Monday, June 30, 2014

“We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business." ~ Will Rogers, American Humorist, (1879-1935)

Yes. Here we are. We find ourselves firmly planted on the one and only last day of June, the 30th, in this year of 2014. Some of the folks who attempt to make a living as burglars end up being not so bright. I read about one who was in the process of doing his thing but he decided to log in on the people's computer to check his Facebook page. One problem. He forgot to log out before he left with all the stuff he was stealing. The police made short work of apprehending him and he is now facing judgment for his wayward actions. I wonder if he's had time to change his Facebook photo to show off his brand new orange jump suit? It's almost as bad as the fellow who loaded up with lots of loot attempted to use a riding lawnmower as his getaway vehicle. Technology is not always a criminal's best friend. A fellow in Great Britain was stopped due to suspicion but later arrested when they discovered a series of photos of him with stolen drugs and luxury items on his smartphone. Turns out his phone was much smarter than that dude. In his situation, his 'selfies' turned out to be self incriminations. I say good for them because they proved that technology can help simplify things, like putting them away for awhile. His defender in court was a hoot. He asked for sympathy for his client because he had been naive, and in the world his client lived in it was necessary for him to take those photos because of his need to prove his thieving skills to his criminal peers.

Happy 100th!
You have to love little country towns. One little hole-in-the-road place near where I grew up has their own Facebook page for the community. There's a recent photo of a young man holding a baby goat. The caption said he had found it in one of the ponds on their place and if anyone recognized it, they were welcome to come and get it. Another photo was of a fellow in the hospital from the community who was undergoing his 3rd of 6 rounds of Chemo and they were asking for prayers for him and his family. Another family posted some photos of their summer crops now available for sale. They are now harvesting watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Now that's what you call fresh! There were the normal death notices and announcements published. One picture showed a long tall lanky boy down on his knees surprising his girlfriend with a marriage proposal. There were other things published about awards won and sporting events participated in. I didn't see any coon dogs for sale but I bet you could get yourself one in that little town.

I know. We are all sophisticated up these days and stuff like that is just too corny for our advanced sensibilities. Sorry. But, I still enjoy corny stuff like that. I looked at a video interview of two 100 year old ladies who have been best friends for over 75 years. The interviewer asked questions about the internet, some prominent teen idols, and stuff like that. One of the two was impressive in her knowing something about the questions asked. The other one was hilarious as she made her very pointed opinions known. When they asked if they knew what a 'selfie' was, the one in the know explained that it was a self taken photo that was loaded onto the computer and made available for the world to see. The other lady seemed alarmed. She asked why in the world anyone would want to do something like that. They laughed and laughed. I laughed too. The interviewer told them that BFF stood for Best Friends Forever. They didn't know that but they were thrilled because that's exactly who they are, BFFs. Good stuff if you ask me. You didn't. It's still good stuff. I also found and watched an interview with a fellow who was 114. He died in 2011 but his telling about growing up and how things used to be was very educational. What advice did he have for folks today? Love other people, help other people. And I say Amen to that.    ....More later.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops." (copied)

Hello and welcome to Friday's edition on this June 27, 2014. Congratulations are in order for our middle son Jimmy and his soon-to-be bride, Kim. They will be married tomorrow morning. Jimmy asked his elder brother Chris to officiate the wedding.  Jimmy's children, Jimmy Jr., Alesha, Amanda, and Alexander Benjamin will stand with their dad as he makes this transition to a new phase for him and for them. Our prayer is that God will be honored in the building of this new home and that He will bless as they make their journey forward together. Amen.

I have had a pretty busy week. You know what I'm talking about. 'Busier than a one toothed man competing in a corn-on-the-cobb eating contest.' We are a busy people. At least that's how we typically see ourselves. It has become an American status and reference, to be wrung out from being busy. However, studies show that we are actually not as busy as many of those who preceded us. Work hours on average or shorter. The way tasks are accomplished have changed dramatically, therefore, there's less actual labor involved in much of what we do. Some experts think it has become more of a state of mind as opposed to an accurate portrayal of our status. We probably all know that. Most of us don't work from first light to dark thirty. We don't wash our clothes by hand, chop wood, and do other things manually required to make it through each day. However, we mostly enjoy the thought that we are overstressed, overloaded, and yes, busier than a termite in a sawmill, flies on a dead body, a mosquito at a nudist beach, a one legged grasshopper in a jumping contest, and finally so busy that we are as exhausted as a centipede at a toe counting contest.

Much of our being so occupied comes from how we do what we do and the choices and priorities we make. Having a management background but no longer being in management can be a curse. I see so many things being done that could be less cumbersome and less time consuming. It gets me in trouble from time to time as I can't help but offer suggestions. It typically involves old fashioned thinking about stuff. To be honest there's not so much of that going on these days. I would likely benefit from focusing those same kinds of evaluations on the activities I pursue each day. But it's so much easier and so much more fun to find processes in need of improvement in the other folks' areas. That's why I've always considered myself to be a 'work in progress', probably with my own set of slow men working signs. I'll let you try to decode that one while I bid you a farewell for this week along with a hope that you will have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Lord willing I will show up again on your electronic radar screen come next Monday, you know, as in an identified flying object,(IFO). Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"He who sows hurry reaps indigestion." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 *****Our mom is supposed to go home from the hospital today and we thank God for His provision in her situation. She will continue the blood thinner regimen to deal with her blood clot issues. She also was treated for a touch of pneumonia. She is excited. Dad is excited. We all are excited. And we all are also thankful. Thanks for remembering her. Amen. *****

It's Thursday, June 26, 2014, and I think it is about time for me to tick off a few things that tick me off. Please don't make a face. It's not that easy coming up with phrases like ticking off things that tick me off. There's a recent development that really has me fretting myself into a frenzy. Okay. That one was an exaggeration. I admit it. At any rate, I get up early everyday and I drive in early to my place of work. Early. I'm typically on the road by 3:45 a.m. I occasionally meet a few folks along my journey, typically, some of those loud, obnoxious trucks that grab hold of dumpsters and empty them and maybe a few other early morning delivery trucks. There are a few folks like me who may not have the sense God gave a goose. (Granny Mac used to say that one a lot.) Back to being ticked off. On my way from home to work I must travel down a roadway that has many traffic signals. Usually that's not a problem. At that time in the morning they should be operating in automatic demand mode, meaning they don't change unless someone is on the sides wanting to go across or turn. But, oh no, that just doesn't work for the engineer overseeing those units. They must see us poor souls through those fish eye lenses on those monitoring cameras and chuckle as they make every light turn red. Okay. Someone must need to cross or turn. Not hardly. No one. Not even a deer or a coyote has asked permission. But, we sit. We wait. First for all cars to turn, left, then for all cars to turn right. Next, we wait for the cars to cross over. No cars. But we wait. Just waiting. I hope they get a kick out of it because it doesn't do much for me.

