Wednesday, August 31, 2016

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” ― Albert Einstein

Dr. Seuss Quote.
Today is Wednesday, the last day of this month, August 31, 2016. Many people get all excited because Wednesday is the middle of the work week. It is called hump day as in getting over the hump for the week. I suppose I missed out on this sentiment as with me each day has always been pretty much another day. Sure, I am aware of it being part of our cultural way of dealing with the daily grind but I just never could make it that much of an importance. To me. I think I've often heard this refrain from those close to me, "Why do you always have to be different?" You already know that I wouldn't even know where to start on that one, and, I'm not so sure it's even true. I suppose what is implied by that question is that I perhaps am a contrarian. I think that term first originated within the stock market to point out someone who went against the flow of conventional wisdom and has now come to mean a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion. I, at times, do get a little weary of people getting ready to tell something and pointing out that everyone in the room will likely be interested except for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not offended at all because typically they are right, but, it stings ever so slightly to have it pointed out. Now some may be thinking I could do with some mental health assistance, however, I don't think there are enough professionals or couches to get their arms around this mass of conglomerated confusion. That was mostly just word play. I thought conglomerated confusion was a neat combination. I'm not sure I've ever seen it in print.

Okay. I admit it. Some days I do throw words on the electronic page without really having a clear reason in mind for doing so. It's like I'm having my own personal brainstorming meeting but I'm the only one who showed up. On time, I might add. Way back when I had a large organization to run I was in quite a few of those team idea-seeking, problem-solving, or brainstorming sessions. They were at times useful but often they ended with very little brain or storm. As for the results from those attended only by me, myself, and I, well, you likely see some of that when you take the time to read my blog. It has been reported that on a worldwide basis, some 175,000 new blogs come on the scene daily. Are you kidding me? Believe me. I've read a lot about why folks participate in the blogging venture. It can be an aid in learning new things. It helps one to think more clearly. It should improve your writing ability. It can be challenging. It can sharpen your observational skills. And, most importantly I would think, it gives you a forum for sharing information that you think might be of interest to someone else. In my case, it also allows me to share what little spiritual insights I've been permitted to learn and since that often involves quoting from The Scriptures, well, God has said something very special about the sharing of His Word. " My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do." (Isaiah 55, Verse 11) What a promise! Now would be a good time to think of that Awesome word that is, unfortunately, in today's world tagged to just about any and all things that happen. Okay. Back to throwing words on the page. Stay tuned.

The other day I received a message from a lady who worked for me many years ago. She was an outstanding worker. In her message, she said she had recently retired. She said her employer had offered her a buyout retirement deal that she couldn't refuse. I remember hiring her as an early twenties type person. She helped run our network hotline group that assisted those using our services when they had problems. She was good at what she did. She was also fiercely loyal. After a couple of years of her being in our department, I learned she had coined a nickname for me. She had begun to refer to me as 'Daddy'. It caught on. I never heard anyone say it to my face but I knew many were using it. It went like this: "You might want to check with Daddy before you make any plans." Hey, I can think of a lot worse they could have called me, and, I'm aware of some bosses that did have some very ugly nicknames. My point in telling this little story was the feeling I had when she told me she had retired. It was like one of my children being old enough to retire. I suppose 'Daddy' was a pretty good name for me back in the day. I will tell you this. The organization we were a part of was top notch. I will always be thankful for all that we accomplished in support of our Company. And, if that included me being called 'Daddy', well, so be it! Have a great rest of your middle of the week, hump day Wednesday, and Lord willing I'll see you next time here in the electronic meeting room. Take care. God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not Guilty'.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Good Tuesday morning and welcome to August 30, 2016. As you well know, the folks who do their best to keep the highways repaired are always behind. That's here in our own country. I read something last week that made me laugh out loud. (Not lol.) It seems there is a border crossing in Russia that is so bad that vehicles often are damaged just trying to drive through. This presented huge problems to those trying to get their goods into the country. This included the major illegal black market moving of goods brought into a nation to resell to a people starved for basic foods. One of the largest of these illegal operations has to do with fresh fruit. Here's what happened. The roads were so bad, the criminals all got together and paid to have them fixed. Now, how in the world do you like that? This could end up being part of the solution to our pothole problem. You do know that I am kidding, however, with all the issues involving governmental waste and corruption, it may end up being something considered. Of course here in our state, we have toll roads on steroids as the answer to financing road construction. One particular politician who was first elected to the state house and then the senate and is now one of the most powerful leaders we have, well, when he went to Austin he said something had to be done about this runaway toll road system. He talked about the difficulties it posed to those who aren't able to afford to pay the tolls. Guess what? A few years later he said that it appeared there would never be another roadway built in our state unless it was a toll road. There you go. Now the poor people need a GPS, which they can't afford, to make their way through the maze that constitutes what's left of non-toll collected roads. I often hear the term organized crime bantered about but I'm not exactly sure who best carries that moniker. You know. If the shoe fits.

I say that as someone knowledgeable on the subject. We very recently put a toll road tag on the wife's car. I resisted as long as I could because I consider it to be in some ways a case of highway robbery. Pun intended. (We already pay highway taxes, etc.) But now we can sail along to our destination lighting up those collection sensors as we go. We were on one the other day to go across the metroplex for an event and it dawned on me that the automatic toll collectors are set up to collect money. You knew that already? I'm talking about the spacing. Since the new toll roads are unattended it gives the revenue optimizers the opportunity to maximize the flow of traffic. Right? Think again. Revenues! Now that we have that toll road tag, what's next? Could my flip-phone be in danger of losing its role in making and receiving calls? I get a little weary of folks thinking I must be a walking museum of early telecommunication devices. "Hey, mommy, look, that old fellow has some kind of toy phone." Toy phone my foot! I can call Timbuktu on my toy phone if I want to. Yep. It is a real place. (According to Wiki, Timbuktu is a historical and still-inhabited city in the West African nation of Mali, situated 12 miles north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It has a population of over 50,000.) I could call there. Just so you know.

I know some probably think my life is mostly like a human version of Trivial Pursuit. I would likely have trouble arguing one way or the other. I've always been inclined to observe things. Even as a little somewhat precocious kid I noticed things and processed them. That's how I know I have several volumes locked up that were filled up before my dad passed away in January 1954. As Ralphie boy would have said it, "One of these days Alice, one of these days!" I think some shrinks call them suppressed memories. Occasionally, something seeps out. I remember my older brother Jimmy and I going with dad by car to visit his people over in Georgia. Our food was in a brown grocery paper sack. Jimmy and I took turns trying to sleep on the back seat. I can remember trying to lay down on the floorboard but it had that big hump and it stayed very hot. I can't be sure that I remember all the cousins we saw because I've seen too many of the photos. That's always the question. Is it a real memory or is it based on the photos you've seen? Oh well, I would like to say there's more to come but we can only wait and see. Just think, I might even have something new to report on. Now that would be something. Have yourself a wonderful rest of the day and I will see what I can come up with for our next visit. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds." ~ 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

Welcome one and all where we will see about getting back to our Monday duties, here on this August 29, 2016. The gullibility of people sometimes slays me. Metaphorically speaking, of course. There's this mega rich mega prominent black preacher who previously had come out in support of The Donald. This must not have gone down well in his wide circle of influence. What could be done? Last week he reported that God had come to him and personally apologized for sending him mixed signals about supporting Donald Trump. While his blind supporters all hurt their hands applauding, I see the image from the old TV Gunsmoke series of the snake oil salesman come to town. When I read his comments about God apologizing I will have to admit that it stunned me just a tad. Just when I think maybe I've heard it all, bam! ... there they go again. Now. Let me be perfectly clear. (To quote Richard Nixon.) This is my assessment. My thoughts about it. Yes. I am obviously opinionated about it. Am I making fun of the people that follow a charlatan like this? I hope not but I feel very sad for their situation. Do they have the right to follow this guy and applaud whatever he says? Absolutely. At the same time, I do hope I have the right to have an opinion about it. You see it differently? Join the club where we all get to express the way we see things. You can't get more American than that! (I actually said that last sentence in my head using my very bad John Wayne voice.) Amen.

