Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Friday to one and all!

Good morning. It is Friday, June 29, 2012. The Community is tasting pretty good this morning and I'm thankful to be able to enjoy it and to bring you a few thoughts to close out our week. As we have been sweltering in this heat I do keep up with that little town up in Idaho. It is in an isolated valley and last Tuesday evening they reported an overnight low of 22. I had someone here in the office to check the map with me to make sure that was a correct reading. It was, and there were plenty of low thirties around them. A fellow who used to work here with me always wanted me to check the overnight lows for a particular part of the country. He thought Flagstaff, Arizona would be the ideal spot, especially for folks that like mild to cooler temps. Flagstaff is currently experiencing some mid 80's each day for highs but their overnight lows range from 45 to 50. I would always check it for him and report the results. He was a very early bird like me and we used to enjoy swapping stories each morning. He too enjoyed a strong cup of Community but he did add both sugar and cream, quite a bit of both. I forgave him for that insult to my Louisiana brew a long time ago, and to tell you the truth, I do miss our good times together. It was not a bad way to start a day.

I suppose corn is the cause for some pretty bad jokes. That's right. Corn is where the word corny comes from. Corny definition: Unsophisticated, old-fashioned, or excessively sentimental. One story says this expression began in the 1890’s. Companies selling seeds sent their catalogs to farmers. Jokes and riddles were added to the seed catalogs, but the jokes were obvious and trite. They became known as corn catalog jokes, then corn jokes, and eventually the adjective “corny” was born. They might have used this one: "Don't tell secrets in the cornfield because there are just too many ears." ~ "Have you heard about the latest garlic diet? You eat lots of it. You don't actually lose so much weight but your friends think you look thinner, from a distance." ~ "What did the carrot say to the celery? Quit stalking me." ~ "Why did the man at the orange juice factory lose his job? He couldn't concentrate." You probably have some of your own but I will give you a couple more to give you either a grin or a grimace. ~ "The first grader proudly announced, 'They taught me how to write today.' His mom asked, 'What did you write?', he responded, "I don't know, they haven't taught us how to read yet." ~ "The receptionist told the doctor that an invisible man was in the waiting room. The doctor told her to inform him that he could not see him now." Okay. They are bad but I remember growing up how we used to enjoy little ditties like these.

It has been a very busy week. I have not had too much trouble falling asleep at night. My grandfather always believed those two had something to do with each other. He always promoted staying busy in your work in order to then be able to get a good night's sleep. I know that doesn't work for everyone because many people do deal with sleep disorders today. Solomon, who was reported as the wisest man who ever lived, outside of our Savior of course, said something about this relationship between work and rest in his collected writings found in Ecclesiastes, "The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep." (Chapter 5, Verse 12) There's much more to the context but it does put forth the idea that work and sleep do connect in a special way. And, as they say, it works for me, and I am so very thankful that it does. I do realize how important sleep is for me. I don't require much but I do require the amount that I need in order to be productive each day. I know firsthand some who struggle with getting enough sleep each night. It is a very difficult problem and one I wouldn't wish on anyone. But, it's time to say farewell once again. Thanks so much for allowing me to visit with you this week, and Lord willing, I'll try to have something for your morning coffee next Monday. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen.       ....More later.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If it's not one thing, it's something else.

Hello friends and neighbors and welcome back. It is Thursday, June 28, 2012. I will not be talking about the political landscape today. I hear that sound. It's a loud, collective sigh of relief. I have been thinking about those folks over in Florida. They really needed some rain. Twenty five inches with more on the way? Not that much, please. I read a blurb that said the orange crops may be in danger from flooding. Not long ago they were in danger from an unexpected hard freeze. Before that it was the danger from the drought. Do we live in a 'make it up as we go' kind of world or what? The old timers used to say, "If it's not one thing, it's something else." How true. As most of you know I read quite a few obituaries each day. I actually mostly scan them but often they do reflect the story of life for us all. I am always struck when I read about a young person passing away. It's not that I feel guilty that I've been around longer but rather from a human perspective it seems like such a tragic loss of talent, vitality, and contribution. I read one from a nearby town where I grew up of a young mother who died at age 40. She leaves behind a husband, a son in college, and a daughter still at home. Nothing in the notice indicated how she died. I wanted to know why. After a few searches I found her Facebook page. On her Wall her last entry was from May 8 of this year where she reported that the surgery had gone well but they would have to wait and see about the results. Further down the page was a poster with that pink ribbon denoting breast cancer. My heart goes out to her family. She was so proud of her children. We never know. Rain. Not enough rain. Too much rain. A bad report. A surgery to fix the problem. A home going to celebrate. This is a fragile world folks and we do need the Lord. Amen.

Yeah , I know. It does look like I could find something more uplifting to write about. Sorry. But here at the old blogger ranch we more or less take them as they come. And, whatever happens to be percolating or stewing around in the few gray cells I have left, well, that's what gets transmitted. I will be the first to admit that some days there just isn't that much 'there' there. Here in our area we are breaking some heat records left and right. Okay. I am out in it some and let me just say this about that. When it is 105 degrees and the feel like is 115, you have to get in line to get your next breath. We have this dome of high pressure sitting on top of us and it is holding in the hot air. (No. I did break my promise about politics. I am actually still talking about hot air as in weather.) It is supposed to ease its way east over the next couple of days and we will be back into the mid 90's. That will be so wonderful. See what I mean? You know something is up when you long for those high humidity days where the temperature stays below 95. In fact, they are already putting out those alerts that we should try and conserve electricity because of the drain on the statewide electrical grid. On the 9 p.m. news we watch folks send their tweets in real time and they scroll them at the bottom of the screen. Some people actually prefer the hot weather or at least that is what they say. One fellow said it was easier to cool off than to warm up. I have a tweet for that guy. "Hey, dude, are you living on another planet or what?"

When we would get out of sorts as a kid my granddad would tell us that we had the same clothes to get glad in. And, as far as it being hot, I know it was because we spent a lot of our time at the swimming hole, but because we had few choices in terms of doing anything about it, I suppose we just dealt with it. It wasn't like we could ask that the air conditioning be turned on. Yes. I did know about air conditioning. Long before we got any. We didn't live that far back in the woods. But we didn't have it, therefore, we used an attic fan to circulate the air and us boys also had a box fan that we had in our bedroom window. All the windows were open all the time in the summer. Occasionally we would ride up to the next little town where a fellow sold ice. Blocks of ice. He also sold watermelons. He kept the watermelons in the ice house. We would get one of those big ones and us kids would salivate as we sat in the back of the Paw Paw's pickup keeping that big melon company on the way home. We had a homemade picnic table out in the yard and once that melon was cut open and we began to enjoy that ice cold sweetness, well, it was part of how we dealt with the heat. We didn't do it very often but when we did, what a treat! We actually grew our own melons but our soil was not the best for this item. However, we would eat them anyway, but they could never be like those ice cold ones we got from the ice house. Now that's a good memory and I'm thankful that I have many of those. In fact, I'm feeling a little cooler just thinking about those good old days. I do hope you are cool wherever you happen to be. May God bless one and all. Amen.           .....More later.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's a mess folks, a real mess!

Good morning and welcome. It's Wednesday, June 27, 2012, and I do send out a hello to one and all where we sit on the edge of our seat awaiting the decision by the US Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Obama-care legislation. You were not even aware of this? How were things on your long journey away from the states? It's a big deal because the administration has busily been pushing portions of it forward making it more painful to change or disengage. And, that is one of their main arguments, we've gone too far to change it now. What a mess. I wasn't surprised that the Court struck down most of the Arizona state laws pertaining to immigration enforcement. Under our form of government immigration has always been the responsibility of the Federal Government. The fact that the system is horribly broken does not change the responsibility from the feds to the states. But what about these run away costs being incurred by the states for services that MUST be provided to illegals? Good question but not a new one. That's been with us for years through Republican and Democrat controlled administrations.

