Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Carl Bard, Scottish Theologian, (1907-1978)

This is it folks. The very last day of 2015. (Thursday, December 31st) What we could've, should've or would've done in this current year will pass away when the clock strikes one second after midnight. I don't know of anyone who didn't have in mind a number of things they would have liked to have accomplished that are yet to be completed in 2015. I sit here thinking about several I had on my mind but they are yet to be finished. While it is not easy, coming up with goals, changes, improvements, intentions, plans, new purposes, aspirations, desires, wishes, dreams, and hopes are not the most difficult part of the process. I'm pretty sure we all know that. It is the taking of the necessary steps and actions to see them accomplished that challenge us. I guess it's good that we have the ability to roll over those uncompleted that are still important to us. That may not always be the case. But, if it is the case this time, well, we have to take advantage of it, roll them over, and figure out how they will be finished in this brand new year of 2016. Believe me, I can come up with many reasons or excuses for why I didn't get them done. Those can be quite convincing. Yet, the truth remains. I need to get them done or as that comedian fellow says it, "Just git er done."

I could say that my goal was to become better at being a procrastinator but I know that wouldn't fly. (I do, however, like that one very much.) There's always the option of blaming others. I love that option. Don't we all? Yet, when it comes down to it, typically it is mostly that trio who has gotten in our way. You know the one I'm talking about. Me, myself, and I. I can look at a lot of things I did get done. That's always helpful too. I have a calendar book. I've been writing in them each year since the 1970's. It's good to review the year and see not only things left undone but to celebrate those that were accomplished. I intentionally did some things that were important to me. One example I thought about was to find ways to honor my aging parents. For me, that meant time. You know time. Right? That's the thing we all have way too little of in our busy busy world. But, that's one area where I feel like I did accomplish some of what I intentionally committed myself to. I'm not patting myself on the back. Just sharing an example. I love it when my mom and dad say they feel honored because of something I did on their behalf. That was my goal. I have a few others like that one where I set out to make progress and I did make progress. Sure. I'm pretty bummed about those I didn't get done but I encourage us all to not neglect those areas where, with God's help, we did make some progress. Celebrate those and be thankful for them.

How do we deal with all these challenges that tend to complicate our making progress? Be thankful to God that you are able to pursue change in your life. Yesterday as I was driving into work at 4 a.m. it dawned on me how blessed I was to be, yes, driving into work. I woke up on time. I was refreshed and ready to get on with my day. I was able to have an anticipation for the new day before me. That caused me to pause and thank God for those things. I know. That sounds very cliche but it hit me that it was a bigger blessing than maybe I had stopped to think about. And, at the same time, it means on this day, the last day of 2015, I have been given the breath of life in my body, and the thought process to write this blog, and the knowledge to assess my year and think seriously about where I would like to go in 2016. Can't you see those things are all blessings from the Lord God of heaven? Because they are it brings me to my final thought on this final day of 2015. These are blessings, therefore, I must, you must, we must, consider the sentiment of the question Saul (Apostle Paul) had when he came face to face with the living Lord of the universe on the road to Damascus: "Lord, what will You have me to do?" (Acts 22:10) That would be a tremendous place for us all to start our plans and aspirations for 2016. It would. It really would. Have a great last day of the year and may God bless one and all as we embrace the new one as He provides. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Life can be pretty funny, that is, if you take the time to watch it.

Good morning and welcome. It's Wednesday, December 30, 2015. I'm doing my best to get back into a more normal routine. That includes paying attention to my diabetic condition. I was worried about how the holidays may have train wrecked my discipline. Yesterday I stuck that little projectile into my finger, hit that blood droplet with that test strip, and ended up with an early morning fasted reading of 98. Since I heard no other bidders I'm more than happy to take it. Doing the Santa business in a somewhat affluent area, I had a steady stream of requests for the American Girl Doll. Those are somewhat pricey at around $100 plus depending on which one and the accessories. The accessories themselves can be pretty expensive themselves. The folks who have these dolls are serious about them. In January they will be offered a new accessory. A diabetic test kit for the doll. This comes after years of petitioning by those whose children have to use the kit and they wanted their dolls to have the same opportunity. I won't even venture a guess about whether that is over the top or not but if it helps a younger person to deal with diabetes, well, I suppose I can support that any day of the week. And, I am also thankful for that 98 reading. Very thankful indeed! Amen.

The wife and I were driving and listening to a radio program where a lady was talking to a group of ladies at a conference of some sort. It was being aired on the Focus on the Family network. This lady gave her attempt to make a funny. She said the story goes like this: ~ There were three very wise spiritual men attempting to make it to a certain destination. They came upon a rushing river and tried to determine how they might be able to cross. The first man prayed to God and asked that He be with him as he attempted to swim across. He then cast himself into the raging water and though he nearly drowned he did finally make it safely to the other side. The next man asked the Lord to give him the means to cross. Suddenly he spotted a raft and climbed in and with great rigor he finally made it to the other side. The last man cried out to God and asked that He give him wisdom in crossing the river. That man was immediately turned into a woman who looked at a map and spotted a bridge not too much further ahead and she made her way to the bridge and easily to the other side. ~ There was a thunderous uproar of laughter from the crowd. I coyly asked the wife what was the meaning of this little story. She snapped back without hesitation and allowed how that I knew all too well how men are too stubborn to ever ask for directions. Talk about stereotyping! I thought they had laws to protect us from stuff life that.

So here's one that might get the ladies going. ~ A group of ladies at the retirement center were talking and the subject turned to their aches and pains. "My arms are so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee," said one. "I know what you mean. My cataracts are so bad I can't even see my coffee," replied another. "I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a third. "My blood pressure pills make me dizzy," another contributed. "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," winced another. Then there was a short moment of silence. "Thank God we can all still drive," said one woman cheerfully. ~ I think I've seen most of those ladies out on the roadways from time to time. Just having a little fun. That's all folks. Don't take it all so seriously. Just do a little laughing out loud and enjoy your day. Also remember to thank God for all that He provides to us. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thankful to be continuing the journey that God has provided to me.

