Friday, July 29, 2016

"Failing conventionally is the route to go; as a group, lemmings may have a rotten image, but no individual lemming has ever received bad press." ~ Financial Wizard and Author: Warren Buffett

Okay. We made it through two political party conventions and when we come up for some air we find that it is Friday, July 29, 2016. There's a lot of speculation about the validity of using the comparison between the little rodents, lemmings, and people. It has come to symbolize people who blindly follow without question and that supposedly mirrors the lemmings going off the cliff together. Like I say, experts dispute what lemmings actually do and they challenge the idea that they commit mass suicide. I'll not try to sort all of that out but I recently participated in something that was a perfect example of the blind leading the blind. The other day I was out on one of the toll roads in the Houston metroplex. You know what a toll road is, right? It's where people pay a fee to drive whatever speed they want to. Why? Because they paid a fee. The speed limit is 65 MPH but the average on a good day is closer to between 75 and 80. The day I'm talking about was not a good day. I was going along when suddenly a deluge literally fell from the sky. I'm talking rain coming down like an open fire hydrant. No one could see. However, with apologies to the lemmings, we all kept going anyway. I couldn't have stopped if I had wanted to. If you can't even see the lane you are in, how in the world would you be able to pull over? In addition to that, everyone was still driving at least 40 MPH as we all blindly took advantage of the privileges from our fee paid access. After about 20 minutes the rain let up enough for me to more or less get my bearings. Back to 75 as I attempted to figure out exactly where I was. I don't really know what's accurate or not about the lemmings, but, I can assure you they have nothing on us. Nothing at all!

I know that's likely not such a big deal for younger folks, but, for those of us who are high mileage vehicles, well, it can be extremely challenging. I kept taking my glasses on and off to see if I had them on. Maybe I was checking to see if they had quit working. One day I got in a downpour like that and when I came out of it I was driving on the shoulder. I must have been following the lights in front of me. I recognized it when I saw that concrete barrier right up against my truck. That was scary. This stuff is not for the fainthearted, I can assure you of that. I read one young lady's encounter with an older fellow using a walking cane that nearly ran over her. Come to find out, he was looking down while actually playing Pokemon Go on his smartphone. I have no plans to do that, but, you do have to admire his spunk. So far, no one has said anything about me having the proverbial 'old man smell.' Maybe they are just trying not to hurt my feelings. I did read another little tidbit about a very elderly gentleman that had to plan around a special 9 a.m. appointment every day. When he told his doctor he was in a hurry to make his 9 a.m., the doctor asked him about it. He replied how his wife has suffered from Alzheimers Disease for the past five years and they have breakfast together every day at 9 a.m., even though she has no idea who he is. His doctor asked why he went if she couldn't even recognize him. He simply said he went because he still knows who she is.

I'm surprised I haven't received a warning from the keystroke policing folks regarding my disregard for the amount and the applicability of those I sling onto the electronic page each day. Back when Dan Quale was in the political arena, he got everyone all stirred up when he somewhat missed the meaning of the NAACP slogan. Their slogan said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Quayle took a shot at it and it came out like this, "What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is." I may be eligible for a double whammy award in being able to apply the sentiments expressed in both of those statements as it relates to what ends up in my blog each day. I suppose we should take a moment and pause to be thankful for the skip, escape, and delete functions that help us deal with stuff we would just as soon not have before us. There's a lot going on these days and my head spins at times in trying to keep up with it all. I use my daily visits to express my interpretation of things happening along with my opinions about them. Others see the same happenings and come to a different conclusion. While I might disagree with their way of seeing it, I do respect their right to do so. Mark Twain is credited with this statement, "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." That's a good reminder to us all, beginning with me. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I plan to be cranking out some more keystrokes come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Of course. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Preschool Song: "It is raining, It is raining, On my head, on my head. Pitter, patter raindrops, Pitter, patter raindrops, I'm all wet, I'm all wet!" ~ Unknown Author, Sung to "Frere Jacques"

Welcome to our little one-act play for today, being presented on this Thursday, July 28, 2016. I heard growing up how that some people didn't have enough sense to know when to come in out of the rain. I actually can identify with that statement. It has been nothing but hot here in these parts over the past several weeks. We've had a very occasional spotty shower here and there, but, for the most part, everything is in meltdown. The other day I needed several drawings printed out so I called up to the main office and asked them to print them for me. It was ten pages. While I was there fetching the printouts, the bottom fell out. It began to pour. I stood on the porch for a few minutes and then went back in and found a Wal-mart plastic bag. I folded up my drawings, put them into the plastic bag, and took off walking back to my office. It was raining hard. I was getting wet. I not only didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain, I actually was very much enjoying it. I ended up being wet but not soaked completely. Here's what I discovered. The A/C works much better after you've been out in the rain. In spite of some strange looks on the part of some of our workers, I actually felt very refreshed. Even though I love that dancing in the rain scene by Gene Kelly in the great 1952 movie, "Singing in the Rain," I didn't do any of that, I just slowly walked through the happy, happy liquid falling from the sky.

I follow a number of different posters on Twitter. One is a fellow who is in ministry but he likes to poke fun at Church related activities. He operates under the name, Back Row Baptist. You can locate him under that hashtag. Here's one he put up the other day that brought a chuckle from me: "My church accidentally scheduled a bake sale and a Weight Watchers meeting for the same night. There were no survivors." A few more from his page: ~ "Hello, you have reached Moses. I'm out at the moment, but if you leave a message, I'll return your call within roughly 40 years." ~ "I live every day likes it's my last. Which is why I haven't updated the church's website since 2007."  ~ "Happy 3rd birthday to that half empty bottle of french dressing in the side panel of the Church fridge!" ~ "I'm so saved, I won't even play Gin Rummy, in case one of my friends is struggling with alcoholism." ~ "Welcome to our church! Here's the seating chart. You can see all the best seats are reserved, but you can sit in the front row." ~ I realize that some of these are insider jokes, and, they, for the most part, are not roll-on-the-floor funny. Yet, I don't know about you, but, things like this do help to lighten the load a tad along the way. They also have a ring of truth to them and that always helps. On a side note, I enjoy stand up comedy, but, the stuff by those who are popularly acclaimed out on YouTube are so filthy I end up shutting them down almost from the get go. Fortunately, there are some clean ones including those identified by their faith. These include Mark Lowry, Tim Hawkins, Chonda Pierce, Michael Junior, Ken Davis, Taylor Mason, Brad Stine, Rich Praytor, Thor Ramsey, Jeff Allen, Aaron Wilburn, and I would also add the late Jerry Clower to this grouping. All of those on this list are available on YouTube.

I'm doing my best to keep everything lighthearted for today. I'm working at it. Staying away from politics and our chaotic disintegrating world is not easy, but, I'm trying. Here are some random memes I saw on a blog posting. The memes were unattributed as they had come from various sources. ~ "Unless you fell off your treadmill and smacked your face, no one wants to hear about your workout." ~ "Negative people have a problem for every solution." ~ "I'm so thankful I had a childhood before technology took over." ~ "The older I get, The surer I am That I'm not running the show." ~ "Some days the memories just knock the wind out of me." ~ "If I had my life to live over, I would find you sooner so that I could love you longer." ~ (If that were true for the wife and I we would have needed to have met while we were both in diapers.) ~ "Have you ever had a memory that sneaks out of your eye and rolls down your cheek?" ~ Maybe one of those had something to say to you. Several got my attention. I suppose it proves the fact that today's short attention span causes us to live mostly with a bumper sticker mentality. You know. Tweets can only be 140 characters long. No wonder I don't do a lot of tweets. That's not even enough time for me to come up for air. Oh well, hope you and yours will have a blessed day. Until next time, may God provide for us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Sherrie!

