Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Read this if you ever struggle in life.

It is Wednesday, June 30, 2010 and while we might wake up to a world turned upside down, take heart my friend because God is still on His throne and He will never leave us nor forsake us. That, in and of itself, is reason for us to rise and shine and give Him the glory. I would be less than honest if I didn't confess that at times I wonder when I will run out of anything to talk about. I heard that. You thought I ran out a long time ago but just didn't stop writing? Very funny. However, since the subject is life, and my life in particular, based on my way of seeing things, well, there does seem to be a fair amount of material still to be covered or uncovered as the case may be. There are plenty of things from my life I would just as soon forget and we all have things we would rather not dwell on, and it's unlikely that I will ever be writing about those. I remember once talking about the verse from the writing to the Hebrews that says every person has sin that easily besets them, the one they have trouble with, and have to deal with. I made the comment that mine might be different than others but we all have specific areas that plague us. One lady jokingly said she thought it would be interesting for me to share with the class the areas that were particular to me. Inquiring minds want to know. But one thing I have learned is that we all have things we need to deal with and master, and while yours might not be as difficult as others, there are always those obstacles that we must overcome if we are to become all that God would have us to be.

This is one of the reasons I write the blog each day. Dr. C. H. McBryde, a great man of God that I was privileged to know and count as a personal encourager and mentor of sorts once said something that has always stayed with me, "We are, at best, all fellow strugglers." He died a number of years ago but I have never forgotten his influence on my life and this particular statement. So many times we fall into the trap where we do compare ourselves to others and we often end up thinking more highly of ourselves than we should. This can be a very destructive force because in reality God knows and every one of us also knows that from the inside out we are just that: fellow strugglers. Maybe one person deals with their troubles very openly and everyone can see the calamity going on in their lives. But, we all know that often it is the unresolved matters of the heart and mind that disable us and these are not always seen by others. I often think about folks I've known that would never find themselves doing this, that, or the other, and they are very proud of that fact. However, they also might carry a long held grudge or run others down or burn inside with envy. Bottom line, we all have our stuff to deal with, and we need to live in this reality so that we can help one another as we make our way through our sojourn here, while heading to a better land where all these struggles will be a thing of the past.

Does this mean we shrug off the destructive sins that are destroying people left and right? As the Apostle Paul would say: "God forbid!" When we see our neighbor's house on fire we most likely need to do something more than to whisper a prayer about it. It is always risky to become involved in trying to help others who are in the midst of the storm. Often it can be a storm of our own making but we all need, even when we can't see it, the help that God sends, and often He sends that help through the heart and hands of those who care enough to get involved. I can look back on my life and thank God for some who came along side me at particular times and their intrusion became like a wake up call for me. I wasn't too happy about it at the time but I came to realize this is how God ministers to us. You need, I need, we all need God's direction and guidance in our lives. That's a fact, dear fellow struggler, whether you can appreciate it or not. There's a reason we love the song Amazing Grace. It is amazing that God chose to love us in spite of our waywardness and that He not only loved us but showed His love by sending His Son to die for us, and for those who believe, they can clearly identity with: That saved a wretch like me! My wife and I used to sing a song written by the late Dottie Rambo. This song was about remembering. It was entitled: Remind Me Dear Lord. Some of the lyrics, "Roll back the curtain of memory now and then, Show me where you brought me from, And where I might have been, Just Remember I'm human and human's forget, So remind me, remind me dear Lord." Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here's a message with real meaning to all you cool cats out there!

It's Tuesday, June 29, 2010 and I am sending each of you a personal 'hello'. While folks in your circle or even in mine may not have clever ways to answer the phone, it seems that many today do, and here's a sample of some: What's the good news? Keep it real. Godspeed. Hey, what's up? Howyadoin? YoYo, yiggity yo! Speak! Relax, I'm here. Long time no see! One website lists 142 different ways that people trying to be clever answer their phone. Okay, I suppose I'll have to go ahead and make a confession here because when the phone rings at my house I typically say: Hello. How dull is that? I suppose like the country song, I was dull before dull was cool. The only problem is that dull is typically not thought of as being cool but that doesn't keep me from persisting in my set ways. I actually like some of the greetings I read and I can see where in some social networks they might be appropriate but not in mine. I know every generation has its own lingo and ways of expressing themselves. I was trying to think of some from way back in my days as a teenager. I may have actually said, "Don't have a cow."; "Don't sweat the small stuff."; "Hang loose."; "Meanwhile, back at the ranch."; "Shake it, don't break it."; "Church key. (referring to an opener of a beer or soda can)"; "Daddy-O."; "Outta sight!"; and "Can you dig it?"

These would sound silly to our hip-hop culture today but then again they would likely not want to be seen looking like James Dean in a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up a couple of rolls and wearing some fairly tight, straight legged blue jeans. Yep. I am guilty of wearing that look a number of times, including some with starched creases. We all have our identity in terms of the era in which we found ourselves, or at least were trying to find ourselves. Some identify with music and the songs they listened to during those formative years in their lives. As a young teenager I can remember being known as a fellow you excelled at doing the "Twist", a dance made famous by Chubby Checker and his 1960 song, "The Twist", with the opening words, "Come on baby, let's do the twist......." We Baptists didn't believe in dancing but since this one didn't require any actual contact with the opposite sex, it more or less slipped in under the radar screen. I wonder if these arthritic hips are simply long repressed echos from my hip twisting days? Don't get the idea I did a whole lot of twisting on the dance floor and I certainly wasn't as fanatical about it as everyone else was about the Hula Hoop. This craze was phenomenal culminating in 1959 when there was a huge celebration to recognize the 100 millionth Hula Hoop sold. I can remember walking around our small rural town and seeing folks of all shapes, sizes, and ages out in their yards making the hoop go round and round and round. Perhaps that's why I get dizzy from time to time. Just joking but also in keeping with full disclosure I must tell you that while my mom and my sisters were great at hula hooping, I never was able to make it work for me. I suppose that twisting stuff may have messed up my timing.

Speaking of identity, I've been lately focusing on this very issue in a series of lessons for my Bible Study class. One of the things we learned this past Sunday has to do with what happens when we who are believers fail to grow and develop in our faith. The Apostle Peter writing in his second letter just before his martyrdom said that when we fail to focus on growing in our faith we can forget who we really are. Wow! A believer can forget who they are in Christ? This, of course, leads to some pretty unhealthy behaviors that often bring pain and misery. James, the senior pastor of the local assembly at Jerusalem wrote his letter to his flock who had been run out of town because of their belief in Jesus. He was greatly concerned about them remaining faithful under the fires of persecution and distress. In Chapter two he spoke some chilling words. He talked about how that believers who never develop in the working out of their faith can lead lives of fruitlessness to the extent that their faith for all practical purposes is dead. Scary! Talk about an identity crisis! But, always remember, that we don't have to stay that way! The Apostle Paul's close companion, Dr. Luke, recorded in the Gospel that bears his name the wonderful illustration from Jesus where He spoke about the wayward or prodigal son. (15th Chapter.) The father (our Father), never gave up on the son. One day the son came to his senses and when he did he got up and returned to his father's house and there was the father (our Father) running out to welcome him home and to restore him to his proper identity within the family. That's good for us all to know, including me! Have a blessed day and may God help us all to be busy showing our identity in Christ by the way we live. Amen. ......More later.

