Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"...and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us." ~ Romans 5:5

Yes, it is the last day of 2013 here on this 31st of December and I am sitting here thinking about the year that has passed and the one that is coming up. I think most of us know what really counts is what we have done to further the kingdom of God because that's what will last for time and eternity. I suppose as we face a brand new year we can ask ourselves what is it that we want to leave behind because we all will someday and it might be soon. That's in God's timing. Yesterday I read the obituary of a man named Sam. After giving the details about the Church and the Pastor conducting the memorial, the write up included how that he left this world at the age of 39 but reading the tribute to him causes me to sense how he has left behind a living legacy, and it inspires me to do the same. What say you?

Excerpt from Sam's Obituary:

Sam was a Construction worker most of his life, and for the last few years, Levi was right there beside him. He was just a Jack-Of-All-Trades. He just knew how to do everything. Sam always had a smile on his face. His smile and personality was full of so much laughter, and it is already being missed by us all. He was the MOST LOVING PERSON, the MOST GIVING HEARTED PERSON, and the BEST DADDY his kids could've ever asked for. He was the best roofer you'd ever seen. Sam would give you the last $5.00 in his pocket, if he knew you needed it, even if it broke him. Sam would mow your yard if you were sick, and couldn't help yourself. He paid electricity bills for people who had less than him. He took people heaters so they wouldn't be cold. He took Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners to those who would've had none. He just wanted everyone to have the same things he did. We can't begin to explain the sweetness that came from his heart...there just isn't enough room on paper. He was a Forever Friend to many, A Loving Son, A Loving Brother, and a Loving Uncle, and an Amazing Father that loved his kids and Ronna more than anything. He was the kind of person that we all looked up to, and the kind of person that would do anything to help another. He just had the BEST HEART in the world. He was perfect. If you ever met Sam just once, you would remember. He left an imprint on each person's life that he met, and no one could forget that smile and that sweet laugh that followed it. Sam was such a hard worker. He loved being outside, building bonfires, and spending time with his family and friends. Every weekend, you could probably find him at the pond, just fishing with Stevie. While he was working on his and Ronna's house, you could find Riley & Jagger right there beside him, helping him out. Riley would hand him the hammer, or Jagger would hand him his nails. If he was outside in the yard, you could find Gemma right at his feet. She was his little shadow, and tried to follow him everywhere. If no one would get it for her, she knew that "Daddy" would. He left an imprint on our hearts that will never fade away. When the wind blows the trees, we'll know it’s his Spirit watching over us...when the sun shines, we'll remember that is was Sam that lit up our lives with his smile...when the flowers bloom, we'll remember that sparkle he always had in his eyes, when he say, “I Love All Ya'lls...Sweet memories that we'll have forever, and never forget...We Love You Sam!

To make a difference folks, that's what we are called to do. May God provide us with the attitude and heart to pursue this as our desire in 2014. Amen.  ...More later. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years'". ~ Henry Moore

Our Great Grand, Madi Girl!
Well, well, well. Hello once again as I do my best to reorient myself as I have returned to the scene here at the blogger ranch. It is good to greet you from my place here to wherever you may be, on this Monday, December 30, 2013. After our short trip to Louisiana I am happy to report that mom and dad are hanging in there. Mom has been having a woeful time lately with a sore hip but hopefully they can get it checked out soon. Pray for her. We also spent some time with our dear Brother Milton, his wife Glenda, and Marilyn's sister, Dorothy, along with her children and their children. We had a most wonderful time and seeing the progress that Bro. Milton continues to make was a spontaneous reason to break out in thanksgivings to our Great God. Our eldest son Chris drove over Saturday morning along with his wife Sherrie, daughter Stef and their granddaughter, Madi, aka 'the great grand'. We had ourselves one great and grand breakfast eating and fellowship time.

Speaking of great and grand, I chose the photo of Madelyn Joy because she was our little Christmas joy maker at our family gathering this year. Nothing like the excitement and happiness of a child to add warmth to any celebration. Now I am busily anticipating the upcoming new year. Not so much. Resolutions? My problem is figuring out where to start and believe me there's plenty of areas that need improvement but I'll let you know if I decide to share any of them with you. Many if not most folks are still off so I say continue to enjoy and I'll do my best to keep the home fires burning here. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, December 27, 2013

"You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello once again. It's Friday, December 27, 2013, and we are on our way to visit mom and dad, my wife's sister, her brother and his wife, all over in that land where Community is made, Louisiana. I told you so. These days off have flown by but we cannot be more thankful for the holiday festivities that we have been able to enjoy. We try to make certain that our faith is always the basis for our celebration and I was impressed with so many of our Facebook friends and their friends and their friends who put up recognition of the Reason for the Season. Acknowledging Jesus the Christ as the basis for our joy at this time of year is appropriate since it just happens to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We had our annual steak cookout for our meal on Christmas Day. We've added chicken over the years due to taste changes and weight conscious family members. The other day I received a call from our eldest who asked that I not purchase his usual saddle blanket sized steak because he needs to back it down a notch or two. I laughed and told him I suppose we will all be chowing down on tofu before it's all said and done. Just for the record, my wife did point out to me that she thought I had crossed over the line in the 'eating to control my diabetes' arena, at least two or three times. And, I will not challenge her assertion because she is after all is said and done, an eyewitness. But, we leave this Christmas time with our immediate family with thankful hearts as we anticipate being with our Louisiana folks today. May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. I will do my best to show up at our regular blog meeting spot come next Monday morning.   .....More later.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Old friends, after all of these years, just old friends, through laughter and tears, old friends, what a find, what a priceless treasure, old friends, like a rare piece of gold, my old friends, make it great to grow old, old friends, with all I will hold to old friends." Lyrics from the Gaither song, 'Old Friends'