I think we all have witnessed those who rail against this, that, or the other, but they actually end up when they themselves face hard times seeking relief from the sources they previously castigated. I heard a great example of this the other day. It involves a mountain of cheese. Literally. It seems that production of cheese by dairy producers in the United States has set records during the last five years. However, the world market has stumbled and demand is way off. This leaves a huge backlog of cheese inventory that is currently having to be stored. The cheese producers have a solution to help offset some of their losses. They are asking the US Government to step in and buy a huge amount of their stored cheese. These are the same people who lobbied feverishly for the government to get out of meddling in the cheese production business during the last farm bill that was passed. How soon they forget and how soon folks who loudly called for the free market to be allowed to work can change on a dime and now see themselves as victims. Believe me, I'm not beating up on these folks because it pretty much works that way with most of us. Here's how it goes: Others are needlessly on the dole sucking up our hard earned tax dollars until we find ourselves in the ditch. See what I mean? You have to admit, us humans are a funny lot.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, we were blessed to not need government aid. This doesn't mean that we didn't receive a huge amount of support. HUGE! Our family came to our rescue. Our local fellowship of believers stood in the gap. We were given a home to live in while ours was being rebuilt. We had folks bringing us food. We had people praying for us locally, nationally, and even from far away places on the globe. We had insurance, therefore, we did not qualify for FEMA services. That too was a blessing. My point? We were not special because, we, unlike so many others, were not eligible for governmental support. I humbly submit to you that we were blessed with the support that did come to us. Blessed indeed. Abundantly so. We did not make it through the recovery on our own. I believe the wife and I consistently gave God the glory for all He provided to us through the means we experienced. He certainly deserves the honor and glory for it all. Would I have felt bad were I to have been eligible for these government support provisions? Absolutely not! That's what the laws passed regarding disaster relief are supposed to provide. Here's the truth: The line from an old song the wife and I used to sing comes to mind, "I can't even walk without You holding my hand." Okay. That's one of those for what it's worth vignettes. May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, August 26, 2016

"When any fit of gloominess, or perversion of mind, lays hold upon you, make it a rule not to publish it by complaints." ~ Samuel Johnson, (1709-1784), made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.

It's Friday, August 26, 2016, and it's hard to think that I've already made a full work-week after spending 10 days away from my home away from home. I bring you greetings from my little corner of the world to wherever you happen to be. I recently watched a video presentation on Facebook from a young pastor who gave his thoughts regarding the biblical view regarding the believer's relationship with government. He shared all the pertinent verses that show God's sovereign influence in how governments are formed, changed, and new ones come into being. He talked at length about the dialogue Jesus had about paying tribute to Caesar. Here's the text as presented in the Gospel of Mark, "They came and said to Him, 'Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or shall we not pay?' But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, 'Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.' They brought one. And He said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' And they said to Him, 'Caesar's.' And Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they were amazed at Him." (Chapter 12:14-17, from the NASB) I'm very familiar with the variety of passages he shared, however, he went on to talk about the exceptions, those being when government directly attempts to force one to violate the clear and express will of God. Got it. But, he wasn't finished. He quoted from another commentator in saying that when we complain all the time about our government we set ourselves up to potentially commit two different sins. One has to do with presenting claims that deny God's sovereign control over all things including the affairs of government. The second is when our complaining encourages others to follow suit. That hit me pretty hard. I'm still digesting it. I do know that I typically always add the disclaimer about knowing God is in control, but, I may need to think some about the potential for developing a complaining spirit. Food for thought. Maybe just for me. Just sharing. (One of the telling things about the New Testament texts has to do with the well-known corruption and abuse that helped define Roman rule. This is the government referred to in passages that say we must obey the laws and pay our taxes.)

Having delivered my sermon, maybe I should set up a GoFundMe account where people can make donations. You know. Receive an offering. Just so you know, that was not my intention. I've learned when something hits me, it might just have something to say to others. That's why I put together that first paragraph. Time to move on. I'll try to tell this next little story as sharing facts, not so much one where I am complaining. You think what? I could be on shaky ground playing word games? Good point. Here's the deal. They are doing it again. This past Wednesday I was up a little earlier than my usual early get up and go time and I made my way onto the main roadway that I travel each morning. It was 3:30 a.m. Not a car was stirring, not even a Mazda. (Think: Creature stirring, not even a mouse.) In other words, the roadway was empty. That should have made it a very easy commute. Right? Just hang on Bucko while I give you the straight scoop. I caught every light. Me, myself, and I sitting there. Waiting. Right turn. Left turn. All directions. Me. Waiting. Some of you are probably thinking I could have used that time to reflect upon the greater issues of life instead of being slightly agitated. Every light? Give me a break! Truth is, I ended up sitting at my workstation at 4:05 instead of my anticipated 4 a.m. You might recall that according to the article I shared earlier this week, the 4 a.m. hour is considered the most productive hour of the day. For some. Sorry, this paragraph didn't live up to that billing.

One guy on Twitter said he hated his job because the people there were so dumb. He said he watched a new lady water an artificial plant for three months and is still too stunned to tell her. Another lady wondered out loud whether she could demand a trial by combat instead of the job she has. When asked what the best thing was about his job, one guy said the only thing he could think of was that his chair swiveled. This next one was morbid indeed. This fellow said that if he died and went to hell, it would probably take him a week to realize he wasn't at work anymore. Another commenter said she hoped they knew that just because she showed up today didn't mean she intended to do any work. Interestingly enough, the sounding boards where people tell why they hate their jobs typically have been invaded by people who wish they had a job. These folks tell those haters they would love to change places with them because they are desperate to find work. Let me go on record as saying that I don't know that I would ever use the word love in describing a job, I am, however, most thankful and feel blessed to have a job, a place to come and make contributions, and I know that while there are days when things may not go as I might want them to go, I come away with a sense of God's provision for my life. And, to underline the point, we have people walk into our workplace many days who say they are willing to do anything, even at the lowest level, to try and help support themselves and their families. I thought that might be a good way to end our week together by highlighting what it means to have a thankful heart. It is good for whatever ails us. Take care. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will do my best to catch back up with you come next Monday. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fictional character, Dr. Emmett Brown: "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" quoted from the 1985 movie: "Back to the Future"

Good morning and welcome to my version of current events or maybe it's a written exercise depicting my show and tell for today, on this Thursday, August 25, 2016. I've mentioned this before but it is still amusing. To me, anyway. I often keep my phone on vibrate to keep from annoying people when it rings. I keep my phone in my shirt pocket. I suppose since the doctor has now christened me into the federation of the elderly I notice that I occasionally have a momentary muscle spasm but it signals itself in the same way my phone does when it vibrates. That's right. I have attempted to answer my own spasm before. I thought you might get a kick out of that one. Let me see. The election campaign continues. Donald Trump is currently trading Twitter insults with the media stars of the Morning Joe show because he doesn't like their comments about him. It's pretty ugly stuff. His wife is saying she might sue a number of media outlets for some of the reports they have done on her. Defamation. Good luck with that one. I saw where they have discovered another 15,000 previously unseen emails from the Hillary Clinton archive. Information overload. So much has been said about her potential failing health, she decided to prove that she was doing just fine. How? I read that she went on the Jimmy Kimmel show and right there in front of millions of people she did something that should silence any concern about her physical stamina. She opened a jar of pickles. There's a meme floating around on Facebook that warns parents. The gist goes like this: If you feel your conscience will not allow you to vote for the Donald or for Hillary and you end up voting third party or for a write-in candidate, you must be prepared to tell your children how you allowed Hillary to become our president leading to our nation becoming a complete police state. I think they wanted the reader to think North Korea. Now that's what I call a warning. Just a few of my drive-by hit and miss notices for you to consider.

