Thursday, November 27, 2014

Have a blessed observance of Thanksgiving Day.

The wife. This is when she gets to shine. Homemade. That may be a word that is becoming extinct but not around our place. We will be serving up a smoked turkey and a smoked ham. Homemade cornbread dressing, homemade chicken and dumplings both made with real hen broth. (Clue: it's a special fat, plump chicken.) Homemade coconut cake. Also, many of the others coming will be adding all the trimmings, side dishes, desserts and so on and so forth. If you missed it, I'm talking about today, Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 2014. We thank Chris and Sherrie for again opening up their home for us all to gather. This has become somewhat of a tradition in and of itself. So much to be thankful for and I do pray that we all will pause to consider all that our Great God has provided to us. We could begin, stay with, and end in naming all of the promises that are ours because of His love and mercy, and in doing so we would not even scratch the surface, but, we do recognize Him as the reason for our thankfulness. Have a great one and may God bless each one. Amen.
...More later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

For a Day of My Life, By Samuel F. Pugh: "This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it, or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, leaving behind in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain and not loss, good and not evil, success and not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it."

Greetings to one and all on this Thanksgiving Day eve, here on this Wednesday, November 26, 2014. While we plan our day of feasting and fellowship I am reminded that many folks are not in a position to do so. It's always important to think about others as we enjoy the blessings God has bestowed upon us. I read this prayer that spoke to my heart and perhaps it will to yours as well:

Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.

(Written by Samuel F. Pugh. Rev. Pugh died peacefully in his sleep on December 23, 2007. He was 103 years old and had been an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for over 70 years.)

May God bless our preparation and planning but also may He work in us the true spirit of thankfulness that expresses His love to others. May God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence." ~ Erma Bombeck

I will call today one of reminiscing. I do that a lot. You noticed? Good. Thanks for being so observant. It is Tuesday, November 25, 2014. It's my sister Fran's birthday today. She is 71 years young and thinking about her and our years of sojourn does bring up many memories. I hope she has a very happy birthday. The thing I had on my mind today is trying to remember my favorite Thanksgiving of all time. With this one on Thursday I will have been around for some 68 of them, therefore, surely some stand out more than others. Not really. They pretty much blend together. One consistent theme has been the outstanding food we have enjoyed over the years. That's always worth remembering. I suppose seeing in my mind's eye all the faces of our kin throughout the years is pretty special in and of itself. I can hear Granny Mac praying. I can see us kids running here and there. I can see us as teens with our friends who showed up to be a part of the celebration. I can also see our children doing the same things we did. Then I see those gone on to the other side: My dad, my baby sister Kayla, my older brother Jimmy Don, my brother Donald, my uncles and aunts, my brother-in-laws Kenneth and Charles, my wife's parents, all our grandparents, there's really too many to count. I suppose that big table and the big prayer was what tied it all together. Then it was chow down time. Laughing, talking, and yes, typically, a fair amount of overeating. No doubt about that. Here's the deal: We will do our best to replicate those same sights, sounds, and tastes come this Thursday. That's the tradition handed down from one generation to the next. To me: It's all good stuff. Very good indeed!

This past weekend of doing what we call the Santa Enterprise was quite interesting. I can't even guess how many selfies were taken by folks as we made our way from the entrance to the big hotel to our photo shop location. I will tell you something that is really true. When the song says from one to 99, well, it is very much on target. Folks get excited when Santa comes on the scene, regardless of their age. I think my most favorite response is the surprised expressions that often greet us. We are always grateful for the wonderful treatment shown to us by those who work with us. They really do treat us like we are special. The work itself. After doing seven hours on Saturday, every bone carrying the age of 68 was singing a sad song. When we would hit a little lull the workers would get anxious. I mostly was just catching my breath. On Sunday a dear sister in Christ at our local fellowship brought us the Conroe newspaper and it had our photo on the front page. It's the one above. Thank you Sister Pat. As most of you know I do love the children. But, seeing one of those multiple carrier strollers headed my way, with at least two or more little ones, well, I would be lying if I didn't say some amount of dread is involved. All and all, it was quite a jolly jolly time.

I did prepare a Bible study lesson for last Sunday morning. In that lesson we thought about what it means to be truly thankful. We talked about how that God does have an expectation of those who are His own. That expectation is grounded in a response of thankfulness. Yet, we can only show our thankful heart by the living out of a thankful life. That's a real challenge especially in a world wound tightly and bent on anger, frustration, and rage. We shared the Apostle Peter's words from his 2nd Epistle and the first chapter. The inspired text tells us about the life God has called us to. As believers we begin our new life in Christ as babies but God wants us to grow up and to build up our spiritual muscles so that we can fulfill His calling on our life. That requires us to be diligent. And, it requires us to live in a state of perpetual thankfulness for all that God has done for us and through us. There's a warning in that chapter for believers. It tells us that when we neglect the building of our spiritual life that shows itself in our daily walk, well, we can mess up our ability to see clearly. How messed up can we get? So much so the text tells us we can even forget that we have been saved from our old life. Wow! I needed that lesson. I typically always need the lessons I teach. It is one worth thinking about. For me, for you, and for everyone! Take care now and may God bless us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, November 24, 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." (Book of James, Chapter 4, Verse 14)

Good morning Monday along with all you Monday people. Not that many of you? That's okay because we still have to deal with it anyway. It's the 24th day of November 2014 and I'm here doing my thrown together thoughts to get my day started. I haven't quit reading obituaries. I thought you might want to know that. One thing is clear. For the most part, we never know what a day may bring. Those death notices bear this out about as well as anything I can think of. I was reading one about a lady who died from pancreatic cancer at age 43. She was a leader in the children's ministry of a fairly large congregation. So talented. So plugged in to serving the Lord by serving others. She was beloved by family, friends, including her Church family. Her photos on her Facebook page were impressive. She looked like a model. Her children are beautiful as well. She was a tireless worker for the Lord. She was a role model to those around her. But, she also came down with a dread disease and at what I consider to be a young age, she left this world for her home in heaven. Not only do we never know what a day may bring, we also cannot fathom how these things work out. (Romans 8:28) All we can do is trust the God that she loved, pray for those she left behind, and know that she is now in the presence of her Savior. No. That doesn't provide the details but it does remind us all that He and He alone is always the answer. Amen.

