Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Good to meet up with you today. Let's see if we can find something to talk about.

I believe the song says, "Ain't it good to be back home again." And, for all intents and purposes, my little cubby-hole here at my workplace, well, it's where I spend some 55 to 60 waking hours each week, so, that qualifies as home-like to me. Especially when I lost Friday to the street flooding in our area, was off on Saturday and Sunday, and then had the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. Good morning and welcome to the start up of this short back to work week, here on this Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The upcoming battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is nothing less than unique in so many different ways. The first and most prominent is how disliked both candidates continue to be in national polling.  An NBC poll from last week showed that Hillary is disliked by 46% of those polled with The Donald very close, pulling an unfavorable rating of 43%. Never in our history, since polling began, have we had these kinds of unpopular candidates running for the highest office in the land. Why is this significant? I think we already see some of the impact in how the campaigns are framing the issue. They are focusing on building themselves up as the lesser of the two evils. Can you believe that? It goes like this: I know you don't like me but try to not like her even more, and vice versus. This will be about as dirty as it gets. In fact, when I think of the looming campaign, the image that comes to my mind is the late great local news personality Marvin Zindler. When he reported on food violations he would lead into it by loudly proclaiming, "Slime in the ice machine!" I think you get my meaning. If not, stick around, I think you will see it all too clearly, played out in high definition, or HD, for my techie friends.

The other day I was perusing our actual hotel bill from the first night of our honeymoon from back in December 1964. It was the Holiday Inn in Alexandria, Louisiana, Room 547. We ordered room service for our dinner. It was $3.62. The next morning we ordered in breakfast. It was $2.50. When we checked out, the bill for the room was $9.00 plus $0.18 tax. Our total for the room and two meals: $15.30. That same room accommodation today runs around $105.00 per day. Those lower costs were a long time ago. We've been many miles since then. Here's an example. Last Thursday I arranged to leave early from work to come home and get ready to drive about 45 minutes for our great granddaughter's kindergarten graduation. I made it home. I got cleaned up. The wife and I were both dressed and ready to leave. The weather reports were not cooperating with our plans. We had a huge rain storm headed our way. It was imminent. We ended up cancelling our trip. And, the skies opened up and for the next four or five hours it rained so hard it was hard to see our street out in front of our house. We are so thankful for the journey we've had, thus far. While we hated to miss our Madelyn Joy's special night, we are so thankful for her, our three sons, their wives, our 8 granddaughters, our 3 grandsons, and our brand new great grand first grader. We are blessed. Amen.

Last Saturday we had planned on running over to Louisiana to visit mom and dad. The flooding was widespread, therefore, early Saturday morning I put in to checking all the various weather reports, road closings, and other details for our area and especially for all the highways on our route. They either failed to post one or I missed it. It turned out to be the mother of all detours. They had US59 completely shutdown at Cleveland, Texas. All traffic had to exit and go through the little town. All traffic had to wait to turn left at a traffic signal that was allowing maybe 4 or 5 vehicles through at the most. We lost about 45 minutes there. We did see the local police at work there. They were writing people tickets. For what we didn't know, but they seemed oblivious to the horrendous back up in traffic. We did finally make it to Louisiana and it turned out to be a most wonderful visit. My sisters Fran and JoAnn were there. And, one of Fran's grandsons was having a big Memorial Day fish fry out in the country and we were able to see all her clan, some 35 or more gathered together. Mom is doing well. On our way out of the area we met up with the wife's sister, Dorothy, and Glenda, the widow of Bro. Milton. We enjoyed a catfish dinner with them and then we returned home. We didn't dare even think about thinking about going back towards Cleveland, but made our way across the fruited plains to Huntsville, hitting I-45 so we could get back to where so many are dealing with flood related issues. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them all. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, May 30, 2016

One of the early declarations that led to the Memorial Day Observance



General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

    We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

    If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

    Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from his honor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

  2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

  3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

    By order of

    Adjutant General

    WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Today we are preparing to think some about Memorial Day as we anticipate the three-day holiday after we finish this day, Friday, May 27, 2016. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. It's as simple as that. Remembering. I pray that God will comfort all those who continue to mourn the loss of these, our nation's heroes. I pray their memory will be honored and their sacrifice will mean something to us all. Amen

*****I'm home this morning because of another round of flooding rains. When it gets daylight I'll try to see about maybe getting out of our subdivision. Until then, I'm just thankful we still have power. I am praying for so many who have flooded again, just a few weeks since the last time. It is pouring here. Be careful!*****

It's somewhat of an enigma but it might just be a compliment. One way or the other, I did get some recognition. I'm talking about my coffee again. A fellow was in the office and he announced that he smelled something burning, maybe some electrical wiring.  One of the other guys laughed and told him not to worry because it was only me and my little coffee maker doing our thing. There's two choices here: 1)That smell meant my little individual serve percolator is at its peak in producing some super fine, hot and strong Community; or 2)It is long overdue for an oil change and overall cleaning. I'll have to think some about this situation. I've shared before how that first sip does tend to get my attention. It will make you catch you breath and gives you that feeling of angels tap dancing on your grave. After that little shivering intro, well, from then on it's all smooth sailing. Until further notice, I'm going to go with choice number one and enjoy the compliment, and, to celebrate you can have your own cup and join in the experience. Why not?

I usually add that I'm just joking but when it comes to my coffee, to say that would compromise my honesty. But, most of you knew that already. I do hope you've had a good week. I feel like my week has been like one of those signs on the airplane: Occupied. Yesterday morning my internal alarm clock decided to sleep in. Fortunately, my external alarm clock, lying there beside me, mentioned that it was nearly one hour after my normal get up and go time. Too much of the Occupied sign does do that to me from time to time. Not often. But, it does happen. When it does it typically throws me off a little. I'm not really behind on anything. I just feel like I am. I do appreciate our time together this week and I do hope you will enjoy your Saturday, Lord's Day Sunday, and that on Monday, the day set aside to honor those who have died while serving, we all will pause, say a prayer, and thank God for those who are willing to give their all on our behalf. May God bless each one and may He bless this great nation we are so privileged to call home. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"God will make a way - Where there seems to be no way - He works in ways we cannot see - He will make a way for me" Lyrics from a song written by Don Moen, "God Will Make A Way"