The other day after the volleyball games were over our daughter-in-law told us an interesting story. Their high school team has two girls already committed to scholarship deals, one to Clemson and the other to Baylor. The girl going to Baylor at times dominates the field of play. She spikes the ball so hard, a return is typically useless. A particularly animated coach of one of the losing teams came by where the parents were seated and said in passing that their team really has only one player. He said that to the wrong person. Our Mitzi informed him in no uncertain terms that all the girls work hard to see the team achieve success. He wouldn't leave it alone. Finally, she told him that it must be really embarrassing since according to his estimation her team only had one player but yet that single player caused his entire team to go down in defeat. That little story reminded me that it is always best not to mess with a Mama bear. I've seen the wife spring into action when one of her own was being attacked. I remember my mom getting stirred up. I had my arm twisted while at recess at school when I was maybe 6 years old. I came home with a limp arm. They ended up putting a cast on. When we got home from the doctor, mom dragged me over to the house of the parents of the boy who twisted my arm. She gave them a stern lecture. There's a lesson here, one more time: It's best not to mess with a Mama bear.

I saw an article in Tuesday's online version of the Wall Street Journal reporting on why 4 a.m. is the most productive time of the day. Since I am a committed early riser, I was, as you would expect, drawn to that teaser in the headline. Most of the people triumphantly talking about all they get done in the early hours before dawn were business executives. That would not be me. I did keep the same early hours when I was, by some estimations, at least a facsimile of a business executive. Maybe I was a business executive wanna-be or one with training wheels. The point this article was making had to do with the fact that when distractions are eliminated, huge amounts of productive work can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time. I cannot report great productivity on my part these days because of my early schedule but I do typically work on my blog early in the morning. I try to stay one day ahead, therefore, if today is Wednesday, then early this morning I would be publishing Wednesday's edition and already working up the Thursday one. I also work on my Bible lessons. And, yes, I do prepare for the work day, checking emails, and catching early phone calls. I suppose I saw a thread of vindication in that story for those of us who get on with it while it is still dark-thirty as they used to say back home. I know. It doesn't work for everyone. Just sharing. Not shaming. Please don't ask the wife what happens to me around 8 p.m. each evening sitting in my recliner, or perhaps better put, reclining in my recliner. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"I get home 20 hours before the first class. So I'll be in physics at 8:30 a.m," said Virginia Thrasher, the winner of the first gold at the 2016 Games, the 19-year-old having little time to bask in her air rifle gold medal win.

Simone Manuel after winning a gold medal in swimming.
Good morning. It's already Wednesday and this one takes up space on the calendar marked August 24, 2016. I read an article about how the North Koreans were the most efficient team in terms of the number of athletes winning medals at this just completed Olympic games. They sent a very small contingent and won a total of 7 medals. I wondered about their incentives. You know. They live in a country where on any given day at any given time you can be locked up and executed for real or imagined/invented crimes. Their athletes may not want to return home unless they have something to show for their efforts. Compare that to the two most winning countries, the United States and Great Britain. China, with a very repressive governmental system, actually finished third in the total medal count. The two most free nations ended up with the most medals. I'm not saying that is conclusive but it sure sticks out. I'm not sure what the final ratings will show but many of the early reports have indicated a huge falloff since the last summer games in London. We were somewhat slow to make it 'must see' but many of the personal journeys were compelling and the wife and I did end up watching quite a bit of the games. There still exists some of the so-called Olympic spirit and when you see a particular athlete who has sacrificed so much and they win, seeing their tearful response is worth the price of admission. I suppose that means the commercials that pay for it all, but, I typically change the channel when the commercial comes on. It's my own Olympic game of eye, hand coordination.

I notice that online sources are taking a different approach to some of the pop ups they flood your system with. The online Houston Chronicle page now issues pop-up ads that give you the option of shutting them down but they now feature this line: 'No thanks, I'm not interested in saving money right now.' It didn't bother me in the least bit to click that button but I can't remember one with that kind of message. Think about it. They can only get more intrusive as we move forward. 'No thanks, only an idiot like me would ignore such a great deal.' 'No thanks, this once in a lifetime deal which is a no brainer is of no interest to me.' 'No thanks, my children will live to regret what a fool I am.' See what I mean? The first time I read that one about me not wanting to save money it did make me pause. For maybe a fraction of a millisecond. I just wonder how many people will see a pop up like that and it will cause them to check out what they are selling. They might just be offering some used clapper devices that allow you to turn on your lights by clapping your hands. I never got on that bandwagon when they were popular but then again, I suppose I just wasn't interested in saving money back then.

My doctor reminded me to schedule my five-year colonoscopy. That's always something to look forward to.  I called the office of the gastroenterologist that has my records. I was reminded that I first must have a consultation with her. Her first available consultation to talk about talking about the procedure is October 12. There's no way to even guess how long before the next date available for the actual procedure. I hear a lot of forth and back about health care rationing as we move forward. It seems to me, at least in our area, that system is already in place. That is especially true if it involves any type of specialty.  Could it also be that it is because this procedure is covered by the old people insurance we have? Just thinking out loud. That would have to be a part of the mix. As my doctor put it, "In dealing with the elderly, there is the risk-reward that has to be considered." In this case, it could be the profit outcome. But, I will try not to lose any sleep waiting for that particular procedure. It's just interesting when you hear someone describe their ailment and how serious it is and then they say the first available surgical date is four months away. I'm still trying to figure out how I even qualified myself to be included in any discussion of the elderly. My doctor seemed comfortable with it. He certainly didn't know exactly what I was thinking about it. Maybe next time I will share my thoughts with him on the subject. That's right. There's no telling when I might be able to schedule a visit to talk about scheduling a visit for that conversation. I know. You guessed right. Facetious. But, with some underlying angst thrown in for good measure. Take care now. You hear? May God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

“The best times we’ve had on earth are usually with those we love.” ― Van Harden, Author

