Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Public shows of honor are pleasant, but private ones are pleasanter, because they are above suspicion." Mark Twain in a letter written to Will Bowen in 1888

Greetings to one and all on this Wednesday, the last day of October, the 31st, in the year of our Lord, 2012. This is the day that many will dress up for Halloween, enjoy parties, and take the little ones for trick or treat activities. The trend for this presidential election year has Obama and Romney masks at the top of the list for costuming. They are followed by Big Bird which is also connected since that was one of the lasting themes that came from the debates. Gangham Style dress is also right up there. That's from the Korean singer who started a worldwide dance craze. For traditionalists, there's still the ghouls, skeletons, witches, and goblins. And, there are also plenty of other pop culture people to impersonate, or cartoon character and superhero costumes available. The youth group within our local fellowship is having an outreach activity to provide candy to those in our neighborhood. As for us older folks, well, we decided to carry on with our Bible study time, impersonating ourselves. Hopefully we will show up wearing a prayer on our heart along with a desire to hear God speak as we open up His book. (I used the image of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because they are making a comeback. Our boys used to watch them when they were young and there is now a whole new series and now our boys' younger kids, just like them, are captivated.) As Solomon recorded in Ecclesiastes 1, Verse 9: "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

We can't help but conjure up mental images when we read a headline. That's what they are designed to do. Get our attention enough so that we will want to read more. I am attracted to strange headlines that tell their own story, perhaps not the one intended. Here's some that got my attention along with their sources: "Alton Attorney Accidentally Sues Himself." (local paper, Alton, IL) ~ "Blind Man in Drunken Rage Bites Guide Dog" (Daily Telegraph, London) ~ "Airline Travel Safer Despite More Accidents" (Reuters) ~ "Man Tossing Knife in the Air Stabs Self in Head" (Associated Press) ~ "Husband’s Internet Date Turns out to Be His Wife" (local paper, Pennsylvania) ~ "Chicken With Artificial Legs Dies A Hero" (Associated Press) ~ "Hairdo Kills Mum" (Daily Mirror - London) ~  "Constipation Is Not the Root of All Evil After All" (Reuters) ~ "Americans Driven to Suicide by Fear of Death" ~ (Daily Telegraph - London) I think you get the idea. We all could agree that the one about the lawyer accidentally suing himself is a pretty funny story. And, I've actually seen some hairdos in my time that could have been hazardous to anyone's health. Some, however, are just sad. Here's a clickable headline from yesterday's online Houston Chronicle: "Man drives into Texas church and beats pastor to death with guitar". People. We are a strange lot but thanks be to God, He loved us, ......enough! Here's a headline intended for every man, woman, boy and girl: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

The dental company I used for my recent surgery is one of those corporate run operations where they deal with large numbers of clients as quickly as they can. It is set up a little like an assembly line operation. The cubicles for doing the actual work are side by side. You can hear everything going on beside you. Once they had me prepped, one of the administrative people came in to talk to me about why the insurance wasn't inclined to cover the bone graft. Meanwhile, my Periodontist excused herself and went next door. While the lady was talking to me, the surgeon was talking to the fellow in the next cubicle. He had undergone a similar surgery two weeks before. It had not gone well. He was still too sore to brush. She was surprised. She told him to get a baby toothbrush and try that. She seemed to chide him a little for his slow recovery. Do what? Hello? Couldn't brush after two weeks? I know what you are thinking. Why wasn't I listening to the administrative lady? Because she was giving me the standard insurance blah blah blah. I was much more interested in client number 2 and his woeful experience. When the surgeon returned she was still wearing that full keyboard smile and acted like I hadn't heard a word. Next time I will get me some earplugs or maybe one of those music players. It can be challenging folks, it most certainly can be. Have a good day and may God bless each one. Amen.           .....More later.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect." James Madison, August 1820

I am happy to report that I am almost retrained from having missed a week here at the company. That is, as best as it can be done. Yesterday it was 40 degrees when I arrived at the workplace at 4:30 a.m., but I was rooting for it to get lower. You know. How low can it go? I kept the weather website up and I am glad to report that at 5:21 it hit 38 degrees. Now you are talking. Pour yourself another cup of Community and let's celebrate. I'm not saying that every bone in my body is joyful over the cooler air but we still have a slim majority cheering it on. It's Tuesday, October 30, 2012, and I continue to pray for the folks who are in the midst of that huge storm on our east coast. I heard this morning that 16 people have died in storm related incidents and there are 6 million without power. I well remember after Ike how that we felt like the rest of the world had pretty much moved on while we were stuck with a pile of rubble. That can make for a feeling of loneliness and isolation. That's probably what some of those folks are feeling. People all over the land are busy making Halloween plans while they are digging out and trying to figure out what to do next. Thankfully for us, we had family, our kids and other relatives, and we had Church family, brothers and sisters in Christ. They all responded and I'm glad to report we knew we were surrounded by love and concern and willing hearts and hands. I pray that God will do the same for those struggling through this most difficult time. Amen.

It's that time of year, especially in the midst of a heated and tight contest, that the Electoral College becomes a hot topic. This Electoral College is not a school with a location but rather it is the system in our country that actually chooses the next President and Vice President. Each state is allocated electors based on the number of U.S. Representatives and Senators. The District of Columbia is also allocated representation as well. All the states except for two have a winner take all based on who wins the popular vote. This means that when the Republican wins a state, his or her electors that are a part of the Electoral College would represent them when they vote. There are a total of 538 votes in the college and it takes 270 to win. Because of the tightness of this year's race, once again the rules regarding what happens if no candidate achieves the number 270 is being discussed. When no one reaches the 270 votes in the electoral college vote, then it goes to the U. S. House to determine the winner. Since the House is currently under the control of the Republicans, one would think that's how the vote would turn out. This procedure has actually happened twice in our history. (Thomas Jefferson (in 1801) and John Quincy Adams (in 1825)) I've said all of that to say this: Now you know why so little presidential politics have played out in our state. We are considered to be a red state, therefore, our electors are considered to be wrapped up, therefore, they are not being contested. That's why you hear so much about swing states, those that are not yet thought to be decided. In today's climate that is only a handful. Big states with lots of electors have the most voice. Look at the map from 2008 and you will see that McCain won most of the land mass but lost where it counted, in the major population centers. Now the local elections are a completely different matter but I'll save that for another day.

