Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can't find anything to laugh about? It may be closer than you think!

Thursday. That would be correct. The last day of March, the 31st. Right again. But, doesn't it seem like we just watched the countdown on TV as we changed to a brand new year? Three months in the books already? That is also correct. And, because of this fast paced life, I bid you a hurried welcome to Thursday, March 31, 2011. That vast sucking sound you hear is not the one Ross Perot predicted about the noise that would be made by all our dollars being sucked into Mexico because of NAFTA, no, it is rather, the collective sound of us all trying to catch our breath at the same time. I am for the most part joking. We likely do not have as hard a day each day as those who preceded us. I know my grandfather was a logger for many of his early adult years. That meant going from can to can't and doing back breaking labor in between the can and the can't. That logging stuff was not easy. I remember a fellow I grew up with who went into the pulpwood business. One weekend when I was back home I saw him and his brand new pulpwood truck. About half of his truck was smashed. He told me the new only lasted the first few days before they dropped some logs on it. He shrugged and said it had to happen sooner or later anyway. One good thing about filling up your day? As they say back home, when it comes time for bedtime, you don't have to be rocked to sleep. My grandfather made this work ethic a tenant of his life and he believed that the good night's sleep was a part of its reward. It worked for him and thus far, I am thankful to report that it has consistently worked for me as well. And, I say Amen to that!

One of the ways to make your day go by is to find something to smile about or to enjoy an old fashioned guffaw or two. Yes, my friend, I am saying you do need to make room for some laughter in your life. I say that fully realizing that life is typically not a laughing matter but God has given us ourselves as material and surely He knew we would have plenty to laugh about. I suppose everyone enjoys a good laugh about growing old because we all hope to make it into that category. Best I can tell, no one enjoys funnies about the older generation than those who make up the older generation. Maybe it's because we in this older group are more easily confined than all those others scattered from the very young on up. One lady spotted what appeared to be an older gentleman sitting on his porch wearing a huge grin. She went over and asked what was his secret to being happy. The man replied that he ate the fattiest foods he could find, never exercised, that he smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and drank at least a case of whiskey a week. The lady was shocked. She then asked just how old the man was. His reply, twenty-eight. Now there's one that incorporates the young and the old. There's the story about the two very senior adults who were happily walking down the street as they busily made plans for their upcoming wedding. They went into a drug store and asked the attendant if that store sold medications for memory problems, something for arthritis, as well as wheelchairs and walkers. The clerk assured them they sold all of those products. The couple smiled and said, "Good, we want to open our bridal registry here." The point I am making is that we all can find something to laugh about and usually it isn't that far away. You know what I mean? It's like this: What did one eye say to the other eye? There's something between us that smells.

I actually told a joke once to a fairly large audience and it went over big time. It was not my own joke but one that I had heard the late Jerry Clower tell. But seeing all those people laugh out loud gave me some insight into the payoff that comedians seek when sharing their funny stories with others. Sadly, most, but not all, humor today is of the variety referred to as potty mouth material. To me, using that style totally destroys any genuineness to the story. Our culture has grown so coarse it is conditioned to knee jerk a laugh when nasty words are said. How in the world does that constitute anything worth laughing about? Perhaps that is the reason they tell their jokes in places where so much drinking goes on. I was listening the other day on satellite radio to Bob Hope in a big production he staged in a return to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. His material was dated, some fifty to sixty years old, but much of it was funny, then, and funny now. He didn't need four letter words to get the crowd going. President Truman was in office when that program was recorded. Hope poked good-natured fun at the President and his family. I suppose I just don't get it. The need for all the filth. I have been told by folks that I should listen to this guy or that person because they are so funny but beware because they are pretty vulgar. No thank you. I'll just have to stay with the oldies, like this advice: Treat every day as if it is your last because if you do so, you will one day be most assuredly right. Say goodnight folks. Goodnight folks. And, may God bless us, one and all. Amen.          .....More later.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"It's me, it's me, it's me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer."

You thought maybe I was going to end up one morning with nothing to say, didn't you? I actually can see that happening, but not today. It reminds me of the running joke I had with my beloved Granny Mac. She was super cold natured and she always told me that she looked forward to the day when I would know how it felt to be cold. I would always tell her that while it was a possibility, my response would be, as of that particular time, "not yet, and not today!" Even that cold thing may be creeping up on me but I've had so much to say about it over the years, when it does begin to cause me issues, I've pretty much given up any and all rights to mention it. I hate it when it goes like that. But, how in the world are you doing anyway on this Wednesday, March 30, 2011? We do seem to have a lot on our plate right now but best I can tell, when I look around, it seems like most everyone is pretty loaded up. One of the most humbling things for me is to have those who show concern for me, for those who consistently pray for me, and encourage me in the race God has given me to run. That may not sound like a big deal but let me assure you that as best I can tell, according to The Scriptures, that interceeding and building up of each other is a primary purpose associated with God's people, His called out assembly, what we call today, a local New Testament Church. Not a building, not property, not programs, but people, living in the reality of making it in this world, and exercising God's provision for us to lift up one another as we recognize that we are needy folks, or as one of my mentors used to say, we are all fellow strugglers in need of God and each other. Amen.

Some days I have something to write about. On other days I don't have something specific on my mind but I just more or less let it happen on the page. When I do it that way I can be surprised by what I read just like you. I have told you more than once that being me is not easy and I really wouldn't wish it on anyone. But I suppose it can be exciting at times and it does tend to keep me out of trouble.That would depend on the way you define trouble. I really never know how many different folks read what I have written each day. I shared with you some of the stats that indicate there are a number of folks that land on my blog for one reason or another. I also get some comments occasionally from someone I don't know who found something in what I wrote about that caused them to respond. While I never intend to be mean spirited in my writing, my illustrations, or stories that I tell, I also am aware that often it can be interpreted in different ways depending on the person reading it. I am always ready to apologize for anything I have said that might hurt someone's feelings. As for my frequent use of The Scriptures, I really cannot apologize if someone is offended by them, because they are breathed out (meaning of the word inspiration) by God the Holy Spirit, therefore, it is what God has to say and if that causes someone to be uneasy, I say welcome to the club. That uneasiness we feel may be an opportunity for us to respond to whatever God is saying because He does still speak. To me, to you, and to the entire world as His word goes forth. Amen.

