Thursday, August 17, 2017

Spunk and Enthusiasm. Not a bad combination, if you ask me. Not bad even if you don't ask me.

Our Brady boy!
Good morning. Just for the record, we will be officially celebrating my birthday this upcoming Saturday with the family. I don't think anything is planned to recognize the 40th anniversary of that iconic Elvis guy who chose my birthday to check out. Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017, and we are doing our best to keep at it. Speaking of family, I chit chatted with our grandson Brady the other day. He is getting ready for 6th grade this week. He is also back in football. We had ourselves a somewhat politically incorrect forth and back about football. I said, "Well, son, I know you are a hard hitter. Have you left anyone laying out on the field yet?" He nonchalantly shot back, "No Sir, not yet, but I plan to do so, soon." For those who follow my blog who like to see everyone play nice even on the football field, well, consider this: Brady is very clear on the fact that it is a contact sport. And, he intends to fulfill his part of that bargain. While I do pray for his safety, I, at the same time, greatly admire his spunk and enthusiasm. Those two attributes are good ones for any of us to have as we deal with the life we have been given.

They tell us the moment you speak of having humility is the moment you lose it. Well, I'm going to say something any way. I am humbled by the many well wishes, comments, and other forms of greeting that were expressed yesterday in recognition of my 71st birthday. Many, way too many, were way too kind. My eldest son said I should feel honored. However, while I do appreciate these wonderful thoughts, I live with the fellow being talked about, 24x7. The reality is this. I'm just as convicted about my life when the preacher shares God's word as the next fellow. Maybe even more so. I'm still working through some pretty profound thoughts from a sermon I heard last Sunday. Here was a take away that I have thought a lot about this week, "If you do not have a plan for how you will spend your time, every bit of it, there is someone who does have a plan. That someone is Satan and anytime we fail to have a plan in the use our time, he will fill any void." The sermon was about finishing well with the example of the Apostle Paul's testimony, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course." (2 Timothy 4:7) Therefore, I received all those wonderful comments, many of them quite laudatory in nature, within the context of knowing I need to do more, work harder, and be more conscious of my time so that I can finish well, for the honor and glory of the Lord. But, thanks for the birthday wishes. I will always cherish the love shown towards me.

At any rate, we move on. This means that today is the next day of my 71st year in my sojourn here on this sphere called earth. One lady pointed out to me that having achieved that status meant I was one year past the three score and ten promised in the Scriptures. That comes from the 90th division of the Psalms, Verse 10, in a prayer song attributed to Moses. Since I mentioned that waxing poetic situation yesterday, I thought I would share that particular passage as a way of saying thanks for all the birthday wishes, and, let's all pray for each other that we would find ourselves faithful and focused on finishing well. Amen. ....More later. 

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses, the man of God.

1) O Lord, you have been our protector through all generations!

2) Even before the mountains came into existence,
or you brought the world into being,
you were the eternal God.

3) You make mankind return to the dust,
and say, “Return, O people!”

4) Yes, in your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday that quickly passes,
or like one of the divisions of the nighttime.

5) You bring their lives to an end and they “fall asleep.”
In the morning they are like the grass that sprouts up;

6) in the morning it glistens and sprouts up;
at evening time it withers and dries up.

7) Yes, we are consumed by your anger;
we are terrified by your wrath.

8) You are aware of our sins;
you even know about our hidden sins.

9) Yes, throughout all our days we experience your raging fury;
the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh.

10) The days of our lives add up to seventy years,
or eighty, if one is especially strong.
But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression.
Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.

11) Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger?
Your raging fury causes people to fear you.

12) So teach us to consider our mortality,
so that we might live wisely.

13) Turn back toward us, O Lord!
How long must this suffering last?
Have pity on your servants!

14) Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love!
Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days!

15) Make us happy in proportion to the days you have afflicted us,
in proportion to the years we have experienced trouble!

16) May your servants see your work!
May their sons see your majesty!

17) May our sovereign God extend his favor to us!
Make our endeavors successful!
Yes, make them successful!

New English Translation (NET)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On this day, I am reminded once again of God's mercy, grace, and provision in my life. Amen.

