Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." New Testament Book of Jude, Verse 1

Good morning class. It's going to be a great day. Thanks for being on time here on this Thursday, July 31, 2014. We've been at this sojourn now for a good many years. Keeping up with old friends on Facebook has brought a true recollection to our daily walk. What really grabs me is how that little kiddos are now Church workers, leaders, camp sponsors, and some full-time ministers for the Lord. We watched them grow up. We saw them in their classes learning the basics. Many of them we saw coming forward to announce their having given their heart to Jesus. We then watched them following Him in Scriptural Baptism. Now they have children of their own but they have chosen to continue the Christian heritage that was handed down to them. Sometimes it is just hard to take in but when I do, there's a burst of thanksgiving to God because that's exactly how He planned it. Moms and dads influencing their children. Their children growing up and doing the same with theirs. The Apostle John writing in his 3rd Epistle/Letter had these words, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3rd John, Verse 4) He was talking about his children in the Lord but I get it. I get a sense of where he was coming from as I see those little tykes as they have become mature and faithful in their service to the Lord. Now that is a blessing folks. A blessing indeed!

This month marks my 7th year of dealing with Type 2 Diabetes. That was a wake-up-call-game-changer for me, but, all in all, I can only be thankful for having been able to control it at least to a reasonable level. I did so much want to defeat it. I wanted them to look one day and discover that it had somehow disappeared. They tell me that some have had that experience. Not me. But, it was not for lack of trying, especially in those early days. There's several folks who are being treated for diabetes in our local fellowship. In addition to our spiritual connection, we share in having to deal with this common foe. The numbers game. The finger pricks. The work that never quits in dealing with diet. We occasionally ask each other about the battle. At times it can be discouraging and I've been told more than once they would rather not talk about it. I know that feeling all too well. I told a fellow here at work recently that I was making progress towards my weight target but then my wife left me. He did a double take and wanted to know exactly what I had said. She had made several trips away from home and when she is gone I tend to eat on the run and not pay as close attention to things as I should. At least my doctor has a sweet older lady nurse. One day I jumped back at the number she read from the scale. She asked me what I wanted it to be. I told her I thought it should have been a number somewhat lower. She shrugged and said that would be fine and promptly changed the record. Is this a great country or what?

I had a paragraph prepared about the things that get posted on Facebook that annoy me. But I deleted it. I took it down because at the end of the day everyone is entitled to like what they want to like and to share what they want to share. (I've read that the use of 'at the end of the day' does annoy many people.) I removed my critical comments because I don't want to make someone feel bad about what they choose to share. I can tell you this. It was a good paragraph. It pressed buttons and rang bells. It's not easy to highlight that many words and I had to sit and think some before I hit the delete key to see them all on their way to the digital bit bucket in the sky. Please don't send me a note asking me to further explain the technical destination of keystrokes as to where they go to die. Today will be a busy day. I have my physical exam this morning and this afternoon I will, along with our eldest son, serve as pallbearers for a wonderful and dear lady as we go to celebrate her passing to her eternal home in the presence of God. Billye Moore was a long time friend and fellow member at our local fellowship. Her and her late husband Garwin were great servants of the Lord. Their two boys, Dee and Scott, practically grew up with our boys and we feel blessed to have known and served with this great family. I told Dee on the phone that my thought about his mom is this: She is one of the most decent and honorable ladies that I have ever known. She had this testimony because of her life and how it was lived. This will be a celebration of her life and her home going. Have a great day. Remember to be kind and to acknowledge God and His goodness in your life. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My life can be challenging at times.

It's already Wednesday. That came fast this week. And, we get to enjoy this July 30, 2014 for at least 24 hours. We don't need to give it a warm welcome, the weather is taking care of that on its own. I was talking to mom the other evening and I asked if she was watching the American Ninja Warrior competition. She said she wasn't sure what it was. I told her that she could find it on channel 5, that's the KALB NBC affiliate out of Alexandria, Louisiana which was one of the only clear channels we could get growing up. She switched over and began watching while I was on the phone. She informed me that the fellow had fallen. Before I thought I said, not yet, but, then I remembered they are on cable and we are on satellite. She actually saw what happened a split second ahead of me. I'll have to add that one to my list. I don't even get the results of a live event (which that one wasn't) until after the other guy. I then remembered that had happened one day while I was talking to my eldest son who got to inform me that my NASCAR driver's day had just ended in a fiery crash before they decided to let me see it too. It just seems like the odds are stacked against me some days. I bet if a tree fell in the woods it wouldn't make a sound until I had walked away. Now you see why my life can be challenging at times.

You don't have to send me a sympathy card. Who knows when I would get it, anyway? What's that? If that satellite delay problem is the worst one I have to deal with then I should consider myself to be blessed? Now that's 100% true. And, thanks so much for pointing that out. Here's the deal: When I am watching and not talking to anyone on the phone I am essentially oblivious that someone is ahead of me by 240 milliseconds and they know something .24 seconds sooner than I do. Sure, I may harbor just a touch of resentment that others know something nearly 1/4 of a second before I do, but facts are facts, and that signal, no matter how fast, still has to make it from that satellite up in the sky down to that dish on the side of my house and through the wiring into the converter box then onto our TV screen. And, don't even get me started about the voice synchronization issues. You know what I am talking about. That's when a live event has the voice feed and it doesn't quite match the person's mouth. That happens because they use two different sources for their feeds. One for video. One for voice. I try to pass it off as it being something like a bad ventriloquist at work. Now you see why my life can be challenging at times.

I'm scheduled to have my annual physical this coming Thursday morning. They have already moved it one time. The reason? My doctor became unavailable on the day I was originally scheduled. This occurred after they had doggedly tracked me down, bugged me a dozen times, to put A Day on the schedule. Okay already. I put one down. Will you be fasting? Of course. I know the routine. I got the first early morning appointment on that chosen day. I always try to do that because while fasting is no big deal, going without Community, now wait just a cotton picking minute! Now I had to choose another day. And, when I did, the first available was an hour later than the one I originally had. You remember that one. The one set up that had to be changed because the doctor decided he needed a long weekend or something. I know. We are conditioned to think he got called away to do emergency brain surgery or something. Who knows? They don't tell you. They just hang on the line until you succumb and submit to their commands. Life can be tough folks. As you can readily see, I'm not into whining, but, I have plenty of reasons should I ever decide to go down that path. Now you see why my life can be challenging at times. What's that? You will pray for the people that have to deal with me? Well thanks a lot. Y'all just have yourself one wonderful day and if my life can be wrestled back into something manageable, I'll catch up with you next time. May God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prophetic Words: "The White House isn't the place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power, war and peace, and the economic future of the next generation." ~ Joe Biden, (August, 2008)

By every indication I have here at my disposal I am able to discern that today is Tuesday, July 29, 2014, and, I'm glad you dropped by. I do hope you are off to a good start or maybe just a running start will do. And, as I've heard all my life, if you are able to put both feet on the floor and get up and go each day, well, you have something to be thankful for. And, I would add my Amen to that. I don't think former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reads my blogs but she was recently quoted as saying this: "The world is a mess." I thought I had said that first but let's face it, it doesn't take a whole lot of insight to observe and then come up with that assessment. Having allowed this mess to develop, the powers that be are left asking what I believe to be a strange question, "What would you have us to do?" Okay. I'm from the country. I'm not that bright. But that question sounds both out of place and a little late if you ask me. It reflects the proverbial desire to close the gate after all the cows have left the barn. When America becomes weak in whatever form that takes, our adversaries will react accordingly. The mainstream press can circle the wagons all they want but the reality is one where our foreign policy influence, especially as a deterrent to bad actors, is pretty much a thing of the past. What is the result? The former state department head has it right on the money: "The world is a mess."

