Friday, March 31, 2017

I finally found a game to play on my semi-intelligent phone.

I actually made it to Friday, March 31, 2017. I will be going to visit my mom tomorrow. Dad too. Also, my sister JoAnn. And, one of the main attractions, my bride of nearly 53 years. She has decided to extend for another few days to help with some doctor related visits coming up next week. A couple of months ago I set aside my flip phone because she passed down to me her old smartphone, an Apple 4. I use it to text her, forth and back. I can also check Facebook with it. I have never played a game on it, except for one. That's the one where I can immediately block a scam call of any kind. I think I've blocked more than a dozen so far and I actually love to get those calls so I can hang them up and block that number. I know. They can use a different number to call on another day. Good for them! Because I am waiting and watching. When they do, it's slam bing bam, and they are B-L-O-C-K-E-D. I've already noticed a significant decrease in scam call activity. That means I am winning the game. There's some dude who used to have the number I have today. Many folks have been trying to reach him for a long time. They call me often. After telling them I am not now Mr. Hines, I have not been him in the past, and I do not intend to be him in the future, I say so long and goodbye because I engage the blocker function immediately. Sometimes I get a little giddy knowing they will no longer show up on my tiny little screen. When they get the message I'm not the party to whom they are speaking they can be very persistent. "Do you know how we can reach Mr. Hines?" No clue. "That's okay, while I have you on the line maybe I could interest you in our service." I don't know what sound is made when they are blocked but it must be a lovely tune.

I am well aware that my gaming experience is not equal to something like those who are committed to 2016's most popular game, Pokémon GO. At least I assume that to be the case since I have no personal experience to compare to. I know the wife plays several different games. One is a puzzle piece game. I'm not sure about the others but I do know they require her undivided attention when she is playing them. I did make it home from Wednesday Bible study in time to watch the final episode of Duck Dynasty. It was a fitting farewell to their more than 130 plus episodes since coming on the scene in 2005. I will watch the reruns. I mean I already am watching the reruns on one of the outdoor channels, four of them back to back to back to back on Monday evenings. I read one of the most hate filled, scathing, good riddance assessments of their series in the online version of Rolling Stone Magazine. Their critic's take is the worst television program in history with the worst people, the worst family, and the worst stories has finally come to an end. I wonder why someone writing for that particular magazine would hate everything about the Robertson Clan? If you can't figure that one out, send me a private message and I will do my best to explain it to you. That angry writer was way overheated, maybe like Si would say, "A redneck walkin' into Bass Pro Shops gets more excited than a 12-year-old girl going to a Justin Beaver concert."

It takes me a little bit of getting ready to get ready for that nearly 400 mile round trip on Saturday, but, I am anxious to see them all. I do hope the lady who is still needing training wheels on her passing approach will stay home tomorrow. I also hope the big box store will schedule their product delivery during the week when I am not on their highway. Those two requests will help. Some. What's that? Maybe I could get a police escort? I realize that's being facetious, but to tell the truth, I'm not sure they would drive fast enough to suit me. I have no idea why I said that. I had to have been kidding on that one. Some. A little. Just a wee bit. I can tell I ran out of something to write about some time ago but I kept at it anyway. I do hope that you will have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Si Robertson not only makes jokes but he also gives some sound life advice, like this one, "In the winter, things are dead and dull, but then there is an explosion of life. That's what He promises people who believe in His Son. That's what all the Robertsons are banking on." ~  Me too! See you next time. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity." Often attributed to others, it appears to have been coined by an obscure theologian, Rupertus Meldenius, in 1617

Good morning and welcome. Today is Thursday, March 30, 2017. I grabbed that photo off of a Twitter posting where the fellow was drawing attention to some of the in-house debates that take place within Churches and other religious forums. I thought his point to be well taken. Let me be clear. In my opinion, there are things that a person should be willing to go to the mat for, to use the picture as a metaphor, and there are others that don't really amount to much. Knowing the difference between those two clearly impacts our fellowship and connectedness. In my own case, my three score and ten plus years have taught me a few things. When I was younger I was ready to take on any and all challenges to my limited viewpoints involving Scripture. What have I learned? I don't really know so much, after all. A buddy of mine growing up was Pentecostal. I am a lifelong Baptist. Being either of those will not get someone into heaven, but, he and I used to stay up all night debating the differences between the two practices. I even consulted my pastor who gave me a book very appropriately titled, "Once a Pentecostal, Now a Baptist." I read it and then gave it to my buddy. Some of the things we argued about were not inconsequential. They involved how a sinner can be made right with God. (Worth debating.) Others, not so much, like whether girls should wear makeup or not. See what I mean? My point is that we should always major on the majors because when we beat each other up over stuff where the truth is unclear, we end up both being beat up and typically sore; physically, mentally, and emotionally. That is usually not conducive to brotherly love. Something I learned along the way.

While I've done my fair share of slipping and sliding around, I am still actively engaged in the practice of my faith, as God has provided. As far as I know, sadly, my old buddy threw his away some 30 or more years ago. That's not a commentary on our debates as teenagers, it's more of how life unfolds. He has had to deal with his troubles and I have had to deal with mine. He is known to be a very soured up, cranky, and some say, even, a mean old man. While I have my moments, hopefully, I'm not known for those character traits. At the same time, I have no doubt that there may be some who could say I've mishandled my attitude and testimony during my sojourn here. The bottom line is always what we believe about God and what that belief brings about in our life. Our class is currently engaged in a verse by verse examination of Genesis on Sunday mornings. Those individuals we are studying about who were singled out as being faithful had their flaws, their failings, and their lapses in their walk with God. Yet, their belief in God always brought them back to their connection to Him, and that, my friend, is a picture of our struggle to live as He would want us to. The truth? All believers. All. Struggle. In one way or another. The even better news? God was faithful to those we are studying about even when they were not, and, He is the same way with us today. Something I learned along the way.

That wrestling photo made me a little homesick for when I was a kid and we watched them toss each other around the ring. Not enough to make me watch it again, but, you will have to admit, that's a large number crowded into that particular ring. I wonder what a group of wrestlers is called. Maybe a melee. Maybe not. There are people who still defend the professional wrestling you see on TV as being legitimate. One fellow said that only in America will you find people who believe the moon landing was fake but professional wrestling is real. One wrestling participant said it is real in the sense that it's entertainment and the person who entertains the best wins. Forbes reported last year the highest paid professional wrestler was John Cena who took in nearly $10 million. I'm almost certain they didn't pay him with Monopoly money, (fake). I know my grandfather used to take out some of his frustration while watching the bad guys, (The Ruskies, the Japs, the Germans), get beat up by the USA flag waving heroes. Harmless fun? My guess is that if you don't take it too seriously it probably won't do that much damage. As for those with all the banners who have lost their voices screaming, well, maybe some kind of hotline might be made available to offer them help. What about my enjoyment of NASCAR? The old saying applies: That question implies that you have now stopped preaching and you've begun to meddle. Take care. Enjoy. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Caution: It's not the mirror that adds all those years to your image.

