Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday plus God Help America!

Today is Thursday, April 30, 2009. Forty-one years ago today we experienced the birth of our second child, our son Jimmy. We are thankful for him and his wonderful family. Jimmy is very capable and has proven his talent and abilities in the workplace. His journey has not always been smooth and he’s had more than a fair share of major obstacles, some of his own doing, and others that came along for the ride. However, today he is doing well and making progress and we thank God for providing him with the strength and courage to keep on keeping on. Life is never easy but it seems some have it a little harder than others. We wish him a happy birthday and seek God’s blessings on his life each and every day. Happy Birthday Son!


I haven’t made any political comments lately but I don’t want you to think I’m not paying attention. Last November our nation voted for change. The change they voted for may or may not be the humongous left turn we have made as a people but only time will tell whether this new direction is what people really wanted to see happen. Many predicted the new administration would be more middle-of-the-road and stake out a moderate course of action. But there is no way any reasonable person could evaluate the decisions that have been made and come to that conclusion. We are sailing left, left, left, and some more left again. In foreign relations, in economic and domestic programs, and in all things that pertain to big government activism, this group of folks has, thus far, been bent on pursuing the most radical agenda in modern times. With the approval ratings still high we can only expect more of the same.

I have confidence that God will accomplish His purpose even through these times when the wisdom of man is being triumphed over any recognition of God and His truth. Some have put forth the idea that the American people are so afraid of having a huge failure that they continue to hold up his poll numbers as they privately wring their hands and hope for the best. Many are already down and out and they cannot see how it could be better with his expanded government coming down like a house of cards. We have made a contract of sorts with this new vision and at this point most Americans feel like there’s too much to lose if failure comes. We have made our bed for now and must sleep in it but this doesn’t keep those of us who care about America returning to being a Godly nation from praying night and day for His intervention and help. May God help to keep our ship from going so far off the face of the earth that we fall into an abyss so deep it will be generations before we recover. Meanwhile, God is still God and He is still our God, therefore, we can be positive about His control over yesterday, today, and forever! Amen. ….More later.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't know where I am going or why but I do know I have no time to waste!

Today is the 109th anniversary of my grandfather's birth date. He left this life back in 1971 but left a legacy behind that continues to live on today. He was a simple man of faith and integrity and I pause today to give thanks to God for my Paw Paw Mac!

Good morning. Want to join me here on the porch and sit awhile? I am remembering those porch visit days here on a Wednesday, April 29, 2009. Yesterday I mentioned those days gone by where things were a little slower and certainly much less hectic. While we are not that old we can well remember the days when television, cellphones, personal computers and ipods did not dominate our lives. We were blessed to grow up in a world where neighbors knew each other and often dropped by to visit. People had no qualms about driving over for a visit on a Saturday. If we were gone for some reason they would just find someone else to visit or hang around until we returned. My how things have changed! The thought of people just dropping by for a visit today sends shockwaves through most of us. We would need to have everything prepared, the house would need to be cleaned and straightened, a plan for snacks or a meal would have to be made ready, and we would have to do that all important clearing of our schedule before we could ever even think about having someone drop by for an unexpected visit.

If you are that way today, you are not alone because most of us have grown into this mode of operation. I can remember one particular fellow from way back who loved to come by and visit my wife and I. He would stay and stay. We enjoyed talking, drinking coffee, and talking some more. He was a fellow who got up to leave many times before he actually left. And, even then it would maybe take thirty minutes on his way to his car and leaning on his car door before his time of visit was over. While we used to laugh about how he operated we never really thought his stopping by was a big problem. There were times when we had other things we needed to do but typically most things somehow could be put on hold. Today most of us live with a ticking daytimer in our head as to the what, when, and where we have on our agenda for every hour of the day. Much too often we operate in overload mode to the extent that just keeping up with the schedules can become the driving force in our life.

