Friday, February 28, 2014

About Johnny Manziel: "This guy is one of the greatest competitors in all the years I've coached, 40 years of coaching, that I've had the opportunity to play against. This guy does a fantastic job." ~ Alabama Coach Nick Saban

'Okie Dokie', we are off and running again where we come in from the cold to enjoy a piping hot cup of black and strong Community, here on this Friday, the 28th and very last day of this blurred by February, here in this year of 2014. Sometimes the NASCAR marketing folks know how to ring the bell. I already mentioned that the April 6th race at Texas Motor Speedway will carry the name Duck Commander 500 with sponsorship from the Robertson clan. Now I read that one of Jeff Gordon's primary sponsors has an attention getting novelty planned for that same race. As head of his company, he also happens to be an engineering graduate from Texas A&M, therefore, Jeff's car will be carrying the A&M maroon along with the appropriate Aggie designations. That likely will get Jeff some new A&M fans about as fast as Johnny Manziel ran the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. Let's just hope Jeff and his Number 24 impresses as many people on April 6 as Johnny did in showing the NFL scouts what he brings to the table.

Many of you who read my blog everyday know up close and personal the truth behind the statement that says aging is not for the fainthearted. I don't exactly know when I passed a particular threshold but I will tell you that nearly everywhere I go these days someone is giving me a sir here, a sir there, here a sir, there a sir, everywhere a sir...sir. The only thing I can conclude is that I have passed from getting ready to get there to having arrived. I just didn't expect to get there so suddenly and to find out I've already gotten the Platinum card for frequent flyer miles. Sure. I remember back in the day when I was the departmental director at the Fortune 500 company, and I certainly was given my fair share of sirs back then. But that was very different. Yes. I am aware that it is a sign of respect and, yes, I do appreciate it. Offering to help me up out of my seat? I may have to get back to you on how I feel about that one!

You do know that even though I perhaps embellished that little story it really has been interesting to see how things change the further down the road of life I get. I can remember sitting in a room where several older folks were discussing their medical histories. At the time I suppose I was blessed not to have one but I had in mind never to find myself sitting around doing the same thing. Hello? What changed? For one thing, most of us eventually do have a medical history and since it becomes an important part of our lives, well, we end up swapping stories about it. It's kind of like me hearing my boys say to their children what I said to them. When they were younger they declared that if they ever had children they would never say something like that. You know what I'm talking about. "You want me to give you something to cry about?" I rest my case along with my aging bones, I suppose. Just joking. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I'll do my best to see you next time. I wonder if they still make that Geritol stuff for tired blood. May God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Birthday to our baby boy, Rodney!

Hello folks. It's Thursday, February 27, 2014, and we are pausing today to thank God for the baby in our family, Rodney Darrell. He turns 43 years young today. I suppose there are all kinds of markers that help one to gauge their time here on the planet, but perhaps one of the most obvious is the age of your children. Our Rodney grew up as the little entertainer in our group. He was known as the 'live wire' among the kids when they all got together. If I'm not mistaken that's more or less how he still operates among his circle of friends and family. We are thankful for his devotion to his family, his work ethic, and his commitment to values that reflect his upbringing and his Christian heritage. I can remember him sitting next to me as a three year old as I played badly on the guitar and we both blared out the Merle Haggard classic, 'MaMa Tried'. In his case, unlike the song, Rodney's mom also tried but he did listen. Happy Birthday Son and may God add His special blessings to your special day. Amen. Love, mom and dad

I'm doing my very best to maintain my composure as well as my support for great community events. I'm talking about the rodeo. It's that time of year here in the Houston metroplex. It is one of the biggest shindigs that happens around these parts. A big part of the hoopla involves something called trail rides. They come from far and wide, literally from all directions and are made up of horse riders, horse pulled wagons, and they are typically accompanied by a string of support vehicles. If you so happen to take a roadway that connects into where the aforementioned rodeo riders happen to be, well, the result is nothing short of sheer madness. Buses, 18 wheelers, log trucks, delivery vehicles, all piled up behind Mr. Ed and his partners who are moseying their clip clopping way along. I know. The count to ten thing is an option and it does work when it works. After doing that for about 50 times and then being forced into making a 45 minute mother of all detours to try and get around the congestion, well, it's enough to make me hotter than a cheap six shooter, if you follow my metaphor. Okay. Here's the deal: We have some 6 million folks living in the vicinity and some good portion of them are always fully engaged in the act of holding their collective breath as they fly along the highways and bi-ways that dot the landscape. May I just say that bringing horse drawn wagons into that mix does not make it work better. I'm not saying that I'm overjoyed about the trail riders being out there in the pouring rain and cold, but, when you think about it, they would want to be authentic. Right?

Well, according to tons of people writing on Facebook, they are taking personal credit for getting Piers Morgan fired from CNN. He is the Brit that took over Larry King's slot but during his brief run he tended to create many controversies, especially in his outspoken criticisms of American freedoms. Probably his biggest push back came when he bad mouthed the 2nd Amendment and got all of the gun rights' folks fired up. (No pun intended.) Actually, the way I read it, he was let go due to the fact that hardly anyone cared enough to watch his program. I was one of those who never did. Not even once. I may have watched Larry King a few times if he was interviewing someone I wanted to hear from, but, Piers Morgan, no thank you. For those taking credit, well, go ahead and do so. Knock yourself out. I mean, think about it. I was inconvenienced by a bunch of trail riders and now they are out there in the cold cold rain. YES! Sorry. Just trying to make a point so don't go getting yourself all hot and bothered. On the other hand, being hot and bothered might be a good thing if you happen to be sitting on the back of your wet pony in the cold cold rain. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full." ~ Henry A. Kissinger

