Category Archives: AH-HA Moments

AH-HA Moments – April 2019

This article is in memory of my brother, Don Bimler, who died suddenly on March 1, 2019. It was shared as part of the worship service at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hillside, Il, on March 9,2019 . Thanks, Don, for being my best, and only, brother, who brought many AH-HA Moments to family and friends throughout your 81 years.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS, OUR LENTEN LORD AND RESURRECTED SAVIOUR!

THIS IS A SAD, YET JOYOUS AND AH-HA, OCCASION. WE GRIEVE THE LOSS OF A HUSBAND, FATHER, GRANDPA, BROTHER, COUSIN, UNCLE, AND FRIEND. DON WILL CERTAINLY BE MISSED BY ALL OF US. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE, FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND PRESENCE AND SUPPORT FOR KAREN AND THE WHOLE FAMILY. YOU ARE OUR HOLY HUDDLE!

WE ALSO REJOICE IN THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION! FOR US, TODAY, IT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER AT THE SAME TIME. AN OLD HUMOROUS SAYING GOES “FOR MIDWEST LUTHERANS, EVERYDAY IS LENT!” BUT FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, EVERY DAY IS EASTER! AFTER EVERY GOOD FRIDAY, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EASTER…AND DON IS REMINDING US OF THAT RIGHT NOW! AS WE WALK THROUGH THE LENTEN SEASON, DON IS ALREADY CELEBRATING THE RISEN LORD IN HEAVEN!

WE CELEBRATE THE JOY OF KNOWING THAT OUR REDEEMER LIVES, AND THAT DON IS EXPERIENCING THAT JOY RIGHT NOW. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN DON AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT FUNERALS AND WE AGREED THAT THEY SHOULD BE JOYFUL AND HAPPY TIMES, AND DON SAID, ‘IF THERE WON’T BE ANY LAUGHING AND SMILING AT MY FUNERAL, I’M NOT SHOWING UP!” DON, WE ARE ALL HERE TO GRIEVE YOUR DEATH….AND ALSO TO CELEBRATE YOUR ETERNAL LIFE, AS WELL AS OUR OWN, WITH SADNESS AND JOY IN OUR HEARTS!

OUR DAD DIED WHEN HE WAS 50 YEARS OLD. I REMEMBER THE AGREEMENT DON AND I MADE AT MY DAD’S FUNERAL. FIRST, WE WOULD WORK HARD AT LIVING LONGER THAN 50 YEARS …AND WE DID…AND WE ALSO AGREED THAT EACH OF US WOULD SPEAK AT EACH OTHER’S FUNERAL. (THINK ABOUT THAT!) AT LEAST I KEPT MY PROMISE, ALTHOUGH KNOWING MY BIG BROTHER, HE JUST MIGHT SHOW UP AT MY FUNERAL AS WELL!

LOOK AROUND YOU AT THIS HOLY HUDDLE OF PEOPLE WHO LOVED, SUPPORTED, PLAYED, LAUGHED, ARGUED, AND ENCOURAGED DON AND KAREN AND FAMILY THROUGH THESE MANY YEARS. WE THANK YOU FOR THAT. AND NOW WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER AS WE CONTINUE TO WALK THE LENTEN ROAD TO THE CROSS AND THE RESURRECTION!

HOW DO WE DESCRIBE DON? JUST ASK HIS FAMILY –KAREN, KIDS, GRANDKIDS, AND OTHERS. FOR ONE THING, HE REALLY DID “CELEBRATE GOD’S GIFT OF AGING!” AS HE AGED, HE CONTINUED TO LOVE AND SUPPORT HIS KIDS, GRANDKIDS, FRIENDS, CLUBS, DARTS, CHURCH….KAREN SAYS HE BECAME AN EXPERT AT CROSSWORD PUZZLES AND SUDOKU. HE NEVER MISSED A SEGMENT OF JEOPARDY …BUT NEVER MADE ANY MONEY FROM IT EITHER!

