Monday, August 31, 2015

"Working in a mirror factory is something I can really see myself doing." (copied)

Good to see you as we do our best to wrap up this month here on this Monday, August 31, 2015. I read a little cartoon the other day where the people were complaining about the noise in their neighborhood. The wife said it had gotten so bad they could no longer overhear their neighbor's conversations. The husband added how the loud noise was a total invasion of their privacy. I thought that was a good one. What about you? I try to share these as I find them because they tend to get away from me. More and more that is becoming the norm. No. I am still not ready to tell the one on myself I talked about a couple of weeks ago. I will tell you that it was a doozy. The spell checker just flagged that word doozy. I wonder sometimes where he went to school. Doozy: something outstanding or unique of its kind as in "it's gonna be a doozy of a black eye." The stuff I have to put up with. This Blogger utility is owned by Google, therefore, one would think it pretty much knows everything. Right? How could it not be true if you saw it on the internet? Everybody knows that. Here's some of their alternate suggestions for that word: Dozy, Doz, Dizzy, Oozy, and Doze. Come on man, get your act together!

We rank 9th on the list of the top 10 most humid areas in the US with an average of 78%. The most humid ranked number one is up in Washington state with an average of 83.5% but 50% of those listed are in Texas. My point? I'm looking for where I can lodge a complaint about my glasses fogging up when I leave the office and go outside. This never happened when I wore contacts but my eye doctors conspired together to keep me from using the 30 day extended wear model. They were aghast that as a diabetic that I would sleep in my contacts. In fact, they were aghast that anyone would sleep in contacts at anytime no matter what their health condition or what the contact maker promised. We went to the 30 day because I can't put them in and at the time my helper (called a helpmeet/helpmate in the Scriptures) was working and she was the only one who could assist me and the 30 day model made it more convenient since she only had to put them in once a month. When I retire retire. That's new terminology for when I no longer come to my little nook here at my home away from home. When that happens I will go back to wearing them because she can put them in every day. What else does she have to do, anyway? I know I meant that in a joking manner and I sure hope she takes it that way. It will give us something to bond over because it does require close contact. (No pun intended.)

What's that you say? This could all be solved if I would just learn how to do it myself? I think I've answered that one more than a few times in the past. It has not been for a lack of trying and/or training. It's just one of those things that was not meant to be. My wife and I were laughing the other day about the young lady at the eye clinic who proudly announced that she had never failed to train people how to put their contacts in. After about 30 minutes of sheer frustration she loudly announced: "What is wrong with you?" The wife and I had a good laugh but the young technician was not amused. And, that my friend, has been more or less the story of my life. Maybe they will come up with some contacts that put themselves in. Surely technology could work that out. If we go with the one where she assists me each day I would still need my glasses because of the rise and shine differences between myself and my helpmate. But, that would be an improvement. I will likely use the dailies. That way we could throw the old ones away every evening. Anything to please those stern doctors. Anything. This has been mostly an attempt to poke fun at myself so please don't take it too seriously. It is something I will consider when I do the retire retire deal. Take care, enjoy, and may God help us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"We must trust God with what we cannot control." David Jeremiah, Pastor, Author, Influential Relgious Leader

Made it. Another Friday is here. This will be the last one for August and it lands on the 28th here in the year of 2015. Most of you know that when the white hairs gather the conversation will eventually turn to all things related to the obtaining of health care. Someone in our group the other day was talking about them running in circles trying to get something straightened out. You will remember my work on getting a dermatologist to okay some laser treatment for some spots on my face. The soonest appointment I could get was December 1 at 11 am. The other day I received an email alert regarding an important message awaiting me on the medical online system. I logged in. Important change to your upcoming appointment was the subject. I dutifully clicked on it to find this information. Your appointment has been rescheduled from December 1 at 11 am. to December 1 at 11 am. I thought to myself, well okay then. I just hope they don't call me again about any trips out of the country because of this change from the same date and time to the same date and time. The way I see it says there's still three months before this alleged appointment is scheduled to take place. Who knows what might happen? I've decided to keep it on my calendar including the latest change.

You detect some dripping sarcasm? Sorry. I was actually only shooting for sarcasm, not the dripping part. I like to save the dripping part for those really loud folks that walk around at the front of the store who come over and interfere with the check out process. I will have to more closely monitor my tone going forward. This week the stock market has been in a huge correction. That's what they call it. I haven't read yet anything about people jumping out of buildings but I did see a piece in a London newspaper advising people as a result of the financial turmoil to find a place to hide cash and to stock up on bottled water and canned goods. They thought this to be prudent in case civil unrest were to breakout and folks could be confined to their homes for perhaps as long as a month. Scary. Okay. My short take on this situation. When the free world puts their hopes on the Chinese Communists we should not be so surprised when something like this crash occurs. I know. I'm just a common ordinary lay person but having the Chi-coms own our debt and having their growth be the factor on whether we are financially able to survive, well, to me, that is absurd, period. Some are still singing happy days are here again because of the precipitous oil price decline. We all might be whistling a different tune if we go into a global recession. Thankfully we have the Lord God on our side. That's always good to keep in mind no matter what is happening.

I witnessed a couple of situations the other day that reminded me of this song. It was written by a blue grass gospel writer Sheri Easter. She had in mind her husband Jeff and his dad, the 81 year old James Easter. The father and son sing it on one of their albums. A portion of the song goes like this:

Like Father Like son. Two roads become one

The old and the young. The father and the son.

You Taught me to laugh at the stories you told.

wanted you to be warm in a world that is cold

You taught me to listen to God up above.

I told you to pray from a heart filled with love.

Like Father Like son. Two roads become one.

The old and the young. The father and the son.

The other day at the family get together I was sitting at the table with my 18 year old grandson. One of our nephews was lamenting over some computer tablet problems he was experiencing. My grandson went into a detailed step by step description of all the options and potential fixes that might be available. He sounded a lot like his dad, our middle son. Out on the porch our 9 year old grandson Brady had a group surrounding him as he talked about this and that. Some were teenagers, others were adults. They seemed very tuned in to what he was saying. That took me back to his dad, our youngest, at that same age, as he used to do the exact same thing. Like father like son. That influence is there. It's how it works. It's actually how it is supposed to work. Hopefully the good stuff. Some observations from an old granddad as I make my way forward. Have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. And, remember to remember that God really is in control. I do look forward to the next time we meet. See you then. May God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Family Planning: Having all your children while their grandparents are still young enough to be babysitters." (copied)

I do love the little ones.
Another week rushing by. Sometimes it seems like it is nearly a blur. If we stop long enough to grab hold of today we find that it is Thursday, August 27, 2015. People who know me are aware that I do my very best to get close to the little ones that are in our life. Not only my own but any and all I come in contact with. I work at it. It's part of who I am. I have been told that my dad was a lover of the little ones also. Maybe that's why there were six of us. This past Sunday I had myself one of those remarkable blessing experiences. This grandma came into the family life center holding her four year old granddaughter. This little one has been a work in progress as I have attempted to warm up to her. On this day she spotted me across the room and she literally jumped out of her grandma's arms and ran all the way across the building and jumped up into my arms. Her grandma was flabbergasted, mouth wide open, in disbelief. I was beaming. I like beaming. It goes well with my white beard. On the same day I had this other little girl maybe six or seven and she is very serious about the Santa program. She said she knew I was one of his best helpers but was curious if I had ever seen him face to face. I told her that was an excellent question and I would get back to her on it. Maybe she will forget. Maybe I will forget. She's kind of in that transition age but I love it anyway. Last week when we met up with my uncle and aunt, she told me something I had not remembered. Because of mom being widowed with six young children they did what they could to help. She asked if I remembered the year I got the bicycle. I did remember the bicycle. But she went on to say they had brought the bicycle but she never saw anyone more convinced that Santa had brought it. Another piece of the puzzle. No wonder I am the way I am. And, I thought I had to learn how to say ho ho ho. Silly me.

