Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ." ~ (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Here we go again. This time we are geared up to face the day before us and this one happens to be: Thursday, April 19, 2018. That shoe on the other foot will get us every time. I see people lamenting how they were maligned in their school or on their job for being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. They decry the mistreatment they have to deal with. However, whenever someone in the public does something stupid, many times the Christians are the ones calling for them to be burned at the stake. The inspector who recently wrote up a business for flying military flags created a hostile situation. She then got into an argument with a decorated veteran who had been wounded in combat. In the heat of the argument, she blurted out that he had not really done anything for his country. She later apologized and told about her own family's storied history of military service. That was not good enough for us God-fearing folk. The cry for blood was unrelenting. She has now been suspended from her job. My guess is that she will, for one reason or another, end up either losing her job or leaving due to the threats and other pressures. I was upset with her actions in the situation that occurred. The city has since changed the ordinance to make sure this doesn't happen again. She has asked for forgiveness. I leave this topic with this comment: "In Matthew, Jesus says that church members should forgive each other 'seventy times seven times' (18:22), a number that symbolizes boundlessness." People of faith should not lose their jobs because of their religious affiliation. People who make a mistake, (although she was technically correct based on the ordinance she cited), shouldn't lose their job once they apologize and commit to making it right.

One reason I mention this is because of the reputation that Christians have in general, and in particular, in the workplace. I've been working in public roles for over 55 years and often people who are the loudest in wearing their religion on their sleeve are the ones thought to be the most vicious. Sorry. But, it's the truth. I've worked with a number of folks who were like that. I have seen their negative influence on their lost co-workers. You know. "If this is what it's all about, I want no part of it!" At times, I may have been on the edge of that line. I hope not. It's not so much about holding people accountable, but, rather, it has to do with how we carry ourselves. Christians who operate mostly in an un-Christlike manner fail to honor the calling on their lives. A person can be tough and committed, strong, and faithful to their jobs without being mean-spirited, angry, un-loving, and vindictive. I've worked for some very harsh people in my time and when I was blessed to assume different management positions I pledged myself to not treat people the way I had been treated. I may not have always made that happen, but, it was a work in progress. It matters. For some, we end up being the Bible they read and the Gospel they hear. Something for us all to think about. Amen.

I am not preaching down to anyone. I am talking to us all, beginning with me, myself, and I. Believe me, I've got plenty of work to do in my own backyard. For those who think they have arrived, well, that has certainly not been my experience. The kid's song continues to apply to my daily life. "He's still working on me To make me what I need to be It took him just a week to make the moon and stars The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars How loving and patient He must be 'Cause He's still workin' on me." I get the idea that will still be my testimony until the day I realize what it means to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." (2nd Corinthians 5:8) Until then, we can support each other as fellow strugglers. Can someone be loving and kind without compromising the truths that God has given to us? Only with His help which He provides to us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit who abides in each believer. I promise I did not show up today to deal with theological matters. I shared what was on my mind and in my heart. That's how it works here at the ole blogger ranch. I sometimes finish an episode, proofread it, and, I'm surprised too by what it says. Have a great rest of the day Thursday and may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see." ~ Helen Keller (1880 - 1968 ) American author