My brother has been admitted to a skilled nursing facility so that he can undergo another round of therapies intended to help his mental and physical functions. He has just gotten started but thus far he is responding well to this new opportunity to help him. On behalf of my mom and our entire family, we sincerely thank all of you who lift him and us up in prayer. When all this began last August none of us knew what would be involved in seeing him through the variety of life threatening challenges he has faced. But God has been with us and through His provision, which includes the prayers of His people, Donald is still here, and we are able to thank Him and you all for participating with us in this great challenge. We don't know the outcome just like we didn't know the event before it happened, but what we do know is that God is there, and He cares, and He has ministered to us all throughout this process. We seek His will and Donald's best as each day unfolds before us. I know there are many people who think they can go it alone when it comes to handling life's crises. Not us, and not me. We have a lifetime of experience that tells us we stand in need of God's grace and mercy every minute of every day. Therefore, I again thank one and all for the prayers and I close today with the words to that old song I've used before because it does reflect the truth as we see it. "1) I need the prayers of those I love, While trav’ling o’er life’s rugged way, That I may true and faithful be, And live for Jesus every day. 2) I need the prayers of those I love, To help me in each trying hour, To bear my tempted soul to Him, That He may keep me by His pow’r. 3) I want my friends to pray for me, To hold me up on wings of faith,That I may walk the narrow way, Kept by our Father’s glorious grace." After each verse this refrain is sung: "I want my friends to pray for me, To bear my tempted soul aboveAnd intercede with God for me; I need the prayers of those I love." Have a blessed day. Amen.            .......More later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What can we do? We can seek God and we can do our best to help others who are struggling and if we are blessed to have a job, we can be thankful. Amen.

Hello folks and welcome to today's mutterings and musings on this Tuesday, March 29, 2011. It is really good to be up and going and as far as work goes, to have a place to go. This economic downturn has tentacles and they have now reached the red ink flowing from state budgets. Here in Texas this means major cutbacks in all kinds of spending. Law enforcement, fire protection, teaching, programs for the poorest among us, none of these and more are immune from the drastic actions that are being taken to try and get the spending reconciled with the revenue or income coming into the state's checkbook. Maybe some of these programs were in need of review. Perhaps we grew government too much. Whatever the case, the people holding jobs and doing their best each day to fulfill their duties had nothing to do with the budgetary problem. Many of these will soon be added to the unemployment rolls and they will join the crowded masses looking for work. When the recession began our state was able to buck the trend for the first year or more but the continued weakness eventually made its way into our domain, our locales, our neighborhoods. People are anxious, upset, and fretting over an unknown future. Who can blame them? I hate it when the best case scenarios by the so-called experts doesn't sound very 'best' at all because they are predicting more pain and maybe even a level of pain to be institutionalized into our system going forward. What can we do? We can seek God and we can do our best to help others who are struggling and if we are blessed to have a job, we can be thankful. Amen.

I know the President and his team have bet the farm on education as a way to get everything back on track. Here's my concern. They tell us that most of the job creation is in the service related industries at the low end, and that percentage wise, a very small number of professional jobs are being created. My view is that if we don't begin to do something about getting industry moving again so that higher paying jobs are required, our well educated workforce may end up, like so many today, unable to find a job that matches their credentials. Rather than emphasize one program over others, I believe you have to figure out how to do it all, get the engines going, prepare folks for what will be required, and to somehow do it without sinking the ship with the debt we are growing at the tune of over 50 billion dollars a day. I didn't say it was easy. I am not saying all the failures should be blamed on the current administration. But, in our form of government, the President and his team are the 'go to' folks to formulate plans and strategies to fix what is broken. I can't see where the more than one trillion spent thus far has had much lasting impact in terms of getting things up and going again. The numbers one week show a little progress but the next we see another round of losing ground. Of course the political pundits are out there spinning their self serving takes on it, from all sides, 24 by 7, faster than a carnival ride. What can we do? We can seek God and we can do our best to help others who are struggling and if we are blessed to have a job, we can be thankful. Amen.

Am I pessimistic? Not really. I am concerned for my family, for those coming up behind us, and for our nation. At the same time I believe in the Sovereign Majesty of our Great God and in His providential working and care on behalf of His own. Therefore, in the good times and the bad, we seek God's help to instill in us a life filled with faith and hope where we can get up every day and do our best to honor Him with the life He has given to us. At the same time, we do not, as so many do today, tune out the bad news, and spend our time trying to find something else to distract us from the reality of the situation before us. I recall that evaluation by our Lord and Savior as He reviewed the works and faithfulness of seven of His called out assemblies, (Churches). In particular, the congregation meeting at Laodicea was taken to task for their being totally disconnected from the truth of their own situation. They felt smug. They felt well off. They saw themselves as doing pretty good, clothed in the best, and really in need of nothing. The One who knows all things had this to say about this local fellowship: "...Because you say, I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing---and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked---" The Lord goes on to tell them without coming to grips with the reality of their spiritual poverty and without a response of repentance and in getting right with God, they would end up losing it all. In fact, He said their hypocrisy made Him want to throw up. (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 3, Verses 14-22) Is there a parrallel for America? Is there a need for us to examine ourselves in light of the God who has blessed us in the past? I leave you with this recurring theme from today's blog: What can we do? We can seek God and we can do our best to help others who are struggling and if we are blessed to have a job, we can be thankful. Amen.                        ......More later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prayer to God: "Thanks for people You have placed in our lives, and thanks for the memories."

