Monday, April 30, 2012

Lord willing and all that other stuff, I am back in the saddle again!

Good morning and welcome back, on this Monday, April 30, 2012. What's that? I am the one who has been away? Oh yeah. That would be correct. Today is back to work day for me and it's also our middle son's birthday. Jimmy has not had an easy time of it in his sojourn here. He has a severe Bipolar disorder that pretty much mucks up many of his days. But, he is blessed to have a wonderful group of kiddos who are very devoted to him. Jimmy Jr., Alesha, Amanda, and Alex keep things interesting when they are around and they do love their daddy. We can't fully understand all of the challenges he faces but as his parents we can only do what we can to help. We wish our Jimmy a happy birthday and that he would know and realize our love and the love that God has for him. No one ever said that we would all enjoy a fairy tale life but God has said that He would never leave us nor would He ever forsake us, and that's a promise we can count on. And, I start off my return to work by saying Amen to that. I do hope you all are well and I ask that maybe in recognition of our Jimmy's birthday that you would say a prayer for him. Thanks.

Last Saturday evening I was able to attend the 65th wedding anniversary celebration of my Aunt Elwanda and Uncle Waymon. Uncle Waymon is my mom's brother. They are the last two remaining siblings in their family that numbered eight children. I drove up to Athens, Texas for a most wonderful event. Their daughter Cindy had, along with her husband and children, put together a wonderful celebration of this noteworthy event. Long term marriages are a rarity in our world today. Here in our country, getting to a 50th wedding anniversary has only a 5% chance. The numbers, of course, go down from there. Only slightly more than 1% achieve 65 years together. Married in 1947, this couple has a life, not only of being together, but also of using their time and resources to influence and impact the lives of others. I should know. They did many things for me as I was a kid growing up and I can stand and say not only a word of thanks, but also add that in many ways I am who I am today because of the help I received from them and others. That's right. We are not lone strangers here and hopefully we all realize the support God provides to us through the efforts of others. It was a wonderful affair with 100 people, many that have known them for years and years, and of course my mom and dad were there, and that always makes it special for me. Congratulations to my Aunt and Uncle on their example to us all, and may God bless their demonstrated lives of service to others. Amen.

I can't say that I have hit the ground running this morning but I am at least falling forward, or at least I hope that is the direction I'm pointed towards. It is good to be back. I did brew up some extra extra strong Community this morning. That stuff they served at the hotel up in Athens had a label that said it was 100% Columbian. I'm not sure they were talking about the Columbian country, the Columbian Broadcasting System (CBS), or maybe some other something. But, one thing is certain, they were not talking about coffee and they certainly were not talking about Community. Okay. I will admit it. Confession is good. And, I do know that I am over the top when it comes to my coffee. And, I also will share that I perhaps went a little overboard this morning. I'm just glad I have my very beautiful hand painted granddaughter Lexie cup because I'm pretty sure one of those plastic deals might fold up like an accordion if any of this were to be poured into it. You do know it's strong when I say it's strong. But, the more you sip it, the better it tastes and it just seems to make everything better. In fact, I happen to be humming a tune and it's that good old song by John Denver, "Ain't it good to be back home again." He was right. It is. Welcome back to me and may God bless us all as we seek to honor Him this week with the life He has given to us. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Memories that will bring a tear...and a sneeze.

Chris made his mom a cheesecake for her birthday!
Good morning and welcome to Thursday, April 26, 2012. We've been very busy here at the old home place dealing with some materials that have been around since the 1960's. We actually have had on hand all of our financial records dating back to 1964. It's fun to look back at what we were paying for water in Alexandria, La., back in 1965, or how much we paid for our brand new 1966 Karmann Ghia, but then again, you have to wonder if any of that will really matter to anyone, including ourselves, in the past, the present, or the future. We have downsized our archives and have a huge amount of materials that will soon meet their end in the incinerator. Just in case you might not know, this, my friend, is very intense work. We kept 99% of all the kids memorabilia and they will eventually make a decision about all of that stuff. I suppose Rodney might want to look at the several castings we have from his climbing adventures as a toddler. Our Chris may want to look at some of his earliest art work and Jimmy some of the notes he used to write. Eventually. At least they want have to work their way through all the stuff we've handled this week. Some of that stuff is so old it has begun to crumble. We did do some sneezing as we worked through the discard or keep process but it was, as they say, worth the effort. One thing is certain. When we were starting out our financial records would easily fit into a shoe box. As we continued the boxes became larger and larger along with the tax bills. But, that's the way it works here in the home of the brave and land of the free. Hope you all are all well and may God bless us all. Amen.     .....More later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's me again!

Hello friends and neighbors. It is Tuesday, April 24, 2012, and yes, I am still around. We've had a busy last few days taking care of this, that, and the other. Yesterday, my wife's birthday, was spent trying to get her insurance straight which we were able to do, thank the Lord. We also got her in to see her doctor and we are now hopefully on a better track to get her some help with her recent health challenges. Not such a great way to spend your birthday but we think it will be a good start to get her some help and for this we are thankful. She couldn't have been more pleased with the outpouring of birthday wishes from phone calls, from Facebook, and the many cards she received. She also received numerous textings and phone calls including several from her grandkids, and that was so sweet. On Sunday, 22 of us gathered at an eating establishment to recognize her birthday. It was one of those days that we will allways remember. She came home that evening and all she could say was how wonderfully blessed she felt. Getting that group together is not so easy and having everyone in good spirits including the little ones all at the same time, who said the age of miracles has ceased. We are still pursuring some activites on my vacation agenda but we are thankful to the Lord God of heaven for the progress we have made. Thanks to so many of you for your prayers and support. May God bless one and all. See you next time or ..........whenever. Amen.        .....More later.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Celebrating the birthday of the wife God has given to me. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Good Friday morning to one and all. I bring you greetings from the soon to be vacated premises, at least for the next week, here on the 20th day of April, 2012. If everything goes according to plan we will be having a gathering of the family clan on Sunday to celebrate the wife's birthday which is on Monday. I've been hanging out with her since 1962 and I can tell one and all, she is a remarkable woman. Beloved by her children and their spouses, grandchildren, great granddaughter, siblings, former co-workers, brothers and sisters in our local fellowship, friends, and also by me, the man privileged to be her husband for coming up on 48 years. Her transition from being full time employed to being full time at home has had its own set of issues. She has had to deal with everything from insurance difficulties to procedural snafus and along with that some unexpected health challenges. But, we know that in time these will all be straightened out and we pray that she will be able to adjust to her new situation. God has been good to us in so many ways. He has been faithful. One of the great blessings He has given to me is the wife He chose for me. Today, in keeping with Proverbs 31, I, as her husband, proudly rise up and call her blessed. Happy birthday sweetheart. Yes, you are still the greatest!

One of the things on our agenda next week is to continue our search through boxes for some things we most likely stored during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I am aware that this storm occurred in September of 2008. We do have perhaps a dozen locker sized boxes filled with everything from music to nearly 50 years of accumulated paperwork. Maybe we can use this process to do what is typically always hard to do, discard stuff that we really do not have a use for. That could easily be over half of it, if not more. I've seen those folks on TV that buy those storage units and how they sort through all the little stuff. They set up tables and essentially separate every single item so it can be reviewed as a keeper or something for the trash can. Maybe we will do something like that. Take one box at a time. Let the wife and I review every item and make a decision on what to keep. Of course there is always that one piece of paper that is illusive. I think I know where it might have been before it was boxed. My wife was very good to mark each box with its source. I have looked before but this time it will be a thorough search with two sets of eyes at work. It should be interesting. Not really. But, one thing is certain, it will be the ultimate walk down memory lane!

