Friday, August 31, 2012

“Secularism, materialism, and the intrusive presence of things have put out the light in our souls and turned us into a generation of zombies.” ― A.W. Tozer

We find ourselves face to  face with Friday. It is the 31st and last day of August in the year of our Lord, 2012. It would be interesting if we brought back and began to say each time we give the date, year of our Lord. We would certainly find ourselves on the wrong side of political correctness but we would be siding with historical accuracy. While the new designations have all been changed to reflect religious neutrality or better put, no religious significance at all, this doesn't change the fact that every time we view or use the date on our calendar, it does represent the number of years counted from the projected birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Deny it all you want, but the facts are still the facts. (Fact definition: A thing that is indisputably the case.) While the origin of this saying is hard to nail down for attribution, it remains true: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but no one is entitled to their own facts." When it is all said and done it's not just history, it really is HIS STORY.

You did not accidentally land on the indexed sermon page. Just my two cents adjusted for inflation. I'm closing in on some 70,000 page views since I began this blogging venture. That is a pretty big number if you ask me. However, it pales in comparison to the videos that go viral on sites like YouTube. Some have generated millions within hours of being put out on the web. But, that's okay because we do not know who might be landing on this, that, or the other site, but we do know that God can work to make contact with folks, regardless. I remind us all once again of that evening service where some teenaged boys came to chat up some girls. They were doing their macho thing, flexing their 'look at me' techniques. The preacher stood up and opened the Book. When he closed the Book those same macho boys ran down that isle balling their eyes out. They had kept an appointment. Not with the girls they intended to meet, but with Almighty God Himself. This means that you and I can be an influence to others by leaving a word, or deed, that reflects the truth of God, and it is the truth of God that changes people, period, whether they accidentally land on a blog or go to a Church service, in this case, these fellows ended up looking for love in the right place! Amen.

Let me share this with you. One of the things I enjoy most about our daily visits is how I sit down and while at times I have something in mind, often what ends up being sent out just shows up. I wish it was more than that. But, that's how it works sometimes. I actually work through the process and at times I end up scrapping the whole thing. It just doesn't resonate or do it, for me. I hear you. You think that I have allowed some to slip through that should have never seen the light of day. I agree. However, occasionally I will randomly visit something I wrote years ago that are a part of this compilation, and to tell you the truth, when I read it, it still has something to say, and I am thankful that it does. I am aware of the process here. It does require moving information from inside that thinking apparatus onto the electronic page. Or as Paw Paw Mac used to encourage: "Son, use your head for something other than a hat rack." But, the blessing comes when I know that what I have shared has made a difference in my life, and I am confident that it can in others' lives as well. And, I suppose that keeps me going. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and we will see what shows up for Monday, Lord willing. Amen.     .......More later. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I wonder if they have a Sweet 116 motif?

Here we are. We found it. It turns out to be Thursday, August 30, 2012. We have been praying and continue to pray our way through this storm named Isaac. We have numerous loved ones impacted by this weather event. Prayer and preparation. That's right folks. That's how we roll. We pray to God because we believe the song to be accurate: "He's got the whole world in His hands." We also appreciate the meaning of when as contrasted to if. When troubles come. When the storms batter. When this life gets hard to deal with. We can hear through the Word of God the very voice of our Savior as He came to His disciples as they were beat and battered by the storm, "Do not be afraid, it is I." We all will experience the 'whens' in our time here on the planet. But we can be certain that He knows all about it, and that He cares. He may not cause the storm to change its course but He will see us through, and we can be certain of that. How about a good hearty Amen to the truth about God's unchangeable care for His own? Amen? .......Yes, Amen!

Talk about surviving in this life, I read about the world's oldest person, Bessie Cooper, as she prepares to celebrate her 116th year in her sojourn here, this coming Sunday. She has lived most of her life in a very small town called Between, Georgia. Born in 1896, she has witnessed a lot of history over her lifetime. They had a big celebration this week and named a bridge after her. Her comments about some of why she has made it this long, "I mind my own business and I never eat junk food." Now if anyone has rights to living proof of the efficacy of their advice, well, I wouldn't argue with Bessie. As I read about this in The Walton Tribune, I also noticed that Harmony Baptist Church in that same area is preparing to celebrate its 125th anniversary. They are doing so with the publication of a new cook book with recipes that date throughout the history of the congregation there. One of the ladies heading up the project said their church was full of good cooks. And, may I just say this. Good cooks in Baptist Churches does match up very well with my experience. May God bless Bessie Cooper and may God bless Harmony Baptist as they continue to live out the life God has given to them. Amen.

I don't know if you have paid any attention to some of the hurricane tracking models but talk about going in all directions. They are called spaghetti models and they reflect the guesses of storm experts who put together models of what they think the storm will do. Here is a good one. As Isaac got closer and closer to making landfall, they showed the different models, and they commented how they had finally begun to reach consensus on a tracking projection. Duh? Let me see if I have this right? Once the hurricane hits, all the prognosticators can tell us with a fairly high degree of accuracy where it landed. No. I am not making fun of these scientists. I only point this out in passing because it tells us that with all the sophistication and technology known to humanity, we are still unable to always get it right. That should not make us to be despondent and looking down. No. That should make us dependent and looking up. I just knew you would want to know about that little insight. Not so much? Okay. Now that you have read it, you know for sure, 100%, that you were not interested. Now you know. See. I always do my best to contribute something. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.        .....More later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Howdy, Pardner."

