Thursday, May 31, 2012

Remember that program? Old folks do the darndest things!

Thursday. Already? Really? Good. Welcome to the last day of May, 2012, where I will be your host in providing this guided tour of today's episode. The other evening I watched the 100th birthday celebration honoring Branson, Missouri. (I think it was a rerun made earlier this year.) It was a two hour program hosted on RFDTV. That's right folks. (RFD: Rural Free Delivery, in case you may not have known it from the Mayberry RFD days.) The large audience at that taping were pretty much dominated by white or no hair and I'm pretty sure that's also the audience they were looking for out in TV land. I watched it because the entertainment is good. Lots of 'pickin and grinnin'. Outstanding guitar work. Great cowboy music and generally what we older folks call good clean fun. That little town of 10,000 residents play host to over 7 million visitors per year.(That's approximately the same number that visit Hawaii each year.) Branson has a typical mid western history characterized by challenge, adversity, and even some calamities thrown in for good measure, but, it has persevered and today it is one of the premier destinations for folks to visit. One of the performers, Jim Stafford, did his comedy routine and then some great guitar work. I remember him from back in the 70's. He has really aged. He is now 68. That's two years older than me, but he looked much older on that show. Do you ever do that? Look at someone else close to your age and think, well, at least I don't look that old? Or do I? Yes, eye of the beholder and all of that, and then some. No doubt. But we get our little lifts where we can, or maybe that's what it was, his didn't work out so well. Just kidding. Someone the other day posted on Facebook that they would be visiting Branson this summer and asked for suggestions. One of their kids responded with great embarrassment that his parents had reached that stage of life. Going to Branson? How sad. What a shame. And, to tell everyone. See what us older guys have to put up with?

This past Tuesday evening I watched a 90 minute special on HDNET hosted by Dan Rather in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred on December 7, 1941. I typically do not watch much of anything associated with Dan Rather but I was drawn in to hearing once again the voices of that fading group of American military personnel who were eyewitnesses on that fateful day. Sure, I had to listen to some sermonizing by Rather here and there but I would recommend this program to anyone who has an interest in the history of our nation. Of the slightly more than 77,000 military stationed in Hawaii on the day of the attack, it is estimated that only 2700 remain. To hear those who remain speak about that day and to see those tears flow again means something. They still feel the weight of the loss of their fellow comrades. Those elderly veterans who live on the island are treated with special respect and admiration as they provide living commentary to many of the visitors who come to the memorial that sits on top of the USS Arizona. Underneath that suspended platform lies the tomb where 900 of our heroes remain. This documentary of sorts was professionally done. The art work and graphics were superb. The interviews were haunting. But, there is also the resolve that came in the aftermath of this great tragedy. That's why Pearl Harbor is special. We suffered a humiliating defeat on that one day but it was not the end of America's story, and for that, and for the memory of those who lost their lives on behalf of liberty, we thank God. I would highly recommend that anyone who has access to this program to watch it and be moved again by this momentous event in our history.

I have not become a TV critic. Critic? Perhaps. But certainly not limited to TV. Maybe I should be called a 'critic at large'. Most of us are, in one way or another, just in different areas of specialization. One of the things I notice is how quickly we can jump from being critical of a situation or outcome but then make the leap to some horribly harsh condemnatory comments about the motivations of those involved. Wow! We end up being unhappy with a result but at the same time we think everyone involved is an idiot and that they actually got up contemplating how they could ruin our day. Sounds preposterous, doesn't it? Here's a scenario: "I drove all the way to this store and they don't have the brand I am looking for. They probably do have it but they are too lazy to put it out or they are holding it back for themselves. They are a bunch of idiots anyway. Maybe I will never come to this store again. How do you like that? " We live in some stressful times folks but we all need to be reminded that typically most folks do not get up each day with us in their crosshairs. And, we all know how quickly we change when we are the perpetrator and our boo boo causes someone else some inconvenience. But this zero to 100 mentality is a growing problem and I just think for those of us who know the Lord, we need to think seriously about our testimony when faced with all of life's dots that don't connect. We need to be mindful that having the mind of Christ in our interactions with others is His will for our day by day living. I could use His help because of that vast conspiracy out there somewhere trying to ruin my day. Know what I mean? Pray for me. Thanks. I'll do the same for you. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"God bless America, Land that I love."

Welcome to Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Yesterday was primary election day here in Texas. That's where we the people determine who will represent the major parties in the general election coming up in November. I voted because of it being my duty. It was not because I had some overwhelming excitement about the election or those running. Sorry. I hate to become firmly identified in the apathetic category. But I did vote so I suppose that means something. This election came the day after Memorial Day. Perhaps that was motivation enough even though the candidates generally do not impress me and certainly we've all had our belly full of the endless attack ads and robo-calls. In one night alone we had phone calls from former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, Governor Rick Perry, and former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. I expect any day to see the answering machine laying on its side with a final message: Enough is enough! That's not to say the stakes are not high. In the area where we live it's mostly what they call red meat conservative. Therefore, those running do their best to out red meat the other. Charges and counter charges with the Somebody Done Somebody Wrong song playing in the background. I will participate in the process. I will pray for those who are in authority over us. And, I will do so because God has given us this great country and we are blessed to be a citizen. That does imply duties and responsibilities. But, that doesn't mean I want to hear any of those commercials again. Pulezze!

I did watch on CSPAN the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery and the special commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War held at the Vietnam War Memorial. Both of these were impressive tributes. I was also impressed with our President and felt that American spirit swell up in my heart as these festivities drew the nation's attention to those who have fallen on behalf of us all. ("Red and yellow, black, brown, and white, they are all precious in His sight!") Sure, I picked up on some of the political stuff the President was including in his speeches. I could have done without that but let's face it, that's natural regardless of what party is being represented. It is an election year after all. When it comes to love of country and patriotism I recognize that the blood that has fallen is not typed Republican or Democrat but it carries that proud distinction of American blood. I did not vote for President Obama when he ran in 2008. While I do not know who I will vote for this year, I am even more decided that it will not be for the President. There's just too much division in our worldview, and our sense of societal issues. That doesn't lessen my respect for him one bit. He is our President. He is the Commander in Chief and until he is replaced he deserves our prayers as we have been instructed in God's Holy Word. (Romans Chapter 13; 1st Timothy Chapter 2:1-3) Amen.

What do you do after you have watched the annual Indianapolis 500? That was 500 miles and I thought it was a pretty good race and it was a really good set up. For what? What else, of course? The 600 mile NASCAR race from Charlotte Motor Speedway. I was able to see them both and that answers the question: How did you spend the majority of your Sunday? Not entirely. I actually was up early and at the Church early. Presented my lesson. Heard a wonderful sermon from a missionary we sponsor. Then almost in-between races we attended a birthday celebration at Chuck E. Cheese's. We spent over two hours there. Kids really love that place. We spent over two hours there. The kids really had fun. We spent over two hours there. Everyone were really nice. We spent over two hours there. When you need more tokens you just insert your card into a machine and they come rolling out. How convenient. We spent over two hours there. For all you who are avid fans of the Chuckster, please know that I am just joking. We did have a good time. But I have to be truthful. I was looking for a corner somewhere so that I could take a nap. By the time we got back home the NASCAR race was started but it was early on, and as my youngest son likes to remind me on most Sundays, "Dad, I bet they are still turning left." And, that is exactly what they were doing. My point: Is this a great country or what? I'll say Amen to that! What say you? May God bless until we meet again.       .....More later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nothing but ashes now!

