Friday, April 28, 2017

Happy Birthday to our Jimmy Sr.

It's Friday, April 28, 2017, and today I'm thinking about our middle son's birthday which is coming up this next Sunday. He will be 49 years young. Our Jimmy has had a pretty rough go of it over the years, but, he is a survivor as this birthday will attest. We are looking forward to celebrating with him and his four children. Happy 49th and may God bless. Our love, mom and dad.

Another birthday. I know what some of you are thinking. What else is new? When one is blessed with a large family, you end up with a growing number of birthdays. Duh! Those along with wedding anniversaries, graduations, and other special occasions. The wife is off again to Louisiana to help with mom. Dad's back is getting progressively worse, therefore, the wife left yesterday to go do what she can to assist. I think all of us kids probably, in the back of of minds, knew the day would come when mom and dad would falter some. To be honest, they, for so long, with their tireless work ethic and determination, made it harder to imagine. It is somewhat of a natural development but one that does require a response and attention. Our niece who is a nurse is making arrangements to be there on a more permanent basis and we hope she will be in place by early next week. Meanwhile, it is a one day at a time affair and we, as a family, are blessed to have those who are able to help. Our sister JoAnn has been there since the get go. Our sister-in-law Stephanie comes. Our niece Angela comes. And, there are neighbors dad can call on if needed. Meanwhile, I ask for prayers for mom and dad.

I did check the calendar and verified that it is still Friday. I can hardly wait to sleep in tomorrow. I say that jokingly because while the thought does cross my mind occasionally, it rarely, if ever, happens. It's been some week, don't you think? Most of them are. Someone ran over our mailbox the other morning. I was walking out to my truck at 3:30 a.m. when it happened. They lost control of their vehicle, hit our box and the neighbor's box, and then nearly took out our culvert. It was a van with a mattress on top. They kept going. I don't think it was intentional but the results were the same. Maybe they were moving and fell asleep. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they were texting. I couldn't make out what the driver looked like. I was mostly frozen with my mouth hung open. At the end of their few seconds of mayhem, the mail box was all laid out on the ground. It's stuck back in the hole right now but it looks very wounded. It will need to be replaced. Put that one on the list. After I sleep in. After I finish my lesson for Sunday. After I do a number of other home office projects. See what I mean? You know the saying. Join in with me: IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING! With that, I leave you with best wishes for a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. See you next week. Lord willing. Of course. .....More later.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"A fool and his money are soon parted." ~ Thomas Tusser, (1524 -1580), English Poet

Here we go again. I do think at times my daily visits are like a merry-go-round. Once you get it started, you have no idea when it will stop. That being said, welcome to Thursday, April 27, 2017. I appreciate those who coddle me by reading the stuff I sling onto the electronic page. Most of you may have heard about these wonderful jeans that are currently on sale at Nordstroms. They come complete with fake mud woven into the fabric. You can have your own pair of muddy looking jeans for 425 one dollar greenbacks. Since I am a self-appointed observer and critic of the culture we live in, I have some thoughts about this product. Are you kidding? $425? I've been in trouble more than once for pointing out to folks how their jeans are torn or ripped. It was my attempt to make a joke. I know they paid good money for those ripped up jeans. I suppose I will be in real trouble if I tell someone they need to go home and wash their muddy jeans. I've actually had jeans that looked like those being sold at Nordstroms. They looked that way after spending all day helping to dig a septic tank. They looked that way after spending hours repairing plumbing or wrapping pipes underneath the house. The ones I had likely came from Sears and they cost around $5 and the mud was not fake. We've all heard the saying attributed to showman P. T. Barnum, "There's a sucker born every minute." While that saying may fit the Nordstroms purchasers of the fake muddy jeans, experts don't think P. T. ever uttered those words. One reason is because the word "sucker" was not in use at that time as a metaphor for gullible souls. There are many theories on who actually said it, but, you can look that up for yourself.

To be honest, I don't really care one way or another if someone wants to pay that much for fake mud dyed into denim. It's still a free country. Well, mostly free. I read somewhere about a lady who was comparing pressure cookers online and ended up being checked out. By the authorities. You know. Pressure cooker bombs. We have a great old pressure cooker. It quit working many years ago, but, it's what I use to make our popcorn. It does a great job on popcorn. It can be counted on to consistently produce melt in your mouth deliciousness. My wife does occasionally use that stuff pressed into the little package for use in the microwave. I suppose it will do if one is in a real bind, but, there's nothing like real popcorn done on the stove top. It's like the coffee thing. I worked with a fellow one time and he said they drank whatever coffee was on sale when they went to the grocery store. I think we may have done that same thing back in the day. We would get whatever large tub was on sale with a coupon. Some years ago I came to realize that life is short and I might as well enjoy Community Coffee with the time I have left. We do the same with our popcorn. That's how us old folks roll.

While I am not a full time professional Santa Claus, with my daily wearing of the white beard and red cap, I do get plenty of Santa recognitions. Add the red or green suspenders and it escalates. The other day I was gassing up the Company's big truck when a lady in a van backed out to leave. She moved up a little, stopped suddenly, and then backed up. She had a little guy in the passenger seat that wanted to get a look at the fellow at the gas pump. I waved and his face lit up. Dare I say it? Like a Christmas tree. A millisecond of joy. That's what I'm talking about. The other evening at our family gathering to celebrate the wife's birthday one of our grandsons came to me with some information. He said, "Poppy, those people over there are talking about you. They say Santa Claus is at our table." He got the biggest kick out of that. See? I didn't make contact with those people but he overhead them and it caused him to enjoy the moment. The other evening I asked the wife why she wears so much black and white. It was nothing more than a throw down observation. In a few minutes she came back and said, "Do you have a problem with what I am wearing?" I could tell by the tone that she had totally misunderstood my comment. Then she put this one on me, "Well, tell me why you like to wear red suspenders?" I apologized. That's what people who look like Santa Claus do. Or, that's what they do when they have only two options, slim and none. Just a jolly little joke. Ho, Ho, Ho. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless one and all, and to all a good night! Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing." Will Rogers, (1879-1935), Stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator.

Thanks so much for showing up today. It's a good day because it's the only one we can do much about, at least, at the time being. It is Wednesday, April 26, 2017, and I send greetings out to one and all. I apologize to those who receive my blog via email because I had trouble embedding a video yesterday. I finally had to put it in separately and add it to the original email and I know that can be confusing. Two problems. The technology itself. And, the biggest one of all, the operator of the technology. That, in this particular instance, would be none other than yours truly. There is good news. If it was so discombobulated that you missed the whole thing, well, count that as a blessing and move on down the road. I can tell you that I did put in the time but when I attempted to copy it into the actual email, for some reason, the video did not copy. The actual blog out on the web is fine. It was only when I tried to include it in the email that I had the problem. I worked on it for a while. I tried different things. I talked to myself, my computer, my coffee maker, but at the end of it all, I had to adjust. That's a metaphor for how we make it each day. Adjust and adapt. That brings me to our philosophical thought of the day, from the late great sausage king, country singer, and general entertainer himself, Jimmy Dean: "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."

