Monday, October 31, 2011

A billion pennies for my thoughts?

So it's Monday. Is that such bad news? To me, it's a regular day, not one to be dreaded, as so many do. But, they feel that way mostly because it is typically school day and the first day back to work. Most of the time, not all, but most of the time I do not vary my routine or schedule too much based on the day of the week. That's not normal you say? I will accept that because being accused of being normal is not something that happens to me that often. But, hello out there in the cyberspace world where you really can let your fingers do the walking to just about anywhere on the globe, therefore, I am glad you landed here on this Monday, October 31, 2011. That would make it Halloween. Yes I know. I actually have heard people talking about how that Halloween is their favorite holiday of the year. And, to think that someone would question my normality! I suppose we just never got into it that much. Our kids did the costumes and some trick or treat in the neighborhood, we did some fall festival celebrations at our Church over the years, but I can't say that I have ever looked forward to Halloween. In spite of this, they are expecting nearly 7 billion dollars in Halloween related spending this year in our country, even as we continue to experience tough economic times. That's one dollar for every man, woman, boy or girl on the planet. This tells me that someone out there cares a whole lot more about this occasion than I do! If I have this right I would have 10 million dollars if I could only get one billion of the seven to send me a penny each. When I figure out how to make this happen I will let you know.

My mom actually believes it takes some smarts for me to put together this daily one way dialogue. Moms are like that. She, at 87, is still proud of her children. I tell her it is not as hard as she might think but she's not buying it and I think God designed it that way because we all are enriched by the encouragement of our moms. Her and dad just knock me down with all their goings and comings. Busy. Active. Much more so than folks many years younger than they are. Dad keeps a list going. Dad always does what is on his list. Usually, promptly. Last week he was doing work underneath the house. I've been under that house before. That's not an easy place to work. Mom says he is pretty scratched up from doing that project. I tell her all the time that I have no expectations of being able to function like they do, if, and when I make it to my eighties. They are one impressive couple and we are blessed to have them as our parents. The other evening our college girl granddaughter was at the house and heard me talking to my mom. She asked me how I found something to talk about every night for twenty or thirty minutes. I told her that when you are blessed to be able to still be calling your mom and she is still able to laugh and talk with you, at 87, then it's not hard at all. And, believe me, just reviewing all they are doing each day, that's enough to fill in the conversation! We thank the Lord God of heaven for the wonderful parents we have. Amen.

One of the unofficial things I get to do at our local Church is to help greet people as they arrive. I've been doing this for perhaps forty years or more. I do focus a lot on the little ones. Recently a family moved off to take a job in another state. Last week I received a note about how that Church there is not the same for them without me being there to give the special greeting they and the children got each week. Greeting. That's not much of an area of service. Or is it? I actually enjoy doing it so perhaps I'm the one being served in many ways. I've told you before about how that at our local fellowship I am privileged to be working with folks, their children, and yes, even some more, their children. If God allows me to keep on keeping on, I may get to the great great grands as well. I mention this to remind us all that the song is right. "Little is much when God is in it." We are to greet one another with love and respect. (Romans 12:10) I worked with a fellow once who actually saw being a greeter as his calling. I do it, more or less, as a sideline but he believed that God had given him this work as a ministry. He told me that when folks arrive out in the parking lot often they show up with a lot of stuff weighing them down, physical, emotional, and also spiritual. He said he felt privileged to help them carry their stuff, and he believed God had given him an ability to help lift the emotional and spiritual as well. Wow! He was allowing the love of God to flow through him in touching the lives of others. That's a good lesson for us all. God can take our little, no matter how small or insignificant we think it is, and use it to accomplish much. He gets the glory for it all, but He also allowed me to get a note that really made my day. Amen.        .....More later.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I will admit it, yes, it is true, I have been practicing my ho-ho-ho's!

Let me see if I have this right. We have arrived on Friday, October 28, 2011, and a mild cool front has also arrived, (finally), into our area. (54 degrees F, as I sit here this morning with a light breeze.) What a combination folks! I know I have been all over the page this week as each day's episode has unfolded. I would like to tell you this was planned but it really wasn't. When I sit down to write I think about it as I put it on the page. While it may originate in my cranium first, it's not there long enough for me to do much about it before it makes its landing. Maybe I could call it diversity but likely discombobulated would be a better way to describe it. The folks back home used to call it scatterbrained and that's a fair assessment, at least as I see it. But, how in the world are you doing, anyway? A week from tomorrow, Lord willing, I will be sitting in the over sized chair with a few hundred children yearning to sit in my lap. Yep. That would be correct. I begin my third season of my portrayal of that Jolly Old Elf himself. People tell me all the time how lucky I am to be able to do this little sideline and I do feel blessed and fortunate to work with so many precious children. But, one thing I have learned, when you do several hours straight, you will know that you have, and you will not need to be rocked to sleep that night. I tell people it's harder than you think but they mostly give me that 'sure it is' smug response. The children. That's what really makes it worthwhile. The parents. In my experience, not so much, especially where photographs are involved. I will be checking out my gear this weekend to make sure everything is in order. That's right. Checking my list twice. And, don't forget, we have the 'Mrs.' joining me in some venues. That should be something. And, I'm sure it will be!

That reminds me. I had better do some searches on the hot toys for this upcoming season so that I can at least be conversant with the kiddos. It's always fun to see the parents cringe whenever the child mentions something totally different than what they already have hidden in the attic. The parent will immediately try to remind them of how much they love Thomas the Train but often the kid isn't buying it. They then give me that look that says I should do something about it. How funny is that? Of course that's not easy because a rocket firing robot trumps old Thomas any day of the week. I well remember how that Wish Book from Sears became just that when we were kids. Talk about dogeared. There were six of us kids and we had to share it. When it came my turn I knew exactly the section I wanted to see. I'm not sure all that wishing was healthy but it sure was fun and I can't see where it harmed any of us. My mom always went all out for us kids and she made memories for us that we still look back on and cherish today. We didn't leave Jesus out of our celebration. We knew the real meaning of Christmas. But, we also had a grand time and my wife and I did our best to provide that same experience for our boys growing up. I suppose that is the definition of a handed down tradition, and a good one, at least that's the way I see it.

I have been trying to think of a cliffhanger ending that will compel you to return next week to see what happened. Will our hero make it through the traffic and get home safely? Stay tuned. Will he find time to write his Bible study handout in time for it to be used in his class Sunday morning? Stay tuned. Will he enjoy a cup of Community made strong and black to sip while standing out on his driveway breathing in the low 40's air? You do not have to stay tuned for that one, Lord willing, you can count on it! I suppose all of us could provide our own lists of what if scenarios that define our daily lives. And, as we often say, we really do not know what each day will bring, therefore, we need to embrace the one that God has provided to us, today, and be thankful for it while we do our best, with His help, to make the most of it. On Wednesday afternoon I had the misfortune to be hurrying home from work and was behind this lady. We came to an intersection and the light had only begun to change and I thought surely she would go through and I would to. She didn't, but I did. (I should have known, it was the remote control deal, all over again.) I had to swerve into the other lane and slam on my brakes about as hard as they can be slammed on. I don't know how many g's I was pulling when I got stopped, but praise the Lord those were brand new brakes because I'm pretty sure the old ones would not have held. And, what about the fact there was no car in the other lane? What about that? I certainly didn't have time to check before I careened into it. She was probably one of those driving instructors or something. But it just goes to show you how many near misses we all encounter each day, many of which, we may not even recognize. That's why I am thankful to be able to be here this morning to wish you God's speed as you go along your way. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and we'll catch up with you next Monday, Lord willing, of course! Amen.         ....More later.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where there's smoke, there just might be the makings of a bad idea!

