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Author Archives: Derek Freymiller

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April 21, 2021

Shortly after we moved to North Carolina, the father of one of my students found out that I loved to fish. One day we went out on Kerr Lake and we got a few here and there. We then decided to go back in on a tributary. I asked him why he was not getting closer to shore and he said because he did not want a snake to drop into the boat. I laughed but I was not going to fall for his joke. Well, I guess he sensed my skepticism, and he went on to explain that snakes would sun themselves or rest on tree limbs and, occasionally, when a boat would come to close, they would drop into the boat. I still did not believe him, and he knew it. We then moved closer to the shoreline and in a few minutes, he pointed to a limb hanging over the water. Do you see it? I really wanted to say no, but there was a snake on the limb. We moved another twenty yards or so and there was another snake sunning itself of a limb. That ... Read More »

April 7, 2021

I was driving down the road the other day, listening to tunes and pondering life when these two songs came on, back-to-back. The first song: “Breakin’ rocks in the hot sun, I fought the law and the law won. I fought the law and the law won…” The second song: A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm, a boy filled with wanderlust who really meant no harm. He changed his clothes and shined his boots and combed his dark hair down, and his mother cried as he walked out “Don’t take your guns to town, son, leave your guns at home, Bill. Don’t take your guns to town.” I have to tell you; I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It brought back memories but also made me reflect on life (been doing a lot of that lately). Talking about memories, if you ever were through the Central Wisconsin area (around Black River Falls) in the early 80’s, you would have witnessed my work (and others). As part of being incarcerated at the Black River Falls Correctional Institution, one of the jobs was to prune ... Read More »

A Meaningful Conversation with God

When I was going to school both in Milwaukee and Chicago my mom used to call me at least once every other day to see how I was doing. Our conversation would usually go something like this … “How are you doing son?” “I’m doing fine mom. How are you and dad?” “We’re fine. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. Be careful.” “Okay mom. I’ll see everyone another time. Bye.” “Okay son. Bye.” Truthfully I thought this was how conversations were supposed to go. In my household, dad and mom did not have many long conversations with the children unless it was about something important or serious. These conversations, to me anyways, were just a part of life. If my mom knew I was okay and I knew my family was okay, that was the whole point of the phone call. Suddenly there was a time in my schooling where I felt very isolated from everyone else. I was about 4 hours away from home and even though I had friends in the Chicago area, many of them were working at local churches or were focused on their lives ... Read More »

Those Who Wander Are Not Always Lost

If you go into Pastor Bud’s office, turn right and take a look at all the cartoons and pictures he has on the wall, you’ll notice one particular one showing two men walking with grass around them and mountains in the background. This picture is actually from the movie “Lord of the Rings” and is a picture of two of the many heroes of that story – Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins. Also in the picture is the quote that goes something like this – “All those who wander are not always lost…”. This has particular meaning when it comes to Samwise and Frodo because for much of the movie they are wandering towards a place they’ve never been but yet they know what their mission is and are keen on completing it. So, even though they may wander because of their mission, they never really lost their goal. We can also see this story in the Bible. For 40 years the Hebrews wandered in “The Desert” as they made their way to The Promise Land. Even though the Hebrews were distracted and faced many trials and errors on their ... Read More »

February 18, 2021

I was going through some old journals and came across this story that a friend had shared with me when I was about to be transferred from the hospital to County Jail (and eventually prison). It is also a belated Valentine’s devotional and a reminder of how, during this Lenten season, we can seek to change. But will we? “Many Americans are familiar with The Little Prince, a wonderful book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is a whimsical and fabulous book and works as a children’s story as well as a thought-provoking adult fable. Far fewer are aware of Saint-Exupery’s other writings, novels and short stories. Saint-Exupery was a fighter pilot who fought against the Nazis and was killed in action. Before World War II, he fought in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. He wrote a fascinating story based on that experience entitled “The Smile (Le Sourire). He said that he was captured by the enemy and thrown into a jail cell. He was sure that from the contemptuous looks and rough treatment he received from his jailers he would be executed the next day. ‘I was sure ... Read More »

