Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I thought tea parties were mostly for little girls and their dolls!

It's Tuesday, the 30th and final day of November 2010 and you will have to agree that I have been more or less quiet lately regarding the political drama unfolding everyday all around us. I did not watch even one episode of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) but I read some about it from time to time and heard several heated discussions regarding the participants, the voting, and it has obviously caused quite a stir. Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, became a finalist in large part because the fan vote kept her in the competition. This led to people accusing her fans of stuffing the ballot box which then led to it being the conservatives or those associated with the Tea Party who support Sarah Palin doing the stuffing because all the critics said that while she was improving each week, she just wasn't a very good dancer. I listened to a debate about this where a democrat party representative was going on and on about how this was corrupt on the part of the conservatives. This fellow was black and when he was asked if it was also wrong for one of the black contestants to go to the black radio stations and solicit black people to unite behind her, he had a very interesting answer. He said that doing this wasn't a big deal at all because the majority of black people don't even watch this show. How funny is that? He was essentially saying it was okay for black people to stuff the ballot box but since they couldn't do much of it anyway, then it shouldn't count. He then went on to say some horrible things about Bristol and her mom. One commentator said since it is a popularity contest and they do allow people to vote by email more than one time, then obviously the person receiving the most votes gets to stay in. That's how it works for everyone. I read the story of the elderly fellow who shot his TV when Bristol was voted in by the fans. I also read about the network having to add security because of the death threats against her. But, here's the news that ABC is gloating over: ratings have never been higher! Nothing like some good old mud slinging politics to add excitement, even to a dance contest. Do we live a great country or what?

I have respect for Sarah Palin and her family. I appreciate her life, her values, and her commitment to the American way of life. However, I just don't get it as her being a viable candidate in representing the Republican party in the run for the presidency. She sounds like that is what she will be trying to do and this is, after all, America, and like the dance contest, if she can get enough of the folks to gain the nomination, she can run. My take is that if she does become the nominee it will almost certainly assure President Obama's reelection. That's not because he's so popular and I will do all I can to see him become a one termer only, however, give credit where credit is due, he is best at campaign style debating, and thus far, Governor Palin looks very weak in that area. Debates count with people because they see folks under pressure and I don't have a good feeling about how she would do against the teleprompter President. But that is just me, and there are already huge numbers of folks falling all over themselves to back her. Not me. My son reminds me all the time that if I do a write in candidate I will be helping reelect President Obama. That may be true but we all have to live with our vote and how we came to decide what to do based on our conscience. I may change my mind by then and it may be a moot point anyway if she doesn't get the nomination but it's okay to throw out ideas because that's how we move issues down the field here in our country.

I did see the President announcing the annual pardon for a couple of turkeys just before the holiday. I thought his remarks were light and humorous. He said something about how the turkeys were not going to have to worry about being shellacked like he had been in the recent election. He also announced a God bless you over the turkeys as well as a God bless America as well. It was a good day for Apple and Cider, the two birds in attendance, but for the rest of us, we continue to have to struggle as these folks play games with our lives, our personal bodies at the airports, our health, and our taxes. When he invites his people, the African American folks to stay with him, to hang in there, and to stay united in their support for him at the ballot box, does that constitute a form of racial tampering? I don't think it does. And, I don't think conservatives voting until their fingers go numb for Bristol Palin is either. I also could care less about her winning or not winning, or who won, or if there will ever be another show or not. It really just doesn't matter to me, but it does give us something to talk about and since that obviously is something I am interested in, I suppose I should be grateful for the material. There does come a time when "Thy will be done." must be the foundation for how we make sense of this whacked out world we live in today. May God bless. Amen.         .....More later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanking God for blessings back then, here and now, and those that await us on the other side!

Paw Paw Mac with my nephew Thomas Allen
Yes, Virginia, there is a fellow who calls himself the real Santa, and yes, you did observe correctly because he does need a little less padding for his suit as of this Monday morning, November 29, 2010. Greetings to one and all and welcome back to my world where blood glucose meters reign supreme. What a wonderful holiday it was for us and our clan. I sure hope each of you enjoyed your time off and were able to spend it feasting with family and friends. I know that's not possible for everyone but it is good to have old fashioned traditions that make this time of year so extra special. My nephew put up the photo of himself with his great granddad on Facebook and that is the man I mention so often in my writings. That would be none other than Andrew Rancher McMillan, a giant to so many of us in our family. I saw a Facebook entry written to my sister from a lady who was rehearsing what it was like as a young lady to be a guest at one of our holiday meals. She mentioned Granny Mac's cornbread dressing and homemade chicken and dumplings. My grandmother's cooking was legendary and I am blessed abundantly because my mom picked up right where Granny left off, my sisters are great cooks, and my wife is our own local version of Betty Crocker. Don't go saying anything about all these cooks around my blood monitoring meter because just hearing about this makes him very nervous. Back to my grandfather. He worked hard all his life. He was a man who was faithful to his faith and his family. He was also a man who literally relished in being surrounded by family on special holiday gatherings. I can hear him as everyone stood waiting for the prayer. He looked around and made sure everyone was ready. He then would turn to my grandmother and simply say: "Okay Mama we are ready." She was a great prayer praying granny and when she finished we began, just like we did last Thursday. They were making memories and you can tell they stuck. I hope someday someone will read a note or text message or video greeting from our great grand Madeyn Joy and she will be talking about way back when her Grand Poppy so relished being surrounded by family on special holiday gatherings.

I do hope you all took the time to read our first President's Thanksgiving proclamation. I am not a Washington scholar but I have read several books about him. He was a larger than life figure in real life. He believed in the founding enterprise of our nation and he knew that God was involved. He strongly believed in the providence of God. I have always believed that this is why he was so fearless in battle. The numerous first hand accounts of the many times he had horses shot out from under him or came back with musket ball holes in his clothing attest to the fact that he would abandon himself into the hands of God as he went forth to battle. He was not a well educated man in terms of formal academic training but he did love to write and keep up correspondences with many different individuals. He may have had help on some of his official writings but he was known to labor over them to make sure the words conveyed the message he wanted heard. I dare say that proclamation I shared has more of God's truth in it than what is heard from far too many of our pulpits today. I think it very well portrays the founders' sense of what it means to have religious freedom while at the same time acknowledging the Almighty God as our ultimate source. Thank God for men like Washington who had something to do with you and I being able to have a time set aside called Thanksgiving.

I say all of that to say this: God is not just the God of the past but He is with us even as we take our next breath. For those of us who have answered the call to embrace Jesus as our Savior, He is also with us after we take our last breath. I know I am waxing somewhat nostalgic today and I am not ashamed of the tears that come when I think of the heritage God has provided to me. Those are sweet tears. They are tears of remembrance and tears of anticipation because I will see them again when I reach the other side. There is also an encouragement to get up and get busy in the life we have before us. We will not leave our own legacy by only dwelling on the past. I will never forget a sermon I heard many years ago that God used to get my attention where I lived at that time. Essentially it was a time when I had to face up to the calling God had on my life. If not me, who? If not now, when? If you are a believer you have a calling on your life. It may not be as a pastor or Bible teacher but I can tell you it is a full time calling. How could that be? Because we are 100% born again on a full time basis, therefore, we are to be about our Father's business even as we go about the many activities that fill up our busy lives. Called to make a difference. Called to be His hands extended. Called to care, yes, called to care enough. That is the here and now aspect of answering that great question: "After I leave for world's unknown, what will I leave behind?" That's a pretty good question to start my day off, and yours as well. May God bless us all as we each seek to find our answer to it! Amen.            .....More later.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What a day! What blessings!