Hello Monday that showed up on a Tuesday. You have to love that kind of substitution. Right? But I am back and it's good to say hello to one and all on this Tuesday, May 29, 2012. I was finally able to incinerate all those boxes of personal papers we had accumulated over the past 45 plus years. Seeing all that stuff makes one aware of just how much paperwork it takes to get life done here in our land. I felt like the average tax payer seeing all those 1040's go up in smoke. You should hope we didn't throw away anything we will be looking for later? That's a great question but it is also the rationale that has kept this aging material around for so many years. It mostly was old bills. Insurance policies. Tax returns. Related correspondence. Old checks. Just think. Much of these types of documents are now electronic and we should feel safer. Right? Not always. I was reviewing and deleting old emails the other day and I ran across the one from our bank a couple of years ago. A third party company they do business with had an employee who lost their briefcase in Italy and they had reason to believe our banking information may have been on a media disk in that briefcase. Hello? Could you run that by me, one more time. We had to notify all the credit reporting agencies and I believe that's when I subscribed to an identity protection service. But, paperless is so much better. We'll see about that!

One thing about clutter. There's typically always more where that came from. We are firmly in the 90's each day for temperature highs and summer is upon us. Those random pop up showers are about all that has any promise in terms of precipitation. I am trying to stay calm but I really do think I've seen this movie before and we still have evidence in our yard to remind us of how it ends. Yes, I am aware that summers come each year but I also remember my fire chief buddy who said their internal long range predictions indicate dry conditions for an extended period of time. I can't do much about that prediction. But, I can do what I can. Therefore, I have put up this photo as the background on my computer. When I look at this photo it helps me to think cooler thoughts as we engage these long hot days. Silly? Maybe, but I know from experience that it seems to help, ever so slightly. A figment of my imagination? That works for me. Please don't send me your trapped in the snow stories or how that if I had grown up shoveling the stuff I would not be celebrating it. I hear that and there is a part of me that acknowledges it as being true. But, the other part says it helps a little so I will go on my delusional way and perhaps feel ever so slightly a little cooler as a result.

From 1907.
The cruise craze continues. Nearly everyone we know has been, is soon going, or they just got back off a cruise. We tried a sampler 3 day weekend deal one time and the wife stayed very ill most of the outing. I heard some fellows debating exactly what part of the world they had visited that produced the most beautiful oceans. It was one of those "You haven't seen a deeper aqua blue unless you have been to........" These were just ordinary blokes, so to speak,  but I was impressed by how many different cruises they were mentioning, some half way round the world. The other day I saw a reproduction of a 1905 advertisement for a cruise. It featured a two week excursion on the S.S. Oceana leaving New York City on April 3rd. The stops included Bermuda, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Havana, Cuba. Two weeks with prices starting at $90 which included meals and accommodations. I would have loved to have shared that ad but it was copyrighted and protected. (I did, however, find a copy of an ad for one for a cruise to the Orient, from 1907). That $90 sounds like a great bargain but I'm not sure how many folks back in 1905 would have been able to afford that type of vacation. My grandfather was born in 1900 and I know for a fact his logging and farming family would never have even thought about something like that. In fact, I rather doubt they would have even dreamed about it. But today its pretty much available to a wide range of folks, and, maybe one day we will try it again. We did find out that the wife did much better after she started wearing one of those wristband bracelet thingies that did something to help with the sea sickness. I suppose this means you no longer have to join to Navy to see the world. Have a blessed back to work Monday on this Tuesday and Lord willing I'll catch up with you again tomorrow. Amen. ......More later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Remembering to remember.

Welcome. It is Friday, May 25, 2012, and we are preparing to celebrate Memorial Day here in our country. Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is set aside to honor all those who have given their lives in the service of our country. On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The debate continues about whether the move back in 1968 to turn certain holidays into three day weekends has lessened the spirit and the solemnity associated with this national recognition. Most veteran organizations believe it has diminished the intended purpose while others believe it actually connects by celebrating the freedoms that these heroes gave up their lives to preserve. While it may be hard for us to decide, it shouldn't be difficult at all for us to use this time as a way of remembering the facts of our sojourn as a nation, with special appreciation for the blood spilled by patriots that gave their all. Maybe Lee Greenwood's words from his nationally acclaimed patriotic song will help to frame our thoughts: "And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.Amen.

It is always appropriate for us to think about the fact that our freedom has never been something that was free. It has come at a price and that price has impacted countless families in our nation. The memories of those lost in battle remain fresh in the hearts of their loved ones. We were in service for a number of years with a lady who lost a brother in WWII. When we set up tributes she would always decorate an area for her brother. And, she just couldn't keep from weeping. Folks, WWII was a long time ago. But her love for her brother was as fresh as today's headlines. That devotion impressed me and it does help to characterize the personal meaning of this day set aside to honor our fallen. She is not alone. Another fellow we served with was a toddler when his dad was killed in WWII. He loved his dad but never got to meet him. He grew up and went on to serve his country in the United States Air Force but even as a retired older gentleman he could not hold back the tears when he talked about the dad he never knew. These personal observations are not included here to put us all on a guilt trip. They are reminders of the reality of this ultimate sacrifice and its impact to so many, therefore, we can be proud of those who have made it possible for us to express our thankfulness to God for them, and their service, along with a prayer for their families who bear this loss every day. I say God bless them all. Amen.

Lord willing I will see you right here on this same station next Tuesday. Stay safe and may God bless.     ....More later.           

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Should people who cannot read or write be allowed to eat alphabet soup?

Have you ever felt like someone hit the fast forward button and forgot to turn it back to normal play? It does seem that way sometimes, or at least when I think that it's like that, it does give me something to talk about. Just when you think you have your story down and you are sticking to it, well, it turns out that further explanation might be needed. It is Thursday, May 24, 2012, and it's me again with some more stuff for you to think about. I think by osmosis we all look on the 'good old days' through a corrective lens. We all like to think about how that we could fill up our car for less than five bucks and how that a dollar was worth a dollar back then. I read something the other day that really caused me to slow down and think a little more about some of my convictions regarding the past. While much is laudatory about my raising, it seems that when the experts dissect the whole pie of available spending for a family today versus history, well, there are some interesting changes that have taken place. While inflation has done its number, families today that have jobs, have more disposable income especially as it relates to discretionary spending than at any other time in our history. We are able to eat out, enjoy entertainment, and generally use slices of the pie that were pretty much unavailable back in the 'good old days'. This doesn't mean that we are better off, it just helps to remind us that we have to look at the facts before we leap to conclusions. No matter, I still enjoy thinking about when the greatest challenge we teenaged boys had was coming up with one dollar among us so that we could joyride the night away!

The better off - worse off scenario includes many other factors. For folks struggling just to feed their families, talk about discretionary spending is science fiction as far as they are concerned. And, for those concerned about the moral character of our times, well, financial considerations pale in comparison. It's a complex consideration and one that typically needs more than a knee jerk cliche as a response. One thing is certain. People at all times need God and His help. The pattern of God's chosen people, the nation of Israel, comes to mind as it is portrayed in the book entitled Judges. Patterns in life. They made them and we do too. The history of the Judges was one where the people would turn their backs on God and God would allow them to experience the consequences of their rebellion, typically through the oppression of other pagan nations. They would then cry out to God and He would send them a deliverer, a Judge, who would bring revival back to God and His ways, and victory over their enemies. That's a great story of God's responding to His people. Sadly, it was one that was repeated time and time again. Maybe there is an application for us today. It is always appropriate for God's people to turn to Him and return to doing life His way, and to seek His help in time of need. I would say we are living in a time of need. Great need. What say you?