Good morning and welcome. It's Wednesday here at the ole blogger ranch and this one checks in as April 18, 2018. As many of you know, I do read obituaries. They fascinate me. There's something about the way in which a person's life is described that is of interest to me. Morbid? I don't think so, but, that, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder. I saw one that only had a photo of Doug. Underneath the photo it had these words, "Doug died." That was it. Nothing more. Maybe Doug was a fan of William Shakespeare who said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." An Ohio man included these words in his obituary, "Respectfully requested six of the Cleveland Browns to be his pallbearers so the Browns can let him down one last time."  A fellow named James from Moss Bluff, Louisiana had this sarcasm put in his death notice, "His regrets were few but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from a convenience store in the summer of 2002." This one more or less is self-explanatory: "Richard Norton Bacon (Rick) of Lumberton has left the building. His friends will tell you he's in a better place. The rest will say they can smell the Bacon burning. He is stress-free and at peace." Then we have the computer programmer's summation: "Diagnostics indicated multiple cascading hardware failures at the root problem. Though his hardware has been decommissioned, Bill’s application has been migrated to the Cloud and has been repurposed to run in a virtual machine on an infinite loop." I can understand the thoughts from Amos, whose write-up gave this insight: "Loved everything about New York City except for the New York Times." Freddie's legacy included this conclusion, "His stories may have been only 50% true but they were always 100% awesome." Raymond obviously wanted everyone to know exactly how he felt: "He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians." One last one for today: "William left this mortal realm on Friday, July 29, 2016, at the age of 69. We think he did it on purpose to avoid having to make a decision in the pending presidential election. He leaves behind four children, five grandchildren, and the potted meat industry, for which he was an unofficial spokesman until dietary restrictions forced him to eat real food. . ." I can hardly wait to read mine. 

I remember an older preacher I heard who said we should all live our lives in a way so that when we die, people will not have to make up something good to say about us. I'm preparing to teach this upcoming Sunday the so-called love chapter, 1st Corinthians 13. Jesus had said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) The folks that were born again members of the local fellowship meeting in Corinth, Greece, needed a lot of correction from the founder of the work there, the Apostle Paul. The 'why' we do what we do is always key. In Hebrews, we learn that without faith it is impossible to please God. In our lesson from Chapter 13 in the first letter written to the Corinthians, we learn that without true Christ-like love, everything else is pretty much meaningless. This love, like our Savior, is demonstrated by self-denial, selflessness, and sacrificial living on behalf of our brothers and sisters within our local fellowship. Jesus said when that is in place, the people outside will know that we are His followers. That chapter goes into a lot of detail to describe what true Christ-like love is and isn't. For those folks at that time, they had everything going on, preaching, teaching, worship, and activities, yet, they were greatly lacking in the foundation of the purpose, that being showing forth the love of Jesus, one to another. Very convicting stuff. I should know. I've been studying it. We all can be challenged in that chapter. Amen.

It has everything to do with genuine humility. Again, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is our example. The great Christian writer C. S. Lewis wrote these words, "The point is, God wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble – delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are." Here is a blessing of humbleness that C. S. Lewis spoke about, "Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego….Only the truly humble belong to this kingdom of divine laughter…Humor and humility should keep good company. Self-deprecating humor can be a healthy reminder that we are not the center of the universe, that humility is our proper posture before our fellow humans as well as before almighty God…" Here's my take. I've been at this a long time but I have a long way to go in reflecting these truths in my daily living. What about you? (Remember, once you think you have achieved a state of humbleness, you just lost it.) May God help us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

“Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back.” — Kevin McCallister, from the original 'Home Alone' movie

The wife with Mark Lowry.
Good Tuesday morning, this one happens to fall on the final day for tax filing, April 17, 2017. I know many of you, like me, were wondering why it was moved out to the 17th this year. We knew the 15th was on Sunday, but, one would think the filing deadline would have been Monday the 16th. Here's the reason: "The nation's capital celebrates Emancipation Day to mark the date that President Abraham Lincoln freed slaves there in 1862. While it's a local holiday, it affects when taxes are due." Now we know. The wife left me again. She went to Louisiana last Friday and returned home yesterday. She and her sister and brother along with others attended the annual Catfish Festival in Winnsboro, Louisiana. That's where the wife was born and that's where her brother Cleon still lives. One of the performers at the festival was Mark Lowry, the renowned Christian singer-songwriter, and comedian. She was able to have a picture made with Mark. He is a funny fellow and he also proved he could write song lyrics with his song, "Mary Did You Know?" She did tell me the catfish she ate wasn't really that good. However, it is my understanding that a good time was had by all.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was left to fend for myself. I know what many of you are thinking. I should be used to it by now. On Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon and part of it dealt with us being salt and light. He illustrated the value of salt by talking about his favorite hamburger, the Whataburger. He said he gets that burger and opens it up and pours the salt on because it makes it taste so good. As salt, we are to add flavor to all those we come in contact with. On my way home I began to think about the profound meaning from that sermon. The thought came to me. Maybe I should go by and get me a Whataburger. I began to debate whether I should or not. On the one hand, it would likely not be that good for me. On the other hand, it was mentioned in the sermon and the pastor said it was good. I passed up the exit that didn't go by the Whataburger place. I went through the drive-through. When I got home I did exactly what the pastor said to do. I opened it up and poured on the salt. Sunday evening I went up to him and told him I didn't realize we would now have to be dealing with product placement announcements during the sermons. You know. Subliminal suggestions. I explained to him how I came to eat a Whataburger. He laughed and said his wife had wondered how many of our members had stopped there for lunch. This is how it goes when I am home alone, all by myself, humming how that one is the loneliest number.

