Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jesus: "Be of good cheer! It is I; Do not be afraid."

Update on my brother: Donald has developed pneumonia but they believe it is very early and very treatable. Overall he seems to be holding his own while he awaits connection to a longer term acute care facility where he can become stronger and more fully recover from his heart failure. It is a day by day process and we continue to be thankful for all the prayers on his behalf.


I am feeling a little sad today. I didn't watch even one second of the Emmy awards show. I knew it was on but we watched the PBS Mystery series about Inspector Lewis. You probably know him. He was previously the sidekick sergeant of Chief Inspector Morse in a long running series. But Morse died. Never heard of any of this? Don't feel bad because when I read through the list of Emmy winners I had to chuckle. I've heard of many of those listed but the only one I recognized that we had actually watched was the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. What does this tell us? Your Must See and my Must See can be, and often is, dramatically different. The really good news is how that my wife and I like many of the same shows with one huge exception. I do mostly exit the viewing arena when the Game Show Network is on. But, she almost always waits until I am ready to exit to tune in to her favorite channel. What's that you say? It works completely different in your home? I am not surprised. It is Tuesday, the 31st and last day of August, 2010. Now when the grand kids are with us, I will have to admit that all bets are off. It seems a little less than stellar to be watching a Sponge Bob marathon on the big screen when I could be seeing reruns of the First 48 police real life dramas but Sponge Bob can be entertaining as well, at least my grandchildren would agree. And, to think, when I was a kid in a rural area, we had by default, one channel, therefore, we typically were pretty much happy with whatever it had playing. That is, unless, the weather, stars, moon, and other elements all lined up in a particular and unusual way to give us a bit of a snowy but different channel to watch. Now that was like a special happening way back then. No wonder I am so messed up? You, my friend, are not alone in that assessment!

I've heard my wife telling folks how this episode with my brother has brought back to her our long vigil leading up to Bro. Milton's recovery. I can remember the roller coaster rides as we dealt each day with Bro. Milton's changing status. Very similarly, my brother's children are faced with the second by second good news, not so good news, and potentially bad news that always defines these types of medical crises. One day it looks like we are headed in a certain direction. The next we have to backtrack and regroup. Meanwhile, everyone involved has ongoing daily duties and obligations but by pulling together we try and reach consensus, build each other up, and somehow make it through the expected as well as the unexpected each day. Interpreting all that's being thrown into the mix is often in the eye of the beholder, as each family member hears it in a certain way and comes to their conclusions. Surprise, surprise. There's not always immediate agreement about the information received and often there are differences about how to proceed. This all adds tension to the mix. However, in the end, it falls upon family to come together, to hold each other up, and to find the common ground that keeps the one being cared for as the central focus of all the decisions being made. Easy? Not on your life! The strain is not only real but it can be seen and felt. This is why we need God's help. This is why we need His input into our decision making. This is why God uses people to lift up others in these often confusing and energy zapping experiences. We are blessed to have so many on our side and to know that God is at work to accomplish His purposes even when we can't figure it all out. Amen.

Many people are concerned about our current family events but I often think how true it is that what happens to us all is typical of being a part of the human family. The Apostle said it was "such as is common to man." As we deal with our stuff, so many others are doing the same, many with a degree of difficulty hard to imagine. I suppose because I tend to be somewhat claustrophobic , I have been drawn to those Chilean miners locked away underground some 2,000 plus feet below the surface. I've seen the film of them singing and sending greetings to their loved ones. I heard this morning that drilling a relief exit hole requires going through solid rock and they still estimate it might take until Christmas to reach these 33 men. The temperature is 90 degrees F, 24 hours a day. I don't know about you but their plight is hard for me to wrap my arms around. Their loved ones are in a state of agitated panic and distress. NASA has been called in since they have the most expertise in long term deprivation survival. I also have found it hard to watch the anniversary footage from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina. The images from New Orleans are chilling. It once again causes a surge of disbelief that this could happen in our country. I've mentioned these incidents out of untold thousands to help us to be reminded that we never know what a day will bring. My brother was in the process of moving the day he went down with this massive heart attack. He, no doubt, was occupied with much planning and dealing with details. This is why we must always be ready, not ready for the circumstance, but ready to meet the Lord. Why? Because we never know what a day will bring but we can know the one who does, and He can be relied upon, regardless of the storm or circumstance, as Jesus said, "Be of good cheer! It is I; Do not be afraid" Have a great Tuesday and may God bless us all! Amen. .....More later.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We're off and either running or on the run!

Here's where we are on my brother's status: He is still doing better than they expected but due to complications, perhaps from the resuscitation efforts, his rib cage may have damage, therefore, to help him breathe without so much effort they have returned him to the ventilator. The current plan would trend to a type of longer term rehabilitation, then heart surgery, and perhaps a return to some level of normalcy. This, of course, is being updated as we go and its not possible to really know at this time. So many have been so kind to ask, and to send their thoughts of support, and the many prayers are greatly appreciated.


Hello there. That's okay. You didn't have to go to so much trouble. Community will be fine, thanks. Not a bad way to get everything woke up and working, wouldn't you agree? Happy Monday on this August 30, 2010. As you know we've been rather busy lately but don't think for a moment I didn't take notice of the 67 degree morning we had last week. I do know how to drive down the road with the windows open. May we all breathe a sigh of relief in anticipation and hope that this little preview will usher in some more of the same, real soon, please! People with Type 2 Diabetes are now linked to an increased potential for Alzheimer's. According to a lady in the waiting room last week her mom has that disease but she called it All Timers. Before you jump the gun and say that explains a lot in my situation, it's actually even more serious because they say that 50% of Americans in the target age group are either pre-diabetic or are already dealing with Type 2. If Granny Mac had just used something other than that lard maybe things would be different. Just joking. I think the golden arches and all the other signs we could name most likely has more to do with this development than anything else. Yes I know. Just because they have them doesn't mean you have to go there and ingest it all. However, whenever you change the culture, add speed to everything in terms of running to and fro, blow out the economy, and create an environment where everyone feels they are always perpetually late, well, many folks tend to have what they see as little choice but to live out their days in a drive through lane. Like I have heard as far back as I can remember, "It's always something!"

In case you missed it last week, our country's economy is headed in the right direction. This is according to Vice President Biden. Am I the only one or do you also get the heebee jeebees every time this dude speaks? If he is supposed to be the cheerleader for getting us back on track, he more than most might just drive America back to her knees in prayer. By the way, I'm not one, and I would hope you are not also, who is cheering for our economy to continue to fail. I want our country to prosper. I want everyone who needs a job to have one. I want to see us return to stability and growth. Some who espouse conservatism as their mantra come across sometimes as promoting continued economic pain as a way of gaining political advantage. I hate that. Why? Because there are men, women, boys and girls suffering and they are in need of relief. When you begin to evaluate the connecting cascading impacts from the devaluation of our homes, the stress of long term unemployment, and the general malaise that grips our nation, its hard to fathom someone saying we are heading in the right direction. According to a cross section of polling, the American people, by a huge landslide, say they believe whatever is going on it is overwhelmingly in the wrong direction. I suppose we all need to wake up and smell the coffee or perhaps line up for our taste of the Kool Aid that causes people to say things like we're going in the right direction.