Shoveling time in Buffalo, New York.
The huge weather system that wreaked havoc across the Eastern part of our nation has really been a doozy. It produced some 8 or more feet of snow in the Buffalo, New York area. Wow! That, my friend, is a lot of snow. It reminded me of our neighbor Tom who passed away a couple of years ago. He was from the Buffalo area and lived across the driveway from us for maybe ten years. He often spoke of how blessed he felt himself to be for having escaped the snow shovel game in his old home place. When everyone in our area was complaining about the wet, the cold, and even perhaps an occasional freeze, he would be excited that his driveway was still clear and he had no snow removal equipment in his garage. No matter how cold it might be, he would always say we haven't seen anything yet, and, based on the photo above that was taken last week, well, I think he had actual experience on his side. I suppose it's always a matter of perspective. I did read where the majority of deaths from last week's storm were heart attacks associated with snow removal. That should tell us all something.

The Santa Enterprise is off and running. We enjoyed our time at the big holiday event over the weekend. It was exhausting and fulfilling all at the same time. I was thinking about how the kids have changed since I did the Santa gig back in the early 1970's. The stuff they talked about back then is quite different from what they ask for today. The world of computing and networking has changed all our lives including our children. We do live in a technology driven world. Even the smallest of children want their own cell phone, ipad, or the latest in game technologies, and by the time they are five or six they likely know their way around computers a whole lot better than their grandparents. The ferocious war games that are played by millions including younger kids worry me some. It's the loss of innocence that is concerning. I know these games are supposed to be age appropriate but that's part of the problem. Parents are challenged to try and control the gaming habits of the kids and you end up with little boys wanting the latest releases of all the blood and guts games for Christmas. Technology has brought great innovation to our world, but, it certainly can be a detriment to our kids. Santa has a message to everyone: Let's go back to working to make sure our children get to have a childhood! Okay. Enough commentary for a Monday, therefore, I bid you goodbye for now. Have a wonderful day and may our Great God add His blessings to each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Stefani!

Tomorrow is our Stefani's 21st birthday. She is the youngest daughter of our eldest son Chris and his wife Sherrie. Because of our Santa commitments we will not be able to be with her until next week when we all gather around the Thanksgiving table. We do hope that she will have a most wonderful celebration of this milestone occasion. Stefani has always been close to her MiMi and Poppy and used to spend a lot of time with us. However, she is all grown up now and busy making her way forward in life. I suppose it will be official that she will be an adult after tomorrow. Official or not, she will always be our Steffie and we thank God for her and pray that He will continue to lead, guide, and direct her life. Happy Birthday Sweetie and may God bless. Love, MiMi and Poppy

Well, what do you think about this? It's Friday! I see that smile. It's the 21st day of November 2014 and we are beginning to get ready to get ready for our Thanksgiving Day celebration next week. When you go to the doctor for a check up they occasionally give you one of those heart test thingies, the electrocardiogram. I don't know if my situation is a benefit or a liability but traveling over the hills and through the woods each day to my workplace I get the heart test quite frequently. Just the other day about 3:45 a.m., I was driving down this crooked country lane of a road when I came around a curve and a big old fluffy deer came right across the nose on my car. I was almost a casualty of a close encounter of the worst kind. Fortunately, I was only driving 40 miles per hour which is the speed limit. I don't know if it rubbed my headlights and bumper but it did get my attention, filling up my windshield completely. All systems went into overload. I typically am on the lookout but because of coming out of a blind curve this one was a complete surprise. Had I been hooked up to one of those heart test machines I may have melted the motherboard. Once I caught my breath I was immediately thankful that we didn't have an actual collision and if it's okay with everyone else I'll clean my own headlights. Please inform all the deer that I too was sad when that gun was heard in the Bambi movie. I think it's important that they know that.

Incidents like that one is why you have to be up on the wheel all the time out in this neck of the woods. That 'up on the wheel' euphemism is borrowed from NASCAR where the drivers have to be alert at all times to be ready for whatever happens on the track. Speaking of NASCAR, this years long season and championship is now in the books. My driver did not win. I was not happy. Sorry, but I felt terrible for him and for his team. I am not in the classical sense a fair weather fan but I do have some of those traits as a part of my profile. After my driver was eliminated I considered not even watching the final race to determine the champion. I even thought about throwing in the towel on the whole shooting match, so to speak. But, in the end, I suppose I am enough of a auto racing fan to have changed my mind. I did watch much of the final race and I will most likely stay with the sport for another year. I congratulate the winner. It wasn't easy. They persevered. They worked hard. They won. We didn't. I was not happy. I am still not happy. But, there's always next year. How many times have we heard that one?

We've had a pretty intense week. It actually was one where we hit the ground running last Saturday for that turnaround trip to attend my 50th high school reunion in Louisiana, and we really haven't slowed down enough to catch our breath. But, we are thankful that we are able to keep on keeping on. There's really no end in sight for the short term as the Santa enterprise begins to kick in. We are hoping to be able to go across town this morning to attend Grandparents Day over at our Brady Darrell's school. We had a ball last year. Except for the travel there and back. If it is like it usually is we will not see any deer out on the freeways but we will see plenty of jacked up drivers in jacked up vehicles practicing for the next demolition derby. But, that's more or less the norm around these parts. I do hope that all is well with you and yours. Have yourself a wonderful rest of the day, a great Saturday, and a fulfilling Lord's Day Sunday, hopefully celebrating it with others at the local meeting place where God is worshipped. Take care and I will do my best to be on my best behavior as I carry the Christmas spirit to boys and girls of all ages beginning tomorrow. See you next Monday, Lord willing. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” ― Dorothy Parker, American writer and poet, (1897-1967)

Good morning friends, neighbors, and passersby. It's good to stop for a spell and visit here on this Thursday, November 20, 2014. We all know that looks are not everything. We've all also most likely heard growing up those jokes about someone being ugly. For instance, "She's so ugly she must have fallen out of an ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down." In different cultures beauty or the lack thereof is dealt with in different ways. I read an article in the online edition of a United Kingdom newspaper about the recent situation that occurred at the wedding celebration of a Saudi Prince. After completing the extremely lavish ceremonies, the photographers came in to make photos of the new bride and groom. The bride removed her veil. It was the first time the prince had ever seen her face. The report stated that upon seeing her he leaped to his feet in disgust and this is what he said, "You are not the girl I had imagined. I am sorry, but I divorce you." Wow! What a way to end a wedding! Before we tied the knot I saw my bride with hair rollers. I saw her without makeup. I saw her when she was feeling poorly. She may not have looked her best in those situations but I still felt like I was the most blessed man on the face of the earth the day we said our vows.

