Friday, November 29, 2013

Now that we've disposed of the Thanksgiving Day meal, we can get back to the four basic food groups: Fast, Frozen, Instant, and Chocolate.

Hello and welcome to the Friday after Turkey Day. It's November 29, 2013 and I hope you have rested well after that shot of turkey induced tryptophan. I don't want to burst any bubbles here but I think the experts say the turkey sleep deal is mostly an old wive's tale. Chicken and ground beef have about the same amount of that special amino acid, therefore, if you slept well, take it and be thankful for it. As for myself, I am told that turkey, tacos, or tomatoes, it doesn't really matter because I can engage the snooze machine just about anytime my hand hits the recliner lever. I will have to defer my opinion on that until the video becomes available. We had a great day of feasting and fellowship. I hope you did the same.

Last week I heard many suggestions coming out of Washington about how that folks should use the Thanksgiving family gathering to promote the new healthcare law, well, in a word, and you can quote me on it, we didn't. There were even scripts published to help guide people in their discussions. The ones I saw didn't mention one word about canceled policies or out of sight increases. It was all about the free services and the subsidies being offered. Now let me see if I can follow this line of thought. This thing is in such deep trouble they actually wanted people to try and sell it to their families and friends over Thanksgiving dinner. I would say it is shocking they would even suggest this but it really isn't. Nothing much is anymore. I would laugh but it's not the least bit funny.

I sure hope you took the time to read President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation from 1789. It was in my blog yesterday and while we are not silly enough to think our founders were without fault, we can take Godly pride in their recognition of the need of Almighty God's providential care if we as a nation were to persevere and prosper. Many of today's so called pundits look at the men like the Father of our Nation, find something they don't like about his life, and essentially attempt to write off and totally disregard his demonstrated faith in the Lord God of heaven. I will take the faith of our founders any day over the anything goes approach that prevails within much of our political leadership of today. You didn't ask for my thoughts but I decided to give them to you anyway. Take care. Enjoy your time off. Your Saturday. Your Lord's Day Sunday. And, before you know it I will be back in your mailbox or at the end of your bookmark or web search, maybe as early as next Monday. As they used to say back home, I'll let you decide whether that's a threat or a promise. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgving - 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome here on this Thursday, November 28, 2013. Here's something I believe will facilitate and enhance your Thanksgiving observance. Take 2 to 3 minutes and read the Thanksgiving Proclamation as issued by our first President. It is a powerful affirmation of our founding principles and how our early leaders looked to Almighty God. Very powerful indeed. Amen.  ....More later.

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

[George Washington]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." - Irv Kupcinet, American Newsman

Through the woods and over the hills... to Thanksgiving Day we go. Amen for that. It is the-Wednesday-before here on this 27th day of November, 2013. I read about a McDonalds' in Sydney, Australia that had too many teens loitering around their restaurant, especially in their parking areas. They tried numerous ways to alleviate the problem but to no avail. They finally came up with one that has helped. They began blasting Opera music very loudly over the loudspeakers and the kids seem to prefer moving on down the road to listening to the proverbial fat lady singing. That reminds me of a cartoon back in the day when boomboxes were the rage with dudes going around with them on their shoulders blasting away with their loud music. This cartoon had a fellow wearing a three piece suit with a huge boombox on his shoulder. His was loudly broadcasting the stock market report and it showed all the dudes holding their ears and running for cover. Different strokes and all of that, I suppose.

Folks have been camping out for some of the Black Friday sales since the beginning of this week. I don't know each of their stories but my oh my that seems to be a depressing way to celebrate Thanksgiving. The mega mega big box store is offering a 32" flat screen TV for $98 as an incentive to get folks into their stores. That is down from last year's price of $148 and many see it as a forecast of a potentially weak buying season. Many experts believe people's concerns about what they will end up paying for healthcare has impacted their holiday spending plans. That almost sounds like a no brainer to me. My wish is that we all could work hard to put all these things out of our mind for a while as we prepare for a day set aside to express thankfulness to God for His provisions.

The local weather prognosticators have got us a 28 degree low on the board for Thanksgiving morning. Based on their track record, we will just have to wait and see. Years ago I bought the wife one of those artificial flickering fireplaces. It's one that has a light bulb, a spinning device, and a noise maker to do the crackling sound. Seems like a waste for that big old fireplace but it does tend to make a person feel more warm. I would hate for someone to know that I might have actually backed up to a fireplace being heated by a 40 watt bulb. Might have. It does, however, add to our celebration even if that doesn't include any real heat. We are hoping to have between 15 and 20 to show up for our family get together. I made sure we have plenty of Community on hand and there's also hot chocolate too. The wife has been busy for days getting ready. There's a feeling in the air. I recognize it. I've felt it before. It's a good one. It's a blessing type of feeling. And, I thank God for it working that way. I do send out a sincere prayer that your Thanksgiving Day will be a good one and that God will add His blessings to it. Amen.    ....More later.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.” ― Jaroslav Jan Pelikan

You did land on the right site. Maybe. We will see. But hello and welcome to Tuesday, November 26, 2013, where you caught me having one of those Thanksgiving Day walks down memory lane and flashbacks all combined into blurred and teary eyed images. My first thoughts are of our family gatherings back in our hometown. That typically leads to my granddad, Paw Paw Mac, as we called him. He dearly loved hosting the family gathering 'eatin meetin' for the holiday celebration. He didn't do any cooking but he did his part in helping out wherever he was needed. He also soaked up the visiting. Kids were scattered everywhere from infants to teenagers with their girl or boyfriends along with all the older story tellers covering everything from politics to deer hunting. The kitchen was loaded up with ladies getting everything put together. The coffee was hot and it along with the heat of the fireplace couldn't compete with the warmth of our togetherness. Special. You betcha! And, he dearly loved every bit of it. I can never think of him without the Vince Gill song, 'Go Rest High on That Mountain' coming to mind:

