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RETIRING ONCE AGAIN!

Well, here I go again!  I consider this my fourth retirement!  I retired from my position as Minister of Visitation at Faith Presbyterian Church on October 1, 2017.  Yes, I will be easing into retirement once again.

I have been blessed throughout my many careers, and, as I retired from Faith, I was truly (and actually) blessed by a wonderful Pastor and congregation.

As I began this first week of retirement, I have had many thoughts about what I have done in my life, and what I am still going to be doing in my life.

So, first let’s take a look back.  Take a walk down memory lane with me as I review all the paid jobs I have had in my life so far:  (All the jobs were good, but I have indicated the ones I really enjoyed in bold type.)

  • During Grammar School at Onahan Elementary School in Chicago:
    • Selling greeting cards and seeds door to door
    • Cutting my aunt and uncle’s grass during the summer
    • Working in my uncle’s cabinet shop
  • During High School at North Park Academy in Chicago:
    • Caddying at Park Ridge Country Club
    • Washing walls
    • Performing janitorial work at Junior Achievement offices in Chicago after school during junior and senior years
  • While on campus at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
    • Serving in the H-3 dorm cafeteria
    • Serving in the H-3 snack bar
    • Manning the H-3 front desk on weekends.
    • Receiving and storing supplies in the H-3 food service storerooms
  • While at home during College vacations in Chicago:
    • Loading trailers on a loading dock for Clipper Carloading Company in Chicago – night shift – college summer job
    • Delivering groceries for Jewel Tea Company Home Delivery
    • Assembling televisions on a Motorola assembly line – college summer job
    • Selling classified ads for the Chicago Tribune
  • After joining the Navy in 1964
    • Officer Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island – student
    • Navy Supply Corps School, Athens, Georgia – student
    • Naval Supply Center, San Diego California – Material Division, Fleet Support
    • Pre-Commissioning Supply Officer, Schofield, Seattle, Washington
    • Supply Officer – Plank Owner, USS SCHOFIELD (DEG-3) – Bremerton, Washington and Long Beach, California
    • Fleet Support at Navy Electronics Supply Office, Great Lakes, Illinois
    • University of Michigan – student – received MBA degree
    • Assistant Supply Officer, USS MARS (AFS-1), Sasebo, Japan
    • Fleet Readiness Officer, Staff of Commander Naval Surface Forces, US Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC), San Diego and Coronado, California
    • US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island – student
    • P-Division Director, US Navy Regional Contracting Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Automated Procurement Division Director, Defense Industrial Supply Center, Philadelphia, PA
    • Supply and Procurement Officer, Naval Avionics Center, Indianapolis, Indiana. Retired from Navy in 1989   (Best Job of All until I became a pastor)
  • State of Indiana Government
    • Indiana Department of Administration
      • Procurement Director
      • Customer Service Division – Managed Motor Pool, Warehouse, Stationary Stores and State Surplus operations.
    • Governor’s Office – Executive Director, Indiana Commitment for Quality
    • Indiana Small Business Development Corporation – Government Marketing Assistance specialist.
    • Left State Government Service (2nd retirement) in 2003
  • After attending Synod of Lincoln Trails Lay Pastor Training – student
    • Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Greenfield, Indiana for 13 years. Retired (3rd retirement) in 2014
    • Minister of Visitation, Faith Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis Indiana for 10 years, beginning in 2007. Retired October 1, 2017.  (4th retirement)

Along the way, I have served in many volunteer capacities:  (All of these were truly enjoyable.)

  • United Methodist Church
    • Council of Old Orchard United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
    • Certified Lay Speaker, United Methodist Church of Southern New Jersey
  • Presbyterian Church, United States of America (PCUSA)
    • Faith Presbyterian Church
      • Ruling Elder on Session
      • Parish Associate
      • Worship Leader and Liturgist
      • Sunday School teacher
    • Synod of Lincoln Trails, Presbyterian Church USA
      • Student in the Lay Pastor class
      • Commissioner to the Synod
    • Whitewater Valley Presbytery
      • Director, Presbytery Mission Program
      • Commissioner, PCUSA General Assembly in Denver Colorado, 2003
      • Committee on Ministry member
      • Committee on Preparation for Ministry member
      • Moderator of the Presbytery of Whitewater Valley (I know that I still owe you a report on this year of volunteering.  It officially ends on November 1, so I will write more about it then!)

Now, we are off for a few days in Northern Wisconsin with our good friends Ed and Donna.

 

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On Being A Presbyterian Pastor

March 2017…

Just to note:  In my ministry to date, I have performed 20 Baptisms, 27 weddings, and 86 funerals.

It has been a while since I have posted anything!  I started to BLOG with two goals:

  1. To write what it is like to be retired , and
  2. To lay out a history my life for my family and friends.

If you look back, you can pretty much find the story of my life and now:

“How being a Presbyterian Minister changed my life!”

But first, I must tell you that being a Presbyterian means being involved.

I began my Christian life at Norwood Park Presbyterian Church (NPPC) in Chicago where I went on Sunday mornings until I was about 6 years old; my wife Pat attended that church until we were married.  (Pat and I were married in her church, and our two children were baptized there as well before the church merged with several Presbyterian churches.)

