Thursday, June 30, 2011

Think about it: You are the only version of you that exists, or something like that.

Good morning friends and neighbors, welcome to this week's version of Thursday, on this, the last day, the 30th of June, 2011. This means I will need to adjust my wrist watch. It's a great watch that was given to me by my eldest son. It has that stem adjustment to get the calendar correct. I don't use the calendar on the watch but it bugs me to know that it is wrong and since it isn't electronic, it will think tomorrow is the 31st instead of the 1st. Yes. I do know that a stopped clock is right at least twice a day but in this case, even though I don't use the calendar, it does bother me to know that I am wearing a watch with the wrong date indicated. I would agree there are much more pressing things in life and much more weightier matters to be concerned about. That's at least one of the reasons I've never wished being me on anyone else. Unique. We all are. Last Tuesday I was in the lab office for my six month blood draw and there's always interesting folks wherever there is a waiting room. I came back to work with some thoughts about the folks sitting in that room but then reality did a number on me. As I was thinking about those funny folks I passed by a mirror and the thought came to me that those who were sitting in that room are somewhere at that very moment telling someone about that funny looking man they saw, and that would be, none other than me! See what I mean? We all are each other's material for story time. That's pretty neat when you think about it. You will have to get back to me on that one? Come to think about it, I will too.

Since you insist, I will tell you about one lady. She was maybe in her early 40's. She was wearing a brand new jogging outfit and brand new fancy running shoes. She may have run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator because she did seem a little out of breath. Let's see if we can decode her situation. She likely had been feeling a little lethargic and had recently visited her doctor who told her she needed to become more active, and that she could do with losing a few of those extra pounds. As a follow up, the doctor had ordered a series of tests and she was there that day to do her blood work. In the meantime, she had done a lot of Googling to find out the best jogging gear for today's active middle aged person and that's why she was sporting that brand new gear. I could tell she was real proud of it too. Sometimes just getting ready to get ready will do a body good. Know what I mean? The question remains how worn that outfit will become over the next weeks and months. I could have told her to wash it all several times a week and that would give the look of her being active, especially if she is like most of us, and maybe not really as serious as she should be about the actual doing of it. If buying all of that new stuff put a spark in her step, just think what it will do for her when it actually looks like it has been used.

Please know that I was not in any way criticizing that lady. I only gave that bit of insight because I didn't take anything with me to read. That story may not even be close to what she is dealing with. I do know first hand the part about how the mind is willing but the body does not always show up for duty. I've had these brilliant thoughts about hurrying home after a twelve hour work day and getting busy on a list of things I want to get accomplished. I was filled up with excited motivation as I left the workplace. Once home, I had a bite to eat, and then I would sit down to watch some news. We all need to be informed. We especially need to stay up to date on the weather that hasn't changed in weeks. Right? Pretty soon I made the decision to lean back in that recliner because it is only appropriate to get in a small amount of relaxation while taking in the news woes of the day. Right? About 90 minutes later I awakened and discovered that my productivity dreams and aspirations had gone to that place never to be seen again, that is, at least until the next time. Right? The only advantage I have over that lady is that I've been around long enough to not buy the outfit first. I would want to see which one wins. I would need to know if it's the jogging or the recliner before I invested in that type of proposition. That should be enough foolishness to last us all for at least one day. Until next time, "happy trails to one and all" and may God bless each one. Amen.          ......More later.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The inherent power when we share God's Holy Word!

Hello again.It is Wednesday, June 29, 2011. I talked yesterday about how that I desire to share some of my life's testimony as a way of providing encouragement to those who might read my daily blog. Maybe I should send out a notice through Google to the potential billions and warn them about accidentally landing on my blog. I'm always amused by the statistics regarding those who have done just that, more than 17,000 since this all began back in 2007. Some of those may have been intentional but since I send it out each day to a directed mail list, most of those were likely hits based on searching for a particular item. They did click on it because the stats are kept for page views, therefore, they at least looked at the face of my blog. I have picked up a few readers who continue to access my daily writing after having landed on it accidentally. They have sent me a note to indicate such. Here's an example of the comments I get, this one came this past April and it was in response to a blog I wrote concerning the biblical perspective on the history of the conflict in the middle east:
"Hello there! I loved your blog, I found it totally by chance and I'm loving it, I wish I could read everything here, but I'll read your articles one by one... lol... I'm Christian too and I agree with what you said about Rebeka's act. She made something that brought fight between two brothers and that ended with two separated people until nowadays: Jews and Arabs, and they fight against each other until now, and I guess it will be like this until Jesus comes for the 2nd time. God bless you greatly!!! Big hug from your sister in Christ in Brazil"
This causes me to hope at least one, someone, out there somewhere, may have landed on it at a time when they have needed something that God would use to help them to deal with whatever is going on in their lives. I do know that God is in the business of turning accidental contact into life changing experiences and it is His way of working that we count on, not our ability. He spoke through Isaiah how that His Word would not return to Him void or without accomplishing the purpose He intended. His given example was rain falling on the earth. It hits the ground. It goes into the soil. It makes contact with a plant and there is a response that ends with a blossom. (Read about it for yourself as found in the 55th Chapter of Isaiah's Book.) This was His way of describing it, not mine. But I will tell you that I do pray that as I quote from His Word, there will be some contact made, and that He will work and bring about the result He desires to see achieved. Amen.

I know that you know that we are in a tailspin when it comes to the US economy. Recession or depression is in the eye of the beholder. Obviously that does not apply to some folks. The only known actual photo of Billy the Kid went up for auction the other day. They expected it to fetch between three and four hundred thousand dollars. The final bid was $3.2 million. I watched some of the Barret Jackson automobile auction here and there over this past weekend. A 1963 VW Bus sold for $217,000. Restored beauties like I used to drive in the 1960's sold for up to $40,000. Those doing the purchasing obviously did not get the memo on the economy. A couple of weeks ago Debbie Reynolds sold the famous Marilyn Monroe dress for a pay out of $5.6 million including the commission. She had bought the dress at a studio auction many years ago for a fraction of that amount. Again, there is obviously a disconnect between those who must be insulated from the ravages of the doom and gloom most of us have witnessed in our economic condition. I don't envy any of them. We live in a country where you can accumulate wealth and spend it on anything you choose. I wouldn't think these examples to be something I would ever be involved in, except for maybe one of those 1955 Ford Crown Victoria's, like my wife and I dated in before we were married. But, I already have one. I almost forgot. She and the boys went together a number of years ago and purchased me one. It was one of those numbered, registered scale models. Black and white with the chrome strip across the top. Just like the one we drove. I thought I was somebody driving around in that car. I've learned that I really wasn't but it is fun to think about those days from yesteryear. Maybe I should auction off some of my memories. Nah. I really wouldn't want to part with any of them.

Most of us have more pressing issues to deal with. My wife's sister Dorothy over in Louisiana is having some surgery today. It is moderately serious and we would appreciate prayers on her behalf. She and my wife are more or less joined at the hip. I've always said they were twins that just happened to see Dorothy born 18 months before my wife. They have much in common. They are both great moms and great servants of the Lord. We also are monitoring the situation involving dad's daughter, our step sister Miriam. She continues to languish in the grip of ALS and our hearts go out to her and her family. These are pressing but we have even more that are on our hearts and minds. The good news is that we do have Someone to carry our concerns to. The old song says it well: "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer." I know many of you have your own list and they are a part of your daily concern. I pray for you and your requests even as I solicit your prayers for the needs I have. That's the mutual connection we have as children of the living God. May He hear and answer even as we pray His will to be done. Amen. My wife tells me that I am beginning to get longer and longer each day as I go on and on and on. I try to stop when I finish but obviously some days I miss the cut off signal. I would say that I will try to do better but that's probably not going to happen. Have a good one. See you next time.           ......More later.   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I find myself having to jog just to keep up with all my role models!