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, July 27, 2016. I pause to send out a birthday greeting on behalf of myself and the wife, to our daughter-in-law Sherrie. She is the bride of our eldest son Chris, and mother to three of our granddaughters and grandmother to our one great grand. We thank God for her and her testimony of working on behalf of the Kingdom. We look forward to meeting up tonight to celebrate this special occasion. Sherrie and Chris will be leaving tomorrow for a vacation in a resort in Mexico. We hope they have a wonderful time. Happy Birthday and may God bless as you continue your journey here. Amen. Our love, mom and dad.

I didn't see any of the speeches on the opening night of the Democratic Party Convention. I did read excerpts from some of them. I also read what the commentators had to say about them. Here's what seems to be out there regarding what was being said at the podium. All the mainstream media outlets are falling all over themselves in awe of the 10-minute speech by First Lady Michelle Obama. Essentially, it seems that she set the record straight. America does not need to be made great, again. America, under the leadership of her husband, is great already. Last week I saw one poll that indicated 70% of Americans think our nation is headed in the wrong direction. Those people may not agree that we are actually great at the present time. The pundits used the word 'soaring' to describe her lofty words. Contrast that to the things written about the speech given by Melania Trump last week. She was criticized. Even her compelling life story was panned. Donald Trump's children were criticized. Why? Mostly because they are connected to Donald Trump. I point out these contrasts only to remind us all that bias is not only alive and well when it comes to how things are covered by the mainstream press, but, it is thriving as they do their best to manipulate the minds of those who follow their coverage. I know that sounds strong, but, it's the way I see it. (Just so you know, according to the ruling media elites, anyone who would dare even think about seeing Ms. Obama's speech differently than the way they portrayed it, is obviously racist, period, end of story.)

Let me also make clear how the revelations of untoward dealings on the part of the Democratic National Committee does not mean the Republican Party leaders are not playing the same kind of games. We don't have their emails. Yet. We do know the 'establishment' made up of entrenched, elected officials along with their cronies, including those who call themselves conservatives, did everything they could to maintain the status quo. This means they did all they could to defeat the candidacy of Donald J. Trump. I am not a Trump supporter. But, anyone can see that both parties are completely polluted and thoroughly saturated with cronyism and corruption. I'm still thinking and praying about my upcoming vote. I have communicated with some who have made public declarations that they will not vote for Hillary or The Donald. A long term friend sent me some messages about how the Christian community rose up against him after he made clear that he could not, based on his conscience, vote for Donald Trump. He was called names. His motives were called into question. Since when is it wrong for a person of faith to exercise their vote consistent with what they believe God would have them to do? I think I am firmly in the undecided category about the upcoming election. However, I am in the completely decided category when I say both parties are corrupt. I still pray for those in office, but, I have no illusions regarding the depravity at work, no matter who gets elected. Negative? I hope not. Realistic? I hope so. Hopeful? Yes! Only because our Sovereign God reigns over all. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A little of this and a little of that.

Thanks for catching up with me today as we continue our journey, together. It turns out to be Tuesday, July 26, 2016, and it's another beautiful day in the neighborhood. What? You think that phrase might be copyrighted. I would say you've got to be kidding, but this day and time it just might be so. I certainly did not use it as an insult to Mr. Rogers and I do apologize for stringing together common ordinary English words in my greeting. People get uptight about a lot of things these days. There is a recent photo of the UK's young Prince George with his dog. It's a really sweet looking photo taken on the occasion of his 3rd birthday. However, dog lovers are fuming because it appears that the young prince is offering his dog a bite of some type of ice cream bar. They are incensed because many dogs have trouble digesting dairy products. I have a message to all of those who are bent over with concern. Get a life and get over it! Maybe the ice cream bar was made with some type of special dairy substitute for lactose intolerant animals. How about that one? Moving on. Yes, I did see most of the NASCAR race on Sunday. Most. I had to leave for Church with about 10 laps left, but, I was pleased with Jeff Gordon's finish, 13th, after being out of any race car for seven months. My wife said she had wished he could have finished in the top 10 and I reminded her there were 29 cars that finished behind him. You know. Half full, half empty, or something in-between.

I mentioned last week about our big baptismal night at our local fellowship. This past Sunday evening we enjoyed a very special service where we witnessed 15 people making a declaration of what Jesus had done in their lives. Some were young, some were not so young, and one was a lady with a serious physical ailment. All made public pronouncements of their changed life. We believe in full immersion as the method of baptism because it best reflects what the Scriptures teach and it also best presents the truth being pictured. The words go something like this, "I baptize you my brother/sister in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, buried in the likeness of His death, and raised to walk in newness of life." Over 150 folks showed up to celebrate this great time of testimony for the Lord. It was hot. Somewhere around 98 degrees. I wore my cut-offs and sandals. I was asked more than once what I thought was whiter, my beard or my legs. They laughed and I did too. I wanted them to fully enjoy their little joke. Since when is having white legs a huge fashion no no? One guy told me that at least I didn't do what his dad did when they took him to the beach. His dad is in his 80's and he wore shorts for the first time in forever but he also donned black socks that came half way up his legs. That's bad? I am glad to help others enjoy a good laugh. At my expense. Obviously. As you can tell it didn't bother me at all. When I told the wife about their little jokes she had this, "I told you so" look. One final unanswered question: Why is everybody picking on me?

Regarding all the wailing and gnashing going on because of the leaked emails involving high-level Democratic National Committee, DNC, members, the spin thus far has been hilarious. I heard one panel being interviewed and they thought the most important issue was to determine how they came to be leaked. In other words, the unbelievable bias, distortion, and downright underhanded operations exposed in the emails really isn't that important. Who stole them? Who was ultimately behind them being leaked just prior to the convention getting started? Those are the really important matters for people to think about, not the use of Hillary's opponent's ethnicity or religion to try and discredit him. There's nothing to see here is how they want people to see it. Too bad. There's 19,000 of them and they do tell a story. The story it tells is how the DNC is about as crooked as a snake. They even are trying to float a story that perhaps Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin somehow colluded to smear them with their own words. No investigative results, just speculation, but, it's the best spin they have for the moment. On my way into work this morning, I heard the NPR reporter doing her best to connect the dots on a conspiracy to disrupt the Democrat Convention. I would say one might be better off waiting on the facts, but, that wouldn't fit their narrative, would it? Just me. Paying some attention to what I am seeing. What about you? Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” ~ Genesis Chapter 3, Verses 16-19

Hello friends and neighbors. Welcome to another week where we are privileged to return to our home away from home, our workplace, here on this Monday, July 25, 2016. I know it's popular for people to complain about working and about the jobs they have. I really do see mine as a blessing and for the most part I've always seen it that way. Some people think that work is a result of the curse that came when Adam and Eve fell in the garden. That's not what the Bible says. (Genesis 2:15 "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.") Adam was tending the perfect garden before the fall. As we see in today's title, what happened in the fall was the rigor and difficulty that made work challenging and exhausting. I suppose it is these difficulties involved in labor that causes people to dread the everyday grind. At any rate, I'm thankful for my 55 years of being able to labor in some capacity during my time here on the planet. I do think at times about retirement, but, every once in a while I get a good project to work on and it reminds me that I actually can be, perhaps on rare occasions, still useful to the people who pay me for showing up each day. I may have to use a duster on my gray cells, but, there's still a little left in the tank. For that, and so much more, I am thankful.

