Tuesday, June 30, 2015

But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Here we go again. Round and round it spins and where it will stop, well, I suppose if I don't know then we all are in trouble. Thanks for tuning in for today's edition on this Tuesday, last day of June, the 30th, in the year of our Lord, 2015. Our local fellowship had a wonderful vacation Bible school last week. The kids had a great time. They also learned this truth as their theme: God's Plan 4 You is Jesus. Our grandson goes to a different Church but he was able to participate in our Bible school. He had a great time. And, according to everything I heard he was very well behaved throughout the week. Who said the age of miracles had ceased? The photo shows our Alexander Benjamin, 9, with one of the crafts he made during the week. It's a bookmark. He decorated it but the base was cut out and prepared by my 91 year old mother. She was very pleased to know they had been put to good use. Being a proud great grandmother to Alex she mentioned that she guessed his was probably the best one coming out of the week. Sounds like something his Poppy may have said. In fact, she is probably on target with her assessment especially since we didn't look at any of the others. You do know what I'm talking about. Right? You do. I know you do. We were the parents that thought the entire band was out of step except for our kid. That was us. Bingo!

I've already gotten my tests results back from my annual physical. That was fast. It usually takes a week. Maybe it was a slow week at the lab. Six testing panels. Everything actually came out okay. The A1C is more or less the litmus for a diabetic. It is able to report blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. My doctor's target for my A1C is anything under a 7. Over the years I have wobbled forth and back getting it down to a 6.2 and reporting a high of 6.8. This time it came out a 6.7 but I know I can do better. Yep. The ten pounds is back on the front burner. Now I can at least breathe a sigh of relief until my next routine check up which comes every 3 months. Sometimes my actions leading up to my doctor's visit are not necessarily in sync with what I would like to see as an outcome. It's like the old preacher used to say. People plant some very wild seeds and then wring their hands while praying for crop failure. I had a particularly high number the other morning and the wife expressed concern while at the same time she began naming the unauthorized foods we had eaten the day before. How could I argue with her rationale? I thought about denying both the allegation as well as the alligator but it didn't seem to be a prudent response at the time. Whoever came up with that moniker of WIP (work in progress) certainly had me pegged.

I don't consider myself to be self absorbed but it does come with the package that we all got as a part of being a race participant, as in the human race. And, when I write my daily blogs I mostly am giving it to you from my viewpoint. I know that you are aware of my title, The View From Here. What you might not know is that when I started I had a different name, The View From My Pew. Same concept but early on I decided that title could limit my survey of the endless array of topics out there, therefore, I made the change. My point is, if I have one, we all make our way through life weighing and interpreting the things we encounter, those we have to deal with, and those that shape our thoughts and ideas. In my first ever blog I quoted the famous wordsmith, none other than Yogi Berra in his astute comment, "You can observe a lot by just watching." We all are observers. We all are interpreters. We all come to our conclusions. I've chosen to share some of mine. Not all. Some. I'm glad I cleared this up again for the first time. Just joking. Here's the deal: We have today to work on. Tomorrow may or may not come. We never know. But we have the opportunities God has given us today. So let's make it the best Today that we can. Amen. ...More later.

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet." ~ Roger Miller

Good morning and welcome to where it will be Monday, June 29, 2015, for most of the day as I understand how it works. Last Thursday evening we saw a 20% chance fill up all the ditches in our neighborhood with rain water. There was a chance of a thunder storm and we got ours. It rained and trained for a little over an hour. Even though we are supposedly ahead by 12 inches for the year, we actually needed that shower. The reason is how amazingly hot it got in a heartbeat. After day after day of downpours, it stopped, and it was turn up the heat time. Steaming heat. And, the yard was beginning to show just a slight discoloration. It doesn't take long. The storm knocked out the satellite for a while. No TV. Our twin granddaughters were there for a visit with us. Alesha was asleep on the couch. Amanda and her MiMi decided to sit out in the garage and watch the rain storm. I joined them for a while as well. It reminded me how that back in the day we did that a whole lot more than we do today. It was refreshing. Maybe we'll try it again someday. Maybe.

I made my annual physical last Friday. The wife and I have the same primary care. We like him a lot. He's young but very thorough.  He is probably in his mid thirties but that's young to me. Speaking of that, he and I were having a lively discussion about diabetes treatment medications and he goes into this spiel about how they've learned to be careful in driving the numbers too low in older patients. I didn't show up on behalf of my dad. Then it hit me. Can you imagine this? He actually talked about treating older people and he included me in that designation. I could have sworn he was talking about someone else. Then he has the audacity to say that he had looked at the tracking information on the computer and it looked to him as if maybe my blood sugar numbers go higher when my weight goes higher. What are you trying to say doc? I told him that I knew that already but losing the ten pounds I need to lose has not been easy. He grunted. I then offered how that my morning finger pricks have been pretty good. That being the case I asked why my A1C number is not as good as we would like for it to be. He didn't hesitate. He said that while having good numbers in the morning is a good thing there's 16 more hours in the day to be concerned about. How do you like that? Maybe he's thinking about doing comedy on the side. All I hear now is the Final Jeopardy theme playing in the background as I await all those lab reports.

I joke. I do greatly appreciate Dr. Tony Nguyen and especially his patience and his focus. What's that? Oh yeah. The fact that he puts up with me is pretty remarkable in and of itself? Okay. It seems you know me better than I thought. It is a team effort and so far he's done his part pretty well. I'm still working on those ten pounds and the other 16 hours. We heard a great sermon yesterday where our pastor attempted to put into some perspective the recent astounding changes going on in our nation. Our highest court has made decisions that will essentially change the fabric of our culture. His sermon talked about what we know to be true. God is Sovereign. God is true. God's truth is perfect. Whatever God tells us will stand because He is eternal. These societal changes are actually mentioned as signs of the times in the Scriptures. Therefore, we must stay the course. Stay faithful. Love everyone. Share the Gospel. Time is slipping away. It was very refreshing and rejuvenating as we heard again the old old story. Take care, have a great day, and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.

Friday, June 26, 2015

You learn something new everyday. My Paw Paw was right.

Welcome back. Especially for those who saw that yesterday was mostly politics and you did your version of "let me get away from this page as quickly as I can." The only thing that bothers me about people tuning out is the fact that, the way I see it, those holding power, well, they are counting on the majority of folks doing just that, looking the other way as quickly as they can. But, enough of that. Hey, in case you missed it, it's Friday, June 26, 2015, and the weekend will soon be upon us. I've recently joined a number of Santa organizations. I had no idea. There are a lot of them. I also have been surprised at the number of Santa fellows who pretty much work full-time. They do festivals, fairs, car shows, promotional ventures, and all other types of events. Many of them travel around the country doing their thing. On the social networking sites the members exchange thoughts and ideas about any and all things related to this beloved character. There are also Mrs. Claus members, elf members, reindeer members, and other Christmas character members. Some organizations are for real beard only. (I qualify.) I am so impressed with so many that do so much charity work as they seek to bring joy to those dealing with difficult circumstances, kids of all ages, from hospitals to nursing homes, to fund raisers of all kinds to help alleviate suffering. Impressive. There are also a sizable number of professional Santa schools. Who knew? Live and learn. Okay. One last thing: There are some really good looking Santas out there. I didn't know there were that many good ones. That's okay. Or, at least I think that's okay. What say you?