Joke: For every mile you jog they say it adds one
day to your life which means at age 85 you can
spend 5 more months in the nursing home
at a cost of $5,000 per month.
Yes it is. It's Tuesday and June is fading even as I type this little ditty on this, the 28th day of the month, year 2011. Some people are amazing. You know what I mean? I was reading the obituary of a lady out in our area that passed on at age 87 but had continued to be a practicing private nurse through March of this year. Wow! Talk about a productive life! The write up made a special mention that her license was still up to date. I think of my mom and dad and how active they are and it is impressive. It is amazing to me just how much they are on the go, seems like nearly every day. My Paw Paw Mac was born in 1900. The statistics indicated a life expectency on average for males to be 46.3 years. He was blessed to live to be 71. When we see that 46.3 we think most of the people were dying young. That's not really true. There were folks all over the age range but on average that is how many years people could expect to live. I was born in 1946 and those born that year had a really great expectation on average to make it to 64.4 years. I have already exceeded that one, therefore, I am going to do my best, with God's cooperation, of course, to be one of those on the other end of the average that tends to mess with the statisticians. I do believe that one of the amazing features of the modern age is how that folks up in years are able to continue to be very productive in their lives. That no doubt reflects improved nutrition, food safety, and a whole lot of enhanced medical technology, but, since God is the Author of life, therefore, He truly has a purpose in us being able to benefit from these older folks. Or, we older folks as the case might be. I know how thankful I am for my parents and because of their active lives we sometimes forget the number that goes with their years here on the planet. That's a blessing that we should never take for granted. Amen.

I know there are many folks who believe they are fine having a relationship with God but without a connection to a local community of faith. It reminds me of a song from a number of years ago, "Me and Jesus, we've got our own thing going." I don't see it that way at all. These past many months of doing my best to support my brother during his life ending illness, including the prayers and encouragement I was provided after his passing, gives testimony to the encouragement and support I have received from my brothers and sisters in Christ in the community where I fellowship, worship, meet, and serve. The local assembly, (Ecclesia in the Greek), called Chruch today, is a God ordained institution founded by our Savior Himself. It's made up of sinners saved by grace. Yes, there have been many folks hurt in their association with a local body. That happens because while we are saved eternally we are certainly not sinless nor perfect. therefore, sometimes we have earned the reputation of shooting our own wounded. That being said, God ordained that we believers should be united with other like minded folks for the purpose of carrying on His Kingdom's business here on earth. Sure, the local assembly will always have stuff going on that is not what it should be. Why? Because we who are members still struggle in seeking to live out a life of faith by the help and power of God and we do not always achieve this in our day by day living. However, I can testify to needed strength and the unmistakable presence of God as those who are my dear brothers and sisters interceded on behalf of me and my family during these difficult days. Yes, folks, while we are all damaged goods, we do best when we connect into God's design and the local fellowship is how He chose to provide for His own. Thanks to those in our local fellowship for being there for us all along. Amen.

The old saying certainly applies to my testimony. Helping folks connect into God's salvation is nothing more than one beggar telling another beggar where they can go to find food. Part of what I try to do in my blog each day is to share with my audience my experiences that may be of help to someone out there. Some believers don't feel qualified to share their testimony. Just tell what has happened to you. What has God done in your life? Most of the people chosen to spread the Good News from the get go were not theologians. Most of them were fishermen. But they were there when it happened, therefore, they had a story to tell. These men were not ignorant, however, since most of them had been raised up in Orthodox Jewish homes. Knowing the Scriptures would have been a big part of their early childhood development. But Jesus of Nazareth, His hometown, just like Hornbeck, La., is mine, chose out specific individuals for the very purpose of being a witness to the fulfillment of the Scriptures regarding the coming into the world of the Messiah and Savior, Christ the Lord. Once the Holy Spirit came to enable and empower the ministry of the Gospel, these men were able to boldly proclaim the truth about our Savior, and many of them were inspired by God to write the Holy Texts that we are able to read and study today. From humble beginnings they were said to have turned the world upside down. This should encourage each of us to see ourselves in light of truth. We are who we are in Christ and because of our identity in Him, we have purpose in our life. Let me assure you that He is still working on yours truly to make and mold me into a vessel that can be of service in His kingdom. Thank God for that and I do pray that you will go right out and have yourself a blessed day. Amen.      ....More later.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Home is where your heart is!

Welcome back to another work week as we attempt to get everything up and going on this Monday, June 27, 2011. We came home last week from mom and dad's with a sack of homegrown tomatoes. These tomatoes were loaded up with flavor and filled to the brim to overflowing with juice. The insides literally explode when you bite into them and stuff pretty much goes everywhere, but not to worry, we've been there and done that, and we have our towel ready. Not like anything we can buy around here. Not even like they sell at the so called farmers market. My wife bought some of the homegrown variety a few weeks ago. My foot! Take one bite and what do you think of? Kroger! I get it. They put them out there, charge a buck more per pound, and you end up bringing home the same tomatoes that you already know don't have a clue. But, my how we enjoyed those tomatoes. A couple of years ago mom and dad had given me a sack to bring home and I carefully placed them behind the drivers seat on the floor. I tend to get a little drowsy on that long drive home, so I reached back there and grabbed one of those succulent beauties and got hold of some napkins and I pretty much chowed down on that buddy. It worked so well I got me another one, then that led to the next one. Knowing how much my wife loves those tomatoes was all that kept me from turning that bag of twenty into zero. I think I may have delivered a half dozen and I'm not sure I ever gave the complete tally. Because why? Friends do not let their drowsy loved ones drive without some vine ripened tomatoes to help keep them awake. Never heard that public service announcement? You do need to get out more. What do they really taste like? They taste like home. That's right. Home sweet home. Amen.

My wife's folks were also vegetable garden growers. When we would visit we would leave their place with sacks of stuff and coolers filled with peas, okra, beans, and different greens. I know they say that it has to be good if you carry a name like Smuckers, but folks, not any that I have ever had of store bought brands can stay in the same room with some of the homemade jams, jellies, and preserves we used to eat. Bust open one of those huge cat head biscuits made in an iron skillet, load it up with butter, (real if you have it), or cow oleo as my sister called it when she visited some of our kin who churned their own, then take some of those pear preserves and fill that buddy up. Now you know what starting a day was like when I was a kid. But that was in many ways a very long time ago. It was way before that blood glucose meter entered into the picture and spit out numbers that can make or ruin your day. I now enjoy those same tastes but more on a sampling basis. Nothing like it. My mom also gave us a mess of purple hull peas already cooked to bring home. I know how my wife thinks. We do have some peas, okra, fried green tomatoes, and homemade cornbread coming to our dinner table soon. I love it when folks turn up their noses when I mention a menu like this. Get this: they actually think the fact they have home style written on the side of a take out bag is something to be proud of. They do deserve our sympathy. And, I would give them some of mine but at the moment I'm too busy dreaming about those fried green tomatoes. Yum yum!

