Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Jimmy!

The photo was taken on Resurrection Day Sunday. The twins, Alesha and Amanda are now 15. Alexander Benjamin is 8. And, Jimmy Jr. is 17. Good morning and welcome to another one of the many days that we set aside to honor a family member as we remember the anniversary of their birth. Today is Wednesday, April 30, 2014, and our Jimmy was born on this same calendar day, on a Tuesday, back in 1968. Jimmy has been living with us the past several years due to his disability status. He is a very intelligent person with a whole lot of know how. God has blessed him with four wonderful children, two of which also live with us, and the other two we get to see often as all of them stay with us every other weekend. Jimmy suffers from a severe Bi-Polar disorder along with other health challenges. He has recently met a lady and they are currently making plans for their future together. We pray for him and pray that God will under gird the decisions being contemplated. Happy Birthday son and may God bless, from your mom and dad.

I looked over the recent Gallup polling that was done to gauge what people think about the states where they live. Montana and Alaska have the highest ratings.The state where we live here in Texas was in the top five. Most of the states in the East did not get high ratings at all. My point? These are often the folks who typically want to pontificate about and dictate their version of how life should be lived and regulated for everyone here in our nation. They tend to want to export all of their ideas and often are seen trying to impose them on others. Hello? Many of the states that receive high ratings in the poll are those that do their best to leave people alone and allow them to function and operate with freedom and liberty. No. Gallup didn't say that, it's my summary of what I saw. I'm not attempting to stir up division here but it would seem that some of these social engineers would be better off trying to figure out ways to improve the lives of folks who live in their own backyards. That would be my way of seeing it as in The View From Here and I might add that no keystrokes were killed in the preparation of this analysis, mangled a little maybe, but they do live on to fight another day.

This week is also a time of reflection as I think about the birthdays of two men that certainly made an impact on my life. I'm talking about my dad and my mom's dad, my grandfather. My dad was a part of bringing me into this world. I only have the briefest of images of stored in my memory bank from my childhood days. He died in January of 1954. I was seven years old. It was the most trying of times for my mom and my other five siblings. Yet, I am who I am today and he had something to do with that, therefore, I thank God for him. Anyone who knows me, anyone who has read my blogs, anyone who has heard me teach or have talked to me at any length know about my granddad. He was a larger than life figure to me and while I would be the first to recognize that he was thoroughly human and imperfect, at the same time, I know in my heart of hearts that he portrayed for me the model of integrity that I have sought to reflect in my own life. He was funny without realizing it. He was a man who always believed that action dictates substance, not talk. I miss him. He went home to his reward in 1971. Some say it was tragic but I have come to believe he was granted an early promotion. He lived only by the grace of God but if anyone ever earned an early promotion through the things he faced in life, well, my thought is that he would at least be on that list. (Hebrews Chapter 11) We all get to be who we are based on those who preceded us. I'm thankful for these men. I also know that I have much work to do to leave a lasting legacy for those who will one day think about me and my life. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." ~ Ansel Adams, Legendary Photographer, (1902-1984)

Granny wants to be seen also!
It's always good to have Jesus in the picture!
That Aflac duck gets around, doesn't he?
There's a fish head if I ever saw one!
We find ourselves once again at this little place where we come to visit, rest a little, and enjoy some conversation. It's Tuesday, April 29, 2014, and I do hope you are doing well and if you are really really tall I suppose I could ask you how the weather is doing way up there. Lame? Please don't go and try to spoil my icebreaker here. I think I will take a moment to inform those of my readers about a cultural thing going on that they might not be aware of. It's called photobombing. Here's the definition of a photobomb: "A photograph that has been spoiled by the unexpected appearance of an unintended subject in the camera's field of view as the picture was taken." Getting unexpected results from photos taken is not a new thing but it has become somewhat of a craze with today's mostly young and hip generation. I'm not young but I do have some pretty bad hips but I don't think that entitles me to an honorable mention. The photobombs can be intentional or unintentional but be aware that someone may be lurking at all times to try and pull one off. Add this development, (no pun intended), to the wacko facial expressions that show up in some family photos and I'll tell you, these are some very weird times. That is, if you ask me.

They were told not to eat the sour pickles, but they wouldn't listen.
I started to ask if you got the picture but it sounded a little over the top, so I decided not to. Have you ever wondered why people seemed so solemn in the pictures taken in the early days of photography. I have. There's different thoughts about it. It could have been the fact that they had to sit perfectly still for an extended period of time in order for the photographic plate to be fully exposed. Maybe they were thinking about the cost since it was relatively expensive. Some even think it could have been the poor dental situation that most people dealt with back in those times. In addition, there was a sense in which people who portrayed themselves with broad smiles reflected a lack of dignity and seriousness about life. President Lincoln was well known for his great sense of humor but nearly is always seen as very solemn and ceremonious in the many photos taken of him. 
Compared to today's frivolity, well, I suppose if nothing else, it is different. We will have to await the judgment of history to tell us what it may or may not have reflected about us.

Today's visit might be called a public service announcement. I wonder if there is a tax write off with that one. My intention was to inform but mostly it was to entertain or maybe distract us all from the heads down stuff that typically dominates most of our days. It may not qualify for anything other than a smile generator but if it does that, well, I will be pleased. I can certainly use one now and then and I think we all can. Enjoy the rest of the day and always be remembering that God has your back. I just remembered that and it made be feel better. You might want to do the same thing. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm glad they didn't use one of Loretta Lynn's early songs: "You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly."