I've written about that before but it is one of my life's pursuits, therefore, I like to remind us all about it from time to time. I also know that no one should be defined by the job they have in the workplace, and that is especially so for someone who has been given eternal life as a born again child of God. We are first and foremost a child of God, temporarily living in this world, but on our way to an endless eternal existence in the presence of our Lord. When we have that identity as the clearing house for everything else, we are able to function in ways that serve God and others, and that includes being thankful for the job He has given to us, and for the opportunity to use it to support the life He would have us to live. We call that being saved. That's a term that many people resist. One day many years ago I was across the street visiting with a neighbor when another lady stopped by to say hello. She knew us and began to talk about our faith. We didn't mention it. She did. She said they used to live in another state where their neighbor was always trying to get them to be saved. This made her angry. She said she didn't want to be saved and as far as she knew she didn't have anything to be saved from. I said perhaps they were just trying to show their love. She was all stirred up and went on to say that she was asked to take care of the goldfish when those neighbors went on vacation. By this time she was loud enough for the neighborhood to hear as she explained that she was so angry about them always trying to get her saved that she let their goldfish die. I'm glad someone was willing to share with me how to be saved, and I thank God that I responded to that message. Amen.

We didn't have to wait until the Democratic Party started their convention to get the main news networks spin machine running at warp speed. Many editorials thought Mr. Trump's speech was pretty good. It addressed and diagnosed problems and offered his approach to fixing them. The mainstream networks were not buying it. They uniformly reported it to be perhaps the darkest, most pessimistic, gloom and doom speech in history. One poll indicated that 70% of those who tuned in thought it was a good speech and that it presented an accurate picture of where we are as a nation. Don't say I didn't tell you. Even with the scandal from the leaked emails showing unmitigated bias on the part of key Democratic National Committee members, the mainstream networks are already falling all over themselves in anticipating the positive upbeat message from Hillary and her team. If common, ordinary people hear what they hear and conclude something radically different than what the liberal media is telling us, well, I will go with the common, ordinary people interpretation every time. And, I do recognize that people have the freedom to come up with their own idea from what they heard. I also repeat again, that you, I, and every other American have this right along with the privilege to be wrong. Come to think about it, I may have been wrong once or twice in my lifetime. Maybe even more than that. Maybe. I would rather not think about that right now. Later. Yeah. That's it. Until tomorrow, may the good Lord bless and keep you and yours. Amen. ....More later.

"I think fear is what keeps us from going over the edge. I mean, as a race car driver, I don't think what makes a good race car driver is a fearless person. I think it's somebody that is comfortable being behind the wheel of something that's somewhat out of control." ~ Jeff Gordon

Good morning and welcome to a bad news-good news story on this Friday, July 22, 2016. The bad news is that Nascar's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is unable to race due to complications from a crash related concussion. He will be okay, but, it will take some time. This weekend he will have a replacement driver to fill in for him. Not just any replacement driver. This is the good news part of the story. Jeff Gordon is coming out of retirement to drive the next two races, at Indianapolis, and at Pocono. I am somewhat excited about this since I followed Jeff for many years when he was actively racing. I am very excited about getting to see him race again. He leads all drivers in wins at Indy, kissing the bricks a total of 5 times. He is also a 5-time winner at Pocono. Now that's what I call a good fill in driver. I will do my best, if I can, to watch both of those races. You can count on it. I know it will not be easy for him since they have significantly changed the downforce characteristics of the cars since he left. I know many of you could really not care at all about this, but, it matters to me, and as you well know, I typically write about things that are of interest to me. Please bear with me, and in the meantime, you have my permission to pull for Dale Jr.'s number 88 for at least the next two weeks.

I think that might be the first NASCAR comment I've made in quite a long time. I have been watching off and on. My wife would say more on than off. I haven't decided what driver, if any, I will follow to take Jeff's place, but, I suppose, after more than 15 years of watching, it obviously has become somewhat of a part of my routine. I actually thought I would walk away from it when Jeff retired. I was at Church Wednesday evening so I missed the Eldora truck race on dirt. That is always a fun race to watch. I did, however, listen to a replay of it on satellite radio on my way into work Thursday morning. 'Somewhat of a part of my routine.' I mean it when I say I am not fanatical about it. I promise you I am not. If I miss a race, I miss it. The other day I heard a sports radio guy giving some advice to his football-loving audience. He said that summer was the time to do those 'family' things to make them happy with you as you prepare to be absent from that world for many months when the training, pre-season, and the season starts. Absent? He was dead serious. That struck me as being not only absurd but demeaning to men in general. I would hope that for most men that family would come first, no matter what. Period, end of story.

The Republicans have finished their week and next up is the Democratic National Convention. Mark my words. The coverage will be different. The news media will do everything they can to see Hillary Clinton elected. They will. They really don't have a choice. The progressive liberal mindset dominates most of the major news sources, therefore, they will favor the person with the most progressive credentials. They have to. It's in their DNA. You can quote me on that. What is my interest in what will be televised from Philadelphia? Maybe I can find a station running the old TV test pattern to watch. I know. Now my DNA is showing up. It does act up now and then. The good news is that we have Saturday, and Lord's Day Sunday to look forward to. Our local fellowship is planning a big baptismal service for Sunday evening. Over ten people will publicly testify to the change Jesus has made in their hearts by following Him in Scriptural baptism. That is exciting, folks. Very exciting indeed! This has been some week. We have had some spotty showers around and that has been wonderful when we were blessed to be the recipients. The other day we had one of those 15-minute rain-as-hard-as-it-can downpours at the house. The temperature went from 96 to 83 in a matter of minutes. I'll take as much of that as I can get at this time of year. Here's the deal. Have yourself a wonderful weekend, and, with God's help, I'll do my best to show up early next Monday morning. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." ~ Groucho Marx

Good morning and welcome to Thursday, July 21, 2016. You may think that I am unaware of the Republican National Convention going on this week. If you thought that, you would be wrong. I've not said anything about it because thus far, in my opinion, there's been no there, there. I am aware of the statements made during a speech at the convention by Donald Trump's wife that were similar to some made by Michelle Obama in a speech made in 2008. They were motivational things almost anyone could have said, but the liberal news media thought it to be a cardinal sin. I'm not saying it should have been done but when you compare that kind of thing to the lies that were told by the President and his administration in order to sell the Iran nuclear agreement, which got mostly a pass by his adoring media supporters, I think you see the feigned outrage over Melania's speech is way out of proportion. There's also been quite a bit of squawking from convention delegates who are still committed to their candidates, but, that goes on at every convention. Here again, the liberal media is making this out to be an outbreak of anarchy against the now confirmed nominee, Donald Trump. Early in the mornings on my way into work I typically catch some of the world news broadcast from the BBC. One of the clear readings they have on our presidential election is the extreme unpopularity of the Republican nominee Donald Trump and the same unpopularity for the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They sent their reporters to far-flung places chosen at random to interview locals. This negative view of the two candidates was the one consistent message they found in their conversations. Essentially, people on both sides will vote for who they will vote for but all will be holding their noses when they vote.

