Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower." ~ Frank ‘Kin’ Hubbard (1868 – 1930) cartoonist, humorist & journalist

It's Wednesday, the last day and 30th of September here in the year of 2015. Hello friends and neighbors. It's mighty fine to meet up with you today here at the ole electronic blogger barn. I think it best we take a brief time out and sit back and reflect on all that stuff passing before us. Yep. It's called life. Notice how I got that on the first try. We've seen it pass through and it was in somewhat of a hurry this week. Mostly a blur. The wife's sister, Dorothy, had one of those TIA's last week. (Transient Ischemic Attack) That's a stroke like event where the blood flow is temporarily blocked. She was in Louisiana so the wife got there as quickly as she could. Blessed be the Lord God in heaven it reversed itself and after a whole bunch of tests she was released from the hospital. The wife brought her to our home to recuperate. On Monday the wife had a heart work up scheduled but Dorothy woke up with her blood pressure out of control again. Off to the emergency room for her. We cancelled one test for the wife but the radiology and stress test for the afternoon could not be cancelled. We scrambled. A dear lady from our Church came and sat with Dorothy while I carried the wife for her 4 hour testing procedure. They found the problem with Dorothy and with some correction to her medicine regimen she came out feeling like she did before all of this happened last week. We will know the results from the wife's testing when she meets with her cardiologist soon. Thanks for all the prayers. Thanks for those who came to our aid including Sister Betty and our son Chris. Us older folks can still walk and chew gum at the same time. That may be what I felt on the bottom of my shoe.

Being at a busy ER and then later at the huge medical center is quite an experience. You do see some sights. Many of them are gut wrenching and others tug at one's heart. There are some seriously ill folks in this old world. There's many who are seriously impaired and disabled as well. And, they are there by the thousands. I was telling the wife how that when I was just a little fellow we had the one doctor in our little town. And, yes, he did make house calls. That was just about it for most of the care that people got including baby delivery and most other things requiring his attention. If it was a more serious issue there was a hospital and other doctors available about 25 miles away. As I grew up he retired and we began going to the other doctors. That transition brought more visits. Not very many but more. Fast forward to today and the doors are constantly opening and closing. It begs the question. What came first? The care available or the need for that care. One couple were so precious. Both very advanced in years, he wheeled in his wife who obviously had previously suffered a stroke that left her partially incapacitated. He was bent over himself and he had a noticeable limp. He got her checked in and then came and sat and comforted her by speaking to her like she was a beautiful princess. Love wins again. I think true love always does. That may even be in the Bible.

The blog attached to the email I sent out yesterday had as it's title a quip from the famous Will Rogers, "The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for." How true that is. Our appreciation for value and worth becomes less focused on things with more concern for others, those we love and care about, and an appreciation for the time we have been granted. And, we also see the power to keep on keeping on that comes only in and through the life we have in Christ. That Monday melt down day did yield some great fruit. We got Dorothy's situation somewhat squared away. We got the wife's testing completed. And, we all got ourselves a really good night's sleep. I think they sometimes refer to it as 'we died to the world'. Okay. Maybe that's real colloquial because most of my searches on that phrase were talking about people who became a monk or it was a reference to various Scriptures that talk about our new life in Christ. Well, where I came from, when someone falls asleep immediately and stays asleep throughout the night, well, it was said they had died to the world. Now you know. Maybe I've learned something today. One thing we all can agree on as life continues. We need the Lord, period, end of story. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.” Pope Francis, January 13, 2014

Good Tuesday morning as we rush our way towards the fall, at least, from a calendar point of view that fall status became official last week. It's September 29, 2015, and I'm here to tell you that I have enjoyed some of the nicer commutes with my window down. Okay. The Papal visit has ended. I do have a few observations. You are what? Not surprised? Well, you are correct. I can't remember anytime in my memory when the mainstream media became giddy over anything related to religion. Period. But, they did last week. Even NPR could hardly contain their glee. The Pope agrees with us. The Pope is for all our leftist ideals. Even though that is very much subject to interpretation it has been interesting to see our President and his cronies as they clearly attempted to gain as much political collateral as possible from this visit. The lady in Kentucky who refused to sign off on same sex marriage licenses was both persecuted and prosecuted in the press day after day. Relentlessly. Every mainstream national news source, 24 by 7. Here's what they failed to acknowledge. The Pope and this lady are in 100% agreement on the subject of same sex marriage. The Pope and the Church also stand in opposition to abortion. And, many other issues as well. Yet, we have the spectacle of the media calling well known democrat office holders as being devout Catholics although they openly support same sex unions and abortions on demand. Devout? I would think folks who are truly devout in their beliefs would be alarmed by this unbelievable designation. Who would have ever thought that Papal thoughts on climate change, immigration, and income equality could bring revival to our mainstream media. It has been something to behold folks. Something indeed!

The polling of the American people has been consistent. You cannot spin or wish it away. An overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens believe our nation has declined over the past eight years. The blame others strategy only works within a small circle of those who love the emperor's clothes, no matter what. People have no respect for those whose first knee jerk response to intransigent problems is to blame someone else. Eight years of blaming. Last week I thought I would throw up when I watched the White House press secretary go into great detail in describing President Obama as being so much like Pope Francis. No folks. It was not a parody sketch on Saturday Night Live. It was a full dialogue of attempting to portray the President as some type of iconic messiah. Shameful. If you ask me. We are talking about a President who blocked a 10 year old African American boy from his Twitter account because he was a conservative. We are talking about a President who has carried extravagance and lavishness to new heights in his use of his office. No wonder one of the main decision makers in giving the President the Nobel Peace Prize now says it was a mistake. Some of the polling I have seen puts this sense of loss in terms of our national pride and well being at 75%. Do the math. That's a lot of folks who are too stupid to know how great things are. And, oh yeah, unless I forget, they will likely deem these polls to be in one way or another a racist plot.

Last Thursday was national punctuation day. I missed giving a shout out to the tilde. That's the little separator mark you see so often in my blogs. The ~.  I would have mentioned it before but I didn't realize that it had a name. Now that I know what it is called it probably will not make any difference in how I use it. I didn't dare check the proper usage or even it's intended use. I do know that it actually has something to do with pronunciation but I like the looks of it, therefore, I no doubt will continue to use it as a break or separator in my blogs. This usage would alarm a lady who was once my secretary many years ago. She had previously been an English teacher and a professional proof reader. I hired her thinking she could help our entire department improve our communication skills. Everything went great until she tackled the writings of you know who. Can you imagine her looking at a long memo I had written? She soon learned there were exceptions to every stylistic rule in the book. I do believe she developed a twitch while she was in our employ. Believe me, I was very open to her red marks all over my drafts. That is, as long as she could handle the fact that more times than not I left it like it was. Because of being ornery? Not hardly. Because I wrote back then pretty much just like I do today. And, my writing actually did reflect me, myself, and I. There were times when I did make changes based on her recommendations. That would be a red letter day for her. Literally. You know. Red marks. At any rate our association didn't last all that long but I do appreciate her trying to help me and my staff to be better. Especially all she did for the staff. You do know I am kidding. I sure hope that twitch got better after she moved on. Take care, have a great day, and may God help us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Thinking about Yogi Berra, (1925-2015), Hall of Fame Baseball Player and Cultural Icon

Good morning class and welcome back. It's a brand new week here on this Monday, September 28, 2015. Most of you are likely aware of the passing of baseball legend Yogi Berra last week. I'm particularly indebted to Yogi for all the 'yogisms' I've used over the years. Too many to count. I tried. I actually got to see Yogi play. It was a game that my Uncle Waymon arranged for me to see in Kansas City on August 26, 1961. Yogi was winding down his career. Those playing for the Yankees that day included Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Bobby Richardson, and Tony Kubek. Maris hit his 51st home run that day in the year that he broke Babe Ruth's record. I was a witness. Riding a Kansas City Southern (KCS) chartered train from Shreveport to Kansas city, visiting the Harry Truman library in Independence, Missouri, where President Truman actually came and spoke to us, along with getting to see my first major league baseball game was pretty heady stuff for a baseball loving kid from a rural Louisiana town. How much did I love the game back then? I slept with my glove. Enough said. Yogi went 1 for 5 and was playing left field the day I saw him play. Over the years I came to love Yogi for his funny sayings. He had a full life with a Hall of Fame career, a coaching career, and numerous other adventures including those memorable Aflac commercials.

