Friday, December 9, 2016

"Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded." ~ unknown

Our middle son's four, 2009, three of them are now in college.
Today. Friday. Yay! December 9, 2016. Since last Friday I've sat in the Santa chair for many hours, doing eight events with another one scheduled this evening. I've dealt one on one with literally hundreds of children and the song they sing in Church comes to mind, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, yellow, brown, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." For you purists, you will no doubt notice I inserted 'brown' into the song. Believe me, I've been up close and personal with many brown faces during this most recent run. I think many of you know that I have a huge soft spot for those with special needs. This past week I've had some with severe physical limitations. I've had some in their 40's who still have the mind of a child. I've even had one young man who suffers from an extremely rare, always fatal, neurological disease. At age 14, he has been living on borrowed time for several years. He loves Santa. I've had those missing their mom or dad who serves in the military. I had one ten-year-old girl who almost teared up when she plainly told me all she wanted for Christmas was for her mom to find a husband. One little girl gave me a long whispered explanation for why they were running late. It had something to do with her dad and his problems in the bathroom. Her mom had a puzzled look on her face as this young lady unfolded her little story. Oh yeah, I've had a handful of screamers. Some of them very strong and I might add, very good at kicking. I'm am so proud to relate how that my number one companion, Mrs. Claus, has made every joint appearance, and she has, as always, captivated those who came to see us. I think it is safe to say that I did bite off more than I should have for this season, however, I do sleep very well at night. In fact, the other evening after we got home, I thought I might relax a little in my recliner. It was funny because after about 45 minutes I woke up and called out for Mrs. Claus. For a few seconds, I didn't have a clue where I was.

Tired already of my Santa related stories? Sorry, but I'm pretty sure you've not even begun to have heard the last of these stories. You have my permission, not as if you needed it, to change the channel anytime you feel like it. That reminds me of the main TV remote controller we have at home. It is way past its prime. It is very challenging but I am the master in using it. Let me point out that we do have a brand new modern device given to us by our eldest son, however, it requires set up that I've not bothered to research yet. How long? Not that it makes any difference, but, I think we've had the new one for a couple of years. At any rate, the old one causes lots of consternation around our place. It's a wonder the wife hasn't thrown it against the wall. You have to baby it. Talking to it helps also. And, you do have to get into a variety of different positions before he can align himself with the correct telemetry required to change a channel. (I actually count those gyrations as exercise points. They give me something to tell my doctor when he asks.) The remote and I are not helped in the least by all the decorations surrounding access points. But that's a subject that I've learned will get me nowhere, fast. He and I, working together, has become somewhat of a ritual. The good news is that once he can be coaxed to get up and going, he does a very reasonable job. What more could we ask?

Never get the idea that I am complaining about burning the candle at both ends. No one is more thankful for me being physically able to juggle my schedule and scramble in trying to be in two places at the same time. Or it seems that way at times. Thankful. Last Monday when we were at the senior adult special needs apartment complex, one lady didn't want to have her photo made with Santa based on her religious convictions. I told her I totally understood her point of view, and I do. I've shared many times how that, growing up, we were 100% aware of the real meaning of Christmas. Always. We also were allowed to enjoy Santa Claus. Others see it differently. The commercial aspects involved will always be an issue. I mentioned to someone the other day about the new drivable Cinderella carriage being promoted by the world's largest big box store company. You've likely seen those TV ads for it. Guess what? They work. Little girls are asking for that carriage. At the same time, I've concluded the wife and I are in the joy dispensing business. That may be self-serving but think about the brief enjoyment we are able to bring to those special needs children, and I think you will see where I am coming from. To see where I am coming from, well, that might be a reach, so please don't hurt yourself trying. Thanks for tuning into this channel this week. Enjoy your Saturday, (we purposely have nothing scheduled that day), and remember to meet up with others at the place of worship on Lord's Day Sunday. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

“My blog is a collection of answers people don’t want to hear to questions they didn’t ask.” ― Sebastyne Young

