Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go Brady Go!

Brady at bat!
When it is the last day of the month, Thursday, September 30, 2010, and as I sit around playing spin the wheel with my gray cells, and suddenly I remember from the old Ted Mack Amateur Hour, that where it stops no one knows, but today it landed on a subject I always have an abundance to write about because it's filled up with stuff about my family, my children, grandchildren, and my great granddaughter. This week I have been forth and back a few times with our youngest son, Rodney, talking about his little shadow, Brady. Brady is the baby boy and only little boy in their family, four years old and he is a remarkable little dude. Rambunctious? Check. Boisterous? Check. Funny as all get out? Check. Stubborn? Check. Like father, like son? Check. Like grandfather, like grandson? Maybe. A Sweetheart? You betcha! We still call him Bray-Bray even knowing that this nickname has mostly run its course. Sometimes when I am talking to Rodney I keep thinking about all the times I either overreacted or mishandled stuff when he was a kid. I always tell Rodney that one of the main things to remember is that Brady is only 4 years old. Monday night they started T-Ball. There were some concerns that Brady might just like to be a designated hitter only, a position they don't have, because whacking the ball is what he really enjoys. But, as it turns out, he got into the flow of things and pretty soon found that when he fielded and threw the ball that was pretty neat also. One thing about Brady you have to love. Whatever he does, whether it is him being Spiderman or The Hulk, or him swimming, or doing other activities, if it is something he enjoys, he shows up with his 100%, every time, period, end of story. Go Brady Go!

Brady the Builder!
As they grow older it's not that I don't have a lot to say about them, it's mostly that I no longer understand them. It's just when they get to that teenager stage, well, all bets are off, as they begin that awkward phase of their lives. I'm thankful that I still have a great connection to Jimmy Jr. who will be 14 in December. The girls when they start all that girl talk stuff pretty much begin to leave their Poppy as they migrate more and more to their MiMi. When we look over our large group we see God's hand of blessing on our heritage. We see potential. We see talent. We see the next generation that we desire to pass down the faith we hold and that was also held by our parents, and their parents. We have all ages thrown into the mix, therefore, it's always exciting to be around our gatherings. Some are talking college. Others are texting like there's no tomorrow. The little ones are chasing each other up and down the stairs. You might hear about the upcoming next release of Halo the combat game, or you can still hear some Barbie stories as well. One or two are likely looking at their watches because they are due to meet friends at the movies or some other planned activity. Chaotic? Yes, but in a most terrific way! Conversations going ninety to nothing all around and computer screens flashing while Phineas and Ferb do their thing on TV, but somewhere in all of this is that place of connection, that place we call home, it's our family, and we thank God for each and everyone! Amen.

Brady the cowboy!
I do my best to pray for every single one of them each and every day, along with their parents as well. Believe me folks we all stand in need of prayer as we seek to make our way through this life. There's power in prayer. I remember the testimony of my grandparents. My granddad was a deacon in the local fellowship where I grew up. He was a man whose word was his bond. He was faithful in his duties to the members. He was one of those you would always see in his place each time the services were held. I know. I tagged along with him many many times. My grandmother used to pray that all of her children would be faithful to the Lord and faithful in serving in a local Church. It is my belief that my grandfather's example along with my grandmother's prayer saw that very prayer answered. My granddad did not live to see all of them back in Church but my grandmother did! God is good folks and He can always be counted on to hear and answer our prayers. We pray for all these that God has blessed us with, we do pray for their physical well being and that they will be able to prosper in their chosen career fields. But more than anything else, we pray for their spiritual life because we know this is an eternal matter with eternal rewards. Sure, I am aware of the anguished look people have when folks begin talking to them about their grandchildren. However, my observation is that it typically doesn't do too much to curtail the sharing. As you can see, our little Brady wears many hats, and we are thankful to God for him. Amen. Go Brady Go!          ......More later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I draw a line in the sand. It's called 1910?

Yes, take a deep breath, exhale, and relax for a minute because you did make it to the middle day of the week and it is Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Yesterday morning I arrived at work at my regular early time and looked up the temp and it was 50 degrees. Now that's what I call a down payment on better things to come. There have been some very quiet Texan fans since the Cowboys pretty much made mincemeat out of their team last Sunday. I can remember when I was among those who would have been in mourning. While I enjoy it in passing I no longer lose sleep over sporting events. Some of those we know who had posted such outlandish comments on Facebook before the game, they may still be in hiding for all I know. I heard one committed optimist call in on a sports radio program and talk about how this was a good loss for the Texans. They have gotten it out of the way, learned something about their weaknesses, and in the process they've done away with any cockiness that may have held them back later. Now there's a fellow who is looking on the bright side! He likely enjoys wearing those rose colored glasses. And, for the professional local commentator who predicted a 16 and 0 season for the Texans, well, if I were him I wouldn't be expecting any calls from Vegas to help them set the odds for the rest of the season. Many people paid $500 or more for a $50 ticket from scalpers and some even paid handsomely for what turned out to be fake tickets.That hype stuff leading up to a game sure works like magic because my guess is that many who felt compelled to get in at any price certainly could have used their money on something more productive for themselves and their families.

Then occasionally you run into someone and they plead ignorant to even knowing about the game. They hear you talking about it and ask who won. You tell them it was a big story. Obviously not to them. I heard one lady say the other day that she almost never watches television at all because she reads as much as she can every single day. She likes historically based novels but only those that date from the 1800's to 1910. She was very specific. She has no interest in anything written that covers the time period after 1910. I haven't had a chance to ask her about this. 1910? It sounds like a strange cut off date to me. I looked up 1910 and there's nothing that really leaps out at you. Henry Ford sold 10,000 automobiles that year. In May, Halley's Comet was visible from earth. It was also the year of the first aviation flight for the purpose of carrying commercial freight. It was also the year the Catholic Church established an oath against modernism which had to be sworn to by all levels of clergy. Maybe the dawn of modernism, whatever definition one supplies, is why she was intent on being emphatic. It just goes to show us that we all are different. Some tune in to what's happening and some choose to tune out. The other day I took this online Pew Foundation quiz on current political trivia and got all eleven questions answered correctly. I asked the ladies here in the office a few of them and they were clueless. Whose better off?

We are all different and strange in our own uniquely strange way. Oh, you don't have any quirks? I bet you do just like the rest of us. Why? Because you and I and everyone who has ever breathed air on the planet suffer from the exact same condition. It's called the human condition. I've had folks who sneer a little regarding my intelligence when they learn that I watch NASCAR. I may have done my own bit of sneering when I found out they had purchased one of those outlandishly expensive tickets to go out and watch their team embarrass themselves on the field. Different. You may feel good about paying $5 or more for one of those doctored up coffees from the specialty shop while I sit and feel slightly superior as I sip my extra strong hot and black home dripped brew. Different. You may be one of those who enjoy standing in line for four hours to join with 50,000 other folks to end up sitting 1/4 mile away from the country music star you love. That one just knocks me down. To think that anyone would go to a stadium and end up watching the act on a huge TV screen because they are too far away from them to actually see them is hard for me to grasp. On the other hand, they might wonder about me as I recently sat and enjoyed seeing a TV program featuring a full symphonic orchestra playing 1940's big band music. Different. However, within our differences we all end up in that same human condition which causes us to equally share a common need: that being a relationship with our Creator God. Once we respond and embrace Him through His provision of a Savior, we become one in Christ, brothers and sisters, as well as heirs of Almighty God. This does not erase our differences but our connectedness in Christ trumps all else. We are able to then love one another, accept one other, and work together to show forth the glory of our Great God! And we can even learn to endure the jabs that come our way, even from a grandchild when she asks, "Poppy, are those drivers still turning left?" Have a great day and may God bless one and all. Amen.              ......More later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Half empty or half full? We all need to have a full measure of God's grace and power!

