Friday, March 30, 2012

"But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence [in God] when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect." 1st Peter Chapter 3, Verse 15

Friday has arrived and I welcome you once again, on this March 30, 2012. If you read some of what Tim Tebow said in his press conference the other day, he emphasized that his desire was to live out and act the way Christ would want him to as opposed to always be trying to convince people with his words. He knows it is a combination of the two but one thing I notice is how that good folks who know the Lord can come off as being really mean spirited and unloving. I see it in Facebook postings. I see it in emails along with their attachments. Some of this stuff borders on hate mongering and, in my opinion, they do nothing to advance the truth or the cause of the Gospel. That does not mean we should not stand up for what is right. We should. But, at the same time, we must do what we do with love and understanding. I cringe sometimes at the images that people forward because they are so distorted and ugly. Oddly enough, when God's people resort to this type of ugliness, it actually provides a platform for the ungodly to reject any and everything we might have to share. Some of the things I see come from people who feel very strongly about the things they want preserved or changed. For some of them, they have glaring issues that they obviously don't feel so strongly about. If we recognize this obvious hypocrisy among ourselves, there's little wonder that those who are lost do the same. We are to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15) How much did Jesus love the most ungodly of all people? Enough to give Himself up on an old rugged cross. Something to think about on a Friday. Amen.

What about freedom of speech? I believe in it. I support it. However, we who answer to God are held to His accountability, first, foremost, and always. Everything, including man made laws, are secondary to God's Word. We do not answer to a higher power or to the man upstairs. We who know Him are accountable to Him, the Living Lord of the universe, creator and sustainer of all things! Faithfulness to our God transcends it all including the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Those are not bad things and as Americans they are our foundation, however, they pale in comparison to our allegiance to He who said "Let their be light." I've heard at times folks who are believers proclaim that they broke no laws and did nothing illegal even though their actions to the casual observer indicated they had taken advantage of a weaker brother or sister. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, including yours truly, (Romans 3:23), but I do not want to live my life based on some kind of technical compliance with fallen man's laws. I bought a used vehicle from a gentleman once who believed in transacting business based on his calling as a Christian. He agreed to sell me the vehicle but with certain restrictions. Any and all things that might be found to be problems were on him for the first six months, period. (Including the tires!) I had no contract but I had his word and his handshake. On the other hand, I know of another situation where a man who was a recognized Church leader bragged about passing off a vehicle that he knew was bad onto some folks who were ill equipped to even have it fixed. His joke: They didn't ask so  he didn't tell. I never thought that was funny. I'm not pointing my finger at anybody because any of us can fall into this kind of trap. That's why we need God's help even in the seemingly mundane transactions in life. Amen.

No. I did not wake up with a preaching cap on. I did, however, open up my blogging utility and this is what fell out of my thoughts. Maybe it was because I have been tested in this area a couple of times over the past few weeks. They were not huge but enough where self interest could have trumped doing what I knew in my heart of hearts I should do. What's that you say? You would not have even given it a thought and would have done the right thing? That's great but I will just tell you I still have stuff to overcome because I have not arrived. Don't think I will until that day when I am absent from the body and present with the Lord. (2nd Corinthians 5:8) And, here I was, thinking it would get easier as the golden years unfold. I'm not sure, in this economy, they are golden anymore for most people. Gold is too expensive. Maybe I should say in my recycled tin years. Just joking. They are golden not because of worldly riches but because of God's goodness, yes, even when I do have to pause and work through some things one would think I should know by now. Maybe that's where the term lifelong learner came from. With me, I think slow learner is a better way to describe it. Now, here's what I want you to do. Go and enjoy your Saturday and if at all possible make an effort to show up where God's people meet, on Sunday, the first day of the week. Believe me, when you do, it will make the rest of the week a whole lot better. Amen.         .....More later.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A woman found her first gray hair and was so alarmed by it, she thought she would just dye.

****Please say a prayer for my mom. She is undergoing a stress test to check out her heart, early this morning, over in Louisiana. She is such a blessing for all these years and we commend her into the hands and will of our great God. Amen.****

Hello again. Welcome. Come on in and sit a spell. I do hope the Community is to your liking. Hot, black, and strong. It is Thursday, March 29, 2012, and we are still able to be here clicking and clacking our way through another episode. My wife has just an ever so slight loss of hearing going on. I think when she asked what dishes would be good for me, I said green, and she heard great. That was just a little PS I thought of from my recent drool laced thoughts on her good cooking. That cooking can have a cascading impact. Leftovers. I would not want to see them wasted. Right? If the supper was not necessarily on my preferred diabetic diet, it only stands to reason that having it for lunch the next day makes sense. You do know what I mean and I know that you do. I am exaggerating here. Moderation is still the order of the day, not total isolation. I did watch a video the other day on a diabetes plan for sale that supposedly could make a huge impact on improvement or even reversal. That reversal stuff always gets my attention. That video was pretty scary. I'll not go into the morbid details but suffice it to say they showed many photos of what happens to diabetics who do not try to do something about their disease. I suppose it was one of those scared straight approaches. I may try the program but I don't think I want to watch that video again. It should have a warning on it. But, I may try it and I suppose that's what they were trying to get the watcher to do in the first place.

And, lest you think I would be impulsive, I have checked out that particular program as thoroughly as I could, and it does seem to offer some hope for many of the people who have used it. There are some complaints that have been lodged but most of these have to do with processing issues, refunds, and other administrative glitches. The overwhelming sense of those who have used his approach is positive. See. I do believe in doing my homework, even if it is a small expenditure. Buying stuff online always means that it needs to be checked out. The fellow who promotes this program does the same for a number of other maladies that people suffer from. His expertise is actually in presentation. He gathers up information on the disease, the treatments, the approaches, and then organizes them into a workbook approach. These are not bombshell breakthrough types of drugs or techniques. They reflect the best of what people are doing that are successful in managing or reversing, in my case, diabetes. He takes all of these inputs and reduces them to simple actionable plans. I enjoyed hearing his personal testimony of how he went from a regular job to becoming involved in the presentation business. I love it when people find an area where they can bring something to the table and it ends up being financially successful for them, and based on the number of testimonials I read, of great benefit to many who use those materials. Information is power. I know. It still requires that you utilize that information in a way that directly impacts the problem you are dealing with. Having shared my gum swallowing habit, you might guess that discipline is not one of my strong suits, but we get up every day and renew our commitment that with God's help we can do better. Amen.

Tuesday evening our little great grand Madi, two years going on five, came for a visit. For the very first time she actually spent the night with us, meaning, mostly with her great grand MiMi. The thing about little Madelyn Joy is how she is a living, breathing, time machine. There's very little about her that doesn't remind us of her mom, our Tiffany, and since Tiffany spent a huge amount of time with us when she was little, well, there was so much about Madi being there that it looked like we had loaded up an old Super 8 movie reel and were watching it again, for the first time. I was talking to our eldest, her Paw Paw, and asked if he had any advice to help her feel comfortable. He pretty much indicated she loved the same things her mom loved when she was little. Playing in the bathtub was one of those. Well, we let her play for a long time, or rather, her great grand MiMi let her play for a long time. I watched more of Dora and Go Diego Go than I had actually planned but she does love those shows. She is a remarkable child and we are blessed to be her Great Grands. That sounds pretty surreal even when I read it. We are blessed and I feel that way even though I know I am a high mileage vehicle. The other day I visited with a fellow I used to work with. He and I worked together for nearly 20 years. Back in the day we were young and energetic. He recently celebrated his 70th. I'll soon reach that road marked Route 66. He and I laughed and talked. Old friends and associates. Great Grand and Grands. My rear view mirror is filled up with lots of wonderful images. There's some small letters on that mirror that says: Objects may be greater blessings than originally perceived. That is, by the way, what I am talking about! Have a great Thursday and maybe, just maybe, I'll have something to flail my arms about tomorrow. May God bless. Amen.         .....More later.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An older greeter at a Walmart in Georgia reportedly slapped a two year old that he didn't know because he wouldn't stop crying. On the evening news, the mother said that she believed that man was perhaps the worst greeter she had ever seen.

