Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Give credit where credit is due. The rural letter-carriers are more considerate than their urban counterparts. All of the packages marked "Fragile" are thrown underhanded in the rural stations." ~ copied

Welcome one and all to the continuing serialized saga of yours truly. Today's episode comes to you live and in person on this Thursday, July 20, 2017. I know most of you wonder about me running out of things to talk about. I get that. I will share something with you if you promise not to spread it. I ran out a long time ago, I just didn't stop banging on the keyboard. Here's how Solomon, the wisest man ever to walk on this earth, outside of the Living Lord of the Universe, Jesus the Christ, put it, "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9) I suppose that means I'm in good company. Or maybe not. Probably not. I'm pretty sure, not. As you can see, that will not deter me. It might derail me, but it will not keep me from my appointed rounds. (I took that from the post office slogan, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.") That reminds me. We have a new postal route carrier. He is a young African American fellow. I went out the other day and met him, shook hands with him, and gave him one of my Santa cards. I told him I thought it was important for him to know who he was delivering mail to. I did that. I really did. If nothing else, it gave him something to talk about when he got home. I try to help in any way I can. 

The image I used in the first paragraph may not connect very well, but, I saw it the other day and knew I had to share it. The biggest of the big bosses at the big company where I worked in what seems now to have been in a galaxy far, far away, well, he got stopped by the police one evening for speeding. I knew about it because the group I headed was given the responsibility for installing a car phone in the foreign sports car that belonged to her. This was the early days of car phone technology. The phone was a gift to his daughter. We located the best folks we could find, paid a premium to break into line, but they never installed one in a little sports car like that one. They were running late. I was sweating bullets because it was to be presented at a surprise birthday party. A costume party. Our big boss was going as a gorilla. We ran late. He had to wear the costume in the car. He was stopped for speeding wearing a gorilla suit. The phone in his daughter's little car worked. She was so happy. I was too. It was important because it meant that I lived to fight another day. Yep. That's how it worked back in those days. 

Would I have lost my job if that phone had not worked? Who knows? But, that was the way we looked at dealing with executive requests, back in those days. Just so you know, my recollection of happenings in the past may have undergone some level of editing over time. One does begin to lose some focus and crispness as it relates to the recalling of specific details on remembered events. I was reminded of how this works when dealing with folks from my past during the home going of our parents. When we reminiscence, it's hard to always know whether you can actually recall the specific good time or event being discussed, or, whether it might be a recollection based on photos or just hearing about it before. I started to say our minds are funny that way, but, it's best to limit my assessment to my own experiences, making it better stated, my mind is funny that way. Not ha ha funny, just, funny. If you don't have any idea what I am talking about then you can feel good that you are still in full contact with all of your faculties. You do get to pass go but don't look for a $200 check in your mail box, anytime soon. I think it may be time for my nap now. Enjoy your day and may God bless us all. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." ~ Romans 3:23

Don't worry about it being a new intruder, it's only me. Thanks so much for showing up where I will shoot the breeze in a kind of one way fashion here at the ole blogger ranch on this Wednesday, July 19, 2017. People today are really fascinated with reality shows on TV. The new cable series "Live PD", as in police department, on the A and E channel, has become somewhat of 'must see' for us. We like it because it is, for the most part, happening in real time, live. The only editing they do is when there is a horrible accident or other tragedy and they purposely do not show victims. In that show, you see people who come in contact with the police for who they really are. Many times that is not very pretty. But, by the way, it works in the exact same way for us all. I recently was teaching through Genesis and we were looking closely at the dysfunctional families beginning with Adam and Eve and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Talk about a reality show! The truth is, they were no different than you and me today. Sure. It was different times, but, they were thoroughly human, and fallen. I heard a preacher the other day talking about when he tried to correct his three-year-old granddaughter, she put her hands on her hips and let him know that he couldn't tell her what to do. Where did that come from? From within, that's where. And, it's the same for Abraham, for that preacher, the little granddaughter, and for you and I today. God, because of His love, provided a remedy for this condition of ours. He sent His one and only Son to die for all those under Adam's curse. Any who receive His sacrifice will live eternally with Him. Thinking about this great need, and that would be me, well, I don't know about you, but, I am so glad He did what He did for me! Amen.

