Monday, November 30, 2009
On Friday my eldest son Chris and I left early to travel over to visit mom and dad in Louisiana. We were there to see them but to also install a high speed modem and line on mom's little internet doohickey as she calls it. I asked Chris to tag along just in case I ran into problems getting everything set up properly. And, it was good that he went because there were a few hiccups and he was able to get them all solved and now she can get her mail 24 hours a day and also use her phone at the same time. No more waiting twenty minutes for a photo to load! She might even venture out into the scary world of browsing the internet. Who knows, she might even end up with her own Facebook page before she is done. I am so proud of her at 86 still challenging herself in using that little computer and in the many other endeavors she undertakes. We had a great breakfast with them and then on our way out of the area we shared a late lunch with them. Time well spent. Mission accomplished. And, Chris and I had about five hours of conversation that was enjoyable as well.
We also had my wife's sister, her daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter Whitney over from Louisiana for the Black Friday shopping event. I didn't see them that much because of their shopping schedule but it was good to have them in our home. I sure wish they would have invited me to tag along because everyone knows how much guys love shopping at the mall, especially when you have to take turns breathing due to the immense crowds. NOT!!!!! Whitney is nine years old and awfully young to be in training for this type of marathon event. I don't think any of them shopped until they dropped but they certainly did not tarry long before bedtime. We also had Jimmy Jr., Alesha, Amanda, and Alex Friday night and all day Saturday. Blessings upon blessings. Then, to start out our brand new week we had our Bible study and worship with other believers on Sunday. Talk about this being a great country, it sure is, and we have our Great God to thank for each and every blessing He sends our way. I pray that you also enjoyed a great holiday celebration, and that we all will seek to live out our thankfulness to God as we begin our new work week. Amen. ....More later.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There is a move afoot among the historical revisionists to remove the deeply held religious convictions that helped give birth to our great nation. These so-called scholars pick out a handful of noted skeptics and try to portray our founding as basically reflecting these secular viewpoints. So-called is right! The overwhelming majority of those who put their lives on the line to help build this nation, I mean by a landslide, were people who believed in God, and His providence, and in His help in the building of this grand experiment we call the United States of America. As believers, I think our pride should always be bathed in humility because we know that God was at work in giving us the nation we have. Our founding was in large measure based on Christian values and moral principles. Don’t believe me, go and read it for yourself. Make sure you read all the founders and come back with a tally of how many were believers whose faith informed their actions. We are a nation under God as proven by our history.
We are also a nation blessed by God to be a blessing. Yes, we are going through some choppy waters at this time and we have faced them before, however, God has stood beside us to guide us through the night with the light from above. Therefore, we rise up to give praise, honor, and thanksgiving to God for the country we live in and love. Does America need revival back to God? Absolutely! Are we still one of the most blessed nations on the face of the earth? Absolutely! As we gather together with our families and friends to enjoy a time of fellowship and feasting, may we never forget the blessings that God has shown to our nation. May we never forget those who have given their all that we might be free. May we not forget those who continue to answer the call and in this very hour they stand in harm’s way to defend and protect our way of life. May God be thanked for America and may we, who are His people, turn back to Him once again for the sake of our nation and our children and their children! Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless each one in a very special way. Amen.
I will be off the next few days to enjoy time with family. I plan to run over to Louisiana to visit my mom and dad on Friday. I am thankful for the time off, and Lord willing I will be back making noise on the old keyboard next Monday morning. Until then, take care and enjoy and don't forget to remember to be THANKFUL! …..More later.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Being thankful is a personal matter. Choosing to be thankful is a Christian trait that we should cultivate and develop as a way of life. Today, I am thankful for my ancestors, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, my parents, and those who have honored God by handing down the faith that had previously been handed down to them. I think about my mom this week and how thankful I am for her. Her 85 plus years are a testimony to God’s grace being experienced through much challenge and adversity. She is a remarkable woman and I thank God for her and her influence on my life. I am thankful for my dad. God called him home when I was only seven. I’m so thankful for my step dad who for more than thirty years has taken such good care of our mom. I am thankful for my brother Donald, and two sisters, Frances and JoAnn, and I am thankful for the memory of my older brother, Jimmy, and baby sister, Kayla, who have gone on to their reward. I am thankful for my wife, a woman of faith, family, and fidelity. These forty-five years seem to have flown by but I am a blessed man to have had her by my side. I am thankful for her family and how that on both sides, my family and her family, they became and are ‘our’ family.
