Thursday, March 28, 2013

"O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams." Augustine of Hippo

Good Thursday morning and welcome to our little fireside chat time, here on this March 28, 2013. We have one gentleman working here that is older than I am, by about 5 years. In fact, he retired once and that left me as the oldest dude on the property, but after a couple of years he decided to come back for a spell. I always turn on his little heater on cold mornings and often he and I stand there by it and have our little start of the day exchange. Just seems to be something natural about hanging around the little glowing red heater while we settle issues far and wide. This is the week devoted to remembering our Lord and Savior's sacrifice so many years ago. We celebrate His life, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. It is appropriately referred to as Passion Week because this week commemorates the purpose of His coming and it's wonderful to know that His passion included you and it included me. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews put it this way in his inspired text, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Chapter 12, Verses 1-2) He endured it all for the joy set before Him. That joy reflects how that men, women, boys, and girls as a result of His provision are able to live with Him forever and ever. Amen.

Tomorrow is the day referred to as Good Friday. There are a number of scholarly discussions regarding the actual day of the week that our Lord was placed on the Cross, however, Friday is the one most widely recognized to honor His sacrifice. Of course we all know that while it is called Good, it certainly was not a pleasant experience for our Lord. (The Scriptures detail His suffering and anyone who saw Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of The Christ' can attest to the horrific suffering He endured.) It is Good because of what His sacrifice achieved in fulfilling God's redemptive plan. At one time most school districts observed this day as a holiday and called it Good Friday. It is not a federal holiday but some ten states do have it as a state holiday. Our local school district here calls it simply Holiday on their published calendar. I may travel over to see my mom and dad since our company does recognize this day as commemorating the day that Jesus died on the cross. I think the main thing is that we remember, not just this week, but every day, how that we were lost and undone and were it not for what Jesus did for us, we would be eternally separated from God. That deserves a whole lot more recognition and praise than just one day or one week or one year, or even one lifetime can offer.

Then on Sunday it's a time to gather as we do each week, because He lives. He died, He was buried, and on the third day He was resurrected. On this upcoming Lord's Day Sunday we actually will be remembering the day in history that this event occurred. But, may I remind us all that He established His called out assembly, that which we call Church, and when we gather together we do so in order to honor His resurrection each and every time we meet. Of course He did not establish His called out assembly that we might just have some formal ritual to attend to each week. We come together to essentially praise and worship God while building each other up that we might live out the living Christ in us, our hope of glory, not just when we are together as a local fellowship, but in our 24x7 lives. That's the essence of His passion shown when His people demonstrate the power of a changed life. That shows up in our love of God and our love of others. It's powerful stuff folks. It's life changing stuff. And, while we in our human frailty may weeble and wobble around at times, our remembering of what happened this week so many years ago can become an opportunity for us to seek Him, and with His help to get back up and get back going. And, I think we all know that we all could do more to demonstrate our devotion to Him. Right? Yes. Right! Have a great holiday and don't forget to remember to remember Him. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15

It's chill out Wednesday, and I welcome you to this chilly start here on March 27, 2013. I actually moved my wife's plants into the garage again, to protect them from the cold. How do you like that? A whole lot if you are me. It has brought a nice breath of cool fresh air and I count that as a blessing. Jesus made some comments about those who paid attention to predicting the weather when He was here on the planet. Matthew 16: Verses 2-3, But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!" Of course He was talking to them about priorities in discernment. The weather is an important factor in life but compared to eternal matters it is very much insignificant. And so it goes today as we all are prone to spend way more time on matters that in the grand scheme of eternity are not that significant at all. After all, during His earthly ministry, the vast majority of those Jesus came to save failed to discern His true identity and failed to discern the salvation He offered to them. Something to think about on this cool morning and perhaps I needed to. It came to my mind for some reason. Amen.

The current series on the History Channel about the Bible has certainly stirred up a lot of interest. The ratings have been huge. I've not watched it yet but I have been able to answer a number of questions posed by different people concerning the way particular people and events are being portrayed. While I am well aware that my knowledge is limited, it is a great privilege to be able to discuss these types of inquiries about God's Holy Word. There have been instances where the producers have chosen to embellish some in the presentation but for the most part it sounds like the truth comes through. Those in my class at our local fellowship have commented on this surprising closeness to the Scriptures that shows God's power and His working as presented from God's perspective. Our youngest son, Rodney, and his family are watching and he has been good to keep me posted on the progress of the series. I mentioned to him that as people inquire we must fulfill the inspired admonition from the Apostle Peter, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear:..." (1st Peter 3:15) In other words, when we are able to interact with others based on questions about God and His Word, it's much more than just getting the academic stuff right. It's sharing the hope that abides in each believer's life as a result of knowing Christ. Amen.

I do know that even my Bible knowledge in terms of being able to get the facts and information quickly has slowed down a lot. It's still there somewhere but along this way of getting to the age that I now inhabit, well, I may have misplaced a few mental index cards and I just can't find or read them as quickly as I used to. The other day a fellow was talking to me about the young king in Judah that took over the kingdom when he was only eight years old. This young man ushered in a return to God and a great revival was accomplished. The fellow wanted to know how that was done since this king was so young. I knew the account well and told him that most scholars believe he was under the tutelage of a devoted man of God who along with other Godly advisers helped him until he was able to function more independently. That was a good discussion. Only one problem. I could not for the life of me remember that young boy's name. I knew that I knew it but I couldn't remember it, period. I didn't look it up but I also didn't forget that I had not been able to recall it. A couple of days later I was doing something and from out of somewhere, there it was, JOSIAH! This is what I am talking about. It would have been better to have had that name when we were talking but it's good to know that while it got stuck maybe in the wrong file up in my brain, it eventually was found. And, just so you know, I did not forget how to go find it because we can always refer to the Book, when we are in doubt. Okay. That will have to do for today. Have a great one and may God bless us all! Amen.     .....More later.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." Mark Twain

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and this morning I'm thinking about how that we just never know what a day might bring. My wife left last Thursday to be with her siblings for their planned trip to Branson. On Friday morning I received a call from our 16 year old grandson saying his dad, our Jimmy, was passing out from high blood pressure. I left immediately from work but they had already called an ambulance. I picked up Little Jim, as we call him, and we went on to the hospital where for the next six hours they ran tests and we stood by. Fortunately, it turned out not to be as serious as it could have been as they were able to connect this episode to a potential inner ear infection. We were exhausted when we finally got home. I had all kinds of things I intended to get done on Friday but this was not one of them. You just never know. My wife and her would be traveling companions ended up having to cancel their excursion due to heavy snow and very cold weather in Branson. They had planned this trip for months. They so looked forward to going. You never know what a day might bring. I'm thankful we were able to get Jimmy checked out. I'm thankful that Marilyn and her crew found out about the situation before they traveled. We do live, in many ways, a very unpredictable life, and, as you've heard me say time and time again, that's why we need the Lord with us as we navigate our way through our unscripted sojourn. Amen.

