Friday, November 30, 2012

"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing." Thomas Edison

Yes. It's that time again. Wake up and smell the Community. Hey. You tell it your own way and I'll continue to do the same. It's good to bring some closure to this post Thanksgiving workweek here on this Friday, the 30th and last day of November, 2012. Tomorrow starts a busy next few days for us. First thing in the morning we do a Santa and Mrs. Claus breakfast. On Sunday we do Santa photos with our children in our local fellowship at their birthday party for Jesus. Next Tuesday evening we do our first Chic-fil-A of the year, Wednesday is pot luck night and Bible study. Thursday evening we do another Chic-fil-A. Friday is our Sunday Bible Study Class Christmas party. And, the Saturday after that we are excited to be appearing over in Jasper, Texas at a Pizza place. We then catch our breath and get ready for about six more dates but fortunately they are more spread out. We are not complaining because we signed up for this adventure and are blessed to be able to work with so many wonderful people, along with the beautiful children who come to see us. We enjoy doing the charity work where we are able to give some back in venues where the children we visit have so little. My mom often expresses concern, knowing how hot natured I am. I am looking into one of those cooling vests as a way of helping this situation. The other day at the photographer's studio we had a family come in, and the elderly grandma came along as well. It was a husband, wife, boy, and girl along with a Teacup Yorkie Dog. That was my first Santa with animal photo, and yes, they did want one with the dog by himself with Santa. Grandma was fascinated by my uniform. She kept asking the photographer where she was able to find such a wonderful costume. The photographer was a little surprised by this and finally blurted out, "What can I say? He's Santa!"

There have been all kinds of remembrances put forth about the life and times of Larry Hagman, the TV actor who passed away last week. He is best known for his portrayal of J.R. on the long running series, Dallas, that was on from 1978-1991. We well remember him from 'I Dream of Jeanie' which was so far fetched it was actually funny, in spots. TV does have an influence on folks, all over the world. I actually enjoyed a dinner served at the set on the ranch where Dallas was filmed. I was there as part of a conference and the event was hosted by one of the major telecom companies. I toured the museum on the property and learned quite a bit about the show since I had never really sat down and watched even one episode. I do remember all the hoopla over who shot J. R. I heard the other day that the episode that revealed the shooter is the second most watched in history, trailing only the final episode of Mash. When we were in Scotland in the fall of 1993 the folks over there were still talking about J. R., Dallas, and how that people in Texas all own big ranches and oil wells and drive huge Cadillacs, your know, with the over sized set of longhorn cattle horns mounted on the hood. They were let down a little when they found out we didn't live on a big ranch and somewhat disappointed that we were not wearing hats and boots. And, they were not joking. Can a television program influence folks far and wide? Might make us all a little more careful with what is passed off as 'must see' stuff that our children are taking in.

Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to read what has to be scatter gun material at times. I know there must be times when you leave my page wondering what in the world is he thinking. Don't feel bad about that because I do the exact same thing. Also, I don't take it personally when someone looks at the same situation and ends up seeing it differently. That's not to say I don't reserve the right to think someone is wrong in their way of looking at it, but, that goes both ways as well. Some have asked me if doing these daily blogs are an outlet for me. Could be. Maybe more like an explosion of sorts, you know, incoming, duck and run for cover. One would have to know that I enjoy doing them and typically, but not always, I have something to share. The days when I have nothing to share I just go ahead with it anyway. You noticed. Good. Because I am glad you are keeping score. You have noticed that I share my faith as a part of my approach. This is intentional. I share Bible accounts because I know quite a few of them, having studied a fair amount over the past 50 years. I was talking one time about the radio program that features a fellow called the Bible Answer Man. A guy standing near us called out to me, "Hey, I thought you were the Bible answer man." I appreciated his thought but let me be clear, the more of the age rings I add to my tree of life here on the planet, it is the more I recognize just how little I really do know about God and His word. But, I do know this: Anyone can become God's own dear child by putting their faith in His provision of a Savior, His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. How? "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved?" (Romans 10:13) Even the Sunday School kids can tell you about that one. How do I know? They can sing: "For the Bible tells me so." Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing I'll be here again, bright and early, okay, perhaps, just early, on Monday morning. May God bless. Amen.          ....More later.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When your life flashes before your eyes, make sure you've got plenty of quality memories to watch.

This has been a fairly quiet week but that is subject to change at any moment. In fact, none of us know in advance what a day, any day, might bring to us. It is Thursday, November 29, 2012, and I welcome you to today's edition. I suppose what got me to thinking about this is the 120 vehicle pile up that occurred last week, not so far away from where we live. Instantaneous terror. Unmitigated chaos. Mayhem. And, sadly, tragedy ensued. The couple that were sandwiched between an 18 wheeler and another vehicle were killed instantly. They had not made it very far from home. It was their very first time to make a road trip at Thanksgiving instead of being at home. They were in their early sixties. He owned a small business. They were beloved. It was very difficult to watch their grown sons talk about them on the TV news program. These fellows were devastated. I read their obituaries in the big metro newspaper. In his write up it listed all his family and then got to his grandchildren. About seven of them. Then came this parenthesis: (We love you Paw Paw.) What greater accolade could anyone achieve? Enough said. I feel another round of sniffles coming on. Must be my allergies, or something. May God bless their memory and also help us all to realize the unpredictability of this life that He has granted to us. Amen.

Where do we go to take responsibility for messing everything up? I'm talking about those of us who are called the post war baby boomers. We had the temerity to be born between 1946-1964. We are a huge problem to all the other groups, the Generation X's, the Millennials or Generation Y, and the soon to be unhappy with us, the Generation Z crowd. We have made it mostly difficult just by hanging around, and there's so many of us. That seems to be the problem. Stores don't really know how to market their products. They want our money but if they push stuff we are interested in, well, that turns off the younger customers. The Census estimates that between 76 million and 79 million of us were born during the now famous post war baby boom. The good news for those who think we are crowding them out is that several million of us have already died. (Some say more than one of us check out every minute of every hour each day.) Sadly, that becomes good news to somebody. Others predict that most of us post war kiddos will be out of here by the late 2020's. For me, I'm here as long as the Lord sees fit, and after that, I am ready to go to my real home, and if that should make it easier for a marketing person or make a retailer happier, well, so be it.

