Monday, November 20, 2017

"Merry Monday and Happy New Week!" ~ copied

Yes, Virginia, Santa does get tired after he's made photos with hundreds of kids of all ages. I thought about saying something about the child obesity issue, but, I am a purveyor of joy, and that subject might be considered a downer. However, my aching bones might want to express their thoughts on the subject. Perhaps at a later time. Greetings. Yes. I am so very thankful to welcome everyone back to the scene of the sublime, where my keystrokes become words on the page. This particular episode comes to you on this back-to-work Monday, of Thanksgiving Week, November 27, 2017. We are so looking forward to our family gathering this week and I'm sure many are doing the same. We were blessed to have two of my sisters-in-law over last week for a brief visit from Louisiana. My wife's sister, Dorothy, and the widow of our dear Bro. Milton, Glenda, was able to be with us for a couple of days. Dorothy told me that two of her grandkids from college will be bringing friends with them to their Thanksgiving Day feast. One is a local college friend and the other is a student from a foreign country. I know what kind of celebration Dorothy will have in store, therefore, this foreigner is in for a great experience of traditional Americana culture along with the food to go with it. Those kids bringing those kids with them reminds us all that sharing was an essential part of that first Thanksgiving celebration. And, it also reflects the spirit of gratefulness to God for His bountiful provisions. Amen.

I'm not too old or jaded to remember how wonderful the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were as a kid growing up. It's somewhat hard to explain, but, there was this feeling of anticipation and excitement that made us all anxious for the celebrations to start. Often, we had our far away kin who came in to be at the Thanksgiving feast. Everything we enjoyed was made from scratch. The smells coming out of Granny Mac's and my mom's kitchens was enough to get our taste buds stirred to a frenzy. There were always a nibble or sample here and there that kept us counting the minutes until the prayer was said. We were not wealthy in this world's goods but looking back I couldn't have imagined anyone basking in more extravagance of love, food, and fellowship. Special. It was that and so much more. I can see us all gathered around the table overflowed into the living room and den. Once everyone was settled and quiet, it was time for Paw Paw Mac to speak. He was a man of few words as he would say, "Okay Momma." That was Granny Mac's cue to pray one of her legendary prayers that brought heaven down to enjoy with us our time together. Sure. I'm certain my recollection is tainted by my aged worn nostalgia, but, here's what I have to say about that. If it is, so be it, and, I am so thankful to God that we still have a little of that same feeling as a characteristic of our time when we all gather together. Sentimental old fool? Thank you.

That photo in the previous paragraph was to celebrate mom's 90th birthday. Believe it or not, we had those kinds of huge gatherings often when I was a kid growing up. My Uncle Asa would come in from Florida for a scheduled family reunion. He would find a place in the large area beside the house and clear it for the barbecue. He would stretch hardware cloth on metal posts for the meat he would be cooking. We had fifty halves of chickens, plenty of sausages, and whatever else could be found to cook. Granny Mac would make her famous made-from-scratch barbecue sauce by the gallon. The fire would be burned separately and the fiery coals shoveled under the hardware cloth. Uncle Asa had a piece of maybe a broom handle with some rags all mushed up on the end and tied with wire so that it became the sop he used to baste the meat while it was roasting. (Yep, on an open fire.) The ladies busied themselves preparing all the side dishes. Different teams worked on churning by hand several containers of homemade ice cream. The kids did their part by sitting on top of the ice cream freezers. We also had ice cold watermelons bobbing around with blocks of ice in number three washtubs. I remember at times there would be outside guests. One, in particular, said he had never seen anything like what he witnessed at our gathering. He said he had never seen people eat like that. Yep. That's how we did it. He also said he had never enjoyed anything more. Me too. As a preteen, I could eat maybe 3 or 4 of those small halves of chicken. I did see one meme saying that this upcoming Thursday would not be a good day for their pants. I understand completely. Enjoy your memories. They are a blessing from God. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 17, 2017

“Entering the house of God to dwell with God, beholding, glorifying and enjoying him eternally, I suggest, is the story of the Bible, the plot that makes sense of the various acts, persons and places of its pages, the deepest context for its doctrines.” ― L. Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus

Good Friday morning to one and all. It's a great day to celebrate all that God has done for us, on this November 17, 2017. I was checking out some other blogs the other day and I discovered something. I guess because I started out with the title 'The View From My Pew' and early on changed it to 'The View From Here', well, my blog got categorized with other religious-themed writings. I don't know that it matters since I have no hooks to any other external sources on my blog, but, I thought it was interesting that I am identified in that way. You are right. There is quite a bit of Bible-oriented stuff that shows up here and perhaps some straight up teaching and a little preaching too. I'm okay with that designation, however, I'm not certain that I knew that was how it was perceived. Okay. Since I mentioned this grouping, I will tell you something. We are studying the Book of Leviticus in our Sunday morning Bible class, and, it is exhausting.  Not because of the bad rap the book gets since it does focus on the laws and commandments pertaining to how God desired His people, the nation of Israel, to function in every part of their everyday lives, but rather, to me, the writing is very convicting because it really does set forth the holiness of God and His expectations of His people. Moses becomes the spokesperson as God tells him exactly what to share with His people. One scholar commented how this direct communication from God, if written in red, would be the reddest book in the Bible. I mention it because it does profoundly set forth God's Holy Person contrasted with our fallen and helpless condition. This causes me to tremble in appreciation for how Jesus the Christ fulfilled every righteous requirement and gave Himself up as the perfect sacrifice on behalf of us all. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! Amen.

I recently saw the British tabloids going crazy over the study that reported people there, over 65, were taking, on average, 5 pills per day. They called themselves a pill-popping nation. I didn't know how to feel about that article. I take thirteen every day, but, as they say, it is what it is. Most of my pills relate to my diabetes and its derivatives, blood pressure, and cholesterol; my arthritis, and a couple of other age-related ditties. I think 6 of mine are over the counter. I never took anything other than over the counter pills for minor arthritis up and until my diabetes diagnosis over ten years ago. (September 2007) Like I say, I don't know whether to feel like a pill popper or not. I guess if the moniker fits, then I have to own up to it. The doctor and I often talk about reducing some of them, however, my simple approach says if it is more or less working, emphasis on the more or less, don't rock the boat. One of the older fellows who used to work with me here came by the other day for a visit. He is 81 years young. He told me his doctor had taken him off his diabetes medications and said his numbers, at his age, could float quite a bit higher. I don't know if that gives me something to look forward to or not. I suppose the tabloids would call me a pill popper on steroids. (pun intended)

Never doubt me, I do know what I'm talking about!
This has been a relentlessly busy week for me where I've been chasing this, that, and the other, but, I do believe I am making some progress. Making some headway, by the way, is very crucial to staying with it. Having so much on your plate, as they say, is an indication of something. I'll have to get back to you on that one because the answer escapes me at the moment. In fact, escape, at times seems to be at least an option. You do know I am mostly kidding. Mostly. If the Lord provides, by the next time I show up here at the ole blogger ranch, I will have spent 10-12 hours in The Seat. The Santa Seat. I can never predict exactly how that all will go. I've written a little song to illustrate what I'm talking about. You might recognize it from a few years ago. "Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not mine to see, Que Sera Sera. Will there be screamers, will there be dreamers? Will parents be happy or will I be sad? We'll just have to wait and see. Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not mine to see, Que Sera Sera ." Well, that's a start. I think you get my drift on that one. (The original 1956 song was first introduced in the Hitchcock movie, 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', where it was sung by the lovely Doris Day.) I do hope you have a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Until we meet again, may God bless us, one and all! Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"I don't care who you are, how much money you make -- if you don't respect our country, then you shouldn't be in this country playing football. Go to another country and play football." ~ Mike Ditka, legendary NFL coach and player

Good morning everyone. No doctor today. Late yesterday afternoon the clinic called and said there had been a last minute schedule change. Really? The result was my doctor would not be in today or tomorrow. Really? My only hope is this change was not prompted by him seeing my name on the patient list. Oh well, here we go again in pursuit of the circle of life, or, in my way of operating, it's called running in circles, on this Thursday, November 16, 2017. The mainstream news media have come to the defense of GQ Magazine's naming the NFL former starting quarterback and national anthem protestor, Colin Kaepernick, as their cover, designating him as Citizen of the Year. While they fawn and applaud over this selection, most God-fearing folks who love their country, well, they, including me, are appalled. If you read some of his comments about our country in general and other hateful comments he has made regarding our police and institutions, while at the same time he has defended ruthless dictators like Fidel Castro, well, that just doesn't sound like someone who would be singled out for a citizenship award. They are trying to turn him and his actions into something akin to the civil rights struggle. And, by the way, when is the last time anyone knew that GQ Magazine was still being published? That, my friend, may have a lot to do with it. I've never said he and others do not have a right to pursue their grievances. I believe the way to do that is certainly not to disrespect our nation, our flag, and especially those who have served and paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. They say they are not doing that. Many who buy tickets and attend games interpret their actions negatively. They no longer attend. Many who watch games on TV interpret their actions negatively. They no longer watch. The protestors using our anthem to express their views along with the news media call people who no longer attend or watch, racists. I am one of those who quit watching early on but I don't think I am racist, but, that's the world we live in today.