I doubt seriously the story about the prince and his beauty challenged bride will be coming to the Hallmark channel any time soon. I pretty much am aware that the Hallmark channel gets played quite often at my house. I don't actually see it played but I notice that at times when I power up the system that's the channel that had been on previously. Plus, I hear bits and pieces forth and back between the wife and her sister and I'm pretty sure some of it involves the movies they show on that channel. My mom is also a watcher, therefore, she too can do the talk about whatever it is that ladies like to see played out before they eyes. I continue to believe there is only one script for every movie played on that channel. They change the actors, the locations, the music, and maybe the season, but the script is pretty much the same. I suppose they do it that way to save money and also to be sure to deliver that same good feeling from every individual showing. But, who am I to judge? I first watched it with some of the kids but actually took a liking to those new animated Star Wars Rebels episodes. Not bad. Not bad at all. To each his or her own, I suppose.

Bob Bailey (1913-1983)
I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have it any other way. Individualism. Freedom to choose and all that comes with it. The wife and I were able to listen some to old time radio in our travels last Saturday. I think we took in all five 15 minute episodes of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar starring Bob Bailey as he attempted to solve an embezzlement case. The series chronicles the ongoing challenges faced by an insurance investigator with an expense account that lets him pretty much go and do whatever he needs to do. There were a total of eight different stars who played Johnny Dollar on the show that ran on radio from 1948 to 1962, but Bob Bailey is my favorite. What's that? You never heard of it? And, you really aren't the least bit interested in it? Now would be a good time to go back and read about the freedom to choose I spoke of at the beginning of this paragraph. How good are these old time radio programs? The other evening the wife wanted us to stay in the car in the driveway until she found out who did the crime. See what I mean? Enjoy your day and enjoy the Hallmark channel, old time radio, are some of whatever else that floats your boat. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What do you call a kid who doesn't believe in Santa? A rebel without a Claus. (copied)

Wednesday. Already? Yep. Hello and welcome. It's another wonderful day in Santa's wonderland neighborhood on this November 19, 2014. I see the temperature is forecasted to be considerably warmer by this upcoming weekend. Yippee! Not so fast pilgrim. This upcoming weekend will be our first time to suit up for the season and if I had my druthers I would take the deep freeze environment because the suit and all of its accessories are not very cool. I've spent some time reviewing the hot list of toys for this year. I do like to have a clue when the kids talk about what they are anticipating. No doubt Disney has found a way to continue milking the Frozen movie franchise so there will be many requests for all the characters and other stuff associated with this phenomenally popular show. Hot Wheels, Skylander, Transformers, and Legos are still on the top toy list. Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles remain popular along with a variety of stuffed talking animals, and electronics galore. I will likely be stumped a time or two because some kids can come up with some pretty strange requests. The wife has all of our gear laid out and we will likely do a trial run Friday evening as we anticipate a long day Saturday and most of the afternoon on Sunday. Meanwhile I will try to get my ho ho ho's in better shape. At this point, they could use some help.

Please don't write me because I am well aware of the 'jolly' part of this adventure. I'm still counting on the children to get that part of the process up and going. You know about my long running complaints regarding the weather prognostication business. Well, there are times when I am very pleased that the hype does not materialize. All we heard about earlier this week was the hard freeze. I didn't want to go along with them but when it is on every station and you begin to have these visions of your car stuck in the driveway, you know, as in the tires frozen to the concrete, well, you end up responding. I got up Tuesday morning expecting to face a Minneapolis styled welcome when I left the house. I layered my clothing, dug out my skull cap, and was standing there anticipating the day. The wife got up and came into the kitchen and she was holding her phone. She announced that it was 34 degrees. Let me see if I have this right? Hard freeze for hours, 28 or lower, probably breaking a record set back in 1959. Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right. They promote the idea that the weather people are on the take from the hardware store folks who sell all the weatherizing products. Oh well, just for grins I did check out the Minneapolis weather for that morning. It was 8 degrees with a feels like of -6. Thanks local folks for being wrong. One more time.

I suppose we all should be feeling a little better this week. We have a reshaped government with a different line up of folks holding power. Not so fast my friend. What sounded like a fury of promises in terms of actions that will be forthcoming have become more like fizzles as the days have proceeded. We should not be surprised. Our founders did not have in mind the establishment of career politicians who are in office for 30 or more years. But, since they vote themselves a salary and benefits, it's obviously a pretty good gig, but it does have some negatives and you and I are the recipients of most of them. But, you sounded so optimistic? Change of the status quo in Washington, D.C. may be harder than a ninja warrior successfully climbing Mount Midoriyama, in Japan. Some 2700 have attempted but only three have been successful. Sorry to be more reserved in my expectations, but, sometimes we have to face up to the reality we have to work with, not the one we would like to see. With that news, I will say farewell for today and remind us all that God is the final decision maker in all things. We can count on Him! Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles." ~ Washington Irving

Hello one and all, it's Tuesday, November 18, 2014, and you caught me in the middle of a smile this morning. It's a response to this photo of a baby boy born in the United Kingdom this past June. His name is Leo and he's been in the smiling business for a while. That first photo was made with an ultrasound while he was still in his mum's tummy. (That's how they say mom across the pond.) I'm not sure what awaits this youngster but he's off to a pretty good start if you ask me. You didn't, but I thought we could get started off with something positive. Here's an anonymous quote about the power of a smile: "A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment but the memory of it sometimes last forever." Another one fits Leo's photos: "A smile from a child is packaged sunshine and rainbows." And one for you take with you: "A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings." I think we all can agree with that. Amen.

