Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"They say 'don't try this at home' so I'm coming over to your house to try it." - copied

I looked up long enough to see that we are officially in a brand new month, the last one for this year, and the one where the wife and I begin to begin to get very busy, you know, Santa and the Mrs. C., as we embrace this Thursday, December 1, 2016. We start an 8-day run tomorrow evening where we will have something scheduled every day with no break until Saturday, December 10th. That will either keep us young or make us feel even older than we are. Juggling work and the Santa enterprise is a very tedious challenge, but, I will do my very best to honor all duties as assigned. I used that one because it was the last statement included in the various job descriptions I had while working for the US Civil Service Commission. "Other duties as assigned." The preceding five pages were not adequate to cover the duties of a clerical position, therefore, they stuck that final one-liner in for good measure. I am very much enjoying the fresh cool air. As they say back where I am from, "It's about time." I announced to the wife the other evening the record cold for that particular day. They were showing it on the weather report. On that day back in 1976, it was 26 degrees. I told you it used to be colder and I didn't need Al Gore to tell me that. When I was a kid we typically needed to layer up in October to go hunting and by Thanksgiving we were dealing with ice covered puddles on our way to the deer stand. These days, it seems like most people in our area can go through the end of November in short sleeves. That's not scientific and I'm not a global warming alarmist, but, while it may be naturally occurring, it is different, and it is noticeable, and that's what I do a lot of, noticing. In case you haven't noticed.

What a blessing to have the wife's sister come back for the second time to see about her sister, and to help us deal with her recovery. When I say these girls are twins born 18 months apart, people laugh. If anyone is around them for any length of time at all, that laughter will change to being stunned. I would say they should dress alike but they've been there and done that before. While they do have their unique preferences and likes and dislikes, their sisterly union wins out every time. I've never had to embellish this story very much. Even forty years ago, before cell phones, and when long distance was pretty expensive, these two could somehow pick up where they left off even if it had been months since they had seen each other. My late brother-in-law Charles and I used to laugh as we drove up and unloaded out of the car. It seemed to us they picked up in mid-sentence. I'm not put together to have that kind of connection to another person, however, I certainly admire it and recognize it as a blessing from above. While ladies in general are more inclined to be close, these two take the cake. I've been reporting these same observations for over fifty years. And, they are still at it. They are. They really are. Some of the ways they identify with each other have changed a little over time. As they get older they tend to forget the same things. If one is ailing a little, pretty soon the other has similar symptoms. Charles and I always said that when we both were gone we wouldn't have to worry about these girls because they will always have each other.

Family ties. They are special. Speaking of that, I'm glad to report that mom, (92), and dad, (86), continue to amaze us all with their resilience and their independent spirit. Dad was explaining to me this week how he raked up all the leaves and then ran over them with the lawnmower. He just got his lawnmower back from the shop. The last time they put the blades on, the shop tightened them way too tight. Now get this, dad stripped out the bolt trying to remove the blades so he could re-sharpen them. He had them install a new bolt and he instructed them to not over tighten the blades. He explained to them how they have all the equipment to do what they do, while he has to set it on something and lay underneath it to remove the blades. I can envision dad with the mower on some little stand with him laying underneath it. Him being able to do all that he does is a blessing from the Lord God above. Mom's failing eyesight continues to be a huge burden and limitation, however, I keep her computer going and I can tell you she does get around on Facebook. She may have to use her several magnifying glasses to get an idea of what is going on, but, based on all the stuff she has open when I work on her system, she is still plugged in. At 92, she too is a blessing from the Lord God above. At the same time, I really can't even imagine me making it to their age and I certainly can't see myself doing the things they can do.  But, truth is, that would be in God's hands. We come away as offspring of their huge blended clan giving thanks to God for our parents. Amen. ....More later.

"In the big leagues everyone has ability. It always comes down to mind games. Who ever is more mentally strong-wins." ~ Muhammad Ali

Some days I feel like I'm on one of those playground spinning merry-go-rounds. Where it will stop no one knows. Therefore, I may be a tad dizzy as we embark on today's visit, here on this last day of November, Wednesday, the 30th, 2016. We recently saw again for the umpteenth time one of the NCIS episodes where a fellow was driven to suicide by psychological forms of attack. The person controlling the traffic signals are attempting to do the same thing to me as I do my best, as a God fearing, tax paying citizen, to make my way into work each day. That's right. He or she is constantly messing with my mental frame by changing up the sequencing of the signal lights. What? That shouldn't be such big deal? Maybe not to you. But, I do get sick and tired of being sick and tired about the games they are playing. It makes it worse when someone is in a vehicle next to you. There they are. That's way too close for comfort. It's 3:45 a.m. and we sit there, side by side, nervously waiting for the master controller to allow us to move forward, knowing not what to expect at the next intersection. Do five miles of that where you never can get any kind of rhythm going and you have a co-joined driver door to door traveling along with you, it's enough to make one consider taking the long way around. See what I mean? They are messing with me. They really are.

Are you as sick as I am of the hypocrisy in neon lights being flashed since the election? A tenant of one party throughout the election process was to accuse the other candidate of undermining our democratic system if they refused to accept or if they challenged the results in any way whatsoever. A funny thing happened to that accusing party. They lost. Overwhelmingly, based on our system of representative government. Now, it is that same accusing party who is attempting to challenge the results of the election. Hold the presses. Before, had it been the other way round, they were crystal clear. It would have threatened our democratic way of life. Now, get this, it is a noble endeavor to preserve the integrity of our electoral process. They actually have barf bags on airplanes. You have to wonder why they don't issue them to each American as we have to endure this sickening exhibition of hypocritical posturing. While I am at it, can you stomach news people, politicians, and other Americans who end up praising Fidel Castro? Have they no shame? He facilitated a prison state and reign of terror over Cuba for these many years. A police state. People go missing and are never heard from again. Check with the Cuban refugee community about what happened to their families and their businesses and their way of life under this Communist dictator. My response: If you are not using that barf bag, could you please pass it to me?