This is the best of the rest of the story, not from Paul Harvey, who has gone on to his reward, but from your ranch hand scribe here at the Old Blogger Ranch. It is Wednesday, August 29, 2012, and I bid you a cowboy welcome where you can hear one say, "The only reason riding a bull is worthwhile is the opportunity to meet a nurse." You might also have heard this one: "It's okay to speak your mind but it always helps to have a fast horse to ride." You might not think I know much about cowboy stuff. You would be correct. However, the big company I worked for did buy a huge amount of property one time and it had a working dude ranch on it. What do corporate folks do when you buy a new enterprise? You integrate it into the business, that's what you do. These cowpokes had to have job descriptions written and they then had to be classified, you know, for the payroll system. All their gear and such had to be inventoried so the assets could be managed. It was a hoot for the programmers and support folks who worked on merging all of this stuff into the computer world. I can only imagine what the fellows riding out on the prairie thought when they received their first piece of corporate communication. They may have remembered this one, "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction." Looks like it is time for me to sing a little of the Get Along Little Doggy song and move on down the trail.

I've actually read some of what folks say when they critique other people's writing. I read one recently that had this ugly analysis, "You couldn't write your way out of a wet paper sack." That's what I call cold. I actually don't deny that it applies to some of my own musings but it still stings just reading it about some other fellow's stuff. As you can tell, that fear hasn't slowed me down. I suppose nearly all of us were born with that critical gene. In fact, one of those most frequently mentioned peeves I talked about the other day had to do with people who criticize other people for doing essentially the same things they do. It is real easy to criticize. It actually comes quite naturally. Jesus wasn't pleased with those who went around knocking others while missing their own glaring flaws. You will remember His comedic description: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7, Verses 1-5)

Thinking about it, I guess I could qualify for some expertise as a stick cowboy. I sure enough did my share of shoot-em ups when I was a kid. We had reenactments of all kinds and the thought police would be working overtime if kids still played those same Cowboy and Indian themes. Even back then we had trouble getting someone to play the role of the one who gets shot or who ended up with a bunch of arrows stuck in their body. Getting shot wasn't too bad of a role because you could really put it on with all kinds of wailing and gnashing before succumbing to your fateful end. I traded all that for what I do now in rounding up keystrokes, branding them, and then setting them free to forage out on the prairies of the information highway. Yes, occasionally some of them ricochet, some hit an innocent bystander, and at times they even explode before they get off the ground. But as they say here at the Old Blogger Ranch, "We all have pieces of crazy in us, just some of us have bigger pieces than others." I actually think I resemble that remark. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.        ....More later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life consists of more than just good home cooked meals. Really? Give me some time. I know that's true but I'm still thinking about it.

Good Tuesday morning. Good to have you along for the ride. I admit it can be bumpy at times but I'm afraid in this case it does come with the territory. It is August 28, 2012, and we are anticipating all that God has for us today. Last Wednesday evening they had the beginning of a series of back to school activities for our teens at our local fellowship. I checked in on them and found a large group enjoying a big pizza feast in the fellowship hall. Brother Richard, our youth pastor, invited me to enjoy some of their food. I graciously declined and explained to him why. I told him my wife had returned from Louisiana and she had fixed me a great supper that evening. I went on to tell him about it. Crispy fried pork chops, field peas, fried okra, rice and gravy, sliced tomatoes, and homemade cornbread. I explained to him how I had drizzled that homemade canned pepper sauce over it and then sat myself down with a big glass of iced tea and enjoyed every bite. His response was classic Brother Richard: "Brother, I can see that picture clearly and if it was a prison I know exactly what you call a meal like that. It's called your last meal." Now that's what a call a good come back, and given the quality of that meal, anyone would enjoy it, anytime, and perhaps even for the last time. And, I would add my personal delighted culinary Amen to that!

I know some of you are really wanting to know where my diabetes control program fits into this type of frenzied eating story. Let me put it to you this way. On one end of the spectrum you have a category called Perfection and on the other end one marked Failure. Many of the experts advise a finding of a middle ground that is personalized based on the need of the individual. This means that I do enjoy, occasionally, the meal described above. I typically eat only one, albeit generous, portion. That is a monumental change in discipline from a few years ago. And, I do also attempt to compensate some when I have wandered a little off the reservation. The objective is to do my best each day to try and keep myself out of the ditches on both sides of the diabetic highway. This does not mean what I do would work for the next person because there are a vast amount of variables with this disease. One thing I am sure of. It's not likely to go away and it is something I have to take into consideration most of my waking hours. I can't be totally sure if it has occupied any of my sleeping hours because if it did I'm pretty sure it would likely be nightmarish enough that I would not forget it.

And, be sure you know that I am not complaining. I am very much thankful to be able to do as well as I am with this ongoing challenge. Sure, I would love to wake up one morning and it be gone and one day that will be the case but until that home going day, I will continue to do what I can, with God's help. Even as I sit here banging this blog out I can think of a number of people I know who have the same illness but are constantly dealing with significant issues. And, I am not one who thinks we can take solace in knowing there is always someone worse off than ourselves. It is more of an appreciation for God's provision that we should be thankful for, because, regardless of what happens in this sin cursed world, He is working out all things for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. That's a truth that works for any of us dealing with any challenge, regardless of its severity. Okay. That will do it for today. Have yourself a wonderful Tuesday and Lord willing I'll catch up with you, next time. Amen.         .....More later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Someone has to stay in the kitchen even if it does get hot. Or something like that.

~We had ourselves a wonderful family luncheon yesterday. My wife overdid it on the big meal, (think Thanksgiving), to everyone's enjoyment. There were twenty of us gathered around the table and we did pause to thank God for our time together.Thankful. That's what I am folks. Pure and simple. Thankful. For each and every blessing. Amen.~

Well. Well. And, yes, that is, as they used to say where I come from, a deep subject for such a shallow mind. But, it is good to be back with you on this Monday, August 27, 2012. Several of the grand kids were at the house the day their MiMi returned. I was informed that her reception was like that of a returning hero. She said they nearly squeezed the life out of her. I am glad they were glad to see her. I did mention to her that while she was away, when I came in from work they usually in very short order would go upstairs. I do know why. I typically hold them accountable for cleaning up after themselves, and to be honest, I could tell they all were very relieved that their MiMi was back to take the pressure off. Let me see. Out of 100% of their waking hours I asked for less than 2% to be spent on some minimal chores, but even that seems burdensome I suppose. I will admit that I do not stay up with them until all hours watching TV, or doing puzzles, or whatever. Their MiMi does. No wonder she is so beloved but someone has to be the heavy and I guess that's where I come into the picture. It comes with the territory.

