Monday, May 3, 2021

Blogged Out


Blogged Out


That’s right. This is the last Mangy Moose blog entry. When I started writing the blog my intention was to put down life experiences that might be of interest of family and friends. Although there have been times when I wandered from this theme into areas of social commentary, I tried to maintain balance, always with a dash of humor.


My first Mangy Moose blog was back in November of 2014. Since then, I published a weekly blog without missing a single Monday morning. Through up and down times of home and church life as well as spontaneous insights from the Lord, I enjoyed sharing with you, life lived here in Montana.


Often, I am asked “why don’t you make the blog into a book?” I confess I have an aversion to the idea of writing a book about myself. The real question is “who would read it?” Anyway, it is a heck of a lot easier to come up with a one page than a book.


In preparation for this last blog, I went back and counted how many I wrote. The total is 343 blogs over a period seventy-two months (6 ½ years). That’s a lot of words even for the Mangy Moose.


I want to say a big thank you to my family (siblings and children) who were my greatest fans. Also, to friends and friends of friends who faithfully logged on to Facebook every Monday morning to read the musings of the Mangy Moose. It has been a joy to share life with  you. Thanks for your support and comments.


The Mangy Moose!


Monday, April 26, 2021





Taking the full garbage bag from underneath the sink out to the garbage can in the garage, I was struck by the thought that I’ve been doing this for seventy some years. Why that random thought? Well, some of the things I do, I do on auto pilot. The daily routine of household chores is an integral part of my life.


As I write these words, I hear my mother’s commanding voice, “Daniel, how many times do I have to tell you. Take out the garbage!” Not that doing it took such exertion. It was such a bother to be told you had to do this or else. Little did I realize that the routine of garbage handling was a building block of my character.


The truth is I continue to do many of the chores from childhood. Cleaning up after myself, hauling my dirty clothes from the bathroom to the laundry room, making the bed, hanging up my clothes, clearing dishes from the dining room table and putting them in the dishwasher to name a few.


Yard work chores haven’t changed much either. Even though we live in an HOA community, I am still raking the lawn, hand mowing a small patch of grass by the patio, trimming the hedge and my favorite: picking up dog poop. All those domestic skills I learned as a child under the watchful eyes of my parents.


Although I tried to pass the discipline of chores unto my children, I don’t know how successful I’ve been. Nobody seems interested in picking up dog poop anymore. When the grandkids come over for a visit, I invite them to help me in this yard chore, but I get no takers. I wonder what their back yard looks like.


A big thanks to mom and dad for teaching me the discipline of daily domestic chores. Those daily jobs are no longer chores. They are integral part of life. I have to say, my wife and dog are grateful. What else can one ask for.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Smart Phone


Smart Phone


How did I survive without one? I’m old enough to remember life before technology birthed this handheld instrument that transformed the way the world communicates. The ugly black desk phone with a rotary dial morphed into the sleek princess with push button dialing. It even came in assorted colors. Now they are relics in the antique store.


My issue with a smart phone is that it’s smarter than me. Owning one assumes I have more grey matter than all those little connections on the circuit board. The learning curve to operate one is an experience. It is humbling to ask my grandchildren to show me how to download or delete an app. They look at you and in a blink of an eye they’ve got it. What is intuitive to them is mind boggling to me.


Now I have numerous apps. In order to be a techy hospital and hospice chaplain I need a minimum of five apps. More include: Mail, Facebook, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Microsoft Word, Calendar, Camera, Photos, Bank, Social Chess. I can’t forget the app for my hearing aids that function as a hand’s free device. Life has become a touch screen ritual in staying connected.


Here’s a short poem that says it all: Ode To Cell Phones


Cell phone, oh cell phone. With all your smart little keys, bright light screens and caller ID, I can take you wherever I please….


Cell phone, oh cell phone. With you, I am on time. Dates, clock, calendar and alarms and the list can go on.


Cell phone, oh cell phone. Entertainment is your job. Music, pictures, videos and more, with you, nothing is a bore.


Cell phone, oh cell phone. I need you for sure. Without you I would be lost even more.  (Anonymous)


The question is: What happens when the electricity goes out?




Monday, April 12, 2021





My father was a doctor. Growing up, I was exposed to things medical. From dinner conversations to seeing my father despair over the loss of a patient, medicine was part of life. On more than one occasion I tried to fool my father so I wouldn’t have to go to school. He would say “take two aspirin and we’ll see how you are in the morning.” I couldn’t outsmart the resident doctor just because I wanted to play hooky.