Our dear Brother Tommy.
Hello once again and welcome to the day after! That's right. It's Thursday, December 26, 2013. We had a most enjoyable afternoon and evening with family and I hope your celebration went well too. Thinking about all the well wishes we received on our anniversary made me aware of how special it is to have such wonderful, caring friends and family. Many of the comments were so over the top and gushing I called the wife and told her that they must have thought we were someone else. When we did the Chick-fil-A in Magnolia, Texas on the 17th, we saw some very special folks that night, including our Brother Tommy Erickson and some of his  family who showed up. We've known Brother Tommy for over 35 years. When we joined Timber Lakes Baptist in 1976, Tommy and Sherrie were newlyweds. Now they have wonderful grandchildren of their own. These folks reflect what it means to serve the Lord and others from the heart. Brother Tommy was a youth sponsor who helped our boys through their teenage years. While we no longer attend services together, we are glued together through a common bond as brothers and sisters in Christ. What a joy it was to see these wonderful folks, and others, as we did our little part in bringing joy to kids of all ages. Blessed folks, very blessed indeed!

That alone would have been worth the price of admission, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. This is why there are treasures worth far more than anything that might be bought or sold in this life. May God help us to learn this truth sooner rather than later. Amen.   .....More later.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Luke 2 New King James Version (NKJV) 1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Glory in the Highest 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"The sharpest memory of our old-fashioned Christmas eve is my mother's hand making sure I was settled in bed." Paul Engle

Happy Christmas Eve! It's Tuesday, December 24, 2013, the day before, but you knew that already. I don't really have anything important to add to your day but I can share a few more funnies I've bumped into recently. ~ Men get frustrated because they don’t understand how women think. Women get frustrated because they understand exactly how men think. ~ How dare for you to incinerate that I lack skill in understanding certain words. ~ Ever notice how the roof of your car is about the lousiest cup holder you will ever find. ~ One major problem we have in the world is that really intelligent people are full of doubts while really stupid people are full of confidence. ~ If you really want to hide something from your wife, put it in her purse. She'll never find it in there. ~ Furniture that you bring home and assemble yourself could be called divorce in a box. ~ Let me assure you that you do not have to be crazy to work here. We will train you. ~ I've either gained a few pounds or there's a big bowl of Jello following close behind me. ~ Could you hold that pose a little longer, I have a call coming in so I need to answer my camera. ~ Since all good things come to an end, well, in this case maybe even the not so good eventually comes to an end, so here's a final one and I am sure you will be glad of that: ~ Here's a pick-up line for older folks, Honey, you better call Life-Alert because I've fallen for you and I can't get up. ~

Surely there was one of those that brought a smile. Every family has their own traditions. Some do very special things today and this evening. Others wait until tomorrow. One thing I can say is how that Christmas has been a very special time of year for me throughout my life. We look forward to having our bunch here tomorrow for a time of family, fellowship, and feasting. We may not literally kill the fatted calf but we will be doing our best to enjoy our hot off the grill steaks along with all the trimmings. That doesn't sound like Christmas dinner to you? That's okay. We've been having steaks on Christmas day since our boys were in their teens. That's our tradition. Enjoy yours. Mostly we come to this time with thankful hearts that we are able to plan a day for family and we know that God has provided for us. And, we will not forget that our Savior is and always will be the real Reason for the Season. Amen.     ....More later.

Monday, December 23, 2013

"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world." William Shakespeare

Well hello there, my it seems like we were right here jawing just a day or so ago. Welcome to Monday, December 23, 2013, where I will be finishing up my last Ho Ho Ho appearance of the season this afternoon. I will then moth ball The Suit, figuratively, not literally, of course, and hurry up to wait until I can pull it out again next year. You have to know I'm kidding on that one. I love doing the Santa show but I am more than happy to take a ten month hiatus from that program. But, how in the world are you and yours doing as we count down these final hours? Some people don't have enough to worry about. I read about some child advocacy group that is standing in opposition to the annual NORAD Santa tracking they do every year for the children. This group says this radar tracking of Santa along with fighter jet escort is needlessly injecting militarism into Christmas. Some 23 million kids logged in last year to see the progress that Santa was making. Would someone please tell those folks to go find a corner to sit in and be quiet and leave the rest of us alone. You can quote me on that one. Talk about making it to the naughty list!

I do hope you have a great Monday and I will do my best to keep you posted on any new developments that happen to wander into my viewfinder, you know, The View From Here, and all of that. May God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice." - Dave Barry, humor columnist

Plop plop fizz fizz! That bubbling noise I am hearing just might be the 'oh what a relief it is' Friday slipping onto the scene. It will usher in my last day here at my normal post at the old blogger ranch for the next nine days. We open up the package and discover it's December 20, 2013. Nine days seems like quite a few but history tells me they go by faster than one might think. We still have some unfinished details for our Christmas family celebration, and I haven't done my annual foray out into the shopping wars yet. I will have to get my mind girded up and conditioned as I get ready to pursue that little piece of business. While Santa always recommends helmets and knee pads to kids desiring skateboards or scooters, I'm not sure I have to go that far before getting out there to mix it up with all the elbows flying as the last minute masses look to make that last purchase. A little over the top perhaps. A little. I don't think I am on any store watch lists concerning shopping issues from the past. I'm pretty sure I'm not.

That was also a little joke so don't be running a background check on me. To be honest, both myself and the wife have been battling just a touch of trying to go down the wrong road towards getting the sniffles. It's no wonder, having handled literally hundreds of children of all ages. That's right. All ages. If you listen carefully you can hear Nat King Cole's impeccable voice...."And so I'm offering this simple phrase To kids from one to ninety-two Although it's been said many times Many ways, Merry Christmas to you." I can't be sure but I may have even had one or two over ninety-two so I hope I didn't break any rules or anything. But as for the sniffles war, we have been aggressive in warding off the symptoms as best we know how. I'll let others try to figure out whether you starve a cold and feed a fever, meanwhile, as a precaution I've taken enough cold and allergy tablets to choke a mule. That's what they used to say back home. It's a saying so please don't report me to the mule animal protection folks.

