Friday, February 29, 2008

Yes Virginia, There Is A February 29th

I’ve read a number of the technical explanations for why we have to add another day approximately every four years except for a variety of exceptions in order to keep our calendar in sync. The stuff reads like computational craziness but I’m thankful that we have folks to help keep all of this together. There are also guidelines for those born in a leap year that need to have a precise way of computing when to celebrate their birthday. I’ve always thought that most people just move it back one day but there’s actually a system where the birthday can float depending on how the calendar falls.

The bottom line as I understand it is that if we did not make these adjustments, after a number of years the Easter Sunday celebration might fall on the 4th of July and that wouldn’t reflect the actual day Jesus resurrected. We can know the exact date of the resurrection precisely, based on the Jewish lunar calendar that was followed at that time. That calendar coordinated special days like Passover based on the equinoxes. Confusing enough for you yet? However, interestingly, this doesn’t mean it is a fixed date on our calendar each year because it floats but in a precise way where it does in fact land on the right date even though that day may not be the same each year. I sure hope you’ve got all this down because it’s beginning to make my head spin.

There are a number of leap year festivals in a variety of locations including one held in the Leap Year Capital of the World, celebrated in Anthony, Texas/New Mexico. These two communities call themselves twin cities but do not qualify officially for this designation but that could make them an even more appropriate candidate for this celebration. This year’s festival includes a golf tournament, a trip to a nearby casino, and many other activities. They are inviting all those born on February 29th, leap year anniversary couples, and any and all others who want to come and enjoy a great time.

I looked through a list of supposedly famous people who were born on February 29, but to tell the truth, other than Dinah Shore, the late singer and talk show host, I only recognized Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker. He has been called one of the top 50 business intellectuals in the world. That may be true since I do know he has persuaded a huge number of folks to pay him enough money to make him very, very wealthy. I mostly know him from his infomercials where he is up on a stage goading people to set goals and achieve success using the power that is within them.

As for important things in history that have happened on February 29th, the list includes the first accusations made during the Salem Witch trials in 1692; a 1944 famous invasion during World War II of the Admiralty Islands by General MacArthur; and finally, Karen and Richard Carpenter of the singing duo, The Carpenters, received a gold record for their hit song, Hurting Each Other, in 1972. There were other events listed but none seemed very important to me.

While all this was put together mainly in jest, I suppose the critical thing to consider about time, calendars, and birth dates is the fact that the clock is running and regardless of how we do our counting, time is getting away from us and our opportunity to embrace God’s presence and His purpose for us is also slipping away. Here’s a poem I’ve heard quoted many times before and it is listed as being written by an unknown author. I thought it appropriate in helping make my point:

Two little lines I heard one day,
Travelling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in that day my Lord to meet,
And stand before His judgment seat;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me, Father, a purpose deep,
In joy, or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

I do hope you will have a tremendous time of restoration and reflection over your upcoming Saturday and Sunday. May we all find ourselves thinking about the message of this little poem as we seek to live out the life He has given to us. Amen. …..More later.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What A Day!

What a great day to be thanking God for His answer to our prayers! My mom came through the heart procedure with flying colors and the previous blockage had improved so significantly, they didn't do anything at all which spared her a difficult second step, and gave her the peace of mind that her heart is doing better. We prayed for this to be the outcome consistent with God's will and we then thanked Him for answered prayer. I've heard people say that we believers are pretty gullible because regardless of the outcome, we still thank God. I am elated to be able to plead guilty to this charge. He alone is worthy and He deserves our praise, our thanks, and our worship regardless of what's going on in and around our lives. The Old Testament character Job summed it up this way: "Though he may slay me, I will still praise and worship Him".
Travelling over for my mom's procedure to Lake Charles, Louisiana in the very early hours of Wednesday morning was an interesting adventure. I left the suburb of the huge metroplex at 2 a.m., and had to drive across the city to intersect the highway I travelled. Imagine this. You are driving in and around a city that's recognized for it's traffic snarls and gripping gridlock, but at 2 a.m. you can set the cruise control on 65 miles per hour! Unbelievable!