That little image above reminded me of those little sayings that moms use, they are called momisms. Moms come in all shapes and sizes and so do their sayings.  Some you may have heard as a child: Get down from there! You’ll break your neck. ~ Put that down you’ll poke someone’s eye out! ~ I’ll give you something to cry about. ~ What did you say, Missy/Buster? ~ If I have said it once I’ve said it a thousand times! ~ Clean your plate. ~ Children are to be seen and not heard. ~ Later when we became teenagers: Are you going out dressed like THAT?Get that hair out of your eyes. ~ Shoulders back, chest out. ~ How many times do I have to tell you?Clean up your room. ~ The only one that comes to mind that was unique to my mom was this one: If you don't stop I'm going to come over there and pinch your head off. ~ In the end, if you have the kind of mom like mine then you are blessed my friend, blessed indeed.

The other day when we were in Louisiana, dad treated us at the Chinese buffet place. This is a restaurant frequented by the soldiers from nearby Fort Polk. I've been there numerous times and have often felt a pull to do something to show my appreciation for these uniformed warriors. However, I've resisted in the past but this time I told the lady at the register that I wanted to pay for the meals of about five of our finest sitting across the way. She seemed surprised but hurriedly sent the wait person over to get the ticket. The wait person told them I was paying for their meal. They all looked my way and waved. I waved back. As we made our way to our vehicles one of the soldiers ran up to me and thanked me profusely. I told him that it was I who thanked him and his comrades for their service to our country. He left and we continued. Just as I was getting to our vehicle here came the senior non com officer and he also expressed his sincere appreciation. I felt awkward but assured him of our respect and support for him and all those who wear the uniform of our nation. I also gave a God bless you to seal the deal. It was a very inspirational moment and one that I will not soon forget, and one that I hope to repeat, sooner, not later. May God bless them all is my prayer. Amen.     More later.

Friday, August 24, 2012

You do not need a score card, just have your eyes wide open!

Yes! Yes! It's Friday folks and I bid you welcome to the mixed up musings that are messing with my mind here on this August 24, 2012. The campaign ad that was being run by one of the Obama surrogate groups stood their ground in portraying Candidate Romney as being responsible for a woman dying from cancer. It was totally debunked from the get go by fact checkers far and wide. The President was asked to intervene. He wouldn't call for that ad to be taken down. Why? It's the Chicago way folks. It had one thing going for it. Some uninformed souls were buying what it was selling. The Company Romney once headed shut down the enterprise where this woman's husband worked. Romney was no longer involved since he was at the time heading up the Salt Lake Olympics. The ad attempted to link this lady's loss of insurance to her death but the facts proved otherwise. She actually had insurance for at least five years from the company she worked for after her husband was laid off. See what I mean? Last week our military noted a sad statistic. Our nation's warriors reported the highest number of US Army suicides since records have been kept. President Obama is the Commander and Chief. What if someone floated an ad linking him directly to the deaths of these patriots? I bet the hollering would begin. It's amazing to observe all of this stuff folks. In fact, it drives me. Right to my knees. Amen.

Sounds like you are a Romney man? Not so, my friend. But, I do have a level of disgust reserved for the shameful political games being played. I feel in a similar way about Romney's massive wealth. He is a rich guy. That's not a sin. In America, people can work and become well off. His tip toeing around and dodging this and that about his money, well, to me, that's hurting not helping his cause. Some folks may not vote for him because he is rich. I would rather have someone who worked hard and became wealthy than a politician like the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who has become well off since being elected. He came to the Congress with very little in the way of personal financial resources. He is now worth millions and even though they are fairly well paid, there's no rhyme or reason as to how he could have become so wealthy. See what I mean? It's a form of pollution and it permeates the air and I can't think of a spot on the globe where it is more saturated than in Washington D.C. I got my immunization against shingles the other day. Too bad we can't be inoculated against the plague of politics. Better hang on. I'm on a roll now!

Some say it is a big turn off. You should not be surprised to know that the folks who put all of this out are not only aware of the turn off factor, but, they are even counting on it. They are hoping to turn off the right set of folks. But, I will not belabor this foray into enemy territory any longer. It has been an event filled week and it's time for the chief bottle washer here at the blogger ranch to take a couple of days to recharge his batteries. Believe me, politics does not dominate my life. I am an interested observer but faith and family are certainly at the top of my list each day. That's why I look forward to Saturday and Sunday. I work on my lesson each Saturday morning and then we get the privilege of sharing God's Word on Sunday, worshiping with other like minded believers, and in being refreshed by the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ. We can also throw in a little time spent with children, grandchildren, and great grandchild, along with some NASCAR and some stout Community and you have yourself the recipe for a battery recharging weekend. (In fact, my wife is putting together a little deferred birthday luncheon for myself and the family for this coming Sunday. She hopes to provide a Thanksgiving style meal in August. Now that will be something!) I feel a little recharge static building up already. Take care now and may God bless us all until we meet again. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Elvis: "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!"

It's Thursday folks, all day long, and I bid you a coffee stained welcome on this August 23, 2012. My little one cup percolator is working really hard. I'm not sure it was built for industrial duty but we are giving it a workout just the same. One thing I've noticed. And, this is not necessarily a good thing. I believe I am making each cup stronger than I made when I was making 10 cups at a time. Yikes. It's not that I lose count on the spoonfuls but it just seems to take a little more to get that flavor level up on an individual cup basis. I did really overdo it a couple of times. Not to worry. By about the third or fourth swallow I was humming Hank Williams' Jambalaya. Your coffee never makes you hum? Sad my friend, so sad. Okay. I plead guilty. Next time you introduce me, you have my permission to use these comments: "Since he is a coffee fanatic, I figured he could Perk Up our meeting and not let it become a Grind! I've heard that he Espressos himself well, and would never be considered a Drip. I'm sure you are as curious as I am to hear what he's Brewed Up for us today!"