Thanks for tuning in today on this channel. It's good to see you as I get ready to broadcast Episode 1731. Talk about mucking up the airwaves! But, thanks to those who send me notes from time to time that confirms a level of connection to many of you who follow along with us each day. It is Wednesday, February 26, 2014, where you find me trying to figure out if it really is true that staying busy makes you feel younger. Most weeks this would mean I should be pretty much bubbling over with youth and vitality. That's where the disconnect comes in. The first thing I do each Monday is fill in my calendar book for the week. I'm not complaining but I typically do start off each week with very few open slots before I even get going. That supposedly will make me feel young? I've been told I wouldn't know how to not be busy even if I had the opportunity. That may be true but I do know when I do get home and when I do find my way to that recliner, well, it doesn't take long for me to make the journey to dreamworld land. The other evening I was watching some reality police show and when I dozed off they were interviewing a suspect and when I woke up they were still interviewing a suspect. The only problem was that it was 30 minutes later and it wasn't even the same cop show. See what I mean? The older I get that time for the lights to go out gets shorter and shorter. I used to laugh at people who could take a nap at the drop of a hat. Bam! Lights out. Now I'm becoming the hat dropper, but I feel younger as a result, or, that's what I keep telling myself.

I did my first round of our annual federal tax input the other day. I use one of those automated software based utilities to assist me in my filing. These programs are really neat and you can start off with last year's information and then just make changes as needed. In the one I use it puts the number up in the right hand corner of the screen that you will be getting back, or, the number that you will owe and it updates it with every entry you make. That gives you a running commentary on what kind of face to make as you work through the process. It is a real useful feature. I have found, however, that I am much more inclined to be happy when the number has a minus sign in front of it. Unfortunately, when it goes the other direction it kind of amplifies the dread as the input process continues. Here's what I tell the wife. We are blessed to have the resources God has provided to us, therefore, we should be thankful that we have done well enough to owe more. You know what? If you say that a whole bunch of times in a row, you might just believe it. That's a joke because I honestly do believe it, and yes, I do know there are many ways, (that do not risk jail time), to avoid having to write a check on April 15th, but, thanks for reminding me.

Many of you are kind enough to ask about my mom and dad from time to time. They are coming out of some health challenges over the past several months but thanks be to God they are doing pretty well at the moment. On most days I wouldn't want to try and keep up with dad as he is one who really does embrace the staying active principle. Mom is able to stay in touch with her children, other family members, and friends, through phone calls, Facebook, and emails. They do their best to remain actively engaged in the work and ministry of their local Church. I typically talk to them everyday, often twice a day. I tell mom all the time that as she approaches the 90 year mile marker of her journey here on the planet she is breathing rarefied air that very few folks get to enjoy. We do thank God for His provision in us continuing to be able to have mom and dad with us. It is a blessing folks, a blessing indeed. And, she still frets over us kids like she did when we were at home. Now isn't that something? Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"The winner ain't the one with the fastest car; it's the one who refuses to lose." the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., known as the Intimidator

It's Tuesday, February 25, 2014, and I find myself turning left and looking in my rear view mirror this morning. Not really. But I am thinking about this year's edition of the Daytona 500. By now the most remote people on the planet referred to as un-contacted peoples likely have heard that Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the race. It came late Sunday evening after a more than 6 hour rain delay. I wanted to watch it. I weighed the pros and cons. I can watch it, get all entangled in it, and end up being wired when I should be snoozing. Or, I can leave it, and get up early and find out who won. I chose the option behind door number two and I know I am better off for it. My driver finished 4th, #24, and that's not a bad way to start the year. Dale Jr. is the most popular driver in NASCAR for the past ten plus years in a row. He makes around $24 million a year doing what he does. So, here's the deal. The most popular driver wins the most prestigious race of the year and the Junior Nation as it is called can be joyful ...... for at least one week, (for a change). Here's a funny coming out of the race. During the rain delay Fox ran a rerun of last year's race which was won by Jimmie Johnson. Obviously, some NASCAR fans are not always clued in to what's going on. At the end of the rerun of the race, Twitter was nearly shut down with folks sending in their congratulations to Jimmie on a great win. Jimmie finally had to come out and remind people that while he appreciated their vote of support, it actually had happened one year ago. Truth is always funnier and stranger than a made up story.

I know some of you think that if I were a true fan I would have bitten the bullet and stayed with it to the bitter end. That's a reasonable point of view, but, with age comes practical wisdom and that often ends up making more sense. I did watch the truck race Friday night and the Nationwide race on Saturday afternoon, if that counts for something. Speaking of competition, as in the Olympics, the Russians took home the most medals at 33 won. The United States was second with 28, closely followed by Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands. The official ranking is based on the number of gold medals won and that places the United States at 4th overall. The US won 37 medals in the 2010 Vancouver games while Russia only won 15. Therefore, one would conclude that the home court advantage was very very good for the Russians. This year's games had plenty of controversy with the security concerns, the normal stuff about favoritism in the judging, poor conditions at times due to unseasonable warm weather, (Where is Al Gore when you really need him?), and the civil unrest going on in the neighboring country of Ukraine. In spite of all of these issues along with what I thought was woeful coverage by NBC's team of so called crackerjack celebrity broadcasters, well, to me, it's the individual stories about men and women overcoming great personal hardships and obstacles to achieve the ultimate in their respective competition that tell the real story reflecting the Olympic spirit as well as the spirit of the games themselves.