Hello Tuesday. The last one for 2015 on this 29th day of December. The wife will soon busy herself in taking down all our Christmas decorations. She does a wonderful job of transforming our home into a wonderland of Christmas celebration. We have a few maintenance items to take care of regarding our alter egos, The Santa Claus and his Mrs. It mainly involves caring for the outfits. We have been talking about replacing Mrs. Claus' dress this year. I wore my new Suit this past season. It was very well received. It is smaller and more comfortable than its predecessor and I didn't wear any padding this season. I did get a few questions about the absence of a big belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly. The parents typically jumped in and explained how Santa had become health conscious. Really? Today I changed to the black and white photo to give you an idea about my normal persona. I continue to get questions about the beard. To cut it back or not. That seems to be the question. I've run into folks we knew well a number of years ago but haven't seen them for a long time. They had seen the photos on Facebook but they were not completely aware of just how Santa looking I had become in person. They were taken aback a little. "That's some beard!" But, time to get on with my regular life that we do our best to handle some ten months out of the year. Instead of people mistaking me for the jolly old dude they might just offer me some money for a bit of food and a cup of coffee.

I do want to send a shout out to my sister Jo Ann. Today is her birthday. Somewhere along the way she became overcome with a particular very much sought after attribute: Caring. She cares. About a whole lot of things. It shows. She thinks about the plight of others. Constantly. She will be the first to share a missing person notice. She doesn't have pets herself but she respects the love that so many do have for their pet companions. She has leukemia. Thus far it is the treatable form. She has many other health challenges. She is a campaigner for those who suffer from serious diseases, especially cancer. She loves family. She loves history and memorabilia about family. She hurts when others hurt. She loves sending cards to cheer up others. Everyone needs a Jo Ann in their family and I'm thankful God put her in ours. Happy Birthday Sis and may God continue to bless. Amen.

The President is still on vacation but he continues to make us all aware of what he plans for his last year in office. I respect the office he holds. I respect him for being able to achieve that office. His liberal philosophy runs counter to everything I hold dear. He now says he will find every way possible to impact our nation with ambitious change before he leaves. Those in the House and Senate who claim to be on our side have pretty much capitulated before, during, and after when it comes to mounting any type of opposition to these assaults against our traditions and our way of life. I for one do not want to be like some other country where anything goes. I mention this to prepare us for what might be coming but at the same time I must remind myself and everyone else that God is in control. He permitted this man to rise to power. He permitted this man and his followers to undermine the basic respect for God and His laws for humanity. He permitted. But, He will one day make all things right. He will. I know He will. I have His word on it and He has never failed to keep His word. We can't count on anything in this world but we can always count on God. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Don't be overly excited, it's only me, myself, and I.

You thought I might be off on a time of R and R, didn't you? (That's rest and relaxation for those who may have not seen that written in that way for a while.) No. I'm here at the Company where God has blessed me to have a job. It's Monday, December 28, 2015 and I am happy to greet you once again. Our owner and my good friend and brother in Christ has typically shut down the Company until after the New Year's holiday. This year we are blessed with more work than we can shake a stick at. Many of these projects are on a short schedule. We consider this to be a tremendous blessing from the Lord. I am out and about and among many who do the same kind of work we do. So many of our fellow competitors are in the ditch, big time! They have laid off workers and some are basically holding on by the skin of their teeth, so to speak. Why? Price of oil Baby, price of oil! That's why I came in today. I want to help with this workload anyway that I can. We know not what the future will hold. We do know that if the oil crisis persists we will likely see some impact eventually on our business as well. But, we always thank God for His provisions. He alone is worthy of our praise.

We do need to thank God for His provisions. Even as I sit here I can see in my mind's eye a number of faces that have been devastated by the loss of their jobs. I've been there and done that so I know how that feels. Don't worry. The unemployment rate is 5% so they can probably find work really easy. Maybe. But, the feedback I hear doesn't show that to be the case. That is not how it typically goes. Especially if you are in the oil field related business. I remember the President talking how positive these lower oil prices will be for the economy in general. I told you then and I remind us all again that if they continue to fall there will be a payday someday. I don't know where those lines cross but I've been at it long enough to know they will cross and there will be a price to pay for rock bottom oil prices. Just little ole me and my own portfolio of experience. They have their number crunchers and I do my own. Pray for those in this situation. I am praying for them. Amen.

I did a Santa appearance at an upscale grocery store near the big mall in our area. There's a number of high rises around that area so they have quite a bit of foot traffic from those who live nearby. The parking there is about as impossible as anything you have ever seen. Mom and children are dropped off and they end up waiting a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes for dad to come after finding a parking spot. This is somewhat of an international hub as well. I had folks having their pictures made from France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain, China, and other places I'm sure I didn't pick up on. They love Santa no matter where they come from. I would say this store to a great extent caters to upper middle class and I noticed when I was leaving that a varmint of some kind had met its demise and was all laid up in one of the medium street islands where they have trees planted. The vultures were there but they appeared to be a little more sophisticated than their country cousins I typically see out on the rural roadways. They kind of pranced around. They may have had an accent but I didn't stay long enough to find out. Some of them looked like they had on tuxedos. The power of suggestion at work. Even the vultures in that area get the benefit of the doubt. I'm not making it up. I'm only reporting my observations. You will have to decide what to make of it. I'll let you think about that for a while. In the meantime I bid you farewell for now and I send along a prayer that God will watch over us all. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, December 25, 2015

We very much wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

It's here, it's here, it's here! We have anticipated this day for some time now. All our clan (some 22 of us) are supposed to be here in our home today. That's not so easy these days with so many going in all directions. Another Christmas Day, this one comes to us on December 25, 2015. I bet I've wished folks a Merry Christmas at least 1,000 times while wearing The Suit in high traffic areas. Here's something interesting. If anyone was offended they certainly didn't show it. Nearly everyone repeated Merry Christmas back to me. Not all but nearly everyone. Those who didn't typically acknowledged my greeting with a wave or a nod. Some were so focused on their getting to where they were going or back to where they came from they just stared out into space. If this greeting is so offensive to so many people I would think I would have had at least one indication of it. But, that brings us back to this very day. We are planning a family day. A day of feasting and fellowship. We are planning a day that will begin with prayer and the reading of the Biblical account about why we have a Christmas Day.

Sure, there will be presents. I saw a slogan on a billboard that read: Presents are good but His Presence is the best! I agree. From our family to yours: May God help us all to have a joyous day, in Jesus Name, Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." Famous quotation from Ebenezer Scrooge as written in the book, 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens.

