Friday, August 29, 2014

"The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs." ~ Charles de Gaulle

It's Friday, August 29, 2014 and I'm lamenting another huge special day that I missed. This one was last Tuesday. National Dog Day. I should have noticed that Facebook over the last few days has looked like a running record of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I was in a business the other day and their dog came out to greet me. I said my hellos to the furry little doggie and tried to get on with the purpose of my visit. The lady looked at me like maybe I had not done enough in embracing their canine critter. I made a confession to her. We are not dog people. We are not animal people. We have zip, zero, nada. I suddenly sensed the air being sucked out of the room. She reacted as if I had just announced that I was a Nazi war criminal who had come out of hiding. She began naming off all the pets they have in their family. Dogs, cats, turtles, and several other species. I told her that was great but it just wasn't our thing. I got the look again. She was probably wondering about how messed up my childhood must have been or what other traumatic experience had happened that brought on this severe, dysfunctional behavior. I finally got her to acknowledge that I represented my company as her customer and the purpose of my visit had nothing to do with me not having my own dog. I thought about asking if there was a place I could send a letter of apology to. You know. To the entire world so that everyone can get over it. I am joking because I don't really care one way or the other. Most people love their pets. That's good. We don't have any. That's okay too. Or, I think it is. Right?

I'm thinking about getting me a stuffed animal. Not from the taxidermist. You know. From the department store. I could enjoy holding him/her/it in my lap. I wouldn't have to worry about feeding it, walking it, cleaning up after it, or any of the vet bills that typically are a part of the program. I bet he/she/it would do a great job of staying when I issued that command. I wouldn't have to worry about him/her/it chasing other animals. I could then tell a pet joke so that I would be more accepted. "I dressed my dog up as a cat for Halloween. Now he won't come when I call him." ~ "Q: Why did the cowboy get a dachshund for a pet? A: Someone told him to get a long little doggy." ~ Those were reader submitted funnies to the Readers Digest. I'm not certain that I could keep a straight face if I told someone I had a pet at home and in reality it was the stuffed one. That might hold back the harsh looks, but, I'm not sure I could live with that. Maybe I could get a laugh if I told them my dog is so dumb it chases parked cars. Maybe not. Okay. Calm down all you pet lovers out there in bloggerland. This has all been done in fun but I'll end it with a challenge: "Have you hugged your ____________ (fill in the blank) today?

Yes. I did think of that. Maybe I could bring back the pet rock. Good idea but to tell the truth I'll likely just keep on getting the cold shoulder because I don't have a cold nose nuzzling on me. We all have our burdens to bear. This has been a very fast paced and challenging week for me. Too much schedule but not enough me. I'm not even sure I know what that means but it more or less reflects some insight into my week. I have enjoyed our visits. I hope that if nothing else, you may have had at least a smile or two along the way, and, that you have been reminded that our hope is in the Lord God of heaven. He is there for us even when everyone else is gone including our pets. I do hope you will have a most wonderful Saturday, Lord's Day Sunday, and that the Labor Day holiday will be a good one for you and yours. Y'all be careful out there and I'll  catch back up with you either on Monday or Tuesday. Lord willing, of course. May God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” ― William Faulkner

If I could only get into a frequent keystroke club of some kind. You know, like air miles. I believe I might be at the Platinum level by now, but, there's not any that I know of, therefore, I will just share today's quota with you, on this Thursday, August 28, 2014. I recently received a note from a cousin talking about some of the things he remembers from our growing up days. He had written to thank me for preserving some of these memories in my blogs. I have often talked about folks who never want to remember anything at all about their past. And, while I know we can't live in the past, we may not be able to relive our past, but, for me, call it escape, call it wasted time, but for me, I flat out enjoy remembering many of the events and happenings that made up my early days here on the planet. No doubt we were to a certain extent more ignorant and more innocent back then. You know. We didn't have news bombarding us 24 hours a day, the internet to constantly keep up with any and everything happening, or the incessant tweets and texts heating up our cell phones. Not any of that. We had ourselves a different agenda. And, while not every day was a good day, and we had our times of trials and tears, may I just say one more time, for me they are called the good old days for a reason, and I hope and pray I will not forget to remember them for as long as I live. Thanks John for reminding me again of the treasures we were privileged to possess as kiddos enjoying our simple Podunk Hollow lives.

I'm certainly not opposed to technological innovation. Much of it has been put to good use. The wife and I were visiting a dear lady from our local assembly in the hospital last Sunday afternoon. Her brother and sister-in-law from Tennessee were there visiting as well. This ailing dear saint of God is known for her outgoing faithfulness that shows up in her demonstrated love for others. She does have ongoing health issues. Sometimes she is unable to attend services because of these difficulties. The sister-in-law was telling us how that when she is unable to attend our Church services she goes to Church with them on her computer. Their Church in Tennessee streams their services live on Sundays, therefore, she can join them in the singing, worship, and the hearing of God's Word. See what I mean? I heard that and my heart responded with a hearty Amen. What a wonderful use of technology to minister to people at home and abroad. Think about a soldier from their local fellowship stationed in a far flung place across the globe being able to log in and receive strength and encouragement from the Lord through his beloved brothers and sisters back home. Is this a great country or what folks? Amen and Amen.

My wife likes to watch Chonda Pierce, a Christian funny lady. The other day she was watching her latest dvd and I heard Chonda talking about her mom who had recently passed away. Her mom was a simple country lady. Chonda was at a speaking engagement and had arranged for her mom to enjoy a nice room at the hotel. She went to check on her mom and found her laying up on the bed with all the little packages opened from the little refrigerator in the room. She asked her mom what she thought she was doing. She said the folks there had been kind enough to put all that stuff in there for her and she didn't want to seem rude by not enjoying them. Her mom went on to tell her they had also left a bunch of little bottles of alcoholic drinks in there and that he had felt compelled to open them and poor them all down the sink. Chonda ended the little story by saying her mom is likely the only teetotaler ever to run up a $368 bar tab at the big hotel. I may not have gotten it all exactly like she told it but I laughed and I thought you might too. We all need one every now in then. It will do a body good. Take care and may God go with you. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"More than anything else, let me be clear - we need to be willing to fight for freedom, and free markets, and traditional moral values. That's what the American people want to see this movement and this party return to." Mike Pence, Republican Governor, Indiana

School is back in session here in our area, therefore, the streets are even more clogged than they were before. But, our children are our future and they do need a good education, therefore, it's best to grin and bear it. It is Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and I want you to feel welcome here at the ole blogger ranch. That caring about children is a family value.  Speaking of family values, there's a court trial underway over in Virginia that has values as a part of the story line. Virginia's former governor and his wife are being tried on multiple counts of public corruption, having to do with financial gifts, payoffs, etc. Here's the deal: They are folks that had aligned themselves with Christian values, conservative ideals, and high morals. They now find themselves in court with their marriage failing. Bear with me because I am about to make my point. I listened to an interview on a national news radio program where a noted liberal journalist had been assigned to cover the trial. I think the interviewer was embarrassed because the journalist covering the trial was so gleeful over what he perceived as the downfall of these so called Christians, he was almost hissing as he spoke. It was like he was having a fit or something. He couldn't contain himself. He went on and on about all the Christian affiliations these folks had identified with and called out prominent Christian leaders who had endorsed his election. I don't know how they will come out but I do know that this reporter guy reflects the venom that awaits anyone who claims to know the Lord who might stumble along life's way. I thought it was an example, both pitiful and sad, but it also stands as a cautionary tale.