After a short time attending NPPC, I became a Lutheran at St. Lukes Evangelical Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois, where I was active in Sunday school, in the youth group and confirmed in the late 1950’s.

I sort of merged Lutheranism with Swedish Covenantism when I went to North Park Academy:  a Lutheran on Sunday and a Swedish Covenant during the week.   As my life and my Navy career continued, we were Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and non-denominationalists, and who knows what else.  We finally wound up at Faith Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis in 1986 and have been members there ever since.

As a good Presbyterian, I have served on committee after committee!  I have been on the Presbytery Mission Committee, the Committee on Ministry, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, and now I am Moderator of the Presbytery.  Along with this, I also served the Synod of Lincoln Trails as a Commissioner and member of the Personnel Committee for several years.

Along the way, at Faith, I have served on the Session in various roles, and, when we added a new sanctuary, I served on the building Committee as the Chairperson of the “Color Committee” where we decided the colors of carpeting, walls, flooring, as well as the sanctuary layout of benches and chairs. Seventeen years later it is serving our congregation well!

Shortly after construction of the new addition began in 2000, I enrolled in the Lay Pastor School of the Synod of Lincoln Trails.  Our class met one weekend a month for two years to dig deeper into the Bible, Presbyterian Polity, and strengthen our Christian lives.  About three quarters through the program, I was offered the position of Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Greenfield, Indiana, which I eagerly accepted.  I had always heard God calling me to ministry, but I didn’t give in until then

 Anniv Dinner 9-24-06.jpg (2)

                              First Presbyterian Church, Greenfield, Indiana   

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for me to be commissioned to serve First Presbyterian as a Supply Pastor.  When I began, I was on a 20 hour a week contract until my job at the Indiana Government Marketing Assistance Group ended, when I increased to 30 hours a week.

As pastors do, I preached on Sundays, taught Bible study classes, lead Youth Group, moderated the session, visited the sick, did weddings and funerals, and even a few baptisms or two during my 13 years there.

Fortunately, First Pres had strong Session members who cared, a dedicated Sunday school teacher or two, and interested parents who worked with me with the church’s youth.  Pat and I made life-long friends, although Presbyterian polity prevents much contact with them.  Thank goodness for Facebook!

We lived in Indianapolis, about thirty minutes from the church, and I would make the drive several times a week for classes, meetings, and services.

Pat and I were immediately accepted into the church family, consisting of people of every age from babies to octogenarians.

First Presbyterian was a great place to serve and work with good people from March 4, 2001 to May 31, 2014:

  1. The Youth:
    1. We had a wonderful group of kids and exciting weekly youth group meetings.  Our youth made a mission trip to Lexington, Kentucky for LEXREACH and the ICTHIUS Christian Music Festival.
    2. We made fun and fellowship-filled trips to Six Flags in Ohio and Santa Claus Land in southern Indiana.
    3. We had two confirmation classes and confirmed several teens. I was able to be with several of them as they grew over the 13 years.  Now I follow them on FACEBOOK as they are in college and facing exciting career opportunities.
  2. The Congregation:
    1. They were wonderful Christian people, who served God not only at the Church, but volunteered throughout the community.
    2. We held annual Strawberry Festival, Chicken and Dumplings during Riley Days, Vacation Bible Study, Easter Sunrise Services, Church in the Park, local mission day of caring, Halloween parties, Breakfast with Santa, among other fellowship and worship opportunities.
    3. We made a mission trip to the New Orleans area to help in the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance post-Katrina recovery areas.
    4. I particularly enjoyed opportunities to visit members and friends of First Presbyterian, and being part of their lives: at times it meant providing support, at others it meant celebrating!

Here are a few pictures of our time together at First Presbyterian:

 

Now, after my third retirement (the Navy, Indiana State Government, and First Presbyterian), I am continuing to serve as Minister of Visitation at my home church, Faith Presbyterian in Indianapolis, and am also commissioned to Faith as Parish Associate.  In these positions I have the opportunity to visit members and friends, preach occasionally, serve Holy Communion, and assist Pastor Charlotte in other ways as well.

This year I am also serving as the Moderator of the Whitewater Valley Presbytery

Next BLOG –

WHAT’S NEXT?  Moderator Of the Presbytery of Whitewater Valley!

 

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May 2016 Travels

TRIP TO TOM AND ANGELA’S in New Baltimore, Michigan

May 9 – 11, 2016

We left on Monday morning at 8:15 heading for Tom & Angela’s north of Detroit.  They were good friends from Indianapolis who made the big move to “Pure Michigan”.

We had a very nice drive up I-69 into Michigan.  We sort of took the long way, and it turned out to be a six + hour drive instead of the 5 we had been expecting,

We arrived and were treated to a tour of their wonderful new home, a Condo with a basement and second floor in quiet neighborhood close to shopping, restaurants, and the water.  Tom has a “man cave” in the basement with a big TV and comfortable chair, and Angela has an office/craft room on the second floor.

After spending some time talking and seeing their new home, Tom and Angie took us on a ride around area.  They live about a mile from Anchor Bay on Lake St. Claire, in a nice, quiet community.

Along the way, we stopped and shopped at very special fruit/vegetable store – Nino Salvaggio’s.  Check out their web site http://www.ninosalvaggio.com/ .  The store was

P1080191

Pat and Tom look over the produce

 

filled with just about any kind of produce and fresh meats and vegetables that you could imagine.  Just being there was an experience.