Yeah. Me too. It does tend to give us all a headache just thinking about it. The founders desired equal representation where the rich and powerful did not have complete control. There are proponents for this Electoral College system and there are numerous who oppose it. A straight popular vote seems to make sense on the surface, but candidates would only have to target major population centers to win, period. It is confusing but it's our confusion. Our nation. Our system. And, thank God, for the most part, it still continues to express the will of the people, for the most part. Flawed? Yes. Does money still dominate? Of course. But, we are one nation, under God, and that is what makes us who we are, therefore, we can trust Him to work His will even when politics are in play. I pray that we will all seek His provision, His intervention, and His ultimate rule over us all. Amen. And, while we are praying this, we do not have to wait to be active in the Kingdom where He already rules and reigns. We can be busy about carrying out His commandments during our temporary stay in our beloved USA. Because some day and maybe not so far off, we will be in His presence forever and ever. Amen. ......More later.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Little girl quoting verse 1 of Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd and He is all I want." Not completely accurate but that will preach brother, that will preach!

Goooooood morning and here's an update to the folks who will be arriving here at the workplace later this morning: He'eeeeees baaaaack! I'm humming a little John Denver this morning, 'A'int it good to be back home again.' I do bid you a warm welcome here on this cool morning and I do so on this back-to-work Monday, October 29, 2012. That little dental procedure last week turned out to be slightly more than advertised. Doesn't it usually work out that way? I'm not sure how many stitches she used but I can feel quite a few knots with my tongue. I had to get more information on the bone graft because I really wasn't clear on whether it was absolutely necessary. The insurance didn't cover it. But, the Periodontist lady made a convincing case, therefore, I end up with some person's dead bones in my mouth. She told me I shouldn't worry since they would now belong to me. You know. Once you pay for them they are yours. I heard my wife telling her sister that she knew it was not so pleasant for me. She told her that anytime he takes a pain pill, well, that would mean it was hurting pretty bad. I can handle the soft food diet. I can deal with the antibiotic and the prescription rinse. However, the biggest and saddest part was when she told me I could only drink lukewarm Community. Life can be tough folks, tough indeed!

Yesterday our local fellowship enjoyed an early Sunday morning tailgate breakfast meet and greet. This sports themed fellowship was hosted by our pastors and deacons. It was my privilege to share a short devotion with those who gathered. I read the 23rd Psalm as a way of introducing what I believe to be one of the greatest thematic word pictures found throughout the Word of God. That is reflected in the way God chose to reveal Himself as The Shepherd of His people. This began in creation and was fulfilled in the coming of the Great, the Good, the Chief Shepherd, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From Genesis to the Revelation of Jesus Christ this theme is developed, emphasized, and maintained. God provides for His own. As a teacher of God's Word for over 40 years, I can tell you there are many challenging truths found in His Word. Yet, how wonderful it is to be able to grasp the simplicity of The Shepherd motif and to realize our privilege in being His sheep. Even a child can get hold of this and I say Amen to that.

I did have a good last week and I am thankful to have spent it with my lovely bride of soon to be 48 years. The recent home going of several close spouses to family and brothers and sisters in Christ makes us aware of this bond that God established. I pray for those who are having to make these painful adjustments. I also commend to us all to count every day of being with the mate that God has given to us as a blessing. The world can redefine all they want to. But, God has clearly established His plan and purpose for men, women, boys, and girls. I thank God for His Word on the subject and I pause to thank Him for the wonderful wife He has given to me. We haven't had a Leave it to Beaver kind of home life throughout our sojourn together, but, we are by God's grace, united as one flesh, and for that we give Him praise and honor. After all, we, unlike one lady, when asked to name a TV show about animals did not blurt out, Leave it to Beaver. I can hear Gene Autry warbling Back in the Saddle Again, therefore, I had better get on with it. Have a great and blessed day and remember to remember to be thankful if you have God as your Shepherd. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life by the Book. We define being too busy when we can't find time for God.

Today is Friday and I bid you welcome to October 26, 2012. This morning we have some medical tests for the wife. We've had a full week of getting caught up on our to do list and while we had originally planned to be out of town for the week, it has turned out to be a wonderful respite from my regular routine as well as being very productive. Marilyn has been dealing with some stomach related distress, therefore, we are on a track to get the full range of tests to rule in or out whatever might be the problem. She will be involved in this process over the next several weeks. Again, we are thankful to have access to these advanced testing resources and we are trusting God as we move forward. I am looking forward to next Monday and my early morning trip back into my workplace environment. I hope they still have my desk in its place, and my computer and phone connected. Joking only.

The Santa appearance requests are beginning to roll in. I am so looking forward to the children. I will confess that having done this over the past several years I now know the full impact (wear and tear) of this little endeavor, therefore, the excitement is tempered with this reality. But, when it is all said and done, I will forever consider myself to be blessed to have had so many precious little ones in my life. I will soon be doing a dress rehearsal to check out the equipment, so to speak. It does take me some practicing to work myself up to jolly, if you know what I mean. As I close out my staycation reports, I ask you all to consider these options. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and enjoy the cooler weather, and do your very best to meet up with others at the designated place where God is worshipped, and His Word is taught on His Day, Lord's Day Sunday. Then, Lord willing, I will be seeing you again from that old familiar home away from home next Monday morning, early, that is, if I wake up on time. May God bless. Amen.          ......More later.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

I've never had any phobias about dentists but every time you go to a visit I suppose that could change. I know of many people who have had scary experiences dealing with dental issues. I have some minor repair work scheduled for this morning. You know. Age connected to a crown connected to a pocket connected in the end to another pocket, your pocket book. But, it is Thursday, October 25, 2012, and I am thankful that we have access to the special resources available to us that can discover these issues and deal with them. The weather people. You know how much I like the weather people. Well, they are at it again. They are advising people to get their sweaters out for a supposed upcoming cold front that should impact our Friday morning temperatures. I think everyone who lives in this area have learned to adopt a 'wait and see' on these kinds of predictions. You know. The word stalled comes to mind. But, if, it does happen I will be happy to enjoy every cool breath I can get. What's that? Have I checked on my sweaters yet? Thanks for the question and I will put it on my list. I think it will be right after I finish ironing my socks. Have a good day and may God bless each one. Amen.           .....More later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just think, you only put up with me for a few minutes each day, I'm stuck with me 24x7!

Hello friends and neighbors. My sister JoAnn who reads my blog each day told me the Community Coffee people should pay me some kind of royalty because of my long running endorsement of their product. That would be okay with me but knowing how it usually works they would likely give me a lifetime supply of stirring sticks or something like that. Just show you know, I don't stir. Coffee. But, it is good to greet you as I sit here in my home command center on this Wednesday, October 24, 2012. I did watch most of the final presidential debate. Since I'm not excited about the choices this year I was looking at it a little differently than most folks. I thought the condescending but humorous response from President Obama explaining how that military technology has changed since the early 1900's was pretty good theater. However, at the same time I thought it was uncalled for and juvenile, but still pretty funny. I do like that the Nevada judicial system recently upheld the None of the Above designation on their ballot. Yes. I am aware that this candidate called None of the Above occupying a spot on their voting machines did see to it that Harry Reid was reelected during this last election. He is the radical US Senate Majority Leader. He beat his Republican challenger by less that 100 votes but None of the Above got nearly 9,000 votes. Sorry. But I actually think that None of the Above is a good way to express dissatisfaction with the status quo, and let the chips fall accordingly.