Welcome one and all to Thursday, May 26, 2016. Last Tuesday evening we were able to attend the graduation of our first grandson, Jimmy Jr. It seems like only yesterday I finished reading his favorite book to him and I carried him outside to say goodnight to the moon, stars, and anything else we could think of. He was not able to go the traditional high school route but worked through a variety of special courses, internet based learning, and other avenues to achieve his diploma. He didn't ask for the bi-polar, ADHD, and dyslexia related challenges he has had to deal with throughout his short life. These were difficult obstacles and it has not been easy, but, he, with God's help, the help of his parents, family and friends, his teachers, and many different health practitioners, has made it through this phase. We are so thankful to God for this accomplishment. We are so proud of this young man. He plans to continue his education at a local community college this fall. Please pause to call out his name that God will now help to make a way for him as he continues his journey. Congratulations Little Jim and know that we love you, always, mimi and poppy

Life does equal struggle for every single person who lives on the planet. Not you? Well, congratulations, you are the one and only exception! You may not have the ones faced by our grandson, or the ones faced by your neighbor, or even those I face each day, but, we all are, in one way or another, fellow strugglers. This condition does not have to be the end of the story. God is in the business of helping write the overcomers stories. We are surrounded by them every day. I recently discovered another young man who has a remarkable life story to tell. He was born very premature to crack-addicted parents. He wasn't supposed to live. He was born blind and later discovered to have Autism. An Aunt ended up adopting him into her family. They discovered he had an acute ear for music. They helped him to develop his talent. At 11 years old he performed one song at a local worship rally. That song was the Michael W. Smith classic, "Open the Eyes of My Heart." Unbeknownst to this kid or his family, someone taped this blind autistic kid singing and posted it on YouTube. It blew up the internet and today at 15 he continues to inspire folks all over the world. Literally. If you don't do anything else please take the time to check out his story and his music. This is his website: http://www.christopherduffley.com/ Or you can put his name, Christopher Duffley, into YouTube and find some 50 posted videos. If you watch this young man and you are not inspired, you will likely need the kind of heart help that only God can give. Just do it! 

What's the reason this kid now has a ministry touching people all over the world? Only God. What's the reason any of us can have a positive spiritual impact on others? Only God. There's really no other explanation. Where does the peace come from that we see exhibited in the lives of folks facing uncertain days? Only God. Since we all struggle. Since we are all in need of the help that only God can provide, well, we need to call on Him and receive the help we all so desperately need. The wife and I used to sing a song that pretty much says it all, "Jesus is right for whatever is wrong in your life." I know that sounds simplistic but when it is all said and done, it is, simply, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I didn't sign on to preach a sermon today and I hope my little essay doesn't come across that way. A former pastor said something about us sharing our faith with others that has always stuck with me. We are just one beggar telling other beggars where we found food. Okay. As you can tell, my heart is full today. Do remember to say a prayer for our Jimmy Jr., as he pursues God's best in his life. Have a great rest of the day and remember to remember to thank God for His blessings. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” – John Newton,(1725-1807) former slave ship master who became an Anglican minister and hymn writer, best known for writing Amazing Grace

Welcome once again. Thanks for tuning in today as we unwrap the gift that God has given to us, this day, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) Since I am a Type 2 Diabetic, I researched something because I thought it might explain some odd variations in my numbers that I experience from time to time. Here's a statement from the American Diabetes Association: "In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often raises blood glucose levels. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes." It makes sense and I have often guessed that these circumstances play a role, but, I just had never looked it up and read about it. Now I know. Now you know. Stress does impact the numbers. Stress, however, is not all bad. Here's what the Apostle Paul said, "Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches." (2 Corinthians 11:28) Being concerned, even burdened, about the right kinds of things is good. The other stuff, well, I need, you need, we all need, to follow the admonition from the old Gospel song, "Take your burdens to the Lord and leave it there." (Written by Charles Albert Tindley, 1851-1933, an African American Methodist Minister and recognized hymn writer.) Amen

No. I am not dispensing medical advice, just, sharing some of my recollections from my own personal journey. My mom told me a funny story the other evening when I was visiting with her on the telephone. We were talking about gardens and dad's challenge in producing this year's crop when she shared a tidbit from when she was a kid. When her dad would bring in the peas he had gathered it became a family affair to get them shelled. This meant her and her two brothers were expected to do their part in shelling peas. She remembered how that she and Uncle Asa and Uncle Waymon would take turns, when Paw Paw Mac wasn't looking, in throwing a handful of peas under the porch. That reduced the time they had to spend doing that chore. She seemed a little embarrassed when she told it, but, I can identify with that little tale. I wouldn't even want to try to come up with how many times I figured out a way to avoid participating in a chore related activity. If I put my mind to it, I could probably share one or two but I see by the clock on the wall that the time for this paragraph has come to an end. Maybe some other time. Maybe not. 

We inherit a lot of stuff from our parents. Some call it baggage. A lot of it comes with the fact that we were born sinners. It's our nature. Kids are, however, greatly influenced by their moms and dads. One mom was shocked when her little girl blurted out one day, "Mom do you think this blankie makes my butt look big?" Another one was surprised when her little one interrupted and said, "Excuse me, can't you see I'm talking here?" They are paying attention, even when we might hope they aren't. They don't always understand. One little girl was scared when her mom told her she was going to hop into the shower. She didn't want her mom to get hurt. Sometimes kids know more than their parents. One little girl screamed when she saw an ant. Her mom told her it was probably only a cookie crumb. The kid shot back that crumbs don't have legs and they don't walk. Talking about excuses, they pick up on them too. One little guy didn't want to eat his lunch so he told his mom his tummy hurt because he might be pregnant. One fellow kept begging him mom in the store to buy something for him when his older sister, a feisty six-year-old, gave him some sage advice, "Stop begging, you know she ain't got no money." I would guess that my mom's parents had pulled a few chore avoiding tricks themselves. The good news? God cares about us all in spite of our fallen natures. He cares enough to have sent His one and only Son to die on our behalf. Believing in Him gives us eternal life and the power to live a better life here. It does. Really! Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Anyone who believes that men and women are equal has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present." ~ copied

As a legitimate card-carrying member in good standing of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (IBRBS), I bid you a Ho Ho Ho and welcome to today's edition on this Tuesday, May 24, 2016. I think we have over 1300 members at this time. The other day a fellow brother in red posted a scathing indictment of the Santas that portray the jolly old elf on a full-time basis. I've mentioned how that a good number actually make their living doing advertising and all kinds of special events throughout the year. Well, this fellow thinks those guys are ruining it for the kids. He believes by having Santa around the clock it diminishes the potential joy that surrounds his once a year Christmas appearance. He, of course, only does his Santa work at Christmas time. I suppose he more or less included me in his complaint since I do wear some red and green nearly every day. I understood exactly where he was coming from. I just don't agree with his analysis. I can't imagine there being enough Santa presence to make a dent in kids perception and anticipation of Christmas. And, I do know from personal experience, it is an opportunity, on a one-off, spontaneous basis, to help make someone's day. Here's the latest example for me. The other day I was driving down a country road, minding my own business, in my pickup on my way home. A school bus was in front of me and it slowed and then stopped to make a left turn. I was sitting there waiting when one little guy saw me from the back door window and started waving and jumping up and down. Pretty soon there were a dozen or more kids doing the same thing. I waved and they were happy. I just can't see the harm in that. Sorry. I really can't.