I suppose the age gap is nothing new. In the Bible we read about King Solomon's son inheriting his father's throne. His name was Rehoboam. Solomon had built one of the greatest kingdoms in the history of the world. But, to do so he had required great taxation upon his people. After Solomon's death, some wise white haired elders came and advised Rehoboam that he should secure the loving favor of the people by lowering the burden they were having to carry. He listened but then brought in his young buck buddies and asked their opinion. They gave him their take. He recalled the elders and essentially told them that if the people thought they had been overburdened in the past, well, they had better hang on because it was going to be painfully more under his rule. Bam! A civil war ensued and the kingdom was divided. (1st Kings Chapter 12) To quote Rehoboam's dad, Solomon, the recognized wisest person who ever lived on the planet except for God in human flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, writing in Ecclesiastes, "The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." (Chapter 1, Verse 9) See what I mean? And, oh by the way: It does pay to pay attention to thus says the word of the Lord. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday finally arrived. A small man pushed his way to the front of the line, only to be pushed back, amid loud and colorful curses. On the man's second attempt, he was punched square in the jaw, and knocked around a bit, and then thrown to the end of the line again. As he got up he said to the person at the end of the line..."That does it! If they hit me one more time, I won't open the store!"

Hello again and welcome. It is Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Thanks for dropping by. When the cooler air blows it speaks to me. I can't make out all of the words but it does mention Community Coffee quite often. That little outage on Monday really let us know how dependent we have become on the internet for the conduct of our business. No email contact from customers which is how we actually transact much of our ordering and correspondence. After spending what seemed like forever getting through the automated contact system at the phone company, I finally got into line to get hold of a real person and actually spoke to one after being on hold for about ten minutes. She was one of those that I call a gusher. She was so sorry we were having this problem. She was very sorry that our modem wasn't modeming that morning. She was very happy to help me but she couldn't be sure how long it would take, and she did want me to keep in mind that this type of failure was not a covered expense provided as part of our monthly bill. It took 20 minutes but that last part was all I really wanted to know. Throughout the holding process I am always impressed with how many times the recorded messaging system informs you to log in to their system if you desire quicker service. I wouldn't be calling them if I could log into their system. In fact, I wouldn't wish calling them on anyone. And, I happen to know that you know exactly what I mean.

I didn't get out for the Black Friday sales stuff. I did, however, make a trip to the mall to meet my wife and deliver her cell phone she had left at home. It was still very early and while the natives were busy, they were not yet all crazy like they begin to go after around 11 a.m. She met me at the curb and I handed her the phone through the window. That ended my contact with Black Friday. The Drudge Report kept a running list of headlines from the shootings, shovings, riots, and other crazy stuff going on across the country. I know times are hard but is any on sale item worth shooting someone? I don't know exactly what all of these incidents say about who we are as a people, but, I can tell you that it does not speak well, and, sadly, like road rage, each year this craziness seems to become worse. Many years ago when they began to call it Black Friday, I had to get hold of why they named it that. It, of course, has to do with being 'in the black' in terms of profitability for all the merchants but based on these news accounts it could easily be called a dark day for many other reasons as well. My wife and her sister made a full day of it. They thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually heard a lady on a radio call in program talking about their Thanksgiving traditions. She said after the big meal everyone would settle down and the ladies then all get together to review the Black Friday sale papers. Okay. I give up. Thanksgiving tradition? That one wins the award.

The Black Friday that should concern us all is the report that our Federal Government borrowed just under 25 billion dollars to keep it going, the day after Thanksgiving. I don't want to be a naysayer, but based on our system, this approach to running our government is what the majority voted for, therefore, we continue this madness that is undermining and weakening us as a nation, with every breath we take. That's why we need to seek God's intervention and to do our best, with His help, to live responsibly and to model a message that shows how hope can be found in God's answers to all questions that pertain to life. It is a truism in life that hard times, adversity, and trials can play a productive role in our development and growth. We can become perplexed but our faith seeks to inform our attitude and our actions. Times are tough. The Apostle Paul gave great insight to a struggling group of folks meeting together as a local fellowship in Philippi, Greece. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4: 6-9) May God help us to follow this prescription for life. Amen.    ....More later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"We are all born ignorant but one must work hard to remain stupid." Benjamin Franklin

Today I welcome you to our continued getting on with it on this Tuesday, November 27, 2012. Of course getting on with it requires that one knows what 'it' is. That's not my only problem. I never watched the movie Forest Gump but I am aware of some of the more memorable lines from it. Like, "Stupid is as stupid does." I've got that one covered. I recently ordered some of those ear bugs where I can listen to music, old time radio programs, or sermons while I am at my workstation. These were some pretty good ear bugs. The only problem was how they just didn't seem to fit. They kept falling out. In examining them I discovered they were marked. Right and Left. I had noticed those tiny little designations but it finally dawned on me that you are supposed to use the right bug in the right ear and the left one in the left ear. Do say! So that's how they are supposed to work. And, when I put them in their right places they fit just fine. Technology, you just have to love it. Suddenly I was struck with that sense of overwhelming conviction because of the many times I have started off a problem review meeting by asking everyone if they had marked their hands to start the day, left and right. I felt like I had fallen into a world where nothing but boomerangs were sailing around. The good news. I now know the secret of how these little ear bugs work. Like they say, you learn something new every day.

They say confession is good and even the Bible says we are to confess our faults one to another. If I got started on all of mine I fear we would be there for a while. I looked up the word stupid and it gave me this insight, a: slow of mind b: given to unintelligent decisions or acts, acting in an unintelligent or careless manner. That really does broaden it out and in my own day by day operations, it gives me way too much material to work with. Here's a few supposed to be funnies about being stupid. ~ He is so stupid he thought that 667 must be the neighbor of the 666 Beast from the Bible. ~ He is so stupid they have to retrain him after he takes his coffee break. ~ Of course folks are not always as stupid as others think. When Thomas Edison was a boy his teachers concluded that he was too stupid to ever learn anything. Walt Disney was once fired at a newspaper because the editor said he had no good ideas. Albert Einstein was four years old before he began to talk and seven before he could read. It just goes to show you, like Gump: "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." So true folks, so true.

The final votes have been tabulated and the results published for the county were we reside. You've heard of red states? Well, our county had red neon glowing as well with just under 80% of the votes cast for the Republican candidate. It's become faddish to beat up on white men. According to the current political trade winds, white men are a dying breed in terms of clout at the ballot box. White men are also responsible for all the evil and ills that afflict our land. This would be laughable if the mainstream news weren't totally campaigning this as the truth of our so called enlightened nation. I couldn't help but think about that Thanksgiving Proclamation that I shared last Wednesday. The one penned by George Washington, in his own hand, in 1789. I suppose those white guys who made up the newly formed government of the United States of America really were our enemies and not the patriots we have always believed them to be. This may sound silly, but folks, hear me and hear me well,  I tell you this is exactly what these people want us to adopt as our truth. Sad. So sad. I for one will not hear of it and I will not have it, period, end of story. You make up your own mind but as for me and my house we will do our best to serve the Lord and honor the memory of those who have served on our behalf, regardless of their skin color or the power of the demographic they represent. Amen.     ......More later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Cash, check or charge?" the cashier asked after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As the woman fumbled for her wallet, the cashier noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "Do you always carry your TV remote?" the cashier asked."No," she replied. "But my husband refused to come shopping with me, so I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him." (copied)