Craig Biggio, the Astros Hall of Fame baseball player spoke about Yogi the man when he was on the Astros coaching staff. He said that Yogi went beyond just teaching baseball techniques as he would incorporate lessons about life itself. Here's another tidbit about Yogi that is worth remembering:  "Because before Yogi Berra was a catcher for the Yankees, and a coach for the Yankees, and the manager of the Yankees (not to mention stints with the Mets and Astros) - and before Yogi Berra supposedly uttered all kinds of funny sayings, most of which I suspect were made up by other people - Yogi Berra stormed the beaches of Normandy, and also helped take back Europe from the Nazis. On June 6,1944 - which we all know as D-Day - Berra served as a gunner's mate on the USS Bayfield." (Source: Herman Cain's website from a piece written by Dan Calebrese.)

I actually talked about Yogi the day I published my first blog. Here's that very first one that got this whole thing started:

~ Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May 9, 2007

Well, it took me over sixty years to get here and as Yogi Berra reportedly said, "You sure can observe a lot just by watching". That observation stuff, however, can be both good and bad especially if you are determined not to revise any of it, that is, if that's possible since reflections and memories over time tend to take on a life of their own as they all become fused together. Some days it's "Wow, I can't believe the life I have enjoyed!", while another day might be, "Hey, I'm not sure I can make one more day!". This is how it works in the so-called real world and we have trouble because the roller coaster ride can start without notice at anytime even right smack in the middle of one of those really great days and suddenly you find your heart pounding and breath interrupted by the crashing ride. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic but with age, maturity, family, more family, relationships, issues, challenges, and chaos all around, it can be quite daunting.

However, I call this blog The View From Here because when it's all said and done, it's the way I see it. You most likely see it differently but that's what blogging is all about. We can speak from our viewpoint, our way of interpreting all the things we have to deal with, and in general, the viewfinder through which we see the world, and especially our world.

One final thought in this opening monologue: I know that without God as the foundation of my life through my identity with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be little hope in all the ups and downs encountered in this journey called life. ~                                     

Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"The Lord's mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834-1892), Influential Religious Leader, known as the 'Prince of Preachers'

The Sedlmeier Family
Today is Friday, September 25, 2015. I don't know about you but there are times when things happen that just absolutely shake you to the very core of your being. The other day some of the people from our local fellowship got caught up in huge traffic delay on a nearby roadway. The highway was shut down for hours. Here's the reason: "Roland and Melinda Sedlmeier met eight years ago while working as missionaries in Kenya for a Christian outreach group called Mission Aviation Fellowship. Roland served as one of the group's pilots using small aircraft to reach remote regions in Africa. Home video shows them celebrating the arrival of their firstborn while still in Kenya, a son named Harley, two years later. Their daughter Sofie's arrival brought the Sedlmeier family to four. Roland, 49; Melinda, 42; Harley, 6; and Sofie, 4, died Sunday on Highway 105 in Conroe in a three-vehicle crash. They were on their way home from church." (Source: Online Edition of the Conroe Courier.) That was last Sunday. The 68 year old driver who caused the accident was impaired. He had not been drinking. It is believed he was under the influence of some prescription drugs. His doctor has been arrested for running a pill mill where people essentially purchase drugs in much the same way they would buy them from a drug dealer on the street. What a horrific tragedy. All we know to do is to cry out to God on behalf of those left to mourn this great loss. Coming home from Church. I heard the daughter of the man who has been charged say that he too was on his way home from Church. She said he takes several different prescriptions to treat his numerous serious health problems.

I also saw a note from a dear missionary friend in the Philippines. He is the one that uses a ship to reach far flung places with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here's what his note said: "The news from our former anchorage has shocked us into a reality that is sometimes left in the foaming wake of our missionary travels. Four of our friends from the Davao sailing community are those taken hostage by some as yet, unknown terrorist group. Please join us in prayer for Kiartan, Robert, John and Tess for their safe recovery by the authorities. And offer a prayer of thanksgiving with us that the Lord moved us and our vessel from that anchorage weeks ago." We never know folks, we just never know. Some believe that people involved in the Lord's work are immune from the challenges that others have to deal with. That is an absolute total misrepresentation of the truth. I saw another posting from a missionary in Kenya who lamented the fact that one of their grandmothers was dealing with some life threatening surgery. They wish they could be with their family but it was not possible for them to do so. My heart goes out to those who have surrendered their lives to the calling that God has placed within them. May He continue to lead, guide, guard, and direct their way. Amen.

I'm not attempting to put a damper on our week but I know many of you will join me in praying about these specific situations. If I began to list the things that I have personally observed up close and personal that I have no clue as to why they happened, we would be here a long time. What do we do when we face uncertain times? How do we deal with these challenges to our understanding? We who are believers can do something. I thought of a song. Yep. I do that quite often. Here it is:

Verse One:

There are moments on our journey following the Lord
Where God illumines every step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.


Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

Verse Two:

There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall,
The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know.
When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.


Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

Song: Bow the Knee, written by Chris Machen. Be encouraged in the Lord. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see you next time as the Lord provides. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Random search or God arranged opportunity. I report, you decide.

Okay. It is Thursday, September 24, 2015 and I do want each one to know that we all have something to be thankful for today. Amen. Most of you know that I have been at this blogging business for a while. I don't do any advertising but because of the way search engines work I do get folks who land on my pages. They may not stay but they do come in contact with my stuff. I have recently passed the 150,000 page view threshold. That's not so many compared to those who devotedly follow some celebrity but it is a pretty good number for a shade-tree scribe who pumps out a little essay each Monday through Friday. The blog I wrote back in January of 2011 continues to lead the pack with more than 3300 hits. In it I talked mostly about the Baby Boomers. Obviously, a lot of folks would be searching for information on that topic. I was glad to see that I did mention several things about the Lord in that blog. The next in terms of volume was published in June of 2010 with nearly 1800 hits. In it I talked a lot about the Word of God and how little that people know about its actual contents. My lead in used that phrase from the Flintstones Cartoon where Ralph exclaims "Yabba Dabba Doo!" My point was the joke preachers tell about this being a quote that Adam uttered the first time he saw Eve. It's a funny little joke but sadly many remember something like it as opposed to the life changing truths found in the Bible. The last I will share today was penned and published in July of 2010. (There were actually 4 more from 2010 in the top 10. That must have been a really good year for me. Go figure.) It had a little more than 1700 hits and it was one where I focused on the growth of our run away government. That subject is one that many people think about. Here's a quote from that particular blog: "Do remember that God is not surprised by any of the things I have spoken about and He is still ruling and reigning, therefore, we can trust in Him! Amen." I hope they caught that encouragement.

