Thursday, March 31, 2016

“Thurber was asked by a correspondent: "Why did you have a comma in the sentence, 'After dinner, the men went into the living-room'?" And his answer was probably one of the loveliest things ever said about punctuation. "This particular comma," Thurber explained, "was Ross's way of giving the men time to push back their chairs and stand up.” ― Lynne Truss, Author of: "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation"

Hello out there, it's the last day of March, the 31st, in this fast moving year of 2016. My grammar utility program has some splaining to do. In my blog the other day I had a wrong word that made it through. The famous grammar utility does have a built in spelling checker but he allowed the word visior to stand up. I had meant it to be the word, visitor. The word visior is ancient but legitimate. It was from Shakespeare and it has to do with a piece on a helmet with slits in it. You got it. It later became the word visor! Okay. But, at the same time, he thought me using the word felled was inappropriate. Really? I had said the boy felled three ducks. He didn't like that usage. But, if you look it up, it clearly states that it has to do with knocking, striking, shooting, cutting down and causing to fall. At any rate, my other grammar source, she sent me a note and said that I might want to check the spelling of my intended 'visitors' word. I appreciate her letting me know that and I will be consulting with Mr. Grammar expert to let him know that he doesn't know everything. I will also need to remind him one more time that software removal is an option. He will need to step up his game if he is going to hang out with me. What's that? He may be totally confused based on how I write? You would have to bring that up. Okay. I'll let him stay for a while longer and see how things go. He did see what you said. I hope you are satisfied. He has now decided to flag the word visior. I just wish he would make up his mind.

This may be one of the strangest obituaries I've ever read. I removed all the family name references. He died at age 74. Here's some from the published obituary: "Dad was born in Flint, MI on November 25, 1939, and deceased on June 18, 2014. The family has suffered significant losses and devastating embarrassments. To reserve what little dignity our family was allowed to have, we decided not to have a funeral or a memorial service. For all who wish to send condolences, please address them to the family. For many years our dad has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); we don't know whether it was the result of witnessing his foster mom decease from a diabetic stroke at age 4 and laying with her for 8 hours until his foster dad returned home from work and told him that she had passed and would never wake up again. Or from being in the Army when the military was extremely segregated or a combination of both. Dad was not perfect, and he knew that but he tried his best to be perfect as he could; when he fell short, he spent a great deal of his time pointing out the unfair imperfections of others at anytime and anywhere. This personality flaw rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and turned a lot of former friends and family alike into enemies and now his children have inherited his enemies. Dad usually meant well but did not know how to convey the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. It takes a very resilient person to survive our dad's environment. Speaking from experience, as a son, I took his criticism as a challenge and did my best to prove it wrong. For those who know our dad, know that he was truthful in what he said but it was painful. Those of us who were resilient, appreciated dad's critiquing of our flaws and his truthfulness after we learned not to take it personal. It takes a great deal of time to recover from our dad's arsenal of insults and many never did recover. We as his children don't have a clue as to who or how many people our dad has offended; all that we know is that we have paid a steep price for it. As we ask God to forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us; we personally want to apologize to the greater Flint community for our father's inconsiderate insults and any that we may have committed. "We send our greatest sympathy." The new generation in our family "understands that the best offense is to never offend at all." Thanks to all of my dad's friends and family who showed support in our times of need. Please pray for us in our time of healing."

There's a lot that could be said about the summation of this man's life. One thing that jumped out at me is how that our actions do influence, not only ourselves but others. While it appears the overall impact of this man's life was largely negative, I think it refreshing how the children decided to try and make amends and perhaps make a new start. No doubt some of his issues were due to his medical condition, however, it surely would not excuse his lifetime of inflicting pain on others. I do know that I would love to change some things from my past. Some things that were said in haste or in anger. Actions that were taken. While we know we can never go back and change history, we can change our present, and we can re-write our life story, with the help of Almighty God through the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives in us through the presence of God the Holy Spirit. That's how a hopeless situation can be turned into one reflecting hopefulness. That should be encouraging to us all because most of us have brokenness as a part of our story. That is why Jesus came. And, I, for one, am so glad He did! Amen. ....More later..

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." ~ E. L. Doctorow, (1931-2015), described as one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century.

I can't always be sure why my daily episodes end up being a little less than what I would hope for. Maybe it's an overhang of tiredness from all that's been going on. Maybe the gray cells have a cold. You know. They become thick, like syrup left out in the cold. Worst of all, maybe I am beginning to run out of material. I know what some of you are thinking. I've never let the lack of material slow me down before. I can assure you it is not from a lack of trying. Let's see if we can muck our way through this dry spell. Hello and welcome to Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Okay. I am curious. I saw the commercials for the movie 'Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice' and wondered why they would be fighting each other. I don't intend on seeing the movie but I did want to know. I found a fellow on the internet who had written three pages about the movie. Oh, my word! While I did find out the reason for the feud I was not prepared to read an assessment from someone who obviously is obsessed with any and everything that pertains to comic book superheroes. He thought the movie was okay in some parts but he could not believe the liberties the movie makers took regarding the historical background and meaning of these larger than life figures. Who knew? There are people who know just about everything about these mythical characters. Everything. I would say he needs to get a life but he might well think the same thing if he were to read some of my stuff. Oh yeah. I do know why Batman was all bent out of shape about Superman. I'll give you a hint. It has to do with collateral damage but I will not spill the details for those of you who may end up going to see it.

There's an old story that illustrates the importance of noticing and appreciating the wonderful things that happen in life. A little boy had a lab puppy that he spent most of his free time training to retrieve. He could tell the dog was going to be great. He could hardly wait for duck season to begin. When it finally arrived he took the dog down to their pond and they sat in the blind. In due time, the first string of ducks flew over and the boy raised his shotgun and felled three of them. The lab was straining to get after the ducks so the boy let him go. To the boy's surprise his lab didn't swim out to the ducks but rather he walked on top of the water, fetched the ducks, and returned and laid them at the boy's feet. The boy was stunned. He thought to himself how that no one would believe it if he told them what had happened. What he needed was someone to witness this miraculous talent. He invited his good friend to come with him the next day. They waited and when the ducks flew over they were able to kill a couple. The dog was raring to go. He turned him loose and the dog did exactly what he had done the day before, he walked on the water to fetch the ducks. Once back in the blind the boy turned to his friend and asked what he thought about what he had seen. The boy shook his head and pointed out that he had noticed the dog obviously did not know how to swim. How many times have we observed God's greatness at work around us but yet we found something to criticize?

