Friday, January 29, 2010

Today I learned: How much rain could a rain cloud rain if a rain cloud could rain, rain?

It's Friday January 29, 2010 and I was wondering if anyone had a spare rain suit with knee high boots. I've seen rain and then I have seen rain but I will tell you that I came about as close as I ever have been in my life to having been washed off the road this morning. Windshield wipers? Forget about it. Driving slow? Forget about it. I actually found myself off the road on both sides of the road at different times. Please don't tell my wife about this because she is still asleep and she would be furious. The problem comes when you have no place to pull over. I travel down a fairly isolated country road every morning and there's not that many places one might take refuge in, and it doesn't really matter if you can't see them anyway. Speaking of sleeping. It reminds me of the time I worked as a kid on a job where some guys were supposed to be filing the ends of pipe up ahead. They put some distance between the main work group and themselves and decided to take them a brief snooze. When they woke up they found a note on their lunch buckets that read: "You have a job as long as you are asleep, but when you wake up, you are fired!" That's sort of like my wife right now. She is snoozing away as the rain pours outside but when she wakes up and reads this, man, I will be in for it!

I am still trying to dry out just from opening the main gate and getting myself into the office. I only met one car, thank You Lord, and he or she was doing their 5 mph just like I was. Never have two ships passed so slowly in the night. But all I can do having arrived safe and sound is to thank God for His provisions. I refer to my physical person because mentally my head is still going forth and back like a ping pong match as I am still chasing those windshield wipers. But enough of my start of the day, how in the world are you doing, anyway? Don't say I didn't tell you what to expect in the President's State of the Union Address. I heard someone say he used the personal pronoun "I" 97 times. That somehow makes sense when you think about how he views the world. I did get home from Church in time to catch nearly all the speech. Like all things, one hears through their own set of filters. Some folks were so mesmerized they were ready to faint from the greatness of his rhetoric. Others, myself included, wondered if anyone would be naive enough to buy what he was trying to sell.

The good news is that we can be assured that our Great God is still in control. He is Sovereign and He is exactly Who He has revealed Himself to be in The Scriptures. This means that you and I can be rightly concerned as we observe all that is happening around us but at the same time we should never lose heart. Why? Because as believers we have our citizenship in a Kingdom that is quite different from the domain where we currently live out our daily existence. That Kingdom has God as the Ruler and He does all things well, all the time. We should be living first as the citizen of God's Kingdom by Kingdom principles as we finish our sojourn here. What are we to do about all these perplexing issues that surround us each day? Our dear brother last Wednesday shared this wonderful verse: "Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) That verse will work in the sunshine or during the rainstorm. That verse will work no matter which party is in power. Don't forget to meet up with other folks who practice this verse this coming Lord Day's Sunday and I must tell you that Lord willing and in this instance, if the creeks don't rise, instead of the Creek Indian Nation, I will see you again next Monday. May God bless. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coming to you live and in person, warts, blemishes, typos, and now and then a wrong word sneaks in!

Good Thursday morning on this January 28, 2010 where we are bracing for another shot of super cooled air headed in our direction. We can’t complain. We’ve had several Colorado blue sky days this week and will just have to bundle up while we realize it could be much worse. Speaking of much worse, I want to apologize for the sloppiness that makes its way to this page on some days. I used to be able to quickly change and repost my blog to correct those I find later or that are pointed out by my editor in chief, my dear wife. But since I started pasting the contents into my email for the convenience of some I typically don’t go through the process of resubmitting it for a minor error. Those minor errors do bug me, however, and I lament any time they show up. I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m just sharing my disappointment when I fail to meet the quality standards I set for myself.

I read enough on the internet to know that communications of all types are riddled with mistakes. Many of these can be found in top-notch news sources as well as in emails, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and other forms of dialogue. I do attempt to spell check my work but as I often point out the spell checker can’t correct the use of a wrong word spelled correctly. Most of the folks who read and comment on my blogs would have no issue with an improper word here or there BUT here again, I do! At any rate I always seek to try and do a better job. I know by experience that when you hold yourself to a high standard of accountability and do your best to achieve it, it does tend to leave you open to the ah-ha response when a mistake is made. I consider that to come with the territory.

I think everyone who has read anything I have written about our current political scene would recognize my staunch conservative views. I want everyone to know that my viewpoints are never intended to demonize any person or political party. We have many folks masquerading as conservatives while playing the Washington game and I feel angry at their shenanigans just like I do about those who favor liberal socialistic policies. Even here in a so-called conservative state I find myself having to hold my nose while voting for the lesser of all evils among those claiming to carry the conservative banner. This deal about demonizing folks is a real issue in our current political climate. It’s easy to cross the line in wishing someone harm as opposed to standing against his or her policies. It is my desire not to cross that line because we all are sinners in need of grace every minute of the day. I read and hear far too much that borders upon hate and this should never be our mantra, even as we boldly stand up for what we believe to be the principles that honor our nation’s legacy and our God. Now that I have cleared all that up I’ll get busy checking this one over to see if I’ve goofed up again. May God bless one and all. Amen. …..More later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Welcome to State of the Union Wednesday.

