Friday, January 30, 2015

"I rant, therefore, I am." ~ Dennis Miller, TV Host and Comedian

Good Friday morning. January is on it's way out as I say hello to one and all on this 30th day of 2015. I've been storing up some rants. I don't won't to call them complaints, just statements of fact expressed with a slight grimace. I know what came first. The hype. I'm talking about the hype involving weather systems. You may have noticed how they are now naming winter storms. This most recent one up on the East coast was named Juno. Shutting down New York City is costly. Very costly. They currently estimate the cost to be in excess of 200 million dollars with most of that hitting small business owners and hourly employees.  Last time I checked, there's a huge difference between 6" of snow and 36" of snow. I agree with the be safe versus taking unnecessary risks, but there's a reason the meteorology folks have issued a formal apology. They got it wrong. Here's my theory: When you commercialize every aspect of weather reporting and I mean every single detail, you will get these types of blown up projections. Stay tuned. There's more to come later. You already know that weather hyping is one of my long term irritants. How about those 18 wheelers? I have nothing against the trucking industry or the drivers who are out there trying to make a living. But, folks, having those monster vehicles on every street, be they public, commercial, or residential, I'm telling you, that is a recipe for disaster. They are everywhere! I know. The drivers are trying to take whatever route they can to get to where they need to go as quickly as they can. I'm out and about quite often and I'm just a lay person when it comes to traffic and transportation issues, but, allowing folks to be surrounded by huge trucks in their own neighborhoods does not make sense to me. Period. And, best I can tell, it's on the increase. Those are a couple that came to mind. I do have more. I'll save them for another day.

I saw a chart in the Washington Post listing the deadliest jobs in America. It was put together based on the total number of deaths per 100,000 workers due to fatal on-the-job injuries. I was not surprised to read that logging is the number one deadliest work. Growing up in a rural area like I did there were plenty of reported mishaps involving those out in the woods each day harvesting trees. I saw a fellow a few weeks ago at our 50th High School reunion that started out in the pulpwood business. Back in the late 1960's I was home one weekend and I saw him and his brand new pulpwood truck. Brand new. A tree had fallen on the passenger side of the truck and smashed it nearly flat. He said he was fortunate not to have been in the cab. You think? I remember as a kid observing some of the men in our local Church who were crippled up because of injuries sustained in logging while others were missing fingers. My grandfather actually had his nose cut off once in a sawing incident while out cutting down trees. While waiting for a haircut one day I met the man who did it and he told me what was really impressive was how that my grandfather received no narcotics while Dr. Stephens sewed it back on. They then returned to the woods. That sounds just like my Paw Paw Mac.

Another week has come and gone. I know I've been all over the place this week. In fact, that Hank Snow country tune comes to mind. "I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere." Occasionally, I randomly choose a blog I wrote in the past. Back in May of 2010 I wrote one that had this title: "Please don't leave a salad for Santa, he already knows he has a weight problem." Weird? I thought so too. Sometimes when I read an old one I feel pretty good about it. But not always. There are times it makes we wonder what in the world I was thinking. I feel blessed because I have personal contact with many who read my stuff everyday. One fellow told me recently that he almost always finds something to chuckle about. Another lady indicated that she often comes away encouraged. When it comes to this faith journey we are on, it's like a wonderful old pastor friend of mine who used to say, "Remember we are all fellow strugglers." (The late Dr. C. H. McBryde, Pastor and devoted Church planter.) Strugglers is a good word even if my blogging spell checker doesn't like it. Webster said it was okay. It has to do with being strenuously engaged. The point is that life is a gift but it can be challenging. Therefore, you and I can help each other through our caring and sharing. In my case, every little bit helps. And, I thank you all for your support. With that, I bid you a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and know that I will do my very best to see you right here at our meeting place come next Monday. May God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Snoopy on love and romance: "You can't hurry love or pizza. Especially pizza."

Today is comic strip day here at the old blogger ranch. No. It's not an official holiday or anything like that. It's just a day where I find myself thinking about the comic strips I like and what that may or may not say about me. It sounded kind of interesting when I thought of it. Okay, that's what I have for you on this Thursday, January 29, 2015. The comic strip that I look at nearly every day is Dinette Set by Julie Larson. Occasionally, I like to look at a few others, just in passing. BC. Peanuts. And, Luann. (Please don't ask me why?) About once a week I also go through a compilation of all the most well known political cartoons. Most of them are drawn by very liberal folks but there are a few conservative representations. I took a little test that supposedly shows my Comic Strip character personality. I tried to answer each question honestly. I scored 100% on one particular character. I can't say that I am too happy about it. You guessed it. Charlie Brown, Peanuts. If that don't beat all! Poor Charlie. And, I suppose by association, poor me. Just thinking about it makes me break out in song: "Why is everybody picking on me?" (The Coasters, 1959) I would demand a recount but since it was self administered I'm not sure who to send my complaint to.

Most of you know that we are not pet people. We have nothing against pets. Our boys had different ones at different times when they were at home. We just don't have any and while we may mention what it would be like to have one from time to time, for the most part we really don't care to have any. This makes us a little different from the mainstream. I'm not sure what would happen to Facebook if all the photos and information about pets were to be suddenly removed. It would most likely evaporate. I read this week about a lady who has undertaken a bucket list tour of a lifetime. Not hers. It was for her dying 160 pound English Mastiff. The dog suffered from bone cancer and had a short time left. The lady carried him to the ocean and to other scenic places that she believed he would enjoy. She is thinking about writing a book to help others to cope with the loss of a beloved pet. I remember people who worked for me who had to miss work because of the death of a pet. Sorry. While I can appreciate the connection part, I have trouble identifying with this type of devotion. I can say that with no bad feelings towards pets, none at all. And, I do cringe a little when I see those signs that indicate you shouldn't trust anyone that doesn't love a dog, cat, or whatever. I sure hope folks don't feel that way about me.