It just goes to show us all that we can do something as unassuming as posting a daily blog but it can still be an opportunity to share the Lord's message of hope and change with others. Am I saying someone has been saved as a result of my blogs? Maybe. Maybe not. But I have received many comments over the years from all over the world from people who were encouraged by a verse or a mention of our Great God. The results of those who hear the truth from whatever means they hear it, even if they see it on Facebook or in a personal blog, well, it's a matter between that individual and the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that He will take those truths and speak to the hearts of all those who come in contact with them. Amen. I actually hadn't looked at the details in these historical stats in a long time, therefore, I was not aware of the 2010 representation. I'm glad those were blogs that resonated in one way or another but it might also indicate that I have been going downhill from there. Just kidding. The captured search arguments give some insight into how people end up on my blog. Here's what they were searching for: Apostle Paul (393 times); family love (392); Christmas music (387); yabba dabba doo (380); remote control (292); Jeff Gordon (236); happy birthday God bless you (213); old people jokes (193); mom and dad (190); chicken gizzard (129).

I was sure glad to see that someone somewhere still cares enough about chicken gizzards to look them up on the web. I do love me some fried chicken gizzards. Occasionally. In moderation. Of course. I've written six blogs over the years where chicken gizzards were featured. In their searching they could have landed on any of them or maybe even all of them. Here's the title from two: "I could go on and on about the greatness of gizzards!"; "Dreaming about fried chicken gizzards."; the other four were paragraphs within blogs where I mentioned the culinary delight. Here's a little quote from one of those references, this one from March of 2010. (2010 again?) Take gizzards for instance. I know they are bad for me. They are loaded up with cholesterol, the really bad kind. When deep fried, which of course is how I really love them, they tend to elevate my blood glucose target. Yet, there comes a time in every man's life when the only thing that will satisfy that gnawing hunger is a fresh dozen gizzards, smathered all up with the dredge and the drench of the batter and coating, and then fried to a golden brown. The other day I was driving along minding my own business and I saw the sign for a Church's Fried Chicken joint. The truck swerved itself into the parking lot and before I knew what was happening the fellow was telling me it only takes 4 minutes for them to crank out a dozen of those delicious innard parts. It had been a while and I paid close attention to the lady getting them ready for the boiling grease. Meanwhile, a country song was blaring in the background. Country songs tell it like it is but I can't remember hearing this one as the lady mournfully moaned: "Did I shave my legs for this?" Thanks to all my gizzard loving readers wherever you happen to be. I do end with a prayer that God will watch over and keep us all. Amen.   .....More later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"What more could he need, this old man whose little leisure was divided between daytime gardening and night-time contemplation? Was not that narrow space with the sky its ceiling room enough for the worship of God in the most delicate of His works and in the most sublime? A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in Рwhat more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars." ~ Victor Hugo, quoted from his book, 'Les Mis̩rables'

Good morning and welcome to today's version of Wednesday. This particular version lands on September 23, 2015. My niece over in Florida put up a photo on Facebook the other day where she had their front door open and she captioned it with a statement of how they were enjoying a beautiful fall morning. Fall morning? On that particular day we were expecting a high of 98 in our area. I thought Florida is where tons of people go to stay warm. Oh well. As far as I know you can't really move to any place where you are 100% safe from weather related threats or some other type of potential hazard. That's why it's important to stay in close contact with God since He is with us wherever we happen to be. I see folks on Facebook putting up their dream homes or maybe it's their vision of how it might be when all the kids are grown and gone. I see a lot of cottages in the mountains or beautiful homes with an ocean view. I can't argue much with those who dream since that became an acquired skill from my earliest days. Maybe it was because of all the tragedies our family faced or perhaps it was my overt fascination with travel to far flung places. Growing up, in my dreams, I was a frequent eyewitness to replays of historical events, battles, and other situations that interested me. I should have been granted some major frequent flier miles for the time travel I accomplished. I know. I've read extensively about this in terms of the psychology behind this type of dreaming. It can range from an vivid imagination up to and including a desire to escape. I hear some people who say they never dream. That would not be me. I wouldn't even know what that would be like. As a kid I could lay in my bed and listen to that long freight train about a half mile away as it rocked and rolled through our little town. I might just hop on board and tag along in my dreams. I could travel back in time or to a wonderful place far far away. What's that? You still think I need help? Thanks for your concern but don't worry, the conductor said we will be stopping in Paris in about thirty minutes.

I can hear the wife. "Where in the world did that come from?" And, that my friend is a really good question. If I could answer it correctly I am quite sure I would get to pass go and collect my $200. I typically tell her that she does not know the half of it. We all are a product of our upbringing, our experiences, and our reactions to them. We've been where we have been and we've seen what we have seen and we have dealt with it all in our own individual way. More importantly, we are blessed beyond measure if we have been made right with Creator God through our acceptance of His Sacrifice for our sins, none other than the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That really is the only reality that makes sense out of our sojourn here. I'm still the same person in the first paragraph. You don't turn off those after-hours dream escapades because you got yourself all grown up. However, I have been changed by the power of God, therefore, I now know more about my purpose, about how to evaluate the things that happen in my life, and how to live based on thus says the Word of the Lord. I recently watched the Shogun TV series from 1980. I've seen it several times. It was broken into a week of 3 hour segments. It depicts life in Japan during the 1600's. Confession time: Ever since I watched it I have been visiting Japan during that same time period. In my dreams. At night. Sorry. Old habits are hard to break especially when you don't even try.

What can I say? Authentically portrayed period pieces appeal to me. In fact, I seek out those that are deemed to be the most authentic. Maybe Paw Paw Mac was right again. He used to say that at times I reminded him of a crayfish. He said they walk backwards because they don't care where they are going, just interested in where they have been. Now you know why I've never put myself on one of those shrink couches. I don't want to be responsible for someone becoming so confused they leave their profession. You do know I am joking. Those people provide a valuable service and they have helped many along the way. What's that? Maybe I could become a study project? I actually don't think I have much to contribute because at the end of the day I like Popeye, "I yam what I yam!" And, thankfully, that includes my identity in Christ. I'm not wrestling with whether I am dysfunctional or not because my way of seeing it says we all are. Some maybe a tad more than others. One thing is certain. We all are loved by God and we all need His Son if we are to live eternally with Him. The other stuff. Well, it is what it is, and while I am talking about it let me ask you a question. You wouldn't know a good person who could sharpen my imaginary Samurai sword, do you? Just kidding. (Message me.) Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"I've reached that age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me." ~ (Copied)

Okay. Here's the deal. I'll do my best to make the most of this day if you will do the same, here on this Tuesday, September 22, 2015. I looked up the words absent minded to make sure I had a good understanding of exactly what they mean. It has to do with a person engaging in inattentive or forgetful behavior. One also used the word habitual but that just seemed a bit too much over the top for my taste. I think I would go with the inattentive for some of the stuff I detect in my own day by day stumbling around. In order to write this I have to tell a few things on myself. I typically shy away from that because folks will no longer think I lost it, they will be convinced that I have. It's like the other day when I became frustrated because I couldn't locate the key for our main shop building. I checked each key. It was missing. Of course it was. Wrong set of keys. Or, when I panic when I touch my pocket and find my cell phone is missing. Of course it's missing. You big dummy. You are talking on it. I thought about throwing in the concept of being preoccupied and that has to do with being focused on one thing to the exclusion of others. It's very good to be preoccupied with your driving when you are out on the roadway. Being preoccupied with something else while driving could be dangerous. In my case, I'm typically preoccupied with so many things at the same time I can't even locate the right key to the shop building. I thought I would try that one out on you before I added it to my official list of excuses. What? Age? Oh yeah. I suppose I forgot to remember to mention that one as a potential reason. Surely it has something to do with it!