Hello, it's Wednesday, March 28, 2012, and if you were interested in aggressive hospitality as reflected in a greeting, you will have to get it here because Wal-Mart has bid its greeter program bye bye. For the past thirty years that greeter program pretty much defined founder Sam Walton's emphasis on engaging customers as they come into the store. While the corporate office says the greeters themselves will not be going away, just repositioned, the greeters themselves are not inclined to believe that word. How do I know? I've talked to them. That's how. As you know, most of these folks are older. They talk about how much has changed on their watch and how Sam has to be spinning in his grave. My comment was that he has been spinning for a very long time. One lady told me that if you look at the people running the company today you will find some other big name stores in their background. Only problem is those stores are either on their last legs or they have gone out of business. She shook her head and said it's a sad day when we need those kind of people making decisions about the company. I hate it mostly because this has been a mainstay for older workers and while they have been reassigned to do other customer related duties, they believe in due time they will likely be phased out all together. As soon as they get those robots fully developed, made in China, of course, I wouldn't doubt that we will be seeing them at a store near you, wearing the blue vest and taking care of business.

In these types of matters, I'm not in favor of our government or anyone else telling Walmart what they should and shouldn't do, however, as a consumer and customer I certainly can share my opinions about them or anyone else in how they conduct their business. And ultimately, we can vote with our spending. We see the power of economic choices at work every single day. An example might be when people find out a particular company can sell their products at a lower cost because of the enslavement of children in a far away land. When something like that is proven to be true, people make the decision not to buy from that enterprise. That's how the free market works and while we might think we are powerless, we aren't, because every day we make decisions that does eventually hit the bottom line. That bottom line speaks louder than anything else to the people who run any business. It's still sad to see decisions being made that negatively impact people's lives. I've always held those greeters in high regard. I used to stop and visit with an African American gentleman who was a retired Sergeant Major from the US Marine Corp. He was not only a blessing as a hero of our nation, but he also had a genuine spirit about him that communicated his faith in God. Yep. I know that a 'God bless you' attitude is frowned upon in the workplace but when he retired I missed seeing him, and missed being able to thank him for his service to our country. He had worn the uniform of our nation with pride and he also wore that blue vest with a sense of honor and caring.

Tim Tebow met the New York press on Tuesday. It was a circus. They had to move it to a larger area because of the more than 300 media people that showed up. I saw clips from his 30 minute press conference but I also read from the transcript. He made it clear that this media event was not his idea but that he too had bosses. He stood there alone. All the team big dogs where in Florida at an NFL owners meeting. I've chosen to share some of what was said so that we all can appreciate the fishbowl Tim lives in. As you read this, try to remember when you have ever heard an athlete being asked these kinds of questions:

Question: "Tim, if you will, two-part question.  Number one: Obviously, you know New York's huge market and your faith is very important to you.  Was the thought of being able to spread your faith in the New York market a big deal, and how about spreading your faith within the locker room, and do you do that very carefully?" Tebow's Answer: "Well, I think, first and foremost, it doesn't matter what market I was in.  Any market, I just want to be myself. And when I'm asked about it, I won't be ashamed of saying that I serve my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.  And in the locker room, you know, it's not something that I'm super outspoken about.  It's just that's who I am and that's how I live. And I don't try to share it with a lot of guys. I don't try to, you know, approach a lot of guys with it. Because I think the greatest way to share the Gospel is by acting it and by them seeing who you are as a person and that's how I approach it." Next Question: "Tim, if you wouldn't mind talking to us about your core beliefs, and also some of the social hot-button topics that we hear politicians talk about, religious leaders talk about. You haven't said a whole lot about that. Is there a reason why," backup quarterback for the New York Jets, "you haven't spoken out about social issues and your core beliefs that we hear politicians...?" Tebow's Answer: "We're at a press conference for a football team. So it's not exactly the platform to get up here and share everything you believe, but I have no problems ever sharing what I believe. You know, I'm a Christian, I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, and that is first and foremost the most important thing in my life. And, for me, it's about having a relationship with Christ, and that's pretty much it. This is a press conference for the New York Jets football team, and so I feel like it's an opportunity to answer questions about my opportunity to be here as a Jet and I'm excited about that. And any time I get an opportunity I'm always gonna talk about Jesus Christ and what He's done in my life, but this is also here to talk about the Jets."

Powerful stuff folks and that's why this young man deserves our prayers and support. May God bless each one and Lord willing I'll see you next time. Amen.      .....More later.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

After a quarrel a wife angrily said, "I was a fool when I married you." The husband quickly replied, "Yes, I know, but I was too much in love to notice." (It's a joke!)

Good Tuesday morning. It is now officially March 27, 2012. We are having some very nice mornings with the temps just under 60 degrees. The afternoons are already very warm for this time of year, mid 80's. I heard the A/C unit at home moaning and groaning. He had not expected to be working this hard so early in the season. My wife has been home now for five days and she has been cooking up a storm. She knows how. Hello? I am diabetic and I have the numbers to prove it. But, the stuff she puts on the table is not only finger licking good, it's just over-the-top good. I think she has surprised herself that she can still do as much of it like she used to. We are in a transition here. There are adjustments at work and there will be more coming down the pike. But, it has been good for her to be able to stay at home. Her phone has been busy with people trying to schedule up some face time with her. I knew that was going to be how it works. Been there, done that, for much of our nearly 48 years together. I'm trying to remember the last time someone, outside of family, called me to schedule a lunchtime meeting. I vaguely remember one but I think it was a wrong number. That doesn't mean I am neglected. Hey, I get invitations to very nice dinners all the time. They are at some of the finest restaurants around. They have to do with some kind of retirement investment program or some other promotional deal. Who said I didn't have friends? However, the fact that I've never gone to any of them might say something. I'm just not sure what.

Okay. I admit it. I have always been, forever and ever, Amen, a gum swallower. I've done it since the invention of chewing gum. Well, maybe not that long, but for a long, long time. I did so against the most loud warnings coming from those near and dear to me. "Son, if you swallow that gum, it will stick to your insides because it cannot be digested." I know that is now officially considered to be an old wive's tale because actually there's no evidence that swallowing gum has any harmful impact on a person's health. I didn't know that at the time and I will admit that I did actually think about all that gum grabbing hold of each other and gumming up my innards. That didn't keep me from doing it, but it did give me one more thing to be concerned about. These types of predictions weigh on a child's mind even if they don't obey them. I used to be a little bit concerned about the broken mirror forecast of bad luck for seven years or whatever. Think about it. You are a little kid and you drop a small mirror. It breaks. The first thing you hear from a trusted source, "Oh my, son, you are going to have seven years of bad luck." No wonder we all end up being warped in one way or another. Sure. We live and learn. Or do we? These sayings are still around today. They end up being the punch line in the "Well, I always heard that if........" That gum deal worked on my wife. She wouldn't swallow a piece of gum if her life depended upon it. I always heard that if you killed a spider in a new house it would never be clean. I always heard that if someone sneezed and you didn't say God bless you, well, some evil spirit may come calling. And, finally, I always heard that if your ear itches, someone is thinking about you, right side for boy, left side for girl. See what I mean? No wonder we end up acting strange! (I found those 'I always heard' because I didn't take the time to come up with some of my own.)

