Friday, January 29, 2016

Texas Monthly Magazine guidelines for picking the 40 best small-town cafes: "Our guidelines were strict. By “small town,” we meant a burg with no more than 25,000 souls. Unpretentiousness in an eatery was paramount, and on our score sheets points were awarded for a cluster of elements that, taken together, we took to calling the Real Deal Factor: family ownership, big-haired waitresses, plastic flowers, police officers or truckers at the counter, chicken livers or gizzards on the menu, a pie case."

Hello and welcome as we embrace today, Friday, January 29, 2016. The wife left this past Wednesday to go and help with her brother, our dear Bro. Milton, as he nears the end of his sojourn here on the planet. Wednesday morning I broke the 100 number on my fasted blood sugar. (98) I filed that away for future reference. The wife is gone. Turns out I was out on the road most of the day. I mentioned last week that fried chicken gizzards was the 10th most searched word string that landed people on my blog. I just happened to be in the neighborhood of this fried chicken joint where I typically obtain a dozen of the golden delights. I like going there. The people know me. I may only see them every two to three months but I'm the only one that has ever ordered chicken gizzards that I know of. At least while I was there. They have a buffet but they never take those that have been under the lamp for me. They fry me up a brand new batch. I dutifully wait. They scoop them up, put into a little cardboard tray and then into a brown paper bag along with a fresh, hot yeast roll. That bag soaks up quite a bit of the excess grease, therefore, I give them extra credit for helping me stay healthy. You see how that all unfolded. The wife is gone. I got a reasonable number. I happen to be in the area. The next thing I knew I was driving down the road popping those steaming hot gizzards and letting them jump around in my mouth until they got cool enough to bite down on. Were they good? Wrong company but the right slogan: They were truly finger lick'n good! (In fact, that's about the only way to keep the steering wheel clean, finger lick'n, but I guess you got it the first time.)

I hope you realize by now that I am prone to some slight exaggeration from time to time. Or maybe hyperbole would be the better word for it. Wait. How about embellishment? One author, Phillip Pullman, expressed his viewpoint, "After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world." Those of us who know the Lord God of heaven through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, would most likely make that relationship number one in our lives. However, I would not discount the value of storytelling. Past and present they reflect much that makes up the fabric of my life. Many times they are not made up stories. They reflect real life events. I've found those typically are the best ones. While visiting on our cellphones I told one from my past to our youngest son the other day. It was from over fifty years ago. He thought it was hilarious. And, we do know that Jesus Himself used stories, (parables), to illustrate points. Some have said they were earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. His stories were intended to stimulate the heart and thoughts of those who heard them. Typically, His listeners got His point even though they often refused to accept His message. As for me, well, I battle the blank page everyday. It's my own little struggle. I am well aware that I do not always pay attention to all the rules in putting my prose on the page. Here's another author's quote that I like, Norton Justor: "A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect. Be gone, odious wasp! You smell of decayed syllables." No one will ever accuse me of being slavish about composition.

I do thank those of you who keep up with my ramblings each day. I also appreciate the feedback when something has been of special interest or perhaps even a blessing to someone. It's obvious I do this because I want to but I can assure you that when folks tell me they have been encouraged or they have enjoyed a smile, well, that keeps the motivation in motion. The other day I received a message from someone who had somehow deleted the email I send out each day. They asked if I would please forward another copy of that day's blog. Thanks for asking. It has been a busy week for me. I read something in one of the British newspapers the other day that got my attention. The article was about the dire circumstances surrounding health services and retirement benefits for the aging British population. Here's the teaser that caught my eye: Plan on working until you are 80. Hello? It made me wonder so I Googled '80 is the new' and low and behold I found several articles from here in our own country where someone was saying that 80 is the new 60 in terms of when to retire. My achy bones didn't really want to hear that and my response was to think of that song made popular on the old Hee Haw TV show, "Gloom, despair, and agony on me ... Deep, dark depression, excessive misery ... If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all ... Gloom, despair, and agony on me" Meanwhile, we do our best to soldier on. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll do my best to return to this particular scene of the crime come next Monday morning. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"By the time a man realizes his father was probably right, he usually has a son who thinks he isn't." ~ Charles Wadsworth

Here we go again. I am glad to have you along as we try to make sense out of this day, Thursday, January 28, 2016. I'm also very happy to report that mom and dad are doing pretty well. One of my nieces had dinner with them last week at a restaurant and she said "they always amaze her with their independence and spunk." I think she nailed it. They have their health challenges and all the stuff that comes with breathing the rarefied air of being advanced in their age, however, I continue to tell everyone that I would not want to try and keep up with dad. Mom tells me that when it is rainy or very cold and he is confined to the house he is pretty much like a caged animal. The other day I visited with him on the phone and he was excited to tell me that he had spent the entire day outside on his mower. His mantra is to keep going and keep active as long as he can. Mom, on the other hand, is more limited due to her physical limitations and now her very significant loss in being able to see. She still keeps up with how many steps she walks and even rode the exercise bike the other day. Lord willing she will be 92 in May and dad will be 86 in August. They are role models in the extreme and all of us who are a part of our huge blended family are so very thankful to God for them. I always make sure to thank God each and every day for giving us our wonderful parents. Amen.

Speaking of us older folks, I saw something for the first time the other day. It was one of the infamous blue haired older ladies driving down the road talking up a storm on her Bluetooth. At least she had both hands on her steering wheel. Why not? I'm convinced this is a better option any day of the week than people trying to type on their smartphone while trying to keep up with the insanity of driving in and around the areas I frequent. Continuing with the age theme, the Denver Broncos are not being given much of a chance in the upcoming Superbowl against the high scoring offense of the Carolina Panthers. Peyton Manning, the Denver quarterback, at 39 will be the oldest quarterback to start a Superbowl game. His adversary calling plays for the Panthers is Cam Newton an up and coming star who will do his thing as a 26 year old. Most of the people in my circle will be pulling for Peyton because of his age, his unbelievable career, and this being what many think will be his last game in the NFL. I watched a lot of the game this past Sunday between Denver and New England but I dared not even think about missing Sunday evening Church. Therefore, since I was at Church early I had our middle son on the phone keeping me posted. I believe that game was one of the best I've seen in recent years. Two future hall of fame quarterbacks going head to head but the defense on both sides were the stars on that particular day. There were so many hard hits in that game I had a headache just from watching. But, that would be me.