This brings to an end my daily visits for this week. I will try to stay in touch as we continue to anticipate Christmas and our celebrations with family. This coming Sunday I will be finishing up our study of the New Testament accounts reflecting upon the birth of our Savior. This week's passage is taken from Matthew Chapter two were we find those learned men from the East who have been directed by a star to come into Judea in search of He who has been born King of the Jews. This event most likely occurred within the first couple of years after Jesus was born and placed in the feeding trough. No. I am not going around our neighborhood taking the kings out of the nativity displays, but, it is always good to know the truth as best we can based on thus says the Word of the Lord. It's a great passage and I commend it to you for your reading and study. Surely the slogan people take from it is very true: Wise men (women, boys, and girls), still seek Jesus. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll try to pop up on an electronic page near you come next Monday. May God bless each one. Amen.    ...More later. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"I am about to -- or I am going to -- die; either expression is used." ~ Last words of Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian

You start your day in your way and I start my day in my way. Sounds like a deal to me. What say you? It is Thursday, December 19, 2013. No. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary to recognize our 49th anniversary but we made an agreement to do so later. Just too much going on, if you know what I mean. By now everyone who reads my daily postings are aware that I am an obituary reader. That's one of the things I do to start my day and I've been doing it for as many years as I can remember. In doing so I am impressed with the contributions made by so many of my fellow travelers along life's way. At the same time, I will tell you that I grieve over those who leave at such a young age. There's really no way to make sense out of these early departures, as we see them. Here's a little poem from one I read this week in the write up of a 27 year old Louisiana boy. The author is unknown:

~ I Am Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free I am following the path God laid for me. I took His hand when I heard Him call,

I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way. I found that peace at the close of the day. If my parting has left a void, Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss Ah, these things I, too, will miss. Be not burdened with time of sorrow,

I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full, I savored much. Good friends, good times, a loved one touched.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief Don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share with me.

God wanted me now; He set me free. ~

I know there's plenty of folks who consider this to be just too morbid to even think about. To me, it's about life and the reality of the coming time when each and everyone of us will have to say our final goodbye. It also helps to remind me of the brevity and uncertainty of this life. A friend recently posted on Facebook the two most common expressions made by dying people as reported by Hospice workers. The first was: I wish I hadn't worked so hard, and the second was: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. While those reflect a sobering commentary on how we can over emphasize some areas in life while missing out on the most important ones, I would like to think you can do your best, with God's help, to honor them all. God. Hard work. Family. Friends. Service. But, that's just my take on it, subject to be updated of course when it comes time for me to leave my final comments. Or something like that.

This doesn't exactly put you in the Christmas spirit? Don't know why. Think about it. That's the subject of the ever popular Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol'. The story of Scrooge and his life nearly wasted but redeemed after contemplating the evil of his ways. Or, the always and forever wonderful, 'It's a Wonderful Life', with Jimmy Stewart. It's about a fellow who learned what life would have been like had he not been born and how that his good returned to him as his family, friends, and neighbors came to his rescue in the end. What's the common thread? Contemplation: It matters what you do in life and how you treat others. It matters. That's a Biblical concept as well, the Golden Rule: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Christmas is about giving from the heart and doing so will help to prepare us all for the holidays. That's about it for today. Take a moment to enjoy a smoking hot cup of Community and Lord willing I will catch up with you again tomorrow. May God bless. Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Special thanks to God for those who are a part of this very special day!

Today we celebrate the convergence of three special events. It is Wednesday, December 18, 2013. We want to express our special appreciation and birthday greetings to Mitzi, wife of our youngest son Rodney, and mother to three very special kiddos, our grandchildren, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady. She is a very special lady and we thank God for her. Her middle name could easily be Busy because she is always on the go with work, home, and special activities for the kids. May God bless you, Mitzi, on this, your special day. Love, Mom and Dad. We also recognize our middle son Jimmy's firstborn and our very first grandson, Jimmy Jr, who was also born on the 18th. He has been bringing joy into our lives ever since he was born and it has been our blessed privilege to watch him grow and develop into the young man he has become. We pray God's best into his life on this, his special day. Happy 17th Jimmy Jr., from your MiMi and Poppy.

Then we have this one to contemplate. The 18th is also the 49th anniversary of Marilyn and I standing in her parent's living room in the parsonage of New Hope Baptist Church, Anacoco, Louisiana, before her brother, a brand new preacher boy, Bro. Milton, and both of us shakily responding with, "I do." That below freezing Friday evening was obviously a historical moment for us and I can do nothing but be thankful to God for her and the forty nine years we have had as a couple. People used to say, "But you both look so young." They might still say that about her but they quit having those thoughts about me some time ago. The white beard? Yeah. That could well be the reason. I'll go with that one. Who would have ever thought I would be in the business of enjoying it being so white? Ho..Ho..Ho! As I contemplate this long stretch that God has allowed to us, I am well aware that it has not always been an easy road to travel, but we have persevered, grown in our love and devotion, and we can be thankful for the blessings along the way. I have a wonderful wife and I do my best to tell the Lord everyday how thankful I am for her. Thanks Sweetheart. Happy Anniversary and you know what I think about it....Baby you're the greatest!

I end today's visit with a little poem. It's unattributed but I think very appropriate as I consider the impact this lady has had on my life.

Blessing that is You

This morning when you awaken
from your peaceful sleep
please know, all day long
that someone loves you
and that someone is me;

You’re always in my thoughts
and in my heart and prayers too
and everyday I thank God
for the blessing that is you.