Our whirlwind trip to Louisiana on Saturday was a blessing in a number of ways. We were able to visit with the wife's sister, Dorothy, you know the one, her twin born 18 months before her. We also got to spend a brief timeout with the wife's brother Milton and his wife Glenda. Bro. Milton was the fellow who married us. It was his first wedding to perform and our first one too. Then we traveled on to see mom and dad. It's always a good day when we can hug and love on our mom and dad. God has been so good in allowing us to have these wonderful people in our lives for so long. After that, we made our way to the reception hall for the high school reunion festivities. (Translated: the cafeteria) I had not counted on an accessory I brought becoming such a popular topic of conversation. The beard. You know: Santa's facial hair. The questions: When was the last time you shaved? How long have you had that thing? It's really real, isn't it? With that thing, how would expect anyone to recognize you? I didn't mind but I would have appreciated people getting permission before they handled the merchandise, if you get my drift. I suppose us professional beard people are a little touchy at times. It's a joke.

I saw a lot of kids running here and there at the reception. I thought I could see their parents, or in my case, their grandparents in their faces. We enjoyed the fellowship but didn't stay for the official recognition at the homecoming basketball game. We needed to get back to our neck of the woods to take care of business, so to speak. The wife had decided that we should sing at the worship time where our local fellowship of believers gather. I had previously listened to the song she wanted us to sing and determined it would take a lot of work. She wanted us to do the 'lot of work' part as we rolled on down the highway. She is a natural born singer. She hears the timing and the beat in her head. I wasn't put together that way. Therefore, we have to go over it and over it and over it again. She tries to beat out the timing for me and I work hard to get it. At times I feel like one of those donkeys that use their hooves to beat out a number. We must have sung through that song at least 25 times before we got back home. Here's the funny part. When I got up Sunday morning I couldn't even remember the tune to that song. Thankfully, we practiced it at the Church and we did present it as a testimony in the services. The point of the song has to do with an imagined vision of those who belong to God laying any crowns they have won at the feet of the Savior. We did get through it and I didn't have to stomp the floor like a donkey but I thought about it a time or two. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 17, 2014

“I don’t have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They’re upstairs in my socks.” ― Groucho Marx

Hornbeck High School, Class of 1964. Six of the 15 showed up.
It's only me. Good to see you again and thanks for showing up here on this back-to-work Monday, November 17, 2014. Okay. Yes I know that everyone is wondering how the big reunion came off. If we would have had some of that strong antiseptic smell that you get when you visit one of those places, we would have been set. It was great. My way of seeing it said there were sure a lot of old people hanging around but we had a great time and I am glad we made the effort. My mom had reminded me that it might be good to come since you never know what might happen before the next one. I thought about that. These folks that you've had no contact with for nearly 50 or more years, well, no matter what happens I doubt seriously any of us will miss each other. That's not being facetious, it's just the truth. And, I was kidding about that 'old people' comment. I did see one fellow trying to hold in his stomach for about 60 minutes. Had he collapsed and turned loose we might have had a tornado right there in the cafeteria. But, that more or less is a part of how the reunion scene is done. I will likely have a few additional observations and anecdotes to share in the days ahead. You've been warned.

I hate it when this happens. The other day while I was driving down the road I had a brilliant little story come to mind that I could hardly wait to share. Brilliant may be about as much overkill as I can come up with but needless to say, the little story has gone to that place among my gray cells where they enjoy playing hide and seek. Right now the hiding is working. I sometimes wonder about myself. Since I can't remember that one I will tell you this one, on myself. We recently had a new security system installed in our home. After a few days we developed an issue with one of the door sensors. I told the wife I would take care of calling the folks about it. I did. Unfortunately, I called the pest control company instead of the security people. The lady answered the phone. I told her we had a low battery alarm on our door going into the garage. She asked if I was seeing any pests. I said not that I am aware of but I would like to get this problem with the door resolved. She asked if they damaged the door when they were in our home. I told her I had no idea. She then said they don't do garage doors. I told her it wasn't the garage door it was the kitchen door that opens into the garage. Exasperated, she blurted out that all they did was do the pest treatment and suddenly this revelation came over me. I begged her to keep this little event to herself since as I told her, I do have my reputation to maintain. (Just for the record: The two services were completed relatively close to each other, if that helps.)

I appreciate the humor in any situation but the wife laughed about it in a way that left me a little puzzled. I couldn't be sure that she was laughing with me, if you get my drift. But, she was laughing, big time, out loud, without needing to abbreviate it. As in, LOL. Was it really that funny? I think it has something to do with the party of the first part and how that he at times does get himself into some fixes. Oh well, I suppose all's well that ends well. Think about it. You make a simple phone call trying to get something taken care of and they ask you have you seen any pests. No wonder I at times live in the state of Confusion with Slapstick as its capital. Maybe that's why I used the Groucho quote in the title because at times I can be a one man Marx brothers comedy team. What's that? I suppose you are right. It does make life interesting as we go along our way. The good Lord knows there's plenty of stuff each day that isn't so funny, therefore, it's encouraging to grab a smile here and there, while you can. Thanks for traveling alongside as I chronicle the stuff I have to deal with each day. Have you seen any pests? Who ever heard tell? I know. I know. They were a pest control company. Thanks for reminding me. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." (Nelson Mandela)

Good Friday morning here on this cool crisp November 14, 2014. If everything goes according to plan, tomorrow the wife and I will be making a quick turnaround trip to attend my 50th high school class reunion. It's 180 miles one way to the little hamlet of Hornbeck, Louisiana where the festivities begin at 4 p.m. We plan to return Saturday evening so I had better make sure I have some Community on hand to keep me alert and focused. No. I never thought about what Abraham's class photo would have looked like and I was not aware that the comparative photo above would cause one to think of that. And, no, I was not voted the most likely to grow up to become Santa Claus. But thanks for the observations. If I had pursued the area that I most excelled in I would have most likely ended up being involved in some type of agriculture business. I was not inclined to be a farmer or a rancher but I could study about those subjects and then take tests locally, regionally, and at the state level and do fairly well at them. Part of that was due to the tremendous rapport I had with my AG Teacher, Mr. John Hyman Self. I had great respect for him and he was always a huge supporter of mine. He was a great teacher, mentor, and Christian example. He went on to his reward in April of last year. I was able to attend his memorial service. I am looking forward to being there tomorrow for the get together. 