Good morning and welcome to the official Christmas Eve, here on this December 24, 2015. I say official because Twitter has a running gag this week each day with a Christmas eve eve eve eve, etc. The scene above is from a 45 second advertisement that was planned for British cinemas to remind everyone of the real meaning of Christmas. It will not be showed because it was deemed to be too religious. The short film ended with the baby giggling and a voice over saying the Christmas season truly begins with love. Well, there you have it folks. The film doesn't promote any particular religious affiliation but in our politically correct insanity world that we live in it will not be seen at the movie houses. The British tabloids are all over this story, therefore, more people may hear about the Real Reason after all. I'm sure glad I know the truth about the coming into our world of the Christ, our Lord and Savior. I feel bad they made that decision but how could any of us be surprised. Right? Since the purpose of the short film was to remind folks about the Reason for the Season, then you and I can pause to thank God once again for sending His Son into a lost and fallen world to seek and to save those that were lost. Have a most wonderful Christmas Eve and may God bless one and all. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James

Wednesday already? It's almost like it's a short work week. Oh, I see. That's because that's exactly what it is! Welcome once again where the countdown continues here on this wonderful December 23, 2015 date. One last thing about our Santa season. I do not exaggerate when I tell you the people the wife and I have worked with are some of the most gracious and wonderful folks who breathe air on the planet. I'm talking about those who invite us and organize our events. I won't bore you with all the nitty-gritty details of how challenging this work can be but I did lose three pounds during this season's merry go round. My point is to contrast the difficulties against those who have been so kind and accommodating to us. The Junior League folks, Mindy Harmon and her professional photography team, the Chick-fil-A folks, and HEB are just a sampling of these I am talking about. Here's just one of so many examples: The lady who coordinates our HEB store appearances is so wonderful. She remembered that our wedding anniversary falls right in the time when we are so busy. On my last day in one of their stores, she and the store manager presented the wife and I with a special cake to honor our 51st anniversary. We knew nothing about it. Just one little story. I could tell you more. Yes. Contrary to popular belief Santa is a very taxing role to play. But, are we blessed or what? And, do we live in a great country, or what? Amen and Amen!

As one might expect it has been an up and down day by day, moment by moment journey as our dear Bro. Milton's saga continues. If you have ever been exposed to hospice care you know the value of this service to those dealing with potential life ending illnesses. Their work is priceless but it is also a sobering and gut wrenching event to have them attend to your needs. They are professional and they know how things typically unfold based on the best medical knowledge and their long experience. This is the early stages of their involvement in Bro. Milton's care. I've been thinking a lot about just how a preacher becomes so beloved. In the pulpit Bro. Milton could thunder with the voice of God as he did his best to make clear the message of God. As a pastor, evangelist, servant of the Lord, friend, and brother in Christ, I can't think of anyone I've ever known who was more selfless, meek, and humble as he dealt with and moved among people. I don't know that many people period, including men of God, who are known for their genuine humility. I do know one. Bro. Milton. And, I thank God for this testimony and pray God's closeness to him as he continues to write this final chapter of his life. May God care for him and all of his precious family. Amen.

Bro. Milton's testimony also reminds us all that having Christ in our lives is the number one need, the number one fulfillment, and the number one certainty of an eternal life in His presence. Cleon, the elder brother in the wife's family is a very wise man. He thinks before his says something. Recently, in talking with the two girls he told them this, "In many ways this is what Milton has worked for his entire life." That is absolutely the truth. My oh my. I've thought about that statement many times since I first heard it. We are all headed somewhere. We get up every day and make progress towards that destination. If we have made Jesus the Lord of our life then we are on our way to our true home. We are headed there every moment of every day. Cleon was both prophetic and he was also accurate in his assessment. We are saddened by this circumstance with it's pain and the coming separation but at the same time we rejoice in knowing that we too are headed for the same exact place. That, my friend, is pretty exciting and I thank God for the assurance of our heavenly home. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things." ~ Thomas S. Monson

Good morning and welcome. It's Tuesday, December 22, 2015, and I am happy to report that The Suit has been retired for this season. This has been our busiest season ever but very rewarding in so many ways. I believe it was this way because I mostly focused on the children this year. Too often it is easy to be distracted by the technical details, the set, the photographs, the parents, and so many other related issues. I more or less just let those things take care of themselves. The photo is our little great grand, Madi girl, (Madelyn Joy). The first shot is of her before going to Church. She loves Church. It was taken in our eldest son's home, our Chris, her Paw Paw. The others were with you know who. Funny thing happened when she climbed into the sleigh and sat down. Hello? I finally recognized her. Poor old Santa. In this case, poor old great grand Poppy Santa. I was embarrassed a little but so glad to see this girl. They say Christmas is for children and I know that's true. Children of all ages, but, especially so for a soon to be six year old. We are so looking forward to Friday, (warm, rain, or shine), to be with our gang. That's always a day we look forward to and one that we cherish.

The different venues where I was able to represent Santa allowed me to come in contact with children from all over the world. Literally. Our nation is truly a melting pot. Those here and many who are here visiting their relatives. There are just too many special moments to share but one little Oriental girl sticks out in my mind. She was maybe 2 going on 3 and she spoke perfect English. I mean clear sentences. She knew a lot about Santa. She did the ho-ho-ho with her own added sound effects. She did it with such gusto. I could learn from her. Her mom could just mention something and this beautiful child was off and running. They videotaped her and I singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas. There's no telling all the places those photos and videos will be seen. It reminded me of the love Jesus had for the little ones. He knew them. He loved them. He also knew they needed to know Him. Jesus surely did love all the children of the world. I hope I've been able in a small way to demonstrate His kind of love for the many I've been privileged to meet this year. Amen.

