Thursday, October 31, 2013

"The things that have always been important: to be a good man, to try to live my life the way God would have me, to turn it over to Him that His will might be worked in my life, to do my work without looking back, to give it all I've got, and to take pride in my work as an honest performer." ~ Johnny Cash

Okay. Time to hit the ground running on this day where many will be doing their thing for Halloween, on this Thursday, October 31, 2013. I don't know if you saw these recently published photos. The one on the top was made by Ringo Starr when he and the rest of the Beatles made their first trip to the United States in 1964. With the help of the NBC Today Show they were able to locate these same folks and have them pose for the bottom photo. I never got into the Beatlemania craze that swept the nation but I can very much identify with these before and after shots. I would have been 17 years young and getting ready to graduate from high school when that first photo was taken in February of 1964. I had finally gotten my salvation straight in January and was going steady with the Preacher's daughter who would become my wife in December of that same year. Mr. Serious was what many folks called me, therefore, I suppose I didn't have time for the so called British pop invasion. I don't look back and say what if because I know this one thing, somehow the Lord God of heaven blessed me with the life I've been given. Sure, I would do many things differently than I did, but as for the wife and family I have, I was and continue to be a blessed man, period, and that's a fact Jack. (Sorry, too much Duck Dynasty.) Amen.

That first photo reminds me of us cruising around with a carload as we went here and there. Even as I sit and write this I can easily recall at least three or four who might have been in that car with me, but have gone on to their reward. It's amazing those folks were all still around for that 'after all these years' reunion photo. Since I intentionally turned onto this street marked memory lane, I can hear a song playing in my mind's ear that pretty much describes this little journey through time: "Time has made a change since my childhood days; Many of my friends have gone away, Some I never more in this life will see Time has made a change in me." Chorus: "Time has made a change in the old home place; Time has made a change in each smiling face, And I know my friends can plainly see Time has made a change in me." And, I have the scars to prove it! Joking only.

Speaking of time and change, here's some good news we all can look forward to. This coming Saturday night, (actually in the wee hours of Sunday), the powers that be will once again rearrange our lives with the semi-annual adjustment to our clocks, the Time Change. The good news lies in the fact that it is fall back as in the Fall Season, therefore, we gain an hour as we set back our clocks. I know a few people who have somehow figured out a way to get it wrong in both the Spring forward and the Fall back procedures. I do hear folks speak dreamingly of that illusive one extra hour of sleep. Others see it as a free additional hour to use up before bedtime. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose. Of course the reality of it is found in the fact that if we are still breathing air on the planet, we need to make the best of each day we are given in proving our love for the Lord in how we treat others. Thanks. I probably could do better in that area. How about you? Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"If I studied all my life, I couldn't think up half the number of funny things passed in one session of congress." ~ Will Rogers

Hello and howdy along with a hearty welcome to Wednesday, October 30, 2013. This week finds a lot of folks busying themselves in building their own version of a haunted house so they can scare folks. In case you haven't noticed, we have a scare-fest going on in Washington, D.C. every single day. Don't take my word for it. Tune in anytime during the day on CSPAN to watch the live proceedings from the House and the Senate. Do it and I guarantee it will frighten the wallet right out of your back pocket or your purse. That little ditty is no doubt a rather lame attempt to add some levity to the start of the day. I know. I can do lame pretty well. Think about it. I've had a lot of practice. I liked this one: "A CEO is passing by the factory floor where everyone's working and notices one guy leaning against a wall. The CEO wanted to let everyone know he didn't like slackers. He asks the guy, "How much money money do you make a week?" The guy says, "I make $400 a week. Why?" The CEO says, "You wait right here." He goes to his office, comes back, hands the guy $1,600 in cash and says, "'Here's four weeks' pay. Now GET OUT and don't come back." The guy leaves. The CEO looks around the room and asks, "Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?" From across the room a voice says, 'That was the pizza delivery guy.'"

I suppose that little story reminds us to get our facts straight before we act. It's a take on the way we often get a little ahead of ourselves. The ready, fire, aim approach. You know. Jumping to conclusions. We all find ourselves using the tired excuse of that's not what I intended when these types of situations occur. My grandfather didn't buy that one. He would always ask me if that wasn't what I intended, then what did I intend? I couldn't count how many times I've used that same question in dealing with folks when something didn't go right. On them. Others. However, I need to be reminded that he asked me that question. That's right. It always comes down to us knowing that certain and undeniable truth, "It's me, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer." On any given day I have plenty to say grace over dealing with yours truly, or as I so often say, me, myself and I. You too? I thought so.

Everyone knows how much we treasure our mom and the long life that God has given to her. She has been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride during the last two weeks. Back on the 17th she had underwent a Cardioversion to shock her heart back into rhythm. That turned out to be an ordeal since they had to do it multiple times. A week later she returned for a follow up and due to a mix up in the communications process she interpreted what was said as a very dire report. But, praise the Lord, that has now been cleared up and her heart continues to be in rhythm, and they report she's doing well for someone who has sojourned here for 89 plus years. We thank God and give Him the glory for her and this good report. It reminds me of the time I had developed an inflammation in the lining around my heart. The doctor said that while it was not particularly dangerous, the associated pain being so severe, he joked, "The thought alone could kill you." I said he was laughing. Not me. But, I can now. I do thank everyone for praying for our mom. She is our family treasure. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Until we meet again, may God bless you as he has blessed me." ~ Elvis Presley