Happy Birthday to our Lexie Dee! She is the youngest daughter of our youngest son Rodney and his wife Mitzi.  She is a remarkable young lady and we thank God for her and all the wonderful ability and personality He has poured into her. She may be small in stature but she plays tall on the volley ball court, and in her studies in school, and also in her loving on her MiMi and Poppy. That last part is especially appreciated. Have a great birthday Lex, and may our Great God add His special blessings to your special day! Love, MiMi and Poppy

Thinking about that turnaround trip to Louisiana I can tell you that my hips do tend to get noisy when a long trip of sitting is being contemplated. It's really not that big of a deal and when it is all said and done, it does more or less come with the territory. Best I can remember, most of the folks still living in and around that little town didn't make it when I attended our 20th, but, several people from distant locations did come. Maybe the locals had crops to see after or other chores to worry about. Or maybe they just liked to stay home. It reminds me of a family that recently came into our area and joined our local fellowship of believers. They are wonderful people. They love doing things in the area. Based on their Facebook postings of photos they have explored many new places and enjoyed all kinds of activities, most of them right under my nose so to speak, and most of them I hadn't even been interested in enough to know about. Parks, lakes, hiking trails, playgrounds, and all kinds of other stuff. I am impressed. That's really something. I am so glad they have been so good at locating and enjoying those places. What about me? I'm fine thank you and while I enjoy seeing them enjoying all of those venues, well, I'll just do my thing around the old homestead, if you know what I mean. Uh huh, that I suppose is the way I like it. Yep. I'm one of those.

We all have to be something. Right? A visitor in our home saw my graduation before and after photo on our computer background the other day. The wife informed them that it was me. They responded with an 'Oh my!' in a slightly exclamatory manner and I will have to tell you that I wasn't exactly sure what they meant. I thought that it may have been the kind of response that was thinking, 'Whatever in the world happened to him?' But, being gracious, I did not ask any questions. I said nothing about the hard life I've been through. There was that time when I was thrown through the windshield of that passenger van. And, the knee surgery. You know the one. For the torn meniscus. The diabetes, now that's a biggie if I ever heard of one. And, also the stress. Yeah. Now you're really talking. The stress. That's it. That would probably be it. Yeah. That's the ticket. Stress. Or maybe they were thinking that I still looked pretty young after so many years. Hey. That may have been exactly what the 'Oh my!' meant. That was nice of them to notice. I'm feeling better already. I can still reach and get it. Sixty eight years young. Still going strong. Okay. I had better quit while I am ahead in my basking in the invention of my own imagination. Take care. Remember to enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll try to meet back up here with you, same time and same location, here at the ole blogger ranch, come next Monday. May God bless. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Studies sanctioned by the major networks indicate that viewers pay more attention to news that has been teased. (Findings from a research paper: The Role of News Teasers in Processing of TV News, by Hao-chieh Chang, Syracuse University)

Good morning folks. How in the world are you getting along? I'm fine, thank you, and glad to greet you once again. It's Thursday, November 13, 2014, and I have something astounding that you need to know about. I will share it with you when we come back from the break. I'm sure you recognize that tease which we are inundated with as we attempt to watch any kind of news broadcast. I listen to the live feed of news programming on my satellite radio and I heard one that really got me going. McDonald's has announced a recall on over two million toys placed in Happy Meals, stay tuned to hear which ones they are, when we come back. That most likely got plenty of parents to wait. Well, I just hate it when they do stuff like that. Therefore, let me provide that information right away: "McDonald's is recalling about 2.3 million Hello Kitty toys that came with some of its Happy Meals because they pose a choking risk. The item in question is a red whistle that came with the Happy Meal Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Toy (No. 6) -- a plastic Hello Kitty figurine holding a pink heart-shaped lollipop." I do observe the antics they employ. "We have information necessary for you and your family's survival, stay tuned, we'll be right back." "Could that asteroid enter earth's atmosphere and obliterate our way of life? Hang on, we'll have the answer when we return." Here's the truth, for me anyway, I usually change the channel because I'm hacked off that they do things like that. Just me. That's my way of seeing it. Maybe I didn't like being teased as a child. Stay tuned because some day I may have the answer.

While I may hate that it works that way. The key for those who are trying to maintain audience ratings is just that. It works. The study I mentioned in the title attempted to examine the influence that this teasing approach has on the actual processing and reporting of the news itself. Which is more important? Providing accurate information to the viewers or maintaining ratings? Good question. I think we all know that this is not limited to news programming. It covers just about every area of life today. Politics uses every tool imaginable to try and get people to watch their promos. If we are not careful we can become tools being used in this media control apparatus. How do we defend against it? Change the channel. Refuse to participate. And probably the least used response: Check it out for yourself. Many outlandish threats have been reported that were used to try and motivate particular groups to go and vote. Outlandish but here again, they tend to work. Sad to think that we as a people are so easily deluded. And, I'm not talking about any particular group because these techniques are being used by every news organization, every political organization, and every type of commercial business that seeks to gain people's attention. I am surprised when folks who I consider to be thoughtful and intelligent tell me stuff and present it as fact when I know it is mostly out of context malarkey. Be on guard. Be aware. Be forewarned. Be all you can be. (That last little ditty might not fit but it sounded like it might be a way to close this out and move on. Mercifully.)

It's like that commercial everyone laughed at. You know where the person says it has to be true because they read it on the internet. Everyone laughed. Yet, most folks are somewhat swayed by these techniques. What about me? I'm certainly capable of being influenced but I do try my best to keep my distance. The number one area I see as a risk is to buy into something just because it fits into the narrative that you subscribe to and agree with. Here's an example: The President intends to put forth a measure that will require every person to have a number stamped on their forehead. It will not be a number that can be seen but it can be read with a special device. I made that up folks but if that were to be said by some particular person on their radio program, pretty soon it would be the latest absolute facts that prove up the worst fears about the current occupant of the oval office. See what I mean? One more time: Be on guard. Be aware. Be forewarned. And, yes, be all you can be. Thanks for tuning in for today's advice column. I'm not sure which hat I was wearing when I wrote today's blog but it is something that does cause me concern. Take care. Enjoy your day. And, may our Great God add His blessings to us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It was so cold I had a brain freeze so bad I began to think that Taco Bell was a Mexican phone company.