Please don't adjust your set or change your radio dial. It is only yours truly coming to you once again from the wonderful world of Bloggerville where folks can pretty much lay it all out there. Welcome to Tuesday, September 28, 2010. I know most, at least most of those on my distribution list, are enjoying the cool breeze each morning. There is something invigorating about the welcome relief of some cooler air. Yesterday's blog was borderline preachy and at times I'm tempted to hit the delete button and start over. However, I do know at the end of the day, (a phrase that supposedly people hate because of its over use), it ends up being what it is, nothing more, nothing less, that being one person's viewpoints expressed on a particular day. I do worry some at times about the half-full or half-empty flavor of how I might come across. I hate being classified. Folks want to know if you are optimistic or pessimistic. I tend to think I come from a line of shirt sleeve realists who got up every day and went about their business, one day at a time, one challenge at a time, and did so with a legacy that showed while they were not able to dictate what each day might bring, they did what they did knowing the One who holds all things together. I can remember a pastor who once went on a campaign to eliminate any and all things negative in the services. He even extended that into his presentation of the Bible, God's Holy Word. To me this was lunacy. Why? Because God created us and He had perfect insight into why, in our fallen condition,  we needed to be told "You shall not!"

To me, speaking the truth in love is very much what we need today. I am well aware of how contagious a gloom and doom attitude can be. I've known people that pretty much lived every day waiting for the proverbial safe to fall from a building and land on top of their head. Some folks bring their own black cloud with them everywhere they go. Many tend to cultivate their lives based on finding fault with others. I've had folks that worked for me that no matter how they prospered or were recognized, they tended to find something negative in each situation. A thankful heart will go a long way in changing our disposition. For those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we should be overflowing with gratitude. That old song that tells us to count our blessings is an excellent way for us to become grateful. Because when we see ourselves for who we really are and then meditate on the love God extended to us through the sending of His one and only Son to save us, now that gives us something to be thankful for each and every moment of each and every day. The Apostle Paul instructed the impoverished believers in the local fellowship at Philippi to focus their thinking in this way: "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

I suppose I can grab hold of those words pretty well until Paul uses himself as an example for them to follow. Ouch! It reminds me of how as a young dad I often would portray the do as I say as opposed to the do as I do type of instruction. That old public service commercial comes to mind. The one where the the young boy is following his dad and when his dad throws down his cigarette, the little guy picks it up. The old preachers used to say that each individual may be the only Bible that some people will ever read. Then they would bring home their point: "What are they reading from your approach to life?" Ouch again. I think it good for us all to know there is a rub off effect from how we interact with others, at home, at work, and wherever we go. How is it that we could ever hope to be the message bearer that shines forth a lifestyle of faith, hope, and love? Only when we recognize that in and of ourselves, it will not be happening. We need an infusion of God's grace and power to enable us to be all that He would have us to be, and, we need it each and every day as we go about the doing of the life He has given to us. Recognizing our blessings and seeing how that what we do impacts those around us is a great place to start. Desiring to make a difference and seeking God's help in doing so is the first step towards becoming a Bible read by others where they hear God speaking to them. That, my friend, is quite a ministry, and it's the ministry we all are called to, as those who go forth representing our Savior! Amen. Yes, you are right. Sounds like I needed that!                   ......More later.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do we deserve the best government money can buy?

Nothing like a good cup of that strong brewed java to get your day started. Even the little kids have picked up on the hopes and dreams of us all for a few breaths of fresh air. Folks from other parts of our country must think us all to be rather silly as we obsess over something as incidental as the first real cold front of the fall. On the other hand, there are some who are already breaking out their sweaters and jackets. They remind me of what my grandfather used to ask me when I was shivering on the deer stand, "Son, what are you going to do when it really gets cold?" But we find ourselves here and it's Monday, September 27, 2010, and I bid you a warm welcome into the 'slow men working' zone of my thoughts and ideas. I read the other day about the lady running for Governor of California having already spent $100 million dollars of her own money on her campaign. Now that's wanting to serve really bad, don't you think? And, things are continuing to heat up with less than 40 days until the election, therefore, I am certain she as well as all the others will be spending like there's no tomorrow between now and then. Part of the spending will be directed to trying to convince voters that these mega wealthy candidates are really, at heart, just like the rest of us. I don't begrudge folks of the success they have achieved but let's face it, many, if not most of these people have little in common with the average bloke that gets up every day and struggles just to make it. But as they say, this is America, and we are entitled to best government money can buy.

No. I didn't get up on the wrong side of the bed and no, I am not wearing my cynical cap today. The political climate in our country at the moment would try the patience of Job, as they say back home. There are some very good groups who independently check out the claims made in political ads and speeches for all candidates. There's one in particular that I like and it rates eye catching statements based on their truthfulness. They use true, half-true, false, and pants on fire, to designate the veracity or lack thereof in all the campaign fodder that's flying everywhere around us. The President is not immune from these fact checking efforts. One of the things often said is how he has never quit the campaign to be President but continues to run instead of becoming the leader and statesman we need at this time in our history. Many of his statements end up not passing the smell test because of facts conveniently left out or using word games that end up with something other than a true representation of the situation. This is why in general people sour on our political system. One of the things I hear often from the President's supporters when he is challenged has to do with him not being any worse than some other noted President whose words were often deemed to be misleading. That's a pretty sad commentary on where we have been, where we are, and for the most part, unless the Lord intervenes, where we will be, pretty much regardless of who it is that occupies the Oval Office.

I know. There are many out there chomping at the bit to land someone new into that great office. They believe if only this or that person can become our leader then things will change for the better. While I agree that a change is needed and because of philosophical differences I would support someone other than our current President, this does not mean the system itself will change, and folks, it is a thoroughly corrupt system at this time. Don't get me wrong. I thank God for our country. I thank God for the good He has allowed us to do here at home and abroad. I thank God for the values that still hang by a thread that differentiates us from most of the world. But I also take seriously the fact that God has been clear in no uncertain terms that nations that fail to embrace Him are destined to fail. We are living at a time when America is fast becoming a nation that has turned her back on the God who providentially brought her into existence. It can be seen in every aspect of our society. This is not just my opinion. Many great Bible teachers have observed how our country has met each of the categorical denials of God as listed by the Apostle Paul in Romans Chapter 1. What can be done? Is it hopeless? I don't think so. But we do need revival in the land. We need revival for ourselves because a return to God is not for the other guy, it begins with you and me. No. I will not run and hide and I will continue to participate in the process because that is our God ordained duty. At the same time, I will seek God on behalf of our nation that He might stir us once again to follow Him, and that we will return to being that great light to the world emanating from that great city set high on a hill. May God bless America and may God bless you and yours. Amen.                   .....More later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

All out of breath waiting to take in some cooler air that reportedly is headed out way!

