Category Archives: Thoughts from me


My kids have asked me…….

My brothers have asked me….

I’ve had friends ask me.


Why do you write? Why do you have so many words in your head that you want to put on paper (or electronic paper in the era of blogging…..?)

To quote what is probably the most popular musical/show of our time, “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”  (That’s a topic for another day)

But it often brings to memory a story about my Dad and my Grandpa from when my Dad was a young kid.  I don’t know how old he was, but let’s just say he was in elementary school and one Saturday, he was “helping” my Grandpa in the garage.  Grandpa was a wonderful man and I love him to pieces but he never got above an 8th grade education and he wasn’t the most talkative person in the family.   So, on this Saturday, Dad is helping Grandpa and asking questions, rumor has it, at the rate of approximately 5 questions per minute.  Grandpa finally lost his patience and said, “HOWARD, why do you ask questions all of the time?  Why can’t you be quiet and just work with me?”  (Insert parental sigh that we all know.)

My Dad stopped what he was helping Grandpa with, looked at Grandpa and said, “But Dad, I’ve got questions!”

Why do I write?  Because I’ve got questions and more often than not, writing either helps me find the answers or it clarifies the questions.

“Because I’ve got questions……”


Isolation 2.2.1

Isolation 2.2.1

The last time I wrote about being isolated, I called it Isolation 2.0

But now we’re a little farther down the road and that puts us at Isolation 2.2.1.

2 – the second month that most of us have had to live with limitations in order to make sure that our neighbors have the right to see their new granddaughter or watch their son’s basket ball game or go over to the neighbors to play cards.
2 – this is the second week of the second month that Covid 19 has been a big thing. It’s ramifications are broader than what was thought in terms of ages, in terms of the severity of it – it was previously thought that the elder generation was the only ones that would get it strong enough for it to kill them. Now we know that’s not true. It can bring death to patients of any age.
1 – this is the first writing that I’ve done now about Covid 19 and so it is .1. The next will be .2 and so it goes, on and on.

From here, what do I see?
• I see hospital staff all over the world doing their best in a terrible situation that was not planned for. A friend of mine has a sister working on one of the “Mercy Ships” in Africa. She said this virus has totally changed what they are doing and how they are doing it.
• Nicholas Kristof, author and social rights advocate did a piece about working in the ER in a hospital, I believe it was in Brooklyn. Let’s just say that his description of that hospital remind me of the descriptions my wife and friends shared about the hospitals in Port Au Prince Haiti. Scary and not nearly enough.
• My daughter is supposed to be graduating on May 18. She will stlll get her diploma on time but the ceremony and pomp and circumstance will be pushed back to “we’re not really sure yet.”

I see people who are doing amazing things to help others. I see people learning to sew so more people have face masks to wear to keep them and others safe.

I see truck drivers doing “one more load” because there are places that really need their stuff.

I see companies totally switching over what they are building and instead they are making part of the PPE that the medical people need.

I see ministers, ministers and directors of music and chaplains getting very creative in how they can communicate the grace and peace and support that leaning on God really means,

I see ambulance drivers and paramedics and EMTs often being the first ones to show up when someone takes a turn for the worse. They might know that they had the virus, but they were hoping to make it through without having to go to the hospital.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, the economic pain is being felt further and further and deeper and deeper. And people are not happy.

Like I’ve told my daughter who will be a high school senior, “I know this sucks.”

But why? Why did they cancel it? Don’t they know what it means to us?

“Because if 400 people showed up at graduation, you could almost guarantee that at least one person who will be there was the virus. He will pass it to 10 who will pass it to 10 more and BAM! Just like that, you’ve got a situation where not only people at the graduation get sick but others do and suddenly the health department is looking at a spike in the number of cases and the funeral homes are going to see an increase in business. Yeah, it’s that serious.

Let’s talk a minute or two about the protestors:
-Everyone has the power of free speech. They have the right to say they don’t like this or they think that about government or what ever.
-the first amendment doesn’t give them the right to put other lives on the line. Because we’re still in the middle of this pandemic, there is an extremely strong chance that they would pass it on to someone else and we’d be looking at a “protest spike.”

I need some help here. Yes, the protesters have the right to say what they want, they can’t hurt or risk the lives of others. But I don’t get it:

Can you tell me what carrying big guns that, to me a non-expert in types of guns, have to do with protesting a stay at home order from the governor? I don’t understand why. Where they afraid they were going to attacked by the people who’se families were in that hospital? Why?

And what does the confederate flag have to do with a stay at home order? I would be hard pressed to find anyone in the civil war times who attempted to link the Confederate flag or the entire Civil war to people’s ability to go to the store without a mask on?

I don’t get it. To me, it appears that they viewed this as a way to advance their ideas and in the process showed a lot of America that the confederate flag bearing gun toting crowd might not actually be protesting what they say they are. Can you explain it for me? If you can, please do so in the comments below. Any obscene, rude or impolite comments will be deleted.

Explain to me, how do the confederate flag and big guns add to a protest?

And if it has been proven that if you are close enough that someone could sneeze or cough on you, they could give you the virus – even if they don’t have any symptoms of it. If that has been proven, then why do you think it’s good to gather in a direct violation of that law during your protest, especially if you know that you are going to bring it back to your home and community?