I'm still trying to figure out exactly how that statement works for any of us in real life, but it sounded good, and that's why I threw it into the mix. As our new President nears his 100th day in office, (officially, April 29th), I think he is learning some things about built-in obstacles that he was aware of but did not necessarily realize how effective they are in stymieing any progress of any kind. For those who read my daily writings, you know I have written much about this entrenchment of political self-preservation that has only one outcome in mind, to stay in power, regardless of who the President is. A successful business person overcomes obstacles of all kinds if they are to return a profit, however, within our system of government today, and I say this with sadness, our President may have met his match. I hope not. I pray not. But, the powers that be in both political parties do not align themselves to make the kind of changes the American people voted for. Sorry. They don't. They are too busy taking care of their number one job and that's making sure they get re-elected, period. Sorry if that sounds negative, but, I can show proof with my federal tax return that I have paid for the right to interpret it the way I see it. (I call it my version of taxation with representation, my own!) I know the President will do his best to set forth a lot of accomplishments because the press will do their hit job as he reaches 100 days. Again, it's not us and them, it's the entirety of the system, and to use one of President Trump's most effective campaign slogans, "It's a rigged system."

I know what some of you are thinking. Why don't I tell you what I really think? It's my editorial opinion. I hope the future proves my assessment to be wrong. And, I will just add how the Republicans, (those supposedly aligned with conservative values), in both the House and the Senate, have, in my opinion, very much failed this President and in doing so, they have also failed us all. There you have it. My capsule assessment as given from the view of my disgruntled thinking. And, at the same time, I do have a positive outlook, because I know personally the Lord God of heaven through the intercessory work of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, God will take care of it all in His own good time. I believe that. I believe what He has said. That's how you can get on with living life in a fallen world where disappointment abounds, surrounds, and at times, engulfs us all. It's called faith. Believing. It matters. Not only for time and eternity, but also for our 24x7 living out of the life God has given to us. I can't deny that what I have written today came from me. I'm not altogether sure why I wrote about all of this, but, that's how I roll when it comes to my daily blogs. I do hope you will take God seriously but not yourself so much. He's got this. Always keep that in mind. Amen. See you next time. .....More later.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Belated: Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary to our Baby and his Wife!

Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary to Rodney and Mitzi.
I suppose it's okay to admit that I occasionally miss something. That's not easy for me to admit since I pride myself on keeping up with important items. Today is Tuesday, April 25, 2017, and I'm still trying to figure out how this one slipped up on me. This past Sunday, the wife's birthday, was also our youngest son and his wife's anniversary. They celebrated 18 years as husband and wife. We should know. We were there. We flew out to Vegas and witnessed their ceremony at the Elvis Chapel. We are thankful for our Rodney and Mitzi and their beautiful family. I always do my best to copy all the special occasions over to my new calendar each year. Guess what? That didn't happen this time for that particular date. Rodney told me it wasn't a big deal. Maybe not. But, it is to me. Maybe I got so wound up on trying to make sure everything went okay for the wife's 70th. Maybe it was just an old fashioned oversight. Maybe. Let's hope it's not a sign of things to come. At any rate, we offer congratulations and a prayer that God will continue to bless. Amen.

Click on the link to hear a YouTube recording of the Quebe Sisters that we went to see the other evening. We love harmony singing and these ladies are great. The wife grew up in a musical family, therefore, sibling harmony is something she is very familiar with. In addition to their singing, all three have won individual fiddling championships over the years. Some may not like the style, but, if folks can't see the talent and versatility of these performers, well, I don't think I can help them. During the concert, the fellow sitting next to me, probably in his early 30's, said he could listen to their music 24 hours a day. I think he had taken in about five mixed drinks at that point and I couldn't help but wonder if he could stay awake to hear that much music. I was hoping he wasn't the driver for the foursome he was with. Practically speaking, I would doubt they have 24 hours of different songs, and for me, well, I like all kinds of music, so, as much as I enjoy hearing them I couldn't agree with him on that one.

I understand about how that some musical presentations are not everyone's cup of tea. That cup of tea idiom actually began in Britain in the 1800's with the positive affirmation, that's my cup of tea and it began to be used to indicate something well liked. In the 1920's the 'not' word was added to describe, well, I think you know the punchline here, something that is not liked. I'm actually not too fond of chants. The Gregorian style. Those chants may mean something to somebody, but not me. I can add Rap to my list of please don't waste my time. Hard Rock. At the same time, the folks who like what they like might stop up their ears if they hear what I am listening to. I'm not completely sure how musical tastes are developed and cultivated but typically we are aware that age is a part of the equation. Not always but we do know it plays a big part. It has something to do with how we identify with particular lyrics, the music itself, and those performing. I guess we just have to live with our differences. You can say banana or tomato any way you choose. I'll still eat both of them. Meanwhile, let me summarize: If you can't see the talent and versatility of those three ladies, regardless of what kind of music you like, well, I still think your situation is beyond help. Just me. Take care. Enjoy. And, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen ....More later.

"I find that it takes a lot of years of living, and many more of reckoning, to come up with one worthwhile paragraph. And when a deadline looms, prayer doesn't hurt, either." ~ Carmen Agra Deedy, Children's Author

Well hello there, how's everybody doing today? Just checking in, here on this Monday, April 24, 2017. We had ourselves a great birthday celebratory recognition Saturday and Sunday for the wife. We first had a most wonderful family gathering for supper on Saturday evening. (There were twenty-one of us and it has been a long time since the entire crew could be in the same place at the same time.) On Sunday evening, she and I went to hear the Quebe Sisters in concert. This trio belts out outstanding western swing harmony and the three of them can tear up the fiddle. (Individually, and collectively) Such sibling harmony! We've been watching them on TV and YouTube for maybe ten or more years since they were all in their mid-teens. We also had a great time of fellowship with other believers on Sunday. I could throw in a few other items, but, I think that should suffice. All that adds up to a busy but beautiful time, had by all. You are correct. That image does imply ground coffee. Coffee may not make the world go around but it does help those of us who live and work on this spinning sphere. Most of you know I carry my three worn out feather pillows to most every place we travel. I've been giving serious consideration to also bringing along my own small Keurig and the Community Coffee 100% Columbian blend individual serve cups that I drink every day. I'm sorry to say this, but, I miss it when I am away drinking some other type of coffee. I do. I really do. I'm not making that up. I will take a lie detector on that one. But, on second thought, just that one question only.

The liberal media never gets tired of coming up with criticisms of President Trump. Most recently, they have been lambasting him for implying the recent attack in Paris was terror related. They said they, (the media elites), did not have enough information to say that with confidence and they were concerned that he would mislead people. One of the main detractors was discredited former news anchor Brian Williams on MSNBC. You may remember him. He was caught lying about many different news stories during his time at NBC News. I heard what President Trump said. It was at the press conference with the Italian Prime Minister. He clearly said the words, "it appeared" to be terror related. Here's the headline from the British Broadcasting Company, BBC, "Policeman and suspected gunman shot dead in Paris 'terror attack'". ISIS has taken credit for it, but, the investigation is ongoing. I, for one, have trouble believing almost anything reported by these mainstream reporters. They seem to be focused more on finding a reason to be critical of the President as opposed to reporting the facts. Opinion Alert: This is another in my long series of throw down observations that you can take for whatever it's worth. To you.