Okay. We've all had enough teasing of our palates for one day. But it is true that we associate things like food with home. Granny's cooking. Mom's cooking. My brother Donald always perked up a little when I talked to him about the little rural town where we grew up. Why? It represented home to him. It certainly doesn't represent much at all to the masses but to those who grew up there and lived in what someone last week called "our Mayberry", it was something to feel good about. I feel that way about it also. But there's a home awaiting believers that is even more special than we can grasp or imagine. And, while I get homesick for that little place over in Louisiana, I am so looking forward to going to my real home where I will be with my Lord. A proper understanding of our heavenly destination gives us a great foundation for living out the life God gives to us here. How? Knowing that we are certain to go there means that He certainly has us here for a reason. The Apostle Paul said that if he had his own way, it would be an easy decision, he would go home to be with Jesus! However, he also added that he knew God had some more work for him to do and it would be in God's own timing to determine his home going day. (Philippians Chapter 1) What does eating have to do with this? Well, back in Paul's day, there were some who decided they would just quit working and sit down and wait for Jesus to return. Paul had a word for them. That's not God's plan and purpose, therefore, if you don't work, you don't eat. (2nd Thessalonians, Chapter 3) They no doubt got to thinking about doing without those big old fluffy homemade biscuits and that immediately got them up and off their rear ends and moving out to the workplace. Or something like that. See you next time and may God bless. Amen.          .......More later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mountain tops, deep valleys of despair, and everything in-between, the good news: We have the same Great God with us every step of the way!

Okay. Let's try this one more time. It is Friday, June 24, 2011 and I bid you welcome to this edition of that which passes itself off as a technical essay on this, that, and the other. Seeing all those home folks the other day made me once again realize just how much they all had changed. They had changed? What about you cowboy? One lady said that she thought she could see me behind all that stuff on my face. That's how they talk over there. She probably has some preconceived notions about beards. She may have thought I was a part of a cult or something. Or maybe in hiding. You know what? None of that bothered me one bit. She's not the only one that wonders about me. I often wake up thinking maybe I am in a witness protection program with a different identity. Not really. But, I do often wonder about myself. One lady who was married to a fellow I grew up with told me who her kinfolks were. I well remember one of her cousins. His name was Tommy. He had a huge temper. We children were not always angelic. Maybe we were but it was mostly like the fallen angels. At any rate, I told her how that once I made him so angry he shot me with a BB gun at point blank range. I showed her the tiny white scar on my hand where I had to dig the BB out. We were probably nine or ten years old and I did learn a valuable lesson in that experience. Never make Tommy mad when he is holding a BB gun. I told you that I was capable of learning. See what I mean?

The funeral home people over in Webster, Texas were very kind to us. They are a huge metro operation and it shows. The folks over in Leesville, Louisiana were very much less formal and that was wonderful also because it reflects the speed of life there. My sister JoAnn worked in the funeral business for 25 years. She was able to help me coordinate all the services and because of her long term service, these affiliated funeral homes provided all the services at a nominal cost. This was out of respect for her and for our brother's service to our country. JoAnn had been able to be with Donald around the clock for his last week. No one will likely ever know all the challenges she faced that week with Donald's rapidly declining health coupled to a near mental collapse by his lady friend who was his primary care giver. I can tell you this. My sister is a little bulldog when it comes to family and she went way above and beyond to make it as good as it could be for our brother. Mom and dad and my sister Frances made the trip on Wednesday before he passed away on Saturday morning. God did a remarkable thing on that Wednesday. He gave our brother and our mom and all those there with him a really good day. Is that not just like our great God or what? Donald was able to smile and acknowledge and his last words to our mom that she will take with her into eternity were: "I love you Momma." Now don't go trying to tell me this was a medical this that or the other. It was a God ordained moment. I know it. I have thanked Him for it. And, to me, it is amazing. After all those days and all the intense coordination and planning, our dear sister JoAnn who has many health challenges of her own, was not able to make that long trip from the Dallas area to the memorial service. But she was well represented by her children and she was even more well represented by the extraordinary beauty of the memorial service itself. Thanks Sis, you did good and may God help you to get recovered real soon. Amen.

I see things haven't changed too much while I was preoccupied on family matters. The political mud slinging seems to have a very adequate supply of mud, even with all the drought throughout the land. It's pretty bad when the financial press labels remarks by our coutry's top economic official like this: "It was his I don't know why and when the economy will get better speech." Ouch. Makes us wonder who, if anyone, does know. But that's not how we who have our faith in God see it. We know that He knows and He is at work. He is at work in the day by day living of His very own like that handful on purpose He gave to our mom and sisters last week. He is also at work in the dealings of nations. One of the things we all have to learn is that knowing that He is at work does not mean that you and I will avoid the difficulties and yes, even the pain, that comes with His plan and purpose being unfolded in our lifetime. People of faith who are in the ditch financially because of how our entire system has been turned upside down, are hurting, and struggling. But, there is a dfference when our faith and hope is in our great God. We, with His help, persevere, do our best to help ourselves, while leaning on Him to get us through these challenging days. One of my brother's favorite songs that we used at his memorial is entitled "God on the Mountain." My wife and I used to sing this song. Let these lyrics encourage your heart today: "Life is easy when your up on the mountain And you've got peace of mind like you've never known But things change when your down in the valley Don't lose faith for you're never alone For the GOD on the mountain is still GOD in the valley When things go wrong He'll make them right And the GOD of the good times is still GOD in the bad times The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night You talk of faith when your up on the mountain Talk comes so easy when life's at its best Now its down in the valley of trials and temptations That's when your faith is really put to the test For the GOD on the mountain is still GOD in the valley When things go wrong He'll make them right And the GOD of the good times is still GOD in the bad times The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night." Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see you next week, Lord willing. Amen.            .......More later.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's good to be back. It's good to know that God has been with us all along the way.

I have been away for a couple of days but to tell you the truth I'm still trying to get my bearings on this Thursday, June 23, 2011. I was exhausted when we returned last evening from burying our brother but in many ways too tired to rest and also too excited about trying to get cranked back up on our regular schedule to really enjoy some restful sleep. That's the way I have always been. Once I get wound up it takes a while but I know that will come in its own due time. The memorial service was wonderful. We paid proper tribute to our brother and the service he diligently gave to our country. We did our best to honor God with the truth He has given to us as a guide for when we face times just like the one our family faced this week. We saw family we have not seen in a while, it had been way too long. We saw friends that I used to play with when I was but a wee little boy. I was able once again to embrace one of my teachers from high school who was a tremendous encourager in my life and mentor. He was still talking about how I and another student kept him on his toes in challenging him in our studies. We had a huge rain early that morning. It was wonderful. They needed it over there in that part of Louisiana just like we need it here. My mom saw the day as a blessing even though her heart is once again broken. Since Donald was a retired United States Marine, we were able to have a Marine honor guard to do the flag ceremony at the cemetery. Donald's body has now been laid next to dad. He joins so many of our family there at the old Beckom Cemetery. It is hallowed ground to us only because of the great history of faith and influence we remember as we scan those headstones. But, I will tell you that I am so very happy to be back sitting here staring at the screen as I hunt and peck around on this computer keyboard. I am convinced that God was with us every step of the way. Your prayers helped me to be able to be used by the Lord to minister to our family. Thanks to one and all and I know there were many who remembered us. That's what we do in our family, that's what we do in our extended family, and I thank God that it includes so many of you out there in Bloggerville. May God be praised for His provision and may He bless each one today. Amen.          ......More later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

God is always faithful and that's something we can always count on!