Monday, June 28, 2010

General Pray-for-us?

Well, here we are again, folks, and it's Monday, June 28, 2010, and it's hot, and it's even hotter for the politicians as we get closer to the November election. I fully support President Obama's decision to accept General McChrystal's resignation bearing in mind that President Obama handpicked this officer and promoted him to implement the President's strategies. (Photo: President with General McChrystal.) But the stakes are much too high to allow this public airing of insubordination to go without consequences. The general himself would never have accepted this type of publicized criticism from anyone within his command. But, here's the rub. All the things the general and his staff said, even though rude and slanderous, that ended up in the magazine article are for the most part backed up by the facts. Many experts have concluded the Obama civilian team chosen to coordinate and prosecute the war to be a total disaster. From the Vice President to those closer to the war, the current approach is almost a textbook definition of dysfunction and disarray. This puts our men and women in harm's way in greater jeopardy as they are charged with trying to implement these discombobulated strategies. Yes, the general should have lost his job and he did. Now the administration has turned to General Petraeus who was previously labeled by the administration as an utter failure. Because he took issue with some of the Obama doctrines being advanced and was hated by some of Obama's ultra-liberal supporters, they paid for a full page ad in the New York Times branding him as General Be Tray Us. (See actual ad copy.) Now they can't stop talking about this appointment and how it may be the most significant act taken by the President since he took office. How amazing! General Petraeus is an American hero, patriot, and outstanding military mind, but he was President George W. Bush's general and that's what makes this move laughable in its dripping irony. President Bush could do nothing right according to President Obama and especially when it came to the war effort. Now Bush's general is being heralded as brilliant by the same people who trashed him before. I suppose, if taken literally, this means the greatest move by President Obama since taking office was to choose President Bush's general to try and save the war effort. Go figure. More dysfunction. Why does all this matter? Because of the increasing casualties being announced daily. That's why! Interestingly enough, the mainstream media triumphed the president's quick action but failed to dig into the reasons behind the remarks that were reported. Typical. The war effort is so precarious and the strategy so murky, one headline read: General Prayforus.

Meanwhile, the President's poll numbers continue to plummet and the big wig announcers on the big channels are at a loss as to why. One commented that he believed the president is being unfairly blamed in the Gulf oil spill. Others think it might be racism. Here's my take: People in the United States are for the most part reasonable but they want effective action on the part of our government in making things better, especially when we are in this horrific cataclysmic economic quagmire. What does the common man see? Trillions spent that we do not have which they are willing to accept, IF, and that's a big IF, it does anything to help the situation. Thus far, 62% of our fellow countrymen believe we are headed in the wrong direction. The poll numbers reflect this sadness on the part of hurting people. They hear from our President and his team how that the top guy at BP should be tarred and feathered for taking a day off to attend a yachting race. Yet, it is well known that President Obama played two rounds of golf and hosted numerous parties during that same weekend. The American people are told the President is entitled to these respites due to the many stresses he must deal with everyday. In fact, we were told that it was good for the American people for our President to do these things. Folks, we are not stupid. Does anyone other than me see a mammoth sized double standard here? Someone have Brian Williams, top news reader at NBC, now dealing with perplexed grief over these negative poll numbers, call me and I'll be happy to give him my input that might help clear up this mystery.

I could go on and on but many of you would rather not dwell on depressing political shenanigans. We do know from experience that when times really get tough we typically turn to God for help. That old saying is true. You can never be taller than when you are on your knees communicating with your heavenly Father. America became a remarkably religiously devout nation for a few months after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We also became a fiercely patriotic nation. Suddenly the flag business went out of sight as everyone wanted to wave old glory in the breeze. But, alas, as they say, this too shall pass, and it did. This is supported by polling data that shows we have returned to the pre 9/11 approach to life. Now we are in crisis again. Maybe it will be a time of renewal as together we seek God's intervention. I can remember driving around with that little flag attached to my car window. Sometimes I would be in slow traffic and there were literally dozens, if not more, cars carrying the symbol of who we are as a people. And, there was the connection that came as a result. We did not rise up as mere individuals but we united as a nation and my how powerful of a force for good that could be today if we would humble ourselves before our God, and return to Him and His ways as a people. That's a wrap for Monday and I send it out with a prayer that God will bless you and yours, and that He will bless our needy land! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I just found out the most common illness on the Starship Enterprise: Chicken Spocks.

I'm no longer home alone but that will change shortly. There are those who feel better when I have watchers around to help keep me headed in the right direction. She's b-a-a-a-a-c-k! She came home yesterday but she's also leaving today for a Galveston area weekend excursion with our granddaughter Stefani in recognition of her 16th birthday (last November). She started doing this with Tiffany, then Brittany, and now it's Stefani's turn. It's that MiMi and granddaughter bonding deal where they go off and enjoy some time together. Poppy made the reservations and he gets to be involved as part of the financial support team. I'm glad she can do this on this Friday, June 25, 2010, and I'm also glad to be on the team. I do hope they have a great time. It's been a different week for me. My wife has been out of town. My great friend who owns the business where I work has been out on vacation. This always adds a little pressure as we try to cover all the bases. Come to think about it, I've only really shown a little rebellion once and that had to do with the dozen smoking hot gizzards I was compelled to devour on Wednesday. (I was out on the road for the company and you do know that diabetics are supposed to eat scheduled meals, right?) The lady who drew four vials of blood this past Monday asked how I was doing. I told her controlling my diabetes had been rather challenging lately. She asked if I had any idea why. I told her that if I had to guess it might be related to mustard greens, field peas, okra, smothered steak, mashed potatoes, and cornbread, just to name a few. She gave me that telling look of understanding, enough said.

My doctor only shamed me a little the other day but he may do more when we get the lab results in. It's been a real challenge for him to help me in controlling this insidious disease. He is a real character and we've enjoyed our visits. He has some very strong views about the nearness of end time events, and while I respect his right to hold those views, I begin to be a little concerned when they bleed over into his treatment approach. Currently it has something to do with stockpiling medicines and I will have to think more about all of this before deciding how to respond. One day this week I found myself defending the actions of one of our older guys on the basis of how older folks think. While I was explaining this it dawned on me that I was talking about myself as well. I hate it when that happens. Age is supposedly only a state of mind but some of the folks I've seen at the big mall who are older but are busy trying to look and act younger sure seem silly to me. I've learned to embrace the word eccentric as a way to describe the changes taking place in my life. I know the word means strange, unusual, or odd compared to normal but perhaps I'm in the process of defining my 'new' normal. My wife is concerned that I don't match my ties as well as I once did and she said at times I'm up there teaching and she wonders, "What in the world was he thinking?" She may be right but for the life of me I'm still yet to figure out any that were that far off. Maybe it's the "my new normal" thingy that has caused this to happen.