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

 Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Paw Paw couldn't sing a lick but that didn't keep him from making a joyful noise. I just know that his was a sweet voice to our Savior. This week we will continue to attempt to do many things the same way they did. We are not ashamed of our heritage. In fact, we are rightly proud of those, on both sides, that did their best to shape and guide our lives. Some try to tell us these traditions are so yesterday. Really? I would hope so because that's exactly what they are: So yesterday! We don't live in the past, we honor it and those we cherish in the way we attempt to hand down those wonderful times of fellowship to our offspring. When we gather on Thursday there will no doubt be some statements made that will reflect on common things spoken by those who preceded us. My wife's dad used to always preference each meal by saying, "You see what we've got." I've repeated that many times myself and I've heard our eldest son do the same. Isn't that a little whacky? It might be but I can tell you this, typically when you do see what we've got, well, you pretty much lose interest in being critical. I can hardly wait. Yum Yum.

How about some very cold for Thanksgiving? To me, that only enhances it more. I know. Many prefer some Gulf balmy warm winds blowing. Some actually relocated into this area to avoid the cold weather. They would just as soon find themselves in Bermuda shorts and sandals. I don't even know if they still call them Bermuda shorts. And, if it is really cold it does tend to coop up the kiddos in the house all day. However, I can only give it to you from my way of seeing it, and I do think the cooler weather is a plus. We will take it whatever way it comes and pray God's blessings on the day. We had a pretty good preview this past Sunday as our local fellowship all gathered around the table to share in our collective version of a Thanksgiving meal. Seeing everyone enjoying food, fellowship, and yes, family, because that's what we are, was very uplifting and a cause for giving thanks to God. I do hope that you will take some time to count your blessings along with the benefits that our great God has given to us all. (The 103rd Division of the Psalms.) Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, November 25, 2013

“Wherever you are, be all there.” - Jim Elliott, missionary martyr

My old friend, Hugh Roberts
Good morning and welcome to our Thanksgiving Week countdown. It is Monday, November 25, 2013, and folks are getting their mouths all ready to work on some roasted turkey and cornbread dressing. It is a time of remembrance as well. We all are intrigued by the 'where are they now?' scenarios for folks that we were associated with from our past. I caught up with a fellow last week because his wife posted a video on Facebook of him preaching the Gospel. He and I were close business associates for ten or more years. He called on me as a representative of a large computer leasing firm. We enjoyed sweet fellowship as brothers in Christ. This man was blessed with an ability to be successful in selling. Very successful. That success brought him to the very top echelon in his field. That success also brought him to the gutter in terms of his personal life. Somehow and in some way God brought him through all of this and as a result he left the business world at age 55 to devote his life to sharing Christ with others. I watched him preaching on that video and saw God move in that large assembled group. It made me thankful for our years of time together and for the work God is allowing him to do today. Amen and Amen.

Catching up with Hugh gives me an opportunity to share another little story. I probably wrote about this years ago but it's worth repeating. After I had left the corporate world and the consulting world, the wife and I were coming off a devastating loss due to a business investment that crashed. I heard about Hugh's dad having passed away and felt a desire to go and be there for his memorial service. We didn't really have extra funds for me to travel to Chattanooga but my wife encouraged me and I went. He didn't know I was coming. As is my custom, I got to the funeral home early. A few folks were milling around and I was visiting with them as they began to talk about what a tremendous man Hugh was. I spoke up and gave my thoughts in agreement but soon learned they were not talking about my Hugh but rather it was their Hugh, the dearly departed Hugh Sr. I could see that this man's life was quite different than his son had experienced. He had never achieved any huge business success. He had never jetted around on private planes and he didn't have a drawer full of Rolex watches to prove his accomplishments. However, Hugh Sr., had a lifetime of being recognized as a hardworking man who loved his Lord and showed it through his faithfulness and service to his family, to his Church, and to his community. I've never forgotten that because it speaks volumes about what constitutes true success. And, I'm certain that Sr. would be beaming with Godly pride in seeing his son reach out to people all over the world with the life transforming message of the Gospel. Amen.

Last Wednesday evening during our prayer and Bible study we experienced God touching our hearts as we shared needs, and yes folks, we are a needy people, along with praises and thanksgiving. It was a special time. Just our little group but God was there. Think about that for a moment. You mean the Creator God would show up where a handful of folks are gathered together to seek Him? He would and He did. As a teacher I am humbled when God uses the text I choose and the words spoken to encourage another fellow traveler. Humbled. You mean God would use you, an ordinary person, sharing His word, to accomplish His purpose? He would and He did. Not the messenger but the Message folks. And, we can be sure that when we are faithful to share His truth, He will see to it that it will accomplish His purpose. (Isaiah 55) Pretty powerful thoughts if you ask me and the fact that they are true gives us a running start on our thanksgiving observance. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, November 22, 2013

“We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who Comes on at five She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam In her eye It's interesting when people die - Give us dirty laundry..." Don Henley

Here comes Friday. I can assure you my friend that it is a sight for sore eyes for me on this November 22, 2013. Thanksgiving is next week. Does it seem like it came early this year to you? (It's actually late on the calendar.) It sure does to me but maybe that's the age related run away mental treadmill that speeds everything up. You can't make this up. One local station reported on this major potential downer for next week's celebration. That was the teaser because it is the November Sweeps where they calculate viewers and set advertising rates. What was the you'd better-stay-tuned to find out issue? A shortage of Butterball fresh, never frozen turkeys. That's it? They then interviewed people from local major grocery chains. They said they had not been notified of any shortage, nor had they seen any change in their deliveries. It's pretty sad when folks don't realize the huge black cloud hanging over them that they can't even see. Now here's the payoff. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but the very next story they ran was one showing how one large chain was once again donating 15,000 turkeys to give to needy families. Let me summarize for you. We have a major crisis brewing about a turkey shortage but the folks who sell them don't know about it. And, even though there's this huge crisis, someone was able to secure 15,000 to give away. Must see TV? I don't think so.