I joke about how I tend to mangle the King's English but I will tell you that our language does have its quirks. I found this little poem written by Lord Cromer and published in 1902:

When the English tongue we speak.
Why is break not rhymed with freak?
Will you tell me why it’s true
We say sew but likewise few?
And the maker of the verse,
Cannot rhyme his horse with worse?
Beard is not the same as heard
Cord is different from word.
Cow is cow but low is low
Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
Think of hose, dose,and lose

And think of goose and yet with choose

Think of comb, tomb and bomb,
Doll and roll or home and some.
Since pay is rhymed with say
Why not paid with said I pray?
Think of blood, food and good.
Mould is not pronounced like could.
Wherefore done, but gone and lone -
Is there any reason known?
To sum up all, it seems to me
Sound and letters don’t agree.

Okay. Maybe that explains it. No wonder I have so much trouble. The good news is that I am not alone and after all is said and done, being able to communicate is the purpose. You think I could use some help on that one also? No doubt. But, I will continue to labor on, and I do hope and pray that you will have a most wonderful day and that God will add His blessings to it. Amen.        .....More later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"What part of I don't care do you not understand, dad?"

It's Wednesday, May 23, 2012, and I'm being my normal controversial self. After preparing my lesson handout for Sunday last Saturday morning, and then running some errands here and there, I returned and sat down to find something to watch on TV. The NASCAR All Star race wasn't on until Saturday evening, therefore, I found the European World Championship for Football (Soccer) and tuned in to it. This was supposed to be a lopsided victory for the Munich team playing against Chelsea from Great Britain. Supposed to be. I can spot a true underdog when I see one and even though I didn't have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, I immediately began rooting for Chelsea. The first score didn't come until the 83rd minute. Munich, the stronger team, looked like they had put an end to the improbable run of Chelsea. Suddenly, Chelsea scored in the 87th minute, just three minutes before the end of regulation. Unbelievable goal! End of regulation, tied one to one. End of first 15 minute overtime, tied one to one. End of second overtime, still tied, one to one. Now it was time for the penalty kicks to decide the championship. Munich got ahead 3 to 1 in kicks but Chelsea came storming back and did the impossible, they won the championship for the first time in their over 100 year history. I was standing and cheering. My wife observed that it was like I was screaming for Jeff Gordon ahead on the last lap. What a match. I think that's what they call them. I know calling it football is heresy here  in our country and especially here in our area. I called my eldest son and asked him what he thought about that match. He said he didn't care. I told him how great it was. He said he didn't care. I explained how the underdogs won. He said he hoped that in the future I would remember that no matter what happened, he still didn't care.

The purists were unhappy with the way that Chelsea won. They played a very defensive game. The other team was vastly superior on offense, so what would anyone expect Chelsea to do? The critics call it ugly play but it was a strategy designed to give them a fighting chance to win and at that level I believe they said it was worth untold millions to the winner. I will tell anyone that calls this type of competition sissy, they were not watching the same program I was. Some of the hitting was very intense and some of the fouls were severe. How could anyone not like the story? A team who was a huge surprise and was thought to not belong there ends up winning. That has to be a feel good for not only their fans that follow them all the time but for anyone who enjoys exciting sporting events. And, we all know that folks across the pond do take their brand of football very seriously. There's an element of hostility that goes on among the fans that can become violent in a heartbeat. They call those crazies that carry on that way, hooligans, and that they are. Fortunately, most of the fanatical sports behavior here in our country doesn't end with folks being taken to the hospital or worse. (Maybe I will have to update that statement given the situation in Oklahoma City where 8 people were shot Monday night after the Thunder-Lakers game.) I don't mind me getting stirred enough to cheer a little in my own living room, but, getting out there and mixing it up with other watchers who somehow live vicariously through the action on the field, no thank you.

Just so you know, the call to my eldest son was a set up. I already knew his thoughts about the sport and I just kept on asking him even though he was protesting every step of the way. His way of looking at it is that watching paint dry is about as exciting as watching one of those soccer competitions.I was just pulling his leg, so to speak. To pull one's leg you are spoofing or making fun of him, usually in a good-humored way. But that wasn't always the meaning of the expression. When the expression first turned up in Scotland about a hundred years ago, it was lacking the lighthearted touch it has today. In those days 'pull one's leg' meant to make of fool of him, often by outright cheating. The best theory of the origin of the phrase is that by tripping a person -- pulling his leg -- you can throw him into a state of confusion and make him look very foolish indeed. Come to think about it, I did see quite a bit of tripping going on in that competition that we don't dare call football because it is an insult to too many folks that are already exhausted from staying up late to watch the professional player draft selections for their favorite NFL team. My way of looking at it says there's enough silliness to go around, foreign and domestic. That's it for today. Much written about something that really doesn't amount to much other than to end up occupying their tiny little digitized places on the electronic storage device. Maybe tomorrow I'll share some about how that we have become fans of the American Ninja Warrior show. Maybe. Maybe not. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen.      ....More later.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Having a five star or better put: Five green gummies in one pack kind of day!

Good Tuesday morning and I bid you welcome on this May 22, 2012. Occasionally, I land on one of those blogs supposedly written by the pet in the house. They are usually dogs or cats observing life, the family, and all the stuff that happens to them each day. Cute. I suppose. But since I am not into pets there's not too much appeal to me in those types of blogs. However, I do enjoy observing the cleverness of those who are good at using this device as a means of conveying information. I would think this would be tiresome over time but then again, when it comes to wearied writing, look who's talking? When I write I sometimes think of myself as a confused ventriloquist. Confused because I can't figure out if I am the one doing the talking or the dummy sitting in the lap. Maybe I could send a note and ask Spot, that Dalmation who writes a pretty decent blog. Just kidding folks. I've learned over the years that making jokes about pets is a very risky prospect. People and their pets is serious business and I mean serious, to the tune of billions spent each year. (I read that over 50 billion was spent in our country in 2011) I've had folks offer up prayer requests for their beloved animal, and I've also had them request prayer for someone who has just lost their pet. Serious. It reminds me of that time I cried when Old Yeller died. See, I can be sensitive too. What? It must be a slow news day? Thanks for noticing.

Every single day cannot be a winner. What do you expect? That you can find five green lime gummy snacks in one bag of Sponge Bob snacks every single time? I did do that one day and I thought it might be a sign. No. Not that kind of sign. A sign that maybe someone at the Sponge Bob gummy snack factory may be a lime lover like me and maybe they, being that sort of person, stuck in five extra on purpose. What's that you say? Probably random chance. Now who's trying to pour cold water on a good, wholesome thought? That pouring or throwing cold water has been around a very long time. It is actually recorded from a usage back in 200 BC, at which time the implication was involving heaping on of slander. Some think it may have been derived from the practice of throwing cold water on a loud bunch of cats or dogs to break them up. In more modern times it has to do with discouraging ideas or projects. Random chance. No thank you. I feel a lot better believing there is a lime loving schmuck out there somewhere doing their thing to bring a smile to a kindred brother or sister.What about the cherry lover who finds five limes in their package? I say, get used to it because I deal with it all the time. You think it might even be getting slower as we go? We will see my friend, we will see!

I love it when people look for hidden or deeper meanings when there are none. It is true that I like my coffee and I like lime flavored, almost anything, and cinnamon too. Nothing more than that. Back in 1980 I went to Denver for a conference. Having some time to kill I walked to a movie theater and saw the Peter Sellers film, Being There. I loved Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. In the movie Being There he plays the role of a simple minded gardener who was raised in a rich man's home but never educated. Everything he knows was learned by watching television. When his benefactor died the gardener had to leave and fend for himself. All he could communicate was dialogue and phrases he had learned from TV. People heard what he said and thought it to be profound insight. Soon he is the toast of the town and sought out by world leaders desiring to hear some of his intellectual genius. I loved that movie. See what I mean? Now don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed great success at times because people gave me the benefit of the doubt and perhaps some of that was because they read something into what they thought I was, or what they thought I could do. In the end, I just want to give a shout out to that imaginary lime loving comrade of mine out there doing good. The world could use more folks like them. Tomorrow's episode will concentrate on coherency in communication. Now that would be a good one, don't you agree? Until then, may God bless each one. Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Taking a coffee inspired victory lap!

