Friday, July 29, 2011

Paying tribute to our dad!

Our beloved dad, Happy Birthday!
Today is Friday, July 29, 2011. I am officially on a one day of vacation holiday. Later on today we will be headed over to our old stomping grounds, as they say, or maybe as some say, in that rarefied air, there in our little town where I grew up, Hornbeck, Louisiana. The spell checker on this blogger utility always flags Hornbeck because it doesn't recognize it. You would think it would be a little more intelligent than that, wouldn't you? We are going over to visit mom and dad and to pay tribute to dad who will be celebrating the 81st anniversary of his birth date this coming Monday, August 1. Dad has been a foundation for our family for these many years. During my brother's illness and subsequent passing, dad was there around the clock for mom and the rest of us. That's the way it has been from day one. He joined up with a family filled with diversity and challenge but he has been more than up to it, and we thank God for him and his faithfulness. As a town alderman he has helped our little hometown to prosper these many years. He has always looked after the town's interest based on a citizen's point of view. What is in the best interest of the citizens, not only now, but also with a perspective towards the future? We could use some folks in government who understands that concept better than most of them show today.

My wife has been off this week and that means each night I have come in to a home cooked meal. A body could get used to that. Know what I mean? One night she made us a breakfast supper and those homemade biscuits were so perfectly delicious, they would have so shamed Betty Crocker she would have had to leave the country in embarrassment for even mentioning the word biscuit. Sorry Betty but sometimes the truth does sting a little. Know what I mean? Hearing folks brag on store bought stuff and trying to convince others it tastes like homemade is one of my pet peeves. I've had to confront a few about this with a challenge: "You obviously have never tasted homemade by Granny Mac, my Mom, Mom Rawles, or my dear wife." That's usually enough to at least back down their bravado a notch or two. It is not gloating when it is nothing more than a clear statement of the facts, and that's all I have to say about it.

I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Having missed Friday I will have to report early to be retrained since the only retention I tend to do well with these days is water retention. Water retention. It's supposed to be a joke. It's okay to laugh or maybe at least a little chuckle. Until next time may God bless each one. Amen.      .....More later.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There are plenty of recommendations that start like this: Long winded but worth the read.

I know, already. I did not begin my shorter essay approach yesterday. It was that obvious, huh? But today is a new day and after all, it is Thursday, July 28, 2011, and when we get to the end, then we will know if today is going to be different. If I had a clue I would share it with you. My soon to be 2000 daily missives were written from scratch. Some days are better than others. However, I feel like some of my blogs have been pretty decent. They resonate with me too. Those who are thinking about blogging have to make decisions about what they will write about, and if their intention is to acquire an audience, they have to determine if their stuff will be of any interest. Some may write because it is a way for them to get it out of their system, so to speak. Perhaps they don't really care about an audience. For me, it has been and continues to be mostly about sharing. We are blessed to be such a diverse group of folks here in our country and each of us see things through our unique individual lens that translates into how we view the world, our interpretation of the experiences we've had, and the challenges that have helped to shape our life. In my case, I readily admit that it is all over the page and because of this it can come across as very discombobulated, confusing, and at times, perhaps a little wacky. That's not such a bad summary of life as viewed from my pew. Part of my struggle, and I think it is shared by most believers, is in our daily challenge to conform our thinking and our ways to that which God has given to us in His word. That, my friend, is the greatest challenge for me and because it is, I do spend a fair amount of time talking about it. Can this be communicated in fewer words? Maybe. We'll see.

I know we all are made up of these incredible ironies. In my case I watch and follow NASCAR but also enjoy seeing the 24 hour news feed from China presented in English. It was tragic that this pop singer Amy Winehouse died last week at age 27, presumably from a drug overdose. I usually try to spot check the culture now and then but to be honest, I've never heard even one of her songs even though I read that she has won multiple major music awards. I don't follow women's soccer, in fact, I don't follow any soccer, but I did watch the second half of the world title match between the American women versus the Japanese women. It was exciting and went into overtime and the US lost and we all were let down. I'll most likely not see another one of those anytime soon. We all have different interests. Why would anyone want to see a news broadcast emanating from Communist China? I am interested in their spin as they attempt to portray themselves as somehow legitimate players in the world. The other day in their reporting on the shooting in Norway they interviewed a Chinese government official who discussed the fine balance that must be pursued in allowing openness for the people while also protecting from terrorism. Do you see the sad irony? A government known to terrorize its own people commenting on the delicate balance of freedom. Many folks watch that and come away thinking how reasonable he seemed to be. I came away saying what an absolute sham. See what I mean? You may like Amy Winehouse's songs. I wouldn't know. We all are different but knowing the truth about places like China is important if we are to make sense in trying to live in this messed up world.

We're planning on visiting mom and dad this weekend. I arranged for someone to cover my Bible study class. My class members were shocked. This will be the first time I have missed in a number of years. I told them I knew they thought that I thought our local fellowship could not function if I were not to show up. I reminded them that this was not even close to the truth. I remember some of my staff had similar feelings when I left the big company after nearly 24 years. However, I also very much well remember that I left on a Friday afternoon and the doors of the big company opened on time the following Monday and the stock did not go down and everything continued as normal. We are not designed to be irreplaceable but we are called to make a difference. My mom will soon be having some bladder repair surgery. She is 87. She asked the doctor if it was wise for an 87 year old to undergo a surgery like this. He told her she was a very young 87 and that having the surgery would likely improve the quality of her life. That had to make her feel better even though she is apprehensive about the surgery. It will be coming up in a couple of weeks and I ask you to say a prayer for her. Now, class, here's your assignment for today: Go out there and find someone to cheer up and be encouraged yourself because God is still on His throne, and we belong to Him! Amen.         ......More later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Will Rogers (1932): "This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation."

Happy Birthday to our daughter-in-law Sherrie! Married to our eldest son Chris, Sherrie is a devoted homemaker who works tirelessly on behalf of her family. She and Chris recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and the two of them remind us of ourselves as they dote on and spoil their first grand child, the one we call our little bundle of Madelyn Joy. She is 18 months old now and I know it's time for me to drop the bundle metaphor. But I like it so much. The other evening after sharing a meal together, it was time for Madelyn Joy and her parents to go home. But Madi was not wanting to leave her Maw Maw and Paw Paw. She was reaching for them both. See what I mean? Exactly the way her mom, our Tiffany, used to be with us. And, Sherrie and Chris were not upset at all in her affection shown towards them. It is a wonderful thing to experience and I'm thankful they are able to enjoy it. May God bless you on your Birthday. Love, mom and dad, aka mimi and poppy.


A top of the middle of the week morning to one and all on this Wednesday, July 27, 2011. That new hit show that is taking the nation by storm is really hot right now. It has a little of something for everyone. Drama, comedy, and each time you watch it ends with a cliff hanger scene. They just don't write them like that anymore. What program am I talking about? It's that one you see each night starring President Obama versus the Republicans. About the only insult I haven't heard is the one about how their mom's wear combat boots. What's that you say? You prefer to be watching your radio while listening to a 1940's episode of 'Our Miss Brooks'. (In passing, the photos do show folks looking at the radio while they were listening to their favorite program. Hello?) That 'tune it all out' sentiment, my friend, is for the most part the choice of most Americans because our collective ability to stomach the electioneering charades coming out of Washington, DC, has pretty much been maxed out. For me personally, I wouldn't mind seeing them all run out of town. Through the proper process, of course, that being the will of the people at the ballot box. (Even though that process too is pretty much messed up.) What I see each night in this continuing series is cronyism and corruption being served up from all sides. Sorry. But the voting blocks and special interests are sadly the primary targets for these shenanigans, not the collective good of America. I vote for none of the above and sign my name: DISGUSTED! But, that's only my opinion, and thank God we can still voice our opinion here in this country.