I tell everyone that it is not easy being me but it is the challenge that occupies much of my 24 hour day. You have your own challenges in being you and we all have the challenge of being changed into the person God wants us to be. That Joel Hemphill song that children used to sing makes an excellent point and it really is good news for us all: "He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, The sun and the earth, and Jupiter and Mars, How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me." This means that I am, at best, a work in progress but isn't it wonderful to know that He's still working on me, and you too? He is, after all, the Master Potter, and He does know how to mold and make His own into objects of notable excellence. (I heard Dr. Charles Stanley say this perhaps 20 years ago.) And, I am thankful that He's not finished with me yet. I need to keep this in mind as I go about defining my 'new' normal. I never thought I would be wearing old people looking white socks but I put them on today and wear them with pride. I won't even mention that ear hair deal because that came to stay quite some time ago. I suppose it's good that I've always held older folks in high esteem, therefore, it should make this transition to my 'new' normal a little easier to handle. Speaking about Him still working, the best place to get in touch with this as a reality is to show up at the Sunday meeting place where the Word of God is taught and practiced. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing, matched tie or not, I'll try to have something for you on Monday morning. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mother sardine to her children upon seeing a submarine: "Don't worry, it's only a tin of people."

Still home alone. It's Thursday, June 24, 2010, and I am expecting 'she who must be obeyed' to be back home today. We learned that wife designation from a PBS-BBC series we loved to watch entitled "Rumpole of the Bailey". It was a very funny show that featured an aging barrister who had given that nickname to his wife Hildebrand. He, of course, was not able to say it to her face so he always mumbled it under his breath and when she would ask what he had said, he had to come up with something clever but he never revealed that pet name to her. It has been a running joke in our house for some time but if you've never seen the show, and vast millions have not, you would likely not get the full measure of the joke. You can watch excerpts of the 44 episodes out on YouTube and I highly recommend that you do. The late Leo McKern who played Rumpole was, in my opinion, as President George W. might say, one of the most miss-underestimated comedic talents to have ever performed. I am looking forward to my wife's return. I understand she has become quite the fisher woman since making her trek over to the Toledo Bend Lake area. That's all I need is for her to come back all stirred up about a bunch of fishing stories. Typically, she comes back from these family gatherings overly hyped up anyway and it takes me several days to calm her down. She may already be thinking about starring in her own fishing show on ESPN although I doubt if they would do one devoted to Bream fishing. I'm just wondering who baited her hook because I'm not sure she is up to dealing misery to a sweet little cricket.

Please don't write me any hate mail from your Cricket Lover Association because most folks don't do well fishing without bait, and last time I checked the earthworms were not too excited about being threaded onto a hook either. And, I almost forgot, what about the fish? I suppose someday we will all end up grazing out in the pasture to keep from hurting any other living thing but by then there will be a Grass Lover Association and then what? You think that's over the top? Just hang on because given how things are going, we haven't seen anything yet! But, just for the record, how in the world are you doing, anyway? You can tell that I look for things that bring a smile. I work at it. It can be hard work at times because we are living at a time in our history where there's plenty of grief to go around. I heard a book reviewer talking about a new book out that chronicles the invention of hedge funds and the role this played in destroying the economy. She said the book was well written as it sets forth the small cadre of people who used this facility to become multi-billionaires. The name of the book was a shocker, "More Money than God", but she added this at the end of her report. She said it was a wonderfully well written book and the characters come alive but it was next to impossible to have any respect for those who in the process of becoming fabulously wealthy, even though it was legal, they destroyed the lives of so many hard working, decent people. She said she had unemployed family members that knew all too well about the cost paid to make these folks rich.

First of all I would send a message to her and everyone else that the book title is not only off base, it is also an absurdity because God as Creator owns it all and He has the right to do as He pleases without regard to hedge funds, high powered people, or hell itself. Greed did run amok during this economic debacle that we are living through and I just read that the super rich have now recovered most of their losses and are pretty much back where they were before the crash. I suppose that's good news for them but its little consolation to the multiplied millions who continue to languish. What's the answer? The only answer I know that makes any sense is God Himself. Not hedge funds. Not manipulating the system. Not trying to swim with the sharks. Seeking God is the only way for us to get back to where He would have us to be, and when we do that, we will have His presence and His blessing and when all is said and done, we cannot, ever, under any and all circumstances, do better than this! Folks, people need the Lord, and that includes us all, you, me, every single person who breathes air on the planet, including those who will be returning today with a whole bunch of unsubstantiated fish stories about the ones that got away. Have a blessed day and may God bless us all, and may He heal our nation. Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feeling as good as a pig laying in a pile of fresh mud!

Heidi ho to one and all on this Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Only a few of you will recognize the greeting as being from the Cab Calloway hit of 1931, Minnie the Moocher. (Some might remember Cab's performance of this tune from the 1980 Blues Brothers movie.) I suppose I could start off by telling us all to mind our 'P-s and Q-s' but you would then wonder, not what it means, since many of us know what it implies, but rather, how did we come to use it as an admonition to pay careful attention to our appearance and behavior. The answer is not at all clear but that doesn't stop us from using it, or, at least some of us old enough to remember when it was a common saying. Common sayings come and go and often they bear no resemblance to what they originally intended. Take for instance the phrase, 'to give free reign'. It is used today to imply that a person has full authority to do whatever he or she chooses to accomplish their purpose. It was originally associated with giving the horse his own head in a race, hence, to give him free reign. It started off exclusively used in horse racing and as we can see, the rest is history. I was very young but I do remember my grandparents having an outdoor toilet or outhouse as they were called. In my granddad's way of looking at things he had a particular problem with folks who didn't observe proper protocol in the use of this facility. He would say something like, "He was just too lazy to even strike a match." For the uninformed, the match was needed to help deal with the odor and anyone who failed to show this basic courtesy was not well thought of by my grandfather. If you were to go around saying things like this today folks would think it begs the question. Of course 'begs the question' is another saying that has come to mean setting forth the need for a question to be answered as opposed to its original meaning. To beg the question originally was a question loaded with presumption that may or may not be true. It could be something like, "Why are there no trees in Texas?" That begged question implies something that isn't true because there are trees in Texas. However, it no longer means what it did originally and now to beg the question means what it means, and that's how it works. In any case, there really are trees in Texas, so there!

You have probably guessed by now that I enjoy thinking about words, sayings, phrases, and word usage. You probably know by now that even though the folks called it 'Bob wire' back home, it really is barbed wire. I do hear the word 'bidness' used instead of business quite a lot but I like 'bidness' any way, even though the purists would turn up their noses. That reminds me of how many idioms are used that involve the nose. You can have your nose out of joint when things aren't going your way. You can follow your nose as you pursue your instincts. When you are on your best behavior you are said to be keeping your nose clean. Hard workers are said to be keeping their nose to the grindstone. When you are flippant about something you might just say, "It's no skin off my nose." And finally, when you come in really close but you win, you actually win just by a nose. See what I mean? I know these kinds of tidbits are not every one's cup of tea, (notice that one), and they may tend not to float your boat, (another one), but for some of us, they are the cat's meow, (that's three pretty good ones in one sentence). I rest my case and in so doing I not only deny the allegation, but I also deny the alligator.