Too far? Again, I plead guilty. But since I more or less invented this caricature of myself and since it is more or less true, I suppose I am deserving of any groans that come about as folks read about it. Last week on my birthday, on the 16th, it was the 35th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. My coffee story with its shaking component was intended to be a backhanded recognition of this American icon. Thanks also to so many who wished me a happy birthday. I received some cards that were hard to understand. I felt they had to have been misdirected. Maybe they got mine in the wrong envelope. Too many nice comments. I'm not dealing out any false modesty here but I just don't feel worthy of some of what was said. However, I so much appreciate the kindness and love expressed. And, I do agree that if we are to tell others what they mean to us, recent events remind us that we had better do it now because we just never know. I feel God's favor in having so many folks in my life that are blessings. Amen.

What's that? Have I ever considered becoming a spokesperson for Community? That's a really good question and the answer is in the affirmative. Considered. Not acted on. I thought maybe I could be one of those route guys but I observed them working and that duty is very much for a younger fellow, if you know what I mean. New Orleans is a coffee town, among other things. They report that Community has a huge dominance in market share in 'NAWLINS'. (Over 75%) Says a lot, if you ask me. Meanwhile, I will continue to work with my little coffee maker to see which one wears out first, it or me. It will be like the NASCAR drivers trying out a new tire at 200 miles per hour. I'm sure the little fellow feels like that's exactly what's happening to him. But, so far he's hanging in there and so am I. Go ahead and enjoy whatever brew you like. Just don't brag on it around me if it's not Community. Don't get all fretful on me. Just joking. It's a joke. Have a wonderful day and may our great God add His blessings to it! Amen.     .....More later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" Dr. Seuss

We made it folks. We made it. You know. We've found that famous spot on the shopping mall kiosk map that says: You are here. Where? It's a brand new day, and we've made it to Wednesday, August 22, 2012, and I commend us all for embracing it with a recognition that it is the only one we can do much with, at least for now. Don't you love it when I talk in circles? My last personal visit with my friend Herman was while he was in the hospital. He was feeling very poorly but he still showed some spunk as we bantered forth and back. He asked about my brother in law and I told him about my trip over there and how Charles had just talked and talked and talked. Herman responded: "Are you sure he's not your brother?" See what I mean? I suppose I deserved it and it was good to see him laugh a little. I also reckon it is good to be known for something. It's even better to be known for something positive. Like the recommendation given to us by the Apostle Paul in that famous text from his letter written to the Philippians: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Chapter 4, Verse 8)

I was visiting with some folks last week and they were appalled that I am not all in as it relates to my vote in the upcoming presidential election. They are so anti incumbent I'm not sure they care whose name appears in opposition. I gave them a little of my on-the-one hand and then on-the-other reasoning and their eyes got big. They really didn't want to hear any thoughts that questioned their made up minds. And, while I fully support their right to make the decision they have already made, I can't really understand their perplexity concerning where I am in the process. I'm not an undecided voter. I am a disgusted voter, a disgruntled voter, and I'm praying that God will help me to work through these concerns. Here's one for you. At the end of the day, (one of the most overused phrases that many people are tired of hearing), but really, at the end of the day, the outcome is ultimately fitted into God's control over all the affairs of His created world, therefore, I continue to put my faith and trust in Him. Meanwhile, keep those eyes a'rolling.

The other morning as I was driving in to work I had a somewhat unnerving experience. I see deer all the time. But here I was minding my own business and suddenly I catch a glimpse of something moving outside my driver's side window. It's a big buck loping alongside my car. Surprise! Surprise! He seemed to be pretty much observing the speed limit but I'll tell you, it startled me for a second. No. I do not remember the rules for when deer are allowed to pass you and whether you should yield to the left or the right. But, it may be in the book. My recollection of that book was from a long time ago. It was like a little wake up call that made me aware how these critters can come from anywhere at anytime. Where he was running was on the median between the two roadways. Okay. That's my little wildlife house on the prairie story for today. I do pray that you will embrace today and make the best of it, and in so doing, that you will honor God in your pursuits. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just in time. I had pretty much run out of places to hide the dirty clothes.

Good Tuesday morning here on August 21, 2012 where I say hello again and may I just tell you that my life just got kicked up one huge notch. That's right. My wife came home yesterday and we are in the process of returning to the 'how things should work' category. She has been away to help her sister in the illness and subsequent death of our brother in law. While I have missed her greatly, it's amazing how God used her to help the folks over there to deal with this challenge and loss. They all told me they didn't know how they could have made it without her, especially being there for her sister. We thank God for His providential working that allowed her to retire in April that she might be available for this need. In addition to her helping out with all the support and details required, she, her sister, their two older brothers, and their sister in law, all had an opportunity to spend quality time together. Brother Milton, given his past health prospects, being anywhere is about as close to a miracle as you will find in this world. To have them all together to laugh and recall family reminiscences, well, that is a blessing folks, a blessing indeed. She left that set of challenges there and we've made sure she won't miss out on any here. Just kidding. A little. But, my oh my, ain't it good to have her home again! Amen.

I wonder how many habits I have that annoy other people? I tend to notice those that peeve me in others a whole lot more than the ones I might do. Therefore, I set out to try and understand the behaviors that end up being the most peevy, if you get my drift. It really does turn out to be one of those in the eye of the beholder deals but many that report their top 10 list do have common themes. Old drivers. That's right folks. I am 66 but may I just tell you there are some older folks that I dearly love but trying to drive around them when they are in their car is not only frustrating, but it is also very dangerous for them and for others. Those who text while driving. I am out and about quite often on the roadways here and there around our freeway saturated environment. Do you know that there is typically at least one near miss per trip where a person drifts over into my lane or nearly hits me because they have their smart phone in the middle of the steering wheel trying to respond to a text? Nearly every trip folks, at least one near miss. That's scary. Very.