Good morning and welcome to this particular Wednesday, August 16, 2017. This is the day that I pause to thank the good Lord above for His providence and His provision throughout my three score and ten years plus one.  That’s right. I am blessed, as of today, to have been breathing the air here on the planet for these seventy-one years.  There are way too many blessings to even begin to mention by name, but, I will summarize my journey thus far in this way: Faith, Family, and Friends. Faith: Simply put, God. He has been good to me. Family: I have a wonderful immediate and extended family. Friends: I have a host of those who have blessed me with their support and friendship. I’ve learned some things during my time. Some of it came the hard way. Being somewhat reflective, I share this quote from the late, celebrated American poet, Robert Frost, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” I do thank God for His blessings. Amen. (The photo collage depicts myself and Marilyn as kids. Believe it or not, just 10 or so years from that photo, we were dating. The rest, as they say, is history. She reflects God’s best in my life for over 55 years.)

Since I ushered myself into a reflective mood, I suppose I should say something that would be an attempt to utter a profound assessment of this life that God has given to me. I looked up some famous words spoken by famous people in their conclusions about the meaning of life. Some of them sounded pretty good but they were not what I was looking for. I then thought about the Source of Truth given to us by God Himself. And, this is the passage that jumped into my mind. It is from the inspired journal kept by Solomon and it is his conclusion having devoted himself to pretty much every pursuit known to humanity.  "When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, from the Amplified Bible.) He's still working on me and I am too. It is a full-time occupation. No retirement. Amen.

I most likely could have come up with some flowery sounding words but never would I or anyone else be able to have the impact that comes when we share God's Holy Word. He speaks through His Word by the power of His Spirit who is able to communicate truth to the human heart. Here's a tidbit from the ProEdit website: "So 860.3 million words certainly sounds like a lot. However, getting our heads around that number requires some perspective. Here goes: In one lifetime, the average person speaks the equivalent of the entire text of the complete 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED) more than 14.5 times." I know what some of you are thinking. You think I am way ahead of that schedule. You are probably right. Please humor me a tad, because it is, after all, my birthday. I may not show it all the time, but to me, I surely should have an attitude of gratitude because God has been there with me throughout my lifetime. Like I said, I may not show it all the time. I may not even feel it all the time, but, the good news is how that doesn't change the reality of His provision and presence. I close with that thought, I am thankful. Amen. ....More later..

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Sweat is the cologne of accomplishment." ~ Heywood Hale Brown

Here we go again and this time we do so on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. As we have sifted through the paperwork associated with mom and dad, we've been reminded of things we may not have fully understood. Mom and dad were effective and productive in the jobs they held. Exceptionally so. Both of them. They never came off as bragging on themselves as high achievers and they never talked much about how often they had been recognized for their performance, however, they both, during their times of employment, were given numerous awards and letters of commendation. In our time spent reviewing the correspondence and paperwork of their lives, we have seen stacks of these recognitions. I knew that mom had been given special commendation at different times but the sheer number of them in one of the manila folders was still surprising. Many of dad's awards, especially as a military non-commissioned officer, have been framed and they are very impressive. Yet, there's even more that were never put into that type of presentation. Letters from his commanding officers. Letters recognizing him going above and beyond. As we consider these forms of recognition, they are inspirational to us and it reaffirms our thankfulness to God for giving us the opportunity to have these two remarkable people as our parents. Amen.

One of the things these documents spoke to me reflects on their unapologetic work ethic. They gave themselves to whatever work they were involved in. That's one of the elusive traits that employers bemoan today. Employees who lack a solid work ethic. Mom and dad had that all over them. I do know many of their direct descendants also carry that attribute with pride. Today when you talk about being committed to the job you have, the current views that swirl around responds with things like a slave, workaholic, and no real life. Really? I can tell you one thing. Our parents were committed to their jobs and they had REAL LIVES. Lives that made a difference, by the way. At mom's and dad's house there is a coo coo clock hanging on the wall. Someone mentioned that it was given to them by a lady we all knew growing up. I then told the others there with me how that mom and dad saw after this lady, carried her to her doctor appointments, and mom sent food, up and until she passed away. That didn't get recognized on a piece of paper. But, I can assure you, it reflects their story. What was a consistent part of their story? Their resolve and commitment to whatever task they put their hand to. At the job site or in hauling an ailing widow woman to her doctors 100 miles away. Amen.

You can tell that I'm just back from being at the homestead over in Louisiana. Some wonder about me not really caring that much about the stuff mom and dad accumulated. I already have a chest full of that stuff. You know. The one that contains my heart. Okay. For you purists, I know it's not the pump that does its thing 24x7. It was a metaphoric statement. Heart. I believe the Bible portrays the heart as being the seat or place of origin of our thoughts and emotions. The 1611 King James translation put Proverbs 4:23 in this way, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." At any rate, my heart, in that context, is fully satisfied and saturated with my respect and remembrance of mom and dad. Waxing poetic today? Sorry. I'm not into waxing. I've seen that video of them doing that on the fellow's chest hair. Way too painful for me. Thanks for showing up today. It's good to be able to work through these issues with you being here to help me out. And, it does save on my psychiatric fees. See you next time and may God bless us, one and all. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The past, the present, the future. God knows. The good, the bad, the ugly. God knows. Our pain, challenges, and sorrows. God knows. And, best of all, HE CARES! Read all about it in the 139th Division of the Psalms.