We are one of the only countries in the world that cannot/will not, despite spending billions, secure our borders. This has recently become of even greater importance as this new radical Islamic group sweeps across Syria and Iraq. This group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL) recently videotaped the beheading of an American journalist and issued threats against the United States. There are some indications from officials that our border situation could be or has already been an entry point for some of these radicals infiltrating our nation. A report recently issued identified 75 countries implicated in illegally entering our country on our southern border. We already know that this includes criminal and gang elements. Law enforcement officials in border states are beside themselves in knowing how to cope with the number coming in that are supposed to be stopped by the Federal Government since they have statutory responsibility for border security. With these problems known by everyone everywhere in the world, this increased threat from Islamic radicals should be a wake up call. However, we still have folks in Washington D.C. that say we should open up our borders and welcome anybody and everybody in. I'm not sure this meets the definition of insanity but it sure is close.

Of course it would be good if the current administration would get their stories straight. The President said this ISIL group was nothing more than junior varsity in terms of terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, his defense secretary recently called it a threat beyond anything we've seen. Other administration officials have been issuing dire warnings about the potential for this well funded and well armed group to do harm to America and American interests. I'm a pretty simple fellow. I do know that a train engineer who goes to sleep while on duty is held accountable. And, my way of seeing it tells me we are experiencing a derailment throughout the world, and I will quote the defense secretary, beyond anything we've seen. Asleep at the wheel? That may be a kind assessment because the words inept and incompetent seem at least in the running to me. One thing is clear: We as a nation are in total reactive mode as opposed to proactive, here at home, on our borders, and throughout the world. That should do it for today. I had these armchair quarterback observations and opinions, therefore, you now have them too. I do pray for our nation and our leaders. (1st Timothy 2:1-2) Have a great Wednesday and I'll try to work on redirecting my thoughts for tomorrow's visit. Until then, may God bless our nation and may God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.” ― Tom Peters, Book: Thriving on Chaos

No. I do not have the 1-800 number where you can order your Hercule Poirot t-shirt. I'm sure you can Google it. It's Tuesday, August 26, 2014, and I'm up and going and ready to answer questions that no one has asked. Like the one about the t-shirt. I like to think of myself as someone who is willing to give credit where it is due. I was reading the postings on Facebook the other day of a young working guy and I thought some of his stuff was pretty clever. Here's a sampling:  ~ Guess what I saw at Walmart today that shocked me? A well dressed person. ~ When people send me game requests all day long, I would love to know how to send them a job application. ~ Some people are like clouds, when they go away, it's a beautiful day. ~ I don't know this young man but I like his style. He is a born again believer and unashamed. I don't know much about him. He actually commented on someone's posting that we do know and that's how I came to read some of his stuff. His postings have just a slight tinge of an edge to them. Maybe he will grow up to be a blogger. No. I didn't ask him to Friend me and no I didn't ask if he wore a Hercule Poirot t-shirt. You people just don't know when to leave well enough alone.

We typically break for a 30 minute lunch here at the workplace. Sometimes I feel like I just need to get away for a few minutes. I put in the ear buds, dial me up some escape noise on YouTube, close my eyes, and leave it all behind for what typically is a much shorter than 30 minute time out. What kind of noise? How about some hard rain on a tin roof? Back in 1968-69, the wife and I lived in a small rented country house that had a tin roof. It also had one of those long front porches. You could sleep inside with the rain coming down or sit out on the porch and enjoy the sight and the sound. I don't think listening to the rain actually takes you anywhere, it just takes you away for a spell, so to speak. Most of us, knowing what we know now, would have enjoyed more rain showers on the tin roof, way back then. Let me clue you in on something. It doesn't work that way. It might if we were who we are now, but if we could go back and be who we were then, well, we would still not be wired to enjoy it like we could today. None of that makes sense? Maybe I'm trying to practice the title of today's episode, living in a state of my own making, the state of confusion. I could even appoint myself governor. Maybe not. At any rate, it's time to turn the rain off anyway. Maybe next time.

Reading postings on Facebook from missionary efforts all over the world is encouraging. While reaching people here in our own land seems at times to be stagnated, it's good to see so many new folks from far flung places confessing Christ as their Lord and Savior. I fall for that click the translation button every time. Many times when I hit that button it takes a second or two and then puts up on the screen the exact wording that I couldn't read in the first place. I suppose I can still enjoy the photos of so many brothers and sisters with their big toothy grins. Speaking of a big smile, I got one the other day. We all love getting packages. I got me a big one the other day. The Fed-Ex guy was good enough to deliver it to me. I'm talking about the brand new container size for the Community Coffee Single Serve Cafe Special, Between Medium and Dark, now coming 48 to a carton. Just like Christmas. What about the bill? That will come later. But when they run that size at 20% off with free shipping, well, it is time to stock up. No. I do not subscribe to Hoarder's Magazine. Who ever heard tell? We are talking life sustaining joy juice here! Many of you that know me are aware of my tendency to exaggerate when it comes to Louisiana Community Coffee. I thought it best for me to set the record straight. Having checked my recollection of my postings, I feel compelled to report there's just not that much exaggeration to be found. No. They are not remodeling my office space to make room for my coffee stash. I just can't use that part of my desk anymore. Okay. Enough already. Have yourself a great day. Remember to thank God for it and for all He does for each of us, every single day! Amen.   .....More later.

