Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?" Steven Wright, Comedian

You have found my channel here on the blogger ranch radio dial and I bid you a hearty hello and welcome from my broadcasting booth where the rat-ta-tat sound of keys clicking can be heard. It's Wednesday, the 31st, and last day of July 2013. I am a typewriter trained typist but I've never done texting on a cell phone. I will tell you this. What people can do with their thumbs on those miniature keyboards is quite remarkable. I can probably still type around seventy words a minute but I have no idea how fast they are going, using just their thumbs. I suppose it helps that most of them never learned touch typing, although, my wife did and she is pretty good at the texting game as well. I do want to remind folks of something I see nearly every single day. Texting is perhaps the most distracting activity a person can do while they are driving. Yes. I know that talking on the cell phone is also an issue, but, it's not in the same league based on my observation of the sheer number of near misses I've personally witnessed because the other person was trying to hold their smart phone on the steering wheel sending and receiving texts while driving. My thoughts only, but, in my opinion, that is about as close to insanity as I can imagine. That's my public service announcement for the day. You know. Don't mess with Texas, or something like that.

Scattered. Rain showers, that is. We've actually had several over the past two weeks and we are so very grateful.That scattered deal can really rattle your cage. Some folks almost within spitting distance gets a soaking and you didn't get nary a drop. I've been on my way home and my wipers could hardly keep up with the hard rain only to cross an intersection and it's like the curtain went down, the sun is shining bright and it's so hot the water immediately evaporates off the car. Scattered. I will tell you that the drought we've experienced the past two years has made us all the more appreciative for any rain whatsoever. The rest of this week is supposed to be typical for summer here in these parts at this time of year. That's good news if you like heat torture or you sell electricity or you are in the air conditioning repair business. When the overnight lows are close to 80 and the heat index at peak heating is 105, well, welcome to life in the summertime in our world. It reminds me of the a/c guy who last visited us some time ago. He wanted to sell me a new system. Of course. But he left me with an ominous warning. "Sir, it's not if, it's when, and we may not be able to respond quickly if we are in the midst of a heat wave." I'm hoping this will be an if week and not a when, if you know what I mean.

I suppose I am a writer of sorts. Perhaps not in the classical sense and not in the well composed category. I actually read quite a lot about writing and how to do a better job at it. I know mine could be more concise. It shouldn't take anyone as long as it takes me to set up and then tell about something that doesn't really amount to much. I've even taken a writing course once. I didn't care too much for the butchering up of my prose. You know. Take out every single word that isn't necessary. I wrote a piece or two like that and my instructor thought they were good. Only one problem. It weren't me. Better? Perhaps, but it didn't reflect my heart and that's more or less the target I shoot towards when I put words onto the page. I thank so many of you read my stuff every day. It can be somewhat laborious. I also appreciate the notes I receive. It's very humbling to know that one can share in a forum like this and someone out there can be encouraged, entertained, or blessed. That's probably the most rewarding aspect from my daily word doodling. And, I suppose some of it should be self helping, you know, therapeutic. If that part is working I haven't noticed, but, maybe it is and I missed it. If I do find out it has helped I will let you know. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.  .....More later.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Lonesome. Lonesome. I know what it means. Here all by my lonesome, dreaming empty dreams. Weary. Weary at the close of day, wondering if tomorrow brings me joy or sorrow." Leon Redbone

Hello folks, it's Tuesday, July 30, 2013, and I'm here to tell you that she did up and do it one more time, I guess for good measure. Or something. That is correct. As of last Sunday afternoon, the other half has flown the coop again. She's over in Louisiana having herself another visit with family. I suppose she woke up one morning with that song stuck in her head: "Travelin' man Travelin' man -- that's what I am Travelin' man Oh - that's what I am..." She no doubt made the appropriate gender substitution, but, at the end of the day, she's over there and I'm over here. I'm not glad she is gone but I am happy she gets to be with all her siblings and other family members. Meanwhile, she did leave me to fend for myself and that my friend could be a risky proposition. Just kidding, but it did sound like it fit, so I threw it in there. Many of you ask from time to time about my mom and dad and how they are doing. I thank you for that. They do have their challenges but for the most part they are well and still able to go about their business. For that we are thankful to our Great God. Last week my sister's daughter Angela brought her new granddaughter for a visit to meet my mom and dad. The photo shows mom with another great-great and you can see that she is greatly, greatly enjoying it.

