Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Go, send, or disobey." John Piper

I greet you this day and welcome you once again to that place where you get to share in the things that are on my front burner, so to speak. It is Thursday, February 28, 2013, last day of the month, and a good day to feel the blessings that God has allowed us to enjoy. One of the joys of being a part of a local fellowship of believers for a long period of time is how that you become attached to those who are your brothers and sisters in Christ. The other day I read a letter from a young woman who grew up in our Church. She learned the verses. She participated in all the youth activities. Megan was one of those kids that stood out because of her love for the Lord and her heart towards others. Her mom and dad have been long term bosom friends to Marilyn and I. Megan went off to college at Baylor. Got her basic education and then an advanced degree in speech pathology. Along the way she met and married a fellow named Brian. Through a series of trips, events, and circumstances they both felt called to reaching the Muslim people with the message of the Gospel. They have a beautiful baby girl. They will be serving in Lebanon in the Middle East. They are currently studying the Arabic language so they can communicate one on one with those they desire to reach. Our Megan. That's right. We are not her parents but we feel that sense of blessing swelling up in our hearts as we see what God is doing in this young couple's life. You can join in by saying a prayer for the Pankratz family, Megan, Brian, and their baby, Kate.

Many of you are aware that I do read quite a few obituaries on a daily basis. One thing I find that is challenging are the great testimonies that so many common ordinary people leave behind. You read those that go on and on about the selfless acts and it makes your heart glad for their life and their contributions, but also makes me feel so very small. It causes me to be reminded that we are to, as the old song says, brighten the corner where we happen to be. But, it does challenge us all to pay attention to what it is that we are investing our time, talent, and treasures in. The other thing that strikes me as being particularly sad is the loss of so many super talented young people who are called home so very early in their sojourn. I read about a 28 year old fellow who literally had written the book on winning every athletic and scholastic award throughout his lifetime, from kindergarten forward. He graduated college and graduate school with all honors and was brought into a special executive development program by a major oil concern. At 28, he was named manager of an elite team devoted to planning and development. Yet, he left this life the other day in a freakish accident as he died in his sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning from a car left running underneath his townhouse. Very sad. We just never know folks. We just never know.

Because of an automatic cut in spending, the end of life as we know it may be coming to pass tomorrow due to something going on in Washington, D.C., known as the Sequester. This will happen because our government operates without a budget, without a vision, without leadership, and certainly without cooperation among the the fighting factions. Fact: The actual cuts in fiscal year 2013 are only $44 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The rest don’t even take place until 2014 or later. Whether you use $44 billion or $85 billion we’re talking about 1 or 2 percent of total government spending. It's terrible. It's calamitous. We're talking Godzilla kinds of destruction. That's how the President is describing this coming event and he's been traveling the country selling his version of 'I can scare folks better than anyone else.' Sorry, folks, but that isn't leadership. It's called the Executive Branch for a reason. Let's look at it a little closer. We have untold billions already scheduled and appropriated to be spent, (Monies that we really don't have, but that's another matter.), and this great storm will take 85 billion away, over time. I ask you a question. Given this economic environment, have you over the last few years had to adjust your spending any at all? I agree it's a woefully poor way to operate the greatest nation on the face of the earth, on the part of the Executive and the Legislative branches, however, I believe our President could better spend his time staying in Washington and doing what true leaders do, they lead, and when there tends to be no way, leaders find a way to work this out for the good of our nation. Sadly, I don't see that happening and I also do not believe the world will come to an end when these automatic cuts kick in. But, that's just my take. See you next time and may God bless the United States of America. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Son!
Hello. Welcome to Wednesday, February 27, 2013. When your baby celebrates his 42nd birthday, well, it speaks volumes about his sojourn, and ours as well. Today is our Rodney Darrell's birthday and we thank God for him. He more or less came forth as the song and dance fellow in our family and has gained many loyal friends during his time here on the planet. We recognize his demonstrated priority and commitment to his family. I've lived long enough to see things my boys have done much better than I did and I am so thankful to God they learned, perhaps, even from my not so good of an example. I count that as a blessing. We were able to enjoy a wonderful birthday dinner with Rodney, Mitzi, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady last Sunday evening. God has been good to Rodney and he would be the first to say it is only by the grace of God. That's what the grace of God is all about. In his life, in my life, and in your life. Thanks Rodney for being a good dad and leader in your home. May God continue to bless you and your sweet family. Amen. Love, mom and dad.

Back to another session of Yogi's, "You can observe a lot just by watching." The other day I was in a rain storm on the highway. People were not sure what to do. Pull off or stay on. The windshield wipers seemed useless. It was that bad. I decided to stay on and drive real slow and do my best to stay up on the wheel because it was about as treacherous as it comes. Sitting next to me in a BMW was a well dressed fellow making his way down the highway. What was his solution? Texting! Go figure. This next one was bound to happen. I heard a report where a lady in Russia was using Google to find a restaurant. She found the eatery and clicked on the street view image. Hello. She recognized at least one of the people coming out of the restaurant. It was the man she was engaged to be married to. He was all hugged up with another woman. She also knew exactly when that photo was taken because he was wearing a cast on his hand. I suppose that's what you call a random gotcha because that's how those photos are captured. On a random basis. I hope he enjoyed his meal that day because according to the report he had much splainin to do. I suppose he could have asked her to join him in singing "It's a small world, after all."

Okay. Get ready. Here it comes: I have been dragging a little of late. My wife believes me to have been full blown sick. No, she wasn't referring to my mental status. I suppose it's hard for me to agree that I am feeling puny because to admit it is like losing half the battle. But I am aware that confession is good for making sure that everyone is aware that I am both fully human and not invincible. You knew that already? At any rate, I want everyone to know that when I feel ready to make that announcement I will let you know. For right now I continue to function under the guise of reasonable deniability. I think that's a little bit of how my grandfather used to operate. You know. Don't let little things like body shaking chills and barely noticeable low grade temperatures cause you to overreact. I can announce that even as I write today's episode that I feel very much better than I did when I felt much worse before. And, if it were to become necessary, I do know how to make an appointment, because I am a card carrying member of the Medicare patrol. I might have a different take on that dreaded country song. You know the one. My version: Achy Breaky Body. But, Lord willing, I will soon identify with that wonderful statement from the Scriptures, repeated many times, "And, it came to pass...." Anytime now would be okay with me. Mostly joking. Joking mostly. I'll spare you the top ten list of how I know I am better and skip to the number one reason. Survey says: Community! During this brief not up to par feeling I had to cut back some on my intake but now I am back in the saddle again! Y'all take care now, you hear, and may God add His blessings to your day. Amen.   More later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"If enough people openly engage in conduct once considered reprehensible, we rewrite the rule book and assume that God, as a good democrat, will go along." James L. Buckley

