Monday, January 22, 2018

"Definition of a Jury: Twelve people who determine which client has the better attorney." ~ copied

With the wife having left me again, (I've lost count), I can better understand the impact of the Barbara Mandrell hit from yesteryear, "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed." I think technically ours is a queen size, but, the song didn't provide that as an option. I think you get the picture. If not, I'll try to think of another song and I'll get back to you later. As you can see, I'm up and going once again, and thankful for it, on this Monday, January 22, 2017. I told you the other day how the experts on climate change had predicted several years ago that we would have no more snow. Now we are seeing record snowfall and they turn around and say it is due to climate change. So-called economy experts who are on the left predicted a total collapse of the economy upon the election of Donald Trump as President. They said he would single-handedly destroy our economic well-being. The opposite has occurred, so what are they saying about it? These same people, (it really is hard to keep a straight face here), are now saying that President Trump has nothing to do with the economic resurgence experienced since the election. There's a current debate going on about whether the President used a crude word to describe some countries. He denies saying it. Here's the interesting part. President Obama said similar things. They didn't think he had committed an impeachable offense. Some of the most vocal critics who are saying he is unfit but they themselves have been found to have uttered similar things. In case you ever wondered what a DOUBLE STANDARD looks like, just sample the happenings emanating from Washington, D.C. each day. (It exists on both sides, however, a recent study by a respected media watchdog group concluded that 91% of coverage in the mainstream news outlets was negative towards President Trump and his administration. That, my friend, is about as unbalanced as it gets.)

I have to throw up some political stuff from time to time just so you know that I am paying attention. Now we have the government shutdown. Has anyone noticed what a mess we are in as it relates to how members of the House and Senate work together? If you decide to look, please don't stare too long. It is so ugly it could do permanent damage to your eyesight. Fortunately, our God is Sovereign. That means He is in ultimate control, not those holding out for their pet programs, not the lobbyists with billions to spend, and not even the President of our nation. God's got this and everything else that pertains to life here in His created world. The Apostle Paul said the things we touch and feel are not nearly as real as the truths that God allows us to see by faith. (2nd Corinthians 4:18) Sure. It does look hopeless at times when we view things from our physical perception. One of my favorite songs from the cartoon movie 'Prince of Egypt' is entitled "Through Heaven's Eyes." Here's an excerpt that encourages us all to see the reality of what God sees, "....you can never see through the eyes of man ..you must look at your life ..look at your life through heaven's eyes ...lai-la-lai... through heaven's eyes...." Amen.

I am glad to report the wife did return. I told her that while she was away, one night I had trouble sleeping. That's very rare for me. I surmised it was because she was gone. It aggravated me a little. But, the bottom line, I always miss her when she is away. I'm glad she was able to go and visit with her older brother, her sister, the widow of Bro. Milton, and her sister's friend, James. They always have a good time. Thanks to Facebook I get to see them having a good time. I told her when I saw the caption on the photo, something about good times with family and friends, I noticed something was missing. She asked what was missing. I said, "What about the fellow with the beard?" She replied, "Are you talking about yourself?" Sometimes life can be difficult, but, I am glad she is back and things are mostly back to normal. She's not feeling that great and may have a sinus infection. Oh yeah, that reminds me. I have my doctor's visit this morning. She told me to let her know what he says. To be honest, I could probably go ahead and tell her. The words and dialogue might be different,  but, my visits mostly follow the skit from the old Hee Haw show. Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." Doctor: "Then don't do that." I'm mostly kidding. I do like my doctor and I'll be seeing if he shows up with his "a" game today. Or something like that. Take care. Enjoy. Be thankful. God is good. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 19, 2018