May I gently remind us all how there is no such thing as unbiased reporting. Every source of information except God Almighty has a fallen and prejudicial point of view, with its own preferences, and biases. That's the way it works. I think a Disillusioned Party might be one I could identify with. However, if one were to be formed, those forming it would have their point of view which would end up polluting it at the get go. That's why the old saying, "A pox on all their houses.", seems appropriate as we attempt to navigate our way forward. (A plague o' both your houses.. Often quoted as "A pox on both your houses." This is a famous quote from William Shakespeare in the play, Romeo and Juliet. As Mercutio dies, he utters this phrase three times, cursing the families whose rivalry led to his death.) But what about the Tea Party and others like it? Some of the stuff I see posted in their name is not anything I want to be associated with, period. Since this is how it is, what are we to do? Live, work, and operate our lives according to our true Sovereign, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He has been good to give us clear instructions how to function in His created world regardless of who is in authority. You can find those directions in His Word, the Bible.

I shared those tidbits just to let you know that I am still keeping up, even though I certainly am not as plugged in as I have been in the past. I do know that given the level of corruption that permeates our politics and governing today, it would be real easy to become a Chicken Little as we make our journey forward. We do need to keep a positive outlook because, as the trite saying goes, we have read the back of the Book, and we win. Meanwhile, we are to be in the world where God placed us, while at the same time, we are not to be of the world, or like the world, as we live based on the truth that God has given to us. ( "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." John 17:14-16) This doesn't mean we are to totally isolate ourselves from any interaction with our fellow citizens. We are to be engaged. The Apostle Paul addressed this very sentiment to some who thought the best approach was to totally withdraw from society. "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world." (I Corinthians 5:9-10) We are to do our best with God's help to make a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with for the honor and glory of our True Sovereign. I didn't intend a sermon. Just sharing. That's all. May God help us all to live in a way that pleases Him and helps others to find Him. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" ~ Audrey Hepburn

Well, well, how in the world are you doing today? Welcome once again as we hook back up for the midweek episode of this long-running (and long winded) serial which has been broadcasting since the summer of 2007. Here's the scary part. I'm sitting here on this Wednesday, July 20, 2016, and I honestly do not have a clue as to what the next keystrokes will reflect. Most of the time I have something in mind. Most. It's not so much writer's block as it is just not knowing what subjects to put in play. Okay. Maybe it is even worse because I really don't have any subjects in mind. But I am throwing down these opening sentences while I am waiting to see what might appear. I have a library with nearly 70 years of stored accumulated knowledge. I hope I didn't show up today only to find that all the books are already checked out. I hear a chant building. I hear what they are saying. "Why would you let a little thing like having nothing to write about hold you back, it hasn't in the past?" While that may be factual, it's certainly not the encouragement I need for today. I did think about my mom and dad and how they are hosting some of dad's kinfolks from California this week. What's the big deal? Mom is 92 and dad is 86 and yet they are still able to provide for guests in their home. They have been busy getting everything ready. They have meals planned and trips and family gatherings on the agenda. Okay. I don't know about you but I just thought that to be quite remarkable. A blessing for sure. But a very remarkable one. Amen.

This is not the first time I've had trouble coming up with stuff. A blast from the past: "Hello out there in Bloggerworld. Welcome once again to that place where I come each day to be surprised by what ends up on the page. You noticed? Good. You can see what I put up with each day. It is Wednesday, August 8, 2012, and I'm at it again. Sometimes one of my faithful readers will mention something I wrote and I have to do some quick mental gymnastics just to recall the subject. (Notice the Olympics theme, gymnastics. I understand that because of the non-stop coverage of the games, gym memberships are increasing along with other paid sporting venues. Mine, however, is of the cerebral variety, that is, mental.) The good news. At times I'm pretty impressed with what they understood from what I wrote. Especially if it was a particular encouragement or blessing to them. If that happens then God gets the glory for He provides for His own even through the thoughts and comments of someone like me. That doesn't mean that I claim some special spiritual insight, but anytime we inform others using God's truth, well, He has promised that His Word will work, it will accomplish what He intends, and it will not be wasted. I didn't make that up. You can check it out for yourself by reading Isaiah 55."

Wow! It seems like I wrote that just four years ago. Having read it again and used it in today's episode, I do want to again appreciate those who read what I throw onto the page each day. My wife is good to let me know each day what she thought when she read my blog. I enjoy her enjoying it. I know she likes the ones that make her laugh. Like the one the other day about her trying to help me dress better. She thought that one was funny. Whew! I was so glad to get that email from her. And, she did fix me a nice supper that evening. Maybe part of my problem has to do with the ongoing conflicts I have to deal with. I have trouble with old people driving. They worry the daylights out of me. I find myself wondering why they don't stay at home. I know. I know. That's wrong on many levels including the fact that I qualify as one of them. I can spot their slow and methodical progress from far off. The white hair sticks out like a sore thumb. Then I catch a reflection of myself in the rearview mirror. Okay. I got it. Why, then, do you suppose I get agitated when they are mucking up my ability to traverse to and from and throughout the metroplex? I don't feel any remorse whatsoever over having it in for those who text while they are driving. Those folks are moving accidents waiting to be experienced. But, old people? Me getting upset with them does bother me. Maybe I need to act my age. I'll think about that one. Pray for me. Until next time, may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

“There is perhaps nothing more startling for the humanity than how most people start moving in one direction on given a call, without even giving a second thought as in which way they are heading.” ― Anuj Somany, Marketing Manager, Civil Engineering, India

Hello and welcome where we will be celebrating Tuesday all day long on this July 19, 2016. I think most of you have noticed by now, that I do attempt to stay informed, generally speaking. I'm not sad to report that I am clueless regarding this new game app called Pokemon Go. The game sends people to places in order for them to continue playing. They have to go to the designated place. Some people have gone to the designated place and have been robbed. Others have been hit by a car as they attempt to progress in the game. Two men had to be rescued after walking off a 90-foot cliff as they pursued the game. I don't know how the game works, but obviously, the results are not all positive. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law warns: "Pokemon users will have all sorts of accidents as they use the program while walking, biking, driving, etc." I see many of our friends on Facebook along with their children who are actively participating in this craze. One wonders how long before the lawsuits come flying from every corner of the universe. Let me be clear. I am speaking from ignorance in terms of the actual game itself, but, anyone can see bad things are happening to some people who are engaged in playing it. The thought came to me about Nancy Reagan's anti-drug campaign, "Just Say No". My gut says that just might be a good response to Pokemon Go. No. I am not a card carrying Fuddy Duddy, however, I'm sure I qualify to carry one and it would likely have oak leaf clusters.

