Wednesday, May 31, 2017

“The day we find the perfect church, it becomes imperfect the moment we join it.” ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834-1892), called the Prince of Preachers

I'm glad of one thing about it being Wednesday, May 31, 2017. I don't have to adjust the calendar on my watch this month. I know. I hear that rumbling out on the fruited plain. If that's my greatest problem, maybe I should look for something a little more serious. Thanks. I will keep that in mind. In my recent trips to Louisiana, I've left right after teaching my Bible study lesson. This put me driving through the East Texas roadways on Church Day Sunday. I am always impressed by the little meeting places that dot the roads where people gather to praise God and encourage one another. Seeing a small building with dozens of cars in the parking lot tells me there is still hope for our nation. I know. That is clearly in the eye of the beholder, but, that's what I thought when I observed folks being faithful to the admonition of the Scriptures, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25, New King James Version)

I think this little laptop is a lot like me. Nearly everything on this computer is no longer supported. That means they cannot guarantee the results of any given program on any given day. I live with that every day and I don't need an out of date little laptop to tell me about it. The other day I had to go to the big box store to pick up a few items. The store was pretty much deserted. They had maybe 7 or 8 checkers standing out in the aisle encouraging people to use their services. Question. Where are these turkey lurkies when the place is overrun with people? At any rate, I noticed they had a new device for checking up on one's health. I sat down and it had about a dozen options. I chose the 'true health' age feature. That led me through many different screens with different questions. It weighed me and took my blood pressure. I did my best to answer the questions correctly and it gave me a score of 66 years. I thought to myself. Not bad since I will soon be 71. However, truth always trumps anything I might think. This verse came to mind, "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14, New American Standard Bible). 

Let me tell you something that really matters. God cares and people care. I've already received many comments concerning those who are lifting up dad to our heavenly Father. We know that prayer works because God set it up to work. No. I can't explain to anyone exactly how it works but He invited us into His throne room based on the finished work of our Lord and Savior. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) That's an invitation. Jesus made it clear that we do not come to God to inform Him of anything. He already knows all about it, period. However, we come because He has invited us to do as the old song says, "take your burden to the Lord and leave it there." Thanks to each and every person who is doing just that, especially for our dad. Okay. I suppose I have been waxing somewhat theological today but if our theology isn't a part of who we are each day, well, we better check up on what we are believing. Take care, and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

You probably don't need to see my ID, you may recognize my hen scratching as being authentic.

Hello and welcome to back to work Tuesday, May 30, 2017. I was pretty busy over the three day weekend. Our dad, my step dad for the past nearly forty years, is not doing well at all. He has been a real dad to me and I think everyone in our huge blended family has that opinion of him. He has the back issues that are debilitating in and of itself. However, his current situation appears to be much more than that particular ailment. He has told me for several years that he worried about dying before mom. Why? He felt like no one else would take care of her like him. He has finished that work, and, now it seems he may be preparing to follow her. We don't know. It is in God's hands. Let me say again how blessed I feel to be close to dad's children. Yes, we are a blended family, but, more than that, we are family, period. None of us ever contemplated dad in decline. It just wasn't on our radar screen. We are now privileged to work together to do all we can to help him during this season of his life. Prayers are welcomed. Amen.

Yesterday, Facebook was flooded with memorials for those who have died while wearing the uniform of our nation. Many were personal because it was their family member who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. While some think folks shouldn't celebrate with all the picnics and other amusements, I believe it's okay because the fallen gave their lives for our American way of life. I would hope the majority did pause to remember the price that was paid. For me, it's always a reminder of two of my high school buddies that left for Vietnam and did not return. Here is how they are depicted on the Vietnam Memorial Wall of Faces:
Floyd Willams
Date of Birth: July 29, 1944
Date of Casualty: July 12, 1967
Home of Record: Hornbeck, Louisiana

Roland Prewitt
Date of Birth: Sep 28, 1946
Date of Casualty: August 1, 1967
Home Town: Florien, Louisiana

I and several others did make a turnaround trip to check on dad this past Sunday. I was also sent this photo of our two great grands as they were together for the first time. Our son sent us the photo. These two girls are a part of mom and dad's legacy and we thank God for them. My work computer went belly up with an unrecoverable hard drive failure last Friday. If you aren't familiar with the belly up metaphor, I'm not sure I can help you. At any rate, I brought in our little laptop this morning and that's what I am using. It doesn't have very many bells and whistles but it sure beats a huge door stop that refuses to even start up. Now, we deal with today. May God bless us all and may He show His love, mercy, and grace to our dad. Amen. .....More later.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A cool breeze blew in a blessing for me.

Good morning and welcome. Today, Friday, May 26, 2017, is special to many because at the end of the day it will usher in the Memorial Holiday Weekend. Me? Not so much, but, it is good to see folks excited about something. Last Wednesday morning was pretty special. I drove in with my window about half way down sipping on my hot black Community coffee. It was somewhere around 58 degrees. You know me. It didn't take long for me to conjure up visions of a fall morning. I can't deny it. That's what it felt like to me. I wasn't ready to break out the snow chains, but, I did have visions of frost dancing around in my noggin. Yes, I am fully aware that we have sizzling days ever so near, but, for it to be nearly the end of May and we have ourselves a fall morning to enjoy, well, all I can say is I do hope you took the time to enjoy it. I did thank the Lord God above for His provision. It reminded me of that famous passage from the Book of Ruth where the land owner showed favor to the widow, "When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. Also, you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.' " (Ruth  2:15-16), New American Standard Bible, NASB) Wednesday morning God purposely gave me some fall-like weather to brighten my spirits and I thanked Him for it, and for the Community Coffee. I couldn't leave that one out. Amen.