Well, hello there, seems like it was only yesterday we were talking about this, that, and oh yeah, the other as well. Good to meet back up with you here on this Thursday, December 8, 2016. Welcome one and all. I've often thought about developing a type of warning notification to accompany my blogs. You know, it might be like those signs that warn of danger ahead. I really never know exactly what might end up on the electronic page until it is there. Contrary to what you might think, I do edit out a lot of stuff. I'm pretty fussy about this part of my daily activities. Makes you wonder about some of the stuff that ends up staying in, doesn't it? While I may not be able to plead the 5th, I typically can embrace the 'eye of the beholder' excuse as a way of explaining the stuff I share. I saw a statement attributed to Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty fame. It went something like this, "If you don't want to see guns being used and our family praying, then don't watch our show." I'm not sure he actually said that because social media makes up stuff all the time, but, it does sound like him. I mention that because I really do understand how my view of life, the reflections on my journey, and other areas that I write a lot about are not everyone's cup of tea. But, when it's all said and done, it's a blog, a personal blog, therefore, what you see is what you get, (WYSIWYG). Knowing this to be true makes me very appreciative of those who take the time to read. Thanks.

I just remembered another calamitous situation that occurred back in my formative years. I was elected class president three out of my four years in high school. I was nominated every year. I was beaten my sophomore year. Three out of four. Not bad. Right? Not so fast. I was beaten by a girl. Her name was Sudie. I am well aware that times have changed. This was the early 1960's. Beaten by a girl! Humiliation served up by plenty of my sidekicks who relished seeing my downfall. What was up with this girl Sudie? When I had the position I was mostly a figurehead. Girls. She took the job seriously. I can still hear the taunts, "Guess who got beat by a girl?" That's not the end of my sad story. Sudie came to our school in the 5th grade. Until she showed up, I was the consensus master sketch artist of my class. She's the one the other girls used to concoct a showdown drawing contest on the blackboard. I was a sketch person. At recess one day the girls challenged me. The boys were my supporters and they thought I could easily beat this new girl, after all, she was a girl. She started drawing. I started drawing. Her depiction actually looked like an illustration, next to hers mine looked like stick figures. My world came crashing down. The boys acted like I had let them down. But, oh no, it wasn't over. It may have been on the back burner for six years, but it was obviously still simmering. She didn't have to accept the nomination for class president. After all, she was running against me. Me. But, just like that day she showed me up on the blackboard, Bam!, she went and did it again. I don't know whatever became of that girl but as you can tell, I hardly even recollect anything about her.

Please don't tell me how that little revelation explains a lot. I prefer to spend my time still thrashing about trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Don't believe a word of that. Although, on second thought, I would think my psychological development over time would be something worth figuring out. When I get it solved, I will let you know. Let me see. I'm 70 now, well, I wouldn't waste too much time waiting to hear back from me on that one. I don't mind being a work in progress. I think that really is the way we are described as those who seek to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is always working on me. That molding process to shape me into something useful in His Kingdom is a life long project and I'm thankful that He is still chipping away on me. For those who have arrived and are no longer in need of any growth or changes, I say, congratulations and good for you. That would not be me. In fact, thinking about high school, I can't even remember what I was voted most likely to be. I know I was. I may have been given two categories. I did have a little Einstein sitting on Santa's lap the other day and he had a pretty good idea of where he was headed. He might have been 7 or 8, and after giving me the mathematical formulations for how robots work, he volunteered his life goals. When he grows up he wants to be a scientist, an astronaut, and a pizza man. I can't remember ever having any specific goals other than I wanted to draw better than Sudie and beat her when she ran against me for class president. That's a joke. You can laugh. It's okay. Take care and may God bless us one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"...a date which will live in infamy." ~ President Fraklin D. Roosevelt

Pearl Harbor survivor visits the USS Arizona Memorial.
Okay. It's Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Pearl Harbor Day, and a day of great significance in the history of our nation. I'm not certain what kids are being taught today about this attack on our fleet in Hawaii in 1941, but it wouldn't surprise me that political correctness may have changed the story some. We were taught and I believe it to be true how the Japanese launched this bombing attack on a nation that they were not at war against. The impact was devastating to our sitting fleet. A total of 2,403 of our military personnel were killed and some 1,178 injured. Devasting to us, but, in the long run, even more so to Japan. Today, I pause to remember this eventful day, and especially the families who lost loved ones on that day. God bless them all and God bless the United States of America.