Now you may have an idea who I might right in on my ballot this year. I think that None of the Above has spoken to me, at least, as intelligently as the two main candidates. I'm not suggesting that for you. I actually don't even suggest it for me, but, that has not kept me from doing some pretty odd things in the past. Right now I'm just going to wait and see as I continue to seek God's wisdom for me individually and more importantly, for our nation. And, I know we all can agree that we need God's help. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recent weather update: Chili today, hot tamale!

We had a most wonderful visit with family over in Louisiana. We know we are blessed to still be able to enjoy mom and dad, and to see our sisters too. Today is Tuesday, October 23, 2012. It is day two of my time off from my regular job. Today is designated doctor appointment day. Now I know I live in the past sometimes but I have to address issues as they come up in terms of priority. I've been saving and stewing about this one for a few days. One week ago, this past Tuesday, we received an unexpected afternoon and evening downpour, like consistent steady rain for 8 hours. I knew I had watched the weather the night before. I knew I had looked at it on my computer. It was a 20% chance. That's all. Even during the downpour it was still only 20%. The local stations. The weather channel. All God's children who are connected to predicting the weather agreed, 20%. We should have known that number was based on the same theory used by our government when they tell us why being trillions of dollars in debt should not worry us. After totally missing their forecast completely, I paid close attention to the weather folks that day. Surely they would be embarrased and publicly confess how far they had missed the mark. Not a word. Like it didn't even happen. I saw my youngest son's posting on Facebook. He said he was asked if he had any idea about the weather and whether he had seen the forecast. He responded that he had watched it but still didn't have a clue. They are clueless and so are we. Maybe we should bring back those wooden stocks the Puritans used when someone was caught fabricating the truth. Maybe they have to reuse the maps to save money. Maybe. Who knows? I do know this. I drove home in a rainstorm. I drove into the metroplex for our inner city ministry in a rainstorm. And, finally, I drove back home, still in a rainstorm. I'm not complaining about the rain. Thank the Lord for it. But, we do make plans in our work based on gestimates regarding the weather. Obviously, I said all I needed to early on in today's blog but I just couldn't slow down this keyboard. It was bent on rocking and rolling this morning. Sometimes I just have to try and keep up. So here's the deal: Have a great day and Lord willing I'll catch up with you next time. May God bless. Amen.    .....More later.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thanks, I'll have at least five cups for the road!

I know I am on vacation this week but I wanted to spend a few minutes with you this morning. I'm early because as soon as I finish sending this out, I will be on my way for a one day visit with mom, dad, and my sisters JoAnn and Frances. I will be traveling to Louisiana. JoAnn is in for a couple of weeks from her home in Plano, so, it will be a reunion of sorts. My wife is already over in that area visiting her sister, having left on Friday. She hitched a ride with our youngest son who went to fetch a vehicle he hopes to turn into a hunting lease truck. I will pick her up on my way to mom and dad's place. But, it is Monday, October 22, 2012, and I'm excited about being off from my regular work schedule, and about the day that lies before me. I know how enquiring minds want to know. Yes. I do travel with my tall aluminum thermos filled with super hot Community. I am not saying it is very artistic or pleasing to watch when I am refilling my cup while driving. It brings new meaning to the concept of distracted driving. In fact, when my wife is with me in the car she will not even think about thinking about allowing me to execute such a risky maneuver. It is an acquired skill and I do get better at it as I practice. So, I will admit it. I've seen a few 18 wheeler guys shaking their heads. Come on guys! I'm sure you probably had to practice some too. I typically have my spots picked out. Long straight runs. Cruise control engaged. I better leave it at that or I might be accused of giving a dangerous tutorial driven by, not a need for speed, but a need for Community, so to speak. Enjoy your day. Remember the One who provided it to you, and may God bless one and all. Amen.          .....More later.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tying up a few loose ends.

It's Friday, October 19, 2012, and this will be the last time I hunt and peck a blog from this chair for the next nine days. I will be on a short sabbatical from the workplace but will likely be visiting with you from my control center located in my home office. Change of pace, routine, and, I might even stay in bed past 3:30 a.m., a day or two. Might. The combination of the gravitational pull of routine along with the call of Community can be a formidable force, but I will try. Now don't tell me you have never laid in bed thinking about that first cup. What's that? No. I don't think I need to see a psychologist to help me with my problems, that is, unless they have Community in their office, then, I might consider it. You do know I am kidding. Don't you? It's called an exaggeration done for effect. The ten or so cups that I take in each day are consumed over a fairly long schedule and given that fact, it's probably not even excessive, depending upon which report you read. I try only to read the ones that support the behaviors I embrace. That way I support those who support me. Doesn't that sound very reasonable to you? I knew in the end we could find common ground (I prefer between medium and dark roast) and I'm not surprised it has something to do with Community.

I passed the heart test. It was unscheduled. One day this week, early in the morning darkness, I was out unlocking our shop buildings, minding my own business, when, as I walked by our dumpster, suddenly a huge calamity broke out in that container. It sounded like a mountain lion was trying to get out but it was only one of those big feral cats who shot out of that thing nearly scaring the living daylights out of me. I can only imagine what kind of marks my EKG would have smeared all over the page had I been hooked up at the time. I hate being so skittish. About the time one set of cats move on, another set moves in. The other morning I drove up to the gate and a few feet away there sat one of them, a big one, looking like he owned the place, sitting there, just staring. I hollered and said, "What are you looking at?" I think he may have smirked before he turned and loped away. He could have easily put out the word for a little scare test to be conducted. That may have been a 'hit cat' in that dumpster just to see the old dude jump. Did I ever tell you that I'm not very fond of cats? Just for the record: I'm not very fond of cats. I hope you don't think these little creatures actually frighten me. They don't bother me at all. In fact, just to prove it, I have changed my route in the morning so I don't pass by that dumpster. That will show them.