Ministry Team - Timber Lakes Baptist
It's always a wonderful exchange when I get to minister to others as the jolly old elf. This year I've held a number of mentally challenged children who were beyond excited to see Santa. The hardest thing for Santa is to hold back tears whenever these innocent little ones are in his arms. Yesterday we were able to be at an apartment complex with the ministry team from our local congregation. This complex caters to seniors including those with physical or other limitations. The ministry team is there every Monday for a service with these individuals. This was the Christmas party they have every year and I showed up to make photos with the folks that live in the apartments. All I can say is my heart overflowed with compassion for those there along with thankfulness and respect for the ministry team that has done this for so many years. They have gotten to know these people very well. They pray with them each week. Many times they help them with their personal errands or other things. And, they do love Santa. That guy. He sure gets lots of accolades. I should have known that I would end up doing something well where I don't even get recognized. That's okay because I have a heart full of sweet memories from this season. We can hardly wait until Friday when our entire gang will be in our home once again. So many blessings. Too many to count. But, always enough to say, "Thank You Lord!" Amen. .....More later. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

"I have never tried to walk through a mall in the Christmas season dressed like a jolly old elf. You might as well dress up like a pork chop and walk into an alley full of starving dogs." ~ Thomm Quackenbush, Author

This is it. It's Christmas week and I am off today. That's right. It's Monday, December 21, 2015, and I took a day of vacation. We are doing a Christmas party for some senior folks this morning at an apartment facility that our local assembly ministers to each week. You are never too old for Santa. We did photos with these older folks last year and it was one of their favorite parts of the party. I know most of you are probably tired of Santa stories but I've actually shown great restraint in only sharing a few along the way. Last week we were in a couple of Chick-fil-A's and they had a lady come to do photographs. The photos were to be emailed to each person later. The photographer is a wonderful lady and we got to have our pictures made with her children one evening. The photo in my blog is of her little girl. She was simply overjoyed to see us and could hardly contain herself. The lady wrote on her Facebook page how that she must have really failed to get the communications clear with her little girl. Because that night after her visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus when the little girl was saying her bedtime prayers she thanked Jesus for Pappa and Grandma Claus. Here's my response: I'll take it. Any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

I cannot tell a lie. That little girl actually wanted to sit in Mrs. Claus' lap. They always look at me and say, "Sorry Santa, what can I say?" I look at Mrs. Claus and she has this broad beaming smile. She looks like they just gave her a prize or something. I don't want to make a scene so I typically refrain from giving them my opinion on the subject. This child may turn out to be a renegade. If she is choosing Mrs. Claus today, what will it be tomorrow? You do know I am just joking around. Let me tell you that this little girl and her brother were both beyond precious. And, their mom, the photographer, is a sold out believer in Jesus who sees even her work in taking pictures of families as a way of witnessing to others. One thing the wife and I can be sure of is how that we have met some extraordinary people in our years of portraying these characters. One lady just went on and on about how cute we looked together. I couldn't help myself. I said, "And just think, they sent her over from the agency." My wife shot back, "Yeah, some 51 years ago." Oh what fun we have. We really do. I mean it.

My mom may be 91 but she still worries about her little boy. He may be nearing the 70 mark but she is still concerned that I get plenty of rest and that I try not to over extend myself. She told me the other evening how the wife and I, because of our age, needed to begin to rethink all these adventurous escapades that keep on us on the run. She didn't use those words exactly but that's more or less what she was talking about. It's no secret that this Santa has not felt 100% over the last couple of weeks. Doing 18 hour days including showing up and bringing joy far and wide, well, that is taxing even when I am at my best. The good news. God has helped me to do it and I finish my last two appearances today and if I make through them I think I should still be pretty much all in one piece. I'm thankful my mom still cares. I'm thankful others do as well. I'm even thankful my wife says I'm the most stubborn person she knows. I won't go into all the details but she seems very much satisfied that she knows that for a fact. I know Paw Paw Mac was considered to be a stubborn and determined man. That puts me in pretty good company even if it might not always be putting my best foot forward. Twenty one appearances have come and gone and now it's time to get on with the really important stuff, our special upcoming Christmas Day family festivities. I can hardly wait. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, December 18, 2015

We come to this day with so much on our list to thank the Lord for. Amen.

 *** Yesterday we were saddened to learn the outlook for our dear Bro. Milton. The cancer is widespread and the experts are saying his home going could be within a few weeks. This brings sadness to our hearts as we think about his family. However, we are so thankful for his testimony of faith and his knowledge that God will be with Him in this final chapter just like He has been with him throughout his life. Fifty-one years ago today the wife and I stood before a young preacher boy, as they called him, Bro. Milton, and we said our vows. As I thought about this man of God the inspired announcement from the Apostle Paul came to mind, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2nd Timothy 4:7-8) Please pray for the family as we deal with this situation. ***

Today is Friday, December 18, 2015. This is a big day on our calendar each year. I'll start with today being the anniversary of the 51st year since the wife and I said "I do." The other evening an African American lady came over to us where I was doing my Santa program. My wife was in civilian clothes but this lady asked her if she was The Mrs. Claus. My wife told her she was and that she often wears her uniform as well. This lady was so very gracious and told us both that we were a perfect match and what a blessing it was to see the joy being spread from our work. I told her we were soon to celebrate our 51st and she immediately pronounced a blessing on us both. Sincere and spontaneous, this lady encapsulated what I feel when I think about the wife that God provided to me. She is remarkable. She makes me better. That is noticed even when she is just there as my driver and supporter. It shows. And, I am so glad that it does. Thanks so much darling for this great adventure because I do know what I'm talking about when I say, "Baby, you're the greatest!

That's our Mitzi on the right with her sister Tina. They are inseparable.
Today is also our Mitzi's birthday. She is the wife of our youngest son Rodney. We thank God for Mitzi and her devotion to her family including our three grandchildren, Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady. We pray God's blessings on her on this, her special day. Amen. Love, mom and dad.

Today is also our eldest grandson's birthday, Jimmy Don Jr. He is 19 today and we pause to thank God for him. He is the eldest of our middle son Jimmy. This young man has a lot of potential but he's also had quite a few challenges in his life. We pray for him that God would provide a way forward as he seeks to become a productive member of society. Happy Birthday Jimmy and may God continue to lead, guide, and direct your way. Amen. Love, mimi and poppy

Bottom line, we do have so much to be thankful for, and we are. May God continue to take care of our family and to help us all to use the time He has given to us to accomplish His will for our lives. Thanks so much for allowing me this forum to share these blessings. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and with God's help I will check in with you come next Monday. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." ~ Aldous Huxley, (1894-1963), Novelist and Philosopher

The other evening we were in Bellaire, Texas for an appearance at a very busy Chick-fil-A. The store itself was pretty small and so crowded they moved me into a tent on the parking lot. It was very balmy that evening. Santa doesn't do well with balmy but what a blessing when my brother Victor and sister-in-law Maria showed up. As most of you know we are a part of a huge blended family and these folks have been a part of our lives for nearly forty years. These two. They are the real deal and I so much appreciate them coming and visiting with the wife while I did my thing. Don't forget to remember to be thankful for your family. This too is a gift from God. Amen.

