Friday, October 31, 2014

“The road to health is paved with good intestines!” ― Sherry A. Rogers, Medical Doctor and Author

"Thanks for waiting. The doctor will see you now." (My caption)
Good morning and welcome. Today is Friday, and yes, it is Halloween, and it's also October 31, 2014. I think that's how it works out every year. I know what many people would like to know. What do older folks spend a lot of time thinking about? We couldn't not think about health care even if we tried. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Nearly every day our mail box is about to tilt completely over from another round of information about Medicare enrollment plans. I thought they were trying to save the planet by not printing so much paper. One would think the postal service would not be so bad off having this much stuff to deliver. But, health care is a huge issue and the older you get the more important it becomes. While it is a natural part of the aging process, I can assure you there are those who are in it to gain financially, therefore, it will stay as a front burner item. Here's a little story posted by someone on Facebook that I thought was pretty good. ~ A sweet grandmother telephoned the big hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?" The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?" The grandmother in her weak, trembling voice said, Norma Findlay, Room 302." The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room." After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow." The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news." The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?" The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me anything!" ~

Picking up that thread about not being excited yet about getting started to get ready to be ready to be Santa, well, I was visiting with our Fedex guy and he almost started trembling just thinking about the upcoming holiday season. It will be extended days into the night for the duration for people in his business. It's easy to say that it comes with the territory but as he put it, no one ever can get ready for the stressful calamities that tends to drive everyone crazy during those four to six weeks. I felt a little better about it after visiting with him but I do hate that he was still mumbling to himself when he walked away. I don't believe he was singing a Christmas carol. That reminds me. Time to listen to some Christmas songs. That should help me get ready. The good news is there are a number of internet stations that play yuletide songs 24 hours a day, all year long. I bet they get tired. It's only a joke so please don't send me any explanations for how they are able to do it. The site I am listening to now has just about every genre imaginable. You like some Celtic, there have a channel dedicated to that. What about sacred tunes? Got it. The all time standards by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are there. How about the tunes from the Peanuts Christmas specials? Got it too. Blues, jazz, Reggae, big band, classical, you name it, you can listen your heart away. I have the Rudolph channel on at the moment but the one currently playing is a rock guitar version. I'm glad Gene Autry is not around to hear this one. It may not do the trick. I know. Change the channel! Hey, I'm at least working on it.

I watched the Presidential news event this past Wednesday afternoon called to address the Ebola threat. It was the President with a group of healthcare professionals standing behind him. It reminded me of that time when the President was hawking the new health care law and he had about 25 people behind him all wearing white coats. The white out - white coat optics was thought to be an overkill and it was also called pretty lame by many commentators. We later learned that the folks did not bring their own white coats, they were furnished at the event by the administration. No wonder some of them were obviously not the right size. However, at the Ebola conference there were only two in white coats and they were worn by two fellows who looked quite uncomfortable in them. None of the ladies had white coats on. That could be a problem folks. I watched as long as I could but I was not able to complete it. I tried but I soon developed a case of onset teleprompter fatigue and those guys squirming in their brand new starched white coats was very distracting. I think what the President was trying to say is that everyone should blindly follow the lead of the federal government even though it seems to be changing every few days. They did, however, learn their lesson about one thing. Only two white coats this time. I know you are so glad that I am doing my best to keep you informed on matters of great importance. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll do my best to catch back up with you come next Monday. Lord willing. Take care and may God bless. Amen.  ....More later. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

“When you’re planning the perfect Christmas … the gifts, the lights, the decorations, the parties, the cards, don’t forget the most important item on the list—Christ.” ― Toni Sorenson, Author

Howdy and welcome to one and all. I bring you a warm greeting as we attack the day we have before us, Thursday, October 30, 2014. The other day I received a very touching and heartwarming note from a friend on Facebook. I was a little surprised. It was emotional. Not long after getting it I received another note from another friend. It was personal. It too was emotional. In fact, it was exactly the same heartwarming note the other person had sent. Then I saw it again, and again, and again. I may not always make clear when I have copied something from a different source but I try my best to do so, and I also try to make sure I do not take credit for something I didn't write. Much of the materials I share that do originate from another source have no attribution assigned to them, but, even in those situations I try to at least use the word (copied) beside them. That first note I received was very moving. It touched my heart. To be honest, it didn't seem in character with the individual who sent it, but, I received it and thought to myself, very well said. And it was. I didn't know until later that it wasn't actually written by the person who copied and pasted it, or the next one, or the next one. I'm a slow learner but I did finally figure it out.

How's everything going in your neck of the woods? It will not be long until we will be humming that tune, "Over the river and through the woods To Grandmother's house we go." I don't know about you but the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are some of my favorites. What's that? Have I been practicing my 'ho ho ho's? Not so much but thanks for reminding me. We have eight Santa events on the calendar with more to come. The first one is for the week before Thanksgiving, a two day stint, and I need to schedule a dress rehearsal soon. I also need to research the hot toys for this year. You thought this was just putting on a uniform and showing up, didn't you? There are so many memories from my sojourn here that do connect to these holiday times. Everyone has their own traditions. Even though many of those who helped form our traditions are no longer here, we are able to experience the warm glow of the remembrances we have of those days gone by even as we celebrate with those who will one day carry forward their version of these same traditions. This gives us something to look forward to, and, there's also the red suit. I'm working on that one. Just kidding. It wouldn't be right if the old elf lost his jolly along the way.

I know that 'home' has something to do with this nostalgic feeling we get during the holidays. I've been so blessed to have a home throughout my lifetime. Different places, different settings, but always home. It's not based on a sense of the nicety of the furnishings or even the structural make up of a house. It's the concept of belonging, of being in harmony with, where your heart is able to relax and yes, feel at home. That homing instinct is an important one because it reminds us that we who are people of faith, those who have trusted Christ, well, we will one day arrive at our real home. It will also be a place of belonging where we will be in harmony with our God and Savior, and yes, we will be at rest, forever and ever, Amen. We, like Abraham of old, are looking forward to that heavenly land as our final and ultimate destination. So much so, it occupies our thoughts and conditions our behavior here. (Hebrews Chapter 11) I look forward to enjoying 'home' during the holidays while at the same time I am so much anticipating experiencing the fulfillment of our Savior's promise, "that where I am, you may be also." (John Chapter 14) Those are some really good things to think about. Have a blessed day and may God be with us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"May you someday become as creative at work as you are in coming up with excuses for not coming to work."