Hello and welcome. If you have reached this page in error, I apologize. If you came here intentionally, I offer my sympathy, but I am very glad you came, because you, I, and the rest of civilization have no idea what might be percolating here at the blog factory on this Thursday, October 27, 2011. You never know what a day might bring. I read where 60 Elvis impersonators had to flee the hotel where they were performing in Kent, England. The smoke machine they were using as part of the presentation set the fire alarms off and they all had to make a run for it. Can you imagine what the folks outside thought when they saw that bunch heading in all directions. Talk about being 'All Shook Up!" Sorry. I couldn't resist. Then you have the fellow in Pennsylvania who got drunk and decided to take his clothes off and go up to people's doors, knock on them, and surprise them. After harassing several people in the neighborhood he came and knocked on the door that belonged to the chief of police. Talk about having the wrong address! I also read about an 87 year old man in Detroit who was stopped for a lane violation and the police found 104 bricks of cocaine in his vehicle worth an estimated 3 million dollars. I know we all are upset about the increases in medical expenses but surely he could have found a better part time job than this! It is a strange world after all, and yes, Virginia, we all help make it that way.

The President left the East Coast for a tour of the Left Coast. According to press reports, his fund raisers among the movie elites were blacked out with no photos to be taken. However, all the press were invited to show up at the soup kitchen for a photo op. While incessantly railing against the Republicans for not being serious about the trouble our nation is facing, our President found the time to tape a comedy segment for the Jay Leno Show. The President wants credit for pulling the troops out of Iraq. After untold billions and the loss of 4,000 American patriots, I'm not unhappy to see the troops coming home. However, we will leave behind a mess and the truth is that we are not pulling out, we are essentially being kicked out by a corrupt government. Many respected analysts have concluded that this so called promise kept by our President will result in a huge increase in the influence of Iran as they come in and fill the void we will leave behind. The Democrats are in an odd position. They have traditionally been left leaning towards pacifism but now find themselves forced to portray their candidate as the Rambo of the West Wing, Assassin extraordinaire, and the steady eyed gunslinger ready to pull the trigger at the slightest provocation. This is laughable but also lamentable as it demonstrates just how high the stakes are when it comes to political power. In our system the guy at the top gets to dole out the tax payer's largess and folks that song plays to the tune of trillions, which pretty much says it all. You didn't catch any of this in the mainstream media? Don't be surprised and don't hold your breath because they chose sides back in 2008 and they are sticking with their liberal icon. What little objectivity in the so called independent non-aligned press passed off the scene a number of years ago. If you don't believe me, just ask me. This concludes another eyewitness account from the front lines reported on behalf of The View From Here.

Maybe they should call me the Opinionator. Hey. We are all entitled to them. We have folks near and dear to us who see it completely different. They believe President Obama is there for the little guy. They believe he is doing the best he can but he has to do battle each day with the mean old Republicans who only care about rich people. And, may I add, that's exactly what the President and his team are hoping that folks will believe. With his approval ratings hovering around 40%, I would say he has quite a bit more convincing to do. Those near and dear to us who disagree with my assessment of the situation are still near and dear to us, and that is not going to change. Do I believe they are wrong? Obviously I do. However, as I have said many times before, there's enough corruption to go around when it comes to the games being played in our nation's capital. Folks have become jaded over time and I understand this. There's plenty of reason for us all to be singing the somebody done somebody wrong song regardless of the party in charge. The reason we speak up is because our decisions do have consequences and when it is all said and done, we have to choose what we believe is best in terms of respect for God and country, and what is best for our children and their children. Tough choices. Yes! And, none of us like to wear those clothes pins on our noses when we go into the voting booth, and, wearing them also makes us sound funny when we whine! You do know what I mean? I know you do, Vern. Have a blessed day and may God bless our nation. Amen.            .....More later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A man and his remote will not soon be parted!

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, October 26, 2011. It's good to have you along for the early morning ride. Some comment from time to time on the images I use in my blogs. They are, for the most part, found here, there, and everywhere, wherever Google will take me. If there is any skill at all, it may be in putting together the search criteria. An image does much to either convey or confirm the underlying message being presented. And, for the majority of the nearly 29,000 random page hits I've had since starting this daily exercise, many of them were also looking for images and landed on my blog in search of one. I frequently use images that reflect a Bible verse or a spiritual principle. Eighteen searchers landed on my blog while searching for an image based on these words, 'I love God'. Twelve unsuspecting souls found my daily dialogue while looking for something regarding a 'remote control'. And the list goes on, 'Christmas music', 'family love', 'funny wanted posters', and even seven people connected in by searching for Dale and Roy Rogers. As I have said before, I would love to have someone accidentally land on my blog and accidentally make contact with the living Lord of the universe because we who know Him are certain there are no accidents when it comes to His using of any and all means to make contact with His created human race. And, if an image search will see that done, then I say Amen to that!

I've written over the years about the infamous remote control. I just had this thought that brought a shudder. You know one of those where the hair stands up on your neck. I was thinking about sitting next to my wife while she was using the TV remote. Talk about the live and in person meaning of angst! Nowadays it typically takes more than one to get all the gadgets going for the big screen. I did read one the other day that I thought was kind of cute about this device that has become one of the last symbols of male domination, limited, of course, to channel selection only. "Cash, check or charge?" the retail clerk asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet the clerk noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "So, do you always carry your TV remote?"  "No," she replied, "but my husband refused to come shopping with me, so I figured this was the best way to get even with him." In one short story about man's attraction to the remote, there was an effort to tie the device to its beneficial use. If a man was left to himself, without the remote control as an outlet, only bad things could happen, like war, or perhaps he would start a do it yourself project. I also saw a self control rehab program where the ultimate goal was for a man to be able to hold a remote control device in his hands while watching a TV program for three consecutive minutes without changing the channel. That sounds like a a torment program to me. Then they have the unfair quiz questions where men are asked to choose which was the greatest achievement, democracy or the TV remote controller. Is there no fairness left in the world? Here's the last one for today. Did you hear about the fellow who nearly missed his wedding because of having to undergo a minor operation? He was having the TV remote surgically removed from his hand.