Yep. I did make it back and I am thankful to be able to bring you greetings from my back-to-work workstation here on this Monday, August 14, 2017. I've shared my grandfather's saying before that he used when he felt maybe a little worse for wear, "I feel like I've been dragged through a rat hole backwards." While I couldn't find anything concerning the origin of that little saying, that doesn't mean that it hasn't been used as slang in the past. It is used in at least one song and in a number of books. When I Googled it, my blog came up twice as a reference. Those were several years ago, therefore, I think it is okay to use it today. No. I do not have an illustration for that one. At any rate, we are able to get up and go and for that I am thankful. Having seen that ability lost to a number of individuals close to us over the past several years, I can assure you, I do not take it for granted. Sometimes as I drive down the country road leading up to my workplace I just have to blurt out to the Lord how grateful I am that He has provided me the strength to do what I am doing. I am reminded of Job's response from Chapter 12 of the Book that bears his name: "Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?" (Verse 9-10, NASB) Amen.

I read where the sale of underground bunkers is spiking out in California. Supposedly, this is directly connected to the North Korean threat of launching a nuclear attack against certain locations in the United States. I found a company out there that sells these survival shelters. That photo is from their advertising website. They have 14 models with an entry level price of $9,999.00. They say their shelters are buried at least 10 feet deep and can be installed in 3 to 5 days. Wow! Who knew? They also claim to be the only manufacturer to have actually tested their units. I have no idea how they did that. The design is essentially a huge corrugated thick pipe with life support systems installed. My guess is these units will do a much better job than our drills at school when I was a kid. That's where we all got under our desks, as best we could. I grew up. I saw the photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I don't think getting under a school desk would offer any protection at all. I'm not being critical of the people who purchase these units. That is their choice. At the same time, I do know, we all know, that fear sells. My choice is to trust God. Sorry, I do not have a Plan B.

I suppose some have noticed that I do typically work without a script. Some would add, without a clue as well. And, believe it or not, I'm not sure it would ever resonate much at all if I attempted to do it differently than how it more or less falls out each day. I know I have to be careful using the word fall out having just mentioned the nuclear threat. I read where the late night TV people are blaming President Trump for what North Korea is up to. Really? One of them called on President Trump to shut up before he gets us all killed. That kind of stuff may get the knee jerk expected from the people who watch them, but, I, for one, think it is time for the peace loving nations of the world to deal with a rogue regime that has enslaved its own people and constantly threatens to nuke anyone they don't like. I don't know exactly what should be done, but, this look-the-other-way strategy over the past many years hasn't really accomplished anything. Just me. Not you perhaps. Just my thought about it. I think we are still allowed to have our own opinion. Thanks for finding me on your dial today and may God protect us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 11, 2017

"The only steps in this house are the stairsteps and the only half in this house is the half and half creamer." ~ Al Hodson

Welcome. It's Friday, August 11, 2017. I hope everyone in our area is enjoying the fact that we are nearly in the middle of August and due to some rains of late, our grass is still green. Hello! That's not always how it works in this area even when we water as much as we can. I will be heading out to Louisiana later this morning. My brother and I will continue our work on getting everything in order in support of the settling of mom's and dad's affairs. We are making progress and we are so blessed to have the support of our huge blended family. Those who follow my daily episodes are aware that my brother is technically, my step brother. He is our recently departed dad's eldest son. When he and I call each other to discuss a particular estate related matter we never fail to visit and swap stories. Just for the enjoyment of it. Our family crew is well over 100 strong and this closeness among our blended family is something very special to us. Our desire to preserve this family bond is the agreed to foundation upon which we make our decisions regarding the duties mom and dad assigned to us. The wives are going this time. We both are glad. We do need some grunt labor. That was a joke. They both read my blog. I hope they are laughing. We do need their help. One of the main things they can do is to keep us focused on working instead of visiting. Based on prior history, I think they can do that.