Welcome to Wednesday where it will be just that at least until one tick after midnight here on this October 29, 2014. I've been in the workplace for some 50 years. I could not even guess the total number of phone calls I've taken where people were explaining why they were not going to be able to come in. The people over at the Career Builder website have been tracking via polling how this plays out from the employer's point of view. They survey over 3,000 employers each year who also are asked to provide some of the strangest excuses they were given. The good news is the fact that last year's report showed a 4% decrease in the number of days taken for questionable reasons. Here's a few strange ones as reported from management.
  1. Employee just put a casserole in the oven.
  2. Employee’s plastic surgery needed some "tweaking" to get it just right.
  3. Employee was sitting in the bathroom and her feet and legs fell asleep. When she stood up she fell and broke her ankle.
  4. Employee had been at the casino all weekend and still had money left to play with on Monday morning.
  5. Employee woke up in a good mood and didn't want to ruin it.
  6. Employee got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn't get out.
  7. Employee had a gall stone and they wanted to heal it holistically.
  8. Employee caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry.
  9. Employee accidentally got on a plane.
I'll have to jog my memory for some classics from my own experience but I can assure you I continue to overhear some pretty good ones at the workplace here. Sometimes even the truth can sound pretty strange.

Grip. I am learning more and more the meaning of that old saw, 'Get a grip.' Literally. What is the slippery stuff they are putting on just about everything today? I don't care if it's a bottle cap, pill bottle, or a drinking glass, they all seem to be ready at moment's notice to fly out of my hand. One thing I am learning. I can be quite acrobatic in trying to catch up with one of the identified flying objects. Dropping something is not nearly as dangerous as what I might do to myself trying to keep it from hitting the floor. It kind of sneaks up on me. Here I am, innocently watching the game on TV while getting my medications ready. Next thing I know I'm making a diving catch trying to get hold of the medicine bottle cap and the pills flying here, there, and everywhere. I always try to be discreet when these little happenings occur. The wife does occasionally ask why it is that she found some of my pills on the floor. Must not have seen them. Oh, that would be the eyesight problem. I suppose that's next on the list. No end folks. No end in sight. (No pun intended.)

I would advise you to laugh while you can if you have not yet had to deal with this grip loosening experience. I don't need a crystal ball to know that it is a coming attraction, at some point and time. What's that? You think that if I knew about it I could be more focused and prepared, thereby avoiding the problem? Yep. One would think. That's a good call and I don't discount the wisdom contained, however, it just doesn't seem to work that way. But, after all is said and done everyone will have to experience that on their own. It's time for me to move on because I can't cry over nearly spilled milk forever. Or maybe it was spilled beans. It could have been my blood pressure pills. On a lighter note, did you hear about the blind man who walked into the bar? Well, as if that wasn't bad enough, he also walked into a chair and a table. You thought that one was bad, look at this one: "The tiles, A,E,I,O, and U were discovered in a dead scrabble players stomach. Vowel play is suspected." (Those were copied from a joke thread out on the internet.) Okay. I'm finished. But just for today. Take care and know that even if you lose your grip, God never loses His grip on those who are His own. (Gospel of John, Chapter 10, Verse 28) Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3rd John, Verse 4

This is my version of the Today Show, since I am doing it today, and since today is Tuesday, October 28, 2014. That fellow in the middle of the photo is Loren Hill. We go way back. When we moved to the Houston area we joined Braeburn Baptist Church where Loren's dad was pastor, Bro. Jess Hill. That was 1970. Bro. Jess has gone on to his reward but we have known and loved this family for all these years. Loren was around 10 when we came to Braeburn and the wife was one of the teacher aids that helped to teach and work with him at the private Christian academy at the Church. She also would later teach two of his daughters beginner piano. Here's the most recent update from Bro. Loren:

Terri and Loren Hill
"Almost 8 years ago Terri and I made our first trip to Africa. Overwhelmed by the magnitude and need we decided to give much of our time and resources to try and make a difference. We knew we could not help all of the children but we knew we could help a few. Nearly 8 years later with the help of our church, our friends and relatives almost 3000 meals are being served everyday. With all of us pitching in we have been able to purchase land on the famous Nile River where we have transformed a village "Wakisi", we brought water, built roads, brought in electricity, and built a children's village (Mashah Village) where orphaned children are raised and cared for every day, we also have built a community center, and have most recently built a school for our children. We now have 25 children and have completed 4 more homes to bring in 32 more. These kids are desperate for a home and a place where they feel secure and wanted. How do we help Africa? Through the children, sharing Christ with them and showing them how to make a difference in their own world. Please consider helping us help these children, the cost to support one child for one year is $2,500.00. Join us please and help us care for another one of these little guys or gals. We can all testify to you that you will be glad you did. By the way, come see this with us and experience a world that you may not have ever known existed. Fair warning: you will never be the same."

We know that Bro. Jess would be so proud of the work God has accomplished through his kids. Loren's mom, Sister Lorna Hill, continues the legacy of faith and ministry even to this day. When I saw this posting on Facebook I was immediately drawn to that statement made by the Apostle John as found in the 3rd Epistle of John, Verse 4: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." Loren's life has not been without challenges and struggles. I don't know of many that are. Yet, the grace of God is an overcoming source at work in the lives of those who are His own. His dad made an impact on our lives and we are thankful for the legacy he handed down. I know I knocked many a door with Bro. Jess and saw him share his heart with many people. He loved to see people come to know Christ about as much as anyone I ever knew. We thank God for those from the past and for those who continue to seek out others for the cause of Christ. I know this is mostly a personal thing to us, but, you too can pray for the ministry Loren is involved with, and, we can all be encouraged to do what we can for the Kingdom. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them that Benjamin Franklin said it first." ~ David H. Comins, Author

Hello and welcome back. It is Monday, October 27, 2014 where I suppose many folks are busying themselves in getting ready for Halloween. Since there are billions spent every year I know many will make a big deal out of it. I understand there will be lots of costumes from the movie Frozen and Duck Dynasty gear will also be well represented. We haven't done Halloween in several years. Not sure why but it just kind of faded away. Like a lot of things I suppose. Maybe we are just too preoccupied. I think at times I'm about as absent minded as they come. The other day I went to the trash can to throw away an empty container and I threw away my keys instead. I wasn't planning on throwing away my keys, it was more or less a spontaneous action. I will admit that I was pretty lively digging down to get those keys back. Too preoccupied I suppose. The other night the wife stood outside our bedroom and set the alarm and then she walked immediately to the garage door to check on something in the clothes washer. She found out that when the alarm is set and you open the door to the garage, well, it lets you know that it was a no no. Too preoccupied I suppose. I was already in bed but I thought it best to at least comment on the situation. "Didn't you just set the alarm dear?" I'm trying to remember which was louder, the dinging of the alarm or her response. I'll get back to you on that one.