I don't know if I shared this little story or not. I may have. I'm not going to take the time to search my blogs to see. If you have seen it, well, you can skip it. Or, maybe you are like some of the rest of us, in that something looks familiar but you can't be sure so you read it anyway. ~ A couple were in a busy shopping center just before Christmas. The husband wandered off as she was standing in line, saying something about being back in a little bit. After getting through the line, the husband wasn't back yet and since they still had more shopping to do, the wife called him on his cellphone. The wife said, "Where are you?" He said, "You remember the jewelers we went into about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace? I couldn't afford it at the time and I said that one day I would get it for you." Tears started to flow down her cheeks and she got all choked up. "Yes, I do remember that shop," she replied. "Well how to you like that? I just happen to be in the shop right next to that place." ~ No. That was not intended to be a retaliation to all the Hallmark shows that captivate the ladies. But I will tell you how serious it could be. I'm not sure but I have often wondered if one could catch a case of Hallmark-itis just from passing by while it was spewing out all that Ooey Gooey scripted nonsense. I've been told many times by those watching how they know how bad it is but they still enjoy it. If you want to complain, remember I'll be in the little shop next to the jewelry store. You know the one I'm talking about. Go ahead and laugh. It is permitted. Take care and may God bless us, one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Joshua 1:9 ESV "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

"I woke up this morning feeling fine ... I woke up with Heaven on my mind ... I woke up with joy in my soul ... 'Cause I knew my Lord had control" Those old Southern Gospel songs are not a bad way to get our day started. What say you? Welcome once again and it is good to visit with you today on this Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Many of these types of songs are referred to as testimony songs. Often they reflect Bible truths set to memorable tunes. It's okay with me that many prefer different styles of music where God and His truths are represented. I enjoy a wide range of musical presentations. Scriptures set to music are a great way to hear God's Word. I remember a family group we heard once who set Scripture passages to music. They were wonderfully talented people who played multiple instruments including guitars and horns. Their lyrics were 100% quoted from the Bible. Nothing but the Word of God set to different forms of music. It is hard to improve on that. We do know that most of the Psalms were set to music and are songs that made up the hymnbook of ancient Israel. I know some who scoff at the musical preferences of others. I love to hear mountain folk music that present the testimony of God's working in the lives of His people. While this music may be the most authentic in terms of the history of our nation, there are many who think it to be quaint, whiny, and essentially not worth their time. They like contemporary sounds and believe that to be the best form of spiritual praise. Others think only the great hymns of the Church are appropriate. I would just say this: The Message Matters! Regardless of musical preference, the tune, the style, if the truth is not clearly represented in the lyrics, well, that's not God honoring music regardless of who presents it. That might be something we all should agree on. Amen.

I know I haven't mentioned anything about politics in a while. There's not much to say about it. In trying to analyze what is exactly going on I for the life of me can only come up with bewilderment. I look at those who would replace our current leader and I try to determine where all of this is leading us to. I hear some supposed strong Christian leaders giving their rationale for supporting particular candidates and it is startling how they conclude this would be good for our nation. I do see this current situation to be one of progression. I try not to be an alarmist but there will be a day when we who are alive and remain will actually experience the last of the Last Days. That is Bible truth. I heard an advertisement on a Christian radio station that talked about an upcoming money management conference for believers. The voice over said they had invited a well respected expositor to speak about the countdown to the apocalypse. He said if you pay attention you can hear the footsteps in the background. I'm not saying he is right but I thought about it in terms of our nation and his description in many ways reflects how I feel about where we are at the moment. Something is going on here and it's always good to look up for our redemption draws near. Amen.

I know that seems a little heavy but for those of us who are anticipating the return of our Savior it is our real life hope. Here's a little anonymous story that might give you a chuckle. Might. No guarantee. ~ A young fellow had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we'll talk about it." After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!" The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair...." To which his father replied, "Yes, and they WALKED everywhere they went!" ~ It does pay to know the Scriptures. Right? Enjoy your day and may God bless us all and may He again have mercy on our great nation. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

“I've heard it said before that those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it, and I just don't know what I think about that. I figure I don't have too much use for it. The past will just weigh on you if you spend too much time remembering it.” ― Wiley Cash, Author, from his book: A Land More Kind Than Home

Rural town representative to the
Louisiana Boy's State (1963)
Boy's Nation President Bill Clinton
meets US President John F. Kennedy
Here we go again. As the emcee, Ted Mack, used to call it like this on the Original Amateur Hour, "Round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows." After a long run on radio, the show started on TV in 1948. I had not remembered the wheel was a she but I will let you ponder that one. Now it is time to address the day we have before us, Tuesday, January 26, 2015. The other day the wife found this photo of yours truly. It was taken at the Parish fair in 1963. I had forgotten about the photo and the reason it was taken. I was wearing my Pelican Boy's State t-shirt. I had been selected that summer to represent our little community at this annual event in Baton Rouge, the state capitol. Selected. That word may be a great overreach because as I recall they didn't really have too many to consider and I think my Uncle Dan who was active in the American Legion pushed for them to send me. I was elected to some Parish wide position at the Louisiana Boy's State event and in that same year, 1963, most are aware that Bill Clinton represented Arkansas at Boy's Nation where he had been elected president and was able to have what is now considered to be a famous photo taken with President Kennedy. It would seem that photo of him and the President became somewhat prophetic. The photo of me? Well, there's quite a story that goes with it too. Especially how my wife who was at the time it was taken my estranged girlfriend ended up with it. And, if I had ever heard the entire story I can't recall. The wife filled me in on the details but I'll save that one for another day, that is, if I ever decide to share it at all. Some things are better left to history. Just let the sleeping dogs sleep on or something like that.

Gaither Concert 2nd Baptist Houston, Photo posted
by Mark Lowry
What's that? I feel the same way. A lot of water has flowed under a whole lot of bridges since then. I had an extra long day last Friday. I was pretty much past going as they say back home. I got home late, changed clothes, and myself, the wife, and a friend headed across town to hear the Gaither Vocal Band concert at Houston's Second Baptist Church. That trip is a little over 35 miles from our house. We started out at 5 p.m. and it took us 35 minutes to get from our house to I-45. All stacked up. It was another hour and 15 minutes to reach our destination. Sure. We got there just before the concert started. It was nearly two hours to go 35 miles? This is one of the major reasons we quit trying to do events staged in the Houston metroplex. Yes. I know there were accidents that complicated our travel and that's typical on an over saturated road system. (On Friday evening!) Oh yeah. I almost forgot. The three hour concert itself was wonderful. Second Baptist was a great venue and their full choir and orchestra showed up to make some of the worship music both heart blessing and mind boggling. It was a lot of ministry in music being shed abroad in that place. Would I go again? To see them? You betcha. Would I drive 1 hour and 50 minutes in sheer panic mode to do so? That my friend is one that I will have to think long and hard about.

That commute caused me to be frustrated but I did my best to keep my cool. Many of my fellow drivers were also frustrated but it was clear they were not too interested in keeping any of their cool at all. It's not enough that we all were moving up one car length at a time but you have to stay up on the wheel because of all of those who are dive bombing their vehicles from one lane to the other. I know what you are thinking. If that's the worst thing I have to deal with then I should consider myself to be fortunate. Thanks for that vote of confidence. You have your pet peeves and I have mine. Yesterday I saw many of the snow/blizzard photos from folks who now live up East but they used to live here. They posted their photos on Facebook. We had the air conditioning running here. It was 75 degrees outside. Sunday morning I had a pretty thick layer of ice on my truck windshield. Then a warm up and everyone is talking about how warm and humid it is. Meanwhile, more photos are showing up of the 20 plus inches of snow. Some crazy stuff going on if you ask me. I know you didn't but that's my take on it anyway. I do hope you have a wonderful rest of the day and may our Great God help us all as we keep on keeping on in this life that He has given to us. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, January 25, 2016

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go." ~ Martha Washington, (1731-1802), the first First Lady of the United States

