and in case you're wondering, more households have dogs and cats.)! Now my household is not among these 43 million plus households that own a dog. And after reading a USA today story on the cost of owning one, I am not sad that I don't.  Please don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like dogs. I grew up with a dog always as part of our family. But I'm at the point where my favorite dog is the dog I don't own. When I think of dogs (and cats) it just makes me wonder at the creativity of our Creator. So as you celebrate your your dog today, thank God for the gift God  has given to you to bring joy to your life!

2.   As I write these words it is now day #9 following my ulnar shortening osteotomy surgery*. The recovery has been a bit more difficult than I had  anticipated. I am scheduled for my post op appointment next Wednesday at 10 AM. Then I will have the wrapping removed, the cast removed and the stitches removed.  Sounds like a fun visit! 😳  Through this recovery I have been reminded of just how frail our health can be. At the same time I've been reminded that God is Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who Heals!  Yes we have surgeons to do surgery on us, and pharmacists who dispense medications to help us deal with pain and to heal… But it is ultimately God who does the healing. Given this reality I would ask all of you who are reading this to please pray for my recovery. And if I can pray for you in anyway, please don't hesitate to let me know and I will add you to my prayer list (Contact me directly at

I wish I could write more, but I am down to just one hand. So I'm actually using my voice activation feature on my iPad mini to type this blog post..

 Thanks for stopping by,


* What is ulnar shortening osteotomy surgery? The ulna bone, one of the two forearm bones, runs along the ulnar nerve in the elbow to wrist. The larger of the two bones, the radius, extending from the elbow to the wrist on the thumb side of the forearm. When damage occurs in the cartilage of the wrist joint holding radius and ulna bones together, the movements can cause pain. An ulnar shortening osteotomy removes part of the ulna bone and inserts a plate to hold the bone together. This surgical procedure can promote more movement and less pain on the ulnar side of the wrist.

The surgeon also repaired a torn ligament in my wrist and cleaned out the wrist joint. 

Friday Coffee with PJ

No new blog post this week as I am recovering from surgery ... so thought I would pull a post from the past. 

Hey You Geese!  Must You Do All That Honking? 

Yesterday morning, just before dawn, I woke up to the sounds of a flock of geese honking wildly as they flew over our house.  I heard more geese honking mid morning AND late afternoon as they flew over the church facility.  What is it with these geese?  As soon as they take flight, the honking begins.  I decided to do some research on the internet to see why they honk so much.  Most of the articles I read stated that geese honk to encourage one another in flight.  Now I am not opposed to geese encouraging each other, but I sure wish they could find some other way to do so – especially at the crack of dawn! 

But let’s look on the proverbial “bright side” of all this annoying honking (at least I find it annoying!). We can learn something from our feathered neighbors.  All of us are surrounded by people who need encouragement. They have slipped and fallen. They are bleeding.  They hurt.  They need a dose of encouragement as they attempt to go through their daily routine.  Yet all too often what we offer is criticism and quick advice. Let’s all purpose to give out encouragement today.  Here’s my challenge: Seek to give encouragement to at least three people today via a spoken word, a written note, or an act of kindness. Remember these words of Paul: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing”  (1 Thessalonians 5:11; see also Hebrews 3:13).

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday already! Where is the week going? Not sure ... but am sure that I will be on my second cup of coffee before the clock strikes 7:00! Thanks for joining me for a few random (but I hope fruitful) thoughts!

1. If you read my blog of last week, you know that last Friday we were on the next to last day of our annual trek to the Delaware beach. What you may not know is that last Friday was actually our LAST day at Bethany Beach. While we were there ... just starting to have a good old time ... an unwelcome visitor paid a visit: "the stomach and points beyond bug." Of 16 of us in the house, 8 became sick throughout the week. When the final two (or so we thought at the time) succumbed in the early morning hours of Friday, we all decided to pack up and head for home a day early. I am so glad we did as I came down with the bug on Saturday evening and my wife on Sunday (victims #9 and #10). Needless to say ... this will be one beach vacation that we will always remember! As I reflected on our time, a line from the traditional marriage vow came to mind, "in sickness and in health." Our family lived this out in a very real way last week. And as my wife put it so well ... it gave us an opportunity to "family" one another. It was indeed a joy to see how my kids were helping each other out in the midst of the "plague!" But as I look forward to next summer ... I am hoping we can "family" one another in a different way! :)