This current economic recession, depression, or calamity makes it not only a front burner issue but one with the heat turned up as high as it will go. When times were good these folks were welcomed to come and work cheaply to fuel business growth. Cheap labor was a good thing and everyone looked the other way. In today's world there's no money to pay for all the services being consumed by legal citizens, much less illegals. In essence, the court ruled that despite this set of dire circumstances it is still the Congress that must act on matters regarding immigration. This means that it once again falls into the lap of the politicians, in an election year. It's a mess folks. Even more so with the election looming because we have not even begun to see all the games that will be played, on all sides. One final word: It's a mess folks! Now here in these parts they coined a phrase for what it means to ride out a hurricane, it's called 'hunker down'. It just strikes me as being a pretty good way to describe what we need to do as we get ready for this upcoming election storm.

I am well aware that many would rather not be reminded of these things. They like to hear funny stories and anecdotes. Me too. However, no amount of happy talk is going to make these things to go away. In many ways these are some of the most challenging times we've faced. Why? Because the wisdom of man is not enough. As bad as reality gets, I can even get more down thinking about the choices in the upcoming election. I'm sorry folks but I just don't get it. From any and all sides. That's why I have been consistent in my conclusions, over time, that God and God alone is our only hope. Now for the good news. Trusting Him is where will will find our confidence and the strength we need to carry on, while He works out, in the good times and the bad, His plan, His purpose, and His will. After all, He knows just how messed up we are and He also knows how much we can mess things up. Thankfully, He specializes in repair and restoration of cracked pots, and to paraphrase the Apostle Paul, I could claim to be the chief of cracked pots and we as a people can all say Amen to that. May God help is my prayer. Amen.          .....More later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Welcome to the Weather Game where your guess is as good as the experts.

Hello again and welcome. It's Tuesday, June 26, 2012, and my neck is tired from watching the weather predictions on that storm named Debby. It's going across Florida so no need to worry. Wait a minute. It might just turn left. Hold on a second. We think it is now heading due north. Stay tuned. Even more confusing was trying to make sense out of the projection models. It looked like our little Madi's attempts to play connect the dots. I would say something about it having a lady's name and making up her mind but that's not appropriate in today's culture, therefore, I won't say it. Why don't you folks just go ahead and prepare, just in case? Well, that would be a reasonable suggestion but then again we would be a part of the 5% instead of the 95% who wait, and we always like to be with the group. Plus, we had teenagers in our home for four days and to tell you the truth they don't think too highly of food supply inventory. Now don't get me wrong. These kids are wonderful but they are teenagers and while they don't mind having an inventory, keeping it is not a part of their DNA. I have really tried hard to remember what kind of snacks we had when I was their age. Stuff from the garden. Maybe some cookies now and then. No microwave, therefore, that wipes out about 75% of the snacks they like. Maybe that's why I weighed 125 and the wife weighed 85 when we married. For us, there wasn't any reason to stand and look into the fridge.

Most everyone on the globe saw the video of the older lady bus monitor who was berated by some horrible middle school kids. Those kids need special attention. Sadly, that bus moniotor obviously had no authority even though she was on the bus to help maintain order. I am glad people were outraged. I do hope the parents take appropritate disciplanary action. As to the death threats against those boys. How sad. One 13 year old has received over 1,000 threatening text messages including one that said they had taken his family hostage. The police had to respond to make sure everyone was okay. These kids need to be taught some respect but out of control boys on a bus does not constitute a case worthy of the death penalty. I am also happy for this lady if all the money that has been pledged does come in. This incident is an all too familiar example of the coarseness that exists in our society today. Meanwhile, after a panel viewed the video, I found it sickening that one notable political pundit commented that while he felt sorry for this lady he believed she received nothing less than what President Obama gets all the time. He went on to say that many of the people standing up for this older lady were the very ones spewing hatred and malice against the president. How he would know that is anyone's guess. But, how in heaven's name could you turn that bus incident into something about the president? It not only demeans the plight of this lady but it also causes people to throw up their hands in disgust. No wonder people are turned off to politics in this country.

Now as to why we have bus monitors who have no power or authority, well, that too reflects the times we are living in. We see it in every area of life. Yet, we know that ultimately, God and His truth will prevail. How can we respond to the environment that surrounds but seems to be mired in the gutter? We can live above it all, with God's help. We can teach our children, and bring them up in the love and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) We can also pray for our nation and for our leaders. That's right. We can pray for leaders that we did not vote for. I'm not talking about praying against them but rather praying for them and their families. We can pray that they would lead in a way that would honor God and uphold His principles. When the Apostle Paul instructed the local assembly in Rome, to pray for and supprt their government, he was talking about Rome with all of its corruption laden tentacles. We can't change things, but we certainly know the One who can. The Bible is replete with instances where unbelieving kings did God's bidding as they went about doing business as they saw fit. Yes, it is easy to sit back and be critical as we lament the ways of the world, however, we can do much more than that. We can live in the way we believe God would have us to live, and we can constantly call upon Him to help. That's much better than getting real good at complaining. Me too. Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Computers can never replace user frustrations!

Good morning and howdy. I send you greetings from my little digital front porch over to your little digital front porch. It is Monday, June 25, 2012. While my computer is slightly better today, so far, over the past several days I have been in the midst of some horiffic problems. The kind that bring a blue screen. I like the color blue but when it occurs midstream in the middle of trying to get your work done, it's not so pretty. I fear that it may be a permanent error, perhaps on the disk drive. Man, I hate it when that happens. I've run all the stuff I know about to try and detect and repair but it runs for a little while and then BAM it hangs up and it takes an act of congress to get it going again. We all know how slow congress moves to get anything done. The problem is intermittant but the failures are coming closer and closer together. Frustrating? You know it is! The kind where if we had some x-ray photography you could probably see smoke coming out of my ears. Yeah, I hear what some of you are saying. "Now honey, remember, that doesn't do it or you any good at all. We thought you were the guy who told everyone not to sweat the small stuff and to always remember that most of the stuff we fret over turns out, in the grand scheme of things, to be pretty small." Thank you so much for reminding me of that. You showed up and rained on my little private pitty party just when I was reaching that 'get down and wallow in it' phase. But, I do thank you.

I do wince when someone says their computer being down doesn't bother them. They say it's no big deal. NO BIG DEAL? Well, that's not the way it works with me. It just happens to be a really big deal as I typically am actively engaged with my computer when sitting at my desk, working on a multitude of tasks, let's see, I'll be conservative here, maybe at least 60 minutes out of every hour. People call me and ask if I received their request or did I get the information I asked them for or have I had time to look at their drawings. That's where the smoke comes from as that small stuff begins to smolder. You know I'm mostly kidding. Mostly. The only thing worse that I can think of is having to change to a new machine. I bond with my computer. We become a team. When moving to a different machine is the only way out, I do dread having to say goodbye. But it may have to happen. When it does I will be singing a variation of that old country song, "Thank God and Greyhound, he's gone." I do hope you recognize that most of this episode was written tongue in cheek. Most. Even when the story is intended to be sarcastic humor, there's still that ring of reality that comes through.