One of my all time favorites. Two years ago with mom and dad.
I received a note from the Santa that does our big local mall. He wants us to get together when he returns. In November. He must be an out of town recruit. I've run into a number of people over the past several years who play the jolly old elf. I remember one time when I was doing the big Jr. League production at the hotel and a fellow Santa bumped into me. He said, "Hey, look, you and I are identical twins." He may have been in his thirties and his fake beard was not even a good one. Identical twins? Not on your life, Bucko! Speaking of twins, I ran into a fellow in a store near my job site the other day and he told me he had been doing an annual photo shoot for the last 10 years with the same 22 sets of twins. Now that has to be a unique adventure. He seemed proud of the fact that he had a huge belly and wanted everyone to know that, unlike myself, he didn't need any padding. That was obvious from the unbuttoned sides of his overalls. Here's a little dose of reality in the Santa world. I saw on one of the Santa sites devoted to the business aspects a number of photos posted by a lady who was selling off her husband's large portfolio of Santa suits and accessories. Her husband had recently taken his last sleigh ride from this life to the next. Speaking of that, I am also impressed that so many of my fellow Santa brethren openly confess their Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. You have most likely not heard the last about all of this. I'm not sure that's a promise or a threat.

I don't have a word quota but I'm sure that I've exceeded my limit this week. I suppose it's like the old saying. If you don't have a target you will hit it every time. Some weeks I think about all the stuff I've written about and it reminds me of that Hank Snow song that I remember Johnny Cash singing: "I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere...." He then would sing out the different places he had been. Maybe I could sing it using the different subjects I've hit on. Maybe not. Sounds like work. I used the sleigh motif to indicate travel to connect to the theme, I've been everywhere man. So, they don't always work out. What else is new? The wife did perk up a little when I told her they have a huge Santa gathering and convention scheduled for next year in Branson. I knew she had been there too many times when she accidentally penciled it in as her hometown on a form one day. You do know I'm kidding. Right? Going to something like that would most likely make for good photo ops. Okay. The week has been intense. I do hope you and yours are well as we anticipate Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Take care and Lord willing I'll mosey on up to the computer keyboard come next Monday morning. May God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"The president of the United States believes the Cold War is over; fine — it's over. But Putin doesn't believe it's over." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

Hello friends and neighbors. Good to visit with you again here on this Thursday, June 25, 2015. Our recently confirmed defense chief is currently attending his first NATO conference as US Secretary of Defense. Based on a press release from the State Department he goes carrying a message from the Commander in Chief, our President. That message includes our continued unhappiness with Russia for grabbing a country, Crimea, and making it their own. That, along with their aggression in the Ukraine where they seek to disable the current government and essentially have it too as belonging to them as an aligned nation. We continue to be upset and we think Europe should be also. This means the economic sanctions against Russia should continue because we are really angry about all of this. Except, of course, in areas where we can work with Russia. Like Iran, Libya, and other places on the globe. I'm just a lay person, but does that sound about as hokey as all get out? "We are so angry about your evil ways and we are not going to stand for it. By the way could you help us with this Iran nuclear negotiation? We could sure use your pressure on them to help strike a deal that will help me so much with my legacy." (That would be my lay person interpretation.) This approach may not be new folks but that kind of circular government speak stuff just infuriates me. The Russians do not want to cooperate on anything at anytime unless they are able to advance their own agenda. That agenda is not good for our country. Period. And you can bet your bottom dollar I am unanimous in my own opinion. Thanks.

I didn't say the current administration are the only ones to operate this way. But, it seems to me that we are more into talking out of both sides of our mouth than we have before. To me that erodes the clarity of our message that is supposed to reflect our values. Everyone nearly fell out when President Reagan identified the existence of an Axis of Evil. He did not mince words. Even our own diplomats were alarmed. He looked at those in the world who hate democracy and freedom and he called them as he saw them. The so called experts said this would set back American diplomacy 100 years or more. The Berlin wall came down. Soviet Russia dissolved. The message was clear. There were actions that backed up the message. Contrast that with the message being sent as stated in my first paragraph. What will be the outcome of this myopic vision of the world? I don't think anyone sees any Berlin walls coming down in the future unless they are concessions we make to give an appearance of progress. Appearance only. If you wondered what I thought about it. Now you know. It was on my mind so I thought it best to share it. You, of course, can come to your own conclusion. Thanks.

When you look at the geopolitical landscape and how it has changed over the past seven years, all you can say is that we as a nation have been pretty much in a free fall in terms of our influence and effectiveness. Yet, the folks in charge would have us all believe that the situation today is because of something someone else did. That dog quit hunting several years ago but the folks in charge can't stop blaming. Sadly, and I do mean sadly, they do have a devoted audience that buys into whatever excuses they make and so much so they join in the blaming of others game. I suppose when it is all said and done this situation clearly shows the divide in our nation as well as almost any other. For those of us who do see it for what it is, well, we just have to keep on keeping on, wondering if or when people will wake up from their sleepwalking through this nightmare. Too dramatic? Okay. Occasionally I have to use some poetic license. I think I have the political stuff off my front burner for today so now it's time to move on. Oh yeah. One last thing. Don't forget that our Great God is ultimately in control regardless of which set of political ideals one chooses to subscribe to. That's about the only thing that helps make sense out of where we are headed in the future. He really does have the whole world in His hands. Amen.      .....More later. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep." ~ Albert Camus, (1913-1960), Nobel Prize winning author

Hello out there. Don't be nervous. It's only me, and I'm only here for a brief visit on this Wednesday, June 24, 2015. I am so happy that sleep works like it does. I came in last Saturday evening pretty much spent from my journey over to Louisiana and back. It was a good tired because God had allowed me one more time to be with mom and dad. I got to bed around 10:30 p.m. I slept in until 4:30 a.m. but when I woke up, got up, I was stunned as to how rejuvenated I felt. It just struck me that I needed to thank God for the restorative function of sleep. You do know that scientists still see sleep as somewhat of a mystery. They have studied it for hundreds of years but the exact reason it works the way it does is still not fully understood. They do know that it works, not by shutting everything down, but by doing a different form of processing that tends to provide this outcome of freshness and vitality. We do know that it was God's design, therefore, He gave it to us for our good. Here's a good verse from the Proverbs: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." (Chapter 3, Verse 24)  I say Amen to that!