I guess you didn't need to ask but I will tell you anyway. I did not stand in line for some concoction called a "Unicorn Frappuccino". I did, however, read a review and based on those who taste things for a living, I think a Mr. T. reference might be appropriate, "Pity the fool!" The tasters gave the company an A+ for marketing because lines were long everywhere. But when it came to the taste, they, individually, and collectively thought it should be given a T+ for terrible. They even carried it back to their offices and had others try it with very similar responses. I know. I will get letters from those who loved it. One thing they all agreed on. It looked spectacular. And, it has that label on it that can signal that a person is really hip, tuned in, and with it. I wouldn't have known about it but I heard someone talking about it and that's why I decided to check it out. It's part of the cultural curriculum here at my blogger ranch studies program. It's Monday and as you can see I showed up without the sharpest pencil in my backpack this morning. Maybe I'll do better next time. Y'all be careful out there and remember that God's got the whole world in His hands. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

Good day to one and all on this Friday, April 21, 2017. Today's edition is 100% devoted to my wife. She will be celebrating her 70th birthday, (three score and ten), this upcoming Sunday. We will be gathering as a family on Saturday to show our love and appreciation. It's hard for me not to be emotional when I think about the years God has allowed us to share together. We came face to face for the first time in the summer of 1962. We dated and went steady, off and on, mostly on, for the next two and one-half years, and we married in December of 1964. If we make it to our next anniversary, that will be 53 years since we made our vows.

I don't really even know where to start. She comes from a great family and I know in my heart of hearts her mom and dad would be so proud of who she is. She is first and foremost a woman of God who wears that identity everywhere she goes. She is a loving wife, mother, and a doting MiMi, and great grand MiMi. She is a talented singer and has many other talents as well. She stays fully immersed in using her God given gifts of friendship and encouragement. People love her. She loves people. She has a true servant's heart. She's a tireless worker. And, an excellent cook! I do my best every day to make sure I thank God for her and what she means to me and the rest of our family. While I know she is human and she does have her faults, everything I've said about her is true. I should know. I've been around her long enough to know these things. (Read Proverbs 31 for additional information about the kind of testimony she has.)

I've also lived long enough to have learned exactly the meaning of this verse as expressed in the New Living Translation of Proverbs 18:22, "The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD." My way of saying it each year: "Happy Birthday, and Baby, you're still the greatest." Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

“I am often amused and sometimes amazed by the free-reign constructs of my mind. That is why I converse regularly with myself - I am one of my better friends...” ― Gavin Mills, Author

As we try to get a grip, we should begin with the realization that today, Thursday, April 20, 2017, is where we have to get started. It comes wrapped up with all of its demands, challenges, and opportunities. But, we have to be willing to engage and get on with it. That little intro might be known as self-talk. That's where I talk myself into doing whatever it is that I should do. It was a management technique taught in some forums back in the day. Back in the day. Nearly everything I talk about has that as its time marker. You know. Life through the rear view mirror. Time marches on. It waits for no one. Time is money. It fades like a passing shadow. Morning, noon, and night. I think the most difficult thing for me is to see the response of irrelevancy on the faces of those I share what I think to be wisdom. Surely, all that I have learned is not so outdated that applications cannot be made. Practically speaking, many of the younger ones don't even recognize the words I use. One thing, however, I don't have to worry about. When I share the truth from God's Word, He illuminates the heart and mind of the receiving party. It doesn't depend on me. The texts may be ancient but the power of God's Spirit bridges every language barrier or time reference. That's really good news! I feel better. Now back to that other stuff about dealing with today.
I without any help whatsoever went in to correct the DAY on Tuesday's blog (from 17th to 18th), and for some reason known only to someone other than myself, I corrected the month to May at the same time. In case you are wondering, it is still April, and that part of the correction was incorrect. It was noticed. I have now corrected the corrected official copy that resides somewhere, out there, in that wide, wide internet world, although, I have no reason whatsoever to believe that it matters even one iota. Many of you probably knew that 'iota' is the 9th and smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. If I knew it at all, I sure knew it better after looking it up and reading about it. Over time, it came to mean an extremely small amount, as in, a speck, mite, scrap, shred, ounce, scintilla, atom, jot, grain, whit, or trace. In other words, me having a wrong date on my blog is about as inconsequential as it gets. However, when it is called to my attention, I do attempt to make it right. I do want to come clean about this because I read that being able to admit your own mistakes is supposed to be good for your inner being. Having said that, I am waiting. I haven't felt anything yet but maybe that inner being stuff works like those time release pills. It gives me something to look forward to. Thanks.

My wife typically responds to something like today's episode by wondering out loud about by mental stability. Oh well, we all know you don't have to be crazy to do what I do, but it sure helps. (Play on an idiom that's been around a while.) That was a punchline of sorts. I know. If that is what it was supposed to be, what was the joke? Okay. You asked for it. ~ A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: ''I'm looking for the man who shot my paw.'' ~ That's actually the best I could do on such short notice. If all goes according to plan, today my wife is coming home from helping to care for my mom over in Louisiana. Perhaps I will be a little less unhinged when she is here to keep an eye on me. Perhaps. Only time will tell. I do hope that you have a great rest of the day, and, that we all will be thankful for how God reveals truths to us as we read and study His Word. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"I dream of a better world where chickens can cross the road without their motives being questioned." ~ copied

Hey, it's Wednesday and that means something on this April 19, 2017. I'm thinking. Give me a minute. It means that yesterday was Tuesday and there's not a lot that can be done with it. It also means that Thursday will show up tomorrow but we'll have to wait until it makes its appearance. That leaves us with today and I suppose that's the way it should be, one day at a time, and all of that. Someone posted that cartoon the other day. You've probably seen it already. If I have seen it before, I didn't take the time to see exactly what is being portrayed. I did and it actually made me laugh. Because I thought it was funny. Plus, it does answer that most compelling question. The one concerning the chicken and the road crossing affair. Don't act like you haven't pondered that one before. Sure, I'm aware of the knee jerk, "To get to the other side." That is so lame. At least the cartoon gives us the back story and helps to fill in some of those really puzzling issues. What's that? It doesn't do that for you? I tell you, it is really becoming more difficult to offer public service information these days. At least I tried. Surely I can be credited with that.