It's okay if you prefer the warmer stuff. We are all different. I've worked with people who wished the temperature would never get below 80 even at night. Maybe they could live in a sauna. Just joking. I've confessed many times that I no longer can embrace the cold like I used to. Maybe global warming came along just in time to save me from the embarrassment of shivering in front of my peers. Another joke. Please don't send me any Al Gore jokes. I'm just trying to finish out the week here at the ole blogger ranch. I started reading a list of ways to know if you talk too much. I was actually looking for some self-deprecating humor to end today's edition. That list got way too personal, way too soon. The results? I didn't stick around long enough to see how many of those listed might apply to me. Why? It just wasn't funny material. Try to remember that I am essentially working without a net here. The best I could come up with on short notice was a sign I saw in a flower bed with this inscription: "I'm trying hard to grow, so, please don't walk on me. Thank You."

There are countless lists of that type rolling around out on the super duper web information highway. I saw one with the title saying ten ways to know if you have a really good husband. That's all I need. If I delve too deeply into that abyss known as my psyche, next thing you know I will be on the couch with a funny looking fellow with a goatee taking notes. I have no idea where that came from, however, it is a good reminder for me to find the exit door. Thanks so much for riding along with me. I do enjoy the company. Now it is time to say so long for this week. I do hope you enjoy your Saturday and your Lord's Day Sunday along with Memorial Day Monday. Remember to remember what that day was set aside for. See you next time and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Here's a refreshing thought: I am the only version of me!

We continue to keep at it. You too? Good. That should get us up and running on this Thursday, May 25, 2017. I thought about starting off today with a really good one on my number one comedic subject, that being, me, myself, and I. As it turns out, just operating the life God has given to me can be like being a part of a comedy writing troupe. Believe me, not intentionally. I recently inherited my wife's old smartphone. I think she had an offer from a museum before it was handed down to me. (I can't be sure, but I think they called it an Apple Seed.) At any rate, I've learned how to use it somewhat effectively to carry on my telecommunications activities. The other day when I drove over to Louisiana for mom's service, my eldest grandson rode along with me. He is 20 and we had a great time of visiting and he worked over my new old phone to get it all organized and more useful. It was a form of a tutorial ride along as he gave me some instructions on how I could get the most out of it. I greatly appreciated his help. Oh yeah. Back to the really good one on myself. Without divulging too many details, let me just put this out there. I've learned that one should not check messages on their semi-intelligent hand-me-down phone while walking down a very awkward set of stairs. Visualize Charlie Chaplin or maybe the Three Stooges minus two. I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks. Always remember, the exacting details have been suppressed in order to preserve any smidgen of respect that may still be available to the subject being discussed. Thanks for your cooperation.

That same grandson worked some on finding me an upgraded refurbed phone. Kids today. Based on the questions he asked me, he could probably start work immediately at a cell phone store. He found several that will be a good fit for my particular use. It's good to know someone who can help. Right? It was likely hard for him to process the fact that I have no need whatsoever for any gaming features on my phone. None. Period. Hey. That's why they call it a personal cell phone. He did try to delete the ones on my current phone but some of them are embedded in the operating system and can't be removed. That's okay. At any rate, for a reasonable fee, I should be able to get a much larger screen, a whole lot more functionality, storage, and most importantly, improved connect speed. Think about it. Here he is, speeding down the highway with me at 75 mph, using his cell phone to instantaneously find all these options. Seeing him do all that made me want to go home and unplug my old flip phone. What? You don't keep yours charged up as a backup? Just in case? I heard the late Justin Wilson, the cajun humorist, explain why he wore suspenders and a belt. He believed in being prepared. Just in case. Who knows? I may, one day soon, be doing this very blog from my new and improved refurbed cell phone device. He did say I could get one with a slide out keyboard. I'll keep you posted.

The other evening I saw an ad on television for an internet service company. They were lampooning one of their competitors because of the limitations expressed in the fine print. The fellow goes on to say that very few, if any, read that fine print which would change their perceptions of the service being offered.  Pretty effective, except for one thing. At the end of his presentation of the company he represents, guess what? Yep. His ad also had several lines of fine print that would require you to burn your nose on the TV screen to read. Sorry. I notice things like that. I am not unhappy that Facebook has again decided that I live in a different city and state than where I actually reside. That's good news. I actually enjoy getting the weather reports from Ventura, California. Let me tell you. According to them, I have been enjoying some wonderful days of cool mornings and moderate afternoons. You might begin to worry if you start hearing me say, "Surf's up." Yes. I have heard it before. A thousand times. I know. You don't have to be but it helps. Take care. See you again soon, Lord willing. May He be thanked for all that He has done on our behalf. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” ― David Levithan, Author