It's Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Let me make it clear that I know how it feels. We do have to come to grips with the reality of the situation. I can't say that I feel that bad about it, but not being one of those included in the most sought after groups, well, it is what it is. We didn't watch even a snippet from the academy awards show. We didn't watch any of the movies that were nominated. Wait a minute. While we were on that short hiatus, we did go and see that 3-D picture, "The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey", and I just saw on an internet news site that it was nominated for two or three awards but didn't win. Maybe we are a little bit a part of that most sought after group. I am not in the least excited but I can't deny that we did see that movie. What really gets me is what I have read and heard about the fact based movies that tell a story but they do not get all the facts correctly represented. The movie about Lincoln had some issues. Some of the coarse language used was not known to be in use at that time. They got the state wrong that was holding out on a vote for the Emancipation Proclamation. The state they called out wholeheartedly supported the act. The movie Argo was about the rescue of 6 US diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. They knew all the facts from those who were directly involved but rewrote the ending to make it more exciting. When questioned about these misrepresentations of the known record, the directors for both of these films said they were not historians but rather they were storytellers, and the public should be aware that even with these minor issues, these films basically represent the truth. Some historians are alarmed by what could become a new standard for establishing factual representation of the events being portrayed. They said they are story tellers but both recommended their films to be shown in schools to help kids learn about these subjects. In fact, the producers of the movie about Lincoln are making free dvds available to schools. See what I mean?

I know that sounds picky but we all should be very concerned when facts are distorted, no matter who does it. I say that because it has been done by all sides for their own purposes. It's as old as human fallen nature and I find it interesting that John Adams when commenting on how some of his fellow compatriots had been portrayed, had this to say: “And then Franklin smote the ground and up rose George Washington, fully dressed and astride a horse! Then the three of them, Franklin, Washington and the HORSE, proceeded to win the entire revolution single handley!” It is true that historical figures can be made into heroic characters that go beyond the record. However, it is just as wrong to denigrate the integrity and contributions made by any historical person for the purpose of gaining an advantage, dragging them down, or in telling a story. I've always said that we should be mature enough for the facts. Of course that would involve an agreement on what constitutes the facts, and, that's where we see different strokes for different folks. I've seen President George Washington portrayed as a great man who at great personal sacrifice helped to establish our Republic. I've also seen George Washington portrayed as a ego driven opportunist who loved the praise of others. Everyone has flaws but from much of what I have read, he was much more of the first comment than the second. But, you might well disagree and as Reagan used to say....."There you go again."

I know that many of you are not that interested in these types of articles. I believe this subject of how history is recorded and reported is critical to what our children learn about our nation and the people who helped to found and lead her. Obviously, Mr. Adams, who became one of our great presidents, thought the adulation directed towards Benjamin Franklin and George Washington was somewhat overdone. I love quotes like that because it gives us a little insight into how we came to be who we are. Regarding all this historical revisionism, I do have some good news. We can trust the accuracy and efficacy of God's History, His Story, that is, the story of every human person who has ever lived needing to be made right with God, and how that He provided a means for that to be possible, through the death, burial, and resurrection of His One and only Son, our Savior, the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ! Believe in Him and you will be saved, and we have God's word on it! From Genesis to The Revelation of Jesus Christ, we do have the source of truth that we can have full confidence in. And, I say Amen to that and wish you a wonderful Tuesday.    ....More later.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hobbs: "I'll be jiggered." Lord Fauntleroy: "I'm jiggered too, Mr. Hobbs." (The 1936 Movie: Little Lord Fauntleroy)

I'm not sure I hit the ground running yet but I am doing my best to unclog the access lanes to those pesky gray cells. That's keeping me busy, but how in the world are you and what exactly are you up to on this back to work Monday, February 25, 2013? I know. When asked what you are up to is where you say your weight and everyone is supposed to laugh. But, it is a little early for that retread. Seven hundred billion and growing every day. That's how much unclaimed monies there is floating around here and there in institutions all over the world. That's right. $700 billion with a B, moving towards that trillion dollar mark. While there's no way to be 100% absolutely sure, I'm almost certain that none of it has my name on it. To the best of my knowledge I am not anyone's long lost relative entitled to some huge monetary inheritance. I did enjoy that story about little Lord Fauntleroy that was made into a movie in 1936. A little boy from America discovers that he is the long-lost heir to a British fortune. It was tough on the young lad Cedric to leave his home and his humble friends. One of his favorites was Mr. Hobbs a shop keeper who had been like a grandfather to him. He brought Mr. Hobbs a gift when he came to say goodbye. It was a a watch and chain that bore an inscription inside, ..."When this you see, remember me." I used that same inscription on the flyleaf to a new translation of the Bible that I mailed to a dear friend and business associate a long time ago. I couldn't find the inscription so I had to watch the movie on VHS to make sure I had it right. Not easy. I told you. Being me, that is.

For those who can't get enough gloom, doom, and despair, I found a website that lists sad days from history. This gives all the sad stuff that happened on a particular day. Sounds encouraging. Right? It has all the plane crashes, mass killings, devastating storms, along with widespread deaths from disease and other woeful tidbits to help get one ready for the day. I'm not going to share the website because those who are so inclined can Google it up for themselves. One thing is clear, and we don't have to go to a website to find this out. Jeremiah summed it up very well: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, American Standard Bible) Much of the sad days listed were brought on by the actions of people against people. Sounds pretty hopeless. Right? Jeremiah went on to point his readers to the Lord. And, that's the only source that he knew of that could help and He remains the only One who can help our deceitful hearts today. There is a positive outcome that can be experienced when we seek Him to help us with this need. Amen.

