Monday, November 30, 2015

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." - George Washington Carver

Welcome back as we see what we can get together for today, Monday, November 30, 2015. I knew that I didn't have any drafts laying around for today, therefore, I am coming to you live and in color as I think about what kind of whirlwind we have been a part of over the past four days. First and foremost, we were so very blessed to have our family with us for our big Thanksgiving Day gathering. We also were able to visit mom and dad over in Louisiana. We also did an all day session of Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday at the professional photography stuido. On Sunday it was our privilege to be in our place and to participate in the services to honor our great God at the location where our local fellowship meets. And, the Texans won handily over the Saints. And, they had a lot of reruns of NCIS on. And, in addition to all of this busyness, I have traveled many miles down memory lane that is always both sweet and bitter as we think about so many near and dear to us that we have enjoyed the holidays with in the past but we will have to wait until we are reunited to do so again. Another development underway is due to the wife's decision that the time has come for getting Christmas up and running at our house. I think seeing all the other folks on Facebook with their trees up did influence her. Bottom line: It is time for us to get our Christmas on, ready or not!

We do have a brutal schedule over the next several weeks in terms of our Santa and Mrs. Claus appearances. We have some juggling to do. But, we are thankful that at our age we are at least willing to give it a shot. I do know the stuff we did last Saturday was pretty intense. People who engage the services of a professional photographer are paying for something. They have that something in mind. The photographer is skilled at bringing that product to fruition. Santa was ready. Mrs. Claus was doing her thing by entertaining the children in her area. With everyone all lined up and ready to go, how could it not just fall into place? The little ones have the final say, period, end of story. They determine the outcome. No matter how much bribing, begging, or enticing that is done, if a 2 year old has decided there will be no photos today, guess what? In the end they typically win. But, that usually comes after 15 or 20 minutes of trying everything under the sun including Santa's strength, resolve, and even perhaps his patience. Fortunately, we only had a few like that. Most of them went very well. At the end of the day I know I was exhausted and I can assure you our wonderful photographer was too. We are in the memory making business and we know for most of those who came we accomplished that goal.

In my lesson yesterday we focused on the importance of our Savior's birth according to The Scriptures. We know what we know because God chose to provide an inspired account for all who seek to know the facts that are fundamental to our faith. We believe in the virgin birth. We believe in a God that can do all things as He chooses. Therefore, we are aware that many, even those in religious circles, no longer embrace the explicit truths that God has given pertaining to how Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary. We choose to embrace the truth that God has given to us. We choose to promote that truth. I know there are many voices out there. I know our children are being exposed to all kinds of alternative viewpoints. It is up to us to do our best with God's help to pass down to those coming up behind us the very truths that can save our soul and set us free. I do fear this continuing decline in the acceptance of the truth of the Word of God. It will have consequences. As a way of introducing our lesson yesterday, the wife and I sang a song we did many years ago. "I'm glad I know who Jesus is. I'm glad I know who Jesus is. He's more than just a story. He is the King of glory and I'm glad I know who Jesus is." I really am glad about that. I hope you are too. Amen. .....More later. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Excited and looking forward to going home again, one more time!

Mom and Dad, made a couple of years ago in Jasper, Texas.
Today is a special day for us on this Friday, November 27, 2015. Not because of Black Friday. Not because of us not overeating. That reminds me. Does anyone know where my diabetic testing kit may be hiding? I do know he doesn't like to be around during our holiday cooking marathons. You know. My wife is a famous cook. You may have never seen her on the Food Channel or on PBS but she is very famous to our entire family. Period. But today she and I will be taking Thanksgiving lunch over to mom and dad in Louisiana. We are always excited about going home and even more excited about spending time with mom and dad. It will be a quick turnaround trip because we have all day tomorrow scheduled in the professional photography studio. You know. The life of celebrity fictional characters can be tough. Fictional? That's always questionable. I'll get back to you on that one. At any rate, we hope you and yours will have a wonderful day. If you happen to be one of those camped out in front on Best Buy or one of the other stores, all I can say is: May God help your poor soul. Just joking. See you next Monday, Lord willing. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"In many countries a special day is set aside each year for thanksgiving. But for the Christian every day can be a day of thanksgiving, as we are 'always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ'.” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV) From an essay written by Dr. Billy Graham

Greetings to one and all on this special Thanksgiving Day celebration, here on this Thursday November 26, 2015. I am well aware of the historical context for this recognition in our nation and I'm very much clued into its meaning. However, this year I've done my best over the past number of days to express my thankfulness to God for all the spiritual blessings He has provided to me. I've tried to concentrate on what it means to have a thanks-living mentality. I know how easy it is to become fixated in our prayer life on the food, family, home, job, and health realities that we all must deal with. Yet, as one born again through the power of the Living Lord of the universe we have so much more to be thankful for. That spiritual aspect of all that He has provided becomes the foundation for a truly thankful heart. As for the day itself, we are so looking forward to those who are coming to be with us. As is our practice we will pause to once again express thankfulness as a family for all that God has done for us, for giving us the nation we have and the resources He has allowed us to enjoy, and most importantly for us being who we are in Christ. May all our thanks come from hearts that overflow with gratitude for His great love, mercy, and grace. Have a great day and may God help us all to be genuinely thankful. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wise advice: Never catch snowflakes on your tongue until until all the birds have gone south for the winter!

Good morning and welcome. It's Wednesday, November 25, 2015. I apologize for all the Santa and related stories but they actually come with the territory. Especially at this time of year. Last Saturday at the huge market show where we were doing an all day appearance I met a little guy in the rest room. I was brushing my teeth when he came in and he almost jumped back. He said, "Hey, are you getting ready or something?" I told him I was on lunch break. He then added, "Are you the real Santa?" I told him I was a real Santa's helper. I had my jacket off and he just stood there looking. He was clear across the room and just stood there staring. He turned to walk away and then he came back again. He had something he wanted to say. He had this most serious look on his face and he finally blurted it out, "Well, it was only that one time, and I know it was pretty bad but I've been doing my best to be good ever since." I told him that everyone has days when they end up doing things they are not proud of. He told me his Nana had said the same thing to him. I mentioned that he should tell his mom that I would be back downstairs taking photos beginning at 1 o'clock. He turned and went to the restroom and on his way out he told me he was not with his mom but with his Nana today. Later in the afternoon he and Nana did show up for a photo. When I told him I enjoyed our little conversation earlier he just grinned from ear to ear.

