Monday, May 31, 2010

Please don't leave a salad out for Santa, he already knows he has a weight problem!

Good Monday morning on this final day of May 2010. I am enjoying my three day weekend and still thinking about the special service we had at our local Church to honor those who serve and sacrifice in the armed forces of our nation. I think I told my wife that maybe I could use this time off to get caught up on some rest. What a joke! I hear people say all the time how they hope they can make it to the weekend so they can get caught up on their sleep. I don't want to burst any bubbles here but I don't think sleeping late on Saturday will help what happened last Monday. However, if we think that it does, there's likely some of those endorphin thingies that get released and suddenly we think we have been a little rejuvenated, therefore, we are. If anyone has any idea about what I just said please let me know. My mixed up logic does tend to get me in trouble from time to time. The other day I asked someone since necessity is the mother of invention, does that make invention the child of necessity and if so, is it a boy or girl? Don't think too much about that one or you will not be able to get caught up on that sleep you were hoping to recover!

Have you ever forgotten who you were when you are talking to someone? No, I haven't gone off the deep end but I did have a funny situation that happened the other day. Back in December when I was doing the Santa gig, I worked with a very nice lady who did the picture taking. She is a very attractive woman who favors Vanna White. The other day I spotted her in the grocery store and approached her. I said, "Hello, I think I know you." She responded, "Pardon? What did you say? Who are you?" I told her, "I am Santa Claus." She looked worried and then said, "Sure you are, what is it that you want?" I then said, "Hey, don't you remember me? You took the photos over at the Chick-Fil-A last December." Suddenly she turned about four shades of purple and then she regained her composure, "I am so sorry but I didn't have a clue." I apologized for startling her and we then visited for a few minutes and talked about family and she told me she sure hoped we could work together again in the upcoming season. Now here's the funny thing: She never saw me even once in street clothes. How would she ever had been able to recognize me without the big beard, the suit, the boots, the padding, and the whole shebang? Some days my own stupidity can even catch me by surprise!

We recently completed our journey through Genesis in my Sunday Bible study class. This was a verse by verse examination of this profound Book that we began back in January of 2009. I am currently doing some reflections on the major themes we have covered but this study turned out to be one of the most remarkable learning experiences for myself, and by their own admission, for others as well. We were awed as we attempted to take in the creation account as told to Moses via inspiration of The Creator. We became acquainted with so many folks, beginning with Adam and Eve and ending up with Jacob and his twelve sons. What did we learn? Many things including how that God is Sovereign and He has a plan and purpose and He works that plan and purpose through people. We learned that He is faithful even when His own are not. We learned that our actions and reactions effect not only ourselves but it influences and impacts our family, sometimes for generations to come. I will also tell you this: There is only one way to really apprehend the truths from Genesis. BY FAITH. Here's the best rendition of the reality of what we must have if we are to grow as a result of our study in Genesis: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which are visible." (Hebrews 11:1-3) That's it. That's the only way we can get hold of the truth God has given to us. Think about it. Pray about it. And, have a great day as we thank God for His goodness to us all! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day - 2010

This is an update to and reprint of the blog I wrote back in May of 2007 to honor my two high school buddies killed in action in Vietnam.

Those of us coming of age during the sixties are well aware of just how tumultuous these times were. I am not ungrateful that I personally missed out on much of the so-called rebellion that characterized those days. But we all had to deal with the reality of our eligibility for the draft and the almost certainty, if drafted, of serving in Vietnam. Somehow my number did not get called, and after being married and having our first child I received a different draft status which no doubt played a big role in me not being called up. This was not the case for two of my high school friends. In our small community people usually were informed of their name being on the list and were given the opportunity to enlist instead of being drafted. Floyd chose the Army and Roland signed up for the Marine Corp. Both were deployed at near the same time and both were killed within 30 days of each other after only being in the conflict for less than 90 days. I say killed, but Roland was for many years listed as missing in action and presumed dead. I was able to attend both their funeral services. To say the least, it was chilling.

I knew Floyd pretty well but Roland and I spent a lot of time together. We along with others had camped out, fished, did teenage mischief, and even double dated together. He was a funny cut up kind of character. At the time of their deaths, being young myself, it did not impact me like it has over the intervening years. A number of years ago the replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall came to this area and I was able to go and find the names of my friends etched on the wall. It was a very sobering moment as I thought about my life and all that had come to me and how their lives had been snatched away so early.

While the experts and pundits continue to engage in endless debates over how we became entangled in and in the end how we lost this war, I tend to weigh it all through the remembrance of my buddies. While they did not choose to volunteer but enlisted after knowing they were going to be called, I can assure you, they were more than willing to go. There’s something about being raised up to believe in something greater than yourself and while we all had our wild times, these fellows were grounded in an inherited respect and love for God and country. A couple of years ago I was in a little cafe in rural Louisiana having lunch with my parents when a lady came in. It was Roland’s mom. I had not seen her since Roland’s funeral nearly 40 years earlier. Flash back: After being out on the creek bank for a couple of days, many times the entire crew showed up at Roland’s house where his mom made a pile of homemade biscuits and served them up with May Haw jelly (Never heard of May Haw jelly? Look it up in Wikipedia). I stood up and walked over to her and extended my hand and said my name. She dropped my hand, grabbed me, and held on to me tightly for what seemed like a very long time. Tears were streaming down her face as she blurted out all she had gone through trying to find out about Roland’s capture and death. It was a remarkable moment, sad but at the same time uplifting as together we once again walked down memory lane.

It’s Memorial Day holiday weekend. My family has a long legacy reflecting military service all the way back to the Civil War, (Confederates, of course). Yet, I live with a profound remembrance of Floyd and Roland. May God bless their memory and all those who have heeded the call, taken the oath, and paid the ultimate price, by shedding their own blood. While it is human nature to ponder how things might have been different, I confess I often think about all that I have been blessed to enjoy and the fact that they never had the opportunity. This causes me to count as precious and appreciate even more my blessings, while at the same time pledging to always cherish the memory of my hero buddies. May God bless their service on behalf of our nation as we pause to remember their sacrifice. Amen. More later…………

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We see flip flops and the other guy thinks flop flop!