I wanted you to know that while I've not been talking much about the political stuff that surrounds us, it's not because I've quit paying attention. And, whether we like it or not, it does matter. To each and every single one of us, and especially to our offspring and their progeny. Deny it all to the best of our ability, stay away from knowing about it as best we can, but, it doesn't change one iota the reality of the impact. Truth tells us that we have to be engaged. We are instructed to pray for those God has allowed to be in authority over us. (1st Timothy 2:2) Speaking of government, we have watched quite a number of the Andy Griffith reruns over the past several weeks. Andy, the sheriff, and Barney, the deputy, provide one of the best 30 minutes of fun and laughter ever broadcast. We've seen those shows time and time again. But, we still laugh. Why? I believe it's because they are funny. No curse words. No sexually suggestive material. Just well written, well acted, funny material. Often, I have guys recommend this comedian or the other to me as being hilariously funny. I call them up on YouTube and I find it's mostly gutter language and trashy stories. I can do without that. And, to me, even though their audiences are laughing out loud, it just doesn't seem funny to me. Now take Barney Fife, that is one funny character. Ageless humor. That is, in my opinion, and as always, I am unanimous in my assessment. Enjoy the rest of your day here on this Wednesday and may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself” – Mark Twain

Welcome to Tuesday, November 29, 2016, where I'm sitting here pecking away while enjoying a hot, black, strong, cup of Community. You are right. That's pretty much how I start every day. Since I am a card-carrying member of the professional Santa world, I notice on many of the different Santa messaging pages some interesting postings. As we all know, Santas are real people. They love their families and often they post photos that are special to them. But, just like on all the other social media outlets, there are actually Santa guys who must have appointed themselves as Santa police. The fellow who posted the photo and caption was only wanting to spread some joy, not to become the subject of endless evaluations. Once they get started, the rest of the police force shows up. Talk about piling on! Pay attention to your hands Santa. Your belt is crooked. Those boots need some work. Maybe your hat could be positioned better. For crying out loud, it's a photo their fellow Santa was proud of. I know some of it is likely offered constructively, but, it's interesting to note how quickly it becomes a feeding frenzy. Sure. I understand that it is human nature on display and not necessarily at its best. Here's my take. The fellows doing the critical analysis, well, I clicked on some of their stuff, and many of them don't even look that much like the 'real thing', if you get my drift. In other words, they have more than they can say grace over just working on their own appearance. But, since I'm not a member of the Santa policing authority, I'll just keep that to myself, except for sharing it with you.

Many of those fellas doing the critiques most likely learned some of those spotted issues in one of the professional Santa schools. Two weeks ago I sat for some 300 photos in my representation of the Jolly Old Dude. The folks who made the photos had everyone sign a waiver so they could post all of them on their Facebook page. I pretty much looked at every one of them. Some were good enough to be called magical. Others not so much. While I have not attended one of the professional Santa schools, I am very much into evaluating and looking at myself. As I perused the photos, I felt very comfortable seeing the things I could have done better to have made more of them excellent. The couch we used was terrible. It caused me to sit too far down which on some shots it produced a reflection from my Santa glasses while others just looked odd. There were some pictures where my uniform had been moved here and there. That happens when you wrestle with kids. The photographer could have helped on some of those issues but with the long lines and the process itself, it turned out to be, more or less, what you see is what you get. I know I am probably harder on myself than others, but, I am glad to have the opportunity to evaluate my work and find ways to make what I do the best it can be. The overwhelming majority of the purchasers were happy happy with the product we produced, and after all is said and done, making memories is what we are all about, and their approval is the ultimate test of our efforts.

Sorry. I suppose I will be obsessing some about donning the gay apparel since it is, at this time of year, more or less a permanent fixture around our place. Our grandson Jimmy Jr. rode with me over to our Thanksgiving Day feast at our eldest son's home. The station on the radio was playing Christmas music. It is a local station and they started about a week ago, Christmas music, 24 hours per day. He lamented the fact that we had not even eaten our Thanksgiving Day meal and there we were, driving down the road with Perry Como singing his heart out. I told him I played that channel because I need all the motivation I can get. That and a box of pep pills. That is a joke. I've never taken a pep pill that I know of. Well, I've tried the 5-hour energy stuff. I may have fallen asleep drinking it. I do drink the Rock Star sugar-free energy drink on some afternoons when I am out and about driving here and there. It works pretty well. As far as Santa and the children are concerned, I'll just have to rely on being hyped up on love. That shouldn't be too hard. Have a great rest of the day Tuesday and know that God is in control, and that He cares, and that in one way or another, He will make a way. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Wake up and smell the routine!" ~ copied

Well hello there, and I suppose I can join in with the fellow who posted on Twitter coming out of the holiday, "I'm just thankful I am not a turkey." It's almost a relief to be back in the routine of my early morning trek to the office here on this after the extended holiday, back to work Monday, November 28, 2016. I made a decent showing in my preparation for the first time of the traditional cornbread dressing. I had good instruction and supervision. We did have our moments. She was patient with me to a point. She only walked out on me once. It had something to do with the fact that she was supposed to be telling me what to do. When questioned, I said something about Emeril. She was not impressed and asked what Emeril had to do with the business at hand. I mumbled that I used to watch him all the time on the Food Channel. I guess that was the tipping point because she actually walked out and said something about me doing it the way I wanted to anyway. The good news, she was only slightly angry but not mad-mad, if you know what I mean. At the end of my exhausting labor in the kitchen, we ended up with 99.5% of her dressing. (It did need a pinch more of salt.) She taught me well enough that I now know how to go through the process and to be honest, I'm still unclear as to whether Emeril had anything to do with it. But that's all I could think of when challenged. I'm almost certain that throwing in a "BAM!" would not have helped my cause.

We all are familiar with the fill in the blank, Happiness is ....... ~ Watching the cold rain from inside a warm house. ~ Being loved for exactly who you are. ~ A little kid with a handful of dandelions picked just for you. ~ Making someone else happy. ~ Serving others. ~ A good cup of coffee and a good book. ~ A family get together. ~ Knowing that God is in control. ~ Not taking yourself so seriously. ~ Enjoying a lazy day. ~ A home cooked meal. ~ Loving on grandchildren. ~ Fellowshipping with other believers. ~ Watching your child perform. ~ A call or note from a friend. ~ You can come up with your own list. Last Friday I was reminded of a happiness theme. For me. As a diabetic, I always fear the day after. Big holiday feast. Lots of foods we normally don't eat. I toyed with the idea of not doing the finger prick. You know. Take a day of vacation from that momentarily painful test. But, since routine is the name of my game, I did the test and was elated with the result. That's what made me think of this little exercise, but on that particular day, for me, happiness was a 116 fasted blood sugar. I know. It could have been better, but may I just tell you I was expecting something north of 135. That got me off to a good start. Maybe Emeril did have something to do with it. As you can tell, it doesn't take much.

The wife counted up some 14 or 15 events for us to cover as Santa and Mrs. Claus over the next four weeks. For someone still working full time, that's pretty challenging. However, it should, as they say back home, keep me out of trouble. That reminds me. Why did they say Trouble was my middle name back when I was a young teen? Most people knew my full name. I suppose they were just messing with me. That must have been it. I do hope you had a wonderfully thankful time of reflection and restoration over the past several days. I did get a headstart on our greeting cards. I knew with our busy schedule coming up it will be difficult to find the time to print them out. My recliner will be glad to get rested up now that I am back on my regular work schedule. I gave it a good workout over the past four days. Intermittent stretches. A few hours here and a few hours there. My wife is practicing on being a comedian. She loves to ask me if I enjoyed my nap. She also volunteers to share with me what happened on the show I was really wanting to watch. See what I mean? Maybe she was the one whose middle name should have been the 'T' word. Have a great rest of the day Monday and may our Great God add His blessings to us all. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Friday to one and all, and to all a good day.