Let me be clear. I'm a huge user of all the technologies mentioned above except for the ipod and even others not mentioned. Instant communications allows us to stay on top of just about anything and everything. The problem with this wonderful beneficial tool is that often we can't distinguish between things of importance and end up by habit being totally immersed in communications without regard to priority, need, or how it affects other things and other people. We've heard the news every second of every minute all day long but when we get home we don't have time to have a conversation because we need to watch the news. What's up with that? A few weeks ago all our gang were in our home for a time of celebration. I think it was Resurrection Sunday. Later on in the afternoon most of the nearly twenty of us migrated and found a place to sit and visit outside in the yard. Several times I was in and out to check on kids or something and each time I came back outside I greatly enjoyed hearing all that chatter and seeing the sheer pleasure of people doing nothing more than visiting with one another and it reminded me of how it used to be, at least on a much more frequent basis. Maybe we should all make a huge mental note in our internal ticking daytimer to have more times where we can enjoy a visit like that, maybe even out on the front porch! Have a great day and may God bless! Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mixing it up as I make my way through the minutiae.

Have you ever thought about all the different things going on in your life on any given day? That’s what I’m trying to grab hold of on this Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Variety may be the spice of life but having it come at you from all sides at the same time, all day long, can really be challenging and you often leave the battlefield of a day of life exhausted and drained. I do love having lots of different stuff ongoing at the same time but there are times when it can get the best of anyone. Order this, check on the status on that, make contact with and follow-up on, get back to, research this, find out what happened, and these don’t include the daily emergencies and family details that come from many different places, often at the same time. This one is sick. This one has a real problem. This one needs prayer. This one needs advice. Yes, it is no wonder that folks long for a slower pace and that time when, if it ever existed, we were not so hard pressed every second of the day!

Sound familiar? I’m feeling kind of worn out just from talking about it. However, I’ve found there is a fair amount of these multifaceted activities that I just may have brought on myself. I didn’t plan very well or perhaps I procrastinated too long. Maybe when I was not doing what I should be doing I failed to appreciate what other new things that might come along to gum up the works. That’s right. A tremendous amount of being able to deal with all these simultaneous claims on our time has to do directly with being proactive instead of reactive. Most of us are not nearly as proactive as we could be because we are either lazy or easily distracted in our focus. If we would do what could be done today even though it’s not required until later, then that segment of time that it takes later would be available to help deal with all the other future stuff that will be happening.

Confession time! I’m one of the worst in the world in this area. Part of it is because I like to do things in ‘scrambles’ where I get very focused on stuff and get it done just before it has to be completed. It involves a lot of flailing and noise but it typically produces results. Much of it could have been already done but then I would miss out on the scramble. I would also most likely miss out on some of the pain I experience, and the opportunity to moan and groan about being in this pressure cooker environment all the time. Maybe I like moaning and groaning more than having a more organized and orderly approach to my efforts each day. I so much hate it when I look for faults, find them, only to have way too many of them land on my own doorstep. Of course we can take any strategy to the extreme and end up staining at gnats and swallowing camels. I’m not sure why I threw that in but it slung itself out from one of those cloudy recesses of my thinking appliance, therefore, I felt compelled to share it with you all. I give you the word for today: PROACT! Ya’ll take care now and may God bless each one. Amen. You will know it’s me again when you see me coming! ….More later.

Monday, April 27, 2009

There's just not that much to do on a Thursday.

Last Thursday I took the day off to spend with my wife for her birthday. I looked far and wide for some special activity to occupy our day together but there’s just not too much to do on a Thursday. This is what I am writing about on this Monday, April 27, 2009. We enjoy live theatre and there were one or two that might have worked but they started fairly late and it would have meant getting home around midnight so we vetoed them. We thought about a drive down to the coast but much of it is still under construction from Hurricane Ike and the IMAX shows there were about sharks and other topics that my wife would not have cared for. We looked at the movies in our area but nothing jumped out at us.

Finally we came up with the idea to make a day trip to go and visit the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. I stayed in bed as long as I could but let her sleep in. Once she was up we got ready and went to a restaurant for a leisurely breakfast. She had already picked up a curio cabinet for her home redecoration project as her gift so I didn’t have that to deal with, however, I did make her a card. She received cards, calls, and emails from her children and friends wishing her a happy birthday and we were then off for our two-hour drive to visit this library. On the way there we observed the beautiful wildflowers that lined much of the highway. She wanted to stop and make photos but it was difficult to find a good place to pull off especially with the grill of an eighteen-wheeler stuck next to our back bumper at 70 miles per hour.