Okay. It is Thursday, May 27, 2010 and I have been rather quiet about the stuff going on in our country this week. I believe in getting all sides of the story including different points of view about a particular issue that seems pretty clear to me. When I am out and about on behalf of the company I listen to the radio as I travel here and there. One of my favorite stations is one that is located in the heart of the African American community. They have a talk format in the mornings and it is very interesting to hear black people calling in and giving their take on all things political. They have every reason in the world to be proud of President Obama. The general consensus reflected in their calls is how President Obama is for the most part mistreated because white Republicans are against him because of the color of his skin. They see most of the issues through this prism. Even if the moderator tries to move the conversation to at least thinking about what principles are involved, they will not have any of it. No doubt some of these callers are good, God fearing people who live based on conservative values but they are blinded by what they believe to be their plight and their experience. We who are white, conservative, and God fearing are often just as guilty in not being able to ferret out truth. I recently voiced some critical comments about former President George W. Bush and it was very offensive to the person I was talking to. Why? He is one of us. He prays every day. He did his best. All of those things might be true but this does not mean he shouldn't be held accountable for his policies and the things that happened on his watch.

One of the most interesting things in listening to this radio station is the way in which all events are interpreted. Essentially, whether it is local or national, nearly everything is viewed through the lens of the 'black experience'. The other day callers were lamenting over the immigration situation. They cannot believe that Mexico does anything at all to discourage illegal entry into our county. One caller pointed out that back when the Iron Curtain was still around, those communist countries knew how to keep their people at home. They shot them if they tried to leave. He was not advocating shooting people, he was just pointing out that Mexico could at least try and keep their people at home. Many called and said this infiltration of illegal immigrants was hurting impoverished blacks more than anyone else. They now fear that with the huge numbers already here, the political power of black Americans will be diminished when they are granted amnesty. This is the only issue I heard them break ranks with President Obama over. They know he wants what will become a majority of Democratic 12 to 15 million votes, but they wonder out loud if he understands how detrimental this could be to the black community.

I will not do the President Clinton, "I feel your pain." But I come away from listening to these people on a number of occasions with a realization of how many things go into how we see the world. I actually get a sense of why they feel the way they do, even if I do not agree with their conclusions. Last Saturday I was privileged to be one of the people invited to speak at the groundbreaking for a new Church facility in the inner city. This ministry is 90% made up of blacks. Their pastor, a black man, is one of my closest friends. If I precede him in death I would love for him to preach at my home going service. We have co-labored together for some 12 years in the Bible club ministry. I have filled his pulpit many times. I love his people. They love me. No doubt many of them share many of the views of those who call in each day to that black radio station. What can help us all, red and yellow, black, brown, and white to see truth? It is only when we allow The Scriptures to speak through the illuminating ministry of God the Holy Spirit that we move from a subjective approach based on what I think and feel, to an objective approach which mirrors the principles found in God's Word. What a great honor it was for me to be with them on this special occasion. I told them the ground was not holy because of anything having to do with the dirt. It is consecrated and holy because of the truth of God that will be heralded to reach out to men, women, boys, and girls who need Christ. There is coming a day when all these racial distinctions will be a thing of the past. What a day that will be! Amen. .....More later.

PS. Just so you know, I am my own one and only proof reader, therefore, there are times when I misuse a word and may even misspell some as well. The spell checker helps but it can never detect when one substitutes a rightly spelled word that is wrong to begin with. Some days I have more time than on others but I always do my best to send out a quality product, not necessarily with quality content, but one that does meet a minimum standard of appropriateness. Lately I've been a little rushed and it shows but I will keep on trying!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You actually thought I might have something of interest, but you were fooled again!

Good morning once again and welcome. We are all a little bit quirky, don't you think? We have a ceiling fan in our bedroom. I have a small fan on my side of the bed. My wife has a small fan on her side of the bed. The A/C is running, the three fans are running, and when I woke up this morning I must have been dreaming because I thought maybe I had been stranded out on the runway because it sounded like planes were landing and taking off. That much wind blowing most likely would be a huge overkill to some folks but I suppose it comes under the heading of the expression from that old song by KC and the Sunshine Band, "That's the way I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh." But it is Wednesday May 26, 2010 and I do pray that you are doing well today. You may not prefer having piper cubs buzzing around in your bedroom at night. Some folks want it to be perfectly quiet. Others have made a good case for how the noise might keep us from hearing something we should hear. There are many pros and cons but in the end we have chosen what best suits our own preferences. My wife just recently added the one on her side and I will admit it did give me pause since she also still uses the electric blanket that is on her side of the bed. We will know we have gone too far when we get a thank you card from the electric company or a warning from Al Gore! "But Mr. Gore, they are very small fans, and after all, you just purchased a mammoth mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean that you predicted would in a few years wipe out the entire coastline due to climate change and sea level rises!" Sorry, I couldn't resist.

We all have bad days. While there's nothing about crime that is funny, we all have to smile a little when we hear about the drive by shooting that was foiled because the shooter injured himself. He forgot to roll down the window in his car. What about the lady who was arrested at her son's Boy Scout meeting. The police were there demonstrating their drug sniffing dog, and, you guessed it. Mom had a purse full of weed. There's also the case where a car was stolen and it had a car phone in it. The police called the phone. A man answered and the police told him they had seen his ad in the paper and wanted to pay cash for the car. They arranged a place to meet and the car thief was apprehended. A motorist in London was caught speeding and was sent a photo and a ticket for 40 pounds. He promptly returned the ticket with a photo of 40 pounds. A few days later he received another ticket with a photo of a pair of handcuffs and he immediately sent in his check and paid his fine. In Michigan two robbers entered a record store and one of them shouted in a loud voice, "Nobody move!" Suddenly his partner moved and he promptly shot him.

We all have bad days. You might recognize you are having a bad day when driving on the freeway your horn malfunctions and will not quit sounding while you are driving behind a dozen motorcycle gang members. That might just be one of those days where you think you should have stayed in bed. Sometimes you can tell how things are going by looking at country music. Country music lyrics can always be counted on to give you some insight into the world around us. I almost never listen to country music but I enjoy the titles. The current top hits include these: "Gimmie that Girl"; "Ain't Back Yet"; "She Won't be Lonely Long"; "Rain is a Good Thing"; "Every Dog Has Its Day"; "Wrong Baby Wrong"; and "I Gotta Get to You". I can't say that I have heard any of these but generally they most likely have a story to tell. Of course I may not be able to hear that story with all those fans blowing and my horn stuck but you still get up and go, any way, make the best of it, even when you might have rather stayed in bed! We all have much in the way of challenges and it's our privilege to encourage one another to keep on keeping on. Have a great day and may God bless! Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tip toeing through a tired Tuesday!

