Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

• Fish Creek beach.
• A little like heaven.
• Tragedy at Independence, Kansas.
• The process of pain.
• Any good purpose for the trials of life?

Fish Creek, Wisconsin is a tiny village pregnant with tourists in Door County – a finger of land that sticks out into Lake Michigan about a hundred miles north of Chicago.

View of the peaceful bay in Fish Creek, from the beach. Click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

FISH CREEK BEACH. I’m typing up my thoughts on my deck at 3 pm. Across the road is a beach. It’s not a man’s beach like in Australia with enormous waves crashing on miles of golden sand, and tanned surfer-hunks on the watch for rip tides. Fish Creek beach is only 75 yards long, with lawn not sand, and of course the water is fresh lake water not salt. But the kiddos love it. No megalodons here!

Twenty yards from my deck is a restaurant called the Blue Horse Cafe. I ordered a mocha frappuccino decaf. And it was a perfect coffee for sipping from the deck!

FISH CREEK, WISCONSIN, IS A LITTLE LIKE HEAVEN. The weather has been a sunny 80F – ideal for bathing or walking or shopping or hiking. From the deck I can hear the squeals of children swimming at the “beach”. And I can see the faces, all happy, sauntering along the street. Old folks, millennials, children, babes in strollers. All eager to explore the exquisite town of Fish Creek.

Second view of the bay in Fish Creek, from the beach.

In contrast, THE NEWS FROM INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS, LAST WEEK WAS TRAGIC (I have family in Independence.) A successful businessman, Tim Valentine, died when piloting his small plane that crashed in Oklahoma. Also dead were a separate family of four: Bill Warner, his son, and his two young grand-children, all from Independence. Tim was a lay minister in a church. Such a tragedy for Independence! Brenda Warner, Bill’s wife, lost her husband, her son, and two grand-children.

According to Californian Pastor Rick Warren, pain and suffering in life coexist with happiness and excitement. Its like two rails in a railroad track.

Lake Michigan at Garrett Bay, Door county, was tranquil delight.


MASSIVE DISTRESS. I have been reading a book called Live – Love – Lead, by Brian Houston. He’s an Australian pastor who started the ministry called Hillsong, now an international church famous for its creative songs of worship. In this book Brian discusses the horror and shame of finding out that his own father, a minister of the church for many years, was a pedophile, and was arrested. Suffering a shock like this dropped Brian into a lengthy period of depression with anxiety attacks. But out of this comes practical advice and encouragement to people in distress from hurt or pain or shame:


Houston writes transparently about this in a chapter called UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF PAIN. Below are some valuable bullet excerpts from this chapter:
• Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770. He named Botany Bay, near Sydney, and encountered aborigines for the first time. After this excitement, he crashed his wooden sailing ship, the HMS Endeavour, on the Great Barrier Reef. His crew tossed overboard everything they could lay their hands on – tools, bags of grain, jars of olives, even cannons. The ship became lighter and rose above the reef, and they were able to beach it for repairs, which took seven weeks. They called the place Cape Tribulation.

• Life consists of pain, disappointment, fear, and challenges as well as joy, excitement, confidence, and comfort.
• We must not get stuck in our pain.
• Suffering is not from God, but he uses our suffering because with God nothing is wasted. God took a bullet for us – the cross. He defeated sin and death so we can have joy and hope. Because of this we can endure life’s trials.
• But like Captain Cook, we often have to lighten our load if we want to keep sailing. Sometimes we have to change the way we’re living.

Replica of captain Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour. Click on image to enlarge or to source, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

• We often feel that WE CAN’T SEE ANY GOOD PURPOSE IN THE TRIALS OF LIFE. But its amazing how God can use the experience to take us forward. To make us stronger, wiser, more compassionate. To give us more depth, or our business a new lease on life. To give our family a second chance at affection and understanding. To force us into the arms of God for a more intimate relationship.

• We can cooperate with the solution rather than remain a victim of the problem.
• We can seek out the power of community for help through a difficult problem. We need the comfort of others and their support.

• What begins as a prison of pain can become a prism of praise. In the Bible, Joseph was kidnapped by his brothers, sold as a slave to Egypt, accused falsely by his owner’s wife, and jailed as a result. “His soul was in the iron.” But God pulled him through eventually, and he rose to become the CEO of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.

Kayakers in calm water on Lake Michigan at Garrett Bay, Door county.


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PS: I write blogs about Inspiration and Hope, Science and Energy, and Health and Hiking.

The Gray Nomad ….. Travel and gain perspective
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Book of Romans, chapter 8].

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Don M
Don M
5 years ago

Ian I enjoyed this blog post. It is full of good advice, and outlines true principles that can help each of us to learn how to live happliy. I believe “Opposition in all things” is a true principle, which works for our good. This one and the other principles outlined in this blog, ring true to me. During the easy times of my life I did not see much personal or spiritual growth. However, during the trying times, when I had to depend on God and the Holy Spirit for guidance, I gained much in the way of spiritual and personal growth. Thanks for your guidance and interest in other people’s wellbeing.

Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark
5 years ago

It is 6:38 am and I just read your blog. I am sitting here with tears falling all over the keyboard. Thank you Ian, for taking the time to write. Your great wisdom, kind heart, patience and a host of other attributes is a balm for humanity. Sincere thanks for taking the time to share.

Your description of Fish Creek put me right out there on the beach and I can almost taste the frappuccino. The analogies touched my soul so deeply the tears still won’t stop. May God bless you and keep you always. I have said it before and I will say it again….you’re a wonderful writer.

5 years ago

Ian I loved this blog. It is one of the best blogs I have read. Please keep them coming.

David Burnett
5 years ago

Thanks for the story Ian. But don’t try to go back to Wisconsin in January.
Dave Burnett

5 years ago

Hello Mr. Ian,
It’s sad to hear the loss for 4 members of a family. I don’t know what it feels like but I pray the God of comfort and compassion will embrace the woman today and in the months to come.

We have all experienced pain and suffering and losses through this life journey. One thing I do to draw closer to my created Father God is thru a lot of good old songs of worship…. 24/7….
Until I’m able to work out the situation, or sometimes until I’m able to receive His healing provision for me. Psalm 23.1-6.

Great message my friend. Beautiful pictures of the lake ..thanks

Kevin K
Kevin K
5 years ago

Great read Ian. The only thing I don’t understand is how you call a mocha Frappuccino decaf coffee!

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