Uncle Waymon, yours truly, Aunt Elwanda
CyFalls High School girls volleyball team, with Santa
The pertinent question when one returns is: What did you do on your vacation? That's one I'm thinking about on this Tuesday, August 23, 2016. We left our area on Sunday, August 14, and took our own good time in driving north of Dallas to Plano. On Monday morning we dropped in on my Aunt Elwanda and Uncle Waymon. They are both in their early 90's. When I was a kid they invested their time into my life and I've always made them aware they have had a significant role in who I am today. On Monday afternoon we visited with my sister JoAnn and later had dinner with her at a local restaurant. We did a lot of reminiscing about the good-old and the not-so-good-old days. We were torn about trying to make a memorial service for a lady in Louisiana who has been more like family to us for well over 50 years. She passed away on Sunday and her service was Tuesday. She was the mother-in-law to the wife's sister. This lady's daughter was driving the pickup truck with about five girls in the cab the night I came face to face with my destiny. That 'destiny' girl sitting on the passenger side took both my breath and my heart away. Face to face. The rest, nearly 55 years later is still being played out as I speak. To go or not to go. That was the question. We decided to do our best to make the service. Up at 3 a.m. Tuesday, the 16th, my 70th birthday, we drove literally through some unbelievable rainstorms but we made did make the service. Barely. It was a wonderful tribute to a lady who had well lived her 92 plus years. We returned to Plano Tuesday evening, a total of 9 hours of driving. On Wednesday, we toured the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the Campus grounds of SMU. It was interesting but, to us, not as impressive as George H. W. and even the LBJ Library. We relocated from Plano to out near Grapevine, Texas. On Thursday we toured that little place which has one of those restored downtown areas filled up with little shops selling down-home and homemade products, mostly imported from India, China, Taiwan, and other far-flung places. On Friday we moved again to Allen, TX, where we spent the day watching our granddaughter's high school team play volleyball. At the end of their third game, our daughter-in-law asked the girls to pose for a photo with Santa. Now that photo with the CyFalls high school team was not only a keeper but it's also a real joy. On Saturday we made our way through intermittent heavy rain storms back to our neck of the woods, our stomping grounds, the homestead, our version of home, sweet home. On Sunday I was back in my place teaching my Bible study class and in the afternoon it was my privilege to bring a short devotional at a memorial service. Busy, but all and all, it was a time of refreshing and relaxation. And, we are thankful. Amen.

After my salvation, at 70, these are my second greatest blessing.
I did have a great birthday. The Saturday before we left we had 18 of us meet up at a restaurant to celebrate me making to 70. It was a wonderful time. The folks in the eatery slipped up behind me and put the proverbial sombrero on my head, without me knowing it, and they began singing and the wait staff lady put the whipped cream on my nose. Okay. I had no choice but to go along. Many of you know that something like that is not my cup of tea. However, the family got a big kick out of it and I can only say how blessed I felt to have that group there with me to mark the occasion. I do appreciate the gifts and the cards they gave to me. This past Sunday morning my Bible study class surprised me with a birthday greeting. They gave me a Keurig along with a couple of boxes of my favorite flavor of Community Coffee. That unit will go in my upstairs office where I can enjoy cup after cup, without having to come back downstairs, while doing my lessons and other stuff. Their card was so very special. Such wonderful comments. Way too kind. But, what a blessing to have people show their love and respect. I'm way more blessed than I deserve, and no one knows that more than I. I think that's enough, not only for today but for several, however, I will likely see you come tomorrow morning, Lord willing, of course. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 22, 2016

"Whoopi-ty-aye-oh Rockin` to and fro Back in the saddle again Whoopi-ty-aye-yay I go my way Back in the saddle again..." 'Back in the Saddle Again' by Gene Autry

Good Monday morning and welcome. It's August 22, 2016, and I am b-a-a-a-c-k! So to speak. I am happy to report that when I showed up this morning I discovered that I still have a workstation and my computer still works. We had ourselves a remarkable ten-day break, including weekends. I'm not sure whether I should be pleased that so many people thought I needed a break, but we certainly were blessed with the time we were allowed to enjoy. I did something yesterday that was a great challenge. I was asked to bring a message at a memorial service for a 44-year-old man who had taken his own life. He was a cousin of our youngest son's wife and I struggled with what to say. At the end of the day, I only had one message to the 150 gathered to mourn his passing, and that was to bring comfort from God, not from me, from His Holy Word, directed to the living. As I say, it was a very challenging experience but God helped me through it and gave me the word that I believe He would want those who attended to hear. I ask that you would please say a prayer for this family as they make their way forward in dealing with this tragic loss. I so much appreciate those in my Sunday morning Bible Study, for my sweet wife, and others who were interceding on my behalf as they became a part of this ministry of helping those dealing with such great grief.

We covered quite a bit of territory during our time off but we mostly enjoyed being together. We were always in close quarters and for the most part, we were able to not get on each others nerves. For the most part. There's always those moments but I'm glad to report they were few and far between. When we returned home last Saturday afternoon the wife immediately set about making a huge pot of homemade stew. We had some great meals while we were away but there's nothing like getting back to home cooked meals. She had asked me what I preferred and I told her whatever she chose would be perfect. And, it was perfect, along with a big pone of homemade iron skillet cornbread. That reminds me. I gave my diabetic blood checking device a week off and I now need to reengage his services. Eating out as much as we did might have caused him to go into some kind of panic. You do know I am kidding. Right? We will really never know. My instinct says the numbers would have been significantly above my normal, but, it is now time to get back on a more disciplined program.

It may take me a day or two to get my moorings but I am thankful for all the blessings God has provided. Some people think Christians have mostly a happy go lucky experience in life. I am sorry to disappoint, but that is not how it has worked in my life, and that's not how it is working even as I write today's edition. We, as believers, always have people and situations that burden our hearts and minds. However, we know that God knows and He can be counted on. His promises can be depended upon because they are HIS promises and we have His word on it. We are a needy people living in a needy world. No election is going to solve the greatest issue we all face. That is to know and walk with God. I do have one confession to make. That lady voice that told us where and how to go, well, she, along with the GPS satellite, utilizing the wife's smartphone, did get us to where we were going. That lady voice did get on my nerves, more than once, but, we did make our destinations. When we were locating the school where our granddaughter was playing volleyball in Allen, TX, that lady voice carried us through this neighborhood and that neighborhood, but, as we came to the end of our journey the wife proudly announced, "Look, it's the school, just like we were told." Okay. So, I was a doubter, but, I think I did detect a condescending tone a time or two, but, I confess, the lady voice knew what she was doing. I've said it and now it is time to move on. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Our little time away will soon be over.

That's our Lexie on the right.
Hello folks and welcome to Friday, August 19, 2016. Given the immediate access to all things digital, we have been able to keep up with most everything going on back in our neck of the woods via smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop. I now have all my tests back from my annual physical, reported online, and essentially the doctor pretty much said that I should find something new to complain about. That's my interpretation of his remarks. My diabetes is well controlled, according to him. The only area he pointed out was a slightly elevated triglycerides number which he attributed to diet. He will not leave my Louisiana fried food diet alone! At any rate, I come away with a feeling of being blessed because God alone is the ultimate provider for all our needs. We are off and running today to travel to Allen, Texas where our granddaughter Lexie is playing in a high school volleyball tournament. We hope to catch one or two of her games. I do hope you have a great weekend and Sunday will find you in the place where God is sought after and praised. I'll do my best to be back in my regular place come next Monday. May God bless is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Checking in.

