Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy 21st birthday to all those born on February 29, 1932. You are now of legal age. Finally!

Yes. It is Monday, February 29, 2016. Yes. The 29th. It's Leap Day in this Leap Year. We have one of these every four years. I know for people born on this day it makes it a very special day indeed. For the rest of us, it's a good day to try and get the juices flowing again and see what can be accomplished. And, if that doesn't work, well, it's the only one we have at the moment so we might as well make the best of it. People look for any sign whatsoever to tell if maybe they will have a good day. One young lady thought the stars must all be in alignment because the place where she bought her early morning smoothie actually got her name spelled correctly on the cup. A student would answer by saying they wake up to a snow day on the day the final exam was supposed to be taken. Others think maybe a really good message from a fortune cookie will be the key to their prospects. I heard one where the person knew things were going to be good because when they turned on the radio their favorite song immediately started playing. One fellow got all mesmerized by a stray onion ring showing up in his fries. There's this old one, "If you wake up and don't see your name in the obituary column." I know many of these are just having a little fun but here's one to start your day that you can always count on, period, end of story: "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 9:24)

One of the things that people hate most about politicians is how they play games with the truth. My granddad used to call it talking out of both sides of their mouth. The recent untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has introduced another opportunity to make us all sick of them all, again. President Obama very much wants to nominate a replacement. He is in the last year of his presidency and typically the party in control of the Senate prefers to await the candidate offered up by the new president. This has all the Democrats going crazy. They can't believe how this could even be thought about. It is an affront to our system of governing. It is a threat to our way of life. Wait just a moment. Unfortunately for them, we have CSPAN archived messages from all of these same people loudly complaining who have previously said it would be improper for President George W. Bush, President George H. W. Bush, and President Ronald Reagan to submit a court recommendation during their last year in office. We have the sitting Vice President who headed the judiciary committee when he was in the Senate and he essentially said exactly the same thing. It would be improper. It's not how our system is supposed to work. Really? We even have the then Senator Obama taking part in a filibuster against one of President Bush's nominees. He now says that he feels badly about that and he shouldn't have done it. Those forced to hear their own words say that was then and what matters is today, not yesterday. In other words, they have zero principles regarding the meaning of their words and that's one reason people hate Washington and how it operates. I thought maybe some of you had missed these latest developments so I did want to keep you posted. 

It works that way in both parties. Since I'm on that subject I'm not surprised but a little taken aback by the aggressiveness and the sheer number of press releases explaining why these quotations from people in the past should not be used to stall or block the President's nominee. Really? Could it be the mainstream media who are five star liberals want President Obama to put another liberal on the bench? Could that have anything to do with this steady flow of articles promoting a hearing and vote? All those quotes from the past according to the largest news sources in our nation are, after all is said and done, nothing more than politics. Why would anyone pay any attention to them? Is it any wonder our country in is the shape it is in? There's no fundamental respect for integrity, honesty, and truth on the part of our governmental leaders. Like I say, it pretty well works the same way without regard to the party in power. Concern about hypocrisy isn't really even a consideration for today's political class. It is a way of life. Am I being too critical? Check it out for yourself and come to your own conclusion. No. I do not know if smoke is coming out of my ears but I do know my face is very hot and it is likely very red at the moment. It's enough to stir us all up. Well, at least me. And it should. This stuff tends to makes me a little sad but I can quickly become glad when I remember that I serve a Sovereign God who reigns over all. I feel better just thinking about that. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy Birthday to our baby boy!

Today, Friday, February 26, 2016, I pause to recognize the birthday tomorrow of our youngest, our baby, Rodney Darrell. He will be 45. Did I mention he's our baby? Time does fly by. It seems like it was only yesterday ...... I think everybody could say that. We do thank God for Rodney and for the gifts and abilities He provided to him. He has always had a larger than life personality. Even as a little kid. Over the years he has been able build on that trait and use it to engage with people and to accomplish much in his life. He has a wonderful wife, Mitzi, and three lovely children, Kyleigh in college, Lexie in High School, and Brady Darrell in elementary. He has been a blessing to us all and we pray God's continued provision in his life. Happy Birthday son, love, mom and dad.

I appreciate you not sending me any age related jokes because of how bad you feel about how old I am getting. I saw one greeting the other day that had this sentiment, "I hope that you will still be my friend even when we are too senile to remember each others names." I'm not exactly clear how that one would work but as they say, it is the thought that counts. I suppose having our boys who are now 50, 48, and 45 makes us feel much older, it's good to remember that no matter what your age happens to be, it is now the new much lower age. I have some doubts about how that calculation works but most of us blindly grab hold of it and run with it. I started to say that I hoped I would live long enough that my driving terrifies people but according to the wife I accomplished that one some time ago. One fellow said the good news about Facebook birthday greetings is how they help to interfere slightly with the avalanche of political postings that flood the page each day. Let me assure you that I consider myself to be blessed beyond measure in the family God has provided to us and the time He has given us to live and serve Him. We joke about our aches and pains as well as other age related developments but we are always thanking God for His grace, mercy, and His daily provisions to us. Amen.

We've had a pretty busy week. I say busy but I wouldn't deny that I could easily have had one of those Slow Men Working signs posted by my workstation during some of it. I do know I've massacred a whole lot of keystrokes in terms of throwing stuff out on the electronic page this week. It would likely take a whole blog to list all the subjects I've touched on. Maybe one of them spoke to someone. I know I have used quite a lot of Scriptures, therefore, God can make those apply to any and all of us as He sees fit. Maybe that's why I use them because when I do there's always hope for something productive to come out of this daily endeavor. Now it's time to move on to our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I do hope you will enjoy your time and that Sunday will find us all in the place where people gather to worship and hear from God. That, along with building each other up in the faith is the reason we gather. But, most of you knew that already. Until next time, may our Great God be with us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Vacationing in Vermont, I picked up the local paper to check out the forecast. It read: Today: Sunny, 76. Tonight: Not so sunny, 55." — Norrine Trono, Reader's Digest

Good Thursday morning and welcome. It's February 25, 2016 and we are all drying out. That shouldn't be too hard with all the March winds preview we've had the last couple of days. I saw something that gave me a smile last Tuesday morning. In the midst of a very active rainstorm the traffic guy on one of the local TV stations put up a map and tweeted out the following comment: "I'm no weatherman but I can confidently predict that you will be dealing with rain during your commute this morning." The map was filled up with all kinds of red warnings overlaid over the traffic grid. Hey, I could have made that forecast. I mean looking outside and telling everyone what is currently happening is not all that hard. It reminds me of a quote from Dr. Seuss, "The storm starts when the drops start dropping When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping." Now that's my kind of meteorological observation. Hey. We all want to know about the weather. Obviously beforehand if possible. Unlike the humorist and writer from the early 1900's, Jerome K. Jerome, who had this to say about the weather, "But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand." Jesus gave a comparison between working hard to understand the weather versus focusing in on understanding crucial spiritual truths, "Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." (Matthew 16, Verses 1-3)

