Friday, July 31, 2009

Let the spinning wheel spin!

Well, thank God it's Friday or any other day, right? Today on this July 31, 2009 I am wondering what I would be doing had I lived 100 years ago when things were much slower. That's one of those escape thoughts but my guess is that had I lived back then I would have felt overwrought just like I do now. The photo is of me sitting on top of my spinning wheel, perhaps I was just taking a break. At any rate it has been another busy busy week running here and there and trying to keep up with all that needs to be done. I ran by the hospital last evening to check on a dear friend from our local congregation. He is in for a heart scare. I had my doctor's appointment to take care of. I had to replace a faucet that after 40 years decided it was time to give up the ghost. That was scary to my wife who wondered when she left me to do the repair if we would ever have water again! Yesterday morning I went for the blood work related to my medical check up. Scurrying here and there we sometimes think we know how that little furry hamster dude feels as he pumps on that little wheel in his cage hour after hour. The only way to break out of this type of stressed out malaise is to begin to thank God for the blessings that He has surrounded you with.

As I was visiting my friend last night I thought about all the technologies available today as they had him wired up and being monitored. We are blessed to have all the medical advancements we currently have at our disposal. I thought about the extensive testing my doctor is having done this time on the four vials of blood drawn. This level of testing would probably have not even been a part of his routine 100 years ago. I thought about how busy the schedule is but also how that we have the means to make these appointments while staying in touch with loved ones on our cell phones. Sure, we are busy but we are also blessed. Coming into the office this morning I called out the names of all our boys, their wives, our grandchildren, our siblings, extended family, Church family, mom and dad, those with special needs, our leaders in our nation, and my prayer went on and on. Think about it. What a privilege that we have in being able to make contact with and be assured of an audience every time with our Creator God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessed? Beyond our ability to even imagine.

Sometimes the sights and smells down in the trenches can get us down. Sometimes the press of life squeezes us and makes it hard for us to live in light of the life God has given to us. Is it always an easy go? My experience says just the opposite, it's almost never an easy go. However, that has little to do with the blessings we enjoy as a child of the living God. He knows the frustration we feel when the fellow in front of us, distracted on his cell phone, stops at a green light without realizing it and causes me to nearly smash into his rear end. He knows when you do everything you can to keep your appointments but those on the other end fail to do the same. He knows when the big things to you are really not that big at all and He wants you and I to live based on truth that cannot always be seen, touched, or felt. That truth begins and ends with our connection to Him through Christ and that makes us blessed beyond our wildest dreams even when it seems we are mired in the muck of life in real time here on planet earth. I find myself so often living beneath my identity in Christ but He also understands this and seeks to help me to increase my faith so that I can live aware of and thankful for the blessings He has given, is giving, and will give because of His great love! Be encouraged as you finish up your Friday and embark on your Saturday and Sunday. May God bless one and all! Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Health-care, Smealth-care, but it will eventually become Your-care, therefore, we had all better be paying attention!

During my doctor visit on Tuesday I had an opportunity to talk to my physician about the healthcare initiative being pursued by our government. He has practiced medicine for nearly forty years and he believes his days are numbered as a professional who can treat patients based on a personalized approach. He believes that every form being considered will take away many of the options that he and patients have had at their disposal in trying to deal with health challenges. He said at one time he thought he would probably be off the scene before this socialized medicine approach would be forced on America but he now sees it coming in the very near future. I know this is not a very uplifting subject for early on a Thursday but it is being tracked on the radar screens of millions of Americans and this is what I am writing about on this warm windy July 30, 2009.

Is my doctor an alarmist? Hardly. His views are consistent with those expressed by doctors who host weekly radio programs in our area and those I have heard speak on news programs. The main concern that most in the medical profession have centers around the unknowns buried in the 1,000 page bill. The ‘knowns’ are enough to send chills up their spines already. One prominent house member said this week that reading the bill is hardly worth the effort unless you have a team of lawyers to help you understand it. I go back to my original question asked over and over again: What program of any significance run by the government has ever been thought of as being efficient and effective? Are there areas in need of fixing within our broken healthcare system? Absolutely! But any solution that makes our government the administrator is a disaster before it even begins.

I have said before that I applaud President Obama’s desire to see the current system improved. However, having conceded this as a positive, I must tell you that 99% of what he has stated as what he wants to see happen is diametrically opposed to my appreciation for the freedoms and values we cherish. As more and more of the details from the 1,000 page bill come to light, more and more Americans are seen scratching their heads and saying: “Do what?” As they hear these particulars it is something they can identify with because we all have had to deal with a medical challenge, if not for ourselves, for our family members. When we hear about following a computer model along with a panel of experts to determine what level and when care will be provided, hello? Perhaps I am more sensitive to all this since I am closer to joining the elder care category than I like to admit, however, I honestly am even more concerned about government run anything and its threat to our way of life, especially in the long term, which will greatly impact my offspring and theirs. Hurrying this up makes little sense given that it impacts every person in our country and has monumental implications for our economy. My doctor seemed sad when he shared his concerns like he was facing the loss of something very dear to him. This is what I am hearing and I do hope you are out there somewhere listening as well. May God intervene is my prayer. Amen. ……More later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blogging again, this time for apples!