If you don't find anything in your email from the blogger ranch next Monday, you will know that I am otherwise occupied doing this, that, or the other. Since Monday is my wife's birthday, maybe we will do something special. We do have the termite killing patrol scheduled to visit our home today. They tell me it should be completed within a couple of hours. We also know from reading the literature that it doesn't work  instantly. It will take some time for the little critters, if and where they are, to all become acquainted with this lethal injection. Sorry. I know that sounds morbid. I sure hope there's not any folks out there who are protesting the ill treatment of termites because the way I see it, the only good termite is one that has been immobilized, like - - permanently. I used that more kinder and gentler language so as not to offend. I do hope and pray that you and yours will have a wonderful Saturday and that Lord's Day Sunday will find you enjoying the fellowship of God's people. I leave you with my confession of human frailty but thankful that God knew about it, and He planned for it, and because of His provision through the sending of His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, well, I have been made right with the Father and I will spend eternity in His presence. I'll most likely give you an update sometime next week. Until then, may God bless one and all. Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You know that progress may be questionable when you step up on the scale and it reads: To be continued.

Made it to Thursday, April 19, 2012. I should start practicing my 'happy feet' dance soon. My family would say that if I do any practicing, make absolutely certain it is in a pitch dark room with no way possible for anyone to see it, or, may the good Lord help us if it were ever to be filmed. They know my abilities so well! I would be doing the happy feet dance because I will be on vacation next week. I'm still trying to decide whether to do my daily blog but I will let you know. I don't feel a need for a break but I'm also taking into consideration my readers. We will see. Living in an area adjacent to the huge Houston metro expanse does have interesting side effects. We are on the north side off of the so designated Dallas highway, I-45. Weather can be stormy anywhere in the Houston area and we might or might not even be impacted. Like the other day I saw a flash alert come up on my computer about how the rain was pouring in Houston. Turns out it was on the other side of the downtown area and we were not getting even one drop. Next time I talk to the folks back home they will tell me about how they saw folks on the news wading across flooded areas. But not in our area. Coming out of last year's drought and still being at least in the running for Round 2, well, I just happen to be a little more sensitive about things like rainfall totals and other vital statistics. I'm very used to folks back home not being able to picture an area that might cover nearly 1,000 square miles. When I attend Church with mom and dad, typically someone will inquire if I have bumped into their relative lately. They do live in the Houston area. But that could be 50 to 75 miles from where I live. Their perspective is different. I understand that. It doesn't bother me one bit. I usually just tell them that I haven't because I haven't been over in that particular area lately. It really does little good to let them know their kinfolks are a day trip away from my territory. And, I am not saying I was hoping to be waist deep during this last rain event. But, I would have appreciated if maybe 2 or 3 inches had sloshed our way. You know. Anything to help avoid what we went through last summer. But the good Lord knows all about it and we trust Him to provide with or without a downpour on our schedule. Amen.

I don't know exactly every detail about how messed up the medical system is in our country but the other day I had a pretty good taste of some of the problem. We just received the bill from my wife's ER and overnight stay in the hospital this past February. We spent a little over 24 hours there. The bill was nearly $22,000. The discount was listed as nearly $20,000. The insurance paid all but $100 and that is what we owe. I know there is something going on about accounting, write-offs, reasonable and customary, and all of that, but, on the surface that billing statement makes about as much sense as trying to get your vitamins at a crack house. I know. Most people say we should be glad that we only owe the $100 and that we should just forget about the rest. And, I am thankful that we had coverage that took care of most of these expenses, however, when something is glaringly absurd, shouldn't we at least consider the implications? I did a little research and yes, sadly, the uninsured would get the full bill, but, even that full bill would likely be different than the one they sent to us. It would be huge and higher than most folks without insurance could pay, but it likely would not be as high as the full amount shown on our bill. They do this as part of a game to get as much as they can out of the insurance company. I mention this because some think that those of us who are opposed to a government takeover of the health care system believe everything is hunky dory in the current way medical services are delivered. That would be ABSOLUTELY WRONG! We do need reform and this little episode is just one small proof. Along with this mess, we have gotten bills from a myriad of auxiliary medical services, one or two per week. I think we even got one where we owed for a clean up on aisle 7. Maybe I should check that one again. Go ahead and smile. Might as well.

I am aware that this is not something that is new and most of you have had to deal with this same situation. If you haven't, you will. Meanwhile, the highest priority for our President is trying to get something called the Buffet Rule put into law. The Buffet Rule named after the billionaire Warren Buffet is a minimum tax for all those who make 1 million or more dollars. If approved, the amount raised would operate the government for around 10 days. But it gives President Obama a wonderful opportunity to champion one of his great campaign themes, divide, divide, divide. Divide people based on their color, their education, their income, and any other reason that can be found. For his administration it does appear that he is the proverbial captain of the Titanic and upon hearing about the calamity in progress after hitting the iceberg, he decides the best plan of action is to rearrange the deck chairs. Ten days. I'm not saying there shouldn't be fairness in the tax code and I'm not saying the tax code doesn't need to be fixed, because it is not only out of control but it has been out of control for at least the past forty years. But using gimmicks to try and gain political advantage at a time when our nation is on the brink, well, that's not statesmanship folks, that's a pandering pilfering of trust pursued only for personal gain. Just so you know, the pandering buck doesn't stop at the President's desk either. Presumed nominee Mitt Romney is on record for saying that he would move immediately to totally overhaul the tax code when he is elected. I think that has been promised by every head of our nation all the way back to King George. I just wanted you to know that I am reading more than just medical bills. In the final analysis, we need to deal with all these matters from a position that gets us as close to God as is possible: That would be on our knees and faces, humbly seeking His intervention. Amen.             .....More later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

God's calling is personal and it is never an accident because He seeks to save all those who are lost.

Good Wednesday morning to you. It is go time as they say here on this April 18, 2012. That 'Are you ready to meet God?' graphic I used in yesterday's blog came from an interesting place. When I did an image search it came up with that one, but you will likely never guess from where. Big search engine looking here, there, and everywhere found it on one of my blogs published in September of year before last. I told you that I do have a presence out there in that vast wide, wide world of a spinning global internet where vast amounts of information, data, and graphics can be retrieved in less than a second based on a single keystroke. I don't think that was the first time this has happened but it still surprised me to see my blog being hit so close to the top of the search chain. I love it. In fact,  think that's wonderful. Why? Because it makes me feel important or special? Not even in the least! I love it because if I landed on one of my blogs and it had something to say about coming to know Christ, well, it's pretty likely that someone, somewhere in the world might just do the same. You know. The deal about the Russian engineer finding the Savior through a single verse designation, John 3:16. It could happen. Now here's what would be really neat. Maybe, and I say maybe, because it is, after all, in God's hands, but wouldn't it be a blessing to meet up with someone in heaven someday that landed on one of this country boy's blogs and because of a verse shared along with some explanation, he or she came to know Jesus? It could happen. It really could. He is able folks. He is able! Amen and Amen.