I was reading from an editorial in a reprint of an old newspaper the other day where the subject being addressed had to do with how those running for reelection always come home to say all the things they think their constituents want to hear. They didn't vote that way before but now they are the loudest proponents of those issues near and dear to the hearts of their people. Fast forward. No wonder people say the more things change it is the more they stay the same. I think if I hear one more electoral commercial talking about how they will single handedly fix our porus border I'm going to run for the hills. To my chagrin, this kind of stuff actually works. I know. It's really all about the money, except in very rare situations. Will Rogers, humorist and social commentator during the 1920's and 1930's, was right when he said: "Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated." That's why I encourage everyone to become informed as best they can and then to vote their heartfelt conscience, regardless of the so called wisdom of the political experts. Alrighty then, time to move on for today. Have a great one and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.  ...More later.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." ~ Edmund Burke

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." That's the opening sentence from George Orwell's classic 1949 fictional work, "1984". This is what I am stewing about on this Monday, February 24, 2014. Here's a copied crib note summation of what Orwell's book was all about: "The overall message is that totalitarian governments such as those of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia are/were bad. When Orwell wrote 1984, he was concerned that governments were moving more toward totalitarianism.  He worried that these governments might start taking away more and more of people's rights and freedoms. Because of this, he wrote the book to try to get people to think about what could happen if governments kept becoming more controlling and totalitarian. So, the book is kind of a warning about what might happen and a call for people to be careful so they can make sure they are not letting their governments move in this direction." Does any of that begin to resonate with where we are today? It's eerie to contemplate just how far government intrusion has slowly crept into the everyday lives of us as citizens. Perhaps it is time that we all took seriously the quote attributed to the Irish statesman from the 18th Century, Edmund Burke: "The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

I know that's some heavy duty, thought provoking stuff being served up for breakfast on this back-to-work Monday, but, it really is something we all need to give our attention to. I heard a news report saying the Department of Education has issued a directive telling all school districts to not withhold food to children because their parents have failed to pay for their lunches. This was in response to the incident widely reported from out in Utah where some children were embarrassed in front of their peers, and given only a meager lunch because their parents had failed to put money into their lunch accounts. Do I think that problem needs to be addressed? I most certainly do! Do I think the federally run Department of Education should be dictating to local school districts how they will administer their lunch programs? Absolutely not! There's accountability already in those school districts where locally elected officials in Utah are scrambling to correct those problems. Folks, we do not need Big Brother intruding into matters best left to the states or local authorities. One small step leads to the next one and pretty soon we see government in total control of our most precious future resource, our children.

Okay. I promise to put that aside. For now. I do hope and pray that you and yours are well. The Apostle John had this to say to those he wrote to and cared deeply about, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." (3rd John, Chapter 1, Verse 2) Some teach that he was praying for great financial riches to be heaped upon them. I don't think so. While we need God's blessings in every area of life, I believe he was most likely talking about prospering in things like peace, contentment, hope, love, kindness, and service. Sorry, but I just can't even begin to tolerate the materialistic 'name it and claim it' approach to reading God's Word. This doesn't mean that God doesn't bless people with financial means. He does. If we are the recipients of this type of provision we should think seriously about how He would have us to use it to be a blessing to others. But, that's just how I see it. I also pray that we all will prosper in those things that count and those things that make a difference, for time and eternity. Amen.  .....More later.

Friday, February 21, 2014

"The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting." ~ Dave Barry

Hello Friday, why don't you come on over here and let me give you a big old hug. I actually read that sentiment expressed by someone talking about Friday and I too understand the attraction of finishing off the work week. (At the same time, I'm very much aware of many in today's economy that work much longer than the standard Monday through Friday, as well as those that labor in rotating shifts, and in all kinds of weird hours, etc., etc.) Unless we are talking about our sin nature which we all share in equally, along with our need of God's provision of salvation through His one and only Son, well, there's really not a one size fits all approach to life. And, that's one of things that's got my gray cells in a tizzy on this 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord, 2014. Several of us fellows found ourselves jawing forth and back about the latest exploits of the Robertson clan as seen on the Duck Dynasty TV program. Suddenly, one of the group piped up with a shocker. He said he tried to watch that show but nothing about it appealed to him and especially Si. He said his wife laughs and laughs at everything Uncle Si says or does but he can't see it. Well did you ever hear of anything like that in your entire life? Land sakes alive folks, what is this world coming to? Different shoes for different feet, I suppose, or maybe it's like Uncle Si says, “You don’t want a dog who thinks he’s too fancy for the work you want him to do. Hey, you get a dog like that and, next thing you know, you’ll both be getting matching pedicures.” That makes perfect sense to me.

It's always our privilege to think about and send along our love and best wishes to those near and dear to our hearts as they celebrate another year here on the planet. Today we are thinking about our Brittany who is celebrating her 23rd. Brittany is doing her college work, working at a real job, going here and there, and seemingly always on her way somewhere. Maybe today she can slow down long enough to hear how much her MiMi and Poppy loves her. May God continue to bless our Brittany as only He knows how. Amen. Happy Birthday Sweetie, Love, MiMi and Poppy.

May I just tell you this has been an interesting week. That little internet deprivation episode was enough to add some wear and tear to my already escalating age. I know what some of you are going to say. If I would go ahead and activate the features on my phone, I could have had a level of service to support me during this great challenge. I'm still thinking about thinking about that. I had to send out my daily blog from our laptop at home where I was hunting and pecking around, almost in the dark. I suppose I could have turned on a lamp or something. My wife was keeping up with my email from home because we have some important matters underway involving the pastoral search team that I am a part of. My eldest son was engaged to make sure that he called me if something very important happened. You know. Something urgent. Like the 24 Car crashing in practice for the Daytona 500. Or, a world calamity. I think you can see what I'm talking about. I actually used my real Bible, you know, the one with pages in it to do some study. I typically do almost everything online. The good news is that the connection is working again and for the moment at least, the earth seems to have returned to its normal orbit. I wish everyone a most wonderful Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday. Lord willing, I will see you next time, where, based on my track record, I'll have something to share. Take care and may God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time." ~ Steven Wright

Hello and welcome. I know many if not most of my regular readers prefer something other than the political commentary that I serve up on occasion, however, I am pretty much limited to whatever I happen to be focused on and fussing about on any particular day. The good news is found in how easy it is to skip over, avoid, and if nothing else, completely ignore the material if it doesn't strike your fancy. I fear that way too many are doing just that pretty much all the time when it comes to the stuff going on in Washington, D.C. But, that's mostly what I wrote about yesterday so it is time to move on, on this Thursday, February 20, 2014. I could talk about the weather because we all do, but I think I've said about all I can think to say about it up to this point. I would caution any who might be persuaded to put away their coats thinking that winter is all used up for the season. It's just me talking here but I really don't think we will be waiting for the fall before we see a little more frost on the pumpkin, so to speak.

