Friday, October 30, 2015

"The world is wrong side up. It needs to be turned upside down in order to be right side up." ~ Billy Sunday, professional baseball player turned influential American evangelist. (1862-1935)

It's Friday and yes, I do thank God that it is, but, I also thank Him for every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday also. I know that most of you know the week begins on Sunday. Right? Monday is the second day of the new week and Friday is the day before the last day of the week, Saturday. Stay with me class. We honor our Savior on the first day of the week by joining together to bring honor and glory to Him because He rose from the dead on the First Day of the Week. I have, forever and ever, advised folks to start their week off right in order to have a good week and that would involve taking care to recognize Him on Sunday. Confused? Don't be yet. I still have more. This particular 6th day of the week lands on October 30, 2015. I'm not upset with those who get those x's on their eyes when I talk about the calendar in this way. Oh yeah. How did the first day of the week become the meeting time of the local assembly? That is a good question. It is certainly true that if our Christian influence is contained to only that one day then we have missed our calling and our mission. However, there is a reason we meet on Sundays. There are a number of Scriptures that indicate the early congregations gathered on the first day. Look them up. The last writing in the New Testament in most Bibles but also in my opinion chronologically is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. In that last writing we see the Apostle John saying this: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,..." (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 1, Verse 10) I am well aware there are stacks of books that address this issue and I've not attempted to be thorough, just sharing my thoughts. That's all. Nothing more.

I am not attempting to turn my daily visits into a theological journal. However, when stuff comes to me and I feel the urge to share I usually do. Am I opposed to people meeting on other days? Of course not. I'm just giving my thoughts. Again. Nothing more. Here's how you know when the politically correct culture is now living in an alternate universe. A major university in Wisconsin recently formally announced that the words politically correct are now deemed no longer culturally acceptable on campus. They reason that often people use this as a way of attacking people who some identify as being superficial and overly sensitive. Here's the deal: If someone is offended over something that in your opinion they shouldn't be, well, you cannot get off the hook by saying that person is a part of the politically correct culture. See how that stings? I am sorry but this stuff is just about as crazy as anything I have ever seen. But if that doesn't get you going here's another one. The famous well balanced news source, NPR, is currently running a story trying to find out the root cause of why ugly and often older women are represented as evil in the fairy tales from yesteryear. I see a class action suit coming. My understanding is tales like Hansel and Gretel are pervasive in almost every culture with different names but the same story thread. Sounds like the case will have to be heard in the United Nations. I would say we all need to just 'man up' but that saying is officially on the don't ask don't tell list. Or something like that. When folks ask what state I live in I might just have to say, the state of Confusion.

We now have the word police, the thought police, and more are being formed every day. Does it have an impact? A 12 year old girl from a local 7th grade recently testified before their district school board on an exercise her teacher required them to participate in. I'll not go into all the details but I did listen to the entire testimony and I read several different articles. The teacher essentially required the students to agree that God cannot be proved and to answer any other way would get them a failing grade. The little girl said her friend was so upset she cried. She and her friend answered that God was a fact, not an opinion or a myth. The teacher singled them out for their answers and marked them wrong before the class. The video has gone viral. Now the school board is saying the teacher was only trying to encourage critical thinking skills. Their statement is typical and it sounded to me like a public relations response as they attempted to gloss over and cover up exactly what these children were subjected to.  (The school board has now rejected the complaint of this young lady and sided with the teacher saying their investigation did not support her claims. However, they have removed that exercise from the classroom and it will not be used again.) Here's my take: You may think I'm just flailing my arms here and there on things like political correctness, word policing, and yes, even those who would outlaw certain thoughts, but, this one young lady gives an example of the reality of this stuff being implemented and integrated into our society. Sorry to end our time together on something like this but that's what I had on the front burner and that's why I served it up. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will try to take a little time to refresh and maybe even lighten up a bit. I can't be sure. But I will try. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"You have to stay in shape. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 95 today and we have no idea where she is." ~ copied

It's good to be able to greet everyone today on this Thursday, October 29, 2015. I hear some people who say that Halloween is their favorite holiday occasion of the year. Really? That doesn't even register with me. I can see how it might be enjoyable but their favorite occasion of the year? I think sometimes that I am out of sync with most of the world. I was telling our eldest son the other day about us being devoted watchers of NCIS. It is often the most watched program on TV each week. But, it doesn't attract the highest number of the advertiser's target audience of the 18-30 year old folks. I read something about it. The average age of all people watching TV programming is 42-44. The average age of the huge audience watching NCIS is 62-64. My son responded by essentially saying now he understands why he just couldn't get into it even though he had tried several times. He has something to look forward to in another 15 years, reruns of NCIS! Here's another thought. We were switching around and landed on the new Supergirl TV show. The wife and I watched it for a few minutes but we could not believe the awful, poorly written and delivered dialogue and how totally absurd the whole thing was. We couldn't stay with it. The next day the critics were falling all over themselves. They thought it was great. Superb. Finally, a woman super hero. We pronounced it unwatchable and they heralded it as must see. No wonder we can't seem to get with it the way others do. That may be the reason they have so many hearing aid commercials on the programs we watch.

In the class I teach at our local fellowship on Sunday mornings we just finished a verse by verse study of the Holy Spirit inspired two letters written through the Apostle Paul to the believers who were members of the local called out assembly meeting in Thessalonica, Greece. That congregation was born as the Gospel was preached and men, women, boys and girls came to know Christ. The persecution from the Jewish community was great. The persecution from the pagan folks was also great. The Apostle Paul took Godly pride in this small flock as he recognized their evangelistic fervor. He had only been able to spend a short time with this newly established fellowship, therefore, these letters were sent to increase their understanding of critical truths. One of the underlying themes from these letters emphasized the certainty of the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Some in that congregation misunderstood this truth. Others attempted to use it as a way of manipulating people. Think about it. Many times we feel intimidated whenever the subject of end time truths comes up. Why? These were for the most part new believers but Paul knew they needed to know the truth about the way that God will conclude His plan and purpose here on earth. No series of books on the subject. No seminars to attend. Just the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Our class learned that whenever we truly recognize and take hold of the truth of our Lord's return it should become a present reality in our day by day living. It's that real. It's that important. And, we have God's word on it! Amen.