The Clouse Family
I might add that these things, even as serious as an ER visit might be, are somewhat trivial compared to the tragedies that do happen every single day. We had a beautiful family of four killed in our county last week when a pickup truck came into their lane suddenly and a head on crash ensued. (We've traveled that same highway many times before.) The picture they used in the report was telling. It was a young family. They all were wearing their Texan football gear. I had noticed in the photo of the twisted wreckage that their seat covers had the Texan logo on them. They obviously were fans. A lovely family, minding their own business, and literally from out of nowhere, they were all gone. I'm not trying to be morbid here but I will tell you that events like this one is a heart breaker. They do not suspect alcohol. Wet road, fog, and driving conditions are the thought to be causes at this time. The driver of the truck did receive serious injuries and is in the hospital. The impact was so severe the motor of the pickup truck landed in the middle of the highway. Three other vehicles were damaged hitting that motor before it could be moved. You just never know folks, you just never know.

I'm a little older. I look at that photo and I see potential. I see grandparents, like us. I see happy times. It does tell us that we need to be ready at all times for we just never know. It reminds me of something James Dobson talked about many years ago. He had suffered a heart attack. They did not know how serious it might be. As he lay on the gurney he said he looked up and saw his teenage son. All he could think to say was, "Be there son, be sure to be there." He was talking about heaven. One thing I know for sure. The Bible is clear that we need to settle that issue before we die, not after. We explain this to our inner city Bible club kids each week by using ABC. A is for admitting that you are sinner. B is for believing that Jesus, who is God, was born of a virgin, that He lived a sinless perfect life, that He was crucified for the sins of the world, and that He rose again and lives today. C is for confessing Him as your personal Savior, Lord, and your God. As it turned out, James Dobson recovered but at the point of no return I think it is important to consider his sincere desire for his son. He wanted his boy to be sure he had made preparations for that inevitable moment when this life is no more. It's not sad folks, it's a glad day when we know that we know we are ready! Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." Psalm 122:6

It's Monday, March 25, 2013, folks, and as they say, it's time to face the music. That phrase, face the music, typically means having to deal with unpleasant consequences. That most likely is due to its association with the concept of a disgraced military officer being literally drummed out of service. However, while that is perhaps the most popular thought about its origin, it's certainly not the only one. It has been around since the early 1800's, at least in print. Some believe it could have to do with different singing situations where people faced the orchestra. One researcher associates it with a practice in England where the common folk would put together songs that the upper class were beholden to listen to. These songs might well include lyrics critical of how people with means treated those who were less fortunate. Thus, the nobility would have to face the music as it were. That's probably more than you wanted to know about this little figure of speech. Maybe I'm being just a tad tone deaf this morning. It wouldn't be the first time. Just ask folks who have stood beside me in the choir.

I do from time to time listen to left leaning radio reports to round out my knowledge, so to speak. Just prior to President Obama's leaving for his visit to Israel I listened to a supposed news report that included interviews with Israeli citizens. All the ones interviewed were excited about the President coming and had great hopes that he could influence the current leadership in their country to make progress for peace. It was totally tilted giving the idea that all of the people of Israel were longing for this president to somehow talk sense to their leaders. If someone had only heard that report they would think that is exactly how it is in Israel. But, not so my friend. Polling just prior to his visit indicated some 65% of Israelis had great questions regarding trust of this current administration. I followed him as he was there. I listened to many of his press conferences and public speeches. He always does well in front of college students. Have you noticed that? (We all know how conservative most college students are. Right?) While he was in the country he made many promises. I thought it was interesting how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would always very carefully repeat what he had heard the President say, and then thank the President profusely for his offered assistance. It seemed to me that he wanted to get it on the record. But, then again, that's my little take. And, by now you most certainly know what I mean, Vern!

Us Bible thumpers as we are sometimes called, do have a special interest in the goings on in the Middle East and more specifically, Israel itself. This has to do with the amount of space devoted to this nation, the Jewish people, and God's plan for them as He has revealed it to us in God's Book, the Holy Bible. I am well aware there are many so called prophetic ministries that actually make their living off of their espousal of a plethora of theories and predictions. Because this is their source of income they must keep a steady stream of stuff filling up their books, seminars, and other commercial products. To me, I believe one need only pay attention to thus says the word of the Lord as written in our Bible in order to know that some how and in some way what goes on in and around Israel matters. Obviously it matters to the world because it has to be near the top of the most reported on nation in the world, and given its size, that in and of itself speaks volumes. The other thing I might add is this. Our nation's commitment to the Jewish State and to the Jewish people does have something to do with America's connection to God's Holy Word. Go back and check it for yourself. Historically, it has mattered to those who have been our leaders in the past that these people are recognized as God's Chosen. The current administration, not so much, and especially almost not at all as it relates to this biblical connection. Again, my take. The thoughts and opinions expressed on this page are just that, thoughts and opinions. It's okay. You can have your own. At least, I believe that's still how it works in our country. Have a good Monday and may God bless each one. Amen.   .....More later.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"This is unparalyzed in the state's history." Gib Lewis, Former Texas Speaker of the House

Hello folks and welcome to a round up of all that's fit to mention, at least from my little corner, right here sitting in my little typist chair with my now lumpy Jeff Gordon pillow for my back, made for me by my granddaughter Brittany many years ago, and I am hitting mostly the right keys and hopefully they will end up producing words and sentences that will inform and enlighten. Hey, it's a plan. Okay? It's Friday, March 22, 2013, and I am always amazed when the best of the best technologies end up being no match for the most simple of nature's children. Recently, there has been a very frightening loss of power at some nuclear power plants in Japan. This is of great concern because of the need for cooling at these plants. There are all kinds of computer systems backing up computer systems backing up even more computer systems. However, the folks in charge now believe the cause behind these most recent failures is likely a rat-like creature who chewed the wiring and created a series of short circuits. An entire nation was left sitting on the proverbial edge of their chair with nationwide hand wringing becoming the norm. Sometimes it just knocks me down when you consider just how vulnerable we really are. Sadly, we often think ourselves so smart that we fail to pay attention to the smallest among us that might do us harm. Now that my friend is an amazing story.