Hello and welcome to Tuesday, October 29, 2013. There are folks near our work place that crank up the wood burning stove or fireplace when it gets the least bit cool. They are no doubt rushing it but that smell does bring back a lot of memories. I can see my granddad sitting in his rocker, Bible in his lap, head back, snoozing and snoring before that blazing fire. If you like old school, we had plenty of it this past Sunday. We had us one of those spontaneous thunder events around 4:30 a.m., that lasted for about 45 minutes and it rocked and rolled, huffed and puffed, blew stuff here and there, all the while pouring out water like a busted fire hydrant. Talk about a wake up call! Then it was gone. The rain persisted but all was quiet. No power. It stayed off until 1 p.m. at our place and others went into the night still waiting for theirs to come back on. One lady called me and said they wouldn't be at Bible study Sunday evening because they would be getting their generator going. She said they had driven around the neighborhood and most everyone seemed to have power except for them. I know the feeling. I had done that very same thing before ours came back on. For me, well, I began to wonder if they had intentionally left me out. The nerve. But it came back on and I got the satellite re-synced and NASCAR was actually just ready to start the first lap. The tune Happy Days are Here Again comes to mind but I'll keep it for another time.

Ready for Church.
Driving out of our subdivision to Church brought back some painful thoughts as well. Trees were down. Debris was scattered everywhere. Eerie with all the lights out. It was too much of a reminder of our not-so-good buddy Ike that previously had made driving around a chore. Fortunately, this was mostly superficial damage. We didn't have power at the Church either. We did have some flooding inside one of the classrooms and in the kitchen area. Cancel services? Nope. We herded everyone into the old chapel area where we still have windows. We had to bring in chairs. The room was full. Instead of the choruses up on the big screen we sat shoulder to shoulder and sang the old hymns of the faith. I was helping folks get in and as I walked down that hallway, the richness of that melodious worship music would have made Bill Gaither proud. It was definitely old school all the way. The kiddos where in there with us and that reminded me of how it was when I was growing up. We came. We prayed. We sang. We gave our gifts and offerings. We heard God's Word declared. And, we left with the feeling David expressed, "I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord." (Psalm 122:1) Amen.

Turned out to be a pretty good Sunday after all. My guy, Jeff Gordon, won the race. Hurrah! The Texans didn't lose. Hurrah! They had a bye week. We had a great Sunday evening study where we began to examine the influence and impact of the Messianic Victory Psalm 110 and the variety of references to it in the Scriptures. Came home and found a Duck Dynasty marathon was underway. We started out a little shaky, but, all in all, it turned out to be a blessed day. Our windows in the garage had been open and I will admit that when the wind began rearranging stuff in there, well, it did cause me to wonder. I had made a big pot of shrimp gumbo on Saturday. Think about it. I was able to ladle up a big bowl, zap it in the microwave until it was piping hot, hit it with some generous drips of Louisiana RedHot, and eat it while watching Uncle Si do his thing. One last time. Is this a great country...or what? Amen and Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, October 28, 2013

"If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane." Song lyric by Jimmy Buffett

Now, let me see, where were we? I think we were in the middle of some conversation about something but maybe it will come to me. How in the world are you doing on this fine back-to-work Monday, October 28, 2013? You may have read about the young man charged in the Boston bombing and how he has now been implicated in a previous triple homicide. I mention this only because he has a large number of ladies who have become like a fan club or groupies. They send him romantic letters. Some say it takes all kinds but to me this is a sad commentary on our times. On a lighter note, I heard Willie Robertson, the Duck Dynasty guy being interviewed last week. The fellow asked him was it true that Uncle Si had a huge number of ladies chasing after him. Willie said while it was somewhat alarming, it is absolutely true. The interviewer then asked what was it about Uncle Si that brought this on. Willie laughed and said he thought it was more a reflection on the sad state of the ladies involved. He was joking. I think. And while it does take all kinds, and I am proof of that, all I can say is that we are living in some strange times folks, strange times indeed.

I do want you to know that I have retracted a few things along the way. I try to get my facts straight but in our saturated information overload world, it's easy to grab hold of something that ends up not being 100% of what it appeared to be. This happens to us when we have a firm established point of view and are always on the lookout for tidbits that support the way we see it. I know all too well the dangers associated with this approach, but it can happen. I suppose the teachings of my Granny Mac and my Mom were on target, "Always look before you leap." I've actually seen good God fearing people put up for the world to see some of the most outlandish stuff ever imagined. When they were confronted with the fact that it was clearly untrue they replied back that it didn't really matter because what it implied is true. Are you kidding me? Is that our standard today? I hope not. And, I will continue to do my best to make sure the stuff I report has been checked out. Except for my opinions. I guess it's good luck with that one.

The longer I hang around it is the more I find myself living the life of my grandfather. He did not believe in wasting anything. If we were up in the wee hours of the morning for a hunting excursion he would check the last night's coffee pot to see if any was left. He would pour it into his cup which from where I was sitting at the table it looked like cold motor oil. He would then turn it up and drink it down in one big swig. I nearly had to leave the room. His was Seaport Coffee. Fast forward. I come in from being out and about and find that I had left about a 1/2 inch in my cup. Yes. It's cold, thick, and very strong. But, waste not want not, I do exactly the same thing he did. Down the hatch. I may have a better reason. Mine is Community. Me? Becoming my grandfather? Not on your life! He was a much better man than I will ever be but I suppose he did rub off on me in some ways. No. It does not taste like iced coffee. Just for the record. Let me change that up a little. I have no idea what iced coffee tastes like, and why would anyone want to know? Take care and have a blessed day. Amen.   .....More later.