I do thank my family for making my personal Fathers Day very special. Our eldest, Chris, surprised me by showing up for my Bible study class. He is a well respected Bible teacher himself and it was so good for him to come across town to be with us. I knew it was his way of showing respect and I do appreciate it. He and our daughter in law had just come back from a week up in Colorado. He brought me a nice souvenir Santa cap from the North Pole Park near Pike's Peak. It was so good to have him in our class. He may send me a critique of my lesson later. Just joking. I know he doesn't have much to add because on that particular Sunday I chose to read the entirety of the letter the Apostle Paul was inspired to write to the local fellowship meeting in Ephesus, Greece. It's one letter even though we have it broken into six chapters. My reasoning was quite simple. On Fathers Day we talk about behaviors and outcomes associated with God's will and His desire for dads. That's well and good but the Apostle Paul wanted his readers to know about what it means to be chosen by God, to be saved by faith through the blood of Jesus Christ, to be in Christ, before he covered the relationships in the family and in the local fellowship. We often start in the section on behavior. My belief is no one can pick up in what we call Chapter 4 without having the power of God on their lives covered in the first three chapters. Just me. A long reading? About 20 minutes. God speaks through His Word. You knew that? Right. 

Sunday evening. Great time. We had 7 unable to attend.
Then on Sunday evening all three of my boys and some of their families all got together with the wife and I to celebrate Fathers Day at a local restaurant. We had us a wonderful time of food, family, and fellowship. It was so good for us to be together again. It also gave us the opportunity to recognize our Chris, Jimmy, and Rodney, as they are dads to our grandchildren and our eldest is the granddad to our great grand. Saturday with mom and dad. What a blessing. Sunday, a wonderful time of celebrating with our local fellowship, and then to top it off with a family gathering Sunday evening. Once that was all said and done it was time to repeat the first paragraph involving sleep. I believe the wife can testify that I did not need to be rocked to sleep, but it was all good, very good indeed. I come away humbled and with a grateful heart. That should do it for today. I do pray that you and yours are well. Take care until the next time we meet and may God add His blessings as we continue the journey. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Pope Francis said. "In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

Good Tuesday morning to everyone joining us via whatever electronic means happens to float your boat. I checked. I am coming to you live and in person and it is all happening here on this June 23, 2015. You may have heard how the Pope has come out with a strong statement on climate science. He pretty much has joined himself to those who believe people on the planet are busy destroying the planet. He postures how the rich are using this destruction to further enslave the poor. You would not believe the glee with which this leaked document has been received by the sky is falling crowd. The libs are elated with the Pope's statement. The news media outlets are falling all over themselves. I hate to rain on their reporting, their happiness, their joy. They actually have failed to present the common foundation for this man's view of things. That is, a respect for life itself. He clearly says that abortion is a part of the destruction of life itself and it is connected to what he sees as a key major component of the problem. Not one of the liberal outlets mentioned this. Not one. All they trumpeted was how the Pope was on their side regarding climate science. Nothing about his clear tying it to respect for life including the unborn. The Pope also reiterates his belief that birth control is against God's will. None of these things made the 'falling all over themselves' reporting. Why? I'll let you answer that one for yourself. Again, this is just me, your faithful reporter. I observe and report then I decide and that's what I hope you will do also.

Here's my problem. At one time there was a belief that tuning into something called news reporting would provide one with the facts. All the pertinent facts. If the fundamental underpinning of the Pope's encyclical on climate science is a God ordained respect for life including the life of the unborn, how in the world can you portray yourself as a respected news organization and not report this fact? It is not a side issue. I am not an expert, therefore, I may not be able to comment on the scientific items covered in the report, but, anyone can see how excluding the major respect for life theme would be to distort the findings. Some think they have a news source they can count on. Give me a break! I know some people who watch nothing but Fox News. They believe this is where you get all the facts. "We report, you decide." Let me let you in on a little secret. They are first and foremost a business. They are selling a product. They present and package the product they sell in a certain way. That's why I am not a regular viewer because I see their bias just like I see the bias of their liberal competitors. That doesn't make me smarter than anyone else. It just makes me aware. And, I do believe this stuff matters. This stuff matters folks. It really does!

We often here this quote, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." The actual quote was originated by William Congreve in the early 1700's, "Heav'n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd / Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd." I thought of this when I recently read a tragic account in the Houston Chronicle. A woman spotted her husband with his girlfriend. She borrowed a car and chased them. She sideswiped their car doing minor damage. In the process she lost control of her car and veered into traffic where a vehicle hit her head on killing her instantly and seriously injuring the driver of the other car. Road rage connected to spurned love is obviously a deadly combination. The only reason I shared that is because of the quote. It would be a sad tale, no matter what, but that was the reason I used it. No. I am not typically sitting around waiting for something to happen that fits a particular saying. Life itself does that for us. I just happened to notice it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Since I can't come up with anything else to pontificate about, I will say so long for now. What? Did I use pontificate because I had written about the Pope? Could be. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I do want to send out a shout out and a prayer of thanksgiving for our eldest and his bride, Chris and Sherrie, as they celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary this past Saturday. We pray God's richest blessings on them as they continue their journey together. Amen.

I figured it out. It turned out not to be a conspiracy after all. In fact, they were not messing with my mind. It was little ole me all along. I'm talking about the Google mix up on my nationality. I use the Google Advanced Search as my default. Somehow I had gotten the Google Advanced Search Canada plugged in instead of the one connected to the USA. Please accept my sincere apology to all those who are big Google fans out there. It wasn't them. It was me. Me beginning with a confession is becoming a habit. At least I didn't lie about cutting down the cherry tree. Today's blog comes to you live and already in progress on this back to work Monday, June 22, 2015. The technical explanation is a little more involved. I had accidentally replaced my default search engine with one provided by my virus protection software. They are always trying to get add ons installed. I must not have read the little pop up and when I said yes they went for it. They installed their own little search engine utility which I did ask for but I didn't want to ask for it. But, obviously, I was supposed to just say no, but, I missed it. One little keystroke. Then: BAM! They also make it difficult for you to uninstall since after all is said and done you did say yes. In my efforts to get back to my own way of operating I accidentally picked up the Canadian default and that's how all of that happened. But, finally, it is now straight and I can back off using the Canadian jokes. I'm just glad they didn't send me some kind of tax bill from Calgary. You do know what I mean? Eh?