I am actually surprised to be here sending out my version of 'why not?' for a Tuesday, May 25, 2010. Surprised because to tell you the truth I have been really heads down from can to can't for the past several weeks. I can remember a time when I used to be able to happily report how I thrived on dealing with more than I could handle, and I welcomed chaos as a motivator. Not so much these days. I am so very thankful to be working in an environment where we are now very very busy. We have huge projects with a variety of coordination efforts and activities to keep up with and manage. We also know that it is a blessing from the Lord God of heaven that we have been given the work we have to do. This does not mean, however, that I am as able to thrive on all of this like I once was. Added to my regular work schedule has been the outside activities involving family, Church, and ministry related opportunities. Anyone who knows me knows that if I am going to be a part of something I will try to see to it that I do my very best. And, it is that doing your all for so many different things that really tends to zap you over time, especially if you are no longer the young punk who thrived on variety and adversity. Complaining? Not even a thought of that! Perhaps I am trying to excuse a little of the lameness that has crept into my blogs of late. But, they are what they are, and I am still privileged to get up and go and do what I can do as best I know how and hopefully do so in a way that brings honor and glory to our Great God!

This past Sunday we treated our Jimmy and his children to lunch. We had wanted to go to a regular sit down restaurant but the kids had the Golden Arches in mind. I told our four year old Alex that we wanted to go somewhere and eat some real food. He said, "Poppy, they have real food at McDonalds, they have real chicken, and they have real ice cream too. It really is real food, Poppy!" How can you argue when the case has been made in such a clear and concise manner? This episode reminded me of how it was for us growing up. Eating out was not something we did. I do remember when we went into the next larger town they had a place called The Hole in the Wall where you could buy hamburgers, four for a dollar. We would occasionally stop and get some of those burgers but not often because there were six of us kids and not too many dollars to go around. When we did get those burgers, they were a real treat. They were those wrapped up in that flimsy paper that the grease would stain. Talk about good! Talk about a treat! And, talk about probably being loaded up with all the stuff that everyone runs away from today. What made those burgers such a treat was the fact that we rarely ever did it. In today's world most children grow up on fast food and other than a meaningless prize in the bag along with some genetically altered food products, it's the same old same old to them.

Whatever we did as a society to almost eliminate home cooked has not been a good thing. We have reordered our lives and to me it seems those gathering times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner have been replaced by a drive by eating approach, not only in how we take in our food, but also in how we live out our lives. We live in a world where fast needs to be faster. I remember well the time I saw someone talking to a microwave begging it to get done quicker. Come on man, come on, what's taking so long? I wanted to grab hold of them and tell them how that the frozen meal they were cooking would take 30 minutes or more to heat up in a conventional oven but they were unable to wait for 90 seconds? That episode has become an instructive metaphor to me in how we all need to take a deep breath, and get a grip. I used to tell people when they asked we what I enjoyed most in terms of challenges that I like doing big things. Big projects that have big impacts. Maybe all those big things have taken their toll because today I might just settle for something a little less demanding. Just kidding! I would rather go out in a flame than to wet nurse my way through each day defined by its mediocrity. I wrote something on that once for my organization where I talked about the mendacity of mediocrity and our enemy called 'average'. Okay, that's enough incoming random thoughts for one day, time to move on and see what God has in store! God bless. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wheel of Mis-fortune is spinning out of control!

Hello friends, neighbors, and even those who might be called casual observers. I know all about that casual observing business because I can fly through websites gleaning this, that, or the other somewhere near the speed of light. But I suppose I had perfected this long before there were any websites because I used to be told I had a Reader's Digest understanding of current events as opposed to any real depth. I'm almost certain this was not a compliment because it indicated that I was shallow and wide as opposed to deep and wide. But who would have ever thought there would be a bejillion of sources which makes my scanning approach a little more reasonable and effective? Good morning and welcome to my broad and shallow world where you will hear quite a bit about many things but not much in detail about anything. It is Monday, May 24, 2010 and God has been good to allow us to rise and shine another day. We woke up a few days ago and found out the transition from cool to mild to warm to hot had taken place overnight. Our central air system went from feeling lonely and unused to a twenty four hour endurance test trying to chase the humidity and heat. Welcome to summer.

I do pray that you and yours are doing well. As a casual observer myself, I've noticed how we've all become scheduled until there's almost no time left, period. I hear people talking about their need to get one kid here and one kid there and meet someone after that, then keep an appointment, and oh yeah, be back in time to make sure this other thing is taken care of. It's become almost like hamsters having a convention where they all sit around in the foyer and compare notes about how busy they are. I am not pointing a finger because I fill in my calendar book each week and believe me, often I'm right in there with everyone else. I actually wonder sometimes about the motivation behind all of this activity. It would almost seem that we feel like we are less than what we should be if we are not part of a feeding frenzy, all the time. I do know that it can become a self perpetuating problem in how the busyness feeds upon itself and if we are not careful we end up only serving the schedule with very little accomplishment as a result.

Slow down, catch your breath, take time to absorb and enjoy the life God has given to you. God knew that we would be captured by the world's demands, therefore, He instructed us to be still. Be still in His presence and know that He is God. (Psalm 46) While I am not big on the quiet time process that so many prescribe today, I do know the importance of spending time with God. My reason for having some issues with the quiet time craze is how that it too becomes a part of our schedule and if we are not careful we observe it in a ritualistic manner. My quiet time may be spent crying out to God. It may happen as I drive my car. It might be as He speaks to me when I read His word. It can be my time with Him as I listen to His Word being taught. The old song encourages us to take time to be holy because the world rushes on. And that it does. Therefore, I encourage us all as we embrace this brand new work week to consider the greatest need that we have. It's not in having the strength to meet all the schedules we have before us. It's not in being able to cross off all the things on our 'to do' list. Our greatest need is to have God and His direction and help as we seek to live out the life He has given to us in a manner that will bring honor and glory to Him. Thanks, brother, I needed that today! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here's what I have for you today: Nothing of consequence, significance, or interest!

