Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks” Unknown Author

We open up today's greeting and find that we have landed on this last day of November, Wednesday, the 30th, in the year of our Lord, 2011. That is correct. The calendar bears testimony to the dating in and around the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That's exactly what the A.D. stands for, in the Latin, Anno Domini, which means year of our Lord. I am aware that some scholars have changed this designation from A.D. to C.E. which stands for Common Era. They also do away with B.C. (Before Christ) by using B.C.E. (Before Common Era). This way they attempt to dismiss any connection to Jesus the Christ as it relates to dates and time. They do have a few problems here. To begin with, there are over 2,000 years of written materials that do use the B.C. - A.D. form of dating. That is a huge body of documentation that stands as historical evidence as to the meaning behind these designations. Even more important is the immutable truth of the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and no amount of fiddling with the time marks will change the truth. As the song says: "You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart!" Amen, hallelujah, praise His holy name!

There are only 25 shopping days until Christmas. The recent black Friday promotion paid off big. The key? It was the opening of some of the big stores on Thanksgiving Day, some in the evening before Friday. Total sales are estimated at 52 billion, up from 45 billion last year. That's a whopping 16% increase. Wow! We watched in horror as the news feeds showed some of the fights, altercations, and shenanigans going on across our land as people tried to get their hands on the products they wanted. I heard about one fellow who died from a heart attack and several others received a variety of injuries. Playing those games are just not our cup of tea. But there are many folks that have made it an annual part of their shopping tradition. I was really surprised at some of the comments I heard directly from people who did show up for the bargains at stores in our local area. They reported they saw a lot of pushing and shoving along with some people having to be separated. I was actually somewhat shocked hearing these folks because I would have thought them to be the very unlikely candidates to have participated in this type of promotion. But, obviously they did. I read about the Target employees had put together a petition asking their management to please consider saving their Thanksgiving holiday, but in the end, the bottom line won, and they too went for the gold. I am well aware of those circular decision trees. Without the money coming in, we wouldn't have jobs, therefore, we must do whatever it takes to get the money. That kind of rationale can make sense if the process itself is governed by some strong ethical standards, but, alas, for the most part, those, if they exist at all, mostly gather dust in notebooks, and are there for show purposes only, not for interfering with the bottom line. This is based on my observations during my nearly 25 years in the large corporate world.

We all are aware of the risks associated with someone with bad intentions gaining access to our personal financial information. Mom and dad came up with a pretty clever system. They shred everything and then they burn the shredded strips. That should just about do it. Don't you agree? I did see where our government is offering a $50,000 award to the person who can come up with the best process to recover shredded documents. If they really wanted to make it difficult they could include recovering those documents destroyed by my mom and dad. I do know that we would need a blast furnace just to take care of the Medicare promotional literature we receive each week. I am a subscriber for several years now to the Life Lock protection services that supposedly helps secure all the digital information that exists out in the cyber world. They send me a report every month indicating the status of my protection. These are the things we have to do in today's electronic era. We do know that things can happen. The bank we use has changed names about five times over the past 15 years. All of the previous names were good names, well recognized, and thought to be very viable. However, mergers and acquisitions, along with bailouts and buyouts, well, we end up having to change bank names, check names, and on and on. When all the smoke cleared, that is, if all the smoke has cleared, we ended up with one of the largest banking institutions. That should mean something. Right? A couple of years ago we received a letter from this large banking institution saying that our account information may have been compromised because of a lost briefcase in Europe. They recommended we change our passwords. Hello? Of course we took this seriously and notified all the appropriate financial and credit agencies. This created some hassles for us but can you imagine little us being in someone's briefcase that gets lost in Europe? Thus far we haven't received any sympathy cards from someone over there who might have looked at our account information and felt sorry for us, but we all must admit that we do live in a mixed up crazy world, but it's the only one we have, at the moment, therefore, we need to make the best of it, each and every day. Have yourself a most wonderful Wednesday and Lord willing I will see you here next time right here at our designated spot on the world wide information highway. I think my mom always told me not to play on the highway but we live and learn. May God bless each one. Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time." Charles M. Schulz

Another cool morning, (35 degrees), and it feels so invigorating on this Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Except for the sniffles, but I should not complain because thus far in my journey here on the planet I've been blessed with consistent good health. Except for the diabetes. But, it is likely that it was self inflicted, therefore, I am thankful that we caught it early and I'm working on it, most days. I started to say I am doing my best but I did not want to get carried away. I have a fellow who works with me here at the company and his diabetes is much more advanced. He is currently fighting the loss of some vision along with other health issues. I work on my numbers. He works on his. I do a pretty good job most of the time. He does a pretty good job most of the time. But that doesn't mean the disease is tamed or disabled. He is proof that over a period of time it continues to do its damaging work. One of our granddaughters was recently tested because a school nurse thought she might have some signs of pre-diabetes, but thank God her blood tests came back normal. Typically, everyone has something to deal with because we do live in a fallen world and our bodies are impacted. As I read through the obituaries each day I am always impressed by those who have lived long and productive lives. Yet, when one comes up and it is a bright eyed child with a beautiful smile, my eyes fill with tears, and I am once again reminded of just how fragile life is. This reality is there for us all and it should help direct our hearts towards God for He and He alone is our daily hope. Amen.

I've never seen so many so called experts who are rooting for Tim Tebow to fail. Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He has been, is now, and continues to be a voice for his love for His Savior, Jesus Christ. The experts say he lacks any of the basic skills to be a starting quarterback. They give him credit for being a good athlete but they detest the fact that he is a starter at the quarterback position. There has been only one huge problem in their assessment process. He is a winner. He won in college. He has 5 wins and 1 loss since taking over the starting role with Denver. Yes. He is unconventional because he runs the ball more than any other quarterback. However, it seems that when the chips are down he finds a way. A way to win and that has made his critics angry. Some have openly criticized him for the Jesus talk. They say the NFL is not the place for religion. Tim himself is fairly laid back, but when asked, he will stand up for his faith. Many of his fans have promoted his testimony and that's where a lot of the signs and shirts carrying a message of faith has come with him as a package. It's hard to tell sometimes whether they dislike him more because of his lack of solid mechanics or they dislike him primarily because of his faith. At any rate, I thank God for this young man who is willing to say to those who ask that Jesus Christ is the Lord of his life. I can't remember anytime in the past where so many critics were rooting for someone to fail. Personally, I hope he has a wonderful season and that he keeps on winning, but that's just me.

Some of the kiddos at the photo shoot last Saturday were a real hoot. One little girl, Presilee, took her Santa business very seriously. One of the shots we did with the children was to show them looking on as I read from The Night Before Christmas. I was showing her a picture of Santa in his sleigh with the reindeer and I said something about how that this was the way he brought the toys. She immediately corrected me and said, no that was the way "I" brought the toys. I need all the help I can get and even a five year old to help keep me in character. I'm also learning the difference between children who are afraid of Santa versus kids who are just downright obstinate. There are some who have no problems with Santa but for whatever reason they decide they will not cooperate in any way, period. Seeing mom and dad down on their knees begging a three year old to please have their photo made was enough to almost make me ill. One fellow told me that it sounded like someone needed an old fashioned spanking. I would heartily agree but that's not how its done anymore. Fortunately, those are exceptions to the rule and for the most part, it's a very wonderful experience. I keep telling myself that. Just joking. Maybe next year I will have more time to devote to this role playing opportunity. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen.        ....More later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

All loaded and ready: Aim, Fire, Ready...or something like that!