I am thankful to God for our boys, their wives, and our grandchildren along with our soon to be born first great grandchild. I don’t know that much about quivers and arrows (Psalm 127) but I am the recipient of innumerable blessings through these offspring. No, we haven’t always had an easy go of it and we have not lived out a perfect “Leave it to Beaver” style of life. But, we have had joys unspeakable and we have been blessed to be able to be a family through it all. I mentioned yesterday about precious memories and they are vast in number. Lord willing, when the prayer is spoken over our family meal on Thursday all of us will appreciate how that it is God Who has brought us to where we are. Ups, downs, good times and bad, He is always there for us. Thank You Lord for providing so many handfuls on purpose that have come my way through the family you privileged me to be a part of during my sojourn here! Amen. (Thanksgiving theme, to be continued.) …..More later.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tiffany, Brittany, and Stefani. We are thankful for these three lovely granddaughters who couldn’t be more different. Her dad and his two brothers were exactly that way as well. It takes some of us a while to realize the uniqueness of each child and to do our part in helping to shape them based on how God has equipped each one. It’s been tough on MiMi and Poppy to see these little ones grow into young women. At one time they hung onto their Poppy like there was no tomorrow but that gave way to them getting closer and closer to their MiMi. Now we see them as young women and while we will always cherish those childhood special times, we seek God’s best for them as they make their way forward.
Stef has a keen mind and she carries with it a personality to match. She also has a mind of her own and I well remember getting up close and personal with that character trait back when she was barely a toddler. She is a big time video game person. She actually favors some of the war games. She would make a pretty tough commander. As I write this today my mind’s eye can see her develop over the years. Sleepovers, special occasions, hugs and kisses, and make believe and dress up time, and so much more, and we thank God for our Stefani. May God bless you and keep you as we celebrate your special day, your 16th birthday! Amen. Love, MiMi and Poppy. ......More later.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Have you ever climbed on the scales after not being on them for a while and suddenly you find yourself doing a double take? This happened to me the other day. I like to do my diabetic diet thing on a “best effort” basis but not to the extent that it dominates my life. Within this context I try to stay plus or minus 5 pounds from my chosen ideal target weight. The shock came after not having weighed myself for a few days and I discovered I had slightly breached the top end of my five-pound control limit. What do you do when this happens? I first immediately began to examine the scales. Who has been messing with these scales? Next, I looked at my eyes in the mirror thinking perhaps some type of slimy substance might have clouded my contacts and blurred the number I was reading. Maybe it was a shadow or a bathroom lighting problem. Having completed my checklist, which included recalibrating the scales, cleaning the display, and practicing a few deep breaths to loosen up my system, I bravely stepped back on the scales.