I never said that everyday would be an award winner but you have to appreciate how bogged down I get at times in my blogging, therefore, this is what I am sending out on this Wednesday, July 29, 2009. I was thinking about a clever blog and wanted to entitle it ‘Blogging for Apples!’, however, I Googled this title and it came up with more than a million hits. The wisest natural born man ever to live, King Solomon, once observed how that nothing is new under the sun. (See Ecclesiastes 1:9) He was speaking in a broad context but he was sure right about my clever plan involving apples! I like to read words put together in phrases that bring a smile. How about you? We all need a smile now and then as we make our journey through this life. I heard someone say that you will never recognize or accept that God is always good by observing the way life unfolds for us all here on the planet. This is true because we live in a world where bad things happen to all of us, and often there seems to be no rhyme or reason. However, in knowing God through His Son, this is how we are able to confirm by His Spirit the truth about His unfailing goodness, all the time, regardless of what happens. Therefore, we should be thankful when we do read or hear something that causes us to smile.

Here are a few sentences I found in different places that are silly, and corny but perhaps one will bring you a smile. “Be good to your kids because some day they will choose your nursing home.” “I am a nobody, nobody is perfect, therefore, I must be perfect.” “Effective diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way.” “Why is it that when you dial a wrong number you rarely get a busy signal?” “I did not fight my way to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian!” “It’s the 99% of all lawyers that give the rest a bad reputation.” “I was happy to find and marry Miss Right but not so happy to find out her first name was Always.” “The more I learn about terrorism, it is the more I understand telemarketing.” “Age is a much too high price to pay for maturity.” “I want to die in my sleep like my uncle, not screaming to the top of their lungs like the other passengers in his car.”

These are just funny phrases. I found some others that were pretty funny but I thought I had been brave enough to use the one wife funny and did not want to risk crossing even further over the line. Solomon is also given credit for collecting the inspired pithy and wise statements found in The Proverbs. One collected verse speaks about how that a proper word spoken in the right circumstances is like apples of gold set in silver. (Proverbs 25:11) A wholesome word of encouragement and one that builds up or brings a smile to another person is of great value, especially in a world where put downs, vulgarities, and hateful speech saturates our dialogue. That would be a good idea for you and I. That is, find someone we can cheer up with a wholesome word or funny phrase to help lift their spirits. It will do them as well as the one bringing that word a whole lot of good! Amen. …..More later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've done my best to prepare, now it's time to take the test!

Today is Tuesday, July 28, 2009 and it's the day that I visit my doctor for my six month check up. Since finding out about my situation with diabetes these visits always seem more like going for an FBI interview where I will be asked about all my activities over the past six months. To be honest, I have struggled with the diet I need to be on, maintaining my target weight, and in keeping up with the tracking I need to do to monitor how well I am controlling my blood glucose. If sixty is the new forty, well, I must have not been there that day when they handed out those certificates because I certainly do not feel forty. You are only as old as you feel is the saying but some days my way of appreciating this youthful orientation is greatly challenged. My wife tells me that I am looking weak eyed lately and I do feel a little fatigued but I'm not so sure that is very unusual for these humidity and heat saturated days. Plus I know my doctor will have some thoughts about the lost tribes of Israel and I certainly am not up to having a huge theological exchange with him.

I voluntarily cut back on the amount of acetaminophen I take for arthritis after all the press on its potential for liver damage. I was taking it within the recommended dosage levels but some of what I read make even these levels suspect. Maybe that's why I am dragging a little and feel like someone has taken a tire tool to me while I was sleeping. Aches, pains, and weak eyes. It's a wonderful life George Bailey and you had better know it! It is a wonderful life and as soon as I turn off my complaint module I will turn on the thankfulness unit because I am so very blessed in so many ways. My wife came home. What? You thought she might take the opportunity to get out of Dodge permanently? Not hardly. She came home to a clean house with all the chores done and accounted for. She even gave me an 'E' for Excellence on my report card. It's always good to have things back to normal. She is my 'normal' and one of the great blessings God has given into my life!

Okay. I have done my preparation for my doctor's visit as best I could. I have read and re-read all the literature on the prescriptions I take and the latest information available on diabetes. I will be making a list of any questions I have for him and will try to keep him and I focused on the main reason for me being there, ME! I don't mean that in a selfish way but to be honest, I most likely wouldn't drive through traffic and hurry to make my appointment typically causing me to have to explain my blood pressure just to visit with him about his latest Adventist research. But I am thankful for his approach to dealing with my problem(s). Thus far he has dealt with everything in a way that uses a minimal approach to control and it has been mostly effective. This approach takes time for adjustment to get everything leveled out but doing it this way has avoided going after the latest greatest big gun medications which can always be used if needed. When any of us render a service or deliver an outcome, over time it is the results that count and that's why I thank God for my doctor and will even put up with some of his unrelated dialogue. The Bible tells us that we can be sure our sins will find us out (see Numbers 32:23) and I know after all the battery of blood tests they will be doing on me, my good and bad efforts will be revealed. No wonder I get up tight over these exams! Have a blessed day and don't forget to find something to be thankful for! Amen. ....More later.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't blame me because all those who overdosed on hope-ism are now having to deal with reality-ism!