It's a little on the cool side here. The old jalopy didn't want to wake up this morning. There was some ice on the windshield and that seemed to annoy him a little. But, we thank God for the rain on Saturday, nearly two inches in our area, and we thank Him for the cool crisp weather that is supposed to be with us for the next few days. I do bid you a hearty hello and welcome back to where the rubber meets the road even though the treads are mighty thin, my friend, mighty thin. I always hate it when I take a break and end up having to retrain myself. But, I do welcome you to our time together here on this back to work Monday, November 28, 2011. If we had a show and tell this morning I would be loaded for bear. Loaded for bear? That would be correct, ladies and gentlemen, if they still say those words. That phrase has come to mean a number of different things, like being primed and ready for confrontation, or being over ready like bringing a bazooka to a fly killing contest. (I came up with that one myself and have no idea where it came from.) But, being loaded for bear goes back to those days when muskets were actually used to bring home the bacon, (I don't have time to chase that one down for you.), and it refers to when muskets were loaded by pouring gunpowder down the barrel, followed by the shot. The power of a given charge could be adjusted by adding more or less gunpowder. When hunting large animals like bear, a large and powerful gunpowder charge would be loaded into the musket. Hence loaded for bear is to be hunting with a powerful charge ready.  Uh-huh, you learned something, didn't you? But my use of that phrase has to do with all that I had on my plate over the last several days. (Literally, when thinking about the Thanksgiving Day activities, and figuratively, when thinking about the busyness of my schedule.) What's that you say? You can tell I've not been doing this for a while? Good, in a couple of days I will get these training wheels off and my keyboard will not know what hit it.

Our honorees, Mom and Dad!
Back to my sharing. Our Thanksgiving celebration was wonderful. Family, fellowship, and feasting. Such joy and we do thank our eldest Chris and his wife Sherrie for hosting our entire gang once again. Yes, it has been said many times before but sometimes it just hits the nail on the head, a good time was had by all, and we did thank God before, during, and after for His wonderful blessings. We had some very special family members who came and joined us for our big day. Mom and Dad drove over Thursday morning and became a part of our family celebration. Just a few of us knew they were coming, and it was a huge surprise to many, but what a blessing. What a blessing. What a blessing!  None of us will soon forget this very special memory and we do thank God for them and for the wonderful day He gave us all. That took care of our Thursday. My wife had to do her duty at the store on Black Friday, therefore, I was out and about doing this that and the other, you know, those things necessary to keep the home fires burning. On Saturday I spent 5 hours posing for the professional photographer in her studio along with some wonderful families with their even more wonderful children. Tiring? Yes! Was I exhausted? You had better believe it! But, in the end, when it was all said and done, it was something I suppose very few folks get to experience. Then, on Sunday, we picked back up with our lessons where we read and studied Matthew Chapter 10. What a whirlwind of activities and what a blessing to have had the privilege of doing them all. Thanks be to God who provides such abundance. Amen.

Now it is back to that wonderful thing we call routine. However, routine may be in the eye of the beholder since this week ushers in December and December promises to be pretty challenging for the wife and I. We have six appearances on the books where we will show up as that lovable North Pole couple. So many children and so little time. One good thing. It should keep me out of trouble. I'm sorry? So, you think there might be a little doubt as to whether that statement could be true. Okay. Let me update that one. It has the potential to keep me from as much trouble as I would otherwise end up being in. Do you like that better? I thought so. Some of the appearances involve Church related outreaches and we are very excited about bringing a Merry Christmas greeting to several groups of folks who just might need a little encouragement. We will not forget to frame our plans with a sincere LORD WILLING. I'm carrying a little congestion the past couple of days and our little Alexander Benjamin may have been the source. I also work with folks every day who have the sniffles. And we are surrounded by many who are dealing with family, health, and job issues. Every day I look through a number of listings of obituaries from this area as well as in and around the region in Louisiana where we were raised. Guess what? Names were added every day over the holiday period, therefore, we know that our lives, our hopes, dreams, our aspirations, and every detail of our plans are in the Lord's hands, therefore, we seek Him as we move forward, each and every day. Have a great Monday and may God add His blessings to it! Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Have a blessed Thanksgiving celebration and may God be praised for His provisions to us all!

Welcome to Wednesday, November 23, 2011. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner last evening to celebrate our Stefani's 18th birthday. Anytime you can have an Italian dish made with eggplant coupled to a wonderful family gathering, well, you just have to admit that it is a blessing and we thank God for it, and for her. (Note to my diabetic monitoring device: You deserve a few days off because some of the numbers you might see could be somewhat scary.) With the Thanksgiving holiday before us, I plan to take a few days off from my blogging activity. Lord willing, and the Creeks don't rise, (Creek Indian Nation, if you wondered about the capitalization.), In fact, I am actually at home today having taken the day off to help my wife get ready for tomorrow. I do hope to be back at the old keyboard playing some familiar tunes beginning next Monday. This past Sunday we had a time of testimony and remembrance during my morning Bible class. The passage I used to introduce our time of sharing together came from the 145th Division the the Psalms. I like it because it causes those who read it to focus exclusively on the greatness of our God and His provisions for His own. During our testimony time there were wonderful memories recalled, some tears, some laughter, and some thankful thoughts directed towards God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was good because it emphasized the counting of our blessings. Therefore, I wish each of you a most wonderful holiday celebration, time off, and hopefully, some reflection upon God and His goodness to us. I leave with you for your reading and contemplation the 145th Psalm:

Psalm 145

A Praise of David.
 1 I will extol You, my God, O King;
         And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
 2 Every day I will bless You,
         And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
         And His greatness is unsearchable.
 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
         And shall declare Your mighty acts.
 5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
         And on Your wondrous works.
 6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
         And I will declare Your greatness.
 7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
         And shall sing of Your righteousness.
 8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
         Slow to anger and great in mercy.
 9 The LORD is good to all,
         And His tender mercies are over all His works.
 10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,
         And Your saints shall bless You.
 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
         And talk of Your power,
 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
         And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
         And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
 14 The LORD upholds all who fall,
         And raises up all who are bowed down.
 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
         And You give them their food in due season.
 16 You open Your hand
         And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
         Gracious in all His works.
 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
         To all who call upon Him in truth.
 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
         He also will hear their cry and save them.
 20 The LORD preserves all who love Him,
         But all the wicked He will destroy.
 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
         And all flesh shall bless His holy name
         Forever and ever.

I add the blessing that Moses pronounced as found in the Book of Numbers Chapter 6: "The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." See you next Monday and may God bless each one! Amen.    ....More later.

Happy Birthday to our STEFANI!