I've often mentioned how much I enjoy the very positive things that show up on my Facebook page. A recent widely published story that took Facebook by storm was the account of how a pastor coming to his new 10,000 member Church disguised himself as a homeless person and showed up that way on his first day. He was not made welcome by the congregation. In fact, supposedly, he was asked to sit in the back of the building. The punchline came when he mounted the pulpit and asked whether the people were following Jesus or were they being a true Church in name only. This story has gone viral especially within conservative circles. There's only one big problem. Attempts to verify the accuracy of the report have failed. It's a great story and it makes some excellent points, but, based on what is now known, it is most likely a made up hoax. The photo used in the story has been identified as a real homeless fellow from the Richmond, Virginia area. The story may be good and it might appeal to many who share the same concern, but that doesn't make it a true story.

Last Thursday marked the anniversary of my last face to face visit with my brother-in-law Charles before he exited this life for his home going. We had us one of those old fashioned talking sessions and it was a reminder of our times together over a 50 year span. Last Friday I remembered the passing of our across the driveway neighbor Tom. He was a good neighbor. Next week will mark the one year anniversary of losing my Church and email buddy, Herman. He was a very bright and insightful man and we enjoyed our dialogue forth and back over the years. I also noted this past Friday the passing of billionaire oil man George Mitchell. He was a tremendously successful businessman and one of the most influential contributors to the community. He was 94 years young and still fairly active up to the end. Back in the early 1990's I was privileged to be a member of the Houston Club as a part of my responsibility with the big company. I ate lunch there several times a week. It was amazing to see so many of the so called business elite each time I was there. I often saw Mr. Mitchell and he made a lasting impression on me. There were always a group of the older retired oil men, some on walkers, that congregated together and Mr. Mitchell always chose to join them and I could tell they felt honored. It may not have been that big of a deal but it sure was to them. We all are passing through and on our way home. Making a difference in the lives of others will become someone's memory tomorrow. Have a great day and may God bless us all. Amen.  .....More later.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not." Mark Twain

 ****We had a wonderful time of celebration Saturday evening with our eldest and his family to celebrate our daughter-in-law's birthday. Happy Birthday Sherrie, and may God continue to bless your life. Love, mom and dad ****

I told you. That's right. I am here to keep that promise I made to try and find something worth sharing. First of all I want to say hello and welcome. These little fireside chats have come to mean a lot to me. Not familiar with fireside chat? It's a historical reference but I will let you check that one out. It is Monday, July 29, 2013, and I'm always thankful to be able to be up and going. And, that's not just because it beats the alternative. Being able is a blessing. I did suffer a little bit of bracket creep in the wrong direction on my diabetic numbers from this last visit. As they say back home, that's not good. I do know what it takes to change that, but, I will tell you that consistently doing the right things right is not that easy. But, now that I know I will have to try and add a little more "D" to my daily regimen. No. Not Vitamin D, but in this case the "D" stands for more discipline. Some of you might be thinking that I don't sound surprised by this outcome. Not really. I think most of us know along the way when we are not paying enough attention to the things we should be focused on. Living by a set of numbers does get old but I am thankful they are there to help me. My next appointment is six months away and I will do my best, with God's help, to have a better report, next time.

For those of you who may not know how it works for diabetics, the blood test known as the A-1C is more or less the holy grail as it relates to managing the disease. This test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Since finding out I am a diabetic some six years ago, I've done fairly well in keeping the A-1C under the target of less than 6.5. I've been pretty much all over the map, 6.2, 6.4, 6.3, and numbers like that which is what we are trying to achieve, but this time I scored a 6.6. It's not a huge alarm but it does reflect the first time I've exceeded the target since I started trying in earnest to manage the problem. There are many other factors, of course, that are related and they have to be addressed as well. Triglycerides is a big deal because of heart health and I had been doing a pretty good job working on this area by taking a healthy dose of fish oil supplements. Now it is clear that fish oil supplements are not the right thing for me to be taking because of a newly confirmed potential for cancer in men over 50. There we go again. My reason for talking about this is to encourage everyone to be involved in your own health. Not obsessed, but involved. After all, it's your health. I read just about any and all things that I see regarding the stuff that pertains to my situation. I brought up the fish oil situation with my doctor. He agreed I should stop taking it. This means even more "D" to deal with some of the residual issues but I'm not complaining because in this case knowledge is power and it's up to me to act upon the information I have.

Let me also assure everyone that my diabetes is nothing compared to what some face every day. I am well aware of that and my heart goes out to those of all ages who deal with a much more advanced form of this disease. I know some folks who would be elated to get even once the numbers I fret over. Again, it does point out just how serious all of this is. The good news is how that God still loves us whether we are sickly or in excellent health. And, He knows all about it. I typically am not one to go into great detail about my personal situation but maybe someone will be encouraged to take seriously the warning signs that come into our lives. I've recently had two people close to me that have been told they are either in the pre-diabetes or borderline diabetic categories. I consider them finding out this early as being a God sent blessing, but, like me, it will be up to them to respond in a way that could keep them from the challenges that many of us face each day. I well remember my denial when I was first told. I also remember trying to reverse it by sheer personal determination. Reality. It can be so cold sometimes. But, then again, I do like the cold. In fact, an unexpected cold front would be great right about now. But, if that were to happen we would likely be inundated with a whole new wave of global cooling warnings. Just joking. You can smile. And, keep smiling and have yourself a blessed day. Amen.         .....More later.