I read one fellow's assessment of his own writing: Flailing all over the page. I can so identify with his sentiment. In fact, I might just give him a run for his money when it comes to my daily episodes where I swing wildly (flailing) from one thing to another typically in a pronounced but discombobulated way (all over the page). I can't claim originality because there are huge numbers of blogs that promise to provide unconnected thoughts as their basis for being. I may have a leg up, so to speak on them, since they could actually be planning theirs to be that way. I just do it and the unconnected flavor has to fend for itself. I see my approach much like that spinning wheel from the old TV program, Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948-1970). The main sponsor for years was Geritol, a product that was supposed to cure 'tired blood'. I could use a shot of that stuff from time to time. Ted used to spin that wheel and announce to the world: "Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows." So that's how it happens. Yep. You land on my page and end up with comments about Little Lord Fauntleroy, Sad Days, and Spinning Wheels. But, unless you missed the substance part, I refer you to my comments about the Lord in paragraph two. I can always count on Him, and you can too. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it." Golda Meir

Hello Friday, you are a welcome sight for sore eyes, and weary bones as well. I have been burning the hours up this week, therefore, on this February 22, 2013, I'm more than just a little more than usual looking forward to the weekend. Maybe I will sleep in. (Activate the laugh track here.) No. Really. I could try. My wife thinks I have slept in if I stay in the bed until 6 a.m. on Saturday. It's that internal clock deal. It doesn't really know how to distinguish what day of the week it is. I typically adjust it or fool it by how late I go to bed. If I am in bed before 10 p.m. I will typically be awake and ready to go by 3:30 a.m. On some Friday nights I stay up later and the clock becomes a little bit confused about when to sound the internal alarm. Some folks express genuine concern about me not getting enough sleep. My wife typically tells them that you have to include my snooze time in the recliner. That's my warm up to get ready for my regular sleep cycle. You know. Like those football players stretching before the big game. The other night I was watching a super modified car race on the Speed Channel. I saw them start the race and I saw them finish the race but what happened in-between the green flag and the checkers, well, I must have been really warming up because I couldn't tell you. I understand it was an exciting race. That's good to know. Right?

I think we older folks tend to idolize the good old days as we shape them in a way that seems to make them better than anything we've experienced in the present. Those who study the brain say that waxing nostalgic does trigger what they call feel good neurochemicals. I'll take a bottle of that if you have one lying around. The old days for many of us were simpler, and definitely more innocent. It is true that the major behavior issues when I was in school had to do with talking in class, chewing gum, and running in the halls. I think most of today's school principals would take those problems in a heartbeat. However, we also have experienced some wonderful advancements that may, in fact, be the very reason some of us are still hanging around to be wishing for the good old days. Life saving surgeries, drug therapies, and other technologies that have contributed to our well being. The other thing we all have to realize is that we can only deal with the present. It's called reality for a reason. No amount of day dreaming about days gone by will change our need to embrace and deal with today's agenda. And, I'll be glad to have the air conditioning and indoor plumbing as an added plus as I do a little of both. You know. Make short visits to The-Way-We-Were, but, also try to practice the Brighten-the-Corner-Where-You-Are approach each day.

It does help to have a plan in what you are trying to accomplish. Here's an old joke that illustrates this point: "A scientist and a philosopher were being chased by a hungry lion. The scientist made some quick calculations, he said, "It's no good trying to outrun it, its catching up." The philosopher kept a little ahead and replied, "I am not trying to outrun the lion, I am only trying to outrun you!" At least he knew what he wanted to do. That brings me to the end of another week of sharing this, that, and the other. I remind you that when I mention things we all need to consider, that I typically am first in line. Many times the entire thought is likely directed towards yours truly. That's not just some humble sounding words. That's a fact, Jack, and you can quote me on it. I do hope you will have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I plan to show up at the meeting place where our local fellowship of believers meet. We show up to express our worship of our great God but we also show up to encourage, build up, and show true love, one for another. Try that one on for size. It will do a body good. May God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandchildren: The only people who can get more out of you than the IRS! (copied)

Birthday Girl!
Today is Thursday, February 21, 2013 and we are pausing to recognize and celebrate the birthday of our granddaughter, Brittany, who is 22 years young as of today. Brittany came on the scene the day that a tsunami occurred in the Bering Sea brought on by a 6.8 earthquake. There's no relationship because our Brittany has always been a sweet and calming spirit. On her tenth birthday in 2001, Walmart announced it had surpassed General Motors in sales. Now that's a store Brittany is very familiar with. Ten more years passed and on her 20th birthday a fellow on Facebook posted this jewel: "In Texas, we have the death penalty & we use it. If you come to Texas & kill somebody, we will kill you back." Many folks liked that comment and that tells us that the more things change, it is the more they stay the same. But in the midst of all of these events and many more, lives are shaped and we are so thankful that God has given to our Brittany a loving spirit and a caring heart. She continues her college studies and working as well. She dearly loves spending time with her MiMi and she also does a pretty good job of tolerating her Poppy. Happy birthday to our Brittany and may God continue to lead, guide, and direct your steps. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

I often remind us that English is a challenging language. Here's a little ditty I found that pretty much confirms this: "There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple... English muffins were not invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted.  But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham?  If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?  One goose, two geese. So, one moose, two meese?  One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?  If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital? Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?  Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?"

Now you know why I struggle at times in getting words in the right place at the right time to convey an understandable message. I support the immigration requirement that says in order to be a citizen of our nation one must learn to speak English. I suppose we all have to be glad they don't require that us natural born folks do the same, at least in the way that English is supposed to be spoken. I remember some years ago working with a fellow who escaped Vietnam just before it fell to the Communist North. He and his family eventually began the process to become United States citizens. He and his wife were not young and the history and civics they were required to know was very challenging. Knowing the US Constitution and the Amendments well enough to be tested on them is not an easy assignment. I worked with him some in helping him to study and it struck me that most of us who are citizens most likely would have trouble with the test. While we did study these things in school, I don't know too many who would be familiar with the details today. Except for those lawyers on late night television commercials who are ready to sue at the drop of a hat. But, that's another story for another day. Now it's time for me to wind up my long winded essay for today and to say farewell until we meet again. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair." ~ Sam Ewing

Yes, this must be the place, and we find ourselves here on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. As I travel here and there I suppose I am more and more drawn to observing the behavior of those who wear the white hair as a badge of their perseverance. I have seen this more than once but it doesn't get better with age. The other evening I noticed a couple advanced in years attempting to join the freeway in their not so new RV, pulling a car behind it. Not pretty. In fact, it was downright scary. For them. And, for anybody else around them. Their little heads were bobbing like a cork in the fish pond. Why they would ever try to do this during rush hour is a mystery to me. They obviously are not accustomed to the road rage world we live in. My heart always goes out to folks like them and while they did finally get onto the roadway it was not without a lot of accompaniment, .....horns, screeching brakes, and some very animated hand signals thrown in for good measure. Not a pretty sight. Coming down a country road I also met a fellow on what looked like his brand new three wheel, trike motorcycle. Those bikes start around $30,000. He was at least seventy five and had his black leather boots, pants, jacket, and a shiny black helmet to match. They all looked brand new and he looked really cool, except for one thing. I would highly suggest that he not travel with his mouth open. That's not only a bad look for him but he could be catching more than he bargained for. I'm not making fun of these folks because I am fast becoming my own example, and perhaps that's why I find us so amusing.