Okay. I get it. It's Thursday, December 17, 2015, and kids, I mean little kids, are really more mature than they were when I was a little whipper snapper. Games. They all want games. Five year olds crazy about games. That's okay. Right? You know, maybe a learning game. Or, a game designed for their age. Think again Bucko! I'm talking those kinds of games when dad butts in and proudly announces their kid has mastered the most violent blood and guts game on the market. I know I'm just the Santa guy doing my thing but that doesn't sound like a good idea to me. What say you? This is not the case with every little guy but it is way too many of those who seem to be longing for the next release of some kind of sniper game. I thought about how it was when I was a kid. It was so much simpler in those days. About the only thing that plugged in would have been a train and we didn't have any of those. Back then what was I thinking about? Finding a good looking stick to play with. Playing outside. All day. You won't be surprised how many times the little ones have had to leave my lap to go and help mommy get her phone set up to take a photo. More than a few. I'm not trying to make some grandiose social indictment here, just pointing out the need to allow our children to be children. I see so many adults who seem to be so proud their kids are not immature. You know, like young kids should be. In my opinion. And, my opinion matters, because I'm the one who keeps the Nice and Naughty list.

As most of you know I am an observer of all things that come up on my radar screen. (Or, more accurately, my TV screen.) Last Sunday evening our local professional football team played in the premium time slot. Being chosen to play at this time was considered by many to be an affirmation of the prestige and potential this team carries. The local NBC affiliate hosted a one hour pre-game show. It was hard to watch. One would have thought we were hosting the Super Bowl. I am not exaggerating. It was so over-the-top it made for good comedy if nothing else. I can't remember any team with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses coming into a game getting this kind of build up. It was giddy. They played what is thought to be by many pundits the best team in professional football. That team, the New England Patriots, lived up to their reputation. Our team played like a 6 and 6 team, losing in a final score of 27 to 6. They say some 70,000 people showed up. The hype was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The big build up and then came the even bigger let down. Pretty sad stuff if you ask me and I'm just giving you my two cents worth from my reserved seating found in my recliner. (Full disclosure requires that I admit to switching between reruns of NCIS and Marty Stuart during this fiasco of a game.)

Because our team is in a very bad division some people are going bonkers because we might actually make it into the playoffs. Maybe in the back of their minds they are thinking that whoever we might play would call in sick that day. Don't get all huffy on me. I'm just giving you my man-on-the-street observations. I don't need a lecture on what it means to be a true fan. I saw plenty in that pre-game show that had it written all over themselves, literally. And, I do hope they do well. I really do. That's always exciting. However, spinning and hyping mediocrity does not do much for me. Let me see. It's Thursday. Right? I've probably had my hands on seven or eight hundred kids this week. Likely that number is higher. And that was only three different Chick-fil-A's. I can honestly say that Mrs. Claus and I know what it means to play to a standing room only crowd. Three hours straight. Hardly even a second to catch our breath. Bottom line, some of the most lovely children in the world came to see us and we were privileged to help them make a memory. That's what we do and it is pretty rewarding. Fatiguing? Sure. Frustrating? At times: Absolutely. A unique and wonderful blessing? Amen and Amen. See you next time and may God add His blessings to each one. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"United States foreign policy, which includes national security, is literally disintegrating before our eyes." ~ Rush Limbaugh

We wake up, take stock of the day, thank the Lord for it, and we find that it is Wednesday, December 16, 2015. You do know that I can't make this stuff up folks. Did you hear about why Homeland Security did not see the social media postings of the female terrorist? They have a ban on looking at those postings out of fear it might offend particular individuals and groups. (Actual ABC News Headline: Secret US Policy Blocks Agents From Looking at Social Media of Visa Applicants, Former Official Says) She had posted and her rants were available to view where she expressed her desire to commit Jihad. They didn't look at it. They didn't want anyone to be offended. They would look at mine if I applied for a job. They would look at yours if you applied for some program. But, those individuals seeking entrance into our country, oh no, we would not want to risk some bad relations with particular individuals or groups. This decision to maintain this ban on the review of social media was made by the Homeland Security Director himself. Isn't it interesting they care so much about not offending the rights of non-citizens while they seemingly trample all over the rights of legitimate citizens? These problems originate at the very top and they become systemic throughout the system based on those individuals appointed to high office. Could something had been done to prevent these most recent killings out in California? We may never know the answer to that question but what we are finding out is chilling enough. In fact, I could hardly believe what I was reading. But, when we are living in the Twilight Zone, anything is possible. Anything at all.

I'm just reading the stuff that everyone else reads. If that one doesn't get our attention I don't know what will. The other day I purchased a gift online and had it delivered to the store. I listed the wife as the person designated to pick up the product. You would not have believed all the information I had to provide on her in order to qualify her to pick up that package. They were not concerned about my or her privacy. In addition, they indicated she would need to bring a copy of the email confirmation along with her valid identification proof. I'm not being facetious here. If Toys-R-Us can take steps to make sure only the right person picks up an order, it seems our government could do at least that well on folks screened and granted approval to enter our country. I think one of the reasons we are getting these bits of information in pieces is to somehow lessen the blow. Release it all at one time and everyone might wake up and smell the coffee. Doing it piecemeal and all the lemmings go about their business without noticing the huge danger among us. I know. That was intentionally dramatic. I was checking it out just to see if anyone is seeing what I see. Okay. I think I had better take a cool down and get back on this one later. We can all go back to our normal routine now.

