Friday, August 30, 2013

“It's okay to look back at the past - just don't spend too much time staring at it.” (adapted from an anonymous source)

The famous farm girl Rawles Twins, born 18 months apart.
 ****Sorry to be running late but I was supposed to get up at 2:30 a.m., to make the six hour drive to be at the memorial service but my internal alarm didn't go off until 2:50 a.m. and that through me off a little. We are now at my mom and dad's for the night and all is well.****

Today is the get ready to rumble day as many prepare for the upcoming three day weekend. It is Friday, August 30, 2013, and folks are ready for the last fling of the waning summertime, the Labor Day Holiday. Today I want to send a special birthday greeting to my wife's sister, Dorothy. You might remember her. She and my wife, Marilyn, are pretty near joined at the hip, having been born as almost identical twins, eighteen months apart. That photo reminds me of their nick names, Dot and Lil Bit. I got started with this family over fifty years ago and I can say without equivocation that Dorothy is the real deal, a living breathing example of the Proverbs 31 woman. She and her late husband Charles built a testimony of serving the Lord in many different ministries over their long time together. We pause to thank God for Dorothy and all that she has done for our family and for the advancement of the kingdom. Amen.

As many of you read today's episode, I am well on my way to meet the wife and her family over in Winnsboro, Louisiana to attend the memorial service for her uncle, Jessie Rawles. Uncle Jessie was 79 years old and mercifully went on to his reward after discovering that he was suffering from Stage 4 Cancer. He was retired from the United States Air Force and quite a character. He had a quick wit, and could flash a smile that would light up a room. The two girls mentioned in the preceding paragraph will be singing at their uncle's home going celebration. They have done that for many family members over the years. That too is a part of the legacy we have been blessed with. I ask that you pray for Uncle Jessie's family as they deal with this loss.

Thanks for hanging in there with me this week. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and the Labor Day Holiday on Monday. I will do my best to catch up with you real soon. No. That's not a threat, it's a promise. May God bring comfort to each hurting heart and may He help us all. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"If it's a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone, somewhere is making a penny." ~ Steven Wright

Welcome one and all to our Thursday time together here on this August 29, 2013. The other day when I mentioned the milestone of somehow putting together 1600 of these daily visits, I failed to talk about what has to seem like a lot of repetition. I used to worry about that but I came to realize that it's a slice of my life being shared, therefore, some stories get repeated and the themes that are important continue each day. I know many might think I over emphasize the spiritual context of my day by day journey here on the planet. I can appreciate that but I do so because it continues to be the driving force that under girds my life. I know a particular individual who actually has told me the same story from his past dozens of time. He's my friend so I do my best to listen with interest. I sometimes think I know that story better than he does. I don't want that to be the way it is when you tune in to this station each day. However, when the dust settles, as my mom likes to quote me most likely quoting what has become a popular saying: "It is what it is." For me, it's therapeutic and much cheaper than other treatment options. You do know that's a joke. Right? I would not kid you about something like that. It really is.

Sometimes kids have a way of putting things right in our very mixed up world. One little fellow gave this advice: "If you are going down the wrong road, make a right turn." A little adopted girl grew tired of being teased at school. One day she blurted this one out: "At least my parents chose me but yours are just stuck with you." One eight year old girl warned her friends: "When a person gets kissed for the first time, they fall down, and they don't get up for at least an hour." Another young lady gave her insight: "Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know one another. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough." A little smarty explained why he was late to his teacher: "I would have made it sooner but I came upon a sign that said School Ahead Go Slow." One little guy became frustrated when told over and over again that he should be good. He asked what would happen if he became gooder and gooder. His mom told him he would become an angel. The little guy became very sullen: "But I don't want to be an angel, I want to drive a train." Out of the mouth of babes.

Maybe the preceding paragraph can be utilized as a laugh break. We do need one now and then, especially in a world where so much sadness seems to dominate. There is hope. In connection with our being daily bombarded with bad stuff, I thought about this portion from the 94th Division of the Psalms:

16 "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers?
Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
17 Unless the Lord had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence.
18 If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
19 In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul."

I bolded that one line because it has been a testimony in my life that covers so many situations, times, and circumstances. As those who have placed our faith and trust in God, we can know that He will, in His own good timing, make all things right, and as the psalmist said, we can be comforted by these truths. Amen. Take care now, you hear?    ...More later.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Funny: "They told me if I visited the hospital to take flowers. So I waited until they were not looking and I took them."

Hello Americans and others that happen to find themselves parked here at the ole blogger ranch on this Wednesday, August 28, 2013. I hear folks all the time talking about people who come into our country needing to learn our history, our culture, and our language. All of that is included in the process of how one makes the transition from immigrant to citizen. One hurdle includes passing a citizenship test. I remember several years ago working with an immigrant from Vietnam who was studying for his test. It was a pretty thick document. Here's my point. I wonder how many Americans educated in our public schools could pass that same test. The Christian Science Monitor newspaper recently put one such test up on their website. It was a 96 question test in multiple choice format. I took the test. I got 93 correct or 97%. The average score on their particular test is 87%. I missed the number of amendments to the Constitution. I marked 23 but the correct answer is 27. The other two I missed were the 'all of the above' variety where I had chosen what I thought was the strongest of the answers but they were all correct. I will tell you there were some pretty tough questions regarding our government, its origin, and who, what, when, and how it functions. It wouldn't hurt any of us to try our hand at it. It could help open a lot of eyes, perhaps even our own.

Most of the kiddos in our area returned to school this past Monday. I can attest to the chaotic change that brought to the traffic patterns in and around the mega metroplex. Facebook has its pros and cons but I will tell you that it is absolutely a joy to log in and see all the photos of the kids we know and love in their back-to-school first day snapshots. Some of them are our very own grand kids, nieces, nephews, inlaws and outlaws. Many of them belong to our Church family, therefore, they are a part of our family as well. Others are friends beloved because they were once where we could see them often, and now we mostly catch up with them via their postings on Facebook. Maybe it's my age but I look at those photos and I whisper a prayer as I consider the world we are living in, and the great potential I see in those bright eyes and smiling faces. May God bless them all is my prayer. Amen. (On my way home I did see one bus driver on a side road trying to figure out exactly where he was or perhaps more importantly, where he was supposed to be. He was busily looking through his notes and had several of the kids standing around him offering their expert advice.)