I did a search of my previous blogs, (2,548 episodes), to see how many times I've dealt with the subject of chicken and/or related thoughts. Too many to count. My wife's fried chicken. My love of fried chicken gizzards. Yes, stories about playing chicken and even those dealing with those two mind boggling questions, 1)Why did the chicken cross the road?; and 2) What came first, the chicken or the egg? I also talked about our Sunday fried chicken dinners when I was growing up and how that it was the standard menu when the preacher ate with us. Then you have additional chicken metaphors, idioms, and figures of speech. ~ She was no spring chicken. ~ Mad as a wet hen. ~ He is so hen pecked. ~ Don't count your chicks before they hatch. ~ She rules the roost. ~ He flew the coop. ~ As scarce as hen's teeth. ~ Too chicken to jump. ~ With him, he's just like Henny Penny, the sky is always falling. ~ There are likely many more but I close this paragraph with one of the most beautiful word pictures I know of.  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it!" Jesus speaking as recorded in Matthew Chapter 23, Verse 37. 

I've always enjoyed looking at some of Doug Savage's cartoons that he draws under the name of 'Savage Chickens'.  I'm glad I know which came first. I'm glad that chickens are a part of our circle of life. I leave you with God's reflection on Day 5 of Creation: "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." (Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 21)  If I think of anything else regarding the subject I will let you know. Later. Until next time, have yourself a finger licking good day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"No, my friend, I am not drunk. It is that I have been to the dentist and I need not go again for six months. It is a beautiful thought." ~ Agatha Christie, from her book,The Patriotic Murders (Hercule Poirot)

It's Tuesday, April 18, 2017, and I am here and you are wherever you happen to be. I know. Duh? Stating the obvious is a way to try and get this day cranked up and to tell the truth, I could use some cranking up. I have to give credit where credit is due. The dental office I use is persistent. I'm late for my 6-month check-up. In and around the date I should have been there they were texting up a storm in sending reminders. I messaged them that I would let them know when I am available. That stopped it for a while. This past Sunday morning, Resurrection Day, I'm sitting in my classroom waiting to get started and I receive a text. It is from my dental office. I kid you not. They said I am now really late for my check-up and that I should immediately make arrangements to rectify this lapse. I'm not sure they used those exact words but it was something like that. I sent them a response: Thanks. Here's the deal. If I go for my check-up, it will cost around $125.00. That's not too bad. BUT, oh no, that's not the way they operate. Letting them examine your teeth is like the mechanic you ask to check for any problems on your vehicle. That, according to the way I heard it growing up, is like saying sickem to a dog. I know when I ran the computer network for a large oil company it included a huge number of oil change centers, the emphasis was on getting as much revenue as possible per ticket. That's exactly what they do at my dental office. Here's how it typically goes: I think I've found something you really need to think about. I usually say I will, maybe, next time. And, they say, I wouldn't wait if I were you, and I say, you are not me. Here's the $125, see you in six months. I leave with my stack of estimate papers with them all shaking their heads. It makes me feel really bad. For about 10 seconds. Or something like that.

Please don't report me to the dental hygienist association. I actually don't want to have them picketing my premises. Last Friday when I was driving over to Louisiana I ran up behind several log hauling or pulpwood trucks. Some of them had logs so long they were actually nearly touching the highway as they hung off the back. Fully loaded, these trucks nearly come off the highway in the front. Most of them, regardless of how new or old, show plenty of wear and tear, with dents all over the cab and cracked windows. Sure, folks get weary behind these slow-moving giants. But, at the same time, it caused me to think about how grueling that work is and how it takes a toll on those involved. I can say that because some of the fellows I grew up with actually went into that business. It's a very tough way to make a living. I could have easily ended up doing something like that. But, God had a different plan for my life and I am thankful for His grace and mercy. I've got plenty of wear and tear during my three score and ten plus, but, no telling how much more had I ended up sawing logs. Some of those same guys used to tell me how they would have to be sent to the asylum if they worked in an office like me. I always thought working in the office was in some ways like being in an asylum. That's a joke. Not so fast. Maybe it isn't. That might explain a lot. I'll get back to you on that one.

On my way out of Hornbeck, Louisiana, I stopped by Beckom Cemetery to visit the graves of our kin. I had not been out there for a while. I know the real person is not in the grave. "Now we are confident and are pleased rather to be absent out of the body, and to be at home with the Lord." (2nd Corinthians 5:8, from the Berean Literal Bible) However, it is where a marker recognizes their time here on earth. I tried to visit each grave of those who were connected to our family. Granny and Paw Paw Mac alongside their infant daughter Seawillow Beal. Their daughter, our Aunt Jean. Granny Mac's mother, Grandmother Curtis. Granny's sister Aunt Mary and her husband, Uncle Claude. Uncle Red who had been married to our Aunt Helen. My dad Cecil, my brother Jimmy, my brother Donald, my brother-in-law Kenneth, our baby sister, Kayla, our nephew Andy. There were just too many memories to wrap my heart and mind around. I left that place in tears, climbed into my old truck, and as I was leaving I clicked on the satellite radio. I had left it on the Bluegrass channel. As they say, if I'm lyin then I'm dyin, but it was as if the windows of heaven opened because there it was, Roy and Dale, singing, "Happy trails to you until we meet again." I thanked the Lord for having them sing that song for me and continued on my journey. Have a blessed rest of the day. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate." ~ Douglas Engelbart

You thought that sound was an air compressor cooling down, didn't you? Nope. It was just me taking a breath of air after being on the run the last few days. Welcome back. It is Monday, April 17, 2017, and it's time to get a new start on a new day. I traveled to Louisiana last Friday and I am glad to say mom is some better in some ways. She is getting good care from my wife, my sister, and dad. I came home Saturday afternoon and I enjoyed teaching a Resurrection lesson Sunday morning. Now it is on with this week where I will be finalizing plans for the wife's 70th coming up this weekend. That will be followed a week later by our middle son's 49th, and then mom's 93rd on May 3rd. How does the old saying go? A Poppy's work is never done. Ladies, don't write me. Just making a little joke. You know. Play on words. I heard someone say recently they had never been so embarrassed. They had run into a friend in the mall and offered enthusiastic congratulations on her being with child. One problem. The friend she had not seen in a while was not pregnant. She had gained some weight. The person telling this ended it with those famous words, "I could have died!" That got me to thinking about embarrassment. It plagues us all. There are times when we no doubt are embarrassed for the wrong reason, but, there are also times when that desire to go and hide is warranted.

This specific situation has never happened to me but I've been present and observed it. A major business dinner was held at an exclusive restaurant. It was a big deal. We had about a dozen of our people and had taken the Company jet to be at this research facility for a few days. In addition to our group, there were probably the same number of technical research people along with their senior management. The bill was enormous, but, my boss, as was his inclination, said he would pay. His American Express card was declined, sending shock waves through the room. It was flagged because it was so high. I saw my boss's face turn from red to purple and then that potted meat look. We ended up taking up an offering of sorts and paying in cash. I'm not sure he ever recovered from that one. But, one good thing came out of it. It became a legendary story for all of us who happened to be there that day.