Let me throw out something as a source of thankfulness. Old fashioned fall has returned to this neck of the woods. Wowee Zowee! I'm talking about the changing of the colors.You know. Like those you see presented on one of those calendars with photos taken up East. Well, we have it here for this year and it is something to behold. The drought over the last several years have robbed us of this natural masterpiece but this year's rain has brought it back. I'm not saying the trees haven't been undergoing seasonal change and while they did eventually lose their leaves, it's not even close to the same.  Not on your life. I have had the opportunity to drive down some remote country roads and I'll just tell you the woods are alive with color and that adds so much to this time of year as we prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I count this as a blessing along with the memories it evokes.

Happy Birthday Stefani!
It doesn't take much to get you excited, does it? Maybe not. And, maybe it comes with age but I thank God for this creation induced spontaneous calamity of colors. Last but certainly not least, I pause to recognize the birthday of our granddaughter Stefani who turns 20 years young today. This is our eldest Chris and wife Sherrie's baby girl. God has been so good to allow us to be close to our grand kids as we have been able to watch them develop and grow. Stef loves to spend time with us, especially with her MiMi. I'm not sure exactly how that works because it used to be Poppy who was the main attraction. However, I've seen it now repeated often enough to know that it is obviously a girl thing and a natural development. We look forward to celebrating with Stef this evening and we pray God's best into her life. Happy Birthday Sweetheart from your MiMi and Poppy.

That should do it for this week. I am working on a lesson for Sunday that will reflect on illustrations from the Bible of a truly grateful heart. That's something we all could use. Take care now and have yourself a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Lord willing I will be here in my place doing my thing come next Monday. May God bless each one. Amen.         .....More later.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge, and children with special needs inspire a very, very special love." ~ Sarah Palin

Greetings friends and neighbors. It's Thursday, November 21, 2013, and the memories keep stacking up here at the ole blogger Christmas ranch. Special needs children and Santa. What a combination! I do my best to bring joy to these little ones that are beloved of the Lord, but I will tell you, Santa at times has to fight back the tears. I am knocked down by moms whose lives were forever changed when they had one of these special babies. I can tell you this: The devotion, patience, and love shown by these moms is something worthy of our recognition and respect. May God bless each of them. Amen. The other folks, well, especially some of the adults, and, okay, I'm going to say it, and in particular some of the ladies, well, they can be about as silly as they come. As we made our way into the Marriott last Saturday morning a couple of ladies over at the front desk spotted us and came running, literally, up to where we were standing. One of them said she was a Santa fanatic and she was actually jumping up and down. She then asked if I had known Simply Santa. I told her I didn't think so. She said his real name was Bobby but he had passed and it was so tragic because he had been such a great Santa. She was finally able to calm herself down long enough to get a photo and we hurriedly made our way to our destination.

WordPress is a big blog hosting utility. It's not the one I use but it is a big one that is worldwide in scope. They recently made the decision to publish the statistics regarding the blogging activity accomplished through their portal. They report that nearly 400 million people access over 14 billion pages each month. That, of course, means millions of new blogs each day and millions of comments. That surely makes me a small fish in a big pond. But, I'm the only fish I can be, therefore, I, like so many others across the globe, attempt to sketch out a corner of my world to share each day. It's stimulating to think that others throughout the world sit down each day at their keyboard and do their version of what I do in their own language and directed towards their target audience. As I sat on the bench outside of the hotel waiting on my ride, a Japanese family approached me. They spoke hardly any English but motioned for me to please make a photo memory of their daughter with Santa. She was about 8 or 9 and smiling from ear to ear. Just think. Her dad now had a story and a photo to share with his readers. Hey Jack, it is a small world after all!

During my first series of appearances I easily had my photo taken over 400 times and the vast majority were pleasant experiences, but not 100%. I know I have been consistent in saying how the parents in this scenario are most fascinating to observe. Most of them are courteous and complimentary to Santa and the majority even apologize when their child is out of sorts or unruly. Most. Not all. I had this one lady who was decked out in her Alumni football stuff from head to toe. I'll not name the school but they are winning this year and they do use the word 'football' as part of their quarterback's name. At any rate, her little darling wanted no part of sitting, standing, being held by, or even in the vicinity of Santa. She was incensed. How could this be? You know, they are, after all, having a winning season so everything should be going well. Right? Here's the funny part. She whispered to the helper lady in a not so quiet voice how that she didn't know what the problem was because her little man had never been afraid of anything in his life. (All 18 months of it.) That is until that day. And, yes, she was glancing at me when she said it. Defective Santa? I think I had ample proof that this was not the case but there you go. It is, after all is said and done, in the eye of the beholder. In addition to that, it allowed me to share this little story with you. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless us, one and all. Amen.       .....More later.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Yes it is Wednesday, November 20, 2013, and I have some news hot off the presses. Or, that's how they used to say it when they printed news on presses and folks would wait on the street corner to read all about it. Statistics can be tough to handle. One fellow lamented the fact that as a white guy, he is more likely to become a serial killer than a rapper. Bummer! Another fellow shared that in his experience, any restaurant that can afford to advertise nationally is not one you would want to patronize. Rule of thumb I suppose. I read about a group preparing for a surprise retirement party for one of their co-workers. In this case, the party was not the surprise. Oops! One lady said there are days when she wished she could push a button to restore her original factory settings. I think we all can identify with that one. We don't always get do-overs. Right? Another lady said she went to a restaurant where they treat you like family. The first thing they told her was to sit up and they asked if she had gained weight. Real homey. Maybe too real.