Hello and welcome to a non Black Friday participant. It is that famous door crashing shopping day on this Friday, November 26, 2010 and I bring you greetings where I am still in a very thankful spirit for the wonderful day we had yesterday. A big thank you to our eldest son, Chris, and his bride, Sherrie, for their hospitality in having us all there in their home. It was remarkable. It was wonderful. The food was the best ever, even better than last year, and if my memory holds, I think we did say it was better last year than the year before. Everyone was there except for our Rodney who had some flu like symptoms and our Kyleigh who was with her dad for their Thanksgiving celebration. We had such a lovely day and we are driven to our knees to thank God for providing for us to be together one more time. We are aware that these times of family are not guaranteed but they are gifts and we are thankful. Okay. Here's the real reason I broke my silence today. I finally was able to get a photo with our little great grand bundle of Madelyn Joy. She is not too keen on Poppy's Santa look but thanks to several who pitched in to help me get this shot, I'm very proud of it and of course, very proud of her. I knew how many of you out there would be waiting to see this very picture and now you can rest well and enjoy your Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday. May God help us all to be thankful! Amen.           ......More later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

May God bless you all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. See you next Monday!

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You don't speak Ho Ho Ho?

First appearance of the 2010 season!
Good morning and welcome to the Tuesday before Turkey Day on this November 23, 2010. As many of you know, I did my first Santa appearance last Saturday. I was a little apprehensive about doing this particular event but once I got around my fan base (children aged one to 99) everything else became less important. We did get to see some children. I'm talking photos, photos, photos. It was only a total of four hours but we did some 285 portraits, many of them with more than one child. Santa had a wonderful time but by the end of the program he could feel the lasting effect of lifting so many beautiful children. I do take seriously most of the things I become involved in and I certainly have tried to do my homework on being Santa. I've studied many photographs of other people doing the same thing. One thing I have tried to do is make sure I have a smile because I noticed that in the photo databases I looked through many of the mall Santas did not always have one. I suppose the biggest challenge I had Saturday was the heat and believe me it was hot. Several of the children commented on it when they sat on my lap. When it gets warm like that it causes my hat to want to slip and since it is already too big that created some less than perfect shots. I am working on ways to improve that situation. My wife couldn't be with me on Saturday but when she's around she always tries to catch things like that. It turned out to be a great experience and I did my best to leave my identity behind as I joined the children in their fantasy world for a short period of time. Believe me, they will have plenty of real world stuff to deal with soon enough.

This event was put on at a huge busy upscale hotel. The actual Santa Gingerbread Workshop was on the second floor in a large ballroom. This created quite an interesting situation. I was dropped off at the main entrance and that immediately caused a stir. I received quite a bit of attention. Everyone has a cell phone that takes photos and many of them wanted a photo even as I passed through the hall. I was able to go over to a table in the lobby and thank some military men and women for their service to our country. I also wished them a merry Christmas. Children can spot Santa a very long way off. And, here they came. I had my briefcase with me and one little girl told her mom, "Look, Santa has his own purse." I finally made my way to the escalator and up to the meeting room. Kids were already waiting for the event to start. I now know at least on a small scale how a celebrity feels. The sessions were 2 hours each, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. The people putting on the workshop brought in sandwiches for us but I had to go down the hall to another room and everywhere I went people wanted me to stop for a photo. I couldn't even go and feed my reindeer (restroom break) without being tracked down. When the last photo had been taken I tried to get myself ready for my journey back down to the front entrance. To say the least, I was a very popular fellow on that particular day. I sat out on a bench in front of the hotel waiting for my ride and had many opportunities to meet and greet children and adults. That's right. Many of the adults, especially the ladies, wanted a photo with Santa. What an experience!

My son picked me up and two of the grandchildren were with him. I told him to roll down the back window and I continued to greet folks as we made our way out of the mall area. The grand kids got a huge kick out of how people on the street were stunned to see Santa passing by. Once home I quickly changed and found my way to the recliner. Some time later I awoke to my granddaughter laughing, "Poppy, you were snoring so loud but it was so funny." I, of course, did what my grandfather used to do, I said I wasn't even sure I had fallen asleep, but at that, several others joined in to not just back up her story but also to join the laughter. Can't a tired Santa enjoy a little peace and quiet and maybe a snore or two? On Sunday we had a great Bible study and then I was off to drive across town to meet Mom and Dad where they were visiting my brother in the hospital. It was so good to see them and to mark the slow but steady progress being made by my brother. We are busy about getting ready to get ready for our Thanksgiving Day celebration. Lord willing, our gang will all meet up over at our eldest son's home and we are anticipating a great day. I have been trying my best to spend more time this week thanking God specifically for all the blessings He has provided to me, and that includes naming people one by one. Try it, it will change both your altitude and your attitude. Have a blessed day and I'll see you next time. Amen.                ......More later.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy 17th Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEFANI: Today we are pausing to recognize and celebrate our granddaughter Stefani's 17th birthday. This young lady has a mind of her own and she didn't just pick it up yesterday. Back in 1994 when I was doing consulting work and was gone a week and then home a week, I used to have her there with me the days I was at home. Little Miss strong will was this child but also a joy to be with and one that makes us so very proud. She is talking automobiles these days, you know like Corvettes, etc., but I would imagine she might have to settle for something a little less ambitious. Seventeen? We all say things like this, but it really does seem impossible. We are blessed to have this young woman as a part of our family and from her MiMi and Poppy we send her our love along with a prayer that God will bless and keep you. Have a great birthday and we will see you on Thursday for our big get together, Lord willing!

Here's some things that we are fairly sure of, it is Monday, at least based on the geographic coordinates here in our area, and it is also November 22, 2010, therefore,I bid you a hearty welcome to the 900th episode of your morning wake up call, where no one has any idea what to expect, including the keyboard clacker.  I would try to come up with something really profound to mark this occasion, but I've proven over the last 899 visits just how difficult that could be for me. I do enjoy throwing these things together and as I have often said, the truths I share from God's Word I can feel good about. The this, that, and the other which comprises so much of what I write, well, much of it originates based on the way I see things and that's why it is called The View From Here. It actually began as The View From My Pew but that ended up being too narrow for the many subjects I've touched on over the past three years. I've never gotten into any of the networking blogging circles that perhaps would  increase circulation because I've just not wanted to get into that aspect of marketing, where they put a link on their blog, and I put their link on mine. I have had some comments come in from a few folks who accidentally landed on my blog and thus far these have all been mostly positive. While 900 sounds like a sizable stack of stuff, you have to take into consideration how I've been gathering materials for over sixty years. As for the quality itself, I would nominate myself to at least be eligible for how Vice President Dan Quayle described it: "....what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is." Of course he was attempting to make reference to the famous slogan of the United Negro College Fund which simply stated: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Close, but no cigars. (At one time slot machines supposedly gave out cigars as prizes.) Either way, if the shoe fits, etc., etc., etc.