With all the presidential voting recounts going on, the news media wants people to believe the wishes of the people was somehow manipulated. The major metropolitan cities typically support a more liberal agenda than the rest of the country. That's how Hillary Clinton ends up with more individual votes. In the wisdom of our founders they did not want to see the big cities determine election outcomes, therefore, a proportional system of representation reflected in the Electoral College was adopted. The map shows the depth of the Republican victory. On a county by county basis, Trump won 3,084 of the 3,141. That's pretty widespread. This system was in place before the election began. Everyone was aware of how it works. In fact, it's been around a lot longer than that, as it was established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College as the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States and was first used in the presidential election of 1789. Don't let the mainstream bigots mislead you. The representative form of government that we have seeks to hear the voice of the entire nation as opposed to only the large population centers. That's my take and I obviously thought it was worth passing on.

The news media is in a fact-checking frenzy as it relates to any and all things done or thought about by the president-elect. Funny how they called anyone wanting to fact check President Obama as having potentially untoward motives, like maybe racist inclinations. Now that their guy is out and the new guy is not the one they attempted to elect, all bets are off. Take for instance the Carrier Air Conditioning deal where 1,000 jobs were saved. They have taken that deal apart, seven ways from Sunday, pointing out every little inconsistency as a major failure. Don Evans, the former Secretary of Commerce in the George W. Bush presidency finds this to be a total misread on the part of the mainstream media. (Perhaps intentionally.) He believes the saving of these jobs were symbolic. They are a message to America and to the rest of the world how the new president is going to operate differently than his predecessor when it comes to business and jobs. President Obama's press secretary applauded the saving of these jobs but added when Trump has done that another 804 times, (total of 805,000), he would then equal Obama's record of adding manufacturing jobs. My point? If they really want to fact check information, they might tackle that 805,000 claim and get back to us on that one. I forgot. They can't do that because it would be racist. Sorry for the foray into politics today, but, it was such low-hanging fruit, I thought I should share. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

1. Remember the meaning of Christmas … Emanuel, God with us in the Christ Child … God is present with you. 2. Refocus on the birth of Christ … God’s greatest gift to us. 3. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and Old Testament passages about the coming Messiah. 4. Reclaim the wonder of the Biblical story. The shepherds were keeping watch at night when the angel appeared to them. Be on the lookout for God’s visit. 5. Rejoice and praise God for all the joy and power of the good news in your life. Mary worshipped God … shepherds praised God. 6. Reach out and love someone this Christmas … maybe a stranger, co-worker, family member, lost friend or someone that God sends your way. 7. Receive the peace of Christ and become a peacemaker in our chaotic world. ~ lifted from the online edition of Guideposts dated 12/3/14

There are times when I am stopped in my tracks by nothing more than the message being conveyed by an image. I have no idea who came up with that one but it's been circulating out on social media for the past couple of weeks. I ask you, does that not tell the story? Amen! and Amen!. Today is Tuesday, December 6, 2016, and I offer up a very warm greeting to one and all who happen to read today's blog. As many of you know, I have been teaching God's Word for over forty years. For the most part, the people I teach are seasoned believers who have a good foundation in knowing their Bible. Since Christmas Day falls on Sunday, we will have only one service that day, therefore, I will only be teaching three Sunday mornings this month. I always attempt to cover again, as if it were the first time, the Bible accounts that pertain to the coming into our world of God's one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This year, during our time together, I will be sharing in an interactive way the more than 40 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the life and times of our Savior. We will share in the reading of the actual prophecies from the Old Testament and then do the same as we read the texts where it reflects fulfillment in the New Testament. These are truths worth knowing. What we see in the Bible are the truths God wanted people to know. He inspired those writing to record His revelation of Himself to His created human family. It reminds me of what the Apostle John said about the things He was inspired to capture and preserve, "but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31) Amen

Scene from the movie, The Passion of the Christ.
You are correct. All of that first paragraph was prompted by that single particular seasonal image. I read that our brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than text. We need only think about visual messages coming at us from TV commercials of all kinds. Powerful indeed. If you Google 'powerful images that changed the world' you will see some very familiar photos that influenced history. God created us to be visual and His Word unfolds in word pictures, truths that can transform lives. I remember being at a sold-out showing of the movie, 'The Passion of The Christ'. Packed house. As the story unfolded on the screen, total silence. When Jesus cried out to His Father and gave up his life, a loud, almost synchronized gasp penetrated the silence. I heard people crying, some were sobbing. As a self-appointed theologian, I might take issue with how some of the Bible accounts were put to film in that movie, but, never have I experienced what happened in that theater on that day. I would like to think it was a heartfelt response to The Way, The Truth, and The Life depicted in all His glory, suffering on behalf of a fallen world. It was an eerie but unforgettable experience. It was personal for those, like me, who have experienced His grace in their lives. As they might say back home, powerful stuff, powerful indeed!