I do know this. My lingo is dated and many of the colorful phrases I use make absolutely no sense to many if not most of the younger folks. I can do a quote from a great movie or a memorable line from a TV series or commercial and get the blank stare. When I use some of my grandfather's illustrative ways of explaining things, I end up spending more time explaining the illustration than in making the point. It gets tiring but there are times when a situation occurs or I see something and it happens. One of those wonderful sayings from back in my years past, jumps into my mind. Someone told me today that when it rains it pours and I told them that was right because I remember seeing the little girl on the Morton's Salt Box with an umbrella and underneath it, it had that very saying. She replied with a huge sigh, "Huh?" And, that's the story of life in the real world. It can be like just one big old huge --- huh? But, that's okay, it does not deter me even if I do end up having to explain the explanation of the examples I've given, but preserving the sayings I grew up hearing are important, to me, if not to anyone else. Therefore, I send you out today to go forth and prosper but if you want to stay in good with Paw Paw Mac, do not forget to strike a match! May God bless. Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's so hot the birds have to use pot holders to pull out worms!

The supposed first day of summer was yesterday and it sure showed up already knowing a lot about hot. Feel like temps are already over the century mark and we haven't really gotten into the hot weather (July-August) for our area yet. It is Tuesday, June 22, 2010 and I am home alone again. My wife has gone over to Louisiana to meet up with her two brothers and sister for a time of family reunion. Last night was a little eerie. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, or if there was one of them scurrying around I didn't hear him. I know from past experience how the peace and quiet can feel so good but within a few days, Thursday to be exact, I will be anxiously awaiting the return of my life partner who has become so important to me over these past nearly 46 years. One of the best memories coming out of my Father's Day is the sound of our grandchildren running up and down the stairs, playing with each other, and even an occasional outburst or two. This is no longer nearly as noisy as it used to be since most of them now are either on the computer, their cell phone, are using one of the gaming devices. But last night it was just me, myself, and I, the lap top, and the big screen up on the wall, and, of course, I was giving the remote control a much needed workout.

We've come a long way with the technology we have for television viewing today. I have been on a quest to make sure my fancy big screen TV is being provided with whatever the appropriate pixel count transmission it requires to put a super sharp image on the screen. I can well remember when I was a kid we had one of those rotary devices on top of the large cabinet with a small TV screen and it was used to rotate the antenna that stood way above the roof in search of a signal, any signal, to produce an image, any image, black and white, and maybe even fuzzy would do. Lately, I've decided to do battle with the cable people when things are not as advertised. I had a technician out last Saturday to do some checking. They always tell you that if it turns out to be your problem and not theirs they will have to charge you a service fee. I always tell them if it turns out they charge me anything more than what they already are for the lousy service I'm getting then they will have to deal with my thoughts on the subject. This technician was very good. Since I had previously gone through something similar I was able to tell him exactly what the other guy had done. We checked the feed coming into the main box and he immediately discovered a problem with the signal quality coming from the pole to our home. At least he confirmed that those gyrated start stop interferences I was seeing on the high definition channels was not my mind playing tricks on me. Now, the wait until the lineman for the county arrives to work on whatever is causing the low signal. It was supposed to be done no later than Monday, but guess what? It wasn't. I called again. The lady said that sometimes they have to prioritize their calls based on the magnitude of the problem. Maybe I will have to prioritize the amount I pay based on the magnitude of the quality received and the amount of hours I have lost trying to deal with it. But, when you are home alone, it does give you someone to talk to, right?

I'm so thankful to report that mom and dad made it back to their home in Louisiana from attending Uncle Asa's memorial service about half way down the peninsula of Florida. That's two days of hard driving there and two days coming back. Of course I know you could have figured that out, the two days coming back part, but I was using it as a way to illustrate the effort for folks out on the roads at their age. Thank God for cell phones. I was able to check on them throughout their journey and I'm sure they may have thought I was being a little over protective. In the old days they used to do the collect call deal to let everyone know you had made it to your destination. You would place the call through an operator, (I don't have time to explain about telephone operators to our younger readers), and ask that a call be placed to a specific person and that person would be yourself. You could hear the operator placing the call and the phone ringing and when it was answered the operator would say I have a collect call for, and then would give them your name. They would say he is not here and that would indicate to them that you made it and the message would be received without cost since the call couldn't be completed. Why wasn't the party there to take the call? Because you were lying, of course. I can remember doing that a few times but never feeling right about it. Here you would have parents spending years teaching their children the value of honesty and integrity but when they would go off somewhere they would be instructed to make that collect call to themselves. No wonder we can't figure out up or down, right or wrong, or even how the cow ate the cabbage. Think about that one and let me know if you come up with a good explanation. Have a blessed day and may God bless one and all! Amen. More later.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweet memories bring sweet tears.

It's Monday, a big first day of summer, June 21, 2010. How deeeeee! I'm just so proud to be here. No, it's not Minne Pearl, only me again, and the clicking and clacking of my keyboard reminds me of those long freight trains that used to rumble through the night in the little rural Louisiana town where I was raised. We needed those trains to help distract us from the summer heat and while I did my best to doze off quickly, I was always anxious that the train was going to end before I got to sleep and because of being anxious I couldn't get to sleep, and just thinking about it makes me wonder if there's someone I could go to and complain about it, and maybe they might just set up a 20 billion dollar escrow account as a down payment on how messed up I am as a result of those shorter trains. Just wait a minute. Enough of that because if you've read my blogs I fully realize you would not be buying the short train excuse for all the noisy and rattling stuff that comes out of my clicking and clacking. What a wonderful Father's Day for me! Being able to be with family, children, and our grand children and the one grandchild who has a spouse, (it was his first Father's Day), along with their/our little great grand bundle of Madelyn Joy. She was a little show all to herself and everyone enjoyed watching her do her thing. Rodney and his bunch were not able to be with us due to a scheduling conflict. But for me, Father's Day is about family, and that's what really made this a special day for me. Thanks to my dear wife for cooking the gigantic meal, which took hours and hours to prepare, (must have been pretty good since there was nary a leftover to be found), and for making this all happen. In the coming days I will treasure this time together as another sweet memory.