Update on my brother: He has had another eventful week with the development of a blood clot in one of his legs. He underwent a surgical procedure yesterday to implant a filter to help break up the clot if it were to move. He also has been moved back to the long term acute care facility. He is off the respirator and stable. One of the things I have noticed is the dedication and professionalism of many of the people attending to him. I told one lady last Saturday that while I knew it was a job, I could tell she had a calling to do what she was doing by the way she was doing it. I do thank God for folks who engage in the work of helping those who cannot help themselves. Thanks for your prayers.
You did show up again. Good to see you. I do hope all is well. It is Friday, September 24, 2010 and they are promising some cooler weather coming up over the next few days. I will be most happy when they change out cooler to colder but in the meantime, we will take it, because to tell the truth it's been a rather long muggy season here. You say that's the way it is every year? I didn't say it wasn't but I also say the same thing every year about how I can hardly wait for the colder weather. I know. I am so predictable. Surely we wouldn't carry 90 degree plus temps into October, would we? People who are anticipating a move into this area might need to read the Wikipedia article on our climate. It opens by saying ours is a humid subtropical environment. It goes on to mention our exposure to flooding, hurricanes, and intense thunderstorms. That's all in the first paragraph. I'm glad they didn't include the traffic situation or folks would be high tailing it in the other direction. With all the crowding, that might not be such a bad idea. I would throw out to you that while there may be other places that have more moderate climate characteristics, typically, everywhere you go, they all come with their own set of issues. I once transferred a fellow to the Los Angeles area and he fell in love with the weather conditions there. However, within a few months he had experienced a sizable earthquake and had also seen the destruction brought on by wildfires. They tell me that in California even the little kids list 'the big one' as their number one fear. See what I mean? We live in a world where there's much groaning. Groaning from folks hurting, and groaning as those tectonic plates rub against each other along with the other climatic forces making their voices heard. My advice is to trust in God every day and take advantage of wherever you happen to be by doing what the old song says: "Brighten the corner where you are! Brighten the corner where you are! Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar; Brighten the corner where you are!"

Yesterday my wife sent me a note saying she needed to take in some of that breakfast of champions I wrote about. One thing should be clear by now. That is how that yours truly typically writes about issues, needs, and other details that reflect his own personal journey. Therefore, who would you suggest needed to hear about the breakfast of champions sermon more than anyone else? You got it right on the first guess: Me, myself and I. I also know that if I need to be encouraged and built up, it's likely that others do also. That famous example applies. The one that explains how that sharing the Gospel is nothing more than one beggar telling another beggar where he or she found bread. I've recently been very involved with some folks that come at life without any spiritual foundation. They get up every day and go about their business based on their way of seeing things. Those of us who seek God to help make our way each day rightfully see things differently. How could we expect them to see it our way? We are not better than they are because of our recognition of God, we are just different, and when we recognize this, perhaps we can do our best to reflect with love and respect how that God is the Reason for this difference. I heard a preacher say the other day that folks needed to see the Bible as much as they needed to hear the Bible. The Bible can be seen by others when we do our living God's way.

I know that old age is no longer slipping up on me. It overtook me some time ago but there are some benefits. People want to help me more. I notice they say sir more often to me. And, there are times when some actually want to know my advice on a particular subject. I can still hear pretty well but I'm sure having it falter some is a coming attraction. Then I will get to be a part of this joke. Three old dudes were out playing golf. The first one said, "It's windy, isn't it?" The second replied, "No, I think it's Thursday." The last one joined in, "Yeah, me too, let's go get some iced tea!" Racing legend Mario Andretti retired from auto racing a number of years ago. They say he called it quits after he was accused of leaving the left turn signal on for the entire race. Here's a few bumper stickers for me to consider: Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional; Enjoy life, it comes with an expiration date; I'm speeding because I have to get there before I forget where I am going; YOUNG AT HEART, slightly older in other places; Fishmore and Dolittle, retirement planning consultants; and, FLORIDA, God's waiting room. We now move on. Tomorrow is Saturday and I do hope you enjoy it. Then we have our Lord's Day Sunday and I highly recommend that we all show up at the location where God's people meet because He has promised to be there too! That's something I do not want to miss out on! Amen. ......More later.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Have you had your breakfast for champions today?

I'm feeling a little like the last guy to stumble through the finish line at the end of the marathon, but how are you anyway on this Thursday, September 23, 2010? They used an expression when I was growing up to illustrate when you are more or less spent by saying how you felt like you had been pulled through a rat hole backwards. I can typically tell when I have switched fuel tanks only to find all of them empty. Some might think I am studying to play Grumpy in an upcoming production. It's one of those situations where your mind keeps saying yes but your body keeps threatening to boycott the program. I got caught in rush hour traffic the other day in our company truck that has a stiff standard transmission and let me tell you something, I did some shifting that day! When I climbed out of the truck my hips were humming, "Nobody's seen the trouble I've seen!" I told my dear pastor friend, Bro. Kim, the other night that I needed some of that breakfast for champions that Dr. Adrian Rogers used to preach about. The late Dr. Rogers is one of the greatest radio bible preachers I've ever listened to. One of my favorite sermons is his about how that Caleb and Joshua gave a good report for victory when they had spied out the promised land. Their ten comrades had given a contrary report of how dangerous and impossible it would be for them to take the land. They complained that the Anakim (a race of giants) lived there, to which Caleb and Joshua replied that the Anakim would be bread for them. That was the title of Bro. Rogers' sermon, "Anakim, Breakfast of Champions." You can read all about this in the Old Testament Book of Numbers Chapter 14. We all have some of those pesky Anakim that challenge us each day but with God's help we can persevere and gain the victory. Would someone please send this message to my humming hips?

I guess the good news coming from Washington this week is the report from a recognized panel of experts declaring that the recession officially ended in June of 2009. I've gone on and on in the past how that economists and weather people should join together since they dabble in a strange world where their pronouncements and their projections are often way off. Even the President admitted that while the recession may have technically ended, it continues to be a depression for many Americans. And, folks, that's not a feels like depression for so many, it is a serious issue faced every day as people attempt to provide for themselves and their families. I've never blamed this current administration for the huge economic problems they inherited. However, if you are elected to do something about the problems the nation faces, well, you have to show that you have at the least improved the situation. This is where I see a disconnect of huge proportions. Recovery summer was supposed to be a campaign celebration led by Vice President Biden to tout all their wonderful accomplishments but due to the continuing collapse of the economic well being of our nation, rightly interpreted by the majority of Americans as failure, not success, they have had to change it to a stop the bleeding campaign instead. This leads inquiring minds to wonder just how much of our red ink was spent on the canceled promotional campaign designed to convince us that things are great instead of the lousy most folks are seeing. I will tell you this. If you are able to make it during these difficult times, thank God. If you are able to help those who are struggling, do it, and thank God you are able to do so. Amen.

The other evening in our inner city Bible club lesson, I was struck by the simplicity of the message. The theme for this year is how that God created each of us with purpose. As we teach these little ones I am reminded that we too, yes, all of us, need to receive the Word as children because that's who we are, children of the living God! In fact, I had it wrong for a long time about a concept of growth to maturity in our faith walk. The Bible talks about believers growing and eventually becoming fruit bearing mature saints. However, we sometimes get the idea this means outgrowing the simplicity of truth that feeds us as the 'children' that we are. Here's what the Apostle Peter said, "As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word." (1st Peter Chapter 2, Verse 2) I used to think this verse applied to new believers only because they are called new babes in Christ. This is so wrong. Peter is saying that if we are to be victorious in our life we must develop a desire to be fed from the Word of God. How is this desire described? Like a hungry newborn desperately seeking milk to satisfy his need! Some of the simplest of illustrations used in our Bible club have become reminders to me about my need to hunger and thirst for the sincere milk of the Word. Okay. That's it for today. Don't forget to get you some of that breakfast for champions because you will need it to deal with the giants that are out there waiting for you. Amen. .......More later.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I know it was true because I was the one doing it but telling it still makes it seem impossible!