The other morning I was listening to a radio feed from Brisbane, Australia. It was early here but late over there. You know. Time zones. They have a late night talk show. I used to listen to it quite often. On that particular show they had a commentator talking about the presidential campaign underway in the states (that would be us.) The commentator was scratching his head over what he was seeing. It was hard to make sense of. He said the rest of the world can hardly believe that a bombastic billionaire reality TV star is actually in the running to become the leader of the free world. He was not necessarily that impressed with the others running including those on the democratic ticket but he seemed to be genuinely confused by what he was observing. He really didn't know what to make of it. He told several jokes he had heard about our process and those participating in it. Okay. He's not from around these parts. I am. But, I must say I can very much identify with his confusion and how it is hard to make sense of. That fellow was using a mocking tone so don't get me wrong, I'm not at all concerned about foreigners and how they may or may not appreciate our way of life, however, he presented what I have been saying for some time now, these are some amazingly strange times we are living in. They really are. Think about it. Here's my bottom line: Only God can help us now.

I am very much aware of the chicken little story. In fact, we even saw the cartoon movie made about that character. I'm not by nature a gloom and doom person but as I stutter step my way to three score and ten something is very different about all of this. Speaking of chicken little who thought the sky was falling, there's quite a bit about our current situation that points us in the direction of the sky. ~  "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." (Psalm 19:1) ~ "And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree." (Isaiah 34:4) ~ "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:27) ~  "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28) There are many others but those should encourage us during these confusing and chaotic times. The good news is how that God has allowed us to know what the future of this world will be and how that He would have us to be alert and watching as that time grows ever closer. Amen. ....More later.       

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “Over the Teacups,” 1891

Funeral service for Italy's Coffee King.
Hello and welcome to Wednesday, February 24, 2016. I do hope you are enjoying a get-your-day started cup of coffee, (Community if possible), to make everything seem right with the world. Okay. I'm not nearly as over the top about my Community as some might think. I use it as a conversation piece and it does give me something to tease others about. Like those who pay those enormous prices for that tall cup with that crazy emblem on the side of it, only to find that it's filled with colored water. Just joking. Don't write me. I didn't say I wasn't committed to my brand just maybe not as crazy as I make it seem sometimes. I did read about a fellow that took his coffee very seriously. In his case it was espresso. An Italian entrepreneur, Renato Bialetti, died last week at age 93. He was widely recognized as the coffee king of Italy. He made popular the stove top aluminum espresso makers, therefore, he was cremated and his ashes were placed in one of those appliances. I know what some of you are thinking. Maybe a huge Community Coffee canister for me. I appreciate the thought but I think it best maybe to adopt a wait and see on that one. I'll leave you with the sentiments expressed on a kitchen wall decal: "Coffeeology: Espresso Yourself ~ Better latte Than Never ~ So many blends, so little time ~ Friends don't let friends drink bad coffee ~ Take time to smell the coffee ~ Deja Brew: the feeling you've had this coffee before...." That pretty well covers it. What say you?

I do have a level of curiosity. I've noticed for a long time now this trend where younger guys wear their baseball caps backwards. I wondered why they do that. I know that's the way a baseball catcher wears his because of the protective mask he uses. They wear them either backwards or all cocked over to one side. Some see it as a peer pressure fashion trend reflecting the so called 'gansta' style. Policing authorities do see it often connected directly to real gang symbols. Just for fun I want to share what an evolutionary psychologist had to say about this practice: "First, you need to ask yourself what signals a male needs to transmit to a potential mate in order to advertise his suitability as a source of strong genetic material, more likely to survive than that of his competitor males. One answer is brute physical strength. Now, consider the baseball cap. Worn in the traditional style it offers protection against the sun and also the gaze of aggressive competitors. By turning the cap around, the male is signaling that he doesn’t need this protection: he is tough enough to face elements and the gaze of any who might threaten him. Second, inverting the cap is the gesture of non-conformity. Primates live in highly ordered social structures. Playing by the rules is considered essential. Turning the cap around shows that the male is above the rules that constrain his competitors and again signals that he has superior strength." I'm sure that assessment is laudable to some but mostly laughable to me. The surprising thing is how they could get paid to write that kind of stuff. I do remember wearing my white tee shirt sleeves rolled up and  my jeans had to have a serious starched crease in them. Why? The influence of James Dean? Or, was it my idea of being cool? Is that a similar thing? I hope not. That was a long time ago. Just for the record, I now wear red and go around saying ho ho ho on cue. But, I've never felt the urge to get down by wearing my ball cap backwards or cocked over to one side.

It's natural to mark our time here as we say farewell to those who have been a part of our lives. I read the obituary this week of a doctor who took care of my medical needs for some 25 years. He was a primary care physician way before they called it that. A general practitioner was how they classified his practice. He was a very different kind of a doctor. He was always tuned in to exactly what you were saying. If you grimaced as you talked about a pain in your shoulder he would grimace with you and say "I bet that really hurts." I remember an IBM specialist that I worked with who went to him and because of those mannerisms he thought the doctor was somewhat of a flake. I told him that my number one issue was results. Dr. Montgomery always figured out a way to take care of whatever problem I had. I told the IBM fellow, "What more would you want from a doctor?" When he retired I wrote him a letter thanking him for his wonderful care. At any rate, his obituary began like this: ".....passed away at the age of 82 after a life of exemplary effort serving his family, his profession and his community." I learned he was a Vietnam war hero, after being drafted as a doctor at age 34, and later earned a Bronze Star in his leading of a medical command. He had a large and devoted family. He was active in his Church. And, as my wife and I discussed, he was our good physician for many years. We, therefore, offer thanksgiving to our Great Physician for putting people like this good doctor in our path. May his family be comforted by his testimony and the life of service he lived before them. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

“You don't need to wait for that second chance, because every second is a chance to change your life for the better.” ― Jeanette Coron

It's Tuesday, February 23, 2016, and I say hello to one and all. It's your friendly aggregator and I am up and running and doing my thing. Maybe I should explain. That name has to do with someone who aggregates or collects information and then shares selected pieces with others. Social media is pretty much dominated by the younger generation. They know all the abbreviations. Twitter is in that domain as well. I follow a whole bunch of news feeds on Twitter and that helps keep me up to date literally up to the second on the latest this, that, and the other. I occasionally spot a category or hashtag that catches my eye. I saw this one the other day: #IfIHadAnotherChance. Those who posted had some very interesting thoughts. ~ I would never have let her leave. ~ I wouldn't have put so much faith in all those "happily ever after" stories of my childhood. ~ I would have taken that bullet for my brother. ~ I'd tell my mom I love her one more time. ~ I wouldn't change anything. It's called life. Deal with it. ~ I would understand you don't know what you have until it is gone. ~ I would say I love you to my grandma one last time. ~ I'd change my pride, my ego, my needs, my selfish ways. Although it hurts, I'll be the first to say I was wrong. ~ I would have done everything I could to have kept you. ~ I would go back to July and change that mistake and life would be so different now. ~ I would say a resounding YES to Jesus again! ~ I would try to show you I wanted the relationship as much as you did. ~ I would have kicked you in the teeth the first time I met you. ~ Truth is, I think we all have regrets. There were many other thoughts shared on that forum and I could tell that many of those posting were bitter, hurt, sad, lonely, and living in painful remorse. I think the poster who said they would say yes to Jesus has the answer for all of those others searching for relief. That one about Jesus was the only one out of the hundreds I scanned that mentioned the spiritual need we all have. I thought these were very interesting. I wonder what I would have posted. What about you?