That will do for today. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"One of the things I had a hard time getting used to when I came to California in '78 was Santa Claus in shorts." ~ Dennis Franz

Mrs. Claus doing her thing!
Hello and welcome to this Tuesday, December 17, 2013. I pretty well have a fix on what little girls and boys want for Christmas, at least out in our general vicinity. Little girls want the American Girl doll named Saige. I asked one young lady why that particular doll was so much in demand this season. She promptly informed me that while I should know, it just so happens that she will be discontinued after Christmas. Santa learns a lot of things. For the boys, even though games like Minecraft are big, it's the remote controlled helicopter that is asked for the most. I see many ceiling fan collisions coming to a home near you. It always amuses me that parents are still unaware of what their kids want for Christmas and they lean in and often ask me to repeat what the child said. Did I ever tell you that children don't always speak clearly? When I can't come up with the right answer, the parent typically glares. Sorry. I could have recommended speech therapy but that would not have been very nice. I suppose I could have told the mom that her little Johnny asked for the American Girl doll Saige. That would have given her something to think about. It's a joke. Lighten up. I'm trying to conjure up some jolly this morning.

Well, well, well! The PolitiFact organization has chosen their lie of the year for 2013. This group is the one that supposedly evaluates what politicians claim and then they rate them True, Mostly True, Half True, False, and the infamous Pants on Fire. They claim not to be ideologically driven, saying they handle all politicians the same regardless of their party or policy persuasion. Nearly everyone takes exception to their ratings if they don't agree with them. I could hardly contain my surprise when I found out they had chosen President Obama's 'You can keep it if you like it' promise as the lie of the year. Wow! My reading of their ratings over time tells me they tend to always give the current administration and its leader the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, this big lie had to be a whopper for them to choose it. I suppose finding out that the Obama team knew all along it was a misrepresentation of the facts may have influenced their choice. I think it's time for me to say I told you so but I'll save it for another day.

Okay. We all need a daily diversion. Right? I typically check out a few cartoons each day that are available on the web. I do love the Dinette Set drawn and written by Julie Larson. It's been around since 1990 and I love her ironic take on middle-class perceptions (and misperceptions) of common, everyday issues as seen through the eyes of a recurring cast of characters. While they are not always laugh out loud funny, they do typically invoke at least a chuckle or two. Several sites carry this one and others too so you might just Google it up and check it out. I do appreciate the need for some humor injected into our daily dealings and I kinda get tired of me, myself, and I being the reason for the joke of the day. But, alas, we find it wherever we can folks, wherever we can. Thanks for tuning in and may God go with us all as we continue our journey here. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen." ~ Edward de Bono

Today is Monday, December 16, 2013. This is the day that the oldest in our family was born in 1942, my brother Jimmy. He went to his reward in March of 1962. We are human and there will always be questions about stuff that we just can't seem to understand. But in the end, we are fortunate because we have our faith in God and that provides us with peace as we continue our journey. Sure, I have wondered about how things might have been different if Jimmy had not passed off the scene when he did. The same for my dad. (1954) The same for my sister Kayla. (1979) Yet, those thoughts have little to add to the task at hand and that is to get on with the life God has provided, and in so doing, to be thankful for all of those He has allowed us to know and love. I could add my grandfather to that list and many others as well. Yet, his favorite song always helps to define how we can go on: "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand." Amen.

We had ourselves a busy Saturday and Sunday with three different events for the Santa Enterprise. On Saturday, we did a kid's breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at a country club, we then made an appearance at a Christmas luncheon provided by a ministry team from our local fellowship given to honor the folks we minister to in a mostly elder and special needs apartment complex. I also did a three hour solo stint at one of the major food chains on Sunday afternoon. I had said I might do fewer this year but it's not working out that way. Demand is up and I must be a glutton for punishment I suppose. Maybe this is part of my workout routine. Yeah. That's the ticket. When in uniform I become a walking-talking and mostly sitting portable sauna. It's really not that bad and most of the time it is so very rewarding. A lady asked the other night about how we respond when children ask for things we can only pray about. Very carefully. Yes, children do ask. One little girl recently asked us to help her granddad who was in the hospital and not doing well. My wife told her that we would remember him. I have etched in my memory a number of times when a child has said all they want for Christmas is for their dad or mom to come home so they can be a family again. Folks, I don't have to remind us that it's not all jingle bells and warm and happy glows. That Babe in the manger came that we might have hope and the world so desperately needs to know Him. Amen.

This is countdown week for me, since, Lord willing, this coming Friday will be my last day at work as I plan to be off the week of Christmas. I am looking forward to that! We've had a really cooler than usual December thus far and I have really enjoyed most of it. Being out in the cold cold rain isn't necessarily my first choice but it does make coming inside feel better. Or, if not better, warmer. One thing you can be sure of is that when you get wet, the cold tends to impact you just a tad bit more severely. But, all in all, I put my vote in for more of the same. I like it when it is cold at Christmas time. Others don't. That's okay. I do. We all know, however, that around these parts you can be scraping off the ice from your windshield on Christmas Eve morning, and wearing a short sleeve shirt and sunglasses on Christmas Day. Been there and done that! Have a great rest of the day Monday and remember to be thankful for the many blessings God has granted to us all. Amen.       .....More later.

Friday, December 13, 2013

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." ~ Groucho Marx

I didn't know they were allowed to have a Friday the 13th in the same month with Christmas. Did you? But, that's what we are serving up today on this December 13, 2013. This is the second Friday the 13th for this year but it landing in December is the only time it will do so between 2005 and 2015. No. I am not auditioning for a replacement role for the Farmer's Almanac. But I do have some curiosity and it does kick in from time to time. And, be sure you know that I am not into Friday the 13th superstitions and I have never seen even one of the movies by that name. I must have missed the desire-to-be-scared gene because I've never been a fan of anything remotely called a horror flick. On the other hand, I am aware that some folks love those gory stories and even think me enjoying Duck Dynasty is a little scary. Different strokes I suppose. I did have a little boy the other evening who asked Santa for a duck call for Christmas. I said, as in Duck Dynasty. He grinned from ear to ear and said that was exactly what he was talking about. There's still hope for America folks! It's a joke. Don't write me.