Our 6 year old grandson Alex woke up from a nap the other day to discover the electrical power was out. No TV. No XBox. No internet. He was, to say the least, a very unhappy camper. What do grandparents do to help bring understanding to these types of situations? Of course, we explain how we had it growing up where we had no cartoons except on Saturday mornings, no computer games to play, and no email or internet or cell phone. Then we kick it up a notch. We start talking about no air conditioning and how that our parents growing up didn't even have indoor plumbing. Next thing I know I have invoked the fact that I used to take a bath in a washtub and I shared the water with my other brothers. I left off the walking to school in the blizzard because I think even Alex could recognize when it is getting a little deep. Now this I know, he may only be six but he has the eye rolling down pat. After taking all of this wealth of historical knowledge in, his only reply: "Poppy when can I watch Sponge Bob?" It's good to know that I got through to him. Hello? But last week there were many times sitting in front of this computer when I was wondering the exact same thing. Have yourself a wonderful Monday and Lord willing, if I can keep this jalopy running, I'll see you next time. May God bless. Amen.     .....More later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

May I brighten your day a little?

Happy Friday everyone. It is June 22, 2012 and I bid you a good day. That word happy is one you hear much about today. Everyone wants to be happy. In fact, I believe the world votes being happy as the number one goal in life.. I talk to people and they put it this way: "I just want to be happy, that's all." They may even add, "Is that asking too much?" What is really meant when folks say this? Typically it has to do with things going well, an absence of trouble, and good fortune each day. I have some news for you. There was an event that happened just after the creation of our human family. That event is called The Fall. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve we will not experience a trouble free existence in this old world. That's just the way it is, according to God, period, end of story. But, that doesn't mean we have to live a life filled with hopelessness and frustration. God knows our need. It is not to have a life with the absence of trouble but it is to have a life with the presence of Himself living in us to help us to live in joy, not in the 'how it feels' each moment of the day. This also doesn't mean that our life is without pleasurable moments. I can prove it. I can share it with you. The photo is of our great granddaughter Madi. When I saw it, it literally made my day. A blessing folks and one I can be thankful for. No. It did not make all my troubles go away but it made me aware of God's grace and provision. Amen.

We also find fulfillment in the heritage that God has allowed us to share. My background is one where I was exposed to family who were distinguished by their faithfulness. They didn't just talk their belief in God, they walked it. Speaking of that, the photo is of my mom and dad walking. It is the Walk of Prayer in the little town where I grew up. Mom certainly was worn out after that long walk but many have told them how their example encouraged them. See what I mean? We can make a difference by being different. I know what you are thinking. They don't get much more different than me. I prove that everyday here at the old blogger ranch. But, thinking about the things we can be thankful for will go a long way in making each day a better day. Someone might say that's real easy for folks who seem to have it made. 'Seem to' is the right thought here. None of us are immune from the storms that come into a life. Those folks in my background that are such a source of inspiration to me, well, they had their share of troubles. They didn't always get everything right as they tried to make it each day. But, on balance, they lived out their time with a sense of confidence, not in this world in all of its trappings, but in the assurance that they would live forever in the presence of the God who sent His Son to save them. Now that is a good act to follow and a challenge. I'm not always up to it but I am thankful the pattern is there for me to see. Amen.

When I saw that photo on Facebook of our little great grand bundle of Madelyn Joy it made me immediately lonesome to see her and her parents. I sent them a note and said just that. They said they needed to fix that situation. When I saw that photo of mom and dad openly demonstrating their desire to see God's blessings on their community, it caused my heart to swell up with a sense of admiration and thankfulness. I have always said that it really doesn't take much to kindle a feeling of thankfulness and joy. Believe me. I have my days too. That's right. I do still get up on the wrong side of the bed from time to time. Thankfully, God usually has a way of letting me know that I can do better than that. It might be from a Bible verse, a song, or a photo shared with family and friends. All of us wear lenses through which we view our world. We all would do well to use the lens of faith as it will help us to clearly see God and His provision for us. Thinking about that reminds me. I need to find those glasses because they are easy to misplace. Now, having said all of that, I want to commend you to finding a place where God's people gather on Lord's Day Sunday, and that you would join them, and join in with them in worshipping and seeking to hear from Him. That's always a good way to start a brand new week. Until next time when you crank up your computing appliance and see a new message from me in your inbox, I'll be working on something to share. May God bless one and all is my prayer. Amen.         .....More later.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm so looking forward to finding out where 'here' is.

Hello once again and welcome. It is Thursday, June 21, 2012. My eldest son gave me a portable GPS device for Father's Day. I am to a certain extent geographically challenged. He is probably more aware of that than most. I've called him many times and asked him to help me decide where I was and how I could get from wherever that was to wherever I was supposed to be. So far that system has worked pretty well but now I will have my own little directional finder that can help me to get on down the road. He told me he had talked with the sales person and he chose the one the fellow thought would be the easiest to use. That's a good thing. Because it fits my second condition, being gadget challenged. When I opened the box I noticed there was no instruction manual. Nothing. Just the device and the warranty and the connector. Hello? I called my son. He said it was probably because of how easy it is to use and that when I turn it on it will all be right there and I should have no problems at all. I know that he knows me better than that. But, I am very glad to have this little smart box because to tell you the truth, making those u-turns where they don't have any can be quite challenging in and of itself especially when it is accompanied by a chorus of cars honking their horns. I don't mind the music so much but it's those gestures. They all had better be glad Granny Mac wasn't around because she wouldn't put up with that kind of ugly stuff for one minute. I tried out my new gizmo and it works great, on a trip that I already knew where I was going. Soon I will use it to plot my journey to the regions beyond, or maybe across town, whichever one comes first.

Growing up in a rural town. Going hunting and fishing often. And, you still can't seem to figure out directions. There is a reason I didn't get past the Tender Foot badge in Boy Scouts. But, we all have things we do well and then we have the other stuff. My problem is in figuring out the stuff that I'm good at. As best I can tell I am a work in progress and as the children's song says: "He's still working on me to make me what I need to be." I'm sure there are those around who could give some input about some of the areas I have that are in need of improvement. I've never liked to dwell on those. They are just too depressing. Most of you know exactly what I mean. You do. I know you do. In fact, one of my favorite things in my whole life is to have someone mistakedly think that I know a lot about something or that I have great expertise in an area I really don't have a clue about. This is what I call the figment of their imagination identity syndrome. Even the Bible says that at times if we keep our mouths closed people will think us to be smart which is much better than opening up and proving them wrong. (See Proverbs 17:28) Part of my job each day is to deal with people who do know what they are talking about. They don't know that I don't. They assume that I do. I do not go out of my way to inform them otherwise. I know enough and thankfully most of the time we get to a resolution and everyone is happy. I think that's how the stories are supposed to end. Right?

I am picking up a new skill as I am growing older. I am becoming more and more clumsy. I've never been clumsy before. I've never been one to drop things. I've never had to chase pills or pill bottles here, there, and over yonder as they slip out of my hands. Maybe I have awakened the slapstick gene. I would just as soon he stayed asleep. Proabably the most funny part is when I try to act as if what is happening is not a result of me being clumsy. Sure. Like folks will think I am getting ready for the Olympics when they see me dive for a pill bottle. Tying my shoes is a whole lot better than asking someone to get down on the floor to help me find my baby aspirin. Those dudes come ready to jump. Right out of my hand. Why do they have to be so small? Oh. That's right. They are 'baby' aspirin, low dosage, and all of that. Maybe they could make them huge and fill up the pill with something else. But then I would be writing about how that pills are so large I've started choking. It's a tough world folks. A tough world indeed. I'm really thankful that this is not an everytime event and I've heard others testify that it is a normal part of that proverbial 'aging process'. Best I recall I never gave any of this a second thought when I was young. What? That's how it works? All and all I can only end up each day being thankful for God's provision even in the hand full of meds I take to keep this machine going. Amen and Amen.              .....More later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The door is open so come on in and sit for a spell.