I may have heard a version of that story as told by the late Jerry Clower, who was a country boy humorist. My favorite of the Clower stories is this one: ~ Newgene Ledbetter, who would get down on his all fours and “play dog,” was known as the “Lyin´ Ledbetter.” “He´d rather climb a pole to tell you a lie than to stand on the ground and tell you the truth. One evening, I was eating supper at the home of Uncle Versey and Aunt Pet Ledbetter and his cousins after a hard day´s work. “All of ´em was there - Ardell, Burnell, Raynell, W.L., Lanell, Odell, Eudell, Marcelle, Claude, Newgene and Clovis.” Newgene looked out in the yard and hollered, “Awwwhhh, there´s a lion in the yard, there´s a lion in the yard and he´s gon´ eat us up!” Turns out it was a “big collie dog and, because it was the hot summertime, somebody had sheared all the hair off of that dog except for a ring around his neck and a patch on his tail.” Uncle Versey Ledbetter wheeled around and slapped Newgene down in the middle of the floor, stood straddle of him and told him to “go out yonder in the side room and get down on yore knees and beg God to forgive you of the sin of lyin´. Go now and do it.” In a little while, Newgene came back and told “Papa” that while he was praying “the Lord talked di-rect-ly back to me.” Blubbering and cautioning his offspring, “Newgene. . . son. . . don´t lie about God,” Uncle Versey asked him if he´d mind “sharin´ with us what the Lord told you.” “Naw, I don´t mind tellin´ you,” said Newgene. “The Lord told me the first time he saw that dog, he thought it was a lion, too.” ~ I've shared that one before but it's been a long time. Well, I've muddled through and I do hope you found something that brought a smile. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fatigued from an over production of too much disgust!

Hello, and welcome to Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Thanks for showing up today here at our regular meeting place. I am thankful to report that my sister Frances continues to make improvements and will be going home soon, perhaps as early as today, to continue her full recovery. Thanks to everyone for your prayers on her behalf. A number of the people I know have pretty much stopped paying attention to the political mess being played out each day. I think we crossed that barrier of 'how low can it go?' a long time ago and for the most part, people are just over fatigued from so much disgust. We first wondered if this is the best our nation has to offer but then more or less bailed out when we saw it was going to be not much more than a continuing circus sideshow. Some might call me pessimistic but I can't help but consider how what we are seeing is what we actually deserve. I keep thinking we will all get up one morning and this will have been a very weird dream. Alas, that doesn't seem to be a potential at this time. Therefore, I, have to a certain degree joined others who have disavowed a major contribution of their time in trying to keep up with this sleazy parade. They tell us the masses are for the most part not even tuned into all of this. For once, maybe they are the lucky ones. Just sayin.....

Sunday evening at the hospital I went down to the cafeteria to fetch some drinks. The check out person was a rather large black lady with a beautiful smile. As I approached the register she said, "About the pickup." I responded, "Mam?" She said, "The Ford. Obviously, there was a mix up last year but I'm still waiting and I'm still wishing, Santa." I then understood and pulled out one of our souvenir cards and handed it to her. She looked at it and looked at me and commented, "Just look at you." She was very excited. She told me the card wasn't enough and motioned me to give her a hug. I did. The nurse in line behind me was having a good laugh. As I was leaving she made her last appeal, "Red or black but a Ford, you hear?" I assured her that I had heard and made my way back up to the room. As I was on the elevator I couldn't help but think, "Oh what fun it is to ride the Santa sleigh, again, even in March."

I mentioned the visitors we had in our services on Resurrection Day this past Sunday. That's a good thing. It's also a common occurrence for those who do make an effort for special holiday services. Someone posted on Facebook the joke made by a nationally prominent late night talk show. He said that people who only show up for Easter services once a year are like those who only floss ten minutes before they go to the dentist. I get the point but I am still happy anytime someone attends our services regardless of the occasion. I would offer one word of caution to any and all who come under the hearing of "thus says the word of the Lord." If God moves in your heart: RESPOND. There's a huge danger in not doing so. The more one resists, the easier it is to harden the heart and there could easily come a time when that tug of the heart is no longer felt. That, my friend, is not a good thing. That would be my word of advice for today because in addition to this very serious situation, one can never count on a next time because we just never know. We do live a fragile life in a fragile world, therefore, hear God's calling and respond while there is yet time. Amen. ....More later..

Monday, March 28, 2016

"The only way to get home from work on time is to take the day off …. even then, you’re cutting it close." ~ copied

Top of the morning to one and all on this Monday, March 28, 2016. It's good to be able to visit again as we seek to get this work week up and going. The other day I had to make a journey on behalf of the Company. I got out on one of the main highways but had to be diverted onto a side road since the major highway was blocked. Something had happened up ahead to one of those big trucks moving one of those fabricated homes. There appeared to be quite a bit of debris. I suppose that's why they called a caution. The diverted road was jammed due to all the rerouted traffic. I took some side roads and finally got out to the interstate. I made my journey. On the way back I determined to take a different route just in case the other highway was still messed up. I got nearly back to the turn off road leading to our business but it was blocked by a patrol car. I was forced to go through a little town where school was letting out and the traffic was literally moving at 10 MPH. I made it through the little town and circled to come in the back way. That access was also blocked by a patrol car. They diverted me to another by-pass route. It took nearly 45 minutes to get less than 2 miles. Having made it to the other side of the access, I was now coming from a completely different direction where I discovered another patrol car blocking the road. I learned there had been a natural gas rupture due to construction and they estimated those access roads to be closed for several more hours. I had one last shot. I had to travel another 45 minutes out of my way but I finally made it. Hallelujah! What was normally a 90-minute trip had turned into a nearly 4-hour saga but I was very thankful to have finally made my way back. I've often been accused of going in circles but this time I plead guilty, in the first degree!

We never know what a day might bring. Last Friday in the midst of all our preparations for a Saturday special program for children put on by our local fellowship and in our getting ready for our family gathering for Resurrection Sunday, we got word that my eldest sister had fallen and hit her head. She had been rushed to a local clinic but they immediately sent her by ambulance to the Houston medical center for neurosurgical observation. We hurried there to see after her and to support her three daughters who had come to help. They put her in ICU. It was Good Friday. The waiting area for that neurosurgical ICU was large but it was nearly standing room only. Late Friday afternoon. We know that medical center is a very busy place and that particular specialty is just one of hundreds that likely have the same activity on a 24-hour basis. It still kind of grabs you to see so many folks anxiously awaiting word from their loved ones. We appreciate all who are praying for our sister Frances. We were there again yesterday afternoon. She is improving in some ways but because of the trauma she suffered, she still has a ways to go. May God help all those dealing with these types of challenges. Amen.

We started out our three day weekend with certain expectations. But, that's not how it all turned out. One thing is clear. God is our help in our time of need. My sister asked and I was blessed to be able to share a prayer with her. That's what we can do when things don't go according to how we planned. Cry out to God. We did have a most wonderful Resurrection Day service with many folks coming who are not there on a regular basis. That's wonderful because anytime people hear the word of God they come in contact with the truth and we have God's own Word that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) Amen. We were also wonderfully blessed to have a time of feasting and fellowship with our family. Don't take these blessings for granted. I know on my way in this morning I was counting them out before the Lord and giving Him thanks. That's not a bad way to start our day. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later..

Friday, March 25, 2016

GOOD FRIDAY: "It is finished!"