As Santa I do love loving on the little kiddos. The people who did the Jr. League photography put up all the photos on their website. I think I did some 265 with many of them being of more than one kid at a time. I also had many of the shopping ladies where they all wanted a group photo as a keepsake. I think the largest group I did was 20. I visited those photos on their website and it allowed me to remember something about each portrait. But, here's the scoop. As much as I love doing these appearances and as much as I love the little ones, I can tell you my heart goes thump thump thump when I get to be with our own family and in this case our little great granddaughter Madelyn Joy. We call her Madi and she is a character. She lives near Porter, Texas and she's busy with school and soccer, therefore, we don't see her that often. Last Sunday evening we were at the restaurant to celebrate our granddaughter Stefani's birthday. There were nine of us there. I asked Madi if she would please have her picture made with her great grand poppy. She jumped out of her seat, came to the other side of the table and our Tiffany snapped off a shot of us together. I treasure photos of me being Santa to children of all ages. I treasure even more this photo with our little Madi girl sitting in my lap.

I tell people that I can confirm as Santa that we in this country do have a child obesity problem. I tell that as a joke because to me they all are so very precious and I really pay little attention to their size. Don't get me wrong. Sitting in the chair for four hours at a time with little time to catch my breath does make my old hips sing a sad tune for several days after. Here's something pretty neat: Without being told by mom or dad, a little one breaks away as they are leaving and runs back to give me a big hug. Special indeed. Believe me, many of the venues we work pay me well for doing what I do but I know things like those hugs are fringe benefits from the category marked priceless. We've got an arduous schedule coming up. I'm not sure we are ready for it because we've never booked this many events. The best news is that I have a wonderful partner, Mrs. Claus, who helps to keep me cool, calm, and collected. Not so much on the cool part. That outfit can get warm. In fact, when that cold front came in and everyone was acting like that wind was coming straight from the North Pole, well, I stood out there and thought how pleasant it felt. That's just me and the suit. That's how we roll. Have a great day in anticipation of Thanksgiving tomorrow. We look forward to it and we are so very thankful. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"....(oo) All I'm askin' (oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit) Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home..." Aretha Franklin singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, November 24, 2015 and we have one more work day tomorrow before we begin the Thanksgiving Holiday. This past weekend, all day Saturday and most of Sunday afternoon I sat in the big chair at the Jr. League Holiday Market. I actually enjoyed the throne from last year better than the chair this year and I've been thinking quite a bit about that throne. You know. The king and his castle. I remember William Bendix on the old Life of Riley episodes, (on both radio and TV), where he was always proclaiming himself to be the king of his castle. Head of his house. The boss, etc., etc. He was unanimous in his assessment, however, the wife and children didn't seem too eager to go along with his assertion. In my case, the wife is always doing this, that, or the other to change up the decor of our house. A large throne might be a welcome addition. The one from last year's Jr. League shindig in the photo is a good example of what I have in mind. I can see myself sitting on a throne just like that. Do what? Have I discussed this matter with the lady of the house? Not yet but I do have it on my list. It might work like this: I would come home in the afternoon and climb up on my throne. She could then fetch my mail and a glass of unsweetened tea with one small wedge of lemon with the seeds removed. No. You have not landed on a script for the Twilight Zone. It's just me, the jolly old elf himself, thinking out loud. Maybe I should think more on this one and do it silently to myself for a while longer. Don't mention it to 'you-know-who' yet. Thanks.

Buzz Lightyear Toy
I know it's the holiday traveling season. I know folks are skittish about the terror incidents going on with more threats coming in all the time. I don't want to be a party pooper but these recent reports coming out of the TSA , (US Government Transportation Security Administration), are nothing short of alarming. They made headlines the other day because they confiscated a 5 year old kid's Buzz Lightyear toy gun. Yet, those who conduct live testing of the system tell us the screening done by TSA misses real firearms and real explosives, get this, 95% of the time. I'm not done. Just last week Newsweek Magazine uncovered and reported how TSA recently discovered they had employed 73 people who are on the active terror watch list. This is the list of people who are potential threats to carry out terrorist attacks. I would call this entire operation a laughing stock but I can't because this is way too serious. Those who think government is the answer to our problems need only look at the VA, the appropriations processes, the Social Security Administration, and this one, the TSA. The conclusion of the Newsweek piece was pretty sad. They said it was not clear what or if anything could be done to fix all of these problems. It's also not clear if anyone will lose their jobs, (Unions), and worst of all, it also is very unclear whether anyone in the chain really cares.

Since I have now wandered into that place where I could uncork a rant at anytime, I wanted to report that I did watch the Barbie commercial that is being heralded far and wide because it has a little boy playing with the dolls. What did I think of it? It made me sick to my stomach. This little guy who couldn't be older than maybe 8 or 9 was made to speak lines and act as if he was a stereotypical homosexual fashion designer. When I first heard about it I thought it might just be a kid who is seen playing with the girls and their dolls. Not hardly. This little kid is used to promote something. No wonder it is thought of so highly by all the media elites. Don't believe me? Google it and look at it for yourself. It's one thing to see our culture in self-destruct mode but it's another altogether to manipulate children as pawns in promoting this social mayhem. That's my take. You are welcome to your own opinion. I know. I'm one of those who gets labeled as being stuck in the olden days. I'm not trying to be hateful towards anyone but I do have my beliefs and this kind of brainwashing targeted towards children gets me riled up. You can tell? I thought so. May God help us all is about all I can say about it. Take care and Lord willing I'll see you next time. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"They say the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic." ~ Steven Wright, Comedian

Happy Monday and welcome back as we count down to turkey day. Today we mark our diary and note that we've made it to November 23, 2015. The sign in the photo has become the current story of my life. This is the most common sign I see no matter where I go. I don't care where I happen to be, from one side of the Houston metro area to the other along with all the suburbs, all the connecting country roads, and even the little Podunk hollows that dot the surrounding landscape. Expect delays. I try not to let it bother me. I'm not into conspiracy theories to any great extent but it would be real easy to climb onto that train. Makes one wonder if we should have bought stock in the sign building companies. Not complaining. Just sharing. While I am at it let me once again lament over something called the toll road system. That's where you pay to use a highway that is designed to improve the flow of traffic. Balderdash! I have figured out what it really is all about. It is designed to be a toll collection system because there is no traffic flow. Just a bunch of fellow lemmings all lined up as far as the eye can see so that we can drive through this little passageway that collects the information required to bill you for parking on their highway. You think I'm exaggerating don't you? I'm not. In closing, even if you happen to gain access to the toll road when there's only a few cars on it, well, you will still see plenty of those signs shutting down lanes and that will help to make your day.