I glanced over a list of the prime time TV Emmy award nominations. There are oodles of them. This will be the 68th year they have given out awards for the 'best' that TV has to offers. A total of 99% of the programs we watch regularly were not on the list. The official list looked to me like what one might expect. Everything promoting a morally perverted view of life, marriage, sexuality, or other norm-busting concepts made the list. It was like reading through a textbook definition of how to apply modern political correctness. We didn't get a TV until I was going on nine years old. That means I missed quite a few of the early Emmy Award programs. (It's a joke, you can laugh.) American Ninja Warrior made the list as a nominee. We do watch that if we are home. 'The Voice' made it. We watched a number of those, especially towards the end. The PBS - BBC Masterpiece series 'Sherlock' made the list along with a best actor in a drama series nomination for Benedict Cumberbatch. We like that program. 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives' with Chef Guy Fieri was nominated. That's the only Food Network program I watch. I've not cared for that network since they more or less ran Emeril off. (I suppose I do know how to hold a grudge.) There may have been a news special or two in the mix that I caught but the rest of it did not make our Must See list. Okay. I admit it. We are not their target audience. I'm more concerned about why RFDTV hasn't made the promised new episodes of the Marty Stuart Show, and, why they haven't resolved the problems they are currently having with another of our favorites, Mollie of the Mollie B Polka Party. See what I mean? I suppose we fall into the pitiful category. Do we get any recognition for that?

We have so much going on in the world today. Terrible things are happening in far-flung places. These events do have the potential to impact the safety and well-being of us all. However, it is hard to even take in what's happening around the world when we have such madness unfolding every day in our own nation. When I hear American experts taking on the problems of security and safety in places like Brazil at the upcoming Olympics, often in a condescending manner, I can't help but wonder why they are not applying their supposed superior knowledge to solving problems closer to home. These are such sad times as we witness one funeral procession after another. Hate is front and center. America needs healing and while I know people of faith can sound like the proverbial broken record, we really do need God. I do think one must be very careful when attempting to tag verses from The Scriptures without understanding the context and application when it was written. While I see the well-known verses from 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 being posted here, there, and everywhere, there are some general principles we can take from what is presented: "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." The 'I' is obviously God Himself speaking. The 'My people' is God's chosen nation, Israel. The situation is God's desire to get their attention by His moving to withhold rain, and in destroying their crops. This is a specific situation involving God and His relationship with Israel. What do we see in this passage that gives us instruction for today? There is a call for humbling, for prayer, and for a turning away from evil on the part of those who know God. That is good advice when a nation, any nation, needs to hear from God. Expecting unbelievers to suddenly do these things is not going to happen, but, you and I, along with all people of true faith can follow these commands from God and we will hear from Him and our nation will be impacted as a result. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, July 18, 2016

"To be, or not to be. That is not the question. The question is, what time is it?" ~ Unattributed

It's Monday, July 18, 2016, greetings from your newly recognized wordsmith. Someone on Facebook recommended a vocabulary test. I am interested in words, therefore, against my standing objection to those kinds of silly endeavors, I participated in the test. It was easy at the beginning but got more and more difficult as time went by. Here's the assessment, according to that computer grader in the sky: "You scored in the Top 0.16%. You are Shakespeare! You can even create new words that will expand the English dictionary." How is one to interpret such an illustrious declaration? I'm not expecting to have the Queen lay a sword on my shoulder anytime soon. I did hear that Starbucks was getting ready to implement a significant price increase on its coffee products. This means I can print out my Shakespearean accolade, present it to a local Starbucks Barista, and with a $5 bill, I can maybe get a thimble-sized sample. I will not be doing that because I am not one of their customers. That may be a Class A Misdemeanor in today's world, but I don't go there for one reason. I don't care for their coffee. Not at all. They do have some double bold something that you might be able to get by with in a desperate situation, but, to me, the rest of it tastes mostly like the cardboard they make their cups out of. Just me. Not you. It's best to follow the 'don't ask, don't tell' rule when asking me about my coffee. Just so you know. In honor of the occasion, here's a little ditty I found on a blog called 'Shakespeare Geek': "Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar who? Julius, seize her! She’s the one who stole my wallet!"

I agree. If my vocabulary is that good, why doesn't it show up in my writing? While that is a good question, it more or less answers itself. Vocabulary and writing are two different things. Entirely. I've known people who could sound like a dictionary, but, putting together anything worth hearing or reading, was not something that came that easy to them. When it comes to what I do each time I sit down at the blogger utility, it's like that old song lyric, "Lord, I was born a ramblin' man Trying to make a living and doing the best I can." (1973, the Allman Brothers Band, 'Ramblin Man') I do a lot of rambling around and on most days I can attest to the fact that I am doing the best I can. But, it is in the eye of the beholder. That would be the reader. You. I'm accustomed to some critical review. When we are preparing to leave the house, literally on our way out the door, I often get this question, "Are you planning on wearing that?" Or maybe it can be more subtle. "What exactly prompted you to start wearing suspenders?" There are times when the point just has to be made, "I hope you don't think those go together?" I don't mind her comments. Much. I know she wants me to look my best. Wait just a minute. I think she gave up on that one a long time ago. She just wants me to be presentable. She also knows that I do need all the help I can get. There's always room for improvement. Are white socks with sandals really no longer thought to be cool? I must say I did not get that memo.

You do know I'm kidding. I hope she knows I am kidding. Supper is very important to me. Hopefully, a little poetic license taken will not interfere with our regular routine. Some days I do flail around more than I like and that may be responsible for stuff that ordinarily wouldn't see the light of day. I'm not as clear on the differences between a brain-freeze and a brain-fog, but, I'm fairly certain that I have experienced both of them on more than one occasion. Maybe both at the same time. That could account for some of it. I'll try to do a little research and find out if those have some bearing on the situation. Sometimes when I write something that may be on the edge, I get this question, "Have you lost your ever loving mind?" "What were you thinking?" That is when I would be forced to use the 'call a friend' option. I'm still just messing around. I did hear that one a lot growing up. From my mom and my grandfather, "Stop messing around and get back to work." I can see that I am getting nowhere fast, therefore, I will leave off for today with hopes of something better for tomorrow. Maybe it would be a good time to ask everyone for some good vibes to be sent my way. That's right. I previously made it clear that I don't believe in such nonsense. Forget that one. We will just wait and see. Until then, may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Those were the days!

I'm pretty sure that most folks will welcome today because it happens to be Friday and end of the work week for many, on this July 15, 2016. I was visiting with a bloke the other day and it turned out to be a very interesting conversation. (Sorry about the bloke reference but I have been watching a lot of reruns of PBS - BBC Masterpiece Theatre Mystery Episodes. Most of them are set in Great Britain. We love to watch those because we are on a first name basis with Chief Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis, his sidekick, who later became Chief Inspector and had his own series, Miss Marple, Endeavor, a series about a young Morse, also Inspector Frost, Wallander, the series: Foyle's War, Poirot, Father Brown, and Sherlock Holmes.) Back to my conversation. As we talked about our time here in this region of the world I told him about the first house we bought back in 1971. Bingo! He actually grew up a few miles from that subdivision. We began to talk about the area and we both hit upon this particular burger joint that served the best we had ever eaten. He agreed. I told him as a young couple starting out we thought so highly of that place we used to go and fetch food from there when relatives came to visit. He said their family did the exact same thing. We couldn't leave it without going through the precise details of those burgers. I hear people today swearing by this place or that place. Compared to the burgers we were talking about, believe me, they don't have a clue. After he left I thought about how the simple things in life at one time were so very special. We had also talked about taking our families out on payday to cheap places to eat. We remembered how wonderful those special occasions were. We agreed. Those were the days. We've come a long way, haven't we? Maybe in many ways, we have become way too big for our britches. That's the way I heard it growing up.