I think most of us know it's not how many years we get but what we do with them that really counts. Charles Dickens, one of the greatest writers in history, lived for only 58 years but he had this to say about growing older: "Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life." (Wow! That's what I call beautiful prose folks, beautiful indeed!) Brother Milton and I were talking about things and people that have influenced our lives. I mentioned my Grandfather McMillan. Milton remembered him, not from knowing him personally, but from his reputation and the many times we have talked. My Paw Paw, as we called him, lived out every day who he was. No ifs ands or buts about it, he was a simple man, he wore his faith in God on his sleeve, and he was one, who, in his on way, enjoyed his sojourn here. His example is one that I think of often and I know that I have a ways to go to emulate his testimony, but, I'm still in there trying, and, after all is said and done, regardless of our age, we all need to be trying, every single day. Amen.

Last Sunday morning our Pastor brought a sermon on the return of our Lord and Savior. His emphasis was on what that should mean to those of us who are saved and awaiting His return. It was a sobering reminder that how we live and what we do matters. It makes a difference in our own life and it impacts others also. I think about the lasting testimony of so many in my life that did leave something behind. They left their example and I'm still thanking God for them and their influence on my life all these years after they have gone on to their reward. I desire to leave something behind to be remembered by my children, grandchildren, and others as they make their way in life. That will not happen by accident. It requires me to act. That's right. I can hear my Granny Mac's voice, "Actions speak louder than words son." And they do. Mine does. Yours does. Today's episode gives us all something to think about, and in my case, much to work on. May God bless us all as we do seek to honor Him with the life He has given to us. Amen.   .....More later.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever." Thomas Aquinas

Good Tuesday morning where I bring you greetings on this 19th day of February, 2013. We had folks from our Church on that stranded cruise ship along with other friends. Since it had departed from Galveston, it was a huge news story, non stop, on all our local news feeds. I know everyone is glad that the 'lost at sea' episode is over and it appears that everyone is safe and sound. According to the medical experts, there remains warnings about potential delayed infections and illnesses. What an experience for a ship named Triumph. My take is that while this was about the worst possible slow motion public relations nightmare for the cruise line company, obviously excluding ship related sinkings and deaths, it did offer up some interesting insights into this long strung out affair. We had the cruise people giving one side of the story and we had the eye witness accounts that often tended to give a differing view. One of the things that struck me was how that so many people focused on the free stuff the passengers will be getting. Hello? I'm not sure anything could make up for the nightmare they had experienced, but even a little girl related to our Church folks who were on board was able to give me a laundry list of all the reimbursements they would be getting. It almost sounded like they had said the secret word on You Bet Your Life. My guess is that this little episode will soon be nothing more than a blip on the cruise line business, albeit, a very expensive blip, and then everyone will be back on board, so to speak. I think you understand what I'm getting at. Right?

Jimmy Jr., 16
I did a little cook out for our guests last weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary. Fired up the charcoal grill and gave it a go. I did some chicken, beef ribs, and beef sausage. I made my variation of Granny Mac's homemade barbecue sauce. It all turned out great and I was glad. You never know how those things will go, especially when you don't do it very often. The thing I enjoyed most was having my grandson there with me to help and to learn. I told him that someday his Poppy would not be around to do this anymore but it would be good if he could carry on the tradition. The way we do it is pretty much old school. It takes time and effort. Lots of tending. He quizzed me about the details and was particularly interested in why people did it differently. Of course being my primary helper entitled him to an appointment as the official taster as we progressed towards finishing. His review was important to me: "Poppy, I don't understand why anyone would do it any other way than your way." Let me just say this about that. I'll take that endorsement any day of the week. Food Network eat your heart out, or something to that effect. He also wants to learn how to make the barbecue sauce. It was time well spent, yes, time well spent.

That cartoon featuring Droopy as the hero was made in 1951 in case you are interested. You can actually watch it on YouTube if you like. I did. I read a blurb recently that said a leading geneticist believes that humanity is becoming dumber. That would explain a growing number of the absolutely stupid television programs. Here's what Dr. Allen Crabtree recently wrote: “I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues." The article went on to identify possible reasons for this decline. Fluoride in the our water. Pesticides. Processed foods with chemicals added. I have no way of knowing whether this assessment is accurate or not, however, I do know that it is like us as human beings to come up with ways that seem really super smart but they turn out to be hurtful in the long run. That part of it sounds right. How do we know this to be true? Just check out the number of lawsuit advertising ads that permeates the TV channels these days. Stuff that was highly touted to be just what was needed is now the basis of suing for millions. I did read the other day about a young lady who scored a 161 on her IQ test which makes her smarter than Einstein, and other notable brainiacs. Maybe she didn't drink the water. Who knows? Have a great Tuesday and may God bless us all. Amen. ..... More later.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it's surest support." George Washington

Hello and welcome back. It's another federal holiday here on this Monday, February 18, 2013. It's the day set aside to honor our first President, George Washington. I know. He was born on February 22 but we've now informally connected Lincoln (February 12) and Washington although the official law to change the actual designation never got out of committee, therefore, commercial interests adopted the President's Day for advertising purposes, but, the actual commemoration is still for our first President, George Washington. I think he deserves to have a day set aside as the very first and may have been arguably the best. I say that because of his attitude in setting forth precedence that reflected honor, integrity, and devotion to duty. But, it's back to work for me, and I'm glad to be right here slip sliding around on the old electronic keyboard. I'm not saying I'm playing a good tune but the sound to me is somewhat comforting since it tells me that I'm still able to arrange some depressed keys into groups that become words on the electronic page that you are reading from. Technology. You just have to love it. And, I pause to thank God for our first President who did so much as an instrument of God's Divine Providence for our nation. It is reported that King George III upon hearing that Washington had voluntarily resigned his commission as Commander of the Continental Army had this comment: "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." That was before he ever became President. By God's grace, a truly great man. Amen.