Yours truly with Great Grand Madelyn Joy, Thanksgiving Day
Good morning and welcome to the day after the eating marathon that we call Thanksgiving Day. It is Friday, November 25, 2016, and the holiday observance continues. For the record, yesterday we had a wonderful time together. The food was great. The fellowship was rich and everyone was in good spirits. We did miss a handful who were otherwise occupied but we still had a most wonderful celebration. I know a lot of folks will be waiting for the doors to open at their favorite store or maybe at the mall. Yep. They will be there for the Black Friday sales event. Unless an out of body mind altering beam of some kind knocks me upside the head, causing me to lose what little bit of rational thinking I have left, I have no intention of becoming a statistic in that particular endeavor. I'm not opposed to it. It comes with the free market economy. I actually don't think it is quite the 'bet the farm' kind of day for retailers that it used to be. However, it is still extremely important in laying the groundwork for a successful Christmas shopping season. With the shift to online purchasing, the Black Friday sales have been underway for some time now. I haven't bought anything but I have seen Amazon and others hawking their wares under that banner. It seems, at this point, the financial markets are favorably impressed with the presidential election outcome. That has been a big surprise, especially to all of those who thought life as we know it would end and a modern depression era would ensue. It sure has made expert predictions made by expert predictors, so called, to look pretty foolish. Only time will tell, but, the initial response has to be encouraging to those hoping for a full business recovery.

I do have some plans for the day. I need to work in my office on a number of projects including our annual family Christmas card/letter. If I do get to those on the list, they will take up a handful of hours. There's no doubt other items on my to-do list will be added since they do tend to have a life of their own. Sure. I am aware there will be sports on TV. I will be keeping an eye on some of those events. I would like to think I could rest up for the big crush headed our way when Santa's schedule gets overloaded, but, I've learned that you can't really rest up a whole lot in advance of some activity. However, it is a good thought. A really good one. In fact, maybe a nap or two will help. The bottom line, enjoy your time off and your Saturday too. May Sunday find us all in that meeting place where folks join together to study God's Word and call upon Him. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward, (1921-1994), one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims.

Happy Thanksgiving Day on this Thursday, November 24, 2016. The old song invites us all to count our many blessings and when we do, we will be surprised at all that God has provided to us. ('Count Your Blessings', lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr.; music by Edwin O. Excell, published in 1897) As I was thinking about God's actions towards His created human family, I was drawn to the words of another song. This one lifts high the banner of the love of God. Read the lyrics, sing it if you know the tune, but, take some time to reflect on this great blessing we all can be thankful for.

'The Love of God' (words and music written by Fredrick M. Lehman in 1917. It was arranged by his daughter, Claudia F. Mays.)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.


O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.


O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

That is some song and it is a grand treatment of the boundless love shown by God towards each of us. That does give us something to be thankful for on this special day and every day He grants breath to our body. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The smells of Thanksgiving dinner will soon be wafting on the rolling tide.

I woke up this morning with cooking on my mind. That's right. It's Wednesday, November 23, 2016, and I'm getting ready to get ready to help prepare some of the wife's specialties for our planned feast tomorrow. My wife tells everyone that I know my way around the kitchen. I'm not exactly sure exactly what all that entails but I know enough to be able to throw together a meal if I am called on to do so. We have our own legacy when it comes to homemade cornbread dressing. My wife can hold her own but she does so in the shadow of my family's legendary cooks, Granny Mac, and my Mom. Now it will be my turn to prepare this special dish. No need to fear. I will be working under the close supervision of my recovering life partner, referred to in the British TV comedy, 'Rumpole of the Bailey' as, "She who must be obeyed", abbreviated, 'SWMBO'. I can't remember if she ever bought a t-shirt with that sentiment inscribed but between her and our wonderful neighbor Ruth, they did kind of run that one into the ground. The good news is that I don't have to go out to the chicken yard and round up the hens. The hens are used for both the dressing and the homemade dumplings. Two of them are already processed and in the cooler. She picked them up when she and her sister ventured out on Monday. Yep. You can tell by the photo. She is better. (Or, maybe she had taken a couple of extra pain pills.) That's her learning how to steer that motorized cart. She didn't hit anyone but her sister was there to warn other shoppers that an inexperienced driver was on board.

We have some grueling schedules to keep in December in support of the Santa Enterprise. I mentioned to SWMBO that if it comes down to it and she is unable to fulfill her duties as Mrs. Claus, that perhaps I can find out who the young blonde lady is that played the elf at the Junior League event, and she might be able to accompany me. To that, she had an immediate response. Seeing the look on her face made me quickly add that I was only joking. I was. I really was. I mean it. It was only a joke. She informed me that better be the case. Sometimes my funny anecdotes miss the mark. The first real test comes next week, the first weekend in December. We have an always meltdown busy three-hour evening scheduled for the 2nd, an all day in the studio session on the 3rd, an outdoor reception on the evening of the 4th, and on the 5th we make photos with some dear folks at the special needs apartments where our local fellowship has a ministry. Hopefully, we can do it in a way that avoids any potential for her to aggravate or reinjure her back. That will be the plan.

I know many people will be traveling today to visit loved ones in far-flung places. That instinct is part of the Thanksgiving spirit where we desire to connect with those who mean so much to us. I can't help but remember the smells of Thanksgiving. Walking through the back door at Granny Mac's. Walking through the back door at my mom's place. Coming into the house of my wife's mom. Our place has also continued to provide those wonderful smells. Yep. I am a sucker for stuff like that. It's the reason I used that title for today's edition. The holidays tend to put my sensory perceptions into overdrive. Pots of all descriptions moving ever so slightly to the heat of the burner beneath. Steam rising from the oven and from this, that, or the other. It really was invigorating, and contagious. And, it did remind us of how thankful we should be to be able to enjoy such times of family and fellowship. Memory making at its best. Kids everywhere, running here and there, the men standing around, drinking their coffee and telling their tales. The ladies laughing as they helped in the kitchen. You are so right. I am a sucker for it all. Some would call this trite and the stuff for simpletons. That's okay with me. I say thanks for the compliment. And, most important of all, thanks be to God for His blessings which include our memories of family gatherings near and far. Be safe and may God add His blessings to us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy 23rd to our Stefani!