Speaking of memories, last week I mentioned my Uncle Asa's move from this life to be gathered to his people. (See Genesis 25:8 for the first usage of this great and insightful metaphor for the death of a believer.) I'm sure there was quite a reunion just up in the glory land upon his arrival there. I was 14 going on 15 in the summer of 1961 and that was my first summer to travel by a Continental Trailways bus from Louisiana to Florida to work for my Uncle Asa in his business. He owned a used auto parts business and I was a general helper. The photo is of Uncle Asa and his son Milton. The business is now in the hands of a grandson and it's still going strong. I along with another fellow mostly spent our time pulling parts off of the wrecked cars out on the property. It was grueling work from early to late each day and much of it was out in the hot sun. I remember coming in to the shop for lunch after having laid under those cars all morning and the guys there would compete in telling stories about these huge rattlesnakes that were native to that area. They usually could pour it on really good about the size of these snakes, how they like to hide under the sand, and what typically happens to the person bitten. This was all in fun but we didn't really look forward to getting back under those cars again. I did this 'can to can't' work for two summers. Uncle Asa and Aunt Mattie Lee were exceptionally good to me. I worked hard. Uncle Asa expected me to. But I learned so much about so many things that I look back and count it as one of the experiences that helped shape my outlook on life, especially as it relates to my work ethic, my determination, and my commitment. That experience cemented a bond between us that was always special even though we only saw each other a handful of times over the years. I know that God was involved in using this experience to prepare me for the life He had for me. Thanks Uncle and Aunt, I appreciate all you did!

As for Uncle Asa being a part of the greatest generation, let me share but a few lines that came directly from his obituary: "Asa came to the Orange City Florida community in 1952. He opened McMillon Fish Camp at Holly Bluff, worked for Volusia Ford Tractor and opened M&K Used Auto Parts, Inc. with his son in 1956. It is still in operation today, 54 years later, and still in the family. He had a summer home in Spruce Pine, NC. Asa remained active in all the communities and organizations he ever was involved with. His gift of helping others is reflected in the numerous associations he held memberships in: Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand; Assoc. member, Forest Community Church, Salt Springs, FL; Past Exalted Ruler and life member of the DeLand Elks Lodge #1463, DeLand, FL; Past Post Commander and life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2380, Astor, FL; elected All State Post Commander and Veteran of the Year, State of Florida 1979-1980; charter member of the Florida Sheriff's Boys Ranch and Girls Villa, Live Oak, FL since 1957; charter member of the Astor Community Assoc, Inc., Astor, FL; Honorary Citizen Boys Ranch, Boys Town, NE; Vernon Parish Civilian Conversation Corps Alumni, Leesville, LA; life member of the CCC Alumni (NACCA), St. Louis, MO; Veteran of World War II South Pacific 1944-1946; life member of the American Legion Post #0400, FL Dept"

Everyone in my circle who have read Uncle Asa's obituary has pretty much had the same response: Wow! To most of us we then have this question: What in the world will I leave behind as a testimony when I am gathered to my people? Uncle Asa, I say, not bad for a country boy and it makes me know that I have some catching up to do, especially as it relates to touching others with the blessings that God has entrusted into my care. Have a great work week and may God help us to enjoy the life He has given to us even as we take seriously our responsibilities. Amen. ......More later.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Remembering dads past and present.

You can't hear me but I am trying to catch my breath as I consider how I made it to Friday in one piece. I know, I can only speak for myself and figuring out whether I made it anywhere can be a pretty good chore these days, but I am glad to be here on this Friday, June 18, 2010 where I am thinking about the Father's Day recognition coming up this next Sunday. It's always a bitter sweet time for our family as we think about the dad who left us when we were all just little ones. At age 31, he was hit with a sudden illness that ended up turning into pneumonia which led to congestive heart failure which led to him being pronounced dead which led to us not having him around since January 2, 1954. All of us kids have struggled with this loss so early on in our sojourn here but we are thankful to God for giving us our mom, the strongest woman I have ever known, and someway and somehow, He made a way for us. I know my older sisters remember much more about dad than I do because I, at only seven years old, developed one of those trauma induced problems that causes me not to recall many memories about him. That in and of itself has been somewhat troubling to me over the years as I have stressed and strained to unlock those tucked away files and images. But, God knows best and I have never really known as much as I would like to about this man who gave me life. I do thank God for him, because, as they say, without him I wouldn't be here writing this blog today. May God bless his memory and happy Father's Day dad, I'll see you up there one day and we'll get all of this straightened out, that is, if it really even matters once we all find ourselves in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

After dad left early for his heavenly home going, Mom moved her young family of three girls and three boys to a small rural Louisiana town and took up residence with my mom's parents, Granny and Paw Paw Mac. The photo is of them at their 50th Wedding Anniversary ceremony. He was about as comfortable wearing that suit and tie as a big juicy ice cold watermelon showing up at a butcher knife convention. (That's the best I could come up with on such short notice.) When he died, I never thought he looked much like himself laying in that casket with his glasses on and wearing probably that same suit and tie. My Paw Paw Mac was a man's man. He was a man of the earth. He grew up dirt poor and worked hard his entire life. He was a family man. He was a man of faith. And, he was the man that God put into my life at a time when I needed him to help mold and make me. Maybe I look up to him too much but as far as I am concerned they don't make them like him anymore. He was cut out of a different cloth and while the world saw a simple fellow with very little to offer, we grew to love and appreciate him for the giant he was in our lives. I could not have been more blessed than having this 'dad' in my life and I am forever grateful that I was able to try and demonstrate that to him before he made his journey home. Everyone who knows me can testify to how often I mention this great man who meant so much to me.

Finally, I am thinking about my step dad who has been such an inspiration to us all throughout these many years. What a great husband he has been to our mother as demonstrated in his devotion to her. They are a remarkable couple and we as a family could not have chosen a better man to be our dad. In his card that I sent earlier this week I simply told him that he had been a great example to us all by his determined spirit. I said...You show up every day. You never give up. And, you can always be counted on to be there. Folks, I know we got off to a rough start in losing my dad so early but I hope you can see the grace and goodness of God in His provision to us. He is, after all, our heavenly Father, and He did choose to reveal Himself as our Father in heaven. We count ourselves as blessed to have had these remarkable men in our lives. We pause at this time to remember them along with other dads who have been influential in helping us along the way. I thank God for allowing me to be a dad. While I am still a work in progress, I would love to have been a better one especially when our boys were younger. I also thank God for my boys who are privileged to be dads and I am thankful that we can call on our Father today and with His help we can leave a legacy like these I have mentioned. Happy Father's Day to all the dads and may God bless us all as we seek to be more of what He would have us to be. Amen. .............More later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The buzzards are circling? What makes you think my blog has anything to do with it?