I suppose I can be like Uncle Si, on Duck Dynasty. I can spend my time thinking about things the way he does: "I may not use any of this stuff but hey look I can sell it on Greg's List!" I enjoy how he get's it almost right. For those who don't watch or keep up, it's Craig's List, one of the most prolific internet based classified advertisement databases. I suppose I enjoy those near misses because I have been privileged to be around some folks who were so good at it. It doesn't work unless the person getting it nearly right doesn't know how very wrong they are. Technically, they are called a malapropism. Archie Bunker, the fictional TV character from the show 'All In the Family' was known for his famous mangles. Like: "I got bigger fish to fly." Unfortunately, President George W., as well as Vice President Dan Quayle did a pretty good job of adding their names to the list of those distinguished nearly-the-right-word users. President Bush: "Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted." Vice President Quayle: "The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other."

All of these tell us one thing: They and we are human. I remember a time or two that when I was speaking and I used a wrong word and everyone did their best not to burst out laughing. Talk about embarrassing. No. I do not remember exactly what happened. Well, not in each case. I do remember one where I used a correct word but it happened to be one that would have been more appropriate in the 1800's, therefore, I was greeted with the blank stare. Bottom line: I enjoy it much more when it is the other fellow and not me. But, it is Friday and as they say, all good things must come to an end. I'll leave you with some excellent advice from Uncle Si, "America, everybody is in too big of a rush. Lay back, take a sip of tea, mow a little grass. Then if you get tired, take you a nap." Maybe I can work on that while I am at home this weekend. Maybe you can also. Not bad advice. Not bad at all. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I'll see if I can come up with something for next Monday. May God bless. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Questions that keep one up at night: What would happen if you put a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the same room?

It most certainly is, that is, it's Thursday and it has been ever since about one tick after our most previous midnight, at least that's how it works in these parts. Welcome to another beautiful day in my neighborhood and we find ourselves on the street marked March 21, 2013. Don't you hate it when something happens at the same time when something else happens and you immediately think they are connected but it turns out that they are not? This happens to me enough to where it makes me wonder sometimes. About myself. What's that? I should have started on that one a long time ago? Here's the most recent example. I often listen to Celtic folk music on a feed off the internet while I am working at my desk. The other day I was listening to some good Irish tunes and I reached over to turn my little one cup coffee maker off. When I hit the off button the music stopped completely. But before I could catch my breath, Bam!, the music was back and I was left to ponder another one of life's mysteries. Pondering. That may be why I occasionally have one of those pondering headaches, or maybe that's nothing more than another one of those disconnected but synchronized events. I know. Maybe I should just take two and call in tomorrow if I am not better. Thanks for the advice.

We finally did get some relief from all the prematurely heated up atmosphere and the cake mix pollen coating everything in sight. Early yesterday morning we had one of those medium to mega thunder bumpers come through and the heavenly car wash it produced was so greatly appreciated, and, I might add, phenomenally effective. (Temporary but very welcome!) The little storm was one of those head on collision situations. We had the gooey gulf humid air rolling in from the south and a weather system coming down and across from the northwest. Cooler air meets heated humid air. What happened when they met reminds me of that Witch Doctor song from back in 1958. The memorable lyric that got stuck in everyone's mind went like this: "Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang". If I am not mistaken, this is exactly what I heard the two fronts singing when they met. The heaviest rain didn't last that long but it was coming down so hard I couldn't find a setting on my wipers that it seemed to pay any attention to. And, in the midst of my reporting of this wonderful respite, I could not fail but to offer up an expression of gratitude to God for the rain that we need so much in our area. A blessing to be sure. Amen.

I would ask all to say a prayer for my sister JoAnn. She has just started a fairly intense regimen of chemo to treat her chronic leukemia. Like most things medical, it has not all gone smoothly but she is a real trooper, but more than that, she is a woman of faith who has her trust in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are thankful this is considered to be a treatable form of leukemia and we pray for remission. She really doesn't like a whole lot of attention but she is a prayer warrior and I know she would appreciate the prayers of any and all who feel moved to mention her name. I am currently doing a verse by verse teaching through the Old Testament books of 1st and 2nd Samuel. Most folks know about David, the shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath and became King of Israel. Those might be called the highlights but may I tell us all that David's life was also saturated with lowlights as well. He experienced wave after wave of adversity that seemed to dog his steps. Last week I wrote this up on the board as an introduction: "Dear David, I did not say it would be easy. Love, God." That was true for David and it is also true for each of us. One unalterable truth that made David's life worthwhile: God was with him each step of the way. And, for those of us who are believers, that exact same truth, no difference at all, is how we can make it, one day at a time, one struggle at a time, and victory through it all. Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." Abraham Lincoln

I see you did show up. Thanks for coming. I welcome you to this edition of my version of This, That, and the Other. It is Wednesday, March 20, 2013, and let me tell you we have had the stuff raining down on us this week. No. Not the wet stuff. The yellow green stuff. It has been pollen city around these parts and it shows no letting up anytime soon. I'm thankful it doesn't impact me personally as much as it does many others. I talk to quite a few people each day who are under a bombardment from the allergy enemy. They always sound like they are impersonating someone who has a scratchy and distorted voice. We've got the pollen, the weeping pine tree resin, the molds and the mildews, and to top it off, we hit 90 degrees this past Monday. It was just this time last week I was thumping my chest over some mid 30's. Add to all of this the out of sight humidity and it causes us to seek out the long range forecast looking for love in hopefully the right place. If and that is an if, the forecast is right, which is highly debatable, but if it is, then we have some mid 40's still awaiting us over the next 10 days. I join Bob Barker in calling on these lower temperatures to, "Come on down!"