 *****I was here at 4:40 a.m. I showed up. Some folks enjoyed fried turkey but we had our own issue this morning with fried modem. When we left last Wednesday afternoon every thing was hunky-dory but obviously the network gremlins were busy while we were away. But here I am. It's 11:55 a.m. and I only had to spend about 30 minutes on the phone to determine we would have to wait for quite a while before having someone come in to replace the fried modem and oh by the way, they wouldn't pay for it anyway. So our owner went out and bought one and spent the last couple of hours getting it all configured and working. But I'm back and business. Thanks for waiting!*****
Welcome back and greetings from the land where the antelope play and cornbread dressing rules! It is back to work Monday, here on this November 27, 2012. What a great celebration we enjoyed and I do hope you did also. I was reading an older lady's posting on Facebook about how terrible the televised American Music Awards were. She said the show was horrible, the entertainers were scandalous, and the music shouldn't even be called by that name. We knew that before it started. That's why we switched to Border Wars, Rio Bravo starring John Wayne, and the new season episode of Alaska State Troopers. That lady couldn't believe what she was watching. But, she was watching. This is America. You do not have to watch any show you don't want to watch. Change the channel already! (Our view was obviously shared by the overwhelming majority because this year's AMA show had the lowest ratings in its history and lost to practically everything else that was on at that time.) The other day I was talking with my son about the fact that I would be missing an interview program that I wanted to see. He reminded me that I have DVR capability. That's good to know but it most likely requires a level of understanding how to use it, and for a fellow who hasn't advanced to text messaging yet, well, I told him maybe they would be replaying it later. See what I mean? It really is difficult to be me.

Yes, Virginia, it is still only November but the wife and I have already logged over 15 hours of portraying our version of Santa and Mrs. Claus. The show at the big hotel was something else. Just two hour sessions of photo snapping at a time but when they are lined up as far as the eye can see, typically, there is a level of chaos that ensues. After our final but unbelievably busy Sunday afternoon session, one lady asked me how it went. I told her it was 90 plus minutes of sheer terror punctuated by interludes of sheer joy served up by some of the most wonderful kiddos I've ever seen. I think I describe it the same way every year. This is the first year my wife is working most of the events with me. That has made a huge difference since she can warm up those who are shy before they make their grand entrance. We also had a genuine funniest video moment when a big fellow trying to make a family portrait tripped behind me and took down the entire backdrop. We were delayed for at least 20 minutes and as they say, meanwhile, the natives were getting to be very restless indeed. Oh what fun it is to.........

Being a bonafide Poppy, I do have some experience with the little ones. There are those who require a little more care and a little more time than others. One lady came up to me after the program and said her little boy was thrilled that Santa had taken the time to hear him out. She said he couldn't stop talking about it. She said it is a memory he will always treasure. I told you. I am in the memory making business. I do have to hand it to the people who do the photography for these special events. They must have nerves of steel. The set gets knocked down. Some folks don't like this, that, or the other. Sometimes entire families show up including both sets of grandparents. They are flashing photos like we are on the red carpet. The photographer cannot do the finished photo until all the flashing stops. We all know a job like that requires special skills. But, what about old fashioned patience? They have to have tons of it. I am not exaggerating one little bit. Trying to fit a dozen girls who are a part of a local dance class into a set built for half that number, well, all I can say is my Santa hat is off to those who dare to take on these kinds of tasks. There really are too many special stories to share and to tell you the truth, anytime you can see an afflicted child's eyes light up and know you were a small part of that memory, it does keep me keeping on. Or jingling on. Or maybe, just a jangle here and there. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen    .....More later.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Stefani!

Today is Wednesday, November 21, 2012, and we are excitedly looking forward to a time of family and feasting tomorrow. Part of our celebration tomorrow will be to recognize the 19th birthday of our granddaughter, Stefani. Folks whose birthdays land near big holidays no doubt feel like they are often not the primary focal point. However, that does not mean they are forgotten by those who love and appreciate them. Our Stefani is a senior in high school. She, like all our offspring, is a one-of-a-kind. We are blessed with tremendous diversity in our clan. We feel blessed to have lived near all of our children for their entire lives. This has given us access to our grand kids and we thank God that it has worked that way. We have been so privileged to watch our Stef grow into the young woman that she is today. We thank God for her and look forward to seeing all that He has planned for her life. Happy birthday Sweetheart! Love, MiMi and Poppy.

I have not offered up any prayers for Twinkies but I've heard the shelves have been cleared and folks are even paying up to $50 for a box of these little calorie loaded confections. I am concerned for the 18,000 people who will be laid off as a result of the Hostess Company going out of business. The union was offered a deal to try and keep the company going. They refused and went on strike even though the enterprise was in bankruptcy. The union representative said he felt good about someone stepping in to buy the company and that means his people would be eventually working again. Not so fast, the most likely buyer at the moment is headquartered in Mexico and it's not clear where they would operate the business once the brands are purchased. I can't remember if I was ever a huge Twinkie fan but I at one time did love those coconut snowball thingies. This company also produced Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs so there's a lot of shelf space that might be freed up at the supermarket. I guess folks will just have to find another source for their gooey goodness fix.

Original handwritten document.
As we approach our time of family gathering, I do want to wish each one a most wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebration. In honor of this day set aside to honor God with our thanks, I want to once again share the words of our First President, George Washington. May God bless each one, and Lord willing, I will see you again right here on this same station, next Monday. Amen.  ....More later.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be--That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions--to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Matthew 5:37

We are quickly counting down the hours until we do a little word play and get rid of any concept of fasting by adding an 'e', you know, we get ready for the feasting! I really don't know where that came from but since I have so few original ideas, I thought I had better capture that one before we had a collision. It is Tuesday, November 20, 2012, and it is good to have this time with you today. Does old fashioned ethics, honesty, and integrity exist in today's marketplace? I think we all know that it is not out there to such a serious extent that it might become contagious. I did read a comment made about a Company the other day that really struck me and I wanted to share it with you. It was in the section of their website called Testimonials: "Your company's success and growth is most admirable.  The success can only be attributed to God's blessings to an honest man who treats others as he wants to be treated. It appears your team has seen the benefits of your honesty and trust and attention to workmanship from an era when US companies produced the best the world could find.  Congratulations on another year of success and satisfied clients with prayers for your continued success." I was checking this company out because they had gotten a bid that we had participated in. I say thank You Lord and Amen to their leadership that would cause one of their large customers to pen those words. That should be an encouragement to us all!

