Thursday, June 30, 2016

"One day, someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, 'Is it half full or half empty?' So I drank the water. No more problem." ~ Alexander Jodorowsky, Chilean film and theatre director, screenwriter, playwright, actor, author, poet, producer, composer, musician, comics writer and spiritual guru

It's Thursday, the 30th and last day of June, 2016, a very good day as I see it. We have changed our schedule to better reflect our work requirements. This means I will be off Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and also on Monday as we celebrate the day set aside to recognize our nation's independence. (4th of July) I say a good day only because it will give me a break from my regular routine. At the same time, I am fully aware that our guys here at the Company need as many hours as they can get to help support their families. I continue to pray that our workload will increase. Am I saying I actually pray about the well-being of the enterprise I work for? You betcha. Every day. The folks here at the workplace are likely wondering how much training I will need when I return next Tuesday. You know. Out of sight, out of mind. Take that old saw and add my age to the mix and it does make one wonder. The out of sight out of mind idiom has been around a long time. At least as far back as the 13th century (1200's). It has to do with connecting the mind and remembering with absence causing one to forget. I actually didn't need an explanation for how it came about. I have a more literal living demonstration of exactly how it works showing itself much more often than I would like to say. The good news is that I don't always remember how often I don't remember. That helps. It really does. I feel better already. I'll try to remember to remember exactly how I made myself feel better. Thanks.

I know what many of you are wondering. What in the world will I do with myself with four consecutive days off? We may have some pre-set commitments, therefore, the schedule will more or less take care of itself. If that doesn't happen I will most likely make it up as I go along my way. I have to really work hard to get ready to do something different than my regular routine. I had something in mind last weekend but the wife already had a lot going on so I ended up not acting on it. That was my attempt. She wasn't altogether happy when I told her I had something in mind for us to do. She said she needed more notice than to announce it on Saturday morning. Oh well. I really do hope the thought that counts will be of some value. Speaking of that, the thoughts deal, it seems that I see more and more people asking folks to send them some good vibes on behalf of an illness, situation, or problem they are dealing with. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what they are talking about. I do believe in the power of prayer but the sending of good vibes, as I see it, is very different. I Googled it and there's a whole lot of folks asking for them. Good vibes. One even said if you can't send good vibes but you are into prayer, you could do that as well. I read one place that it has something to do with transmitting positive emotional signals. Since mostly younger folks are the ones seeking these good vibes I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary. Here is what it had to say: Meaning all of the people, places, ideas, and possibilities that evoked positive, safe, happy sensations. Good vibes indicated a "green light, go for it" type of decision and described synchronicities, beneficial encounters, and sensations of protection and grace. I think I will just stick to prayer. God said we have access to His throne of grace through His Son. I feel very confident in Him. Not the other. Sorry to disappoint those who are still waiting for any of my vibes floating in their direction.

There are times when I am not the least bit disappointed that I am out of sync with the modern culture. I don't mean that in a derogatory way at all. Think about it. I've never even once desired to buy me some skinny jeans. You can quote me on that. It's never even been on my radar screen. I know who Taylor Swift is. I see her name in the headlines quite often. I'm not sure I could name one song she has ever sung because I can't remember ever listening to one. To my knowledge, no one has been harmed by these admissions. I could go on. And on. Just how out of touch am I? I wouldn't even hazard a guess but I do know what every man, woman, boy, and girl needs. We all were born with that need. It came with the package of being a part of the human family. It's a sin issue. We all have it. It can only be dealt with by coming to know God through His very own provision gained by the sacrifice of His One and Only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That, my friend, is a universally shared need that every person breathing air on the planet can identify with. It is our common ground. There it is. The Cross. We used to sing a song that said the ground was level at the foot of the cross, meaning that any and everyone can stand completely equal in responding to God's offer of salvation. That's not good vibes, that is Good News! You know, as in John 3:16. Okay. I'll let us all ponder that for a while and see what we might come up with for tomorrow. Take care and may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.    ....More later.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

God is good. God is great. Let us thank Him today. Amen.

Today. That's what we all have on our agenda. This one is labeled as Wednesday, June 29, 2016. I know a lot of folks are really stirred up about the upcoming presidential election. They are posting stuff all over Facebook in support of their particular leanings and much of what I see each day most likely lacks proof or justification. That's our freedom of speech. The thought came to me the other day when I was discussing with our eldest my own frustration with this unprecedented mess, how that our faith has a different analysis of the situation. I began to consider what we know to be the truth. In the Book of Daniel, speaking of God, we read these words, "And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him." (Chapter 2, Verses 21-22) The Apostle Paul was inspired to preserve these words, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." (Romans 13:1) The UK has voted to leave the European Union. The world is in turmoil. Yet, God is still in control. The stock market is volatile. Several trillions of dollars have evaporated. Yet, God is still in control. We can be sure of that and we can join with the heavenly hosts in declaring this truth, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created." (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 4, Verse 11) This doesn't mean we don't participate in our political process because our ability to do so is a privilege and blessing. However, we do so with faith. Not in the institutions of humanity or in the instrumentality of human wisdom, but, we put our faith in the Everlasting God. Amen. (And, thanks for reminding me of this!)

If you didn't need to be reminded of that. Good! Don't worry. I did. I think that is the origin of quite a lot of the subjects I share. They become encouragement, beginning with me. That is part of what we are called to do. To build each other up in the faith. Any of us can become weary as we see all that is happening around us. Over the past few weeks I've heard more and more folks who have lost their jobs. Their world has changed. Some have expressed confusion since they had gone above and beyond to give of themselves in their respective workplaces. They are feeling let down. God is still in control. He does know all about it and He cares. I've been in that very situation. I know that feeling of emptiness and desperation. That's why we need to remind each other of the truths that transcend our difficult experiences in this life. I hear people say this is not a good time to be bringing children into the world. I understand that sentiment, but, at the same time we all know that God has a plan and purpose, and for those who are His own, He desires to work in our lives. Even when things are tough. I've been encouraged as people have demonstrated their faith in dealing with great adversities. He is still at work and He is still working all things for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) All things. Not just good things. All. We can depend on Him. Amen.

I didn't set out to give a sermon outline in today's visit. I opened the page and this is what came forth. I know these truths remembered have spoken to me. I know that God speaks through His Word. Therefore, I could never apologize for sharing His Word because it sets forth the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, regardless of what might be happening in our lives. I also know that knowing the truth doesn't make it easy as we try to put one foot ahead of the other. We live in a fallen world. There is pain all around. None of us are exempt. I was told just this week again by my lovely mother, who, at 92, mentioned these words, "I just don't know how people can make it in this old world without God." Sadly, there's many who are trying to do just that. Meanwhile, we may go through tough times and we may have to deal with unexpected trials, but, that will never change who we are in Christ, His care for us, and His ultimate plan for our future. A number of years ago I was asked to try and comfort someone going through a really tough time. The person who asked me to contact them added how they were hurting so badly they certainly didn't need to hear anything about God. I told them I didn't see how I could do that. Folks, whether it's me or you, the song is still true, "Jesus is right for whatever is wrong in your life." Have a great rest of the day and may God add His blessings. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Here's a funny one: "Caution Men at Work" (Women work all the time, men have to put up signs when they work.)