Hello friends and neighbors. It's Monday, April 28, 2014, and I'm thankful that I do not have to blow my breath on a mirror to see if I am still alive. That's a little joke I used to tell my people when I thought they were lagging or moving too slow. I advised they carry a small mirror with them, you know, just to check and make sure from time to time. Well okay then. They didn't care for it that much either. Someone was able to find out the tunes the CIA used during torture sessions. Blaring music, 24x7. The theme song from the Meow Mix cat food commercial was on the list, as well as the Barney tune, you know, from the big purple dinosaur. The movie Saturday Night Fever was on the list along with several other shows. The majority were hard rock ditties that I did not recognize. A couple appeared to be songs that mocked religion. The musical torture process has to do with how loud it is and the fact that it plays around the clock. I am glad to report that many of my favorite genres were not on the list. No Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, Polka, Classical, or accordion tunes were listed. I wonder how long any of us would last after being bombarded at 120 decibels relentlessly for days with this little number: "I love you, You love me We're a happy family With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you Won't you say you love me too I love you, you love me We are friends like friends should be With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you Won't you say you love me too."  And, just for the record, Lawrence Welk was not even given an honorable mention!

What's that you say? I never thought of that one. You think maybe they would have gotten information sooner if they would have had someone read my blogs to them around the clock? I would imagine getting my stuff translated into a foreign language would not only take some time, but just think how the colloquialisms would end up. But it is a thought. The next time I have any dealings with the CIA maybe I will mention it, or maybe not. I might should back off using those abbreviations since the NSA, (National Security Agency), is likely checking stuff on the fly and they are no doubt looking for keywords like CIA or FBI. It wouldn't surprise me but I'm not concerned because I have nothing to hide. And, just think, they spy on me and they might just get more than they bargained for. Some technician might fall into the power of some other keywords like GOSPEL, JESUS, and GOD. They might end up with some truth that could change their entire life, their way of living, and certainly their eternal destination. That might be a good thing to pray about. "Dear God, if anyone accidentally lands on any of the blogs written by Sixty-Plus, please help them to land on one that talks about You and Your love for them and Your desire to save them. Help them to read with their heart and respond positively, for Your honor any glory!" Amen.

I tell you, it seems like every single day there's something out there trying to destroy the institutions that have made us who we are. Some study group in Great Britain has mounted a campaign to educate people with this message: Carrots are bad for rabbits. You can go after a lot of things that are important to us, but when you try to defame Bugs Bunny, it's time for us to rally behind the "Ehh,What's up Doc?" foundation. They are concerned because so many rabbits have tooth decay from eating carrots. Here's an excerpt from an article in the London newspaper The Telegraph, "Bugs Bunny was wrong," said Rachel Roxburgh, an animal scientist for the charity. "We want all pet rabbits to be eating hay as their main food. People also think their rabbits should eat carrots because that's what Bugs Bunny does. But he's a cartoon, real rabbits don't talk, and they shouldn't be eating carrots too often either." Real rabbits don't talk. Whoever heard tell? I'm glad we won our independence because our rabbits can have all the carrots they want and maybe even get dental coverage under Obamacare. (Insert a smiley face here.) I think that should be sufficient foolishness to get our week started. May God help us all as we continue our journey together is my prayer. Amen.    .....More later.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Scene from the Home Alone Movie: Kate McCallister: "How could we do this? We forgot him." Peter McCallister: "We didn't forget him, we just miscounted." Kate McCallister: "What kind of a mother am I?" Frank McCallister: "If it makes you feel any better, I forgot my reading glasses."

Good morning and welcome. Well, she did it again. I think you already know what I am talking about. She left me. She left Thursday for her journey to Louisiana to clear some land. That might be a new one but the result is the same. I'm left to fend for myself and typically that's not always a good idea. This is what I am fretting about on this Friday, April 25, 2014. The thought of her with an axe in her hand, well, it might be good that she is that far away. You do know I am joking. Right? Yet, I do recall when we were doing the demolition in our home after Hurricane Ike that she really enjoyed swinging this huge sledgehammer. I often wondered what she was thinking about as she ripped through that sheet-rock. No. I'm almost certain I wasn't on her mind at that time although that recovery stuff was very tedious my friend, very tedious indeed. She's due back Sunday morning in time for service at our local fellowship so that gives me time to think about when I might be able to begin to make sure that I get done what needs to be done before her return. The fellows reading this know exactly what I am talking about because it really does defy any logic whatsoever to think that a bed has to be made up when you will be back in it in just a matter of hours. Who came up with those rules anyway?

Okay. Let me clear one thing up before I go any further. I know some have looked at the before and after photo I used on Wednesday and thought perhaps I have been in the government sponsored witness protection plan based on the changes in my appearance. Enough of those thoughts! Let me set the record straight. I am not in disguise. My current appearance has been forged over time based on the winds, waves, and vicissitudes of life. Thanks for thinking about me anyway because I happen to like that word vicissitude and rarely get to use it. It has the connotation represented in that old Gospel song, Time Has Made A Change In Me. The chorus: "Time has made a change in the old home place; Time has made a change in each smiling face, And I know my friends can plainly see Time has made a change in me." I also ask that you not contact the FBI to check this story out. I've got enough of that vicissitude stuff to work with right now. Thanks.

I don't want to beat a dead horse but if it is already dead it probably wouldn't feel it anyway, however, I do apologize for any equine enthusiasts that might be offended by the metaphor. Back to the beating of you know what. This kid who stowed away in the wheel well of that passenger jet and rode it to Hawaii, well, if that don't beat all and I'm not including any horses when I say that. Here's the laughable but tragic outcome in this situation: We have a budget for the Department of Homeland Security nearing 1 trillion dollars per year. Everyday we read about people being hassled, abused, and delayed in the name of making absolutely certain that airline travel is safe. Yet, a kid can climb under a fence and get himself curled up into the wheel well and hop a ride. Sure. It's a near miracle that he survived such a stunt. However, there's folks who hate us who would be more than happy to duplicate his act carrying with them some destructive bomb being overjoyed to give their life for their perceived cause. Like I say. Laughable but tragic. However, we should feel better because this situation is currently under review. Whew! I feel better already. (Sorry. I have a wee bit of a problem hiding sarcasm. I'll try to do better next time.) Have yourself a really great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will do my very best, Lord willing, to meet up with you again come next Monday. May God bless us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

On April 8, a Star Trek afficiado made this claim: "Forty one years ago Captain Kirk made the first mobile phone call." My response: "Who knew?"