I am glad to be able to say good morning and welcome for the 2,227th time from here at the old blogger ranch. It's Monday, January 25, 2016, and I'm not ashamed to say that I continue to be a work in progress. My recent diabetic check-up did not go as well as I would have wanted it to. My numbers have been going in the wrong direction for some time now. While they have been slowly changing, the direction is not the one I need to be moving towards. This last blood sugar test that measures an average for the past three months came out the highest I have ever recorded since I was diagnosed. It was 7.0 which is not that alarming for someone my age with diabetes but I've had it as low as 6.2 during this eight year run. I was diagnosed at 6.6. At any rate I have work to do if I am to try and make progress again in this area. I tell you. It's always something. And, I bet it is that way with you and just about anyone else who breathes air on the planet. I would not want anyone to think I am complaining. Because the person who I would be complaining about is none other than me, myself, and I. Excuses? 1. Christmas with all the additional delicacies. 2. Santa appearances with all the hustle and bustle. 3. A three week period of dealing with a serious congestion issue. 4. Stress. (That's always a trump card when all else fails.) My doctor that I think the world of added a written comment on my reading. He can be very astute in his assessments: "Your diabetes is worse. Keep on your medications and pay attention to your diet." I didn't go to medical school but I think I might have come up with that one on my own.

Being fully plugged into the drug culture I dutifully asked if it was time to try out some of those meds that run non-stop on television ads. They promise great results in lowering that important number. He said we would see about next steps after a three month run when he will run the tests again. I am one of those who always got ready for the test either on the night before or the morning of. That is, if I got ready at all. I'm thankful that for most of my life I have had reasonably good recall and never really had to study that much. This next blood test coming up, I'm afraid, is a horse of a different color. I used that saying intentionally. And, yes, I did know that you knew that. While scholars can't be certain they do know that William Shakespeare in 1601 used "a horse of the same colour" in his play 'Twelfth Night' to indicate an agreement of ideas. It is thought that over time this saying became altered and eventually became the modern connotation where it depicts a matter or situation totally different than the one expected. At any rate I will not be able to wait until the night before to assure a good report on my upcoming blood test. I've always thought about this blood test that is able to somehow identify and isolate molecules and use them to project what you have been up to for the past three months to be a little like the Bible verse that says, "Be sure your sins will find you out." (Book of Numbers, Chapter 32, Verse 23)

I am also very much aware how many folks there are who have the same diabetic condition that I have and they would literally be ecstatic if they could get their number down to even being close to a 7.0. That's why this disease calls for individual treatment. I have been super pleased with the medical professionals who have worked with me throughout this process. I will admit to being frustrated from time to time but it is not a one battle oriented situation, it is a non-ending war. I suppose that means I need to get myself geared up, get my war paint on, and get with the program. That is so much easier to write than it is to do. That, I suppose, is why I included excuse number 4, Stress. I think that was one of Elvis' big hits, "I'm All Stressed Out!" Sorry about so much introspection today. It is my blog, therefore, I suppose, regardless of what I write about, I'm still either the observer or the one being observed. Here's a quote from the famous writer Henry David Thoreau where he talks about his writing approach for 'Walden', perhaps his most famous book: “In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.” I don't know if that explains anything or not but it sounded interesting to me. Take care and may God bless us all as we continue our journey here on the planet. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Comment about Texting: "I can’t even fathom how we have all gotten so used to being in communication with every single person at every hour of the day. We don’t even give people chances to miss us because we are constantly in the middle of a conversation with them." ~ Alexia LaFata, Editor, Elite Daily, an online magazine

Hello once again and welcome. We have crept up on this day and found it to be Friday, January 22, 2016. The other morning I was sitting at my desk and the phone rang. I was the only one here so I answered it. It was a young woman who was very upset. Her boyfriend had borrowed someone's phone and called her to tell her he had been in a pretty bad accident. Her boyfriend is a new contract employee who just started working here and he wanted us to know what had happened. She said she could tell he was very shaken and since he had borrowed a phone she had no way of getting back in touch with him. Later that morning we learned exactly what happened. He called and said he had stopped for a red light. Suddenly a lady driving 50 plus miles per hour piled into the rear end of his car. She was answering a text message and didn't notice the traffic signal. He said he was fortunate to not be seriously injured and that he would be in the next day. He said her insurance would pay for everything and that he would soon have a rental car. My point? Texting while driving is not a problem in a galaxy far far away. It's right here in our own backyard. I'm not campaigning, just sharing an experience that we all can learn from.

We had our Christmas party last Friday evening for our Sunday School Class. We are designated as the Truth Seekers Class. I feel privileged and blessed to teach this class made up of pretty much the older folks in our local congregation. We do our party in January each year and it was wonderful. At the party the wife had put together a poster with photos of our class members when they were babies or very young. The idea was to take the list and guess which baby photo belonged to which class member. There were several that were undeniable. The facial expression was consistent with that person's identity today. One little fellow, maybe 7 or 8 was pictured wearing some overalls. I knew who it was immediately. Most of the folks guessed the boy in the overalls to be me. My photo was of me when I was maybe one year old. The fellow wearing the overalls in the photo and I were talking and the subject turned to our humble upbringing. We didn't get to level of the quote from the great boxer George Foreman, "We were so poor growing up in Houston we couldn't afford the last two letters, so we just called ourselves po'." We didn't get there but we got close. The conversation reminded me of this photo from my 4th grade class in a rural community in Louisiana. The year before our world had been turned upside down when our dad passed away suddenly. We moved from Port Arthur, Texas to the country town. The transition was difficult. On my mom. On us six kids. In the 4th grade I had one of the toughest teachers in the school. She had taught my mom. He talked about wearing those overalls and how they had very little of this world's goods but they always had food and shelter. Just look at those jeans with their huge patches on the knees. Now look at my smile. Beaming. Patched knees and all. Kids are resilient. I'm thankful they are because I'm still trying to figure out where that smile came from.

I don't know the extent to which I was shaped by my dad leaving for his reward on January 2, 1954. I've pretty much worn myself out trying to know as much as I can about that particular time. I can't depend on my own recollections because they are locked away and if I have a key I have no idea where it is. I've learned that traumatic experiences do have the potential to block out memories. I was seven years old. I can remember a lot of stuff from my childhood. Not so much about my dad and his abrupt departure. I've listened to any and all radio programs that were playing on or around that date. I've read any and all publications, newspapers, ads, or any other materials in and around that date. Sadly, I come to the conclusion that in this life I will likely never be able to revisit those days with any clarity at all. By the way, Gunsmoke played on the radio the day my dad died. The episode was entitled, "The Stage Hold Up". Marshall Dillon was played by William Conrad who would later play the role of the chubby detective in the TV series Cannon. I used to try hard to figure myself out but I only work on it now when the mood hits me. I suppose talking about those jeans with the patches and looking at that smile got me going again. It's not easy folks. Being me. One thing I do know. God loves me anyway. Enough to die on a cross for me. That's something I don't have to worry about. I just have to be thankful. And, I am. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see what comes tumbling out come next Monday. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.” ― James Mackintosh, Scottish Judge, Politician and Historian (1765-1832)