I didn't flip a coin this morning but I decided to show up anyway. I am thankful that I was able to get up and go on this Tuesday, June 28, 2016. It seems like everywhere you go there are warning signs. I was on the road the other day and I passed through a small town. I stopped at a chicken joint. They have these chicken sandwiches for $1.59 each. The chicken is about the size of a large coaster for a glass. I get the chicken with mayo, no lettuce. Two of them for lunch. While I was waiting for them to fry up my coasters I saw this sign hanging over by the drink machine. It was in large dark letters. It said that if you ask for a water cup but fill it with soda, you will be charged. No exceptions. That was followed by a half dozen exclamation points. I had my own drink in the truck but that sign did get my attention. The commentary in today's title had to have been written by a woman. I saw a few more out on the internet. ~ Please don't throw your cigarette butts on our floor. The cockroaches are getting cancer. ~ Touching these wires could bring sudden death and a $200 fine. ~ Warning: If you can read this sign, take note, you are within range. ~ Then the classic spelling and grammar errors. ~ Please slow drively. ~  Church sign: Remember God does not make missteaks. ~ School sign: Welcome back. We hope you hade a good brake. ~ Finally: We guarantee fast service no matter how long it takes. Maybe I could use one of these when someone asks me what my sign is. That might not work. I don't think I've ever had anyone ask me what my sign is. All this time.

One of the ways we mark time in our sojourn here on the planet is in our having to say goodbye to friends, family, and those near and dear to our hearts. We have a dear friend we've known for nearly 40 years. We and his family have been a part of our Church family for most of that time. Bro. Ken Owen left this life for his real home last Saturday night. He was a larger than life person and those who met him or knew him were destined to never forget him. Together, we essentially saw our children grow up, get married, and have children of their own, and the grandchildren have children. He was blessed with a good run. He was faithful. He was committed. He was interesting. He loved a good story and a good laugh. He served the Lord through our local fellowship in a number of different capacities. About a year ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The future looked bleak. Yet, he and his lovely bride Annette have shown courage and grace during this very difficult time. One thing we all will not soon forget was his desire to be with God's people at the gathering place each Sunday. Even when we could tell he certainly didn't feel like it, he came anyway. He was loved. And, he was blessed to know that he was loved by so many. May God comfort his sweet wife Annette and all their wonderful family. Amen.

As we deal with all that life brings to us, it's helps to know that we know our future when that time comes for us to say goodbye world goodbye. We were informed about Bro. Ken's passing last Saturday night. The rest of the night I had thoughts about him and what it must have been like for him to experience the end of his faith. The Apostle Paul was torn when he thought about leaving this world to be with Jesus. He said it would be oh so much better to leave. However, he also knew this timing was in God's hands and as long as he was left in this world he knew he had a work to do for his Lord. (The Epistle to the Philippians, Chapter 1) The words of Jesus also came to my mind, "That where I am, you may be also.") That's from John's Gospel, Chapter 14. It's there that Jesus told His followers that He would be leaving to prepare a place for them. He also assured them that if He left He would come again to fetch or bring them into His presence. I will be the first to confess that I do not have a clear understanding of how this works. Yet, by faith, I know it to be the reality of the destiny of every person who has accepted God's offer of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God knows very well that we will sorrow when we have to say goodbye here. Yet, the words  of the Apostle Paul speak the truth and testify of our certain arrival at that place Jesus has prepared for us, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus." (1st Thessalonians 4:13-14) Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a snake walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the snake's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!" "Not really," said the snake. "Your name is written inside the cover." ~ Copied

Welcome back folks. It's good to catch up with you as we do our best to get this whole shooting match on the move again. We are working on it today, Monday, June 27, 2016. I'm not into bad omens but it was interesting to consider the message being conveyed to the man who was bitten by a rattlesnake shortly after saying "I do." This was up in Colorado a week or so ago. The couple, both wilderness enthusiasts, had finished at the Church and were getting ready for the big reception at a special outdoors location. We've all heard snakebitten used as a metaphor for bad luck, misfortune, or tragedy. He felt a bump on his foot, looked down and saw the coiled snake, and they ended up in the emergency room where it was discovered that the bite on his ankle was dry, meaning the snake had not injected any venom into his body. After a several hours delay, they returned to their reception and got the party going. Someone found out that he was going to be okay and they went and purchased a bunch of rubber snakes to use at the reception. What a way to start their life together. But, it could have been worse. I would guess it made the words 'til death do us part' take on a whole new meaning. I could have thrown in some of my own jokes but I thought I would leave that to the imagination of my readers. Okay. Since you will not let me go without me telling at least one, here it is: If that snake that bit him worked for the government it would be called a civil serpent.

That will likely be a story they will tell for years to come. The legend will grow as it is retold again and again. When the wife and I were just starting out I worked for a while at a huge dam construction project. I was a helper to the fellow responsible for maintenance on all the equipment. We had photos from my days of working there. When the boys were young we would go by that huge dam and they began saying it was the dam that dad built. See what I mean? I would tell them that I was just a lowly worker there but in their eyes I was responsible for that dam. They saw it through the eyes and thoughts of a child. Over time this changed and their opinion of me did not always make me the hero of the story. That's part of how life works too. Here's something that describes that process that was printed in an Ann Landers column many years ago. It was entitled, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!" ~ A Child  says at: 4 years: My daddy can do anything. 7 years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot. 8 years: My father doesn't know quite everything. 12 years: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn't know that, either. 14 years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned. 21 years: Oh, that man is out-of-date. What did you expect? 25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much. 30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks. 35 years: A little patience.  Let's get Dad's assessment before we do anything. 50 years: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart. 60 years: My dad knew absolutely everything! 65 years: "I'd give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with  him.  I really miss that man."

Given the lack of connectedness on any given day, I may need to establish a chain of custody for my train of thought. I might be embellishing some to call what I put up on the electronic page a train of thought since it implies the interconnection in the sequence of ideas expressed during a connected discourse or thought, as well as the sequence itself, especially in discussion how this sequence leads from one idea to another. (That's according to Wikipedia.) If I understood that I might even be able to improve my work. You do know I'm kidding. Not about understanding it. About improving my work. I did read some interesting little ditties about this subject: ~ I've reached an age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me. ~ The right train of thought can take you to a better station in life. ~ My train of thought derailed, there were no survivors. ~ This train of thought leads nowhere. ~ That last one reminds me of how I often feel when I finish one of my daily episodes. Yet, I always know that something good can come from the effort when I remember to remember to point people to the One whose thoughts are always for our good. I'm talking about our Great God and His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You can count on that to be true! Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 24, 2016