Sharing your Doubts…

After graduating from college, I decided to work at a local factory to pay my school loans and also to gain some real life experience in the job field (plus I moved back home and knew my parents wouldn’t like me sitting around watching TV all day). One of the first people I met was a younger man named Louie. By young, I mean he was in his early 30’s while most of the other workers were in their upper 30’s, with many being over 50. What hit me first about Louie was that he always had doubts and what’s worst was that he didn’t mind telling others about it. Doubts about work, doubts about his car running in the winter, doubts about the world, and even doubts if his welds were right which worried me the most since I worked in quality control. First, I thought Louie was nothing but a worry wart – a worrier not a warrior. As time went on though, Louie would soon prove me wrong. I soon noticed that Louie was never late for work, was usually one of the last to leave, and ... Read More »

Where Your Heart Is

My cousins and I were playing baseball outside when one of us accidently hit the tennis ball (we played with a tennis ball since they are less destructive when they hit things) into the alley right behind the garage. As we waited for my cousin to retrieve the ball, we soon heard him shout … “Wow! I found $50 bucks!” It was soon decided that a couple of us would run over to the Hostess store just a couple blocks away and purchase as much candy as possible with the money and return to share it with everyone else.  Even though the candy and treats tasted great,  it was much later that half of us were sick to our stomachs with way too much sugar, while the other half wished we would have used the money on other kinds of foods instead. Even though our immaturity led us to the wrong choice that day, the choice that my cousin and I made is not that much different from many of the choices we make today. Many of us work or earn wages and what we do with the money we ... Read More »

“Sometimes You Don’t Get to Pick Your Friends”

My youngest brother has always been a lover of all sorts of animals. Whether it was fish, birds, dogs, or cats – he loved them all and they seemed to love him back as well. One day my brother came back from the Marathon County State fair with a pair of baby ducks and chickens. We didn’t live out in “the country” but we did live in the suburbs with a fairly large yard. Maybe that was the reason why my parents thought it was okay to purchase a pair of ducklings and chicks for my brother. The first few weeks were easy since the new pets were small and cute but as they grew and became more active, we had to find a place for them to live. Fortunately, my uncle did live out in the “country” and we made the 45-minute trip to his chicken coop. We dropped off the ducklings and chicks and my uncle said he would take care of them as long as we helped with the food, which we did. At least once a week we would visit our pet birds, but we soon ... Read More »

Perfection Only Through God

One Wednesday night before filming that week’s devotional, I was in the church office when suddenly I heard singing. I dropped what I was doing and listened more carefully and found out it was a voice that I knew fairly well – Pastor Bud. Bud usually makes fun of himself for not being the best singer in the world but it obviously didn’t matter in this case because he was singing joyfully and out loud. When I walked out of my office I met Pastor Bud, who was still smiling, and told him that I enjoyed his singing. He looks at me astonished as we came to an agreement that singing wasn’t always hitting the right notes but was more about the joy put into singing that was the main goal. Like singing, some Christians believe that our spiritual life must always be pitch perfect and flow with a rhythm that is not only wonderful to the ears but to every sense of the body. If it’s not perfect then it needs to be worked upon. If it is not perfect then maybe it may not be needed because one ... Read More »

“Lessons from Pepper”

I love Pepper. Actually I still love Pepper. No, I’m not talking about ground black pepper or the spice that some people like on pizza or potato chips. Pepper is my sister’s dog, but since he was the family dog I like to say he belonged to me as well. When I was still in seminary, my sister and my brother-in-law decided to move back to Central Wisconsin after living in Indiana for a time. This excited my parents who were empty nesters when all three of their daughters married and all their sons were away from home going to school – including me. My parents were ready to welcome two warm bodies (my mom likes to say a house is warmed by more people living in it) in the home but what they did not know was that there was a third body as well – my sister and brother-in-law’s new dog who they named Pepper. Pepper wasn’t a large dog being about the size of a small trash bin on its side but what Pepper lacked in size he did not lack in spunk. Even though my parents ... Read More »

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