That little story was mostly crafted to be funny. Mostly. We have come to the end of another week of our time together each day and I have enjoyed our visits. I've shared some of the stuff that goes on around me and my comings and goings. I hope something brought you a smile. I have also attempted to remind us all of where our daily bread comes from. That being the Lord God Himself. It's me, one beggar, telling you, another beggar, where to find food. Daily. In fact, for me, it's a minute by minute need. The older I get it is the more that I realize this truth. Many times I have thought that I had it covered, that I could do it on my own, but, I have learned the truth from a great song, "I can't even walk without You holding my hand." We learn like Moses who told the Lord, "If you don't go with us, then I don't want to go." (My paraphrase from Exodus 33:15)  For those who are much younger, I say, learn the truth about this need of God's presence as early as you can and embrace it as a way of life. Okay. We now say farewell to this week and make our way towards our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I pray that we all will take the time to recognize and give proper honor and glory to the God who gives us the next breath we breathe. Have a great one and we will all wait to see, if, when, and what shows up on this page. May God bless. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You know you’re getting older when you bend over in the morning to tie your shoes and realize you didn’t take them off the night before.

We do have Thursday to deal with and then there will be Friday. After that, I will be on vacation for a week. It's basically what they are now calling a staycation. We both have doctor's visits lined up, I have some minor dental surgery, and our flu shots still await our connection. That will occupy some time on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. As the song says, isn't it loverly? Or something like that. But I do bid you a blessed day on the one we have to work with, that being, Thursday, October 18, 2012. It will be good to mix up the routine a little. As far as my blog is concerned, it might be best to put it the way they used to back home,"Look for me when you see me coming." I may write one each day, I'm just not sure. I never thought too much that some day we would be playing the medical roulette game so early in our journey, but, it's better to get all these things done, if you know what I mean. And, I know that many of you do. I am thankful to be easing my way into the category of the chronologically gifted. And, after all, we need to do all we can to fulfill our purpose because this life is not a dress rehearsal, it's the real deal, every minute of every day. I read this one the other day. An old man was stopped by the police who told him his wife had fallen out of the car several blocks ago. The old man was relieved and said, "Thank God, I thought I was going deaf."

I forget from time to time to upload photos to my computer. It's always surprising when I plug in the memory chip and it tells me I have 124 new ones available to upload. It's a little like opening presents on Christmas as each one flies by. The one I have on display today is of our Alexander Benjamin taken the evening we carried him to his favorite fast food joint to celebrate his 7th birthday. He is one funny little dude. That boy can come up with some stuff. The other evening I had him clean and floss his teeth. He worked really hard to do a good job. He blew in my face several different times to show how fresh his breath was. The next day he and I were talking and I told him again how much I appreciated him taking care of his teeth. He admitted that he had experienced a food emergency that came up after he had brushed, and went on to explain all the reasons you have to be prepared when that happens. He said it was necessary to keep some emergency food nearby, just in case. It was an emergency, after all. It was a very convincing story but admittedly Poppy is pretty gullible when it comes to his grand kids. I plead guilty as charged and given some of the dire consequences that could happen based on what he told me, I may even consider stocking some emergency snacks near my bed, you know, just in case.

I was at the inner city Bible club ministry during some of the second presidential debate but I did catch a good portion of it on radio as I drove home. The exchanges were animated but I'm not sure it sounded very presidential. Yet, many will be waiting to hear from the so called experts regarding what they should be thinking coming out of this debate. I'm not. I will tell you these polls are literally all over the page and all over the place. Some have the President winning by a comfortable margin and others have Governor Romney winning his shot at the Oval Office. I was listening to the top person from Gallup the other day explaining how scientific their approach is and how careful they are in making sure their sampling reflects reality as close as they can. I'll let you in on a not so well kept secret. That's exactly what the other fellow says about their poll and why it is the most accurate. Even though they both reach different conclusions! Here's an indisputable fact. There are some folks, hopefully very few, who actually are impacted by the polls. They, perhaps without even knowing it, tend to yield to the one they think will be the winner, and that's what the polls try to predict. My grandfather would have said they are folks that wet their finger and then hold it up to see which way the wind is blowing and that's how they decide which way to go. To me, it should be a matter of conscience and conviction. And, to the greatest extent possible to seek and find God's wisdom to guide the decision process. I've voted for the loser before even when they were predicted to lose, but I believed it to be the vote I should make. I hope that makes sense. If not, go back read about Alex and his shenanigans. That should get you off to a good start. May God bless until we meet again. Amen.      ...........More later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Forgetfulness transforms every occurrence into a non-occurrence." Plutarch (AD c.46-c.120)

I had something really good for today. I think it came to me when I was out on the highways and byways in and around our busy roadways. But, alas, I can't get hold of it as I sit here looking at the screen. It happens. The good news. I will have to remember it before I can tell you how much we missed by me not having it available. But, on with the day. It is Wednesday, October 17, 2012, and I bid you a hearty hello. It could be that I thought I had something really good but I really didn't, so, trying to remember something I never had in the first place could be very frustrating. I told you. Being me is not just a simple tip toe through the tulips. Speaking of remembering, I did hear an interview on the BBC with a lady who suffers from a disease called 'face blindness' (Prosopagnosia). This is a somewhat rare, (less than 2% have some form of it), but serious brain disorder that prevents facial recognition. The part of the brain that processes the face does not function properly, therefore, people who have this ailment cannot recognize or remember anyone by their face, including themselves. People who have this ailment are taught to use other factors in recognizing people based on their voice or other mannerism. This lady told about how she first got hold of knowing she had this problem. She was a child being picked on by two older kids at boarding school. When she reported it she was unable to identify her attackers. I suppose we should be thankful that while we at times might wish we couldn't remember our own image, it would be nightmarish to suffer from something like this. Therefore, whether I had something good or not, or whether I can remember if I did or didn't, I end up being thankful for the faculties God has given to me that still do work. Amen.

I received a note on Facebook the other day from a fellow I have not seen in at least 50 years. He was commenting on the white beard and wondering if we all came together would any of us be able to recognize each other. This fellow has become a very prominent painter of land and seascapes. His paintings are sought after. He is a guest lecturer at museums and college art classes. His paintings fetch some pretty good prices. He was actually one grade ahead of me, in my sister's class. I have always been a doodler and sketcher. I can remember this fellow and his art work in high school. He had done some report regarding the history of Rome and it included his hand drawn illustrations. Because I was always drawing, someone wanted me to see his work. I still remember how impressed I was. He had the details right. He could draw with depth and used shadowing. It's not that surprising that he went on to become an accomplished artist. Had something like that happened to me, folks would wonder if I was like the monkey who spilled and splashed paint all over a canvas. The image above is one of his paintings. Blue Lagoon, oil on canvas, by Larry Leach, (Class of 1963).