Don't get me wrong. I am very thankful for the work of so many great God fearing scholars who over the years have given us the outcome of their years of devoted research and study. At the same time, I used to be one who was intimidated by this subject. I've dealt with pastors who feel unqualified to teach or preach about end time events. Therefore, they don't. That, my friend, is not only ridiculous, but it serves the enemy's purpose in hiding the truth from those who need to hear it. If ordinary people can get hold of this truth who in the first century huddled together and by an oil lamp were instructed from their teaching elder who read to them a Holy Spirit inspired letter, then why would that not work today? I know. I've more than belabored my point but coming to this understanding was a major breakthrough for me and that's why I am still talking about it today. You wondered? Now you know. What happens when we fail to get hold of this truth? We certainly will not make it our reality for our day by day living. Get it? Making it our reality will cause us to make decisions and choices with this in mind. Okay. At least you know how I feel about it. As they used to say back home, "Don't be a stranger." I'm sure as a young fellow I didn't know exactly what they meant. But I do now. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.  ....More later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"The Bible is clear that those who fail to heed the Lord's discipline - whether nations, cities, or individuals - suffer devastating consequences." ~ Charles Stanley

Hello and welcome. It's Wednesday, October 28, 2015. Thanks for dropping by the ole blogger ranch. Maybe we can visit for a few minutes to get our day started. My new little coffee maker must know he's on probation because thus far he is doing a pretty decent job of making the most of each of those Community smooth and full flavored, medium to dark roast, K-cup individual serve pods. That would be more of an embracement statement as opposed to an indorsement. I will be the first to say there's not a lot of wiggle room between the two. I'm thinking seriously about disconnecting from the political stuff for a while, at least as it relates to the national scene. I'm not sure what God is up to regarding the future of our nation, the United States of America, but I do believe in His sovereign working according to His will and purpose. The way that I see it, the national election coming up next year will reveal something about His plan being worked out. My fear is that He will give us what we as a people deserve and that could make for very difficult times indeed. Why would He do that? The pattern we see in His word shows Him doing things like that to get the attention of those who need to turn back to Him and seek Him first in all things. I really don't see a lot of viable alternatives in terms of candidates who will challenge the far left liberal track we've been on for the last eight years. The operative word would be 'viable'. But that's just little old me. One thing is certain. I believe God will work it all out for the ultimate good of those who love Him and who are the called according to His purpose. We do have His word on that. (Romans 8:28) Amen.

God's promises are the basis for our hope. Our hope is not found in the concept of 'hope so' or luck, but rather, it is the assurance that comes from His presence in our life making our hope in Him a reality to be lived out each and every day. I'm not sure exactly why I shared that but I do know it is true and perhaps I needed to be reminded of it today. This means we don't have to be pessimistic because we have God with us. Amen. I read the statement the other day from a young lady who was announcing that she was disconnecting from Facebook. She said it had become too much of a distraction and for the most part it did not add anything positive to her life. She did enjoy keeping up with her family and her friends but so much of what she waded through each day was junk since it typically was either self adulation or ego driven. She asked her family and friends to message her so they could find a different avenue to stay in touch. I see where she's coming from. There's a lot of stuff flying all over the place out on Facebook. For me, however, it is still productive in maintaining contact with folks all over the world. From family to missionaries in far flung places I am able to communicate and share on the fly. The other stuff, well, I will agree that it can be both dominating at times and also vexing, but, the good still outweighs the bad for me, and, I am pretty good at skipping. You know what I am talking about? The old joke. The blacksmith told the visitor not to touch the horseshoe because it was hot. The visitor grabbed it anyway. He put it down right away. When the blacksmith asked what he thought he was doing, the fellow replied, "It just doesn't take me that long to look at a horseshoe." That's my mode when dealing with some of the junk out on Facebook.

I get questioned from time to time about how I put together my daily blogs. The best way to describe what I do is to say they are always a work in progress. I write a paragraph here and there. Most of the time my blogs are pretty much put together before I do the final edit on the day I send them out. There are times when I do them from scratch at 4:30 in the morning. That can be challenging but it just works out that way. I recently heard some people discussing the huge success of the Seinfield TV franchise and how that show was self proclaimed as being about nothing. It made a big deal about the trivial and insignificant details in life. There are times when I have that feeling about the stuff I write about. Much ado about nothing. However, I am convinced that when I share a word of testimony about the Lord, well, He can use that to accomplish whatever He chooses. I'm not grasping for some redeeming quality here, just stating the facts. I know much of what I talk about is 'me' centered. It's that way because it's my life and I will be the first to recognize it's not always that exciting. I am encouraged from comments where folks say they were caused to laugh, remember something from the past, even shed a tear, or were encouraged in the Lord. That does help to keep my motivation stirred. Thanks. Have yourself a wonderfully blessed day as God provides for each of us. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"What does Santa bring naughty boys and girls on Christmas Eve? A pack of batteries which at the bottom says 'toy not included'." (copied)

We had ourselves one very busy weekend just passed. Today is Tuesday, October 27, 2015 and I'm still thinking about how we were doing our best to get here and there to take care of this, that, and the other. I left a little early Friday afternoon from work in order to get home and get changed and drive out to the country for a wedding Friday evening. The wedding was for the son of a couple we've known for many years in our local Church. In fact, we watched the daddy grow up with our boys. Now he and his wife have married off the first of their three children. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief because the rain held off. After the wedding we went to the hospital to visit a dear friend, (the grandfather of the groom), who is dealing with various complications from his battle with pancreatic cancer. We were able to share a prayer with him. He and his family have been special to us for over forty years. Up early Saturday morning to get ready to get ready for a photo shoot at the professional studio. I have been privileged to work with Mindy, the photographer, for five years now. I love her work. The shots above were taken to promote the upcoming two days where we will be making scheduled photographs. I understand and she understands that I am a prop because the children are the stars of the show. I think you can see that in her work. We had a full day on Sunday with much rain, Church, morning and evening, and when it was time to say goodnight it didn't take long. Not long at all my friend, not long at all. We needed the rain and we are thankful for it. At the same time we pray for those who were impacted by some localized flooding.

It was so very wet on Sunday. I always worry about folks getting in and out of our Church meeting place without slipping. Especially our older folks. I put up some cones just to alert everyone of how slippery it can be. I was talking to one fellow about it and we both had to agree that it's not our older folks, but rather, it is us older folks. I don't know about you but it's hard for me to include myself in that category even though I have the social security number and the wear and tear to make me a full fledged member. Maybe that's my way of dealing with it. Sure. I am aware of all the stories about how this age is now the new much younger age. They need to interview those pesky relatives of mine. You know the ones I'm talking about. Uncle Arthur (Arthritis) and Uncle Bursy (Bursitis) would be good ones to start with. If they don't give a full account there are others waiting in the wings. Here's some advice given by the great general and wartime hero George S. Patton: "Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired... You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going." It will take me a while to digest that one.

The wife was out of town recently and I ran by the Taco Bell to pick us some tacos for the pot luck supper we have each Wednesday evening at the Church. I told the young man that I wanted two of the ten pack deluxe tacos. I could tell he was new. They seem to have a lot of new ones at that location. And, at my age they all look about 12 to me. He kindly reminded me that there were 10 tacos in each of those boxes. I couldn't resist. I said, "Can't you tell that I am really hungry?" He rang it up. Well, they don't really ring up things anymore. It's all electronically controlled by a computer. That way it tells them exactly what to do and how to make change. Lord help them if they have to make change without the terminal telling them what it should be. He gave me the amount I owed. I then asked was he going to give me the old people's discount. He chuckled and said he would be glad to. I had learned previously that if you don't ask they are not supposed to offer it. Just think. Looking at me, he may have offered the discount to a fellow who was way too young to receive it. He gave me the discount but I left still wondering about the chuckling part. You know how these things trouble the minds of us older folks. I may be kidding. I may not be. I'll have to get back to you later on that one. Enjoy your day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 26, 2015