Welcome to Wednesday. It's September 22, 2010. I used to be a huge football fan and I do still keep up with it quite a bit. We live in Texan Territory and folks are going bonkers just two games into a long season. I will admit to calling my son from the Church property Sunday night to get the final score. I told someone it's always good to know what kind of mood everyone will be in come Monday morning. A sports team can impact an entire workforce? You betcha! On my way home from Church I picked up some of the radio commentary coming out of the post game show. One of the hosts said he had looked through the schedule and he wanted to be first in line to say the Texans just might go 16 and 0 this year. I nearly swerved off the road. I'm not saying it wasn't a great win but come on now, give me a break. Next week sets up the in-state rivalry between the Texans and the Cowboys to be played here in our area. We have many Cowboy fans living among us. The phone lines to the sports shows will be melting this week. There will be name calling of the worst sort. There will be over the top predictions that will stun even the most astute. The total cost in terms of productivity versus the feel good may be hard to estimate but it should be at the least very interesting. After Sunday's poor showing by the Cowboys, here's a headline from the Dallas Morning News: "Overhyped Cowboys headed for disaster; offense a joke." Ouch! Maybe they should get Jessica Simpson back into the fold. Anything is better than what they have going for them at the moment. I don't know what the odds open at this morning on Wade Phillips' tenure as their head coach, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear about owner Jerry Jones quoting one of Wade's dad's (Bum) famous lines, "It's my way or the Trailways!" And, in this case, perhaps said with a bus ticket in hand.

Everyone who reads my blog knows how I love to tell stories on myself. I have one to share that is even incredible to me. Last Saturday evening I was playing dodge ball out on the freeways trying to get home for Alexander Benjamin's birthday celebration. I called my wife and told her I would take care of ordering the pizza and would run by and get it on my way home. I called the pizza place. I had memorized the number. Right? The last four digits were 2424. I called the number and it was a bad connection but I heard the young lady say pizza. I started the order and she kept interrupting me. I told her that I had been making this same order for at least the last 18 months typically every other week. I told her they had always been $10 for any size and any toppings. She said they didn't have anything like that. I told her she had better check with someone and do it quickly. She laid the phone down and I could hear her telling the manager that I swore that I had been getting these pizzas just like this for $10 each, every time I called. She came back to the phone and said they had to price out the toppings separately. I said absolutely not. She went back and finally returned and with a seemingly exhausted voice reported, "How about $25 for the three of them plus tax?" I told her that would be great and that I would see her shortly. I arrived at my regular pizza place and asked for my order. They had no order under my name. I told them it wasn't surprising given the lady I had talked to. They asked what number I had called. I told them the same one I always call, 2424. They said that certainly wasn't their number or any other of their stores that they knew of. (It was pretty close, 9595, I'm sure you can see how any almost sane person could get 2424 out of that, right?) I had them make my pizzas and called home and had my son do a reverse phone look up on the 2424 number. It was a completely different pizza company that I had never called in my life or ordered from before. Am I the only person in the entire world that these things happen to? I had to wait twenty minutes and when I finally arrived home within a couple of minutes the phone rang. It was the manager of the other pizza place. I fell all over myself apologizing to him and told him to assure the young lady that it was 100% my fault for messing with her mind like I did. He laughed and said no problem. Mama said there would days but never did she tell me they would be like this one!

I know what you are thinking. It will be a while before I live that one down. But it reminds me of something I have told you before. Nothing gets messed up more than when you work hard on something and give it your all even though you are totally wrong to begin with. It's like that proverbial outcome where you get wonderful mileage but end up 500 miles away from your intended target. I could mark it up to the bad connection or to the fact that my mental faculties were squealing from having been stretched so tight. Or, I could just confess that yours truly can and does, seemingly on a more frequent basis these days, get it all wrong from time to time. Replaying that phone call reminds me of some of those hilariously funny dialogues that Bob Newhart used to do. The only problem here is that it most likely had no humor or a punch line for that young lady. She may be having nightmares. But, as I have told you before, you cannot make this stuff up but just between you and I, I would just as soon not be a walking joke factory especially when I get to be the dummy every time. The good news is that God still cares for His own, even if they call a wrong number now and then, order the wrong food, get on the wrong plane, show up at the wrong place, and generally have trouble getting a grip each day. Let me see. That would be a check mark for everyone of those and quite a few more but that, my friend, is the subject for another day. Yes! He still cares and that's good enough for me. Amen? Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Presenting a veritable cornucopia of inconsequential observations!

Good morning and welcome to another edition of 'Bad Writing Habits' brought to you by yours truly on this Tuesday, September 21, 2010. I do have a few new readers of late and while I am not marketing anything I will tell you that in addition to sending out this daily missive, all of my blogs are also archived and available, some 855 of them, as of today, and they can be found by clicking on I would not deny their beneficial use for dealing with insomnia but as you've heard me say before, they are what they are. One caveat. I write what I write as it comes to me. I never intend to offend or malign anyone. However, there are issues that many of us agree on and perhaps some where we hold differing views. That's the freedom we hold dear as Americans. You may have voted for our current President. I support your right to do so 100%. I did not and I do not support his philosophy, his vision, or his programs. Therefore, you would expect me to express my thoughts as I see them and hopefully with respect and appreciation for the office, and the man, who has achieved such a dramatic rise to power. I hope most of the fun I make of people is pointed towards those I know best, namely, me, myself, and I. This blogging venture began back in the summer of 2007 and there's likely a few days when a do over would have been appropriate. But, the good news can be found in my desire to always call attention to our need to recognize and respond to the God who created all things. Because of this orientation, I have no problem inviting folks to read the stuff I've written over these years. If there is a single truth that unites us all it's the fact that every single one of us needs the Lord, every single moment of every single day!Amen.