What goes around comes around. Or so they say. When Mitt Romney ran for President they found out he had some tax shelters and the opposition labeled him the tax avoider in chief. This was played up all over the land and it was effective as Romney was painted as a rich guy who figured out ways not to pay his fair share. This week I was listening to a news program where a think tank political expert was being interviewed. While he made it clear that he is a supporter of President Obama, when talking about the President's leadership style relating to making critical decisions about hot issues like Syria and others, he said the President had proven himself to be the Avoider In Chief. He went on to say that this style could cripple the President's authority because of the void it creates. It reminds us all that a decision not to decide, is, after all is said and done, a decision, and it typically comes with its own set of issues. Okay. I thought that name calling boomerang story had some relevancy, or, at least it seemed that way to me. That's a wrap for today's visit and I do hope you will have a good day and pray that God will add His blessings to it. Amen.    ....More later.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Don't put a question mark where God puts a period." (copied)

Hello to one and all as we pause to open up a gift with a tag that says Tuesday, August 27, 2013. That's right. A gift. Last Sunday evening our Bible study class read through the 139th Division of the Psalms. This is one of Shepherd King David's greatest songs. It deals with the limitless knowledge of all things known by our Great God. But, more importantly, David sees God, who knows everything, always and at all times, in how that God constantly thinks about, cares for, and takes actions on behalf of His created human family. Not as a mass of humanity but directed towards individuals created to breathe life on this planet. David said God's knowledge and thoughts about him personally were too much for him to grasp. He was having trouble taking in the fact that God, the very God, would spend His time considering a person named David. God does know it all but He has chosen to care for each person who has ever lived. I challenge you to read that song. It's not very long. Folks, no matter how tough it is, God knows everything about it and He loves and cares for us all. This is something we can live by. Amen.

You can pick up that that basket of nuggets of truth like you would at the drive through window. I do have confidence that it will nourish more than your physical well being because it speaks to our hearts. I suppose I could have asked if you would like fries with that, but, suffice it to say, it helped me, therefore, I wanted you to be helped also. We are a funny lot. Wouldn't you agree? Last weekend we had the weather maps depicting this huge weather system headed our way. It was forecast to be a real soaker. You know. Visions of gulley washes flashed in my mind. Now that will get your attention. Rain is on the way. Perhaps, lots of it. We now can get on the computer and look at the weather radar, the current conditions, the forecast can be sliced seven ways from Sunday, even down to what will be happening hour by hour over the next several days. Hour by hour. I saw stuff on my computer screen and it looked promising. I read the percentages predicted and that made me hopeful. Yet, when I looked outside I saw something quite different. Clear, hot, humid, and nary a drop of moisture. I must have checked that computer a half dozen times. Does anyone know where I can get a rain check for that forecast? (We did get a very good shower late yesterday afternoon and believe me, we are thankful for it!)

You do know by now that I like to find short ditties that use a play on words to convey the punch line. I know I probably used this one before but I ran into it again and thought it was worth a share or perhaps a cringe or two. "A group of chess enthusiasts were kicked out of a hotel reception for discussing their winning games. The manager can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer." Ouch. Sorry. But I liked it. The UK Tabloids are always trying to plant a stinker for a headline that will at least get a potential reader's attention. Here's one from Scotland that pertained to their Celtic soccer team losing in the tournament: "Super Cally go Ballistic! Celtic are atrocious!" Me too. I'm pretty amazed they pay people to come up with stuff like that. But, to me, it is somewhat entertaining. You might go for something else entirely. One would hope so. Right? Here's something we all can do. Unwrap that gift of today and go out and do something good with it. Have a good one and I'll try to scratch something up for tomorrow. May God bless. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, August 26, 2013

From Twitter: "My 5 year old is looking all over the house for his drumsticks but he won't have any luck finding them without a shovel."

Come on in. The door is open. I am off and running, not necessarily in that order, but welcome anyway to Episode Number 1600, on this Monday, August 26, 2013. Sixteen hundred visits at about 700 words per episode, well, that's a lot of, I'll be kind, information emanating from my place here at the old blogger ranch. Thanks for tuning in. I'm not on Twitter. Yet. (Never say never.) Many people are. What is Twitter? It's another social networking program that folks use to communicate short updates called tweets. While I'm not a twitter tweeter, I do enjoy some of the more well written ones that make it into several different sites that categorize them as Tweets of the Day. Like this one served up by a fellow sojourner in life: "As a kid, all is black and white. Then you gain power and claim the hard calls are gray. But inside you know they’re still black and white." If you happen to Google 'Tweet of the Day' don't get overheated if you get a bird site or two that comes up. That's right. Some folks actually still connect tweeting to birds. They do need to catch up with the real world. Right? Another tweet that caught my attention in the 'duh' category: "Just beat my record for most consecutive days without dying." Stating the obvious no doubt but it does call attention to the fact that we are still kicking, or something like that.

I think the social media onslaught is supposed to improve communications. I heard about one poor fellow who told his wife that he wanted her to talk to him about anything at all, just like she does to her girlfriends. She agreed and said she wanted to discuss why he is such an idiot. Not exactly what he had in mind. We all learn that our words can have consequences. Like the lady who didn't get the job. She surmised that her answer of tacos and cheesecake were probably not what the interviewer was looking for when she was asked about her weaknesses. But we do live and learn. It takes a while. Most of us have finally figured out that when the customer service call center puts you on hold, they are all flipping coins to see who is going to play the manager on our call. It's worth repeating, we do live and learn, or at least that's what I have always heard.

