For the past three weeks, Lon Allison, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center has been guest speaker at Wheaton Bible.

I first heard Dr. Allison last year and found him a captivating speaker. He talks in an infomal way as if he’s simply chatting with you, he can be funny (not silly) and often breaks into song (Oklahoma! the first week) yet you learn so much from what he says. His perspectives and historical research are fascinating.

This series has been on The Prodigal Son – one sermon that lasted three weeks.  I heard him the first week and today and I’m waiting for sermon #2 to be online.

The first week was about the father.

The second week was about the younger son.

Today was about the older son.

I thought about listing several points of his messages – but then thought – so much better for you to listen yourself – so here’s the link (It will be worth your while.)

And who at church this morning won’t remember the moment that someone’s ringing cellphone echoed throughout the massive auditorium? Dr. Allison paused in his message, his eyes got wide with wonderment and he said, “Every time a cellphone rings, an angel in heaven gets his wings.”


When I was working to complete my list of 500 literary classics (otherwise known as the Carp 500), I often listened to books on tape or CDs, but since I’ve completed the list, I haven’t found all that many books on CDs that I care about.

However, last week as I wandered through the library, I was thunderstruck to find the book Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen. If you aren’t familiar with the book or the author, Mr. Larsen also wrote The Devil in White City about the Chicago’s World Fair. a book that has accumulated a lot of fame and interest and which they’re attempting to get made into a movie but which has never happened. Anyhow,  I actually have the book Thunderstruck in my house, but hadn

‘t gotten around to reading it – though I wanted to. So finding it on CD was exciting – I like listening to books in the car.

The book is two true accounts in one.

1. The story of Doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen, a mousy man who married way over his station (can you marry way over a station?) a vivacious lady who aspired to be a famous opera singer. Larsen takes us through their many moves and Crippens many jobs in the field of homeopathy as he duped people into buying potions that did nothing, but promised a lot.  As Belle (the wife) became more and more caught up in spending Doctor Crippen’s money on fancy dresses and lavish parties, he became less and less enchanted – finally desiring to get rid of her and run off with his young secretary. Being that he was somewhat a doctor – he knew just the method to use to finalize that disappearance.

Right on the edge of America.

2. Meanwhile young Guglielmo Marconi worked tirelessly on perfecting wireless communication. A young Italian, he went to London and made connections there. Step by step he developed technology that enabled him to send signals greater distances. His dream – to send a signal across the Atlantic Ocean. To do so, he needs to build two massive towers.  The first, of course, in Europe and the second in the US.

Right now, I am at the part of the book where he has purchased eight acres of Cape Cod seashore which was then very cheap, but would now cost you millions. He bought it from a man who searched for abandoned shipwrecked boats….

What does the doctor have to do with Marconi?  As Crippen and his girlfriend tried to escape on a transatlantic voyage –  the ship’s captain figured out who they were. No one told the fugitive couple – but what they had for breakfast, how they spent their leisure time, etc. (kind of like the first FaceBook statuses) went out to the whole world (via Marconi’s new invention) as they sailed not to freedom, but to capture.  I would highly recommend this book both for its historical value and its intrigue.

As I am listening to this, I am picturing it – because the memorial to Marconi’s station is now part of the Cape Cod National Seashore – (Incidentally, the crookedness and ragged edges of these pictures are not part of the scenery, nor were they taken on an angle. This is because they were glued onto a scrapbook page.)

Not exactly sure what this is, but because I took the picture, I'm thinking it is probably one of the orginal pieces of the station.
On the fence, in the rain, at the Marconi station. (Kelli was a freshman, Jeff in eighth grade and Cousin Heather in fifth or sixth).
Here's a picture I took of the model of Marconi's station. The day was drizzly and my camera was not doing too well through the glass.


Last Friday night I was enjoying pizza with some friends and we were talking about FaceBook and they asked me why I liked it.

My quick answer was that you don’t use FaceBook to talk to people you see all the time unless you’re commenting on their status or pictures or something – and that although I do check it out a lot, I don’t stay on it for a long time. I explained how it was a news feed – but all the news was about your friends etc. etc.

But Sunday I made a connection that expressed the real reason why I’m a FaceBook fan.

Those of you who have known me, know how much I enjoy working with high school kids.

I started teaching high school kids back in Des Plaines when I was only a few years older than my students — and it continued up to the time we moved here. I still display the plaque in my office that three senior boys bought and presented to me on our last Sunday in Racine.

I laughed with those kids. (The same said three boys would ALWAYS answer any question about their favorite verse with Proverbs 21:9.)

I cried with them. (I remember the day two of the girls went with me to visit a friend who was in the hospital with a serious, but undiagnosed disease.)

I remember the day one won a national award and when another trusted Christ as Savior. I watched them play ball, act in school plays and show pigs at the county fair.

And although I’ve been in contact with many of these kids – others are now popping up on FaceBook.

Last Sunday I heard from one more – one I haven’t heard from for a couple decades. How enjoyable to once again be back in touch with this girl who at one time was part of our daily lives.

And that’s the reason why I like FaceBook.

Oh, yeah – that and WordTwist.


1. The movie Emma that they’re showing on Sunday nights on Masterpiece Theater is very enjoyable so far. Of course, I’m a Jane Austen fan (she came from the same area of England as my grandfather) and I’ve read all her books. If you missed it on TV – you can watch the first segment online.  Second part will be this coming Sunday.

2. In the last four years I’ve learned to do a lot of things I never thought I’d know how to do, but I think the sump pumps are going to do me in. The one works but ends with a thump so loud, the entire house shakes. The other one is temperamental, makes strange noises and needs to have the hose attached and unattached according to whim. I live in constant fear that something’s going to happen – I remember all too well the night we stayed up until dawn, emptying the tank with the shop vac – and saved our basement from the second biggest rainfall in U.S. history.

3. We’ve had good driving weather the past couple weeks – that’s great. The weather can be as cold as it wants to be as long as the roads are clear.

4. Moms and toddlers argue an average of 20 times an hour.  (So they say?????????)

5. Tomorrow I get to do some intense-focused writing on the word “respect” and how to teach kids respect for God.

6. Quote for the day – Stress cannot exist in the presence of pies. (David Mamet)

7. Random picture – Lake Louise, Banff, Canada. Because my mom’s name is Louise, my dad always said he wanted to take her to Lake Louise – considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Alas, they didn’t get there – but I had heard so much about it from my parents, Ken and I decided to make the trip with out kids. We walked part of the way around the lake – and don’t let this peaceful picture full you –  the lake entrance patio was packed with people. And I remember everything was so expensive, we ended up ordering in a pizza to our motel room because even the groceries at the grocery store were sky-high. The pizza seemed the cheapest way to go for two adults and two young teens.


Anyone who knows me well, knows about the lemon meringue pie on annual meeting night.

I have no idea where I got the idea – but I know that I was doing it early in our pastoring life because I remember the question/answer session at the very first church where we candidated.  One of the men asked me what my role would be as a pastor’s wife.

“I’m the one who has the lemon meringue pie waiting after the annual meeting,” I answered.

And that’s what I did. All through the years. I never missed.

Several years ago, I blogged about the pie and Allison who is now the pastor’s wife at Northside (where Ken pastored for many, many years and where our kids grew up), read the post.

“Hmmmm,” she thought (ok, maybe I’m putting words into her mouth 🙂 ). “Jason likes lemon meringue pie. Maybe I should continue the tradition.”

So although, the pastor has changed, the tradition lives on.  And how cool is that!

Here is the pie (I copied it from her FaceBook page) all ready and waiting for Jason after tonight’s meeting.