HIS KIDS AND GRAND KIDS WROTE THEIR IMPRESSIONS AND REMEMBRANCES OF Don. WONDERFUL AND POWERFUL MEMORIES OF HOW IMPORTANT DAD/GRANDPA TAUGHT, LISTENED, AND ENCOURAGED THEM ALL.HIS LIFE WAS ALL ABOUT FAITH, FAMILY, FATHER, GRANDFATHER,GARDENS, FRIENDS,AND FISHING, AMONG OTHER INTERESTS. DESCRIPTIVE WORDS SUCH AS TRADITIONAL, KIND, STUBBORN, A MODEL (TEACHING CAREER), HARD-WORKER, OPINIONATED, PROVIDER, A HAT FOR EVERY OCCASION, AND THE FACT THAT THEY SELDOM HEARD A DISCOURAGING WORD FROM HIM…. EXCEPT PERHAPS AT ONE OF THEIR FAMILY KITCHEN DEBATES!

HE WAS A MASTER BUILDER OF SPECIAL CHRISTMAS GIFTS FROM HIS WOOD-WORKSHOP. THEY RECALL HIM STANDING UP A LOT, BECAUSE, AS HE EXPLAINED, ‘OTHERWISE I FALL ASLEEP!” THEY REMEMBER MANY OF HIS FAMOUS QUOTES, LIKE, ‘I DON’T SHOVEL SNOW – I BELIEVE THAT THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD WILL TAKETH AWAY!”

KAREN EVEN MENTIONED THAT THEY HAD NEVER HAD AN ARGUMENT IN ALL OF THEIR 54 YEARS OF MARRIAGE ….BUT THAT THEY DID HAVE A LOT OF CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS!  KAREN ,AS WE KNOW, HAS THAT GREAT GIFT OF PATIENCE !

IN DON YOU GOT WHAT YOU SAW- A KIND, HUMBLE, FUN-LOVING,UN-ASSUMING ENCOURAGER, WHO CARED SO MUCH FOR KIDS – HIS OWN AND OTHERS – THAT HE TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL INDUSTRIAL ARTS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. (AND IS THE REASON ONE OF HIS GRANDKIDS IS A TEACHER HERSELF!)

HILLSIDE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT DON BIMLER. THOUGH STEMACS MAY BE GONE, JUST LIKE THE OLD SHOPPING CENTER, AND OTHER CHANGES ARE MADE, DON’S SPIRIT OF HARD WORK , LOYALTY , COMMITMENT TO THE PAST, AND LOVE FOR HIS FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS WILL NEVER BE SURPASSED.

WHAT IS DON’S LEGACY THAT HE LEAVES US? TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN WORD AND ACTION, TO FORGIVE AND HEAL BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, TO USE THE GIFTS WE HAVE AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE GIFTS WE DON’T HAVE…AND TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL …IN THE LORD! TO SEE AGING AS A BLESSING TO CELEBRATE RATHER THAN A BURDEN TO BEAR!

Charlie Brown once said, “One day we are all going to die”. Snoopy REPLIED “Yes, but all the rest of the days we will live”. LET US ALL CONTINUE LIVING THE LIFE THE LORD HAS GIVEN US, AS WE SHARE HOPE, LOVE, AND JOY THE WAY THE LORD DID THROUGH DON!

REST WELL, BROTHER, IN THE ARMS OF THE RESURRECTED LORD! THANKS FOR HELPING US CELEBRATE EASTER EARLY THIS YEAR!

AND LET ALL OF GOD’S HOLY HUDDLE SAY, ‘AMEN’ AND ‘AH-HA’!

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – March 2019

What do you get when you bring together over 2200 people of God, of all ages, for a 3 day experience of worship, prayer, fellowship, learning, and laughter? You get a fantastic “AH-HA Moment” experience as you connect, re-connect, grow, and absorb the joy and presence of the Lord through His people, from all over the country!

I am referring to the Best Practice Conference that happens each Spring at Christ Church Lutheran, Phoenix. What a powerful assortment of God’s AH-HA people! Pastor Jeff Schrank and a cast of hundreds host this annual event which provides a platform for professional church workers and laypersons to gather together to teach and learn, laugh and pray, and to support and encourage one another.

No decisions are made, no resolutions are passed, and it is certainly a joy NOT to ever hear the term “Point of Order” shouted from the crowd!  These people of all ages are there to share their gifts, learn together, develop ministry relationships, and celebrate and serve each other as God’s saints.

These folks do not show up in Phoenix in February just to enjoy the sun and warmth of their winters. No way! This was especially tested this year as it rained and never got above 50 for the whole week. I had heard that Phoenix is bearable in the summer because of its “dry heat”, but it is certainly a stretch to call the weather last week, “dry wet”! At least the steady rain kept reminding us participants of our daily Baptism and allowed us to remember that we are always “walking wet” in the Lord!