Monday, August 25, 2014

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage

Another Monday, another work week, here on this day, August 25, 2014, and another reminder of just how out of touch I can be. The 'Simpson's' marathon where 552 episodes are being played back to back was promoted like it was a moon landing or something. Confession: I have never watched one episode, period, end of story. Not just because it is typically on at a time when I am attending services on Sunday evening, I've never really had a desire to see it, even from curiosity. Sure. I know about the cartoon series because I've read bits and bites here and there about it over the years. And, I've heard the names of some of the characters and the actors who voice them. I tried to listen to an interview program with the individual who started it all but found the whole thing just too bizarre to tolerate. The interviewer was like frothing at the mouth with adulation for this monumentally significant cultural achievement, to the extent that I either had to change the station or pull over on the side of the road to throw up. I guess this means I will not be wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt during the showing of all the episodes. On that we all can agree. I also suppose it makes me even more of a misfit for what folks call entertainment today. That's okay. I actually know some people who wouldn't, under threat of bodily harm, be found watching David Suchet playing Hercule Poirot on Masterpiece Theater. Now there's 70 stories that I might wear a t-shirt for. "Can't we all just get along?" (Rodney King, 1992)

Please don't put me on any lists where folks who can't make it through the week without their 'Simpsons' fix have an opportunity to vent on me. We are different. We like different things. Different things are of interest to us. I suppose that's why they have 200 channels on the satellite dish. And, it can be hard to find something of interest even with all those choices. Many evenings it's like maybe I need another 200 with hopes of finding something to watch. I thought about a fellow in our local fellowship. He is a beloved person and a genuine character. He's heard me use anecdotes from the Duck Dynasty series enough that he felt like he ought to try it to see if he might like it also. One evening in Bible study I said something about Uncle Si and my buddy piped up that he had watched a couple of episodes just to check it out. He then made the zip the lip sign and proclaimed that he had watched and that was all he had to say about it. I responded that it sounded to me like he didn't care for it very much. He again made the sign of the lip zip and that was the end of that story. You see. What I found to be funny, and entertaining, obviously was not his cup of tea, or in his case, I know it would be not his cup of coffee. I also know that when he's in my class at Church, it's Community. And, all preferences aside, I am unanimous in that one!

The ditty I wrote last week about my experiences down at the driver's license department got a little attention. One fellow said he was reading it on his phone and everyone at his job wanted to know what he was laughing about. Another person asked why it seemed that things like that always happened to me. While that may be a chicken and egg question, it still doesn't have much to add to why he or she crossed the road. Here's what I think. Situations like that one probably happen to more of us than we realize. Maybe I am more prone these days to being able to see something funny materializing when otherwise, I would, like most of us, myself included, just get frustrated and angry about it. Maybe the doing of all these blogs have predisposed me to be on the look out for stories. I don't think that's it because I still have many from way before this ever started that I've not shared yet. I don't know if I ever will. In fact, I didn't know what this page was going to be about until I sat down, put it together, and here it is. That's not to say I don't think about a good idea from time to time that I would like to share but I don't always preserve it so it will have to wait until it hits me again. You know. Like lightning. Or something like that. Take care. Have a great Monday. And, may God add His blessings to your day. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, August 22, 2014

“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens

Well I woke up this morning. Check. I was able to get up. Check. I had a desire to go about my business. Check. And, here I am, able to touch type my thoughts from me to you, here on this Friday, August 22, 2014. Check. I've been around long enough and I've seen enough to know that we should never take these 'little' things for granted. They, in and of themselves, are reason for us to be thankful. It truly is a 'Rise and shine and give God the glory' opportunity as we get on with the life He has so graciously provided to us. Sounds like I couldn't come up with a complaint of any kind if I worked at it. Right? Wrong! I'm more than certain I could make a list at the drop of the hat, but, I've found that our list of blessings is a better one to work from. Just say'in, as they say. Because when it comes down to it, as those who believe in the Lord, well, we really are fellow beggars who desire to share where we found bread with others. Don't get me wrong. I am just as prone to get down and out as the next person, however, I would rather not be stuck in that mode as a way of life. You know what I'm talking about. The 'woe is me' - somebody done me wrong way of living. If you see me headed that way, please feel free to do what you can to get me redirected onto the path of thankfulness. Thank you very much. And, never forget, I do need all the help I can get!

I listen to quite a bit of NPR radio news programming. Didn't I know that it has a decidedly left tilt to just about everything they do? I most certainly do, however, I actually am interested in hearing how they are attempting to shape issues that impact us all. The other day they must have done a poor job on their screening. They had invited three experts to discuss the current crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the Middle East. The guests were all highly credentialed think tank people. I won't bore you with the details but essentially the conclusion of the entire panel laid the full responsibility for the mess we are in at the current administration's doorstep. The individual hosting the program was like a person thrown overboard gasping for someone to throw a lifeline of some redeemable value for the President and his team. She didn't get any, not even one, which knowing her own personal biased viewpoint means that her support staff will be in trouble for bringing together this particular group. And, I'm sure her listeners will let her have it for presenting viewpoints inconsistent with their liberal persuasion. Could I just say this about that? The points made were not political, they were reasoned based on actions taken and not taken with their resulting consequences. And, yes, I enjoyed seeing this typical apologist-in-chief get a little comeuppance for once. You know, we all need a dose of that every once in a while. Time well spent. At least, for me.

I know some may wonder how many tabs I have open at any given time using my brain browser. The short answer. Too many. In my case, it most likely would be better if I would do justice to one subject area as opposed to working on dozens at a time. But, my profile belongeth to me and you own the patent to yours. That's more or less how it works. I too have wondered at times what I could have accomplished had I focused my limited resources in one particular area of expertise. As it turns out I may be the fulfillment of that old saying, 'Jack of all trades but master of none'. Hey, I'm not complaining because I've been blessed to have somehow made it this far riding on this blurred and discombobulated kaleidoscope style of travel. Too much introspection and not enough substance? Okay. Back to substance. Have a great day. Have a great Saturday. Have a great Lord's Day Sunday. As for me, I will do my best, with God's help, to slip off the Tilt-A-Whirl long enough to catch back up with you next Monday. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." ~ Ronald Reagan

That knocking on the door is Thursday and we open it to see what will fill in our time on this August 21, 2014. The good news is our area is growing by leaps and bounds. Construction is underway everywhere. Buildings are going up, houses are being started, and the roadways are totally torn up as they are being reworked to allow for more traffic. The situation before was pretty miserable in terms of traffic mobility. For the time being, during this massive renovation, well, it is almost downright hopeless. The other day I was out there in it when I saw something that just knocked me down. We already have road crews at work. Detours. Stoppages. The highways are constantly being pulverized. Yet, on that particular morning, in the midst of all this chaos, there they were, the road cleaning crew. The road cleaning crew? With all their escorts. Do these entities actually even talk to each other or do they have a clue as to what is going on? First of all, there's nothing to clean because everything is in shambles. Secondly, them being there only creates an even greater backup for those who are attempting to get to their job so they can make the money necessary to pay for all of this. And, lastly, it just goes to show you that just when you think you've seen it all they find a new way to mess with your life. They actually do that one quite well my friend, quite well indeed!