Man, the animals do get used a lot when we are frustrated. Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, wishing it might start raining cats and dogs, but we wouldn't want to have a black cat run across our path or be found to be dealing with the pink elephants that haunt some people, (That's what some folks used to see when they had taken in too many adult beverages). None of this has anything to do with anything important but it flashed into my center of consciousness and I felt compelled to share it with you on this Thursday, June 17, 2010. The fellow at the Whataburger this past Saturday morning told me that I might make a good Santa. I told him that according to my business card, I am the 'real' Santa. He was impressed with my stories about my first season as the jolly old elf and had some recommendations about particular movies that might help me prepare for this year's excursion into fairytale world. It makes me wonder if I am beginning to actually look more like the character I am playing. But then that would beg the question, which character? He called me dude one too many times to be taken seriously but I must confess that I have trouble remembering my age. Not literally, I know I am one of those first-fruit war babies born in 1946, but I do have trouble as it relates to category identification. I love old people. They are very special to me. But being one has yet to register on my radar screen. This can be rather embarrassing when I treat someone who is only a few years older than me like they are my grandfather. For some reason they don't always see this as a compliment. I know my body reminds me from time to time that the stubborn thinking apparatus is certainly stronger than the doing part. I guess I can fall back on the comment mentioned to me one day in my Bible study class where a fellow said he had heard that the new middle age was 60. This being true, then I have no right to be considering myself as a senior citizen.

The dude calling me dude offered to discount the coffee for free and I suppose this to be because of him thinking me to be Santa, and that would qualify me for the senior's discount but as I pointed out to him the coffee already came with the sausage biscuit meal. Remind me not to recruit him as a potential Elf helper. I did watch the World Cup Soccer match between the USA and England last Saturday. I know many folks would be ashamed to admit watching this since a majority still thinks it to be dull and boring as a spectator sport. It would seem the majority of the 7 billion folks who inhabit the planet would beg to differ with this assessment. I will tell you this. If you watch any of the matches at the world cup level you can never come away thinking this to be a 'sissy' sport. I don't know about the reputation for soccer being the sport for weenies where everyone wins and no one loses, let me assure you the kinds of pain inducing shenanigans I saw going on would make the toughest NFL star wince, especially if he's out there with no pads for protection. When I watch a match where the USA plays I am for the USA, period, end of story. I am not one of those purists who claim to love the sporting exhibition and enjoy seeing the best athletes. No way. I am for waving the American flag and rooting on our team and our way of life regardless of who the opponent happens to be. The American team fought England to a 1 - 1 tie which was like a huge victory since England is supposed to be one of the elite teams in the world. Go USA, Go USA!

At the same time I fully realize how that my patriotism toward our great country should never equal my devotion to my true homeland, yes, that land where I will live forever and ever. Amen. We can, and often we do, get so focused on the here and now that we lose connection to that land that Abraham was looking forward to living in, that place, that city, whose builder and maker is God Himself. Being loyal to the country of our natural birth is taught in the Scriptures. Being even more loyal to that land connected to our supernatural birth is even more encouraged as we see ourselves for who we really are, temporary residents of this world, on our way to our permanent abode in arriving at that place where Jesus said, that where I am, you may be also. It's okay to wave the American Flag but we should never neglect holding up the banner of truth that calls attention to our eternal homeland. The song is so true: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, the Angels beckon me from heaven's open door, And I can't feel at home in this world anymore." Wow! We do have something awaiting us that is special and the song writer said it this way: "I've got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday!" Amen, Hallelujah, Praise our Great God! .....More later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forecast: Partly scary with intermittent periods of sheer terror thrown in for good measure!

Okay. It is Wednesday, and it is June 16, and the year is 2010. So far, so good. I've been trying to figure out those who attempt to predict things like the economy and I may have to remove the weather forecasters from the top of my list of worst predictors of all time. The current crop of economic forecasters tend to do it this way: ready, go, set, and they have found a brand new word to report on their missed guesses: SURPRISE. "Last month economic forecasters projected a continued strengthening of the economy but to their surprise it tanked instead." Man, where do you go to school to get this kind of result within a 30 day window, no less? I'm also beginning to believe they can't even observe the scene of the crash and get the facts straight. It's like the twenty folks riding on the city bus when it hit the car. Suddenly they have forty eight passengers claiming injuries. I mean they can't even agree when a blip is a bump or a swag is a slump. Mothers don't let your children grow up to be economic or weather forecasters might make a better Willie Nelson song than the one about cowboys. You expect the hired guns to say whatever it is that the person paying them wants them to say. This is why it is hard to take anything seriously involving the economy when it is being explained by those who work for the current administration. Take for instance the other day when the stock market tanked because we had a huge number of jobs added to payrolls for the last period. The administration liked those numbers so well the President went on the road to promote them. Why then did the stock market collapse? How about the fact that the overwhelming majority of the jobs created were government jobs and not only that, the overwhelming majority of those created government jobs were Census related jobs that are already beginning to phase out of the system? The private sector did not show up with job gains that amounted to much which sent a signal to the stock market that things were not good like the economic team at the White House was saying and the rest, as they say, is history.

I am not in the business of making the type of predictions these folks are trying to make. Many of them carry that vaunted PhD after their names but that along with their endless resumes seem not to bring much to the table in terms of accuracy. In fact, we have taken to seeking out the lone strangers that actually came closer than others in guessing the outcomes that occurred. Many of these are not thought of as being at the top of the food chain but I suppose they know the difference between an economy stimulated by companies hiring people versus adding more and more jobs and their subsequent overhead to the governmental bureaucracy. I think the one thing we have learned thus far is that a room full of the self acclaimed to be the smartest people in the world cannot always be counted on to be able to know much, and based on what I have seen thus far, to know much about anything that really counts. Some of you might think I'm saying these things only because I am one of those 'just say no' renegade Republicans. While there might be a little of this involved, I would suggest the facts are the facts and it's high time we had someone willing to speak the truth and from my way of seeing it, never before have we had a situation where in this case: The emperor is as naked as a jay bird.

I will give full credit to the fact that much if not all of what happened to get this ball rolling was not President Obama's doing. However, he and his team are 100% responsible for the actions they have taken to either make things better or see them continue to deteriorate and the results are the results, period, end of story. So far it seems the blame starts here is a better slogan than the one he recently said he owned now, the buck stops here. I thought all the commentary to be laughable about how that we white people are responsible for why it is that President Obama can't show anger. They say it's our fault because we have a problem with the image of an angry black man. Give me a break, already! I would love to see him get angry over things that matter like those who are plotting every single day to destroy of country in the name of their religion. I would love to see him angry enough about the economy to ditch his misguided philosophical wealth redistribution mentality and get on a pro growth and pro American worker track. I would love to see him angry about many things but alas, we have to hear this array of racially charged elitist complaints every single time someone uses another really hurtful term: ACCOUNTABILITY. That's what I call dodging and we deserve better from our leaders, past, and present. I pray for those who bear the burden of governmental authority and May God help them to see their need of Him and His direction as they seek to serve. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Blackhawks are coming, the Blackhawks are coming!