You can be sure that politics came up in the waiting room last week. For some reason the TV was set to FOX News even though 90% of those there were unlikely viewers of that channel. Something was said about a current hot topic issue and one fellow volunteered that he knew absolutely nothing about it, did not want to know about it, and had done his best to have no idea at all what was going on in the political realm. He said he worked hard to stay out of touch because all of it is such a downer. That reminds me of my children when we used to play hide and seek when they were very young. They felt like if they could not see you then you could not see them. The fact that this fellow was untouched by knowing anything about what is going on around him certainly does not mean he will end up being unseen or untouched by the ramifications that are at stake. This fellow obviously has not learned the lesson of the proverb: "He who hides his head in the sand usually gets kicked in the end." However, that is his choice and we do live in a country where we are free to make choices like that. Some regimes force people to not only be involved but to vote and when they do to vote a certain way or pay the consequences. Here, we can debate the elements of what makes a good citizen, but in the end, each person can make their own choice. I choose active engagement but that's just me. Is this a great country, or what? Yes it is my friends! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thanking God for His work on behalf of His own!

It is Friday, August 27, 2010 and no doubt many are standing in line to welcome its arrival. I've actually put in a fairly busy week here at my job while also doing my best to attend to and support my brother in his illness. He is making progress. Each person involved has their own opinions about what he recognizes and what he doesn't, but given the massive nature of his heart attack, the fact that the EMTs shocked him 5 different times with the defibrillator while working continuously for over 30 minutes before they got a heart rhythm, and given the dire predictions of the medical staff, I would say he's like a miracle man at the moment, even to be sitting up, breathing on his own, and able to mouth a few words now and then. He is still sick and he will need attention to his heart and perhaps some rehabilitation, but all in all, he has been given another shot, but it will be up to him what he does with it. Thanks for your prayers and support. It is greatly appreciated.

I will tell you this. Sixty four may be a tremendous golf score but its not as great when that's your age and you are trying to burn the candle at both ends. You will be proud to know that I actually slept in the morning I got to bed at 2 a.m. I didn't get to work until 6:50 a.m. Thanks for those who missed my insanely early blog posting. It's always good to know that people care. I well remember a spiritual mentor of mine, the late Dr. Havis McBryde and his take on sleep. He used to talk about folks being too tired to do anything for the Lord. He said when you get your priorities straight you find that sleep can be adjusted to whatever you desire to accomplish for the Lord. My grandfather pretty much practiced that bit of time management and I suppose I caught on to it as well. But, and that is a well placed 'but', it does begin to get a wee bit harder as the years roll on. Several people have told me this past week that I look tired. Maybe it is because I am tired. Hello? Yet, I am so thankful to have the strength to get up and go in order to do the things God has allowed me to do. I used to tell my guys at the big company that I had no interest in burning out because I preferred to burn up in my commitment to getting the job done. That sounds rather silly in retrospect but those who live by the sword and all that other stuff, know what I mean Vern?

I really haven't had time to inquire this week but how in the world are you doing anyway? Fine. Did you say fine? That, my friend, is the knee jerk response 90% of the time. But we've been conditioned to say 'fine' even though we often are not doing that well at all. Been there done that. I've been so low I couldn't see over my shoe laces and when asked how things were going. Fine! Part of the problem is that we all know that most of the time the person who asks is also doing a knee jerk question. They really don't want to hear anything other than fine, right? How do we know? Just unload a time or two and you will see the shock and awe that awaits you. Sure, that's not true with everyone and you and I, especially we who are believers should be aware that many times we are placed in situations where God would have us to minister to someone, perhaps unexpected to us, but never to Him. I've run into a few people who refused to answer the standard how ya doing because they said why should I tell you since I doubt seriously that you want to know or that you care. While that may sound rude, it often does reflect reality. But, we can work on it, and that's the good news. I well remember many of the training classes I sat through where the company was trying to get folks to balance concern and compassion versus the bottom line. Showing the right amount but not having it cost any time or effort is not only impossible but it leads to where most are today. Typically, very little concern or compassion. That approach is one of legalistic and uncaring platitudes and it has caused many to be soured on whether companies actually give a flip about those who labor on their behalf. Sad to think that you and I might come across this way as we go about our busy lives, do our busy stuff, while we busily try to to stay on top of our priorities. I had a friend once named George Farmer who had this heart for others so great that he would interrupt almost any activity, schedule, or work priority to help them out. Most people thought he was odd and maybe a little wacky. Many of the people he helped were street people and those down and out. Sounds scary doesn't it? Sounds a little like Jesus to me and it also serves to remind us all of the calling He has placed on our lives. Now this little sermon presents a challenging thought and it's a good way to end the work week and prepare us for our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Amen? Sure go ahead, a good hearty Amen will do you some good! Amen. ...............More later.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One second at a time, Lord, give us the grace we need to give you all honor and glory, for You and You alone are worthy!

It is Thursday, August 26, 2010 and we are still seeking God's best for my brother. It has been a rough and exhausting week, for him, and for us all. Yesterday he surprised everyone by trying to wake up and becoming somewhat alert. One doctor told me they never expected him to respond at all, much less to be as alert as he is. There's still great concern for his cognitive abilities and we will know more about that today. They tell us they have not seen much yet in the way of voluntary response but he did tear up when he saw my wife and I. The doctor confirmed this to be a very voluntary response. He has come light years in the last 24 hours and we thank everyone for their prayers and we thank God for His working among us. I can't help but remember our little family group growing up. He and I used to wrestle quite a bit and he was very bullheaded but I was older. We could fight forth and back but I had to make sure I didn't get him so provoked that he more or less lost control because then the fighting went from play to real, and I never cared that much for the real stuff. And, typically when it got to being real then my Mom stepped in and she and a bunch of plum tree switches pretty much settled any left over arguments. But, that's another story. My mom raised up a huge bunch of diverse kiddos. Everyone of us had our own unique approach to life. However, we did retain a fair amount of some prolific inherited traits, like stubbornness and determination. Our childhood had plenty of challenges and far too many tears, but on balance, it was also filled with love and a sense of joy that causes me to look back, remember, and smile. My Mom is a very remarkable woman and she literally gave her all to us children as she struggled with all the adversities that came her way. It's no wonder we all have such great respect for her today.

Families. They do have their own stories to tell, right? One large family this week up in the waiting room had some of the most interesting dialogue going on that I've heard in a while. The mom of the group said this one time: "Yeah, I always worried about that kid being right there with those pit bulls but never dreamed he would end up being hit by a car." Families. We all have experiences that stick out and we all have a common thread or condition. It's called the human condition. One thing is clear from spending time in an ICU waiting area: All people cry in much the same way when they hurt from the inside out and this has nothing to do with race, creed, or religion. Families also typically bond when faced with crisis moments and they hold hands, pray, and remember who they are as a family. Most, not all, look to God. My Mom said to me yesterday that while her heart was heavy she was confident that God was with her and she wondered how those who do not know Him can ever make it through these types of gut wrenching experiences. I've said in the past that I have been handed down a legacy of faith but not one in name only. It's a faith shaped by the fires of adversity and pain, but one that comes with living illustrations and testimonials. I've seen my folks call out to God and I've seen Him respond. My Mom once again reminded me that He is the only one we can turn to and I told her the good news is how that turning to Him is enough. Yes, I am reminded of another song: "Jesus is right for whatever is wrong in your life." Have a blessed day and may God bless each one. Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Evaluating one of PawPaw's favorite songs.