I know. I know. Take deep breaths. Count to ten. Let's update that one for this particular situation: Count to ten million. I'm just joking on that one. There's always plenty of radio to fill in the wait time and we know how wonderful most of the news is these days. NOT! There's music of all sorts. True. There's religious programming. True again. You do, however, have to be careful who you listen to or you might just end up sending in $25 for a free prayer cloth, the money being spent to cover the weight of the postal money order. Another joke. Don't get all bent out of shape. Just calling the balls and strikes as I see them. What's that? Do I wear corrective lenses? You know that I do but I did recently pass the eye test on my driver's license renewal but I didn't spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express. Don't get yourself in a dither over that one. It's a play on a commercial that used to run on TV. If I had one of those voice to text converters I could maybe work up some blogs while waiting for the road cleaning crew to finish not cleaning the road but going through the motions. I think I will look into that one.

Or maybe I could spend my wait time thinking of corny jokes to share with my readers. Here's one: ~ My friend pulled into the crowded parking lot at the local shopping center and rolled down the car windows to make sure his Labrador Retriever pup had fresh air. She was stretched full-out on the back seat and he wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there. He walked to the curb backward, pointing his finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay. Do you hear me? "Stay! Stay!" The driver of a nearby car, a pretty young blonde, saw him and thought he was talking to his car. She gave him a strange look and said,"Why don't you just put it in "Park"? ~ Not bad advice, therefore, I had better park this one while I still can. By the way, I've had plenty of experience parking lately, unfortunately it has been out on the highways, byways, and freeways, but, maybe it will be better soon. One can hope. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Song playing in the background: "Why's Everybody Always Pickin' On Me?"

It's Wednesday, August 20, 2014, where lately I've been channeling some of the late Rodney Dangerfield. You know his mantra, "I don't get no respect." The other day I'm at the crescendo of the huge finish on my story talking to my youngest son and he cuts me off and tells me another call is coming through and he has to take it. That's okay. Then I'm talking to the wife in Louisiana and she cuts me off in mid sentence saying that a lady in the restaurant wanted to make a photo of her and her sister. Hello? Who am I? Chopped liver or what? It must be nice when folks line up in the eatery to make your picture. I wonder if they signed an autograph too? Here I am, home alone, trying to keep the plants watered, dealing with the blood sugar merry go round, and doing my best to keep the home fires burning and this is how it works for me. You do know I am joking. Here's a classic from Rodney: "I tell ya when I was a kid, all I knew was rejection. My yo-yo, it never came back!" Just having a little fun at my own expense. You can go ahead and laugh too. It won't cost you anything. Just do it!

The good news is that my partner and fellow plant watering person will be coming home today. I often wonder how things can get as out of sorts as they do with only one person around to make it that way. It's a tough spot when you have no one else to blame but yourself. My last doctor's visit a couple of weeks ago went well. During my time with the doctor, I told him that I believed I had begun to lose my taste for food. I'm not going to hold him to it but I do believe he glanced at my stomach when I said that. I know what he was thinking. It obviously had not resulted in any reduction in my weight. But, I was talking about the ability to enjoy food. I told him that I had researched the problem on the internet. (It's called Ageusia.) I saw his eyebrows go up. He grunted and asked what I had discovered. I shared how that it can be age related and that I am in the prime targeted age of when it often occurs. Medications do play a role but that doesn't seem to be my situation. I told him the recommendation was to add more spices to the food. He grunted again as I explained how that would be difficult since I have trouble tolerating spicy food. He told me to keep an eye on it and to let him know if it became worse. I wonder if he knows that everything you read on the internet has to be true? I don't think he does.

Another study conclusion: Loving your neighbor is good for your heart. That's right. Having good relationships with your neighbors and your neighborhood has been proven to lower your risk for heart related issues, by 67%. I hear people talk about how they can't tolerate their neighbors. They are always in a huff about yard issues, drainage, esthetics, and perhaps even behaviors. It often shows up in arguments, complaints to the home owner's association, or even lawsuits. We should not be surprised that this university study showed that type of outcome. While it may be tough to wrap our heads around, the things we learned in Sunday School taught this over and over again: "....'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'...." (Mark 12:31) "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...." (Matthew 5:44) "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12) They kept up with some 5300 people over a four year period to produce their findings when all they really needed to do was to look in the Book. Now isn't that something? Y'all take care now, you hear? See you next time and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Life is too short not to make the best and the most of everything that comes your way everyday." (Unattributed)

It's great to be granted another year. One thing I notice is how that many of those we've come up with are taking their journey home. That's a natural part of life. The wife left last Saturday afternoon for Louisiana to attend another memorial service for a family member. This time it was for the baby girl in her mom's family, Aunt Mae, 84 years young. There's one sibling left out of eight, Aunt Pauline, 92. I can remember the wife and I and our first born infant son spending the night at Aunt Mae's back in 1965. Time. It does get away from us. Or, it seems that way. Greetings friends, neighbors, and beloved ones, it is Tuesday, August 19, 2014, and it's on this day that we find ourselves continuing to do our best, with God's help, to make our way forward. My Uncle Waymon, my mom's brother and last remaining sibling, is in the hospital in the Dallas area. He's 89 and will hopefully soon be able to go to a rehab center. I visited last Saturday by phone with Aunt Elwanda, his wife, and she wished me a happy birthday. I told her how her greeting reminded me of the times her and Uncle Waymon went out of their way to recognize my birthday when I was a kid growing up. She remembered that too. History....folks. I don't fully know all involved in that song about no man being an island, but I do know this: I have throughout my lifetime been surrounded by folks who by the grace of God showed kindness towards me and I am thankful that I came to realize it, and to give God thanks for the way these acts of caring impacted my life.

I've mentioned before that getting ready to get ready to transform myself into the Jolly Old Dude is not as exciting as it was in the beginning. The photo is of the Santa from the Burl Ives Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer TV show, (first aired December 6, 1964), and the one of me was taken sitting here at my desk yesterday morning. You have to have a target that you are shooting for. Just joking, but you can tell I am making progress. My first confirmed dates for this upcoming season are for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the week before Thanksgiving. It's good to know that people do want me to repeat and I will work on getting myself all excited. I suppose I've made some progress since I began back in 2009. I can remember my very first time to play this character back in the early 1970's. The instructor
told all us department store Santa's-in-training that they wanted the Jolly Old Elf as seen in the classic Night Before Christmas and that we should read that book to get our cues, as well as do our best to resemble the Coca Cola Santa. I already know my secret to getting excited. The kids. Even last Sunday at the African American Church, a young lad ran up to me and greeted me, "Hello Santa!" That will do for a start.