It's Wednesday, March 29, 2017, and I send out a hearty hello to everyone joining today's episode. I think we all have, at one time or another, had that cold water in the face wake up call during our sojourn here on the planet. It is a part of life, especially as you get up there in years. My wife will soon be 70 years young. While that seems impossible, I can truly say that she carries her years as well as anyone I know. She continues to be a beautiful woman. The other day someone put a posting up on Facebook. It had some people in a photo. One of the people in that photo was a lady that I had a crush on as a freshman in high school. I had to check closely to make sure that was the girl that used to cause my knees to wobble. I suppose I had the image of her putting her books away stuck in my mind. I last saw this lady in 1978 at the visitation to honor my baby sister who had passed away. Even in 1978, she had changed a lot from what I remember in 1961, but, fast forward to 2017, and how she looks today was hard for me to take in. I'm not knocking her. It's the reality of life, however, it did take me a few seconds to realize this is what the aging process does. Let me make it a little more clear. When I saw that picture my first thought was that she reminded me of my grandmother. And, with the same breath, I have to know that someone might be saying the same about me. Whatever happened to that boy? He looks like my grandfather. Or, better yet, if I didn't know better I would think he has become Santa Claus. As the old comedian used to say, "I resemble that remark."

I do have before and after photos but I wouldn't even think of sharing them. Not even with the disclaimer that said the names have been changed to protect the innocent. My beard, now white naturally, covers up a lot of wear and tear, along with the ravages of having made it to my present age. Then we have the fantasy versus reality issue. People buy a new dress or a new suit and when they wear them they have a mental view of how it makes them look. How we think we look doesn't always square with how we actually look. A number of years ago they came out with a mirror that was expensive but it used technology to show someone a realistic view of themselves. It made a big splash but I don't hear much about them anymore. Maybe we don't want to have a more realistic view of our appearance. I worked with a fellow once that had achieved a fairly high position, but, he had trouble speaking in front of audiences. Our Company bought out another smaller firm and we had to fly to their headquarters and speak to the staff there. He represented our technology group. He told me that he had bought a new suit because it was one of the only things that helped prepare himself to speak. I'm not being cruel here but the suit didn't help him at all. He could have saved the $500 and done the same lousy job. The good news is that God doesn't judge us based on what we look like, He loves each of us in the frame that we have. He proved His love by sending His Son to die on our behalf. We don't need to figure out ways to pump up our self-esteem, we need to learn how to live out a life reflecting our esteemed identity in Christ. I know. A little preachy at the end, but, that's how it came out.

All of that from the photo of an aging lady posted on Facebook? I suppose I am in good company since I might be reflecting the great insights given by Vice President Dan Quayle, "What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is." My wife is out of town. She is over in Louisiana helping to care for my mom. (Maybe part of her beauty is found in her servant's heart.) You may know that old adage, "When the wife is away all bets are off." You never heard that one? I'm not sure I have either, but, her being gone might help to explain my scrambled prose of late. Don't blame it on her? I tell you all the time, this is a tough audience. I suppose I should be glad I'm not close enough to get all that fruit thrown at me. Just joking. I had better quit before I get even further behind. I do hope you will have yourself a great rest of today. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The late Andre Crouch's great song, "Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God. Through it all, through it all, I've learned to depend upon His Word."

Last Saturday.
I suppose Sonny and Cher's big hit from 1967 made a point, "The Beat Goes On." Another day has dawned and we wake up to all that it holds for us. This one happens to be cataloged as Tuesday, March 28, 2017. The beat does go on, but I'm aware that it is only by the grace and provision of God. Not in some morbid or fatalistic way, but, it's a realistic view based on trust and confidence in our God. This is true, by the way, even when I'm so distracted by all that is happening, I fail to fully appreciate His abiding presence. I had many hours of conversation with mom last Saturday. She was remembering a whole lot of history. She struggles to make sense of her situation. I told her that whatever this life brings, regardless of how challenging, it is working for our good. This is what God has given to us, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) She is one of God's own, therefore, this verse is for her, for me, and for every other person saved by the power of God. I couldn't delineate the actual good things that are being achieved by the very challenging health issues she is dealing with. But, I do know that verse is true, therefore, we know that good is being accomplished. For her. Some people misread that verse and their reading comes out giving the impression that it's all good things. Nope. That's not even close. All things. Good, bad, indifferent, no matter what, they work for good to my mom who loves God and she is called according to His purpose. Amen

On my journey early Saturday morning over to Louisiana to visit mom and dad I had to deal with the traffic that showed up to run alongside me, run over me, hold me up, or a lot of other things to mess with my mind. There's a long stretch that is two lanes only, except for a few spots where an additional lane has been added so folks can pass the slower traffic. When I hit the long stretch of two lane I saw a pretty sad sight up ahead. It was a convoy following one of those super sized 18 wheelers headed to the big box store in Jasper, Texas, about an hour away. The speed limit is 75 but riding behind that truck put me at about 60 or less when the big truck went up a hill. Finally, we came upon one of those additional passing lane places. Thank the Lord! There was only one problem. The first car behind the truck must get into the other lane and speed up. She did. But not fast enough. She was essentially riding beside the big truck at about the same speed. The convoy was behind her. We all let out a collective sigh when the lane ended and we all had to get back into line behind the big truck. I called the wife and told her what had happened. I think she may have said, "Bless her heart." Okay. That was a nice sentiment, but, that one didn't come to me when I was thinking about her passing approach. Just so you know, I did reach a spot and I passed them all. How fast? That information is currently unavailable, but, I will tell you my old pickup shuddered a little as we did our slingshot. (Hint: You learn a lot by watching NASCAR.)

Settle down. Don't be forming a posse to come and serve me a notice of citizen's arrest. I'm sure I may have embellished that account just a tad. Well, maybe a smidgen. Or, would you believe a teeny tiny bit? I didn't even mention the rain storm and bad visibility, but, they didn't seem to add anything to my story. I had better move on before my phone lights up with messages from 'you know who'. I think my little experience is covered under the covenant that says, "What happens on US Route 190 stays on Route 190." What? You never heard of that one? All I can say is you need to get out more. I feel compelled to confess something. I sometimes come up behind a person on the roadway and I can't help but think, "My oh my, isn't it just my luck to end up behind someone observing all the traffic signs?" If it helps any, I typically feel bad after thinking something like that. Whew! Being me really tires me out. I guess I had better quit for today so I can spend some time in reflection or deflection, I forget which one. Take care. Enjoy the rest of your day. May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blessed beyond measure with the family I became a member of when I married.