For more information, contact Pastor Jeff Schrank (jschrank@cclphoenix.org) or Nancy Barton (nbarton@cclphoenix.org) and consider attending next year’s event, February 20-22, 2020. You will be blessed for being there as well as being a blessing to those who attend with you.

And there’s more good news: There is no cost to attend! (That doesn’t even sound Lutheran!) All you need to do is get there and find a place to stay. All meals, materials, and the total program is provided by Christ Church Lutheran! Now that’s what I call a servant ministry! Another unique component is that participants volunteer to lead sectional presentations to share their expertise and skills. What a way to earn and grow with your peers. Plenty of national and international mission and ministry partners are also present to provide resources and significant materials and resources with you as well.

See you there, rain or shine, as we continue to share and celebrate the AH-HA Moments all around us!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – February 2019

12 “WARNING” SIGNS OF LIVING AN “AH-HA” LIFE!

Here is what we have all been looking for, folks – scientifically proven ways that point out the “warning” signs of living an AH-HA life! If you find yourself practicing and actually mastering the items below, be careful, you just might be living the life of an AH-HA person! And Hooray for you!

How many of these signs can you identify in your daily life? Which ones do you need to work on? Go for it!

  1. Persistent presence of supportive friends.
  2. Chronic positive expectations – a tendency to frame events in a positive light.
  3. Regular signs of joy in living.
  4. A sense of spiritual renewal in the Lord.
  5. Increased sensitivity to others.
  6. A tendency to adapt to changing conditions.
  7. Increased appetite for physical activity.
  8. Tendency to identify and communicate feelings.
  9. Repeated episodes of gratitude and generosity.
  10. Compulsion to care for other people.
  11. Persistent sense of humor. Known to have laughed out loud!
  12. A life centered in the forgiveness of Christ!

What do you think? How are we doing? Any items you might add, or change? Why not discuss this list with some friends and family and get a lively discussion going? Feel free to add, and even subtract, from this list. And have fun doing it!

Romans 15:13 says it so well, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!”

Enjoy your AH-HA Moments each day as you celebrate and share these “warning signs” as gifts from the Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – January 2019

TOP 10 RESOLUTIONS (No, let’s make that REVOLUTIONS!) for 2019!

Hey, we all made it to another new year ….Thank you, Lord!

The Lord must have great ideas and plans for us this day/week/month/year, or ….because He is gracing us with another day to make a difference in our own lives as well as in the lives of those around us. Now that calls for a Hooray and an AH-HA, for sure!

Instead of making the traditional “Resolutions” for the new year, let’s consider making a list of our Top 10 “Revolutions” we’d like to test in 2019. Let’s ponder ways that we can more strongly and sincerely enable and encourAGE others, younger and older than we, to be more intentional about changing the attitudes of how our society looks at and evaluates the gift of …..AGING!

Take a look at these. Change them. Make them better. Use them in discussions with the younger and the older, starting with your friends and family. I’d welcome hearing your ideas , questions, and creative thinking about these and any other concepts you’d like to share.

