Lightning and Life

A few years ago lightning struck our house. It seems most of the energy was safely dissipated via a ground wire, as intended. Yet some took a variant path, following along the eave trough and blowing the downspout away from the house, before jumping to an unused underground cable and heading towards our prized maple tree. The telltale sign of the end of its path was mound of dirt over where the wire once was. The height and width of this trail diminished as it approached the tree, disappearing a few feet from the trunk.

I expected the leaves to turn brown in a couple of days. I braced myself to watch my tree die. To my relief, this didn’t happen. The tree lived the rest of that year and all through the next. A year and a half later, just as the leaves began to unfold in the spring, they stopped growing and turned brown. Within a couple days, my maple tree was dead. The likely explanation was the lightning damaged the root system enough to where the tree couldn’t recover.

Above the ground, the tree looked healthy and alive. Yet, hidden from view was a tree fighting for survival. Though it hung on for eighteen months, it couldn’t recover.

Such it is with life. Every action has ramifications. Yet if the effects are delayed, we can easily assume everything is fine. With an unwise action, the lack of an immediate consequence can lull us into assuming everything is all right and embolden us to repeat our reckless behavior. On the outside, everything may look fine. But what no one can see – what we may not even realize – is that on the inside we are wounded and moving towards death, be it literal or figurative.

We need to do what is good, even when we see no benefits from our wise actions or no consequences because of our unwise acts: we never know what may await.

Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect via social media.

My Summertime Schedule

For myself and many others, summer effectively begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

This year the weather seems to concur that summer is over. Last Friday, temperatures in southern Michigan were in the upper nineties, with a heat index of 105 to 115. Today, the highs failed to hit 70, with a predicted low tonight of 45.

For the first time in months, I am wearing jeans and have donned a sweatshirt. It certainly feels like fall.

With fall comes a pledge to blog more frequently. If you’re keeping track, it’s pushing two months since my last post. It’s not that I have nothing to share — I’ve composed many a blog in my mind — it’s that I’ve not had a chance to write things out. So, I hope to begin catching up and write retroactively.

Another change is that the comments and trackbacks features are again reactivated. I had turned them off due to a high degree of spam, but with a software upgrade, things are again manageable.

Also, check out my other blogs, which I post to more frequently:

Going Forward

Regular readers of this blog (thank you, one and all) have noticed a decided decrease in posting frequency over the past six months. While Musings will remain alive and active, infrequency will become the new norm.

When I started Musings over three years ago, it was to provide a creative outlet, connect with others via the written word, and learn about the art of blogging. By design, Musings had no theme, other than to share the musing of my mind at that moment. While it was not a stream-of-conscience spew (that would be narcissistic and boring), it did bounce all over the place. No one would connect with all my topics, such as family, computers, nature, movies, politics, business, sports, weather, and even blogging about blogging.

Realizing the need to blog around a theme and for me to focus on areas of interest, I have begun to specialize. The result is that, going forward, I will primarily be blogging at:

I encourage you to pick the ones that interest you and follow me there, as well as occasional future posts here.

Thank you!

The Christmas Story – by Doctor Luke

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

(Luke 2:1-14 — NKJV)

So, You Found My Website — Which One?

Many people are amazed and impressed that my web address matches my name: PeterDeHaan.com. I’ve had it for almost eight years. When I registered it in 2000, it was not hard to procure a domain name matching one’s given name. (At the time, DeHaan.com was also available, and I vacillated on which one to register.)

However, I also have several other websites:

ConnectionsMagazine.com and AnswerStat.com are for my two magazines, as well as Article Weekly for online articles. These are also my most visited sites.

Most of my other sites relate to the call center industry. Three are locator sites: FindACallCenter.com, FindAnAnsweringService.com, and FindAHealthcareCallCenter.com

Two other sites: StartACallCenter.com and StartAnAnsweringService.com, were both started when I was doing consulting and grew weary of answering the same basic questions over and over.

I also have AuthorPeterDeHaan.com (about writing) and Peter DeHaan Publishing (my business website).

Then there is www.ABibleADay.com, a site to encourage regular Bible reading, with basic information for those not familiar with the Bible. Plus there are six more.

Altogether, they represent 5,000 pages of information and collectively generate about 5 millions page views a year!

On top of all this are 20 more domain names, registered and waiting for me to develop.

Websites I Can’t Live Without

Please forgive the hyperbole in the title “Websites I Can’t Live Without.”  The truth is that, yes, I can live without them.  However, I use them so frequently that not having them at my disposal would create a void.

www.google.com: Google is where I do all my Internet searches and online research.  I launch it from my toolbar in Firefox, which takes me to Google for the search results.  I’ve become quite adept at quickly zeroing in on the exact information I need.

www.thefreedictionary.com: For online dictionaries, this is my favorite.  If I’m writing anything, there’s a good chance that I have this site open.  It allows me to quickly verify the correct usage of a word, as well as point to synonyms.  (Random trivia question that was recently posed to me: “What is a synonym for euphemism?”)

www.imdb.com: For all my movie, television, and actor information, I immediately go to imdb (“Internet Move DataBase”). I tend to spend too much time there: I suppose that it is my guilty pleasure — no, wait that might be…

www.netflix.com: Yes, I do spend too much time here.  I organize my DVD Queue (what they will send me next) and my Instant Queue (what I watch online).  Have I mentioned that I’ve rated more than 1,000 movies?  (Based on my ratings, they recommend other flicks that I might like.  It works quite well.)  Recently I’ve taken up to writing reviews as well, but focus on those videos that only have a few reviews or with reviews that paint an unfair picture.

www.biblegateway.com: This is a great site to read or study the Bible.  Search by verse, key words, or topic.  Plus it was lots of related tools and resources.  It also has more Bible translations than I knew existed.

www.wordsmith.org: They have many resources relating to words.  My favorite is “A Word A Day,” which emails me a new word each weekday, along with its definition, a usage example, and a “thought for the day” as a bonus.

I use these sites every day that I am online — which happens to be almost every day.  I suppose that I could live without them — but why try?

Are You Absolutely Sure?

The undercurrent to yesterday’s rant about cheating actually goes back some 30 to 40 years. It began with the assertion that there are no moral absolutes, that each person must decide for him or herself what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, if it is left up to each individual, it becomes amazingly simple to justify cheating, lying, stealing, hurting others, and doing anything that brings about pleasure or produces power.

We are rightfully shocked when one person injures another for the sport of it. Or when upper-middle-class teenagers commit armed robbery for the adrenalin rush it gives them. Or how about an ignored or harassed student who carries a gun to school to take revenge. Each of these instances are real and each has been repeated too many times.

Yet our schools teach, and society reinforces, that each person should choose what is right or wrong for him or herself. This is the result.

It’s been suggested that the liberal thinking promoting this philosophy was really advocating that there were no moral sexual absolutes. What they wanted was justification for a promiscuous existence — and without guilt. However, to assert that there are no sexual moral absolutes, but that all other moral issues are absolute, is illogical and nonsensical. Therefore, to justify indiscriminate sexual behavior, their argument needed to extend itself to all moral issues, be it sex, cheating, lying, stealing, or killing.

What we got was a quagmire of moral confusion and anarchy that has permeated our culture and threatened our future. I know that it’s not popular these days to claim that there are moral absolutes, but the alternative is the slippery slope we are on towards mayhem and chaos.