Today is Monday, March 28, 2011. Last Saturday would have been my mother-in-law's birthday, the 26th of March. She was a wonderful God loving woman who left this life in her 81st year of sojourn here, in May of 1998. My wife's family are my family. That may not have been that well understood as I said my "I do" way back in 1964, but it is something I learned, and not only just by acknowledgment, but I learned it to be a treasure. My wife's mom was a simple woman in many ways but with a twist. She was a maker of things. She had a quick mind and a wit that you had to stay ready just to keep up with her. She could sew up a storm and when she had sewing on her mind, she stayed with it. She loved her kids, and she loved their kids, and yes, she even loved the spouses, including me. I know that is easy to say after the fact, but it is also the truth because I lived in that prayerful love that she carried with her 24 hours a day. She loved music. She loved Gospel music and especially songs with a mountain twang. Most of all, she loved to hear her family sing. She didn't sign up initially to be a pastor's wife but she was faithful in doing her best to fulfill that role in their nearly 50 years of ministry together. One thing I thank God for is a fairly good memory. Sure, if you have one, you have to deal with some recollections that are not too pleasant, but my how wonderful it is to hear my mother-in-law's voice, laughing and talking, even as I write about her this morning. I didn't get to be who I am today by myself. God had to provide and often He did so through wonderful people like Mom Rawles. May God bless our memories of this dear woman. Amen.

My nephew up in the Dallas area has been working to preserve some photographs for some time now. He was gracious enough to send copies of his finished work to me. Isn't it interesting how a photo taken so long ago can cause tears to immediately begin to flow? His compilation includes some photos of folks that have passed on to their reward who were so very close to me. Seeing our own image from so long ago causes us to not only remember a good time but to think about how things might have been different had I made different choices. Choices do matter folks. That's not a slogan because we all have seen it up close and in person as we have made our way through life. This photo of our family is telling. Rodney, the youngest, is seen, barefooted and doing a thumbs up. That pretty well reflects his personality. Marilyn, beautiful then, and still just as beautiful, if not more so, today. That would be our eldest, Chris, wearing his Wilkerson Wildcat T-shirt, and then Jimmy in his jacket, and yours truly, leaning on the tree, featuring lamb chop sideburns and wearing a replica of a Houston Astros batting helmet. That would have been in the mid 70's and I can remember the very spot where it was taken. It causes me to wish I had done better but it also causes me to be thankful that God has brought us to where we are today and His faithfulness is why we are still here. And, just for the record, we were a pretty decent looking lot, don't you agree?

It is good to be able to look back, to remember, and to enjoy the thoughts from times gone by. Yet, today is the only day we really have that we can do anything to make a difference. I can't go back to 1969 and change the decision about taking a job in the metroplex versus staying in a small rural hometown environment. But, I can, today, with God's help provide someone with Godly advice and counsel based on experience and His faithfulness, I can, with God's help, see someone hurting and find a way to reach out and help. Looking back is so much different than living back. I've known a few folks that did live in the past. I know of a person who lost someone close to them and they essentially froze everything in their home and have kept it for years the same as it was when their loved one was with them. I'm not being critical of them but there is a sense in which we have only today, in the here and now, to get on with the life God has given to us. I read a very interesting obituary the other day. It was written by the deceased person. That's not the first time I've seen this done. He reviewed his life story and thanked many different people that were influential in his life. He had a long term breathing related illness and that was why he was able to pen his own obituary. We may not be inclined to write our own but we are in so many ways writing it every day in how we live, the people we touch, and in the way in which we pursue the life God has given to us. A common question asked is one that inquires about how a person wants to be remembered. I shared with you just a little of what I remember about my mother-in-law. She wasn't perfect and she had her bad days, like we all do, but she etched in my mind how she was to be remembered by her everyday actions, and that included her contribution to my life. We all can learn something from this example. Okay, that's a wrap for Monday. See you next time, and may God bless! Amen.         .....More later.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My oh my, what a wonderful day!

Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye, My oh my what a wonderful day Plenty of sunshine coming my way, Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye. If you aren't able to put the tune to those words then I have a question for you. How have you been able to make it up to this very day, Friday, March 25, 2011? I forget sometimes that some of those who read my stuff may not have a clue about a little song written all the way back to the very year I was born, 1946. This is a rather famous nonsensical ditty from Walt Disney's "Song of the South". That little song actually won an academy award and you can find it from the movie on YouTube where nearly two million people have watched and listened to it. But most of you are likely familiar with it because for years it was a part of the Disney TV Show theme and it has also been used on many other shows. But, how in the world are you doing on this, for many, the end of the work week day? We are thanking God for a bit of good news from my brother where he has been up and walking a little. That's something he hasn't done since the first of the year. And, he seems to have a little better recollection. The folks in the hospital have said they are going to recommend him for the brain trauma treatment program at the same facility where Congresswoman Giffords is being treated. That would be huge if he could get into that program. However, he has been recommended before but the insurance company along with some of the doctors did not agree. We are being told the doctors this time are unanimous in their support. We ask you to pray that God will provide in this matter, whatever is His will, and whatever is best for Donald.

They say that capturing the attention of an audience when you are writing requires that you get started with an interesting character doing something interesting. That makes it pretty tough for me since I do write mostly about myself in terms of how I see the world and that kind of nixes the idea of an interesting character, and since I don't do too many interesting things, well, I suppose you can see why you get what you get when you tune in to this station or page, as it were. Of course life itself for each individual produces its own story line. When I started writing these blogs I used the line from Yogi Berra, "You can observe a lot just by watching." I suppose if I've had anything to contribute it is the observations I've made during my sojourn here on the planet. I believe I have been blessed to have been exposed to a life filled with tremendous variety, challenge, and a fair amount of drama as well. This doesn't make it very interesting to everyone because typically what we are drawn to and interested in will not be the same for us as the next fellow. Variety. That may well be the spice of life and given all the choices and experiences out there, surely each of us can find something to get our attention. One of the themes I have purposely pursued is the common need every person has, whether they recognize it or not. That would be the need to respond to the Creator by accepting His offer of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the unity thread that I have attempted to weave in my daily dissertations. Bottom line, without coming to grips with this need, the rest, no matter how interesting, has no context except for the fleeting moment of this life.