I saw where the world's second richest person was recently in our area making a speech. He owns most of the telecommunications business in Mexico and is a native of Mexico. Speaking at a forum, he gave his ideas how the United States could make things better with regards to the immigration issues. He supposedly has 72 billion dollars in amassed wealth. Before I can care one iota about anything this guy has to say, I would want to know just exactly how much of his wealth is devoted to improving things for his fellow citizens in Mexico. Before he lectures others he needs to show his own willingness to put up some of his billions. That might help more than giving advice to those who are on the receiving end of his poverty stricken comrades. That's how I see it. Based on what I have read, he has a history of being better at telling others how to operate than in using his own vast resources to accomplish something positive. Sorry. I hate to be judgmental but I can quit listening very soon to someone who spouts out advice but has little to show in terms of their own personal commitment to trying to alleviate the problem. I know. Me talking about it is not going to make much of a difference and obviously him talking about hasn't made much of a difference either. Yet, we all have our opinions and now you have another one of mine, at least on this subject. Have a great rest of the day and until next time, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." ~Francis of Assisi

Thanks to so many who took the time to recognize my birthday. Humbling. I so much appreciate the kind words and the love expressed. (Cards, gifts, Facebook greetings, calls, and texts.) Somewhat overwhelming but very much appreciated.

I did have me one of those very busy weekends. Busy but good busy. I greatly enjoyed a time of celebration with family on Saturday, I prepared and taught a Bible study class on Sunday morning, then made a 45 minute drive into Houston and covered the pulpit for an African American pastor friend, and then back Sunday evening for another time of feasting on God's Word. That's why there are some Mondays that give me a chance to relax a little, reflect, and to get myself ready for the work week ahead. This would be one of them and it is Monday, August 18, 2014, and I do bid a fond hello to everyone joining our little time together via whatever means you happen to be using. Much has been said about how Christians communicate with others. Some are very judgmental, some tend to be condescending, and others are just downright rude. Someone posted this little ditty on Facebook that I thought was pretty good. "Two Christians were holding up their 'The End is Near' sign. Some fellows came by mocking and making ugly gestures at them. Shortly thereafter there was a loud crash. One Christian said to the other, 'Do you think it would have been better for our sign to read bridge out?'" Living out our faith means a life of love and consideration for others. It does not imply compromise but it does mean that we who know the Lord should be kind and considerate in our desire to help and influence others. You probably guessed that I wrote the paragraph because of that little FB posting. You are 100% correct. I will tell you this: I do like that little story.

My driver's license renewal required me to have my picture remade and a new license issued. The renewal is done every 6 years but a new photo license has to be done every 12 years. Twelve years is a long time. The last photo for me was back in 2002. The place I went to is a mega center. They can serve about 40 people simultaneously. I'll not mention the questions about whether I still weigh the same. Twelve years! The lady helping me was nice enough but she thought I didn't know how to have my fingerprints copied. They use a photo scanning device. She kept telling me to press harder. I was pressing harder and harder and nearly tipped over the equipment. She was breathing loud enough for me to hear her. Then she concluded that she was having a problem with the system and she would need to reboot. She may not have intended for me to feel like it was my fault but that's how it came across. As I was waiting for the reboot a wonderful lady who works there and who is a wonderful servant of the Lord and also in my Bible study class, well, she came over and gave me a hug. I think based on the uniform difference, the lady who gave me a hug might be senior to the lady doing the heavy breathing because I suddenly became a customer of notable excellence. She was apologizing all over the place. I do love it when a plan comes together and I was also glad to see her breathing improve as well.

I know what some of you are thinking. Why does everything I get involved in have to end up as some kind of drama drenched saga? If I've told you once, I've told you 1,000 times, it comes with the territory, and, I've also made it clear that I wouldn't wish being me on anyone. And, just so you know, I did show enough concern to ask about her breathing. She said it was allergies. They sure got better in a hurry, or, it did seem that way to me. I think I am noticing something and it may be a positive sign. I unlock the main shop building here at the same time everyday, around 6:30 a.m. It's getting darker. I had to use my flashlight already. I know. We've still got a huge amount of hot to get out of our system but that minute changing of the available light, well, it gives hope that cooler days are somewhere up ahead. What's that? Maybe it was cloud cover? Give me a little more credit than that. I realize that even a stopped clock is right twice a day but I can spot a change when I see one, especially one that I am looking for. It's a seasonal type of observation. No. I did not hear any music playing in the background. What do you think, I'm a little off or something? Where would anyone ever get an idea like that? Find yourself embracing and enjoying the day before you even if the public servant huffs and puffs a little. It was only allergies. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Finding Purpose in Life: "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

It's Friday, August 15, 2014, and Lord willing, tomorrow, the 16th, I will recognize the 68th anniversary of the day I was welcomed into this world. That's pretty hard to comprehend but it doesn't change the facts. The famous Sinatra song says, "I Did It My Way." I've tried some of that myself. Way too much. The good news comes when anyone learns the best life is the one that acknowledges God and His way of living. Some learn that earlier and better than others. I come to this day with a huge list of things to be thankful for. The bottom line as I think about this time that God has granted to me: Only by His grace, mercy, and love. I'm thankful for my family, my heritage, and the way in which God has worked in my life. I am so grateful to have mom and dad to love and honor. I am blessed beyond measure with a Godly wife and mother of our children. Our kids and their kids and our great grand all have enriched my life. We've been provided for materially with the resources to take care of our needs. I'm thankful for our Church family, my sisters and brothers, and for the privilege of serving them and serving alongside them. Lots of blessings and lots of thankfulness as I reflect on so much that has been given to me. So many gifts. May God help me to respond to all He's done by honoring Him and serving others.

If you would like to recognize my birthday, take the last sentence above and say a prayer that I would find myself fully engaged in pursuing that outcome as the testimony of my life. Thanks. And, as I have consistently said, I really do need all the help I can get. I have resisted doing much commentary regarding the political world this week. The wife made it back from taking our twin granddaughters to Galveston and as we sat and talked, I mentioned this, that, and the other thing going on, and she was astounded. They had been busy and had not caught the news during their 3 day hiatus. Stuff does change in a hurry. That's for sure. In the midst of all the changes going on, some things have pretty much stayed the same. The world is still turned upside down. Vast numbers of people are suffering every day. The politicians are playing their games. Pointing fingers. Denying responsibility. Trying to hang on to power. Not just here. Everywhere. How will it all turn out? I can't tell you that. I do know who does know. He will deal with it all in His own good time. That, my friend, we can be sure of. Amen.