On our ride, we tried to visit the Selfridge Air National Guard base.  (Years ago, when Pat and I were at the University of Michigan where I got my MBA while in active duty in the Navy, we went to Selfridge a couple times to shop at the Commissary/Exchange.)  Anyway, we got to the gate and I proudly showed my retired Navy ID, and the guard asked for the ID’s of the other people in the car. After Angela got out her license, Pat discovered she had left her purse at home, so she didn’t have hers.  Then Tom, who was driving, also found that he had left his wallet at home and didn’t have ID either.  The guard looked at us, and sternly told us that we could not enter the base.  So much for wanting to see the planes.  Tom immediately let Angela drive.

When we got back to their house, Angela and Tom gave me cooking lessons on roasting and marinating tomatoes.  They came out yummy.

20160510_113655

Roasting Tomatoes

(Since we have gotten back, I roast all sorts of veggies on the grill after marinating them in a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and some basil.)

We had a wonderful dinner with some great wine and then sat and told stories until 11 PM.

Then to bed.

Our room was on the second floor of their Condo.  It was an easy walk upstairs to the room which also serves as Angela’s craft room and office.  (Angela is an artist who displays and sells jewelry through several shops in Michigan.).  However, to make it easier to get up to the room, Tom and Angela had lift chairs installed to

20160509_155529

Quick Way Up!

carry you up at the touch of a button.  Quite a service we had never had before

This was my first night traveling with my CPAP machine, and I was a bit worried, but  I didn’t have to be.  Tom has one too, and they even provided distilled water!

The bed was very comfortable, and we slept our way into Tuesday.

The next morning, fresh coffee was available as soon as I got up after sleeping very well, and we woke up to rain.

Unfortunately, it looked like a rainy day ahead on this nice and warm Tuesday morning.

Angela and Tom made a Frittata for breakfast that was fantastic!  We enjoyed sitting and talking while the rain fell outside.

Eventually it cleared up, and we drove along the St. Claire River north to Port Huron

We stopped for lunch at Anita’s in Marine City, Michigan where we enjoyed great Marine City Anita's 2 (1)sandwiches and watched the freighters going down the St. Claire to Detroit.  P1080233We did a bit of shopping and enjoyed this small town on the river.

At Port Huron we were able to see the southern tip of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes.  We also saw P1080273the US Coast Cutter Bramble that is “resting” from winter of protecting ships on the Great Lakes

When we got back to New Baltimore we stopped at Sthal’s Bakery for “Belly Button” cookies – a special cookie that is made of all sorts of great stuff.  We bought some to take home, and just finished the last one last night.  Check Sthal’s out at: http://store.stahlsbakery.com/. You can order them and have them shipped directly to your home.  Recommend it!

This Is A Belly Button Cookie!

Finally, after a wonderful day of walking, driving, seeing boats, looking at real estate in Anchor Bay, having my picture taken by a light house, shopping and even buying a green shirt, eating, and lots of talking, we got back to the Bass’ Condo.

We relaxed and had another wonderful dinner and some more wonderful wine!

After dinner we watched a hidden camera show on Canadian TV.  Being so close to Canada, they get both US and Canadian TV shows.

We talked again until about 11, then off to bed and a ride on the stair elevator chair!

Our last morning began with another wonderful breakfast and we had to get on the road home. Unfortunately, I had a funeral to perform at Faith Presbyterian Church on Thursday for a very special lady and longtime member, Betty Galbreth, so we had to get back to Indy Wednesday afternoon.

Thankfully, Tom gave us a better route home that took us through Detroit on I-94 to I-69 to Indianapolis.  The ride home took us 5 ½ hours and was construction-free!

Good drive home via 194 and I69.

Trip Ratings:

Food               5 Stars

Tours              5 Stars   (Lake Huron was a bonus!  Only when we visit our friends

in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin, do we get to see other than Lake Michigan.  Then we see Lake Superior)

Hospitality     5 Stars   (Includes the cooking lessons that were unexpected)

Overall Rating:         5 Stars

Next, our trip to Disney World  May 20 – 28, 2016

Overview:  It was a wonderful trip to Shades of Green once again.

Planning was good.  Our route and Enterprise rental car worked out perfectly.  The Ford Escape was just the right size for us and all our luggage.

We took a case of COSTCO water, some snacks, and beverages

We drove down I-74 to I-75 in Cincinnati to I-40 near Knoxville, to I-95 to Florida.

May 21, 2016 (2)

Great Burgers!

Spent one night in Greenville-Spartanburg, NC at the Fairfield

Brought carry-out from Bacon Brothers back to the room for dinner.

 

 

 

Second night in Palm Coast, FL, at another Fairfield.  For dinner, we drove about five miles to Flagler Beach for dinner on the ocean at the Golden Lion Café.  It was great! There was a

live band, and a wedding reception as well.

At Disney:

Food was great at Shades– we got in a routine!

Breakfast – fruit cup and yogurt outsideTuesday Breakfast! our room.  We picked them up from the snack bar by the bus pick-up area.

Lunch – at the park

Afternoon snack – wings from the night before!