This morning in the middle of my ablutions, I opened the medicine cabinet above the bathroom sink and was shocked at the rows accumulated medicine bottles. Being in rather good health, I only take a few prescriptions. I have shelves of half empty plastic pill containers. A reminder of less healthy days. A wakeup call that life is fleeting and there are no meds to keep me from the inevitable.


As I stared at those potions of medical marvel, a verse from the Mary Poppins movie ran through my mind: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way.” I chuckled recalling that I inherited my mother’s sweet tooth. I don’t take my meds with sugar but I am not opposed to the idea.


I am thankful for the medications prescribed by my physician. Taking them are part of my daily routine. Alongside daily exercise, healthy relationships and a spoon full of sugar, I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in.


A word of wisdom from the Old Testament book of Proverbs: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”


It’s time to clean out the medicine cabinet and find some sweets!

Monday, April 5, 2021





It was my father who encouraged me to read obituaries in the newspaper. I know this sounds rather morbid. At first, I couldn’t figure out why he would suggest that I pay attention to the death list. Reading about people who are no longer alive is not my idea of entertainment. Little did I realize that his suggestion would introduce me to an essential fact of life, death.


You can find the obits in your local paper. They are listed after letters to the editor and just before the sports section. Some are short with just basic facts while other take up several columns including a photo of the deceased in better days. It’s expensive to have an obituary printed in the newspaper. Editors have found a never ending source of income in death announcements.


One thing stands out about obituaries: they never say anything bad about a person. Not that they should but to read some you would think that the deceased was one step short of sainthood. It makes you wonder what this person was really like. I remember reading an obit of an old acquaintance feeling ashamed that I had such a different opinion of him in life.


It’s Easter week. Reading the gospel account of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, I’m reminded there is more to life than an honorable mention in the obituaries. An angel at the tomb told the women “Why are you looking for Jesus among the dead? He is risen!”


We sang this chorus at church on Easter Sunday: “Jesus is alive and well! Jesus is alive and well! Tell everyone you see, tell them for me. Jesus is alive and well.”


Good News that should be on the front page.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Grandma"s House


Grandma’s House


Growing up grandma lived with us. Her room was a sanctuary for her eight grandchildren. A listening ear and a comforting hug were a tonic to our rough and tumble household. On social media I found something that brought back memories of grandma. I share it in part. The author unknown.


“Can I Sleep at Grandma’s Tonight”


Grandma’s house is where the hands of the clock take a vacation with us and the minutes unhurriedly go by.


Grandma’s house is where an innocent afternoon can last for an eternity of games and fantasies.


Grandma’s house is where the cupboards hide old clothes and mysterious tools.


Grandma’s house is where closed boxes become chests of secret treasures, ready to be unveiled.


Grandma’s house is where toys rarely come ready, they are invented on the spot.


Grandma’s house is where everything is mysteriously possible, magic happens and without worries.


Grandma’s house is where we find the remains of our parents’ childhood and the beginning of our lives.


Grandma’s house, on the inside, is the address of our deepest affection, where everything is allowed.


I wonder how our world would be if more children had the opportunity to visit and sleep over at Grandma’s house. Would there be less rancor and division in our society if grandmas would rise up and say enough is enough. Time on Grandma’s lap with a hug and a kiss can do wonders for young, tormented souls.


Thanks, gram, for being there for me during those difficult days growing up.



Monday, March 22, 2021





By definition a mentor is a trusted guide and counselor. This is a person who has earned the right to speak into my life. Mentors are women and men who come with a variety of backgrounds and walk alongside sharing experiences, equipping life  tools and imparting practical wisdom. From personal experience, they are worth their weight in gold.


This past week I received news that one of my former mentors went home to be with the Lord. This man had a major influence on my life personally and as a pastor. Giving freely of his time and energy, he encouraged and equipped me for what lay ahead. Although there was a season of misunderstanding and disagreement, we were, by the grace of God, to forgive one another giving thanks for the season that we had together.


Mentoring is not an easy job. It takes a great deal of trust to allow another to bring correction into your life. I am no exception to the fact that there is more enjoyment to the positive someone has to say about you. Yet, life lessons are rarely learned by flattery. Embracing correction from one who has your best interest at heart is essential to maturing.


The goal of mentoring is not to make a carbon copy of yourself. Rather, it is the experience of walking alongside another encouraging and equipping by word and example. This allows both people to learn and experience all that God has to offer each person. In reality, mentoring is a relationship that welcomes mutual respect and willingness to share life.


I am thankful for the mentors God has placed in my life. Each came with unique gifts to share. I can honestly say that had I not taken the opportunity to walk with them, I would be living a less enriched life.


Thank you, Lord, for guiding my steps.