Here's the paragraph where I had previously used this same graphic, from September 10, 2010, "I know most of you think that I must obsess over politics all the time. You would be wrong. I am probably more tuned in than the average bear but it's not something I typically go to bed thinking about. Those who know me are aware that I can still multi-process a little. I used to brag about being able to juggle dozens of issues and priorities at the same time. Nowadays I find myself mostly trying to remember how to juggle at all. Getting all the balls up in the air is not the problem, it's figuring out how many are going to hit the floor that consumes my attention. It doesn't take but one visit to see my brother to help frame the fragility of life as we know it. Yesterday a dear friend of ours sent out an email about his pending heart surgery. It was an extremely risky surgery but one he faced with faith, hope, and optimism. I am happy to report that he made it through the surgery and is now on his way to recovery. In his email he shared his testimony of how this event had triggered a desire to share his love for all those near to him, as well as to inform everyone of the hope and confidence he has in his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. His desire is to live out a normal life if that is God's provision for him but he stated that he is fully ready to meet His Savior, not because of one solitary good thing he has ever done, but because of the blood of Christ that has saved and forgiven him and made him an eternal child of the living God. Yes. He said he had updated his will and made other prudent arrangements but his greatest concern was that every single person who read his note or heard about his testimony would come to the knowledge of the truth so that when they came to face the end of their days here, they too would be ready to go. What a way to live and what a way to get ready to die. Thanks Bro. Robert and may God continue to heal your body for His honor and glory. Amen."

I got all excited again just reading about the testimony of our dear friend. I occasionally get a comment from someone who has landed on my blog. They typically use the word accidentally. Really? It may not be an accident when God comes calling even in the most subtle and unexpected ways.  Ask the Samaritan woman. In John's Gospel, Chapter 4, we read about Jesus taking a route that surprised His followers. Typically the devout Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans who were thought to be unclean, yet Jesus said it was needful for Him to go that way. Why? There was a divine appointment waiting to be kept between the living Lord of the universe and a very broken woman that Jesus found at the well where water was drawn. She didn't get up that day expecting to meet the Savior. It is one of the most wonderful accounts in the life of Jesus and I commend you to reading it again, for the first time. She didn't expect but God had a plan and she was a part of it. That's how it often works in God's approach to reaching folks. A word, a deed, a testimony, a song, a verse, and yes, even a blog written that lays out the plan He provided to make salvation available to every man, woman, boy, and girl. Maybe it wasn't by accident that I searched for that image. Maybe I needed to be reminded about the life changing power of God's message extended to a lost and dying world. At any rate, I come away being both humbled and excited. Not too bad of a way to start out a day is what I have to say. May God bless each one. Amen.        ....More later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'You never get anything right,' complained the teacher. 'What kind of job do you think you'll get when you leave school ?' 'Well, I want to be the weather girl on TV.'

No wonder a dying calf bawls!
It is Tuesday, April 17, 2012, and hopefully after today the fallout from Tax Day will begin to subside. When I would find a reason to cry as a youngster, my grandfather would observe that I was bawling like a dying calf in a hailstorm. No. I have never seen or heard the object of his example but it did convey the meaning that I was perhaps overdoing it. I know. Hail and bawling combined. Real noisy. Today's culture isn't tuned in to such crude observations. I worked with a lady from back East who could hardly stand the euphemism about the parent declaring if the child didn't straighten up she would pinch their head off. She considered the thought alone to be cruel and inhumane treatment. She had better be glad she didn't grow up where my momma lived. By the way, we never thought for a moment that our mom was going to somehow squeeze our heads so hard they would fall off. Who ever heard tell? But, we absolutely knew that she meant business! Well, back to the subject of hailstorms. Last Thursday the folks up in Amarillo had plenty of reason to be loudly responding, you know like that calf deal, to a freak hailstorm. How freaky was it? Nickle sized hail (marble size) in up to four feet drifts! Now that's what I call a hailstorm! They will be sorting out the damage from this one for some time. In Amarillo, the actual accumulation was a few inches, but I did read about a huge one in Kansas in 1959 where a total of 18 inches accumulated on the level. It took weeks for it to melt. Thanks for tuning in to this public service announcement from the weather desk here at the blogger ranch studios.

There was a common theme from the termite episode: Time to re-treat. Meaning: We need to have the house treated again. The last fellow said he couldn't guarantee there weren't some of those little gnawing critters still around and he thought he may have found an entry point outside near the deck. This sounds like a prudent approach and we are still thankful that thus far we haven't discovered any major structural damage. We most likely will do some minor stuff in that one room but all in all, we are thankful they swarmed and we (they) saw them and that led to the checking process along with the panic and awe of the checkers. My wife's brother has had quite a bit of experience dealing with these pests. His theory is that they most likely chose that particular place for a reason and his experience tells him there may be more around, somewhere. At any rate, the treatments available seem to have improved in how they work and in how long they last. We will move forward with this project and hope that soon the wife will quit running out of the room when that commercial comes on that shows that oversized larvae looking termite with the huge teeth chewing off some two-by-fours. When you remove some sheet rock and they fly all over the place, well, it did make an impression on her. I wasn't there but I can tell it is still very fresh on her mind. This new chemical is supposed to be very effective and it lasts up to 15 years. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the technician meant when he said it should be the last treatment we would ever need done on that house. I actually think he was looking at me when he said that. What? I now have to deal with termite people who do prophetic predictions on the side?

We all joke about the weather but we also know that it can be a no joking matter. The recent tornado activity in the middle section of our 48 contiguous states has been bewildering and sorrowful. Reading about the deaths of folks taken in the night by a huge tornado is very sad indeed. Seeing the scenes of destruction is about as sobering as it gets. Our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers go out to those impacted by these huge storms. We just never know. But we are able to be ready. That's the message of God to His created human family Be ready. This life is uncertain because we live in a sin cursed and fallen world. I was reading about some of the unusual ways that people have met their end. A 28 year old veterinarian died from an explosion while treating a horse in hyperbaric chamber. The horse kicked and its hoof made a spark on the side of the unit triggering the explosion. A 35 year old Hispanic died from stab wounds received during a cockfight. One of the birds that had a knife blade attached stabbed him in the leg cutting a main artery. An elderly gentleman died after falling from his stepladder and landing upside down in a bucket of water. He actually drowned. There were dozens listed but I will leave you with this one. A twenty five year old lady driving down the road near Ontario, Canada was hit and killed by a flying bear. The bear had been hit by another car sending it airborne and the bear came through her windshield killing her instantly. Oddities, and even unthinkable, but yet the results for them all were final. I always advise everyone including me to get and to keep their house in order when it comes to their standing with God because we never know when, like the termite fellow said, it will be the very last time we do something. Amen.    .....More later.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hello Monday morning and Shalom Y'all!

When Mark Lowry, the Christian singer and comedian was in Israel for a musical presentation, he greeted the crowd with, "Shalom Y'all" to help connect Southern Gospel to its Jewish roots. Not a bad greeting if you ask me. So, Shalom Y'all, good to see you and howdy, on this Monday, April 16, 2012. I saw a list of news headlines on the ABC website the other day that kind of tells a story. The top one had to do with the reaction to a song that was played at Whitney Houston's funeral service, then there was one about another high school teacher who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, followed by a story about a cast member leaving the Saturday Night Live program. Number four on the list was the headline about North Korea's planned launch of a rocket that could very well be a test for landing a nuclear bomb on our doorstep. Does that not depict where we are as a culture or what? Nothing like making sure we have our priorities in order. Right? Right. I know there's much that has been said about us being a celebrity obsessed culture but when you see it played out in terms of what attracts people's attention, well, it does bring it home, so to speak. Why should we be concerned about this? One word: Children. Our children. They are being bombarded with images and pressures that reflect this orientation. I read the other day where a ten year old girl gave birth in Columbia, South America. These pressures to be something other than a child are real and while the media has a vested interest in downplaying the impact, we should not look the other way while our heritage is being harmed. And, I give myself an Amen on that one!