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” ― Albert Einstein

Christopher Duffley and his family.
Yes. I did make it to Friday, and this one turns out to be June 24, 2016. Hello and welcome. A couple of things happened recently that reminded me of the words of Jesus when he said, "But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’" (Matthew 5:37) A few months ago I discovered and became a fan of the teenage blind and Autistic Christopher Duffley. He is an inspirational singer with a sweet testimony for his Lord and Savior. He is also a YouTube and internet sensation with millions of views and fans across the world. I ordered up a couple of his musical products in support of him and his family's ministry to inspire people and to reach out to those who have disabilities. The products came and the wife and I thoroughly and tearfully enjoyed them. A week later another order showed up. Same materials. I sent another check and told them I had passed on the second order to a family dealing with autism. A few days later I was driving down the road and my cell phone rang. The lady said she was Christine Duffley calling about my order. It was Christopher's mom and I told her I knew exactly who she was. She said she did all the order processing herself. She wanted me to know that the second shipping was a mistake and that I was not obligated to send them more money. She felt terrible about it. I laughed and told her that we were praying for their family and for the ministry God has given to their precious adopted son. She said she never wanted anyone to think they would do anything to try and get something from them. I was very impressed with her sincerity and the character she demonstrated. The other day I saw a fellow doing a video at a spiritual retreat and he was excited to be interviewing Christopher. He told all about how that Christopher as a nine-year-old had sung 'Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord' at a praise and worship gathering, and without the family knowing it someone posted it to YouTube, and it now has been seen by over 20 million people. He went on to tell about some of Christopher's other notable appearances and included how that Christopher had sung two songs for the Pope when he last visited America. Christopher interrupted him and made it clear he sang at the festival for families that was a part of the Pope's visit to Philadelphia, but he had not sung for the Pope directly. Christopher also added that his sister Grace was also a part of that performance and how neat it was to share the stage with her. My point? He wanted what was being said to be accurate. Character matters folks. It shows and I noticed.

I mentioned the other day the good news about my handed down fancy Keurig. It works so well it may be contributing to an increase in my coffee consumption. Think about it. It sits there waiting for me to pop in one of the little individual serve containers. It's ready. Close that dude up and within 2 seconds it is brewing. Bam! There it is. No mess. No fuss. Perfect. Now he's waiting again. He's ready. Before, I had to measure the water and pour it into my little single maker and wait for the water to heat up and after maybe a couple of minutes the coffee was ready. This one just sits there looking at me like a dog waiting for me to throw the frisbee. I mentioned this development to my son. He just laughed. I'm sure the Community Coffee folks will be pleased with my enhanced capabilities. In order to get more bang for the buck, he suggested that I try the tiny cup setting and reuse the individual serve container. I did. It reminded me of coloring eggs. The water looked darker. The taste didn't. Oh well, at my age, one small indulgence isn't that bad. Is it? I don't think it is. Maybe I should do some research on that one. I'll get back to you. 

I know what many of you are thinking. 1. That man does have issues. 2. Or, he makes me glad that I am not him. 3. Or, will he ever give his fingers a break?  1. Yes. 2. Glad to help. 3. That is something I need to do and it may be a good time to start thinking about thinking about doing just that. Items one and two are mostly going to be the same because it's a little late in the game to do much about them. Item three is something the wife and I talk about occasionally and it might just help the other two some if giving it a rest were to provide me with a fresh perspective.  In the meantime, I will soldier on and do the best I can with the stuff that shows up on my radar screen each day. I tend to enjoy thinking about doing stuff more than doing the stuff itself. You know. Like travel. I travel to a lot of places in my plans and that does occupy a fair amount of my time. It's certainly less expensive and less complicated than actually doing the travel. What's that? You think I am demonstrating Numbers 1 and 2 again. Pray for me. I will do the same for you. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Until next time, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" ~ Isaiah 5:20

Spoiler Alert. The next few minutes will be consumed in what can best be described as anyone's guess. Sorry. I've never used that spoiler alert moniker so I thought I would throw it in to get our day started, here on this Thursday, June 23, 2016. Just when you think you have seen everything, the political machinery at the highest levels can still suck all the oxygen out of the room. I'm talking about the released transcript of the Orlando shooter's discussion with law enforcement officials during the time he was holding hostages. The Attorney General of the United States personally announced that certain parts of that transcript would be withheld or redacted as it is called. That went over about as well as a screen door on a submarine. A few hours after all the backlash, mostly from conservative voices, they decided to release the actual transcript in its entirety with no redacted statements. Just think. If something like this had been done by President George W. Bush, the liberal establishment would be calling for an impeachment proceeding. What do we get from media members of the Obama team? A few nods but mostly yawns. They didn't want to use Muslim names and even changed Allah to God in their initial release. (They did not want to connect in any way whatsoever the killer to Jihad.) Even a novice could see that. I'm not going to belabor all of this but let me summarize by giving a rough rendition of what one person said on Facebook. "If the people crossing our borders illegally were ardent Christians who favored homeschooling as a way of educating their children, the President would call out the US Marines." How is that statement connected to this whole matter of Islamic radicalism? Think about it. That's all I can say. Think about it.

Since I came out of the shute, (rodeo reference), this morning loaded for bear, (hunting reference), I might as well add a couple more items to the mix. This past Tuesday was national selfie day. I noticed the photo above of the President posted on Twitter. Some folks look at this and fawn over this contemporary in-the-know man of the culture. Others see the same photo and immediately think narcissim as they wonder what ever happened to the dignity and respect for the office. I will let you ponder which camp I am in. Think about it. That's all I can say. Think about it.

I know that transparency is a good thing in most situations. However, I don't think I will ever understand why people share stuff on Facebook that really does make them look bad. I believe a statement attributed to Mark Twain makes a whole lot of sense: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." Okay. For the purists out there. Some attribute this statement to Abraham Lincoln. And, there's a number of variations on how it is said. My belief is that it most likely is a figure of speech based on the Bible verse that says this: "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent." (Proverbs 17:28) I'm the first to enjoy a joke on myself but I see that as being very different than putting all my dirty laundry out on the Facebook clothesline for all to see. They tell us that when folks are applying for jobs these days that prospective employers are looking at everything including all forms of social media. I look at some of those postings and I think about that individual in a leadership role, and, the way I see it says that may not be their best foot forward. That's my interpretation of some of the stuff I observe from time to time. You may think differently. Go ahead, but don't come crying to me when your ship fails to come in. I really have no idea what that means but think about it. That's all I can say. Think about it.

I've just finished a search of that part of my memory system where any additional thoughts might be found and it came up with zero hits. That means it is time for me to sign off for today. What's that? Maybe I should have run it earlier, maybe even before I started? That's an idea. I didn't say it was a good idea but it is an idea. I didn't say I would consider it but that doesn't mean it's not an idea. Thanks for tuning in and always remember that I was doing WYSIWYG long before it became the acronym for a printing format. (WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get.) In closing, I will say one more time. Just think about it. That's all I can say. Think about it. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

“Calvin : There's no problem so awful, that you can't add some guilt to it and make it even worse.” ― Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

I've heard all my life the saying that one can run but they cannot hide. It is attributed to the great champion boxer Joe Lewis and it was his way of warning a potential adversary. I'm thinking some about this matter of being unable to hide as I open up today's session on this Wednesday, June 22, 2016. The other day I came in from being out on the road when one of our Hispanic welders was chatting with me. He asked if I had brought donuts. Donuts? No. Why did you ask? Well, he informed me that he had spotted some chocolate icing on my white beard. I told him he was as bad as my wife. Yes. I had bought a small Swiss roll and truth had found me out. It suddenly dawned on me the exact meaning, at least for me, of that running but not being able to hide. The white beard. It did me in again! As a diabetic, I am already somewhat sensitive and at times maybe even a little guilt ridden when I waver oh so slightly off the reservation. The truth is those little Swiss rolls had very little icing on them at all. It had melted to the paper while on the shelf in the C-store. There wasn't enough to even say Grace over, yet, a small chunk found a way to attach itself to my shiny white beard. Just my luck. When I told him he was doing my wife's duty he laughed and laughed. I am kind of glad he caught it before I got home with chocolate on my breath, so to speak. I don't think they have a breath test for chocolate. Do they? I most likely need to check that out. I'll add that to my list.