I was talking to a lady the other day about the assortment of beverages they featured in their break area. They had a cabinet filled up with those little flavored containers that you pop into the Keurig and brew yourself up a cup. She was an older lady. I say that but she may not be older than me but she seemed that way to me. I have that happen quite often. I see other folks and they look like someone I've seen before. Maybe it was on one of those AARP commercials or perhaps one of those burial policy advertisements. But, at any rate, I told her how sad it was that she didn't have any coffee. She was stunned. "Sir, I'll have you know that we've got just about every flavor of coffee anyone could want." I explained to her that unless you have Community represented in your portfolio, then, based on my analysis, you still have no coffee. She actually served me up with one of those "I never!" kind of looks like you see on those British sitcoms. It was all in fun but I sure was glad that her eyes didn't get stuck or anything when she was doing her best to roll them at me.

Please don't write me about being mean to older people. You have to know that while that little story was true, I did embellish it up some. Some. A little. In fact, I may need to get someone to vouch for me with that lady so that she really does know that I was only kidding. A little. But, humor is an important part of life. It sure helps to be able to chuckle now and then as one makes their way through the maze we all travel. Here's what one essayist had to say about laughter: "Laughing stirs up the blood, expands the chest, electrifies the nerves, clears away the cobwebs from the brain, and gives the whole system a cleansing rehabilitation." She was quoting an unknown author for that statement but she then proceeded to outline all the positives that come when we laugh. The benefits, including medical, are many. And, she made it clear that when one lacks material they need only look to themselves. Here's her closing statement: "Ethel Barrymore once said, 'You grow up the day you have your first real laugh, at yourself.' The ability to see humor in real life is priceless, and there is a never-ending supply of material.  Start looking around and live life in the laugh lane!" Maybe I should print out that article, wrap it around a pound of Community, and send it to that dear sweet eye rolling lady. Or maybe not. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"The press is our chief ideological weapon." Nikita Khrushchev

Well, it is Tuesday, March 19, 2013, and that alone is probably a good reason to slap some water on our eyes, get our giddy up clothes on so we can get out there and 'git er done'. The new Pope appears to be a very humble soul based on all that has been reported about him. The media was pretty outlandish in the way they tried to cover his elevation like it was a presidential campaign or maybe an athletic contest. Now that the choice has been made, the media must do all it can to dig up every little detail about the 76 years this man has lived here on the planet. One of the British newspapers did locate his childhood sweetheart. She really liked him but was very young and her parents were totally against her getting involved. It was all very innocent and she is very proud to have been a tiny part of his life. The media take: "If you don't marry me I will become a priest." All I can say is this humble servant likely cannot begin to fathom the media firestorm that faces him. But, that's the way we roll folks, that's the way we roll.

I am a big fan of the 100 calorie pack. Of just about anything. It helps me in my ongoing trench warfare against diabetes. (My fasted blood sugar number was 103 this morning. For me, that's not a bad number.) They seem to add to the variety of these little packaged snacks every week. I recently purchased some walnut and almond packages in the 100 calorie version. They were in a box. Seven packages to a box. I opened the box and found some very tiny packages. How many walnuts and almonds does it take to equal 100 calories? How about a grand total of 0.56 ounces. Based on the math I know anything about, that's barely over a half of an ounce. But, the good news is that it doesn't take long to enjoy a little 0.56 ounce snack. This style of packaging is obviously very profitable and I'm sure there are less expensive ways to go, but it does make my life a little easier, therefore, I am thankful for any and all help I can get. Yes, I do know that calories are not the only consideration in the diabetes game. It's all about the carbs, however, you have to come up with a personalized strategy and the 100 calorie pack is a huge part of mine. Sure, I need to do better. But doesn't everyone? For me, it's likely those other meals that fill up a paper grocery sack by comparison that tend to keep my little monitor meter busy. In the meantime, why don't you drop by some time and I'll bust open a 100 calorie Scooby-Doo! gummy pack for you.

The Houston Rodeo has ended for this year. Some 2.5 million people attended. I was not one of them. We have many family, friends, and other folks I know who did attend. I also saw some war stories from some of the sold out events. One lady said it took them over an hour to get past the gate for the George Strait concert. No thank you. Traffic: crazy, confused, and congested. No thank you. My wife tried to come up with a Spring Break outing for some of the grand kids. I told her about someone at the office who went into Houston to carry some kids to the zoo. That lady drove around for over an hour looking for a parking place before giving up and coming back home. No thank you. I suppose it is good news for the entertainers that people do have enough 'want to' that they are willing to tolerate any and all inconveniences. That would not be me. Of course the media tends to mostly accent the positive, at least for these types of events. They are not always that kind. Lyndon Johnson said this about the press that covered him: "If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim." And so it goes. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.   .....More later.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy 18th to our Kyleigh!

Welcome back. It is a Monday. And, I welcome you to this March 18, 2013 session. This past Saturday was the 18th birthday of our granddaughter Kyleigh. On her special day, she along with her siblings and cousins were actually finishing up on a cruise with our daughter-in-law Mitzi's parents. Kyleigh will be graduating from high school this year and is already making her plans for college. It's obvious that she is a beautiful young lady and we thank God for His providing us the opportunity to be a part of her life. Kyleigh is goal oriented and we so look forward to all that God has planned for her life. Happy birthday Sweetie. You should have our card awaiting your return. May God bless you, on your important 18th birthday. Love, MiMi and Poppy

While this will not be news to most of you, I will again state for the record that I am not in favor of the majority of this current administration's viewpoints or policies. I put this most recent presidential election map up as a way of reminding us all that while the electoral votes based on major population centers went the President's way, the red states are still there, and they voted in opposition. Why does this matter? It matters because of how folks claim a mandate based on the election results. The President rightfully says that he won but then he enlarges that to mean he should get his agenda rubber stamped. However, the country voted for a divided government. The US House retained Republican control. Using the President's own theory, the House can claim they too have a mandate in opposition to his vision and plans. All I can tell you is there is a lot of red on that map. It cannot be ignored. That's why I believe the agenda has to take this map into consideration. They don't see it that way, but I do. So there you have it. In your face and all of that. My little point of view coming straight at you on this Monday morning.