Good morning. I do encourage everyone to be thankful for the blessings we enjoy as children of the living God. It's Wednesday, May 24, 2017, and I send out a hearty hello to all those gaining access to today's edition. The indiscriminate, intentional killing and maiming of those attending a music concert in Manchester, England, is sad beyond belief. We join others across the globe who are seeking God at this time. At the same time, there is a sense of indignation and anger against whatever it is that motivates someone to perpetrate such an evil act. While everyone awaits the outcome of the full investigation going forward, it is a matter of ongoing debate for a number of years concerning the laxity afforded those known as hate mongers in the UK. I read in a UK Newspaper just yesterday that there are 3,500 known terror suspects residing in the UK but policing authorities have few tools available to monitor and track their whereabouts and movements. This attack already appears to be connected to one of the major terrorist threads. Parents and others directly impacted by this attack must wonder about the wisdom behind a system that tends to look the other way when dealing with potential threats. I know the price of life in a free society comes with attendant risks. However, reading some of the accounts over the years of how terror suspects in the United Kingdom have used the courts to dodge responsibility for their activities, well, it does make one wonder. And, it is a cautionary tale for ourselves here in the United States of America. Here's some haunting words from one of the great leaders of the past 100 years, Lady Thatcher following 9/11: "We have harboured those who hated us, tolerated those who threatened us and indulged those who weakened us."

Is there any part of the human condition untouched by corruption? Nope. I saw this week the report that pointed out the amount of corruption involved in delivering aid of all kinds to the world. The organization that oversees this 'charitable' activity spent $200 million on travel to places far and wide, mostly in luxury, as they wined and dined themselves, discussing the plight of the world's poorest. This is not new. There are those who profit greatly from the businesses involved in the delivery of aid to the needy all over the globe. In addition to what some have called these 'lords of poverty', there is the rip off by the local authorities who take for themselves whatever they want. These profiteers and greedy politicians do these deeds with no sympathy or concern for those images we see of the helpless child with a bloated belly or the one where the vulture stands nearby waiting. For those who think that we are born basically good, think again. The Creator has something to say about that. He told us how that sin originated and how that every person born into this world is possessed by it. It's called the fallen nature. It is in need of change. The Creator provided for that as well. He sent His one and only Son to die for us all that we might be saved and changed by His power. Look it up. It's in the Book! (Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?")

Think about it.
Here's a funny thing I saw when I was back home. The roads coming into my little Louisiana hometown from some access points are really bad. Really bad. They make you think you might have a toothache. That's how bad they are. But, not to worry, they did something to improve the experience. They recently added white striping on both sides of the edges and new yellow dividing stripes in the middle. No roadwork. Nothing to fill in the holes. No dental insurance. Just striping. New striping. It reminded me of something that happened to the company I worked for many years ago. A team studied, researched, and subsequently recommended the purchase of a related business. That business proved to be a disaster. It was finally sold off after five years at a huge loss. I asked an influential manager how that could have happened. He said the company we bought put a fresh coat of paint on all their manufacturing facilities and the fellows who recommended the purchase must have thought they were new. They were not new. Those stripes may look good from a helicopter. Maybe. But they do little to alleviate the jaw pain. Just say'in. Take care. Enjoy. Be thankful. Give God the glory. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Older lady: "What do they mean they are tracking my cookies? They will never get my recipe!"

***My heart goes out to all those families who lost loved ones, and those injured, mainly children, in the bombing in Manchester England, last night. Our world is broken and we call out to God in this time of need.***

Hello and welcome. It's Tuesday, May 23, 2017, and I have a few things swirling around this morning. We received a good amount of rain Saturday evening. It came compliments of a pretty rough thunderstorm and when we have one of those we can typically predict some of the results. We almost always lose the satellite signal for our TV. I was smack dab in the middle of watching the NASCAR All-Star race. We needed the rain, but, I was very aggravated about my program being interrupted. I first tried to find it live streamed on the internet but that didn't work out. So, I called the wife over in Louisiana where she was helping care for our dad and asked her to find it on the TV there and give me the play by play. We Facetimed for the first time. I could see her and she could see me. She was doing her best to keep up with the running order on the track but the TV there wasn't that clear and she was having trouble reading the names. While she was doing that she was allowing her phone to do its own thing. That meant I was looking at a huge eye from time to time. She finally turned it so I could watch the cars going round and round. However, that didn't do much since it was a little on the fuzzy side. She did well. And, service was restored just before the ten lap shoot-out at the end of the race. Technology. It can be of value, even in the hands of a couple of novices.

Our medical provider now offers electronic appointments where you can Skype, Facetime, or use a few other video chat utilities to meet with a doctor, live, and in person. They call it a telemedicine video chat and they list 50 ailments that can be responded to by utilizing the service. They have access to all your records and can issue recommendations and prescriptions based on their findings. The fee is $35 and you don't have to leave your home. They are promoting this service big time. You can access their system to schedule an appointment and then activate it from your cell phone or computer. Oh yeah. They have real doctors who staff this service. I suppose that would be important. I wonder if they could order me up some go-juice to get these old bones cranked up and going. They have been suffering of late from a case of weariness. (That was my own diagnosis. I suppose I could go to the doctor and get a second opinion.) The telemedicine folks didn't state the cost of a second opinion but I could probably get one of those from the wife as she watches the video chat with me and the doctor. Instantaneous feedback. Now that would be something. Don't you think?