Good things may come to those who wait but they also just might show up for those who moan and groan. I've burned enough keystrokes devoted to the machinations involved in my coffee making experiences to last a very long time. Well, my eldest son having heard enough brought his old Keurig to the house on Sunday for me to bring to work. He has a newer even fancier unit at his place. His old Keurig is a huge upgrade, even to the one I have at the house because it has a specific temperature setting. I now have this digitally controlled device and when I got it all setup and ready, at 192 degrees, it made one of the best cups of Community Columbia blend I've ever had. Thanks ever so much. I now have this great unit and one single serve backup and two each drip style including a Jeff Gordon drip unit in case all else fails. That complaining reminds me of an incident that happened way back in the olden days. I was a young guy working on a construction job that used a lot of earth moving equipment. I was the helper to the head maintenance supervisor. We took care of the maintenance on all the equipment. We did our work in the evenings. One night we came into the shop. It was maybe 28 degrees. I was going on and on about the wind blowing and how cold it was out there servicing the equipment. The night superintendent came over to where we were talking. He looked at me and then he looked at all the other fellows and he said this, "Would somebody give this boy a quarter and maybe he will shut up." They all laughed. I didn't. However, I am so thankful my son heard my sad story and had compassion.

Scientists think they may have discovered the gene that causes some people to be more chatty than others. There's actually some really good news here. If they can isolate this particular protein and increase it in certain individuals who suffer from diseases like Autism, it could help them to be able to communicate better. And, yes, for those who have trouble socializing, this could eventually be a help to them as well. I know I talk a lot. Many people think I am a talker. I obviously communicate often on the electronic page. But, I do have trouble seeing myself as being chatty. That just seems different to me. Maybe it's the socializing aspect because I typically see myself as much more introverted than others see me. They think that I am Mr. Talk-man ready to interact with anyone at anytime at the drop of a hat. That is something I feel obligated to do at times but it may not be reflective of the real me. Now that is a good one. The real me. Some of you may remember that old TV show, "Car 54, Where are You?" Maybe I could do a remake: The real me, where are you? I would continue this retrospective analysis but I can see that it's time for someone else to lay down on the doctor's couch. All of this reminds me of how the inspired Word of God speaks about the most important thing and that's not so much knowing ourselves, but rather, it is knowing that we are known and loved by Him. (Galatians 4:9, 1st Corinthians 8:3) I'll go with that one while I contemplate all the other mysteries that make up me, myself, and I. Remember to be thankful to God and to seek His help for our nation. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The wife's T-Shirt says it all: "Family Matters!"

Hello out there in that somewhat mysterious black hole, known as the world wide web, (WWW). Today is Tuesday, June 21, 2016, and I bid you a hearty hello from deep in the heart of Texas. Even though I am a Louisianian through and through, I am entitled to use that Texas greeting after having lived here as a kid for a few years before my dad passed away in 1954, and because I've had my earthly physical address here since 1969. This past Sunday was a Fathers Day to remember. I will be 70 soon and the wife will follow suit several months after me. She sometimes wonders if she has lost her touch in the kitchen. Last Sunday should prove to her that she's not close to losing her touch. I have 18 witnesses to attest to her culinary skills. You've heard of Christmas in July. Right? Well, she put in to make us a Thanksgiving in June celebration. It's hard to know where to start. She had relish trays for the kids, of all ages, to snack on before the meal along with a huge amount of deviled eggs. She had made two loaves of hot fresh bread. She made hen and cornbread dressing served with cranberry sauce. She prepared chicken and dumplings. We had a baked ham that was fall off the bone delicious. Potato salad. English peas. Asparagus. Brewed iced tea. And, to top it all off, she had made a banana delight dessert that required a couple of hours layering to get it ready to bake. I've been in the eating game a long time. I've seen my clan consume lots of food. I don't recall ever seeing that much food going so quickly. I can't even think of one single item that could have been improved on. Not one. It was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth perfection. That meal along with having a total of 19 of us gathered together will make this Fathers Day one that will rank very high on the all-time list. Thanks, sweetheart, you did it again!

Our Kenneth, 1935-1975
We were up very early Sunday morning. When I looked at Facebook there were many tributes for dads showing up. Rightly so. I was not prepared for one that landed. It was to honor my former brother-in-law Kenneth. He had been married to my eldest sister Frances. My niece, his eldest daughter, put it up. It caught me by surprise. It had been a while since I saw that face. He left us so suddenly back in 1975 when he was killed in a hunting accident. Kenneth was a legendary person. He wasn't perfect but he was a man's man and when he got saved and gave his heart to Jesus, he didn't hold anything back. I've heard old time preachers say that some people get saved better than others. They say that because of the amazing change in their lives. Kenneth was already qualified to be an honorary good Samaritan before the Lord made him His own. He would help anyone at anytime. Anyone. Anytime. Think about it. He had that kind of natural instinct and when the Lord got hold of his heart, he was something to behold! I've hunted and fished with Kenneth. I've cut wood with Kenneth. I've enjoyed many a time of food and fellowship with this great example of what it means to care ... enough. I would not even begin to try and quantify the impact of his passing along with it being a forever mystery for us all as to God's timing and plan. Seeing the photo took my breath away and made me immediately homesick. Homesick for heaven. We'll catch up with him and so many others when we get to the other side. Amen.

There's so much more to our Kenneth's story. He was one of those who signed as a witness at our wedding. One thing is certain. He did make an impact during his sojourn here on the planet. I'll never forget what his pastor had to say at his home going service. All of Kenneth's co-workers were at the service. Pastor Welch was aware of Kenneth's burden for those he worked with and how he had been often made fun of and rejected when he attempted to witness to them. Bro. Welch gave them a verse that I have never heard used at a funeral. He spoke directly to those that Kenneth had attempted to influence. He quoted from Hebrews 11. He told them while they may have thought it was something to ridicule along with most of the world, in actuality, from God's viewpoint, they were not worthy of this man and his caring heart and testimony. Wow! I have some very personal recollections of Kenneth and all I can say is, that we, in our family, and those privileged to know him, were blessed. Reading all the postings from people on Facebook remembering him, well, even 40 years after his passing, it sets forth the power as his testimony of integrity and faithfulness lives on. It's good to know that he is a part of that cheering squad in heaven we read about in Hebrews Chapter 12 who are urging us on as we each run the individual race God has given to us. Okay. That was a walk down memory lane I had not anticipated, but, may God be praised for giving me those recollections. And, may He help us all to be a positive influence on others. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reflections from the man on the street as he surveys his former neck of the woods, his old neighborhood, or his previous stomping grounds.