Remembering Mom Rawles
Good morning out there wherever you happen to be situated on that expansive, all-inclusive, world wide web superhighway. You didn't sign up to be on that highway? Sorry. I think everyone gets to be on it these days, by default. The old song said, "There's an all-seeing eye watching you." It was referencing our Creator God. I think an attempt to duplicate that ability might be a part of this technological marvel where we can be found and identified, literally, pretty much wherever we happen to be on the globe. That might be a little over the top, but, not much. At any rate, I do bid you welcome to today, Monday, March 27, 2017. Yesterday would have been my mother-in-law's 100th birthday. She left this world to enter her eternal bliss back in 1998. She was a part of my interconnected family for nearly 35 years. She was a remarkable woman. Simple. Unassuming. A pastor's wife. A prolific writer of letters, quips, and poems. A master at sewing. A musician and lover of Gospel songs. A devoted believer in her God. A housewife, and simple but interesting cook who always took care of her family. She had a quirky sense of humor and she did like a good laugh. Those of us fortunate enough to be in her sphere had no qualms at all in associating her with the spiritual giant of a woman described in Proverbs 31. Her children have continued to mirror many of her traits. They have carried on the legacy she laid out before them. I come away thinking how blessed I am to have been loved, mothered, and prayed for by her. May God bless her memory as we think about her impact on all our lives. Amen.

When you get our age, there's value in knowing what you like. And, what you don't. We are popcorn eaters. From way back. Not the microwave stuff. Not the flavored junk. Natural. A number of years ago my gastroenterologist advised me to stop eating popcorn because of her fear it might lead to diverticulitis. No more popcorn! Several years later I confronted her with an article I had read that said researchers had discovered that popcorn was not the threat they had previously thought. She casually said, "Yeah, that's right. You can eat all of it that you want." I am glad they didn't have an exit window on that floor. I probably would have busted through it and landed two stories down on the ground. I could hear Happy Days are Here Again playing in my mind. You remember that one. No? That's the one they played when Prohibition officially ended. I think. At any rate, I was happy. I am the official corn popper in our house and I use an old worn out pressure cooker on the stovetop. I think we mostly use the best stuff that has Orville Redenbacher's name on it. Recently, we began to run low on the seasoning salt we use. The wife searched all around for it but couldn't find it. She bought several that were supposed to be similar. They weren't. We are serious about our popcorn. She sent me a picture. I found the company and special ordered four bottles. She asked why four. I told her the shipping cost was fixed and it was nearly as much as the products, therefore, we now have some extra in reserve. That should be about a six year supply. Now everything is right with the world. She chunked the other stuff. Good girl. Thank You, Lord. Amen

What's that? You hope that was a joke? I report, you decide, but always remember there are things that are no laughing matter to yours truly, and, popcorn happens to be one of them. I can remember sharing a dishpan of the fluffy kernels with my Granny Mac. She too was serious about her popcorn. You know. It was something to enjoy together as we watched Sid Caesar's 'Your Show of Shows'. Did I hear someone say that explains a lot? Maybe you could let me know because it might clear up some things for me. However, I'm sure those sweet memories are a part of the program as well. Okay, enough of that. I did visit mom on Saturday. She is making it but with much distress and difficulty. The wife stayed to help out some. I pray that God will work His will according to His love, mercy, and grace. These series of events have also taken a toll on dad, her primary caretaker. I ask for your continued prayers. I could sure eat a dishpan of popcorn right now. Something must have made me think of it. I do hope you have a most wonderful day and may our Great God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tip: If a telemarketer calls, give the phone to your three year old and tell them it's Santa Claus. ~ copied

It's time to put a bookend on this work week. At least that works for those, like me, who are fortunate to work a Monday through Friday schedule. I am well aware there are lots of folks who work just about every kind of shift and schedule imaginable, and I tip my cap to them. I know the metaphor in the old days would typically have been a hat but I actually am wearing my cap. Right. The red one. Good to meet up again with you on this Friday, March 24, 2017. Speaking of red, yes, red, I remind us all that I am an active participant in the Santa Claus enterprise, therefore, some of my brethren fascinate me with their seemingly endless promotion of their training services, the selling of accessories, and other types of money making ventures. With no disrespect intended, it's like a form of Amway for Santa Claus. One idea that some have had success with involves doing live video visits with children in their homes. I'm not altogether sure, but, for some reason, I think I might be able to do something like that. It would require fixing up a backdrop/set and coming up with the technology needed to make it work. The parents would provide the information on the children beforehand so Santa can make the most of their few minutes together. Let's see. Three minutes for $15 - $20. All credit and debit cards accepted. (I think Mrs. Claus would like those numbers.) I'm thinking about thinking about something in this area. I will keep you posted because I might want to send everyone a test video to get your feedback. I saw one Santa who asked for feedback on what people think when they see the videos he posts on Facebook. One responded saying they thought it was a great example of a con job. Hey. It is, after all is said and done, in the eye of the beholder. Ho Ho Ho!

My wife often tells me that very few care anything at all about my Santa Claus dealings. She may be right, but, it is an active part of my current profile, therefore, I typically write about things that pertain to stuff close to me. My blog is a personal journal. There are many other types of blogs. Some are commercial in nature. Others reflect a specific subject area. And, nowadays, many of my readers pick up my blog on their mobile phones. Mobile phones are in meltdown mode these days. Nearly everywhere I go I see people wandering around looking for an outlet to recharge their phones.  Our grandkids run into the house holding their cord up as an indicator they are on a critical mission to get their phone actively working again. I read one person's comments who said it's funny to see how much these phones are used and how often they need to be on the charger, she summarized it by saying, it's almost like having a landline again. (Think about it. A phone tied to a cord.) That's even with all the great battery life technology available. I've counted as many as four or five phones being charged in our house at the same time. Oh yeah, that reminds me. Is it any wonder that kids as young as maybe two or three often ask Santa for their own personal phone? I'm not so sure we have to wait a long time to know if this is a good thing or not.

I don't know exactly why but I can tell today's episode is about as scattered and disconnected as all get out. Don't get all snooty about the 'all get out' phrase. It can be tracked back to 1869. See. I'm not only into slang but I'm also preserving history as well. If that don't beat all! No. I didn't look that one up. You can if you like. This has been some week. My mom's recent accidental fall and the subsequent new fracture has been of great concern to us all. She was already close to being mostly incapacitated, but, now almost 100% so. It is very difficult to know where all of this is going. At any rate, God knows about all the burdens we carry, and He does want to help us to bear them. The old song advises that we take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there. I have confidence in Him working all of these things out even while we deal with the day by day issues that come up. Thanks so much to so many who have shown concern for and have offered up prayers for our dear mother. The response of those who care has been greatly appreciated. It is very humbling. Now it is time for me to take my leave for this week. Take care. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I plan to be in my place come next Monday morning. Lord willing. Until then, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

God speaking: Isaiah 49:15, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you."

Today. Thursday. March 23, 2017. I will admit there are days when I would like to just pull the covers over my head and try to block out all the stresses that each day brings. But, like many of you, my frame and how I am put together does not permit that choice. I used that word frame intentionally because it is the way God describes His knowledge of His own. In Psalm 103:14, we read, "For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust." The Hebrew word for frame reflects God's intimate understanding of each of us as a person, an individual. It has to do with knowing us even before our conception, knowing us from the inside out, with nothing hidden. He also knows our weaknesses and He is fully aware that we are dust, connecting us to our created ancestor Adam. My take away from these truths is how we can come out from underneath the covers because God knows, God cares, and God will be with us, every step of the way, with every breath we take, and He will never leave or forsake us. Because of this being our reality in Christ, we can keep on keeping on. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans Chapter 8, and Hebrews 13:5) I suppose I needed to remind myself of these truths today. Maybe you didn't need it. Keep it handy because experience tells me, you will, sooner or later. 