We laugh because it is true. The only thing funnier is perhaps watching folks scramble to look for batteries to the remote. Talk about a major crisis. It would be at our house because I'm pretty sure there is no manual way to operate our system. We've come a long way baby since the days when us kids sat there on the floor watching that Indian Chief on the test pattern and waiting for him to go away so that Pinky Lee could get started. In fact, just the other night we were having the discussion on what alternate channel we should watch when the commercials come on during the World Series. We ended up with Antiques Roadshow. This is where skill becomes a factor. Once the switch is made, the clock is running. The idea is that you must not return too early because you will catch part of the commercial but you also must not be late because you will miss the first pitch. Pressure. I know pressure. And, when you time it right on the money, now that's what I'm talking about! Okay. Before any of you call one of those anonymous hotlines and report me, this is mostly all in fun. Mostly. Because it's also mostly true and maybe that's what makes it funny. We all need a diversion now and then but we also need to know where we can turn to for help in our messed up world. We find that source of help when we turn the channel of our hearts and minds towards our great God. Therefore, if you landed on my blog today looking for a funny image, I hope you enjoy the ones I used today. At the same time, it is my privilege to point you to the One who came and gave His life on the Cross of Calvary for the sins of the world, and anyone, someone, including you, who simply puts their faith and trust in Him has the promise of eternal life, and that's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, Amen. (John 3:16)               .....More later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." Yogi Berra

Hello it is Tuesday, October 25, 2011 and I do hope you are up and going and doing well as we try to get another day started here at the old not-so-okay blogger corral. I noticed it too. I should have used the word pique instead of peak in my blog yesterday as it related to stimulating interest. I caught it on the flip flop but I had already sent it out. I can always change it in the permanent record but I've not done so, as of yet. Here's what one word usage critic had to say about mixing these two up: "This doesn’t trouble me too much when I see it on blogs, mailing lists, and so forth. I’m used to seeing language atrocities there… but it’s just a different story when it’s something from a professional." I don't think I've been charged with language atrocity before but that does not mean I am not guilty, many times over! I suppose the word professional should let me off the hook but it does bother me when I don't get it write, I mean, right, or written rightly, or something like that. Mrs. Reba Jones, my high school English teacher, God rest her soul, would have been proud that I checked my work and caught it, even if it was after the fact. She was a stickler for getting the words right but at the same time she was my biggest cheer leader in encouraging me to write. Like so many excellent teachers, she always saw more in her students than we would ever see in ourselves. Okay. For those who have had trouble sleeping, here is that sentence from yesterday's blog, properly written: "And, does that pique your interest enough for you to want to go and read it for yourself?" What's that you say? There's more problems in that sentence than the one misused word? I know. But, I never said I could fix everything!

Several people have responded to the comments I made about popcorn and how my doctor has now given me a green light to eat it again. I suppose many have had the experience where this and other items had been restricted in the past. This has caused me to be aware of how careful we all must be when sharing anything that may resemble medical advice. I am not a doctor and I could never know the details of another person's medical situation. Therefore, I searched until I found a generic medical disclaimer and thought I would share it as a way of covering my bases, (not really, just as a way of finding something to write about, but that's another story), therefore, here it is: "There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in any of my blogs that touch on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. The overwhelming majority (100%)  of such blogs are written, in part or in whole, by a non medical professional. Even if a statement made about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.The medical information provided in The View From Here is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). Nothing on this blog should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine."  Since I've cleared that up let me leave you with a home remedy I read about but have not tried, and be sure and read that disclaimer again before you try it: "If you suffer from severe leg cramps during the night, it is said that by placing a bar of soap under the covers with you, this will bring much needed relief by preventing those nightly cramps. Also, you will smell nice and fresh come morning. Sounds silly, but supposedly people from all over North America swear by it."

Miss Excitement, Lexie, 2nd from right!.
You think I must be hurting for material? All I can say is that I am surprised it took you this long to discover that. I could talk about my grandchildren. I did read on Facebook in a posting by our Lexie that she and her team finished first in their volleyball tournament. Good job Lexie! I could talk about the weather. Blah blah, blah, blah, blah, and one more thing, blah! A couple of years ago I read about how Eight O'Clock coffee won the blind taste test, hands down, going up against all the major brands including Starbucks, the fast food joints, and all the rest. I influenced two people to at least try it and they are now committed drinkers. Not me. I liked it a lot but I have an emotional bond with my Community. I have found one that I might consider if Community were to go the way of the buffalo, or they end up supporting the reelection of President Obama, or like AARP, they swallow hook, line, and sinker the so called Affordable Care Act, (Health care reform). I wonder what the AARP members think about all those increases in medicare related fees based on folks getting ready for the unAffordable Care Act? But I digress. I was talking about coffee. I have found at least one new candidate, along with the Eight O'Clock brand. In fact, it has moved into the position as number one runner up, if the need should arise. It was a little 10 ounce bag buried in that little case of Hawaiian coffees given to me by my special friends for my birthday. It's called Kona Sunrise. On the bag it says it is full, rich, extra bold, a dark Kona blend. And that it is! Very enjoyable. So much so, it is now in the running if Community should ever wobble away from its roots. That's enough caffeine for one day. Go forth and know that God already is wherever you happen to be going, and He will be there caring for us all! Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

''Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.'' —Will Rogers

I've been keeping a low profile on sharing any political commentary of late. But we've landed here on Monday, October 24, 2011, and with the various states threatening to backdate the primaries so they can be first, I thought some shade tree observations would be in order. I would have thought by now there would have been an avalanche of jokes and anecdotes over the stolen teleprompter. A van was swiped outside a hotel where the President's advance team was staying. It contained $200,000 worth of audio equipment including the famed electronic word wizard. Maybe it's because the Secret Service has maintained one of those cone of silence deals. A few wisecracks have emerged but not from the mainstream media. "Early word out of MSNBC suggests all boom mics will remain at half-staff as our nation attempts to deal with this tragic development," Dan Riel, at Riehl Word View. ~ "At this time, nothing about the teleprompter thief or thieves is known,"  But word is "that police are on the lookout for anybody who can't stop saying, 'Pass this jobs bill.'" Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's blog. ~ Surely Obama is devastated by the loss, But he "has yet to comment on this. For obvious reasons." Dennis DiClaudio at Comedy Central. ~ One popular blog had this as a headline: National Crisis Averted: Obama’s Stolen Teleprompter Returned Safely. ~ Another one echoed: Obama's Stolen Teleprompter recovered, national silence averted.~ I know some of the late night comedians had some routines on it and there may be more to come but you have to love a good story because life is like that. I realize that politicians have always used notes, cards, and other props but President Obama has really taken the teleprompter use to a new level. And, that's what makes it funnier than perhaps had it happened to President George W. Bush where they would have said mostly hateful things and the critical comments would surely have been carried by all the major networks. Paranoid? Maybe. But, from my vantage point, I'm just stating the facts here, at least, as I see them.

I continue to be grossly underwhelmed by the Republicans who are running for the nomination for President. Their new reality television series called Let's Make Ourselves Look Like Morons is both distressing and depressing. You thought it was called a debate forum. I know the common response has been that any of those running would be better than the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and while I get that as a statement, having such a lackluster crew to choose from may make that much more difficult to pull off. With all due respect to my fellow citizens here in the great state of Texas, Rick Perry, in my opinion, has fulfilled every facet of my initial thoughts when he got into the race; he has been, is today, and will be, going forward, a mostly empty suit. This doesn't mean I dislike him, or his family, or 100% of how he has conducted himself as Governor. But when it comes to dealing one on one against that noted incumbent, we are going to have to do better than Mr. Perry. Sorry. But that's the way I see it. I am beginning to like Herman Cain more and more, but, in my opinion, he is going to have to load up with a little more substance on the issues of our day if he is going to be viable. I for one am not that concerned that he is not a professional politician. In fact, the fact that he isn't appeals to me from the get go. Professional politicians give us stuff like Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, did last week. Here's his exact quote: "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about." Several news sources immediately published job numbers that showed his statement to be pure nonsense. See what I mean? Not just a disconnect but its a projection from an alternate reality. Or something like that.