I'll even go one better. I'll accept the protestor's explanations for what they really wanted to communicate in getting their message across. I still disagree with their method. Period. It really is hard for most folks to identify with millionaires who claim themselves to be no different than slaves on a plantation. Mr. Kaepernick has recently filed a lawsuit against the owners of the NFL teams. He claims they have cooperated or colluded together to keep him from getting a job in the NFL as a quarterback. I actually don't know if they did do such a thing, would that be wrong? They have a business and they are attempting to protect the image of their business. His claim is that he is better than other quarterbacks who are being signed. I've been much better than folks who got promoted at different times in my working life. It happens all the time. I didn't know that could be the basis of a lawsuit. He does have lots of support, including those in other sports. Recently, there was pressure applied to the Houston franchise to sign him since their quarterback went down with an injury. For days, the headlines read like threats against this business entity. Really? They can hire or not hire whoever they decide would be best for their team. I can't remember a situation where media and activist groups were making such outlandish demands. Some pretty crazy stuff if you ask me. I didn't say we can't let the inmates run the prison, but, I certainly understood the metaphor from the get-go. Obviously, a whole lot of others missed it entirely, but, that's the world we live in today.

I do know there are many who read my blogs that have no interest whatsoever in this subject. I get that. However, it was this recent GQ cover that got it all going again in my mind and that's what typically percolates onto the electronic page. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! I could sing it for you but I think it wise to just read it and hope for the best. I mentioned the other day how that as I have become the senior statesman here on our property, I find myself dispensing more of my thoughts, opinions, and wise advice. There are two other fellows that share this office with me. They are often the recipients of my discourses. I was talking to my brother Victor the other day about it and the thought occurred to me that I knew exactly how the participants feel on the TV show, 'The Voice'. I said that because often when I begin to pontificate, I too get to experience chairs turning. Unfortunately, they are turning away from me, but, the effect is still the same. And, just so you know, that usually does not interfere with the finishing of my speech. You are not surprised? Good. Enjoy the rest of your day and based on what I've shared, you probably think it's too late to not let the inmates run the asylum. At least, as it pertains to my world. Until next time, may God richly bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“Giving up on a purposeful journey of life is as deadly as death! When you pursue with tenacity, and strive through the adversities and the vicissitudes of life with a mind of fortitude and get to the end of the journey, you shall surely see life. Awake! Arise and go! Never ever give up!!!” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, Ghanaian writer and a teacher.

You never know what you might see on any given day. This is what I had swirling around agitating those gray cells this morning, on this Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Yesterday, I came into work at my regular time. My last turn onto the dark country road is at a four-way stop. I saw the other car already stopped. That car had the right away but they were not budging. I signaled and turned and lo and behold I saw an older lady at the wheel. She had the lighted mirror down and was putting on her makeup. I've seen that being done as ladies are driving down the freeway. But, there she was, at a four-way stop, working on her face. I know that Solomon, in the inspired text of Ecclesiastes said there's nothing new under the sun. (He certainly got that right when it comes to recycled stuff in movies and television.) However, that was a first for me. She appeared to be oblivious. She didn't even glance at me. She was working on her eyebrows. My guess is that she will be okay until one of those hillbilly rednecks runs up behind her in one of those jacked up trucks, slams on their brakes, and hits their fog horn. That lipstick will probably leave a mark. I suppose Dr. Seuss got it right when a part of one of his poems had this phrase, "Oh the sights you'll see."

You may have thought I exaggerated my story about the dangers of driving in and around where the deer and the antelope roam. Yesterday, someone posted on Facebook a photo of a huge buck all the way through the driver side windshield drooped over the steering wheel. The photo was directed to a specific individual in order to reinforce the warning to be careful out there. I just wanted everyone to know that while I do write a lot of anecdotal stuff, but, some of what I share does reflect the reality of things that can happen as we go along our way. When I mentioned the other day about people asking after my health, which my wife reminded me that she is now not the only one, well, it reminded me of something that happened many years ago. I was doing a consulting project for a large enterprise and the people there were very skittish regarding exactly what I might find and write about. The information technology director was particularly worried. He had reason to be. Yet, one of his tired old tricks was to ask about my health everytime he saw me. Out in the elevator lobby, "Hey, good to see you, are you sure you are okay?" In the hall, "Man, I think maybe you should get a check-up." He was trying to plant a seed and maybe get me off my game. Long story but it ended this way, he was demoted and shipped off to a remote location. And, while I hate to see anyone impacted negatively, in his case he had well earned what happened to him. That was back in the mid-1990's. I don't know where he is today but I am glad to say that I am here and able to write about it. Thanks to everyone for their concerns. I can hear Paw Paw Mac's assessment of the situation, "Son, you'll feel much better when it quits hurting."

