Friday, June 22, 2018

“Always do your best in whatever you do; set goals and seek challenges; become a role model for those coming behind you; and always have God in your heart.” ― Charles F. Bolden

It is. That would be correct. Friday. June 22, 2018. Eleven years ago I devoted my entire blog to the work ethic that was handed down to me, primarily through my grandfather, Paw Paw Mac. My mom could easily have been part of that influence as well. A widow with six children, she literally worked her fingers to the bone. However, I was mostly doing stuff with Paw Paw Mac. I thought about sharing a portion of that old blog, however, it is very long, and I couldn't decide how to edit it without losing some of the story. That was early on in my blogging days before I realized that most people had better things to do than read long-winded wordy essays about my so-called life. I hear you. So, what's changed? I think I've actually made them shorter. Don't believe me? If you click on that blogger link you can search within my postings for June 22, 2007. I am still thankful for the influence that caused me to view work as a calling. For the most part, I get up each day with an expectant attitude regarding the work God has allowed me to participate in. You think what? It may be mostly habit? And, the problem with that would be? The Bible tells us that Joseph and Mary went up EVERY year to Jerusalem, as devout Jews, to participate in the God-ordained commemorations. It tells us it was their custom. Habit. See what I mean?  (Luke 2:41-42) "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.")  Amen.

The wife is getting ready to leave me. Again. Next week. It is way past just the neighbors talking at this point. She will be heading to Louisiana to visit her sister and brother. It's pretty sad when they come out with a poster that helps convey the story of my life. I don't mind her spending time with her family. I'm all for that but I just don't like for her to leave. I start getting uptight several days before she drives off into the sunset. What's that? Don't be such a big baby? Let me tell you something, after nearly 54 years, I have every right to throw myself a little hissy fit if that's what I want to do. (In case you are not familiar with the hissy fit, here is one definition that will help: A sudden but violent outburst of a person shouting, screaming recriminations and (possibly) wailing, generally short-lived but shocking.) I'm not sure I can live up to that. Joking aside, I really do function so much better when she is around. One would think I would be used to it by now. One might think so. Not this particular one, however. I suppose the good news is that she will only be gone for a few days. We do have some very important Church-related activities coming up the weekend of the 30th. I'll take that. I do hope she enjoys her visit. After all, I do remember that song sung at our wedding on a frigid Friday night in December 1964. It had this sentiment, "Thy people will be my people my love." It was much later that I found out the song was based on the commitment expressed by Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi. (Book of Ruth, Chapter 1) Mother-in-law? Who knew?

Someone posted this one the other day. It's an oldie but it may have a smidgen of humor in it as well. ~ This young man was at McDonald's and he noticed an elderly couple sitting at a table. The older man had purchased a Happy Meal and he was carefully dividing it between the two of them. He cut the burger exactly in half. He then did the counting of the fries, one for her, and one for him. He got it finished and the old man began eating. The young man walked over to the table and told the couple, "Hey, I would be more than happy to buy another meal so that both of you can have one." The old man looked up and replied, "No thank you, we have always shared everything for our many years together." The young man noticed that the old man was eating but the old lady was just sitting with her half in front of her. He inquired again and asked the old lady if there was a problem. "She smiled and said, "No problem at all Sonny, it's his turn to use the teeth." ~ Okay. So it may not warrant a drum roll, but, for us older folks, it is considered if nothing else to be slightly amusing. We've had quite a week. We have a busy Saturday and Sunday ahead of us. Church. A wedding. And, I might add because it typically turns out to be true, "And, who knows what else?" I do hope you have a good weekending Saturday and that the first day of the week, Sunday, finds you in the gathering place where God's people come to hear from Him and respond. See you next time, and may God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent." ~ Billy Graham