The thought of a black super conservative business man replacing a black super liberal professional politician has a good ring to it, in my opinion. But we will see. Ultimately, according to the Scriptures, God is in control. There is a chilling scene depicted in the writings of Daniel that should make us all sit up and take notice. Daniel had received a vision from the Lord God of heaven and was waiting to get the interpretation from Gabriel, an Angel of the Lord. Gabriel was delayed in coming to Daniel because of the warfare going on in the heavenly realm. He had to do battle with those fallen angelic beings that were influencing the pagan nations of that day. Nations were under the influence of demonic power. Those named were great world powers. Folks, does that sound scary to you? It does to me. And, does that peak your interest enough to want to go and read it for yourself? Daniel Chapter 10. I do not want to see our nation become one that is empowered by and influenced by the Devil and his demonic legions. You think that is too far fetched to even mention? I wish I could agree but our hope yesterday, today, and forever, is found in a return to our God. Let's stay vigilant in our prayers that this very thing would happen. Soon. Amen. May God bless.        ....More later.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves." W. C. Fields

So we didn't get any frost on the pumpkin but we did enjoy the breeze and it was all so refreshing. I'm about the only one in this office that has a real liking for the cooler air. They proclaim it to be an unhealthy fascination and immediately slam the door when they arrive. That's okay with me because I'm just glad to have had the reason to let the cool air flow. But, that preoccupation with temperatures has to get old, therefore,we need to move on. I mean surely there's more to life than chasing the frozen tundra. Right? Last time I checked it showed up on my calendar as being Friday, October 21, 2011, and I welcome you once again. You must know by now that part of how I share involves quite a bit of ranting and raving. For instance, never get the idea that I am down on technology because think about it, you are reading this because of some innovations that were not even thought about just a handful of years ago. My belief has always been, even when I was responsible for a technology driven program, that we must utilize technology when and if it makes sense. I am not one that believes we should use it for technology sake. Some do. I'm not one of them. I used to tell my staff that we should never automate a system that works best using a Big Chief tablet. Some of you will recognize that object, others will not. It was the one we used to write on when we were kids in school. I love the fact that I can sit right down and right myself a blog and send it electronically. But, I detest seeing how that so often technology is used to avoid personal contact where people no longer talk they just text their time away.

They changed their minds. Again. Four years ago the gastroenterologist put me on a very restrictive food avoidance program because he feared that I might be prone to diverticulitis. The list was long but the number one thing that bothered me most was the fact that popcorn was a big no no. I have, for the most part, been very faithful to this program. A few months ago I read an article that stated the conventional medical wisdom had changed on this issue based on new research. Therefore, I asked my new internal medicine practitioner about it. She confirmed the change and said they now recommend the very opposite of what I had been forced to endure the past four years. You see, I am, or was, a popcorn aficionado. Prior to this doomsday verdict I was enjoying my favorite snack food at least five times per week. She said enjoy it as much as I want to. Hello? Do I get to join a class action suit against somebody, anybody, somewhere? This was Monday when all this was confirmed. I'm back on the popcorn bandwagon. I've had it twice already with more coming soon to a certain recliner. Popcorn is typically associated with movies. Some say that when they eat it they are reminded of a bad date. Others complain about the cost. One said he was upset because of paying $10 for a medium popcorn and it was all gone as the opening credits rolled off but before the movie even started. For me, I am reminded of eating a big dishpan of it with my Granny Mac, and with my kids growing up, and with myself a few thousand times. I still have my special mostly worn out cooking utensil. It is an ancient pot that used to be a pressure cooker. It doesn't work as well on the mirror stove top we now have but I am anxious to get it back into service once again.

It's about to get really crowded here on the planet. We are very close to the 7 billion human being mark. After the plagues wiped out a huge number of folks, in the year 1350 the earth had an estimated population of less than 400 million. It took until 1804 to get the first billion and look how far we have come? Seven billion and growing. By the middle of this century we could add another 2 billion more. That is a lot of mouths to feed. I see those folks in clips from the far east and most of them wear masks every day. So many people but only so much air to breathe and much of it is polluted. The good news. God knows about every single one of the billions, and those that came before, all the way back to Adam. The Bible tells us that He knows everything about every single person including the needs of each heart. I like the song that says what the world needs now is love, sweet love, but the only love that will bring about the change of the human heart is the love that God gave to the world through His One and Only Son. Every day, from every part of the globe, our world clamors for peace but without the Prince of Peace living in our hearts, we will never know what the Bible describes as the peace that surpasses human understanding. It comes through a Person, the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, that is the truth that all seven billion need to hear. Amen. Thus, we end a busy week and I will say so long for now until we meet again, now y'all come back soon. You hear?          .....More later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Facebook Funnies

Placed in the KFC witness protection plan.
Good morning and welcome folks to another addition of the daily dialogue, and think about it as hearing the thud of a newspaper landing on your driveway, that is, back in the day, when there was enough materials covered along with advertising to make the thud sound. Nowadays it's so light it can only produce a skidding sound as it flies across the pavement. No more thud and in many cities and communities, no more newspapers. But, that too is a part of the electronic age where some things become obsolete while others prosper. It is Thursday, October 20, 2011, and it is good to have you here with me for the next few minutes. It took me a good long while to get to Facebook. I was not an early adopter. In fact, I was not a mid term adopter. I finally yielded to the pressure with so many friends and family, it just was no longer easy to resist. One of the good things about Facebook are the funnies you see now and then. I selected three from this past Tuesday's offerings because they did a number on my funny bone. I love this one and I can't explain exactly why. Maybe it's because I wake up some days and wonder if maybe I was put into a witness protection program. Or maybe its because it's just downright funny. Either way, try to smile, it will do a body good.

The next one was put up by a gentleman with the punch line being that it would be the type of cell phone his parents need. I know his parents well. They are from the same vintage of yours truly. I know that phone in the photo may be a joke in some quarters but I well remember that during Hurricane Ike when there was no electricity and many of the cell towers were out, folks were sure missing out on a plain old telephone. You know where the dial tone and the power to operate it comes from the line and often these remained in service while everything else was either spotty or kaput. No. I'm not trying to wax nostalgic about a rotary dial phone. I am just saying that while I am very pleased with technology that allows me to talk to mom and dad on their way to the doctor and on their way home, but at the same time I know there is also a place for the tried and true, and, being attached to a simpler way of life is not all bad. I heard recently that the average number of text messages sent or received on their cell phones by the American teenager exceeds 100 per day. And that's a good thing? Think about it. That is a lot of time. That is a lot of distraction. Is that photo beginning to look a little better? The first time I saw it I immediately wondered where I might get one. I'm all for progress but sometimes you have to slow down a little so you can figure out if what you are doing makes any sense.

The final one hit me as funny because of the computer video game craze that continues to dominate our culture. It shows Grandma using her video game controller to play a knitting game. Don't write me and ask where you can purchase that game. It's a joke. But to me it does show the transition that we all are making, regardless of our age, whether we go smiling or kicking and screaming, we are learning to live with a computer dominated world. On rare occasions when the internet is down I've had to resort to a very primitive form of communication. It is called handwriting. Seeing a page or two of written notes is almost like time travel today. The other day when Blackberry smart phones all failed because of network issues, millions of people were left decimated. Those phones were their very lifeline to all their contacts, all their schedules, and all their communications. It took several days for the parent company to get it all back online and I'm not exactly sure what people did. I haven't heard about any of them jumping off of buildings but I do know that some of them most likely had to go back and remember how to locate telephone numbers, how to write notes, and how to perhaps illicit the help of others in getting their stuff done. We recently heard about a situation where someone couldn't get a medical procedure done because the facility's computers were down. Okay. That says a lot my friend. That says a lot. But, maybe this photo of Grandma will inspire some of the game makers who mostly like to show people being blown to smithereens to do one that produces a wonderful knitted quilt. Don't hold your breath. Again, look for something to smile about whether it is on Facebook, or perhaps even closer to where you live and breathe. May God bless. Amen.          ......More later.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Yes Virginia, there really is something called a Cool Front!"