It’s Monday morning in America on this July 27, 2009 and there’s nothing like starting off the week with some disturbing trends playing themselves out on the national scene. President Obama couldn’t wait (I very much believe his response was planned in advance to distract folks from the healthcare debacle.) to jump into the arrest of one of his fellow black professors from Harvard and in doing so he condemned the police even though he admitted he didn’t know any of the details. Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that he waited ten days to make a comment on the elections in Iran even though people were being killed in the streets as recorded on each news broadcast. Whoopi Goldberg is not sure there really was a moon landing back in 1969. One person commenting on Whoopi’s skepticism said at least she wasn’t as nutty as another black lady on the view who actually believes in creationism. Message: Intellectuals can question a moon landing but only the weak believe in God’s version of how the universe came into existence.

The other night President Obama listed his administration’s major accomplishments since taking office. Before he listed them he whined about the mess he had inherited, something he had announced a couple of weeks ago that he would no longer do. President George W. Bush will have to answer for his time in office but the nation should be concerned about how long the new folks are going to try and pin every problem known to humanity on the predecessor. Maybe by the time of the next presidential election the Obama team will take ownership of their responsibility to the American people. President Obama said they had brought the economy back from the brink, saved or created jobs, and made life better for ordinary Americans. The so-called stimulus spending supposedly has accomplished this along with the government takeover and bailout of some of our largest companies. Meanwhile, back on the ranch folks are selling all their stuff to stay afloat and cities and states are declaring insolvency left and right. Maybe his is another famous form of that trickle down theory but unlike the ketchup commercial folks wait with consternation, not anticipation.

I for one believe we are seeing in our new President some of the connection he actually shares with his former pastor’s inflammatory sermons. No one with an ounce of forethought actually believes he regularly attended his Church for twenty years and never had a clue about the race bating and hate mongering sermons spilling forth each week from the pulpit. I don’t know all the details about the arrest of the President’s friend in Cambridge but the President’s knee-jerk response is one that fits the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s view of black white relations in America. The police officer may have overstepped the boundaries but from what we know thus far that seems not to be the case. However, it is much too early in the process as Bill Cosby said for anyone to make concrete assessments when the details are not known, and he included President Obama. Why should this worry us as a nation who has worked hard to change the racial climate? It reinforces stereotypes and builds distrust for the police in general, while inflaming the passions of those already predisposed to make trouble. To do this without knowing any facts is scary at the least but it may tell us much more about the mindset behind the many programs and plans this team is pushing. I try to support and pray for our President frequently as called for in the Scriptures (see Romans Chapter 13 & 1st Timothy 2) but I can tell you that we should all be very worried about where all this is heading! Amen. Our God is still in control, therefore, have a blessed week. ……More later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The time has come!

That’s right. I have procrastinated down to the minute and must soon take action. I can no longer postpone the inevitable. The clock is ticking and I can hear the faint sounds of the theme music from the ‘Twilight Zone’ playing in the background, or is it the theme from ‘Jeopardy’, or maybe it’s ‘Sixty Minutes’, I actually think it’s the dum da dum dum - dummmm! from ‘Dragnet’. Whatever it is, it’s getting louder and louder. I hear them sharpening the sword of Damocles because SHE will be heading home soon! That would be correct, sir! My wife will soon return and I have a few items that do need to be attended to before she shows up. I tried out some excuses on my Wednesday evening Bible class but they pronounced them all lame before I could even finish describing them. I need to remember that every trip or journey begins with a first step. But that implies direction and at this time I’ve not determined the starting place yet. It is Friday and this is what is weighing on my mind on this July 24, 2009.

I do think a very plausible parenthesis could involve the fact that she left somewhat hurriedly; therefore, the home turf was not in that good of shape before I was left to my own machinations. I probably won’t use that one because she would then say why is it that she is responsible for how the place looked last Sunday when we both live there. That would lead to those dreaded comments about why I never seem to get around to helping with ____________ (fill in the blank(s). I believe I had better head that entire conversation off at the pass and adopt a completely different approach. One lady on Wednesday night said more or less that I should just get off my backside and get everything in shape. Tough talk, tough love, and tough times were not listed on Wednesday night’s program, therefore, I was somewhat surprised by the harshness implied in her recommended course of action.

This is really all in fun because I do intend to have it shaped up for her. And, it’s not really that bad. How could it be? It’s just been me for one week by myself. That reminds me. Note to self: Get a good night’s sleep tonight because you will be a very busy boy in the morning! Still joking, but only a little. I am looking forward to her return. She and her sister are having a great week together helping a small congregation improve their singing skills. They love spending time together since they have always been co-joined twins, born eighteen months apart. While I am not excited about her being gone, I am always happy that she has such a good time. I know what I can do. I will make a plan. It will have an objective, some goals, measurements, and projects with deadlines. I will make sure that it will include as an action point that first (one) small step for me, and one giant leap forward for husbands all over the world! Say a little prayer for me and don’t forget to show up at the local meeting place where God’s people gather on Lord’s Day Sunday. Lord willing, and if the feather duster and Pledge holds out, I will see you back here on Monday! May God bless. Amen. ….More later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adding new meaning to the word useless!