Stefani with her MiMi and her Mom.
Today I want to let everyone know how proud we are of our Stefani. She is the baby of our eldest Chris and wife Sherrie. She turns 23 today. Baby? Twenty-three. If that gives me a reason to pause and reflect, I can only imagine what it does to her parents. Steffie, as we call her, has always been close to us. After all, we go back a long way. How about 23 years and 9 months? She's even been my friend on Facebook since 2011. She is a hard worker and she is devoted to family. We thank God for her and we seek His blessings on her life as she continues her journey here. Happy Birthday and may God bless. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

The countdown continues to Turkey Day, here on this Tuesday, November 22, 2016. We had planned on hosting our clan in our home for Thanksgiving but with the wife's accidental fall and back injury, we greatly appreciate our eldest and his wife stepping in and taking up the slack. It's no easy task. I did see what I thought was a funny meme the other day. It showed a photo of an elderly grandma with an angry expression on her face. Here's what it said. "You ain't checked on me all year long and now you want me to cook my special meal for Thanksgiving? I've got a message for you: I ain't cooking nothing this year!" I'm thankful that our bunch does keep up with us and we do our best to do the same with mom, dad, and other family members as well. I can't say that I'm as excited about the holidays as I was when I was a kid, but, there's still a residual spark in there, somewhere. I'm so glad that's the way it works. Yep. I do all I can to fan the flame because there's nothing quite like it. No doubt we all get some sadness thrown in for good measure. The empty places at the table grow as we continue our sojourn here, but, because of the testimony of so many of our loved ones, we know there's an even greater holiday reunion awaiting us all. The longer we hang around here, it is the more we look forward to that Great Day. Amen.

I made it through my first event of the season. For the seventh straight year, I have been privileged to portray the jolly old elf at the Holiday Market here in our area sponsored by the Junior League. We did over 300 photos with children of all ages. Literally. The folks hosting the event are always wonderfully kind to us, going out of their way to make us feel special. This year the 'us' was just me due to the wife's injury. The word had gotten around and so many of the Junior League ladies came by to ask about how she was fairing. Even some of the little girls asked about her. They had so wanted to see her again. The team there had a beautiful young elf in her place to read to the children and to provide them with refreshments. The above photo was taken with all the volunteer leaders Sunday afternoon. It capped off our two-day stint where we enjoyed the company of some of the most beautiful children in the world. It helped me to get ready for our season when the wife's sister, the elder twin, Dorothy, (by a mere 18 months), decorated our tree and our house for us. She has literally waited on her baby sister, as they say back home, hand and foot. The younger sister may be in for some shock therapy after Dorothy leaves to go back to Louisiana. I think they call it tough love, but, you do know I'm very much joking about that one. I am glad to report the wife is better. It has been a slow process but I think we have begun to see the first stages of her being able to get back to her old self. Have I ever told you how hard it is to make up our bed? Standing on your head to put fitted sheets on is not my idea of a good time. Just so you know. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Peeve: To cause to be annoyed or resentful. 1. A vexation; a grievance 2. A resentful mood (Source:

Welcome back. To all you folks and to myself. I'm fresh off my time of sitting in The Chair, but, I also saw the huge throng of people, mostly ladies, doing their impression of shopping frenzy. I suppose that was expected since it was a holiday market experience. They looked like they were practiced at it. And, I think we all know it's a preview of more to come. You can be sure of that. It is Thanksgiving week and I bid you a hearty hello on this back to work Monday, November 21, 2016. I'm sure most of us will be at least paying lip service in our thinking about our blessings in this week where thankfulness is front and center. (The Grammar program told me there were several problems with that sentence, but, I pause to express my thankfulness for the 'ignore' option that he/she so graciously offers me.) After I read something a couple of times and it says exactly what I want to say, well, I, typically move on down the road. This morning I am thinking about the things that irritate me. Not you. Me. I get very agitated when the person in front of me on the roadway fails to go because they are looking down at their smartphone and not at the signal. That increases if I have to sit through two cycles because of their texting. I got stirred up the other morning because of an intersection that was checking every conceivable turn, go, stop, sit, stand, you name it, all in SLOW MOTION. It was only 3:45 a.m. and not a creature was stirring, except for yours truly. I mention those two because in the grand scheme of things they really don't add up to very much. They are certainly infinitesimally small compared to making it to my destination safe and sound. Yet, they and so many more become peeves that we nurture and embellish in our sojourn here. The old adage mostly applies, 'Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small'. To be clear, I'm well aware that not every single thing is small but I'll talk about that another time.

I think I mentioned the peeves because they tend to interfere with my consideration of the blessings that surround me. I may get all bent out of shape because of a distracted driver but if I am not careful, my peeves can become front and center as the focus of my attitude. For someone who identifies as a child of the living God, born again through the blood of His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and indwelt by Holy Spirit God Himself, my true identity really doesn't show up if I am mostly annoyed when I should be living a life of gratitude and grace. I stopped with the peeves list where I did because they tend to become very personal. Yet, if we are not aware of their destructive force we are less likely to follow Barney's advice, "Just nip them in the bud." If I go back and read that statement again about who I really am in Christ, it does require much more than an annoyed countenance. Much more. In fact, that verse the Apostle Peter was inspired to give us really is next to impossible to live out if our persona is not one that prompts inquiry, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,.." (1st Peter 3:15, NIV) Not too many people are going to be inclined to ask a grumpy grouch about something positive that shows in their life. Ouch. I am preaching. To myself. Why? I don't need a drum roll. Because I need to hear it! Amen.

I  have no idea why I got up today and decided to show you my own dirty laundry. (At least some of it.) But, perhaps, it will help me and maybe someone else out there in that place where emails and digital connections come together to make things like my blog available. I heard a sermon many years ago about the destructive power of 'stinkin thinkin'. Thoughts do have consequences. On ourselves and maybe even more so on others. I need to write down some of this stuff. That's right. I already have. Let me close today on a lighter note. Here's some recent correspondence to the jolly old elf. ~ Dear Santa, I have been trying to be a good boy. I would like a remote control semi-truck. With a ramp. And please make my brother Robert nicer. And please bring him back when he is nice. I love you. Thank you. Your friend, Brian. ~ Dear Santa, I wud like a $1000000 statue of Marty McFly for Chrismis. Love, Dylan ~ For Santa, When you are done eating the cookies, eat the vitamin. Love, Ella ~ Dear Santa, I would like a chainsaw, a blue bike, a trampoline, a claw machine, and a cash register. Wayne. ~ These kids did blow up my grammar utility but they did seem to do their best to connect to the season. Have a great rest of the day Monday and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kid to Santa, "How in the world did you do it before Amazon?"