"Coffee is a hug in a mug." ~ Author Unknown

Welcome back where we find ourselves dealing with back to work Monday on this October 26, 2015. There are times when things look pretty bleak. Last week I was hit with a major challenge. It was one that required all the resources and stamina I could muster. It may not sound so serious to you. It was to me. It came unexpectedly on a day when I was chasing several different priorities, suddenly.... from out of nowhere, bang, zoom, my single cup Keurig gave up the ghost.  I cleaned it. I talked to it. But, it was done. Dead on arrival. That may not qualify as an emergency in your world but it is serious business to me. Ever since I made the transition to the single serve world I've been pretty much locked in. I researched the information on exactly when I got this unit and when I used my first Community K-cup style single serve pod. It's one year warranty lapsed about 10 months ago. A conservative estimate says it had faithfully delivered maybe 2000 cups and without any fanfare the pump quit pumping. I do have a little one cup thingy I can use with ground coffee if I have to but I've become accustomed to the K-cup approach. (A well stocked inventory of Community Keruig K-Cup Pods may have played a role.) Once we determined it couldn't be salvaged I had some decisions to make. I hurried down to the big box store and found a cheap unit made by Hamilton Beach. It cost less than half what the Keurig cost so I figured if it lasts a couple of years it will have earned its keep. It's more manual than the other and little more flimsy but it serves the purpose and after a couple of trial runs I got the Community just about right. Now the world seems to be a much more peaceful and tranquil place. It may take me a while to get over it. I sat there waiting. It just kept looking at me. The light was blinking but nothing. Do what? Not now. Please. I guess I'll be okay. (I can still see that winking red light in my dreams.) The wife watched a YouTube video of a young lady showing how she makes a cup just using the K-cup and no maker. No thank you. Thanks for your kind thoughts and concerns. I appreciate it.

The thoughts expressed in the foregoing paragraph are true. The descriptions may have some embellishment but for the most part you have a firsthand account of exactly the events as they transpired. Sounds a little shaky? I was a little shaky. Thanks for noticing. And upset too. Speaking of being shaky, I had to be across the metroplex three different times last week in the very early hours of the morning. It was approximately 50 miles one way. Thanks to the gridlock and mayhem that transpired each trip I averaged around 1 hour and 45 minutes to my destination. I had to go under one of those spaghetti like overpasses with north, south, east, west all in motion at the same time. Not enough motion. The cars were all stopped. The tail lights in the dark on each layer looked like decorations that one could reach up and touch. In the middle of that chaos would not be a good time to get lost in thought. Everyday was a different version of what had to be a meeting of the traffic weaving association. They were all practicing their acrobatic diving in and diving out skills. I was actually traveling on the pay as you go freeway where you drive for a 1/4 of a mile and then sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat. Meanwhile the in and out divers kept everyone on the edge of their seat. I suppose they serve a valuable purpose. Oh yeah. I forgot about the construction. You've got right and left brained thinking. Then you have the construction planning demonstrated by the no brained thinking. I think when people call into a talk show they say their piece and call it their take. You now have my take on trying to get from Point A to Point B at 6 a.m. in the morning.

The wife recently upgraded her phone from being smart to I suppose being a smart aleck. That means her previously used and less intelligent phone became available to me. I still use a flip phone. I would like some of the features on her old phone but I said no thank you. Here's why. Texting. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that more than 90% of the time that I am out and about I have a near miss experience with someone texting while driving. Word picture time: A fellow nearly laid down in his seat driving 75 mph texting while pulling a trailer loaded up with lawn care equipment weaving here and there over into my lane with the truck (front) and the back wheels (rear) of the trailer. Word picture time: A white haired lady with slowed responsiveness darting here and there driving 25 miles lower than the speed limit because she is attempting to operate her motor vehicle while texting. Those who say talking on the cell phone has the same distraction risks are not driving on the same roadways I am. I believe this texting while driving to be both epidemic and a serious threat to those who are doing nothing more than trying to drive to their destination. When I finally stop and catch my breath I discover I'm exhausted not from the journey but from the stress of having been nearly run over multiple times. Now you have my first hand account of this menace. For what it's worth. I feel somewhat exhausted now just from remembering and writing about it. This may qualify as a public service announcement. Maybe they will remove my slow men working sign. Have a great rest of the day and may God protect us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, October 23, 2015

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ― Robert Frost

Good Friday morning and welcome. It is October 23, 2015. I will be doing some Santa dress rehearsal promo photographs tomorrow at the professional studio. That should be interesting. It will give me an opportunity to wear my brand new suit and give it a trial run. Those of you who follow my blog each day are aware that I write it. Duh! Different people write for different reasons. I recently read some of the responses to the Why I Write question. There were many notable writers and their thoughts listed but I chose ordinary folks who responded. ~ "Because writing takes me on a journey within myself, to the core of who I am as a human being. I am a writer and explorer." ~ "Because the stories inside of me want to be told." ~ "My writing makes me seem clever and interesting. In real life I'm mostly a jumble of grunting noises." ~ "Because there is nothing better than when a story catches fire and comes to life on the page." ~ "I write to express what I'm too afraid to say out loud." ~ "I have things worth saying, and writing helps me say them." ~ "To remind others in the future that I once lived. To remind myself now that I'm still alive." ~ "I write because if I don't I will never experience the amazing adventures or meet the courageous people living inside my head." ~ "Words and ideas can change the world." There were many more but reading them did make me wonder why I do mine each day. I do think it is some of all of the above as well as it being an extension of myself and a way to hopefully share something of value. That may be far too noble of an answer but it is mostly what I thought about when answering the question.

Many years ago a lady told me that she could hear my voice when she read my writings. She meant it in a positive way and I've always thought that to be a very high compliment indeed because that's mostly what I shoot for. Some have thought my daily attempt at stringing words together must be some type of therapy. The good Lord knows I could use any and all of the therapy available but I'm not certain that it applies in this instance. Truth is, I do appreciate the opportunity to write and the forum for doing so, and most important, those who take the time to read. Thanks. I also appreciate something I've read that gets my attention and causes me to think. In an edition of a blog entitled Examined Life from June 2010, Natalie Marie the blog writer shared a paragraph written by Timothy Keller on this subject: Would Jesus Start the Kind of Church We Attend? Here's the paragraph that caught my eye: "Jesus's teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people.  The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren't appealing to younger brothers (as in the wayward son in the parable popularly known as "The Prodigal Son") they must be more full of elder brothers (as in the brother from the parable who resents his father's forgiveness of his less righteous brother) than we'd like to think."

Not only is that excerpt well written but more than that it did reach out and grab me and caused me to think. I'm not saying I've totally digested all that he had to say but I'm still pondering his point. The power of words is a gift from God. We often think about how soothing and sweet words can be. In the Proverbs we read: "Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances." (chapter 25, verse 11) But there are times when a word of confrontation or even a word of rebuke can bring recognition, insight, and needed change. Another verse from the Proverbs: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." (chapter 27, verse 6) Truth be told, I need, you need, we all need both encouragement and correction. I speak from much experience. Now we come to a close of another week where I have more than used up my allotted words. What else is new? Right? I do hope that you and yours will have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will attempt to rest up my head and my fingers so that I can hit the keyboard running come early next Monday morning. Lord willing. Enjoy. Amen. ......More later.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Here's a useful reminder: Only 63 days, 18 hours, 3 minutes, and 38 seconds until Christmas. Not that anyone is counting.