Welcome to Tuesday, November 22, 2011 where we are thinking about our brand new 18 year old Stefani. Our eldest son's baby girl is now 18. What? Our eldest son's baby girl is 18? Wowee Zowee! As the country song puts it, "Ain't it funny how time slips away?" Hard to believe but we know it is true and now we have a brand new voter in the family. She can now vote, but knowing her, when she does, it will be her own decision because she is a very strong and independent young woman. She's caught up in all the stuff that older teens are interested in like the latest greatest books and movies but at the same time she has a good head on her shoulders and has talked about her hopes and aspirations for years. She has some brand new legal rights but that doesn't mean she will ever out grow being her MiMi and Poppy's Stef. We thank God for this wonderful child and our opportunities over the years to be a part of her life. Our greeting:

We're so very happy
And so thankful too
To be blessed with a Granddaughter
As wonderful as you
Happy Birthday Stefani
May all your wishes come true! 

Happy Birthday and may God bless. Love, MiMi and Poppy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Over the river and through the woods......

Good Monday morning and welcome to a short week for most as we anticipate a special time with family as a coming attraction this week. We are so looking forward to it and that is what I am thinking about today, on this 21st of November, 2011. That old Bob Hope melody comes to mind, 'Thanks for the memories." I am so very thankful for my many memories that are made fresh at this time of year. I will be the first to admit that strolling down the lane of our family will bring tears because of so many who have gone on before us, however, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy spending some time with them by allowing our yesterday's to help prepare us for our Thanksgiving celebration. I've heard of folks who can remember their very first Christmas or Thanksgiving or other special events in their lives. That would take most of us back to when we were still in diapers, therefore, I'm not too envious of that particular ability. But I do know that my memories of Thanksgiving are a blending of the 65 that God has allowed me to participate in with number 66 coming this week. That blending is somewhat blurred because they really did take on a distinct similarity. You know? Traditions. Special foods that have been handed down for generations. Now the excitement and anticipation of seeing loved ones and the joy and laughter experienced, well, that ends up being very personal for each of us as we thank God for those He has placed in our lives along the way. Our table didn't look like the one in the famous Rockwell painting. We didn't wear suits on Thanksgiving Day. However, the look and feel of that image is oh so familiar and that's because on Thanksgiving Day we celebrate God's provision of family and that provides the common connection that spans our years of remembrance.

Food. I've written about our family's fascination with it before. We were descended from legendary cooks. People who took their cooking very seriously. Why? Since for us, it was the moms and grandmothers, they obviously cared deeply about what they put on the table. In our family that was a daily focus but on a special day like Thanksgiving Day, it was stepped up to the highest level they could muster. I actually saw a note that a mom in her 60's posted the other day that said their microwave oven had gone out and they weren't sure they could even remember any of the basics about food preparation. Oh what heresy! Sorry. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with modern conveniences but please, oh please, don't mess with the skills required to continue family food traditions. I'm superbly blessed in this arena. I thank God that we still have my mom around who at 87 is still preparing meals from scratch many times each week. My child bride took her mom's excellent cooking style and married it to our family traditions and she became, very early on, one who could hang right there with the best of them. And, while she doesn't do as much of it as she once did when the kids were still at home, she still knows how, and she still does put on a spread that Granny Mac would be proud of. Don't I think all this emphasis on food is a little over the top? Sure it is. But, it's my recollection of how it was over the years for me, and food was a HUGE part of our times together, and Lord willing, we will continue those traditions this coming Thursday. And I do add a hearty Amen to that!

I'm not knocking those who order up their Thanksgiving meal from the restaurant. I'm not saying those who use the drive through on this special day are somehow less than me. That can be their tradition or no doubt in some cases necessity dictates how things might be done. My boasting, hopefully done in an humble manner, is because of how special it is to enjoy the whole range of thoughts, feelings, and experiences that flood one's soul during these special holidays. How serious is all of that? Pretty serious since I'm sitting here drooling over the thought of enjoying once again some cornbread dressing which has helped define our celebrations over the years. And, we do our best to hand down these same traditions. We do have wonderful additions to our family over the years and they have brought their special dishes to the table, so to speak. So, bottom line, we are blessed with the memories of the past and we are blessed with the anticipation of another time of us all being together. At the same time we are aware that pain, hurt, loneliness, and countless difficulties do not take any holidays. They surround the lives of many today and far too many, because of circumstances, will face the holiday with a much different perspective. Maybe looking at it from a hospital room or having to deal with the loss of a loved one at this very time of the year. We do not overlook the reality and we pray God's provision of peace and comfort into the hearts of all who are dealing with such in their lives. Now we move on as we get ready to get ready and that is also a part of the blessings God has allowed us to enjoy. Until next time, don't forget to make a list because you will need all of those special items for Thursday's feast. May God bless each one. Amen.     ...More later.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank God it's........Today! (TGIT)

Encore Friday. Not really. That has to do with a demand by the audience for an additional performance and since that's a very unlikely scenario, I best move on. But it sounded pretty good. Friday is that gateway day where the weekend is greatly anticipated and yearned for. With me, not so much, however, I will take it, and move on down the road. We arrived here on this November 18, 2011 day, with just one week until Thanksgiving and that is always something we look forward to. The  Weather Channel ten day projection says it will be one of those near 80 degree days for Turkey Day but I do hope their long standing record of missing it holds up and we end up with a much cooler day. I do love the frost on the pumpkin kind of day for Thanksgiving but obviously I'm not in charge of making that happen. With all the good eats being anticipated, I may send Mr. Diabetes on a tour of Asia for that week, or at least to Hawaii, since our President included Hawaii as part of Asia. First, he said we had 57 states, and I suppose they were getting ready to remake the flags before someone noticed that he was incorrect. He was born in Hawaii, supposedly, but yet he is now ready to make it a part of Asia. Geography may not have been his best subject. He couldn't do any worse than those ambassador candidates during the Reagan administration who couldn't find the place they were being sent on a map. That happened during their confirmation hearings and I suppose there's enough embarrassment to go around. At least none of them, at least to my knowledge, have said that when we as a nation come to a fork in the road, take it.

Kids have some pretty funny stuff to share. They typically let you have their unvarnished opinion. Here are some that might bring a chuckle. When asked what the proper age for getting married, Judy, 8, had this to say: "Eighty-four, because at that age, you don't have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other." Tom, a five year old, offered his idea, "Once I'm done with kindergarten, I'm going to find me a wife." Mike who is 9 had some pretty good insight into the dating process: "On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." And, you have to hand it to Jim, a ten year old, who is thinking ahead, ""You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, cause she'll want to have videos of the wedding." Okay ladies, I included this one from nine year old Lynette just for you: "It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them." Leo who is 7 had some pretty good insight into the perils that might be encountered when one thinks about falling in love: "If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long." Dave, 8, understood why folks who love each other hold hands, "They want to make sure their rings don't fall off because they paid good money for them." Good observation, Dave! When asked how you can tell if people at the restaurant are in love, a nine year old Christine offered this jewel, "It's love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it's just like how their hearts are on fire." One thing is sure, Christine will be a wonderful future consumer of the genre of dvds known as 'chick flicks'.