I have learned a better way to describe my situation when I fall. I read one person's explanation and they said they on occasion do a random gravity check. Now that sounds a whole lot better than the stuff I've been using. Then we have times when what we say just doesn't come out right. Like the lady talking to another lady about gardening. She said she never new much about manure until she married her husband. Those of us growing up in the South have been raised on a steady diet of those biting backhanded compliments. "Just look at her in that dress, bless her heart!" ~ "It was really great talking to you, I always feel so smart when I hear you talk." ~ And what about these bad boys: "I don't care what they say about you, I think you do a pretty good job." ~ "That jacket looks really good on you, I had no idea they were making them in plus sizes." ~ "I love getting notes from you, your spelling always makes me smile." ~ The better ones to me are always the unintentional slip of the tongue. However, those who like to play games do their best to cover their real intention by making it sound oh so sweet.

Age has allowed me to add some spasms to my repertoire. You know. It's when the muscle does a little jig without you expecting it. They don't bother me that much but it is a little embarrasing to try and answer your cell phone because even though it was on vibrate, it didn't really ring, it was just one of those little spontaneous muscle quivers. Of course if people notice you can always act like you are talking on the phone and disconnect from the conversation quickly. I am pretty much still in the dark ages when it comes to the cell phone I use. I make and receive calls. That's pretty much it. I do love to see older folks going to town on one of those fancy I-phone/tablets. I bet they never dreamed they would be doing stuff like that. One lady told my wife she had been sending me text messages. My wife told her that I don't do text. The lady sent me a message through my wife. "Tell him he needs to get with the program." That, in so many ways, and on so many levels, is the story of my life. I spend most of my waking hours and maybe even some of my sleep time doing just that. Trying to get with the program. I know you know what I mean, so don't even try to act like you don't. Now. Here's the deal. Go out there and have a good day and win one for the Gipper, or something like that. May God bless each one. Amen.           .....More later.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I don't like the price of milk. Here's what we should do: Shoot all the cows!

****Many were aware that my wife had some medical testing done last Friday. They did take a number of tissue samples for further study. In addition, she is being scheduled for further testing on her esophagus. There are no red flags at the moment and we do greatly appreciate all the many prayers and the concern shown for her. I will keep you posted.****

Welcome back. It is Monday, November 19, 2012. Santa had a great Saturday and Sunday as he did his very best to bring joy to lots of boys and girls. Me, well, I'm still thinking about thinking about how much all of that excitement took out of me. But, it is good to be with you today, and to greet you for another run at our Thanksgiving work week. The other day some major companies announced changes in work hours and other reduction actions anticipating the full implementation of the health care legislation. They are in business. Businesses are in business to make a profit. These folks took actions they believed were in the best interest of them being able to continue to be in business. How did folks take this news? Many so called progressive organizations immediately called for boycotts of any business that laid off employees or cut back hours connected to the health care law. Let's see if we can make sense out of that response. A company looks at its cost of doing business and sees a major increase coming soon. They have a responsibility to deal with these types of developments. That's what management does! When they do, and folks don't like it, here's the plan: Let's just shut them down! I wonder how many jobs that will save? We may not have to be crazy to make sense out of these kinds of things, but, it almost takes being crazy to even consider them.

Many folks on Facebook have been doing a daily countdown of all the things they are thankful for as we approach the upcoming holiday. I have enjoyed reading the different thanksgivings being shared. God, Jesus Christ, salvation, family, friends, our nation, our jobs, our local fellowship of believers, victories won, trials faced, and a variety of other things have been mentioned. It reminds me of that verse the Apostle Paul shared with the local assembly that met in Thessalonica, Greece. "In all things give thanks;...." That's pretty heady stuff right there, in all things. Right? But those dots or ellipses mean there's more to that verse to follow: "In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus." (1st Thessalonians 5:18) Hello? By inspiration from God the Holy Spirit, he communicated that this is God's will for those of us who are in Christ, meaning those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Him and His finished work on The Cross, thus we have been born again, becoming His dear child. Let me see if I have this put together correctly. Paul was telling them and by extension us that as a child of God we should be thankful in all things, regardless of what they are, and that this is the will of God for us. I believe the key here is to understand the magnitude of what it means to be a child of God. When we begin to grasp the surpassing significance of our standing, the certainty of our future, and the ever indwelling of His presence within us, well, the all things become objects of our thankfulness because we are His forever and ever, Amen.

I'm also thankful for a funny story now and then to give us a smile. This one is about a fellow who goes to visit his friend who has been admitted for treatment in a mental facility. The man undergoing treatment had been in an high stress job and with all the pressures he faced, he finally broke. The friend arrived at the facility and was visiting with the director. Inquisitive, he asked the director how they determined an individual to be a candidate for treatment. The director responded by telling the friend about the test they used and asked if he would like to take it. The friend agreed. The director said, "Okay, we fill a bathtub with water and offer the prospect a teaspoon, a coffee cup, and a bucket, and then we ask how they would choose to empty the tub." The friend quickly responded, "The bucket, of course." The doctor replied, "The correct answer is to pull the plug. Would you like a room with a view?" Since the story indicated the patient to be an overstressed information technology manager and since I was one of those for nearly 20 years, well, it gave me a smile. Was I really overstressed? You can check with my wife on that one. I do hope you will have a good rest of the day on this Monday as we all contemplate the power of having an attitude of gratitude. May God bless. Amen.     .....More later.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This must be the place because we are both here!

It's November 16, 2012. We made it. I'm standing on the banks of the Friday looking beyond where I can see Saturday just around the bend. I've picked up a few new readers lately who somehow got hold of my blog and sent me a note. Thanks for coming on board but I do feel it necessary to give you an idea of how this gets done each day. (Insert a huge pause.) Yeah, I'm not so sure I can say much about it because my grandfather used to say that we kids acted at times like we would wake up in a new world, everyday. He may have been on to something, at least as it pertains to me. When I started this adventure in 2007 I had originally entitled it The View from My Pew. I liked that but soon felt it to be somewhat restrictive so I changed it to The View from Here. The word 'here' has the connotation of where one is right now. And, since I tend to be in different places at any given time, so to speak, it seems like my daily episodes should reflect something about that place I happen to find myself in, at that particular time, in that particular paragraph, or in that part of the sentence. Like President Clinton who said, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.", well, in my situation, "It depends on any given day what the meaning of the word here is." I'm also scratching my head about the meaning of all of this, but, at this time, it is my story and I'm sticking to it.