***Today we send out a special recognition and blessing for our eldest, Chris and his wife Sherrie. They are celebrating their 30th year of being husband and wife today. I know that is a milestone for them but its also incredible for us to consider as well. We are so thankful for their time together, the family they have been blessed with, and the testimony they have of serving God and others. May He continue to bless is our prayer. Our love, mom and dad.***

I suppose today we will all find out if I was able to harvest anything of value to share. That's one way of looking at it on this Monday, June 20, 2016. The other day when I was walking around on the streets of Houston, I noticed something. People appear to be heavier than I remember some 23 plus years ago. I was on those streets a lot way back then. Let me state upfront that in the interest of full disclosure, that even though I'm some 30 pounds lighter than back then, I could still benefit from taking off another 6 to 8 pounds. At the same time, seeing those I met and those I saw on the other sides of the street, well, it was something I did take note of. The next morning I saw a brand new report in the online Washington Post. Here's the opening quote from this report: "The majority of Americans weigh too much. In 2014, 72 percent of American men and 62 percent of American women were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." This factual report flies in the face of a survey taken in 2015 where 56% of the respondents thought their weight was 'just about right.' My interpretation of what I was seeing on the street was proven in this story because it documented the actual averages of the significant increases in these numbers over the past 20 years. I can tell you from experience that I am typically the last to admit the facts about my own situation. One of the most frequently heard pieces of advice I get from my better half, "Don't you think you should have that seen about?" I suppose the big questions have to do with the causes of this unprecedented increase in overweight people. Even the military are saying this could be a huge problem in providing an effective military force in future years. I know we hear all kinds of reasons. Lifestyle. Fast foods. Too much TV. Not enough exercise. Depression. The fat gene. Stress. And, the list goes on and on. For me, it's typically a discipline problem. Paw Paw Mac used to say if you want to lose weight then you have to learn to push. Push away from the table. He had an abundance of just plain ole common sense. (The origin and history of all the figures of speech used in the title are available online if you are interested.)

New news on the coffee front. The World Health Organization has issued a report that says coffee likely does not cause cancer. Yippee! But, there was a twist. There's always a twist. Why is that typically how it works? It seems those who drink their coffee really hot may be at some risk of cancer to their esophagus. Guess how yours truly likes his coffee? Really hot. I looked up the temperature they used as a guideline and converted it from Celsius to Fahrenheit. It seems that drinking coffee at anything above 145 degrees Fahrenheit could be problematic. The optimum brewing temperature is between 195 to 205 Fahrenheit. The recommended drinking temperature is between 120 and 140 Fahrenheit. I am going to guess that mine falls within that guideline. At least we have coffee off the cancer list. For now. Writing about it has stirred up my taste, therefore, I'm going to make me a cup of Community and hope that when I drink it, it will be less than 145 degrees. I'm going to do my very best to not let that temperature warning mess with my mind. I will try. I will.

You know it's bad when you hear this from a younger person, "Does anyone know of an uninhabited island I could move to until after this election is over?" This recent mass killing in Orlando continues to remind us all of the danger faced in this fallen world. Our President seems always to blame someone other than the perpetrator. He points the finger at Republicans, the American people, those who own guns, Christians, and anyone else who does not buy into his philosophies. Even some of the liberal media outlets are saying, "Enough already!" He said the shooter was radicalized by the internet but he didn't call for banning the internet. Mike Huckabee recently commented on how the government has asked people to be alert and to report to the authorities if they encounter something suspicious. He said unfortunately it typically goes like this, "Goverment: If you see something, say something. Citizen: I see something. Government: You bigot!" My heart does go out to the families who have suffered such horrendus tragedy. I suppose for those of us backward folks who, as our President says, cling to our Bible and our religion, well, I think doing what The Book says is in fact the only way to see any hope going forward. I wonder if that younger person was able to locate more than one of those isolated islands? It's a thought folks. One I can understand. Take care and have a wonderful rest of the day Monday, and may our Great God intervene on behalf of His own and our great nation. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, June 17, 2016

"We all have something in common. It's just a matter of taking the time to find out what it is." - Susan Gale, Very successful Real Estate Sales Executive

Good Friday morning and welcome. It's always good to sit a spell and as they were wont to say back home, and "to shoot the breeze." We will take a stab at that on this June 17, 2016. I carried a book with me to read while hurrying up to wait at the federal courthouse. It's one of those written by John Grisham, "The Summons." I don't live in a world where everything ends up being a pun, therefore, I assure you I didn't choose it because of its title. (Summons, Jury Duty) My middle son had given it to me because he thought I might enjoy reading it. That was over ten years ago. I now have read about a fourth of it and I do intend on finishing it. Different people do different things while they are participating in the jury process. I suppose using the smartphone would be the most prevalent. The phones have to be completely turned off while in the actual courtroom. However, when a break is taken, it sounds like an electronic cacophony of beeps as everyone turns on their phones. The ladies also tend to talk a lot to each other. Since I was reading I wasn't attempting to communicate with my fellow citizens. I did make one exception. A fellow sat down beside me and I immediately noticed his white beard. I asked if he was getting ready for the Santa season. He said he was. At that, we were off to the races. His experience has been mostly mall Santa work. I told him that I had done that also. But my experience was when I was in my mid-twenties where I wore the fake beard and fake stomach. We laughed. We had something in common. Santas talking to each other is a language of its own. War stories, so to speak. Let me tell you about the time I showed up and there were so many kids they put me in a tent out on the parking lot and it was about 85 degrees out there. You know. Stuff like that.

You will remember when I bought those diabetic escalating lime candy slices. Well, those people I ordered them from continue to bombard me with ads for every kind of candy known to humanity. I got one the other day for a grape fruit candy slice.  Not grapefruit as we know it. Grape, as in grapes that grow on a vine. That got me to wondering. Why would they ever call the big fat citrus fruit, grapefruit? I looked it up. It was called something different until the 1800's but the fruit happens to grow in clusters and it reminded folks of grapes, therefore, grapefruit. It stuck. Is it any wonder that we live in a perpetual state of confusion? Watermelon. Pineapple. Need I say more? Oh, but there's more. What is the name for that smell after it rains? Petrichor. What do you call the space between your thumb and forefinger? Purlicue. How about that stomach rumbling noise? It's a wamble. That little plastic coating on your shoelace has a name. It's called an aglet. I know you will want to get a handle on this one. What about those lights you see when you close your eyes and press your hands against them? Phosphenes. I looked for a flag to go with my state of confusion. I haven't found one yet but I will keep you posted.