Good morning and welcome. Today we will be celebrating Thursday, June 21, 2018, all day long. I survived my esophagram yesterday. I will admit to being a tad apprehensive because I didn't really know what to expect. Yes. I did check it out on the web. I just wasn't sure how I would react to the barium concoction. I got there early and they took me back early. Sometimes that happens. Not always. I was first escorted to a changing room to get my gown on. All I had to remove was my shirt. An elderly fellow was having a heated argument about having to take all his clothes off. They were telling him it was necessary for the procedure he was scheduled for. He didn't want to do it. They finally went and fetched his wife from the waiting area and she assisted him in getting ready for his procedure. Once in the x-ray room, two ladies explained to me what would be happening. They were ever so nice. They said they were trying to grab the doctor and the test shouldn't be more than 10 to 15 minutes. The doctor who looked younger than our youngest came in and explained to me what he would be doing. He essentially said the same things the ladies had already shared. They took pictures of me swallowing the barium stuff. It was all very painless. Once finished, I gave the two ladies our Santa and Mrs. Claus cards as souvenirs. They were very excited. One wanted a Lexus and the other a BMW. I told them that I get those requests quite often. Now we wait for the ENT to receive the findings and then I will be notified. Meanwhile. Hurry up. And wait. And, oh yeah. Be patient.

I tried to find out how much time does one spend in a lifetime waiting. I wasn't able to get an overall estimate for that, however, I did find that we spend an average of 6 months during our time here on the planet waiting in line. That seems like a long time, but, by comparison, they estimate the average person will spend 9 years of their life using their phone. We can add to that the time we spend waiting at the doctor's office, the time spent waiting in traffic, and even the time we spend on hold while waiting for a response. The bottom line, we do spend a lot of our time waiting. Many years ago I would occasionally pick up an elderly lady and carry her to Church. She hated waiting. As we would approach a traffic signal she would begin beating on the dash and praying out loud for the light not to turn red. While we find that amusing when we talk about it today, how different are we in our 'waiting'? Sure, we may not beat on the dash or pray out loud for God to intervene, but, what about our attitude and our stress level when we are having to wait? I don't know about you, but, for me, I can always improve in that particular area. It seems like some days people are on a mission to delay my progress as much as they can. To make it worse, they all seem to be cooperating together. Here's a true statement: "Don't sweat the small stuff and when it is all said and done, most of it is small stuff."

That doesn't mean we don't get weary along the way. The daily news cycle in and of itself is enough to totally exhaust most of anyone's energy. I've been somewhat of a news hound most of my life. I want to know the facts. I want to be satisfied that I am getting the best information possible. Not so much these days. In fact, I can well understand at nearly 72 years young how the little kid feels when they hide their eyes thinking they cannot be seen. That's what today's news world has done to me. I do peek over the covers enough to get a sense of what is going on. For instance, the other day I mentioned to you my reading of the Inspector General's report on the Clinton email investigation and other issues. My conclusion: Bias with a capital 'B'. I think I was on target. A layperson can spot the bias on every page of that report. This was clearly exposed by Representative Gowdy in his grilling of the IG himself. How disingenuous for the end result to say they found no political motivation that drove the actions taken. The IG offered up how that different people can come to different conclusions based on the information provided in the report. You think? How about this? There were people at the FBI and the Justice Department at the highest levels who indicated they would do almost anything to make sure that Donald Trump did not become president of the United States. This was not a secondary matter to them as it was clearly an obsession as borne out in their correspondence through emails and text messages. You might be one of those who says, so what? Forget that it is Donald Trump for a moment. Do you want people manipulating outcomes on behalf of who they think is suitable to serve? (Supposedly, that's why we have elections!) Do you want them using the vast powers entrusted to them to do those types of manipulations? I'll let us all think about that for a while. Like I say, I picked that one up when I came up for air the other day. Enjoy, remember to rest in the Lord, and He will see us through. We have His word on it. (Matthew 11:28-30)  Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