Chick-fil-A franchise operator's kids from back in 2011.
The wife and I continue to be literally floored by the heartfelt, warm reception we receive when we show up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Some of this may be because we do so many return engagements and we have gotten to know the folks involved. An example would be the Chick-fil-A employee party we visited this past weekend. It was for all the folks and their families that work in two of the stores in our area. There were easily over 200 people at this gathering. This is our 7th year to be associated with these folks. We've watched many of their children grow up. We've seen employees become managers and others finish college and move on in their careers. I am not so much a huge fan of the food, but, I am an ardent supporter of this franchise, the parent organization, and especially the approach they pursue in operating their business. They may not have the most locations compared to their competitors, but, I read recently how they produce more revenue, on average, per store than others in the fast food industry. I think everyone knows they are a family oriented restaurant. Maybe that's it. After seven years we are like family to them. And, we greatly appreciate and enjoy working with them. No. I'm not doing a commercial for them. I'm only passing on my experience. Oh yeah. I also recommend them. Just so you know. Full disclosure requires me to say we will be making an appearance in their two stores this week. Take care now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, December 5, 2016

What does Santa like to have for breakfast? Mistle -toast!

Good morning and welcome. We will see what we can do with today, Monday, December 5, 2016. We had a little of this, that, and a whole lot of the other since we last visited. This had mostly to do with the Santa Enterprise and I am happy to report that it is on the tracks and steaming full speed ahead. We worked four different events beginning Friday evening. That included the participation of my number one sidekick, the one and only Mrs. Claus, who was right there with me for every appearance. I know she is not close to being completely healed from her back fracture, but, she is a trooper, beloved by the children, and always such an encouragement to yours truly. This morning I will be leaving for a little while to make a brief visit to some special needs adults to take photos with them. They are residents at an apartment complex where our local Church has a weekly service with them. Many of these folks are older but they are just as excited as children to have their photos made with Santa. I will run to the house, do the quick change, spend about 30 minutes doing the photos, then back to the house, change into my working man's attire, and back to the workplace. That's part of fulfilling my duties as assigned. Some time ago, I had a dialogue with some fellow wearers of the Red where we were discussing scheduling issues related to our Santa business. I was the only one in the discussion who still worked full time. One fellow was very direct in his assessment. He said I should retire immediately and pour 100% of my efforts into bringing joy to children. He went on, saying that life is way too short and it consists of more than making money. Are you kidding me? I was just doing forth and back with these dudes and I had no idea I would end up on the receiving end of a sermon. That was last year so you can see I have not yet taken his advice.

We do live in a world where folks will try to come up with something funny about any and everything under the sun. I know all of the ladies who read the little story in that photo will enjoy the sentiment being expressed. It is a play on the general theme of men being too stubborn to ever stop and ask for directions. We've seen that one time and time again. Why did the children of Israel wander in the desert for forty years? Because Moses refused to stop and ask for directions. Ha ha. A 2010 study concluded that men drive on average 276 miles per year directly attributed to them being unwilling to ask for directions. The study added insult to injury by estimating the wasted cost of fuel in a man's lifetime was an average of $3000. Here's a submission from a lady identified only as Lorraine. It too reflects similarly on this subject. ~   The top ten reasons God made women: 1)God worried that Adam would be lost in the Garden of Eden because he wouldn't ask for directions. 2)God knew that someday Adam would need someone to hand him the TV remote. (Parenthetically, it has been noted that men don't want to see what's ON TV; they want to see WHAT ELSE is on.) 3)God knew that Adam would never make a doctor's appointment. 4)God knew that when Adam's fig leaf wore out, he would never buy a new one for himself. 5) God knew that Adam would not remember to take out the garbage. 6)God wanted man to be fruitful and multiply, but he knew Adam would never be able to handle labor pains and childbirth. 7)As "keeper of the garden," Adam would need help in finding his tools. 8)Adam needed someone to blame for the Apple Incident, and for anything else that was really his fault. As the Bible says: "It is not good for man to be alone." And the No. 1 reason of all . . .God stepped back, looked at Adam, and declared: "I can do better than that." ~