Dinner –         this time we ate dinner back at Shades after our day in the park.  We ordered “take-out” from the Bistro, and brought wine from the room Outdoor Dining at Shades Pat and John (3)and sat outside by the pond and ate.  Actually, we split a burger and house salad each night.  (A rut, but a good rut!) We also ordered wings and took them back to the room, put them in the refrigerator, and ate them as an afternoon snack the next day.

One of the best parts of dinner outside this time was the alligator in the pond that came around evAlligator Watching (7)ery night, as did lots of people to see it.  (We think the DNR was being called to relocate it the day we left)

Evening Snack – homemade ice cream from the snack bar in the lobby

Poolside room was perfect.  Nice, clean, fresh, quimay 25 Disney Evening (15)et (most of the time).  We were by the Magnolia pool, and could either sit right outside our room, or go a few feet to a table inside the pool area.  The pool was never ve

The Shades of Green Military Exchange was great for snacks and wine.

We really enjoyed the time at the parks, rides on buses, monorails, and boats were great.

Sunday –       arrived at Shades about 4 PM after a stop to walk the Boardwalk in Daytona, Beach.  We had a busy ride down I-4, with a major motorcycle wreck on the other side.  When we arrived, we decided to enjoy the pool and stroll around the grounds, and save a day of our four day park-hopper passes for later in the year.  We unpacked, and enjoyed relaxing and began our dinner routine!

Monday –      EPCOT – The flower show and Spaceship Earth and Ellen’s energy ride.  SOARIN’ was closed for updating.    Fish and Chips for lunch in the United Kingdom

May 23 EPCOT 2016 (9)

The EPCOT fountain

        Tuesday –     Magic Kingdom – Pirates of Caribbean and Its A Small Small world, plus several other activities.  Had a hot dog for lunch at Casey’s on Main Street.

                 Wednesday – Hollywood Studios – The Movie Ride and Frozen Sing-a-Long

– EPCOT – lunch at Morocco (not very good)

Coming Home

            After leaving Disney on Thursday, we stopped in Bradenton to see special friends, Roby and Susan, for lunch.  They were in John’s congregation at First Presbyterian, 20160526_131634(0)Greenfield, and they have moved from Greenfield, Indiana to Freedom Village in Bradenton for their retirement home.  (When we moved from Castleton to Fishers, they let us stay in their Condo in Greenfield for a month!)  Really nice people – John married them in 2005!

Then, since we were on the west side of the state, got on I-75 for the trip home. Unfortunately, we had to go through Atlanta and found a construction bottle-neck (the only one on the trip) going around the city.  Pat said that at one time we had gone 10 miles in an hour.

We spent one night in Lake City, FL at the Fairfield.  We had dinner at Sonny’s Bar-Dinner at Sonny'sB-Que, just down the road from the motel.  If you ever get to Sonny’s, I recommend the smoked wings and house salad.  They were delicious.

 

 

Second night on the way home was in Cleveland, TN, at another Fairfield, with dinner at Aubrey’s, where we split a burger and fries and enjoyJohn at Aubrey'sed the atmosphere of this great restaurant in the “wet” part of this “dry” area.

Outside of the traffic in Atlanta, there were no problems on the roads.

We got home about 5:30 on Saturday the 28th.

Put 2,498 miles on the rental car and we had a wonderful trip!May 21, 2016 (1)

WHEW!

Rating:  Of course Disney gets 5 stars.  It was just perfect!

 

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Retirement Continues Into 2016

How It Is Going:

            Retirement continues, it is enjoyable, and is busier than ever!  As I approach the 2 year mark in May of this year, Pat and  I find that some aspects of retirement are much different than we anticipated, and others are about what we expected.  I am so glad that we took the family trip to Hawaii right after we retired; I think that if we had not taken it then, we probably wouldn’t ever have gotten to take it.  Anyway here is how it is going for us now:

  • About the Same as we expected:
    • Spending time with each other. Going out to lunch, our three-day-a-week exercise class, walking, talking, and even taking in a movie on a weekday afternoon!
    • Having and taking time to actually go to exercise class three days a week.
    • Grandkid time – we get to spend more time with the “grands” and “great grands” than I expected.
    • Our finances have worked out very well, and we watch our spending closely.
      • We finally, and reluctantly, went to a Financial Planner to get a complete look at our financial situation.
      • We watch our spending closer than I expected us to.
    • The move to the Condo was the best thing we did to help retirement begin smoothly, and a good investment.
    • We have enjoyed reading more books, and playing games on our tablets.
    • “Sleeping In” is one great benefit of retirement!
  • Different:
    • We don’t really enjoy just sitting around doing nothing. We thought that we would enjoy doing nothing, but we don’t.
    • I expected to get involved in woodworking as a hobby – I haven’t. I even bought a new WEN variable speed scroll saw!
    • We watch our spending much more than I expected we would. The fear of not having enough to last our lifetimes affects how we spend $$ now.
    • We have not taken trips that we thought we would take for various reasons, primarily not wanting to face the unexpected in terms of places to stay, and the cost of air fare and travel in general.
    • Pat and I haven’t played golf as much as we thought we would. I still can’t figure out why, but we haven’t, and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with conflicts with other things.  I think we have only played once or twice.
    • I have gotten much more involved in church work than I thought I would
      • Vice moderator of Whitewater Presbytery (Moderator next year)
      • Commissioned as Parish Associate at Faith Presbyterian Church
      • Continuing to serve as Faith’s Minister of Visitation
      • Serving on the Synod of Lincoln Trails Personnel Committee
      • Serving on the Nominating Committee at Faith
    • Taking unplanned, spontaneous trips with Pat has proven just about impossible. There is too much going on.  (Although we do take long drives and enjoy Indiana’s scenery quite often.)