Our internet connection here at the office was cut on Monday and I went for 2 and ½ days serving a form of isolated confinement. We suddenly found ourselves slammed back into the old school mode of looking up information in something called the Yellow Pages, and using printed catalogs, manuals, and tools called a pencil and paper. How dependent are we on immediate online access all the time? I can only say I wouldn't want to figure out the full answer to that question because having everything at your fingertips and available instantaneously, well, as far as I can tell, in a practical sense, it's the only way you can get the job done today. I'm not sure that's altogether a good thing but I am sure that to try and go back and do it like we did prior to online access would be like returning to the stone age. Literally. I know. There are some people who refuse to connect into the brave new world. They luckily are most likely not at a competitive disadvantage for doing so. I will not say how many times I did, without even thinking, attempt to log in even though I knew we had no connection. The answer is more than a few and that just goes to show you how it does become integral to how we function each day.

Last week we were privileged to have our great grand Madi Girl staying with us for a few days. All I can say is that she is one funny girl. I know the wife was on the front lines during most of her visit, but, it's remarkable how much excitement that comes with having a four year old hanging around. I can truthfully say that she was lavished upon during her time with us, as in spoiled, but, it doesn't happen very often, and without a doubt I could tell she tended to enjoy it, and so did those pouring on the special treatment. I know I am a serial sucker for the déjà vu all over again but in this situation it's impossible not to mentally relive these same feelings we felt with Madi's mommy. I don't know that much about all the DNA and Genome matching stuff but I can tell you that little Madi is carrying around a near perfect match to her mom, at least at this age. I'm talking everything from demeanor to nuanced inferences. What a blessing! The wife was tired but I think she would be the first to say it was a good tired, and, as for me, the more or less innocent bystander, it was a blast because let me just say this about that, she is one funny girl! Have a great rest of the day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. ….More later.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"The political spin in Washington is revolting, just revolting. It's a callous political game." Rob Bishop, Republican U.S. House Representative from Utah

Hello to one and all on this Wednesday. That's what my calendar reads along with the fact that it lands on February 19, 2014. One really has to wonder these days. When it comes to anything that has to do with government on any level, I ask this question: Is literally everything we hear, regardless of the source, influenced and contaminated by spin? That word 'spin' has to do with an individual taking information and presenting it based on their own personal persuasion or slant. A piece of information is released. One person reports that based on this information everything is lovely. Another person reports on the same information and says everything is lousy. While the factors used to come up with their conclusions are no doubt a part of the information, it's not possible that both of the reports are accurate. No wonder so many people stay confused and many of them choose to tune out. Or, you have those who are predisposed to embrace a particular viewpoint, therefore, they only listen to spin that agrees with their viewpoint. (Everything is lovely.) The opposite occurs with the other way of seeing it. (Everything this is lousy.) My belief is that everyone must do their own fact checking in order get a sense of the truth. That's the only way we can have an informed opinion. Sadly, I think perhaps I've arrived at the predisposed position that reflects this sentiment: "A pox on all their houses." And, to make matters worse, I actually think I believe what I just said, no spin intended.

No. I am not wishing that some virulent disease would befall all those in government. I am saying, however, that I have very little trust in those who wield power, regardless of their party affiliation. I am sure there may be notable exceptions but while I believe myself to be more well informed than many folks, I can't think of any off the top of my head. We have every reason to be wary of those who make decisions that impact our lives and perhaps more importantly, those who impact the lives of our offspring going forward. I believe our founders desired citizens who were actively engaged as opposed to a people prone to join the horde of lemmings mindlessly going off the cliff together. Here's what drives me up the wall. A black person says since President Obama is black, this means every criticism of him and his policies are only because of the color of his skin. In the same way, you have a gun rights person who says this President is not strong in upholding their constitutional right to bear arms, therefore, every vile and despicable thing they hear about him must be true. Here's what I say: During my lifetime there's been enough corruption of all types, sizes, and flavors, and it has abounded in all camps, regardless of the label being worn. While I consider myself to be conservative in my viewpoints, I am very much aware of politicians who espouse conservative principles while in reality they too are feeding at the hog trough filled with power and elitism. This does not mean I am down on our system, or that I am ungrateful for all the blessings we enjoy here in our country. It does mean that I do my best to be realistic about the way things operate, and, knowing this, I feel an obligation to do what I can about it.

I am also aware that many folks see it completely different than I do. They have their designated champions who they believe to be true blue in terms of their commitment to whatever viewpoint or cause they support. I don't have a problem with that. Our freedoms allow us to actively engage or to totally disengage from participation in the political process as we so choose. I suppose I did turn today's episode into my soapbox as opposed to sharing some lighthearted and cheery prose. Sorry about that. Some of you know that when I started this venture I had in mind to call it The View From My Pew but before I began publishing them I changed it to The View From Here. I thought that some might see the pew view thing as being a wee bit narrow although I didn't personally think it was. At any rate, maybe you got the pew view today, but, take heart, by tomorrow, no one knows what might be coming down the road. Lastly, let me again reiterate the overwhelming truth that always gives us hope. That is in knowing God and in realizing He is Sovereign and in control of all things, therefore, He will make all things right in His own good time. That's how we can stay positive even during these times filled with frustration and uncertainty. We can live each day knowing that His promise to us is sure: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans Chapter 8, Verse 28) Amen.  .....More later.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"I feel like B sides are always better, no matter whose record it is.” Alicia Keys

It's Tuesday, February 18, 2014, and I bring you greetings from that place I referred to last time, the flipside. That word was originally coined to indicate the other side of a popular record being played on the radio. The less popular side. The B side. I checked this out so that you won't have to write and straighten me out. And, if you were to try and straighten me out, you would, as they used to say back home, had better come early and plan on staying late. When you think about it, I have no problem calling most of my stuff B side material anyway. I occasionally produce a daily episode that stimulates a response. My little ditty on us watching Curling versus NASCAR got one fellow a little stirred up. He wrote me a note giving me the distinguished history of Curling. His view of NASCAR is of a bunch of race cars all turning left for three hours with the folks in the stands breathlessly waiting for a huge crash. I'm sure glad I didn't tackle watching paint dry. That may have insulted someone else out there. Just so you know, the fellow who sent me that note did so tongue in cheek. He and his sweet wife are devoted readers of my blog each day. Although he may not have been aware of an unintended message in his note because when he stated how they started their day by reading it, he either had a typo or a subliminal shot across the bow, he called it my bog.