I've got to give a shout out to the fellow who did the hearing impaired signing for the dignitaries who spoke at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in South Africa. He actually didn't do any real signing because he didn't know how. He was a fake. What's amazing is how this fellow got the job because it has been reported that he has done this before at major political functions. Talk about nerve. He essentially used his own made up hand gestures to sign President Obama's speech. I wonder which one made the most sense, he or the President? That's also a joke. Now I've heard about imposters and party crashers and impersonators, but, this fellow must be overflowing with bravado. How did he get security credentials to be within a few feet of the world's most powerful leaders? How did he get his job? That's right. It's a government job. Now we know. That's another little joke because I know many very bright people who work for the government and yours truly did also, many, many years ago, not that I'm in the bright category. I just thought this little tidbit too amusing not to share it.

We have come to the end of another work week and I have done my part in inflicting wear and tear on my computer connected keyboard. Let the record show that I have retired several in my many years of beating and banging on them. I will admit that I am particular about my keyboard. Most keyboards today are for people who do not know how to touch type. Finding one that resembles an old fashioned Underwood Typewriter, well, forget about it. Who would have ever thought I would be calling a typewriter old fashioned since that's all I used for the first number of my years in the workforce? But, alas, they are just that, my friend, along with so many other things. That's not to say there's not any out there. They can be found and secured at a premium. Supposedly, there are still authors who need the typewriter as a part of their method of generating prose. I typically use whatever is before me but I do jack it up, tilt it, and make it as close to what suits me as possible. That's how I can kill so many keystrokes so fast. Okay. Now that I have finished that stimulating little foray into meaningless meandering, it's time to say so long for now until we meet again. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I'll try to have something cranked out come Monday next. May God bless. Amen.   ...More later.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." - George. S. Patton

Hello and welcome once again to Thursday's attempt to bite off more than I can chew, a feat I have proven that I am up to many times in the past. It is December 12, 2013 and I can tell you those shopping days until..... are slip sliding away my friend, faster than I've seen them do so in recent memory. Okay, there's some pretty funny twitter tweets out there flying around and I thought I would share a few that made me chuckle. One lady said that clean sheet day involves her brushing the Pringles' crumbs over to his side of the bed. I can really identify with this fellow who said that obviously his first language is 'typo'. When asked about his exercise regimen, this guy had his answer ready: My top 5: - jumping to conclusions - flying off the handle - carrying things too far - dodging responsibilities - and, pushing my luck. One tweeter had this as a way of getting out of annoying conversations at a dinner party, "Sorry if I seem to be a little quiet this evening but it's my first outing since the psychiatrist declared me unfit to stand trial." That would probably make me back off. What say you?

I have learned what a 'selfie' is. It's a self taken photo typically to be uploaded for viewing on Facebook or one of the other social networking sites. Among a vast majority of the young computer, gaming, social networking, texting age groups, it is the rage. Even our President got himself into one. However, it is not going over well in many places in the world. Why? He allowed himself to be a party to a 'selfie' while attending the memorial service for Nelson Mandella. Lacking in respect and in poor taste is what many European commentators have said. Many have also commented that Mrs. Obama appeared not to be amused in the least. Their thought is that she most likely considered it to be beneath the dignity of the office. Perhaps for all those teens who forever and ever post shots of themselves on Facebook, this was great because it showed him connecting with them. I've had a fair amount of 'selfies' taken by those who want to get themselves seen with Santa, but, I'm not the President on an official mission to represent our nation at a memorial service for an international icon. The others in the photo were Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the photo taker, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr. Cameron is already getting heaps of criticism in his own country. The Danes seem thus far to think it more humorous than anything else. I report. You decide.

This has not been a good year for the only true democracy and our staunch ally in the Middle East, Israel. The United Nations this week voted overwhelmingly to make 2014 the year of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Palestinians want to evict Israel from the lands given to them by Jehovah God through the Abrahamic Covenant. In addition to this, the United States has pretty much ignored Israel and their concerns in our rush to make nice with the Iranians. Those who study prophecy from the Bible tell us it speaks of a time when the entire world will turn against God's chosen people.The steady knock wears the rock. I am one of those who believe that while we may not understand each and every detail regarding the unfolding of God's final plan here on earth, we can know that Israel is at the heart of its implementation. We can also be sure that every prediction and every promise will be carried out according to God's will and in His timing. We need to be seeing all of these things happening around us through the lens of truth as given to us in God's Holy Word. I'll give myself an Amen on that one. May God bless America and may God bless His chosen people, the nation of Israel. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." ~ Francis of Assisi

Yes, I have seen those t-shirts. The ones that ask what day is Christmas on this year. Come on, what day is it? The one with the camel. I would say what will they think up next but at this point and time that doesn't even seem to matter. At any rate, it's that day again, Wednesday, and I do bid you welcome here on this December 11, 2013. I suppose for those of us who are pretty much occupied seven days a week, the hump day concept doesn't get us as fired up as others. But, I am very much familiar with the sentiment and I'm sure you are as well. The administration has done a really good job in getting the healthcare roll out off the radar screen. They essentially changed the subject. It helps if most of the news media cooperates, and the major ones did. Think Lemmings. Those who know the details tell us that the big surprise will not come until after Christmas. That's right. Next year promises to be a year where, based on changes coming to the employer provided plans, you can forget about even thinking about keeping your doctor, that is, unless you want to pay for him or her directly out of your own pocket. That's an option provided to the public in an interview this past weekend by the so-called architect of Obamacare, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. I would guess that by the time this all hits they hope to have some other distractions to redirect our angst. There's surely enough to go around.