“I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.” ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Today I am getting ready to get ready for my portrait session. I'm talking about the pictures they have scheduled where they will be featuring my esophagus. No food or drink since last night. That means no Community Coffee until after the photo session is completed. As you can tell, that really doesn't bother me, bother me, bother me, bother me, bother me, bother me, at all. This is what I'm working on today, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. You do know I am exaggerating ever so slightly. Let's be honest, I am always feeling better when I have my Community Coffee. Don't tell me it doesn't matter. Back in January of 2015, Serena Williams, superstar tennis player, found herself down 0-6 after the first set in a match in Australia. Feeling sluggish, she got permission from the umpire and the ball girl fetched Serena an espresso. She drank it and went on to win the match, 0-6, 6-3,6-0. Here's one for you. Before 1908, folks filtered their coffee with a cloth. In fact, in a pinch one could use their sock if they had to. A German homemaker, Melitta Bintz, got tired of that practice and she wasn't satisfied with the taste. She literally took a page out of her son's schoolbook and fashioned a paper filter. This contraption was patented and she went on to become a coffee filter mogul. The company she founded still exists today and sells products under the Melitta Coffee brand. One last little story. In the 1500s, coffee was imported from Arabia to Europe through the canals of Venice, Italy. While people in Christian Europe liked the caffeinated drink, it was greeted with suspicion. Some called it “Satan's drink.” Monks even urged Pope Clement VIII to outlaw the “Muslim” drink. The pope argued that the drink was so good that it would be a “sin” to let only “pagans drink it.” Thanks to Pope Clement, coffee began to spread across Europe. And later came The Community Coffee Company, and now you know, as Paul Harvey used to say, "...the rest of the story!"

Those little tidbits may come in handy someday. They might even save you from using up one of your 'phone a friend' options. Or something like that. I heard yesterday that, in general, IQ's in our nation are falling. According to this report, this new development is occurring across the board, in all family groups without regard to status. Their conclusion? They can only guess that it has something to do with "the environment". I have my own observation. If they want to see some crashing and burning of IQ's, well, they need to get out on the freeways in and around the Houston metroplex. Some said that if we were to begin telling people the brain is an app, maybe some of them will start to use it. I guess we should not be surprised. Some people are proud to finish putting together a puzzle in a few hours, especially when the box clearly says 3-5 years. I have to confess that my brain has misplaced my name and facial recognition modules. Then you have the ultimate put down, "I see that you are street smart, Sesame Street." It does seem like a less than bright future because I'm almost certain that I will die not having any idea what 95% of a scientific calculator is used for. I think I'm pretty much finished with this one. I've run out of time and crayons to explain it any further.

I had to part company with a very close sidekick the other day. I hated to do it, but, the time came when I had to move on. After about 10 years of a very close and enjoyable relationship, I canceled my Sirius XM satellite radio subscription. Those little portable radios they give to you as a part of the service are pieces of junk. I've replaced mine a couple of times. Plus, they keep going up on the price each year. The won't let you cancel online. You have to talk to a real person. That wasn't so great since I could barely understand the person I was talking to. Her message: Let us try to fix this so that you will continue to be a subscriber. Nothing is more aggravating than wanting to listen to the radio versions of Dragnet or Gunsmoke but just as you get ready that cheap excuse for a radio goes out. At any rate, I will miss my NASCAR station and my Old Time Radio station and my Bluegrass station and my Southern Gospel music station and the one that plays clean stand up comedy. However, life moves on. I can listen to as much of any of those offerings sitting at my desk on my computer and I can probably figure out how to get a lot of them on my phone. I don't want to be overly dramatic, but, my separation reminded me of when Richard Nixon lost to JFK. He held that famous press conference in 1962 where he uttered the famous words, "You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore,..." That's my story and I don't know if anybody that matters knows about it, but, I'm still sticking to it anyway. Have a great rest of the day and may God add His blessings. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Specialist: A person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.