Friday, July 26, 2013

“Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories

Yes! It is official. Friday, that is, on this July 26, 2013. Thanks for showing up today. They estimate there were 350,000 babies born the day that the new prince showed up but it was only the boy George, who would be king someday, that totally dominated the news media. Instant celebrity. When the new parents brought him out to show him off there were shouts of jubilation and tears of joy. Not only there but all over the world. Literally. I read an interesting editorial describing this fascination that we here in the states have with the royal family. With all the problems going on, this was our most important story? The writer attempted to answer why. He first wondered if we remember that we actually fought a revolution to get rid of the influence of that same ruling dynasty from across the pond, yet, he observed how Americans are captivated to the point of obsession regarding all things William and Kate. His theory is that we are grasping to find an escape whenever and wherever we can. This prince charming story makes for the fairy tale dreams most people had as kids. That's why children dress up and act out their heroes. That's why little girls dress up like a princess. Let's not even think about the video game world which is nothing more than role playing for kids from 1 to 99. When it comes down to it, most of us would rather enjoy a story that doesn't involve all the 'real world' issues that we have to face each and every day. After all, we can deal with all of that anytime but we'll be happy if something else exciting comes along to distract us so we can postpone dealing with it as long as we can.

Maybe even the news reporters get tired of the junk they have to deal with all the time. At the same time we all know that looking the other way doesn't change the hate, evil, and sadness being inflicted on those who are our neighbors and fellow citizens. We also are aware that as sojourners in a fallen world that we are not immune from troubles that are common to our humanity. They do live shots on the news where tragedies have occurred from the most exclusive of neighborhoods just like they do from the so called 'other side of the tracks'. We also don't have to look at others to find potential for wrongdoing. Without God's help we all would be operating on our base instincts, even as Jeremiah the Prophet said, "The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 from the NET Bible) We need a relationship with God and we need a constant contact with Him. We often sing a well recognized song during our hymn time on Wednesday evenings. "In The Garden" The chorus says a lot: "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known." Amen.

Another work week has come and is now well on its way to being gone.We still have one more day within this week, Saturday, and then we get to start a brand new week with Lord's Day Sunday. This is how the calendar actually works and when we coordinate our thoughts around this layout, well, it makes everything else work better. Or, at least, that's what I have always found to be the case. While Monday is typically the first work day of the week for most people, it's always the second calendar day, therefore, we should get our brand new week started off with a bang and my advice is to do that by showing up at the place where folks actually honor the first day of the week (Resurrection Day) by honoring God and His Son alongside other like minded believers. I know that's not new since I have, over time, mentioned it enough for it to be sort of like a broken record. Young people today wouldn't catch the broken record metaphor but many of us well remember how that phonograph needle would hit that defect and repeat itself over and over. My reason for saying it as much as I have is because it has made a difference in my life. I feel like it could do the same for others as well. Okay. Have a great end of the week on Saturday and a wonderful first day of the week on Lord's Day Sunday, and I will try to be in my place on Monday, the second day of the new week with something to share. I'll try. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

“A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.” ~ Woodrow Wilson

Hello and welcome. It's Thursday, July 25, 2013, and I am sitting here doing my early morning thing, clicking and clacking on the computer keyboard. Some of you may have missed the NASCAR truck series race that ran on Wednesday evening. (Probably most of you.) I was able to see it only because we had chosen to cancel our Wednesday evening supper and Bible study at our local fellowship. We did that because of the many folks involved in this week's vacation Bible school. At any rate, the trucks raced on Wednesday evening. So what? They raced on dirt. That's right. A dirt track. Just like in the old days when NASCAR had its early beginnings. It was the first time one of the premier series had been on dirt since 1970. Many of the elite drivers who regularly race trucks have never raced on dirt. Some one-race-only drivers were actually brought in just because of their dirt experience. These are called ringers. I thought it was all pretty exciting with a whole lot of beating and banging along with a whole lot of racing sideways most of the night. It was different, but in many ways it was a tribute to the past and to those who paved (no pun intended) the way for the multi-billion dollar enterprise it has become today. That's something we all can appreciate.