America's media elite continue to be alarmed at the popularity of Duck Dynasty. They believe it portrays everything that is wrong about our nation. The family values featured on the show are like going backwards to them. They call the Robertson family lots of names including racist and animal killers along with Bible thumpers. What they cannot understand is why America has fallen in love with these people. Many have attempted to figure this out. Hey Jack, I can tell you this, if we have to choose from all the junk available to watch versus reruns of Duck Dynasty, their reruns win every time. We've seen some of those shows three or four times, and call us crazy, but we still laugh and enjoy them. There's something appealing in seeing the family ties and love of God and country that attracts people to this show. Sitting in my Santa chair last weekend, I had a very upscale mom tell me that she guessed her fussy little guy just had a problem with the beard. She quickly added that she didn't understand why with Duck Dynasty on all the time at their house. Enough said.

Just how far out of touch are the folks in Washington who make decisions that impact our daily lives? The US Department of Education is pushing a new Common Core Curriculum that is being heralded as a way to prepare our children to compete in our technologically driven world. The parents are up in arms as they learn more and more about the liberal agenda that saturates this approach to education. One example is a 4th Grade writing assignment that asks the student to envision themselves as a Nazi and to come up with reasons for why they hate the Jews. When people criticize, the centralized government tries to shut them up. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, characterized the parental backlash in this way: "White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t as brilliant as they thought." I don't think Mr. Duncan wants to take on the moms in this country who express concerns over what and how they children will be taught. I'm also very sure the values espoused by the Robertson family are not a part of this curriculum. I believe we all had better stay focused and ready as Big Government attempts to alter the shape of the way we think and the way that we live our lives. May God help us is my prayer. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it." - Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado

Okay. Here we go again. It's Tuesday, November 19, 2013, and I welcome you to today's edition. I may be on to a new weight loss system, most likely better suited for men. You grow you a beard. Preferably a white one. You get a top of the line Santa suit weighing around 10 pounds. You add another 5 pounds of padding for being able for the belly to shake like a bowl full... I think you get the idea. You than get yourself a gig working in the Houston area, (14 hours of seat time), where the temps this past weekend were around 85 degrees and the humidity was blowing the lid off. Then you set yourself up under some harsh lighting and a long line of folks, so many in fact, they pretty much negated any good the A/C system was doing. There they stood all huddled together as they bravely waited for their few seconds of fame with the Jolly Old Elf. My wife did try to get me to do the before and after weigh in but I figured it was just an occupational hazard and/or benefit depending on how you see it. In my case, the diabetes voice says weight control is one of the keys to managing the creature, therefore, any weight lost is probably a benefit, however, the sweat and sore bones, well, you can keep those if you like.

The event I was involved in was a huge fund raiser for worthy causes and yes, I was a part of pushing Christmas and that was, after all, their holiday market motif. There does seem to be quite a bit of complaining about how Thanksgiving is being usurped by Black Monday through Friday Christmas sales that begin before Halloween. Recently our little Brady actually gave me his thoughts about how they are cranking up Christmas way too early. I know he's heard adults talking about it, but when a soon to be eight year old can articulate a loss that occurs when something as important as Thanksgiving gets pushed aside, maybe it's time to rethink what we are doing. Retail, however, has only one outcome in mind: Show me the money! Individually, we can do what we can to enhance the traditions that we want our children to remember and continue. Meanwhile, get ready for more, not less.

I've enjoyed reading those who are taking time each day to put up an expression of thankfulness about different things on Facebook. This is a November activity and many started out with their testimony of how thankful they are that God reached down and saved them eternally through their response of faith to Him sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for them. I commend them for putting their relationship with God as the first priority of thankfulness in their lives. And, so should it be with everyone who has ever been saved by the grace of God! I think one of our greatest enemies to our daily walk is when we become forgetful about the benefits we possess as believers. We belong to Him. Nothing can change that. He is with us each step of the way and He will never leave us and He will never forsake us. We have His word on it! (Romans 8:31-39) Amen and Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest." ~ Rodney Dangerfield

Welcome back to the blog factory. This one happens to operate out of an undisclosed location here at the ole blogger ranch. It supposedly reflects gray matter musings but some days it doesn't seem to display enough gray to be recognized as such. But, thanks for tuning in where I bid you a hearty hello on this Monday, November 18, 2013. The continuing saga involving the new healthcare law is being lampooned by all sides. The 'if you like it you can keep it' pledge made 25 or more times by the President has become the punch line to all kinds of puns and jokes. The in-the-tank Kool Aid drinking mainstream press have tried just about every way possible to spin it so that it is less damaging. One of the major news organizations said the President's statement was in error and it did mislead people but it appeared to them to be unintentional. A recently published book by a former White House staffer revealed the pledge was actually vetted before the President used it with many on his team advising against saying it. The NY Times may win the award for their jewel: "It was an incorrect promise." Okay. Here's my take. He said it in order to get the law passed. Period. End of story. It could never have been true from the get go because of how the implementation of the law was structured as required within the law itself. Bottom line: It was known to be a false statement all along. No spinning can change that.