I read last week that some retailers intend to start Christmas sales as early as August and September. This is because of their pessimistic outlook for what typically is their biggest selling season. There are still, however, folks that want to celebrate in the traditional manner. We already have three bookings for the Jolly Old Couple and we certainly know of several more. We feel blessed that folks desire for us to show up again to reprise our roles in bringing joy to children of all ages. When we were in Mexico at the banquet after Sunday evening services, we were all enjoying fellowship and I noticed the son of the newly called Pastor kept looking at me and whispering to his buddies. I asked his dad, Bro. Oscar, what he was saying. He told me his little boy thought maybe I was Santa Claus. I immediately went over and handed the little guy one of my cards. He nearly flipped out. I love it when it goes down like that! Have a great Monday and may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." ~ Socrates

A resounding "zip-a-dee-doo-dah" to you on this Friday morning, August 23, 2013. I really thought that phrase had diggity in it but I found out it didn't. I must have been a little confused because the 1956 Perry Como hit song had this: "Hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom: What you do to me,: When you're holding me tight." By the way, that doo dah opening welcome phrase is from Disney's "Song of the South." I suppose I was searching for a little zip diggity ziggity to help get my day started. You know. While waiting for the Community to brew. But, I'm glad you chose to join me here at the ole blogger ranch. When I was practicing my care taking skills on our
infant grandson, Alex, he and I used to watch a cartoon called Busytown. Come to think about it, he was most likely just watching the colors and the lighting change on the screen. However, that's what most of us live in today, Busytown. So perhaps we all need to take a deep breath and consider ways to not get so caught up in the busyness that seems to dominate. With that in mind, here's an ancient Chinese proverb that makes good sense:

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.

I was scanning through another online obituary the other day and I noticed in the pop up portion a comment from the guestbook that said they remembered how this person had always made people smile. I clicked on the guestbook itself and discovered that this sentiment was a common theme among those who had expressed their condolences. The gentleman who passed away obviously knew how to bring joy, a ray of sunshine, laughter, and smiles wherever he went. It must have been a part of who he was. And, people noticed. No one said anything about his long hours spent at the office or how he was always on the run. But, they did say quite a lot about his heart as demonstrated in his winsome ways. I know that God is in the convicting business and He does an excellent job when I read a passage from His Word. I have to feel convicted now from reading an obituary? I guess so and think about it, He could be speaking through a fellow's life that used his time to bring a smile to others.

I'm not sure I have time for any of that conviction stuff this morning. I'm just too busy. Maybe I could take two aspirins and check on it later, you know, when I have more time. In fact, I think I will make myself a note to do that very thing. Later. Of course. That was done for effect but it doesn't miss the mark that much as it pertains to me. During my three score and seven I can tell one and all how easy it is to get caught up on a hamster wheel of our own making. When we do this we lose perspective and just keep pumping that wheel often without positive results. How do I know? Just be aware of this: I've been there, done that. Here's what the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu penned: "Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing." Don't blame me if you wake up in the middle of the night with that one on your mind. Speaking of the middle of the night, it reminds me that it's time for me to make my exit for this week. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and, may God add His blessings to each life. Amen. See you next time.    .....More later.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Word Picture: "Inside me, there’s a thin woman trying to get out. Luckily, I can shut her up with chocolate." (copied)

Uh huh. We made it and on our way we found out it is Thursday, August 22, 2013. I don't know about you but I am a huge fan of those who can communicate in their speaking or in writing using word pictures that come alive. Some experts say this type of communication is the most effective because it connects to how people dream, as in images. Will Rogers had this to say, "Diplomacy is the art of saying, 'Nice doggie,' until you can find a rock." I can see that. I've been there and done that. This ability to see what the speaker or writer is saying is quite remarkable. W.C. Fields, the humorist known for hitting the bottle said this, "Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake." I suppose this is why I like phrases and sayings that help me to tell my stories. It's not always that easy. Choosing the words can be a challenge. Here's what Mark Twain had to say about this process, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Now you know what I'm up against, but, I do enjoy the challenge.

Part of the challenge is in finding an illustration or metaphor that connects to the reader. I know many of my recollected memorable lines are not even on the radar screen of many folks, especially those who are younger. In fact, when I encounter this I often tell them to look it up, you know, Google it. Even that seems like too much effort. I suppose they are too busy keeping up with the latest text abbreviations. Looking over the list that many of the kids use today, well, I would only say this about that, no thank you. I would rather work on conveying my thoughts in the 160 characters allowed. Oh by the way, or maybe I should say, OBTW, I am doing texting now. Not on my cell phone but I found an online utility that allows me to send and receive texts. I only have a few family members that I send to but they are so happy. I suppose they would rather not hear my voice. I know. It's all about the convenience factor. Well, excuuuuuuse me!

Let me give a shout out to the Lord for the slightly cooler mornings. Driving down country roads with the windows down makes for a better start of the day. I know. Giving shout outs is probably a little over the top for me but give me some credit for trying to hang with the current jargon. I've also noticed that I need my little torch in the morning as slowly but surely the season is changing and it's a wee bit darker now. Torch? Yep. That's what our English brothers and sisters across the pond call our flashlight. It's back to school time and we all would do well to pray for all the children as they will be running things in the not too distant future. Researchers tell us that our kids are not so optimistic about the future of our nation, especially their own prospects for success. Some 21 million aged 18 to 31, called Millennials, are living with their parents. That's an all time record. Many of these are educated but cannot find a job paying enough for them to be out on their own. This is why we seek God's favor to help us regain our footing as a nation. I leave you with a funny from the late Erma Bombeck, “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out." I'm not sure why but that makes sense to me. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.        .....More later.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Top of the morning to you on this Wednesday, August 21, 2013. In you are reading this you can agree with Benjamin Franklin's sentiment about his way of greeting each day: "I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up." I know Mr. Franklin was a late night person and maybe that's why he used 9 a.m. as his morning wake up time. That would be very hard for me to envision. But, his thought has to do with being alive and able to get up and going, therefore, there's something we can accomplish. Driving down deserted roads in the wee hours of the morning over time has gotten me acquainted with some of the nocturnal animals that roam around. I have learned to look for a particular well fed coyote in the same vicinity as I make my way in. I'm not sure but I think he might recognize my vehicle. He seems at times to shoot me a knowing glance. He's on his way home from his night job and I'm on my way in to my day job. In other words, we have a connection of sorts, or, maybe, truth is, I do really need to learn how to stay in the bed until 9 a.m. like Bro. Ben.