It is Wednesday, August 25, 2010 and I ask that everyone pray for wisdom and courage as today promises to be very difficult as decisions may have to be made concerning my brother. He did show a glimmer of positive response yesterday but this was only a tiny baby step in terms of his recovery. But any positive news is appreciated and we thank God as we anticipate that much more will be learned today. Thanks for your prayers and support. Those who have read my blog for any length of time know how many times I have referred to one of my grandfather Mac's favorite songs. I know he faced some legendary challenges throughout his sojourn here and he did so with a faith that we still talk about today. I'm beginning to perceive why the tears would roll off those rugged cheeks as he gently swayed to the words of this wonderful text: I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day. I don't borrow from its sunshine, For its skies may turn to gray. I don't worry about my future, For I know what Jesus said. And today He walks beside me For He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. I actually believe he not only loved this song, he actually lived it out as a testimony in his life. Some people think that people of faith whose first reaction is to seek God are somehow weak and looking for a way out of dealing with reality. I actually heard some of this being expressed in the ICU waiting area this week. This fellow was saying that too many people want to find reason by saying something about God and His will. My response: Exactly! I know it's much easier to sing the words to this song and I can do it by heart because I heard it growing up no telling how many times. But to walk by faith and not by sight is a scary thing to most of us because we must abandon ourselves into the all knowing care of our Savior. It is my prayer that through these difficult times we are going through that my grandfather's testimony would become a reality in my life, and the lives of all those involved.

Even in this situation we can see the blessing of God. How? The outpouring of love and support far and wide is a testimony that God is at work. The phone calls, emails, and prayers being offered up reflect upon the truth that we can access our Father's Throne Room through the blood of our Savior. What a blessing! The way our family always comes together during times of challenge is also encouraging and I believe something we can thank God for. I received a note from a nephew that spoke of what his Uncle Donald has meant to him over the years and how he was able to let him know this not too long ago. He then went on to say how much he respected and appreciated me. His words were way too kind about myself but it does tell us all that people make a difference. They count. This is God's design and we should not only thank Him but as my nephew said, we need to let others know because they have been used as instruments in our lives. That's a great reminder for us all and I pray that I'll heed it first in line, and that you will also. Maybe today would be a good day to call that someone you have wanted to speak to. Or, perhaps a card, letter, or even an email. Sure, we are busy, and that's not going to change anytime soon but given the briefness of time and the fact that we never know what a day will bring, there's no time like the present. Our family can feel your prayers and that too is a blessing from our God who cares. Have a great day and thanks. Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Many things in life are so unpredictable, but God is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever!

Good morning folks, it is Tuesday, August 24, 2010, and as most of you know, spending time at the hospital ICU waiting area does seem to get one a little out of sync. My brother Donald is still about the same. The doctors are trying not to give any false hope and while there are always times when people do respond in an unexpected and positive manner, he does face a steep uphill battle. Currently he is being assisted by the best machinery that medical science can provide. He is receiving excellent care and we will know more in the next couple of days about his ability to mount any kind of recovery from this attack. My mom and dad came over yesterday. Moms are moms from one to 99, and it was a very difficult but sweet time as my mom was able to see her baby boy for the first time since this attack took place. Mom has seen far too many of these types of bedside vigils but God has always given her strength and she continues to hold on to His unchanging hand, as well as reminding others that He is the only one who can help us in times like these. ICU places are places for tears. A place where memories flood into conversations. A place where families reconnect, share, and come to support each other and yes, often, to cry together. A place where stories are told and laughter can be heard as folks remember better times from the past. It's also a place where God visits, comforts, and brings a sense of His abiding care and love.

So many have responded with expressions of their caring and prayers for our family. Thanks to each one. We greatly appreciate it and know that God is still God, and we are seeking His will, not ours, as we continue this journey He has given to us. I will tell you I heard a book full of stories as I sat there for over 8 hours yesterday. Many of them were just flat out funny. Whether I will remember any of them or not remains to be seen and perhaps some of them might one day occupy space here on my blog, but one thing is sure, folks, this life is short for us all, and we would all do well to do our best each day to serve God faithfully, and to spread some joy and smiles as we go on our way. Thanks again for your prayers and I am closing with the words of a song I haven't heard in a coon's age, however long that is,....... "I need the prayers of those I love while traveling o'er life's rugged way - That I may true and faithful be and live for Jesus ever day - I want my friends to pray for me to bear my tempted soul above - And intercede with God for me, I need the prayers of those I love." Have a blessed Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Enough already with: UNEXPECTED!

Special Request: My brother, Donald, 61, suffered a massive heart attack yesterday afternoon. He is in extremely critical condition at a hospital over on the east side of our local area. His prognosis is not good. My mom is very broken up about this, and at 86, is somewhat frail herself. She and dad are on their way from Louisiana this morning to be with Donald. We ask for prayers for God's will for Donald and a special prayer for Mom and Donald's immediate family as we all work our way through this challenging situation. God knows best and we trust Him. Thanks.


I didn't get to bed this morning until nearly 2 a.m. from the hospital but I had worked on this blog some on Friday and over the weekend. I'm not 100% sure of what it has to offer, therefore, it may be rough in spots but good morning and welcome to today's version of getting our work week started on this Monday, August 23, 2010. I was thinking about how that the word unexpected has become one of, if not the most used, words in the current administration. Each week a new set of employment figures were unexpected to show such an increase. The budget gap widening was an unexpected development. The harsh response to the first lady's boondoggle trip to Spain was unexpected. The drastic drop in the polls for the President and his handling of the economy was unexpected. And, I could go on and on. If it is true, and I am not able to make a judgment, that we are living at a time when pound for pound, IQ for IQ, we have the most intelligent people ever to populate the executive branch, then one would be forced to wonder out loud, why so many stories with the lead line saying, 'unexpected'? Again, I can't weigh each person's credentials but you can look at the results of their actions. I have always conceded that they inherited a mess. Have they made it better or worse? I believe worse is the only answer a rational person could respond with, and even worse than that is the fact that much of the worseoffness wasn't expected. When I messed something up I would tell my grandfather that it was not what I intended to happen. He had a very clear and pertinent response: "What then, did you intend?" I would be even more concerned if the administration's answer is how they expected to see good but the unexpected bad was a surprise. This is a very dangerous time to be fooling around with surprises on a daily basis! Perhaps we have ushered in a new age of unexpectations.

