Friday, June 30, 2017

"We over-exaggerate yesterday. We either think it was better or worse than it was - you know, the good old days. We over-estimate tomorrow; we think we can do more than we can - always. And that's why we put off everything till tomorrow." ~ John C. Maxwell, American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books, primarily focusing on leadership.

Front Cover (1957)
Hello out there in that digital world where bits and bytes are flying here, there, and everywhere at speeds beyond our imagination. (I don't make stuff up. A recent test of new fiber-optic technology allowed speeds that would permit the download of a full-length movie in 3 thousandths of a second.) It's Friday, June 30, 2017, and I bid you welcome to this end-of-the-month episode. The other day when I wrote about our 11-year-old grandson writing computer code for operating a robot, it did make me think about my life at age 11. That would have been in 1957. Needless to say, things were different back then. Most all of our play time would have been outside. At 11, my comrades and I would have still been actively engaged in our own form of re-enactment, take your pick, the American Revolution, the Indian wars, the war between the states, (Rebs versus the Yankees), WWI, or WWII. Our greatest challenge was in determining who would be the enemy. Everyone wanted to be on the Rebel or American side or leading the Calvary against the Redskins. As for knowing about the future of toys and things like that, we did have a year-round source to help whet our appetite, The Annual Sears Christmas Catalog. Year round? You betcha! If our textbooks had been used as much as our Christmas catalog, most of us would have our Ph.D. by now. They later would call it the Wish Book and I can testify that around our house it was the spark of a whole lot of wishing. 

The family does matter.
I plan to go see dad tomorrow. He is in decline at this time. The wife is going today and will be staying there for a few days to help with his care. The other day a preacher friend in the Philippines asked how dad was doing. I told him that according to the reports I've received that even when he's doing pretty well, he may not be aware of it. That's hard to grapple with, but, it is the journey he is on at this time. I've mentioned before the things we have learned about how the elderly are dealt with in our health care delivery system. Some of our experiences have been good, but not the majority. Sadly, it really does come down to the financial component. Risk versus reward. We as family members have trouble making sense of this because of our attachment, however, it is how it works. I'm not thinking bad things here but for those of us who have passed the threshold into our last quarter, it certainly has been instructive. (And, very scary my friend, scary indeed.) It also reminds me of how blessed we are to have been able to care for mom with family and we are now blessed to try and do the same for dad. Yes. There are alternatives and most are destined to employ them, but, I thank God we haven't had to go down that road yet. Thanks again for all the prayers for dad and for those looking after him. Amen

Another work week has come and will soon be gone. It's been filled up with lots of routine punctuated by brief interruptions of unexpected demands. I think that could be the definition of life itself on most days for most folks as we make our way forward. Some days can be pretty dark and gloomy. Yet, even the darkest hour is still only 60 minutes and we do have God as our Helper in making it through the challenges of life. Those are the things that come to mind when I observe all that is happening in and around my sphere. Having a large family is a wonderful blessing. At the same time, having a large family presents opportunities for many troubles. Our kids, their kids, their kids' kids, their lives, their jobs, their well-being. You name it, we've all got plenty of reasons to call upon the Name of the Lord. Especially, when we truly recognize our needs before an All Sufficient God. Okay. That should tide us over until next time. I do hope you enjoy a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best, Lord willing, to catch back up with you, come next Monday. Amen. ....More later. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness." Romans 12: 6-8

It's already Thursday folks as time marches on. The one happens to fall on June 29, 2017. Typically, most all of us wear different hats at different times as we live out our lives here on the planet. We have jobs where we do our best to serve the interests of our employer. We attempt to do our best in the roles we have as a family member. Many have other jobs as well. I guess the longest running consistent opportunity to serve for me has been in my role as a teacher of God's Holy Word. That began back in my 20's. I taught for several years before I grasped the truth about what it really means. I came to realize that teaching is a gift given to me from God. Don't misunderstand. I knew how to read, study, research, and compile notes. But, once I gained an appreciation that my ability to effectively communicate God's truths was given from above, well, that was a game changer. He gave me the gift. He works the gift through me. Bottom line, He receives the honor for it all. Lastly, I learned the gift was not primarily for me, but rather, it was for the building up of others. Here's how the Apostle Paul said it in his inspired letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 4:11-16, "It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God – a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love." (From the NET Bible) My point? He is at work when truth is shared to accomplish His purpose and we are privileged to be used in His service. Amen.

I guess after that long opening, I should give everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs. And, as they used to say in some of the services I've attended, it will make it much easier for the men to get to their wallets. I know what my number one reviewer will say when she sends her response to today's episode: L-O-N-G. I thought that little testimony about my own journey as a teacher might be of help to someone, somewhere, out there. Me learning those things doesn't mean that I always remember them. One thing is certain. When I teach and it is all about me and my ability, it is not the same as when He is the object of our studies beginning with me humbly submitting to His working through me. Okay. I repeat myself. Yep. I do that quite often. No. I do not get paid by the keystroke. What's that? If I did, I would be a very wealthy man. That just might be the truth.

I'll go ahead and shut it down while I am behind. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity." ~ Jean De La Bruyere, (1645-1696), Philosopher and Moralist

If you are like me and let's hope that you are not like me, at least in many of my weird ways, but, given the speed of time, do you have trouble believing this year is nearly half over? That was my thought when I glanced up at the calendar and made contact with it being Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Being in the Santa Claus game with many Santa Facebook brothers keeps that countdown always in focus. We have these many days until Christmas. We have these many sleeps until Christmas. We have these many weeks until Christmas. We have these many Mondays until Christmas. And much more. These are typically accompanied by a cute graphic, but, while I am committed to my role as the jolly old elf, I can wait. You mean you don't sit around dreaming about that time when you will be all decked out in your Santa garb? Not really. I occasionally entertain the thought of thinking about thinking about a stint as an international Santa, but, other than that, the actual portrayal in the Suit, well, it can wait. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy folks recognizing my resemblance and it bringing them a smile. I was walking towards the big box store one evening last week, and, a thirty-something-year-old lady was literally jumping up and down like a child hollering out a greeting of hello to Santa. Her husband wasn't so inclined. She was overjoyed and he looked like I had maybe ruined his day. Maybe he would have been happier if I looked like the Grinch.