This brings me to the end of another five days of my sharing what came out of my my stab at illuminating ruminating. (I was going for a rhyme.) Since one of those means to light up and the other has to do with deep thought, all I can say is maybe next week. But as my mom likes to say when she quotes me saying, "It is what it is." And, that's the truth brother. And, sister too. I suppose I could confess to being a serial word waster but it's a little late for that. I know at times I must seem to be excessively repetitious and perhaps even palaverous which has to do with being annoyingly bothersome. The good news is that we all have the next couple of days to rest up and then we will take another run at it next week, Lord willing. Tis the season to be thankful and I do hope and pray we all will find time to begin counting our blessings. I've noticed a good number of folks out on Facebook who have been doing a daily thankfulness countdown to Thanksgiving. And, some of them have been really good especially in terms of their inspirational content. Yes. We do have much to be thankful for, therefore, I commend you to find yourself alongside other believers on this upcoming Lord's Day Sunday, to express worship and thankfulness to Him, for He is our provider. Amen. Until next time go with this Irish blessing, "Until we meet again may God hold you in the hollow of His hand."             .....More later.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

After all these years, still trying to get the hang of Thursdays.

It's me again. That's right. Like a bad penny, I just keep showing up. It is Thursday, November 17, 2011, and I bid you welcome. What's that you say? You've always wondered about that saying about the bad penny? Me too. The phrase origin is pretty old. It can be traced back to the mid 1700's but it most likely goes much further back than that. It hearkens back to the day and time when a penny was serious money, therefore, it was a prime target for counterfeiting. Thus, the bad penny, used to purchase things, gets into circulation, and it keeps showing up. This metaphor became applied to people who were of bad character who seemed always to be turning up. There's much more to it and you have my permission to do your own independent research but for now you can take the bit of trivia I've shared, write it down on a sheet of paper, carefully fold it, put it and $3.00 dollars down on the counter, and you might, the emphasis on might, just get yourself a small cup of what they pass off as coffee. Why do all things eventually come back to the subject of coffee? Let me just say this about that. I'm sitting here and underneath my desk are two large boxes. One of them has a huge logo that depicts the Community Coffee Company. The other contains a recent shipment of ten pounds of my favorite blend, Between Roast. Not too dark and not too light. Just right. Maybe that says a lot. I'll take a few moments and a few sips and get back to you on that one.

I haven't counted but I do know that I've not had much to say about the political world of late. That does not mean I have lost interest or that I have not been paying attention. Sure, disgusted is a term I think most of us could use when it comes to trying to make sense out of the political morass we find ourselves in. I had never thought too seriously about this one but I heard it explained the other day and I thought it to be a really good idea. This fellow was talking about changes that should be made in how laws are passed and implemented in our nation. He suggested that we pass a constitutional amendment stating that the President nor Congress can ever pass a law that does not apply to themselves as it does to all Americans. He went on to speak to the huge number of laws they have exempted themselves from having to obey or comply with. I knew that was true but when you think about it, this particular situation really does begin to produce a rotten smell emanating from our nation's capitol. It reminds me of that history notation about how unsafe trains were early in our history, accounting for many passenger deaths. However, when judges began to sentence the train executives to the unthinkable, that being a judgment which dictated they must ride their own trains, guess what? Train safety improved immensely. Could it be that this fellow's idea about all the laws applying to all Americans, regardless, could end up making it better for us all? I'm not sure but it sounds pretty good to me!

We all know what it means to experience a brain freeze after eating something really cold too fast. This phrase is now being tagged onto presidential candidates who have a momentary lapse in being unable to answer a question. Texas Governor Rick Perry had one the other day where he couldn't come up with his own answer for 53 seconds. Businessman Herman Cain suffered one regarding his views on Libya. Much has been made of this because the national media would have us to know that a brain freeze of this type might involve not being able to remember how to operate the atomic bomb at 3 a.m. in the morning, or some other dire circumstance. Most folks want all those seeking high office to be well qualified and ready. We have the results of what happens when you don't get someone who is ready, now in office and we all are dealing with the ultimate hang over of a collective brain freeze each and every day. And, by the way, when it comes to memory lapses, I can stand up and be counted. My wife and I had a family collective lapse where neither of us could remember a particular individual's name. If she had not asked me I could have told her immediately. Maybe that is the solution. Don't ask, don't tell. That way no one will know that you don't know. Of course that wouldn't have helped Governor Perry since he offered up his list and then couldn't remember his own list. Ouch. But, my thought here, is that equal treatment requires that we look at everyone equally. The President has his fare share of misspoken comments, gaffes, and downright absurdities, and to play up the miscues of others while paying no attention to his, well, it's just flat out wrong. I started to say that my wife and I had suffered a community lapse but then the coffee thing would come up again and we would be off and running. In view of all of the above, I vote to pull the plug on today's edition. Let's all hope there's something better just around the bend. And, I'll add my own Amen to that.            .....More later.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who pulled the plug and forgot to put it back in?

Good morning and welcome once again to that place where most folks with a lick of sense would turn and run. Just joking. But I am glad you decided to stop by. How in the world are you doing anyway, on this Wednesday, November 16, 2011? We had us a really good rain shower yesterday. It was a regular thunderstorm that yielded to many in our area an old fashioned gully washer. But alas, you've heard me talk about the great drought of 2011 that we have experienced here in our area. Talk is one thing. Seeing it is another. This photo was put up on our daughter-in-law Mitzi's facebook page. It was taken last week at the lake house wharf where they spend many of their weekends. (Lake Conroe) That's where boats and wave runners are supposed to be docked! I've been there and the kids have fished right off the ledge near the back porch of the house. Talk about a picture speaking louder than any words! Sadly, our area is not the worst in the state of Texas. Some ranch lands have been taken out of service for grazing until who knows when in the future. The cattle have all been sold off. Nearly every day I see a headline that says something about a dim or worried future for the statewide water supply. I know a number of the marinas in some of the nearby lakes have had to shut down. Because of these adverse conditions persisting over these many months, our eldest son was able to get a good sized boat for a really good price. His home is near a large lake but currently there's not anywhere to launch it. The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust and we continue to pray that it will fall a lot on us all. Amen.

I heard a fellow here at work talking the other day about how many movies he and his family watch. He said they have hundreds, if not more, stored on his computer and they also have access to all the movie service outlets. They watch movies nearly every day. That brings me to the question of the day. What was the last movie you watched? Or, in my case, I'm trying to think about the last one that I actually saw. I know we were given one of those Blu-Ray players a couple of years ago and we did purchase some animated cartoon movies. I can remember watching Monsters Inc. For some reason I like that movie. I know we have one of the newer Star Wars Blu-Ray versions. And, I know the grandchildren have watched some here and there that I knew they were on but couldn't tell you which one it was. I'm now trying to think of the last one we actually paid to see at the movie theatre. I would have had to have been with my wife or with her and some of the grandchildren because I can't even begin to guess when I went to see a movie by myself. I remember now. I had read all of the hyped reviews about the James Cameron movie Avatar and the wife and I did go to see it. That would have been sometime in 2009 because as I recall, it was at the end of its run. The 3D special effects were pretty amazing as I remember, but it, like most of them, was not one that I would actually go to see again. That's what makes us different I guess. Hundreds of movies with access to hundreds more? No thank you. I suppose I will never be asked to be a voting member of the motion picture academy. Oh well. I'll get over it. In fact, good news, I already am!