This past Saturday when we nearly lost my brother I found myself in the ICU waiting room again. It is a huge hospital, therefore, it was a very large waiting room and one area was occupied by 30 or more family members and friends affiliated with a surgical patient. Many of the people had relocated to other waiting rooms because of this large family with so many children there. It was somewhat noisy but these folks were having a wonderful reunion right there in the waiting room. It was an African American family and they were greeting each other, laughing, and at times, crying together. Soon a group came in with catered food for the entire gathering. They set it up like a "dinner on the grounds" celebration at an old fashioned Church meeting. I was telling someone about it and they said perhaps someone should have reported them and had staff make them leave. I couldn't have disagreed more. To me, it was a wonderful demonstration of how God brings family together and I enjoyed them enjoying each other. I could tell from the greetings that for some it had been quite a while since they had seen each other. God formed the family and later called those who trust in Him His very own children. As I think about that family celebrating their love and caring, it reminds me that someday we will see our Savior face to face, and then be reunited at a family gathering that will be the greatest ever! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

That portable satellite radio given to me on my birthday has really been great as I have fought my way forth and back across the metroplex to check on my brother. On the best of days when the stars are all aligned and everyone is on their best behavior, the traffic is nothing shy of a nightmare. Since very rarely do you get the best of days or any of the other stuff, the traffic is most of the time the working definition of gridlock. But for me, now, I can skip around and listen to the Jack Webb series Dragnet, some great Southern Gospel by the Booth Brothers, a little 24 hour NASCAR, then maybe some talk radio to get my blood pressure going, or perhaps CNN, at least as long as I can take it, then BBC, a few strands of classical, some Glen Miller big band, and if the comedian is good, some clean jokes to help make the journey a little less tedious. Thanks to everyone for my new toy. It's been a blessing thus far. I find it hard to fathom how that I commuted into this vortex for well over 20 years. In fact, the other day I had the privilege of sitting for at least 15 minutes where I could peer down the street to the building where I spent way too many of my waking hours. As Yogi would say, it was: "Deja Vu all over again!" It would have been very appropriate had Bob Hope come on singing his famous theme "Thanks for the Memories." And, thank God for His provisions and how He should be recognized each time we safely reach our destination. Amen. Have a great day and I leave you with this warning: There will be ..........more later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

Update on my brother: After making slow but steady progress all of last week he had a huge problem Saturday with a bleeding ulcer. He lost way too much blood and nearly died more than once. It was another long vigil Saturday but they were able to scope and fix the ulcer and then they went to work trying to get him going again. Sunday when I visited I found that Donald had made a remarkable come back, again! He may actually be more alert and responsive now more than since he had his heart attack 4 weeks ago. Talk about nine lives! I got the idea that he actually recognized me and communicated with me through head nodding and his eyes. That was pretty much the first time this has happened with me since his heart attack. He did come out of this episode with some kidney issues and they are working on this but all and all, given the fact that he came about as close to dying Saturday as you can without checking out, it is nothing but a praise the Lord report today. Pretty amazing, that's all I can say. I guess that's why they call it Amazing Grace!

Please thank God with us for this improvement at this time. We are praying that God will be honored by the work He is doing in my brother's life. Thanks again for caring. We appreciate greatly the many prayers offered up on his behalf.
Welcome to that day that most people dread, Monday. It is September 20, 2010 and folks from one to 99 are hiding under their covers this morning saying they do not want to get up. I actually feel that way myself sometimes but thus far have not yielded to that temptation. My wife would tell about how that sleeping late for me would be such a crime of major proportions, to me, anyway. Hey. We all are put together the way we are and perhaps it was Paw Paw Mac that helped develop my internal clock. If you were planning on going hunting with him you had better be on time or you would be left behind, period, end of story. I used to lay in bed and throughout the night I would be wondering if I had missed hearing him. My mom says she used to call me when I was a kid and I jumped up immediately and got my stuff together. This was different than some of the rest of her brood. That's how I am wired. At one time I thought everyone should be like me. Guess what? They are not! It took me a while as a manager to understand that people didn't have to mimic my habits to be excellent and effective employees. I had folks who would show up barely able to make it to their desk on time and typically couldn't get started until 10 a.m., but when they got started they did magical work and stayed with it on a regular basis until midnight or later each day, including weekends! We are different. I rode with my windows down in the cool one morning last week. It was 4 a.m. By the time some folks made it in they were already talking about how hot it was. See what I mean? The main thing is to use what makes us tick, our quirks, our habits, and our all for the honor and glory of God. That is our purpose in life, if and when we find it. Oh yeah, there were some that stumbled in, stumbled around all day long, and then stumbled out. They typically ended up stumbling around somewhere else!

I changed my profile photo which begs the question: How's your Christmas planning coming along? Mine is developing even as I am banging on my keyboard. The beard. The Santa beard. The other night at our Crosstrainer Bible Club meeting, many of the children had to touch my beard. You didn't want to be thinking about Christmas this early? That's okay but if I did that and waited until Thanksgiving to get my act together, I would hardly be playing that jolly old legend, now would I? Those who know I am the real Santa are very comfortable seeing my beard develop. Those who don't? They wonder where I came from. They may even hold on to their wallets when I am around. They don't know whether to say hello or offer me a handout. Okay, it's not that dramatic but it is interesting to see how folks interpret people's looks. Based on last year's experience, my first as Santa, this will all change when December rolls around. Folks will have Christmas on their minds and when they see me out and about wearing my red turtleneck they will connect the dots. Little kids will want to say something to me. It will be very different. Talk about the hypnotic influence of a season! Let's just hope the folks in Washington don't end up messing Christmas up more than they have already. Their idea is to make sure everyone gets exactly the same thing, a bundle of switches! Yes Virginia, even Santa has political views but he typically does try to keep them to himself. That one just kind of slipped out.

I know some who question me playing Santa because of my stand for Jesus being the Reason for the Season. I grew up in a very conservative, traditional environment where we honored the birth of the Christ Child as the focal point of our Christmas celebration. We also enjoyed Santa. Disconnect? Perhaps, but like so many other things in life, folks have to come to their own conclusions based on their convictions. I had this conversation with a pastor friend of mine several years ago. He was very set on rejecting any and all pagan inferences during this sacred holiday. He was very focused on the actual dating controversies, whether gift giving was appropriate or not, and just how he should lead his congregation during this time of the year. I shared with him how we always promoted the priority of Jesus even as we also enjoyed the gifts, the giving, and also Santa. Today he no longer sees it the way he did before but he had to pray and come to that conclusion on his own. We've always made a big deal about Jesus and that to me continues to be the most important subject at Christmas. Of course we are not instructed to set aside a day to honor His birth but we honor Him when we recognize Him as Savior and Lord, and live our lives according to His will. Spending our time doing this will solve a whole bunch of the other questions that come up from time to time. That's it for today. I report, you decide, or something like that. Have a great Monday even if you are still stumbling around so early in the morning. May God bless each one. Amen. ......More later.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Alexander Benjamin!

I suppose we all deserve a pat on the back for making it to Friday, September 17, 2010. Today I am thinking about our Alexander Benjamin who will be five years old tomorrow. We are blessed with wonderful children, grandchildren, and even our little great granddaughter, our bundle of Madelyn Joy, but each one is so very special in their own special way. I went and fetched Alex from his day care a couple of weeks ago and he and I were talking about his birthday. I told him that being five was an important age. He said he knew that and he guessed he could start liking the bad guys on the video games now that he was five. I responded: "Absolutely not!" He laughed and said, "Poppy, I was just kidding." I couldn't help but feel that I had been set up for a joke by a preschooler. What's next? Kids today know so much more than we did. I am always impressed when I walk through the back door and see Alex on his MiMi's lap top using it like someone four times his age. It is mind boggling. When I was five we didn't even have a TV and I was likely more engaged in trying to find a stick to play with. It was a really good day for me back then when I found one that actually looked like a gun. Please don't write me about children and guns because we played cowboys and Indians all the time, and look how great I turned out, ......turned out, .......turned out!