Being as prolific a writer as Benjamin Franklin, he is often credited for sayings that he did not come up with. He's also given credit for inventions that are not his. This doesn't mean he lacked any at all in the body of work he accomplished. I heard the joke for years that went like this. Benjamin Franklin invented the stove, isn't that a hot one? In fact, he did invent a stove that was vastly superior to others in use, so much so, that it can still be purchased today. When we think about those who helped to found our nation, it was quite a group. Some were known for their eloquence. Others did not speak so well. Some were well educated. Some were not, (like George Washington, for instance). Some were very committed to their belief in God. Others did not espouse a loud testimony. Some were very wealthy. Others had more modest means. In other words, they were a mixed lot, if you will, therefore, it is my belief that it was God who orchestrated this grand experiment that we call the United States of America. It was by His providence. This was a common thread of belief among those who helped birth our land. And I say Amen and Amen.

Many today in the scholarly world have spent their time attempting to find as much dirt as they can on these folks. As they do that, they then can rewrite the history books and present those we believe to be patriots as the worst sort of folks. These people almost always have an axe to grind. They like to start with the wrong they believe in and then back fill their version of the facts. I've been consistent. I know those who were involved in our nation's founding were mere mortal men and women. They had failings. They had blind spots. They did not always do the right thing, every time. In case you haven't checked lately, these are the kind of people God used as recorded in His Holy Word. That being said, I still contend that, warts and all, we do have a God ordained country and to try and destroy this exceptional working on behalf of our nation is a disservice to our children and those who will follow. Thankfully, there are those committed historians who are working tirelessly to stem the tide of these angry revisionists. I thank God for those that do stand up for a true representation of the facts as we know them. I thank God for our nation, and I thank God for those He used to provide to us the country we live in today. Amen. I guess I was in a flag waving mood today. Maybe that's why my shoulder is a little sore.   ....More later.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory." ~ Franklin P. Adams, American Newspaper Columnist

This is one of the actual papers that I have a reprint of. 
(It has 12 pages)
Hello again. I do hope that as you turn your attention to the one and only day we have to work with, that you will embrace and use it in a productive way. That's not a bad attitude to have on this, Tuesday, August 20, 2013. I'll try and remember that one myself. I'm still reading my old newspaper reprints. Here's a little blurb from the The Milwaukee Leader, Monday Evening, October 28,1929, (Pictured above): Two Rural Youths Do their Mashing Here; Fined $25 ... "Two country boys, who came to the city yesterday to cut a few capers, were fined each $25 in district court today for mashing. The young swains fined are George Grosch, 22 years old, and Delvin Barth, 25 years old, Thiensville. The complainants, both 14 years old, were Vernette Gross 1736 Fifteenth st., and Elizabeth Zankl, 1753 Eleventh st." I had to do a little research on this one. Thiensville, Wisconsin is a farming community about 30 miles north of Milwaukee. These two lads came into town to cut a few capers, live it up a little, party hearty, paint the town. These young swains or male admirers were fined for mashing which has to do with forcing themselves on these two young ladies. They probably didn't do them physical harm but they wouldn't leave them along. I might have had trouble communicating back then. I didn't know a convertible with the top down was called a breezer, a giggle water would have been an alcoholic beverage. To be in a grummy mood would have meant you were depressed and if you wanted someone to move more quickly you told them to get a wiggle on.

I fully realize the symbolism of us having the first African American President. I get it. This furor over the rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask is absolutely the epitome of silliness and stupidity. It was in poor taste. Because of all the hoopla, those involved were all fired. But, let's get some perspective here. In my lifetime no president has been more vilified, especially by the left leaning press and their followers, than President George W. Bush. His image has been portrayed with hate smeared threats all over this land. None of the mainstream press now suddenly relegating themselves as great protectors of the office stepped forth to condemn and call for anyone involved to be canned. In fact, the people portraying President Bush in a negative fashion were their people, those who agreed with their assessment, and those who sip the Kool-Aid they dispense everyday. I thought that rodeo parody was uncalled for but I've also thought the same thing about the hate mongering mainstream press that wallowed in what they now deem to be unsavory and potentially damaging. In fact, a video of a similar incident where the rodeo participant was wearing a President George W. Bush mask has been found. Where was the outrage then? It's my opinion that it is in their liberal interests to foment the kind of strife and division they perpetuate. My opinion. I may be investigated for having one but I believe it's still one of the rights we have. Or, I hope it still is.