My doctor's visit went well but it will be a few days until I get the full reports from my blood tests. They had allocated 40 minutes for this annual checkup. We might have visited for 15. I had my list to cover. He had his. I guess I could have invited him for a coffee break but he ran out when we finished about as fast as he had run in. I had done my duty by being on time which means getting there 30 minutes early. They called me right away. Therefore, my appointment was actually over before it was scheduled to start. This doctor is very personable but also very much focused on the business at hand. Not much idle chit chat with him. That's how the system works today and that suits me fine because I suppose I am built a little more for speed than comfort. In fact, I spent almost as much time finding a place to park as I did with the doctor. You more or less have to drive around until someone exits. That's another reason I prefer the first of the morning appointments where you only have to compete with mostly old early risers like myself.

Everyone has to choose what they are willing and not willing to do. The plan we have for medical coverage is through a local provider that emphasizes in a big way the need for a healthy lifestyle. Weight control. Proper nutrition. Exercise. This is almost like a mantra for them. However, when you visit their facilities, I dare say that a huge number of their smock wearing employees look like they could be on one of those extreme weight loss programs on TV. Also, some hang out in the outside area to smoke their cigarettes. I've also noticed this to be the case at other medical facilities as well. Again, I know we all have the freedom to choose and I'm not holding myself up as a poster child for doing things the right way, but, it just goes to show you that even where the theme is repeated all the time, folks still do what they are going to do. I'm not planning on making any citizen's arrests or anything like that but it does strike me as being an example of that nature we all share, you know, the human one. Having said all that, maybe I will try to share a few carrots with Rudolph. Or maybe not. Have a great day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.     ....More later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

British Newspaper Headline: "Special Delivery, Duchess Gives Birth to a Prince - And a Global Media Feeding Frenzy Begins!"

Greetings to one and all on this Wednesday, July 24, 2013. I was listening late Monday afternoon to an interview on my satellite radio where a prominent NASCAR driver was being questioned. The announcer started out by asking him about the great news coming out of Great Britain and what he thought about it. The driver was puzzled. He finally admitted that he didn't have any idea whatsoever that the fellow was talking about. What? He hadn't heard? Come on man! It's a boy! There's a new prince in the royal family. How could you not know that? The world is totally preoccupied with this birth and somehow you missed it altogether. That was kind of funny but I too was a little surprised he hadn't heard because I had been out and about on the roadways that afternoon and every news station known to humanity was blaring out the news of this 'great' event. Not just the BBC, but every American news channel was fixated on this little baby who may one day be the king, which, as most of us know, is a purely ceremonial role. Obviously, the royal family is still very much big business and the fairy tale atmosphere continues. I suppose in some ways it's refreshing that at least one NASCAR driver didn't have a clue.

....The good old days!
From time to time I like to listen to the "You Are There" radio programs originally produced and aired by CBS. There are about 60 of the programs preserved and available out on the internet. They ran originally between 1947 and 1950. Some of my readers, not many, may actually remember listening to them on the radio. It was a series where there was essentially a dramatized reenactment of a major historical event with news reporters inserted to interview the participants. The reenactments were based on the best historical facts available and those types of scenarios appeal to me, for some reason. Having the prominent characters at the Alamo, on both sides, being interviewed before that last fateful battle gives perspective and insight that I believe helps to gain a better understanding of what took place. I've also recently ordered up some newspaper reprints from major news events and I do enjoy reading them. I have a Washington DC paper reporting on the assassination of President Kennedy from 1963. I have one printed the day the stock market crashed in 1929. I have one that details the killing of public enemy number one, John Dillinger, the day the first man walked on the moon in 1969, and one from 1945 announcing the end of WWII. I even enjoy reading the want ads, death notices, and other trivia in each of these papers. Now you know why some folks think I am a little off, or maybe a whole bunch off, but that's okay, because they might just be right.

Best I can tell, this would have been the car.
You learn something when you read things like that. I found an ad in the 1929 newspaper were the owner wanted to sell his automobile. The ad read: "1929 AUBURN 8, 890 Model Sport Sedan; 9,000 miles; A-1 mechanically; 5 good tires. Original cost over $2000. Will sacrifice for $1200. Owner needs money. Phone West 4313-M between 6 - 7 p.m." That was a Milwaukee number in case you are interested. I didn't even know there was an Auburn Car Company but I checked it out and it was a well known brand for a number of years but it also succumbed to the Great Depression and ended up going out of business. That fellow's ad was likely prophetic as a preview of what was coming with the great economic collapse that was being ushered in. I do know this. People who lived through the Great Depression were forever influenced by it and folks like my mom actually operate their lives today based on what they learned during that time. Okay. That's what you call a walk down memory or history lane, or maybe it was just a wrong turn for me. Now on to a more pressing piece of business and it's called TODAY. You know. The reality deal. The one we have before us. Take care and may we all make the best of the day that God has given to us. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Doctor, when I press my leg it hurts. Then when I press my chest it hurts, when I press my head it hurts, and when I press my stomach it hurts. I'm worried doc, what's wrong with me?" Doctor replies: "It's simple, you have a sore finger!"