I saw a critique of an essay the other day that had this ouch in it: "Never has anyone used so many words to say so little." I almost felt like standing and answering: "Here!" Thus, we see another use of the word 'here', as in answering roll call. I know a preacher who has little formal training but has been given the gift of being able to present great messages that communicate God's Word. Over the more than 45 years that he preached, many were always suggesting schooling and training to hone his skills. He wasn't opposed to schooling but he was very fearful of doing anything that would interfere with his total dependence upon God to give him the message he should speak as he studied his Bible. I have a similar thinking about my writing. My oh my, how I know it could be better. More concise. Better grammar. Less dangling participles. And, the classic, less run on sentences. However, as bad as it may be, the way I write is how it flows from my little pea brain to the electronic page. I hired a former English teacher as my administrative assistant when I was at the big Company. She was to improve all of our writing. I would prepare a memo and when she got through with it, I couldn't begin to recognize it was from me. What's a good manager to do in that situation? No more editing of my stuff, but you can work on the other folks in the organization. After all, I was the one who hired her and I certainly didn't want those English teaching skills to go to waste. In that situation I wanted her to work 'there' but to leave 'here' alone. Are you keeping up?

Do you ever get the idea that I just like to throw words out onto the page? Great observation because I do like to do that. I believe my grandfather also said at least once or twice that he thought I liked to talk just to hear myself speak. I suppose he was a prophet in many ways. But, it's all in fun, so don't take it all serious and wonder if I've gone even more off the deep end. I do have those metaphors flying around everywhere today. Tomorrow, the wife and I, Lord willing, will be showing up over at the big hotel at the big mall where we will make our grand entrance as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Two sessions on Saturday and two sessions on Sunday. The kids and parents buy tickets in advance for these events. It's always a first class operation. Much of the proceeds will go for good causes supported by the Junior League here in our area. That reminds me. I had better brush up on the 'hot' toy list for this season. There's nothing worse than a Santa who doesn't know the difference between a pet turtle and the Teenage Ninja Turtles. Have yourself a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will see you 'here', and I think you now know exactly what I mean, on Monday, Lord willing. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Here's a local stimulus program: Winning Football Team!

Hello one and all. It is Thursday, November 15, 2012, and I bid you a hearty hello and welcome. This is Houston Texans territory. They are now 8 wins and only 1 loss for this season, tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NFL. They beat the Chicago Bears in Chicago this past Sunday evening. It so happened that I visited the big box super market Sunday afternoon. The place was packed. Maybe 6 out of 10 were wearing Texans gear of some type. Mom, dad, and the kids, all wearing those expensive shirts, hats, and other team paraphernalia. Some had their face paint on and one little boy had his hair died the blue, red, and white Texans colors. Did I mention the game was in Chicago? Their baskets were full to overflowing. Obviously they were going to either be hosting a watching party or throwing a block tailgate gathering for their neighborhood. We are talking lots of snacks along with beverages to wash them down. This winning record has really gotten folks excited. They are showing their loyalty by opening their pocketbooks. We had a sports themed tailgate fellowship breakfast at our Church recently and my wife bought us Texans T-shirts so we would have something appropriate to wear. Otherwise, we would be just watchers only, and not contributors to this economic boost.

I know some folks take elections very seriously and there are those who continue to grind on and on about the most recent results. Then we have the story of the 28 year old woman in Phoenix, Arizona. She was so upset about the Obama victory and the fact that her husband didn't vote that she not only blamed him for it turning out the way it did, but she also ran him down with their Jeep. After several attempts to hit him with the vehicle she finally pinned him against a lamppost. He was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and she has been formally charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence. Now that's what I call political motivation! But so wrongheaded! I see the folks making threats against our recently elected President in the same way. They are on the wrong side of seeing God's sovereign hand in the affairs of His created world, which, by the way, does include the United States of America. One liberal pundit created a firestorm when he expressed great thankfulness for Hurricane Sandy because it helped reelect President Obama. Those who lost loved ones to that storm were not happy with those sentiments. Others said they thought the storm was an act of God showing favor towards the President. My personal belief is that we need to see all these events within the context of God's desire that we, individually, and collectively as a nation, would return to Him, follow His ways, and seek Him as our hope for healing our land.

One prominent pastor of a mega Church in Dallas is taking heat because of his recent expressed thoughts on how he believes President Obama along with his policies are paving the way for the Anti-Christ as revealed in the Bible. That could be true, but it is also true of our nation in general, our world, and as seen in the declining respect we see for God on behalf of individuals throughout the world. With all of this handwringing, what are we to do? "Look up for your Redemption draws near!" (Luke 21:28) Until that time when time as we know it will come to an end, we are to focus on living out our faith, as opposed to spewing hateful rhetoric. If we really desire that our nation be the nation God would have her to be, then, we, that would be us, you and I, need to do our best with His help to live His ways in our personal life. That gives me a whole lot to work on folks. With me, it's a fulltime job. But, I believe this is how God has chosen to influence and impact our world, by our word, but even more importantly, by our life's testimony lived before others. That's enough for today. Now turn to the back of your hymnal and we will sing to close out the service. It does seem like a sermon, doesn't it? But, I didn't plan it that way. I learned about it not too long before you did. See how much fun it is to be me? Have a great day and may God bless this great nation, again! Amen.      ....More later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One of the shining stars in our family, Happy Birthday, Lexie Dee!

It's Wednesday, November 14, 2012. Today we pause to recognize the 12th birthday of our granddaughter, Lexie Dee. Lexie is the middle child born to our youngest Rodney and his wife, Mitzi. As we all know every person is unique. Some are more unique than others, at least that's the way most grandchildren seem to their grandparents. In Lexie's case, that's an easy reach. She has always had a wonderful sense of humor, even as a toddler. She has the ability to make others feel good when she is with them. That's something very special and I hope she always carries that with her, wherever she goes. Recently she made the traveling volley ball team. She may not be the biggest or the baddest but she is a fierce competitor with spunk and spirit. She has a lot of poise and has always shown respect and love for her MiMi and Poppy. We thank God for our Lexie, one of the many stars in our cast of characters that make up our clan. Happy Birthday Sweetie and may God bless you, on this, your special day. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

Sometimes when I know I am going to be out on the road for a while, I take my portable satellite radio with me. The other day when I was traveling on that farm to market road I had it with me and I felt like I had hit the jackpot. It was a special day on the Old Time Radio channel. They were celebrating the birthday of Leonard Franklin Slye. Never heard of him? How about his celebrity name, Roy Rogers? During that trip to and from I was able to hear three different programs with him and his wife Dale Evans. The first was a guest visit on the The Charlie McCarthy Show recorded in 1942. Roy had to duel it out with Charlie. They exchanged some hilarious one liners. Writing back then was pretty clever folks, pretty clever indeed. Of course Charlie was the famous dummy who sat on the lap of comedian ventriloquist Edger Bergen. The next was an appearance on the Bob Hope Show. The last one was one of Roy's own programs from the early 1950's where the good guys always defeat the bad guys. What's that you say? I'm what? A foolish nostalgic time traveler? Good guess. And, it speaks for itself because I thoroughly enjoyed them all. What ever happened to that type of programming? Oh, that's right. We are much too sophisticated for that stuff today.