Sorry, but every once in a while that political submarine of mine does have to surface for air. I know what some of you are thinking. Whatever happened to silent running? Good question but I didn't sign up for that duty. You can tell. Right? Looking back on the stuff I've shared today does make me wonder if I have too much time on my hands. I knew you were thinking it so I said it before you did. Some people on Facebook post birthday greetings early. I got one of those about a week early from a fellow I went to high school with. Then, I got one on Thursday evening and it was not early. It came from one of our missionary families in the Philippine Islands, and they are 13 hours ahead of us, therefore, it was already my birthday over there. I thought that was kind of neat. Okay. I most likely finished some time ago so now I'm overdue in saying farewell for this day. Take care and may God bless each one is my prayer.  Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; If service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;..." Romans 12:6-7

Good morning and welcome to my brighter than brand new blog. I used that because I remembered one of those radio ads about the 1950 Rinso with something they called amazing Solium that washes clothes whiter - brighter than new. Wishful thinking I suppose for my blog but hello from my desktop to yours on this Monday, August 19, 2013. Just so you know, I had myself a mighty fine birthday and I do thank all of those who sent greetings and especially for all the stuff my wife did to make it a wonderful celebration for me. I had a solo birthday serenade by phone from Grandson Brady, a collective birthday chorus at the Friday homemade supper sung by Jimmy Jr., Alesha, Amanda, and Alexander Benjamin, and a birthday called in song led by Granddaughter Lexie Dee. I had some of the kindest words I ever read posted on Facebook. Believe me, many of them were way over the top but very appreciated. We finished up with another meeting of our gang gathered for a celebration at the restaurant Sunday evening. Earlier in the day I also was privileged to fill the pulpit for my dear friend Pastor Kim Williams. I use that 'fill the pulpit' as a description, not necessarily as a record of what I was able to accomplish. Bro. Kim and his family are away on vacation. I have been with his people many times before and they are always very gracious and receptive. After more than forty years of teaching the Bible, I certainly don't lack for material, but, everyone should know that it is always a profound and humbling task to stand and deliver God's Word to God's people. Privileged is the right word and may God continue to bless Bro. Kim and His folks in pursuing the work He has called them to. Amen.

We came home from Church Wednesday evening and made our preparations. We were getting ready to get ready to watch the season premier of Duck Dynasty. The wife called her sister in Louisiana to make sure she knew the Dish Channel that it was showing on. I visited briefly with my mom at 9 p.m. like I do every evening and then I leaned back in my recliner to enjoy the show. I enjoyed the first 30 minutes before an attack took me out. Whatever it was, it completely sneaked up on me and by stealth got hold of my consciousness and put my lights out. Next thing I knew it was 10:15, the room was dark, the wife was gone, and I had to try and figure out what had happened. I went to bed and you-know-who asked if I had finally awakened. I ignored that and told her how much I enjoyed that first episode. She actually did one of those LOL, and laughed out loud. Don't worry. I watched the second half on the A&E website. Maybe before the next one comes on I will have figured out what kind of ailment is lurking around seeking to knock me out, in, of all places, my recliner! Who ever heard tell?

Just so you know, I thought that first episode to be a pretty good start. I am concerned that with all the fame, and the fact that the Robertson clan is now on the A-List for celebrities, it could eventually spoil the show. Maintaining the appeal that got so many watching will be tough but I particularly thought the family emphasis of this first show to be very special indeed. There's an old time promoter in NASCAR who recently commented in an interview that he believes the sport he loves has messed up. He has standing because he ran one of the most successful speedway programs for many years. He said NASCAR decided it wanted to upgrade their image and become more mainstream and more Hollywood. Meanwhile, he believes they failed to honor those down home folks who actually helped build the sport. That's my fear for the Duck Dynasty people but they seem to recognize that as well. Okay. That's about it from this neck of the woods, at least for now. I will leave you with some useful words of advice from none other than Uncle Si Robertson: "America, everybody is in too big a rush. Lay back, take a sip of tea, mow a little grass. Then if you get tired, take a nap." May God bless each one. Amen.    ...More later.

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries." ~ Bill Cosby

Good morning and welcome. It is Friday, August 16, 2013. Today I mark the 67th year of my sojourn here on the planet. I thought of doing a list of 67 reasons reflecting upon how I know I have been blessed, however, that does seem a little tedious to me, therefore, suffice it to say that I have been blessed, much more than I deserve. I know it has not all been a bed of roses or a tip toe through the tulips, however, on balance, it has been a journey where I have learned that God has been with me all the along the way. I want to share with you this number 67 in honor of my 67th:

Psalm 67

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

I've been able to go a few places and I've done a number of different things, however, looking back I know that the Lord used people in my life to bring me to where I am today. People. Not the jobs I've held and the few successes I've enjoyed. Not the stuff I've accumulated. People. Many have come in and out of my life and are now in the presence of our Lord. I wouldn't even begin to start naming them for the cast is huge and the help they provided to me enormous. Some of them told me things I didn't want to hear. Some of them saw in me achievements I did not see. My family poured into me and shaped me in large part into who I am today. And, to think that I have the girl of my dreams traveling alongside me for well over fifty years, well, that would be enough to put icing on any birthday cake. Bottom line, I've been blessed with a whole lot of folks who have given to my life. Here's a sentiment we all can take to heart as penned by Gloria and Bill Gaither:

If you want more happy than your heart will hold,
If you wanna stand taller if the truth were told,
Just take whatever you have and give it away.
If you want less lonely and a lot more fun
And deep satisfaction when the day is done,
Then throw your heart wide open and give it away!
I suppose a simple thank you is in order. Thanks to each one who has played a role in my life. And, Lord willing, I will, with His help, keep moving on down the road where I will be trying to be a person in someone's life like those who have helped me. Now go out there and enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll see if I can come up with something for our next visit. May God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" ~ Henry David Thoreau Enough

Hello again and welcome, on this Thursday, the 15th day of August, 2013. What's your busy quotient these days? I'm not sure mine is as much on overdrive as I think it is, but, I also know that we can become captive to our thinking, thus, it's important to operate on the facts, at least as we know them. I have been on the run of late but that pretty much comes with the territory. For me. For you. For everyone. We all have a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak. When I thought of irons in the fire I immediately had a picture of branding irons but that's not even close to where that saying comes from. It has to do with the work of a blacksmith. Blacksmiths produced implements, tools, and weapons that required the shaping of iron. The iron had to be heated in order for it to be worked with. The challenge was to keep enough irons in the fire to maintain an efficient work flow. Too many irons in the fire created a backlog and may have damaged some of the potential products. Not branding irons. Blacksmith irons. Got it? Inquiring minds in this case most likely didn't want to know, but, you got it anyway. Maybe they will call you on the phone and ask a question about irons in the fire. It might be worth a whole lot of money. Now you will be able to answer it. Or, maybe not.