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I am far from having any ideas of invincibility on the part of this well-worn body doing business in this fallen world. Going to the doctor today is quite different than it was when I was growing up as a kid. We had only one doctor in our little town. He had been the doctor there for as long as most people could remember. He had no computer equipment, medical test equipment, or any other of the modern tools available. He would listen to your chest. He would look in your mouth. He would ask questions. When I go in tomorrow the nurse will come in and ask me to sit on that little table in the examination room. She will then log into the clinic's computer system. She will call up my records. She will verify the information to make sure it really is me. She then weighs me and takes my vitals and records the information into the computer. She then leaves and tells me the doctor will be in shortly. He comes in, we shake hands, and then he sits down and logs into the computer. He covers some of the same information but begins to ask about any changes and how I am doing with the current treatment regimen. He goes over the medications. We talk. Maybe a couple of minutes. He then listens to my heart and checks out any other complaints I might have. We then go back to the computer and he updates everything. We stand up, shake hands again, and the visit is over, 10-15 minutes max. The good news? It all seems to work. The old town doctor typically helped me get over whatever I was ailing from and the new 21st-century doctor has pretty much done the same. My bottom line, I am blessed. And, I do thank God for all that He has provided to us to help in every facet of life. Amen and Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happy 17th Birthday to our Lexie!

Happy Happy 17th Birthday to our granddaughter, Lexie! This young woman is a gifted athlete, scholar, and well-rounded person. We so look forward to all that God has in store for her. Have a great birthday and know that we love you dearly. MiMi and Poppy

Good Tuesday morning. May God bless us all on this November 14, 2017. The hits just keep on coming. Yesterday morning I brought to work another case of bottled water. That's what I use to make my Community Coffee. When I dragged it out of the floorboard of my truck I must have clipped one bottle. Yep. It drenched my jeans on the right side. I keep my life-extending drugs in my right side pocket. By the time I got to my pills, my blood pressure pill had become completely dissolved. I salvaged the rest of my pills but what I really wanted to do was to go and hide somewhere. I couldn't complain to anyone because, as far as I can tell, I was the only one responsible for the leaking bottle. Last week my watch got messed up and I thought I had come in on the wrong day. I took one of our technicians out to a customer site to work on a building we had fabricated. It was in an obscure location. He put it into his GPS on his cell phone. The voice came on telling us how to get there. I told him, "Wow! You have the same lady on your GPS that I have on mine." It was supposed to be a joke, but, I could tell he felt sorry for me. Then, over the weekend, my health and well being was questioned by more than one person. On Monday, I busted the bottle and melted some of my meds. This, I suppose, is the reality of how things go in this final quarter of the game. Of life. (Do the math, I'm 71.) Or, is this nothing more than a series of mishaps that could happen to anyone, no matter their age? You did what? You remembered me not being able to find my cellphone while I was talking on it? Thanks so much for adding that one to the list. I feel much better now. I hope I don't reach the point of this individual testimony I recently read, "I'm thinking more about running away from home than I did when I was a kid. However, by the time I put my teeth in, round up my glasses, and find my keys, I forget where and why I am going."

I guess the saving grace on the blood pressure pill is that it is a time-release formula. In this situation, it will only be experiencing a 24-hour delay. I do have a follow-up doctor's appointment this coming Thursday. They will be checking to see how my updated diabetic treatment plan is working. This means I will fast until sometime after I see the doctor at 9:15 a.m., and he sends me to the lab to draw blood. Shakespeare was onto something, "To drink or not to drink Community?" Now that, my friend, is the question. While 98% of the medical websites say that fasting includes coffee, there are the outliers, the 2% who say it's okay. When you have a divided opinion like this, it does make it hard to decide which one to go with. Yes. I am aware that 98 to 2 is an overwhelming majority. But, who's to say those in the 2% are not the enlightened ones? See? I'm thinking this through. Just so you know, I typically abstain from coffee until after the blood draw. I'm hoping my A1C is back into a more manageable category because I will be glad to no longer have dreams about that dude dragging his beagle around in that ad about some kind of breakthrough diabetic drug. I kid you not. I have switched off that ad to another channel and landed on the same ad again, and on the third channel too. Big brother? Could be. Could be.