I taught my class Sunday morning and then headed for Louisiana to fetch my bride. Dad's situation continues to be very concerning but we are praying that help will be forthcoming as he continues to get treatment for his different ailments. On our way back we made a small detour to allow MiMi to hold her newest great grand. (We now have a grand total of two great grands! Madi and Gabi.) MiMi was exhilarated. I patiently sat on the sidelines. Finally, MiMi said that maybe Great Grand Poppy would like to hold her for a minute. She can be, at times, the master at understating the obvious. She took that photo of me holding our little Gabriella Grace. I was talking to her. She was paying attention. We had a good two minutes. I think we had an understanding. We thank God for this child and the fact that she and mom are doing well. These little ones remind me that I'm moving on up on the family tree chart. Age. Here's one for you: Last Tuesday evening I am at mom's viewing and a lady came up to me who is the sister of a buddy of mine that I ran around with as a teenager. I likely haven't seen her in over 50 years. She said you might remember my brother Charles. I told her, "Are you kidding, I was riding in Charles' old flathead Ford pickup the night we chased down that truckload of girls and I came face to face with my destiny because she was sitting on the passenger side by the door." She rolled that window down and the rest, as they say, is history. My buddy Charles had a rough life that ended tragically many years ago. His sister and I had a good visit. Good memories. It reminded me to be thankful for them. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, May 22, 2017

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" ~ Mark 8:36

It's Monday, May 22, 2017, and my wife is back at home, and things are better. Things are always better when she is around. I've got nearly 53 years of experience to prove it. Staying at the home where I spent many years as a kid growing up always puts the memory recall process into overdrive. Mom was lingering but not suffering and I stepped outside to take a break. I could hear the kids up on the playground at the school having a great time. The exact same playground where I played. I had a couple of fights on that playground as well. The Kansas City Southern train blared its horn and several dozens of cars rambled by. I was in the backyard where I couldn't see the train but the sound and vibrations were enough to shake the ground a little, and, I could see it. In my mind's eye. Just like I've done a few thousand times before. A major facet of the life God had given to us was about to take her heavenly flight. Meanwhile, the world seemed oblivious to our plight. It reminded me of how I felt as a kid when some of our family died. On our way out to the cemetery, I looked out the car window and noticed that people were going about their regular affairs. Wait a minute. Don't they know? Haven't they heard? Not really. Life goes on. That's how God designed it. Ecclesiastes Chapter Three:

1) To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

2) A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;

3) A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;

4) A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;

5) A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;

6) A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;

7) A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;

8) A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Many people struggle with Ecclesiastes because they think it's so dark and down. Read all of it. The only way to make something out of the life that God gave to us is to find out what the writer of Ecclesiastes found out, (most likely written by Solomon, son of David). The summation at the end of the story, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." (Chapter 12, Verses 13-14) I'm so glad my mom understood this truth. We talked about it many times. She was ready. I mentioned to those assembled at her home-going service about her heart 's concern for her family. She wanted each of them to know Jesus. We talked about it many times. She had learned something. That's it. The single most important issue of life. Knowing Jesus. Preparing for that day when we will no longer be here, but, we will arrive at our eternal destination. We talked about it many times. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I am back, or, better stated, I am here.

I bring you greetings on this return to work Friday, May 19, 2017. Thanks to every single person wherever they happen to be who prayed for our family during the illness and final home-going of our precious mother. She leaves behind a testimony and a legacy. It will probably take me a few days to get things all lined up and headed in the right direction, but, I will do my best to get back into the groove as soon as possible. The wife is still in Louisiana and she and others are doing God's work in trying to transition dad to a situation where he can function and be cared for. Lord willing, I plan to fetch her this coming Sunday so she can be back home again. I'm looking forward to things getting back into some facsimile of normal. For us, that might be hard, since normal has always been more or less a moving target. However, God is to be praised for being with us during these days, weeks, and months. My brother Victor and I were privileged to speak alongside the preachers at mom's service. To me, that was a singular honor to stand and recognize this great woman and to offer thanks to God and to so many who have helped out during this time. Fitting. It was all so fitting.

What? You didn't know I could feed and burp a baby?
I do have a new great grand born to our Chris' daughter Brittany and her Ryan. Her name is Gabriella Grace and for the first time in our history, Poppy got his hands on the baby before MiMi. Not to worry, she will be here soon enough. They counted 89 descended directly from mom and dad. Well, add two more just since mom's home-going. That is the way of life and we thank God for His provisions. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and maybe, just maybe, after 'you-know-who' gets back, I will be a tad less discombobulated, or something like that. Amen. .....More later.      

Monday, May 15, 2017

The life and times of a woman of distinction.

Lena Chavez

Lena McMillan Abbott Chavez was born on May 3, 1924, in Rattan, Louisiana, to Gertrude Curtis and Andrew Rancher McMillan. She drew her last breath in the room of the house that she loved on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Viewing is planned for Tuesday evening, May 16, First Baptist of Hornbeck, Louisiana, from 6 to 9 p.m. The service will be Wednesday, May 17, at 10 a.m. at First Baptist. Internment will follow in the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, Fort Polk, Louisiana. Her last days were spent surrounded by a loving and grateful gathering of family and friends. She was predeceased by her parents, husband, Cecil Abbott; her siblings, infant Seawillow, Asa, twins Jack and Jean, Helen, and Curtis. Her children, Jimmy Don, Kayla, Donald, and Miriam. She leaves to treasure her memory her devoted husband Jose Chavez, and her brother Waymon. Her children, daughters Francis and JoAnn, son Al and wife Marilyn, son Victor and wife Maria, son-in-law Tommy, son Richard and wife Stephanie. God granted her 93 years and her faithfulness to Him has been passed on to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. That count is at least 89 in number and over 100 when spouses are included. In addition to these, there is a huge number of cousins, nieces, nephews, and others connected to the family. That is a legacy. Grandsons will be honored to serve as pallbearers. As for her and dad Jose, their love story was known far and wide. We as her family have been blessed by their loving commitment to one another for these nearly 40 years. The great news is how that we are not saying goodbye, just this: See you soon, just over in the Gloryland.
In lieu of flowers please consider a gift in her name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A special link has been established:
 (Arrangements under the direction of Labby Funeral Home, Leesville, La.)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thanking God every day for the wonderful mom He gave to us.