The preceding paragraph came from somewhere. I've read it a couple of times and to tell the truth, I'm still trying to figure out what I was trying to say. But, it does have some appeal to me. Maybe it's the way the sentences fall out on the page, or the flow of disconnected thoughts, or the fact that I saw it walking by on the sidewalk of my mind and I reached out and grabbed it, and put it into today's edition. There are times when it turns out to be just what it is. Most people know that I am not an animal person. I have nothing against animals and I appreciate how special they are to those who have them in their homes. I peruse an online version of a German newspaper in English maybe three or four times a week. You may have heard about the sudden unexpected death of the famous polar bear named Knut. He was a star attraction at a zoo in Berlin. That polar bear has garnered more attention than the majority of people, even famous folks, when they pass on. It just seems to be a little much to me. I believe that God gave us the animal world and we should observe His guidelines in how we balance our interaction with it. But, obsessing over an animal does not meet that test, in my opinion. People leaving millions of dollars to their pet is not my idea of good stewardship. All our children have pets and that is okay with me but mounting an official state investigation into the death of a polar bear, which is what some are calling for, tells me there's something not only rotten in Denmark ( a reference to fish) but perhaps busted in Berlin. That story about Knut has a new wrinkle everyday and its still the most commented on, even with Japan, Libya, and all the other calamities in progress. The autopsy report which generated a new headline said it was a rare brain problem that took his life and there is now an ongoing raging debate about whether he should be stuffed for public viewing or not. Don't believe me? Do a Google search on Knut and see if it yields any results. (27,200,000 hits when I did it.) Context and balance does seem to be missing in all of this but that's the way I see it. You may see it differently and I am perfectly okay with that. Now I bid you farewell and send by best wishes for your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless one and all! Amen.              ......More later.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maybe we could change Senior Moment to Odyssey Dawn Moment.

Yes. We made it to Thursday, March 24, 2011, and it is good to be able to rise and shine on this day that the Lord has made. I'm not so sure how much shine I have for today's episode but we will make an attempt at pasting something on the page. I heard one of the Pentagon spokespersons say that the Libya engagement was called Odyssey Dawn after this name was chosen randomly from a list of fifty words. Hello? It is kind of strange because the word odyssey, associated with Homer's famous poem, typically reflects a long wandering and eventful journey. I also think they did the first bombing in the evening, not at dawn. Maybe someone was having an off day when they chose the fifty words, or perhaps they are trying to be closer to reality since many of these supposedly short engagements have, in the past, turned out to wander on and on and on. Someone jokingly said they chose this name because the other choice was Enduring Instability. That instability word pretty much sums up the Middle East ever since there has been a Middle East. One interesting thing to me was how the mainstream media have fallen all over themselves promoting this coming together of nations to deal with this tyrant in Libya. Their spin is how that only President Obama could have made this happen. Not so fast. This so called happy coalition has more holes in it than Swiss cheese and even Defense Secretary Gates has said that we are making it up as we go. That statement no doubt causes concern for the families of our brave men and women who are doing their best to follow this 'make it up as we go' mission. (I used the Swiss comment with no pun intended since they are neutral and do not fight, but maybe they provided chocolates or something.)

I put my little blurb about my wife as Mrs. Claus up on Facebook as well as having it in my blog and it generated some interesting responses. Several did the laugh out loud symbol and one lady told me they had an extra room in their home should I need it. You may remember that I threatened to consider a demotion to an elf if Mrs. Claus claimed too much of the center stage. That caused me to come up with this little mock-up of her in an elf outfit for a follow up on my Facebook page. We have a good time with stuff like this. Many think that after forty six years we are to a certain extent kind of like a long running comedy routine. By the way, it is a collective dialogue. My wife has so many fierce friends and defenders, they pretty much come out of the woodwork anytime I try to make a funny. Therefore, it is intended to be the source of a smile and it does reflect many times the ongoing quirks that are a part of any healthy marriage. Lest anyone, ever, under any circumstances think that it is critical or demeaning in any way whatsoever, that would be completely 100% off base. Sure, I know folks who could never joke between themselves and I think that to be pretty sad. The bottom line is how we live out our roles and responsibilities. She has hers, I have mine. Action is always the measurement and she is the one who knows whether I am devoted to loving her in the same way that Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for the Church. (Ephesians 5:25) Having said all of that, she may want to keep a copy of the elf mock-up just as a reminder.

A fourteen year old boy out in Salt Lake reported to the police that he had been grazed by a bullet, tearing his pants. It turned out that he made up the story to keep from having to face his mom because of ripping his new pants. Many have condemned him for wasting police time but I can identify with his dilemma. There were six of us when I was growing up and my mom was a perfectionist when it came to dressing us. She believed that how we looked was a direct reflection on her. The thought of us kids wearing crumpled up jeans or shirts would have sent her into orbit. We also were not well off and buying new anything was not always the first choice. My mom would have been none too pleased if we messed up a good pair of jeans. I also remember my dear wife as she struggled to keep our three boys looking nice every day. She would buy the double kneed jeans and could be nearly moved to tears when they ripped them above or below the knee. I say this to say that I understand his situation. I certainly do not condone lying and calling the police to report a shooting was over the top by any standard. Sometimes we all do silly things and that fear factor does play in there somewhere. I suppose we can all pause to thank God for wrinkle free and stronger materials. Have a great Thursday and Lord willing, I'll be here again at the old keyboard, coming up with something. May God bless us all. Amen.                 ......More later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everything has its purpose: The shinbone helps you to find furniture in the dark.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Nearly everyone has some kind of medical issue. Do you know what I mean? If you don't know of any you have right now, I hate to burst your bubble, but it most likely is a coming attraction. I am a reluctant and mildly aggravated diabetic who still wonders from time to time if it really is true. But, the blood tests don't lie and they consistently confirm that I am. I don't like being a diabetic. It's not the kind of life that I asked for. Pricking my fingers and measuring my blood glucose is not something I ever wanted to learn about, much less do on a regular basis. Some people have the same problem I have but they handle it quite differently. Just last week a fellow was in my office telling me how well he has his under control. This man must be at least 125 pounds overweight. He told me his fasted blood measurements and they run on average 20 points higher than mine, which is worse. However, he claims to get really good A1C scores when his doctor tests him for his 60-90 day average. His A1C is actually nearly 10 points lower than mine, (6.4 versus 5.5). Something doesn't add up. I run lower testing averages. I did lose the weight nearly two years ago and this huge guy who eats what he wants to when he wants to, is either totally off base, or I am entirely on the wrong track. This guy is very intelligent, well educated, therefore, I don't know how it could be that his big number as we call it would be better than mine. Stuff like that really causes me to wonder but it is what it is and we all have something we have to deal with, therefore, we might as well buckle up and do our best on the ride we have been given. If I were him and his doctor is telling him he is doing well, I think I would race to get a second opinion.