I bring you greetings from the semi-smart phone operator who is sending out his best wishes, not by text, but within this little greeting from the ole blogger ranch here on this Thursday, April 24, 2014. Semi-smart may be akin to semi-sweet as in chocolate but I am doing my best to improve. I do get a little weary from hearing folks that couldn't log onto a computer if their life was at stake, say to me, "Oh I forgot, you don't even do texting, do you?" No I don't but I can probably find out if your double first cousin ever did time. Just joking. Well, I am trying to improve my operational effectiveness as it relates to the new phone I received in December. The other morning I thought there was enough daylight to open up our shop without a flashlight but I was reminded once again of my inability to see in the dark. But what do you know? I remembered that I have a little flashlight on my new phone. Hello hello! I got that little dude turned on and it put out a little search beam that could penetrate a thick fog. Now that's a tool I can use. Only one problem. I couldn't figure out how to turn it off. I didn't want to go around with that thing shining in my pocket all day so I finally just shut down the phone and then turned it back on. I know. Read the instructions. I'm just glad I didn't issue some type of amber alert while I was fiddling around with that light. Don't laugh. I've never denied that I am a WIP (Work-in-Progress).

The other day I read a piece from a person who concerns himself with literature and he posed the following question, "Is Blogging A Threat to Quality Writing?" He thrashed around here and there, lamenting how that poorly written blogs actually are often rewarded with followers and cash for those who advertise on their sites. This typically reflects an interest in the subject matter or a connection to the writer. The good news is seen is his optimistic conclusion. He sees the bad stuff eventually being called out for what it is, and at the end of the day the good stuff will prevail. I hate to burst his bubble, but as this issue pertains to the stuff I do, well, that train left the station a long time ago. The major thing I strive for is in getting my message across, my point made, or my story told. I do from time to time wince a little at the way in which I've mangled the prose but typically I feel pretty good about the messaging I set out to accomplish. But I do admire those who busy themselves trying to police folks like me who operate for the most part with immunity. They do have their work cut out for them. I bet they were the ones the teacher made hall monitors when they were children. And, my guess is they enjoyed every minute of it!

I do not want you to get the idea that I don't do my best in terms of trying to get it right. I do try. We know that grammar is important. Punctuation does make a difference. We've all seen the example: Let's eat Grandpa! versus Let's eat, Grandpa! There have been misplaced commas that cost millions in the way contract provisions were written. I am the first to believe in the importance of communicating in a way that leads to understanding. Many historians have evaluated the role of misunderstood statements that eventually led to hostile situations and even war between countries. You can see it even in the exchanges that flow forth and back on social media sites like Facebook. Sometimes a poorly written posting, a left out word, or one that unintentionally causes doubt or confusion, well, it can lead to a fall out between friends. I am aware that at times the things I choose to write about are offensive to some folks because they do not agree with my reading of the facts. That I can handle. But I would never want to bring about a hurtful impact because I was lazy in my writing. The bottom line: I will keep on trying. I hear you: "You do a good job of being trying most of the time." Good point, but please don't submit my stuff to that fellow sitting out in the hall. Thanks. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Birthday to a Woman of Distinction!

Good morning and I welcome you to a day of celebration as I consider how blessed I am on this Wednesday, April 23, 2014. To treasure something or someone means that we cherish, we value, we highly esteem, we prize and hold dear the object of our affection. That's what I am thinking about as I pause to honor the wife that God has given to me, on this, the anniversary of her birth. We've been playing this birthday game with each other for over 50 years and what a journey it has been! Granted, it has not all been a bed of roses but we have been supported by our love for each other and our commitment to seek God and His provision for us and our family. The one thing I want everyone to know about her is the fact that she is the real deal. Not perfect, but what you see is what you get. She is a wife, mother, believer sold out to her Savior, a singer for the Lord, a friend and a servant. I feel honored to be her husband and realize that she is my treasure and I thank God for her. May God bless you sweetheart on your special day. Amen.

Speaking of family, we also are thinking about our youngest, Rodney and his sweet wife Mitzi as they celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary today. We thank God for His blessings on their time together as husband and wife. We thank God for the children they have poured their lives into, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady. We offer up a prayer that God will continue to bless, lead, guide, and direct them as a couple. You guys have made us proud and we are thankful to be your parents. May God add His blessings to your special celebration of this significant milestone. Amen. Love, mom and dad

I don't apologize for sharing my family with you, my blogosphere family, because it is who I am. When I talk about being blessed by the Lord, my family is a major part of how He has worked in my life. I've not always been the person God wants me to be but He somehow and in someway has provided for us. We are no different than any other family. We have had in the past our challenges and we live with challenges today. Since I know personally many of the people who receive my blog each day, I am aware that we share this common human experience as well as our common bond that makes us brothers and sisters in Christ. That relationship with Him makes it possible for us to recognize how that every good gift, including our family, comes from Him. On Monday afternoon I came in after a long day and there to greet me was our great and grand Madi Girl. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. As I loved on her I also loved on all those God had given into our care over the years. Yep. Not a big deal to the world in general, but I'm unashamed to openly thank God for His blessings both small (a strawberry blonde 4 year old), and great. Now, get out there and lets make the best of the life He has given to us! Today! Amen.   ...More later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Hello one and all. It's Tuesday and I bid you welcome here on this April 22, 2014. We enjoyed such wonderful Resurrection Day services this past Sunday. Our local meeting place was nearly full and we had wonderful worship music, a great message of truth from God's Word, and loving fellowship among all who came. In fact, we enjoy this so much, we try to see that it happens in honor of our Great God and Savior each and every first day of the week, Sunday. I know there are some folks who are not able to get out and attend a service like this due to health or other hindrances. However, there are many, far too many, who think very little of the blessing that God provides to those who honor Him by gathering together. Some say they can do all they need to do just between them and God, one on one. Others say most Churches are filled up with hypocrites, so why even bother. There's only one problem here. We, as believers, are actually commanded in the Scriptures to be faithful in assembling ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) We do so because it is the Lord Jesus Himself who birthed the Church and gave Himself up for the sins of the world and for the ongoing ministry to the world through His chosen organization/organism, the local New Testament Church. As for the folks who show up each week, well, you can be sure we all need God's help because we all are prone to waver, therefore, Church is the right place for us all to get things right, even if we have to do it each time we meet! Amen.