I mentioned the other day that I do attempt to keep up with what is going on in the world. Here's some detail on what I was talking about. I follow 55 different feeds on Twitter. Some 98% of those are news feeds. This means my Twitter feed is constantly changing. News from around the world. News from our nation. News from our area. Literally thousands of updates per day. Inundated. Saturated. With one click on a tweet, I can watch the actual report emanating from Paris, France. I can do the same for a feed from Tel Aviv. Or, South Korea. Or, Japan. I also can listen to my satellite radio feed on the internet, therefore, I can listen when I feel like doing so. There's maybe 150 channels, many of them devoted to political discourse. Or, I can listen to sermons, or inspirational music, or comedy, or old time radio, or tune in to CSPAN for one of my favorites on Wednesdays, The British House of Commons, Prime Minister Question Time, or watch the US House in session, or watch the US Senate in session, or watch the various congressional panels as they do their work. Oh yeah, lest I forget, I also can do my job, the one I get paid to do. The challenge? Do it all at the same time without missing a beat. I didn't say it was easy but it can be done. Mostly. Most of the time. It really can. Don't forget. I've had years of practice.

I know most of us are aware how the culture's message to those who hold Christian beliefs is that we should get over it. I read a letter from Austria printed in the online edition of the New York Times where the writer was lamenting the rise of the right wing in that country. One example used was the approval by a court to let a lawsuit proceed where a teacher is suing a Muslim man for not shaking her hand. The fellow writing thought how unimaginable for them to not recognize the Muslim man's religious beliefs about having no contact whatsoever with the opposite sex. This was in the New York Times no less, a source not known for caring one iota about deeply held Christian beliefs. I'm not breaking new ground here. It would appear that some religious beliefs by some people are worthy of protection. Meanwhile, religious liberty for those who are Christians is not deemed worthy by the leftist liberal media as we are constantly told to just shut up and get over it. Our class read a passage this past Sunday where Jesus clearly identified Satan as the ruler of this world. (John 14:30) I think we tend to forget that. The world is fallen. It has its leader. It is aligned against God and those who would follow Him. We see it every day played out before us. We shouldn't be surprised because God has given us the truth so that we will recognize and resist these forces of evil. We can. Not on our own. We are not alone. He is in us, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Amen. ......More later.

Monday, May 23, 2016

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome back. I bring you greetings and a hearty hello from where I am to wherever you happen to be on this back-to-work Monday, May 23, 2016. If you have read any of my stuff over time, you are aware that I connect certain foods to memories. I'm not saying that's always a healthy or productive activity, but it does happen. The wife recently did a number on me and others when she showed up at the Wednesday evening potluck supper with a particular dessert. It was not homemade but it was a close enough knock off to trigger not only a sugar rush but also a trip down memory lane. Blackberry cobbler. I heard different people at different tables carrying on about how they used to enjoy their mom's or their grandmother's cobbler. That particular dessert is not a friend to my diabetes. However, the memory connection is so strong I just had to break my rule of no seconds. I remember us picking blackberries. Sometimes we made an entire day of it. I remember Granny Mac canning blackberries. Not freezing them. Canning them for future use. In Mason jars. They had to be cooked and sealed in a pressure cooker. Our reward? A piping hot homemade cobbler. It was even better when homemade whipped cream was also provided. Or, as Paw Paw used to call it, calf slobber to put on top. I'm not sure it was worth all the scratches we endured and the running from snakes from time to time, but, as best I recall, no one ever mentioned those issues while we were gobbling up the cobbler. So sweet in so many ways!

I did search for the word 'food' in my blogs but could not come up with a total number. It does appear in a huge number over the years. I used to tell folks that some people eat to live and our background was one were we tended to live to eat. Tasty food. Well prepared. Granny Mac used to say the most important ingredient in cooking is caring. I believe it. I see that show 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' coming on here and there on the different food channels. I've not watched that many of them. Here would be my problem. I have been blessed to grow up surrrounded by legendary cooks. It's the truth. That would make trying to come up with the best thing I ever ate not only difficult, it would surely be impossible. The really great news? It's not only historical for me, it continues today in the person of the wife and extraordinary cook I've been privileged to be married to for the past nearly 52 years. It's like the legacy lives on. And, I, for one, am both thankful, and I have some inspirational words to describe what it truly means to me, "Yum! Yum!" I wouldn't dare even think about checking my blood sugar at this moment. All this thinking about the good cooking in my life, well, it would easily add 20 points to my score. It would. Don't doubt me on this.

I thought I would close today's edition with a few quotes that might bring a smile to someone out there. They are food related. ~  "When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, 'Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.'"-- Yogi Berra ~ "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."-- Julia Child ~ "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."-- Calvin Trillin ~ "I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food."-- W.C. Fields ~ "The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later, you’re hungry again."-- George Miller ~ "Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter." -- Fran Lebowitz ~ "Never eat more than you can lift."-- Miss Piggy ~ "A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do."-- P. J. O’Rourke ~ Notice I didn't say they made me laugh out loud and I certainly didn't use that LOL symbol. I do like the ones by Yogi Berra and Juila Child. Maybe it's because I was a longtime fan of both of them. That should do it for today. As always, I wish you a most wonderful day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later..

Friday, May 20, 2016

"I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up." ~ Erma Bombeck

As I approach the end of another work week here at the ole blogger ranch, I appreciate our visits this week even as I anticipate our time together today, Friday, May 20, 2016. On any given day we are bombarded by the incessant drumbeat of all that is happening in our world. ~ An Egyptian Air Liner is missing, presumed crashed, likely due to a terroristic act. ~ When President Obama visits Hiroshima, survivors from the atomic bomb dropped in 1945 want to meet him face to face where they hope he will apologize. ~ Stocks retreat to a six-week low. ~ US intelligence chief announces that foreign governments are attempting to hack into the campaign computers for those running for president. ~ These were on a national forum but then you add all the local reports of murder, mayhem, fires, and the unrelenting but insane political stuff, well, no wonder you are worn out before you get started. Thanks to the internet and social media we know pretty much everything going on, instantaneously. I will admit to being somewhat of a follower of all forms of current events but that doesn't keep me from wondering about the value of this oversaturation of information. I know a few people who refuse to get onboard. They live and work and operate largely off the technology driven grid. They are not totally unaware but they are not plugged into the second-by-second unfolding of every iota of every detail imaginable. That would not be me, but, I can't really see where they are hurting from not knowing. There may be something there for us all to think about. Maybe. Right now I see someone has posted a new status on Twitter. Got to go. Catch up with you later.