Okay it's Thursday, January 21, 2016, and I hope you've had your first cup of coffee for the day. I like my coffee hot. I like my coffee black. I like my coffee the way I like it. Some think I like it strong but that is always in the taste of the drinker because I'm sure there are others who drink theirs a whole lot stronger than I do. I recently changed coffee. Don't fall apart on me, it's still Community but I moved from the Cafe Special, In-Between Medium and Dark to one called 100% Columbia Altura and it too is called Medium - Dark Roast. Why did I change? They put some of it on sale and I thought I would try it. It has just a smidgen of a hint of a little more bite each time you sip it, therefore, I made the change. I try to keep around 100 of the little individual k-cups on hand just in case. (You know, as in cases of k-cups.)  I like the fact that when I make that first cup at home before I leave for work I can feel that first sip in my shoulders. They twitch a little. Not to worry. It's a good twitch. I'm often reminded of a black fellow I used to work with at the big company many years ago. When someone would ask him if he wanted them to bring him a cup of coffee he would say yes. They would then ask how he wanted it to which he always replied, "Just like my lady friends, hot, black, and sweet." Since I've had the same sweet lady friend into our 52nd year I'll just order my coffee hot and black. Thank you very much.

Some of you may not have noticed that last Monday was designated as Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year. You didn't even know about it? Lucky you. This is a fairly new thing started in 2005 by a travel company who claimed to back it up with a mathematical formula. Scientists who have evaluated the formula pretty much have deemed it to be nonsense. However, it has caught on in some circles and I noticed that Twitter was abuzz with folks interjecting their comments about it. It doesn't take much to get Twitter all stirred up. There is also a Happiest Day of the year and it typically falls in June of each year. I suppose if Blue Monday caused one to feel sad they can always wait for June to get glad. You know. My grandfather used to tell me when I was pouting that I had the same clothes to get glad in. The true answer to experiencing a sense of well being in this life has to do with knowing the Lord God of heaven through Jesus Christ. Jesus helped frame this as He asked these questions: "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) Sad, happy, or any and everything in between makes these questions excellent ones for us all to think about. Amen.

I have bad news for those who appear to be addicted to posting selfies. A recent study indicated how the more selfies a person posted of themselves it is the less popular they become. Yikes. That more or less defeats the purpose. I know. I've posted more than a few of myself. But, that's different. I felt the sting of someone's response out there. I think I may have even detected a smirk. That 'different' explanation typically is just a cover up? Let me explain. Different because I'm not attempting to be popular and based on the number of Santa selfies I've shared, he, not me, is typically the one garnering any attention. I see mostly young ladies who tend to post these individual photos more than others. And, at least from what I see there's not that many young men posting so many of themselves. (I'm sure some do.) If those posting happen to be in my family I love seeing them but I'm pretty sure I am not their target audience. Maybe deep down inside we all are in search of our few moments in the limelight. Maybe that study will provide some motivation in reigning in what appears for some to be an out of control habit. As most of you know my 91 year old mom is dealing with a serious loss of her ability to see and especially to see well enough to read. She loves Facebook because she can keep up with family but she has to now use a handheld lighted magnifying glass to read the text. I told her when she gets to where she can't read we will just turn off the computer and she will be back to where she was before she started reading Facebook. She said, "Oh no!" "I enjoy it so much." I'm glad she does. We recently watched a documentary about the 60th Diamond Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth. Her son, Prince Charles, introduced her at one of celebrations. In acknowledging her he dutifully said her royal highness. He then took a long pause and added, "also Mummy". (That's the Brit's way of saying Mommy.) When he uttered that as a way of recognizing his mom it brought the house down. I could identify with that sentiment as it relates to my own mother. I may have taken a selfie or two with her and just so you know I don't apologize for doing so. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Maybe that interruption is your next divine appointment." (copied)

It's Wednesday, January 20, 2016. Hello again. My little blog spinning out in that no man's land of the world wide web has now garnered more than 160,000 page views. That's not that many compared to others but it is quite a few when you consider that I do no ads or links on my page. Over half of those views came from within the United States. The UK has been second for a long time but Russia recently surpassed them. Don't ask me. I have no idea. I did get a notice from the Blog hosting people saying there are new rules in the UK for information sources like mine. It said I needed to review it and agree to the new regulations. I didn't do anything. I had not invited anyone from the UK, therefore, if they don't see my blog I suppose that's okay with me. Third on the list is Canada, then India, followed by Germany, Australia, France, Philippines, and Ukraine. The vehicle for landing on my blog is primarily Google in its many worldwide platforms. This likely means they were looking for something and in the process they landed on my blog. I'm not insulted by that because I land on a lot of things myself as I am trying to locate this, that, or the other. The top search argument where they made contact with my stuff was 'Apostle Paul', followed by 'family love', 'Christmas music', 'yabba dabba doo', 'remote control', 'jeff gordon', 'happy birthday god bless you', 'old people jokes', 'mom and dad', and the last one, 'chicken gizzard'. In so doing someone who set out looking for one thing may have picked up a snippet or two regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You know, John 3:16, and other life changing truths. That would be a God thing, therefore, He would rightly receive all honor and glory for it. Amen.

I've used the Go Fund Me utility to contribute to a number of worthwhile fund raising ventures. Most of them have been for illness related causes, family distress, or funeral expenses. I read the other day about a young lady who set up an account to try and recover the money she spent buying tickets for the Powerball Lottery. It seems she even borrowed as much as she could to invest because she had a belief that she would win. She didn't win. Would I contribute to her fund raiser? I think I will pass on that one. I did see a college math professor talking about the odds and how they are calculated for the Powerball mania that was taking the country by storm. One thing he said really stuck with me. He said he did not buy a ticket and he didn't intend to buy a ticket. However, he said that he, having not purchased a ticket, was mathematically only very slightly less likely to win than those who did buy a ticket. Think about that for a minute. He also explained how that buying more tickets did not increase a person's chance of winning. I'm not sure I understood it all but I did catch the part about not buying a ticket. That was my choice as well. And, as you might have guessed, I didn't win.

I do look for some funny things to share but they are hard to come by these days. This is an old one but it still makes me smile. "I never wanted to believe my dad was stealing from his job as a road construction worker. But when I got home all the signs were there." I read a pretty good one about Facebook the other day. The fellow said he was going to start himself a new page with his name as Nobody. That way when people post stupid things it will say, "Nobody likes this." This note was left for mom and dad: "I found out that you cannot believe everything you read on Facebook. You cannot charge your cellphone when you are in a hurry by putting it in the microwave. By the way, I'm going to need some money to pay for the repairs to my cellphone." One last posting from a fellow sharing his experience with his Friends: "I know many of you guys are aware of how easy it is to get yourself into trouble when you try to drive home after a night out on the town. I've been stopped before myself. Last night I did something different. I took a cab and they even waved the cab through a roadblock. How lucky was that? I do have one problem. I have no idea where I got this cab so I don't know who to return it to." That should be more than enough for one day. Do have a great day and know that God is still on His throne and He's got the whole world in His hands. (Sounds like that would make a good song.) Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too." ~ John 14:3, NET Bible

Good morning and welcome. It's Tuesday, January 19, 2016, and I'm in somewhat of a contemplative mood to start off today's session. Our dear Bro. Milton is continuing to get weaker and weaker. This is consistent with the disease that has invaded his body. The other day someone asked me about him and I told them that he was just waiting on his ride. They asked if he was being moved to another location. I told them he sure is being relocated because the ride he's waiting on is the one that will usher him into presence of the Living Lord of the universe. We don't know just how that transportation works but we do remember the way our Lord described it when he talked about the death of the poor man from Luke Chapter 16: "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom;..." (verse 22) I thought about Bro. Milton's love for Southern Gospel music and the rousing chorus to this song came to my mind: "Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Moving up to gloryland Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Holding to His nail-scarred hands Don't know when I'm leaving but I'm ready to go When I get to heaven I'll be welcome I know Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Moving up to gloryland" And so many others come to mind as well. This is one I also thought about that expresses the inexpressible glory that awaits him: "What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand, And leads me through the Promised Land, What a day, glorious day that will be." Amen and Amen!