Speaking of memories, everyone knows how wonderfully blessed we are to still have mom with us. At 88 she actually seems to be in better health than many of us younger ones. This past weekend the high school in our Louisiana hometown had its annual homecoming. She had planned on attending because of a couple of her former classmates who were supposed to be there. They ended up not being able to come to represent the Class of 1942. She debated going or not going. She really does not like the limelight. Finally, she decided to go and ended up being the only one to represent their class which turned out to be the oldest class there. She had graduated 70 years ago and there she was, standing tall out on the gym floor. I've only been to one and that was my 20th back in 1984. I might go to the 50th in 2014 if I am still around. I would have to hang around until 2034 to match her. There's no doubt that she is a pretty amazing lady and we thank God for her, and dad. I suppose that's enough reminiscing for one day. I do hope you will have a blessed day. Amen.      .....More later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's beginning to look like Thanksgiving and Christmas are trying to occupy the same space.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012. It is here and we are quickly moving headlong into the holiday season. With more than a dozen appearances already on the schedule, the wife and I are anticipating a fairly hectic Santa schedule beginning this upcoming weekend. Sounds too early, doesn't it? It does but I think that's the trend these days. Seems like I can remember when they waited until after Thanksgiving to go all out for Christmas but that's been a long time ago. This past Sunday afternoon I got out all the equipment to give it a dry run rehearsal. Nearly everyone thinks doing work as Santa is about the easiest job anyone could have. Just sit in a chair and have adorable little children sit on your lap. What could be hard about that? Right? Think again Bucko! I can't be sure what my internal temperature reaches when I am all garbed up but I have melted a pair or two of socks. Adorable children. Most of them are but not all. Many of them are a little on the heavy side. The parents. Most of them are great to work with them. Most of them. When they are out of sorts and expecting that Santa is 100% responsible for making a Norman Rockwell memory with their little brat, well, that can bring some upward mobility to my blood pressure. Fortunately, that's not the norm. And, there are so many precious children that make this a wonderful adventure. The pay is not too shabby either. The photo is from Sunday's dry run. I'm holding the picture made in 2010 of me with our little great granddaughter, our bundle of Madelyn Joy. You might say when I suit up I am employed in the memory making business.

I heard one of our twins, Amanda, talking about how much she loves Christmas and how anxious she is for the season to come. She talked about the decorations, the family gatherings, and the music that makes it such a special time. That's exactly the way I grew up. We always were excited about Christmas. We've played a role in helping to make this memory for her along with the rest of our children and their children. Last week we had a preview Thanksgiving meal at our Wednesday evening potluck supper at the Church. My wife made a batch of our version of cornbread dressing. Nothing speaks more to me about the holiday season than the taste and smell of 'our' traditional meals. Granny Mac would have been proud. My mom would be proud. It was, as they say, just about right. Some folks were still talking about it this past Sunday. Many prepare stuffing made out of dried bread, therefore, their tradition is different. They look forward to it like we do to ours. These wonderful traditions help us to reflect upon the memories God has allowed us to collect. Eating that cornbread dressing brought forth the image of my Granny as she stood over that hot stove. It reminded me of the spread my mom always laid out for us kids. As Bob Hope used as his signature, I also say...."Thanks for the memories....." And, of course, a yum yum or two for added measure!

The past Sunday was celebrated as Veteran's Day. The photo was put up on Facebook by my nephew Todd. The first fellow is my dad. I carry his name as a junior. He falsified his age and entered the Army at age 16. He served overseas in WW2. My mom has shared a few of his stories but I've always wanted to visit with him. That wasn't possible since he left us from a sudden illness at age 31, but, based on his testimony and mine, I will catch up with him on the other side. I know I am who I am today because of what he handed down to me. The next photo is of my brother Donald, a United States Marine. Retired, but still a Marine. He was privileged to serve a number of years as a drill instructor. He also saw action in Vietnam. Donald went to his reward in June of 2011. The last photo is of my stepdad for these past 35 plus years. He has been a most wonderful hero to us all. Retired from the US Army serving in the Military Police, dad saw service in Korea and Vietnam. We thank God that we still have dad to influence and impact our lives. We have a number of others in our family who have also worn the uniform of our country. We thank God for them all. I close with a prayer I copied from a Veteran's Prayer website: "O Lord, today I thank You for our veterans, for their willingness to risk all so that our nation might dwell in peace and safety. May they find the honor and recognition they truly deserve. I pray that You will heal the physical, spiritual, and psychological wounds some of these veterans have suffered. Bring a lasting peace to those who mourn the loss of comrades. Help them to find Your love and mercy, so that they may cope with the actions they may have had to take while they served our country." Until we meet next time, may God bless each one and may God bless all those who have served to protect and defend our freedoms. Amen.     .....More later.

Monday, November 12, 2012

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” Mark Twain

Hello friends, neighbors, and any who may have fallen on your keyboard and somehow hit a bunch of keys causing you to land on today's episode. It's Monday, November 12, 2012, and I bring greetings to one and all. We live in a world where the trillion dollar number is bantered about like it really isn't that big of a deal. Here a trillion, there a trillion, and pretty soon we begin to lose contact with just how big that number is. One scientist calculated an example this way: If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion! Maybe that's why the folks in Washington are taking so long to deal with the budgetary issues that plague our nation. We also are constantly being told that we have an obesity problem here in our country. It's little wonder when you think about how that licking one postage stamp takes 1/3 of a calorie. Obviously, there's not that many of us licking postage stamps anymore. And, just in case you are interested in having your plate and eating it too, there is a company in Taiwan that makes edible plates out of wheat. Are you tired yet? Me too.

The other day I was tooling on down one of those Texas Farm-to-Market roads. I was behind an older fellow and it was pretty clear that he was more suited for farm than market. The speed limit was 55 MPH but he was talking on his cell phone, waving his free hand, and weaving here and there as he punctuated his conversation. All of that at about 40 MPH and oblivious to the world. It was, after all, from his way of looking at it, his road. He finally did one of those slow slanted left turns. You know the kind that take at least 40 seconds to complete. He was at the feed store. I enjoy going down roadways like that one. The fields are vast. I did see a number of trailers loaded down with round bales of hay. A. J. Foyt, the famous race car driver, has a huge spread out that way. People like that farmer fellow are not so much impressed with folks like me who just rolled off the interstate where everyone was doing 75-80. Not impressed at all. It shows. There were no places to pass so I didn't have much choice but to be the first in line of the convoy he had gathered behind him. Forced me to slow down a little myself. I paid a little more attention to those fields, some cattle grazing, and those big tractors being serviced for their next duty cycle. I suppose oblivious is not such a bad way to make your way on down the road of life.