I watched a number of video reports and listened to others and read quite a number of the testimonials from those who survived the Auschwitz Nazi Concentration Camp. Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of that facility at the end of WWII. Over one million Jews were executed or they died from deprivation, abuse, or illness at that one camp. Most of those who I heard talking were teenagers at the time they were deported and they are now in their mid eighties or older. They only survived because they were deemed able to work. Thousands upon thousands were not given a chance. They were marched straight from the trains that brought them there directly to the gas chambers. It is not possible to comprehend this wretched process dedicated to the annihilation of an entire race of people, the Jews. Unmentionable atrocities were the norm. My heart ached as I heard these survivors talking about their brothers, sisters, and their moms and dads who did not make it out. My eyes could not hold back the tears. Some say these death camps serve as a deterrent to would be tyrants today. Tell that to those who film the beheading of innocents in the name of their religion. I know some will consider this to be a downer but let me leave you with this final thought from the Apostle Paul concerning his people, the Jews. "I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the descendants of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.." Paul goes on to say there is coming a day when the Jewish people will be renewed and redeemed. He, Jesus, is their only hope just like He is our only hope. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

“I'll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I've gotten to building my own time machine.” ― Samantha Hunt, Author of 'The Invention of Everything Else'

It's hard to get a handle on how fast time moves. You look away for a moment and then you look back and discover that it is already Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Lately I've been doing some time travel in my dreams at night. No thank you. I don't need the name of a good analyst. Not because I don't need one, but it is a little late for that. I think I get into that mode when I'm getting ready to start a new Bible study series. For several weeks I've been preparing to begin a verse by verse study of the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. When I am in that time travel mode I go back and talk to the characters I've been studying. They see me. I see them. I understand them and they understand me. I know. Hebrew or Aramaic is not my native tongue but when you are working this out in real time during dream time, well, those are hardly obstacles that cannot be overcome. Last night I decided to travel back to have a conversation with Abraham. He and I were sitting near the fire and enjoying some fellowship. He looked a little smaller than I would have thought. And, I can't give you all the particulars of the conversation but I did enjoy the visit. I know some likely think that stuff like that is pretty absurd and that I am perhaps a little off kilter. All I have to say about that is this: You don't know the half of it.

If you're thinking that you have always wondered about me, well, you are not alone. I've felt the same way for about as long as I can remember. The good news is that God loves me and He loves you, and He loves every person in the world. That's a universal truth. You know: "For God so loved the world." We may be as different as night and day but if we recognize God's love and respond to it, well, we become connected to each other as children of the living God. I was talking to my Bible study class last Sunday about what we will be finding as we study through the inspired writings of Isaiah. Simply put, there's a lot of God's response to His beloved people when they failed to honor Him and when they chose to live in a way that was not in keeping with His instructions. This meant chastisement which is seen in the people having to endure punishment, pain, and displacement. I know. That's not popular but the theme of Isaiah is God's Holiness. Today we mostly present a happy happy happy message and leave out the expectations that God has for His own. His unconditional love does not mean that He will allow His children to live in disobedience to Him. In fact, His love is why He will exercise parental correction, as the old preacher used to say, "Keep disobeying the Lord and He will warm the backside of your britches." Why? Because He wants what is best for you, for me, and for all those who are called by His name.

No. I don't have any sermon tapes or a 1-800 order line for other materials. I'm just sharing and when I do, be very aware that there's always a particular individual who is first in the receiving line. That's right. Me, myself, and I. You wouldn't be surprised to know that dealing with that one is a full time job. As they used to say back home, you have to get up early and stay late to have any hopes at all with that one. We read that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and I am so glad he did, and so thankful for God's grace in my life every single day. Speaking of memories, the other day we had some fellows sitting here in the shop office shooting the breeze about their mutual farm and ranch activities. It reminded me of the days back when I was a kid and I would sit and listen to the men talk around the wood stove at the hardware store. This new version included everything from raising corn to breeding cattle. It included lots of laughter especially in some of the trial and error stories. Not the kind of thing we hear very often in a sheet metal fabrication business but it was in many ways a good distraction that I did enjoy. What's that? You don't think it takes much for me? I sure hope that's true. Take care. Remember to remember to be thankful for all the blessings that God has given. Amen.     .....More later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." ~ Mark Twain

Good morning. It's Tuesday, January 27, 2015, and I bid you a warm welcome for today's visit. Speaking of warm, this area is known for its erratic weather patterns. We have a 75 predicted for one day this week but more cold and rain coming later this week. You just never know exactly what might be coming next. Meanwhile, our fellow citizens up on the east coast are bracing for a blizzard that could well topple historical records. They are using words like crippling and paralyzing to describe this weather event that may dump up to 3 feet of snow in places like New York City, Boston, and points north. While we loved seeing the snow out in New Mexico we'll take the erratic ups and downs here compared to a blizzard. I saw the mayor of New York City doing a press conference to try and inform people about this threat and how they should prepare to survive it. I don't really know of any area anywhere that doesn't have some potential threats. We have hurricanes and the potential for flooding in our area. Others have tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides. It reminds me of that passage from the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the local congregation meeting in Rome, Italy. "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." (Chapter 8, Verse 22) Paul further explained that the creation itself will one day be liberated from the bondage that came when sin entered the world. Paradise restored. Now that will be something indeed!

I read through a list of the 10 best weather places in the world. Guess what? Everyone of them had a 'however' followed by some type of potential weather related event that could occasionally occur. I don't rest my case but it is good to know that we will only experience perfection when our Lord comes to make all things right. We sometimes look to our own machinations to try and make what we think will be a utopian situation. Reality has a way of making it clear that this is not something we can accomplish. No matter how much planning, we just never know what might happen. I've mentioned before about an uncle who did everything right to start improving his health. He did his doctor visits. He built up his strength over time in preparation for running his first marathon. That day came. He was ready. He ran well but suffered a heat stroke and after six months of being in a vegetated state, he passed away. I'm not saying folks shouldn't make plans and engage in exercise and other activities. But, we all should be aware that outcomes are in God's hands and everything we do should be done with this recognition. Here's how Brother James put it: ~ 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. ~ (James Chapter 4, Verses 13-16)

No. I am not planning on turning my blog into a theological commentary each day. But, to tell the truth, it more or less runs on its own set of rails, so to speak. If I decided not to publish every blog that I wasn't completely satisfied with, well, there would not have been that many to read. I realize that some days I do myself quite a bit of rambling around from one discombobulated thought to the next. I've told you before that I, for some reason, like using that word discombobulated, and try to use as much as I can. Why do I like it? I don't have a clue. Maybe it's because it looks odd, different, or maybe I'm a good example of its meaning. (It has something to do with being confused.) But, as my mom tells me that I use this one way too much: it is what it is. I do know this. You can't go wrong when you quote the Word of God. It can take care of itself because it has the power of God within it. As for the rest, all I can say is to stay tuned. When Paw Paw Mac used to wonder out loud when I was talking on and on, "When will that boy ever come up for air?", well, that might be something to consider as I get closer and closer to the 2000th edition. We will see about that. In the meantime you can just have yourself a blessed day and may God help us all to do the same. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"The reason gas prices are so high is because the oil is in Texas and Oklahoma and all the dipsticks are in Washington." ~ Yakov Smirnoff, Russian-American Comedian