The killing spree that happened over in Norway is sad beyond belief. The man who killed all those people has been labeled in many different ways. Early on the mainstream press across the world tagged him a Christian Fundamentalist. Reading their articles showed how excited they were and relieved. Relieved that the guy was not a radical Muslim on some kind of Jihad. The European news sources began to change their tone as they dug into this fellow's beliefs. They also made clear that in Norway every natural born citizen is automatically registered as a Protestant which makes them Christian by birth. This killer of innocent men, women, boys and girls was more of a racial purist than any kind of believing Christian. However, here in the states, the NY Times and others continue to try and link this killer to any and all conservatives who are trying to stand up for God and country in America. I am not one to claim demon influence for everything that occurs, but this is a clear example of an in your face type of situation where people of faith, who choose not to leave God out of their daily practice, are being directly targeted and tarred by these huge media enterprises. This from the same people who refused to identify attempted bombers here in our own country as Muslim radicals. Even after this was an established fact, they went on record in not tagging these individuals who had been radicalized while they were in prison. Yet, they hear the word Christian associated with a mass murderer and they are off and running, regardless of the facts. Satanic strategy? You better believe it! Only God can help us folks, and may we see this present reality and seek Him today! Amen.

I know it's more fun to read about this, that, and the other that brings a smile or laugh. But, speaking frankly, I, as a great grandfather can see an America for our little bundle of Madelyn Joy and her contemporaries, and especially their children, that, given the trends we see and the winds of change, it will be an America we can not even imagine. I understand the temptation to tune out. Look the other way. And, while we are called to turn the other cheek, we are not called to sit by and do nothing as the very principles of our nation are being destroyed, the very foundation that made us, One nation, under God. Do I recognize that many of those who cater to our independent and conservative views are actually sheep in wolves clothing? Absolutely! That's why I will not opt out. That does not mean I will support the only alternative candidate. That does not mean I will go along to get along. That does not mean that I will join in with racists and haters because they wave our flag. I believe those who are God's people have access to the Power that is above all things. That's why we here in our great country need the Lord God of heaven to once again intervene on our behalf. That's where we need to focus our efforts and as He leads, vote. As He leads, make choices. As He leads, conduct our affairs so that we might fulfill the word of our Lord: ""Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  (Matthew 5:16) Amen.             .....More later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tiptoeing here and there, but no tulips yet!

Let me see if I can get Tuesday off to a better start on this July 26, 2011. I will try and not rant and rave so much today but some things are as obvious to me as the nose on my face. I know what some of you are thinking. Why didn't I say as obvious as the ears on my head? Okay. Since you want to play it that way, I read an article the other day that said people with larger ears are on average more intelligent than the general population. What's that you say? What happened to me? This is a really tough audience this morning but I even remember a great Disney story about an elephant who had huge ears. Aren't elephants supposed to have big ears and as I recall, that particular elephant could fly using his ears, are you able to do the same? Tough crowd and to think, I was going to try and stay on the high road today. But, just how in the world are you doing anyway? I do know here in these parts it is hot, hot, and then some more hot. That old manual meter used to sing a fairly long opera a few times a year but that electronic dude just sits there quietly, all the while changing those numbers faster than a speeding bullet. At least the power company understands. They sent out last month's bill along with a sympathy card. No. They didn't. Just joking. You got me a little off my game with those comments about my ears but I'll take that little report about being more intelligent and try to figure out who to send a thank you card to, it's most likely a group of  big eared scientists.

I read the other day where someone used the phrase 'too big for your britches'. I grew up hearing that one. It has to do with thinking yourself to be bigger than you really are especially as it relates to knowledge or perhaps conceit. It's actually easy for this to happen to any of us. In fact, we can be sure it will happen if we do not guard against it. I think I remember getting a dose of Castor Oil way back when. It was a very horrid tasting medicine that many older folks thought was a cure for most things that ailed people. When we get all swelled up in our appreciation for ourselves beyond that which is appropriate, a big dose of humility is what we need to get us back on solid footing. When taken, the taste of humility is somewhat akin to the Castor Oil but it will accomplish its purpose when we take it and allow it to work.The Apostle Paul was by all accounts one of the most brilliant individuals who ever breathed air on the planet. This is validated even by his critics. In addition to his great intelligence and significant education, he was given direct access to profound truths from the very throne room of God. It would have been easy for Paul to have become lifted up in his elevated status and position. Too easy. Paul didn't want that to happen and God didn't either. Here's Paul's testimony as to how God dealt with this in his life: "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Us staying humble must be a big deal. It obviously is to God. Therefore, maybe it's time for a  huge spoonful of humility. Something for us all to think about including yours truly. Amen.

As you can tell by the illustrations I use, I do like comic characters as a way of getting my point across. I've mentioned before that part of my morning routine is to read the Dinette Set Comic Strip as a way of getting a chuckle bright and early.  The comic satirizes middle-class culture; its main characters are 50-ish sisters Verla Darwin and Joy Penny. The single panel comic gently pokes fun at middle-class perceptions (and miss perceptions) of common, everyday issues. The husband of Joy, Burl, is my favorite character because he reflects a little of the goofiness that we all exhibit from time to time. You can find this one along with dozens of others out on the web. Laughter as medicine. Believe me, it goes down a lot better than that humility stuff. I am really thinking about ways to reduce the length of my daily episodes. My best advisor, my wife, continues to encourage me by telling me how good they are each day, but she often adds that they might be a tad long. I am working on a plan to address this issue and I promise not to write three extremely long paragraphs to explain how I might go about this change. Being too wordy is a long term affliction of mine and while it does reflect who I am, I also do want to provide something that at least passes the smell test as being consistently pleasant and readable. I think I have said enough about that, at least for now. Maybe I write the amount I write to help make the pictures fit. I'll get back to you on that one. Until next time, may God bless each one. Amen.        .....More later.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"How hot is it? I'm not sure but I think my T-shirt just died."

Hello again. I do hate to be a broken record and I know people use that term without ever having played a record, or seeing one that has a defect causing it to repeat over and over. I have played them many times, therefore, when I use it as a metaphor, be assured it is based on real life experience. But it is Monday, July 25, 2011 and I woke up ready to saddle up and ride my high horse for a few minutes. You already know what I think of the weather forecasting business. Best job security in the world. Guess at it, miss it, hit it, any and everything in-between, it's supposed to be a beautiful day but everyone gets wet, yet the weather person gets to come back in the next day and go at it again. A new report indicates that to be a federal employee means that you have a greater chance of dying than losing your job. Out in the real world the job market turns over about 3.5% of folks each year. Looking at some of the largest agencies within the Federal Government, that rate drops to 0.3%. Move over weather people, we have a new job security winner! Here's a good one. When asked about this number, one of the department heads said it just shows the excellent caliber of the people they have working in these agencies. But, that's not even what I am stirred up about. It is the persistent, incessant alarm sounded by the economist class who read the weekly reports and respond with: Unexpected, surprising, no one saw it coming, puzzling, confusing, and it goes on and on and on. Let me see if I have this right? Many of these people carry a doctorate degree around to prove their membership in the club. How in heaven's name, especially since President Obama took office, can every iota of every time any negative report shows up, and believe me, there have been plenty of them, and all they can say is it is all so unexpected? Happened again last Friday on the unemployment figures. Give me a break, already. And, for those who missed it, one congressman who is not surprised at all and  takes a contrary view on the way in which conventional wisdom says we should pursue an economic recovery, was challenged by a notable liberal TV host with a question intended to put him in his place: "Sir, do you happen to have a degree in economics?" The clear and direct response: "Yes I do, from Duke University, with honors!" He, by the way, is not puzzled by the continuing weakness of our economy because he thinks under this administration we are not even on the road marked recovery. Therefore, on this page, on this day, I now change the all time job security award and give it to the economists who live in a perpetual world of surprise, surprise, surprise. Now I feel better. Thanks for hearing me out.