Good morning out there in the wonderful world where bits and bytes fly around in an effort to pass themselves off as having influence and meaning. It's Thursday, August 18, 2016, and I am glad to report that I'm still able to drag my seventy year old bones around. After all I've experienced in what is this new uncharted waters for me, I'm beginning to get used to knowing that from here on I will have folks running ahead of me to open doors and help me to my seat. You do know that I am kidding. I knew something was up when they sent me a new gold card. It was a social security card. Now that is a joke. The George W. Bush Presidential Center was interesting but having been to his dad's, George H. W., at Texas A&M, and multiple times to the LBJ Library in Austin, well, we both thought this newest one was not quite as impressive. But, it was worth the visit. They do have some of the nicest folks who voluntarily interact as you tour around and do their best to engage you with the exhibits being viewed. By now some of you have seen my photo with the Community Coffee truck. That was a pretty neat highlight. It was parked just outside of the Presidential property. It's good to know that the Bush library folks know real coffee when they see it. We have a day of this, that, and the other planned as we continue our little time away from the real world. We are really enjoying our time together. We've had a few close calls especially as we have depended on her smart phone GPS directions to get us to our targeted destination. Sometimes that voice, sounds like a lady, tends to get on my nerves. I especially don't like it when she tells me to turn around and go back because I missed the correct turn. Imagine that! Take care and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time during national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.” ― Ronald Reagan

Good afternoon. Thanks for tuning in for today's edition being broadcast from somewhere on the other side of Dallas. Today is Wednesday, August 17, 2016. I know you will likely hear me talk about the threescore and ten moniker more than you might have anticipated. It's been interesting. Last Friday I showed up for my physical, the last one as a 69 year old. As I conversed with my doctor, all was well. He wished me a happy 70th and then he began to talk about some of the changes in medical care as we go forward. He talked about some of the procedures he will no longer be doing. He threw in some talk about the elderly and how that healthcare is to a great extent based on risk reward. I was pretty much reeling by that time. Then, he called in the nurse and told her to give me my pneumonia shot since it was time. He patted me on the hand and said it should be the last one I will ever have to take. Do what? All I could think of was that scene where Scrooge tells those collecting for the needy that they should just die and get rid of the surplus population. Then, on my birthday, we drove approximately 300 miles to attend a memorial service. Sure, the lady was 92 and had a wonderful testimony, but, while I knew I was in the last quarter of my version of the game of life, I wasn't thinking I was close to the two minute warning. On our way back we found a place to eat off of I-20 at the Marshall, Texas exit. A long-in-the-tooth Golden Corral. When I was told the price, it seemed low. We had showed up in time to get the big discount for Senior's early buffet. That did it! I felt like demanding to pay full price, (but it didn't). I had thought 70 was going to be something. And, believe me, thus far, it's that and much more. But, I'm glad you can laugh and hopefully I'll catch up with my own laughing soon. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blessed beyond measure!

Today, on this Tuesday, August 16, 2016, I express humble gratitude for the threescore and ten years that God has granted to me. The Shepherd motif in the Old and New Testaments present a vivid picture of providing everything necessary to care for the flock. When Jacob blessed his son Joseph, he included these words, "...God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,..." (Genesis 48:15) The word fed is the same word for Shepherding, the first specific mention of God in that capacity. My point? I'm here today to echo that same sentiment, because it is God who has provided for me throughout my life until this very day. I thank Him for this and for all those, past and present, He placed in my life. Amen.

Monday, August 15, 2016

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” ― Edward R. Murrow

Hello and welcome to Monday, August 15, 2016. This week we will not be on a fixed schedule which is very different than our regular routine. That's part of the get away opportunity, you know, to get away. The other day I heard a round table made up of various news media folks talking about the difficulty and challenge involved in covering Donald Trump, Republican nominee for President. It seems he has been somewhat successful in painting those mainstream media sources covering his campaign as being total biased and dishonest in what they are reporting. They were lamenting how low their approval numbers are in terms of being respected by the public. In other words, their coverage is his fault. And, him blaming them for the bad press they have been issuing is his fault. They worry that at the end of it all he may have caused permanent damage to their image. Do you hear something as a theme here? They are the victims of slander by the person they are slandering. They invited a highly respected economist to give his thoughts. He is one of Donald Trump's key advisors. I'm not sure what they expected him to say but when he began talking he let them have it. He said he had never seen such lopsided and misleading coverage in his lifetime of being in the public eye. He said it was embarrassing for them to call themselves as being neutral since most people watching what they say or do think they are a part of the Clinton campaign. They were stunned at this response. They could not believe anyone could utter such words, except for Mr. Trump, who is obviously tarnishing their stellar image. I wanted to share this because it is such a great example of the absolute calamitous stuff being unfolded before our very eyes. Crazy. I'll let you respond in the way you see fit, but, be aware I will not be offering any sympathy for the media elites. Just me. Enjoy your day and we will do the best to do the same. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 12, 2016

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I remember the words of Richard Nixon in his famous 'last speech' after losing his bid to be governor of California in 1962. He famously uttered these words, "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." I thought about that for a reason on this Friday, August 12, 2016. Beginning today I will be on vacation and away from my workplace and Lord willing I will be out of sight and out of mind until Monday, August 22. Okay. I am well aware the people I work with do not kick me around, but, the fact that I will be gone did cause me to remember his words. Keep in mind, that because of my annual physical this morning, I am not only operating without a net but also without my normal five cups of Community. Maybe it would sound better if I said three cups. Make that three cups I'm not having. Thank you. In the case of Nixon, we do know that it was not his last press conference since he did go on to be elected President for two terms, although, given his track record, in retrospect, it might have been better for our country had that been his last time to run for public office. Talking about last runs, we are devoted fans of the PBS Masterpiece Theater series. There are literally dozens of different series. Last Sunday evening we watched the first episode of the final season of the series 'Lewis', the former sergeant to Chief Inspector Morse, and it dealt with Robby Lewis, retired Chief Inspector, back on duty as a consultant. He is invigorated to be working again. However, the division has a new boss. The new boss wonders out loud about having now consultant Lewis occupying a space that might be filled by an up and coming younger police officer. That struck home with me as I too have thoughts about my job, my age, and my future. I suppose those thoughts come with the rarefied air found on the mountain called Threescore and Ten. (By God's grace I am scheduled to be on top of that one, come next Tuesday.)

I used that 'best-is-yet-to-come' graphic in the first paragraph because it is 100% the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth for anyone who is a child of God. I've been on that journey to my ultimate destination, the one called my heavenly home, since, back in January of 1964, when I put my faith and trust in God's provision, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All this talk about age, troubles, decisions, challenges, issues and other realities that make up my sojourn here on the planet often clouds my vision of where I am really headed. I don't know when I will get there. I do know I am going there. I am looking forward to whatever time I have left here, but, I have an even greater expectation of making it to my final destination. Talking about this great day reminds me of the chorus from a quartet song, written by the late, great Stuart Hamblin, 'Your First Day in Heaven', Chorus: "Well it's a great, great morning Your first day in Heaven When you stroll down the golden avenue. There are mansions left and right And you're thrilled at every sight And the saints are always smiling saying "How do you do?" Oh it's a great, great morning Your first day in Heaven When you realize your worrying days are through. You'll be glad you were not idle Took time to read your bible It's a great morning for you."