This past summer we celebrated 35 years of us living in and around the neighborhood where we are now. That's a pretty long run. We've been affiliated with the same local New Testament assembly or Church for thirty of those years. That means roots, connections, and relationships. The last few days we have been able to go and spend time with and pray with a family that we have known for much of the time we've been in this area. Sister Billye Moore has been dealing with health issues for years and last Saturday she fell and broke her hip and also suffered some head trauma. Her late husband Garwin was also special to us and their two boys pretty much were raised up with our three. In fact, the stories of the exploits of these boys, especially their youngest and our youngest have become legendary in our families. What a joy it is to be able to meet with these men and remind ourselves of our closeness throughout the years and to share the common faith that holds us all together. To be able to pray with Sister Billye and her sons is a privilege. This week she has come through two serious surgeries and will begin her rehabilitation efforts starting soon. We thank God for her and for His provision and for His design in us being able to show love and care for one another. And, even where there are serious matters of health and well being at stake, to be able to laugh out loud, hug, and share a tear together, that, my friend, provides the ingredients of a whole mess of blessings. As they would say back home. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.            ......More later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let the shopping wars begin!

Hello Tuesday. We have landed here and it's been unseasonably warm, muggy, and sticky around these parts, and many are feeling kind of yucky in response, but I bid you a hearty welcome anyway here on this day, November 15, 2011. On Sunday afternoon I had to go pick up a few things at the big box store. You know that one which is part of the largest store chain in the world. I had not been there in several days. While I was away they transformed for the Christmas season. And, to think a police office at a restaurant the other evening took one look at me and said, "Hey, dude, aren't you about a month early, Santa?" But at the big store they have added so many new aisles that everything is practically one way and the congestion is exactly what you might expect. Just getting by the greeter is an issue because they've piled up so much stuff right there at the entrance. And, I ask you, why is it that every time I show up, I get the bad shopping cart? I know. I should have tried it out before I took it but the one I had on Sunday, it had a mind of its own. It was one of those that did okay as long as you got it up to about 20 miles per hour. If you ever stopped, getting it going again became a major challenge. You had to give it your best grunt and then it might lurch to either the right or the left and once I had bumped my fellow consumer they shot me look that says, 'Hey Santa whatcha trying to do. Run over people?' I might just start using one of those riding machines. I've never been on one and I might should send them a notice to let them know that I could end up doing more than just bumping someone. Okay. Let me move on. They are playing my song again. "Why is everybody picking on me?"

Yes, I am aware that all of that together doesn't add up to much. But, it does represent the little things that can irritate you, if you let them. Like when I was in the check out lane. Let me pick back up where I left off. They never have enough checkers when I am there. But a lady directs me to a line and I notice a lady and her mother who are in front of me and they are from a foreign country. They have their stuff separated in the basket but the daughter gets to the register and tells the cashier she has something she wants to exchange. The cashier tries to explain to her that she will have to go to customer service and that discussion goes on for a while. I've been very patient. I've had to drive a dangerous shopping cart. I've had to endure some hard looks. I've been called out as Santa by some little ones. That's always worth the price of admission. Then, I was told by a lady directing traffic that she thought this line would be a good one for me. Hello? A good one for me? Finally, the daughter removed all of her stuff from the cart and left to go to do the exchange. That left mommy to pay for her items. Guess what? The daughter was the translator for the mommy. Everything went fine until it came time to pay. The cashier finally helped select a card, you know, like the pick a card magic tricks. And, she got her items and she was happy but not as happy as I was. Finally, it became my turn. All I had left to do after paying was to see how many folks I could bump between the check out and getting to my car. See what I mean? My life can be so  exasperating!

We did have a great time at dinner Saturday evening with our Lexie to celebrate her 11th birthday. This was where the policeman decided to become a comedian with the Santa jokes. Visiting with her and Brady along with our Rodney and Mitzi reminded us of how special it is to spend time with family. We are a busy people. Maybe we are just too busy. Sitting next to Lexie and hearing her talk about her birthday, her school activities, and her friends was a real treat. Time. It just takes time. Now Mr. Brady who will be six in January, he is one for the record book. I called him over to my side of the table and sat him in my lap and talked to him for a few minutes. The conversation kind of trailed off and he asked, "Is that it? Is that all?" I asked him what he meant and he told me, "Well, I thought you might just whip out a $100 dollar bill and give it to me because I did see you reaching for something." Now where in the world did that come from? Inquiring minds may want to know but we know exactly where it came from. He is his daddy's boy! I did whip out a $1 dollar bill. Just 90 minutes but we always leave thinking that we should do it more often. Mitzi asked the police officer to make a picture of our entire gang as we were leaving and Brady mentioned something to him about his bullets and then we were on our way again. They, across town to their busy schedules, and us, back to the same in our domain. But, thank God for family and for the good times He allows us to enjoy. Amen.                   .....More later.

Monday, November 14, 2011



 Today is Monday, November 14, 2011 and I proudly present to you our granddaughter Lexie, youngest daughter born to our Rodney and Mitzi, and today, on the 11th anniversary of her birth, we pause to let everyone know just what a remarkable young lady she is. The many faces of our sweet Lexie: She can be the funniest girl in the room or she can be serious when it is appropriate. She has been bringing smiles to us all ever since she showed up on the scene. We thank God for His provision in giving to us this wonderful child. She is a great student and when she is on the volleyball court, watch out, because she knows how to fire up and inspire the entire team. What a joy it has been to watch her grow and develop. This brings me to our formal birthday greeting:

To one of the finest girls in the land,
We wish you a birthday that is both 
wonderful and grand!

Love, MiMi and Poppy 

Friday, November 11, 2011

We thank God for all Veterans and their families!

Welcome to Friday, November 11, 2011, and if you are free to sign in to your computer and then get hold of this written material through access to the internet, and you do all of this at your own volition, you, I, and our entire citizenry can thank God and those who have proudly served in our military throughout our history. This is Veterans Day 2011 and I do pause to thank God for all those who have worn the uniform of our country. Originally set aside to pay respect to those who fought in WWI, this day of recognition was expanded in 1954 to include all veterans who have served throughout our nation's history. I read an estimate that said over 25 million have served our nation's military dating back to the 1770's. Many left our shores and did not return. Today, we have the freedoms we have because of those who put their lives on the line. Veterans are worthy of our respect. We are surrounded by them as they live and work among us. Our family has had many who have worn the uniform of our nation, taken up arms, and traveled to distant lands to defeat the tyranny of those who would enslave the world. As we pause to honor our veterans, I want to quote from the late former President Ronald Reagan, a veteran of WWII himself, in his words about honoring those who have served: "Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don't have that problem." And, I submit that we could extend his sentiments to all who have honorably served. May God bless each veteran and may God bless America. Amen.