Will Rogers said, "Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated." That is certainly true for this upcoming mid-term election. They project that 4 billion dollars will be spent in this cycle making it the most expensive mid-term in our history. It was also Will Rogers who said, "If you ever injected truth into politics you would have no politics." Based on the commercials they are running in our area with charges being hurled forth and back of everything under the sun by everyone running, well, it's not only hard to keep up with it all, it becomes a motivating factor in our hoping to just get the thing over with. Maybe they could have a channel dedicated only to political advertising. That wouldn't work because no one and I mean no one would watch that channel. Here's the bottom line sentiment coming out of the contested races here in our state: "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Which party or candidate am I talking about? Each and every one of them. In the end, it's our system, warts and all, and I highly recommend that each of us will do our civic duty by voting our conscience and convictions on November 4.

Another attack. This time in Ottawa, Canada. Based on early reporting, it appears to be another radical jihadist motivated killing of a soldier. This was the second killing in three days in Canada where previously another soldier was run over and killed by a car driven by a radicalized Muslim. Remember Boston? While many may not have noticed, the Fort Hood shooter recently penned a letter to the Pope. In that letter he praised those fighters in the world who are actively pursing Jihad as a part of their faith. Every time I hear about this fellow I cringe because our government refused to call his heinous act one involving terrorism. Instead they categorized it as work place violence. I'm hoping that Canada does a better job responding to their wake up call. A recent poll from a respected source here in the United States indicated that 65% believe that things in our country are out of control. I believe much of this has to do with leadership that is inclined to always tip toe around the muck and the mire of political correctness. Sooner or later we have to face up to the reality and call things what they really are. But, that's just my lay person's view. Feel free to have your own, or better yet, you can agree with me. Just joking. Remember to remember that our trust is in the Lord our God. Amen.  ...More later.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Dearest Redneck Son, I'm writing this slow because I know you can't read fast. We don't live where we did when you left home. Your dad read in the newspaper that most accidents happen within 20 miles from your home, so we moved. I won't be able to send you the address because the last Arkansas family that lived here took the house numbers when they moved so that they wouldn't have to change their address. Love, mom" (copied)

A few folks still use the phrase, "I feel your pain." Former President Bill Clinton is given credit for making it popular during an exchange back in 1992. It's Friday, October 24, 2014, and I'm still at it, you know, trying to make sense out of this, that, and the other. The comic genius George Burns who lived to be 100 said that he was so old that when he was a kid the Dead Sea was only sick. I'm 68 years young but that converted produces a reading of 20 Celsius. I know. It not only doesn't make any sense, I'm still left pretty much feeling my own pain. The famous Dale Carnegie once quipped, "Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." No wonder I have a headache. I hear you. Stop thinking about it. Especially since all of it together doesn't amount to much more than a hill of beans. I'm just joshing anyway. (Some folks look at me funny when I use that word joshing. But here's the dictionary definition: tease (someone) in a playful way. engage in joking or playful talk with others.) As you can tell, I didn't really have too much to bring to the table today so I thought I would do the this, that, or the other scenario for us to consider. I suppose most people just aren't satisfied with the way things are. The late Ann Landers who wrote the newspaper advice column for so many years had this to say: "The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead."

No. I'm not trying to imitate Forest Gump with his box of chocolates unexpected variety example. And, no, I've still not watched the movie. I've seen plenty of clips from it but I have never watched it. I remember reading about how they used technology to show Forest with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Wait a minute. I'm not sure the box of chocolates quote originated with that movie. I've been opening up my writings for at least 50 or more years and I never know what flavor might show up. But, it is good for us to be able to visit today. I try to not be boring but on some days, well, it's not as easy as it looks, as in, "Look ma, no hands!" Most people believe that saying originated in a commercial back in the 1960's where the kid is riding his new bicycle without hands on the handlebars. I wasn't able to confirm the actual commercial but it has been quoted in movies and television shows. Maybe you know more about it than I do. If not, it really doesn't matter, therefore, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if I were you. But I'm not you so I will continue my quest to determine how this little quote became a well known saying. But not today. I'm still working on the headache and trying to find that answer has made it worse.

I don't know why but for the last several weeks Google thinks I am originated on the internet from Little Rock, Arkansas. It keeps throwing up news items they think I should be interested in. I've been fooled a time or two on the temperature they display but I really don't need to find cheap places to eat in Little Rock, and I'm certainly not planning on showing up for the protest against the building of a planned gas station. I suppose it's okay with me that this year's Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade will be on December 6, but, I most likely will have other fish to fry on that day. I am aware that I can change the location but to tell you the truth, I'm not all that unhappy with the fact they have me tagged at the wrong location. Maybe they think that anyone who spends as much time joshing as I do must be from Little Rock. I do believe I have done enough for one week and it's time for me to take two aspirin and check back with you next Monday. Lord willing of course. I do hope you have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.  ....More later

Thursday, October 23, 2014

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” ― Marcel Proust

Good morning and welcome. Have you ever noticed how that your memory of something special differs from other folks in how they remember it? That's one of the things that is percolating around and giving my gray cells a workout on this Thursday, October 23, 2014. Someone set up a Facebook page dedicated to memories associated with the little rural area where I grew up. After dad passed away in 1954, we moved from Texas to that little Louisiana town and lived in and around there until we left to take a job here in the Houston area in 1969. We've been in this area ever since. That Facebook page gives folks an opportunity to look back and remember old times, friends, landmarks, and some antics thrown in for good measure. I enjoy reading these. Except. Many of them are designated as back in the good old days but they are from those who were there in the 1970's. I didn't know they had torn down that old place. No one told me. How dare they make changes to the places that were special to me. I suppose there's not too many of us from my age group who post on that site because a whole lot of the stuff is after our time. Maybe I need to make a new page and dedicate it to the correct recollections that belong to my era. One fellow asked if anyone remembered that movie theater that was there for a short time. We've never had a downtown movie theater. Who ever heard tell? The only movies I ever heard of was this fellow who charged people to watch films in his backyard on an outdoor screen. (The one mounted over our fireplace is probably bigger than the one he had.) All the shows were black and white and I remember sitting on the fence watching them across the way even though I couldn't hear what they were saying. Those younger guys writing about the good old days don't have a clue about real history. They even got some of the names of the swimming holes wrong. What? They may have renamed them? The nerve! You do know what I am talking about. Right?