Hello once again and perhaps for someone, welcome for the first time. It is Wednesday, June 20, 2012 and I say that because of a fellow diabetic who sent me a comment recently about one of my blogs. In my blog I had mentioned reading a note from a sharing forum where the fellow was pouring his heart out because of having worked so hard but he still had developed diabetic induced complications. The man who wrote me said he had read that very note himself and agreed with me that all we can do is to take each day and do our best, leaving the ultimate results in God's hands. He was probably doing a search on diabetes related stuff when he encountered my blog. I do those kinds of searches all the time. I thought it even more remarkable that we both had read that same testimony. Many trillions of digital data flying here and there each second but when it comes down to it, we all share a common bond. He and I are diabetics. You and I are people. All people share common needs. The greatest of these has to do with responding to God by accepting His provision of salvation through Jesus Christ. We also all share in this common struggle called life and it does help to connect with and encourage each other as we go about its pursuit. Amen.

Last Saturday morning I was able to drive over to my old stomping grounds in that small Louisiana town to enjoy a wonderful breakfast with mom and dad. I was there to express my appreciation to dad because of Father's Day. It was a good trip. Thanks to my family I have the satellite radio to keep me company as I journeyed forth and back. I listened to a whole lot of different broadcasts during my more than 6 hours on the road. Old Time Radio is always one of the first that I check out. Southern Gospel helps keep you focused along with that super hot Community I carry along with me for company. News. You can get it in just about as many flavors as Baskin Robbins. Classical music, comedy, NASCAR, political commentary, books being read, and of course, some of my favorites, the old big band Glen Miller style of serenading. The only problem is that I only have 10 preset stations and I most likely need to be able to switch between at least 50 or more. Don't worry. I have figured out a way but it can be a little awkward especially with those other drivers. They actually expect you to stay on your side of the road. All the time. But, it was a wonderful day and I continue to thank God for our parents.

It really isn't as bad as I make it out except for that one pulpwood truck. Just joking. He shouldn't have been on the road anyway. You know. With all that wood covering his lane and everywhere else. Meeting those dudes can be a little disconcerting. It looks like they are coming at you sideways. I will give him credit because when he swerved to miss me, he did a real good job. I am only joking. I didn't have any near misses this trip, that is, that I can recall. That little opening to this paragraph will no doubt get me a phone call from my better half and she will be saying that there had better not be any station changing going on that puts me at risk. I am going to save her a call by saying that I already understand that and will try to do better next time. That's also a joke but I doubt if she will be laughing with me. It is good to be able to enjoy a good story from time to time. I feel sorry for those who never find much in life to smile about. I know there are some who have very good reasons to lack a smile because of their situation or circumstances. However, there are others who just seem to want to be glum about it all. They obviously cannot even see the humor in playing dodge ball with the pulpwood trucks on the way to Louisiana. That was my final joke for the day. I do hope that you will find something to smile about and that God will help us all to honor Him with the lives He has given to us. Amen.          .....More later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I know. I most likely ran out of anything to say a long time ago. But, that hasn't kept me from keeping these blogs a'comin!

Hello Americans, I bring you greetings, for the 1300th time coming to you live from here at the old blogger ranch. That was what I would have said since last week, for me, it was Friday the 1300th. So, I am a little late but I'm still thinking about it on this Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Thanks so much to those of you who take the time to read what I write each day. I am well into my 6th year and it has been a wonderful journey for me. I also thank so many who have commented on something I have written about. I especially appreciate those who have said they have been encouraged in their day by day living, challenged to seek God in all things, and for those who have been entertained some with my foolishness. I've never promoted my blog through the commercial means available to me, however, just through searches and other quirks, I've had over 58,000 page views where people have landed on my blog. As you can tell, I am very much focused on the images I choose. These images are the reason many folks land on my blog as they search for certain subject matter along with illustrations. I've had some really neat comments from folks who live in far flung places. I've also shed a few tears as I have shared times of sorrowing that have come into our lives, knowing that they come into all of our lives as well. Over the years I've had some folks suggest that I should write a book. I think 1300 pages may meet that test. But, it has been a wonderful experience for me. My longstanding hope has always been that God will use some portion of the things I have written to touch a life. I thank Him for providing to me the evidence that He has done exactly that. Thanks again folks and I will just keep on spinning that big huge wheel each day and where it will stop no one knows, including yours truly.

I also had too much to cram into last week but I did notice that the 25th anniversary of the now famous Ronald Reagan speech in Berlin was celebrated on last Tuesday, June 12th. That was the speech in 1987 where President Reagan confronted the Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev with the words: "Tear this wall down." He was speaking about the Berlin Wall which stood as a symbol of Communist oppression. That wall eventually did come down and now historians are making the connection to Ronald Reagan's stand for freedom. It is the now famous speech but it wasn't that way at the time. Even among his own team he was strongly urged not to use those provocative words. The news media pounced upon his words and some even questioned his desire for peace. When one national reporter challenged the President by saying that some were thinking perhaps Gorbachev was more of a man of peace than he, looking back over his shoulder the President responded, "They just have to learn, don't they?" And learn we did and they did and the world did. What we have learned is the power of one man standing up for the principles that define who we are as a nation. Would to God that we had someone like him standing up for us today. Amen.

Over the years I have learned what Yogi Berra meant when he said you can observe a lot when you are watching. Maybe that's a good way to describe what I am doing here in my daily visits, reporting the results from my watching. That's not to say that I do not know the difference between those in the stands and those out on the playing field. We all need to be active in those areas where we can make a difference, where we can influence others, and yes, if needed, where we can take a stand. I didn't watch the recent boxing match that led to the judges announcing a winner that literally the entire world disagreed with. One of the complaints was how that the judges had little real world experience in boxing. They were trained judges but not people who had ever taken a blow themselves. They awarded the win to the loser, or at least that's how the masses who paid to watch the bout saw it. I heard one commentator say he thought it was interesting that no one had come to the defense of the judges. That's how bad their decision was. A good lesson for us all and especially for me. It is easy to criticize from the stands when perhaps all the details and experience is not fully understood or recognized. I do try to not jump on bandwagons because often folks lead with their predetermined notions instead of the facts. I do try. That doesn't mean I have always been right about everything I have written. I recognize that. I work on it. In the end, this is why I do my best to emphasize the opinion orientation of my way of looking at things. For the 1300th plus time, at the end of the day, it is still The View From Here. Nothing more. Thanks again for tuning in and may God bless us all as we seek to honor Him with the life He has given to us. Amen.          ......More later.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We remember brother. We remember.

Today is Monday, June 18, 2012. One year ago we were at the bedside of my brother as he breathed his last breath. It was my special privilege to officiate at his memorial service. In his honor, I reprint his obituary and ask that prayers be offered up on behalf of our mom, Donald's children and their families, and the rest of our clan.

Donald Richard Abbott, 62, United States Marine Corps, retired, of Webster, Texas, was born  on Friday, September 3, 1948 in Many. He passed away after a lengthy illness at his residence on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at the Hixson Funeral Home Chapel, Leesville, with burial to follow at Beckom Cemetery, Hornbeck. A viewing is planned for one hour prior to the service.