I think we all know what it means to become bogged down. I can remember doing that in some of the backwoods where we used to hunt and fish when I was growing up. You could tell that you probably shouldn't try to make it through that muddy hole but you thought if you could just get a good run at it you could make it through. Typically, when you can barely see the tires, it's time to admit failure and call for help, as in, "Houston, we have a problem." No cell phones back then and if another vehicle was not with you, well, you just had to walk out and try to find someone willing to come pull you out. That's one form of being bogged down. The other has to do with getting stuck in the mucky stuff we all deal with every day. Often we can find ourselves not being able to see the forest for the trees. Jesus actually told a funny about some super pious religious elites and how they were hung up on the details to the extent they missed the point entirely. Bogged down, so to speak. "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 23, Verse 24)

You just have to love the weather around these parts. It's almost like being out of the frigid into the frying pan. Maybe it's out of the fire into....well, I think you get my point. We literally have moved within hours from shivering to sunning. We went from talking about how many layers to doing yard work and complaining about seasonal allergies. Take this week. We are supposed to make it up to nearly 80 degrees. Just last week we were concerned about driving on frozen roads. And, I don't know if those kinds of shifts are really hard on our bodies or not. Some say it is and typically people go from being cold to having colds and they blame it on the weather change. I wonder sometimes if it is what we think that brings on a problem, so we end up having the problem. You know what I am talking about. "As a man thinks, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) I can have my theories. I didn't say it was a proven fact, just my thoughts on how it might work. I suppose that's it for today where I urge you to keep on keeping on and oh yeah, and please pass the Kleenex box. (Joking only.) Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon." President George Washington

Greetings friends and neighbors where I send out a howdy on behalf of your observer of life as it unfolds here, there, and everywhere. It's Monday, February 17, 2014, where we find ourselves observing President's Day, the federal holiday that still bears its actual name in the statue itself, Washington's Birthday, in honor of our first President, George Washington. I'm not sure how much time is spent teaching children about our founding father but there's some evidence that many of them are somewhat unclear on things concerning our history. Here's an actual student answer given on a 6th grade history exam: "Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of The Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, 'A horse divided against itself cannot stand.' Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead." According to this 11 or 12 year old, that was likely the one and only time we had a contented Congress so maybe they were on to something. Whatever your political bent, anyone with any concept of how our nation came into being would rightly thank God for men like George Washington who served the cause of liberty. Amen.

I'm not one to be suckered in on those relentless TV commercials that run on certain channels at least 10,000 times a day. However, I did make an exception recently. I ordered me up some of those HD night vision wraparound glasses that you wear on top of your regular glasses. Why would I fall for something like that? I do have a reason. I don't see as well at night as I used to. I drive everyday forth and back into a land where the antelope play and the buffalo roam, if you know what I mean. I have been fortunate not to have had a close encounter of the worst kind in my more than seven years traversing across their territory in the wee hours of the morning. But, I have had plenty of those take your breath away near misses. So, I ordered me up some of those little 'light up your world' glasses. They help. They really do.
In fact, I like them so well I wear them as I drive around here and there during the day. And, that my friend, is where the trouble began. I had not planned on this being a comic prop but I have certainly stirred up the general population to look me over and respond with a hearty chuckle. What's wrong with people today? Haven't they ever seen an astute observer wearing his HD night vision wraparound glasses on top of his regular glasses before? My only thought was maybe they thought I was trying to do an impersonation of the late great famous Cubs broadcaster, Harry Caray. Go figure.

Even my wife. The other afternoon I came in all decked out in my new amber glow glasses and she asked me to please remove them. I asked why. She said because they made me look ridiculous. Memo to all the little critters: Please pay no mind to my critics, just be happy knowing that you will live another day to wrestle up some grub out of folks' trashcans. So. As you can tell, today just happens to be a slow news day. What's that you say? You think surely I have embellished this little story? Not on your life friend. We live in a very cruel world. I could have told the laughing folks that they actually are shooter's glasses. That may have wiped a smile or two off their faces. I, of course, didn't, and when it comes down to it, everyone needs something to smile about, and they might just be the ones I end up not hitting out on the freeway one day. My word to them: Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Bucko! Okay. Enough already. Have a great rest of the day Monday and Lord willing I'll catch back up with you on the flipside. I think I know what that means so until that time, may God bless one and all. Amen.    .....More later.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Genesis 29:20 “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”

I bring you greetings and love on this day devoted to selling billions of dollars of goods and services, all in the name of love. That's right, it's Friday, Valentine's Day, February 14, 2014. It's like all the sports radio programs have been taken over by the hawking of chocolate, cards, flowers, teddy bears, and all kinds of restaurants, and other services. The nature of the ads are somewhat threatening. They want to shame the regular sports listener into coughing up some bucks, not out of devotion to their spouse, but rather, as a way of avoiding what might happen if you don't do it. I don't have a problem recognizing my wife today and everyday, but, I also know that if I do it under those circumstances, it would be a pretty poor excuse for what my devotion to her should be. I was thinking about our Dear Brother Milton who performed our wedding ceremony in 1964, and then some 22 years later he stood before our eldest as he and his bride were united in holy matrimony. That service was unique. He told our Chris that his bride may not always be as beautiful as she was on that day. She might suffer from age, illness, and other factors in life. He told him there might come a day when he would need to feed his wife by hand every spoonful because she might be unable to feed herself. His point? Love between a husband and a wife is a commitment that transcends the greeting card, happily-ever-after concept. Selfless commitment proven by action is the definition of true love as given in the Bible. (1st Corinthians Chapter 13)

