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 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    January 17, 2018 

Patching Cracks

I am sitting in a hotel in Jerusalem this morning, day 4 of a two-week educational tour of Israel and the surrounding country. Yesterday, we toured the original city of Jerusalem, when it was first conquered by David. I hand always envisioned a...

 

My Answer

Q: A new family just moved in near us, and they apparently have a physically handicapped son who requires much care. We’ve barely met them, but should we offer to help them somehow? We don’t want to embarrass them or be nosey, but we want to be...

 

Patching Cracks

With the new year upon us, it’s time to decide if setting goals for the new year is a worthwhile effort. Many people I know see the new calendar year as an opportunity to start over or remake themselves or an area of their life that they’re...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

I have given this recipe for scalloped potatoes to many people. Most of them have raved about it. I cooked it for Christmas Day and proclaimed it to be the best scalloped potatoes I have ever eaten. Part of it is the fact that it has plenty of ham...

 

My Answer

Q: I’ve decided I’m not going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve always made a long list of changes I plan to make in my life, but then I never keep them, and I just end up feeling guilty. So why bother?. A: I suspect many...

 

Patching Cracks

Every morning, while I walk the 2 blocks from my house to my office, I try to make it a point to stop and take a moment to look at the Bears Paw Mountains from the end of my driveway. They never fail to impress me. One of the things I fell in love...

 

My Answer

Q: Where did the wise men come from, and how did they know that the star they were following would lead them to Jesus? And did they ride camels? I am 10 years old, and I’ve always wondered about them. A: The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly where...

 

Patching Cracks

When I was in school, I was a poor student all the way up until I went to seminary, where I was a straight ‘A’ student for the first 3 years. It started as a point of pride for me, then it became a challenge to maintain it, and finally it made me...

 

My Answer

Q: I have an aggressive form of cancer, and the doctors have told me this will be my last Christmas. I feel so sad, especially when I think about not seeing my grandchildren grow up. What would you say to someone in my situation? A: The most...

 

Patching Cracks

This week, as a homework assignment for a class my wife and I are taking at church, we have had to spend time talking on the couch every day and go out on a date. I alluded to the challenges associated with the assignment in an earlier column, but I...

 

My Answer

Q: I grew up in a religious home, but I rebelled against all that, and I suppose you could say I’ve been living like the devil ever since. I know I’m on a dead-end road, but I don’t think I can do anything about it. Has God given up on me? A:...

 

Patching Cracks

My wife and I have been taking a class at church that includes a daily homework assignment: We are to spend 15 minutes of ‘couch time’ together. In principle, this isn’t complicated or difficult to accomplish. It involves sitting on the couch...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

I got a card the other day from a farm lady who thinks a lot of my writing and especially loves to hear about the times my family and I stayed out at Clear Creek around Christmas time. I love to think about those old cherished and true stories as...

 

My Answer

Q: Do people who have died and gone on to Heaven know what’s happening on earth? If so, I’d think they’d be sad to see the evil and suffering that go on here. But isn’t Heaven supposed to be a happy place? A: Yes, the Bible assures us that...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

I think I write this column every year around Christmas time but it means a lot to me so here I go again. I love the Christmas lights that are up all over this time of year. Just look at Big Sandy. Thanks to the Rotary Club and the Chamber of...

 

My Answer

Q: Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to get caught up in the Christmas shopping crush—but every year I hit the stores as soon as they open the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll probably do the same this year. I know this isn’t a spiritua...

 

Patching Cracks

In the 5th Century, an Egyptian named Arenius set out to live a holy life by abandoning the community he lived in and living in the desert as a monk. After several years of living in the wilderness, he visited the city of Alexandria, where he spent...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

I have interviewed many people about their Thanksgiving dinners through the years. I have yet to tell anyone of my Thanksgiving disaster. I think that if they did have one, they buried it, because it was so horrible. In my family there were two...

 

Patching Cracks

I’ve been going to the gym every day for months and have been enjoying it, but I discovered that the gains in my weight training and general fitness, which I experienced during my earlier days of working out, slowed gradually and reached a point...

 

My Answer

Q: I hate to admit this, but my wife and I never got along, and when she died last year I wasn’t all that sorry. But now I desperately miss her. I wish I could make up for those lost years. What’s wrong with me? A: One reason I wanted to reprint...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

Some friends of mine are going to spend Thanksgiving at their cabin northeast of Missoula and feast on prime rib instead of turkey and dressing. I thought about that for awhile and decided it was a good idea. There should be a turkey in the mix for...

 

My Answer

Q: Every year we debate whether or not to invite my aunt for Thanksgiving. She’s a very negative person who spends her whole time complaining and criticizing everyone, and it gets very unpleasant. Would she get the message if we didn’t invite...

 

Bear Paw Meanderings

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for many it is the time to head to Grandmother’s house or Aunt Margie’s house or invite a dozen people to your own house. I can remember when I was a small child around eight or so, I got a new sister...

 

My Answer

Q: You often say in your column that we need to learn to walk with God, but what does that mean? I don’t have any trouble believing in God, but I don’t think I understand what it means to walk with Him. A: The key is to understand what happens...

 

Patching Cracks

Everywhere I go, my phone goes along with me. Part of the reason for its constant presence is my need to be available to folks. My job and my family are both benefited by access to me whenever and wherever I happen to be. It’s also a convenience....

 

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