Those are the dangerous ones. Bad behavior surrounds us these days. Foul language openly spouted is now common whether you are at the grocery store or filling your gas tank. Common. That bothers me. Folks who show no respect for others is another one that gets my goat. Facebook has been great to have a way of keeping up with family and friends. However, there are some that throw trash out on the Facebook roads. We all are somewhat hypocritical, given certain situations that impact ourselves, however, some folks just tend to drown in it as they spew their condemnations but never see their obvious flaws. I'm thinking about folks who espouse how they would pretty much like to see the government shut down even though they or their kin actually have jobs working for the government. Or those who scream about welfare and other benefits, yet, they are typically off on paid sick leave more than they are at work. They may call themselves Tea Party patriots but their loud lamenting rings very hollow to me. Yes, that kind of stuff peeves me. I could move on to how people behave at Walmart but that's a category in and of itself, and, others have produced many videos and comedy sketches based on that genre. I won't add to that other than this one from last week. A lady was looking for what I hope was her child or grandchild. She was going up and down the aisles hollering loudly, "Booger! Booger! Where are you?" That should do it for today. May we all have a day filled up with less stuff that aggravate or maybe, just maybe, we can learn to overlook much of what bothers us. I, for one, could use a little of that. Amen.     ....More later.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A bumper sticker should be made mandatory!

Here we go again. It's Monday, August 20, 2012. Since I don't really have a candidate running for President I suppose I can be your independent observer, here on the sidelines. I didn't say I wouldn't vote because I wouldn't think of not voting, but I'm still very much undecided as to who will get my vote, write in or otherwise. One thing is clear. If there was in years past any pretense of fairness on the part of the mainstream media, that concept has been ejected, perhaps never to be seen again. At least when they were denying they had a bias they would attempt to show cause of their balance. Not anymore. One notable former Republican governor asked a news media personality this question: "Why not just wear an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead?" I actually believe that to be the best idea I've heard lately. Every major news source should require their reporters to wear a Reelect Obama bumper sticker plastered on their forehead. That way for the handful of folks that don't know what's really going on, they will at least have a clue. I've seen bias before. I know bias when I see it. This has ceased to be bias because now they are reduced to being nothing more than an extension of the Obama campaign. How sad to think that we have stooped to this level in terms of the distribution of so called factual information. Sad, folks, very sad indeed!

Let me just say a word to everyone about the conduct of the family of our brother in law Charles during his illness and subsequent passing. They were a model of dignity, class, and spiritual strength throughout this challenge. Their way of responding to the hundreds who came to visit Charles in the hospital, their conduct at the viewing and the home going service provided inspirational insight into what it means to be grounded in truth. I will not soon forget how they stood up for their mate, their dad, their grandfather, their son, and their brother. One of the speakers made note of the legacy aspect in this family. As for Dorothy, the wife left behind, she comes from and represents a family distinguished by their faith and ministry. Her influence was clearly seen in her children as her testimony has been on display for as long as I have known these folks, but when this time of mourning came, it became even more visible for all to see. May God bless them all for their testimony and may we all seek to follow their example. Amen.

It's easy to be reminded of the too many farewells we have said the last couple of years. I received a returned to sender email from my buddy because the company where he worked had disengaged his email address. As they should. It stung a little when I went in to delete it from my contacts list. He had been one of my most faithful blog readers. One of the speakers at the service for our brother in law commented how that he may have delayed his entrance into glory as he paused to talk with anyone who happened to have been there at the Gate. It was a joke and everyone who knew Charles laughed because it fit him perfectly. Over the years, he and I have sat beside each other and done just that, shooting the breeze, as they say back home. I've written about some of those memorable conversations at different times during these nearly 1350 daily visits. That's how it works. People become a part of the fabric of our lives. It reminds me of that illustration where the little guy is on the floor playing. His mom is busy on her embroidery. He looks up and sees a mess of threads and colors. He asks her how it could be of any value. She simply turns over the holder to demonstrate a beautiful scene. And, that's how it is in this life. We often see the knots, the threads, in all of their chaos, but God has a way of setting forth the beauty of His completed handiwork. That's a pretty good way of looking at it, if you ask me. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, August 17, 2012

You can't make this stuff up folks, how many times do I have to say it?

Layton with a Texas turtle.
That whistling noise you hear is me passing myself over these last very busy days. But, we made it to Friday and I bring you greetings here on this August 17, 2012. As you already know, my alter ego is the seasonal role play that I perform as Santa. I have some special fans out there. One in particular is named Layton. He is the youngest of three boys born to our late step sister's son and his wife. Our nephew's wife is very much connected to our late brother in law's family on his mom's side of the family. Wow! Family connections folks, they are amazing! They live over in Louisiana, out in the country, the deep woods, so to speak. And, these boys well represent their territory. Layton is a true believer when it comes to Santa and I am the object of his affection. Recently his dad had a conference here in our area and they stayed at the big hotel and conference center in the Woodlands. These boys are not shy. They went scouting one day and ended up taking a dip in one of the ponds on the property. It wasn't provided for that purpose but they thought it was there for the taking. Their mom put photos up on Facebook of them enjoying the golf course pond. I saw them at the viewing for our brother in law. I bent down and hugged little Layton and I mentioned to him that I had seen him cavorting in that pond. His mom told me the next day that when she was bathing Layton the night before, he told her that he knew Santa could see him when he was sleeping, but he had no idea that he could also see him when he was in the pond. I do love that story folks. I do.

Speaking of Santa, I continue to pencil in dates on my calendar. These dates, of course, are tentative because only the Lord knows what will be going on in this upcoming November and December. But, it is good to make plans as long as we do so with God's will and provision in mind. We have this from the inspired letter written by Brother James early in the first century: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." (Chapter 4, verses 13-16) Being mindful of this truth, we are making plans. That photo was taken by the professional photographer that I plan to work with again this year. When I look at that image it makes me wonder how much I should be paying them to allow me such joy. On the other hand, I do have an hourly rate schedule if you are interested. Joking only.