Good Tuesday morning and welcome on this July 23, 2013. Today is the day. It's my time for my annual check up, (They allow a full 40 minutes of set aside time for this officially called: Health Risk Assessment), with my primary care physician. My recent fasting blood numbers have been essentially within the boundaries, therefore, I'm hoping all of the diabetes stuff will be more or less in check. I always prefer early morning appointments so that I can get all the blood work and everything done at one time. However, because of my age, (translated: rationed care), they now have to find a spot for me in their schedule which makes it a 3 p.m. time slot for today, and that means I will return to do the labs in the morning. This means I will be fasting after my evening meal and no Community in the morning until after they have drawn five or six vials for testing. I will tell you that the 'no Community' continues to be the greatest challenge in this procedure, but you knew that already. The good news is that the lab opens at 7 a.m. On the other hand, as they say, if that's my biggest problem I most likely need to find another one to complain about. People have asked me before if I thought it would be good for them to pray for my doctor. Prayer is good. I'm not exactly sure why they think he would need prayer as it relates to dealing with me, but, I might have at least an idea or two about why they asked. In fact, come to think about it, that's probably not a bad idea.

Just two more years. I can hardly wait. According to a new study coming out of Germany, people's happiness peaks at age 23, and then again, at age 69. Supposedly, the younger age reflects the fact that many of life's disappointments have not kicked in yet. The older age is because one can better handle things and one comes to realize that much of what had bothered them before is not that big of a deal anyway. Our textbook for life, the Bible, has quite a lot to say about the true meaning of happiness. We will not be surprised to know that God's perspective goes way beyond a feeling based on circumstances but rather it has everything to do with knowing Him. Isaiah left us these words: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." (Isaiah 26:3-4) A song written by Graham Kendrick that we often sing pretty much lays out the true path of contentment and peace. ...All I once held dear, built my life upon, All this world reveres, and wars to own,  All I once thought gain I have counted loss, Spent and worthless now, compared to this... Knowing you, Jesus, Knowing you, there is no greater thing, You're my all, you're the best, You're my joy, my righteousness, And I love you, Lord.... That my friend will beat a study by the world every single time. Amen.

I was at our Church facility early Sunday morning. We had water standing all around from the wonderful downpours on Saturday. I was out on the porch watching the birds. Now they were having a ball. Playing in the water. Slipping, sliding, and skidding through the water and soaking their feathers and then shaking off the excess. They seemed excited and were really carrying on with their loud chirping and squealing. Most of them were sparrows and it reminded me of that famous observation from our Lord and Savior, "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they." (Matthew 6:26) The Apostle Paul in his inspired letter to the Romans talked about how that God's creation is under the curse that befell mankind but someday it too will be restored. Until then, the birds remind us that we should openly enjoy God's provision while thinking about how much He cares for us. I don't do too many bird stories but watching them rejoice was kind of special. Have a great day and may God bless us all. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick." ~ Comedian, the late George Burns

Hello friends and neighbors, welcome back to my version of Face Off where I typically sit in both chairs and debate myself. You get to watch. It is Monday, July 22, 2013, and it's good to have you on board for the ride today. I remember when I was a kid they used to wash clothes on the back porch using a wringer washing machine. The softener used produced a rinse washtub full of deep blue water. Many times we would find something to float in that water, you know, the ocean blue and all of that. When the clothes were washed and had finished soaking they would be rinsed and then put through the wringer to help squeeze out the excess water, and then they would be hung out on the clothesline to dry. We were always fiercely warned to keep our hands away from that wringer and as kids we likely thought that our entire body could have been shoved through that machine. Now that process pretty much describes how that little viral infection hit me last week. I felt all washed up and when it was finally put behind me I felt as if I had been put through the wringer and most of the energy had been squeezed out of me, and then I was hung out to dry as I did my best to go about my regular duties. Both being put through the wringer and being hung out to dry as figures of speech were in vogue for many years as a way of reflecting upon one having gone through a difficult time. They are often used to indicate someone being questioned in a harsh manner (put through the wringer) or left to bear the blame (hung out to dry.) Many in our current generation would have trouble visually identifying with these very common expressions.