During my three hour ride I was able to hear some wonderful preaching, some great gospel music, and here and there some news, weather, and classical orchestral tunes from a station in Beaumont. The highway was mostly the 18 wheelers and me. It had been a number of years since I had been on that particular highway and I remember when I first came to this area in 1969 I was stunned by the amount of construction on that roadway. Guess what? They are still doing about the same amount nearly forty years later. I suppose the more things change, it is the more they stay the same.

It was great to arrive at the hospital at about the same time my parents did. They didn't know I was coming and it was one of those special moments that I will always treasure. My mom had wonderful treatment and the hospital staff in the day surgery unit could not have been more professional and cooperative. We had anticipated she would at a minimum required some work to open up the artery which had previously indicated a blockage but she didn't, and her doctor was both impressed and surprised. Once she was back in her room we had another prayer and I said my farewells and headed back to catch up with my day job.

On the way through the metroplex I was able to stop by and have lunch with our youngest son who was celebrating his birthday, our eldest son, and our eldest granddaughter, (they all work for the same company). We had a great time and then I rejoined the freeway wars and finally was at my desk at 2 p.m. What a day! What blessings! And, what a mighty God we serve! As I so often say in this blog we have no idea what this day will bring and even less about tomorrow but we are privileged to know and be able to communicate with the One who holds it all in His hands. Needless to say, I didn't have to be rocked to sleep last night but even the good rest I needed and received is something I can be thankful for. Thanks for your prayers for my mom and may God give you and yours a wonderful day! ......More later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Don't Make This Stuff Up!

Before I handle today’s subject I want to wish a happy birthday to our baby boy, Rodney, who turns 37 today! God has been good to us and we are thankful as we observe his growth and development in his personal life, his spiritual life, and in leading his family, not to mention the joys of knowing his sweet wife, Mitzi, and our precious grandchildren, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady, (Bray-Bray). We had a huge combination family celebration and eatin’-meetin’ last Sunday to honor him and our 2nd eldest granddaughter, Brittany, who became a 17 year old last Thursday. She’s our eldest son’s second offspring and she’s a wonderful young lady and we know God has a great plan for her life. How blessed we are!

If you read my blog yesterday you might have thought I was exaggerating this idea of being able to identify with people literally all over the world. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking this, therefore, I determined to do a test and check out my own recollection of what I had written about. I took maybe forty-five minutes and slogged through some random hits on a variety of blogs across the world and I thought the results were pretty amazing.

This first photo is of a family in Madrid, Spain. Their blog is all about their family. There may be 200 or more photographs on their site and one thing is very clear, these folks love their family, and especially their grandchildren. My wife and I would no doubt have trouble communicating with these people unless they can speak English but having looked at their photos, we would have no trouble whatsoever in talking to them in the international language of love known as ‘grandparent-ese’.

Here’s a photo of a father and daughter from Japan. Notice the little girl is wearing a shirt with Florida on it. What you want to bet they, like so many winning sports figures, have been to Disney World? Next is a shot of a mother and daughter on a toboggan on a snowy hillside in Greece. Their blog is devoted to any and all things pertaining to this beautiful bundle of joy who is all bundled up to play in the snow.

I like this photo from France. The seven-year old girl standing by her friend had come to visit her because she was ill. The next shot is of some girls from Goshen Baptist Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Kids are pretty much the same the world over and it reminds us that they make lasting friendships and enjoy getting together and having a good time.

This is a Polish mom with a little one taking a nap. That’s where all babies feel comfortable as they not only snuggle but feel the love from the one who brought them into the world. These next two came from a Russian blog and I had to laugh at the goats. The shot is obviously staged but it brought a smile to me. The cars on the barge with the fellow on his cell phone could best describe someone who is already having a really bad day. Bad days are also a universal condition that all people have to deal with.