You bet what? My blood sugar number was out of sight on Monday morning? Believe it or not, I will never understand exactly how this works but it was an 89. (Maybe the preacher was right and it's a God thing.) That blood glucose reading was the lowest I can remember since I began sticking holes in my fingers back in September of 2007. A conservative estimate would indicate that I've used that little lancet launcher on my fingers just under 3,000 times. Maybe the 89 was a fluke. I'll take it anyway. And, thank you Whataburger, and our good Dr. Pastor for their collaboration. One thing about being alone is you don't hear the well-intended question, "You are not going to eat that, are you?" I know it is only put forth out of concern for my health and wellbeing, however, may I just say that when it is on the plate in front of me, it is pretty obvious what my intentions are. I am thankful for my wife who does care about me hanging around as long as the Lord allows. There wasn't any Blue Bell in our freezer so I didn't have that temptation to deal with. I'm trying to remember any sermons I've heard that might give me the right to enjoy some homemade vanilla. I did find this one from Nehemiah, Chapter 8, Verse 10, "Then he said to them, 'Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'" I took care of the fat with the Whataburger. I could melt the Blue Bell and drink the sweet. Nothing like being biblical on a Tuesday. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 16, 2018

"I do not like toll roads. Taxpayers are already paying for those roads through their gas taxes, and then to turn around and tell them they need to pay more to drive on the roads, I don't like it." Sam Graves, US Congressman from Missouri

I bring you greetings in this forum for the 2,790th time as we get back to it, on this, back to work Monday, April 16, 2018. I was reading about a recent debate regarding portions of highways being built and whether they will be tolled are not. Welcome to the silent revenue generator that does its thing 24x7 with no voter review or input. Tolls. They just collect the money. These, in my opinion, have become the politician's dream machine and ATM. Recently, a flyover was completely paid off on a major thoroughfare but those receiving the funds were very reluctant to take down the toll booth. But, the tolls are there to pay for these road systems. Really? What happens whenever they are paid off? Well, there are other roads that need to be paid, plus, we have a huge administrative and enforcement overhead to cover, and other projects as well. Here's my take. You know something is up when you are attempting to read the road signs for your exit but the warnings for how you will be prosecuted for not paying your toll are so huge you can't really see the other signs. I kid you not. In our area, the Harris County Toll Authority collected just under $780 million to operate its systems in 2016. That's just one of the state's large toll operations. They were proud of how all that money was spent. Meanwhile, those collection monitors keep flashing and the money keeps rolling in. "Rolling, rolling, rolling, rawhide!"

It may be time to resurrect one of my favorite quotes from the author and humorist, Gerald Barzan, "Taxation with representation ain't so hot either." Since most of us are participants in the taxation part of the equation, we do have the right to voice our opinions and concerns. I am aware that as a citizen, I have a duty to pay my taxes. (The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1) I also have a God-directed admonition to honor government and to pay my taxes. (Matthew 22:17-29, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17) This doesn't mean that we are also called to support corruption in office and waste of collected taxpayer funds. There are those who advocate the inefficiencies of government spending because it has to be that way, by design. And, we are supposed to be okay with that. The famous bridge to nowhere that was constructed cost taxpayers $320 million. We are also told that with spending for the federal government nearly $4 trillion per year, why should we be focused on such small amounts? It's really not worth the time to even discuss it. And, we don't have to guess if there are other bridges to nowhere because they pretty much are a feature of how government operates on all levels. I know that for a fact. From time to time, I scan newspaper headlines from all over our land/world. (829 Front Pages can be found at One of the most commonly seen headlines deals with government corruption, from the top echelons of our federal bureaucracy to the proverbial local dog catcher, and everything in-between. These typically reflect misuse, abuse, embezzlement, scandal, corruption, and you name it, it's a part of the fabric, typically, all at taxpayer expense. Sadly, I can write about it but at the end of it all it's kind of like the weather, "Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it."