Now that we have that little detour taken care of, let me get back to the subject of being busy. My mom is 89 years young but her and dad have been boxing up everything in most of their house getting ready for new carpet. They have been working from can to can't each day. Sure. They are tired but they get up the next day and go at it again. That makes it hard for me to complain about meeting myself coming back. I think about Bro. Ernesto Gallegos, 81, coming off a very serious heart surgery and extended recovery, but, having now established the 9th Church during his work as a missionary, he's now all fired up and ready to go knock some doors and get a new mission point established. That makes it hard for me to complain about meeting myself coming back. Earlier my wife went with mostly teens to help in a Gospel outreach near Indianapolis. She was involved in the door knocking ministry for many hours each day. It was hot. They all were tired. She came home exhausted. One outreach group responded to a lady who needed her roof repaired. They went and did the work for her. This week we heard from the pastor of the local Church there. He said that lady has not missed a service since that work was done. And, her daughter lost a one month old baby and they were able to minister to the family, and, at the funeral he was able to share the Gospel. That makes it hard for me to complain about meeting myself coming back. Know what I mean?

I said it makes it hard. I didn't say that it would keep me from doing it. We all complain now and then, then and now, forth and back, and back and forth. It's part of our condition, the human one. Knowing that we have this potential helps us to do what we can to overcome it, with God's help, of course. That subject must have been floating around my subconscious mind, that is, if I have one of those. I think we all do but I'm not sure I can prove it. I do know I heard the threat about the "I have half a mind to..." all my life. When my mom acted upon that sentiment it typically came across as being with a full mind along with a full hand of a plum tree switch. Those babies could get you coming and going. While I remember them, I can assure everyone that I certainly didn't get one every time I should have. I'm not sure it was mercy, grace, or maybe she was too tired, you know, from meeting herself coming back. Or something like that. You have yourself a good day and may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning." ~ Benjamin Franklin

This will be your final wake up call here on this Wednesday, August 14, 2013.  My experience over the years in getting one of those hotel wake up calls has been pretty mixed. I've had a few that were missed altogether but fortunately I typically always woke up anyway. I've seen some folks use that as an excuse for not showing up at a meeting. Could be. Often they looked like maybe they also had stayed out too late but looks can be deceiving. I can't remember exactly when I stopped using an alarm clock or having wake up calls but I do know this, for me, I'm better off depending upon myself. I've talked to others who have told me that if they were to try and do that, they might just still be in bed at noon. I did know one fellow who had a big hang up about being unable to wake up on time. He tried the electric clock radio, and he tried the loudest alarm clock he could find. He still slept through them all. Finally, he bought one of the old fashioned huge wind up alarm clocks. He put a metal bucket across the room on his dresser. He put the clock into the bucket. When it went off it literally danced around and he had to get up and walk across the room to shut it off. That worked for him. I'm not sure what his wife thought about it. And, I'm glad it did work because for years he actually drove the commuter van I rode.

I started to say why did y'all let everything get in such a mess while I was away but then I remembered it was already a mess. One thing we know from studying true history, as in the Bible, we've pretty much had a messed up world since Adam sinned. From the get go, so to speak. We don't need revisionist historians to dig up dirt on folks from our past because we could have told them before that everyone has their own baggage. It comes with the package marked Fallen Humanity. What I don't appreciate is when they make up stuff or come up with far fetched conclusions not represented by the facts as we know them. They tend to do this when there is someone that we have always looked up to, say, like a George Washington, called the father of our nation. Many liberal historians don't like the image of George Washington as a great man who God used to help birth our nation. Did George Washington have failings in his life? Of course he did! He too had that Fallen Humanity tag on his life. However, he did show the way for us all with dignity and grace, and he pointed everyone to God and His providence in charting our nation's earliest days. It wouldn't hurt to have some of that medicine applied to today's bruised and broken system.

Yours truly praying for the services to follow.
The new members of the new Churches in Mexico treated us as honored guests. While they rejoiced in finally achieving the establishing of a God ordained independent called out assembly, they also clearly appreciated the labor and support that had come from their American givers, and they desired to show that respect. I was very humbled by their genuine respect. They asked many of us to sign their programs and one of the visiting Mexican pastors asked all the visiting men to sign his Bible. I had expected to be only an observer but felt humbled and blessed when asked to word an opening prayer for the organization of Central Baptist Church. I also was able to give a few words of testimony regarding our work with, our support, and our love for the Gallegos family. The theme woven throughout all these proceedings was that any and all praise should be sent up to God our heavenly Father since it was only by His grace, mercy, and His provision that any of these things could be accomplished. One last thought. Bro. Ernesto Gallegos Sr., 81 years young, has always stood out to me as a special servant of the Lord. I told some of the men in Mexico that while I can't fully explain it I've always connected Bro. Ernesto to the way that Moses was portrayed. Moses came down that mountain and his face glowed from his contact with Jehovah, so much so, they had to put a bag on his face. Just me. But, I feel that same way about this wonderful Mexican man of God. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nothing like routine to get you back into the groove.

Hello friends and neighbors, it's good to be back at my regular duty station, sending out a hello and welcome from my own little command center, from the broadcast booth here at the ole blogger ranch. It is Tuesday, August 13, 2013, and I can tell you that no one comes back from driving through some of the poorer areas of Acuña Mexico without a huge and overwhelming sense of just how blessed we are in this nation. I know there are plenty of needy people right here in our own land but we're talking about lacking things like running water, electricity, and other basic facilities. What we also saw were some happy people. Many of them turned out to be folks with very little of this world's goods but they did possess the living Lord of the universe in their hearts, therefore, they had something to rejoice about. I will be talking more about our trip later but I do want to say one thing that I remembered from my last visit there many years ago, and, it was still very obvious to me on this trip. The children. Beautiful, and plentiful. That's right. They do a pretty good job on the be fruitful and multiply command. Surrounded by lovely kids. I did my best to win over as many of them as I could. I must have been letting the Santa come through, but talk about being blessed, that I was my friend, that I was!