Please don’t tell me there are scrapbook fanatics in France! But, alas, I suppose there are and here’s one of the many examples of their work as displayed on their blog. Under the heading of a picture really is worth a thousand words, this next shot from Italy caught my attention. I'm not saying it would end up on my refrigerator but something about it appeals to me. It may not say anything to you but that’s because we all perceive stuff differently.

We may not be able to speak German but we can tell that no weapons are allowed at this airport near Berlin. The rooster is from a farm in Germany and it made me wonder if he sounds his morning alarm in a German version of cockle doodle do. Okay, I’m not quite that dense but I like the photo so I picked it out of several on a blog about this farm.

I told you I love the photos of children. Here’s one from Israel of a little one studying the TORAH. It is said that in ancient days most Jewish boys could recite the first five books of the Bible from memory. It was part of their training and wasn’t thought of as difficult or strange because it was embedded in their daily living. Finally, I love this one of Sadie. Sadie is the daughter of Brandi from Rigby, Idaho, a town of less than 4,000 people. Brandi says in her profile that she always wished growing up that her name could have been Michelle. The title of her blog is: ‘One day I’ll look back at this and laugh……’ She says that Sadie is committed to being an entertainer one day. Sadie gets up early to practice her performances and Brandi figures she will be ready for American Idol in 2023.

So there you have it. Forty-five minutes of random bouncing around on the worldwide super highway and you can see the results. Like I said yesterday, I not only see but feel a sincere connection to the common thread that binds us all together. Every day develops its own script. Maybe a sick friend, or a barge that tilts over on its side, or a wonderful day just to enjoy God’s creation and the family we love. Yet, at the same time I also know we all need to have a relationship with our Creator that comes from knowing His Son, and I do pray that all the folks in the photos I’ve shared have been introduced to Him! I had to complete this exercise so you wouldn’t think I was just pulling your leg. (According to Word Detective, there’s many ideas about the origin of this phrase including one involving the hanging of people but it goes on to state that "to pull one's leg" more likely referred to a thief's way of disorienting a victim. The criminal would simply trip victims before robbing them. Over time, the expression's meaning evolved. Today, of course, it's just another way of saying, "Hey, I was only kidding.”) Nothing like learning a factoid to help make your day. May God bless and please say a prayer for my mom who will be having a heart procedure this morning at 7 a.m. See you next time. …..More later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The blogs I write are created in the Google Blogger environment. It is amazing to me the variety of blogs that exist out there somewhere on the super information highway. The system I use has a utility that lets you choose a random blog and to me it is pure enjoyment to see blogs from Japan, Sweden, Peru, or every other country on the planet. There's quite a few commercially oriented blogs where people are selling their services, crafts, or other speciality items. But, there are literally hundreds of thousands that are basically like mine, they are about the things that concern a particular individual who takes the time to opine.

My blog is not strictly a family blog where I try to keep everyone informed about the developments and details of each child. Many blogs do just that. One of the wonderful things I find in reading some of the random sites is the common threads that you see which reflect the human condition. People love and are proud of their children, their homes, their pets, their jobs, their vacations, their extended families, and they write about them, attach photos, and even though I may not be able to read any of the language, I can read the smiles, the heart, and the similarities that tie us all back to our Creator through the lineage of our ancestors, Adam and Eve.

Some have been blogging for a few years and you can see the stages of growth as seen in the photos of their family. One of the things that grips me as I look at men, women, boys, and girls from Norway to Nova Scotia, is not only our shared humanity but our shared need to know God and to be redeemed by Him through His provision of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we are just like the Apostle Paul said it, all of one blood, and given that we are, we come into this world regardless of where we are born or what language we are taught to speak, with a greatest need. That need is to be made aware of the truth regarding God's love for every person, regardless, and His desire for each one to know Him through His Son.