Those famous words from the Apollo 13 near calamitous event rang in my ears: Houston, we have a problem! This was last Sunday night and I went on to have bad dreams about it during my rapid eye movement cycle which is a time that is near and dear to my heart. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I suddenly have to deal with a weight crisis? My grandfather’s words were ringing in my ears as I drove in Monday morning: “Only one way to control your weight, push away from the table.” I curtailed my intake during the day Monday but came home to a fried pork chop dinner. There’s no way I will insult that woman after she slaved over a hot stove, or something like that. I did well again on Tuesday but she prepared homemade chicken enchiladas to kill for, loaded up with enough thick and creamy cheese to make a goat blush. However, I bravely indulged myself one more time. The good news is that I did so with a modicum of control, therefore, I am back into the safe zone by a pound and a half, but with next week’s bird day on the horizon I must keep on keeping on! I bet I would have burned up a few more calories had I written about politics, but as I do my sign off today I'm feeling very conflicted and also very hungry! Pray for me! Until next time, may the Good Lord take a liking to you and yours. Amen. ……More later.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Let me see if I can now return to my lighter emphasis that I started earlier this week. Just thinking out loud but have you ever wondered about the deeper things in life? Like, if you tried to fail but you succeeded, which one would you have done? Or, before they invented drawing boards what did we go back to? How about: If you spin an oriental person round and round until they become dizzy, do they become disoriented; or does a pig who has lost its voice become disgruntled? Let’s face it, there are some really tough questions out there. What does one cheese say to the other cheese when they are making a photograph? Why do we call a person who plays the piano a pianist but typically don’t call a racecar driver a racist? Perhaps except for a few in NASCAR. Is it really possible to have a civil war? Why does it turn out that wise men and wise guys are completely the opposite of one another? Why do they have an interstate highway system on the island of Hawaii? And finally: What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Of course none of these questions are as mind boggling or as gut wrenching as hearing this one from a seven year old: “Dad, what does it mean when it says it is reformatting Drive C?” We live in a world dominated by unsolved mysteries and complicated conundrums. Much of it does revolve around the fact that the trouble is very close to home. Yeah, we know the guy driving slower than us is an idiot but the fellow going faster, he has to be a maniac. Maybe we would rather think about the questions more than struggle with the answers. I wonder how the fellow driving the snowplow gets to work in the morning? If ignorance is bliss why aren’t more people happy? If nothing sticks on Teflon how does it stick to the pan? Okay, that will suffice for today since I now have a headache. Don’t fret. It could not be as bad as the answer Moses received when he called and spoke to the doctor at the Excedrin headache hotline: Take two TABLETS and call me in the morning. Say goodnight Gracie! Have a blessed Wednesday. Amen. …..More later.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Okay, mom, don’t call 9-1-1 because it’s all in fun, I think. Santa would not really look that good in a straight jacket. Folks are beginning to notice. One lady that works with my wife saw a recent photo and said she could not believe how much I really look like ‘him’. Our daughter-in-law Mitzi wants me, in full costume, along with my wife, Mrs. Claus, to pose with our grand kids, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady, for their annual Christmas card. I will have to do some training with the wife to get her ready for this charade but she’s been known to cook up some pretty mean Christmas candies, and no one loves to give gifts more than her. Come to think about it she also loves to receive them as well. Note to self: Hide her “I want it all” Christmas sweatshirt.
Last Friday evening we had a wonderful dinner with our birthday girl, Lexie. The photo is one taken by my wife of Lexie and I and she also put it up on her Facebook page. Several have commented on Santa and our beautiful granddaughter. We had a blast. This past Saturday and Sunday I visited my wife at the big mall to watch her eat her lunch. She has thirty minutes and I typically find her something to eat and get there a few minutes early. The mall is beginning to begin to look a lot like Christmas and from the occasional eye contact and response of some beautiful little ones, I think I must be beginning to begin to look more and more like ‘you know who’. The parents do not notice as much as they hurry by to hurry up doing whatever it is they have on their agenda. But it is becoming more frequent to have a little boy or girl in a stroller give me that big-eyed gushy smile of acknowledgement. As folks say today when something pleasing happens: That’s pretty cool. Being the reason for a child’s smile may be the greatest blessing that comes from this particular wacky episode of my sojourn here. Okay, that’s enough for today, and I do need to get back to practicing my “ho ho ho’s”! May God bless each one. Amen. ……..More later.
Monday, November 16, 2009
There have always been hillbilly jokes, country boy jokes, but the Redneck genre kind of brought them all to a new level. You might be a Redneck if…… You have celebrated at least one wedding anniversary at the food court of the local mall. You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table. Your boat has not been out of the driveway for more than ten years. You have ever shot someone just for looking at you. You own a homemade fur coat. You have actually burned off your front lawn to keep from having to mow it. You have ever been involved in a custody battle over a coon dog. Your baby’s first words were: “Attention K-Mart shoppers!” Your mom has been arrested at least one time for a fistfight at a high school athletic event. You have barbecued Spam in your backyard. Your mom keeps an extra spit cup on her ironing board.