What are the odds of this happening? Last weekend they did the annual run of the Santas up in Philadelphia. One of the participants was making his way along one of the routes, dressed in his Santa suit, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Strange. We do live in a world where we never know what might happen next. And, people do some mighty strange things. I read where some folks here in Texas built a 2500 square foot ginger bread house. Yes. It did set the Guinness record. The good news for this caper is how they used it to raise funds for donations to a local trauma center. You just never know. In 1895 there were just two automobiles in the entire state of Ohio. You guessed it. They crashed into each other. The good news for us is how that regardless of the seemingly odd, strange, random, and so called coincidences in life, we have a Sovereign God who is working through us that which is the good pleasure of His will. (Ephesians Chapter 1)

You pick up a recollected memory where you can. During this cold snap they have broken out some of the big round gas fired space heaters for the shop. Those things glow red and are irresistible. That was the heat we used when I was growing up. Space heaters. On a frosty morning it seemed like you couldn't get close enough hovering over those red hot flames. I remember in high school that's how we heated the agriculture classroom. I know. They call it shop or industrial arts now. But back then it was ag. We boys would back up to those heaters and get as close as we could. Then, an unsuspecting prankster would slip around and come up behind you and pull the front of your pants leg and it would literally burn the hair on the inside of your leg. Oh what fun! You may have been jumping but it wasn't for joy. But still a good memory. Y'all take care now, you hear? And, may God bless us all. Amen.   ...More later.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11 (NASB Version)

Howdy, howdy, it is good to be able to greet you on this Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Yesterday I will admit I may have gone off the reservation, so to speak, but I did have a point I was trying to make. It has to do with checking and consulting with and being willing to listen to those who have respected experience, a proven track record of performance, and they just to happen to care deeply about the matter at hand. In all three of the instances I mentioned, the motivation impetus for monumental change reflected a bandwagon, sloganized, make-a-big-splash kind of effort that sounded so hip and trendy at the time but ended in disaster. I'm not looking for any kind of vindication because that's not even relevant, but in each situation there's something to be learned. It's like the website fiasco that was to support the new healthcare law. I can tell you for sure there are many people down in the trenches that knew what was going on but their voices were muffled because of their lack of rank or them not being a part of the inner circle. They could have likely made it very clear to any and all willing to listen that the emperor being loudly hailed for his spectacular attire was essentially naked as a jay bird.

Okay. Now that I have that all cleared up, let me try to move on. Last Sunday the wife and I were able to reprise our roles as the jolly old couple at a special birthday party for Jesus held at the meeting place of our local fellowship. We had a room full of kiddos and they enjoyed themselves immensely. The folks who prepare and take care of doing the crafts, the stories, and the refreshments, well, they are to be commended. And, be sure the children all left knowing the true Reason for the Season. (It was His party!) After teaching my class I hurried to put on The Suit, as we call it. Looks simple enough. Right? Doing it the best way you can does take a little more effort than just jumping into it and going. It was hot. It usually is. In fact, last Saturday night at the teen lock in at the Church, while waiting on the kids to come back from an ice skating adventure, I dragged a chair out under the drive through porch area and sat there for a spell enjoying the cool air. It was low 30's with a brisk wind but it felt ever so wonderful to me. At the Jesus party we did photos for nearly an hour. Kiddos individually, family groups, and other odds and ends. I typically end up being tired but the children always make my day and they make doing this one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. The photo I chose for this paragraph was taken by the mom of sweet little Madeline. It's one of those that could be labeled: Simply Priceless!

I know I talk quite a bit about the Santa business. It is, after all, a unique aspect of my life's journey and one that tends to be on the front burner, especially at this time of year. Duh! I know. You didn't have to hear Here Comes Santa Claus to figure that one out. As for the Real Reason, our class is, as is our custom, rereading the Birth narrative in honor of our remembrance of His coming to dwell among His created human family. When you think about it, God inspired His chosen writers to record quite a lot of details so that we can know exactly how He brought His One and Only Son into our world. That alone should tell us it is important for us to study and know about these truths. I didn't say that we can understand the profoundly incomprehensible power of God on display in both Matthew and Luke's accounts, but, we can learn them, by faith embrace them, and respond by imitating what the wise men did when they came into the presence of the young Child, they fell down and they worshipped Him. Amen and Amen.    ....More later.

Monday, December 9, 2013

"VALERIS: You knew? ...I tried to tell you but you would not listen. SPOCK: Neither of us was hearing very well that night, Lieutenant. There were things I tried to tell you, about having faith." Movie Transcipt, Star Trek VI

I either hear bells ringing or I'm still a little disoriented from the weekend. The good news is that I am here and I bid you a seasonal happy hello on this Monday, December 9, 2013. Do you know how much it pays to be able to say you were right about something? Nada. Zilch. Zero. But, the truth is the truth, and I did send a letter 10 years ago to the Houston Chronicle before I cancelled my more than 20 year subscription telling them why I was quitting. That letter said if I wanted a left leaning liberal reporting of the news then I was well aware of how to subscribe to the New York Times. This change in perspective all happened when the paper changed hands. Back at that time the Chronicle was in the top 5 newspapers in the country. Today it's distribution count puts it at 22. The 4th largest city in America with a circulation tally of being 22nd. Why? There were then and are now still a large number of conservatives in the Houston metro-plex and surrounding areas, and obviously many of them did what I did, they cancelled. Sure. I know that most printed newspapers are in deep free fall. But, from top 5 to 22? I tried to tell them. I really did.

When I left the big company in 1993 I had given up trying to figure out a way to salute a flag that compromised everything I believed in as it relates to technology and its use in our enterprise. I tried to tell them. They adopted a throw out the baby with the bathwater approach and while it wasn't immediate, the end result saw the end of the careers of those who led that effort. Sadly, it was symptomatic of even larger issues that came to fruition, and, today the once proud company I poured my life into remains as only a brand instead of the multi-billion dollar corporation it was before. Sure. I'm glad that a super mega company bought out what was left including my pension. And, I feel blessed indeed when they send my check every month. But, I did try to tell them. I really did.