There are days when I put my conspiracy hat on and allow it to mess with my mind. Here's one I want you to look at and make up your own mind. This is from the online Houston Chronicle. There are no, I repeat, there are no Chick-fil-a restaurants on the list of 28 with health violations. Zip. Zero. In fact Chick-fil-a is not mentioned on the second choice where there is 114 images, nor on the third where there are 5 selections. This means the Chick-fil-a image actually does not go with any of the clickable choices. The big headline says it all and I can assure that most people who see this as the lead story on their cover webpage will think the image and the headline are connected. I copied it directly from their website. Now you have my opinion. You look at it and see what you think. (The highlighted points are clickable, so go check it out if the story is still available.)

How dirty is that local eatery?

Before deciding where to eat this weekend, you might want to check out this list of Houston restaurants that received health inspection violations. Unfortunately, quite a few local favorites made the list.
From their web edition: September 18, 2015 | Updated 7:59 AM CT
I did look at the 28 with violations and some of them quite frankly were surprising but I never like it when folks play games with their images and stories. Just me. They could have used a photo of Gallery Furniture because its restaurant was on the list. Okay. Enough of that. Am I saying the liberal media does not like Chick-fil-a because of their open expression of their Christian beliefs? That question must be planted. Right? Am I also saying the Houston Chronicle is a liberal media outlet? When I cancelled my home delivery some fifteen years ago I sent them a letter stating exactly that. I can read the NY Times anytime I want to. A local area newspaper should at least give recognition to the conservative nature of many of its readers. They were bought out. Then it all changed. And I no longer wanted to pay for a paper copy of this type of indoctrination. Why do I continue to look at it online? They want me to. They have advertising that is on every part of their website. I typically check it to see what they are reporting on and then click on the obituaries and peruse them. In the process of doing that I spotted the little issue I thought you might want to consider. Thanks for indulging me. And, feel free to formulate and have your own opinion. You can do that. And, you can also start up a blog and write about it if that is your desire. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience." ~ Dale Carnegie, 1888-1955, American Self-Improvement Writer and Lecturer

Good to see you on this back to work Monday, September 21, 2015. I think nearly anyone who has ever perused any of my writings know that I am a fan of colorful sayings, quips, adages, and clever axioms. They may not be that big of a deal to you but I enjoy reading them and as is my wont using them as a way of communicating. When someone decides to accept your invitation for them to tag along they might just come up with something like this: "Might as well. Can’t dance, never could sing, and it’s too wet to plow." When expressing his opinion on one particular fellow's honesty it might come out like this: "He knows more ways to take your money than a roomful of lawyers." On the other hand if someone wanted to champion their own truthfulness, this might be an appropriate description: "If I say a hen dips snuff, you can look under her wing for the can." Here's how a drought might be explained: "So dry the Baptists are sprinkling, the Methodists are spitting, and the Catholics are giving rain checks." In talking about a fellow who might be light in the sophistication area, it could be said: "He’s so country he thinks a seven-course meal is a possum and a six-pack." These were a few I had not seen in a while so I thought I would share them to get us up and running today. I located them on a listing of colorful Texas sayings on the internet. There are plenty on the list that I grew up hearing over there across the Sabine River, you know, some say that river divides up between good versus great football teams. I'll let you think about that one and come up with your own saying. Here's one you might recognize: Geaux Tigers!

I am aware that we do live in a world where people appear to be sitting on the edge of their chair waiting to be offended. That being said, this stupid program called The View made a number of disparaging remarks directed towards a Miss America contestant who did a monologue as her talent presentation. That monologue included her wearing her work uniform since she is a nurse. The way the remarks were phrased tended to denigrate the nursing profession as a whole. Wow! The response was immediate and overwhelming. There's nearly 3 million nurses in our nation and a whole lot of them and their supporters let The View know they were very unhappy with their critical comments about those who are in the nursing profession. You have to love liberals. After this firestorm, the two main offenders attempted something they called an apology. Here's a summary of what they said: "Sorry that you did not understand the humor we were attempting to portray. Next time try to do a better job of listening." This is my interpretation of what they said, not their exact words. It didn't surprise me. That's how they always do it. Meanwhile, two major sponsors withdrew their commercials as a protest. Regarding the initial show where these comments were made they, on that same show, took on and skewered a comedian for making fun of fat people. How ironic. They feel free to have open season on nurses and say it was their attempt at comedy but this other lady dare not do a video where she criticizes overweight people. Nurses have asked people to please boycott watching the program. I'm all for it. In fact, I've boycotted it from the get go and will do my best to continue doing so going forward. 

Tracking the comments of many of my Santa brothers on Facebook has been kind of fun. I know there are people who dearly love the Christmas season. I've got a fair amount of that sentiment in me as well. As a professional Santa I approach the season with anticipation, excitement, and a good measure of dread. The dread part comes from knowing how hectic it will be in terms of making our schedules work. My wife is a little more laid back and she helps keep me calm but working full-time and also trying to do a dozen are more appearances can be challenging. Don't get me wrong. When I am in the chair dealing with children of all ages there is no way to fully describe the happy happy happy that invades my being. When they lift a little one out of their wheel chair and place them in my lap and I see those eyes sparkling like the stars above, well, it is something to experience my friend, something indeed! It's the getting ready and getting there that can be arduous. The little countdown graphic was posted by a Santa who says he can hardly wait. He put it up last Friday. I used it because I had never seen that particular one before. I'm glad he is as excited as he is. There's also a fairly large number of brand new Santas and they are very nervous about it all. I well remember that. And, just so you know, I still get nervous before we make our entrance. Why? It has to do with wanting to do our very best for those who are anxious to see us. It's a different kind of nervousness than that when I first started but I think when I no longer feel any nervousness at all, well, it may be time to take my sleigh and head for the hills. Have a great rest of the day Monday and I will see you next time. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday to our Alexander Benjamin!

Okay. It's Friday, September 18, 2015, and this is an important date in our family. Today we pause to recognize and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the birth of our grandson, Alexander Benjamin. He was born during the time we experienced Hurricane Rita here in our area. That made taking care of him a little difficult since he needed one of those special lamps to deal with some mild jaundice. We had to rig a gasoline powered generator to keep that lamp going. This boy is a character. I can prove it. Just be around him sometime and you will see exactly what I am talking about. His imagination is something to behold and to listen to, endlessly. He has had his challenges as well. Our family has not always handed off the most functional set of genes and he does have to deal with the hand that was dealt him. On the other hand, he is a loving child, a really funny kid, and one that we love with all our hearts. Happy Birthday Alex from your MiMi and Poppy.

I can usually tell how busy of a week I have had by those pesky relatives that show up. You know the ones I am talking about. Uncle Arthur, (arthritis), Uncle Burcy, (bursitis), and Cousin Rhema, (rheumatism). With me it is typically the hips that play the Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, (B. J. Thomas, 1975). But that's okay because nearly everyday I hear someone say they are just glad to be up and going. I can say Amen to that. I think about dad over in Louisiana literally working from can to can't, sunup to sundown, at least six days per week. He's 85 and if he doesn't have a project to fill in his schedule he will make a new one. My granddad used to tell me that putting in a good day's work was a sure prescription for getting a good night's sleep. Solomon had this inspired observation as found in the Book of Ecclesiastes, "The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep." (Chapter 5, Verse 12) The wife tells me all the time that I can fall asleep faster than anyone she knows. Maybe Paw Paw Mac was right. It would be even better if those pesky family visitors would quiet down a little now and then. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about. The rest, well, you will find out one day soon!

