April 23, 2014

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Jim Langham


Celebrate Creation and the earth around us PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:54 PM

By Jim Langham

Some of my earliest memories are the sounds of doves, cardinals and chirping birds singing their morning chorus when I accompanied my mother and grandmother to the garden early to avoid the heat of the summer sun.

I recall getting off the school bus in late April or early May and the aroma of blossoming cherry trees, crabapple tree, lilacs and the spring flowers from our nature-cultured yard surrounding the 100-year old country home where I was raised.

 
Angels with names appear at the right time PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:04 PM

By Jim Langham

Every so often seeming “angels with names” appear at just the right time. The last time this happened to me was this past Saturday morning. When I arrived for an Indiana 5K, parking lots were rapidly filling up, so I joined several other cars in a grassy area right beside the parking lot.

I first realized that there could be a problem when I approached the grassy area following the event and noticed that two cars were stuck and a third was churning mightily in an attempt to spin out of the wet quagmire where we had parked.

My first thoughts were, “Surely not.”

 
A birthday tradition PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 8:39 PM

 

By Jim Langham

Last week, I carried out a very special birthday tradition that I have done for many years.

In the small Indiana town where I was raised, dear friends suffered a heartbreaking tragedy many years ago. They were on vacation in the south. One evening, as they were taking a walk, a driver under the influence crossed the road, went off the road and struck one of two 9-year-old boys, taking his life immediately.

That was many years ago. The remaining twin is now in his mid-20s, had an extremely successful wrestling career, has served our country with honor and is engaged to marry a girl from Scandinavia, a beautiful girl who has warmly been received by the family.

Over the years, the family has suffered emotional lows and lowers as they have sought to grieve and put their late son’s tragedy in some type of perspective. During that time, we have experienced a deep friendship, embracing each other many times in prayers and tears.

 

The twins share my birthday; they were also born on April 1. Each year on that day, the family gathers and takes balloons to the son’s grave in a cemetery just east of Geneva, Ind. There, after a time of meditation, and a placement on the grave of some of the lad’s favorite toys, the balloons are released with the hope that they will ascend towards heaven where they are fully certain that their son is with Jesus and they will some day be reunited with him.

Many years ago, they asked me to join that activity and we would all celebrate our birthdays together. Following the visit to the graveyard, we return to their home for pizza and birthday cake.

Ironically, the mother, especially, is a “cardinal heart” person all of the way. Each year when I visit the family for our special celebration, I take her a cardinal. These days, an entire cabinet in the family home is full of pictures of the son and cardinals. One day when I was visiting with her, we stepped on to their front porch and a beautiful cardinal swooped to us and kept circling us as we were talking.

“That is so comforting,” she said at the time. “I know that our son is okay.”

One day in a stroke of cardinal inspiration, she wrote a poem as though the son had written it to her. I feel it is appropriate to share that at the end of this column. In her scrapbook, a beautiful cardinal is pasted above her poem:

Song Of The Cardinal

For Mom

I sang outside your window today

Telling you it was going to be a wonderful day

I know you miss me I miss you too

But here in heaven the birds sing all day

And every day is a wonderful day

Jesus and I are waiting for you

Tell my brothers and Dad I want them to come too

Heaven is such a wonderful place...

Everyone can come here by God’s amazing grace

So Mom every time you shed a tear

Remember Mom I am still near

Until then I’ll sing you a song

Walking with Jesus till you come along

 

 
A Billy Goat burger and hockey PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:14 PM

By Jim Langham

I can’t begin to spell it how they pronounce it, but I sure could use another one about now.

The cheeseburger at Billy Goat’s Tavern near the United Center in Chicago, late one afternoon last week, was so tasty that I officially placed it on my “bucket list” and then quickly removed it again.

Actually, the double burger is supposed to be the specialty. It is served on a unique homemade bun so delicious that it just had to be healthy whether it is or not. One of the specialties of the eatery is a “fixings” made up of pickle chips, shredded and sliced onions and various sauces and ketchup to build up the sandwich.

 
Pick on grandpa night PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:53 AM

By Jim Langham

It didn’t take our little granddaughter, Kirsten, long to get my attention the other night when Joyce and I walked into the house for a special evening of babysitting with her.