Friday, October 25, 2013

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” ― Leonard Bernstein

Episode #62, 2007            Episode #1642, 2013
I bid you welcome on this Friday, October 25, 2013, as today marks episode number 1642 of my daily visits emanating live and in person from here at the ole blogger ranch. I thought 1642 might have some significance but maybe I was thinking about 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. At any rate, that's a lot of thrashing here and there on the keyboard and I do thank you for tuning in each day. I do believe that being away last week did me some good. Sometimes we live very wound-up lives and until we change our environment, we don't recognize just how tightly strung we can become. I'm not one that believes in a stress free life. We need stress. That's right. Schedules. Deadlines. Challenges. Goals. Problems to solve. These keep us focused and hopefully help us to see productive outcomes achieved. I'm glad I was able to take a short break from some of these stresses, including the good ones. If nothing else, just to recharge my batteries. I'll think about thinking about doing something like that again, or at least I will add it to my list of future considerations.

Thanks for asking if I have been enjoying the cool temps around these parts. Oh, that wasn't you. I thought I heard a voice. But, it has been nice and it has really been good to arrive home in the evenings and not see our home A/C unit laying on its side with its tongue hanging out. We didn't actually see any 30's in Branson until the morning we left. It got close. Low 40's for lows each day and mid 60's for highs. Wonderful. But, as we drove out of sight, so to speak, I noticed the little monitor inside the car indicated we had us a 39 degree reading. Rather than play the Hallelujah chorus, I decided, with permission of course, to open the moon roof and enjoy the breeze. She wrapped up in the blanket brought for that occasion and we went merrily on our way, with permission of course. Just joking. She didn't mind it at all. The blue lips actually looked pretty good on her.

Nice. In his recliner.

Please don't send me any comments about the before and after photos I used at the top of today's blog. I've never denied being a high mileage vehicle. You know, built more for speed than comfort. And, know that the 2007 edition was prior to my Jolly Old Elf  phase. Plus, you do know I have a condition. But don't get all smug on me because last time I checked, we all do! Yet, all in all, it has been a good work week for me. Let me put it this way. I have had no trouble falling asleep at bedtime. And, as my wife will testify, I've had no trouble doing the same in the recliner before bedtime, although I typically plead guilty to only resting my eyes. She seems to think the locomotive sound effects indicates more than eye resting. We do try to keep it interesting around our place. I think I've done enough for the week and leave you with a desire for God's blessings on us all, for the 1642nd time. See you next Monday, Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

'A friend of mine was given six months by his doctor ... not to live, to sign up for Obamacare'. - Comedian Jay Leno

Hello and welcome to Thursday, October 24, 2013, where I think 2 a.m. may be the most opportune time. That's the time some experts are recommending that folks try and log in to the government website to get enrolled in Obamacare. You will have to admit that I have been somewhat reticent of late in commenting on things like this healthcare access fiasco. The President was right in saying the healthcare law is not directly connected to how well the website works. However, after spending some 700 million dollars with much more to come now that an all out pay anything to improve this thing approach has been implemented, it was the designed way in which the majority of people were supposed to connect into the system. Put aside the fact that government run healthcare still scares the daylights out of the majority, it is the law of the land. I watched the President's 7-1/2 minute press report on Monday. They called it a news conference but since no one was allowed to ask questions, it was not much more than an infomercial for Obamacare. I think it should be studied by those interested in how to mix unlike metaphors, blow smoke, and generally confuse and conflate the reality of what exactly is happening. It's classic. In my opinion, I don't think he did the program any good with his pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-screen dialogue. My opinion. The View From Here. Thanks.

I'm not rooting for failure here. We are a nation of laws. The legislative process is where changes need to be pursued. I do believe that if nearly a billion dollars has been misspent on this software project, then someone should be held accountable. There are some who say that political concerns during the Presidential election played a role in delaying the testing and roll out of this monstrosity. If so, then they may be deserving of what they/we are experiencing. I've been around when a major system failed to produce what it was supposed to produce in the commercial world. Not pretty. And, not good for those who were responsible for getting it implemented and working. I've heard some experts who have looked at the system say there are no quick fixes. That may reflect on its design and having to essentially start over would be catastrophic for the operational effectiveness of this process. Political concerns. It wouldn't be the first time, regardless of party affiliation!

Meanwhile, as all those shenanigans roll on, you and I must continue to work on our own set of challenges. It's called living life one day at a time. Most of us have enough to say grace over every single day. The good news for those who have placed their faith in God's Son, Jesus the Christ, is how that we have truth on our side. We studied a Bible passage this past Sunday in our class where the people talked about were living in abject poverty due to them being persecuted for their faith. Jesus had a word for them: "You are rich." Deprived. Persecuted. Impoverished. Rich? While that doesn't seem to fit from a worldly perspective, it is the absolute truth spoken by the Author of Truth. I know I would, you would, we all would be so much better off if we ever learned to operate based on what He tells us is true, while mostly unseen, yet it is the reality we can depend upon. That's a tough one but well worth our time and effort in pursuing His best. You can read that passage from The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 2, Verses: 8-11. Until next time, may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Dear santa, For this year I’m requesting, a fat bank account, and a small body. P.S. This year, please don’t mix them up, like you did last year!" - copied

Hello to one and all. It's Wednesday, October 23, 2013, and while many don't want to rush the season, be aware that it is coming anyway. I was copied on an email advertisement sent out to their clients from the professional studio we work with each year. Here's how she is promoting our appearance for this upcoming session: "THE SANTA EXPERIENCE - November 30th Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting the studio again this year! Schedule your own private portrait session with Santa....No lines. No crowds. Just your family and Santa. Read a Christmas Story. Bring your Christmas Lists. Share a Christmas Cookie. Memories like this make lifetime Believers!" She featured the promotional photo she made last year. Confession time: I am looking forward to these exciting events, however, full disclosure requires me to say it's not with the same level of enthusiasm and anticipation I had when I first started this little venture back in 2010. I'm trusting that will change when the children show up and I feel pretty sure it will.