I have great confidence in that first paragraph. Because it is so well written? Not even close. Any time I can encourage us all with a word from the Lord, I know He can use it to speak to us all. I may have a different need than you, but, we all have needs, and He has chosen to minister to our needs through His Word. Changing the subject, I think the current hearings going on in our nation's capitol to be quite revealing. I've caught bits and pieces of these hearings from time to time. One exchange in the questioning of the nominated supreme court justice caught my attention. Here you have a man with an impeccable background of integrity and professionalism in the conduct of his life as a man and as a judge. He is being needled by a senator about the morality of some of his decisions made in his rulings as a judge. Morality. The person doing the needling is a former comedian who appeared on Saturday Night Live for several years. His comedy was considered to be anything other than examples of morality. The books he has written have been called profane. Yet, he somehow got himself elected and now he sits in judgment on someone whose honorable life makes this particular senator's questions a mockery of the process. Hey. I caught that in a drive by hearing. You may see it differently. That's okay too. 

I'm not saying he isn't entitled to be on the panel or to ask his questions. But, at the same time, I can see the disconnect in the forth and back I heard, and, that's how I chose to evaluate what was being said. This senator's supporting colleagues call his former life as being that of an actor, and what he did was edgy humor, therefore, they give him a pass. Given what they claim to stand for, that is a huge pass, my friend, huge indeed! At the same time, they will go to the mat over something that was said about a potential nominee all the way back to his early college days. Or earlier. (Remember them making a big deal out of things that happened when Mitt Romney was in elementary school?) Those in power in Washington often wonder out loud why it is that people have such a low opinion of them. Really? One senator opened his questioning time by using quotes from the opposing side which actually were identical to their reasoning on why this man should be confirmed. Same train of thought. But, it was their person they were promotion. Exact quotes. They said it. It's a part of the official record. But, now, things are different. What's the difference? Nothing but where they are sitting at the table. So much for principled beliefs. Those who ask why people have so little respect, well, they need only tune into this hearing. There it is. And, if you are seeing impaired, or you can't hear well, I can tell you this. Take a deep breath because it stinks to the high heavens. I smelled it again just writing about it. For today, I think we need to get back on a positive track. Here's how: Go back and re-read the first paragraph. I'm going to do the same. May God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.” – Vince Lombardi

Good morning and welcome to today's fireside chat. I'm not sure if any of my readers are old enough to remember those radio chats done by President Roosevelt during WW2. I believe President Carter attempted a version of the same, wearing a sweater, but very few cared to hear what he had to say. (That was my interpretation.) It is good to be with you once again and this episode comes to you on this Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Today I'm thinking about the subject of what it means to have a productive work ethic. I am out and about quite often dealing with all kinds of businesses, and, I do think one of the resounding and recurrent themes I hear about has to do with the types of younger individuals coming into the workforce and their lack of a solid work ethic. It is a widespread if not universal concern on the part of those attempting to run enterprises of all sizes. I was thinking about an example of someone who has a demonstrated commitment to work and my wife of nearly 53 years came to mind. She is self-motivated, determined, and for the most part, tireless. Where did that come from? I thought about her when I saw the photo of a little girl picking cotton. My wife, as a little girl, picked cotton alongside the rest of her family. Her sister has the same work ethic. That's a photo of them sitting side by side juxtaposed to the young cotton picking girl. I'll not lecture regarding where we lost our grip as a people on this strong work ethic. I do know that it has always helped define the greatness of our nation. However, I will say this. The lack of a commitment to work is real. It is generational. And, it is a serious issue. Maybe that's why so many are considering robotics. Think about it. I know I do.

One of the things I do each week in preparing to teach my lesson on Sunday morning is to listen to audio sermons dealing with the text I will be sharing. I do enjoy hearing from those who take very seriously their role in "rightly dividing the word of truth". (2nd Timothy 2:15) I have noticed some troubling trends in my listening activity over the past several years. Many present their hot button issues, conclusions, viewpoints, or a particular point they want to make instead of letting God speak through the text itself. That may seem like a fine line of distinction, but, it really isn't. I have no problem with any teacher making real world applications from the truths taught from the Scriptures. However, it may be just me, but, I do have trouble with anyone who imposes their viewpoints, no matter how well intended, on thus says the Word of the Lord in order to make their outline work. That may sound like a technicality but it really isn't. When I see this happening, I usually hit the road, turn it off, and find another one to listen to. It is my belief that people today are just like people since the beginning in their need to hear from the Lord God Almighty. Here's how the Apostle Paul challenged his young protege Timothy with these words, " ...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2nd Timothy 4:2)
Some might be wondering who put me in charge to evaluate in this manner. Hey. I'm just sharing some of my thoughts on the subject. I just think it's somewhat of a troublesome pattern when those who are in positions of influence operate in that way. Their opinions matter, my opinions matter, your opinions matter, but all of that is not even a consideration when it comes to allowing God to speak. There is a warning from the Apostle Paul when he prophetically said the day would come when the stuff coming from the pulpit will be entertaining to those listening, but it will not be from God. (2 Timothy 4:4) Okay. I don't know exactly how I got on that but it's what I was dwelling on this morning and that's how it ended up on the page. Sometimes this is how it works. The good news is that there are still many devoted servants who remain committed to being a vessel to bring the desperately needed water of life to a lost and dying world. I'll leave it there. For now. I do hope you will have a most rewarding day and may our Great God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." ~ C.S. Lewis

Hello and welcome from me, myself, and I. Contrary to what many might think, I am not coming to you from a hidden, undisclosed location. I actually do the finishing touches on each edition here at my work - workstation. I find myself in the same situation here on this Tuesday, March 21, 2017. I thought maybe I should share a recent photo taken here at the place where most of my blogs are birthed. The one shown was taken way before daylight, yesterday morning. I must have had a good reason to be smiling. It may have been the third cup of Community that put me on the right track. When people ask about my job situation I suppose that Facebook designation might apply. "It's Complicated." Yes. I am retired. I am blessed to draw a pension from my previous employer. I am blessed to receive the benefits from the monies paid into the Social Security system. And, also very blessed to work a regular job, five days a week. I do have some who ask if I ever intend to pause long enough to enjoy myself. How do they know I'm not enjoying myself now? I read the other day that here in our country those still working full time who are 75 or older has increased by 76% in the last two decades. The owner of our Company knows that when he thinks I need to be furloughed to the green green grass of home, all he has to do is to say the word. The wife and I were watching one of those game warden programs the other day. An older fellow had wandered off from the home where he lived with his daughter. They lived in an area surrounded by heavily wooded and rugged terrain. He was 80 years old and suffered from dementia. He had been gone for several hours. They were afraid he would get tired, sit down, and perhaps fall asleep. They mounted an all-out search. After many hours they found him unharmed but very disoriented. I told the wife that could easily be me in less than ten years. She made me feel so much better when she said, "You are so right!"