Advice For Anyone Considering Retirement:

  • Don’t plan on quitting your active life. You will find that you need to be busy doing something constructive and meaningful in your life.
  • Expect the unexpected. Your plans may or may not work out as expected.
    • As I mentioned above, things that you expect to happen don’t, and things that you don’t expect to happen, do.
    • Be flexible.
  • Monitor your spending habits, and make sure that your income supports your spending. Plan ahead before you retire.  Keep saving a bit – whatever you can.
  • Have Long Term Care Insurance. Even if you will never use it, it feels good to have it.  We know too many people who are in financial straits because they do not have Long Term Care insurance.

So, What’s Going On Now?

  • Except for a couple of days in late January that I spent in the Community North Heart Hospital, and one night I spent at the Community North Sleep Disorder Clinic, 2016 has been great.
  • I was diagnosed with Atrial Fib, received a heart ablation, and was discharged all in three days in late January. It appears there are no continuing effects, except that I am now on the blood thinner ELIQUIS that you (probably) see advertised ad-nauseum on TV.
  • I also had to take a sleep study which shows that I have some sleep apnea. After meeting with the sleep doctor at the end of March, I found that I will soon be sleeping with not only Pat, but with a CPAP machine!
  • As I said above, my involvement in church-related activities has increased.
  • We had a nice visit from our Sister Joyce DSCF0027
  • We have some trips planned, but not as extensive as last year.
  • We took a long weekend trip to Newport, Kentucky, staying at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Newport.
  • We drove south to visit the Kentucky Horse Park just outside of Lexington.
    20160401_135618

    In Front of the Man O War statue

     

  • We enjoyed dinner and entertainment at the Hofbräuhaus Newport.
  • And we made our third visit for breakfast at the Bellevue Bistro (http://www.bellevuebistro.com/ ) just east of our hotel
  • We have celebrated family birthdays, and Easter with our family, and continue to enjoy time with all our grandkids and great grandkids whenever we can. We are getting ready for the spring school season and all the events our active grandkids are involved in. Our family is doing well, keeping busy, and excelling in all they do.  It doesn’t get much better than that!
    • We celebrated Mia’s first birthday   Molly Mia Birthday 4-10-2016 (9)
    • Molly’s sixth birthdayMolly Mia Birthday 4-10-2016 (15)
    • Lily’s 17th birthdayP1070466
    • Graley’s 15th birthdayP1070524
  • We had a wonderful visit with our good friends Ed and Donna who spent a night with us on their way from Florida to the Chicago area after spending a month in Fort Myers Beach and taking a Caribbean cruise with their family.
  • We were honored to celebrate Lucille’s 102nd She is a member of Faith Presbyterian Church. 20160410_145433

Life is full!

Praise be to God!

 

NOW, BACK TO THE PAST.  WHAT HAPPENED AFTER I LEFT THE NAVY IN 1986

 Back to the History continuing from October 27, 2015 when I was medically retired from the Navy on a month’s notice after 24 years!

Navy to State Government;  After 24 years wearing a uniform every day, my life really changed when I became a State Government employee in the Bayh administration in early 1989.  (See the October 27, 2015 blog entry for details)

As I mentioned in my last “history” entry, my retirement from the Navy for health reasons came suddenly, without warning, and was a complete surprise for Pat and our family.  Fortunately, it opened the door to new experiences that we never could have imagined.  God was (and still is) at work in our lives!

Director of Procurement: I was hired at the Director of Procurement in the Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA).  It was a political appointee position, and I was serving at the pleasure of the Governor.

In this position, I was responsible for a division with twenty or thirty people who purchased most the goods and services that the State of Indiana needed to operate.  I say most, because several State Agencies had their own procurement staffs, and did not go through IDOA for their needs.  That was always a point of contention, because the IDOA Director (with I strongly suspect the support of the Governor’s office) felt that all state purchases should be under the control of the IDOA.  However, it was very political, and nothing ever changed.

When I took over the Procurement Division, most all of the employees were carry-overs from the last administration – that means they were all politically-appointed Republicans. (IDOA was not a merit agency – meaning that everyone served at the pleasure of the Governor and could be let go for any reason at all.  In fact, one of my procurement agents was actually an Indianapolis City Councilman on the Republican side of the aisle!  (I was told to get rid of him as soon as possible, but he was doing good work and I could find no reason to fire him, so he stayed for over a year until he left on his own.)  There were a few Democratic party faithful who were brought into my department, but for the most part, I was left alone.

My role in Procurement came to an end after about a year and a half when a female lawyer was brought in to replace me in Procurement.  “House” was cleaned pretty well after that, and soon almost all the carry-overs were soon gone.

Comptroller, IDOA: I was moved to the position of Comptroller of IDOA where I was responsible for tracking spending and preparing the bi-annual budget.  That meant appearing before the State Budget Committee with the Director of IDOA and presenting the financial needs of the Department.

