Update: My Work, My Writing, the News

I bought these Petunias to brighten up my apartment.

My Work

Lately I’ve been staying busy, more than I want to be. For some reason I have gotten a lot of calls for jobs this year. I’m a house painter. That’s what I have been busy with. Though I am retired, I just keep working. But I’m not complaining—too much. The main complaint this year is the terrible heat. We are having a lot of 90-degree days.  Too hot to paint!

My latest book, The Tribulation

I’ve written a few books on prayer, a few books on bible prophecy, and my memoir.  Now I’m back to bible prophecy. I’m just getting started on this book on the Tribulation. I’m excited to know how it will turn out. I’ve done some research, but I know I will do more as I go along. I do have an outline, so I know what the content will be, but I also know that I will have some surprises—I will learn as I go. And, as is my custom, I will blog the content as I go. That will start soon.

The News

As Christians often say, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” That has more and more been my attitude, especially since the news is so bad. I listen to the radio—probably more than I should—to get a conservative slant on things. But you know, since the Dem’s control everything, there is not much good news. And can you believe this Critical Race theory they are pushing? Terrible. And there seems to be no end to the upsurge in crime and murder. The only good news of it all is that the Rapture will be coming soon!

Update: sadness, faith, walking, working and writing

Sadness. Lately I have been feeling depressed over the shootings and rioting. I’m not really on one side or the other, but I think if people would respect the police more and if parents would instill that respect in their kids, things would be better. If the police aren’t immediately obeyed, there is bound to be trouble; things could get out of control fast. I’m sick about all the riots and the deaths. But we can’t cancel the police. They are here to keep law and order and most of them do that well.

I should also say that God knows all about what is going on in the world, and so we (I) need not be anxious. So, I will pray about it and leave it to Him. I can only so much according to how He directs me, and then He will finish it up according to His will. God is in control of all things, and when we (I) understand that we (I) will have more peace.

Faith. The idea that most of our troubles result from our little faith has been churning in my mind. When Jesus was speaking about how to overcome anxiety and worry by observing the birds and the flowers, He concluded by saying, “O ye of little faith.” And that is the summation of most of our problems, isn’t it? We just fail to believe in Him, that He will take care of us and bring us hope and good things; that He will show us His love and put us at peace and in His joy.

The paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.

He pardons our iniquities

and teaches us to fear Him.

He tells us to keep looking to Him

and to trust Him to deliver us.

(from Psalm 25)

Walking, working and writing. I walk most to enjoy nature and to photograph nature. You will see my photos in my blogs. But I also walk for exercise and to feel better.

I’m a retired painter, but I still work once in a while just to keep busy and to see my customers. I have a few clients that I know and have worked for for a over twenty years. It is good to see them and to keep painting for them.

I’m also a writer and a self-publisher. I enjoy writing books, but I haven’t sold too many. Hopefully that will change soon when I go with a different publisher. I’m thinking of Xulon. They are a Christian company so I think that will help. I’m writing a book now on the Tribulation. Hopefully it won’t take long to write, and I’m sure you will soon be getting some of the book excerpts.

Remnants of the WWII Ammunition’s Plant in Minnesota

Here is one of the buildings left standing–out of over 300 that were in the area.
Slabs of concrete I ran across just the other day, no doubt remnants from the ammunition’s plant.

I moved into this area of Saint Paul, MN, about 30 years ago. At that time, in the late 90’s the ammunitions plan was still being used, though most of the building were gone. Now there is just that building (above) and a few piles of concrete. There is a walking trail going past that building that I always see while walking, and it gets me wondering what it was like–the history of this entire area. I have been curious about it since I ran into those piles of concrete (pictured above). Here is an article I ran across.

Army ammunition plant: an early history

Facility employed more than 21,000 during WWII

by Doris Claeys
Contributing Writer

 Jun 9, 2009

Plant workers.

Female employees work at TCOP in this April 1942 clipping from “Minneapolis Times.” The original caption: “The delicate feminine touch is a vital factor in the rigid inspection of caliber cartridges.” In addition to inspecting, women employees worked as guards at the plant. Photo courtesy of Shoreview Historical Society

Editor’s note: Claeys, the photo archivist for the Shoreview Historical Society, has compiled an album of historic photos donated by the TCAAP plant to the society several years ago. Claeys wrote the following history of TCAAP and loaned photos from the album. Several of TCAAP’s first employees lived in Shoreview, she noted.