Good Friday morning to one and all on this Good Friday, March 25, 2016. I found this devotion on this website, (, and I thought it did an excellent job in summarizing what this Day was all about so many years ago:

~ "When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit." (John 19:30)

What was finished? Did he mean his long agonizing suffering? Hanging on the cross for six hours? His life of only thirty-three years? All duties assigned to him by his heavenly Father? Jesus probably had none of that in mind when he uttered those profound words. What was finished was the curse mankind had been under since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. It must have given him great pleasure to have an end to it as God had been waiting a long time to reverse it. What was finished was the Old Covenant. When Jesus died on the cross we passed from the age of Law to the age of Grace. At the moment of Christ's death "the veil of the temple was torn in two." (Luke 23:45) The separation between God and man was removed and fellowship and intimacy were restored. What was finished was payment in full for all of the sins of the world. Like the one who makes his last mortgage payment, the deed to the property now passes into his hands with great joy. God bought us back and though the price was dear; now it was finished. Because he said, "it is finished" some things are finished for us too. If we choose his cross we are finished with sin, finished with empty living for ourselves, finished with a long distance relationship with our Creator. These three words must rank among the very best that the Lord ever uttered.

No wonder they call it GOOD Friday! ~

Enjoy your weekend while seeking to remember what Jesus did to make us right in the sight of God. Amen. ....More later. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fox Network: It is the telling of the story of Jesus Christ’s life on Earth, but set in modern day times. The show was shot at nine different locations in New Orleans in front of an audience of over 25,000 people.

Today is Thursday, March 24, 2016. We watched the modern contemporization depicting the last week of Jesus last Sunday evening. It was a live broadcast entitled The Passion on the Fox Network. I thought they took way too many liberties in the lyrics and music they used, however, much of the dialogue itself was directly quoted from The Scriptures. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17) We came away being moved in our hearts by this retelling of this greatest event in human history. It was cold in New Orleans, yet, thousands of people came out to participate in this event. It did not generate great ratings but some 7 million people did watch. While the voice over script talked a lot about love for others, the dignity of human beings, and world peace, the Gospel as presented from The Scriptural record was not hidden. Therefore, the truth about the purpose of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection came through. This means that any of those 7 million who were spoken to by the Spirit could have responded by placing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That's an uncommon occurrence for broadcast networks where any mention of the only way of salvation through Jesus is typically off-limits as a matter of practice. Think about it. Someone may have tuned in to see the spectacle but when the Scriptures went forth, God spoke to them, and when He does they must make a decision. If they said yes, (Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13), they were instantly changed from death to life to live forever and ever with their Lord. (John 5: 24) Amen.

Could it happen that way? It not only could but it has before. Many times! We know a tremendous man of God who came to Christ by watching a TV program. He was at home as a teenager by himself. He watched a Billy Graham broadcast. He felt something tugging inside of him as the truth went forth. When Dr. Graham called for those to come forward, he knelt in his room and called on Jesus to save him. He didn't know anything about the Bible but he knew he had been changed by the power of God. He got a Bible and started reading. He began in the Book of Genesis and when he came to Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, he saw the many laws that God had given to His called out nation, Israel. He didn't know what he should do but he started trying to implement those laws into his life. He stopped eating pork and did his best to observe the other laws. Finally, he connected with a local called out New Testament assembly where they helped him to understand more fully what the Scriptures say about his new life in Christ. Today that man pastors a vibrant Church and heads up a Bible teaching ministry for lay people that is worldwide in its scope. He chose to watch. God chose to speak. He responded. The rest is history. Amen.

It's a good thing that people are drawn to the Resurrection account at this time of year. We all need to think about Him and His death, burial, and resurrection on behalf of His created human family. I talked to a fellow last week that was saying he needed to get him some clothes to attend the Easter service with his mom. He said they tried to make all the biggies, Christmas, Easter, and Mother's Day. His thoughts most likely reflect the viewpoint of many who see pleasing mom as the reason for attending a Church service. My mom is very happy that we are faithful to our local assembly. But, we do not attend in order for her to be happy. We go to honor the One whose life, death, and resurrection is a reality in our day by day living. I don't have a problem with folks that attend to honor their mom. I pray that in so doing they will come to know and honor the One who died for them. I'm not sure if today's edition qualifies as a sermonette but it is the truth. I have confident there's something in today's blog that can be of help to any and all who read it. I know that to be true because it's mostly all about Him. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." ~ Charles Dickens

Just as I was getting ready to announce a final internet reading of 34 degrees for our location this past Monday, the fellow who takes care of our tool and supply room spoke up and made it clear that at some point it had been much colder. He said before daylight when he opened the outside metal door it had real ice on it. He reasoned that it would have had to have been freezing or below for some period of time for that ice to form. How can I argue with an eyewitness account? At any rate, it's not that cold this morning and I do send out a greeting to one and all on this Wednesday, March 23, 2016. To honor my shivering eyewitness weather observer I think I will enjoy another cup of Community while I bang out today's edition on my keyboard. I will admit that at times I do say the wrong thing. Not always intentionally. When the eyewitness weather guy came into the office explaining his cold weather observation I noticed that he was dressed in camo attire. Insulated hunting gear. Jokingly, I asked if he was attempting to be invisible. He didn't seem to take so kindly to that remark. Very sarcastically he said, "How about I'm just trying to stay warm?" Some people. The joke just kind of zings by their noggin or something. Maybe he enjoys the warmer temps. I didn't know. I really didn't. He should be glad it was me talking to him and not Paw Paw Mac. "Hey, I'll give you something to think about, what are you going to do when it really turns cold.?"

Just so you know, that even though we do have heat in the shop office where I work, I have not turned it on this week. Not even once. I know our guys that work out in the operations area like to come into the office and smirkily talk about how warm it is but it's not because I have had a heater on. Of course out in their area the big bay doors are open and I know the breeze out there can be very cool indeed. See how much we enjoy dealing with the weather conditions here. The give and take is always part of what makes the job environment rewarding. Within reason, of course. In fact, the work place has its own subject area for funny stories. Here's one that brought a smile to me. ~ Sam walks into his boss’s office and says “Sir, I’ll be straight with you, I know the economy isn’t great but I have over three companies after me and I would like to respectfully ask for a raise.” After a few minutes of haggling the boss finally agrees to a 5% raise and Sam happily gets up to leave. “By the way,” asks the boss, “Which three companies are after you?” “The electric company, water company, and the phone company!” ~ One more. ~ A young executive is leaving the office late one evening when he finds the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. “Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document here and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work for me?” “Certainly,” the young executive says. He turns the machine on, inserts the paper, and presses the start button. “Excellent, excellent!” says the CEO as his paper disappears inside the machine. I just need one copy.” ~

Identical twins turn 100 years young!
I read where an Easter Bunny at a New Jersey mall got into a brawl with some customers after their little girl fell out of his lap while having her photo made. Yikes! To be honest that's always been a fear I've had when I'm doing my Santa appearances. Boston reports they have found Waldo. Finally, the 'Where's Waldo?' question has been answered. It turns out this Waldo was behaving very disorderly when arrested wearing the famous Waldo striped hat and shirt. Over in the United Kingdom, the demand for adult coloring books has precipitated a worldwide shortage of coloring pencils. The books contain intricate patterns and designs that help grownups to relax and get away from the social media frenzy that accompanies most people's lives these days. They have become a huge hit. Not only was Lafayette, Louisiana recently named the happiest city in America based on a Harvard study, this past Saturday they also helped celebrate the 100th birthday of an identical set of twins, Albert, and Elmer. Now that is something. That's my slice of life for today. Always remember that reality produces more oddities and interesting stories than fiction ever could. You just have to be paying attention. Got it? Good. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later..