Welcome one and all. It's good to see you here on this Thursday, October 22, 2015. We did our first non-traditional Santa appearance last Saturday at our ladies craft show at our local Church. We had a great time and made many photos with children of all ages. The photos were self shot with smart phones, tablets, or cameras and were free of charge. Those who wished to could make a voluntary donation to the Church mission efforts. The photo is of the wife and I. She was one of the workers at the craft show. That photo was posted on Facebook and garnered many comments and likes. To the person who asked if the lady sitting on my lap was my daughter I felt compelled to answer. Nearly 51 years ago her parents handed her off to me and I've always joked about how I finished raising her. I'm sure she has a different version of how all that went and most likely a completely different idea who was in the most need of instruction. As for the inference of her looking young and me not so much, what would you expect? After all I am portraying a character that depending on which historical thread you follow dates back many centuries. I hope that clarifies any outstanding questions and oh by the way, don't think adding LOL to something makes it okay. I am joking about that. And, if you have any suspicions about whether I am really joking, well here's my LOL to prove my sincerity.

Here's a little story posted on one of the Santa forums. It is about a personal experience of one of my fellow bearded Santas. ~ "I had stopped at Walmart to get some snacks for the road. I noticed this lady was staring at me on the same aisle I was on. No biggie. I get that a lot since I look like Santa Claus. A little later in a different aisle, here she comes again...STARING! And she's an old lady, old enough to be my Mom, but she's pretty spry for her age. So I finish up my shopping and head to the check out line. Of course this same lady was ahead of me, and starts staring again. Now this is getting Awkward! So I start playing with my phone so I don't have to look at her. Finally she says 'I want to apologize for staring at you, but you look just like my son who just passed away.' I felt really bad after that and gave her my condolences. She says 'thank you...but I have a favor to ask. I understand if you don't want to. Can you give me a hug and say 'bye mama' to me?' Inside I squirmed a bit, but me being Santa and all and I just graduated from the best Santa School in the world the night before, so I went ahead and did it. She smiles, thanks me, and leaves. The cashier rings up my stuff and the total comes out to $100.87. I knew something wasn't right, it should have been like $40.00 or so. The girl tells me that my total was included with my mom's. I bellow, 'What?!!!' She said, 'Your mom said you were paying for her few items along with your things. I told her that the woman was most definitely NOT my mom. She said, well I saw you hug her and heard you call her mama. I flew out of the store looking for this witch, seeking justice! I see her loading up her car! She saw me and jumped in her car, I got to her as she was putting her leg in, and I started pulling her leg... JUST LIKE I'M PULLING YOURS!!!! Hope you all are having a wonderful day! Merry Christmas kids!'

Yes. That little funny story took me in at first. Since it did that to me I thought I would allow some of you to participate as well. I think he hit a good lick or two. Pretty clever. And, I will confess that I do like clever. Speaking of clever, have you heard about these people who have what is believed to be an innate ability to recognize faces? They are called a 'super recognizer' because they can identify people's faces without regard to their age or other changes in their appearance. Less than 2% of people have this unusual recall. They do not have a photographic memory, just an uncanny ability to recognize faces regardless of race, background, or age. Astoundingly so. They are currently using some of these people in law enforcement. Having looked at photographs of wanted people they can spot them anytime they see them, on the street, or in other places. The experts have not been able to figure out how this works. There have been many arrests made because of this ability. One police officer in London is thought of as having one of the best minds with regards to this facial recognition. However, he cannot remember the shopping list his wife gives him. Baffling. He beats the computer nearly every time because the computer doesn't seem to be able to uncover the face if it is disguised. Remarkable if you ask me. I admire this gift but I also am confident that I do not have it. In fact, I see people all the time that I should know but I have to really think about it. Sometimes it comes to me a couple of days after we've had a pleasant exchange. They do have an online test for those who think they might be blessed with this ability. I see no reason for me to participate. God recognizes us all and cares for each one and that's good enough for me. I can live with that. Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) American statesman, author, scientist & inventor

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, October 21, 2015. I use the little gummy fruit snacks to help me get through the day. They have become a regular part of my diet. I especially like nearly anything that is lime flavored. I thought I had a really good day going when I opened a package of the Dora the Explorer 80 calorie fruit snacks the other day. Four, count them, four light green, you know, lime flavored treats. WRONG! I went to the website for Betty Crocker to check out the details behind these little odd shaped snacks. First of all, they all have real fruit as their base. Yippee! Not so fast Bucko! The real fruit is pear and apple concentrate. To this there is the added natural flavoring of strawberry, grape, orange, and cherry. Something is missing here. No lime. None. My good day just got a big X all over it. How dare them. Green must mean green apple. I can still eat a little individual cup of Dole pineapples in lime gel. The pineapples are yellow but the gel is green. You know. Lime green. We get how they come up with the pineapples. That's pretty straight forward. Here's what makes up this 90 calorie snack: Water, Pineapple, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Locust Bean Gum, Flumaric Acid, Malic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Ascorbic Acid (To Promote Color Retention), FDandC: Yello #5 (Color), and FDandC; Blue #1 (Color). I suppose the lime is found in all of these additives connected to the natural flavors. I guess I will go with that. No more Dora snacks for me. The light green ones now make me angry and the box I have says it was made in Mexico. I should have guessed since she uses a lot of Spanish on her show. Don't turn me in to the speech police, I'm just having a little fun.

I saw a hashtag the other day on Twitter postings with this sentiment: #rememberwhenpeopleactually: ~ Made private phone calls instead of everyone hearing them in the middle of the restaurant. ~ Had manners. ~ Ate and enjoyed their food instead of mostly taking pictures of it. ~ Were not focused all the time on finding something to be offended by. ~ Thought the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit was ridiculous. ~ Let their kids play outside without worrying about them. ~ Lauded honesty instead of shaming those who practice it. ~ Had to have some kind of talent to be famous. ~ Were doing great without knowing anything at all about the Kardashians. ~ Minded their own business. ~ Were embarrassed to be viewed as a victim. ~ Ate home cooked meals and ate as a family. ~ Memorized and knew most of the important numbers. ~ Wrote letters. ~ Passed notes in class instead of texting. ~ Cared more about real teams than those in their fantasy league. ~ Believed that network news did their best to report the truth. ~ Prayed to God who created them instead of praying to the universe God created. ~ There were plenty of others but that gives you a taste of what folks had on their minds.