I've really been enjoying these moonlit cool mornings of late. I hope I don't have to wait another 70 years for them to return. The cool mornings. It's Friday, November 18, 2016. Today I have my annual appointment with the lady ophthalmologist who keeps watch over my eyes with a particular interest in me being diabetic. She is a wonderful doctor. However, I can't say the same about her patient. I'm hoping they will not be doing that time slice laser check of my eyes since it requires for me to sit perfectly still and even more constraining, to refrain from blinking. No blinking. It doesn't work if you blink. The folks within our circle at our local fellowship know me very well. If I mention in passing an upcoming doctor's appointment, someone will invariably respond by saying they will be praying for the medical staff. That typically generates a laugh but I cannot really deny the sentiment. I've had more than one technician throw up their hands in defeat when trying to work with me. Sorry. It's not from a lack of trying. Yes. I do know the joke. It's because I am trying. Very trying. At any rate, I look forward to seeing these folks who will all rest just a tad easier as they see me finish my visit and leave for my car.

Lord willing, I will start my seasonal representation of the jolly old elf beginning tomorrow. Sadly, my lovely bride will not be able to don her Mrs. Claus attire due to her continuing recovery from her back injury. I offered to bow out completely if they could find a new team to replace us, but, they wanted me to be their Santa again this year. They said they will take care of covering the Mrs. Claus vacancy. While everyone knows that I am fiercely independent, it should be clear that I always do better when my life partner is with me. Forever and ever. Amen. That sounds like it could be a song. Oh, yeah, it is a song. That's how a lot of my ideas turn out. Solomon did say there's nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) I suppose that's why I don't have anything patented or copyrighted. You do know I am joking about that. While I will miss having my Mrs. Claus there, I am looking forward to the event. The Junior League volunteers are some of the finest people I've ever worked with. You can put a 'period' behind that. I know. I did. The folks taking the photos are terrific. The children. Oh, my! The children. They are treasured blessings. Then we have the parents. Most of them are okay, but, some fulfill my grandfather's proverbial prophetic words, they come to a goat house looking for sheep wool. In other words, they have in mind a combination of Thomas Kincade and Norman Rockwell at the place that prints the photo while you wait. Need I say more?

I do want to again thank the wife's sister, Dorothy, for coming over from Louisiana to help out during this recovery process. Both of these girls have busy lives. Both of these girls are servants of the Most High God. This means there is an impact of them not being in their places, both in Louisiana and here. It's good to be missed. And, both of them are missed in the ongoing activities they actively pursue on a daily basis. I do know this. Their mom and dad would be thankful to God for the women of faith they have become. Some think that folks in heaven know about things like that. I'm not certain but if that's true, then Bro. and Sister Rawles are beaming with Godly pride. These girls came from very humble beginnings and their growing up in a preacher's home was not without its challenges. However, when it came time to build their own families, they chose to do it as best they knew how, God's way. Their families, including yours truly, are the beneficiaries. That includes home cooked meals. I thought I would throw that in as an illustration. I guess I had better close out for this week and maybe find a quiet place to practice my ho ho ho's. Maybe not. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I'll do my best to be in my place come next Monday morning. Until then, may God watch over us all. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." -- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Are you beginning to begin to think about beginning to get some holiday spirit? This is on my mind as we take the time to spend some time together or as they used to say back home, just hanging out and shooting the breeze. (There are a number of thoughts about where that slang term came from but I will let you look it up on your own.) At any rate, we do find ourselves today on this Thursday, November 17, 2016, just one week away from Thanksgiving Day. Technology is advancing all around us every second of every day. We all know that some of these advances can be harmful. Texting while driving. Exposing children to images they should not see. Stalking others. Using messages to bully or tear someone down. Those are but a few. Yet, there are some wonderful uses as well. The ability to keep up with those who need to be monitored via video feeds. To stay in touch with those near and dear in a myriad of different ways. And then we have this one from one of my brother Santas. He gave out early presents to some kids whose dad was deployed overseas and would soon be out of reach at a remote location. Using Skype, dad was able to participate in the proceedings. How great is that? I've seen the same thing done where dad could be there realtime for the birth of a child. How about the methods now available for getting the Gospel out, all over the world, literally? The top of the photo shows dad watching his boys get their presents. Not bad, Santa, not bad at all!

Yours truly, 2009, Santa with training wheels.
This may sound odd but that would not be anything new for me. Sometimes I catch my reflection in a mirror or maybe a window and without thinking, I do a double take. For a split second, I thought I actually saw Santa Claus. While it may be fleeting, it does show the power of an image and the thought it conveys. I know what some of you are thinking. Since I am Santa Claus, then why should I be surprised when I see an image of myself. It's like that relationship status people post, It's Complicated. I don't know of any relationships that are not complicated but that's a story for another day. I'm only two days away from my first big day in 'the chair' and I remain somewhat anxious about it. That's because of my number one helper and sidekick. Due to her weak back, she will not be able to be with me. I always do better when she is with me. Always. That reminds me. She should be using that Three Stooges line while she can, "How long have you had a weak back? Oh, since about a week back." At any rate, please pray for Mrs. Claus' soon recovery and you might throw in one for Santa since he tends to be seeing random sightings of himself these days.

The other day when I drove over to Louisiana, I passed by some very familiar terrain. I saw the dirt road that turned off to go to where some of my grandfather's people lived. We visited there a number of times when I was a kid. Okay. I can remember my first visit there when I was only 8 or 9. After we lost dad we had been transported from a small city to rural Louisiana. However, when you turned on to that particular dirt road you entered another level of what rural meant. I later learned to compare what I saw there with the folks that live back in the hills of Appalachia. Back then, I was mostly in shock. For crying out loud, my distant cousins about my same age were already dipping snuff and cursing with words I literally had never heard before. In the winter time, when you came into the front room where they had a fireplace blazing, the first smell that hit you was the odor of snuff sizzling on the coals. They would look me over, shake their heads, and say out loud, "So this is one of Lena's boys." We hunted with them from time to time. I remember they had lots of dogs. Some of the dogs were used to hunt. Others appeared to mostly lay out in the middle of the road and only move at the last second when a vehicle approached. The kids wanted me to go down to the creek with them. I barely could understand their language. I well remember how glad I was to hear Paw Paw say, "Well, I think we best be getting back." Just thinking about it now, and I'm still ready to get out of there. I shouldn't be too hard on these people. They were, after all, my kin. And, the kids did try to be sociable. They even offered to roll me a cigarette. Lots of memories and lots of roads to turn off on. I'll hit another one of them on another day. Be blessed and thank God for His provisions. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