I've heard a few express some perplexed thoughts about how such a wonderful servant of the Lord would have to deal with the kind of challenge Bro. Milton is continuing to face. I suppose the 'why' questions are always only answered for certain through the eyes of faith. I will tell you this. Reading Facebook postings from men of God, literally from all over the world, pretty much makes it clear that those who serve the Lord and their families still live in a fallen world and are often subjected to many trials even as they go about the work God has called them to do. Bro. Milton's testimony of God's faithfulness to him and his assurance of God's certain and sure promises help also to answer this question. There are native pastors languishing in prisons because of their unwillingness to cease their preaching of the Gospel. There are missionaries who have lost children due to illnesses contracted on the field. I could say some words to try and comfort but the only true source of understanding and peace comes from God. I'm not ducking the question, just telling other fellow beggars where I've found food. Most of you know that I use a lot of songs. Here's my final one for today, and may God add His blessings to us all. Amen. .....More later.

Bow the Knee - Chris Machen

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

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

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

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

Here's a link if you would like to hear it sung:

Monday, January 18, 2016

“I've always been famous, it's just no one knew it yet.” ― Lady Gaga

Good morning world and most especially all of those who tune in each day. I appreciate the time we have to spend together. It's Monday, January 18, 2016, and the first half of the first month has blown by. I try to keep up. I read a lot. I attempt to be informed. I knew that David Bowie existed. I knew he was a British pop or rock singer. I knew he had been in movies. However, I had no idea that he was some kind of icon to so many in the world. I remember him singing on a Christmas show with Bing Crosby back in 1977. I guess that's why I am culturally disconnected. I'm not upset about it. Just surprised. I actually couldn't remember even one of his songs except for The Little Drummer Boy from the Christmas special. I saw some footage of a huge crowd in London where a makeshift tribute had been put together. Some of the people were openly weeping. Who knew? Not me. Here's a quote attributed to Bowie: "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise you it won't be boring." While that may sound interesting to some, what we can be sure of is what God tells us about life after we leave this world. God's truth will be in effect for David Bowie and it will be in effect for me, you, and for the entirety of His created human family. "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." (Hebrews Chapter 9: 27-28) Amen.

Do you have things that really annoy you? Some call them aggravations and others refer to them as pet peeves. Pet peeve is also called pet hate and according to Wikipedia it is defined as typically meaning a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to himself, to a greater degree than others may find. The designation finds its root in the 14th century where the word "peevish" reflected the meaning of ornery or ill-tempered. It took many years for the singling out of a particular annoyance with the first use of the added 'pet' found in a publication from 1919. Coming up with a single pet peeve is pretty hard. Most of us can likely think of many without too much straining. But, what about the one that really gets to you? Many report that poor manners especially while eating to be sources of annoyance. Bad driving habits. Need I say more? People who use the wrong words when talking. Those who litter. Uncontrolled, impolite, and misbehaving children. Cell phone related stuff in more categories than could be named. Those who constantly find fault and complain. People with bad breath. Those who share way too much information on social media. There are numerous other areas that likely make our list but it might be good to remember that you and I may do some things in a way that annoys others. I still haven't shared my number one pet peeve. As soon as I prioritize my list of thousands I will get back to you.

I was going to talk some about personal preferences but all of that information about peeves has given me a headache. Maybe not a headache like in a real headache but a headache in a metaphorical sense. In other words, the subject has worn me down. They say that things that most annoy are seen in those who are very close to each other. Like husbands and wives. That reminded me of this little story. I know I shared it sometime in the past but in case you missed it, here it is: ~  A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone. He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe stress disorder. If you don't follow my instructions carefully your husband will surely die." "Each morning fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant at all times. For lunch make him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him." "Don't burden him with chores. Don't discuss your problems with him; it will only make his stress worse. Do not nag him. Most importantly make all of his needs your first priority." "If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."On the way home the husband asked his wife, "What did the doctor say?" "He said you're going to die," she replied. ~ It's just a little funny story. Don't get all worked up over it. Try to enjoy the rest of your day and maybe we all might do well to be a little less sensitive to the annoyances that we encounter. I think that's what Jesus would do. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem." Benjamin Hoff, 'The Tao of Pooh'

Good Friday morning. I hope you and yours are well as we tackle this day, January 15, 2016. I typically listen to the BBC news for a portion of my commute in the mornings. From time to time they have some pretty outlandish reports on that feed. Or, that's how I interpret them. I heard one this week about a researcher in England who is working on coming up with a way to translate dog barking into a language. He hopes to see it developed into a utility, maybe similar to a smart phone application, where eventually people will be able to communicate with dogs. That way people will be able to understand what dogs are thinking about and the dogs might be able to help point out some solutions to the mess we humans have made of this world. I kid you not, this fellow was dead serious. He said once we begin actual dialogue with dogs we can move on to other animal species although he did admit that it might not be that interesting to communicate with a grasshopper. I was trying to keep my truck on the road but this kind of stuff really does crack me up. I believe he was addressed as a doctor but to me he sounded more like he may have needed one. I heard growing up all my life how this old world was going to the dogs. I wasn't exactly clear on the meaning but maybe Granny Mac was on to something. (Here's what this source, '' has to say: "The origin of this expression is believed to be in ancient China where dogs, by tradition, were not permitted within the walls of cities. Consequently, stray dogs roamed the areas outside the city walls and lived off the rubbish thrown out of the city by its inhabitants. Criminals and social outcast were often expelled from cities and were sent to live among the rubbish – and the dogs. Such people were said to have “gone to the dogs”, both literally in that that was where they were now to be found, and metaphorically in the sense that their lives had taken a distinct turn for the worse.") Now we know. But I'm pretty sure Lassie knew that already. All the dogs playing Lassie were males because male collie coats are much more vivid and full. There's other reasons as well but I had better stop there. Sorry. Just the facts.

For the first time in I don't know when I chose not to watch this year's presidential State of the Union speech. I had read all about it before. I understood his desire was to convince the nation of how successful he had been during his time in office. In the last press briefing before the speech his spokesperson was asked how is it that in poll after poll the American people are not buying the President's rosy and optimistic reading of how good we have it. The spokesperson's response was classic. He blamed it in large part on what he called an avalanche of negativism by those running for the Republican nomination for President. It's not unusual for this administration to blame others for almost everything imaginable. That has been the top down approach since the get go. Let me help you with why they think that we don't feel better off and why we are not overflowing with confidence as it relates to our nation's current health and well being. Essentially, if you track their answers over time they actually think that most of us are not intelligent enough to see all the wonderful accomplishments achieved by President Obama. Sorry folks. I'm not buying it. Period. Call me stupid but I believe we need more than a slogan of hope and change. We need real change beginning with a restoration of the values that have made us the great nation we have been in the past. Amen.