I remind you that while I don't particularly like being a diabetic, I am not complaining. I visited with a man Sunday who is fighting a problem with his A1C being 9.0 and thus far they have not been able to get it down. I am aware of children with Type 1 and my heart breaks for them as they battle this insidious disease 24 hours a day. Mine was found early and I have been, thus far, able to keep it managed with fairly moderate medication and attention paid to my diet. But we all have challenges and according to the Scriptures, they pretty much are common to all humanity, as they typically are no respecter of persons. My arthritis is a pain, if you know what I mean, but it, according to the doctors, is pretty much the standard amount someone might have at my age. My age. I can remember when my grandfather was my age. He was able to retire but he was still going strong and didn't want to. They wanted him to so they could make room for someone younger. He bowed his back. He could do that when something was important to him. He exercised his option to work on past age 65 until the mandatory retirement age of 70. I respected him greatly and I can remember how I worried about him continuing to work because he seemed to be fairly old. His fairly old is right on top of me today and somehow I look at myself and can't see what I saw when I looked at him. Maybe it's an optical delusion. I know it's illusion but delusion is maybe a better fit. Mirror, mirror on the wall, is that really old guy really me? Just joking. I actually feel pretty well and maybe even better now that I have shared my story with you. I should perhaps change the subject and try to figure out why lately I tend to have more hair on my ears than on my head.

I suppose one of my favorite comedic portrayals of an elderly person is the one Tim Conway used to do on the Carol Burnett Show. I used to be able to do a really good imitation of that stutter step walk he would do across the room. I still can but it's no longer an imitation. Just joking. I am thankful to be able to joke about it. I am trying to get more comfortable with people who want to help me do things. The other day I was ready to help a young fellow pick up something fairly heavy. Just as I was about to lift it I heard a loud voice, "Stop!" Another strong fellow ran over and asked me to let him do the lifting. I could have lifted that box but I appreciate those who do show that type of respect. I say respect because that does seem to be the reason, at least as I understand why they want to help. Many rate this Gene Autry song to be one of the best in talking about an older person. It actually was his very first hit from 1932, entitled, "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine." Here are the lyrics: 1) In a vine covered shack in the mountains Bravely fighting the battle of time There's a dear one who's weathered life's sorrows It's that silver haired daddy of mine.2) If I could recall all the heartaches Dear old daddy, Ive caused you to bear If I could erase those lines from your face And bring back the gold top your hair. 3) If God would but grant me the power Just to turn back the pages of time I'd give all I own if I could but atone To that silver haired daddy of mine. 4) I know it's too late, dear old daddy To repay for the sorrows and cares Tho' dear mother is waiting in Heaven Just to comfort and solace you there. Very sentimental but most of us can identify some with the content. I suppose it could help us to remember to remember those who are growing older who have been so influential in our lives. And, maybe to try and become one of those in someone's life today! Amen.                         ......More later.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob Hope was nearly right. It should be: "Thank God for the memories!"

Good Tuesday morning and welcome once again to another version of my view of all things that I have chosen to report on this March 22, 2011. A couple of weeks ago when I was visiting with my brother I shared with him how much he loved to fish when he was a young boy. He gave some acknowledgment as if he may have remembered those days so long ago. Last Thursday when I visited him in the hospital where he was not doing well at all, I asked him what he would do if he could be doing right now anything he wanted to. He replied: "Fishing." God gave us the ability to remember and for me, it serves me well because I do have so many fond memories from my childhood. Folks know about my dad passing away and the many other tragedies in our family and they wonder how anyone could remember anything good about their growing up days. But, my brother learned to fish and he loved to fish and today with what little of his memory connections that are working, he can grasp a fleeting glimpse of that enjoyable walk down memory lane. I know the critics tell us that Mayberry does not exist anywhere at anytime. But, I am blessed to have had some Mayberry like experiences as I made my way in that small, rural environment. The good memories do not change the sad times we shared that are still fresh today but those happy times balance it all out, and, I am so thankful to God that me telling my brother about all those days when he couldn't wait to get home to get his gear and head to the creek, and to see those fleeting images relived on his face, well, that, my friend, may not be much, but to me, it's a blessing, and I will just have to thank God for it.

My wife didn't feel too well on Lord's Day Sunday, therefore, she wasn't able to attend services at our local meeting place. At the end of my Bible study I mentioned to the class that maybe after worship services were over I would go home and check on her and fix her some homemade biscuits to help perk her up. I was joking but several reminded me about the homemade biscuit comment as I was leaving the Church property. When I arrived home I told her that I was going to prepare her a meal and serve her some homemade biscuits. She said she didn't know if she wanted any homemade biscuits. I told her that it really wasn't going to be something she could avoid because the next time those in the class saw her, they were sure to ask about the biscuits. I am still wondering why I said anything at all about biscuits but I say things like that way too often, and it usually always comes back to haunt me. My wife is a top shelf cook. She has been making homemade biscuits by hand since she was old enough to stand on a stool. I've been experimenting for maybe five years. But, I did keep my word. I fixed her some sausage, eggs, and homemade biscuits, along with some homemade jelly, and a glass of ice cold milk. My biscuits were not pretty but she said they tasted great. I am thankful for that but even more thankful that she can testify that I kept my word. Now, a little prayer: "Lord, help me to not mention biscuits again, anytime soon."