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger!" ~ Copied

I listened in horror to the BBC feed coming into work at 3:30 a.m. this morning as they reported on what appears to be terror attacks in Brussels. My heart goes out to all those impacted by these deadly attacks. May God help. Amen.

Thinking about our cool down you have to love the Gulf Coast contrast. Record heat at near 90 last week and near freezing this week. I cast my vote for the lower temps but to each his or her own. Good Tuesday morning and welcome here on this March 22, 2016. I heard a fellow tell a joke the other day where he was sadly recounting how his uncle had been given only six months to live by his doctor. His uncle told the doctor that he was sorry but given that short period he would likely not be able to pay the doctor what he was owed. The doctor promptly gave him another six months. I thought that was funny. You might not. We all are made to laugh by different things. I see it all the time. The wife and I see the same gag on TV. She thinks it is hilarious and I can hardly manage a smile. Different. I saw some advice that I thought was humorous, "If you see someone crying don't ask if it's because of their haircut." Then we have the category that we all love: Poetic Justice. One fellow shared a real experience he recently had. "The fellow who came close to running over me, grabbed the parking spot, and made an obscene gesture towards me, well, he was just ushered into my office for his job interview." The little ditties that feature wordplay can also be amusing. "What do you call a snobbish criminal going down the stairs?" "I give up." "A condescending con descending." One last one for my diabetic brothers and sisters: "Give up carbs? Over my bread body." Some pretty cheesy stuff to get our day started but let's move on and hope for something better. Me too!

There are also things laughed about by some that are very offensive to others. I did see someone who suggested that Donald Trump should name Don Rickles as his vice presidential running mate. Here's what Don had to say about his type of humor: "You know, every night when I go out on stage, there's always one nagging fear in the back of my mind. I'm always afraid that somewhere out there, there is one person in the audience that I'm NOT going to offend!" Sounds like those two are meant for each other. No. That's not an endorsement of any sort, just an observation about this stunningly weird political season unfolding before our very eyes. Last Sunday evening a lady in our Bible study time told me that in her wildest thoughts she never could have imagined anything like what we are seeing played out each day. That got me to wondering. I've said the same thing. Many times. Does anyone stand to gain from everyone thinking that this is the most absurd campaign ever? Sorry. I hate to think that way but many people I know are becoming increasingly disgusted by the entire debacle. Disgusted people will respond in a certain way. They may throw in the towel. They may not vote. That will favor someone. God only knows. That I do know to be the truth. Other than that, I don't have any answers about what we are going through.

That little tidbit didn't do much to lift us up for today other than the truth about God being in control. It brings us to the question of what we can do about it. Pray. I remember once when I was conducting a planning seminar for a Church and a little lady put forth the premise that maybe their lack of ministry effectiveness had something to do with the status of their collective prayer life. I immediately responded by saying prayer was a good thing but we needed to come up with specific action plans to make progress. The pastor wisely called for a timeout. He said maybe the assembled group needed to talk about what the lady had mentioned. Prayer. What followed was more than two hours of discussion that led to all types of prayer initiatives to encourage individual and group prayers to God to enable their ministry efforts. I stood corrected. Whether it is us as individuals, in our families, our local congregations, or the nation itself, we need to be praying for God's intervention. Yes. He is aware and does care about what is happening in Brussels. God is the only way forward that makes sense to me. Going back to our beginning as a nation we have preserved for our encouragement this prayer offered up by our Founding Father George Washington, "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor." That sentiment might be a good place for us all to consider as we seek God's face. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, March 21, 2016

"HE DIED, but he vanquished death; in himself, he put an end to what we feared; he took it upon himself, and he vanquished it; as a mighty hunter, he captured and slew the lion." ~ Saint Augustine

I just want to let you know that it's 36 degrees here as I get ready to publish my daily visit. That does make the Community taste even better! Good morning and welcome to Passion Week where we start out with this first work day, for me, on this Monday, March 21, 2016. I started to say Resurrection Week but since our Savior came forth from the grave on the First Day of the week, well, that will not be until next Sunday and that will start a brand new week, and, the fact that He resurrected on that particular day is why we gather on Sunday to commemorate His finished saving work on behalf of us all. But you probably knew that already. We typically have Good Friday off. I haven't heard anything to contradict that schedule, so, that will mean a short week for me. I am trying to think up a word to express my thoughts about that. How about YIPPEE? You do know I'm just messing around because at this stage in my life the days all pretty much run together. My soon to be 92-year-old mom often asks me what day of the week it is when we talk on the phone. (Just so you know, my grammar program suggested I put the dashes in my mom's 92-year-old designation.) I mention her asking because knowing the exact day of the week is only important if they have a doctor's appointment, a Church event, or perhaps someone is coming to visit. That attitude is not all bad especially when I think about how focused I am on dissecting each day into a minute by minute breakdown. You know the old adage, "Don't sweat the small stuff because most of the stuff ends up being mostly small." Okay. That's my rendition of that old adage. You may remember it differently. I think you get my drift. Confused yet? I'm just getting started.

The other day I told the wife about how I could have easily fallen out of my chair again here at work. It was lunch time and I had found an audio of a train ride in a pouring rain. Now that's what I call a combination! I had my ear plugs in and if that won't put you to sleep I don't know what will. She said, "What in the world is up with you and trains lately?" Good question. I suppose I am in one of those times where I am thinking about my dad and how I barely knew him. I did order up a coffee mug I found on EBAY from a collector of railroad memorabilia. Here's what the seller said about it: "I have collected railroad memorabilia of all kinds for over 30 years. It's time to start thinning out and downsizing. This auction is for a nice coffee mug in white ceramic with gold upper trim with the Kansas City Southern name and logo. I have had it for years but it has never been used....just displayed in a bookcase so its condition is excellent." I do not intend to put it on display. I will use it. When I do I will think about my dad and his work for the KCS Railroad. I will also be reminded of all those train rides I took where conductors and other train workers told me how they believed my dad to have been one of the smartest fellows they had ever known. They said he was not only super intelligent but he was also able to keep it all upstairs which they would illustrate by pointing to their head. Grasping at straws? Perhaps. Living in the past? I hope not, but, admittedly, it is one of those nagging mysteries that has become a continuing feature of my life's sojourn.