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh my, what a wonderful day. Praise the Lord it landed right here on this Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Pay attention now because here comes something you will not hear from me very often. The weather people. You know the ones I often give less than the highest marks on the doing of their jobs. Today I tip my cap to them because they saw a front a comin, it was a comin down the tracks, and this time it actually arrived, therefore, we are in the midst of what someone somewhere might call the first really good indication that a season change may be in the offing. They also added that Monday may have been the last 90 plus day of the year. Now that one is a little risky given this unbelievable year but I'll take anything in the forties (or lower) to start my day, any day, and be thankful for it. Have you ever made your coffee a little too strong? That's when you have just so much left in the bag and you empty it all out and even though it looks a little more than your norm (which is already strong) it turns out to slap you around a little all the way down to your gizzard. But, the way you deal with it is to not give up. That second sip will be more palatable than the first and you just keep going and suddenly you have come to the last drop and you think, my how rich and flavorful the Community was today. What's that you say? I've just given you reason number 99 for why you are glad you are not me? See. I do try to bring something to the table every day.

My wife carried a copy of last Friday's blog with her to Louisiana so that she could share what I wrote with her brother Cleon. He answered the phone Friday night when I called to check on them and said that while he appreciated the kind words, he couldn't figure out who that person was when he read it. I told him that he did not have to worry about folks trying to come up with something good to say when he moves on to his reward because his life has done the talking for him. He said it was a tall order to live up to some of those comments but he did appreciate me saying them. He said it read like something that was in a newspaper. I told him that would be an appropriate place for it because he has been the kind of citizen in his community that should be recognized. I mention this because we all need to be reminded that words are good and they can be very helpful in encouraging others, but actions and works actually tell the tale. I think at times it is our orientation to make the meaning of The Scriptures much more difficult than they are. The other day I listened to a great theologian on the radio as he handled a verse or two. He presented nearly thirty minutes of analysis, language construction, and expository evaluation. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. But, was that what God intended? I think He, like Dr. J. Vernon MaGee said he used to try and do, He put the cookies on the bottom shelf, so that everyone can get hold of the truths He provided to us. How do we know when we have an understanding of the truth? "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

A lady at the hospital Monday morning was having trouble with her blood pressure. They kept telling her they couldn't do the procedure unless they could get it down. She was very annoyed and of course that most likely caused her blood pressure to be even worse. She wanted her doctor to come and do something. It's pretty easy to get agitated. Right? In fact, I think agitated is the right word for describing how our culture operates at this time. And, at times with good reason with all the challenges being faced. However, it spills over into things that don't end up making a dime's worth of difference. Back when I was a young man working nights on a dam construction job, myself and my partner came into the shop where it was nice and warm. It was below freezing outside and we had been out in it for hours. I began to tell everyone how bad it was and how bad we had it. The job superintendent happened to overhear my comments and he came over and said this, "Would somebody give that boy a quarter and tell him to shut up!" Everyone laughed but I have never forgotten that incident. I know the kids today like the comeback, "Would you like some cheese with that whine?" I suppose I need to remember to keep the small stuff in it's proper category labeled Small Stuff. Then I also need to remember that in terms of eternity, most of it, not all, but most of it by comparison is pretty small indeed. Have a great rest of the day and excuse me while I go and find my ice skates. May God bless. Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Doctor, doctor, I will be able to play the piano when you finish, right? Of course you will! That's great because I've never been able to play before!"

Good Tuesday morning and welcome to October 18, 2011. I have returned from my quick weight loss program. It's good to be back. Last Friday I had an occasion to be out very early for our company which required me to traverse the highways and byways that connect into the metroplex. It's 6 a.m. and there is a sea of lights, already. I remember back when they couldn't develop some land for oil and gas because the snail darter minnow was endangered. Guess what? We have plenty of darters out there on the freeways and they are not only endangering themselves but others also. It was a horrific morning for traffic. One of the main arteries was shut down because an 18 wheeler had hit a concrete bunker causing it to become airborne and when it came down it landed on the top of a car stopped at a toll booth. The vehicles burst into flames and the person in the car as well as the truck driver lost their lives. We never know what a day will bring. Think about it. The truck driver was out doing his thing and the person at the toll booth was attempting to pay the fare. Bam! Next thing they knew this life was done. I think about their families. This is the reality of life that many would rather not think about, but we just never know and that's why we should be ready at all times to meet our Maker. It doesn't mean we have to be a doomsayer, we just have to know that it is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgment. (Hebrews (9:27)

They say the lines were long as they sold over 4 million of the new I-Phones from Apple since last Friday. People stood in line for hours. I didn't. I wouldn't. Or, at least I don't think that I would. I have had to stay in line for gasoline after Hurricane Ike. I also remember doing the same thing back during the oil embargo in 1973-1974. I also stood in line last year with one of my granddaughters so she could get a children's book author to autograph her book. My grandson paid for a game back in August that he will not get his hands on until November. He has his copy reserved. Paid in advance. Not a bad marketing strategy if you can make it work. Right? I heard some experts talking about the new features on the I-Phone. They had to wipe the drool off their chins as they were oohing and ahhing over this clever technique and that phenomenal enhancement. I don't even have numbers stored in my directory. I am way behind. If it bothers me I must have missed the symptoms. I will admit to being impressed when I see an older person sliding their fingers on the face of their smart phone and looking at screens, doing Facebook, and who knows what else. Everyone tells me that once I get one I will never look back because it will revolutionize my ability to connect. I'll continue to think about it but it does sound a little extreme to me, and I do wonder if the pent up demand is based on anything that actually adds something to productivity or is it all just having the latest, greatest version of lights, bells, and whistles. Know what I mean?

You see some pretty interesting sights if you are looking for them. Very early the other morning I came by a Chic Fil A and it was about 10 minutes before they opened at 6 a.m. Two sheriff's deputies were standing there peering into the place like little kids looking at toys in the store window. I suppose it was good they weren't doing that at the stereotypical donut shop. There's little doubt a chicken biscuit would be easier on the waistline. The colonoscopy went well and the overall result was an appointment to come back again in five years. That was the good news. Watching the people stumble into work at 6:30 a.m. and observing them trying to get their badge into the slot, well, some of them did look a little sleepy to be working on my case. Know what I mean? Mostly joking. Mostly. Oh yeah. There was that incident. The one where they attempted to get the IV going in my hand and tried and tried and then had to move it to my arm. "You should be glad sir that you have such strong walls in you veins." Don't expect me to show up for any awards anytime soon and oh by the way, it hurt like old billy heck. But I've grown accustomed to it being the fault of the patient. Just kidding. Very pleasant people. Excellent attitudes. Other than the loss of the use of my hand for the next few days I give them at least the four and one half stars they already have as their rating. Again. Joking only. I'll probably have that hand going way before then, in fact, it will probably be ready to go as soon as the keyboard calls. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen.      .....More later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting ready for the colonoscopy helps me to sympathize with the drain pipe who is waiting for the Roto Rooter man!