I actually am not cynical about these matters. I attempt to be a realist. At the same time, the basis for truth is that which has been given to us by God. Because of knowing the truth, we are aware of how sin has penetrated every facet of life. Not just government. The Prophet Jeremiah was inspired to give us this truth, "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) That includes us all. That's right. None righteous. No. Not one. Yet, God through His mercy and grace in eternity past made a way that men, women, boys, and girls could be made righteous in His sight. That involved providing His created human family with salvation and that came to us through a Savior, His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Those of us who have accepted God's provision have been made right with Him, now and forever, Amen. As born-again believers, we still have our flesh to contend with, to battle, and to subdue with His power that indwells us. It's an ongoing battle and can only be won with His help. He somehow gets honor whenever we fight those battles and allow Him to help us to overcome. This is why I am not a cynic. I am a believer in the Lord God of heaven and I trust Him and His Sovereign control over all things. Because of this, I'm actually just passing through this world on my way home. While I am here, I will do my best to meet my responsibilities, including praying for and supporting the government that God ordained. That includes paying my taxes. It does not include being happy about the many bridges to nowhere that permeates our governance. That's my take for today. I think I'm going to stick with it. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears." (New King James Version, NKJV)

I did not read my horoscope this morning. In fact, I never read the horoscope that corresponds to my birth. I mention this because of this being that scary day. You know the one. It is Friday, the 13th of April, in the year of our Lord, 2018. When and how did folks begin to identify this particular combination as being scary? Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia. ~ The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: "triskaidekaphobia"; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning "thirteen"). The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, "originating from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion" in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century. An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th: He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away. It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. A suggested origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar—may not have been formulated until the 20th century. It is mentioned in the 1955 Maurice Druon historical novel The Iron King, John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry's The Templar Legacy (2006). ~

I know. That's way too much information, but, it is good to be able to inform those who have issues with this day as to how all of this got started. As for me, it is just another day in the neighborhood and one that gives us all an opportunity to honor our Lord and Savior. I have never seen any of the Friday the 13th movies. I do know the iconic horror image of Jason. Some people are fans. The franchise has taken in just under $400 million here in our country. Some people like to be scared. Me? Not so much. I don't need to go to a movie to enhance my fright sensitivity. The other morning I came to the office gate. I leaned out of the side window of my truck to key in the security code. Just as I was about to hit the enter button, bam! a large 'something' crashed in the tree that was overhanging my pick-up truck. Maybe it was a large nesting bird or a squirrel or who knows? What I can tell you is that it did bring about a response on my part. My instinct was immediate. I did not want whatever it was to join me inside the cab of my truck. My window has the manual handle to roll it up. It's typically hard to roll up. Guess what? Not that morning! I spun that handle so quick and closed that window faster than a speeding bullet. Now you know why I don't need a movie to check my fear reflexes. Got it? Good. I may have also completed a heart test all at the same time.