Today is Thursday, May 11, 2017. When most read this I will likely be on my way to see my mom. She may or may not know me, but, that's okay because I know her. She always wondered out loud if she had been a good mother to us children. She would question her decisions made at different times. I always told her my take on this assessment. "Mom, you have always been devoted to us children and you did the best you could given whatever circumstance you faced." And, believe me, she has had many challenging circumstances throughout her time here on the planet. She is fading fast and I'm thankful that God has her in His hands. I do thank everyone for their kind thoughts and so many who continue to pray for our family during this time. That, in and of itself, reflects mom's testimony in the lives of her children. We thank God for this outpouring of support. Amen.

While I am thinking about it I need to share another little tidbit about my Community Coffee. I get to work between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. most mornings. Another fellow gets here around 5:30 a.m. each day. The other morning I needed to check with him on something so I walked out into the shop carrying my cup of smoking hot Community. The smell of the aroma from the coffee was almost more than he could stand. He told me that it made him want to throw his Thermos away because the stuff in it wasn't anything like that. I would rest my case but it's just another indication of what I have been saying for a long period of time. Life is short. Man does not live by bread alone, therefore, you might as well enjoy some Louisiana Community Coffee on your journey here. I had nothing to do with that little response on his part. Think about it. When the smell of my coffee makes the other fellow want to chunk his Thermos, well, it's time to blow out the candles on the cake. Just saying. Take care and may God bless us all as we all seek God's provision for this day. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Age can be very important, especially if you are cheese." ~ copied

Today I am thinking about what it means to get older. Sure. It's on my mind a lot these days. At the time of my birth, they estimated I would make it to just under 65 years. Having made it to 70, the new expectation is set at 82 years, on average. I'm thankful for whatever the Lord determines because He never makes a mistake. I do. He doesn't. When I talk about getting older I'm actually not so much focused on these actuarial projections. I'm mostly thinking here on this Wednesday, May 10, 2017, about some of the funny things older people do. The other day when I was at the hospital visiting my mom I went to take a break and I got turned around. You know. As in not knowing exactly where I was. I finally came around a corner and dead-ended into a nursing supervisor's office. She was sitting behind her desk. I backed up. She had a very sweet voice, "Sir, I will be happy to help you." I replied, "No thank you." I turned to go back the way I had come, whichever way that was. As I was leaving I heard her say a little louder, "No, really, I want to help you." I have no idea why but I blurted out, "I'm sorry ma'am, but that train left the station a long time ago." I don't even know where that came from but I heard her laughing and I chuckled to myself as well. I suppose as long as one can laugh at oneself, it either means they are off a little, or they enjoy when the joke is on them. For now, I am going to plead guilty to both counts, aggravated and premeditated. Why not? And, I am unanimous in my judgment on that one.

I do have some news from mom and dad. I started to say some sad news but I can't bring myself to do that, since, God has so blessed us all with the many years that mom has enjoyed. Essentially, the medical folks have done all they can for mom. The only way forward from their viewpoint would be to sustain her life artificially with little prospect for her to recover or have any quality of life. Therefore, in consultation with dad and other family members, the decision has been made to take her home with hospice support to keep her comfortable while she awaits her promotion into the presence of her Lord and Savior. There is sadness involved but at the same time, we are overwhelmed by God's giving to us both mom and dad. Dad is hurting. Because of mom's situation. And, physically, as he continues to deal with the extreme pain from his back condition. We have no idea about the timing here. It is in God's hands. We trust Him to see us all through this and may we praise Him for His faithfulness throughout this journey. As for mom, well, she will soon be in a better place and will achieve the end of her faith. When she goes it will not be goodbye because I know I will see her again. I have God's Word on it. Amen.

I can hear her saying these very words, "I don't know how people face all the troubles in this life without the Lord." That's how she faced up to more challenges than many have in many lifetimes. I remember when her dad, Paw Paw Mac passed away back in 1971, I was in the hallway and I heard mom back in the bedroom singing. She wasn't a singer but she was belting out the words to Paw Paw's favorite song as a prayer to God, "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand." She considered me to be her special Bible scholar to whom she could pose her many questions. Many that she asked were way over my rank and pay grade but I always tried to give her some encouragement from The Scriptures. I see those times spent talking about God and His Word as great times of fellowship between us and also a sweet memory. When I would tell her what I thought that she didn't really like, she would say in a very sarcastic tone, "Well, thank you very much, Brother." All good. Now, as a family, we seek the God we talked about so many times, and we petition Him for His grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. We know we can always count on Him. Amen.    ...More later.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"Stephen Colbert eviscerates Donald Trump in vulgar, insult-laden network TV rant." ~ Headline from The Blaze, a conservative website