Here's an interesting exercise if you think you are up to it. Google 'SOTU editorials'. I did. The hits you receive back give the editorial opinions of a plethora of news sources from newspapers to broadcast media and every other source imaginable. Read some of them. They will astound you. Some think it was one of the greatest speeches ever. Others believe it to be more of the same, lofty words with no reality to back them up. Some agree passionately with the President's story of how things are after his time in office. Others think we are in great peril as a direct result of the President's failed leadership. Interesting. Obviously, there are differences of opinion here. I just wanted you to know that I haven't recently completed naysayer school nor am I trying to win an award as a voice crying in the wilderness. Looking at those running for the office he currently occupies makes me wonder what God is up to. We may be closer to the return of our Savior than we think. Now that's something we all can dwell on. I do hope that you will have a most wonderful Saturday and that on Sunday, the day we call the Lord's Day, it will find you and yours meeting with others to worship God and learn more about Him. Lord willing I will do my best with God's help to clock back in come next Monday morning. May God bless us all and May He bless our great country. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The IRS could be named the Cannibal Tax Collection Agency. Why? They charge an arm and a leg.

Okay. Let me see if I am on the right track. Today is Thursday, January 14, 2016. Right? Good. I think I have it down. It will soon be that time of year again. We've been looking at our taxes. Last Saturday the wife and I sat down and reviewed our situation. I could talk about loop holes for some but our situation at times looks more like a sink hole. It may sound like I am a complainer but that is not my intention. If the Lord provides I will be walking through the door marked 70 this year. I am blessed to still be working full time. I am blessed to have retirement income. I am blessed to be a professional Santa and to be paid handsomely for my work. Here's the deal. Uncle Sam thinks we are in some type of windfall situation. I am on medicare but I still pay a sizable amount in medicare taxes each year. I draw social security but I still pay social security taxes each year. We are self employed in the Santa enterprise so the wife and I pay both parts of the social security taxes along with regular income taxes. Don't get me wrong. I have always believed that if one is in a situation to pay more than average in taxes, it typically means they are somewhat better off than others. I can be thankful for that while also wondering out loud about how older people are dealt with in the tax code. What's that? Just think about what I might be dealing with if I won that mega lottery deal? Sorry. Last time I checked you have to buy a ticket to be in the running for that one. The IRS lottery program operates with or without your cooperation. Sorry. But in my way of seeing it I suppose I'm my own special interest group: Give Old People a Break! Just letting off a little steam folks. That's all.

Yeah. I know. Death and taxes. And, our right to complain. They are a part of the fabric of our American experience. I wouldn't trade it for any other experience on the planet. Maybe I should complain to my tax adviser. Okay. I will. He is a part of a practice entitled: Me, Myself and I. Based on prior interactions I don't think he has that much to offer in terms of relief. Okay. We've done some preliminary planning. Come March I will likely download the upgraded version of our tax preparation software to get everything ready so that we can mail our check in April. Fair warning because this means I will most likely be stirred to revisit this subject as that time draws near. Here's a few inspirational quotes as recorded by Forbes Magazine to help encourage you as you deal with this annual event: 1.“The taxpayer: that’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn’t have to take a civil service examination.”–Ronald Reagan 2.“We have what it takes to take what you have.”–Suggested IRS Motto 3.“The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.”–Barry Goldwater 4.“You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip.”–Morgan Stanley advertisement 5.“If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead–if you strike oil.”–J. Paul Getty 6.“The tax code is a monstrosity and there’s only one thing to do with it. Scrap it, kill it, drive a stake through its heart, bury it and hope it never rises again to terrorize the American people.”–Steve Forbes 7.“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”–Will Rogers 8.“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.”–John F. Kennedy 9.“Make sure you pay your taxes; otherwise you can get in a lot of trouble.”–Richard M. Nixon 10.“For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”–Winston Churchill

Okay. I will say it again. For all of it's issues and inequities, I am thankful that God allowed me to be born in this, my homeland, the United States of America. I see those quality of life rankings from across the globe. These rankings now list our country much lower than others. I saw one index the other day that indicated we were 12th in the world in overall quality of life. Supposedly people who live in Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Finland have it better than we do. Here's my unofficial response to this report: HOGWASH! In case you are unfamiliar with that word it's a technical term widely recognized among my circle of friends. The people doing that report must not read the world headlines I read. That's enough for one day. Why? I've more or less worn myself out. The good news is how that we can all still sing God Bless America and mean it. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

“Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Christian Author and Speaker, (1926-2015)

Here we go again. It's Wednesday, January 13, 2015 and I hope today's little episode finds everyone up and at em. We have a home security system. We don't have any cameras but we do have electronic surveillance and reporting. The wife gets all the messages texted to her phone when the alarm system is turned on or off or if it were to be breached. I had forgotten that. She asked me one day if I was getting plenty of sleep. I told her that I thought I was doing okay. She was out of town. She added that she had noticed I set the alarm system around 8 p.m., so she thought I had gone to bed early. She is now into deductive reasoning. I knew we should have not watched all those Sherlock Holmes episodes. I told her I set the alarm early because she wasn't at home to be going in and out of the garage door to the washer and dryer. It did not mean I had gone to bed at 8 p.m. which is what she had implied. While I do go to bed earlier when she is away it typically is not at 8 p.m. And, oh by the way, since she did ask, I have been sleeping pretty well and I don't need a text message to my phone to verify that. She really gets a kick out of it when I tell her how much I enjoyed the program we have been watching on TV.  She likes to say that is hard for her to fathom since I only caught bits and pieces of it. See, she actually thinks I was nodding off. Maybe she should think again: I may have been listening with my eyes closed. Oh yeah, but that wouldn't account for the snoring. I need to do a little more research on that one before I give my final answer.

I couldn't resist sharing this cartoon with you. I know. I am predisposed to pick up on stuff that relate to my alter ego, the Jolly Man himself. I see a lot of connections on Facebook that I can't for the life figure out how this person would know this other person. The other day I noticed a response from someone on our youngest son's Facebook posting. I took note of the fact that the person who responded happened to be Facebook friends with a fellow I worked with at the same big company for over twenty years. This seemed incredible to me. I talked to my youngest and asked how he would know someone that knew the person I had worked with for so many years. He said it was simple enough. The one who responded to his posting are the parents of a fellow he hung out with as a teenager. He and that buddy along with several others had themselves a makeshift band in the parents garage. The fellow I worked with lives just down the street from the garage where they practiced and being neighbors that's likely how they know each other. He added the fellow I worked with was likely some of the neighbors who called the police when they played their music too loud. It's a small world after all, but, I'm sure you've heard that one before.

I remember when we were kids we used to think it funny for our grandfather, Paw Paw Mac, to so easily doze off while sitting in his chair. He would be talking one minute and gone the next. I've dozed off a few times when the kids and their kids were at the house. Everyone was sitting around laughing and talking and next thing they knew I was out like a turned off light. When I came to one of the crew typically asked if I had enjoyed my nap. What have I told you before? What goes around comes around but even more than that, the more things change it is the more they stay the same. I don't think any of us kids were brave enough to say anything to Paw Paw but that didn't mean we didn't see it as being amusing. Now I have become the amusing one. It's not easy work folks. Here at the job place I sit in a secretarial chair because it suits me and it supports my back. One day during the lunch break I was listening to some rain playing on the internet and I dozed off. Next thing I knew I was on the floor. I had fallen right out of my chair. All I could say is: Thank you Lord that everyone was gone and I wasn't privileged to entertain any of those that work with me. I will tell you this. It doesn't take that long to wake up once you hit the floor. They do say experience is the best teacher. What's that? You are still glad you are not me? See what I mean? I'd probably feel the same way but I'm afraid it's a little late for that. Have a most wonderful rest of the day and if you do doze off try to stay in your chair. It works better that way. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Author, including Anne of Green Gables, (1874-1942)

Good Tuesday morning here on this January 12, 2016. The wife has left me again. She is over in Louisiana with her family. Our dear Bro. Milton is slipping away but he is still sharing his testimony of where he is headed and how that it is all going to be okay. I came in from Church Sunday evening and decided to make me some supper that reminded me of Bro. Milton. Back in the olden days before we were married we did most of our dating at Church. Her dad was the pastor of a Church and that's how he and her mom wanted it done. Well, let me rephrase that. I can't say they really wanted it done at all but that's how they tolerated me coming out to their neighborhood. They just wasn't that sure about me. At any rate, after their Church services a group would gather at someone's house for fellowship. One evening we went to Bro. Milton's home. A young couple, he and his wife were the proud parents of their first little boy. I didn't mind having to compete with the other teen aged boys but I had no chance at all when my date was occupied with that baby. Bro. Milton was very excited to have everyone in his humble abode. He wanted a special feast prepared. Fried potatoes and light bread with cold milk. I wouldn't say that I had never before rolled up fried potatoes and made a sandwich out of them but I think that was the first time I ever saw it prepared for a fellowship meal. I can still see him beaming in my mind's eye. I told the wife last Sunday evening to be sure and tell Bro. Milton that I had remembered him as I enjoyed one of his all time favorite meals. Such sweet memories. Priceless.

I know to many that kind of unsophisticated story is very corny and simplistic. It might be referred to as a Mayberry moment. I plead guilty to not only the actual recollection but any and all premeditated thoughts about it. Everyone can have their own types of memorable things to recall. I've actually been permitted in my lifetime to be in places a number of times where cocktails and caviar were being served and the pretentiousness hung heavy over the entire proceedings. I'll take the simplistic homespun stuff any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Does that mean all I have in my memory catalog are these happy happy recollections? Not hardly. I, like most everyone, have plenty that still stop me in my tracks when I think about them. However, it's a blessing to have more of the good ones than those that are painful memories. Even some of the painful memories have a sweetness to them because they involve those who left us way too soon, as we see it. I think I can easily co-opt Bob Hope's moniker when telling the Lord God of heaven, "Thanks for the memories!" I feel an Amen coming as I consider these blessings: Amen!

I told the wife when she left Sunday morning that I was glad she was going but I hated to see her go. She simply said she knew that was how I felt. She knows that I am more than capable of managing on my own. (I obviously know how to fry potatoes, wrap them up in a slice of bread and wash them down with a glass of milk.) She also knows how much better I operate when she is around to help me. That term better half was used initially to describe close friends and it dates back to the ancient poet Horace, (65 BC to 8 BC). Over the years it evolved into the meaning that we most often identify today relating to a spouse. The first printed instance of this to be found is from a book written in 1580. I think the best possible situation is when a couple both refer to each of as their better half. The only problem I have is that when I identify her as my better half I get a resounding agreement from all of those who know us. I can't even catch a break even when I'm home alone getting by on potatoes, bread, and milk. No need for you to send me a sympathy card because I am just having a little fun today. I hope you have a little fun yourself today and I hope that we all will remember to remember how blessed we are. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, January 11, 2016

“Not being you kills the you in you.” ― Aniekee Tochukwu, Philosopher and Philanthropist

Me and Jack, we've got our own thing going!
Good morning and welcome. It's back to work Monday, January 11, 2015, and I do hope you are ready for the day before us. As everyone pretty much knows I do have folks that see me and think of someone else. I get it a lot. "Hello Santa, how are you today?" I've actually gotten used to it. My wife thinks I really enjoy people seeing Santa in me. Last Thursday I was off doing my thing for the Company and I was at one of the big box home improvement stores. I was working with a fellow who was assisting in placing a sizable order for insulation. Suddenly a fellow at the checkout register hollered out. "Look who it is." He was pointing at me. I meekly shook my head in acknowledgement. He was telling the clerk, "It's Jack off that Gold Rush program." Who? Jack? What in the world is going on here? Instead of feeling a ho ho ho coming on, it was more of a what what what? He then added the clincher, "Sorry Sir, but you must get that all the time." I have seen that Gold Rush program when I was clicking through but really had never paid any attention to it. That evening I was talking with someone at our great grand's little party and when I told about what had happened he slapped his forehead and said, "That guy was right. You do look like Jack. Why have I not made that connection?" He then found the 'Jack' on his smartphone and showed me his photo. His name is Jack Hoffman and I learned he is one of the main characters on the program. I guess Paw Paw was right. You do learn something new everyday.

The other day while driving down the road I was listening to a radio program that featured many religious leaders talking about the need for all religions in our nation to come together in supporting peace loving immigrants and in particular Muslims. The program was about tolerance and love. One of the Protestant leaders said there exists a particular group within our nation who take the Bible more literally, therefore, he said this group really does believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and no one goes to heaven unless they go through Him. (Gospel of John, Chapter 14) He said he had sympathy for these people and that he admired their dedication to their understanding of the faith. He added that much needed to be done to help this group to moderate their mindset regarding the beliefs of others. The lady hosting the program couldn't contain herself. She angrily blurted out how these narrow minded people who believe like that are the problem. They are unable to entertain or accept other beliefs causing them to be intolerant and an obstacle to the peaceful coexistence of all belief systems. I suppose I am one of the problem people. I do believe that Jesus is exactly who He said He is. However, I do not believe that would keep me from supporting people being able to live in peace even though I reject the religion they embrace. My point is how that more and more anyone who is identified as being serious about their new born status in Christ is considered in our modern society to be a problem and an obstacle. Something for us all to think about.

I know. I, at times, seem fixated on serious stuff. Life is serious. Just look around at the world we live in. I thought the current occupant of the Oval Office was supposed to clear up all the issues that were caused by others. He's now into his 8th year and I don't know about you but if they have been solved then I need someone to wake me up from the nightmare I must be dreaming. Just in the last few days we've seen the stock market off to its worse start in history. There's currently a new escalation in the Middle East, (Saudi Arabia versus Iran), that could essentially explode at any moment. During these two terms in office I can't remember more turmoil than that which currently exists. The price of oil has plummeted and is now considered to be a major crisis. Russia now feels emboldened to return to their cold war ways. The administration touts all their accomplishments while the majority of Americans polled seem to be too dumb to recognize them. That's the world we live in. Sure. I am aware that we need some comic relief now and then. Here's one for you, "What did the mommy bee say to her baby bee? BEE HIVE yourself!" ~ There's two fish in a tank when one says to the other, "Hey, how do you drive this thing?" ~ One fellow told his buddy that he slept like a log last night. He added that he woke up in the fireplace. ~ A truck load of tortoises collided with a trainload of terrapins. It was reported that it was a turtle disaster. ~ Okay. I've given you the half empty half full run down for today but do know that those of us who are classified as dangerous take God at His Word believing folks are trusting Him for the future. I would highly recommend this to anyone. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Tomorrow is our day to think about our version of the Brady Bunch. Our Brady. It's his 10th birthday!

It's Friday, January 8, 2015, and tomorrow will be our Brady Darrell's 10th birthday. He is the last of the eleven grandchildren, (excluding our 6 year old great grand Madi), to move into double digits. Time is moving on. Brady is the youngest of our youngest Rodney and wife Mitzi. Most everyone knows Rodney as being pretty much a character to be remembered when he was a kid. Brady is following in that same tradition. He has a variety of interests from hunting to participating in sports. I understand he has the Hover Board pretty much figured out. I did see a brief video where he was riding it forth and back while eating some fried rice. Sounds a lot like our Rod. Have a great birthday Brady and know that we love you very much. MiMi and Poppy.

Welcome one and all. I may have dropped a few readers after my thoughts on the endless 2nd Amendment stuff. That's okay. I support anyone at any time choosing to read whatever it is they want to read. Or not read. Period. While I am at it I continue to be surprised by the number of ministers of the Gospel who participate in so much inflammatory dialogue dealing with political matters. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem in a minister who has deeply held convictions about our nation and her need to honor God. However, some of the stuff on Facebook posted by these men of God reads like the punch lines from the 'You might be a Redneck' series. Just me, but I would think it would be better to find ways to share Christ or build up others in the faith than to participate in what often comes across as language based on the lowest common denominator. No. I'm not in the business of telling others what they can and cannot say. However, it bothers me when I see stuff like that and I often share things that bother me in this forum. I'll put it this way. I don't come away with a positive feeling about some of the stuff I see. Again, just me, and I am unanimous in my own opinion, if in nothing else.

I better back off or I will have to add my own name to the distribution list just to make sure at least one person gets my blog each day. I suppose everyone is adept at spotting hypocrisy. A fellow I worked with many years ago told me about his upbringing in rural Alabama. He said the pastor where they attended Church repeatedly gave out a steady chain of sins that would send one to hell. He said that pastor would nearly collapse in the pulpit from getting so heated up and red faced along with the huge belly he carried. After years of that kind of stuff he said he had had enough. When he went off to college he swore off that type of so called preaching. (Sadly, he became a part of a religious practice that offers very little in terms of Bible truth.) I heard about one pastor when asked about his very large belly and he offered this explanation, "I suppose it more or less snacked up on me." I think what my former business associate was pointing out was this loud and boisterous preaching of self restraint and discipline in others while the one preaching carried with him a huge blind spot in showing the same in his personal life. You will likely never hear a sermon on gluttony but you will hear many that deal with self discipline. These disconnects turn some people off. We all have them. You know what I am talking about. Jesus in His parable advised the fellow trying to get the tiny splinter out of his neighbor's eye to first deal with the huge timber sticking out of his own eye. (Matthew 7:3-5) My point? Be careful how loudly you proclaim something until you've dealt with your own obvious flaws. Others see them. They see yours and they see mine. I guarantee they do. Enough already for one day and even for one week. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will do my best to see you, come next week. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy 6th Birthday to our Great and Grand Madi Girl!

Today is Thursday, January 6, 2015. That's a special day each year for us. It's the day we celebrate the arrival of our one and only great and grand Madelyn Joy. Madi is six today and we pause to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for her as well as asking God to watch over her as she continues her journey here. Like most kids she has gone through this phase and that phase. Right now she is reflecting a combination of enthusiasm and joy. She typically doesn't like photos that show her missing teeth but I do like her expression in this one and it is, after all, my blog. Happy Birthday to our Madi girl from Great Grand MiMi and Poppy. Amen.

Nothing gets folks stirred up more than the mention of 2nd Amendment rights. That's the one that gives us the right to bear arms. You can get Facebook and Twitter turned upside down with the mere mention of anything related to this constitutional provision. The President's speech on what he is going to do with executive orders to try and tighten the rules regarding the eligibility to purchase a gun got it all going again. I suppose we all have issues that are important to us as individuals. This one happens to also have some political capital associated with it. You can stomp and scream about any change whatsoever regarding guns and that pretty well gets you a certain percentage of the vote. Period. Then we have the financial interests. The gun lobby. And, the anti-gun lobby. They are real and some of their motivations regarding the subject matter are certainly connected to the monetary component. In the case of the gun lobby it would be the sales of guns. In the case of the anti gun lobby it would be the continued support from donors. These people do this stuff for a living. This is how our system works. Loud voices, money, ranting and raving, threats and counter threats. Folks will come out of the woodwork when someone makes a statement pro or con. Interestingly enough, I see so many who make impassioned pleas that essentially have copied the exact words used by one of the special interest parties. Maybe it was so much aligned with their own thinking they couldn't resist. Maybe. Or maybe the special interest wins again. Either side of the argument. They usually do. In case you haven't noticed. My reading of it all at times makes me think that what purports itself to be a debate becomes mostly a debacle. Too bad this level of passion is often missing when dealing with issues that relate to the plight of hurting people. Just my thrown down observation. And, just so you know, while I support folks being able to own a firearm, I have no interest in currying favor with any and all sides. Just me. Feel free to respond as you see fit.

My sharing of those comments will not make too many of those on either side happy. But, we all are entitled to our own opinion. I think President Reagan used to say that he knew he had the policy close to being right when neither side was particularly happy with his proposal. I actually think folks who spend so much time trying to analyze the President's tears as to whether they were sincere or not miss the point. He was talking about little kids being killed. Many of those children's parents were in the room with him. If that moved him to tears then so be it. That doesn't mean I would agree with his approach, but his tears are not the issue to me. They sure are to a lot of folks who comment about this subject. They sure are to people who host radio programs. I don't support him or any President acting outside and above the powers granted to them by our Constitution. At the same time I am not the one that can even make that call. That's why we have the third branch, our courts. I would think that's where much of this will be decided. And, just so you know, I have been known to disagree with the findings of the courts as well. (Like confirming the legality of Obamacare by interpreting it as a tax when it was never presented in the law as a tax.) Disagreements like that are our privilege in our free society. In general, I do not support the disobedience to the laws of our land but I do recognize there are times when individuals must make decisions based on their devotion to God and their conscience. Okay. Today's blog will not be made a part of the Congressional record. But, it is a part of my library so I do hope you receive it in the positive manner in which it was intended. And, may I add for all our consideration the official motto of our nation: In God We Trust. Amen. .....More later.