I thoroughly enjoyed that role.

Open Heart Surgery: It also ended in 1993 when I took a leave of absence to have double by-pass surgery at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.  My recovery took a few months, and when I returned to IDOA, I was assigned to a new Customer Service Division that had been put in place.

Customer Service Division:  In this new position, I had the State Motor Pool, State Surplus Division, State Warehouse, and Stationary Stores in my division.  Lots of politics involved in these operations, and there were many successes and hiccups that occurred during the next year and a half.  I won’t go into them here, but I will say:

  • Motor Pool was extremely successful
  • State Surplus got along on a wing and prayer
  • The warehouse we “inherited” from the previous administration was old, dilapidated, in disarray, and we had to close it.
  • The Stationary Stores was to provide all office supply needs of state agencies located in the Indianapolis area. Due to staffing and other issues it could not, and was replaced by a commercial contractor.

 

State Office Building Move Coordinator:  The state built a new State Office Building along Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis.  As Move Coordinator, I headed a team that managed the relocation of thousands of state employees out of the old building that was going to be rehabbed, into temporary quarters, and back in the original building and into the new building.

The moves over a two year period went very smoothly thanks to great cooperation between the State Office Building Commission, various State Agencies, Hogan Mayflower Moving and Storage, and the state employees involved.

When the first people moved into the new building, Pat and I went down on the Sunday afternoon before their first day, and placed a rose on every desk as a welcome.

Eventually the move was finished and all the people were relocated and we disbanded the Move Team.

Executive Director Indiana Commitment to Quality:  the state had begun a quality improvement program within state government utilizing Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and “First Things First”.  When the individual who was the first Director quit over political issues, I volunteered to take over.  This meant that I was now on the Governor’s staff.  I had been introduced to Quality Improvement while stationed at the Naval Avionics Center and was familiar with teaching the courses.

The Election of 1996:  Evan Bayh was ineligible for a third term, and the democratic candidate in 1996 was former Lt. Governor Frank O’Bannon who won with 52% of the vote.  All executive level personnel were asked to submit resignations; the Governor’s office would decide which to accept, and who would remain in the O’Bannon Administration.   I hoped that I would be “held-over”, and Pat and I even bought expensive tickets to the Inauguration Ball so that I would be “noticed” as an O’Bannon supporter.   However, it didn’t work!  In fact, most of Even Bayh’s executive staff and State Agency directors were replaced.

My Resignation Accepted:  The Indiana Commitment to Quality continued, and we no longer received requests to make 7-Habits presentations to state agencies.  All state hiring was “frozen,” so when my two employees left State Government, I could not replace them. I was doing consulting on a team working with the State Personnel Department on plans for a new computerized personnel system.  However, I had heard nothing from the Governor’s office about the Quality program.

One day in late January, a couple of weeks after the January 13th inauguration of Governor O’Bannon and the takeover by his administration, I was standing in line behind Joe Kernan, the new Lt. Governor.  I knew Joe, and I asked him if he knew anything about plans for the Quality program.  He said he didn’t , but he would ask.  Two hours later I received a call to come to the Governor’s office to meet with his Chief of Staff; I was told that they no longer needed my services, that my resignation was accepted, and that I would remain on the payroll, and have up to two months to find another position.

Looking For A Job Again:  Job hunting began in earnest and with the help of the Business Professional Association http://www.b-p-e.org/ I was able to set up a network of people to meet with and talk to about new employment.  During one of these meetings in March 1997, with an old Navy friend David Schaaf, I was offered a “temporary” position in in the Government Marketing Assistance Group (GMAG) of the Indiana Small Business Development Corporation in downtown Indianapolis. (GMAG was not technically a state agency, but it was in the state budget, dually funded with federal funds matched by state funds.)

One of David’s employees had suffered a stroke, and would be laid off for several months of REHAB.  I accepted, and began working with Indiana small businesses to assist them in obtaining government contracts.  It was a wonderful organization to be part of, and, when the individual who had suffered the stroke was unable to return to work, I became a permanent “GMAGOT”, as we called ourselves.  This position lasted for almost five years until the O’Bannon administration decided to cancel the program in 2002 to save some state budget $$.  (Just a note, the program has been reinstated now.)  It is interesting to note that the former GMAGOTs continue to meet for lunch once a month or so in 2016!

So, I can say that I was fired twice by Frank O’Bannon.  Both times I landed on my feet and kept on going with barley a halt!

That was not the end, it was just the beginning of the next phase in my life!

Commissioned Lay Pastor:  During my last year and a half at the ISBDC I was attending the Commissioned Lay Pastor school that was being conducted by the Synod of Lincoln Trails of the Presbyterian Church, USA.  Twenty one of us PCUSA Elders would meet for one weekend a month for two years.  After about six months of the two year program, I was asked by our Executive Presbyter if I would like to serve a small Presbyterian church in Greenfield, Indiana.  I jumped at the chance, and began in 2001 on a half time basis and then went to three quarter’s time when the ISBDC was cut from the budget.

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First Presbyterian Church, Greenfield, Indiana

 

Next:  How being a Presbyterian Minister changed my life!