Corrections: I typically recheck my fact checking and I discovered that when I reported some 40 White House Staffers owed back federal taxes, I said it was for an average of $330,000 each. It should said it was for a total for the entire group of $330,000. That is a huge difference in the amount, but I still contend that these folks should be held accountable. It was my mistake and I wanted to set the record straight. I also had a good friend who checked out that anti-semitic slogan on the buses in San Francisco. It seems the organization who put those up were actually attempting to connect Islam and terrorism to the hate speech they featured. It was not an actual statement by those who hate the Jews. If anything, it was those wanting to connect such hateful speech to those who are aligned against the policies of the Jewish state. While they might believe this to be justified, it is as wrong as it would be for those who would post such a statement out of hate. Obviously I need to do a better job on my fact checking.

I will tell you this, these birthdays help explain what I see when I look into the mirror. I hate to say this but lately when I see my reflection, I, at times, have been prone to wonder who it is. Don't even go there. It's way too late for a straight jacket. I'm just saying that we all age but mine seems to have been hiding in the bushes and now suddenly he wants to make himself fully known.  My response to that elderly gentleman staring back at me: "I'm sure those wrinkles were well earned, Sir." And, that leads me to my little story for today. ~ A little girl is sitting on her grandpa's lap and studying the wrinkles on his old face. She gets up the nerve to rub her fingers over the wrinkles. Then she touches her own face and looks more puzzled. Finally the little girl asks, "Grandpa, did God make you?" "He sure did honey, a long time ago," replies her grandpa."Well, did God make me?" asks the little girl."Yes, He did, and that wasn't too long ago," answers her grandpa."Boy," says the little girl, "He's sure doing a lot better job these days isn't He?" ~ That He is sweetie, that He is! I suppose it's best that we all get out there and see if we can well earn some more. Have a good one and may God bless y'all. You hear? Amen.   ...More later.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in America." William Howard Taft

It's really dark here. That's the way it is most places before daylight. Right? But, it is Friday, March 15, 2013 on that famous, 'Beware the Ides of March day.', the one where Caesar met his fate in the year of 44 BC. Caesar's supposed last words were "Et tu, Brute?" To which a country comedian added the response: "No, I ain't et nothing yet." Of course the Latin phrase actually means, "You too, Brutus?", but, there's no proof these words were ever actually said. Speaking of speech, it stuns me at times what folks allow under the guise of free speech. The image above is one that can currently be seen in huge form on the sides of the buses that are a part of the San Francisco Metro system. I know we call it the left coast for a reason and the San Francisco area is known to be about as far left as anywhere in the world. I bet they would quickly disallow anything negative about unnatural lifestyles because they would deem it to be hate speech. Yet, they allow something as egregious as this to be paraded through their streets. I have news for them. God is not unaware of these types of direct threats against His chosen people and He will one day deal with it when He comes to make all things right. Amen.

You've heard the old one about how that going to Church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you an automobile. I saw a fellow who put that one up on a dialogue exchange and someone thought of another one that also sounded pretty good. It went something like this: Being elected doesn't make one a true representative of the people any more than standing in the halls of Congress makes one a great patriot. I think we all know that it is not what we say about ourselves that tell the story, it is what we do consistently that counts. Here's what the man called the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, had to say about true character: "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." I will be the first to say that there have been times when folks have attributed more character to me than I deserve. The good news is that I am aware of that and consider myself to be a work in progress and I have learned this: It will not take care of itself on its own!

I suppose my blogs are more like a smorgasbord than anything else I can think of. That Scandinavian word means essentially a buffet featuring a varied number of dishes. And, brother, I can dish it up and I can dish it out. Giving advice and sounding off is so much easier than taking advice, even my own, and letting my actions speak louder than my words. For this week, however, I think I can stick a fork in it because I'm pretty much done. I hope this upcoming Sunday does find us all in a place where folks gather to bring honor and glory to God and to hear Him speak as His word is taught. And, I hope we are there, not to be seen, but rather, to be challenged and changed as God works on our life. Consider the words of this children's song written by Joel Hemphill, "He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me." That applies to us all! Amen. See you next time and may God bless each one.           .....More later.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." Will Rogers

Thursday. Ready or not, here we come. Welcome. It's March 14, 2013 and I encourage you to make the best of your day, all of it. Okay. I know we are all in this together but it's hard sometimes to make sense out of how things go. Over 300,000 government employees are delinquent in paying their federal income taxes, to the tune of 3.5 billion dollars. And, there's more than 40 White House staffers who are behind with an average of $330,000 each. Okay. I'm not picking on these people but doesn't it make sense that not only should charity begin at home, but, also collection of taxes? I couldn't locate the total amount for all taxpayers who owe back taxes so I could compare, but, it still seems to me that if you are in charge of the government workforce, and you are responsible for collecting taxes, well, it looks like a reasonable place to start. It might just yield better results than trying to collect from children who sell lemonade and many of the other crazy things we've heard about over the years. It's not as if they don't know who these people are and where they live.

I am not slinging mud at anyone who is trying to pay off their tax debts. I am aware of a number of folks who have had judgments against them due to fraud or unscrupulous actions taken by their employees. I know one fellow we were in Church with for years who will be paying the rest of his life due to a dishonest bookkeeper who was misappropriating funds that should have gone for tax payments. Our friend fully realized, at the end of the day, that it was his business, and he was responsible. These kinds of things are horrible but understandable. It's the folks who cheat and dodge that makes me furious. Those are the ones that add to the burden of their fellow citizens who do try to obey the laws of the land. I've never been audited. Yet. It could happen any year and based on many folks I know that have been audited, it can be a very scary experience. And, we all know that we are capable of making a mistake. I would just hate to think that the enforcement people are more likely to get the average Joe as opposed to those within the government. Just saying......