Good Tuesday morning and welcome to another day here at the adventure park where no one can predict exactly what might show up. It's another day here in the neighborhood and this one happens to show up on June 19, 2018. For those that keep count, today is the 2,836th time for me to corral keystrokes together and eject them onto the electronic page. I didn't mention that I went to the doctor yesterday. I had an appointment with a ears, nose, and throat specialist. I typically let everyone know so they can pray for the unsuspecting doctor. My primary care and I agreed that it would be good to get myself checked out in this area of specialization. I do know that if you are designated as a specialist the co-pay goes up by a factor of three. That's okay with me because I am a consumer and if you charge three times as much I will be expecting three times as much in terms of your help. The lady doctor was very nice although I did notice after a few minutes she began to twitch. She might want to get that seen about. You do know I'm kidding. Right? Somewhat. According to her online profile along with her video introduction, she says the number one goal for her is for the patient to know that she cares. I didn't tell her to say that. But, that's what she said. That means she set the parameters for me to evaluate our time together. The initial exam went okay, but, she has ordered up an esophagram to make certain that part of the system is okay. This will be coming up early Wednesday. It must be a really good test because as I understand it, they will be furnishing me with a milkshake. It's called a barium flavored drink. I sure hope it tastes good. I'm still processing my interpretation of her performance but I will say she seemed to at least make the effort. I will give you a final report later. The proof is always in whether or not the problem is found and fixed. You know. Like a mechanic, or a plumber, or a medical specialist. You what? You would have certainly said a prayer for her? Next time I will try to remember to let everyone know ahead of time. Please. Don't send me any sympathetic comments about this poor lady. Remember, after all, she is a specialist.

The first commercial ever aired on television here in the United States was run on July 1, 1941. It was a 10-second ad for Bulova watches. It was played before the telecast of a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. This was in New York City and it was on the one station at that time and ten seconds wouldn't have given anyone enough time to get up and change the channel anyway. (And, there were no other channels to change to.) Reports vary, but the estimated cost to run this ad was between $4 to $9. By the time we got a TV in our home, it was 1955, and the commercials were pretty well established by that time. Our picture back then was black and white and it had just a tad of snow in it and we too had only one primary channel. (Channel 5, from Alexandria, La.) The only other channels we ever watched was when the clouds were aligned in a certain way. I thought we had tapped into something really exotic when we occasionally picked up the Lufkin, Texas station. We typically could only watch NBC. Lufkin probably carried another network. Somewhere along the way, we inherited a very large radio with world broadcasting bands on it. This would have been in the late 1950's and early 1960's. I would fiddle with that radio, picking up stations from all over Europe to South America. I suppose I tried to do the same with the TV dial, hoping for a similar result. Laying in bed listening to far-flung places, often in foreign languages, well, it made me dream about travel and intrigue. No. I haven't mentioned that to my mental health professional. If I ever talk to one, I'll try to remember to mention how that Lukin seemed like a land far away to an 8-year-old boy.

We all know what a despot the dictator of North Korea is. Whether he will live up to any agreement is still anyone's guess. His reported instances of cruel and inhuman behavior are well documented. I did see one posting where the individual presented a different type of question. They wondered out loud what Kim Jong Un thought of having to deal with a nation that has killed off over 60 million of their babies since 1973. Whoa! That was like a slap of cold water in my face. The population of North Korea is less than 26 million. The number of abortions here in our land adds up to many Holocausts. I know a large part of our populace would not equate the 'legal' aborting of unborn children in this way. When it comes down to it, I may have an opinion, you may have an opinion, but, what God thinks about it will determine His response. Billy Graham was quoted once as having said that if God doesn't deal with America regarding this sin then He will have to apologize for judging Sodom and Gomorrah. I thought the individual who posted this question challenging the definition of what constitutes cruel and inhuman behavior on the part of a nation was worthy of mention. That's why I mentioned it. I had not thought of it in that way. Some would rather not think at all about it. I get that. After all, the Supreme Court has ruled it to be legal. How many actually believe that having it codified into our law makes it right? I'll leave it for us all to think about. At the same time, as always, I do pray that God will help us to follow His Word as we continue our journey here. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 18, 2018

“There is no teacher equal to mother and there's nothing more contagious than the dignity of a father.” ― Amit Ray, Author