Alex is one of those kids that will take your mind off of the stuff that typically keeps us all frazzled. When he and I ride in the car he doesn't want his Poppy to listen to the BBC News, he wants us to talk. Better yet, he wants his Poppy to listen. Note to parents: You will likely never look back and regret missing a radio program of any kind when you chose to engage your kiddos in conversation. My boys will probably respond by saying: Where was this fellow when we were children? However, we see in Alex so much potential and talent, and we pray that God will help us all to nurture him in his development. He loves to play. He loves to be outside. He loves computer games and knows all too well how to play the ones his teenager brother plays. He loves to play with his first cousin Brady. They are something to behold when they are together. Sure, they bump noggins now and then but there's a chemistry there that is very special. It reminds us so much of our boys when they were that age. Bottom line, Alexander Benjamin is a blessing and his Poppy and MiMi wish him a most wonderful birthday.

Thanks to all those who tune in regularly. I have a busy Saturday and Sunday lined up. I will be over visiting my brother in the hospital in the morning. Then back home to get ready for our Alex's birthday celebration. I am also looking forward to Lord's Day Sunday where we will gather to recognize our Savior and to encourage one another. If you are not a regular part of a local fellowship of believers, you need to be because God provides a special connection through the local body that He instituted. Doing life God's way is never easy but it sure helps when we cooperate with His ordained methods. Have a wonderful Saturday and Sunday and until we meet again, may the Lord bless you and yours. Amen. ..........More later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I don't have a clue where this came from: Right or Left Side?

One of the good things about doing a daily blog is how that it causes you to think. I've heard that thinking is supposed to be a very useful activity that helps everything work better. Even though I've done over 850 of them I can't be sure it's been all that helpful to me but it does tend to unscramble a few of the gray cells now and then. It's like the "left handed" day I occasionally do that involves me using the other side of my brain. What's a left handed day? If you are right handed, you more or less, let your right hand rest for a full day while doing everything with your left hand. If you are left handed you do the opposite but I suppose you would have caught that. Right? Sure. Writing with the wrong hand can be a challenge but making the effort does have its rewards, or so they say. I do know you can train yourself to do things you would not have thought possible. Because of the way my desk is set up here in my office it became better for my work to operate my computer mouse with my left hand. Ouch! It took about a week and now I can blow and go without even thinking about it. You should see someone who sits at my workstation trying to use that mouse. I feel bad for them and would hate for them to see themselves all twisted up just trying to point and click. In passing, I will tell you that using keys and unlocking doors are particularly wearisome on left handed days, but enough of that for one day. How in the world are you doing, anyway, on this Thursday, September 16, 2010?

Some reporting arm estimates the total number of websites swirling around out on the internet to be in excess of 12 billion. That is a few my friend. Let me try to put that into some perspective. A billion seconds ago would land you in 1959. One billion minutes ago Jesus was still walking here on the planet. I thought of using how long it takes our government to burn through a billion but that's no longer even a shocker. Twelve billion? I wonder how many of these provide anything of substance? I can be sure mine does. Why? Because I do try to mention God and His provision for humanity on a fairly frequent basis, therefore, that alone qualifies some of what I share as not only being meaningful but of eternal consequence as well. I've never been ocean surfing but I do enjoy web surfing. There's some random url generators out there that land you on a different website about as fast as you can click. The one I use tries to screen out the bad stuff but it is a real interesting way to visit here, there, and anywhere, without leaving the comfort of your chair along with, in my case, my left-handed mouse. Click: Wally's Groove World, an online record store in Belgium, that's right, they still sell records. Click: A site called Rebecca's Pocket where she features 50 ways to use preserves, jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit butters. Click: A tribute page to Gene Wilder the actor. Click: Landed on TomPaine.Com and there's common sense stuff there that will get your attention, for sure. Of course there are untold oodles of technical sites out there where nerdy folks can chat to their heart's content, and no telling how many 'lost in space' abandoned sites there are. But, if variety is the spice of life, surely you can find some of it somewhere within that 12 billion plus haystack!

You probably think I am ADD. Right? I think I am more of a EDHTSI type of person. You never saw that one before. Okay, let me decipher it for you. EDHTSI= Easily Distracted Hard To Stay Interested. In other words, all over the page, typically without much rhyme or reason, most of the time. Maybe it's the remote control malady slopping over into my internet usage. It does come down to different strokes for different folks. If you get bored jumping from one website to another you can always check out the webcams that allow you to see the sun set in Brisbane Australia or rise in Hawaii, all in real time. Occasionally I check in on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem where pilgrims are praying 24 hours a day. I will be the first to admit there is much evil also available at any click at any time. This is why parents must pay close attention to their own use and even more when their children are using the internet. One word misspelled or one click on the wrong link can bring forth devastating images. Never underestimate the creativity and determination of those who live to do harm to your children! On the other hand, you can read the Bible in hundreds of languages, listen to sermons preached, even by men of God who have been dead for years. You can communicate with loved ones, share photos, videos, and even teleconference in real time. The technology itself is neutral but how it is used determines its value for good or bad. Lastly, it provides a platform for someone like me to occupy my little portion of that vast array of sites so that I can send my little version of how I view things. And, as I have always reminded everyone, you are only one click away from getting to the next site that might produce something of more interest. Have yourself a blessed day and I'll see you again, Lord willing, on the flip side! Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hardest lessons for me: Knowing what I shouldn't try to do!

Hello again and welcome to Wednesday, September 15, 2010. Last night I participated in the kick off of my 13th year of inner city ministry in what we call the Crosstrainer Bible Club. It was so good to see my brothers and sisters in Christ who do what they can to bring the Gospel to children, so many of them who live in very difficult circumstances. The thought did cross my mind about maybe I should sit out this year because of all the other demands on my schedule. That thought didn't survive as I pictured those wonderful faces of little ones who need to hear about God's love and care for them. Pastor Williams who leads out in this ministry has devoted his life to bringing truth to those in the African American community. One might think that to be an easy task since there are many black Churches dotted here and there within these communities. Yet, when you stand for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, it is not as easy as you might think. Brother Kim teaches The Scriptures, from cover and cover, without fanfare or apology, and I have so much respect, love, and appreciation for this tremendous man of God and his family. I consider working with him and his people in this ministry to be one of the greatest privileges God has granted to me in my sojourn here on the planet. I ask you to pray with us that God will give us a year of bountiful harvest as we plant seeds of the Gospel into these young hearts.

Let me see if I can work through this with you. Sixty four years and I am still not getting it. Know what I mean? Last week I ran by a flooring company to pick up some boxes of tile for a project we are working on here at the company. A young man was loading them onto the truck. I told him I would help. He said that wouldn't be necessary because he did it all day long and was used to picking them up. I asked if he thought maybe I wasn't able to help. He just smiled. I went over grabbed up one of those boxes off the floor and knew immediately that it was heavier than I remembered, plus it was slippery too. Yeah. That's right. It slipped out of my hands and landed right on top of my foot. He then said, "Sir, I told you I would do it." I huffed and I puffed, grabbed that box off the floor and literally ran with it over to the truck and slammed it down. That noticeable limp I had for a few days should have been a good reminder but when you are a slow learner by profession, it just doesn't connect up very well. Yesterday I dropped by another place to pick up some special material and the fellow brought it out on a cart to the truck. He told me the first container was very heavy and that he would get it. I looked at him with that, "What, you think I can't pick it up?" look and reached and grabbed it. I got it and it got me. I put it in the truck. I showed him. I sure do have a pain in my shoulder and neck today but it just goes to show you, that it's always something!