We arrived at the library and had a most wonderful time. She wasn’t exactly sure if she would enjoy this historically rich tribute to our 41st President but she found it to be very entertaining and informative. We spent about four hours there and she especially enjoyed the in-depth displays and artifacts from Barbara Bush’s life and times. The grounds were also beautiful and we left thinking that these people reflect much of what has made our country great. They are at the core decent folks with a heart and mind to serve and we felt proud to have visited their library. On our way back I risked being run over and stopped for a photo shoot in the bluebonnets and we also enjoyed a wonderful fish dinner in a place that specializes in fried catfish. No, it wasn’t the most exciting of things to do, but as she said, the fact that we hung out all day together made it a very memorable and special day. I couldn’t have said it better. Her sister found out that I was taking off for the occasion and sent word that I had earned extra points for doing so. That’s good news because the Lord knows I need any and all the extra points I can get! Have a great week and may God bless you and yours. Amen. ….More later.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogging for apples, 500 of them!

You betcha! Yesterday I took the day off and spent it with my wife in honor of her birthday. Meanwhile, the blog I put up yesterday was number 500. This is the subject I’ve cobbled together for you on this Friday, April 24, 2009. Most of my blogs take at least one hour to write, edit, find and attach graphics, and then publish. To have done 500 hours or more of work on this blogging adventure would be the equivalent of nearly 21 twenty-four hour days. I believe my wife’s grandparents on her mother’s side received a personal congratulatory note from President Carter when they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. I know that’s quite an accomplishment but think about it, 500 fact filled electronic images covering a multitude of subjects and not even a peep out of the White House or for that matter, the out house either.

First, last, and always I should be thankful to God because He has allowed me to continue breathing air on the planet since that first blog was written and published on May 9, 2007. And while I am the first to admit the materials are highly questionable on most days in terms of their quality or usefulness, He also deserves the praise for me being able to squeeze and string some sentences together out of my limited pool of gray cells. I am almost sure there are some who think I ran out of stuff to write about a long time ago but I kept doing it anyway. It’s kind of like a guy I worked with once who retired from the company a long time before he left. I will readily admit that on many days I draw a blank and I am at a loss as to what I might write about, however, I’ve never let that keep me from throwing stuff out there!

I do know this. It has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in recent years. I have gotten comments from time to time that let me know how that occasionally I have brought a smile, a laugh out loud or actually provided useful information, hit a nerve, and even some have said they have shed a tear or two. No, it’s not what you are thinking. It wasn’t because of how bad it was, it was the subject that touched their heart. Words convey thoughts, ideas, and communicate feelings. That’s why I am thankful for having started this journey and in being able to share “the view from here” with you out there. I’m sure there’s a psychiatrist out there somewhere who could read all of these and conclude that I am a very disturbed person. Bingo! Why would I want to pay someone to find out what we all already know! I would love to say the best is yet to come but that would be a promise I could never imagine being able to keep. Thanks for hanging in there with me and may God bless us all as we slip and slide our way forward on the often bumpy road of life. Amen. 500 and counting with: …..More later.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Today is my wife’s birthday and I’m thinking about the forty-eight years that have passed since I first met her. This is what I am up to on this Thursday, April 23, 2009. I’m thinking about her and how that love at first sight freight train came out of nowhere and crushed me once and for all, forever. You laugh but that’s how it happened and she will attest to this lightning strike experience. I didn’t notice her until I noticed her and when I did it was all over except for the shouting. I had trouble finding a specific credible source for the origin of “all over except for the shouting” but believe me it was very much appropriate then and it’s still how I feel today. I never tell people that I fell in love because for me it was more like I imploded from the inside out, or something like that.

Whatever, that’s my story and I can’t help but stick to it. We’ve not always had a easy time of it. We’ve had our fair share of challenges, cares, and calamities but when the dust has settled and when we are where we should be, thinking as we should think, there’s that grand canyon deep and abiding love that has conquered them all, with God’s help I might add. In the end I don’t have to be told by anyone how blessed I am to have spent these many years with this very special lady. Respected by all and loved by a large throng of folks, she continues to exemplify what a true woman should be, to God, to me, our family, our extended family, our Church family, and for the countless friends she has.

Each morning on the way into the office I spend time praising God and also bringing my petitions before Him even as we are invited to do. Every day I thank Him for and pray for the companion and wife He has given to me. The Bible tells us that every good gift comes down from above. That being true, I pause to share my thanks for my wife as a superb example of God’s gift giving nature. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! We started out as young teens together and by the grace of God I hope to finish my race here, beside you! Amen. ……More later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here you have a Friday's child giving his thoughts on a Wednesday.