Brady Darrell with Rodney Darrell
Home Alone. Rodney, our youngest, told me that Brady, his youngest, has been watching Home Alone 2, over and over, since it has recently been running on cable. Those two original movies captivate kids at certain ages and they are also great fun to watch for some kids of all ages, you know, like three people I'm thinking about right now .... me, myself, and I. But me playing the part of Kevin while the lady of the house is away, well, that's another story entirely. Just kidding. It's been a reasonably active and busy week and I'm pleased to report that today is Friday, October 14, 2011, and I bid you a warm welcome. I missed it by one day. I had paid attention to the weather forecast for Thursday and it was supposed to be cooler so like the lemming looking for a cliff I wore a long sleeve shirt. Silly me. That forecast was a little premature. I wore my sleeves rolled up all day. But, praise the Lord, it did finally get here and today it's a wonderfully cooler 52 degrees. Door is open, the Community is hot, thick, and black, and when I finish here today I go home where I will be all alone. We've had a house full of kids this week and to tell the truth, going home to an empty house is not such an unpleasant thought.

I am scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy early next Monday morning. Therefore, I will be on a hiatus from my blog for that day. Lord willing I will be back in my regular place on Tuesday. This will be my second such procedure and to be honest, based on my prior experience, it's not anything special to be looking forward to. I told the lady doctor I had read that they were using some type of scan technique in Europe that did not require the dreaded preparation or the surgery. She smiled and said in a very condescending tone, that while some were doing that, you have to know that if they see anything at all on the scan, then you are right back to the preparation and the surgical procedure. She said the way it is done here is typically best because they are able to deal with any minor issues while doing the test and in particular, folks my age usually have some minor issues to deal with. Well, thank you very much. I think I read where she graduated at the head of her class. Well, okay then. In a related matter I called the lady at my Medicare Advantage place to talk to her about all of these changes being made for 2012 that involve individual cost increases. She couldn't have been more agreeable or sympathetic. She did confirm that these changes were being made in connection with the coming healthcare reform. (Told you!) But agreeable and sympathetic doesn't change a cotton picking thing! There are about 24 plans somewhat comparable to this one in our area. They now have all of these in side by side comparisons available out on the government Medicare website. They all cost about the same and while some differ here and there in how they cost out the services, all of them are looking at major increases for next year. Bottom line, the one I have still carries the best overall rating, therefore, we will just have to soldier on. (While I am mostly trying to make this into an amusing anecdote, I do know that these planned increases are no laughing matter to countless thousands. There is a gentleman here at our company and he and his wife are strapped financially and he is in very poor health. He said this to me: "We have no idea how we are going to be able to pay those increases." And, that makes it very serious indeed.)

I know that much of my tongue in cheek at times may sound like complaining. I would never want to mislead anyone. I know that God is Sovereign and He is at work to accomplish His purpose in all things. All things. Therefore, even when I attempt to poke fun or share an insight into a personal difficulty, never get the idea that I am unaware of the privileged position I am in. Not because of me and who I am, but because of Him and His provision for me through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I can be negative. I know how. I've even had some practice at it. But, when I am thinking straight, with God's help, I am always aware of His grace and mercy towards me and for that and so much more I am eternally grateful. In my Sunday Bible Study, I am currently teaching through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew's Gospel and I'm teaching from the First Epistle of Peter on Wednesday evenings. These are some profoundly powerful passages and I am humbled by the truths Jesus put forth and then to see many of them come to fruition in the life of Peter as he encouraged others to remain faithful regardless of their circumstances. Powerful stuff. Humbling stuff. It's not for them only. It's me, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. And with that I will say so long for now and may God bless and keep you until we meet again. Amen.           .....More later.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If you all don't straighten up, I will give you something that you will not soon remember!

Okay. Please. No more cards and letters about yesterday's bad jokes. Joking only. That's right. That's how it used to be done. Cards and letters. Now it's emails, tweets, and text or video messages. At any rate, I did try out a couple of those bad jokes on some folks and they actually laughed. What's that you say? Them laughing is actually worse than the jokes themselves? To each his or her own. Notice how I included everyone. But, putting all kidding aside, it is good to visit here at the farm where I raise blogs and it is where we once again find ourselves on this Thursday, October 13, 2011. There were actually some little stories that were worse than those I shared. You dare me to share one of those? Okay. Close the blinds and pull down the shades. I won't tell anyone that you read this one if you don't tell anyone that I shared it: "These two green beans were crossing the highway when one of them was hit by a large truck. His buddy scrapes him up and rushes him to the hospital. After hours of surgery the doctor comes in and says "I have good news and bad news." The green bean starts to rejoice and the doctor says, "The good news is that he's going to live." "The bad news is he'll be a vegetable for the rest of his life." Don't make me unleash the others that are chomping at the bit to be read.

I wasn't able to make the inner city Bible club meeting last week, but, I did show up this past Tuesday evening. If you have never been swarmed by a bunch of kids who love and appreciate you, well, it wouldn't be a bad thing to check out. They were actually that glad to see me. What a blessing. Of course the Santa disguise that I wear these days give them all something to enjoy. In addition to our regular club we have a junior group for the preschoolers and it's not a bad evening to have ten of them all wanting to touch and show you some love. So that's why I have been going all of these years? It is a part of the reason since being there and them knowing that I care does have an impact on their developing lives. The lesson this week was on the power of words in how they can build up or tear down. They were given some insight into God's plan for His own to use wholesome words to build each other up. The even better news. When we gather to share verses from God's Word with these kids, God also shows up, and He works in all our lives, and that, my friend, is what it's really all about. Ninety minutes of escape from the hopelessness that surrounds so many of these children's daily lives to be replaced by some good old fashioned fun and games, along with the life changing message of hope that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Tuesdays can be long days, and yes, I come back tired, but typically, it is about as good a tired as you will find and I thank God for that, and for the fact that I usually don't need to be rocked to sleep. Amen.

My wife is leaving me again. You are not surprised? She is going over to Louisiana where she and her sister will join up to go and visit their eldest brother. Their brother Cleon is a remarkable fellow. Unassuming, quiet, but to those of us who know him, he is a family hero. He embodies the entirety of what it means to live by the slogan, "My word is my bond." I should know. I've known him for a long time. Nearly fifty years. He can be counted on. He is fiercely loyal to his family, his extended family, and to his neighbors. He is a man of the land, born on a farm. At one time he operated a pretty good sized business based in the fertile soil of Northeast Louisiana, featuring cotton and soy beans. He also was a rural route mail carrier. He was beloved by the folks on his route. Many of them were elderly and shut in and they could sense that Cleon cared. There's just something about many of the folks who were raised to farm the land that does reflect the genuine values that have made our country what it is. Cleon doesn't like to drive in big city environments but several years ago he came a number of times to our metro area to help a neighbor get cancer treatments. There's no mystery to me why he was selected to serve in the intelligence section when he was in the US Army. He still maintains his oath of secrecy about his work. And, perhaps a more fitting tribute from me would be the fact that Cleon in many ways reminds me some of the kind of man my Paw Paw Mac was. Same bolt of cloth. We do need men, women, boys, and girls who carry more than words, we need those who live out the spirit of what it means to support and serve others. I do hope they have a great time, and yes, it's okay to pray for me because you all know it's risky for me to be home alone. Have a great Thursday and may God bless one and all. Amen.      .....More later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to Worst Joke Wednesday!