Missionary Baby Ellanora
On Sunday we had a missionary family visiting our local congregation. They are making plans to go to Kenya by this time next year. They are a wonderful young couple and they have a beautiful baby girl. You know me, I love babies and this sweetheart is easy to enjoy. While her mom held her I was playing with the baby when one of our long term member ladies came up. She told the missionary mom that I had a special connection to little kids and that she has a granddaughter that adored me when she used to come with her as a child. She said as soon as she would put her down she would run as hard as she could to jump up into my arms. I said the girl must be at least thirty by now and she said, "How about thirty three?" Wow! Time does get away from us, but, I guess if you are going to show up as the Jolly Old Dude, it doesn't hurt to have a legacy of loving the little ones. That at least gives me a running start.

Having said that about the wife's cooking on Monday, well, it must have encouraged her because when I got home that same evening she was close to finishing a meal fit for a king. I walked through that back door to the aroma of deliciousness, as the old song says, 'wafting on the rolling tide'. She had boiled up some southern style cabbage and cooked up some field peas and okra. She served it with hot out of the iron skillet cornbread, fresh tomatoes, a tall glass of unsweetened iced tea, and for me, some of my sister-in-law's home canned just-hot-enough pepper sauce distributed liberally over my entire plate. Now that's what I am talking about! Eating out, as they call it, all last week was an okay experience but nothing to write home about. We ate at one place known for its great breakfast. In fact, you hear people say it really is hard to mess up breakfast. All I can say is this: Compared to what? Those folks wouldn't know a made-from-scratch cat head biscuit if it hit them upside the head. No. I'm not planning on going into the food critic business but I am thankful that I do know the difference. And, I know that many of you do as well. This was the finger licking portion of today's episode and until next time I send out a prayer that God will bless us all real good as we go along our way. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"In Vietnam they will steal your tires while you're driving down the road and you would never know it. Hey, they would steal your radio with the music still playing." Uncle Si Robertson

Whew! That was a relief. It's always good to find that when you show up they had not changed the access code on the front gate, my desk and computer were still where I left them, and the guys I work with actually acted like they were glad to have me back. How's it going for you today on this Tuesday, October 22, 2013? Talk about time getting away from you, they are already promoting the season finale of the Duck Dynasty series. That show is very popular at our place. My wife has read two of their books. We called up last Wednesday's episode on our little laptop on Friday morning while in Branson so we could watch Uncle Si shoot his golf instructional video, and we laughed and laughed. We know it is silly. But, it's still funny and we will hate to see this season end. But, we know there will be marathon after marathon so we can plug in from time to time. Here's one of Uncle Si's classic comments, "Some people say I'm a dreamer, others say, 'If you fall asleep at work again we're going to have to let you go.'"

We are so very blessed to have a resident shade tree mechanic in our immediate family. During the service of the wife's car in preparation for our trip they discovered we needed to replace the water pump and they said the brakes were also used up. I consulted with our Chris and he said to give him a few minutes to research the water pump because he knew the brakes was no big deal. He called me back and said he thought he could take care of it. Blessed. The plan was to take it Saturday morning and he and I would work on it. Instead, he took off early Friday afternoon, came and got the car, and brought it back Friday evening, all fixed and ready to go. Blessed. Bottom line: For $200 in parts we got over $1000 worth of service and that's what I call a true blessing. Thanks son for lending a helping hand to your mom and dad. (While he wouldn't agree, I'm sure me volunteering to be there to help may have been part of his motivation to git-r-done on Friday.)

He does know the mechanical ability or lack thereof of his dad. I suppose knowing what you are not good at doing is an important discovery. For me, however, that list is way too long. I remember an older fellow who used to work here with me and he was a great sheet metal fabricator in terms of layout and design. He would sit and hear me click clack away on the computer and at times he would just shake his head. One day he blurted out, "Do you actually know how to do anything?" I told him that I at least knew how to answer and make calls on my cell phone, something he still fumbled around trying to do. I told him using the computer I could in a few seconds research a problem involving a product or service that he couldn't even figure out how to describe. He mumbled something and returned to his rat killing and I returned to mine. It was all in fun and I knew it but it reminds us that each of us are gifted in different ways. Most of us have learned the hard way that trying to be or do something we aren't equipped for can lead to really bad results. Maybe I'm also not so good at talking about what I'm not good at. Either that or I just don't have enough time. Now here's the deal: You take care and have yourself a wonderful day and may God add His blessings to your journey. Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bum Phillips, 1923-2013, commenting on Running Back Earl Campbell's inability to finish a 1-mile run "When it's 1st and a mile, I won't give it to him."