Hacking has become commonplace. The other day the folks being grilled by Congress on the compromised information for government employees tried to spread the pain by mentioning all the private companies that have been hacked by outside intruders. They mentioned several including Target and Home Depot. Smoke screens. Anything for cover. But, it is a real problem. Last week we found out the FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team for hacking into the Houston Astros protected database. The St. Louis Cardinals? You've got to be kidding. They portray themselves as the protectors of the integrity of major league baseball. One of their high level executives was hired by Houston. This made the Cardinals unhappy. Very unhappy. While it is still being investigated, enough has come out to reveal whoever hacked into the Astro's records were able to gain access to scouting information and player evaluations. Why would one of the most successful teams in the modern era want to mess around with the private information of a traditionally mostly unsuccessful franchise? Revenge. Sabotage. Who knows? It just goes to show you. Soon those folks being grilled can add this one to their pass-the-buck list.

I am so glad I was able to run over to Louisiana last Saturday to wish dad a happy Father's Day. He is a remarkable man who has serving others running in his veins. He may not be my biological daddy but he is my real dad in every sense of the word. We do thank God for him. Amen. Since mom's little laptop went belly up I carried a new system over and installed it for them. I was a little anxious about it since I typically carry a technician along with me, like my eldest, or my grandson. I know what some of you are thinking. All those years of direct management involvement in computing and telecommunications and I end up not being very technically inclined? 100% correct Bucko! Being good at management does not necessarily mean you are good at being a technician. Knowing what you are good at and sticking to that is a pretty good way to make it in life. But, I did get it going and I know she is very happy with her new little system. One problem. I set it up on our kitchen table at home first. Now we will be getting one for 'you know who' as a coming attraction. "It's so clear." "I just love it." Fortunately, they are not so pricey anymore. Well, that's my story for a Monday. Y'all take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"All I know is that I carried you for nine months. I fed you, I clothed you, I paid for your college education. Friending me on Facebook seems like a small thing to ask in return." ~ Jodi Picoult, popular novelist

Hello folks and welcome to another round of stuff here at the ole blogger ranch with this one coming to you on Friday, June 19, 2015. I used the word stuff because it can carry the meaning of "matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied." Take for instance the utility in Facebook that recommends individuals that may be good candidates for becoming your friends. The recommendations are typically based on common threads of interest or because of a friend you already have on your list. That's okay for them to suggest and I can't remember actually using their recommendations because you don't have to accept them. It is called a social networking environment and that's why they try to get you to expand your own personal network. One thing that always surprises me. You see a recommendation and you also see who you know that they are already friends with. While some of these make sense, others are puzzling. I get it that being a firefighter might bring you in contact with another firefighter even if they are miles and moons apart. Teachers, same thing, etc., etc. Then you see one that makes little sense. How in the world would that person be friends with that person? It's mind-boggling. I've seen maybe a half dozen like that. Makes you wonder how they ever crossed paths. I know. I could ask but since I have no intention of sending them a friend request I'm left to ponder it as an unsolved mystery. It is what it is. You find your drama and I will find mine. Thank you very much.

I was really looking forward to my welcome home meal from the wife last Tuesday evening. However, she made it home around 11 a.m. and went immediately to our local Church meeting place to help out with preparations for vacation Bible school coming up next week. Because of the rain I left a little early but when I got home she was still missing. She didn't get home until after 6 p.m. I get it. Ministry first. Jesus loves the little children and so do I. No home cooked meal for me. I decided to whip up something on the fly and since these days every person known to humanity shares their recipes, I want to share this one with you. Take a small to medium sized potato and peel it and slice it into rounds. Heat up some oil and fry up these little rounds. Take them up and salt them as they drain on a paper towel. Now fry an egg to whatever texture you like. I don't really like them with the yellow completely hard but some do. Take two slices of white bread (un-toasted). On one side put a small amount of yellow mustard. On the other side put a small amount of Miracle Whip salad dressing. (Not mayonnaise, I'll tell you why later.) Now you can make your sandwich by carefully piling on the fried potato rounds and gently laying on the egg. I can't remember for sure but I think the egg goes on the mustard side. Now you are ready for a glass of ice cold milk. I dare you to try this sandwich. It's been in our family since I was a kid. Make it like I instructed because what you will find is when you taste it there will be a collision and clash of flavors that will nearly take the top of your head off. (Figuratively, of course.) I remember the wife's dad being talked into trying it one time. He wasn't interested but finally gave in. One time was all it took. After that, he had to have this particular sandwich often, even several times a week. He enjoyed them until he suffered his disabling stroke at age 80. That's what I fixed for my supper and it was not only good but it brought back great memories too. Don't leave out the milk. Every detail is important. Go forth and enjoy. Oh yeah. Just repeat the steps above for the second one. (Just kidding.)

I'm just doing my part to teach you how to fish instead of giving you a fish. I think I heard Emeril Lagasse, the famous chef, say that you should follow the recipe in precise detail at least one time before you start making your own modifications. But, this is America, unless I am being identified by Google, it would be Canada, therefore, in either country you can do it your way, no matter what, period, end of story. Got it? Right? Eh? I know you will be proud of me. I actually made a little detour this past Wednesday morning to make sure I wouldn't have to drive through a little water on the road. It added 15 minutes to my commute but even my mom had reminded me that I should follow the advice of my eldest to not drive my little old flivver through water of any depth. See there? I do listen sometimes. Surprised you, didn't I? Now it is time to wrap this up for this week and move on down the road. I do hope you will have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday where we will be celebrating Father's Day. If there's still anything at all left to talk about come Monday, I'll try to show up here at my regular haunt. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." ~ Bill Shankly, Scottish Football (Soccer) Coach, 1913-1981

Today. It's Thursday, June 18, 2015, and I'm thinking some this morning about several different things. First of all, last Monday evening I broke one of my cardinal rules by staying past my bedtime with Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Championship between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was one of those games that I just couldn't turn off. People who do not care for ice hockey should watch that game. Chicago won the game and the championship, winning 4 games to 2. It was about as hard fought as any I have ever seen. I knew it would mess with my sleep cycle, being all keyed up, and I was still tossing around in the bed at 10:30 p.m. I suppose it is good that we don't have HBO. This means I don't watch Game of Thrones. The makers of this very popular series made a huge number of their dedicated fans very angry when they killed off one of their main characters. The angry fans were lighting up Twitter, Facebook and any other outlet they could respond on. One fellow was looking forward to next season when he said: "On the first episode there had better be a dream sequence where this death is only a dream. If not, there could be consequences." That may not be the exact quote but it was something along those lines. People care. Obviously. It's a TV program. The characters don't really exist. It's make believe folks. Make believe. I don't want to ruin your day but Old Yeller, the dog, dies in the movie. Sorry. It was rabies. I think I may have shed a tear the first time I saw that movie.