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” — Anthony Brandt

Cleon with the sisters and our dear Bro. Milton who is now in heaven.
It's Friday, January 19, 2017, and I bid one and all a happy day. Some call last Tuesday a snow day since most businesses had to either cancel or open much later. For me, it was more of a freezing day since there was very little snow at our place. The wife had sternly warned me there was going to be mucho trouble if I attempted to drive in. Why is it necessary to threaten me with violence? In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" I did stay home. Around 10 a.m., the wife's brother called. He lives over in Northeast Louisiana. She was out in the garage at the washing machine so I answered her phone. He seemed shocked. He figured no matter what that I would be at work. What's up with that? Does everyone think I lack any common sense at all? Don't answer that. He told me over in his neck of the woods it was 6 degrees and he would need to soon go and check on his cows. He's 81 years young and still taking care of quite a few Black Angus. We visited for a few minutes. He is a remarkable man who has always been loyal to our entire family and to his neighbors. I gave the phone to the wife and they were able to visit for a while. Family Ties. They have stood the test of time and we thank God for them. Amen.

Cleon was one of the witnesses who signed our wedding certificate. Therefore, we've been at this thing called family for a good long run. It has been quite a journey! We've had some sad times and more good times than I could even count. That's the way it works with family. We've said so long to many as they have crossed over to the other side. Thankfully, we could say that instead of goodbye since we know that we know we will see them again. When our crossing day comes. We are also left with such wonderful memories. We were married in 1964. It was Christmastime. After a very brief honeymoon, we made our way down to Cleon's for the family Christmas gathering. They knew me already from our dating days but I was impressed with how they welcomed me into their part of our family clan. Our first child wasn't even being thought of at that time and now he has grandchildren of his own. Like I say, it has been a journey. I remember Cleon's in-laws way back then. They were special people. I remember hunting with Cleon and his in-laws. My recollection is of being out at the camp and enjoying the meals and especially the hearty laughter that was almost always going on. Cleon's family has always looked up to him. I learned to do the same. Family ties. They have stood the test of time and we thank God for them. Amen.

I did get myself rescheduled for my doctor's visit for next Monday morning. Let's hope they don't come up with another excuse to use to cancel it. The day I hear they had to cancel because they found a banana in the refrigerator, well, that will pretty much make it crystal clear exactly what is going on. I guess if they keep this canceling program going, it will soon be time for my annual physical. I'm telling you. It's always something. And, if it's not one thing, it's something else. I'm doing my best not to develop a complex, but, it would be easy for me to start thinking people see me as Charlie Brown, or they just enjoy picking on me. Of course, this could be nothing more than a figment of my imagination. I've heard it called a Fig Newton of my imagination but that just didn't sound right to me. At any rate, let's hope we can get this sad and sordid affair behind us. I hear it all the time. We have to move on. Let's just get this behind us so we can move on. I mostly only want to tell the doctor a dozen or more things currently relevant to my health and well-being. Or, maybe it's relevant to my perception of my health and well-being. They need to realize the longer they postpone the more I have on my list. I would send them a copy of my blog but they do not allow that many characters to be submitted. I'll leave it at that so you can say a little prayer for my doctor. Thanks. I am sure he will appreciate it. Have a great Friday and Lord's Day Sunday, and take care of yourself and remember that God is to be thanked, period. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"There's nothing quite as serene as seeing the countryside covered in a fresh sheet of snow." ~ copied, unatributed

Here's one for you. They ended up shutting down the Company yesterday. I didn't come in. They decided that to have everyone come in late, perhaps after lunch was probably not a productive venture, so, the decision was made to postpone everything until today, Thursday, January 18, 2018. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. They also called and canceled my doctor's appointment for Wednesday morning. That's two in a row for them. I know. Icy conditions and all of that. I did tell the lady this was the second time I had been canceled. She said, "But sir, it may not be safe for anyone to drive on the roadways." They will use any excuse. Don't you agree? The wife has a trip planned for later today over to Louisiana. She is going to check on her sister and to take care of some legal stuff regarding mom and dad's estate. We will have to make sure it's safe for her to travel before she leaves. Here's a bit of news: By Sunday, the highs are supposed to be back in the 70's. I think our lowest this week was 14 degrees as measured on one of the columns on the front of our house. For Christmas, our eldest gave me one of those very nice electronic display gadgets that give you a whole lot of information about the weather. It talks to that sensor on the column. We did hear of some in the neighborhood whose pipes were frozen. For us, it was brutally cold but we managed through it without incident. So far. We are thankful to be here at work and ready to get back into our daily routine. And, we do give God thanks for His provision. Amen.