I am well aware that quantity and quality are distinctly different. I remember many years ago hearing a fellow talk about his wife shopping at one of the first big discount club stores. He said she brought home a can of deodorant  that was as large as a fire extinguisher and while he thought the price might be good he didn't much like it blowing the hair out from underneath his arms every time he used it. I had another friend that I rode with in a van pool for several years. He was always getting into one scheme after another. He signed up for one of those grocery service programs where they bring your groceries to your house each week. He was so excited about this new service and how it was going to save them oodles of time and money. I suppose what he didn't realize was the minimum that was required to be bought each week whether you wanted it or not. Within a few weeks he was overrun with things like corn flakes and other staples. He had to clean out his freezer to make room for stuff he really didn't want to begin with. My 900 blogs go all over the map and one might  make a lot of sense to one person while it really doesn't do much for someone else. That's okay because that's pretty much how it works with most everything. Right? I always come back to the truths I share from God and His Word because if you are breathing air on the planet and they are what God has to say, not of my own origination, then, you, I, and everyone need to hear it regardless of whether it makes us feel good or not.

I will tell you that I've had some good ones that got away from me. Maybe I was out on the road when the idea popped into my head but for whatever reason by the time I faced the blank page it had left me. That used to be a coming attraction but things of that sort seem to be more and more a feature of daily life. But, not to worry, because it is like the proverbial spilled milk, you just have to move on. Thanks so much to so many of you who scan these each day for your support over these past several years. I am always excited whenever someone finds something to smile about or they are encouraged a little in the life God has given to them. As far as my opinions, we all have them and they are very much our very own. I do try to be even handed in my political views because I realize there's enough shenanigans at work on all sides to keep one busy. However, we all have strongly held viewpoints that may cause us to not always agree. That's okay. We get to live in a country where that is still permissible. And, we are blessed. Think about it. You, me, anyone can sit down at a computer, sign up for a free service, and begin writing a daily blog to share with friends and loved ones. That's pretty amazing to me. So, thanks for the memories, and Lord willing, I will continue to keep at it. May God help us all to have a wonderful and blessed day. Amen.        ......More later.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tribute to an influential person in my life.

Good Friday morning, it is November 19, 2010 and I bid you welcome to my reflections for today. In what seems almost like a galaxy far far away, I actually worked as a civil service employee beginning in 1965 and had jobs with the US Air Force, the Veteran's Administration and spent nearly two years at the US Army center located at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from1968 through 1969. In the late summer of 1969, a gentleman from Houston served in our public affairs office on temporary assignment. He was a major in the reserves and had missed his regular duty in Oklahoma, therefore, they sent him to Polk. While there he observed my work and asked me to come to Houston for an interview because he thought he would be interested in offering me a job. This was in September of 1969 and I did not have a clue as to what I should do. Our boss was LTC Bill Stallings and I decided to discuss all of this with him. He was a consummate professional and had the presence to command immediate respect whenever he walked into a room. The job had to do with computing. Colonel Stallings told me that he could not tell me what to do but he very much believed that the future would be wrapped up with computing technology. He also said that if it was him, given the opportunities going forward, he would certainly seriously consider this as a career move. I did make that trip to Houston and I did join Pennzoil Company in October of 1969. Over the next 24 years I was greatly blessed in being able to enjoy a wonderful job experience there. The other day I discovered that Colonel Stallings passed away this past September. His wonderful wife followed him just 53 days later. They are both buried in Arlington Cemetery. People come into your lives at different times but God often works through them His providence to accomplish His purposes. Colonel Stallings was a vocal supporter of mine while I had the privilege of working for him. He obviously was a huge influence in helping me to evaluate the opportunity that seemingly fell out of the sky. Several years later I made contact with him again seeking his advice regarding decisions I needed to make. A remarkable man and I will always treasure having had the opportunity to serve such a wonderful patriot. I wanted to share his obituary with my readers today.

STALLINGS WILLIAM BAILEY STALLINGS "Bill" Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) On September 13, 2010, William Bailey "Bill" Stallings, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired, passed away at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC at the age of 84. Colonel Stallings is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 62 years; his children, William B. Stallings II, Robert W. Stallings, Virginia E. Stallings and Patrick A. Stallings; his numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Colonel Stallings was born in Kenly, North Carolina on September 29, 1925 to the late Allye Bailey and Wiley Anderson "Jack" Stallings. Colonel Stallings joined the U.S. Army in 1944. He received a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1945. During his 28 year Army career, Colonel Stallings served in assignments around the world, to include tours in Germany, Korea and Vietnam. He earned the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and other awards and ribbons befitting a life of service defending America''s freedom. After his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1972, Colonel Stallings served as the Executive Vice President for the Leesville, Louisiana Chamber of Commerce. Colonel Stallings later moved to Salisbury, North Carolina where he spent hundreds of volunteer hours supporting the Westmoreland County Library where his wife, Evelyn, worked as an Archivist. Colonel Stallings last household move was when he and Evelyn joined the Knollwood community in Washington, DC in 2006. Besides his life as a dedicated son, husband, and father, he was a superb Soldier, talented musician, patient computer advisor, and constant friend. He will be missed by all of those he touched in this life. Memorial Service will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 18, 2010 at Knollwood Chapel, 6200 Oregon Avenue, Washington, DC 20015. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Knollwood Resident Activities Fund at the same address.

May God bless the memory of this fine man. And may God bless us all as we take the time to honor those who have contributed to our lives. Amen.                  .....More later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's beginning to begin to look like Christmas!

Yours truly from last year along with Amanda, Alex, 
Jimmy Jr. and Alesha
Hello Thursday, November 18, 2010, where it finds me trying to get into the holiday spirit. Thanksgiving? Not really. We are working on it too but since I'm doing my first Santa appearance this coming Saturday, I've been listening to Christmas music as much as I can. I've also been looking through the hot toys list for this season and working out the scheduling and logistics of the appearance. This particular venue is a pretty big deal, therefore, I am a little nervous but also excited at the same time. The kids at our inner city Bible club helped warm me up on Tuesday evening. Many of them had to touch my beard and tell me what they were wanting for Christmas. People in stores are beginning to approach me as well. Last Saturday evening I was in the grocery store when a man more or less ran me down to tell me what he wanted for Christmas. He was talking pretty loud so I assume his wife was the intended audience and his two teenagers were about to have a cow. That's what they used to say a long time ago. I whipped out my Santa card and it only egged him on more. Here's the deal. Now that it really is beginning to look a little more like Christmas, folks are seeing me in a different light. I've not seen anyone lately grab their wallet when I walk by them because they no longer see me as a street person but instead their thoughts are turned to sugar plums dancing around in their noggins.