Say hello to a big transition to my next little story. The other day I was out and about on the freeways when one of those big wreckers came up beside me. It was one of those where they wench up the vehicle to ride on top of the truck bed. He had a vehicle. I did a double take. It was a late model hearse and it looked pretty well demolished. I mean you have to know that if you put any vehicle on the road there's the potential for an accident, but, it being a hearse, well, it did look odd to me. I know something like that would have been dangerous to the driver but I doubt seriously the passenger traveling in the back of the hearse would have cared one way or the other. No. I am not switching to my morbid storytelling mode. It just looked odd to me in a kind of quirky way. I got to thinking about the police report: One previously confirmed dead man was pronounced dead again at the scene. Or something like that. I guess you would have had to have been there. Or perhaps it's best that you weren't. I think you know what I mean. Right, Vern?

We all know that it's important to make sure you know the situation before making a comment. I read about a fellow who was new to his job. A supervisor he had not met came into his area and made a little speech to all the employees. The new guy thought the supervisor was impersonating the cartoon character, Sylvester the Cat, therefore, when he finished his talk, the new fellow piped up with his best raspy voice: "Sufferin Succotash!" No one laughed. The supervisor was using his own voice and he had a speech impediment. I hope that new guy remembered his interviewing skills. We all tend to find ourselves at times chiming in when staying quiet would have been a better choice. Especially when we don't have a good understanding of what exactly is going on. I know. That's never stopped me before. But, it does give me something to talk about that might help us all. Now, here's the deal. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and I'll be getting ready to chime in once again on this same station come next Monday. Until then, may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"President Obama may truly live to regret his unparalleled disregard for the Constitution, but so may all presidents who come after him." Editorial Page, Boston Herald, January 14, 2014

Hello friends and neighbors, it's only me, therefore, you can be at ease, but I wouldn't suggest that you take your eye off the ball on this Thursday, February 13, 2014. I mean that because we are living through some really upside down times in our nation's history. Power and politics are always the drivers behind most decisions coming out of Washington, but, the way our President is mangling the healthcare law to suit his party's political needs, well, it might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. (You can insert the donkey's back, the elephant's back or maybe even the tea party's back. I report, you decide.) The Democratic Party is reeling from the blow back coming from the implementation of Obamacare. They concede the House of Representatives but are feverishly attempting to save, at all costs, their control of the Senate. One way to help that effort is to keep delaying parts of the law that they know is going to add even more pain. Many who loudly supported this mess are now running away from it and the President. The problem is, as the old saying goes, 'You haven't seen anything yet'. The bottom line, we are supposed to be a nation of laws with separation of powers. There has always been dynamic tension between the branches of government in the exercise of these powers, however, the current administration has shown little respect for the co-equal branches as it pretty much decides to make it up as they seem fit. Caution: The previous comments fall into the category of opinion, therefore, you should check out the situation and form your own. I still think this is permitted here in our land of the free and home of the brave.

Okay. Enough of that for one day. When it's all said and done, most of it, regardless of party affiliation, ends up tasting the same, you know, like chicken. Where I come from people used colorful language to get their points across. ~ I got my tongue twisted up around my eye teeth and I couldn't see what I was sayin. ~ Pert near but not plumb. ~  It'll cure what ails you. ~ Well, if that don't beat all. ~ Caint never did because caint never tried. ~ He's dumber than a box of rocks. ~ I'll give you something to cry about. ~ More than Carter has liver pills. ~ Colder than the backside of a well digger. ~ That boy is so dull he couldn't cut hot butter with a knife. ~ No bigger than a tater bug. ~ Speakin of the devil. ~ Not the brightest light on the porch if you know what I mean. ~ Fuller than a tick. ~ There he was, grinnin like a sulled up opossum. ~ Now if those don't make sense to you, well, all I can say is you missed out. Here's how Freddy Fender, the country singer summed it up: "Hopefully I'll be the first Mexican American going into Hillbilly Heaven." And, if he is really blessed, he'll do so with a cup of hot, black, and strong Community in his hand.

No. That's not intended to reflect my theological viewpoints. But, since you are concerned, I will go on record regarding one thing. I think I can unequivocally assure you that there will be no Folgers up there. Calm down. It's all in fun. Lighten up a little, Buckwheat. I know some of the kids I grew up with used to tell me how that they were made to fetch their own switch when it came time for a whuppin. My mom never told me to do that. She knew that I would come back with the skinniest branch on the tree. She did her on fetching. Waiting for her to come back wasn't all too pleasant either, but, I'm thankful she did her best to discipline us with a desire that we might know the difference between right and wrong, and the penalties associated with wrong choices. As far as I can remember she wasn't too much into grounding, her punishment was swift and it left an impression, if you know what I mean. Switches do that but they also played a role in who I am today. Thanks Mom. Okay. Now it is up to you and I to get out there and git r done. Have a blessed day. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"It's not just a rock. It's forty-two pounds of polished granite, with a beveled underbelly and a handle a human being can hold. Okay, so in and of itself it looks like it has no practical purpose, but it's a repository of possibility. And, when it's handled just right, it exacts a kind of poetry - as close to poetry as I ever want to get. The way it moves.... Not once, in everything I've done, have I ever felt the same wonder and humanity as when I'm playing the game of curling." ~ Paul Gross, John Krizanc, and Paul Quarrington, Men with Brooms