Just having a little fun at my own expense. I feel the vibrations from all the ladies out there nodding their heads in agreement. My wife would tell anyone that when it comes to the 'ask directions' situation, I'm not like other men. She would say that I am ten times worse. I was out trying to find a location one day for the Company. I had a printed Google map. It was in a fairly remote area. I drove up and down that same boulevard several times but I couldn't make sense out of the street numbers. After about 30 minutes, I did the unthinkable. I pulled into one of those filling station convenience stores and stood in line to ask the fellow if he knew where that particular company was located. He pointed out the window and said it was across the street one block further down. I don't think many of the other people in the store spoke English but they all, when he gave me the answer I sought, chuckled in the same language. Turned out to be a big building. I was close but now you know one of the many reasons men do not stop to ask directions. It's not easy listening to foreign looking fellows laughing. One example only. Okay. I've had my confession for the day and now it is time to move on. Take care, and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Let me welcome one and all to our little gathering here at the ole blogger ranch. Today we celebrate the day God has given to us. It is Friday, December 2, 2016. It's our privilege to make the very best we can of the day He has granted to us. With His help, of course. I've been around long enough to know that my recollections of the past are not always completely accurate. We can fall into the good old days trap that says everything was so much better way back then. Or, we can do the same by seeing it all as bad. Being aware of these limitations doesn't keep me from remembering. It is one of my favorite things to do. The little town I grew up in was my Mayberry. It wasn't always wonderful but it was my home and I look back with thankfulness for having grown up there. I know others who have to spit when they even think about that same place. That was their home too. They may have good reason to feel that kind of bitterness. I don't. Do I remember some bad stuff? I most certainly do. Do I remember some really, really bad stuff? You betcha! However, when I think of that little town, I see faces and I remember voices and I relive the warmth, kindness, love, and generosity I experienced there. I know. I may have some latent brain injury, but, I think I'll stick with the good stuff that gives me a great time of remembering, especially at this time of year.

I think about how that I had my first professional job as a Santa Claus back in the early 1970's. We were a young couple with young children and it was an opportunity to help buy Christmas. I never dreamed that some 40 years later I would be known by many as the Real Santa. While that's a pretty good story, I do know when I've been one-upped. I saw the photo on the right posted the other day on one of the professional Santa sites. I have to give credit where credit is due. The photo is of one of my fellow bearded Santas. The black and white photo was taken in his Santa outfit when he was in kindergarten. Now isn't that something? I've been trying to remember as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'm almost certain I must have had something in mind, but, it must not have been an overwhelming identity because as much as I try to remember it, I can't think of anything. I do know I am a product of the influence of those in my home. I know my grandfather believed in God's plan and His Sovereignty over all things. I learned the value of work early on. I learned that I should apply myself. Looking back, I suppose my mode of operation was to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way, make the best of them, and to stay tuned for new potentials. I would not necessarily say this is the best approach to making a life, but, it does reflect my experience, and, with God's help, it got me to where I am today where I sport a long white beard and often wear a red suit. Is this a great country or what?

One of the things I am most thankful for is how that God enabled me to be a teacher of His Holy Word. In particular, I know I am privileged to have a calling and to be the recipient of His supplied gift to use in teaching others the Word of God. Yes. I have attended seminary classes. A three-year program. Multiple times. That gave me foundational information but it is not the same as being equipped by God to fulfill the calling He has given. I came to recognize that any effectiveness on my part is due to His working through my teaching, not my ability. He, after all, got the Prophet's attention by speaking to him through a donkey. (Book of Numbers, Chapter 22) Yes. Study is important. Being prepared is always a part of sharing His Word. I've mentioned this many times but I want to say it again. A huge light came on and my approach to this calling changed when He brought to me the insight that my teaching was not to fulfill me personally. I'm not saying it isn't fulfilling work, but, I came to realize the real purpose was to build up others, (edification), through the sharing of God's Word. That may seem like a trivial distinction, but, for me, it totally revolutionized my response to this calling. It did that for me and I believe God has received honor and others have been helped as a result. There's much more to all of this but I think you get the idea. I do have my fair share of regrets in my three score and ten plus years of my sojourn here on the planet. At the same time, I feel blessed beyond measure in the life He has given to me. Room for improvement? I won't even go there and please hold your recommendations on that one for another day. I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to catch back up with you, come next Monday. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"They say 'don't try this at home' so I'm coming over to your house to try it." - copied