It's like the famous quote, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time." Yes. It was used by President Abraham Lincoln, however, he could not be the originator since it was actually composed by a Monk by the name of John Lydgate who lived from 1370 to 1451. See there? You learn something every day here at the ole blogger ranch. You knew that one already? See there? You get things you knew already confirmed here at the ole blogger ranch. I'm wondering if I could somehow get some government support for public service, like PBS. You do know I am kidding about that. Right? I'm almost certain that I would be disqualified from the get go because of my advanced degree in political incorrectness. I would have to cover up my "All Lives Matter" orientation since it has now been deemed as racist by the mainstream pundits. That's okay. I don't think it's racist because I have God's Word on it, John 3:16.

I'm still using our little laptop to get my blogs out each day. We purchased it some nine years ago and it was a refurbished model when we bought it. More and more programs are no longer able to function because the little dude needs to be brought up to date, but, it's not worth the time, effort, and expense to do that. It would be cheaper to buy a new one. So far, I've been able to find a workaround when something goes amiss. Here's my dilemma. There are times when I have several workarounds stacked on top of each other and the only menu to how they work is located in memory. Not memory on the computer. My memory. You know. Gray Cell Valley, Inc. It does have a number of age-related issues at this time. But, I am certain there are no more upgrades available for that system. I'm always happy whenever it hangs in there long enough to produce another episode. Take care and let's see if we can find a way to make the most of the time that God has granted to us. Today! Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Posterity is the patriotic name for grandchildren." ~ Art Linkletter

Happy Tuesday to one and all, on this June 27th, 2017. I want to send a shout out to our 11-year-old grandson, Alex. He recently completed two weeks of working with robots. It was two different one-week day camp programs. The activities included the design, assembly, and programming of the robots. The young lady, Riley, was his partner in the second week and the duo built and programmed a robot that could solve the Rubik's Cube. Riley was the only girl who participated in that particular program. The two were given an award because their robot worked. It is my understanding that Alex and Riley were the only participants to receive an award. I don't know whether this will help Alex as he continues his education, but, as they say back home, it sure will not hurt. I very much don't know what the arm around the shoulder is all about, but, he needs to hold back on learning anything about that until much later. Much. Later.

Some will say that is pretty nerdy stuff. Yet, I would counter with the old saying, 'different strokes for different folks'. The old joke comes to mind. The boy came home one day and told his dad that he wanted to go to Georgia Tech and become an engineer. His dad was distraught as he responded, "But son, why in the world would want to learn how to drive a train?" I talked to our Brady boy not too long ago as he and his dad drove down the road. He was very articulate about the things we discussed. These kids today. They seem always ready with an intelligent response to just about anything you say. This past Saturday I had an opportunity to speak with seven-year-old Great Grand Madi girl on the phone. She was at her Paw Paw's house. She was so sweet. Here's the deal. I just have to tell the truth here. I've gotten to where I often get a tear in my eye when I talk with my grands and great grands. What in the world is happening to me? I can't be sure. Is it sentimentality or senility? I don't need your input on that one. I'll figure it out on my own, but, thanks.

The fellow who works with the teenagers at our local Church approached me a few weeks ago and asked if our class would like to participate in a Bible challenge quiz between their youth group and our group. I told him to bring it on. I didn't know how it would go over with our class but the kids invaded last Sunday and the quiz contest was on. It was close. And, a lot of fun ensued. In fact, many of our folks, us older ones, thought it was great. Surprise, surprise. I'm not going to say who won or lost but I will report that the older group did not miss a single question. Here's my thought on that. We, who have been studying our Bibles for four times longer than these kids should know more. We have had more exposure. I did make the point to us all that winning the Bible quiz reflects knowledge, but, our life is where we show if we really have applied those truths. The wee little kids sing about it in their class, "If you're saved and you know it, then your life should surely show it." Amen. .....More later.

Monday, June 26, 2017

My new song: "Thank God and Greyhound she's home." All rights reserved.

I know many have seen the TV coverage when the Pope arrives in a country. I'm not sure the current one does this, but, many of his predecessors would bow down and kiss the ground as a gesture of love. That's the urge I had when you-know-who got home Sunday afternoon. Hey, it's Monday so I decided to start out with that bit of personal good news here on this June 26, 2017. She put up a photo of them on the bus last Friday as they made their way back to Louisiana from Branson. She has her own following of Facebook peeps, her Bible study friends, and others, who were responding with all kinds of flowery words of safety, fun, and enjoyment. One even said that she should get some rest. I almost responded. But, my wife, (and others), have often mentioned that my form of comical anecdote is not necessarily always interpreted in the way that I intend. Rest? She's been on vacation in Branson for a week but they are saying that Honey should rest up. Bless her heart! They had a saying back in the day and I'm not sure it's in use anymore. It puts it this way, 'that's enough to gag a maggot.' But, I didn't respond which demonstrates once again my sensitivity and restraint. I think I hear a chorus out there. Thanks for your concern because if I am hearing what's being said, you are telling me that I'm the one in need of rest. And, they tell me folks don't get it. They do. They really do.