Please do not attempt to adjust your set. The problem is with the broadcaster. In case you were wondering, that would be me. Thanks for tuning in today where I will do my best to add my reflections and commentary on this, that, or the other. I don't know if it's a cornucopia or a smorgasbord but it typically does throw out a variety of different items to choose from. That's right. You can choose. If don't like a particular paragraph, skip it. If you don't like a particular blog, shut it down, delete it, and, if you are really angry, print it out and stomp on it. Please don't send me a video of you stomping on my blog because you know how sensitive I am. (You remember what happened when they put a video out of that fellow burning a certain religious book.) That's a joke, here on this Tuesday, May 9, 2017. I will say this. The saying, 'haters gonna hate' is certainly becoming a part of the fabric of today's culture. The hatred for our current President is somewhat unprecedented when you consider the level of vulgarity being used in the media today. I'm not talking about social media where the 'wackos' reign supreme. I'm talking about major commercial networks allowing their so called stars to pump sewage out into the airwaves in their remarks regarding President Trump. It goes beyond anything I've seen in my 70 plus years of sojourn here on the planet. Free speech, notwithstanding, it's a sad day in our nation's history to see this level of beyond-the-pale coarseness as it dominates the so-called mainstream providers of entertainment.

Some sociologists applaud this gutter type of discourse and proffer how it's a grown up world. Really? I suppose they think exposing children to all of this is a good thing. Not me. Let me be clear. It's not a good thing for adults either. We have God's word on it. In writing a Holy Spirit inspired letter (Epistle) to the local called out assembly (Church) meeting in Ephesus, Greece, the Apostle Paul had this to say: "Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting--all of which are out of character--but rather thanksgiving." (Chapter 5, Verse 4, as rendered in the NET Bible.) That was written to believers and we must take the lead in making sure our talk is in keeping with the calling of our faith. That includes how we publish our criticisms and the other forms of sharing we do in the online world. I mention again how often I see folks put stuff up they didn't write and they are filled with comments demonstrating racially charged, vulgar, and other crude insinuations. But they didn't write it. They just passed it on. If I pass it on, I take ownership of the comments and I am responsible for them. It's as simple as that. My thought is this: When it is in doubt, Don't! You didn't think I wouldn't have some thoughts on this subject, did you?

I'm not being holier than thou on this subject. I'm sure I've said some things, passed on some things and quoted from some sources that in retrospect I would rather I had not. However, I can learn. You can learn. We all can learn. Dismissing all forms of decency will take us somewhere. I don't think it's a place any of us want to end up in. Okay. I think I've hacked my way through today's topics and maybe I will do better the next time we meet. Maybe. It's like that box of chocolates that Forrest talked about. You just never know what you might get. (And, one more time, I haven't watched that movie, but, that saying has become pretty much a part of the common vocabulary.) Here are a few inspirational thoughts to finish today's edition: ~ "Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow." - Unknown ~ "You always have a place to run to. That place is God." ~ unattributed ~  "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." - unattributed ~ Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and may our Great God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"The belief that the health-care system will be destroyed unless we cease spending so much money on dying people is fundamentally misguided." ~ Daniel Callahan, Director of International Programs at The Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank

Good morning and I send out a welcome from my world to your world, wherever that happens to be. It is Monday, April 8, 2017, and I'm not so sure I would ask anyone to try and keep up with all that's going on in my world at the moment. On Saturday, I drove over to Louisiana to visit mom in the hospital ICU facility. She was getting excellent care because of being in ICU. They had given her two units of blood on Friday and there she was, pretty much holding her own. Again. I remember some ten years ago at that same hospital when her doctor told me that with her recurring bouts of pneumonia he wasn't sure she would make it. Somehow, with God's help, she did. That is what she is currently being treated for, right lung only. They do know she is losing blood somewhere but not sure where. My sister brought dad down to see mom. I had to go down and help dad out of the car. It's hard to believe that. Surely not. But it is true. His back is totally messed up and he is in constant pain. However, when the two of them saw each other, it was like magic. One of those commercials. She can't hear. He can't hear. But, thus far, nothing can stand in the way of their love for each other. I left there with a tear in my eye. For mom. For dad. But, also with a prayer on my heart because I do know that God knows and He cares. Amen.

We have a private messenger group set up on Facebook for our family. There are over twenty of us who are able to communicate on family matters like the situation being faced by mom and dad. One of the themes I see is how the medical response to older people becomes more and more diminished as time passes by. This is not just with mom and dad, but, with the elderly close to others within in our family. It is a fact of the world we live in today. I think I can deal with it better than some, but, it does hurt when you feel like your loved one is not getting a minimum standard of care. I know I joke about the conversation I had with my doctor when I turned 70 last year, but, it was prophetic in many ways. He explained how the system would no longer be aggressive in doing a lot of the preventative testings that had been done in the past. It's just how the system works. You know. Mathematical models, expense projections, and things of that sort more or less rule the day. I told the doctor that I had enough trouble dealing with reaching 70, did he have to make it sound like I would be kicked to the doorstep? We had a good laugh, but, when you see it in living color, it really isn't a laughing matter. Fortunately, in our family, we have never lacked for strong voices when we see things that need to be addressed. That, along with God's provision, will help in our desire to support our older family members, including the newer club members, like me, myself, and I.