It is Wednesday, January 27, 2010, State of the Union Address Day for our nation. Let me again tell one and all that while I am extremely dissatisfied with the principles and policies being followed by our current President, I fully appreciate that he is our President, and he is also a husband and a father, and he deserves all the respect and honor that comes with the office. I pray for him and his family and continue to seek God's help in forging the direction of our nation. Having said that, I now will proceed with my show and tell for today.

I will likely be at our local fellowship meeting place for our regular Wednesday evening Bible study while our President addresses the joint session of congress. However, they have pretty much leaked much of what he is going to talk about, therefore, I will get caught up, after the fact, on the flip flop. They have determined now that he should suddenly become interested in the middle class. In case you didn’t know, that’s most of us, those he previously described as the folks out there that during difficult economic times we tend to cling to our guns and our God. I don’t know about clinging to guns but I sure recommend we all cling to our God, in the good times and in the bad. Perhaps we end up being the butt of the joke he made about Scott Brown who won the senate election up in Massachusetts where the President questioned his trustworthiness because he drove a pick up truck.

This shows just how out of touch our President is with the common ordinary schmuck who is currently occupied with doing everything he can to provide for his family, that is, if he has a job, which we now understand has become the number one priority of this administration. Can you imagine that: People with no jobs being a priority? What about Copenhagen? What about health care? What about making the world love us? Someone must have whispered in the President’s ear that without folks working there’s no one to pay the taxes and printing money like there is no tomorrow is going to eventually have to end, one way or the other, with mostly horrific consequences especially to elected officials including the one who occupies the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Now that kind of information will get a politician’s attention faster than the speed of light.

The disconnect thus far comes from folks viewing these people who have lived as if they have thrones but now want everyone to think they are basically just like the average American who can’t get a job and can’t get a clue as to who took a screwed up mess and make it very much worse. The part about being clueless may be on target but I love our country too much to want to see more damage done to working families. I hope there really is a shift in priorities where the full resources of our government will now be focused on what it should have been focused on over the past twelve months. Maybe the regular Wednesday evening “Happy Hour” at the White House which was implemented by the Obama’s can be changed to a job summit meeting each week to focus on something that really does matter to the American people. Maybe the huge entourage who, we, the tax payers, provided with first class accommodations for the wasted climate control summit in Copenhagen can now find a few minutes to spend on helping the family climate here at home. I can already guess how the rhetoric will be strong and heated as the President pleads his case. Yet, his track record thus far indicates not much more meaningful progress than that achieved by his unplugged teleprompter. Remember this verse from the Bible: "The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1) Amen. ……More later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

He is with me wherever I go!

Hello friends and neighbors, it is Tuesday, January 26, 2010 and it's somewhat hard to imagine that we have nearly used up the first month of our brand new year. I am still trying to get my stuff transferred from my 2009 calendar book to the new one. Since our clan has grown so much, it's a sizable effort just to keep up with all the birthdays and other special remembrance days. But God is good to allow us the opportunity to be out and about, active, and mostly occupied, most all the time. When the doctor asked me last week how I was doing, I felt compelled to quote from an elderly gentleman I used to go to Church with: "If I kicked, I ought to be!" Of course I am still awaiting the results from the lab tests and that will likely indicate whether we need to adjust my medication regimen. But for the most part I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in. I told the doctor that I sleep well, I am able to work twelve hours a day, and pretty much feel reasonably okay. Sure, I would prefer not to have to be concerned about the diabetes and the aches and pains associated with my arthritis BUT those seem insignificant compared to so many others who are dealing with serious health issues.

I was by the hospital a couple of times over this past weekend to visit a dear man from our local fellowship who had suffered a stroke and it doesn't take long being in a place like that to realize the life and death struggle faced by so many, every single day. It's so much easier for me to identify with those of us who are older but my heart melts when I see little ones having to deal with serious health issues. It reminds me that we live in a fallen world where we need God and His provisions of mercy and grace every second of every minute of every day. I am also reminded of how blessed we are to live at a time when so much in the way of medical knowledge and technology is available to respond to crisis situations. I had just seen my dear brother last Wednesday evening in our Bible study. He has many health related problems but he told me how well he had been doing of late. On Saturday morning he suffered a major stroke. We never know what each day will bring but thank God that my friend knows, and we know, who does.

Being able to hold the hand of one of God's own dear children as they struggle for the next breath allows us to pray with confidence, not because we know the immediate outcomes, but because we know the One who does, and we also know that He cares. When it is all said and done we who know the Lord have an amazing advantage over others because we have His very presence to see us through whatever we are dealing with in our life. What a difference this makes, folks, and what a blessing to see this difference reflected in the lives of those dealing with great challenge. Concerned? Sure. Wearied? Understandably so! But at the same time there is the sweet glow of that spark of confidence born out of the heart knowledge that God is with us, no matter what, every step of the way. I thank God for this testimony of His grace and I commend Him and His offer of salvation to any and all who seek peace in what often is a turned upside down world. As the song my wife and I used to sing says: "Jesus is right for whatever is wrong in your life!" Amen. .....More later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MiMi said: Who will go for me? I responded: Here I am, send me!