The mating season for Whitetail deer is underway in Texas. This means I have to be up on the wheel as I make my way to work in the wee early hours each morning. I came around the big curve the other morning and was surprised by a bunch of white bellies milling around. I slowed way down and went through them, some on the left side of the road and some of the right side. The bucks during this time of year pay no attention whatsoever to the road signs. That's why the driver better be alert and ready to swerve or stop. I did see a beautiful bright red fox the other morning. He was just loping along as he crossed in front of me. Many mornings are filled with eyes reflected from the bushes in my headlights. They light up. I'm not sure who they belong to. Maybe a raccoon. Maybe a rabbit. Maybe an opossum. Could be one of those huge owls. Or, even a coyote. Maybe something larger. A couple of weeks ago I had to make a trip to Waller, Texas, and I passed that huge ranch filled with exotic animals. I didn't see as many as I have seen before but I did get a look at several zebras, gazelles, and those huge deer-like tall beasts with the super long bowed horns. They are behind a tall green fence. My point? I don't need to go on a safari. I live in one nearly every work day. I'm not planning on wearing a Crocodile Dundee hat or talking with an accent anytime soon, but, when I was a teen some thought, rightly or wrongly, that I had a wild life, but for sure I now only observe wildlife. Take care. Let's make the most of the day that God has given to us as we try to make a positive difference in someone's life. For time and eternity. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart. All the world is happy when Santa Claus comes." ~ copied

Jesus loves the little children, and we do too!
I thought for a second I was supposed to be nervous because it is the 13th, but, I then realized it's only Monday so I can relax a little on this November 13, 2017. This is countdown week for the wife and I as we prepare for our official kickoff of this season's Santa Enterprise events this coming Saturday and Sunday. We will be doing our thing at the big Junior League Holiday Market. That is always a fun venue because the Junior League folks are so nice and we get to work with a great photography team as well. Mrs. Claus gets to shine in her own area where she can read to the children and they can enjoy cookies and a beverage. We never know if we are really ready but we are prepared to give it a shot, one more time. I've already done a couple of stints in the professional photography studio and we have two more days of that scheduled for early December. We also have another dozen on our calendar with several more in the works. One freebie in the talking stage is a fundraiser event where they are predicting 300 kids. If I can arrange to be off to do that one I need to remember to take extra of the extra strength time release arthritis Tylenol because it will be needed. Trust me. I know what I am talking about. These bones. They do some singing from time to time and it can be a woeful tune. I wanted to write extra extra strength Tylenol but that grammar application tends to get all huffy whenever I put two exact words next to each other in a sentence. I don't know why but I like it when words are back to back like that. He doesn't. Not at all. He can be very picky at times and keeps on flagging it even after I told him to stop. What part of 'ignore' does he not understand? See what I have to put up with?

Shout out to my brother Victor Chavez who attained the ripe age of three score and five yesterday. We were privileged to be a part of a surprise birthday celebration for him this past Saturday evening. I thank God for him, his family, and for the nearly 40 years we've lived as a close family. May God continue to bless is my prayer. Amen.

I can be pretty dense at times. Last Friday when I was sitting in this same spot finishing up my daily dishing out of electronic keystrokes regarding this, that, and the other, I looked down at my watch and it had the wrong date on it. I don't really know that much about this watch. It is a really nice watch. It was given to me as a gift by my eldest. I get a lot of compliments on it except for that Homeland Security guy at the airport. After the sensor beeped, he looked at the watch. He looked at me. And, without saying anything he grumpily insinuated through his stare how that anyone with a lick of sense would have known to have taken it off. At any rate, sometimes the little pin thingie that is used to set the time along with who knows what else, well, it can become disengaged causing the time to stop or be off. But the date, that's a different animal. We came off of October. It had 31 days and everything was clipping along really good. When I saw the date last Friday on my watch was November 11, what do you think I did? I looked up at the calendar and immediately thought, "Wow! I came in on Saturday thinking it was Friday." How do I make it when I have such an idiot running my thinking system? Yes. I did figure it out. The watch somehow got messed up. The date was actually the 10th. There is a way to set the calendar on the watch. I've not been able to figure it out yet. I do know that I can take 10 minutes and run it forward but I think I will choose to phone a friend instead. Came to work on Saturday? What will I come up with next?