First frost of the season. My oh my. The other day when it was down into the mid forties I saw grown men wearing those wool cold weather caps that pull down over the ears. I could hear my grandfather's voice loud and clear, "Well son, what in the world are you going to do when it really gets cold?" Good question. I suppose when I go out today I will find them wearing arctic gear. No. I am not poking fun at cold-natured people. Maybe they were just making a fashion statement. Some of them had those flaps with the fur looking stuff glued to them. Who knows? They may have been on their way to a ski trip, or something. It's supposedly 34 degrees here this morning. I do have the main prerequisite for this type of cool weather. COMMUNITY coffee. I like mine hot and black. It makes any day better but it is especially good when the weather is cooler. I'm still debating about whether to leave the door open or not. You know what I'm talking about. A little of that really cool air goes a long way. I'm almost certain you knew that already.

I've just finished a three week brief series on the foundation of thankfulness. We know for certain that it is much more than just the polite saying of the words thanks or thank you. You receive a gift of a necktie that you will never ever wear, but, you say thank you very much. True thankfulness in the life of a believer comes from the inside out. Some have connected it to our delight in God and His provision to us. Gaining an appreciation for all He's done on our behalf, well, that gives us reason to be thankful. When people on twitter were asked to describe Thanksgiving in five words, here are some of their responses: ~  How about simply giving thanks? ~ Calm down, have some dip. ~ Piggin', Grateful, Love, Family, Food. ~ American Horror Story for turkeys. ~ No. We're not going shopping. ~ Instead of turkey, pardon Hillary. ~ Today turkey lives don't matter.  ~ THANK YOU to our Military!!! ~ Football, family, friends, food, football. ~  Always room for one more. ~ Everyone pretending everything is normal. ~ America's tribute to obesity epidemic. ~ Hoping tryptophan kicks in soon. ~ Many others were not fit for sharing but I do hope we all have something better than most of these postings. Preferably genuine and from the inside out. Amen.  .....More later.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

I want to start today with an early Happy Birthday greeting to our granddaughter Stefani. She will be 22 this coming Sunday. This is our eldest Chris and his wife Sherrie's baby girl. She and her sisters Tiffany and Brittany practically grew up right down the street from us. They were in our home often. I actually helped take care of Stef when she was a wee little lass. I was doing a consulting project in Chicago and worked up there every other week. When I was at home she stayed with me. We had a ball. She doesn't remember it. Now they all cling to their MiMi. One day we heard the music from The Jeffersons playing. You know the one I'm talking about: Moving On Up! They moved over to Kingwood and while we see them often, it's not like it used to be. (It's only a joke. We are very proud of what they have accomplished.) And, we are so very thankful for our Stefani. She is a hard worker. She loves us getting together and we thank God for her and all that she means to our family. Hope to see you Sunday evening, that is, if Santa survives being in The Chair all day. Our love, MiMi and Poppy

We've all heard that old saying. When it rains it pours. Last Tuesday when that big weather front came through we saw that old saying played out in living color. For about two hours the water was coming off of our office roof like a faucet in a bathtub running wide open. I kid you not. When the rain and wind stopped we enjoyed about a 20 plus degree drop in the temperature. I know some folks got some high winds and flooding but we mostly just had rain and cooler temps. That was a very welcome outcome here. That's what I was thinking about as I am continuing to enjoy these cooler temps on this Friday, November 20, 2015. I've heard a lot about prayer the last few days when folks communicate with each other about the terror attacks in Paris. It reminds me of those old time radio programs that played during WW2. Our nation including all the broadcasters had no problems invoking the name of the Lord God of heaven in seeking His help during that great time of challenge and chaos. Nearly every wartime program gave recognition of our need as a nation for Divine intervention. Truth is we need that same intervention today. Every single day. All day long. Or, that's the way I see it. What say you?

There are some things that stay with you for most of your life. A fellow here was talking about growing up in the country. He's a few years younger than me so some of my recollections probably sounded ancient to him. We were talking about the cooler weather and how that we grew up with wood burning fireplaces. I was telling him about going to the woods to get wood with my grandfather. His eyes got big when I told him we didn't have any gas powered chain saws. We used the crosscut saw powered by human muscle. He looked as if that was incredible. I told him there was no need to worry because my granddad could get that thing sharpened up and it would do the job. In addition to that, he always had that tall pop bottle with pine straw stuck in the top. He carried it in his back pocket. It was filled with kerosene, (he called it coal oil), and he could snatch it out and sling some on the saw blade while we were in full motion. I explained to him the ground rules my grandfather gave to me. Since he had not eaten my breakfast he told me not to lean on my end of the saw because he didn't intend to pull for both of us. Secondly, he would do all the grunting and that would be enough for the both of us. The fellow hearing that part of my little story burst out laughing. He said that was a good one. No, my friend, that's not just a good one, that is exactly the truth and I should know because I was privileged to be the young teen aged boy on the other end of that saw. You have your memories. I have mine. I do treasure this one.

It's hard for me to tell you about all the different varmints I see on my way to work traveling down a country road in the wee hours of the morning. I can't tell you because I don't know what they are. I often only see their eyes reflected in my headlights. I'm pretty sure there's no Bengal tigers or Grizzly bears hanging around in the underbrush that lines the roadway but I can't be sure because I see tiny little eyes, medium sized, and some pretty large ones too. I do know I've seen plenty of critters in the dawn's early light. Let me name a few: skunks, rabbits, owls, foxes, coyotes, armadillos, deer, dogs, cats, opossum, bobcats, squirrels, big rats, and raccoons galore. I've probably left some out but that's enough to account for a whole lot of eyes. When I was a kid with a flashlight on a camping trip I would probably have gone with thinking it to be the Bengal tiger or the Grizzly. Seeing so many of those eyes does serve a useful purpose. They keep me pretty much alert and up on the wheel. I need all the help I can get. But you knew that already. I do hope you've enjoyed our time together this week. I know that I have. I also hope you have a wonderful Saturday and a worshipful Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time I leave you with the late Tennessee Ernie Ford's signature sign off, "Bless your pea-pickin hearts." May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

There are big ships and small ships. But the best ship of all is friendship. ~ Author Unknown

Treasured friends, treasured memories.
Good morning and greeting to all, friends, neighbors, loved ones, and any others who might just be stopping by either intentionally or by accident. It's a good day to thank God for His grace, mercy, and His goodness towards us all. We open today's calendar and find it to be Thursday, November 19, 2015. Last Saturday we were privileged to attend an 82nd birthday celebration for a dear friend and even more important, a dear brother in Christ. He is currently dealing with the devastating illness of pancreatic cancer. Yet, he has such a sweet spirit and calm demeanor I find just being around him to be an humbling experience. We've been privileged to know him and his family since the mid 1970's. That's what I call a good long run of sharing and fellowship. Seeing all of those who came to the celebration was like taking a walk back in time. While we were there we also enjoyed the fellowship of so many other dear ones who have impacted our lives. Too many to count. Last Christmas season we were able to do some photos in our home for a family that are so dear to us. We loved doing it and it all turned out great. At the birthday gathering these dear friends gave us a hardbound 22 page keepsake of all those Christmas photos. It was a huge surprise. Santa has been moved to tears before. Holding and loving on a physically or mentally challenged child has that impact. Trying to find words for a child asking Santa for their home to made whole or a healing miracle is oh so difficult to deal with. Well, when those folks gave us that keepsake it had the same influence. Looking through that book made me aware of the joy that a Christmas photo can convey. We know that real Christmas joy comes from the Christ of Christmas. And, when I see photos like those in that little book, well, I can't help myself, it even makes me think I just might be the real Santa. Thanks for this most wonderful gift.