If you think coming up with three paragraphs every day is easy, you should try it sometime. That's why I end up with some lame stuff from time to time. And, I will be the first to admit there are times when I'm not necessarily thrilled with the finished product, however, I don't always have time to do much about it. The other day when I was running late with my blog it did puzzle several of my early readers. I had to admit the truth. I somehow overslept. That is, overslept for me. I was still at work at 5:30 a.m., but, that's really late for me. When who-know-who asked, I told her I was under a lot of stress. I thought that would be as good as any excuse. Probably better than the one I heard a preacher say one time. He said when you miss Church don't try to come up with some flimsy excuse. Instead, just say, "I couldn't come because I have a banana in the refrigerator." I went with stress because it's more or less universal. Right? She texted me back that I should take my burdens to the Lord and leave them there. I thanked her for her input. I may have thrown in a few other words that are not really needed or appropriate in order to tell the story. Why did I oversleep? I cannot tell a lie. I have no idea. I may have dreamed that I got up, therefore, I suppose I thought I was already at work. How does that one sound?

Robert Irvine,  Food Network
I finally went and had my dental checkup last Friday morning. They bugged me for several months and when I finally agreed to an appointment, can you guess what happened next? You are so right. They called and asked if I could reschedule. They do that nearly every time. This time I decided to hold my ground. I told them absolutely not. It would be early or not at all, period. They agreed to keep it and I got there ready to be difficult if they kept me waiting like they so often do. They didn't. They took me five minutes early. The hygienist lady could not have been any nicer. They had done a root canal early last year with a crown to follow. I was pretty ticked off at the way the root canal went so I had not gone through with the crown. I knew it needed to be done. The fellow who was supposed to do the root canal wasn't there the day I went in. They offered me a substitute. I had never seen him before. He looked like a young Michael J. Fox. The 45 minute procedure ended up taking nearly an hour and a half. At any rate, I knew I needed to finish that project. The hygienist called in the dentist. He looked like either a professional wrestler or that cook on the Food Network. He was all swelled up with his muscles bulging. When he advised me that I needed to get this done sooner, not later, because of what might happen, what could I say? Anything you say. Yes Sir. I did mention to them that when they text me to remind me about my appointment that I could do without the runaway use of the exclamation points when warning me of the dire consequences that can occur if I fail to show up or notify them of any changes at least 24 hours in advance. They just smiled. I get that a lot. And, there you were, thinking your life is challenging. Take care and may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event." ~ Matthew Henry, (1622-1714), Minister and Author

Treasured memories.
It's Friday, June 23, 2017, and I am glad to report that SWMBO will be back on Sunday, Lord willing. Those letters stand for She Who Must Be Obeyed. It's an inside joke. (Taken from the BBC Series, "Rumpole of the Bailey".) We look forward to her return. On a somber note, our dad is being released today from the rehab hospital. They have done all they can. We are not certain if he still has a brain infection or not, or, if we are dealing with the aftermath, but, they do not see him as being able to gain more function at this time. They will be discharging him to go home, initially, with hospice care. Our niece, Mary Beth, who cared for mom, will continue to take care of dad. If his brain should recover they can always change his status. We pray for God's will to be done in dad's life. Thanks to so many who continue to lift him up. It is so much appreciated. Amen.

Thanks to my granddaughters, Tiffany, Brittany, and Stefani for sending me this shirt for Fathers Day. That is so special. I love it. Their MiMi told them to get me a medium, but, this particular medium runs rather small. You know. It shrunk up in transit, plus, the fellow behind the curtain, (shirt), well, let me just say that he has been busy expanding the boundaries of his territory. It is overused, but, in this case, it is 100% accurate: It is the thought that counts! I should lose some weight, but, that's one of those getting around tuits that seem to be extremely elusive. I'll blame it on my age. You know, slow metabolism. If push comes to shove, I'll get it framed or hire someone really skinny to walk around with me holding an arrow pointing from the shirt to me. You know I am joking. There is a bottom line here. Read it for yourself. Number one Poppy!

While dealing with mom's passing and dad's failing health has been somewhat mentally exhausting, I can't escape the recurring thought I have concerning them as a couple. They loved each other. They served each other. And, they were blessed with independence for a long time. Thank You, Lord, for your provisions in their lives and for how they blessed us all. We as a family knew of their love and devotion to each other, but, it was refreshing to hear their pastor friend who spoke at mom's service talk about his own personal observations of them as a couple. My sister JoAnn sent me the photo of Mom's marker. It's in a military cemetery, therefore, the inscription choices were limited. I like it because it reflects her life and our hope we hold in seeing her again, 'until we meet again.' As the preachers like to say, it's not the total number of years, but it is the dash in between that tells our story. That's where our memories come from. And, that's why we feel blessed. Have yourself a really good Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will see what I can scramble up for our next time together. Until then, may God watch over us all. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

“Millennials, instead of a danger, are really a reflection of the society in which they grew up in, and in which all of us now live.” ― Crystal Kadakia, Author of: 'The Millennial Myth: Transforming Misunderstanding Into Workplace Breakthroughs'

Welcome one and all, no matter how you got here, the important thing is that we were able to connect via this blogging utility on this Thursday, June 22, 2017. I realize using the word important is likely very much an overestimation, however, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. That reference, of course, comes from the 1960's song that was a number one hit for the girl singer, Lesly Gore, in 1963. I suppose it has become somewhat of a metaphor to describe personal ownership or control over of a situation, relationship, or for whatever someone chooses to apply it. I hear it more than I use it. It's another one of those dated phrases that probably only works with certain people. I don't blame Millennials for not recognizing my archaic word plays. I was looking at how they talk to each other and I can easily see why we have a huge gap in our ability to communicate. ~ True plus real = Trill. ~ TFW means That Feel When, Like that feel when you pour orange juice on your cereal instead of milk. ~ OTP = One True Pairing. ~ "P" means pretty. A "V" in front of it means very pretty. ~ JOMO = Joy of Missing Out. ~ Here's one that really gets me. GOAT now means Greatest of All Time. Back in my day, to be called the goat typically involved failure of some kind. ~ If you find yourself really agitated or bitter, you describe it as being SALTY. ~ DEAD is used to communicate how something was so good it either slayed or killed you. "I saw that movie last night. I'm DEAD." ~ Those are just a few from the lexicon used by those who will be running everything soon.