I wrote that little assessment so that everyone would know that while I admit to living in a perpetual world of distraction, I'm still paying attention. Just trying to keep everyone honest, and informed. We all have fears in life. I just never thought it would include the water bill. They've come up with a new system in our area. It's one where they keep reducing the minimum amount permitted while they keep raising the price. In addition, if you go over the minimum, well, you might as well sign over your house. They are, however, attempting to work with everyone. They sent out a notice that pretty much said this about watering your yard: Let it die! Well, they don't believe it will die, but it will look dead, however, they think that when it does rain, sometime in the future, it will come back. I'm trying to think of how many times we've had to do a total re-sodding of our place and the many major grass planting repairs we've done along the way. But, they may not be giving bad advice when you consider the monthly bill for those who do water and how they arrive in the mail in a solid gold envelope. I do know that we need to conserve. With 7 billion folks clamoring for the natural resources, well, they do need to be used efficiently. Yet, somehow, seeing all those water department employees driving brand new cars does make me wonder. That's a joke. Mostly.

I'm known for having a good memory, at least by those who think that of me. I can tell you this. It's no longer the one I was acquainted with a number of years ago. Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for whatever functional capability God has given to me including my ability to remember. It, like everything else, is in deterioration mode. However, staying focused and knowing about it is better than crying over spilled milk. Here's a little funny poem to end our time together because when it is all said and done, you might as well laugh as to cry.

I Can't Remember
    by Anonymous

Just a line to say I'm living
that I'm not among the dead,
Though I'm getting more forgetful
and mixed up in my head

I got used to my arthritis
to my dentures I'm resigned,
I can manage my bifocals
but oh how I miss my mind

For sometimes I can't remember
when I stand at the foot of the stairs,
If I must go up for something
or have I just come down from there?

And before the fridge so often
my poor mind is filled with doubt,
Have I just put food away, or
have I come to take some out?

And there's a time when it is dark
with my nightcap on my head,
I don't know if I'm retiring, or
just getting out of bed

So, if it's my turn to write you
there's no need for getting sore,
I may think I have written
and don't want to be a bore

So, remember that I love you
and wish that you were near,
But now it's nearly mail time
So I must say goodbye, dear

There I stand beside the mail box
with a face so very red,
Instead of mailing you my letter
I opened it instead

With those encouraging words I leave you to your own approach to dealing with life's challenges. Take care. May God bless. See you next time. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Brain Fog To Do List: Find the to do list I already made. ~ Remember that something else I was supposed to do. ~ Look in the fridge for my coffee mug. ~ Try to remember where I wrote down my passwords. ~ Keep the calendar handy so I know what day it is. ~ Find out if anyone knows if I have already taken my pills. ~ (copied)

Hello and welcome to the very wonderful first day of the rest of your life. It's Monday, July 28, 2014, where I'll just have to tell you it's so hot around these parts, the farmers have started feeding their chickens ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs. No. I don't have to fire my writers. I found that one on the Facebook page of a radio station over in South Carolina. There were others that do not deserve an honorable mention but that never kept me from mentioning them before. One fellow lamented that he was so hot he thought he would drop by his girlfriend's house just to get the cold shoulder. Another farmer talked about being sick and tired of digging up baked potatoes. One person complained that it was so hot his chili peppers out in his garden were sweating up a storm. I know. I know. I either need a vacation or some fresh material. I'm pretty much thankful every day that I am able to still string sentences together. What's that? You often wondered what I called what it is that I do? Good. Now you know. In fact, a lady put up our 5th Grade class photo on Facebook and challenged me to name as many of those 27 kids and one teacher as I could. That was nearly 60 years ago. Best I can remember, the lady who posted that photo always wanted to see me wobble a little. Without any research at all, I got 20 of the kids and the teacher on the first pass. She sent me a note later and said she was embarrassed because I got more of them than she did. I didn't gloat but I will not deny the fact that I enjoyed the teensy weensy victory, and in some ways it felt just like it did back in the olden days. You do know I'm joking. A little. Not much. And, I could probably come up with some of the others if I really put myself to it, but I didn't want to overheat my already aging and dilapidated brain engine.

The wife and I attended an old fashioned Gospel singing last Thursday evening. A fellow we served together with many years ago in Church invited us to come. It was held in a little town about an hour's drive away and there were perhaps 80 folks who showed up. Clearly, 90 percent were seniors and many of them would qualify as advanced seniors. I was telling the wife that I had trouble fitting myself into this grouping. She told me to get over it because that's where we fit. I suppose you learn something every single day. They did some song leading out of the old softback Heavenly Highway Hymns songbook. That was the light tan-nish brown book for those of you who can't recall.  There were many specials. Some of them thrown together and others were well practiced and well presented. The congregation lifted up the rafters with songs like "On the Jericho Road", "There is Power in the Blood", and "I Shall Not Be Moved." Bro. Carl, the man who invited us, is a precious elderly gentleman and he dearly loves to sing. The non gray hairs were also represented in the 10 percent and many of them did a wonderful job presenting their music as well. Obviously the leaders are looking to hand down this great folk Gospel style of participative worship and praise. I can tell you this: It brought back a whole lot of memories for us and it also blessed our hearts.

I do try to make recommendations along life's journey. Here in our area we are being taken over by bicyclers. They are everywhere. I suppose with the big tour competition going on over in France they all feel the need to get out there and enjoy their ride. I don't begrudge them their rightful place on the roadways, however, I have noticed that rednecks in jacked up trucks that look like they are on their way to the try outs for the next Monster Jam, well, they do not take kindly to dudes wearing those little nylon outfits who impede their ability to get on down the road. You know. A little road rage in the making. But back to my little piece of advice. The other day I saw a group of the riding club and the fellow in the lead he was pumping away. Just one problem. He had his mouth wide open. Not only is that not a good look but this is a country road dude and you will certainly catch up with something, sooner, rather than later. Okay. That will do with my ration of observational tidbits for one day. I wish you and yours a blessed day and look forward to the next time when we can visit. May God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Friday, July 25, 2014

"It is not strange... to mistake change for progress." Millard Fillmore,13th President of the United States, (1800-1874)

This coming Sunday we will pause to celebrate our Sherrie's birthday. May God continue to bless her as she sees after her family and seeks to serve our Lord and Savior. Amen. Love, mom and dad

Welcome to the end of the work week, at least here for me, on this Friday, July 25, 2014. I feel for the emergency dispatch folks, the 911 people. They tell us there has been a huge increase in the number of accidental calls coming in, typically from people's cell phones. The most likely source? The rear end calls when the phone ends up in the back pocket. As if they didn't already have enough to say grace over. Right? Life is all about choices. I read about one fellow who was stopped for a traffic violation and started running to try and get away. That was his choice. He ended up running himself smack dab into the middle of a police training academy where he was promptly detained. Then we have the older folks to think about. Nearly everyday you find stories about them. Here I am dealing with a few aches and pains and then I read about an avid baseball fan and she gets to throw out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game. She is only 105 years young. Pleeeeeze! Then I see one about the 97 year old fellow who got himself kicked out of the retirement home. Turns out he was driving everyone nuts because he wouldn't stop playing his ukulele. This, at least, gives me some ideas for the future.