We will be doing some traveling over the next several days. We are not headed for one of those packaged vacation trips. We hope to visit some family we have not seen in a while and we plan to visit different attractions as we decide to do so. That would be correct. Thanks. Yes. We will be, to a certain extent, making it up as we go. What's that? You think that might be the story of my life. Good read. In fact, closer than you might think. I know some of you have been praying for my doctor. I know he appreciates your concern as he seeks to interact with yours truly. He's several years younger than our youngest but both the wife and I think he's one of the best we've ever had. That doesn't mean I will not have my say. That's right. I am still bothered by all those TV ads that promise lower blood sugar numbers. He listens okay but if I am not mistaken when I finish asking, he typically gives a slight shrug of his shoulders. I will see what he says this time. I will let you know. I'm not sure if I will show up on this page each day while on vacation, but, I do intend to stay in touch. Some. I do hope you have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Enjoy. See you next time, and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The search for truth: "If you like your heathcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan." ~ President Barack Obama, August 2009

It's Thursday, August 11, 2016, and while I am not into conspiracy theories, however, something just strikes me as being a little out of place in the recent story about the power outage that brought Delta Airlines to a screeching halt. I don't know what the exact cause was but a power outage for a major enterprise totally dependent on online access in today's world given the size and effectiveness of any number of backup technologies available, well, it does cause one to wonder. Juxtapose that against the recent reports of potential threats coming into new territories from professional and/or enemy hackers, especially the threats against targets like the electrical grid, well, I think you see where I am coming from. It took them three days to get themselves somewhat recovered from this power glitch but this incident might have been a promise of more to come. (They are still dealing with cancellations as of today's blog.) I am not trying to start anything, I'm just giving my drive by assessment even as it was all unfolding in the news. Another thing, we have an institution worth so many billions, it's actually hard to put a ceiling on the value, and they, the NFL, had to cancel the Hall of Fame football game because of an unprepared and unsafe field. That game is usually a sell-out. They couldn't play because the wrong paint was used on the surface. Believe it or not, that's one of the leading explanations. Many years ago there was a TV show called, 'That's Incredible!', and I believe both the Delta story and the NFL game cancellation would qualify to headline that show. Not being able to have the field ready makes one wonder if they really had their act together in the craziness that came out of the so-called deflated football scandal. Just me, driving by and giving you what I see out of my window. Yes. I did see the signs. They said, "Keep driving, there's nothing to see here." Well, okay then. I suppose that should settle it. Right?

I saw a tweet the other day that caught my eye. It was posted by the online edition of UK's newspaper, The Financial Times. Here's the actual tweet, "Sir Malcolm Rifkind's 'Power and Pragmatism' is a lesson in how not to write a memoir." It had the full review web address but I didn't go to it. I was more struck how that would be the worst possible thing to be said about a book you had written. I know the book is about a life in politics because of the photo attached to the tweet. Think about it. You spend your life working in a particular field and when you get older you take the time to reminisce about your life, your work, your successes and lessons learned. You get the book published and before you know it, a prominent reviewer says your book serves as an instruction in how not to write what you have just finished. Ouch. I suppose it jumped out at me because I have been putting up my own running memoir with my daily visits over the past nine years. Someone, somewhere, is looking at my blogs, or at least they are landing on them by accident. I recently surpassed 175,000 page views. I do hope that most folks who read what I have written don't immediately think, "Hey, this guy's blog is a great example of how not to do it well." At the same time, I also know you don't have the potential to be criticized if you don't have anything out there for them to critique. That tweet did get my attention. You can tell? I'll try to do better. Thanks.

My grammar program wanted me to use 'Can you tell?', and I could see where that would be a good choice, however, it didn't sound like me, so I used the now well-worn ignore button one more time and went with what he called a wrong word ordered question. It's okay. I know he's just doing his job. Maybe that fellow who wrote his memoir hit the ignore button too many times. With my 70th looming ever so near, I've been reading some of the antics of old people who try to find ways to fend off boredom. One unattributed little ditty went like this: "The elderly man and his wife came out of the store to find an officer writing a ticket. They said, 'What are you doing? Come on, can't you give a senior citizen a break?' The officer kept on writing so the older man called him a bad name. The officer flipped the pad and began writing another ticket, this one for bald tires. The elderly lady then got into the act and she used a really bad word to describe the cop. He began the third ticket as he glowed with anger. About that time the bus from the retirement home came and the two older folks got on and waved to the policeman." It's a thought. My guess is that if I tried something like that I would be taken for a ride instead of waiting for a ride. I have to fast after 8 p.m. tonight in order to get ready for my blood work tomorrow. That means I will not be supplementing the production of my blog in the morning with Community Coffee. I thought it was meaningful enough to at least give fair warning. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!” ― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Hello out there in winter wonderland. I thought that might make someone, somewhere, feel a wee bit cooler, just thinking about it. I mentioned it primarily on this Wednesday, August 10, 2016, because we did receive our first for the upcoming season invite for Santa and Mrs. Claus. It's a two-day photo making session and we love working with folks we have worked with in the past. We have been doing this particular huge event since 2010. While we occasionally add an event here and there, but our appearances are almost all repeat venues where we are invited back. We very much count it a privilege and honor to be asked to come back. You know what I'm talking about. It's good to be wanted. That is, unless, it has something to do with those posters they put up at the post office. I don't even know if they still do that. I'm pretty sure the ten 'most wanted' are out on the web. Somewhere. I have heard some pretty crazy stories about bad Santas. It must be seriously bad when they talk about one Santa who snapped at the children and generally was ill-tempered. You've got to be kidding. Surely not! Talk about being in the wrong kind of business. Maybe he didn't show up the day they covered jolly.

No. I have not watched those movies that depict bad Santas. I've seen some of the commercials for them and they don't appeal to me. I do get asked about them from time to time. They are just not my cup of tea, coffee, or any other beverage. I've tried to remember if I ever visited Santa as a kid. I don't think I did. We lived in a rural area so there probably wasn't too many available. I can't remember any photos of any of us kids sitting with the jolly old elf. My mom did go out of her way to make Santa a part of our festivities. First and foremost was our understanding about the Christ child's birth. We were very well versed on what the Bible teaches about God sending His Son to our world to offer salvation to each of us. That was always a clear teaching in our home. We also had Santa. He would show up while we were sleeping on Christmas eve. When we came into the room where the tree was all lit up the next morning, what a sight to behold! The toys were all arranged by name. Often there were clothes too. My mom's version of Santa had a very practical side as well. A widow trying to work, feed, and clothe six children was a daunting task. Santa must have known that since he would include shirts, jeans, and socks when he visited our place. I know some folks think children shouldn't be led to believe in Santa Claus. I respect that. In my own personal experience, I have not perceived any harm from participating in this make believe character.

Speaking of fantasy land, I move from the make believe world to the present horror show playing 24x7 on our TV sets. I'm talking about the 2016 presidential election campaign. Just when one thinks it can't get any more insane, well, it does. It's like seeing a horrible accident in progress. You don't want to look but you can't turn away. I think they have moved from what was once called gutter politics to the sewer. I can hear my grandparents, "Don't that just beat all you've ever seen or heard?" They would no doubt pitch a hissy fit if they were seeing what we are seeing. That's right. Country folks pitch fits, they don't throw them. Looking at the choices we have might elicit a comment like this, "Both of them are lower than a snake crawling in a wagon rut." Or, maybe this one, "Our country is about as lost as last year's Easter egg." The people we grew up around were people of faith. Therefore, they would always tell us not to look to anyone other than God if you want to be on solid ground. I might even have heard Granny Mac humming this tune, "How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can he say than to you he has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?" (The hymn, How Firm a Foundation is attributed to a little-known author, George Keith, and it dates back to the 1870's.) We sang that song many times when we would meet together to encourage one another in the Lord. I hope maybe it has encouraged us all today. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

“I wouldn’t go so far as to call us soul mates, but anyone who saw us would!” – Max, the dog from 'The Secret Life of Pets' movie