Last week we received our first official invitation to appear as Santa and Mrs. Claus. They are asking us to pencil in December 11 for an afternoon four hour photo session. I did the photo shoot last year and afterward I sent a photo of myself and the missus after she received her outfit. They want her to read a story. What's up with that? I thought the fantasy is all about the jolly old elf himself, Santa. How do you like that? I do recall a couple or more times last season that folks asked to take pictures with her and she wasn't even wearing her costume. I sure hope my Santa adventure doesn't end up being hijacked by the womens' movement. I am totally joking. In fact, I am the one who found her outfit and ordered it for her. I think us as a team has great potential. She is a natural and folks warm up to her at first meeting. Who knows? Maybe we have a future in the Santa enterprise. As retirement gets closer and closer, it might just give us something to occupy our time during the Christmas season. If she gets out of hand I might order her an elf costume and have her take care of the reindeer. I do hope this wacky walk through the wacky stuff that spins around in my mind finds you and yours doing well. I suppose I could wish you a Merry Christmas but that may be somewhat premature so I'll hang on to that for a later blog. Have a great day and may God bless. Amen.                 ......More later.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Choosing Kansas to win is easier than dealing with Libya.

Welcome back to my world and I send out a warm hello from my desktop to yours, on this Monday, March 21, 2011. In case you didn't know, the situation in Japan has been one disaster on top of another, but yet, in our country, that would be the home of the grand old flag, the USA, according to polling, more people are following the exploits of Charlie Sheen than the number following the events in Japan. It is good to know that while many have observed the lack of visibility of our President during the many different calamities going on throughout the world, he did come out from his bunker to share some very critical information with the public. He made a guest appearance on ESPN to announce his choices and brackets for the NCAA Basketball Championship. I am aware the UN finally voted to enforce a no fly zone in Libya and now we are seeing a military response but previously our President had been absent from the process. Some reports say that Secretary of State Clinton has been livid over his indecisiveness. Before his foray into basketball we had heard no word on Libya, no word on the nuclear free fall in Japan, nothing about the current budget stalemate, but we do discover that he does have time to put together his predictions for the college basketball tournament. And, in case you missed it, a mini crisis has come up regarding the marriage of Prince William and his chosen bride Kate. It seems the maker of the royal wedding commemorative mug goofed big time, because they actually show portraits of the royal couple, except for one problem, wrong prince, it is Harry not William. I well remember once when I worked in public affairs at Fort Polk, we were involved in the welcoming of a new general to the fort. His name was Coates and the gold plate on the special year book said Coats instead. When our Major Maybin handed him the book, he not so politely handed it back to her and informed her it must be for a different person. Major Maybin, filling in for the vacant colonel position saw her career aspirations flash before her very eyes. When she returned from the ceremony the entire staff, including yours truly, got one huge royal chewing. I actually think screaming is a better word to describe it but I was trying to be nice. Working for the big company, I had to deal with situations where I had to answer for a big mistake but I'll just tell you, after that mug was discovered to be wrong, I would not have wanted to be the person responsible for the portrait portion of the project. He or she may already be in line to apply for the witness protection program. (I wonder what one of those wrong mugs would be worth. Talk about a collector's item!)

I'm not so much critical of President Obama as puzzled by his ducking of these catastrophic events. If you recall, it was his former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel who uttered the famous line, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." Evidently the ones out there today are just too risky to predict whether there is any upside or not, and many believe the majority of the movers and shakers that are close to the President, they are heads down on his reelection and are not really paying attention to anything other than 2012. This kind of perceived reticence is the type that former President George W. Bush was crucified for by the mainstream media. However, many in the liberal media are spinning his NCAA picks as a wonderful example of how he can take a little timeout while having to deal with all the world's problems. I will be the first to agree these multiple crises are just about as difficult of problems that any President will have to deal with, but, they are what they are, and he is the elected leader of the free world, therefore, we should expect more than his thoughts on basketball at this crucial time in our history. Sometimes you have to wonder where he is coming from. Like the other day when he said he could understand how it would be easier to be the president of China than to have his job because the people there don't question every decision. That may be true but here in America we have what we have because of the sacrifice of others, and the right to question and critique any and all decisions made by our government is a bedrock principle within our freedoms. I am certain he was joking but those kind of jokes really give me the heebie-geebies at times.

I know what some of you are thinking about last Friday's fun day exhibition where I shared a number of images of yours truly. No doubt some of you thought that very last cartoon one that looked so buffoonish was an improvement over the original. Come to think about it, I kind of liked that one myself. One person told me that it made me look like a Leprechaun. Others said the big head was appropriate since I thought I was so smart. And, I did see one young fellow who just doubled over in laughing when he saw it. As I get older I am finding it easier to laugh at myself. Maybe it is because when you look at the big picture, most of the time, most of what we fret about, including things where we might have fun poked at us, they are not very big at all, in fact, they are minuscule compared to weighty matters, like eternity. It could be because I am aware that today I am much closer to eternity than I was many years ago when I did tend to take myself very seriously. That's not to say that any of us can't be offended when people are mean spirited in their comments, but, even those should be measured against their source and in how we might turn a negative into a positive by responding, not as one might expect, but with a sense of humility and kindness. We were taught growing up the Bible verses about turning the other cheek. However, we used to laugh about what happens after that cheek was turned because once that obligation was dealt with, they had better hang on. I'm absolutely certain that's not the meaning behind those verses and we have to take them within the context of a Spirit directed life and that will be the best way to take care of our responses. Have a great work week and may God bless us all. Amen.           .....More later.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Welcome one and all to what I am going to call Fun Friday, here on this March 18, 2011. One day I started playing around with some of the photo utilities available out on that vast information highway called the worldwide web, you know, the www stuff.. In doing so I came across some that were pretty easy to use and I thought I would just goof off today and show you some of the outputs. Computers and the internet can be fun. You do have to be very careful with so called free stuff. Sometimes the free stuff is where those creepy people dwell who seek to prey on unsuspecting folks, especially children. But, not all free sites are evil and with a little bit of caution you can enjoy seeing what can be done. I started out with a photo of yours truly. It's the one adorning this paragraph. I accessed maybe a half dozen sites and used some more than others to produce the results that follow. I also ask that you say a prayer for my brother, Donald. He is back in the hospital for testing and a thorough check-up. I do hope you will enjoy your Saturday and that on Sunday your thoughts will be turned upward because as I have so often said, there's a reason it is called the Lord's Day. May God bless each one. Amen.  And, I do hope you enjoy my little attempt at some Friday fun!              .......More later.

I have more but I think you get the idea!!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy holiday from the jolly green giant! ........What?