A couple of years ago when I was knee deep in trying to research our genealogical roots I made contact via the internet with a distant cousin who had been researching much longer than I. She had some very interesting information to pass on to me. Her study had shown that men in our family didn't tend to hang around for a long time, therefore, she advised me to take special care of myself. Thanks for sharing. Right? But here's something for all of us to consider: We really don't get to choose the gene pool that helps us become who we are; what we do get to do, with God's help, is to choose how we will use the time, long or short, that he has given to us. I do know how to take a break now and then, contrary to popular opinion. Take for instance this past Monday evening when I chose to watch the Jets playing the Ravens, the Astros playing the Brewers, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship match between Rafael Nadal versus Novak Djokovic. It was great. The Ravens won. The Astros won. And, Nadal finished his first grand slam at the ripe old age of 24. I have socks older than that! No. I do not have that split screen capability on my TV. No. I don't have DVR recording capability. It's all realtime for me baby! What I do have is use of those fingers on the remote that can fly between channels because they have been trained, developed, honed, and matured over the years. That may not have been the most productive use of my time but it helped me to unwind and get myself refueled for another day of proving to others that old people know how to be very stubborn. That remote control training for guys not only comes naturally but it also becomes the stuff of legend. I've actually heard my grandchildren talking among themselves about how quickly their Poppy can change a channel especially if he smells a commercial coming. Hey. We all have to be known for something. Right? But in the end, we also want to be known for how we influenced others for good. The ultimate reflection of this is when we influence others for God because that means we will have made a difference, not only for time here, but for eternity! And, as they say back home, that's a long time my friend! Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A dog who attends a flea circus may end up stealing the show!

It is Tuesday, or that's what they tell me, and September continues to roll on, although it feels like July here, but welcome to my world on this September 14, 2010. I get the idea that the Obama folks are like I am sometime. I try to slip around to eat something I shouldn't, being diabetic and all, but the more quieter I try to be, it is the louder the noise made by the package or box of my intended conquest. In much the same way they tend to want to play everything as if its all lights and mirrors while hoping the American people will not hear the siren sounds, warning bells and crashing cymbals caused by their decisions. Actually I was surprised to see that blaming President George W. Bush is still one of the only workable options they have. President Bush's negatives are still fairly high, unfairly so the way I see it, but that's a different discussion. History will straighten much of that out, that is, depending on who writes it. The real news here is how the gap in these negatives between our former president compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office is closing alarmingly fast. That should scare these really smart people because they are playing a dangerous game, and while we are a fairly reasonable people, we will not forever and ever accept finger pointing as an excuse for failed leadership. Another thing that's interesting to me is how they are bent on picking a fight with U. S. Representative John Boehner. He is the republican who would likely become Speaker of the House if the democrats lose their majority in November. They want to engage him so bad. They need a bad guy and he's the best they have, or at least a second choice to Bush. I suppose Cheney's heart finally made it hard to use him as their whipping boy. But, the problem is that Rep. Boehner is hardly known by the American people, therefore, this strategy becomes one of: "They are really angry at this particular dude who has too much of a tan but I don't have clue as to who he really is." John who? Man, that makes it hard to slip up on some Little Debbie Cakes if you are me, or to make progress in changing the subject if you are the Obama team.

I know most of you think that I must obsess over politics all the time. You would be wrong. I am probably more tuned in than the average bear but it's not something I typically go to bed thinking about. Those who know me are aware that I can still multi-process a little. I used to brag about being able to juggle dozens of issues and priorities at the same time. Nowadays I find myself mostly trying to remember how to juggle at all. Getting all the balls up in the air is not the problem, it's figuring out how many are going to hit the floor that consumes my attention. It doesn't take but one visit to see my brother to help frame the fragility of life as we know it. Yesterday a dear friend of ours sent out an email about his pending heart surgery. It was an extremely risky surgery but one he faced with faith, hope, and optimism. I am happy to report that he made it through the surgery and is now on his way to recovery. In his email he shared his testimony of how this event had triggered a desire to share his love for all those near to him, as well as to inform everyone of the hope and confidence he has in his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. His desire is to live out a normal life if that is God's provision for him but he stated that he is fully ready to meet His Savior, not because of one solitary good thing he has ever done, but because of the blood of Christ that has saved and forgiven him and made him an eternal child of the living God. Yes. He said he had updated his will and made other prudent arrangements but his greatest concern was that every single person who read his note or heard about his testimony would come to the knowledge of the truth so that when they came to face the end of their days here, they too would be ready to go. What a way to live and what a way to get ready to die. Thanks Bro. Robert and may God continue to heal your body for His honor and glory. Amen.

One of the things that has happened during my brother's illness is the reconnecting of our family during this crisis. It's tough to see him in the condition he's in and while our gathering together Sunday was solemn, my how wonderful it was for us to come together as a family once again. I heard many there mentioning how sad it is that we no longer see each other and visit like we did so many years ago. All families are unique and we are about as unique as they come. I say that fully realizing how the word unique which at one time meant a one of a kind difference has come to mean any and all things to people who throw it around. But we are unique like others and also in a one of a kind sort of different way as well. We are a much blended clan. The Heinz 57 Variety comes to mind but that sounds like too low of a number to me. Mom's children, dad's children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, those married into the family, those tagging along for the ride, and everything in between, has led to a most remarkable outcome. It's an uncanny love connection we have for each other. No. We can't see it everyday because we rarely see everyone anymore but it may be months or it may even be years, but when we do come together, the blend vanishes as we are bonded in our love one for another. Some folks think I brag about stuff like this but as the athletes say, it's not bragging if it is a fact, and in our case, I think it to be a God thing, therefore, He deserves the glory for it all, anyway. Meanwhile, we are the recipients of this love and appreciation that bonds us together and helps us all to deal with the challenges that mark our journey here. It's special and I am thankful to God for it. If you don't have this type of closeness within your family, well, you can, I can, we all can, do our part to change that, and that's a real good thought upon which to end my rambling and wobbling thoughts for today. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution including all the amendments to it?

Update on my brother Donald. It is difficult to see him incapacitated like he is, but based on what we are told, there is hope that he will, with therapy and medication, begin to come out of this brain injured fog. Yesterday it was a wonderful gathering of my mom and dad, my two sisters, a beloved step-brother and sister-in-law, a nephew, along with my wife and I to join hands together in a prayer over Donald as we were there with him. This is going to be a marathon and not a sprint but we thank God for His provisions each and every day.

Made it to the second day of a brand new week, right? You didn't know that Sunday was the first day of the week? It is. And, it is meaningful because on the first day of the week is when our Savior rose from the dead, therefore, that's why we follow the practice established in the early Church to meet on the first day to honor Him. That's why we do it that way. I know you wanted to know that. How are you, anyway? Fine, thank you? Or, please don't bother me so early in the morning? That's okay, I'm used to folks who don't get up at 3:30 a.m. each day responding in the same way. It is Monday, September 13, 2010, and I am off and running or just off, one or the other. I did something recently that I highly recommend. Our nation is a nation governed by the rule of law. The foundation of our laws comes from our adopted U. S. Constitution. I read through it along with the 27 amendments and I must tell you that while the legalese makes it somewhat difficult, it is a treasure trove of our history and why we are a free people today. We all have our viewpoints regarding the issues that face our nation. Many constitutional scholars of both liberal and conservative persuasions take issue with how the courts have ruled in many cases. The ruling that gave women the legal right to abort their unborn babies was established based on a right to privacy. Again, many scholars on both sides, whether they support abortion or oppose it, believe finding this as a right connected to our guarantee of privacy to be way off base. In the same way the right to bear arms as provided in the constitution does appear to be directly connected to maintaining a citizen militia which we no longer have. The court recently ruled that this provision does in fact allow citizens to purchase and keep weapons. I believe in this right but is it guaranteed under that particular provision? I'm not so sure. And, these are only two instances of literally thousands where good people disagree. Currently we are seeing an unprecedented expansion of federal power. The Obama administration believes they can do these mostly unwarranted and unwanted programs based on the constitutional directive that government is to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare. See what I mean?

