Back to the Future

I have considered what the future might hold and whether that’s where I am now.

Like I mentioned on here Friday, I spent Sunday with family to celebrate my 33rd birthday. Part of that time was spent with the joint Lenten service organized by the Lawrence County Cluster of UMCs. Dad was the guest preacher and so I was happy to support him. On the way home, we got to talking about whether I would ever be interested in being appointed to any of those churches if asked by my superiors. Ideally, I’d like to stay closer to my current location; but I’m accountable to my supervisors and if I want an appointment, I’ll go. Having said that, I admitted that I have considered what the future might hold.


One of the future plans I have considered is making a move elsewhere. Loading up the truck and moving to Beverly. The hills of Kentucky that is. For your information, Beverly, KY is located near Red Bird Mission in the Southeastern area of the state. That’s probably the furthest north I’d really like to settle. I’m about over the snow and cold of Indiana.

south.pngI’d really like to be in the land of Southern Hospitality, Sweet Tea, Y’all, and Publix stores. The South is calling, and I must go. If I had my druthers, living somewhere within a short drive to the Gulf Coast would be ideal. I’ve even looked at houses to see the pricing. I blame watching Home Town & Fixer Upper on HGTV for moving away. The small-ish town of Laurel, MS on Home Town looks really appealing. The house prices they feature on the show look very affordable for a first-time home buyer like me.

I’ve also considered what my future might entail as far as career. I’m still going to be a pastor but having a 2nd job is interesting. I am intrigued by being a history or social studies teacher. I think that being a teacher in a private school would be my best option. I’ve seen what the new education system has become for public schools and mom cringes every time she hears the word ‘RISE.’ So, being in a private school sounds better, as it would allow for a better teacher: student ratio and parental involvement is much better.

I’ve also considered moving away and finding a new job because it might lead to better romantic prospects. Even if I took a sabbatical from pastoring for a short time to pursue another career, I’m sure my romantic pursuits would be easier.


Now I will admit, this probably isn’t happening anytime in the next year. I’ve still got 8 more classes of continuing education left, and I’d like to finish that in my planned timeline at the institution I’m currently attending. I also must consider that most of my family is still here in Indiana and I don’t imagine they’ll relocate. So, I do take that into consideration, but as I’ve talked with friends about making a move and processed the plans myself, I don’t really have anything that ties me to where I am currently. More importantly, I don’t have anyone that ties me to here. I know plenty of parents that visit their kids on mini-vacations and the children reciprocate. Now, all my plans are subject to change if I find something or someone to connect me here. So, I’m willing to consider all plans and options, and only time will tell. It’s a shame I can’t fire the DeLorean up to 88 mph to see what the future might look like if I follow through on the plans I can imagine for myself.


What about you, have you considered what the future looks like for you; or did you consider those plans when predicting a future years ago?

History Monday 3

OTD in 1993 a tragic foreshadowing of terrorism


It’s History Monday again. Each event we talk about can be found at along with other noteworthy events. We’re looking back on today’s date in 1993, a tragic event. This day in 1993, terrorists detonated a bomb in a parking garage of the World Trade Center. Sadly, this as we all know would not be the last attempt to destroy the WTC.


Four perpetrators were convicted a little over a year later thanks to a joint effort by FBI and local authorities. All four of the guilty parties were Islamic terrorists. The coordinator of the attack was arrested in 1995 along with the man  who drove the rental truck full of explosives that was parked in the parking garage. All the conspirators had ties to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a radical Islamic cleric. Along with Rahman, there are rumored ties to al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The 1993 bombing caused six fatalities and 1000 non-fatal injuries along with over half a billion dollars’ worth of property damage. The bombing also caused massive evacuations in the area and caused smoke inhalation problems for many in the neighborhood.


So, what now? Most of us are aware of what culminated from this event some 8 years later when terrorists hijacked four airplanes and flew two into both towers at the World Trade Center, a third plane into the Pentagon, and planned to target the fourth elsewhere in Washington D.C. but were unsuccessful thanks to passengers on that plane who purposely crashed the plane in Pennsylvania. What strikes me is that those graduating high school next year will be the last class to learn about September 11 as a historical event that occurred during their lifetime. Also, not to be missed today is what information the FBI had prior to the 1993 bombing and afterward. Possibly if they had made connections to who Rahman and Osama bin Laden were in the mid to late 1980s could have prevented the 1993 bombing and September 11, 2001 attack. We are seeing what the FBI has missed in Florida, Russia, and elsewhere now. What used to be one of the widely respected law enforcement agencies has now become a punchline. I’m reminded of the West Wing and this quote by the FBI agent assigned to a White House detail, “The difference is our failures are public and our successes are private.” I hope the FBI has more private successes than public failures, but it sure doesn’t seem that way lately. I also hope that we can do better at monitoring and preventing acts of terrorism perpetrated by Radical Islamic believers. Only time can tell.