I read the other day that one of the shortest lived awards is the one that recognizes people as the oldest living person in the world. That's some kind of sad irony, don't you think? Here's the good news: You are now the recognized oldest living person. The not so good news: You will not be holding on to this award much longer. That's based on the average time of death of those awarded this distinction. I mean, think about it, this sounds much worse than it is. You reach 113, 114, or 115, I mean, what is the next big thing that will most likely happen to you soon? That's right. The same thing that happened to the person who had the party before you did. If I were to make it to 115, that gives me another 50 years to write my blogs each day. What's that you say? They probably don't have a blog input device that works like a clapper. Not funny and who's to say I would even need one of those? Please don't get the idea I am becoming obsessed with becoming older, elderly, a senior citizen, an old fuddy duddy, or maybe one who is past it. No. I hardly even notice my age or pay attention to that old joke from long ago that still rings in my head, "It used to be wine, women, and song, but now it's Metracal, same old gal, and sing along with Mitch." Joking only. We already have a fire permit for my next birthday cake.

I remind my younger friends that most of the references I use that you've never seen are legitimate. They existed in a time and in a galaxy far, far away. Never heard of Metracal? Google it. Never heard of 'Sing along with Mitch'? Google it. Takes seconds and you can actually learn a thing or two. The Old Time Radio channel has been playing shows with a Christmas theme for their Christmas in July promotion. Many of those Christmas programs done in the 1940's were in your face sentimental tear jerkers. They reflect a time when the simple things of life appealed to people. "It's A Wonderful Life", was released in 1946, (the year I was born). It also puts this mood coming out of World War II into some perspective. I know there are folks who had troubles back then just like folks have troubles today. But, there is something about that kindred spirit, that feeling, that home sweet home, I'll be home for Christmas mindset that stirs your heart, or at least it does mine. All of it brought to you by the makers of Pepsodent, Jello, Royal Pudding, Lucky Strike, Rinso, and so many more. Even those commercial jingles usually sung by a live male harmony quartet were memorable. But that was yesterday, and today is today, and I had better get back to my rat killing if I am going to make progress towards that 115. Does anyone know whatever happened to Geritol? It was supposed to work wonders with a malady called tired blood. See you next time and may God bless each one. Amen.          ......More later.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Well, this is it, sort of, but only for a little while.

Come on down. It's Friday, July 22, 2011, and we are ready to get on with it! Right? Maybe? You will think about it? Okay then. I will think about it also. I read an interesting article on the BBC News website the other day. It was a list of the 50 most annoying Americanisms that have crept into proper British English usage. Did this ever stir the pot. Nearly 1300 comments mostly declaring even more sins coming from the New World. However, many took up for us over here by pointing out the origin of many of the sayings that were driving them crazy was much closer to home, like in a region of their very own country, many in use long before we won our independence. I think what bothered them the most was the fact that many of them found themselves using our words without even thinking about it and that's what really irritates them. Like one fellow who was so angry because he actually called it a shopping cart instead of a shopping trolley, and felt horrible about it. Some of it was very nit picky, like getting all worked up over calling it take out instead of takeaway. They don't like price hike because it would make the one increasing the price a hiker, and it goes on, and on, and on. They were right on with some of their critical comments, especially those who over use some particular slang, like saying, "My bad.", every few minutes, and I agree wholeheartedly with the complaint against those who say they are Scotch-Irish. We visited Scotland a few years ago and we do have Scot's blood in our family lineage, not Scotch which is something they are famous for that they tend to drink.

It can be a challenge maintaining your cool sometimes. I'm not talking about the weather but that would be an affirmative need here in this area due to the continuing heat wave. I am referring to the folks who continue to call your number even after you tell them you don't know the person they are looking for and the number they have called has nothing to do with that person. One lady in particular just knocks me down. She calls with this cheery voice like I haven't just talked to her earlier in the week. I looked up the 800 number on the web and it does belong to a credit collection agency. What makes me even angrier is that they are calling my cell phone. This last time I reminded her that I had just spoken to her and told her I didn't know a Leroy and this wasn't his number and to my knowledge has never been his number. She told me she would have to do something about getting this removed from their records but then she asked me a most infuriating question about whether I could tell her how to reach this individual. Have you ever seen one of those cartoon characters when they get ready to explode? I did not swear but I did, in the most forceful voice I could conjure up, make it clear that she had better understand that my number was never to be called again regarding this matter. For those of you out there who never let little things like this bother you, I say, God bless you because I could use a little help now and then, and if you happen to see Leroy, you might tell him there are some folks trying to reach him.

A lady I went to school with for about ten years recently put up a photo on Facebook of our 4th grade class. This was taken most likely in September of 1954, just a handful of months after my dad passed away and we had moved to a rural Louisiana town. I counted 34 students in that photo and it is really interesting to remember many of those faces. The lady had written names on the ones she recognized but I didn't need names on a number of them because they were my buddies and we spent a lot of time together, both at school and away from school. I am the little tyke with my hands clasped together and wearing the big smile in the cowboy shirt, and yes, that shot does show off my radar ears that are more or less a trademark for me. (You know them from the story, the better to hear you my child.) Click on the photo for an enlarged view. You might also notice that my mom had sewed patches on the knees of my jeans. That's how they tried to make things last back in those days. I most likely wasn't clued in enough to be embarrassed about them. Some of those in the photo have gone on to their reward. Some are still living right there in the same little town where we grew up. A few are on Facebook and we occasionally exchange comments. My wife and I were looking at the picture and she noticed that two of the boys were barefooted. That would have been appropriate back in the day, weather permitting, of course. Memories. They generate all kinds of thoughts and feelings, but for me, I am reminded how that God has somehow made a way for me, all of these years, and I thank Him for His provision. I do wish I knew what I was smiling about in that picture. It almost looks natural. I'll do some studying on that one and get back to you later. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing I'll see you here at the ole blogger corral next time. May God bless one and all. Amen.       ......More later.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I don't have to dream this one up, been there, done that, way too many times!

Thursday. Already? That would be correct and I invite you to come on in and to visit for a few minutes as we get cranked up for this July 21, 2011. It's appropriate to think about time flying because even when we are sitting still our globe is moving at a very fast pace, some 1,000 miles per hour, more or less, depending on your location. Now would be a good time for us all to thank God because He also gave us gravity to keep us from flying off this sphere as it goes merrily whirling on its way. I know gravity gets blamed for a lot of things that relate to age and scientists have long studied its impact on our bodies. However, it is like maybe a very critical asset given the alternative. I am very glad that God put it all together like He did, and the more science reveals, it is the more that His glory is seen, even as the fallen world uses the very same evidence to deny His existence. If you Google "I know God exists because" you will find many different responses. Some are technical and relate to the design and complexity of the universe. Some rightfully connect God to His preserved Word, because the Bible tells me so. The majority that I perused indicated a personal experience that drives belief. Like the old song: "I know He lives because He lives in my heart." There is no doubt that one of the greatest testimonies for God's existence is the power of a changed life. That, by the way, is what we believers are supposed to be broadcasting each and every day. The influence of a life changed by the power of God. When we live in this way, our life goes about its daily business with a song that gives proof to the children's refrain, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Amen.