Don't tell me these things are no longer on your radar screen. I'm always surprised when I hear about someone you think would know better changing their direction to avoid a black cat crossing in front of them. Those planted seeds hang on for a long time folks. The good news? God loves us anyway with all of our mistaken ideas, crazy thoughts, and even our strange notions. Dotty Rambo had it right. He really did look beyond our fault and saw our need. He didn't just see it, praise the Lord, He did something about it. I've never redirected my driving because of a black cat but the legend did cross my mind as he or she crossed in front of me. I may have walked around a ladder or two, hopefully not because of the curse, but because it made sense, however, I couldn't say I didn't at least think about what has always been said about ladders. That's why we really do need to know the truth because as Jesus said, the truth will set you free. One of those freedoms has to do with knowing you can swallow all the gum you want to. Just joking. It does make you feel better to find out it isn't harmful, even it was about twenty five years after the fact. I wouldn't want to lay awake at night worried about some of that 1956 Bazooka still gumming up all the works. Now it is time to say farewell for now and may God bless you and yours, as we all continue our journey here. Amen.    ...More later.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Move over Benny, time for a new song, it's now Tebow and the Jets!

Good Monday morning and welcome to a brand new work week, on this March 26, 2012. Sometimes God works in strange ways to accomplish a blessing. As many of you know, my wife was scheduled to retire at the end of April. She has been in a senior sales position for an upscale women's clothing store for many years. That particular store featured in many of the leading retail malls has been in financial trouble for years. They have tried just about every kind of change imaginable along with seemingly a new set of pressures on their associates each week. Last Thursday another major restructuring was announced. Part of this change eliminated certain positions corporate wide. That included my wife's position. She was let go immediately but offered a reasonable severance package which she would not have gotten had she worked until her retirement. See what I mean? She knows it had nothing to do with her performance since she has continuously been a leader in sales throughout her time there. My wife is a friend maker and that extends to her co-workers and her customers. Some of her customers have used her exclusively for ten years or more. When she left last Thursday evening the manager on duty was crying like a baby. She will be missed. I thank God for her testimony and the many times she has been able to encourage and support others through her position. She has been an example to us all and I am proud of her and all that she has accomplished. Pray for her as she transitions into a full time caretaker and caterer to all her husband's wants and wishes. You didn't expect me to not throw in a dream or two, did you?

It's official. Tim Tebow is now a player for the New York Jets. Peyton Manning will be the new quarterback for the Denver Broncos. The press conference announcing all of this was classic. The management at Denver along with Manning himself could not say enough good things about Tim. Alert. Anytime they go way out of their way to pour it on, it's time to watch out! Later I heard some of the Denver fans who were glad to see what they called the religious sideshow on its way out of town. Thousands of others didn't see it that way. Tim took the whole thing in stride. No surprise there. He knows that, no matter what, God is on His side, period. Some wonder if he will be able to deal with the world's most brightly lighted sports press where they chew new people up and spit them out. We will see. I hope he does well. I pray that he will continue to be a voice for the Gospel both on and off the field. I pray that God will continue to bless him and that He will keep him from harm. Many have commented that the 2011 season where Tebowmania swept the nation is not likely to be seen again. I actually hope that it will be repeated. I do know this. On the day when Denver was hoping that Manning would be the number one story everywhere in the world, well, it didn't exactly work out that way. Twitter is the most instantaneous of the social media networks and on that day it wasn't Manning or the Broncos, it was Tim Tebow who dominated those using Twitter to comment on this change. I say go Tebow and may God go with you, son. Amen.

I know there are those who will do just about anything to bring this young man down. They want to corrupt him in whatever way they can and get photos to send around the world. You don't think so? I remember hearing Dr. Billy Graham talk about when he began to become effective in his crusades. There were those who wanted to compromise him in whatever way possible especially with young beautiful ladies. His team took turns guarding his hotel room to make sure no set up took place. Sounds incredible? Think about it. Back in the day when Jesus came to town many of the sin businesses had to pack up and leave. That was more than enough incentive to stir up the forces of evil. This is not new. Jesus Himself was called all kinds of names by those threatened by His message. The Apostle Paul constantly had to deal with those attempting to mar his reputation and taint his testimony. This is the way of the world. It can happen to anyone. It can happen so quickly, in fact, for Bro. Tebow, it could happen faster than a New York minute. That time span was once described as how long it takes for a New York City driver to blow his horn after the light turns green. That fast. I do hope you all go out there and have yourself a remarkable Monday and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Song: "As angels lead me safely home and Heaven's gates I see, Jesus and all my loved ones will be waiting to welcome me."

It may be Friday but that doesn't mean we are finished yet. We've got plenty to do as we continue our sojourn here, and let's face it, more and more are working weekends, therefore, Friday is just another day. But, it is the day that God has made and we have the privilege of rejoicing in it, not because everything is always the way we would like for it to be, but because we know the God who made this day and He is our Father. That's a pretty good thought here on this March 23, 2012. How are you doing anyway? I know some feel like today is Tuesday since they've had a string of Mondays this week. My mom thinks I use that moniker, 'It is what it is.', perhaps a little more often than necessary, but the good news is that while it is what it is, for those of us who await our heavenly reunion, it is not yet what it will be! And that, my friend, is no misty eyed escape driven dream. It just happens to be as much of a reality as the things we touch and feel here on the planet. No. I have not ever visited heaven and no I can't tell you a whole lot of the details about how it functions and operates, but, I can tell you that we have God's Word that it is where He resides, and our Savior is at His right hand, and for each one who have put their faith in Him, it's home, it's our destination, it's where we are headed. That is our blessed hope based on the promises made to us by our Great God. Some say that we who openly anticipate this destination are dwelling on the morbid. We sure are in good company when we read of those in The Scriptures who looked forward to that day when they would stand in the very presence of God. The Apostle Paul spoke very clearly about how wonderful it would be for him because of being with the Lord, however, he also said that until that day, God had something for him to accomplish, and, He is not finished with us either, as we all have our race to finish here. Amen. (The Apostle Paul's Letter to the Philippians.)

I know that some who land on my blog must think that I mostly walk around with my hands folded for prayer and humming some classical hymn. Or, perhaps they think I'm one of those people who like to tell everyone else how they ought to live their lives. Neither of those would be accurate, however, I do readily admit that my relationship with Jesus the Christ and my struggles to live out His purpose do occupy the majority of what I am all about. I used that word struggles intentionally because to share a quote, struggling is what it is, and it does make up a huge part of our attempting to allow God to control and direct our living. That doesn't make me or anyone else elevated and on a tall platform barking down our thoughts towards others. What it does is to make it clear that we all struggle and as a wonderful mentor of mine used to say, that's makes us fellow strugglers. I've said it many times before. If I could have had any input on the salvation process I would have advised God that He should have taken away the propensity for His children to do the wrong thing. He didn't. I believe I have at least a small insight as to why He didn't. That sin nature being alive and well creates tension in our inner being but when you or I choose to allow God to direct and in so doing we say no to our natural inclination, our God, Creator of all things, receives honor and glory, and He is pleased. That should encourage each believer to be vigilant in pursuing the battle that seeks to control our actions, not out there, but in our very hearts. Thanks. I may have needed that encouragement more than you but I shared it as a way of saying one more time, we are in this together folks! Amen.