I know the fellow who plays Santa in that big Super Center. He is one of their older employees and he grows out his beard and does the Santa photo work instead of his usual routine. He lives in the same neighborhood where we live. He is always going on and on about the bookings I have and how he wants me to help him get some outside work. I sent word to him the other day that he had better stay on his toes because people in his own store are chasing me down and calling me Santa. Might as well have some fun with it is how I see it. Our local fellowship of believers is planning an outreach into a nearby apartment complex near our Church property. It will be a fun time for the families there, many of which who are considered to be needy. There will be games, crafts, a moonwalk, refreshments, and of course, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I am really looking forward to this activity. I have several similar events scheduled and feel blessed to be able to participate in this way. After all, Christmas is about giving as a reflection of the Gift God gave to us. Jesus did say this: "Truly I say to you, Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me". We also know we are surrounded by needy folks. I heard this week that the largest food bank in our area is overrun with requests and even though their donations increased 14% this past year, it's not nearly enough to help all those who need assistance. I am reminded that we are blessed to be a blessing. We do thank God for giving to us! Amen.

Meanwhile we have great news from across the pond. Prince William has announced his engagement to Kate Middleton, his long time girlfriend. I actually saw an official statement by the British Prime Minister David Cameron talking about what a wonderful thing this is for the country. One commentator said the news is so bad with the economy, war, terrorism, and draconian cuts in services for the public, folks need a distraction and this wedding might just lift everyone's spirits. Here in the states this announcement was covered like the moon landing. There were all kinds of specials on this son of Princess Diana, on Prince Charles, the man who would be king, and also on this romance story. While I wish them the best I will tell you that our sense of well being cannot be fixed by a prince charming fairy tale. Not in Britain, not in the United States, or any other place in the world. In a world where peace is in extremely short supply, every person needs to know the Prince of Peace, the Savior who came and died for them that they might live eternally in the Father's presence. That's no fairy tale. That is God's truth and He so loved men, women, boys, and girls that He provided a way for them to be His very own, to experience His presence in their individual lives, and to have His Spirit to guide their way through the good times and the bad. Now that's a story that needs to be heralded here, there, and everywhere! Amen.               ......More later.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Busting up the Blogging Blockcade!

 Update on my brother Donald: Yesterday was a good day for my brother. He was much more active than he has been of late and shows real determination in doing things for himself. We also received favorable news from the insurance company regarding coverage of some intense rehab therapy on a trial basis. What can we say to these things? Thank God for His mercy and goodness that endures forever!

It's Wednesday, November 17, 2010 and you have caught me in somewhat of a battle this morning. Have you noticed that I might be suffering some from blogger's block lately? I'm sure those who claim ownership of writer's block would not want me to encroach into their domain, but there are days when the blank page seems to do all it can to resist having anything written on it. I read through some of the possible cures they suggest to help deal with this problem but since they didn't ring any bells for me, I thought I would instead write about not being able to think of anything to write about. Maybe I could send out one of those notices that always puzzled me: This page left intentionally blank. Am I the only one that couldn't help but wonder why the page was left blank? It was left blank intentionally. I'm not saying I lost sleep over it but it did capture my attention. Just why would they with premeditation, deliberately leave a page blank? I remember one time I added that type of page to a proposal I had done just because I thought it might make it look more professional. In that case I had intentionally inserted a page that said it was intentionally left blank. But, guess what? It wasn't really in there for that purpose, it was in there to make it look like it was in there for that purpose. I fooled them. And you thought I wasn't smarter than the average bear. If you are in a quandary about what exactly is going on in today's episode, I am tackling this blank page with ferocity as I seek to overcome it's glaring stare.

I mentioned yesterday about our extended family connections through our local fellowship of believers. We have a number of our families who have loved ones serving in our armed forces. Many of them have been deployed into harm's way and some are there today on the very front lines. The photo is of a young lady who is married to one of those serving. She and their youngest child were attending a Veteran's Day gathering and this was taken during the prayer. This picture was published in the largest newspaper in the state of Texas. Her husband grew up in our Church. He has done multiple deployments and we prayerfully await his return to the states within the next few weeks. We are connected. This young man has two children. His daughter is autistic and she is a special child to us all. He is a part of a family that we have been close to for over thirty years. His younger brother is a college student who works at a Chic-fil-a. We are connected. He is the one who introduced me to his management team and I worked there as Santa last year. This year I have an expanded schedule and the folks at Chic-fil-a are a part of introducing me to other venues. We are connected. The young lady in the photo is very much involved in a variety of programs to recognize our military and the sacrifices they make for us. We as a Church family are sensitive to the special needs of these patriots and we count it a privilege to stand in the gap for them, as they stand in the gap for us! See what I mean? Family connections matter and I am blessed to be a part of one such loving representation of our Lord and Savior. Amen.

They recommend that when you are wanting to get people's attention, you should tell a joke or a funny story. This brings up the proverbial "Did you here the one about......"  I've read through the jokes they say are voted to be the funniest by country. I didn't really find any of them to be that funny. The one voted tops in Canada had to do with the hundreds of  millions spent by NASA on developing a writing instrument after they discovered that ballpoint pens will not write in zero gravity. The Russians responded by sending pencils with their Cosmonauts. Don't blame me. They claim this was all vented through scientific survey techniques. I also read that folks begin to see a decrease in their sense of humor as they get older. My punch line: I don't see anything funny about that. I will tell you that the sitcoms people watch today are typically not even mildly funny to me. These automated laugh tracks just drive me crazy. Even as our grand kids watch all the Disney stuff, there's an artificial laughing response every 5 seconds, and it drives me up the wall. I read once that while people say they hate the laugh tracks they actually respond more favorably when it is included. Are we that gullible? I will share with you how my all time funniest stories are about me and I have decided to keep the best in the vault to never be heard about, not even to be used to try and bust up a case of blogger's block. However, don't be too concerned because there's plenty out there being told on me that other people know about, even as I write this blog. How did I generate so much material? I do know that I don't want to turn into a grumpy old man and I suppose just knowing that is a good place to start. I just don't want to be that old guy that dreams he is standing up there giving the most boring lesson ever only to wake up and find that I am. Enough already for one day. Time for Annie to sing: "The sun'll come out  Tomorrow So ya gotta hang on 'Til tomorrow Come what may Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow! You're always A day A way!." One would hope. Until then, may God bless you and may God bless all those who serve in our armed services. Amen.             ......More later.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lame duck soup for everyone!

Good Tuesday morning, November 16, 2010,  and I bid you welcome to the lame duck session of congress where all kinds of stuff is not getting done except for all those who have to clean out their desks busily trying to get as much as they can before they have to leave town. Sounds a little cynical but when you think about it in the US House they have to run every two years, therefore, they are always running for reelection and when you take out the time for all the recesses, well there's not that much time to do the people's business. However, as some have pointed out, that's not always a bad thing because when they are not in session they typically can do less damage. The term lame duck is kind of interesting. The term was actually coined in England back in the middle 1700's to tag those who refused to pay their debts. The first reference to a political figure here in the United States was a comment made about President Calvin Coolidge in 1926. Today it is applied primarily to politicians who have lost their reelection bid, or they have decided not to run again, or they are term limited and unable to run again, but for whatever reason their current time in office finds itself defined in this way. It's a wonder there's not some kind of uprising by some group opposed to using this terminology. The word lame of course originally had to do with disability of some sort usually physical. It has come to be used as slang for someone who is stupid or clueless. I suppose ducks don't have an advocate committee to look after their reputation, therefore, we call this current fiasco you can watch on CSPAN each day, our lame duck congress. For me, I always thought it meant an injured or crippled duck but that just shows my country roots.