I know many folks who are still licking their wounds from this most recent electoral defeat. One of the things we do not want to do is to overestimate this loss. The map represents the votes cast in last week's election. The Red reflects Republicans, conservatives, and those independents who added their voices and their votes for a change in Washington. The Blue reflects areas won by the Democrats. The Blue won with an estimated 68 million, while the Red put forth an estimated 65 million. Therefore, I say look at that map and think. Don't let anyone tell you that this amount of Red doesn't matter. The mainstream media has pronounced conservatism as being out of touch with America's vision on social issues and essentially it is now a thing of the past. Some have even said it is dead. Not everything done under the name of the Republican Party is right, but, for those issues that are grounded in the truth based on what we know God's word to teach, well, folks, we need to continue to persevere, regardless of election outcomes. Why? Because we do not answer to the New York Times, the so called media elites, network television, or others who seek to impose their version of morality. Instead, we answer to the Creator Himself as to our conduct in the life He has provided to us. That's why! Will we become an ever shrinking minority as we do continue to stand? We most likely will, but, what's that got to do with thus says the Word of the Lord? I've said all of that to say this: Don't be discouraged because I have some really great news. I read the back of the Book and we, along with all of God's people, we win! Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, November 9, 2012

If I had only known I was going to be at this for this long, I might have tried to be a little less wordy. .........Not really!

It's Friday, November 9, 2012, and today marks the 1400th time I have delivered my blog thrown up on the doorstep of your internet mailbox. That represents six years of our daily get togethers. The other day I was visiting by phone with my step brother Victor to inquire about his son who lives up in New Jersey where Hurricane Sandy hit. It was good to hear that his son is dealing with some inconvenience but is pretty much making it okay. Just as we finished talking, Victor mentioned that he starts each day by reading my blog. I appreciated him telling me that and I do get comments along and along from others. Most are very uplifting and reflect how they were encouraged. Some challenge my way of looking at things on a particular issue or subject. That's a good thing. I read a comment on Facebook the other day from a fellow telling his friends not to be so uptight about the election. He told them that regardless of how they vote, regardless of how passionate they are about their convictions, he would still be their friend when it is all said and done. I feel the same way. I respect people who have different opinions than mine. Hopefully, they will do the same for me. And, to be honest, while you may have trouble getting hold of this, I've actually been wrong before. If I do have to edit any of this, I might take out that last sentence. Just kidding. Now it's on to 1401!

We all know that we live in a crazy world when it comes to folks pursuing lawsuits. An Ontario woman recently won $300,000 from her employer. She had filed the suit saying that while at an office party she got drunk and the employer allowed her to drive home. The Company proved they had offered cabs to everyone but she had refused. On her way home she had an accident and ended up suing for damages. Organizers of an Olympics event were ordered to pay damages to a man who missed the event due to heavy traffic. In Japan, a court has ordered the organizers of the Nagano Winter Olympics to pay damages for mental anguish to a spectator who missed an event because of heavy traffic. A German bank robber was arrested recently after a teller realized the robber was hard of hearing and tripped an alarm. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the robber is now suing the bank for exploiting his disability. A woman in Israel is suing a TV station and its weatherman for $1,000 after he predicted a sunny day and it rained. The woman claims the forecast caused her to leave home lightly dressed. As a result, she caught the flu, missed 4 days of work, spent $38 on medication and suffered stress. A surfer recently sued another surfer for "taking his wave." The case was ultimately dismissed because they were unable to put a price on "pain and suffering" endured by watching someone ride the wave that was "intended for you."

This concludes another week where I've done my best to avoid stealing anyone's wave but that doesn't mean I haven't made a few as I have thrashed around. It was a tough week for those who had hoped for a different outcome in the election. Many pundits are calling for those who espouse conservative principles to throw in the towel, give up the fight, and join the majority. I would only point out that in terms of both total votes and geography, value voters make up nearly half of the votes cast last Tuesday and we still constitute a huge force for good in our country. In fact, based on what I have read, the election was pretty much determined by the  millions who showed up in 2008 but didn't vote this year. This means that the folks who stayed home played a major role in how things turned out. But, we live, and I started to say, we learn, but that my friend is yet to be seen. I've heard all my life how those who don't vote give up their right to complain. Think about it. Complaining is as American as the fortune cookie. That's right. Invented in America, in California in the mid 1800's. Okay. That should about do it. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and, in the meantime I'll try to figure out something for a Monday morning diversion. May God bless. Amen.            ......More later.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wow! That hindsight stuff does clear things up. Right?

Hello folks and welcome to Thursday, November 8, 2012. What do you search for on the internet in your spare moments? I typically check on things like any special prices for Community Coffee. I just like to keep up with the market, if you know what I mean. The other day I was checking for any potential local discounts. I put in my zipcode alongside "Community Coffee." Believe it or not Google thought I was looking for a local coffee joint in the community. Who ever heard tell? It even called out a nearby Starbucks. Imagine that! Sorry. I forgot that Starbucks coffee is the colored water of choice for a whole bunch of folks. Settle down. I am only joking. It could be worse, you know. I didn't read the story but saw a news headline that read: "Man makes death-bed confession to murder, then gets better." As Astro the Jetson dog used to say, "Ruh Ro." You always thought it originated with Scooby Doo. Right? You and a lot of other folks as well. And who said you can't teach an old blog reader a new trick or two? Sorry. I suppose I had the old dog thing in mind, but you get the idea.

A little Monday morning quarterbacking seems in order. I don't know how much you pay attention to what I have to say but you might recall that I mentioned early on in the election cycle about the difference between being for someone versus being against someone else. That negative anti-incumbent feeling of discontent is powerful, but I contended before, and still believe today, that, obviously, it is not enough. You need someone you can be 'all in' for. It is my opinion that this is the hurdle that Governor Romney never was able to get over. Ronald Reagan appealed to ordinary hard working people, regardless of their party affiliation. Therefore, he received a sizeable number of votes from folks who crossed over. George W. Bush had appeal within the Hispanic community and many of them went against their normal voting pattern and cast their vote for him. We come out of this year's election with another promise of gridlock, infighting, and typically very little done that contributes to the common good. The President will no doubt do all within his considerable powers to establish his legacy. He has shown a propensity to act unilaterly without congressional approval. You can look for an increase in the issurance of presidential executive orders to work his will. Meanwhile, I need to do what I can do. That has more to do with how I think and live than all the stuff I talk about. People of faith need to mirror their beliefs in word and deed if we are to influence and impact our nation. There you have it: Random thoughts from my very own gridlocked and confused gray cell factory. You can take these thoughts and add $4 and get yourself a cup of that colored water down at the coffee joint, you know, located in the community.