I've been told I need to practice up on my shivering. I'm not sure I need the practice because I remember as a kid sitting on the deer stand and it seemed to come quite naturally. My Granddad had told me not to be moving around. It was below freezing and we didn't have any insulated hunting gear, therefore, we sat on the stump and shivered. He told me if he caught me moving around or messing around on the deer stand it would be the last time I would come with him. He had a way of putting things and based on his track record you could count on his word being kept. But, I mentioned that only because of the shivering cold front that is on its way. Excuse me. I forgot to say hello and welcome. It is Wednesday, November 12, 2014, and I suppose I've allowed these non-stop incessant weather alerts to get to me. Just last week we had this huge rain coming in. Coming in. Coming in. It hit a snag. It got delayed. It did finally make it here but we were all pretty much exhausted by the time the rain started. I mean most folks were suffering from umbrella fatigue before they ever got to open it the first time. If it works that way with the cold front, well, we might just still be getting ready to get ready for it come next week. About the only thing we can count on is the weather people gone bonkers 24x7. You do know what I am talking about. Right?

I know the content from time to time might be lacking but everyday is like 'show and tell' for me. And, current events are pretty much on my mind as we grapple with the challenges that each day presents. This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. I listened to an interview on BBC radio with two fellows believed to have been some of the first to cross over. This was before the actual wall had come down. An East German official had made an announcement saying the rules for crossing had become liberalized and that citizens would no longer need special permission to cross. This turned out to be a misstatement but people who heard it reacted quickly. The two fellows interviewed said they approached the guard station and told them they wanted to cross. The guards were not fully clued in to the new procedures and there was a lot of confusion. Because these two fellows were young and brash and even though they were very frightened they pressed their case and demanded to be allowed to cross. The guards became angry, made some calls, but in the end they finally waved them through. They had friends on the other side who could not believe they had just walked through the checkpoint. Just hours before a person could have been shot trying to leave East Berlin. I remember watching the wall come down on television. President George H. W. Bush served when this great event materialized but most of us remember the seeds being planted as I recall hearing President Reagan's challenge to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall!" Here's something to think about. The long serving German Chancellor Angela Merkel grew up in Communist East Germany and later became a democracy activist that helped bring the wall down. Now she heads one of the most powerful democracies on the planet. A fitting tribute to when freedom is allowed to ring!

You might be a member of a redneck Church if any of the following applies: At the end of the sermon on feeding the 5000, several members insisted on knowing exactly what kind of fish they were and what baits were used to catch them. When the pastor called for Bubba to come forward and help with the offering, 5 guys and 2 ladies all stand up. The sermon was clear: Thou shalt not covet most definitely applies to huntin dogs too. The call to worship is done with a duck call. Opening day of hunting season is designated as an official Church holiday. The Church choir robes were all donated and carry an inscribed logo from Billy Bob's Barbecue. The collection plates are the hubcaps off of a 1956 Chevy. The final words of the benediction typically close with: "Y’all come back now, Ya hear?”  Okay. That will do it for our time together today. Don't forget class, there will be a test later. Have a great day and may God bless each one of your little pea picking hearts. (Apologies to the late Tennessee Ernie Ford.) Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanks to all those who have worn and are wearing the uniform of our nation's armed forces. Today we remember them all as we consider the magnitude of this truth: Freedom is not free.

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, November 11, 2014 and I do bid you a hearty welcome to today's edition. This is the day set aside to honor those who have in the past and also those who continue to serve in our military armed forces. Veteran's Day. Back in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson had this to say regarding the first official Armistice Day recognition celebrated on November 11: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." After a number of years of lobbying to expand the meaning of this special recognition, in 1954 the set aside day was expanded to include any and all who have honorably worn the uniform of our nation. I think of those in our family who have defended our nation. I think of those that continue to serve in today's dangerous world. Here's a fitting tribute of recognition: "It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag. And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag." (Penned by Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC)

Well, folks are all buzzing around because we have something called an arctic blast headed our way. It's forecasted to drop our temperatures down to near freezing this coming Friday morning. Talk about frost on the punkin! And then some. This cold air is being brought to us courtesy of Alaska. I sure hope Canada isn't offended. They usually get the credit for super cold weather that comes our way. I haven't heard them use the 'polar vortex' they coined last year. There did seem to be some disagreements among the scientific community as to the meaning of such a term as well as its application. I also haven't heard anyone naming this cool down yet. I believe it was the Weather Channel that started doing that last year. Hold the presses. This just in: They are calling this first major cold storm Astro. The first thing I thought of was the dog named Astro from the Jetsons Cartoon. Maybe they were thinking of his famous quote when they named the storm: "Rut Roh."

Just about everyone paying attention to last week's election thought it was a resounding victory for the Republicans. Significant increase in the majority in the House of Representatives and a winning of the majority in the Senate are not too shabby. However, I watched the President's press conference and he didn't seem to be that impressed with the election. He started out by saying he had heard the voice of those who voted but quickly added that only one third of those eligible chose to mark a ballot. He then said he had also heard the two thirds who did not vote. What followed was a dialogue that seemed to indicate that he had won the two thirds of those who stayed home. He essentially said that if and when the Republicans decided to agree with him on something, he was ready to move forward in a bi-partisan approach. From a historical perspective, most of his predecessors struck a much more conciliatory tone after having suffered such a significant loss to their party. But not President Obama. Just think. Those of us foolish enough to take the time to go out and vote, well, we are the voice of the minority. He takes his cues from the two thirds who chose to stay home. We have to be living in the Twilight Zone or Bizzaro World or maybe they have merged. Did you know that I do political commentary as a sideline? Sorry. But, today I just couldn't help myself. Enjoy your day and join me in praying that God will bless us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, November 10, 2014