After graduation from high school in Hornbeck, Donald proudly served his country as a United States Marine and retired as a sergeant first class after 20 years of distinguished service. After retirement he held a number of positions in education as well as in the transportation industry. Donald was predeceased by his dad, Cecil Abbott; all grandparents; one brother, Jimmy Don Abbott; and one sister, Kayla Jean Moore. Donald is survived by those left to cherish his memory: Dotty Hunt, Webster, Texas, his companion and care giver; his mother and dad, Lena and Jose Chavez of Hornbeck; his sons, Donald Abbott Jr. (wife Blanca), of Yuma, Ariz., Phillip Abbott, (fiancee, Rennie), of Houston, Texas; daughters Deanna Velez, (husband, Rick), of San Diego, Calif., Jolena Abbott, (boyfriend, Michael), of League City, Texas; sisters, Frances Jones, Hornbeck; JoAnn Abbott, Plano, Texas, Miriam Kay, (husband, Tommy), Leesville; brothers, Al Abbott, (wife, Marilyn), Spring, Texas, Victor Chavez, (wife, Maria), Bellaire, Texas, Richard Chavez, (wife, Stephanie), DeRidder; seven grandchildren; one great grandson; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Donald's nephews and other family members. The family wishes to express appreciation to all those who contributed to Donald's care during his extended illness, and for the prayers and support from so many friends and loved ones. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice, perhaps a Veteran's support charity would be an appropriate tribute.

Published in the Leesville Daily Leader on June 20, 2011

Friday, June 15, 2012

Proverbs 23:22 "Listen to your father, who gave you life, ......"

Today is Friday, June 15, 2012. It's actually Friday the 1300th for me in terms of the number of blogs I have pasted out on the worldwide web board. But I will have something to say about that at a later date. This coming Sunday is the day set aside to honor fathers here in our nation. The role of dads in today's upside down world is constantly undergoing revision and redefinition. However, God had a very specific idea in mind when He created them male and female. Those of you who have read my blogs for anytime at all know how blessed I am to have had the influence of the dads that God has placed in my life. Although I did not get to come up in life under the tutelage of my biological father because of his untimely death in 1954, I do thank God for him and the life that he gave to me. One of the most significant impacts on my life has been the influence of my grandfather, Paw Paw Mac, my mom's dad. After dad passed away, mom and the six of us moved to a rural town in Louisiana. We moved in with Granny and Paw Paw Mac. We lived with them for a time until we got our house built but my granddad's influence continued and even though he went on to his reward in 1971, his influence, his example, and his words of wisdom are a constant companion to me, and I do thank God for His provision in giving to us this rather simple but Godly father figure. I read an obituary this week and it summed up the influence of their dad in this way: "Our father taught us the ways of Jesus Christ which he modeled. We thank God for the gift of his life and pray that he rest in God's peace." I couldn't have said it any better.

I also rise up to pay homage to my step dad who has for these many years been a faithful husband to our mom and a caring dad to our blended family. Dad has proven himself loyal in his military career, his working career, his twenty years as a public official for the town, and as an encourager and supporter to us kids. When I think of him I thank God because He surely has blessed us through this man. I say Happy Father's Day Dad. May God bless you for being the dad that you have been and are today. Amen. I also pause to remember my wife's dad, my father in law, and the relationship he and I enjoyed for so many years. He was someone that I knew was always rooting for me. He was another of those handfuls of blessings given to me by God. I then think about other dads that have influenced my life. My uncles, teachers in school and those in the local fellowship where we attended. Men I have worked with. Men I have served with. It's not easy to be the kind of dad that God wants us to be. But, in my life I've learned that regardless of how things have gone in the past, we dads can do what we can today to live out the truth that we desire to see carried forth in the lives of our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren. I do wish all dads including our three sons a wonderful Father's Day and may God bless us all as we seek to model the example He has called us to be. Amen. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will catch up with you next time, right here, on this same station, Lord willing, of course.          .....More later.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Song by George M. Cohan: "You're a grand old flag,You're a high flying flag And forever in peace may you wave. You're the emblem of The land I love. The home of the free and the brave. "

It is Thursday, June 14, 2012. It is Flag Day here in our nation. This day is set aside to commemorate the official designation of the 'Stars and Stripes' as depicted on the United States Flag. That official act of the Congress was enacted on June 14, 1777. Since that time Old Glory has well represented the values we hold dear as a people. Tattered and torn at times, God has seen us through and we are thankful to Him that this flag still flies over a free people. Also of note on this day in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the addition of 'under God' in our Pledge of Allegiance. We do have those who are against that addition and there are also some who are against the Pledge itself. I am for the Pledge and I am certainly for the addition since it reflects the reality of how we not only became a nation but how we remain one today. Just this week I read about a school principal in New York who had vetoed the singing of Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the USA'. She first said she did not won't to offend other cultures but later reasoned how the kindergarten students who had learned the song for their graduation exercises were too young to understand the implications of the lyrics. What did she allow to be sung instead? A pop song by Justin Bieber that included sexual innuendo and other teen related lyrics. This same woman claims religious reasons for why she refuses to rise for the National Anthem. Forgive me for being harsh but my thought is that this school needs a new principal! Period, end of story. That's the way I see it.

This past Tuesday afternoon we had us a genuine mess of a storm, especially in our neighborhood. We had the warm air coming in off the gulf and it did find and collide with some cooler air in a big front and that made for a rather scary one hour of rain, hail, lightning, and winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour. I was trying to drive home from work. Trees were down all over the place. Roads were blocked and many were flooded. I was turned back a couple of times to try and seek a safer place. Cell phone access was spotty but I did get through here and there to learn that we had another tree calamity at our home. This time one of our huge oak trees in the backyard was hit by some spinning wind, perhaps a little twister, and that took the top off and landed it on our neighbor's garage and in her driveway. When I finally arrived home we immediately set out to clear all the debris from that tree. We had a small chainsaw and I flagged down some lawn care fellows and engaged their services to help. We didn't slowdown for about an hour and a half. The damage to our neighbor's garage is mostly on one corner and we are working on getting that taken care of. The yard looked again like a war zone. Not as bad as Hurricane Ike but enough to give us all a flashback. Once during the brunt of the storm as I sat in a parking lot where there were not many trees, my car was doing it's own version of rock and roll. I wasn't singing along. I was mostly holding my breath. Sure, I was apprehensive but I also knew that no matter what happened God was going to take care of me, either here or there. That's a good thing to know when the storm is raging. Amen? Yes. Amen!

That clean up was hard work but folks we were blessed to be able to do it. Several homes in our neighborhood were flooded with one reporting 5 inches of water. Major damage was done to a home in the vicinity due to fire caused by lightning. We also heard about some folks that did have a tree in their home. We've been there and done that one. The power was off for maybe three hours total. When it came back on we said praise the Lord, got the satellite back up and working, and sat there watching another round of the American Ninja Warrior competition. We were back to our regular routine. We had not expected that storm. That storm had not been predicted. In fact, it seemed, based on the reporting I saw, that it actually surprised even the weather folks. I had left that morning hoping maybe that 20% rain prediction would turn into something more meaningful. Hello? I don't know how much rain fell but I do know for it only being about an hour, it fell in a hurry. We did have many sightseers with their cameras and video streaming on their cell phones. I suppose a big tree laying on the edge of a garage was one of the main attractions that evening. Since the power was out and the kids were home for the summer, it was at least something to do. My point is that we just never know. I didn't even know when I left the office. In fact, I was listening to the news on the radio when the emergency broadcast broke in to warn about a potential damaging thunder storm for our area. I heard the announcement and then I drove into it. And, by the way, I had other plans in mind for Tuesday evening up in my office at home but I never even climbed the stairs. We never know but we can be sure that He does and He cares. That we can count on. Amen.       ....More later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's not only a small world but it continues to be a dangerous one as well.