It's Tuesday, June 15, 2010 and while we are melting here from the heat I'm thinking about ice this morning. It may not be on your radar screen but I did take notice of the Chicago Blackhawks winning this year's Stanley Cup Championship. Ice hockey may not be your favorite sport but I have to confess that I enjoy watching it. Last Friday they had the huge victory parade in downtown Chicago and I had it up on my computer in a little box streaming it live. I grew up in rural Louisiana and we did not receive very many stations to watch. In fact, we mostly only had one unless the clouds were just right or a storm sent something different our way. When that happened we felt like we were receiving signals from a foreign land like Lufkin or Beaumont. We did get the ice hockey game of the week each Saturday and I became a fan even as a kid. Maybe it was the thought of ice when we lived in an almost tropical climate; or perhaps it was the thought of flying across the ice at unbelievable speeds; or slamming into people with collisions similar to what you see on the highway; or maybe it was that huge curved stick that could be used to make a shot on goal or hit your opponent over the head; or the announcer dude that talked at least 1,000 words per second and made the game breathless, not only to himself but also to those watching, whatever, can't be sure, but I was a fan.

Fast forward to today's version of the game and you see what you see in most professional sports. The athletes are huge. They tell us the Stanley Cup is the most difficult championship to win in all of professional sports. Why? The grueling grind of 250 pound, 6 foot, 5 inch muscled up guys hitting each other head on at 40 plus mph, not just once but day after day, week after week, and then even more so during the playoffs. It is truly a survival sport but one that demonstrates skill, agility, strength, and sheer determination about as well as any sport around. I know the football folks would argue each and every point I've mentioned and the baseball people would say what about the variety of skills required to play at their highest level. Then basketball would have its say and don't forget about the emerging strength of soccer as it grows in popularity here in our country. To me, it's an individual matter, but ice hockey is not for the faint of heart. Finding a ice hockey player that still has his real teeth is about as rare as finding a good set of molars in a crowded hen house. I am only able to watch it on a hit and miss basis but I do try to catch up with it during the playoffs and championship finals. For Chicago, it's been forty one years since they have hoisted the cup and the city has gone bananas. And, why not? They have huge problems in Chicago especially with what may be the greatest amount of political corruption per square inch of any major city in the world. Remember, that's where our current President learned the ropes and many observers say he and his team are trying to bring that same style to the entire nation. Whatever, the people that buy tickets are certainly entitled to enjoy this brief respite from 2 hour newscasts needed just to read the crime reports, and I do not begrudge them their joy.

Of course, our politically correct society most likely will file a class action suit to get the name changed of the Chicago franchise. It's become archaic and insensitive to have teams with names that carry an American Indian logo. Hey, even the animals have formed their own lobby group to try and get their names off of sports teams. We have become one huge group of offended people and it's quickly leading us to an institutionalized sense of helpless victim hood. We see it on every corner of life and the results are devastating as it becomes bred into our psyche. I well remember the image on the screen of Ted Turner and his then wife, Jane Fonda, sitting in the stands watching the Atlanta Braves, and both of them doing the famed tomahawk chop along with the huge crowd in cheering on their team. The team at that time was owned by Ted Turner. What made this funny to me was the fact that these are two of the most liberal wackos on the planet and their chop chop for the cameras was about as politically incorrect as it comes. This just shows you how that one man's insult is another liberal team owner's opportunity to party. It once again comes down to how we are able to process and view the stuff that comes at us on a 24 hour basis. For me, I think we should do all we can never to intentionally offend, make fun of, are denigrate others. On the other hand, addressing any and all perceived issues should be done with a huge amount of common sense and balance or otherwise we will end up being not much more than robots who all look the same, are wired the same, and pretty much function in the same way. For now, I say congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks! They showed up to play, they never gave up, and they stayed to the end. That's not a bad suggestion for us all! Amen. .......More later.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Have you seen my missing blog anywhere?

I had a really good blog in mind for today but a very not so funny thing happened before I could get it from the fetching place to the electronic page. I must have either hit the invisible delete key or the escape key because whatever was there no longer exists, therefore, you will have to settle for what I can summon up on the fly. Oh, you thought that's how I did it everyday, did you? Given the bad rap that Monday gets, perhaps it is only fitting that I should start the work week off with this type of dilemma. But, here we are folks, it is Monday, June 14, 2010 and we wake up to a messed up Gulf Coast, a messed up clean up of the Gulf Coast, and in general, a very messed up world. Not very encouraging I know but when you think about it, it does point out how really insufficient we are in terms of being able to control or even fix things. We can put a man on the moon. We can plan and execute a lavish party each Wednesday evening at the White House. But we don't have a clue how to stop up a hole that we ourselves drilled even though we have a gadzillion government and outside engineers all holding hands in a big circle singing Kumbaya. Meanwhile, the only one gaining any ground is Dawn washing detergent since it is featured in the bird washing TV series now playing 24 hours a day. To me, it just goes to show you that we are not as brilliant as we portray ourselves to be, and a huge dose of humility just like when we had to take Castor oil back in the day would do our entire nation a whole bunch of good. (Man, I wish I could find that other blog because this one is not what I had in mind but sometimes you have to improvise and go with the flow! No pun intended.)

My sister up in the Dallas area has recently rejoined the electronic connectivity world via Facebook, email, and all the rest offered out on that wonderful information highway known as the internet. She tells me her technical assistant who has set up her computer and fixed any of the problems that have come up is none other than her nine year old grandson. Why was I not surprised when she told me this? Because I've observed our grandchildren including our little ones as they have grabbed hold of everything from smart phones to lap tops without looking back. Sure, most people think I have some insight into technological matters, but, in reality, my knowledge is perhaps broad but very shallow and very dated. As the kids might say, what I know is so 'yesterday'. Folks our age are left to ponder how much more of these so-called make your life easier conveniences can we stand. We have this wonderful TV mounted on the wall with a surround sound system. We also have three remotes we use to coax it to move from one channel to the next or to raise or lower the sound. Whatever happened to that 'clapper' deal? Did they ever come out with one for the TV? "But dad, why haven't you programmed your phone to take advantage of the many features you have?" Let me tell you something. If I add any more features that help me save time and effort I will be up 24 hours a day trying to keep up with them! Old people, you've got to love them!

I would submit that this messed up problem we have can be traced all the way back to that incident in The Garden. That's right. Adam may have thought it to be the first instance of a 'he said, she said' argument, but the result was to bring forth a curse that continues to this very day. However, messed up as we are, it is not a hopeless situation. God for His own reasons saw fit to reach down and make a provision for Adam and Eve and He has one for you and I today. That provision is none other than the blood atonement made for us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Coming to Him and Him alone is the only way we can have hope while living in this messed up world. Knowing Him gives us a set of lenses through which to view all that happens in and around us. This set of lenses is based on truth and we are able to see the reality of hope, faith, and love that comes from God even as we deal with all the stuff that clutters each day. I may never master the ability to program my TV and if I continue to try garage doors would most likely begin to open and close all over the neighborhood. I may never come up with the answers that will fix so many of the problems that plague our world. But, I can, with confidence, tell folks where to go to get some lasting relief. How long will it last? How about for eternity? And, as they say back home, that is a long long time. Amen. I wonder if they have ever thought about some kind of missing blog alert system? Just a thought. Take care and may God bless. .....More later.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Whatever happened to really good excuses that can at least give a fellow plausible deniability?