When I worked as a consultant for a wonderful company in the Chicago area I saw some really serious challenges developing for them. The founder of this huge enterprise died after only a few months of being diagnosed with liver cancer. His young son took over the company. I was essentially a nobody but because of my great respect for his dad I sent his son a letter describing some of the potential pitfalls associated with the directions he was taking. I'm no business guru. But, I was right. After only a few years, another proud company bit the dust. Literally. So much so, it has become a subject of required study in most business school's curriculum. You might think I wrote to them so that I could later be able to say I told you so. How about this? I really cared and I still do. I hurt for those in my old company that ended up losing much of the value of the stock set aside for retirement. I hurt for those in the company I consulted with for 18 months because many of them lost everything including their jobs at a time when finding another one was a grim prospect. And, some there that I worked with who were in key leadership positions are still being sued by various factions for their decisions, nearly 15 years later. I tried to tell them. I really did.

Now I'm going to try and tell you something: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Take care and may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.    ....More later.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Mix defined: Wet and Cold! OR Cold and wet!

Our recent work at the private studio.
I suppose we can breathe a little easier because we did make it to Friday, and we find ourselves parked at the location on the calendar marked December 6, 2013. We have a little weather system that has descended upon our area. The best way to describe it is wet and cold. If you get out in it, that's what you end up being, wet and cold. I came up with that one all by myself. But, while it can be slightly uncomfortable, it does reflect many people's notion of what the song means when it says, 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas'. We continue to get new inquiries asking about our availability in the Santa Enterprise. Thus far it's all been word of mouth and we do appreciate those who recommend us to others, not that we can fill all the requests. We will never forget how that five years ago a young man in our local fellowship of believers took it upon himself to get us connected up with his management team at Chick-fil-A. The husband wife team are wonderful people and in addition to appearing at their restaurants each year, the lady happened to be President of the Junior League that year and that's how we got started at the big holiday market event, and it was there where we first worked with a great professional photographer and that's how we got started doing her studio each year. Several of our charity events have also led to paid events. We give a shout out to Brother Neil who is now managing one of those same restaurants in another city. See what you helped to get started.

Throughout his lifetime as an American illustrator and painter, Norman Rockwell had to endure a litany of so called art critics who thought his works to be too simplistic. Well, I wonder what they are thinking now? His beautiful painting entitled 'Saying Grace' recently set a record for an American painter at auction as it sold for $46 million. I have always enjoyed the huge volume of illustrations he produced in his lifetime of paintings that reflect upon real people in scenes that require an emotional response. I suppose the number one criticism is that he was too idealistic in his portrayals. I think we all can use some ideal sentiment that helps to soothe but also challenge us to do what we can to make our lives count. Saying Grace depicts a railway station restaurant with a woman and her grandson bowed in prayer at their table. It had a pre-sale estimate of  $15m to $20m. The previous record for a Rockwell painting was $15 million. Just so you know, I am glad his work is appreciated, and I do love this particular scene.

I actually do start out on some days with the intention of being less wordy. Brief. To the point. In a writing course I took once, the lady said I should remove every word in every sentence that is not absolutely necessary. Why would I want to do that? She must not have known that I get paid by the word. That's a joke. I am aware of the need to communicate in as few words as possible but I never said I was good at it. What's that you murmured? Do I have to prove it every single day? I suppose I do. Thanks for tuning in this week. We have a very busy schedule this weekend thanks to the Ho-Ho-Ho commitments. I have to remind myself occasionally that I signed up for this, and maybe I won't have visions of  those kicking triplets dancing in my head as I prepare for my next photo shoot. You do have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will do my best to show back up, come Monday. May God bless each one! Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, December 5, 2013, is here and I do invite you in to visit for a while, so pull up a chair, and let's enjoy some Community Coffee, and solve a few of the world's problems. The fact that it is hard doesn't mean we can't give it a shot. Right? There's some really smart people in this world. It's kind of hard to see how a really smart person can be so forgetful. I'm talking about the chief legal counsel to the IRS. The Congress is still checking into the IRS to determine whether they targeted groups and individuals because of their political affiliation. The counsel, Mr. Wilkins, is known to be a very clever attorney. Yet, when asked specific questions about decisions made that deal with legal matters within the IRS, he answered "I don't recall.." more than 80 times. Whoa! Where I come from that would be a whole lot of don't recalling, if you know what I mean. No wonder they rarely ever get to the bottom of anything in Washington. Or, when it is all said and done, do they really want to would be a very good question. I'm picturing my mom holding a plum tree switch with tentacles going in all directions as she challenged me about some shady action on my part. I'll give it to you straight. I am 100% sure that me saying I don't recall would have only hastened the unpleasant outcome. Ouch!

Yes. You are right. There is reason to believe that selective amnesia just might be one of the factors in that little tidbit. And people wonder why we all get sick and tired of being sick and tired with the whole lot. But enough about that. How in the world are you doing today? What's that? You are able to put two on the floor and get up and go and because of that you feel blessed? Wow! That's not a bad way to look at a start to each day. I might even try that one myself. We have a number of folks that are in need of prayer due to facing a variety of challenges. Sometimes I am stirred from my sleep and find that I have a specific person on my mind. The thought I have goes like this: Could it be God? I then say a prayer for that person and go back to sleep. The Psalmist David had quite a lot to say about his communion with God during the night watches. That reminds me of the portion of the passage from the 121st Division of the Psalms that says this:

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep

That's good to know in a world where we all are required to work without a net. Right? That can be a pretty shaky challenge at times so it is good to live in the knowledge that, as they say today, God always has our back. Knowing that to be true is a good thing. Having confidence in it is a source of courage and stability. But, living it is where the rubber meets the road. Some of the testimonies of folks facing horrific life threatening potentials indicate their belief that it was time for them to live out their faith in God, not based on their feelings, but rather, based on the certainty of His presence, promise, and provision. I'm reminded of some of the words of a song popular in Christian circles from a few years ago:

But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that's where God proved
His love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

That my friend is so true. May God help us to grasp the reality of His grip on us. Amen.      .....More later.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

As two caterpillars were crawling along, a butterfly flew overhead. One turned to the other and said, "You'll never get me up in one of those things!"