The power of a changed life. That is so much easier to write about than it is to live. Why? The Apostle Paul in his letter written to the local congregation meeting in Rome, Italy, (Chapters 7 & 8), gave great insight into the struggle that all believers have with our 'old man' natures. God did not choose to eradicate our sinful nature and Paul says because it is that way, we, each and every believer will struggle. The good news is that Paul also tells us that while we struggle, we do not have to be defeated because there is victory when we yield to the power of God. I think when we do win a battle, God is honored, and anything that brings honor and glory to Him reflects our purpose in our sojourn here on the planet. I've actually worked with some folks who were a part of a belief system that said one can live above sin. Based on my observations, they were not able to communicate that as a truth in their own life, and based on my own experiences, we all are in the same boat when it comes to struggling. That's why I love to remember the words of a spiritual mentor of mine who said it like this: "When it comes down to it, we all are fellow strugglers." That doesn't mean we should be defeated because according to God's Word, speaking through the Apostle Peter, "Because by his power he has given us everything necessary for life and righteousness, through the knowledge of him who has been our guide by his glory and virtue." (2 Peter 1:3) I don't know about you but I stand in need of that everything necessary, every single moment of every single day! So when we blow it, we need to get back up, get prayed up again, dust ourselves off, and with His help, go again, and again, and again, for His honor and glory. Amen.

I didn't mean to turn today's blog into a Bible study but perhaps I needed to be reminded along with someone else, that dealing with the struggle between right and wrong is a lifelong pursuit for us all. Brand new believer, struggle. Senior saint, struggle. But, again, we do not have to accept the enemy's lie that when we struggle, and even if we falter, that we are no longer a child of God, because like the prodigal, we might end up in a place we shouldn't be, but we still belong to the Father and He still awaits our return. That is a great Bible text and you can read about it in Luke Chapter 15. So now you know that your blogger buddy here struggles too. In fact, it is when we fail to realize this truth, that's when we are in grave danger of finding ourselves in big trouble. ("So that let him that thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." 1st Cor 10:12) But it is good to be able to share some of what I have experienced and continue to experience in my walk with God. I can tell you, as it relates to me, He is a very loving and patient Father, and I thank Him for His faithfulness, His mercy, His love, and His grace as poured into me through the sacrifice of His Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and through the ongoing witness, conviction, and power of His Holy Spirit living in me. Even with all of this unspeakable and unfathomable truth, we all have to get up each and every day, put on our clothes, and like the Apostle Paul, put on our sandals or shoes and get on with the life that God has given to us. I need your prayers and you need my prayers and all God's children need prayer because it is a battle but there is, as the old song says, Victory in Jesus! Amen.        .....More later.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If a tree falls in the woods and no one blogs about it, does it make a difference?

It's early and thus far I haven't offended anyone today, in fact, other than to kiss the missus goodbye, I haven't seen anyone yet and that may well have something to do with it, but, hello and welcome to Wednesday, July 20, 2011. I'm getting along pretty well I suppose. Sitting here sipping on a piping hot cup of Community kind of helps to order the blessings that surround our day. Sure, I wouldn't mind trading in this ole diabetes gig and those arthritis pangs in my hips, but, all and all, as a dear old elderly man used to tell me when I asked how he was doing, "Son, if I kicked, I ought to be." Yes. I pray about needs all around in our family, for our children, and others who are near and dear to us. The good news is that I know that God knows and I trust Him to work things out according to His will which means this, "Son, if I kicked, I ought to be." It would be good if those folks in Washington could get their collective act together. It would be great if a dollar would go farther and we all could use a few more of them. It would be wonderful if we could get some relief from these sweltering temps. But all in all, like Paw Paw Mac, "I don't know about tomorrow, but I know Who holds my hand", which means that since God is with us and He has assured us that He will never leave nor forsake us, then we live as our bottom line, "Son, if I kicked, I ought to be." Amen.

I saw a cartoon where one character said to the other, "I have nothing to say." The response: "Then, you should blog about it." Or, the one where the two kids are arguing and one of them says, "Okay, but my dad's blog gets more traffic than your dad's!" Traffic is a big deal, especially to those who make money selling ads on their blogs. There are some rating sites and I've looked at what they propose to be the very best blogs out on the web and I must tell you that most of them did not impress me. Not because they were not well written or well presented. The types that get rated highly are the ones that are considered to be hip, with it, and I suppose they somehow fit the tech savvy reader that gets it. I must confess that I may not be one of those because some of the trashy stuff  I looked at certainly caused me to mumble, 'there's no there, there.' Again, the audience is most likely the key. They may know theirs well. I write because I enjoy writing but I also believe that we all have stories and it is within those stories that we can share a laugh, a tear, a life, and something more, some insights into how we have been able to make our journey. Someone told one of my readers that they get my blog forwarded to them and on many days, based on the subjects talked about, they then forward it to some within their circle who they believe will be helped or encouraged by what I have shared. To me that testimony is both humbling and reassuring because it does fulfill one of my greatest desires, to make a difference for time and eternity with all that God has given to me. I thank Him for that! Amen.

I saw a book title the other day and thought it to be very appropriate: "A Funny Thing Happened to me on my way to the Grave." Now if that isn't a metaphor for life itself, I'm not sure I could come up with a better one. This doesn't mean that life is just one joke after another. There are seasons where we grieve. There are times when we cannot find much to smile about. However, on balance, most of us are exposed to a fair amount of things to laugh out loud about as we go on our way. Some within our circle of conservative beliefs portray the image that somehow laughing is inappropriate. Jesus told some pretty funny stories when He was here. Yes, they always had a spiritual application but I think they also caused people to laugh. How about the word picture He painted with the person trying to remove a tiny little speck of a splinter out of the other fellow's eye, while they had a huge log sticking out of their own eye? (Matthew 7:3-5) The point was serious and it did sting but yet the image itself was comical and no doubt those listening got both the laugh and the point our Savior made. I know different types of funny stuff appeals to different people. I am not one given to silliness but some folks are. They like silly things and that makes them laugh. I like self effacing humor because it reflects the reality of life, my life, your life, all of life. But to each his own and we all do need to smile now and then and when it is all said and done, a hearty laugh now and then will do a body good. Keep it wholesome and clean and know that laughter is a gift from God. (James 1:17)  Amen.            ......More later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Three signs of old age: 1) Memory loss, 2)........Sorry, I have forgotten the other two!