Good Monday morning and welcome back as we do our best to deal with this January 26, 2015. Having spent most of my working years for an oil company, I am very sensitive to these large layoffs that are being announced by the energy based companies. I lived through or more aptly put, I survived the 1980's oil bust where the Houston area experienced what many called a depression. I well remember the day that my department of 150 was reduced by 25. Most of those who lost their jobs had years with our company. On the news sites where they report this current round of layoffs there are comments made by the readers. So many express happiness over the lower gasoline prices and some say some pretty hateful things about the energy related folks who are losing their jobs. I read one who was praising President Obama for finally sticking it to the oil companies. I know the President gets credit for things he has little influence over just like he gets blame for many things that are not his doing. It comes with the job. I read one who called these folks losing their jobs fat cats. One said they were prima-donnas. The worst called them bloodsuckers. One oil company person pointed out to the critics that these folks were their neighbors who paid their taxes and helped to build their communities. Having been there, it is something you never forget. Some of the folks we let go ended up suffering emotional problems that required treatment. Others went years before getting back on their feet. It's not something I would wish on anyone.

Our new pastor has moved into his new home in our area. We are so thankful they were able to find a home and now they have the task of getting everything set up the way they want it. Their stuff had been in storage in another town for several months. While the reason for doing the move is a good one, the process itself can be challenging. We know. We are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and that was over six years ago. We have some particular items that we have as of yet been able to find. We have looked. More than once. We were only out of our house for about three months while it was being repaired but we did have the big clean up and then we stored much of our stuff in one of those portable units. We also left quite a bit in the house. We hope the items we would like to find were not thrown out but that could have happened. Something like that can happen anytime someone moves. If you looked in my upstairs office you would likely think that what we are looking for is somewhere in that stuff stacked here, there, and everywhere, well, believe it or not, I've been through those stacks many times. But, we have not given up hope. In all our searching we also found a few things we had forgotten about. And, I suppose that is a positive thing.

I didn't see it coming. I knew that it would happen eventually but it still took me by surprise. Jeff Gordon has announced this will be his last season as a full-time competitor in the NASCAR championship series. Since he is the driver I started with nearly 15 years ago, well, it's somewhat an emotional hit when I think about him no longer being in the car every week. Our middle son was a long suffering Michael Waltrip fan and he was at the house, the race was on, and he kept telling me to pick a driver. That was the day I decided to follow Jeff. Jeff is the reason I watched the second race, on my own. I know. He's only 43 and he is a very wealthy man and has a lifetime deal with Hendricks Motor Sports. When he walks away he will have done 23 years of full-time racing at the highest level. That's not a bad run. He will certainly be a first ballot hall of fame inductee when he becomes eligible. Most people are calling him a class act. He's been pretty fun to watch over these past 15 years but I do wish him and his family the best as they make this transition. Now, here's what I would like to see happen for Jeff: Go out there and win your 5th Championship in your final season, and go out not just at the top of your game but also at the top of the sport. Sure. There's a large number of folks who will be doing their best to make sure he doesn't do that. Enough about that. Have yourself a good day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 23, 2015

“If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.” — Former Chicago Cubs first basemen, Mark Grace

2007 Spy Scandal
It good of you to stop by today, on this Friday, January 23, 2015. My thinking is a little deflated at the moment. I'm talking about the fact that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the New England Patriots in their recent playoff game were found to be under-inflated by an average of 2 pounds each. That is a serious violation of the rules. That would mean the ball would be easier to throw and easier to catch. I don't know what explanation of how this happened will be made, however, it looks like, smells like, and most experts believe it's the cheating game, again. Remember the Patriots were caught using spy equipment a few years ago to capture the play calling from the sidelines of an opposing team. They were heavily fined and lost several draft choices. Interestingly enough, their opponent in the upcoming Superbowl, the Seahawks, are also known for pushing the limits of the rules. Their coach, Pete Carroll, is known to have the opinion that being aggressive on every play typically means that even if you violate a rule, the officials cannot call it on every single play. I heard a nationally syndicated sports guy saying that it is interesting how the two teams known for playing loose and fast with the rulebook are both winners, consistently. He indicated they were smart because its a business and winning is all that counts. Sorry, but I can't imagine this is the message we want to send to our kids who participate in organized sporting activities. Foul on every play because they can't call them all? I don't buy it, but then again I'm once again showing my fuddy-duddy side. What say you?

I listened to the President's State of the Union speech in its entirety. I caught the Republican response the next morning. Regardless of where one stands on the issues I recommend that everyone check out some of the recognized fact checking sources. They attempt to evaluate the truth worthiness of the statements made. Sometimes it comes down to what was not said or what was left out. It reminds me of that famous quote attributed to the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts." President Reagan reportedly had this one, "Facts are stubborn things." Of course it typically comes down to who one chooses to believe, or even more relevant, who one supports. When I am out and about I often listen to a talk radio station broadcasting the African American perspective. Talk about different views! On just about everything happening. Some of it I can at least appreciate how they come to their opinions. There are other issues that we would just have to agree to disagree. It does, however, help me to be informed.

I deal with people all the time who only listen to sources that agree with their particular view of the world. I don't think that is healthy. Many times they pontificate about things that have been proven to be untrue but they either heard it or read it on their chosen source. Anyone, including myself, can get hold of the wrong information. However, I think it important to do as much as we can to know the facts.  Even though I have my preferences and often voice my opinions, please note that I am always and forever thankful to be a citizen of the United States of America. The only thing better than that is to know that I am also a citizen of that heavenly land and one day I will dwell there. Until then, I need to get on with the life God has given to me. This has been a busy week with many activities planned for the upcoming weekend, therefore, I do bid you a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will do my best, Lord willing, to show up again, come next Monday morning. May God bless us, one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"I guess I feel that I was following my instincts, and at the same time being guided by the best. I became totally intrigued with Louisiana - the people, the food. It is a part of my life. Everything that has happened for me since moving here has just been icing on the cake." ~ Emeril Lagasse, famous chef

 ~ My mom is now at home but still weak from her bought with pneumonia. Thanks so much for praying for her. She is so happy to be back home again. ~
Good Thursday morning to one and all and I bid you a hearty hello on this January 22, 2015. I've told you before about our relatives who are currently into their second year of an extended job stay in South Korea. It's our nephew, his wife and their three boys. These boys are Louisiana kids and have been raised out in the country, on the land, so to speak. You might remember that when their dad was here in our area for a business conference the boys actually went swimming in a pond on the golf course and caught them some turtles. These boys are tough. They are Louisiana tough. I should know. At one time I was very much like them because that's the way I grew up. This week they put up pictures of a special celebration they attended in South Korea. It was 35 degrees. Everyone was dressed warmly. The photo is of their 15 year old Connor. He went into the water and got himself a fish. Everyone else was dressed like Eskimos. I remember once when I was about his age how that I was dared by my buddies to go into the lake in January. I stripped down and went in. It was frigid but I came up out of that water and acted like it was warm. I invited them to join me. No takers. Way to go Connor. You do us proud.

