Friday, February 17, 2017

God is good all the time. All the time God is good. And, yes, thank God it's Friday!

Remember when I said I couldn't come up with any complaints to share with my doctor, well, I was wondering if I could get a second opinion on that one. I'm just having a little fun this morning on this Friday, February 17, 2017. The wife likes to talk about how easily I fall asleep. I cannot deny that I sleep well, and, based on the many I know who have trouble sleeping, I give God the glory for the rest I am able to get. There are times, however, when I even scare myself. The other day I came into work and got ready for the day. I left before most of the crew got here to go for my doctor's visit. Traffic in and around our area is nothing short of nightmarish these days. Travel, doctor, lab, stopping for a chicken biscuit and coffee, all of that used up nearly 3 hours for the roundtrip. Finished out the day, hurried home and got ready for Wednesday evening services at our local fellowship. Had a great time at the pot luck supper, led thirty minutes of singing, shared in praying for special needs, and then studied God's Word with these brothers and sisters who are so precious to us. Finished up, came home, took my medicine, sat in the recliner and watched an episode of Duck Dynasty. Switched to a rerun of NCIS and the next thing I knew it was after 9 p.m., the TV was turned off, and I had no clue as to where I was. Went to bed. Went to sleep. I've read about the deep sleep stuff. The rapid eye movement phase, etc. All I can say is whatever sleep cycle I was in, I did not pass go and I did not collect $200. When I woke up early Thursday morning I knew I had been on a long journey somewhere but I have no recollection whatsoever of what happened after my head hit my pillow. That's even abnormal for me, but, I rather think I must have needed it, so, I thank God for its invigorating and refreshing influence in my life.

Speaking about that subject, may I just say how concerned I am for our younger generations that have serious sleeping issues. I hear about it all the time. They come to work sleep deprived. Little kids also experience bouts of sleeplessness. Let me state the obvious. That's not healthy, period. Some of it has to do with the electronic gadgets of every description that demand the time and attention of their users. Some of it has to do with the intensity of the games or the shows people watch before their bedtime. I heard one fellow the other day say he knew the pep pills he was taking to keep him alert during the day was likely causing him not to be able to sleep. However, to him, it was a dead end street, because, he couldn't see himself being able to function without them even if they deprived him of the rest he needs at night. Other issues come from medical conditions. Some have chronic pain. Have I ever been in that kind of situation? Throughout my sojourn, most of the time when I couldn't sleep, it had to do with being tied in knots about a family issue, a work situation, or when God was trying to get my attention. Hey, He can do what He knows is best and that includes keeping me awake to hear what He has to say. To be honest, I hear so much about these sleeping problems, I try not to alter my schedule much at all since it is working so well for me. When I offer my schedule as a potential way of helping others, you guessed it, I am typically laughed off the stage. Sorry. That's about all I have to recommend.

You noticed? You are right. I did not mention the use of coffee as a potential cause of sleeplessness. Let me be clear here. There is room for advice and consultation but I consider the coffee discussion to be meddling. You know. Like the preacher says, "I can tell from your reaction that I've moved from preaching to meddling." I'll leave the coffee subject to the discretion of the consumer, although I have been called a Community Coffee evangelist before. And, if you are in the market for a good Louisiana coffee product, well, try it, you'll like it. That one has been used before? I thought for a minute maybe I had come up with something. Lord willing, tomorrow we will be making a one-day turnaround trip over to Louisiana to see mom and dad. Mom has been through a lot over the past six weeks, but, God has been there with her. I am so thankful our sister JoAnn has been able to come and stay to help dad with mom. She has been a HUGE blessing to us all. I do hope you have enjoyed a good work week. Now it is on to Saturday and then the special time of celebration on Lord's Day Sunday. I do hope everyone remembers to thank God for the life He has provided. See you next time and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

You can come out now. Everyone else has left the premises.

Quick update on mom. She is now at home. She ate supper at her own table for the first time in a long time. She actually helped dry the supper dishes. The photo is of her and dad. They are doing their version of watching the 10 p.m. local news. Dad does have the remote, so he can change the channel if he needs to. The status? So far, so good. We plan to go Saturday to check on them. Thanks for all the prayers.