Then comes the debate about how the Constitution should be interpreted. Original intent is the rallying cry of most conservatives. While liberals want an evolving set of laws matched to the needs of a modern society. One thing is clear by the writings, the attitudes, and the lifestyles of those who both wrote and signed off on our U. S. Constitution, they did not want government to control or intrude into the private lives of citizens. They wanted limited government, only what was necessary. But, as they say, we've come a long way baby, therefore, the debate rages on and we seem destined to live by the rule of one 5-4 Supreme Court decision after another. But, let me tell everyone, everywhere, that Almighty God providentially brought forth this nation, and it still is the best place on earth to live. I know that's not what the surveys say where a dozen or more other countries supposedly have what they term to be a better quality of life, but I'll take the good old USA, first, last, and always, every single day, Amen. We have our problems and many of them are huge but we have in the past and still can show the world what it means for people of every color, race, and ethic background, to come together, and succeed in this grand experiment where democracy, freedom, and the rule of law comprise who we are. Our nation just celebrated its 234th birthday and we are still experimenting, adjusting, and finding our way forward. I am not in agreement with the current trends being pursued by this administration. I am interested in them no longer being in charge. What can I do about it? I can inform myself and become involved and get ready to cast my vote for people who favor some of the values that I believe has made our country great. You might feel differently. You can also support those who see it the way you do! That's America and may God bless her is my prayer. Amen.

Okay, that's my civics lesson for today. What got me started on this was an article I read where someone said that each government official should be required to copy the U. S. Constitution in their own handwriting as a prerequisite to holding any position. We already know that many who pass our laws do not read them. In fact, the head sponsor on the health care bill recently passed, admitted recently that he, a distinguished Senator, who actually managed the bill itself, had never read it in its entirety. He said they had experts who could do that! Are you kidding? We elect people who have the force of law on their side to impose on us their decisions but they don't have to even read the laws they want us to obey? That does not pass the smell test in my book. What about you? No wonder we are hearing each day the horror pieces that no one was aware of, including those who voted for it! The bureaucrats who wrote this bill are unelected. They come from all manners of backgrounds and viewpoints. We did not engage them when we voted to have their way when it comes to changing our daily lives. Go ahead and be angry about this. You should be. Oh, I know about the lemmings out there who say some good will come from it so we should be happy with what we get. Give me a break, would you please? I know it's Monday and it is early to be seeing heat wave lines rising up off the top of my head (like asphalt on a super hot day), but it is what it is, but it does not have to stay that way! Enough for one day. May God bless our great country. Amen. .....More later.

PS: Yesterday marked the second anniversary since Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc in our area, and for us, especially the extensive damage done to our personal residence. We will never forget all that happened including our dear Bro. Milton here to help rebuild our home and how he suffered a near fatal heart attack and stroke, but, all in all, God showed Himself to us in so many special ways and in particular through the love and concern of so many folks that became His hands of help to us. Bro. Milton continues to live a mostly normal life, and we continue to thank God for seeing us through this very challenging event.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mom and Dad, you have been a blessing to us!

It is Friday, September 10, 2010 and I am a little stirred up today. Let me see if I have this right. Number one, give us 1 trillion and we will make sure the unemployment rate will stay 8% or less. Number two, pass this universe sized health care quagmire called an overhaul and we will not only lower individual annual costs but we will go a long way in fixing the deficit. We know the answer to number one, it's called 9.6% Now one of the government analysis groups is predicting that individual health care costs will increase under the Obama plan but only slightly with 32 million more people covered. Hello? What about the deficit busting this was supposed to accomplish? And, if the folks inside the administration are forecasting a slight increase over the next 10 years, then what do you think the real numbers will be? Higher or lower than their estimate? Can you find anyone who would bet the farm that it will be lower? Not on your life because government estimates are notoriously wrong, and that's a fact Jack, Jane, and the rest of us as well. There is a reason democratic candidates are fleeing the Obama ship like the proverbial rats and there's also a reason the President's former budget director has written an editorial in the New York Times speaking in opposition to the fiscal plans of the administration. I think it's time to take that teleprompter out to the woodshed and teach it some new ideas!

Tomorrow we will mark the solemn and sad anniversary of those attacks against our nation on September 11, 2001. All of us know exactly where we were and what we were doing when the news reached us. The Muslim Cleric behind the building of the Mosque near Ground Zero issued somewhat of a veiled threat in an interview this week. Essentially, he said that if this matter is not handled right by America there would be an explosion of anger throughout the Muslim world that could lead to widespread violence. What a comforting thought on this building which supposedly is to establish peace and harmony in the world. I also heard an interview with a 9-11 surviving family member who held a photo of her firefighter brother and told a group of assembled experts how the families felt about this provocation. CNN would most likely have screened her out if they had known how her heartfelt words would literally shut the mouths of their illustrious panel of experts. I've also heard a number of the Hollywood crowd loudly protesting any interference in this building project. Some of these women speaking the loudest make their living by running around half naked, a crime under Islamic law, for which they could be stoned. And, just in passing, when's the last time you ever saw the liberal crowd standing up so vociferously for anything having to do with religion, any religion? Call be an old fuddy duddy, out of touch, and out of luck kind of guy, but it does appear to me there are powers at work here and it's a little scary to see them join forces together. But, we do remember. We remember the lives of innocent people snatched away. We remember the courageous and heroic acts of so many who responded. And, we remember the stirring of the American spirit as we turned back to God and we joined hands and stood against this great evil. Yes. We sing this prayer together: "Stand beside her and guide her through the night with light from above." Amen.

Let me end on a more positive note. Yesterday, September 9, we paused to pay homage to my mom and step dad in recognition of their 33rd wedding anniversary. It's hard to put into words all these folks mean to so many of us. A thank you seems inadequate for this couple who have lead the way in their example and in their devotion to each other and to us all. I could prove up the case in a heartbeat that their coming together in 1977 did not produce a tip toe through the tulips for them or our family. Mom, you've always been our hero. Dad, no one could have asked for a better man and who would have ever believed you would come in, grab hold of our family, and stand up for and stand by us all. That's what the two of you have done through the good times and bad, and there have been plenty of both. We have the scars to prove it and the grave markers also. Yes, the challenges continue. Dad's daughter Miriam continues to face every day as a victim of ALS, and this has been such a struggle for her and her family. Mom and dad have been there with them to help in whatever way they can. Now we have my brother who is also facing an uncertain future. But, again, what has been certain is the steady and reliable love of our mom and dad. Happy Anniversary again. When trying to innumerate our blessings, we don't have to search very far, we just have to remember what you all have meant to us and our hearts are drawn upward as we thank Almighty God for you. That's it for this week folks. We have a busy Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday planned, but if everything unfolds as it should, and the Lord provides, I'll catch up with you next Monday. Until then, may God bless each one! Amen. ......More later.