I know most of you are not likely daily readers of obituaries, far and wide. I take in quite a few. It has become a habit of sorts but it does keep me acutely aware of the brevity of this life and how that we never know what might happen as we get up and face each day. I read one the other day from a funeral home in Many, Louisiana. That little town is only a few miles from where I grew up. A gentleman had passed away and one of the things said was that he had been a friend to many folks in his 72 year sojourn. At the end of the write up, this quotation was said to be written on a piece of paper and carried in his billfold: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, Let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” I read that early one morning. It was like a jolt of inspiration wrapped up in some good old fashioned conviction. Not a bad way to go about your life and his approach was very much sanctioned by our Lord and Savior. Jesus summed up the meaning behind the law in terms of priority: Love God with every fiber of your being, and love others as you already love yourself. See there. Even at a time when tears flow as some are saying goodbye, others can be encouraged by a life lived for Christ. Amen.

I scan a number of these notices every day. And, typically they do not jump out at me, other than to let us all know that one day our name will occupy that same space. On the day I found the one with that note, there was another one in the same list of a man who lived for 85 years and had overcome what was seemingly insurmountable odds in his life. He had polio as a child. He had difficulty finding a job that he could do well in. Finally, he started his own business and for over fifty years it provided for him and his family. I don't know about you but accounts like this are inspirational. It helps us to know that we are not alone in our struggles but it also shows how that grit and determination can make a difference in life. Overcoming odds. No doubt many folks would have written his crippled body off as a youngster but God had a different plan. This man's life reminds me of the man born blind that was given his sight by Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 9. That man had laid by the roadside for years begging. Many believed that his blindness was due to some great sin in the life of his family. But Jesus informed them that this man's healing would be used to bring great honor and glory to God. And, that it did! The blind man was healed. His healing was rejected by the religious leaders. Even the man's parents were frightened by this great event. He gained physical sight that day but not long after Jesus met him one on one, and he then gained spiritual sight which was of unsurpassed magnitudes of greatness more than just being able to see with his eyes. I doubt that anyone that knew that man had any hope for him to ever be anything other than a blind beggar. God had a different plan. And, He has a different plan for you and for I. Responding to Him is where we become aware of His plan for our life. Amen.   .....More later.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Only 255 days, 19 hours, 9 minutes, and 53 seconds until Christmas 2012!

Okay, I suppose we all need to be extra careful today since it is Friday, the 13th, here in April of 2012. You do know that I am kidding because it's Friday, just like any other Friday. I've never been one to pay any attention to the melodrama surrounding this supposed bad luck day. I've also never seen any of the movies that carry that name. Sure, I've seen clips of Jason and I know the movies are scary and gory but that kind of nonsense is just not my cup of tea. Speaking of nonsense, but in a serious way, of course, I do get a constant flow of comments and questions about my Santa plans. The most common tend to revolve around my beard and when I will be letting it grow out completely. I don't have a specific date in mind but I typically tell those who ask that it will likely be sometime in the early summer. I do get the occasional question about reindeer and sleigh technology along with some feigned displeasure with the gift someone wanted but did not receive. It"s all in good fun and when I can I hand out a card that has my Santa photo alongside an image of Santa kneeling at the Manger. I know that didn't happen, but it does give someone an opportunity to consider the verse on the card, John 3:16. It's my way of sharing a souvenir along with a testimony regarding the Real Reason for the Season. Never think that sharing any amount of truth is a wasted effort. I've told you before about the testimony of a Russian engineer working in Iraq on a tunnel system where he saw just John 3:16 scrawled on one of the culverts at the construction site. He didn't have a clue what it meant. But he couldn't get it off his mind. He returned to Russia and once he had a chance to research it, he read it and in so doing he heard the call of the Gospel, and gave his heart and his life to Jesus, the Christ. We share little or much, but it is God who takes truth and uses it to speak to a person's heart. And, I say, Amen for that!

I know many of you have been nail biting while you await the results of our termite inspection. Maybe a drum  roll would be appropriate. Or even a song, "Do you know the termite man, the termite man, the termite man, do you know the termite man who lives on dreary lane?"  My apologies to any and all who might have cherished the original children's Muffin Man song but as they used to say back home, you might as well laugh as to cry and I thought that little song might just do it. Let me just say this about the great 2012 termite caper: It could have been much worse. Essentially, here's what we found out. Most of the damage appears to be very dated, perhaps all the way back to when we bought the house. We did have what they call a swarm but no indication of a recent infestation. We will be having a second opinion on Saturday. At this time I can say: The house is still standing, praise the Lord. The structure is still basically sound, praise the Lord. And, what has to be done can be done at a relatively reasonable cost, praise the Lord. A chemical that has been banned was the one used back when we first had the treatment done over twenty years ago. According to the paperwork, it was supposed to be effective for a good long run. That banned substance may be the reason we all glow at night which negates the need for nightlights. See. You can always find something positive if you are on the look out which leads me to another little song. "Glow little nightlight person, glimmer, glimmer, Hey there, little nightlight person, don't get dimmer, dimmer." Apologies to the Mills Brothers who I dearly loved to hear sing. I know. I know. That should just about be a wrap, but, I will keep you posted.

My wife is leaving me again. She is off to Louisiana for a mini reunion with her two brothers and her sister. I asked her if she thought she should leave, you know, with the termite crisis and all. Her response: "Are you kidding? These are my siblings and we have not been together in a long time." I was just asking. You know. Making conversation. I will tell you that I was impressed with the speed of her response. Those little gray cells can get up and go when they have the right motivation. I do pray they will have a most wonderful visit together. My wife's family group have always been close, but as the years click off, they realize the priority of being together when they can. And, I've also been hanging out with these very same folks for nearly fifty years and they all have been a blessing to me, along with their spouses, and their extended families. Memories. Good ones. But, that doesn't fix the problem of her not being around to help keep me pointed in the right direction. I'm surprised she didn't start some kind of prayer chain or something before she left. Only joking. But that might not be a bad idea and I will be the first to agree that any prayers offered up on my behalf at anytime are greatly appreciated. So, we find ourselves on our way to completing another work week and it's time to say farewell until we meet again. I do hope and pray that you will enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and Lord willing, and if the glowing doesn't keep me awake at night, I'll try to be back in my usual place, come next Monday. May God bless one and all. Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On April 15th you count your blessings . . . and then send them to Washington.

Well hello there, it seems like it was only yesterday, but ain't it funny how time slips away. Or something like that. It is Thursday, April 12, 2012, and the counting down to tax day looms before many of our fellow citizens. The line about how that the only thing certain in life are taxes and death was uttered by a number of famous people. The more modern usage was coined by Benjamin Franklin when he said this in 1789, "Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed." Now we have a new wrinkle to examine. A recently completed study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes it very clear that taxes are not only certain but they also can be very deadly. In this study it was revealed that traffic collisions across the country go up an average of 6% on tax day. This is a consistent trend over the past 30 years. Using fatality data makes it clear that taxes kill people, at least when the tax payer has a fatal collision. Many experts have attempted to come up with reasons for this very clear increase in potential harm. Some think it attributed to the stress of dealing with the tax deadline, perhaps the increase in the use of alcohol, or maybe related to a loss of sleep associated with the preparation process. This is a very real and present reality and it has been consistent in the data from 1980-2009. Some advice: Buckle up buckaroo, keep your eyes not only on the road but also on those other people who may be overtaxed in worrying about their taxes. I know this is a taxing subject and I prefer to always get off on a positive footing here at the blogger ranch but it's also good to forewarn everyone when we can.