I am a little wobbly this morning. I had a busy day Saturday. I had a busy day Sunday. Now I am back here at my home away from home, beating up the keys on my keyboard this morning. He may be wondering why I have it for him. I am thankful that I am able to get up and go, to drive over to visit mom and dad, to prepare and teach a lesson each week, and to involve myself in supporting others who are dealing with life-related challenges. I have a wonderful wife and family. I have a job that I enjoy. I have a huge extended family. I have the life that God has given to me. And, oh yeah, I almost forgot, I have plenty of obstacles and challenges, just like everyone else. We are currently in that portion of Genesis devoted to the life and times of Abraham, the friend of God. It's easy to see the people portrayed in our Bibles as up on a pedestal but when you read the Book for all it is worth, you discover they are folks, just like us, and they had to get up every day and go about making decisions, taking action, and dealing with all that came their way, one day at a time. That's right. And, we continue that journey today. By God's grace. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Another day ....... Another challenge!

No one said it would be easy. Life. It can be like a roller coaster ride. After releasing her from the hospital, she came home, had the birthday celebration, but, later in the evening mom began to struggle to breathe. The home healthcare RN came yesterday morning and checked her and thought she should be taken to the ER because she thought she might have pneumonia. Another day. Another challenge. Another ambulance ride for mom. She has been admitted and I do appreciate prayers on her behalf. Dad is following up with different medical staff regarding the situation with his back, going forward. It would appear that pain management is his only option at this time. He is also in need of prayer. It's Friday, May 5, 2017, and, let me be clear how these developments for our beloved aging parents are not unprecedented. Many have dealt with similar, if not greater challenges. We can only be overwhelmed with thankfulness for the many years of health they have enjoyed. We know that God has them in His hands and we pray for His mercy and grace to flow into their situation at this time. Amen.

It wasn't on my bucket list. But you already know, I don't have a bucket or a list. However, I now know what it feels like to be trapped in one of those commercial car washes. The ones where you stand at a window and watch your car go by. It happened on our way home from Louisiana Wednesday evening. I've been in some rain storms before. I've driven through some flooded streets. We had us one extended super duper blind rainstorm driving home. The windshield wipers were doing their thing but there was no way they could even begin to keep up with the deluge engulfing our passage. No pulling off. The shoulders were flooded and other people driving most likely could not have seen us. We were all thankful when we finally made it home. White knuckle driving. The wife was being driven by our middle son and they were behind me. I called her. She was alarmed, "Why are you calling me when you can't even see where you are going?" Me: "I was returning your call. You just called me." She said she didn't call me but she admitted she had been working on her phone, looking at her emails. The good news: God watched over us and gave us clean vehicles as a way of reminding us of His provision.

Thinking about mom's situation reminds me of the Apostle Paul's vision for what it means to finish this earthly pilgrimage in exchange for an eternity in the presence of Almighty God. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake." (Philippians 1:21-24) The knowledge that life is better when we go to be with Jesus is not, as some would have it, a made up hopeful and wistful concept. It's the actual truth for a believer. Jesus put it this way, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14: 1-3) People ask me if I know exactly where heaven is. I know it is real but I can't give them coordinates of its location. However, I do know this, that where it is, our Savior is there and when we leave here we will be wherever He abides. That some good news folks. Good News Indeed! Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I will see you next time, Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Good News!

I came in and discovered the internet issue has been resolved. I am back in the world of the connected and I am so glad. I'll try to have my regular blog up for tomorrow, but, I do want to thank everyone for their continued prayers and support for mom and dad. Yesterday, we brought mom home from the hospital and as you can see, dad, who didn't know she was coming, was very glad to see her. Mom's mental comes and goes, but, she felt blessed on her 93rd birthday. The two of them together is something to behold! See you tomorrow, Lord willing, and until then, may He bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Have a blessed day.

Welcome one and all. It's Thursday, May 4, 2017, and I understand we have a cut cable at our workplace, therefore, the internet is not functioning. This means my blogging activity will be interrupted until we get that going again. Thanks for all the prayers for our mom. We had a most wonderful day with her and dad celebrating her 93rd. I hope to be back up and going soon. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Happy 93rd Birthday to our dear mother!

Today is a special day for our family. When most of you read this I will be on my way to visit mom and dad over in Louisiana. Dad was released from the hospital yesterday with some pretty grim findings regarding his deteriorating back situation. Mom is supposed to be released this morning. Jimmy and I are getting ready to drive over there for this special occasion. It is Wednesday, May 3, 2017. It is mom's 93rd birthday.

In a prayer attributed to Moses, he had this to say about aging, "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalm 90:10) This means we are unbelievably blessed from above to be able to honor our dear mother, on this, the 93rd anniversary of her birth. As many have said, her life story is book worthy with all that she has dealt with and endured. However, she, by the grace of God is still hanging in there and we as a family rise to recognize our mom and to thank God for her and all she has done for us all throughout her 93-year sojourn. Happy Birthday to our dear mother and may God provide. Amen.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.” ― Ray Bradbury, (1920-2012), American Author and Screenwriter