Okay. So I used a couple of words that are not in the dictionary. (worseoffness and unexpectations) Big deal. I, at least, did it intentionally and I expected you to catch it, and I would be surprised if I found out that a larger number than expected didn't recognize them for what they are, made up words. See how these swirling winds of expectations can get us all in trouble? I fully appreciate how much easier it is to sit where I sit and criticize as opposed to being out there on the field making decisions that impact these critical issues. I also am very much willing to give President Obama credit for accomplishing major changes since taking office. These changes, however, have added to the growth of government at the expense of the private sector, (And, I hope everyone knows that it is the PRIVATE SECTOR that pays for government, not the other way round!), and when you squeeze those who actually pay the taxes you could at the same time squelch growth and development which is one of the major factors driving all the surprises that are unexpected each week. Don't you love it when I write in circles? It's almost like skywriting without the plane. Within all the word play, I think most of you are getting my view from here regarding all these issues. I try not to be a one dimensional character all the time, but when it comes to the historical facts as I see them regarding how we became the great nation God has allowed us to become, I will choose every time the individual and his or her potential to do great things, over the bumbling of a bloated government bureaucracy.

I wanted so much for another "b" word at the end of that last sentence but "boondoggling' just didn't seem to convey what I was trying to communicate. I hope you haven't tried to take all of this in without first sipping on your Community, because unlike last Friday where I struck a lighter note, I know this has been rather tough talk for a wake up call on a Monday. If one of those true blue liberals were to read my blog, I mean one of those who downed the Kool Aid full strength, and smoked that pipe filled with hopium and change, they likely would be incensed. They would do their best to rip me to shreds. How? Mainly by calling me names like racist, Klan member, or a hater of all things progressive. I can categorically tell you that I do not see myself as any of these, period. And, I would proffer the fact that I might even be able to show proof that I am not any of these. However, in the end, it is my opinion as I see it, and yes, I am concerned. Concerned enough to pray for those who are in authority including President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid. I pray for them that they would follow God's direction in their deliberations and they would seek His wisdom in every decision they make. Big prayer? Yes! But we serve a Big God and He can do any and all things! Amen. ......More later.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I am my own one liner joke factory!

Before we get to the regular stuff that occupies way more space than justified by the merit or validity of the writing, I wanted to share another photo from my 64th birthday victory lap. This is one of our gang who gathered up at Lake Conroe to enjoy a full day of feasting, fellowship, fishing, swimming, and feasting some more. What a day! Look at the folks in this photo. They reflect our heritage and we thank God for each one. Thanks again to everyone who went to so much trouble to make this a most special day for me.

Hello out there in blogger-world, it is Friday, August 20, 2010 and I'm going to try and keep it light today, if that's okay with you. That's not easy to do when we stop and smell the roses for even a few minutes in the difficult times we find ourselves in. But, it helps to keep your sense of humor or perhaps even to find one because we do need all the help we can get as we try to make sense out of our daily machinations. One of the best sources of funny stuff is very close to home. Yes. That means me and that means you. Some folks are so up tight they can never find anything funny about their own foibles. I have so much in my in-box that pertains to me, it's overflowing. Take for instance the other day when I parked in the garage at home. I almost never park in the garage because my side has left over stuff from our remodeling project. But my wife was at work and I eased my car into her slot. I could tell my old fliver, (coined to designate a cheaper model car, thought to have originated with the 1910 Model T Ford), did not know how to act being inside and all, but it was really hot and I thought it might do it some good to see how the other half lives. After a couple of hours I came out of the house into the garage and walked to the door and couldn't find my car. What had happened to it? It's always parked in the same spot. Someone must have taken it. Panic. Then, an overcoming sense of 'you have to be kidding'. Yeah. You guessed it. I was nearly leaning on it when all of this took place. Maybe that's why they voted me most likely to be the first to suffer from mental issues, but in reality I fooled them because I don't suffer from it, I actually enjoy it, especially when it gives me something to smile about. (Just joking. They didn't vote me that distinction. It was actually the cutest and the wittiest. Go figure!)

Dealing with people everyday gives insight into a variety of personalities. Some folks want it to be strictly business and nothing more, period, end of story. Fortunately, that's a small minority because I have some good fun with many of our customers, vendors, and of course, the folks I work with as well. I am often the fall guy and the butt of many of the jokes but I am always aware that it is not offensive, it is all just finding something to smile about. The guys here use me as their way of joking about management or in drawing distinctions between those down in the trenches versus those who mostly operate a chair at their desk. The kidding never interferes with getting the job done and I can assure you, we have a large number of very hard working folks on board here. I am a pointer. It's one of the ways I communicate. I do it almost unconsciously. The workers here have picked up on this trait and they love to engage me in a pointing match as I walk through our shop. I remember when I did the consulting project in Chicago a few years ago that one fellow took exception to my pointing. I was prone to walk up and greet someone with both hands and fingers pointed towards them. One day this manager asked me to please not do that because it appeared to be something akin to a hold up. He asked me if everyone from Texas went around sticking their fingers out like that. Now, how funny is that? See what I mean? Some folks take it and run with it, and like the fellows here, they turn it into a fun thing. While others, like the Chicago guy, read something entirely different into it, and miss out on an opportunity to smile.

Hey, you can even find some comedy on the local news broadcasts. I hear more and more people saying they never watch the news because it's just too depressing. What about the weather people? I told you about last Monday being so hot. Well, the local weather folks had been really down and out because we had not officially broken the century mark thus far. It had been well over 100 in several areas around but the only one that counts is the official weather station out at the big airport. Well, they got their wish last Monday and they were so happy, I thought cheerleaders might be soon coming out with their pom poms. While they were sighing great sighs of relief that we had finally hit that magic number, they missed entirely the huge thunderstorm that happened Monday afternoon late. I know some of you think I am too hard on the weather people and I might be, but they do offer an opportunity to smile as they tell you what happened last evening today but failed to mention it in their forecast yesterday. That to me tells us that they really don't know everything, and perhaps being too focused on breaking 100 might have distracted them from their radar screens. Anyway, find humor wherever and whenever you can. And, better yet, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, allow Him to be the source of your joy each day. Joy is not always laughter but what a great combination whenever you can exercise them both on the same day! Now that my friend is a blessing! Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and Lord willing I will get back to you on Monday with that other thing, whatever it turns out to be. May God bless. Amen. .......More later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baby, it's not cold outside, and I'm not sure when it will be!

Good Thursday morning on this August 19, 2010, I send greetings to all my friends and neighbors. It is time to wake up and enjoy another day where we look wistfully towards a coming attraction called the first major cold front and wonder if it will wait until the end of October this year. Please don't. On Monday we had a 102 degree day where the feel like was close to 115. I was off that day and went up to have lunch around 2 p.m. with my wife at the big mall where she works. Did you know it can be hot enough inside a car so that the A/C, working well, running on high, seems not to even be working? Talk about hot! To think that anyone could leave a child in their car even for even a few seconds in these temperatures is hard to imagine. But, sadly, it happens all too frequently, and even sadder, often with tragic results. I didn't make that up about looking forward to the first cold front. I actually observed some ladies talking about it on my wife's Facebook page. See, I'm not the only one. But, since they mentioned it, I will admit to having a dream here and there about the wonders of colder air. I have close personal Church friends who have worn out snow shovels growing up and their views on colder weather are quite different. I've never even had my hands on a snow shovel so I'll have to go with what you get growing up and living in mostly humid and uncomfortable heat. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate the differences in experiences but my oh my how I wish some of that Canadian air would swing its way down towards us.