I just came off a three day weekend but for some reason I just can't seem to get everything back up and going like it should be. Please don't tell me that this too is an age thing. I think I've blamed enough on that situation which everyone tells me is a good situation compared to the alternative. I know what they mean when they say that but at the same time I look at it as being a mixed feeling. As long as I am here and dealing with the slight challenges that come with aging, well, I'm still able to contribute something to others and that is our calling. However, to think that we will one day live forever in the presence of our Lord, that's the outcome of our hopes and dreams. The Apostle Paul had that same tension in his life when he penned these words, "Christ means everything to me in this life, and when I die I'll have even more." (Philippians 1:21 from the GOD'S WORD Translation) Building an expectation of seeing Him is a good way to balance our time of serving Him here in our sojourn on earth. Think about it like this. We will one day get to go home. Home is where our heart is. Home in where our Savior is. One day we will have the greatest home going celebration and reunion that we could ever imagine. Amen.
Keep in mind that it is not an escape, but rather a destination and thankfully it is one that He has provided for any and all who choose to put their faith and trust in Him. You do know that I notice funny things about people. Why? Because people are funny. That also includes me. Yet, there are times when I tend to see the funny in others more than myself. Eventually this becomes apparent when someone else sees and expresses the funny they see in me. Now wait just a cotton picking minute! But, we all know it's true. Everybody has their own unique set of quirks and oddities. When I am being observant I can see some pretty hilarious material and it turns out to be right under my very own nose. How many times do we end up asking ourselves, "I can't believe I did that?" What's that? I can always blame it on my age? Let me just say this about that. There's much blaming then that needs to go on around these parts and it does help us all to recognize it. I'm not so sure that when we laugh the whole laughs with us but I am certain that it is very healthy to be able to see ourselves in a light where we can laugh at our antics. And, that my friend, is no laughing matter, if you get my drift. When am I going to share some of these really good stories on myself? That's a completely different area of speculation but I will take it under advisement. Enjoy the rest of your day and don't forget to thank God for His provision of our heavenly home. Amen.   .....More later.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment." ~ Robert M. Hutchins, Educational Philosopher, 1899-1977

Well, well, here we go again. Today is Monday, April 21, 2014, and having been away for three days, well, there's likely some retraining that will be necessary. I will tell you that the coincidental happenings up in Washington D.C. seem to be ruling the day there. The Census Bureau announced major changes in how they will survey citizen healthcare matters in the next official collection. This, supposedly, will greatly improve the understanding of this important information. However, and I think I will say that again, however, because of the major updating of the data, well, get a load of this: It will not be possible to get any good comparisons or analysis based on a before and after Obamacare scenario. How convenient. And they would have you and I to believe that it just worked out that way folks and that's become their mantra on just about everything they are doing. From my way of seeing it, it is clear that the people running our government think we have the collective IQ of a turnip. I know that's not true but if you include in the mix the level of apathy and citizen fatigue that are both pervasive, well, it might just be what they are trying to achieve. A pass. The longer they get a pass the more entrenched the tentacles become in every fiber of the healthcare delivery apparatus with the intent to have it become so convoluted and compromised as to render it practically unchangeable and un-fixable. I can hear the Census higher ups now: "The data will be so much better but it will take a few cycles before it will be useful." By then my children will be wobbling around and I'll be in my heavenly home. And, just so you know, that last part doesn't sound too bad to me.

I didn't show up today and discover these things about how things are unfolding up there in that place that exercises power over our lives. While I do pay more attention than some, I do not see myself as a policy wonk, however, folks, it comes down to that test we heard ever since we were little. If it walks, talks, acts, and demonstrates all the attributes and characteristics, well, that just might be what it is. Sadly, and this not new, but, sadly, if folks are willing to allow someone to un-teach them the basic truths they at one time held to be certain, well, up then can become down and down can become up. I'm not that bright folks but I see this at work every single day. I see it on the news. I hear it being talked about in casual conversations. I read it in notes on Facebook. It typically goes like this: They are only trying to help folks that are down and out but those who have stuff and want to hold on to it are trying to keep them from helping folks. That message distracts from what they are doing. What does it matter if they are only trying to do good and we end up losing our personal freedoms? See what I mean? The details always tell us what is at stake. Because of this sloganization of these plans and programs we end up with class warfare as a way to cover the real implications and outcomes. My thought is that we had better be able to distinguish between the rhetoric and the reality or our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will someday wonder how we could have let these things happen. Just so you know how I see it......