You have to love some of the people on Facebook. They put up a picture of something they have done and it might be outlandish. Then they warn anyone not to make a negative comment under the threat that they will de-friend them so fast they won't know what is happening to them. Same way with some commentaries that people feel emboldened to deliver. They get it all delivered sometimes with nonsense written all over it and then they call out anyone that might disagree with them. You know. Like, I will meet you in the alley at midnight. How silly is that? But, that's the wonderful free speech that we have which includes the right to make as big a fool of yourself as you might be inclined to do. As Uncle Si, off of Duck Dynasty says, "You can't fix stupid and that's a fact, Jack!" In the case of those threatening to de-friend people if they don't like what they are showing or saying, they typically are the ones who initiated the friend request to begin with. I have a better way to deal with it. It's called the skip system. Skip it, skip it, skip it! Do we live in a great country, or what?

What a great time of family we enjoyed with Dorothy, Milton and Glenda.There's a whole lot of history in the room when we all get together. Milton and I go back far enough that when we first met we were both wearing jeans that were 28" or 29" in the waist. That's been a while folks, a good while indeed. It was back when you turned on the radio and Ray Charles was singing that lamentable tune, "I Can't Stop Loving You." Our nation was dealing with the Cuban missile crisis and President Kennedy reaffirmed that we would put a man on the moon. Not long after these things, God placed a calling on Brother Milton's life. When Milton responded, his life changed and it was noticeable to everyone. It's been noticeable ever since. He and Glenda faithfully served in different Churches and ministries for over 40 years. Dorothy. You know Dorothy. She's my wife's twin sister born 18 months ahead. My mother-in-law and father-in-law who have gone on to their reward could with Godly pride look at their girls and see Proverbs 31 women. Dorothy has always been a servant and God gave her an instinct and special talent for music which she has faithfully used to bring honor and glory back to Him. Her late husband, Charles, and I, are a couple of the most blessed fellows to have ever breathed air on the planet. Thanks be to God for His provision including these folks who are our family. Amen.          .....More later.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space." Evan Esar

Brother Milton & Dorothy
It is Friday, February 15, 2013. We are so looking forward to having some company in for the weekend. Marilyn's sister, Dorothy, along with her brother, Milton and his wife Glenda are coming over for some fellowship and feasting. Many of you will recall how that Brother Milton, while staying in our home, went down with a catastrophic heart attack back in December of 2008. He was in the hospital and rehab in our area for months in a recovery that has been deemed miraculous by the medical professionals. He had actually been with us helping his son, Byron, to reconstruct our home after Hurricane Ike. He was in woeful shape when he left our area to return to his home in Florida in the Spring of 2009. He doesn't recollect much of anything that happened but has looked forward for a long time to coming back to see our finished place. He is a remarkable man that God has continued to strengthen. Recently, he was able to return to the pulpit and just thinking about that brings tears to my eyes. I told people when he left our home in such a pitiful state that I believed he would one day preach again. I know that was the desire of his heart. God heard and answered. It did not come quickly nor did it come easily, but, praise the Lord, our dear Brother is back exercising the call God placed on his life so many years ago.

I watched the State of the Union Address given by President Obama. While he added a few new wrinkles like an increase in the minimum wage and a whole lot of stuff about gun control, the rest of it, pretty much has been like a broken record since he was first elected. I could almost give what sounds more like a stump speech than a report on the status of our nation. My problem with his broken record repetitive themes is how that they not only sound hollow, but, sources within the government itself are beginning to debunk the outcomes that have been promised. The President claimed the new healthcare law is already bending the cost curve which means that it is saving money. The Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan budget analysis people, said just last week that people losing their current coverage is more than double, (7 million), than that which was originally projected, and the costs are not going down, they are expanding, daily. I haven't seen any savings. All we have experienced is increases and they continue. They called President Reagan the Teflon President because they said nothing bad would stick on him, but, my oh my, President Obama, in my opinion, makes Reagan look like a novice when it comes to dodging the truth or any responsibility for what exactly is going on. That's a sample of my take. That doesn't mean I will quit praying for him and his family. It does mean that we need God's help and I think most folks can say Amen to that!

It's been another interesting week here at the ole blogger ranch. I thought I would leave you with five suggestions to help us country folks to have a better standard of living. 1) Always identify the people in your yard before you shoot them. 2) Even if you are sure you are included in the will, it is still tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home. 3) A centerpiece for your table should never be something prepared by a taxidermist. 4) While cleaning of ears is recommended on a regular basis, they should be cleaned in private, using your own truck keys. 5) When at the movies, you should refrain from talking to the people on the screen, believe me, it has been proven, they cannot hear you.~ I am aware that many within my reading circle are way too refined for these suggestions but if I can help just one person, then, my work will have been worth it. Now, here's the ticket for the weekend: Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Next thing you know you will see my little ditty for Monday coming to an electronic mailbox near you. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen.      ....More later.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY: "By the way, what do you do for a living?", Response:"I'm a systems analyst myself." SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY: "Oh? What's a systems analyst do?" Response: "I analyze systems." SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY: "Makes sense."

I almost remembered a really great story to share with you today, on this Thursday, February 14, 2013. Almost. While I hate it when that happens I'm not overly concerned about it because it will come back to me and when it does I will have another opportunity to forget to remember it. What's that? I could jot it down when I think of it? Now that is a great idea. I'll think about how that might fit into my 'modus operandi' or M.O. You remember that one from the old Dragnet shows, don't you? That's where Sergeant Joe Friday and his sidekick were always trying to figure out the bad guy's mode of operation and that M.O. was the shorthand they used. I'm sure some of you have taken Tums over the years because of not having been able to figure that one out. Now you can do your version of the happy dance. Woodrow Wilson is quoted as saying, "All things come to him who waits - - provided he knows what he is waiting for." I'm not so sure he was right about that one because I often find stuff after waiting that I didn't have a clue about, except, for that really good story, but it will resurface again, typically while I am waiting, or maybe not. We'll see. Now that I've cleared that up, let's move on. You noticed I resisted using Sergeant Joe's famous, "Just the facts ma'am, just the facts." You did notice that, didn't you?