It is hard not to get stirred up about the huge controversy over the proposal to build a Muslim place of worship near Ground Zero in New York City. Our President was technically correct when he said that all religions have the right to worship freely under our constitutional form of government. Technically correct. However, there are always considerations that must be weighed when great issues involving sensitivity are involved. How about the feelings of the families who lost their loved ones just two blocks from where this proposed building would be located? How about the fact that this location is in a commercial district where no Muslim families live? How about the fact that those who are planning this building have chosen September 11 as the date it will become functional? I realize that not all Muslims are radicalized but nearly 80% of the American people get it. They get the fact that this building could be put somewhere else. They get the fact that to the families of those murdered, these grounds hold sacred meaning. Hey, think about it. We live in a country that will hold up the building of a dam because of an endangered minnow, but we can't seem to come to grips with finding a resolution to what on the surface appears to be an unnecessary provocation that will only serve to add insult to injury to so many. Technically correct. And, by the way, let's hope our President, now having gone on the record to try and curry favor with the Muslims, will now stand up for ALL religions and their constitutional rights going forward. He has not shown this same commitment in the past when it has involved faith based Christian initiatives.

I had to give you my own little drive by analysis on that one but I fully realize and respect the differences of opinion that exist regarding this matter. Respect. Freedom of speech is a guaranteed right under our constitution. However, we are NOT permitted to use this freedom to go into a crowded theater and exercise this right by crying out FIRE! when there is no fire, causing a stampede and seeing folks maimed as a result. Sometimes restrictions are hardwired. At other times they are implied based on the circumstances and situations at hand. This is how I read the matter involving the building of the Mosque. Common sense has to be a component of the evaluation process. I happen to appreciate those arguments that say building this Mosque is a testimony to how that we as Americans are not like those who foment hate based on their religious views. Yet, even with that as a positive, I happen to believe there should be a reasonable and workable alternative. As for those who want to turn this into nothing more than a political advantage but actually may lack genuine concern for the issues involved, I have little respect for them as well. Too many pundits that push their candidates with whatever, and they really don't care much about what it is, just so it sells, those folks are way low on my respect list. But, in the end, my guess is that it will be erected because the city itself has granted all the permits and since that is the law that prevails here, I can't see it being stopped. It may well become an accomplishment of technical correctness while it could at the same time end up being a hotbed of anti-American fervor going forward. Okay, that's it for today. You are now free to unbuckle your seatbelts and walk freely within the cabin where you are entitled to form and hold your very own opinions. We can still do that! What a blessing! Amen? Amen! ......More later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Gift that keeps on Giving!

I am still trying to catch up with all that synchronization stuff required after you have missed a few days but while it may not be like riding a bicycle, it is getting there, and I am thankful for that. My immediate family went together and bought me one of those plug and play satellite radios. I have ten channels already programmed. The first one is OTR, Old Time Radio, then Southern Gospel, 1940's Big Band, 24 hour NASCAR talk, Conservative Talk Radio, CNN Radio, BBC News, Country Music Legends, Clean Family Comedy, and Classical Music. There are another couple hundred channels that I will be sampling over time but thus far I am tickled with this wonderful gift. I will now be able to further enlighten you with great information like why it is so hard to solve a red neck murder. The DNA is all the same and there are not now or have there ever been any dental records. I had another really good one but it has momentarily gone into hiding. What's that you say? You hope it stays hidden. How shocking! I'll take that into consideration but I cannot make you any promises. Thanks again to my wife, boys, and their families for this terrific gift and I do bid you all a good morning on this August 18, 2010, where it will be Wednesday all day long.

Oh yeah I remembered it. No groaning please. It had to do with the folks living way back when we had drive in movies. Some had inquired if anyone knew anything at all about a certain movie up on the marquee so they could decide whether to go see it. The title was: "Closed for Winter." No. Any thoughts about calling the satellite folks and trying to cancel my membership is way too premature. Maybe I will forget to remember these little quips going forward. I said maybe. It had been a while since I had heard one of the original episodes from the Hopalong Cassidy radio broadcast. This became a big hit back in the early 1950's. Those were the days when you could always tell the good guys from the bad guys and there was always a moral lesson from each episode. Hopalong Cassidy was a character created back in 1904. The original character starring in 28 novels was actually a hard drinking tough guy but in 1935 the character was changed to an all around good guy who fought crime and stood up for decency. An actor landed the leading role, William Boyd, and starred in 66 films that were immensely popular. He later voiced the role on radio and starred in the TV series. He became fabulously wealthy from the role but admitted there was little of the cowboy stuff that he could actually do. I have memories of the movies, the radio program, and the TV show and hearing an episode caused me to smile as well as to contemplate how really different kids programming has become today. We may have come a long way baby but when comparing then and now I can't help but wonder if maybe we've come to a place we wished we hadn't.

Being 64 is a little different. I've never been 64 before. Scanning through the obituaries each day makes me aware of how many there are that do not make it to 64. From time to time I notice someone who was much younger who have gone on to their reward. Often they have many accomplishments to their credit and to me it seems they died with so much potential left. Of course that's all in God's hands. This tells us that it's really not about the number of years because leaving your mark behind for something positive in the time you have is what life is all about. For those of us who profess Christ, we seek to honor Him with the days He has given to us. But, at 64, there are many regrets of what I could have, what I should have, what I would have, yet, far too often what I didn't and this leaves me often wondering about my own personal legacy. Not my wealth. I pretty much gave up on that some time ago. But, more on the order of that old song, "After I leave for worlds unknown, Over the borderline, Never again on earth to roam, What will I leave behind? Will I be missed by those I love, Or have I been unkind, And have I been true to God above, What will I leave behind? Leave behind, Oh leave behind, What will I leave behind? After I leave for worlds unknown, What will I leave behind?" That song has always been a sobering thought to me and even more so as I look back on 64 years. Too late to change so much but never too late to keep on keeping on, to get up each day and do what I can do with the time He extends to me. This past weekend made me to know that I'm handing down some of who I am, hopefully, it's mostly the good parts, right? That's what we all desire. Have a wonderful day and always remember to take care now, you hear? I just had to throw that in. May God bless. Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I read this one and it stuck with me: You can't pick your family but you sure can pick your nose!