I suppose this must be the place and, it is, after all, Friday, therefore, I bid you a hearty welcome on this 21st day of May 2010. I know I have been rather wordy this week, therefore, I thought I would end on a more instructive note. Here's some information that might come in handy: If you are ever chased by a German Shepherd police dog try to avoid running through a tight tunnel, or skipping over a seesaw, or jumping through a hoop of fire; they are trained to do these very things! Now I ask you, where can you find breakthrough information like that? The 94 year old woman showed up at the lawyer's office and demanded he begin divorce proceedings immediately. He was shocked and having regained his composure asked why, after 70 years of marriage. She simply replied that they had made a pact not to do anything until all the children had died. It could get worse you know. You want proof? What did the mother buffalo say to her son as he left for school? BI-son! Don't ever doubt the man with the flying fingers on the keyboard! I didn't say that every day would be entertaining but sometimes stuff just jumps out at you. Here's one that actually appeals to me. What goes clop, clop, clop, ....bang...bang...., clop, clop, clop? An Amish drive by shooting!

The definition of the word void says it pertains to containing no matter, empty, or not occupied. That's more or less what I am shooting for in today's blog. If you read all of this and conclude that there is no there there, then I will have accomplished my mission. It's kind of a payback for all the heavy duty stuff I've been wailing and gnashing about over the last several days. When asked to give a practical explanation for relativity, Albert Einstein reportedly described it this way: "When you hold your hand on a hot stove for one minute, it seems like hours. When you hold the hand of a pretty young woman for hours, it seems like minutes. Now that's relativity!" I have no idea if he actually said that but it is attributed to him on the Scientific American website. It really has no bearing on anything other than today's theme of pasting keystrokes on the page. Back in the day I believe the writers called it filler. That would be text that is used to fill up a page resembling real text but is nothing more than random words put together. Now I know what my blog is really all about. Random words put together in a way that causes them to resemble real text. I love it.

I set out today to write as much about absolutely nothing as I could. You probably think that would be somewhat easy for me. But you do realize that I have been busy lately. In fact, I've been busier than a one toothed man at a corn cob eating contest, busier than a one eyed cat trying to watch two mouse holes, busier than a one armed bricklayer in Baghdad, busier than a pair of jumper cables at a family reunion in Arkansas, or finally, busier than a Jehovah's Witness at a Doors Unlimited Store. I leave you to consider the plight of the cow unable to give milk. How would you like to go through life being called a Milk Dud? It's time to put this blog out of its misery. I do pray that you will have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Remember that Saturday ends your week and we all have an opportunity to recognize a brand new week by gathering together with other believers on the first day of the week, Sunday, to honor the One who came forth from the grave on that very day! Amen. As for today's blog, just remember what I've always said: It's not easy being me! See you next time. .....More later.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz.....but still No Relief!

Are you dizzy yet from all the spinning going on around you? I'm talking about how really bad news can be made into really good news for one group while really good news can somehow be made into really bad news for the other guys. As the late Mr. Cronkite used to say, "And that's the way it is on this Thursday, May 20, 2010. I know you get tired of hearing me say it, but folks, you really can't make this stuff up. Take for instance the fellow up in Connecticut running for the US Senate who is the darling of the liberal media but he has been found to have lied for several years about his military service. He was in the military but he has said on many occasions that he actually served in Vietnam but he never left the states. If you are the darling of the left wing media, how would they report this example of downright lying? The mother ship of all liberal news children is the New York Times. Their headline on this story said something about how his comments differed with history. Maybe that's why he has decided to stay in the race, at least for now, by saying he had misplaced some words at different times concerning his military service. You have to love it. From President Clinton's essay on how one defines the word 'is', to all the administration's top people criticizing the new Arizona immigration law but saying they've never even read it, to this guy taking responsibility, not for lying to his constituents, but rather, for using misplaced words like this: "You veterans are heroes that remind me of when I served our country in Vietnam."

My wife would gladly say she was unaware of any of these details. I can assure you she is not spinning the truth when she says that. She is a remarkable woman but very comfortable not being in the know on all these trivialities. It has to be a mom thing or something but she hates when I'm watching a commentary program and they began arguing and throwing heated comments forth and back. Occasionally, I stop the channel surfer on wrestling just to aggravate her. She, at first, tries to ignore the idiocy on the screen. But within 60 to 90 seconds she will let me have it, "Surely you don't intend to watch this garbage, do you?" I feign interest but yield and allow my fingers to do the walking in search of something we both can watch. When we run out of options I land it on the Game Show Network and then I get up to find something else to occupy my time. I actually enjoy her enjoying watching what she wants to watch. She is different than I am and I believe that's a good thing. I know we all are conditioned these days to say our wife or husband is our best friend. My wife is not my best friend. I would never relegate her to that status. She's much more than a friend to me. I'm not saying I achieve it very often but she deserves a level of love from me as exemplified by our Savior giving Himself up on a cross for His Bride, The Church. Therefore, she can watch "Family Feud", "Let's Make a Deal" or "Match Game" until the cows come home and it's okay with me! What's that you say? Would I be willing to watch them with her? That will take some praying but I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Some of you probably think I am a Fox News only guy. To tell the truth, I almost never watch Fox News. I can get much more by watching CSPAN, the PBS News Hour, and other internet based sources than in trying to watch a channel selling itself as fair and balanced. It does require that one engage and do something my granddad always told me: "Son, use your head for something other than a hat rack (more like a cap today)." That's right. Don't let other folks make up your mind for you regardless of what tag they wear. For too many years most of us who have tried to embrace values consistent with our faith have played the pragmatism game. This has caused us to vote for the lesser of evils even when a choice was available for a candidate closer to our convictions but thought to be unable to win. There may be times when I will pull a lever or punch a button on this basis but it will no longer be my approach. I am going to always vote for the candidate who best represents the values that are consistent with my faith, period, end of story, no matter the party, affiliation, or the so called stigma of throwing my vote away. The vote in our country is supposed to be sacred and to me this means that my vote counts because my conscious counts and my responsibility matters. The other night my wife was watching "Deal or No Deal!" and I will tell you the contestant couple would have had to lose weight to qualify to sign up for the "Biggest Loser" show. I actually was more focused on whether the platform was going to survive when they were jumping up and down than on the program itself. And, no, I am not a watcher of the "Biggest Loser" but my wife used to watch it and I've seen and heard enough about it to get the idea behind the plot. Just wanted to clear that up so you want be tempted to start any bad rumors about me. It's a joke. Lighten up a little. It's okay to smile. There's probably no one watching you any way, and it will do you some good! Have a blessed day! Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How is it that Jonah could actually be swallowed by a large fish? I suppose it's because he was only a 'minor' prophet!