Greetings friends and neighbors. I suppose that's what the internet is bringing to us today. Many cyber neighbors. Pen pals but on an immediate and interactive real time basis. If it's causing the world to come together in peace, well, the news hasn't caught up with that development yet. It is Wednesday, June 13, 2012, and I am still here clicking and clacking my way along. I heard a series of reports the other day about the rub off effect of how we as a nation are conducting our affairs. Other countries do pay attention to us. They were talking about how many would love to get their hands on some of those drones we use to target terrorists and enemies. The revelation that our President actually has a kill list with specific names on it of those considered to be our enemies has caused quite a stir throughout the world. If the American President can have a kill list then others wonder why they can't have one too. We probably wouldn't take kindly to Russia or China sending in a drone to eliminate someone living in our country that they consider to be an enemy of their state. Our response? It's different when we do it because of the war on terror, or because our kill list is justified, or because we are the super Super power. Some believe we will no doubt end up dealing with those who become copy cats of how we operate, and, we may not like the results. You know. It's like us parents telling our children to do as we say, not as they see us doing. Observers believe these security matters were revealed in order to boost the President's macho credentials but we all are well aware of that boomerang effect and it often comes back stenciled with the words: Unintended Consequences.

And you thought that droning had something to do with my blogs everyday, as in 'droning on and on'. See there. That's the beauty of blogging out on the www electronic information highway that runs throughout the world. You can become a self appointed commentator on any subject you choose. I am no doubt thought of by some as being a diehard Bible thumping redneck conservative based on what they read in my blogs. I wouldn't agree with all of that but I understand how that we tend to affix labels as people express their point of view. Believe me, there are just as many people out their blogging their hearts out who espouse a very different worldview, a very different take on the issues of life, and they are very sure they are right. See, I told you that most of us have something in common, we all think we are right. Just joking. On matters of politics and preferences we can take different sides and still be respectful of each other. When it comes to thus says the Word of the Lord, I happen to believe there's not much wiggle room, therefore, this is the great dividing line. Standing up for biblical principles in a world increasingly aligned against what these principles mean in everyday life can be challenging. Some wonder who died and left me in charge because of my viewpoints. I couldn't agree more, but in response I can only say it is He who died and was buried, rose again, ascended into heaven, and He is ultimately in charge of all things regardless of whether you or I recognize this for what it is: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Amen.

I guess I woke up on the serious side of the bed today. I heard growing up that when I wasn't acting just right that I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. My mom's remedy was two fold: Get back in there in get up on the right side of the bed and/or I had better straighten up and fly right. There was quite a bit more to the and/or but switches and belts are no longer deemed to be appropriate in our non-violent age. Non violent? With grand kids in and out of our home we get a steady diet of what passes itself off as children's programming. Watch that stuff for a few minutes and you will likely see someone evaporated or blown up. But, we wouldn't want to injure the child's psychological profile by spanking. If spanking, which we never called spanking when I was a kid, it was whipping, but if it caused psychological damage, therefore, in my case, you are reading information from a seriously damaged individual. By today's standards we were never physically abused, however, we did appreciate the painful learning experience that came when the proverbial board of education was applied to our seat of knowledge. I thank God today that I was disciplined as a child. It was and is His will. In fact, He instituted this type of training for our good and as an illustration of how He lovingly corrects His own dear children. This is beautifully illustrated in a passage found in Hebrews Chapter 12. What happens when we end up thinking we know better than God? We don't discipline as God has instructed and we lose the value of that correction along with the illustration He wanted us to understand. That same passage makes it very clear that no one enjoys when correction is applied but later the fruit it produces brings forth fulfillment and joy. And, I say Amen to that. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.     ....More later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Even with the mainstream media working fulltime on their behalf, they still can't make sure everyone is reading from their imposed script.

Hello and welcome. It is Tuesday, June 12, 2012. I suppose the medical folks must be licking their chops with all the new whiplash cases coming out of Washington D.C. I'm talking about what happens to anybody of prominence who are already on their side but they make the mistake of uttering an opinion of any kind on any subject that upsets the powers that be within the current administration. It's amazing how silly it looks for folks who say whatever it is that seems appropriate when answering a question, and then, BAM!, they are nearly knocked unconscious by whatever control mechanism this administration has over people, even former presidents, and next thing you hear is a bunch of mealy mouthed apologies, clarifications, restatements, and groveling to try and recover from whatever they said that was not to the liking of the President and his team. Often, the general public heard what was said, judged it as being pretty much the same as they saw it, but lo and behold, once these folks come out of the woodshed they have a completely new and different take to share. Looks silly. Looks childish. But, not funny at all as it relates to the future of our nation. I will have to say that I've not seen in my lifetime the muscle these folks apply in acting as puppeteers over any and all who would comment on how things are going. I guess the freedom of speech guaranteed to us all doesn't apply to those who might accidentally tell the truth as they see it. It's one of the sad but amazing sideshows we are witnessing in this election cycle.

I've not had a lot to say recently about all of these shenanigans, therefore, I like to reassure folks from time to time that I am still paying attention. Yesterday morning I walked out at just after 3:30 a.m. and it hit me. The combination of heat and humidity was an all too familiar preview of our summers here in these parts. It was like I could see those wavy heat lines coming off the asphalt but maybe my contacts were wrinkled. When I arrived at work I checked the vital statistics. At 4:15 a.m. it was 77 degrees with a feel like of 83. The high predicted was 97 with a feel like of 105. I would have hummed 'In the Good Old Summertime' but I couldn't find enough air to make a sound. It makes you feel heavy. It makes you feel just slightly annoyed. And, this is only early June. When it gets oppressive like this I turn to my trusty temperature map of the United States (lower 48). It gives the overnight lows all across our land. I spotted a 34 degree reading in Idaho. I then looked up the weather history records and found out that in Salmon, Idaho they tied a record Sunday night when they hit 34. Of course I then had to locate Salmon on a map. It is located on the east side of the mid section of the state not far from the Montana border. I don't know anyone who lives there but at least for a moment or two I tried to imagine how nice it would be to wake up to that temperature. What's that? It sounds like a lot of effort with very little results? Maybe. But, it does make me wonder about that guy up in Salmon who looked up our temperature and is sitting at his desktop wishing for our warmer weather. Poor soul. I will assure you that you do not have to be crazy to hang out with me, but, on the other hand, I never said it would be a bad idea.

Occasionally I have this sense of conviction that I should revisit the foods that should and should not be on my diabetic food list. One of the things that always puzzles me is how they portion out their recommendations. Who do you know that eats a 1/4 cup of anything? Maybe those white mice in their laboratories. I basically pay attention to the actual foods listed, not so much the eyedropper measurements used. I am a fruit eater. Most of the fruits I eat are on the recommended list. That's a pretty good thing for a diabetic, in moderation, of course.  In moderation. We wouldn't want to leave that out, would we? I'm pretty much supposed to make sure that everything else has the words 'whole grain' on them. There's also a lot of materials that describe how 'whole grain' stuff really is or isn't. Confused yet? And, also, the word 'fried' is banned. Now they are getting me steamed. It's not bad enough that they want you to eat a couple of blackberries and call that a snack, but, they also want you to eliminate all fried foods from your diet. That's like saying you can never come home to a boy raised on Southern cooking. Hey, let me be serious for a moment. I make it sound funny but we all know that eating healthy is something we all need to do. And, for those of us who do have special circumstances to account for, we need, I need, to be thankful that folks do spend the time to try and come up with recommendations that will assist. Finally, all I have to say about it is this: Have you actually looked at 1/4 of a cup lately? I think that's how they measure food for a fish tank. Until next time, may God bless and keep you and yours. Amen.        ....More later.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow!