That should make next Monday, the 16th, a real interesting day to be driving. The deer have their way of making their presence known and now I have to be on the lookout for a distracted tax payer prone to collide. It's always something. This morning I will be meeting with a fellow to look at our downstairs bathroom where we have spotted some termites at work. Hopefully we caught them before they did a lot of damage. Hopefully. We have been treated for termite prevention but that had been some time ago. Those are some very little bitty dudes but they are capable of great destruction. Thanks to our middle son Jimmy who cut into the ceiling and has already done some spraying ahead of the expert coming to check it all out. From what we can see, it doesn't appear that there is extensive damage but they have been busy doing what termites do. (That is, from what we can see.) Just between you and I, we really didn't need this right now. How many times have we all said that? Let's hope that 'it could have been much worse' metaphor will be applicable to this latest development. My wife has one of the little critters preserved in a plastic sandwich bag. We've burned a few cycles on the internet looking at images and reading about these pests. Guess what? We had not really given them a second thought BUT now they have become big news in and around our place. See how quickly things can change. That's why we all need to have our Unchangeable God to stand by us as we deal with the many surprises that life brings to us, yes, even when a swarm of eusocial insects come calling.

My wife freaked out a little. It seems that since she has retired to her new stay-at-home occupation it has been one thing after another. Some of these have seemed to be serious, but in context, there are much more serious matters at stake for us all. A friend sent me a note the other day that gave the ages of the current supreme court justices. Those that could be coming to an end of their tenure are aged, 76, 78, 78, and 81. Why is this important? The President nominates replacements to the court. We have seen the judicial orientation of President Obama's nominees. We would expect the same going forward and perhaps even more left leaning since he would be in his second and last term. Imagine a court with a greatly reduced conservative voice. Simply put, this issue in and of itself pretty much frames the next election. Who do you want to be in the position to nominate supreme court replacements? It will be a matter of judicial restraint versus judicial activism. The Constitution and how it is respected, interpreted, and applied, matters, to every individual, and those who wear these highest of the black robes can determine the direction of our nation. Of course, God permitting. I thanked my friend for reminding me of this simple but profound issue. Consider yourself to be reminded as well. Have a great day and may all the swarms you encounter be made up of blessings from our Lord. Amen.      .....More later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You will be glad to know that the man who fell into the upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a blogger, and yes, they do exist in a world called bloggerland. I do welcome you once again on this Wednesday, April 11, 2012. If you haven't noticed, I will be frank about how that the mental plumbing has been somewhat clogged this week. You thought what? It pretty much was that way all the time. That would be a reasonable observation but there are some times when getting my thoughts together turns into quite a challenge. Don't get me wrong. I love doing these daily visits. I enjoy sharing. But, that doesn't mean the flow of thoughts and ideas are always easy for me to produce. Maybe it's an age related issue? It could be but I did read this week where a famous author has produced a brand new novel to be published by one of the leading publishing companies. So? He just happens to be 99 years young! That should be encouraging to someone, maybe even me. I know the little kids still do show and tell to get them used to talking in front of others. I suppose my daily visit is in someways like that. I bring something up that is on my mind and then I talk about it. I cannot remember me ever doing that in the school where I grew up. Maybe that's why I have trouble some days getting it all together. See. If you wait long enough an excuse will typically show up and then you can become a victim instead of blaming yourself. That really will not work for me. It comes down to me having to face the music. I bet you have used that idiom before. I wonder how many folks know where it comes from. It's dated from the early 1800's and the best guess is that it came from the stage fright inherent when a performer had to face the audience and at the same time, they had to face the orchestra, thus, he or she, had to face the music. It began to be used as a metaphor for taking personal responsibility for your actions and outcomes. Taking personal responsibility? Wow! What a novel concept and one that we could even still use today. Or, could we?

Here's some things that Lyndon Johnson reportedly said about Gerald Ford, "He's so dumb he can't walk and chew gum at the same time." "He's a nice fellow but he spent too much time playing football without a helmet." Both of these men went on to become Presidents of our nation but President Ford never shook the notion that he was some clumsy bumbling misfit. It became a parody of the man and he did contribute some to that impression when he slipped walking down airplane stairways, or hit someone with a golf ball, or many other unintentional missteps. President Ford may have been a runaway hit on America's Funniest Videos had that show been around back then. Just so you know, he was a tremendous athlete and remained very active and energetic throughout his entire life. But sometimes those snap judgments stick. I'm thinking of someone right now who often blames her blonde hair when she has a memory lapse. Wonder where that came from? I can picture a person who has always been told they are clumsy and guess what, they have tended to drop things throughout their lifetime. As for the can't walk and chew gum at the same time figure of speech, I work on things like that. I try to do things left handed on some days just to trick that right side left side thing going on upstairs. I do my unlocking of all our buildings with a flashlight, keys, and a hot cup of Community, just to juggle all of these with the goal of not spilling any of the coffee. Mess up a flashlight. No problem. Break a key. No big deal. Spill the Community. Now you have a disaster on your hands.

Feel free to discuss these stunning concepts among yourselves. You probably already heard the one about the fellow who went into the bank to see about a loan. The lady told him the loan arranger was out to lunch. The man told her he would be glad to speak with Tonto. You think that's bad. What about the dog that ate nothing but garlic? His bark was much worse than his bite. Even worse. What about the fellow who stole a truck load of prunes. He has been on the run for over a month now. What? You still want more. The last one. I promise. It was very sad that the chicken dating service had to go out of business. They could not make hens meet. I shared those with you so that you will gain a new appreciation for the other stuff I write. As bad as it might be, it could be worse. We've all learned to frame much of what happens with the 'it could be worse' analysis. I suppose that helps us to cope. And, most of the time, it really could be worse. The good news is that we who have trusted Christ have an assurance that regardless of what happens, the huge, the in-between, or even the seemingly insignificant, He is with us, every step of the way. With that perspective and the knowledge that because He lives I can face tomorrow, we can also, with great confidence, face today and all that it brings to us. Amen. And, if we are fortunate, we will not end up like the scientist who crossed an alligator with a parrot. After biting off his arm, this is what he heard, "Who's a pretty boy now?" Enough!     ....More later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When two egotists meet, it is an 'I' for an 'I' situation.

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Hello again and welcome. It is Tuesday, April 10, 2012, and I bring you greetings from my little spot here on the worldwide web. I typically have something in mind for each day's edition. Yesterday I was pretty much winging my way but I did notice at the end that this fact did not keep me from stringing together what looked like a whole lot of words. There's likely a pretty profound truth in that statement that probably deserves some reflection but I'm way too busy banging on the keyboard to do that. Just joking. Being verbose never means having to settle for just saying you are sorry. Joking again. Verbosity is perhaps one of my most prominent traits. It is defined as someone who is given to the use of a great number of words tending to be excessive. Talk about nailing it. But, as I have often told you in the past, I really do not want to, especially at this late date, mess with what works for me. I suppose in my case freedom of expression includes freedom of excessive expression. I do, however, greatly admire concise writing. Those who can grab and keep your attention while using a limited number of words, well, that's a gift that wasn't handed down to me. I always thought describing something in 25 words or less was a trick assignment. I had a lady tell me that she was doing her best to get caught up on reading my blogs. She said she loved them but it's hard for her to take the time to just sit and read them. Hello? It's not like they are a daily version of 'War and Peace'. Or, are they? I know she meant it as a compliment but I also got the message, and as you can tell it did little to change my approach. Sorry, and thanks, for reading.