Hello folks, it's yours truly again, broadcasting live from my studio keyboard here on a Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Because of the dearth of watchable programs on TV I take in quite a few of the nature shows, especially those broadcast in HD. I do know that if anything ever happens to me my wife can get by with one local channel for weather and the Game Show Network for entertainment. I'm not sure the cable company can price it out that way but I do know from experience this will be all she really needs. The nature programs today have changed. Call me paranoid or a conspiracy theorist if you like, but man, are they ever pushing an agenda on these programs! Essentially, it's the whole mother earth, animal equality, ecological wackiness, and atheism all rolled into one. The images, however, are gorgeous, and they, just so you know, depict the creative genius of our Great God. One I saw the other evening was wistfully wishing that people could be more like elephants who are so communal and caring. Obviously those bulls trying to kill each other to see who will be boss bull would be a slight aberration to their thesis. God's order of creation puts humanity, created in His image, at the top of the chain and we should never forget this truth. Failing to honor God's directives about the priority of human life and His rules for dominion is what has led to unfettered abortions, activists suing in court on behalf of animals, and more and more of a general acceptance that there's somehow an equivalence in value between people, animals, and the environment. I believe the Bible teaches a proper respect for managing these resources provided to us by God. However, these new age shenanigans that continue to trumpet craziness around the clock in these programs just knocks me down. Sadly, more and more folks from kindergarten up are soaking this up because it literally saturates our culture today. I suppose I can always watch with the sound turned down and enjoy the wonderment of God's created world!

If we aren't careful we will begin to act more like monkeys instead of the human God created and called us to be. Speaking of monkeys, did you hear about the guy who taught his pet monkey to play chess? A friend commented how the monkey must be real clever. His owner replied that he really wasn't that clever yet since he typically could still beat him three out of four matches. Okay. I know it's early and I did not give any kind of a bad joke warning. Since I started this I have to give you at least one more. A monkey goes into the ice cream shop and orders a 50 cent sundae. He pays for it with a ten dollar bill. The attendant thinks to himself that the monkey probably knows very little about money and so he gives him only a dollar in change. He tells the monkey that they get very few monkeys coming in to buy ice cream to which the monkey replied, "I don't doubt it, especially at these prices!" I'll quit before you all go together and take up a collection to send me to a Gong Show reunion. NASA has been told to skip going back to the moon and instead concentrate on going to Mars. My suggestion is that while they are thinking about this perhaps they could free up a handful of smart people to figure out how to stop a run away oil well out in the Gulf of Mexico.

I suppose it could be hard proving that we are the highest order being on the planet whenever you think about some of the silliness that we folks end up doing. One category that stands out to me is the one where folks say they see Jesus in almost anything. This has become so common in our society that they catalog them into a category referred to as Jesus Sightings. Here's a few of the wackiest: On the remaining portion of a Kit Kat bar after one bite was taken; In the natural discolorations from a ripened banana; A single odd shaped Cheeto; A piece of fried bacon; Image found in a lung x-ray; On the inside of a bottle cap; In a shadow cast upon a board fence appearing each afternoon wearing a crown of thorns; The famous cinnamon roll appearance; Found in one of the Hubble telescope outer space images; and, In the smudge on an old baseball found in an attic. I suppose my personal choice would be to throw in Hip Hop as a way of demonstrating our cultural insanity but no doubt there are those who would violently disagree. Given all of the distortions of what God intended it's no wonder how some might consider other life forms as being a better candidate than we humans. However, messed up or not, crazy or sane, intellectually inclined or mentally challenged, we are God's very own creation and He so loved the world and the people He created that He sent His one and only Son to die for sinners just like you and just like me. Finding Him and His salvation will not happen in looking for His image on a piece of toast. It's in responding to His call that we recognize our hopeless condition, turn away from our sin, and call upon Him. When we do this from our heart then we instantly become His very own child, an heir of God Almighty, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ, our Savior. They won't be showing this any time soon on the Discovery Channel but tuning in to this truth will allow a person to discover the greatest change ever, one that will last for all of time and eternity. You have God's Word on it! Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's take a well deserved time out!

Sometimes you just need a break from the continuous bombardment raining down on you. Hey, that's a pretty bleak statement but perhaps we all can identify with this sentiment on this Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Here's one way to help make an otherwise difficult day a little better. Last Friday I joined this form of traffic roulette where the loser gets rear ended on my way over to the daycare to fetch our four year old grandson, Alexander Benjamin. He asked if I was going to carry him to his house. I told him he was going to my house until his mother, a hairdresser, finished her last customer. He asked how many customers she had. I told him I did not know. He asked why I didn't ask, so I called her and said that Alex wanted to know how many customers before she would be picking him up. She said tell him only one but also tell him it includes a color and he will know that it will take a while longer. Let me just set the record straight. When I was four years old I have no idea what I may or may not have been talking about but I can't imagine myself as having been able to deal with and understand the complexities of hair colors and scheduling. I delivered the appropriate message and he seemed satisfied. I suppose TV, computers, games and the internet have done a number on our kids. He and I watched cartoons for a couple of hours and you do begin to notice how they have retooled them to appeal to both kids and parents. This means the little kids are getting a double portion and while they may not catch an adult reference here and there, it has to make a difference in their appreciation for the world and how it works.