Last Saturday morning I was up very early and about 4:30 a.m. I went outside to enjoy my coffee. It was cool and crisp. The stars were beautiful and sparkling with clarity. I kept moving around to find a place where the artificial light was not as much as an interference so that I could see better. Suddenly there was this very bright light off in the distance. I didn't recognize it at first. I came to realize it was one of those mega jets on its flight path to the big airport. The pilot had his headlights on bright. There it was beaming with a backdrop of a starlit morning. This reminded me of that light from a star that lit up the sky in anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Christ Child. It also reminded me of Matthew's quoting of Isaiah's prophetic words,  "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED." (Matthew 4:16) He was speaking as an introduction to the Light of the world Jesus the Christ. By that time I was standing in the middle of the road and I could begin to hear the roar of those engines as they came ever closer to their destination. A good start to my day and some wonderful thoughts about how it must have been when some wise men from afar came to Jerusalem seeking a King because they had seen His star. Have a great rest of the day and may God illuminate our way as we continue our journey. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.” – Stephen Vincent BenĂ©t, American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist, (1898-1943)

Good morning everyone and welcome. It is Tuesday, October 20, 2015. This has been a pretty tough last few weeks for Houston area professional sports. The Astros baseball team had a remarkable season but a weak bullpen ended their playoff run in heartbreak. The Texans football team. Where does one begin, stay, or end? There are a lot of skunks out on the road I travel each day to get to work. When they meet their demise as a result of them taking on a motor vehicle, man oh man, what a stench. When I smell that I am reminded of the Texans. Sorry. But, I am entitled to an opinion here. My driver in Nascar is retiring after this season. (Jeff Gordon) He is in their form of a playoff but not doing that great. Plenty to feel down about but these really don't add up to a hill of beans compared to other real life challenges. I read an obituary of a local 62 year old successful entrepreneur who was killed in a bow hunting accident. Don't know the details but that sounds painful. I saw a look of desperate frustration on the face of a cement truck driver the other day. He was sitting in his cab with the door open. He had his elbows on his knees and a forlorn look on his face. The cement mixer had fallen off the back of his truck. This major thoroughfare was reduced to one lane for traffic. Two truck mounted cranes were there attempting to hoist the mixer apparatus for removal. Police were there. Fire department was there. That look on his face said it all. Maybe he was concerned for his job. Maybe he owned that truck. I felt sorry for him. Talk about having a bad day! We sometimes get upset about games but when it is all said and done the GAME of life is the one that matters and we need God and His help every second of every minute of every hour of every day! Amen.

I know. That may sound like somewhat of a discombobulated thread but I opened my brain up for business and this is what came out. It's way too late to use a disclaimer because I would need one on nearly everything I write. However, the good news is that most wonderful function that comes with the electronic medium, the Delete Key. That's right. I have the power. You have the power. All God's children have the power. We can choose to read, skip, or delete. Given the sheer volume we all are bombarded with each day I'm not sure we could get through it all without these tools. Example: Since we do not have pets that's a subject I rarely pay much attention to. We have nothing against pets. We just don't have any ourselves. I know it is one of the most important subjects people talk about and I'm perfectly fine with that. We may be missing out on all the benefits of having pets. I do take issue with folks who think people who choose not to have pets are maybe less than what they should be. I've seen some of those postings. They more or less portray folks who love pets as being better for it and those who do not have pets as maybe having some deep dark secret. Give me a break! It's nothing more than a choice. We don't have pets. Okay? Okay. Thanks.

No. Those thoughts on pets does not constitute either a tangent or a tirade. (That is, in my opinion.) It's not that often I get to use the words discombobulated, tangent, and tirade in the same blog, therefore, it makes this a good day. For me. For you? Hey keep that Delete Key handy because it can be used in a flash. Speaking of different strokes for different folks, I read some of the comments that watchers made on the website where CNN did a wrap up from the Democratic candidate debate last week. What I called malarkey others hailed as being profound, elucidating, intellectual, mesmerizing, and captivating. I sure hope they were smoking dope because if any of those attributes were present at that forum well I need to check my brain in for rehab. Yes. I am exaggerating here but it does reflect the basis underlying the great divide we have in our country. What a disconnect. But, that's what freedom is all about. I have occasion to visit with a Brit who is here working in our country. He is a 100% committed socialist. He and I go round and round every time I see him but we never do so in a disrespectful manner and we always part company as friends. He may be one of those who made some of those mind boggling comments about the Democratic Party debate. I try to understand where they are coming from. I haven't yet been able to do so. Sorry. It does tell us all that we are living in some really strange times. Strange indeed. Only God knows what the outcome will be. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Jesus the Christ, Matthew 11:28

Hello and welcome back to where we left off whenever we were together last. This reconnect is taking place on Monday, October 19, 2015. I know some of you are wondering how in the world I failed to mention the low humidity and cool mornings last week. As for the humidity, I understand that Colorado called and said some of theirs was missing. It was nice. Driving in very early with the window down, 48 degrees, and sipping on my hot, black, cup of Community, well, that does make for an enjoyable start to any day. Even the record tying and/or setting high temps for October were not so bad with the lower humidity. It can stay a while if you ask me. In the category of having something to rejoice over, a fellow I played baseball with when I was in high school gave his heart to Christ last week. That's right. He's not that young. In fact he ended up marrying one of the wife's running buddies and they have had a great life together but now they have the greatest of connections in being born again and on their way to heaven. I share that because it really is never too late. (That is, as long as you are still breathing air on the planet and able to hear, believe, and respond.) I would never recommend that anyone put off the most important decision they will ever make, but, God's grace is always there for those who will respond to His invitation. Hearing about my old teammate being saved, well, that is great news indeed!

This man's wife has been faithful throughout her lifetime. She has been active in ministry through her local Church. I believe he often went with her to their services. I mention this because there are some folks who put a lot of stock in the religious activities they are involved in. Going to Church no more makes one a Christian any more than going to a garage makes one a car. The transition from unbeliever to believer is an act of faith in the Christ who gave Himself up on behalf of those lost and in need of a Savior. The jailer mentioned in Acts Chapter 16 came to realize his need before God and cried out: "What must I do to be saved?" The Apostle Paul told him exactly how it works, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." That transformation comes from the inside out and it then shows up in a changed new life. I understand the fellow I knew a long time ago has already followed His Lord by being baptized. That is an act of obedience to the Lord's command and it bears witness to the change that has taken place in his life. Immersed in the water shows forth that he was buried in the likeness of His death and raised up in the likeness of His resurrection. Baptism is a testimony that tells everyone about this new life in Christ. I am aware there are many views regarding baptism but I felt like sharing my understanding as taught in a harmony of the truths found in God's Word.

The fellow who was saved after all these years was a hard throwing pitcher. When we get to heaven God will wipe away our tears. Hopefully that will include the remembrance of a particular game we were in. Playing a local rival, the game was tight. A man was on third. I was the third baseman. I thought I was paying attention but I missed seeing my pitcher try a pick off play to third. I don't think he had ever done that before. The ball sailed right past me. The guy on third walked home. I felt pretty bad. My pitcher certainly wasn't too happy with me. As you can tell I hardly even remember the horribly painful gut wrenching way that I felt. In fact, full disclosure here, over the years when the wife would mention his wife in conversation that particular game is what came to my mind. I doubt he even remembers it. I do. I don't know all the reasons but I do know that things that cause us to be embarrassed or singled out stay with us a long time. Even from when we were little kids. But, that will be enough about my psyche for one day. The good news is that I stand forgiven before the Lord because of what my Savior did for me. That is what really matters. Now, if I could only forget how that 2nd grade teacher singled me out, maybe I could move on. Just kidding. Not about what she did. Just about moving on. Have a blessed Monday and may God help us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, October 16, 2015

When life gets tough, pause and remember how blessed you truly are. And know that God will provide. Amen.

