Dreams, hard work and answered prayers

3 06 2015

Saginaw, MI January 8, 1978

ground breakingThe fruition of many dreams, many prayers and a lot of hard work was about to become reality.  A very chilly day greeted us as we huddled in the middle of a farm field in Saginaw Township.  Looking around in all directions you only saw fields and trees and if your eyes were really good you could make out the Greek Church half a mile away.  I was eleven years old and was surrounded by my parents, brothers & sisters, some of my best friends and their families and a whole lot of friends that I didn’t know yet, strangers for now.

A man in a white-collar stepped forward and offered a prayer to start the ceremony.  The main attraction was a shiny shovel and the men who took to the shovel to turn the dirt.  We were not witnessing gardening by the masses, although you could say we were planting a seed, we were breaking ground.  The ground that was broke and the seed that was planted grew to become the building and grounds of Valley Lutheran High School.  Dreams, prayers, hard work.

The idea was to continue a Christ centered education beyond the K-8 that currently existed in many of the area Lutheran Churches.  The school started in the basement of Faith Lutheran off of Bay Rd in Saginaw and today was the day that the building of the new school would begin.

For the past 38 years Valley Lutheran has done what the founders had visioned and so much more.  Over that time frame, Valley Lutheran has nurtured the faith, educated the minds and created over 3000 Christian leaders through their high school education.  The future looks bright.

B&W flame (9)May 29, 2015 it is 10:15am and I am sitting in a chair in the front row in the gymnasium(Chapelgymnatorium formerly known as the Carpet Dome) of the high school I graduated from, Valley Lutheran High School.  I am an invited guest along with about 60 others and we are surrounded by roughly 350 students of Valley Lutheran.

It’s hot.  I’m sweating.  I’m smiling and emotional.  It is a smile of pride and a smile of feeling blessed.  I sit next to my parents, one of my many sources of pride and I know that my daughter Sydney is somewhere behind me among the students, another source of my pride.  Three generations, a shared dream, hard work and answered prayers.

A  man in a white-collar(metaphorically speaking Pastor Korte actually was wearing a tie) steps forward and offers a prayer to start the ceremony.  We were invited to join in the students chapel this morning and also a special ceremony to burn the schools mortgage.  Debt free.  As Al Kaul(VL ’87) would say in his message a little later, similar to how we are in God’s eyes, debt free.

Such an occasion is spectacular in scope and it of course has to have a hiccup or two.  One such arose with the fire codes. The Township fire code would not allow the burning of two sheets(yes one was fine) of paper indoors.  No worries, a ceremonial urn was placed outside the double doors of the Chapelgymnatorium for the burning.

Two couples earned the  honor to burn the mortgage by being the highest bidders at the schools annual auction.  My parents Dennis and Nancy were one and Dave and Donna Sting were the others.

My parents represented the beginning.  They both served the school when it was first organized and built.  They continued on with service on the various boards and foundations. They are founders, parents of alumni and this year grandparents of a student. They showed me what it meant to give back, to serve.

The Stings represent the future.  They are new to Valley Lutheran and have a granddaughter who is freshman and two more behind her.  They thought enough of what Valley Lutheran means to their grand children to bid high.

As the ceremony progressed and the burning began I was waved over along with my friend and fellow alum Rodney Wakeman to the burning.  We stood with my parents, the Sting’s, Dr. Brandt and Kyle DeWees(development director).  Call it one of the perks of the position, or call it dumb luck, it is a moment I won’t forget.  I am lucky enough to be the President of the Board of Directors of Valley Lutheran this year and Rodney is the President of the Valley Lutheran Foundation. coincidence?  I think not.  Rodney’s parents were there in the beginning too.  Dreams, prayers and hard work.


Turn your head and cough

22 04 2015

hormone-clipart-doctor-clip-artI just finished up one of life’s greatest joys as a  middle aged man.  The yearly wellness exam.  You have to love the PC term that they now give the formerly name physical exam, wellness…..hmmm I guess it sounds more positive.

We are blessed.  We have a great family doctor.  She takes very good care of us and generally cares about our family.  I went to school with her husband so we connect on a generational level too.  That doesn’t mean I look forward to our annual visit.

I suffer from what Doc calls white coat syndrome.  Whenever I see a white coat(Dr. lab coat), I get anxious.  No shit.  I would think you were some kind of a sadist if you didn’t.  My pulse quickens, palms sweaty and my blood pressure goes up.  I literally have to talk myself down in the waiting room prior to going in.  Stupid really with the caring staff that I encounter.  The fear of the unknown I am sure plays into that.

Doc, the nurses and I have really deep conversations.  Part of it is to distract my mind the other is simple curiosity.  We have discussed donuts, drinking, medical marijuana, sun burns and an array of other topics.  Kids, social activities, todays PC climate, poison ivy and somewhere in there she convinced me to get my tetanus updated….I used to think this was just a precaution when I did something stupid like impale a body part with a rusty nail, not anymore now they mix in some magic elixir that keeps stuff like Whooping Cough away.

Overall it went well.  I am a pretty healthy man.  Yeah yeah, I know I could lose a few pounds but she pointed out I had over the last year and she mentioned I should exercise more (how about any) and my back should be addressed and that I drink too much beer(didn’t think that was possible), which I read to say drink more wine, after all it is good for you.

Pretty easy visit.  I know you women get poked and prodded a lot more than men, but I have to tell you I will never be comfortable when she ends with “your going to feel a lot of pressure”…..yikes!

A Mothers Gift

7 05 2014

A guest blog today from my friend Curt Harding.  Curt is a very talented writer who gladly shares his feelings and his faith through his blog.  Curt has a way with weaving everyday life into inspirational stories that cause the reader to think, feel and explore the deep dark spaces in our worlds.