Hello reader friends and welcome to a small slice from the smorgasbord of my life on this Tuesday, July 19, 2011. Smorgasbord of life? Maybe over the top some, but when we stop and think about it, everyone has a variety of things happening, and a myriad of claims on their time, typically, pretty much every waking minute of every single day. We were previously programmed to think that at a certain age we would be able to sit down and relax. They called it retirement back during the ice age, better known as when prosperity was at least a planning mechanism even if it was somewhat of an illusive one. Today's prediction is that we will all work until we drop, most likely, that is to be taken literally. There are implications whenever you change that thought process. If we do away with retirement as we have known it in the past because of the economic uncertainties that abound, that will produce a different kind of demographic profile. Think about it. I am a part of the so called Boomer generation. Over 75 million born and I believe there are some 65 million of us still around. If we don't leave the workplace, what will that do to the pie charts that track job availability and employment opportunities? It used to be just a handful of greeters down at the big box retail outlet, now we see the gray hairs everywhere. I know there are exceptions and if you fall into that category, then be thankful, but I think we all can see that the things in the mix that will eventually require this response: "Another nice mess you've gotten me into Ollie."  (Laurel and Hardy)

To retire or not to retire, that is the question. When I think of retirement I think of mom and dad. They would likely have fewer demands on their time if they were working every day in the public arena. Talk about busy people! I know dad believes that being actively engaged, especially in physical endeavors, is a key to your health. I am certain there is plenty of evidence that would support his belief. I know a lot of what they are involved in revolves around medical matters but they also have their weekly calendar typically filled out with other activities as well. When my grandfather retired at 70, he worked tirelessly out in his garden. It was like he traded one 10 hour day for another, but my how he enjoyed working that dirt! We have a couple of guys here at the Company in their seventies and myself and a few other fellows in our mid sixties. I am typically sitting at my desk much of my work day. The other older guys are often out in the elements and believe me, it has been perhaps the hottest summer on record here. I have great respect for them and what they do. Trying to decide what to do can be a challenging proposition. Could we get by on our Company paid retirement plus social security, etc.? Most likely we could, but not without some changes to our lifestyle, and I suppose that is what many people have to weigh before making the decision to leave the public workplace arena. Some due to health challenges have that decision made for them, but thus far we are thankful that is not a consideration at this time. Maybe the decisions being made in Washington will help us to decide. What's that you say? Don't hold my breath. Yeah. If anything, it will likely only confuse matters more. But, we will seek God's help in charting our way forward.

I still have to catch myself from time to time because I look at other folks and immediately think - - old. Hey, wait just a minute. Those people are close to my age. Look in the mirror dummy! But it is true. I just haven't been able to get to that place where I am acting my age, so to speak. Maybe it's because I never was able to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and now that it's a little late in the game to try and decide, that may be why I live in a state of confusion. That's not anything new and I am thankful for the role models who have been placed in my life. That cloud of witnesses that surround us as mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 12 were examples of those from Chapter 11, both named and unnamed, who had set the example of faith and their testimony stands as a cheering squad for us who continue to run our race. I can see those in my family who have gone on to their reward as a part of my own personal cheering squad. One commentator pictured it as each believer out on the track running their own individual race, dealing with the elements, obstacles, and challenges, but egged on by those in the stands that are chanting, "You can do it, you can do it!" That's right. Each of us have our own race to run just like those who preceded us. Your race is not my race and we all deal with different challenges but one of the blessings is to know that whether we are just getting started or even if, like me, beginning the last quarter of the race, we all need the encouragement of those cheering us on. And, we all need to be preparing ourselves to become those who will cheer on our offspring and theirs, and theirs, and that is how it is done in God's economy, and we all should be thankful He designed it that way. Amen.         ......More later.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My blogs are like a box of chocolates, the one left in the back window of the car, melted and distorted!

Today I am going to turn over a new leaf. I haven't figured out any of the details yet but you will have to admit that it is a start. Right? Welcome back. I hope all is well with you and yours on this Monday, July 18, 2011. The other day when I wrote that opening paragraph using all those phrases and figures of speech my wife asked what exactly I was trying to get across. First and foremost, I happen to enjoy those anecdotal types of slang and it really wasn't much to it other than to lament how that some of these are getting away from us as the follow on generations fail to use them and embrace them. Other than that, it was just some game playing with words. What's that you say? Got it. I am very much aware that many out there in bloggerland have very little interest in those types of word play games. That's great. I don't have an interest in a lot things myself. Things like a report from a scientific study that proves that dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas. It may occupy space out on the web but to put it succinctly, I could care less. When you hit one of those subjects in my blog, do what I do, skip that part. In fact, it's good to know how to quickly get away from something that you are so unfond of it makes you irritated just to think about it. Hopefully I won't be delivering those types of things but it could happen. And, even as I write this episode I am beginning to wonder just how they were able to measure those flea jumps. Inquiring minds and all of that, know what I mean?

I heard some folks being interviewed on the street about the big mess going on in Washington over the debt ceiling issue. Nearly everyone of them indicated they would rather be talking about something else. Most also just hold their noses when they talk about Congress and the President and their performance on this as well as many other critical matters. People do want their government to act but obviously the hold on power is such an overwhelming force, both sides tend to just try and win political points. It's almost funny how the President calls Republicans every name in the book and then at the next opportunity he lectures everyone on how the people are sick and tired of politicians who call each other names. He is an excellent politician. He is also good on his feet and he and his helpers know how to make the other side look pretty bad. Bottom line, those people on the street, and the rest of us who get up everyday and try to go out and make a living, and plenty who can't because of the dire economic circumstances, we all, for the most part, are not only sick and tired of being sick and tired, but we have had a belly full of the shenanigans that pass themselves off as our government at work. People are fed up. Fed up with the entire lot. The whole enchilada. The claims, the counter claims. The speeches. The games. Sick and tired. And as they said way back when, "A pox on all their houses!" While we do not wish to become cynical, it sure is an easy reach the way Washington is handling issues that impact our daily lives. May God help us is my prayer. Amen.

The "May God help us" sentiment is not a bailout strategy. I know I use it often and it may seem that way. It actually should be our starting, staying, and our ending strategy. It actually should be our foundation for every aspect of our daily lives. When the disciples wanted to know something about prayer, Jesus gave them a model. (Matthew 6, and Luke 11) It was not given that it might be repeated in some formulaic and rote manner, and while it is certainly okay to quote it, the meaning behind it is key because it highlights the needs expressed by the one praying, and the power to meet those needs from the One being prayed to. That may be the most important message to us all. That is, that we might see ourselves in light of who we really are before God. We as a nation like to portray ourselves as a proud people. And, I think it fine to be a proud American in a healthy patriotic sense, but when it crosses over to us being prideful, smug, and self sufficient to the extent that we do not see ourselves in desperate need of God's provision, then we are in trouble. We are in trouble in our personal lives, and we are in trouble as a nation. Therefore, we when pray, "God help us" may it not be as a statement of vendetta against those we dislike, but rather, may it be, from the heart of a people who are humbled by the great needs that surround us and as a recognition that God and God alone is our only hope. Now that would help us to see true hope and change at work! Amen.                ......More later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Here's what I think: Whatever the situation, never be ashamed of America!

Hello. I am writing today's blog from an undisclosed location. That's because that is where I write it every single day and today is no exception. It is Friday and I bid you welcome on this, the 15th day of July, 2011. It didn't surprise me that the new movie Captain America had to have some changes made to play in some foreign venues. While I might not agree with it, I understand that in Russia and other places the hero had to be renamed. One thing did surprise me a little. I read a blurb that said the actor playing the main character had to undergo psychological therapy before he was able to play the part. I'm not clear on all the facts but it seems that anti-American feelings across the globe may have had something to do with his concerns. If that is true and he was afraid that his peers and other notable movie types across the globe might look down on him for making a pro American hero story, then I do have a word for him: I would be ashamed to be ashamed of America, period, end of story. I would almost guess he is not ashamed to take the money. Know what I mean? This fits that poll I mentioned on July 4th that said the left wing liberal crowd does have a less than favorable view of the founding of our nation and its corresponding traditions. There are many articles written that quote so called progressive thinkers who indicate their disdain for the inordinate patriotism shown by those within the conservative community. I don't think our country is in the shape it is in because there is too much patriotism. In fact, my view would suggest it just might be the opposite, but then again, that's why I call it the View From Here.