ARDEN HILLS — Land that now encompasses the former Twin Cities Army Ammu-nition Plant (TCAAP) was once home to 48 farming families.

Prior to 1942 the land, bordered by Lexington Avenue on the east, County Road I on the north, the Forest Lake cutoff (now Highway 9) on the west and Country Road G (now Highway 96) on the south was primarily used for farming. Local children attended a school at the corner of County Road H and Mounds View Road.

Also located on the land was a 40-acre farm owned by University of Minnesota Plant Path-ologist Dr. Jonas J. Christianson. Christ-ianson had more than 5,000 trees on his land, including most species native to Minnesota. The farm also housed a variety of shrubs, vines and perennial plants — more than 25,000 plants in all.

With the threat of war on the horizon, the U.S. Army searched for and found the Arden Hills site as a viable place to build a new ordinance plant for production of small-caliber ammunition. The St. Paul Pioneer Press Sept. 11, 1940, noted that the purchase price of $133,685 would be divided among various land owners. All land had to be vacated within a couple of months, which meant farmers had to abandon unharvested fields. Christianson found a home for some of his trees, shrubs, vines and plants at a location in South St. Paul, although most had to be abandoned. Two taverns were also part of the purchase; the Rainbow Inn at the junction of Highway 8 and Highway 10 and the Hillside Inn at the junction of Highway 10 and County Road G. These buildings became offices for the plant.

Construction of the $30 million plant began in August, 1941. The major contractors were Walbridge Aldinger Co., which is still operating out of Detroit, Mich., and Foly Brothers. The private firm producing the ammunition — with a contract that reportedly amounted to $87 million — was the Anoka-based Federal Cartridge Corp.

Within 15 months, the Army had built 323 buildings, 21.4 miles of water lines, 21.7 miles of roads, 15.6 miles of railroad track, 31.3 miles of sewer lines, 14.1 miles of gas lines, 16.8 miles of steam lines, 28.9 miles of electric wires and 11.1 miles of telephone lines. In 1941 a Fort Snelling water tower was dismantled, transported and reassembled on a hill near what was to be known as the Twin Cities Ordinance Plant (TCOP).

In between all the construction, soldiers harvested the crops that were growing on the property, including potatoes, garden vegetables, apples, hay and grain. The harvested fruits and vegetables were transported to Fort Snelling for use by military personnel while the grain and hay were sold via sealed bid.

On Dec. 9, 1941, before the first shipment had been produced at TCOP, Army officials swept into various Twin Cities defense plants in search of alien workers. There were no alien workers at TCAAP, though some were removed from private industrial plants.

FDR among officials to visit the plant

Many dignitaries visited the unique plant through the years. Gov. Harold Stassen was at the groundbreaking dedication ceremony in August, 1941. Charles Horn, president of Federal Cartridge Corp., attended the groundbreaking and visited periodically. President Franklin D. Roosevelt toured the plant in 1942. Crown Prince Olav of Norway was quoted after a visit as saying “You Americans do things in a big way.”

Employment and production

Production began at TCOP in January of 1942. Because the primarily rural community needed to employ about 20,000 people, workers were transported from other parts of the Twin Cities. The Twin City Rapid Transit Co. added 15 buses on a run from New Brighton. Minneapolis obtained a (busing) permit, but a similar permit was denied to St. Paul until the Minnesota Railroad and Warehouse Commission reversed its decision.

Initially, more than 600 people applied for jobs daily. Many were rejected as “questionable alien”; others were rejected because they were likely to be drafted, they had a police record or they could not pass a physical.

There were apparently several controversies surrounding methods of hiring and concerns about jobs being “sold” to out-of-towners. Unions in St. Paul and Minneapolis were both concerned that contractors favored the other city’s members. There were strikes as well.

Bus service increased and the number of TCOP employees grew. The rapid growth began to be felt in the area. New Brighton realized it must construct a sewer system because of the boom in population. The Twin Cities was designated a defense area, which meant it became eligible for Federal Housing Administration mortgages for up to 90 percent of the cost of constructing homes for defense workers. At the same time, it was decreed that no homes could be built in an area adjacent to defense plants bec-ause of concern about enemy bomb attacks. As a result, three trailer camps, each consisting of about a dozen trailers, sprung up in the plant vicinity.