Good Wednesday morning to one and all. It's a good day to rise and shine and give God the glory, here on this February 12, 2014. Can you hear that thunder off in the distance? It's getting closer. It won't be long now. That's right folks. The Daytona 500 will be raced on the 23rd of this month. It will be the 56th running of what is called the 'Great American Race'. The preliminaries will begin the weekend before, continue throughout the next week, therefore, we can get back to something other than folks spinning themselves dizzy on a frozen ice rink. We even watched the Curling competition the other evening. I know.
We are, at times, pitiful. I will hand it to the commentators because they were doing everything they could to make these guys playing a form of Croquet on ice as exciting as it could be. What skill! What strategy! But, alas, the American team attempted a double knockout of the other team's stones but their shot was slightly off giving the points to the Norwegians. I mean you have to like a game that includes two sweepers with brooms who are there to help guide the stone down the lane. They also have something called the hammer which isn't a real hammer but I think it is the ability to control play, but, I can't be sure about that. I think I would have been better off going to YouTube and listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary singing, "If I Had a Hammer."

I don't know how well NBC is doing with its ratings thus far, but it can't help when there's a headline that says, "'The Walking Dead' outperforms the Olympics." I don't know what the walking dead is all about but that most likely is not an encouraging sign. I will not deny that I do keep an eye on the medal count tallies. That's part of our American psyche. We want our nation to end up with the most, period, thank you, have a nice day. Since I'm not tuned in to the actual competitions to any great extent, the spoiler alerts that come throughout the day do not bother me at all. I know people who are very much focused on watching as much of it as they can. They know that unless you are available to watch in the wee hours of the morning that most everything of any consequence is time delayed so it can be shown in prime time. I get that. Rooting for a person to win a medal when they either did or didn't already has its own uniqueness I suppose. When I do watch I am engaged and pulling for my team even though it was decided hours ago. All laid up in my recliner with a steady rain outside in the dark of night as I watch that bright sunlit downhill ski slope should have tipped me off. Just kidding. I did see where you can go to some website and add your voice to the chanting of U-S-A, U-S-A. Don't know how it works but it does sound interesting.

I know what some of you are wondering. Why didn't I watch that serial rerun on for the 15th time of all the Duck Dynasty episodes back to back? I did think about it. But, we've seen them already multiple times and when you know them better than you do the reruns of Mayberry RFD, well, you might just know it's better to pass on watching them again. The other day the wife and I were watching one of those classic Andy Taylor and Barney Fife episodes and one of our teenaged granddaughters was watching along with us. She had not watched these but it didn't take long for her to laugh out loud. It was one of those where Barney was way out of control but as they say back home, it was funny as all get out. My point? Funny does not have to be trashy. My granddaughter who would likely never choose to watch a black and white rerun of an old TV program laughed for one reason only. It was funny. Back then, and still is today. I rest my case. At least for now. Y'all take care now. You hear? And, until next time, may the good Lord up above take a liking to you. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect." Dwight D. Eisenhower

It's February 11, 2014 in this time zone and I welcome you once again to today's episode here on a Tuesday. I hope we never lose our flag waving patriotic spirit. Most of the countries represented at the Olympics are fervently behind their home teams. We should be also. At the same time, our system of government stands in stark contrast to many where people live under oppressive regimes. Yet, we should know that it's very easy to conclude an entire nation in the same breath along with their ruthless leaders. And, being who we are, we can come across as having a superior attitude. While we are said to be the only remaining super power, although I wonder about that sometimes, we have to be careful that our freedoms and privileges do not cause us to look down on the regular folks who make up the countries we compete against in these games. I read one Russian newspaper commentator who gave his point of view about how we often come off to others: "As for the Americans, they, in principle, are very dismissive to other countries' history, because they believe that there is only America that brings light to the world, and all the rest are barbarians that revolve around America and have to look the USA in the mouth and listen to every word the States says." I felt a little stung by these words. We can love our country and our way of life without demeaning others, especially the ordinary person, who, like ourselves only want what's best for them and their families.

I read that Russian comment on an internet site that has English translations of foreign newspapers. In another item, the recent leaked conversation between two of our top diplomats has been a source of embarrassment to our country's foreign policy program. The call itself included some sharp criticisms of those we are aligned with. Our State Department has decided to go after those they believe who leaked the cell phone call, the Russians. This all happened just as the Olympics were getting underway causing even more attention to be paid to it. The rest of the world is somewhat amused at the heated response from our country. After all, it has been the USA that has been in the news for months and months concerning our spying on nearly everyone on the planet. One writer said it appeared the Russians had already won the gold medal in the information leaking competition. They obviously see it as an example of us saying do as we say, not necessarily as we do.

Knowing that we all tend to see things through the lens of our own personal presuppositions should help us to do our best to get the facts before we leap to a conclusion. When we were in Scotland we ran into many people who sincerely thought that since we lived in Texas we should own and work a huge ranch. We were asked several times about why we were not wearing our boots and hats. How did they get that idea? At that time the TV show 'Dallas' was at the top of the heap and it was being beamed all over the world. Another great example is how our missionaries are changed as they go into a foreign land and work one on one with the people there. Often they find their preconceptions to have been faulty as they come to fully appreciate that within the human family, we all share equally in our sinful nature and in our need to know God and His provision of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the common bond we all share regardless of our skin color and language. Okay. That's my international report for the day, so stay tuned for something new which should be coming soon to a page near you. May God bless each one. Amen.     .... More later.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Growing old's like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed." ~ Anthony Powell, English Novelist, 1905-2000

It's another Monday and this one is labeled February 10, 2014 where I say hello and welcome back. Many folks last week were complaining about the polar vortex/frozen tundra scenario and how it came, left, returned again and on its last visit it decided to stick around for a few days. I will say this about it, I was out in that windchill some and when it was a feels like of around 20° degrees, it was even making me feel uncomfortable. Best I recall we grew up where the seasons were a little better defined and we typically did have some really cold spells during the winter time. We just haven't been as used to it the past several years. Plus, as bad as I hate to admit it, I'm no longer ready to sign up to be the freeze out champion of the world like I was as a teenager. While it's still a ways down the road, I think it has something to do with that sign I can begin to see up ahead that reads 70 but it doesn't have anything to do with the speed limit. The wife at times has those woman flashing deals going on which makes her better able to handle the cold than me. Now there's just something not right about that. My world. It's upside down. No wonder I'm beginning to lose my grip. For the record, I am mostly joking, but the further I go it is the more I feel compelled to use the word mostly.