Another week has come and gone. It will soon be in our rearview mirror. Whatever it was that we intended to do yesterday that didn't get done, well, that opportunity has left the building. I keep a rolling 'things to do' stack in my briefcase. It serves as a reminder of my status as a certified procrastinator. I earned that recognition from the woman who has observed my approach to life for well over 50 years. I appreciate her thoughts on my behalf, but, there's no way I can live up to her claim, for she has designated me as 'The World's Greatest Procrastinator'. We were going to do an awards ceremony but I kept finding reasons why I couldn't attend so we finally cancelled it. It's a joke. Lighten up a little. Had we done a formal ceremony we could have used that wonderful tune from the musical, 'Annie'. "Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow!" I think I should have quit while I was ahead but that would have been many, many blogs ago. You know. In a blogosphere far, far away. I do hope you have a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Lord willing, I will catch back up with you come next Monday. Until then, may God bless us, one and all. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"The power of incumbency is the main reason why so many office holders are re-elected over and over - especially in Congress and the Senate. They already know how to use the system to reward and punish - a new guy has to start from scratch - as a new guy he has less influence and power in many cases." ~ Kevin Burke

Today. Yep. That's the one. According to the calendar I have on the wall here at my home away from home, the one displaying a beautiful photographic image of the Jefferson National Memorial with cherry blossoms surrounding it, well, it indicates that we are dealing with Thursday, April 12, 2018. I've attempted to come up with my own way of describing what we are witnessing each day from our nation's capital. I think sideshow makes some sense, although, many may not grasp the word picture it invokes. Maybe freak show is a better descriptive term. One thing does fit. It has surpassed any and all conceptions of what a bizarre reality show might look like. I don't mind telling people that I'm embarrassed by the daily preoccupation with parading the latest lowest common denominator of classless behavior for all to see. The System we have in place is strong. It is powerful. It is a force to be reckoned with. It includes the entrenched politicians and their allies. It is held together by a powerful bureaucracy that has self-preservation as it's ultimate goal. President Trump did not come up through The System. He is an outsider. Don't get me wrong. He has enough personal baggage to muck up things on most days. But, The System, made up of both parties, it will use that and anything else to maintain its power. No one, including the highest elected official in our land, is exempt from the all-out war that seeks surrender of anyone who would buck The System. Let me summarize, taken in context, it's one huge mess. The bottom line as I see it: Never underestimate the power of The System.

I tried to listen to some of the testimony of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, as he responded to questions from a Senate panel. Having worked for nearly 25 years in the computer technology world, in a past life, I am somewhat familiar with the highly technical gobbly gook he often shared in his answers. (I suppose it was good for him that he was not required to be sworn in so he could answer without being held to the standard of being under oath.) He did admit that his California main campus is made up almost entirely of some of the most left-leaning people on the planet. That was in response to a question regarding their blocking of certain conservative commenters while not doing the same to those espousing liberal viewpoints. Zuckerberg acknowledged this to be a problem. He did not acknowledge how it could or would be fixed. Facebook recently suspended the account of a professor who criticized the Muslim religion. At the same time, they allow unmitigated and vicious attacks against Christianity almost as the norm. I am a Facebook user. I use it to share with family and friends. As a result of what we have learned about how they use personal data, I will be using the controls in place to limit their ability to capture and use my personal information. Labeling only one side as haters in a free and open society does not support freedom of speech and other rights that are constitutionally protected. One financial analyst pointed out that Mr. Zuckerberg's fortune increased by $2.8 billion dollars even as he sat before the committee. In today's world, I suppose that's the only endorsement that counts. (That $2.8 billion was added to his accumulated $66 billion which had made him the 5th most wealthy person in the world according to the recent Forbes ranking.)

Much of what we are seeing is consistent with God's prophetic word to us. God breathed out these words through His inspired writer, the Apostle Paul, in a letter written to Paul's associate, Timothy: "Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from such people." (2nd Timothy 3:1-5, Modern English Version MEV) Here's something I recently saw. A late night talk show host thought it would be funny to make fun of First Lady Melania Trump and her accent. A particular conservative TV commentator took exception to him doing this and more or less declared war on the talk show host and his program. The two of them had heated exchanges on their programs as well as on social media. This went on for several days and became uglier and uglier. Finally, the talk show host used some crude sexual remarks to indicate the relationship between the conservative and President Trump. That was a big mistake. Up until that point, the liberals were rooting him on, but, when he said those things he alienated one of his major support groups, the homosexual community. They must be powerful because once they protested he immediately began an apology tour and even attempted to settle the matter so everyone could move on. This is the world we live in. The one Paul told Timothy about. God knows all about it. May we all trust in Him. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"If you don't know your history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree." ~ Michael Crichton