I suppose love is still in the air even as we do our best to deal with today, this one being Thursday, February 16, 2017. I read a report in one of the London online papers that talked about a couple observing their 84th Valentines Day together. That teaser headline got my attention. Essentially, they met in 1931, as neighbors, and grew up together. They married in 1945 after he returned from serving in WWII. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2015. I suppose the 84 is calculated from when they were in school together. He says he still remembers the first time he saw her and how he thought what a cute little girl she was. He is now 95 years young and she is 93. They have no children but are cared for by a couple of nieces. That, my friend, is what I call a long term relationship. They had a photo of them kissing but I think we get the picture here. They have been at this a long time and their testimony should be an encouragement to us all. May God bless them is my prayer. Amen.

I had my six-month diabetic check-up yesterday. I was pretty proud of myself. I didn't set off any alarm systems. They didn't have to call security. I wasn't put in restraints. The doctor didn't run away. I call that a reasonably good appointment. Please don't go around quoting those comments because they were written in jest. You know. A joke. I am anxiously awaiting my A1c report. That's the one that reveals over a longer time frame how well I have been behaving myself in terms of controlling my blood sugar. When the doctor asked me how I was doing I thought about an old fellow we used to attend Church with. When anyone asked him how he was doing he would usually give the same answer, "If I kicked, I ought to be." Sure, I have the aches and pains of a 70-year-old caused by naturally occurring arthritis. I would also like to be maybe twenty pounds lighter. But, honestly, I really couldn't come up with anything to complain about. I discussed with him the good results from my recent colonoscopy. I had another talk about the relaxed guidelines for older people with diabetes. (Bottom line, they relax them because after 65, you have a shorter period of life expectancy to worry about.) We talked about my mom's situation. I asked about his family and how they were doing. We talked about the Christmas holidays and the Santa Enterprise. You know, whatever it took to fill in my fifteen-minute allotment. The really good news, I like my doctor, even though I most likely have socks older than he is.

Sometimes I tend to drone on about this pain or that pain. I came away from the medical complex being thankful that I can operate as well as I can. There were folks there waiting to see their doctor, or waiting for lab work, and, well, for lack of a better way to put it, they were pitiful. Very. Some appeared to be elderly but many were not. They were folks with bad injuries or some type of disease. Like I say, if you are able to get up and get going each day, my belief is how, that, in and of itself, is something to thank God for. I had fasted before doing my lab work. No coffee. No food. Just water. On the way back to the office I stopped at the only convenient place, one with the arches, not the fallen ones like mine, the golden ones. One of the Hispanic workers mentioned to her manager that Santa had come into the store. They both laughed. The manager took my order and when I paid I handed her one of our Santa and Mrs. Claus souvenir cards. She was happy to get it but she looked at the card, looked at me, and she said, "That's not you on the card." Not me on the card? Not me on the card? I asked her if she thought I would be going around handing out a Santa card with someone else's photo on it. I tell you. What is this world coming to? Now you know why I need blood pressure medicine. I'm still processing some of what my doctor said. It went something like this. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, say in your 30's, that's typically a long time to concentrate on your numbers. After 65, there are more potential treatment side effects and typically there's not that long span available to work with. See what I mean? Stuff like that causes me to leave with mixed feelings. You know, it's like when you rescue someone on the highway only to find out he is an IRS investigator on his way to your house. I'll let you try to sort some of this out. I obviously need help. Take care and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." ~ Maya Angelou

Here's another brief update on mom's situation. As of this afternoon, she is supposed to be released and headed for home. There are plenty of unknowns. Is she able to function at home? What about her health? And, what are the options depending on the outcomes experienced? These are all to be determined. One thing we are thankful for. She is much stronger now than when she was released to go home three weeks ago. We are also thankful for dad and his tireless spirit. (People who are around dad forget quickly that he is going on 87.) And, we are thankful our sister JoAnn can be there to help mom and dad deal with this situation. Prayers on behalf of mom and her caregivers are, as always, appreciated.