I do thank you for keeping up with me as I continue this writing adventure. For those nearly 40 folks who get my blog each day by email, I am particularly impressed how some of you miss my morning visit if I'm either running late or whenever on rare occasions the email demons decide not to deliver to some on the list. I appreciate the inquiries when a glitch does occur. I also want you to know that I do recognize there are times when a typo or even a wrong word ends up on the electronic page. Sometimes my sweet wife lets me know about it and often I notice them myself, after the fact. Most of you probably think that's not a big deal, but it is to me. I hate it when that happens. It bugs me to no end. I'm not talking about dangling around some participles and abusing the grammar like there's no tomorrow. That, I'm afraid, comes with the territory. But, I do not like it when I have a mistake because often it interferes with the sentence and the thought I am trying to express. I know. Most folks figure it out and go on. I always do my best to correct them on the blog of record which is stored out there in that magical storage place somewhere over the rainbow, but, that doesn't fix it on those distributed via email. Sorry about that. I guess my wife is right after all. I am human. Who said dealing with blunt trauma truth on a Monday morning would be easy?

Let me give a shout out to my wife, who, though retired from her public job, is pretty much burning the candle at both ends most of the time. Her typical week is not for the fainthearted. As most of you know, our middle son, who is impaired and disabled due to his bi-polar condition, lives with us. We also have two of his teenaged children living with us. That's like a whole lot right there. In addition, she has stepped up and is busy in a variety of ministries associated with our local fellowship. The other day when our nearly 20 year old dishwasher (it's one of those electrical units, not an illegal immigrant) gave up the ghost and flooded the kitchen, well, she had good reason to be beside herself. She often tells me that I really don't have a clue. Know what? I believe her. Because this Mr. Clueless gets up and leaves most days and when he returns, he eats a good home cooked supper and then retires to his napping nest to enjoy his favorite TV programs which he later has to stream on the internet since he slept through them. I thank God for her and look forward to the arrival tomorrow of the new electrical dish washing gizmo so that at least one little piece of her world can be made whole again. I guess she does pretty good for a cotton farmer/preacher's daughter. And, after all is said and done, some 49 years and 54 days ago she hooked up with me, but I'll not try to evaluate the merits of that choice at this time. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Friday, February 7, 2014

"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow." ~ Grant Wood, American Painter, 1891-1942

In 1930, Iowa artist Grant Wood painted American Gothic. The models (pictured here) used for the painting were his sister Nan Wood Graham and his dentist, Byron McKeeby.
Seems like we were just here, but, when I say ....more later, I suppose that's exactly what I mean. If you don't believe me, stay tuned for Friday's edition here on this February 7, 2014. I know the silly face photos are in vogue today but I can't for the life of me figure out why. I suppose it has something to do with humor and making a memory but seeing folks and families with their faces all twisted up just doesn't do much for me. This past season they even asked Santa to become a party to such nonsense. Have they no shame? I get the part about teenagers and kids doing it. Acting crazy more or less comes with the territory. But, family portraits? Sorry. Maybe the parents want their children to remember them as wild and crazy guys. I must have missed out on that portion of the gene pool. It is, however, a free country, and if you like posting those kinds of photos, then go for it. Meanwhile, old stick-in-the-muds like me will likely continue with our version of the American Gothic portrait or a facsimile thereof.

We all know there are plenty of haters who are doing anything and everything they can to root against and cause the Duck Dynasty franchise to fail. Once you are in the crosshairs of the Hollywood elite and the mainstream media, odds are, you will likely be destroyed. In this case, there is one little factor they may not have taken seriously. That's the ordinary Jane and Joe Doe viewer who makes choices about what they will and will not watch. The good news for the Robertson family is how they have persevered and since their first show of the new season, they continue to be at the top of the charts for all of cable. Here's their most recent numbers from the category 'This week's most-watched cable shows': Cable Top 25: 'Duck Dynasty' Tops Cable Viewership for the Week Ending February 2, 2014 ~ Cable Top 25: 'Duck Dynasty' Tops Cable Viewership for the Week Ending January 26, 2014 ~ Cable Top 25: 'Duck Dynasty' Tops Cable Viewership for the Week Ending January 19, 2014. While sponsors do feel the pressure from the elites, it's you and I who buy their products and they typically will always vote with their profit motive in mind. Oh yeah, in case you wondered, we're still watching, and we're still laughing out loud.

I've read through some of the reporting coming out of the winter Olympic games being held in Sochi, Russia. I do hope the athletes fair better than the reporters have thus far. The news folks who went a few days early are talking about their accommodations like they would from a 3rd world country. No running water. The rooms are incomplete. You cannot think about drinking the water and signs are up everywhere warning you not to. Toilets are either incomplete are out of service. Some hotels are still without heat. When Russia won the contract for the games they estimated the cost would be around $12 billion dollars. It has already exceeded $50 billion and the most interesting game may be who can guess the closest to the total that went to graft and corruption. Most would say at least half. And, to think, we actually have folks here in our country who think a Russian style of government would be better for us. I will not go as far as to tell them to be sure and close the door when they leave but I do understand how folks could feel this way. I'm very sure we will be hearing much more about all of this as the days unfold. Here's a prescription for us all to consider: Enjoy your Saturday. Be sure and meet up with other believers on Lord's Day Sunday. And, finally, tune in next time as I will do my best to come up with something to write about. Until then, may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.