Hello again and welcome. We actually bumped out a 39 degree reading early Tuesday here and I was ready to applaud. I even heard one of the weather people say that we should enjoy the cool while we can because it will soon be only a faded memory as we anticipate summer. It is Thursday, March 17, 2011, and it is Saint Patrick's Day, and I bid you an Irish welcome to today's rants, raves, and rambling words. I started to call it fast forward Thursday because this week has flown by. I did take the time to read a little about Saint Patrick the other day and he is very much an established historical character and based on reports of his service to Ireland, he certainly is due some recognition. I'll leave off any detailed discussion of how folks get to be venerated and elevated as a Saint, but I will say that those of us who have been saved by the blood of Jesus, we are already called out and set apart, and we are not waiting to become a saint, according to God's own word, we are one! There's not too much in the way of objective proof about Brother Patrick having anything to do with driving out snakes but not too many folks wearing the green today even know about those legends anyway. Every where you go today you will see folks wearing all sorts of green. If you forget to remember to wear green today, you supposedly give up your right to be called Irish since the wearing of the green is a requirement. But, not to worry, because in the grand scheme of things, let me assure you that it's not that big of a deal.

I don't have to wait until St. Patrick's Day to enjoy Irish music. I listen to it quite often. The fiddle, flute, accordian, drums, and their own version of the bagpipe are very appealing to me. Back when the Three Irish Tenors came on the scene, I purchased several of their CD's. Many of their songs speak of home, family, love, pain, war, sadness, and a love and devotion for country. That pretty well covers much of the fabric of life. Some refer to many of the songs as being tearjerkers. I can't argue with that assessment but I still love the haunting melodies that, at least at some level, speak to me. There's also some wonderful Irish Christian music that incorporates many of these wonderful instruments into praise, worship, and Gospel songs. We've never gotten that far back into our exact roots from the old country but there is a common belief that our grandfather's people were Welsh, Irish, Scottish, or a blending of some or all of the above. That would be fitting because in many respects I see myself as just that, a blended hue of a rainbow of colors, and in this case, it gives you more choices to blame when you try to figure out why you are like you are. I have heard about those who are white supremacists that find out when trying to establish their racial purity that they have slave blood in their heritage. I don't know about you but I find that to be not only poetic justice, but hilarious on so many levels. One thing we can know, whether you are a hodgepodge or a blue blood, we all stand exactly the same at the foot of the Cross, because Jesus died for all, red, yellow, brown, black, white, and all variations, and that my friend gives us something to be thankful for!

I know today will be a day that many will use as an excuse to over indulge in drinking alcoholic beverages, supposedly in support of the Irish tradition. I also know good people who differ on whether it's okay to participate in the drinking of alcoholic beverages. I know there are some who promote the view that taken in moderation it can be enjoyable and perhaps even medicinal. In the movies we see the Irish drunk portrayed as a lovable and cantankerous fellow. For those of us who have seen alcoholism up close and personal, or the tragedies associated with drunk driving, we know these to have no lovable characteristics. Some report the monetary loss associated with alcohol related issues to exceed $200 billion dollars.They tell us that an alcoholic has a direct impact on at least 4 to 5 other people, therefore, it is something to take seriously. If that number is correct and we have an estimated 17 million alcoholics in our country, then one can see how that number explodes in impacting directly perhaps as much as one third of our population. I know when I worked for the big company in the big downtown area that some woke up the day after St. Patrick's wishing they had not been involved in what they got themselves into. I'm not trying to grandstand for one view or the other, and I am not trying to tell others how they should make up their minds, but I do think it important for us to know the facts. I'm not one who thinks that the Bible mandates that every person be a teetotaler, however, here's my take: In this world, and in the environment where alcohol is for the most part misused and abused, one interested in maintaining their testimony and influence must look at the big picture when determining the choices they make. That was on my mind, therefore, I wanted to share it with you. I suppose it's like the song 'It's My Party, and I'll Cry if I Want to', where here on this page, good, bad, or indifferent, it's my blog, I'll write what I want to. Since I don't use a laugh track I often wonder if I should include a symbol where a smile is called for. But, that would again end up being in the eye of the beholding reader. I do pray that God will watch over and keep us all until we meet again. Amen.    .......More later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seems like only yesterday she was riding a Big Wheel, now our Kyleigh will soon be driving a set of wheels! Wow!

Before we get into my reading of the tea leaves for Wednesday's front page, I want to pause and recognize the 16th birthday of our beautiful granddaughter, Kyleigh. We have been blessed to watch this young lady grow and develop into the outstanding student and athlete that she is. This birthday comes with her full attention on the next phase of her life: DRIVING. That's right. She is ready to go and while it seems impossible, she will soon join the rest of those running here, there, and everywhere. Our son Rodney and wife Mitzi and the other children, Lexie, and Brady, are also excited on this, Kyleigh's special birthday. She is a natural leader and literally drips with talent and potential. We are so proud of her and wish her the best birthday ever. May God bless you, Kyleigh. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

It is Wednesday, March 16, 2011 and I bid you welcome to my world, where the wheel spins and spins, and where it will stop, no one knows. You may not have noticed but some scientists are reporting that the earthquake in Japan actually altered the axis of the earth causing our day to be shortened by 1.8 millionths of a second. Okay, we are in good company because I never noticed it either. I could say something here about how that time flies but someone would likely think it to be inappropriate. Just thinking about those who measure and calculate these types of metrics is enough to give me a headache. It reminds me of some comments made by our Savior as He tried to communicate with the Jewish religious leaders: "Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the timesA wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed." (Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 16, Verses: 1-4) We are very capable of discerning many things, including millionths of a second, but often we stumble over that which is most important, that which has a lasting impact, that which will make a difference for time and eternity.