Surrounded. We are surrounded by needs. We just found out a dear friend has prostate cancer. One of our little guys in our local fellowship has had to undergo emergency surgery. Our beloved aging missionary in the Philippines has recently been hospitalized with high blood pressure. Our children and grandchildren face issues each day. Our local fellowship is seeking God's help and direction as we seek to move forward for His honor and glory. Surrounded. Others near and dear to us are mourning the loss of a loved one. Surrounded. The encouragement cards our Church sends out each week for those who are sick, hurting, or serving our nation in the armed forces must easily number over 100 folks. It can seem overwhelming at times. However, we are reminded that we have God on our side, (Romans 8:31). Yes, we sometimes try to figure out ways to fix things on our own but it's good to know that God is our refuge and our strength (Psalm 46:1). We need to seek Him, first, last, and always (1 Thess 5:17). Psalm 20, verse 7, reminds us: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." And, in addition to all of these and more, I have to, every single day, deal with me. I can tell you by long experience, doing that one each day requires constant prayer. Go out there and have yourself a wonderful day and if you can't think of anyone else to pray for, send one up for me. Amen and thanks.               .....More later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In the game of life in this world, whether we win, lose, or draw, we are still more than victorious in Christ!

Hello folks and welcome. It's Tuesday, October 16, 2012, and we are in the wound licking mode around these parts. For me, it started with the Saturday evening NASCAR race where my driver never really contended. Five hundred miles. A lady in our local fellowship gave me some bright red Jeff Gordon socks as a gift. I had them on during the race. He finished 18th. We had a good day on Sunday in the services at our local meeting place, and I came home Sunday evening to get ready to see the Texans do their thing against the Green Bay Packers. The game build up was filled with hype and expectation, but sadly, only Green Bay rose to the occasion. I can remember a time when I was much younger, (much younger, thank you Lord), when a drubbing like that would have robbed me of my sleep. Seeing what was happening during that game made me feel like I was somehow transported into an alternate universe where I was watching an event as described by the late Andy Griffith in that most famous 1953 comedic routine called: "What it was, was football." Listen to it and have yourself a laugh to start your day:

I will tell you that folks who brave seeing the game in person are to be commended. I read one lady on Facebook who had attended the Texans game and she said they spent more than one hour getting parked. Based on the escalating costs along with tremendous inconvenience, you would have to be a real fan these days to actually be there at the stadium. That word fan is an interesting one. Different sources present their ideas about the origin of this word to describe a supporter of a team. Here in America, it appears we came up with an Americanism off of the word that described someone who fancies something. That Americanism yielded the term fanatic. That was in the late 1800's. That word fanatic sought to describe someone who is extremely zealous and eventually was shortened to the word fan. Based on the amount of face paint on display throughout the stadium in Sunday night's game, I would say there was a huge number of very supportive, extremely zealous, fanatical fans who showed up. I saw one fellow's posting who said this: "Come on Houston fans, we were 5-0, and now we are 5-1. That's not so bad." I suppose it could be pretty bad if you had the idea you were the best team, hands down, in all of football but you got beat 42 to 24. That would be another way of looking at it.

I suppose some of us are just too occupied with being occupied to become enthralled in sporting events, except for those we choose to watch, follow, and keep up with, of course. Last Thursday evening we had five of our grand kids hanging around. One was our college student who came to spend a couple of days with us. They were all watching reruns of NCIS. I switched it when the Vice Presidential debate came on. That gang who had previously had their eyes glued to the screen suddenly scattered faster than a roach convention when the lights came on. I told our college student that you can't hide from reality. She said she wasn't trying to but just didn't want to watch that stuff. Stuff was not a bad description. I watched it all. I got to see some real good dental profiles from Vice President Biden. I believe they counted him interrupting 72 times. I do know this. When I was a kid and if I had interrupted someone more than once. Well, my mom would have seen to it that I would be carrying a sore mouth for a few days. They say Vice President Biden really fired up the democratic base, you know, those people who were going to vote for them anyway. He may have, however, further turned off the undecideds and independents because of his rude antics. I didn't get too much out of it from either side but I'm glad I watched. You know. I report. I decide. Or something like that. Have a good day and may God bless each one. Amen.      ....More later.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What does it mean if you find a horse shoe? Some poor horse is walking around in his socks!

Wake up, smell it wafting in the air, and then enjoy that first cup of Community. It is another day where we collectively all scratch our heads together in anticipation of another random collection of my thoughts. It is Monday, October 15, 2012, and I bid you a good morning. My cousin put the hip replacement image on her Facebook page. I thought it was pretty funny. It hasn't been that many years ago where it may not have registered, but I've since entered into that world where this type of surgery along with many others have become increasingly common. The Medicare plan we use provides flu shots but you have to make an appointment with the immunization department in order to get it. I've been somewhat frustrated getting through to the appropriate appointment making entity. I called the pharmacy we use to do a price check on the flu shot. We could get it there on a walk up basis. It would be $35 each. I may have eaten up the cost of one of those shots just in the time I've wasted in trying to find out this, that, or the other, the result ended up with not making an appointment. Not yet. Sometimes my life seems to be one long running all consuming, arduous task. Maybe we'll get in for our shot before the use by date expires. One would hope.

Several have mentioned they enjoy the little funny pithy stuff I find to include. Here are a few more that might make you smile. ~ If you are arguing with yourself about cleaning the house, try watching an episode of Hoarders, and that will make you feel much better about putting it off. ~ I think for Halloween I'll put a huge empty bowl outside my door with a note saying they should feel free to take one. That way they will be so mad at whoever took them all. ~ There are so many scams out on the internet that can take away people's money. For $19.95 I will tell you how to avoid them. ~ I've always wondered if a toy purchased in China has on its label, Made Here. ~ People tell me all the time that I worry way too much. They are so wrong because it works, 99% of what I worry about never happens. ~ The new I-Phone is breaking records and I hear that it can even help you lose weight. People who buy one can't afford to eat for the next month. ~ All Asians look the same. They use their eyes just like everyone else, dummy. What are you? Some kind of racist jerk? ~

For those of you who might wonder, I am aware that some of my work goes forth without being spell checked, or, at times, my proof reading might be a little suspect. If it is really egregious, I typically correct the original so that if someone in the year 2050 happens to be doing research on bad writing styles and they are using my blog as their proof, at least most of the wrongly used text will have been spelled correctly. I also know that most of you know that I make up words from time to time. What? No. I was not aware there were laws against that kind of thing. I will also tell you that I do quite a bit of rewriting of things I find and then use in my daily visits. Like those slightly funny ones in the second paragraph. I always clean up what I consider to be inappropriate language and I also personalize them at times. And, I do my best to observe those things that might be copyrighted. Those one liner stories I shared today appear all over the place. I have no idea who originated each of them and you might wonder why it matters. It does matter to those who are paid for their work and I believe we all should respect that. Often, I have wanted to use an image that would be great as an illustration but when I see that protected mark, I find another instead. That's not to say that I don't get something in by mistake or carelessness, but, I did want you to know that I try to honor people's work. I've said all of that in order to say this, now it's time for me to take a hike along with the horse I rode in on. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.     .....More later.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Does anyone know if people need to brush up on Latin before they visit Latin America?