“The moon is friend for the lonesome to talk to.” ― Carl Sandburg

Argentinian view.
My camera view.
Super hello on this supermoon Wednesday, November 16, 2016. I thought I had better chime in on this very popular astronomical event being played out before our very eyes. The photo on the left is not very good, however, it is genuine, and it was taken by yours truly, yesterday morning at 4:15 a.m. I have a little camera that I carry in my briefcase but I don't use it very often, therefore, I am a little weak in the two areas that were most important for this particular photo, the focus, and how to turn the flash off. I know. That should be simple, but, it wasn't like that big huge super moon was going to wait around while I figured it out. I know some of you are not satisfied unless you can pinpoint the exact location where they landed on the moon. Sorry. You will most likely need a different view than the one I captured. However, I did find one taken in Argentina that might help. It's the one on the right. They probably had a telescope and special camera. In other words, they had a better seat. They likely also knew how to focus and turn the flash off. Either that or they got lucky. It could happen. Maybe the moon itself had something to do with it. There are reports of people doing some pretty weird stuff and saying the supermoon caused it. I always enjoyed the late Andy Williams singing the 1961 hit song written by the late Henry Mancini, 'Moon River': "Moon River, wider than a mile: I'm crossin' you in style someday. Old dream maker, you heartbreaker, Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way. Two drifters, off to see the world. There's such a lot of world to see. We're after the same rainbow's end, Waitin' round the bend, My huckleberry friend, Moon River and me."

We really liked that song. We may have had it on eight-track. I know we literally wore out the cassette. I really liked that song. However, when I looked at the lyrics again, for the first time, I realized something. I have no idea what it meant. Fortunately, we have Google. I put in 'moon river explained' and guess what? I may have come late to not having a clue about the meaning of those lyrics but I certainly found out I am not alone. Best I can tell from many different submissions, the song has something to do with the 'two drifters', the singer and Moon River, as a metaphor for going here and there seeking out romance. Or something like that. Or maybe not. Or, whatever. Are you telling me that we wore out a perfectly good cassette recording and didn't even have any idea about the meaning of the song? I can't fudge here: Guilty as charged. It is, after all, a song about the moon and we already know what happens when the moon starts messing with your mind. One interesting side note, the use of 'my huckleberry friend' was an obvious offhand reference to Mark Twain, (Samuel Clemens), whose boyhood home was in Missouri. Andy Williams later built a theater in Branson where he sang that song thousands of times. The moon. I report. You decide.

Not getting the lyrics right can be dangerous. The wife and I recently heard the first hit song recorded by Petula Clark, "Downtown", released in 1964. It reminded us of the story about her dad's sister Aunt Marie. She was keeping her grandson and he kept running around the house singing that song. However, she thought he was saying a curse word, damn-town. She warned him to stop immediately. He would for a while but before she knew it, he was singing that cursing song again. She threatened to wash his mouth out with soap. (My mom's approach too.) Finally, she spanked his bottom. It was only later that she discovered the real words he was trying to sing. She felt terrible. See what I mean? Not understanding the lyrics can be dangerous. Especially, if you are a kid still perfecting your speech patterns. And, think about it, he couldn't help himself, because that song was on every station and he likely heard it over and over again. If he had been smart he would have sung 'Moon River' and he nor grandma would have had a clue as to what it was about. I am walking proof of that one. You what? You knew what it meant the first time you heard it? There's always one in every crowd. Right? Have yourself a good rest of this day that the Lord has given and may He add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"In a digital world, there are numerous technologies that we are attached to that create infinite interruption." ~ Timothy Ferriss, American author, entrepreneur and public speaker.

Good morning America and the regions beyond. I wonder if that is copyrighted. I don't think it could be, but, it does sound snappy. It's Tuesday, November 15, 2016, and I bring you a hearty hello and warm welcome from my electronic space to wherever you happen to be. That's an appropriate greeting because according to the stats, the majority of views on my page originate here in the States, followed by these countries in order of the total number of views, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Germany, France, Australia, Philippines, and Ukraine. Who would have ever thought? Russia is way up there in total views. They may be using my blog as part of their torture protocol. I am very confident whatever the reason, it's not because my stuff is hack worthy. I suppose it does illustrate the fact that we do live in an interconnected world where anyone with internet access can land just about anywhere, intentionally or unintentionally. I've always thought that most of the page views on my blog are the result of misdirected searches. And, as we all know, being misdirected will get you to the wrong place almost faster than anything else. That doesn't mean that God cannot use a misdirection in our life to help us to grow and develop. This is illustrated in the popular meme I see from time to time, "God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory." Amen.

What a fickle world we live in. Can you remember how that anyone who said Barak Obama is not my president was called a racist and a bigot? The supposed enlightened liberal left now say they want to see a nationwide movement to promote how Donald Trump is not my president. Can you remember how folks who talked about being disgusted with Washington and maybe their state should secede were called un-American rebels? The supposed enlightened liberal left in a number of states want to pursue the noble cause of secession because Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. Many folks have disagreed with the policies of President Obama but to my knowledge, they have not taken to the streets to destroy businesses and bring mayhem and injury to innocent bystanders. This is exactly what the supposed enlightened liberal left has done since the most recent election results have been confirmed. Now we find out a supposed enlightened liberal billionaire who is a one world government promoter is actually helping to fund these violent protests. This goes way beyond sour grapes. It is an outright attack on our nation's free expression as represented by those who vote as they see fit.

My wife thinks maybe I should just give up on trying to avoid political stuff since according to her, the more I try it's the more that I share. Oh well, I'm habit prone when it comes to throw down observations and they just kind of bubble up in response to what's going on around me. We can't really avoid the impact of these times that we are living in. They are really something! I can what? Say that again? Okay. They are really something! But this is the life we have been given and if the Bible is true, and it is, we know that we are a part of God's plan and purpose for our time, therefore, we need to walk by faith, based on the truth, not so much based on what we see and/or think. Many of us love the old song, "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." While that's a good thought, I think, for me anyway, He needs to be the one doing the holding because I'm mostly in the category of another good song, "I can't even walk without You holding my hand." That was true when I was born and Truman was the President and it's been the truth throughout my sojourn. Maybe I could call myself a life coach. (Actually, He is the life coach and I am the perpetual trainee.) I could add that one to my list of credentials. I do have multiple clients. Me. Myself. And, I. As many of you know, those three are a full-time job that requires me to show up early every single day and stay late. Take care. Now. You hear? See you next time and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Happy 16th to our Lexie!

Hello and welcome to another visit here on this Monday, November 14, 2016. Today we pause to think about our granddaughter Lexie and this being her 16th birthday. One day she is down on the floor playing and the next thing you know, she is standing by the Jeep her parents gave her for her birthday. We first and foremost thank God for this child. Amen. She is an excellent student, a gifted athlete and we so look forward to all God has planned for her life. May God continue to bless our Lexie as she continues her adventure here. Happy Birthday Sweetie from your MiMi and Poppy.