Aunt Joy
Here we are and that in and of itself is an expression of thankfulness, here on this Friday, October 16, 2015. This has been a tough week. A man in our local fellowship that we have known for nearly 40 years received a really bad report from the results of his treatments for pancreatic cancer. This is a very difficult time for him and his family. We've pretty much been close family for all these years watching our children grow up and the grandchildren grow up and even the great grands. All we can do is to go to the One who knows all about it and to seek His grace, mercy, and provision at this time. On Tuesday I received word that my Aunt Joy from over in Georgia had passed away. She was 80 and the widow of my Uncle Curtis who was my mom's baby brother. Uncle Curtis collapsed while running a marathon in 1980 and succumbed to the heart attack and stroke he suffered in February of 1981. Aunt Joy never remarried. She raised three sons. Aunt Joy was one of the most genuinely gentle and sweet people anyone could have ever met or known. Based on the many comments made on the funeral home website it's obvious she had a wonderful testimony for her Lord. I didn't get to where I am without the encouragement and help of others. Aunt Joy and Uncle Curtis did their best to help me as I was growing up. She always enjoyed the Christmas update card I sent each year. I told the wife it seemed like every year I'm taking dear ones off of our card list. I know that comes with age but it doesn't make it any easier. Please say a prayer for the three boys and their families as they say so long for now to their devoted mom.

So many memories when things like this occurs. Aunt Joy was a life long educator, retiring after more than 30 years of teaching elementary children. Uncle Curtis had been a mid level executive with IBM. I remember staying with them in my early teens. She had finished college and Uncle Curtis was still finishing up at McNeese State in Lake Charles. He worked part time for KPLC TV Channel 7. He did set up for particular segments and he also operated a camera. I was able to go to work with him at the TV station. It was all so amazing to me. They did many of their local commercials live. The used car they were featuring wouldn't start so we all got behind it and pushed it into the studio. It looked really good on TV. I learned a lot through those experiences. What you see on TV is not always the reality of the situation. Like politicians, etc., etc. They lived in a rented very small trailer home and it was tight quarters. I really don't know why they invited me to stay with them. I'm glad they did. One summer when I was working for my uncle in Florida they came down from Texas for a visit and I rode back with them and they dropped me off at my home place in Louisiana. Family. It matters folks. It really does. I can only thank God for His provisions for me including the family He allowed me to grow up in. Amen.

I know some folks think it silly to look back on your life through the lens of God's moving and working in your life. Sorry. I really don't know of any other way to look at it based on the truth God has revealed to us in His Word. He is at work in the lives of His own regardless of the events, circumstances, and the trials that come our way. Therefore, rather than being silly to view life that way it really is the only way to make sense of how we arrived at where we are today. His purpose is alive and well even when I'm not really clued in to how He is working. How can we embrace this as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Only by faith. Not by sight. Not by feelings. Only by faith. He has told us that without faith it is impossible for us to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) The Apostle Paul also was inspired to let us know how the things we can't see, those things seen by faith, are much more real than those we can touch and feel. (2nd Corinthians 4:18) Okay. That should do it for another week of me scattering gray cells all over the map, here, there, and wherever. Thanks for tuning in and for keeping up with me. I appreciate it. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll do my very best to have something for us to consider come Monday morning. Lord willing. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." ― Rudyard Kipling

Hello and welcome to Thursday, October 15, 2015. As most of you know these daily visits are more or less thrown together. That means that while I try to check them before I publish they do not always go out correctly. You may have heard that it is hard for anyone to both write and proof read their own stuff. That is so true. I do, however, have a great proof reader but she is not always available at 4:45 a.m. to do a final read through. The day I wrote about grammatical miscues being prevalent in the variety of social media utilities, well, she caught one that I made. That day. I re-sent out the blog to those who receive it by email only because it was in that very blog that I was talking about stuff going out with errors. I appreciate her calling it to my attention. It was a left out word. Everyone would have known what I was saying but it was still incorrect. Therefore, I made the change and re-sent it. Sorry to fill up your email folder with corrected blogs but I felt compelled to straighten that one up. I often just fix the original that does exist out on the world wide web but I considered that one to be one I should correct for those on my email list. Now you know. Not that you cared. But I did. There may be a name for that. Or, it may only be an abbreviation at this point waiting to get a name. I can't be sure but I am pretty sure I have it.

Since I'm talking about words let me mention something about the volume of words. Our standard English Bible has more or less than 750,000 (Old and New Testaments) total words depending on the version being used. The U.S. Tax code, just the code, now exceeds 1 million words. Add to that the explanatory notes, regulations and other documentation required to fully understand the code and you get over 10 million words. What does this tell us? Not much other than the fact that the complexity of our tax code is beyond rationale or belief especially for the so called average American taxpayer. I don't really think the average taxpayer is thought about that much with regards to government regulations and compliance. Everyone on all sides of the aisle from every political point of view say our tax code is a travesty that needs to be junked and replaced with a simple and understandable system. Everyone. They all agree. Every election cycle we hear this to be a very high priority to everyone running for office. Everyone. Why then has there not been any progress on changing, updating, improving, and/or simplifying this monstrosity? One reason: Loop holes: Here a loop hole, there a loop hole, everywhere a loop hole! All this agreement on the need for change except the particular loop hole that is important to this politician or that politician. If nothing can be done on something that everyone agrees needs to be changed, is it any wonder we are in the mess that we are in? I'll let you think about that one for a while.

Since I have brought up the political aspect of our day by day living, I might as well give you my two cents worth on the Democratic Party debate where those seeking the nomination for President of our nation met last Tuesday evening. A disclaimer is appropriate upfront. While I hate tags that try to categorize people, I would have to identify myself as a registered Republican who votes often as an Independent and considers himself to be a values voter aligning myself with conservative viewpoints. That, sadly, pretty much rules 99% of those seeking office as a Democrat as being off my radar screen. This has not always been the case. It is the case today. Some say the Republicans have sold out to the far right. They focus on that but my how they seem to not notice the unbelievable shift of the Democratic Party so far left they are no longer even on the field but they are sitting on the top row of the bleachers in left field. Unbelievable. So quickly too. What ever happened to the Reagan Democrats? Value voting Democrats? Having said that I now give you my two cent summary of what I gained from the Democrat Party debate: Malarkey, interspersed with more malarkey, finished up with a final top coat of malarkey. In case you wondered about my use of the word malarkey, here's how I intended it: "A noun, used to describe speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead, or impress; bunkum: The claims were just a lot of malarkey." Any questions class? I didn't think so. Please feel free to discuss it among yourselves or even with yourself if that's your choice. Take care. God bless. See you next time. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren." - Author Unknown

Good morning and welcome, we've already bumped into a brand new day and said hello to Wednesday, October 14, 2015. I hope you and yours are well. Those girls are our twin seventeen year old granddaughters, Alesha and Amanda. That was their homecoming photo from last weekend. I don't even want to think about them being old enough to go to homecoming. Sorry. I just prefer not to even go there. I know. It will not change anything even if I choose to hide my head in the sand. What is it with old people? I look at that photo and see them as infants all snuggled up together. I see them running and jumping up into their Poppy's arms. I see them up on the stage singing with the other little ones at Church. Now we see them dealing with high school and working part time. We see them contemplating their future as they make their way forward. They are twins and they are close but they are also as different as day and night. What's an old sentimental Poppy to do? Pray for them day and night and continue to love them and to thank God for them. And, help them whenever and wherever I can. I think that about covers it. In so many ways they have more or less moved on but that's the natural course in life. The bottom line: I haven't moved on and pray God's very best into their lives. Amen.