I've seen those memes out on social media that talk about this new generation. One shows a teenager from the Greatest Generation, WW2, in a uniform, preparing to go into battle. The next shows a modern college kid saying the wrong person got elected as President so I need a 'safe place' to go and deal with my feelings. I get it. It's really difficult to get our arms around this vast change that has taken place. However, these are not aliens from outer space, they are our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They have the same number one need that I had at their age: To respond to God and become saved by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. That will make the greatest difference in their lives. Some of what they are reacting to is the hypocrisy of their elders, and, we've had plenty of that to go around folks, plenty. Yeah, it's easy to say they are the generation that all got a participation trophy, but, that will not change anything. We need to seek God on their behalf so they can find purpose in their lives, and speaking for myself, I need to care more as opposed to being critical. Just sharing some thoughts I had as I thought about these kids.

She made her way up to Branson and next thing I know I get a photo of her and another fellow (the one on the right). I thought she had a permanent contract to sit with one and only Santa, (the one on the left), but, obviously, that's not the case. That fellow looks a little rigid to me. Maybe, being outside all the time has taken its toll. She said something about them going shopping at the Christmas Store but that's a likely story. It could be she has trouble resisting a jolly old man wearing red and white. I'll have to deal with all of this when she gets back next Sunday. She has really enjoyed being there with the Church group. They have been doing devotions each morning and she reports it has been a revival for her. I should have called ahead and told the fellow leading the devotions to throw in something about wives being in subjection. You know. Strike while the iron is hot. That last part was all made up. It's supposed to be funny. The part about them being revived in the Lord is true, and, that's worth a trip anywhere. Looking at that fellow's eyes makes me think he must be taking some kind of stimulant. I think I will withhold sending an application for that job. That chair doesn't look very comfortable to me. Enjoy the rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

God loves us all from the baby in the womb to the eldest living person. It doesn’t matter who or what you are. How do we know that? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2nd Peter 3:9) Thoughts adapted from an article @

I made it to Wednesday and I'm pretty pleased and thankful to have done so on this fine June the 21st, 2017. The wife and I are hooked on the new A and E Series, "Live PD". This show provides live feeds of our police at work in a variety of places, typically six different geographical areas, in real time. No editing, although there are some gruesome things like a horrific accident where they cut away from that particular scene. Here's one thing that is clear from watching this program. Minority citizens are predisposed to be emboldened against the policing authorities regardless of the color or nationality of the officers. Many are outright belligerent, accusing the officers of stopping them only because they are an ethnic minority. Their car was swerving all over the highway as a danger to themselves and others, yet, they are hostile when stopped. I've watched the old cops series for the past twenty plus years. The newer episodes show the same pattern. I believe, and you can call this an opinion if you like, these activist anti-police groups with their hate-filled rhetoric are in large part responsible for these reactions. I do know those few who do abuse their authority as officers of the law need to be discovered and dealt with. However, the level of hostility displayed even in a minor traffic violation tells me this could lead to serious but unwarranted outcomes. (I do think some when I'm watching television. I really do. Just so you know.)

There you have it. A socially responsible observation to get today started. I know. There are plenty of people out there who would call me racist for even noticing something like this troubling trend. Sorry. And, while I would not want to intentionally offend anyone, I do think I am entitled to my own conclusions based on what I am seeing. I even have the constitutionally protected right to be wrong. I've struggled to come up with a way to characterize the times we are living in. The best I have is the word acrimonious. That reflects the angry and bitter mood that seems to permeate our day by day living. In case you are still wondering, some of the features might include rancorous, caustic, acerbic, scathing, sarcastic, acid, harsh, sharp, and cutting. Yep. That also defines the 24-hour news cycle. The question is what to do about it. We need some positives to begin turning the tide. A business acquaintance who immigrated here from Lebanon and became a citizen more than ten years ago said something to me the other day that got my attention. He said, "Whatever happened to putting America, her people, and her interests first, regardless of your political affiliation?" I had no answer for him. What say you?

My sharing of the punch line pun at the end of the little story, "carp to carp walleting", did not go unnoticed. I think the question might be, "How really bad was it?" Pretty bad, my friend, pretty bad. However, in an effort to redeem myself, I thought I would share a few that might bring a smile. ~ “I want to win 10 million in the lottery, just like my dad did!” “Wow, your dad won 10 million in the lottery?!” "No, but he always wanted to.” ~ "Notice on a shoe repair shop: I’ll heel you, I’ll save your sole, I’ll even gladly dye for you." ~ "Why does Peter Pan fly all the time? He Neverlands." ~ "I wanted to tell you a joke about leeches. But I won’t – they all suck." ~ You don't have to tell me. It's time to say goodnight Gracie. Have yourself a wonderful rest of the day. Try not to let these acrimonious times get you down because everyone we complete brings us one day closer to when God will make all things right. All things, period, end of story. May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A whale of a good time was had by all.