I've done the pushing of the door when it was supposed to be pulled, with people behind me. They thought it to be a lot funnier than I. I've spoken to someone in response to their greeting on the elevator only to find out they were greeting someone behind me. No. That's not a short people joke. I'm sure my face had quite a colorful response on that one. I, as a young man, mentioned to a cafeteria worker that she had some kind of black mark on her forehead. Very politely she told me that it was her religion. Yikes! I've come out of a restroom and met someone at the door just as the most foul odor ever smelled comes wafting through the air. I wanted to scream, it wasn't me, but that look of disgust on their face haunted me for at least a couple of minutes. I still remember forgetting to put a plastic cup in the little holder and pouring coffee all over the counter and the floor. It was one of the first big manager meetings at our Company that I was invited to. I was petrified. A blessing from above, however, as it was only seen by one person, a dear lady who was the assistant to our department vice president. She looked at me, smiled, and said, "Don't worry about it. I will clean this up. Go sit down and enjoy the rest of the meeting." I think maybe I had started breathing again by then, but, I can tell you, I thought then and still do today, "Yes, there is a God in heaven!" Amen. .....More later.

Friday, April 14, 2017

"Believe in Christ crucified and preach boldly in His name, and you shall see great and gladsome things. His reward shall parallel His sorrows. Let no man’s heart fail him! Christ has died! Atonement is complete! God is satisfied! Peace is proclaimed! Heaven glitters with proofs of mercy already bestowed upon ten thousand times ten thousand! Hell is trembling, heaven adoring, earth waiting. Advance, ye saints, to certain victory! You shall overcome through the blood of the Lamb." – Charles H. Spurgeon, (1834-1892), "Prince of Preachers"

Today, Friday, April 14, 2017, is a day recognized by those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior as the day He hung on The Cross. If you are in that number then I only say to remember to remember Him and how He fulfilled God's eternal plan to rescue His fallen created human family. If you are not a Christ follower then I commend you to seek Him, Hear Him, and respond to His invitation to receive the gift of eternal life. Have a blessed day today, a great Saturday, and don't forget to join up with others to celebrate our victory through Him on Resurrection Sunday. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have." ~ Dwight L. Moody

Today. It's Thursday, April 13, 2017. If everything goes according to plan, I will be off for the Good Friday holiday tomorrow.  I plan to be off also on Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. That's a three-day run of me not needing to hit the floor by 3:15 a.m. I will likely go to Louisiana to see mom, dad, my sister JoAnn, and our soon to be birthday girl, my one and only wife. That's coming up in a few days and it is one of those milestones, the big 70. I'm trying to figure out the best way to honor her on this special occasion. She said not to make a big fuss. I thought I owned that line. She said to give her money because she has some big ideas about changing her yard. I suppose she subscribes to that theory that says if it's not broken, break it! I do appreciate the work she puts into making our place look nice. When she came home the other day she told me to please not pay anyone to do anything in the yard because she could hardly wait to get on that riding mower. She says it is therapeutic. And, I can tell she is always so pleased when she finishes. Me? Well, I don't really notice all the details that much. From time to time, she mentions she will be changing out some piece of decor and I look up and see the stuff she's removing and I can't remember ever seeing it before. Sometimes, I forget to exercise caution and I say without thinking, "When did we get the stuff you are taking down?" Experience tells me that's never the right question or the right answer.

You can hear just about any assessment of what's going on in the political world and often what is said is the complete opposite of the other expert's opinion. President Trump gave the order to lob some missiles onto a Libyan airfield and many were so happy he did. The liberals thought it was a great thing to do in response to the Libyan regime using chemical weapons on their own people. That was for one day. The next day the liberals had been given their talking points and were running around like Chicken Little talking about how the President was trying to start WW3. (Does the mainstream media hype work? I saw where WW3 was at the top of the list in searches on Google. Don't ever say I didn't tell you.) I saw the headline of one editorial in a national newspaper and it had this sentiment, "Right Action in Libya taken by the Wrong Person." Really? I didn't read it because I could guess their rationale. The Russians are supposedly very unhappy about what we did to their ally in Libya. Very unhappy. Angry. We've heard the mainstream saying for months that Trump and Putin were big buddies as they cooperated to defeat Hillary Clinton. Putin initially refused to even meet with our Secretary of State in Moscow. What gives? Here's one scenario that even surprised me. Maybe Trump and Putin cooperated in this bombing escapade to make it look like they are not buddies and make it appear they didn't cooperate in bringing down Hillary. Here's what I think. If you have your own idea about what is going on, it's probably as plausible as all the others floating around.

Since this is called Passion Week and I'm talking about the mind-boggling difficulties in ferreting out accurate information, it reminds me of that conversation between the local governing authority Pontius Pilate and Jesus of Nazareth. I close with this passage for us all to read, consider, and think about.  ~ Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die. Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.” “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. ~ (Gospel of John, Chapter 18, Verses 28-40) Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." ~ Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 10, Verse 10

Today is Wednesday, April  12, 2017, as we continue our journey remembering the accounts of exactly what happened during the week when Jesus gave Himself up for us all. (Galatians 1:4 and Ephesians 5:2) I use the word exactly because I believe the Bible to be a truthful account of all that happened. It's not just a religious book, it's also a historically accurate depiction of the events it portrays. I love these inspired words given through the Apostle John, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John chapter 20, Verses 30-31) These are written. Those are the things we should focus on. I saw a few minutes of a PBS documentary that was proposing the truths we hold true to have been invented at a much later time than how it is depicted in the New Testament. Maybe I should have a more open mind, but, I couldn't watch and listen to what I sensed was blasphemy against the Savior who came and died for me. You see, that belief in Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, is what gives life in His name. I'm thankful for this week where even our calendars remember what happened in Jerusalem so many years ago. (Good Friday, Easter Sunday)

I can't think of a greater time in our strife-torn world when people need to know the only One who can bring true peace to each heart. We need not look any further than here in our own nation where hate and division seem to be the order of the day. All one has to do is to watch some of the debates going on in the halls of our government to observe how fractured our political discourse has become. There appears to be no common ground where the collective interests of the American people can be advanced. Loud, angry voices, finger pointing, and railing accusations are now what passes for deliberation and law making. No wonder hopelessness has taken hold on many of our youth today. I watched a fair amount of the US Senate as they met to deal with the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to become an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Okay. I'm an older guy so I can make this observation. There are a lot of Senators who are getting up there in years and they move around slowly. When they rise to speak, the stuff they say is typically inflammatory and it is connected to their pursuit of power. On both sides. What is best for our country? Maybe these people should pay attention to the question asked by newly elected President John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Or maybe even this visionary statement from President Abraham Lincoln, "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." My simple viewpoint: Jesus is the answer. Amen.