Dragnet was on for many years. Radio and then television. There's a number of websites that anyone can access free of charge and they have cataloged literally thousands of old time radio programs. There are numerous episodes of Dragnet. Just do a Google search on Old Time Radio (OTR). I invite you to try it out. There's something of interest for everyone. Go for it. There's one show that aired from 1947 through 1948, "You Are There." It reenacted recognized historical events like, 'Assassination of Lincoln', 'July 4, 1776', "Fall of Troy', and a number of others. It is portrayed from a reporter's viewpoint who is an eyewitness to what is happening. I like those. You might like the comedy stuff. Groucho Marx's 'You Bet Your Life', or one of the hundreds of episodes of 'Fibber MaGee and Molly', or the 'Red Skelton Show'. That will bring back memories to many of my readers because they heard some of them when they actually aired. For others, it might just be a great way of getting in touch with the entertainment that was available for their parents or more likely their grandparents. One constant: The Commericals! Did you know that some of the cigarettes made back then could actually soothe your sore throat? Many of them are classics. There are also several that feature the Big Band music from that era by the likes of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, just to name a few. Good stuff!

My Valentine!
Today is the day set aside to express love. Marilyn and I have been exchanging Valentine greetings for over 50 years. Back in the day I used to purchase cards and candy. For the past 25 plus years I've made the cards myself. She still has many of them stuck here and there. They are predicting that nearly 19 billion dollars will be contributed to the economy this year because of this set aside special day. That's a lot of moola where I come from. Too bad that in our culture true love is not as obvious as the spending.The Bible has much to say about how to define love. We tell our inner city Bible club kids to think about Jesus on the Cross anytime they want to remember what true love is all about. This tells us that true love always involves sacrifice on behalf of another. Maybe that's the main ingredient that our 'me-myself-and-I-first' culture has left out, sacrifice. I do thank God for my wife who does know that meaning well and I pray that I will practice it towards her as well. Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart! May God bless us all as we continue our journey here. Amen.    .....More later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vegetarian: Ancient native word meaning "lousy hunter".

I can smell that coffee making its journey from my little processor into the cup. He seems happy and that makes me happy as well. It's Wednesday, February 13, 2013, and I was thinking about coffee because I was looking at some of those famous slogans. ~ The best part of waking up..... ~ Good to the last drop. ~ Tastes as good as it smells. ~ Better beans. Better coffee. ~ I like all of these slogans but unfortunately for them, I could care less about the actual coffee they are using them to promote. There have been plenty of  notable failed product and ad campaigns. Many of you most likely remember the New Coke that was widely rejected regardless of them using Bill Cosby along with a huge amount spent on trying to overcome resistance with advertising. I know some surveys where people immediately remember the slogan or the tune but they identify the ad with the wrong product. I guess that would be the worst nightmare for ad design folks. Great ad, great tune, but people forget which product. Yikes. But, in my case, I'm just stubbornly loyal, therefore, I am not part of their target audience, but, that doesn't mean I can't apply their good words to my favorite brew. What's that? You don't have to be but it helps? Yeah. Sadly, I understand exactly what you are thinking.

I'm still looking for a really good dry or lame joke: ~ A little old lady answered a knock on the door one day, to be confronted by a well-dressed young man carrying a vacuum cleaner. 'Good morning,' said the young man. 'If I could take a couple minutes of your time, I would like to demonstrate the very latest in high-powered vacuum cleaners'. ''Go away!'' said the old lady. ''I'm broke and haven't got any money!'' and she proceeded to close the door. Quick as a flash, the young man wedged his foot in the door and pushed it wide open. 'Don't be too hasty!' he said. 'Not until you have at least seen my demonstration.' And with that, he emptied a bucket of horse manure onto her hallway carpet. 'Now if this vacuum cleaner does not remove all traces of this horse manure from your carpet, Madam, I will personally eat the remainder.' The old lady stepped back and said, "Well let me get you a fork, cause they cut off my electricity this morning." ~ I know. Keep looking. I will.

We were watching some old clips from the Carol Burnett Show the other day and I was reminded of just how funny those ensemble sketches were. Carol Burnette, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway did make us laugh. Those set pieces are still funny but not like they used to be. I know some of that comes with having seen them a number of times but I just have to wonder if we have somehow messed up the elements that make for a good laugh. Could it be that today's material has tainted the gene pool to the extent that we all have become jaded. I mean, back in the day, laugh out loud meant exactly that, instead of some symbol on the social network to indicate that you think something is funny, LOL. I'm not one to go all uncontrolled, but I have, on rare occasion, had some tears from laughing so hard. Okay. Here's the inevitable, those were the good old days. I'm all for progress but whatever alignment we have today of the stresses and all the other factors, it's not the same and it was good back then to be able to just spend some time in doubling over from that which is called the best medicine, old fashioned laughter. Or, here's another thought, maybe it's just an old dude who has misplaced his laughter activating mechanism and doesn't know where to find it. Do they make a clapper for that? Have yourself a good day and may God bless us all! Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A man is driving down a steep, narrow mountain road. A woman is driving up the same road. As they pass each other the woman leans out the window and yells: “PIG!!” The man immediately leans out his window and replies with: “WITCH!!” They each continue on their way, as the man rounds the next corner he crashes into a pig in the middle of the road and totals his vehicle.

It's speed demon Tuesday here on February 12, 2013. Welcome. Recently on a late afternoon Friday I was presented with an unexpected need to be in a certain place at a certain time before they closed. It was important. To get there required traversing the freeway system at the ramp up time for evening rush hour. When I am out and about I typically keep a low profile, but duty demanded that I become one of the crazies, at least for a short period of time. I was driving like there was no tomorrow. In and out of lanes. Up one side and down the other. It reminded me of the old joke. "We couldn't fix your brakes sir, so we made the horn louder." I did everything but turn my cap backwards and I even thought about doing that. I did make it and my guardian angel dude along with myself needed some CPR before we had to get right back into it for our return. Later I had this thought about having one of those signs on the back, you know, How am I driving?, along with the telephone number. There are days when you are so very glad you don't have one of those. And, we all need a little excitement on a late Friday afternoon. Right? They likely looked up and saw that white hair flying by and they thought the ghost of Christmas, Past, Present, and Future all flew by at the same time. I was kind of glad when it was all over and I couldn't help but wonder what my over/under blood pressure was tracking at different times during this little excursion. And, just think. There wasn't anyone riding with me to ask are we there yet.