The good news is that we've started back with our potluck suppers on Wednesday evenings at our local Church. The not so good news is that we've started back with our potluck suppers on Wednesday evenings at our local Church. Usually on Thursday morning I have to hunt for my diabetic testing kit. He's hiding because he knows the Wednesday evening buffet style can produce a larger than normal number. However, and I do love to say however, especially this week. The ladies outdid themselves this past Wednesday. It was comfort food on steroids. Green beans with new potatoes with some ham bits thrown in for good measure, some cooked cabbage with sausage in it, and the wife made creamed potatoes, a slow cooked roast with gravy, and some homemade yeast rolls. There were plenty of other choices but since those were the ones I consumed that's why I mentioned them. And, a counter with desserts, that, I pretty much stayed away from. Pretty much. My rule is one plate but this past Wednesday there was a Republican debate going on and it was taking place out at the Reagan Library. I love Ronald Reagan. He would have wanted me to have that second plate. So I did. In his memory. It was all so-o-o-o delicious! Here's the puzzling part. On Thursday morning I found my diabetic kit and pricked my finger and held my breath. The magic number? 95. I was expecting something around 125 or higher. It beats me. But, all I could say is, thank You Lord. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll see what I can rustle up for us come next Monday morning. Lord willing. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Grandchildren are a grandparent's link to the future, and grandparents are the child's link to the past." ~ Author: Unknown

Good morning and welcome. It's Thursday, September 17, 2015. I hope this day finds you and yours doing well. Last Sunday was celebrated as Grandparent's Day. We've never really been into this recognition but some do use it as a way to honor their folks. That's always a good thing and it has God's commendation on doing so. (Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:2) This past Monday evening the wife's cell phone sounded off. It was about 8:15 p.m. It was our little great grand Madelyn Joy calling to honor us. (She will be six in January.) She was on the phone with her great grand MiMi for about 10 minutes. Then it became my turn. It was like music to my soul. We laughed and talked. Talked and laughed. I may become a devoted supporter of Grandparent's Day. I know that will make the people at Hallmark happy. Little things like a phone call from a five year old can help make your day. And, now you know why I named her our little bundle of Madelyn Joy from the get go. I know how I feel about my grandparents. I know how the wife feels about hers. They were important to our upbringing and our well being. We are thankful for that. We want to be important in the upbringing and well being our our grand kids as well. Thank you Lord for giving us a little blessing of a handful on purpose from our Madi girl. Thank you Lord for the grandparents in our lives who were instrumental in us becoming who we are today. Amen.

That photo is of our little great grand school girl. Speaking of that, I do drive through quite a few school zones as I am out and about. Early in the morning the traffic can be really slow as folks do their best to observe all the safety rules. Low speed and no cell phone in operation. Plenty of rules and rightly so. I see the kids unloading from their parent's vehicles. For the most part they are bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ready for their day. Their moms. Not so much. They get the kids up. They feed them. They make sure they are alert and ready. But just my observation, many times they look like they are sleep walking through a bad dream. Hair going in every direction. They look like they could fall over at any moment. Sleepy. It may be just me but doesn't that seem to be somewhat of a disconnect? I mean the kids need to be awake and ready to take on the world. But mom, and it is typically mom, well, she may need a pillow and a designated driver just to get back home. Sometimes they even exit their vehicle to get something for the child. Oh my. Still in your housecoat? Sorry. Maybe they need a new roadside test to check the viability of those dropping kids off. It could be called a sleep-o-lyzer, you know, they have to breathe into it to see if they are alert enough to pilot a carload of kids. Okay. I may be piling on a little but not much. Next time you are slowly making your way through a school zone early in the morning, check it out. In this case I am only a sideline reporter. Hey, I didn't say that everyday would produce news you could use.

The other day I was in one of the huge home improvement stores. I was waiting to be checked out. The fellow behind me commented about my white beard and red hat and shirt. He was observant, therefore, he made the connection. He looked to be somewhere near my age and he asked me this question: "How do you get it to be so white?" Before I could answer he went on to say that he would love to play Santa but his hair was still way too dark. I thought about the body chemistry angle and could have shared this with him: "As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color — like gray, silver, or white — as it grows." I settled for telling him my white was attained through natural means. You know. One day I woke up and found out I was old enough to have white hair and a white beard. I gave the fellow one of our cards. He loved it. He said that he was trying to be a spiritual Santa. Hopefully that meant something good. I didn't have time to find out exactly what he was talking about. I had to get myself and my age induced white hair and beard back on the road. You just never know what might happen at the check out stand. Take care and have yourself a most wonderful day. And, may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rumor has it that the new Miami baseball team will be called “Humidity” so that fans in Florida will be able to say, “It’s not the Heat that’s so bad, it’s the Humidity.” (copied)

It's Wednesday, September 16, 2015. What did I tell you? Sometimes people have trouble hearing the voice of experience. You may have noticed that we are back into the humidity and heat. You know the humidity is heavy when your eyes fog up from the inside out. It was good while it lasted but here we are again. All heated up and headed for October. But, we know that's how it works. I can remember many Christmas day celebrations done in short sleeves. Very warm. I can also remember a couple where everything was completely frozen. Our pine trees were doing their impression of the Little Drummer Boy as their huge frozen limbs turned loose and hit the ground. You just never know. The other day as we anticipated this first mere mention of slightly cooler weather my eldest son informed me they were beginning to slip slide around on the forecast. Upping the numbers. Really? Surprise, surprise! What about all that teasing they did? You know what I am talking about. "Stay tuned, when we return we will be talking about whether you will need a sweater in the morning. Don't miss this forecast." Yes. We are into conspiracy theories when it comes to weather prognostication. It is a gimmick that is used to sell commercials on TV. They play around with the wording. They give that smirky little raised eyebrow look like they know something that you must know if you are to survive. Upping the numbers. Almost any of us can typically get yesterday's temperatures correct. Hillary believed in the vast right wing conspiracy. We are more focused on the Weather Forecasting Deception conspiracy. (Can't be sure but Al Roker may be their leader.) But, keep that to yourself. They may be watching.

Dan Rather, weather coverage, Hurricane Carla, 1961
That was a joke so don't write and tell me you have a meteorologist in your family whose feelings might be hurt. Be sure and tell them not to search my blogs because they may need some therapy after reading all that I have had to say about their profession. Just kidding. We all know they provide us with a valuable service. You've seen them holding onto a small tree in the middle of a hurricane while giving a firsthand account as to what is going on. They could have shot that from the building behind them or the remote truck they rode in, but, here they are, risking themselves to give everyone a close up view of exactly what is going on. I do believe that's how Dan Rather got his start. Hurricane Carla. He was a little known newsman reporting live from Galveston. His coverage brought him to the attention of the major networks. Maybe that weather forecasting stuff rubbed off on him when it comes to being truthful. That's not a shot. I think that is a part of his record. Right? Oh yeah. Robert Redford has made a movie about Dan. It must be really moving since I read that Dan cried when he went to see it. Maybe it was so realistic he thought it was real. Knowing the inclination of those involved it most likely is one of those historical revisionist pieces. Let me see. Would I be interested in seeing a movie attempting to restore the credibility of Dan Rather? No thank you. (Remember, it all started for him with a weather report. See what I mean?)