I want to end the week by anticipating the upcoming Father's Day to be celebrated on Sunday. The first father in the collage is my real dad. He left us very early but I am thankful for him and the life he gave to me. Next is my grandfather, my mom's dad, Paw Paw Mac. He was a huge influence on my life growing up. The last photo is of our step dad who has been a real dad to our huge blended family for soon to be 39 years. I didn't have a photo of my wife's dad to share. For more than 30 years he was one of my most committed supporters. That's right. My father-in-law. He always made me feel like I could accomplish something more. He was a minister of the Gospel and pastored churches for over 40 years. These men, along with a handful of others had a huge impact on my life. My Father in heaven is to be thanked for His provisions on my behalf. He gave us the privilege of being a part of His family through our acceptance of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That entitles us to personally address Him in the way in which our Savior instructed, "Our Father who is in heaven...." (Matthew Chapter 6 and Luke Chapter 11) Happy Fathers Day to all and may God help us to impact the lives of others so they can testify to His provision in something that we might do. See you next time, and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits." ~ Dale Dauten, Author, professional speaker and management coach

Here we go again on this Thursday, June 16, 2016. Good morning and welcome to my little time of sharing how things are moving on down the road for me. You don't hear it very often but I do occasionally hear someone say when asked how things are going: Swimmingly. It actually has the meaning of things going well, smoothly, easily, effortlessly, like clockwork, without a hitch, or as planned. The word came about supposedly because swimming in water is thought of as being smooth and easy as compared to one plodding their way through life. Here's one of the early uses in print from 1824: "The interview went off very swimmingly." I may have used it a time or two, probably just to be ornery. I've heard that non-swimmers are not enamored with the reference. There's plenty of idioms that contribute to communication that many do not personally connect to. I may not be a poker player but I do know what it means to lay my cards on the table. My wife tells me that on some days my approach to jumping from one subject to another is somewhat dizzying. I suppose that makes it difficult for her to have a swimmingly experience when trying to read through my blog. I could say that I would try to do better but I'm not sure if I could make that work for me. Changing horses in the middle of the stream, many of you will be glad to know that I did receive my cheap knock off of a real individual serve coffee maker. As of 4:53 a.m. yesterday, I perked up my first cup. I now need to get me a 'back in business' sign.

When I was at the federal courthouse the other day, we prospective jurors watched a 30-minute video on the history and importance of the jury system in our nation. The video was hosted by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and sitting Associate Justice Alito also were featured in the video. It was somewhat of an overkill but the main message is how the jury system reflects the bedrock of our approach to meting out justice. Flawed? Yes. Because people are flawed. However, it is considered to be the bedrock of how our democracy works. The film was a big build up for those of us who had honored our call to come and be considered as a juror. We are important. The system doesn't work without us. I get that. I too believe in our system. However, when one is engaged with our system and all of its obvious layers of bureaucracy and cost it can be a little hard to stomach. Maybe this will be mostly done by robots in the future. Wait a minute. It more or less seemed to be already done by robots, but, I don't doubt that is due in large part to the repetitive day in and day out of them doing the same things as executed by the appointed leader, their lieutenant, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lieutenants. We do our best in our nation to assure unbiased justice but a trip to the courthouse tells us that it certainly isn't cheap. Sorry. I'm tenured. Tenured taxpayer. I notice these things.

Our Madi trying on hats last week during an outing to New Orleans.
Our little Great Grand Madi fell last Tuesday on the playground and broke her arm. It was a bad break. She was transported to Texas Children's where they did surgery last night to repair the damage. We kept up with her progress as best we could via texting and cell phone calls. (Texting for those who have the smart phones, and calls for me, the one with the dumb flip phone.) I ask that you say a prayer for her and those attending to her needs. I suppose the older we get it is the more helpless that we feel when something like this happens. Her granddad, our eldest, said it is at times like this that one is so thankful for the outstanding services available at the Houston Medical Center. We had our fair share of casts and stitches for the boys as they grew up. I think I handled it better back then. Old people. They seem stuck in sentimentality mode. I'm speaking hypothetically, of course. I remember what Paw Paw Mac would say, "You need to get a grip, son." And, that I do. That I do. As you can tell, I am still wound up pretty tight. Lots of stuff flying around. It's got my gray cells flying at warp speed. I'll see if I can slow them down long enough to harvest something for our next visit. Until then, I hope you and yours will have a most wonderful day and that God will add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whether in the courtroom or the coffee house, I'm still in observation mode!

Well, I don't have to go in today for federal jury duty but I am still on call for tomorrow. Hello friends and neighbors, and welcome to Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Okay, yesterday I made it through the first day of my potential federal juror selection. It was a real doozy. When 35 of us were shuttled off to a courtroom to go through the jury selection process, we soon learned the particular case at hand was a big one. I kid you not, that's the most lawyers I've ever seen in one place in my life. The case was estimated to run for at least 8 days. There were three pages of witnesses. The judge said there would be thousands of pages of documents submitted into evidence along with video and expert testimony from high profile witnesses. I am so not unhappy that I was not selected. But, I'm still on the hook for another panel if they need one for the remainder of the week and I will have to check every day to see if I have to go in the next morning. Not only were there a room full of lawyers along with the judge and his staff, but, there were at least a dozen junior lawyers and interns who were there to take notes and provide assistance. On one break we were all sitting in benches out in the hallway when those junior lawyers all stampeded past. The young lady lawyers typically have one of those little pull behind thingies for all their paperwork and they slam their high heels down on the granite polished floor. Talk about a racket! They step with authority as they clip clop here and there. Oh well, it was interesting. I'll have to see how the rest of the week goes. They all attempt to dress differently but basically it's all the same. Suits, starched shirts, and the loud shoes. The men too. This is probably a great time to insert a lawyer throw-down joke, but, I think you get the idea of what was happening. I'll give you a hint: A whole lot of billable hours were being consumed!

I left early, found a spot in an underground parking garage, and then came up top to look around. I had over an hour to kill so I thought I would walk around. The blocks seem a lot longer these days. Much has changed since I spent a whole lot of time in that vicinity back in the 1970's through the early 1990's. Yet, quite a bit is still much like it was. I went into the building where I had worked, rode the escalator down to the basement level, and fetched me a cup of coffee. It was some of that coffee that has the goddess looking mermaid on the side of it. Based on what they charge, they must like their coffee a whole lot. It wasn't Community but it was passable. I found a table and sat down and thought about all the years I had used up in that complex. Nearly 24. I was early. Just like I used to be when I was typically the first one there every morning. Except for my computer and networking people who were still there finishing their night shift. As I sipped my coffee and the time passed, so did the traffic as it began to increase. Folks started flowing from the tunnel, the stairs and the escalator, and from the elevators that connect to the underground parking garage.

That's what I remember most. The people. During a large part of my tenure they were referred to as my people. Not just by me. Others called them that too. Several hundred. Some have gone on to their eternal reward. I will tell you this. I have always been proud of the work we did together on behalf of the Company. We did some huge projects. We made a difference. What kind of manager was I? I think the words focused and intense might be a good place to start. A number of years ago I saw one of the fellows who used to work for me at the mall out near where we live. He had been a senior systems software specialist in my group. He was standing across the way from me so I called out his name in a rather loud voice. He came over and we embraced. He laughed and said when he heard his name called it felt like lightning had struck and all the blood drained from his face. Now that was funny. I remember us hiring him right out of Louisiana Tech as a young trainee. He is now a senior manager with one of the groups left from our previous organization. He has done well. I am proud of him and so many others that I was privileged to play a role in their development. Sitting there made for a good time of reflection and remembering. And, the coffee was, well, as they say back home, it would do in a pinch. Take care now. You hear. And, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Song we sang growing up: Watching you...Watching you, there's an All Seeing Eye watching you.