I do hope you recognize all of that stuff was written mostly for fun. Things change. Places change. People change. That's the way life works. Many of the changes I was joking about reflect progress being made. New things. New services. Those folks living back there today have a town provided water and sewer system, garbage pickup, and a volunteer fire department. Believe me, when I lived there the alternatives to these improvements were not always very pleasant. I am well aware that our way of seeing things sometimes wants to trap our past, clean it up with our recollections of the good, and then somehow make it the reality we wish for. Mom and dad have central air and heat today. They have a backup generator that automatically takes over when the power goes off. I well remember those good old days of laying in the bed on a hot summer night, all sweaty and wishing and praying for just one breath of cool air. I also remember the unstable power where we were all at the mercy of whenever it was restored. I'm not against walking down memory lane. I love those strolls, but, I also try to include the good, the not so good, and the really tough things as well. That doesn't mean I'm not upset about them changing some of the landmarks I loved. Maybe I can get them to check with me before they do that again. Maybe not.

The trick is to not get stuck in a rut on that memory lane excursion where you stay locked into your own vision of how it was way back then. We pretty much are well aware that the day we are dealing with at the present moment is about the only one we can do much with. Right? I read about some of those antics those kids got caught up in, and while they might bring a smile today, back then they would have brought a belt to the backside, if not something even more serious. I don't share too many of those kinds of stories on myself because I'm not so proud of some of the 'boys will be boys' adventures we got tangled up in. Some were funny perhaps but many of them were not right back then and they are not right today. That too is part of what we learn in life. I say enjoy the past and embrace the people and places that influenced your life. I'm thankful that I have plenty of those memories to help encourage me. I need to use them as a motivation to help me to be an positive influence on others. Today. Doing that is not easy but it will someday provide the memories to others that will help to continue the cycle. Okay. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

“Trivia are not knowledge. Lists of facts don't comprise knowledge. Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data, sharing insights, those comprise knowledge. You can't google for knowledge.” ― Elaine Chaika, Professor and Freelance Writer

Hello friends and neighbors. Good to see you today. I could get used to these relatively cool mornings. I would say it puts a spring in my step but at my age that would most likely be somewhat of an exaggeration. Today is Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and yesterday morning I spent some time perusing the headlines from newspapers across our country. You do know what a newspaper is, don't you? (What's black and white and read all over?) There's a website that captures the front pages and I occasionally like to see what folks are tracking across the fruited plain. Out in Arizona they had this one: 'What's Happening on Wall Street?'; The LA Times led with this story: 'Latino Voters May Opt to Sit Out', talking about the upcoming election.; In Daytona Beach folks woke up to the reporting on this topic: 'Politics Seep Into School Board Race', can you imagine that? The Indianapolis Star had this current challenge to read about: 'Are We Ready for Ebola Here?'; In Topeka, Kansas, readers were invited to check out the details regarding this subject: 'Taking a Second Look at Unsolved Crimes', dealing with slayings that are still pending an arrest. Over in my old stomping grounds in Louisiana, the Alexandria TownTalk had this headline: 'Star Power', documenting the visit of President Bill Clinton who was in town stumping for and trying to boost the reelection hopes of Senator Mary Landrieu. Surprisingly, there are still a sizable number of newspapers out there and anytime you want to check out the front pages you can do so by going to:

I understand if that doesn't interest you and that's okay. True. Many of the headlines are dealing with gloomy subjects but when you stop and think about it, there's quite a bit of gloom and doom out there and it doesn't go away just because we ignore it. To each his or her own, as they say. I caught a news blurb that shouldn't surprise us. A new report indicates that our government has spent a total of 7 billion dollars in Afghanistan attempting to curb the growing of plants used in the manufacture of drugs. If you haven't noticed, that's one thing our government does very well. The spending of money. They have expended these funds because the terrorist organizations use the drug money to fund their nefarious activities. Hang in there because I am coming to a conclusion. Here's the results from our infusion of these expenditures: The planting has not been reduced but rather they are experiencing some of the largest bumper crops in their history. I can hear Old MacDonald, the farmer, singing, "Here a billion, there a billion, everywhere a billion-billion..... E-I-E-I-O" I'm not going to provide a moral to this story. I'll let you come up with one on your own. That will be your assignment from our visit today.

I read some interesting analysis recently. There's been quite a lot written about the whole concept of the 'dumbing down' of just about everything involved in our education, culture, and even in the workplace. This can be very much seen in the way in which communications have changed over time. There are established methods used to evaluate the level of written and spoken communications that can gauge the material in trying to connect at the aptitude level of the audience being targeted. It shouldn't surprise any of us that this target has been steadily going down. It has to do with the words chosen and phrases used to try and reach at an appropriate grade level those being addressed. Preserved presidential speeches since our founding have been subjected to this analysis protocol and it's clear the words and phrases used today indicate a massive downward change. Some would say this is not really a dumbing down but rather a wising up to the reality of our diverse democratized society. The current situation adds to the debate over our national leaders and how well they communicate to the masses. I'll not go into great detail here but I will mention the fact that President George W. Bush scored a whole lot better in this evaluation process than his detractors would want anyone to believe. Even better than some who have been praised as being the elite of the elite. I think I already knew that. What about you? Take care, enjoy, and give God the glory. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Each person is an enigma. You're a puzzle not only to yourself but also to everyone else, and the great mystery of our time is how we penetrate this puzzle." ~ Theodore Zeldin, Oxford scholar, Author

Welcome back to our long running series, 'Another Day Older', where we seek to tackle many of the mysteries that surround our day by day living. Today is the 1900th time we've met this way and this one falls on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, where I'm fixated on some of life's enigmas. If McDonald's is truly the all-American fast food joint, why don't they serve hotdogs? Is there really any way to know which armrest belongs to you in a movie theater? Why are there no 'B' batteries? How do the police handcuff a one armed man? If a bunch of cats jump on top of each other do they still call it a dog pile? Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions? What happens if you daydream at night? What is a picture containing 1,000 words worth? Are short people able to talk down to a tall person? What is the actual speed that hot cakes sell? Can a cemetery blame a cost increase on the high cost of living? If Wile E. Coyote can afford to pay for all the stuff bought from Acme, why doesn't he just buy himself some dinner? Why is it they play at a recital but they recite at a play? Do people in England eat English muffins or do they just call them muffins? If a deaf person goes to court do they still call it a hearing? When pigs exert themselves is it possible for them to pull their hamstring? What do the people in China call their best dinnerware? And one last one for today: How do you know when you have run out of invisible ink?