Some tend to want to put the people in the Bible on a pedestal. And, while many are worthy of recognition for their demonstrated faith and courage, they had to live out their days, make decisions, take actions, and go about the living of their lives just like we do in the 21st century. That's why we can relate to the truths God chose to preserve concerning the individuals mentioned in The Scriptures. I am not angling for a love offering here, just sharing what bubbled up on this day. As most of you know, we've had to deal with death in our family in recent days. That is when the reality of the truth God has given to us really hits home. At the same time, life goes on. Steven Wright told this joke, "I recently attended the funeral of a clown friend of mine, all his friends rode in one car." I can't be sure why but I thought that one was really funny. I also read the testimony of a lady who said some of her relatives had coached a little girl on what to say to her dying grandfather. She memorized, "I hope you pull through." When they went into his room, the grandfather pulled the little girl up close to him and said, "I am at death's door." The little girl did not hesitate. "I hope they pull you through."

I was trying to come up with a 'walk off' closing statement similar to the 'walk off' homer to end the game, but, I couldn't come up with anything, so, I will, instead, continue to torture the language for us all. Here's one for you. The other day I had to have some pipe threaded at a mom and pop hardware store near where I work every day. When I went to check out, an older fellow came in and ran over to me. We shook hands. I thought he was going to hug me. He said he had been to see me several times but I wasn't at home. I had never seen this fellow in my life. Before I could say anything he told me he was having a pretty bad time. I asked what was going on. He said he had to bury his wife last week. I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't know him. He went on. He talked about some people that I assume we both were supposed to know. I was trying to walk out but he followed me. I told him about losing mom and dad. I patted his shoulder and shook hands with him again. We had a pretty good visit. I did everything I could for him except maybe having prayer with him. I do feel sorry for the real person when he sees him next time and that person can't even remember the good conversation they had down at the hardware store. I tell you. If it's not one thing, well, it's something else. Now I can add to my resume that I am the long lost friend of someone I never met before. What a life! Enjoy, and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“Some writers aren't writers, they are mere escapees' and refugees' on an exile from the jungle of thoughts.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson, Freelance writer

I've been thinking. I agree. That's always a potentially dangerous thing for me to be doing. As I contemplate what it is ricocheting forth and back in my head, it reminded me of that Willie Nelson song with this line, "That lucky old sun ain't got nothing to do but roll around heaven all day." I know. That doesn't make a lot of sense. Maybe not to you. But, that's the way it goes with many of my deep thoughts, they got nothing to do but roll around my head all day. And, this day happens to be Tuesday, July 18, 2017.  What exactly are the thoughts I am talking about? That's a very good question, my friend, very good, indeed. And, at some point and time, I will likely share them, if I haven't already, or if I remember them. With me, you never know because I'm not always sure that I know. However, now that I have thoroughly confused us all including myself, let's see if there is any socially redeeming material left to discuss. And, I do promise to keep you posted on that stuff rolling around all day.

I'm glad my readers do not charge for these therapy sessions. At any rate, we are really living in some pretty weird times. Don't you think so? I don't know where all these shenanigans in Washington will take us, but, seeing them play out each day, well, I really would rather watch sausage being made. One of the things I feared from the get go was when most all of the conservative religious media threw their support behind Trump. I thought it was okay for them to endorse him as a candidate given the choices available, however, they went way beyond that. They are now in the tank and today their daily programming is consumed by their attempts to rationalize all that is happening while still defending their support. I said 'most all'. I'm very glad to report there are outlets that continued to play only Christian programming with preaching, teaching, and music that honors God. That is in keeping with their charter. Those that did jump into the political fray, well, their daily programming now sounds more like what you hear on those flame throwing conservative shows on secular channels. I've observed this development and I fear that it could lead to the proverbial laying down with a pack of dogs and ending up plagued by ticks. Or something like that.

At the viewing time for our dad, a lady came up to me. She acted like I knew her but I didn't. She said she would not be able to attend the service the next day because she needed to support a man's family because he would be undergoing some serious surgery. I told her that was very understandable. She called out the man's name. I told her I knew him very well from more than 50 years ago. She looked puzzled. I told her he had been very influential in my life. She was really wondering now. I explained that way back then he was a contractor doing brick work. I was in-between jobs and I signed on with him to be his helper on doing the brick work on a large residence. I worked with him for two weeks. He was a master brick layer and he could sling mortar and lay bricks almost in a blurred motion. It was my job to keep the bricks coming and to mix the mortar. Back breaking. He was always waiting for me. Two weeks. At the end of that project I made the decision that perhaps administrative and office work was better suited to my inclinations and abilities. I actually had personally thanked him for that very thing when he came to my mom's viewing. He didn't even remember us working together. That's okay, because I do, and I made sure he knew how much I appreciated him for helping to direct my career choices. He laughed. I did too but that doesn't mean I have forgotten the aches and pains from that little adventure. I've told that before but it does seem to surface from time to time. Enjoy the rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Donald Trump owes an apology to the millions of Mexicans in this country who have contributed their talents towards making the United States the envy of the world.” ~ Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.)