I know some of you must be wondering why I never use any of those emoticon symbols. You haven't been wondering about that? Well, humor me anyway since I've decided to talk about it. I get these all the time on messages sent via the various forms of social media. Sometimes they don't get translated correctly. This causes me to believe the person who sent them may have either secretly encoded something or maybe while I wasn't looking they learned how to speak the Japanese language. I'm not against people using them if that helps them to convey whatever it is they want to communicate. If I want you to know I am happy I will say exactly that. If I want you to know I'm sad I will do my best to express that in my writing. Oh, that's right. Some limit the amount of words you can use so those little emoticons help. Limiting the number of words I can use is like trying to give a fish a bath. Sorry. I saw that on somebody's posting the other day and I also have no idea what it means or how it applies. It sounded like something good to throw in at that particular time. On the charts I looked at I did not see an image for Community Coffee. That shows you how out of touch folks are when it comes to things that really matter. Please don't write me. I am well aware there's more important things in life than Community Coffee. As soon as I have some time I will try to think of one or two. If that's confusing please help in the search to find out who that Amber Alert lady is who keeps calling cellphones.

Recently I was jawing with a fellow about the features of true country living. I recalled the time as a young teen that I visited some of our relatives who lived out in the Sabine river bottom. They were very isolated. They had electricity but no running water. Their light bulbs were on the end of a cord hanging down from the ceiling. They had great water but it had to be pumped into containers for use including the shower. I think I passed on the shower. One thing they did have was a small black and white TV that sat in the corner in their living room. The number one purpose for that TV was to catch the wrestling matches. My uncle and my cousin were avid fans. They had a stack of magazines with bloody faces on nearly every cover. They could get both animated and agitated just discussing particular bouts they had watched. Even as a kid I knew it was all a show. Fake. And, yes I know people did get hurt doing it. We used to get hurt all the time from running into something or falling on a stick. There could be blood. That's when the iodine came out. At any rate it reminded me that in the midst of this transition between the rudimentary rural lifestyle and a more modern world I could see the spectacle of how those wrestling programs became an integral part of the scheduling of their lives. I'm not into social commentary, just reporting a recollection from my past. That's all folks. Thanks for humoring me today. Maybe tomorrow we will have something better. Don't count on it. Until then, take care and may our Great God add his wonderful blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love." Saint Basil, Greek Bishop, (330 AD - 379 AD)

Wow! Wednesday. Already? Yep. This one happens to fall on August 26, 2015. People remember things that you were involved with even though you have no recollection of it. I've had a number of those types of encounters over the years. I read one from a fellow Santa, (Walt, friend on Facebook, in the photo), the other day that can be an object lesson for us all. This fellow is retired after thirty five years as a narc cop out in California. He is also an Army veteran. He and his wife travel in their RV for most of the year. This past week he met up with a fellow he served with in his Military Police unit in Germany. They had not seen each other in forty five years. They had dinner together. During their conversation the fellow he served with brought up something from a long time ago. He said he had never forgotten that when he had received word of a death in his family that the Santa fellow had volunteered to take his night duty so that he could have some time alone. The Santa fellow couldn't even recall that it ever happened. The other fellow could. He said he often thought about what that simple act had meant to him. See there? The Santa fellow closed out his little story by reminding us all that while we might not give a second thought to performing a random act of kindness we just never know what it might do for someone else. Lesson heard. Now it's up to us all to see what we will do with it. Amen.

This past Saturday I was reminiscing with my wife's eldest brother Cleon. When we got married we went on a very abbreviated honeymoon and then we drove directly to Cleon's to celebrate Christmas with the Rawles Clan. That was back in 1964. He had forgotten that but it reminded me of the blessings that God has provided to our two families through my great fortune when He allowed me to find that little girl in the top photo, Marilyn, and have now been privileged to call her my wife for nearly 51 years. She may have been called 'Lil Bit' back then but she packed a wallop. I can still remember that safe that fell out of the building and hit me on top of the head when I was first attracted to her. That was a long time ago but I can remember it like it was yesterday. Nowadays I have to put up with hearing people say how that she still looks the same while looking at me and saying 'Hello Santa'. They actually lower their voice when they say that. They must not know there really is a list. I am, after all, the Head Checker! Twice!

The other day one of the people I'm friends with posted the first 14 verses from the 139th Division of the Psalms on Facebook. No commentary, just God's word from that passage. It was interesting that the very next posting was a from a young man speaking about the presence of God in our lives and he also used that same passage to point out how that God knows everything, every bit of it, before we even formulate the thought or word, He knows us. Okay. Back to back written by people who don't know each other. Probably just coincidence. Right? I'm not so sure. Maybe God wanted me to look more closely at Psalm 139. Maybe He has something for me to learn from that passage. He does know what each of us stand in need of and I am thankful that He acts to let us know where we can hear from Him. It could actually be a coincidence but here's the way I see it. You can never go wrong when you respond to a call to seek God's voice through His Word. Amen. I don't know why but I am still chuckling about that young lady demanding to know who Amber Alert is that keeps appearing on her husband's cellphone. Why is that funny to me? I suppose it is different strokes, but, I want you to go out there and have yourself a blessed day, and I'll do my best to keep the home fires tended to here. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7, New American Standard Bible, (NASB)

It's Tuesday, August 25, 2015 and you may have noticed that I haven't yet mentioned the recent rains we received. Talk about 'oh what a relief'! And, we are thankful. Very thankful. I've read that it is very short lived and that the heat will come back with a vengeance. Sorry. Still thankful. Very thankful. After several weeks of near intolerable desert like conditions to see our ditches filled with water, oh my, what a blessing! Amen! There are some remarkable people in this world. We have a dear brother in Christ we've known since the mid 1970's battling pancreatic cancer. He's 81 and undergoing chemo at this time. His demonstrated faith and resilience during this time has been an inspiration to us all. I read the testimony of a fellow Santa who had a follow up from some heel surgery and was told his foot would have to be removed as soon as possible. This was a scary development. His response? Let's get on with it so that I can get that prosthesis, learn how to walk, and maybe make a part of the season for the kids. He said he believed God was with him because they were able to make an immediate appointment instead of waiting the normal several weeks. His faith is in the Great Physician. I've never been a fan of President Jimmy Carter. I don't agree with his politics. I don't agree with his reading of certain Bible texts. But, I listened to some from his press conference about the cancer that has spread to his brain. I know he professes to know Christ and I heard him say this about his situation: "I am at peace with the diagnosis and the treatment being pursued." Peace. That's what most people desire. They won't find it in any of the things this world has to offer because true peace can only be found in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