I at times wonder about the subjects I talk about in my daily visits. Is it too much of this, too little of that, or worse yet, has it become boring? Then I am reminded that it's what I have on my mind at the particular time that I write, therefore, and I hate to say it, but it really is what it is. A personal blog. A journal of sorts. From my point of view. Sure. I worry about overstaying my welcome. I used to tell people I had folks reporting to me that retired a long time before they actually left the Company. I don't want to be that fellow. Meanwhile, I do continue to get positive feedback from time to time and I appreciate those who take the time to share a comment. The other thing that helps me to not be as concerned about these things is the ability we all have, you, I, everyone, to skip or delete anyting we either don't have time for or it is of little interest to us. That means that for now I will likely continue to intrude into your space with 'who knows what' each day. As always, the great thing is how we all can be encouraged by the mentioning of God and His provision for us all. Take care and have a blessed rest of the day. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, March 18, 2016

"Please, keep talking. I always yawn when I am interested." ~ copied

Good Friday morning to one and all here on this March 18, 2016. I may not be into the super cold like I used to be but I am sure looking forward to the cool down headed our way. We've got some low 40's predicted for morning starts and that sounds great to me. I know. Some people have already been able to swim in their backyard pool. Now it's back to sweaters and jackets. That's okay. Don't worry, I've been around these parts long enough to know they will have more than their share of hot days coming soon enough. After talking so much about grammar checking I took the time to find and download a free software utility to check over my text. It's called Grammarly. The basic edition is free to use but you have to pay for the advanced. You remember me talking about the English teacher lady who used to be my secretary. Well, she either wrote this program or it seems to have a need to find the same problems she found dealing with my dangling participles, misappropriated verbs, and mangled contractions. It does have a feature that I like. It's the ignore button. It, by the way, automatically checks my work as I am typing. Thus far, in this particular paragraph, it has yet to flag anything. Maybe it stayed out too late last night. Hold on. It just told me to add that comma after the word 'paragraph'. It must have heard me talking. This should be interesting. I hope it is well aware that I do know how to delete programs. That's not a threat. We just need to understand the ground rules here. That's all. Nothing more than that.

When I put the mouse pointer over the grammar icon and it doesn't have any problems, it indicates this by using a check mark with the following comment: "No Critical Issues." That sounds a little stiff but I'll take it. How about some random bits of this, that, and the other to waste some precious time today? ~ The refrigerator is a great example of that what matters is what's inside. ~ It can be really awkward when you realize they were only being nice to you because they wanted something. ~ One fellow lamented that he was pretty sure it was too late for him to be wrapped up in a baby's blanket and left on a billionaire's doorstep. ~ You know you are in trouble when you figure out you need your glasses to find your glasses. ~ Notice how that when you really try to be a nicer person how many people line up to test you. ~ Kids today believe that if the internet were to go away the world would end, literally. ~ One fellow explained how that he and his gym recently broke up, they were just not working out. ~  It's bad when you get canned from your job at the orange juice factory because of not being able to concentrate. ~ The ad said this fellow could fix your broken clock in no time. ~ Okay. I know these are pretty lousy but let me cap them off with this final one for today: Please write on my tombstone that not appreciating my puns was a grave mistake. Thank you very much.

We come to the end of another work week and I know that many of us are looking forward to a change of pace for the weekend, Saturday, and Lord's Day Sunday. Have you ever noticed that when you plan to sleep a little later that's when you wake up early and have trouble staying in bed? It's like the other evening when the wife asked me how long it takes for me to fall asleep. I knew the reason she asked. She, like so many others, often has trouble getting to sleep. I told her that maybe five or ten minutes at the most before I am typically lights out. Well, what do you know? Her asking me that question just before my regularly scheduled shutdown caused me to still be awake some 20 minutes into the sequence. I mentioned that to her the next day. We are so easily distracted. At any rate, she didn't seem to think that 20 minutes was that big of a deal. Do the math. It was a lot longer than normal for me. Knowing the trouble so many have makes me even more thankful that I can easily fall asleep and that's one reason I have resisted tinkering with my daily schedule. When people ask I usually tell them it works for me. And, it does. I do hope everyone will have a great Saturday and that we will find ourselves in the place of worship come Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"The Internet is just bringing all kinds of information into the home. There's just a lot of distraction, a lot of competition for the parent's voice to resonate in the children's ears." ~ Phil McGraw, (Dr. Phil)

I thought perhaps an opening rant, maybe without the rave, would be a reasonable way to start here on this Thursday, March 17, 2016. If you are like us we do enjoy keeping up with friends and family on Facebook. We love the photos. We love the anecdotes. What I can't get used to is people who really do know better but they post either highly questionable or clearly inappropriate things for their community to see. How do I know they know better? Typically they apologize for posting what they post by saying they realize the language is bad or the implication is vulgar but it's just too good or too funny to pass up. Really? Some of these posters are parents of impressionable kids who are on Facebook as teenagers. Some of these posters are looked up to as folks who stand for moral character and traditional values. Perhaps it's time to revive and adapt the program initiated by the late Nancy Reagan to try and do something about the growing drug problem: 'Just Say No!' Do you remember that one? I would love to see it applied to those who know better but they can't seem to refrain from publicizing inappropriate material. The other thought. That stuff is out there. It stays out there. People will remember it. Something to think about. Here's what I would say posters should do: If you get to that thinking part where you see it to be borderline or worse, well, Just Say No! Just my way of seeing it. It may not be your way of seeing it. It is mine and as always I typically am unanimous in my own opinion.

I am not running to be elected as leader of the thought police and I am 100% for free speech as a right to every individual. However, I think most of us are aware that our posted words, images, and representations do have consequential influence. Hey, I've even commented very innocently and had my input to be questioned or misunderstood. I know we are living in a much more coarse world today. Some people act like this current political season is the first time the dialogue sounds like it came from the gutter. I find it interesting how Democratic Party pundits lament what they call a lack of civility added to the vulgarities being expressed by those vying for the Republican nomination. I can't deny their assessment of a lot of the forth and back soundbites. But, one wonders if they remember back when the Clinton-Lewinsky matter was being paraded 24 by 7 in all of its tawdry and embarrassing details. People were trying to make sure their children did not see the evening news. Many of these same people who are screaming the loudest were at that time first to tell us that since it was only about sex and it appeared to be consensual that we all should just grow up. I'm certainly not happy with the tone of these campaigns but this downward spiral didn't just recently fall out of the sky. During one of the short news updates last Tuesday evening concerning the results from that day's voting the wife mentioned how that it all made her stomach feel queasy. She may not be a recognized pundit but I think she pretty much nailed it. What say you?

We are enjoying something a little different this week. We have Spring Breakers in the house. Literally. We have our twins, Alesha and Amanda, and our Alexander Benjamin who came for a sleepover last night and they along with older brother Jimmy Jr., and the wife will be engaging in some fun activities today. That's what I call a change of pace. In the evenings the two of us typically retire to our recliners, watch TV, and occasionally nod off as a preview for the anticipated upcoming sleep cycle. Not so much when this bunch is around! Them being with us reminds us how much we love and appreciate the family that God has provided to us. It also helps to keep us young. Well, maybe it helps to keep the wife young. As for me, I think that particular train left the station a long time ago. Just joking, because I know that every single day that I have the mind and the physical strength that helps me to get up and go, well, that is a blessing and a reason for giving thanks to God. Thanks for hanging in there as I click and clack my keyboard in producing this stuff each day. I can't say that every blog is a winner but every visit is another opportunity for me to send out a prayer for us all, including our nation, that God would help. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dating Advice: "Never get serious about a woman who was captain of the debate team." ~ adapted from an anonymous posting