Happy 25th to our children!
Good Tuesday morning. It is June 21, 2011 and God has been good to continue His faithfulness during times when we need a special touch. I first want to recognize our son Chris and his wife Sherrie. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary yesterday. What a blessing! We are thankful for this accomplishment in their life as they continue to influence their family for the Lord. Congratulations and may God continue to watch over them is our prayer. We would typically have done something special but this event, and even father's day, had to be temporarily postponed due to my brother's passing. I will be going over to Louisiana this afternoon to be with my mom and to finish the details for the service on Wednesday morning. It will be a family service and I will be doing my best to handle the eulogy, therefore, we all appreciate your continued prayers. Yesterday was one of those melt down days in spending literally hours on the phone coordinating between the two funeral homes and in taking care of family details. Thankfully, we have my sister, JoAnn, who is retired after 25 years in the funeral business, and she has been able to provide not only much in the way of planning support but her former employer has provided all these services at a very nominal cost out of respect for her, and respect for my brother's years of military service. We don't take these things for granted. God is good and we give Him the praise and honor for it all. Have a good day and may God bless as we also seek a little rain here in our area. Amen.              ......More later.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From Philippians: " not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Donald Abbott Sept. 3, 1948 - June 18, 2011
Hello folks. It is Monday, June 20, 2011, and I bid you welcome to another busy work week. As most of you know by now, our brother, Donald Richard Abbott, passed away on Saturday, June 18, just after 6 a.m. My sister JoAnn stayed with Donald during his last week. Mom and dad, along with our sister Frances was able to come last Wednesday and they had a wonderful visit with him. His youngest daughter, Jolena, was able to spend quality time with him also. His companion and caregiver throughout this ordeal, Dotty, was also there around the clock. I was able to be with him Thursday night and Friday night where early Saturday morning we all gathered around him and were able to say a prayer to our great God before he slipped from this life into the next. Since his massive heart attack last August, he had been through it in terms of medical treatment, probably unequalled during his lifetime, except maybe for his years of Marine Corps training. This week we will be busy getting all the details together for a tribute service we are planning. The service is planned for Wednesday morning in Louisiana near our hometown. Details are still pending final confirmation and I am trying to act as coordinator, therefore, I appreciate your prayers. For our mom and dad, Donald's companion, his children and their families, for us siblings, and our extended family clan, and we are a sizable clan. I may not be on my regular blog schedule but I will be back in touch with you all, because you are very special to me. Have a great day and may God bless us all as we do our best to serve Him and others this week. Amen.  ......More later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thankful for the times dad and I have shared a cup together.

The stuff flying by on the roadway of life has been going so fast, I missed the sign that read Friday. But here we are. We made it and it is good to bring you greetings on this Friday, June 17, 2011. I feel blessed to be able to sit here each morning clicking and clacking away while savoring a super hot cup of that Louisiana brew, Community coffee. Coffee is bad for you. Coffee is good for you. Coffee may or may not be as bad as was previously thought. New evidence shows that coffee in moderation may have a favorable impact. I could wallpaper this office with all the conflicting studies that have been published regarding coffee just in my short 64 year plus run. Hurry up and stop. No, hurry up and wait. How about? Just sit back and enjoy your cup filled with 'good morning' written all over it. One comedian said that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia when the shepherds noticed the goats were dancing. I'm not sure about that but I do know that it is one of my daily cherished indulgences. Here's a little ditty I found to pay homage to our cup of  joe:
Bean Peace
A poem by Drew K. 
A mystery wrapped in brown,
A fragile enigma,
Enveloping the senses,
With the earthy steam
Of a bean.
The mind wrapped in warmth,
The essence of dark roast,
Heating from within,
The senses thrill,
With every lingering
Sniff of the aroma

In the mug

Etymology (from Wiktionary)
Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his numerous reforms of the Navy was the abolition of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard navy ships was coffee and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".

Alternative forms

I suppose that was a little over the top but I've most likely been much more over the top than this. You remember that? Good memory. They all tend to run together for me, after a while. Man, I do love my coffee, but these coffee prices are getting out of hand. I can hear you non coffee drinkers out there doing your too bad chuckle. I've been scouring the internet looking for deals and typically there are some to be found, but you have to be careful. Read the fine print. Good price on the coffee but what about the shipping? Shipping by UPS couldn't be that bad. Right? Right, but there is that little word 'handling' to consider. You might just end up with a great deal on the coffee, a reasonable price on the shipping, but those hands that touch your package must be precious because that handling fee will kill the whole deal. Wonder who gets that fee? Hello? Maybe the coffee was not as good a deal as you thought. Bingo! Therefore, I look for the good price, typically in quantity, that comes with FREE SHIPPING with no additional charges. When I happen to locate such a deal and it is in my brand, and it is my blend, you can bet that hallelujah chorus is doing an encore from the balcony of my mind. All of this about a few pounds of ground coffee. Sorry. I told you I have been over the top before. I suppose this proves it.

Happy father's day, dad!
I can't think of anyone I would rather share a cup with than my stepdad. Sunday is the day we set aside to honor our dads, and believe me, our family has much to be thankful for in the man God sent to us so many years ago. Our real dad left the scene for his heavenly home all the way back in 1954. And, we honor him also on this special day because he was used by God to give us the life we have. Our step father is a man of integrity. You can put a period behind that my friend, or you take it to the bank because it is not a sentiment, it's fact. A career military man, he served in both Korea and Vietnam. A career civil servant he worked to make sure our fighting forces were prepared. Since his retirement he has served the local community in many different ways including fire chief and as a town council member as far back as I can remember. As a devoted husband to our mom, you will not find a better example. A common pulpit theme today you hear is how that a man can do more for his children than almost anything else in the way he treats their mother. I beleive that is true and dad has set a wonderful example in taking care of our mom. Dad walked into a mess when he married into our family but he has never looked back and he has never let any of us down. What do I attribute all of this to? I believe in my heart of hearts, it's a God thing, and I thank him for our wonderful dad. May God bless you dad on this day where we salute you and send our love to you! Amen.          .....More later.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My problem is that I never met a run on sentence that I didn't like.

Already Thursday, June 16, 2011, and I have a confession to make. I have been rather wordy this week. I too often wonder where it all comes from. One commentator was able to boil down the results from the recent Republican candidate debate by using only 14 words. "Romney won. Bachmann surged. Cain disappointed. Pawlenty whiffed. Gingrich slept. Santorum fretted. Paul scolded." That was just his tweet. This Washington Post writer then went into much more in the way of details. But you do have to give him credit for brevity at least on his Twitter feed. I know most of you must think I get paid by the word since I never met a page that I didn't like to fill up. This past Tuesday the dentist told me that I reminded him of a fellow he knows that runs a biker bar in Center Point, Texas. I told him that to the best of my recollection I am not, nor have I ever been that person. In fact, I shared with him how difficult it was for me to get up everyday and do the heavy lifting involved just impersonating myself. Biker bar person? Hey, doctor dentist, most people look at me and think Santa. I'm not so sure about that fellow. A little weird if you ask me. Just joking. It's better than me telling you what recognition the dentist of the year received. A little plaque, of course. See what I mean?