Current Event Friday #5

A Current Event happening this Sunday that commemorates a very special day in 1985.

It’s #CurrentEventFriday again today. What’s in the news? 🤔 Hmm? I know…wait I don’t want to wade into that, there’s already enough in the news about that. What about…nope don’t want that. I know, how about something going on this weekend locally, that’ll do.


Yep, Sunday is the anniversary of my birth. I’ll be turning 33 years old, and yes, I’m using old instead of young. My salad days have definitely gone, and they’re just that mushy bag of spinach in the crisper drawer kind of days more and more.

I’ve noticed that more and more each year after age 25 that most birthdays are usually the same. You get a few cards with some money from your family while out at your favorite restaurant. Then the next day comes, and you’re back to the same routine. Not that I’m complaining about it, just my observation. Maybe when I hit 40 things will be different. [Crosses Fingers]


I definitely understand this scene from Billy Madison when Billy warns the kid about growing up. I know I’ve covered before about growing up or not and my inner struggle, so I’ll not beat that horse anymore. I’m going to enjoy my birthday weekend and make an effort to do so. I’ll go with Mom, Dad, and Grandma to El Nops for dinner tonight and Grandma Stroud is fixing Sunday Dinner at her house for my actual birthday including her Mac ‘n’ Cheese. 😉

So, in that spirit to start the weekend I’m going to rock out to “Birthday” by the Beatles to celebrate. Plus, I kinda have to, since the late George Harrison and I share the same birthday.

Also sharing my birthday:


So Happy Birthday to all those above and me.


It Doesn’t Even Rhyme

I don’t pay much attention to poems except Psalms and Dr. Seuss.

But It Doesn’t Even Rhyme

Another new one on the blog for me today. An original poem. I’ll admit I Googled how to write a poem to try to help. Poetry is one of those things I don’t pay much attention to except in the Wisdom literature section of the Bible and Dr. Seuss. I do enjoy Shel Silverstein and Robert Frost, because they often use limerick and other rhymed poems.

I’m inspired by the girl pictured above. That’d be my cousin, Jordan who has a poetic gift and an artistic soul. Maybe this post will show that she’s not the only poet in the family. 🤞

Without any further ado, here is what I’ve come up with. Let’s see if this is something to pursue more.

Fit as a fiddle

Now that most surely sounds like…a joke.

No, just a tater.

Exercise? Why now? Why not…in a month?

May as well be mashed.




It’s all the same.

Stop fiddling and get fit.

No, it’s diddle, diddle; get fat and a bigger middle.

The dish and spoon stay home

and it’s the cellulite syndrome.

Better to be nimble, better to be quick.

Better to go up the hill and drink that daily pail of water.

Don’t fall down, but from home to street’s end and back.

Trot as fast as you can, and useless weight be all you’ll miss.

Stretch, work out, it’s all kinesis.

It’ll get you taut as a drum. (1)


What about it, do I have the ability to write poetry?



Wanna Get Away?

The last few days have made me ready to experience more of the sun and pleasant weather.

If you read my blog yesterday, you saw two truths and a lie. The lie was that I’ve visited 31 US States. I’ve only visited 29 so far.

Thinking about travel and all these spring temperatures in the middle of winter the last few days have made me ready to experience more of the sun and pleasant weather. So, in answer to Southwest Airlines motto, yes, I wanna get away.


Obviously, there’s all kinds of travel blogs out there, and that’s not necessarily my niche, but it is a topic that interests me. Fun fact, I’ve considered becoming a travel agent since I like looking for attractions and restaurants around the place I’m going for vacation.

So, I want to talk about a recent vacation I took with my family. It’s important to note that it was a big family vacation and we haven’t had one of those since Ross was in high school. I’ve taken more than a few with Dad to Cubs games and down south and a few with mom and dad to Florida. I also took a trip with dad, my grandma, my aunt, and cousin to Texas. But taking a family trip with my parents, Ross, and me has been probably over 10 years.