Hello once again. The grey cells are on strike but I decided to give it a go anyway. They do that occasionally. I can't really blame them. Working conditions and all of that stuff. But, it is good to see you on this end-of-the-work-week Friday, October 12, 2012. That is an awfully close call and we barely missed the 13th by only one day, this being Halloween month and that might have made us all a little bit on edge. Joking, of course. As far those grey cells, they've got the same clothes to get glad in, and as far as I am concerned, they can just take a hike along with the horse they rode in on. I wrote all of that just to be able to get that one line in, the horse they rode in on. That phrase actually came up because I bumped into that photo I had played with some time ago. As you can tell, I superimposed my face putting me into a historical context along with my faithful steed. He does seem to be keeping an eye on me in the painting. This is what happens when you land on Friday without all of the resources required for coherent thought. Makes me understand better that infamous quote from Vice President Dan Quayle, "What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is." True brother Quayle, so true. And, I should know.

It really is a small world after all. It always stuns me when I see strange news stories from our country that make it to the front webpage of a foreign newspaper. I'm not talking about hard news stories but rather the odd mundane quips that are being read from Australia to Antarctica. Then we have the instant communications that is literally online all the time, 24x7. Last Sunday evening it was our great privilege as a local congregation to conduct an ordination service. One of the men was set apart as a missionary/pastor to return to his own land, the nation of Liberia. He and his family have truly been a blessing to us. His wife has been back in Liberia to help her mom for over a year, but, he told me Sunday that on his way to the meeting place she had called him to share her love and prayers. Two thousand air miles away and already 5 hours later for her but she could join in the spirit of this great service. I spent many years being involved in introducing technological advances but even though I helped people access and use innovative computing and communications, it still stuns me when I think about the amazing progress that has been made. I can remember when the first cellular phones came out. I was provided one for testing. One day while riding the large commuter bus home I pulled that phone out of my briefcase and called my mom over in Louisiana. It was one of those brick looking units with the fixed antenna on it. She was stunned that I was on the bus talking to her on a portable telephone. The people around me doubted that I was really talking to my mom. Quite a journey folks, quite a journey.

Grey cells notwithstanding, I have been doing some thinking about thinking how to shorten my daily dialogues. I openly confess and take full responsibility for being a wordy-wordy person. Brevity is most likely an acquired skill. It is best defined as what you typically don't get when you visit my blog because it has to do with the concise use of words in writing or speech. One quote attributed to Shakespeare says, "Brevity is the soul of wit." In writing or speech. I am supposed to do a short devotional for an upcoming special fellowship time for our local congregation. They asked me to do 15 minutes. I shared that time goal with my class. They laughed out loud. See what I mean? Over five years ago when I started doing these daily doodads I figured I would use up everything I could possibly think up within a few months. I have on rare occasion published a short one or two. The last time I did a short one I received a phone call from one of my faithful readers asking me if I was okay. The Bible proverb is obviously on the mark, "Even a child is known by his doings..." (Proverbs 20:11) I did say I was thinking about thinking about doing something about making them shorter. Maybe by the new year. You know. A new page so to speak. We will see. Now, here's what I would like for each of you to do. Go forth and enjoy yourself on Saturday and do your very best to join with other believers at the meeting place on Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time, may God bless each one. Amen.         .....More later.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When it is all said and done, that which is on the inside is what really counts!

I bid you a Texas sized welcome here on this Thursday, October 11, 2012. That fits the 'everything is bigger in Texas' profile that is so well known, literally, around the world. When we were in Great Britain and the people found out we lived in Texas, they actually wanted to know about our big ranch and wondered why we were not wearing our western boots and hats. They were disappointed when we explained our urban lifestyle. Why? That fantasy world does provide some escape value. Their thoughts about Texas was based on television and movies. They thought Texas and saw from the prairies to the mountains, you know, the cattle are lowing and the buffalo are roaming. Not just them. I can remember going places that were so pristine, so beautiful, and so untouched, but, the folks living there knew it but didn't make it a part of their daily routine. Why? They had chores to do, jobs to take care, children to see after, and a variety of other duties to worry about. Just like you. Just like me. This can also happen to us when we neglect remembering who we really are in Christ. We are who He says we are, regardless of what might be going on around us. We know it, but we often fail to allow that reality to define our daily approach to life.

When asked about a Bible verse for life I typically give The 119th Division of the Psalms, Verse 105, even though I don't particularly like trying to settle on a verse for life. Maybe it takes the whole book for me. That verse has this to offer, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Our season here is changing. During the summer months I can pretty much open up our facilities without my handy little flashlight, but, now it is very dark, and without that light I would be stumbling and fumbling around. That verse applies. I need to have that light to make sure I don't step on an object left laying in my way. I also need that light to help me to make sure I am going in the right direction. Just focusing only on my feet might keep me out of an immediate obstacle, but, I also might end up out in the middle of the field. Some have said this verse might reflect a shepherd making his way down the side of the mountain. He needed a lamp to make sure he stayed on the right path. He may have tied a lamp onto his leg. But, he also needed a light to make sure he was headed in the right direction, to his home. Believe me folks, I need both, every day, here at work, and more importantly the lamp and light of God's Word to keep me out of the pot holes of life and to help me to be focused on heading towards my heavenly home.

I suppose I am waxing somewhat theological this morning. That's okay because if I didn't include my own struggles and spiritual needs, I would be leaving out not only what makes me who I am, but, it would be a less than accurate picture of the view from here.....of me, myself and I. I suppose that's why so many of us can identify with that old Southern Gospel song, "I'm just a sinner saved by grace." As the late Dr. McBryde always said, "That's what makes all of us fellow strugglers." For those who think maybe they have been in the dark too long, well, go read about the young man Jesus talked about in Luke Chapter 15. He left his home where he belonged and went out to enjoy himself in the world. He took his inheritance early and blew it all on wine, women, and song. He was a Jewish boy and a worse fate could not be imagined, he ended up down in the slime with the hogs. The good news. He remembered that he had a father and he came to his senses one day and decided to go back home. He knew what he had done. He just wanted to be back home. Dad, to his surprise, was anxiously waiting for him to return and when he saw him coming down the road, he got up and ran out to meet him to shower him with love and forgiveness. That account was given to illustrate what happens to a believer who loses their way. If they are a child of God they never lose their identity as His son or daughter, and, they are always welcome to come home, to the Father's House. Good preaching brother. Why? Because it is true, my friend, it is true. Amen.            ......More later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are you ready for some Brady ball?