Okay. For you purists, I am aware that at one time they did have 'B' batteries. They were used for particular devices but their size and convenience quickly faded as technology changed. There may be a few still in use in Europe but for the most part only collectors have them today. What's that? You really don't care one bit about 'B' batteries? You do know you have to work with me if I am to make this daily visit a productive one. Audience participation is required. Yes. I am very aware of how handy your delete button is, but I would appreciate it if you would refrain from veiled and unveiled threats. Just kidding. I'm just messing around and I well understand that not every topic appeals to every person. It's how you roll and it's how I roll. We are all wired up differently. I've heard people go on and on about a TV show they think to be hilarious. I tried to watch it but found it not to be in the least bit funny and from my way of seeing it, it was unwatchable. All I could figure out was that maybe I missed that day of school where they taught how some of that stuff was supposed to be humorous. I do know that you know what I mean.

I suppose I am in one of my moods today. (As if I am not in one every day!) But, I just read an article that might help explain why I'm sometimes all over the page all at the same time. It seems that some scientific researchers have correlated folks who have mood swings with the time of year they were born. The most mood swinging of all? Those born in summer. That puts me right smack dab into the middle of August, but, my mom does remind me that right after I was born they experienced a freak cold front that came through and she had to light a heater to keep me warm. They didn't mention that in their study. It does make one wonder how valid their findings are. They also never even called me. (It would have been a long distance call from Budapest, Hungary.) There you go. For those inquiring minds that want to know, Spring was the second season most responsible for mood swings with Autumn and Winter being less so. Just another investigative endeavor on my part as I continue my quest to determine exactly how I came to be so messed up. I hope you know that I am joking because the Bible makes it very clear that each one of us are messed up and in need of a Savior. The Good News is that God has given us Jesus as the way to be made right with Him. And, we don't have to do a study to know the veracity of that truth. We have God's Word on it! Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, October 20, 2014

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” ― Albert Einstein

Welcome back. It's time for us to finish our countdown so that we can get on with a brand new work week, here on this Monday, October 20, 2014. Most of us have confidence in what we assume to be high levels of expertise. We rest well because we have people with high pedigrees looking after things that could threaten us all. Many of those we depend upon are government bureaucrats. This recent public unfolding of activities and responses related to Ebola have uncovered some huge gaps in our nation's readiness and ability to deal with such a crisis. This is a reminder that we all would do well to maintain a very healthy level of skepticism as we take in all of these matters. I'm not into those who have the pants on fire paranoid response, but, I do think it behooves us all to examine exactly what we see happening. People with credentials does not automatically translate into preparedness or effectiveness. Someone who is introduced as an expert does not mean we automatically take everything they offer as truth or law. Sadly, we as a people do operate for the most part on auto-pilot but this example may be a wake up call to us all that it is time for us to smell the coffee! Preferably Community!

Speaking of which, I haven't shared any coffee jokes lately. Here's some that I've most likely used before but it has been a while. ~ So the coffee asked the creamer, "Are you outraged by our working conditions too, or do you support management?" The creamer replied, "I'm half and half." ~ Why is a bad cup of coffee the end of a marriage? Because it's grounds for divorce... ~ I haven't had my cup yet, so it would be a real grind to try to come up with one. ~ What did the mama coffee bean say to her kid who was too wired on caffeine to go to sleep? You'd better go to sleep right now or you're grounded! ~ People ask me if I wake up grumpy in the morning. I reply, “No, I just bring her some coffee!” ~ If you have a picture of your favorite coffee mug on your favorite coffee mug, you may be drinking too much coffee. ~ I would add something here but let's face facts. To me, coffee is no joking matter!

Pretty bad. Right? Sorry, but obviously not sorry enough. Right again. I suppose it's like my granddad used to tell me, "Son, you might as well laugh as to cry." We do need to smile occasionally. I run into folks all the time who look like they haven't used those particular muscles in a long time. You know what I'm talking about. I've heard all my life the deal about how many muscles it takes to make a frown versus how many required to make a smile. The numbers used are all over the page but the bottom line being emphasized is that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown. I tried to check this out and it seems that scientists are undecided on this one. However, I did see this and thought it to be amusing. ~ Scientists have discovered it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. What does this tell us? 1) Scientists have way too much time on their hands. 2) Frowning uses more muscles therefore it burns more calories. ~ Okay. My point was, before I rudely interrupted myself, that we all need a smile now and then. It will do a body good. That's it for today. Enjoy your Monday and don't forget to count and be thankful for your blessings. Amen.   ...More later

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." ~ Napoleon Hill, American Author, (1883-1970)

The weather these past few days has been enjoyable in the extreme. Well, that may be a little more than necessary to say about it but not so far off the target if one adds the words comparatively speaking. That is, compared to the August temps and humidity acting like they wanted to hang around for Halloween, and they may well come back in time to do so, but for the last few days, some welcome moderation. We used to open everything up in the house when the cooler air came in but after discussing it we were reminded that we quit doing it when we discovered that it aggravated the wife's allergies. She did volunteer for us to move upstairs and open the windows if I wanted to but I didn't want to go to that much trouble. Decisions, decisions. Not very much in the way of importance but they do reflect how we roll on this Friday, October 17, 2014. Typically, by the time we come to a conclusion we are ready to move on to something new to decide on. I remember President George W referring to himself as the Decider in Chief. I think my wife would nominate me for the Procrastinator in Chief, but by the time we could agree for me to accept that as a name we would be moving on to being indecisive about the next decision we are working on. Confused yet? I'm trying. Give me some time. Meanwhile, I'll try to come up with a nomination of my own for her. I can't believe I said that but I know you know that it is a joke. More importantly, I sure hope she does also.

Regarding the blog I wrote yesterday about our new pastor. I wrote that blog Wednesday morning for publication on Thursday. I try to stay a day ahead, if possible. It keeps me from scrambling to throw something together. You what? You thought I mostly scrambled anyway? Good call. The reason I mention that is because Bro. Brian had not accepted our call when I wrote the blog. I'm not a Prophet nor am I a son of a Prophet, however, my heart continued to be encouraged that God was going to work this out. My head kept saying that I would likely have to scrap it because he could well not accept our call. Another Church had also issued a call. We had not heard anything after our contact on Sunday, therefore, I determined I would call him to at least get a status so that I could let our people know something Wednesday evening at our mid week service. It was 3:30 p.m. and I was driving down the road trying to think about what to say when I called. My cell phone rang. It was Bro. Brian. After he told me they believed God would have them to come and lead our fellowship I was elated. I then told him I had begun to wonder and thought maybe he had misplaced my telephone number. We laughed. It was a happy happy laugh. And, I didn't have to throw away that blog and I didn't have to scramble even if it looks like I did. God is good. Amen.