I carried two of our grandsons out to eat the other evening. Sunday evening. Breakfast food. That should be hard to mess up. Right? Everything about our time at that restaurant can be summed up with one word, atrocious. This particular location was once an excellent place to go. It is part of a huge national chain. It was Sunday evening and the people there were dragging. It was like we had come into a diner that was stuck in slow motion. The young lady who waited on us looked like she had worked five straight shifts. She wasn't discourteous in any way. She also was not particularly courteous. I know that sounds odd but I believe she was impacted by the environment. She was tired. It showed. When we finally got our food it was acceptable but barely so. I didn't want to start sending food back because we needed to get home and get to bed for work and school the next day. I did leave a good tip for the young woman. Not because she deserved it. Just because. I rarely ever report on my experience because we typically vote by not coming back. However, I checked the receipt and logged onto their comment website and pretty well described the entire situation as I saw it. It's sad because it was at one time such a good place to eat. I received one of those form emails about the great disappointment of the district manager and how that he would be working with store management to review my experience. Oh yeah. One last thing. It wasn't inexpensive. That certainly has something to do with expectations. Right?

I know what you have in mind. Why didn't I tell you what I was really thinking? And, why the tip? I know some folks write down a penny to convey their displeasure. I've told this before but it is something that has always stuck with me. Bro. John Bisagno, a well known pastor and evangelist in the Houston area for many years told about a similar restaurant experience that he and his wife had. His wife was beside herself. Everything was lousy. When the check came Dr. Bisagno said he felt in his heart that he should give the lady a generous tip so he did. His wife was incensed and demanded to know why in the world he would do such a thing. He explained that while it wasn't a great experience he didn't know what was going on behind the scenes and even what might be going on in that particular lady's life. Therefore, he decided to show gratitude despite the circumstance. I heard him talk about that a long time ago. I suppose I had somewhat of a similar thought the other evening. At any rate, we do live and learn even though we have to wonder how anyone can mess up eggs, ham, and hash browns especially if that's what they do all day long. Okay. Enough already. I've probably gotten enough mileage out of that experience that I should just drop it. But, that doesn't mean I will be going back there anytime soon. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless us all is my prayer.  Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you’re in it, but the longer you stay in, the more wrinkled you get." (unknown author)

Hello and welcome. Good to see you today. Come on in and let's see if we can straighten out the world here on this Wednesday, November 18, 2015. You do know I'm kidding about that one. We don't have time to tackle something like that. I sometimes think I have been at this working game for a long time. I started working for real in the summers for my uncle in Florida beginning at age 14. Pretty much been at it ever since then. However, I was reading the obituary of a lady over in the neck of the woods where I come from in Louisiana and she actually worked for 60 years as a nurse. She retired a couple of times but kept on working. She ended her time in nursing working with kids in a couple of different schools. That's pretty impressive to me. She no doubt was able to help a huge number of people during that long run. I did read about a Wal-Mart employee who turned 103 this year. He has more than 30 years with the big box store, working as a greeter and in running a register at the check out. He has an 80 year old son. And, here's the kicker. The Kansas native has no plans of retiring anytime soon. Let me revise my opening comments. I'm just a Johnny-come-lately compared to these folks and I take my hat off to them. These and likely many others like them are an inspiration to us all.

I don't think many people enjoy other folks making fun of their physical appearance. Recently Carly Fiorina, the lady running for the republican nomination for president was ridiculed by the liberal empty heads on the show called The View. (These are the same people who vilified the nursing profession.) It's obvious, as die hard liberals, they do not care for any of Fiorina's conservative viewpoints. That's not what they criticized. They took a shot at her face. They said her face looked demented. These are supposed to be the poster bearers for modern day feminism. When they were challenged by others in the media they responded by saying Ms. Fiorina should thank them for giving her the coverage their comments got for her. She went on their program. She took them head on about their remarks about her physical appearance. Their response was classic. They said they were just comedians. They said she should know that comedic comments are something you have to deal with. They went on to say they have made jokes about Hillary Clinton's pantsuits. Pantsuits? That would be the same as indicating someone's face is distorted and ugly. Right? I hope we are not that stupid folks. People are putting up actual candid images of Ms. Clinton all the time that are extremely unflattering. Funny how they have not found anything comedic to say about her face. (Disclaimer: I've never watched their program but I did read these accounts as covered by multiple news sources.)

I'm not trying to bore you with all the mudslinging flying here, there, and everywhere on the campaign trail. Just trying to make the point about self proclaimed elite empty heads showing off their empty-headedness. Or something like that. On the other hand we do need humor in our world to help us along life's way. I recently read this little ditty about a situation that Will Rogers, the great humorist, found himself in. ~  When Will Rogers was being taken to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge, he was cautioned not to try to be funny because the President had no sense of humor. The undaunted Rogers bet that he could have Coolidge laughing within 20 seconds. When the formal introduction was made, "Mr. President, may I introduce my friend, Mr. Will Rogers," Rogers held out his hand with a questioning look and said, "Pardon me, I didn't quite get the name." Coolidge roared with laughter, and Rogers won the wager. ~ Maybe those comedian ladies on The View should thank me for the increased attention they will get from me having written about them. Maybe not. I better go and try to re-group in search of something better for tomorrow. You know. Sing along with me: "Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya  Tomorrow! You're always A day A way!" One would hope. Take care. And, may God add His blessings to your day. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

“What a culture we live in, we are swimming in an ocean of information, and drowning in ignorance.” ― Richard Paul Evans, Author

It's time to stir up those gray cells and try to figure out what's what here on this Tuesday, November 17, 2015. I saw a blurb about a new app for your smartphone where you can input all the stuff you have in your refrigerator and it will give you some options for what kind of meal you can prepare. I also saw this little formula. I can't say if it's accurate or not but it says that every month that begins on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th. The so called experts tell us that from a psychological point of view it's better to be sad with someone you care about than to be happy with someone you would rather not be around. Duh. (That was my response. Commentary. You know, like a person who explains what is really happening out on the field of play.) Here's a good one: The ages of 23 and 69 are considered to be the happiest in life. Wow! I'm 69 and I can't wait for my happy happy to kick in. (Nine months left and counting.) Just think: You learn to laugh before you learn to talk. And, one more: If the human eye was a digital camera it would have 576 megapixels. Get the picture? Now you know. I bet some of you are trying to remember how happy you were back when you were 23 or maybe when you were 69, or, you might be looking forward to when those come up on your schedule.