We were out a little earlier than usual last Wednesday evening and got home in time to watch most of John Luke Robertson's wedding on Duck Dynasty. Don't I DVR it? No. I don't. My contention is they will show all the episodes we have missed this season at least four or five times. And, I can always watch them on the internet which includes about the same, if not more, commercials. A&E moved up the show by 30 minutes this season but I didn't think it appropriate to call a Church business meeting to adjust our schedule. You what? You do hope I am kidding? I'm just letting you know some stuff. Okay? I did see a funny little cartoon thing on Facebook about this little blonde wife looking at her husband's cell phone and demanding that he immediately explain exactly who this girl named Amber Alert is. I had to share that one before I forgot about it. Back to the John Luke episode. We greatly enjoyed it because it was, at least to us, genuine. Some 3.5 million also watched. Funny, but also the fundamental truth about this young couple needing God as their foundation came through loud and clear. I will be embarrassed if I hear of any of you Googling Amber Alert to see who she really is. Laughing to myself, not out loud or LOL as we way too often see it.

Even though Duck Dynasty dominated cable for the wedding show and even scored high that evening against most of the regular programming on the broadcast channels, the naysayers were still dumping as much negative commentary as they could. They led their reviews with things like, No longer the juggernaut they once were.... mostly because of the hate mongering of their patriarch Phil Robertson.... yet they still do have fans. Yet? They are surprised folks. People still like that show. That's right. The mainstream high and mighty liberal media pooled all their resources to do whatever they could to kill this program. They worked hard. In the end it was the almighty dollar that caused A&E not to concede. The show makes them a ton of money. That usually ends up making the final decision. I know many of you don't care about this subject but I am an observer of the culture wars and I happen to like it when people win a battle now and then based on their stand for the Lord. It does not mean that I agree with everything the Robertson's believe about the Bible. It does mean that I appreciate programming that does its best to recognize and portray how life can unfold based on a priority of God and His truth. That's just me. And, it is my blog. WYSIWYG. (What you see is what you get.) Thanks for tuning in and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies." ~Shirley Abbott, Author

The Rawles Clan: Marilyn, Dorothy, Evangelist Bro. Milton, Cleon
I may change my handle to Traveling Man. I felt like doing the Johnny Cash 'I've Been Everywhere Man, I've Been Everywhere.' Not really. But it does seem that way some time. Hello and welcome. It's Monday, August 24, 2015 and I hope you are up and at em on this fine day. Last Saturday we all gathered for a special time of celebration over in Louisiana at the wife's sister's place. It was a day to honor the eldest in their family, Cleon, in recognition of his 80th year. We also threw in a surprise salute to the eldest daughter, Dorothy, who is celebrating her 70th year. They say when you marry you not only marry the woman but you also marry the woman's family. I will say this without any hesitation, I got me one great family as part of our union. Cleon is a man of the earth. He farmed commercially for many years. He served our country in the US Army. He retired as a rural route postal carrier. Probably more than anything else he is a community minded person, a friend to all, and a special neighbor to so many throughout his lifetime. Mom and Dad Rawles laid a good foundation in that boy. Dorothy is an exemplary servant of the Lord. I might add she's been at it throughout her lifetime. Literally. She was given overflowing musical talents that she uses for the Lord and she also actively seeks to pass them on to future generations. Her and the wife are joined at the hip, so much so, that we call them twins born 18 months apart. It was a great day. I feel honored to have been there and I feel honored to be a part of these people's lives. May God bless them all. Amen.

In addition to teaching music at a private Christian academy, Dorothy is also a gifted piano teacher. She typically is in high demand. Many times she has a waiting list. Why? It's really quite simple. The kids that she teaches usually learn how to play the piano. Results my friend, results. That's a principle that works in almost every avenue of life. Why does the company I work for get all the business from certain of our customers even if we may not be the lowest price? They have confidence in what we do. I've been told many times when bidding a project that no matter what we will be the ones doing the work. Results. Why do we listen when people we trust share a recommendation for a service or repair business? We are looking for someone who can get the job done. Bad service and bad results go hand and hand and it seems to be an epidemic that continues to spread. I was telling the wife about this one. I needed to stop by one of the world's largest box stores. Not because I wanted to but mainly because it was on my way home. At the checkout line the lady paying was having trouble getting a form of payment that was acceptable. The fellow in front of me was waiting. I was waiting. The lady was desperately trying to find something. She produced a check and they keyed in the account information on it and it finally went through. I was in a hurry. Next thing we know one of those front of the store walk around people comes up and grabs hold of the young man who was checking us out. She proceeded to loudly tell him the do's and don'ts of punching in and out. Loud. Not even a glance towards those waiting in line. She acted like she was the lord of the rings (as in cash register ringing). She was still barking into the air as she went out of sight. That's one of the main reasons we do our best not to go there as much as we did at one time. Just say'in.

I actually felt sorry for the lady trying all the different forms of payment. She was pretty upset. I would offer her at least one recommendation. Think some about the process. When you are at the checkout typically several things happen. They scan your goods. Then they are ready to process your payment. You should know that. Waiting until everything is scanned and then being told it's time to pay, well, I just think maybe she could have not waited until then to begin the process of going through everything in her purse. Just trying to be helpful here. Nothing more than that. I know. Not everyone thinks the same. But we all can learn. It's especially important if I happen to be third in line behind you. She may not have recognized me. But, there will always be a next time. Right? Okay class, what have we learned today? We learned that you get fidgety and impatient when you have to be in line for too long. I was hoping for something more positive but maybe it will come to you later. Enjoy your day. And, if you don't want to have an experience like the one I described, stay home. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 21, 2015

"Memorial Service: A farewell party for someone who has already left." (Unattributed)

This is today and it will be for the remaining time we have. That is before it becomes the next day which is Saturday. If you want to watch that happen you might want to stay up until just after midnight. I'm told that's how the clock/calendar synchronization works. It's Friday, August 21, 2015, and I bid you a fond welcome here at the ole blogger ranch. People do take their political preferences serious. The Houston Chronicle ran a little blip about a fellow who had died and in his obituary it had this message: 'In lieu of flowers, please do not vote for Hillary Clinton.' I know what some of you are thinking. You wonder where he really stood with regards to his candidate choices. Don't know who he was for but I think we get at least a strong clue who he did not want to see in the Oval Office. I've read a few obituaries that were very personal in nature. They were, in fact, written by the person who passed away. To say the least they are different than the norm. One lady started hers out this way: "It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life all my life." What follows those words is a rambling account of her life from her earliest recollections. It is an official obituary out on but it has to be at least three typewritten pages long. She apologized to her children for the clothes she made them wear when they were young kids. She talks about stuff that happened in grade school and all the way up through college. Towards the end she has this recognition: "So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor. But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?" Maybe I will share others in the days ahead. No. I am not practicing on writing my own. It's been done for years. Just joking. (I did write one a long time ago. It was part of a management training exercise in how you want to be remembered.)