Good to meet up again on this Wednesday, October 10, 2012. How's everything going with you these days? I think for most of us, we all have lots of stuff that is of concern, but, when we think about all that God has blessed us with, we end up being thankful.You have heard the expression that before the competition starts the players need to put their game face on. Our Brady Darrell knows exactly what that means. He brings new meaning to the word 'character'. Six years old and he is a football guy. And, while he may be small, that face reflects intensity and from what we hear, that intensity shows itself when it counts, out on the field. He loves to mess around for the camera but when it comes time to show up for business, he's typically ready. He's just one of the characters that make up our wonderful family known for its chaotic variety. Different across the board but we also have a common connection. We are family. And, we thank God for His giving them all to us. I can hear your collective response as you look at Brady's game face,.....Go Brady Go, Go Brady Go!
We all need a game face for life. Not the fierce one but the one that reflects our confidence in the purpose we are pursuing given to us by the Lord God of heaven. Of course, just like our Brady, what really counts is how we conduct ourselves once we are out there in the fray. Every single day we are telling a story. We act. We react. We engage. We respond. In do doing we provide others with a glimpse into who we really are. The writer of the letter of James in the New Testament made it clear that our external behavior should match our internal condition. In other words, like the children's song says, "If you're saved and you know it then your life should surely show it." The Bible word translated hypocrite has its root meaning in the Greek theater where the actors would put on different masks as they portrayed different characters. I've been around long enough to know how easy it is to wear a mask and for it often to be an inaccurate view of who I really am. Easy. Different masks and often we allow that reality of "Christ in us the hope of glory" to go unseen. Thanks Brady for reminding your Poppy that he needs to get his game face on, everyday. Why? People's eternal destiny could be at stake. Now that's not a game folks, that is our calling. To make a difference. Amen.

Okay. I admit it. It does happen. I got myself a little chilled this past Monday morning as I unlocked the facilities here. It was 50 degrees with a light rain. It felt good but it penetrated my old bones a little. I can't say that I was cold but it didn't take me long to get my stuff done and return to my workstation. Yes. I did have the door wide open and that made it just about right, without the rain of course. We are so thankful for this cooler interlude. It didn't last that long and from now through the end of this week we will see some 90's again. We often blame that yo yo style of temperature change for our ailments. Medical experts discount this except for some potentially punitive impacts when our bodies have to adjust quickly from sudden cooler, low humidity to much warmer, high humidity conditions. However, it's convenient to blame the weather, and after all, we do have tradition and a huge majority of the world's population on our side. You know. The flat earth syndrome. Therefore, if you hear about me getting the sniffles, don't forget I told you about that light rain. That stuff can really make you sick. Right? Just joshing some on this Wednesday morning. Stay warm now and have a blessed day.          .....More later.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. Two languages? Bilingual. Only one language? American."

Hello and welcome. I bring you greetings from here at the blogger ranch, on this  early Tuesday morning, and it's a new day, October 9, 2012. I love it when I'm around when someone really gets a huge surprise. The other day I was out and about and I dropped by a food joint to get a sandwich. A typical scene was transpiring up at the counter. There were maybe 7 or 8 Hispanic fellows in line ordering. Some spoke some English. Others brought up a buddy to help make their order. What they did not count on was the response of this huge African American manager that was manning the register. As the Hispanic fellow was stumbling through his order with his buddy's help, from out of nowhere, the black guy began to engage him in perfect Spanish. They all nearly fell out on the floor. Me too. It was one of those glad to be there when it happened moments. It reminds me of back in the mid 1960's when I worked for an Air Force Tech Sergeant. He had been all over the world literally and had a real inclination for picking up new languages. Our work included working with foreign military pilots coming in from a variety of countries. It was a blast to see them greeted by the Sarge in their native tongue. It always made for a good welcome. Okay. Here's my attempt: "Y'all come back now, you hear!"

You've likely heard some of those he's so dumb jokes over the years. You know. He's so dumb he thought Taco Bell was a Mexican telephone company. ~ He's so dumb he thought Gatorade was some kind of welfare for alligators. ~ He's so dumb he thought Jungle Gym was Tarzan's brother. ~ He's so dumb he thought wildlife preserves was some kind of jelly for bears. ~ He's so dumb he asked me to meet him at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk. ~ He's so dumb he once returned a necktie because he said it was too tight. ~ He's so dumb he actually thought Manual Labor was a dignitary from south of the border. ~ He's so dumb he thought a quarterback had something to do with a refund. ~ He's so dumb when offered a hot meal he refused because he thought it was stolen. ~ He's so dumb he sold his car to get gas money. ~ Okay. Bad. How bad can they be? Just so you know, there were some I wouldn't even think about using.

Variety. It is, after all, well established, that it is the spice of life. While this concept must be ancient in terms of people's view of life in this world, the actual specific figure of speech, variety is the spice of life, is thought to have originated from a poem written by William Cowper in 1785.  In that poem he describes a fellow who dates a different girl every week, thus, "...variety is the spice of life, he claims." But we are aware that we do live in a world driven by diversity. I happen to enjoy watching NASCAR. I keep up with it. I have some very dear friends that think NASCAR shouldn't even be called a sport since to them it is so boring. See what I mean? That's okay. The image I used to illustrate this paragraph was one I found that is used by the Pacific West Quilter's Club. Enough said. We all have those interests that appeal to us as individuals. Yet, we also have a common bond. We are a part of the human family that God created. That bond is one that shares a common need and that is to make peace with our Creator. He has provided a way for us. In fact, Jesus said it like this: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14: 6) That's how we are able to find our real purpose in life. May God help each of us to do that very thing! Amen.     ....More later.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What squeaks as it solves crimes? Miami Mice!

Hello folks. It's me again on this Monday, October 8, 2012. How's it going out there where your mouse is busy and your fingers are finding there way around your keyboard? Think about it. We take our point and click computer mouse for granted but the first instance of it wasn't even around before 1964. And those first ones looked more like a small brick than the wireless little device we use today. But time makes a difference and we all eventually get with the program, maybe we go kicking and screaming, but most of us do end up using strange words that we had never contemplated just a few years ago. Week before last my mom had problems connecting to the internet. She called the folks at the telephone company and worked through a series of troubleshooting activities. They determined it was her modem that had gone bad. At one point the lady working with her called me just to confirm a few of the settings on mom's installation. Mom ended up having a fellow come in and install the new modem and she is back in business. My mom is a very remarkable woman. How many 88 year old folks do you know who can hold their own dealing with a network services technician on the other end of the line? I know how to deal with those people and it can be a huge challenge for me at times. Go mom, go! Many have asked about how my mom is doing with her recent illness. She is much better and we thank God for that as well as being appreciative to all who have graciously mentioned her in prayer. Thanks.