One more question for you, if I compare what Governor Snyder did and how he handled the Flint water crisis with the way that Governor Whitmer and how she has handled the corona virus pandemic, the size and scope of the problems are dramatically different but Governor Whitmer has done more to keep our people safe than Gov. Snyder did in. Share your opinions if can do it respectfully,

Thanks for reading,

Tom V


“The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:16

Think about it.

Not kind of planned out.

Not “hope it will go this way.”

All prepared.

Like eating Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma’s house. It’s all prepared.

Places are marked – reserved for Dad, for Mom, for Aunt Deb, all the way around there’s a place for everyone.

And there’s a place for every platter of food. It’s all marked out. All prepared.

But, in your grandma is like my mother-in-law, she started planning Thanksgiving in September.

Not God. That’s too small for him.

Before I’d even lived one day.

Can you imagine that?

As crazy as life is – with economic numbers that are truly mind-blowing.

Health issues on everyone’s minds.

Before all this……


Before political grandstanding and fact twisting and name-calling and confederate flag-waving

Before all this……


Before funerals, sometimes more than one in a family at one time, before ICUs and respirators.

Before all this……


Before my grandpa heard the words from his parents, “come with us, we are going to America.”

Before we knew where in America

Before two of grandpa’s brothers died “on the boat” on the way here.

Before all this…..


Before gangs and thugs and cartels.

Before guns and cocaine and heroin and more.

Before it became too risky to stay home, they left and walked to America.

How long will it take? What will we eat? Where will we stay?

Before all this…..


Before this virus

Before the staggering losses

Before the emotional pain and the helplessness.

Before all this…..



Isolation 2.10

Why 2.10? Because today is the 10th day since my youngest and I moved into my in-laws place while they are still down in Florida.

10 Days and we are still speaking to each other – and mostly in nice tones too!

10 Days and we have both learned more about how to give each other space – not only social distancing space but emotional space when needed and the opposite.

Social Media – it helps those you want to be with, to be here. It helps bring connections closer that might have drifted apart otherwise.

Social Distancing – becomes a little more real when you hear that someone who lives about 3-4 miles away from where you are currently living died of the virus earlier today. It’s here. It’s here now.

Wondering – what’s going to happen to the economy, what’s going to happen to the kids and school? How is the online school going to work? One of my kids did online schooling for a couple of years – a very good thing for the right people with the right teachers. As a former substitute teacher who at one point thought he was going to be a teacher, I want to stand and wish all of our teacher’s all of God’s blessings as they attempt to take their class and make a 90 degree turn in very little time.

Amazement – since I was dating this cute girl in high school who was going to be a nurse, I’ve always known that nurses and doctors are amazing people. I think we’ve all seen what an amazing group of people the doctors, nurses, RTs, NP’s, PA’s and RDCS’s are abd it’s not just one “group” of them – all the way up and down the line from the doctors and administrators to the kitchen and environmental services people. They all are amazing on a daily basis but they think they are just doing their jobs. I remember one time my wife said to someone, “Yeah, I take care of babies at the hospital.” That in itself is a true statement. What that doesn’t tell you is that her average patient weighs oh maybe 2 lbs when they first come to the Neo Natal ICU.

As I’ve told you, I have my own health challenges that would make it foolhardy to volunteer to help on the front lines. But there are so many people all around us who are just quietly stepping up and doing their job. Doing it faster and harder and longer because we can see need. In the earthquake a decade ago in Haiti, the heroes were doctors and nurses and excavators and search and rescue teams and ambulance drivers and helicopter pilots. This CoronaVirus has the ambulance drivers and doctors and nurses and grocery truck drivers and shelf stackers and the list could go on and on and on.

Yeah, it’s Isolation 2.10 and the governor of Michigan just extended the isolation to April 30. I hate to say it, but I think we all know it won’t be over by then.

There are times in the isolation that it feels like I’m not really doing anything to help. But then I remember what at least one of the medical people at the press conferences said, “If you go home and sit on your couch and watch Netflix and nothing happens, we won!” By staying at home, by wearing the mask that kind of makes your ears look bigger, you keep the virus from getting you and from giving it to how many others, that is doing something to help.

So, go watch Netflix. Tomorrow is Easter, and I’m going to predict that more people will go to church on Easter than have in many years. And they won’t even leave their living rooms. The churches are doing a wonderful job of transitioning from doing church inside a building to doing church via video and social distancing. The church is so much bigger than a building.

If you want some recommendations of websites to check out for church, left me know.

Are we isolated? Yes. Other than the one time my 27 year old brought groceries over and i was on the other side of the garage, I can’t remember any other time where I talked to anyone in person. Online or on the phone (yes, some people still actually use them as phones) conversations have skyrocketed. It makes you think about what the world is going to be like when this is all done. I’ll be writing more about that later, but I think it’s safe to say we are not going back to business as usual.

More later, have a good night and a Blessed Easter,


P.S. In light of this isolation – a challenge for all of us – what kind of a difference would it make if we all reached out to someone we know who might be struggling, might be lonely, someone who could use a little cheering up and called them, zoom’d them, FaceTime’d them, text’d them, FB’d them, well you get the picture. Take a few minutes and reach out to someone who might be lonely.