So last May, we went as the nuclear family once again, plus Ross’s wife and oldest boy Blaize to Siesta Key, Florida. I can’t recommend enough spending time on the Southern Gulf Coast of Florida. The water is much milder, and the sand is so much better than Daytona and the Atlantic coast. I’ll admit I have not spent any time in the panhandle region on the Gulf, so maybe I’m biased.


If you’re flying to Florida and spending any time in Southwest Florida, flying into the Punta Gorda airport is preferable. You’re 90 minutes from Sarasota and another 45 minutes to Tampa to the North. Heading South from PGD puts you in Ft. Myers in about a half hour and allows you to have access to Sanibel Island from there. The airport is small enough that it’s impossible to get lost, and it’s located near I-75 which allows you to get to all the big cities from Tampa down to Miami.


We chose in May to set our HQ at Siesta Key. We were lucky to find a 2-BR Condo thru VRBO that put us right on the beach. Mom has demands that anytime we vacation in Florida that the lodging has to have beach access to the Gulf, I can’t say that I blame her.


Before I begin talking about where to seek out for entertainment and obviously dining, let me talk about where to seek out food for meals that you’re likely preparing in your condo/resort. I think most of us in the Midwest are familiar with Walmart and Kroger, Florida and the South have Publix. Publix has a wonderful deli section that Walmart and Kroger are trying to catch up to but are still behind. Publix also has a selection of other foods in the dry goods section that are hard to find at Midwest grocery stores. One of my favorites is ChocoRite low-glycemic snacks. I’m always looking for snacks to eat as a diabetic in case I don’t get a full meal. I’ve only ever found them in the South and at Publix, yet they are manufactured here in Indiana in Evansville. I can’t even comprehend.


Just across the street from our condo was Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar. It’s a quaint little seafood restaurant much like Joe’s Crab Shack. It’s a local restaurant though that is renowned for their chowder that’s shipped to snowbirds when they return home after the winter. I had the conch fritters which I have to have when I’m in Florida. They’re like seafood filled hush puppies. Dad had a blackened whitefish, and everybody else had various fried fish. The breading was not too heavy or too loose. Plus, they give kids a frisbee and a temporary tattoo. So, they win points with Blaize for trying to entertain him.


Tucked into the strip mall behind Captain Curt’s is the Orange Octopus Ice Cream Company & Café. They offer about a dozen homemade ice creams. They make their own cones too. They include the usual suspects like chocolate and vanilla but add non-traditional flavors like coffee and key lime pie. I’ll admit we had ice cream 3 nights during our 6 day stay. It’s that good. I tried the Butterscotch Blast, the Key Lime Pie, and Coffee. The butterscotch blast is like a heath bar blizzard but better because of the addition of brownie. The Key Lime Pie is sweet and tart which is exactly what you need. The coffee was not overly sweet, which I like in homemade ice cream. One flavor I sampled from Ross’s recommendation was Kentucky Honey Bourbon. The flavor of actual bourbon in the mix is slight, but worth it. It’s a high-quality vanilla with the addition of Kentucky Whiskey.


Mom, Dad, and I gave Ross and Paige a free night and took Blaize with us to the Big Water Fish Market. It’s a small fish shop with limited seating. But almost every seat is always filled. Dad and I had the grilled Mahi Sandwich. I usually want fried fish, but this fish didn’t need it. It was a delicately cooked Mahi fillet with fresh lettuce, remoulade, and swiss cheese on a fresh baked bun. Mom had a fish sandwich that she assured me was cooked well too. Even little Blaize enjoyed their homemade fish fingers.


We spent our last night having dinner at Turtle Beach Grill. I had fried avocados, fish nuggets, and to celebrate the time I did enjoy a Siesta Sunrise Cocktail. The fried avocado is interesting with a crunchy coating and a creamy interior. The cocktail was a rum based cocktail with pineapple juice and grenadine, definitely a way to celebrate.


Clearwater Aquarium is home to Winter the dolphin. Winter is a celebrity dolphin who starred in A Dolphin’s Tale 1 & 2. Winter was fitted with a prosthetic tail to help her survive. The aquarium offers other marine attractions and demonstrations throughout the day and interactive educational exhibits.


I’ve spent time the last two times in Florida visiting Busch Gardens. While I can’t ride any of the roller coasters, the amusement park also includes rare animal exhibits. So, for those that want adventure, you have thrill rides, and for those with milder tolerances you have a zoo. This gives something for everyone of all ages and excitement levels.