I have to remind myself to remind you that pretty much everything I write comes under the category of opinion. Mine that is. This means that your interpretation of the facts could be different because of your personal experience, orientation, and other factors that contribute to your way of seeing things. I can hardly accept anything as being unbiased because every single solitary person reflects the sum total of much more than some straight down the middle stuff they have experienced in life. This gives me the opportunity once again to point out that we do have access to that which we know to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I'm talking about the Word of God, the Holy Bible. I know there's many different ideas and thoughts about the Bible and surely that does lead to conflict and confusion. Yet, that doesn't mean the Bible is not true and it's our privilege to search out the truth God has preserved for us. God's truth comes with power. The Apostle Paul had this to say about his young helper Timothy: "And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2nd Timothy 3:15) And, based on the size of this paragraph, I think it best to shut it down for today. May God help each of us and may He also help our great country. Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Definition of Calories: Noun. Little creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.

Good Wednesday morning to one and all. It's another good day to bid you a hearty hello on this March 13, 2013. I consider myself to be at the least minimally tuned in when it comes to current events and culture. That doesn't mean that I am not surprised from time to time. I read about a performer at the Houston Rodeo who broke the all time attendance record. Nearly 78,000 people crammed into the arena to watch him sing. Here's the rub. I never once in my life heard of this fellow. Never. Not that it matters, but to tell you the truth, it kind of surprised me that I didn't have a clue. I know some of you want to know who it is. Bruno Mars. He's a pop, hip-hop, rap, rock, and whatever, all blended together performer. He obviously has a following and I did look him up and found out that he had won a number of major music awards. So there you have it. Here's what I know to be true. He is obviously famous to those who know and like his music. On the other hand, I'll just bet he has never ever heard of me either. So, there, we are even. It's always good when you can level these things out.

It's that even steven kind of outcome. You know. The one that balances everything out, as in: She thinks he doesn't do his share of the housework, while he says things are even steven. That's probably not the best example I could have chosen but it conveys the meaning. Most of the experts believe the phrase even steven came about for no other reason other than its rhyming, dated from the mid 1800's. It's not the only one that seeks to convey a message using a rhyme. Phrases like "drop dead fred", "see ya later alligator", "after while crocodile", or "know what I mean, jelly bean?" No wonder folks have trouble learning our language. You have to wonder what they think when they see they have to earn their stripes, and it should be easy as pie, and if they make a mistake they might end up having to eat their own words, and be so sad that they eat their heart out, or they have egg on their face, or worse yet, they end up eating crow, or maybe even eating humble pie. I suppose they could ask every Tom, Dick, and Harry because they will have everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them. Not easy folks. Not easy at all.

The experts tell us that clear communication means that we should avoid these colorful phrases like the plague. I suppose when I start observing that advice, I might as well throw in the towel, wash my hands, drop it like a hot potato, back down, bow out, knuckle under, and just give up and go with the flow. In other words: I don't think so. Have you had enough yet? Okay. Here's just a few more before I actually do give up the ghost on this one. ~ I keep my high horse tethered to my soap box for easy access. ~ My doctor warned me that my high sodium diet would lead to heart disease, but I always took that with a grain of salt. ~ It is a fact that tapioca tastes awful. The proof is in the pudding. ~ I could go on for a while, and, as you can tell, I do get a kick out of playing around with words. And, I seem to get carried away with it from time to time. Therefore, I leave you today with the wonderful closing farewell that Count Basie used at the end of his musical performances: "I'm saying: to be continued, until we meet again. Meanwhile, keep on listening and tapping your feet." See ya! And, may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When asked what time it is, Yogi Berra reportedly answered: "You mean right now?"

It is Tuesday, March 12, 2013 and only 8 days until Spring officially begins, however, we are still getting us some wonderful mid to high 30's here, and I couldn't be more proud of that. How about you? Last week we were inundated with the pollen. Suddenly, most of the cars were wearing a glowing gold green color. On Sunday we had us a short but very drenching downpour and that cleaned off the cars and we are ready to begin the process all over again. I did hear a local weatherman here in our area railing against Daylight Saving Time. I have not checked out his facts but here's a little of what he shared. The primary reason for making the change was to save energy. Studies show that it doesn't save any. The change does impact people. There are more accidents in the week following the time change. More people have heart attacks after the change. His thoughts indicated that it's just not needed. I know many folks who would agree. I would assume his facts are correct but then again he is in the weather forecasting business so I might just better check them out for myself. You can do the same.

I will tell you this. It is very very dark now when I unlock all our facilities around 6:30 am, when before it was beginning to be daylight. This means I had better have my flashlight tuned up because I'm talking 'can't see your hand in front of your face' dark. That, by the way, is one of the biggest arguments about the time change in the Spring. It makes it even more hazardous for the kids trying to get to school. I know they have to deal with it in the winter but extending it into the summer, well, it does seem to add some risks. But, there are plenty of folks convinced that the stuff I mentioned above is not an accurate reading of the facts. They believe by prolonging daylight, it does save some on lighting and heating. They believe the prolonged daylight offsets the morning accidents by making it easier to see into the evening. Then you have the entire outdoor activity industry that benefits from making more outside hours available each day. What's a body to do? Change our clocks and adjust is about the only thing we can do, that is, if we want to be wherever we are supposed to be at the scheduled time. And, after all, it is the law, except for Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii and the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa which are the only places in the U.S. that do not observe DST but instead stay on "standard time" all year long. Those places decided it was already hot enough all day long without adding to it. Here's a most interesting article from Monday's online Houston Chronicle:
I have to think about thinking about getting a different cell phone pretty soon. Mine is more or less worn out. It's developed a new problem recently. It's questionable at times whether it can be recharged. I'm not sure it is failing or it just doesn't know. I say that because I think I can identify personally with that problem. But, I actually don't like for it to go stone cold dead in the middle of a conversation. When that happens I get pretty upset and say some ugly things to it but next time I charge it, he straightens up and flies right. I'm pretty sure me talking to it is not what gets him going again but he had better know that his days are numbered unless he can keep his act together. You noticed I called my phone he. I thought it might be a she because of it being so temperamental but had I used she, the phone might not be my only problem, if you know what I mean. And, nearly everyone knows I'm a pretty balanced fellow when it comes to gender distinctions. I have no idea what that means but I thought I would throw it into the mix anyway. I had better quit while I am behind because it doesn't appear to be getting any better. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   .....More later.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Here's one that's hard to miss: "Forecast for tonight: Dark." George Carlin

Yes. Yes. Yes. Hello my friends, good to see you, on this Monday, March 11, 2012. Finally. Who would have ever believed it? I'm still pinching myself. It really is hard to believe. Will wonders never cease? It's about time. I suppose that build up is enough or soon you will think I'm like those wonder drugs advertised where two thirds of the TV ad is spent telling you all the potential dire consequences that could come from taking the actual super duper drug. But, back to the gee whiz I was alluding to. A weatherman up in Washington DC on the local Fox affiliate was officially placed in timeout for making a horribly wrong forecast. Now is the time for the bands to come out and the confetti to rain down! Last week that big storm did land up East dropping a whole lot of snow. This fellow, along with most of the others in his area, had some woeful predictions about what was going to occur in the DC region. Winter precautions were put in place. Schools were shutdown along with most government offices. Everyone was on high alert. Then, it happened. The storm pretty much missed that area entirely. Thus, Mr. Weatherman, took his medicine and dutifully manned a chair in the corner for a timeout punishment. And, they say there's no justice in the world. Finally.... is about all I can say about this development.