For my wife.
Our middle son, Jimmy, has remarried and they have moved into an apartment. He has lived with us for the past six years. This is a huge change for him, his new wife, and his four kids and her grown son. Please say a prayer for them. It also presents a different home base scenario for us. When we were much much younger the wife and I used to play chase and believe it or not we actually wrestled. With her cotton picking farm girl experience she was pretty strong. I don't see those as being options going forward. Don't laugh. Entertainment was not that readily available to us back then. We didn't have a TV and our little radio didn't pick up that many stations. We played a lot of gin rummy. Occasionally we would go to the drive in theater on buck night. The wife, our first little bundle of joy and yours truly all for $1. Sounds like a bargain? It worked pretty good except for the cold where we had to keep running the car off and on to keep the windows clear. There we were all bundled up watching some B movie up on the big screen. I used to think that was a treat but for some reason it doesn't sound the least bit appealing to me today. Especially when you can watch reruns of Duck Dynasty almost around the clock. Watching one of those probably beats running from the cops into a police academy training exercise on any day. Right?

One thing I know is that we will do just fine. We've been at this for nearly 50 years and believe me we've done our fair share of adapting along the way. Making adjustments is as much a part of life as breathing. We've talked quite a bit about beginning to think about downsizing. I've done some early looking around. I told her the problem with downsizing and staying in our same area, is that for us, it most likely would end up being an up-sizing in our cost. That's because real estate in our area has not only gone through the roof but it's currently staked out territory on the moon. This reflects some major growth going on where demand is literally out of sight. That should be good for selling our home. Right? Perhaps. But, ours is nearly 45 years old and it does need some things done to it. I don't even know how far we would have to move out in order to have it make sense. I guess this gives us something we can work on since playing chase, wrestling, or maybe even hide and seek or off the table right now. I do hope that you and yours will enjoy a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

“The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had.” (Unattributed)

Good to see you today. I've just finished brewing myself another cup of that wonderful joy juice, aka Community Cafe' Special Medium-Dark Roast, therefore I am thinking about being ready to get ready for this brand new day. I do hope that wherever you happen to be that you too are ready for the one we have before us, that would be Thursday, July 24, 2014. It's nice to sit out here on the front porch of the ole blogger ranch. Yes, I am aware that for the purpose of our visit it's only a virtual porch and it only exists in a virtual world. However, sitting and visiting with folks on the porch does reflect a true reality to me, even if it only still exists in my memory bank. I have no way of knowing just how much I learned sitting on the porch with family and friends. Yes. I am fully aware that those kinds of things existed before we were slaves to the our technologically driven world. Think about it. Why sit down and visit face to face with anyone whenever all you have to do is shoot them a text? An email? Or leave them a voice message? Think about the convenience factor. Right? Why sit and listen to stories first hand whenever you can just Google one up if you want to? Right? To tell you the truth, I really do miss those porch styled meet ups where folks talk, laugh, and perhaps even share a tear or two. I know. I know. That's considered old fuddy-duddy talk today, but, I don't mind that as an accusation. In fact, I'll wear that one with pride.

Sometimes people may think that I live in a completely imaginary world. That is kind of scary because it makes me wonder how they found out. Just kidding. Folks, no matter what time period we grew up in, lived in, or where our experiences are located, there is no perfect world in this life, period. Do we typically see things from our past with corrective lenses at work? Most likely we do, however, that doesn't mean that I am unaware that the good old days also included plenty of not so good stuff. I'm also very much tuned into the great progress that has been achieved through technological innovation. God has allowed us to live at a time when there's huge leaps forward in medical knowledge and know how. I am thankful for these great blessings. Where I think we look back with a longing is when we consider the quality of life. We've lived long enough to know that it's not found in things, no matter how fancy they might be. It's found in knowing God and in loving others and it just seems that those used to be somewhat easier to experience, back in the day, you know, as they say.

Okay. Enough of that dodging of the ruts in our walk down memory lane. We all enjoy a funny story now and then. I read this one the other day. It was reported to be true. "A speeding motorist caught by a roadside camera tried to play a little joke when police sent him a speeding ticket. The notice included a photograph of the car, the date, the speed, and demanded payment of a fine. The motorist sent back a picture of a check. Police sent back a photograph of handcuffs. The motorist got the message and mailed the real check. The story appeared in countless papers, bringing laughter to its readers." Most funny things in life reflect on just itself. We laugh quite a bit in our Bible study time. That's right folks. We do. It's mostly because I often share little personal stories that reflect upon the sojourn of the wife and I along life's way. I like the fact that we can all laugh, and, it is especially good if she is laughing too. I know. Some don't want to be in a Bible class where people would ever even think about laughing. Sorry. There's even some Bible accounts that are pretty funny. It's also pretty clear to me that our Savior enjoyed a good laugh while He was roaming around here and there with His guys. (What about that story He told about the guy trying to get the splinter out of the other fellow's eye when his vision was marred by a log sticking out of his own eye?) I know. Too bad you don't have one of those old fashioned hooks to get me off the stage. But, you do! It's called the delete key. Find something to smile about and then share it with others. May God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while." ~ Kin Hubbard, American humorist, (1868-1930)

We are now in the midst of the hot weather we typically get this time of year. It had been hiding behind some wonderfully refreshing clouds and showers over the past several weeks but it is now very busy doing its job. That involves making every breath difficult. It's the combo routine. Temperature plus humidity and next thing you know you are sporting a feels like of 110°. I know we should be used to it by now since it has been a part of our lives for these many years, but it still tends to take one's breath away especially when the whole world seems to be distorted by those moving heat wave thingies. Hot, bothered, but thankful, and with that current weather forecast I bid you a most wonderful day and a welcome to this edition here on this Wednesday, July 23, 2014. During that cool front that hit last week I was keeping an eye on the national low temperature map. One little spot in Idaho hit 36° one morning. Imagine that. Before we all pack up and move, I'm sure they have their set of issues just like we do. They may be a part of that huge drought that's ravaging so much of our western states. They may have the potential for destructive wildfires. But 36 is a beautiful number to contemplate when the 110 comes rolling down the tracks. It reminds me of that verse from the Bible. The sheepherder called to be a Prophet and Preacher by the Lord, Amos, had this to say in the Old Testament Book that bears his name: "As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him." (Chapter 5, Verse 19) The only true safe place is our trust in the Lord God of heaven. Amen.