Since I am out and about quite often in the mess called mass transit in and around the huge metroplex, I can honestly see the roots of road rage being planted all around. The traffic is all jammed up. Most people who need to get into a particular lane to turn do so and then they patiently wait their turn. Most people. Some do not follow this rule of courtesy. They run up to the front of the lane and then proceed to force, literally, they force their way into the turning lane. They do so with gusto. Often they are driving expensive cars which I suppose means they are important and entitled. Or, they are in one of those jacked up trucks that look like they should be at the smash up derby instead of being out on the roadway. Those are the road rage seed planters. People who abide by the rules do their best to overlook these pompous acts of classless behavior. However, it is not easy. And, at times the pot boils over. Folks roll down their windows. They make gestures with their hands. If they are a NASCAR fan that might even give their version of the bump and run. Many respond by tightening up the line. They unite in their defense, bumper to bumper, daring the would be but-in-sky to just try it. See what I mean? You don't even have to go to Road Rage School. It's being taught every single day in real time. Aren't you glad that I'm around to pass on these stimulating observations? So long for now and may God help us all to treat others as we want to be treated. Amen.         .....More later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's one thing to read about the sovereinty of God, it's another thing entirely to live each day based on it being true.

Okay already. It's over. The people have spoken. The system worked. Because of the closeness of the vote, one leading newspaper had this headline: The Divided States of America. President Obama has won reelection, the House stays under the control of the Republicans. The Senate remains under the control of the Democrats. Status quo preserved. Three billion dollars later and the more things change the more they stay the same. It is Wednesday, November 7, 2012, and I bid you welcome. The build up to the election over the past couple of months has been very noisy. I'm not talking about the candidates. I'm talking about people on Facebook, those sharing emails, and the conversations I've heard. There have been many angry voices, on both sides. The way some folks described what they believe would happen if the election didn't go their way was eerily peppered with prophetic themes of gloom, doom, and despair. Many of their proclamations were expressed in a apocalyptic context. The hand wringing theme really concerned me. Not because they are not entitled to their opinions but as I heard all of this I was reminded of one of my favorite Psalms, the 146th:

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!2 While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!
It's okay to be committed to what one believes to be the best course of action. It's okay to aggressively promote it if one feels led to do so. However, those of us who are born again children of the living God must always have His living Presence and His revealed truth as our basis for life and as the reason for our hope for the future. Many misunderstand this to be fatalistic. You know. Whatever will be will be. Not even close. It is faith-a-listic. A made up word but one that says we believe in God and we believe in what He has said. The person occupying the Oval Office does not change one iota of God's Person or His truth. That person acclaimed as the most powerful in the world is just that, a person, along with every other human being who has ever breathed air on the planet as a part of God's created world. And because of that, regardless of voting outcomes or other human machinations, all humanity will experience God's ultimate plan and purpose accomplished. Period. End of story. Amen.
I remind us of this because as the title of today's episode implies, it's easy to talk about God's control over all things being the reality of those who know the Lord, but, it is much tougher to actually make our day by day decisions based on thus says the Word of the Lord. Benjamin Franklin had this to say: "I have lived a long time, sir, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men." The great theologian Arthur W. Pink explained it this way: "A consciousness of our powerlessness should cast us upon Him who has all power. Here then is where a vision and view of God's sovereignty helps, for it reveals His sufficiency and shows us our insufficiency." This is the truth folks. I may not always live based on it but I do thank God that my wavering does not change Him or His truth. I commend us all to keep this in mind as we attempt to make our way forward. He obviously wanted us to know these things that we might have assurance during the stormy times that come in this life. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.       .....More later.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life can sometimes be like showing up at the grocery store only to find out that all your coupons have expired.

Hello and welcome. It is Tuesday, November 6, 2012. According to one source, Republicans have won every Presidential election since 1860 when the date falls on the 6th of November. I didn't check it out but you can if you like. Just offering up a little red state excitement for all you fans out there. Have you ever felt like you are stuck in the fast lane of life but going way too slow with your blinker still on? Me neither. But, the question came to mind and I thought I would ask. Today's world does require multi-tasking where we are trying to juggle as many different activities in the air, all at the same time. It was when I was on the phone, answering emails, looking up information, and doing other duties as assigned, all at the same time, well, that's when I discovered that little problem with the missing coffee cup up under the one cup coffee maker. That clean up on Aisle One will get you every time. It not only gets your attention along with using up a half roll of paper towels but it reminds us all that sometimes we need to just slow down a little and maybe try to operate in a slightly less hectic environment. In my case, it is pretty much self inflicted. Pretty much. I do have to give credit where credit is due because I do have those who do their best to make their very own special contributions to my frenetic and ongoing discombobulation.

I've said all of that to say this. I'm doing pretty good. How about you? The Friday before my vacation I did take a little tumble. I had been up at the main office working on a project. On my way back to my office I stepped down and my ankle went one way and I went the other. The other turned out to be a free fall, but, thankfully I caught myself. I actually caught myself using one knee, one elbow, and the two palms of my hands. Only one person saw me all sprawled out on the asphalt. He was a customer here on a project. He ran out to where I was doing my best to make sure he knew there was nothing to see. I've known this fellow for several years and he showed great and genuine concern. I assured him I was fine. I made a joke about old people and although I really wanted to throw up, I acted as if everything was okay. That ankle has been doing that to me from since I was in my teens. It does choose some odd times to go all wacko on me. I was sure glad no one else saw. Saturday afternoon I received a call from my good friend, brother in Christ, and owner of the company. He wanted to know if I was okay because he had heard I had fallen. I told him I was fine and asked how he found out. Our shop foreman had told him. News travels fast but I am thankful that I wasn't really hurt much at all and also grateful for those who care. That little fall reminded me that you just never know when you might find yourself in a position where you have to look up. It's good to know that when you do, God is there. Amen.

Now don't go getting any ideas that my age played into that scenario. It sure didn't a long time ago when the same thing happened while I was walking in the downtown business district. Myself and an associate were on our way to a meeting when I stepped onto an uneven spot on the sidewalk. I went down like a ton of bricks, my business suit was soiled, and my briefcase and papers were strewn everywhere. He kept walking. When he finally came back I couldn't talk because I hadn't caught my breath yet. He leaned over and more or less inquired as to what exactly I was doing. After a few minutes and he saw I was okay he just started laughing. He laughed and laughed. It must have been a real sight for sore eyes. Or maybe for a sore ankle and an even more bruised ego. I suppose I have been blessed that the ankle has only gotten itself all bent out of joint every 5 years or so, or, I might just be starring on one of those viral videos on You Tube. I guess in my case it would be: Fall and the whole world laughs with you, or maybe better put, at you. That is, of course, after they know I am okay. They would want to know that before they laughed, wouldn't they? That was way too long of a pause. I close by saying that whether you are UP or DOWN, if you know the Lord, He's there to watch over you. Have a great day and may God bless. Amen.          .....More later.