I've been a little peeved at my little flashlight for the last several months. It just became ornery and undependable. I had to keep banging it on my leg to get it to stay on. I have to have it because of opening up our shop buildings in the dark. One day it went out just as I was coming through the door and I walked right into a huge skid that was up on tall supports. Yesterday I brought in some batteries and replaced them in my little flashlight. I now love my little flashlight. It just needed batteries to make it function right. That reminded me of the verse I tell people is my life verse: Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp unto my feet And a light to my path." (I call it my life verse but I really believe we have a life Book not a life verse. Just me.) That verse is thought by some to reflect the shepherd coming down the side of the mountain in the dark. He would have a lamp tied to his leg and one held in his hand. The leg lamp was to help him see the next step while the lamp in his hand could cast some light on the direction he was going. Without the Word as our guide, we have no power, no vision, and no direction. We are just like my little flashlight. I have no idea if that makes any sense but if it does, get charged up today! Amen.

I've talked some about being absentminded and I thought I would share what is reported to be a true story. ~ An elderly lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at them at the top of her voice, "I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car you scum bags!" The four men didn't wait for a second invitation but got out and ran like mad, whereupon the lady, somewhat shaken, proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and get into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried and then it dawned on her why. A few minutes later she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station. The sergeant to whom she told the story nearly tore himself in two with laughter and pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale white males were reporting a carjacking by a mad elderly woman described as white, less than 5' tall, glasses, and curly white hair carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed. ~ Enjoy your day and may God bless us all. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." ~ E. L. Doctorow, American Author

~ Thanks for praying for my mom. She is some better. She hopes to go home today but we will have to wait and see on that one. ~

Okay. We are up and going and a little weary from the dense fog. That stuff will make anyone nervous. Yesterday it was next to impossible and today it was that way in patches. It's an exercise in driving where I think the road might be. Every once in a while you get a glimpse of the dividing line but out on these dark country roads there's not always one to glimpse. Most folks do what one should do. Drive slowly. Most. Not all. I had one fellow riding my rear bumper and he was fit to be tied. Obviously he was in a hurry and for his sake I do hope he has better vision than me. Out here on the back roads you also have to keep in mind the wildlife because I'm not so sure they are that worried about the fog. When I turn in to the entrance here at the Company, well, it gives an opportunity to not only breathe a sigh of relief but also to thank God for helping me to make it safe, one more time. I started to say safe and sound but I knew the sound part would get into the state of mind issues and I thought it best to leave that one alone. How in the world are you doing on this Wednesday, January 21, 2015? I read some critical comments about the insurance company trying to recycle those camels again for their hump day advertising. Their original use of the 'what day is it?' was one of the most successful ever in terms of public awareness but some think they should have left it there because they see the new ones as not only being over the top but slightly annoying as well. It would probably help some if they didn't run them every 5 minutes, but, that's just my thought on the subject.

We've bought into the Frozen mania. We've contributed via buying dolls, a bed comforter, tennis shoes, figurines and other stuff as well. I suppose, at the same time, I am somewhat of an old fuddy-duddy because I do wonder if all this controlling preoccupation is altogether healthy. I do. I really do. That kind of thinking can get you into trouble. A young man was telling me how his little girl is absolutely devoted to the movie. She knows every detail of the dialogue and every note of every song. Old grandpa (me) interjected that this might border on mind control. That was not well received. I caught an earful. He even tried to say kids knowing all of this was no different than me learning songs at Church. What? You are kidding. Right? My wife tells me all the time that folks make their own decisions and I should always remember that it is none of my business. Sorry. But, I will tell you that a child who can sing Jesus Loves Me and the B-I-B-L-E will never be the same as knowing 'Let It Go'. And, I am unanimous in my own opinion on this subject. And, I don't need Paul Harvey as a voice over to tell you "Now you know the rest of the story."

After all, I was only making conversation. Folks are really sensitive when a comment is made about something they are engaged in. Myself included. Some might say my preoccupation with Community coffee is a little over the top. Do what? Others might think me enjoying old time radio is somewhat odd. You talking to me? I never really got involved in the hula hoop craze even though many in my family did. That should stand for something. Right? (In fairness, I don't think I could actually make the thing go round and round and best I can remember that was the point of the exercise.)  If I make it a few more years maybe people will see me as a friendly old commentator who has something to say about everything. Until then I will try to mind my own business but at the same time I am entitled to my opinions. Right? Oh, I see. You think I should mostly keep them to myself? Now that is something I will have to think about. While I am doing that, you have yourself a wonderful hump day Wednesday and look out for any talking camels as you go about your day. May God bless each one including that fellow who thinks learning songs in Church is the same as learning a Disney song. Sorry. I couldn't resist. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Middle age is when you go to bed at night and hope you feel better in the morning; old age is when you go to bed at night and hope you wake up in the morning." ~ Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977) comedian, actor & television host

 ~ Please whisper a prayer for my 90 year old mom. She is in the hospital in Louisiana with pneumonia. Also remember my dad as he sees after her. Thanks.~

Greetings to one and all. It's Tuesday, January 20, 2015, and I am so glad to report that the hangover I have been dealing with is beginning to be a thing of the past. No. I've not been on a drinking binge. I'm talking about this crud stuff that is going around. About the time you think you have it licked, well, here it comes again. The sniffles, the drainage, the coughing. It does have some staying power but I think I'm just about out of the woods after about four or five weeks. Have I ever heard of what? Doctors? You've been talking to the wife. Right? When folks ask what happened to my dad who died at such a young age I always tell them he died of stubbornness. He started out with flu and it turned into pneumonia and by the time he finally agreed to get help and they came with an ambulance to take him to the hospital he was in cardiac arrest due to the build up of fluid. Stubbornness. Maybe it's inherited. You know. It's in my DNA. You do know I am joking. If I felt I needed medical attention I would get it. And, I do have my regular diabetic check-up coming up in February so I will take care of any residual issues at that time. Meanwhile, the Community is tasting mighty good and the way I see it the rest of it can be dealt with. You do know what I mean. Right Vern?