Well, here we go again, and this time we do it on this Tuesday, May 2, 2017. People are concerned about a lot of different things these days. As of yesterday, based on views and email responses, the NY Times article getting the most attention had this title: "For Bad Backs, It’s Time to Rethink Biases About Chiropractors". Must be a lot of folks with back problems. The number one article at USA Today had to do with ways to make money using email automation. I hope that doesn't help people figure out how to flood even more emails into everyone's inbox. NPR got a lot of response regarding new information on the illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Come to think about it, I often get fatigued trying to listen to some of NPR's left leaning, biased reporting, chronically so. One of Seattle's top papers rang the bell with some insights into President Trump's comments about President Andrew Jackson. I think their focus was to point out the historical facts that he didn't get quite right. Some others dealt with the budget agreement in the Congress, the North Korean threat, ISIS, the Syrian conflict, Iraq, deaths due to violent weather, and other hot button issues. My point? There's plenty of stuff to go around and if someone is into worrying, well, the media will provide an endless array to choose from. That's not to say there's not trouble all around. That is a part of living in a fallen world characterized by wars and rumors of war. (Matthew 24:6)

We had a good time celebrating our Jimmy Sr.'s birthday Sunday evening. The photo shows yours truly, Jimmy Jr., Alexander Benjamin, (Alex), Alesha, Amanda, (the twins), and the birthday boy. We sent this to the wife since she was still in Louisiana. She was very happy that we were celebrating even if it was not possible for her to be with us. I do have one slight complaint. Technology is a wonderful thing when used for productive reasons. I decided to enjoy a large Angus beef hot dog on a special bun with chili and cheese. I didn't know that before I could even get my fork engaged, a photo of that particular choice sitting in front of me had been forwarded to 'she who must be obeyed'. Without sharing her precise comments, needless to say, she thought it to be a very poor choice on my part. I actually thought the very same thing but I didn't know she would be voting on it from 200 miles away. It ended up being the source of a uproarious good laugh for everyone at the table, except maybe for the one who went with the mega-sized hot dog. It just goes to show you. It does. It really does.

The fabric of life laid out for all to see. I think mine has lots of wrinkles, you know, my fabric of life. Maybe it was washed and hung out to dry. Maybe the birds helped decorate my fabric. Maybe. Hey, I am just trying to move away quickly from the hot dog episode. It was quite tasty. It could have been hotter. I like my food to be hot, not with pepper so much, but hot to the taste. I suppose preparing that many different meals but holding them to be fetched together would cause some to be warmer than others. I got the short straw that time. Yes. I am aware I could have had them nuke it in the microwave. I sure hope using that word 'nuke' doesn't trigger some kind of investigation. It's a figure of speech, but, if they check out ladies comparing pressure cookers online, who knows?  They probably have someone assigned to me by now. I wrote an executive summary for an analysis I did for a Company one time and one of their Sr. Officers came by my desk and said he had a question. He had never seen the analogy of the 'fox guarding the hen house', and wanted me to explain it to him. He liked it but he had never seen it used. It was, after all, a formal document. I suppose that was my southerner background showing up. That should have told me something. Maybe it did. I'm just not sure what. Take care now, you hear? And, may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Who do you trust more to tell the truth – Trump's White House or the national political media? Based on a poll conducted with around 2,000 adults between April 25 and 26 by Morning Consult, more Americans would say the former. In fact, 37 percent of the participants sided with Trump's White House over 29 percent for the media." ~ Source: AOL News Website

Good morning and welcome back. To Monday, that is, and we have a brand new month to work with, beginning with today, May 1, 2017. Last Friday I was driving in early in the wee hours of the morning and I heard the BBC doing their version of reviewing President Trump's first 100 days in office. I know that 100-day threshold for analysis dates back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but, to a businessman like Mr. Trump, it must seem rather arbitrary. In other words, he's had some missteps and some setbacks, but, it's the media that is totally absorbed in this as a measurement of effectiveness. He was elected to a four-year term. He is dealing with about as hostile of an environment as any President in recent memory. How so? The mainstream media is in open warfare against him and his election. He faces an entrenched establishment made up of lifetime politicians who prioritize their particular interests first. This includes his own party. I did not support his candidacy but I did vote for him and I do hope he figures out a way to navigate through these rough waters to accomplish change which is what most voted for. It's hard not to be for him when you see who is against him. Sometimes the opposition defines the value of the struggle.

Dad visiting mom in the hospital last Saturday.
Plans are made but we are not always able to execute them as expected. We had planned on the wife leaving Louisiana on Saturday to be here on Sunday to help celebrate our middle son's birthday. That didn't happen because my mom was taken by ambulance and admitted to the hospital on Friday night. She has some continuing infections and was slightly dehydrated. My wife was needed to help care for mom, so, she stayed, and I carried the birthday banner for Jimmy and his four children. It wasn't exactly what we had planned but we worked it out. Whatever it is that we do, we know that ultimately God is in control. The writings from the New Testament Book of James gives us this inspired insight, ~ "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.'" (Chapter 4:13-17 from the English Standard Version)

You hear folks saying, just be flexible. That is well and good but if my arthritis got that memo, he obviously ignored it. I think he's actually formed a chorus and they like to sing a lot, even in the night hours. Some of you will know exactly what I am talking about. I used to think I was hip and now every time I hear that word, it reminds me of those choral arrangements, typically, always in progress. Often, out of tune. Oh well, I'm thankful it's not any worse than it is. The wife might be coming home today. I hope so. I knew I needed to straighten up a few things and make our bed. I must have had that on my mind because I was wide awake and up taking care of business at 2:45 a.m. this morning. I greatly over-estimated how much time it would take for me to get my very few chores done. I probably lost at least 20 to 25 minutes of sleep. Maybe I can get a refund later. I do hope you have a more well-ordered life than me, but, whatever it is, we all have to deal with it, one day at a time.  I pray that God will help us to do just that. Amen. .....More later.