The kids have been overjoyed to be out of school during the weather threat. They were off for two more days. They were all over Facebook with photos of them scraping up enough snow for a snowman, them using whatever they could find to do some sledding and other fun activities. However, they likely didn't see the notice that has revised the school year schedule. Those two days will have to be made up, extending the previously published calendar. I know how they feel. Enjoy now and deal with the consequences later. After all, by the time they get to May, two more days will hardly even be noticed. I did walk out to the mailbox Tuesday evening late but I guess the mail truck was canceled that day. That's about the extent of my cold weather activity. I do remember enjoying the very rare snowfall in Louisiana as a kid growing up. We were mostly just like kids are today. Have fun. Use every stitch of clothing you have because snow doesn't happen very often. At 71, we've learned to count the cost. Those days will have to be made up. Don't get out there and fall and hurt yourself. Don't expose yourself to the elements. There's a flu epidemic going around. Yep. That's what happens. However, coiled up in my recliner with a blanket watching NCIS isn't too bad either. Just say'in.

We've also seen a few episodes of Matlock, watched the Roy Rogers Show, the Lone Ranger, and a few other programs that qualify to be oldies but goodies to us. You noticed what? Those shows have been off for a long time? Your point? It's okay if people think we are out of the mainstream. We can handle it. We can manage when the grandchildren practice their eye rolls when they see what we are watching. And, I will be the first to admit that during the programs we watch you better be able to tune out the endless commercials or you will be depressed. I am aware that I am in the targeted group. I do my best to use my phone or find something else to occupy my time while they are giving all the dire ailments that need to be addressed. I read the other day a fellow's thoughts on why they call them Depends for old people. He said the same type of article for a child is called things like Luvs or Pampers. He said when a child uses that article they will still be loved and pampered. When an older person does the same thing, well, according to him, it Depends. Hey. I never knew that. You learn something all the time. You what? You can tell I've had some time on my hands? I suppose it is hard to cover my tracks. Enjoy the rest of your day and remember not to forget to thank God for it. Amen. ...More later.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca, philosopher, (4 BC - 65 AD)

City of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland
It seems like it should be later, but, based on the best information available to me, it is Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Maybe we feel that way because of how we all have been hovering over our computers and cell phones trying to track the potential frozen roadways. That can be somewhat tiring in and of itself. But, I do bid you welcome and I thank God to be here with this greeting for today. The other evening the wife and I watched a television program that was giving an overview of the Highlands of Scotland. It's amazing how much more a program like that means when you have actually been there and you recognize the locations visited. This particular program focused on the native foods served in that area. We actually recognized some of the particular castles and other sites that were featured. We greatly enjoyed our tour of Scotland. When we returned we talked about how that we would like to return. That was back in 1993. We haven't made that return trip yet. This is how it works. I talked to a fellow last week who was just back from a winter trip to Colorado. It was his first time there. He said he could hardly wait to get back up there and that he would like to forgo their annual trip to Florida and go to Colorado instead. News flash: I saw a posting from his wife that confirmed their condo and trip to Florida later this year. See what I mean? The program we watched reminded us of how much we enjoyed that trip. It may have reset our intention to return. Let me see. We were there nearly 25 years ago. In 25 years I will likely be in my heavenly home, but, if I am still hanging out here on the planet I will be 96 years old. Maybe I'll just watch the programs.