This has been a tough week for our nation and with all the tension in play at this time, I don't see it getting a lot better anytime soon. Across the pond, the United Kingdom now has a new prime minister. David Cameron stepped down after the UK voted to leave the European Union. Mr. Cameron has been the leader of the conservative party, called the Tories. Their form of conservatism doesn't line up completely with what we call it here, and, they do practice much in the way of socialism in their providing of government services. I will miss David Cameron. I've watched him on Prime Minister Question Time for years as he went toe to toe, or face to face, with the leader of the opposition Labour or liberal party. Mr. Camerson has been a staunch ally of our nation. The new prime minister becomes the second female to lead the UK. Theresa May, following in the footsteps of the late Margaret Thatcher, will now attempt to lead the UK as they break away from the European Union. It's still a volatile situation. They have their challenges. We have ours. Many world class athletes are choosing to forgo the Olympic Games in Rio this year because of health concerns involving the mosquito carrying Zika virus. Rio is also considered to be a very dangerous place. The world is in a mess folks, in case you missed it. And, it gets messier every single day. Now is a good time to be reminded of this promise from our Lord, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

As we anticipate the upcoming weekend, we note that for our area we have a 40% chance for rain on Saturday and Sunday. We'll take it. It's been a while since we have hoped so much for the weather prognosticators to be correct. Over in Louisiana, my mom, who does have failing eyesight, reports that she can detect a cloud of dust being kicked up by dad on his riding lawnmower. She laughs and says he is mowing the dust. I know what some of you might be thinking about that longed for burger joint I wrote about in the opening paragraph. It may have contributed to my diabetic condition. If it was as good as I remember it being, and I do believe it was, well, I'm almost certain it did its part, along with my forty years plus of eating any and everything I felt like eating. I'm not complaining about the food I eat today. However, it is not even close to being the same. I've had to shoot for the 'everything in moderation' approach since being diagnosed. That, along with good medical care and outstanding drug therapies have brought me to where I am today. With all the little punctures I do to my fingers to check my blood sugar, it's a wonder water doesn't go off like a sprinkler when I take a drink. That burger joint was good. It really was. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and, I'll do my best, Lord willing, to catch up with you, next Monday. Amen. ....More later..

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Top of the morning to you as we embrace the day that God has given to us on this Thursday, July 14, 2016. I was able to watch the memorial service in Dallas for the murdered police officers this past Tuesday. It was live streamed on several news sites. It was a moving ceremony. I was particularly impressed with the words spoken by President George W. Bush. They seemed to strike the right tone and appeared to bring comfort to the families of the fallen. I thought President Obama had some good things to say as well. However, he seems always to use his opportunities to speak as a platform for making political points. That, to me, greatly distracted from the focus of memorializing the slain officers and in comforting those who are mourning their tragic deaths. While I disagree with many of his policies and certainly his world view, I make this point only by way of noticing this habit of making all things a political endeavor. I do not agree with those who spew out hatred for President Obama and his family. I'm not talking about policy differences, I'm thinking about the many horrible things said about him as a person. He is the President. I respect him as the leader of our nation. I often wonder how those hate filled postings square with the poster's testimony as a follower of Christ. I don't think it does anything to advance the cause of Christ. Sadly, after about 20 minutes of his speech, I clicked it off. To me, it was too long and had become somewhat inappropriate. I can say that without hating him as a man, or vilifying his race and color, or engaging in slandering his family. Hey, it's my blog and I can express my opinion. You didn't ask? Sorry. That's what fell out for today.

I often hear people say they post things that other people say and it's really not them saying it. I won't even attempt to explain how that excuse fails on just about every level imaginable. I'm not saying I have never done that myself. But, I do know that when you post something, regardless of its origin, it becomes your own, and me, you, or anyone else has responsibility for its content when we share it. Okay. I've said enough about that for now, let me see if I can come up with a different area of interest to share. Thinking about Christmas, I ran across this little cute account from an Aussie blogger named Mark Conner. ~ "Was Jesus a Swede? (December 21, 2014) Did you hear the funny story about a 5-year-old girl who thought Jesus was a Swede? This cute little girl was helping set the family table one Sunday near Christmas. She stopped for a moment and announced, 'Jesus was a Swede.' More than a little surprised, her mum corrected her, 'Oh, no, dear, Jesus was Jewish. I'll read it to you from the Bible after lunch.' Pensively, she laid out the silverware. Then her face brightened. 'Mummy, I can prove it to you! We sang about it in children’s church this morning.' Triumphantly she sang, 'Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his Swede head.' Ah, the joys of Christmas carol lyrics. They can be confusing sometimes." ~

That got me to thinking about how traditional Christmas song lyrics can be challenging to children of all ages. Who is Parson Brown? What is figgy pudding? Whatever it is, they will not go until they get some. And what in the world is gay apparel? I won't even try to track down all the lyrics that are sung like they sound to people, not exactly the way they were written. Okay. One quick example I found from a random source: ~ "Silent Night" expresses no opinion on whether Mary was a little on the heavy side. ("Round yon virgin"/ "Silent Night") Thought by many to be "round young virgin," this phrase does appear to be commenting on Mary's shape. But round and young are not coordinate adjectives. Round is short for around, and relates to the previous line: "All is calm and bright/round," — or around — "yon virgin." Yon, a synonym for yonder, means, "over there." In other words, all is calm and bright over there around the mother, who is a virgin, and her child.~ Maybe that's the argument people make about the old hymns of the faith. Today's population seems to be completely unfamiliar with the words and illustrations given in many of these treasured songs. Of course this has become a battleground in many Churches today. I think this quote from, Tyler Braun, a long term youth choir leader is worth consideration: "It is Jesus we are after in our churches. At least I hope so. Plenty of the songs being written today draw us closer to Jesus through lyrics, just as much as hymns do. Hymns are not Canon. Neither are contemporary worship songs." Just so you know, I am partial to Southern Gospel, but, I also know that is my preference, not a mandate from heaven. I might have to make an exception for Victory In Jesus, but, I'll save that for another day. May God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

“Strangest problems of life seem clearing; but clouds sweep between--Is my journey’s end coming?” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

A fellow here in our office was recently sharing with me a little story about some close friends. They were greatly impacted by the torrential rains and flooding we experienced a few weeks back. At that time, they were hoping it would not rain anymore, anytime soon. He said he talked to them the other day and they were desperately seeking and praying for rain to help alleviate this scorching heat wave. What a difference a string of 100 degree plus days makes with a hot wind thrown in for good measure! From flooded out to praying for rain. That pretty well describes the human thought process on this Wednesday, July 13, 2016. I can identify with those folks. It's not being fickle, it's dealing with the reality of life which is unfolded on a minute by minute basis, 24 hours per day. As we all know, quite a lot of our time in this old world is spent honing our coping skills. How many times have I uttered those words, "I never thought I would be dealing with ......? (Fill in the blank) While we like to throw around those trite sayings like the only things certain in life are death and taxes, we recognize that with all the unforeseen challenges that come our way, we need something more to keep us grounded and focused. That something is actually Someone. The wife and I know the sentiment expressed by the people who were devastated by the floods. Been there and done that. I remember as we dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, many people asked how in the world we were able to deal with all the challenges we faced. I know what our response was then and it's still the same today, "If the LORD had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence of death." (Psalm 94:17) Amen.