Good Monday morning and welcome to more of the same, disconnected and discombobulated thoughts on this January 25, 2010. My wife has been ailing of late. She has some really bad allergies, sinus problems, and bronchitis as the icing on the cake. This has been going on for several weeks but last week she finally had to take a time out to deal with it. Therefore, she has been laid up in the bed or in the recliner for at least the last four days. She has been to the doctor and is on medications but this stuff appears to her to be the gift that keeps on giving. I have contended for years that nothing works like it is supposed to when the woman of the house is incapacitated. Everything is out of focus and we tend to weeble wobble our way around until she gets better. She may be a little better and I think she may try to work today but she could use prayer because she very much would like to get back on her feet. Last Friday she called me to her bedside which in this case was her recliner side and gave me a special mission to accomplish, that is, if I would be willing to accept it.

She was feeling even worse because she had not been able to see our brand new great grand, Madelyn Joy, for over a week. She had hoped to spend time with her on her day off but instead was forced to spend the day overdosing on "Deal or No Deal" on the Game Show Network. She looked pitiful as she asked me to lean near and hear her request: "Would you be willing to go and visit Madelyn and make some photos for me?" I saw her distress and determined at that very moment to do my best to honor her request and to also make her proud of my efforts to represent her to our great granddaughter. Having given her my word, she patted my hand and returned to seeing another person shout and scream as they randomly opened suit cases in search of a life changing amount of cash. It was a touching moment but I felt up to the task.

On Saturday I was up bright and early busily arranging my schedule around this special task. I drank plenty of Community so that I would be alert and sharp in my focus and conduct. I arranged a meeting time and bid farewell to my sickly wife as I left to pursue my mission. Once there I cast my eyes upon our bundle of Madelyn Joy and with all of my heart I did my best to love on her for both her MiMi and her Poppy. We did get photos and I even made a video on my cell phone. I sort of made a video since I had never made one before and the actual footage shows it. It was a most wonderful two hours of being with this special child. Having completed my mission, I then returned to report the results to Madelyn's MiMi. She looked at the photos and the video. She quizzed me about this, that, and the other. Finally, she rendered her judgment: "You really know how to rub it in, don't you?" She should have thought about just how devoted I am to making sure I do my assignments well! Go ahead and smile, I know you want to! Have a blessed work week and remember to pray for me as I deal with trying to handle all these special requests! Amen. .......More later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trying to get some slow working gray cells to get their act together!

I bid you greetings from my workspace here where I am busily trying to gather my thoughts on this Friday, January 22, 2010. Some days this is harder than others, like getting spilled milk back into the bottle or perhaps trying to figure out if the saying about having to break eggs to make an omelet has any application. The weather is clear, I think. It's just under 50 degrees, I think. I know I drove over here early this morning but I must have come via auto pilot because I don't really recall much about the trip. But how in the world are you, anyway? When you get to be my age you learn to live with a little fuzziness along the way. It's not that I am growing more forgetful, it's more like I forget to remember. There sure is a lot of buzz going on about the big win by Mr. Scott Brown of the Ted Kennedy senate seat from Massachusetts. Why? It was won by a Republican! That has not happened since the early 1950's. Wow!

I was talking last evening to my youngest son about how the Obama folks are spinning this HUGE defeat. They say it was voter anger against Washington which includes the last eight years. That, of course, would imply the vote was against Mr. Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush. These folks must think we all have single digit IQ's. Okay, let's think about this silly spin for a moment. The folks up there in the Democrat dominated bluest of blue states are angry at President Bush who is a Republican, therefore, to vent their anger they elected a Republican who ran against the Obama agenda. I don't think even those who have overdosed on the hope and change Kool Aid could tell this story with a straight face. The bottom line is this: The American people can be fooled but they typically will not, over time, be made fools of. That election is perhaps one of the most startling political upsets that has occurred in my lifetime.

And, we already see some stunning results. The Administration and the Congress are reeling as they slow down everything while trying to figure out what message the people were sending when they acted so unpredictably last Tuesday. They should call me. I can help. The message is quite simple. To quote one of their own, former President Bill Clinton: "It's the ECONOMY, stupid!" It's also jobs. It's runaway deficits and taxes. It's national security. It's about stopping the insane priority and focus on things that people have no interest in. It's also about restoring freedom and getting the government out of the way. Maybe I should set up a hot line because surely they can do better than blaming President Bush for this astounding set back. I don't know much about this new senator but I am thankful that a time out is being called on what I believe has been an agenda filled with a set of socialist programs that could forever alter our great country. The beauty of our system can be breathtaking. One election. One seat. Folks, it does pay to be plugged in as a active and concerned citizen of our one nation under God. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There are some things that really get my goat!

Okay. It is Thursday, January 21, 2010 and I welcome you to my most recent peeve. The origin of the phrase used in the title is hard to nail down. Some think it dates back to when a person had only a goat for milk and when it was stolen it became a real source of anger. Others think it might have to do with horse racing from the past. It seems that each horse at one time had its own goat to accompany it to help to keep it calm and when someone wanted to impact the outcome of the race they would steal their opposition’s goat, leaving that horse to his own devices. I can’t be sure how the phrase originated but I do understand the sentiment, up close and personal. I’ve most likely shared the following aggravation before, therefore, for those who want to change channels, go ahead. You can, instead, tune in to the White House pundits spinning so hard the results from the Massachusetts senate election that they are creating a kaleidoscope of lights and mirrors. That doesn’t interest me one bit but if it appeals to you, go for it!