I think we all know that we tend to be pretty fickle. I've heard many folks wishing for those days when it's so hot you wonder if you'll be able to catch another breath or not. We tend to always find something to be perplexed, angry, disgruntled, and unhappy about. Here's a quote from an expert on managing stress in one's life, "People complain about cold weather during winter, about hot weather during summer and about rain in rainy season. People who are single are depressed that they are single, those who are married think that singles are having more fun, people with darker skin want to get fair skin, people with white skin want tanning and the list never ends. Sometimes I think what would happen to people’s life if you take their complaining habit out of their life?" (Subodh Gupta) Sounds like some of the same issues Solomon addressed in Ecclesiastes. He tried everything that his money, looks, and prestige could provide. Trying to find satisfaction. The good news is how he came to a conclusion that can help us all. It is straightforward and to the point, "Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13) I can, you can, we all can be helped when we recognize and embrace what Solomon discovered. Amen

As we sat around the office on Tuesday, it was continuing to get colder and colder. The vehicles in the parking lot were mostly covered with a layer of ice with some spotty snow on top of that. We began hearing about roads in and around the Houston metroplex being closed because of icing. That always makes it somewhat difficult to know when to leave or how long to stay. Some in my family couldn't believe that I had come in at my regular time. Believe it or not, at 4:10 a.m. when I arrived it was still above freezing but that quickly changed. It's pretty rare for our geographic area to be basically in lock down due to the frigid temperatures. We shut down at noon and I came home to a big bowl of homemade chili. She made the cornbread about a 1/4 inch thick so it would be good and crispy. I'm sitting in my upstairs office as I write today's episode. Waiting. To find out what the lay of the land might be. So far, not a creature is stirring including a mouse. We do have professional rodent control and any of those little animals might want to keep that in mind. Maybe we should put up a sign. Here's my word to us all for today. Stay warm. Stay safe. And, thank God for the provisions He has given to us, even on a very cold day. It is still 18 degrees here. May God bless. Amen. ....More later. (There must be a reason the early people are calling and texting me to see if I made it in.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"It was so cold I saw a hitchhiker holding up a picture of a thumb." ~ copied

We are now temporarily aware in these parts of how winter might feel. I hope this makes folks in cold weather states feel a little better since we've had a pretty good stretch where the frost has both been on and some days, it has stayed on the pumpkin. It's Tuesday, January 16, 2018, and I bid you a warm welcome. I noticed this past Sunday at the place where we meet to worship God there was a good number who showed up wearing real heavy duty winter clothing. Maybe they used to live where that was needed. I wore my suit. The windchill was slightly below freezing. The fellows greeting at the door looked like they were prepared to build an igloo at any moment. They commented that I was brave to get out without a coat. I had my suit jacket on. I will tell you this. When I get to the office and the temperature is right at freezing, that first cup of Community helps to keep me warm while the window unit heater is trying to do its thing. The smell of that coffee helps a lot. Speaking of that, the wife rode with me in the old pickup the other day. She is a keen observer. She said she could see the coffee stains on the seat. She said it was embarrassing. Really? Who knew? She then said she needed to get out there and scrub those seats. I was okay with all the criticisms up to that point. I told her that I did not want anyone messing with my pickup. Period. She should try holding a hot cup of sloshing Community driving 50 mph while at the same time dodging skunks, raccoons, coyotes, opossum, and deer, not to mention the occasional early morning driver out there messing with my schedule. (For the record, I am aware of those cups with a lid. I prefer a mug made for their Poppy by one of my grandchildren.)

I know someone out there must be wondering if I was going to quote my grandfather. You should know by now that his consistent word to me when he observed me shivering was, "Son, what are you going to do when it really does get cold?" He also made it clear time and time again that being cold was mostly in my mind. That served me well for so many years. The fact that it has something to do with the mind may account for the fact that I slowly but surely am not as able to deal with the cold as I once was. I can still manage it to a certain degree. But true confession requires me to say that on some days the penetrating and damp cold gets a hold of my bones and makes them rattle. You might recall that as a teen I was the all-time undisputed champion of the freeze out game. These days the wife even notices it from time to time. "What's up with you? Aren't you going to take your jacket off?" I remember when I was a kid we would go to my Uncle Claude's mechanic shop. He had those hunting and fishing magazines. They had one-page ads for battery operated socks. I used to lay in bed and dream about those battery operated socks. I think I heard others who said they didn't work that well. But, the idea of not having your feet frozen solid on the deer stand appealed to me. I can't be sure but those socks may have required a wagon to carry the battery back in those days. I'm sure all of that has greatly improved today. Maybe I should look into it. Maybe not.