I am aware that I was using weather again as the icebreaker to get us up and running today. Icebreaker. That's a good one when you consider kids are out trying to see if they can really fry an egg on the sidewalk. At one time it was thought the 'break the ice' idiom was connected to steam powered ice breaking ships. However, they discovered it was around many years before those ships were invented. In 1678, Samuel Butler wrote a poem that had this line, "To give himself a first audience, After he had a while look'd wise, At last broken silence, and the ice." Who knew? I'm talking about ice here hoping it will help us all to cool off a little. I can remember at one time I could visualize the cold and it did help me deal with the heat. Living here in this region, I may have used up that technique because nowadays when I am out in the heat, thinking about snowstorms and igloos does not seem to help so much. Maybe the switch is worn out on my 'mind over matter' mechanism. I'll add that one to the list of things that could use some repair. Meanwhile, if talking about ice on a hot day helps you, then I say go for it. Or, we can all join those folks mentioned above in seeking God's provision of some much-needed rain. Amen.

A preacher paused recently and asked the congregation to take a moment to say a word of thanks for central air conditioning. I hear folks all the time talking about how that without it we could not live. Really? I grew up without it, therefore, I do know that it is possible to live without it. In fairness, we did have a huge attic fan when we lived with my grandparents. It was a sad time each evening when Paw Paw Mac got up around 10:30 p.m., went to the restroom, and on his way back to bed, he shut down the fan. It was to save electricity. We were already stuck to the bed sheets from the hot and damp humidity, and with no air moving, we had a long night ahead of us. But, I'm here today throwing electronic words on the page which says people can live without it. Or, they were in the past able to live without it. Here in our area of the country, elderly people have been known to die because of their houses being shut up, without air conditioning, and they suffered a heat stroke. I didn't have a problem pausing to thank God for central air. No problem at all. I can even remember the first time I stayed with someone who had a window unit in the bedroom where we slept. As a kid, I may not have known that much about how things are in heaven, but, that sleepover gave me a sense of a foretaste of glory divine. We've lived in our current home for over thirty years. We are more than fifteen years into our second central air unit. I worry about how hard it works. I hear the grunts and groans. Thanks to the memory of Mr. Will Carrier who gets credit for the modern air conditioning system which he got up and going back in 1902. I call my growing up in a small rural town my own version of the good old days, however, I would not include all those years without air conditioning as being highlights of pleasantness. Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your day, and may God bless one and all. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed." ~ Patrick Henry, American patriot and one of our founders

Good morning where I'm glad to sit a spell with you, sip a cup of hot, strong Community, and see if we can get everything in the world headed in the right direction. Tall order? Sure it is, but, we can only do what we can do, one day at a time, and at this moment, the one we have before us turns out to be Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The other day our daughter-in-law put up the photo above of her daughter and granddaughter. On the left is her granddaughter and on the right is her daughter. Those girls would be our great granddaughter and our granddaughter. Please try to keep up. Notice that both are wearing a cast on their left arm. Like mother, like daughter. I've mentioned before how that spending time with our great grand is nothing less than a walk down memory lane as we recall her mom at her same age. Her looks, temperament, and actions typically have us doing a double take. Since her mom was our first grandchild, well, we were very very proud of that girl. Some compared my actions to that big bird going coo coo for Cocoa Puffs. (His name is Sonny.) Hopefully, I wasn't quite that silly. Although, when I think back, it must have been a tiresome imposition on the large staff that worked for me. My office was plastered with photos. My wallet was bulging with extras in case someone wanted one as a souvenir. I no doubt opened every meeting with an update on all things pertaining to my first adventures as a Poppy. It's amazing to think how family traits are handed down. People who knew my dad told me when I was growing up that I had characteristics that reminded them of him. I think about my wife and her sister who are literally two peas in the same pod. To me, memories are a way of enjoying the blessings that God has privileged me to receive during my lifetime. Sure, there's plenty of the not so pleasant to remember as well. But, on balance, things like enjoying our granddaughter all over again through our precious great grand, well, I'll just thank God for that one. Amen.

I have a reasonably good recall. Yet, it took seeing that pink cast to prompt my memories of when our Tiff broke her arm. Once I saw that cast I could then recall more of the details. Images do that. I've been capturing them since I was a little guy and storing them somewhere in that gray cell storage system God provided to us. I think my trouble comes with the indexing process. They tell us our brains are like computers. (It's more likely the other way round.) I know what it means to have information in a computer storage area but the access index is messed up, therefore, it is very hard, if not impossible, to view the images even though they are there. I know for sure that is a huge part of the problem with my childhood memories prior to dad passing away in 1954. I am absolutely convinced those images are still intact, however, the trauma associated with his passing has really done a number on my access mechanism. Every once in a while, I see a vague but blurred picture and it makes me know there's so many more out there. If. And, that is a huge if, I ever get those access mechanisms working properly, look out! There are some seven years of stuff for me to review, evaluate, and write about. Will that ever happen? It hasn't yet but it's not for a lack of trying on my part. Like I say, I do have a few where I can see my dad and they are precious to me. I am thankful for those and I'll let you know if any others show up. That is, if they can be shared. Knowing me, myself, and I, there's probably plenty that are better kept in the filing cabinet. That's right. Even as a kid. Trust me on that one.

As you can tell, I have done my best to steer away from all the chaos that is currently dominating the news cycle. I am aware of it. I'm sure you are too. One of the most telling developments from these recent tragic events has been the number of young people expressing their bewilderment in what is happening in our country. That could be a good sign. Recognition of the need, the problem, and the situation is the place to start in terms of evaluating how we got to where we are today. I'll not belabor my time here with the details, but, I will only say that we must have God's help if we are to overcome these reactions fueled by hate. I see a lot of folks calling for love. But, most of us know that love conjured up on our own is never going to be enough. We need the kind of love that put our Savior on the Cross. He's the only One that can provide that kind of love. Supernatural, sacrificial, selfless, love as defined by the inspired word through the Apostle Paul, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1st Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verses 4-8) Without Jesus, all other attempts to reconcile will be futile. That's my take. What say you? May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, July 11, 2016

"That was where my dream began to take hold, of not havin' to pick cotton and potatoes, and not havin' to be uncomfortable, too hot or too cold. That in itself had driven me to try to find some better way of life." ~ Buck Owens, the late iconic country singer