It was wonderful to be back in my place yesterday teaching my Sunday morning Bible Study. Our folks had truly missed me being there the week before and they were very concerned about me calling in sick. That has not happened once in a blue moon and they were very kind to show such love and appreciation. That's what we do in a local fellowship of believers. We serve the Lord and care for one another. It's God's way. He set it up so that we could function as a body and while we are not ever where we want to be in terms of our faithfulness, we do, for the most part, show His love as we care for one another. This is, after all, how Jesus said that people would know that we are connected to Him. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Gospel of John, Chapter 13, Verses 34-35)

On top of that, we had ourselves a wonderful service. A time of fellowship and study in the Word accompanied by Community Coffee, great music and worship, a wonderful sermon from God's Holy Word, and a baptismal service to top off our morning. I grasped a little of what the sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, meant when he exclaimed: "I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalm 122:1) My wife stayed late for vacation Bible school preparation so I went on home, ate a sandwich, and prepared for my afternoon of being laid up in my recliner like Paw Paw Mac would have said, "Like a bunch of dogs." I saw the tail end of the British Golf Tournament where they were giving the trophy to Phil Mickleson, picked up on some news, and then settled in for the NASCAR race from the Chicago Motor Speedway. I made a few phone calls to family and kicked back and enjoyed my day. Blessed. That's right. Blessed. And thankful for all that God provides. Now it's Monday and that is the day we all have that we can do something with. Yesterday is history and tomorrow is still just a plan, but, today we can do something. Hopefully, with God's help, something that will honor the Lord and serve others. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, July 19, 2013

“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens, Author

Time to do the Friday end zone victory dance. Why? We made it! It's been somewhat of a challenging week for me but here we are with another five days logged and counting and I am looking forward to the upcoming Saturday and Sunday to catch my breath and get ready for another run when Monday comes knocking on my door. I've said all that to say this: Howdy and welcome on this July 19, 2013. I am well aware that I still have to finish out the work week and I am already at work on that one. I would like to thank all of those who have inquired and shown concern about my brief illness. It's good to know that people care and I am blessed to have so many that do. Me not being in my place is a big deal and it's good to know that people not only notice but they immediately began to pray and seek God on my behalf. I have been so very blessed with good health over all these years and being bed ridden for a couple of days made me very much aware that it being such a rare occasion is just that, a huge blessing, and one that I continue to thank God for. Thanks again for the prayers and expressions of concern.

I know this has been an emotionally charged week for our nation. The trial in Florida did not turn out the way many people wanted it to. Many were upset enough to protest the verdict. Some chose to become criminal by attacking innocent people and committing other offenses. Our trial by jury system is not perfect but it is the one that serves us in our land. I've been on a jury more than once. Most trials are decided based on the law applied to the specific allegation being tried. Based on numerous expert opinions, this verdict was consistent with the evidence or lack thereof that was presented. That's how it works. In our country we have the presumption of innocence and we have facts that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We also have advocacy groups and individuals who prosper based on fanning the flames of controversy that suits their particular cause or interest. This can be dangerous because sometimes those being stirred do not stop at protesting, they go on to injure others and destroy property. I believe the case itself was sad in that a young man lost his life. However, the facts were presented and argued before a jury chosen and agreed upon by both sides. That jury reached a verdict based on their understanding of the law. I believe it's okay to be unhappy with the outcome and even to protest it peacefully as a right, however, I also believe all should at the same time accept and embrace the process that produced that outcome. To do otherwise is to invite unrest and the potential for anarchy. That's my thoughts on the matter.

I started out the week on a very weebly wobbly basis. I end the work week mostly back on track or close enough to call it that way. Someone asked me if I was 100% again. That got me to thinking. I'm not sure I was 100% before I became ill. I'm not sure I even know what 100% means. However, I will again express my thankfulness for being as functional as I am. And, the Community Coffee continues to do its thing. And, I have been able to rejoin my normal schedule in progress which means I am back on my daily 11 hour plus routine here at the workplace. In addition to that I must set forth our thankful hearts for the wonderful rain we have received throughout this week. It hasn't been enough to end the drought but it came at a most needful time and we are so very thankful for it. In fact, we had a good shower at least on three different days this week. Not bad. Not bad at all. That should just about do it for me for this week. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will look forward to seeing you again, real soon! Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." ~ George Washington

It's good to greet you once again here on this Thursday edition, filed on July 18, 2013. The latest Gallup poll indicates that Americans continue to grow in their distrust of the new health care law that is bearing down on them. Those that now flat out oppose it have grown by 7% since the first of the year. How about a real world gut check on how this will impact individuals? The other day I received an email notice that my annual checkup is ready to be scheduled. The instructions said I could use the automated scheduling system to line up my appointment. I tried but according to the system all the dates were unavailable. I tried a second time. Same result. I called my primary care doctor's office and told the nurse what had happened. She asked for my birth date. I gave it to her and she said, "There's the problem, you are over 65 and we are very limited in how many of those we can fit into the schedule." She went ahead and manipulated the schedule and set me up for next week but doesn't that seem odd to you? I believe it to be only the beginning of what we all will be dealing with as this new law becomes totally implemented. Our out of pocket continues to go up and this latest experience very much sounds like a form of rationing to me. Maybe folks are overly skeptical but I can really identify personally with the reasoning behind the concerns showing up in the polls.