I've been thinking about thinking about when I might begin to consider an upgrade to an I-phone. The other day when we were in that mega sized medical waiting room I noticed a whole bunch of older folks going to town on their smart phones. Pretty impressive. They were texting forth and back or playing games or checking their email or Facebook. Their fingers were flying over those screens. It does get tiresome when folks tell me that I didn't get the message because I don't do texting. I know they are not attempting to be condescending but I get the idea they think I prefer communicating with smoke signals or something. I do hear a lot of war stories about people losing data and not being able to get their smart phone to do what it is supposed to do. I know one fellow who has the latest and greatest but he spends quite a lot of his time dealing with the technical support folks about issues he has with his super duper intelligent phone. It is something to think about. Meanwhile, call me if you need to get in touch. Maybe we could also do an old fashioned version of information exchange. You know. The original meaning of the word chat.

I notice the wife gets a big kick out of my little mess ups. The other day I left the house but I noticed that things didn't seem right. Everything was fuzzy. I had forgotten my glasses. I did have glasses on. It was the HD night vision that I wear on top of my regular glasses. Technically, I had glasses on but the funny thing to me was how I kept trying to clear the windshield. I returned to the house. When I turned the alarm system off I heard her sweet voice, "Hello?" When I communicated the purpose of my return, you would have thought she was watching a Red Skelton sketch. Too much out loud if you ask me. How many times have I told you that you cannot make this stuff up? I pity folks who never learn to see the humor in their own personal everyday life. I even thought that maybe I needed to get out of the car and wipe down the windshield. Oh well, we got the problem fixed and I gave the wife a huge reason to laugh at 3:45 a.m. I think I am beginning to be trapped in one senior moment after another. Those HD night vision glasses are good but they cannot improve on your vision if you can only see clearly for 18 inches. My grandfather always said, "Son, you might as well laugh as to cry." He was right about so many things. Have a great day, find something to smile about, and may God add His blessings to us all. Amen. ...More later.

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Hello once again friends, neighbors, and accidental tourists. Yes. I am aware that I put the wrong calendar date on last Friday's edition. You deserve an explanation. The eye doctor demanded that I either remove my contacts every evening or quit wearing them altogether. That's because of being a Type 2 diabetic. I had been wearing the extended 30 day version for ten years without incident but that did little to sway her opinion. Stay with me here. Since I've never, not even once, been able to put my contacts in by myself, it requires the wife to do so and since that would mean she would have to do that every morning at 3:30 a.m. (which she was willing to do), the bottom line is the fact that I now wear glasses. They tell me I am fortunate because I can see perfectly without my glasses up to about 18 inches. Therefore, I do not wear my glasses when I use the keyboard. The wall calendar is, duh, on the wall. I looked at Friday and the 16 looked like an 18 to me because I am over 3 feet from the wall calendar and last time I checked that's considerably more than 18 inches. I'm not going to mention the doctor's name because she has no desire to go into the witness protection program. Yes, I am aware that you didn't ask for an explanation. I felt compelled to share it but you can skip it if you like. What? You've already read it and it's too late. Sorry. With that, I have checked, and I do believe that today is Monday, and it is the 19th day of January, 2015, and much of our nation is on holiday in remembrance of the late civil rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr. As for the calendar mishap, I did correct the official copy held hostage somewhere out there in the blog kingdom because someday it might resurface and I wouldn't want it to be misleading. Got it? Thanks.

I recently listened to an in-depth report from the BBC regarding the concentration of wealth in the United States. If asked what is the richest city in the US many would immediately choose New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Those are not in the running. The richest per capita city in our nation is none other than the Washington, D.C. area. It, along with the surrounding suburbs, are home to those who influence or have direct control over the spending of 1/4 of the funds available in the US economy. Yet, this area produces only one product. Government. From the halls of Congress to the executive branch, millionaires are very common, if not the norm. Lobbyists, contractors, and government employees that support this massive outlay are also a part of this booming infrastructure. The city itself is an enigma. With all of this wealth, DC itself is known for its corruption, its crime, poverty, and unbelievable waste. These are the findings in this report. I report, you decide, but there is something for us all to contemplate: No wonder we are in such a mess.

I am not insensitive to those who prefer that I would not write about political matters. I enjoy the funny stories as much as anyone. It is, however, a daily visit, and the stuff I write about reflects those things that make up my little part of the universe and that includes a wide range of subjects including the political climate we live in. We also all have opinions. I would be the first to say that I am not always right. I've actually had folks contact me when I had the facts wrong in my blog. Those wrong facts caused me to voice conclusions that were not warranted. Made aware of my misunderstanding, I dutifully did a retraction in my blog and thanked the person for making me aware of the situation. My mom reminds me from time to time of how my grandfather used to say that if you don't vote you give up your right to complain. That sounds good but to tell you the truth, in America you can complain anyway, whether you vote or not. You can even be wrong. I do attempt to fact check my work. But since I am a staff of one, stuff can slip through the cracks. I also strive for balance and I always try to remember to thank God for His goodness and His grace, mercy, and love. Whatever I write about, having Him on our side gives us all hope. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Busch said Driscoll repeatedly asserted her assassin status and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South America and Africa. He recounted a time they were in El Paso, Texas, when Driscoll left in camouflage gear only to return later wearing a trench coat over an evening gown covered with blood." Deposition by Kurt Busch, NASCAR Driver, regarding his girlfriend

Good morning class, and welcome. We find ourselves opening up today's session and discover it is being broadcast on Friday, January 16, 2015. As I started out at 3:30 a.m. this morning I wasn't that focused on the warm up of the weather as I sat waiting on the defroster to clear the ice on my windshield. But that's just me. Okay, here's the deal: Many people know that I am a NASCAR fan. I struggle with calling myself a fan but I do watch it when it is on when I can. Recently one of the top tier drivers has been embroiled in a problem involving a physical altercation with his girlfriend. The court documents reveal that he has testified that he believes his girlfriend to be a trained assassin who travels the world to kill targeted people. Bizarre? Yes! And, laughable also, but, this has not kept folks from piling on the sport itself. One conjectured that perhaps all those years of turning left has messed with this fellow's mind. Major sporting news outlets have also joined in the taunting. I never wanted to become a NASCAR fan. It happened about fifteen years ago when I was forced to choose someone as my favorite. I didn't know that much but I saw Dale Earnhardt Sr. talking smack about this clean cut fellow named Jeff Gordon. I chose Jeff and the rest is history. What's that? Is it true that I also watch the trucks, the mid-tier division, as well as the top level cup series? Yes. Yes. Yes. When I can. I would only remind everyone that one kook does not define an entire sport. If that's the basis then I could go into the other professional sports if forced to do so. Just a warning my friend, just a warning. By the way, the Daytona 500 is coming up in only 36 days, 17 hours, and 38 minutes, that is, at the time I wrote this. Just so you know.