Some of you are thinking that maybe I should pay more attention to lame duck bloggers since I might well qualify given a number of those definitions mentioned above. I would take that seriously but as I have always reminded my readers, you are never more than one click away from escaping whatever nonsense happens to be occupying territory on this electronic page. As we move on down the road of life we really do have to learn to adapt. One of the common exchanges between my wife and I these days is to ask each other this question, "Have you taken your medicine?" Hello? Living for over 60 years with that not even being on our radar screens and now it's a regular part of our daily routines shows just how far we have come. For a person who would have to be coerced to take an aspirin, I now gobble down 10 pills a day. Fortunately, I take only 5 prescriptions and the rest are over the counter, but think about it, that's 3,650 pills a year. What happened to the other fellow who was so stubbornly against swallowing pills? I suppose he just faded into the landscape of the fourth quarter of the senior bowl of life. I thought that sounded better than getting into lame excuses that involves ducks or some other animal. Health care dominates the conversation of the folks in our circle. I can't recall that subject ever coming up just a few short years ago. We've just finished re-enrolling in our current insurance coverage. Guess what? Significant increase in cost for the coverage. Higher deductibles, and other changes that will mean more out of pocket cost to us. Welcome to the era of government managed healthcare!

I'm not complaining because we are blessed to be able to make the adjustments necessary to deal with these changes. I just never counted on having to take moderation in moderation. No. I have not started watching reruns of Lawrence Welk but I will tell you that I have developed a fondness for accordion music. They tell me that is a sign. So far I can be thankful I've not called the cafeteria worker over to complain about how tough the jello is. They tell me that growing older means you spend more time feeling your corns than your oats. One fellow said that we don't stop laughing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop laughing. The hearing thing is a new adventure for us all. It should help our memory because we have to repeat stuff so often to each other. I'll leave you with this manifesto for those of us who will soon be walking the talk:

I'm a Senior Citizen and I am proud of it!

I'm the life of the party... even when it lasts until 8 p.m. I'm very good at opening childproof caps with a hammer. I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going. I'm good on a trip for at least an hour without my aspirin, beano, and antacid. I'm the first one to find the bathroom wherever I go. I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up. I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a word you're saying. I'm very good at telling stories. Over and over and over and over. I'm aware that other people's grandchildren are not as bright as mine. I'm so cared for - long term care, eye care, private care, dental care. I'm not grouchy, I just don't like traffic, waiting, crowds, children, politicians. I'm sure everything I can't find is in a secure place. I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg. I'm having trouble remembering simple words like...uh???...uh. I'm realizing that aging is not for sissies. I'm anti-everything now: anti-fat, anti-smoke, anti-noise, anti-inflammatory. I'm walking more (to the bathroom) and enjoying it less. If you are what you eat, I'm Shredded Wheat and All Bran. I'm sure they are making adults much younger these days. I'm wondering, if you're only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150? I'm supporting all movements now...by eating bran, prunes, and raisins. I'm a walking storeroom of facts, I've just lost the key to the storeroom. I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN, and I think I am having the time of my life!!!! ALWAYS REMEMBER: The world was made round so that we would never be able to see too far down the road. (copied)

See you next time on this same station and may God bless us all as we make our way forward! Amen.              .....More later. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

All time greatest reason to be thankful and everything else pales in comparison!

Did you notice how quickly Saturday and Sunday whizzed by? It was very fast for us but we wake up this morning thanking God for the opportunity to get up and go on this brand spanking new Monday, November 15, 2010. The good news is how wonderful it is to have an extended family in our local fellowship of believers where we worship. It's great to know that people care and they take seriously the problems faced by fellow brothers and sisters. In the class I teach I believe we talked about needs in different folks lives for 20 minutes or more and then we prayed over those needs because we are a family of believers who know that without God's help we cannot make it. After our lesson from Exodus Chapter 17 we then went into our morning worship hour and our pastor brought a great sermon to get us ready for the Thanksgiving season. He spent his time presenting the unfathomable riches associated with the personal salvation Jesus made possible on the Cross. Some folks scoff at the idea of a person being lost and on their journey to an eternity separated from God. They also find it difficult to appreciate how that a person born into that sinful condition can be rescued and saved to live eternally with God. Sorry. That's just the way it works and any and all who have found this truth by confessing their sin before God and calling upon Him for salvation, they know this to be the greatest of all gifts that anyone could ever be given. Therefore, it was a good way to get us jump started on a thankful heart. We are thankful for the gift of salvation and the God who provided it to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! Thank you Bro. John for using the Apostle Paul's letter to the Church at Rome in reminding us of this great truth.

I was able to run by to see our Lexie Dee on Saturday on my way to visit my brother at the hospital. I dropped our birthday gift off and after getting at least twenty hugs and kisses I was ready for the day. She was surrounded by a bunch of giggly girlfriends and they seemed somewhat fascinated by her Poppy Santa. This week is going to be a crucial week for my brother. He has shown progress but is nearing the end of his medical attention. His next stop is still undecided at this time. We are resisting him going into a convalescence center because the family believes he still can recover more. However, the medical people along with the insurance company typically have the last say, period, end of story. We have an appeal pending of their recent decisions but we just can't be sure how this will turn out at this time. His son is working with the VA to check out benefits through that agency. His daughter out in California runs a medical practice, therefore, she has been the point person with the insurance company but to say the least it has been very taxing for us all. We would appreciate prayers of intercession regarding the settlement of these issues over the next few days. Update: We also heard last evening that Donald was being given blood because his counts are low and they will be evaluating this new development this morning.

Pray about something like insurance company decisions? You betcha! People of faith tend to pray about all things because we have been granted this privilege based on our relationship with Christ. I used to be one of those who felt like maybe some of the so called trivial things in life were not serious enough to pray about. Over the years I have observed the prayer lives of some wonderful senior saints. One in particular, the late Sister Willis, used to pray about things like finding her apartment keys when she misplaced them. Many of us chuckled when she asked for prayer about things like that. She lived in an senior apartment complex and losing her keys was a big deal because she had to pay for a replacement and she lived on a very small fixed income. When she found her keys she would rejoice and thank God and she wanted everyone to join her in thanking God for hearing her prayer. Here's what I have learned. Those of us who chuckled about this simple lady's dependence upon God were wrong. She was right. She had put into practice the inspired admonition from God's Word: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6 She would never have been able to stand and teach a formal Bible lesson, but her consistent seeking of God's help for the all things of life taught us all what it means to be a child who depends upon their heavenly Father for their daily needs. Amen, and thanks Sister Willis for showing us the way. May God bless us all. See you next time.                        .....More later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Number 10 to our Lovely Lexie!