The folks who oversee federal employee personnel management were called before a Congressional committee the other day to answer questions about how that more than 4 million government employees had their sensitive information stolen. I caught a little of that hearing. It could have passed for a sitcom on TV except for the fact that people, their identities and their families could be harmed as a result of the compromise of these hacked records. I found the fellow representing the audit division of our government to have been very condemnatory. According to him the casual way this particular division had operated year after year almost made this type of breach a certainty. Inadequate controls, inadequate oversight, and a failure to do even the minimum to protect employee records was a part of the annual inspection review for several years in a row. In fact, one of the ways the audit team described the situation went like this. This department was like a homeowner who leaves every door and window in their house wide open all the time hoping that no one would ever choose to come in. Wow! There were about six high ups being interviewed. They should keep a tape of this one. It can be used for instructional purposes. The title: Expert Guide in How to Pass the Buck. (The buck was very tired from being passed so much.) Wide open doors and windows. I've heard it all now. That's even worse than we might have thought. Oh yeah, one final thought. The most highest up of all the high ups was asked directly if anyone had been disciplined, suspended, or fired for this colossal mishap. Her response came in almost a whisper: "No. No one, sir."

Google occasionally gets me mixed up with someone else. Recently, they thought I was from Canada. I've always wanted to visit Canada. In fact, if I had a bucket list I might have Canada on it. I don't have one so there you go. At any rate, they like to show me the latest news from our northern neighboring country. I change it from Canada back to the USA and it shows me the news I want but next time I open it up, there it is, Canada again. I suppose with all this stuff going on regarding folks like Google spying, well, maybe it's a good thing they don't know me that well. I know the Canadians call sneakers runners, and they call a filling station where petrol is served up a gasbar, and cream for coffee is referred to as whitener. If you hear me using some of those kinds of Canadianisms don't panic. I'll just be trying to keep up my new identity. Of course the one I used to hear when I talked to them regularly some time ago was their constant ending of nearly every statement with Eh? Meaning right? As in, "You're not really Canadian, eh?" Take care now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die, the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather." ~ Michael Pritchard, Comedian

It's Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The wife is now back home and I appreciate those out there who prayed I would hold it together while she was away. We have several major news outlets located in our general vicinity. They compete for eyeballs, you know, as in eyewitness news. Tropical Storm Bill has been a rain maker and it is being called Mr. Bill by some as a reference to a little clay character that at one time had a recurring role on Saturday Night Live. These local radio and TV stations all have their own weather prediction equipment. They like to promote the particular system they use, as in, my radar is so much bigger and better, it makes yours look like it shouldn't even show up to play. Stuff like that. Yesterday I got up even earlier than normal. 3 a.m. I wanted to check the weather since the wife would be driving home later in the morning. All the local channels were already broadcasting live. They each had their own reporters scattered along the various points of entry that Mr. Bill might choose when he decided to come ashore. The main folks, the anchors, they were busy switching from one person to the other. The folks on the scene were looking for Mr. Bill. We had expected him to arrive much earlier. Therefore, they were looking for any and all signs of his landing. It was pretty funny in some ways. Because why? They really had no storm as of that particular time and they had no shots to show of them holding on to a tree or a sign to keep from being blown away. This doesn't diminish the ferocity of the rain event but it made for an amusing insight into the song they were all singing, "Looking for Bill in all the wrong places."

No. I am not making light of a serious weather event. When I show up each day I busy myself in making observations and turning them into comments and anecdotes. I then pass them on to those who read my daily episodes. That's what I do here. I would be the last person to poke fun at anyone dealing with flood waters. Yet, there is always a thread of humor in the unfolding of life itself. I just happened to have found it amusing how the field reporters were attempting to make their small talk more exciting than the next person. Yes. I am aware they are just doing their jobs and we are all glad that we have folks who do their best to help keep us informed. Their warnings were heeded by many people and we have row after row of empty grocery store shelves to prove it. And, the bottom line, as I see it: Even with every iota of technology under the sun, even with storm hunting airplanes, even with radar that can detect a mole on the backside of an ant 50 miles away, they just can't be sure exactly what will happen until it does. This reminds me that we should think about and look to He who does know. I thought of this one from the inspired song writer, "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God." (Psalm 20:7) 

Nearly all of us have a fairly short attention span. Our politicians depend on that being the case with the majority of their constituents. You might recall the IRS scandal where they were caught red-handed playing games to delay conservative groups from being able to gain non-profit status. They first said that all the emails from those in charge were lost. Gone. Evaporated. Never to be seen again. And, it was the fault of the Congress because if they had more money they would not have lost the emails. Well, the emails were later discovered not to be lost. They were found. Now they are undergoing scrutiny by the IRS before they can be released. Before, if they had them they would be glad to share them. Now they are in the process of reviewing them. Okay. Yes. I am being critical here. Your first guess was very much on target. But, here's the funny thing. Their current status update indicates that they want to make certain there are not duplicates. Duplicates? They didn't even have them before. They were lost forever. Now they are delayed because they are wanting to make sure they don't hand over any extra copies of the same email? You know the ones I am talking about. Those that were lost forever. If you can't see the frustrating irony in that, well, I don't think I can help you. I may have to refer you to a specialist. Okay. I think I qualify for the 'put a fork in it, it's done' category. At least for today. May God keep us all safe as we recognize Him as our hope each step of the way. Amen.  ....More later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." -- Helen Keller

Today is homecoming day at my place. That's right. The wife will be returning from her tour which began last Thursday when she left me for the Louisiana promised land. I have determined that after 50 and 1/2 years of married life, well, things work better when we are together than when we are apart. I believe Solomon had something to say about this even though he was not talking about marriage. "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor." (Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4, Verse 9) It is Tuesday, June 16, 2015, and I bid you a hearty hello. She sometimes asks embarrassing questions when she returns. She may want to know how many times I made the bed while she was gone. Yikes. I would think the fact that it is made when she returns would be good enough. What say you? I suppose she inquires because she is a serial bed maker. That's one of the first things she does every day. Get up and make the bed. I tend to be a little more introspective in my thoughts about making up a bed that within 12 hours I will be sleeping in again, in exactly the same spot. At any rate, I will be so happy that our little two person team is back together again. It just works better that way, period.

You think you know what the problem is all about. Oh, really? You think what? That I'm missing those homemade biscuits, a homemade omelet made like no one else can make it, hash browns along with the grits, sausage, bacon, and homemade jelly? I'm not giving any prizes because that's a given. Too easy. And, yes, I do miss our times to share meals together. We are getting older and more set in our ways. When I think about her cooking a meal versus us going out somewhere, it only makes us disappointed in whatever it is that we go out for. I'm not sure if that's a commentary on the downward trend in the quality of food in eating establishments, or, if we are just stuck on knowing where the best food can be found. At home. Of course. I don't deny that it could be my taste mechanisms as well. They have changed over time. I read some about it and it is not that rare in folks as they get older. I mentioned it to my doctor and I think I even memorized the medical name for it. I can't remember if he gave me one or two grunts but it didn't seem to be too serious to him. He was probably thinking about that big plate of pasta he would be having for lunch later that day. I told you that I have a rough time of it. A little sympathy wouldn't hurt anything. But, that's okay. I will do my best to soldier on. Pass those grits with all that butter on them. One more serving ought to do it.