Lord willing, we will begin an in-home prayer and Bible study beginning next Thursday evening. Our inaugural gathering has about 20 folks coming with the potential for more. We have wanted to do this for a long time. We have the piano tuned, the song books ready, and a seating arrangement that will accommodate our time together. And, a high priority item, the Community Coffee will be flowing. Why didn't we do this before? Well, sometimes invention is the mother of necessity and sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. At any rate, the time has come and we are so excited to start this new adventure. It has been my great privilege to stand and share God's Holy Word for nearly 50 years. I'm not bragging on myself because I learned a long time ago that true Bible teaching comes from God through the teacher. Therefore, I am praying that God will speak to us all as we seek to honor Him with the lives He has given to us. And, that He will be honored by all that we do. Maybe some of our neighbors will also come. Now that would be such a blessing! Amen.

What a week! I worked on booking some Santa events. I worked on a number of estate related matters. We worked on preparing for the upcoming new Bible study. I worked on doing my blog each day. Oh yeah, I did some work in support of the Company where I spend many of my waking hours each week. Some work. Thus far, they haven't shown up with a mirror to check my breathing to see if I am still alive, but, I'm sure on some days they wonder. Yes. I did nearly pass out in Church due to the side effects from my new diabetic medication. Believe me, that was a come to the altar, wake up call. (Continuing with the Church motif here.) Since that happened, I have been very careful to make sure I have plenty of snacks to keep my blood sugar stabilized. And, the good news, early on, is how my fasted numbers in the morning are coming down. That, folks, is great news to yours truly. Busy? Yes. Hopefully, gainfully so, in terms of being involved in things that do make a difference. And, as I often say, with a goal of making a difference for time and eternity. Until our next time together, enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"For me, comedy is a day-to-day report on the human condition. It's what's happening right now. I get maybe 20 minutes of my act straight from the newspaper." ~ Comedian Elayne Boosler

You do know by now that I tend to notice things. I do. And, Facebook, actually helps me to do that very thing. Especially, over time. This is what I dredged up as a lead on this Thursday, August 10, 2017. One of the things I notice is how people post the most amazing, revolutionary, life changing, new product, service, self-help program, diet, exercise, parenting help, you name it, and that's all you hear and see for many days and weeks. But, somehow, something along the way happens and that astounding breakthrough passes off the scene, never to be heard from again. That's not the case with every individual, but, it reflects the reality of the human condition found in most of us. I include myself with a caveat. I'm not likely to be out there parading something for all to see, but, that's the beauty of social networking. One gets to share whatever it is that one chooses. And, I might add, one gets to notice what one wants to notice. I do know this. Anyone who posts a testimony of coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, well, if they meant business with God, they never have to worry about that one fading away. You have this as a certainty as Jesus Himself said: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10: 28-30, (KJV)

When he laughs, everyone better be laughing too!
I'm certainly not critical of folks who get all excited about something only to see it dissipate over time. Been there. Done that. Many times. If I were to give any advice at all, it might be to tone it down a little when the enthusiasm level is out of control. At the same time, they can do what they well please. I can too. Including giving some unasked for advice. Do we live in a great country or what? We do. But I am aware there's a promise out there to make us great, again. I get it. At the same time, I am very much grateful for the greatness that has remained throughout my sojourn as a citizen of this country. Think about this most recent dust up with North Korea. The regime there is at least in the running for the title of being the most repressive in the world. Their people have no freedoms. Many of the children there are slowly starving. I would hate to see it come to an armed confrontation because the people of North Korea would end up suffering the most. However, at the same time, there's only so much provocation that any freedom loving nation can take. I mention this in the context of being thankful for the nation God allowed us to be a part of. We are blessed. Yes. Despite our troubles, our internal conflicts and struggles, we are blessed. And, I humbly thank God above for His provision for the United States of America. Amen.

Let me see if I am making any progress here. I pointed out some of our common human frailties. Check. I included myself by association. Check. I talked about the freedoms we enjoy, including those regarding how we represent ourselves to others. Check. I shared the eternality of what it means to become a child of the living God. Check. I shared my heart concerning the contrast between the freedoms we enjoy versus life under totalitarianism. Check. I gave God the credit for all that we enjoy here in this land. Check. That seems to be some reasonable thoughts for us all to consider as we continue our day, here in the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Oh yeah. I also did a little unapologetic flag waving even though, that, sadly, is becoming very frowned upon in the so called enlightened circles of the elite. Their attitude towards it will not cause me to stop. I love my country. Period. End of story. Thanks for getting on board and riding along with me today. I'm also wondering if and when we will pass go and collect our $200. May God bless each one. And, may He continue to bless the USA! Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Welcome to Pet Peeve Wednesday