It's Monday, May 21, 2012. Good morning or as it sounds after my first cup of Community, GOOD MORNING! Most of us have seen Family Feud at one time or another and probably heard the famous fill in the blank prompt from Richard Dawson, "Survey says:" Well, I have some good news. A brand new study out from the National Cancer Institute says that based on an extensive study, coffee drinkers live longer on average, than non coffee drinkers. It didn't matter if it was decaf or straight, those who imbibe tend to add time to their life span, on average. Don't take my word for it, go and read it for yourself. I've included the link to USA Today which actually is quoting from the official article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The link is at the end of this first paragraph. Makes you want to pour up another cup even as I savor this latest indication of positive value sponsored here on my blog at no cost to them by the Community Coffee Company. Okay. Yes. I am fully aware that another report will be out soon that will actually reflect opposite results. However, we must take our opportunities to feel good where and when we can. I had already read this article, therefore, I brewed the Community extra strong just to add a little punch to it as these coffee soaked words made their way from the keyboard to the electronic page.

Yes. I know. We all do it. We all look for any kind of confirmation whatsoever that tends to agree with or support what we have a habit of doing. When that 'opposite' research comes out, I most likely will not be as eager to summarize its findings for you. That's what we call fair and balanced but from a biased point of view. You've heard me talk before about my conviction that there is no such thing as an unbiased reading of the facts, at least, not in this world. This is because of our fallen natures operating in a fallen world. Everyone has whatever it is that makes them who they are and they are not able, no matter how hard they try, to check that at the door when they are examining facts and information. Some may be better than others at working hard to try to be unbiased, but in my opinion, it's still there and it is woven into the fabric of individual perspective and thought. Now I will tell you that there is a source for unbiased truth, that being, God's Holy Word. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, period. I did see that sentiment again on a huge Church sign the other day: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." I was riding with two other fellows when we passed that sign and I began to try to explain why I thought the sign had it wrong. I told them my thought was that it should read: "God said it. That settles it. Thank God I believe it." I told them that our belief one way or the other did not change God's settled truth. I know. Sounds a little picky. I can be that way some times, in an unbiased way, of course.

We all are uniquely qualified to practice self delusion. I talked to a fellow about his failing health. He told me since the doctor didn't mention his huge overweight condition it must not be a problem. See what I mean? If the doctor had mentioned it he would have immediately started trying to do something about it? I'm not sure he would. I'm not pointing the finger at that guy because we are all prone to read our own press releases and typically we do tend to believe them. It's like the person eat up with all kinds of ailments finding hope in one of those news clips about someone who throughout their entire lifetime drank, smoked, and never exercised, but still lived to be 100. Those stories do catch my eye as well. But, I think we all would know better than to draw too much from these extremely exceptional cases. And, I do mean rare exception. But that's the way we end up being wired, therefore, God's Book, the Source of truth is absolutely critical if we are to make sense of the life God has given to us. When we allow God's Word to inform our thinking we then are able to live by faith and that my friend will be the best life possible regardless of what we encounter along the way. What about those who misunderstand and misapply the truth found in God's Word? Oh no. That's an excellent question and maybe one day I will tackle it, doing so from my point of view, of course. Have yourself a great Monday by seeking God and His Kingdom first. Amen.          .....More later.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Caring. Enough.

There are good things to consider when you are my age but still at least somewhat able to meet yourself coming back. That's the way it has gone this week and I suppose I am glad to still be in the game, so to speak. One thing I have never been able to turn off and that is my passion for getting things done, you know, doing the right things, right. (At least as I see it.) I often confess that I shouldn't be all up tight and wound up in the stuff I'm trying to get done, but, perhaps that is why I'm still in the game. But, it is good to be wrapping it up for this work week, and I bid you a friendly welcome on this Friday, May 18, 2012. I'm not saying I am very important to the business I work in, but, I do take the parts of it I am involved in very seriously. I care. I really do. The other day I heard a young man who was being interviewed for a job say that the agency that sent him out told him not to worry if it didn't work out here because they would find him somewhere else to work. The way he said it went all over me. It sounded to me like he was saying he wanted to work but he also wanted us to know that if it didn't pan out he already had other options. Back in the day I would have made sure he had a chance to exercise those 'other' options. In this situation I was just an observer. I'm certainly not knocking younger workers but I will tell you that nearly everywhere I go I hear the white hairs lamenting over their younger comrades and often hear this refrain: "They just don't care."

Maybe I grew up in an environment where not caring was not an option. That doesn't mean I didn't go through those lazy phases but in general, people were taught to invest themselves into whatever projects, work, or endeavors they find themselves pursuing. There's no doubt that unscrupulous employers have traditionally taken advantage of people and maybe the backlash to this excess has brought about this attitude where some folks do only what is necessary to get by. Our youngest son used to sing a Gospel song that had this message, "What if I give all?" The theme of that song was about self sacrifice contrasted to the sacrifice that Christ made for us all. What if you seek to do your best every day and seemingly it doesn't get recognized? What if you keep a good attitude and stay focused even during difficult times where the business is not doing well? What if? My way of seeing it says that having that commitment and caring based on who you are, not based on your circumstances, is one of the keys to having fulfillment in whatever you happen to be involved in. Have I always been that shining example in every situation, good, bad, or indifferent? Not hardly. However, I will tell you that I am thankful to God, and to those He put in my life that poured into me this sense of responsibility because given a choice between it and the sleepwalking through life approach, I know which one is best because it has been at least some of the testimony of my life.

 I know it's easy to write this off as the older generation looking down on the younger folks. I don't think so. This malaise of lacking excellence permeates our society today. I suppose one of the things that stirs me up most is when folks demand excellence from others but never get around to producing any of it themselves. That's another topic for another day but I do rub up against it often and I don't like it, one bit. Jesus gave an example about the fellow who was forgiven a huge amount of debt as he was also set free from prison. That fellow then went and found someone who owed him a very small amount and demanded payment immediately, in full. The person owing the small amount begged for mercy but got none. (Matthew Chapter 18)  When I was helping to run a business I used to tell the folks we bought from that my goal was to be their number one customer in the way I conducted my affairs, therefore, I expected the same in return. Okay. Maybe not a connect for you, but it is food for thought and a reminder that we all can work on the 'how' we go about the daily conduct of our life, regardless of what we might find ourselves engaged in. Another week, another large number of words mangled and tangled on the electronic page. I do hope and pray that you will have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.         ....More later.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I suppose those who gossip could be said to have a sense of rumor.

Good Thursday morning to you on this May 17, 2012. Why don't you drag up a chair and let's sit for a spell? I've heard that one all my life. The word spell sure doesn't seem to fit based on its usage today. I did find from one source that this word 'spell' tracked back to its first recorded use in 1706, had the meaning of an indefinite period of time. Well, that makes perfect sense. Join me next time when we will delve into the deeper meaning behind the same type of greeting, "We'll just sit, visit, and shoot the breeze." Of course that might lead us into a further investigation of "chewing the fat" or even, "chewing the cud". I think I heard what you said. Yes, I most likely do have other more important things to spend my time on but those were front and center as we kicked off our little rendezvous for today. Of course I know you are likely familiar with another use of the word spell other than its connection to vocabulary. "Hey, want to take a break? I'll be glad to come and spell you for a few minutes." That's actually a proper use of that word as a verb based on the British-English definition where it has to do with allowing someone to take a break or a time out for rest. See there. You can now say that you learned something from my blog today, that is, if you didn't already know these things.