Another weekly chapter has come and gone. My wife is good to let me know when I make a boo boo and I typically do correct the original. That way when some great great great grandchild happens upon an archive of these random missives they will at least think I took the time to make them readable. Now as to what they will think about the subjects covered, or the mental health of the person who wrote them, well, they will soon enough learn that all families are dysfunctional, (After the Fall, Genesis 3), and most have their fair share of skeletons to deal with as well. One thing will be pretty clear. When it is all said and done, I will have said a whole lot more than I did. My grandfather pretty much predicted that one. Their continued research might find my photo with this information beside it. "User of more words than necessary to convey meaning." Ouch. That's okay because I know I deserve it. We have come to the end and I do hope and pray that you and yours will have a great Saturday, and that Lord's Day Sunday will find you gathered with other believers in a place where God is worshipped and His Word taught. I bid you farewell for now as I look forward to picking up where we left off next Monday. May God bless. Amen.           .....More later.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Excerpt from the poem, The Wild Flower's Song, by William Blake: "As I wandered the forest, The green leaves among, I heard a Wild Flower Singing a song."

Random photo.
Hello and welcome to Thursday's edition, here on March 22, 2012. This has been a great year for Bluebonnets. That's the state flower of Texas. They grow in fields and on the side of highways. People love to have photos of their friends and family taken in the Bluebonnet patch. I've done that myself. More than once over the years. Last week was Spring Break in these parts and I can't recall so many folks out making pictures in the Bluebonnets. Some had their families dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meeting finest. Others took the casual approach. I've even seen some professionals out doing wedding or other special event photography. It just makes things a little more scary with that many children running from and to the cars parked on the side of the road. They are beautiful. The flowers and the children. We have received another soaking rain this week and I, for one, hope and pray that we get enough to avoid the drought we experienced last year. I was feeling very good about it with us being approximately 8 inches ahead as of last weekend, until, yes until, I heard that we were 7 inches ahead last year at this same time. It might be just my age but that drought really made an impression on me. It seems the younger folks don't connect it the way I do. They are much more concerned with the rain interfering with their outdoor activities. Maybe they need to consider that old axiom we always heard growing up about how that you don't miss the water until the well runs dray. Of course it could reflect the fact that I need to get a life with some outdoor activities that would maybe alter my way of looking at things. Or, maybe not.

When it comes to theology, kids get it. No wonder Jesus said that we need to become like children. I read a lady's Facebook posting who is a friend of one of our Louisiana relatives. She was relating the conversation she had with her five year old son while getting him ready for school. The little guy asked his mom when the trumpet was going to blow. She told him that only God knew that and asked was he worried about it. He said he wasn't, he was just wondering how soon he could see his Paw Paw again. The mom went on to say how that it's too bad we all can't get more excited about that Day. My wife told me the other day that I used to not have anything to do with Facebook. I actually would look at hers occasionally but I didn't even have one of my own. Now, according to her, I am a big time user. Well, not so much, but, given little nuggets of spiritual insight from a five year old, well, that alone is worth the price of admission, as they say back home. I have to constantly remind myself and my class that God's Word was not given to confuse and leave us scratching our heads. It was given to us to build us up, to encourage us in our faith, and to give us the same kind of vision and hope expressed by that little guy. Sure, I like to read all the mind boggling thoughts and comments from great scholars but let's face it folks, the people who received those writings were just like you and I, and, with God's help they got it, and with His help, we can too!

My boys would probably say that had they said something like that little kid I would have most likely used it as an opportunity to share the variety of viewpoints about the 'when' of the return of Christ, Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post Trib, the Scriptures quoted, and why folks hold their particular view to be the most likely. My boys would be correct, I fear, yes, even for a five year old. I am trying to do better, however. Over these past few weeks where we've been in contact with a number of grieving folks I've heard some pretty strange thoughts about why God did what He did. I did not, however, use that occasion to try and clear up misconceptions. But, my way of looking at it, as simple as we can take it in, it is so important, so critical, to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. These notions that people have may act to provide some temporary relief but there is nothing in this world like knowing the God of all truth, His promises, and the facts He has given to us about life, death, eternity, and how it all relates to each individual. I should have caught this growing up. My grandfather had very little in the way of formal education. Yet, he knew how to read God's Word for all it's worth. How do I know? He could sit out in that added on den, in his rocking chair, reading God's truth, and I could see tears dropping off his chin. That's what I'm talking about. That's right. It's not given just as an academic exercise, it's given to feed our very souls, you know, soul food! Amen.    .....More later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's not how LONG you live that counts, it's HOW you live that matters!

One would think that with the amount of money being spent on healthcare in our nation we would have the best longevity expected on the planet. One could be wrong. In this case, one could be very wrong indeed. Welcome back. It is Wednesday, March 21, 2012 and I'm trying to make sense out of a recent report by the CIA that examined the death rates of all the nations of the world and found the US to be 50th in terms of longevity expected. Our 78.5 years expected on average beats the world average of 67.6 but we are bested by many others with the number one in the world producing a staggering 89.7 years. That is a 12 year difference. That country is Monaco. You know, the one where Princess Grace was a part of the monarchy. Wealthy. Elite. On the Mediterranean. Relaxing. The famous Mediterranean diet. The study can only guess at why people there live so much longer. In contrast, the life expectancy for men in Russia is barely over 55 years and that is due almost entirely to alcoholism which most experts connect to a sense of hopelessness. The other evening I was making my way across the convoluted access to our eldest son's home. Our eldest grandson, Jimmy Jr., 15, was riding with me. The traffic was terrible. I was pointing out to him some of the silly things that people do when they become frustrated in traffic. He said he understood because it is unbearable to get behind one of those old people, you know, about 50, and they are driving just 30 miles per hour. I had to remind him that his Poppy would be hitting the 66 mark soon. But for some reason he indicated I was exempt from his assessment. You can read the CIA stuff and be informed but I'll take my grandson's expert input any day of the week!

President Rutherford B. Hayes
I don't know who it is that does fact checking at the White House but someone sure needs to do a better job. The other day President Obama lambasted a Republican President who has been dead for 119 years. In defending his own so called  forward looking vision, he said Rutherford B. Hayes was against even considering technology and tried to paint the current Republican contenders with the same brush. First of all, he was dead wrong about President Hayes. In fact, he was so wrong as to elicit a firestorm in response to his allegations. Far from being against technology, President Hayes had the first telephone installed at the White House in 1878 and was first to bring in the typewriter. He invited Thomas Edison to the White House to demonstrate his phonograph invention and never indicated any hesitation at all to embrace new technologies. President Obama wanted to connect this great President to those he called the flat earth folks. President Hayes' great great grandson is not amused. Nor should he be. Where's the formal apology for this unmitigated attack against this man's reputation. Nowhere to be found. Especially among those who have no appreciation for any true meaning of respect and honor. Want to know something else about President Hayes? He was well known for his commitment to morality, not in word only, but also in his lifestyle. His wife Lucy refused to serve any alcoholic beverages while they were in office. She became known as "Lemonade Lucy." They were ridiculed for their stand for moral values. One thing is almost certain. I don't think we need to worry about any charges of morality being lodged against the current administration. I remain along with many others, still waiting for this well deserved apology! Okay. I admit it. Shameful stuff like this makes me very angry. So there. Now you know. I report, you check it out, and then you decide.