Guess what? I received one of those automated calls telling me I must report for jury duty this morning. How do you like that? Oh well. We live and learn. Meanwhile, I say good Tuesday morning and welcome to this day, June 14, 2016. I use search engines a lot. For the Company and in looking for personal items. One day I was looking for a free standing shower for a steel building we are constructing. It had to have certain specifications. I finally located one and we ordered it from a national industrial supply firm. The next time I looked at my Facebook page it is covered with ads for showers, of all kinds. One day I was looking on Amazon for a solar powered cooling fan built into a cap. I thought they might be of use for someone who is out in the sun a lot. The next time I logged in to check my mail, boom, the side bar had all kinds of cooling caps being displayed. The good news for me is that I am rarely impacted by these targeted ads, however, the not so good news is how much information is being captured in order to present them. Think about it. What if someone accidentally puts the wrong information into a search engine, maybe even just a misspelled word. Suddenly, they start seeing ads based on this mistake. When I began to ponder this situation, it reminded me of that song we sang as kids. It was a sobering song. It was intended to make us think. "There's an all seeing eye watching you." That song is still true but these captured search terms makes us aware there are others watching as well. All the time. If you bump into those who manage these things you might tell them that I'm no longer in the market for a shower. Thanks.

The other day when we attended our twins high school graduation, it was held in an open air pavilion. It did have a high roof but it was open on all sides. It seats several thousand. One thing I noticed that was a little unnerving to me was all the birds flying around in that place. Birds and I have a spotty track record. You might remember the day I was just about to open the main shop building and a bird fluttered out of the hedges right into my face. That wasn't a good way for me to start my day. And, if I go way back, I remember when I was visiting my hometown in Louisiana many years ago and I was invited to go bird hunting by my brother-in-law. Sure. Why not? I had not done a lot of bird hunting growing up. We mostly hunted squirrels and deer. But I went. We were after quail. We had special trained dogs. There were several of us together. The dogs found a bunch of quail, I think they called it a covey. When they instructed the dog to flush out the quail, the dog did just that. Those quail came up suddenly and made the loudest swooshing noise I had ever heard, seemingly they flew up right before my eyes. I did shoot. I didn't hit any birds. I did, however, shoot the top out of a lob lolly pine sapling. Each of the hunters took turns posing with my kill. They had themselves a really great laugh. Then we had the situation with a little old lady in our Church who called me all the time to ask for prayer. She had a parakeet named Pretty Boy. She made me talk to Pretty Boy on the phone. I didn't care to talk to Pretty Boy. I didn't really have that much in common with him. Birds. You would think I could get some respect from them, especially when I think about all the little bugs I woke up for them the other day when I was mowing. Those mocking birds were all lined up wating for their morning snack. Think about the little bugs. Daddy bug says to mommy bug, "I didn't here anything about tremors on the weather report, did you? You go ahead and feed the little munchkins and I'll go up and take a look around." He did. BAM! I'm not sure but those birds I've dealt with over the years may have put out some bad vibes on me and when they were buzzing all around that pavilion, well, it put me on the edge of my seat. You might want to avoid sitting next to me. You just never know what might happen.

I never said I wasn't carrying a lot of baggage. What's that you say? You think maybe I should write a book? I think maybe I have. Maybe even more than one over these past nine years of blogging. I notice things. You noticed that I notice things? Thanks. Sometimes having one of my observations connect in a meaningful way is as scarce as hearing a Baptist preacher give a sermon on gluttony. I only mention that because there's stuff out on social media talking about the epidemic of overweight clergy. I know I have it pointed out to me quite often. Sermons on self control may ring hollow when the one delivering it hasn't seen the tops of his shoes in years. While that being the case doesn't change the truth, it might well distract from its application. One list of verses I saw related to this matter numbered 100. Oh well. We all have our own set of issues. And, typically, most of us, at one time or another, come off as telling others to do as I say, not as I demonstrate by my own example. I know that happened to me in my dealings with my boys. I always excused it by saying I wanted them to be better than I. That, my friend, is most likely not the best way of seeing it. The Apostle Paul invited folks to follow him and his example. How? As He followed Christ. (1st Corinthians Chapter 11, Verse 1) I've come a long way but as I think about things like this, it reminds me of how much progress I still need to make. What say you? Take care, which is a phrase criticized by our Yankee friends. They wonder what it means. Take care? They want to know where we want them to take it. To us it's just short for take care of yourself. Sort of like, have a nice day. I'm glad I grew up with some pretty neat and meaningful slang. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 13, 2016

What do you call sad coffee? Depresso.

I was almost in court today. No. You are wrong. It's not that they finally caught up with me. I am in the jury pool for federal court. In downtown Houston. Need I say more? I called in and was told I didn't have to report this morning. This is a first for me. Nearly 70 years and I've never been surveyed as a possible juror for a federal case. I would have been eligible for an exemption in 2-1/2 months because that's when I hit the 70 mark. I've always tried to serve when called, however, due to this being downtown Houston, I would have seriously considered claiming it, but since I'm not 70, it's a moot point. I continue to be on call and will have to check again this evening. This is what I am up to on this federal jury pool day here on this Monday, June 13, 2016. The good news is that it only costs $15 a day for parking. I've been practicing my Tim Conway old man walk just in case I need it for a prop as they make their decision. You do know I am kidding on that one. I actually don't need any practice. I'm still waiting for my new coffee maker. Maybe the sweat shop in China is on strike. After some extensive and rather expensive trial and error I did learn what it really takes to make the grounds out of one of those little individual serve cups actually taste like real coffee. Since it is processed differently, I found that when I use the grounds in my little drip machine, I have to end up with less than two inches of water to get any real taste. If I keep drinking it that way I may need to start wearing a turban or something. What's that? If I keep saying things like that I will surely not be selected for any jury? Thanks so much for your advice. We'll see how it goes.

I've had to fill out several different sets of paperwork for this jury selection process. I call it paperwork but I actually did all of mine online. They now know a lot about me. Some of what they asked was from a long time ago. What do they think I am? Some kind of time machine or something? They always put those warnings about affirming that everything you have said is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That's not exactly what it said but something like that. I think I would plead: To the best of my knowledge on that one. If you listen to some folks they likely already know much more about me than I told them. You know. Big brother and all of that. I did actually blow through a stop sign the other day. It was in one of those blinding rainstorms and I was so focused on the car in front and the one behind me that I was through it before I even knew what happened. I'm not making an excuse, just sharing the facts. Although, I would say they put that particular stop sign in an unusual place. That is, from my perspective, especially after having run through it. I hope they don't show it from a traffic cam if they end up questioning me at the jury pool. That would be something. I've always thought that I would eventually be on TV. One way or another. I'm telling this little story because I'm practicing being very honest if or when they ask any questions. You do know I will keep you posted as we see how it goes.