Sorry to come at us so early on a back-to-work Monday but that's what we found when we located the key to my storage unit, the one I call my version of Pandora's Box. In my situation I never can predict exactly what might slip out once it is opened. And, by the way, I do know that many folks hold different opinions than I do. Really? They most certainly do. I understand that. I support everyone's right to decide for themselves. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that we should sit by and say nothing when we see things happening that we believe will be detrimental to the future of our nation. I've heard some older folks say it will be their problem and they wonder out loud why they should care. We care first and foremost because it is our duty to care. We also care because someone cared about us. They worked hard to put in place the building blocks that we used to make a life for ourselves and it is our responsibility to do the best we can to do the same for those who follow us. May God help us to be able to do that as we make our way forward is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,..." Gospel of John, Chapter 11, Verse 25)

Welcome to one and all to the place where I dispense information without regard to race, creed, or ethic origin, and I do my best to promote the truth that we all can become a born again child of the living God. That message is one that resonates on this particular Friday, April 18, 2014. Today is designated as Good Friday, the traditional celebrated day when our Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, was put on the Cross for the sins of the whole world. It was a day of suffering, agony, and shame for He who was not only the Son of God, but, God the Son. His death, burial, and His resurrection reflects the truth about the sin penalty being dealt with by the only One able to deal with it. Today we affirm the truth as given by the Apostle Paul writing in his letter to the local assembly meeting in Corinth, Greece. "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time." (1st Corinthians 15, Verses 3-8)

This is great news folks. We can be made right with our God. And, we can have Him in our life each and every day. This is why we celebrate this Good day because it is the Good News, the Gospel, that calls each of us to put our faith and trust in Him. Happy Good Friday. Happy Saturday. Happy Resurrection Sunday. Because He lives we too will live forever and ever Amen.      .....More later.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"I still love making hamburgers on the grill. I guess whenever I eat them childhood memories come up for me." ~ Chef Bobby Flay

Hello and welcome to the Thursday before Good Friday here on this April 17, 2014. I want to give a shout out to 77354. That's the Zipcode where I work. It wasn't easy folks but we huffed and we puffed and according to the Weather Channel, last Tuesday morning we got to that magical temperature reading, 38 degrees with a feels like of 32. (Hit 36 on Wednesday morning for good measure.) Now here's the deal: When you experience that kind of breath of fresh air in mid April, it calls for a celebration. I don't know if or how you celebrated but I know how I did. That's right. You guessed it. I enjoyed another cup of that wonderful syrupy, thick and black Community. (Warning: That may have been a slight exaggeration.) The other day I put the photo I'm showing today up as the background on my Facebook page. A fellow I graduated from high school with who now lives in Alabama commented on the simple beauty it shows. I sent him a note and told him that when I look at it I'm reminded of those cold early morning hunting adventures in some hard to access places with my grandfather. He acknowledged those memories and dubbed them good times in that rural area we both were privileged to live in. Let me see. A cool morning, a hot cup of Community, and a walk down memory lane. Is this a great country or what?

A major university recently made headlines because they withdrew a speaker scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate and to do the commencement address. The speaker is a lady who has taken on the draconian abuses suffered by women and girls growing up in the Muslim world. She should know. This accomplished scholar grew up in that environment but escaped. When she was announced there was an uproar from the pro Muslim world. The school withdrew the invitation and backed down. This is a university that has allowed speakers with known terrorist leanings and those who have authored Anti-Semitic writings to address their students. This is a university that has promoted just about every far left position imaginable all in the name of free speech and diversity. Yet, they yielded to this pressure and many believe they did so because implied in this backlash could be an opportunity for potential violence. It seems that we as a nation are becoming more and more a hostage to the forces that threaten our freedoms and our way of life, yet, whether it's our government or our institutions, we choose to cower as opposed to taking a stand.

I know that many want to think these sorts of things don't really mean much. But, may I warn us all, that putting stuff like this out of our minds and looking the other way will not make it go away. One thing is crystal clear. There's no deference or respect being shown to those who stand up for Christian principles. In fact, those who stand for biblical truth are being reported as enemies among us while the forces of evil are being embraced. Sometimes it's just hard to believe that we have gotten to where we are. We shouldn't be surprised but it still more or less takes your breath away when you consider that we would be the generation seeing these prophesied truths actually realized. I can remember hearing many of these things from the pulpit during my childhood. It seemed so incredible and so far away. Now they are not only at work, they are becoming more and more the norm in today's society. In the midst of these things, what can we do? "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28) Take heart and keep on keeping on as we seek to please Him with the life He has given to us. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Because the resurrection of Jesus, and His resurrection alone, brings hope that our sins are paid for (Romans 4:25), death has been defeated (Hebrews 2:14), and we have the hope of eternal life when we repent and turn to Christ, accepting what He has done for us." Norman Geisler

It's Wednesday, April 16, 2014, and I send out a hearty hello and welcome. It is the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday, therefore, this is always a special time for those of us who embrace Jesus the Christ as our Lord and Savior. Many people tend to only remember Him at this season or during the celebration of His birth at Christmas. He, if He is Lord, and He is, certainly deserves more than this. Be very sure that I am not promoting myself as an example of a devoted follower but it is hard to imagine someone who says they believe in Him and have been saved by Him but they have little or no time for Him. Again, were it not for His forgiveness, not only in my salvation, but His ongoing mercy and grace, I would have no room to even bring up this matter. But, even those of us who carry His name, we often weeble and wobble around, we make wrong decisions, and we struggle and often fail to live up to the calling He has placed on our lives. Yet, that same eternal forgiveness that was won for us all in His death, burial, and resurrection, it continues to provide us with the daily cleansing that helps us to get back up and go again. The bottom line: He was and is and is to come! (The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 1, Verse 8) Amen and Hallelujah!