Hello and welcome. Thanks for stopping by. It is Monday, June 11, 2012. Technology is really something. All that gee whiz stuff out there and especially the things they have planned. I heard a report the other day about just how much progress is being made in the virtual world. One area that will be greatly enhanced is the world of retail clothing. They now have perfected a body scanner that can be provided at a reasonable cost so that people can scan themselves into an application, and then select and try on clothes showing them a full 3 dimensional view of how they will look. Far fetched? Not as much as you might think. The body scanner part is working. The clothing application is getting there but it may still be a couple of years off. But, they are making progress. The clothing application is hugely complicated because of the variety of materials, styles, and other quirks involving fitting technicalities. Think about it. They are very sure that in the not too distant future people will be able to try on clothes and make purchases without leaving their home. Wow! That would sure save a lot of store space, not to mention reducing the number of people needed. I suppose it gives us something to look forward to, or maybe not. Just so you know, the body scanner works off a digital photography application and you only need to wear some snug fitting clothing for it to precisely duplicate your 3 dimensional image. I can hardly wait. But wait a minute. I'm still wearing clothes that are twenty or more years old. By the time I might need this new technology, I may not be around to use it. What a revolting development!

Speaking of technology, I was looking through some vintage computer ads the other day and I can remember those days from yesteryear. That image of the portable briefcase computer brings back memories. I think we may have referred to it as 'the luggable'. I'm sure there's more computing power in today's electronic wristwatch than what we had in those old devices, but one thing is almost certain with any new technology, it is on its way out the day it is announced. This is what many are wondering about Facebook. This much ballyhooed Company went public a few weeks ago with a number of investors becoming instant billionaires through their stock selling. Now the lawsuits are flying faster than you can de-friend someone who made you angry. It seems that maybe the hype was hyped intentionally in order to build up the price which produced this huge windfall for a number of the insiders. Everyone else who bought in are now left with stock they paid in the $30's or more for and it is now worth about $20 bucks. What brought about this rapid decline? When investors get involved then you have a gut check of just where a Company is and where they might be going. Facebook has had phenomenal success to date but many wonder whether it will become tomorrow's 'luggable' in the fast changing computing world. Many still think they will be a viable enterprise in the future but not nearly as valuable as they were initially thought to be. For those who have already pocketed their billions, I suppose they are not that worried, except for those pesky lawsuits that could end up getting ugly. Some are betting that Facebook could end up having an ad similar to that briefcase photo, maybe sooner than even they expected.

I know technology is not necessarily a topic of widespread interest, especially among my blog readers. However, it is something that we all have to work with, in one way or another. We might go kicking and screaming or dragging our feet but eventually the benefit or the fact that we can't get our stuff done without it prevails. When I voted the other day it was done using a little tablet computer device. They did offer assistance and I can assure you there are many of the senior seniors that most likely had to have help. We are blessed in that both my wife and I typically use our computers every day. We do the majority of our business online. We are aware that this does present some exposures and we have taken measures to protect ourselves as best we can. I know there are many who refuse to even think about doing their personal business this way. I understand their reluctance but at the same time there will come a day, sooner than we all might think, when this online approach will be the only sensible way to get stuff done. My dear friend, Bro. Jim, recently retired from our company. Not long ago his old computer died and he settled on going with an Apple. He had never used an Apple. It has lots of differences compared to the Windows based system he had used for years. He is will soon be 75. Here's the neat part. He signed up for weekly one on one classes to help him learn the new system. He was here the other day and told me that while he knew he was a slow learner, he believed he was getting there. I told him how proud I was that he had tackled this new challenge. He said the training people had been so kind and so patient. There you go. It can be done folks. A good lesson for us all, including yours truly. May God bless each one. Amen.   .....More later.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thanks for the memories that keep on reliving themselves!

Good Friday morning to you. It is already June 8, 2012, and as they say, time is marching on. Maybe that's the noise I hear outside. It's time stomping on its merry way. It could be that light rain falling for which I am so thankful. Have you noticed that I am a nostalgic person? I hope not overly so but I do love connecting up with some wonderful memories of those good old days. My wife can help in that area. She is like a time machine. The other evening I came in from work and my walk down memory lane was ready to plate. She had brought back some fresh picked purple hull peas from her Louisiana visit. She had fried up some okra. She had kernel corn. A huge pone of iron skillet cornbread. Sliced tomatoes. And, also some of my wife's sister's homemade pepper sauce ready to splash over these delicacies. Big glass of iced tea and I was ready to do me some time travel. Yum yum. That back door could just have easily opened up to my Granny Mac's kitchen, or my mom's, or my wife's mom. They tell us that if you use a small plate that will help to control the portion. Because of the historic nature of this meal and my respect for all those throughout my lifetime who have labored in providing similar culinary delights, I chose something a little closer to a serving platter. What about my diabetes? You must have missed the part about the time travel. I was in a place before I ever knew about the diabetes. See there. You learn something if you pay attention. It was so-oooo good! Thanks Sweetheart for making it so special.

The only bad thing about those enjoyable times is how they end and then it's back to the real world. I am not fanatical in my diabetic dietary control effort but I do try to read labels and watch my levels and all that razzmatazz. I will tell you that this effort each day is not something I would wish on anyone, including myself. But, compared to what other folks face each day it's not anything for me to be complaining about. I forgot one thing. The dessert. You know after a meal like that you wouldn't want to leave that off. It was grand. It too was delightful. I know you want to hear about it. Right? Well, it was something I try not to do very often but the occasion seemed right, therefore, I thought, why not? I moved my chair away from the table. Went to the kitchen cabinet and found me a small mug. I went over to the stove top and pulled off a handful of that perfectly cooked cornbread. I opened up the fridge and took out the milk. I drizzled and sloshed some over that still warm bread and then I took a spoon and enjoyed every bite. My wife asked if what I was doing was what I was doing. I know it is a little confusing but I knew exactly what she was saying. She was verifying whether or not this was a good idea. But, folks, let me tell you, there is hardly anyway for me to guess just how many wonderful meals I've capped off with this special dessert. Another winner but one that I will certainly try to limit going forward because the other is done now and it's way too late to do anything about it now. And, yes, it was also yummy. Are you hungry yet?

I've actually heard people talk about how glad they are that they will never have to eat those kinds of meals like they had growing up. Maybe they are the ones that help build those statistics about how so many are walking around with an undiagnosed mental problem. I just diagnosed it for them. To think that anyone would prefer a fast food menu or pretty much any other restaurant food to good old home cooking, they really do have a problem folks, and I am concerned about them. I talked to a fellow one time who said he has never been able to eat fried chicken, even as a kid. He had been a country boy like me. May I just say that Sunday's around my growing up would have been slim pickings for that boy. Didn't like fried chicken? Maybe I should have asked to see his passport. Or, perhaps he had a bad experience with chickens when he was a kid. I suppose it could happen. The funny thing about it is how that we did invite him and his wife to our home one time. One of my wife's absolute all time winners is how she prepares her fried chicken. That's what we served. I learned later about his aversion to this delicacy and felt bad about it, but, as best I recall, we did have quite a bit left over and I carried it in my lunch for several days. So, there you go. A happy ending after all. If our cast iron skillets could talk they would fill up some pages folks. Not just cornbread. But they have been faithful in performing their duties for all these years and I think many of them were passed down to us so there's just no telling, no way to tell at all. Okay. I fulfilled my cornbread quota. (One photo for each paragraph) And now it's time to wish you a great Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and Lord willing I'll be right here on Monday, and until then may the Good Lord bless your little pea picking heart. Amen.      ....More later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hoping my 'sore eyes' will feel better soon!