We do have some Big Rain headed our way. That's certainly not good news for those who are already dealing with the aftermath of flooding from a couple of weeks ago. The other day I was in Houston visiting a business and when I was getting ready to turn left I looked down a long residential street on the right. Oh my, what a sight! All the homes had debris and earthly possessions stacked out on the curb, as far as I could see. It made me shudder. I can identify, thanks to Ike where we also had our stuff out on the street waiting for it to be hauled away. I can remember the unbelievable stress and challenge that came with that weather event. My heart goes out to all those impacted by these storms. I remember when we were at our lowest thinking about those who were much older or those who had no insurance or those who had no family or friends to help. We were stressed and that's something we cannot deny but at the same time we were blessed because we had all of those things at work on our behalf. And, more than anything else, we had God and His presence in our lives. Amen. May God bless those who are struggling with these types of challenges in their lives is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, June 15, 2015

"Remember we're all in this alone." ~ Lily Tomlin

Welcome once again to a brand new work week. It's good for us to have this time together and I always look forward to finding out what lands on the page reflecting this, that, and the other thing also. It's Monday, June 15, 2015, and we are only six days away from the official first day of summer. Tell the feels like of 104 we had the other day that he should have been waiting. Whew! We went from near flood conditions here to bone dry in one week. The wife and I agreed that while we already could use a good rain, it would be better for us to water than to see folks further distressed by all these rivers that have been out of their banks for weeks. I noticed the grass immediately next to the street has already turned yellow. That didn't take long. Guess what? The wife left me again. She is over in Louisiana with her twin sister (born 18 months ahead of her). They are on some kind of trip together. I have a few chores to keep up with while she is away. By now you are most likely aware of the one that really matters. It is the seeing after of her plants. Heaven and earth may pass away but I will do all I can to make sure those plants are alive, (and well), when she returns. I'm working on it. Believe me. I am. Thankfully, she will be home tomorrow. Sometimes when she reads my blogs she doesn't always grasp the ironic joking aspect of my comments. In fact, I've read those comments a couple of times and I may have trouble grasping it myself. You do know I am joking. I really am. I can prove it. (But, I may still need a character witness to back me up, so be ready when I call on you.)

Some of that home alone nonsense may have sounded a little like sour grapes but it really wasn't intended to come across that way. When folks tend to be somewhat critical, well, that's where many who profess to know the Bible say they were only speaking the truth in love. In my case, I'm just sitting here with a cup of Community visiting. You know. More or less just shooting the breeze. That idiom seems somewhat appropriate since it typically means to kill time by engaging in idle chit chat. Some date it along with similar ones back to the early 1900's with them having to do with talking into the wind. My grandfather used to say that he thought I talked because I liked to hear myself speak. And, to be honest, I can't remember ever being accused of being economical with the number of words I use. I most likely attended more than one productivity enhancement workshop that covered the need for communications to be brief and to the point. I am familiar with the concept but maybe the practice of it was not that high on my priority list. The late great comedian George Burns offered this advice, "The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible."

Having written that self incriminating paragraph about me being wordy caused me to go back and edit out some of the unnecessary words. I know. I still have a long way to go but you do have to start somewhere. Here's a long sentence about the beauty of long sentences. It was written by Pico Iyer, an essayist, in an article written for the Los Angeles Times. "Enter (I hope) the long sentence: the collection of clauses that is so many-chambered and lavish and abundant in tones and suggestions, that has so much room for near-contradiction and ambiguity and those places in memory or imagination that can’t be simplified, or put into easy words, that it allows the reader to keep many things in her head and heart at the same time, and to descend, as by a spiral staircase, deeper into herself and those things that won’t be squeezed into an either/or." I think I agree with him. And, I do see some of my writing to be like a spiral staircase, maybe it ends up going to nowhere but climbing it and observing stuff along the way is what I am all about. Or something like that. I may or may not know what I am talking about but one thing is clear. It is time to bring our little Monday morning visit to a close. I suggest we all take a deep breath and then do our best to enjoy the day that God has allowed us to experience. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows." The 23rd Division of the Pslams, Verse 5, from the New American Standard Bible, (NASB)

Hello class and welcome to today's topic where we are thinking about the meaning of a cup running over here on this Friday, June 12, 2015. My little Keurig makes one cup at a time. It does a wonderful job. What it cannot do is to inform you when you do something very stupid, like putting in enough water for one cup, forgetting that you did so, putting in enough water for one cup again, and then seeing it come to fruition. Clean up on aisles 1, 2, and 3. I did get a full motion illustration of that overflowing cup mentioned by David in Psalm 23. Of course the type of overflow he was talking about was the blessings that God bestows. My overflow essentially produced a mess that had to be dealt with. So, I had a little heart to heart with myself and decided on a form of punishment. Because I had been so lackadaisical in my attention to detail I pronounced judgement. It went like this: Due to my dumbness exhibited by my direlection to my duty I was sentenced to drink the full measure of my mistake, the weak half as strong coffee that now existed in two cups instead of one. It was painful but I felt remorseful and at the same time also a little sad for people who drink weak coffee. Maybe something good came out of it: Sincere pity.

It was intended to be humorous so don't get all bent out of shape if you like weak coffee. I don't. What? You gathered that? Good. The professional ice hockey championship is being played. The Stanley Cup. I enjoy ice hockey but I don't watch it that often. I've seen some of the matches between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. The hockey players amaze with their speed and skill. I don't have a dog in the hunt but I have heard and read some analysis of these two teams. The Chicago team is old school all the way. They follow the traditional path and it has well served them. The Lightning reflect their name. They play with wild abandonment and do the unexpected. They are the new wave of the future so to speak. Okay. Confession time. I immediately identified with old school Chicago so I internally started pulling for the Blackhawks. Tradition versus the new day. This struck me as being interesting since we are studying how that folks at times hang on to traditions in their Church practice and tend to treat the traditions themselves as sacred. Many of these reflect preferences, not principles, and certainly not doctrines. I was drawn to the old school Blackhawks because I am an old school type of guy. Some food for thought in there somewhere. Think about it.