Another new week has dawned and we open up today's envelope and it reads, back to work Monday, July 11, 2016. The other day I was out in the heat alert warning world for a couple of hours. My little project did require some moderate exertion. It was illuminating. Not just the sunlight which was plenty hot. As I near that big 7-0 (three score and ten), I'm not as able to handle the heat as I could when that number was much smaller. I didn't feel faint or anything like that but I did notice when I got home that I was more depleted than normal. The final insult came the next morning when I actually missed my internal wake up call by one hour. Are you kidding me? This caused me to think of a term I heard often growing up, "Too old to cut the mustard." I think we all understood what was being implied by that phrase but I doubt seriously that any of us had any idea what failure or weakness had to do with mustard. One of the etymology sounding boards had this as a possible stab at the origin of this little ditty: "There has been an association between the heat and piquancy of mustard and the zest and energy of people's behaviour. This dates back to at least 1672, when the term 'as keen as mustard' is first recorded. 'Up to mustard' or just 'mustard' means up to standard in the same way as 'up to snuff'." Sorry about the spelling on behavior, but, think about it, most of our English idioms came, in one way or another, from across the pond. The 'cut the mustard' as an illustration of prowess has been found in print here in our country in a newspaper in Iowa from 1872. Let me summarize and also connect it to my own little story. Mustard is hot and zesty. My little run in with that "lucky old sun ain't got nothing to do But roll around heaven all day" proved that I no longer measure up to the hot and zesty mustard definition. (The lucky old sun mention comes from lyrics written by Beasley Smith in a song made popular by Willie Nelson and others.)

Okay. That should be enough 'confession is good for what ails you' for one day. I didn't even mention all the contributing factors. No shade. 100 plus degrees. I suppose the good news is that I now have my annual requirement of Vitamin D. Just joking. I can remember back when I was a kid in the summertime we could hang out from dawn to dark at the swimming hole and while we were tired at the end of the day, I can't remember ever even giving it a thought. Those were the days my friend, those were the days. Some think our societal lamenting of old age has a lot to do with conditioning. Just look at the way in which youth is emphasized on TV and in about every other form of presentation. I understand the demographic connotation of advertisers focusing on their most potentially winnable target, that being the 18 to 30 year olds. If you end up watching anything more geared to older people, well, all you see is aches, pains, and every kind of remedy known to humanity. No wonder we sometimes have a negative view of aging. It's like we all are trapped in that commercial, "I've fallen and I can't get up." It might be good to remember that God doesn't see it that way. He recognizes the wisdom and knowledge of those wearing white hair and He calls for them to be honored instead of being put down. I think I've said enough about that subject. Or, at least as much as my aching old fingers can get from my failing gray cells to the keyboard and from there to the electronic page. Or something like that.

Never get the idea that I am actually complaining. I know very well that every heartbeat is a gift from God. As a diabetic, I also understand that God has blessed our generation with knowledge resulting in treatments that can help. I hear all the time that living is better than the alternative. That's not exactly the right way for us as believers to see it. When we develop a mindset of anticipation of that day when we experience first hand the words of our Savior, "that where I am, you may be also" and we think about all that will mean, well, it then gives us the right perspective for each day He grants us to continue our sojourn here. (John 14) What do I mean by that? I mean that if we see ourselves in His plan and purpose, then, every day we continue to be here is a part of what He is accomplishing and we are privileged with another opportunity to fulfill that which He has for us to do. We don't dread leaving, we embrace living, but, we do so with faith and knowledge. I must have needed to have been reminded of this because some days I feel like I'm not focusing so much on what He would have me to do. Can I get a witness? Yes. Amen. That should give us all at least something to think about for the rest of Monday. Lord willing, we will see what hits the page come tomorrow morning. I'm waiting too. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, July 8, 2016

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” ― Bil Keane, (1922-2011), original creator of the comic strip, Family Circus

Hello and welcome to Friday, July 8, 2016. I confess that some of my visits this week have delved into the gloomy aspects of what it means to be alive here in this nation at this time. Focusing too much on those details can cloud one's vision. The little girl in the photo is part of the reason for my concern. She is our great granddaughter and because of all that is happening now, we can only look to her prospects with great concern and reservation. At the same time, she brings us joy. The photo was taken last Sunday. I appreciate our eldest and our daughter-in-law, her grandfather that she calls Paw Paw, and grandmother called Maw Maw, and their willingness to bring her over for us to visit during lunch and then for a little while in our home. It's the first time we've seen her in person since she fell and suffered a serious broken arm. The wife had gone the night before and fetched a little medical looking build-a-bear. She found some accessories that included a cast. We were able to present the little bear with a cast to her as a token of our love. She was elated. My idea. But it was the wife who did such a wonderful job in making it so very special. I share this little tidbit to remind us all that hope continues. While we are concerned and perhaps even perplexed with how things are going, we know in whom we have believed and we are confident that He is able to see us and our family through to the end. (2 Timothy 1:12) Amen.

I've covered a lot of territory this week. Some of it has reflected very serious matters that cause us at times to wring our hands. But, that doesn't mean that it's all bad news, all the time. I love good news as much as the next person. I also like looking for a good story that can bring a smile. Here's one I found on a website that provides funny things about the aging process. This particular story was submitted by a reader named John Reeves. It caused me to smile so I thought it would be worth sharing. ~ There were two elderly people, George and Sheila, living in a North Carolina mobile home park in the suburbs of Concord. He was a widower and she a widow and they had known one another for a number of years. One evening a supper was held and the two found themselves at the same table, seated across from one another. As the meal progressed, George made several admiring glances at Sheila and he finally gathered his courage to ask her, 'Sheila, will you marry me?' After about five seconds of "careful consideration", Sheila answered. 'Yes. Yes, I will.' The meal ended and, with a few more pleasant exchanges, then they went to their respective homes. Next morning, George was troubled: 'Did she say "yes" or did she say "no"?' He couldn't remember. Try as he would, he just could not recall. Not even a faint memory. So it was with some trepidation that he went to the telephone and called Sheila. Firstly, he explained that he didn't remember as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the lovely evening past. As he gained a little more courage, George inquired gingerly, 'Sheila, when I asked if you would marry me, did you say "Yes" or did you say "No"?' George was delighted to hear Sheila say, 'Why, I said, "Yes, yes I will" and I meant it with all my heart.' Then she continued, 'I am so glad that you called, because I couldn't remember for the life of me who had asked.' ~

This may have been a short work week, but, I suppose I'm doing my best impression of a high mileage vehicle. Lots of wear and tear, but, still somewhat serviceable. I do appreciate those who take the time to read my blog each day. It's obviously something I enjoy doing and may even be therapeutic in some ways. That may mean I need to add some type of medical liability disclaimer. We know we are living in a litigious society whenever a commercial for a drug devotes more time to disclaimers and exceptions than it does to the merits of the drug itself. If you pay attention you will eventually see a commercial trumpeting a wonder drug and when it goes off, the very next commercial is from a lawyer seeking clients who have suffered injury or loss from the very same wonder drug. Strange. But true. I do hope that you will have a wonderful Saturday. I also hope we all will find ourselves gathered with other folks at the appointed time on Lord's Day Sunday to assemble before the God who has been so gracious to us. I'll leave you with one of my favorite closings from Roy and Dale, "Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then. Who cares about the clouds when we're together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again." Amen. .....More later.