That’s right. This is the children’s song I am thinking about on this Wednesday, April 22, 2009. “Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for a living, But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.” (Just so you know, back in the day bonny meant attractive, blithe meant happy and lighthearted, and gay had the connotation of one who is happily excited like having a ‘gay’ old time.) I can’t recall ever singing this as a nursery rhyme when I was a child but I have known about it and heard about it here and there for years. As if we don’t have enough baggage already piled on us coming into this most difficult world, why would we want to saddle up kids with a fortune telling song to dog their steps? I suppose I should be happy since I am a Friday’s child but my wife’s birthday is tomorrow and according to the song she was born as a child full of woe. Unfortunately for her I think the Friday’s child she has been hanging out with for the last nearly 45 years would most likely be the source of most of her ‘woe’.

I am a Friday, my wife is a Wednesday, our eldest is a Tuesday, our middle is a Tuesday, and our youngest is a Saturday. Therefore we have in our immediate family: Loving and giving; Full of woe; Full of grace; Full of grace; and Works hard for a living. I suppose folks actually take this stuff seriously and we could most likely backfill any life story and make it fit into whatever definition we might come up with. However, this we do know: Each life is precious before God and each life is accountable to Him, regardless of the day of the week we arrived. The Psalmist declared that God knew all about him before he ever came forth from his mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) This is an amazing truth to consider as we try to understand the plan, purpose, and potential God has given to each of us as individuals.

In a world where folks are rightfully puzzled about life and where it is taking them and how their children will fare as they grow up, it is good to know that God takes a personal interest in each of us. First and foremost, He is concerned about our standing before Him. To deal with our sinful condition He through His own volition sent His own Son to die for us and when we turn from our way to Him in faith, He receives us and makes us His child forever and ever, Amen. Secondly, having become a child of God puts us in a unique position because of the special relationship we enjoy with our heavenly Father. We can be assured that He has a will for our life and that His will is best in that it will produce results consistent with His perfect knowledge and understanding. This beats any other guessing song, tealeaves, or crystal ball because we have the Creator’s word on it! Amen. ….More later.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Speaking about appearance.

I am very blessed to have folks around me that really do care about the way I present myself. My mom mentions it from time to time and my wife is always wanting me to get a haircut or wear nicer clothes or in general for me to make a little better statement in my appearance. These are the thoughts that occupy my head and will now make their journey to the electronic page on this Tuesday, April 21, 2009. I kind of like to dress down on Saturdays as I piddle here and there but I don’t always take the time to dress up when I need to run to the store or perhaps go inside the mall. My wife typically has something like this to say: “You aren’t going anywhere looking like that, are you?” The obvious answer is I was planning on doing just that but I often do try and tuck in my shirt, perhaps put on a clean cap, and spruce myself up a bit. That works to a point but when I’m wearing ten year old jeans that are two sizes too large and I could also put a couple of other guys in my shirt, well, that just doesn’t quite do it for her.

Some of the older shirts I have, say, twenty years or so, have patiently waited for their turn and I am not one who wishes to show discrimination on the basis of age, size, and certainly not style! Of course there are a number of shirts I have that have lain dormant for years because I fought my own battle of the bulge and lost and they suffered as a result. Coming back to them now is like a reunion of sorts even if they are a little faded and collars no longer look that way. I know they may look a little out of place but I get the idea they are real happy when their turn finally comes. In addition to this, our youngest always passes down his previous fashion trends and because of this I have all kinds of clothes to choose from. But some of the older clothes are like old friends and you just feel better hanging out with them.

As for the face situation there’s not much that can be done about it at this late date. (If there were a car-facts service for faces, my wear and tear would be way over the mileage limit!) You can go back to yesterday’s blog and read about the ravages of time and gravity for an expanded explanation of how this came about but my mom has always wanted each of us to look as good as we can. That’s why I will soon be updating my blog photo so that each morning a ‘new and improved’ me will greet you as you peruse my latest installment of noisy news that has little to do with anything of importance. I suppose doing your best with what has been given to you is like what I heard Dr. Adrian Rogers say about women and makeup: “Some folks are against wearing make up for spiritual reasons but I believe common sense tells us that even an old barn needs a coat of paint now and then.” I can remember at one time when I had a little more inclination towards the "dress for success" approach but that was a long time ago in what seems now to have been in a galaxy far, far away. However, having written about it now I suppose I should try to be a little more presentable as I engage the world going forward. I know some of you are smiling as you read this and I want you to know its okay as long as you are laughing with me, not at me! May God bless! Amen. ….More later.