2. A few years ago my wife, Sharon and I took a trip to visit Harper’s Ferry National Park (well worth the visit!). During our time there, we spent two nights in a nearby hotel.  When I registered for the room online, I entered my AAA membership number to obtain the 10% AAA discount offered by the hotel. In checking out, I noticed that the discount had not been applied. So I pointed this out to the front desk clerk. She re-ran the room charge and assured me that the discount had been applied. However, upon returning home, I got online to double check the rate I was charged. Guess what? I had not received the discount. So I decided to call the hotel. Sure, the dollar amount of the discount was not going to break the Smith family bank. But at this point it was more the principle of the matter that was getting to me. When I called, the same front desk clerk answered the phone. As I explained the reason for my call, she did remember me. So she went back to her computer and after checking assured me that the discount would be applied and my credit card would be charged the AAA discounted room rate. I thanked her for her help and hung up, still not totally assured that she was
right. The next day, I logged onto my credit card’s web site and saw the posting – which did not reflect the discount! So here is a question for you: when is a discount not a discount? When it is NOT applied to one’s account. As I thought of this – I thought of another transaction that gets applied to our account. It is the transaction that occurs the moment a person makes a faith commitment to Jesus Christ - trusting Him and Him alone for one's salvation from sin.  At that moment, that person’s sin is taken and applied to Christ’s account and Christ’s righteousness is taken and applied to that person’s account (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). We can rest easy about this transaction, for it is one we never have to worry about.  It is sealed with the blood of Jesus Himself! 

3. For those of you who have been following along with my wife's journey, you will be happy to know that a nuclear medicine bone scan (which she underwent right before our beach vacation) has revealed that her broken femur does appear to be healed. As the orthopedic surgeon said, "We are as sure as we can be that the bone has healed." That is good news (but since he said he is not 100% certain, he will continue to see her with her next visit in 6 weeks). This is good news! We have now gone from "it's my gut feeling that it is healed" to "we are as sure as we can be." That's progress! So Sharon is resuming her physical therapy with hopes of getting her leg straight (it is about 10 degrees short of straight) and getting more motion in her knee (currently no more than about an 80 degree bend). This also means that I can now proceed to have my surgery to correct my ulnar impaction syndrome.  My surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday (the 16th) at Orthopedic Associates's North Pointe Surgical Center. in Lancaster. Thanks for all your prayers and support!

And thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

I invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee (and if you don't drink coffee, maybe you should start!) and join me for some abbreviated thoughts this morning.

1. Vacation. Merriam-Webster defines vacation as "a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel." Today's post is abbreviated because I did not get as much time to write this before I left for a week of vacation in Bethany Beach. Today is our final day of our annual trek as a family to this beautiful resort town along the Delaware coast. Perhaps next week I will share a story or two from our week (and I am sure I will have plenty to draw from as we spend the time with all of our kids and our eight grandkids - ages 16, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 8 months and 6 months. Hmmm. As I think about that ... perhaps you can take the word "relax" out of the definition of this vacation!  :)

2.  I just picked up our van from the body shop. A few weeks ago, I noticed from an upstairs window (that overlooked our driveway) that the paint was peeling off the roof of the van. In some spots it had begun to rust. So ... I thought I had better get the roof repainted before the rust began to spread. The last thing I wanted was a shower INSIDE the van! As I think about this ... I see a spiritual life lesson for all of us. We MUST, on a regular basis,  examine our walk with God. And we must do so by looking into the mirror of God's Word (James 1:22-25). In addition to God's Word ... you may want to ask for help from a trusted friend. All of us have blind spots (listen to my sermon on the life of King Jotham to hear some thoughts about blind spots and how devastating they can be). So it is extremely helpful that we give permission to others to speak truth into our lives when they see a blind spot (something that we either do not see or are choosing to ignore that we MUST address). Failure to do so will be a detriment to our walk with God and our impact upon the world in which we live.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...