The vast amount of information is not only mind blowing but some of the stuff being shared is enough to make someone want to scream. I love seeing family postings of those I know. I enjoy testimonies of how God is working in people's lives. I take note of the Scriptures people post along with comments of what they have meant to them. The chain letter look-alikes that say you don't love God if you don't share this message, well, I can do without those. The celebrations of wedding anniversaries that took place on a fictional television program, well, I can do without those. The selling of products to each other that make me feel like I am stuck in an Avon calling vortex, well, I can do without those. The hate laced diatribes by any and all individuals on political matters, regardless of who they support, well, I can do without those. The public airing of clearly private matters, sometimes with embarrassing details, well, I can do without those. The unending self-promotion of me, myself, and I photos, called selfies, well, I can do without those. What does one do to ferret out the good stuff while ignoring the things that irritate? I know what works for me. You become skilled at skipping. And, you also keep in mind that while many things are not my cup of tea, to others they are both interesting and stimulating. That being true, it helps motivate me to keep on honing my skipping techniques. I intended this to be my lighthearted take, so, don't take it too seriously.

I didn't really plan to write about this today. It more or less unfolded on its own. That's how it goes when you work without a net. While I do not have a specific quota on word counts for my blogs, I feel like I must have met or exceeded all expectations this week. I'm speaking of volume only, not quality or usefulness.  I do appreciate those who have been praying for my mom. She has had a really good week. She says she believes it reflects the prayers of those interceding on her behalf. She is so thankful for this response on the part of those who care. Ultimately, it is God's working on behalf of His own and we do offer praise and thanksgiving to Him for His mercy, grace, and love. Prayer helps us all to connect into His way of getting things done. I would say this has been some kind of week but I could likely say that almost every week. I am looking forward to Saturday and to Lord's Day Sunday, and I hope you are too. Thanks for taking the time to show up for our little electronic meet up each day. I'll be trying to come up with a topic for our next regularly scheduled visit, come next Monday. Until then, may God bless us, one and all. Amen.  ......More later.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Fortune has a fickle heart and a short memory." ~ Chinese Proverb

Okay. I think I've had enough to say about political correctness run amok for one week, therefore, I will attempt to move on to something different. After all, it's a brand new day, and this one happens to identify itself as being Thursday, May 19, 2016. I recently read a somewhat confusing article on the purpose of purpose. I know that's a big subject since many folks desire to find their purpose. Companies pay big bucks to experts to help them define their purpose. I forwarded a little video to the wife the other day where a Bible teacher was explaining the purpose of instruction. She said the purpose was not to get additional glitzy looking binders to go on a shelf, or to be loaded up with information. It was seeing changed lives as the materials and the information brought about outcomes consistent with God's working in each individual. My wife teaches ladies so I thought these comments might be helpful. I well remember some insight into how this works from many years ago. The company I worked so long for either owned or supported some 1500 oil change centers. I heard a fellow talking about the purpose of our services and support. The franchise owners and operators needed technology. The employees at each location deserved support. However, the real purpose was to provide for the customer who would bring their vehicle for servicing. See what I mean? It's easy to focus our time and attention on really good things but not necessarily on our true purpose. When you support the end customer as your highest priority, you foster success in the business. Pleasing the franchise operators is good and taking care of the employees is too. But, they will not be there at all if one loses sight of the real purpose: Taking care of the customer. This can be applied in almost every area of life, including the reason behind our faith, our family, and our day-to-day focus.

I also recently read a critical commentary on the current emphasis on identifying the 'World's Oldest Living Person'. The person writing this assessment thinks this to be mostly a worthless endeavor. He states that for the most part, the oldest living person has very little to offer except for the fact they are still alive. His review indicated that most of these individuals had accomplished very little in noteworthy achievements outside of their luck in living longer than others. While I might agree that making such a huge publicity emphasis regarding these folks is not all productive, I would greatly disagree in how he judges their contributions. Most of them have extensive families they have influenced. Many of them have testimonies of faithfulness to their God, their jobs, and to their duties and responsibilities. To me, that means something. So, they didn't have a patent on some great invention, or perhaps they were never awarded the Medal of Honor. But, please don't belittle their time here on the planet! Of course, I am prejudiced. I happen to know that God looks at each person differently than how the world sees them. Raising up God fearing family does not rank as a great achievement here, but I think those who have devoted themselves to doing so will be rewarded when they hear the Creator God Himself say, "Well done My child!" (See Matthew 25:34-40) And, in case you are wondering, I just happen to be unanimous in my opinion on this subject. Thanks.

Have you noticed that I often spend time answering questions that no one asked? I suppose that's a rhetorical device used to allow me to pontificate on whatever it is that finds its way onto my radar screen. Many years ago I took the Reader's Digest and pretty much read it cover to cover when it arrived. I always loved the regular feature, 'Life in these United States'. That feature was actually birthed in 1943. Here's a sample of a couple of reader submitted stories, "Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found an elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet-who insisted he didn't need my help to leave the hospital. After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down, I asked if his wife was meeting him. "I don't know," he said. "She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown." -- Patsy R. Dancey, ~  "What is that sound?" a woman visiting our nature center asked. "It's the frogs trilling for a mate," Patti, the naturalist, explained. "We have a pair in the science room. But they've been together for so long, they no longer sing to each other." The woman nodded sympathetically. "The trill is gone." -- KathyJo Townson ~ As you might guess, there's thousands more like these. Fortunately, many of them are captured out on the internet and these two happened to blip their journey across my radar screen today. Have a great rest of the day and remember to give thanks for God's provisions. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

“...These politically correct language initiatives are misguided and harmful. They create highly entitled professional “victims” who expect to be free from any offense, and they engender a stifling atmosphere where all individuals walk on eggshells lest they might commit a linguistic capital crime.” ― Gad Saad, Author

Good morning and welcome to our scheduled early morning coffee break visit here on this Wednesday, May 18, 2016. I don't know what you are having but I'm enjoying some hot, black, Community, 100% Columbia Altura. I make it trending towards the strong side but not too strong. Just a smidgen of a bite to it is how I like it. You may like yours all doctored up with this flavoring or that. It is, after all, a world where we can still choose. Or, at least, I think we can still choose. Some things. The word-police may eventually ask me not to use words like hot and black because it might offend someone. And, the Columbians may take issue with the use of their name on the coffee I drink. Just think what a wonderful world we will have when we get rid of every vestige of any and all words that might be misunderstood. The current administration even has a new name for what our system of law once called criminals. The simple definition of the word criminal refers to someone who has committed a crime. Add the word convicted and you are suddenly committing a crime yourself. It's a new crime of stigmatizing those who have broken the law, been tried, and were convicted of a criminal act. What is the new recommended designation to represent these previously called convicted criminals? Justice-involved individuals. I would say you've got to be kidding but I'm not going to because the way I see it there's no end in sight.