I don't know about you but for me this week can't get to the end quick enough. I suppose it might be the non stop activities for the ten plus days where we have hardly had time to catch our breath. I know. I signed up to do the Santa stuff voluntarily. No one put a gun to my head. That being said, being worn out is still worn out, no matter what the reason. We did gain some early experience and next time maybe it will not require quite as much preparation. It is physically demanding, more than some might think. And, given the fact that we had never appeared as a couple before, and we didn't and they didn't know exactly what to expect, that always adds an element of tension. I don't have anything Santa related scheduled until the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but after that we will be pretty busy juggling our schedules. I'm just thankful to have the opportunities themselves and the physical strength to respond. It could be different. I see that everyday as I meet people in and around my age. What does that mean? I am really something? Not hardly. The word would be blessed and I do thank God for being able to get up and go each day. And, I thank God for those who cheer me on, and encourage me in my spiritual journey, my work and family life, and in my pursuit of the Jolly Old Dude duties. I don't even want to think about thinking about trying to sleep late Saturday morning because typically if I try to, I can't. But, it will a welcome development if it were to happen!

But let me try to end on a high note. Here are a few wise sayings and quips that might give us all something to think about on this bookend Friday. ~ The lesson is what you read in the fine print. The experience is what you get when you don't. ~ A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~ Digital Wisdom: Affirm brain on-line before opening ~ A woman never shot a man while he was doing the dishes. ~ I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. ~ I'm a nobody, nobody is perfect, and therefore I'm perfect.~ Take my advice, I don't use it anyway. ~ As I said before, I never repeat myself. ~ I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called brightness, but it doesn't work. ~ How come "abbreviated" is such a long word? ~  If you are a vegetarian just because you want to be good to animals, then why are you eating their food? ~ Okay. That should give you some items to mull over. I'll close with that famous quote from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Thus ends another week of my version of this, that, and the other. May God bless you and may we all find ourselves along side others seeking Him at the regular services on Lord's Day Sunday. Amen. See you next week.            .....More later. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. ~ Yiddish Proverb

Hello friends and neighbors. I send out to you a cheery hello and welcome along with a big shout out to the late Minnie Pearl with her trademarked, "Howdeeeeee, I'm so proud to be here." Minnie Pearl said that where she came from they didn't have a single mosquito. They were all married and had large families that pestered everybody, all day long. It is Thursday, November 10, 2011, and I do echo Minnie's words in being glad to be able to visit with you all today. But some of you might think that Minnie wasn't sophisticated and her comedy was childish. That's okay, so be it, but the way I see it, some of her routines became the source of laughter, and folks, in this world, at this time, there is far too little of the sound of genuine laughter. One of the satellite radio channels I listen to distinguishes itself by telling everyone their comedy is clean and not like the other five channels where it is one four letter word after another. The other day on the way home I was listening to an old Bob Hope radio program and his guest was Jimmy Durante. It was originally on in 1945 but the material was timeless and I found myself laughing out loud. It was near the end of WWII and many of the folks listening back then needed to take a moment and have a good laugh, especially given the grave challenges they had all faced. When I heard that Minnie Pearl mosquito joke yesterday it made me laugh and wholesome laughing is a gift from God because He has told us that every good thing comes down from above. (James Chapter 1, Verse 17) So there you have it, your permission, to allow that smile to burst into a hearty laugh. It will do a body good!

We are still praising God for the rain we received on Tuesday. We continue to be very far behind our annual need but my how wonderful it was to see the water standing around in puddles in our neighborhood. We also got some wind in some areas. Those trees critically damaged by the drought turned loose and down they came all over one particular area. Power outages and damaged homes and vehicles were all around. This is the two edged sword of our dilemma. We so badly need the rain but we are so very much exposed from this unprecedented drought. Some might say just have the trees removed. Hello? We are talking thousands of trees folks. Thousands. And, for many people to do something about it will cost them thousands. We have some next to our home but our neighbor has agreed to have them removed off of his vacant lot. In our situation, Hurricane Ike removed several from our yard and the carpenter ants took care of a couple as well. It just goes to remind us all that some looked at that weather system with joy as their windshield wipers came out of hibernation. Others came home to a mess. Perhaps a huge pine tree right in the middle of their home. We know exactly how that feels, but, in the end, God is still the answer, whether we are thanking Him for the rain or seeking His help to see us through the pain. God is the answer. Amen.

You know by now that I like to play around with fill in the blanks. Here's some I found interesting. Life is like.....  They were all written by that author you see so often, named Unknown: "Life is like a 1,000 page book. You want to quit halfway through but then you realize you have so much to look forward to." ~ "Life is like photography, focus is an ingredient if you are to have a good shot." ~ “Life is like an ocean. It can be calm and still or rough and rigid. But in the end it’s always beautiful.” ~ “Life is like a bar of soap, once you think you’ve got a hold of it, it slips away.”~ “Life is like a canvas. It begins blank and every day is like another brush stroke.”~ “Life is like a party. You invite a lot of people; some go, some join you, some laugh with you, some didn’t come. But in the end, after the fun, there would be a few who would clean up the mess with you. And most of the time, those were the uninvited ones.”~ “Life is like pictures in a photo album. You can look back on the moments, but you can never recapture them.”~ “Life is like a mirror, if you frown at it, it frowns back. If you smile, it returns the greeting.” ~ “Life is like a dream, sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad, but in the end it is over.” I will conclude with the ultimate fill in the blank from what the Creator of life had to say to His own one day:  "And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke Chapter 12, Verses 15-33) Some thoughts for a Thursday and may God bless each one! Amen.            .....More later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I meant to stay in touch but my texting feature is fractured.

Hello out there in the network connectivity world. It is Wednesday, November 9, 2011. Based on what the children were asking for Christmas, I can tell you that we live in a technology driven world. I would ask what in the world a six or seven year old would need with a laptop but I don't think it really matters because they are wanting that along with smart phones along with all kinds of other electronic gadgets with no end in sight. A few, and only a few, wanted things like a baby doll or a choo choo train. That was refreshing but unusual because most of the time there was a brand name or buzz word associated with the gift they were dreaming about. And, why should we be surprised? Watch some of those so called kids' channels and they are literally saturated with glitzy adds for all kinds of toys. I could really see the grimace on mom and dad's faces when the child they are grooming to be clued in to all things non violent asked for a Nerf Bazooka so he can blast away at his playmates. So much for all that happy talk. They might want to check in on some of those programs he is watching because most of these hot toys are being hyped every few seconds. Don't get me wrong. Some actually were interested in things like science labs or the electronic book devices. I think those were mostly girls. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I could not believe how early little boys learn to say the words MONSTER TRUCK. Maybe they are being prepared for doing battle out on the highways and byways that surround the metroplex.