Just when you think you've heard it all. We all are aware that Pandas are rare. They eat only bamboo shoots and nothing else. I saw a report where a Chinese couple are turning the Panda droppings into a big business. They are using the 100% Panda poop to grow green tea. That tea has been given the distinction of being the most expensive in the world. One pound is priced at around $3100. Silly me. There I was fretting over coffee prices that average around 50 cents per ounce. They are promoting this product based on all the latest environmental gobblygook, therefore, you can bet they will have the usual suspects lined up to buy some. It reminds me of the joke we told when we were kids. It was the one where the lady asked the farmer if he preferred chicken fertilizer on his strawberries. He told her that personally he preferred sugar and cream. Don't go making fun of the rural folks because our jokes are so corny. That was the only material we had to work with. I know my grandfather used to tell one about how that people can be suckered into buying almost anything. He said a fellow had a little box and he told the people standing by that it contained smart pills. He was asked how much. He told them 50 cents. One fellow handed over his money, took the box, grabbed a pill, tasted it and spit it out. He told the seller that he had tricked him because it was nothing but rabbit pills in that box. The seller smiled and informed the purchaser, "See, you are smarter already." With that, I will say so long for today and may the good Lord take real good care of you, until we meet again. Amen.    ....More later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Okay. This must be the place where we typically meet for our little time of visiting. Welcome once again on this Tuesday, March 20, 2012. It is amazing how things work at times. Don't you agree? A few years ago Rodney, our youngest, and I began trying to make sense of what looked like a rather fuzzy mosaic of our family connections. Many folks are doing that these days. My dad passed away in 1954. He had a twin brother. In our search I barely missed making connection with my uncle. He had passed away just a couple of months before I finally located his information. I did, however, make contact with his son, David. We visited a number of times by telephone. He is, after all, my first cousin. We had pictures from 1953 to prove that we actually had seen each other on a trip my family made from Port Arthur, Texas over to Fort Benning, Georgia. After exchanging some wonderful correspondence and photos, we more or less moved on, me doing my thing and him doing his. One of his daughters Tammy stayed in touch, mostly with Rodney, through email and Facebook. Early last week I saw folks giving condolences on Tammy's FB page. Come to find out, her older sister, Jessica, had been killed in an accident. Jessica was 34 and the mother of 3 year old twins, a boy and a girl. What a horrific tragedy. Because of us staying in touch with Tammy, I was able to call David and offer our prayers and support. As they used to say back home, our family has had its fair share. I was able to encourage him, not because I've lost a grown child, but because of the God who has been faithful to our family throughout our many times of grief and loss. Please say a prayer for this family, especially Jessica's husband, Shane, who was devoted to her, and for these beautiful children, (Annabelle and Bishop) who have lost their mom. May God move in a special way to make His comfort known at this time to all of those touched by this loss. Amen.

One thing we learn in life is that people pretty much hurt the same when they have suffered the loss of a loved one. They tell me that Jessica had a really hard time birthing the twins. Seeing the beautiful family photos on her Facebook page makes me aware of how much she and her husband loved each other and those children. The other day our granddaughter Lexie put up a note of remembrance for a girl she had cheered with. The girl's mom had come to school to pick her up. She was in line. As the girl got into the car, another lady waiting across the way suffered a seizure and her foot slammed down on the accelerator. She crashed into the little girl's car, killing the girl and injuring the mother. My son told me the entire neighborhood was in shock. One thing we know, that while we can't make sense of how Jessica left this life so suddenly and so soon, or how a little girl minding her own business lost her life in a bizarre incident, we can, seek God, not for the answer, but for His provision. Does God really care? I can't help but remember our Savior, Jesus, standing outside of the grave of Lazarus. People had surrounded that place and they were wailing with sorrow and grief. Jesus saw them. His heart went out to them and we are told simply this: Jesus wept. Yes. He knew He was going to raise up Lazarus from the dead but He cared when He saw others crying their hearts out. (Gospel of John, Chapter 11) That we can be sure of. He cares. In the end, there's really no adequate answer we can put forth for these losses, but we can find rest for our weary hearts in Him.  Amen.

Ever feel like life is not so much like a box of chocolates but rather it's more like a roller coaster ride? I'm not sure I have either but it came to mind therefore I think it does make some kind of a point. Maybe its the ups and downs, the sudden changes, the times of exhilaration punctuated by moments of sheer terror. And, perhaps that's way over the top but it is true that we never know exactly what a day may bring. Earlier this month on the anniversary of his death I thought about my older brother Jimmy Don. He died 50 years ago but the memories are still etched in my mind. I was 15 when he left us. I remember his funeral procession. I was riding near the front and I looked back through the rear window as we came up a hill, and I could see a long stretch of highway behind us. There were cars as far as the eye could see. It looked like some kind of convoy. It was a strange sight for that small town. That stuck in my mind. So many cars with so many people. God cares and people care also. I suppose we can't be much closer to showing the love of God than when we reach out to those who are hurting and humbled by their grief. It is a part of life and because most of us have been there, we can, at least in some ways identify with others when they face life's saddest challenge. In fact, this is exactly the sentiment expressed by the Apostle Paul when he penned the words I copied and used in today's title. Go back and read it again and be encouraged that God is the ultimate Comforter but we can also become His hands of comfort to others. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen.      .....More later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The grass may be greener on the other side, but always remember, it will eventually have to be mowed.

Yes. I am still here. It's a very early good morning to you all on this Monday, March 19, 2012. As they say, "Another day, another dollar." But that's not all that is said in that little lingo ditty. It's fill in the blank time and you can play along too. Another day, another ________. Here's how some other folks filled in that blank. Another day, another adventure....another diaper.....another bailout..... another gas price increase....another tragedy ....another rant....another day....another political poll.....another computer virus. And, that's only a sampling of those I found out on the web. Noticing the theme in the ones I did look at showed a tendency towards filling the blank in with all the negatives that surround our lives. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know that when we focus primarily on all the bad stuff going on it can begin to wear us down. It's not just the half full, half empty conundrum. Our outlook drives so much of our ability to function. In fact, economic experts will tell you in a heartbeat how that markets are mostly based on the feelings people have about how things are going. If we can get up each day and say: Another day, another opportunity to serve the Lord in whatever situation we find ourselves in, well, that might help both our attitude and our altitude. I said 'if', because to tell the truth that's somewhat difficult, at least on a consistent basis. But, it is a goal and it's a good one for us all to think about pursuing because when we do we might just fill in the blanks with a more positive vision of our surroundings. Another day, another opening paragraph that has done it again. It's left me scratching my head. Maybe I'll get it later.

We are all in this thing together. Thomas Jefferson had this to say: "If two people meet and exchange one dollar, both leave with that same one dollar. If two people meet and exchange an idea, both leave with two ideas." I can identify with that to a certain extent. Late in my management career at the big company I discovered the potential that came when I turned people loose. Several years before I left I determined that my control mentality, which is very common in management circles, was greatly hampering our ability to get more done. Anyone could have figured that out? Sorry. But sometimes the obvious is not always what is served up given the way in which an environment has always operated. I essentially turned my people loose to do good things for the Company. And that they did! However, it wasn't without its own set of issues. In giving folks a green light to be bold there will be times when things don't work out very well. I did get thumped on the head a number of times, however, the problems were miniscule compared to the outstanding accomplishments we experienced. That fact was not always recognized because most folks there, here, everywhere, make a big deal out of the things that don't go so well, often so much so, that it inhibits people in being ambitious. I saw my job as taking the heat for these problems while continuing to encourage my folks to keep on keeping on. Looking back I could not be more proud of all that we accomplished. How was it done? People were given permission to make things happen. Of course that was a long time ago and I now wonder if I gave myself permission would I have what it takes to get anything done. But, that particular development would be a different story, so, I will save it for another day. Confused yet? I'm still working on getting us all there.