You also might be a Redneck if…… You have attended a wedding where all the ladies wore tube tops. You have at least two family members named Bubba and Junior. You have ever purchased a used cap. You receive a Christmas card each year from the Red Man Tobacco Company. You can change the oil in your pickup truck without ducking. Your kid takes a gasoline siphon hose to school for show and tell...... Believe me there are hundreds more but I will leave you with this one blonde joke and be done for today: The blind man walks into a bar and says, "Wanna hear a blonde joke?" The bartender tells him, "Well, I'm blonde and I won't appreciate it. The man sitting next to you is 265 pounds, and is also blonde. The man behind you is 285 pounds, and he's blonde too. Do you still want to tell that joke?" "No way," says the blind man. "Not if I have to explain it three times." Okay, that’s it. Maybe at least one of these brought a smile. Have a great week and may God bless one and all. Amen. …..More later.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Now she is becoming a more thoughtful young lady who has developed a sense of the serious to go a long with her bubbly personality. She has a natural talent for softball, she is an excellent student, and she also loves to spend time with her friends. She will always be special to us because that’s how it works. You would have to spend time with her to see what I mean, or maybe you would just have to be her silly Poppy, a designation I hear quite often. Being called silly at my age is not that big of a deal, especially when it’s all about how I connect to my grandchildren.
The other night I called Lexie to talk to her about her birthday. When she answered she immediately asked if I wanted to talk to her dad. I told her that I actually wanted to talk to her. Her little brother Brady was doing his thing in the background and dad Rodney was hollering at him, so Lexie found a quieter place so we could talk. She gave me an idea about a gift she would like and we also talked about where she would like to go to dinner. She thought about that for a couple of days and we now have a location where we all will be meeting tonight. It was a ‘Lexie’ conversation: polite, sweet, and thoughtful. Joy comes in all shapes and sizes and this young lady came bundled with an overflow capacity and we thank God for her. Happy Birthday Lexie from your MiMi and Poppy! May God bless you! Amen. …..More later.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Some days these images impact me more than others. I will admit that with age I have grown more sentimental. The Patriarch Job lamented that man is born of few days that are filled up with much trouble. (Job 14:1) Does this mean that we have to live life with a “sky is falling” type of outlook? No way! We can live a life of hope, joy, fulfillment, and peace as we walk with the God who knows about it all. Jesus said that in this world we would suffer tribulation and trial but that we should not lose hope. Why? Because He has overcome death, hell, and the grave on behalf of any and all who put their faith and trust in Him. (See John 16:33) The Psalmist said that some put their trust in chariots and horses, meaning their own strength or means, while we put our trust in the Lord our God. (See Psalms 20:7) My Paw Paw Mac’s favorite song comes to mind: I don’t know about tomorrow but I know Who holds my hand. Folks, I can’t even begin to imagine how anyone can cope with this life and maintain any semblance of peace without the reality of this song being the testimony of their life.
Yes, we do live in a messy world occupied by a fallen race capable of some horrific acts. Some of these disturb our peace and hurt our hearts, however, we can take our burdens to the Lord who offers His own peace that transcends human understanding. This song came to my mind: “Verse 1) There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God. Verse 2) There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God, A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God. Verse 3) There is a place of full release Near to the heart of God A place where all is joy and peace Near to the heart of God. Chorus) O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee Near to the heart of God." Are these some tough days to deal with given all the stuff out there along with our own stuff? You better believe it! But be encouraged and read the words of that song because we, as believers, can find our rest near the heart of the God who loves us! Amen. …..More later.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This past Sunday, our local fellowship, like Churches all over America, had all those who have served to stand and be recognized. It always puts a lump in my throat as many of our most elderly wobble their way to the front and then stand at attention and offer a salute to the flag of our nation. It is our privilege to offer our gratitude to these who served. At the same time we also remember the fallen who were willing to go but were not able to return. We remember those who suffered injuries, some that altered their lives forever. We also remember those who have suffered great emotional injury that has made everyday life a challenge in their return to the civilian world. All of these remembrances have one thing in common: Sacrifice. And, we thank God for so many who gave so much that we might remain a free people.