Yesterday I went for my six-month interview with my doctor. I call it an interview anytime I go and there’s no examination. He only got as close as a handshake but that’s not to say we didn’t have a really animated and informative conversation. I have no problems with that part of how things went. However, my appointment was scheduled for 7:45 a.m. I, like a good little boy, showed up at 7:30 a.m., making certain I accommodated any traffic delays. The staff started coming in shortly after 7:30, one at a time. They all had to pass right by me. There I was stuck out in the hall, no place to sit. First patient of the day, and they didn’t open the door until 7:55 a.m. Have you ever seen those wavy lines coming off the asphalt on a 100 degree day? I was generating some pretty decent steam by the time I had my blood pressure checked.

It was only elevated slightly, no thanks to those dragging around on a Wednesday morning. And, what’s up with folks coming to work looking like they are sleep walking with their mega sized Starbucks sloshing all over the place? Adding insult to injury they have rules posted about potential penalties for missing appointments. Why does this bother me? Most people have busy schedules, every day. Taking the time to make sure you are on time is a very important thing to me. I am, after all, a customer, and this means they should be doing their best to serve their customer. They were supposed to be open and they knew I was there. I could go off on my doctor but it’s not easy to do since he is the one I am working with to manage my diabetes, and thus far we are doing a good job. We used to have a music minister who had as his watchword this saying: Being on time means being early. I feel better now having shared this with my readers. On second thought, maybe the spinning game from Washington may not be such a bad choice. Have a great day and may God bless each one! Amen. ….More later.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sometimes the truth just hurts!

Welcome to Wednesday’s sermonette report from the front lines in this version of the view from the pew on this January 20, 2010. Last Sunday evening one of our deacons brought forth our Bible study lesson. This wonderful Christian brother is originally from Nigeria and has many a harrowing story of how he came, with his family, to the United States. His testimony is one that 100% gives glory to God for His intervention and working on behalf of this family. On Sunday evening the subject he chose to share dealt with understanding exactly what it means to be a part of God’s Kingdom, living under Kingdom authority, and our calling to fulfill the Kingdom’s business as directed by our King. ("Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew Chapter 4 was the primary text.)

Having lived in extreme conditions in Africa, as a believer in Christ, this gentleman can relate to comparing what the Gospel meant to him there versus what it has meant living as a naturalized citizen here for many years now. He talked about how that after becoming a believer in the circumstances he found himself in, he had no other choice but the take The Scriptures literally. They lived by faith because faith was all they had. Having observed and having lived the American approach where we have so many conveniences and enjoy such a high standard of living, he has noticed how that we more or less adapt our way of life to what The Scriptures reveal to us. Being a part of God’s Kingdom should mean that we live first and foremost according to Kingdom rules and that we evaluate and pursue our day-by-day living based on Kingdom principles.

He shared a story about a poor African, who, as a new believer, had been introduced for the first time to Bible teachings on tithing. This man was greatly convicted by what he had heard. The following Sunday he was up way before dawn and down at the river fishing. He was in a hurry because he needed to get to the Church meeting at 10 a.m. After several hours he finally caught one large fish. He didn’t have time to go home and change so he went straight to the place of worship carrying the fish and himself along with the all the fishy smells. Once there, the missionary pastor asked what he meant by bringing that fish to Church, to which he replied, “This is the Lord’s fish and I am bringing it as my tithe, I will return later and get the remaining nine for myself and my family.” Wow! What a testimony about giving to God first! Are we a spoiled people? I would have to say, yes. Do we find ourselves living by the world’s rules instead of Kingdom ordinances? I confess that way too often I find myself doing exactly that. The lesson was convicting but encouraging since we all knew we had heard from God. There was much more but I wanted to share at least a little about what I had heard and felt. That's right, I am still experiencing growing pains at my age. Tough my friend, tough! May God add His blessings as we all seek to put Him first in all things! Amen. …..More later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The politics of personal martyrdom.

Good Tuesday morning on this January 19, 2010. I know many are pretty much tuned out and fed up with all things political. However, we cannot escape the fact that these things matter and whether we hide our heads in the sand or not, the decisions made by this government will impact us today and our children tomorrow and their children down the road. Those who have actually done the word count tell us that this President’s most often used word is the word ‘unprecedented’. He uses this word most frequently in discussing all the problems he has had to deal with since taking office. The word actually means: having no precedent; novel; never before seen or done. This means that he sees the problems he has faced to be of such monumental proportions that never has a President or our country faced something greater than those he has had to face. Give me a break a million times over!

Polling data addressing his first year in office indicates that his implemented policies and solutions are not only not working, but the American people have soured on them as well. Here’s how our President responds to these poll numbers: It’s his predecessor, George W. Bush, or it’s the unprecedented economic collapse, or it’s the mean Republicans or it’s people who are angry with him being the President, and the moaning goes on and on and on. Give me a break a million times over! Not once has he ever considered the fact that it just might be his policies and his people who have botched the situation and made it worse. Meanwhile, the state controlled media applauds until their hands hurt over his good intentions. He is trying. He cares. Give me a break a million times over!