At the memorial service for my brother in law I saw folks I had not seen in years. My brother in law's sister, Beverly, was actually driving the pickup truck the night I came face to face with destiny. Us boys had been out to the singing school at Oak Grove Church scouting the young ladies. After it ended we gave chase to that pickup truck that was loaded down with girls. Must have been five or six in that cab. We finally got them to pull over. I walked over to the passenger side door. The window came down and there she was. Something came over me. It, of course, was my wife to be, and that feeling was a little like I felt when they were trying to adjust my diabetes medications. When they zapped me too much I could hardly stand because of being so wobbly. You do think I'm exaggerating, don't you? If I am it is very consistent with my reporting of this incident for the past 50 years. Therefore, it is my story, and in this case I am very happy to say that I am sticking to it! Have a great Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday, and may God bless each one. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good thought but I'm still thinking about its veracity: The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. - English Proverb

This is Thursday, August 16, 2012 and I, like the late Minne Pearl, greet you with: ""How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E! I'm jes' so proud to be here!" The 'here' is in the context of me marking another year of my sojourn here on the planet. Sixty six years and counting. While people often say they are in a holding pattern, I think it's obvious that for all of us, time marches on. The saying attributed to Mickey Mantle comes to mind, "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself." But it is a blessing to be able to share my thankfulness to God for the life He has given to me. Do I have many things I would have liked to have done differently? How much time do you have? But, at this juncture where the road is marked Route 66, I count my blessings beginning with my right standing with God based on me having placed my trust in His provision, His one and only Son who came and lived a perfect life, died on the Cross in my place, and then was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven where He is currently at the Father's right hand and is there making intercession for me. Now that is a long sentence but the truth it conveys means more and more to me as each year goes by.

I'm also thankful for those God placed in my life. My grandparents. My mom and dad. My wife for soon to be 48 years. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our great granddaughter. My siblings. My wife's family. My extended family. And, my Church family, made up of brothers and sisters joined to me through our common kinship in Christ. People. They are blessings. Tears. We've had our share but they too are a part of life. I think about folks I have worked with who helped me along the way. I think about those who have encouraged me and those who prayed for me. I'm the first to confess my need for the prayers of all those in my life. Bottom line: I am able to sing that line from the Southern Gospel Song, "Thank you Lord for your blessings on me."

I'm still trying to get used to the category I find myself in. It seems that our mailbox is stuffed each week with reminders of that designation: Older Person. It's mostly medical correspondence either from our doctors, our insurance, or those who want to sell us some of the same. It seems awkward that I am called a Boomer but as I so often tell people, "I'm in pretty good shape for the shape I am in." So much to be thankful for. So many wonderful memories from my past and from those who have gone on to their reward as well as those who are still in the here and now. I'll close out this rather sentimental walk down memory lane with the words from Paw Paw Mac's favorite song: "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand." Have yourself a wonderful day and may God bless each one. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Heloise was busy today so I thought I would share some hints.

Hello and welcome. Today is Wednesday, August 15, 2012. I've had some of that coffee that comes from the cartridges brewed up in one of those expensive machines. Not bad at all. One cup at a time. I determined to have me something like that but there's no way I would spring for that kind of expense. I found me a little one cup brew type electric for $15. It has a little reusable brew basket and you put in water and some Community and bam!.... within a couple of minutes you have a cup of hot, strong, and piping fresh coffee. It even came with the coffee mug. I had to buy 2 of them to get free shipping. You know. One for the office and one for home. Need a real jolt? Put in half the water and a loaded up portion of the good stuff and that will give you everything and more than that so called 5 hours of energy stuff in that little bitty bottle. But what about the convenience? That is a consideration. In that big expensive model, you just keep it loaded with water and pop in a cartridge any time you want a cup. You do have to add water occasionally and you do have to remove the cartridge after brewing. My solution requires that you empty that little basket, pour in some water, and add fresh coffee. Some estimate the cost of that big machine, very convenient approach, to be nearly $50 a pound when calculated out. I'll go with the cheaper alternative and enjoy the fact that I can make it any way I want to, individualized, by the cup, no less. Thank you very much!

I can hear some of you now. That man and his coffee. It could be an obsession. I think not but it does happen to be something I enjoy and it also gives me something I can drone on and on about. You noticed? Thanks for keeping up. What's that? If only I was paid by the word. Now you are talking or rather, now I am talking. But, it is all in fun and I do hope you take it that way. You know I really don't take it that seriously. However, the other day I heard a fellow talking about his coffee drinking habit and he said he drank whatever the wife brought into the house and the label didn't really matter because it was whatever she could find that was on sale. I had to get hold of myself. I couldn't remember that thing I was taught as a kid. You know, count so many numbers before you explode. My neck immediately went into spasms and I could feel my blood pressure surge. Joking only. I make some Community for my Bible study class each Sunday. A fellow in the class has one of those electrified scooters to get around. He said last Sunday that he had told his wife that when he died he wouldn't need to be embalmed. He said all he would need was one cup of my coffee and to just sit him up in the scooter and he would drive himself. See? My coffee does make a difference in people's lives! I told you!

Brady Darrell......Enough Said!
Our brother in law's passing was a great testimony to just how many people he had met, and how many he had influenced in his time here. Some 600 names were on the book for the viewing and considering families, most likely easily over a thousand came to pay their respects. It was a celebratory atmosphere with much laughter and children everywhere. My wife has been with her sister for several weeks and it was my privilege to travel to be there along with our three sons, Chris, Jimmy, and Rodney. We stayed with mom and dad. Rodney had his little clone with him, Brady Darrell, 6 years old. Mom and dad were perfect hosts. They also came to the viewing and to the home going celebration service. I'm so thankful for my parents and that is what I call being blessed. Little Brady is his daddy's boy. In no time he was here, there, and everywhere working the crowd. Rodney didn't know how he would respond but for those who were around Rodney when he was a little guy, they got it. Those genes are obviously very strong. Sadness. Of course. But, mixed with a tremendous sense of family, community (and Community also), rejoicing, and thankfulness to God. In my way of looking at it, it was not a bad way to say farewell for now. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So long for now brother but I'll catch up with you when I join you on the other side.