"The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background, is that we all believe we are above-average drivers." ~ Dave Barry

Good morning and welcome. It's a another wonderful day here in the ole blogger ranch neighborhood and this one is being celebrated on Monday, November 10, 2014. I am often reminded that Yogi was right, "You can observe a lot just by watching." That's certainly true as one travels here and there out on the major thoroughfares that surround the Houston metroplex. The other day I came up beside a car with those crazy looking wheels and at first I thought there was no driver. It was like I had happened upon the headless horseman because the driver's seat had to have been all the way back and I have not a clue how the person steering the car could see anything at all. I never saw the actual person who was driving. Am I missing something or what? I struggle trying to figure that one out. I can't even begin to guess at how that might be cool. On another excursion I came alongside a would be Thelma and Louise team at a traffic light. The two young women had their windows down and their sunroof open with their radio blaring and both of them were singing as loud as they could. I didn't see any adult beverages but they certainly had left their inhibitions at home. I suppose there's nothing like going for a joy ride right smack in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic. You are right. There's no telling what people think when they look at me. They might wonder if I escaped from the 'home'. Again.

I suppose I've known both ends of the spectrum. When a young man stares up at the sky people assume he must be thinking. When an older fellow does the same thing they conclude it must be senility. One fellow sent this one in to a joke thread out on the internet: ~ Sam and Louis lived in a retirement home. One day they were sitting in the lounge, and Sam turned to Louis and said, “Louis, I’m ninety years old, and I’m full of aches and pains. You’re about my age. How do you feel?” Louis replied, “I feel just like a newborn baby.” “Really? Like a baby?” Sam asked, puzzled. “Yes,” replied Louis, “I’ve got no hair, no teeth — and I think I just wet myself.” ~ They tell me that you know you are getting older when you have run out of things to learn the hard way. I thought of my grandfather when I saw this one: ~ An aging gentleman in the hospital refused to eat a bowl of jello. He told the nurse, "I'm not going to eat anything that's more nervous than I am." My Paw Paw Mac always called it 'nervous pudding'. One last one for today:

God, grant me the Senility
To forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune
To run into the ones I do,
And the eyesight
To tell the difference.

I know I spend quite a bit of time on aging related anecdotes, but, that's pretty much the world I am living in, therefore, it resonates. I do hope that you can enjoy a smile here and there because the process itself is one of the rewards for having made it this far. I do know that when they gave me the 'over the hill' party at age 40 I didn't think that much about it, but now I suppose I've finally reached the place where that seems like such a long time ago. The results thus far: Thankful. That's right. Thankful to God for putting up with me and working on me and for accomplishing a few things through me. I still have a little spunk left. I didn't say common sense. The other day a young whippersnapper asked if I needed help carrying a 55 pound box. I suppose I took that the wrong way. I kind of bowed up a little and then made it crystal clear that I had not even the slightest need of his help. You should have seen me weebling and wobbling down those stairs with that heavy box. But I made it and would have taken a victory lap but I didn't because, to be honest, I was pretty much out of breath. Y'all take care now. You hear? And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"If at first you don't succeed, find out if the loser gets anything." ~ William Lyon Phelps, American Author, (1865-1943)

I understand there are some really sore tongues out there in the political world. I'm not talking about all the talking that may have made folks hoarse. I'm talking about all the licking of wounds that's been going on as many try to figure out how they went wrong. Oh well. As they say, 'That's the way the cookie crumbles.' I'm glad I left the scene at my regular bedtime in the midst of all the election returns coming in before I got myself too involved. You know. Like watching football. Or NASCAR. I didn't want to lay in bed all flushed and flustered by the whole affair. But, it's good to be here at the ole blogger ranch and I am glad to report that we are still at it on this Friday, November 7, 2014. I have never really figured out why I get personally involved in the things I am watching. We are all wired up differently and maybe some of mine got crossed up. That may account for why I zig when I should zag. The only thing that I have learned is to see it coming. A couple of weeks ago I stayed with the LSU/Ole Miss game until the end. I knew it would bother me but I did it anyway. Afterwards, it took me at least an hour or more to get to sleep. How silly is that? Without regard to popular opinion, I'm still going to complain about it anyway. It was a good win for the Tigers even if it was a very intense low scorning game.

We've had us a spell of rainy and cool. That's a pretty good combination to me. I know that's not the case for dodging cars out on the roadways but as for the feels like, well, I kind of enjoy it. (Example: It's 4:15 a.m. as I finish up today's edition and I am sitting here with the office door wide open, it's a refreshing 50 degrees, and I'm working on my second cup of Community. Nice!) The cool brings back memories and the coffee really seems to match up well with what others might call dreary days. I just hope it doesn't leave us completely before the Thanksgiving family gathering. In these parts it might be nice and cool or it could be in the mid to high 80's and humid as all get out. The family get together will be a blessing, no matter what the weather, but, if I have my choice, I will choose cooler weather. It just seems to enhance the enjoyment. Maybe that is a conditioning reflex from all the media that portrays Thanksgiving scenes or it might also reflect those I remember from my past. Sometimes it is hard to figure out which one is which. The stereotype or the actual memory. In my case it's most likely a blended fusion of the two. And, if you are in the camp that likes to wear a t-shirt and sit out in the sun on Thanksgiving Day, well, that's okay too, but maybe not this year.