I'm not wanting to overkill how serious our search team took this responsibility of finding a candidate but it did weigh heavily on our hearts. How much? After the smoke cleared on Wednesday afternoon, my wife commented Thursday morning that she didn't think I had moved all night. She said I had slept about as hard as she had ever seen. I'm not apologetic about our search team feeling the weight of this responsibility because I know that our local fellowship of believers deserved our committed effort. Okay. Now it is on to new things. Oh yeah. Another lady called about us doing our Santa program. I mentioned to my mom that I am not as excited about it as I have been in times past. She seemed alarmed. She said I have to be excited for the kids' sake. I told her not to worry because I have a few weeks to get glad. And, I do know that when it comes time for the one on one, don't worry, I'll be ready to make memories for them, and for me. Y'all take care now, you hear? Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and we'll see what scrambles out come next Monday. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted." ~ Jonathan Edwards

Our new Pastor, Bro. Brian Baldwin and his family.
I thought I heard someone out on the porch here at the ole blogger ranch. How in the world are you doing? I believe we might just take a few minutes to get caught up and maybe enjoy a hot cup of Community. I thought so. Sounds good to me also. Today is Thursday, October 16, 2014, and I think I feel something bubbling up that is worth sharing. Our local fellowship of believers officially began seeking God's man to lead us as our senior pastor back in July of 2013. As of yesterday we now have the man God has sent to pastor our local flock. This is an Amen, Hallelujah, praise the Lord outcome for us all. Additionally, for the five members of the pastor search team, well, this comes as we have pretty well exhausted our time, talent, and just about all of our strength. It has been my humble privilege to chair this effort where we met nearly every week, sometimes twice, we have reviewed, discussed, interviewed, watched sermon videos, made conference calls, and discussed, prayed, and started, stopped, and restarted for these many months. We know that through it all God was preparing the man He wanted for us and He was preparing us as well. What a journey it has been! My heartfelt love, appreciation, and thanks go out to Brother Robert, Brother Phil, Brother Elmer, and our dear Sister Betty for their devoted time and effort in support of this great cause. Thanks to our local fellowship for acting unanimously in support of our recommendation. Big deal? I think so. We are Baptist and unanimous is not always a feature of our practice. I also thank my wife who has supported me, and, lastly, I bow my knees before the Almighty God who has shown Himself to us in working this out. I so look forward to all He is going to do as we seek to move forward for His honor and glory. Amen.

Now you know why some of my writing may have reflected some energy drain. Just kidding. I can't blame any of my lame stuff on anything other than the one and only me, myself, and I. Whoever said that being involved in many different projects at the same time helps to keep one young, well, I'm going to have to think that one over for a while before I can give you my informed opinion. I do know that what we were involved in was a good work because it is the Lord's work. Our committee has been perhaps showing some signs of wear and tear along with some weariness. And, I am well aware that our congregation was weary as well. One thing that has come out of all of this waiting has been a great encouragement to us all. We kept our ministries going. We took care of the Lord's work as best we could. Folks stepped forward. Folks filled in the gaps. We did not throw in the towel. And, in the end, God gave us the man He wanted us to have. Ross Perot said that great sucking sound being heard was all our jobs going to Mexico because of NAFTA. I think it was the sound of relief sung in unison by our search team. It's only a little joke. Don't get all huffy about it.

We could have hired someone to become our pastor. There's no shortage of unemployed preachers. We set out to seek God's man and to seek His provision of that man according to His working. We knocked on a number of doors. God is in the opening and in the closing business. We were not certain of the choice He wanted us to make but He continued His guiding of our actions. Steps, missteps, maybes, they all worked together to get us to a unanimous conclusion about how we should proceed. We didn't know how the congregation would respond. That too was in God's hands. I suppose what I am trying to communicate is how that the work He established commonly called Church today is His design, it truly belongs to Him, and we are privileged to be a part of what He wants to accomplish in reaching men, women, boys, and girls for Christ. Part of our desire is to hand down a viable ministry focused Church to our children and grandchildren. One that is actively desiring to honor God and see others touched by His power. At the same time I am so very much relieved to see this mission accomplished. Thank You Lord! You folks take care, have a good one, and Lord willing I'll see you next time. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"The storm starts when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” ~ Dr Seuss

Good morning class. Time to get on with our lesson for today. Today we will be talking about the benefits of cooler weather. Just joking. During this very modest cool down I did get a morning fasted blood sugar reading of 90 which is pretty rare for me. See what I mean? I tried to think about what I did and didn't do to prompt this reading but couldn't for the life of me come up with anything other than the cooler temperatures. I'll take it and the weather. That's what I was pondering as we attempt to get ourselves ready for this brand new day and it just happens to be Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Even though I am thankful to have my diabetes fairly well controlled, I still am drawn to news reports, articles, and even commercials that promise great breakthrough types of improvement. I will confess that I do not pay as much attention to many of the others being hyped. That, I suppose, is how it works. Whatever it is that is on my front burner will be the one I'm the most focused on. Sadly, there's a whole lot of hawking of remedies that end up being mostly illusive potential outcomes. I already know what my doctor thinks. He tells me that what we are doing is working and it is based on proven therapies and it is cost effective. Interpretation: "I'll let you know when we need to make some changes in your treatment regimen." I do have tremendous confidence in him but I will continue to stay informed. You know. The Ronald Reagan philosophy: "Trust, but verify."

I knew this was going to happen. I just knew it. One of the anointed brain trust writers at the New York Times came out with an article explaining why President Obama's low approval ratings are different than the low ratings of his predecessors. I knew it. When I saw that article I said to myself, "Son, I told you this was going to happen!" His assessment would have us believe that President Obama's low numbers are because of the amount of deep seated animosity being constantly whipped up by those who oppose him. (I suppose that's not what contributed to the low numbers of President George W. Bush. Right?) Also, the fact that many don't realize how well we are doing. They think they are still in the ditch but they are not smart enough to know better. He contends that these low numbers have little to do with the President's accomplishments and effectiveness. Further, he proposes that we should seriously consider no longer paying attention to these ratings since they do not accurately portray reality. Instead of being laughed off the stage, he is actually making the rounds of all the in-the-tank liberal news outlets where he is encouraged to espouse this profound way of interpreting why less than 40% of folks believe the President is doing a good job. My final word to myself: "Son, I told you this was going to happen!"