One of my brethren Santa's posted a little graphic the other day that I thought was pretty good. It said a man was observed sitting in Starbucks. "This man had no smartphone, laptop, or tablet. He was just sitting there drinking his coffee. Like a psychopath." I can identify some with that observation. When I am out and about and I use my flip phone, folks look at me like I must be some type of wilderness freak. They give me the glare: Really? Have you checked a calendar lately? It is 2016 in case you missed it. Guess what? That doesn't bother me at all. I could be a really good text person but I do 99.9% of my communication via a conversation. Do you remember that? It's two people talking. Here is something I have observed. Just me. I'm not Al Gore and I didn't invent the internet but I can still observe and give my thoughts. A whole lot of people have gotten out of the habit of talking to others. They actually go out of their way to not have a live voice to voice conversation with others. I saw a fellow one day and he was becoming increasingly frustrated by the texting forth and back with someone in his family. I could almost see steam rising off of his head. I simply asked why didn't he call and talk to them directly so they could work out whatever problems needed to be addressed. He gave me this look of dismay, like, you must be kidding. Right? I don't know where this is all headed and I might end up joining the lemmings brigade like everyone else but it is worrisome to me and now you know. What? You didn't ask? I'm always answering questions no one asked. You should know that by now.

I am aware of the benefits of text messaging. Being able to get the word out to a large distributed audience is a good thing. My flip phone is able to receive some of those messages. My point was a more generalized observation about the vanishing face to face or voice to voice interaction. Based on what I read nearly every day we are headed towards a future, if the Lord doesn't bring it all to an end, where robots will be doing many of the jobs that are currently done by people. We are very much aware of manufacturing processes that are managed by computers. But, there typically are real live people who interact with and oversee those operations. Guess what? They are close to having real robots to do that type of interaction. If it's true we have nearly 100 million folks who are either underemployed or out of the workforce because they cannot find work, well, bringing on a bunch of robots to replace potential workers, that doesn't sound so great to me. Think about it. The future will be for mostly coders of programs that operate everything in the world. I'm not sure how all of that will play out. Maybe those robots will need to have their oil changed now and then. Again, just some throw down observations for a Tuesday. Bottom line, put your faith and trust in God. He will make a way for His own. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." – Benjamin Franklin

Okay then. So. It's Monday. I know that's a dreaded day of the week by so many people. It's become an almost national obsession. To me, just me, not you, just me, it is exactly the day that follows Sunday and for most of my life, thankfully, it is back to work Monday. And, that's where I find myself today on this February 22, 2016. A number of years ago our youngest son and I embarked on an effort to find out something about our family history. We spent maybe six months or more searching all the genealogical databases. We paid fees for this, that, or the other. We ordered up birth, wedding, and death certificates. We collected a whole lot of stuff. We discovered names and connections we had not even heard of before. We learned facts that were pretty surprising. We discovered my dad's dad was named Will Cuffie. He fought in WWI. He was a farmer. Our family never had any contact with him. He died in 1961. He had a younger brother named Alfred. Alfred married a lady named Lena. Lena's brother was named Dan. When Lena and Dan's parents died there was some property left behind but a family dispute arose. It became heated. Alfred, defending his wife's claims, locked horns with Dan. On June 17, 1934 Dan shot and killed Alfred on the street in downtown Vienna, Georgia. Those kinds of conflicts are not new. They entered the world all the way back to the fall of humanity where sin entered through Adam and Eve. There's much more dirt that likely could be dug up on my family. Your family. Every family. It reminds us how that the more things change it is the more they stay the same. We all need Jesus every minute of every day and we typically prove it every single day. Amen.

We found other stuff as well. Occasionally I pull up the text file documenting all this stuff and scan its contents. One cousin several times removed reported that her search indicated my dad's family actually came over from England in the early 1800's. She said they traveled on a ship named The Anne. They eventually moved from South Carolina to Georgia where my Great Great Grandfather married and settled down. Then came children and the tree branched here and there, you know, it's a diagram from the song, "over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house we go". Or something like that. For the most part people who could help us to know more came from a generation that pretty much believed that when it came to family history just let sleeping dogs lie. While that let sleeping dogs lie metaphor has been traced back to the 14th century many word historians think it originated from the Bible as in this verse from The Proverbs, "He that passes by, and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears." (Chapter 26, verse 17) We pretty much left off where we hit our last roadblocks. Somebody might come along with more information but until further notice we don't have enough proof to blame who we became on anyone in particular. Except for myself but that's not so much fun.

I know of some within our family who would like to know more about our ancestors due to the health issues they have had to face. That is likely the most noble reason for investigation. Our quest actually originated quite simply. Our youngest wanted to know more about his grandfather, my dad. Since dad passed away in 1954 I really only had bits and pieces to share with him. That was what got us started. Nothing more. Just that. When we hit a wall I consulted with a fee based expert and after she heard all that we had done she concluded that other than traveling to courthouses and other places to verify information she didn't really see where she could get more than we had already accumulated. I appreciated her not doing a sales job on me. We did learn about some of our folks who were known for their faithfulness to the Lord. That's a heritage that is encouraging. When it is all said and done each of us must live out the life God has given to us. We will not be rewarded for what one of our ancestors accomplished for the Lord. I recall the conversation I had with a fellow one time where his claim to spiritual connection was because of the number of preachers that had come out of his family. He was very proud of that. While that was a good thing it certainly did not account for his obvious lack of serving the Lord during his sojourn. That family history won't work for him. For me. Or, for you. According to the Scriptures we will, as believers, individually stand and give our own personal account. (2nd Corinthians 5) Sobering thought my friend. Sobering indeed. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation." — Farmer’s Almanac