Speaking of health related matters, I wanted to bring you an update from the Community Coffee Wellness Center. When I was very ill the Community Coffee was not very tasty to me. I really had trouble drinking it, along with anything else, but that's not my point. On Sunday my taste was slightly better which triggered that appetite for Community but it was still a hit and miss proposition. On Monday it was better but not where it should be. On Tuesday I knew that the whistling of Happy Days are Here Again could not be far away because I had Community on my mind, in my heart, and on the tip of my tongue. That's when I knew I was back among the living. I was at my desk about 4:30 a.m., and by 6:00 a.m., I had worked through my third cup of that day-starting brew. We do need those barometers in life and I'm glad to have this facility to help me gauge my recovery and status. I want to send a shout out to the Community Coffee Wellness Center for providing this valuable medicinal benefit to me. Thank you very much.

I know what some of you are thinking. You are wondering if I ever have sought professional help regarding the variety of weird stuff that seems to surround my way of life. That my friend is a good question but I would need to know what one means when they use the term weird. I can almost guarantee that every single solitary person has ways of thinking or doing things that somebody would think to be a little odd. The good news for me is that much of what I write about is over the top for comedic effect, but, can you say the same? And, by the way, we have differences because we are different. The world would be dull indeed were it not for the uniqueness found in our different personalities. When I was but a lad, I well remember knocking on a lady's door to sell her something. I had learned the routine from the book perfectly. When I began speaking to her something was apparently dreadfully wrong. She was giving back to me the exact words as found in the book. Perfectly. It threw me for a loop. She finally laughed and confessed that she too was selling the same product. If life was always a matter of verbatim, it would not only be boring, but I wouldn't have anything to write about. Or would I? I'll let you ponder that until next time. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Online Dictionary: Case of mistaken identity: the incorrect identification of someone. "I am not the criminal you want to arrest. This is a case of mistaken identity."

You have come to right place. That is, if you are looking for whatever happens to be on the menu for today, and that would be Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Enough already. You might recall that a few days ago I wrote a blog about me being taunted as a Duck Dynasty wannabe. I had used a photo of myself and turned that into a side by side with Uncle Si since he is the one I am typically compared to. I know that people don't mean any harm but it still kind of grabs me from time to time. I had taken the photo of myself using a camera utility on my personal computer. The other day I logged onto my Mom's computer over in Louisiana to check it out and make sure everything was still operating okay. Often I change out her screen background with a surprise photo so that next time she is on the system she will have something new. This time I put up that photo of myself I had used next to Uncle Si. Just my part of the photo. Just me, myself, and I. She is my Mom. That night when I talked to her she told me that she had seen where I had been on her computer. She said she finally figured out that the photo was me because at first she thought it might be some of those silly men on that bearded program that everyone talks about. My own mother. I suppose that pretty much ends that conversation. (Please don't send me a note about how that photo looks like either a mugshot or a wanted poster. I've already heard most of them. Okay?)

The beard itself is a work in progress. Instead of cutting it back like I usually do, I am letting it grow the entire year. In fact, somewhere along about now is when I typically have allowed it to start growing back out. It will be interesting to see how it progresses as we journey towards the Christmas season. I suppose I should consider myself to be fortunate that no birds have attempted to build a nest in it and I'm not aware of any little gremlins crawling in and out. Don't even go there. I do keep it clean. After all, there are little kiddos who, before you know it, will be standing in line to get an up close view of the jolly one's beard. That beard deal is a big deal to some kids. Santa having a real one has been important to many of the children I've worked with. Thinking about Christmas, yes, even in July, reminds us of the Real Reason for the season, and that's a Gift that keeps on giving, regardless of the day or month, in fact, He provides life for time and eternity. Amen. 

Us older folks on Facebook are not always aware of what constitutes a cool status for this current generation. I saw one the other day where a young woman posted how she really didn't want to go into work so she guessed she would have to call in and tell them she had the plague. An almost immediate comment had popped up. "Sweetie, I served our country during the Vietnam War and I caught the plague. I can assure you it's nothing to be joking about young lady! love you, Grandad." Then there's the very direct 'in your face' advice. "Child support is for the child. Stop using it on yourself and that ugly thing you call your new boyfriend. Buy your daughter some shoes and she also needs a new coat. Also, put some some clothes on! love, Grandma." Another older lady made a posting asking Facebook to please upload her Christmas photos. Her granddaughter replied and asked what she thought she was doing. The Grandma told her that she was having trouble getting her photos to post. The granddaughter told her that Facebook can't do that for her. The Grandma then said she knew that was probably the case but Grandpa had told her to try it anyway. At least they were experimenting. Right? It could be worse. One fellow posted this humorous status: "What's up with all the old people showing up at the Antiques Road Show?" One of his friends had a great comeback: "To them it's just Road Show." I think I might just resemble that remark. That will do it for today. See you later on down the road and may God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections is a gift from You." (copied)