I know what you English majors are thinking. You have often thought about using my blogs as a textbook of 'How Not' when it comes to grammatical usage. That's okay with me because I've always wanted to help out wherever I can. My wife reminds me often that while my blog on any particular day might be interesting or funny or inspiring but she also often adds, a little long, or a little wordy. And, she is absolutely correct! I've done those exercises where you write a paragraph and then see how many words you can delete without messing up the message. To be perfectly honest, I never cared for that too much. It shows. I know it does. I still write an article every week that I publish in a handout for my Bible Study Class. The article is a summary and commentary reflecting my thoughts on that week's passage. I write it pretty much using the same style that I use in writing my daily blogs. A few years ago a lady gave me a great compliment even though she may not have realized it. She told me that when she went back and read some of those handouts from past lessons, she could actually hear my voice as she read. Bingo! That's it. That is exactly what I try to do when I send out my blog each day. I know it's a one way type of communication but I still like to think about it as if we are sitting and talking. With me doing most of the talking? Yeah, that's another area my wife says I need to work on. Man, it's always something.

I remember many years ago when WYSIWYG became a reality within the computer world. That acronym stands for 'what you see is what you get' and it reflected a major upgrade where you could prepare something on a screen, format it, change it, and basically see it exactly the way it would appear on a printed page, slideshow, or some other means of presentation. That might not seem big to you but I was around when it wasn't that way. You would put together your materials and then begin the process of trying to format them for print. It was a pain, but with WYSIWYG much of that went away. You might say I have adopted that WYSIWYG approach to my daily blogs. They could be better on any given day and often I find myself wondering about some of the stuff I've written. However, at the same time, I am fairly impressed with the consistency of the fundamental themes I have embraced when I go back and read some of those from five years ago. I know many subjects that I write about are controversial and I am aware that my views are not always welcomed by the majority, but, here again, WYSIWYG, and that coupled to it being The View From Here, and, this catch all as well: It is what it is. Finally, I always like to remind myself and everyone else that on matters of right, wrong, truth, or error, God has the final say, period, end of story. Meanwhile, I will continue to keep on keeping on and if I get weary perhaps you could come and spell me for a spell. Have a blessed day and may God bless each one. Amen.          .....More later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

'Bean' there, done that, but I still sense trouble brewing!

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, May 16, 2012. I suppose if I were to do a poll of those who read my blog they would likely come up with coffee as one of my leading topics. Any that answered that way would be 100% correct in their analysis. I do not have a way easily to come up with the total of mentions that refer to coffee in my blogs but I'm sure it would be a significant number. I know you've likely heard plenty of coffee jokes but I have a few that were new to me and I thought you might enjoy them too. "What does coffee say when it is really down and depressed? 'Pour me, Pour me'." The coffee had it out with the filter because he thought the filter put too much of a strain on their relationship. I know you've likely heard the greeting given from one coffee bean to another coffee bean, after having not seen them for a while: "Where you bean, bean?" Why was the coffee happy to be free again. He was tired of being ground-ed. And, here's one for the road, "One morning, a grandmother was surprised to find that her 7-year-old grandson had made her coffee. Smiling, she choked down the worst cup of her life. When she finished, she found three little green plastic Army men at the bottom of her cup. Puzzled, she asked, "Honey, what are these Army men doing in my cup?" Her grandson smiled broadly and answered, "Like it says on TV, Grandma, 'The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup'."

Just so you know, I have no plans on quitting my day job to go into telling jokes as a career move. What's that? You think that with material like that, that it would be a really good decision to stay put? Thanks so much for the vote of confidence. I think. I do think the so-called 'me generation' has given way to the 'mega me generation'. And, it might just already be multiples of the mega's already occupying the globe. We all come out of the womb with a 'me' problem but it does seem that self absorption has grown by leaps and bounds in today's culture. I remember once hearing a fellow give what was supposed to be a motivational pep talk. His idea was that every individual should look at themselves as Me, Inc. We should then operate our lives as the CEO and plan for and implement programs that help the business, Me, Inc. to grow and prosper. While there may be some merit to self motivating action, that whole deal just didn't sound right to me but it does reflect the view of many, if not most, today. Part of our life in Christ is allowing Him to deal with and get control of the me problem that does tend to monopolize our lives. And, for me, it also helps to be a little older because when folks get to be my age the gray cells begin to be down to a more manageable size. Of course we can still get wound up about some things especially if it relates to pension plans or health care. And, let's face it, there are some perks too. There's not near as much left to learn the hard way. You no longer have to hold in your stomach, no matter who comes in the room, and you actually have learned to enjoy hearing about other people's operations.

You may have noticed that I haven't had much to say about the political world lately. Let me see if I have this right? Our President has been evolving in his understanding of right and wrong, not based on a clear reading of thus says the word of the Lord, but rather, based on conversations with his staff, his wife, and his two young daughters. The Prophet Isaiah said,"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil." (Isaiah 5:20) What the President thought was wrong before, he has now changed his mind about, and, yes, I did hear him quote the Golden Rule as part of his rationale. I read about a caller from Canada who said that his country had taken this same decision and made it law some 8 years ago, and God had not punished them yet." Without thinking, he most likely was on to something when he added the 'yet' part because it could probably be more of a scary reality than he might think. Not much was investigated or looked into about Mr. Obama's past where he admitted drug use, but the Washington Post wrote an extended piece on Mitt Romney's high school days where they contend he may have bullied another student. That was a long time ago but they wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to know a lot about it. An extensive essay on what may have happened and nothing on drug involvement, even admitted drug involvment? Here's what we need to do in response: Let's all hold hands, stand in a circle and shout out together, DOUBLE STANDARD! America, America, oh how we need a do over in our choosing the directions and destinations we seem bound for. The President said these social issues are bound up in generational viewpoints and religious sensitivity. He may be right. If he is, and the only thing resisting his views are old folks who cling to their Bibles, Lord help this country when we are no longer here. And, that's the way I see it and I am sure there will be more on this and many other topics, later. May God bless. Amen.             .....More later. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remembering our Baby Sister on her Birthday!

Kayla with Mom and Dad.
Good Tuesday morning and welcome to our little get together here on May 15, 2012. Today would have been our sister Kayla's 60th birthday. God called her home some 33 years ago but we still remember. Yes. We have not forgotten her winsome personality and her Jesus filled heart. I don't know if you were able to watch that video I sent out of those children on the cancer ward up in Seattle as they danced and sang to a song that said if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger. (In case you missed it: These kids were younger than our Kayla when she was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, however, their atmosphere and their obvious spirit reminded me of our Kayla as she underwent some of the most grueling and debilitating chemo available at that time. I well remember all those listed potential life damaging impacts that could occur from those treatments. That's why that song's theme resonates with me, if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. We camped out on that cancer ward for what seemed like weeks as we sought to support our sister. She was truly our champion as she dealt with what she had been dealt, and she did so with grace, dignity, and a sense of purpose for what she knew was going to be her shorter than expected life. Today, I say thank God for our Kayla because she not only showed us how to live when her world was literally turned upside down, but, she also showed us an example of how a saint faces that time when they will be absent from the body but present with the Lord. May God bless her legacy of faith. Amen.

