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20160904_185031Don’t be jealous. I have only a fraction of what some of my friends have. Although, I will admit that I am quite proud of my army. It takes time and money to build up a regiment of soldiers like this. And I have little of either—time and money, that is. Seriously. When it comes to time, my week is, on average, about 90 hours long. And when it comes to money… well, according to the recommended pay scale published by my district, I’m getting paid something like $20,000 less than I’m supposed to.

Life in the church.

I’m not necessarily complaining. “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6). Look at the picture. With a congregation full of wonderful people, a beautiful wife, four quasi-affectionate kids, and a whisky stash like this, who could be sad? In fact, a pay raise might be a bad thing. It would mean I’d need to find space for a few extra cabinets.

And not to worry, by the way. My wife and children are well cared for. It’s me who goes without.

I haven’t ordered new clerical shirts, collars, or pants in about three years. My mother-in-law buys all of my socks as a kindly gesture every time the Nativity celebration rolls around. I miss a lot of meals and save my lunch money. I used to buy books rather often, but now I mostly borrow them… or just write my own. I pinch every penny and I have a monotonous response to pretty much every gift-possible question asked of me.

“What do you want for your birthday, honey?”


“What’s on your Christmas list this year, Chris?”


“What do you want for Father’s Day, Daddy?”


“I’m making a quick run to the store for milk and eggs. Anything you want me to pick up?”


“What souvenirs did you bring back from Washington DC?”


“Did anything catch your eye while you were in London?”


“Did they pay you an honorarium for guest speaking?”

“Yep. Whisky.”

“I made you something at school today, Daddy.”

“I sure hope it was whisky.”

A few years of such steady mindfulness and the cabinets begin to fill and the selections become vast—something even the angels in heaven begin to envy.

Speaking of…

20160902_215443I’ve been encouraged for some time now by various online pals to add the Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon to my collection, but unfortunately there’d been no confirmed sightings of this elusive creature throughout this barren landscape that is my corner of Michigan. I’ve been ever watchful and vigilant, to be sure, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that my good friend Michael over at Jonna’s Market received a shipment and sent me word.

This is a good dram.

The nose of this amber-flaxoned entity bespeaks a heavenly incense of Touriga Francesas, white chocolate, roasted almonds, and lightly glazed blueberry muffins.

To sip this whiskey is to step into a splendorous glow, letting the creature enfold its downy wings of cream, honey, and warmed red berries around you.

The finish is an unfortunately hasty release of port-soused oak and a nip of spice. Good, yes, but it spreads its massive wings and takes to flight much too soon.

Oh well. At least this divine messenger deigned to visit with me, even if only for a moment. And I know she’ll be back. There’s always a gift-giving holiday lurking around the corner.