People Who Never Shut Up and Talk Over You Constantly, take a breath already ~ People Who Are Always Interrupting ~ Animal Cruelty ~ Unflushed/Messy Public Toilets ~ When People Copy a Really Good Idea of Yours and Get Credit for It ~ People Who Don't Know About Personal Space ~ Rude People ~ Parents Letting Their Toddlers Scream and Scream and Scream and Ignoring Them ~ People Who Don't Cover Their Cough/sneeze ~ Chewing with your mouth open ~ Someone Who Always Finds Something to Complain About ~ People Who Won't Respect Your Opinion Just Because It Doesn't Match Theirs ~ People Who Think Their Overly Annoying Children Are the Cutest Little Angels ~ Driving too slow in the fast lane ~ Cutting in line ~ When Someone Tells You They Will Take Care of It and Doesn't Follow Through ~ Really Bad Body Odor ~ Stopping in the middle of a crowded hallway ~ Parking a car across two spaces ~ Talking during the movie ~ Talking With Mouth Full ~ People Acting Like There Hurt or Sad Just to Get Attention. ~Welcome to pet peeve Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Those were the top ones listed by the Ranker website. If you can't find one on that list, you probably can make your own. Ranker claims to have the definitive ranking on just about everything imaginable. (It really agitates me when they make claims like that.)

They had plenty of others on their compiled list. I think we all know there are two sides to this coin. The one where we are annoyed and the one we might not think as much about, the one where we are the one doing the annoying. Thanks. I needed that whether anyone else did or not. What's most interesting to me is how I find myself getting steamed over something and within a short period of time I get hit up side the head because I find myself doing the exact same thing. Oh, but it is different when I did it. I had my reasons. See what I mean? Where's a police officer when you really need one? If I knew the number I'd call a tow truck and have that car towed. The nerve of some people. Yep. HOWEVER, when the shoe is on the other foot, we, don't exactly see it the same way. I was in a huge hurry. I have a deadline to meet. It was only going to be for a minute or less. Blah, Blah, Blah. Here's a legitimate peeve I can share. I'm trying to adjust to my new added diabetic medicine, therefore, I brought a one each Little Debbie Swiss Roll, just in case. I then said to myself, Self, you should probably check out the little cake to make sure it will work. I opened the little plastic and all the icing, (translated: the good stuff), was glued to the plastic leaving only a shrunk up miniature piece left. That's what heat and humidity do. And, that just burns me up. However, it may be a good thing since I only ate a half and as it turned out, it was only a facsimile of its former self. 

Swiss Roll Disaster: Portrait of a 'Bad Day'
Please don't send me a list of those above that you think I am guilty of.  Please. Those kinds of things really hack me off. Just kidding. I think I've beat myself up enough for one day. And, consider the trauma I suffered in that little cake incident. That's enough to ruin any one's day. Don't think for a moment that I am unaware of what some of you are doing as you read my sad story. That's right. I know. You are doing that thing with your finger on your thumb playing the world's smallest record player with a version of, "My Heart Cries for You." No. I am not claiming to be clairvoyant. I finally found something to be proud of this morning. I actually spelled clairvoyant correctly. I prefer not to see the spell checker acting like Redd Foxx on 'Sandford and Son' when he was having one of his purported custom made heart attacks. "Elizabeth, honey, I'm coming to see you." I don't mind the spell checker pointing out my mistakes. I just do not care for the snickering. Another thing I am thankful for today is that God knows all about everything that we have to do with. We don't pray to inform Him of anything, we pray because He has invited us to come directly into His throne room based on the finished work of His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that is something that will make us all feel better as we face this day. Amen.   .....More later.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

“Perhaps you should put your head down.” 'I knew this was the thing to do, although I’ve never fainted and I don’t intend to.'” ― Franny Billingsley, from her book, 'Chime'

Good morning and welcome to your daily visitor where I will be doing my best to pilot this program for the next few minutes. It is Tuesday, August 8, 2017. I have received some recent feedback on the last several of my postings. I will try and summarize what folks are saying to me. "Have you lost your ever loving mind?" That begs the question about me ever having found it, but, I do appreciate the input. My doctor finally agreed to add an additional diabetic medication to supplement the one I have been taking for years. We had to greatly reduce the strength of the primary because of its impact on my digestive system, therefore, my numbers have been running high, for me. I am familiar with this newly added drug family. It is in a class known as sulfonylureas. I had taken a form of it when I was first diagnosed some eight years ago. It had the impact of dropping my sugar so low I had to crawl to the kitchen to get some orange juice. The pharmacist took about five minutes warning me about the side effects. That, in and of itself, is unusual. The tiny little pill is barely larger than a baby aspirin. I took it for the first time this past Sunday morning. You take it, wait 15 minutes and eat some breakfast. I did it exactly the way I was instructed. That was around 7 a.m. At 11 a.m. I was sitting in a Church auditorium with about 1200 people when the most prominent of side effects kicked in, I became very lightheaded and thought I was going to pass out. Among those on the same pew, we were able to produce one round spearmint candy and a piece of gum containing sugar. I took those in and after a couple of minutes, I was at least, mostly, back in control. I had not intended on becoming one of those examples of someone said to have been 'slain by the Spirit'. But, it almost happened.