So now that I’ve described our vacation, I’m ready to head back. How about you, do you wanna get away to Florida’s Southern Gulf Coast.

I Want to Play a Game

Do you want to play a game?

I know often my posts could be perceived as pessimistic or negative. I was reminded this weekend that under everything, I’m just a mean person. I justify my attitude as being a realist, not a pessimist, but that’s equivocation. With that in mind, this post will go in a different direction.


In the words of this character, “Do you want to play a game?” The good news is, I’m not proposing a game like Jigsaw that results in typical horror movie deaths. I found online ideas for creative blog posts and found a suggestion to play the classic game 2 Truths and a Lie. If you’re not familiar with the game, I’ll make three statements and two are legitimate and one is completely fabricated. It’s up to you to discern which one is the false statement.

1) I have never gotten a speeding ticket.

2) I have visited 31 US States (this includes layovers or an overnight stay).

3) I have never read any of the Harry Potter books or watched any of the films.

 Leave your 2 Truths & a Lie in the comments section, I’ll try to guess. My answers will be posted on tomorrow’s blog

History Monday 2

Today in History Executive Order 9066 was signed.


It’s time for History Monday again. So, welcome back to Mr. Stroud’s History classroom. 😉 You can find the noteworthy events that happened today in history on Today we’re talking about Executive Order 9066.


This Executive Order was signed by our 32nd President of the United States — Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Executive Order 9066 was enacted just a little over two months after the ambush by the Japanese armed forces on Pearl Harbor. While the next day response on Dec. 8, 1941 to declare war on Japan was expected and logical, sadly Executive Order 9066 was not.


Executive Order 9066 was enacted by FDR to “protect” vital areas for the US Military. The vital areas included most of the West Coast and provided the path for the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. The first half of the 20th century was marked by the political idea of Progressivism. One of the hallmarks of this political philosophy was segregation. FDR like his distant cousin Teddy served in the War Department of the cabinet for other Presidents before their own election.


The later Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. During World War I, the War Department of the United States sought to segregate the US military by race and additionally, to warn good Americans about what the Germans could do. In the years of US involvement in WWI, Americans were urged to refer to Sauerkraut as Liberty Cabbage as one of the milder examples. It was during these years, FDR learned about the power of winning hearts and minds of Americans against the bad guys.


Pres. F. Roosevelt enacted Executive Order 9066 to help Americans know that the Japanese in America would not be a threat to them. As the order was enforced, Japanese Americans were relocated all over the united states to ensure American safety. Thankfully, the order was suspended in 1944 and allowed the Japanese to return to their homes. Eventually the camps were shut down in 1946.


The order was thankfully rescinded by President Gerald Ford in 1976 exactly 54 years to the day. This paved the way for the eventual remedy for this sad episode in our history as a nation.


The remedy for this unfortunate series of events was made in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Pres. Reagan signed a bill guaranteeing $20,000 tax-free and an official apology to anyone surviving the camps.


So, what does this mean for today? I’m hopeful that we won’t repeat this mistake. I know some who disagree with my political stance and worry that our current administration may have designs to achieve this. While I agree sometimes his tone is often harsh, I really don’t expect him to do so. I’m also thankful that we are in a much better place as far as race relations. We may not be completely a utopia of race relations, but we are getting closer. I think we also have learned the dangers of segregation as part of the Progressive era.


Let’s hope you pass the test I have afterwards. Just kidding, hope you learned something again.


Time For This **** Again

I’m on my 12th class but I feel like Sisyphus rolling the ball of wax up the hill.

A new school year is beginning for me again. I spent 5.5 years getting my undergrad and as a UM pastor I have to take 20 classes to maintain an active license. I’m on my 12th class but I feel like Sisyphus.

What’s strange is in every class there’s always pre-work to be turned in before you’ve even had a minute of instruction. This makes for a headache when given an unfamiliar assignment format. I can do the reading comprehension papers based on scanning through assigned readings, but journals and other non-traditional assignments drive me crazy.

Adding to the frustration is the lack of nearby campuses for classes. As a part-time pastor I could travel to Indianapolis for 2 Saturdays and a Friday-Saturday doubleheader but I’m not a fan of that. Currently myself and another pastor travel to Columbus, Ohio. This represents a 4 hour drive. Add that on to the 14 hours of in-class instruction and we kill 2/3 of a weekend. In August we’ll have to attend classes for 10 days. 😒

I understand the value of learning and education, but how much of these classes will change what I do as a pastor? Why do I need fundamental classes about being a pastor when I’ve already been pastoring for 3 years before enrolling in classes? Why can I not complete these classes online and meet with the Committee on Ministry in my district and submit the homework to them?