Alex is a great distraction. When I am with him or any of our other grand kids they do take my mind off the stuff that usually has my attention. I saw in an obituary one day this statement: "She enjoyed doting on her grandchildren." The Princeton online dictionary states that doting means: Adoring, extravagantly or foolishly loving and indulgent, and then it gives the pay off example, "adoring grandparents." Talk about nailing it the first time! "Alex, what would you like for Poppy to fix for you to eat?" His response, "How about some spaghetti with butter on it? "Poppy: "Sure, no problem." Well, it's not as if it was no problem at all but it sure wasn't that big of a deal. Later when my wife came home she asked what I had fixed for Alex's supper. I told her spaghetti. She said: "Great because I'm hungry but where's the meat sauce?" Me: "I didn't fix meat sauce because he only wanted it with butter." Finally she said, "But I don't like it without meat sauce." Me: "How about a bowl of cereal?" And to think I used to accuse her of doting on the boys when they were growing up and in not knowing the meaning of 'tough love'. I've come full circle now with the grand kids and as the comic character Pogo once said: "I have met the enemy and it is I." Maybe this insatiable urge to indulge grand children operates on some sort of preset trigger and when it engages, the rest as they say, is all over but the shouting.

I know this preconditioned response is alive and well just by watching our Chris as he dotes on our little great grand, our bundle of Madelyn Joy. It's almost comical but the fact that brand new grandparents tend not to even need training wheels does point to this invisible preordained trigger that takes over and has a mind of its own. This doesn't mean that we who are card carrying members of this determined doter club never exercise discipline, it's just no longer the front burner item it was earlier in our sojourn here on the planet. Poppy's hit first and ask questions later has given way to making every visit a special time of fun and feasting. I can now sit and watch cartoons for hours without a problem but my boys remember when they had to jump to change the channel to the PBS News Hour the minute they heard the back door open. I haven't given up on the News Hour, I've only broadened by entertainment choices to include episodes of Ben Ten, Johnny Test, and Phineas and Ferb. By the way, that Phineas and Ferb are some hugely inventive young dudes and they do know how to build. What's that? Never heard of them? Listen, you need to get out more or ask Alexander Benjamin. He can clue you in on the really cool shows. Break is over and we now rejoin that continuous bombardment raining down scenario already in progress. Have a great day and don't forget to smile. It will do you good! Amen. ......More later.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I may not be that clever but you have to give me some credit for consistency!

Hello Americans including the state of Arizona, at least for now, and welcome to a brand new week. It is Monday, May 17, 2010. I actually try to limit my political commentary but there are times whenever I have to get it out while it is fresh. Most of you already know that I am not politically inclined to support President Obama's agenda or his approaches. I do support him as our President and as our Commander and Chief, and I take pride that he and his family have demonstrated how that we in America, with all our warts and blemishes, still live in a land of opportunity and promise. Many of you may think I get my talking points or marching orders from conservative talk radio. I will not deny that when I am out on the road that I do listen to some of these programs but there have been many times when I have spotted something even before they did. Here's one from Friday where the President held a short press briefing dealing with the Gulf oil spill. He said that he would not tolerate the finger pointing that had gone on including within the government. "I will not tolerate." That sounded very familiar to me. Therefore, being the closet journalist that I am, I plugged into Google: Obama "I will not tolerate." The search yielded 1, 480,000 hits. Again, this is my view from here and while I usually try not to write political stuff all the time, this is what I grabbed hold of and one of those law thingies must have taken over, not the law of gravity, although some of this stuff is pretty grave, but I felt this compelling compunction to get it out there, and that's how we arrived to today's blog.

President Obama in talking about the excessive executive salaries and bonuses of those in the financial world said that "it isn't just bad taste--it's bad strategy--and I will not tolerate it." Concerning the would be underwear bomber, the President said he would not tolerate the failure to connect the dots on the part of government security functions. Secretary of State Clinton speaking on behalf of President Obama said "The US will not tolerate a nuclear Iran." Candidate Obama told a British Newspaper that if he was elected "he would not tolerate the continued raiding of medical marijuana facilities." When the Congress passed the ill fated $787 billion bail out package, President Obama said "I will not tolerate wasteful spending of these funds by the States." During the campaign at one time when the advertising was really heating up, this is what he said: "I will not tolerate this type of slime politics." When pushing for the health care bill he told congressional leaders: "I will not tolerate delays." Even with the recent Times Square bomb attempt, President Obama made it clear: "I will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistan." These were gleaned from only the first few pages of hits and I am certain there are many more.

Okay. Here's my take. He obviously likes this phrase. It may have tested well in their focus groups. However, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know the difference between saying tough words versus figuring out how to deal with and solve problems. I can say that 10% unemployment cannot be tolerated but after months and months accompanied by nearly a trillion dollars thrown at the problem, the emperor begins to look toothless along with his wearing no clothes. I can say that I will not tolerate terrorism but when I order my lieutenants not to even call it by its name and we see an increase in specific acts against our country, the words begin to ring hollow. I could go on and on and on. I do not think you doubt that I could. I would never underestimate the magnitude and significance of the challenges we are facing as a country and no one would expect them to be easy to solve. Yet, there is a huge difference in mostly making speeches, pointing fingers, and lecturing others compared to rolling up your sleeves and figuring out a way to make progress. This is the disconnect I see going on before us and there are far too many who seem to think we will wake up one day and these potentially deadly issues will all go away. I don't see it that way and I pray that America will wake up, turn back to God, and seek His will in charting our way forward. That's a nickel's worth of huffing and puffing for a Monday morning. Have a great week and may God bless. Amen. ........More later.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Unverified facts from unsubstantiated sources provided anonymously!

Hello to my readers of all sizes, ages, and backgrounds, far and wide, and whatever other category that might float someone's boat on this Friday, May 14. 2010. I heard about a Volvo that was being prepared for another one of those safety commercials that promote Volvo's structural integrity. Only one problem. The vehicle wrecked on its way to the test. I'm sure their mom told them there would be days like this. I also saw where India's call center business is being worked on so that when you get an Indian person you will not be able to recognize their accent. They are spending a great deal of time doing "accent neutralization" training. Okay. I've connected into those outsourced help desks many times and based on my experiences, all I can say is good luck with that one! Then there's the lady who ended a domestic dispute in her home by killing her husband. Her regular job was that of a lobbyist trying to influence legislation to help end domestic violence. You can't make this stuff up folks. What about the Weight Watcher's facility in Sweden where the floor collapsed while 20 clients scrambled for safety? I will mention only two of the crazy 9-1-1 calls. One lady in Florida called because they had run out of chicken nuggets at the local McDonald's. Another fellow called when he discovered that Subway had left off the sauce he requested for his sandwich. Talk about food emergencies!