I know everyone was shocked as the news poured in from the terrorist attacks in Paris. It goes beyond words to try and process an ideology that leads people to commit such horrific acts of carnage. In the name of religion. I've seen the knee jerk responses and the sloganizing that has proliferated on Facebook. These calls for the annihilation of our enemies actually do little to change the conditions on the ground. That sounding off may help folks to vent but our current administration has trouble when it comes to dealing with even the terminology that calls an attack the work of Islamic terrorists. Sadly, with this as a foundation, we can't really expect to see the kind of response that is needed to situations like what happened in Paris. Now we are faced with the unprecedented influx of refugees from the middle eastern countries that are producing these radicals. The current administration wants to speed up these transfers of people into our country. Some of those involved in the Paris attacks came into Europe the exact same way that we are bringing folks in. My instinct says slow down and do the level of vetting required on every person being allowed in. However, that begs the question, with very little concern for controlling our borders to begin with, could we ever trust the current administration to do the level of screening required to keep us safe?

There's at least one lesson we all can learn as we observe the world condition. Policies have consequences. Elections matter. Liberal versus conservative becomes much more of a sharper focus in terms of potential outcomes being considered. I hear those in the current administration constantly berating us with how our country needs to become more like Europe. In their way of seeing it, Europe represents the enlightened, the open minded, the progressive all inclusive approach. We even have some of our supreme court jurists who think international laws can be instructive in handling cases here in our country. Really? What about the American Constitution? What about American values? What about the historical basis of our founding and the principles that we have stood for throughout our existence? As far as us becoming more like Europe I have but one answer. Thanks but no thanks. Now I put on my Bible teaching hat to say one last thing. In many respects it does come down to us witnessing a desire and an active pursuit to embrace all things that stand in direct opposition and contradiction to that given to us from our Creator God as preserved in His Holy Word. That's where this is headed. We have His Word on it. God will be vindicated in the end. Let's do our best to honor Him and my prayer is that God would show mercy to our beloved country. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 16, 2015

”When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is not to let the bees know you’re coming.” ― Winnie the Pooh

I sure hope everyone made it past that dreaded Friday the 13th. I didn't mention it on Friday because I didn't want to jinx anyone. You know that is a complete falsehood. The way we approach days like that goes like this: It's Friday. It's the 13th. Yesterday was Thursday the 12th. Tomorrow, Lord willing, will be Saturday the 14th. And, we might even say, "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) Now that I've cleared that up let's see what we can find to discuss on this brand new Monday, November 16, 2015. I don't usually jump back when I find a water hose laying in the weeds. But, I did a little the other day. Why? Subliminal suggestion I suppose. One of the fellows here killed a 2 foot Copperhead on our property last week. He went around showing everyone the photo on his cell phone. He showed it to me. In the early misty morning that water hose looked slightly like it might be a first cousin. Isn't it interesting how that you don't think about something like that until you do think about it? I knew a fellow once that had been bitten on the hand by a Copperhead. He was in the hospital for a week. He ended up losing the use of one of his fingers. That's why I don't mind jumping back a little when the water hose is on the prowl.

I know. The title doesn't really match up very well with the lead paragraph. I noticed that but I actually got a little tired of looking so I latched onto the sage advice offered up by that bastion of wisdom, Winnie-the-Pooh. Some days go like that. I did find one or two that made more sense but I typically don't quote folks that I don't care to publish. Typically. Not always. Mostly always. Mark Twain once said this, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." Writing is a challenging endeavor. The famous author, W. Somerset Maugham, observed this about the process of putting words to the page, "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." I get that. I really do. Sometimes I go back in time and randomly read one of my blogs. It might be one of those where I conclude I was having a bad hair day or it just might be a little surprising since it actually communicated something that still resonates with me. You just never know what you will get. You know. Like that box of chocolates from that movie I have never watched.

This week we are prepping for the Santa and Mrs. Claus event scheduled for this upcoming weekend. The other day I was at the big box store and a lady hollered at me from across the way. She said, "Hey, you almost look like Santa Claus!" I couldn't resist. My reply, "That's it? That's the best you can do? Almost? She laughed and I went on my way. On the way out of the store I met a middle aged lady who had brought her aging dad to the store. He was walking a couple of steps behind her. As I met him he muttered in almost a whisper, "Hello Santa." I don't know when the page turns but I do know it does. I go from being under the radar to having someone mention Santa to me nearly everywhere I go. Weekend before last I handed out all of the souvenir cards I had on me. One little Hispanic mom and her three little ones stand out. The two year old sitting in the cart was literally calling out to me and I bumped into them more than once and he did the same thing. I passed by, thought about it, turned around and handed the little fellow one of my cards. The mom looked at it and put her hand on her mouth. The other two kids looked surprised with big eyes. What can I say? I'm a joy toting smile mongering happy happy fellow wherever I go. Not really. But something like that. Those accidental contacts, well, they do brighten up my day. Yep. I do believe they do. Find something that will brighten up your day. Today. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy 15th Birthday to our Lexie Dee!

Hello and welcome to Friday, November 13, 2015. Tomorrow is a special day for us because we will be thinking about our sweet Lexie on her 15th birthday. This child is our baby boy Rodney and wife Mitzi's middle child. She is a special young lady and we thank God for her and the talents and abilities He has given to her. She is a fierce competitor on the volley ball court, an excellent student who takes her studies seriously, and she carries a beautiful smile and winsome personality with her. May God continue to bless and keep our Lexie is our prayer. Amen. Happy Birthday from MiMi and Poppy.

Seeing our little ones become bigger ones is how it should be but it doesn't make it any easier for sentimental old grandparents. I plead guilty in the premeditated first degree. I do believe I've developed an allergic reaction because when I look at a photo like that one of Lexie my eyes begin to water. But, we have to do our best to suck it up and get on with the stuff we need to get done. Right? Right. Life moves on. I thought about the story of the little boy who had a need. He wanted $50 very badly and prayed for weeks but nothing happened. Finally he decided to write God a letter formally requesting the $50. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to God they decided to forward it to a high government official as a joke. The official was so amused he instructed his secretary to send the little boy $20. He thought this $20 would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy, and he did not want to spoil the kid. The little boy was delighted with the $20 and decided to write a thank you note to God, which read: "Dear God: Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that you sent it through a government office and those donkeys deducted $30, I suppose as a tax ....... " See what I mean? Some things never change.