One fellow described reading a person's writing that goes on and on like being stuck in a car with someone who doesn't know when to shut up. Ouch! I do remember some people I've heard speak who could make almost anything sound boring. To the best of my recollection, I've never been called boring. However, I do know that whether it's me, you, or someone else, it really does have to do with our own particular interest. I see postings on Facebook all the time where folks are literally doing cartwheels over a particular new game coming out, a new cell phone application, or some other technical gizmo that totally captivates them. Most of that stuff has little appeal to me, therefore, I typically scan and scoot. Sometimes my wife does the same thing when reading my blog. She is so turned off by any and all things political, if she even sees a hint that politics might be the subject she moves on down the page. I tell her that it is important whether we like it or not because typically it will impact every man, woman, boy, and girl here in our country. But, I do understand. A good example is how that everyone does not share my devotion to Community Coffee. That, for the life of me, is a mystery. Although I did enjoy that Hawaiian coffee my friend gave to me, very much in fact, and that Eight O'Clock that my eldest son serves up, it's also pretty good. Okay. So maybe Community is not the only one out there that is good. But, for me, it's still my choice as the best. You may see it differently. And, like the 90 year old lady widow who was active, healthy, and vibrant, when asked about dating, she replied: "Why mess with the rest when you've had the best?" Sounds like a pretty good philosophy to me.

My grandfather used to accuse me of waking up in a new world every minute. I think he meant I wasn't that good at staying focused or paying attention to the task at hand but it could be that when it is all said and done, he was right, and that's why each day my blog ends up being like a grab bag. I have a fellow I know that told me an interesting development for he and his wife. He said since they are not likely to be hanging around for a whole lot longer he decided they should take care of their final resting place. He told me that he had to cough up $24,000 to get all of this taken care of. He said they decided they wanted to be by the pond where they could see the ducks and figured since they would be spending their eternity in that spot, they needed to do it up right. I listened but was not able to really talk to him about all of this but I do have it on my to do list. Folks, truth does matter. It's clear from the Word of God that this life is not the end. When we breathe our last here we open our eyes in another place, not down by the pond watching the ducks in the cemetery. Yes. I know that he is entitled to seeing it the way he has chosen to see it. However, I, at the least, need to let him know what I know about what God has to say on that subject, and that I should share my thoughts with him in a very constructive and loving way. The whole thing was a little unnerving to me. I was actually somewhat stunned. But, we live and we learn. I do hope and pray that you will have a most wonderful Tuesday and until next time I will be seeing what articles I can find to put into the grab bag for tomorrow. May God bless. Amen.          .....More later.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I suppose we could call a chicken crossing the road poultry in motion. Right?

Welcome back. It's Monday, April 9, 2012. Blessed. That's how we feel. We had a most wonderful three days off and while we were exceptionally busy, we enjoyed a tremendous remembrance of our Lord's Resurrection on Sunday, a wonderful feast with family Sunday afternoon, and all the this, that, and the other that went into making it all so very special. And, yes, along the way we had grandchildren sleep overs and even had our little great grand for one night. We also were able to attend a beautiful musical about the Lord's passion last Friday evening. We were not what you would call resting over the three days but we were refreshed in all the activities and wonderful things God allowed us to be a part of. My wife did concede that there was a time when we could do these things without the aches and pains that follow. But, that, my friend, comes with the territory and we consider them to be a small price for the memories made. It is, however, good to also be back into the work week where we will seek to return to the scene of the previous activities and get back up to speed as soon as we can. I also thank God that dad is much better and mom is still thanking her Lord for her good reports. Sounds like we have discovered easy street where everything comes up roses all the time? Don't even try to go there. Just because we are thanking God for the blessings, we, you, us, everyone, has challenges and we are not immune my friend, no, we are not immune. But, it is a good day, this Monday, to pause and reflect on how that God made our sense of being blessed based on His provisions to us and for that we give Him honor and praise. Amen.

The moon was shining bright this morning and I had my car windows down with an invigorating crisp, cool breeze blowing in. It was only in the low 60's here, therefore, it wasn't that cool, but it was very pleasant. I was not the only one enjoying the morning. I'm not sure where the buffalo were roaming but the Whitetail Deer were out in force today. Perhaps it was family day because it appeared they were all standing near the road including moms, dads, and the little ones. I love nature as much as the next person. But, traveling roadways where the deer can show up at anytime, well, that will keep you on your toes. The other day I rounded a curve and there were a couple of them laying down in some tall grass about three feet off the road. Now wait just a cotton picking minute. I think those had become a little too familiar with their surroundings, if you ask me. One of my goals each morning is to make sure that while I may have a deer in the headlights look on my face, I am trying my best to make sure I don't have the actual deer on my headlights. That sounds like a real bummer to you? Let me tell you what it beats, hands down, every single day. That commute into the downtown metroplex! I did that for nearly 24 years and let me tell you nearly every moment of every ride in or out was a near miss. In fact, the other day at the NASCAR race the driver described a big wreck by saying it happened because four cars tried to fit themselves into a lane where only two would fit. I thought to myself, if I had not been watching the race, that could have well described what goes on every second out on I-45. See what I mean?

Yes, our little great grand, Madelyn Joy, did spend the night with us on Friday. She is a character. She can also be a handful. She very much super likes her MiMi but that is not a deterrent to me. I do not give up so easily. One of the things she will let me do with her is to take her outside. That's what we did on Saturday morning. She was out on our driveway using chalk to draw and scribble. I don't make this stuff up folks. Me sitting there watching her was nothing short of a time lapse replay from over twenty years before when her mom, our Tiffany, was on that same spot doing the same thing. That put a huge lump in Poppy's throat. I was struck by her little carbon copy image of her mom but also by the fact that God had allowed me the privilege of experiencing that moment. I know. Us older folks tend to slip and slide around in our sentimentality. But, maybe it is earned. At any rate, the wife is all retired now, and so far she hasn't had time to catch her breath. She has been one busy lady. Much of it has been what we call 'good busy'. And one day soon I will rehearse the meal she spread out for us on Sunday. I had figured I would be eating leftovers this week. I figured wrong. It was that good. Good enough to put me on another true confessions diet this week to try and get my act together again. You know, diabetic numbers, and all of that stuff. It does seem like my Monday commitment to get back on track is becoming a frequent habit these days. I'll have to look into that. Meanwhile, go out there and have yourself a wonderful day, and don't forget to thank God for His provisions! Amen.    ....More later.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Resurrection Weekend!

Update on my mom. And, I do thank all who have prayed for her. She is doing well after a couple of grueling days. She never ceases to amaze me but then again, she is one strong lady, and I do thank God for her. When she finished the heart test she said she was about ready to burst out in praises to the Lord. I do ask that you continue to pray for dad. He has the back issues along with a really bad sting that has poisoned his system. He is being treated for the sting. It's not a normal thing for him to be held back from his supercharged busy days. Mom said he did make it to the garden yesterday evening in spite of not feeling well at all. That's dad. We do thank God for them!

Welcome to what is referred to as Good Friday, here on April 6, 2012. While a number of scholars may differ on the timing of the last week of our Savior's journey to the Cross and precisely on what day of the week each of those events took place, we all know that symbolically this Day is thus designated because of what happened when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. I am off today as a paid holiday. The owner of our Company recognizes this Day for what it is, not a spring celebration, not a floating day, but rather, the Day we honor the sacrifice that was made for us all. I count it a blessing to work in a place where this is recognized. While we call it good, we all know it wasn't pleasant in any way whatsoever to our Lord on that Day. He endured all that He did for you, for me, and for every person who would inhabit His created world. What was His attitude towards this incomparable once in eternity event? "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews Chapter 12, Verses 1-2) We celebrate because we are included in His joy that caused Him to be willing to endure all that He did. Today many think that makes us something special. Sorry. I cannot help but reflect on how that it causes us to be humbled as we express our love, appreciation, and adoration of He who knew no sin but was made to become sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Take that with you as you go along your way and it will help you to make it a good day. May God bless each one and let's not forget to honor our Savior by meeting with other believers at the meeting place on Sunday. Lord willing I'll catch back up with you next Monday morning. Take care now, you hear?            ......More later.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to our very first Granddaughter, Tiffany!