                                           Top 10 Older Adult “REVOLUTIONS” for 2019

  1. As a conversation starter, ask people “How are you aging?”, and then listen closely at the comments. Are they positive, negative, neutral? What might their responses say about how they feel about themselves?
  2. Read some of the latest books on “Aging” and get a better sense of what others are predicting, doing, and thinking about this fastest growing age segment in our world.
  3. Discuss this concept with a friend: The word “Elderly” means the number of years a person has lived on this planet. The word “Elder” is defined as what this person has done with those years.” Interesting, eh, that in many churches there is a board of “Elders”, which does not necessarily mean that they are all older adults, but rather that they are involved, engaged, and committed to the ministries at hand. Must be a message there somewhere!
  4. Make a strong effort to “Age Out Loud”, meaning that you verbally share your positive vibes about aging with others when you hear the many stereotypes about aging being bantered about and discussed. (i.e., “Oh, I’m having a senior moment!”; or, “Wow, for an old person you look pretty good”; or “I wish I was young again!” Think of other phrases you hear around you that perceive older adults as “over the hill”, “less than they were”, and who primarily need “help” rather than having something positive to share with others.
  5. Work intentionally at “Reframing Aging”, from a negative view to a positive one, beginning with our selves. At times I still catch myself saying to an 85 year old friend, “Hi there, young fella!” How silly of me! Help others to reframe aging so people are not afraid or embarrassed to tell their real age. I imagine we all can think of someone who still is leery of telling their real age but instead says, “Oh, I’m 20 for the 4th time,” or we probably know people who refuse to say how old they are to most anyone, as if it’s a disease!
  6. Get in the habit of sharing your age by using fractions, just like younger kids do. For example, I am 78 ¼ this month. That’s what many little preschoolers do to show their excitement about aging by shouting, “Wow, I’m 4 ½ now!”
  7. We can control how we age more than we think we can. The breath of life is in all of us, but most of us don’t use it all of the time. Aging gracefully means having a generous view of others and the world. Let’s revolutionize ourselves and others by maintaining a forgiving stance towards the faults and weaknesses in ourselves and others. Watch out, though, positive attitudes are contagious!
  8. Let us continue to learn to laugh at ourselves more! As we do, we will have enough stories and materials to keep us laughing forever! As a friend reminds me, “Laugh at yourself – before someone else does!”
  9. Let us revolutionize the world by caring for ourselves and for each other. No need to “cure” people – simply show them through words and actions that you truly do care and love them, through phone calls, e-mails, visits, and prayers. My friend Dick has the wonderful habit of calling 5 fiends a week, just to say “I love you!” to them.
  10. Be personal ambassadors of older people. Be examples of what it means to be given the gift of old age. Let us rid ourselves of “perception barriers” that hinder and limit our abilities to celebrate and serve, in the name of the healing Christ!

May these 10 REVOLUTIONS for 2019 enable and encourage each of us to live life as a gift of the Lord…and let us work together to revolutionize the world around us! Celebrate life each day as a AH-HA Moment by celebrating God’s gift of aging!

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – December 2018

TRANSITIONING TEAMS IN CONGREGATIONS – THE TIME HAS COME!

Psalm 71 says it so well, “….Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone……..Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

It is time to take seriously the gift of aging in our homes, churches, and communities.  It is time to be specific and intentional about how we live out our Baptismal Promise with the younger and the older around us.

We choose sponsors for the newly baptized. We have mentors for our confirmation classes. We pledge at various “stages” on our faith journey  to pray for, support, encourage , and “share the faith” with others….but where are we as older adults go through their transition times of losing a partner, moving to a new facility, no longer able to drive, and dealing with other life changes?

How can our congregations better see, not only the needs of older people, but also their gifts and experiences which they are so willing to share and celebrate, if only asked to do so?

Our culture, as well as our congregations, continue to see aging, not as a blessing to celebrate but rather as a burden to endure! Our congregations continue to focus on “growing the church” with children and families and millennials, which is all well and good, but not at the expense of the fastest growing population – people 65 and older. Just imagine: 10,000 people are turning 65 TODAY…talk about a mission field! These people are NOT burdens to bear but rather blessings to continue to serve and to celebrate the faith, with people of all ages!

What would happen if congregations would finally take seriously the gift of aging? What would happen if “aging specialists” were trained to serve and empower older adults in their baptism walk through their congregations? What would happen if “transition teams”, comprised of the younger and the older, would be formed to be intentional about meeting the needs and releasing the gifts of their older adult members?  What would happen if our worship services would continue to involve “sponsors” and “encourAGERS”, not only at baptism and confirmation, but also for people as they reached the age of 65…and beyond? What a great way to celebrate age as a gift from the Lord, begun at Baptism, and to continue to intentionally proclaim the promise of the Risen Lord through all of life!

What would this “transition team” do? For starters, it would increase the awareness of both the younger and the older that aging is a gift and that people of all ages have needs as well as gifts to share. This team would focus on special opportunities to speak and live words of comfort and hope as older adults deal with illness, separation, meaninglessness, and loneliness, to name a few areas of need. This team would engage the older in meaningful ministries to others as well, through community events, hospital visits, volunteer opportunities, and time to put the younger and the older in “ministry range” of each other! How fun it would be if parish teams would produce videos for children to listen to the “old folks” tell stories of their pasts? Can you imagine all of the wonderful stories in the minds of older adults, who are willing to “toot and tell”, about their past …but no one is there to listen to them? These teams would “be there” as a voice, an ear, a hand, a smile, to enable people of all ages to age gracefully, especially as they deal with life’s changes.