Well, well, well, I am, for the record, singing "Back in the saddle again" and I can hear from my song memory bank Gene Autry singing back up for me, as I prepare for this back to work Monday, October 21, 2013. Remind me not to drive nearly 750 miles in one day like I did last Saturday. Remind me not to come through Dallas when they have two major accidents and it took over an hour to get around them. Remind me to listen to my wife because she had advised that we should break up the trip. However, I needed to get back into the flow, therefore, the long drive, but, we had a most wonderful time and God was so good to allow us the opportunity to be away for a few days. I know I did quite a bit of joking about how the older folks dominate the Branson landscape. Just so you know, it's not a joke. But, I will say this: It was encouraging to see so many who were advanced beyond our years enjoying themselves. We sat in the balcony on Friday night and looking down at the packed first floor, well, it looked like the cotton was ready to be harvested with so many full white heads. Sorry. I couldn't resist that one.

But, my oh my, I can tell you that John Denver was right, "A'int it good to be back home again." We had a great time but there really is no place like home. I think I've heard that one before. We enjoyed the food, the shows, and the sights, but, to tell you the truth, no one can top my very own cook for putting appetizing meals on the table. Call me a homebody. Call me old fashioned. Call me a creature of habit. But whatever you do, don't call me late when she puts food on our table! They say it's not really bragging if it is the truth and I think I have truth on my side for that one. We heard about Bum Phillips passing away while we were gone. He was ninety years young. He brought a lot of joy to a lot of people as the coach of the Houston Oilers. He almost put Houston in the Superbowl twice, just one game away. His quotes are legendary. Here's a good one we all can learn from: "You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else."

Okay. I came back refreshed and ready. Not sure for what but as Minnie Pearl put it, "I'm Just So Proud To Be Here." We had a wonderful day in service on Sunday at our local fellowship. Those people are family and we are always happy to be a part of meeting together in celebration of our Lord. Now it is on to the routine that pretty much has been a part of my life, for, well, pretty much all of it. I suppose you get used to it after a while. I must have. Get it? Routine? Maybe it will come to you later. I pray that you will have a blessed day and that we all we take time to thank the Lord for His blessings. Amen.      ....More later.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Most overheard conversation: "Did I tell you about my most recent medical visit?"

Happy Friday to one and all. It is a beautiful crisp cool morning here on this October 18, 2013. I think if a large bomb were to go off in Branson, the Medicare budget would be balanced automatically. I would guess you could have a game where you try to count the number of older model full sized Lincolns and Cadillacs. I kid you not, the breakfast gathering at our hotel looked like a pep rally for an AARP convention. I told the wife that maybe we came here to be reminded that we are not yet THAT OLD. One thing is clear. The economy may be in the ditch but these older folks seem to be feeling very little pain. They are dressed to the hilt, driving very nice vehicles, and making all the shows. The folks on stage actually encourage people to spend their trust fund on the cruise they are hawking. One commented that everybody knows if you leave it to your children they will only waste every penny of it. See what I mean? It's like we showed up for a good time and found out we had awakened in the land called Metamucil. Sadly, the wife says we look a whole lot like the other folks. So there you have it, live and direct from the front lines of the gray brigade, where we are all waddling around as best we can. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.    More later.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Most of the people I've seen look like us. Did someone call for a meeting of all the white haired folks?

Hello and welcome from our home away from home here in Branson, Missouri. We traveled through Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas before making our arrival here in Missouri. It's Thursday, October 17, 2013, and I do hope today's note finds you and yours doing well. Okay. I bet you knew this already. They have food up here that will play games with your blood sugar numbers just like they do back home. Also, if you drive for hours upon hours, you will be able to experience the tiredness that athletes have after a workout. You know. Stiff joints and all the rest. But, we did enjoy some most beautiful scenery on our way up and there is already a down payment being made on a changing of the colors for fall. Simply beautiful. My wife was the navigator in chief and she did very well. We will see what the day brings but it is low 40's here as I write and I did have the hotel room window open as much as they would allow, some 4 to six inches. The Community tastes as good up here as it does back home. Wow! You learn something new every day! May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~Dr. Seuss

Today is launch day. We will be leaving shortly for a visit with my sister up in the Dallas area and then tomorrow we will be on our way to Branson. I do hope you and yours are well on this Tuesday, October 15, 2013. Yesterday morning, early, I was able to transport a dear fellow in our local fellowship for his antibiotic drip at the infectious disease treatment place. I was a little concerned about dealing with the power scooter he uses but it all worked out fine. One thing I have to say about sitting there for a while in the waiting room. There are some pitiful situations that people are dealing with, period. That place has one patient after another who are getting some type of fusion treatment. They are not well. It's an humbling place. If you think you have problems, it doesn't take long sitting there to make you very thankful indeed, as well as whispering a prayer for so many dealing with such debilitating challenges. It's not just walking in the other fellow's shoes, it's coming face to face with the plight and pain being experienced by so many. May God help them all is my prayer.

Life can be sobering at times but if we check the truths God gave to us, He didn't withhold the difficulties that are to be experienced in this fallen world. This doesn't mean we live as those who have no hope because we have the abiding presence of the living Lord of the universe living inside of us and His Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are a child of God. Amen. (Romans 8:16) I did take a sneak peek at the Branson temps projected for this week. They are forecasting lows in the high thirties in the overnights and low to mid sixties during the day. Hallelujah! I can hardly wait to breathe again since I've been dealing with this weighty air for so long now. I told my mom that I was looking forward to opening the moon roof and taking in some of that cool air. She immediately wanted to know what I had in mind for the well being of my traveling companion. Easy answer. She should dress warmly and carry a quilt. Take care and remember to join me in remembering those folks who are less fortunate than ourselves. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 14, 2013

"I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvellous Presence." Christopher Columbus

Welcome to Monday and it's going to be the day we make it to be, on this October 14, 2013, Columbus Day here in the US, and Thanksgiving Day in Canada. There are many similarities between the US Thanksgiving celebration and the way in which our neighbors to the north do their observance. As for the recognition and celebration of Christopher Columbus' landing in the Americas, well, it's become real popular to blast him as a destroyer of indigenous peoples, therefore, the Columbus Day stuff is not as big as it once was. Here's my take: Most folks were products of their times. That's not an excuse, it's just the truth. Not everything done by those who made significant discoveries or even those involved in the founding of our own nation are things that we are proud of today. However, discoveries were made and the founding did take place and we honor the contributions made because they paved the way for the nation we have today.