Today we send out a happy happy birthday to our Tiffany Marrie, first grandchild, and mother of our first great granddaughter. I'm not sure when it is appropriate to stop sharing the actual years attained in the birthday game but suffice it to say our Tiffany is still a very vibrant young woman. A person told me this past Sunday how blessed we are to have most of our immediate family so near to us. He said that because of what he reads in my blog each day. We do consider that to be a huge blessing. Our Tiffany did quite a bit of her growing up in the very house that we still live in. I know when I visit my mom and dad I can walk down the hall to where I slept as a boy. A lot of memories are connected to places where we spend a lot of our time. Tiffany can do the same at our house because she spent a lot of time with us and now her little sweetie, Madelyn Joy, gets to do the same with her Paw Paw and Maw Maw, our eldest and his wife. I suppose Tiffany gave us the opportunity to try out our grand parenting skills. We mostly did what came naturally but we will never forget how much joy she brought to us, and we are thankful for her, for her husband J.C., and for our Madi girl. Happy Birthday Tiffany and may God add His blessings to this, your special day. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

It's Thursday, April 5, 2012. As you know, I am always looking for new material. I read where a soon to be released E-Book about Governor Rick Perry's run for the Republican nomination is going to blame his lapses into dumbness during the debates on his taking painkillers for his back pain. I hope for his sake that this is true. I watched his melt downs and mix ups and I will tell you in my opinion he must have taken a whole bottle. All I can say is good luck with that one Governor. I'm not so lucky in finding a convenient excuse for the stuff I tend to get upside down and backwards but maybe it could be the time release arthritis strength acetaminophen interacting with the fish oil, or maybe not. There should be a good excuse in there somewhere. Good excuses. They are pretty hard to come by these days. Here's a few that might give you some food for thought. ~ I didn't complete that report because it required that I do calculations. My calculator runs off of solar power and it was cloudy yesterday. ~ I am not going to give you my excuse. Rather, I am exercising my right to remain silent. ~ I did not make it to work on time because I had a horrible dream about being fired. I was so exhausted I overslept. ~ I didn't make our appointment because my left turn signal was broken. Since I didn't want to break the law I had to take a route with only right turns. ~ I did think about making dinner but I know how much you enjoy cooking and I never want to deprive you of things that bring you joy. ~ I have a perfectly good reason for putting the empty milk carton back into the refrigerator. I did it for you. It was my way of reminding you that we need milk. ~ Oh well. Those may not be the greatest of excuses but I think they will play about as well as someone trying to claim their painkillers turned them into a momentary village idiot.

The Empty Suit
I know some of you think I have something really serious against Governor Perry. I do not. I have voted for him every time he has run. Not because of my confidence in him as a political leader but mostly because he is a Republican, and here in Texas, Republicans do embrace some conservative values. Wearing that label does not mean any person is highly competent and it certainly does not imply they are fit for the highest position in our land. It has been my view from the get go that Mr. Perry was pretty much an empty suit, but he has, with a few major bonehead decisions as exceptions, done a reasonably okay job in the role of governor. We all are entitled to our opinion. For those who have not followed his administrations over the years, when he showed up on the presidential scene, they immediately saw a white knight in shining armor. I understand that. He looked very presidential and sky rocketed to the top of the polls. Then he began to speak. The rest, as they say, is history. I too have experienced a little of what it must feel like to be a pygmy among giants. When I was in Chicago doing a consulting project I was asked to act in an advisory capacity by attending a roundtable of noted expects in the computing and telecommunications field. We entered the executive briefing room. There were leading professors from high profile business schools, software architects, technology company presidents, along with the brightest from the company I was working for. Some of these folks were pretty famous for their innovative thinking. I was introduced as the hired gun there to help them evaluate all that was to be presented. Hello? If I had had a handful of painkillers I would have seriously considered seeing if they might be able to help. I didn't, and somehow I made it through that meeting without having to show the full measure of my own lack of expertise in the many disciplines represented. And, let me just say I was very, very thankful for that. Now, we all have more pertinent matters to attend to, so let's get out there and get them done, with God's help, of course. Amen.     ....More later.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1st Peter Chapter 1: 18).... knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

Welcome. Wednesday is here. Today is April 4, 2012. This is passion week and we who are believers in Jesus are thinking about all that took place in the final days leading up to His death, His burial, and the great victory won in His resurrection! I've been listening at Bibles to the different biblical accounts from the four Gospels. I'm not a huge fan of the New International Version, NIV, but I do love to hear Max Mclean read the Scriptures and that is the version he has recorded. I saw him once at a conference and all I can say is God has allowed him to use his talent as an actor to further the hearing of God's Word. I know some are squeamish about the blood Jesus shed, but it was required in order to pay for the sins of the world. That payment is available to every man, woman, boy, and girl. Therefore, the good news coming out of this week some two thousand years ago is how that each of us can fill in our name into the verse, "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whosoever, including _____________ ,(fill in your name), believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. That personalizes it and gives us reason to be remembering this week and all it means. One young lady from our fellowship who is away at college put this up on her Facebook: Live every day as if someone died for you, because Someone did!  Amen, Hallelujah, that when He said whosoever, He included me.

Talk about a sight for sore eyes. The other evening at a special meeting of our local fellowship, the couple who purchases stock items for our Church, came walking down the hallway, looking for me. They were carrying two, two pound bags of Community for our classroom. Back in the fellowship hall kitchen they have those big round tubs that say coffee on the label, but myself and another fellow have been furnishing the Community for our Sunday class gathering for several years. I just believe we should give every person at least one reason to praise the Lord on Sunday morning. Just joking. Please don't write me about my attempt to bring a smile because it's all just for fun. At a recent Church wide function held in the auditorium, one of my class members asked if I knew if the coffee being served was Community. I told him I didn't think so. He said he thought it tasted pretty much okay but he didn't think it tasted quite like Community. Are we not supposed to be teaching folks discernment? Obviously when it comes to choosing, choosy folks in my class know the difference between things other than peanut butter. What's that you say? I should be more focused on spiritual discernment? I can assure you, we do our best to make that a part of our teaching as well. Excuse me while I have another sip and think some about the issues you raised.

The mania over the lottery last week was both striking and telling. People began to share their dreams on Facebook as to what they would do if they won the big money, the largest payout in history. A young man put up his sentiments about the whole debacle: "You and I essentially have the same odds of winning the big money because I didn't buy a ticket." Someone said the amount of purchased tickets was over 1.2 billion dollars. I read this week where one of the supposed winners claimed to have purchased this particular ticket on her own. She swears it is not one of the tickets she bought for the McDonald's crew she works with. Supposedly, they have those numbers locked in their safe. She has already received death threats. The road to easy street can have a few pot holes, I suppose. Don't get me wrong. I do not condemn people who buy lottery tickets. They can spend their money on whatever they choose. I'm almost certain that I have never purchased a lottery ticket. I say almost because I've been here a long time and my memory may not be 100% but to the best of my recollection, I have never purchased one. The article I read about the potential winner in Baltimore said that some of her coworkers stood pounding on her front door for over twenty minutes. When she finally opened the door one of them said they didn't think this was worth losing her life over. Yikes. I thought they would have been there to congratulate her. They say that money talks. In this case maybe some of what it is saying is pretty ugly. But, we move on, and I do hope that we all will seek to make the best of the day that God has given to us, here on Wednesday. And, may He add His blessings to it. Amen.      .....More later.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A woman walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. "I couldn't help noticing how happy you look," she said. "What's your secret for a long happy life?" "I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day," he said. "I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise." "That's amazing," the woman said. "How old are you?' "Twenty-six," he said.