The wife and I are coming off a spiritual high after the big Bible conference we attended at our local fellowship. We enjoyed some of the most God-honoring, beautifully presented music that I have ever heard. We had sermons from anointed preachers, two each evening, and they, with God's help, did know how, as they used to say back home, "to shuck the corn." God showed up big time. Conviction was heavy upon us all. It was one of the most stirring experiences I've been a part of in a very long time. It ended this past Sunday with two gut-wrenching sermons that left us challenged and uplifted. My point? Being stirred during the service time is a wonderful thing to have happen to anyone. It means that God is at work in your life. However, let's face the facts, it really doesn't amount to much unless I and others act upon what we heard and felt during this movement of God. Do we bask in the feelings we enjoyed or do we get busy making the changes that will help us to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? The good news? He's still working on me and I am thankful for that. He still has something I can do that will honor Him and help others. Pray for me that I will not forget how He spoke during this great time of revival. Amen. Until next time, may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, January 15, 2018

"Yesterday is History. Tomorrow is a Mystery. Today is a Gift. That's why it's called The Present." ~ copied

Today. It's the object that we all have before us. If you are able to appreciate the truth of that statement, then, you, and I, have an opportunity to make something of this gift from God. Another day. It's our privilege to make it count. To apply ourselves. To honor God with our thoughts, deeds, and actions. It's also a catalyst for choice. We can choose our response to this brand new day. Yep. And, this one happens to fall on back to work Monday, January 15, 2018. ~ "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." ― Robert Louis Stevenson ~ "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."― Mark Twain ~ "This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before." ― Maya Angelou ~ "The day will happen whether or not you get up." ― John Ciardi ~ "As a child I had been taught to say my prayers at the start of every day, and so it did not seem an odd thing for me to stand out in the field and say "Oh God whatever happens today let it be under your perfect control." ― John Masters ~ Matthew 6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread." ― Jesus Christ. Maybe those quotes will help us all to get a running start at making the most of this day the Lord has provided to us. Amen.

I mentioned the other day how I'm not a New Year resolution person. Many are. I saw a statistic that reported only 8% of those who make them are able to achieve them. I'm not great at math but I believe that would leave 92% who make them but do not achieve them. I don't know the population that does not participate but I suppose it's like the old saying, "If you have no target you will hit it every time." This doesn't mean that I believe in settling. I don't. We have a mandate from above that we should always be growing and gaining. "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews Chapter 12, Verses 1-2, New King James Version, NKJV) I have a race. You have a race. Each believer has a race to run. There may be similarities but each race is unique to the individual who has been given talents and gifts from God. For me, I need to stay focused on the race given to me. That would be a good suggestion for each of us. Amen.

If they don't cancel on me, again, I hope to see my doctor this Wednesday. (The technical term: My Primary Care Physician.) I am looking forward to our time together. I rehearsed some of what I intend talking to him about with the wife. She had a response, "I certainly hope not." We will see. I was supposed to have a teeth cleaning appointment last week. The dental hygienist couldn't come in that day. They canceled the appointment. They warn you of dire consequences if you don't keep your appointment, but, both the doctor and the dentist can cancel at will. Since then, the dental office has been wanting me to reschedule. I told them I didn't cancel the appointment I had, therefore, I will let them know when I am ready to reschedule. I suppose I should be impressed for their concern about my teeth. (I must tell the whole story. I actually didn't even know about the teeth cleaning until they called to cancel, but, that is beside the point. Or is it?) No. I am not attempting to earn my way into the difficult patient/customer designation. Wait a minute. I think I had already made that one. I wonder what the next step up is. You do know that I am almost entirely, close to 100%, joking about all of this. I did have the dental appointment lady cracking up on the phone the other day. That should account for something. Right? I agree. I wouldn't wish me on anyone either. Thanks for the vote of support. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God help us to actively pursue the race He has set out for each of us. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, January 12, 2018