Please don't send me a note saying I should make some lemonade or stop and smell the roses. If I tried to stop and smell anything I would probably be hit by one of those loud trucks running around looking for dumpsters to bang around. It's not that I am in such a hurry because I'm not. It's the insidious stupidity of having everyone wait until every light cycles for no reason whatsoever. What's that you say? If that's the worst problem I have to deal with you think I should be able to handle it? Thanks. I'll try to keep that in mind as I attempt to track down the fellow sitting at the traffic control console who has decided to play games with my commute. And, I almost forgot. It wastes precious fuel. Just about the time you get up to speed then it's slam on brakes for another traffic signal change. I thought everyone was all in when it comes to being green. You know, the environment stuff. Maybe the green they are seeing from me has to do with the color of my face. Okay. You do know that I am putting it on a little thick. Does this seemingly harmless delay actually irritate me? It does. But not as much as I have put on. This doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have a little face to face with that console jockey. Just to say hello. Up close and personal like.

I'm not exactly sure how many minutes it adds to my travel time. But I do know it's a big number. Maybe 2 or 3 minutes. See there. I told you it was a conspiracy. Okay. I think we've all had more than enough of that rant for one day. I do have to practice my ranting skills lest they become rusty. There's nothing worse than having rusty ranting skills especially when you need them. You know that's not really true. God would have us to be longsuffering and kind. He would have us to love instead of lashing out. The problem I mentioned might be a computer issue. A clock issue. Or maybe an impatient commuter issue. And, finally, we should always be ready to overlook stuff that in the big scheme of life, they really are mostly trivial or even less. I'm not ready to start a campaign that says we should hug our traffic signal console operator yet. But, I still would like to meet that individual. You know. I would give them a hug all right. A really good one. You do know I'm kidding. I am. I really am. Think about it. Why should anyone be stressed over having to wait for all those invisible cars? Pretty silly when you think about it especially since it really doesn't bother me, ...bother me, ...bother me, at all. You know what I mean. I know you do. Take care and may God help us all including that individual operating those traffic signals. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." ~ Thomas Jefferson


 *****Mom continues to be in good spirits. The photo was taken yesterday by our sweet niece Angela. Mom is holding a little praying lamb. She is dealing with all the uncomfortableness of hospital routine as they seek to determine the best approach for dealing with her blood clot situation. They have talked about the possibility of inserting a screen as one option. Dad is staying with her, sleeping on a small couch. I told him it was good that he was a small fellow since that couch was also small. He told me it really didn't make it sleep any better. Please continue to pray for them as they anticipate being able to go home soon. Thanks.*****

Hello friends, neighbors, and passers by. It is Wednesday, June 25, 2014, and I am glad to wish you the very best as we continue our sojourn here on the planet. These are some very challenging times that we are living in. More so of late than I can remember. How so? It just seems like the train has come off of its rails, all over the world, all at the same time. Like it or not, all of these upheavals going on across the globe do have an impact on our day by day living. I appreciate the appeal of isolationism. You know. Just take care of ourselves and let the rest of the world do the same. However, things that end up directly threatening our way of life cannot be swept under the rug. And, there's nothing like $5 per gallon gasoline to get our attention. I don't have the answers but I do know incompetence when I see it. It is classically defined as not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully. What? You thought that was already taken in the dictionary beside the words political process in Washington, D.C. I'll give you one embarrassing but typical example. Earlier this week the fellow who is at the top of the food chain in our state department announced that he had met with the new dictator in Egypt and had been assured they would follow a path of respect for human rights. As a result of his glowing reporting on his positive meeting, he committed our nation to releasing an additional $650 million in aid. The very next day the Egyptian court sentenced three journalists, including one from Australia, and one from Great Britain, to long prison terms, with no evidence of wrong doing having been produced. Now you have a clear working definition of incompetence being demonstrated before your very eyes. Thanks for showing up for class today. Any questions? If not, I will see you next time.

No. I am not down and out because as the Apostle Paul put it, "....I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2nd Timothy 1, Verse 12) This does not mean I am unaware of these things being played out in front of our very eyes. And, may I just tell you that more and more the people in power today are counting on folks not paying attention to these things. Apathy on the part of their constituents is their friend. At the same time I also realize that I have my life and my calling to pursue. You do too. Don't think yourself to be too small or too insignificant to make a difference. God's very plan and purpose is worked out through His choosing of people who are not so highly thought of or recognized. Those heartfelt prayers count. Your daily diligence in fulfilling the work you have to do matters. The song says it best: "Little is much when God is in it." I remember a testimony of a fellow who was in great peril but somehow and in someway he made what many called a miraculous escape. Later he learned that a little lady far far away had been awakened from her sleep with an intense burden to pray immediately for him. See what I mean? One small prayer a world away can make a world of difference. ( I may have to trademark that one!)

I know on some days you indulge my meanderings here and there, and at times, perhaps all over the page, all at the same time. And, yes, I do know that my writing each day is an outlet of sorts. It's also a way for me to share some of my thoughts and insights that are of importance to the generations that will follow behind us. Am I always right? Obviously not. I'm not able to say like the old Southern comedian, "I may not always be right but I am never wrong!" At the same time I do know the source of truth that can be counted on, always, for time and eternity. That's our great God and He has given us His Word for our learning, for our living, and yes, for our loving. I started out by saying these are some challenging times and I certainly don't take away from the hardships many have suffered in times past. I think my concerns today are based on the spiritual condition of our world and in particular, of our nation. In case you wondered, that's one reason I do address the subjects that I write about. Now, here's the deal. We have today, therefore, let's do our best to be in a position to be like that lady who was called upon to pray and in so doing she connected into God's work here on earth. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Christian writer and speaker

*****Thanks for your prayers on behalf of my mom. She continues to be hospitalized as they are yet to determine any cause for the internal bleeding. They have put her on a couple of antibiotics and they continue to run tests. They are also reevaluating the blood thinner therapy that she has been on. They've told them they may get to go home in a couple of days and that has been the best news of all. *****

Howdy, howdy to one and all on this Tuesday, June 24, 2014. We can be thankful for the common grace that God has extended to His created human family. If we were in charge, my how it might be different. Right? Mark Twain had this comment: "The rain is famous for falling on the just and unjust alike, but if I had the management of such affairs I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust out doors I would drown him." In that scenario, I suppose Mr. Twain would get to decide who the just and unjust are and then to meet out his perceived reward or punishment. This common grace extended to us all does have a purpose. The Apostle Paul in that famous sermon preached on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, had this to say about God's purposes: "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with mens' hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts Chapter 17, Verses 24-31) That's always been a pretty amazing passage if you ask me. What say you?