I am aware that on some days people who do take the time to scan what I have written may come to this conclusion: "Has he lost his ever loving mind?" That's a good question but I would likely not be the one who could answer it. While I do take pride in sharing mostly what happens to come out when I sit at the keyboard, I too am often a little puzzled by it. When that happens, I have to remind myself that when it is all said and done, it is The View From Here.  Some 1240 episodes and counting, many of which often seem a little discombobulated and at times maybe even harder figure out than the spelling of Disney's: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I seem to remember that Alesha, our granddaughter, could actually spell that word when she was 5 or 6 years old. It took me a while just to find it because I couldn't get enough of the letters correct for the search engine to figure out what I was looking for. I can report that it is in the dictionary with a definition of it being a nonsense word for children taken from a song in the movie 'Mary Poppins'. In the midst (or mist, you choose) of this particular rather foggy blog I can leave you with something that does have life changing meaning and will help make this day, and every day, the best that it can be: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight". (He will direct your way!) Proverbs 3:5-6. Have a great Monday and may God bless each one. Amen.           .....More later

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to our Kyleigh!

It is Friday, March 16, 2011, and I pause to wish our granddaughter Kyleigh a very happy 17th birthday. She is the eldest of our youngest son's clan and she is already a very remarkable young woman. Smart, beautiful, and she has a clear commitment on doing what it takes to prepare herself for the future. We thank God for this child and look forward to all that He has planned for her life. Kyleigh has always been so respectful and sweet to us, her MiMi and Poppy. That's right. We do notice things like that. One person has said that children are the rainbow and grandchildren are the pot of gold. We've been blessed with a pot full of blessings in the grandchildren God has given to us. Have a wonderful birthday celebration Kyleigh. We love you, MiMi and Poppy.

If you are able to read this, well, after thanking God for the ability to do so and for those who taught you how to read, take a moment to enjoy the way in which reading works. We take it for granted but reading is a very complex process. Think about it. We look at a page filled with symbolic letters put together into words and they connect to our thought process and we are then able to grasp a communication based on our prior knowledge, our experiences, our attitude, and our particular situation in life. Pretty heady stuff. Language. Communication. Information. Word pictures. Mental images. I was fortunate to grow up in an environment where mastering reading was of the highest priority. It may still be that way. I certainly hope so. God gave us the gift of language and one of the most important aspects is our ability to read His Word and gain an understanding of that which He has revealed to us, about ourselves, life itself, and how we can know Him. That takes reading to a whole different level. I suppose I thought of this because our Wednesday evening Bible Study time is being spent in the tremendous text entitled Hebrews. Many people neglect this writing because to be perfectly honest, it is about as deep as it gets. At the same time, it is wonderful in its portrayal of God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in so doing the writer was inspired to pen some of the most thrilling word pictures, examples, and symbolic images to unlock our understanding. Thank God for the ability to read. I may not grasp much of what this great writing is all about, but the little that connects, it just knocks me down. Amen and Amen.

What a week. It is Spring Break week for us. We've been blessed to have a variety of grand kids in and out, and some staying with us, this week. MiMi got lomesome to see her great grand so I called them up and invited them over on Monday evening. MiMi is still recovering from her heart stuff, forth and back, therefore, I have been trying to cater to her as best I can. They came over and we had a wonderful time of fellowship with our granddaughter Tiffany, her husband J.C., and of course, our little 2 year old bundle of Madelyn Joy. Another granddaughter, Stefani, tagged along as well. I'm not sure it was what the doctor ordered but it was what the MiMi requested. Little Madi ran around in her Great Grand MiMi's heels for a good while. We watched and with a sense of God's blessings we could recall that exact same thing, with only the color of shoes different, being done by her mom. Is that something, or what? Jimmy Jr. has been with us since last Friday. His brother Alex and sisters Alesha and Amanda came on Wednesday. Brittany and Stefani came Thursday evening to visit and spend the night. I told you about that pot of blessings, overflowing, and we thank God for each one along with the fact that when I have had all of the blessings I can take for one day, I am able to retire to my room, close the door, crank up a noisy fan, and allow others to continue to share. See. I am not a greedy person. We are blessed folks. We are blessed. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see you next time, Lord willing. Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Inquiring minds want to know: Is there another word for synonym?

The original Little Caesar?
Let's work through our checklist. We covered Monday. Check. Handled Tuesday. Check. Took care of Wednesday. Check. Ready to deal with Thursday. Check. Hello and welcome to my weekly day checkoff activity where we seek to do the best we can and we'll do it here, on this March 15, 2012. Of course it is that day that became known as The Ides of March where Caesar was warned of impending danger, that did, in fact, come to fruition. The ides of March was an ordinary expression that referred to the 15th of March until it became connected to the assassination of Julius Caesar, then it became the beware of the ides of March. Of course we have a very modern example in our 9-11. Before 2001 this number would have basically referred to either a date or the nationally recognized number to be called in the event of an emergency. Because of what happened on that date we now have enshrined it as a remembrance. But today is the 15th and we are blessed to be up and going for another run at making the most of it. Hypocrisy haunts nearly every politician regardless of party affiliation. Sometimes it glares like the neon signs in LasVegas. This happened to Vice President Biden the other evening. He was at a fund raiser dinner where folks had paid $10,000 for the privilege of sharing a meal with him. He stood up, expensive wine in hand, to make a few remarks. On the table were the remains of his exotic steak that had been uniquely fed for its purpose, along with the potatoes laced with truffles. What was the theme of his remarks? It was to remind his dinner partners of how that only he and the President and the Democratic Party could really identify with the common man and what they were going through during these economic hard times. How many times have I told you? You cannot make this stuff up.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of folks who give him and for the most part, all politicians, a pass on this obvious disconnect, because of believing that's just how the game is played. I read another article that said the White House would no longer list the wines served at state dinners. This has been a long standing practice because it typically promotes American wines. It seems that the current administration's campaign folks didn't like some of the blow back when folks responded to the Chinese delegation being served wine that cost $399 per bottle. That expensive wining and dining stuff didn't seem to fit their claim that the party opposite, as they say across the pond, are out of touch with the common man. Don't get the idea that I am pointing fingers just at them. It has become a part of the fabric of our political system. Those running for the Republican nomination have their own skeletons to deal with. Sure. None of us are perfect. People don't like it when I tell them I am not comfortable saying 'anybody but'. I heard the governor of Alabama last night speaking about why he voted for Rick Santorum. He said he voted for him because he best represented his views. The interviewer asked if he thought Mr. Santorum could win the nomination. The governor responded that reading the delegate counts makes that a very unlikely prospect. The network guy then asked, knowing that, why would he vote for Mr. Santorum. The governor gave a wonderful answer. He said you don't always vote for the one who is most likely to win. He had voted for the person he felt that best represented his views. I agree. I hope and pray there will be someone I can vote for that meets that test. But, and this is the thing that people don't like, if there isn't a candidate for President that meets that test for me, I will have to go with none of the above, because my conscience demands it. Meanwhile, I continue to hope and pray there will be a candidate that I can support. But, that's me, and you are entitled to your own opinion. Thank God, we can still do that in America. Amen.

I know what some of you are thinking. A little of that analysis will go a long way. Enough already. I know that sentiment well but when it comes down to it, we cannot hide from the reality we live in. That's right folks. Moving right along, have you noticed the price of gas lately? It is high. Folks are beginning to take photos of the pump with their cell phones and then they post them on Facebook. One college student from our local fellowship drives a pickup and she posted one the other day that read a little over $97. That will rearrange your spending program faster than you can say "Now wait just a cotton picking minute." It reminds me of that insurance commercial where the guy talks about people on a budget, a Ramen noodle budget. I get it. The Ramen noodle connection with cheap is common place. In the commercial it is about a college kid but with these gas prices, we might all be there soon. We've had those noodles in our home. Our boys have eaten them. I have not. I'm not opposed to them. I just have never had them before. It could be, however, a coming attraction. That is unless I decide to show up for one of those dinners where they are passing out steaks that come from very well nourished, contented cattle. And, don't forget the truffle laced potatoes. Truffles are those fungus thingies that grow underground that pigs hunt over in Europe. You can order you some online for about $140 per ounce. I believe that same $140 will buy about 500 packages of the Ramen Noodles. Just so you know. No. I don't intend to start sharing coupons. But, I do close out today's session with a prayer for us all, that we would be encouraged knowing that God is in control. Amen.     .....More later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another good one from Yogi Berra: "If you ask me anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer." Too bad I never caught on to that one!