Not only was yesterday federal tax day, but it was also the anniversary of that cataclysmic bombing at the Boston Marathon last year. This means there are huge numbers of families that are reliving the horror of that event as well as those who were maimed and living a completely different life than they ever expected. I think we all know that we in this country have far too many of these types of anniversaries. We are aware that living in a free and open society comes with its privileges and, as a side affect, its exposures. What really causes us all some reflection is how we pay out billions for keeping up with potential threats and then find out that we actually had intelligence regarding the Boston perpetrators. This infuriates most of us as we see our government time after time being unable to connect the dots. Meanwhile they choose which laws they will and will not enforce and I don't know about you but I am not made to feel more safe as a result. When it comes down to it, none of us know what a day will bring whether we are going to watch the finish of a marathon or just going about making another day. What we can do is know the One who knows all things and knowing Him allows us to live with confidence. My heart goes out to those whose lives have been altered by the evil that exists in this fallen world. May they look to the God of all comfort is my prayer. Amen.

I know there are tears that define some of the days in our sojourn but we also are a people of hope. Hope as demonstrated in the response of those folks up East and how they came together and stood together in unity after that tragic bombing. They don't talk like me. Come to think about, not too many people do. But, one of the amazing characteristics of this melting pot Republic that we belong to is how that no matter where we are from, regardless of our address, deep down inside we are still Americans, and we connect as the free people that care, that share, and as those who stand together when threatened, harmed, or challenged. I do thank God for the country that He has given to us. Sure, it is far from perfect. In fact, it has, since the beginning been a work in progress. Today I pause to remember God's grace on our land and I offer a prayer that He would guide us through the night with the light from above. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know." Lord Byron

I'll do my best to distract everyone from this being
The 8 month old king in waiting.
Tuesday because it's also April 15, 2014. You know the April 15th I'm talking about. Enough said. Now for this newsworthy item. You might as well forget about it. Don't even try to find them anywhere. They may show up on eBay soon at an unbelievable price but for now every unit is gone. I am, of course, talking about the little jumper worn by Prince George on his outing in New Zealand the other day. One look at that cute little guy wearing his cute little outfit and BAM, folks are in a frenzy to get hold of the same outfit for their little one. The little tyke has no idea that he is already a fashion trend setter although the earlier photos of the car seat used by the royal mummy and daddy also sold out almost immediately. He is a cutie and appears to be thriving. Just think. For those doing everything from his clothes to his toys to anything he just happens to touch, well, business could be very good for many years to come. I've tried to think if we ever saw someone who was of celebrity status and went out and bought something because of it. I'm not saying we never did. I do remember going to the rodeo one year and I did buy myself and the boys cowboy hats that were like the ones worn in the Urban Cowboy movie.
We didn't see the movie but the hats featured those gaudy big feathers and they were very popular at the time. (Richard Petty, the NASCAR legend, still wears that same style today.) That's about as close as I can come up with something but there might be others. And, while I greatly enjoyed that older lady's 1980's commercial saying "Where's the beef?," I don't recall it causing me to visit even one of the fast food joints she was promoting. (Wendy's)

You don't need to thank me for keeping you abreast of the latest international news about fads and fashion. It more or less comes with the territory on any given day. I'm not completely sure about all that is involved in the fascination folks have with celebrity, but, there's little doubt it is a huge money making enterprise. I'm sure part of it has to do with escape. I can't really see how that a little fellow wearing the same jumper worn by Prince George will make things better for him or his family, but, obviously, there's a vicarious fulfillment of some sort going on. Maybe it's the fact that you have something that other folks have trouble finding or affording. I guess I still have that image stuck in my mind of my wife being moved to tears when the boys tore their new Toughskins jeans. These Sears products had double knees but our boys always seemed to cut or tear them above or below the double layer. I can only imagine the bawling she might have done had they messed up the replica clothes worn by Prince Charles. Just joking. Just for grins I checked out the price on that hat in the photo. It was listed on eBay as a vintage cowboy wool hat, priced at $75. I can't be sure but I think I paid more than that for mine and it was only worn a time or two. Yes. I still have it and it is still in its original American Hat box. If you were to be interested you can reach me at BR549. (Famous number from Junior Samples' Auto Sales on Hee Haw.)

I could advertise it as the hat worn to a Charley Pride concert at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Houston Astrodome in the early 1980's. I don't have the ticket stubs to prove I was there but I do remember how odd it was to be in that huge dome watching someone sing who you could barely see on a stage out in the middle of dirt. Same thing for the rodeo. Of course you could always watch it on the big screen. You have to love that. Right? Go to the big show so you can see it live and in person on the big screen. Yep. He was right folks. "There is a sucker born every minute." That quotation was not spoken by P. T. Barnum of circus fame. It was actually said in criticism of Barnum by a fellow named David Hannum. No. I do not charge extra for history lessons. That was my first and last time to visit the rodeo and if I recall correctly, the tickets were given to us. At any rate, it is time to get on with our day, therefore, I bid you a so long for now pardner with a hope to see you soon thrown in for good measure. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"I never wanted to be an actor, and to this day I don't. I can't get a handle on it. An actor wants to become someone else. I am a song-and-dance man, and I enjoy being myself, which is all I can do." ~ Dick Van Dyke

It's Monday, April 14, 2014, and guess what? Or perhaps that should be, Knock, Knock? And then you say, Who's there? And I say a little old lady. Then you say, a little old lady who? Finally and might I add mercifully as well, I say I didn't know that you could yodel. Get it? Little old lady who? Well, forget the whole thing then. Hope you are well and welcome to my version of What's My Line? That's the show that ran on television from 1950-1967 where a panel tried to guess the occupation or accomplishment of a guest based on questions being asked. I suppose it is a good metaphor for my daily visits since I typically leave us all guessing, yes, including myself. That reminds me of what I said to myself the other day, "Self, why were you upset when you heard on the news that they are going to kill off Archie in the comics in an upcoming edition?" That puzzled me. I know about the Archie comics. I've never been a reader of the Archie comics. But, for some reason it just didn't seem right to me that they would kill off the guy the comics are named for. See what I mean? Why should it bother me? I think I need help. Is there a 1-800 number for my condition? Maybe I could figure out a way to warn Archie.