The wife is due back today. I'm trying to remember what I didn't remember to do before she gets to the house. Maybe I should have left the Bible open to a passage about forgiveness. You do know that I am joking. Not about the forgiveness. I need that all the time. It has been a whirlwind week for me. Or, maybe that's just the way I see it. It could be that I've slowed down so much everything else seems to be accelerating all around me. Or maybe I'm accelerating and the rest is slowed down. It could be one or the other. Or, it might not be either because I'm not always clear on what's going on around me. You know. Last to know and all of that. I don't always mind being the last to know. But, it typically has to do with what it is. I will tell you this. I have enjoyed our brief visits this week and I do thank you for coming along for the blurry ride. I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and a great Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to show up come next Monday morning and we will all find out what comes tumbling out. Lord willing. Of course. Take care. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

“We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.” ― Robert Wilensky, (1951-2013), Professor, Computer Scientist

How dependent upon the internet are we? Yesterday here at my little old workstation the internet was like ..... unavailable. You know. It was as if it had made a trip to a galaxy, far, far away. That meant my ability to connect to the world was a big fat zero. I'm not sure we are allowed to say big fat zero but it does aptly fit my situation. I talked to the nicest lady at the AT&T network help desk. She was very pleasant. She told me up front that her goal was to make this a very satisfactory experience. She went on to say that us being a business means that without the internet we are very hampered in accomplishing our work. You don't say? Hello? We did get it up and running and she was a big help. I think it had been down since overnight, therefore, we were down for hours. But, it's up and going today and that's why I'm able to bring you greetings here on this Thursday, November 12, 2015. My inclination was to interrupt the lady and tell her she could cease and desist on the happy talk but she had this melodious voice and unlike most of her contemporaries, she sounded as if she was really sincere. (Must be new.) And, after less than 10 minutes she had us up and running, therefore, she accomplished her goal because I have to confess that she was able to make our work together a very satisfactory experience. This time. Hey, this is not my first service call or my first rodeo. We'll see what happens going forward.

I saw one fellow talking about how things get posted today on Facebook. He put it like this: "Just think, in the old days you would have needed to make 100 personal phone calls to let your friends know that you were having a donut for breakfast." That struck me as being funny because it is so true. Some folks want everyone to know every little detail of their existence. And, that little automatic utility program that tells everyone were a person is at all times, I don't like that at all. Especially for ladies. Why would anyone want to broadcast their precise goings and comings because at any given time who knows who might be looking at the postings? There are some really great things about Facebook and I saw a lot of wonderful postings recognizing Veterans Day. Many shared family photos of their loved ones wearing the uniform of our military. Others shared tributes and other great quotes about the sacrifice of our military men and women on behalf of the cause of liberty. That's an outpouring of honor and respect that would have been hard to do back when we lacked the technology that permits this type of sharing. It was refreshing to see these tributes instead of all the political hate mongering that usually dominates the landscape. But, that's just me. And, I suppose when it is all said and done those men and women served so that people can speak their minds. Even on Facebook. Even while having their breakfast donut.

A lot of things have to do with how you say them. This morning I am sitting here with the door open, (again), enjoying the cool and the Community, and oh yeah, my wife left me again. See what I mean? That last part should have been put into a new sentence because enjoying the cool and the coffee are wonderful but the wife being out of town isn't so great. She is over in Louisiana to check on her sister. That leads to what we all know can be problematic: I am home alone. Over the years I have made a big deal about how things go when I am home alone. And, while much of what I have shared has been done for comedic purposes, I must tell you that I really do have some insight into how Kevin in the movie felt when he was left home alone. As you recall he enjoyed his freedom for a while but that soon gave way to him becoming homesick for his family. In my case I just know that things go better when the wife is here. Period. Me doing both parts of the conversation gets old in a hurry. What? Do I really talk to myself like that when she is away? On the other hand, some things remain the same. I sit myself down in my recliner to enjoy a TV program and when I wake up I discover it's time for me to go to bed. Don't worry. I had seen that program before anyway. See what fun it is around my place? Enjoy your day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.   .....More later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag. And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag." Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Welcome one and all for today's edition here on this Wednesday, November 11, 2015. It is Veterans Day here in our nation where we pause to recognize and be thankful for all those who have served by wearing the uniform of our military. A published speech from the American Legion contained these words: "Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title "veteran." Far less than 1 percent of our population is currently defending us in the Global War on Terrorism. And yet many seem intent on trying to balance the federal budget by diminishing the quality of life programs designed for the families who have already disproportionately made these sacrifices. Veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them. We must appreciate them." At a high school, a decorated Army veteran uttered these words: "We stagger .... at the eternal debt we owe .... to the untold number of American Veterans .... who chose to set aside .... their personal ambitions and dreams .... to assure the well being of our great nation. We, the living .... are indeed .... the beneficiaries .... of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement and surety of our liberty." I add a prayer of my own thanking God for all who have served the cause of liberty in every branch of our armed forces and I also thank God for their families who have also sacrificed. Amen.

As our Thanksgiving Day nears I have been going through those mental checklists of the variety of things that need to be completed in preparation for our family gathering. We attempt to follow our own tradition in terms of the menu and style of celebrating this special family day. Guess what? Other families do their own thing in their own way and it doesn't reflect at all the way we do it. That reminds me of when I was a kid and I spent the night with a buddy. I did not know that every mom in the world wasn't exactly like my mom. I found that out when they put the food on their table. It was like I had showed up in a foreign land. Everything was so different. It wasn't like my mom's. Oh no. Everyone else dug right in and seemed to be enjoying it, therefore, I had to guess they had never had my mom's cooking. I politely took a few bites and made the excuse that I wasn't really that hungry. That wasn't the real me talking. My mom and my grandmother used to stand and watch me eat. I was called their 'good eater'. But, we live and learn. Your traditions belong to you and ours have special meaning to us. I learned not to compare every person's cooking ability to my mom's and I also learned you can get by on a few bites until you get back home.