Sorry. But I just can't help sharing when I have one of those "Aha!" moments. Since we do anticipate that we will eventually be dealing with the season aka winter, here's a little funny I found in my perusing here, there, and everywhere. It was not attributed. ~ A tribe of Indians go to their chief in the fall and ask if it's going to be a cold winter. Not really knowing what the winter will be like the chief tells his people "Yes it will be a cold winter, you should start gathering fire wood." Then the chief called the National Weather Service and asked "Will it be a cold winter?" The technician at the national weather service said, "Yes it will be a cold winter." The chief becomes alarmed, goes back and tells his followers he thinks it will be a very cold winter and that they should gather every piece of firewood they can find. When they had gathered all the firewood around the chief called the weather service again and asked "Are you really sure it's going to be a cold winter?" The fellow said excitedly, "Are you kidding? Yes, it's going to be a very very cold winter... you should see the Indians, they're gathering firewood like crazy. ~ That will have to do for today. Take care. May God bless. Amen. See you next time.   .....More later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Greetings. We've got ourselves a wee bit of a cool down here. Not bad. Not bad at all for a Tuesday, October 14, 2014, if you ask me. I do hope this day finds you dong well. I did check the headlines this morning. Here's a brief summary: The world, both here and abroad, continues to be a mess. I do pay attention to stuff going on. There sure are a whole lot of folks who do not. My observation says the younger they are the less they care about knowing what's happening in the world. I suppose there's some attraction in being clueless but I just can't see how it can be healthy, especially over time. It's almost like they would rather close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears if they hear you talking about anything that's not related to sports or celebrities. One area of exposure comes when folks don't know what is really going on and you have those in power who exploit that weakness. I'm not talking about a need for some type of slavish devotion to being plugged in 24x7 to the world news channel. I'm talking about a basic sense of appreciation for the times we are living in and the challenges we face as we seek to move forward. I enjoy talking about sports and other subjects as well as the next person but I do know that things like Ebola are not only much more important, but given the potential for harm here at home, we all should keep up with what's going on. After writing this paragraph I noticed a posting on Facebook from the son of a man we have known for years. He is an early twenties guy and he asked his friends to please quit posting stuff about the news. He said he worked hard to stay away from that stuff and he sure didn't need to see it on Facebook. I rest my case.

Many trust our government to make sure they are told what they need to know. I'm not an alarmist but please believe me, that's not a very wise way in which to live. Take for instance this most recent case of Ebola in the Dallas area where the man from Western Africa died. You do not have to be an expert to have become very uneasy with the way in which the high level officials in our government were handling this event from the first day forward. Now we have one of the individuals who treated this man who has come down with this dreaded disease. I see no need for panic but we do need to have a mindset that weighs facts and information in light of the reality being played out before us. I heard the county judge from the Dallas area giving his thoughts about this most recent case. I'm just a lay person. I'm not an expert. Yet, I could very much see how his major objective was the try and limit panic. While that is a noteworthy thing to stress, may I just tell you that folks need the truth in order to make informed decisions. I, for one, do not share a blind confidence in the so called experts who are handling this crisis. Just one example of so many areas where we need to function with our eyes and ears wide open.

Go back and read the quote I have used in the title for today's blog. It may take a time or two to get what Thomas Jefferson had in mind. It's not the fostering of an anti-government spirit, but rather, it's doing our best to operate based on an appreciation for the facts. And that's my take. I'll let you think about that as I move on to other things that are also important. Things like our families, our work, our daily goals and objectives, and our doing of our best with God's help to live in a way that honors Him and serves others. Knowing the truth does not mean we live lives that are dominated by fear and foreboding. Knowing the truth means we live out our faith because God is ultimately in control and we belong to Him, therefore, if He be for us, who can be against us? That should encourage us all even as we make our way forward in a messed up world. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"The harder I work, the luckier I get." ~ Samuel Goldwyn

Welcome back friends and neighbors. It's Monday, October 13, 2014 and I do hope you are well. Sometimes we just don't feel like jumping for joy. We don't always 'feel like' getting on with it. However, we've learned in life that perseverance is not only a virtue, it's also a requirement. Some in the younger generations tend to exhibit a fairly low tolerance for problems and inconveniences. It doesn't take much for them to 'feel like' they are unable to make it to work, or to keep their commitments. I'm not knocking them because when it comes down to it they are our collective offspring. I do hear many who own businesses talking about the steady decline in a strong work ethic as they attempt to find ways of taking care of their customers. We all are put together based on many different factors. I grew up in a family that had strong and compelling examples of those who did their best in the jobs they were blessed to have. Therefore, I suppose my work ethic was more or less poured into me, or caught, rather than being taught. I know there could have been more balance in my own approach to work, but, I also know there's a price to be paid when commitment no longer matters. I've been in the workforce for more than 50 years so I think I at least have some credibility in my observations. Some. Maybe a little.

I've never played Candy Crush. Never. I've observed a few million other people playing it as I have traversed the highways and byways of life. The commercial of that lady crushing the candy pieces with a hammer makes my wife laugh out loud. As in, you know, LOL. She is a Candy Crush player and seeing that lady being so clueless about the game is funny to her. Then there's the one where the older woman has Facebook a little misunderstood. She has made her wall on a real wall in her home. There she has posted real photographs. When her friend tells her something she doesn't like, the lady with the real wall tells her that she now officially un-friends her. It's funny because most of us know that is not how it works and that's the attention grabber they are looking for. It reminds me that we can really misunderstand some things to the point that we operate based on bogus information. There's so many of us who play the game of life by rules that come from sources other than the only one that is authoritative and true. That would be the Holy Bible. Neglecting to do life God's way always ends up with a wrong outcome. Here's a disclaimer: I have no idea if any of this paragraph makes sense but it's all I could come up with at the moment. Thanks for being patient. It's so much better than being a patient.

You can tell it's a Monday? Me too. I received a Facebook message the other day from a fellow I grew up with. He was inquiring about whether I was going to show up for our 50th high school reunion coming up in November. I replied that we were going to try. I remember climbing trees with that fellow. We camped out together, fished and hunted together. We had one major area of disagreement. He was Southern Baptist and I was Independent Baptist. I don't think we ever came to blows over it. Maybe something else, but not that one. After high school he moved to Alabama. I saw him and his wife at the 20th reunion, the only one I've attended. Even at that one, it was the first I had seen him in probably 15 years. I haven't seen him since and only this year we have started talking via Facebook. Someone posted this assessment after they had attended this type of reunion: "All my schoolmates looked so old, wrinkled, and gray, plus their eyesight was so bad they didn't even recognize me." I can tell from my old school friend's Facebook postings that he is strong in his faith in God. That is good to know. While I admire people who have stayed in touch with the folks they grew up with, that would not be me. I occasionally see someone when I visit mom and dad but that is pretty rare. Maybe we can fix that at this upcoming milestone reunion. Now it is time for us all to get out there and enjoy our day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, October 10, 2014