I will know better next time. I missed out on an opportunity to create some excitement. That's okay. Now the wife has pledged to carry some candy bars in her purse, just in case. I nearly fainted. It turned into an unexpected blessing! You know. Showers of candy bars falling from above. The thought alone causes me to get a little weak-kneed. That should be more than enough to let you know how things go with me. I often say, it's always something. The reason I say it is because it's always something. I went to the mall the other day with the wife. She needed to make a quick purchase. It's back to school shopping at our mall. Standing room only. We stopped there after Church. No parking places. I ended up dropping her off and I had to park so far away the mall looked small to me when I got out of the car. Hot and tired, I finally made it to the food court where I was waiting for her. She was having a bear built. I'm not always up on the latest, but, I found out they actually build the bear at that place. Who knew? I was hungry and still a little woozy from being nearly laid out on the floor and I began to wonder if she was having a six foot Grizzly made. She finally showed up. She said she thought I would have gotten my food already. I sure wish I would have known that because by the time she got there I was as hungry as a bear and may have also been growling like one.

We made a visit to the medical center in downtown Houston to visit a young woman in the hospital there. We learned something. A white beard is very popular at that place. I was recognized several times as that other fellow that I am at times known as. On our way out, while waiting for the valet to bring our car, I had an opportunity to make a selfie with a beautiful young Hispanic girl. She was very excited. I was too. Her parents were happy to get the photo. The Mrs. Claus? I think all I heard her say was "Let me get out of the way." She did tell the little girl that she was officially on the nice list. I did have one fellow who asked if the beard was real. I hoped that was a joke but I think he was serious. Let me see. It's 100 degrees and I would be walking around in a fake Santa beard? Oh well, I've heard that it takes all kinds. I think we saw most of the 'all kinds' while there at the mega hospital. All of the things I've reported today transpired on this past Sunday. After Church Sunday evening when the wife and I got home we both agreed that we had put in a full day. A good day. I hit the hay around 8:30 p.m. (Hit the Hay, meaning: Go to bed, American usage dating back to 1902, as quoted in a magazine from that year, "After dinner he smoked one Perfecto and then, when he had put in a frolicsome hour or so with the North American Review, he crawled into the hay at 9.30 P.M.") At any rate, it didn't take long for me to fall asleep and it wasn't necessary for me to count the sugar plums dancing in my head. I do hope you enjoy the rest of your day. May God bless one and all. Amen.   .....More later

Monday, August 7, 2017

"I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it." ~ Edith Sitwell, British Poet, (1887-1964)

Yesterday, August 6, we observed the 19th birthday of our twin granddaughters, Alesha (back) and Amanda (with phone). These girls are a hoot and they are also near and dear to our hearts. We thank God for them and seek His best as they continue their journey. Happy Birthday girls. Know that we love you. mimi and poppy.

Welcome back. It is Monday, August 7, 2017, and I'm going to start off with a little humorous anecdote to get our day going. If you download a movie illegally while vacationing in Jamaica, does that make you a Pirate of the Caribbean? Please. No grumbling so early into the day. Maybe it's too early in the morning. I happen to have thought it was worth sharing. Why? Because I laughed when I saw it. It most certainly was not because I am a fan of the movies that carry that name. They did play the first one at the house one time many years ago and I thought it was mostly weird and to me, there definitely was no there, there. The skeleton pirates were beyond ridiculous. I know. I am well aware that some people love those movies. I think they have made a lot of money. I still think that little joke is a good one. It's like the Jamaican saying, translated into English, "I came here to drink milk, not to count cows." I suppose you need the application. I am glad to oblige: "This is a reminder that we should conduct business in a straightforward manner. It also means that you should deliver what you promise and not waste time talking about it." I know there are some forums where you can get a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) for reading their materials. I don't think I'm eligible to issue one, but, it might be worth considering.