I must have something in my eye when I write about stuff like those girls. It seems to happen every time. Old people. Just think. It wasn't that long ago I was still wondering what I would be when I grew up. Now I've grown older but I'm not certain if I've figured out the growing up part. After all, I am called Santa in many places where I go. The other day I was driving home and a lady pulled up beside me. She looked at me and a huge smile broke out. She then called her children and they leaned over the front seat and all of them were laughing and waving. I waved back, of course. Maybe it was the red cap and red shirt. Maybe it was the white beard. Maybe it was the thought that Christmas conjures up in our mind. While I listen to Christmas music of all kinds throughout the year, I do tend to get more serious about it as the countdown gets closer. I recently was listening to a random compilation on YouTube. The song list included old standards and a variety of newer ones as well. Then one of the older Peanuts Christmas segments played where Linus clues Charlie Brown in on the real meaning of the season. In that precious child voice he then quoted from the narrative about the Savior of the world being born as given in Luke's Gospel. That's a truth we all can embrace and one that gives us the hope of eternal life. Amen.

I've heard that adage all my life, "You're only as old as you feel." Really? That's the best they could come up with? I suppose headed for that door marked 70 has given me more insight into that particular sentiment. One thing I do know. God has been good to me. There's much that has happened during my days here that I do not understand but I do know that He does. I am very much aware of things that I have brought upon myself and can testify that He has continued to love and care for me despite my failings. We were asked to read some particular Bible passages this week. The one we read on Monday was the 139th Division of the Psalms. That's the inspired word given through David that speaks to God's attention to the minute details in the life of those who are His own. From before birth until that time when we are in His presence forever, He fulfills His promises to never leave us nor forsake us. No matter what. Thinking about David's life we are aware of his great accomplishments along with his many failures. However, God never quit on him. Even when he was out of God's will, he never failed to continue to be God's own dear child. That was some powerful revealed truth to David and it is for you and I today. Here's something we all can use: Take some time and think on those things. Take care and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Song lyrics: "The small fry on our block have all been saving And now they're hiding things and looking sly Mom will get that doodad she's been craving And dad will get his usual Christmas tie .... Christmas can't be far away." Written by Boudleaux Bryant, (1920-1987), and made popular by Eddie Arnold, (1918-2008)

Today is Tuesday, October 13, 2015, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least in my Santa Enterprise email folder. We already have nine events on the calendar and that doesn't include five more that we will most likely repeat. It will be hectic juggling job, schedule, and commuting here and there but we always look forward to being a part of something that brings such joy to so many. I read some seasonal T-Shirts that I thought were cute. One said: Santa Saw Your Facebook Photos, You Will Be Getting Clothes and a Bible this Christmas! Another one was red, green, and white and had this thought: I have O.C.D., Obsessive Christmas Disorder. The line from the Elf Movie is on shirts too: The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer is to Sing Loud for All to Hear. Those that remind us of what our celebration is based on are always appropriate: I Love Christmas Because Jesus is the Reason for the Season. One I saw has a huge picture of the Angry Bird with a Santa hat. The inscription said: Is This Jolly Enough for You? There's always the political commentary to be shared. One has the image of President Obama with the following wording: This year I signed you up for Obamacare but don't worry, your neighbors are paying for it. I also saw a number of T-Shirts that have been made to look like the dreaded throwback and thought to be ugly Christmas sweaters. Those have become real popular for parties and for making fun of those who wear them. Meanwhile, folks are making money off their old ones on EBAY. See what I mean? "Christmas Can't Be Far Away." That's the title to one of my favorite Christmas songs as sung by the late country crooner, Eddie Arnold.

I'll actually be doing my first appearance of the season this next Saturday at the annual craft show the ladies put on at our local Church. It will be a 'take your own' photo with Santa in a fall festival setting. There will be no charges but voluntary donations will be received for the missions outreach programs of our local fellowship. This is a little bit of a new adventure for us as I have worked on some new outfits to use in different settings. Most people have phones today that take photos as well as some expensive cameras. I should have said it this way. Most people have expensive phones that take photos as well as expensive cameras. I should know. My wife has one. Sunday evening I was at Church getting ready to go into class and I was wondering about the Astros score. I walked up to a fellow and asked him if he could get his smart phone to check the score. He said he would be glad to. He then hit a button and held it up to his mouth and said, "What's the score in the Astros game?" The voice responded, "The Astros are currently winning 2 to 1." Now how do you like that? I suppose my little flip phone is very modest because when I held it up to my mouth and asked him a question, he refused to even say one word. Maybe he is the strong silent type.

The other day I heard some ladies talking about how bad some of the grammar is on social media. They were reading texts from college students at the time. Some of it is funny because of how it comes out while at the same time it's sad because it does expose a high level of ignorance. I'm sorry. I couldn't figure out how to say it in a nicer way. I'm not talking about a typo or even a slip up in postings that are typically clear and correct. Here's a real one. I actually saw an image of it from Twitter: "I hope to one day visit the ifold tower in france." Add this to the made up abbreviations and one wonders where it is all headed. Some so called experts say it shouldn't really bother anyone given the nature of the medium, you know, is to communicate. I suppose there's some truth to that but some of it is just hard to take. One was at least apologetic: "I can't rite english 2 good. lol." You think? I know. I'm not on my high horse since I've been frequently made aware of the grammatical errors I perpetrate in my blogs. I will tell you this. I hate it when I let one slip by. I suppose my concern is for our kids. If these very common distortions are a by-product of our educational system, I think, "Houston, we have a problem." I suppose Wilbur learned that working for food would have been a better choice than working as food. That should give us all something to think about. Have a great day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight." —Quote inscribed on the base of Stan Musial's statue at the St. Louis Busch Memorial stadium. The inscription is attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick.

Good morning and welcome back to Monday where we will be observing October 12, 2015 until immediately after midnight today. Today is Columbus Day but it has fallen out of favor. I'm not sure if his remains have been disinterred yet so that his skeleton can be hung up for all to see but needless to say the historical revisionists are having a field day with him in trying to destroy any recollection of any positive contributions he made to the world. But, I didn't sign on to talk about that today. Baseball is in the air. The playoffs are underway and the World Series is coming. A high school senior named Connor Wright from St. Louis made the following mural using 5,890 Rubik's Cubes. That's right. He twisted them into the image. The mural is a tribute to the late Stan Musial, legendary St. Louis Cardinal, called Mr. Baseball and Stan the Man. Stan died in 2013 at the age of 92.
I wrote about this today because Stan Musial was the player I followed when I was a kid playing the game. He was the best ambassador the game ever had. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a Stan Musial glove. The small sporting goods store in a nearby town was able to get me an Al Kaline glove which was a very good substitute. Al Kaline was another legendary player with the Detroit Tigers. The photo depicts that same Wilson Kaline model as it looks today. I found it on EBAY. I think I paid nearly $20 for the new one I bought around 1960. That's the one I slept with. It helped break it in. It did. I know what I am talking about. I made the regional all star team. See there. Oh yeah, just in case you failed to notice, that's an amazing use of Rubik's Cubes. I think a 'Wow!' is warranted for that one.