Great Grand MiMi with our Gabi Girl.
Good morning and welcome to another day, another dollar, here at the old blogger ranch on this Tuesday, June 20, 2017. No one is certain about the origin of that phrase 'another day, another dollar', however, it typically points to the routine of life including our need to work in order to have income for our support. A country singer named Wynn Stewart released a song with that same title in 1962 and it was a moderate success. It did become somewhat of an anthem for the working class. Speaking of work, I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the hard work put in by the wife this past Saturday in honor of Fathers Day. We didn't have the entire clan together but 14 of us gathered around another celebration of this recognition with a legendary meal. She did her classic fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, okra, skillet cornbread, a loaf of fresh yeast bread, deviled eggs, sliced tomatoes, and iced tea. She also served up something called banana delight for dessert. (Emphasis on the 'delight'.) She was exhausted at the end of it all but she knew her family had once again enjoyed the fruit of her labors. And, after the smoke cleared, she finally got her hands on our brand new (one month) great grand, Gabi. She didn't turn loose for a while. What a great day. What a great meal. What a great cook. Thanks Sweetheart for doing what you do for us all. Oh yeah, also, come home soon!

Having Facebook gives us all an opportunity to keep up with folks we have known since way back when. Occasionally, I see a photo of one of their children and as Yogi Berra said it, "It's deja vu all over again." I mean that kid is an exact replica of the fellow I used to run with. It's not that way with all offspring, but, there are those times when I find myself doing a double take. It causes me to remember those days of yesteryear when we were involved in all kinds of stuff, mostly good fun, but, we were teenaged boys, so some of it was probably borderline at best. It's kind of funny how that works. Typically, we never exchange our recollections in the "remember when we were" types of discussions. That doesn't mean we have forgotten them. We just prefer to make those for our thoughts only. It seems the younger generations share a whole lot more of their experiences than we do. That's okay. What happened in the good old days, well, they can stay there, if you know what I mean.

The wife left Sunday for Louisiana and their tour bus left Monday morning for Branson. She had an opportunity to visit dad on her way over and reported that he is much better than the last time we saw him in the hospital. He is now in a rehab hospital and they are working with him to try and help him get some ability to function going again. She told me that it hurts to see him like he is. I think that's the way most of us feel. He could have been the prototype for the Energizer Bunny before these medical issues took hold of his life. It's just hard for those of us who know him well to make sense of his situation. However, we thank God for the progress he is making and we so look forward to when he recovers some of that passion for life he has had for all the years we've known him. It is in God's hands. That we can be sure of. May God bless each one. Until next time, may He add His blessing to our day. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, June 19, 2017

“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.” ― HonorĂ© de Balzac

Here we go again with a brand new work week to get hold of, and today we find ourselves with back to work Monday, here on June 19, 2017. I did watch that video of Senator Bernie Sanders persecuting a sub-level nominee because of his known testimony as a believer in Jesus the Christ and the Bible. Senator Sanders' assault on this man was unseemly at best and against the constitution which says people will not be evaluated based on their religious beliefs. He asked the man if believing like he does mean that others like Jews and Muslims are condemned and without hope. (Jesus did say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6) My guess is that Senator Sanders would never ask a Muslim if Allah and the associated teachings of the Muslim faith are true to the exclusion of other religious beliefs. It was the fact that this man was a Christian and was unapologetic about his faith that created this hostility and persecution. The man answered by saying he believes all people are created in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect. That wasn't good enough for Senator Sanders. He concluded that our nation didn't need people like this believing Christian holding any government office. If you think this to be trivial, I think you might want to think again. The only outrage came from conservative voices. The mainstream was more than happy to see Christianity attacked. 

This will be a challenging week. The wife left me. Again. That's never good news for me. I am more than capable of operating independently, however, it's never my first choice, and usually, things tend to get all balled up before she returns. You know. If history, does, in fact, help predict the future. But, I do hope she and her entourage have a great vacation up in Branson. Meanwhile, back in the real world where the rubber meets the road, we will do our best to persevere. I think I need two lists. One for the things I need to do and one for the things I need not to do. I'll try to fit preparing those lists into my schedule. Maybe I should have them on my To Do list. But, I don't have one of those except for my mental list. That means I will need to make contact with my mental list which is not always available. He too likes to travel. I told you. Life can become complicated when I'm left to my own devices. Whatever that means. 

I am inclined to read things that present themselves to be cleverly composed. I saw a blog where they were presenting their idea of the top ten recent stories that included a pun. They were all pretty good but I chose this one to share as an example. It was submitted by a fellow named Michael. "Two fishermen were in a boat by the lake when one of them stood up to catch a fish in a net. As he scooped up the carp his wallet fell out of his back pocket. As the seemingly doomed billfold started to sink to the lake bottom the carp slipped out of the net and swam after it, re-emerging with it on his nose. However, instead of returning it, he tossed it to one of his fish buddies who balanced it on his nose. More and more of fish-buddies emerged from the water and all of them played this strange game of keep-away with the man's billfold. The first man watched, slack jawed. He said to the other 'Have you ever seen anything like this before?' The second man answered, 'Sure I have. Haven't you heard of carp-to-carp walleting?'" It might take a little thinking to get it and when you do it will not be that great, but, I liked it a little and that's why I shared it. Take care. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, June 16, 2017

"I wasn't anything special as a father. But I loved them and they knew it." ~ Sammy Davis, Jr.