Last early Saturday morning my wife called me from Del Rio. I could tell she was excited. They had been out in a park Friday evening inviting children to come to their Vacation Bible School (VBS). The kids she was talking to came and the dad did also. He ended up giving his heart to Jesus. His wife later did the same thing. My wife didn't directly lead him to the Lord, another fellow with our group did, but, she saw firsthand what it means to be a part of the Lord's harvesting process. She invited the children and was able to witness mom and dad being saved and on their way to heaven. Jesus explained this to His disciples: "Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.'” (Gospel of John, Chapter 4, Verses 34-37) Some plant, some water, and some are there at the time of harvest, but, all who work in the vineyard of the Lord share equally in the outcomes. And lest we forget, the Apostle Paul made clear how the increase comes: "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." (I Corinthians 3:7) No wonder she was excited!

I'm glad that our Great God made it a whole lot simpler than we often appreciate. Sometimes the theologians can take the most simple of Bible passages and explain them in ways that tend to obscure rather than illuminate the simple truth being heralded. A tremendous Bible scholar and radio Bible teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, (1904-1988), used this construct as his goal in teaching God's Word: "Put the cookies on the bottom shelf so the kiddies can get them." I have listened to his radio teaching more times than I can remember over the years and have been impressed to do my best, with God's help, to present God's truth with that same goal in mind. It did take me a while to grasp this approach. I can tell you, it is easy to get wrapped up in great technical theological discussions. And, I enjoy those. However, God provided His Book to men, women, boys and girls. He made the message simple and clear reflecting everyone's need and His provision of salvation through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. It's so clear that a daddy can be saved by attending children's VBS. Now here's what I have to say about that: Amen and Hallelujah! We all need to be reminded that it is the Message and the indwelling power in the Message, not the messenger. Have a great day and may God be with us all. Amen.   ...More later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known." George C. Marshall, US General, WW2, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

I'm still here. The reports of me missing are somewhat premature. Just joking. You know. It was a take off on the old quote from Mark Twain: "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." There is a story behind that quote from Twain or his real name, Samuel Langhorne Clemens if you prefer. I've shared it before but if you missed it, well, dig it up, it's pretty interesting. Meanwhile, I am here and I bid you a warm welcome on this Tuesday, July 22, 2014. I am glad to report that my wife, her sister, and the entire team that went to Del Rio to touch the lives of folks with the Gospel, they are all well and back home. Lives were changed. Those there and those who went on the mission trip. Sadly, the rest of the world is not such a happy place. One of the gut wrenching outcomes from the jetliner that was shot down last week is the response from world leaders. The Dutch, (The Netherlands), lost 193 of their citizens which one commentator said was the equivalent of our loss on 9-11 in terms of percentage of their population. That's huge. However, the headline from their largest news source included this insight, "Mourning but mindful of their ties to Russia..." That, sadly, is the story of our world today. We are outraged that innocent people are blown out of the sky but we have so many financial ties with those who furnished the weapons and the expertise to do this deed, we really can't go overboard in our anger. Does that not sum it all up folks? The bottom line is the money, the natural gas, the so called bottom line. We wouldn't want to upset the flow of goods and services between our nations. Sad. That's all I say. Sad indeed!

And, it looked just like this one!
Waxing philosophical? I'm not sure I know how. I did at one time, however, have much experience waxing cars. That was along time ago. I would spend hours upon hours trying to get that shine to show up as bright and deep as possible. I must have really wanted to protect the car's finish? I'm not sure as a teenager that ever crossed my mind. It was mostly to call attention to myself and my ride. Our eldest loves to detail cars. He does it because he loves cars. He doesn't mind taking one apart to get it in pristine condition. He's loved cars since way before he was able to drive one. I actually think in many ways it's a form of therapy for him. In the process, it somehow became a part of who he is. Today, I'm pretty much into the car wash that comes free with an oil change for my little jalopy. Times do change folks, yes they do! My current mode of transportation is seventeen years young and has 150,000 miles on it. I typically look forward to the print out they give me when they change the oil. It's page after page of recommended things for me to have done to the car. They obviously have not joined the save the trees campaign because they don't mind spitting out the paper. I suppose that should be enough waxing for one day.

I'm not sure if I have ever waxed poetic but I am certain I have never had my body waxed, and, unless something changes dramatically, like maybe my mental condition, I don't see that one as an upcoming event in my life. However, the mental deal may still be up in the air, therefore, it might be best to never say never. I read somewhere that younger women today prefer no hair on their men's bodies. I've seen that young man on the laser hair removal commercial using it on his arm and exclaiming how it saves him the cost of a wax job. Hello? Here's how they would view that back home: If that don't beat all! or: Have you ever in your life heard of anything like that? I might go for removing some of that which has taken root in my ears. It might help me to hear better. You do know that's a joke. Right? I suppose I could use that corny, 'hair today, gone tomorrow', but, since I am addressing a fairly sophisticated audience, I will keep that one for another day. What's that? I can keep it, period. Well, okay then. What's that you say? Maybe the mental deal is worth checking out. Point well taken. Now. Let's get out there and see what we can get done on this day that the Lord has given to us. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, July 21, 2014

“One moment the world is as it is. The next, it is something entirely different. Something it has never been before.” ― Anne Rice, from her book, "Pandora"

"Nice fire. Looks tranquil to me."
The number 21 is on the list today. It has nothing to do with Blackjack. It does have everything to do with the day we have before us because it's Monday, July 21, 2014. We all have our prism through which we view things in life. It's not that unusual for people to look at the same thing but come to different conclusions about what they see. I know I have been very vocal about my views regarding the current status of our nation's health and well being. I know that many of you know this because you have endured my rantings. Last week the President's spokesperson, Josh Ernest, his new press secretary, pretty much shocked the reporters at the daily White House press briefing. Here's the quote that got everyone doing a double take: "The Obama administration's foreign policies in a number of areas have enhanced the world's tranquility." That word implies the following: quality or state of being tranquil; calmness; peacefulness; quiet; serenity. After everyone in the room got their eyebrows back in place, the questions began to fly. Tranquility? What about Russia's invasion in the Ukraine? What about Syria? What about Iraq? What about the all out war between Israel and Hamas? What about China's threats against her neighbors? What about Libya? What about the unmitigated crisis playing out in our own country on our southern border? If a world turned upside down reflects tranquility, then I readily admit that I must be living in an alternate reality. The reporters that challenged his assertion were like, "Are you kidding us?" But, there you have it, that's not a half full or half empty perception, that's like viewing things in the mirrors at the fun house. What say you? Update Note: The shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and the ground invasion of Gaza by Israel clearly demonstrates the foolhardiness of any claims of world tranquility.