Good Friday morning and welcome to Poppy's corner on November 12, 2010 where he will be gushing a little because this coming Sunday is our Lexie's 10th birthday. Lexie is that girl in the middle with big sis Kyleigh and baby brother Brady. She has been a remarkable child since day one. She used to be the funniest girl who breathed air on the planet. Now since she is becoming a little more grownified she times her comedy for their most appropriate moments. She is smart as a whip and while she may not have size on her side, when she's playing sports she rocks her world with spirit and attitude. She's also a beautiful young lady that we pray for each and every day. God has something very special for our Lexie. Our Rodney and Mitzi have a large circle of friends, therefore, Lexie and her siblings get to learn about community, helping each other, and building friendships. Lexie can be serious when the situation calls for it, but she has always gone out of her way to make her Poppy feel a special connection and that in and of itself pretty much does it for him. I know what you are thinking. It doesn't take much, right? I plead guilty on all counts. It is our privilege to wish our Lexie Dee a most wonderful 10th birthday celebration from her MiMi and Poppy, and may God continue to bless you in all you do!

One of the great things about moving on down the road marked age is how God's gift of grandchildren ministers to our hearts each day. I fully realize they do grow up and in that process they too will face challenges, especially in the world we have built for them. Within our large group we currently have them at all ages and all stages even as I write today's episode and we all would agree it's not easy. I know some wonderful people who have not been blessed with grandchildren and I would never intentionally seek to make them feel bad in any way in my over the top feelings for those God has blessed us with. I have learned that because of our age, we see the landscape of life a little differently than the parents. It is through those grandparent eyes that we express the joy found in these gifts from God. I'm not one of those who carry around a portfolio of photos to show to others, but I do carry every single one in my heart, and think of them often throughout the day. Why not? In fact, one of my greatest desires is to influence all of my children, grandchildren, and our great grandchild with a testimony of what it means to have God as the foundation and focus in life. We are blessed with many good students in our clan. That's a good thing. We are blessed with many who excel in sports and other activities. That's a good thing. But, at the end of the day, we realize that it's their connection to Christ that is the most important feature in their life. God bless them all is our prayer and may God also bless you and yours. Amen. This wraps up another busy week and I hope to be in my place come Monday morning where we all will find out what will be unleashed next.             .....More later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If you live in a free country called the USA, thank a veteran!

Good Thursday morning on this November 11, 2010. This is the official Veteran's Day recognition and I think it appropriate for us all to pause, bow our heads, and thank God for those who have worn the uniform of our country and served honorably to defend our way of life. That tradition lives on today as so many of our young men and women are currently in harm's way. As I visit my brother I am reminded of his twenty years in the Marine Corp. Yesterday was the 235th anniversary of the founding of this elite branch of our armed forces. My brother was a Drill Sergeant for the first half of his career and I have never seen anyone love what he did more than he. He poured his life into many trainees who then served all over the world. Talk about making a difference! He made a contribution to our country and I thank God for him and so many others who have done the same. Nearly every evening we see a funeral procession on the news where another patriot is being laid to rest. Folks, freedom is costly and nothing demonstrates that cost more than to see those flag draped coffins. May God bless every one of them, their families, and all who have stood up and answered the call to go and defend our nation. We had a young man in our service on Sunday that just returned from Iraq. Our congregation stood and cheered as he made a few comments. It's okay to get a lump in your throat when you consider these patriots. It's okay to thank them for their service to our country. God bless them all! Amen and Amen.

Lately I tell people when I mess something up about how that with old people you just have to love them. I got to thinking about that. When did I begin to include myself in that category? Have I lost my ever loving mind or what? Old people. Me? You talking to me? If the shoe fits Cinderella, put it on? Maybe for me it's you are only as old as you act. Or you are only as old as your arteries, or you are only as old as you think. Now the think one would be a huge challenge for me. How about, you are only as old as you sound? Sound? Think? Maybe I should stick with me being only as old as those I hang out with and that brings me to another opportunity to mention my grandchildren. Pretty smooth transition don't you think? Not really? Hey, I do my best but it's like those chocolates, you just never know what you might get. I saw this photo of Alex on his mom's Facebook page and I thought about how our grand kids infuse us with energy and excitement. Alexander Benjamin is, after all, not only a funny little guy but he is the default acting Santa Claus costume judge in our family. Therefore, I am feeling younger already and as soon as I remember where I put whatever it was I was looking for a while ago, I'll be able to get on with this fresh new younger approach. Maybe I will even stop using that phrase, old people you've got to love them. But it seems to work so well. I'll get back to you on that one.

When I am quoting stuff I always favor that person known as unknown because it's just easier to not have to mess with attribution. Here's some highlights accredited to unknown reflecting wisdom: "Take life as it comes."; Take the bull by the horns."; "A grudge is a heavy thing to carry."; "A man who has never made a mistake has never made anything.:"; "A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience."; "Be careful what you wish for."; "You have to take the bitter with the sweet."; "What goes around comes around."; "Common sense is not so common."; "Variety is the spice of life."; "Don't be too quick to judge."; "Unjustly got wealth is like snow sprinkled with hot water."; "Even the best plans go awry."; "Silence is golden."; "Forgive and forget."; "Roll with the punches."; "Go for it."; "Persistence is the key."; and I'll do one more, "Never give advice unasked." Surely there's one in this list that speaks to each of us and most of them in one way or another are based on a biblical principle, therefore, we should always be ready to give credit to the Source of all Truth. And you thought you might not learn anything from reading my blog. For an old guy, I mean for a guy who is only as old as my spine is flexible. Sorry, that's the only new one I could come up with on short notice. I don't know exactly what it means either but it will give me something to contemplate as I think about what I might come up with for tomorrow's episode. Until then, here's something that will do you some good: Take a brief time out, and pause and count up some of those blessings, and then thank God for them. Amen.              ......More later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The earliest bird may get the first worm; but it's always the second mouse who gets the cheese!

It's Wednesday already, November 10, 2010, and the week seems to be flying by. While I may not feel like I've been pulled through a rat hole backwards, which was the saying I heard a lot growing up, I will tell you that I've been occupied enough over the past few days so as to not need to be rocked to sleep each night. I grew up under the direction of my grandfather who fanatically believed that a hard day's work was good for just about anything that might be ailing someone. He particularly thought that working from sun up to dark thirty, or from can to can't, was the number one cure for sleep related problems. He embraced the statement made by Solomon in Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 where he said the sleep of a laboring man is sweet whether he eat much or little. I know we have rampant insomnia all around these days. You only have to see the commercials to know what a problem this is in our modern society. We have it in our family as well. Folks talk about it all the time on Facebook, in their blogs, and in emails. I don't know what my grandfather would have to say about all of this, however, he might just hand someone a hoe and tell them to follow him out to the garden. I'm not trying to minimize the problems that people have because I know they are real, it just seems so aggravated today compared to yesteryear when things like this were not as obvious. It makes you wonder what came first, the chicken, the egg, the sleeplessness, or the costly medications. Don't write me and complain because you already know that I'm not always responsible for everything I write.