I read about a sales clerk at a ladies clothing store who dealt with a customer returning some jeans. The jeans had been too tight but when the clerk asked the lady, she simply said she was returning them because they had hurt her feelings. A customer service technician told a caller the person they were looking for would be back in 20 minutes. The customer demanded what time zone the 20 minutes would be calculated in. A painter shared how a mom and her ten-year-old son had chosen one of her paintings to purchase. She asked what they liked about the painting and before the mom could respond, the young boy blurted out, "Yours was wider so it will cover the three holes in my wall." A huge celebration was held for a resident of an assisted living facility. The resident was marking his 100th birthday. Another very elderly resident introduced her son to the birthday boy. The fellow celebrating his birthday asked how old the boy was. The lady said 81. The birthday boy said, "Wow, they grow up so fast, don't they?" A defendant was unhappy to be in court so he decided to cop an attitude. The judge asked, "Where do you work?" He responded, "Here and there." The judge asked, "What do you do for a living?" He responded, "This and that." The judge announced, "Take him away." He responded, "Wait; when will I get out?" The judge had the last laugh, "Sooner or later." These are reported to be true stories from the 'Readers Digest'.

I have some similar stories but too many of them are on me, therefore, I thought I would hold back on them, hoping to preserve the smidgen of respect I still have. I have more or less gone underground on my reporting of the political happenings unfolding before our eyes. That is intentional. I really don't know what to say at this point. I never even thought about counting on the hope and change promised by the last administration, but, I am very much still hoping for change. As trite as it may sound, I think we all just have to adopt a wait and see approach. I am still plugged in and paying attention, however, the entrenched power lobbies didn't get that way by going along with change. I've said all along they are formidable and what you see every day reflects them using all their accumulated influence to oppose the changes promised by our new President. He could sure use some support right now. From his own party. Membership in the 'do nothing' cabal does not require party affiliation. Self-interest and self-preservation makes up what they are all about. I think you've heard all of this before so I will allow you to form your own conclusions. Meanwhile, I recommend we renew our faith and trust in our Sovereign God who will make all things right in His own time. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Uncle Si, "Some people say I'm a dreamer. Others say, 'If you fall asleep on the job again, we're going to have to let you go.'"

Good morning and welcome to back to work Monday, here on this March 20, 2017. I guess if you made it okay to this day then you avoided problems last week when the Ides of March was recognized. That would have been last week on the 15th. That date became infamous because of the assassination of Julius Caesar on that date in 44 BC. Shakespeare made it even more so when his play 'Julius Caesar' was written, (1599), where he used the warning to Caesar from the soothsayer, "Beware the ides of March." You never even heard of such a thing? Good. Then, obviously, you have not been impacted by it. I may have seen some deer lurking by the side of the road on that day. There are times when I climb into my truck in the morning and I get this sense that I had better be alert for deer. Maybe it is the conditioning over the past nearly 11 years. Maybe it's the near misses that I am so thankful for. Maybe it's because I've been watching a lot of the outdoor channels and they do have quite a lot of programming involving the hunting of deer. No. I'm not planning on going back to my roots anytime soon and doing more hunting. My real motivation in watching these alternative choices has to do with how bad the other stuff available is. And, the fact that I can watch four rerun episodes of Duck Dynasty on Monday evenings. Some people don't care for Uncle Si. I think he is one of the most naturally funny characters to show up in a long time. All of that, taken together, may cause my senses to be sharpened to be on the look out for those white underbellies dashing here and there. You've probably got your own stuff to deal with, but, who would have thought that after all these years one of my ongoing concerns would be dodging wildlife on the roadways.

I know we all like to personalize what a bad day means. Sometimes we have to know the things we struggle with are really not that crucial, not only in the grand scheme, but they just don't amount to that much. Most of the time, perhaps not always, we really can think of something worse than the situation we find ourselves in. I used to ride in a van pool into downtown Houston. The fellow driving was pretty cool but he had a habit of making like a record player on this thumb by using his index finger to make tiny little circles, round and round. I was typically riding shotgun and that little habit of his caught my attention. I suppose it was his way of dealing with all the stuff going on in the traffic. These days I do a lot of driving and it's most likely ten times worse in terms of both crowdedness and craziness. Sometimes I end up just sitting there. Waiting. One day something got my attention. I looked down and guess what? I was doing my own version of the record playing routine. I shook my hand so hard I nearly threw it out of place, trying to get that stopped. See what I mean? I used to get ever so slightly irritated by that constant habit, and now, I end up playing the same songs. Life can be exasperating at times. Yes. I see those hands and I hear those Amen's.

I have to tell you, I hate it when things like that happen. I have taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again, but, you know how it goes with involuntary knee jerk responses. They have a life of their own. Oh well, such is life. Let's hope it doesn't get worse. Many years ago we would go and fetch a dear elderly lady to bring her to our local fellowship for services. She was a little on the quirky side. As we traveled down the roadway, we would approach a traffic signal and she would start slapping the dash, hard, and crying out to God not to allow the light to change. She obviously did not want to stop for a red light. Not even a little bit. My point? What if, without me really knowing it, I were to start copying her instead of my old van pool driver? The thought alone puts chills on the back of my neck. As Paw Paw Mac would have said it, "Son, you need to get a grip." I would but I wouldn't want to interrupt the song playing on my thumb right now. You can laugh but make sure it is laughing with me, not at me. And, none of that out loud stuff. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, March 17, 2017

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Spanish Poet and Playwright, 1600-1681

I think I've been told that we are Scotch-Irish. When I plugged my info into the popular ancestor search database it asked that I log into the section marked 'we don't have a clue.' That's a joke. We might also throw some Welsh into the mix and who knows what else. The doctor I used for many years was very set upon discovering what lost tribe of Israel he was associated with. He thought he had figured which one I was a part of. If it turns out to be important, I probably should have paid more attention to what he was saying. All of that was a key part of the religion he pursued. He was considered to be a respected teacher within the sect he followed. He usually wore me out talking about all the tribe stuff when all I really wanted to know was how my health was doing. Just in case, I wore some green today so that I can be included in the celebration of St. Patrick's Day. All of this is going on while we embrace today, Friday, March 17, 2017. I've been a little less focused on this celebration since they debunked the priest driving out all the snakes from Ireland. I believe the fossil record concluded there had never been any snakes to drive out which would have made driving them out a wee bit easier. I think one of the things folks are invited to do is to become Irish for this one day. That way they can wear green, go to parties, and drink a whole lot of green beer. Sounds like some good old American capitalism to me. What say you? And, oh yeah, here's an Irish blessing for one and all, "May your neighbors respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you."