Welcome to the day after Valentines, here on this Wednesday, February 15, 2017. I think we all know that genuine love is one that cost something. When it comes to the actual day set aside to recognize love, well, they tell us that nearly $20 billion was projected to be spent. My wife gave me one of those beautiful Hallmark cards. I made her one on my computer at home. It did require ink and paper. We did eat out. Therefore, we were active participants to some degree in this economic outlay. Dad sent a box of Valentines candy home with me the other day, and I helped consume some of its contents. That did elicit a response from my better half. "Don't you know you are not supposed to be eating candy?" And this one, "Do you have any willpower whatsoever?" I thought about telling her I didn't want them to go stale but I knew that wouldn't fly. She couldn't have cared less about the missing candy and I very well know she says those things out of love and a concern for me paying attention to my diabetic condition. When I posted a Valentines Day greeting on Facebook to acknowledge my love for her, this is what it said, "My Goal: 'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;...' Ephesians 5:25, (New American Standard Translation)" That has kept me busy for a long time and while I don't always meet that test, it's not from a lack of trying, and just so you know, I've learned it is a 24x7 work in progress. Bottom line for me: Just keep at it.

You only have to wait for it because you know it's coming. The feigned outrage loudly proclaimed by those who oppose everything the current administration is doing is now being juxtaposed to the previous similar if not the same views of those now expressing the outrage. Public statements, public votes, and in speeches and correspondence, the archives tell the story of what it means to be a corrupt political animal. I'm not saying party affiliation here. I'm talking about how the system works. How can you tell your constituents in good faith, with tears, how horrible this immigration ban is when you supported and voted for a bill five years ago that would have done the same thing? We can grasp clearly this quote from the late poet, Richard Armour, "Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong." I can say Amen to that one! So let the blame game continue because it has always been around. In fact, an anonymous quote puts it all in context, "George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles."

Sorry about the political commentary but I couldn't resist. You read what she said about my willpower. Two of the notes I received regarding me achieving 2500 blogs said they looked forward to reading my next 2500 blogs. Are you kidding me? If that were achievable and it took me the same amount of time as the first 2500, I would be still aiming my old crooked fingers at the keyboard at age 81. Speaking of age, I don't know about you but when President George H. W. was pushed in a wheelchair across the field with wife Barbara tagging along in that little cart to do the coin toss at this year's Superbowl, I thought my heart would nearly burst. Respect, pride, and love for our country all wrapped up together in a two-minute presentation. I suppose that's what happens to us sentimental old coots. I can't remember if I had a tear or not, but, I can assure you there were some waiting in the wings. Oh well, in this case, I cannot deny the allegation or the alligator. I do hope you will have yourself a wonderful rest of the day on this Wednesday. We will be meeting at the place where other like-minded believers meet tonight for a time of food, fellowship, and Bible study. Some ask me why I go to the mid-week services. Simple. I need all the help I can get. And, also, I am the Bible teacher but that doesn't change one iota of what I said about how I need it. Love, politics, and a little preaching. That should do it for today. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day, on this Tuesday, February 14, 2017. The first time I saw this young lady I didn't really see her. She was actually sitting at our kitchen table. She and some other young ladies were visiting with my sister since they were all a part of a Gospel singing school at a nearby Church. I didn't really see her. I knew she was there but I didn't focus on any of them. They were all laughing and talking. Later that week, in what I believe to be August of 1962, I was persuaded to go with some other fellows to check out the girls at the singing school. I went. When the singing school concluded for that evening several of the girls crammed into the cab of a pickup truck. Back in the country, we weren't too creative in our approaches, therefore, they left and we chased them in our vehicle. Outside of town they did the unthinkable, they stopped. I walked up to the passenger side of the truck. There she was. Face to face. Suddenly, every bit of the air in my body left. It's a wonder I did not collapse on the spot. I've always called it love at first sight, but, whatever it was, however it is described, I still remember that feeling when I look at her. Yep. Still do. After all these years. Happy Valentines Sweetheart, and always remember, "Baby you're the greatest!"