Let me be clear here. Jesus is the Answer but as long as we live in a fallen world where fallen people respond to their fallen natures, we will not see the fruition of a peaceful world until Jesus returns to make all things right. (That's in the Bible too.) That doesn't mean the power that brought Jesus up from the grave is not still available to change the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls. It is available. I heard an interesting discussion on the BBC News program on the radio the other day. They were talking about the value of human life compared to the value of animal life. The host of the program threw out the concept of the value of human life for those who see it connected to God. He more or less set that aside as being non-consequential from a scientific viewpoint. That led to a discussion about pain and suffering and whether people should be given any more consideration than animals. The fellow advocating for the same consideration for people and animals promoted a vegan lifestyle. I don't want to make him feel bad but I've heard people like himself say that plants also feel pain. Yikes. While this may sound preposterous to you, check out how prevalent some of these notions have become in the views of many of our fellow citizens. Check it out. Meanwhile, I will stick with "thus says the Word of the Lord" as best I know how, and, that's what I recommend to you as well. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Question: What's the difference between death and taxes? Answer: Congress doesn't meet every year to make death worse. ~ copied

Oh yeah. Another reason the wife came home. To finish our federal tax return. She is not always an attentive participant in this process. I wanted her to know the details. She is, after all, equally responsible. As I worked through each line her common refrain was, "Can I go now?" In the event that yours truly made a really big mistake, I guess we will both do our time at Leavenworth together. I wonder if they let husbands and wives bunk together? At any rate, we are done for 2016 unless they come calling. They do that. They call it an audit. Those who have one call it a nightmare. Out of 140 million tax returns from 2015, less than 1% required a formal audit. Therefore, here's the good news for this Tuesday, April 11, 2017: The IRS has announced fewer audits for 2016, which means you have less than a 1% chance of having to participate in an audit. For those who still need some mathematical help here, that means you have more than a 99% chance of not being audited. There are actual odds established based on the type of return you file but that general number still applies. And, yes, I am aware that 1% of a big number can produce a sizeable number of nightmares. (140 million times 1% = 1.4 million) I will leave you with a few thoughts on the subject. ~ "Doing your own taxes is like a do-it-yourself mugging." ~ "According to the government, a taxpayer is someone who has what it takes." ~ Government Bureau: Where the Taxpayer's shirt is kept. ~

In case you haven't noticed, we do live in somewhat of a cynical world. I am frequently out and about going here and there on behalf of our Company and I do get to rub shoulders with people in all different kinds of environments. My take says there are way too many folks who come across as being disgruntled and angry, or as Paw Paw Mac would have said it, down in the mouth. That makes people who reflect a positive and happy demeanor stand out. Often you hear the cynical assessment of those who give the appearance of being happy as perhaps they must be on some type of drug. The other day I was across the metroplex and I came in contact with a middle aged Hispanic fellow who couldn't stop talking about what a wonderful day it was, and how blessed he was to be enjoying it all. Hello? I looked at him and he responded, "Don't you agree, Sir?" The genuineness of his attitude was infectious. I couldn't help but be drawn into this expression of thankfulness and joy. I talked about being an old man and we kidded forth and back. I then told him he had done such a great job of building my spirits up I wanted to leave him with one of our souvenir cards. I gave him our Santa and Mrs. Claus card and you would have thought I had given him a treasure. I finished dealing with the manager and I looked up and the smiling fellow was back. "Sir, do you mind, would you please sign the little card for me?" I did. Santa and Mrs. Claus. He was happy. And, he had accomplished something. He had infused the ordinary mundane with a sense of joy. I can still feel it when I think about his big heart. Would to God I could do as well. Amen.

I heard the wife tell several people that I would be back to batching it soon. (Slang for playing the role as a bachelor.) May I go on record to say that no matter how it is defined I would just as soon not be involved in it. Period. And, let the record show, I am unanimous in my ruling on this subject. It is a reminder of how many of our dear friends who have been left to carry on after the passing of their mate. I often pray for these folks because I can see how their lives have been changed. Having more than one person to deal with each day reflects upon something that Solomon said as recorded in Ecclesiastes. "Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Chapter 4:9-12, New Living Translation) The context here is work accomplished by a team versus the limitations of it being on one person. Some scholars decry the use of this passage at a wedding, but, in a practical, general sense, the people getting married do become a team. At any rate, my roomate will be missed but I hope to see her this upcoming Good Friday and Saturday. Surely, I should be able to manage myself for a handful of days. Right? One would think, but, don't go giving me credit that I haven't earned. Enjoy and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Caring is just another word for LOVE!

So, here I am, back again, right back where I started from. I was thinking about trying to write a song but those words sound to me like they may have already been taken. Thanks for showing up for today's episode, coming to you on this back-to-work Monday, April 10, 2017. My wife was supposed to come home this past Saturday morning for a short visit. But, she surprised me by showing up Friday evening. That's a great news but not so ready news event. I'm talking about having all my chores done. It was funny. I was talking to mom but I could tell she had the phone upside down. I finally said goodbye and immediately called my wife to tell her to go fix mom's phone. The wife answered and said if I would open the back door she would talk to me about it. She was pretty well spent from helping care for mom, plus, she wanted to make sure the yard was being cared for, the way she wants it cared for. She plans to return to Louisiana on Tuesday to continue helping in mom's care. She knows that I am humbled by her love and support of my mom. I've mentioned before about a trait test I took at a management conference many years ago. I got my hands on some extra copies and brought them home with me. The professor who designed and refined this test over many years said it was hard to defeat because of the different ways he structured the questions. At any rate, my outcome has been pretty consistent over the years. The results were color coded. I am a blended hue, meaning I can interchangeably wear whatever hat I need to in order to get the job done. It's important to remember there are no wrong outcomes because they reflect what makes a person tick. I gave the test to my wife and she was off the chart blue. That indicates altruism and serving as drivers in her life. The professor described his wife's score as being so high in the blue, she would lay down and give you additional traction if you were stuck in the snow. Here's what I know about this subject. There are natural traits and then there are the abilities that God places in our lives. I see how He worked in my wife's life to compliment her natural bent, therefore, she is, at heart, a caregiver. And, I am so thankful that she does what she does, from her heart.

Interestingly enough, there was great distress in that large group who participated in this testing procedure. People in business, in particular, develop a view of themselves that is not always in keeping with the inclinations of their heart and mind. At that huge conference, I saw several who were angry because the test did not show them as being high reds, meaning they were the hard charging, take no prisoners, type of manager. I will give it to you like this. Maybe some of them discovered the job they had did not match their personality and bent. Perhaps that's why they were being treated for ulcers. Each category listed had its own strengths and weaknesses. A high blue is a great servant but that type of person may be easily taken advantage of. A high red may get projects done regardless of the obstacles but they may be very difficult for others to work with. Those who have an administrative inclination do a great job in keeping up with the business, however, they may be very weak in making decisions. The blended hue person like me moves in and out of different shades but may not always be effective in meeting objectives. See what I mean? I guess the bottom line here is to do all we can to find the best application of our talents and abilities in whatever pursuit we choose. Meanwhile, I will try to figure what color of hat I was wearing when I wrote all of this.