I read a headline yesterday that had this sentiment: As Iraq Teeters, Washington Plays Blame Game. Now that's what I call a true statement. The blame game has been around for quite a long time. How about all the way back to the first man and the first woman? According to the Scriptures, after eating the forbidden fruit, Eve gave some to Adam. Adam was responsible before God, therefore, God came and confronted him concerning what they had done. What was Adam's response? "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12) The originator of the first instance of passing the buck or saying "I did it but it's not my fault". Good ole Adam. You would think that by now folks would be sick and tired of being sick and tired with all the blame game antics going on in Washington. Sad to say, it actually works because folks do believe what's being said and who is being blamed, that is, depending upon their own bent. Meanwhile, as the blame game becomes the only game in town, a type of leadership vacuum has permeated world affairs leading to what we are now experiencing: Instability and chaos throughout the world. 

Is this is a great country, or what? The other day I was over in a cowboy-farm-redneck country town. It was noon and the parking lot of this little strip center was running over. Mostly trucks. 90% or more. Many of them jacked up. Some had trailers hooked up. Others had feed bags loaded in the back. There were several cafes and eateries around. I chose the Chinese place called Yang's Kitchen. I went in and ordered me up a carry out of their version of special fried rice. (I know rice is a no no for diabetics but when you are in Rome you do what the rednecks do. Is that the way that goes?) At any rate, they brought me my food and I returned to my vehicle and sat there listening to Costa Rica playing Italy in the World Cup. There I was in that little hole in the road of a town, eating Yang's special fried rice, enjoying the soccer match, as the rain was coming down. This is a great country my friend, despite all of our troubles. I should have asked Mr. Yang  how to say YEEHAW in Mandarin. Maybe not. They did have some of those little angry looking statues keeping an eye on me while I was there. I hope you take the time to enjoy some of the variety of the simple pleasures we are blessed to experience. Amen.    .....More later.

Monday, June 23, 2014

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." ~ Albert Einstein

Good to see you again. Welcome to a brand new work week that comes with another un-boxed set of episodes in this long running serial emanating from here at the ole blogger ranch. It is Monday, June 23, 2014, and we are off. I know. I usually say 'off and running' but I'm just not that into categorizing what I'm dong as 'running' this morning. Maybe tomorrow. As in the song from the musical Annie: "Tomorrow! Tomorrow!  I love ya Tomorrow! You're always A day A way!" At any rate, I heard that Facebook crashed and was completely down the other day. Worldwide. It didn't take long for folks to start making jokes about it. One fellow posted a note that said he was so sad because people all over the globe were not able to see what he was eating for lunch. Another commenter expressed grave concern that all the plastic people were suddenly not on Facebook, therefore, they were unleashed on the rest of the real world. I suppose he was implying that many folks that are on Facebook are fake. Then there was this observation: "You should have seen the folks here at work when Facebook went down. They had to develop a whole new strategy to look busy instead of their normal cover up of their Facebooking." Maybe that means if Facebook falls in the woods and no one is there, it doesn't make a sound. Or, something like that. (For the curious, the 30 minute outage occurred last Thursday at 0800 GMT which translates to 2 a.m. here in our time zone. That may well account for why I didn't notice it.)

I would ask everyone to say a prayer for my mom. She is in the hospital over in Louisiana with some internal bleeding issues. She has been on a high regimen of blood thinners and we are thinking it could be related. Saturday evening she and I were visiting and I was telling her about another lady we know through my wife's family who lives over in the same area where mom lives and how that she was in the hospital and not doing very well. Mom made the comment that we never know what a day will bring. Yesterday, after an all day vigil in two different emergency rooms, she is now being cared for in the same hospital in Alexandria where the other lady is being treated. Mom is 90 and seems to be in good spirits and we can only thank God for her, her testimony throughout her years, and how that God has allowed us to enjoy her and dad for these many years. We pray for her quick recovery and for dad as he takes care of her. We pray for God's presence and we pray that she will be comforted in knowing that so many care.  Amen.

Okay. I know it's pushing it but guess what I received in my email basket the other day? An IRS Audit Notification? Perish the thought! An unexpected huge refund from an unexpected source? One would hope! That would be almost like Christmas. Right? Well, it turned out to be my first scheduling request for a Santa appearance in the upcoming season. Hello? It's a feel like of 105 outside and someone has Santa photos on their mind? They were actually inquiring about adding a second day to what has been a one day affair for the past several years. I sent back a note and told them I would pencil it in and then we would just have to see. It's our 50th coming up in December, therefore, I'm not planning on doing as many projects as we did last year. However, it is kind of nice to know someone is thinking about you six months in advance. As they used to say back home, it will be here before you know it. Funny how that back in the day I could hardly wait for it to do just that. Now I am more inclined to say let it take it's own good, and slow, time getting here. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Anniversary to our kids!

It's here. Again. And, it's right on time. Friday! Yippee! Thanks for tuning your dial to this station for today where we see it is June 20, 2014. Back when I was a kid we studied how that you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings. Well, in our case, today we are counting our time here in our sojourn by the number of years our eldest Chris and his bride Sherrie have worn they rings, wedding rings to be exact. Twenty eight years. Wow! We thank God for them and their service on behalf of the Kingdom for these many years. They are privileged to have brought up three daughters and now are doting on their first grandchild, (our first great grand), Madi girl. Happy Anniversary and may God continue to bless is our prayer. Love, mom and dad

That's one way to add up my age. There are others. But, I'll spare you the waiting room comparisons conversation of who has the worst ailment. I told you that I was now on Twitter. A young pastor introduced me to one he thought I should follow, one called Back Row Baptist. They have some pretty funny stuff on there from time to time. ~ Get caught sleeping in church? Lift your hand and say "In Jesus Name, Amen." ~ Can't tell if friend is convicted during prayer or just has a runny nose. ~ Eating cucumber slices while watching Veggie Tales with my nephew. Anyone know why he keeps pointing at me and weeping uncontrollably? ~ Praying for forgiveness after my fast food order totaled up to $6.66. ~ I want to invite the Pastor to my house for dinner, but what if he sees my Dirt Devil? ~ Is sarcasm a Spiritual Gift? ~ Changed my ringtone to a guy shouting "Amen!" so I don't have to silence my phone during church. ~ Why do we need to anoint each other with oil? Can't we just use it to fry up some chicken? ~ I know some of them are corny and some are also mostly insider based but they brought a smile to me and I always like to share one with others.