That photo of Kayla with my mom and dad conjures up many long ago memories. Photos have a way of doing that.The other day I happened upon this particular shot made at our house several years ago. That's our Tiffany holding Brady boy but now she has her own little bundle of Madelyn Joy to hold. Kyleigh is holding Alex and she now has her own car to drive. Brittany is finishing her second year in college. Stefani is wearing her senior class ring. All of these kids have grown and seeing them back then causes memories to flood my heart and mind. Yes, things change over time. The other evening when I was not feeling well, fighting cold-like symptoms, Alex came and sat with me in the recliner. We watched Sponge Bob together. I really don't have a particular interest in Sponge Bob, except for the fact that the fruit flavored snacks that bear his name are pretty good, especially Gary, Sponge Bob's pet snail, that one is the lime flavor and I do believe it is a little more 'limey' than the Dora, or the Scooby's, or the Toy Story, or the others I've tried. But I will tell you this. Alex, who is six, can lift his Poppy's spirits, and I am thankful that all of our grandchildren have done that very same thing, often, in one way or another, and, at one time or another. Even little Madi, our great grand, has begun to warm up to her great grand Poppy. See what I mean? Blessings that come in more flavors than those fruit chewy thingies. What's that? You would be ashamed to talk about eating kid snacks at my age? Yeah. It really bothers me too, especially when I dream of opening a box one day and all of them are lime green. That would be a dream come true, but I do appreciate your concern. I suppose I would say this about that: "If you only knew the half of what it means to be me!"

Back L to R: Fran, Jimmy, JoAnn; The couch: me, Kayla & Donald
Mom and I have really enjoyed me being able to log on to her and dad's computer to help keep things going. I typically change out her background photo from time to time. For Mother's Day I put the one up on her computer of all six of us. Myself and the two older girls are all of the kids who remain here, but we have really great memories of our little brood as we tried to make our way in this difficult world. I know my boys often feel compelled to make a comment about my ears. When they do I can't help but remember that Little Red Riding Hood story. You know. "What big ears you have. The better to hear you, my dear." Well, enough is enough. I found this the other day and I submit it into the record for future reference: "Protruding ears indicate a person who thinks ahead and who is more aware of their surroundings than other people. They may be sensitive, and enjoy humor. Small eared individuals tend to rely on intuition and instinct to help them understand the world, while people with large ears like to lap up information around them from what they can physically see, including gaining knowledge from books and other people." Maybe that will settle it once and for all. The best news of all is how that God loves every person, regardless of how they look. How much does He love them? Enough. Yes, enough to send His one and only Son to die for them. I would say that's a pretty wonderful thing that God did for this big eared boy! Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

You know your day may be headed in the wrong direction when your are driving on the freeway and your horn sticks while you are surrounded by a motorcyle gang.

Just back from a wonderful day spent with my dear mother. It will be a day that I will long remember. I was able to attend services with mom and dad up at First Baptist. The meeting place was full. There was a buzz about because the little town's high school baseball team had won the state championship for the first time in their history. The pastor was doing his best to connect up the baseball victory to mother's day. Of course all the boys who played had a mom, so I suppose that was close enough. He, like no telling how many others, used Proverbs 31 to present God's vision for a Godly woman and mom. It was good to be there. I saw some folks that I played with when I was a kid. There was also a baptismal service. It answered a question. Does it really matter what we hand off to our children, and their children, and their children, and their children? Well, on that day it did! My mom's great, great grandson was baptized! We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a restaurant in a nearby town. It was my privilege to host them for this luncheon. As we sat there, mom noticed a little white haired lady eating alone. She whispered something to dad. Dad said he knew the manager and he would take care of it. She had dad pay for that lady's lunch. The lady didn't find out about it until we were long gone, and she would not have a clue who had paid for her lunch. But I knew. That's my mom. I had left at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and got home around 8:30 p.m. last evening, but if that wasn't a good tired, I don't know what one would look like. Mom and dad are such special gifts and we thank God for them!

I do bring you greetings on this Monday, May 14, 2012. As most of you know, I am a diabetic (Type 2). I do my thing in trying to exercise control over the things I can have some influence over. I have learned it is at times a slippery slope. I also try to stay informed. I read most of the stuff that makes headlines about this disease and of course I pay attention to any information that seems to offer improved management going forward. I occasionally read the individual comments on some of the social exchange forums dedicated to those who deal with this disease. The other day I read one on the Diabetes Daily website that caught my attention. This gentleman with Type 2 for a number of years was essentially pouring his heart out. He had recently been diagnosed with Diabetic Neuropathy. This is an insidiously painful outcome resulting from nerve damage and it impacts 50% of those diagnosed. It takes typically between 10 and 20 years for this to rear its ugly head. This fellow was decimated because he had sacrificed so much to stay within the targets on his blood sugars, and to practice all the rules he had been given. He was hurting from the inside out and my heart went out to him. Many responded with words of encouragement but I could sense his despondency. That wasn't a really good way for me to start my day but here's the thing: Many people do their best in whatever it is they are dealing with, but that doesn't mean guaranteed success. It's like the lifelong jogger, who, even at an advanced age, he was in tremendous physical shape, however, he was still dead after having been hit by a car. The bottom line is that we should respond based on the knowledge and information God has allowed us to have, but we should also always know that our life is in His hands and we are safe, not because of things working out like we want them to, but only because we belong to Him, and no matter what happens, we will live with Him forever and ever, Amen.

This is why we all should do our best, with God's help, to live in the present tense, and do with each day all we can to please God and serve others. We personally know folks who have lost limbs because of the same disease I carry in my body. We personally know folks who have succumbed to end stage renal failure that moved them from this life to their eternal reward. I'm not unaware of these things and I admit that they do weigh on my mind from time to time. However, I have learned that dwelling on these possibilities is a huge downer when I can choose to be thankful for today, for feeling well enough to get up and go, and for the untold blessings God provides to me. This doesn't mean that I am not interested in promising drug therapies or enhanced treatment options. I am. But one of the things I have learned during these nearly five years is how easily anyone can become obsessed with all of the above. On most days I choose not to be a captive. Most days. Sure, I get a little stirred up when my blood sugar is way out of the range I am targeting, but typically I resolve to try to do what I can better to help make those numbers closer to the 'safe' range, if there is such a range. The good news, bad news, is how this disease is growing by leaps and bounds. Bad news because more and more of our children, especially those who are overweight, are being diagnosed at an early age with Type 2. The good news is how that this huge problem represents a huge financial opportunity in terms of finding new treatments and even pursuing cures. Meanwhile, I have today. That's the one I have been given. It really is up to me to allow God to work through me, on this day, in the land of the here and now!

That's probably more than I would typically share about this unwelcome intruder into my life, but things like this come with the territory marked: Life in a fallen world. I am very thankful that as the old song says, "this world is not my home, I am just passing through, because my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue." No. I am not looking for an escape because I have something much better than that. I have these truths that inform my faith giving me the very assurance of these things from God Himself. Do I have doubts or do I wobble from time to time? Yes. This does happen because we are in the flesh and sometimes we get our thoughts all tangled up as we fail to be energized by the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. When that happens I need, you need, we all need to be reminded that as beggars we need to know where to find bread. In this case, the Bread of Life. What's that you say? It sounds like I have gone from sharing to preaching? I suppose so but maybe there's someone out there dealing with stuff that has caused them to lose contact with their Lifeline. He hasn't moved. He is still there and He is ready and willing to supply that which we stand in need of. Maybe I am the one who needed this today. Maybe you are. It does begin with recognizing our need and I will be first in line in that regard. I do pray that you all will have a blessed day. Amen.    ....More later.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Proverbs 23, Verse 22, "Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old." ....Verse 25, "Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice."