Hello Wednesday, March 14, 2012, we welcome you into our world. It had to happen sooner or later. I was at the huge mega store where supposedly they sell more for less, in the checkout lane, doing my best to be a cooperative customer. The lady doing the checkout was pretty much tied to her chair because of a physical handicap. Therefore, I lifted up the water bottles and put them on the conveyor because I knew she couldn't scan it otherwise. After she scanned it I reached to pick them up so I could put them back on the bottom of my basket. I heard a sweet female voice, "Sir, I will be glad to help you with that." I turned and there at my elbow was a late twenty something, 100 pound lady and she and her husband were both sporting their jogging attire. "That will not be necessary ma'am but I do appreciate it." What in the world is going on? Do I look that decrepit? I will admit that the package shifted and I paused to get a better grip but for land's sake, give me a break! Yes. I know she was trying to be courteous and kind and take note that I did say thank you but talk about a slap upside the head. She looked like she needed weights to hold her onto the parking lot in a light wind, yet she offered to help me with the bottled water. It reminded me of that story about the boy who got into trouble for helping the little old lady to cross the street. It turned out that the little old lady had no intention of crossing the street. See what I mean? I'm learning that there's a huge responsibility in wearing the white hair. It's not as easy as you might think.

That was a first but I'm sure there are more where that one came from. It's part of the aging process, or so I'm learning. I need to find me some self help videos to get me prepared for these types of things in the future. Just kidding. I wouldn't watch them anyway. I suppose I would rather be surprised. Yeah. That and the fact that these little slices of life give me something to share as we all go merrily along our way in our sojourn here. Maybe that lady had watched the movie "Up" one too many times with her kids. That movie has been played at our house a few dozen times because our Alexander Benjamin likes it. It is about the little scout who needed to help an elderly person in order to earn his final badge. The old man in the film did not want the kid to help him do anything but the story goes on and they build a bonding and it ends up being a sweet little movie. That may be exactly what happened. She watched that movie, came to the store, and I became a target. Maybe I could come up with a disguise. What's that you say? You thought I was already wearing one. Let me do the comedy here. Okay? I suppose I could blame it on the time change or that mid life crisis deal but I've probably used those up over the years. Maybe she was just trying to help? Why don't I just get over it? When did I ever indicate that it even bothered me in the least? Okay. I've taken a deep breath and will now try to hobble my way forward.

Before I get cards and letters, please accept the fact that what I have written about this mournful experience is all for fun, tongue in cheek, just for grins and chuckles. I suppose it was inevitable that with God's grace I would arrive at this juncture in life. I was with some older people recently. They wanted to talk about how that their being in their 80's was nothing anymore given the lifespans people are living today. I suppose that's one way to look at it. That was a positive part of our conversation. The rest of it mostly dealt with all the trials and troubles that older folks face. This means, I will, if I continue to live, be forced one day to act my age, and that's not something I've worked on very much throughout my sojourn. And, I don't mean to imply what you might be thinking. In many ways I was born older. The life God had for us in our little family was one filled with joy but also with the reality of just how serious life can be. Too serious was the way many folks used to describe my demeanor. I've always been the object of those who say 'Lighten up buddy.' And, I think that is good advice. However, as I have often observed, we all are who we are based on all that has happened to us in life. The only thing we can really brag about is our identity with the Lord God of heaven through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives us joy. He provides us with blessings. To one who is serious and to one who tends to be silly. That's our common bond. It takes a whole lot of 'one of a kinds' to make things work in this old world. I'm thankful He saw this one of a kind with all the issues I carry and He loved me any way, and, that my friend, is why we can get up and go each day. And, thankfully, we can laugh a little as we deal with the weebling and wobbling of life. Amen.      .....More later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here's what Yogi had to say about baseball talent: "He hits from both sides of the plate. He is amphibious."

We may not have gotten much of that hyped up hope over the past several years, but we did get change. I haven't heard that one liner used yet, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" I wouldn't think the current administration will be rolling that one out anytime soon. But not everyone feels the way I do about it. My wife recently found out there are some who not only are true believers in the hope and change hype, but they drank the Koolaid, every single drop. She mentioned something about the upcoming election and a coworker let her know exactly where she stood on that subject, for the President, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever, Amen. Speaking of change, how's the time change thingy working for you on this Tuesday, March 13, 2012? We had some at our local meeting of our fellowship on Sunday who failed to make the adjustment and when they found out about it, well, let's just say it was later than they thought it was. Or something like that. I did that one time and only one time, back in the early 1970's. Being the 'me' that I am, when we did arrive at the Church, I immediately wondered what all those people thought they were doing getting there ahead of me. Someone actually had the audacity to have parked in the space I usually occupied! People thought it was rather funny, and I might add, I think they thought so because it was me. I hate it when my humanity shows itself to be so obvious. Having found no one else to blame I ended up having to put it on yours truly. That one incident has plagued me because it caused me to give up my right to criticize those who have done the same thing. I hate it when it happens like that. Know what I mean?

I suppose having the additional daylight is a good thing. Right? I'm not so sure since the concept of using it on leisure activities are pretty much off the table for most folks trying to make it through this economic tumult. Believe it or not, the experts are still debating whether this changing of our clocks, twice a year, is a good or bad thing for life itself, and in particular, for the economy. Does it cost or does it save energy? Some have tried to estimate the actual cost of making this change. For you and I, we simply make a change to our clocks. But, think about the businesses that are schedule dependent, like airlines, and all other forms of transportation. All schedules have to be adjusted along with those that coordinate schedules. Some actually think there's a huge deficit in people productivity until each person's body adjusts to the new schedule. That would cost time which means money. In fact, there is some research that indicates a significant increase in heart failures occur in and around the time change. They theorize that it has something to do with the alarm going off at a different time causing the body to have to respond with an unscheduled burst of blood pressure and adrenaline. In fact, the article I read pretty much said we should be very careful with daylight savings, because it could kill you. I haven't noticed that kind of impact on myself but I will tell you this, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out there are many things we are not aware of when it comes to changes like this. Often we end up being manipulated by the powers that have their own vested interests at stake. No. I am not being an alarmist, but, I do think it only prudent for us all to think seriously on things like this. Know what I mean?

I suppose there are many subjects that fall into the category of: If we only knew. I had a discussion with some men the other evening about our experiences in and out of obtaining health care. One fellow was talking about his situation where the system tended to do what was in its best interest, financially, as opposed to giving him the full picture of options that impacted his quality of life going forward. He came to this conclusion after the fact. Way after. That doesn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise any of us. What many of us fail to think about is how that behind our need for medical treatment there is a system that requires funding for it to thrive. When we are at the point of contact, our emotions are often a major influence in our response. It happens to all of us. We are not so inclined to view the delivery of needed care in terms of it being a business transaction, but it is. Big time. Whatever it takes to move the decision process out of the 'heat of the moment' is something we need to think about, before, not after. I am not trying to plant seeds of doubt. I know it is important to have confidence in those who take care of one's medical needs. At the same time, today's delivery system is not like any we have ever interacted with, therefore, we must learn to take care to make sure we have all the facts, and, that we are able to make up our own minds about the approach, timing, and even the what, when, and where of treatment. Just saying. A word to the wise. A stitch in time. Straight from the horse's mouth. Money talks. Before going under the knife. Before you are left high and dry. Know what I mean? Have a great Tuesday and may God bless us, one and all. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, March 12, 2012

If we had a day to honor soap operas, we all could pretend we are pregnant, and if arrested for any reason, we could fake our own death.