I know what some of you are thinking. You think maybe I'm dabbling in fiction writing. Sorry to disappoint you but you can check my facts because they are what they are and the names of the guilty have not been changed to protect the innocent. They always added something like that to the old Dragnet shows so I thought I would put it in to add some credibility to my essay. In the old days when I was interviewing and screening potential employees, a company would not want to hire someone to count money who had done time for embezzlement. There may well come a time when information of that nature from their background will be deemed as stigmatizing, therefore, making it unavailable. I looked over a current list of 15 questions that are now considered to be illegal when interviewing a potential job applicant. I suppose that our interview process may one day be replaced with a form of the Miranda warning given by the police, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you." You think that perhaps I've gone off the reservation? First, you shouldn't use that word because it certainly may be offensive to someone out there, and, secondly, hang on because my forecast going forward is that we ain't seen nothing yet.

No. I am not running to be elected curmudgeon of the year. That word describes a bad-tempered or surly individual. I'm not either of those but I thought I had better use the word before it becomes declared illegal under the Geneva Convention, or, better yet, The Democratic Party Convention. You do know I'm joking. Right? In my very first ever blog I mentioned my intention to follow the guiding principle set forth by the late, great, Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot just by watching." That's what I have been up to in my daily dialogues. I observe. I think about what I have seen. And, I communicate what I think about it. Does that make me always right? Oh, how I would love to say that it does but my nearly 70 years sojourn screams a resounding no to that question. Commentary. Opinion. Thoughts. The only time I know I am on solid footing is when I quote directly 'thus says the word of the Lord'. My thoughts about what He has said may be off but His Word is true. Here's an inspired declaration concerning God's Word: "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews Chapter 4, Verses 12-13) That should give us all something to consider, including yours truly. Take care and may God bless is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” ― George Moore,(1852-1933), Author, 'The Brook Kerith'

Good morning and welcome to this day, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Last Saturday I ran over to Louisiana to visit mom and dad. They didn't know I was coming. Dad said he pretty much expected me to show up. I greatly enjoyed my visit with these remarkable people. We talked about going out to a little catfish joint near Toledo Bend on my way out of town. Dad and I were outside. Mom made a different decision. She really didn't feel like getting ready to leave the house so she put in to make us a lunch. When I came back in and saw her working on some toasted bread sandwiches, I asked what she thought she was doing. She asked me if I thought she wasn't able to put together a lunch. I saw her over there holding the bread up real close to her eyes so she could see how to spread the mayonnaise. She had the breakfast table set up and ready. Another meal enjoyed with a time of thankful prayer and a sense of God's provision as she, dad, and I enjoyed our time together. I thought about how many times she had prepared my favorite over the years, or Jimmy's, Frances', JoAnn's, Donald's or Kayla's. Like her mom before her, she would fix it and then sit down to watch you enjoy it. She is now wrestling with how to feel based on this recent cancer diagnosis. It's been more of a mental stress as she contemplates how this will all unfold. Her bottom line: One day at a time, with faith in God to see her through, she plans to carry on as normal until she has to make a change. That's not bad theology my friend. Not bad at all. Amen.

I can't remember a time over the past number of years when we've had so many of our dear ones nearing their final departure from this life for their real home. The wife, in particular, has been exceptional in keeping up with a number of folks in our local fellowship who are in a day-by-day situation. I try to do some visiting when I can as well as praying for them every single day. There's one older fellow who is in a nursing home. I've been there many times. I call it a nursing home. They probably have a new name for it these days. He has many physical challenges but is also suffering from dementia. I've mentioned many times how that visiting in a place like that is a sobering experience. Last Sunday we were there and had a good time with him, laughing and carrying on. The trip down the hall to his room makes one very aware of how blessed you are to be a visitor there. Pitiful. Heart, and gut wrenching. I visited with a staff person as we walked down the hall to leave. She had a most wonderful island accent. We talked a little about the plight of those in that facility and I told her, at my age, it's easy to see this as a preview of what might be ahead. She chuckled and said that she thought the wife and I were doing quite well and then she asked our ages. We told her. She added that we were doing quite well indeed. Hey. She had a uniform on. That makes it official. Doesn't it? I'll take encouragement from wherever I can get it. And, thank you very much for your input, dear lady.

Now that we have the two main contenders for the presidency pretty much nailed down, it didn't take long for us to get a preview of what will be coming next. One major national newspaper announced they had assigned 20 full-time reporters to dig up dirt on the Republican presumptive nominee. We do need to be thinking in terms of mud. Mud slinging. Mud wrestling. Mud racing. Mud and more mud. I know you didn't need me to tell you that we are in for scandal-mongering, either at its best, or worst, depending on whether you are throwing the mud or receiving it. By starting it all so early we can all be sure of one thing. We will be sick and tired of being sick and tired by the time this election cycle is concluded. That, for me, may happen sooner rather than later. Okay. I cannot tell a lie. I was sick and tired of this unbelievable mess so long ago I don't even remember when I got that way. If this upcoming election doesn't cause us all to fall on our knees I'm not sure what it will take. They will need new words to describe it, however, since they left bizarre in the dust a long time ago. Do I need to clarify my thoughts on this subject? Good. Thanks for picking it up so quickly. Now it is time to say so long for now and may God bless each one, and may He once again bless our great nation. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, May 16, 2016

“Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘Blog’ is a fool’s errand.” ~ Michael Coniff, Technology Marketing Manager

It's time to get ourselves switched to 'productive mode' for this upcoming work week. That's right. We are at it again, already, beginning with today, Monday, May 16, 2016. Last week marked my 9th year since I began throwing words onto the electronic page. Believe it or not, my first few were pretty brief. Then I more or less got myself warmed up. For many of the early years I wrote five paragraphs and sometimes six a day. I typically now do about three each day. Over 2300 daily visits and a whole lot of words. I wasn't necessarily early in adopting this method of communication. The credited first blog dates back to 1994. I had thought about it for a while before I started. I remember reading how that huge numbers of people began blogging but a fairly low percentage stayed with it. I didn't want to be in the start but then stop category. It's fairly challenging to come up with something every day. I realize I use the term 'something' as more of a description as opposed to it reflecting substance or quality. I do occasionally go back and sample some of them on a random basis. I can't judge them for their quality since that would be in the 'eye of the beholder', however, I do find a couple of thematic points. They sound like me. And, they are somewhat consistent in how a variety of subjects are handled. The funny parts are still funny. To me. Thanks for traveling along with me on this trip which still has yet to define its final destination. Maybe this time next year on the 10th anniversary I will have figured that out. Maybe.