Most of you know that I am out and about quite often going here and there on behalf of the Company I work for. You do see a whole lot of stuff when you are watching. Here's one for you. I've talked about the 'Slow Men Working' signs, but here's what I ran into the other day. The 'No Men Working' sign. They didn't have that on a sign but they were doing an excellent job communicating that as their status. I came up to where they had warnings about road construction. Several warnings were encountered. Finally, I get to the flag fellow who tells you when you can go. He was wearing some kind of earphone headgear that I assume was connected to the other fellow on the other end. He waved me on and I began what had to be a 2 mile jaunt down the open one lane. Those orange cones separated the vehicles from the shutdown lane. At the other end another fellow with a flag was there waiting for us to get to him so they could then reverse the process. Just one problem. There was not one single indication that any work had happened, was in the process of getting ready to happen, or might happen at some point in the future. Maybe it was a drill. Maybe they were training. The only thing I didn't see was one of those Your Tax Dollars At Work signs. I'm not sure I could have handled that one. Not a single solitary sign of life anywhere. Trust me on that one. Okay. Enough for one week or for any week, when you think about it. Have a great Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and I promise to do my very best to not be found holding a Slow or a No Men Working sign come next Monday morning. May God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse." – Florence Nightingale, Pioneering Nurse, (1820-1910)

Good morning to one and all on this Thursday, June 19, 2014. I'm not going to get back into the forth and back on the World Cup, but, just to show you how it works, look at this headline from yesterday: "2014 FIFA World Cup: Mexico and Brazil play to riveting 0-0 draw". See what I mean? I just happened to have been out on the road during that match and listened to it on ESPN radio. Riveting? I actually think it was. But enough about that. How are things going in your world? If you are like most of us, it's a one day at a time sort of deal. I thought that quote I used from Jonathan Swift of Gulliver's Travels fame was pretty instructive: "May you live every day of your life." Some might say, "Well, duh, if you happen to be breathing air on the planet then it stands to reason that you are living every day of your life." I didn't take it that way. I believe he intended to say that we should not just muddle through but we should embrace the day that God has given to us and to pursue it with all our heart. Do you know the difference? I do. I had people who worked for me a long time ago that probably got tired of me telling them to carry a small mirror in their pocket and occasionally take it out and breathe on it to check and see if they were still alive. I also took the time to show a couple of fellows how to walk down the hall instead of dragging themselves along as if they were on their way to the gallows. I hate it when I come up with stuff like this. Why? It means I have to make sure I'm doing the same thing. Where is the delete key when you need it?

I don't mean to imply that anyone can live without experiencing a bad day. I'm reminded of some folks who had become believers in the city of Corinth during the ministry of the Apostle Paul. They felt like they should just withdraw from any contact with the unbelieving world and just live all by themselves. That way they wouldn't become contaminated. The Apostle Paul's instruction was helpful to them and to us: "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world." (1st Corinthians 5:9-10) Paul was attempting to explain what Jesus told about living in this world. (John 15:19) In the same way you and I will have days that are difficult. They come with the territory. However, they should not become how our life is defined. And, after all is said and done, to avoid all bad days you would have to go out of the world. Another good thing to consider from the Apostle Paul: "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Colossians 1:9-10)

I did not show up today with a sermon in my pocket. In fact, like most days, I didn't show up with a ready idea of what might come forth as I sat down to play a tune here on the old keyboard. There are times when I do carry something in the back of my mind but that's become risky since finding it has become more and more problematic as the age thing continues to march on. They tell us it's all there. Somewhere. It's that index that tells you its location that keeps slipping through the cracks. Kind of like those potentially incriminating emails the IRS lost and they say they can never be recovered. How convenient is that? Many folks immediately started calling in to say that losing an electronic record is not allowed in a tax audit. In fact, if you can't prove it, you will lose your deduction. We do live in a world where they tell us how to live but they don't have to follow the same rules. Right? See what I mean? Lost index to my good ideas somehow connects to IRS lost emails. I continue to be thankful that most people are not me. For obvious reasons. Y'all just hang in there, embrace the life God has given, and lets all pray for one another as we continue our journey here. Amen.     ....More later.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying." Pele, Retired Brazilian Soccer Player, considered by many to have been the greatest to have ever played the game.

Are you ready for some futbol? It isn't a trick question. It actually reflects how much of the world refers to their favorite on field game. We call it soccer here and based on recent surveys that show it is gaining some in popularity in the US, it's still light years away from beginning to begin to encroach on football, the most popular of all sports in America. It is Wednesday, June 18, 2014 and I thought a little World Cup lingo would be a good way to get the day going. I actually watch some of the matches. I do. I really do. That's right. Intentionally. It's nothing like the type of NFL styled competition we have become accustomed to here in our land, but when you pay attention to how the game is played, well, it is obviously not a game for sissies, I can guarantee that. It's also not the proverbial soccer image at the World Cup level where in the end everyone gets a trophy. The US team has high hopes but they carry with them realistic expectations. We go up against nations where children are actually taught to breathe the game from the crib. Looking at it from a global perspective, for many nations it is the only sport whereas in our great land there's hundreds to choose from. I talk to the NFL self appointed gurus that I am around and they can't stop laughing at the mere mention of the word soccer and sport in the same sentence. They don't mind it being a game for kids but they can't even begin to fathom how after watching 90 minutes that anyone could feel good about a 0-0 score. Maybe we need to have a peace summit and bring these two factions together. (The wife and I, mostly me, watched the match between our USA team and Ghana. Now that was an exciting victory for our team! I may have stood up a time or two. Maybe.)

No. I most likely would not show up to view a match on a giant outdoor screen out on the street with a huge crowd. No. I probably wouldn't rearrange my schedule to watch a match. But, I'm not negative to the point of being dismissive as so many others seem to be. I suppose that's what choosing is all about. Just think. I am a NASCAR fan. Some weekends if the stars all line up and the moon is in the right place, I might just end up watching the truck race on Friday evening, the 2nd tier cars on Saturday, and the Cup cars which are at the top of the food chain on Sunday afternoon. I know some people who don't even want to see NASCAR on a commercial much less to sit and watch a race. Some feel the same way about tennis or golf. I can remember when bowling was on a prime station each week and now it is pretty much confined to the lowest tier channels. You just have to know that liking different sports does not make a person better or worse. I hear how that NASCAR is mostly nothing more than a bunch of ignorant rednecks out there racing cars. The one saying that is the one showing ignorance. The advanced technology and engineering involved in today's NASCAR along with the number of highly skilled technical professionals required to research and develop innovation in racing is staggering. It's not the moonshine bumpkins some people like to portray. Maybe you like watching chess being played. It's okay. Enjoy. Just make sure you don't tell any of your NFL buddies about it.