Monday, April 20, 2009

If it quacks like a duck, it's probably someone wanting to sell you insurance!

Here we go again in starting a brand new workweek on this Monday, April 20, 2009. I received a wonderful note from my Uncle Asa regarding our calls and the floral arrangement sent to honor his recently departed wife, our dear Aunt Mattie Lee. He is 87 years old and nearly 25 years older than I am. My mom told me that Uncle Asa plans to take his motor home along with a towed vehicle and do some traveling as he deals with the loss of his beloved wife. He is eighty-seven and planning motor home adventures? Not only that but he also is planning on visiting my other Uncle who is also in his eighties and the two of them are going to do a fencing project. Wow! I know many days I feel like Old MacDonald because I get up singing: “Here an ache, there an ache, everywhere an ache, ache.” But folks like my mom and dad and my uncles encourage us to know that God may have much more yet to come.

While we cannot halt the ravages of time and gravity, we can know that God can still provide a meaningful life to us in the fourth quarter of the game of life. One need only consider the many billions spent each year on anti-aging products to understand our aversion to growing older and in particular in looking like we are growing older. And, let’s face facts; we do live in a world where the outward appearance counts far more than it should. There’s plenty of empirical data that prove those thought to be handsome or pretty typically enjoy worldly success in greater numbers than those who are not deemed to be attractive. We might believe that you cannot judge the book by the cover but that doesn’t mean the younger and better looking person won’t get the promotion.

While these factors may sadden those of us who can better appreciate the experience, wisdom, and value that comes with age, it will not change how folks have a predisposition to be swayed by superficial attributes. The good news is that we don’t have to sit right down and write ourselves a sad letter. No. We can get right up and make plans on what God would want us to do with the rest of the time He has in mind for us. We can be encouraged by the example of others who are older but continue to get up every day and make contributions to their families and their communities. And, even better yet, we can know that God has no concern whatsoever about the external looks we might have but He always and forever perfectly reads the thoughts and intentions of our heart. In the end, we don’t have to be confused about what He expects from our life. In the Old Testament Book of Micah, the Prophet gives these inspired words for our consideration in the form of a question: “He has shown you, O man what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Chapter 6, Verse 8) This question should be more than adequate to occupy my time for the entirety of the rest of my life, regardless of how long that might be! Some food for thought as we make our way forward! Amen. ….More later.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"If you like it, then it is perfectly fine with me!"

This past week my wife and her twin sister (born eighteen months earlier) have been together. They might as well be joined at the hip as far as how close they are. This is what I am sharing on this Friday, April 17, 2009. My wife’s sister is a gifted person with an eye for aesthetics and decorating. My wife is gifted in the area of listening to the thoughts and ideas of her sister. She is also gifted in the area of taking action based on these thoughts and ideas, which typically means, bottom line, spending money! The other day my wife called me and said they had experienced a God-thing while shopping for decorating items. I was in the middle of driving and trying to find a company and couldn’t stay on the line to hear exactly what she was talking about. But my head began spinning as I considered some of the probable things that she was calling a God-thing.

I have a simple philosophy in life about spending. If we have zero need for something, then any price, including free, is too high. The fact that something came into your possession at an unbelievably low price which may still be pretty steep but not near as steep as it could have been would not be what I would call a God-thing. But, I will await a full explanation before making a final judgment on this matter. Meanwhile, these girls have worked so hard, literally, figuratively, and in every way in-between. They have been up early each day painting, shopping, painting some more, shopping some more, then up late at night decorating, changing, re-positioning, and then changing the changes they made. The stuff they are doing looks really good but while I think I have an eye for beauty; I really don’t have any strong preferences when it comes to my home being decorated.