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This is a special trip report for December 26 – 29, 2015 visit to Illinois

This was an after-Christmas visit to Illinois that began with two days at our sister, Joyce’s house in Palatine.  While at Joyce’s we enjoyed her perfectly decorated house, lots of shrimp, went to two movies – SPOTL20151227_185749IGHT and SISTERS, enjoyed shopping at TJ MAX, MICHAELS and others, as well as eating at Portillo’s.  (This is the two real sisters with John after seeing SISTERS.)
Our trip continued on Monday the 28th as we headed to our friends Ed and Donna’s house in Lake in the Hills (LITH).  Visit rating:  5!

The Chicago area was in the midst of an ice storm on the morning of December 28, and driving was exciting and difficult as we made our way from Palatine to Lake in the Hills (LITH).  The normal half hour drive from Palatine took about an hour and a half.  It was “white knuckle” driving all the way, but we knew it would be worth it because Ed and Donna promised us a big party with guests coming all the way from Denmark! We were excited to say the least.  Visits to Ed and Donna’s are always special, but this one promised to be the best ever!              (The host and hostess)20151228_194735

Shortly after we arrived, we gathered at the kitchen table and enjoyed cheese, sausage and crackers that we brought as we looked out on the beautiful scenery in the yard and the endless cardinals and squirrels that attacked the bird feeders.  The Hickory Farm snacks were a gift from INTEGRA BUILDERS, the people who built our Condo in Fishers, and we brought them along to share with our friends.  I’d have to give the snacks a 5. Of course they were supplemented with a fine glass of wine provided by our host and hostess.  As we talked about old times and times to come, we kept an eye out the window as the ground was beginning to turn white with snow on top of the ice.  It was very pretty and Christmassy!

The house was decorated to the hilt and filled with the aroma of food being prepared for the big party.  The decorations and preparations are well deserving of a 5.

“Top Shelf” Bar                           Snack table set up in basement                                                                                           along with seating for 25.

Dining room table perfectly set            Beautiful Decorations

The house is ready for a wonderful party, and so were we!

Then the phone calls started coming.  Some people called to tell Donna that they were worried about driving in the weather, others called to see if the party was still on. It was, and we were ready!

The food was almost finished: 140 meatballs in a delicious sauce, 10 pounds of homemade melt-in-your mouth Italian Beef, bags of fresh bakery rolls, a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres and, to top it off, a very special Swedish Christmas cake that came from Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.  We were ready…… and…. it all smelled so good!

The only things missing were the veggies, and a couple of other treats that were being brought by the other 21 guests still to arrive.  We were ready!

This party gets a 5 for perfect planning!

The weather never changed.  The sleet/ice/snow kept coming down all day. The traffic reports on the TV and radio were getting worse and worse.  This was, for Ed, Donna, and us, the “perfect storm”.  Or, another way to put it:  it couldn’t have been worse!

When the next phone call came questioning the weather, Donna made an executive decision: the party is off!  At least it is off for the 21 people who didn’t make it.  For the four of us already there, the party was ON!  Ed and Donna had a few phone calls to make, letting everybody else know that the party was cancelled, and most of them were relieved that they didn’t have to drive in the weather, but were also upset to miss the big party and the wonderful food and drinks.

We really felt bad for them, but we could do nothing.  It was the weather, and it was terrible.

So, there were two choices.

  1. We could feel sorry for ourselves, put all the food away for another day, and turn on the TV, get out the games and books on our tablets, and quietly finish the day.

Or

  1. We could break out the food and drink and make the best the evening with the four of us.

Fortunately, and it really cemented a 5 for this visit to Ed and Donna’s, Donna chose to break out the food, Ed broke out the drinks, and we enjoyed the evening!

It started out with hors d’oeuvres in the beautifully20151228_185746 decorated basement where we sat and shared stories about our families and our lives.  We talked about past and future travels and the many times we had been together – a journey that started for Ed and me at North Park Academy in 1955.  Our journey continued as he met Donna and I met Pat.  Ed was my best man in our 1964 wedding, and our friendship continues to this day!

After the hors d’oeuvres, we went upstairs for the main course. Although the dining room table was set, we decided to make it a bit more informal and enjoyed meat balls and beef sandwiches in the beauty of the kitchen, continuing to watch the beautiful snow fall outside. (By this time, we had decided that the snow and ice were beautiful as they covered the ground the made the neighborhood look like Christmas Magic.)

The food was scrumptious!  There is really nothing more to say about it than that!  Perfectly prepared and served, the flavors melded together perfectly!

Coffee was served along with the desert!  Ah the desert!  Swedish Christmas Cake christmas cake         along with a chocolate whipped cream cake.  What more can I say.  I am sorry that all of you readers, as well as the other 21 invited guests, missed this wonderful Holiday party.  After dinner, we were offered a driving tour of the neighborhood to see the lights, but we took a rain-check (actually a snow-check) on that.

The evening eventually ended and we descended to our bedroom on the lower level (it is really unfair to call it a basement.)  The room is well decorated, the bedding is of the highest quality, there is plenty of space in the closet and a clock, a radio, and a TV are provided for guests.  Close by is the guest bathroom, fully equipped, updated, and convenient.

Since the lower level really is a basement, there is a work/tool/storage room as well.  This reviewer was amazed to find an Advent Wreath in this room that otherwise is strictly “functional” if you know what I mean.  These people think of everything; and everything they think of is perfect!