A few days ago I told you. And, here we are and according to the most recent weather forecast, we are looking for some mid 30's for morning lows later this week. That may not be winter as defined by those digging out from that huge snowstorm up east, but, for us, it's enough to make a jacket feel real handy. I know that's teeth chattering to those who are very sensitive to the cooler temperatures but I'll take it any day compared to these rather humid and hard-to-catch-your-breath days we've been having. I mean it's like here we are in early February and we tune in to the weather previews and they are already reminding us of summertime. We can wait on that. Right? I know. Some people are just like the 1959 movie, they too like it hot. (Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon.) I did see quite a bit of the footage from that blizzard up in New England. How could anyone miss it? Right? They even gave it a name. Nemo. When did they start naming snowstorms? I heard the mayor of a small town saying they had to hire some outside front end loading equipment folks to remove the nearly three feet of snow they had on the ground. Just one problem. They had filled up every open area available but they still have a whole lot more snow to remove. He was wondering out loud how they could find somewhere to put it. That's okay folks. I'll just keep my jacket handy and say a prayer for all those who are dealing with issues like that. And, we should remember those families mourning the loss of loved ones who died as a result of this storm.

I later learned that it was the Weather Channel that named the storm. It was not an official named storm but one chosen to make it easier for viewers to follow. Other meteorologists are not pleased with this commercial naming venture. Since most weather reporting agencies don't name winter storms, they believe the potential for confusion is greater. Perhaps we will eventually see some type of throw down between meteorologists or maybe a reality TV series where they duke it out to see who is the king or queen of the snow hill. Or something like that. I looked at a list of the top 20 fights that have taken place on reality shows. I scored 100%. I had not seen and I don't think I even heard about any of them, not a single one. I'm not gloating but to tell you the truth, I'm kind of proud of that. I know. Someone does watch them or they wouldn't be on. The good news is that most of them are no longer on but that doesn't mean there's not more like them or even some that are even more ridiculous coming down the pike. I suppose it is whatever floats your boat or whatever sells cornflakes, even if it is for a short period of time. As it relates to reality television, I will admit that we do watch a lot of the cops/crime types of shows. Like the COPS series itself, Alaska State Troopers, or the First 48. We also enjoy the different Coast Guard series, and, yes, we also like NCIS. I guess when it comes down to it, it's a matter of choice but I'm still glad that I did not see one of those reality show fights. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless each one. Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack. Have a wonderful splendorous Monday. (Adapted)

I'm back and here we go again. It's Monday, February 11, 2012, and I welcome you to that day that so many people dread each week. This typically reflects some angst about the return to school or work. One person said, "If each day is a gift, I would like to know where I could go to return Monday." Another one I read had this sentiment, "Mondays are a horrible way to spend 1/7 of your days." To me, it's just another day in paradise, so to speak. I'm not saying I've never thought about staying in bed on a Monday morning but I can't immediately recollect doing so. A young high school kid said he only hates Mondays because Mondays hate him. Another threw this one in, "Tuesday isn't so bad because at least it indicates you've survived Monday." Sounds like many of us need an injection of purpose and joy. Finding those are illusive until we allow Jesus to change our hearts. But, I'm not in a preaching mood, since it is, after all, Monday. Just joking. But, I do bring you some good news that can help make it a little better. That's right folks. I think the politician said it takes a village but what they meant was it takes Community. I've most likely already had more than my share today, but, based on my research, and I am unanimous in that the survey says: It helps to make Monday splendorous. (Splendorous has a face value Scrabble score of 14, just in case you are interested.)

My eldest son emailed me a copy of what is supposed to be a letter from a concerned Democrat to the editor. It looks like it was actually printed in a newspaper but it is most likely nothing more than a tongue in cheek way of poking fun. Here's a particular part that I thought was funny: "The Republicans are just trying to stand in the way of everything the President is trying to do. They are doing this only because the President is black. Some even dared question whether he was born in this country. I think this points out how the Constitution needs to be amended when it comes to setting forth the qualifications for becoming the President. Right now, it says a person has to be 35 years old and must be a natural born citizen. Well, that obviously is unfair because there are a great many otherwise qualified people who cannot run for President because their mothers had to have a C-section. But because the Constitution was written at least a hundred years ago, nobody even thought of the discrimination that would result from a doctor having to deliver a baby in this unnatural way. Now that we Democrats are in control, this is just one more thing we need to change in our drive to make life fair."

It was more like some 237 years ago, but it is their story, not mine. I am well aware that not everyone finds the same material to be humorous. I've heard people rave about something they thought was so funny and when I read or listened to it, it did nothing for me. It's okay to be different in what brings a smile but it's not good if there's nothing that can bring one. Henry Ward Beecher, the celebrated 19th century minister and social reformer, said this: "A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road." Bill Cosby on having a sense of humor: "There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God." The late funny lady writer, Erma Bombeck, observed: "When humor goes, there goes civilization." I've been told over the years that I have a dry sense of humor. Here's a supposed example of a joke that reflects a dry sense of humor: A devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the cow's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!" "Not really," said the cow. "Your name is written inside the cover." I do like that one, for the record. Have a splendorous Monday and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Forbes Thought Of The Day: “When American life is most American it is apt to be most theatrical.” — Ralph Ellison

Yes sirree, we made it. It is Friday, February 8, 2013, and I send out a big old howdy to all those tuning in. I actually saw that title one day and I can't be completely sure why but it did seem to resonate with me. I've been accused of some level of theatrics at different times and while I didn't consciously follow a script, I can't deny how that drama seems at times to define our day by day living. Even children come to be known as little drama queens. I think some folks are just born to be more demonstrative than others. I remember many years ago that I was at odds with one of my big bosses. That's never a good situation. Using a sports metaphor, he told me that his observation was that I often would dive after an easy rolling grounder. You know: A dirty uniform to try and prove I was really doing something. Or maybe looking for applause. You don't have to spend too much time wondering if I liked that assessment. Before I could actually do much about it, he was unceremoniously put out to pasture, so to speak, where he could spend all of his days chasing as many grounders as he wanted, or playing in the cow patties, or whatever. Was I actually guilty as charged? I don't think so and I never heard about it again, so, I just brushed the dirt off my uniform and got back to my rat killing.