I will readily admit that I could not resist sharing that one. It's things like this that define my concern for the current state of affairs of our dearly beloved nation. But, believe it or not, politics are not the driving force in my life. When I was writing that first paragraph I could hear my mom's voice from the past, "Son, why don't you leave well enough alone?" Sorry mom, but sometimes it just has to be said. Maybe I will make her question the title of my next book. What? You didn't know I had written a first one? I'm not sure either but I've probably written a ton of them over the years in this notebook and that one, on the backs of reports, and in these blog visits each day. And, I still have those short stories I did for children. Somewhere. I will find them one day along with the rejection letters I got from publishers. They didn't say they were bad. They just didn't see them fitting into their line. I had conducted my own testing of the material. I read one of them to my grandson and he thought it was real good. He was the age back then that I would have been targeting. But that was some time ago. What about self publishing? Good question. Illustrations? Tracking down these kinds of things will be a part of my new job when I am no longer doing the job I am doing now. I do hope I will be able to find those stories. You know. When the time comes. Bingo! I may have found something for my bucket list. But, I just remembered. I don't have one. Life can be tough at times. Especially when you are making it up as you go. Right?

Life can be about as unpredictable as the weather. Most of you know that I am a serial reader of obituaries. I know. I know. Many of you think that is borrowing grief when it is not needed. What fascinates me is how a person's life is summarized down to a handful of words. Some have more words than others. That likely reflects the cost of the funeral service or a willingness to pay the newspaper extra for additional space. Sometimes you can actually gain some insight into a person's life by the things emphasized in the write up commemorating their life. Some report the facts and others pay tribute. Here's one I read last week that spoke to the uncertainties in life. I'm not using the individual's name but here's how the obituary opened in the online edition of the Houston Chronicle, "...... ........., age 50 of Houston, Texas passed away July 8, 2014 in New Mexico after suffering a tragic hiking accident. He was there to attend his brother's funeral when the accident occurred." (I edited out names and specifics.) That write up jumped out at me as it reminded me of just how fragile life is, and, more importantly, what we have in mind to do, especially for the Lord, we might better get on with it. For as I have heard all my life, "You just never know what a day might bring." That's a little jolt to go with our coffee, (Community, please.), for the day. Take care now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

"I got overwhelmed by the magnitude of the celebrity culture in America. My background is as a news journalist, and newsrooms in the US are shrinking - investigation teams are being terminated or shrunk on newspapers all around the country. The one aspect that's expanded is coverage of celebrity culture." ~ Carl Hiaasen

It's one of those Friday's again. Happy. Happy. Happy. As they say over Louisiana way in the Ducky Dynasty world. I welcome you to this particular Friday, here on this 18th day of July, 2014. The last few weeks have been dominated by a discussion of King James. No. Not the Bible version. It is King James as in LeBron James, the NBA Superstar. For several weeks the sports world was frozen while they awaited the King's decision as to where he would play next. When that decision came, bells and whistles, lights, cameras, billboards, and the presses were all engaged in wall to wall coverage. Here's how important this story was. A live interview with key congressional folks was underway on CNN. The subject was the plans for doing something about the immigration crisis on our southern border. Suddenly, the reporter stopped the interview and announced that the network had to immediately join the latest report concerning LeBron James. I kid you not. This is the world we are living in. It is all about priorities and what really matters. Right? Oh, by the way, in case you missed it, LeBron decided to go home, back to his Cleveland, Ohio roots, and will have to live off a long term contract that will pay him in excess of $20 million per year. I do hope he will be able to manage.

They are playing many of the old Christmas programs on the satellite radio station that plays episodes from yesteryear. It's their old time radio Christmas in July celebration. The other day I was on my way home when Bing Crosby's Christmas program from December 20, 1953 came on. One of the things that always gets your attention is the use of many sacred Christmas hymns on these older programs. They make it clear about the Reason for the Season. Sure, there were plenty of the traditional fun songs too. For me, it was somewhat of a mixed feeling as I thought about that program. It was broadcast just days before we celebrated our last Christmas with our dad as he left this life and us on January 2, 1954. I know he used to listen to the radio. I have this image in my mind of him sitting in the kitchen area at a small table listening. He may have listened to that very program. At any rate, none of us would have ever thought that our lives were to be forever altered as 1953 gave way to 1954. Even as a 7 year old kid I remembered noticing how that while our world abruptly stopped, everything else seemed to go on as if nothing had happened. Today, no matter how hard I try, I can only catch snippets of scenes from that Christmas and I now know that what happened soon after is the reason my recollections are so hard to come by. It was still a neat thing to contemplate as I made my way home. (I also found that particular Bing Crosby program on YouTube, you can find it by searching: "Bing Crosby Christmas Show 1953".)

Wouldn't it be better if I would just not ever think about those things or maybe just switch the station when a memory like that hits? That's a reasonable response but for me it's an indelible part of the fabric of my life. The 'who I am' is defined by the whole story and that includes the good, the not so good, and the really bad stuff too. Hey, he was my daddy and I suppose those blank spaces will always be a part of my unfinished biography. The good news is that while I might delve into the past, I am aware that my life counts most in the here and now. I also know that God has provided His grace into my life and that particular good news overlays all the other stuff. I find it interesting that a 30 minute program on the radio that was played 60 years ago can stimulate that kind of heart searching response. It, however, doesn't make me wonder about myself. I can assure you I gave up on that one a long time ago. I do ask that you mention a prayer for those who are busy about the Lord's business on the Del Rio mission trip supported by our local fellowship of believers. Until next week, I'll do my best to enjoy my Saturday, and to fully participate in the services celebrating Lord Day's Sunday. I recommend the same to each one. May God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Hello and welcome once again to my amusement center world where we find rides that we get on with no idea where they are going and what we might be in for as we travel along. It's Thursday, July 17, 2014, and I want to thank you for being here, you know, on this page, on this day. I am well aware that on some days, especially as it relates to the political world, I can come across as being just a tad discombobulated. I have no idea why but I love that word discombobulated. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I am acutely aware that many other people see it entirely differently. I heard a fellow call in the other day and he was nearly in tears because of what he saw as a conspiracy intended to bring down and destroy the first black President in our history. He interpreted every aspect of the problems we face through the lens of racial animosity. To me, that's not even close. But, I respect his right to view it that way. And, by the way, the President and his team, and especially his Attorney General, are actually promoting that theory. They know what they are doing and that gentleman who called in shows that it is working. I also know there are some who might oppose based on skin color but I just happen to think that number is not very large at all. This is an arena where results are the test of effectiveness. I completely agree with the President's assessment that he inherited a huge mess. However, he wanted it and said that he would fix it. My belief is that he has not fixed it, and, in fact, on just about every imaginable front things remain broken or worse than they were when he took over. That has to do with leadership, policies, and management. It's up to each individual to weigh these matters and make up their own mind. And, my sincere hope is that this will be done without consideration for anyone's race, creed, or color. As our President has so often said, "This is what elections are about."