I suppose the only good thing to come out of that situation is the old joke about the government being shutdown is the only time they are not doing us any harm. Just kidding. I know by experience that there are many devoted hardworking folks who are employed by our government. I also know by experience that there are almost as many who are not so hardworking that are employed by our government. I've been there so I know what I am talking about and I don't need Uncle Si to confirm with his "That's a fact, Jack." You might wonder about how it's a positive thing for the government to be shutdown but you would likely be surprised how many pundits actually believe that a gridlocked government is not so bad. They say this because typically government being actively involved in passing huge amounts of legislation does not all end up being good for the constituents. And, many add that when there is partisan gridlock, typically, most of the high priority emergency types of stuff gets done anyway. This doesn't mean I am going to pray for more snow days in Washington but I'm also not going to be overly concerned about the factious stalemate that seems to be the norm in today's world. Some would even argue that our founders knew this could be a possibility as it was actually a known part of the design of our legislative process.

I'm always on the lookout for a good little story: A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce, and asked, "What are the grounds for your divorce?" She replied, "About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by." "No," he said, "I mean what is the foundation of this case?" "It is made of concrete, brick and mortar," she responded."I mean," he continued, "What are your relations like?" "I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband's parents." "Do you have a real grudge?" "No," she replied, "We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one." "Please," he tried again, "is there any infidelity in your marriage?" "Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don't necessarily like the music, but the answer to your question is yes." "Ma'am, does your husband ever beat you up?" "Yes," she responded, "about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do." Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, "Lady, why do you want a divorce?" "Oh, I don't want a divorce," she replied. "I've never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can't communicate with me." I hear you. What about a timeout chair for bad joke sharing? I'll keep that in mind. Have a blessed Monday and I'll see what we can stir up for tomorrow. May God add His blessings to your day. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, March 8, 2013

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Jackie Robinson

I don't know about you but I am ready to begin to get ready to catch my breath a little on this welcome Friday, March 8, 2013. I do recognize that I have been all over the map this week in my daily visits. I can't really apologize for this because it's more or less how it works. I do try, as best I can, to not needlessly offend anyone but I know there are some folks who are super sensitive to even a mention of a subject they hold strong opinions on. That's okay. That's how it works. I also am aware that some folks actually think my strong opposition to the current administration's policies is due to some deep seated hatred for our President, and to add insult to injury, they connect it to the color of his skin. That my friend is a bunch of bunk. I have most of my life story to prove my acceptance of people of every race, creed, and color, period, end of story. In 1992 I cast my vote in the Republican primary for Dr. Alan Keyes, an African American. Why? He, in my opinion best aligned himself with many of the principles I hold dear, those that uphold family, faith, and freedom. But, it's okay for folks to have strong opinions because that it is a fundamental part of our American way. This doesn't make it right to impugn people's motives or their character, just because you disagree with them. And, that goes for all sides involved in the arguments that define our discourse. Okay. That's enough of my thoughts on civics for today but stay tuned, I would modestly predict it will come up again.

I was able to show up for our inner city Bible club ministry this past Tuesday evening. It was my first time to be there in a month. It seemed nearly every week there was something that was making for a conflict in me being able to be there. It is always good to show up and to reconnect with the kiddos that we attempt to teach and influence for the Lord. One fifteen year old boy has been in the program for at least five years. This kid has had his struggles with his grades, his home life, and other challenges. I have counseled and prayed with him many times and I do feel a special connection to him. He currently is doing great. His grades are good and he is also excelling in athletics. The other evening I gave him a hug and told him I had truly missed seeing him and the rest of the kids. He looked at me and said he had missed me as well and then he said something I don't think I will ever forget. He called me by my name and told me that he very well remembers the first time he met me at our club. I'm not sure exactly why but that brought a tear to my eye. I ask that you join in praying for these kids, many of them who are at risk. Sadly, we have way too much evidence to prove just how at risk they are. You see what I mean? It doesn't take much for an old dude like me.

Those types of responses are a plus but there is a very serious part of what we do in trying to help these children to come to know Jesus as their Savior, and then to help them to grow in their faith, and to develop the living out of their lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Let's be honest, that's a difficult challenge for them, and for us all! And, oh by the way, it's a 24x7 proposition, which reminds me. I stay mostly behind on all of the above, but, that's a condition that we all share in, including every believer, the human one, and I'm pretty sure you know exactly what I mean. The main thing is to stay in the fight. If you do give in, don't give up. The Apostle Paul said we believers need to have our armor on, all the time. Why? He said it's because of the fiery darts being slung at us by our adversary, the Devil himself. (Ephesians Chapter 6) I heard one preacher say that he uses those preparation verses for warfare and actually mimics putting on each of the parts of the armor mentioned. He goes through the pantomimed motion of putting on the breastplate, the helmet, the leggings, and then takes the shield and sword, as he faces his day. I've not done that but one thing I know to be true. It is that real. Well, I think I've pretty much used up my time for this week, therefore, I'll say bye for now along with a prayer that God will help us all to be faithful. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice." Adolph Hitler