Morning arrived, as it usually and always does, with sunshine and cold.  Before Pat and I even got up, Ed had gone outside and brushed the snow off our car.

Donna was in the kitchen preparing a wonderful 5 star breakfast.  Along with a choice of Keurig coffees, we were offered Bondost cheese( a Swedish delicacy), Swedish cardamom coffee cake, Greek yogurt, and Swedish apple boat“apple boats.”  The only thing we wondered about, but does not affect the rating, was why “Greek” Yogurt instead of “Swedish” Yogurt?

 

 

The weather cleared up enough so we could head back from Lake in the Hills to Indianapolis, and we reluctantly got in our SUV and headed south, after enjoying another perfect 5 visit..

I can’t imagine a better after-Christmas trip than this one.  Our visit to Joyce’s in Palatine was a perfect 5, as was our visit to our friends Ed and Donna.

If you are ever in the Chicago area and looking for a place for short-term visit, I’d strongly recommend either Joyce’s or Ed and Donna’s.  Just call first to make sure they are home.

 

 

 

 

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Christmas ‘Eve 2015

We are getting ready for worship at 11:00.

Pat is finishing wrapping family gifts.  Mine are already wrapped.

A White Christmas is only a dream – still 50 degrees outside!

I am enjoying a cookie delivered by a neighbor while sipping a glass of wine and thinking about that first Christmas ‘Eve:

  • An innkeeper in Bethlehem is thrilled that he has sold every room available, and even has one couple who were willing to pay for space in the stable.
  • And Joseph and Mary? How are they doing at 7:30 on that first Christmas ‘Eve? I can see them getting settled in amongst the animals in the stable.  Joseph is trying to make Mary comfortable while apologizing for not being able to get a room in the inn.  Mary is ready to have her baby.
  • Gabriel has the angels gathered around and is telling them to be ready on a moment’s notice to fill the sky with wonderful music. They are finally going to sing that song they have been practicing for what seems like forever.
  • There are three or four astrologers gazing into the western sky waiting and hoping for something spectacular to appear, wondering if this will finally be the night.
  • A small star is about to have a big makeover and become the brightest star ever seen, brighter than any star before or after.
  • Shepherds are enjoying another quiet, peaceful, boring night watching their flocks, maybe even dozing once in a while.
  • The Sadducees and Pharisees are going about their normal lives, with no idea that this night will mark the beginning of a new phase of God’s work in the world. A new phase that will bring alive the promises and prophecies they speak about.
  • All of Heaven is holding its collective breath just waiting for that moment when the Baby Jesus makes his first cry.
  • All is in readiness.
  • Let the Christ Child appear!
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THANKSGIVING 2015

This has been a wonderful year for the Paulson family, with much to be thankful for…

…Mia entered our family in April, and is just about ready to crawl all over the place!

…our son Brent’s business, Soccer by Design, continues to thrive!  He is always on the road managing conferences and tournaments!

…our daughter Tricia and her husband Tim are going and growing as well.

…our kids, Brent and Tricia, and grandkids and great grandkids, Hilliary, Lily, Galey, Steven, Molly and Mia continue to live close to us in the Indianapolis area, and we see them often!  We get to share in football, soccer, cheerleading, band and everything else teenagers can get into!  Picking up Molly after kindergarten is a real treat!

…we talk to our sister Joyce almost daily in Palatine, Illinois, and we enjoy a wonderful relationship!  Although Joyce has retired from teaching, she continues to substitute, and serve the children of Wauconda with her talents.

…our nephew Blake and his wife Jillian, and their son Grey made the move to Fort Collins, Colorado that they have always wanted to make.  They send pictures of mountains and streams and countryside that make us salivate!

…our great-niece Vivian and her parents Megan and Rick continue to enjoy living in Chicago.  Vivian is amazing as she grows and develops as a 2 year old!

…our condo continues to be wonderful; it is hard to believe we have lived here three years already!  We now are expecting IKEA to show up within walking distance in 2017!

…I have been elected to be the Vice Moderator of the Whitewater Valley Presbytery in 2016, and Moderator in 2017.

…Faith Presbyterian Church continues to meet our needs for worship and sharing God’s love and grace.

…we continue in our Total Body Recall class three days a week!

and

…our lives continue to be blessed!  Thanks be to God!

About this year…… we didn’t think we travelled a lot this year until people started asking us if we were really going on another vacation!  It actually happened several times, so I guess it was true!

I have written about our many travels this year to Florida, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Now, I have to add our last trip to Myrtle Beach which started on Halloween, October 31, and ended a week later. We stayed at another Wyndham, this time in North Myrtle Beach, and it was wonderful!  (The Armed Forces Vacation Club gave us this “free” with the paid-for Pompano Beach vacation!)  We didn’t take the time-share tour this time, which saved much frustration and made the trip more wonderful!  We enjoyed the hotel, the area, and many different restaurants that were available.  A highlight was the Christmas show at the Carolina Opry with lots of Christmas music, comedy and dancing.  If you get there, go!

Now we are ready to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  I can’t even begin to describe all that we have to be thankful for, although I tried above.

Pat and I hope you and yours are thankful for all God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your lives.

 

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