What is that the young folks say? "Just sharing or just so you know." I am so blessed to have the wife and mother of my children who goes all out to make our time together a rerun of memories that stay with us all for a lifetime. Her cooking tradition was not like the one I grew up with, but, she, being the remarkable woman she is, blended these together to form our own family tradition. Has she been able to accomplish this? Ask our boys. Ask their children. There's something special about it all. The sights, the smells, the being together. I guess as that sand keeps trickling through that hourglass of time I am more aware of just how special the blessing that comes each time we gather. (That sand and hourglass metaphor comes from that old soap opera that Granny Mac would never miss.) Trying to keep it real folks. Trying. Yes I've heard that joke before how that I can be as trying as anyone. But, it's all special to me and as I look around at all the stuff going on, all the hurt, pain, and heartache, the busyness of life, these times where we pause to confirm our identity as a family and celebrate our thankfulness to God, well, as you can tell, I am looking forward to it. You caught that? Good. I am glad you were paying attention. Take care and have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

“I like people watching. My favorite places are cemeteries. Tell your great grandpa I said hi next time you see him.” ― Jarod Kintz, Author

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, November 10, 2015. In just a short two weeks we will be all suited up for a two day series as Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Jr. League market extravaganza. We did one short day of promotional shots with kids at the professional photographer a couple of weeks ago. We have 5 appearances scheduled with her this year. Those will be intense since they will be trying to get between 8 and 10 unique poses for a photo book offering. I noticed something the morning I did those promotional shots. I was very tired when we finished. I was actually sore. Since then I have been trying to walk more and do what I can to get ready for the season. This past Saturday I went to the big mall to walk. I walked the entire mall three times. It was before working hours but the mall people were trickling in to get their day started. We all are different. Some of us are more different than others. I suppose one thing I can never get used to is those who appear to still be half asleep stumbling their way to their appointed duty station. Different. Also those who choose to keep their happy face, their smile, and their welcome to themselves until the bell rings. Those jewelry store people are something else. They look at you like they think you might attack them while they are unlocking their door and when you speak they flip up their nose so much you're hoping it doesn't rain and drown them. I can assure you of this. If I walk into their store with my American Express card sticking out of my pocket they will swarm onto me like bees on honey. These are but a few throw down observations from my three laps. You can see quite a bit. If you are watching.

Yesterday morning I sat here at my home away from home workstation with the door wide open. It was around 50 degrees at 4:30 a.m. and I couldn't help but have a sense of thankfulness for the hot black Community and the refreshing cool air. What a combination! I know it's only a simple pleasure but I think those can be the best. When we can move from the wish I had this, that, or the other to enjoying what we do have, well, that's a good way to go. Maybe I should write that down. I know. I just did. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the superb quality surrounding us. I read about a middle aged fellow dressed in frumpy looking clothes on the subway playing a violin. He played for 45 minutes. He played classical music pieces. Most paid him little attention. A few threw in a buck or two along the journey and at the end of his concert he had collected $32 in his violin case. Turns out this little concert was a sort of test conducted by the Washington Post. The violinist was a recognized living legend. The violin he used was valued at $3.5 million dollars. The music he played was some of the most complex and intricate scores ever written. He had recently played in a local concert hall where tickets were over $100 each. It had been sold out for multiple performances. I don't know what that tells us but I thought about it as I was sharing my little tidbit about Community and cool fresh air. I think I played mine in the key of C. Male trio. Me, myself, and I. Acapella. Yep.

You think I might be moving towards becoming eccentric? Let me think about that one for a moment. The word itself means a person or their behavior that is unconventional or slightly strange. Synonyms include: unconventional, uncommon, abnormal, irregular, aberrant, anomalous, odd, queer, strange, peculiar, weird, bizarre, outlandish, freakish, and extraordinary. While there's a lot to choose from on that menu I'm not sure I measure up to that definition. I'll go with different for now and just keep on doing whatever it is that I do. One thing I am certain of and that is how I continue to be a work in progress. I believe the children's song best reflects this work. "He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be." Talk about a work in progress! But, I'm thankful He hasn't given up on me and as Dr. Stanley puts it, "He's working to make us an object of notable excellence so that we reflect honor and glory back to Him." That's not an exact quote but it does reflect some of what I heard him say maybe twenty or more years ago. He was commenting on that passage from Ephesians Chapter 2, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Verse 10) As you can see I have a long way to go but not that long to get there. I actually think I know what that means. That's scary. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 9, 2015

“I'll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I'll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” ― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Good morning and welcome. It's Monday, November 9, 2015, and I do hope we all are ready to give our best today. It is, after all, the only day we have at our fingertips that we can do anything about. My wife believes me to be a procrastinator. She actually thinks I am an expert at being one. She may be mistaken. I like to think of myself as being a master scheduler who takes seriously my planning of when things should be completed. What she thinks of as me postponing may be nothing more than the fact that it has not come up on the schedule yet. (I actually worked once as a computer scheduling specialist, just for the record.) I've read some quotes that really do little to explain my situation. One that appears to be the most popular goes like this: "I'm not a procrastinator I'm just extremely productive at unimportant things." I must say that I do not have a clue as to why this is copied and pasted so much because for the life of me I cannot even begin to figure out what it means. Others are a little more clear: "Stop procrastinating beginning tomorrow." "Procrastinating is the art of keeping up with yesterday." "I always write 'Wake Up' on my to do list so that I can at least accomplish one thing today." "I am a skilled multi-tasking procrastinator, I can put off all kinds of things at the same time." Okay. I know. The Bible teaches quite a bit about the dangers of putting things off, especially in the Proverbs. I did not find much about master scheduling. I'll keep looking and get back to you if I find something. Thanks.

We are doing a particular Santa and Mrs. Claus event that requires us to furnish a background check. We don't mind since we do work with children but this is the first time in six years that we have ever been asked. Fortunately, my membership in the IBRBS (International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas) provides access to a service that does these types of background checks. You will be glad to know on my name they found no hits on the hundreds of criminal databases they checked. As for the wife, I'm not even sure they established she had a background or not. That's how clean her's was. When they complete the process, for a fee of course, they send you about ten pages of information. The first page pretty much summarizes their findings and the rest is boilerplate listings of all the databases they have checked along with several pages of disclaimers. You know. They ran the background check but cannot be held responsible for anything they didn't find. That tends to be how things work in today's world. Pretty soon the disclaimers will very much drown out the claims if you get my drift. Think about it. A thirty second commercial for a new drug on TV consists of 5 seconds about the drug and 25 seconds of disclaimers. The good news: We are clean. That is, unless they missed something.