I was off last Friday and that gave me a three day weekend. Just the wife and I. Nobody but us. We actually enjoyed doing mostly nothing. Well, I did mostly nothing, and she did less than she would have done had I not been underfoot. I'm thinking some about the future, as in retirement, as I embrace this day, Tuesday. August 9, 2016. We did walk the mall on Friday and Saturday. I believe that is a legal requirement for old people in our ZIP code. I noticed while at the mall we most likely could have had an impromptu meeting of the White Haired Lives Matter movement. We ate breakfast at McDonalds on Friday and at I-Hop on Saturday. I worked up my lesson and the printed handout for this past Sunday and went ahead and did the one for when we return from vacation for our Bible study on August 21. I thought we might go and see a movie. I looked at all those showing in our area and it looked like the new Star Trek flick was the most highly rated. Other than Dory and I didn't really want to see that one. I told her about the Star Trek movie and shared that it was in 3-D. She doesn't care for 3-D. It makes her queasy. She asked if I thought a whole lot of stuff would be flying towards her. I told her that my guess is that she couldn't even imagine the amount of stuff flying towards her. So, we ditched that idea. (I remembered our sample cruise where she was laid up in her bunk the entire time.) That was Friday. On Saturday, we revisited the idea and struck a compromise. "The Secret Life of Pets." We don't have pets and really didn't have that much interest. The reviews were reasonable and I thought we could use a laugh or two. The theater we went to did have those reclining seats. The place ended up being almost full. Mostly little guys with their parents. I enjoyed them enjoying the movie. There's nothing like hearing little children laughing. The wife dozed off. I share this because this weekend might just be a preview for our Retirement 101 brochure that we will have to prepare soon.

I am looking forward to being off next week. Me being gone was a brief topic of discussion in our Sunday morning Bible study. They jokingly wondered if I had permission to be away from Church. The consensus was that if anyone needed a vacation, it was me. I appreciate that. And, I know they could use a break. From me. Hearing the same teacher every week, with very few interruptions, for so many years, well, it will likely do us all good. I do have some fiercely loyal supporters of my efforts to share God's Word. I would like to think they support the truth being set forth more than the one presenting it. When it is all said and done, teaching is a gift given by God and when I am pursuing it as He would have me to, it accomplishes His purpose, and that is to hear from Him and to grow our faith and build us up in the calling He has for each of our lives. I am humbled by the privilege of putting together lessons each week, reflecting God's method of bringing about growth in the lives of those who are His own. I am often reminded of my own inadequacies but reassured by the All-Sufficiency of God's Holy Word. As my grandfather might have put it, "Use it often because it's good for whatever ails you." Amen.

Katie Ledecky
I noticed the number one searched item this past Sunday on Google was the bicycle wreck at the Olympics by the Dutch female rider. Number one? I suppose people still want to see a wreck. The good news is that she is in the hospital recovering and is expected to be okay. We have caught some of the Olympic competitions here and there. They are being broadcast on NBC's main channel along with up to four of their cable outlets. Because they now also have the NASCAR coverage, they have made it somewhat difficult to catch up with the races since it could be on any number of channels. I get it. The Olympics are bigger. In fact, the Olympics themselves was the number two most searched item. We saw the US swimmer Katie Ledecky in the trials. The woman finishing behind her in the trials had a most wonderful comment. She said, "I actually got close enough to see her feet." This past Sunday evening, Katie won the gold in the 400m freestyle, beating her closest competitor by 5 seconds. She smashed her own world record. Five seconds! That's the equivalent of a NASCAR driver winning the race with every other driver one or more laps down. I don't know that much about swimming competitions. But, it is an amazing thing to see someone like this young woman do what she does with those competing with her just hoping to get a glimpse of her feet. Who said I couldn't do play by play? I know. The NASCAR analogy has some of you stymied. That's okay. I did find where they hid it. It was on the USA Network Cable Feed. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Before you quote from The Book, it's best to know what it really says.

Good morning and welcome back to where I pretty much cover a whole lot of stuff, from the mind-boggling to the mundane. Thanks for showing up here on this Monday, August 8, 2016. I've written before about The Go Fund Me fundraising page. We have used it several times. There are some pretty weird pages set up on that website. One was from a young lady trying to raise funds to go to Las Vegas. She desperately needed to be there with her girlfriends because it was Vegas fight week and the prices for airfare and hotel were out of sight. She was only asking for $1500. No, thank you. Another fellow named his page 'Tired of Being Broke'. He was asking for $2500. No, thank you. Then they have this guy who is asking for help in raising $10,000 to help him buy designer clothes. No, thank you. They go on and on. One wanted a down payment on a jet airplane. One lady wanted help with some plastic surgery. Some of these may have been attempts to be funny but most of them had some donations. Maybe these are folks who read the verse that says, "You don't have because you don't ask.," and they decided to use Go Fund Me as a way of asking. (James Chapter 2) However, they might want to read the whole passage because it goes on to say that when you do ask, you do so with the wrong motivations, you ask amiss. Bingo! I think we have found a winner on that one.

We've all heard about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That American lady who was stabbed to death on a London street last week is an amazing example. She was in the UK for the summer with her husband, a professor, where he was teaching summer classes. What appears to have been a random attack by a mentally disturbed man took her life and injured several other people. Those injured included people from Australia, Spain, Israel, and Britain. Random. Wrong place at the wrong time. I rode out a couple of hurricanes in my office in downtown Houston. I believe the incident I wrote about was from 1980 during Hurricane Allen. Here's a report from the blog I published on February 11, 2011:  "It reminded me of that time I rode out a hurricane in the high rise in the huge metro downtown. That storm caused many windows to be broken out, not necessarily from the wind, but from the debris flying around. I thought about how that just a few blocks from the building where I worked, a fellow, a lawyer trying to get home, crossed the street and was hit in the head by some metal object, killing him instantly." Wrong place at the wrong time. I'm not attempting to put a damper on our day, but, the reality is that any of us have the same potential to meet the end of our time here on earth, without warning, and it might just be said that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've often thought about that lawyer fellow. One step faster or one step slower and he may have dodged that projectile, but, it became his time to go to his reward. What's the point? Be ready, my friend, be ready. Me too!

I will soon be 70 years old, however, I can still find myself in exactly the position of the child caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. The other day I was home alone. I fixed myself a sandwich like a good boy. The thought hit me that perhaps I could enjoy a dessert, for a change. I fetched me one of those individual boxes of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla from the freezer. I did not purchase them. I thought I might be helping by making sure it was consumed before its use by date. Another thought came to me. I bet it would be even better with some Hersheys Chocolate Syrup poured on top. I did not purchase the chocolate syrup, but, it is supposed to be an accessory, before, during, and after the fact. I got it all ready and I tasted the first couple of bites when the garage door opened. I hoped against hope that it might be one of those airplanes flying by that accidentally sent a signal, but, it wasn't that. I had to make a decision. What to do? A lot of thoughts ran through my mind. Throw it away or stand my ground. The back door opened. I already knew what was coming, "What in the world do you think you are doing?" I mumbled something about how that it shouldn't be that big of a deal since I rarely ever do it. She said something about the missing Lil Debbie Swiss Rolls. I did finish my dessert, but, I also felt a little guilty. I did offer her an explanation. I was being honest. I told her that I fully intended to finish it before she got back to the house. I was thinking about her feelings. Never forget that I am thankful she is concerned about my diabetic condition. I will try to do better. I think I need to try and figure out where those Swiss Rolls are going. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, August 5, 2016

“Nothing is a joke with me. It just all comes out like one.” ― Lorrie Moore, Author of the book,'Like Life'

Here we are again at the bookend to this workweek, on Friday, August 5, 2016. I do enjoy seeing folks laugh. However, I could do without so much laughing at my expense. There's this little C-Store where I purchase all the Company's fuel products. The people there all know me. If I go by there early in the morning I like to snag me this little sausage rolled up in a flour tortilla. $2.00. Nothing on it. Just a good smoked sausage in a tortilla. While I am pumping diesel into the tank on the back of our truck, I mosey on in and pick-up my little snack, then I line up to pay. They are usually very busy. I had to wait a minute or two. It became my turn. I had my money in one hand and the sausage in the other. When I handed her the sausage instead of the money everyone laughed. She laughed too. I told her that's part of the calling that old people have. Making people laugh. To be honest, I didn't think it was that funny, but, I suppose those who responded have the last say or last laugh. I'm not altogether happy to report how this type of situation seems to be occurring more often these days. If I put myself to it I could most likely recall doing a little laughing myself at older folks when I was a whole lot younger. And, a whole lot dumber. That boomerang may go out there and travel a long way, but, eventually, it typically will return, and, sometimes when it does, it's right upside your head.