For Christopher Columbus' role in moving that achievement forward, well, in my opinion, it is to be commended. And, as far as taking time to be thankful, that's a good thing no matter when, where, and how it is celebrated, especially when those thanks are directed towards our Heavenly Father. I bring you these greetings from my virtual office here at the old home place but intend on it going mobile early in the morning. I'll catch up with you when I can. Take care, and may God bless each one. Amen.     ....More later.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A man and his wife were driving for the first time into a town in Florida spelled Kissimee. They noted the strange spelling and tried to figure how to pronounce it - KISS-a-me; kis-A-me; kis-a-ME. They grew more perplexed as they drove into the town. Since they were hungry, they pulled into a place to get something to eat. At the counter, the man said to the order taker: "My wife and I can't seem to be able to figure out how to pronounce this place. Will you tell me where we are and say it very slowly so that I can understand." The puzzled worker looked at him and said: "Buuurrrgerrr Kiiiinnnng."

Today is a Lord willing day. They really all are. But, on this Friday, October 11, 2013, it's my last day sitting here at my blog busting keyboard, at least for the next 11 days. Lord willing. The wife and I are so looking forward to a few days away from the hustle and bustle that typically defines our daily sojourn. Or at the least we are anticipating a change from one set of backgrounds and props to another set entirely. A change in perspective, if you will. We currently operate where the objects not only appear to be larger, they actually are! Just joking. I thought a little side view mirror humor might be a good fit here. Our plan is to actually leave the building, so to speak, early next Tuesday morning. We anticipate being back in our place late Saturday evening. We will have my wife's trusty little laptop with us so I plan to communicate on some days while we are away. If you don't end up seeing my blog one day, you can count it as a day off for you too, or something like that.

I know the title is a little long today but I thought it fit our travel motif so I went with it. Maybe you guys can get the government going again while I am away. They are 17% shutdown which means the other 83% is still costing trillions of dollars. I know some things can be made to be more than they are, however, this administration's desire to make the 17% as painful as possible really gets me riled. They went to extraordinary means to block our aging WW2 veterans from accessing the memorial dedicated to their service, while at the same time they approved a waiver for illegals to have a rally on the Washington Mall in support of immigration reform. Have we really come to this in our country? That just burns me up folks. Some high placed administration official has stated that since the President is winning in the polls on this one, they really don't care how long it stays shut down. Games. Being played on the backs of those who risked and so many gave their lives that we might have the freedoms we hold dear. Pathetic if you ask me. Pathetic indeed!

I've calmed down enough to finish. I think. I do wish for you and yours a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. We try to make the first day of the week special in our home. It is, after all, the first day, and what we do on that day more or less sets the tone for the rest of the week. That's why I always recommend to everyone that if they are able, that they find them a place to gather where God's people come together to worship and share His truth. To be honest, I can't think of a better way to start the week. Enjoy and may God's blessings be seen as we all continue our journey here. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Well, are you struck by shock, terror, or amazement? If you are, we can safely say you are AGHAST!

Here we go again folks. It's Thursday, October 10, 2013, and I'm doing myself some heavy duty thinking this morning. What's that you say? You thought you smelled something burning? You are just real funny today. We all are aware of the fact that there's plenty of bad news to go around these days. But, there's a recent report that has really gotten people stirred up. You may have heard about the huge revelation regarding the Double Stuf Oreo caper. Millions are having trouble catching their breath over this one. We all know that the Stuf is really what Oreos are all about. Some bunch of whiz kids have measured the amount of Stuf in the Double Stuf Oreo and compared it to the amount of Stuf in the regular Oreo. They have now come forward with the results. The so-called double Stuf is actually on average only 1.86 times the amount of the regular. I just hope people didn't run off the side of the road when they heard about this. Please say it's not so Nabisco. But, alas, another institution comes crumbling down. You know, as in, that's the way the cookie crumbles. It's a sad day folks. A sad day indeed. Perhaps they can get former President Clinton in a TV ad to explain that it really has to do with the meaning of what the world double is. Or maybe not.

It's pretty hard for me to adjust my walk down memory lane when, back in the day, I used to enjoy a handful of those delectable delights along with a glass of ice cold milk. It just doesn't sound right. The 1.86 Stuf Oreo. But, folks, we all have to try and make the best of it, even when presented with such sad news. The other morning as I sat here in the cool air I thought about how my mom used to make us some hot oatmeal for breakfast on a cold morning. I decided to try and duplicate that memory. Well, not quite. She would serve hers up, made from scratch, a touch of cinnamon, with some plump raisins, sugar, whole milk, and a huge cat head biscuit dripping with butter on the side. My version: One package of knock-off brand microwave oatmeal with artificial cinnamon and apple bits, one package of Splenda, some powdered milk, and water. No biscuit, but when I got it smoking hot I could actually smell home again, and that's not all bad. In fact, not bad at all. It's okay for you to take a moment to be thankful you are not me. I feel the same way sometime.