I did take the time to listen to an hour long old radio program called The Year in Review: 1946. That's the year I showed up to begin my journey here. It apparently was a very volatile time here in our nation. The war was over but now the troops had come home and finding jobs, housing, and building a sustained economy presented monumental challenges. It was a year marked by labor unrest and the winding down of the war machinery. Obviously, my folks survived, and I am a testimony to their perseverance. On December 20, 1946, an obscure movie played for the first time in New York City, "It's a Wonderful Life." It was not a box office success and while it garnered 5 academy award nominations including Best Picture, it was not generally well liked by the critics either. Some 28 years later the copyright expired and it soon began playing on TV at Christmas time. It really took off in the 1980's, and the rest as they say, is history. Now it is beloved by countless millions. I know we watched it every year as a family for years. In some ways I can identify with the main character George Bailey, at least in seeing how God has blessed me in the life He has provided to me. It may not have always been the one I had in mind, but, as with all things pertaining to our Great God, His is always the best, period, end of story. Well, I've probably created another rut or two in my stomping here and there as I have journeyed down memory lane, but, as I close out today's edition, I end it with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His working in my life and I send along a prayer for blessings on each of you as well. Amen. Take care, and Lord willing I'll see you next Monday. ....More later.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas." Celtic Christmas Blessing

How's it going? It felt like a Celtic Christmas morning to me, so I called me up some tunes to listen to as I enjoy my hot black Community Coffee. It does seem a shame to only listen to such wonderful songs once a year. I know. It does make them special but they are special to me today, Thursday, August 14, 2014, and I bid you a season's greeting. Joking only. Maybe I'm waxing a little Christmassy because I received a call this week inviting me to do two days in November as the Jolly old dude himself. That's the second inquiry already for the upcoming season. With somewhere around 133 shopping days until, well, this is pretty early, but, I appreciate them inviting me. And, I also very much appreciate the very kind words they say about our work, the wife and I, in this sideline endeavor of ours. The passing of Robin Williams, the funny man, was sad. His was self inflicted. I noticed how Facebook was filled up with postings recounting some of his funny TV shows and movies and tributes. Then I read another posting that took me aback. One fellow said that while Robin Williams' suicide was genuinely tragic, there is on average 20 or more military veteran suicides per day, many of them reflecting the toll taken by the stress they came home with. These are rarely recognized except by their families. A sobering thought for us all to recognize, consider, and pray about. Amen.

Yesterday morning was a wee bit different for those of us here in these parts doing our best rendition of sweltering under the heat and humidity. We had a unusual weather front that came through and it dropped the humidity some and took maybe 3 or 4 degrees off our high. That ride in at 4 a.m., with the windows down, sipping a cup of Community, well, it was something wonderful. It reminded me of a line from a Gospel song, "foretaste of glory divine." Okay. I'm not saying stuff here will ever be like it will be when we all get to heaven, but for me, the guy who loves the cooler climes, well, it just seemed like a refreshing breath of air washing over me. I'm not sure it got below 70 like it was forecast but it was close to making it. No. I was not ready to break out my sweater. And, yes, I am already looking forward to more rides with my windows down. I actually know people who enjoy and embrace the hotter temperatures. They are very cold natured. That would not be me and I have the electric bills to prove it, but, that's okay because we are all different, by design. Therefore, I can be thankful for the tiniest of reprieves from the heat while others can enjoy the hot to the fullest. In the end, it is the day that God has made and regardless of our preferences in life, we can rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Amen.

I am aware that for the most part I ran out of original material a long time ago but that hasn't kept me from staying with my daily visits, emanating from here at the ole blogger ranch. If I am able to keep on keeping on, I should hit my 2000th visit in the Spring of next year. Most 2000 page books likely originate as instructions for this, that, or the other from our government. But, we will see when that time comes. And, I do continue to get positive feedback from different people, and, at times they express how something has encouraged them in their walk. At the same time I am aware that repetition can become tedious. I also still enjoy the challenge of doing them each day. Maybe it helps those few remaining and still working but tired gray cells to stay off of life support, at least for the time being. The great author put it this way: "The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say." (F. Scott Fitzgerald) I do like that quote but I will have to think about it for a while before I determine if it applies to what I do. But, until then, I suppose I will do my best to keep these cards and letters coming. Have a most wonderful day and may we all be thankful to God for His provisions. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected." Will Rogers

Hello out there in the wide wide world where digital bits and bytes fly here and there making it possible for us to have this little get together, here on this Wednesday, August 13, 2014. I grew up loving to swim. We did our swimming in creeks, lakes, ponds, and old fashioned swimming holes. I never even had a chance to get into one of those fancy cement ponds until one year I visited my cousins, Don and John, in Port Arthur, Texas, and they had access privileges down at the YMCA. That was quite an experience and I actually learned to swim the right way while I was there that summer. The swimming holes we frequented typically were checked out first to make sure we didn't have any stray water snakes passing through. The other day I saw a little homemade video of some folks enjoying the lake in their inner tubes. Suddenly a gator starts swimming towards the group. At first they didn't see it coming. When they did they panicked. Then wild splashing and thrashing ensued. Meanwhile, the gator casually turned around and headed back to the bank. It was a remote controlled gator about three feet long. As a confirmed swimming hole supporter, here's what I have to say about the fellow who did that. He and his gator needed to be dealt with in a way that would render the gator forever inoperable and when finished with the would be prankster, he would be left with nary a desire to ever do such a thing again. I first was worried for the people's safety. But, when I saw it was a fake gator, I was ready to dole out some swift swimming hole justice to the jokester. I get riled up just thinking about it. If it was supposed to be funny, well excuse..... me, because I forgot to laugh.

I can enjoy a good prank as well as anyone but those types of scare tactics are uncalled for. It reminds me of the time some of my granddad's work mates put a sparrow in his lunch bucket. Granny Mac opened it up and it flew into her face and she nearly passed out. My granddad didn't think it to be funny. At all. I was not with him when he returned to work the next day but based on little things I heard from his dealing with those who did the deed, well, they never ever wanted to play any games with him again. Never ever! Bad sport? I don't think so. But, he did know how to make someone understand they had crossed the line. And, doing anything that brought harm or potential harm to Granny, well, it's a wonder I didn't see Paw Paw's photo in the Leesville Leader with a headline that read: Older Worker Beats the Living Daylights out of Several Younger Employees. What's that? They most likely thought he would have opened the lunch bucket? If so, that was bad calculations on their part, and that's about all I can say about it. You think our family may be wound a little too tight? Could be but I can tell you this. I would not have wanted to be one of those fellows that had to deal with Paw Paw Mac when he was fit to be tied. (Just so you know: The origin of the 'fit to be tied' which means angry and agitated has something to do with restraining uncontrollable and dangerous people as with a straitjacket.)