I do hope that all is well with you, and with those near and dear to you. The temperature in Acuña was well over 100 degrees and believe me, it was hot. While we all talked about how miserably hot it was, I was reminded that I had grown up without air conditioning for most of my early life. In fact, I was telling the group about how that I worked in an office in the late 1960's that had no air conditioning. We had these huge propeller like fans that made us have to weight everything down to keep it from flying away. The employees eventually pitched in and bought a window unit but before that we didn't have much to say about it because that was just the way it was. I'm not sure I could handle that today but it does remind me of how much I take for granted in all that God has blessed me with. 

Okay. I'm still a little groggy this morning, but I think I will be better later. Or at least that gives us all something to look forward to. Starting the work week on Tuesday is always a little difficult but I'm sure, based on experience, that it will more or less take care of itself. In due time. One thing our little trip reminded us of. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has no boundaries. It is the power of God unto salvation. The folks we saw that were picking up the baton of truth had many obstacles to overcome. They had family and heritage obstacles. They had religious obstacles. They had peer pressure obstacles. Yet, when they came to Jesus, He gave them the power to overcome. Overcoming power. That's what they needed. In case you missed it, that's also what we need today if we are to honor God with the life He has given to us. We may not have the same obstacles that other folks have but we've got our very own, and based on my time here on the planet, they have our name already stamped on them. Again, dealing with them in Mexico, here in the good old USA, or anywhere else in the world, requires God and His Spirit. Amen and Amen. See you again on this same station at, near, or around, this same time.        ....More later.

Monday, August 12, 2013

On the other have different fingers!

Good morning to one and all. It is Monday, August 12, 2013, and we will soon be on our way from our Mexico trip back to our home base. We had such a wonderful time visiting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not speak the same language but we are united in our connection to the Creator through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure I will have more to say about all of this later but for now I want to wish each and everyone a wonderful Monday. You know. Monday. That day that so many dread. I know the fellows out at the Company missed me this morning. Why? Because I'm such a wonderful person? I don't think so. It's mainly because I'm the early guy, the one that has the gate unlocked and all the facilities ready to go for the day. They like that. I do look forward to catching back up with you folks tomorrow, Lord willing, and I do pray that each one will have a blessed day. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, August 9, 2013

"First it's pretty tires, then it's pretty thing you know, you're shavin' your beard and wearin' capri pants." ~ Uncle Si

It's Friday, August 9, 2013, and I do bid you a bid old howdy howdy. It won't be long now. The start up of Duck Dynasty, Season 4, is scheduled for next Wednesday evening. We are Duck Dynasty fans. We watch the program. We have watched most of them more than once in rerun. We watch the reruns typically because they are better than most of the junk being aired at any given time. I'm not a big bandwagon kind of person but I suppose I could be called a member of the Duck Nation. This weekend NASCAR will be competing on the road course up in Watkins Glen, New York. Clint Bowyer is one of the series' premier drivers. He will be driving a car promoting Duck Dynasty. (See the photo.) He did a guest appearance on the show last year and it was hilarious. Here's what Bowyer had to say about this promotion, "Being a guest on an episode of Duck Dynasty with Willie and the boys was probably one of the biggest things I've done outside of a race car since I got in this business. I had absolutely no idea the reach that show has. I spent my whole life working hard and making sacrifices to become a race car driver and to be known as a good race car driver. Now I'm just the guy with the camouflage limo that was on Duck Dynasty." He can run whatever paint scheme he wants, I'm still pulling for the Number 24, Jeff Gordon. Just so you know.

The late Ray Charles had a song that said it. Then the Hee Haw comedy series also tackled it. "If it wasn't for bad luck I would have no luck at all." The Hee Haw version used the word 'weren't'. We may have chuckled about that sentiment but I read this week about a fellow who might qualify as its target. Here's the highlight from his story: "A Florida man, Erik Norrie, is recovering in a Tampa Hospital after a shark attacked him while he was fishing in the Bahamas. In his life time, the 40-year-old says he has already survived a lightning strike, a rattlesnake bite and two different monkey attacks." I would be checking to see if maybe there's a message he needs to read. I've known a few people who were thought to have their own personal black cloud hovering over them but I don't think any of them could match this fellow's story. Theirs mostly had to do with car problems, house issues, and other unusual mechanical types of failures. Like I say, if I were Mr. Norrie I think I might just be trying to get in touch with my Maker and talk all of this over with Him.

Bro. Ernesto and his son, Bro. Juan
I am very happy to let everyone know about a trip we have planned for this weekend. The wife and I along with several others from our local fellowship of believers are planning to travel to Del Rio, Texas in support of our Mexican mission efforts in Acuña, Mexico. We will be there in Acuña on Sunday to celebrate the formation of two new Churches, moving them from mission status to fully autonomous independent congregations. Each one will have their own pastor. This is the 9th Church founded under the leadership of our senior missionary, Bro. Ernesto Gallegos. He and his son Juan have worked tirelessly on behalf of bringing the Gospel to the Mexican people. It has been our privilege to know and to support these men and their families for more than twenty years. Even though Bro. Ernesto is 81 years young, he already has plans for establishing a new mission point. And, Bro. Juan does also. This is an exciting time as we will be able to witness firsthand how God works through His local Church. Please join with me in thanking God for this wonderful achievement and pray that He will provide safe travels for our group there and back. It seems like I've been a lot different places this week in our visits each day where we have traveled together from this topic and subject to another, but, I do wish you a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and Lord willing, I'll try to be back in place come Monday morning. May God bless. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"It was so hot I didn't know whether to fry an egg on the sidewalk or try to find me some ice cream." (Me)

As I was thinking about the heat index of 108 degrees that we hit yesterday, I looked up at the calendar, saw that it was Thursday, August 8, 2013, and thought to myself, well, that sounds about right. I didn't say that it feels about right because you never get used to that kind of heat, but, we do have some experience here in these parts in dealing with it. I do bid you welcome and thanks for showing up here at the place were blogs come and go including ones that never really got off the ground. There have been many times when I worked hard on something but it just never passed the gut check, therefore, I used my little erasing delete function to send it to the electronic garbage disposal. Wait a minute. I hear you. What about the ones that should have gone there but somehow they made it out on the web for all the world to see? I think we refer to those kinds of issues as being institutional. You know. They come with the territory. In any event, it is good that we can have this time together. I always look forward to it even though there may be days when the elevator doesn't quite make it to the top of my floor.