I could have used the other one I recently saw. One night two yokels in Missouri were sitting on the tailgate of their truck and one asked the other which one did he think was farther away, the moon or Alabama. The other one just chuckled, "That one's way too easy, now I ask you, from here, which one can you actually see?"  That was a two blondes talking to each other joke, but, I just couldn't get into the stereotyping mode today. Too easy. It was unattributed, therefore, I didn't feel guilty altering it for today's episode. There you were, thinking I might tilt a little towards being insensitive. I surprise myself sometimes. We all have those days. You know what I am talking about. You feel like you have a stick in your hand and everyone looks like a pinata. It's the kind of day when you almost understand one of those mind twisters: "At the greatest pain in labor, a woman can almost understand how her man feels when he has a cold." I still have trouble with that one, but, one of my toes is a little achy this morning. Perhaps I could do better with this one, "There are times when I wished I had listened to my mother." "Why? What did she say?" "I don't know, I wasn't listening." See what I mean? My life is not that easy. Believe me. It isn't. It really isn't.

I will not plead the 5th. My answer is: I do not have a word quota each day. Some of you may have thought that I did, given the number of words that have little or no meaning. It's really not that complicated. I start with a blank page. When I finish, I have three paragraphs, some graphic illustrations, a title, and lastly, a partridge in a pear tree. I know this might be a little disturbing, but, I actually write whatever it is that comes to mind. I know. It can be scary to me also. You should see the stuff that I delete. If I read something I wrote and it immediately makes me wonder about the sanity of the author, it is out of here. You think perhaps I've missed a few of those along the way? Good eye. You do know I'm just having a wee bit of fun today. You know that. Right? I settled for that illustration. It's supposed to show stuff coming from my mind. I don't advise anyone to do a Google Image search on "mind blowing". Yikes! Talk about some graphic graphics! Seeing my little clock on the sidebar of my screen, I notice that it's time for me to wrap this up. You, yes, I'm talking to you. You go out there and have yourself a blessed day and may God go with you is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. They’re right around. I’ve seen Russian soldiers." ~ A thought to be mentally unstable United States Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, in 1949.

Some good news early on: It's Friday, August 4, 2017. The not so good news: It's me again. Regardless, I do wish a good morning to one and all. Most of us are conditioned to be critics. That's how our society influences people. I'm as guilty as anyone. You know what I am talking about. Everything we see we have a 'what's wrong with this picture?' mentality. I've been recently going off on this subject on a huge Santa Claus networking site. (Over 2,000 Santas.) Let me give you an example. Say a fellow Santa posts a photo of himself ministering to special needs children. What does he get in return? A bunch of pompous critiques of his uniform and his general appearance. Are you kidding me? He probably posted the photo to encourage others to reach out to this likely under served group. I railed on this and got a lot of responses. I received a private message from a Santa who said I had better watch out because that message board was under the control of a 'good ole boys network' and they don't like people calling them out, on anything. I really don't care about that. I heard all the moaning and groaning about helping someone to grow and improve. Give me a break. The comments were not very constructive, nurturing, or encouraging. The kids, by the way, typically have no problems with the Santa showing them love. As you can see, this is a pet peeve of mine. But, here's the kicker. Many of those who offer up the most pointed critiques may wear a $2000 suit, but, they might ought to look closely in the mirror because they have some pretty glaring flaws. (They need not show up for a Coca Cola Christmas commercial audition anytime soon if you get my drift.) No. I didn't choose to say anything to them about their appearance because I've not appointed myself as the Critic in Residence like they have. I know. This is inside stuff for most of the civilian world, but, there's a message here, and it applies to us all. Thanks for hearing me out. I feel better now.

Now that I have that off of my chest, or perhaps, off of my belly that does at times shake like a bowl full of cherries, I can move on. You what? You haven't seen any critiques lately of someone in a Santa suit? I knew that. I know that. Think. Big picture. Critical spirit. Stuff like that. It's Friday. Make something up. It reminds you of something Jesus talked about? "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3) Wow! Good call. I should have thought of that one myself. I didn't share that one on the Santa networking site but I maybe should have. When it comes to finding fault, I've got more work than I will ever finish much closer to home. No. I'm certainly not talking about my wife. I'm thinking of the old song, "It's me, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer." By the way, does anyone know where they will be doing the Santa Claus auditions for the next Coca Cola Christmas commercial?