Good morning and welcome. We have before us the day the Lord has given, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) This one happens to be Wednesday, April 11, 2018, and I'm tossing around some stuff for us to think about. I like to try and remember some of the things my folks used to say when I was a wee little lad growing up. My Granny Mac used this one quite often, "Don't worry son, it will all come out in the wash." While this saying has been alluded to in many different forms, the actual use of this particular phrase can be dated back to 1876. It is connected to how the wash cleanses a soiled garment for all to see. In other words, the truth will come out. My grandad, Paw Paw Mac would hurl this one at us when we were out of sorts, "You've got the same clothes to get glad in." That is identified as a Southern composition with a number of variations. "You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in." We didn't need a search engine to know the meaning. You can sull up like an angry opossum and be that way as long as you choose, but, it's up to you to get rid of that bad attitude. Oh yeah. If that didn't work, this one usually got our attention, "Hey, do you want me to give you something to cry about?" Special memories from special people. I think they did a pretty decent job. And, for those who feel they were somehow injured by these homespun phrases, well, I do believe the statute of limitations has come and gone. Meanwhile, Paw Paw liked to tell me as we pulled that crosscut saw forth and back, "Son, don't lean on the saw, I didn't eat your breakfast. And, quiet down, I'll do enough grunting for both of us."

My wife wants me to be checked by my doctor. My primary care. Not the psychiatrist. (That train left a long time ago.) At any rate, she thinks she has noticed some tremors or shaking on my part. I haven't but she says it has been confirmed by other eyewitnesses. I'm not taking this lightly. I will mention it next time I go. The other day I was out and about. I was outside and it came an unexpected downpour. The temp was in the 50's and I was chilled. I called her up and told her that I had been really shaking that morning. She wanted to know the details. I told her I got caught out in the rain and it was pretty chilly, therefore, I had noticed me shaking a little. I told she could post that in her journal. She wasn't amused. Sometimes she sounds like my mom, "You listen to me, I will go in with you to see the doctor." I thought it was a good joke. She wasn't as impressed. She notices me doing the shaking deal mostly in Church. I told her that it might be one of two things. I could be dozing off which does happen when my blood sugar gets out of whack. Or, maybe I am under conviction. That happens quite often as the Word goes forth. I thought I might surprise her by learning the lyrics from the Jerry Lee Lewis hit, "Whole lot of shaking going on." But, that might be taking it too far, if I haven't already. I know. It could be a symptom. I will discuss it with my doctor. I promise. Meanwhile, here's another one from my folks, "Son, you might as well laugh as to cry."

The other day I was visiting with a fellow in his early 80's. We were talking about one of our class members who had been in a car accident. He had been riding with another gentleman who was a newer member of our Church but not in our class. So I asked about the driver's age. He said he had visited the driver in the hospital and thought he was quite elderly, maybe in his late 60's or early 70's. I don't know why but that was funny to me. This guy in his early 80's saying the other fellow was quite elderly. I do know where he is coming from. I see people all the time who are in my age range and I immediately think of them as old people. At the same time, I often don't think of myself that way. Except for the shaking part. Scientists tell us this has to do with our mental image of ourselves. When one sees himself in a mirror, much of what is communicated has to do with the perception in one's mind. I'm still somewhat physically able to get up and go. That does have an impact on how I see myself. Truth is, we tend to be kind of funny about things like that. They do make mirrors that are accurate. They are expensive. Most people who buy them are not pleased with what they see. However, photographs are typically more accurate than the standard bathroom mirror we peer into. I do know that my body is going the way of all mankind. It is aging. And, that is a part of the journey. They used to say you are only as old as you feel. On some days that means I am a very old man. On others, not so much. At the end of it all, I am thankful for the years the Lord has given to me and I pray that He will help me to use them to honor Him and serve others. Amen. ...More later.