Since I am the one who started this foray into the information jungle where it can be so thick you have to cut through the vines to find your way out, I thought I would pile on even more with some odd facts that you most likely didn’t know, didn’t want to know, and actually had no desire to ever know. Now those are the kind of facts you need, right? Interesting? Obviously it was to the someone who went to the trouble to catalog them on a website. These are also those pesky kind of undated tidbits that I submit without any authentication whatsoever, meaning you must practice caution when using them, or someone might think you to be making stuff up like a politician or government official. I've used some of these before but just perhaps today you need something to take the edge off, therefore these choice morsels are submitted for your review and/or edge removal on this Thursday, July 23, 2009.

Barbie's measurements (if she were life-size): 39-23-33
Coca-cola was originally green
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the US Treasury (Editor’s note (me): Before Obama, obviously!)
Smartest dogs: 1) border collie; 2) poodle; 3) golden retriever. Dumbest dog: 1) afghan
The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters
First novel ever written on a typewriter was "Tom Sawyer"
Heinz Ketchup leaving the bottle travels at 25 miles PER YEAR
It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs
Men get hiccups more often than women
Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better
Chances that an American lives within 50 mi of where he/she grew up: 1 in 2.
City with the most Rolls Royces per capita: Hong Kong
State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska
Chances of a white Christmas in New York: 1 in 4
Portion of US annual rainfall that falls in April: 1/12
Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28
Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38
Estimated percentage of American adults who go on a diet each year: 44
Percentage of Americans who say that God has spoken to them: 36
Percentage of Americans who regularly attend religious services: 43
City with the highest per capita viewing of TV evangelists: Washington DC
Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80
Percentage of American women who say they would marry the same man: 50
Percentage of men who say they are happier after their divorce or separation: 58
Percentage of women who say they are happier: 85
Number of different familial relationships for which Hallmark makes cards: 105
Average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000
Percentage of Americans who have visited Disneyland or Disney World: 70
Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches
Portion of ice cream sold that is vanilla: 1/3
Portion of potatoes sold that are French-fried: 1/3
Percentage of Americans that eat at McDonalds each day: 7
Percentage of bird species that are monogamous: 90
Percentage of mammal species that are: 3
Number of US states that claim test scores in their elementary schools are above national average: 50
Portion of Harvard students who graduate with honors: 4/5
Chances that a burglary in the US will be solved: 1 in 7
Portion of land in the US owned by the government: 1/3
Only President to remain a bachelor: James Buchanan
Only first lady to carry a loaded revolver: Eleanor Roosevelt
Only president to win a Pulitzer: John F. Kennedy, for "Profiles in Courage"
Only president awarded a patent: Abe Lincoln, for a system of buoying vessels over shoals
Only food that does not spoil: honey
Only bird that can fly backwards: Hummingbird
Only continent without reptiles or snakes: Antarctica
Only animal besides human that can get sunburn: Pig
Ostriches stick their heads in the sand to look for water
In the Caribbean there are oysters that can climb trees
Polar bears are left-handed
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair
Eskimos never gamble
The world's youngest parents were 8 and 9 and lived in China in 1910
The youngest pope was 11 years old
Mark Twain didn't graduate from elementary school
Proportional to their weight, men are stronger than horses
Pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner
Your nose and ears never stop growing
The parachute was invented by Leonardo DaVinci in 1515
They have square watermelons in Japan ... they stack better
Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation

Now that you have been informed you will always remember which hand to extend to a polar bear. Wow! If only I could be this helpful in every blog. Remember the real source of Truth is found in God’s Holy Word. Until next time I really do pray that you will have a blessed day! Amen. ……More later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Living in a world drowning in a tsunami of information!

One of the toilets is not working at the space station. Paula Abdul is unhappy with her “American Idol” contract and may not return next season. Hillary Clinton reports that she is recovering from a broken elbow but her larynx is working fine. (Are we happy about this?) Microsoft is hosting an online presentation of its Virtualization product today. Sports analysts are evaluating how that it may have been a good thing that Tiger Woods missed the cut at the British Open. More episodes of “Desperate Housewives” will be available today on Blu-Ray DVD. The one millionth comment was made yesterday about the news anchor Walter Cronkite who died at age 92 last Friday. Walter Cronkite’s former chef is shopping a tell all book about the real Walter Cronkite and it will reportedly shock us all. President Obama refuses to express condolences for his teleprompter that committed suicide last week, rumors saying the unit did so most likely due to the stress of being overworked. Okay. These may be a little over the top but we are living in a time when there exists a piranha feeding frenzy over every bit of information flesh that hits the pond. Drowning in a sea of information with so little of it of value is the subject of my personal addition to the overloaded blogosphere on this Wednesday, July 22, 2009. I almost forgot, they will soon have a website listing the names of 250,000 veterans of the 100 Years War (Think England and France) including those who fought in the battle of Agincourt in 1415. Just so you know!