I know. There's supposedly a fix in the works. Many believe the rule change the President announced will not be effective. It's most likely the story of too little too late. In politics it's hard to get that Geni back into the bottle. It's like seeing a traffic accident developing in front of your very eyes. It hasn't happened yet but it is only a matter of time. I watch quite a lot of NASCAR racing where accidents are a normal part of the program. It is amazing at times when a driver misses a big one by the hair of his or her chinny chin chin. It's one thing to watch that on television. It's another to watch it as one drives around the metroplex. Some days it seems that near miss is the name of the driving experience. The other day while stopped at a traffic signal I saw a driver cross three lanes of traffic to get into the middle lane going in the opposite direction. They could not see a fellow speeding down that middle lane heading right for them. At the last second the crossing driver floored it and went into the regular lanes past the oncoming middle lane driver and avoided the big one by a hair, literally. Let's hope this oncoming healthcare collision will somehow avoid the big one that ends up wrecking us all in the process.

Some say you shouldn't criticize this program if you don't have a way to fix our broken system. While I understand that point of view, I can say that whatever the answers are to improving healthcare for people in our nation, I am 100% against any system that is totally dominated and run by the government. Have there been abusive practices by insurance companies in the past? Absolutely. Those should be curbed. Are there too many poor people without access to healthcare? Of course there are. Again, my objection is not necessarily directed towards fixes that need to be implemented, but, I think this roll out speaks volumes about why government needs to be limited. Just last week I read where the IRS sent hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds to fake filers residing in foreign countries. I rest my case. Have a good rest of the day Monday and I'll try to lighten up a little for tomorrow. May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.    ....More later. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

"I like to reminisce with people I don't know." ~ Steven Wright, Comedian

Today is promise kept Friday, November 15, 2013. What promise? The one involving the notorious FFA jacket. That one. Oh yeah! You folks think I make this stuff up, don't you? Well, I might be prone to embellish some in the reporting of the story details now and then, but, when it comes to a challenge to my ability to still comport myself as I did during the early 1960's, well, I have to rise to the occasion. Okay. I didn't zip it up. Jackets that stay in storage for long periods of time do tend to shrink. See. You learn something new every day. Also, in 1961, when I got that jacket, I was 15. (As in this formula: 15 + 52 = 67) The wife gloated quietly, thankfully. In fairness, I must also disclose that most of the medals reflect on my ability to be tested on paper regarding all things agriculture and animal husbandry. Our high school chapter did do numerous field trips to assist farmers and ranchers, but, for the most part, I was an observer rather than an actor.  When it came to the hands on portion I left that to the farm and bull riding boys who seemed to enjoy climbing off into the hog pen. I was a book reader and test taker participating in different competitions and rallies. I didn't have the wearing of that jacket on my bucket list because I don't have a bucket list or any other bucket to put it in, or something like that.

Exactly what it looked like!
There are many conundrums in life. (Confusing and difficult problems or questions.) I get the part about how it's melt in your mouth good, but why didn't they warn me about the bulge in my belly? I could have listened to Paw Paw Mac because he firmly believed in the push away method. He said eat only what you should and then push away from the table. He would even demonstrate if one needed to see how to do it. One fellow observed how that that children are a blessing in old age, and after all is said and done, they should be since they did their part in getting you there. Enjoying the fruit of your labor is like the old saying: Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice. A recent sermon reminded us that life is not about operating on the basis on what we do not have, but rather, it is using that which God has given to live life as He would have us to live. I remember teaching my wife how to drive a stick shift in our brand new VW Karmann Ghia back in 1966. Another lesson learned: If your wife wants to learn how to drive, do not stand in her way. Get it? I thought so.

The previous paragraph is what I might call brain fog filler. (Stuff you write about when you can't come up with anything better.) That car reminds me of how people always say you should have hung on to that one because it is now a collector car. Thanks. Most people already know you can save 15% on your auto  insurance. Sorry. Brain fog again. Sure. We all should have kept our older cars. That Karmann Ghia had 200,000 miles on it when we finally got rid of it. Our kids were walking around with backs shaped like the letter 'C' from riding in that car. It was literally worn out. You had to keep the engine revved to keep the lights bright enough to see where you were going at night. But, it would have been wonderful if we could have kept it, and, oh yes, especially had we kept it like it was in that photo. That would be nice. However, life happens. You knew that one too? I should have known because I do have a very bright audience of readers. Thanks for letting me share. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and, come Monday, I will try to be somewhere listening for my name. Amen.  .....More later.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Lexie!

Luncheon for Lexie!
Today is Thursday, November 14, 2013, and we are happy to be thinking about our granddaughter, Lexie Dee, who is celebrating her 13th birthday today. This is the baby girl of our youngest son Rodney and his wife Mitzi. Our Lexie is about as well rounded as they come. She is blessed with smarts. She has always been a witty girl as far back as when she was a toddler. She is athletic. And, she is well spoken and respectful. She will never be the tallest player on the court but no one plays with more intensity, spunk, and heart than our Lexie. We thank God for this young lady and we pray His blessings into her life. Happy Birthday Sweetie from your MiMi and Poppy.