I watched former President George W. Bush in his hour long interview Monday evening. It was timed to coincide with his new book that covers all the major decisions he made during his eight years in the White House. I know he was vilified by the media as being someone who was out of touch, less than intelligent, and perhaps arrogant. I never saw him that way and I never was one of those who believed he should have been tarred and feathered. Was I disappointed in some of his decisions? You betcha! And, looking back, he is too. However, what came across to me in the interview is a consistent theme of this man being a lover of America, family, and what our principles of freedom mean. He unashamedly talked about his connection to his parents and how the love of family is what has kept him going throughout his life. I've always looked at the Bush family as being an example of America's best. During the interview he did not duck the responsibility for his time in office. He believes history, studied over time, will have a different judgment of his work than that which is commonly reported in the hostile media. I have said the same thing all along. He, like all leaders, will have some major issues that he could have handled better. His closing words were fitting. He is humbly proud to have had the privilege of serving as our President. God bless this good and decent man.

Those who love freedom act in certain ways. If a person who respects freedom doesn't want to own a gun, he doesn't buy one, but he also at the same time does not try to get all guns banned. If a person who respects freedom becomes a vegetarian he chooses not to eat meat, but he doesn't try to pass laws that prohibit people from eating what they want to eat. If a freedom loving person sees a threat from a foreign source he will do his best to figure out how to defend the homeland as opposed to assuming we are responsible for the anger of our enemies, and in finding ways to appease them. Today we are witnessing a rise in all forms of impositions on individual freedoms. It might seem like a great idea to ban Happy Meals but is this what parental choice is all about? I can remember as a kid I went through a chubby phase. Today I see kids obsessing over their BMI (Body Mass Index) because the nurse at school keeps talking to them about it. I'm not saying obesity is not a problem because it is. More and more we see the nanny state becoming imposed into the ordinary conduct of life in our country. Parents who choose to opt out of certain subjects because they don't believe them to be appropriate for their children are often ridiculed and held out as being less intelligent and out of sync with the mainstream. And, that's only when they have a choice which is becoming few and far between. Sure, I know we need laws to govern behavior or there would be chaos, but, freedom should always be the area that is considered first, protected the most, and preserved so that it can be handed down to our children and grandchildren.May God bless each one and may God bless America. Amen.              ......More later.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I was thinking about something really interesting but it got away from me!

Granddaughter Lexie, Daughter-in-law Mitzi, Granddaughter Kyleigh
I'm doing my best to sing that Gene Autry song, "Back in the Saddle Again." I've actually had people tell me that I was missed while I was away from work. To tell the truth, I'm actually glad they noticed. It was only a little over two days but it does seem longer and I am very happy to be sitting here again, click, clacking away. Some folks tell me that I am a slave to working but I think about my grandfather who worked until he was forced to leave at age 70. By the testimony of others, on his last day, he was still able to work circles around many of his younger crew members. Guess what? Looks like we are soon to be living in the work until you are 70 or older program whether you want to or not, thanks to a messed up economy sitting on top of a messed up government system. I'm not negative about it because I've never contemplated retirement as much as I have moving from one phase to the next. When I move from what I do here, I'll move to what I will be doing next. If I were at home every day I feel like I would attempt to develop a routine of productive activity to mark each day. But, everyone is entitled to seeing it the way they want to and I enjoy those who enjoy retiring early, later, or not at all. If God gives us the strength and the ability to get up and go each day, regardless of the activities we do or do not pursue, then we are blessed beyond measure. I can hear those amens out there because it's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, on this Tuesday, November 9, 2010.

We did some work on my Santa outfit while I was off. The padding situation needed to be improved and we found a work around to add more without it becoming so bulky and heavy. Our little Alexander Benjamin was there while we were doing this work. I went ahead and fixed myself up and tried it on to get a feel for how it would work. He just laughed and laughed while I was modeling. The next afternoon he was laying on the couch and out of nowhere he blurted out, "Poppy, I really love your Santa Claus suit!" Now that's the acclaim Poppy lives for. If Alex says it's cool, then I believe it will be exactly what I'm shooting for. When you are trying to be the jolly old fella's helper and do it as best you can, you need to be asking the ones who really count. For me, that would be the little guys who nervously approach but genuinely love the idea of Santa. If you make it work for them and they are able to have a smile and a dream, then you have succeeded. Making all the parents happy is another matter entirely. That's why its best to try to keep in mind how the joy of Christmas including the Santa fantasy is for kids of all ages, from one to 99, which means we all should enjoy the season instead of making it like everything else in this world, a dog eat dog affair.

I know what you are thinking. The world does not need a sermonizing Santa. I'm just saying and it's only because I have been there and done that. That reminds me. How is it that you bring a crying child to see Santa and you can't get them to stop crying, therefore, you can't get the photo for grandma you had in mind, but somehow it's the fault of Santa and those making the photos? Does that sound just like most of us? It reminds me of the lady who ran into me year before last. She swerved into my lane and clipped the passenger side fender. Crumpled it up pretty bad. She was so apologetic. She said I was in her blind spot. We exchanged insurance information and there I was being the believing citizen I am, I did not call for the police. Big mistake. I assume that when the lady got home her husband found out the police were not involved and suddenly he gave her a new set of facts as to exactly what had happened. It left me wondering what went with that sad and sympathetic person standing on the side of the rode. What was an open and shut case became a he said she said situation but she knows and I know the truth. I do hope this never happens again but if it does I will be demanding a full investigation including crime scene photos and finger printing. Maybe that's a little over the top but you get the gist of what I am saying. A roadside chat with an agreement in principle does not get the car fixed. And, no manner of photo artistry or Santa codling will fix a child who was out of control before he got there. I know they don't go together but there's a point in there somewhere. If you discover what it is, you will get to pass go but in this case there will  be no collection of $200. It may take me a few days to recover my blogging legs here so bear with me and in the meantime, have a blessed day! Amen.                   ......More later.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's so tough to get our 'why we do' things aligned with 'what we do'!

Update on my brother Donald: I was able to spend quite a bit of time working with my brother's family in trying to get some resolution regarding his next phase of treatment. It has been a bumpy ride the last week or more in getting the appropriate medical information matched up to the insurance people and many of you know how tedious all of this can be. On Saturday, when my wife and I arrived to visit him they were in the room getting him up. That in and of itself was a huge surprise because we have never seen him up since he went down with his heart attack. As we sat in the waiting room, imagine our surprise when they came down the hall rolling him in a wheel chair. We were taken aback. He was able to visit with us for about 45 minutes and as you can see he was thumbing through a magazine. This was a huge step forward and one we have hoped and prayed for over the last many weeks. He still have a long way to go but we thank God first and then we thank everyone who has been so faithful to pray for him. This week promises to be very eventful as decisions will be made regarding his next phase of treatment.