I do thank each and every person who stopped by this week. I noticed the other day how that Russia, (nearly 19,000 hits since I began my blog.), has moved into second place behind the US in visits to my little piece of blogging real estate. That's a little puzzling. I sure hope it doesn't lead to me being included as a suspect in any collusion related activities. Maybe they see my blog as containing secret codes. They might think my colloquial slang to be something akin to the Navajo code talkers from WW2. I have a word for them: 1) Good luck with that. 2) Let me know if you find anything good. That would surprise us all. I'm just joking. Not about the Russians. The part about them landing on my blog is statistically accurate. Just, in general, "He said with a hopeful countenance." Speaking of that, I actually spoke with someone the other day who had to appear in court in a lawsuit against the company he was working for. His company's lawyers had instructed him to plead the 5th. That's the first person I ever spoke to who had actually done that. I asked him. Just like in the mafia movies? The very same. To every question he was asked. Wow. You learn something every day. If you made it to the end, well, congratulations. I'm not sure I would have stayed with it. I do hope you and yours have a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May our Great God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.....More later.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

[In the Galaxy Magazine]: "I shall not often meddle with politics, because we have a political Editor who is already excellent and only needs to serve a term or two in the penitentiary to be perfect." ~ Mark Twain, a Biography

Good day and welcome, it's Thursday, August 3, 2017, and you caught me just as I am attempting to untangle some of those thoughts that are careening here and there, upstairs. (The slang dictionary defines the upstairs metaphor in this way: in the head, brain. It goes on to illustrate, "He doesn't have a lot going on upstairs.") While no one has asked why I haven't been commenting much on the political landscape, I'll tell you why, anyway. It's a mess. It's a train wreck. I do try to keep up with all that is happening but they keep issuing barf bags for those paying attention. It's like the proverbial cover your eyes until that particularly horrible scene is finished, but, in the current situation, the scene just keeps on keeping on. I'm still hopeful that, eventually, things will settle down enough to get on with the people's business. Hopeful. Not confident. I tried to think of an example to describe the ongoing chaos emanating from Washington, DC. Maybe professional wrestling. Maybe mud wrestling. I know the famous, 'inmates are running the asylum', may apply, but it too seems way too tame. Back to my original question. Why have I not been as vocal about all of this? It's just too painful to even write about. Wait a minute. That very well could be a part of the strategy. Okay. That makes some sense. Right? Get everyone so upset they just turn it all off. I think it best for us all to now go to our separate quarters and spend some time thinking about that one.

As a little kid, I grew up pretty much without a dad. I did have Paw Paw Mac and that was a great blessing. Mom had her hands more than full with us six kids. I was trying to think of one of her classic sayings and one that I remember went like this, "Do you want me to give you something to cry about?" I later learned that this is called rhetorical because the presumed answer would be a very emphatic, no! (I can testify that my mom could inflict a lot of pain with a plum tree switch. Needless to say, we had no plums on that tree until all of us were grown.) Interestingly enough, I think my boys may have heard that one a time or two from their dad, and even more interesting, I can recall a time or two when I've heard the same sentiment from them. Here's a few more I thought of from my childhood. ~ What? Do you think I am made out of money? ~ I don't care one bit what their parents said they could do.~ Are you going to stay in that bathroom all night? Other people live here too. ~ You don't know how blessed you are. ~ You've got the same clothes to get glad in. ~ Do you know how many people would love to have a good meal like this? ~ When I was your age ..... ~ Do it! Because I said so. ~ Maybe my all time favorite had to do with her thoughts about ending up in a mental institution. The closest asylum was located about two hours away in a town named Pineville, hence, "I do believe you kids will not stop until I end up in Pineville."

I've talked to so many people who believe they were able to overcome their raising, or rearing if you prefer. In general, since we are all fallen people living in a fallen world, this would be true for anyone on the planet. However, some have specific serious struggles in mind when they say something like this. Me. Not so much. I'm not saying I had a 'Leave it to Beaver' upbringing and everything was hunky-dory all the time because it most certainly wasn't. I can prove that one. However, I am where I am today and looking back I can only be thankful for those God placed in my life even in the midst of challenges and adversity. Other than this neck twitch and a tic or two, I can't really come up with any legitimate complaints. Oh yeah. Knowing God and His Son probably has something to do with that. I highly recommend a relationship with Him as a way of helping with any and all of our problems. Mom used to always wonder out loud whether she had done right by her children. I used to tell her my thoughts in that as I saw it she had done the best she could given all that she was dealing with at any particular time. I also told her how blessed I felt to have her as my mom. I still believe that. That doesn't mean I have given up on finding someone, somewhere to blame for a whole lot of stuff. When we meet they better be ready with some answers. You do know I'm kidding about that one. Time for me to switch gears and get on with the rest of today. You too. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.