We wake up this morning thanking God for the good shower last night and hoping the weather people have a better than usual hit and miss accuracy in predicting what might happen today. It is Thursday, June 7, 2012, and we are supposed to, that's right, supposed to, have the potential for rain carried over from yesterday into today, tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, and maybe even into next Monday. Now that would be a sight for sore eyes! That sight for sore eyes was first used in print by Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels) in 1738. He meant it in the exact same way that we use it today. It was reflective of a welcome seeing of something that would be positive and pleasant. I will tell you that some rain, little or much, for four days straight, now that would be a positive development around these parts and my sore eyes would be beaming. I know. The younger crowd says it's okay for the rain on Wednesday, Thursday, and even some on Friday, but forget about it on the weekend. It's a matter of perspective. They see it as a threat to their plans. Us older guys see it as the windows of heaven opening up with showers of blessings coming down. Now back to where I started. The prediction business here in our area is not one known for its accuracy, therefore, I am reserving an area of my mindset for being disappointed and believe me, I know all too well how to sing that tune. And, when it is all said and done, I very much know and affirm, that it is in God's hands. Amen.

There's something special about daydreaming about exotic places. I've thought of Canada in this way for years. Areas of wilderness with very few people around. Nice and chilly, year round. Think about it. Calendar settings. Idyllic. Here's a recent news article of a scene from British Columbia. A 55 year old man has beautiful scenery surrounding his place. He also has a hot tub outside. The other day he was enjoying a relaxing time in the tub. The hot tub backed up to the forest. Suddenly he was startled by a huge swat up side his head from the back. He stood up, turned around, and came face to face with a huge black bear. The man screamed at the bear and ran into the house and called the police. They responded and ended up putting the bear down. That means they euthanized it. That means they killed the bear. Talk about a scary moment! I'm not sure how long it will be before that fellow returns to his hot tub but you can be sure he will never see it as he did before. And, if and when he does get back into those swirling waters, I just bet he will never sit with his back to the forest again. The article went on to mention how that some 14 people have been killed by bears in Canada since 2000. It also included some accounts of harrowing escapes. I'll try to keep that in mind as I daydream about sitting outside a remote cabin somewhere deep in the pristine Canadian hills.

Nothing like a dose of good old fashioned reality to mess up a daydream. Speaking of reality, have you noticed some of the recent anti smoking ads that feature folks who are extremely ill and messed up? One fellow is missing limbs. Another is eat up with some kind of lung and breathing disorder. They look like those who might be trying out for a horror movie. There's also a program on television where these convicts take young at-risk kids and attempt to intimidate them by showing them the harsh reality of prison. Scarey stuff that has the goal of scaring them enough that they will walk the straight and narrow. The other day I read the death notice of a couple from Louisiana in their 40's who were both killed while on a vacation trip to Atlanta, Georgia where they were hit by a teenaged drunk driver. Here in our land we have this thing about our independent notion that says what we do as individuals has nothing to do with others. That is rarely true folks. The smoker may think they are only hurting themselves, but we all know that with families that is hardly the case. These kids that go astray leave behind a trail of heartbreak and pain. The young man who killed that couple need only read their obituaries to see the long list of those impacted by his actions, not to mention his family. Those are a few of the most serious impacts, but let's face it, the accompanying financial costs that we all end up helping to pay are also staggering. I am well aware of that independent nature that tends to gloat over the 'me, myself, and I' theory of life. We all have it because it came to us as a part of our inherited parental heritage handed down by the first couple, Adam and Eve. That's right. That fallen nature tends to choose self over facts or reality. And, it's not limited to those I mentioned. It covers every area and every decision involved in our living, from our home to our workplaces and everywhere else we go. Any hope? The only one I know anything about is God's help and that comes from giving ourselves over to Him based on His provision of a Savior, His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. With Him the battle is on. It rages every moment of the day. Without Him, self wins, self rules, and eventually, self ruins. That's why we need Him. Amen.      .....More later.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's always good to remember and thank God for those who gave their all that we might be free.

Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 6, 2012, and I am off and running. Probably more off than running but doing a little bit of both on this brand new day. Today marks the 68th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy, France in 1944. The 'D', by the way, refers to day and is a military designation for an action planned for a specific day. It was not a designation for Doomsday or Deliverance, as some have reported. This was a turning point invasion. Within five days over 300,000 American and Allied troops were landed. Many casualties, including deaths and serious injuries, were encountered, on both sides. (Source UK Museum: Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy.) Like Pearl Harbor, this pivotal event is one that is revered among those who stood together for freedom against the tyranny of Nazi Germany. Some 850 or more WWII veterans pass off the scene each day. Let us all pause to remember their sacrifice on this day of remembrance. Many of these proud warriors still carry emotional scars from what happened on the beaches that day long ago. We see them as our heroes. They see the faces of their buddies who were gunned down. May God bless these brave troops, at Normandy, and throughout that war, those wars that preceeded it, and those that have raged since. I heard the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say in a recent speech that some 2,500,000 of our finest have given their lives on the battlefield since the founding of our Republic. We remember. Their sacrifice was not in vain. We thank God and we pray for His protection over this great nation. Amen.

Cell phones. Smart phones. I-Phones. Tablet phones. They have become ubiquitous in our society. Very few people, at least here in our country, do without one. Sometimes you find yourself in a place where several folks are engaged in conversations simultaneously. It sounds like a symphony tuning up for a performance. A cacophony of sound, if you will. Last Saturday I was at the oil change place. A young lady, maybe in her early twenties, sat down beside me and she took out her phone and made a call. She talked pretty loud and ignored everyone like maybe she had an invisible cone of silence over her head. She didn't have a cone of silence. There were many areas she could have moved to where she could have talked privately. She didn't choose to do that. She started out by telling her dad where she was. She had chosen the blended option, standard and synthetic, for $55, because that seemed to be a reasonable compromise between the standard $35, versus the $75 synthetic. She began to explain why she couldn't be home on the dates he had wanted her to come. She was signed up for some workshops based on her selection by the principal of her new school. She had to go. They were very pleased with her work. She answered a question about 'him'. He was at a car show. He could not, if his life depended upon it, make a compromise on the use of his own time. She wasn't sure how much longer she could put up with that. Then it was back to the $55. She knew that was quite a lot of money but she believed it to be a wise choice for her car. There was a television show going in the waiting room. It had a cooking show on. I like cooking shows but the little live performance sitting next to me seemed more interesting, and, after all, she was intent on sharing it all with everyone there.

I know. I could have gotten up and moved. Why didn't I? I was trapped, in a way. I had no remote so I couldn't fiddle with their television channels. I didn't bring any reading materials with me. The place was crawling with people and I did try to close my eyes and nap a little. No nap with all that yapping going on beside me. I wonder what she would have done had I asked her to let me talk to her father. The questions he was asking sounded all reasonable to me. He likely was on the hook for the car and still helping her out financially, therefore, it was only right for him to get the straight scoop on what exactly was going on. We dads have to stick together, don't you agree? As for the 'him' fellow, I was ready to chime in that she should cut him loose right away. But, I suppose that would not be any of my business except for the fact that she was broadcasting it right into my ear. I notice people reading and sending text messages during services at our local fellowship. Passing notes during service was a cardinal sin where I grew up. Of course many have their Bible on their smart phone, therefore, they might just be keeping up with the sermon. Right? Maybe. I don't think you do a lot of keying into the little smart device when you are reading your Bible. But that's just my observation. Know what I mean? I know some of you do. Have a great day. Don't forget to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms and for those who wear the uniform of our nation and are in harm's way even as we go about our daily affairs. Amen.   ....More later.