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the loss of our brother, Donald. Here's the write up I did for the local paper back home: "Donald Richard Abbott, 62, USMC, Retired, of Webster, TX, was born on Friday, September 3, 1948 in Many, LA. He passed away after a lengthy illness at his residence on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at 10 a.m., at the Hixson Funeral Home Chapel, Leesville, Louisiana, with burial to follow at Beckom Cemetery, Hornbeck, Louisiana. A viewing is planned for one hour prior to the service. After graduation from high school in Hornbeck, Donald proudly served his country as a United States Marine and retired as a Sergeant First Class after twenty years of distinguished service. After retirement he held a number of positions in education as well as in the transportation industry. Donald was predeceased by his dad, Cecil Abbott, and all grandparents, one brother, Jimmy Don Abbott, and one sister, Kayla Jean Moore." It was my privilege to speak at Donald's service and to reflect on his life, his service, and the need for us all to know God while we are here. Lots of memories and lots of water under way too many bridges to count. Have a great one and may God bless us all. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"The fact that logic cannot satisfy us awakens an almost insatiable hunger for the irrational." A. N. Wilson, English Writer

Okay. It's only me and I think I've proved myself to be mostly harmless in our daily visits. We flip the calendar and find that we are off and running here on this Tuesday, June 17, 2014. I know I often make a joke about what I consider to be people's irrational fears, like those who go all crazy about Friday the 13th. Yet, I read a piece in the Washington Post last week that had this quotation: "A  lot of people fear Friday the 13th. A 2004 National Geographic article quoted Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, as saying up to 21 million people may suffer from the phobia, exhibiting symptoms that can range from mild anxiety to full-out panic attacks. Dossey’s center has estimated that up to $800 million is lost every Friday the 13th. Why? People who believe the day is unlucky don’t want to travel, go to work, go to a store or do much of anything except stay home and avoid black cats and 13th building floors." If that doesn't beat all: Twenty one million people scared with a loss of $800 million dollars. Probably more than that by now. Maybe growing up they watched too many of those movies about Friday the 13th. I've never seen even one of them. I know some of the images from the ads and articles but stuff like that is just not my cup of tea, not my cup of Community, or come to think about it, it's just not my cup, period.

I know many folks enjoy my throw back days when I talk about growing up in a rural town. I have to remind myself that in the recollection of these memories there is always the inclination to report them in the best possible light. It's like the photo artist that air brushes the wrinkles and blemishes out of a portrait. The good old days of summer were pretty brutal when I was a kid. That was before they called it global warming but I can tell you that it could get hot. Hot, humid, and sticky, so much so on some days it made you wonder whether you could grab another breath or not. I can't remember the first time I became acquainted with air conditioning. We didn't have it, therefore, I suppose you don't miss something you've never had. We did have some electric fans. Us boys slept in a room where the fan was stuck in the window to draw in the outside air. We loved the incoming bomber propeller sound because it helped silence the crickets but waking up soaked from the wet air was not always a pleasant experience. I said that to let you know that I am aware of the blemishes but I also wouldn't trade my life as a child for anything. And, yes, I suppose that's true because no one offered me a place with air conditioning as an incentive. Just joking. I'm not going to promise there will be no air brushing of my stories going forward because the way I see it, it's just good old fashioned remembrances. Nothing else.

I'm no expert on interpreting the news but you and I are entitled to our opinion. It always is striking to me when I notice something that other recognized pundits pick up on too. The crisis in Iraq came as ANOTHER surprise to the administration. They have to be some of the most consistently surprised folks in our nation's history. But the rebels over there are taking over major parts of the country, executing folks left and right, and they are bearing down on and threatening the Capital itself, Baghdad. We have over 5,000 Americans working there at the embassy and in other agencies. On his way out of Washington for a golf outing and a series of fund raisers, the President gave a brief update on the situation. He talked about how concerned everyone was. He talked about how serious this was along with a variety of options that had been presented to him.  He said he would be weighing them while he was away. Crisis? American lives in danger? I'll catch back up with you when I return? I caught that immediately. Then later I heard other talking heads commenting about how bizarre that was. He may not be back until Tuesday. I suppose we will all have to wait. Oh well. It just goes to show you that my analysis can be at least as accurate as a stopped clock which is always right at least twice a day. I know there's little to no impact from my armchair analysis but we all know that's not true when wrong decisions are made at the top. Pray for one another and please pray for our nation. Amen.   .....More later.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. To make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt." (Unknown Author)

Howdy and welcome back. It is Monday, June 16, 2014 and I've showed up here today to tell you that some of these early days of summer around here are beginning to remind me of that Johnny and June Carter Cash phrase from their hit song, "....hotter than a pepper sprout." Myself and our eldest son Chris were able to run over to Louisiana this past Saturday morning to share breakfast with dad to honor him for Father's Day. (Although dad prepared the breakfast but that's what he likes to do.) What a joy to be able to sit down and enjoy conversation with mom and dad. It was way too brief but as the old saying goes, we couldn't stay too long because "we had places to go and people to see." Chris needed to get back to finish his Bible lesson preparation for Sunday and I needed to do the same thing. Speaking of Sunday, we had a wonderful Father's Day celebration as well. A good time was had by all, or, I think that's the way they usually report on it. The wife kicked it up another notch on the home cooked meal and that made me announce that if anyone could find a eatery that could match her, I would go on the road to promote their business. (I have no fear that I will be making any of those road trips anytime soon.) Another blessed family gathering and we give God thanks. Thinking about all of that caused me to hear in my old noggin the admonition that says if you are going to leave a legacy, you've got to live a legacy. Do they always have to be so clear? Sounds like a full-time job for a fellow like me. What say you?

Well, well. I suppose it's good that our meteorologists do not practice their trade in North Korea. Last week the angry red-faced tyrannical dictator leader of that communist nation threatened the weather forecasters with getting it right. Or else. I put in the 'or else' because that was implied in the account I read. Or else in North Korea can take on many forms and from what we know about how it works, none of them are supportive of long term survival, as in, not only not keeping your job, but perhaps also not keeping your life. The good news for us here in this area is how our weather folks typically always get the forecast correct, about 30 minutes before an unexpected event takes place, or 30 minutes after. Maybe our weather people grew up playing a lot of horse shoes where leaners count. While I don't won't any part of North Korea's approach to governing, there are some aspects of the supreme leader's challenge to the weather people that resonates with me. A little. You know. A little bit of fear does tend to get one's attention. Right?