Do I need to find a spiritual point or a Biblical reference in all the things I find myself involved in? Probably not but I suppose having this as a frame of reference can be helpful. And, I don't know of anyone who would disagree with the fact that I need all the help I can get. The Mayo Clinic believes they have unlocked the secret to being happy. They studied this intensely because they believe happy people are also healthy people. You can Google it and read the article about the study for yourself but I'll give you my own crib note version. Happy people are those who are resilient in the face of all the challenges that come with life itself. They are those that hang in there. Those who stay focused. A couple of good illustrations from the study stood out to me, "So for example, if you’ve had a difficult day, when you get back home, for the first three minutes, forget about it, park it, and meet your family as if they’re long lost friends." Here's another astute observation: "Complainers are never going to be happy." Of course they believe this attitude can be found within one's self. I also believe it is found in a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nearly every point mentioned is in one way or another reflective of the admonitions from The Scriptures. Little kids could help them: Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. That's a wrap as they say. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing I'll see you next time. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." ~ Mitch Hedberg

I was either (a) practicing my concerned look or (b) looking for my great grand!
Yes. Time for us to move on out and get with the program here on this Thursday, June 11, 2015. I won't call any names but you know who I am talking to. Not really. I just threw that one in. Thinking back on that white legs story, I now recall the wife looking me over before we left home for the picnic. She had that look of inquiring minds want to know and she asked, "Are you wearing that?" Let me see if I can put this together. We were getting ready to leave. She was ready. Our little Madi girl was ready but I'm the only one who was asked that question. I didn't give it much thought until after the grand reception that was given to my legs. Here's the funny part. I've most likely been on the other side of the good-natured heckling, but, when I was the heckler I never even considered that one day I might be the object of the heckling. (The photo above does not show the evidence for the calamity brought on by my white legs, but, the collage program couldn't handle looking at them either. Sorry.) What's that? I could save myself a lot of grief by just wearing jeans or slacks? Thanks for your observations. Or, here's a thought. I could get the wife to spray paint some of that fake tan stuff that she uses whenever she goes to the beach and wants people there to think that she goes there often even though she hasn't been there in years. You do know I'm joking. Not about the fake tan spray. Just about the other. Can anyone see her? Is she laughing? Let's all hope so. For my sake. Amen.

When I am no longer here at the ole blogger ranch workstation, if I am able, I will likely be with the wife walking forth and back around and around the inside confines of the big mall. I can assure you from firsthand observation the fellows there could form a white legs association. I would feel right at home. They likely also speak my language. You know the one I'm talking about. You hear a lot of huh or a request that you repeat what was just said. Things like that remind me of why the hair and beard are naturally white. I will admit to losing a grip on my age from time to time. I forget my true age. The other day I had to go to a place and pick up some special glass that had been cut for our company. It was thick and it had wire mesh in it. The young fellow there looked me over and asked if I wanted him to carry that stack out to the truck. I looked him over and said I didn't think I would require his services. (It was one of those Gunsmoke meet you out in the street kind of moments.) I grabbed hold of that two foot stack of glass and it grabbed hold of me. I most likely looked a lot like Tim Conway doing the stutter step of his old man impersonation as I wobbled towards the door. Okay. So it was heavy. But, I made it. Barely. Next time I might take him up on his offer for assistance. But, then again, I might not.

It is funny because as you can tell I am my own source of material. It is also a true story. But, I will try to do better as I continue my journey here on the planet. What's that you say? One would hope. Speaking of hope, while this world has little of it to offer, our Great God is the God of hope. Not a hope so kind of hope, but rather, an assurance of His care, His presence, and the certainty of His promises. We know from The Book that it is impossible to please God unless we exercise faith. We must believe He exists, and as a result we seek Him knowing that He will accomplish all that He has said He will do. (My interpretative paraphrase of that marvelous verse from Hebrews Chapter 11, Verse 6) The words to that beloved hymn written in 1834 came to my mind: "My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand." Notice the song writer said that He, (Jesus Christ), is my righteousness. Knowing me, myself, and I, all too well, makes that statement alone such a tremendous source of hope for me. And, He can be your hope as well. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It doesn't take that much to entertain Great Grand Poppy!

This is the place to be here on this Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Why? It's where I will be talking a little more about us trying to keep up with a five year old this past weekend. She is just one little kid. How hard could that be? All I can say is that girl is stuck in hyper-drive and she is about as active as they come. She does know how to make an impact. On Friday evening we took her to the big mall to play in the indoor playground. It was much cooler than the park by our house. She played for about an hour. We then went to the food court and had some food from one of her favorites, Chick-fil-A. After that we came home and I settled into my recliner to watch the NASCAR truck race. In a few minutes she showed up with a Blu-Ray version she wanted us to watch on the big screen. That big screen happened to be the same one showing the truck race. The DVD was Ron Howard's version of The Grinch staring Jim Carrey. Score one for Madi. We ended up watching that movie until the end. We all got to bed at 11 p.m. That's well over an hour past my bedtime. Bottom line: A good time was had by all, especially the great grand. Just one question: How can one little girl her size turn everything upside down? All by herself? And lest I forget, during her time with us I did end up watching about 10 episodes of a Disney show called a Dog with a Blog. It's about a family with a talking dog who writes a blog on the side. It's one of her favorite shows. A talking dog who writes a blog? Yep. Ten episodes. She does make an impact.

I've been a time traveler since I was a kid. That was one of the escape mechanisms I used growing up in a small rural area. I would read a good book and then relive it through my time travel dreams. Our little Madi is a walking talking episode of time travel. I actually flinch sometimes at her facial responses as I think about her mom, our Tiffany, and how she reacted in exactly the same carbon copy way some twenty years ago. It's like I am dealing with a throw back Thursday identical twin in living color. It causes me to get that cat running over my grave sensation, if you know what I mean. I'm not as close to Madi as I was to her mom. Madi has her own Paw Paw, (our eldest), to have that special closest connection just like I had with her mom. He, by the way, likes to keep up with how things are going with our care for his granddaughter. He made one of those welfare check calls and I told him how that on Saturday evening she had passed out from exhaustion and I carried her upstairs and put her into her bed. I told him how I used to run up the stairs but I now am just a wee bit wobbly going up. He immediately asked that I not do that again. He said I could trip or slip and end up hurting Madi. And, oh yeah, I might hurt myself as well. I'm so glad he threw that last one in for good measure. I'm well aware that if the roles were reversed I would be making the same types of calls. (The previous facts are accurate but the mere telling of them may have created a sense of embellishment. Trust me, I can only work with the materials I have at hand.)

Her Paw Paw did come up with a pretty good assessment. He told the wife that he gets the idea that when Madi is with them she is treated like a princess and when Madi is with her great grands she gets treated like a queen. I thought that was pretty good and I most likely would have to plead no contest if pressed on the issue. 