My wife sent me a note the other day talking about one of my longer postings. She thought it was good. She also thought it was long. She may have even said it was really long. Some days it just kind of works out that way. When I first started out I actually did four, five, or six paragraphs on some days. Then I remembered what Paw Paw Mac used to say when we were serving food onto our plates and how that we should not let our eyes be bigger than our stomach. You know. Make sure its proportional and digestible. But he also used to think that while I couldn't do that much in too many areas I was pretty good at talking. And, he also thought I got quite enough exercise in that particular area. Hopefully some of it makes an impact for good. That is one of the key motivations behind what I do. Anytime I remind us all that we need the Lord and He is always there and ready to help, well, that makes up for a lot of the other stuff, like interesting obituaries and tidbits like that. Some folks who write talk about polishing their craft. At this point and time that might be a bridge too far for me but that doesn't mean I will quit trying. You know, quitters never, or at least they are not supposed to.

The class I teach at our local fellowship where we attend is called Truth Seekers. We are the older group in our Church. Last Sunday these folks sang me the Happy Birthday song and they gave me a wonderful card and this 2 pound bag of Community Coffee. I'm not saying that coffee is a part of my theological presentation but they do know how I feel about my Community. That's what we use in our class. For the most part that's now what we use in our Church. One of the sweet ladies, Sis. Betty, took a photo of me dressed up in all my Santa gear and she put it on the bag of coffee. Therefore, I now have my own personalized version of Santa Community Coffee. I do appreciate her and the rest of our gang thinking about me on my birthday. If I could only see myself always living up to the wonderful comments they put on the card. If I could just be that person all the time. I guess I will just have to keep on trying. And, that's what we are called to do. With His help of course. Get up every day and seek Him and get out there and do our best to honor Him by serving others. And, by doing what we always said to our kids at Bible club: "Good clubbers always have a good attitude." That's plenty on my plate. How about you? Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and if the Lord provides I'll try to show up on Monday morning and we'll see what falls out of my head and lands on the page. At least that's what I will try to do. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chorus: “A glad day, a wonderful day.. Glad day, a glorious day..There with all the holy angels and loved ones to stay.. That will be a glad reunion day..” Song: That Glad Reunion Day by Iris Dement, Singer/Songwriter

Good morning and welcome. It's already Thursday, August 20, 2015, and I have had an interesting week. What about you? I took off from work this past Tuesday so the wife and I could drive to Tyler, Texas to be a part of a time of reunion for mom and her brother, Uncle Waymon. Mom and dad drove from Louisiana and were there to meet Uncle Waymon and Aunt Elwanda. I think the average age of those four to be somewhere near the 89 mark. A huge thank you to their daughter Cindy for bringing her parents from Dallas and for helping to make this meeting a reality. It was a dream come true for my mom who has been longing to see her last remaining sibling, her brother. While none of us know what tomorrow will hold, from mom's point of view this get together could very well be their last face to face in their journey in this old world. That, of course, is in God's hands. She always quickly adds they will one day join their Savior and all the rest of their family who have preceded them to their heavenly home. What a blessing to be a part of this little get together. It's one of those precious memories that I will always treasure. May God add His blessings to these seasoned saints. Amen.

We officially received our first inquiry about Santa and Mrs. Claus for the upcoming season. A new event. We know the people well who checked into our availability and would be honored to work with them if we can. All of our events over the years have been generated by word of mouth and we do our best to honor first those who schedule us each year. Since joining a number of the Santa related Facebook pages I have gained an appreciation for the multitude of ways that Santa interacts with the public. Some work full time traveling all over. Some film commercials. Many seasoned veterans teach schools on how to be a better Santa. Some actually do Santa in far flung locations all over the world. It seems that real bearded Santas are somewhat in demand. I see many posted openings from all over the US and even a number of international venues. When I was a teenager they laughed at me for having to shave at such an early age. Who's laughing now? Ho! Ho! Ho! (I was also one of the earliest to have hair on my chest. At that time it was thought to be an indication of manliness not like today where it's considered to be gross and it needs to be removed as quickly as possible.) Who ever heard tell?

Example only: I don't know these people!
I sure hope that we keep a lot of older folks around. That's my 'man on the street' observation at the Cracker Barrel in Tyler, Texas. For the sake of Cracker Barrel if nothing else. Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of families who eat at that place. There are workers that do too. But, the vast majority of folks patronizing that one were folks who had long ago received their first invitation to join AARP. (We have nothing to do with that particular organization. It's a political decision on our part. Just so you know.) I was out on the porch for over an hour so I did get the lay of the land, so to speak. Lots of folks vying for handicapped parking spaces. Lots of folks using canes and walkers. And, many of us proudly wearing the white hair and a few like me wearing the white beard. No. I did not see any ladies wearing a white beard. While on the porch we could listen to some really good old fashioned country music. I did notice a stark contrast. After Garth Brooks belted out his mega hit 'Friends in Low Places', the next song was the Gaither classic 'Because He Lives." Just doing my part to keep everyone informed and in living up to the creed that Yogi Berra put forth: "You can observe a lot by just watching." I add to that, just listening, and I think I'm set. Take care and may God bless us one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." ~ Dr. Seuss

It's Wednesday, August 19, 2015 and as the late newsman Paul Harvey used to put it, "now for the rest of the story." Before everyone starts throwing out their blood glucose monitoring devices I need to explain how mine failed the other day. It was really my fault. Not the little device. I always slop on the germ killing hand sanitizer before I check my blood. That was the morning when I thought I was late even though I wasn't late but that residual brain alert was still trying to get himself reset, therefore, I didn't let the germ killer completely dry. When the blood came out it was diluted by the germ killing sanitizer and that's when the little meter said "I can't measure this stuff." I would have typically started over but because of that brain alert thingy that was still making me think I was late I just threw it all back in the little pouch and determined to revisit the issue on the next day. But you were not running late? I know that. You know that. All God's children know that. But, once that launch sequence for the brain alert is triggered it can't be instantaneously halted. It's like the time when I flipped over in my chair at my office downtown. There were several people witnessing this episode so my brain went into overload trying to interrupt the falling sequence. That's when I really strained all the muscles in my shoulder and back. If I had just hit the floor it would have been better but all that flailing of arms and legs, well, it wasn't a pretty outcome. Funny? Sure. Once everyone knew that I wasn't dead they sent a chorus of guffaws loud enough to be heard from floor 22 down to the street. Did I ever tell you that I have not had an easy life? Remind me to do that sometime.

Sometimes politicians say things that are really bizarre. They then have to stand by what they have said and that can generate even more fallout. The recent comments from President Obama comparing Republicans who oppose the Iran agreement to Iranian politicians shouting death to America was intended to shock folks who heard it. It did. Later he stood by that comparison saying those who oppose this deal or actually on the same side as those who oppose it in Iran. Wow! Now one of the leading Democrat senators has stated he will vote against the deal. Uh oh. He's a Democrat and a Senior Senator. So far, the President has not categorized him as being like the Republicans. But, I forgot to mention he is Jewish. The President along with his fellow compatriots at the New York Times have consistently attacked any and all Jews who oppose this agreement. They even introduced the Senator's opposition by calling him a leading Jew. The President himself has used code words about Jewish money and power being used to influence the upcoming vote. Wow! The bottom line: What will a rogue regime do with $150 billion? Our flag is now waving over the reopened American embassy in Havana. Guess what? Fidel Castro, communist dictator, is now demanding huge amounts of money in damages that he claims our illegal embargo has caused to his country. We make a deal with Iran and they get $150 billion. No telling what we will end up paying out to Cuba. Yes. This is an opinion piece. But I thought you knew that.

Having just completed another birthday observance I decided to share with you some rejected birthday card ideas. ~ Congratulations! From now on they will automatically schedule your colonoscopies. ~ Knock, Knock. Who's there? Your youth dropping by to say goodbye. ~ You know how they say that wine gets better with age? You are not wine. ~ Happy Birthday, I do hope you stick to your diet this time. ~ Happy Birthday. You do know that I was guilted into sending you this card. Right? ~ Sorry I missed your party. I can't remember what I was doing. ~ I have some news. Telling everyone that 60 is the new 40, well, sorry, not for you. ~  Now I know why you unfriended me on Facebook. Did you really want an actual card that bad? ~ I found this card in the trash. I thought you would appreciate me recycling. ~ Happy Birthday. It took a while but we all chipped in to buy you this card. ~ Okay. I got these ideas from a Twitter feed but most of them have been modified to some degree. They were in the public domain so you are free to use them. I would be careful who I sent them to. Just having a little fun. Take care now, you hear? And, may God watch over and keep us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"There's nothing wrong or evil about having a bad day. There's everything wrong with making others have to have it... with you." Neil Cavuto, Fox Business Channel

Okay it's Tuesday, August 18, 2015 and here we go again. I always stop for gas on my way into work, usually on Friday. I did that last Friday. The wife has been saying things about my old flivver and how it really does need a wash job. I thought to myself. I'll just surprise her. I selected the car wash on the computer screen. Filled up the car and the printer was out of paper so I had to go inside to get the receipt that has the code to go through the car wash. The lady was nice but I was a little miffed because of my schedule. Went into the car wash, punched in my code, drove to the designated position and it activated. It covered one side with soap and then told me to get out of Dodge. That was it? I went back into the C-Store and told the nice lady what happened. I invited her to look right outside the door at my car half covered with soap. She finally figured out how to do a refund and I was back on the road again. Got to the office and was still a little discombobulated from that development and I suppose I overfilled my little one cup coffee maker. It does a really good job but when you tell him to make coffee he will pour out exactly the amount of water you put in even if it is two cups. What a day! Clean up on aisles one, two, and three. I got it all back together and in the middle of finishing my blog the internet decided it was time for him to take a time out. I didn't recognize it right away and kept of hitting keys like there was no tomorrow. I didn't ask for a rain check at the car wash but I thought seriously about getting one for the entire day. Momma, you said there would be ones like that but they can sure mess with your head. And that's a sure enough fact!

I shared that with you so you can laugh along with me. I am fully aware that all of those things added together don't amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. They don't but they still have to be dealt with. There were a couple of others I could have added but I didn't want to be accused of piling on especially when it's about yours truly. (I started my day with my little glucose meter malfunctioning. That should have told me something.) Why didn't someone tell me that when you turn 69 this was how it would be? My wife is an encouragement to me. Now that I think about it that same Friday morning I jumped up out of bed because I thought I was late. It was 3:24 a.m. She simply said, "Settle down you are not late." I'm not joking on that. What's that you hear all the time? There are some days when you should have stayed at home. I looked at that clock and I saw the numbers but I had previously looked at it just before 3 a.m. and I suppose my brain triggered the late alert even though I typically try to not get up until 3:30 each morning. We may not fit the 'old people are funny' designation yet but we are certainly in full fledged training at this time. I did give the nice lady at the C-Store one of our Santa cards and she thought it was wonderful. It has the wife and I on the front and the photo in this paragraph on the back along with a large verse reminder JOHN 3:16. She was smiling big and I suppose looking back that should have made things a little less onerous. I should have thought about that big smile when I was wiping up that coffee.

I have to give a whopping shout up to the wife for her hard work in making my birthday so special. She said she had run out of ideas about getting me anything so she decided just to have one of our classic family, food, and fellowship gatherings. (For her that was an all afternoon affair!) That was better than anything I could have conjured up. I actually don't mind having reached a point and time where stuff is no longer that important. Don't get me wrong. I like stuff and I'm sure I could be cajoled into coming up with something. But, for the most part, I'm very much thankful for all that God has blessed me with and I'm not craving some special something at this time. Maybe later. You could give me a rain check. The photo above is our great granddaughter Madi girl (Madelyn Joy). Here's the neat thing about that ole déjà vu feeling: I can remember her mom at her age making the same types of photos. Good observation. Yes. It would have been without the Happy 69th. Don't make me get my calculator out or count up the years by taking off my shoes. I also had a birthday greeting song from my 91 year old mom when I talked to her early Sunday morning. I then had a wonderful song and expression of love from the Bible study group I teach. After that, remote control switching forth and back between NASCAR, the U.S. Open Golf Championship, and who knows what else. Just waiting for the gang to arrive. Doesn't sound that exciting to you? That's okay. It was more than just exciting to me, it was the stuff that the song Count Your Blessings Name them One by One is made of. And, that's what I am doing. Blessed. Amen. Take care and may God watch over us all. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have - so spend it wisely." - Kay Lyons, Author of Asian children's favorite stories.

I woke up this morning realizing that now basking in my last year of being in my sixties I best get on with whatever it is I want to accomplish. The name I tagged as the writer of this blog with was Sixty-plus. While I can keep on using it for as long I write them because technically it would be correct I may want to revisit that when and if I make it to 70. Feet firmly planted I am now ready to embark upon the next chapter. It begins on this Monday, August 17, 2015. A new start? Hey. Whatever works. Right? I've had so many new starts I've most likely met myself coming back. Maybe it was when I was caught in the circle with no exit ramp to be found. That can happen. I missed my turn the other day and had to go into downtown Houston. Stuff like that used to bother me. I drove here and there until I hit a way out, got back to the place where I messed up and gave it another shot. I used to practically live downtown, now I just use it to get myself turned back around. That too is a part of this journey of mine. Okay. I think I've waxed nostalgic enough that my candle may be fading, therefore, I had better get on with making hay while the sun is shining. That sounds similar to the Biblical word spoken by our Savior: "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work." (Gospel of John, Chapter 9, Verse 4)

This next little ditty has to do with a very alarming situation. I know. I get alarmed pretty easily these days but don't exit out because you think it is about politics because it isn't. I'm talking about a new product to help people get up and get going that really have a hard time doing so. It is a rug that has a built in alarm clock and you have to get up and stand on it to make it turn off. How do you like that? Who said technology couldn't help solve some of the world's greatest problems? I haven't used an alarm clock in thirty five years but I've dealt with folks that have tried just about everything to help them get up and going in the morning. Do I ever fail to respond to my internal alarm clock? I have. A number of times, maybe as many as you can count on both hands. You will be glad to know I have a plan to deal with that. My approach is to be an early early person. That's how this little electronic text gets prepared each day. Since I am an early early guy, well, if I miss that internal clock, I typically end up becoming just an early person. See what I mean? That's another solution offered up free of charge. You gotta love that rug alarm. Right?

I've noticed a trend on Facebook. People are now celebrating their pets' birthdays. Others feel compelled to respond with a hearty happy birthday to Fido or Oscar or Kitty or Doggy. Those last two names came to me and they did seem appropriate. Compelled to respond? Not me. Nope. Sorry, but no thank you. I am very glad that folks care for their animal companions. A fellow told me once that he would sell everything he had to save the life of his favorite dog. I appreciate his devotion but I hope that would not be the case. I suppose the next thing on the agenda will be a national movement entitled 'Pet Lives Matter'. Maybe me writing about stuff like this is why some people think I don't like animals. I love them. Typically grilled but fried makes them pretty tasty as well. You do know that I am very much kidding. The wife and I have actually talked about us having a pet of some kind. No. We haven't even mentioned bringing back the Pet Rock craze. Although from a care and feeding perspective, that's not a totally bad idea. Joking again. When we visit our children I love talking to their pets, loving on them, and when I leave I typically don't remember them again until the next visit. I suppose we have ordered our lives around not having any pets. Before you write me take into consideration we've had all kinds of pets when our boys were still with us. See there. You didn't know that, did you? Enjoy your pets and I'll continue to be thought of as odd. In fact, the question of: "What in the world is wrong with you?" came along a whole lot sooner than us not having pets. Thanks for tuning in today. No. I have not been offered a sponsorship from Alpo. You people are a tough audience. But I've had a little fun and hope you have too. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"At my age flowers scare me." ~ The late comedian George Burns who lived to be 100.

Here we go again. The good news? It's Friday, August 14, 2015, and I bid you a hearty hello and welcome. This Sunday I will be observing my 69th year of breathing air here on the planet. If I had been born in an Asian country I would already be 70 and counting. They consider a child to be one year old when he or she is born. (Life begins at conception, nine months later rounded up to 1 year. It actually makes sense to me.) Just so you know, don't look for those portraits of me in our local mall. It's a photo template overlay that I found on the internet. But, it does put into perspective something about how time gets away from us all. The other day I had a conversation with a fellow and he said something to me that perhaps I needed to hear. We have known each other for forty years. He said that I would likely never realize how many people I've influenced during my lifetime of teaching and my example of serving. I appreciated that comment. And I thank God that he shared it with me because we all should want to make a difference. On the other hand, I am very much aware of the times when I didn't make the impact that I should have. There's way too many of those, yet, I thank God for His grace, His patience, and His provision in helping me to get to this time in my life. I am a very blessed man with a wonderful wife and family along with a heritage of faith and a legacy of those who preceded me who served the Lord. For all these things and so many more I humbly offer my thanks to God, along with a happy birthday to me, myself, and I. Amen.

It's never too early to begin getting my 'jolly' on. I work on this throughout the year but as the season gets closer I listen to a lot of Christmas music. There's one of the free (with some commercials) AccuRadio channels that play nothing but children's Christmas songs. They typically hit all the major themes including the birth of our Savior since they play quite a few Children choirs. They play a lot of the Chipmunks, Burl Ives, and funny tunes like that. There's one particular album they play that makes me jerk my ear plugs out as fast as I can. It's the one made by the Jackson Five back in 1970. I played Santa for Sears in the early 1970's and that's the cassette they played while I was on duty. That one cassette. No others. Think about it. I did some 12 hour shifts on Saturdays and I dare anyone to listen to that album for 12 hours straight without needing psychiatric counseling. I actually think having to hear it for extended periods of time is on the international forms of torture list. Okay. Maybe it's not on the official list but it should be. Needless to say when one of those songs come on my 'jolly' suffers a huge setback. But then the kids from the Peanuts Christmas Show come on singing about the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night and I'm back on the right track. Fickle? As it relates to the Santa Enterprise I prefer to call it battle tested sensitivity.

I can remember a time when I would have been leading the cheers for the return of Blue Bell ice cream. All I can do now is be glad for those who are losing their heads over a video showing a Blue Bell 18 wheeler driving down the road. I saw many in my circle of friends on Facebook sending out thanks to the mega investor Sid Bush for his company saving investment in Blue Bell. When's the last time you saw folks thanking someone for investing in a company? Why am I not as excited as most folks? The Big D, diabetes, well, he has a lot of say in the matter. This doesn't mean that I won't taste or test the stuff when it makes it home to our freezer. The wife is already salivating. The other evening when we were at a Church sponsored in home fellowship gathering she brought me some of the homemade ice cream. While I appreciate the exercise of willpower on my behalf, I showed a buddy what I had in that little cup. I told him this is how I roll these days. It was good, I think. My taste buds thought it must have been a supersonic jet that flew by so quickly they didn't have time to measure the results. Well, that's the way it goes as I make my way to the door marked 69 in English and 70 in Chinese. Should you pray for me? That would always be a great thing. Always. Have a great weekend. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and Lord willing I'll see next time where I'll be clicking and clacking away here at the ole blogger ranch. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot." ~ Comedian Jay Leno

I'm still waiting. I thought maybe someone from the gizzard frying association would have seen my blog and left me a comment and perhaps a refund. You do know that I am just trying to lighten us up for our day. Right? Hey, it's Thursday, August 13, 2015, and as they say back home, we've got places to go and people to see. People remember your stories. At least some of them do. The other evening I was telling about how the doctor had advised they had to be careful treating older patients and the punch line was how that I told him I wasn't asking for my dad. One of the fellows we don't see very often said it reminded him of the one I told about the time the doctor came in and I got up and locked the door behind him. That was the doctor who always wanted to talk religion with me. Especially his. He wanted my opinion on all types of theological questions. That particular day I determined that a portion of our time together would be spent talking about my health as in, my diabetic condition. I believe that was the day he actually examined my feet after I told him that everything I read said it was important to do that. He said fine. Get your shoes off and let's have a look. I'm glad that fellow remembered my story because it even caused me to smile thinking about it. You can laugh too. Life is too short. Laugh some. I have a recent one on myself that is very hilarious but I'm still trying to decide whether to share it or not. It's one of those senior moments on steroids kinds of little tales. Maybe later. Maybe not. We'll see.

Speaking of age, it does seem to be front and center as we continue our journey here on the planet. It's interesting. Middle aged people seem to respect the white hair more than the younger folks. I actually have a few mid twenty somethings that call me by my first name. Not many but a few. It always seems odd to me, not because I'm offended by it, but mostly because I would never have done that to an elder when I was that age. I do notice that I have been getting a lot of sirs along the way. Some days it's like here a sir, there a sir, everywhere a sir sir. The problem comes when I look in the mirror I don't see what the others do. Mind tricks. Believe me I am well aware I'm not as strong as I once was. The other day I had to manhandle three 50 pound boxes while a fellow who was half my age stood and watched. In all fairness he did ask if I could handle it. What? I gave him one of those very polite, "Hey, you talking to me?" I then jerked up those boxes one at a time and walked away like they were filled with air. I later paid the price for that little charade. And, my eldest son also gave me a short lecture on not complaining about my difficulties with older stubborn people. Really? I thought maybe he could have recommended some Asorbine Junior or something like that.