Mom's only complaint was the color of the new modem. The old one was much prettier. Hello? The other day I made a customer call along with the owner of our company. This electrical wiring control panel enterprise is located across the metroplex. I have been the primary contact for these folks for over five years but had never met them face to face. We have built and sold them many projects, some of them pretty large. I emailed them a photo of the wife and I last Christmas all dressed up in our Santa and the Mrs. attire. Because of my interaction with this family owned and operated business, our meeting was more like a reunion of long lost friends than a first meet and greet get acquainted session. They were genuinely glad to see us. As we toured their facilities their big boss kept telling everyone that I was the fellow in the photo. The workers agreed and had a good laugh. Our business with these people has often been based on a handshake over the telephone approach. A number of the customers I deal with are like that. They are for the most part old school and maybe that's why we've somehow made it work so well over the years. I didn't know what to expect. They did. It was a great visit.

I did catch a good portion of the presidential debate after getting home from our pot luck dinner and Bible study at our local fellowship. I wasn't greatly impressed with what I saw and if I were the Romney people I would be very concerned about the media making him out to have hit a home run. It just seemed too much to me. Sorry. But, if I were them I would be thinking set up. You know. Build it up so big and so huge that you have nowhere to go but down. Just me. Just for what it is worth. I'll likely not vote for either of them but that's an individual choice. Someone asked if that meant I will not be voting. Absolutely not. I wouldn't think of not voting, if I am able. And, I may have a change of heart. Speaking of a can of worms, let me tell you how quickly your taste can change. The other morning I was eating on one of those 100 calorie breakfast bar thingies. I had eaten about half of it and had laid the rest of it on my calendar book on my desk. Next thing I see is a bunch of tiny little bugs scampering across the page. I wasn't concerned for the half that was left, it was that which I had already eaten that troubled me. A little. And, that little experience does fit the election but I'm not certain exactly how but it did actually happen when I was putting some of these thoughts together, so, there you have it, it has to have some application. You do understand, don't you? Regardless, know that in the end our Great God will work it all out. Amen.             .....More later.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Son!

It is Friday, October 5, 2012, and today we are thanking God for our first born, our Chris, on this, his birthday. Forty seven years ago today a very young couple welcomed the birth of a son that changed our lives forever. While it has not always been an easy road that we have traveled, we can rejoice in how that God has worked in Chris' life to bring him to where he is today. He's a good husband and provider to his family. He's a teacher of God's Holy Word. He's a recognized and accomplished employee in his chosen field. He's a dad, and he is also a Paw Paw. He has taken to the Paw Paw role without the need for training wheels. That, I can testify, does run in the family. I'm also glad to report that he cares for his parents. He's not perfect and God is still working in his life but we are so very thankful for the man of God that he has become. We look forward to joining with Chris and his family to celebrate his special day. Happy birthday son. Love, mom and dad.

I'll not clutter up today's special recognition with any other stuff that typically bubbles up and then overflows from this old noggin of mine. I could. Don't dare me. It has been a beautiful week in the neighborhood with at least a couple of days that showed up with some mid to low 50's in the morning, plenty of hot, black, strong Community, my work here, family, our inner city ministry, our local fellowship services, and my daily visits with each of you. That's what I call a full and rewarding week. Thanks so much for tuning in. Now we move on to our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. (And, maybe some football and NASCAR thrown in for good measure.) May God bless us all as we continue to encourage one another in the journey He has given for us to travel. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are you talking to me?

Whether you are ready or not, Thursday is here, and I bid you welcome to our short visit here on this October 4, 2012. We live in a world where identity theft is an ever present part of everything we do. That's bad. About as bad is when your cell phone number gets integrated into the records where someone is being sought after around the clock. You betcha, they do have my cell number associated with a particular individual. I do not know this person and I have informed the callers of that fact, very clearly, very emphatically, and, after many calls, very loudly. Now they have turned it over to an automated calling system and I get these calls at least twice a day. Here's what's amazing. There is only one person in the United States that has this man's name. I located him, his address, and his phone number in less than 5 minutes of searching on the internet. I thought about calling the fellow but I can't see how that would change the situation. He lives just 45 minutes from here. Now I just ignore these prerecorded calls that come twice a day. They have my cell number embedded and even the live person or two I talked to would not delete it. It reminds me of that news story years ago about the old person sitting in front of the social security employee. The government had recorded that person as being dead and they were trying to prove that she was still alive and well. The clerk said they would have to wait until they could verify it with the authorities. See what I mean?

I don't know why they are looking for this fellow but my guess is that it's not to tell him about a huge inheritance he is due. In many ways this situation is a great example of how life goes in this technology driven world that we are privileged to live in.  I would never want us to think there are not good things that have come as a result of the technological progress God has allowed us to make. In medicine, communications, along with a variety of discoveries and breakthroughs have delivered advancements that make our lives better. But, there is almost always a downside. The other day there was some kind of Hack Off celebration where those geeky folks who hack into other people's computers worked together to show how flimsy the security is on some of the reportedly most protected sites. Here's the deal. Everything we use as it relates to computing had to be developed and programmed by a person or persons. This includes the security programs used to protect our computers. People. There is always someone, somewhere, smarter than those who made those programs. Some of these super smart folks are inclined to evil and some are just in it for the fun of it, they are bored, but, it is a reality, and sadly, we do have to consider it as we operate our lives in this brave new world.

I've written often over the years about the influence of smell in triggering memories. One day this week I had that happen again. It was a very cool morning and I was out unlocking all of our facilities, in the dark, and the fellow next door had been burning a wood pile. The breeze carried that smoke smell and suddenly I was transported back to those days when my grandfather and us boys would camp out on a hunting trip. He would always be up before daylight, stirring the fire, and preparing us a hearty breakfast. Fried eggs, fried squirrel with gravy, campfire biscuits, (He called them sinkers because of their weight.), homemade fig preserves, and some boiled coffee (Seaport was his brand.). I know that fellow next door. Maybe I should call him and thank him for the wafted smell that brought me a wonderful short trip down memory lane. It wasn't all fun and games. We were typically damp from the dew having slept in the back of that pickup truck and we would wake up shivering like crazy. But, my oh my, talk about some good eating, you better believe it. Those were the days folks and I do thank God for every one of them. Yes I do. Have yourself a good day and maybe you will run into a smell that will trigger a good memory or two along the way. May God bless. Amen.        ....More later.