You thought perhaps I would forget to remember to get back with you, right? No such luck my friend. As promised, here I am, it's Tuesday, August 17, 2010, and I sit here as a brand new 64 year old codger, slapping these keys around like I know what I am doing. How did it all go? I couldn't be more proud, hopefully, in the right pride way. In fact, thinking about it gives me this tingling feeling like I get when I hear our national anthem, God Bless America, or in hearing Scotland's unofficial national anthem, "Flower of Scotland", being sung at a rugby match against England. Stirring. Grabs your heart. Or, on second thought, now that I am 64, who knows what new tinglings I will be experiencing as I continue this journey. The photo is the 5 generations shot. On the couch from left to right is my wife, mom and dad, and yours truly. Standing left to right is our grand-son-in-law, our granddaughter, our bundle of Madelyn Joy, our daughter-in-law and our son Chris. Some were also taken of all 20 of us that were there and I will proudly share some of them with you when I receive emailed copies. I think everyone involved in my birthday victory lap have sealed memories that will be with them for the rest of their lives. And, I thank everyone for their expressions of love in recognizing me on my birthday. I received a number of cards, several special greetings, and a gift and presentation by my Bible study class. Having mom and dad with me was more than the icing on the cake, it was like being given some type of privileged honor. They spent a long day Saturday up at the lake and also treated the entire entourage to lunch on Sunday before making their 4 hour journey back home. I know this trip was not easy for them but their coming will always be a treasure to me. Now it is time to return to my own regular routine where I mostly make it up as I go. I learned a long time ago that working without a net can have its drawbacks but it sure does make it all more exciting. The photo is of Great Great Granny with our little bundle of Madelyn Joy.

Enough about all of my excitement, how in the world are you doing, anyway? Remember what I told you a few months ago? Having a job during a tough economy causes one to experience how difficult it is to live through a recession. But being unemployed with little prospects causes one to wonder how they will survive the depression. Nearly every day I hear about another job loss within our circle of associates, family, and extended Church family. I read the other day that for many older unemployed folks, taking early retirement and drawing their social security is the only lifeline they have left. This has to be gut wrenching. Many of these lost their 401k's in the crash and now, after having devoted themselves to a lifetime of work and playing by the rules, they now find themselves wondering how they will ever get by. Is that fair? Not really, but we could start a list of things that are unfair and by the time we all added our items it would be too long to read. Reality can be both ugly and painful. Most of us have evidence to prove this from our life experience. However, we are not without hope because God is still there to love us and help us in our time of need.

I read last week what a writer in Britain had to say about the death of Christianity in his country. He was overjoyed that this system of cruel and hateful nonsense was now officially now longer of any impact to daily life there. He went on to say that the handful of pitiful Churches left were so isolated and out of touch, they too would soon be only a bad memory. This writer can be thankful for one thing. I am not God. He would most likely be looking like yesterday's burned toast if I had anything to do with it. But, in reality, we all would be like that were if not for the grace and love of our Great God. Yes, He even loves that scoundrel who wrote that He doesn't even exist and who takes joy in seeing all recognition of Him being stamped out. Yet, God will also hold this fellow accountable for his actions and that will be between him and God. The writer went on to say he was looking forward to the next chapter in the story when America wakes up and follows Britain's example. Scary, but you and I who do know that God exists and that He is Sovereign, should be very much aware that the forces that were at work in Britain are alive and well here in our homeland. We must seek God and seek to be the people He would have us to be if we are to avoid such a hell damning calamity. During tough times faith is tried but God is faithful and we need to pray for one another and continue the fight He has given to us. I pray for all who are struggling that they would find God and His peace during these trying times. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birthday victory lap!

Today is Thursday, August 12, 2010, and I am so looking forward to Friday the 13th. I hear those superstitious groans but tomorrow I will be off for a four day hiatus. It will be a kind of four day victory lap for my birthday which is coming up next Monday. I was born in 46 and I will be 64 next Monday and I was 46 exactly eighteen years ago. No. I'm not trying to show my mathematical prowess. Does this insight into numerology make you begin hearing the theme music to the Twilight Zone? If not, maybe you will not be surprised to know that I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I've tried the 'grow out' more than several times and only had to supersize my wardrobe as a result. I do have some exciting news for those of you who actually read most of what I write. You also get a four day vacation! Who else do you know that passes out presents to celebrate their birthday? My next scheduled blog will be coming to a screen near you next Tuesday, August 17. Lord willing this is going to be a very special time for our family. My mom and dad are coming Saturday and our entire gang are planning a day of feasting and fellowship up on the lake, courtesy of our Rodney and his wife Mitzi. Five generations in the same place. This will mark a first for our little bundle of Madelyn Joy as she will finally get to meet her great greats! We are really excited about Mom and Dad coming. They have not been in our home for five years and let me just make it clear that I pause now to say, thank You Lord for this even being possible in my 64th year of sojourn here on the planet. Lord willing. That's right folks. Lord willing. This is exactly what we are instructed to pray as found in the letter written by James, Chapter 4, verses 13-15.

While I am away you can think about almost any and everything. I see where folks are lining up to get some financial settlement from British Petroleum due to the Gulf oil spill. Many of the claims are legitimate. Others I'm not so sure about. I heard a Cajun fellow being interviewed the other day who said he was seeking damages because BP had spoiled his vacation. He had purchased a little cabin near the Gulf on a bayou. The reporter asked if there was any oil around his cabin. He said no. The reporter asked had his access to his cabin been interfered with in any way. He said no. Why then was he claiming damages? Sadness. His cabin was supposed to be a place for happy retreat but all the communities around it are sad. The entire story is sad. It's a very sad situation. Therefore, he was not able to receive the joy he was expecting from his cabin. The reporter told him that things do happen in life. The man said he knew that but in this case he also knows who is responsible and he believes himself to be entitled to damages. I sure hope this guy doesn't get in front of folks who are near bankruptcy due to their loss of business. But, my understanding is there are literally thousands of claims just like this fellow's. I also heard the recently appointed payment czar say that he would consider claims from businesses from almost anywhere, even up on the east coast, if they can prove the loss of revenue because of not having seafood available from the Gulf region. I don't know about you but this sounds like to me it's going to be a huge potential for fraud but again, let's hope and pray the people who were truly damaged will get just compensation. Sad to say, but it's an American tradition for there to be twenty new passengers counted after the bus wreck who then get in line for payments.

My older buddy here at work recently told me a good one. He said he heard a sermon where the preacher was telling about a painter that came to do work at his house. The minister said the painter had some unusual words embroidered on his cap, "Get to." This puzzled the man of God and one day he stopped and chatted with the painter. "Sir, if I might ask, what is the meaning of the inscription on your cap?" The man was happy to share his story. "You see, brother, today I get to get up and go. I get to praise the Lord. I get to come to a place to work. I get to live in this great country." And, he went on and on about the things he is blessed to get to do. My buddy said he was very moved by this illustration and had talked to his wife about doing this same inscription for one of his hats. That's a great way for me to sign off today's blog in saying how privileged I feel in getting to share with all of you. If we think about it, this painter had the right perspective on living life with an appreciation of how blessed we really are. I leave you with a prayer that each of us will stop and think through all that God has allowed us to "Get to" do each day of our sojourn here. And now, I get to sign off and to say once again, Lord willing, I will 'get to' see you next Tuesday. May God bless us, one and all! Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let's agree to disagree, agreeably, but let's not call each other names!