Where is former President Jimmy Carter when you need him? He would be perfect to reflect the sentiment of the American public right now. In his infamous 'malaise speech' in 1979, President Carter pretty much erased the entire nation's hope for anything good, anytime soon. The hostage crisis, the oil embargo, the dire economic circumstances made for a pretty difficult mess and folks who were already depressed became even more so after this speech. Today our nation's polls indicate a people who are beginning to have a sense of hopelessness in terms of who and what can make an impact for a positive turnaround and recovery to any sense of well being. The American people are increasingly shown to be losing faith in the political institutions that are in place to deal with issues like the economy. We have lost confidence as more and more struggle but are unable to make ends meet. People don't see anyone they believe that can help. In a Pew Forum study of religion in America completed in 2008, it showed that some 78% identify themselves as being Christian. This included all the Protestant branches of belief. I don't know what the true number is of those who have actually placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, those born again by the power of God, but I do know this: If God's people will begin to be the people we are called to be, and if we will return to Him, and call upon Him, He will hear and He will respond. That's a hope we can believe in and as we do this it will change America and I pray that it will happen soon. Amen.

I remember a few years ago doing some research into what it means to view work and paid employment from a Biblical perspective. There's more information available on this subject than you may think. (The Bible itself, for instance.) One writer pointed out that when God created Adam He actually gave him work to do in tending to paradise. Therefore, work was a part of God's original plan. God even allowed Adam the privilege of participating in His work when He invited him to name the animals. Adam and Eve together cooperated in the work God had ordained for them. Then came the fall. In the previous state of perfection work was accomplished without tiredness, fatigue, pain or difficulties. After the fall everything changed. It became rigorous and painful. Now the master of deceit, Satan, he wants every person to struggle greatly with their tasks, labor, jobs, and work. He wants us to live lives of frustration, characterized by hopelessness which will lead us to choose his sinful escapes. God, on the other hand, calls us to live out our joy in the work we have been provided. For believers, it is the 100% solution. We are 100% saved. And, we are 100% a child of God, at home, when we are at Church, and in the workplace. Sadly, many of us who claim Jesus as Savior have succumbed to living without joy in the workplaces God has provided for us. Been there, done that. For those of us who know the Lord and have a job, we can help in encouraging and witnessing to our fellow workers in how we carry on the work God has provided to us. This might begin to help change this malaise of mediocrity that we seem to be mired in today. Something to think about. Something to pray about. Something we can do something about! Amen.      .....More later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giving thanks as a way of getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Hello and welcome. It is Tuesday, November 8, 2011, and I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. That's because, Lord willing, our family will try to assemble and enjoy a day of feasting and fellowship. That's our tradition. On the other hand, being thankful and having a thankful heart and spirit, well, that has to come from the inside out. I've known some very positive people who demonstrate a very positive attitude. But, real joy, in my experience, comes only from knowing the Lord God of heaven through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Adopting ten principles of how to live a positive life may work in some respects but only the thankful heart that knows God can genuinely demonstrate His love and an appreciation for what He has done. But, alas, far too many of us, yes, including me, at times tend to lose our grip on living out an attitude of gratitude. We, like the Apostle Peter, can become distracted by the stormy waves that at times surround our lives. Jesus at the end of the Sermon on the Mount gave the illustration of the winds and waves hitting the house. The winds and waves hit both of the houses He described, the one built on the Rock, and the one built on sand. Some folks take on the Christian life as if they will not have to undergo trials and difficulties. Wrong! However, if we have our life grounded on our Savior and His words, His instructions, and His admonitions, then we will be best equipped to show forth real joy as we live in a constant awareness of how privileged we are to be God's own dear child. These are some pretty good things to consider as we seek to bring a thankful heart to our Thanksgiving celebration. Amen.

Did you hear that collective sigh that echoed across the Sabine River last Saturday night? That was the entire state of Louisiana exhaling all at the same time after first ranked LSU beat second ranked Alabama in overtime. Talk about a hard hitting football game! I only made it through three quarters. I had had a long day with the Santa stuff and I could feel myself becoming all agitated and stirred by what was happening on the field of play. I had to make a decision. To stay and watch would have guaranteed me a difficult time of getting to sleep. I know that. I've been there, done that, too many times before. Why I let sporting events like that bother me, I don't know, but I do know that it does, therefore, I made the decision to get out while the getting out was good, for me. At 5 a.m.Sunday morning I logged into the computer and saw the final score and read about the great victory. For all my extended family and those who went to sleep wearing purple and gold, I breathed a sigh of relief as well. I'm sure the other folks involved in this contest felt quite differently about the result. So much hype. So much hysteria. I really can't see the balance here and there is no end in sight. Watching the people in the stands, it was apparent that men, women, boys, and girls were living as if they and all they believe in was on the line. Kids from all over the United Sates populate both teams, therefore, hometown becomes in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, believe that line between college and professional was obliterated a long time ago but for the most part it continues to be held as if it still exists, and I suppose it is in everyone's interest to play along, like those who complimented how great the Emperor's clothes looked. Just some of my thoughts in passing, or running, or maybe even kicking about this billion dollar plus business that we call amateur athletics.

I don't think I'm being overly cynical because if anyone would stop and think about it, it does seem a little over the top at times, most of the time. But, as they say, most of us have bigger fish to fry, closer to the home front. That would be the doing of our day as best we know how, with God's help. I was standing next to a fellow the other day and I asked him how things were going. He told me he was about to go under just trying to get his kids back from Child Protection Services. He said something about what happened to his ex wife and they came and got the kids. Talked to another individual who is working extremely long hours in a very difficult job with little in the way of prospects for a change. That is, unless God intervenes. He believes that God is at work even in his difficult circumstances to provide for his best. That's right. He is in a really rough situation but his faith is in the provision of God. The man trying to get his kids told me he is not the man he used to be because he has gotten his life right with God. But that doesn't mean it is easy to convince the authorities. However, he also believes that God is at work in the situation involving his children that will ultimately lead to good, for him, and for them. That song we used to sing comes to mind. "Life is easy, when your up on the mountain And you've got peace of mind Like you've never known But then things change and you're down in the valley Don't lose hope for you're never alone" ~ "You talk of faith when you're up on the mountain Oh, but the talk comes so easy When life's at its best But its down in the valley of trials and temptations That's where faith is really put to the test" ~ Chorus: For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley When things go wrong He'll make them right And the God of the good times, is still God of the bad times And the God of the day is still God of the night." Some good words for Tuesday or any other day especially as we deal with the ups and downs and challenges that this life brings. Amen.       ....More later.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Warning: Venting with no vacillation!

Good morning and welcome to another brand new work week. It's Monday, November 7, 2011, and today I have hit the ground running, so to speak. There are some things that make my blood boil, literally. At the top of the list is the way in which casualties of war are being intentionally neglected under the current administration. When President George W. Bush was the Commander in Chief, every single day he was incriminated when one of our soldiers was killed. President Obama came into office vowing to change the so called Bush doctrine. Once reality set in, he not only didn't change it, he embraced it, and today it has been the foundation of this administration's war strategy. However, along the way, under this new administration, deaths of our brave military have more than tripled. What has been the response of those who were previously using up the world's supply of ink to portray President Bush as a war criminal? Ho hum, oh well, that's the way it goes in war, along with no accountability whatsoever for the conduct of these operations. How could these leading news sources change so radically regarding something they held out as fundamental to us as a nation? I can tell you how. It's because they have the most left leaning liberal President ever elected, and they will not allow anything, at least as it pertains to them, to detract from him being reelected. Look at how they glossed over scandals involving President Clinton and Presidential Candidate John Edwards. They also have been very quick to tag any criticism of President Obama as being racist. Contrast that to how they have literally done all they could to tar and feather Republican candidate Herman Cain, a black man, over unproven allegations. I'm not saying he shouldn't be held accountable but what about proportionality? What's the difference my friend? He is conservative and to them that is the greatest crime of all! I rest my case.