Neither I or the wife hear as well as we did in our younger years. This can lead to some humorous exchanges. Sometimes getting it right matters, and sometimes it doesn't. I read this little ditty that reminds us all that it is important to hear some things with precise understanding. It seems this fellow who was a widower and aged 82 had gone to the doctor for his check up. A few days later the doctor saw the man on the street and he had this gorgeous young woman on his arm. Several days after that, the doctor was able to speak to the man and he told him he must be doing great. The man responded by telling the doctor that he was only trying to do exactly what the doctor had instructed. The man said he was told to get a hot mamma and be cheerful. The doctor jumped back. "I didn't tell you to do that. I said you had a heart murmur and that you should be careful." We've never had a misheard comment with that kind of impact, however, we've had some real doozies and my guess is that in this particular area, we've only just begun.

Speaking of a love story, mom and dad are amazing. Dad is stubborn and set in his ways. However, he is hopelessly devoted to our mom. He is always thinking of ways to try and make things a little easier for her. Watching them is pretty remarkable. Talk about not hearing! When he spends the day with mom at the hospital, his report is always based on his way of seeing and hearing what it going on. Those have proven to not always be reliable, but, they are always fueled by his tremendous devotion and his optimistic hope for her full recovery. He has told me in the past that he hopes that God will take mom first so that he can take care of her until she goes. Watching him feed mom, fix her coffee just like she likes it, and to make conversation that neither of them fully understands, well, it does represent a treasure for our entire family. Love. And, that love demonstrated by duty which requires time and effort. It might not be the kind of stuff ladies like to watch on the Hallmark channel, but, it is something we all should thank God for. A legacy of love, if you will. Okay. I think I've exhausted the love theme for today except to remind us all of the greatest love ever shown. That would be the love that put our Lord and Savior on the Cross in our place. Now we are talking about love! See you next time and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I know. There's not much of a theme, but, then again, what's new about that?

Hello once again and welcome to back-to-work Monday. This one appears to be okay in associating itself with February 13, 2017. Seeing the bumpy start by this new administration does not bother me. (Being redundant here, but keep in mind, I voted for Mr. Trump but I did not support his candidacy.) Washington D.C. suffers from a terminal illness with its main symptoms being its own self-awareness and self-preservation. Part of that is to view everything through the lens of its own making. It's the establishment lens. The mainstream uses it only when it suits their purposes. The many gaffes of President Obama were overlooked because he was their man. Every little misstep in this new start-up is presented to the country as being catastrophic. The patient feels very threatened. I'm willing to see the wheels come off if it will bring even modest change. I think a majority of my fellow citizens see it the same way. A majority. Last time I checked, that meant more than 50%, but, even a casual observer can see where the haters who are the minority own the headlines and for the most part, the airwaves as well. Yet, folks out in the boondocks who were not considered in the past, they continue to support the change they voted for. That's where the majority comes in. In discussing these hiccups being played out on the world stage I mentioned to someone the other day a weekly TV program that we watch. It's 'Larry's Country Diner' on RFD-TV. It's a one-hour program recorded live without all the staging and cue cards that most programs use. At the end of every program, the announcer signs off with these words, "Where the cameras are always rolling," he then invites the audience to help him with these words, "and we don't care!" Sure, I would like to see things work a little more smoothly, perhaps. However, the swamp is fighting back, and while I don't see it being drained, I do see some of it being diluted, therefore, as for the messiness the media interprets as the sky falling, my response to their hysteria is much like that show sign off, "I don't really care." Based on recent polling, that silent majority that finally found their voice during the last presidential election feels the same way.