200,000 Chinese folks show up at a beach resort.
I'm not for a second, second guessing the importance of that 1.8 millionths of a second alteration. We no doubt have nuclear facilities, satellite, space, and other scientific instruments that depend on that level of accuracy. It still is razzle dazzle stuff to most of us. I suppose these difficult economic times do call for difficult decisions to be made. I've read that Churches are leasing space for all kinds of events. We are aware of sharing space with other religious activities but some are allowing caterers to rent, schools to occupy for a fee, and other similar types of revenue generating projects. I know of a local community of faith that rents their space from a religious group that meets on Saturday. It's a full function facility with no use on Sunday, therefore, I suppose it is a good match. I've even read about a funeral home in Indiana that is actually renting out its space for weddings and receptions. One reason for this is the fact that many special purpose spaces have had to shut down because of the recession and some of these other choices are being selected based on availability and price. The article stated that the wedding party seemed to have no problems with the fact that just down the hall there was a fully furnished display room full of caskets and urns. Of course there are places where crowding happens almost by default. Nearly 30% of all Chinese still live with their parents. With 1.4 billion people, well, you do the math.

I suppose we could close out with some favorite oxymorons. Simply stated, an oxymoron is two cojoined but contradictory terms. An example would be: deafening silence. Many are funny but only in the eye of the beholder. For instance, a music purist might think the words country and music put together to be a huge contradiction while those who like a little twang for their listening pleasure might see it quite differently. There are so many to choose from but taking into consideration my caveat about how one might see it differently, I'll give you some that caught my attention. Fresh frozen; act naturally; agree to disagree; awfully nice; well-known secret; vegetarian hamburger; dry ice; doing nothing; appear invisible; current history; eyes wide shut; fat free ice cream; going nowhere; gold silverware; and terribly good. I could have listed a few of the more famous ones, like: resident alien; true replica, government intelligence, clearly misunderstood; sanitary landfill; almost exactly, and for those who have to try and make computers operate effectively, the leading one is Microsoft Works, and on that one I could spend hours because it often is in practice, Microsoft Rarely Works. But, these are just samples. You can come up with some of your own. Some say that marital bliss would be at least a candidate but not in my home, but I might be able to come up with at least one good one if I think about it long enough. Meanwhile, I will withhold any further potentially dangerous comments and bid you farewell until we meet again. May God bless. Amen.             ......More later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What time is it? Internal or external? Where? Am I confused or what?

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, March 15, 2011, where our rain storms from yesterday have given way to some low 40's this morning and I am loving every breath of it, even though I have to operate in the dark because of the time change, but I'm sure that will work out also since we need the extra daylight. We do? Maybe we once did but I'm not sure we do any more. I just hate it when they mess with my internal clock. I know we moved the hands on the clocks throughout our houses but in doing so we have to admit that it does do a number on our mental sense of time. I did my best to keep my regular schedule on Saturday but by Monday the adjustment was being felt. I went from unlocking our shop facilities here at the Company in some beginning to be good daylight to dark dark, so much so, you can feel it. It is back to my flashlight and feeling my way around. I believe at one time the extended daylight was promoted as a way for there to be more time to do things in the evenings. You would not be surprised to know there are many studies about all of this available for review. Generally, it is reported that overall electrical consumption is down by 1% because of extended daylight. That may not sound like much but it's fairly significant when you consider how much is consumed in our country. Some think the data indicates some health benefits. Then we have the stats reflecting on automobile accidents and how it impacts driving habits. That may all be well and good but if the idea is to have people spend more money, here's exactly what I heard an economist say the other morning on the Wall Street Journal radio program, "If we are spending so much more at the pump, this means we have reduced the availability of discretionary funds, therefore, we don't have the gas to drive to the mall, and once we get there, if we don't have any coins in our purse, you can see what the overall impact is to the economy."

I almost understood what that fellow was saying. I suppose since we will not have the funds to do anything with the extra daylight we have, we can sit around, twiddle our thumbs, and look at each other, and be able to see things very clear in the extra daylight we've been given. There is no possible way for anyone breathing air on the planet to not recognize that we are living in some very strange times. I actually heard a mainstream commentator say the other day that if they didn't know better, they might think they are reading headlines out of the Book of The Revelation, as opposed to the newspapers. I think about how that Japan is thought to be one of the most advanced of all civilizations on the globe. They came up from the ashes of WWII and became technology driven before technology driven was even a buzz word. Their computer savvy, their advancements in robotics, and in engineering are all well documented and recognized. Today's economic upheaval hit Japan several years ago and they have been in the throes of making agonizing choices regarding their economic survival. While in the midst of this unprecedented challenge, they were still thought of as being one of the world leaders in all categories of expertise and innovation prowess. However, last week when the earthquake and tsunami hit, their lack of abilities to respond were laid bare. We all have seen how the "most well prepared nation in the world" has been reduced to grasping at straws as they deal with this horrific calamity. The bottom line is that we are limited folks, no matter how smart, or how prepared, we are limited. (Newswire: 400,000 Japanese homeless bed down in the cold without electricity/Japan faces potential nuclear meltdown.) When the backup to the backup fails, then what? And, that might just be a really good question for all those counting of human ingenuity alone to solve every problem. That's why many of us choose to apply ourselves and do our best while trusting God to take care of the results as He sees fit. Amen.

Some might think that to be a pessimistic view. Reality described in terms that mirror the truth God has given to us is always best, regardless of how folks choose to categorize it. I cringed when I read about a noted professor who has a string of theological degrees who recently said we have reached a time when the Bible is no longer relevant, especially as it relates to social issues, like marriage, and lifestyle choices. That comment reminded me of a Bible verse, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25) We who believe what God has said must never be ashamed or apologetic about the clear teachings He has chosen to provide to us. Because I have chosen to cover every word of every verse in the Bible study class I teach, it does not give any wriggle room, although, it does cause us all to wince as we feel the impact and often the conviction that comes from sharing the truth. I know some who rise up against the messenger with the attitude that says, "Who are you to be talking about such things?" But those who do their best to present the truth as it is given within its proper context actually only share what the Message Giver has provided, therefore, like the preachers in the old days would say, "Take it up with the One who gave us the word." I see potential for those dealing with the rubble in Japan. I read in the Book of Jonah about an immense pagan city called Ninevah and how they came to know God when confronted with His warnings of judgment. That means there is hope for Japan, and there is hope for every man, woman, boy and girl, as they come to grips with the limitations of their own abilities, and turn to seek God to meet their greatest need. Okay, that's it for today but ya'll take care now and Lord willing I'll see you real soon. Amen.     .....More later.