Taken at the house before our Sunday afternoon fun!
That was on my mind and I just had to share it. On a lighter note, we did make it through our first excursion into the make believe world where I get to do what some might call grueling but gratifying work impersonating that jolly old elf, the King of the North Pole, Santa Claus. This past Saturday the photographer made a total of 660 snaps of about 200 kids. That was in 2 sessions of  2 hours each. I'm talking two hours of relentless posing, wrestling with kids, dealing with moms and dads, and even practicing my calf holding skills on a few. My wife was with me on Sunday afternoon and as you might expect they could not have been more pleased with Mrs. Claus. She spent most of her time sitting with me and making photos but they did get her to read the classic, The Night Before Christmas, with a bunch of kids gathered round. They thought she had a perfect voice for reading. I tried to tell them she learned to speak up and out that way when she was calling hogs back on the farm. They thought I was joking. But it was a wonderful experience and she and I both got to show love to many children. One little boy who was confined to a wheelchair was picked up and placed in my lap. He was so quiet and sweet. His parents were so proud to get a photo of him with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Santa is supposed to be jolly but I must tell you when I felt those little dead legs in my lap I had to hold back a tear as my heart went out to this young man and his family. I could also tell you about one little two year old girl who was brought back the third time because her parents were determined. She was a kicker, literally, big time! And, she was very strong. The third time her dad gave me permission to do whatever I could to hold her down. They promised her everything they could think of including french fries, even a large container of fries. No thank you. I'm not sure they got anything worth keeping in terms of a photograph but I sure was glad to wish her a farewell when she and her parents finally moved on down the road.

One thing is for sure. When you do this Santa work, you will get a good night's sleep. That comes with the territory. Last evening our Pastor led out in a study of Isaiah Chapter 40. This is one of the most profound of passages in The Scriptures. It defines for us the attributes of our Great God. In a world where the focus is mostly on me, me, me, most of the time, reading this passage will make us to know that our God, Creator of all things, is Lord over all, everything, from the elements of nature to the breath in the bodies of every living person. We read in this chapter of His awesome power. That's right. His works are Awesome. I know the word awesome is the favorite of kids, and especially teens and teen leaders and it is used to tag just about any and everything that someone likes. But, to me, if there ever was a word that should be reserved for the Lord God of Heaven, and His demonstrated power, Awesome is that word. I know. I am told all the time they don't mean any disrespect when they use that word. Maybe not. But, I will continue to explain why I think it is a word reserved for our Great God. "Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,  And I will declare Your greatness." (Psalm 145:6) “Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy:  Do not let all the trouble seem small before You That has come upon us, Our kings and our princes,  Our priests and our prophets,  Our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day." (Nehemiah 9:32) Finally, some verses from Isaiah 40: 15-18 "Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,  And are counted as the small dust on the scales;   Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.  All nations before Him are as nothing,  And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare to Him?" (Verses quoted from the New King James Version) The little kids sing truth when they proclaim, "What a Mighty God we serve!" And, that's not a bad way to start off our brand new work week! Amen.                .....More later.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." SHIRLEY TEMPLE

Well, well, we made it to Friday, and today is that day so many have longed for, right now, here on this November 4, 2011. This morning we are pretty close to some frost on the pumpkin, that is, if we had any pumpkins around. It's currently close to 35 degrees and very refreshing. I just have to tell you that I never thought I would be the headliner to a sold out show. Three of them to be exact. That's right. All three sessions for the Santa appearances are sell outs including the one on Sunday with Mrs. Claus. What's that you say? It really isn't me, it's Santa who is the headliner? Okay. Let's get one thing straight. Do you think Charlie McCarthy ever showed up by himself? Not hardly. He was the dummy and it took Edgar Bergen to make him come alive. For our younger readers, Charlie is a very famous ventriloquist's dummy, and Edgar Bergen was the comedian ventriloquist. They performed from back in the 1930's through the 1960's. But, you do get the point. It may be Santa they are paying to see but without you know who, then what? I was kind of hoping they wouldn't sell out the Sunday afternoon session. That's when the Mrs. makes her first appearance as the First Lady of the North Pole and I didn't want her to be too overwrought by any adoring and exuberant fans who might just show her too much attention, out of respect for me, of course, and then she might begin to think she is the star, or something. I'm just trying to save her feelings. I had better stop now because my mom always tells me that she thinks that while I may be kidding, this feigned jealousy just doesn't sound right and she would never want my wife's feelings to be hurt. It's a joke mom. I promise. You know I don't care about things like the spotlight. It doesn't matter to me one doesn't matter to me one doesn't matter to me one bit! See?

I have been getting myself up to date on this year's most sought after toys. May I go on record here as saying that I believe toys that mimic a real product like a cell phone or an IPAD or other electronic devices should be paid for by the people who will eventually charge them for the real item. Different top ten lists have different toys but there are some that find their way on nearly every list. The Nerf shooting guns are very popular including the one called the Stampede ECS. My grandsons have known this for a while now. There's a garbage truck called Stinky that kids are loving. According to the experts it is a good interactive toy and parents will be pleased with it. My only hope is that it doesn't send the wrong signal that it would be cool to hang out on the back of a garbage truck while talking on your imitation cell phone. Just kidding. There are Pillow Pets this year that can be shaped into different animals. The X-Box is still popular along with the many games it plays. There are lists of educational toys. We got into those once. I think most parents do. They are okay and they do make the parents feel better but typically they aren't so much fun for the kiddos, and, after all, that's what the toys are all about, you know, the kids from one to 99. I wonder if they have any Nerf armor protection? We may need some around our place.

I am excited about the upcoming holiday season. So many wonderful memories compacted into these few days. We first and foremost remember The Reason for the season. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both are directly connected to our faith in God who has provided all that we have, and blessed up abundantly, and even more importantly, sent His Son to die on The Cross for us all. That's enough to fill any thankfulness quotient. In addition, we get to walk down memory lane and think about holiday seasons since the very ignition of our memories. Family, faces, fun, love, food, laughing, happiness, and a sense of being blessed. These are accentuated by the sights, sounds, and smells that help trigger these precious glimpses of those days gone by. We also have the present. The time we desire to spend with those nearest and dearest to our hearts. One reason we do this is to plant seeds. Sends that go down deep into the hearts and one day will blossom forth in a flood of precious recollections. Thank God He provided for us to enjoy these moments in time as we also look forward to seeing our Savior and being in His presence for ever and ever, Amen. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and Lord willing, I'll see you next Monday again, at our regular time, on this same station. I was just thinking about sitting in that overstuffed chair and looking at that line of children, as far as the eye can see. Does anyone know if those Doan's Back Pills actually work?                  ......More later.