There are people who actually study this unprecedented information explosion phenomenon and they report there are many serious problems coming out of this overload. Things like internet addiction and the using of technology to stalk or invade people’s privacy. Living in a world of distractions that can lead to a loss of productivity that can lead to the loss of a job or failure of the business. There are many family issues of all kinds from a failure to have any personal contact to neglect and even abuse. Mental problems can crop up as people saturate their lives with the myriad of information products whirling around each day. One of the major needs recognized has to do with being able to prioritize the information available as to its importance, relevance, and usefulness in the conduct of our lives. I know firsthand what it means to be a news junkie. I know firsthand what it means to be plugged in to politics and current events. I see others who are totally immersed in sports and think them to be odd but they would likely think me to be even more odd for being fascinated with the things I follow.

Let me say without any reservation that God has provided to us the most critical information needed to live a life of distinction here on planet earth. He breathed out (via inspiration) His word through His writers and we are able to hold it in our hands, read it for ourselves, view it on our screens, listen to it with our ears, and partake of it in many other ways. Yes it is The Book He provided to us, His Holy Word! The enemy is happy that we are all so distracted. The enemy is glad that our children are hung up on video games, television programs, and social networking. The enemy is glad that mom and dad are busy in trying to stay current in every area imaginable so they can communicate with their friends and business associates. Meanwhile, God tells us that people perish where there is no vision. (Proverbs 29:18) The context of this verse would tell us that people perish when God and His truth as found in His Word is no longer seen as their first priority in life. First things first. I’m not too thrilled with being bopped on top of the head but I do know I can certainly do a much better job in handling the information glut I deal with each day. What about you? Amen! or Ouch? …..More later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We all need someone in the yoke with us to help carry the load!

Okay it's Tuesday, July 21, 2009 and everyone around our area seems to have gotten rain but we are yet to see any. It's kind of tough to hear folks say they measured over two inches in their rain gauge and to have to report our sprinkler is laying on its side from overwork. But as Annie sings, "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, they'll always be Tomorrow!" Maybe today will be 'our' day! Yesterday on my way home I heard the news people on the radio warning people because of the huge increase in accidents associated with wet pavement. On Sunday afternoon when I was driving home from my son's home it was raining so hard you could hardly see but about five miles before I entered our home base area it was as if I had turned the page and it was sunny and sultry. I know, I know, I am beginning to fulfill that cliché that says people always complain about the weather but rarely do they do anything about it. One of the things I told my wife was that we should be thankful for the rain even if it is not falling on our yard. Our entire area needs rain and I thank God for that which He has provided even if I would enjoy a shower showing up at my address, perhaps even today!

Speaking of problems, they are all around us, don't you think? If you don't have that many, tune in to those around you, those on their cell phones, those talking to someone while waiting in line, or perhaps those who obviously have been crying. People are walking here and there and with them they are carrying all kinds of heavy baggage. Cell phones are one of the great inventions of our day. They permit us to stay in constant contact with those we love, to conduct business no matter where we might be, and to deal with emergency situations better than at any other time in the past. However, their unlimited calling plans cause some folks to be on them on an unlimited basis. Some of the stuff you hear! And, often you can actually hear both ends of the conversation because of the sound quality. Getting past the course language which literally saturates dialogue in our world, you would just as soon not know about some of the intimate details that people shout forth and back over their cell phones. Troubles at work, troubles at home, troubles with teens, troubles with friends, and the sound waves are filled up. Oh, there are those calls that are happy calls but often they are drowned out as people brace themselves for all that's coming at them with this economy and all the other issues that load us all up.

It would be great if we could find some relief and like the old Alka Seltzer commercial it would work quickly, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!" We do need some help in dealing with the load that we have to carry. The great news about this burden bearing feature of life is how that Jesus not only knows firsthand all about what it means to carry a heavy load (How about sweating drops of blood due to the weight of the price that He had to pay?) but He also gave an open invitation for all those who are loaded down with cares and troubles to come to Him for relief. The Bible in Basic English puts His words this way: "Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard." (Matthew 11:28-30) Growing up I often heard a song sung in our little Church that expressed this thought: "Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there." While He may not take the burden away He promised to always be with you to help you to carry whatever load is weighing you down. A former pastor of mine said that life sure is easier when you go through it yoked up with Jesus. Now I may not have received a shower of rain today but I do believe these words from our Savior have brought a shower of blessing, for me, for you, and for all who will hear and respond! Amen. .....More later.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moonwalking through life, one step at a time!