Charlotte Judd, Runner, Conroe, Texas: Heart Transplant Recipient
God has allowed us to live at a time when some remarkable achievements are being realized every single day. The lady in the photo lives in our area and she is a living testimony to the medical advancements that have been achieved. Born with a congenital heart defect she lived a life of great restriction and high powered drugs that kept her going to age 21 when her heart then began failing. In 2003 she was blessed to have received a heart transplant. She had never been able to do anything involving physical activity or athletics. After healing she got permission to begin running. She is now 32 and has competed in 30 road races with 6 of them being half marathons. At the time of the article I read she was preparing for a major run up in Central Park in New York City. The first heart recipient back in 1968 lived 18 days. Eleven years after the heart she received from a 21 year old man who she was told had been athletic, she had this to say about him: "Oh, I constantly think about him whenever I run,” she said admitting that at miles 9 and 10 in a half marathon, when the going gets tough, she thinks about him the most. She runs for him and his family too." The article didn't mention God but I will. The Bible tells us: "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James Chapter 1, Verse 17) See? I do occasionally end with a good news report. Take care. Remember to thank God for ALL His many blessings. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them." Confucius, Chinese Teacher and Philosopher, (551 BC - 479 BC)

Hello and welcome one and all. It's Friday, June 13, 2014. You can relax. This is the only Friday the 13th we have this year. Whew! Listen folks, it's just another day on the calendar, you know, the day after the previous Thursday, and the day before the following Saturday. Nothing more than that. But you knew that already. Father's Day is Sunday. I can tell you from my soon to be 68 year sojourn here on the planet that being a dad of distinction is as much a challenge in my life as any I can think of. Even those in the Bible commended for their faithfulness and their influence on their children, well, they had recognized failures in their lives. In Genesis 18, Verse 19, the Lord God of heaven had this to say about Abraham: "For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." Yet, we also know that this man of God lied about his wife to protect himself. He also listened to his wife and then attempted to preempt God's plan of the promised heir by joining himself to his wife's servant, Hagar. He didn't always do everything right but he passed God's test. I'm certainly glad for this example and I commend it to us all as we strive to make a difference in the lives of those God has given to us in our families. And, I do need help. That's certainly my Father's Day prayer. Amen

Thinking about dads of distinction, I've had many that have impacted my life. I do thank God every day for the dad that he has given to me for the past 37 years. Dad is a servant by nature. He served our nation by wearing the uniform of the Untied States Army for twenty years. Until his retirement, he served our military as a specialist working as a civil servant at the US Army Fort Polk training facility. He has served his community in the little town where I grew up, as a council member and Mayor Pro-Tem for nearly 25 years. A servant. More importantly, he has served my mom and the rest of our huge blended family for all of these years. He dotes on our mom and we are so thankful that he does. He serves his local Church and is faithful to the services and the ministries she pursues. I know it sounds like I'm bragging but may I make it clear that I'm counting these as blessings and giving praise and honor to God for His provision. Happy Father's Day dad. We love you and thank you for all you are and for all you do. Love, Marilyn and Al
It's been quite a week folks. While some may have begun to wonder, the wife did come back home again. I'm thankful for that. I'm also thankful for my boys, Chris, Jimmy, and Rodney, and their families, and especially the efforts they have invested in their children as dads. It matters folks. It matters a lot. As always, there typically is a lot for me to say Grace over, everyday, therefore, I mostly give out as best I can only a highlight version each day. Thanks for riding along with me and I pray that you will have a great Saturday, and a great Father's Day/Lord's Day Sunday. I promise to do my best, Lord willing, to show up next time where we can sit for a spell and do a little jawing. Forth and back. Or, as so many prefer, back and forth. (Depends on your point of view I suppose. I was told by our Scotland tour guide that one must go forth before coming back, but, some may not trust the word of a fellow who wears a skirt.) May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Official Study: "Fathers were observed, and named by other family members to be, the persons who most often control the selection of television programs in the U.S." — James Lull, World Families Watch Television.

Good Thursday to each one on this June 12, 2014. We've got Father's Day coming up Sunday and I have been thinking about some of the great challenges we men face in life. While the TV Remote has become a whipping boy for a variety of jokes about how men cling to it, there's actually a lot more to it than that which meets the eye. I need the control because of the battle that rages as we go about our viewing habits. The programmers want you to have to watch the commercials. I am at war with them. I know they have to have sponsors to air the programming, but, sorry, that doesn't count for anything. I'm at war. Therefore, I must hone my skills, be prepared, and be ready to quickly execute a multiple of attacks. My show pauses, I hit the auto change and it goes to an alternate program. If the alternate program is in commercial, (they often coordinate their battle plans), I must hurriedly input manually a switch to the next alternate and must do this quickly before I am overly exposed to the enemy's message. Once I have done this manual switch I now have to key in the original program channel number to get back to where I was before the skirmish broke out. Sometimes I have those who doubt my timing. Often from within my own camp. The worst happens when I am mid stream in the battle and I hear a sweet voice wafting on the rolling tide, "But honey, I wanted to see that commercial." Yet, one must be vigilant and ready at all times. At the end of my time each evening, I am spent and ready for some well earned sleep. I get tired just thinking about it. And, you thought it was some kind of power trip, didn't you?

I was taught in my management days that you typically get what you incentivize. If you tell someone they will be rewarded financially if they hit a certain target, that typically causes them to act in a certain way. We just saw this happen at the Veterans Administration. They were paid bonuses based on hitting performance targets. They self reported how well they hit them. Only one problem. They didn't hit them, they cooked the books. For how long? Based on current reporting, they did this for many years. At nearly every hospital. Another example. The Administration's demonstrated lax approach to those coming into our country illegally acts as an incentive. To add to it they also have made it clear that it would even be more lax where children are involved. Bingo! Now we have a mass influx of little kids coming into our country because that is what our government incentivized. The local TV stations in Mexico are promoting this as well as newspaper ads running in Central America. The result: Now we are having to open up airplane hangars to house all these kids. I don't blame the kids. I do directly blame those setting these types of incentives. And, I have no respect whatsoever for any and all within the VA system who falsified data reflecting they were doing a good job of taking care of our veterans when they were not. Zero. None whatsoever. The biggest insult of all? The federal employee union is so strong it is next to impossible to deal effectively with these wrong doers. I told you. We are in a mess folks. A real doozy of a mess!