My dad, my grandfather, my father-in-law, my step-dad, and me and my boys. (Legacy)
It's Friday, June 16, 2017, as we usher in Fathers Day weekend. Psalm 103:13 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;..." ~ Proverbs 3:11-12 "My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." ~ Deuteronomy 1:29-31 "Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." ~

May God bless all dads everywhere. Amen. ....more later.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"With the advent of cell phones, especially with the very small microphone that attach to the cell phone itself, it's getting harder and harder I find, to differentiate between schizophrenics and people talking on a cell phone." ~ Bob Newhart

Hello and welcome to our little visit to help get us up and going for the day, this one happens to be Thursday, June 15, 2017. I know what I am getting for Fathers Day. A new cellphone. It is at the house. (Since last Friday.) They are working to get it ready for me to use. Meanwhile, I am anxiously awaiting this major upgrade to my current capability. I was glad when they told me they had included my grandson, Jimmy Jr., in consulting on the type of phone I needed. He had pretty much gotten a needs analysis from me when we were out on the road a few weeks ago. My wife said she couldn't figure out why I'm in such a big hurry. Here's the deal. When I was on my flip phone I was happy happy because it did what I needed it to do, make and receive phone calls. When I switched to the wife's handed down Apple 4, I began using some of the other capabilities, but, with great limitations due to its connect speed and the age of the phone itself. That's my story. I couldn't Google on my flip phone and barely on the old Apple but with the new one, it will be a breeze. That's the allure of technology. I guess I have been captivated by the promise of better yet to come. I think she actually said it like this, "I can't figure you out. You stayed with that old phone and refused to change. Finally, you started using my old phone and now you are like a kid impatiently waiting for his new toy." One would think she has known me for more than 55 of my 71 years because I'm pretty sure she hit every nail squarely on the head!

I was reading from the Readers Digest online website some of their reportedly true but funny stories. The intro said these stories will keep you laughing for days. There's a problem with that promise. I read a dozen of them and none of them were very funny. To me. Here's one from a lady in North Carolina. "My colleague has been living 
in this country only a few months, 
and although normally chipper, he recently looked sad. When I asked what was wrong, he responded glumly, 'Today, everything wrong is going in my favor.'" See what I mean? It's not a bad story and it may have some amusement value attached to it, but, it, along with the rest of them will most likely not have anyone laughing, much less for days. Or, they are funnier than I think they are and other people may enjoy them immensely. I say, go for it. We all have funny experiences. Sometimes they are in the eye of the beholder. Like this one. I still laugh when I think about people I saw at my mom's viewing that I haven't seen since our high school years. What did they say when they walked up to me? "I would recognize you anywhere." Yep. As you can see, I haven't changed one bit.

Congressman Steve Scalise from Louisiana, wounded by shooter.
Wednesday's shooting of Republican office holders by the radical fellow is pretty sad. Sadder, are the many tweets from the far left saying those injured got what they deserved. You may see if differently, but, to me, these are some pretty scary times we are living in. Had there not been a security detail with the House leader who was wounded, we could easily have had a massacre on our hands. Reading about the shooter's background is chilling. He had multiple run ins with the law over the years. This included charges of domestic violence. He was rabidly anti-Republican and a passionate supporter of Bernie Sanders. Rhetoric does have consequences and the incessant barrage of hate coming from people who call themselves tolerant, well, it may have played a role in this attack. Maybe this will be a wake up call on all sides to tone down the rhetoric. I doubt it but I hope so. May God help our divided land. Amen. .....More later.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Do not adjust your monitor. I actually don't think it will help.

We have another day to try and make something happen. This one is identified as Wednesday, June 14, 2017. With mom's passing and dad's failing health, and with thoughts of Fathers Day, I've been somewhat in a reflective mood at times. The doctor asked me the other day who dad was to me. I told him he was, for the past 40 years, my dad. My real dad died in January of 1954. I was seven at the time. I know some things about him but much of it is behind the trauma curtain in my brain. I get glimpses now and then but I can't really say that I have any serious recollections of his daddy influence on my life. After we moved from Port Arthur to a sleepy little hamlet of a town in Louisiana, my mom's dad, Paw Paw Mac, did his best to stand in the gap for us kids. He had already raised up a large family and having six new ones thrust into the mix was a huge challenge for him and Granny Mac. Mom went to work as soon as she could. I do remember our little clan being bewildered by what had happened. Paw Paw Mac would be called old school by any and all definitions, but, he instilled in me many of the character traits that I carry with me today. He took his leave for his heavenly home in 1971. He was a larger than life figure to me. I was 25 when he died and I can remember how devastated we all were. Six years later mom and dad married and after a couple of years of adjustment, I bonded with my "new" dad. He's been my dad ever since. I also had my wife's dad as a mentor and supporter for well over 30 years. The way I see it, I face Fathers Day humbled, and counting my blessings for these men and their influence on my life. And, if I ever am able to get that curtain to come up, well, there will be stories to tell. I do know that.

I think those are on target who have said the idea is to keep the new administration from getting anything done by keeping the new administration bogged down with all kinds of political shenanigans. Those leading these various efforts couldn't be persuaded to even consider looking into the potentially illegal activities of the Clintons Inc. This is why so many people are turned off by the PROCESS and how it is played out. Many have concluded that our elected officials are a lost cause, and, one can see why. Suddenly, some so-called influential people woke up one morning and they have a conscience and a concern for the integrity of our institutions. Give me a break! They are concerned, but, not about the things that concern you and I. Sorry. I hate to be negative but it is a sad commentary on the current status of our Republic. I sure am glad I know God because He is ultimately in charge and He has promised to make all things right. Amen.

I remember a commentator from a number of years ago who spoke highly of Washington political gridlock. He said the good news about gridlock is they are not able to do more damage to the individual citizen. He thought to have a do nothing, get nothing done Congress, on balance, is probably a net positive to those paying taxes. I'm not sure I could agree with that totally since some things do need to be changed, however, I certainly can identify with his sentiment. It's always best not to fret over things we have little control over. Speaking of that, I'm sure I have some things that I need to be working on, therefore, I will say so long for today and offer up my prayers that God will bless us all. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Laughter is the closest distance between two people." ~ Victor Borge, (1909-2000), Danish and American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe.