I've been out in the heat off and on this past week and I can tell you that it zaps a whole lot of your energy within a few seconds. I heard one 'feels like' prediction of 110 degrees and it sure felt that way to me. One fellow said we are supposed to get a big rain this weekend. That was news to me. When I looked up the forecast, it did not appear to offer any hope of that kind. They do have a 60% chance next Wednesday. That's way too far off  to start even beginning to begin to anticipate some relief. Our eldest son's A/C unit went out while he and his wife were on vacation in Mexico last week. I assisted our granddaughter in getting someone out to work on it. It took three days to get it back up and going. She was a real trooper but in the course of our conversations I mentioned to her that I had grown up without air conditioning. She was stunned. She said, "Poppy, how could you survive that?" That's a good question. I actually think it had more to do with the fact there were no alternatives for us to choose from. We didn't have it and that's just the way it was. Were we hot? You betcha! I told her how that when we put a fan in the window it would draw in moisture from the humidity and the next morning you were not only uncomfortably warm, but everything was also damp and sticky. I know it was unpleasant but I really can't remember us doing a lot of complaining. Maybe that's because, here again, it would not have changed anything. The good news is that I lived to tell about it. Joking only.

I wrote about the Pokemon Go craze the other day and how that it continues to prove itself to be dangerous in many ways. Well, just this week, two mid-twenties parents, caught up in chasing wherever the game told them to go, essentially forgot about and abandoned their 2-year-old. Here's an excerpt from the news report: "Police said a neighbor discovered the child at 10:30 p.m., who said the infant was barefoot, alone and wearing a diaper and a T-shirt. After police found the child 'red-faced, sweaty and dirty,' according to the statement, authorities called the dad, who replied, 'Whatever,' and hung up on the deputies." I tried to think of some of the things I heard my grandfather say about people like these two. I'll go with this mild one, "Sorry as all get out!" As for their punishment, his ideas for what they deserved would not be politically correct, I can assure you of that. Becoming addicted to a game is one thing. The 'whatever' response is much worse. To me. But they didn't ask me. And, you didn't either. I suppose it's just another bit of insight into our culture today. Sad but true. We can pray for them, for ourselves, and for all those who seek to find meaning in this fallen world. Getting it all together requires that we know God and His Son. That's the need we all have. Period. Amen. Now it's on to Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God help us all to stay close to Him as we continue our journey. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Christmas can't be far away." ~ song recorded by the late, great, country crooner, Eddy Arnold

Amanda Faith and Alesha Camille
We send out a very special birthday greeting to our twin granddaughters, Alesha and Amanda. They become 18-year-olds today! We thank God for these girls and we look forward to all that He has planned as they continue their education this fall and as they find His will for their lives going forward. May God continue to bless is our prayer. Our love, MiMi and Poppy
Good morning and welcome back to Christmas in July. I admit I'm typically running late because it's already Thursday, August 4, 2016. I haven't said much about my alter ego, The Santa guy, lately. But, I still get recognized and I still pass out a few cards here and there. When we were in a restaurant one morning a lady came over with her little one and apologized for interrupting but said she had to do something since he was convinced that I was Santa. I told her it wasn't his fault. There I was, wearing a red shirt, red cap, and wearing green suspenders. What was the little dude to think? I gave them one of my cards and wished them well. Here the other day a little girl who knows us well from when they used to go to Church with us had some interesting thoughts. She volunteered that she knew I was not the real Santa but I was his helper, therefore, in her way of seeing it, I was officially connected. I always like it when children explain things. They usually make so much more sense than their parents. In fact, even when I am sitting in the chair and a child asks me a question, I've learned that it might go better if I ask them, "Well, what do you think?" Many times they are then off to the races with their fanciful imaginations. There are always a few skeptics in the bunch. I often tell the story about a couple of young lads who came up and informed me they had been studying me and had figured out exactly how my beard was attached to my face. They thought they could point to where the glue held it on. I listened to their story and then invited them to have a go at a gentle tug, one on one side, and the second little guy on the other side. Needless to say, their little investigation fell apart, and they left with big eyes and some head scratching. I've been listening to some Christmas music now and then, just to begin the process of beginning to begin to get ready. It takes quite a lot of that to get me even started down that road again. Don't worry. It will come. It may have to wait until that first kid is sat in my lap, but, it will come.

Here's the latest from the political front. We have one candidate who has recently been clearly shown to be outright lying about the lying they have done in the past. As a result, they were awarded Four Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact checkers who typically lean left. Them. Not me. We have the other candidate who seems to think it is okay to attack the parents of a war hero killed in combat defending the values of our nation. I don't care where they originated, the color of their skin, or their political affiliation or beliefs. That's just stupid. I don't know how stupid it is, but if it was on a list, it would have to be near the top. I recently had a bout with food poisoning that was the worst I have ever experienced. I was literally up all night. Literally. In fact, the wife was very unhappy with me because I came on to work the next morning. I was only following my own advice. Get up and go because you just might begin to feel better. I did just that and I did begin to feel better. Paw Paw Mac would have been proud of me. I tell you that little story only to illustrate the feeling I get when I see these political shenanigans unfolding before my very eyes. Stomach churning and doubled over in pain. Thank God He knows what will come out of all of this because I can't even think about thinking about how it might turn out.

In case you missed it, that little part about God knowing all about it just happens to be our only hope. It's been a week since I had that little food poisoning episode and I still feel like I was in a car wreck. It feels like my insides have been worked over with a tire tool. And, my little diabetic testing meter has been working overtime just trying to keep up with the numbers since that little event. At the end of next week, I will be going for my annual physical. The electronic form where I made the appointment gave an opportunity for comments regarding my upcoming visit. I put the following: Annual Physical, Diabetic Check-up, and New Developments. I've not put comments before but I thought I would give the doctor something to look forward to. You might want to sit down for this one. They have established that some people do suffer from an ailment called, Election Stress Disorder. I read a piece about this affliction in an online edition of Psychology Today. It has something to do with working up strong emotional feelings that confuse and stress the tensions between the Toddler Brain and the Adult Brain. Really? That could account for some of my problems. My Toddler Brain might be the culprit. Maybe that's why I often want to find a place where I can't see people and because I can't see them I think they can't see me. But, I might want to wait for my doctor. Please don't warn him ahead of time. He likely has his own stress disorder in dealing with me. You do know that's a joke. Well, it's almost a joke. Maybe it's a near miss of a joke. Okay. I've done enough for one day. Do your best to focus on the part about God knowing it all and the fact that we can always rely on Him. Amen. ....More later.