Many of you know that if I had a life verse, and I'm not sure I do, it would be from the 119th Division of the Psalms from what is designated as verse 105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." I thought about this since it has gotten dark in the mornings here. During the summer I've not needed my trusty little flashlight to get all our shop buildings opened up. Now that it is dark it's an absolute necessity. Period. I finally put new batteries in. The old ones were used up and it was flickering off and on. I had trouble finding my way around in the dark. This reminded me of how some scholars describe that verse. They see it as a shepherd coming down the side of a treacherous hill where they use their oil lamp to show the way for them and their sheep who follow. They also tell us that shepherds would tie a lamp onto their leg to give them additional light. One light for the direction and another for the next step. I know I've shared that before but my little flashlight always serves as a visual aid in reminding me of my need to have the light of His word in my life. It will give us step by step guidance as well as helping to keep us going in the right direction. Okay. I think that will do it for this day. Take care now. You hear? May God add His blessings to our day. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present." ~ Francis Bacon

I'm not ready to do an official happy dance over the cooler temperatures in the morning but I've been tempted a time or two to at least get a practice in. Riding into work with the window down and the vents open, now that's what I call a good start to your day. It's like a down payment on some 40's lurking out there waiting to show up and I will be most happy when they make their appearance. Meanwhile, I will take the high 50's for now and bid you a hearty welcome here on this Tuesday, September 15, 2014. You think I write about this every year? Thanks so much for paying attention. I am a cool weather person. That is, I think I am. I have been in the past and I still look forward to finding out if I still am as the season changes. Some tell me that with age you may not be able to tolerate the colder temps like you once did. I can see that. I can tell that I may not be willing to be first in line to dive into a lake in the middle of the night at near freezing temperatures. I did that once but maybe would have to take a rain check today. That's okay. I can still enjoy anticipating the cooler weather even if I may have to grab a jacket a little earlier than I did in my younger years. Sure. I know we still have the hot stuff yet to come because that too defines the area where we live. Some call what we have had the last few days a taste of fall. I prefer to say it's more of a mere mention, but, I'll take it. How about you?

I'm proud of those in our neighborhood who constrained their inner urge to jump the gun by starting up their fireplaces. You are right. It is none of my business but smelling all of that wood burning so early in the season just doesn't float my boat. I'm still attempting to decide whether I will decide to allow NASCAR to fade off of my personal radar screen when Jeff Gordon, the driver I've followed for many years retires at the end of this season. After watching some of our local Houston Texans game this past Sunday I might need to hold on to NASCAR as an alternative. I know. It was just the first game of the season. Speaking of smelling. They were stinking up the joint. Back to the NASCAR dilemma. I do like some of the young drivers coming up. I know some of them will become the super stars of tomorrow. But, when I consider the investment of my time and support, well, it may be time to think about thinking about me retiring. Yesterday even as I was pondering this matter one of the fellows here in our shop brought me the Jeff Gordon Santa (in the photo) that he found in his garage. He wanted me to have it. How thoughtful of him. I think I have one nearly like it that was given to me by some of our grand kids several years ago. But, we all have these life altering decisions to make and I will finish this season and then I may have to take some time and go to the mountains to dwell on this consequential matter. Not really. We will just have to wait and see.

We live in the modern age and we are dependent upon the basic infrastructure for us to function. Last Saturday evening the wife and I, as is our habit, were all prepared to settle down to watch the musical programming on RFDTV. That's our routine. That's our entertainment. It's not for everyone and that's okay. Well, on that particular day it was not meant to be. The power went off. It was beautiful outside. Not a creature was stirring. Bang. Zoom. Completely shut down. How do you like that? No flickering. No sputtering. One second it was going the next it was like it wasn't even turned on. I walked outside. One of the neighbors had already reported the outage. After about 30 minutes I called up the power company myself. They informed me they were aware of the problem and expected it to be corrected by 9:45 p.m. Three hours. Oh my. They said 70 homes were impacted. Shared pain. No reason given. Just dark. No service. Quiet. The wife has one of those battery operated fans. We swapped it forth and back to move a little air. I walked outside. Forth and back. And then, back and forth. Our lives disrupted by a sinister plot. Or, maybe it was just a blip on the radar screen of life. Of course we couldn't see the blip because the power was off. Later the wife's sister over in Louisiana told her the music wasn't great that night anyway. I guess that was at least some solace. Okay, you had to see this one coming. You don't miss the power until it's no longer working. Not brilliant but I thought I would share it anyway. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, September 14, 2015

"You ever drive around with an old person who knows where everything didn't used to be?" ~ Jack Mayberry, American Comedian

Come on in and sit for a spell. It's good to see you here on this Monday, September 14, 2015. I do hope that all is well with you. One of my childhood buddies had a birthday last week. I sent him a greeting on Facebook. I addressed my birthday greeting to him by calling him my schoolyard buddy. That was a long time ago. I suppose that's one of the positives from Facebook as we were reunited there after many years of having gone our separate ways. He has lived most of his life over in Alabama. We were pretty close from the time I moved to that little rural town in the third grade through high school. We ran together. We hunted and fished together. We got to see each other last year at our 50th high school reunion. It was good to fellowship forth and back in what us older folks call talking about the good old days. I can tell from his Facebook postings that he has been a man of faith and family throughout his sojourn. He is well respected. He and I fought many battles out in the field in front of our house. One time we would be the US Calvary against the hostile Indians. (It was called playing cowboys and indians back then.) Another time we would be reenacting battles we knew next to nothing about from WW2.  It's obvious he loves his wife and children and is so proud of his grandchildren. He also does his best to practice his faith in His Savior. We grew to be very different in so many ways but our common background, upbringing, and the faith we found there still maintains the basis for our connection.

How far is too far?
Some six years ago when I got into the Santa enterprise the wife was supportive but certainly not in love with the concept. When I later added her to the mix which has been very successful, she went along with it but still has not felt totally immersed into the Mrs. Claus representation. I don't know why because everybody loves her. However, she did wholeheartedly buy into the Santa motif. I do not know the headcount total on the variety of Santa facsimiles we have in our domicile but they do fill up many boxes. The photo above is a bed set that is available from a foreign company. One of my fellow real bearded Santas posted it the other day. (The real bearded designation is very important these days. Just so you know.) I am not inclined to share the ordering information with Mrs. Claus because knowing her, that would be right down her ally. I'm not sure many use that 'right down their ally' slang anymore but I think most of you will catch it on the first read. They say knowing your audience is real important. It does bring a smile when I think about some of the notes I have received from across the globe. There's no telling what they think about some of the illustrative sayings I use. At any rate, when it comes to Santa decor I can truly report, there is no end in sight. You can count on the accuracy of that statement since it really does come from a member in good standing of the IBRBS (International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas). That would be yours truly for those who are keeping score.

With all the hype going on with the return of NFL football I sometimes think I need to have my man-card reviewed since I'm not insanely excited about it starting up again. I enjoy watching a well contested football game but I had no countdown clocks in my home or on my computer that were set to alarm when the first whistle was blown last Thursday evening. I can do the water cooler talk because I read enough to keep up. I'm not into fantasy football. That's where you build an imaginary team and bet real money on it. There are millions who play. There are billions being made, mostly by the administering companies. They have not collected a penny from me. I know. There are many leagues that are just for fun and no money is being won or lost. However, that is a good way to get younger ones conditioned for the step up to the billion dollar leagues. Just my thought about that one in passing. I will tell you one thing. I would be willing to cough up a few bucks if someone would raise enough money to get that commercial off the air about the one fellow going crazy when he wins $1 million in his fantasy league. It is on nearly every channel twenty times an hour. Or it seems that way to me. Who came up with this man-card business anyway? It's rather insulting when you think about it. But, that's neither here nor there, as they say. I believe they do say that. Right? Somewhere. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brushing up on your grandparent jokes: "Why did the chicken cross to the other side of the playground? To get to the other slide."