These “transition teams” would bring added energy and gifts to people of all ages! It would model for the younger that aging is not something to deny and be fearful of. It would model for the older that they are not being forgotten in their aging years. (Read Psalm 71 again!) It would break down the current stereotypes we have of what it means to grow older, and the Church of Christ would prosper as generation upon generation would “declare the power of the Lord” to one another! What great AH-HA Moments these would be!

Sign me up! As a matter of fact, we all are already signed up for this transitioning task ……because of our Baptism!

Dr. Rich Bimler (with great gratitude to my mentor, Dr. Dick Engebrecht)

Ambassador of Health, Hope, and Aging (AH-HA!)

December, 2018

AH-HA Moments – November 2018

Here is the 30 day November calendar of day-by-day Notions to Noodle and Nibble on New ways to celebrate the Now days of November! Enjoy!

  1. Celebrate your Sainthood on All Saints’ Day!
  2. Do something NICE for a stranger – just because!
  3. Start the day with a St. Arbucks to remember that “Coffee is a Hug in a Mug!”
  4. Daylight Saving Time Ends – Will you be late or early for worship?
  5. Make this a Magnificent Monday, in the Lord!
  6. Election Day – Vote as if your vote counts …it does!
  7. Look for the Wows on this Wednesday – they are all around us!
  8. This Thursday is the time to do something for yourself ….because you deserve it!
  9. It is Martin Chemnitz’ Birthday today. If you don’t know him, Google him!
  10. Saturdays are good times to clean the house …or not! It’s up to you!
  11. Today is the 25th Sunday after Pentecost. Let the Spirit guide and inspire you!
  12. Make this Monday a Yummy Day! Give treats out to your special friends!
  13. Know anyone who has a birthday today? Call or e-mail them to say HI.
  14. This is Whimsical Wednesday, just because! Share a funny joke or story with a friend.
  15. How can you make this Thursday a Thrilling one for someone else?
  16. Pray for 16 people today, and let them know you did!
  17. Mark this as “Do anything you want to do” day …and go ahead and DO it, just because!
  18. Talk to 5 new people at worship this morning, and rejoice with them through Word and song!
  19. Make final plans for your Thanksgiving celebration this week and be sure to include the hungry, the hurting, and the harried.
  20. Think of some special treats to give some friends to make it a Terrific Tuesday for both them and you!
  21. Clean the house …Your company is on their way! Or, if not, a little dusting won’t hurt anything!
  22. BLESSED THANKSGIVING …..and THANKS-LIVING!
  23. Reflect on yesterday’s Thanksgiving events. What went well? What did not? See every day as a Thanks-giving day, in spite of the spilled gravy and spots on the rug!
  24. Try not to start your Christmas shopping and plans yet. Instead, indulge in prayers of Thanksgiving and keep the season focused on the Lord!
  25. This is the last Sunday of the Church Year! Rejoice and give thanks with some hearty AH-HA’s!
  26. Hooray for the last Monday of the month. What can you do to make it a special day?
  27. It’s national AH-HA Day, so tell one, or more, jokes to your friends. (Well, honestly, it really isn’t AH-HA Day, but let’s make it one anyway!)
  28. Work hard at making this Wednesday a Wow Day instead of a Worry Day. Yes, you can do it!
  29. Celebrate this Thursday as National Thirst Day, by drinking plenty of water…and remembering your Baptism as well!
  30. On this final day of November, we remember and give thanks to the Apostle, St. Andrew, for his faithful sacrifices and faith in the Lord. May we also continue to bring AH-HA Moments in the Lord to those around us.  Look out, December, here we come!

Blessed November as we continue to Noodle and Nibble on ways to Give Thanks and Live Thanks….. AH-HA-ing all the way Home!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – October 2018

HOLY HILARITY!

Whenever I think of AH-HA Moments, I am reminded of the sign I saw many years ago, which read, “Until Further Notice, Celebrate Everything”! What a great motto for living a life in the Lord!

What is your favorite saying that describes your life in the Lord? Perhaps it’s a Bible verse or an old saying your Mom used to share. All I remember my Mom saying was, “Richie, don’t eat with your mouth full!”  Maybe it’s a catchy phrase a teacher reiterated. One of my model educators liked to quip, “Laughter is carbonated holiness!” Then there’s author Ann Lamont’s quote, “Laughter is another way of crossing ourselves!” And let’s not forget good old Woody Allen who murmured, “Laughter is great…except when milk comes out of your nose!!