The plant was in full operation by 1942. It took 26 to 27 working days for a hunk of brass to become a finished loaded cartridge. Once completed, bullets were tested on a plant firing range.

In November 1942 tragedy struck when Alexander P. Nelson, 67, was killed in his yard by a ricocheting bullet from the plant. Nelson Road just off Lexington Avenue is named in his memory.

By 1943, there were 21,200 employees at TCOP. Women filled many roles at the plant. They were on the production lines and worked as inspectors looking for faulty slugs on the moving belt lines. By 1943 they were working as sub-inspectors for $4.80 per day. Some were employed as guards. The St. Paul Dispatch of July 7, 1943 reported that “Members of the women’s guards were formerly social workers, school teachers, department store clerks and beauty operators. They go to school once a week to learn the fundamentals of first aid, methods of fire prevention, judo for self-defense and military drill.”

As the war progressed, concern grew for the safety of the country. At the plant, guards were increased and watched all activities including daily work of the switchboard operators and inspection of any new items that arrived on the premises. Signs were posted warning workers and visitors against sabotage and espionage: One warning noted that sabotage was punishable by $10,000 or up to 10 years in prison (or both) and another said espionage could result in “imprisonment for 30 years or death.”

Demand declines after war

With the end of WWII, activity slowed at the plant. Governmental budget cuts in 1946 canceled some programs. Some of the small buildings, which were marketed as being suitable for cottages, garages and tool sheds, were sold and moved. Some former office buildings became classrooms, a cafeteria and a study hall at St. Thomas College.

During peace time, the plant produced tractors and farm implements.

The plant’s arsenal was reactivated in 1950 during the Korean Conflict, in 1965 in support of the Southeast Asia conflict and in 1991 to help meet the needs of Operation Desert Storm. It was renamed the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in 1962.

My Update (10/3/2020): Cleaning, Publishing, Prayer, Work

Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve given you an update. I’m not a diary person; I find that this personal blog kind of fulfills that purpose—and more. Anyway, I will start with my apartment…

Cleaning the apartment. I have been in my apartment for just over 20 years and now we have a new management company; and they are stricter. They recently came in—while I was gone—and did an inspection. They said I needed to clean my fridge and bathtub and bathroom floor; and they are coming back in a month to check it.  Well, I’m feeling kind of upset over it, but now that I’m getting busy cleaning, I think it’s a good thing for me—God’s will.

Publishing my book. I’m a self-publisher and I’m now in that process with my last book. Editing is easy, just reading it through and checking things. But yesterday I spent about three hours trying to delete the header info from a blank page! I finely figured it out. It helps to click on “help” on my MS word. They gave me a five-point answer, and it worked! Next, I will check it over one last time and then put it in a pdf form and send it to Lulu (a printing co.) to be printed and bound. Oh, and I also have to send them my designed cover page. Lulu does a good job at making the books, but they don’t do much to sell it for you. I’m gonna half to think of ways to sell my books myself. I just have to do it—even though it really isn’t my gift.

Trump and Country. I have a blog with that name, but I quit on it a few months ago. It was too stressful for me. But though I don’t blog on politics much anymore, I do keep up with watching the Fox videos and also some reading. More and more these days I have been feeling a strong burden to pray for President Trump and this country—in that order. Every morning when I pray, he is the first item on my list: for his health, strength, and wisdom. I also pray that just judgment would be done on all those evil forces (evil people) coming against him and this country. Please pray with me. Christians, please pray. It is your most important duty. Nothing but prayer will work to come against the darkness; only God is strong enough to come against it. And He chooses to work mostly through our prayers.

My healthy and work. I want to keep working in my painting business, but I am retired and I’m slowing down. In some respects, my work is good to give me exercise. But if I overdo it, which I always tend to do, my arthritis flares up and my muscles get really sore for a few days. The key is to find the right balance between work and rest. It’s kind of nice to not be bothered by work for a few days, because I like to just sit and read and do my writing. I hope and pray that my writing will be a benefit to others, that it won’t be a meaningless or just a self-fulfilling exercise.  I’ll be praying about it, and then commit it to Him—and wait for His peace.

God bless you my fellow bloggers and followers. Keep up your good work and encouraging words. Prayer to you always.