Her dad had told her about an hour earlier that Grandpa and Grandma Langham were staying with her for the evening and it didn’t take her long to make sure that the evening was well planned.

First there was going to be a photo session with Grandpa, then we were going to have pizza that was going to be ordered in because “he has the money to pay for it.”

 
It's good to be back home again PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:23 PM

By Jim Langham

John Denver’s old classic, “It’s Good to Be Back Home Again,” stirred in my heart early last week as I was finally able to walk on a trail at my beloved “get away,” Limberlost Loblolly, one of the stomping grounds of famed Indiana author, Gene Stratton Porter.

“The Lob,” as I like to refer to it, has become my refuge, source of hundreds of nature pictures, learning opportunity for birding and bird calls, classroom for lessons from nature and primarily the sanctuary where I escape to be quiet, still my thoughts and totally listen to nature and its Creator.

It is the home of the, “Song of the Cardinal,” many of which I have seen this spring. Two weeks ago I saw 11 robins in one cluster.

Buds are starting to make their appearance on the prairie docs, asters and an endless flow of wildflowers that create a floral blanket that I often refer to as nature’s private prayer shawl that God drapes over my heart when I stop on a trail.

 
The cardinal and 'cheer up' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 10:02 AM

By Jim Langham

This past week, I visited with a close friend from my old childhood neighborhood who was raised in the same cardinal atmosphere that I was. Her house was full of cardinals, figurines of cardinals, cardinal plates, cardinal cups, cardinal configurations, cardinal pillows, cardinal posters and a well-stitched cardinal quilt that recently brought her a first place award in an area quilt show.

There are “cardinal trees” decorated completely with beautiful red birds in the corners of her living room, one tree on each side of shelves stretching from ceiling to floor loaded with shelves of cardinal gifts.

In spite of her rich cardinal background, the beautiful bird came to life when she received a phone call concerning the deteriorating condition of her father in a nursing home.

 
Winter of 2014 and 1982 seem like weather twins PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:38 AM

By Jim Langham

Never have I felt older than I do at times this winter, especially when young people ask me about the much-heralded winter of 1982.

It was 1982 that set all of the benchmarks that weathermen are comparing to this snowy winter. This winter has already captured one record away from that snowy winter 32 years ago. In January of 1982, Fort Wayne Airport recorded 29.5 inches of snow. This past January dropped 31 inches of snow on the area.

The big record, the snowiest winter on record, has many weathermen and local individuals who follow such trivia excited at this point. That record, too, was set in 1982 with 61.1 inches. Currently, the weather service has recorded 59.9 inches, leaving 1.3 inches in order to become the snowiest winter ever.

 
It's not heaven, but it's Ohio PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 6:57 PM

By Jim Langham

I still remember the famous line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” when one of the baseball players that came to an Iowa farm and played on actor Kevin Costner’s cornfield baseball field asked the question, “Is this heaven?”

To that, Costner proudly responded, “No, it’s Iowa.”

I thought of that line on Sunday afternoon when Joyce and I took a traditional Sunday afternoon drive through one of our favorite rustic parts of Paulding County.

Following a scrumptious ham dinner at a little café in Antwerp, I turned left instead of right when I exited around the piles of snow beside the parking lot of the small eatery.

 
One of those times when the worst brings out the best PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:58 AM

By Jim Langham

This past Saturday morning, I was in a situation where sudden winds came when I was traveling just outside of Payne on Ohio 49. I was stunned, within seconds I was totally blinded. Cars were sliding all over the road; one car slid into a yard and just missed a tree in front of my eyes.

When I stopped to check out the situation, I discovered a man, a pregnant woman who was totally scared and a small child in the back seat. Thankfully, all was well, but the car was buried in the snow.

At 65 years of age, I didn’t know what to do as the blizzard raged relentlessly. I made a couple of calls to seek help. Thankfully, that dilemma didn’t last very long.

Young men in pickup trucks started pulling off the road to come to our assistance. Within minutes, there were six pickups along the road, including one with the rope necessary to pull the car out of the yard.

 
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