I looked up long enough to see that we are officially in a brand new month, the last one for this year, and the one where the wife and I begin to begin to get very busy, you know, Santa and the Mrs. C., as we embrace this Thursday, December 1, 2016. We start an 8-day run tomorrow evening where we will have something scheduled every day with no break until Saturday, December 10th. That will either keep us young or make us feel even older than we are. Juggling work and the Santa enterprise is a very tedious challenge, but, I will do my very best to honor all duties as assigned. I used that one because it was the last statement included in the various job descriptions I had while working for the US Civil Service Commission. "Other duties as assigned." The preceding five pages were not adequate to cover the duties of a clerical position, therefore, they stuck that final one-liner in for good measure. I am very much enjoying the fresh cool air. As they say back where I am from, "It's about time." I announced to the wife the other evening the record cold for that particular day. They were showing it on the weather report. On that day back in 1976, it was 26 degrees. I told you it used to be colder and I didn't need Al Gore to tell me that. When I was a kid we typically needed to layer up in October to go hunting and by Thanksgiving we were dealing with ice covered puddles on our way to the deer stand. These days, it seems like most people in our area can go through the end of November in short sleeves. That's not scientific and I'm not a global warming alarmist, but, while it may be naturally occurring, it is different, and it is noticeable, and that's what I do a lot of, noticing. In case you haven't noticed.

What a blessing to have the wife's sister come back for the second time to see about her sister, and to help us deal with her recovery. When I say these girls are twins born 18 months apart, people laugh. If anyone is around them for any length of time at all, that laughter will change to being stunned. I would say they should dress alike but they've been there and done that before. While they do have their unique preferences and likes and dislikes, their sisterly union wins out every time. I've never had to embellish this story very much. Even forty years ago, before cell phones, and when long distance was pretty expensive, these two could somehow pick up where they left off even if it had been months since they had seen each other. My late brother-in-law Charles and I used to laugh as we drove up and unloaded out of the car. It seemed to us they picked up in mid-sentence. I'm not put together to have that kind of connection to another person, however, I certainly admire it and recognize it as a blessing from above. While ladies in general are more inclined to be close, these two take the cake. I've been reporting these same observations for over fifty years. And, they are still at it. They are. They really are. Some of the ways they identify with each other have changed a little over time. As they get older they tend to forget the same things. If one is ailing a little, pretty soon the other has similar symptoms. Charles and I always said that when we both were gone we wouldn't have to worry about these girls because they will always have each other.

Family ties. They are special. Speaking of that, I'm glad to report that mom, (92), and dad, (86), continue to amaze us all with their resilience and their independent spirit. Dad was explaining to me this week how he raked up all the leaves and then ran over them with the lawnmower. He just got his lawnmower back from the shop. The last time they put the blades on, the shop tightened them way too tight. Now get this, dad stripped out the bolt trying to remove the blades so he could re-sharpen them. He had them install a new bolt and he instructed them to not over tighten the blades. He explained to them how they have all the equipment to do what they do, while he has to set it on something and lay underneath it to remove the blades. I can envision dad with the mower on some little stand with him laying underneath it. Him being able to do all that he does is a blessing from the Lord God above. Mom's failing eyesight continues to be a huge burden and limitation, however, I keep her computer going and I can tell you she does get around on Facebook. She may have to use her several magnifying glasses to get an idea of what is going on, but, based on all the stuff she has open when I work on her system, she is still plugged in. At 92, she too is a blessing from the Lord God above. At the same time, I really can't even imagine me making it to their age and I certainly can't see myself doing the things they can do.  But, truth is, that would be in God's hands. We come away as offspring of their huge blended clan giving thanks to God for our parents. Amen. ....More later.