I suppose patriotism can be defined in somewhat different ways depending on where you are from. Sometimes I do not always think about what I am doing. The other day I was at the filling station putting gas in one of the Company trucks. I left the door open and the radio on loud enough to hear it at the back of the truck. It just happened to be on NPR where a professor lady who teaches writing was taking calls and giving advice to those wanting to know how to get started. The conversation was interesting. To me. Not to the fellows who frequent that particular establishment. Too many Confederate flags and NASCAR emblems and believe me, I did get some hard looks. They don't mind playing those beer drinking songs loud enough to rock the joint, but, no, let someone try and listen to a writing lecture and they think you came up there just to insult them. I actually didn't even think about it, that's what makes it a little funny. In fact, I saw one long tall drink of water who looked like he had just come in from a two week shift out in the gulf off an oil rig, and he was displaying Jimmy Johnson's Number 48 on his truck back window, and I nearly told him he would have a good number if he divided it by two and put two Number 24's on there, that being my driver Jeff Gordon's number. Before I could get the words out he looked at that open door on my truck where the lady was talking about ways to make what you write interesting to a broader audience, and then he focused squarely on me. Hello? No time for chit chat with a fellow NASCAR fan, I figured I might as well leave it alone, this time. I can only imagine what they told their friends about that little episode down at the Shell Station.

But that's okay. I was more or less on their turf and should have known better. I doubt seriously I would have caught any of those hard looks if I had Sean or Rush blaring. That would have been some red meat as they call it for their consuming pleasure. But we all are different. Different but hopefully united in the things that count. One common denominator is the universal truth about how me, them, and everyone else who breathes air on the planet needs to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if they are to live forever with Him in eternity. It doesn't matter how you say tomato are potato. It doesn't matter whether you like overalls or the finest silk suits. Every man, woman, boy, and girl born on the planet stands guilty before God. Jesus came to deal with that issue and He did. On The Cross of Calvary. Those redneck boys need the Lord. Those liberal folks need the Lord. Those of us raised in Christian homes, yes, we need the Lord also. I have had so many folks tell me about how faithful their families have been when I ask about their situation with the Lord. Their mom or dad, or maybe their grandparents were wonderful Christian folks. That is a great thing to be able to say about any family but it will not get me, you, or anyone else into heaven. We must deal with our sin situation ourselves, individually, if we are to be saved from our hell bent destination. I love repeating that question the jailer in Philippi asked of the Apostle Paul, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The clear and simple response: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Read about it in Acts Chapter 16) That's a powerful testimony to close on for this week as we anticipate Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time, may God bless you all. Amen.          ......More later.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today's Episode: "Close but no cigar!"

Welcome to today's edition on this Thursday, July 14, 2011, in what is fast becoming a fairly long series. I had no idea I would still be writing something after all this time. If this was a weekly TV series, I have now done enough episodes for a twenty year run. Me and Gunsmoke? Who knew? Joking only. But, let's get back to where the rubber meets the road. You know that world where actions speak louder than words and where we often find ourselves barking up the wrong tree. It's that daily grind where there's mostly zero tolerance and we just have to stay with it until the cows come home. I am not trying to steal someones thunder here, but as a rule of thumb it does pay at times to let sleeping dogs lie. You may think I am prone to a knee jerk reaction but knock on wood that's not how it is at all, because when it is all said and done, I really don't have an axe to grind. What would our communications be like if we did not have such wonderful figures of speech, idioms, and word pictures? They do bring color to an otherwise black and white world. Many of the ones I use are dated and I am puzzled how that newer generations seem not to have a clue when they hear them. Maybe the ones that make sense to them come from Rap music, if it can be called that, but that would be a no thank you from my way of seeing it. I don't have a chip on my shoulder about it but at the end of the day it wouldn't hurt them to learn that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Have you ever been fooled by one of those TV ads? I hate to admit it but it can still happen, even to me. I kept seeing that Subway commercial for that new turkey and avocado sandwich and it looked so good on the screen. As Jerry Clower would have said: "That commercial done flung a craving on me." I do enjoy avocado. As a diabetic you have to keep in mind that mantra of moderation that rules every food choice but I was attracted to that sandwich. Therefore, while my wife was out of town, I slid by there one day to get me one of those beauties. The young man was courteous. I first asked if they used 100% avocado. He said nothing added, avocado only. Good. I ordered a small one, moderation and all of that, cut the bacon, still on my best behavior, and then I watched him making my sandwich. The commercial showed about 1/2 inch of thick and creamy avocado. This young man put it on the bread and then scraped it until all that was left was a green stripe. It happened so fast and I was so stunned I didn't have time to channel that unhappy customer that we all have somewhere in the deep recesses of our mind. I carried my sandwich over to the table and threw it down, slumped into the chair, and began to consume it. I enjoyed nary a bite as that commercial kept playing over and over in my mind. Yes. I could have had them remake the sandwich. Yes. I could have probably gotten more avocado. Maybe it was because I was on my way to teaching my Wednesday night Bible study class where we are studying the Epistle of Joy, Philippians, where the Apostle tells us to be content, no matter how little avocado they put on your sandwich. You never saw that version? You do need to get out more is all I can say. I'm not sure why I didn't complain but I will tell you this: While every cloud may have a silver lining I can assure you that not every avocado sandwich will have much of one at all!

Some of you think that is pretty funny. And, while I can laugh about it now, it certainly wasn't that amusing at the time. So much of life is like that. Things don't always go our way. We live in a world where there seems always to be a source of irritation, that is, if we let it get to us. I saw some of our grand kids the other day doing their best to irritate each other. Whether it was making noises or just staring, it could create a ruckus. What did Granny Mac and mom always tell us? Ignore them and they will eventually quit. Of course depending on which one it was, a good lick upside the arm seemed at times to shorten the time frame for them to quit. Yes. We are all wound up tight and you see it everywhere you go. People falling apart for very little reason. I've seen some of the most God fearing folks go almost berserk because a waiter made a mistake or something wasn't to their liking. It was almost like a Jekyll and Hyde situation. We all are capable of doing exactly the same thing. We, as believers, should be restrained in weighing our responses becasue we have the Spirit of the Living God who helps us to maintain a testimony before a world that tends to be ready to explode at a moment's notice. Easy? Never! But with God's help we will look back and perhaps even be able to write a funny little story about it. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.    ...More later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You just might be from Louisiana if: You like both your rice and your politics - - dirty!

Louisianian geauxs on vacation!
Hello and welcome to Wednesday, July 13, 2011. As most of you know, I am from Louisiana. I was born in Louisiana. I lived most of my first twenty three years in Louisiana. I will soon complete forty two years here in the great state of Texas. I am a resident of Texas. I participate in voting as a citizen of Texas. With all of that said, I am, and will always be, a Louisianian at heart. I grew up immersed in Louisiana politics. Look it up, Louisiana is famous for it. I remember once as a kid selling a Grit Newspaper to the then governor, Earl K. Long. The Long family long ruled the state, no pun intended. Over the years I've seen other cities and states that have made a run at trying to wear the 'politics as a way of life' crown. Places like Chicago, its state, Illinois, and even some pretty messy stuff here in Texas. But, thus far, I've not seen it played out like it was growing up in rural Louisiana. Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards was recently released from doing eight years in prison for a variety of fraud related crimes connected to casino licenses. Here's what is both interesting and sad at the same time: On his Facebook page it is filled up with Louisiana natives welcoming him home, wishing he could be in charge again, and in general, gushing with hero worship. That's how they/we do it over there. One of the things said about the famous Huey P. Long that became legend in the rural communities was his assertion that he would be taking some off the top for himself, but the folks could be assured he would make sure they got some of it too. I suppose that's how he got his name on so many hospitals, bridges, and other buildings. I don't think anyone should be heralding a criminal and I'm not always pleased with the dirty stuff that goes on, but one thing I am sure of: I'm still proud to be a Louisianian and I'm still proud of my roots, and the state where I was molded into much of who I am today.