So, Holy Hilarity people of God, what keeps you focused on the joy we have in the Lord? We know that we live on “this side” of the Resurrection because of what He has already done for us. We’ve read the last chapter of the book, and so we know how it all turns out, in Christ!

Personally, during these days of worries, woes, whimpers, and wars, within us and around us, I need to keep remembering that the Lord has already redeemed us with His death and Resurrection. That does not make things “right” with the world, but it does put life in perspective. In the midst of the slander, sleaziness, and short-sightedness of today’s world, we as God’s people can still share and show the AH-HA’s of a life lived in the Lord!

So take time today, and tomorrow, and the next, to see the gift of laughter and joy as so crucial, especially in times like this. We can’t “laugh away” our struggles, but laughter does help to keep life in perspective, as we celebrate His joy-filled presence among us!

Review the following list of why laughter is such “good medicine” for the soul, and add some of your thoughts as well:

  1. It helps us maintain our perspective on life.
  2. It gives us a sense of power.
  3. It helps us cope.
  4. It helps establish communication and rapport.
  5. It relieves tension.
  6. It increases learning and retention.
  7. It can be used as a diagnostic tool.
  8. It works because of the incongruities of life.
  9. No need to tell “jokes” – just think “funny”. Look for humor in everyday situations, starting with your own foibles!
  10. Laughter is a Gift…”The Lord has done great things for us…and we are filled with joy! (Psalm 126:3)

As a doctor friend says to his patients, “Open your mouth wide and say, “AH-HA”!

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – September 2018

“He is, and He is here – the signs are all around us!”

This is a favorite quote of mine from Sister Corita Kent. She captures the presence and proclamation power of our Lord in our daily lives. We only need to learn to see and sense the Lord’s presence in and around us, big and small, known and unknown. Through the Spirit, we need to encourAGE others to do the same. How can we more intentionally listen for the chirp of the morning sparrow, the chuckle of a child, the glance of the grandmother, and the sounds of our world around us? If you are like I am, we too often miss the beauty and grace of the presence of our God in all that we do, because we are so focused and intent on dealing with ourselves and our own issues.

This Gospel mind-set can also be called “God Sightings!” How can we train our minds and lifestyles to look more for the love and joy and forgiveness in the world, rather than be captured by the daily headlines of today? Or, to say it a different way, how can we become aware that “God Sightings” do come to us even from the worries and wars and woes in ourselves and throughout the world? Perhaps these “God Sightings” are beckoning us to become more involved in helping others see His Presence in our lives and witness!

A few examples from my own experiences these past days:

  1. Lutheran Summer Music Program was held again at Valparaiso University this summer. Around 100 high schoolers from all over the country gathered for a month of intensive study, practice, relationships, learning, and performances of their musical gifts. Talk about God Sightings! What a powerful witness to the talents of young people as well as the leadership of adults to encourage and involve these youngsters in worship, music, and relationships in intentional ways. For more information, contact Mr. Tom Bandar, Executive Director, Lutheran Music Program, TBandar@lutheransummermusic.org . Consider encouraging young people from your family and congregation to register for the July, 2019 event!

 2  Author Parker Palmer has just come out with an excellent new book that surely will be a “God Sightings” resource for many! Titled, “On the Brink of Everything – Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old,” (Berrett- Koehler, 2018), Dr.Palmer affirms the gift of aging in so many insightful ways. It is so affirming to hear this 80 year old begin by stating, “I like being old!” From that simple, yet profound statement, I knew I was going to like this book! And what about this one: “Aging and Dying – one is a privilege and the other is not up for 

negotiation.” ! He speaks eloquently about the fact that our culture celebrates youth, disparages old age, and discourages us to face our own mortality. He urges us to see the “God Sightings” around us as we reframe aging as a passage of discovery and engagement and not decline and inaction.  Check it out and watch for the “God Sightings” imbedded throughout these pages!

3.One final item: September 9 is “officially” Grandparents Day! Celebrate it well, whether or not you are a grandparent! What better gift can we older adults give to our own grandkids, and those other kids around us, than to let them help us “celebrate” our lives together? Don’t worry about whether your grandkids remember this “big” day, make it a “God Sightings’ day by thanking them for being …..kids! And then follow up with them through additional activities, notes, kind words, encourAGEments, and prayers. Happy Grand Parents Day, as we continue to become “God Sightings” for others, the younger and the older.