Given our viewpoints on our nation, we didn't watch one second of the Grammy's. No red carpet, no behind the scenes, and none of their wacko speeches. I'll ask you a question. Why in heaven's name do people allow folks who demonstrate every deviant form of behavior to lecture them and their children on matters of politics and policy? I can't figure that one out. I really can't. It's like those recognizable movie stars who are against guns but have made their fortunes making violent movies. I know everyone has issues with hypocrisy, however, when it is blatantly in your face, it gets very tiresome as the lectures on how everyone else should operate their lives go on and on and on. The leftist agenda may be somewhat in disarray after this most recent election, however, the celebrities, for the most part, are in full court pressure in terms of using every opportunity they have to denounce the current administration and to promote their lifestyle choices. Who are influenced by these people? For the most part: Our children. They are the ones listening to their music, watching their TV shows, and buying tickets to their movies. I've actually seen kids on Facebook being shamed into showing support for this so-called movement. Celebrity influence married to peer pressure, it's a powerful weapon and we might better pay attention. For the good of our children and the future of our nation.

As always, you don't have to be in the dark as to how I see it. Here's a quick update from my trip over to Louisiana to see mom this past Saturday. As I have mentioned before, she has her good days and she has her not-so-good days. Saturday was one of her not-so-good days, however, they did finally give her something to calm her nerves and she slept for the five hours we were there. She was resting peacefully. I so appreciate our middle son, Jimmy, going with me. He did the driving. That was a big help. Mom was glad to see him. While I got to ride along which was better for me, it still didn't pacify Uncle Arthur, (arthritis), who likes to do a number of my hips when I am riding. Maybe I need a more comfortable vehicle. You know. A seat in the car that is comparable to one of those sleep number beds. Oh. That's right. We don't have one of those sleep number beds. Just thinking out loud here. Tomorrow is Valentines Day. One of my nieces posted something on Facebook that brought a smile. It said if your boyfriend writes you a note that says happy valentimes day, well, it's best to drop him, period, end of story. That reminds me. I had better check the spelling on the card I made for you know who. Take care. Be blessed. And, thank God for His provisions. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, February 10, 2017

You've got to be kidding. Displaced by Mickey and Barbie!

Just so you know, I didn't stay up late celebrating the 2500 blogs I've written. I did receive several notes with some very kind and encouraging sentiments. Thanks so much. The wife congratulated me and took special note of the shortness of my first blog. I didn't know she was that much into brevity. Now it's time to get on with it or as they say in the old country across the pond, "One moves on." I'm glad to report there is good news afoot. It's Friday. This one presents itself as February 10, 2017. Not too many years ago the most recognizable fictional character in our nation was Santa Claus. He won that designation year after year. Over the past decade or so, Mickey Mouse and Barbie have muscled their way into the top three. Santa is second on some lists and third on others. Mickey is first on many lists and Barbie is first on some as well. My point? Santa is no longer consistently the most recognizable fictional character. To be honest, I take that somewhat personally. Think about it. Since we are talking fiction here, I wonder how many times folks have awakened and found that Mickey and Barbie showed up with gifts for everyone? Yeah. Typically, those two characters involve the purchasing of their likeness, buying their products, and watching their programs. Santa is a symbol of the gift of giving, the spirit of Christmas, and the joy of a child at Christmastime. I'm not that fond of finishing behind a fake mouse and a plastic doll. Can't the Millennials see how unfair and unjust these rankings are? No. I am not asking for a participation trophy. I just would like for folks to wake up. Before it's too late because I am not going to be a happy camper if I slip to 4th place behind Spiderman or one of those freaky Anime characters. You can quote me on that.

While the facts about those rankings are true, I shared it, hoping to add a little levity to our day. Yes. I am aware of the joke about adding very little levity. I, at least tried, Ollie. (Stan and Ollie, Laural and Hardy) I know many of you get these dated references but I do try to explain them for those who may be part of the younger crowd. I'm just trying to prove that us older folks do know a funny story when we see it. I read about an older couple who came out of the movie theater and spotted a cop writing a ticket. "Why don't you give a senior citizen a break?" The police officer was annoyed and started writing a second ticket for bald tires. The wife took over and called the cop an idiot. This name calling went on for about 20 minutes. The more names the old people used, the more tickets the officer wrote. Finally, the bus pulled up, the old people got on and waved to the confused officer of the law. This was the little story these folks told to let people know how, as retirees, they entertain themselves each day. For those of you with good recall, you will recognize I had previously shared a version of that little story last August. Today it was one that came to my mind and since my mind is the only one I have to work with, I decided to go with it. And, here's another thing to consider, haven't you ever heard of recycling?