Tuesday is here and so am I. I do hope today finds you doing well. It is July 16, 2013, and I bid you a hearty hello and welcome. While I don't want to be overly melodramatic, I must tell you that I was one sick puppy this past weekend. It all began last Wednesday evening when I felt my throat begin to tighten up. On Thursday I was feeling slightly weak and wobbly. Friday was a challenging day. Yes, I did work Friday but left early because of feeling so bad. I had me some old fashioned fever, chills, a horrible sore throat, was unable to swallow, and had a cough that sounded like something straight out of a horror movie. My approach to dealing with illness is to do my best to work through it. That has pretty much worked for me throughout my lifetime. Pretty much but not 100%. By Friday evening it was clear that my temperature was way too high, therefore, my wife carried me to the emergency room where we mostly worked on our waiting skills for nearly four hours. They discovered that I have a virus. You know. The kind that makes you really sick. The part about being sick I got without the doctor telling me. No real treatment. They gave me a small bottle of cough syrup that cost $70 and said that I should be better after the virus had run its course. I was pretty much down for the count until Sunday. My wife said that in all our years that was sickest she had ever seen me.

As the Brits like to say, I was very unwell. I am not a young man anymore. We all wonder how it will be when we are winding up our time here. I felt bad enough to have some concerns about how it might all turn out. I don't remember much about my dad passing away but I do remember him being so sick laying in that back bedroom. It was strange but it seemed to me like my cough was like the one he was making. When I finally began to feel some better on Sunday, essentially I felt like I had been beaten with a tire iron. My bones are still very sore but I'm back up and going. Not full speed but thankful to be going. I shared all these gloomy details in order to say this: We are not invincible. You knew that already, but perhaps I needed to be reminded of it. I was not able to attend Church services on Sunday. There was a significantly important meeting scheduled after the morning service but I wasn't able to attend. I was debating whether to go to that meeting or not. My wife and my mom have been very strong in their advice and direction. My mom reminded me that the business of the local fellowship was in God's hands and it didn't require my presence for it to be carried out. That is so true. I knew that, but maybe God wanted me to be reminded of His strength in the midst of my own weakness and frailty.

Let me just say this about all that happened. I greatly appreciate my wife taking care of me during this time. She got the full measure of the 'in sickness and in health' line from our vows. And, I'm thankful that it did run its course. That's a cause for a prayer of praise. I've always tried to do my best at nearly everything I become involved in. I suppose that is the case even when I get sick. I'm not 100% but I am so much better than I was, and all I can say is praise the Lord. And, the doctor confirmed my original self diagnosis and that was to let it run its course. However, I will be the first to agree that the stuff in that little bottle of cough syrup helped me sleep through much of the worst of it. So, come Monday morning I was up at 3:15 a.m. ready to go. I was still sore, feeling a little wiped out, but, so very thankful that it had done exactly what that famous repeated verse in the Bible says, "And it came to pass." And, I'll add my own commentary, "Hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more no more no more." Don't bother trying to find that one in the Bible. Have a great day and may God bless us, one and all. Amen.           ....More later.

Monday, July 15, 2013

"It gets so boring at home. After all, how many reruns of Abbott and Costello movies can a guy watch on television?" ~ Bud Abbott

Good Monday morning on this July 15, 2013. Images do convey a message. I put this posting up two years ago and people still land on it from time to time, most likely when they do a search for an image of some sort. It is the most accessed of my blogs, at least in the most recent stats. That being true, I am glad that I included a brief overview of the Gospel. You never know how God might use something to get someone's attention. I thought you might enjoy it again, for the first time. Or something like that. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.    ..... More later.


Monday, July 19, 2010

I don't know about 1,000 words, but they all spoke volumes to me!

Good Monday morning and welcome to something a little different for July 19, 2010. I have been accumulating some photos from a variety of places over the past several months and I wanted to share some of them with you. I love photos that tell a story. The blogger utility has its own issues handling photos but I think you will get most of what I am trying to portray. Many of them I like for no apparent reason but I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Have a great day and please don't send me any deep analysis regarding why you think I chose some of these particular photos. We all are, by birth, damaged goods, dysfunctional, and lost and undone, BUT thankfully we are loved anyway by our Great God with a love so great He sent His one and only Son to die for us that we might be saved! Amen. See you next time! .......More later.