I could have made some comments about the 15 minutes I waited past my appointment time but since many of the ladies that work in that dental office just happen to be very close friends of my wife, I chose to be on my best behavior. I also could tell that waiting only 15 minutes was likely a better than normal response. My wife would remind me that they did move me up from mid August to this week in order to get this done under my current insurance. That is true and I did get to hear an interesting conversation or two while I was waiting my turn. A fairly large fellow came in and wanted to change his appointment. He wanted to make one so that he could have his girlfriend have an appointment either at the same time or immediately following his. It must be a new girlfriend because he wasn't sure about the spelling of her last name, or her address, but he was able to find her phone number in his cell phone. He said he would have probably remembered more but they had only recently began dating again but had dated before, some two years earlier. He liked using the word 'super'. Here's the best schedule we can get for you sir. Super. We'll call her and get the rest of the information. Super. We'll also call you and remind you of your appointment. Super. He walked out the door and I said to myself, super! Next a lady ran in to breathlessly let them know that the twins had appointments but one of them was ailing and she was going to drop the one off and take the other to the doctor and then return and maybe the ailing one would be ready by then for her dental appointment. She said she spends most of her time trying to juggle all of these things. I thought she was a little less out of breath than she was indicating but then again, I was just an innocent bystander, looking at my watch, and waiting for my late appointment to commence.

My doctor's appointment yesterday was a little unsettling since I had to discuss my upcoming change within the Medicare system. I could stay with my doctor and deal with the additional monthly expense for a more open ended option, and I will admit I am torn, especially after spending 45 minutes with him. But in the end, we have to do what we believe to be best for our long term needs, and doing so, as we all know, means there are times when all things come to an end, and as it relates to my current medical team, it looks like this is the end my friend. I did tell my doctor how much I appreciate him and the work he has done in helping me to manage my diabetes. He reviewed my progress over the past few years and pronounced us as having met the main goal of keeping it in check. Keeping it in check. The one we all would rather focus on is getting rid of it all together. But thus far, that's not a part of the way the disease works in my situation. The good news. We have wonderful medical technology. We have wonderful medications. And, we are a blessed people to be able to have access to these blessings. In our Wednesday evening study time we are reading through the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the local fellowship of believers meeting in Philippi, Greece. The Apostle was in prison at the time he wrote that letter. Yet, his words are full of joy and rejoicing as he sought to encourage this local assembly to be focused and busy in doing the Lord's work. Paul's conclusion was that adversity, trouble, and difficult times all play a role in working out God's plan, therefore, he said we should joyfully embrace the good, the bad, and the in-between, and to do so in a manner that brings honor and glory to God. May we all be encouraged as we live out the life He has given to us. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alive and kicking, and if I kicked (complained), I oughta be!

Hello Wednesday. It's June 15, 2011 and it is time to get up and get with it. This past Monday afternoon my wife asked we what she could fix for supper that would help me have a good report during my doctor's visit today. While I appreciate her concern, I told her that it was way too late to do anything about it now. That A1c blood test is kind of like Santa. It is an amazing test and reading about the technical stuff in how it works is mind boggling. Bottom line, it can tell what you have been up to over the past several months. In other words, it sees you when you're sleeping. It knows when you're awake. It knows if you've been bad or good, and by the time it reports, it's too late to be good for goodness sake. I had my dental check-up yesterday, my doctor's visit is today, and my lab stuff on Friday, and finally, my ophthalmology exam next week. The dental check up went great. Nothing has changed since I was there last. In 2005. When they asked me about it being so long I told them the dentist told me to keep on keeping on doing what I was doing and my teeth should last easily over 100 years. See there. I was only using his schedule. But I am thankful that all was okay. These will be my last visits under my current insurance regime. The next visits will be when I become a part of that new world (to me), Medicare, Obamacare, or as one of the fellows running to be the Republican candidate for president called it, Obamneycare. He was trying to implicate one of his opponents, Mitt Romney, because Mr. Romney instituted a type of universal heath care while he was governor of Massachusetts. I'll soon be in the middle of it all but one thing thus far kind of sticks out. At a time when folks desire to simplify their lives, all of this stuff does not seem to be put together in a way that helps that to happen. Folks retire and then take a new job keeping up with all their paperwork, changes to their coverages, and chasing payments and wrongly billed services. My mom and dad have the best coverages one might imagine but that has not alleviated them from the time and effort it takes to make sure everything is handled properly. I'm tired just talking about it. Whew!

I know. We all should be thankful we live in a country where all these options and choices are out there and available. These are some tough times however. I have noticed more and more of the older folks still at their jobs and working. I'm not talking about the mid sixties people like me. I'm seeing more and more of the mid seventies and even into the eighties still having to work. How could that be? Unless it happened to you or someone you know, many of us didn't get a first hand glimpse at all that got wiped out by this recent financial collapse. Think about what happened to all those Enron employees several years ago. I well remember a local fellow living on his farm being interviewed. He had been a forty year employee as a field superintendent and had a huge sum of money tied up in Enron's stock to supplement his retirement. The Company failed. Every penny of his investment was gone. Nearing 70, he was then faced with trying to rejoin the workforce again. I mention this because it has been repeated thousands upon thousands of times in the lives of men and women whose plans for retirement crashed when the market crashed. I don't know about you, but as I stand in the checkout line and observe the weary face of the elderly cashier, my heart goes out to her, and to all of those similarly impacted. Like I say, if you didn't get hit like they did, then you are blessed. My retirement, thus far, has been in the hands of companies that did survive and I am thankful for that. However, I have no illusions about the future. We all must trust God each and every day as we seek our daily bread. Amen.

I will not be an armchair quarterback with the proverbial perfect vision looking backwards. They should have diversified. They should have known better. They should have, and it could go on and on. What good is that? It could happen to anyone including those who feel they are totally secure. What was the real cause behind all of this? It's not a popular way to respond to that question but when you think about it, it was sin. That's right. Unbridled greed, corruption, false witness as to the truth about where they were financially, and it trickled up and it trickled down. You may be satisfied with someone saying it was market forces at work, but not me. Sadly, we have become dependent upon a corrupt system, (Remember: Too big to fail?), therefore, the crooks had to be protected while the innocent had to pay, now and tomorrow, and the next day, and for generations to come. Nearly every week we read about another category where China moves to the top and our nation slips. Ultimately, we know that all things, good, bad, or indifferent, work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. (Romans Chapter 8, Verse 8) This means that He is at work even in these turbulent times to bring about His plan and purpose. We can't always know how these things work together but we have God's word on it, that they do work together, and that my friend is the greatest consolation we could hope for in this life. Amen and Amen. I'm sure I'll have a few choice observations to pass on after my final visit with Dr. Mock. I'll let you know, but until then, know that there will be.....more later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We are all on a journey and we need to make certain our final destination!

Okay. I am not into gloating so much but when it comes to sports, the driver I follow, Jeff Gordon, did win this past Sunday at the 500 mile NASCAR race at Pocono. I heard the last 15 laps on the radio on our way home from visiting my brother and my wife said it was no small wonder that we didn't have a wreck. I was doing all I could to help. This was Jeff's 84th win which ties him with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third in all time race wins in NASCAR. That's rarefied space no matter how you look at it! Then we have the spectacle of the most heralded team in professional basketball, Miami, losing this year's NBA championship to the underdogs, the Dallas Mavericks. While I don't follow the NBA except here and there, it is always good to see the mighty and lifted up, the arrogant and self important, taken down a few notches. Congratulations Jeff and congratulations Mavericks.