Good morning and I'm happy to inform you that if you are reading this today, well, you made it to Friday, September 11, 2015. It may be a short work week because of last Monday's holiday but it sure doesn't feel like it. That for me may have something to do with the fact that we were privileged to have four of our grandchildren with us from Thursday before last through this past Tuesday evening. Six days. It's been a while since they all have stayed with us. They all behaved wonderfully. We so much enjoyed them being with us. This doesn't mean that we were not exhausted when their mom returned from a trip out of town. Teenagers. (Three older teens and a soon to be ten year old). Need I say more? Eating machines? Need I elaborate? But what a blessing. Especially for me. Most of the really difficult stuff landed on the wife and she demonstrated again why she is a legendary mommy and MiMi. I'm not sure she's been upstairs yet. She may want to update the part about how wonderful everything was. She pretty much crashed big time when the smoke cleared. I helped some, mostly with the ten year old. (That probably sounds about right to those who know me.) I'm not one that longs for the weekend so much, but if it's okay with you I just might do a little longing for this one.

The wife told me the other evening what her sister's doctor had recommended in terms of the amount of water she should take in everyday. I immediately told the wife that I had that much covered with my intake of Community Coffee each day. She said, "Surely not." Maybe not exactly the total amount of ounces, but close. I'm only going by the number of 20 ounce bottles of water I typically pour into my Keurig each day. Come to think about it, he has been looking a little fatigued of late. Coffee has been on a roll over the past couple of years in terms of different studies pointing out its contribution to improved health outcomes regarding this, that, and the other. Yet, there is always the outlier. The straggler. The researchers who just have to figure out a way to rain on other people's parades. This latest example making news the other day said that folks who drink more than four cups a day may be risking an early death. I didn't see a cup size specified so I assume it must be a really large cup. I know. The standard is 8 ounces to a cup. Yes. I do know how to do the math. Four times eight, etc., etc., etc. Just this past February they had a report saying Americans should increase their coffee/caffeine intake to at least five cups a day because of all the potential positive benefits. It's enough to cause one to have to spend some time pondering. And, just so you know, pondering and Community go pretty well together.

As I close out this week I want to remind us all that we are blessed. Blessed to be known by the Lord God of heaven as one of His chosen children. Blessed to have been born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Blessed to have had the family, past and present, that has helped shape and fulfill our lives. Blessed to have a calling to serve the Lord by loving Him and touching others. Blessed with the ability to get up and go each day. And, I could go on and on and on. I mention this because I do point out a lot of things that I see as being upside down, in need of serious attention, or just plain messed up. I know that one can easily become a cynic to the point of failing to appreciate the blessings that surrounds his or her life. Someone published a graphic the other day that had a part of a song on it. The image had no attribution. It just sounded like a good one to make a graphic representation and share with others. That slogan came from a song written years ago by a southern gospel group, the Easter Brothers. It was written about a time when things were really bleak and the words came out of reflecting upon the blessings from the Lord. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll do my best to see you come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Of course. Amen.  .....More later.  Here's that song:

[Verse 1]
While the world looks upon me
As I struggle along
They say I've got nothing
But they are so wrong
In my heart I'm rejoicing
How I wish they could see
Thank you Lord
For your blessing on me!

There's a roof up above me
I've a good place to sleep
There's food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord
For your blessings on me!

[Verse 2]
I know I'm not wealthy
These clothes, they're not new
I don't have much money
But Lord I have you
And that's all that matters
Though the world may not see
Thank you Lord
For your blessings on me!

There's a roof up above me
I've a good place to sleep
There's food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord
For all your blessings on me!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use." ~ Emily Post, Etiquette Expert

Hello friends and neighbors and welcome to our little time to visit out on the front porch here at the ole blogger ranch. It's good to have this time together here on this Thursday, September 10, 2015. I would advise us all to mind our manners as we are out and about going here and there over the hills and through the woods, or wherever it is that we travel. Folks are armed with these mega pixel smart phone picture taking devices and many love to post anyone they deem to be acting rude. I saw one the other day of some folks sitting in front of this particular individual at a football game. The folks immediately in front were all sprawled out making it next to impossible for those around them to see and enjoy the game. Rather than confront them they Facebooked and/or Instagrammed a photo out for the world to see. They do this at movie theaters, restaurants, at work, and almost any other public venue. You have a number of issues here. Is the person really being rude or is the person interpreting them as being rude? Shouldn't the folks being photographed with their images going viral at least know that this is happening? The answer in today's social media world is: Roll tape! No time to talk just post it while it is hot. I've seen some who even have posted photos of people waiting on them along with posted negative comments about their physical appearance. Really? That's when you would love to see one of the picture taker with a caption saying: "Who died and left you in charge?"

When I look out over the fruited plain of the political landscape I am immediately reminded of this sentiment: I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've gotten to where I'm not even certain what it means to have the glass half full or half empty view. I do know this. People can say what they want to about this, that, and the other. They can play games with the numbers all day long. But, we are closing in on 100 million people who are out of the workforce. One hundred million. Unheard of in our history! That's a recovery to be proud of? Over 50 million are receiving ongoing assistance from the government. Oh yeah. They don't get counted because they have dropped out of the system. Now you know why we have such a low official unemployment rate. I'm not that bright folks but with people eligible to work but not working and no longer even counted in the system, I have a question for you. Who in the world is going to pay for the oceans of red that continue to be spent by our federal government? Who? We may soon get to that majestic full employment goal based on the official unemployment number, however, the number of people continuing to op out of the system continues to grow and it is staggering. Here's one you can take home. Leave it to us to be officially at full employment but not have enough people working to pay our bills. Sorry. I was in a sharing mode and like ole Humpty, it all came tumbling out.

I apologize to my wife for the preceding paragraph. She gets a headache when I write about political stuff. Hey. There's plenty who will disagree with my assessment. There are huge throngs of those who are still singing the same song for nearly eight years: "It's all Bush's fault." I got tired of that lyric about 8 years ago. Since I've already blown my typically rosy happy happy face for today let me just add another little ditty. I heard a respected former military leader say something pretty odd about the soon to be in-acted Iran nuclear agreement. He said it was better than nothing. That's the best he could come up with. Better than nothing? No list of positives. No list of advantages for the United States. Just a better than nothing assessment. This, by the way, is how the current administration sells most of what they get done. It may not be that good but it is better than nothing. That's extremely flimsy if you ask me. Oh yeah. To make the Saudis and the Israelis quiet down about this agreement which they see as a huge threat, well, we are going to see to it that they get tons of new bombs and other technologically advanced weaponry. This stuff would be laughable if it were not the reality of how these people are dealing with opposition and concerns regarding this so called better than nothing agreement. I was thinking about thinking about doing a funny story for the closing but this agreement popped into my mind and I felt like since I had already set the tone I might as well finish it off. Thankfully, God knows about it all. Those who think they are the masters of the future will one day know with certainty that God and God alone is Sovereign. Having reminded us of that makes me able to return to my glass half full attitude. Thanks for tuning in and may God bless us all and may He bless our nation. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"For a nation which has an almost evil reputation for bustle, bustle, bustle, and rush, rush, rush, we spend an enormous amount of time standing around in line in front of windows, just waiting." ~ Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945) actor, author & humorist

Sending out a huge shout out to our parents on their 38th wedding anniversary. It's a long story but we know that God was at work in bringing mom and dad together. We as a family are so very much blessed by them as our parents. We thank them for all they have done in our lives and most especially we thank God for His provision. Happy Anniversary and know that we love you both. Amen.