Life is filled with all kinds of surprises. I once hit my own car with a Church bus and did enough damage to call in a claim but didn't because I was too embarrassed to do so. I knew I was in trouble whenever I saw my station wagon bouncing up and down in the bus side mirror. I read a blurb that said so much Prozac is now taken in Great Britain that it is showing up in the drinking water supply system. I suppose we all thought they acted the way they do because they are just that laid back. That's not nearly as serious as the bank manager who was mugged getting money from his own bank's ATM. There's the story out of Michigan about the folks who paid an over $1600 electric bill but their power was cut off because they underpaid it by 1 penny. Computers. You've got to love them. They tell us that women have increased their purchases for 'do it yourself' products and tools by three times in just the last decade. Why? I suppose their waiting for the better half to 'get around to it' expired. A normal lower class ten year old bloke recently underwent emergency brain surgery and woke up speaking in a posh aristocratic English accent. Get this one. The doctors said that changes in accents after brain surgery is very rare. Sounds like candidates for the old Hee Haw show, don't you think?

Life is filled with surprises. Then you have those strange but true facts that cause you to scratch your head. When we think about our economic situation and hear the word trillions casually bantered around, we most likely lose perception as to how much money is involved. I read that if a person started counting and they counted every minute of every hour of every day, it would take 31,688 years to count to one trillion. Sometimes statistics can make us all a little apprehensive. In our country a house catches on fire every 45 seconds and men are 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning than women. My wife would say she knows exactly why men would get zapped more than women. They are too stubborn to take note of the danger. And, so it goes, on and on, and on. The good news is how the average person laughs at least 13 times a day. And, the better news? God is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. You and I can live in a quirky world where strange stuff happens all the time but still be assured that as a child of God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us. Now that's a fact we can base our living on! Have a great Saturday and I do hope you find yourself with other believers at the meeting place on Lord's Day Sunday. Until next week, I leave you with a prayer that God will bless and keep you and yours. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In my case, too much leaping and not enough looking!

Happy Thursday and welcome to what might be called observational dialogue and I would agree with that if I had a clue as to what it means on this May 13, 2010. You know how you look at something and a thought jumps out at you? I've been tracking the British election stuff over the past several weeks which finally ended when Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister and David Cameron replaced him. When David Cameron stood outside his new power residence at 10 Downing Street I couldn't help but notice how that he was flanked on both sides by two armed police (Bobbies). They looked like they were ready to deploy to Afghanistan. They were wearing flak jackets and holding sub-machine guns. Meanwhile, the new Prime Minister was standing there in his business suit. It just looked kind of odd to me. I am a big fan of David Cameron. He is a family values conservative if you can really call any politician in Britain a conservative. At 43, he is the youngest Prime Minister in nearly 200 years. He is a tremendous speaker and can deliver at will without a teleprompter. Here's the good news for him: He is now Prime Minister. Here's the really bad news for him: He is now Prime Minister in Britain where they are facing the greatest challenge in terms of their economic survival since Hitler was raining down bombs during the 1940 London Blitz of WW2.

Another recent observation of mine has to do with the considerable number of misstatements by President Obama that receive little to no coverage in the mainstream press. Anyone can have a senior moment now and then but am I the only one who remembers how the press couldn't wait to catch President George W. Bush in the most slightest of erroneous facts, words, or phrases? Meanwhile, President Obama is consistently presented to be the most intelligent man to ever occupy the Oval Office. President Obama recently talked about immigration and compared our situation to the country of Europe. Of course any 2nd grader knows that Europe is not a country but a continent and there many different nations or countries within its land mass borders. Obama gaffe but he gets a pass. Not too long ago President Obama said working with the US Congress wasn't that different than trying to work with countries all over the world. He said he did not know the word for that in "Austrian". The only problem is that people in Austria speak exclusively German and there is no Austrian language. Obama gaffe but he gets a pass. Back on May 2nd, the President was lamenting the part of the new Arizona law dealing with illegal immigration in its requirement that non-citizens be able to show proof they are in our country legally. He went on to castigate this requirement saying it was irresponsible and it threatened the basic notion of fairness cherished by Americans. Only one problem. This part of the Arizona law only emphasizes and restates a federal statute requiring this very same proof which has been on the books for over 70 years. Another Obama gaffe but he gets a pass. I suppose President George W. Bush is left to ponder how it was that he was daily punished in how the press missunderestimated his ability to get the facts straight.

By the way, they now say they cannot determine exactly what it was that brought down the stock market last week. I love hearing people speak so clearly while saying mostly nothing. Come to think about it, I may have been accused of this a time or two myself. Here is a gem from Mary Shapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, explaining the results of their investigation into the huge market fiasco last week: "Ultimately, we may learn that the extraordinary disruption in trading, however it may have been triggered, was the result of a confluence of events which, taken together, exacerbated what already had been a down day and led to an extraordinarily steep price drop and recovery." This my friend is a piece of gobbly-gook and/or doublespeak to be proud of! Not being able to determine what caused the problem is not good. I can remember back in my old computer systems days that having something working again without knowing why it had originally failed was typically like a ticking bomb. Some would tell me that if you can't be good, at least you can be lucky. Most of the time our inability to know why something failed only marked time until it failed again. Let's hope this is not how it will go while we continue to track down all that confluence stuff that created such turmoil. That's all I have for you today. Tune in tomorrow where you will hear again from my long running soap opera series: "As my mind turns." May God bless us one and all. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What makes you think your way is better?

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, May 12, 2010. By now all of you are aware that I am an early person. In fact, I've been told by other early persons that I am even earlier than them, therefore, perhaps I need to be called an early early person. How do you know if you are in this category? I suppose if being up at the crack of dawn seems like you're sleeping late then you might be a candidate. On the other hand, I am typically in bed by 9:30 p.m., and asleep by 10 p.m. This must seem like torture to night owls who would never even think about bedtime before midnight. We are some funny people, don't you agree? My wife leans towards the later bedtime although she does quite a bit of napping in the recliner as the evening progresses. I am pretty much a slave to routine and you likely are also because even those who say they aren't are typically connected to their discombobulated schedule and that becomes their routine. The key is to not allow a routine to become a rut because one definition of a rut has it as a grave with both ends kicked out. Attitude is what makes a routine meaningful. Most days, not all, because we all have those challenging days, but most days I get up excited about whatever it is I have before me. I can become agitated when I am off my schedule a little. I like to be in my car by 4 a.m. so that I can listen to a summary of the news as I get started. Some days I miss it by five minutes and that causes me to miss that summary and I do get peeved at myself when that happens. But, as we all know there is another summary coming at 4:30 a.m. but I still like to get it at 4 a.m.