What ever happened to results? From bailouts to beer summits; health care to Haiti; from H1N1 to the underwear bomber; and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we see one debacle after another but the mainstream media who claim to be the champions of truth are much too busy running public relations interference on behalf of this President to notice or report what’s really going on. Yet, here’s the good thing: The American people are not out of tune. We are supposed to be a representative democracy where our elected officials follow the will of the people. Here's what I see: Elected officials are very nervous right now as they begin to experience a very 'precedent-ed' backlash as people voice their anger over their continued blind, lock-step march behind President Obama’s agenda. I listened to much of his speech from the Baptist Church this past Sunday as he played the role of “black preacher man” and used that pulpit to heap blame on his critics while making himself out to be a martyr. How condescending can one be? What if a Republican, even an African American Republican, had gone in and used that same ‘sing-song street dialect’? We would still be hearing about it and that’s my point. Think about it. Pray about it. And if you are still having trouble staying tuned in enough to see exactly what is happening, then try doubling up on the Community Coffee, because, believe me, it matters! May God help our great nation. Amen. …..More later.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here's how to not see your wrinkles. Take off your glasses!

Hello friends and neighbors, it's Monday, January 18, 2010 and I bid you greetings from the bloated world of blogger mania. Some estimates say there are at least 250 to 300 million individual blogs and they are being added by the hundreds every second of the day. That sounds like a huge number but when you consider we have just under 6.8 billion folks breathing air on the planet, it's still a fairly small percentage of people who fill up electronic pages like they are going out of style. Speaking of going out of style, I think I went out of style a long time ago but failed to get myself registered. Surely they have a make over or an update of some kind for folks like me who find themselves locked in a time warp. It's somewhat like a slap in the face to find yourself very much aware of the things mentioned in the "Remember back when...." lists that circulate out on the web. In fact, I can remember when I enjoyed reading those but didn't identify with many of the items listed but now a days I pretty much am the list.

Perspective does change with age. I can see myself in my eldest son as he holds his first grandchild. He doesn't see the world like he did when he first held his first child. Somehow this becomes a huge blessing as we are able to distinguish more between the truly important versus the loud but mostly insignificant. He will likely also begin to be out of style as he makes his way forward. We applaud folks who are young at heart, whatever that means. I've known some folks who did all they could to hold back the aging process. One of the main things they did was to try and hang with a younger set of folks. They were our age and it was obvious they avoided us because we were tagged with that dreaded distinction of becoming a part of the older generation. They said being with younger people caused them to feel younger but for most in their peer group, we thought them to be rather ridiculous. On the other hand, if this is what floats their boat, why not?

I am aware of trying not to allow my trousers to get closer to my chin as the years go by. Therefore, it might be said that I am at least conscious of age related stereotypes. My wife would certainly be first in line to report that I am not a slave to fashion trends. To me, wearing clothes that are twenty years are older is like being with friends. They are comfortable and really have no one to impress. It was not always this way. I know what it means to try and wear the right suits, power ties, and wing tips shined to perfection every day, and I was the one who did the shining! I've been there and done that and still believe one should dress appropriately based on the environment and occasion. However, it is a brave new world where business casual for some has become casual-casual and it's hard to imagine myself working for any company with my knees showing in a $200 pair of jeans. In fact, $200 for a pair of blue jeans, that's what they used to be called, is ludicrous, and this should report me as being once and for all over the hill but thankful to be able to blather away about it in my blog each day. I do pray that you and yours will have a wonderful week and may God add His blessings on us all! Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

You will have to admit, I have been patient!

Finally. Our granddaughter Tiffany has photos up of our brand new great grand, little Madelyn Joy on her Facebook page. I didn’t want to rain on their parade by putting up my own but it’s Friday, January 15, 2010 and now all bets are off. Not really. I'm including some of the poses she published. We do have one or two of me holding her along with many of her MiMi holding her. I do wonder how that happened. One thing is certain. This little girl has been smothered with love since she made her grand entrance. Even Kenna, the family dog at our eldest son’s house grabbed a lick on top of her head the other day. Kenna is excited about this new arrival but they had been keeping her away from little Madelyn. Kenna is a huge black lab and pretty smart. She faked her way over to getting close and then without any warning, she did it! She marked the new little one and then seemed to be satisfied.

There is something about my family and babies. My wife remembers when my sister gave birth to the first grandchild in our family. We had just started dating and she said all I could do was talk about how beautiful that baby was. Unusual for a fifteen-year old boy, right? They tell me my dad who passed away when I was seven loved to hold and rock babies. With six of us like stair steps, he certainly had plenty to hold and plenty to rock. I also remember my wife as a teenager when the first grandchild was born in their family. She was like a second mom to Byron. He grew up to become a master builder and was our contractor for rebuilding our home after Hurricane Ike. Quite a remarkable journey, don’t you think?