It's Tuesday, June 14, 2011 and the witch hunt against Sarah Palin continues and now the NY Times and others are pretty much left to complain about the 7,000 pages that were redacted by the state of Alaska. Palin's lawyers who reviewed the emails did not request that any of the documents be held back or even portions blacked out. The state chose to exercise its right to protect vital state interests regarding sensitive issues. With 24,000 emails to look through and having found no smoking gun, they now turn their attention to the ones that Alaska held back. Many experts are already calling this a huge backfire on the part of liberal news outlets that had pretty much bet the farm on finding fresh mud to smear Palin and her family. This is what our media culture has reduced itself to, this is where we are as a nation. The so-called most prestigious news outlets in the world are exposed in their efforts to dig for salacious slop to put on their front pages. One must ask a simple question: Why? My belief is that it has something to do with any public figure that makes noises about family values based on the Judeo-Christian tradition upon which our nation was founded. I'm not saying that Sarah Palin doesn't have her own problems, but my oh my how sweet it is to see how she has caused the liberal elites to fall all over themselves in trying to bring her down. I did read one headline that was telling. It said her Christian faith as demonstrated in these emails was troublesome in terms of how she mixed it with her government duties. Would to God that people would return to where their faith does make for an impact in the day by day conduct of their lives, regardless of what job they do! Amen and Amen.

Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for my brother Donald. We spent time with him on Sunday where he was somewhat alert at brief intervals. I was able to hold his hand and talk to him about old times and about our growing up days. He likes to hear about Hornbeck, that little rural community in Louisiana where we were raised up. I was even able to wrestle a crooked smile or two as we visited. He may make another come back but as far as the medical folks are concerned, that's not likely. I will tell you that when I look at him it's very clear that myself as well as us all will one day face our final breaths here in this life. Donald has made a testimony of faith in Christ in the past. We don't know his heart but we do know if he has been saved by the power of God, he is on his way to a better place. That is the place Jesus talked about when He said that where I am, that you, (all true believers), may be also. (Gospel of John, Chapter 14) While some may be focused on the type of dwelling place we might have, (mansion), I think the consolation for all who put their faith in Christ is that we will be forever in His presence, and the story will never end, forever, and ever. Amen.

I looked at the forecast for the next three days, no rain. I looked at the forecast for the next five days, no rain, I looked at the forecast for the next ten days and they have 30% plugged in for Tuesday, the 21st. Given the track record of the weather pronosticators in these parts, that prediction that far out is almost a candidate for comedy. I hardly think that anyone will pencil in a need for an umbrella on that particular Tuesday. I saw yesterday that we had a small wild fire going in our county. That is a huge concern for our area as we continue in this prolonged drought. At our house last Friday evening we had one of those pop up brief showers. The sun was shinging bright and hot but the rain was also falling pretty heavy. We all said praise the Lord and it may have lasted fifteen minutes, but, alas, it was pretty much licked up by the heat before it could do much good. Better than nothing and I say Amen to that. Thus far they haven't begun resticting water usage in our neighborhood, but I expect that is a soon coming attraction. Our yard is parched. It is very thirsty. We all can get that way personally. We can suffer a drought in our spiritual walk with the Lord. No one is immune. We can be dried out as we deal with the hot rays of troubles, temptations, and trials that come our way. The good news is how that God has provided for our thirst and our nourishment as we seek Him during these difficult times. He is more than willing to refresh our weary souls when we call upon Him. Jesus said He will give us rest from all those things that load us down. Drought on our land, we need the Lord and His provision. Drought in our life, we need the Lord and His provision. Have a good one and may God bless each one. Amen.   ...... More later.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Would someone please muzzle that litte birdie. It's tweeting noise sounds too much like a cell phone.

Welcome back. It's always good for me to spend this few minutes with all of you. It is Monday, June 13, 2011. I'm still immersed in the Release 9 situation but I have found a work around or two and that might be preferable to deinstalling and reinstalling. Technology. You have to love it. It can be wonderful. You may have seen some of those videos where the soldier on the front line has been able to witness the birth of his child using common off the shelf pc based applications. That gets a Wow from me. On the other hand, I was sitting at my desk the other day when I kept hearing this chirping sound. It went on and on so I got up and went and asked the ladies to please check their cell phones. Turns out to be one of God's chirping devices because when I opened the front door a bird flew from the porch railing. I'm not sure if that's life imitating art or the other way round, but it just goes to show you how technology has invaded every part of our existence, including bird life. Maybe birds have something to do with it anyway. That Twitter stuff involves tweeting as in, Tweetie Pie. I understand after what recently came about for one congressman that tweeting on behalf of our entire government has gone silent, the birds are no longer singing.  I've heard stuff about birds all my life: The early bird catches the worm; Free as a bird; Fly like a bird; Birds of a feather stick together; That's for the birds; Bird brain; Eat like a bird; Kill two birds with one stone; Bird legs; Naked as a Jaybird; A little bird told me; and The birds and the bees. And here's what the little bird told me: "Hey dude, that Explorer Release 9 is for the birds!"

Let me be very clear, I am not a Sarah Palin fan. But it is amazing to me how hated she is by the media elites. Last Friday the state of Alaska released 24,000 pages of emails from her first two years as Governor. The mainstream media, or lamestream as she likes to call them, are mobilizing resources to tackle the reading and searching of these hard copy documents. That's right. Physical pages since that's the level of capability of the state. Boxes and boxes of printed emails. The media folks have to travel to Juneau to fetch them and both the Washington Post and the New York Times are organizing reading parties where people who qualify can help them organize and disect these emails. Some very left wing groups are paying to have them all scanned into an electronic database. I've been around for a few days and I will have to tell you, this is quite unprecedented. Why all of this labor intensive effort directed towards this one woman? They hate her. They hate what she stands for. They hate her achievements. They hate the conservative values she espouses. The bottom line, they want to destroy Sarah Palin. Again, I am not a fan and would probably not vote for her if she were to become a candidate, but I am taken aback by this venom driven passion to use any and all methods available to slur this woman and her family. We are living in some really scary times folks and I don't see them becoming less scary anytime soon.

Thank God we are not depending on those who control the airwaves to give us our identity and security. Anyone who stands up for almost any principle found in God's Holy Word is a target by those who reject its clear teachings. The American Family Association, AFA, is currently under relentless attack because it takes a stand regarding the biblical viewpoint on homosexuality. They have been branded as a hate group by some, even some who are influential in the civil rights movement. In other words this group of God loving folks devoted to seeing everyone experience the knowing of God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ is being portrayed in the same way as those who fought against integration. Let me give you my take: I don't believe they have a hateful bone in their body. They are for family and biblical values. It is chilling to see folks branded as haters when their only crime is standing up for the truth as God gave it to us. Want to find the real haters? Read my paragraph about Sarah Palin again. I'm not affiliated with AFA but I do listen occasionally to their radio network and I know about their founder Don Wildmon and the wonderful things he has, with God's help, been able to see accomplished on behalf of biblical morality. He and his organization loves people enough to tell them the truth and we all should be encouraged by their example. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.           .....More later.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We appreciate the prayers. Thanks.

I would appreciate the prayers of all regarding my brother Donald. He has held his own for many months, been through a lot in terms of hospitalization and treatment, but it does appear that the shadows of his life are increasingly fading at this time. We have been told by the hospice people that this is the natural progression resulting from the massive heart attack he suffered. We believe that God knows best and we have prayed that He would be merciful to our brother. The outcome is ultimately in His hands and we trust in Him. Amen.