Blended fusion. That might explain a lot of things but I won't delve into all of that as we close out the week. Everybody says that a message was sent to Washington based on the election last Tuesday. I can't recall too many times in the past when the 'political establishment' paid too much attention to messages coming to them. However, as it relates to individuals, those cleaning out their desks, well, that's the kind of message that did get registered. I just hope someone is keeping an eye on all of them during these last two lame duck months. I would recommend nailing everything down. You know. Just for safe keeping. Maybe that's a little too harsh. Maybe not. I do hope that you will enjoy a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I have enjoyed our time together this week and look forward to our next regularly scheduled visit come next Monday. Lord willing, of course. May God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." - Washington Irving, American Author, (1783-1859)

Good morning. It's good to see you again. Thanks for stopping by. We're trying to get things kicked off here and find it all taking place on the day we have before us, Thursday, November 6, 2014. I think there are 48 shopping days left before Christmas. That puts it out there for us all to contemplate. It seems like it was just eleven months ago in my very first blog of the new year where I had this quote to get us started: ~ For those who are really committed to resolutions, here's some input from a rather famous character: "You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I'm only going to dread one day at a time." (This was Charlie Brown's response to Patricia 'Peppermint Patty' Reichardt's question, "Have you made any New Year's resolutions, Chuck?". The dialogue was in a 1986 animated TV special based upon the popular comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz.) ~ Hopefully you haven't had a Charlie Brown kind of year where you dreaded every day, one day at a time. I do know that for most of us, we did have a few of those kinds of days along our way. Life works that way. While I love this time of year I can't remember exactly when we quit being so very excited about Christmas morning itself. It may have happened when our boys were grown and gone. Now, on Christmas morning it typically is just MiMi and Poppy and she might be sipping on some hot chocolate and I will be enjoying a steaming cup of Community. Come to think about it. Not bad. Not bad at all.

As most of you know I am a sucker for nostalgia. Thanksgiving and Christmas are like the mother lode of memories for me. There's just something about the spirit of the holiday, the attitudes of all my folks throughout the years, and the times of family gatherings that tend to wrap me in their warm embrace. I'm talking all the way back to my earliest memories up until last year's celebration. I will admit my recall might be missing a lick here and there but my oh my how blessed I am to have enjoyed so many wonderful holiday celebrations. I do sympathize with folks who can tell some really sad tales about their unhappy experiences involving the holidays. Promises broken. Homes in turmoil. I get it. That would make almost anyone to have a bad taste in their mouth. I'm not here to say that everything about every detail of my experiences have been like a fairy tale. However, on balance, I can still see us all together, in good times and in bad, and I can once again feel that sense of belonging, the sense of enjoyment, the sense of anticipation, well, all I can say is it's good, very good, yes, very good indeed. And, needless to say, I'm thankful for it.

What's that? You think maybe I've polished them up some? That's entirely possible because I've been known to be pretty good at polishing. In fact, I used to have the most mirrored finish shoes around. I spent time every week working on my shoes. They were spit shined. Literally. Old school all the way. Sorry if that sounds gross but full disclosure demands that I tell the truth. Even after becoming a departmental director I still polished my own shoes. I could have had a fellow come to my office and do it for me. But it was a part of my personal routine. That was back in the day when we all wore suits. You know. Coat and tie. Every work day. I tell some of these younger folks how people used to dress up to fly on a plane and they give that look of both dismay and disconnect. Now it literally is anything goes. Anywhere. Are we better off because we are now living in a 'casual' world? I wouldn't be a good judge on that one. Sorry. I am a traditionalist, therefore, I saw firsthand the benefits of having structure, a dress code, and its accompanying approach to business. That was my experience. And, it's also my story and I'm not feeling bad in saying that I'm sticking to it. What? I'm living in the past? Maybe so, but that's how I roll friend, that's how I roll. Take care, have a wonderful day, and may God bless each one! Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preparing for my 50th High School Reunion: "And now I can't wait; they've set the date; Our fiftieth is coming, I'm told. It should be a ball, they've rented a hall At the Shady Rest Home for the old." (joking only)

The day after. Finally. I suppose for the politicians, regardless of the party they represent, they now can either prepare for the office they were elected to, or get ready to become a lobbyist or some type of government bureaucrat at least until the next election cycle. (Except for those who are in runoffs.) That's more or less how it goes in the revolving door of politics. Good morning and welcome once again to our time together for this day, Wednesday, November 5, 2014. The good news? The seemingly unending repetitive political ads have been shelved and we can enjoy a little peace and quiet, at least for the time being. (Denver set the record with over 78,000 TV political ads.) The wife and I are planning on attending my 50th high school reunion in a couple of weeks. It will be a quick trip to Louisiana and I've been thinking a lot about those I graduated with. Recently one of the ladies posted our yearbook photos and stated we only had 15 in our graduating class. Really? I knew it wasn't a large class, but 15? I actually thought there were more than that. Maybe that's why I did as well as I did in terms of class ranking. You know what I'm talking about. Big fish in a small pond. Or a small fish in a large pond. I know many of these reunion deals is where folks try to impress their former peers in all they have accomplished. Maybe I will think of something between now and then. Yeah. I know. I can always use the Santa story, if all else fails. Thanks for reminding me.

You know that I am just joking around. I thank God every single day for the life He has given to me. I thank Him for the family I was a part of growing up. I thank Him for the girl I found over 50 years ago. I'm thankful for the way in which He has always provided for us in terms of gainful employment and in the family He provided to us. I'm thankful for having been a teacher of the Word of God for more than 35 years. This might not fit someone's idea of accomplishments but faith and family are the biggies in my life.  I'm forever grateful for the brothers and sisters in Christ who have been a part of my sojourn here. Many of them have gone on to their reward but they too contributed to my life. I thank God for the talent He provided to me, the abilities he allowed me to develop and use during my time here. I'm not saying I ever maximized the potential that I could have achieved, however, I am thankful for all that God has accomplished through my life. And, finally, I tell people all the time when they ask me where I am headed that eventually I'm headed to my heavenly home. While that at times gets a puzzled look, it's the fruition of my faith in the God who has made me the person I am and I do look forward to being in His presence forever and ever, Amen.

I remember two young ladies in a Church we were a part of many years ago. They both busied themselves preparing to attend their 10th reunion. They were serious about their preparation. They essentially went on a starvation diet. They had something to prove. They wanted the fellows there to observe what they had missed out on. It seemed to be really personal. Since I've only attended one of my reunions and that one was back in 1984, well, I'm sure there may have been some posturing going on among those who attended. We no doubt talked about jobs, family, accomplishments, and all the good things that had happened to us. That was thirty years ago. Most of that crew are now retired and doting on their grandchildren. We really don't have much to impress others with and hopefully we all have discovered the most important things in life. That would involve our relationship with our Savior and our service to Him and to others. I can't remember that coming up back in 1984. But, we live and learn. Right? Let's hope so. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.  ....More later.