Mom with her car in the mid 1950's.
Hello Friday, May 11, 2012, it is good to see you Mr. Friday, thanks for showing up and being on time this week. Welcome to the book end from this week's daily ration of what might be called a textual smorgasbord. Today, there will not be any vague inferences because Sunday is Mother's Day and that is always a day I relish because of how blessed I have been since being a child to be surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, who are today, and for those already in heaven, who were, all of them, moms of distinction. Lord willing, I plan to drive over to Louisiana early Sunday morning to spend a few hours with my mom. Our boys will be taking care of their mom, my wife, along with their wives, to recognize all their many contributions to our family. God knew what He was doing when He designed the human family and in doing so He gave moms a special place and a special role in each child's life. Here's how some elementary school children responded to questions about their mom:

~ Why did God make mothers? 1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is. 2. Mostly to clean the house. 3. To help us out of there when we were getting born. ~ What ingredients are mothers made of? 1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean. 2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.~ Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom? 1. We're related. 2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me. ~ What kind of little girl was your Mom? 1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff. 2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy. 3 They say she used to be nice. ~ What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him? 1. His last name. 2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer? 3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores? ~ Why did your Mom marry your dad? 1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot. 2. She got too old to do anything else with him. 3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on. ~ Who's the boss at your house? 1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball. 2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed. 3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad. ~ What does your Mom do in her spare time? 1. Mothers don't do spare time. 2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long. ~ What would it take to make your Mom perfect? 1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery. 2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue. (Dye it) ~ If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be? 1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that. 2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me. 3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back. ~

Yes, yes, yes! We do thank God for our mothers and I especially thank Him for mine. What a blessing it is to feel the love and warmth of God's design through the heart and hands of a mom. May God help us all to pause and recognize their tremendous value and their impact on our lives. That will do it for me this week. May God bless each one until we meet again. Amen.        .....More later.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The very elderly lady informed her attorney that she wanted to be cremated and her ashes scattered at Walmart. Puzzled, he asked why. She said that at least her children would visit her twice a week.

Here we are again and I bid you a hearty hello and a warm welcome emanating here at the blogger ranch on this Thursday, May 10, 2012. While I am not fanatically frugal I certainly am not in favor of being wasteful. I am especially that way when it comes to any left over coffee. I always consume any that is left over from the prior day before I make a new pot. I add a little water to each cup and then use the microwave to get it piping hot. My little hand painted granddaughter Lexie cup can handle the heat. Two minutes and 29 seconds, exactly. This past Tuesday morning I went about that same routine but not with the same results I had expected. When I opened the microwave door a bug flew out of it and into my face, I already had the cup in my hand. Startled, I splattered it everywhere, including on my hand. Ouch! I need to make a note for my doctor. I don't think I will be needing any heart check-ups anytime soon. What a way to start the day! Once I calmed down I noticed I still had a little less than half a cup left so all was not lost. What was that little bug thinking? Maybe he thought it was a spa. Or, perhaps he just likes to see little old men do the scaredy-cat dance at 4:30 in the morning.

Maybe that bug was showing out for his bug buddies. I know we used to do some pretty stupid things as teenagers to try and impress each other. The thought of a bunch of bugs sitting over on the window sill watching my antics and laughing their little tails off, well, at least we don't have video evidence. I don't know exactly what I must have looked like for that few seconds but thank the Lord it will not be showing up on Facebook or YouTube anytime soon. I actually do surprise myself from time to time with my own foolishness. Talk about material! Talk about not sharing most of it! What's that? You rarely ever do anything that would make you laugh at yourself? How sad. In fact, I can't think of anything more sad, because I can assure you that I provide plenty of opportunities on my own, often in private, where about the only response I can conjure up is a big old belly laugh. Laughter is a gift and I believe it should be actively used as a way of breaking the monotony of life. And, I am certainly not talking about the trash that parades itself on the airwaves as humor. I just don't get it. The way I see it, it would require major peer pressure to see people laugh at the vulgar stuff coming from today's so called comedians. No wonder they encourage drinking before their shows. Meanwhile, back at the blogger ranch, I suppose God designed it where I'll be making up my own funny scripts as I go about my day by day living, and I kind of like it that way.

That was not my first time to be scared by a bug but I will tell you that I never, ever, expected to have one come at me from the microwave. I am not fond of insects that land on me, crawl on me, or buzz in my ear. And I certainly don't like any of the above to occur when I am least expecting it. The other day I had one of those black wasp looking things on the inside of my driver's side window. He was all agitated and appeared to be very unhappy about being imprisoned in my car. I wasn't all that happy about it myself. What do you do? Roll down the window. Of course! I did. The crazy outfit hung on. He wouldn't leave. Next thing I knew I was a little bit over the line and the car coming towards me decided that was not in our mutual interest. But, when I swerved back into my lane, he let go, and went on his way, and I went on my way, and the other people had opportunity to complain about old folks like me continuing to be given a driver's license. So, see, there was something there for everyone.Those little creatures sure do make life exciting. What? Remind me not to offer you a ride in my car? Now, that would be an overreaction. But, it does make for interesting days and I'm sure you have your own stories to tell. Hopefully those that don't involve near head on collisions. Only kidding. I'm pretty sure they had plenty of room in the ditch on their side. Still kidding. My wife will not think it as funny, but why not laugh, it will do a body good. Have a great day and may God bless. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm somewhat like the crawfish, at times I mostly travel backwards to see where I've been without paying too much attention as to where I am headed.

Today marks five years of keyboard abuse in pursuit of my little corner of the blogosphere. Don't look that word up because you've probably noticed that I do make a word up now and then. I know that one did not originate with me but it's likely not in the dictionary, yet. Five years and now some 1270 episodes documented in the archive. That sounds rather official, doesn't it? It has been my pleasure to participate in this endeavor and I sincerely thank those who have hung in there with me. As I do from time to time, I want to share my very first blog written five years ago. This is where it all began.

First Blog written on Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Well, it took me over sixty years to get here and as Yogi Berra reportedly said, "You sure can observe a lot just by watching". That observation stuff, however, can be both good and bad especially if you are determined not to revise any of it, that is, if that's possible since reflections and memories over time tend to take on a life of their own as they all become fused together. Some days it's "Wow, I can't believe the life I have enjoyed!", while another day might be, "Hey, I'm not sure I can make one more day!". This is how it works in the so-called real world and we have trouble because the roller coaster ride can start without notice at anytime even right smack in the middle of one of those really great days and suddenly you find your heart pounding and breath interrupted by the crashing ride. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic but with age, maturity, family, more family, relationships, issues, challenges, and chaos all around, it can be quite daunting.

However, I call this blog The View From Here because when it's all said and done, it's the way I see it. You most likely see it differently but that's what blogging is all about. We can speak from our viewpoint, our way of interpreting all the things we have to deal with, and in general, the viewfinder through which we see the world, and especially our world.

One final thought in this opening monologue: I know that without God as the foundation of my life through my identity with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be little hope in all the ups and downs encountered in this journey called life

I know what you are thinking. What happened to the short and sweet? Hey. We all had to start somewhere. That first blog still had training wheels on it. Again, thanks to so many of you for keeping up with me these past five years. I have enjoyed it and leave you with this prayer: May God continue to bless us all as we seek to honor Him with the life He has given to us. Amen.   ....More later. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The old man proudly announced that he attended services at least once every week. What he didn't say was how they are mostly for his friends, may they rest in peace.