Poppy with grandson Brady Darrell
Hello out there in the internet world where bits, bytes, and signals are flying around faster than a speeding bullet. You thought characters just magically appeared on your screen? All those creepy folks you hear called nerds are out there somewhere helping to make all of this happen but it does give us the opportunity to share a few minutes here on the electronic porch on this Monday, November 8, 2010. Since I've been away it feels like I owe one of those what I did on my vacation reports but one goal we had was to see our children and grandchildren and that we were able to accomplish. The weekend before we had met with our eldest son and his entire clan. This last Thursday we met with our youngest son and his family. As you can see I am working on the beard. And you thought I was just kidding. Then we had Jimmy's kids spend the weekend with us and we had a wonderful time with all of them. We do get to missing all of our children and grandkids when we don't see them for a while. I had something happen not too long ago that really stunned me. Someone made a special effort to come to me and they went on and on in telling me how that I had made such a positive difference in their life. It wasn't so much of me being shocked as it was me not ever having thought that much about ever doing anything to deserve this type of recognition. I may need to pay better attention. Just joking. I mention this for one reason only. I think it actually is only when we do what we do without expectations of recognition or response, that when it does come back to you, it's not only a surprise but also a blessing. I call this one a surprise blessing and it came at a time when I may have needed a blessing. Funny how that works out at times, isn't it? God knows when we need some encouragement and He knows how to provide it. The Apostle Paul had quite a lot to say about the stuff believers do in life. He said that any and all that we did after coming to faith in Christ, even good stuff, but if we did it with wrong motives, it will be burned up. In other words, no reward for those. This doesn't mean good wasn't accomplished. However, when we do stuff that reflects the genuine heart of Jesus, great will be the reward. Sadly, I raise my hand as knowing that I will be first in line to expect quite a bit of smoke when I stand and give an account of my life as a believer. You have never heard about the Judgment Seat of Christ where all believers will appear? I can help you with that. It's clearly presented in 1st Corinthians Chapter 3.

Since I have been officially off, meaning off from work, not off my rocker as some of you immediately assumed, I will make today's episode mercifully shorter. I will tell you that I enjoy hearing concession speeches. Even when someone fails who I am very happy to see defeated, I still feel for them as they stand behind that podium to throw in the towel. They typically are surrounded by their spouse and children and it is a part of our American tradition for them to bow out gracefully. What is really interesting is how that once the election is over how friendly they become towards the one who will be assuming the position. Just 24 hours earlier they were slinging mud like there's no tomorrow, saying the most hateful things one can think of, but now, in defeat, they are wishing the victor success. That's America. You have to love it, and I do! Their quick act of forgive and forget, even if it's contrived, reminds me that we all need to be those who are quick to genuinely forgive. I can think of some people even as I write this who continue to harbor grudges from so long ago, one would have thought the statue of limitations alone would have nullified their bitterness by now. Even sadder is how that often we find this unforgiving spirit among those who name the name of Christ. We need only to remember how that Christ forgave us to see an example of how we are to deal with others. The preachers used to say that believers are the only army that typically shoot their own wounded. Those hurtful slights tend to find themselves engraved into our memory banks. I can remember some from when I was just a little tyke. But, we represent our Lord when we follow His example in forgiving those who have wronged us. I probably needed this encouragement as much as you did. Amen.  Okay. Enough for today, glad to see you, it's good to be back, and until next time, "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places."       ....More later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time for me to take a delayed deep breath and smell the Community!

Update on my brother: I am a little discombobulated this morning. I am at work because I have a few things to wrap up before being off. I actually spent all yesterday afternoon at the hospital trying to work out some details regarding the way forward for a care plan for my brother. He continues to do well but there are some issues regarding the best type of rehabilitation treatment for him. We met with the hospital administrative folks and are now trying to get in sync with the doctors. It was a very needed meeting and a very productive meeting but also one of those hurry up and wait situations. The good news is that my brother is smiling and seems to be comfortable. We still have high hopes for him as he faces this next phase of his recovery.

Good Wednesday morning and we rise and shine to be thankful to God for another day on this November 3, 2010. I pretty much got soaked yesterday morning but I didn't mind. It was so wonderful to feel the rain since we have been in an autumn drought after having had a great summer where showers seemed to be well timed. But, that refreshing cool rain is another reason to give thanks to God. I hear people say it could never rain and they would be just fine. But they really don't know what they are talking about. Right? Without any rain they would be in a huge heap of trouble, therefore, we all should be thankful that God provides for our needs, not necessarily our wants. I'm the only one here in my little domain this morning and I should finish my small pot of coffee before not even a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Okay bad lead in, but you can tell that I am beginning to begin to think about thinking about getting into character as I will soon be transforming myself into one of the jolly old guy's impersonating helpers. Back in the early 1970's when I worked as a Santa for Sears one year, that Clement C. Moore book, 'The Night Before Christmas', was the training manual given to us. The agency I worked for told the room full of fellows, sorry, no ladies back then, that this classic tale was the basis of what they wanted us to portray when the little ones showed up to sit on our laps. The fellows here at the company all try to help me with my ho ho's giving me plenty of ideas in all kinds of voices, accents, and approaches. I get them quite stirred up as I make my rounds throughout the day. It's all in good fun and why not have something to laugh about, right?

There's one line from President Obama that keeps ringing in my head. It was one that he said like a broken record after having been elected: "Elections do have consequences." Of course back then he was talking about how he believed the public had anointed him to carry out all his ideas. I suppose it's time for us to resurrect his words and repeat them over and over to him. I heard growing up that "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." I read a modern version of what this idiom means and it had something to say about equal treatment to the sexes. I guess I always saw it more to be if you dish it out you should be willing to take it because it does appear that the shoe is now on the other foot. Many speculate that since our sitting President is typically unable to see himself as ever being wrong, then he and his party will be looking for someone to blame for the election results. This might even end up with a few heads rolling since he has shown a tendency to throw folks under the bus if it suits his purposes. But, elections do have consequences, and now it's up to those elected to step up and show that they did get the message from their constituents. Whatever they do they need to do it quickly because my observation has been that they have entered the danger zone where most are swallowed up by the system and without perhaps even knowing it will soon be singing the tune of the incumbent. Lets get on with the consequences!

You thought since I was supposed to be off I wouldn't have much to say, didn't you? My granddad always wondered about the same thing. He used to ask me if I ever was going to stop long enough to catch my breath. Lately I've been over whelmed by the number of folks that I know who are having a rough time. Many of these are dealing with health issues or they have family members who are. Some are up against a difficult family situation, or unemployment, and there are those who are in need of direction for their lives. So much at stake and often it is a life and death matter. I know sometimes it seems like I mostly share a laundry list of names and needs with the Father. I also know that I am not informing Him of anything. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that He already knows what we stand in need of even before we pray. That causes some to wonder out loud why we should pray. Because He has commanded us to and more than that, invited us to come into His presence on behalf of the needs that we have through the means of our Savior who made this access possible for us. Sure, we need to spend time recognizing and praising God for even knowing Him, but He understands our burdens, and our needs, and He has chosen to use the means of prayer as a way of dealing with meeting needs but perhaps more importantly, working in our own lives as we yield ourselves to Him. That's some pretty good stuff for us all to consider on this slow start to a delayed day of vacation. Take care now, and I'll see you again soon. May God bless.     Amen.                   ..........More later.