Sunday when we showed up for the Church wide picnic I tried to fit in by wearing some Bermuda shorts. I already knew I had white legs. When I walked up to the group one of the fellows began shielding his eyes. Another one blurted out, "Hey brother, have you ever worn shorts in your entire life?" I told him I think I most certainly had worn shorts in the past. Maybe ten years ago. Even less. Maybe. They all got a kick out of my shark bait legs. And you are out there wondering if I really do face a lot of challenges in my life. I don't need Dr. Phil to tell me that I have problems. And no, I do not have him on my speed dial. I was only joking. Come to think about it I don't even have a speed dial. No wonder I get confused at times, but that does remind me of something. It's time for me to begin thinking about getting ready to think about my annual physical. I received an email reminding me that it is time to schedule my visit. Now I have to start studying for all those tests. I've been trying to lose ten pounds for about ten months, or more. There was a time when I could almost do that in a heartbeat. Now I lose two, gain one, lose one, gain two. I suppose my internal alarm clock is not the only thing having trouble these days. My weight control mechanism may be on sabbatical. I also suspect that it may have developed a taste for cheesecake. Okay. That will do it for today. What's that? Sure. Prayers are always appreciated and as you can tell I always and forever stand in need of them. Thanks.  Amen.   .....More later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"We worried for decades about WMDs – Weapons of Mass Destruction. Now it is time to worry about a new kind of WMDs – Weapons of Mass Disruption." ~ John Mariotti, Successful business leader and author

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, June 9, 2015. I do realize there is a difference between one being critical and one being cynical. I can't always know which of those hats I am wearing when I present my views but I do not want to portray a sense of hopelessness because even with as much stuff messed up in our nation I still believe we can recover. This just announced data breach of government personnel information is stunning. Fortunately they had put in some enhanced security just in time to find out the data had been stolen. That is absurd to me. If you look at how much the average pay of federal employees has grown in recent years, especially in the higher positions, one would think there would be an increase in performance as well. The government believes the Chinese are the culprits who hacked some 4 million personnel records including security information. I don't care how. I don't care what they did to get those records. My belief is that firings should be taking place for those responsible for protecting these records. They aren't. They won't be. Why? Well, there's the federal employee union. There's the mean folks in Congress who won't give them unlimited funds. And, after all is said and done, this is just a way of life today. They cannot even guess what this information is worth out on the black market. Oops. Bad things happen sometime. Tell that to a federal employee whose security codes and everything about his or her family is now known by our enemies.

There's a big stink being stirred up recently involving radio stations that play country music. The most profitable stations play male performers much more than their female counterparts. That's what sells. A recent expert on the industry advised stations to take note of this and if they are not mostly playing the big male stars they could be leaving up to 15% in ratings on the table. This created a tsunami wave of political correctness. This expert had attempted to describe his findings by giving an illustration. He called the male country singers the lettuce in the salad and the girl singers the tomatoes. He said the tomatoes should be used sparingly. Many of the top female artists went ballistic. It's not fair. The system shouldn't be allowed to work that way. Now they are angry at the big name male singers for not jumping in to defend them. These fellows haven't said much because selling records is how they make their money. Radio airtime equals dollars. Radio stations play what their listeners want to hear and what they are buying. Now, after all this uproar, most of them are being pressured to run some special programs to prove they love female artists. I think the whole thing is an absolute farce. But, in the end, the stations will no doubt end up playing more female singers. I'm sure our government would love to dictate some ratio but I do hope that when they do they will designate a special category for train songs. You do know that was a joke. Right?

I understand there are some flavors of ice cream that do not sell as well as others. Consumers are allowed to choose based on their own tastes and preferences. I read about a creamery in New Orleans that has a avocado mint and sour cream flavored ice cream. Some people probably don't care for that flavor. Maybe the advocates of avocado mint sour cream will attempt to force ice cream sellers to give them equal time. Vanilla gets way too much shelf space. That's just not fair. Okay. The odd flavor is a true story but I've used it in a rather stupid parody reflecting what I see as the craziness of trying to force people to like, follow, and purchase country music based on some type of parity among the male and female entertainers. Like I say, we have a government that loves to try and dictate just about every choice we make in life. I would imagine there are any number of past their prime country music singers who would love to be hearing their songs played again on the radio. You know. Equal playing field and all of that malarkey. Sounds to me like there needs to be some type of investigation into this situation. What say you? Thanks for tuning in and may God provide for us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

We need more 'good' busy in our lives!

Great Grand MiMi with our Madi girl!
It's Monday, June 8, 2015. Welcome back. We had an old fashioned work day at our home place on Saturday. Our boys came and helped complete some projects that needed to be done. We sure appreciate their willingness to help out. We had our little Madi great grand for the weekend. Did you ever hear me tell you how that girl is something else. You did, huh? Well, she is. Just in case you missed it. Keeping up with her for three days means her MiMi can get her exercise card punched for a whole week. We loved every minute of it. We did our regular thing on Sunday morning at the gathering place where we and other like minded believers meet to worship God and study His Word. On Sunday afternoon we had a big Church wide picnic. Three hours of fun and fellowship. What's that you say? Did I come to work to rest up? Not really, however, it sometimes seems to work out that way. There are times when we are over scheduled and we meet ourselves coming forth and back. It can be frustrating. There are other times when I like to call it a 'good' busy. We need some good busy times where we come out being thankful for being able to participate and enjoy. And I'll add a hearty Amen to that one!

Okay. I have decided to make a public confession. I am human. That's right. Back when I had a staff of 150, those people were always looking for and hoping for a slight misstep on my part. They got a big kick out of seeing me make a mistake now and then. I did my very best to not let that happen and even when it did I was not typically forthcoming in sharing my own foibles. Here's how this most recent one came down. Last Friday morning I looked at the clock on my nightstand and it read 2:15 a.m. It was duly noted and I said to myself: "Self, you can go back to sleep for 1 hour and 15 minutes." Next thing I know I rolled over and looked at that time keeper and it was now 4:07 a.m. What? Are you kidding me? I missed my internal 3:30 a.m. wake up call. (I detected a smirk on the face of that clock.) While I wasn't officially late I certainly was late on my own schedule. Okay. I admit it. It happens. Even to me. When I kissed the wife goodbye she obviously had figured out what had happened and so she added this encouragement, "Running a little late, aren't you?" When she said it she sounded just like the 150, but, alas, the truth is now known. I am only human but that doesn't mean I'm happy about what happened. I will be dealing with my internal clock mechanism. It has some splainin to do!

For those who might mistake that little story as being serious, please don't. It is true but it is certainly not anything serious. And, as you can tell, it hardly even bothers me, bothers me, bothers me. Hey, it is Monday, after all, and you do know that I make this stuff up as I go. Right? Our Bible study on Sunday mornings has been on a journey to examine the role and responsibility each of us have as a member of a local called out New Testament fellowship of believers. (An assembly or Church) It has been very grueling as well as convicting and enlightening. One fellow ended our time in prayer after one lesson by saying this, "Lord, thank You for allowing us to come here today to be chewed out." He came up to me and told me he wasn't being mean when he said that. I told him I knew exactly what he meant because we had used God's Word and it had spoken to us. When God speaks it examines the one reading or hearing. I had felt that same conviction he expressed in his prayer. I don't want to reach a time when I am not moved at all when God has something to say to me. Okay. Time to move on. Have a great Monday and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.