I may be the number one encouragement for people learning how to effectively use the skip function. I do try to contribute wherever I can. I have another trip planned for tomorrow over to Louisiana to visit mom. One of these days I will climb into my old pickup and point it in that direction and it will find its way on its own. Mom continues to make progress, albeit, very slow. She had at least one very challenging day this week. However, sometimes when I call her she sounds like she did before this all began with her fall back on December 30, of last year. When she does, it causes me to jump back a little, but, I am very thankful for even a few minutes like that. The other day she asked her primary care why he thought her mental faculties might be slipping. He told her to think about all that she, as a 92-year-old, has been through. She fell and broke a bone in her hip requiring emergency surgery. That required anesthesia which is problematic for someone her age. She then developed pneumonia and had to be treated for that. Her heart has been an issue during this process. After being sent home, she had to be readmitted to the hospital with a urinary tract infection. Now she is in rehab again. The doctor said those events would cause a problem for nearly anyone, regardless of their age. I think that confirms what I continue to report: She is a remarkable woman and we thank God for His working in her life. Take care. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I'll catch back up with you later. May God bless. Amen. ...More later

Thursday, February 9, 2017

“We have deemed all these words necessary in order to explain that we have been traveling more slowly than was predicted, concision is not a definitive virtue, on occasion one loses out by talking too much, it is true, but how much has also been gained by saying more than was strictly necessary.” ― José Saramago, Author, 'The Stone Raft'

I started to say that I am speechless, but, that would not only be less than accurate, it would be very misleading. Today I come to you for the 2,500th time in this forum. It is being experienced here on this day, Thursday, February 9, 2017. I want to thank everyone who has read my stuff throughout this journey. Also, special thanks to those who have encouraged me in this effort, and, those who have offered their comments and insights regarding something I published. I couldn't really come up with anything profound to share, therefore, I decided to go with the following. It is a repeat of sorts since I've done it before, but, I think it appropriate today. Here is my very first blog, again, for the first time, as it were.

May 9, 2007

Well, it took me over sixty years to get here and as Yogi Berra reportedly said, "You sure can observe a lot just by watching". That observation stuff, however, can be both good and bad especially if you are determined not to revise any of it, that is, if that's possible since reflections and memories over time tend to take on a life of their own as they all become fused together. Some days it's "Wow, I can't believe the life I have enjoyed!", while another day might be, "Hey, I'm not sure I can make one more day!". This is how it works in the so-called real world and we have trouble because the roller coaster ride can start without notice at any time even right smack in the middle of one of those really great days and suddenly you find your heart pounding and breath interrupted by the crashing ride. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic but with age, maturity, family, more family, relationships, issues, challenges, and chaos all around, it can be quite daunting.

However, I call this blog The View From Here because when it's all said and done, it's the way I see it. You most likely see it differently but that's what blogging is all about. We can speak from our viewpoint, our way of interpreting all the things we have to deal with, and in general, the viewfinder through which we see the world, and especially our world.

One final thought in this opening monologue: I know that without God as the foundation of my life through my identity with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be little hope in all the ups and downs encountered in this journey called life.

Yes. That's how it all began back in May of 2007. I'm not sure but it wouldn't surprise me if I'm listed somewhere as a mass murderer of keystrokes. During this nearly ten year run, I've sent plenty of them to the happy hunting grounds. I'm still evaluating options going forward but in the meantime, I will continue to continue. So far, I haven't heard the music stop, therefore, I've not yet scrambled to find an empty chair to sit in. I close today's edition by giving thanks to Almighty God with full assurance that any of His Word that I have shared along the way has the power to change a life. That I know to be true, by experience. Until next time, thanks again, and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later. (for now)