Hello once again. If you've never landed here before I know I should have a disclaimer of some kind but typically it will not take you long to decide whether to stay or not. It is Tuesday, August 14, 2012. Last Friday morning it was my privilege to serve as a pallbearer for my brother in Christ, Herman. He was a fellow member of our local fellowship, a fellow diabetic, a fellow NASCAR fan, and we both shared a common affection for coffee. Over the past year or so, Herman was not able to be out and about as much as he would have liked due to multiple health challenges. However, he and I kept up a steady forth and back via email. He read my blogs and would often comment. He had a keen sense of humor, a good spiritual foundation, and a well rounded grasp of current events. We hashed out all of the above in addition to many others. At the viewing last Thursday evening, a table was spread with his NASCAR stuff, his beloved University of Alabama emblems, and a number of the coffees he enjoyed. I lit up when I saw that bag of Community. I'll miss our exchanges but it's good to count our brothers in Christ connection as a blessing, and to anticipate our reunion one day in heaven. May God bless his sweet wife and others as they mourn this loss. Amen.

I heard an older person say once that making it to his age included having to say farewell to many friends and loved ones. I suppose it comes with the territory. You know: Do the math. But, our time here is governed by God's Sovereign timetable, therefore, we keep on keeping on, and that includes our pursuit of His plan and purpose for our lives. Some get an early call home. Others get to hang around a long time. The Apostle Paul said that he struggled with that prospect. To go home to be with Jesus was a major pull and desire of his heart, yet, he said he knew that staying on the planet was beneficial to others as he sought to share truth wherever he went. (Read about it in the Epistle to the Philippians, Chapter 1) I heard the late Dr. Adrian Rogers talking about this sovereign control over life itself. He said he had a man that once told him he was so sure of God's control that he could walk in front on an oncoming train and know that he would not be killed unless it was God's time for him to go. Dr. Rogers told him that if he tried it he would prove one thing, it was his time to go. That's right. We do have an active role to play in the life we have been given and God would have us to be responsible in our pursuit. The main thing is always this: Be Ready! Amen.

I mentioned the other day about patriotism in supporting our country's Olympic participants. Interestingly enough, a British Broadcasting Corporation leaked memo instructed their announcers to tone down their patriotic excitement for Great Britain and show more respect for the other countries who are participating. I have a very sophisticated response to this: HOGWASH! Great Britain had a wonderful Olympics. It's their best showing since the early 1900's. They have every reason to be proud and I think showing that pride is a good thing. I feel that way about our American competitors. We are a country of 335 million. China has over a billion. Much has been said about their training approaches and some have questioned how close they come to brutality in developing their stars from a very early age. They always compete well with these types of athletes. However, we, as a free people, send every kind of individual on our teams, every color, every size, and they sign up, volunteer, and while they do the time and the discipline to perfect their skills, those medals piled up for the USA produced a song for the world to hear: Let freedom ring! And, as always, that's the way I see it, and please know that you are entitled to your own opinion, including your right to be wrong. Just joking. Have a great day and may God bless. Amen.      ....More later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thank God for the hope we have for our home in heaven. Amen.

Please pray for the family of our brother in law Charles Goins. He passed over to the other side last Saturday morning at 6 a.m. We will be attending his home going celebration this morning at 10 a.m., at his Church in Leesville, Louisiana. Charles never met a stranger. He could talk to anyone and they typically always warmed up to him. He did make a difference in the lives of many during his sojourn. He will be missed. He was beloved by his family, especially his grandchildren that he doted on. As it should be! We also pray for his dear wife and two sons and their wives along with his mom and sister. May God help them during this time of remembering his life. Amen.


It's a good day to give thanks unto the Lord. That's right, even if it is on a Monday. This one happens to fall on August 13, 2012. They tell us there can be as many as three Friday the 13ths in any given year. I suppose it's good that it isn't just the date designation of 13 or some folks would be dodging black cats at least twelve times a year. But, with there being a dozen horror movies connected to the theme, someone is capitalizing on the superstitions and fears of people. For me, some of the scariest stuff I deal with is in trying to keep my dietary affairs in order. Being diabetic, I do read the fine print on most food labels. I try to find items that have a whole lot of zeroes in the Daily Values lineup. You know. Low calories with zero calories from fat. Low or zero cholesterol and carbohydrates. I have found that sometimes the end result is zero taste. Might as well eat cardboard but I don't have an ingredient list for it, therefore, it might not meet the requirements, other than it just might taste better. I am not complaining. Just sharing. I wrote this while chewing on some crisp, hot pickled okra. Two pods equals 15 calories and everything is zeroes on the list except for the 10% sodium. With the hot, it actually has some taste. Not too bad. Yum yum.

Don't get me wrong. I don't just fall off the wagon from time to time, I actually jump. I am aware when this happens and I always include a plan to compensate for it, after the fact. Good idea. Not always effective, but it is a good thought. But when you think about it, nearly everyone has something they wish they didn't have to deal with. And there are many who get up every day facing challenges that are hard for most of us to imagine. My heart goes out to children who are confined to a wheelchair who will most likely spend their life in one. My heart goes out to those who have a major physical disability but they are out there in the workplace doing their thing. We grew up spending time with an Aunt who had an inoperable brain tumor. She did nothing as a child to expose herself to this malicious intruder but she lived with its ramifications everyday of her 46 year sojourn. The good news for Aunt Jean. As a teenager she responded to the Gospel and was saved by the grace of God. We know we will see her again and she will no longer be disabled or distressed. Now that will be a glad reunion day!