Good morning out there on the highway. The information highway. The digital gateway to the world. Need I say more? It is good to bid you a warm welcome here on this Wednesday, September 9, 2015. I suppose there's some good news regarding the long wait times for those who are awaiting Veterans Administration health services. A watchdog report issued last week tells us that 300,000 of those on the waiting list have passed on to their reward. That's 35% of those on the combined lists from all the various medical facilities. I'm not sure what to make of that finding. On the one hand the statistics immediately improve when these are deleted. This change happened only because of this woefully inept method of keeping up with those who have worn the uniform of our nation. The VA responded by saying their systems needed to be updated. You think? One even cautioned that they lack the authority to take anyone off the list. This reminded me of the time a local elderly man here in this area somehow became listed as having passed away. This meant his Social Security was cut off. He needed those funds to survive. Enter the late Marvin Zindler, a local TV personality. He attempted to intervene on behalf of this obviously still alive gentleman. Finally, he personally accompanied the old fellow down to the Social Security office. The interview is a classic. It would be good on any comedy program because even with the fellow staring them in the face they would not agree that he was alive. Nothing surprises me, even when it comes to stuff like dead people waiting on our government to announce they can now see the doctor.

For those of us who are grandparents memories play a vital role in our day by day living. We bought our house back in the summer of 1984. Those grandkids on the left in the photo have grown up with this being their MiMi and Poppy's abode. The two boys being held will both soon be 10. That will help date my recollection. There's something special about that. When I go home to visit mom and dad I can see down the hall into the room where I slept as a boy growing up. Lots of memories. Those stairs in our house could tell some tales. They have been romped on. Jumped on. Our boys were teens when we moved into that house. Those stairs have been turned into school buses and rocket ships. All of those kids on the left have done their fair share of playing on those stairs. Sure. A few of them took a few tumbles but fortunately no really bad injuries. The girl on the right continues the tradition. That's our great grand Madi (Madelyn Joy) and she too loves to play on those stairs. When I go home there's something about that place that gets hold of my heart. I want our kids, our grandkids, and our great grands to feel that way when they visit our place. (Wherever it happens to be.) I know it's not the house itself, it's the love and fond memories there, however, it can also be a landmark of sorts that memories are built upon. (The memories are there even if the house is not.) I can look out of my mom's kitchen window and see in my mind's eye Paw Paw Mac hoeing out in his beloved vegetable garden. I can see in the hall bookcase books that I read as a child. All of these are things to be thankful for. And, just so you know, ..... I am!

Sentimentalism? I wouldn't have a prayer in winning a case to prove I'm not a sentimentalist even with one of those fancy-ambulance-chasing lawyers. And, believe me, I do know there's a balance in being so steeped in the past that one might fail to embrace the here and now. At the same time, I do feel for those who look down on us who enjoy our memory walks. I just don't want to know that same feeling. That silly country song comes to mind, "If Loving You is Wrong I Don't Want to be Right." The application? If enjoying the memories from the past makes me less intelligent well I choose the lower IQ and while you are at it, pass me some of mom's homemade cheesy grits with butter on top. I have no idea why I threw that in but it somehow made a connection. To me. Not you. To me. I hardly even mentioned the food. There's been legendary feasting done in my past. That too is a part of my heritage. Some people eat to live others live to eat. I just love old fashioned home cooking, period. Mom and I were rehearsing the other day the huge family reunion barbecues we enjoyed back in the day when Uncle Asa came in from Florida. He would dig a pit in the yard and stretch hardware cloth over some stakes. You can hardly imagine how much meat he could smoke on that makeshift grill. I remember my soon to be brother-in-law declaring how that he had never been around people who ate the way we did. Not much later he became a full fledged card carrying member of the club. He became one of the eaters being watched by others. And, another memory comes to mind, what a man he was! Our beloved Kenneth who left this old world way too soon but left behind a legacy of faith and good works. Enough already. I think you get where I am coming from. Enjoy and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

If you are one of those who typically do not succeed on the first attempt, well, you might forego doing the sky diving deal.

Time to get back to it here on this Tuesday, September 8, 2015. Most of you know that I enjoy going to Chick-fil-a. It has almost nothing to do with the food. Their food is okay but nothing to write home about. However, the environment is typically clean, the folks there happy and outgoing, and the people milling around seem also to be carrying a fairly upbeat attitude. Positivity all around. Saturday before last the wife and I were out and about doing some early morning errands. Because of its location next to our last stop we decided to grab breakfast in one of the units that make up the world's largest fast food chain. (Estimated 36,000 locations worldwide serving 69 million people per day.) It was a completely different environment we found there. It was clean enough but the workers obviously had very little to smile about because they didn't. I told my wife as I observed them working from a side view how each of them I pointed out would not be eligible to work at the other place. She asked why. Because they just can't seem to conjure up a happy face to save their lives. One young man who looked like one of those teen stars on Disney actually looked like 1) he had just gotten up, and 2) he had lost his best friend. No. I am not a mystery shopper and I am only reporting this latest review to my readers out there in Blogland. I didn't say I wasn't a mystery. Just not a mystery shopper. Or maybe I am. Only the Shadow Knows. (Alert: Dated reference. Some may have to Google it.)

I suppose in all fairness I should have revealed that two local Chick-fil-a restaurants do employ myself and the wife each year as we greet kids of all ages as Santa and Mrs. Claus. That's right. They do pay us but I was on to them as a principled business operation long before I ever donned the jolly old elf trappings at their stores. I had read the founder's book and had admired their business model as someone interested in those kinds of things. To the extent my Santa enterprise may have influenced what I said in the first paragraph, well, excuse me. (And, yes, we have already been invited back for this upcoming season.) Moving on, today is my 2,128th time to dole out a brain dump of sorts onto this electronic page in doing these daily blogs. You may remember that I seriously considered turning the lights out after reaching number 2,000. My greatest fear then and now is that I would be so predictable, so repetitive, and so boring that it would become an exercise in futility. Being aware of those challenges does help me to do my best not to let those things creep in anymore than they do. Some is unavoidable because so much of what I write about is who I am, therefore, the sameness factor will always be lurking. I do appreciate my loyal readers. I really do. One told me the other day that he and his wife so look forward to reading them each day because they are an absolute delight. I also heard the wife talking the other day to her sister about one she had read that kept her laughing all the way through. I didn't have the nerve to check and see if it was supposed to be funny. Just kidding. My point? Thanks for the feedback and thanks again for taking the time to review what I throw together each day.

Speaking of the Santa stuff, many of the fellows who are a part of the same organization with me are no longer spring chickens. I'm headed for the door marked 70 but many of my fellow seasonal characters are much older. It shows. The organization has a very functional website with many features for the membership. It is pretty well laid out and easy to use. However, some of my brothers do have their issues. They can get themselves all balled up trying to access this, that, or the other. When all else fails they go to the Facebook page and sound off. But, when you think about it, what do you expect when you try to get elderly non-computer oriented people to interact with modern technology? Their problems can be pretty funny. But not to them. The good news is how that the organization and other member Santas are always willing to jump in and give them a hand. Who would have ever thought that being Santa in the information age would be so complicated? To my knowledge, at least so far, they do not have to talk to someone in India to get their problems sorted out and remedied. Think about it. I know from experience that you typically can barely understand those technicians. Now throw in the fact that the person calling may be hearing impaired. Not a good picture but in many instances, it is, my friend, the ONLY GAME in town. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.