Stephen

My Update: 5 things

Okay, I’ll get right to it…

My work. I’m a retired painter—not a lot going on. Tomorrow or the next day I will wash a deck and paint it. I do this particular deck every 3 or 4 years. The next two jobs are doors—to repaint a few doors—easy. After that I have a bedroom to paint. So, what I have lined up is easy, a little boring, but just enough to keep me out of trouble.

Bible reading. I always manage to keep myself busy, but for some reason I feel that I have sadly neglected my time in the word. Yesterday I decided that I would spend two half-hour periods reading the bible—where I am at in Exodus. I liked it. It did me good. I’m gonna try to keep doing that. I have sort of prided myself for being faithful to a morning quiet time. But recently I feel the need for more and something less structured. My goal is to fill my mind with the word of God; to meditate more on it.

My book writing. I’m sort of at a lull in my writing. I had two different books going, but I finished them. Now I’m going through them one at a time, editing them; so I am basically just checking grammar and spelling and to make sure everything is said right.

Photography and walking. For me those things go together. Without my camera walking would be too much of a chore. But walking with my camera is like hunting and an adventure. I’m always hunting with my eyes for the perfect shot. Yesterday while walking I was quite disappointed by all the overgrown weeds and grass, but I did spot two beautiful purple Morning Glories (pictured). My walk was worth it just to see them. And the way the light reflected out of the middle of the trumpet bell is gorgeous!

The Coronavirus and globalism. I am getting so turned off by all the hype and news that the pandemic is getting. I really don’t think that it is as serious as the media is telling us. But the globalists are ecstatic about it. Finally, something came along that will help unite the world. Now all they need is one vaccine for the whole world. The only disappointment they have is the US, Israel, and the Christians.

They are so angry at Donald Trump and his nationalist views. If only they could somehow get Biden to win the November election. We will see what happens. But I have a feeling that they will be in for a constant fight until the Rapture. But after the Rapture everything will change. The Rapture itself will be the driving force for globalism. It will propel all the world leaders to come together to strategize their global agenda. I think, instead of being horrified at all the disappearances the devil will cause them to be gleeful at the new global prospects.

Update: Book Reading, Book Writing

I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.

Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on all the Presidents and also their wives. It is very interesting and kind of fun to read. It’s a book that I might read again, because it is so loaded with valuable information—a good book of history; and we need to learn history before it is lost, because so many crazy people these days want to destroy our history.

As I refill my coffee cup, let me share my thoughts on a possible next book to write. Actually, I’m just finishing my latest two books: one entitled, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and in Heaven After the Rapture; and another book on my life story, which I don’t have a title for yet. I’m presently self-editing them, then I will write an intro for both of them, and then go through the publishing process.

So anyway, I’m already thinking of what my next book project will be. My most enduring thought is to do a book on a book of the bible. I don’t consider myself a biblical scholar, so it wouldn’t be a book of any great depth. My thought is that I need to be more in the word, so I thought that a writing project would help me get there. One thought would be to writing on the book of Revelation. I kind of wanted to write on the Tribulation anyway, so maybe that would be a good option.

Another idea is to delve into a book like Ephesians. I know that would be quite beneficial for me—for my spiritual life. I think I might enjoy getting into the Greek, doing word studies; and also, getting into the history of those times; and just determining what the main themes of the book are. Mostly, I would hope that the writing would bring me closer to Him, and that my thoughts would be constantly on Him and His wonderful words of grace and truth.

I find that since I am more and more retired, and that my painting jobs are fewer, I have more time now to do whatever. I pray that that whatever is well spent. Retirement time can be foolishly wasted. I pray that that won’t be true of me.

Making the most of the Pandemic

Fish practicing social distancing.

I’ve gotten in the practice now of picking up my breakfast and coffee at some fast food place, getting a newspaper, and then parking at this place near a walking trail where people walk by. I like to wave and greet them. Yes, we can still wave from a distance. We need to make the most of this pandemic.

My Work: House Painting

This is my work truck. I had a small painting job at this location.

My work. It’s been a while since I had work. But I’m retired. I started a house painting business in 1981. At the beginning it was just me and one employee—a good friend. We had no contacts so I had to advertise. I put adds in the local newspaper, and I also made small, half-sheet fliers to distribute. Sometimes I distributed them by hand, door-to-door, with help from nieces and nephews. Other times I paid to have them delivered as an insert. That kept us busy, just busy enough.