I watched much of the proceedings at the memorial from Fort Hood, Texas yesterday. For those killed in such a senseless way, it was a sad tribute, but a tribute indeed to what this country is all about as those from every corner who had volunteered to serve were memorialized. In honor of all our veterans I offer up this prayer to our Great God: “We ask for blessings on all those who have served our country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe. Bring solace to them, O Lord. Have mercy on all our veterans who answered our nation’s call to service. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative postings; May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways. These who have fought to make peace, may they know you O Lord, the Prince of Peace, I pray in Jesus Name.” Amen. …..More later.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Rebekah may have thought she was doing God’s will but she had no idea of the consequences that came about because of trying to operate outside the clear boundaries of right and wrong. Esau was rightfully enraged by what had happened and looked for a convenient opportunity to do away with Jacob. Mom was very worried for Jacob’s safety so she again misled Isaac by saying Jacob needed to find a wife from her people and he agreed and sent Jacob away. Yes, it was God’s will that he marry from the Abrahamic family, but again; the deception was her choice, not God’s. Some today look at the overall outcome many years later and say perhaps that is the way God had intended it to play out. That would mean that God condones evil, for any reason, and that cannot be true because He clearly has said that He can do no evil, nor will He ever tempt anyone to do evil. (See James Chapter 1.) We could say that He accomplished His purpose despite the shenanigans of Rebekah and Jacob.
Some might say it was a mother’s love that drove Rebekah to do what she did, therefore, she shouldn’t be blamed. However, it was God who had informed her that Jacob would inherit the blessings promised to Abraham, therefore, it was up to Him to do it in His own way and in His own time. Her connecting of the dots based on feelings and emotions only brought about years of misery and heartache for herself and for her beloved son Jacob. This is not a fairy tale story. It is a picture of real people living out life and making decisions that carry with them --- consequences. Jacob and Rebekah had no idea they would soon be separated and suffering but that is where the unintended consequences of their actions came home to roost. Any of us can do the very same thing, today! That’s right. We need to be reminded from this account of how critical it is that we do life, with God’s help, not only according to His will, but also according to His ways. A decision today can have tremendous consequences later and this is a sobering reminder for us all. May God help us to take this to heart. Amen. ……More later.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
People matter. People count. They are made in the image of God. Last week we had a forecast of some really stormy and potentially damaging weather that was predicted for our area. I was at a company dealing with this huge African American guy and he asked me in a little boy’s voice about this impending storm. I was shocked but he went on to say that he had recently moved from Cleveland, Ohio, and was unfamiliar with how much danger we might be in. I thought to myself he would be the last person who could be uneasy about any impending danger. But, he wasn’t sure, and a little skittish, just like most of us. Day before yesterday I was at another company talking with this fellow I’ve known for several months. I asked him how he and his family were doing. His eyes moistened as he told me about his seventy-six year old mom coming here from Honduras to have cancer surgery on her face. He told me how brave she had been to undergo an eleven-hour surgery and now daily radiation treatments. I put my hand on his arm and we had for a second this bond of connection that confirmed our human frailty.
I can remember so well how much I thought of myself as a young up and coming manager. I most likely needed two trips to my office each day, the second just to get my big head inside the door. There was a life altering moment that I remember so well. I was constantly being reminded how fortunate I had been to become one of the youngest managers in the company, especially when so many others had waited so long. Eventually I tired of hearing this and rebelled against that thought and begin to tell people that I had worked for it and earned it, indicating that I deserved it. Something about that shift from my recognition of my progress as being a result of a blessing as opposed to it being deserved brought about a huge hit on my life. For way too long that arrogance militated against me seeing myself and others in the way God would have me to. This attitude created huge problems in my life. However, as God would have it, thankfully, in due time, I, like the prodigal, came to my senses one day, and returned to seeing all that I had as being provided by Him. Where was this change of heart most obvious? In my appreciation for people, every person, from the fellow who checked my badge in the morning to the young guy pushing a cart filled with reports being delivered. They were just like me. They were just like the huge black guy concerned about the weather or the Hispanic fellow tearing up about his mom. May God help us all to see folks the way He does and to respond accordingly. Amen. Have a blessed Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing we'll see you next time on this same station! …..More later.