Here's my challenge for today. Try to get my Tuesday's thoughts put down on my Tuesday blog. Therefore, I bring you a big ole Texas howdy from this transplanted Louisiana boy, here on this Tuesday, May 8, 2012. I know. After over forty years I probably should drop the transplanted moniker but those are my roots and I still connect my identity in that way. Also calling myself a boy might be a little off the mark since I will soon be reaching that signpost indicating I have arrived at Route 66. But, it's the way we talk to each other and let me just say this about that. There are times when I am bustling here and there, doing this or that, at a pretty decent pace, and the thought comes to me that surely I am not the age listed on my driver's license. I mean I just don't feel it. At those times I can't tell you what age I do feel but it's like I can't imagine myself to be the age that my documentation affirms. Silly? I suppose, but it does happen. Then there are the other times when you don't need a road map to account for the miles you have traveled. You seem to feel the impact of each and every bump or pothole you've encountered along the way. I actually prefer the silly feeling about having trouble grasping that I could be the age I am to that other one where all those noisy relatives make themselves so well known. You know. Uncle Arthur (arthritis), Aunt Rhemy (rheumatism), and good old Uncle Bursy (bursitis). Then you have the cousins who also make their presence known. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about and while I am not trying to alarm you, but do know this, the rest of you will become intimately familiar with these folks, at some point and time.

If nothing else, us older folks do get to be the object of many funny stories. Like the one about how that older people give generously to the Boy Scouts because without the scouts they could never get across the street. I know many of the younger folks think we sit around playing spin the bottle of Mylanta or maybe a game called Sag. Of course we all smile when we hear the one where the little kid asks his Grandpa if he can make a sound like a frog. Grandpa is puzzled and asked why he would want him to. The kid answers because Grandma said as soon as you croak we are all going to Disney World. Maybe it is time to remind everyone about the peculiar values and advantages that come to the older generation. We get to take a lot of naps. We get to feign hard of hearing when we don't want to deal with what the other person is saying. We get a lot of recognition when we are driving. Everyone must like us because they often honk at us. We also get to eat supper at 4 p.m. We get to exchange Medicare stories. That reminds me of the one about the older guy who asked what to do about his wife's loss of hearing. The doctor told him to test it by standing about 40 feet away and asking a question and then get closer and ask it again. So the old fellow followed the doctor's instruction and called out to his wife from 40 feet away, "What's for dinner?" No answer. He got closer and repeated the question. Finally he was right next to her and she scolded him and said, "For the fifth time, we are having chicken!"

If older people are supposed to slow down, my parents did not get the memo. Dad is amazing. He goes from sun up to sundown and reflects the spirit of going from can to can't each day. Mom really impressed me last week when she was able to coordinate an internet recovery on her own. I have a utility so that I can log on to her computer but I can't do it if the internet is not working on her end. I told her she could locate the 1-800 help number on her phone bill and give them a call. Do you know she did call them and they were on the phone with her for over an hour and the fellow walked her through all the menus and resets that got her service back up and going. Wow! The technician complimented mom for being able to do what she did at 88 years young. Given my exposure to those types of interactions with technicians, I can tell you it is not for the fainthearted. These two senior saints are hard acts to follow but they do prove that with God's blessings we don't have to settle for playing musical recliners as we embrace the life God has given to us along with the years He provides. My mom's greatest complaint was how that doing all of that interfered with the big meal she was cooking for a former pastor and his wife who are shut ins. Makes me want to get up and do something. Or maybe I'll just think about thinking about doing something. Or, perhaps if I wait long enough, this too shall pass. Take care and may God bless each one.  Amen.       ....More later.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The things we pursue here essentially tell 'our' story.

Confession time: It is ironic that I got Monday's blog mixed up with Friday's edition, especially when I did so on the day that I wrote that ditty about sending the email to the wrong address. Sometimes very early in the morning when I remember a thought or an idea I try to map out a blog about it with a head start so to speak. I typically do try to stay one day ahead, if I can, because some days I actually do not have the time because of other stuff going on to thrash out one from scratch. However, I do have to do that anyway from time to time. But, alas, as bad as I hate to admit it, I do make the occasional mistake. I know it bothers me more than most of those who actually receive these by email but I do apologize for any inconvenience this mix up might have caused, but I can't imagine with the delete button ever so handy that it would end up being a huge problem to anyone. I know my wife loves it when I make a boo boo because she thinks it causes me to tone down any comments that I possibly would have made had I not done my thing right out there in the middle of the blogging fish bowl. But, we get up, dust ourselves and our keyboards off, and give it another shot. So here's the one I sent initially on Friday that should have been sent today, therefore, it is being sent today, once again, for the first time. Or something like that.

Good Monday morning to you on this date marked on the calendar as May 7, 2012. We all are different. Most of us like different things. And, we tend to pursue different priorities. I am often struck by how off the wall different these priorities can be. The other day I overhead two thirty something guys talking. They were discussing how one of their wives had been able to get in with some friends who had backstage passes to one of the aging rock band performances. These fellows were nearly drooling as they relived her experience of being able to rub shoulders with what obviously were some of their heroes. They grew up listening to this band. They sounded as if these folks had made a profound impact on their lives. Both of these men have young families. Both of them have been active in Church at one time. They are not now. Maybe it is because I am an old dude but as I heard them gushing over this experience that they didn't even have I couldn't help but be concerned about the influence and impact of this orientation on their families. I know. Today's world calls for us to mind our own business and just leave people alone. I suppose God could have done that to us but He didn't. His priority was to provide a way of salvation and that required that He tell us the truth which caused us to have to confront our sinful condition. At any rate, I felt burdened about it and said a prayer for them and their families. I know I would like to retrace some of my steps in life and make different choices and choose different priorities, therefore, I am acutely aware of their connection to outcomes and results. Maybe it is my own failings that make me sensitive to things like this. I pray for mercy and grace into all our lives. Amen.

No. I am not standing up on my high horse platform pointing my legalistic finger at others. However, I've messed up enough on my own to be able to sense danger and I know our enemy will use any and all things he can to destroy us and our families. Alarmist? You betcha! Satan is real and he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1st Peter 5:8) The other day driving home I heard a ten minute report on National Public Radio where they featured a lady Methodist preacher who had renounced her faith and announced that she was now an atheist. The spin? Through investigation and research she became aware of the facts and that led her to declare that any and all things pertaining to God is a myth. A couple of days later I heard the hosts reading the responses of their listeners to that report. A number of noted atheists chimed in that it was encouraging and about time they got the respect they deserved. However, the overwhelming response was negative. Many proclaimed that NPR seemed to be promoting this viewpoint. Others listed their credentials and spoke of their education but stood up for their devotion and love for their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes. I am aware that this radio program is left leaning and liberal embracing. But, I often listen because it does add some context to how those on the left present their side of the story. On this particular segment I was well pleased that the overwhelming response was negative towards giving someone that much time to essentially trash the Christian faith. I remind one and all of what God has said: "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." (Psalm 14:1)

I'm not trying to make this into a theological journal. But the substance of these things I've spoken about do bring concern to my heart. This world where everybody is on their own and whatever choices they make should be okay with everyone else, well, that is exactly the broad road that Jesus described. He said the road to salvation was narrow and not many find and journey on it, while the broad road is crammed with folks headed to eternal damnation. (Matthew 7:13-14) The former Methodist preacher lady said she was looking forward to burning in hell. She announced that at a gathering of atheists. When she said that they cheered wildly like she had just scored the winning shot. My heart sank. Some might say she got it exactly right and that's good enough for her. Jesus didn't see it that way and neither should we. He came with folks like her on His heart and He died for folks like her and He rose again for folks like her. We can be thankful that we are folks like her and that we need Him just like she does. Today's blog may make us uncomfortable but the reality is just that, the reality. Maybe, just maybe, we can, with a word, a deed, or our testimony help somebody to find that narrow way to Jesus before it is too late. Amen.         ....More later.