I do appreciate those of you who stay until the end. Who knows? I might actually have something positive before I close down for this edition. The other day I had a couple of well dressed children who came up to me, a boy about 12 and his sister about 8 or 9. They wanted their photo made and I asked them what they would like for Christmas. In that ringing British accent the young girl spoke first, "Kind Sir if it is possible I would like a new dress for my dolly." The boy piped in, "I would like a new bike but a recycled one would be just great." He then added, "We don't want to ask for too much because we would not want to be greedy." Mummy and Daddy observed all of this and stood there with a very approving look. They seemed ever so sincere. Sorry. I was locked into that cheerio and all of that lingo stuff. They were refreshing to say the least. "We would not want to be greedy." Now that's a value our children could all learn from. Some might think the two page list for a five year old is cute but I think these two have their priorities in proper order. At least that's what Santa thought and he was, after all, an eyewitness to the whole caper. Have a great rest of the day and I'll keep reading and see if I can find something for us when we get back together. Until then, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don't be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do." ~ Dr. Billy Graham

Welcome one and all on this Tuesday, December 15, 2015. I know yesterday's visit was more of a sounding off but those things do bubble up to the surface from time to time. I understand the President is working this week to reassure everyone how the government does have control over these threats since polling indicates his address from the Oval Office did not make people feel safer. I watched his address. It certainly didn't make me feel safer. In fact, it was more or less a message that said we are going to continue doing everything we have been doing because it is all working. Really? Maybe he is now learning how that everyday folks have differing ideas about what the word 'working' means. I suppose when one says what they are doing is working and everyone who hears that thinks the opposite it may be time to make some adjustments. It seems they spend so much time trying to convince everyone how the greatest threat to our daily way of life is climate change that it gets in the way of protecting our way of life from those who have sworn an oath to do what they can to destroy our way of life. Climate change may be on the top of the President's list but most Americans would prefer to see protecting us from being blown up or blown away as our top priority. I'm just offering up some feedback from my perspective as one who really does try to think these things through. You have that same privilege as well. At least for now. Use it while you can.

We did get us some rain and wind this past weekend. There were lots of tornado warnings in our area and we feel blessed not to have had one touch down near our place. We did get the rain. I know we need the rain. We got it. Water was pretty much standing everywhere. A lady in our neighborhood was having her wooden fence torn down and a new one put in its place. Those fellows worked straight without stopping. In the rain. The soaking rain. The blowing rain. While I admire their tenacity, I'm not sure I agree with the execution of their work schedule. I remember when I would come into the house wet from being out in the rain and my grandmother would ask, "Don't you know that God gave you enough sense to get out of the rain?" I've been wet before, even recently, from working. But, I can't remember ever working in a blinding rain storm like those fellows. My wife made the comment they must be getting paid by the job not by the hour. I never even knew she was a labor expert but I think she may have hit the nail right on the head on that one.

One thing I've learned is that while sitting in the Santa chair you don't have to be able to speak the same language in order to communicate with children. The Christmas language is one based on excitement and love. The messages come through using smiles and high fives. The joy of it all shines through. This past Sunday our class read again as we have so many times before from Luke's Gospel Chapter 2. That is where we find the account of how the Reason for the season came into our world. It wasn't like the religious leaders would have planned it or did it even meet the expectations of the masses. However, reading it again as if it were the first time I was struck by it being God's plan, God's purpose, and God at work. Those He chose to be involved were obscure kinds of folks, out of the mainstream, but, they had something that God valued then and still does today. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna, and the shepherds, they were not part of the recognized elite but they were part of God's recognized people of faith. They were genuine believers in the Lord God of heaven. They were those who practiced the commandments as best they knew how from the inside out. They were not perfect but they were people who lived out their faith in God. Common. Ordinary. Day by day people. That, to me, is very remarkable. We often say the rest is history but in this situation, it's HIS-story.  The Greatest one ever told. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, December 14, 2015

"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not Guilty'." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Welcome back. It's Monday, December 14, 2015, and I have this old tune on my mind as we get our day started. "Christmas Time's A-Comin, Christmas Time's A-Comin, Christmas Time's A-Comin, and I know I'm goin home." That original sentiment was sung to different tunes and dates way back in our history. A number of revisions over the years have been done including a popular re-write that was sung by Bing Crosby. Speaking of going home for Christmas reminds me of this great homeland that we have, the United States of America. Last week I heard the testimony of three different agencies giving their rendition of the facts regarding the granting of a fiancee visa to the female terrorist that helped kill and wound all those people out in California. Getting these facts are very important in evaluating our vetting procedures when foreigners seek to enter our country. Here's something that will not surprise anyone. The three different agencies' accounts had clear discrepancies in terms of their agreement on exactly how she was allowed in without further scrutiny. One said the procedures were followed to the letter which begs the question of why follow up was not done since she used a fake address on her application. Another said the formal process has been adapted over time and some of the particulars were not typically covered as a matter of practice. The last one differed some from both of their predecessors. Granted, it was three different committees asking the questions. I suppose had all of them been at the same table they would have had a better handle on making sure they all had the same story. I'm not surprised because this is how our government typically works. Having these kinds of disconnects do not make any of us feel safer and they surely don't make us feel confident in our government's ability to  prevent similar attacks going forward.

I know that's not necessarily a pleasant or positive piece of news to get our work week started but these are serious matters that do have an impact on us all. Those families directly impacted by this terrorist attack can vouch for that. Their lives became forever changed because of the actions of this radicalized husband and wife team. I told you a few days ago about how the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) discovered during an audit that some 70 plus of their own employees were on a terrorist no fly list. The President wants to ban all people on these no fly lists from purchasing weapons. There are issues with this approach since people don't know they are on a list and the various lists have been shown to be riddled with errors. That may have to be worked out but meanwhile, here's something he and his administration could do. Don't hire people to work for our government and especially those in our security apparatus if they are suspected to be a potential danger to our homeland. Duh! That sounds simple enough. Right? Maybe they could start there. What's wrong with that? Well, for starters, it makes a lot of common sense which is a concept in Washington that is at the top of the endangered species list. I may get myself on a list if I don't move on to a new topic. But at least you know some of my thoughts on the subject.