I've done these long enough to have actually lost a few very dedicated readers. This includes some who have made their final journey home. My all time most devoted reader, my mom, she can't read them anymore. Even with her multiple magnifying glasses, given her failed eyesight, the process is just too tedious. We had to replace her old computer and with the change to newer technology the access hurdles have just been too much for her. She can still do some on Facebook. Even that can be challenging to her. She has trouble managing the mouse pointer because of not being able to see it. Fortunately, I use a remote access utility that allows me to help keep her system working. She can unintentionally create some pretty interesting scenarios. The other day she somehow got the language switched to Portuguese and began connecting up with folks from Brazil. They actually started sending her friend requests. Since everything on her system had been converted to Portuguese, it took me some time to figure out how to get it changed back to English. I had to bring up a language conversion utility so I could figure out which part of the settings to change. I did get it back on track after about 30 minutes. It made for a good laugh. I am so happy that at 92 this activity is something that helps occupy her time and keeps her up to date on things going on in the family.

Last Thursday evening when mom told me about her cancer diagnosis I was immediately overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness for her and all the years she has been granted by the Lord God of heaven. She was emotional but not downhearted. It was a surprise to her, dad, and to the rest of us. She asked me to contact my sisters because she knew she would probably break down. She then asked if I would voice a prayer for her. I did. In many ways, that request encompasses our faith, our hope, and our assurance. She may still have many days left but the doctor thinks it most likely will spread. I couldn't help but think of the words of our Savior, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verses 1-3) I also thought about that passage from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians where he was inspired to give us this word, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verses 9-11) That salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ is where true peace can be found. For my mom. For me. For you. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, May 13, 2016

"People are living longer than ever before. In 1900, people aged 65 and older composed just over 4 percent of the U.S. population. By 2050, they will make up more than 20 percent. This unprecedented population growth is the result of significant medical advances over the past century, especially those related to the treatment of infectious disease such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. But aging population growth — especially among those older than 85, who are most likely to require expensive long-term care, suffer disability or require assistance with daily activities — comes with serious financial consequences for aging Americans and their families." ~ Quote from an article published by the Public Heath Dept. of George Washington University

Special Prayer Request: Mom has been having trouble with a hip for some time now. Yesterday she found out that she has developed cancer in that hip and it is also in her back. Even at 92, this was a surprise. She does not intend taking any form of treatment. She is at peace knowing that God is in control and He will be with her as the days go forward. I ask that you whisper a prayer for His nearness to her at this time. Thanks.
Let me pause just for a second to catch my breath. Thanks. This week has been somewhat of an uphill climb. But, as of this moment, I'm standing on top of this particular hill and it's called Friday, May 13, 2016. Maybe the downhill path will be a might easier to traverse. That would be the weekend, for those not totally on top of my metaphorical jingoisms that I'm scattering like leaves being blown in the wind. Or something like that. I do hope that today's visit finds you and yours doing well. I read a quote the other day in an article about aging. It was attributed to the great playwright Tennesee Williams, "You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it." I suppose that puts somewhat of a meaningful twist on the high cost of living, longer. I also saw a little joke that went like this: "The elderly patient eagerly awaited the report from her doctor. He said after running all the tests available, he had reached a final conclusion. She was out of money." I do know this. In my going here and there, I do spot a whole lot of older folks still showing up for work each day. It might just be me but as I see it, this used to be the exception but that does seem to be changing. A recent study found those 65 or older tend to place their official retirement target much further out than they have in the past. The surveyed younger workers still dream of working only until they are 62 or less. I think there's a song entitled "Dream On". Maybe they should learn to sing it. I'm not being negative, just passing on information. If I make it to August I'll hit the big 70, so I'm thankful to be still able to rise. I'll have to reserve judgment at this time on the 'shine' part. But, nonetheless, I am thankful. Yes I am! Amen.

You might recall that in January I hit another 70 for the first time. My diabetic blood measurement hit 7.0 for the first time ever. Normal blood is 6.0 or less. I had it rechecked last week and I am glad to report it has improved. Not a huge amount but better than it was. I had a 6.8 on this most recent test and I am here to tell you that I am thankful for it. Amen. Why all the fuss? I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say that most of the complications from diabetes are not anything anyone would want to experience. My doctor has an interesting outlook on things. His goal, working with me, is to keep me going long enough, with God's provision, so that I will end up dying from something other than my diabetes. He didn't say it in those exact words but that was my take on what our team effort is attempting to achieve by chasing these numbers. The wife asked me this week if my fingers get sore from all the pricking. Perhaps a little. Different people use different techniques. I use the sides of my thumbs. They seem to be tougher. I rotate from right to left on one hand, and then right to left on the other. If I had my druthers, I would just as soon not deal with it at all. At the same time, I look around and see so many others that face challenges each day which make mine seem very small indeed. In the meantime, I will take that 6.8 and see if we can take it down another notch.

Maybe my sharing about my diabetic journey which began in the summer of 2007 will be an encouragement to others dealing with similar challenges. That was when it was discovered. There's no way to know exactly how long I had the condition but it was caught early according to the numbers. I had gone to the doctor for a completely different reason. He asked how long had it been since I had a complete physical. Too long. We did one. That's how we found out. What was my initial response? Sorry, but no thank you. You are wrong. The labs are wrong. All I could see in my mind's eye was me sticking insulin shots into my belly. Denial and withdrawal. But, the numbers did not lie and I am very blessed to be able to share these experiences as I continue this journey, 9 years later. Thus far, I have been able to treat this disease without injections. That to me has been a real blessing. I went from having never taken any medications to ingesting a handful in the evenings and each morning. It sounds like I obsess over all of this. I don't. Our slogan around our place has become: "Everything in moderation." That's how I try to operate. Try. I'm not always successful. Believe me, some mornings I think my little blood tester might cry. But, I take note of his report and move forward to try and do better. The crazy thing is how that often I have no clue why it might be higher than normal. Okay. No. I do not intend on starting a medical advice column. Thanks for tuning in this week and I do wish you a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May He be honored in our response to Him. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I hate to inform you of this most sad passing.