Good morning. Finally. Rain. We need it badly. However. I've already heard the outdoor choir singing their lament, "Rain Rain go away, come again some other day." For us, because we know how much we need the nourishing rains, we sing it like this, "Rain Rain please stay, for we need your help today." I know. That one is not in the Golden Book you read to your little ones. It wasn't in ours either. (I am not wishing any flooding on anyone, but, I would hope that everyone knows how much we do need the rain.) Therefore, I am thankful for God's provisions and I do bring you greetings on this back-to-work Monday, June 18, 2018. I didn't write much about Fathers Day this year but with eleven years of filed episodes, I've had plenty to say regarding this day of recognition. Back in 2007 when I wrote for the first time in this forum regarding Fathers Day, I used the entire blog to enumerate my blessings regarding the family God had given to me. At the end of that first Fathers Day episode I couldn't help but pay respect to the most influential dad in my life, that would be my mom's dad, my grandfather, or as we called him, our Paw Paw Mac. (He became the father figure in my life at age 7 when our dad passed away suddenly in January of 1954.) Here's what I said back in 2007, "Therefore I am proud to be reminded of my Paw Paw Mac on this upcoming Father’s Day weekend. May God bless his memory and his testimony. May it be that when I leave this life for the next, perhaps one of my children or grandchildren will be able to remember me in this same way." I will tell you this, if any of my grand kids do have anywhere close to this type of recollection of me, I can assure you, that will be an honor and a blessing beyond measure, because he, Andrew Rancher McMillan, was that kind of man. Amen.

Sometimes things just jump out at me. Maybe it's an age thing. But the photo of prunes being used in a dessert, well, that did get my attention. The fellow who posted this old recipe also added these words, "A prune whip a day will keep the colonoscopy doctor away." To which he quickly added, "I can't believe I said that." I read about a brand new hair joint that opened up directly across the street from an old barbershop. The new people boldly put up their sign which read, "WE GIVE SEVEN DOLLAR HAIRCUTS!" Not to be outdone the established barber shop countered with,"WE FIX SEVEN DOLLAR HAIRCUTS!" One older lady lamented, "Some people are always searching for the meaning of life. Me? I'm just looking for the dishcloth I laid down 10 minutes ago." I think I understand this sentiment, "Being popular on Facebook is like being able to sit at the 'cool' table at the mental hospital." Two wonderful Christian neighbors arrived in heaven at the same time. They lived to a ripe old age because they both had been devoted to healthy eating during their time on earth. As they strolled heaven together they could not get over the wonder of it all. Finally, one turned to the other and said, "Just think, if we had not eaten all that oat bran we could have been here ten years sooner." Maybe one or two of these caused your lips to turn up just a tad on the way to a smile. You do know that smiling is good for you. A laugh out loud even better. Right? That laugh out loud deal must be well known because I see people using it quite often. I think they even have a way to abbreviate it.

While I still have not watched the movie that many call a classic, 'Forest Gump', I do hope you have enjoyed the box of chocolates I have served up today. You know. Just like the famous line from the movie, you never know what you might get. I feel exactly the same way. I did scan through the Inspector General Report addressing the actions of the FBI and the Justice Department regarding certain 2016 matters including the Hillary Clinton email investigation. It's nearly 600 pages. Those who support President Trump read what was reported and they can't keep from repeating over and over, "See there, I told you so. See there, I told you so." Those who oppose President Trump called their troops together to announce there's nothing really to see in this report. I know. No one should be surprised by how this works. However, I think the truth is somewhere in the report itself. I'm not sure I can agree totally with the IG's conclusion that said they could find no evidence of bias or political orientation in actions taken that clearly give the appearance of being biased or politically motivated. My question is simply this, "Okay, no proof, then what was the motivation of these actions that give that appearance?" Mr. Comey, who was FBI director at the time has said his breaking of protocols and rules had to do with the unprecedented nature of the matter at hand. Do what? And, by the way, while I don't agree with the dizzying spin being played by either side, please don't tell me that with nearly 600 pages, there's nothing to see here. Some of the emails between people we pay through our taxes are chilling. The present FBI director says there will be accountability and those who did not follow the rules will be dealt with. Let's see where that goes. You can read this document for yourself. It is readily available from a number of sites. You might want to brush up on government speak because there's a whole lot of that in the report. Until next time, I remain, as always, the fellow who brings the chocolates each day. Take care. May God bless each one and may He bless our nation. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

"You can say I'm a hater. But I would argue I'm a lover. I'm a lover of traditional families and of the right of children to have a mother and father... I would argue that the future of America hangs in the balance, because the future of the family hangs in the balance. Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?" ~ Rick Santorum