The wife is continuing to deal with the aftermath from a fall that cracked her T-12 vertebrae. It's not been easy. In fact, it has been a rigorous challenge. Taxing. Draining. I'm talking about the toll it is taking on her number one caretaker. Yours truly. Before all of her peeps get all stirred up, let me explain myself. This role reversal stuff is not for the fainthearted. She typically keeps our world somewhat on track. For better or worse, I'm now trying to learn how to juggle. Bottom line, I did sign up for this. Nearly 52 years ago. It is my privilege to do what I can to help her get back on her feet. Yesterday I signed the card our local fellowship is sending to her. I wrote her a note: "Get well soon. P L E A S E!" I am thankful that she is getting better. Slowly, but she is getting better. I do want to say a big thank you to all who have sent flowers, cards, and food. She tells everyone the good news is that I know how to cook. That really does put the pressure on me, but, so far I haven't started any fires. Not yet.

The Twins
I was telling my mom about our grandson, Jimmy Jr., and I cleaning off the roofs of our house. She said she hoped that I was not personally on the roof. I told her I was. She said she didn't think that was a good idea. I mentioned that if dad at 86 can get on top of their roof then surely I at 70 can get on ours. She said she sure hoped I would not be trying to keep up with him. Is that funny or what? I mention that because of the blessing they are to us. Think about it. Mom is 92 and dad is 86 and I end up finding motivation in their example of resilience and fortitude. I will tell you this. It would not be possible to equal their demonstrated stamina and determination. But, they do make good role models. And, as you can tell, I need all the motivational help I can get. I do have some good news. The wife's sister is coming today. You know the one I am talking about. Her twin who was born 18 months ahead of her. The wife is so looking forward to her arrival. I know it will give her a boost. I do appreciate her coming to help during this recovery time. Okay. I think I've finished for today. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sometimes our excuses fail. Hillary in responding to wiping clean the information on her email server: “What, like with a cloth or something?” (August 18, 2015)

Good Friday morning and welcome to today's time out where we can sit a spell, enjoy our coffee, on this November 11, 2016. This is the official day when we pause to remember those who have worn the military uniform of our nation. Armistice Day was first set aside to honor those who fought and helped win WWI. Later, it was changed to Veterans Day where we honor those who have served. May God bless them all is my prayer. Amen. The Trump upset is still reverberating from sea to shining sea. I listened to three New York Times reporters who were attempting to process exactly what had happened. First of all, these folks are on the far left end of the spectrum but they profess themselves to be unbiased and fair, yet they could not hide their shock at these results. What had happened? How could they have totally missed this outcome? It was as if the America they envisioned had suddenly been destroyed. These folks were talking almost real-time in terms of when the declaration of Trump as the winner was announced. Talk about total dismay to the point of being disoriented. The American people had spoken but why was it they and 99% of the rest of the media, the polling experts, and the professional political punditry had all missed it. They expressed more concern over what a Trump presidency might mean for them as reporters than they did for trying to get in touch with the angry sentiment of those who agreed the swamp needed to be drained. They contended that Trump had portrayed them in such a negative light that people may never trust them in the future. My thought was how they had pretty much earned the label of biased and in the tank for Hillary, therefore, their moaning and complaining had little resonance with me. Not even a whisper. I'm not taking sides here, just reporting this 30 minutes of recorded conversation among three very disillusioned reporters who wondered how they just got run over by a train but had not seen it coming.

The wife continues to make slow progress from her fall and we are so thankful to God for that. This has been some week, but when you think about it, most of them are. I heard folks in my circle saying they had pretty much stayed up all night awaiting the election results. We didn't. We actually didn't watch any of it, choosing to stay on channels that feature reruns. I didn't even look until Wednesday morning around 4 a.m. What is happening to our young men and women today? Report after report is coming in that tells about how college-age kids who ended up on the losing side are unable to function. Universities are granting them special considerations as they work their way through these mental and emotional distresses. Are you kidding me? These are the folks who will be taking our places. I've been disappointed many times after an election but never would I have dreamed that folks would need some kind of therapy because of their inability to cope with the results. While Mr. Trump will end up with a commanding win in terms of electoral votes, Ms. Clinton will likely end up slightly winning the popular vote nationwide. I mention that to say this, we are a divided nation. We as individuals have different worldviews. It's a fact of life in these United Sates. We need to come together where we can to serve the common good, but, we can't do anything for ourselves or anyone else if we are disabled by the results of an election. That's how I see it.

Another week has come and gone. I so much appreciate those who tune in each day. I occasionally get some comments about what I have written and I appreciate those who take the time to do so. I heard the press secretary for the President say yesterday the administration is open to consideration of a pardon for Hillary Clinton. Is that remarkable, or what? Does that seem odd to you? The story that refuses to go away. We do live in a messy world, one where God was the answer before, during, in the present, and in the future. I'm not expecting our new president to bring a spiritual revival. That doesn't mean we don't need one, beginning with me. I do know that God is always ready to hear, heal, and forgive. Talk about a turnaround! If you, I, and all those who know the Lord would begin to be all that He would have us to be. Wow! Now we are talking about changing the world. Okay. That should be enough for this week. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will do my best, Lord willing, to catch back up with you come next Monday. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of the other.

Good morning and welcome to Thursday, November 10, 2016. We all have heard many different opinions as to why Hillary lost. Some of the rationale has been very demeaning. It seems the majority of so-called Democrat experts theorize her loss was due to mostly white, uneducated, disaffected men with some white women thrown into the mix for good measure. One prominent Democratic pundit described it as a 'White-lash' more than a 'backlash'. They think while she threw out a lot of policies, she never was able to connect to the common person's pain. On Wednesday morning I did watch a replay of Trump's speech after the race was called and confirmed and I thought it was both conciliatory and presidential. No gloating. No bombast. Let's hope this divided nation can come together for the good of us all. I did hear something that was kind of funny. The place where Hillary was scheduled to make her victory speech began to know something had gone awry when her team called and canceled the fireworks. Uh oh. That caused me to create a new meme. Instead of it not being over until the fat lady sings, it is now not over until the fireworks are canceled. A little levity to help lighten the mood for today.

In my continuing series, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind, this past Wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning, I had another huge deer come from out of nowhere and he/she ran right in front of my grill. It is not a place where I usually see deer so it caught me off guard. Let me make it clear, I did not miss the deer. The deer missed me because I promise, at the time it all happened I couldn't do one single thing about it. I'm not certain what flashed through my mind but I did get a close-up view of the side and belly of a big deer as it flashed before my very eyes. Speaking of that, I heard a commercial for a brand new series on radio, (from the 1940's) and the promotion went something like this. "A thrilling new adventure involving intrigue and espionage is coming soon. Excitement unfolding before your very ears." I don't think I had ever heard that one before. Okay. Settle down. Yes. I do realize it was radio, not television. It just sounded neat to me. "Before your very ears." I wonder if that deer heard my loud gasp before its very ears? Quickly followed by a prayer of thanksgiving. Whew! Another near miss.