Hello and welcome. I thought I would do something different today, on this Thursday, May 12, 2016. I know. Most of the stuff I do could be better classified as not only different but perhaps even odd. I found this sad notice on a blog from the UK. I've seen others like it before but I thought I would share it today so we can all think about it some. The wording and illustrations used may be unfamiliar since they do tend to talk funny across the pond, but, I think the meaning is unmistakable. I know they teach children to Stop Drop and Roll in the event of a fire. Maybe this one could use our time to Listen Think and Act as a response. Take care. Have yourself a good day and may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform the parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and your own.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised that he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other" ~ Book written by Sherry Turkle

Now we turn the page and continue our conversation on this Wednesday, May 11, 2016. I had previously talked about the obsession we have today with technology. Here's an article headline for you: "Parent's smartphones harming children's ability to hold conversations, say teachers." This is based on some recent findings where teachers were queried about the impact they are seeing. Imagine this scenario: The internet is down and I can't communicate with anyone except by telephone. Oh my! This means I may have to actually speak to this person. I work with them all the time. But, to actually speak and have them speak back to me. I'm not sure that I can do it. There may come a day when people forget even how to verbalize at all. Just think. You call up someone and tell them who you are. They are surprised because even after all the message exchanges they were not certain that you were a real person. Laugh if you want to but we may not just be headed in that direction, we, for the most part, are already there. I've experienced folks who were stunned when they got a real person on the line. They actually wanted the voice mail system. See what I am talking about? They were hoping to speak to an electronic messaging system, not a flesh and blood, real human person. Back in the day when I was in charge of a large networking environment, I spoke with people all over the world. It was always interesting when they would come to Houston for a meeting and we would end up meeting face to face. Invariably, I didn't look to them anything like they imagined, and they didn't match my mental picture either. Today you can look them up in any number of ways. You can find their personal photos, their family information, their police records, their home address, their marital history, and many other types of information, mostly all for free, in seconds, if you know how to use the tools available to you. For most people, the good news is that you may never have to have an actual voice to voice communication with them. This brave new world is really something. What say you?

Okay. I'm done beating dead horses for this week. Or, at least, as it relates to that particular subject. If you love animals, don't be offended by that metaphor about horses. People are so sensitive today. That particular idiom about horses actually means to continue with an issue that has already been concluded; something that is considered to be pointless. While the exact origin is not known, it is typically thought to have been in one way or another connected to horse racing. The earliest mention in print is from 1859 from a newspaper in London which had this comment, "It was notorious that Mr. Bright was dissatisfied with his winter reform campaign and rumor said that he had given up his effort with the exclamation that it was like flogging a dead horse." See. I had no thoughts of animal cruelty in mind when I used it. I did read where Barnum and Bailey have now retired all their circus elephants because of the ongoing challenges from animal rights groups. No more elephants at their circus performances. That's not good enough for those who oppose animals being used for entertainment purposes. They now want Barnum and Bailey to cancel all animal acts. Period. That's just one example of the myriad of folks fighting this, that, or the other on the grounds of their concerns or just because they feel offended. I heard the other day that psychologists have found that people who have to walk through first class on their way to their cheaper seats are impacted negatively by that experience. Next thing you know they will be saying that life is mostly unfair. Yikes!

I suppose the way I move from one thing to another could be described as drive-by or throw-down commentary. I think that fits my mode and my profile. I may be one who knows a little about a lot of different things but not that much in-depth about anything. Well, that might work for most of my knowledge base but when it comes to realizing my need of God I think I have that one pretty well figured out. In fact, I well identify with the sentiment from this hymn, "I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee; O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee." That hymn was written by a lady named Anne Hawks. She was a prolific songwriter of more than 400 hymns and lived from 1835-1918. Here's her account for how the I Need Thee hymn was birthed, "One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning [in 1872]. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me -- 'I Need Thee Every Hour. . . .'" The famous Gospel music writer Dr. Robert Lowry added the tune and the rest is history. I get what she was talking about. I hope you do too! Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later....

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Notice: Don't text and drive. Stay Alive!

Today is Tuesday, May 10, 2016, and I have another in my series of public services announcements. This texting while driving menace has become a runaway epidemic. When I am out on the road in the company truck, it sits up high enough that I get a clear view of all the texters around me. The other day the freeway slowed way down. The car beside me was texting. The car in front of me was texting. The car on the other side of me was texting. The car behind me was texting. For those of you who do not think it affects your driving, think again! It does. I had seriously thought about getting my wife's old smartphone enabled for me to use. I do miss a lot of texts from our circle. However, nearly every single day I am reminded why I have hesitated to go down that path. Yes. I am very aware that you could be disciplined and not have the same level of exposure. Sure. I know that. But, for me, that might be difficult, therefore, for now, I will just keep on keeping on in using my little flip phone. That's right. A flip phone. You think maybe I could get one with the old round dialer on it? Laugh if you want to but it does get the job done for me. For me. Nearly every time I return from a trip into the metroplex I breathe a sigh of relief because I was able to dodge all the near misses from distracted texting drivers. That's the truth and you heard it from an eyewitness. Thanks for listening.

Yesterday had a very frustrating start for me. As most of you know, I travel a very secluded roadway to work each day. In the wee early hours of the morning. On a normal day, I meet a few other vehicles here and there along with all the wild animals who have completed their night shift and are on their way home. Yesterday I had a different experience. I turned onto the final five-mile stretch and made about a half mile before I was stopped in my tracks. It was just past 4 a.m., and I had happened upon an episode of cops going down right there in the middle of the road. There were two patrol cars with their emergency lights beaming, one on my side and another on the other side. Both were parked diagonally and had the road completely blocked. In between, there was a vehicle and the police officers were engaging those who were in that car. As best I could see. I know it wasn't a real episode of cops but it sure looked and felt like it was. I sat there for about five minutes. I could see flashlights and I did see the officers walking forth and back. There were a couple of cars coming my way and they were also waiting. Since no one was behind me I decided I had better back up, turn around, and take a detour before I got locked into my position. That's what I did. I didn't really want to add 20 minutes to my commute but you just never know what you are going to run into on any given day. Oh yeah. When I finally got to my workstation here at the Company, the internet was dead. Not sick or puny. D-E-A-D, dead. Some days it just seems like staying at home may have been a better choice.