“Sometimes chaos is the very thing that deliberately shakes up our neatly ordered world’s in order to get us out of the neatly ordered ruts that have kept us stuck.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Good morning and welcome to Friday, January 12, 2018. As most of you know, I am a very early
person and I start my day here at the ole blogger ranch typically in or around 4 a.m. Most days, I encounter very few vehicles on the road during my morning commute. The sheriff's department has patrol vehicles here and there or they might be pulled up alongside each other talking things over. Being mostly by myself allows me to drive down the road, drinking my coffee, and doing my morning conversation with the Lord. Uninterrupted and unbothered. Yesterday was different. When I hit one of the main roadways I was surprised because I was surrounded by a half dozen vehicles. I didn't send for any of them. Suddenly, I had to be more careful. You know. I had to do things like concentrating on staying in my lane. And, by the way, where did these folks come from? And, why in the world are they out and about at 3:45 a.m.? I'm used to seeing the occasional 18-wheeler making an early visit to the big box store and now and then one of those noisy garbage trucks that empty dumpsters. But, these were, like, real people, driving their cars. Some were behind me. Others were beside me. I even wondered to myself if these folks out and about so early, do they really have a life or what? Wait a minute. It hit me. That would include me, myself, and I. I hate it when I have to deal with boomerangs so early in the morning. I hear you. And, yes I agree. It is, after all, a free country. Thanks for reminding me.

You think they may have been wondering the same thing about me? Good observation. And, they are entitled to do just that. However, I do prefer if they are going to share the roadway with me so early in the morning that they make no sudden stops that could endanger my hot cup of Community. Is that too much to ask? That title quote above might speak to my orientation around my own version of 'neatly ordered ruts'. And, yes, I am very much aware of the old saying about how a fixed routine can become a rut which is nothing more than a grave with the ends knocked out. I like to think of mine in a more kind and gentle way. As for chaos, I think there's pretty much enough of that to go around. I've been through many of those management programs that foster a 'if it's not broken, break it' mentality. Upside down thinking. Run the day or it runs you. Don't build the business, build people, they will build the business. There is a better way, find it! And, the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, I failed to mention a favorite today, you've got to think outside the box. Are you tired yet? By the way, I have driven in a few times using a different route. That supposedly is a way to mess with those well-ordered ruts. While I did see different terrain, it was also further. It ended up not making much sense. I've gone an entire day using my left hand instead of my neatly ordered right hand. Supposedly, that will engage a different part of the brain. It also helped me to drop a few things. There are other quirky kinds of stuff I could mention, but, I think we all are exhausted by now. Meanwhile, I will continue to make it up as I go, in a neatly ordered rut sort of way.

Dot and Lil Bit.
This has been an interesting week. God has been good. We've had the wife's sister with us this week as she has been recuperating from a strained ligament in her leg. These girls! That's right. I call them girls because to me, while they may both be in their 70's, that's just who they have always been. Tight. Close. That's why we call them twins born 18 months apart. Since I am on this 'attitude of gratitude' emphasis as a way of shaping the new year, I want to mention the family that raised up these girls. Some theologians believe those in heaven are made aware of the good accomplished in their earthly families. While I'm not sure of that, I do know this. If mom and dad Rawles could see their girls, they would be bubbling over with Godly pride for the women of faith these girls live out in their daily lives. All our families are blessed as a result. That includes me. Yes. I am thankful for home cooked meals. But, there would be no meal without the home cooker. My desire to be truthful requires me to add that they are not perfect. However, they are women of distinction and they are a blessing from above. Therefore, since every good gift comes from God, I give Him thanks for these influential 'girls' that mean so much to us all. (James 1:17) Okay. That's my story for this week. Until next time, may God find us all to be faithful to Him as we continue our journey here. Amen. ....More later.