Is it Wednesday already? I do believe it is, in fact, it's already August 11, 2010, and I bid you welcome to another one of our not so famous sessions where I pound out some characters and you read over them and then get to feel sympathy for those who have to be around me all day long. I would say I am trying to preserve some important style of writing but someone who knows a thimble full of facts would let everyone know that I actually am more defying any style, not trying to save one. But it is what it is and I've said before most of it comes spontaneously, therefore, you and I get to see it together. That doesn't mean I don't try to get the words spelled correctly and to do my best to make sure the sentences have some semblance of a connected thought. I do hear about it when I miss a word or when I say something that can be taken differently depending on how you read it. I love that about our language but it does become somewhat amusing as people express their concern over some little ditty I've written. Believe it or not, I do try to avoid any glaring misunderstandings because my desire is never to be mean spirited. However, I do realize that irony and sarcasm can be very tricky. Let's face it. We all come at life from different perspectives gained from different experiences and conclusions. I heard someone talking yesterday about how berserk some of her friends get when she criticizes the policies of our current President. She, like me, happens to think highly of President Obama as a person of distinction, as a husband and father, and for all he has accomplished at such a young age. But, she was lamenting how some of her friends question whether she is trending toward being racist when she strongly denounces his policies. See what I mean? I know exactly what she is talking about. Just because we disagree with something and are willing to say it, does not mean we are peddling hate. On the other hand, I respect those who see it differently. They can write their blogs and sing praises for all that's being done. I disagree with them but I don't believe they are black supremacists just because they support the President. We are different. And, I believe our differences, in and of themselves, are a part of what has made this country great.

Then we have those who are pretty much oblivious. They are like the proverbial monkeys that see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. While that may sound appealing to some, I can't imagine being wired where this would be my way of life. I do know we have an entire generation and maybe two now that are for the most part tuned out on anything that has to do with news and politics. Why is it that surveys show a growing number of younger Americans now get the majority of their news from a comedy show called The Daily Show? It's like those mock debates where comedic actors played President George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore that were done on Saturday Night Live. Did you know that a huge number of people formed their opinions about the candidates based on these comedic presentations? I loved those mock debates. I still watch them occasionally out on the internet. But, to think that anyone, I mean anyone, would watch these funny portrayals, and then make up their minds regarding something as critical as who should be President, it's mind boggling to me. However, this is where we are today, and perhaps this is how we got ourselves into the mess we are in, because these same people who watch a comedy show each day to get the news, and who make up their voting decisions based on skits, bought into a rhetoric filled campaign of hope and change. For those of us who evaluate it differently, we rejected it because the changes being promised were such that we believed, and now are seeing, how it destroys the very fabric of hope that has long characterized our country's great potential.

How is it that we should stand up for those principles that we believe were in fact inherited from Creator God? With a sense of courage and a pronounced under girding of humility. That's right folks. Humility. Not feigned condescension but a profound recognition of who we really are. I can't help but remember the account in the Bible about Moses, who is called wherever he is mentioned, the servant of God. What was it about Moses? How could anyone be strong enough to accomplish all that God called him to do? We gain insight into the kind of character that can be strong and courageous but also pleasing to God in something that is said by God about Moses. In Numbers 12, verse 3, it says: "(Now Moses was very humble, more than any man on the face of the earth)." I have read thousands of job want ads in my lifetime. I have also written and placed numerous ads in newspapers and periodicals. I have never seen humility or meekness listed as a major skill or characteristic being sought in a potential job candidate in any of them. Why? This is not what the world is looking for, and for the most part, it's not considered to be a very valuable attribute even among folks that should know better. Therefore, when we stand up to be counted on issues far and wide, we must see ourselves for who we are, and make sure our boldness is tempered with humility of spirit because that's what God would have us to be. Jesus sought forgiveness for those crucifying Him. (See Luke 23:34) Stephen, the first recorded martyr of the newly empowered Church, he also sought forgiveness for those raining down huge rocks upon him. (See Acts 7:60) Far too often we get caught up in the heat of the argument and our humbleness takes a back seat. We need God's help but it is worth seeking because the stakes or high and the need for men, women, boys and girls to stand up for thus says the word of the Lord is crucial if America is to fulfill its challenge of being one nation under God. The Apostle Peter said never fail to share the truth but make sure it is done with meekness and fear. (See 1st Peter 3:15) I had no idea where all of this was going but in the end I know I needed to read it and heed it. May God bless us all. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come on, give it a try, it will be medicine to your bones!

Have you have wondered about why things work the way they do? Yes, I am aware that thinking about things like this can stir you up at times, maybe even peeve you a little, but most of us can't help but wonder because we have to deal with it nearly every day. It's Tuesday, August 10, 2010 and I am in a mood of contemplation at the moment. Some of what we wonder about are the conundrums that confound us each day. Why does the sun lighten a person's hair but darken their skin? Why are women not able to put on mascara with their mouths closed? Why does the word abbreviated have to be so long? Why do they sterilize needles used for executions? Why have they never considered making the entire airplane out of the materials used to construct the indestructible 'black box'? How can they be absolutely sure their dog food has a new and improved flavor? Why do we give our money to someone to invest who is called a broker? Why is it you buy lemon juice and it has artificial flavoring but you can purchase a dish washing liquid made with real lemons? Here's a good one: Why is it we never see a headline saying a psychic has won the lottery?

Yes, folks, we do live in a world filled with great unanswered questions. Why is it that we tell people "we slept like a baby" when we all know that babies often wake up every two hours throughout the night? Why do we press even harder on the remote control knowing the batteries are dead? Is it true that married people do actually live longer or does it just seem that way? Why would people pay to go to a high lookout point but then use binoculars to see below? I believe both Goofy and Pluto are dogs, so why is it that Pluto has never learned to stand up and walk on two legs like Goofy? Wonder what illiterate folks do when they are eating alphabet soup? If Wylie Coyote could afford to buy all that stuff from Acme, why didn't he just buy himself a Road Runner dinner? Why do they make sure the pig is dead before they 'cure' it? Why is it that people are said to be 'in' a movie but 'on' TV? Why is it that we have 50 choices when naming a new Miss America but typically only 2 when we are choosing a President? Do employees at the Lipton Tea company ever get a coffee break? And, finally, one last one and it comes with an answer. Can you imagine why anyone would pay $2 or more for a bottle of Evian water? Evian spelled backwards is naive!

Okay. These questions are for the most part not original with me. I have some of my own but I decided to go with the ones that are supposed to bring a smile. Yeah I know, most of them didn't do much for me either but it beats worrying about all the other stuff that tends to drag us down, don't you agree? We are living in a time when just reading the headlines each day is enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. The other day I was feeling like the bad news brigade that goes 24x7 was causing me to feel a little down, so I called up the late Justin Wilson, the Cajun humorist and cooking guy, on YouTube, and watched him prepare some sausage and chicken gumbo. It was running in a small box on my computer as I continued to work but his funny anecdotes and stories, along with his very serious devotion to Cajun cooking was a very good 30 minute respite from all the wars and rumors of war that saturate the airwaves and internet connections today. Laughter is good medicine. How can we be sure? The One who made us said so. He did? Yes He did. He inspired this from Proverbs 17:22, "A merry (or cheerful) heart does good like medicine." This, of course, means wholesome things consistent with truth but it does tell us that we all need to take a time out and work on those smiling and laughing muscles because the frowns tend to be winning these days. As it relates to some of these questions that might not be your cup of tea, I go on record as not only denying the allegation but I also deny the alligator as well! Until next time, may God help us all to find a good reason to laugh out loud! Amen. ........More later.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This and that, and the other thing also!