Our eldest son has reported that people in his office can’t keep from talking about how that Madelyn looks like a little doll. He said some who made this comment were really the no comment type of people. I was working for the big company whenever Tiffany was born. I’m not sure but it seems like I remember the staff threatening to sign a petition if I didn’t let up a little on the granddaughter stories. She was our first and my office was literally plastered with her photos. I remember when she was a little tyke and how I was knocked down devastated when he took a transfer to a job a little over an hour away from us. The nerve. Hadn’t he heard what every person at the Fortune 500 Company had heard? She was called Poppy’s girl for a reason. I can remember feeding her Popsicles before they wanted me to. When she was maybe two they gave me a card with a picture of a polar bear feeding his cub a Popsicle. That card is still on the light switch going into our bedroom. Yeah, there’s something about babies and our family! But it’s okay to pray for us because the Lord knows we need all the help we can get! Amen. ……More later.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Praying for those in need in Haiti.

It's Thursday, January 14, 2010 and you, like me, are probably devastated by the photographs, news reports, and stories coming out of Haiti. It will be days if not weeks before a death toll can be established but conservative estimates are pegging the minimum to be at least 100,000. I had the CNN feed up on my computer most of the day yesterday and when they would be around children crying out and moaning, I had to get up and walk around. This is one of the poorest countries in the world. It's also one of the most corrupt, therefore, they had very few resources in terms of response services when this earthquake hit, and now the potential for an even greater health crisis looms. I heard that Pat Robertson has said the earthquake was a judgment from God on this devil worshipping, occult country. While it is a country filled with paganism, I would not want to condemn others when we have so much to answer for right here in our own backyard. My prayer is that God will be merciful and that relief efforts will be effective and that lives will be saved and folks will be able to recover. I also pray that in the process of recovery that men, women, boys and girls will turn to God and accept His salvation through Jesus Christ. For this is the only hope for the people of Haiti and for the people of America and the world!

Our teacher in last night's Bible study mentioned how suddenly this event came upon the people and how they were not aware of it until it was already too late. He said it reminded him of how God has described the events during the end time when people will be caught off guard as He brings about the end of this age. The Apostle Peter responded to those who questioned whether there really would be an end of the world as we know it. They had said it appeared to them that things just kept rolling along, day after day, without any sign of a coming apocalypse. Peter reminded them that this was exactly the mentality of those during Noah's day when they went about their business without heeding his warnings but it did come the exact time when the door of the ark was closed and the waters came and wiped out every living person. (See 2 Peter Chapter 3) May God help each of us to be prepared for the time when we will leave this life and enter the next and meet Him face to face.

One of the impressive things coming out of this tragedy is to hear about how many ministries are responding to get aid to the people of Haiti. Even in our local area huge warehouses are already being set-up to handle clothing, food, and other supplies. Our nation is a nation with a legacy of caring for those in need. We are one of the first to provide massive levels of boots on the ground to help in the search and recovery efforts. This mutual aid concern on behalf of our nation is rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic that under girds our foundation. I for one am proud of this heritage that shows itself in our response when others are in need. While most may not recognize where it came from, we can thank God that we follow the heart of Jesus as He reached out to the lowliest and neediest among us. May God bless those who are seeking to make a difference in providing assistance to Haiti during this great disaster. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You don't have to throw the clock to see time fly!

We are all aware that most of us are far too busy. Here it is Wednesday, January 13, 2010 already and I bet many of us are wondering how it got here so quickly. We need to stop and smell the roses; or the coffee; or the flowers; or the fairways; or the incense; or the turkey; or the mistletoe; or the dinner cooking; or the queso; or the sagebrush; or the salmon, and since these all came from a simple Google search I’m confident there are plenty more where they came from. These are all intended to get our attention away from the rat race that keeps us so busy that at times it causes a hamster on his little wheel to feel embarrassed. We may not know where we are going or why, but we can always be assured that we are hurrying to get there. Clock management has taken us captive and we are no longer doing the managing, the clock is! There are times when we do need to hurry but hurrying as a habit is not only frustrating, it can impact our health.

Think about those occasions that end up being a memory tagged with ‘time well spent’. Maybe it’s some quiet time alone or a special one on one with one of the children. It could be time spent in Bible study, prayer, or in pursuing God’s calling. How about it being an unexpected event where the power was off and everyone visited or maybe some special connection where a friend or loved one was able to enjoy fellowship. Someone said it sure would help if we all could learn to distinguish between the meaningful and the meaningless. It again reminds me of that account from the Scriptures where the two sisters Mary and Martha were hosting a dinner for Jesus. Martha was totally immersed in the cooking and preparation even to the point of being overwrought. In contrast, Mary found herself sitting and listening to the teachings of Jesus. Martha complained to Jesus and asked Him to tell Mary to get up and help her. Jesus lovingly told Martha that while she had worried herself sick, Mary had chosen the more meaningful and it would not be taken from her. (See Luke Chapter 10, Verses 38-41) Now there’s some food for thought for us all!

I can almost hear a collective sigh as we all wish we could get off the treadmill and catch our breath, at least occasionally. It will not happen by wishing. We have to recognize the need and then begin to work to find those times of refreshment and restoration. Yeah, life is short, way too short, to finish it all up without having enjoyed the blessings God has provided to us. I’m not saying we should trade one set of breathless activities for another different set of breathless activities that end up doing the same thing to us. The idea is to make better choices about our priorities so that we concentrate on maximizing the use of our time as best we can on the things that really do count for time and eternity. We all are busy and for the most part, we are busy all the time. However, with God’s help we can begin to take advantage of the time He gives to us. Take it from me, you will never be able to go back and recover that time which is lost. Think about it! Amen. ….More later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A new day and a new opportunity to write a new page!