To put this into a frame of reference let me just say that since the reconstruction project I have enjoyed all the bare walls. They are clean, crisp, and without any dust catching clutter. But that is me. When I get back into my office, hopefully soon, I will likely plaster as wallpaper on my walls the dozens of paintings and papers from my grandchildren accumulated over the past twenty plus years. That kind of clutter I can live with. This only proves up the case that men typically don’t have a clue on issues like interior decorating. At the same time I appreciate all their hard work. I certainly appreciate my sister-in-law coming over to help my wife. It has been a great week for them. Their sister connection is a model for what it means to be close. However, when they show me around I know I am supposed to be as excited and impressed as they are. And, while I think it all looks very pretty, my honest assessment remains: “If it makes you happy then it is perfectly fine with me.” Say a prayer that I will still be thinking this way when all the bills are accounted for! Amen. ….More later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dreaming about fried chicken gizzards!

Sorry to start your day off with a story about chicken innards and entrails but that’s what I am thinking about on this finger lickin good Thursday, April 16, 2009. Since I have been out and about more lately which takes me away from the office, I often find myself in need of a snack before I get back. As it turns out I found this wonderful fried chicken joint in a small town and they fry up the very best gizzards you could ever dream about or imagine. So you have never dreamed about or imagined yourself eating fried chicken gizzards? While you are probably not alone, you also likely do not have a clue as to what you are missing! The scientific name for a bird gizzard is: ventriculus, gastric mill, and/or gigerium. Gizzards are considered to be a dietary staple and great finger food in many places all over the world. Sure, some folks would rather not even think about eating an organ whose primary purpose is to help grind up food for digestion BUT the proof, my friend, is in the eating, not the science!

I can’t even remember when I began liking chicken gizzards. I know I never became a lover of chicken livers but I remember that even as a kid my mom would cook the gizzards and set them aside for me. My wife picked up on this when we started out so I have been a committed chicken gizzard consumer for nearly my entire life. A few years ago I learned they were not entirely helpful in terms of managing cholesterol levels. In fact, one cup of gizzards will provide 179% of the daily cholesterol one should be consuming. What a bummer! This news caused me to back way off gizzards for a long time even though I never read anywhere about chickens suffering from high cholesterol.

Now I am back on the gizzard wagon but must try to do my best not to over do it. In addition to the cholesterol issues these little tasty delights tend to throw my blood sugar for a loop for at least a day or two. Therefore, I must exercise some strict discipline because to tell the truth, it’s hard to pass up this place when I am out and about. It seems that my subconscious kicks in because in my trips I somehow end up landing near this place. Here’s what happens when I go in there. They now know me and ask immediately if I want my dozen gizzards. I nod and they signal the cook. He gets them quickly into the fryer and in about ten minutes they fill up a basket with my dozen (it’s typically 15 or more), and I head on down the road chewing on these remarkable little culinary treats. I have had to give up so much since learning about having diabetes but chicken gizzards are still in play at this time. Most folks will never have to worry about cutting back on their intake since they are not even close to being tempted by the thought of a wonderfully battered, deep fried, scrumptious gizzard. That’s not the case for me but I will do my best to force myself to drive a different route except for those days when I agree with many other folks when they say: “Well, we all gotta go someday, why not let it be while enjoying some piping hot fried gizzards?” You’ve never heard that said before? Wow! You do need to get out more. Have a wonderful day and may God help you to find something you really enjoy as well as I do my fried gizzards! Amen. ……..More later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax complainers can be divided into two groups: Men and Women!

Welcome to Wednesday and yes it's that day that so many dread each year, federal tax day, on this April 15, 2009. Some have said there has to be a reason we have both April Fool's Day and Tax Day in the very same month. We all know as believers that God has instructed us to willingly pay our share of the tax burden to our government to provide for the common good. However, it does give us some pause whenever we see how our tax dollars are being spent and whether or not they are actually promoting the common good. But as my granddad used to say, "You might as well laugh as cry because it is something we all have to do." Since so many procrastinate in doing their taxes I thought maybe a few light hearted funnies might help us all through the day. I am always somewhat puzzled by those who wait until today to complete their taxes, then they drive to a US Post Office and wait in line, sometimes for a long time, to have a postal worker stamp their envelope out at the curb. Like the big tea party rallies being planned for today I know this is symbolic in many ways but to tell you the truth I never could figure out how wasting hours to mail your tax papers on the last day makes any sense.