Dare I come out already? Oh, I guess it's safe since I don't think this is the day where if you see your shadow you get another three months of hot weather. You never heard of that one? Okay, let me set the record straight. You will get another three months of hot weather, period, end of story, I was just trying to make it a little easier for you to deal with it. It is Friday, June 11, 2010 and we are up and going and thankful for the opportunity to do our little something to help move the ball down the field. I have my six month diabetes check up next week and I've been rehearsing my excuses. How silly is that? Most of the ones I've come up with so far do not pass the smell test but I'm still working on it. "I was going to do a better job of tracking my calories but the dog ate the batteries out of my calculator." As our little Brady might say: "Poppy, is that all you've got?" I suppose it is time for me to man up and prepare myself to face the music. That idiom, "face the music" has come to mean one must accept the consequences of their actions or in my case, my inaction. It is thought to have originated in the early 1800's and may have been related to officers who are disgraced being drummed out of the military or some believe it could be related to singing actors who face the orchestra and the music while on stage. I haven't thought about singing my excuses. We used to do that when our kids were young. I would have a morning where we all had to sing our responses to each other. It was like a family opera type of deal. What's that you say? No wonder we are a strange lot. Come to think about it, they weren't that fond of it either.

I had thought when the calendar turned from May to June that I had sixteen days to get everything ship shape for my appointment. Then there was that episode with the mustard greens and smothered steak. and that unexpected incident involving the irresistible wooing of those fried chicken gizzards (it actually happened more than once), and we had that special dinner meal at the restaurant, and it goes on and on and on. It reminds me of that lyric from the 1959 super hit, the Charlie Brown Song, by the Coasters, that lamented, "Why is everybody picking on me?" Here's another one. "I believe maybe the pharmacy switched my medications and instead of it being the one to help control my diabetes, I think they gave me weight gain pills instead." You don't like that one either. What a tough crowd. I could say that I've got my boot on the neck of the drug company and I'll be suing them at least for the next 100 years, but that excuse is already taken by the current administration. Man, how do they get all the really good ones? My business card says I am the real Santa, therefore, I should know the particular blood test he will order gives a clear reading on whether I have been naughty or nice over the past six months. Lab technicians, maybe they will be the ones who mess up my reading. The nurse who weighs me each time already knows I have a huge problem with her scale, her blood pressure machine, and maybe even the music they play. I'm just trying to help my doctor to understand all the variables that must be considered when addressing my situation.

It kind of reminds me of the time one of my teachers promised me a paddling but scheduled it for the next day. I showed up with my back pockets well padded thinking that would at least reduce the pain to be endured. What did Mr. McInnis do? He paddled me just under my pockets and it hurt like old billy heck! What's that old saying? You can fool some of the doctors some of the time but you can't fool any doctor with silly stuff like I have been thinking about. Most of this has been done for a laugh and it is not as bad as I am portraying it, but I do know I have not been as focused as I should and he will know the truth. I will be in for a little lecture and I not only anticipate it, I know I deserve it. Meanwhile, I'll just have to practice up on that family opera approach since it might be the best strategy I have at this time. If nothing else, it would certainly be a distraction he's not seen before. Forget about it. Here's a thought: I'll show up and act very surprised when he tells me things are not as good as they should be. Maybe I can make him feel like it's his fault and not mine. No. That won't work either because the current administration owns the patent on that one too. I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Enjoy, and may God bless you until next week when you will hear me say: It's not over until the undisciplined diabetic sings, or something like that. Amen. .......More later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I just placed a needed wake up call ...... to myself!

You may want to keep your seat belts fastened because I can never be sure when some unexpected turbulence might make itself known during this flight of fancy called 'my blog'. It is Thursday, May 10, 2010 and I am very happy to report that we have been the recipients of a number of well timed rain showers over the past several days. Some folks in and around this huge metro area got much more than just a shower. I have this bad habit of wondering how someone might feel standing ankle deep in water in their living room watching the weather person say we are now only five inches below our normal for the year. It's like when I read the obituary of a person who had a life characterized by a number of near miraculous escapes from death. Yet, there it is, their photo and a write up about their departure from this life into eternity. It's like a fellow I heard about who was a campaigner for fitness but ended up being crippled by a hit and run driver as he was jogging. We always say to one another that we never know what a day will bring, but folks, we really don't know, do we? My mom reported to me that our dear Uncle Asa has been taken down by a stroke and is currently in the hospital in North Carolina. He is 88 years young and she had just talked to him the night before his stroke and he was still heated up trying to get hold of his birth certificate so he could renew his driver's license. Please say a prayer for our Uncle Asa. He has always been a larger than life character in our family. He's been trying to get proof of his birth from Louisiana for months and it has played out like a comedy. I am from Louisiana. I grew up in Louisiana. Why am I not surprised he's had so much trouble proving he was actually born?

My point is that we get up every day and we go our way but we really don't have a clue as to what might be facing us before day's end. I read through a list of famous deathbed confessions and it's remarkable how people desire to clear their conscience before breathing their last. The most notable have to do with unsolved murders that were confessed to by the dying person. Others involved their participation in some great crime like one who owned up to stealing a priceless violin. In reading over recorded last words from notable people it was obvious how faith in God played a crucial role in how people face death. One challenged those around him to observe how a Christian goes on to his reward. Of course, sadly, there are many who go out cursing life, death, and God. However, the one common denominator is that in the end, they all uttered what were their last words. Sounds morbid because it is morbid, but the death rate is still 100% and it doesn't have to be a depressing thought for those who know the Lord. I take God at His word and He has said that the death of those who have placed their faith in Him is precious in His sight. If you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, then He's talking about you! This doesn't mean we want to leave here before our time because as long as we are here He has something for us to do, but, it does mean that we can with anticipation and a heartfelt longing look forward to our promotion into His presence. (Psalm 116:15)

There's a Scripture that always causes me to stop and think. The Apostle Peter, as he faced his own soon approaching promotion day, via inspiration from God, gave great insight into how God will bring an end to all things. We don't have to guess at or wonder about this. God has given it to us in His word. Having given these clear but sobering descriptions of these cataclysmic events, Peter then lays out a probing and convicting question: "Therefore since all of these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons should you be in holy conduct and Godliness?" (Read 2 Peter Chapter 3.) We don't have to guess about the future because God has that all figured out but we do have our life to account for. Those words almost seem like foreign terms to us today, holy conduct and a lifestyle characterized by Godliness? However, friends and neighbors, they still mean exactly what they meant when the Apostle Peter penned them. God's expectation is that we would live according to His will in how it is that we get up every day to do our thing. Tall order? It's an impossible order without God's help which He has also promised to those who seek to live for Him. We will no doubt continue to be clueless about many of the things that are just around the next corner, however, we can grab hold of what we do have, our time, our talent, our testimony, and our treasure, and use them as best we know how to bring honor and glory to our Great God. When we do this we tend to lose contact with our worry over the unknowns because of being so focused in doing the life He has given to us, His way! Thanks, I needed that perhaps more than you did. Amen. ......More later.