"Welcome back, Your dreams were your ticket out. Welcome back, To that same old place that you laughed about....." Yep. Those are the lyrics from the theme to that popular TV Series, 'Welcome Back Kotter', that played from 1975 through 1979. We watched that series some because it made us laugh. It's hard to talk to the younger workers about stuff like this because they didn't come along until the late 80's or early 90's. Some of them watched them a little on TV Land or maybe saw a clip on a documentary. How do you like that? The shows we know anything about are now showcased only on documentaries. But, it is Monday, March 12, 2012, and I do welcome you back to another episode of 'As the Blog Boogies'. That was supposed to be a take off on the old soap, 'As the World Turns', but I can't be held responsible for everything I write. Or can I? I wrote an email to an elderly preacher and told him I remember that when I was a kid he came and held a revival in our little rural town. He sent back a note where he recalled that his only recollection of our little community was how that when he and the pastor went for a walk, they could follow the soap opera being played on the radio from house to house as it blared out the window. We must have had a really good revival if that's all he remembered. I used to kid Granny Mac about her watching her favorite shows each day. She didn't like for me to criticize her stories as she called them. After we moved away and would come back she would be watching them and I would point out how that very little had changed on the show since I was last there, even months later. To put it mildly, she did not encourage me to become a TV critic. But, I suppose we all have our own real life soap opera to contend with each and every day. I think I heard at least one Amen on that one.

The rock band ZZ Top played the rodeo last week to a crowd of around 56,000. These guys are about my age. I know who they are. They have the beards that come nearly to their knees and according to the review, they are still able to rock their world. I read about them only because one of the guys, Billy Gibbons, went to our high school for a little while and he was in the same class with my sister. Some of the tweets that were recorded in the Houston Chronicle during the concert were pretty good. One concert watcher wondered if these two old dudes were in danger of having a heart attack the way they were playing. Then they quickly added that at least they were near the medical center, just in case. Is there something odd to you about these old people still doing rock concerts? I don't know what that says about them or the people who paid good money to go and see them. I'm not sure I would recognize even one of their songs but obviously they are well known for their dueling guitar prowess. I wouldn't know but that's okay. From what I read, the reviewer thought they only get better each time he sees them, and the crowd also loved them as well. Maybe they have figured out a way to deal with old Uncle Arthur better than I have. It's not just a small world after all, it's also a strange one. Don't you agree?

The other day when we were at the heart center with the wife I couldn't help but notice the excellent care she received. Yes, we do complain about where medical coverage is headed but when it comes to many of the people that deliver the care, they are just outstanding. The business lady was so nice. However, I'm still trying to ponder what she meant when she told me that if I received a bill for the full amount that I should not worry because they are working all of that out with my wife's insurance company. Hello? I sure hope she knows what she is talking about. The nurses and technicians and the doctor himself were all super professional and very courteous. I even enjoyed monkeying around with that fancy coffee maker. It was one of those Keurig devices that makes one cup at a time. They did not have Community in any of those little containers. But, they had one called eye opener and I found that if I selected the short cup on that one, it came out a little on the thick side, hot, and a wonderful dark black. I think I used up at least three or four of those to go along with the several cups I drank at home and to accent the mug I had brought with me. Good coffee. Good folks to work with. And, good results. Now that made it a wonderful day. Amen and Amen. See you next time.           .....More later.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A fella rushes into a doctor’s office in an awful panic shouting "Doctor doctor I’m shrinking! I’m shrinking! You’ve gotta see me right away!" The doctor says, "Hold on now, you’re just going to have to be a little patient."

Hello Friday. Welcome to that special day that so many long for each week. It is March 9, 2012 and I bid you greetings as we continue our journey here. The other day I told you about that mystery number of what we would owe for the heart procedure my wife had done. My wife has always had some of the best insurance around. We knew there had been significant changes made effective the first of this year. That number was a doozy. We had guessed it to be high but our high was less than half of what it ended up being. We thank the Lord we were able to handle it but here's what I want to communicate. Polls continue to show a huge backlash against the federal healthcare program that is being implemented. This administration has thrown every kind of promotion scheme imaginable at trying to change people's perceptions but Americans overwhelmingly continue to oppose this legislation. Simple question. Why? Everyone who must access the current medical system are experiencing the same kind of sticker shock that we did. The free market will always do what it believes to be in its own self interest and these medical providers and insurance companies are reacting in a preemptive manner to the coming changes that will be imposed by this healthcare mandate. Now. Here's the rub. This legislation was supposed to drive down the cost of healthcare but people don't have to wait to see exactly how absolutely fallacious that promise is. My estimate between the before and after as to what we had to pay is by a factor of four. No wonder people are saying thumbs down to government run healthcare. And, that's my report from somewhere near the front lines of where this action is taking place. I report. You decide.

I want to give a shout out to my wife's brother, Milton, and his sweet wife Glenda. Most of you remember Brother Milton, the man of God. Brother Milton was here working on rebuilding our home after Hurricane Ike when he had a massive heart attack and stroke. Given up for dead several different times during the ensuing months, God had something different in mind. This past Monday, Brother Milton and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. As someone used to say, "I feel a hallelujah coming on!" My wife had called Milton to check on him and she said had you not known about his great struggle, you would not have recognized it in the way he talked and interacted on the phone. Another blessing! I do know this for sure. Brother Milton who is one of the most humble people I've ever known will tell anyone at anytime that he knows that God has done this in his life and he will encourage anyone to join with him in giving all the glory to God. Now I am often asked about why one individual makes an unexplainable recovery while another goes on to their reward. I can't answer that based on any knowledge I might come up with but I can point any and all to the God who is in control, of everything, including situations where the doctors tell the family to get ready to say farewell to their loved one. In Brother Milton's case, he had plenty of the medical staff, including a renowned cardiologist, using the word miracle before he left that hospital for his home in Florida. Now that is why it's called Amazing Grace! Amen.

Another busy week. Nothing like trying to keep a few dozen balls up in the air at the same time to make the time fly by. I want to once again acknowledge the love, support, and prayers of so many on behalf of our family in the passing of our sister, and in particular, the intercessions on behalf of my sweet wife. I endured a lot to get her to be mine. Back in the day, that is, in the mid 1960's, when I used to drive onto the parking lot of their Church property, all those home boys gave me that stare. They must have missed the Sunday when the preacher taught about welcoming visitors! I was a foreigner to them. Not only from a different town, it was a rival town. And, mostly, they detested the fact that I was there to chat up one of their own. That love stuff is strong. Many of them were tall and muscled up. I was a little dude but compelled as I was, I basically pranced my way through them as if I had come to conquer. Even at their fellowship gatherings at someone's house I was more or less tolerated. The outsider. My oh my, the things I did, for that woman! Don't be surprised if she tells that story a little different but that's the way I remember it and I'm sticking to my version. I actually don't think she would tell it differently because that's the way it was. I was able to get through all of that because when it came down do it, I wasn't there to see anybody except her. The rest of them were not on my radar screen, that is, until I had to deal with her dad, and her mom, but that came later, and that's another story, for another day. Have you noticed that I do have some stories to tell? Good. Glad you are paying attention. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and Lord willing I'll catch up with you next Monday. Amen.     .....More later.