We were able to meet Rodney, Lexie, and Brady Darrell for lunch on Sunday. Mitzi and big sis Kyleigh had a previous commitment to go into the metropolis for the big downtown Nutcracker market extravaganza. We so greatly enjoyed our time recognizing Lexie's special birthday. We talked about having them come and sing but she asked that we not. Rodney told about one of their cousins who recently was sung to and it was obvious she did not care for it. Brady piped up that if they came and sung to him he would do his own response. He then pantomimed his grimaced face as a demonstration. That boy. Our family is known for its characters. The wife was to take Lexie shopping for the afternoon but she wasn't totally clear on directions. Lexie said we didn't have to worry because she not only knew the way but she also knew how to use the GPS on her phone. Kids today. They are something.

What are the most important things to people as they go about their daily lives? If you look at the statistics reflecting what items are the most searched for on the internet, two major areas dominate all the rest. Sports and Celebrity. No contest. I can't deny my role in checking out scores and of course I do want to know what's going on in NASCAR. Therefore, I am a participant to some extent in these numbers. It is estimated that nearly $700 billion is spent on sports worldwide. Football is the largest portion. No. Not American football. World football. Soccer. Total spending for this worldwide addiction is about 4 to 5 times more than the NFL receives. The celebrity/entertainment complex also gets it's fair share of income from those devoted to movies, concerts, TV, and other related venues. These distractions can become dominant if we are not careful. I got to thinking about this when I read a Bible verse someone had posted on Facebook. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Temporary versus the unseen but that which lasts forever. Thanks. I suppose I must have needed that. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." ~ Robertson Davies

Dress Rehearsal, last Saturday
Welcome to Wednesday, November 13, 2013. I've told you before how people's perceptions change with the seasons. Wearing the bushy beard year round makes people at times a little wary. I walk in and men grab their back pocket to hold onto their wallets. The moms hide their children. Okay. That's an exaggeration but it is telling how this all changes when the cooler air of November shows up. This past early Sunday morning I went to the do-nut shop to get goodies for our Bible study class. When I walked through the door a little fellow of about five was standing with his mom. She was placing her order but the little guy cried out, "Hey mom, look, it's Santa Claus." She whirled around and when she saw me her jaw dropped but she then shyly apologized for her son's outburst. I told her not to worry and gave the little guy one of our cards. I don't know which one of them was more excited, him or her. When I finished my purchase and turned to leave the little guy was standing up in his chair waiting for me. When I got near the mom told him to go ahead and tell me. He was sporting frosting on his nose and chin and said in his best and bravest voice, "I hope to see you real soon." I wished them a blessed day and moved on down the road. Not a bad start to the day.

My blog postings have been viewed more than 106,000 times not including those I send out each day via email. That sounds like a lot but think about it. Some have millions. Those landing on mine are most likely looking for something else. I did a blog recently where I quoted Elvis in the title. I didn't know it at the time but that's a sure way to get more hits. That blog jumped to the top in terms of views, therefore, I guess there are still a whole lot of folks still searching on the King's name. The wife and I recently watched a television video of a remake of the 20th anniversary concert given by Elvis in Memphis. It's been around a while but we had never seen it. A remake. They assembled as many of the original folks who had been on stage for that concert and brought them back together. There was Elvis in the middle of a huge screen singing his heart out. Accompanying him live were most of the 1970's original orchestra, band, choir, and Gospel singers. What a technological feat! And, it was interesting to see the talent still there in these older folks. Technology. Pretty amazing stuff, if you ask me.

Some people try to rationalize their cravings. Chocolate comes from cocoa which is a tree. That makes it a plant, therefore, chocolate must be salad. Here's one to remember. You can tell a lot about a woman by looking at her hands. For instance, if she is holding a gun and pointing it at you, she might be angry. Here's a National Geographic insight. When Cheetahs race and one of them cheats, I bet the other Cheetah says, "You are such a Chea-tah!" And then they laugh and eat a zebra or something. Finally, here's some wisdom we all can use. What life is about is mostly finding quotes and stuff that tell you what life is really about, and maybe a picture of a tree. Here's, something else to keep you busy until next time. Why do people scream "Heads Up!" when you are supposed to duck? That will have to do for today. Take care now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“Social media has infected the world with a sickening virus called vanity.” ― Kellie Elmore, Poet

Okay. It's Tuesday, November 12, 2013, and it's time to get down to business. I know about Peeps Easter marshmallow candy. I know about the use of the word peep as in the first peep of dawn. And, yes, I know that peeps is also used to represent people. In fact, it's amazing how many people call those who read what they post on Facebook or Twitter, their peeps. Well, seeing a number of grandma's using it that way made me check into where it came from. It actually represents a shortened version of the word people. Who knew? Things like that along with all the abbreviations used is enough to cause one to be dizzy. All those letters either proceeded by or followed by some type of punctuation mark, whew, no wonder I've never got into texting on my cell phone. Then you have those who have made up their own codes. Good luck with that one. I heard one writer say it's interesting that a social media networking facility like Facebook designed initially for college students has now been overrun by quilting grannies. Facebook doesn't mind at all. To the tune of billions. That's right. With a B.

I haven't forgotten that little exchange I had with the wife about me putting on my old FFA jacket. When I told that little story about her asking if I had planned on zipping it up, the boys here nearly fell out on the floor laughing. Hey! Who do they think I am? Uncle Si? Or what? I thought it was good for perhaps a chuckle but way too much laughing if you ask me. I've come up with a plan. It involves me fetching that jacket, putting it on, and, yes, zipping it up. I forget what the exact size of that jacket is but here's how I intend to deal with any real danger. I'll get one of the grand kids to hold the phone with a 9 and a 1 already pressed. That way they will only have to add another 1 to activate the emergency response alert. Okay. Just messing around. I already know I can zip that dude up without a problem. The only issue will be how long I can hold my breath.