People ask me quite often what will happen when I get up one morning and find that I have run out of things to write about. I'm not sure but hopefully when that time comes I will sign off and move on down the road instead of doing like a fellow who worked for me once, he retired a long time before he actually left the premises, if you know what I mean. I never apologize for my daily stuff tending to be somewhat repetitive because we are who we are and I would hope that my values, my struggles, and the little bit of wisdom I've gained in life would come across, regardless of the story I am telling. And, I still have a few to tell. Sometimes I come up with a real good one but it is while I am driving down the road and by the next day I have either become distracted by something else or I've filed that really good one in the temporarily unavailable file. You know the one marked 'stuff I can't recall at the moment'. That's okay. It will come back or at least I might think it is the one I had previously not remembered. As you can see it gets rather complicated when you get older. The one thing that can be counted on is God's faithfulness throughout our journey. I caught just a comment or two by a noted atheist the other evening. He was asked that since he prayed as a child, if he ever deep down inside felt the need to pray now. He responded by telling the interviewer that would be like him talking to an imaginary friend and how silly would that be. The way I see it, call me Mr. Silly because His Spirit confirms His presence in my life, (Romans 8:16), and I will gladly stand in that line marked Silly because as the old song says, My God is Real! Amen.

I know the US Postal service is really struggling and some say it will soon crater if it is not bailed out by Congress. The internet and other competitive delivery services have made it very difficult for the postal service to survive. I will say this about that. If everyone turning 65 receives the promotional material I have received, then they should be able to keep stuff going for some time in the future. It's almost like an avalanche of paper. Everyday another booklet describing how wonderful things will be if I sign up with their particular flavor of Medicare support. Just in passing, I've been around long enough and have consulted with enough folks to know that most of those promises on paper are just that, when it comes down to it. One of the huge mailers is AARP. I refuse to do business with them because they chose to bet the farm on the Obama health care program. Some folks tell me that in the long run I will only be hurting myself since they do have good coverages for older folks. It will not be the first time, but for me, and I speak only for myself, I continue to feel strongly about this situation. I know others that use their products and I don't have a problem with their choice. That's one of the things that we still can do, at least at the moment, is to make choices. Yes, some of our choices do have consequences and only the Lord knows how it will be for us all in the so-called brave new world of a more socialized form of medicine. The medical supplement I chose to go with has done their part well. I am not sure how many pounds of literature they have sent to me but they should be receiving a thank you card from the postal service one day soon. Okay. As you can see I am all over the map today which is not that unusual. Have a great day and may the Good Lord bless and keep each one. Amen.           ......More later.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I suppose it's better to have a pain in the neck than to be one!

Welcome to Tuesday, here in the land of the free and home of the brave, on this, the 12th day of July, 2011. Yesterday was one of those 'pain in the neck' type days. No. It wasn't the vicissitudes of life that caused me to wince with every movement, it was my neck. I woke up with one of those big knots right at the base of my neck in the back and let me tell you, it was one of those hurt so bad it made me angry type of pains. You've never had one like that? Congratulations! I do hope and pray you can keep it that way. I felt just like the main character from the Life of Riley series, "What a revolting development this is!" Yes. I am well aware that it is self inflicted and I am well aware that it came about due to how I slept, and yes, I do remember that I used to tell the boys that you could not complain about self inflicted injuries. However, today I'm just reporting the facts, not complaining. You doubt that would have worked when they tried to say the same thing. Were you listening in on our family conversations, or what? At any rate, it made for a miserable start to my day. I nearly had a chill before I left the house it hurt so bad. I hate it when it goes like that. But, I've always believed that if you will get up and go, it can either get better or worse, and then you can deal with the results. You say you don't think that it takes a genius to figure that one out? Missed my point. My point is that when you are hurting so bad your teeth are crying, you still get up and go. Why? You can always deal with the outcome when it becomes the outcome. See what I mean? By the way, it did get better, not much better quickly, but it did get better and I am thankful for that. I must have a frank discussion with my three, count them, three feather pillows, some of which carry feathers that may be vintage 1940's, to figure out which one of them may be the source of my neck problem. I know it's a delicate balance but I do need their full cooperation. I'll let you know how it goes.

I heard the other day that psychologists have discovered that people who reminisce about days gone by with good and positive memories do better in life than those who don't. Duh! They needed a study to confirm that? If you have been a reader of my stuff for anytime at all then you are aware how thankful I am for my growing up days. And, I can say that without having to change any of it. Sure. There was plenty of anguish and heartache with so many tragedies that we dealt with back then, and since, however, for the most part it is a blessing to reflect upon the little things that God gave us to enjoy in our family, and in our hometown, and in our environment. I thought about this when my eldest son called me Sunday evening. They had gotten the bug to get one of those electric ice cream makers and he had called a couple of weeks ago to see if we still had Granny Mac's recipe for her version of homemade vanilla. It took a while going through my wife's thick and tattered cook book but we found it and keyed it in and sent it to him in an email On Sunday they had finally put it together and made a freezer full. He said when he tasted it he was immediately carried back to those days when we used to make it as part of a time of fellowship with friends in our Church back in the early 1970's. He said every bite reminded him of those times. Times of fellowship and feasting. He even remembered that his job was to keep the drain open as the freezer spun. He concluded that Granny Mac might be the source of Blue Bell's inspiration for their Homemade products. A bowl of ice cream brings back a bowl full of memories. Folks, I just can't see how you could improve on that. And, that is something to be thankful for. Amen.

We've being doing a verse by verse study through the Book of Exodus in our Sunday morning Bible Study time. As the teacher I have attempted to share the truth as it is presented while also connecting it into our experiences today. God inspired Moses to collect these words and preserve them for all generations to read and study, therefore, He, the Lord God of heaven, has something to say to us all as we take in His truths. As we are finishing up this great study we are currently looking at the building of the Tabernacle based on the precise instructions given to Moses while he was up on the mountain communing with God. Constructing this special tent with all of its unique articles and artisitc works was a mammoth undertaking. The first thing Moses did was to receive an offering for all the materials needed to build this place where God's presence would reside. The outpouring from the people of God was so great they had to put out a decree to stop the giving because they had too much. No. That wasn't put in there for TV evangelists to use to beat people over the head. It is an example of what happens when people give from the heart instead of from their head. My point to my class was to think about the cast of perhaps thousands that were involved in this great project. The overseers are named but there were all types of skills used in the metal working, the setting of precious stones, and intricate weaving required, and so many other abilities that were a part of this great work. What about the helpers? What about those who did the food preparation? What about those who maybe stood in someone's place while they worked on this project? Bottom line: We all have something we can do in the the Lord's Kingdom work. Everyone can do something. Maybe not the overseer, maybe not the metal worker, or the skilled perfumer, but each and every person has something to contribute from their resources, from their time, their talent, and their treasures. That's a good reminder to us all as we go about prioritizing our busy schedules! A mini sermon never hurt anyone. May God bless. Amen.          .....More later.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Am I becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of Christmas?