We had ourselves a fairly good rainy day on Wednesday. I had to be out and about some in the highways that surround the mega metro-complex. It was pretty scary out there. Because of the rain over an extended period of time, the freeways were extremely crowded, visibility extremely limited, and at times I felt like the walls around me were closing in. I tend to be somewhat inclined to claustrophobia and when you have a tall 18 wheeler in front of you, a tall 18 wheeler on the right and left side of you, and a tall 18 wheeler on your bumper behind you, well, it can work on your nerves. This is more noticeable when they get up to speed and there you are, driving in this tunnel at 60 miles per hour. You can't see ahead, behind, or on either side but you dare not slow down because that might interrupt the fragile balance, like crossing over Niagara Falls on a tight rope with a blindfold on. Maybe it wasn't quite that bad but it does wear one out, but thankfully, I finally broke free and they went their way and I went mine. Another adventure logged and another opportunity to be thankful to have made it back in one piece. Okay. For my mom's sake I'll say this little tale may be somewhat exaggerated, but I can't deny that it is mostly true.

While trapped in the traffic I do have a good respite in being able to listen to old time radio on my little portable satellite unit. Those programs made during World War II have a special appeal. Our country pulled together. People wore their patriotism on their sleeve. There were great sacrifices called for in support of the war effort. It seems that everything was in short supply. And, the pain was obvious as so many were being killed and wounded. It was a trying time. Enter into the picture some lighthearted radio programming and I'm sure that many appreciated the opportunity to smile in a world where smiles were in short supply as well. Many of the jokes are lost on the generations that came after. One I heard the other day was about a fellow talking about his wife. He said she was very frugal. In fact, during the rubber shortage she had made her a girdle out of some pieces from an old tire. The punch line was how it ended up looking better on the truck than on her. This came from a program in the early 1940's. Those listening would have gotten it instantly and I thought it was pretty funny myself. I think that will have to do for now. I've taken quite enough of your time this week, therefore, I will take a break, catch my breath, and see what I can come up with for Monday. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and may God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find." Peter Ustinov

Today is Thursday, February 7, 2013. I'll go ahead and throw it out there. It's not the proverbial elephant in the room but it's there and it needs to be exposed. I've been a little sloppy lately in the transitioning of keystrokes from my brain through my little touch typing fingers onto the electronic screen and into the file that produces this daily collection of all of the above. I know some of you have noticed. I did work for Uncle Sam, not Uncle Same. That's the night the lights went out, not, that's the night the lights when out. I also had errors in my lesson handout this past Sunday. I used the word closet when I intended closest. I used the word them when I intended Him. The spell checker did what it could but it couldn't overcome my lack of attention to detail. Sometimes I go back and change my blog. I haven't on these last two occasions, but I probably will. You know, posterity and all of that. What about the Sunday lesson? I did it the old fashioned way. I marked through the words and replaced them with a handwritten correction. Thirty one handouts. If it turns out to be a pattern, I apologize in advance, but in the meantime I will try to improve my approach to letting my fingers do the walking, or something like that.

Here's an up to the minute update: I have now officially changed the words in the official blog of record to reflect the correct word designations, therefore, the universe is now back in order, and I can proceed. What's that? Too bad I can't do something about the quality of the content? Sorry, but to that all I can give you is WYSIWYG. That's the acronym for 'What you see is what you get.' Within the world of computers, this actually reflects the editor process for formatting of print output. But, in my case, it does apply. I know there are writing principles that could help. Could. However, there are well known good writers who still write in longhand and some that still use an old manual typewriter. Well known. Good. While I can't identify with those accolades, I can submit that my use of the electronic keyboard speeds input and shortens the lead time for presentation. In other words, if it's not that good, at least it's delivered a little faster, and, at times the illustrations are at least tolerable. In addition to that, you the reader can skip any and all, at any time. And, lest I need remind everyone, there's the ever present convenience found in activating the delete all function. Now I ask you: How much more accommodating could anyone be?

Let me end on a lighter note. "This woman rushes to see her doctor, looking very worried. She says: "Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face. What's wrong with me, doctor?" The doctor looks her over for a couple of minutes and then calmly says: "Well I can tell you that there ain't nothing wrong with your eyesight!" ~ "A pigeon arranged to meet his ravishing new pigeon girlfriend at 3 pm in the city square. The minutes ticked by and ticked by. By 4.30 pm it was clear that she wasn't coming. Heartbroken, he was about to fly home when his girlfriend waddled up smiling radiantly, saying: "It's such a lovely day. I decided to walk." Not your cup of tea? I thought they were at least smile worthy, maybe not LOL, laugh out loud, but different jokes for different folks, I suppose. Have a good one and Lord willing I'll see you next go-round. May God bless. Amen.      ....More later.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose." -- Ronald Reagan

Bored? I suppose we could all synchronize a wave together to greet the day. That's what the folks at the Super Bowl did while they waited for the lights to come back on. We could call it our Wednesday Wave, here on February 6, 2013. Today is the birth date of President Ronald Reagan. I believe him to be a great president and a great American. He had a view of our nation based on what he believed was the hopes and dreams of our founders. In his famous speech from 1974 entitled: A City on a Hill, he reminded those listening of our nation's connection to Almighty God, "Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, 'We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.' Well, we have not dealt falsely with our God, even if He is temporarily suspended from the classroom.", and closed with these great words: "We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.” We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth."

I know there are many who detest President Reagan and his time in office. That too is a part of the American context. He had his flaws and many of the criticisms of his decision making is warranted. However, he was a man, first and foremost, who embodied the American ideals of integrity and character. Not perfect. Much has been learned about him after he left office and after his death. It has been learned that he was a man that was a whole lot more intelligent than he was ever given credit for. This has been gleaned from his personal handwritten journals and notes. He was also a man of deep religious conviction. Today throughout the world there are millions who are no longer under the domination of communism because of President Reagan's unwavering stand for freedom for all people, everywhere. Sadly, many of these freedoms have been eroded over the past several years. In some cases, people have won against dictatorship only to be re-enslaved by a form of religious totalitarionism. As we see what is happening on the 24x7 news cycle it presents the question: Where is the leader of the free world who is willing to call enslavement of any kind...evil? President Reagan had no problem calling evil evil. He was ridiculed and called a war monger but in the end....the wall came down. The evil empire was dismantled and I, for one, say thanks be to God for giving us leaders like Ronald Reagan.

Feel free to disagree. We can still do that openly in this land of the free and home of the brave. Since I brought all of this up, I might as well leave you with a few more of his memorble quotations. ~ "The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become." ~ "A taxpayer is someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take a civil-service exam." ~  "I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting." ~ "The ultimate determinate in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas - a trial of spiritual resolve; the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideas to which we are dedicated." ~ "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." ~ "I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still. And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home." ~ Okay. That's enough for today. May our great God bless our great land....again! Amen.         .....More later.