Hey. I embellished that one a lot. I hardly felt anything from lifting those boxes. It didn't bother me...bother me....bother me.... at all.  Okay. You can turn the laugh machine off now. Have you ever wondered what story filler material is? Well let me share some with you: ~...Did you know August has the highest percentage of births... Did you know unless food is mixed with saliva you can't taste it... Did you know the average person falls asleep in 7 minutes... Did you know a bear has 42 teeth... Did you know an ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain... Did you know most lipsticks contain fish scales... Did you know no two corn flakes look the same... Did you know lemons contain more sugar than strawberries... Did you know 8% of people have an extra rib... Did you know 85% of plant life is found in the ocean... Did you know rabbits like licorice... Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters... Did you know 'Topolino' is the name for Mickey Mouse in Italy... Did you know a lobster's blood is colorless but when exposed to oxygen it turns blue... Did you know armadillos have 4 babies at a time and are all the same sex... Did you know reindeer like bananas... Did you know the longest recorded flight of a chicken was 13 seconds...~ With those high flying chickens no wonder gizzards are so expensive. Don't even try to act like you didn't learn something today even if most of it is not that important. Take care and may God bless us all. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Five dollars for one question!" said the woman to the fortune teller. "That's very expensive, isn't it?" "Next question please!" (copied)

Good morning and welcome. It's Wednesday, August 11, 2015, and I bid you a hearty welcome from deep in the heart of Texas. I saw a sight the other evening I thought pretty funny. We were with some friends and some of the kids were in their pool but the water was just too hot. The fellow we were visiting left and went and fetched some bags of ice. They have one of those ice machines. And he dumped the ice into the pool to cool it off enough for the kids to enjoy. What do you think about that? I also received an important email from a fortune telling psychic. The subject said they predicted that I would call them. They were wrong. I would have had more respect for them if the subject had said I predict you will see this, think it's the garbage that it is, and that you will immediately delete it from your Spam folder. Now had they said that instead of the other I would have maybe given them the benefit of the doubt. It's like that old joke. When the fellow called the physic hotline he lost faith because they asked him who was calling. Shouldn't they have known that? Or another one that talks about how that if psychics were for real why don't they all retire after winning the lottery since they should know the winning numbers. Right? I'm not a psychic or the offspring of any that I know of but I can assure you of this, it is going to be another hot day today. How do I know this? I am somewhat of a student of history and this is Texas and it is August. In addition to this, the weather folks have images of exploding thermometers on their prediction map. Even I can pick up on that as a clue.

Today is trash pickup day at our home place. As I was putting everything out I couldn't help but do a little happy dance for the much needed on and off again showers we had late yesterday afternoon and during the overnight. What a blessing! Those little puddles of water scattered around were literally a sight for sore eyes. The eyes being sore from looking for a little relief. When I arrived here at the workplace which is located on a more deserted farm road, well, the rain had given the place a much needed washing. The smell of the air was refreshing and as I looked up into the sky even the stars seemed to be twinkling with excitement because they could see us better. I know. That's a reach. But, I thought a little poetic license wouldn't hurt at this juncture. I do know it's a little darker now and that tells me that while we blew the lid off the record high temperature yesterday before the rain, well, fall is on its way. It reminds me of the promises that God made to Noah about the seasons being with us until the end of time. Okay. Enjoy your brief respite because they tell us that today will be another scorcher.

I know there's price adjustments being made all the time. I heard the other day how that more people are renting now instead of buying a home, therefore, those who rent out are eating people alive with price increases. Free market I suppose. Here's one that is causing me some personal grief. I have done very well in not stopping for a good long while for one of my favorite snack foods. Fried chicken gizzards. I was out on the road this past Tuesday and I happened to be in the area where I know how good they fry them up. You can get a dozen for next to nothing. Or so I thought! When he rung up the ticket it was $4.97. What? Are they now importing chicken gizzards from the Middle East? Did they get them mixed up with a shipment of caviar? Is that ridiculous looking fellow who is playing Colonel Sanders on the commercials causing a price hike on what used to be throw away food? I can remember when they would nearly pay you to take them. Maybe they only had gourmet chicken gizzards that day. They sure were good. And, they did give me about 20 of them. They always do that. I most certainly enjoyed everything about them except for the price. I haven't found a number for the chicken gizzard price control board but when I do I will be letting them know how I feel about it. Just so you know I didn't eat all of them. That's a new wrinkle for me but I thought a little self control was in order. I do hope you will have a blessed day and that our Great God will add His blessings to it. Amen.  .....More later.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain." ~ Robert Frost

The photo is the sailing vessel piloted by our missionary to the Philippine islands, Bro. Glen Knight. The vessel is named Remote Island Ministries, Nativa  or Rim Nativa.  Here's his most recent posting: "The missionary sailing ship RIM Nativa has sailed now for 37 days beyond her home port, covering 800 nautical miles thus far on our mission survey. That is a distance of 1,280 statute miles or 1,482 kilometers. She has done well. I am humbled and thankful."

Hello to all of you and especially to those who are struggling with this amazing heat. I have seen a number of photos on Facebook of people frying eggs out on their walk ways. I have also experienced a little bout of weeble wobble out in the heat doing a little physical exertion. (Notice the operative word: little.) Be careful. Be aware. And, be safe. The preceding was a public service announcement made on behalf of myself here on this anticipated 100 degree plus day, this Tuesday, August 11, 2015. I suppose this would be kind of a dull world if we didn't have weather as a conversation piece. We have a wonderful missionary over in the Philippines who does his work for the Lord from a medium sized sailing vessel. His reports are filled up with weather related matters. The other day he painted such a vivid picture of the contrary winds and waves and I sent him a note saying it was almost like reading about the Apostle Paul's sailing adventure to Rome as recorded in the Book of Acts. He sent me back a note and said he had acquired tremendous respect for those sailing vessels back then. He has great navigational tools and electronic instruments today and he mentioned theirs was mostly experience and skill. As always, we recognize that we cannot control the weather but we can seek God regardless of what our weather is up to. Amen.

I read some of the political polling and to be perfectly honest, I am appalled. I'm not talking about overall polling. I am specifically speaking to the polling done within the category of evangelical conservative believers. It just knocks me down when I read how this category is currently trending. You've got these Christian radio political pundits talking about this that and the other. They lean towards this individual. Nothing mentioned about his faith in God. Nothing mentioned about his stand for family values or his own example in this area. Nothing mentioned about his demonstrated morality or lack thereof in the conduct of his life. Nothing. He says a few things people like and bang zoom he's our guy. There are some other candidates that have a tremendous testimony reflecting their faith in God and how they see our need of Him in the life of our nation. Those candidates are not on the top of the list within the believing segment of the polling. Commentary alert: Maybe this polling result tells us more about our posture before the God we claim than anything else. That's my drive-by assessment. You are free to have your own. At least for now.