Us with our youngest son's children.
Hello and welcome to an early start here on Monday, July 11, 2011. But sir, you do the early start every day, don't you? That would be correct but I thought I would throw it in there anyway. I am glad I'm not the only one who gets up and goes early. The other day one of my readers sent me an email to let me know about a fairly serious spelling blunder. I was very happy to go and fix it while most of the rest of the distribution list were fast asleep, maybe with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Speaking of which, I continue to get inquiries regarding Santa appearances for the upcoming season. Now that is what I call planning ahead! Word is getting around that Mrs. Claus might be available. The lady overseeing one of the big venues told me they were thinking about an approach to incorporate Mrs. Claus because that would be so neat. She said they were thinking about offering a breakfast and perhaps Mrs. Claus could then read The Night Before Christmas. After that some photos and mingling time. Hello? This is not Snow White and while I may be a little on the short side, I'm not one of the seven little fellows. And, by the way, what ever happened to the sled driver fellow, who is, after all, the magic of the Christmas fantasy? I'm not becoming paranoid but Santa is more or less the main attraction here. I am right about that? Right? I sent the lady a photo of Santa and Mrs. Claus together. I think it made it worse. Perhaps I should prepare a personal appearance contract that spells out where the spot lights are to be pointed. This preoccupation with the supporting cast could get out of hand. It bears watching and I will keep you posted.

I heard yesterday that the big budget summit in Washington D.C. at the White House did not produce any progress. Surprise! Surprise! Based on all the ugly talk both sides do before their meetings, it's a wonder they are even able to agree what day it is. Ah, but that's where the politics come into play. Since calling each other names is how the game is played, I'm sure they are very cordial when they sit down to talk. That, to me, is another reason people get turned off to the charade game that goes on at a time when many in this country are struggling. Those without jobs and without daily necessities for their families have no time to be trying to see who can out insult the other while putting on a show of smiles and handshakes in front of the camera. The ordinary man on the street is not aware of the intricacies of the debt ceiling and how that impacts our economy. However, he and millions upon millions more are well aware of what the shenanigans in our nation's capitol have brought to them. Very little in the way of opportunity. Very little in the way of jobs. Very little in the way of even being able to see a way forward. I know it's complicated, difficult, and all the other words they use to excuse the current status. However, surely we have someone who can rise above the fray just long enough to do something for the good of America as opposed to continuing to play this very unentertaining game. That's the way I see it and I pray that God will intervene for the good of all of our people. Amen.

Who said I wasn't on top of current events? On a much lighter note, so to speak, where do you turn to find a source for a smile? I can pick up one here and there listening to my satellite radio in my car. I always check to see what is playing on the Old Time Radio channel. I challenge anyone to listen to those old programs by George Burns and Gracie Allen and not find something to smile about and at times, you just get to do that laugh out loud thing that is so popular today. You know: 'lol'. How about 30 minutes of clean comedy from the likes of Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Fibber MaGee and Molly, Our Miss Brooks, or William Bendix starring in The Life of Riley? Sure. Most of the humor is dated and there are some current events included that may be out of reach for most of us today. However, funny is funny because people are funny, then, now, and forever. I would much rather listen to some of these than to try and figure out what's so funny from comedians today that have to have every other word bleeped out. Sorry. I just don't get it. And, typically, none of us need look any further than ourselves for some outstanding comedic relief, that is, if we are willing to laugh at our own comic adventures. I crack myself up sometimes. It may take me a while to share a funny on myself but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it privately. I heard a interview with one of the Shuttle Astronauts who had recently retired from the program. They were talking to him about the end of the Shuttle program as we know it. One of the questions dealt with the impact of him being in space so many times and how that had influenced his life. He explained that when you are up there looking out at our world, the beauty of our universe, and all of that grandeur, you can't help but to come back to earth with a sense that the many little things that typically bother us is truly not worth our time and effort. In other words, don't sweat the small stuff, and I would add, learn to laugh at yourself because life really is too short to miss out on all that comedy. May God bless. Amen.    .....More later.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday. ~Author Unknown

It's open mouth and insert foot Friday, July 8, 2011, here where like the song says, "...Prettiest town I ever seen, Folks down there don't treat you mean." Not really. But that tune came into my cranium from somewhere and I decided to share it anyway. Finally. I finally found a real life Rosie. That iconic image of Rosie the Riveter from WWII, (not WW eleven as one teacher said when she introduced a veteran to her class), of that woman with her sleeves rolled up heralding the slogan: We Can Do It! For the first time ever I actually read about a lady who actually was a riveter in the big war. I was reading through the local obituaries and came across the one for Virginia Hagan, aged 89. Here's what it had to say about her: "Virginia was a riveter on the Douglas aircraft while her husband was overseas during World War II" This lady was beloved by her family and recently preceded in death by just a few days of her husband of 70 years. That is a 'wow!' no matter how you look at it. I've seen that poster hundreds of times and now I have come in contact with a lady that actually fulfilled that role. May God bless all those who left their homes to go and work in the plants and factories while the men were sent off to battle the enemy. That was not Virginia's only distinction. Probably of even more lasting value, the write up went on to say this: "She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, good friend and neighbor to all who knew and loved her." And the media tell us we just can't seem to find good role models today. Maybe they are looking in all the wrong places my friend.

There are days when we are strung about as tightly as Dick's hatband. How tight is that and who, by the way, is Dick? Good questions. I've heard that expression all my life and I've looked it up before but thought why not share it again in today's episode. Here is what the Word Detective website has to say about it:  "Tight as Dick's hatband" is primarily a Southern expression here in the U.S. I say "here in the U.S." because, according to Robert Hendrickson's "Whistling Dixie, A Dictionary of Southern Expressions", the phrase actually originated in Great Britain. The "Dick" in question was probably Oliver Cromwell's son Richard (1626-1712), who succeeded his father as ruler of England. Richard's brief reign, a matter of only seven months ending in his abdication, made him the object of popular contempt and the butt of many jokes. The unfortunate Dick's "hatband" was his crown, and the "tightness" was the discomfort and apprehension he was presumed to have felt. Variants on the joke at the time included another phrase sometimes still heard, "queer as Dick's hatband," referring to the preposterous course of Richard's reign. "Tight as Dick's hatband" made the leap across the Atlantic and took up residence in the American South, where, the Cromwell saga being largely unknown, it was taken as a folk expression denoting extreme tightness or, sometimes, stinginess." You really didn't care to know about that saying? I like knowing about it because it shows how a saying originates and crosses the ocean to become a local expression, most likely with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of where it actually came from. I ask you, do we live in a great country, or what?

Another work week is coming to a close. I've had a busy one in many ways. My wife left me last Sunday but thankfully she returned on Thursday. I signed up for a medicare advantage plan. I worked with the satellite TV people to understand better why the receiver/dvr stays so hot even when it is turned off. Their explanation: It's because the fan runs constantly to keep it cool. But, when it is turned off, why would it need to have the fan running at all? I unplugged that buddy while I was away and yes, it did have to go through some resetting to get back in sync but no humming and no heating. I actually had seen a blurb on this one day about these huge draws on electricity that we might not know about. I plan on putting a meter on this one just to see how much it is drawing while we are asleep. The fan must run 24x7 even when the system is not in use? I'll just have to tell you, I'm having some trouble with that one. I did a little cleaning at the house while mama was away. She will gladly concurr with the 'little' portion of that claim. I talked to my mom every day, just like normal. I talked several times to my sister up in the Dallas area. I touched base with all the boys nearly every day. I participated in our local Church business meeting. And, I did my thing here at the workplace, so, all in all, a fairly crowded schedule, at least in spurts. I know you most likely were busy also and believe me, I would never try to out busy others, because we are living in a time when most people are going just about as fast and furious as they know how. I do have one suggestion: Sunday is coming, therefore, find a local fellowship where believers meet and show up. That's a wonderful place where you can slow down a little and maybe even get refueled for your next busy week. Until next time, may God bless each one. Amen.               ......More later.