Today's episode is dedicated to those who mostly enjoy the stuff I write that brings a smile. They tell me they prefer it to the ones that talk about politics or other weighty topics. I can understand that and I also like to smile. Hopefully, we all do. At the same time I have to tell you that the stuff I write about is whatever it is on any given day that gyrates itself from the tired old gray cells to the electronic page. There are days when I delete entire paragraphs because it just doesn't work for me. And, if I can bring 1.86 more of a smile than you had before, then, while it may not be double, it is still a good thing. The Lord knows we all need to find something from time to time to smile about. Of course, real joy only comes from knowing Him and our confidence in Him will go a long way in helping us to make sense of all the bad news we encounter each day. I wonder if there will be some kind of class action suit against Nabisco because of the emotional distress they have caused. Sounds like a pretty solid case to me. What say you? Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Josh: What does Jack Frost like best about school? John: What? Josh: Snow and tell." Submitted to Boy's Life Magazine by Josh of Lafayette, Indiana

Hello and welcome. It's Wednesday, October 9, 2013, and I send out a warm greeting to one and all. That might be because I just happen to be sitting here at the old keyboard with the door wide open, it's 50 ºF, I'm sipping some hot black Community, and I have one of those internet radio stations playing Christmas classics. No. It doesn't make me want to go shopping. But, it is good for a change of pace. Seeing many of our guys wrapped up like they were in a blizzard yesterday reminded me of my grandfather's approach to cooler weather. If we were out and about in the elements and he noticed I was fidgeting around because of the cold, he would always ask, "Son, what are you going to do when it really get's cold?" Seeing folks already wearing hoodies actually made me want to ask them that very same question. This particular station is playing a lot of different artists singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." In my three score and seven, I can't remember ever experiencing a white Christmas but I do know that we had a few where it was cold enough to freeze water pipes. I guess that was close enough for government work because we always loved that song anyway.

I've switched now to Celtic Christmas tunes. While there are dozens of these types of music offerings available out on the web, I particularly like this one. You can connect up to their many different styles of Christmas music at this location:!/home/accuholidays/
If it's not clickable, just type it in your search engine, your address line, or copy and paste it. I think they have some 35 Christmas channels including one that plays the music from the classic kid's TV programming. Now that should bring back some memories. The Celtic style renders many of the Christmas songs with instruments that invoke mood and emotion. The one playing right now is Silent Night by Celtic Thunder. It doesn't get much better than that folks.

I suppose that should be enough of someone trying to write about what they are listening to. If there ever was one where you needed to be there, I suppose that is it. However, the Christmas spirit is appealing because of its connection to the Christ Child born in Bethlehem who came to seek and to save that which was lost. I'm sure glad He came and as the old song puts it, 'When He said whosoever, He included me.' That sentiment is very good news which is what is implied in the meaning of the word Gospel. Good news to one and all in terms of its calling, but it is only when an individual accepts and makes the truth a reality in their own life that a person can experience its true application. I just switched to a kids channel and Justin Bieber is singing a song called 'Mistletoe'. No thank you. I'm now on the Old Fashioned Christmas Channel and the Carpenters are singing their version of, 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.' That I can handle. With that I hope that you will have yourself a merry little rest of the day. Until next time may God bless each one. Amen.   .....More later.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A fellow took his girlfreind to her first football game. Her thoughts: "It was great but there is one thing I don't understand. At the begginning of the game both teams flipped a quarter to see who would kick off first. Then the rest of the game everybody was yelling get the quarter back, get the quarter back, get the quarter back. So I thought to myself, wow it's just a quarter!"

Yes. I did enjoy the cooler morning we had yesterday. I'll take 48 ºF degrees for a start any day of the week, especially around these parts. It is Tuesday, October 8, 2013, and I do bid you welcome to today's episode. One of the funny things to do is to get on Facebook the day after the Texans football game and read the running dialogue as people expressed themselves during the game. Since ladies tend to be more actively vocal on Facebook, well, you get some pretty humorous takes on what is happening on the field of play. They may not be very precise in how they analyze what exactly is going on, but they don't mind letting you know what they think about the team. Right now the Texans are really struggling with quarterback play. Many of these are moms who dearly love people and they have devoted their lives to saying positive things in building up the self esteem of others. Well, I can tell you in the heat of the battle they have no pity whatsoever for the millionaire passer who seemingly can't hit the side of a barn, (unless it's wearing the other team's logo), and their unrestrained comments prove it. Like I say, their way of expressing themselves can be very entertaining. With the team stinking up the joint, reading their dialogue gives me something to look forward to.

We had ourselves a wonderful time celebrating our Chris' birthday on Saturday evening. My wife went old style on us by preparing a feast fit to be nominated for the hall of fame. She prepared her famous fried chicken along with nearly ten pounds of mashed potatoes with gravy, field peas, fried okra, sliced fresh tomatoes, along with a choice of homemade cornbread or yeast rolls. My blood measurement meter was going off like a Geiger counter in my briefcase. You would have thought it had detected uranium or something. Noisy booger. (Joking only.) They finished off the affair with birthday cake but I refrained at that point figuring I had done enough damage for one meal. Our little great grand, Madi, was able to be there and she is one special little girl. Cute as she can be and she also demonstrates a very quick mind for a child just three months away from her 4th birthday. It was a great time of feasting and fellowship.