I've been around long enough to have seen many in job positions they were not individually well suited for. I can see a vivid image of a fellow I worked with many years ago. I can see him standing up at his desk chug-a-lugging a bottle of liquid anti-acid medication. That was a daily occurrence. He had been an officer in the military, but, making the transition into the civilian world as a network manager with huge pressures and high demands, was too much for him. He didn't last but a couple of years. When he left, his health was pretty well shot. I was the lone voice on our management team who didn't think he should have been hired to begin with. (You know. The I-told-you-so guy.) My reasoning was two-fold. Having worked for the military myself, I was concerned about the adaptability factor, especially since our network staff was made up of highly skilled professionals, not saluting privates. Secondly, he had been very impertinent in dealing with our travel people as they attempted to accommodate his interviews with flights, hotels, etc. To me, that didn't sound like a good match. It wasn't. That's my recollection of how it all went down nearly 30 years ago. The fellow who hired him, my boss at the time, he may have seen it differently. The fellow who was hired most likely thought he wasn't given a fair shot. See what I mean? The same story but from different mindsets. Oh well, other than its discussion value, it really doesn't matter at this point in time. Thanks for bearing with my wordiness today. May God help us all to use what He has given to us to honor Him and serve others. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jolly: happy and cheerful. "he was a jolly man full of jokes" synonyms: cheerful, happy, cheery, good-humored, jovial, merry, sunny, joyful, joyous, lighthearted, in high spirits, bubbly, exuberant, ebullient, gleeful, mirthful, genial, affable, fun-loving.

Great and Grand Madi girl at her mom's birthday celebration.
That would be correct. It is Friday and the birds are even making a sweeter song because of it. You do know I'm just pulling your leg on this April 7, 2017, don't you? Believe it or not, the origin of the 'pulling the leg' figure of speech is hard to nail down. It is going out of style in today's usage but it has been around since the 1800's. We all know it typically means to be misled or teased in a mild and benign manner. The theory favored by many etymologists connects it to a time when thieves would pull at the leg of a target to trip them up, but, there is no hard proof for this being how it began. The limbs do have their fair share of colloquialisms, like 'an arm and a leg', 'shake a leg', and the ever-popular 'break a leg'. I think I had better move on down the road before I get bogged down. The other evening when I drove across the way to have dinner with our eldest and his family to celebrate our Tiffany's birthday, I had an interesting exchange with one of the wait staff at the Olive Garden Restaurant. I was waiting out on the porch for the others to arrive and he stopped, looked me over, and told me he really liked my cap. I said thank you. He walked away but stopped and turned around and then he said, I actually like your entire outfit. I thanked him for the compliment. My outfit? Outfit? A cap and suspenders and it's an outfit? I guess it's good that I can be jolly about it. Surely, I can pull off at least one of those identified traits of what it means to be jolly. I hope I can.

We hit a low of 43 degrees yesterday morning. That felt really good but I must confess that it was trending towards the chilly side. That's just four degrees from being in the 30's. I did wear a long sleeve shirt. I also drove into work with my window partially down but I did have the defrost heat blowing on the windshield. The combination made it just about right. I'm not so sure the construction guys got the memo that while it was projected to be cooler, there was really no need to dress like Eskimos engaged in breaking ice to get their jobs done. That was one of my observations about the enjoyable cooldown. And, in that case, it truly was a drive-by assessment. Our great grand is an observer as well. She noticed the other evening that I was sporting a different cell phone. "Oh look, Poppy has MiMi's old phone." I'm sure she has played a few games on her MiMi's phone. And, she pointed out the pink color. She's not the only one. I get that a lot. I finally started telling people to please not make fun of my phone that reminds us of breast cancer awareness. That typically brings any further discussion to a halt. I've been offered a camo cover for it. That would be nice. You know. Duck Dynasty. I would think about it but I've already forgotten who offered it to me. Some days are like that.

There's quite a lot of favorable research on the benefits of forgetfulness, from a neurological viewpoint. I'll not go into those since I don't begin to think I understand them. Here's what the online version of NEWSMAX deemed as the top five most famous quotes concerning forgetfulness. ~ 1. "The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time." — 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. ~ 2. "As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two." — 20th Century British comedian Sir Norman Wisdom. ~ 3. "Yes, forgetting can be a curse, especially as we age. But forgetting is also one of the more important things healthy brains do, almost as important as remembering. Think how quickly the sheer volume and multiplicity of sensory information we receive every waking minute would overwhelm our consciousness if we couldn’t quickly forget a great deal more of it than we remember." — U.S. author Michael Pollan in his 2001 book, "The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World." ~ 4."A man must get a thing before he can forget it." — 19th Century U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. ~ 5. "Forgetfulness is necessary to remembrance. Ideas are retained by renovation of that impression which time is always wearing away, and which new images are striving to obliterate. If useless thoughts could be expelled from the mind, all the valuable parts of our knowledge would more frequently recur, and every recurrence would reinstate them in their former place." — 18th Century English author Samuel Johnson. ~ I can't remember if I've seen these lately but that number 5 is a doozy. Remember this: Don't feel bad if you forget these as soon as you read them. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. See you next time and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Only you can protect your personal information.

It's time to get this one kickstarted. We have to deal with the only one we can work with at the moment. That would be Thursday, April 6, 2017. I am active on a variety of social media platforms. That doesn't mean that I do not try to keep as low a profile as possible. I do check my name periodically to see what shows up in a search. As far as my image, the two above are the only ones that show up when I Google Image search using my name. Those come from a newspaper article written about my Santa Claus work at a market festival in our area. The search produced hundreds of images, many of them directly linked in one way or another to a person with the same or similar name, but only these two of yours truly. That makes me very happy. I enjoy the exchange of pleasantries and the fellowship shared on the social media platforms but I also value my anonymity. It is interesting to know that people who have my same name run insurance agencies, operate hotels, and do a number of other types of businesses as well. I do have peripheral security in place, however, there's never enough to protect from someone smart enough to overcome it. This is why I recommend that everyone who uses the internet to keep close tabs on their personal information. I've recently changed a number of my passwords to try and thwart continuing attacks of those attempting to either impersonate me or to use my email account. The watchword: Enjoy but be safe.

The recent uproar over the Russian involvement in last year's presidential election needs to be adjudicated, one way or another. At this point and time, it's obvious the Russian Government, for its own reasons, did use cyber warfare on entities involved in the campaigns. Here's what I think. The American people want this to be investigated and FACTS to be discovered. Not charges and counter charges. Not political sloganizing. We are grown ups. We can handle it. Let's get to the bottom of it and move on, whatever that implies. It also appears that perhaps the Obama folks did some things that may not have been in keeping with the laws that protect the privacy of American citizens. I stress the word 'appears'. Here again, these kinds of matters need to be investigated and the findings made clear to the American public. I voted for Richard Nixon twice, but, I also came home each night and watched reruns of that day's Watergate hearings. Why? Like President Nixon said, "The American people are entitled to know if their president is a crook or not." I feel the same way about all the posturing going on. Spend time doing the hard work of getting the facts. Report them and let the folks who go to the ballot box decide. This opinion piece was brought to you today by the independent research firm known as Me, Myself, and I.