Hello out there in bloggerland. It's good that we have this time to share together. Here we are on Tuesday, and we find ourselves off and running on this April 3, 2012. I read recently another article about how that some folks are beginning to very much think about their working life in terms of forever. This means they are phasing out, at least for them, the idea of retirement. Retirement will always be an option for those who are financially able to handle it. Essentially, this article pointed out, that going forward, this will become fewer and fewer of our fellow citizens. His take, however, was not negative. His great grandparents never even gave a thought about retiring. They worked until they couldn't and then they went on to their reward. One reason I wanted my wife to leave the daily grind was for her health's sake, especially in the stress department. She remains a very capable hard worker as she is now tackling projects at home that she has long wanted to work on. In her case, she can now be called a stay at home wife, not a retiree in terms of hugging a rocking chair. One of the things the writer pointed out was how that the stigma of being an older worker has begun to change. I see my fellow white hairs hard at work nearly everywhere I go. Yet to be fully realized is how this development will impact the overall job market as young folks seek employment in a very overcrowded and long line. One thing we can be sure of. God never expects any of His own to retire from being faithful to Him. That's a lifelong pursuit whether we are still doing 8 to 5, or sipping on our Community in our retirement bungalow. Amen.

Thanks to so many of you who responded to my prayer request on behalf of my mom. She will be busy this week dealing with her medical needs. On Wednesday she has a Colonoscopy, and on Thursday she is scheduled for the reschedule of her heart stress test. Our youngest called and asked if all these tests are a good idea for someone nearly 88 years young. I told him they obviously think so, and that she is not just any nearly 88 year old person. She is cut out of a bolt of cloth that is about as rugged as they come. But, she is my mom, and I thank God for her, and I appreciate your prayers. I had some neat comments about her partaking of the Community, including one that guessed maybe that was part of her secret to her longevity. That would mean I am going to be hanging around for a good long while! Just joking. She only had half a cup. I told you that Community was special. She shut down the entire testing process for just one half of a cup! That should pretty well put to rest any questions you might have had about its viability. Therefore, look for one of these bumper stickers coming to a vehicle just up ahead: "No coffee, No workee!" ~ "MAKE COFFEE, NOT WAR"  ~ "WWJB - What would Jesus brew?" ~ "Give me coffee and no one gets hurt!" ~ "Death Before Dishonor but Nothing Before Coffee!" ~

In fact, I saw a lady the other day with a tall cup marked Community. She asked me if I thought the coffee inside of it was actually the real stuff. I told her there were crimes and then there were high crimes and if anyone put any other coffee product in a Community cup, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Now you do know that I am joking about all of this. Right? I will admit that I have advised folks to pour their inferior brew into a properly designated Community cup, hoping the rub off will do it some good. However, my guess is that most of the other stuff would be way too embarrassed to live in such a false representation of what they really are. Again, just kidding in a kind of very heart attack serious way. I do have nightmares about waking up one day and finding out Community has been bought out by people who have decided to blend it with green tea or something. You've never even worried about that for one second in your life? No wonder. You've probably never missed a stress test either because of the lure of that Louisiana home brewed nectar. If my wife was sitting beside me at this very moment she would tell it was time for me to say good night Gracie. You know. From the old Burns and Allen show. She's not much on pantomime but I can tell you from long years of teaching she does have that cut-it-off-now symbol down pat. She's never really learned to appreciate the talent I have for continuing to go on and on, even after I have finished. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen.          .....More later.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

Hello and welcome to Monday, April 2, 2011. I suppose they should declare April 1st, April Fools Day, a local holiday in Washington, DC, to honor all the politicians, our devoted servants who work so tirelessly on behalf of their beleaguered constituents. No. I am not trying to be negative here because I for one am well aware that we have the best government money can buy. Sorry. Some days that irony drips like a teething child. But we are in the midst of a whole mess of silliness going on. I think maybe there might have been an outbreak of silly pollen and it has infected the entire bunch. Silly certainly does not mean funny, because what we see happening is as serious as a heart attack. The heart attack part is where you and I come in. I know some of you are thinking that I am being way too negative but I like to think of it as un-sugarcoated realism. Yeah. The spell check didn't care for that illustrative word either. But, sad to say, it really is hard to identify any person standing for political office that I feel really good about. That doesn't mean I will not vote. That doesn't mean I will not look at the person I think most closely aligns with the values I hold. But the system itself tied to how people get into the system makes wholehearted support very difficult. Me personally, I would much rather be excited in my support for someone vying for elective office, than just voting for them. I know to them they will be glad to get the vote, thank you very much, but there's an empty space there that sure makes it hard to feel good about any and all of the above. Except for the One above who is in control of all things. Oh yeah, that One above. I'm feeling better already. Amen.

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. They have the final say. Period. So let it be written, so let it be done. Unless you are like that Japanese soldier who just a few years ago came out of a cave he had been hiding in since the mid 1940's, you are most likely aware that the Supreme Court is in the process of determining whether or not the Obamacare legislation is constitutional or not. We can now freely call it Obamacare since the administration reelection folks have used it in some political ads. I listened to some of the audio from the arguments put forth concerning this massive take over of the health care system. Key to whether this act violates the US Constitution has to do with the provision that will force all citizens to purchase health insurance, and if they don't, they will be fined. It appeared from the questioning that all the conservative minded justices have a huge problem in the government being able to force citizens to buy a specific product. The fellow representing the government, the honorable Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General of the United States, was ill prepared to show good reasons as to why this law does not violate our constitution. When questioned time and time again, he hemmed, he hawed, he stumbled, and he stuttered. I'm not making that up. It was very embarrassing. Liberal supporters of this law immediately slung him under the bus and proclaimed him to be incompetent. That's hard to believe since he has ably represented arguments before this same court on numerous occasions. My take? He couldn't get there because this law is a mess and finding a way to defend it was just not possible. But, we will not know of their decision until late June. The mainstream media is already spinning this both ways: If it is upheld it will be one of the greatest achievements in our history all due to President Obama's leadership, if it is ruled unconstitutional, it is still a great achievement because those mean old justices appointed by Republican presidents, well, they just can't set aside things like the constitution so President Obama could win on his signature issue. At the end of the day, we all will listen as the announcer says to the court, "Is that your final answer?"

Remember folks, this 2700 page nightmare was passed using every backroom legislative trick in the book. It impacts every man, woman, boy, and girl in our nation, yet it received not even one, Republican vote, not even one from the so-called Republican moderates in the Senate. I can't tell you how the ruling will go. I do remember the Speaker of the House at that time, Nancy Pelosi, when she told the House that they could read the bill after it was passed. This law which Supreme Court Justice Scalia said would be cruel and inhumane to make anyone read the entire 2700 pages, was crafted by so called legal elites, led by a President who supposedly lectured on constitutional law at Harvard University, supported by nearly every Democrat, most of whom are lawyers, and yet, it seems from what we heard in the court their design itself by default may be a violation of our constitution. That tells me they intended to ram this down the throats of us all. Thank God our founders did set up a system of checks and balances. Now, having said all of that, we will not know the outcome until we do. Duh? When we do we still have a very broken health care system. Too bad fixing it wasn't the main objective as they mounted this unprecedented government power grab. We still have a broken system. We all live with the evidence of it every time we access the system. Maybe something will be done. Maybe not. It depends, not on the long suffering of the citizenry, but rather, the political winds and which way they are blowing, especially as it relates to REELECTION. Sorry. Maybe I should wear a dunce hat with the word cynical written on it when I write about our government. I report, along with my own distinctly personal views, you decide. Have a great Monday and I promise I will not mention all of this again, at least, not in tomorrow's blog. May God bless. Amen.         .....More later.