And, in case you don't know the truth I for one am not in line to be fitted for a halo. We all have plenty of things we've done and probably continue to do that plague us even though they will not appear on an official background check. That's the sin nature or as the Apostle Paul puts it: the old man nature. If we are a genuine child of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ, well, we do have another power in our life. It's called the abiding presence of God the Holy Spirit or as Paul says, the new man. We have the old and new and they don't get along. At all. In fact, they war against each other. The old man is already defeated because we are eternally and forever saved as a child of God but he doesn't care about that. He wants to do anything he can to get us to mess up, to make wrong choices, and to fail in our testimony. He is relentless but he is not invincible. (The old man - new man conflict is covered extensively by Paul in his letters to the Romans, Ephesians, and the Colossians.) Bottom line: That new man can always be victorious, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1st John 4:4) That should be good news to us all. I know it is to me and I need to be reminded of it every single day, all day long. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 6, 2015

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." ~ William Penn, (1644-1718), Religious Leader and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania

Good morning and welcome. It's Friday, November 6, 2015. I have to remind myself often that I am here to serve. It's real easy for me and likely for everyone else to see the world we live in as being here to serve our needs, our wants, and our priorities. That me first attitude gives many the fuel they need to succeed, however, it doesn't fulfill the calling that believers in Jesus Christ have on their lives. Our nature rebels against the image of us being a lowly servant. Yet, the King of glory came into our world and did so to serve, not to be served. (Matthew 20:28) I remember reading a book on management many years ago where the author emphasized the concept of servant-hood within a business enterprise. He used The Scriptures as a way of reminding people of what it means to be the kind of employee that God would have one to be. He also stressed how that business owners, managers, and other leaders were also servants. Needless to say that concept is not one that is widely promoted, embraced, or practiced today. There are exceptions. You can be one. I can be one. I suppose I thought about this as I am getting ready to teach a short series on the power of a thankful heart. A truly thankful heart is a responsive heart that shows appreciation through actions and deeds. That's what being a true servant is all about. Easy? Not for me. Worth it? First and foremost, God commands us to be servants and when we are it pleases Him and He uses our serving to accomplish His will and purpose wherever we happen to serve. Amen.

Today marks my 8th year here at this company. I am thankful for the opportunity to show up each day and throw my little bit into the mix. God has been good to allow me to participate here in these final laps of my public working marathon. I suppose the thing I appreciate is how that I still feel motivated to get up and go each day. To show up. To do what I can to advance the business. I enjoy many of the relationships built throughout these years. We do have our moments of tension and challenge along with some drama now and then but I would suspect you'll not find any place where these things don't show up. I am often asked when will I hang it up and retire-retire. I tell people all the time that I and the wife are already drawing retirement pay but I do know what they mean. I tried to discover the origin of the 'hang it up' metaphor but didn't have time to really locate the source. It does have the meaning of one hanging up their hat, hanging up their boots, hanging up their spurs along with many others. Oh yeah. Back to the question. When will I? I still feel able. I still feel motivated. I still can contribute some. And, I'm not even 70 yet, but, I do know it's more than just the wording on a 'coming attraction' sign. Until that time I will do my best to serve and to be thankful for the day job that God has blessed me with. Amen.

A worker here at our company hit a deer this week on his way to work. Or, like happened to me one time, the deer may have hit his vehicle. He drives one of those big pickups but it was no match for the deer. In my incident I insisted the insurance agent right it up that way. She hit me. I did not hit her. There are an estimated 4 million white tail deer in Texas. Nearly every driver has had a close encounter at one time or another and with that many deer there's always the potential for an issue. When I was growing up my granddad gave me hunting advice and he told me to always watch for the buck because he will typically send out the does ahead of him to make sure it's okay for him to come out on the right of way. I notice even as I drive down the country road I travel each day how the bucks walk around like they own the place. The does and the fawns tend to be real skittish. They will dart away when approached. I've seen more than one buck more or less take his own good time crossing in front of me like maybe he thinks he's the Fonz or something. I don't know if that tells us anything about the male species but it is an observable trait that I've seen more than once. My point? Be on the lookout, even in subdivision areas. Now I've provided another public service announcement so it's time for me to say goodnight Gracie, one more time. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll do my best to see you again, come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ephesians 6:2 "HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),...." As rendered by the New American Standard Bible

Good morning and welcome. It's Thursday, November 5, 2015 and I am back at it again, here at the ole blogger ranch. Those of you who follow my blogs are aware that I am still blessed to have my mom with us. She is 91 and I typically talk to her at least two times every day. For now more than 38 years she has had the most faithful and loving companion in our step dad who is 85 years young. They are an amazing couple and as anyone would expect they both are now dealing with particular physical impairments. Mom's greatest challenge currently has to do with her progressive loss of eyesight due to age induced macular degeneration. This has been a huge challenge since she is a voracious reader. Dad has had a number of internal plumbing issues that have brought on his battling of prolonged infections. These are serious challenges but they are people that refuse to quit. They are still able to schedule and travel to take care of their medical appointments. They typically go shopping at least once a week and often that keeps them out all day long. Amazing! Mom can no longer attend services but dad still does and he continues to serve as the coordinator for baptisms for their local fellowship. Finally, one thing that stands out: They can still laugh and find humor in their day by day living. To all our family they are a shining example of faithfulness and commitment that shows itself in their fortitude and 'can do' spirit. They are simply amazing and a great blessing and we thank God every single day for providing us with such wonderful parents. Amen.

Mom can still keep up with family stuff because she can, on some days, read well enough to check out Facebook postings. That's right! She also reads my blogs. How do you like that? We've got the print and images enlarged on her screen so that she can use it each day. I do log into her system a couple of times a day to keep it all going for her. I've done my best to limit all the automatic updating so that it doesn't mess up her access but you can only do so much and when the operating system takes over it usually messes with her set up but fortunately we've been able to keep her going. I tell her all the time that I do not know of anyone that is able to keep up like she does who is 91 years old. There are probably folks that are out there somewhere. I don't know of any. She is always concerned about me having to help keep everything going on her system. Like I tell her, that's so small it's not even worth talking about. Dad is not one of those older people who participates in marathons and stuff like that. He doesn't need to because he is his own marathon man as he still takes care of 99% of all the maintenance on their house, their property, and typically has multiple improvement projects going at the same time. The other day he had a faucet issue. It was late in the evening but he, at 85, suited up in his coveralls and climbed under the house to check the pipes. I tell people all the time I would not want to try and keep up with dad each day. I'm just elaborating some on the blessing they are and why we call them amazing. Amen.

We've been around long enough to experience some of these aging signs. The wife doesn't always hear everything I say. That can be both good and bad. I'll let you decide when it might be better than at other times. We can still laugh. Some. More at times than at others but I do believe that's important because life is a serious proposition but the stuff we do each day can lead to some pretty funny material. And, as many of you know, I have a closet full of funnies on myself that I only release when the time is right. Maybe on a leap year. Just kidding. The main thing. Trust God. Continue to trust God. And, don't take yourself so serious. That's not an easy thing for me since I am well aware that my template or make up includes a serious profile. I do recognize that and it most likely reflects the sum total of everything that makes up who I am. For each of us, that is a lot of stuff. However, knowing that, I do try to see the humorous in my own day by day living. I would tell you a real good one but it's not leap year but there is one coming next year in 2016. That should give me time to find something that my team of me, myself, and I would be willing to share. The bottom line: God has been good to allow us this time together and to share our experiences. Amen. .....More later.