Several weeks ago when our then 8 year old Brady killed his first deer it reminded me of my younger days as a hunter. I can't remember being allowed to go until I was probably 12. We certainly didn't have the gear and equipment that are in use today. I can remember shooting the first gun they let me use, the 16 gauge single shot. That old gun kicked like a mule and I would come home with bruises on my shoulder. Another thing I remembered way back then was reading a book by James Fenimore Cooper, 'The Deerslayer'. The book was written in 1841 and for some reason that book had an impact on me. I found it at the Gutenberg Website where it is free and I recently read it again. It took me several days of reading a chapter here and there. The main character initially named the Deerslayer reflects a man committed to his honesty and integrity, even to his hurt. Reading it again, I must admit there are parts of that book that actually made me look away for a minute and also some passages that brought a tear. I can only imagine what it must have done to me as a young fellow. I passed on the information to our Rodney but I'm not sure our Brady boy is ready for that yet. But, it is character building and I hope he will one day enjoy it like I did.

The Republican House has deleted funding from the Homeland Security Budget for the executive actions taken by the President. How it will ultimately turn out no one knows. This has to do with the President's unilateral orders, without the consent or participation of Congress, to implement his view of what should be done about the illegal immigration issue. Here's my problem. Those items are small potatoes in this more than 40 billion dollar budget. However, all the administration folks are saying our nation is at risk because of these changes. They are threatening every kind of calamity imaginable and saying that we may suffer the same kind of problem that we saw in Paris because of these budget changes. This, to me, is beyond the pale. Over 99% of the budget as requested will be approved. The changes reflect an effort by the Congress to reclaim the authority given to them in our U.S. Constitution. The dire warnings from people who know better border on the ridiculous. As I say, I do not know how it will all turn out but sometimes these games being played are enough to gag a maggot. I am sorry for the extreme, unpleasant word picture. With that cheery assessment I end our visits for this week and commend you to your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless each one and may God bless our nation. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yogi Berra was 100% correct: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

Yep. It's me again. It's Thursday, January 15, 2015, and they tell us that we might just get a glimpse of that big bright yellow ball that you find up in the sky and it is supposed to make its appearance sometime this afternoon. It's been missing from our neighborhood for several days now and that fact along with the cold, drizzle, and just gloomy dampness, well, it's got some folks a little bit down in the dumps. But, had they seen the weather report yesterday, they could have been singing that song from Annie: 'The sun'll come out tomorrow Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun Just thinkin' about tomorrow Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none'. I could take some of that clearing away of the cobwebs myself. What say you? It is interesting how the weather seems to impact our attitude and our altitude. Or at least that's what we all have heard and typically when we embrace something it does tend to become our reality. However, scientific studies suggest that the gloomy weather does not actually cause us to be depressed and also the sunny weather doesn't define a positive day for us. An article in the online version of Prevention Magazine had these findings along with a recommendation of how we all should approach each day. "Optimism is a cultivated outlook and with practice we all can develop a more optimistic outlook." I hate it when they take away a really good excuse. Don't you?

Yesterday I took the wife down into the heart of one of our nation's largest and most prestigious medical centers. The center is populated by over one hundred thousand employees not counting the patients and visitors that come and go each day. Getting to where you want to go is like finding your way through a maze. She was there to have a esophageal motility study done. She did have it done. I won't go into the details but the test was very tough on her. She was pretty much worn out afterwards. This test is not supposed to be that difficult but she has some recognized problems that complicated things. What a busy place. The waiting room was full. The staff are nice but the paperwork had not really changed that much since I was a paper pusher at the VA Hospital back in the mid 1960's. Oh they do have computers and that helps them to get the paper out faster, by the stacks, and everyone has their own laser printer so that also helps. Talk about diversity. Just about every nationality imaginable was represented in that waiting room. When we finally got to the testing area, (It had been a 1.5 hour commute and 2 hours of waiting to have the test, total equals: 3.5 hours.), they were rolling beds here, there, and everywhere. These were occupied by folks who were wired up and mostly knocked out. It was like a traffic operation. When they completed one procedure someone would call out over the intercom that bed number so it could be prepared for the next patient. Lots of traffic and lots of medical staff hurrying somewhere. It reminded me a little of that tire changing place. I was put in a little waiting area. The TV had a movie playing about Secretariat, the famous horse that won the triple crown. After it finished the movie Thor came on. I watched about 30 minutes of it. I couldn't hear the dialogue that clearly but the movie itself sure looked farfetched to me. Just an observation in passing.

Speaking of observations, medical waiting rooms are great places for finding new material. Not so much for avoiding sick folks, if you get my meaning. We heard this one lady getting her tickets lined up for the rodeo. She was not too young and she had a whole bunch of diamond rings stacked on top of each other and she talked pretty loud so everyone got to hear about her particular needs. Her husband is a rodeo director and it sounded like she expected them to provide some special considerations because of that. He wasn't there. He was in one of those rooms in the back having both a colonoscopy and an upper GI. At any rate, they have season rodeo tickets but she wanted some additional added. She also was inquiring about the price and availability for a suite. Did you know that for $4500 you can entertain 26 people including dinner and drinks? Another lady nearby was on her cell phone for the more than two hours we were waiting. Whoever she was talking to made her laugh. Out loud. You know, laugh out loud, LOL? When she was overcome with a laughing spasm she would pull her hoodie over her head and lay down on the chair and convulse forth and back. The wife, who was not observing as much as I, would typically ask if I thought she was sobbing. I was glad to report that I was almost 100% certain it was the opposite. Oh well, there was a room full of people so I will let you know later about some of the rest of them. I didn't go there to spy on them. They were putting it out there for everyone to see. Please say a prayer for the wife as she continues to deal with these gastrointestinal issues. I thank you for that and say may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation." Kin Hubbard, published in Readers Digest

Summit snowed and iced over.
Happy Wednesday folks and welcome. The month is moving on along and we find ourselves nearly at the halfway point on this January 14, 2015. This winter weather has been brutal in many areas in our nation. There's one particular summit that has been inaccessible for days. It's because of icing on the roadways leading up to it. Folks are not able to get up the mountain because of this situation. Even the toilets are frozen over. This is the longest period of time that this particular tourist attraction has been unavailable to the public. So, what's unusual about this situation? It happens to be located on Hawaii's big island, the summit of Mauna Kea, that reaches 12,796 feet. I know. You didn't see that one coming. You most likely didn't see it on one of those vacation advertisements either. The hula girls wearing Eskimo gear just doesn't seem to fit. No. I am not saying that Al Gore has anything at all to do with this snow job, although he has lots of experience in that particular arena. Sorry. I couldn't help myself from a little global warming humor to get our day started.