Dot and Lil Bit
The wife is making preparation to leave me again. Early tomorrow morning she and 21 other folks, most from our local fellowship, are headed out to Del Rio, Texas to do a mission outreach project. Her twin sister, born 18 months ahead of her, will be going also. I think they may have deserved the dynamic duo moniker more than Batman and Robin. They are glued together and they know how to minister to others as a team. Myself and my late brother-in-law were first in line for God's best on the day we connected up with these two girls. That was over 50 years ago and the one thing that stands out to me is the consistency of their devotion to God, family, and their willingness to serve. That doesn't mean it has been one long happy-go-lucky tip toe through the tulips. We've had our ups and downs. Her sister is now a widow. Yet, we are able to pause and offer up thanks to almighty God for His provision, and to seek His best as they along with the entire team go in search of touching the lives of men, women, boys and girls, with the message of the Gospel. As for me, the left behind fellow, well, I get to be in charge of the services on Sunday. What a scary thought. I also get to be in charge of me. Now we are talking very scary. Prayers are appreciated.

I am thankful for those who came up with this outreach project that will provide direct assistance to our missionaries from that area. A project like that is not just thrown together. A huge amount of planning has gone into it. In fact, I even helped with the Vacation Bible School, VBS, crafts materials preparation. That's right. Try to envision me with a pair of scissors cutting out circles and little lamb's heads. There were about 20 of us at the Church Monday evening working on this stuff. My work was singled out for special attention. Slow. You got it. I finally earned the slow man working sign. But what would one expect? I cannot even begin to imagine the last time I cut out items like that. I can tell you this. There was a tremendous amount of laughing going on and a whole lot of love shared. I actually showed up thinking there was going to be a meeting but ended up on the scissor cutting brigade. My point? Many times folks, it is really about the small things. Those little VBS packets will be used to communicate the love of Jesus to children and we already know that some of them will give their heart and life to Him. And, that, my friend, will be of value that transcends silver and gold because it will last throughout all eternity. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Texting is addicting. Once you get emotionally involved with constant outside stimulation assaulting your brain, it is hard to stop looking at your machine every two minutes. Without rapid fire words appearing on a screen, you feel bored, not part of the action." ~ Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Commentator

It's Wednesday, July 16, 2014, and I bring you greetings from my little slice of the Blogosphere to wherever you happen to be connecting from. Most still catch up with me on their personal computer but a growing number grab it from their smart phone or their mobile tablet. During the preaching service at our local fellowship they dim the lights in the audience. I'm not exactly sure why. It may be to enhance the mood or perhaps as a help to the sleepy. At any rate, standing in the back, I see little screens lighted up throughout the room. We can only hope they are all accessing their Bible app. Right? Folks have become fanatical at their texting. Since it doesn't require them to actually talk on their phone it has become common practice for people to text even when they are in meetings. Even when they lead a meeting. Even when other people at the meeting are dealing with salient points that need to be considered. I'm not sure where all of this is going but I do know that it has forever changed the process of face to face communication. Because even when folks are face to face, the texting continues. Some lament the demise of personal handwritten letters, but I actually think that this new phenomenon of being absent by being present may be an even greater loss. But, that's just my observation in passing.

Thinking back to my early teen days I know we talked differently than kids do today. Someone who had a really nice looking car but it wouldn't run very well was said to be: All show and no go. Something said to be really baaaad was typically really great. We did a lot of cruising which meant driving up and down a particular roadway hoping to call attention to ourselves. Glasspacks were mufflers that gave the pipes on your ride a melodious sound. In order to stay connected in the telling of our story we often used the phrase, meanwhile back at the ranch, to keep everyone on the same page. Those who couldn't handle the requirements of being hip like ourselves were called squares. We thought ourselves to be cool if we had our shades on, you know, sunglasses. When we wanted to hear all about it we asked for them to lay it on me. The local constabulary, police, fuzz, they were the ones with the gum ball machine on top of their vehicles. If you wanted to make sure someone understood you asked with a simple: You dig? Today I have to Google a lot of those abbreviated terms people send forth and back using social media just to figure out what they are talking about. That's okay because I'm pretty sure most of them would have trouble fetching us a church key to open our bottled soft drink. Right?

I am more aware everyday of the fact that my anecdotes are frozen from a different era, at least that's my reading based on the blank stares I get when I attempt to communicate with younger folks today. Our Bible study class on Wednesday evenings enjoy singing some of the songs we all grew up with. The writers had a message to portray and many of them challenged the singer to grasp the spiritual metaphor being used. These are like a foreign language to kids today. We heard a funny lady making a joke about this the other day. She said that when trouble comes into her life, the message of the old hymns like "He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own...", helps minister to her. She wondered out loud about this younger generation because their context, based on the songs used today, would be The Rock The Rock The Rock The Rock. Maybe they could be taught Rock of Ages. Maybe not. And, may I add, if they get everything included in Him being the Rock, well, I suppose that will git er done! Now. We do have some business we need to get on with. It is this day that God has given to us. Remember to thank Him for it and use it to serve Him by serving others. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Joke of the Century: "I'm not interested in photo ops." (President Obama, 7-9-14, speaking about his decision not to visit the crisis on the border.)

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, July 15, 2014, and we are, at least in some places, expecting another round of the Polar Vortex, (whatever that is), right smack dab here in the middle of summer. I believe they have now officially withdrawn the Polar Vortex designation and are now calling it an old fashioned cold front. This means some places will be having fall like temperatures this week. It will actually have an impact on us as well. Instead of mid to high 90's, they say we will be in the low 90's for highs. I'll take that, the polar bear, the vortex, and anything else you have that will make it a little less oppressive. One thing is clear: There will not be any cooling of the tensions on our southern borders. Crisis? Check. Chaos? Check. Calamity? Check. (Caution: I feel some venting about to volcano itself onto my blog. Just so you know.) The sad part of this border situation involves the children. Most of them had nothing to do with their plight. Whatever we do, this has to be the focal point of finding a way forward. At the same time, let me share with you my view of how all of this developed. It's clear to me that we have an administration who has played games with nearly any and all things under their control, domestic and international. They are directly responsible through their policies and lack of enforcement of laws already on the books for the present situation. These games have typically been played for crass political reasons. They want to claim this, that, or the other now, but I would hope that most folks can see this for what it really is. I get so sick and tired of hearing this administration's mantra: "No one could have anticipated." What we have is a calamitous and tragic human crisis that could have been avoided, period. It didn't have to happen. It may not be their intended consequences but it could have been avoided. But sadly it wasn't, therefore, we do have to figure out what to do about it. I have great compassion for the children. At the same time I am livid over the actions and in-actions that brought this on. That's my take.

Mandella funeral: The President is not interested in photo ops!
And while I am at it, why in heaven's name would we be giving many more billions to the very same people who have already squandered the vast amounts they already have control over? These funds were allocated to them to carry out the law and the will of the people. And while I am at it part two, how in the world can people not see how our current President has nothing to offer but blaming others? That's it folks. I watched the two speeches he made last week, one in Colorado, and the other in Texas and I can't even begin to tell you how bizarre they were. Essentially, they were nothing more than stump speeches, campaign rally speeches. With his popularity sagging to 40% approval, I suppose his helpers have determined this is his best strategy. Blame Congress, translated: Mean Republicans. Blame rich people. Blame fate as in no one could have anticipated. And, finally, when all else fails blame Bush. No leader will ever be effective if all he has to offer is blaming others. I may not know everything about leadership but I can see it when it is absent. That's what we have: A total lack of leadership. He isn't interested in photo ops. No. Because, let's face it folks, he is a living, breathing, personification of a perpetual photo op. That's what he brings to the table. Okay. I feel a little better now. Don't know about you. But, perhaps that will do for today.