Here we go again with a brand new work week on this Monday, July 20, 2009. Of course today commemorates the 40th anniversary of the moon walk back in 1969. Our eldest was not quite four but we wanted him to see it and make him aware of the historical significance. One would have to say it was an amazing accomplishment and one that melded all Americans together in a sense of shared national pride. It became one of those 'where were you when you saw it?' events in our history. There are a number of those kinds of moments from all our lives where the thing that happened was so momentous that it was permanently affixed to our memory. Even as a kid I remember hearing folks talk about where they were when they first heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I can remember exactly where I was when I received a phone call telling me that my older brother had unexpectedly passed away. I can remember exactly where I was when the intercom at school began broadcasting the news about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I can remember the very first time I laid eyes on the woman with whom I would spend the rest of my life. One talking head made the comment about how he gets these chills running down his legs when President Obama speaks, well, I can tell you I know what it means to be stopped dead in my tracks on that fateful night when I met her because she was the one!

Every person can identify with a moon landing experience in life. I also have this very vivid recollection of a Saturday night service out at my girlfriend's Church in January of 1964. Her dad was doing his usual preaching loud and long but on that particular night something was coming through to me and it was eating at my heart. It was a wake up call from God and at the end of the service I could do nothing but get myself down that aisle and cry out to God to save me from my sins. No matter how one views all the events in life from their wedding day to the birth of their children, no event has more consequence than when we become a new born child of God. I will readily admit that I have slipped and slided around throughout my sojourn and especially in my living as God would have me to, but nothing can change that eternity altering experience that took place on that cold winter night back in 1964. Now that's the important date on the calendar and one that should cause us to be thankful every single day!

But the calendar rolls on and the events and circumstances accumulate and we continue to mark major event after major event. Yesterday our eldest granddaughter was married in a beautiful ceremony held in the home of our eldest son and his family. It was a first for us as she has presented us with so many firsts. I remember when she was born and she was our only grandchild and my office at the big company was plastered with her photos. One day a lady that had worked in my organization for years told me she wished she had been born as my granddaughter because she had never seen any grandpa so thrilled. Our prayers go with this young couple who will need God's help as they build a life together. My Uncle Waymon has been dealing with a heart scare and my mom has been so very worried about him. He is the youngest of the three surviving children from my grandfather's clan. They are all up in their eighties and they are very close. I thank God for him being able to be home although I know he still has many issues. After the wedding my wife left for Louisiana. This week she and her sister will be teaching a singing school in a small Church near Baton Rouge. They are both natural born singers and have been involved in attending and teaching singing schools for most of their lives. This means they will have a ball together and I will have me, myself, and I to contend with. That's right. Home alone. Home alone, again! Well, there goes the neighborhood, one more time! Have a great work week and may God bless! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

One more reason for me to be unhappy with President Obama!

It’s Friday, July 17, 2009 and I am a little ticked off. I have written before about my love for baseball as a kid growing up. I was one of those who lived and breathed playing the game. I am not ashamed to admit that I slept with my baseball glove. I had several gloves but the best was a Wilson ‘Al Kaline’ model. He was one of my heroes but perhaps my greatest hero was Stan Musial who played with the St. Louis Cardinals. His consistency, resilience, and ability to deliver under pressure coupled to his impeccable character and integrity made him a giant to a small town fellow like myself. Stan Musial was supposed to be the main attraction for a one of a kind, special tribute last Tuesday evening at the Major League All-Star game. They had one all planned and ready to go BUT our President decided at the last minute to throw out the first pitch and because of security and scheduling concerns that debt owed to an 88 year old living legend had to be reduced to a ride into the stadium on a golf cart to deliver the ball to President Obama. I even made my wife sit and wait so I could share with her my respect for Stan Musial. Let down is an understatement.

Stan the Man retired in 1964 and the 24-time All-Star left the game owning or sharing 29 National League records, 17 Major League records, 9 All-Star records, and nearly all the offensive records for the Cardinals. Last Tuesday evening a sea of cardinal red came prepared to rock the house in saying thanks to one of the greatest to ever wear the uniform. The national audience may have been impressed with the president’s performance but I wasn’t. Even before I knew the details behind what happened I wondered why there wasn’t more attention paid to Mr. Musial. They had originally planned for his tribute to echo that given to Ted Williams 10 years ago at Fenway Park. At that All-Star game Ted came out on the field to be mobbed by the players and it was one of the great moments as the current players, managers, and coaches got to act giddy over greeting what many believe to be the greatest hitter of all time. I was watching it ten years ago and can assure you it was the stuff of legend, you better believe it!

I’m sure the Cardinals can schedule a ‘Stan Musial’ Day but it will not be the same for those of us who would have enjoyed seeing it played out as previously planned. I don’t blame those charged with protecting our President and common sense would dictate caution at a stadium with 50,000 fans present. However, I sure wish he would have chosen to go to Camp David, or perhaps back to Chicago, or maybe even on another one of those boondoggles overseas because him showing up certainly messed up the night for my man and for me. One of the all time clutch hitters and all around good guys will continue to be my hero even if politics and protocol trumped his just recognition. I’m sure many don’t have a clue about any of this and I apologize for belaboring the point, however, you still have Saturday and then Lord’s Day Sunday to look forward to seeing God’s blessings. Until next time, may God bless. Amen. ......more later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

God sees our tears!