The Dynamic Duo at the Marble Slab.
My wife thinks me waking up in a stupor is quite funny. I told her I had no idea where I was or what was happening for the first few minutes. I told her it's that odd feeling where you touch the mirror trying to push your hair back. Oh well, she seemed to think that it was a round trip to La La Land, but I guess if it gives her something to laugh about, it's okay. It's not as funny when you are dizzy trying to chase your finger with a projectile to get enough blood to test. Thanks for showing up here at the ole blogger ranch on this Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The wife is getting ready to desert me. Again. She, along with a friend from our Church, will be going with her sister and a group from her sister's Church to Branson next week. Both of these sisters, (twins born 18 months apart), may be in their 70's, but they still know how to be giddy and excited about something like an upcoming planned excursion. I suppose part of the fun is getting ready to get ready to go. That's what it sounds like when they are jabbering and laughing each night when they talk to each other. No. I do not think the left behind series were written about me, however, I have considered asking for an honorable mention in one of the chapters. That's a joke. Go ahead and laugh, you might as well join the procession already underway.

Don't be sad for me. That line from the song comes to mind, "Don't cry for me, Argentina." I'm not altogether sure what goes on during those trips they make, but, I do know the wife's nephew was in Branson a couple of weeks ago and he posted how that he had alerted the local police about the upcoming visit of my wife and her entourage. Maybe that is where the saying originated. You know the one I am talking about. What happens in Branson stays in Branson. I just listen and hope for the best. Bottom line, I do hope they have the best time ever. Meanwhile, I need to make myself a list of the chores that I will be working on while she is away. I know that watering the plants is somewhere near the top. My way of writing it would be: No matter what, do not, and I repeat, do not allow those plants to even think about dying. Do make your bed. My way of writing that: Find out exactly what day she is expected back and make sure the bed is made on that day. Do not leave dishes in the sink. My way of writing that: Because of my sensitivity to the environment and controlling water usage, I will do my civic duty by storing up as many dirty dishes as possible. (It does bother me a little when the dishwasher is loaded up but it sounds like it's trying to walk out of the house.) I think most of you know the drill, but, it should be interesting. Very. I will keep you posted.

Don't be too concerned about me. I'm just practicing up on my 'somebody done somebody wrong song.' I do know we live in a society where more and more are into victimhood as a way of life. Some have every reason to feel like a victim. Others, not so much. Me? I'm way out there on the 'not so much' scale. Too blessed to get into that mode, although, any of us can easily be tempted to lean in that direction. I do think the Home Alone motif has served me well in terms of giving me material over the years. And, the good Lord up above knows I've had plenty of opportunities to use it. Sorry. Once I get that B. J. Thomas song going in my head it seems to more or less take over. "It's lonely out tonight And the feelin' just got right for a brand new love song Somebody done somebody wrong song Hey, wontcha play another somebody done somebody wrong song And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby So please play for me a sad melody So sad that it makes everybody cry-why-why-why A real hurtin' song about a love that's gone wrong Cause I don't want to cry all alone Hey, won't ya play another somebody done somebody wrong song And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby." Please remember our dad as we await some additional testing and our dear Uncle Waymon, a member of the Greatest Generation, who is dealing with health challenges as well. Take care and I'll see what lands the next time I open up the blank electronic page. May God bless. Amen. .....more later.

Monday, June 12, 2017

System Check: Discombobulated. Confused and Disconcerted. (but not concerned)

Proverbs 23:7 starts out like this, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." Okay. I'm going to say that because of that, I think I am here, therefore, I must be. I'm pretty sure I'm not sleep walking, but, I do feel a little like I am, on this back to work Monday, June 12, 2017. I don't know if there is a place beyond the deep sleep, rapid eye movement scenario, but, if there is one, I think I visited it just before I woke up this morning. We are just back from two days in Louisiana to visit dad. He is not in a good place personally, however, he is being cared for in a good place with a good doctor and good nursing staff. His doctor is determined to get to the bottom of why dad has had this precipitous loss of mental function, so suddenly. The doctor agrees with all the losses dad has suffered as being contributing factors but what he sees is beyond that, in his opinion. Today they will be attempting to do additional testing. Pray with us for some results that will aid his treatment. Thanks. Amen

This past Saturday we enjoyed sharing lunch with my brother Richard and his wife. We went to a little Mexican food restaurant there in Leesville, Louisiana. The owner came over to greet us. Richard and Stephanie, along with mom and dad have always been regular customers. The owner's name is Alex. He shared his story with us. He started out in the Houston area washing dishes in the early 1980's. He worked his way up. We likely ate at the places where he worked. A number of years ago they visited some of his wife's relatives stationed at Fort Polk near Leesville. While there he became aware of this location and within 30 minutes they struck a deal, and the rest, as they say, is history. He had not even known there was such a little town, but, as he put it, it was a God thing. He went on to tell us that all the lowly staff he worked with way back when he started now own their own eating establishments except for one. He is a remarkable example of someone who has lived his version of the American dream. I was very impressed with his testimony in giving God credit as well as his demonstrated determined work ethic. A good story and an encouragement to us all. Amen

I think I should quit challenging my gray cells since this morning they are harder to corral than trying to herd cats. I have no idea why people say herding cats, but, it seemed to apply to my situation so I used it. We do greatly appreciate so many who have expressed concern for and offered up prayers on dad's behalf. We have confidence that God will see him and us through this challenging time. I think I will leave it there for today and I'll work on doing better the next time we meet. Take care and may God bless each and every one. Amen. .....more later.