I do like to read funny little tidbits about the aging process. The ones about older folks are more interesting to me these days than before. Funny how that happens. Here's one that some of you might enjoy. ~ The neighbors thought it was odd, but 93 year old Morton was dating again. One Monday morning Morton woke up with a funny feeling that something important happened last night. It was during breakfast that Morton finally remembered what it was. He had proposed to his date Greta. But what she answered he just couldn’t seem to remember. Morton picked up the phone and dialed. “Hi Greta”, said Morton, “I have a funny question for you, do you remember last night when I proposed?” “Oh my" gushed Greta, “I’m so glad you called, I knew I said yes to somebody but I just couldn’t recall who it was!” We laugh but some of us are beginning to understand all too well the concept of memory lapses. The wife and I at times go forth and back like we are doing a script for a comedy show. The key? I do think that being able to laugh about it and at yourselves is not a bad way to age gracefully.

Speaking of comedy, when you can't find anything to suit you, try watching the official press conference from the White House. It is streamed in real time nearly every day during the week. Yesterday the spokesperson, Josh Ernest, was explaining why the President himself did not attend the huge rally in Paris where world leaders joined arm and arm along with some 3 million people to make a defiant stand against terrorists. The reason the President didn't attend had to do with security and how that presidential security could impose issues that might interfere with the rally itself. Are you kidding me? Forty of the top leaders from throughout the world were photographed walking arm in arm together in this huge throng of people. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there, the Palestinian President Mahood Abbas was there. The leaders from Germany, Great Britain, and all the other European nations were represented. Security? You don't think security was an issue for the Israeli's? Their leader goes anywhere with a huge target on his back. Scheduling and security. I don't really care about why he didn't go but these kinds of answers do challenge anyone's ability to reason. Okay class, what did we learn today? You can each answer in your own way. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Explanation of country saying: "Bless your heart." You may be nothing but an idiot but I care about you anyway.

Hello and welcome, and thanks for showing up today, on this Tuesday, January 13, 2015. You are a sight for sore eyes. Come on in and sit a spell. It's kind of a boring day and all we've had to occupy our time is watching the grass grow. I am proud as punch you showed up and I should be ready for the day since I typically go to bed with the chickens. I know. Sometimes I do come off like I'm a brick short of a full load. But I've learned to pay no attention since a guilty dog barks the loudest. I'm not saying I've got my act together since we all know that nearly every dog has a few ticks. I will try to avoid looking like a bump on the log in trying to communicate my thoughts today. Not to do so might just make me madder than a wet hen. Of course there are days when making sense out of my writing is about as scarce as hen's teeth but I'll do my best and, in the meantime, you try not to get your feathers all ruffled. Remember I really don't have an axe to grind but I do want to get on with it before I get slowed down by the hitch in my Giddyup. Okay already. I was just playing around a little with the common sayings that help make us country folk understandable. Just having myself a little bit of fun this morning here in my old stomping grounds.

Yes. I am fully aware that the gist of it makes very little sense but some days I have to go with whatever happens to bubble up to the surface. Don't dare me to find more sayings to fill up the page because where I grew up, the language, if that is what it could be called, was saturated with this type of common folk talk. I'm not altogether sure that I know what brain fog is all about but on some days I think I can do a pretty good impersonation of its characteristics. I did read an impassioned note on Facebook from a young lady back home bemoaning the falling price of oil. She must have been very plugged in to the economic factors that impact our world. Right? Not really. She was sad because her loved one was no longer able to have the great job he had previously had in the oilfield. She was further hurt because he had to move away to find work. She asked everyone to think about things like this when they were enjoying the cheaper gas. See what I mean? There's always many sides to the story.

Sometimes irony is not very funny at all. Yesterday the President was making a speech about how that we really need to crackdown on these cyber attacks. These are the infiltrations of our institutions, individuals, and companies by digital attackers. Within 30 minutes of his speech a group aligned with the Islamic terrorists hacked into the main command center of our military. They then proceeded to publish online the names of top generals along with their personal information. I suppose that was intended to make these people potential targets. We are living in a time whenever most of us are vulnerable to these intrusions. It is a good question. If our top military people cannot protect their own websites, then what in the world can folks like you and I do to protect ourselves? Some have done their best to opt out of the digital world altogether. That's a choice but the way stuff gets done, that choice is almost like going back to the stone age. This computer based internet run world is a challenge folks and all I can tell you is that we have to do the best we can to function in this environment while trying to provide as much protection of our personal information as we can. However, I am a realist and I can tell you that if someone smart enough wants to come after me, well, I'm not sure the protections I have in place will suffice. One thing is sure. Doing nothing to try and protect ourselves is not an option. Crazy world folks. Crazy indeed. The good news? God is on our side and He has our backs. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." Bill Shankly, 1913-1961, Scottish footballer and manager

Don't be alarmed. It is only me. I'm back once again at the old keyboard seeing if I can come up with a tune or two for today's visit. It is Monday, January 12, 2015, and I have been very much in a thankful mood this morning because I just happen to feel some better. Having the congestion stuff kind of messes up just about everything including the taste buds. I can handle that okay but when it makes my coffee less than all it can be, to me, well, now you've done gone and made me angry. I don't order in major shipments of Community so that it can give me some kind of flat and metallic taste. But, alas, I think that's better too, therefore, rather than complain, I'm inclined to be thankful. Glad that it followed the Biblical pattern, "And, it came to pass...". Mark Lowry, the Christian singer and comedian always said that was his favorite thought from the Scriptures. At any rate, there are still folks all around coughing, sneezing, and wheezing here and there, so, I will continue to keep a low profile by staying to myself, and, enjoying a cup of Community to help get my day started. Hope you are well and may God continue to bless is my prayer. Amen.

The weekend was cold, wet, and nasty, but, it made a great time to lay up and watch the NFL playoffs. We had a wonderful Christmas party for our Bible Study class Friday evening. So much laughing. I went to that event. I went to our services Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Other than that, I was either up in my office or laid up like a bunch of dogs on the couch. For the most part, the games were intense and entertaining. The results? They are always in the eye of the beholder and when it comes to Cowboys fans, well, it was a really tough pill to swallow, especially with a controversial officiating call near the end. We have a lot of Cowboys fans in our neck of the woods and they are very loyal. Tonight we have the national college championship game and I don't really have a favorite but since I like the head coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer, and I know some wonderful people who are big Ohio State fans, well, I will pull for them to win. I do know the Oregon team is tough but we will see. I will likely not miss my bedtime if the game is not decided before, but, that's just how I roll.