As it relates to swimming underwater in the polluted ocean of political shenanigans, I do have to surface for air on occasion. That's why I shared that little personal take on the current reality show unfolding in Washington D.C. I didn't want you to think I had gone off the reservation when it came to paying attention to my civic duty. The other day I mentioned the hate filled assessment of the Duck Dynasty series by a TV critic for Rolling Stone Magazine. His final salvo involved how the Robertson clan, led by the patriarch Phil, went all in supporting Donald Trump in his campaign to win the election. This critic believed them supporting Trump was a total capitulation of what the Bible teaches about morality and ethics. I believe at one time, Phil Robertson even called Donald Trump God's man for our needs at this time. I point this out only to remind us all that people pay attention to real or perceived hypocrisy in the lives of those who identify as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. You've heard many times that I was never a supporter of Donald Trump as a candidate for President. Never. I did, however, vote for him, because of the options available. Let me say one more thing and then I will be done. Maybe Phil meant that Mr. Trump was God's man like some of the pagan kings God raised up and brought to power as recorded in the history of God's dealings with His people, Israel. I'm not saying that Mr. Trump is a pagan. I'm just giving you some thoughts to consider. You know. Ponder the possibilities. That's enough carpet bombing for one day. Take care. Know that God is Sovereign and He is aware of every iota of every detail, period. ("Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father." Matthew 10:29) Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Happy 29th Birthday to our first Grandchild!

Good morning and welcome, one and all. It's Wednesday, April 5, 2017, a very special day for us. We pause to remember, reflect on, and to wish our very first grandchild a happy 29th birthday. Her birth brought about huge changes for us young grandparents. At the time of her birth I still worked for the big company in downtown Houston. I occupied a very prominent office space on the 22nd floor. That prominent office space soon became a viewing area for any and all photos of our Tiffany. Today when I see folks going crazy on Facebook at the birth of their first grandchild, it reminds me of us. I do thank God for our Tiffany and we pray that she will continue to look to Him as her journey continues. I plan to see her tonight at the gathering. MiMi sends her greetings from Louisiana. May God bless. Amen.
Some of you probably remember ABC's Wide World of Sports. The distinctive voice of Jim McKay would open each time with, "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is 'ABC's Wide World of Sports!'" While I can't claim such high and lofty pursuits, as a blogger, I am constantly on the look out for news you can use, finding it wherever I can, from here, there, and everywhere. Today, I ran across some really excellent and wonderful news. It comes from a study conducted in Ireland. It found that 63% of those surveyed over the age of 70 indicated they were more content than at any other time in their lives. More than half of the over 70 crowd said they were still in their prime. The head dude over the survey work had this quote, "Older people can teach us all a lot." See there? If you are 70 or older or if you are headed in that direction, it's time to get your 'happy' on. Contentment is a great way to live out one's days. I have a quote from the highest authority on the subject, "But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment." (1st Timothy, Chapter 6, Verse 6, as rendered in the New American Standard Bible, NASB)

I know exactly how some of you feel. It has not been that long ago that I would not have even thought about pausing to read that article. I actually had to answer a question before they would let me see the data. They wanted to know that when I think of convenience, what is the first retailer that comes to mind. That was a really hard one for me because, forgive me, but, I don't believe I ever think much about retailers, period. But I did want to see the study results so I began to ponder how to answer. Let me see. Convenience. I do typically buy gasoline. Those places do have what they call a convenience store. Bingo! So I answered Exxon-Mobil. I don't know if they even have those outlets in the land of leprechauns, but, they did open the door and I was able to read additional proof that all lives matter, including the white haired variety. At our Bible study last Wednesday evening I told the class I wanted to hurry home in time to watch the final episode of Duck Dynasty. One lady asked why I didn't just DVR it. I confessed that I had never learned how to do the DVR deal. The response was less than encouraging. All these silver haired saints shaking their heads in pity. But, I thought about it like this. It is true I have never taken the time to learn how to record programs, however, I'm past 70 and can very boldly say I feel very content with my inability to do so. Okay. That's enough joy spreading for one day. Enjoy. Be blessed. May God help us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

“Housework won't kill you, but then again, why take the chance?” ― Phyllis Diller

Good morning and welcome to the life and times of a man dealing with all the issues faced in life while his wife is away helping to care for his mother. It's Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Welcome. After Church on Sunday, I determined to get caught up on my chores. These are not typically 'my' chores but with the domestic goddess gone for nine days now, the voice of necessity crying in the wilderness had to be answered. There's always decisions to be made. Do I make the bed or do I make the bed look like something was done to it? I started the latter but ended up having to make it anyway after making such a mess out of the fake deal. Got all the dishes washed. I think I did about four loads of clothes. Washing, drying, hanging them up, folding, putting them away. Whew! When I talked to her on the phone at about 5 p.m. and told her I needed someone to come in to help me with all of my tasks, she couldn't help herself. I get how she let out a huge LOL, but did she have to add the loud sound effects? Well, thank you very much. When I was doing the clothes I noticed that a lot of them were hers. Before I could even think about it, it dawned on me. Every time she does the clothes a lot of them are mine. Man! I hate it when it works out like that. I couldn't help but think, where did all these towels come from? What do these grandkids think we are running here? Some kind of motel or what? Sorry. Just trying to get the hang of my inner domestic mindset. Get it right. I was not trying to get in touch with my feminine side. Whatever in the world that means.

I know she will get a kick out of reading about my travails. She reads my blogs when she gets up and typically sends me a note afterwards. She is very well aware how much she is missed. Not just by our immediate family but she has a wide circle of friends and they too are missing her being here. She, however, is conflicted. She knows she is needed at home but she also sees a need for assistance in mom's situation. I am glad that she is sensitive to the needs of others, especially when it comes to my mom. Meanwhile, I will soldier on, so to speak. I think we've just about warmed up everything at the house that can be warmed up. I probably need to drop by the store and pick up a few things. I've been saying that for several days now. Navigating the traffic on the way home is not so easy. I think I had several other pretty decent excuses but they escape me at this particular time. I'll have to check my excuse book. I've been meaning to index that resource to make it easier to use. No. I do not have an excuse book. Not a printed one. Is there a file labeled as such somewhere upstairs in my noggin? I can't be 100% sure but honesty compels me to say I wouldn't put it past me.

She did cook a meal while I was there last Saturday. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. You don't have to wonder if I enjoyed it or not. She even had made banana pudding for dessert. That's my girl! If it is true that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, she has a whole lot longer of a journey in my current condition than she did a few years ago. As my grandfather would have said it, "Son, looks like you've swollen up since the last time I saw you." He did not have the gift of subtlety. I can't be sure exactly what has caused this recent weight gain. It's like I crossed a threshold of some kind. I'm working on a list of suspects right now. I think I've used the Santa Claus needs a belly already. According to the online version of Prevention Magazine, here are the 6 lamest excuses people use for not doing something about it, 1) I'm too busy. 2) Healthy food is too expensive. 3) Diets make me hungry. 4) I don't have time to cook. 5) Exercise makes me too tired. 6) I always gain the weight back. I didn't read all the solutions that followed each of these excuses because my eyes were tired. I do need to think some about each of them to see if any of them ring a bell with me. Thanks for showing up today. It's time for a short break. Does anyone know if there's any of the banana pudding left? See you next time and may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.