I hope you enjoy the link below




Our fleet has lost its Dad

15 07 2013

Our fleet has lost its Dad.    -Sue Alexander

I think Sue summed it up perfectly in her brief statement upon hearing of the loss of our friend Joe Dissette.  To understand this 00000005statement you would have to know Joe or about Joe.

Joseph C. Dissette, 91, of Midland, MI died Tuesday July 9, 2013.

Joe was the Patriarch of the Bay City Yacht Clubs Lightning Fleet (Fleet 216) and in many ways of the Club itself.  Joe joined BCYC in 1953, as one of the founders on this new sailing club on Saginaw Bay.  At that time Joe  had the only Lightning at the Club which had  a fleet of 110s which Joe was encouraged to buy.  Instead he went out and found a couple more Lightnings and started Fleet 216.  One of my favorite quotes of Joes “I would like to be remembered for resisting the temptation, back in 1953, to sell the only Lightning at BCYC, buy a 110 and join their active racing fleet”.  I would imagine the more than 150 crew Joe trained would agree.

Joe’s love affair with the Lightning began in 1938 after he saw an article in Yachting about Olin Stephens and a new one design class he called “Lightning”.  Joe mentioned to his Dad that he would own one someday.  Joe bought his first Lightning in 1945 and owned 38 more Lightnings with his final being Carousel 35.

Joe’s leadership was evident in many aspects of Lightning sailing.  He always had his hands on the pulse of the local fleet but also was active in the District and National levels.  He set up a business, Dissette Sail Yacht Sales, as a way of bringing more people into the class by buying new and used Lightnings and brokering them to prospective sailors.  Many of the boats currently in Fleet 216 were originally one of Joe’s personal boats, or one bought from Joe’s business.  Joe and his wife Ann, were the gracious hosts to Fleet 216’s annual spring meeting which was held in their basement which is an incredible shrine to Lightning sailing.

Joe was also the teacher.  He was always calm and composed and had the patience of a saint.  He taught many the art and joy of sailing.  Many of his students would go on to own their own Lightning and many went on to become champions.  We honored Joe many years ago as a tribute to all he had done for our Lightning Fleet by renaming our series the Joe Dissette Championship Series.

Joe has been my friend for 22 years.  I am one of his new friends, many have known him much longer.  I will miss his wisdom and kindness and the phone calls out of the blue just to say hi or inquire on the family and to make sure I keep him on the Fleets email list so he can read about our antics.  Many stories have been shared this week about how Joe touched our lives and one memory that is brought up by many is Joe’s bugle which he would play leaving the dock followed by his crews emphatic “Charge” as the battle cry.

Joe will be missed but never forgot.  I think he is now sailing Carousel 36 with a huge grin on his face.



23 09 2011

I don’t normally do this but I am giving you all a link to a great blog by my friend Curt.  Curt is a great publicist and promoter of talent and a well spoken and written christian author of a childrens book.

I often find inspiration in Curt’s blogs.  He is blatantely honest, direct and too the point.  He is also proud of his faith and encouraging to those who don’t believe.  refreshing to say the least.

Anyway, enjoy I do and I will find time to write my mummblings in the near future.


thoughts, comments, critique, always welcome.



A fathers perspective

18 06 2011

With approach of Father’s Day around the corner I was going to dazzle you all with a thoughtful mind-blowing expose of what it means to me to be a father.  Instead I found myself reading something from a friend that nailed it on the head for me.  It is almost as if he was in my head, crazy.

Here is the link and a very inspired writing about what being a father means to Curt and many of us:


Curt Harding is the author.  Curt is a highly respected publicist, author and communications guru (www.curtharding.com) living with his wife and children in Tennessee.  Curt and his wife are originally from the Saginaw, MI area.  I find Curt’s blogs to be inspiring, humorous and spot on, he is not afraid to express thoughts and feelings or hide his ideals and beliefs.

To all you Dad’s out there and especially mine, Happy Father’s Day.  You make the world a better place for all of us children.

Dashing through the snow

31 01 2011

Santa Puppy Sam

We woke saturday morning to a beautiful blanket of fresh snow. 5-6 inches of the whitest, fluffiest snow we have seen all winter. The dogs were out early playing in the stuff. Sam likes to hide a stick in the snow and then try to find it and Lucy likes to chase around kicking up snow like a frozen version of a Tasmanian devil.

This was not the dog’s day however. It was a day of play for the children (wink, wink). Sydney had a play date with her cousin for this day. We had made plans to have some outdoor fun. So we loaded up the global warmer with Jenny, Sydney, Jenna and Aunt Jenner, some warm clothes, hot chocolate, snacks and of course sleds (which we didn’t even use). Off to the forest we go.

Midland City Forest(http://www.midlandcvb.org/sledding–tobaggoning–82/) is our destination. If you have not been there you should pack up your children or take a date and have some fun in the outdoors. We tobogganed down their elevated runs (Sydney, Jenna & I were champs), ice skated on their rink, had snacks and hot coco in their A frame chalet complete with fireplace and facilities. It was very fun. toboggans rent by the hour as do the skates. You can also take advantage of miles of cross-country and hiking trails and rent the skis and snowshoes there as well. The prices are very reasonable, I want to say the 5 of us spent a whopping $18. The sledding hill is free if you have your own sled, they rent those too if you don’t. Here is the link if you want to check it out http://www.midlandcvb.org/sledding–tobaggoning–82/    We certainly plan to visit Midland again, maybe Wednesday when the big storm hits.

More information on City Forest can be found at http://eatliveplaymidmi.wordpress.com/