The neighbors did notice unusual stuff going on with these two Jihadists. Why didn't they report them to the authorities? They did not want to be singled out as racists. The government's 'See something Say something' doesn't work in a climate where every nuance of every detail is handled as if it is some great discrimination. There's a huge filter this administration has deployed. It covers our entire land. It is the filter of political correctness. Suspicious activities that may have prevented this most recent tragedy went unreported because of feared repercussions if those reporting were to become identified. They felt like their lives might have been ruined. In other words suspicions don't count, you had better be 100% correct, period. As they used to say back home, "That, my friend, is no way to run a railroad." It's also no way to protect our nation. Early on some of the liberal commentators wondered out loud whether this employee holiday party that became a killing field may have been a provocation to these devout Muslims. They speculated that someone may have even used that incendiary term CHRISTMAS and that may be what set all of this in motion. I kid you not. If we are not living in an episode of the Twilight Zone I will eat my hat. With that, I do not rest my case, I've just decided to take a time out. I sure am glad I am a believer in the Lord God of heaven because He and He alone can be trusted with our future. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, December 11, 2015

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." ~ Winston S. Churchill

Good morning America and I am proud to welcome you to our little sit down for today, here on this Friday, December 11, 2015. One of the positive developments within social media is the awareness of people in need. There are a variety of funding utilities that people use to try and help raise money for every kind of situation imaginable because that's exactly what happens to people, every situation imaginable. From little ones with chronic and critical medical needs all the way up to trying to raise funds to pay for funeral expenses. I haven't seen any that jump out at me as being unreasonable or unworthy. However, the sheer magnitude of requests is not only daunting but by and large, they are overwhelming. My heart would love to respond to them all. But, that's just not possible. Some have concluded since they can't help them all they will just not help any. I've not gotten to that point but I will say it is challenging especially because the needs are great. I'm glad these tools are available to help people and I'm thankful that we have been able to respond to a number of them. One thing we can all do when we see an appeal of this sort. We can pause and pray. That might not seem like much but God can do so much more than we can. I think I will add an Amen to that one. So here it is: Amen!

Someone was telling me the other day how they finally came to realize how God would place something in their heart and mind. When a need or a person or a situation keeps coming to them they said it took them a while to appreciate it was God urging them to do something. That's not a bad thing for us all to be aware of. God actually calls on us to do specific things in serving and helping others and we often may miss out on His moving if we are not tuned in and paying attention. I can identify with this as well. There have been times when I hesitated and afterwards I was left disappointed that I did not heed God's call to do something. It would do each of us good to develop a sensitivity to His working in our life because when we miss out on an opportunity to be His help and His hands, well, we also miss the blessing that comes from bringing honor to Him. When the Apostle Paul was rehearsing his sacrificial ministry among the Ephesians he had this to say:  "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" That's found in Acts Chapter 20, Verse 35. I've actually heard pastors teach that verse to say it's better to be able to be a giver than to be the one in need of receiving indicating having something is better than being in need. That doesn't work for me. It is better to have a genuine giving heart, period, like the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. That verse is also interesting because those words of Jesus quoted by Paul are not found anywhere in the New Testament. This has baffled Bible scholars over the years. Paul got much of what he knew from supernatural revelation but in this case he may have quoted what was a part of the commonly understood oral tradition indicating this as a statement by our Savior. Amen.

It's been a challenging week but one that I am thankful for. The other evening we went across the Houston metro expanse where I as Santa sat in the Chair for 2 and 1/2 hours. It was at a very busy fast food establishment. This event was a melting pot example. I believe nearly every nationality, creed, and color was represented in the faces of these beautiful children. I couldn't help but think about some of the words from the children's song, Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world and they are precious in His sight. I know I am a good Santa but not just because of the suit or the real beard. I'm a good Santa because I too love these children and they are precious in my sight. I actually think that comes through. That doesn't mean that some of them are not out of control and in need of some loving discipline. Us older folks know what I am talking about. "Applying the board of education to the their seat of knowledge." That is in and of itself a demonstration of love when it is properly administered. Well, what have we learned today class? Some sermonizing on what it means to have a giving heart and how that children are special to God. That's likely enough for me to say grace over, what say you? Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will do my very best, Lord willing, to see you here on this same station come next Monday. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This is the day the Lord has given, let's make it the best it can be with His help. Amen.

Good morning and welcome one and all to our time together here at the ole blogger ranch. Why don't you mosey on over here, pull up a chair, I'll get you a cup of Community, and we'll spend a little time visiting? It's Thursday, December 10, 2015, and I am glad to report that it's a good day to look up and give God the glory for He and He alone is worthy. I read a news item this week about a fellow in Florida who was at a restaurant celebrating his 57th birthday. He chose their Bison steak. He got choked on the steak and despite the fact that one of those with him was a registered nurse they were not able to save him and he died. He was celebrating. One of his companions did say he was excitedly wolfing down that steak. Choked to death. On his birthday. Out having a good time. That was not at all what he or any of his companions had in mind. Life can be like that. It may not be something as tragic as that outcome but we do get ourselves all worked up based on our expectations and there are those times when reality crushes what we had in mind. This can lead to disappointment and frustration. I think maybe working on our expectations would be a good place to start. It reminds me of what the writer James said in the New Testament letter that bears his name, "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." (Chapter 4:13-16) I think that provides an excellent balance as we approach our day by day living. Amen.

I want to give a shout out to my sidekick and helpmate for more than 70% of my life, the Mrs. Claus, and wonder woman to all that know her, my wife. When we first started doing the Santa Enterprise stuff she wasn't sure if it was a good fit for her. But, the more that she made appearances it has been the more people have warmed up to her charm and grace. Many no doubt saw the photo I used today on Facebook. The one shot of us kissing was done at the birthday party for Jesus at our local fellowship. The first time I saw it I was immediately reminded of that 1963 photo where we are standing by the fence that leads to the garden at her parent's home, the parsonage where they were living. I actually knew where that photo was. I fetched it and scanned it in and then made a comparison collage. With her brother Milton still undergoing evaluation and with her sister Dorothy still recovering from her earlier health challenges she has had to be in many different places seemingly at the same time. Somehow she has maintained her ministry outreach efforts and I know how blessed I am to have her by my side. Some people think I am the real Santa. If I am I can assure you she is the real Mrs. Claus and so much more! I thank God for her. Amen.