Welcome to Wednesday, October 12, 2011, here on the plantation where like the song says, "....folks down here don't treat you mean, in Abilene my Abilene." Of course Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore and we certainly are not in Abilene, Kansas or Abilene, Texas. I suppose I missed the class that day where the teacher discussed how not to waste a perfectly good mind, and, yes, I know that would assume I have one, or even know what one would be like. But since I write the blog I am entitled to play with the words, therefore, I beg your indulgence. Today's edition is designed to not have a design. I'm just throwing stuff onto the page without worrying about whether it makes sense or even if it sticks or not. I do attempt to broaden my horizons from time to time and I am not referring to my waistline. Some serious investigation into finding the absolutely worst jokes ever produced some fairly absurd but mildly funny results. "So Peter Pan was talking to Tinkerbell about how he fell into a barrel full of salt. 'I'm pickled, Tink!'" ~ Two blondes walk into a building, you would have thought at least one of them would have seen it. ~ Man goes to the doctor, with a strawberry growing out of his  head. Doc says "I'll give you some cream to put on it." ~ A woman takes her ailing, elderly dog into the vet. While in the waiting room, the dog ceases to breathe. The vet ushers the distraught woman and her pet into an examination room and pokes and prods the dog for a few moments. Then the vet's assistant brings in a cat, which he passes over the dog a few times, with no discernible reaction. The vet informs the woman that her pet has, indeed, passed. He hands her the bill, for an astonishing $100. "What's the fee for, doctor?" she asks. "Well, my examination was $40, and the CAT scan was $60," he replies. ~

Even though I hear the moaning and groaning, my research is not yet completed. ~ China held a look alike contest - - and they all won! ~ Why did the bubblegum cross the road? Because it was stuck to the chicken's foot. ~ My redneck cousin slammed the car door shut with the keys in the ignition. It took him two days to get his family out of the car.~ A British Spy is being questioned by the Gestapo and all he will say is "Tick, Tick" and they say "We have way's of making you Tock" ~ What do you get when you cross an accountant and a large jet plane? A boring 747.~ What do you call a nun who walks in her sleep? A roaming Catholic.~ A blonde was weed-eating her yard and accidentally cut off the tail of her cat which was hiding in the grass. She rushed her cat, along with the tail, over to Wal-Mart. Why Wal-Mart? Hellooooooooo! Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world! ~ What's the difference between bird flu and swine flu? If you have bird flu, you need tweetment. If you have swine flu, you need oink-ment. ~ She was only a whiskey-maker, but he loved her still. ~ A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption. ~ Why did the bear make a face when he ate the clown? Because it tasted funny. ~

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Before you throw more vegetables up on the stage, remember it was a research project. I apologize to any persons who might think they were the ones being talked about in these little jokes. The now familiar character disclaimer appeared first in a movie from 1932, therefore, I thought it only proper to invoke it as well: "All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." I also will let everyone know that no animals were injured in the writing of this blog. That should pretty well cover most of the bases. Yes. The jokes are pretty bad, in fact, some of them are so bad, that's what makes them a little funny. And, the good Lord knows we all need a little funny now and then in what can be a somewhat sad and depressing world. Fortunately, there is a solution for dealing with this sad and depressing world. It's not a proposition, it's found in a Person. When the disciples of Jesus found themselves disabled by fear in the midst of a storm, He came to them: "But straightway Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." Finding Him is the only way I know that anyone can make sense out of this life and in finding their God given purpose. And, it also helps to smile now and then even if it comes from a bad joke. I've done my part. Now the rest is up to you, so go out there and have yourself a really good day. A blessed day. Amen.          .....More later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Caution: Today's blog has not been cleared for publication by the Food Police!

Hello folks, good to see you again, and thanks for showing up to read my little ditty for this Tuesday, October 11, 2011. I had my indignation cap on yesterday and it just kind of overflowed. I didn't mention the steady, nearly all day rain that we received on Sunday. It was stunning. It was humbling. It was refreshing. It was not predicted, at least not on Saturday, but for this time, I'll give the weather folks a pass, because that steady rain was nothing less than showers of blessing and we gave God the glory many times as that wonderful noise outside our window continued throughout the day. It was a wonderful Lord's Day Sunday. My wife fixed one of her patented pot roast meals with field peas and okra and cornbread on the side. I could feel the warm smiles from heaven of my Granny Mac and my mother-in-law Mom Rawles as I savored every bite. I also felt the necessity to announce a temporary suspension of all diabetic blood monitoring activity. Announced only but I didn't carry that edict out. But it was that good. It reminded me of that often heard saying, so good it melted in my mouth. The long line of cooks that I've been blessed to have put plates on my table have made it impossible for me to enjoy anything that carries the label, "Homestyle". Forget about it. What's that you say? You enjoy some of those frozen meals that carry that label? I pause at this moment to say a special prayer for you my friend but at the same time I thank God for allowing me the privilege to enjoy food like I did this past Sunday.

This sounds a little over the top to you? Wait a minute. The word translated feast and feasting is used over 200 times in the original King James Version, along with the word translated supper, some 14 times. And we do know one of the major events yet to be realized when Jesus sets up His kingdom here on earth is a banquet called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, as revealed in The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 19, Verse 9. That's why many of us love the old Gospel song, 'Suppertime'. "Come home come home it's suppertime the shadows lengthen fast Come home come home it's suppertime we're going home at last." I know it's not very sophisticated but it does portray an example of our implanted homing instinct for that heavenly home that has been prepared for us. Jesus promised us that one day we will be with Him forever and ever, Amen. (John Chapter 14) There is a huge discussion going on about religion in the current presidential campaign. That same passage is relevant because it is the one where our Savior declared that He and He alone is the only way to God. That means for those of us who believe in Him that He is the Author of our salvation, we embrace this truth and stand up for it because to believe otherwise is to miss heaven. That is more than a line in the sand, it's the difference between heaven and hell and we need not cave in to the false teachings that promote a many roads to heaven theology. One entrance only. He, God the very God in human flesh made it very clear. Amen.

I heard a British commentator talking about Americans and how their views on religion have changed over the years. He said at one time Christians, especially serious Christians, were unyielding in their narrowly defined beliefs. They defended the Bible and what they believed it teaches. He went on to say that over the years that has mellowed as America has become more humanistic in terms of moderating their strongly held religious beliefs. He also shared that America is still somewhat lagging behind the Europeans who have pretty much made religion a non issue. I don't know about you but I am not proud of this assessment. I don't want to see our nation follow the path to tolerance that leaves God completely out of the picture. Even truth is getting a bum rap today. A prominent pastor was asked last week about the religious beliefs of a particular candidate based on that candidate's identification with a certain religious order. This pastor answered that question in a very clear and historically accurate manner. You would have thought a bomb had gone off. How dare he? The pummeling then began with one media source after another playing up this as an example of intolerance on the part of conservatives who embrace the tenants of the historic Christian faith. This pastor's response was based entirely upon the readily available teachings of this particular religious order as compared to the truth claims that Christians have always embraced. Isaiah was inspired to proclaim this against those who distort truth: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) As this erosion of truth continues I can only imagine how it will be in our great granddaughter's generation. May God help is all I can think of as a way forward. Remember, He is in control and He will fulfill every jot ant tittle of His Word! Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This is the day to reflect upon how politically incorrect Columbus was!