You see some really strange stuff driving around the huge metroplex and zipping here and there on the many freeways that connect us all. The other day I came up beside a huge 18 wheeler tractor and lo and behold there was a life size Scooby Doo strapped in and sitting in the passenger seat looking down on me. I did a double take. People using those hands free devices can really get you confused. If they like to talk with their hands, well, you get the idea they are waving to try and get over or something. Finally you get beside them and there they are, talking to beat the band. What's worse than being behind a poor soul stuck on the freeway driving 50 miles per hour, not sure where they are, and very much unaware of where they are going? How about a clueless convoy? Well, it was more like just two vehicles. I don't think they were together but they had traffic backed up like we had all been called to pracice for a funeral procession. I know. Patience is a virtue. Until next time I leave you with a hearty 'Scooby Dooby Doo! Where are you?' Okay for you purists out there: 'Rooby Rooby Roo!' May God bless and as one of my Bible Study participants reminded us all last Wednesday evening, we do need to remember to pray for those helpless young children caught up in all this turmoil on the border. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, July 14, 2014

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” ― Charles Addams, American Cartoonist who created characters that became the basis for The Addams Family, (1912-1988)

Welcome back and I do appreciate you taking the time for our short visit today. It is Monday, July 14, 2014, and I'm glad to report the wife made it back safe and sound. (The teenagers rubbed off on her. She slept about 12 hours straight after getting home.) The camp experience is nothing new to her but she always returns bubbling over because of her bonding with the kids she was privileged to be with. This relationship building stuff is very much a feature of her God given giftedness. We all learn how to do things. We can become skillful. But, we believe and teach that believers are provided with abilities that or ordained and given by God. They are above and beyond our acquired expertise. Through these gifts God is honored and people are ministered to. That's how He chose to accomplish His purposes. I've talked with so many people over the years who seemed to be unsettled and searching to understand the gift that God had given to them. I always remind them that whatever He has provided to us, it is not for our fulfillment but rather for the building up of others and for the furtherance of His Kingdom. This doesn't mean we will not have a sense of fellowship with Him as we give ourselves to Him and His calling, but when we gain a right perspective regarding the purpose we will more readily find His will. I wasn't trying to turn this into a mini sermon but that's what came out. (Verses: Acts 1:8; Romans 12:1-8; 1st Corinthians Chapter 12; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2nd Timothy 1:6-7; and 1st Peter 4: 10-11)

While I enjoyed the quiet week at home, in many ways it was also somewhat lonesome. It made me think of all those who do live alone. All the little things that needed to be done had to be done by me. Or, put off by me. I threw that in because she thinks that is one of my gifts, but not necessarily given to me from God. Needless to say, I was glad to know that she is home and things can get back to our version of normal. My guess is that our normal would be quite different from your normal. I think that's how normal works. The old joke said: "Normal in our home is only a setting on the dryer." I don't even know if they still have normal as a setting on dryers, but I get it. We all develop our set of operating procedures that define our lives. I will say this about that. Coming to grips with our constant need for God's provision and direction along with recognizing our need for frequent interaction with God's people will go a long way in helping to shape our routines. Or, at least that's how it has worked in our home. This doesn't mean we end up being cookie cutter patterns. Just look at me. I read one little ditty that said this: "I tried being normal. It was the most boring two minutes of my life." Enough said.

This year will be the 50th commemoration of my high school graduation. I read this little story and I thought I would share it. It's the report from a man who accompanied his wife to her graduation reunion. "My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table. I asked her, 'Do you know him?' 'Yes' she signed, 'He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since.' 'Oh my!' I said, 'Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?' And then the fight started...." If you didn't think it was funny that's okay. I heard a sports commentator saying the other day that he didn't find female comedians to be very funny. He said it had nothing to do with them being female, he just doesn't laugh when they are supposedly trying to make people laugh. The other guy on the program said he didn't think he could say that, you know, it's not acceptable to say things like that. Really? You can't say what makes you laugh and what doesn't make you laugh? He must not have ever watched Carol Burnett. Right? It's time for me to say have a blessed day and I hope to see you again real soon. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.  .....More later.

Friday, July 11, 2014

“Get all my ducks in a row? The only time you'll find ducks in a row is in a butcher shop window!” ~ Donna Flotre, Author

Today is THE day. It is Friday, July 11, 2014, but it turns out to be THE day the wife returns from her Arkansas teen camp adventure. That means I have to get my ducks in a row. (The origin of the 'ducks in a row' metaphor is vague and debated forth and back by word junkies. It most likely has to do with the often seen mommy duck leading her ducklings all in a row. The main competitor is the term 'duck' used in pool halls in conjunction with balls all lined up in a row.) At any rate, as it relates to my situation, it has to do with getting things shaped up so that when she returns it doesn't look like it was the way it did while she was away. I'm pretty sure I am exaggerating just a tad. (Tad: Thought to be associated with tadpoles or a metaphor for a small child but today's usage is an Americanism that came into vogue during the 1940's) I ask you: How much could one little guy like myself mess up? I can assure you that I will be using the proven pine-oil-method to freshening everything up. That comes from a lady we hired one time to help the wife clean when we were both working. That lady worked hard but mostly at not working. To cover her lack of attention to doing anything meaningful she was very liberal with the pine oil. A little here and a little there. This meant that when we came through the back door. Bam! It smelled fresh even if nothing had been done. Don't write me. I do promise to do more than she did which wouldn't be much, but, I think everyone should be allowed to hand down to others at least one of their skills. Therefore, I will honor this lazy lady by using liberal amounts of pine oil. After that, I will hope for the best, keep my fingers crossed, and keep all the blinds and drapes closed. You do know I am mostly kidding. Mostly. I'm almost certain I don't have time to get the windows tinted.

Perhaps I need to make me a 'to do' list. That's a good one. I thought I would throw it in to humor some of my more well organized readers. I'm not against making lists. I just happen to know that my limitations are mostly only needing a jump start where I get up off my backside and get on with getting some things done. Paw Paw Mac used to say that we kids sleeping late reminded him of a bunch of lazy dogs all laid up under a shade tree. His view of the word sorry had little to do with regret or remorse. He thought of it in terms of someone being lazy and low down. However, my grandfather may have been on to something. Many people have fretted over the meaning of this Albert Einstein quote: "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." At any rate, I will try to not find myself in any of the above as I supplement my energetic pursuits with Community Coffee and get on with the challenges at hand. Believe me, today I am trying to do the 'lighter fare' I promised. But I don't need to tell you there's plenty of the other even if I don't mention it.