This past Sunday marked the actual start date culminating in my 10th year of being a part of the Company where I work. These folks have been very good to me and I am thankful to God for them and the good long run He has given to us. Believe it or not, I very much still enjoy getting up and coming in each day. I know I've contributed some along the way and I appreciate being able to do so. I hear so many people complaining about their job. While I know complaining about stuff like our jobs is part of the fabric of our society, I think embracing the opportunity is a much better approach. This doesn't mean that every day that I have showed up here has been a winning or great day. However, on balance, it has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I've been around long enough to know you can't do much better than that. I always send a note to our owner thanking him for giving me a shot back in November of 2006. I never imagined that ten years later I would still be sending a note of thankfulness. I am well aware of the old adage that says all good things must come to an end. Until that becomes a reality for me here, I will continue to do my best to do what I can to help our enterprise to succeed. With that, I end today's edition by wishing everyone a very happy day and to remind us all to remember to thank God for His provisions. Amen.   ...More later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1)

Good morning. I bring you greetings from my home away from home, where I am back in the saddle again here at my regular workplace, on this day after election Wednesday, November 9, 2016. I am glad to report the wife is getting better and recovering from her fall, albeit, slower than she would like. I think we all know the age factor does influence how quickly we snap back. Okay. We have a decision from the election process here in our nation. We have a new president. It was a surprise to me. Yes. I did vote straight Republican but may I make it clear one more time, I did not feel any sense whatsoever of excitement in doing so. Sorry. But that was my feeling. As this new regime begins to get ready to assume the powers of what is still called the most powerful human position in the world, I think it good to be reminded that God is Sovereign. He is always on His throne. "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1) Some might think that viewpoint is a cop out. However, if it is true, and it is, that makes it much more important than the person who takes the oath of office. I'm glad for those who are glad about the outcome. I've already seen postings in my circle that are also euphoric in nature, almost as if we have elected a truly superhuman saint. Not so fast. I prayed for President Obama and his family throughout his time in office. I will do so for a President Trump, but, I will also continue to acknowledge God's authority and His rule and reign over all things. Amen

The other day when I was back in the little town where I grew up I did some walking around at our home place. When dad died in January 1954, my mom and the six of us children relocated to this little rural Louisiana town and initially we moved in with my mom's parents, Granny and Paw Paw Mac. I was seven when this cataclysmic change happened. While my grandparents' home has been remodeled some over the years, the basic structure is still there. As I looked at that place memories flooded my soul. Us boys all sleeping in the same bedroom. Granny standing over a hot stove. Paw Paw building a fire in the fireplace. I remember my bewildered mom huddling us all together in a back bedroom to pray that God would somehow help us to make our way forward. Not far from that house is the one built for us to live in. I think we actually moved to it in 1957. God had made a way for us. Walking around the yard reminded me of so many times that we played our hearts out. I won't tell about all the games we enjoyed since they are no longer politically correct, however, we always had a feeling of wellbeing and security in that home. I could see my mom standing as us kids all dug into the meal she had prepared. It was like a feeding frenzy but she cared for us like Jesus described Himself, " often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings..." (Matthew 23:37) I will say it one more time, I am thankful for God's provision of the family He gave to me and the heritage that was handed down to me, along with so many fun memories of growing up. I superimposed my image on top of a huge oak tree in the back of what used to be Paw Paw Mac's garden. It was not so big when I was a kid. But, it has changed, and so have we all. The wife thought the photo was a little weird but it was intended to make a point. Again, thankful to God for all that He has done. Amen.

We didn't expect to load the wife up in an ambulance last Sunday morning. I was at the Church getting ready to teach my lesson. My cell phone rang. Yep. You got it. It was our version of, "I've fallen and I can't get up." Since the incident, she has used that analogy several times, therefore, I'm not breaking new ground here. My point? We just never know folks. We never know. Life is like that. Many have mentioned that her burning of the candle at both ends and in the middle made it necessary for her to take a break. She is a servant. And, she is willing. Now, we are doing our very best to serve her in her time of need. I told the folks at the hospital that I have over 52 years of investment in that woman and I'm still committed to taking care of it as best I can. Sleeping on that couch at the hospital may have tested that some but the truth is, whatever little I can do will never fully demonstrate my thankfulness to God for her. Now it's time for her to get up and get back on her feet. Paging Mrs. Claus, you have children waiting to hear you read to them. Praying for God's help in her speedy recovery. Amen. ....More later...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"The home should be the treasure chest of living." ~ Le Corbusier

Good morning and welcome. We made it in from the hospital last night around 7 p.m. Dealing with a crack in the back is not a tip toe through the tulips for folks our age. She's been in a lot of pain but they tell us she will heal on her own and in her own good time. Thanks for showing up today, here on this Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Yep. It's election day. The worst one I've experienced in my lifetime but maybe you feel differently about it. Good for you. How sympathetic am I regarding my ailing better half? The Hallmark Channel. Need I say more? I'll see how she does this morning before deciding about going to work. It's just good that we are able to be home.

Speaking of going home, I got up early last Saturday morning and got everything together to make my way over to Louisiana to visit mom and dad. My sweet wife prepared a full meal for me to take for our lunch. I told the wife about a dream I had the night before. We all have experienced those dreams when we anticipate something important. I suppose I went to sleep thinking about going back home. Well, in my dream, I drove into town and it was just like it had been back in the early 1960's. I saw the station we used to own on the left as I drove over the railroad tracks. On the right was the train station. All the stores were there. The people were there. I was the same with the white beard but everything else was a flashback. I even visited the high school gym where both my sisters were playing basketball. I was in my truck. The one I drive today. I told the wife that I became concerned about the fact they had no unleaded gasoline for my vehicle. She listened and laughed and concluded that maybe I needed to see a psychiatrist. I told her that if that one dream made her think that, what about the rest of my life? I later told her that I would consider making an appointment but only if I started seeing Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bea in my dreams.

I made the three hour drive and enjoyed a wonderful day with mom and dad. We visited and then we visited some more. What a blessing to be there with them. One more time. God has been good to me and I thank Him for all He has provided to me in my life. And, yes, for me, it's always good to go back home again. That includes watching my sisters play basketball. Fran played like a girl worrying about her hair getting messed up. JoAnn played like a boy and you had not better get in her way when she was dribbling the ball. My point? I could find some really bad stuff that happened in my upbringing to concentrate on but there's just too many blessed recollections to waste my time on that kind of negative journey. I do hope you take the time to remember to thank God for all He has done. Amen. ....More later.