It is Tuesday, January 12, 2010 and I am thankful to be here in my place, click clacking away on my keyboard. I recently had to say farewell to one of the oldest of the computer keyboards I have used for years. I held on to it as long as I could because it had that special touch. You see, I am one of those throw back users who like a keyboard that has the touch and feel of an electronic typewriter. That's right. A typewriter. For you younger ones that's a device we used way back when to type up letters and correspondence. Most of the newer keyboards are designed for computer users who use the functional aspects more than the actual typing capability. While this does date me in terms of my own learning curve, I will say that I no longer believe folks have to be touch typists (like me) to really be able to generate text. All you have to do is watch some of our teen aged grandchildren working their tiny keypads on their cellphones to realize just how fast text can be generated. I do not do texting on my cell phone. I do not send. I do not receive. But I do enjoy the keyboard and I love seeing the gray cells represent themselves on the electronic page. I'm not saying they represent themselves very well but I do get a kick out of seeing them at work!

Here we are, twelve days into the brand new year and I can tell you that I already have a few frustrations about some of the things I really wanted to focus on as a way of making progress and improvements. I'm not calling them resolutions because that would be way too formal for me but they are actions that require discipline and determination. And, if they were actual resolutions, I would be forced to confess that I am already slip sliding around in the keeping of them. I sure wouldn't want to do that for this might cause you to lose confidence in me. It reminds me of that old saying I heard growing up: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. My grandfather was a very simple and practical man. When I messed something up and he asked me about it, I, like most kids, would say that's not how I wanted it to turn out. He, in his direct and clear manner, would more or less ask the question: If that's not what you were trying to get, what then were you intending? I've never forgotten that sentiment and I have used it throughout my life in dealing with others. It's much easier to use it on others than to apply it to myself. But the point is clear. If I am not achieving the things I set out to achieve in 2010 then I need to examine what I am doing and spend the time needed to understand better what it takes to achieve the outcomes desired. Then as the commercial says: Just do it!

They tell us that the Book of Genesis is the most read text in The Scriptures. Why? Is it because people are really interested in knowing more about God's plan and purpose in creation? Not really. It's primarily because it is the first book in our Bible and that's where people who make a commitment to read through the entire Bible begin their reading. It has 50 Chapters and many begin but many also fail to keep on reading, therefore, by default, Genesis becomes the most read Book. I know how easy it is to give up or to not to have any goals because of a track record that is spotty at best. Yet, it does pay to challenge ourselves to do better, to be better, and to grow in the life God has given to us. If it was easy everyone would do it without any effort but it's not easy to make changes that require discipline and old fashioned dedication. One way I have of looking at it is to view yesterday as the etch-a-sketch tablet. It didn't happen the way I wanted it to but I have a brand new day. I can lift that old page, erase what could have been, and start over. It's not in being able to always be successful in meeting every personal challenge, it is our willingness to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and with God's help, get out there and try again, and again, and again! Amen. ......More later.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The icy stare can't be helped!

Okay, it's in the low twenties again this morning and has been this or lower for the last three days and we are no longer wondering if it is really cold, therefore, we are welcoming the promise of a thaw out today! Yeah, it is Monday, January 11, 2010 and I bid you welcome from our version of the frozen tundra where many folks are dealing with busted water pipes and other weather related issues. I was up early yesterday morning and to our local Church meeting place to get everything warmed up. We had a huge busted pipe on an old well system that is still operational at the Church. It had created a small lake of ice that ran from the side door entrance all the way out into the parking lot. Myself and another fellow was able to get the water and pump shut off and then we had to take steps to keep folks from slipping on the ice hazard. We also had some problems with the main heating systems for the sanctuary, therefore, it was an interesting morning to say the least but we were able to have all our classes and God was worshipped, people were served, and we left being able to say that it was good to have gone to the house of the Lord! Amen.

Did I mention that I was a brand new great grandfather? How many times? That many? Okay, let me just tell you that I am a little embarrassed about my eldest son. He, as a grandfather, is acting rather foolish. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen him being so silly. You would think this little girl named Madelyn was the most beautiful child ever born. I made the mistake of telling everyone yesterday that I sure am glad that I never acted that way when Madelyn's mom was born, our Tiffany. Talk about being hissed and booed off the stage! And who was leading this parade of acrimony? None other than the woman who is pledged to stay with me until death we do part, or however that goes. Even Tiffany chimed in. She said that while she was way too young to remember how her Poppy acted when she was born, the stories are legendary and she couldn't see where her dad had exceeded what she had been told about me. But that was 22 years ago and maybe it was my pre-pre-diabetes that kicked in and caused me to be a little over the top. I am quite certain that if I ever acted so strangely, there had to be a very good reason.