Have a great “AH-HA Moments” Month in the Lord….and watch for those God Sightings popping up all around us!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – August 2018

CHANGING AGING – or, WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY – AND HE IS US!

“Changing Aging” is what AH-HA people do! AH-HA people are able to take the responsibility to make the world a better place by recognizing that “we” are not only the problem but “we” are also the solution to many things. Ageism continues to run rampant throughout our church and society. God’s people, you and me, young and old, can “change the climate” by acknowledging how we, usually unknowingly, continue to perpetuate the problem by what we say, think, and by how we behave. I listen to my own biases surfacing when I say to my 78 year old friend, “Hi there, young fella!” He’s not young – he’s 78 years old! Or when I hear someone blurt out, “Oh to be young again!”, and I do not speak up to point out this obvious flaw in not seeing aging as a gift. And on and on and on!

Check out these “mini-AH-HA” thoughts as you evaluate your own concepts and behaviors around the aging process:

  1. Never forget your own insignificance!
  2. Seek joy in the saddest places.
  3. Respect strength, not power.
  4. Seek joy in relationships, not power; and find God’s grace in the loss of power.
  5. Forgive yourself.
  6. Befriend death.
  7. Allow change. Accept loss.
  8. Befriend the younger – and encourAGE!
  9. Cry and laugh whenever you need to.
  10. Stay connected to special people in your life. Don’t “go it” alone!
  11. Never make fun of someone older or younger than yourself. Only laugh at those who are your own age!
  12. Never get used to injustices.
  13. Aging allows us to be more of a BE-er and less of a DO-er – and that’s a blessing!
  14. Enjoy the diminishment in our lives that frees us up to listen, to celebrate, and to forgive.
  15. Slow down – it’s okay!

Seems that what we learn from the aging process is pretty much what Jesus was teaching!

Have an AH-HA day, in the Lord, whatever your age! (and thanks to Pastor Steve from Unfolding Light for his inspiration and insight.)

AH-HA Moments – July 2018

                 MEDITATE ON THIS!                                                                  

Breaking News: Did you know that meditation is linked to a positive effect on older adults’ lives? Well, yea!

A recent article in U.S. News and World Report praises the many benefits of meditation for all ages, but especially for those over 60.  Prayers, solitude, reflections, and devotional times have strong effects on attention, memory functions, and general cognition. Greater well-being and increased peace and gratitude toward life are also products of regular times of prayer, devotion, and “a time to remember who we are”!

It increases gratitude for what we have and allows us to become more grounded as we struggle through difficult situations. It improves our sense of resiliency, decreases our stress, and has a calming effect on all people, especially the older adults.

Besides all of this good news, we can make this happen without any more pills! We can do it anywhere.  It works quite rapidly in our system, enhances our mood, and it even increases our energy!

Studies also show, if the above isn’t enough evidence (!), that regular meditation brings greater well-being, increases peace, and makes us more aware of the abundance of blessings in our lives!

Perhaps you already knew about this gift that the Lord gives to us. Perhaps you are already very regular in your weekly worship, daily prayer times, and regular “timeouts” to just sit and thank the Lord for ALL of His gifts. Others, like me, may have sensed the need for these quiet times and reflective moments but still have not made them daily “Holy Habits”. Well, what are we waiting for!

These daily meditation times can become tremendous “AH-HA” moments for all of us! They can refresh and renew us and help us to focus on who and Whose we are. As we age, these patterns of reflecting can change our mindset from DOING into a focus on BEING God’s people, just because we are His!   As Frank Cunningham states in his excellent book, “Vesper Time”, “since we (older adults) are not so noticeable anymore, why not engage in the spiritual quest of abandoning our egos!” In other words, no need to do great things to be noticed and praised! Simply BE who we are as God’s people as we meditate, mediate and model to the younger that we are human Beings first ,instead of human Doers.  To meditate is to daily recall, remember, and rejoice in the Resurrection that is ours, always!

May we make our daily meditations, reflections, and devotions AH-HA Moments, not only to make us “feel” better, but to also continue to point us to THE Mediator, Christ the Lord!

As a final AH-HA Moment, isn’t it affirming to realize that MEditate begins with ME? There must be a MEssage there somewhere!

Rich Bimler