Okay. It's Wednesday, December 4, 2013, and just when you thought you had seen and heard it all, you find out that you haven't. It seems that some folks who really take their environmentalism seriously are trying to do something about the real problems out there. People are actually killing trees, bringing them into their homes and putting lights on them. I thought the cartoon they used was cute but it really does show us how really warped things are getting. The people campaigning on this issue must not have checked to find out that over 75% of all live trees used for Christmas come off of farms where they are harvested just like any other crop. Maybe I could send them a note to make them feel better. We've been using our real looking but artificial tree for nearly 30 years and every time we think about replacing it, well, it just looks good enough to keep it. There's probably a group out there somewhere who are against the fibers that were used to make our tree too. Sometimes it's just hard to try and figure these things out.

The continuing saga of Washington spin is really enough to make one a little nauseous. It reminds me of when I was a kid and got on one of those rides at the fair that spun me around until I felt queasy. I don't know if you noticed but I did how the Administration about two weeks ago lost completely the trademark Obamacare and replaced it with the Affordable Care Act, ACA. Had this been done during the Bush presidency the press would have gone bonkers, but in this case it seemed reasonable since that is the actual name on the law itself. What a farce! During the election and up until it all went south they proudly waved the flag with Obamacare on it. One congressman said last week that it was sad that people are holding the President accountable for misunderstanding what he had intended to say. You know. The one where he told everyone about one hundred times that if you have insurance and like it, you can keep it. I could go on. I think I will. One more. They have now delayed the mandate requirement that will cause all kinds of pain to take effect just after the mid term elections next year. Coincidence? I report, you decide. I think you can appreciate why some Dramimine could come in handy as the spin keeps spinning.

I again acknowledge the fact that many people would rather turn all of this off. It can be depressing and even discouraging, but, at the same time, nothing about all of this is going away and bottom line: It is the world that we all must live and function in. That's why I pay attention to it and I think it only prudent that we all do. I am aware of the steady stream of criticism that says anyone against this attempt to provide universal government run healthcare is uncaring and hateful as it pertains to the poor and needy. That's the way the battle is being waged. Class warfare where anyone who opposes anything is called a hater or a racist. I do hope and pray that people will wake up and see that policies matter without regard to some of their intentions, and that you and I, the taxpayers who foot the bill, will have to live with the consequences. And, just for the record, one more time, I am not uncaring and I do not hate the poor or needy. However, I stand in opposition to the government take over of healthcare. I believe the right to oppose this on principle and on policy grounds should be respected but don't expect that from those pushing it. Just a little editorializing on a Wednesday. Have a great day and I'll try to calm down a little by tomorrow. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen.     .....More later.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think." ~ Milton Berle

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, December 3, 2013, and we are up and at 'em once again. Thanks for showing up here at the old blogger ranch where I attempt to share a little of this, that, or the other. I know. The emphasis on little is appropriate, not necessarily in the length of the sharing, but perhaps in the substance. I was reading some posted quotes about the Black Friday experience and folks can be amusing in their assessments. One opined how that on Thursday everyone is in a thankful mood and wish only the best for their fellow citizens. Friday, however, it becomes a better-not-get-in-my-way attitude where only the strongest get the goodies. One fellow said he muscled his way into the store and bought himself a new TV. It was, however, hard to feel good about it knowing that he hadn't paid his power bill. I suppose if they turn his power off the new TV may not be that good of a deal. It obviously takes all kinds and we all know that many of them choose to be out and about on that particular day.

The people who do the selling forecasts are about as wishy-washy as the weather prognosticators. The news was blaring during Thanksgiving, the Friday after, and over the weekend about how brilliant it was for the stores to open Thursday because of the great sales numbers that were accomplished. But, alas, there has to be a Monday when all the tallies are checked and rechecked and it appears the actual spending is down nearly 3% compared to last year, subject I'm sure to even more reworking as we move forward. Just 3%. That doesn't sound like much. When you are talking billions with a 'b', it doesn't take long before you are talking the difference between success and failure. Meanwhile, the government run healthcare website has been worked on around the clock and it is now better than it was before. How much better seems to be in the eye of the beholder or the one trying to use it. The Administration is touting it as working now essentially how it should have all along. There does not seem to be much in the way of independent confirmation of that pronouncement, but, we've learned over the years we can trust our government. Right? .......My thoughts exactly.

I suppose this might be a positive thing as they tell us there was more shopper foot traffic this year. You know. More warm bodies. More folks out and about, just not in a mood to spend money. Most likely it was the lack of funds driving the mood. Yesterday I heard a fellow call in on a radio show that said he was barely making ends meet but he doesn't qualify for subsidies under the new healthcare law. He can't afford the insurance he is being forced to purchase but he also can't afford the penalty that will be imposed on those who fail to get coverage. He sounded very stressed out about this dilemma. That's a pretty sad testimony if you ask me, and, my guess is there's literally millions in the same boat. I did read, however, that based on new comparisons The Congress will continue to enjoy much better healthcare than the rest of us. I know that's a big surprise, but after all is said and done, they voted to do it that way because they are special, and I guess that means we aren't. Or something to that affect. Sounds sarcastic? Sometimes the truth has a way of making noises like that. Take care and we will journey on. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.