One fellow said that doing his taxes made him feel like he was performing a mugging on himself. Some think the tax forms should be printed on Kleenex because of the tears and the fact that we typically end up paying through the nose. Why do they call it a 1040 Form? One fellow thinks it is because for every $50 you make, you get to keep $10 and the government gets $40. Why is it that it always seems like tax increases are computed in hundreds of dollars while reductions typically are computed in pennies? America really is the land of equal opportunity, everyone grows up to be a taxpayer! The person who said the truth never hurts must have never filled out the long form where you must divulge everything. To most of us tax loopholes are like parking spots. By the time you get to one it's already taken.

We are all aware of how our government works to make things better. A recent head commissioner of the IRS had this comment: "Two years ago it was impossible to get through to a real person by phone to the IRS. Now it is only very difficult to get through to a real person. Now, that's what I call progress!" Of course the most pleasing outcome each year is when you find out that you will be receiving a REFUND! Some have said finding out that you will be receiving a refund is the next best feeling to that of having been shot at but missed. One fellow put forth his summary of the taxing tax process: "The wages of sin may be death but by the time the IRS gets their share of those wages you are mostly too tired to die!" And, the jokes, complaints, and sharing of misery could go on and on. In the end we are still the most blessed people who occupy the planet and we still live in the greatest country on earth. All of this is because of God and His blessings. May we all think about these great provisions as we serve Him and others today! Amen and Happy Tax Day! .....More later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Roundup at the old "Word Wrangling Rodeo!"

Hello and welcome to the wacky world of word wrangling or should it be word mangling on this Tuesday, April 14, 2009? How in the world are you, anyway? If you have read my blog for any length of time you should be quite aware by now that my lingo is all peppered up with colloquialisms that adorn my main thoughts like coleslaw does fried catfish. Someone on Sunday who has married into our clan made the comment that she had never heard the phrase “all stoved up” until she came into our family. Her saying that made me feel so proud. Of course most of you probably know that when you are all stoved up you actually hurt more all over than almost anywhere else. Colorful phrases have always appealed to me and I enjoy hearing them even if I don’t have a clue as to what they might mean. Some who valiantly defend the proper use of the English language, (as if it’s not changing even as we speak), look down on those of us who sing out a silly phrase to help explain-ify (don’t look it up, it’s not a real word!) whatever it is we are talking about. To me it just adds to the beauty of that wonderful gift we have called communication.

Last August I saved an email sent out by my Uncle Waymon because it contained a number of these types of sayings that, sad to say, you rarely hear anymore. Therefore, today I want to try and incorporate some of these into my blog. Since I don’t have a huge amount of time to devote to this activity I’ll just have to give it a “lick and a promise.” Now if you aren’t inclined to enjoy this kind of writing please don’t end up with having “an axe to grind with me”, or even worse come looking for me because you have a “bone to pick with me.” This is all in fun, therefore, don’t let “one bad apple spoil the entire barrel.” Before you get a “bee in your bonnet” try to consider how that I might just write these things because of how I have lately really been put “through the mill.” It could be you are a little out of sorts because your milk was slightly “blinky” this morning, or this entire deal may seem to be more than a little “cattywampus” as you try to make it fit today.

Just “hold on to your horses” at least long enough to get through all of it and you might just end up with a “feather in your cap.” By the time you get through the whole “kit and caboodle” you will be glad you didn’t end up being “madder than an old wet hen.” There’s no doubt that at times I have needed to be “taken down a notch or two”, but try to have mercy on me since I am no “Spring chicken”, and not the “sharpest tack in the box.” You could easily become too “persnickety” about my words and before long you might even call me a “scalawag” or find something good to say about me as “scarce as hen’s teeth.” I’ve overstayed my welcome and it really is past time for me to “skedaddle” so I had better “get while the getting is good” and move this “wagon on down the road”. Remember the words of my grandfather when he said, “Son, I do hope it doesn’t come a hard freeze while you have that expression on your face or you are going to be in sad shape!” Have a great day and may God help us all to find something to smile about! Amen. .....…More later.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Basking in the glow of His Great Power!

Christ Arose, by Robert Lowry, 1874

1.Low in the grave He lay,Jesus, my Savior!

Waiting the coming day,Jesus, my Lord!

Chorus: Up from the grave He arose,With a mighty triumph o'er His foes; He arose a victor From the dark domain, And He lives forever With His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

2. Vainly they watch His bed,Jesus, my Savior!

Vainly they seal the dead,Jesus my Lord!

Chorus: Up from the grave He arose,With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;He arose a victor From the dark domain, And He lives forever With His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

3. Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Savior!

He tore the bars away,Jesus my Lord!

Chorus: Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;He arose a victor From the dark domain, And He lives forever With His saints to reign.He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crystal clear but still nothing worth watching!

We ended up having to replace one of our television sets after the hurricane and that’s what I am writing about on this Thursday, April 9, 2009. I’m one of those who typically researches as much of the literature that’s available before I make a large purchase. We recently bought one of those large screen (52”) 1080p LCD television sets. The set it replaced was a fifteen year old heavy box type unit with a 31” screen. We had purchased it in the late 1980’s. My eldest son and I must have exchanged at least 100 emails over the past several months regarding all the technical data, pricing, and features available in the multitude of products being sold today. He keeps up with many different things and especially stays up to date on all things electronic.

After wailing and gnashing about this unit and that unit I finally settled on one and ordered it from Amazon via the internet. The technical detail looked right and the price was about $500 less than we could find it anywhere else, therefore, I pulled the trigger. My wife was at the house the morning they delivered it. It came with what they called a “White Glove” delivery option which means they unpacked it, hooked it up, and made sure it is working before they left. She said it may have taken them 15 minutes to do all of the above and then they were gone. We had seen our youngest son’s big screen and also our eldest son’s unit as well, therefore, we knew it was going to be very different than our old set. When I first saw the full screen illuminated in high definition (HD), I knew exactly how Jim Nabors felt when he expressed himself as Gomer on the Andy Griffith Show: “Shazam! Shazam! And one more Shazam for good measure!”

That first view was on a travel program shot with an HD wide-angle camera and it put a knot in my stomach as I actually felt like I was gliding above the mountains, ocean, and scenery unfolding before my eyes. Fifty two inches of crystal clear images to the extent you can read the fine print on someone’s program sitting up in the stands at a sporting event. Well, maybe not quite, but close. Okay, here’s the rub. The sporting events are spectacular and I was literally knocked down when I watched my first NASCAR race in HD. However, for the most part now we can clearly see the minute details of the programs we were not watching before. We can see the wrinkles on faces we didn’t care about and can tell who shaved and should have on the local newscasts. But, other than a few magnificent vistas here and there we are pretty much where we were before except now we can see a brighter picture of a twenty year old rerun of Password! Crystal clear but still nothing worth watching!

As we are thinking about the profound reality of the Resurrection of our Savior during this week leading up to the first day of the week when this event actually occurred, it is a good time for those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior to consider the hope that is ours because of His conquering of death, hell and the grave as demonstrated in His Resurrection! I do hope you and yours will be celebrating this magnificent hope in services with other believers coming up this weekend. In closing, here’s my prayer for you as reflected in that wonderful prayer of blessing that Moses gave to Aaron to pronounce upon God’s people as found in Numbers Chapter 6: 24)“The LORD bless you and keep you; 25)The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26)The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” I pray this for you and yours today. Amen. ……More later.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Saying farewell to a shining light!

On this Wednesday, April 8, 2009 I am remembering the life and times of a remarkable woman. Yesterday I received the sad news about the passing of my dear Aunt Mattie Lee. She has had a long and full life but has been in poor health for several years and we are thanking God that she is now in the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As a kid growing up she and my Uncle Asa were larger than life people to me. Having lost my dad when I was seven, folks like this couple did what they could to help me make my way forward. As a teenager I spent two summers living with them while working in my Uncle’s business. Aunt Mattie Lee was a vivacious lady with a smile that would light up any room. She doted on those in her life and I was blessed to be one of those who received her special love. What a life and what a testimony!

While I will not be able to attend her memorial service which is in Florida tomorrow, I am praying for my Uncle and the rest of the family. Her life reminds me that we are all leaving a story behind. Her story is one of caring and loving and putting the needs of others ahead of her own. I thank God for Aunt Mattie Lee and all those He has sent into my life to help make me who I am today. We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope for we have not lost our dear one. We know exactly where she is! She is now free. Free at last, pain free. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty she is free at last. May God be with Uncle Asa and the rest of the family as they make their way forward. Join me in thanking God for this sweet lady and her influence on so many lives. Amen. …..More later.