I do appreciate all of those who stop by the ole blogger ranch for a visit each day, and also to those who were looking for something most likely really important but they accidentally landed on my mutterings and musings. After all, if God can speak to a hireling prophet through a donkey, He can use the hen scratch of a fellow like myself in sharing His provision through Christ to meet the greatest need that every person comes into the world needing. That being the need to know God and to become His very own child by accepting Jesus as the One who paid the sin debt of the world on the Cross. (You can read about the donkey in Numbers Chapter 22, and about the offer of salvation from God in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, Verse 16) Accidentally? Who knows? It could be a turning point that impacts a person's destiny for time and eternity. Now that is a powerful thought. Have a good rest of the day and may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Blessed, very blessed!"

#68, Rodney Darrell...............#20 Brady Darrell
Let's get back to it on this Monday, October 7, 2013. We are living in some strange times folks, but, I would submit that most people who have ever populated the earth thought the same thing in their environment from time to time. It comes with the package marked humanity with the word fallen added to it. Government partial shut down, debt limit battle ensues, lady with baby in her car is killed by the police after she attempted to enter a protected zone near the White House, Tropical Storm Karen, bombings every day in the Middle East, new healthcare law war stories, Iranians say they want to come clean, Syrian chemical weaponry issues, and, if those are not enough, we have the daily this, that, and the other types of challenges that each one of us must deal with. I went to see our Brady Darrell play football last Thursday evening. I had to park a good ways from the stands. While walking I came up beside an older gentleman who was taking tiny baby steps. He most likely had previously suffered a stroke. I was about to pass him when he looked at me and I asked how he was doing. His eyes had this sparkle as he responded with a determined and cheerful voice, "Blessed, very blessed!" That's how we are able to deal with all the stuff that surrounds our life. And, it also helps to see your grandson out there diving headfirst into the tackle piles. Go Brady go!

It's now pitch dark at 6:25 a.m. when I unlock all our facilities here at work. I mean it's the you can't see your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark. It's a change in the season. Did you know that these seasonal changes were ordained and promised by God? After the flood subsided, God made this promise to Noah, "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease." (Genesis Chapter 8, Verse 22) I'm glad we can rely on the promises of God. During the summer months I didn't need my flashlight to find my way around but without it now, there's no telling what I would bump into. That reminds me of another verse, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119, Verse 105) They tell the story about a shepherd as he comes down the mountainside in the dark, leading his sheep. He may have strapped a lantern to his leg to guide his way. He needed two things. Enough light to take the next step and enough light to show the way forward. I'll let you make the illumination application as you see fit.

We all know the world can be a very dark place. While Jesus was here, He spoke often about light and darkness. The popular song from 1965 said, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love It's the only thing that there's just too little of What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No not just for some but for everyone." That's a great thought but here's a word from Jesus that deals with the essence of light and love, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12) I suppose I thought about this because of how easy it is for me to stumble and fall, especially when I walk around without a light to guide my steps. Okay. Enough preaching for one day. I suppose I could close by taking up an offering but that might be carrying it just a bit too far. I do hope you will have a good Monday and may God help us all to seek Him as our guide in life. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to our eldest, Chris!

Come on in and let's take a few minutes before we get too busy to visit. It is Friday, October 4, 2013, and it is good to have you drop by today. We are pretty excited about our weekend. Tomorrow, the 5th, we will be celebrating the 48th anniversary of our eldest son's birthday. We thank God for Chris and his years of serving the Lord and taking care of his family. He's always been a resourceful individual who could do just about anything he set his mind to. He's been a Bible teacher and leader in his Church for many years and a good husband, dad, and grandfather. He also takes the time to see about his parents. That would include yours truly and that is a special blessing to us. Happy Birthday son and may God continue to lead, guide, and direct your way. Love, mom and dad.

It has been a rather activity-rich week for me and I'm sure that's true for most everyone. We do know how to fill up our schedules, don't we? I scanned a blog the other day where people contributed their thoughts about how you can know when you are just too busy. ~ You have to take a day of vacation just to mow your yard. ~ You feel stressed out but you can't take the time to figure out why. ~ You constantly feel guilty about not getting things done even while you are working on things that do need to get done. ~ You put fast food on a real plate and call it a home cooked meal. ~ You dream about how nice it might be to be sick for a day or two just to get some rest. ~ Worst of all, you end up writing a blog about being too busy. I threw that last one in there as my contribution. There's hundreds of articles and insights available that emphasize the need for priorities in life, and especially our time spent with God. I currently teach three Bible classes each week and I can tell you there is a difference in studying for a lesson as contrasted with time spent in communion and fellowship with our heavenly Father. My experience says this: Bottom line, make time for that last one each day and the rest of the stuff will be easier to deal with.

Supposedly, we will be needing a long sleeve shirt next time we show up for our sharing time this coming Monday. The weather folks are predicting some mid 50's for overnight lows but as we all know by now, we'll just wait to see about that. It reminds me of that time the wife and I drove up to Colorado just to get a breath of fresh air. We got a room at a cheap motel and the next morning it was in the high 30's. It was in October and we left the Houston area where we had 90's and the air was so saturated and muggy, it really was hard to breathe. Before dawn's light I drug me a chair outside the door of that motel room and sat out there with a cup of coffee sucking up as much of that cool as I could. I remember it well. Maybe next week we will have a down payment on that as a coming attraction. What? Can't one dream? I'll tell you this, if you don't have time to dream about some cooler air and a hot cup of Community, well, you are, my friend, way too busy! Until next time, y'all take care now and may God bless each one. Amen.    ....More later.