Have you ever noticed the difference one person can make? There's a particular fast food place that I go to when I need to pick up something for our pot luck supper at Church. When this fellow is on duty the place is hopping. He is always on the move, in and out from the front to the back telling customers the status of their food and keeping all the workers moving and focused. The other day I went in and he wasn't there. You would have thought they were observing some type of mourning process. Everyone was dragging around. I almost had to help the person taking my order so that he could just make it through the exercise. Essentially, there was no apparent life, no zip and no zing. One person. But that one person was all in. He's not a young fellow. This job may not be what he saw himself doing at this phase of his life but he chooses to bring sunshine to his workplace. He's a good example of the adage that says: Work in a way that makes people notice when you aren't there. I noticed. That fellow encourages me just by the way he does what he does. Okay. That should do for now. You take care. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and I will do my best to show up with some sunshine and maybe even a little pine oil come next Monday. May God bless each one. Amen.  ...More late.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Four things never that can never come back..... The words you have spoken, the time you have wasted, the past life, and the neglected opportunity! So think twice and act wisely so the word regret doesn’t play a factor in your life! Live, Love, and Laugh!" ~ Uncle Si Robertson

Okay. Let's see if we can get this day kicked off. Best I can tell, it will be Thursday, July 10, 2014, for the remaining hours up until one tick past midnight tonight. I didn't say I had breaking news, and, yes, I did know that you knew that already. It's called a lead in. A way to get the conversation going. Help me a little here. I cannot tell you if I have ever heard even one song by Justin Bieber. Like that 100 year old lady in the interview, I do know about him, that he is a teen idol, and according to the headlines he moves from one set of bad choices to the next. I've said that so that I can share a little story I read that I thought was pretty funny. A young woman was lamenting all the JB haters who just will not give him a break. She shared how that he had actually saved her life. She had been in a coma for six months after an accident when one of her friends turned on the radio in her room and tuned it to him singing. She immediately woke up, got up out of her bed and went and turned the radio off. See? The boy has done some good. What? You still don't get the joke? The good news is that you still have the rest of the day to work on it. For me, well, I think I will just mosey on down the road to see what else I can dig up.

There are some things you pick up in passing that really does cause you to stop and think. Chilling might be a better description. One little comment. Almost in passing. Recently I was driving down the road listening to a news reporter interviewing a former ambassador to Israel with regards to the recent escalation of violence following the murder of three Israeli teens and the reported retailitory killing of one Palestinian teen. Things appear to be spiraling out of control. The former ambassador said it was difficult to see what could be done especially since we have for the most part given up our influence in the region. We've done what? How could we have lost a handle on just about every area of the world in such a short time? Some believe it is intentional. Others say it's due to a glaring lack of competence. I am not certain what it is but I am very sure that it is not good for the world and certainly not good for our country going forward. Allowing chaos to be the order of the day throughout the world could very well lead to consequences that, without a lot of exaggeration, could be of Biblical proportions. And, that just might be an explanation worth considering.

The former ambassador was not making a big deal out of that passing comment, just stating a fact, but, here I am, pretty much a nobody driving down the road, and I get it. I suppose there are enough isolationists out there to think maybe a no influence policy is good. History tells us otherwise. And, I doubt seriously these same folks will feel the same way when things escalate from crumbling to collapse. It will impact us in just about every way one might think of. Eventually it hits that one area that all Americans hold dear, our wallets. But, enough of my armchair, or in this case, my truck seat analysis. You don't have to work for a news organization to evaluate these types of things for yourselves. I do know this. I am not alone. I Googled "Obama emperor has no clothes" and it returned 951,000 hits. I perused a view of them and I think the greatest question has to do with who will tell him the truth and what if anything will be the response. Speculation about all of that may have more to do with the previous conclusion about an explanation worth considering. (See previous paragraph.) Maybe tomorrow I will have something of a lighter fare for us to take in. Maybe. I'll do my best but be aware that I'm waiting to find out too. The good news, as always, is how that our Great God knows all about it. We can never go wrong by trusting Him. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.” ~ Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

Hot diggity dog, we've made it to Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The hot dog metaphor is pertinent since that's what we will be featuring, along with all the trimmings, for tonight's pot luck supper at the place where our local fellowship of believers assemble for our mid week time together. This means that I need to scramble up some items to take since the wife usually takes care of this task, and she is at Church camp. In our home our approach to the hot dog scenario is pretty much routine and tame. We typically want our beef wieners served on a hot dog bun with mustard and/or mayo, some chili, typically out of a can, Wolf's brand, and then sprinkled with some shredded cheddar. We do keep ketchup for the grand kids, relish on hand and have also made chopped onions available to those who like theirs that way. I know people who like to really get creative in adding this, that, or the other, and if that works for them, well, so be it. I recently looked at a pricing chart for all the major league baseball teams listing what their concessions charged for a hot dog. Cincinnati had the lowest price listed at $1 for a dog. The highest was $6.25 sold at the NY Mets stadium. The nearest to us, the Astros, sell theirs for $4.75. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. I would have guessed much more, like maybe $20 each. The ones we will be serving up tonight are offered up at no charge but they do come with a heartfelt smile and a prayer. I think I could use a couple right now. (Smiles and prayers.)

According to the number of mentions on Facebook, I will tell you there are many folks crossing off items on their bucket lists. You know. That's a list of all the things you want to do before you kick the bucket. There are some funny take offs on silly bucket lists. One says they want to put some blue Gatorade in a Windex bottle and walk around drinking from it. Another one said she wanted to take someone's clothes away at a beach shower and leave only a funny costume for them to wear. There's the ones we all could guess. Ride in a hot air balloon. Swim with dolphins. Skydive or maybe scuba dive. Develop six pack abs. Attend a Jewish wedding. Learn to surf. Climb a mountain. Ride a bull. Do something that gets a standing ovation. Walk barefooted across a bed of hot coals. Create a new board game. Have a book published. There are literally hundreds of these and our minds are the only limitation. I suppose for me the first item would have to be to have a bucket list. Although I will admit that I have some things I've always wanted to do. They typically involve travel, preferably by train, in far, far away places. Maybe I heard one too many trains passing through as a kid growing up in rural Louisiana. Maybe it means something. Maybe I should put on my bucket list that I need to find out. Maybe not.

I do know there are some things that God blesses us with that transcend any we could pursue or hope for. Our youngest son, Rodney, called me earlier this week and told me how that he and his 8 year old baby boy, Brady, were traveling down the road together when the subject turned to God. After several minutes of forth and back conversation, our little Brady boy announced that he wanted to give his heart to Jesus. That is a shout for joy and praise the Lord announcement folks! Nothing is better in this world than to know that our children and grandchildren will be with us in heaven forever and ever, Amen. I'm thankful that Brady called on the Lord to save him. I'm thankful that Rodney was willing to share this greatest truth with his son. I'm also thankful that Rodney knew what to say, based on his own salvation experience, along with the knowledge that God has provided to him in his upbringing and in his learning as a believer. As I read many of the bucket lists out on the web, I did not notice any that talked about seeing someone saved and on their way to heaven as a result of a personal witness. That's sad because talk about an experience that will last! How about for time and eternity! And I do say Amen to that! May God bless each one.  ....More later.