We send out a very special birthday greeting to our granddaughter Brittany who turns 25 this coming Sunday. Brittany has always been a no nonsense stay focused individual and we thank God for her and her life. It's really amazing for us as grandparents to see these kiddos grow up and become productive citizens. It's just hard to take it all in as we think back from the time they were born, how they were in and out of our home so often, and now they are out there doing their thing. We don't see them like we used to but we don't forget to pray for each one. Have a great birthday and we are looking forward to seeing you Sunday afternoon. May God continue to bless. Love, MiMi and Poppy


Happy Friday and may God provide as we do our thing on this February 19, 2016. We have this wonderful fellow in our local fellowship. He has been a youth sponsor and worker for many years. Recently he posted a photo of he and his wife where they had completed a painting together at one of those workshop deals. The next Sunday I singled him out, gave him a hug, and then got down to business. "Really?" "A couple's workshop where you paint a picture?" "What possessed you man?" "I think it may be time to turn in your man card." He knew I was only joking. We had a huge laugh about it. I thought it was funny so I told the wife about my little conversation with him. She had a different take. "You are kidding, I hope. Surely you didn't say that to him. I certainly hope that you would never say anything like that." Even though the story about George Washington and his chopping down the cherry tree has been pretty much proven to be a made up tale to teach the value of telling the truth, well, when she in such a dramatic way confronted me, I felt compelled to tell her the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Yes. I did say those things. He thought it was funny. I thought it was funny. It seems only one person didn't. Just saying. By the way, does anyone know where they might be having one of those couple painting sessions soon? Now I am very much kidding about that one.

After giving her credit for helping me in my daily blogging pursuit and having even quoted some of her suggestions, on the same day she was emboldened to send me a new one, "When you change subjects, you might want to start a new paragraph. LOL. Just saying." Her suggestion was followed by a smiley face and two little bitty hearts. I actually was aware that my little Dr. visit story had little to do with the soccer story. Maybe the injuries on my face they inflicted connected to the soccer injuries emphasis. Probably not. And, I know she is right. About the jumbling up of disconnected thoughts. Which leads me to being able to once again use one of my favorite words. I, at times, can demonstrate a whole lot of discombobulated thinking. That discombobulate word has something to do with being thrown into a state of confusion. I know. I have my own zip code in that particular state. And, as they say, "The road of life is typically paved with gravel, asphalt, or maybe concrete." Okay. I am aware that's not the saying. My question is, do you know the origin of the popular saying? There is a 2009 song that emphasizes how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is a way of pointing out the ineffectiveness of intentions, even good intentions, versus meaningful actions. It's essence is thought to have originated in the year 1150 when a cleric penned these words, "Hell is full of good wishes or desires." I think it is a principle that can be found in many of the Scriptures. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)  Amen.

I know. That was likely a perfect example of what she was talking about. That's okay because I'm not sure if I have ever even seen a cherry tree. And, I do know for sure that I most likely have never cut one down. I hope that clears everything up a little. This has been a taxing week. You know. As in forecasting our federal tax liability. We have a little set aside to pay our taxes. The wife had hoped for a number much smaller than the one I gave her. Much smaller. She had a little bit of a battle to control herself when I reported what I had found out. I kind of felt like the messenger who gets beat up over the message delivered. But, she assured me she was not angry with me. (She pretty much fooled me at first.) She was venting about those people in Washington who expect so much out of people our age. How could they treat Santa and Mrs. Claus that way? I tried to assure her that it was certainly not personal, they would do the same to anyone. I'm sure we have a few hundred million who would agree. Yet, we made another week and end up being thankful to God for His presence, His provision, and His abiding love and care for His own. Now we move on to Saturday and to Lord's Day Sunday. I do pray that you and yours will have a great weekend where we all can join together in praising our Great God. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Poem: “O may I join the choir invisible Of those immortal dead who live again In minds made better by their presence; live In pulses stirred to generosity, In deeds of daring rectitude...” ― George Eliot

Good morning and welcome. I bring you greetings on this Thursday, February 18, 2016. When we were in Louisiana for Bro. Milton's home going service I heard our youngest son telling his wife how that people in the country used to almost always bring their deceased loved ones home to await their funeral service and burial. That's right. Inside their home. He told her he remembered seeing his Uncle Kenneth laid out in the living room of his home. Her mouth hung open. She seemed totally shocked. That's how we were raised up. Death was an ever present reality in our family and in our community. Our son also told her about how folks used to go and sit up all night long with the body. I can remember going with Paw Paw many times to do that very thing. What did we call it? I know some call it a wake but we just said we were sitting up with the dead. It was a sign of respect. It was a sign of support for the family. I notice a determined desire among families today to shield children from being exposed to anything related to this kind of experience. Sometimes that even includes relatives. I can't tell people how to operate their lives but for believers death is a vital part of our eternal life. ("....absent from the body, present at home with the Lord ..." (2 Corinthians 5:8) There was never even a hint of anything morbid, but for me growing up, Bible truths were emphasized in how we country folk embraced the passing of those going to their final reward. Practices do help to shape one's views. They really do.

I'm not saying that everything we did in the past was better. However, we all could learn much from what is typically called old fashioned ways. Folks who were not known for their sophistication or even perhaps their great knowledge did have a simple faith in the Lord God of heaven that defined their day by day living. It was their foundation. It led to a sense of honesty and integrity in all areas of their lives. In other words, faith in God was integrated into every area of life. Today we tend to compartmentalize every aspect of our busy lifestyles. We have our family life, our working life, and our religious or church life. My grandfather was known to be a man of his word. I've heard people say about him that if he told you something you could take it to the bank. Others said his word was his bond. That's a good principle to have in your life. However, in my grandfather's life it was grounded in his faith and in his desire to live in a way that would be pleasing to God. His life was not chopped up into segments. He was not always right but he was almost always genuine. A question was asked last week in one of the services of our local fellowship. "Did you come today reflecting the real you or did you show up with your Sunday version of you?" That's a tough one for us all but it is worth reflecting on. Amen.

No. I hadn't been waiting to write about what I wrote about today. I sat down and chose what was behind door number three and this is what I found. I have discovered something over time. Often I write about stuff that needs to be very much considered by a particular individual. Who am I talking about? The same fellow who opened door number three. That's right. "It's me, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer." I know some folks who really do think they have arrived. To me that's a very dangerous situation to be in. What was that the Apostle Paul was inspired to say about his own journey? "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:12-14) Knowing I am a work in progress with a long way to go helps to keep me in a proper frame of mind. At the same time, knowing that He's still working on me, well, that my friend is a blessing. A blessing indeed! Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

It is Wednesday already and this one comes on the 17th day of February, 2016. I accidentally found out how to get your records double checked at the doctor's office yesterday. When the assistant asks why you are there when they have the computer records staring them in the face, well, you have to try and recall the minute details and specifics of what was said at the last visit. In my case that was several weeks ago. Maybe they are attempting to qualify contestants for a medical reality show. Well, at any rate, I gave her my best guesses as to what the Dr. had said and why she, the Dr., had scheduled me to come back in. I didn't get it exactly right. That sent up a big red flag. Soon, here comes the assistant back into the inquisition room since my recollection was at odds with the official record so she decided to try and figure out why. We did get it straight. I think. It was sort of important since they were using some kind of cold acid stuff on my face. I'm not sure I get to come back next week to face new opponents. They didn't say. The wife was right there with me so I did my best to stay on my best behavior. Everybody talks about soccer like it is the biggest sissy sport in the world. We watch some from time to time, especially the world cup, the Olympics, or the Premier League over in Europe. I know. There's American soccer too. Some like to remind how soccer is the sport where everyone on each team gets a participation trophy. My wife often comments they must not be watching the same matches we watch. I read the other day about a semi-pro match in Argentina. One of the refs red carded a fellow and sent him off the field. The red carded player returned with a revolver, ran out on the field, and proceeded to shoot and kill the 48 year old official that called a foul on him. I suppose it doesn't get much more serious than that.

I know that most of you know that my grandfather used to say he was concerned when I was talking about whether I would ever come up for air. That was even when I was a kid. That didn't mean I had much substance to share back then or even now as far as that is concerned. Coming up with material for my daily visits can be really tough. I didn't say finding something to say something about was that difficult but sharing something that carries a modest amount of interest, humor, or perhaps even an application, well, that does make it a challenge. I've been complimented on a good sermon when I was actually mostly just sharing some thoughts. Not looking down on anyone. Not beating folks over the head. Just sharing my heart. I know they were only joking. I appreciate my wife giving me hints from time to time about what she thinks about the stuff I am sharing. "I think it was good but it sure was long." "Someone probably liked it but you know me, I don't care that much about politics." She also tells me when I miss a word, misspell one, or leave it all dangling. That dangling deal with me is almost an occupational hazard. I greatly appreciate her input. I really do. It helps. And, I do need all the help I can get. You noticed. Good.

I heard a distressing, if not depressing, statistic this past week. It was talking about the underlying challenges within the economic hardships that have been going on for the past ten years. One particular group stands out. Middle aged white men. The suicide rate within this group has escalated by 40% over this time period. The professionals are attempting to dissect this unprecedented situation but their early analysis indicates that stress including the economic hard times has been a major contributing factor. Hopelessness. Out of work. Unable to pay their bills. That news blurb jumped out at me because it reminds us all of how desperately people need the Lord and the love and support of a God loving fellowship of believers. It also makes us aware that while we may be getting along okay there are countless millions who are struggling. That is not just a statistic to those left behind. Families have been forever changed and they have suffered heartaches beyond measure. I'm praying that God will make a way for those who feel trapped by these difficult circumstances. Let us not forget any and all who are in need of God's help especially knowing that He uses people, like you, and like me, to minister to others. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Good morning and welcome. It is Tuesday, February 16, 2016. I have my visit this morning with the dermatologist who will be working on my face. I know. She does, in fact, have her work cut out for her. And, please don't send her any warnings about me as a patient. She will find out soon enough. We don't always do much for Valentines except for exchanging cards. I started to say that I should be receiving a thank you card from Hallmark but then I remembered that I personally make all my cards. Don't worry. If you own stock in that company I'm sure my few cards will not make much of an impact. I'm just joking anyway. On Saturday we had our homemade big breakfast, went to the big mall and walked the big two miles. We messed around there for a while and then went and saw the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Yep. We are a little behind on that one. We tried but could not remember the last movie we saw in the theater. It has to have been several years. But, since we waited, there was no wait and the cost was only $15 for the two of us. The popcorn and two drinks was $17.85 and that supposedly was a packaged discount deal. Really? There were maybe between 50 and 75 in that large screening room. The movie was good, I think. My wife thought it was. I had read so much about it and heard so much about it, I'm not sure if it lived up to my expectations or not, but, it was okay. On Sunday we lunched at Olive Garden and everything turned out great. I also have a little surprise headed her way and it will be delivered this week. She knows it is coming. She doesn't know what it is. That's why it is a surprise. But, you caught that already. It is good that we can enjoy another Valentines where we used the occasion to spend time together. Just the two of us. That doesn't happen often enough. Time well spent.

I'm sure many of you remember those images of a would be prophet holding up his sign that says: "Repent, the end is near!" Looking around at everything that is going on in our nation, our culture, and in our world, I'm beginning to wonder if something big is about to happen and I'm talking about this in terms of biblical proportions. I'll soon mark the 70th year of my sojourn here, Lord willing, and I can tell you there are things happening that are hard to make sense of. This political stuff with this set of candidates running for President is about as weird and absurd as anything I've ever imagined, much less seeing it play out in real life. Now, with the death of one of if not the most conservative supreme court justices, well, it's almost like a snowball effect. We could well be looking at a time when any legal restraint at all will no longer exist. Feels very scary to me. I know that everyone who has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ will be okay. I also know that everyone who has not believed is not okay. This is what God has revealed to us in His Word. I think about how it was in Noah's day. Everything went along as normal until it wasn't normal anymore. There came a day when the door of the ark was closed. By God Himself. The Apostle Peter revealed how the final end had not come yet because God was still allowing time for men, women, boys and girls to get right with Him. (2nd Peter Chapter 3) My reading of our current times tells me that today would be a good time to do business with God. Amen.

I'm not into emotional gimmicks or attempting to manipulate a response. I'm just sharing a restlessness in my bones, so to speak. In general, I believe we have been living in the last days since our Savior ascended into heaven. People of faith have always attempted to live in anticipation of the Lord's return. And, yes, I do remember my grandparents saying they had trouble taking in how things were going downhill during their time here on earth. The good news is that God knows all about it including when, where, and how. We can be sure of that. We can trust Him. One of the things coming out of the Apostle Peter's thoughts on end times was his challenging question to us all, "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,..." (2nd Peter 3:11) That pretty much tells us what we should be doing as we occupy until He comes back. (from the parable spoken by our Lord, Luke 19:11-13) Okay. That should do it for today. It was on my heart so I shared it. May God bless each one is my prayer. And, pray for me as well. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, February 15, 2016

“If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people.” ― Victor Cousin

Welcome back. I trust you had a restorative weekend and now it is time to get hold of the day that we have been granted, this one falling on Monday, February 15, 2016. It is President's Day and I know that will help some with traffic in and around the metroplex, but, for those of us who live out in the boonies, that is, if there are any boonies left, it really doesn't make that much difference. I saw a news report last week about a Methodist Church that was offering Ash Wednesday services on a drive through basis. The minister uses ashes to make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of those participating. It has to do with Lent and it is a traditional ritual observed for many years. I remember the first time I encountered someone with that stuff on their forehead. I suppose I had not been exposed to much in the way of religions and their practices. I was at a cafeteria and the lady serving had what looked like soot on her forehead. Being the courteous gentleman I was raised up to be I told her she had something on her head. She looked at me and smiled and said, "Thanks, but it is my religion." I was of course embarrassed. She was, however, very gracious and maybe even amused by my ignorance. I was young at the time. Okay? Just me, but when I thought about how that drive through deal might offer a breakfast bagel with the ritual but that would likely be mixing up too many ethnic or religious traditions. Don't get all puffed up. I'm just joking. Not making fun of people. Just joking.

A little humor. That's all. Nothing more. I read last week on a pastor's twitter feed this jewel: "Every day is Fat Tuesday if you are Southern Baptist." He was poking fun at himself. When I saw his tweet I immediately thought of my upbringing and the legendary all day services with dinner on the grounds. My grandmother would stand behind that table dishing up her delicacies. There was always a line waiting for her cornbread dressing. That was her thing. Of course growing up our family enjoyed Granny Mac's prowess in the kitchen on a regular basis. My mom is also an excellent cook. She reminded me the other day how that after a couple of trial runs we kids preferred our friends to spend the night in our home, not the other way around. Why? We kids may not have been that bright but we soon learned that not every mom cooks like our mom or like our grandmother. Sorry. Not even close. In fact, some of my experiences were so bad I was tempted to run away from my friends house even though my home was several miles away. That's why I smiled when the preacher mentioned being Baptist and eating. Before I had diabetes I used to tell people that since God used the metaphor of treating us like well fed calves then I was just getting a head start in my eating. (Malachi 4:2) Again, I'm just joking so don't take what I say so seriously. And, while you are at it, could you please pass me that platter of fried chicken? Thank you very much.

I know that on some days you must wonder who does my proofreading. That, of course, would be none other than that famous trio, one more time, me, myself, and I. Because of this I can miss something in my review and checking. It happens. There are some folks out there that really get their brain cells tied in knots because they're self appointed as volunteer grammar police officers. I used those three in particular, there, their, and they're because those are constantly complained about. Here's what is funny to me. Folks who like to point out other people's misuse of words at times have grammatical errors in the posting of their critique. That's pretty funny to me. It's like watching that road rage clip where the guy goes all crazy and tries to bump the car next to him out of anger but succeeds in only wrecking his own vehicle. I'm not saying I would enjoy if someone got hurt but that poetic justice played out in front of you does make one feel a little better. Social media has proven one thing. Grammar and writing skills are either not emphasized much anymore or a whole lot of folks skipped a whole lot of classes. I say that without putting anything I write up as an example of how to do it. I remember having a short story reviewed as part of a writing class. I thought it was pretty good. When I got it back it looked like someone had bled all over the page. It had that much red ink. Interestingly enough, at the bottom a notation indicated the instructor also thought it was pretty good. What does that teach us class? There's always room for improvement, my friend, always. I should know. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, February 12, 2016

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.” ― Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Yep. You did get it right. It is Friday, February 12, 2016, and I bring you greetings from my little workstation here at the ole blogger ranch to wherever you happen to be, via email, or out there somewhere on that big information highway that spans the globe, the internet roadway, that goes from sea to shining sea. Or something like that. Here's a little ditty to honor my Valentine who has been my soulmate, (not sure what that means exactly but it sounded applicable), for nearly 52 years. Life consists of much forth and back conversation. Chit chat if you will. The wife and I have our own way of communicating. I come in from work and through a series of forth and back exchanges, short sentences, grunts, and motions, she gathers what kind of day I had. I typically make my way over to the recliner. She dutifully observes. When I grab hold of the lever and she sees the chair go back she often has a very short response, "Uh oh." A few minutes later she sees that I am now sitting up and she asks if I enjoyed my nap. I ask what makes her think I was napping.
She reports that either they have a new alarm system nearby at our local volunteer fire station or it was me snoring. I never pictured her as a comedy person but she seems to go for it at times. We both laugh. And, we go through similar routines fairly often. I suppose in some ways we have our own version of Fibber MaGee and Molly, Burns and Allen, or Peg and Riley, Desi and Lucy, or maybe even Ralph and Alice. If you don't recognize those that's okay. Some will. I thought about throwing in the Bickersons but we actually don't have that much carping at each other. I didn't say we had zero but certainly not enough to mention. You can look up any and all of those references if you are curious and as I always say: My sweet Valentine, well, she is the greatest and I should know!

Several people talked about how sweet the fellowship was during our time of saying our final goodbyes to our dear Bro. Milton. Country folk. They do know how to surround folks with hugs of love and support in times like this. The fellow who owns our Company here in Texas called over to order some flowers for the service. He has some kin folks who live in Evans, Louisiana. He called a florist where one of his cousin-in-laws works. He told her what he wanted and she asked, "Well, how in the world do you know Bro. Milton?" Everybody knows everybody in a rural community. The response their local fellowship of believers demonstrated in Bro. Milton's passing reminded me of what the Apostle Paul said about how that as members we are a part of one another. When one hurts the entire body hurts. (1st Corinthians 12) Their response was commendable. We who live in a more city environment try to do this as best we can but often it doesn't seem to be the same. Maybe it's the speed of our lives, schedules, and in general the busyness of being perhaps too busy. We will not soon forget how those people went out of their way to love on our grieving family. It was an example that we all can learn from and thank God for. Amen.

You may be wondering about the process that comes up with what ends up on the electronic page each day. Me too. I've been wondering about that for a long time. I know some of what I write about has to be tiresome and maybe even irritating to some but I can't actually do too much about it. I never write to offend but I write from my heart and from my viewpoint. This inevitably will lead to some friction since not everyone sees things like I do. Hey, it's my blog. I'm not making laws here. There was a little old lady once in our Church a long time ago who had as her philosophy that she would always vote for one party and only that party no matter what because her mom and dad did it that way and taught her to do the same. I could not have disagreed with her more but I never even thought about loving her any less for it. The other day when I talked about the humility of Bro. Milton and I pictured many who stand in the pulpit and identify more with Jesus with a whip in His hand overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple as opposed to reflecting the heart of Jesus as He wept over the hardness of the hearts of those He came to seek and to save. I thought about that. It was what came to me. So I shared it. That might not be well received by some but I felt like it helps to illustrate what I was attempting to communicate. Okay. We are not going to be able to do much about the process but we can pray for one another and seek to love others the way that Jesus loved each of us, sacrificially. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll see you again come next Monday. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

At a retirement ceremony the boss lauded the retiree: "Today we would like to thank our colleague for his service to our company. He is someone who does not know the meaning of an impossible task, and he also does not know the meaning of lunch break, and cannot grasp the meaning of the word no. Because of this we have all pooled our resources and would like to now present him with a dictionary." (copied)

Okay. Here's the situation. It's Thursday, February 11, 2016, and I appreciate our little time here together to get the day going. I do get input from time to time from those who try to keep up with my sharing. One dear lady had a pretty astute observation. She said it appeared to her that my run ins and near misses with wildlife and other happenings might be greatly reduced if I wasn't running up and down the roads at 3:30 a.m. each day. She may not have said it exactly like that but that's what I got from what she said. How can I argue with that analysis? In many ways I'm probably encroaching into their domain, so to speak. I'll certainly keep that in mind as I continue to approach the door marked 70 but I'm not sure when I will be ready adjust my current schedule. The wife and I have been talking some about it and I think we will just have to see how things unfold. She thinks she is ready for me to be around all day every day but as we all know, that remains to be seen. I did receive a note the other day from a fellow who pretty much has a consistent view that the idea behind a leisure based concept of formal retirement is mostly a modern invention. We do know clearly that we never retire from the work, ministry, and calling God has for us, that is, until we make our final journey home. In the meantime, couldn't I just keep a little more decent schedule? In a nutshell, the one I follow works for me. There's a lot to think and pray about. Until further notice the critters I encounter, (both animal and human), and I will just have to figure out how to do our best to stay out of each others way.

There's a lot of advice out there for folks thinking about retirement. One recommended that you take a week off and do nothing but watch daytime television before making your decision. They do have those retirement calculators that attempt to tell you when it's the best time for you to retire. One fellow said he put in all his information and was told he could survive on his retirement income but only until tomorrow evening. Another retiree lamented how that when he left the Company he served for so many years, when he was anticipating his future where time would no longer be important to him, well, they gave him a gold watch to mark the occasion. A word of warning came from one experienced source: If you are ready to retire and you look forward to getting old, doctor visits, medical tests, and all that goes with it, well, congratulations. Another discovered two new best friends, Bed and Couch. He said he spent a whole lot of his time hanging out with them. Often those who sacrificed their health to earn enough money to retire find themselves in retirement spending all the money they have trying to maintain their health. Some are able to leave behind in the workplace a lot of tension, however, that typically has been found to be connected to the size of their pension. Some of these anecdotes are humorus. Some not so much. But, they do point out the transition challenges involved. That's why I am still thinking about thinking about it. Later. Of course.

Since I've mostly talked about retirement here's a little story that I thought was pretty funny. That would be me. Not you. Me. But, someone might think so also. ~  A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician, who was also a member of the congregation, was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner. He was delayed so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited. "I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set, and, when stopped by the police, had almost murdered the officer. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his place of business, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs. I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people." Just as the priest finished his talk the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and give his speech. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived," said the politician. "In fact, I had the honor of being the first one to go to him in confession." ~ Oh my. Have a wonderful rest of the day and I will see what comes up for our next topic of conversation. Until then, may God bless us all. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Good morning and welcome. Today is Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Just last week we were over in Louisiana for the viewing time for our dear Bro. Milton. Talk about walking down memory lane, I saw people that we actually double dated with some 52 plus years ago. One fellow reminded me of the wreck I had trying to make it out to the Church to sit with my girl. He remembered that? I had come around a curve probably a little faster than I should and found the road to be fully occupied with cows. I made the decision to go to the ditch and I hit a tree. He had forgotten the details but he did remember the incident. The Church back in those days went by the name New Hope Baptist and my buddies in the nearby town where we lived, who didn't like the idea of me going out to a foreign community, said I was essentially going to No Hope Baptist. That evening I also visited with folks that I grew up across the street from and because of how God works these people had become devoted friends of our dear Bro. Milton. We say it's a small world but it really is God's world and He is at work weaving the fabric of life including these blessed connections. I actually confessed Christ in that building after hearing a sermon by my girlfriend's dad, on a Saturday night. I used to tell people that when she and I married I had a lot of indebtedness to her family. Her dad was preaching the night I was saved. Her brother Milton married us, his first and our first. Her dad became a faithful mentoring supporter to me. And, Bro. Milton and I enjoyed hundreds of hours of fellowship, discussions about the Bible and other weighty spiritual matters. And, her parents gave me the Proverbs 31 woman that I have been blessed with for these nearly 52 years. We traveled to honor the life and times of our dear Bro. Milton with our presence but in the process of doing so we also rejoiced in the way that God has worked throughout these years. May He be praised. Amen.

Don't get the idea that it has all been a tip toe through the tulips. Believe me, we have had our times of difficulty, challenge, and yes, even heartache. Much of it as a result of our own doing. That too is a part of the race. The human race. The fallen race. The good news is how that God is able to work things out according to His plan, purpose, and His will. I'm not so young anymore and I know that at times I'm prone to be somewhat sentimental in my reflection about the life that God has granted to me. I think about the Rusty Goodman song and the way he expressed the journey with all of its ups and downs concluding with this thought: "Thank you Lord, I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now." I know people who live with a sense of regret over not having lived out or achieved their life dreams. They dwell on how things might have been. I can tell you this. That will not change anything and it typically is about as unhealthy as it can be. Sure. I can think of many ways in which I could have done things differently and better as it relates to serving the Lord and my family. However, we live in the reality of God's provision today. One family member commented after Bro. Milton's homegoing service how they came away with a desire to be a better Christian. I can hear Bro. Milton hollering out, "Amen to that!" There's only one way to do that. It's by embracing and working on it today, you know, the one that God has granted to us. Amen.

I noticed how those that spoke at Bro. Milton's service struggled with describing him and his life without it sounding like they were somehow going overboard in their recognition. One even mentioned that if Bro. Milton could say something he would tell them to hush talking about him and talk more about Jesus instead. I'm glad they struggled because his humble spirit demonstrated throughout his life was something not only to be admired, but sadly, it was something that is often not that prevalent even in the lives of those who are in full time service for the Lord. Think about that. If I heard a theme it was about his unassuming selflessness and his humility. My view is that today we find ourselves often desiring a take no prisoner CEO type to lead in the Lord's work. Bro. Milton's life reminds me of what was said about Moses, where one translation puts it like this: "Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth." (Numbers 12:3) Okay. I'm going out on a limb here but honestly folks I can't think of too many pastors and Church leaders who are known by reputation for their humility. But God thought highly of it as a distinguishing feature in the life of Moses. Our Lord Himself in that great invitation made clear His heart, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:29) That will give me enough to dwell on for a long time to come. What say you? May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half." ~ Bum Phillips

Legendary coach Bum Phillips with his son Wade.
It is good to visit with everyone again on this Tuesday, February 9, 2016. The professional football addicts will now have to observe a time out until stuff gets going again. But there's March madness coming up for college basketball, the Stanley Cup for hockey, and the NBA championship, eventually. Spring training will start soon for major league baseball players. And, the Daytona 500 for NASCAR folks is right around the corner, scheduled for February 21. I find the older I get it is the less committed I am to sports in general. I did actually watch the entirety of this year's Super Bowl. I usually don't let much interfere with my scheduled bedtime but while the game was not spectacular to watch it was competitive enough to stay to the end. Plus, we were pulling for Peyton and the Broncos. The Broncos had several ex Houston Texans staff and players, (the total count I read was 12), who contributed to this great win including the head coach, Gary Kubiak, and the unbelievable showing of another ex Texan, the defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, son of the famous Houston Oilers Head Coach, the late Bum Phillips. If Gary and Wade were run off from Houston back in 2013, and if Wade was unemployed for all of 2014, then just how is it they could lead a team to winning the Super Bowl in 2016? That will always be the question and if it wasn't Houston it would be another team left scratching their heads. My take is that it seems to happen way too often to our teams. I could probably prove that. If I have to.

One of the things I hate most is when I forget about my coffee and it gets cold. I'm not talking about lukewarm, I'm talking cold cold. I look at it. It's not enough to go into the break room and reheat it in the microwave. It is Community, therefore, I will not throw it out. That doesn't leave me with a lot of options so I take a deep breath and down it. You think that strong coffee gets your attention when it is good and hot, well, just try chug a lugging it down when it's ice cold. I used to see Paw Paw do that with any left over from the night before. I made a mental note not to ever find myself doing that same thing. In his case it had time to thicken up overnight. I can still see him in my mind's eye winching as he practiced his philosophy in life, "Never waste anything. Period." I do know this. If you haven't had that sensation we used to call a cat running over your grave, well, swigging down some left over cold Community might just give you that experience. It has the connotation of a sudden onset shiver, or a shudder in your spine, just in case you are not up to date on rural colloquialisms. I'm not necessarily recommending it but I know some may be curious. I know the "Shiver me timbers" may be a little off but that's somewhat of a description of what I am talking about.

Sometimes the news headlines do get your attention. Here's one from yesterday that caught my eye: Man dies while participating in a 5 mile charity run sponsored by Krispy Kreme. Part of the rules required each runner to eat a dozen donuts while they were competing in the race. The 58 year old man experienced chest pains before collapsing. That's probably not what the Krispy Kreme folks had in mind. Then I saw the photo of presidential candidate and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders' bus being towed by a wrecker. That photo was widely posted and re-posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I suppose the inscription on the bus in the photo was too much of a target. It said in huge lettering, "A Future To Believe In." Did I mention it was being towed? I know. You got it the first time. I realize my aim is ever so slightly off this morning. I at least have an excuse. I had one of those latent out of body rapid eye movement deep sleep hang overs to get my day started. That happens when I wake up too early, go back to sleep, and I forget to pass go, I don't collect $200, and I nose dive back into a deep sleep state. In other words, my wake up mechanism was temporarily stalled and I got up about 30 minutes later than I normally do. It happens. I looked at the clock and it was 3:50 a.m. The wife even commented about me 'sleeping over'. At any rate, I am thankful to be able to again offer a prayer that God will provide for each and everyone. See you next time. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, February 8, 2016

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Now that we are done with the Super Bowl I suppose we can all get on with our lives. Many of us older folks were pulling for Peyton Manning because, you know, he's like us. Give me a break. He's 39. My youngest son will soon be six years older than Peyton. But, it's always good to have the team win that you are pulling for. Here we go. Welcome back to another day and this one happens to fall on back-to-work Monday, February 8, 2016. Speaking of football, last week one of the local schools in our area celebrated the 99th day of this school year by honoring the player who wears 99 for the Houston Texans, J. J. Watt. Most of them wore their 99 jerseys. Their photo went viral and their story was even featured on ESPN. We have some of the kids in our local fellowship of believers that attend that school and I thought it was a very clever idea. Let me give a brief update on my latest near contact with some wildlife. They obviously have not gotten the message yet because again, I'm going down the road and doing my thing when I spot a doe coming towards the roadway. I slowed down but my headlights must have spooked her. She turned to run but a high fence was in her way. She turned back towards me causing me to again slam on my brakes. She turned again and this time found a path next to the fence and darted away. Around and around she went and where she would stop I certainly didn't know. I think that was my first spinner. I'm pretty sure my blood pressure was ever so slightly elevated but I continued on my journey. Just as I was settling down I caught some movement in the outside lane. Something or someone was there. It turned out to be a man riding a bicycle. He was wearing camouflage. On a bicycle with no lights. At 3:45 a.m. Okay. I suppose I had one of those Granny Mac moments, "What in the world is he doing? He's bound to be up to no good." See, y'all thought me making it from point A to point B each day was a piece of cake. Or maybe like Paw Paw Mac used to say, "It's as easy as falling off a log and not nearly as dangerous."  Right? Maybe not since now you know the truth.

I do not think I suffer from a persecution complex. I probably have plenty of other complexes to worry about but that's likely not one of them. It's just that they seem out to get me. They are lurking in the bushes. Riding bicycles without lights. Waiting. Plotting. Using scare tactics. They probably stay up late at night thinking up ways to unnerve the old man driving down the road in the white pickup. No. I didn't say it was a conspiracy. But, come to think about it, there are times when they seem to coordinate with each other. Thanks for thinking about that one. Before you send me the number for a shrink or you recommend some books on mental health, be aware that I am just having a little fun. I did share exactly what happened but as for it messing with my mind, I've hardly even given it a thought, or two, or three, or four, and maybe even several more. It could be one of those circle of life deals but I wasn't asked if I wanted to play along or not. I thought this life deal was all about opting in or opting out. Or maybe that's the healthcare system. Now I am really confused. At any rate I'm thankful that thus far I have been able to swerve, dodge, and brake my way each day without an accident. I also pray that it stays that way. Amen.

The other day I read about an actor who has been declared clinically dead after a prop failure during a live on stage performance. He was doing a scene where he was being hung and something went terribly wrong. Somehow the equipment used for the scene malfunctioned and he was critically injured. I tell you, when they say that truth is stranger than fiction, I believe it. These kinds of unintended consequences are certainly not new. A historical footnote from 620 BC told of a popular lawmaker who was smothered to death when supporters showered him with their cloaks in adulation. I read about a king who was mortally wounded when his throne broke beneath him and he fell. During the Victorian age, a prominent aristocratic young lady hid her boyfriend in a cupboard to keep her dad from finding him. He died of asphyxiation. In 1977 a Formula 1 driver died when hit in the head by a small fire extinguisher while speeding along at 170 miles per hour. He actually hit and killed a race official who was running with the fire extinguisher in hand trying to get to a car in flames. There were many, many others I found but needless to say we just never know. That's why we all should have our preparations made for when, regardless of the how, we leave this life and enter into eternity. My advice is to make peace with God through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That way you are covered, period, no matter what. Amen. ....More later.