Okay. Please don't send me your thoughts on the validity of pragmatism over being principled. I already know about it. I hear it all the time. It's become almost the mantra of most people including people of faith. That's okay. In the past I've most likely succumbed to that myself. I'm also very much aware of the concept where you end up trying to choose the lesser of the evils given. I also know that we are to support government in the context as given to us in the Scriptures. That's one that we see folks miss entirely as they promote their conservative ideology. The Apostle Paul had pertinent inspired instructions to those believers meeting in Rome, Italy. What government was he talking about? The Roman government. "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." (Romans 13:1-7) That should be plenty for us to think about for one day. A hot one at that. Take care and may God bless is my prayer. Amen. ....More later

Monday, August 10, 2015

"'Tis not important how the hero does this or that, but what he is." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome back folks. I do hope you are all excited about this brand new work week. We get started off here on this Monday, August 10, 2015. I was thinking the other day about how privileged I feel to have worked in the places God has provided for me to labor. When I transferred from working in administration at the VA Hospital to Fort Polk, Louisiana to work in the Public Affairs office I had to do a crash course in all things military as it related to Army basic and advanced training of our soldiers. The commanding general at that time was Major General Ellis Williamson. I remember reading his bio and about some of his heroic exploits during his service to our nation. This fellow was an amazing soldier. Within the office where I worked I could feel the sense of pride in having such an illustrious leader in charge of this major training facility. General Williamson passed away in 2007 at age 88. I recently read his obituary and looked at the photos of his funeral at Arlington. Here are some of the many decorations he was awarded: The Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal (2 OLC, Oak Leaf Cluster), the Silver Star (5 OLC), the Legion of Merit (OLC), the Bronze Star Medal (3 OLC), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (28 OLC), the Purple Heart (4 OLC), the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge and Army Aviator Wings. A true American hero and I was privileged to be a witness to how his exemplary service along with his presence could be a source of inspiration to an entire military facility. Pretty heady stuff folks. Heady stuff indeed! May God bless the memory of so many like him from the past and so many today who continue this legacy. Amen.

President Truman announcing the dropping of the atomic bomb.
The 70th anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was observed last week. It was a horrific and devastating event that did lead to the ending of the war. The further we get away from this decision the more voices are out there calling for President Harry Truman to be labeled a war criminal. Facts really have little to do with it. Many of those calling for this to be officially established are people who have never had anything at all to do with war. Many of them were not even alive when the President was given this option as a way of causing Japan to capitulate. The civilians killed is a tragic outcome. Yet, we do know that thousands upon thousands of American lives were saved by this war ending act. President Truman is not around to defend himself. He certainly has plenty of folks from our country who are busy apologizing for America and our war crimes and they fill up Twitter, Facebook, and other forums as well. This groundswell to turn us into the enemy has actually taken hold in some quarters in Japan. There's no telling how the history books will report all of this in coming generations. I, for one, am proud of the fact that the war was ended and I believe our President at that time made the best decision he could based on all the factors at work at that time. I, for one, wish the revisionists would find themselves a new line of work.

If the Lord provides within a few days I will hit the three score and nine mark. If I make it that will be quite an accomplishment for men folks who carry my surname. My dad left this world four months from reaching the age of 31. Through research I was able to find out that his father made it to age 71. My dad's twin brother did really well, living to the age of 83. His son, my first cousin, recently died at age 67. My older brother left at age 19 and my younger brother checked out at age 62. A few years ago when I was hot and heavy into ancestor searching I made contact with a lady who had spent several years doing the same. She was a distant cousin but had taken our surname back into the 1700's. One day she sent me a note with somewhat of a warning included. I'll not go into all the details regarding some behavior and health related issues she spotted in my lineage but one thing did stick out. She said that men folk that carry my name and that are a part of my family lineage do not on average tend to stick around a long time. I've said all of that to say this. I'm thankful for each day the Lord has provided to me. I do know that what you do with the time you are given is much more important than how long you hang around. I also know that this matter is in God's hands, therefore, I feel comfortable that He knows best. Not only for me but for you too. That's the truth. It really is. We have His word on it! Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 7, 2015

"You might be a redneck if… your high school basketball game got rained out." ~ Jeff Foxworthy, Comedian

I woke up this morning and looked out on the lawn. You thought I was going to say that line about the clatter to see what was the matter didn't you? You know. From the primer for would be Santas, "The Night Before Christmas". I actually hadn't thought about that until after I wrote about looking out on the lawn. I have been enjoying the moonlit mornings. I always do. Here's how that works. I can see much better when the moon is bright. But, you knew that already. Here's another news flash for today: It's Friday, August 7, 2015 and as the line from the Johnny Cash classic puts it, "it is hotter than a pepper sprout". We have had a few drops of water falling from the sky but when they hit the car they make a big splotchy looking mess as the heat immediately explodes them. My old flivver of a car looks like it is wearing a paisley shirt right now. Last Tuesday I was out on the road about sixty miles away from my home base and I drove through a brief but blinding rainstorm. I guess those folks in that particular area must have been paying their preacher. That's what they always said in the area where I grew up when one area got a much needed rain and no one else did. When you hit something like that you can't help having mixed feelings. I am so thankful for this cooling off rain. I sure wish it would stop so I could see the car in front of me. That may be a metaphor for life. Maybe not. I'll have to think about it and get back to you later.

My eldest and I typically attempt to solve all the political issues when we talk. He mentioned the other day he thought he had never seen a situation so messed up when looking at the realistic choices that will be before us in the next Presidential election. He said he never felt more like sitting one out. The only folks that we really believe in are not viable candidates since money and support from the powerful are required to get into the running. He will soon be 50 and while I hate this is how he feels, I know it all too well since that's been my sentiment for sometime now. Shakespeare originated the expression that best defines this thought: From Romeo and Juliet, 1592: "MERCUTIO: I am hurt. A plague o' both your houses! I am sped. Is he gone, and hath nothing?" This later became a way of saying a frustrated curse on both sides of the argument. Or, a plague on both your houses since the political class rules pretty much with very little difference regardless of the party name or their professed ideology. We will get over it because we must. Sitting it out would be a repudiation of our right to vote even if we have to right in the name of an honorable but non-viable candidate.

I did see a tweet the other day where a lady was informing her followers that she had seen the first Christmas items on sale at a major department store. We all know its been backing up earlier and earlier each year. I ordered me a new suit for this upcoming season. It is supposedly in the pipeline. I thought the one I had was pretty expensive until I saw what other Santas pay for theirs. Some cost $1000 or more. The one I ordered is very hard to come by. Because it is made of some exotic material? Nope. Because it is so expensive? Nope. It's because of the size. The smallest they make is still pretty large but they make very few of those in the small size, (42-48). You know: "He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly." The one I ordered is a small. I hope to have it by the end of September. The one I currently use is a large. I make it work but it's not easy. From the rare small they go to a whole series of larges with many X's and L's. I got into a little forth and back with a fellow Santa on Facebook who thought a big fat belly was a requirement for a genuine Santa. I told him that I happen to be a diabetic Santa and I wear padding and have never had any complaints. Not even one! Us small Santas have to take up for ourselves. Okay. I've done what I could for the week and now it's time to say so long for now. Have a great Saturday and a wonderful Lord's Day Sunday. Lord willing I will catch up with you next time. Amen.  ...More later.