Stay tuned my friend and stay thirsty, thirsty for tidbits that will encourage you not to be the fellow who writes this stuff. At this point and time, I think I'm trapped and must finish the dance with the one who brought me. At least I can laugh about it. When I do laugh about it I will let you know. Meanwhile, we continue the journey. As it relates to the watch situation, I Googled it, found the manual, and followed the instructions, (more or less), fixed the date. Now I have a previously unused 'phone a friend' that I can save for another day. See how easy that was? I didn't stay up until one second past midnight to see if I had it right for a.m. versus p.m., but I did bookmark the online manual for future reference. This once again proves that even a stopped watch is accurate at least twice a day. Don't ask me to explain that one, but, I do think it to be accurate. I do hope you have your date and time correctly adjudicated for this Monday and that we all will find ourselves thanking God for another day, and for the opportunity we have to laugh, even if it is at ourselves. Have a good one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 10, 2017

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~ Albert Einstein

It's really good to make this announcement today: It is FRIDAY! This one identifies itself as November 10, 2017. I'm not typically one of those TGIF people but I've had a lot of field projects this week and I'm looking forward to wrapping things up and bidding farewell to this work week. I've just completed my 11th year of showing up here at my home away from home. God has been good to have provided this place of business for me to work during this good long run. I may have slowed down a step or two but my commitment to this enterprise and those who own it remains as strong as ever. I have a few folks who like to needle me about why I don't retire. I tell them I am retired. From the big company and from the social security program. I still have that get up and go gumption that brings me here early each morning to get things up and going. This work, my labor on behalf of the Lord, my work as Santa, and all the other varieties of duties as assigned keep me busy. I think the wife and I are the youngest in our Bible study group. I am 71. She is 70. We had 46 in our class last Sunday. Lots of white hair. Lots of wisdom. Lots of visible signs of aging. A few weeks ago I arrived for Bible study in a torrential downpour. After making my way to our classroom, I could see out the window many of these older saints of God battling the elements with their walkers, their canes, and their rain gear. It made me feel very humbled to be a part of this group, and, maybe that's why I still feel blessed to show up here each day. Amen.

With Veterans Day being celebrated tomorrow, I pause to recognize, honor, and celebrate each and every person who has worn the military uniform of our nation. May God bless each of them and their families. Amen. I see where a major organization representing African Americans is calling for the removal of the Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem. I can't speak for anyone else but I do know how I have responded to this entire issue of disrespecting our flag, our nation, and those who have bled and died to allow us the freedoms we enjoy. I have not watched a professional football game since all of this hullabaloo began. I was boycotting before boycotting became cool. I have never doubted the heartfelt concerns that individuals might have for whatever issues they are concerned about. However, as much as their concerns may have merit, I cannot see how protesting the very existence of our country is going to advance their cause. And, in addition to that, to do so during an entertainment event that is bought and paid for by fans, well, that just doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me. I know they have a union and they are threatening all kinds of dire consequences if anybody doesn't toe their line. To me, that makes me even more determined not to watch their shows. Just me. We actually have only two more races to go in this year's NASCAR championship, therefore, after that, I suppose it will either be ice hockey or a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood movie. We do have a vote. Now you know how I have chosen to respond. Each person can decide for themselves. Free tickets? No thank you.

I heard a most interesting report on the BBC radio program coming in early one morning. What happens when the most populous nation, China, (1.4 billion people, India, 1.3 billion), begins to grow a middle class? They have resources they never have had before. Money. Those seeing the potential begin to develop markets within this new found buying capacity. One area has been the selling of fish as in seafood. It is growing by leaps and bounds in China. Within just the past few years, China's increased demand for fishing capacity has brought significant increases in prices, and a huge increase in illegal fishing causing some experts to be concerned about the future availability of these food products. Some areas are already fished out leaving those who typically make their living fishing off their native shore without a source of income. Many offshore areas are not able to be policed to ward off illegal harvesters because the nearby countries have no enforcement capability. Why is this something that might end up impacting us all? People sell a product to the highest bidder. The cost of seafood in the future may become prohibitive as China's demand drives up prices. The fish expert they talked to gave an example of how one purchase of seafood for the Chinese market for immediate sell made up several months of consumption for other entire countries. His advice: Enjoy your seafood while you can afford it. I thought it was interesting. You may not. We are living in some amazing times. Enjoy your Saturday and may Lord's Day Sunday find us all in the place of worship. Amen. ....More later.