Hello and welcome to Thursday, March 7, 2013, where I am once again playing some less than melodious notes on the old keyboard. (Computer  ....typewriter). The news is hard to watch or listen to these days. It could be worse. I recently listened to a 22 minute CBS radio newscast from March 13, 1938. The world was alarmed by Germany's invasion and annexation of its neighbor, Austria. Adolph Hitler showed that he had no respect for established treaties and political commentators nervously wondered out loud where all of this might end up. A Congressman was interviewed. He saw these actions initiated by Hitler to be only the beginning of winds filled with great potential harm even to the United States. My oh my, how right he was! Troubles and trials. They've been around a long time. Wars and rumors of war. Today we have a resurgent Russia sending out signals that sound like a return to the cold war era , an Iran bent on having its own nuclear arsenal, and a North Korea that is threatening direct attacks against our nation. China is very much in the mix as well and we have all the so called freed Arab countries, many of which, seem to be bent on Jihad. President Woodrow Wilson prophesied that the Great War known as WWI would be the "war that would end all wars". He most likely should have been reading his Bible before making that statement. Truth is, we're going to have wars and rumors of war in an ever increasing number up until that Day that our Savior returns. That's good news because when He returns, He will make all things right and that's something we can count on. Hallelujah, praise the Lord. Amen.

I know. Most would rather just tune it all completely out as being too negative and depressing. However, truth matters folks, and Jesus indicated that His return should be an event filled with promise that invokes hope and anticipation in the hearts and minds of His own. It should also encourage our readiness and our desire to see others prepared as well. It's not the proverbial message of 'the sky is falling', but, rather, it is a message of certainty that will not be invalidated by human reasoning or explanation. Think about how many people believed when this current administration came to power that the entire world would somehow usher in an era of peace. Those true believers are now left to blaming others for why it didn't turn out how they dreamed it would. I've said all of this to remind us of how the early followers of Jesus lived. They were expecting Him to return in their lifetimes. They lived their lives that way. They made day by day decisions based on their conviction of His soon coming. He wanted them to live that way and I believe He wants us to live that way today. Let's face it. This short life is nothing compared to eternity, and God is looking forward to when we will be forever with Him in our heavenly home. Amen.

I don't know either. How could listening to that broadcast from 1938 lead to all of  this? Good question. Maybe I will think of a good reason and then write about it. Or, maybe not. I am a Baptist by choice, therefore, when I hear a joke about Baptists, well, it can be pretty funny. I've shared this one with a few people and most of them got a good laugh out of it. Here goes: "The Muslims do not recognize Jesus. The Christians do not recognize Mohammed. The Protestants do not recognize the Pope. And, Baptists do not recognize each other when they happen to meet in the liquor store." It did cause me to chuckle. It also reminded me of our dear neighbor Ellis who lived across the driveway from us for twenty years. He and his precious wife Ruth were family to us. Ellis left us many years ago for his reward and our dear Ruth died a couple of years ago as well. Ellis, a lifelong Methodist used to tell me that he had observed one very distinct difference between his choice of Churches and the Baptists. He said they chose to do their drinking on the front porch while the Baptists did theirs on the back porch. That should be enough for one day. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"The Bermuda Triangle got tired of warm weather. It moved to Alaska. Now Santa Claus is missing." Steven Wright

I hear those moans and groans. Therefore, I promise to back off my preoccupied rantings over all things political. Just for the record, I had to erase about five sentences because just mentioning that word got me off and running again. But, here we are, still blessed to be a part of this wonderful country, still able to recognize and serve the God who in His providence gave us the life we have, and it's Wednesday, March 6, 2013, and it's a very good day to rise and shine and give God the glory. Little things. That's right. Little things that make a difference. I was visiting the other day with a retired fellow who exemplifies the use of his time and resources in a way that honors God and helps others. He is building a second home in a different state and the barn on his new property will have a canning kitchen. He has already bought the equipment. He has a cousin who is very poor and he has been trying to convince her to let him install her old stove for his barn so she can have the new one for her house. She cooks a lot. A small thing. He also mentioned that he has a grade school buddy whose daughter has been here from out of state for the past six weeks while being treated for cancer. He said he had let them stay in his home here. A small thing. He wasn't bragging or building himself up. It was just a part of the conversation. Small things that do make a difference and I say Amen to that!

Moody. That's how I call it. Moody. The weather, that is. This past Sunday morning I had ice, yep, ice, on my windshield. Monday we had some of those March gale force winds but the temperature hit right at 80 degrees. This morning we are back in the mid 30's. Moody. But, I'm thankful for the opportunity to wear a jacket and sit and enjoy sipping my Community. That wind. It does dry things out. In a hurry. In fact, we have already been under a fire alert because of the dry and windy conditions. Sadly, over the past few seasons we've been conditioned to look in a longing way for any sign of rain that might be headed our way. The old joke attributed to Mark Twain does apply. "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." And, he was so right and as you can tell I do my fair share of jawing about it too. I will tell you that every little cool snap makes me feel like we've been given a handful on purpose because I dread those coming days when it's so hot and the air is so heavy we all have to take turns breathing. That tells me we need to inhale deeply and enjoy it while we can!

I believe the word is blustery. I'm talking about the wind whirling around, not my daily attempts to slap words onto the electronic page. My wife doesn't care for the political stuff but yesterday she sent me a note about the budgetary mess I wrote about and she said she felt like she had learned something. That made me feel good because one of the ways those folks operate is to confuse and conflate to the point that most of us just tune it all out. Guess what? They don't. But, I promised not to go down that road today so let me see if I stir up a closing anecdote that might end our visit with a warm handshake and a smile. I love my rural upbringing and here's a little story for you: "Paul, a jogger, is running down a country road and is startled when a horse yells at him, 'Hey, come over here buddy.' Paul is stunned but still runs over to the fence where the horse is standing and asks, 'Were you talking to me?' The horse replies, 'Sure was, man I've got a problem. I won the Kentucky Derby a few years ago and this farmer bought me and now all I do is pull a plough and I'm sick of it. Why don't you run up to the house and offer him $5,000 to buy me. I'll make you some money because I can still run.' Paul thought to himself, 'Wow, a talking horse.' Dollar signs started appearing in his head. So he runs to the house and the old farmer is sitting on the porch. Paul tells the farmer, 'Hey man I'll give you $5,000 for that old broken down nag you've got in the field.' The farmer replies, 'Son you can't believe anything that horse says. He's never even been to Kentucky.' Have a good Tuesday and may the good Lord take a liking to you and yours. Amen.      ....More later.