I know there's this resounding sense of helplessness that sings out, "Who cares?" They are counting on that response. I for one do care and will be doing my best to work within the corrupt system we have, at least at the ballot box, to do what I can to see some of these policies altered. Again, be clear that I do not blame poor people, who, due to the even more corrupt and crime ridden countries where they live, who desperately attempt to find a way out. Yet, we can only do what we can do, especially with our growing debt that will take literally generations to pay off. Excuse me. I do hope you've had your first cup of Community before this got you all agitated. You do notice I didn't say coffee because Community and coffee in my way of looking at it, are mutually exclusive, and inclusive, as in one and the same. I know. Some of you enjoy that stuff that goes with the jingle, "There's nothing like waking up with ..... in your cup." My advice. Enjoy the jingle but get you some of the real stuff to get your day going. You know I am joking. I am well aware of that part of the bill of rights that gives every individual the right to choose whichever coffee they want to. Don't roll your eyes. Look it up. I'll leave you with one of President Obama's favorite sayings he likes to use after he has stirred up his followers: "Don't get mad. Vote!" I would alter that just a tad and say it like this: "Do get mad. Vote!" That would be my advice to each of you. Have a great day and may God bless each one! Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Uncle Si: “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.” — Season three, episode 26

Made it to Camel Day as the commercial reminds us, (way too often), and I do bid you a 'come on in and make yourself welcome' on this Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Wednesday's are always good days for us since we have our supper at the dining hall of our local fellowship and then have some old fashioned singing and a time of Bible study. The supper is typically a pot luck affair where folks bring whatever it is they choose. There's always lots of eating, laughing, visiting, and a time of enjoying each others' company. When we finish up all our activities we head home in time to catch the reruns of the reruns of the Duck Dynasty series but tonight their brand new season starts. You may not like or watch those Louisiana folks and that's okay. We do because we enjoy it. I read from an interview with Uncle Si and he said the underlying theme of the new episodes will be more focused on the foundation and significance of family. I do know people who just don't like the show. They appreciate the positive influence of these folks but they don't care for the characters and it being an entertainment choice for them. I can see where they are coming from but to me it typically causes me to laugh, to feel a sense of family, and to value our Christian heritage. Thankfully, we have 200 other channels that usually have nothing on worth seeing. But, that's just the way I see it.

I will admit it. Some of the episodes do remind me of growing up in a rural Mayberry style surrounding. We didn't hunt ducks but we did fish and hunt squirrels and deer. Family was the glue that held us together and community was felt as we all tried to learn how to make our way in life. In our little town we had some real characters. I can see them now in my mind's eye. They were hard working, down to earth folks but many of them were also just naturally funny. Some were known for their tall tales and when they waxed on and on you could see the other fellows rolling their eyes. Some were talkers but not doers. Many of those types hung out down at the barber shop. Their main job was to just sit around all day shooting the breeze. The fellow who did the hair cutting had only one eye and the entire group always laughed out loud when he asked the customer how they wanted it cut. Everyone knew that he only had one way of cutting hair regardless of what anyone said. I can tell you one thing. Anytime I ever heard my granddad's name mentioned the whittlers became quiet and respectful. He lived his entire life where his word was his bond. They knew that and it showed. Is thinking about the good old days a form of escapism? Perhaps, but, for me, I kind of enjoy those little occasional trips down memory lane.

I happen to have enjoyed picking black berries, taking them home, and later seeing them floating around in one of Granny Mac's cobblers. I enjoyed a mess of squirrel now and then. That's how we used to say things. And, some of the things we did! The swimming holes we enjoyed. No water testing or chemicals ever added to them. The playing outside. For hours. No one came to check on us every few minutes. We might be gone most of the day. Sure, I'm aware that it wasn't a care free life. There were troubles here and there. We certainly had our fair share if not more of tragedies and grief. However, it was, in my way of looking at it, a good life, a pleasant life, a rewarding life. I can remember how excited we were when we got our first TV set. It took them hours to get the antenna up and everything set in place. When that thing came on and we could see Johnny Mack Brown, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry riding across the screen in our own living room, well, that was something to behold folks, something big, something indeed! Only one clear channel and a couple of snowy ones but we were as happy as a tick on a fat dog. That's right. I've pulled a few of those off too. Oh well, enough of that remembering and reminiscing, because we still have today's business on our plate. Enjoy and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder, American Writer, (1867-1957)

It's Tuesday, June 10, 2014, and I am glad to be able to greet you once again from the ole blogger ranch. It's been a lonely last few days because the wife left me again. She went over to Louisiana last Thursday to visit family and to travel back to her dad's old Church near Baton Rouge where her nephew was preaching. He's been in music ministry for years but recently surrendered to the Lord to be used to proclaim God's Word. The little country Church where they visited brought back many memories to them all. They stayed at the parsonage where the wife and her sister lived as little girls. The wife said when they opened that front door and she walked into that old house, well, it was one of those weak-kneed moments. A lot of history there. I also have some wonderful memories from our many times of visiting there. I actually did the sermon the day her dad retired from active pastoring after 44 years. I wasn't scheduled to do so but the wife's brother came down with a severe throat infection and wasn't able to do it. That was nearly 25 years ago but I remember it well. The text I chose focused on the marks or proofs of a God centered ministry. I do believe, to the best of his ability, that was the desire and the emphasis of my father-in-law's many years in the pulpit. They had a great trip and now it is time for her to bring herself back to the ole blogger ranch. She's due back today, and, I say Amen to that!

Every time I talked to her on the phone she was consistent in her missing of our home place here. Emphatically so. You mean she missed me that much? I'm not so sure about that but I do know the subject of her flowers and plants came up in every conversation. She even gave me very detailed instructions on how to check the soil around her plants to see if they needed to be watered. I thought for a moment I had landed on the garden line call in program. But I understand her concern. She has worked hard to beautify our yard and I'm mostly either oblivious or missing in action when it comes to paying attention to it. I did, without her permission, mow the grass Saturday afternoon. I found out something. I'm not as up to the 95 degree heat as I might have thought. All that practice kicked back in the recliner watching NASCAR on TV, and I do know those fellows are really hot in those cars, but, to no avail, because I nearly fainted a couple of times. Well, maybe not fainted-fainted, but, my electrolyte thingies felt like they were being electrocuted. I was in a hurry. I didn't want to miss the bluegrass, country, and polka music programming on RFDTV that shows up on Saturday evening. That yard took me a half hour longer than I had scheduled but I only missed the first 15 minutes of the first show. I haven't watered any yet because we have gotten some random short rain showers. They have been very short but I am praying they have kept the 'you know what's' alive and well.