I would apologize for stringing together these somewhat discombobulated thoughts but as you already know, it probably wouldn't change anything going forward. Maybe I heard that old admonition wrongly and often end up leaping before I look. But, as my mom likes to quote me saying, "It is what it is." This phrase suggests something but it certainly doesn't explain anything. Maybe it's like the old Cronkite sign off, "And, that's the way it is." They may be nothing more than throw down phrases but I like them because they help polish up the lingo. And, I will be the first to admit that mine needs about as much polish as anyone. You might want to bring a buffer as well. That leads me to say farewell for now where I will be throwing caution to the wind, and remember it's not you, it's me, don't take this the wrong way, and finally, have a nice day. May God bless. Amen.     ....More later.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech." Mark Twain

Yes siree Bob, and everyone else too, it is Friday, August 10, 2012. Best can be told, the yes siree idiom has been around at least from the mid 1800's. The first record of Bob being added is from 1876. The usage indicates an emphatic affirmation of something absolutely. And, that's what I intended in using it. The idiom dictionary was clear that originally it was used by itself without a male or female connection. I suppose you have to make those distinctions clear these days. Now you can take that information along with $4 and get yourself a cup of what they pass off as coffee down at one of those specialty shops. That $4 will almost buy you half of a pound of Community. Just saying. I am able to stream the BBC early in the morning and to say they are excited about the Olympics would be a huge understatement. They are reporting record viewing in Great Britain and also all over the world. They say that some 4.5 billion people have watched at least some of the Olympic coverage since the games began. With 7 billion folks on the planet, I would say that is a pretty good market share. Now. If I could get each of those 4.5 billion to send me one penny, maybe I could take some writing courses and improve my daily discourses. You what? You doubt it? Anyway, it's a thought.

I heard a top Republican political analyst discussing all the reasons why this upcoming election should be a slam dunk for the Republican candidate. Should be. No one in history since data has been gathered has been reelected with the bad economy of our current President. And, there are stacks of other statistics that go against him being able to reclaim the Oval Office. Yet, as it was put before, "Houston, we have a problem." Instead of a landslide coming, the race continues to be neck and neck with the President holding his ground. What's wrong? Only one thing. It's obvious that it's not only 'The Economy Stupid', sadly, it's also the candidate chosen to represent those of us who espouse a conservative viewpoint. Out of all the things that could be fixed, I fear that's the one that can't be. Sorry. It's not a defeated attitude, it just happens to line up with my thinking from the get go. Go ahead and add this little piece of insight to the yes siree story and you can still purchase your coffee, but you may not get to pass Go or collect $200.

Now that I have stirred up a hornet's nest I suppose I should bow out gracefully. Or just bow out. It has been a challenging week and we continue to seek God's help in so many families that are struggling with life altering issues. These people are not focused on secondary matters. They are not tuned in to trivia or punditry from any side. Their days are filled with an anxiousness born of seeing loved ones suffer, or dealing with loss, or trying to make sense out of their current situation. That's why we pray for ourselves and for others. We are in this together. That ground is level at the foot of The Cross and we are equal in God's eyes, for He is no respecter of person or status. So, I end the week by once again calling our attention to the fact that it's okay to confess our need before our loving and gracious heavenly Father. He has invited us to do so. Let's not miss out on His provision by failing to call upon Him. Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week, Lord willing. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Focused on doing the right things. Right?

Thursday is here. It is August 9, 2012. One good thing about being busy. No grass grows under your feet. And, there's this blurring effect where you show up on Monday and then you look up and find yourself on Thursday. Not too bad, when you think about it. And, for me, I get the blessing of typically not having to be rocked to sleep. I call it a blessing because I am very much aware of several in our family who deal with sleep disorders and I know firsthand how difficult that can be in facing each new day. Also, I note that I am well aware that being busy does not always mean being productive. I well remember one of the last themes I established at the big company and it said this: Doing the Right Things - Right! Can we do wrong things right? Most certainly. If you build something based on specifications that end up being incorrect, all the quality and busy effort still produces the wrong outcome or result. See what I mean? It all matters folks, it all matters. All of that gave me a slight headache so I think I had better take something for it. I know. A cup of Community might just be what the doctor ordered because typically I have found that it is good, not only until the last drop, but it's good for whatever ails you.

One of the things recommended to improve your communications is to work on your humor. I've been looking into this some. Here's one you may have heard but I thought it was kind of funny. "Thinking that the political candidate needed to show a more human side of himself, his advisers told him to visit an old age home. Walking into the room of an old man, with the cameras whirring,  the nominee was surprised when the old man offered him some peanuts from a bowl on the table. “Thank you”, said the nominee after being offered more for the 3rd time, “why don’t you have some yourself?” “Oh, I can’t eat it”  said the old man, “I don’t have any teeth.”   “So why do you have them?” asked the confused nominee. “Oh, I only suck the chocolate off of each of them” was the glib reply." I said kind of funny. Not great but maybe it's an age thing. I read one about a photographer who was trying to get work. She was at her friends house for dinner and showed her some of her pictures. The friend commented that she must have a really good camera. This caused the photographer to burn inside that she would imply it was the camera and not her talent. At the end of the rather tasty meal the photographer told her friend that the food was outstanding and she guessed that she must have some really excellent pots and pans.

What's that you say? Keep looking. Yeah. I thought the same thing. In my case, many of my best funnies come from my own personal experiences. Maybe I should stick with them but they often end up with me being the punch line. No one wants to be the butt of the joke, all the time. Think about the poor blondes. They get blasted all the time. The other day I heard about the blonde who called the airline and asked how long would it take to get from Miami to Dallas. The attendant said "Just a minute please." The blonde said thanks and hung up. See what I mean? I don't want to end up with that kind of following. I suppose I will just keep on searching and if I do find a good one, at least better than the ones I used today, I will let you know about it. Have yourself a great Thursday and Lord willing I'll be here tomorrow on this same station. Amen.        .....More later.