The summers were good, but the winters were spars. After the first couple years I hired more help. That was fun during the summer time, but during the winter months I had to lay them off. There was just not enough work. So in the spring time I usually had to rehire and retrain people—because the ones I had before, had gotten other jobs. But then there were a couple guys who kept coming back—the faithful.

Well, I don’t want to bore you by giving you a year by year run down. But there were some interesting stories to tell. Working with a crew of guys is always fun—but sometimes aggravating for me, the boss. I remember, one of my guys would always call me Boss, or Boss man. I hated that! Because I didn’t think he was genuine. Yea, I had some characters—all different. Those were the days.

I retired when I was 63, seven years ago. But I didn’t totally stop working. At first, I cut about a third out of my hours. Today my hours are cut about in half. I have never had so much work that I was able to save a lot. So I figured that with my Social Security payment I still need to work some.

But you know, I really think it’s for the best. I like working a little. At 69 I don’t feel much like working full bore, but I think its good for me to work a little. And I like seeing faithful clients. I have some clients that I have done work for, for over 30 years. For some of them, I have painted their entire house 4 or 5 times, or more. Some of them call me for work almost every year. And I try to call all of my clients once a year, just to keep in touch—but of course I will ask them if they need any painting. Out of about 30 calls I get roughly one job out of it.

 I’m waiting for someone to call me right now. I am ready for a job. A small job. This retirement at times sucks! All I do is sit around writing, blogging, reading, and doing my chores. Other things too, and it’s getting very routine. I need a job. I’m getting too lazy.

I’m afraid retirement for me will never be typical—like rich folks. You know, traveling and golfing and going on cruises. I will have to keep working as much as necessary to have enough in savings for when I get too old to work. I have to keep a tight budget. And it will always be, for me, a life of trusting God. That sounds good to me. He will provide and keep me joyful.

My Retirement: Life Is Slower These Days

This is the trail I walked on just after I wrote this post.

My retirement. Let’s see. Where to start. Life is a little slower these days. Everything is in small increments. I plan it that way. I am 69 years old. I have been officially retired since I turned 63. Or was it 64? Actually, I’m only semi-retired. I still work a little. I have had a residential painting business since 1981, and I occasionally get calls from faithful clients. I am proud to say that most of them still like me and know I will do a good job for them—so if it’s a small job, I don’t mind doing it. I can always use the money.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m at Perkins, trying to decide if I should get pie. I may not be able to resist—even though I had a great breakfast. Yes, pie would be good. Pie and coffee. Ah, life is good. God is good!

Now that I’m on the subject, I will share my breakfast schedule. I don’t know why, but much of my doings is scheduled these days: my eating, my time, my jobs, my duties—everything. I like to think ahead and know what I’m doing. I guess it makes me feel more secure and in control. But I know that as a Christian I must also leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead me. So I will not be too set to my to do list.

 So my breakfast schedule is this: Saturday is Perkins, Sunday is coffee and doughnuts at church, Monday I will eat at Panera—Coffee and steel cut oatmeal, Tuesday at McDonalds (cheaper), Wednesday I will eat oatmeal with fresh pineapple at home (I make it), Thursday and Friday are a little more flexible, but I usually go back to Panera again. And when I go out to eat, I always stop at my favorite gas station to buy a newspaper, and I usually bring a book too. I do most of my reading when I eat.

I don’t think I mentioned that I am single—divorced. But I’m happy to be single. It gives me more freedom to do what I want to do. I don’t think I’m a selfish person. I like people. But I also enjoy living by myself.  I regard it as a gift of God; and I think He has called me to it.

I was reading this morning from Psalm 139:5, how God has enclosed me behind and before, and He has His hand on me. He not only keeps me safe; He keeps me feeling secure, and I know that He is always near me. He takes me gently through the different phases of life. He knows what I need, and even gives me things (services) that He wants me to do. He keeps me busy doing His work.

Mainly, I think that the service He has given me is writing. For the last 30 years I have been writing as a self-publisher. I also do blogs. I have two other blogs going besides this one. So writing keeps me very busy, and I am glad to be doing it. I don’t make much money on it, but I’m still glad to do it. It’s the Lord’s work and I know that the benefit people will get from it will be my heavenly reward. It is now filling up my heavenly treasure chest. Well, I think this post is finished, and I didn’t even have pie. But I feel fine—very content.