From time to time, the wife and I have talked about downsizing our living arrangements. We recently had a problem with our central air conditioning. We thought we could fix it ourselves. (That's a collective we, including my boys with me as an observer.) However, the initial diagnosis didn't pan out and in the end we called out a technician who fixed it all up in less than 45 minutes. During the several days it was out, we slept on a blow up mattress in my office upstairs where I have a small window unit. Talk about downsizing! It might be 120 square feet. We essentially learned how to zig when the other one zagged. Someone told me the other day that the tiny house concept is very popular right now. I think we will need a little more than 120 square feet, but, the good news is that when it was 84° downstairs, the close quarters didn't seem to bother us that much. I can't get that old saying right. Necessity is the mother of invention. Or invention is the mother of necessity. Either way, we felt blessed to have a place to cool our heels. Literally. Okay. These are the little tidbits in life that help to occupy our time and effort as we continue our journey together. Go out there. Have a great day. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to each one. Amen.  .....More later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Psalm 86:12 "I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore." (KJV)

Hello one and all and welcome to the place where we can take a load off, think about something other than the world in chaos, and generally, take a few deep breaths as we sip our Community and think about our day ahead, this one falling on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Do you ever experience one of those feelings like you had when you were a kid? I've recently had one of those anticipation/dread deals going on as I awaited the results from my blood work. You know. Back when you were awaiting your report card, or a meeting with your mom and your teacher, or when the principal said he wanted to have a talk with you....tomorrow. That slight knot in the belly kind of feeling. Shouldn't I have gotten over that with nearly 68 years in the book? Sorry. I probably should have but be that as it may, it's still working about the same. I found myself looking for that particular email each day. They always send me an email to tell me that my results are ready on the website. It had been over a week before it finally showed up. I exited the email system and logged into my private account on the medical website. I clicked on the lab results, holding my breath, and almost peeking around the corner to see what they had to reveal. (You will have to find your own drama because for now this is the one I'm dealing with.) The A1c number please. I hear a drum roll in my head and when I saw the number I nearly fell out of my chair. Literally. It was a 6.2!!!!! I immediately thanked the God in heaven for this number. Wait a minute. Isn't the top of normal a 5.6? It is my friend, it is, but for a confirmed diabetic, anything, and I do mean anything, under 6.5 is considered to be a target to be pursued, embraced, and rejoiced over. Okay. Maybe I've been just a tad over the top here. However, I had pulled a 6.8 earlier this year, therefore, I could not be more thankful to have seen this come down. Amen and Amen.

What would I be going on and on about if I didn't have diabetes? I'm not sure but it would be okay with me to find out. I'd be glad to set aside that little case with that finger pricking device and that meter that gives out numbers, that, on some days, leaves me scratching my head. What could it have been? I think I played by the rules. Was it something I ate? Many times there just doesn't seem to be a reasonable explanation. It's like when I used to wake up grumpy and out of sorts and my grandfather told me that I had gotten up off the wrong side of the bed. Typically that would be followed by the proverbial, "You've got the same clothes to get glad in." And, to tell the truth, that may be as good as any explanatory rationale for why my numbers at times are hard to figure out. I hasten to add that my numbers are my numbers. One thing I have learned. This widespread disease is unique in the extreme as it impacts individuals. The lady who drew my blood told me that she had Type 2, just like me, and that she had been dealing with it for seven years, just like me. But, for some reason, yet to be fully recognized, her A1c had consistently tested at nearly 8.0. Medications, diets, and all the efforts she could muster had not been able to make a dent in this way too high number. See what I mean? Genetics? Something undetected? My heart goes out to her and others I know that are dealing with similar circumstances.

But as they say, if it's not one thing, it's something else. I've shared before that in my case, discovering it when we did was an unexpected blessing. That we found it quite by accident, (so called), early, and the fact that I did, with God's help and the help of my family, make huge changes in my lifestyle habits, well, all of this added together can be seen as a blessing from above. In my way of seeing it, since we found it before I had begun to experience symptoms, that means I have been granted years that may not have been there otherwise. That's the blessing prism through which I see this 24 by 7 aggravation. Now. When God blesses it's up to us to respond. We can say, "Oh well, I dodged another bullet and go on down the road." Or maybe, "Well, I got lucky that time." Then there's the one I'm still trying to embrace, "Lord, thank you for intervening in my life, what would You have me to do?" I know He wants me to put Him first and to faithfully serve Him to the best of my ability, with His help. Sometimes I think I am getting some of this done. At other times it can be pretty frustrating. Not because of Him. Typically, because of me. However, I come away being grateful that He, because I am His child, puts up with me and continues to work in my life. As the kid song says, "He's still working on me to make me what I need to be." Have yourself a good day and remember to give God the glory. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." ~ Ronald Reagan

Another day. Another week. Another set of circumstances to deal with. With God's help maybe we can do something that will honor Him and help someone this week. It's not a bad way to get our thoughts aligned on this Monday, August 11, 2014. My wife sent me a note about the stuff I wrote about death, dying, and the 'suddenly' aspect of it all. She wasn't too excited about the subject matter but she did like the change of the subject jokes at the end of my blog. I'm not fixated on death but I do have a number of sites that I check for obituaries to read. I happened upon one the other day of a lady that I had one date with back in 1961 or 1962. She was a very intelligent and nice young lady. We went to the movies with another couple. The movie 'African Queen' was playing. Who knows why. It came out in 1951 and it is a classic, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. I had never seen it before. It was great. The blind date was not. We didn't hit it off at all. No chemistry. No connection. Best I can remember it was a miserable evening, but, I sure enjoyed that old movie. That was the last time I saw or heard about her. Based on the write up I read, she went on to do well in her life and from all that was said she had been a great testimony for her Lord. I found her Facebook page and she and her husband in many ways resembled us. Not in how they looked, but in the photos that showed them doting on family and in the postings indicating they too were doing their best to leave a legacy of faith behind. (Maybe there's something to that old fashioned rural upbringing, you know the one that our President said is where folks cling to their religion and their guns.)

A. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. B. Blood is thicker than water. C. Crime does not pay. D. Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. E. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. F. Failure teaches success. G. Give credit where credit is due. H. Honesty is the best policy. I. If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right. J. Joy comes from knowing God. K. Keep your mouth closed and your ears open. L. Laughter is the best medicine. M. Mind your own business. N. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. O. One good turn deserves another. P. Practice what you preach. Q. Quick to praise, slow to criticize. R. Rather right than popular. S. Spare the rod, spoil the child. T. There's no place like home. U. United we stand, divided we fall. V. Virtue is its own reward. W. Waste not, want not. X. Stay eXcited and enthusiastic. Y. You don't get something for nothing. Z. Be Zealous for good.