This is Spring Break week for our area. I asked my wife if you still have to slow down to 20 MPH when the school light is flashing even though you know the school is not in session. She said she was certain it would be okay to maintain the regular speed even when the light is flashing. I told her that's what I think also but it sure makes it difficult to not slow down with that light flashing in your eyes. It's the middle of the week and it's Wednesday, March 16, 2016. I need to mention again something I hate but it's the truth so I need to deal with it. For the forty folks who receive my blog each day in a personalized email, I am aware that I do allow a wrong word to escape my fingers from time to time. Many times I catch it after the fact. Sometimes I get the news from my faithful proof reader and companion for these 51 plus years. I do typically correct it on the blog of record but that doesn't mean it is something I feel good about. I don't. I know sometimes the content may be lacking but I always try to do my best in having as few obvious mistakes as possible. That's not a new situation with me. Even back in the day when I wrote a lot of memos, reports, and other documents I typically was very sensitive to making sure they went out as correct and clear as possible. I even hired a retired English teacher once as my secretary to try to enhance our written communications. She did her best. Unfortunately, she attempted to mess with the content. You know. The story. The information. Sorry. That part belongs to me. Correct the grammar and the spelling but don't ever think about thinking about messing with the message. I thought I needed to make that clear. Thanks.
I want to pause and give a shout out to our granddaughter Kyleigh as she celebrates her 21st birthday today. Kyleigh is the eldest of our Rodney and his wife Mitzi and she is sister of Lexie and Brady. She is continuing her education at Sam Houston State University. She is a remarkable young woman and we thank God for her and the potential He has placed in her. Have a great birthday and know that you are always in our hearts and in our prayers. Amen. Love, mimi and poppy

Okay. Daylight Savings Time. I've heard a whole lot of folks really complaining about the lost hour of sleep. Last Sunday morning the wife and I were up early watching the local news and they had a panel talking about the pros and cons of making these clock changes. Some experts say it contributes to sleep deprivation which is quickly becoming a major health risk in our nation. Others talk up the monetary benefits of increased daylight for leisure and other outdoor activities. One panel member thought it should be observed year round. Another thought it should be eliminated. The third one didn't care one way or the other but felt like if it was a help to the economy we could use all the help we can get. I made the comment to the wife that I didn't lose an hour of sleep because I went to bed based on the old time at my regular bedtime. She observed that not everyone was me and I am not completely sure but I think I detected a little bit of a smirk in her voice. You know what I am talking about. That, implied tone: 'Do you want us to build you a statue or something?' I wasn't saying I was better than others, just stating the way I dealt with it. And, it worked. For me. Shouldn't we always try to help others by telling them how to do the way we say? Just joking. Really. I am. I'm not sure she was. I'm sure we will look back on it and smile. Someday. Maybe. Enjoy the rest of your day including the proverbial lost hour and may God add His blessings. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." ~ Ronald Reagan

Hello my fellow blog folks and other passers by. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts with you on this Tuesday, March 15, 2015. That makes today just one month away from April 15th. Federal Tax Day. I heard a professor who supports the socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders say she believes that a 85% top tax rate for high earners is reasonable. She is also a consultant to the Democratic Party. Let me draw back the curtains for you on that one. She would have those who are successful pay 85 cents out of every 1 dollar they make paid into the Federal treasury. (She didn't mention state, local, and other taxes.) She then went on to explain how the individual making the money was not to be applauded but rather it was the conditions allowed by the government that contributed to their success. (A second stanza to President Obama's song: You Didn't Build That.) She said all of this with a straight face. I kid you not. What does she teach in college? I hope you are sitting down. Economics! Where? Sorry to stereotype but when you open the envelope you discover the winner is California. This interview was on one of the premier business networks. I did see a young woman who grew up in our local fellowship post on Facebook her own comments to those still in college who are jumping on this socialist give away bandwagon. She told them how she and her husband were working in their first jobs and attempting to establish themselves. She said she understood that free college sounds great especially when it costs so much but she asked them to think seriously about how that would be paid for. She said she didn't see how she could pay a lot more in taxes and still make her way forward. Have I not been consistent in telling you there's something very strange about the times we are living in? When confiscatory policies and redistribution of all wealth by the government becomes the law of the land I'm not sure we will even have a free country anymore. Sound scary to you? Me too. Voting matters.

Now I ask you, is that girl something, or what?
I actually had no intention on writing that first paragraph. When I saw March 15th it triggered the thought of April 15th and the next thing I knew all these keystrokes had showed up on the electronic page. Don't get me wrong. I'm not for giving anyone a free ride. I'm also just as concerned about corporate welfare, corrupt lobbying influence, under the table deals, payoffs, and the consequences of office holders who mostly profit from their time in Washington. Common sense. The Constitution. A return to the principles that made us who we are. And, perhaps now that I have all of that said, a change of the subject might give me and the rest of us a momentary respite. How about grandchildren? Are they something or what? What about great grandchildren? They are so very special. Or at least the one we have meets that definition. Due to all kinds of scheduling issues, her having a bought of the flu, and other complications, we end up not having seen her for a couple of months now. That's way too long for us to go without seeing our grand kids. Any of them. All of them. I sent out a special appeal on Facebook and Madi's mom said they would work something out as soon as they can. Meanwhile, our eldest, her grandfather, well, he more or less let me know that it was okay for us to be in line but we should remember he is too. He might have implied he was actually ahead of us. I can't complain. He had a role model that showed him how to be a granddad. It was me but I will say he did take the ball and did he ever run with it!

Hornbeck, Louisiana where mom and dad lives. Last Wednesday afternoon.
Now I have forgotten what I had in mind when I first opened up the blank page this morning. I hate it when that happens. It will come back to me but I may not recognize it when it does. I will likely think it's a brand new subject but that too is how it works at this stage of my sojourn here on the planet. I do know there's many folks that have been impacted by the recent rains and flooding. We were especially concerned for all our family and friends over in Louisiana near Toledo Bend Lake. They ended up releasing the most water ever through the flood gates and that precipitated much flooding downstream. Even the little town where my parents live had flooded streets. Their home place was high and dry but the main roadways in and out were closed for a couple of days. That's always scary since they do need medical attention from time to time. Since last week there have been a number of weather related deaths and much damage to homes and property. (In Louisiana it is estimated that more than 5000 homes suffered flood damage.) We can relate some having had our home wrecked by Hurricane Ike. It was a gut wrenching time for us. Our hearts go out to all who are attempting to pick up the pieces. It does remind us all of the uncertainties that accompany this life. We just never know. But God does and we can always trust Him, even when we are not exactly sure what is going on or how we will make it. May He provide is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, March 14, 2016

"In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in." ~Robert Brault

That's mom and dad in the back, then Donald, JoAnn holding Kayla, yours truly, Frances behind me, and Jimmy Don. (Dad, Jimmy, Donald and Kayla have all gone on to their reward. )

That didn't last long did it? Talking about the weekend. That's pretty much how they all go. Quickly. But we find ourselves on the cusp of a brand new work week here on this Monday, March 14, 2016. The other day I mentioned about us taking a family trip on the train from Port Arthur, Texas to Fort Benning, Georgia. Since then I stumbled over the photo of us all ready to head to the train station in Port Arthur. While I can't be positive I believe this photo was taken in the summer of 1952. I do know this next one was made at Granny and Paw Paw Mac's at their home in Louisiana most likely in and around Resurrection Day of 1953. (It fell on April 5 in that year.) I'm almost sure this was our last photo as a family before dad passed away on January 2, 1954.  I suppose in some ways Train Rides and Tragedies became a major part of my recollection growing up. Not being morbid, just sharing the truth as I know it.

My mom always did the best she could in dressing us. That typically meant her doing a whole lot of ironing in addition to working in a job outside our home to support us all. She believed that we children were a reflection of her motherhood, therefore, she tried to make sure we always put our best foot forward. Thanks mom. You did your best even though you ended up having to deal with more tragedies than train rides.

Thinking about my mom and all that she has dealt with in her life makes me appreciate all she sacrificed for us kids. Because I too was a part of some of the great challenges we faced, it was hard to see past my own feelings in appreciating the great hardships she had to endure. Later, I would hear people talk about her strength and resilience in the face of what seemed to be one tragedy after another. While they often showed pity I could tell they also greatly admired her. Each of us kids handled grief in our own way but our mom had to continue to carry on, to make our way forward, to raise her children. Our youngest son often mentions the character and fortitude demonstrated in his Granny's life. So true. She often shares with me her regrets from not having done more for each of her children. I always tell her we couldn't be more proud of all that she did because she did all that she could. And, trying to identity all of her labors on our behalf would be more than I could write about even if I devoted days to trying. We are who we are today because of the grace of God and the devoted care of our mom. I thank God for her. Amen.

That's what happens when I decide to climb on one of those trains and travel to memory-land. It may sound melancholic but in actuality it's a blessing of a recollection. There's enough sadness to go around in our life story but I'm here today as a product of all that has happened. I thank God for His mercy, His goodness, and His grace. I've had people tell me to just think how things may have turned out differently if this, that, or the to other had not happened. Duh. You think? That's way too easy folks. Of course things would be different. In what ways? I don't know and I don't think anyone else does either. Recently the wife has been going through all our accumulated junk from the past 51 plus years. The other day she found an anniversary card I sent to her in 1969. That was the year I moved to Houston. Even though I came home when I could I had been working in Houston for three months and that was the first time since marrying we had been apart. (She and the two boys joined me in January 1970.) The card had a bunch of mushy stuff written about how much I missed her and how I would be coming to Louisiana on Christmas Eve. The theme of the card was how that she was 'One in a Million'. She was then and she continues to be today. What am I saying? Some tough times in life? Check. Some heartaches. Check. Some very dark days. Check. More blessings than I deserve. Check. Too many to innumerate. Check. All by the grace of God. Check. Including my one in a million wife. Double check and I have my own word on it, in writing, from 1969. Take care, enjoy today, and remember to count your blessings and thank God for them. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, March 11, 2016

"When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway." ~ Erma Bombeck

Another day has arrived and this one gets us one day closer to the last day of this week and first day of next week, typically referred to as the weekend, or Saturday and Sunday, but first we need to get on with Friday, March 11, 2016. I thought I would get us started today with some recollections of what we heard growing up.  There's a lot of stuff that gets posted to Facebook each day. I saw this one the other day and I could identify with it. It's under the heading, 'Hillarious Things My Mother Taught Me...' ~ She taught me the value of a clean house: "If you're going to kill each other then do it outside, I just finished cleaning." ~ The value of religion: "You had better pray that will come out of the carpet." ~ Time Travel: "If you don't straighten up I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week." ~ Definition of logic: "Because I said so, that's why!" ~ Logic Part 2: "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck you're not going to the store with me." ~ About thinking ahead: Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident." ~ The meaning of irony: "Just keep crying and I will give you something to cry about." ~ Osmosis: "Shut your mouth right now and eat your supper." ~ Contortionism: "You just look at the dirt on the back of your neck." ~ Stamina: "You will sit there until every bite of that spinach is gone." While my mom may not have used these exact wordings I can assure you I heard the sentiments expressed. Many times. We all did. And, that's a good thing. It's fun to think about those things but I always thank God for my mom and all she did to try and raise us up right. Amen.

Have you ever noticed something that just looked odd to you? The other day I was at the pharmacy I use and the lady standing over near the register was taking some pills. I told her that looked odd to me. You know. The lady was taking pills at the pill place. She assured me it was not any of the pills from that pharmacy. I didn't say it was. It just looked funny. I was there to fetch pills. She was looking for my pills and in the meantime she was taking a couple. She seemed a little uneasy about me sharing that observation. One of the huge restaurant chains was offering free pancakes the other day. They gave away small stacks to anyone who came in on that particular day. They were also promoting donations to charities. Here again I noticed something odd. In a local Facebook posting three members of some group were promoting the local restaurant giving away the pancakes because their group was one of the organizations receiving donations for their good causes. The photo struck me as being a little odd. On the top was a stack of free pancakes with syrup running all over them. On the bottom stood the three members each with a big smile. They must have weighed at least 300 pounds each. It just caught my eye. No. I'm not making fun of them. They may have some kind of glandular issue. The photo looked odd to me. That's all. Nothing more than that.

Yes. I am aware that I most likely am the odd observation to someone else. I actually think that's the way it works. A couple of weeks ago I attended a men's program along with several thousand other guys where Tony Dungy, the great NFL player and coach, was speaking. Tony is a devoted believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, a great family man, and a inspirational speaker to encourage men to be the men, dads, and husbands God has called them to be. He will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame with the next class. It was Friday evening. I had been up since 3:30 a.m. They had a lot of music. They had other speakers. From time to time I dozed off. I didn't know if anyone noticed or not. No one said anything about it. The next Sunday I found out someone did notice and several were invited to see my chin hit my chest. I knew I had done it. I couldn't deny it. I just didn't know that I had become part of the odd observation that evening. See what I mean? I thought nothing of it. It was all in fun. No wonder they gave me a special invitation to be a part of the new old people's group. I know. That too sounds odd. The new old people's group. Life is just one odd observation after another but if we can smile at the end of the day, well, that's a good thing. I did, by the way, hear all of what Bro. Tony had to say. I can't be sure about the rest of it but you do know why. Right? Take care, enjoy your time off, and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

“The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.” ― Tom Bodett, the guy from the 'We'll leave the light on for you' commercials.

All I can say is that I am very happy to have made it to the ole blogger ranch today. I did drive through some water over the road but it wasn't too deep. I actually took an alternate route but it too had water as a result of these soaking rains. Relieved is a good word along with being thankful. Now it's time to rejoin my regularly scheduled program. Okay. This is today and it happens to be Thursday, March 10, 2016. I'm glad to report that I am still learning. I'm not as happy about some of the things I learn, from time to time. Here's one I picked up on the other morning. Never scratch your head with the hand holding the flashlight when you are walking through the shop in the dark. After bumping into something I attempted to analyze what had happened. When the hand went up the flashlight went up with it. Don't do that! It reminded me of when I used to hold the flashlight for my grandfather when he was working on his pickup truck. He told me over and over again about how that me seeing wasn't important. The idea was to hold the light where he could see. History repeats itself. I've actually had our eldest tell me the exact same thing when he was working on my car. I said I was still learning. I didn't say at what speed. What? You would have thought by now I could have taken the training wheels off? That's a good observation but there's nothing like bumping into an immovable object to get your attention, get the light focused on the direction you want to go, and to also catalog another life lesson. I know. Many of you are thinking that if that had happened to you, you might not have shared it. I figure at this late date everything is in play. Well, maybe not everything. It took me months to decide to tell the one about me dozing off and falling out of my chair. I was impressed with how quickly I got up off the floor and back into my chair, as if nothing had happened. It's a wonder that didn't leave marks. There's likely some other little tidbits lurking out there but they will have to wait until another day.

I think to a certain extent all of us are drawn to self-deprecating humor. That's where one tells funnies on themselves. Mark Twain once said this about himself,  "I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up." Being able to poke fun at yourself is healthy for the most part. I know there are extremes where people are so over the top they end up portraying a sense of self loathing or even self hate. We don't need that. Maybe you have trouble telling stories on yourself. As a public service I found these examples that might trigger a memory you could use: ~ I walk two miles a day. One to the donut shop, and one home. ~   I was told at the doctor’s office that I should get a facelift. When the doctor saw me he agreed with those in the waiting room. ~ Exercise doesn’t kill you, but why take the chance? ~ I’m on that new “seafood” diet. If I see food, I eat it. ~     Do you know that feeling when you meet someone and you both just fall madly in love? Yeah, me neither. ~ They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have. My boss told me a robe and slippers wasn’t a good look for the office. ~ The cute fellow down at the theater always gives me discounted movie tickets. Senior discount. ~ I was complimented on my leather gloves the other day. I wasn’t wearing any. ~  I’m in shape. Round is a shape, right? ~ Someone asked if I knew a good plastic surgeon? Would I look like this if I did? ~ Wrapping this up, I really don't need a lot of help. In fact, I typically generate more material than I can share. All on my own. Pay attention because you might be funnier than you think.

I've found that in telling stories about myself the funniest ones are those that are true. That happens because they really are personalized. They belong to me. I was there when it happened. I've known some folks that loved to make jokes but typically they were always about someone else. They enjoyed poking fun at others. At times it was very close to ridicule and even had a hint of meanness included. They rarely if ever made fun of themselves. To me that's not even close to being humorous. Jesus could tell stories with a spiritual application but the imagery He used no doubt brought a chuckle. Like the one where He talks about a fellow trying to get a tiny splinter out of the other person's eye while carrying a huge boulder in his own eye. They didn't miss the point but I imagine they also had to smile. We've got a new senior's group in our local fellowship. We are named the Happy Hearts. Our chosen slogan is taken from Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:..." I was telling a fellow how I didn't realize that I was eligible for a group like this, you know, just being close to 70 years young. He, a true diplomat, said that perhaps they thought I could learn something from the older folks in the group. We had a good laugh. See what I mean? It doesn't take much. Not much at all. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“My heart is warm with the friends I make, And better friends I'll not be knowing, Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, No matter where it's going.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Selected Poetry

Good morning and welcome. It's already Wednesday, and this one happens to be labeled March 9, 2016. The other day someone brought up the subject of train travel. That, as many of you know, was an important part of my growing up days. When I was younger I rode passenger trains fairly often. That was because our dad had worked for the Kansas City Southern, (KCS), railroad and when he died they gave our family a rail pass on their line. I was a teenager the last time I tried to use that rail pass. Mrs. Poston who ran the rail office in our little town looked at the pass and sadly informed me that it was no longer in force. The man who signed it had passed away. So much for a lifetime rail pass. When we were in England many years ago we rode a train and had lunch on the train. It was more of a novelty than a real train ride. It ran on a closed loop long enough to serve the meal and then return us to our original location. There's just something about train travel. While I don't remember too much of my years before my dad passed away when I was seven, I do remember us taking a trip from Port Arthur, Texas to Fort Benning, Georgia to visit relatives. We had to sleep in a Pullman car. We actually traveled over Lake Pontchartrain at night. There are times when I can still feel that train rocking and making those unique noises. It might only be my imagination but my memory preserved that as the best sleep ever. I've looked at all the train travel brochures online dozens of times. I still look at them occasionally. Maybe. Someday. Several years ago we had an older fellow here at work that decided he and his wife would travel across the Southwest on Amtrak. His experience was not so great. The train they rode was plagued with mechanical issues and delays. They finally got out to Arizona but decided to fly back home. I hope I hadn't influenced him with all of my train stories. They are still good memories. Especially when I think about them when I sleep.

I remember one particular chartered train I was able to ride when I was 14 and soon to be 15 years old. My uncle had arranged for me to travel with a huge bunch of kids to Kansas City to see the Athletics play the New York Yankees. I rode the regular route from our little town to Shreveport. I didn't really know that much about the trip but when I arrived I discovered a huge disconnect of a problem. The chartered train was for little league kids and I was a Dixie Youth ball player. My slot was to go as one of those kids. Awkward! Depending on your perspective, the bad news good news was the fact that the chaperons assigned to watch over divided groups were teenagers, girls and boys. Well, how do you like that? I'm traveling on a little league scholarship but I'm old enough to date my chaperon. It reminds me of that Jerry Clower story about the boy who stayed so long in the 4th grade. It was because he was dating the teacher. At any rate, it was an interesting adventure. I got to see President Harry Truman. The year was 1961 and I got to see Roger Maris hit a home run and that was the year he broke Babe Ruth's record. I also remember the train ride, especially up through the Ozarks. I also remember my assigned chaperons. The girls. Not the boys. One particular evening I ventured out onto the porch/platform between cars. The train had stopped. I remember the sign. We were in Mena, Arkansas. In my minds eye I can still feel that brisk air along with hearing the hissing of the train and the taking in of those wonderful train smells. That's what we call a train ride story and on this particular journey you do not get to pass go or collect two hundred dollars.

I suppose my grandfather was a sort of a prophet in some ways. He used to tell me that I reminded him of a crawfish. He said crawfish travel backwards because they are not as much interested in where they are going as in observing where they have been. You know. Life through the rear-view mirror, so to speak. I am blessed with a reasonably good recollection. While I try not to live in the past I do enjoy my strolls down memory lane. Just think what I could come up with if I could unlock all the stuff I've recorded but can't get to because when my dad died suddenly it blocked most of my memories prior to that event. I am 100% convinced they are all there, just not accessible. Believe me I have tried. I get vague glimpses of this, that, or the other from time to time but that wall is formidable. I even considered hypnosis but decided against it. I didn't feel comfortable being put into an altered state of consciousness. You thought what? You thought I actually mostly lived in an altered state of consciousness? Well, thank you very much. I'll take that as a compliment. Whatever it is I will say it does make for some good remembering. I'm thankful for that. I really am. I'm also thankful that God knows me through and through and He is my help in the here and now, in the present tense, if you will. I say Amen to that. Amen. ....More later.