I was going to say something about how that 'white haired lives matter' especially as it pertains to Santa and Mrs. Claus but I chose not to because some folks tend to be overly sensitive when I talk about that subject. One thing is clear. All lives matter to God and that's a fact my friend. He is the ultimate 'all of the above inclusive God' and I am so thankful that he doesn't look upon the physical externalities like so many do today. Some have proffered how the Apostle Paul may have suffered a physical ailment that distorted his facial features. Some believe this was his thorn in the flesh. There are a few references with regard to his personal features that were made fairly early on in the Christian era. One modern writer summed these up in this way: "His exterior did not correspond to the greatness of his soul. He was ugly, short, stout, plump, of small head, bald, pale, his face covered with a thick beard, an eagle nose, piercing eyes, dark eyebrows. His speech, embarrassed, faulty, gave a poor idea of his eloquence." (Bible Hub Commentary) This is the man God chose to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles and to plant local assemblies everywhere he went. It reminds us of how those of this world view things versus how God sees them. I'm glad God chose Paul because eventually the Churches he was used to start sent folks out all over the world including places where my ancestors lived. And, the rest is history and I am thankful for it. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them." ~ Mahalia Jackson, (1911-1972), Beloved Gospel Singer

Hello and welcome. Today is Wednesday, December 9, 2015. When I sit in the Chair I get asked a lot of questions. I also hear the wishlists of kiddos of all ages. Recently we did a program for a large gated subdivision out in the country. This man, his wife, and three children approached me. They wanted photos of the three children individually and then all of them together. After that they requested a family photo. In talking to the three children I was so impressed by what they asked for. With no hesitation whatsoever they asked for something that would be a help to others or an item that reflected upon their faith. I had already guessed that the man was a pastor but the sincerity of the children really got my attention. It was clear that mom and dad loved Christmas. I could tell. But, more importantly, they wanted the season to be a part of their witness and testimony. These children were not prompted at all. It touched me and it reminded me of what Moses had to say to the parents of the little ones after they had left Egypt. ~ “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." ~ Deuteronomy Chapter 6, Verses 1-9

Some might conclude these children are being brainwashed. My observation of their situation would lead me to a completely different conclusion. They are being taught priorities in life with God and service to Him at the top of their list. This reminds me of a communications executive who told me once that he and his wife were undecided about religion. They really couldn't find any good reason for being involved in it. He asked what I thought. He said he had heard that I was one of those who go to every service. He added that it must be making business contacts that motivated me. I told him that wasn't it at all. I told him I believe in everything the Bible has to say about God and about my need of Him from Genesis to The Revelation. He seemed surprised. He said he and his wife were going to let the children decide for themselves when they get to an appropriate age. He also put forth how that he and his wife did not intend to influence the children one way or the other. I very politely told him that he was influencing his children every single day and because of that they would likely end up adopting the views of he and his wife.  I don't know about you but I prefer the approach the folks are following as indicated in the first paragraph. That's my take.

I know I've shared that little story before. But, when that's what comes to mind I throw it out there. One thought triggers the next and that's how we get to where we are on today's page. What about misfires? That, my friend, is an occupational hazard when you do this everyday and do it working without a net. When that connection process finds a match I start humming that song from the Disney Frozen movie, "Let it flow....Let it flow." You do know I'm just messing around. Yes. The Frozen movie franchise is still relevant to little girls of all ages and I've had plenty of requests for Frozen/related articles for Christmas. Star Wars continues to be big. Imagine that. They somehow have kept that whole genre alive and I get requests for games, Lego sets, and all kinds of figurines, light sabers, and related gear from little kids who were not even being contemplated when that first movie came out in 1977. (I read a blurb that said people were already in line out in California waiting for the new Star Wars movie which will not be shown for another 12 days.) Talk about staying power! These little kids are asking for toys from something their dads were excited about and even in some cases, perhaps their granddads. Hats off to those who figure out how to sell their wares. Okay. I see they are giving me the sign to wrap it up for today. If I don't leave the stage now they will use the hook. Take care, enjoy the blessings God has given and may He be honored in our lives. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dr. Seuss: "How did it get so late so soon?"

Hello once again to everyone tuning in for today's program. All who know me know that I am very much a creature of habit. I pretty well go about my business the same way very consistently. This is what I was thinking about as we anticipate the day before us, on this Tuesday, December 8, 2015. I've easily had contact with over 500 children over the past week. Mom and dad do not always use good judgment when bringing the little ones to see Santa. I've seen my fair share of runny noses and those that were clearly not feeling well enough to pose with Santa. Some of these little darlings had the opportunity to sneeze into Santa's face and they seized it. Bottom line, even Santa is going to end up catching a little of something now and then. I've been fighting this scratchy throat over the past several days. I've been chug-a-lugging Dayquil like I was thirsty for it. On Sunday evening I decided to up my game a little. How can the man who is known for his predictable schedule break out of his routine? Well I did miss my internal wake up call because of one little word: Nyquil! Fortunately, Mrs. Claus was able to get my attention at 4:20 a.m. and I was up and running again. I wasn't on my regular schedule but I was able to get on with it. See? I am human after all. Just so you know.

I know times are always changing. I understand how the things we enjoyed growing up are not even on the radar screens of today's youth. Tastes change. Trends today are all over the map and they change by the minute. Social media has a lot to do with what's hot and what's not. I thought about this as we watched some of the TV program dedicated to what would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. It was interesting. A huge orchestra and some beautiful voices sang the songs of this legendary singer known as the Chairman of the Board. To me, it was a stunning reminder of great talent demonstrated in wonderful songs that could be understood and appreciated. I would doubt very many youth of our day would give a flip about those kinds of songs. It would in a word be BORING. Instead, they would rather give their time and attention to people who wear out the computer tuning equipment just to stay on pitch. I'm not being critical, just sharing my thoughts. Come to think about it, I do that quite often. Right?

After all, you are talking about a fellow who still can't figure out how hip hop can be either music or entertainment. I've actually tried to listen to it. I just can't even approach how it could be something anyone would want to spend time listening to or watching someone do it. I know some think I'm way past due for an upgrade to the software in my brain that runs my set of programs each day because they are likely way past their expiration date by now. I don't deny that. On most days I'm kind of impressed they still operate at all even in a degraded mode. When we used to pack up everything for our annual Christmas gathering with our folks the boys would settle in for a long car ride. We had 8 track tapes to listen to and then we upgraded to cassettes. We had this one Christmas tape that I really loved by Roger Whittaker, the Canadian Crooner. When I plugged that tape in our Rodney would flip out. He wondered if hearing that over and over again constituted child abuse. You know what? I still occasionally call up Roger's music on YouTube and enjoy it again along with reliving the memories of us running down the road while Rodney covered up his ears with a pillow. There's a moral in that story somewhere but for the life of me I don't exactly know what it is. Y'all take care now. You hear? And, may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.