Friday, June 9, 2017

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” ― Thomas Jefferson

I wish a good Friday to everyone out there on this June 9, 2017. I wrote that little piece the other day about the insane construction woes in and around our area. Many who read it most likely thought I was way over the top in my assessment. To that I say, hold on for just a cotton picking minute. So, I'm listening to the mega news radio station, (KTRH 740 AM), and they do a promo for their traffic reporting. Here's the gist of what they said, "We will help you to deal with the Barrell Battles and Construction Armageddon." I had not heard that before. Maybe they read my blog. At any rate, even the local news folks recognize what I was writing about. And, there you were, thinking I came up with that stuff just to have something to write about. It's okay. I'm not one to not say I told you so, especially, when I really did tell you so. Obviously, they think the problem to be of biblical proportions with their use of the word Armageddon. I will have to think about that one, but, the truth is, it is a mess out there on the roadways and I'm not sure the folks in charge really pay much attention to those whose livelihoods depend on their ability to get from Point A to Point B. I suppose that assessment of the situation might fall into the category of political commentary, but that doesn't change the truth. As I see it. And, I am unanimous in my own opinion.

My brother Victor and I with dad.
We do plan to travel to Louisiana tomorrow to check on dad. He is still in the hospital and he does seem to be recovering some, physically. His mental state is still very confused. Some have said he will likely not know who I am. That's okay because I do know who he is. We have a huge number of folks praying for God's will to be worked out in dad's situation. That is very comforting to our family. Many have made comments on our Facebook page talking about dad's many contributions to the little community where he and mom lived. I think that is a good reminder of his sense of serving. Retired military, retired civil servant, retired as a town official after nearly 25 years of service, and so many other instances where dad was distinguished by his willingness to give of his time and effort. I remember one fellow who became very ill. That man was not close to anyone in that little town. He was a veteran and he asked dad to help him settle his affairs as he prepared to die. Dad stepped in and worked with this fellow soldier to get everything taken care of. After the man's death, dad took care of making sure the children received what was left to them. He had a file folder. It took a lot of his time. He was not a close friend but he was willing to help this man. I thought about that as one example of his character. Not perfect by any means, but, he did accomplish good in his time here on the planet. Amen.

Another work week in the books, as they say. I continue to be asked often by different folks about my retirement plans. Some would argue that I've already retired but just haven't left the premises yet. You know, in my case, 'Elvis' has not left the building. I do get a sense that it is nearer today than it ever has been. Duh! It would have to be since every day makes it closer. Right? But, more than that, it does seem to have made it onto the calendar as a coming attraction, but, I'm just not sure about the date yet. Maybe that will become more clear soon. Meanwhile, I'm still on my regular schedule, but I thank everyone who wishes me well whenever that time comes. I've tried to think about how I will use my time whenever I no longer come into the office here. I'm sure the wife has some questions about that as well. What we do know is that it will be different. But, Lord willing, whatever I do, it will be accompanied by some hot, black Community coffee. Take care now, you hear? And, may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

“Hard work works harder than luck!” ― Germany Kent, Author

I didn't have a pocket mirror to breathe on this morning to see if I am still kicking, but, I suppose since I am here clicking and clacking on my little-outdated laptop keyboard, I can be identified as present but unaccounted for. Or something to that extent. It is Thursday, June 8, 2017, and while the three cups of Community have been enjoyable, they don't seem to have done much for my alertness. I hear the word 'slog' more in today's world than I did earlier. (It appears to have been around with some usage as far back as the early 1800's. Who knew?) It has something to do with keeping at it in doing something even though it may be difficult or boring. I suppose at times I might describe myself as a slogger. I might say that I am slogging my way forward. It could even end up with that famous challenge, to slog or not to slog, that may not be a good question, but it seemingly has some application. You do know I am joking about all of this. Let me be clear. I am very thankful any day that I am able to wake up, get up, and get going. Sure. There are days when things make that more challenging, but, like the Rusty Goodman song put it, "I wouldn't take nothing for my journey." Believe me, I could make a list in a heartbeat of things that I wished were better on any given day. Like my blood sugar number. Like not having to dodge so many varmints on my way in each day. Like not having a lady tell me to tone down my Santa image. See what I mean? Those don't add up to much at all. They really don't. I feel better now. Thanks for your help, but, please don't send me a bill. I get plenty of those already.

One evening this week I came home and the wife announced she had thrown together one of her mom's suppers. My mother-in-law was a very talented lady. She was simple, but, there wasn't much she couldn't figure out how to do, especially if it involved making things with her hands. When she put a meal on the table, I would describe it with one word, variety. She believed in having all kinds of different things to choose from on her table. Nothing fancy, but I learned to greatly enjoy my times at her table. The wife served up some fried okra, a combination of butter beans and peas, some red beans, fresh sliced tomatoes, a small pone of cornbread, and a glass of iced tea. Talk about good! What about dessert? She had made a banana pudding but after taking in seconds, I actually exercised a little discipline and traded the pudding for a small glass of milk with warm cornbread crumbled up in it. It was a good reminder of a Godly woman and her life. We have been so blessed with so many wonderful folks in our family and that, my friend, is something to thank God for. Amen.

What about my blood sugar number the next morning? It was 119, which is, now that I am 70 plus, very much within the guideline given to me by my doctor. (Don't get me started on that again.) Sometimes when I go completely off the reservation in my eating, I end up with a fasted blood sugar that's actually pretty good. Sometimes when I take in an almost textbook diabetic meal, the next morning it is much higher than what I typically have. Go figure. Why do I persist in making my fingers a pin cushion each day? Here's the way I see it. I think to go through the process of checking it and recording the information each day has some effect on me. Hopefully, a positive impact. It is a reminder that I have diabetes. It implies that I have to do things that help my condition. Yes. Probably more mental than anything else, but, we all have to figure out what works for us individually. And, when we finish that, we can then spend way too much time talking about the doctor's response to when you pass that 70 threshold. I'll not get into all of that. Again. But, that doesn't mean that I have forgotten. Don't forget that. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.