Time to wake up and deal with it. It will not go away. Might as well slap some cold water on that face and grab hold of the life that has been given to you. How's that for some empty sayings to help get your attention? It is Monday, August 9, 2010 and I am doing my very best impression of someone who is bright eyed and busy tailed as I anticipate the day. One day last week I climbed into the company truck and the young fellow who had been driving it left the radio on a station playing RAP music. I did leave it on as long as I could. I did my best to figure out what was being said, sung, chanted, or whatever it is they were doing. I caught a word here and there and some of them surprised me that they were being played on the radio. I don't know what you get for trying but I did try. I looked up RAP as in music and found out it came from what was an African American genre of music where rhyming lyrics are chanted to a musical accompaniment. Wow! I could understand this when I read the definition but there's no way I could make sense out of it when I was trying to listen to it. One thing I did learn. Obviously it helps to have it loud enough to rattle the windows because that's how loud it was inside the truck. Let the record show that in my 63rd year here on the planet, soon to be my 64th, I, of somewhat sound mind and a less so body, did in fact do my best to engage the culture by attempting to listen to this calamitous noise that passes itself off as music. You Eminem fans need not write me because I even had to look up his name to use it and I'm not being critical, I'm just sharing The View From Here.

You hear it said all the time, be careful what you wish for. This saying reflects the thing we learn in life and that is how that regardless of what it is we purchase or achieve, work and strive for, there's typically always some issues that come with it. These are usually not seen before hand but they are there and it just takes time to have them make their presence known. I used to work with a guy that was fairly prosperous but his wife was always pushing him to move up, at work, and in upgrading his status. Therefore, they purchased a home in a neighborhood that was fairly exclusive. My friend did not have an exclusive bone in his body. He was accustomed to doing more or less what he wanted to do with his own property. This is not how it works when you have something called deed restrictions because they dictate what you can and cannot do. Well, he didn't follow the letter of the law and the entire situation became a disaster that cost him a lot of money to make things right, and this didn't include all the wailing and gnashing that went on with him, his wife, and the attorneys. They most likely did not think about all of this when they played that moving up tune from the old TV sitcom about a black family, The Jeffersons. This is a good object lesson for us all because Jesus told us that a life that counts for time and eternity does not define itself by the abundance of one's possessions. (See Luke 12:15)

But we've all been there and done that! Right? And, many of us are classic slow learners. That happens because of our condition. The human condition. Don't be alarmed because God tells us that He knows how weak we are from the inside out, but He says He pities us like a human father pities his children. (See Psalm 139, read it all, it's amazing!) When those of us who consider ourselves to be high mileage vehicles look in the mirror and remember some of our biggest blunders, it's good to know that Creator God loves and forgives. That's exactly what He said through the Apostle John in that small 1st letter he penned, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (Chapter 1, Verse 9) That's a great verse to remember when we get down and out about how often we have missed it. We say should have and could have but didn't, but He stands ready to welcome us back into that place of safety and rest, just like He did through the imagery of that returning prodigal as found in Luke's Gospel, Chapter 15. If you are a believer and have been made a child of the living God through the transforming power of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you are exactly that, a son or daughter of God Himself. Because of this unchangeable relationship, He showed Himself to be running out to embrace His wayward son. Now that's something we can get hold of that will help us to have a prosperous week in the Lord. I encourage us all to go for it! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy 12th Birthday to our twin granddaughters, Alesha and Amanda!

It's Friday, August 6, 2010, and time waits for no one but we all do our best to soldier on. I've always liked that 'soldier on' phraseology and I was looking for a good place to slip it in. I have been busier than a room full of rocking chairs chasing a long-tailed cat. I changed that one up a bit just to keep you on your toes. This busy stuff is okay but there are days when I leave knowing it might well be better suited to a younger dude. I know. I'm still trying to kick the 'dude' deal but since I don't know where or how it started, it has been rather difficult to deal with. You know that old adage, new habits are hard to break. Okay. So I turned that one around also. What's up with me today? I seem to be doing everything backwards. But back to the busy stuff. I can well remember where I thought too much on my plate was a cake walk. Plates and cakes, now I've kicked in the food factor and it's causing my focus to blur a little. At any rate, running in all directions at the same time inside a pressure cooker environment is slightly more difficult than it used to be. Don't ever think I'm not up to it but the end results are tangible as I fall into bed at night. But as Paw Paw Mac used to say, "Stay at it all day and you will not have trouble sleeping." The sleeping part I like, the staying at it all day is where I'm having some challenges. But, given the situation in our country today, I am so very thankful to be able to have a place to go every day, and make a contribution, and see productive things accomplished. This is a blessing.

Today is our twin granddaughter's birthday. They are now 12 years young. These two girls have been bringing joy to their MiMi and Poppy for their entire lives. They are twins but you would never recognize it by being around them. Alesha is blond. Amanda is brunette. Alesha is thin. Amanda is not. Alesha has her interests. Amanda has hers and while they share some, both move pretty much in different circles. One thing they have in common is in being just what you would expect pre-teens to be. They love coming to our house and we love having them come. Amanda likes to sit in the recliner and watch reruns of ICarly for the 100th time. Alesha watches the same program while doing cart wheels on the rug. They both enjoy singing in the school choir as well as at Church. They both are beginning to comment on that subject that Poppy dreads hearing about: BOYS. God has been good to provide us the opportunity to have these lovely girls in our lives. They are special. They are our grand kids and we thank God for them. I say a special happy birthday to them along with sending a pray that God will bless and keep you both. Enjoy your very special day, Alesha (eldest by a few minutes), and Amanda! Love, MiMi and Poppy.

Watching our children's children grow older and watching our Chris smother with adoration his little granddaughter, our great and grand bundle of Madelyn Joy, reminds us of how time slips away. Chris also reminds me of another fellow I remember who smothered with love his first grandchild. Her name is Tiffany, mother of our bundle of Madelyn Joy, and I was that fellow. Life does have many mirrors that reflect back images that will always be special to us. My wife tells me that I must feel odd or maybe even a little jealous over how Madelyn Joy is so attached to her grandfather and not so keen on her great grand. She says this because she knows how much I love the little ones. But I really don't have a problem with any of it because this is not only how it was with me, it's the way it should be. The cycle continues and God has blessed us with a huge and beautiful variety of some of the most lovely grand children anyone could hope for. We are thankful for each one and we pray for them all, everyone of them, by name, every single day, along with their parents. These children are our heritage and we seek to influence them in a way that will cause them to look up to their heavenly Father who loves them perfectly. I do hope you have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Know that somewhere in that fuzzy gray matter inside my head I will be stirring up something for our next time together. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen. .......More later.