Pictures? We do have pictures. But I have them on my computer at home and I am not at home and I didn't send them out over the email and my wife wanted me to and I am in trouble for not doing it but you can be assured they will be a coming attraction. I understand our Brady had a great birthday party on Saturday and his cousin buddy Alex had a sleep over to help in the celebration. I talked to Brady Saturday morning and he thanked me for wishing him a wonderful birthday. It is a cold day here but much colder in many other places, however, as I held little Madelyn Joy yesterday and felt her warmth I was again reminded of God's hand of blessing upon us. We have lots of things to pray about and sometimes we feel loaded up with care but my how we are blessed to know Him, to know He cares, and to be able to thank Him for the handfuls on purpose He provides! Amen. ......More later.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday to our Brady Darrell!

It may be in the low twenties here but I send to one and all a warm tune greeting: Happy trails to you on this Friday, January 8, 2009. Speaking of grand children, let me first express my thankfulness to God for bringing Tiffany through the birth process (nearly twelve hours) and for our new little bundle of joy named: Madelyn Joy. Thanks to all who whispered a prayer for them, and for us. Also, I was remiss the other day in not mentioning the brand NEW grandparents, our very own Grandpa Chris and Grandma Sherrie. My eldest is now a granddad? Quite a remarkable journey is all I can say. I haven't talked to them this morning but all was going well when we left the hospital last night. She came into this world at 6:10 p.m., weighing 9 lbs, 6 ounces, and measuring 18.5 inches. (I know those vital statistics are very important to other moms for some reason.)

Tomorrow, Saturday, is our Brady's birthday. He is the little dude of our youngest son Rodney and wife Mitzi, and shares time with his two sisters, Kyleigh and Lexie. DNA notwithstanding, our family has some of the most beautiful but different children God has placed on our planet. They are all uniquely suited for the faculties given to them and our Brady is a joy to behold. We thought they had broken the mold when Rodney, his dad, came along, but what a little barnstormer we have in our Brady. He has a mind of his own and the will to go with it. Come to think about it, so did his dad.

Brady is surrounded by lady folk but that has not kept him from carving out his own little macho niche. He loves playing. Yes, he loves playing. It may be a computer or video game, or a game of being an imaginary character, but he does love to play. He also has a bountiful supply of energy which allows him to take his playtime very seriously. I am so thankful he is being raised up to be courteous, grateful, and respectful which he demonstrates in his way of speaking to his MiMi and Poppy. He and his four-year-old cousin Alex are a dynamic duo that do everything from fighting fires to playing super heroes when they are together. Happy Birthday Brady and may God bless you on your special day. Love, MiMi and Poppy! Amen. …..More later.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This that and the other for Wednesday!

We have a preview today for coming attractions since it is currently 29 degrees as I write my blog. That's getting close to being cold but for us out in the suburbs, they tell us we might not get above freezing Thursday through Saturday after hitting in the teens for lows. Ouch! Now that will be something we do not often experience in our area. At any rate, we can always join the legions who repeat that old saying how that folks always talk about the weather but rarely do anything about it. I do bid you a warm welcome to Wednesday's edition here on January 6, 2010. I went to the first of the year inner city Bible club last night. Because of the cold the game time was conducted inside. It was the first time we had met in several weeks. That's always interesting in and of itself in getting everyone back into any sort of a routine but I can only think of one word to describe last night's adventure: ROWDY! But truth was shared and the kids were served and they were fascinated by the new me. That's right. My hair is cut short and my beard is trimmed close and they wondered where Santa had gone. It was all in good fun but they sort of treated me like I had been put into the witness protection program. I came home exhausted. Long day and long night but very rewarding, I think, I know, or, I think I know.

Speaking of my haircut. I did get it cut on New Year's day at one of those specialty store places in the big mall. According to the sign they were running a special deal for $14.95. I was there so I thought to myself, why not? It was very early and the mall had just opened. There was only one lady at the styling place. She was a fairly large African American lady who seemed a little surprised that I had come in but she was very pleasant and we formed this kind of contract between the two of us which said if you won't tell anyone I was here, I won't either. I told her that I was coming off the Santa gig and wanted to get everything shaped up. I sat down and she went to work. They had very loud rap music playing. The only conversation we had was when she asked me to lower or raise my head. It was hard to be offended by the music because even though I tried to make out some of the words, I couldn't and that was most likely a blessing. She did an excellent job and when she finished we talked for a few minutes about my Santa experiences. She gave me the senior discount and I gave her a good tip and I returned to my mall walking exercises. Will I go back? I could wear a disguise - - - or maybe not. We will have to wait and see!

Our granddaughter Tiffany is scheduled to be induced early tomorrow morning. We plan to be there to welcome little Madelyn to our family, therefore, I am not sure when I will blog again but I would appreciate your prayers for this major event. I will readily admit that because of many reasons I would never say I have been a 'great' father. Fortunately, with God's help I've tried to be a really 'great' Poppy to my grandchildren and I've also done what I could to make it up to our boys. However, now on the cusp of becoming a legitimate great grandfather, I will have to figure out how to become a really 'great' great grandfather. Just keeping up with the 'greats' is a challenge! But we are so thankful that God has brought us to where we are and we are seeking His best for Tiffany and her husband, J. C., and their little one, Maddy. I received a wonderful note the other day from a lady about my blogs and how that she and her husband enjoy reading them each day. I greatly appreciate those who read but each day I write is another testimony for why I wouldn't wish being me on anyone else! Pray for our Tiffany and may God bless each one on this day! Amen. ....More later.