I suppose tuning in each day to my blog is like that spinning wheel at the fair. Round and round it goes and where it will stop no one knows. I actually noticed that myself. Random. Discombobulated. Unorganized. Scatterbrained. Yep. It's that acronym again: WYSIWYG. (What you see is what you get.) If it does provide any therapeutic value at all it's probably less expensive than seeing a shrink. After doing nearly 2200 of them I am more than aware of what has to be a fair amount of repetitiveness. While I do try to fact check some of my stuff, my personal recollections and stories are pretty much beyond the reach of that type of review. Therefore, I appreciate those who take the time to read through them each day. It's pretty neat to have someone come up to me at Church and quote to me from one of my blogs. It sometimes takes me a second to catch it but I do know it is a compliment and I appreciate it. I also get notes occasionally from someone who has been made to laugh or they have been blessed in a special way from something I wrote about. How amazing is that? Sling some words onto the electronic page and they end up helping someone to have a better day. I don't know about you but that's pretty humbling stuff to me and it encourages me to keep on keeping on, repetitions and all. Thanks.

I noticed the last time I looked at the statistics from the blogging utility that two hits on my blog came from the Ukraine. That as we know is a war torn place where people get up everyday facing an uncertain future, thanks to Mr. Putin. The leadership of our nation has mostly practiced saber rattling in response to Russian aggression in the Baltics, Syria, and everywhere else. Mr. Putin must be hard of hearing because our saber rattling hasn't even caused him to pause for a second. My thought is that our response has been more of a faint saber tinkling but that's just me. At any rate, I don't know what the hits on my blog from the Ukraine were searching for when they landed on it but I do pray that perhaps they read something about the God who knows all about their troubles, our troubles, and the problems that permeate our world. God is able to work through means and ways that we could not even imagine. Even a verse quoted on a blog. Even a word of testimony about Him and His working from far far away. When I saw those 2 hits on the report it caused me to pause and say a prayer for the people in that region of the world who are suffering. We all can do that. Right? Enjoy the rest of your Columbus Day activities and Lord willing I will catch up with you again tomorrow on this same station. Until then, may God bless us one and all. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, October 9, 2015

“Posterity is the patriotic name for grandchildren.” ~ Art Linkletter

I was talking the other day about Brady's game face. We do have one waiting in the wings. She had her first practice this week. Her Paw Paw, our Chris, sent me her photo. Talking about getting all swelled up with pride! Some emotion too. Isn't it amazing how that works. I didn't need an instruction card to tell me how to feel when I saw her photo. It was the thought of our five year old great grand coupled to that old people sensitivity and when you put that into a combination, well, a tear is likely to follow. I shared that because I wanted to get off on a positive note on this Friday, October 9, 2015. I remember when her granddad was learning how to play back when he was a kid. I remember he and his brothers in band. You know how parents are. They were out there in a formation. Why is the entire band out of step except for our boy? That's how I roll. Our little Madi girl has never played any sports and when they chased her down and took the ball away from her, she did what any self respecting five year old newbie would do. She cried. I think it might be best for everyone involved for her Great Grand Poppy to stay at home. I used to holler to our boys and their friends upstairs, "Don't make me come up there!" To all those soccer kids playing with my great grand, just so you know, I still know not only know how to say it, but more importantly I still know what to do if I have to.

The wife left me again. She went over to Louisiana to check on her sister. When she does that she leaves me home alone. While it does have some advantages, they do not nearly make up for her not being here. We are not a team, we are, according to God, and I think He as Creator would know, one flesh. We recognize this as the truth. We recognize it as a principle of life. However, the practicing of all that it means is a part of the challenge that all believing married couples deal with. She left last Tuesday afternoon. I came home. Fixed me a sandwich and then I ate a little cup of Blue Bell Homemade as a reward. Reward for what? Being home alone. No one was there to ask if it was a good idea or not. I had a little conference with me, myself, and I where we concluded that I, having been left home alone, deserved it. See how it works when I am left to my own devices? Don't get me wrong. I fully support her doing whatever she can to help her sister. Anything at all. We are family. The next morning I did my little blood droplet test and scored a 98. I will never figure out how that works but I do thank Blue Bell for helping me to achieve that good number. Pray for the plants because I have been assigned the responsibility to make sure they do not die while she is away. I will do my best to handle that burden. If I do it well maybe there will be another reward. But, you can be sure I will call that little group into conference again before making any decisions. (She came back last night, therefore, the me, myself, and I committee has been disbanded until further notice.)

Home alone. I mentioned there are some advantages. What are the advantages? I believe those are protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Trade secrets. Not really. But, since they are not worth talking about we will proceed with the rest of today's story. It's been an interesting week. Our eldest turned 50. His granddaughter participated in her first soccer practice. The Astros beat the Yankees in a wild card game to earn the right to advance to the baseball playoffs. I enjoyed reading the New York City press as they unloaded on their team. It was nice reading that stuff about them, instead of us, for a change. The Astros have now won the first game of the playoffs against Kansas City. The Houston Cougars also won big against SMU. The Texans, well, they not only lost again, but they are in many ways, embarrassing. That's just my armchair throw down drive by assessment. I also thoroughly enjoyed the cooler air earlier in the week. We had great services on Sunday and Wednesday evening. It was our privilege to pray daily for a large number of folks near and dear to us who are dealing with illnesses and other challenges. That's right. Privileged to pray for one another. That's what we do as we connect into God's provisions. He set it up that way. I'm glad He did. I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I'll try to have something concocted for our visit planned for next Monday morning. Lord willing. May He continue to provide for us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” ~ Ansel Adams

Good morning class and welcome. Today is Thursday, October 8, 2015 and I want to do something today that I haven't done in a while. Most of you will have no trouble catching the fact that I am an image driven person. Typically that is from a visual standpoint as well as in my writing. Images. They can be powerful folks, very powerful. Here's one I liked:

Father and son 1949. Father and son 2009. Yes. I noticed the dog too. I suppose that particular shot speaks to me for many reasons but my how it communicates a message. Here's another one:

That shot is of a Brazilian boy and his fellow students playing at the funeral of their violin teacher. It reminded me of how important teachers have been in my life. The way it works with a really vivid image is not much more needs to be said. Then we have this one, an all too familiar scene:

I'll not add my thoughts and opinions on sending our moms into battle. I'll save that one for another day. However, no one can miss the tenderness of this reunion. Very moving. Very emotional. And, very telling since so many who wear the uniform of our nation are deployed around the globe. Many in harm's way. I dearly love looking at images, illustrations, paintings, sketches, photographs, and other representations that communicate life. It's amazing how we can get so much out of a single image. God designed us in a remarkable way. I thank Him for that. Take care and I'll be seeing you in all the familiar places come tomorrow morning. Lord willing. But you knew that. May He continue to bless. Amen. .....More later.