With President Obama being in town last week it reminded of something. I recently ran across an old local news video clip from a presidential visit to Houston back in 1974. It was Wednesday, March 20, 1974 and President Richard Nixon was in town to tour NASA and to make a speech. I worked in a highrise building on the 9th floor at that time. One of the fellows I worked with named Ben always got to work early and he and I would play a quick game of chess. He told me there was some commotion going on down at the Keystone Drugstore, about a block away. He said he had seen the President with a very small number of people with him go into the diner inside the drugstore. I didn't believe him at first but grabbed the binoculars to try and catch a glimpse of what was happening. By the time I tuned in there was a fairly large crowd assembled on the street. The old clip I watched showed an interview with a waitress who had taken care of the President. She talked about him joking forth and back with her. He was staying at the downtown Hyatt and had wanted to go for a walk and pretty much surprised his guard detail as they scrambled to accompany him. Needless to say, we didn't get our chess game in or anything else done until things calmed down. That visit came just 5 months before he would become the first US President to resign in disgrace. Pretty heady stuff back in those days. Still pretty heady just thinking back on it. Pretty heady indeed!

Is there a day in the year that is not designated for some family connection? It does get a little old if you know what I mean. I understand the major ones like moms, dads, husbands, wives, children, and siblings. But folks wishing each other double first cousin on my mother's side day just goes beyond the pale if you ask me. We know that beyond the pale has come to mean an out of bounds behavior of some kind. It originated from way back in time when certain property lines under the control of England but located in Ireland were designated and called a pale. Thus, the beyond the pale idiom was birthed. But getting back to my point, how many specific family connections can we come up with? And, with all due respect, don't even get me started with all the shenanigans going on promoting pets of every species. It sounds to me like a mutual admiration condition that has gotten out of hand. As it relates to this preoccupation with family connections, I guess I should be glad they typically haven't gotten into the technical designations involving once, twice, thrice, etc., removed. I thought I would throw in a little cousin-ology just to kick it up a notch. Maybe I'll be able to get my act together and calm myself down before I do my best to show up again tomorrow. We can all hope. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Genesis 2:24, English Standard Version: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh."

Top of the morning to you lads and lassies, or maybe that should be lassies and lads, but, whatever, hello and welcome to our hot off the electronic presses, Friday edition, on this April 11, 2014. The New York Times has weighed in with their thoughts about the fellow you ended up resigning his CEO job because of a donation made five years ago supporting a California referendum stating that marriage should be between one man and one woman. They concluded that it was not only right that he resigned but that he clearly had issues involving hate and that he was in need of rehabilitation. Are you kidding me? Does this not sound akin to forced reeducation schools dictated in Communist regimes? We are moving towards a time when it will be, for all intents and purposes, illegal to promote Biblical truth. I don't think it will become against the law to believe in God, freedom of religion and all of that, but I see the day coming when those who stand up for God's teachings on issues that are deemed unacceptable by the masses, they will be persecuted and perhaps even prosecuted. Forget about free speech or any of the other freedom amendments because the New York Times would have you believe that someone who stands for the Biblical definition of marriage is guilty of the practice of a hate crime. Can't you see this on the horizon? I can. I believe it's closer than we might perceive.

Don't think it will stop with just this one issue either. I know there's enough hypocrisy to go around, typically from all sides, but when we begin to outlaw God's Word, that, my friend, is something that can rightly be called of Biblical proportions! Since we will not solve this social quagmire today, let me see if I can think of something that will lighten the mood a little. Maybe some thought provoking questions to challenge our thinking: ~ Do forest rangers go to the city to get away from it all? ~ What happens if you never get around to procrastinating? ~ What should one do if they happen upon an endangered animal eating an endangered plant? ~ Shouldn't the want ad read: Fortune teller needed, you should already know where to apply? ~ Is it okay if I don't really care any at all about apathy? ~ Is it really true that two can live as cheaply as one but for only half as long? ~ If people were to jog backwards, would they gain weight? If you were to choke a Smurf, what color would they turn? ~

Please don't send for the answers. It's not that kind of a test. I see all these folks on Facebook taking tests to see what the results tell them about themselves. They typically take the test to find out what character they were most closely mapped out to be, typically those from TV or the movies and then they challenge their friends to comment on their result as well as an invitation for them to also take the test. I am not a participant in these exercises but it does remind me of the test that really does matter, the one that counts for time and eternity. The Shepherd boy turned King wrote this in one of the most recognized of the Psalms or Songs from the Bible, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." (139th Division of the Psalms, Verses 23-24) Now that's an examination that will always be worthwhile. Amen. That should do it for this week. Thanks for your patience and your perseverance in hanging with me each day. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will do my best, Lord willing, to answer the call come first thing Monday. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

- "Conceal me what I am, and be my aid For such disguise as haply shall become The form of my intent." - William Shakespeare, (1564-1616), Writer. Quote from:Twelfth Night", Act I, Scene II, Viola, lines 53-55

You have your way of looking at things and I think it must be crystal clear by now that I have mine. It's Thursday, April 10, 2014 and I am stuck in one of those contemplative modes today. I get the fact that people like to joke about how that I might remind them of Uncle Si Robertson from the TV Series, Duck Dynasty. I get it. However, he was born in April of 1948. I showed up eighteen months earlier. Therefore, it stands to reason that maybe they should be asking him about how coincidental it is that he might just favor me. Not the other way round. What's that? You think that the one who is a celebrity probably is the one who gets to be compared to? That my friend sounds like a Hollywood approach. I just thought it might be worth pointing out that I've most likely had 'the beard' as long, if not longer than him. I also grew up hunting and fishing. Admittedly, we didn't have camouflage for anything we used or wore because we either didn't know it was needed or we couldn't afford it. So, here's the deal. This guy shows up on television drinking iced tea out of a Tupperware glass and spouting off old country sayings and wham-bam, bingo, suddenly everyone, including his elders who just happen to wear 'the beard' end up being compared to him. I'm feeling just a tad slighted here. Who knows, maybe I'm entitled to a royalty. I wonder what the Texas Hammer is up to these days. (Texas Hammer aka Jim Adler, a lawyer fellow who, based on his commercials, loves to see folks who have been slighted made monetarily whole through pursuit of the law.)