Let me share a few odds and ends that caught my attention. ~ I suppose we had to know this would happen, sooner or later. A company now provides fake friends for a fee to make selfies with their customer. I wonder if they show up singing those haunting words from the Mr. Rogers' theme, "Won't you please, Won't you please, Please won't you be my neighbor?" The fee begins at $75 per photo. Who said you can't buy friends? ~ I read about a high school in Iowa that sent a letter of apology to another high school because their fans had worn red, white, and blue colors to their game. That was their common practice. The apology said it was not their intention to offend some on the opposing team who were children of immigrant families. Another high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma blocked their students from bringing flags and banners on "USA Night" out of fear that it might offend someone. In South Carolina, the American Flag was banned from the stands at a high school football game out of fear that it might offend Hispanic players on the opposing team. ~ A simple definition of patriotism goes like this: Devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty. My question to us all is this. What will be the state of patriotism over time if it is replaced by political correctness? And, what will be the results for our nation? Some food for thought for us all.

Today's edition is the 28th since I passed that 2,500 mark. There's little doubt that I can still generate copy because several of the 28 have received this response from my number one reader: L-O-N-G. I did not need to ask her to clarify the meaning of her assessment. When I think about all the stuff I come in contact with that immediately presents itself as being great blog material, but, when it comes time to remember it so I can write about it, alas, they have hidden themselves, often they are never to be found again. (That's a tough one because not remembering them makes it difficult to determine if they were good to begin with. However, I do believe it to be a reasonable supposition.) Just think. If I could find some of those things, maybe I would do less thrashing about each day. Yet, I keep on keeping on and hopefully like a broken clock that's right at least twice a day, maybe, I occasionally land on something of value to share. Here's one I know is of great value. Last Wednesday evening I shared some thoughts from the 139th Division of the Psalms. The inspired text as given through the Shepherd King David recognizes the incomprehensible greatness of our Infinite God, but, he also shared how intimately God knows, loves, and cares for His own. Read it for yourself. You will be blessed. You will. Take my word for it. Now it's time to say so long for now. Take care. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see you next time. Lord willing. Amen. ....More later. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Santa: "I no longer keep a naughty or nice list, I only keep up with those who accept my friend request on Facebook."

We pause today to send a shout out to our granddaughter Kyleigh as she celebrates her 22nd birthday. Based on all the photos posted, you and the gang had a blast on your Spring Break adventure out in San Francisco. Kyleigh continues her studies at Sam Houston State, Huntsville. We do thank God for her and pray His blessings on her life as she continues to pursue her dreams and aspirations. Hope you enjoy your card. Happy Birthday. Love, MiMi, and Poppy.

Happy St. Patrick's Day eve, here on this Thursday, March 16, 2017. I thought I would get that out there just in case some folks are diddling around looking for something green to wear tomorrow. I've heard the following saying all my life, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I've heard it repeated over and over, however, the quote itself originated in a play written by William Congreve. It premiered quite a long time ago, in 1697. The full quote was, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." At any rate, I have an update for you and it involves that saying. I've been reading about a dispute between one of my Santa Claus brothers and a lady who is in the business of booking Santas. He was not paid for some of the events he did through her agency. He is now suing her and the agency. His comments about it were somewhat humorous. He said it was not his intention to hurt this lady personally. He only wanted to make sure no other Santas would be deceived by her agency. He went on to say that he would not be satisfied until she is sentenced to prison and her business is kaput. So much for not wanting to hurt this lady personally. (I think serving time and being bankrupt might cause her some discomfort.) This caused me to come up with a newer rendition of Mr. Congreve's famous, albeit, often misquoted verse, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / nor hell a fury like a Santa who goes unpaid for his services."

Many of you know how much I enjoy skipping down memory lane. One evening this week I came in from work and the wife had cooked me a special meal. She had made fried pork chops, rice, gravy, pinto beans, and homemade biscuits. The pinto beans were special. She had found some that had been picked off the vine before they were dried. Back in 1965, our little family, consisting of her, our first child who was an infant, and I, moved to Alexandria, Louisiana where I took a job at the nearby USAF airbase. The job didn't pay that much and the rent was reasonable but it took a lot of what I made. Our parents, hers and mine, would give us food when we came home on weekend trips. One of the staples we had was the homegrown pinto beans that were canned by her mom. (Trust me, the pintos cooked straight off the vine have their own unique taste.) We would have those beans and homemade biscuits, sometimes, several times a week. Back then, we didn't have the pork chops and gravy, but, enjoying those pinto beans the other evening brought back some wonderful memories. I cannot remember us complaining about eating that simple meal. After all, we typically would have a special time of eating out, on payday, at the local greasy burger joint. That was fine dining to us in those days. Things changed as I was promoted and transferred, but, I sure enjoyed remembering those days when the most simple of things in life were reasons for thankfulness.

That was the first time she had found those fresh pintos at a local grocery store. She knew when she bought them what they meant to both of us. On the surface, they were nothing but a mess of pinto beans, but to us, a little bit of a precious memory of those so near and dear to our hearts. That burger joint I mentioned was very special as well. They did a burger basket made from scratch with curly fries. They were wrapped in that slightly waxed paper and the grease would bleed through just a little. We sat out in our car and wondered out loud if it gets any better. It has. Now we pay attention to the number of stars and we don't mind paying for high quality, however, that specialness can't be replaced or recovered. That's why we can connect back to those 'good ole days' and enjoy them all over again, for the first time. When my mom was recently in the hospital in Alexandria, dad and I went out to find a place to eat. We went by the street where we turned to go to the duplex where we lived. We went by where the old burger joint used to stand. It's now some other business, but, I
couldn't help it when that nostalgic feeling came over me and I had to say to myself, "I've been blessed and one more time, thank you, Lord." Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - - you're right." ~ Henry Ford

There's cold and then there's really cold.
Here we go again. This time I come to you live and in color on this Wednesday, March 15, 2017. We had ourselves another taste of what colder weather might feel like beginning this just past Sunday. It has been brief but effective. On Lord's Day Sunday I actually saw some people who had gathered at our local fellowship coming through the door practicing their teeth chattering. I had been out walking to and fro, up and down, and all around the parking lot. It was maybe 48 degrees with a 15 mph breeze yielding something in the mid to lower 40's. Brisk and enjoyable. To me. On Monday afternoon I caught the image on the internet of a house from Webster, New York. The photo was taken this past weekend with a caption that called it 'the Ice House'. Webster is a few miles north and east of Rochester, and this particular home is located near Lake Ontario. The ice is a result of high winds and frigid cold. Man oh man, that's what I call some cold weather folks. That's hard to imagine. I'm pretty sure I would not be out and about anywhere near that particular property. Makes one thankful to live in an area that can't seem to buy some really cold weather. Thankful indeed!