I guess my wife is right about one thing. I do tend to put things off. I think I must have gotten a double dose of the procrastination gene. I typically look at it as mulling things over, thinking about them, and using analysis and review before deciding to decide. There are things that are worthy of intense deliberation. Others not so much. I think, for me, I have this idea that if I wait long enough maybe it will either go away or take care of itself. Most of the time that's not how it works. I probably need to do something about it but I wouldn't want to make any sudden changes. I'll think about thinking about it. Seriously, being aware of our own personal quirks and knowing we need to do better is always preferable to staying stuck in a trap of our own making. Okay. So, I will do my best to do better in responding sooner to those things that require a decision and action. Or, at the very least, I now feel better having had this little conversation about it. Thanks for being a good listener. Have a great Tuesday and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.     ....More later.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?" ~ George Canning

I did make it back. It's countdown Monday and I bid you a ho ho ho on this Veteran's Day remembrance here on November 11, 2013. This is the day set aside to remember and honor veterans. Two weeks ago a fellow who brings his younger children to our Church sponsored AWANA Bible Club brought his oldest son to visit. His son had just finished his USMC boot camp out at Camp Pendleton, California. I greeted his son and thanked him for his willingness to serve in our nation's military. I explained to them that my late brother had been a retired USMC Gunny Sergeant and that he had served for many years as a drill instructor at Pendleton. The young man's eyes lit up. The dad paid respect to my brother and his service and told me he was sorry for our loss. Instant respect. Earned. That's what we all owe to those who have honorably worn the uniform and defended our way of life. I pray a blessing on all those who have served, are serving, and for all their families. Amen.

This week is a countdown because this coming Saturday will find the wife and I participating in the big market festival here at our local big mall. I will be dressed "all in fur, from his head to his foot" as I do my best to bring joy to hundreds of little kiddos. That phrase is a quote from the book that my wife, aka Mrs. Claus, will be reading to the children, 'The Night Before Christmas'. I've taken the time to read over several of this year's hot toys list and hopefully I will be prepared for the requests coming my way. The holiday market event is a huge fund raiser for the Junior League who supports many worthy causes including the fight against breast cancer and others. This will be our 4th time to grace Santa's throne at this event and we look forward to doing our best in helping families to make memories.
Last week's election produced some stuff fit for Ripley's Believe It or Not. The Vice President actually called a candidate to congratulate them on their win. Only one problem. The fellow he called was the loser. Up in Washington state one dead man was elected by a landslide and another dead man is leading in a close race that may go into a run off. Both died recently, therefore, their names could not be removed from the ballot. You may have heard about a big time supporter of the Obama Presidency who arranged for millions to be contributed to the President's campaigns and how he got himself involved in last week's Virgina governor's election. This mega wealthy person is a staunch progressive Democrat but he donated large amounts to a fringe libertarian candidate to take votes away from the Republican on the ballot. He did not support the libertarian or his policies. His effort worked. The margin of victory was 4% and the final tally showed the fringe candidate got 6%, with 99% of that coming from the Republican. Sounds like a dirty trick? You betcha, and, just so you know, it's a technique used by all sides. Makes you a little sick to your stomach. Insert Tums commercial here. See you next time and may God bless us all including our great nation. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, November 8, 2013

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ― Albert Einstein

It's Friday and I know it's a day many are excited about. They even thank God for it. That's right. I hear it all the time: Thank God it's Friday. Or they might just greet you with TGIF!. And while it is a well known cliche, we all would do well to be serious about being thankful if we have a job and we are able to get up and go each day. I do understand the sentiment behind this anticipation, therefore, I send out to each of you a hearty hello and welcome here on this November 8, 2013. My wife has been doing some work trying to deal with the clutter we have accumulated over the past nearly 50 years. I am all for it. Until. I always get nervous when she begins to name off the stuff she is discarding. Hey, wait a minute, I might just get down to those 29" waist trousers. Someday. Who knows? That broken twenty year old radio might could be fixed. I've been planning on looking at it when I get time. How long? Not that long. Just twenty years give or take a year. And so it goes. Most of it really is junk but when it has been a part of your life for so long, even though you haven't seen it in years, it does make it difficult to just throw it away. We really are a funny lot. Don't you agree?

I don't like bullies. I don't know of anyone who does. However, times are changing. When I was a kid growing up bullies were a part of life. They were mostly overgrown boys who liked to pick on smaller kids. Sometimes they got what was coming to them and sometimes they didn't. Yet, I don't believe that anyone ever came close to a thought of ending their life because they were being picked on. That's the big change. Kids today have tools to attack other kids. Often they go after their character and their appearance. The result has seen way too many that have chosen to end their lives. That's sad but also a startling development. I'm not sure all these programs they are pursuing is the answer because it sounds like they tend to overreach and may even try to solve problems that don't exist. Now we have the spectacle of bullying in the NFL. What? I would have thought professional football is a sport based on bullying. A special investigator has now been engaged to find out what happened on a team where a competitor chose to leave the sport because he was being bullied. One more time: These are some very strange times we are living in!