Well, well, glad to see you today on this Thursday, June 14, 2018. Here's one for the record book. The CEO of Twitter put up a tweet about how he had used the Chick-fil-A app and how well it worked and it even saved him money. Within seconds his twitter feed was swamped with those who hate Chick-fil-A because of their stand for the biblical definition for family and marriage. That controversy was stirred up back in 2012 based on the comments of the Chairman of Chick-fil-A. The people who want it their way or no way do know one thing, how to hate. You might remember they actually tried to destroy Chick-fil-A by calling for boycotts and other ways. Their efforts didn't work, people of faith flocked to their nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant and the Company actually grew as a result. (Just so you know, Chick-fil-A has never refused to serve anyone who came to their restaurant to purchase food.) This company was being persecuted for the personal viewpoints expressed by their leader. Those who want to see traditional values completely demolished continued their barrage against the liberal Twitter CEO. His response was what they wanted. He begged their forgiveness and plead how he had forgotten about the evil stand that company had taken. Group think. Group voice. Or else. These people proclaim their freedoms but don't want anyone that disagrees with them to have any at all. For me, I'm going to stick with thus says the Lord God. I think He had the first say and He will have the last word as well. Amen.

The face to face summit between our President and the notorious dictator from North Korea presented to us all another opportunity to observe the dripping hypocrisy of the mainstream media. I don't say that without proof. All one has to do is to look back at how they fawned over President Obama when he struck the behind closed doors agreement with Iran. That was heralded as a great and wonderful accomplishment on behalf of our world. Iran. Even at the time of the agreement the Iranians were burning our American flags and shouting death to America, not only in the streets but also in their halls of government. Yet, we later learned that President Obama bought his agreement with $150 billion in cash bundled on pallets and flown by jet to this renegade government, but, he is still recognized by the mainstream as one of history's greatest peacemakers. And, unless you were asleep, remember how the media fawned over President Obama's bold visit to Cuba where he had his photo taken with the Castro brothers. But. Now. We hear what they have to say about President Trump's attempt to deal with the North Korean matter. They pretty much have done nothing but lambast him, his team, the agreement itself and anything and everything regarding the summit. And, may I remind us once again, they all are reading from the same shared talking points. I have no idea if the North Korean summit will lead to the results promised, however, I am able to spot this profound and disingenuous bias against President Trump and against even the hope for something good to come of his efforts. They almost cried with glee over what I would call an instance of the emperor with no clothes regarding the Iranian agreement while seething with hatred and anger as it relates to our efforts to deal with North Korea. I almost feel like I'm seeing some end times prophetic stuff unfolding before my very eyes. As always. I report from my chair and you must weigh it all and decide for yourself.

I can hear what some are thinking to themselves. "I sure wish we knew where he stood on these issues." Just joking. Let me be clear. I am not here each day to defend indefensible actions on the part of our President or anyone on his team. At the same time, I would hope that even a casual observer can spot the hatred that is so out of control it leaves supposedly well-educated people rooting against good things happening for our nation. One of their leading liberal voices is so tangled up with his hatred of President Trump he has announced that he would like to see a total collapse of our economy if it would help to rid ourselves of President Trump. When President Obama was elected, Rush Limbaugh said that he hoped that he would fail. The so-called progressives went after him with everything they had. In Rush's case, he was only hoping that President Obama's liberal vision, which Rush believed would hurt our nation, would fail, but, he would never root against the President personally or against America. Rush lost sponsors and was vilified. Today, folks can hope that America suffers an economic depression and no one even raises an eyebrow. Okay class, let's see what we have learned today. First, some folks want to dictate even the fast food you can eat and if you don't comply you will be cast out of the community of the enlightened. Secondly, a process which hasn't even gotten off the ground yet is condemned as being dead on arrival because of the person who struck the agreement, while, a shady agreement with a despotic nation is heralded as the greatest ever because of the person who struck the agreement. Lastly, it's perfectly fine to wish harm to America if it achieves the progressive agenda. I just wanted to make clear what I already had clarified. Enough for today. Pray for our great nation because we, you, I, everyone, needs a revival back to God. Amen. ....More later.