Now you are reading this and saying how glad you are that you are not as weird as I am. Right? Hold on neighbor because I imagine you have some quirky stuff that you do but you don't recognize it because you own it, it is integrated into your routine. I wouldn't think of putting steak sauce of any kind on my steak and I like mine somewhat rare. I've been with people who order a huge expensive steak, have it cooked until it's like leather, and then smother it with ketchup, and they appear to actually enjoy it. What's up with that? Are they crazy or what? No. They, for whatever reason, do things differently. I'm not saying the way we do things doesn't rub off because I've seen some of mine reflected in our boys. I remember hearing one of them responding to a waiter in a steakhouse once: "Why would I ruin a perfectly good steak by putting steak sauce on it?" The trouble we get into is when we take our routine and use it as the model for everyone else. I'm not talking about right and wrong. That's God's domain. I'm talking about our way of doing things. If we aren't careful we can begin to believe we are superior because of being an early person, or in my case, an early early person. We can think we are better because of how we eat our food, or how we go about doing whatever it is that we do. Time out! I enjoy raw oysters. My wife would croak if she tried to eat one. How foolish it would be to think I'm better than her because of something as silly as a raw oyster.

But if we are not careful we can actually allow these preferences to become principles where we draw bright lines and essentially live in a world mostly focused on how we do it. Again, I'm not talking about morality because the objective standard for right and wrong is defined by God Himself as provided in His Word, the Bible. Maybe because of our abilities, or our good fortune, we can become smug and if we are not careful we end up looking down on others. Whatever it is that causes us to look down on anyone else, whoa, we need to stop and get a grip. It is only by the grace of God that we are able to do anything at all, period, end of story. Some say, yeah but I worked hard to get the education I have, therefore, I deserve the credit for what I have accomplished. What about the other person who worked just as hard as you but things have not worked out for them? Maybe I learned to be an early person when I accompanied my grandfather who most often signed up for the midnight shift when we went to sit up with the dead. Maybe I learned to enjoy the foods I enjoy because of how my mom prepared our meals. That didn't make the ones who couldn't do the midnight shift lesser than us. That didn't make the moms who didn't emphasize cooking like my mom lesser than her. It just means they had a different set of approaches which led to their routines. I know I write quite often about this because I've had to learn, at times the hard way, that my way is not only not the only way, but it is only one way and there are plenty of others that also work well. Humility comes when we see life as it really is, appreciate our position before God, and come to realize our total dependence upon Him and His grace for even our next heartbeat. Meanwhile,"Could you please turn down the sound of those game show reruns, it's nearly 10 p.m. and people with a lick of sense should be asleep by now!" May God bless each one! Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank You Lord!

Greetings from my world to yours on this Tuesday, May 11, 2010. This past weekend was a whirlwind of activities for me but they were the kind of stuff that will do a body good. I was up very early Saturday morning for a run over to Louisiana to share breakfast with my wonderful mother. I suppose I have someone to thank or blame for always wanting to be early because I did get over there at least 30 minutes before my target. I exited the highway and drove up to the old cemetery were all our folks are buried. Even as I made my way around that old crooked road it brought back memories of the many trips our family made to that place. Some folks don't like to go to a cemetery because it reminds them of death. I suppose our family has been surrounded by death so long it seems very much a regular part of our life. Being there was like showing up at a family reunion. The memories are too vast and too special to recount but it did me good to stand and remember and thank God for so many who have meant so much to me. It also was a good time to recall the promise that one day we who know the Lord will be reunited with those who have preceded us. As I stood there before Granny and Paw Paw Mac's double headstone, the words inscribed reminded me of their way of life. Paw Paw Mac's was quoted from his favorite song: "I don't know about tomorrow but I know who holds my hand." Granny's had this theme: "The sun's coming up in the morning." My wife and I used to sing that very song for Granny and she loved it because her faith embodied her belief that God would take care of it all, one day at a time.

After visiting there for a while I wiped my eyes and continued to my destination, my home place. My sister has recently moved back into her home, the one previously occupied by Granny and Paw Paw Mac. Talk about history! This is where we moved back in 1954 after dad died suddenly. Walking around in that place reminded me of how blessed we were to have somewhere to go and someone to take us in. Then it came time to do what we typically do when we get together and Dad had prepared his normal huge breakfast and we enjoyed such a wonderful time of feasting and fellowship. I don't think Mom has ever looked more radiant. I told her that while she might be 86, to me she didn't look a day older than 60. She thinks me coming over there for a turn around is a big deal. Good! She thinks I have set aside other stuff to come and honor her. Good! Why? Because I want her to feel that way. Honored because she is my mom. Beloved because she is. As for me and the little effort required, hey, what will these few hours mean over the long haul when I get to show one more time how much she means to us children? What a wonderful day and what a blessing to go back home, one more time.

Having returned from my trip, I then set myself to making sure my bride for these nearly 46 years enjoyed her day of honor. She was able to see everyone of her children, grandchildren, and our little great grand, our bundle of Madelyn Joy. She received cards and gifts galore. Sunday night I asked how her mother's day had gone. She said it was one of the best ever and that's exactly what I had hoped for. Sunday morning I went to one of the grocery store flower shops to purchase some roses to award to certain mothers during our Church service. It was a little after 8 a.m. and the place was rocking. Half asleep men were bumping into each other trying to grab this and that along with some donuts to carry back home. It was chaotic and I was surprised by the crowd but I suppose better late than never. One fellow was telling the flower lady about how this was not only Mother's Day for his wife, it was also their 36th anniversary together. He had a huge arrangement and seemed very excited about getting it to his wife. I couldn't help but think how blessed I am because that dude looked older than me but he was 10 years behind me in his marriage. Now for the icing on the cake, I am able to sit here and recall these wonderful blessings. Visiting and remembering my folks out at Beckom Cemetery; Seeing my mom and dad; Visiting with my sister; and then enjoying my wife and family. Thank you Lord for the handfuls you so graciously hand down to us! Amen. ......More later.