It’s really tough when you overdose on all that wordplay like I did yesterday and then have to come back with something more sensible the next day. But it is a good day to give thanks unto the Lord and this is the day that He has provided, therefore, we thank Him for it on this Thursday, July 16, 2009. I am well aware that the day is not so good for many. We have a prayer chain email program that originates from our local fellowship of believers and every day I read about the challenges being faced by folks near and far away. This week the mailbox has been full. One came in from someone in our fellowship who works with someone associated with a family member in Shreveport, Louisiana where their Church van overturned on the way to summer camp killing one young man and critically injuring other children. Another was from a former member who knows a lady whose Navy son went in for routine surgery and due to a mishap ended up having both legs amputated and is now fighting for his life. Many came in about family members dealing with cancer, children facing uncertain outcomes in a variety of health challenges, and for those who have lost loved ones.

Reality has a way of slapping us in the face. How many times have we who are believers said to one another, “I don’t know how people who do not know the Lord can handle these challenges”? Good question. They handle it as best they can. They call on their human spirit, their intestinal fortitude, and their courage. Even their ability to do this gives testimony to the magnificent way in which God created His human family. However, we who are believers have access to our Creator through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus knows firsthand what it means to deal with the pain and suffering that comes in our sojourn here on the planet. He stood and cried at the grave of his close personal friend, Lazarus. (John 11) He looked at hurting people and His heart overflowed with compassion. (Mark 1; Matthew 20) Therefore, when we read that our God will never leave us and never forsake us, we can be comforted in His abiding presence. (Romans 8)

The other source is reflected in the union of our hearts as believers where we join together in prayer and in comforting as best we can. The Apostle Paul said in the opening words of his second letter to the Church located in Corinth, Greece that he could comfort others with the comfort he had received from God. Believers sense our need of God and the strength that comes from people of faith during times that confront and challenge us. I read the email about that Church van accident and I did a search and found the website for the First Baptist Church of Shreveport. They had the details concerning the life of the young man who was killed, the six children hospitalized, five of which are recovering, and they had a page set up with young Maggie's photo who is extremely critical as she clings to life. Those children could be mine or my grandchildren or fellow believers’ children, or any children. Tears rolled down my cheek as I looked at that precious child who now lays in intensive care, all broken up. It reminded me of that passage where King Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried tears before the Lord. The Prophet returned and told Hezekiah that God had seen his tears. (Isaiah 38) Wow! We serve a God who sees our tears and He loves us as seen in His sending of His Son to die for us! Amen, Hallelujah, praise His Holy Name! ……More later.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slinging some slang!

Good Wednesday morning and I do hope that you and yours are well on this July 15, 2009. I do try not to be repetitive in the writing of this daily journal but given the limitations of age combined with the loss of signaling, and deteriorated hand and eye coordination all used to get what shows up from somewhere to the keyboard, it's a wonder I don't tell the same story over and over again. As I was driving in this morning I was thinking about not having anything to write about. Therefore, I suppose the thing I will write about is not having anything to write about. That's kind of how this stuff gets splattered on the page. I know we all operate in our own world where phrases and sayings help communicate thoughts and ideas. Americans love their slang that helps add flavor to the menu we use to make our point. I used to hear that I was 'Cruising for a bruising', and it conveyed a message that perhaps I had better put the brakes on my unacceptable behavior. It's no wonder that folks coming to our country have some real issues in trying to unravel our way of slinging out words. When we tell someone not to try and snow us or we encourage them to put the hammer to the floor while driving, well it would be enough to make anyone scratch their noggin.

Sometimes we tell folks their ideas are all wet or that the decision is up for grabs. Confused yet? Probably not, because we live by these slang phrases being slung around all day. Maybe we come away thinking we are all just too flaky to get it right or the effort is pretty 'Mickey Mouse' when you think about it. That's because I am making somewhat of a big stink over these words that sometimes makes one hot under the collar. I mean after all it's okay to help someone get out of a jam and in fact, don't sweat it because we all enjoy receiving a freebie now and then. You have to learn these sayings if you are to escape others thinking you just got off the boat. It can be tiring and you can end up being pooped from the effort of trying not to goof up in sending and receiving good vibes forth and back. We end up not wanting to be bent out of shape but we do want to hide our love handles. Sure, you think using these slang phrases is a piece of cake but it's certainly not a slam dunk for those unfamiliar with the territory.

Okay, enough already. This is what ole Sixty-Plus writes about when he can't think of anything else to write about. I'm not trying to make waves or do my thing in a cheesy manner but after all, it is my gig. Now if you read this blog and end up being bummed or think it rinky-dink, don't worry because I will do my best not to go postal on you. I fear I am drowning in this tidal wave of word play and like the elderly lady on the commercial: I have fallen and I can't get up. Fortunately, they most likely will not throw me into the slammer for being a word junkie or a linguistic couch potato or potatoe if you live in Great Britain or if you happen to be running for Vice President and your name is Dan Quayle. I did have to get myself somewhat hyped-up to use all these fun slang phrases and it has caused me to have a gut feeling that you might just enjoy reaming me out, that is, if you could. Maybe tomorrow we can just move on and I'll find something so amusing you will think it to be a real riot. Until then, pray that I will find something better to run my mouth about! Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Looking 'Cool' is very difficult especially during a heat wave!

Yesterday as I was driving home from work I noticed a couple of teenage boys driving along in a late model sports car. The temperature was still in the high nineties and the heat index was well beyond that but there they were with the windows down looking cool. Both of them looked as if they could need resuscitation at any moment but the main thing was maintaining the ‘look’. I thought to myself how easy that could have been me some forty-five years ago OR how it could still be any of us as we go about our living in a way trying to have a certain appearance. While I would not have had the choice of an air conditioning system way back then in the car I drove, I still spent plenty of time perfecting my version of ‘cool’ for others to observe. We do live in a world where superficiality and outward appearance rules our day and that’s what I am thinking about on this Tuesday, July 14, 2009.

Now these two boys were no doubt wanting to impress someone with their laid back look. If a young lady was thinking straight she would have to wonder how in the world it makes sense to ride down the highway sweltering in the heat and humidity when all you have to do is raise the windows and flip on the A/C. But, then she would not have been able to see them clearly in the car even though their potted meat faces may not have been their best, at least they could be seen and they could be seen as being pretty cool. We laugh now but we also know that we all at times have been there putting on an act to try in impress or fool someone else.
I was talking to someone the other day about how many times we respond to a greeting of how we are doing by saying that magical word: “fine”. We look fine and we say we are fine but often that’s not even close.

Preachers like to tell the funny story of how folks change their demeanor and behavior the closer they get to the Church meeting place. Before leaving home it had been a nightmare of screaming and trying to get everyone up and going. Mommy and daddy were still carrying on their argument from the previous evening and the kids were out of control. But when they roll into the parking lot and are greeted by their fellow Church members a transformation comes over that car and suddenly an episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’ starts to play as everyone miraculously begins to look and act perfect. Been there and done that, not only in that situation but so many others. Right? I didn’t see any heads nodding in agreement but I assume we all can identify with this need to be ‘cool’. We learned it from our ancestors and we will certainly pass it on, but while there should be balance in all things, I know that most of us know that God would have us to be genuine and honest in the living out of our life. I have also seen the story in reverse when a fellow whose A/C was broken was embarrassed so he rolled up all the windows and nearly suffocated because he didn’t want any one to know about it. Are we a messed up lot or what? The really good news is that God loves us any way and that my friend is very cool! Have a great one and may God bless you all. Amen. …..More later.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I did my best!

It’s Monday, July 13, 2009 and I am here to say that I did everything I could to avoid watching anything related to the death of Michael Jackson. It was not only a daunting task but practically speaking, it was impossible. I saw the headlines flashing for attention each day on every news site on the internet. When I watched TV I had to limber up my already quite capable fingers to remote switch anytime I saw an update coming. One newspaper cartoon I saw showed a news person in the entertainer’s coffin saying that his network was covering this story from every angle imaginable. If we ever needed to know whether news of importance really counts, one need only look at how all, and I mean all, the so-called serious news outlets obsessed in their 24x7, wall to wall, coverage of this single event. Now we know why. Ratings. Pure and simple, it was ratings. Ratings means dollars and this, my friend, is what Americans wanted to see. Not hard news stories about someone standing up to hold this new administration accountable for failure after failure. Not hard news about what’s really going on in Iraq, Iran, China, North Korea, Honduras, and other threats to our safety and security. But it was slime and sleaze that ruled the news airwaves even as flag draped coffins passed in the night ignored and unreported.

Yes, Pogo, you were right. We have met the enemy and it is ourselves! A U.S. Representative from New York State has been widely criticized and condemned for calling this debacle to be nothing more than a tribute to a child predator in whom we should collectively be embarrassed, not proud. I feel for those in the family who are grieving and for the children who no doubt have only begun a continuation of the nightmarish life they have lived. However, I think it’s a telling commentary on America and what it says about the people we have become. Sure, we all are sinners and we all are in need of redemption. But when we idolize a life of degradation and depravity as an example of the best we have to offer, it is time for us to do what the Prophet Haggai called on Israel to do: “Stop and consider your ways!” (See Haggai Chapter One.)

I saw one headline that said Michael Jackson’s Jehovah’s Witness beliefs precluded their being a heaven or hell. The headline finished by saying: So where is Michael? My thoughts immediately turned to the truth, God’s truth, as found in God’s revelation of Himself in His Book, The Holy Bible. In His Book He tells us there does exist a heaven and there is a real place called hell. I was talking with a fellow here at the company the other day and he was telling something about a particular spiritual matter and he finished by saying his views where consistent with what he had chosen to believe. My response to him in a very respectful way was that what I might choose to believe, or what he might choose to believe has a great impact on our lives and the lives of our families. However, it does not change the truth because God has given us the truth and regardless of our choices, our practices, or our convictions, we must accept God’s Word in every area where He has spoken. Okay, that should be enough venting for one day, so, get back to your rat killing and I will get back to mine. Have a blessed week. Amen. ……..more later.