I know I risk some of supervising pastors seeing this, and I’m sure they’ve heard all the complaints before. Unfortunately for me and other local licensed pastors all the decisions are made by a General Board in the UMC. Any suggestions, complaints, questions are all above my pay grade, so it’s best to just figure out how to make sure you clear the hoops and get through them.

Thanks for listening, pray that the long car ride and classes breeze through this weekend.

My Old Friend Al

If I want credibility and to use this blog as a cathartic effort I have to be willing to be open and vulnerable with y’all about my struggles.

“If you’ll be my bodyguard

I can be your long-lost pal

I can call you Buddy

And Buddy when you call me

You can call me Al”

Yeah, I had to take some liberties with the song lyrics by Paul Simon, but I had to find a hook to start this post. It’s not necessarily a post I like writing, but it’s one I need to be able to write. If I want credibility and to use this blog as a cathartic effort I have to be willing to be open and vulnerable with y’all.

I’m motivated to write this post as we enter the Lenten season. I finally decided what I’m going to give up for Lent — Alcohol. My brother Ross asked me yesterday morning what I was giving up, and jokingly suggested giving up margaritas. I told him that probably wasn’t worth it since I don’t imbibe that often anyways.


That was in the morning. After some thoughts that made me angry about people dismissing the ministry I’m involved with and my ex’s father trying to bully me on her behalf a Margarita sounded good. I’ll admit I caved, and I had a margarita at the local Mexican restaurant after Ash Wednesday service. This picture shows the last alcoholic drink I’m going to have until Easter.


I’ll admit, the consumption of alcohol is a new phenomenon for me. I’ve only discovered the taste for alcohol in the last year or so. I enjoy the occasional margarita when out to eat at O’Charley’s or Mexican restaurants, and while I was dating I enjoyed a glass of wine a few days a week. I classify myself as a social drinker, but lately I’ve become more of a social butterfly. I can always resist and not partake, but I should say no more often. It’s telling that when we broke up and gave back each other’s stuff, I ended up handing over 4 or 5 bottles of wine to my ex. That’s not exactly a good thing.












I know alcohol is not the answer. I need to avail myself of the resources I have available. I have other pastors that are a great means of support for me. I have a loving family that would do anything for me, even the little young one that looks so much like his Uncle Ryan, whether his mommy will admit. I also know there are those of you reading this blog on whatever social media I post this to.

So, this day after “Love Day” make sure that not just me, but others like me feel loved. All of my love to y’all.

What’s That on Your Head?

Today we begin the 40-day journey of Lent.


Oh, would you look at that, you’ve got some dirt on your forehead; let me wipe it off. Wait, you purposely had somebody put it there? Those are likely comments you’ll receive if you participate in Ash Wednesday today. I’ll be participating at a joint church service this evening.

Related image

Today we begin the 40-day journey of Lent that is modeled after Jesus’s 40 days wondering in the desert. The 40 days of Lent are a time of fasting, devotion, and preparation for Jesus’s last days, Crucifixion, and eventual Resurrection.


The most noticed act of Lent is of course fasting. Lent is meant as a preparation of Jesus’s sacrifice, so Christians are called to model that sacrifice by abstaining from a pleasure or vice during the 40 days. For the Western Church, Sundays were historically excluded as fast days as they are seen as mini-Resurrection days. More recently, church members who celebrate Lent and the fast are split on including Sundays as fast days. Eastern Orthodox churches always include Sundays as part of their Lenten season.

Image result for gen 3 19

Ashes have long been a sign of humility and asking forgiveness of sins. The usage of ashes and dust tie to the Genesis 3:19 proclamation by God to Adam & Eve and their origin from the dirt. As believers receive ashes on their foreheads the pastor often speaks the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.” Similar phrasing is also heard during the burial of the deceased. As we hear the phrase, “From ashes you came and to ashes, and to ashes you shall return” we are reminded of our mortality. In acknowledging our earthly mortality, we are called to remember to die to self. For in dying to self, we take comfort that we are raised with Christ. The pattern of humble sacrifice leads to resurrection —always.

So, take instruction from the words James as contained in the old hymn this Lenten season, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”