"A writer must be a lifelong reader to be good. And if you want to be a great writer, I’d suggest trying to live a long life by reading the ingredients of the foods you buy." ~ Jarod Kintz, Author

It's Friday, October 10, 2014, and I bid you a hearty hello as we begin our day. I know you may not have the same reading interests that I have but I was recently reading some of the statistics that looked at life expectancy here in the USA since 1900. Not your cup of tea? Well, it really is interesting because it has changed dramatically. Just this week they announced an all time high in terms of the length of life projected for those born in 2012, and that is 78 years plus 9.5 months. Think about it. In 1900 that number was just 50 years folks, actually it was slightly lower than 50. That's a remarkable increase no matter how you look at it. I did notice that early on the numbers for male and female were much closer together. The women folk had slightly higher life expectancies when they began collecting the data but not the several years difference it became. That newly announced number reflects this difference. Boys born in 2012 can expect on average to make it to 76.5, while the girls start off on a journey that on average will have them around for 81 years. Okay. Here's where it gets tricky. I know most of you are really wanting to know my thoughts about why these differences exist. Rather than do my own guessing I scanned the web to get some ideas of why this is how it works. ~ This one might not be politically correct nowadays but it was at least one fellow's opinion: It's because they don't have to live with a wife. ~ Another one speculated they live longer intentionally so they can have the last word. ~ One stream of thought indicated perhaps the man died first to get out of his misery. ~ Several used photos of men doing stupid things like laying under vehicles, messing with electrical wiring, and hanging off of shaky ladders. ~ I'll not add my two cents worth. I will tell you the gap that's been around for so long has been and continues to shrink, slowly but surely. They predict it will one day be very close again. That's kind of sad when you think about the loss of so much funny material.

I don't know about your week but ours started last Friday evening and since then we've hardly had time to catch our breath. I don't even know what burning the candle at both ends really means but I do know that it's likely not a good thing when they meet in the middle. Don't write me with the appropriate explanation because it's just my attempt to provide some lame humor. I do lame pretty well. You don't have to tell me. I know that I have had plenty of practice. We have been on the run, so to speak, but all in all, we come to Friday and we offer thanks to God for giving us both the desire and the strength to get up and get done the things we have on our agenda. Mom and dad have had a good week. Dad is doing well recovering from his surgery this past Monday. I think he's more than ready to put away the thought of taking it easy so that he can get back to his daily grind. He may be 84 but I wouldn't want to keep up with him each day. We do thank everyone for your prayers on his behalf. They appreciate it and we do too.

I do hope you will have yourself a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. ~ "Doctor, can you help me? Every time I sit down I see visions of Mickey Mouse and Pluto, and then when I stand up I see Donald Duck!" "I see. Tell me, how long have you been suffering from these DISNEY spells?" ~ Liz goes to her first show at an art gallery and is looking at the paintings. One is a huge canvas that has black with yellow blobs of paint splattered all over it. The next painting is a murky gray color that has drips of purple paint streaked across it. Liz walks over to the artist and says, "I don't understand your paintings." "I paint what I feel inside me," explains the artist. "Have you ever tried Alka-Seltzer?" ~ I couldn't resist leaving you with a couple of corny jokes. Until next time I'll also share this as my prayer for us all, this wonderful blessing that Moses pronounced upon his people, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (Book of Numbers, Chapter 6, Verses 24-26) Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14, (New American Standard Bible)

It's October and many folks throughout our land are beginning to begin to think about fall. We've been doing a pretty good job around here of keeping our temps high enough so that we are still mostly working on our summer heat hang over. We've got humidity dripping here, there, and everywhere. There's been a tease or two of some slightly cooler weather and we are thankful for any relief we get. They tell us that maybe a couple more of those temporary changes are pending before we actually get a true taste of a legitimate cool down. For us, it could be near the end of this month before we get the first minimum down payment on winter. But, all of that is something we can do so very little about, but it doesn't keep me from talking about it on this Thursday, October 9, 2014. This past Monday we had somewhat of a freak severe thunderstorm roll through our area. Some of the wind gusts became pretty ferocious. A fellow not many miles from where we live was driving down a roadway when a tree turned loose and fell on his SUV. He was killed. I don't know about you but things like that do tend to get my attention. Without an engineering diagram we all know that he had to be in exactly the wrong place at the right time for this encounter. Many people said it just goes to show you that when it is your time, well, you will go. I've probably said that a few times myself. I suppose more importantly it's another reminder of just how fragile life is and that it calls out for us to make full use of the time we have, you know, like the one we are working on now, today!

I wanted to let you know that I did figure out how to set the date on my watch. I nearly wore Google out before I found information on the exact watch I have, but, I finally did and it gave specific instructions on how to cause the calendar indicator to move. I'll not bore you with the details but I will say that I could have been twisting knobs until the cows came home and still not achieved the outcome I was desiring. There's nothing like having the correct information to work with. You know. Checking the instructional manual. The other day a preacher challenged us all to consider the purpose of our life as individuals. Many may have thought of that song that pleads One Day At a Time, but, that's not what he was talking about. He was reminding us all that we need to pursue the life that God has given to us and the purpose He has placed within us. How do we find our purpose? We might be able to Google it but the truth is best discovered as we seek to know it from His Holy Word. Hopefully, we all are aware that God has something for us to do each day and it, in one way or another, involves bringing honor to His name as we do our best with His help to make a difference for time and eternity in the lives of others. Once we fix upon our purpose we then can examine our actions to see if what we are doing is helping us to make progress each day in its pursuit. Finding and focusing on our purpose is not for the fainthearted but it is a rewarding matter to consider, dwell on, and seek God's leadership and help as we go forward.

I do know that any of us can become weary in whatever we are pursuing. If we are not careful, serving the Lord can become routine as we find ourselves mostly going through the motions. We can end up keeping a schedule as opposed to pursuing God's purpose in whatever activities we participate in. This is even more so when we are very plugged in and involved. That would be me. That would be us. I thought about my teaching of the Bible. What is the purpose of my teaching? To be on time? To be prepared? While those are important they should only serve the desired outcome. Simply stated, the outcome we all need is to be changed by the power of God as He speaks and moves through the hearing of His Word. That kind of emphasis could get lost if I am not careful in focusing on change as an outcome, and if I fail to pray over it as I prepare, and if I am not ready to be changed myself as I seek to influence others. Okay. Don't get nervous. I did not attach an electronic envelope for you to send in an offering after today's sermon, but, suffice it to say, we all can become more effective as we understand our purpose and actually work to achieve it. Thanks for tuning to today's broadcast. I don't have a clue what might be coming tomorrow. I suppose we will all find out together. May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.  ....More later.