Welcome back from our brief respite as we continue the journey here on this back-to-work Monday, July 17, 2017. The other day I carried a couple of fellows here from the Company for a field project. They are both originally from Mexico. I put the radio on a Spanish music station. I noticed something that I had no reason to know before. I heard the name Trump and Trump care in the commercials in-between songs. Not surprising, it sounded like it was negative. So, I asked. They responded. "No one like Trump." Me, "why?" "He make many changes. Immigration, sanctuary cities, education, and medical." "He is not like Obama." I tried to explain how the so called affordable healthcare system is not affordable at all, especially moving forward. I could tell they were skeptical. One asked if I was a Trump man. I told them I did not support him as a candidate, but, in the election, there was no way I could vote for Hillary Clinton. They indicated some level of understanding my point of view, but, it was good to hear their thoughts and concerns about something we all read and hear about every day in the news. While I disagree with their understanding of the arguments, I do support anyone's right to have an opinion. The commercials on the stations they listen to no doubt are doing their best to shape that understanding.

And there you were, thinking that field reporting was no longer viable. You heard it directly from the 'man on the street', well, in this case, the man in the truck with two fellows riding with me. You know. It was the classic captive audience. From both points of view. I can remember back in the day when the comedy programs did skits with a reporting talking to those on the street. I've been around long enough to remember show host Steve Allen's regular 'Man on the Street' routines. That segment helped launch the careers of people like Bill Dana, Pat Harrington, Louis Nye, Tom Poston and Don Knotts. I actually remember all of them. Most will likely remember Don Knotts in the role of Deputy Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show, but, I remember the others as well. My man on the street interview was more of a reality piece, but, as I was attempting to explain my views using words and hand signs, there was some laughing as well.

For those not on Facebook, I wouldn't want you to miss out on the photo taken of our newest family addition, our great granddaughter, Gabriella or Gabi. They showed up last Thursday evening and thanks to our granddaughter Brittany for bringing the baby over for a visit. It was a surprise for me. If it was intended to take the edge off, and I know that wasn't the reason, it did. And, I enjoyed the couple of hours immensely. When we talked, I could tell her Paw Paw, our Chris, enjoyed me enjoying little Gabi. As you can see, it also gave me a head start on holding babies for the upcoming Christmas season. I did speed watch the Ron Howard version of 'The Grinch' one day last week during lunch. I don't know why, but, I wanted to watch something about Christmas and I landed on that one on Netflix. I watched the hour and a half movie in about 30 minutes. I've seen it a few times so I didn't miss out on anything that I skipped through. See what I mean? You wouldn't even think about wanting to have to deal with what I have to deal with every day. Me. Myself. And, I. Count that as a blessing. Now you have something to be thankful for on this Monday. Maybe you could hum Jingle Bells or something just to keep the mood going. See you next time and may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, July 14, 2017

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~ unattributed

This is that very famous day of the week that so many long for as they travel this earthly sod. That's right. It's Friday, and this one happens to fall on July 14, 2017. I suppose I am going to be thanking people for a long time as we continue our journey. So many have been so very kind during these past seven months where we dealt with the inevitability of having to lay mom and dad to rest, but, none of us would have ever thought it would have been these seven months, in this year. My sister JoAnn sent that photo. I worked on it a little and added the digital frame. I had not even remembered it being taken. That is, with me in it. I like it because it tells a story. We all, our entire family, did what we could to support these two that God had given into our lives. I've had people tell me how that our devotion to seeing after our parents has been an inspirational testimony. Really? I'm not being overly humble here, but, to me, and I mean this, it was our privilege, and more to the point, it was, my privilege to do what I could on their behalf. I'm blessed because God provided me the means to be there as much as I could and I am also blessed to work for people who supported me. One day I was talking to my brother Victor just before dad's passing. I told him I wasn't in a big hurry to get over there because I had no unpaid bills with our dad. We were up to date. With each other. He mentioned that was a good way to put it. That's what I think about when I look at that portrait. No regrets. We did what we could and I thank God for the peace that comes with that realization. Amen.

Now. When it comes to all that was done each and every day by those in our family who acted as hands-on caretakers for mom and dad, well, their example of devotion is one that none of us will ever forget. Again, my brother Victor, he mentioned at dad's home-going service how that if you look up true love in the dictionary you will find a picture of those lovingly serving our mom and dad. Now it's my turn to say, that's a good way to put it. Let me try to put that into some perspective. While I did put many miles going forth and back to check on them, when my visit was concluded, I returned home. Mom first, and then dad, they each required 24x7 care, and we were blessed to have family who stood in the gap for them. Yes. We were especially blessed to have our niece MaryBeth, a licensed nurse, who cared for both of them. But, there were many others as well. And, while we did provide some minimum financial compensation for MaryBeth, I can assure you, the care our parents received could not have been purchased out in the public domain. Again, that does what? It makes us thankful as we are humbled in how God worked through our family to honor our parents. Amen.

We continue to get cards from those who care. These expressions of love, support, and sympathy are appreciated. The good news about mom and dad is how their being such blessings to us all does help us to move on. We were not shortchanged with their time here. They both lived lives of significance. They both made contributions in their own ways to the helping of others in their family, in their Church, in their community, and to those in need all around. I think of mom's ongoing commitment in her support for St. Jude's Research Hospital where children are treated for cancer, free of charge. I think of dad's willingness to spend countless hours helping a veteran friend get all his affairs in order as he lived out his final days. I think about their many trips made to help build new facilities for missionaries who work with American Indian tribes. I could go on. I hope you see what I mean. Imperfect people living in an imperfect world, but, they ran a good race with the lives God gave to them, especially as a couple, and for that, we are forever grateful. Some will read this and think it to be a form of grieving on my part. It could be, and if it is, so be it. Yet, we still have to get on with it. You know. Each and every day. That includes today. Have yourself a wonderful week ending Saturday and then enjoy the first day of the week, Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to catch back up with you next time. Until then, may God bless. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Life itself is a quotation." ~ Jorge Luis Borges, (1899-1986), Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish-language literature.

Today is Thursday, July 13, 2017, and I bid everyone a hearty hello as we commence with today's episode. I started to say the dreaded 13th but I remembered that's associated with Friday. Just think how much more drama we could have if we all got spooked every time 13 was on the calendar. That would be, an educated guess here, at least once a month. Think about the marketing potential. There could be a movie about Monday the 13th, Tuesday the 13th, Wednesday the 13th, well, I think you get my thought here. And, as I see it, only me, so don't get all bent out of shape, it could just as well be any day at any time because if we operate our lives based on the truth that God has given to us, stuff associated with unlucky numbers or days have no meaning or application in our day to day living. Truth is, we learn to live by faith, not in our figuring it all out, but, rather, in His provision for us each day. Here's a passage from the earliest letter from the New Testament, James, (most likely the earthly brother of Jesus of Nazareth), that is worth our time to reflect upon,  "Just a moment, now, you who say, 'We are going to such-and-such a city today or tomorrow. We shall stay there a year doing business and make a profit'! How do you know what will happen even tomorrow? What, after all, is your life? It is like a puff of smoke visible for a little while and then dissolving into thin air. Your remarks should be prefaced with, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we shall be alive and will do so-and-so.' As it is, you get a certain pride in yourself in planning your future with such confidence. That sort of pride is all wrong. No doubt you agree with the above in theory. Well, remember that if a man knows what is right and fails to do it, his failure is a real sin." (This is from the modern English translation by J. B. Phillips.)

I can't apologize for how that paragraph drifted into theological waters because my writing ship was more or less on autopilot when it was produced. That's what I mean when I talk about working without a net, one word at a time, one sentence, and then, it's a paragraph. The other day someone asked about my blog. I told them how they could find it. They looked it up on their phone. They began reading the one that popped up. I knew that particular day was one of those where I must have felt a sermon coming on and I could tell from their expression they had expected something different than a 'Church' experience. I did not want to be presumptive by telling them I write about a lot of things other than spiritual matters, but, when it's all said and done, The View From My Pew and/or The View From Here, well, it is, as they say, it is what it is. I'm very much okay with what I write not appealing to everyone who populates the globe. Every now and then I choose one of my blogs and copy the text into a text-to-speech utility and listen to it being read. This is going to sound self-aggrandizing, but, it's not intended that way. So, I'm listening, and the artificial lady voice reads it, and suddenly, I find myself laughing out loud. My point? If it makes me smile, there's maybe someone somewhere that will respond in the same manner. And, we all know the entire world can use a smile. I think that's right. What say you?

I had recently attempted to write shorter episodes but I can tell that often the strong arm of verbosity has taken hold of my intended brevity. I will think about thinking about trying to work on this. Why? Because the woman I love dearly thinks shorter episodes are better. And, I actually do know that many people who keep up with me have better things to do than wade through the deep weeds of my discombobulated thoughts each day. One last personal observation about those verses in the first paragraph. They teach us not to be prideful and presumptive about the living out of our life. This causes some, like me, to throw around that 'Lord willing' as a caveat on just about everything. Here's my point. Adding a God bless you or Lord willing to our expressions is actually no better than an empty 'have a nice day' thrown in without true feeling or sincerity. I must, you must, we must truly recognize that life and all that it entails is truly in God's hands. When we do we move from a slogan to fully depending upon Him. That jumped into my head here at the last moment, therefore, I thought it good to share it. Thanks so much for your support. (Written with sincerity.) May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I know what some of you are thinking. The difference between coffee and me sharing my opinion is that you actually asked for coffee.

Here we go again. This time we do so on this day, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Thanks for showing up on time. Let's punch in and get this show on the road. Coffee is bad for you. Coffee is good for you. Coffee causes cancer. Coffee helps prevent cancer. Coffee shortens your lifespan. Coffee extends your lifespan. Round and round we go and where it will stop we cannot know. While I appreciate the headlines from our tabloid friends across the pond, could someone out there call a halt to this continuing ping pong match using coffee as the ball? Please. I'm trying to think if there is any other product that has endured this endless speculation concerning its consequences. We all stand to suffer from whiplash just reading all the so called scientific research papers. Yes. I did notice it said three cups, but, thanks for pointing that out. And, you are correct, I have three cups before most people have even thought about hitting the snooze button. Americans do love their coffee. Just think how much more they would love it if they got hold of some of Louisiana's own Community Coffee? Here's a fact from the coffee industry for us to think about: "Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, or equivalent to 146,000,000,000 (146 Billion) cups of coffee per year; making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world."

You think what? I'm trying to make coffee talked about as much as the weather? I'm only going to say this once, or maybe a few more times, because I'm not really keeping count, but, be clear, I didn't start this fight. For me, it started when I was a wee little lad as I would see my grandfather pour up cold leftover coffee into his cup from the night before. He did this before he made a new pot. Why? To him, it was much too valuable to throw out. Sure. It was as thick as dark cane syrup. But, he would down it with one swig and it typically caused a shiver beginning with his shoulders and running up through his neck. I watched. I learned. As a child, I could never see myself doing something like that. My oh my, what a difference time makes. I might get called away from my desk. I might be gone for a few hours. When I return, I find my coffee cup with about one-fourth left. I drink mine strong so it is now cold and thick. I down it with one swig. I feel that shiver in my bones. Why? To me, it's much too valuable to throw out. Enough said.

My dedication to Community Coffee as a preference is well known. The other evening we enjoyed a nice Cajun seafood meal with some of dad's folks. Some of them were in from California. After the meal, we went to the baby brother in our family, Richard's, to enjoy some cake and homemade ice cream. When we arrived there, Richard asked if I would drink some coffee. Before I could answer he blurted out, "It's a special grind Community Coffee." All the air went out of the room. I didn't hear any angelic voices, but, I could tell the California folks were a little puzzled by this branded coffee ritual. I, of course, said, "You betcha". One from the California contingent offered up how they really enjoy some of the new concoctions served up by their local barista. The ingredients were named. I had to control myself because I nearly threw up on the spot. To use the word coffee in the same sentence was almost more than I could stand. (I would name some of them for you but it is way too early in the morning to wash my mouth out with soap.) But, as you can tell, I survived. You do know there's a throwdown embellishment or two in this little tale. I'll let you guess about that. Take care now, you hear? May God bless. Amen. ....More later.