I may have been in my throwback 'enjoy the cold' mode this past Sunday, but, I can assure you that as I make my way ever closer to hitting that three score and eleven years, I'm not nearly as resistant to the cold as I was in my younger years. Uncle Arthur, Aunt Bursey, and a variety of other kin folks work together to make me chilled to my inner core on some days when it's mostly some slight cool dampness that penetrates these old bones. (Arthritis, Bursitis, inflammation, cramps, and others are those referenced as kin folks.) Yes. I am aware you can watch 90 plus-year-olds working out on the internet. Maybe they need to wear a pair of my genes for a day or two and then we will see how well they do. (Genes as in jeans.) I suppose back in the day I had a better handle on the mind over matter thermostat control within my body. Today, it's mostly doing its own thing. One time I can enjoy the cold. The next time I'm shivering like they just pulled me out of the Artic Ocean. One day I can enjoy driving down the road with the window rolled down with it so cold my lips turn purple. The next I've got every heater option available blowing full blast. Yep. It does. Makes for variety. And, we all know how much I do enjoy variety. Thanks for reminding me.

Talking about all of this makes me want to go home and get under the wife's electric blanket. You do know I'm kidding about that one. When that happens, we'll put the mortician on speed dial. That was intended to be a joke, so, don't go all morbid on me. Old people. You do have to love them. One fellow said he loved old people because many of them don't have a clue about returning a high five. They just look up to see what your hand is up in the air for. In case you were wondering, I do know and I do give high fives. Take care and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show and Tell: Current Events

I bring you greetings on behalf of March Madness and those enjoying Spring Break. It's Tuesday, March 14, 2017, and I have these items mixing it up with my gray cells this morning. March Madness is the name given to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This is where the college teams compete to be named national championship winner. I read that last year's tournament saw a total of $9.2 billion in bets wagered. Are you kidding me? I don't really even know how to process that kind of number. What I do know is there are many who bet who probably can't afford to do so. I saw that up close and personal when I worked in public affairs for the U.S. Army back in 1968. A well-traveled, fast talking staff sergeant always had a weekly pool for the soldiers in our office to place their bets. This bet taker was good at taking advantage of people's loyalties to their particular teams. He gave odds, and while he didn't always win each individual game, he always came out ahead in the overall results. He shared with me that when people bet based on emotion, for him, it was like taking candy from a baby. I don't know how much of that $9.2 billion ended up having to be borrowed, but, there's no doubt in my mind that families all over our nation suffered as a result. I'm not saying the basketball isn't good or not worth watching, but, I can't help but wonder what it would be like if this betting machine wasn't such a dominant factor. Just me, thinking out loud.

Today's celebration of Spring Break is nothing short of amazing to me. Based on even my limited sample of folks I see on social media, there are many folks who are able to engage in some great adventures during their week-long break. All kinds of exotic cruises, trips to Disney World and other amusement centers, snow skiing excursions, and overseas travels are prominently featured as people scatter here and there. I love seeing the photos posted of families having such wonderful experiences. It caused me to think about how we spent our school breaks when I was growing up. We didn't go anywhere as best I can recollect. The only change for us is that we didn't have to get up and go to school. I'm almost certain we found enough mischief to occupy our time off. We could have easily done some fishing down on Brushy Creek which was within 30 minutes of our house. We could actually have done that almost any day of the week and my baby brother Donald did just that, year round. I don't feel deprived because we weren't able to have exciting vacations like so many do today. In fact, I may not have even thought about it, by comparison, were it not for the huge number posting about it during Spring Break. All I can say is that a whole lot of people must be doing quite well. Quite well indeed!

During time off from school, we did do some things when our boys were growing up. We would visit family, go camping, or occasionally we would take in some form of commercial amusement. I did an informal survey of a few people in my age bracket and most of them had similar recollections as mine from their growing up days. I didn't hear anyone saying not having all of those wonderful travel experiences caused them a lot of grief. Of course, it was hard to engage folks when everyone was mostly complaining about the time change and the lost hour. Yep. It's certainly darker for longer in the mornings and for us early people that is a factor, however, many are already anticipating the added hours of daylight. How did I handle the time change? I went to bed at my regular time by the old time and that made getting up Sunday morning at my early start time a no brainer. I'm sure it does a number on my body. I think there's medical evidence to support that. You know. Messing with the internal clock and all of that. I also know there's some interest here in Texas in opting out of the time change system. Some legislators tease that issue from time to time. Meanwhile, it's what they handed to us, therefore, we just have to deal with it, period, end of story. And, also to give God the glory that we are able to do so. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Nigglywiggly" is the actual name of the little paper flag thingie on a Hershey's Kiss. ~ copied

Hello and welcome. Today is Monday, March 13, 2017, and it's our privilege to give it our best shot. That may be asking too much for some of us, but, it is a good way to face the day. We live in a world where information overload is the norm. We can only take in so much. Even so, we end up missing a whole lot of the details. Here's a few that you may or may not know. ~ Most American car horns honk in the key of F. ~ The name Wendy was made up for the book "Peter Pan." ~ Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. ~ Every time you lick a stamp, you consume 1/10 of a calorie. ~ The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. ~ Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has about thirty percent less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It supposedly takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself. ~ Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every 2 weeks, otherwise, it will digest itself. ~ The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; '7' was selected after the original 7-ounce containers and 'UP' for the direction of the bubbles. ~ To escape the grip of a crocodile's jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs - it will let you go instantly. ~ Reindeer like to eat bananas. ~ No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, and purple. ~ Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots. ~ The electric chair was invented by a dentist. ~ The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo. ~ More people are killed annually by donkeys than in airplane crashes.~ (Source: Be thankful that I stopped there. Believe it or not, there were 500 of them.

When it comes to Community Coffee, the Boy Scout motto applies: Be Prepared!
If that has given you a headache I have something that will help. I've always found that a steaming hot and strong cup of Community Coffee is good for whatever ails you. I'm not a doomsayer, prepper, or one given to the survivalist mentality, however, I do believe in maintaining a robust inventory of on hand Community Coffee. Nothing dramatic. Just a couple of cases to tide me over. It's at this point that I usually say I am kidding, but, there's nothing to kid about when it comes to my Community. Well, maybe, there's something to kid about, but, not about having it ready and available for use. That's not to say there are not plenty of coffee jokes out there. ~ The not so bright young lady went to her eye doctor and told him that every time she drinks her coffee her eye starts hurting. He told her that she should try removing the stirrer before she drinks. ~ The only time a lawyer will make coffee is when they have sufficient grounds. ~ After two cups I realize that my life really is based on a true story. ~ My coffee habit is an act of mercy on any and all I come in contact with. ~ Most of these have a ring of truth, at least for those of us who love our coffee.