You noticed what? That I waived my right to remain silent? To hear some tell it, I did that as a toddler and haven't changed my waiver since then. Here is something that might surprise you. I actually can go for long periods of time without saying anything. That doesn't mean that I don't do a lot of talking because I certainly try to hit my quota every day, but, I can also hold my tongue. That hold your tongue idiom has to do with not saying something hurtful or distasteful. Some give credit to Shakespeare from the late 1590's where he used a similar expression, "bite your tongue." A related, "wash your mouth out with soap" was popular around my growing up days. I can't remember it ever being done to me but it could well have happened. I do remember it being done. To one or more of us kids. I also recollect my wife employing that technique a time or two. But I digress. Which, as most of you know, I do a whole lot of as part of my daily visits. For those who are wondering. I will not show up at the federal courthouse dressed like Santa. I will likely be impersonating a little old white haired and white bearded man. There's a very popular Santa in our circle who recently tried out for the role of Alexander Graham Bell for a commercial. He crunched up his long beard and slicked down his hair. Pretty convincing. There's a walking cane here at work that someone left. I should take it with me if I am told to report. You know. To defend myself. Downtown Houston. Need I say more? Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 10, 2016

"If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." Romans 3:10

Okay. We spin the wheel and find that it has landed on today, Friday, June 10, 2016. You often have heard me say we are a fallen people living in a fallen world. We need only look around to know this is true. The Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 5, Verse 12: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned - -" If you really want to see this played out each day, go to the website for the Newseum and click on their catalog of newspaper front pages, you can do so by going to the following link, They have over 1100 there for anyone to peruse. These are updated daily and include national, local, and international news sources. What do you find on the front pages of America's newspapers? Death, corruption, mayhem, and every kind of deviant behavior imaginable across the fruited plains. I'm not telling you something you don't already know but seeing how pervasive it is calls attention to the magnitude of the sinfulness of our world. It is breathtaking. People taking advantage of others. Innocent lives snatched away. Overflowing prisons. Politicians stealing from the public. Schools cheating on their performance statistics. Companies lying about their products. While it's a desperate situation, it's not hopeless. There's more to what Paul wrote and a few verses later he was inspired to give us all our one and only hope: "But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many." (Verse 15) We all would do well to appreciate the truth and respond to God's provided remedy. Amen.

I'm not trying to be the prophet of doom here, just sharing what I thought about as I looked at all those front pages. I am compelled to remind us all that I know my own self all too well to exclude me from God's true decree about our condition. And, yes, even as one who has put my faith in God's provision, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, none other than Jesus the Christ, I still have to recognize my own sinful inclinations. For believers, He has promised to help us in our struggles and to forgive us when we do miss the mark. (1st John 1:9) I do get weary at times hearing these folks telling people how to live above it all and do so while enjoying perfect health, wealth, and prosperity. Sorry. My experience is not that. It's one of struggle and even defeat but God has always been there for me, to pick me up, dust me off, and get me back on the right track. The Christian walk is one of reality and challenge, not one filled with comfort and ease. Living by the truth means we can know these things and seek His help as we attempt to please Him with the life He has given to us. There may be some who no longer struggle but as for me, well, I imagine I will cease to struggle on that day when I'm absent from the body and present with the Lord. (2nd Corinthians 5:8)

Can you believe it? Another week has evaporated before our very eyes. You think what? I've been all over the page this week? Good. While that may not have been my intention, it more or less defines my life's sojourn here on the planet. All over the page. Discombobulated. Maybe even scatterbrained. I am actually surprised at times by what ends up on the electronic page. I mean that. I sometimes read something I wrote and end up scratching my head wondering where in the world that came from. I wish I could delete the stuff I never intend on writing about. That might clear up some space for some fresh material. Unfortunately, there's a lot of inventory there but our memory mechanism doesn't work that way. Believe me. I know the approach some take is to share just about any and everything. They just lay it all out on social media. In living color, for all the world to see. Some applaud their honesty and forthrightness. I suppose I wasn't put together that way. Back home they used to say it's best to let some sleeping dogs lie. If you aren't familiar with that idiom, look it up. It's not bad advice. I'll let you sleep on that one. No pun unintended. Or, however, that is supposed to be said. Take care, enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I'll see if there's anything left for me to share come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Of course. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

“Old age is not a disease - it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.” ~ Maggie Kuhn, (American social Activist, 1905-1995)

What a mess!
Paw Paw Mac always said you typically get what you pay for. That's what I'm thinking about this morning on this Thursday, June 9, 2016. I'm talking about my little single serve coffee maker. It has become schizoid lately. I know. It was likely never intended to be used like it has been overworked during the past 18 months. It now has decided to retain fluid as in not emptying all the water into the cup only to flood it all out after I remove the individual serve container. I can almost hear him laughing as I do my rendition of clean up on aisle three. He also has been making these awful burping, gasping, and choking sounds. Sorry outfit! I have cleaned him. That didn't help. What can I do? I did try one of my own techniques. I have beaten the living daylights out of that little monster. More than once. He straightened up for a cup or two and then reverted to his wild and crazy behavior. He left me little choice. I will teach him not to mess around with me. I'm unhappy, but still okay with the price, therefore, his replacement has been ordered, $19.95 plus shipping. Many of you think I must just tiptoe through the tulips of life most of the time. Now you get a glimpse into 'my' real world. I came up with a Plan B but it's not the most convenient. I took out my old one cup regular ground coffee drip maker and then I cut open the single serve and poured the coffee grounds into it and while it's not the best in the world, it will have to do for the next few days until my new unit arrives. (Note: The coffee in the little single serve cups is a special grind. It's really not made to use in a regular drip maker. Just so you know.) I know what you are thinking. I agree. I probably should have gone with the overnight shipping. Too late now. I am still trying to decide whether there will be a formal retirement and/or installation ceremony or not. (The retirement question has been answered since he has now joined the company of those occupying our dumpster.) I have so much to think about, but, I will keep you posted. Pray for me. Thanks.

I thought about doing a survey like folks do on Facebook. They do that when they are trying to make a decision and they want people to weigh in so they ask their friends to help them. The way things have been going for me lately the little coffee maker would get all the support and I would be left high and dry. Well, not so dry, with that little monster spitting and sputtering. Looking on the bright side, I do have one little clean area on my desktop now. It's not that large but it is a start. Most of you know that I am mostly just poking fun at myself. You know. Self-deprecating humor. I did say mostly. It's hard to distinguish the farcical from the factual when Community Coffee is involved. That little coffee maker has a fancy name, Hamilton Beach. Sounds like he plays a character on one of those BBC mysteries. I know I shouldn't get too wrought up over inanimate objects. But, I am very personally connected, therefore, it does become a part of my world, and that's a whole lot of what I end up sharing. One last thing and then I'm done on this subject: He calls himself FlexBrew, my foot!

Let me remind everyone about my thoughts on political matters. I know my reading of things differs significantly from how others see it. I think that's how our system is supposed to work. I will admit that at times I am floored by the views I see from people I know who post them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media forums. They see the same things I see but they interpret them quite differently. This tells me that we all need to respect the rights of others as they attempt to make sense out of what is going on. I would hope I respect their right to be wrong and they respect my right to be wrong as well. I've said all this to let all my readers know that my motivation is not to intentionally offend. I have people who I love dearly who are still fighting for the rights of the dead gorilla. I happen to disagree with them on that issue. Even if a mistake was made in killing the animal, and I don't believe there was one made, I would still vote for the life of the child, every time, all day long, and twice on Sundays. I will not, not love them because we might have a disagreement on this or any other issue. At the same time, I would expect them to respect my thoughts on the subject as well. And, I will be the first in line to confess how my views on many different subjects have changed since I began breathing air here on the planet. Things I learned and things I have had to unlearn. I'm sorry if you feel badly for my little coffee maker. Please don't report me to the 1-800 coffee maker abuse hotline. I'm just trying to work out my frustrations. Okay? Thanks. Take care, remember to thank God for the next heartbeat because He is the one who provides it to each of us. Amen. .....More later.