Good morning and welcome. We find ourselves here again and if you were in the room you would hear a familiar tune being played by my keyboard. It's not that pleasant and it does hit spots where nothing is heard but it's good to be able to do my own little click clacking as we start off this brand new Monday, October 10, 2011. Today is Columbus Day and when I was a lad growing up Christopher Columbus was presented as a major figure in the discovery of the new world. Today, because of political correctness, many have revised their opinions of him, especially as it relates to his treatment of native peoples and stuff like that. Because of this he is now presented as a great destroyer instead of a great discoverer. I still think he must have been a pretty bold fellow given the fact that everyone was afraid of sailing off the end of the earth. Did he have some things in his life that were not as they should be? Of course. How about you and I, do we have any things in our lifetime that we could have done better or differently? These historical revisionist folks just knock me down. They are so busy rewriting history based on their view of today's standards, they end up pretty much making it, not history, but something entirely different than what really happened. I actually thought that history was exactly that, telling it exactly like it happened, not how it should have happened based on a particular point of view or a set of laws enacted hundreds of years later. I've heard some of these liberal professors trashing our founding fathers based on this type of retrospective analysis. Were many of our historical heroes flawed? Yes. But, God works through flawed folks to accomplish His plan and purpose and we thank God that He did that in history and He still does that exact same thing today. Amen.

I know that most of you know that the mainstream media hates the Tea Party movement. I am not officially aligned with it and while I am registered as a Republican, I consider myself to be about as independent as they come. Let me also say that while there is no doubt that some in the Tea Party are bigoted, the vast majority are patriotic Americans who want to see a limited government that does not intrude on the freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution. The media people hate this group. On the other hand, they love these folks who are out in the streets protesting against the free enterprise system. They love them. They really do. They gush over them. These folks, many of which, who believe in anarchy, reflect to our mainstream media what America is really all about. Not the folks who protest in a very respectful and orderly fashion. Not the folks who start their meetings with a prayer to Almighty God. Not the folks who clean up after themselves. These are the ones they hate. But they love those calling for a radical overthrow of the financial institutions that have made possible the very facilities being abused by these protestors. Should we be surprised? I'm not saying we don't have a greed problem in this country. I'm not saying that our institutions are not polluted by pay offs and back room dealing. However, we stand up for right by following the laws of this land and we have the right to petition our government to change those laws when they permit corruption to reign. Let's face the facts here. The mainstream media hates the Tea Party movement because they reflect values, principles, and traditions that irritate folks who consider themselves to be enlightened. Give me a break. Those smelly youngsters who are shouting antisemitic slogans and crying out for Communism? Those are the ones we should be holding up as examples to our children? Again, I'm not saying the Tea Party doesn't have its fair share of kooks and folks whose ideology is rooted in hate, however, on balance, if I have to make a choice, I'm going with the God bless America group every time, period, end of story.

That's the way I see it. Not everyone sees it the way I do. They are entitled to be wrong. Just joking. They are entitled to their opinion and for some reason the mainstream media doesn't like anyone who disagrees with their view of the world. By the way, most of them operate 100% based on the profit incentive. Those commercials actually provide the means for them to spew out their positions. I include them all in this statement. Even those who claim to be fair and balanced, even those who have non profit status, they all have people who are paid, those payments come from somewhere. Those endowments reflect fortunes made by folks who engaged themselves in free market capitalism. How funny is that? The announcer should say, "We now return to our bashing of the very capitalistic system that provides us the resources to do our bashing." Some of the most obvious in their slanted reporting chase ratings like there's no tomorrow. Why? It's called a paycheck provided by a system that generates profits and that system, even with all its flaws, is the one that built the inventions and innovations that permeate our society. Are you tired yet? I know I am. But, in the end, you can always know that at least you have heard my side of the story, you know, The View From Here. That sounds like a good title for a blog. It's already taken. By the hundreds. But, there's only one that belongs to me. Have a blessed Monday and Lord willing I'll find something less inflammatory to share for tomorrow. Ya'll take care now.                .....More later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Please don't let worry kill you. Let our Church help. (Church Sign)

It did not take long for Friday to roll around, did it? Therefore, we welcome it and you on this Friday, October 7, 2011. I saw a poll that indicated the President's campaign to divide America based on class and income is working. Over 60% believe those in higher income brackets should pay more in taxes. We now see the street protests going on in New York City. Have you heard some of the comments by those out on the streets? It is hard to take people seriously on any issue when they blame the Jewish people for all the trouble in the world, or they still claim that President George W. Bush was behind 9-11, and that we need to overthrow those in power and usher in a new style of government. That new government as they have defined it would be one that sounds like socialism if not outright Communism as its approach. This is what they think will bring back the American dream? While I can appreciate the frustrations of those who are out of work and also those who have a good education but can't find a job, but turning to a repressive and freedom killing style of government will not do anything but destroy any hope for our way of life. The late Dr. J. Vernon MaGee predicted that one day there would be great turmoil and upheaval in our land, and throughout the world. He said most believed it would be based on race but his view was it would be a war between the haves and have nots. Sadly, we have a sitting President who has decided that fanning these very flames during these difficult times is his strategy to try and win reelection. This is sad my friend, very sad indeed.

I think anyone with any common sense is for fairness in our system. And, anyone who pays attention knows that our system is riddled with rip offs and special concessions as well as favoritism and cronyism as part of the fabric of how our government functions. Let me be quick to add, on all sides, my friend, all sides. Many of those marching in the streets are led by union leaders who live like kings. Talk about hypocrisy! Sure, we all are angry about bailing out many of the fat cats on Wall Street but we also know the system itself is corrupt and in need of an overhaul. Pitting one group against another will not clean up our system. Instigating strife and stirring up wrath against small business owners who have worked hard to provide themselves and their families with a comfortable lifestyle will not improve the plight of the unemployed because it is these very people who do the employing! I hope and pray that we will not see an environment where folks who have worked hard have to live in fear from those who are in need. That does go on in third world countries. Folks with resources there have to provide protection for themselves and their families. It's time for leadership on the part of those elected to serve our nation's interests, on all sides. We now have proof that President Obama tested his divisive message before he made it his defining issue. We can only pray that it will not lead to the loss of life as people are used as tools in this struggle for power. Amen.

I know. Very opinionated Sir. I am. Hopefully, I try to apply it evenly on all sides but because I favor free enterprise and capitalism, inevitably, I must stand up for those free market principles that I believe have built our nation. Does it also have problems? You betcha! Many. But, on balance, it is still the best vehicle by far to see our country regain its position as the bastion of freedom and opportunity. Breeding an entitlement mentality on the part of large segments of our population will eventually bring down our system. We want folks to be able to achieve their potential and while any system devised by man is going to be less than what it can and should be, I submit that the American experiment that allows people freedom to pursue their dreams is still the best ever known on this earth. I pray for our nation. I pray for revival. And, I pray that each of us will do our part, as directed by God, to live out the life He has given to us, in this, the greatest nation on earth. Have yourself a great Saturday and make it a point to show up at the services of a local fellowship on Lord's Day Sunday. That's a great way to start next week and that's a great place to join others in worshiping God and in seeking His help in our time of need. Amen.              ......More later.