It is Friday, June 10, 2011. In the Bible study class I teach this past Wednesday I was reminiscing about Donald and I growing up. He is almost exactly two years younger than I and we used to wrestle and play fight quite a bit as kids. I told my class how that I could always pretty much handle Donald until his temper really kicked in. That was when it went from play fighting to the real thing and that's when I usually called for mom to intervene. Memories. They are a part of our life. Good ones. Not so good ones. And, sadly, some that we all would rather not even think about. I'm just thankful that I have so many good ones and many of them revolve around family. I do not have as many good memories regarding the use of technology. I should have known better. When I fired up my system here at work yesterday it asked if I wanted to upgrade to Explorer 9. That's Microsoft's updated internet access platform. I have a new computer here at work with the latest operating system, therefore, I said, okay. What could go wrong? Does anyone know where I can get a CD with that song I'm hearing in my head, "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen."? Right off the bat I began to have trouble in how it handled the mail system and even how it interfaced with the blog utility I use. Here's something I want you to do. This afternoon, walk out on your porch and look at those wavy heat lines coming off the pavement. That's the same type of steam you would see rising off my head right now. My first attempt to return to the previous interface failed. And, I am currently in a very highly technical mode. It's called limp along until I can figure out what to do. "One of these days Bill Gates, it's bang zoom, to the moon!"

You would think that by now I would know better, wouldn't you? Been there, done that, too many times to count, however, I'm sure that eventually I will reap all the wonderful benefits promised with this upgrade. Don't count on it. Speaking of technology, I read where one woman had 152 of her Facebook friends' photos tattooed on her arm. That will no doubt present her with some pretty difficult options if and when she decides to un-friend any of them. Most of you have probably heard about the lady up in Oregon who had dental surgery but when she woke up she couldn't do anything except speak with a British accent. It's not a hoax. In fact, it is rare but there are about a dozen documented cases. It is called Foreign Accent Syndrome and it is usually associated with some type of brain issue. I suppose if they could figure out how to make this happen, many would flock to having an accent transplant performed. What voice would you choose? Maybe James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, and the booming lead in, "This is CNN." Or maybe Tony the Tiger. That would be a good one, don't you think? They would probably have a glitch in my transplant, like the upgrade I'm still dealing with, and I would end up with the voice of Barney Fife, about two notches higher than the original. I can't get a break even thinking about what might happen!

Here we are once again at the end of the work week that was. Over these past five days I've tortured the language about as much as anyone could. One fellow said he saw a huge guy wearing a huge T-shirt that said, "Fat people are harder to kidnap." At least he has a sense of humor. I heard about a new soap product from Lysol with this lead in, "Lysol healthy touch, no-touch soap dispenser." Are you confused yet? Our grandkids like Mountain Dew. We've all seen how they have carpet bombed the airwaves with advertising directed towards teens. Now among those kids, when they want a drink, they reportedly now commonly say, "Dew me." I also saw one that said a fellow had tripped and fallen and in the process he knocked down a Mariachi Band. How could that not have been me? That's the fellow I need to help me with my technology problem. But it is Friday and tomorrow we have Saturday, then Lord's Day Sunday. It is my prayer that you will have a time of rest and reflection and Sunday will find us all turning our hearts toward home, our real home, where our Father waits to welcome us. Amen. May God bless and I will try to have this release 9 situation all sorted out by next time. At least I haven't had to talk to anyone in India. Not yet, anyway. That would be where one of those accent transplants would really come in handy.               ....More later.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We all can be thankful for the 'delete' key.

I don't keep blogs that I don't publish. I could but I don't. I have written quite a few that filled up the page but in the end I just couldn't send them out. I know what some of you are thinking. If there is a reject process, then how does any of them make it to the electronic publisher? Point well taken. And, in this case, I neither deny the allegation nor do I question the motives of the alligator. I have often made it clear that when the writer and the fact checker and the editor are all one and the same person, well, you end up with 1,042 episodes of cobbled together words called The View From Here. Welcome anyway. Good to have you stop by. Hope all is well in your world on this Thursday, June 9, 2011. The last in-progress episode to face the delete key was one I had developed about Charles Dickens. Most everyone read Dickens in their school years and we all know that his legacy continues today via all the plays, television programs, and movies that carry his themes and plots. A number of years ago I discovered a letter he wrote to the London Times in 1849 giving his eyewitness account of the public execution of a husband and wife. It was a fascinating letter that showed his eye for detail. At any rate, I had some thoughts about him, his life, and that particular letter but the further I went the more I realized that it just couldn't pass muster, therefore, it went into what the computer geeks used to call the bit bucket. That pass muster idiom by the way most likely originated when troops were assembled and inspected which may have later spawned the 'cut the mustard' phrase that most of us are familiar with. I knew that inquiring minds would want to know.

I think the real test for me is when I read something I've written but conclude "there is no there there". That is a quote from Gertrude Stein but it means to me what you see or don't see almost everyday. Take for instance the press briefings by the White House Press Secretary. The current fellow, Jay Carney, is new at it. It shows. His circular answers that go nowhere and answer nothing are on one level comical and enjoyable to watch, while on another they are very frustrating to those trying to get some information from him. He does have that proverbial deer in the headlights look about him and his comments come across as being scripted but intended to sound unscripted which makes the lack of substance even more glaring. It's one thing to engage in dialogue and end up with nothing but it's quite an interesting thing to see it done in an open and premeditated manner. Jay Carney reminds me of a fellow who worked for me many years ago. He had this habit of wanting to attach himself to any and all conversations. Therefore, he had these hook phrases that meant nothing but grabbed and held on. Someone would be describing a really complex technical problem. He would interject something about how difficult those are to solve. Hello? Repeat back a little of what was said but add absolutely nothing to making any progress at all. Do that all the time and pretty soon people will notice, not what you wanted them to notice, but something entirely different. I must confess that I get embarrassed watching Jay Carney, for him, but I also feel pained because of the absence of any substance regarding the serious problems we face as a nation. Not as consequential, but when I read something I write that gives me that same kind of feeling, it's goodbye yellow brick road.

I will admit that today's missive may be more MIA (missing in action) than informative but I'm actually too tired to delete another one. Come to think about it, I don't think my mother told me there would be days exactly like this one, but then again, way back then we would have been talking about stuff banged out on a typewriter onto the original with carbons, if you even remember how it used to work. Perhaps I should be the one posing for that deer in the headlights photo. Today it is quite different. The other day a 15 year old German girl made a mistake on her Facebook page and accidentally broadcast an invitation to attend her 16th birthday party. Instead of only her own personal friends, some 1500 people showed up. How do you like that for keystroke power?  It's kind of scary, and for some people, stories like that pretty much seals the deal, they want nothing to do with any of it. Now that you know that I often use the delete key, you have my permission to do the same with any of my blogs that seem not to be able to find their way. I continue, however, to know that any day where I leave a word from God, there will be at the least one treasure to discover. David was inspired to pen the words to the 139th Division of the Psalms. This psalm contains some of the greatest insights into God's personal knowledge and care for His own in all of The Scriptures. Here's its opening words:

1) O Lord, you have examined me, and you know me.
2) You alone know when I sit down and when I get up.
You read my thoughts from far away.
3) You watch me when I travel and when I rest.
You are familiar with all my ways.
4) Even before there is a single word on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
5) You are all around me—in front of me and in back of me.
You lay your hand on me.
6) Such knowledge is beyond my grasp.
It is so high I cannot reach it.

If those words makes you want to go and read the rest of it, then my work for today is done. Have a good one and may God bless. Amen.         .....More later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's so hot folks are having to carry an oven mitt to grab hold of the door knob!