You noticed in the photo I was wearing my recently purchased amber HD wraparound worn-over-my-regular glasses seeing enhancement device. The other day when we were traveling to Louisiana for my wife's family gathering I stopped in a small East Texas town for a rest break for the grandkids. We were at the local billions served place and I stayed in the car but I noticed these four older ladies were making quite a fuss and it appeared that I was the object of their animated conversation. I immediately wondered if they were still dealing with a Santa hang over from Christmas but that didn't make sense to me. It took me a couple of days before I realized what it was. They had spotted my spiffy looking HD glasses and were stirred up most likely because they had seen that commercial a few hundred thousand times but had intended to but had never ordered the actual product. They had now run into a living breathing real life exhibitor who was modeling the product and it suddenly struck them that they too could be cruising down the road seeing everything in a new light, so to speak, and also being able to proudly support that famous label, As Seen On TV.

How many times have I told you? You cannot make this stuff up folks. No way. What's that? Maybe they were looking at something behind me? I don't think so. But I wonder if I might be entitled to some small monetary stipend as I help to increase sales of those varmint-on-the-road alert spotters. I will tell you the downside here. There are folks who do see me wearing these glasses, that, unlike those kind ladies, they actually send me a different signal. I think we all are tuned in enough to get this one, 'You've got to be kidding!' It's kind of given me a complex. So much so I do my best to remove them when I exit my vehicle. I guess most of those types share that X-Ray vision capability with Superman. Maybe I should share this emotional distress with 'The Hammer' and might even go for a class action on this one. Okay. On Facebook they call it Throwback Thursday but as you can see, for me, it's mostly been just a bucket full of foolishness. Now I say to one and all that you should go out and enjoy your day and make sure to remember to thank God for His provisions. Amen.   .....More later.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

" Inside many liberals is a totalitarian screaming to get out. They don't like to have another point of view in the room that they don't squash and the way they try to squash it is by character assassination and name calling." -- David Horowitz

Hello friends and neighbors, it is my pleasure to bring you a warm greeting from these parts out to wherever you happen to be. It is Wednesday, April 9, 2014, and I'm a little stirred about something this morning. It's the story of how another top executive has bitten the dust. This was a recently named CEO of a major internet networking software company. Why did he lose his job? Back in 2009 he made a personal contribution of $1,000 to the campaign to preserve marriage as being between one man and one woman in his home state, California. (The law required any contributions over a certain amount to be identified by the individual and their place of employment.) If you recall, this statue was approved by a majority of the voters. This man was actually one of the founders of this successful company and he has been heralded as a tremendously well qualified and talented leader, however, the folks who want what they want in terms of same sex marriage, well, they came after him. They began to campaign against his Company and solicit people to quit using their products. This particular lobby has power, especially in the technology marketplace, therefore, here was a man whose only crime was to show support for what he believed was best for his community, and now he has paid for expressing his opinion by losing his job. Here's what I see: This is not an isolated case and I predict that we will begin to see this type of pressure brought more and more with it being downloaded to almost anyone who holds an opinion or conviction different than their own. So much for tolerance on the part of the people who supposedly promote tolerance as their mantra. Sad folks. Sad indeed! Amen.

Nothing like a hot cup of Community on a cool morning!
You have to love these mid forties we've been experiencing this week. (It's 42 here at the ole blogger ranch as I write this morning.) I sure am glad I haven't put away my winter clothes yet. Thinking about my clothes closet reminds me of the fellow who recently said he didn't have a skeleton in his closet, he had a whole graveyard. But you already know I'm kidding about the clothes since I wear the same stuff year round but it is kind of neat to reflect on enjoying the coolish air while sipping on a cup of hot black and strong Community. One of my dear class members asked me a probing question the other evening at the beginning of our Bible study. He wanted to know if I thought there would be Community coffee in heaven. That took me aback a little as I considered the deep theological implications of his inquiry. Perhaps he had heard me say that my mom was doing well enough last Friday morning to be nibbling on some donut holes while she was sipping her Community. I think I may have added that the Community was part of the doctrinal statement over in her area. It was intended to be a joke. I know there's the references to milk and honey flowing and some folks like milk and something sweet in their coffee so my thought is this: If there is coffee in heaven, Community will surely be on the menu. No. I do not have a verse for that one but if you require my opinion, well, that would be my way of looking at it. (All you heresy hunters calm down over there, we are just having a little fun here, so cool it.)

I've been gnawing the white part off the orange peel ever since I can remember. I was surprised and pleased some thirty plus years ago when I read about the health benefits of this part, called the pith. It has some anti-cancer properties and antioxidants actually, so it is very good for you. In fact, the white pith contains the highest amount of bioflavonoids (an antioxidant), and vitamin C of the whole orange. Also there's some great fiber in it. I actually have always eaten it because I like it. Too bad that as a diabetic I never was able to come up with any of the same nutritional benefits to be derived from eating Moon Pies because I like them too along with a whole list of other delicacies that come under the heading of: Don't Even Think About Parking In This Spot. Somehow the pith, while good, just doesn't stack up against some of these other treats. That's not to say that I don't sneak a bite here and there, but, I do my best to try and just say no. If I don't, I find myself playing that game that we all enjoy so much, 'Bet you can't eat just one!' Let me be clear, I do not have a winning record in that game. But, all in all, I am blessed beyond measure and have every reason in the world to be thankful to our great God. How about you? Amen.     ....More later.