I've seen that commercial about how people begin to go stir crazy within minutes of the internet being down. The little girl makes a fairly profound comment in that ad, “Something has happened in the world and we don't know about it.” It does make for some inconvenience when much of one's work environment depends on being connected. While I was unable to get on with my normal activities, I took the time to run a full security scan on my system and to clean up some other stuff on my computer. Many years ago in what would be considered to be the ancient days of computing, response time was very limited. This was before personal computers. Folks were connected to large computers with a terminal. When you would hit the enter button you would then wait for it to respond. The mega computer firm that furnished these systems needed to help people deal with these longer than desired wait times. They came up with a campaign to try and get people to utilize those delays in a more productive manner. They promoted THINK as the answer. They provided notepads, buttons, and other reminders with that logo emblazoned on them. In other words, while you are waiting for the system to get back to you, spend that interlude thinking. Think about ways to improve the job or business you are engaged in. Sorry. I had the responsibility of delivering those services and from what we heard at the help desk, our users were predominately thinking about how lousy our service was. Just like I was thinking when the internet was down yesterday. The more things change it is the more they stay the same. And, that's my story for today and for now I've decided to stick to it. Have a blessed day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Where has the time gone?

That's Alexander Benjamin in the front and behind him Amanda, Jimmy, and Alesha.
Let me see? We did the wife's birthday, our Jimmy's birthday, mom's birthday, and Mothers Day, back to back to back to back. Now we take a deep breath and get ready for graduations. We have three, count them, three, graduating from high school and they are all from the same family! Our Jimmy Jr., along with his twin sisters Alesha and Amanda will soon be walking across the stage. This is both exciting and bewildering at the same time. Where has the time gone? One evening I finish reading him a book and then I'm outside holding little Jim and he's telling the moon and stars good night and the next thing you know he's got whiskers. One evening Alesha and Amanda, just little tykes, are sitting with me on the couch watching the Food Channel with me and every time Emeril Lagasse says BAM!, they and I say it with him. Again, where has the time gone? That's some of what I am thinking about as I try to get up and going on this back-to-work Monday, May 9, 2016. That's a lot to take in but we are so thankful that God has provided for these kids and we so look forward to seeing Him work in their lives as they continue their journey. What's the problem? Does this make you feel old? To be honest, it does, but more than that it reminds me of the joy we have been blessed with through all of our family and all of our kids and their kids and yes, even our great grandkid! I'm sure I will have more to say about all of this as it transpires. What? You figured as much? Good. I'll do my best not to let you down.

Today is the 129th day of the year. See what I mean? It's flying by folks. Flying by. We have 236 days left and here's one that will get your attention, only 229 shopping days until Christmas. The other day I was at one of the big-box home improvement stores. A lady high-up muckety-muck was walking around with a group of managers in tow. She had the clipboard. (That's the universal sign of who is in charge. The clipboard.) They all seemed very interested in what she was writing down. Who knows? Their Christmas bonus might have been at stake. At any rate, she saw me in one of the aisles and stopped her little group and pointed at me. She told her group, "See, this is where Santa comes when he is not making toys. He comes to one of our stores." They all laughed. Yes. They laughed out loud. Not LOL, just, laughed out loud. Maybe they laughed because that's what they thought she wanted them to do. Maybe they actually thought it was funny. I did my Santa wave and they continued their inspection tour. Just for grins, I sometimes ask the wife how people get the idea that I am Santa. She says it could have something to do with the fact that I have a Santa beard and face and I wear a red cap, red or green shirt, and corresponding green or red suspenders. Really? I suppose that does have something to do with it. (I used the photo as an example and it gave me another opportunity to show off our great grand, one more time.)

The other day when the wife and I travelled to Louisiana, our route carried us by some areas and roads that made up a lot of my early days here on the planet. We passed by Toro creek where we used to camp out, swim, and fish. I saw the now overgrown road that my grandfather and I used to take into the deep woods to do our squirrel hunting. That's right. Squirrels. Yes. I am aware they are rodents and I am also happy to inform you that my Granny Mac could smother fry them up and they were nothing short of a delicacy. We also passed by the road that leads to Beckom Cemetery where dozens of our kin have been laid to rest. I could see many of them in my mind's eye. I know the best selling book said you can't go home again, but that's never been my experience. I passed by the houses of kids that I went to elementary school with. I passed by the place where the wife and I rented a small farmhouse many years ago. We had us a huge garden there. The house had a tin roof. We did us some mighty fine sleeping on rainy, cold nights in that old house. We came into the tiny rural town where I used to hang out. My grandfather used to ask me when I left the house if I was going down Broad to look up Main. The old filling station we owned at one time is still there. It hasn't been a filling station in a long time. I think it was most recently some kind of hardware store. There's much more I could share because I always remember so many things when I go home. Remind me to tell you about the time..... Maybe later. May God bless each one. Amen ....More later.

Friday, May 6, 2016

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” — Abraham Lincoln

Here we go again and as we peek our heads over the covers we discover that it's Friday, May 6, 2016. Somehow knowing that it is Friday seems to perk up nearly everyone. This upcoming Sunday is Mother's Day! I don't have to think too long or too hard about the impact of my mom on my life and I'm also aware of the way in which so many other moms have influenced me over the years. I know what you are thinking about that before and after photo. When did she begin to realize that maybe I would grow up to become Santa Claus? Sorry. You weren't thinking that, were you? That's okay. I will answer it anyway. She didn't know. I didn't know. We all found out together. But, the other day she did say she liked my new style curly beard. I've been experimenting with some curling gel foam stuff and once I finally got the hang of how to use it, it's been okay. But, back to my main point. Moms. They brought us into this world. They brought us up. They poured themselves into the lives of their children. I can identify one word that my mom, my grandmothers, my wife's mom and grandmothers, and my wife herself all have in common: Sacrifice. Willingly. Lovingly. God made them that way and I for one am so very thankful He did.

I'm thankful for all that has been done to help me to get to where I am today. My mom was a big part of that process. My wife. My grandmother. Her mom. Her grandmothers. Teachers. Sunday School workers. Lunchroom staff. Moms who didn't leave their mom hat at home when they came to work. I do hope that all the moms out there will have a most wonderful time celebrating the day set aside to honor them. I leave you with this little poetic verse:

Mother is a name held sacred
      By most mortals of the earth;
      It means great love and sacrifice
      From the very day of birth,
A love that's so full of beauty,
      So tender, so very true!
      Something, seemingly, from Heaven
      That has come to me and you.
There's no love so understanding
      And so faithful to the end
      As a Mother's love—God bless her!—
      That to us our Lord did send.
~ Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Mother" (1940s)

I also hope everyone has a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to see you again come next Monday morning. May God bless us, one and all. Amen. ....More later.