I need to do a word search on my accumulated blogs and find out the most used words. I know coffee will make the list, but, hopefully, there are many others used that carry much greater importance. Words like God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, the Bible, family, grace, and those that pertain to eternal life in heaven along with the power to live out a productive life in our sojourn here. One pastor presented his view as to the most important word in the Bible. After naming all the recognizable ones that any of us might think to be the most important, he gave his rationale for the word, 'with'. Here's a quote from his article, "God has made the first move. He has extended His hand in peace and said to us: 'I love you and I want to be with you, won't you come join me?' It's up to us to accept that open invitation." Pastor Chris Kirwin went on to show the use of the word 'with' in many verses, like its crucial use in the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verse 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." There was much more to his analysis. I'm not saying he is correct in his choice, however, I thought it was interesting, therefore, I chose to share it. I'm very glad that He created us to have fellowship with Him. What say you? Until next time, may the good Lord up above bless your little pea picking hearts. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, March 10, 2017

"The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." – Richard Branson

Good morning everyone and welcome to our observance of Friday, here on this March 10, 2017. I sure enjoy rolling down the highway in the early wee hours of the morning with my window down. The other day I was doing just that when a huge owl flew just in front of the hood of my truck. Now that got my attention. A few more feet and the owl and I would have been involved in a very close form of communication. Window wide open. Forty miles per hour. Yep. That would have made for an even more interesting start to my day. I thought about rolling up my window but I didn't. That breeze felt so good I decided to just keep on trucking down the road. I've told you before how that life itself, to me, is a series of near misses. I also thought about how that we never thought much about the risks involved in almost anything we did as kids growing up. Things like hanging out of the window in a fast moving vehicle. Or, sitting in the back of a pickup truck on the sides ducking limbs, at night. There's much more, but, to share too much would violate the secrecy code of youth. Nowadays, life comes with one of those warning labels like you see on a mattress. Do not remove under penalty of law. I look at our boys. They had opportunities to throw caution to the wind. But, by the time their children got here, our grandchildren, we suddenly, collectively, began to think about all the bad things that could happen as facilitated by all the advertising, the safety devices, new laws, the instantaneous reports of all things terrible, and, in general, we became so cautious our little ones missed out on a lot. I'm not sure where it will all end up but the overly cautious spirit continues today. To a large extent, it is a conditioned response. I can testify that it gets progressively worse with age. I will tell you this. Once I got some breath back into my body, I was very happy that Mr. Owl and I didn't have a close encounter of the worst kind.

You may have noticed a typo in yesterday's blog. When speaking about the hit song written by Randy Newman, I wrote it this way, "You've God a Friend in Me." That should have read, "You've Got a Friend in Me." I am so glad my wife lets me know when I make a boo boo like that. I corrected the blog of record out on the web, but, I don't like to clutter up people's email inboxes with corrected blogs. You are right. If I did, the forty plus folks who receive it every day would be inundated with corrections. At any rate, I'm not happy I made that mistake but I am glad she let me know. I would consult my grammar checking program but he's not talking to me these days. He thinks I don't appreciate his work on my behalf because I only rarely take his recommendations. And, as I have often said, he can't check for stupid. I do write the name God often, therefore, I assume it was some type of automatic response. When you think about it, there's no greater meaning of the word friend than to have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as a part of who you are. That was my feeble attempt to salvage something out of my mistake.

We come to the end of another work week. I was going to say busy work week, but, that would not be fair to the fellow who pays me to show up here each day. I think it is safe to say that I have been occupied this week. At times, gainfully so. At other times, not so much. While my wife calls me the world's greatest procrastinator and she may be right, that doesn't mean I don't keep a detailed calendar of things I postpone until the last minute. I suppose that makes me a well-organized procrastinator. I heard one preacher talking about how upset people get when they are delayed. He said he was on an airplane that was supposed to land in 15 minutes. Forty-five minutes later, the pilot came on the intercom and told them a sudden thunderstorm hit the airport area and it would have been unsafe for them to try to land. The preacher said Amen! to that. He went on to share how he would rather be late than be known as 'the late'. I heard another motivational speaker saying that buying a gym membership will not make your muscles stronger. I get it. Writing down the stuff in my calendar book is just that, writing it down. I'll let you come up with a way to finish that thought because suddenly I'm very tired. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and next thing you know, I'll have another episode sitting on your electronic doorstep. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Research findings from academics, Chapman University, Cambridge, England, published in October, 2015. The five surprising health benefits of being short: 1) Being short carries a reduced risk of cancer. 2) Being short means you're less likely to develop blood clots. 3) If you are short, you are likely to live longer. 4) Short people are less likely to encounter stressful situations. 5) Being short puts you at lower risk of heat exhaustion or sun stroke.

It's Thursday, March 9, 2017, and I'm always glad to discover something I don't have to worry about. Someone put up on Facebook a self-shot video of them riding either the zip line or the zoom line in Las Vegas. Supposedly, you can take a tour of the bright lights at 40 mph. That caught my interest, so, I looked it up. Something jumped out at me. They were very clear on this prohibition: Those who are 6'-8" or taller cannot ride the lower line. I don't know about you but that caused me to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I'm just messing around here to get today's episode off and running. I know. It's likely more 'off' than 'running' but I should get some points for trying. I'm just trying to honor that admonition that tells us, if you see something, say something. Yes. I am aware that is the advice for us all to be on alert to our surroundings. But, I used it as an attempt to be humorous. So, don't take it too seriously. The joke. The other thing. Yeah. We all should be on the lookout at all times. That might be fairly hard to do with one of those electronic gizmo's stuck to our noses. That was an attempt at social commentary, therefore, it does not reflect the views or opinions of anyone other than me, myself, and I. As you can readily see, I had nothing to write about today, but, that didn't stop me from beating up on my keyboard.

What's that? You think I probably could find a study that favors taller people? I don't doubt it for a minute. I was actually looking for something else when I landed on that research information about vertically challenged people. And, yes, I am well aware of that hit song by Randy Newman entitled 'Short People'. It was supposed to be somewhat of a parody song but Newman ended up wishing he had never written it, even though it was a huge hit. He received all kinds of hate mail and even a few death threats. One representative in the legislature of Maryland actually introduced a bill that would ban that song from being played in the state. It was not accepted because the majority saw that it infringed on the First Amendment right to free speech. People can be sensitive, especially if it points a finger at them. As best I recall, the wife and I listened to it and thought it was funny, and, I still think it is. Here for your reading pleasure are the song lyrics, one more time:

Short people got no reason
Short people got no reason
Short people got no reason
To live

They got little hands
And little eyes
And they walk around
Tellin' great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes
On their nasty little feet

Well, I don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
Round here

Short people are just the same
As you and I
(A fool such as I)
All men are brothers
Until the day they die
(It's a wonderful world)

Short people got nobody
Short people got nobody
Short people got nobody
To love

They got little baby legs
And they stand so low
You got to pick 'em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars
That got beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin' peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They're gonna get you every time
Well, I don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
'Round here

I guess we all need to just calm down and take a deep breath. That song ended up in a number of movies and television shows. Newman pleaded with people to see the song for what it is and he asked them to think about the part where he says everyone is the same. Perhaps we need a place we can go to report that we are not offended. Sorry about today's subject. It all fell out from that height restriction notice for the zip line in Vegas. When it's all said and done how could anyone stay angry with the fellow who wrote the Toy Story mega hit, "You've Got a Friend in Me"? I do hope you will enjoy the rest of your day and know that God loves us all, no matter our size. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.