I appreciate those who feel some sympathy towards me, being home all alone, and dealing with all these horticultural challenges.  But, trust me, I'm not really a worthy recipient, especially since much of what I write about at times can be slightly exaggerated. She did ask me if I was making it okay all by myself. I forget exactly how I responded but it must have been too strong in telling her I was doing wonderfully well. She said, "Oh really?" I then had to explain that I was missing her but enjoying the peace and quiet. And that didn't come out too well either. I know she knows that I prefer for her to be here and our little dialogue forth and back was mostly a form of joking. Mostly. I do appreciate the one person who asked if I was eating okay. Six days on my own and only one person asked? Now just hold on there pardner before you get the wrong idea, because that's the biggest joke of all as I told them and will tell everyone that I certainly know how to make sure that I don't miss any meals, and I haven't thus far. Granted, it may not be those cooked from scratch home style specials like she whips up, but, no one has expressed concern about me blowing away in a strong wind anytime soon. At any rate, everything should be back to normal when she gets home today. That is, if normal can be called even close to what I do. But that's a different subject for a different day. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma." Joseph Joubert, French moralist and essayist, 1754-1824

Jim 'Pee Wee' Martin, 93, recreates his paratrooper jump at Normandy.
Welcome back. We've pretty much already hit a really good impersonation of the dog days of summer even though we have a long way to go before that first big breath of autumn air hits us in the face. It is Monday, June 9, 2014, and I am glad to be here with you again. This life is filled with some really strange enigmas, don't you think? I read last week where a young wife and husband were killed on an isolated country road up in North Texas. Head on collision. Speed and the layout of the road are thought to have been a factor. Very strange. Why? They happened to be in separate cars but they met each other on that lonely highway that ended their lives in a colossal crash. It is being deemed an accident but that just boggles the mind. Life is like that. Often. What's that you say? Oh, I get it. That's why they use the phrase mind boggling. Thanks. Good call. Yet, there are things that renew our hope. I saw last week where one of the paratroopers from the D-Day invasion recreated his jump into a place near Normandy. That's right. He jumped out of an airplane. When he was asked why he did it he had a pretty good answer. "There's no other 93-year-old guy in the unit who could do it. I do it for those who can't." He went on to say that jumping this time was much easier because, "There wasn't anybody shooting at me today."

My dad, WW2 Veteran, (1923-1954)
They tell us we are losing the WW2 veterans at the rate of 600 per day. One of the things that was great about last week's 70th anniversary celebration of D-Day was how the French people greeted the allied veterans who returned this year. Some three thousand or so were able to make it. The next major celebration will be in five years. There likely will not be that many who will be able to make that trip in five years. The French people greeted these liberators as they should be greeted, as esteemed dignitaries. They showed their realization that because of the sacrifice of these men and so many others they are free today. The old veterans were taken aback by all the fuss being made over them. They were loudly greeted and applauded in every little town and village, by every age group. I recently listened to President Reagan's farewell speech as he neared the end of his eight years of leading our nation. He was most proud of seeing the American spirit rekindled but he said that if we didn't somehow get back to having pride and patriotism as a way of life for our children, we can lose what makes us who we are. That's what the French people in and around Normandy were doing last week. They were doing their part in passing down to younger generations the meaning and price of freedom.

Yeah. I am aware that on any given day I can be all over the page, in a manner of speaking. I suppose I do scatter brained pretty well on most days. I know that most everyone is clear on what many would see as my conservative political point of view. While this is true within a context, I am not enamored with those who dislike the President and his administration to the extent that no matter what is done, they find a reason, true or not true to try and turn it into a point of political gain. One supporter of the President recently said that he was convinced that if President Obama came up with a cure for cancer, the opposition would find some reason to criticize and tear him down. I believe that is true. This doesn't mean that I don't have the right to stand up for those things I believe in and to stand against those things that I believe to be harmful to our country. But given the state of how politics works today, I am pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired of the entire bunch, because most, perhaps not all, (we can always hope), but most of them have perfected feeding at their own hog trough. One trough is marked conservative and keep it full so I can stuff myself. And the other is marked liberal and keep it full so I can stuff myself. That's how I see it. Sorry if that sounds negative but it just happens to reflect my take on how things work today. This does not mean that truth should not be pursued and that it should not shine a light on as much of the process as possible. When it comes down to where I put my trust and hope, it can only be in the Lord God of Heaven, period, end of story. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking." Excerpt from the message to the troops as they embarked on the D-Day invasion, from the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Howdy and welcome. It's going to be a hot time in the old town today. I believe we are working towards a 94 degree target for our afternoon activities. It is Friday, June 6, 2014. Today is a special day as we pause to recognize and remember the many who fell or were wounded as part of the Allied D-Day Invasion at Normandy, France. It's been 70 years since this monumental battle commenced and it became a turning point that helped lead the Allied Forces to victory. While casualty figures are difficult to nail down, needless to say, this event was accompanied by a huge loss of life and it left many of our soldiers with wounds they would carry the rest of their lives. I've recently watched several documentaries where those who participated were giving their firsthand accounts of their landing and the ensuing firefight. It was chilling. These were soldiers that served during the same time that my dad served, and my uncles. They are called the Greatest Generation for a reason and I for one am thankful to God for their willingness to serve and sacrifice on behalf of our freedoms and our way of life. Amen. I highly recommend to your hearing President Ronald Reagan's speech, 30 years ago, commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day:

I read a tweet that was pretty funny. That's right. For reasons that are perfectly reasonable, I am on Twitter now. I have probably been called a twit a time or two in my lifetime and I suppose I now have another forum to prove it. (I do take exception to one definition of Twit that I read: 'The kind of person that makes a retarded chimp look smart.') Here's the funny tweet someone posted: "That sermon was so boring I slept through half of it. That's the last time I'm going to preach that one." What's that you say? It didn't really grab you? Well, excuse me. It certainly did grab me and I just happen to think it was pretty funny. This one is sort of funny in a not so funny way: "I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend. Seriously, I'm taking a selfie and you're in the background." Some are even more edgy: "My favorite pastime is roasting marshmallows over the bridges I burn." Some tweets are just downright silly but in a funny sort of way: "Sure, my bologna has a first name, but he's a stickler for manners so he insists we still call him Mr. Bologna." These may not make much sense to you and if they don't, consider yourself to be mostly sane and get on with your day. For the rest of us, well, we'll just have to do our best to muddle our way forward.

I've not said much about the political world lately but if you are not paying attention you are missing some of the most messed up stuff I've witnessed in my role as a self appointed observer. We have the VA scandal with the resignation of the VA Chief, the Press Secretary for the President resigned, the prisoner exchange that the White House thought would be hugely popular has now turned into a pigsty. That's just within the last week folks. The mainstream press pundits are dizzy from spinning each of these in a way that somehow seeks to isolate and insulate the President. I thought they were the ones charged with speaking truth to power. The soldiers that served with the fellow named Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that we got back mostly have had nothing but extremely negative things to say about him and how he essentially walked off from his post. They also continue to be livid over the deaths of at least 6 men who died looking for this fellow. But, here's how a very senior, very highly respected, (so called), press editor at the Associated Press spun these first hand accounts from our soldiers: "We should not take as absolute legal fact five-year old memories from people who served with Bergdahl under circumstances of great stress." See what I mean? Really? Trashing the soldiers who actually served with this guy? I know. Some of you are not even aware of these things. Well, in my opinion, you should be. My opinion. I could go on and on and on, but it is time to wish you a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless each one and may God help us as a nation is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.