Welcome to the Wednesday fireside chat, on this June 8, 2011. I use that word fireside intentionally since through the first six days of June we have set a record for high temperature, five of those days. We saw two consecutive days of 105 degree highs, Sunday and Monday, and on both those days the previous highs were 98 degrees. Now that is what I call breaking the record! If they needed anyone to testify on behalf of how hot it has been, there are plenty of our folks here that work out in the elements who would come forth and volunteer to speak out on the subject. I am in and out of the office and my take on it can be described as feels like scalding. The global warming folks are having a field day with these high temps. They claim it as proof but many weather experts within the scientific community have yet to agree with them. I have always said that fallen humanity is quite capable of doing its best to ruin the creation God gave to us. Typically, greed and corruption rules and reigns in many different arenas within our world. I started to say the majority of arenas but I did not want to get the 'man is basically good' crowd all stirred up. However, we must, even in the midst of these noted evil players, keep our heads, and clearly evaluate the evidence that gives us the best reading on what exactly is going on. We already know that many within the warming community have their own agendas that transcend this one issue. Things like world government and repressed individualism. In addition, there are plenty that have dollars in mind as they whip up the frenzy over this issue. It is hard to know where to find facts that can be relied upon, but when it comes to global warming, here's something we can know about one day in the future: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10, New American Standard Bible)

I read an interesting commentary in the Houston Chronicle this week. It was written by a lady who was identified as a religion expert and author. Her regular blog is entitled Talking Tolerance. This particular piece had this theme: "Why the Bible is too complicated for public policy." In this article she talks about all the different views about the Bible, how some promote welfare for the poor, while others, typically those who call themselves conservatives, tend to promote benefit to the wealthy. And, both of these use the Bible to support their viewpoints. She also outlined the many contradictory statements that she sees in the Bible and her thought is that this shouldn't be surprising given all the different writers and the long number of years it took to compile the completed text. She even pointed out the way Jesus confused everyone by telling folks to leave the lady alone that was pouring out the expensive perfume on Him as contrasted to the fact that He always seemed to care deeply about the poorest among us. Bottom line, public policy has to be strictly secular because of all the conflicting views in any and all so-called sacred texts. As a believer in the God of the Bible, it is difficult for me to objectively analyze all that she said. There are nuggets of fact in many of her statements but they completely misrepresent a full understanding of the biblical text within its context. She obviously ignores the history of these United States where our founders believed in freedom of religion, not freedom from religion since they credited The Creator for our very existence. To the extent that we who proudly stand up for biblical truth have not fully modeled the message of the Gospel, we need to do better, but we should never be ashamed of the Gospel, because as the Apostle Paul said, ".....for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)  Amen.
I know that being unable to handle the heat is to a certain extent an acquired behavior. How would I know that? Because, my friend, I somehow made it the first 20 years of my life without air conditioning. And, I can tell you that where I grew up we had that combo going on, high humidity and high heat. In those hot days we had, when we kids, on the rare occasion would go into a place that had a window unit it was like visiting an alpine ski lift in the dead of winter. I suppose we didn't complain about not having it because it wasn't on our radar screen and we wouldn't have known who to submit the request to anyway. Would I like to go back and experience those days again? Not in a heartbeat but that's not to say I can't compare the experiences between now and then, and perhaps learn something from it. One thing is how that we have sealed our houses completely and getting them opened up is not easy. Back in the day every window was open and if we had a screen door it was latched but the solid door was left open. I was fortunate because we did have electric fans. In the boys room we stuck ours in the window and it sucked in the outside air. No wonder we woke up some mornings with our sheets dripping from the moisture. Now here's the thing I am gettting at. I know you are glad I did have a point in there somewhere. We got along with what we had because we didn't have anything else and as far as I can remember we didn't go around every day moping and complaining about it. Notice I didn't say that I don't go around moping and complaining about it today when the power is out and it's hot outside. Back then, we most likely just got a gang together and went to the swimming hole. Not a bad idea when you think about it? Right? Right! Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Couldja? Wouldja? Shouldja?

Hello and welcome. It is Tuesday, June 7, 2011 and I am very blessed to be here to welcome you back. We learn that every heartbeat is a blessing and God provides even those to us. My brother Donald continues to struggle some in maintaining a decent quality of life. He is receiving good care including hospice in to assist five days per week. It was good to spend time with him this past Sunday. Mom and Dad had come over from Louisiana and they are our champions. Look up the words 'hard workers' and don't be surprised if you see their pictures as an illustration. The two of them together have breathed air on the planet for some 168 years and believe me, they tend to mark each day by what they get accomplished. Yard work, house work, repairs here and there, running to and fro, and helping others, and typically, all done on a schedule. Folks their age doing a 400 mile round trip in the same day, now that's what I am talking about. After we visited Donald, I followed them out on the interstate to a place where we could have a late lunch and visit. I have really missed just sitting and talking with mom and dad. We've all been a little discombobulated since Donald's massive heart attack last August. We enjoyed a leisurely meal and laughed and talked for over two hours. Then they hit the road for that long trip home. I hit the road for my hour long journey through the teeming metro-plex where late on a Sunday afternoon everyone is tuning up for the Monday rush hour. I can't remember liking dodge ball that much as a kid but I like it even less when they play it with automobiles!

Remember back in those Gomer Pyle days when he was often heard to say, "Surprise!, Surprise!" These folks who are in positions of authority over our economy must be channeling Gomer these days. I've never heard anything like this in my life. Everything is getting better. We are making progress. Uh-oh! There was some unexpected bad news today on the economy. These latest numbers came as a big surprise to the administration's economic team. No one could have guessed that the forecasted job increases would have been so far off. "Surprise!, Surprise!" I mention this only to remind us all that these people are paid handsomely to do one thing, make accurate predictions about what is going to happen in the economy. And, they were reported to be the most talented, most well educated, and generally, the smartest folks who have ever served. After the surprise, then comes the spin. Last week's surprising job growth numbers of 54,000 new jobs, 35,000 of which came from that McDonald's recruitment, were far short of the 200,000 predicted by the so-called smartest people on the planet. After once again for the one millionth time blaming President George W., the spin spun how this was nothing more than a bump in the road to recovery, but, and I am sure this is a surprise, they now have many economists worrying out loud about a double dip, and they are not talking about ice cream cones. There are times when God's Word just calls out the truth for us all to see. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write these words from his first letter written to the local called out assembly (Church) meeting in Corinth, Greece, Chapter 1, Verse 20: "Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the persuasive speaker of our time? Hasn't God turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense?" (Taken from GOD'S WORD Translation of the Bible)

I know. I know. Don't write so much about politics. But, when the fruit is no longer hanging on the lower limbs because it is already on the ground, you do have to pick up a little of it. Don't you agree? That following verse is also an encouragement to you and I today, Verse 21: "The world with its wisdom was unable to recognize God in terms of his own wisdom. So God decided to use the nonsense of the Good News we speak to save those who believe." Yes. That Gospel truth is foolishness to most in the world today but it is God's truth and within it, we find hope for salvation through Jesus Christ, and hope for a life here lived for His honor and glory, and in the service to others, as we await the ultimate fulfillment of our hope that will come when we live in His presence forever and ever, Amen. The good news for you and I today is that we don't have to be surprised by those who live in a perpetual world of being perplexed about the roller coaster ride of life, we have God's guarantee and it is as good as done, even when we weeble and wobble a little based on the wisdom of this world being hurled at us, His Word remains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That's where we need to find our reality for today and every other day! Amen and Amen. May God grant us His peace during these unsettled times. See you next time.    ........More later.