My neck is getting really tired from jerking forth and back. We have the terrorists on the run. They are practically destroyed. We are winning. Hold that thought. Now we are on the run. It appears they have not been destroyed. And, I suppose the definition of winning is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, as George W. might have said it, the beholder is the Definer in Chief. Meanwhile, we are shutting down embassies here and there all over the Middle East. While I know that much of what goes on in our nation's capital has to do with spin and PR, regardless of who holds office, it does get old when these types of situations arise. Don't get me wrong. If they have credible intelligence about threats against our people and our assets, we need to act. Just don't do the sing song everyday only to change both the tune and the song the next day. That causes people to be even more skeptical. We supposedly took all of these actions to protect ourselves because of a dangerous threat, but yet the President has not spoken about it until he went on one of the late night talk shows. I don't know about you but that just doesn't seem right to me.

Let me elaborate some on my use of supposedly. This credible intelligence is connected to the spying program that many folks are concerned about. Now we discover this credible information, therefore, we need the program, so let's not do anything to jeopardize its funding. See what I mean? In fact, I read just this week about a part of this surveillance that allows our spy folks to pass along information to local policing authorities. Here's the rub. They give them the info but the police have to come up with an excuse to stop the targeted person or vehicle. The spy people are not to be implicated in any way. They supposedly have caught many bad guys using this technique and have eliminated huge amounts of drugs and contraband. Sounds good. But wait just a minute. These people were identified and targeted but the folks who did the identification are left out of the process altogether. For prosecution purposes the entire encounter by the police is where it all begins. What's wrong? After all, they are bad guys. Right? At first glance one would need to think long and hard about that document that gives us all the rights we enjoy. It's called the United States Constitution. Then, just think about this type of program being used to target political enemies or folks who do not not agree with your policies. I would tell us all that we need to keep the word supposedly handy because it is not a bad word when it comes to staying alert. That's what we all should be doing. Paying attention and staying alert. Just some food for thought from my viewing platform, the one labeled: The View From Here. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Lay this unto your breast: Old friends, like old swords, still are trusted best." John Webster

I bid you greetings from the front lines here at the ole blogger ranch where I'm racking up keystroke mileage faster than greased lightning. It is Wednesday, August 7, 2013, and today I'm thinking about my buddy Herman who passed away a year ago. Herman used to make frequent comments about my blogs. He also liked to go forth and back about NASCAR, politics, faith, family, and society in general. Folks like him make me better as I weigh their inputs and thoughts. A couple of months before his passing he sent me a piece about the Grey-Haired Brigade. It was written about the old timers and their outdated old fashioned ideas, you know, the ones that helped build and make this nation what it is. Here's Herman's lead in to this article: "I don't know who wrote this, but it doesn't matter - I agree with it anyway. Yep, I'm an old geezer. I can remember all but just a few of these things, like hand-cranking cars (but I do remember pushing a button on the dash or on the floorboard after turning the key on to start them). I didn't serve in the Armed Forces, but it wasn't because I tried to get out of it; I failed the entrance physical three times. I've always supported our troops, even when it wasn't the "popular" thing to do, and still do today, donating to programs for active troops and for veterans. I've watched this country slide downhill for many years, wondering what the hell happened and what it would take to set things right again. I know that us old geezers made mistakes, too - the Lord knows I've made more than my share of them. I used to think it would take another revolution to get the country back on the right track, and this year's elections just might be our last chance at accomplishing that." My prayers go out to Herman's sweet wife Betty as she continues to deal with this loss. I do miss hearing from my friend but that's okay because I know I will see him again when we all get home. Amen.

You need not wonder too much over that greased lightning metaphor. Speed has been connected to lightning since ancient times. A quote from 1676 included this description, "quick as lightning." It stands to reason that greasing something would enhance its quickness. An English newspaper published a story in 1833 that included this quote: "He spoke as quick as greased lightning." We do know that language is also undergoing change and even more so as we add the high tech world to our common communication. Just since I've been around the slang we used to throw about is very foreign to the current generation. I've got to boogie used to mean I've got to hurry on out of here. A soda can opener was commonly called a Church key. If you said I dig it about something it meant you understood it or were into it. A flat top was a hair cut. Someone very cool was hip. To interrupt or stop something was to put the kibosh on it. A pad was where someone lived. And, those peepers people talked about were actually eyes or eyeglasses. You know, as in that Frank Sinatra hit, "Jeepers creepers Where'd you get those peepers?"

I will admit that when I hear gamers talking to each other, I, for the most part, don't have a clue. I did hear a report coming out of the UK that said experts were discounting the need for teaching correct grammar and spelling. Their findings indicated that modern students have access to electronic tools that can substitute for the years of training being devoted to these disciplines. The news reader must have been a part of my generation because he took exception to those findings and ended his report by saying computers might help someone locate the information but it cannot do the thinking for them. If you read about all the things computers can do now, well, that fellow might be just whistling Dixie, although, he most likely wouldn't have a clue about that one, since he was broadcasting from Great Britain. Okay. I think I've prolonged this little get together long enough and it's time to say farewell until next time. May God bless each one. Amen.    ....More later.