I don't have to tell anyone how much trash exists on servers connected to the internet because it most likely would be a majority piece of the pie. However, I am thankful to land on a Church blog or website from New Zealand where people are excited about God and meeting together to worship Him and learn more of His word. I'm thrilled to read about the exploits of a missionary couple in Kenya, Africa, who have been literally dodging bullets in their desire to reach people for Christ. Many of their converts in some of the villages where they have ministered have been killed due to the civil war going on, but they know these folks are now in the presence of God because He sent them to Africa with a message of hope.

Okay, I'm getting mentally weebly wobbly in my old age, but my how I love to see the CHILDREN! Some are obviously very well off and dressed nicely, others have hardened dirt on their faces, but all so very precious in their own special way. I've seen children in China rolling a wheel around for fun, or some gathered for a party in Mexico with their smiles so broad and beautiful. It is a small world after all and as some have already said, it is a wonderful time to be alive on the planet because we live at a time whenever travel and resources to make a difference in people's lives is more readily available than at any other time in history. Church groups can now charter a plane and spend a week in Romania. Individuals can take a summer and minister to people in Papua New Guinea. Or, we can look across the desk to our co-worker who has a need, our neighbor who is struggling, or someone in our circle who needs a touch from God that comes when we offer our hands in service to Him. Some thoughts on a windy Tuesday morning that can be nourishment to our souls if we will take them in and allow them to cause us to exercise the enabling God has given to us. Amen. ......More later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

You're Kidding, Right?

Okay, am I the only one who sees how really crazy this world can be? I read a headline that says a magazine paid six million dollars for the rights to publish the first photos of the twin babies born to Jennifer Lopez. It’s one thing to be stunned by such an unbelievable sale, but it’s even more amazing to consider that this purchase will probably end up making a huge profit for that particular magazine.

Sometimes when I eat my lunch at my desk I like to put up a slide show from the website Flickr of some far away place. I love seeing pictures of ordinary people living out their lives in their own surroundings and community. One day I was watching some wonderful photos of people in South Africa out in some of the rural areas. One caught my attention. Inside a dwelling with a dirt floor, a little girl in tribal dress was pulling a tiny cart that held a Barbie doll kit. Stuff like this just goes all over me. Here they are in a place that appears to be very primitive but the ‘ever smiling’ blonde Barbie is right there with them!

I know when you get older you see things differently. Often I can hear my boys response, “Okay, I hear what you are saying Pop, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal”. I recently told our middle son that while it might appear innocent enough for our nine year old twin girls to clamor to go to a movie that’s nothing more than a taped Hannah Montana concert, but from my point of view, it’s like sending them to a rock concert with training wheels. He said he had not thought about it that way but since the tickets were so hard to get and they were all hyped up about going, he thought it best for them to go with their friends.

I will readily admit that I am getting old and curmudgeonly but I actually remember whenever you could sit the kids down in front of the Disney Channel and not worry about what they were watching. Not anymore! When they come to our house and they put it on that channel, what I often see is more like prep school for a wild and crazy teen life that will be a 'coming soon' attraction. No wonder Roy, brother of Walt Disney, did what he could to try and change the direction of what his brother left behind. But, he failed because after all of his efforts, when it was all said and done, it was only about the money, first, last, and always, and it certainly is not about what’s best for our children!

Okay, that’s probably enough of the ‘sky is falling’ stuff for a Monday morning but these are the things that a granddad thinks about as he tries to help bring up a child in the way he or she should go, desiring to see the outcome of that biblical proverb, so that when they are old they will not depart from that way. Yeah, you can bet that Disney, Barbie and the Bratz, as well as their other colleagues are not concerned with what you and I should be concerned about. Hey, that’s why I named my blog: ‘The View From Here’, because that’s the way I see it.

For those who are keeping score: my knee may be a little better, my mom is getting ready to get ready to have her heart procedure, our Lexie came through her surgery which turned out to be much more serious than I had understood it to be, but she did wonderfully, our daughter-in-law is still not 100%, Amanda, one of our twins is back up and going, but our little Alex is still ailing. We do thank God for the progress made and continue to seek His grace and help in all of our needs. Have a great week and may God bless you and yours. ….More later.