My wife remarked that I just can't help myself. She was observing me trying to help the players on the field of play through my grunting and leaning forward. And, it happens even though I didn't really feel strongly about the teams playing. I suppose it is a learned behavior, a competitive response on the part of a couch potato, or maybe even someone who gets caught up in whatever they happen to be watching. She commented that me trying to help most likely didn't help them gain much on the field but the way she was acting, her watching me was at least somewhat entertaining. To her. I started to say that I was glad to be of service but that might not be a clear representation of my feelings on the subject. All in all, again, I show up today with a thankful heart and look forward to making perhaps a little better time of it than I have enjoyed lately. Just so you know, I have to be careful how I talk about not feeling 100% because believe it or not, she has strong thoughts about that as well. Take care and enjoy your coffee and if it's not Community that's okay. It will give you something to put at the top of your bucket list. I know. I've said many times that I don't have one but I already enjoy the Community so I suppose that's a good start. Right? May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's Brady Day, or at least that's what we call it around these parts!

As most of you know, we have a family filled to the brim with diversity and character(s). Today I pause to recognize the 9th birthday of our Brady Darrell. He belongs to our youngest son Rodney and his wife Mitzi. He actually belongs in a league of his own but he does share the family with his sisters Kyleigh and Lexie. Brady is into just about every kind of activity one could imagine. Sports and athletics, hunting, bike riding, swimming, playing games, and the list could go on and on and on. He's a good student and he is blessed to live in an environment that nourishes his talents and abilities. We thank God for our Brady and wish him a most wonderful 9th birthday! Love, MiMi and Poppy

I am aware that my blogs are in large part personal. They may touch on this, that, or the other, but in the end, they reflect the View from Here, my view, my way of seeing, experiencing, and interpreting the stuff that makes up the fabric of the life that God has given to me. Most of the stuff also reflects the priorities that are at work as I go about my day by day living. Some call me a political junkie. I like to think of myself as being someone who prefers to make informed judgments, but, even that is debatable, depending on one's point of view. It is Friday, January 9, 2015, and we continue to keep on keeping on. I think most everyone made it through the Arctic Blast. I know our local weather people will need to get themselves recovered from all their intensive hand wringing for ratings they have been doing the past week or so. And, it has been cold. Very cold. And, yes, there were some areas that had ice. I'm not sure the chaotic rhetoric matched the actual experienced event but we've learned this is how weather is done in our area. They do like to freeze, (no pun intended), the audience with breathtaking teased promised updates. That is, if you stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone who has been concerned about the little bout I have been waging with the sniffles. I am much better, thank you. Finally. I have heard that it has showed up in my writing. Really? I will try to remember that as a reasonable excuse in the future when things go a little flat. I really appreciate all the kind words and the recommendations that I should do this, that, or the other about the problem. I know folks are genuinely concerned and that is humbling. At the same time, each of us, finds our way of persevering, as best we know how. Or, something to that effect.

The New Year is now closing out the first work week as we prepare for Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. It's been interesting, the transition and adjustments after being gone for over two weeks, but, I think we can put this one down in the book and get ready for the next one. Meanwhile, I do hope you will start off this year with a commitment to be as involved as you can with other like minded believers. That is God's design for His own and He established the local called out assembly (the Church) as the means for us to cooperate with each other in carrying out the calling God has given to us, and for helping each other through this challenging adventure called life. Some people say I am just a Church person. Well, may I just say this about that: I think it's because that's the way God wanted it to be. I know there are always exceptions but I also know that best is best and that's what I desire for us all. Have a great one, and Lord willing, I'll check back in come next Monday. Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow." Judy Garland as Dorothy in the film, 'The Wizard of Oz'

Today. It's a cold one, (29°, with a feels like of 21° as I write this morning), but I do offer a warm howdy do to each and everyone tuning in to today's broadcast. It's Thursday, January 8, 2015 and we've all been hearing about the cold and the 'P's', that is, taking care of people, pets, plants, and pipes. Are you enjoying the decrease in the cost of gasoline? Be careful my friend, be very careful. I heard a noted statistician talking about the correlation between lower gas prices and road fatalities. It's true! The lower the cost for fuel, the more people drive, and the more that people drive, it is the more who become involved in traffic fatalities. I also saw a headline on a London paper that got my attention. "Good News: Cancer Rates are Falling; Bad News for the National Health Service, People Require Treatment for Longer Time Periods." Perplexing stuff if you ask me. Way back when I remember thinking about the disconnect between doing all we can to extend lifetimes when it's apparent we cannot properly provide care for the elderly in our nation. How do we make sense of this upside down world? The only truth I can really count on is from the Lord, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I suppose we can be reassured by the fact that we have a new Congress now. No. I am not off my meds, and, while it is a joke of sorts, there's always a speck of a glimmer of hope when change occurs. Yet, in Washington D.C., maybe not so much. Yes. I am glad the Republicans are now in the majority in the House and the Senate. Yes. That's the way I voted. Yes. The political class, regardless of label, still calls the shots. The leadership. Same four tired faces. We had an election. The music played. When the music stopped the four sat down in different chairs, but it's still mostly more of the same. Don't write me with the I'm too much of the half-empty instead of the half-full point of view. I could handle that if we are talking about a glass of water. But, when it comes to our tax dollars at work, well, we have too much history to not see how the game is played. I do expect some loud voices. Maybe some wailing and gnashing. We may even see a veto or two. However, in the end, the political elite will have its say and they will continue to live, as we say back home, high off the hog, while us common ordinary citizens, well, we will mostly find ourselves once again scratching our heads and wondering what can be done to bring real change to our system. Since everything I write is more or less opinionated, I'll save the space by not adding a disclaimer here. You know the one I'm talking about. The views expressed here do not, etc., etc., etc.

One thing we can always be reminded of. The folks who see themselves as being in power do not have the last say. They, us, the entirety of this world, are under the sovereign control of the Creator God. The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah reminded his readers of this truth: "Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’..." (Chapter 46:9-10) I find these truths to be of a comfort whenever I see a world seemingly out of control and bent on any and all things opposed to God and His ways. Another favorite verse of mine over the years that helps to put truth into a present perspective is the Psalm that tells us: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (20:7) We, as believers, do need to filter the all things that go on in and around us through the truths that God has given to us that will stand forever and ever, Amen. That should encourage us all as we go. Amen. .....More later.