A kid's perspective on all this can be refreshing. I was sitting across from a 10 year old girl at the table at our Church pot luck this past Wednesday evening. I asked her how things were going. She said she was sure glad they were doing the anti-bullying program at her school this week. I told her that sounded like something that was good. She said she liked it because it caused them not to be giving so many tests. I thought that was pretty insightful. From her vantage point, the anti-bullying campaign helped to temporarily curtail the test bullying she typically has to deal with each week. Out of the mouth of babes. You just have to love children. They put it together and then tell it like it is, as they see it. I've tried to do the same this past week in our daily visits but it's time to say farewell for now. I do hope that you and yours will have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will seek to show up on this same station come Monday, Lord willing, of course. Amen.       .....More later.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Welcome to Facebook. The Weather today: An 80% chance of game requests, a 10% chance of pokes, and a 100% certainty of drama...." (copied, unattributed)

That would be correct. It is Thursday, November 7, 2013, and I bring you greetings from your unappointed but observant observer of any and all things that happen to cross my path. Ever get the feeling that you might be just a little too plugged in? I already know that I am so I don't have to wonder one way or the other. I run into people occasionally who are basically oblivious to most of what's going on in the world. What about politics? What about world events? What about all the shenanigans going on locally? Here's how they respond: I couldn't tell you. I didn't see or hear about that. I must have missed that one. It's not a head in the sand mentality. They just choose to tune out the static and focus their time on things they consider to be important to them and their family. I find myself wondering if I should pity them or be envious of their viewpoint. I often wake up in the morning hungry to know what happened in the overnight news cycle. Just the headlines. The details can wait until I have more time. Maybe there's one of those hotlines I can call. Until then I suppose I will seek to find better balance. That's it. I think I am going to spend some time soon thinking about how to do that. Maybe soon. We shall see.

I will tell you that some of my being plugged in is for sheer entertainment value. I'm sorry. I know it sounds somewhat perverse but I get a huge kick out of hearing the silly stuff that Jay Carney comes up with each day as the Press Secretary for the President. He typically does a briefing and answers questions from the White House Press Corp maybe three or four times a week. To me, it is better than stand up comedy. How he can keep a straight face when explaining some of the nonsense he is sent out to convey is beyond me. I still occasionally go back and watch those Bush versus Gore parodies of the Presidential debates as run on Saturday Night Live. Isn't that political stuff? It's a parody that sought to capture the mannerisms of both candidates and it was hilarious then and it is hilarious now. To me. Don't get me wrong. I am well aware that the issues that Jay Carney talks about are serious and in many respects, deadly serious. However, it is still amusing to watch him spin and squirm. To me. It's okay. Don't get yourself all bothered. I like Sponge Bob too.

Yesterday marked my 7th year of working here at the Company. What's that? It's remarkable they have put up with me for this long? My thoughts exactly. But, it has been an interesting experience that I am so thankful for. During my time here I've crossed paths with some real characters and sadly we've had to say farewell to several who have gone on to their reward. What's that? Do I think they also think I am a character? That would be obvious my friend. The other day someone was talking about the potential for a new process. I asked about the difficulty involved. They said they thought it would be so easy that I might even have a shot at doing it. See what I mean? First it was the Moon Pies and now the sarcastic jokes. It never ends for me. But don't feel too badly about it because I'm one of those who absolutely enjoys getting up everyday and coming to work. I also feel appreciated and respected here and that's not too bad of a gig if you ask me. Maybe it's the white hair. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Have a good rest of the day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech." ~ Mark Twain

Hello and welcome to Wednesday, November 6, 2013. I typically go grocery shopping every other week for my snacks needed to keep me going at work. I mostly buy the same things because of the diabetic viewfinder through which I am forced to see the world. The 100 calorie packs help me to manage my dietary intake. Lately, the choices in this category tend to be on the decline. I suppose it's due to adjustments in demand. On my most recent visit I am searching up and down the shelves for my little packaged treats and there on the bottom shelf I spot full cases of Moon Pies. Really? These little marsh mellow chocolate morsels are a part of our heritage, right up there with Tom's Salted Peanuts poured into an RC Cola. That stocker must have thought that to be real funny. Low fat, sugar free, 100 Calorie, and then bang zoom to the moon, as in Moon Pie! Also, just for the record, I hate it when I buy multiples of something at a really good price only to find out at the checkout counter they were aligned on the wrong tag. Man, no wonder I'm a nervous wreck.

I am an official alumnus. I proudly wore the jacket for four years. I'm talking about the Future Farmers of America, FFA. Last Friday and Saturday I was able to watch several hours of the live proceedings from the FFA National Convention on RFD-TV. The event was held in Louisville, Kentucky, with over 56,000 members participating over the course of the week. You must have been hurting for entertainment? Maybe so, but let me tell you this. Watching those young people challenge each other with soaring speeches actually caused me to be encouraged about the future. Wow! Some had personal stories that brought tears. They all spoke of service to others as a common thread. Talk about outstanding speakers! It was inspiring. I told the wife I thought I might go upstairs and fetch my jacket and put it on. She said she remembered me wearing that jacket and asked if I intended to zip it up or not. Her speech was not quite as inspiring as theirs.

One lady tweeted that she had read where Pandas eat 12 hours a day. Her conclusion: She's not fat, she's a Panda. Another fellow observed that in India when they say there's an elephant in the room, there really is an elephant in the room. There's always at least one silly report:  It sounded like someone on a moped was approaching but it turned out to be 1,000 bees on a regular bicycle. One had this to say about Halloween: I'm surprised carving faces into vegetables after pulling out their innards isn't incorporated into more American holidays. And finally, a lady confessed: I tried dusting the house after drinking five energy drinks but I started a fire. Okay. Those should add some perplexed parsings to your pondering for today. Light on humor? I've told you before, I can add as little as the next guy. Go out there and have a good one, and may our Great God add His blessings to your day. Amen.   ....More later.