That list reflects some of those traits, instructions, and bits of wisdom that were handed down to me as I was growing up. The foundation of all of this was established based on the faith in God demonstrated in the lives of those who did their best to shape and mold me. And, while I will never attempt to claim that I was the best of students, I can tell you that I am forever thankful for how God allowed instruction and instructors to be used in my life. The run away best seller from 1988 had this title: "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." I see my rural small town upbringing through that type of lens. As they like to say, much of what we learned was caught rather than taught. Role models at work. Choices demonstrated. Sacrifices made. Love shown. Integrity proven. Humility as a way of life. And, so many more. Let me also be clear. I, your humble correspondent, am still a student, still learning, and, yes, still struggling. I used to think I would arrive one day but I now know that I will only arrive when I find myself in that place with my Lord and Savior. You know the arrival I'm talking about: "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verses 2 and 3, from the New American Standard Bible, NASB) Okay. That should give us all something to think about. Right? Right! May God work in all our lives on this very day. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, August 8, 2014

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

I almost had something really special going on. Five Fridays, Five Saturdays, and Five Sundays in the same month. Bingo! And, one of those lands on my birthday. Now we're talking! I read this only occurs every 823 years. But, alas, I later discovered that it just isn't true. It's another one of those myths that has been around for a long time. These sets of 5's are rare but not that rare. In fact, they actually work pretty much like clockwork or calendar rotation, in this case. Thanks to all the nerdy nerds out there that go around doing their own version of myth busting. To add insult to injury they even published calendars from the past, present, and future to prove their point. I'll just have to find something else to make me feel special this month. I know. It's always good and always special to meet up like this and today we find ourselves in the second of those 5 Fridays, August 8, 2014. Not the one that only comes every 823 years but the one that we find ourselves dealing with today. Why am I a little bummed out? When I saw that 823 year deal the other day I thought up a great little story I was going to share. Now that one is kaput. Okay. Here's a thought: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I know. That's one that might well be 823 years old, but it will have to do for today. Sorry.

My wife sets me up for some real jump back surprises. She must be into scaring old people these days. The other evening she asked me to please turn the water off outside. I was more than happy to oblige. I walked down the sidewalk and reached around the side of the house to the faucet. About the time I grabbed hold of the handle I noticed something about to pounce. I jumped back and nearly slipped down. She had leaned against the pipe this ornamental looking thing with a big humming bird on it and when my eyes made contact it's beak was about to drill into my hand. No telling what that skinny girl heart technician would have seen if I had been hooked up when this happened. I finally regained my composure, saw it for what it was, and finished my chore. I then returned to where she was leaned back in her recliner and I told her my sad story. Instead of comfort and concern, all I got was wave after wave of belly laughs. She sent me out at dusk and set me up for a near scared-to-death scenario and then she has the audacity to do a comedy routine. It can be tough folks. Tough indeed!

She loves watching the American Ninja Warrior competition. Maybe she wanted to see if I could do the splits. I almost did, and the answer, in case you are wondering, is no, I can't, but that didn't keep me from trying. We tend to be having more of these types of opportunities as we make our way forward. Many of them are self inflicted, known only by me, therefore, I have made them subject to the privacy laws where they cannot be revealed until I get good and ready. The good news is the fact that I don't need writers when I can invent my own material without really doing much. Just getting on with life each day. You may have avoided some of this but I'm here to tell you there will come a time when you will know, up close and personal, exactly what I am talking about. Be prepared to laugh. If you don't learn to laugh at yourself you will dry up like a wrinkled old prune. What's that? Why don't I shave the beard so we all can see what kind of shape my wrinkles or in? Sorry, but the beard is booked up for the winter. You do know this is all just for fun, killing keystrokes and time. I do hope you have a most wonderful Saturday, (one of the 5 in this month), and Lord's Day Sunday, (one of the 5 in this month), and I'll do my best to show up come next Monday morning, (one of the 4 in this month). Take care and may God bless. Amen.  ...More later.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut." Dr. Seuss

Greetings to one and all along with a big ole howdy from the ole blogger ranch here on this Thursday, August 7, 2014. Suddenly. That word immediately causes a thought to come to mind. Quickly. Without warning. Unexpected. I mention it because I see it quite often in obituaries that I scan. Suddenly. We've had a few of those in our family during my sojourn here and I can tell you when it involves the loss of a loved one it can hit you like a ton of bricks. I'm not saying we should live in fear of the suddenly because typically it's something we can do little about. Yet, I think it only right that we live with full disclosure and that has to do with the fragile nature of life itself. The end of life after a long and pronounced time of pain and suffering is not easy to deal with but that type of release can be seen as a blessing. The 'suddenly' typically plays out differently. While I don't think one should be morbid about the unknowns that may occur in life, I will tell you that living based on reality does make a difference in how we live, how we love, and how we seek to be prepared for that time when we will say farewell to this life. I have this image burned in my memory of a fellow who stood up one Sunday and through weeping eyes gave a short testimony to our congregation. He reported that a co-worker had left home but failed to report to work. They later learned he had been tragically killed in an auto accident. The fellow telling the story said that he was convicted to never leave home again without telling those there how much he loved them. This verse came to mind: "Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." (James 4:14)

Yeah. I know. Death is always a downer to write about. There are folks who make their living off of death. Sure, we all know about the funeral business. But, believe it or not, there's still a handful of professional obituary writers actively pursuing their trade. They have an association and they meet to talk and review and even receive awards for some notable examples from their labors. When it comes to having the obituary published, different newspapers have different requirements. Some papers are famous for their obituaries. The New York Times, and a number of the London papers fit into that category. Obituaries can become controversial. At their conference last year the obit writers talked about a situation that had arisen at the New York Times. The son of a lady submitted his input about his mom who had worked as a rocket scientist: "She made a mean Beef Stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. 'The world's best mom,'.." The editors went bonkers because they didn't think it worthy of her life's work. Here's what they went with: "She was a brilliant rocket scientist who followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. "The world's best mom," her son Matthew said." What about the Beef Stroganoff? It was his mom, not theirs. Now to me, that is sad. Political correctness versus the heartfelt sentiments of remembrance by a loving son. No wonder we are in such a mess folks.

Everyone has their agenda. Right? Sometimes we can easily get the wrong idea based on hearing what we think we are hearing. An example: ~"A married couple has been out  shopping for hours when the wife realizes that her husband has disappeared. So she calls his cellphone. “Where are you!?” she yells. “Darling,” he says, “do you remember that jewellery shop, the one where you saw that diamond necklace you loved? But I didn’t have enough money at the time, so I said, ‘Baby, it’ll be yours one day’?” “Yes!” she shouts, excitedly. “Well, I’m in the sandwich shop next to it.”~ We then have the obvious evidence problem: ~Recently, my husband was pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. But Irvin was convinced he was being bullied. “Officer,” he said in his most condescending voice. “How do you know I’m not wearing a seat belt when my windows are tinted?” “Because, sir,” replied the officer, “it’s hanging out the door.”~ Those two little ditties are courtesy of the online Reader's Digest. I thought maybe we all could use a smile and if you couldn't come up with one, well, I'll see what I can find for another day. Take care. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.   ....More later.
A married couple has been out   shopping for hours when the wife realizes that her husband has disappeared. So she calls his
“Where are you!?” she yells.
“Darling,” he says, “do you remember that jewellery shop, the one where you saw that diamond necklace you loved? But I didn’t have enough money at the time, so I said, ‘Baby, it’ll be yours one day’?”
“Yes!” she shouts, excitedly.
“Well, I’m in the bar next to it.” - See more at: