Exploring the Biblical meaning of 'Loving Our Neighbors’

About the Author

Peter W. Ahlstrom




Pete was born in a log farmhouse in the middle of a cold Upper Peninsula of Michigan winter. His mother died when he was two months old, and he was raised by his grandparents on their farm near Iron River. 

He earned his BA degree from Northwest University (Kirkland, Washington), and his MA from the University of Denver, with one term each at the Universities of Michigan and Washington. He headed Northwest University’s library for eight years, then held public library management positions in Idaho, California, and Florida. He served as Idaho's Executive Director for National Library Week, and as President of the Idaho Library Association. He was listed in Marquis’ "Who’s Who in the West."

While living in southern California, his first marriage ended in divorce.

Three years later he met his present wife, Yvonne, in Florida. Their first child, Yvette, was conceived in Florida and born in California; while the second, Bill, was conceived in California and born in Florida.

In 1980, Pete joined Computer Sciences Corporation in San Diego as a senior technical librarian. A year later he was transferred to the Space Shuttle program in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Then Martin Marietta hired him to help build a proposed Space Shuttle launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and made him a "master planner." Two years later, Martin transferred him to Florida to help plan and build advanced radars, night vision systems, and missile systems.

This book began while he worked for Martin Marietta in Orlando.  During a backyard baseball game, he tore the muscles in his right leg badly enough to end up in bed for a month. Going "stir crazy," he leafed through his entire Bible, listing passages about "loving our neighbors." The 600 verses he found then (which later grew to over 3,500), plus many of his family’s personal experiences, laid the foundation for this book.

When the Cold War ended, the Orlando defense plant where Pete worked was cut from 17,000 employees to under 4,000. Pete’s "pink slip" came at 5,500. At the same time, Yvonne’s doctor told her she had spinal arthritis and had to leave Florida’s humidity or face life in a wheelchair. None of the family wanted that, so they moved to the drier West to look for Pete’s next job. Losing their home in the layoff began a nearly six-year "homeless" period, living mostly in their small tent trailer.

From 1994 until 1999 the whole family traveled with a major discount store chain in eight western states, one store per week, making name-related gifts as representatives of "The Name Zone." They continued that work over the Internet for several years after settling in Wyoming in 1999.

While living in Wyoming, Pete worked at the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County for five years. In 2004 he was given SOS Staffing Services' National "Employee of the Year" Award for that work (out of 80,000 employees in 15 states and Canada).  

In his free time, he enjoys exploring the remote desert plains, canyons and mountains of western Wyoming and northwestern Colorado.




















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