Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show." ~ Author Unknown

Today is Wednesday, October 31, 2018, designated for the celebration of Halloween. It's also my last day to broadcast from this location. In a few hours, it will be time for me to saddle up and ride off into the sunset, or as George Burns put it, "Say goodnight Gracie.", or as the legendary news broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow, said at the end of the news, "Good luck and good night.", and while I've never been able to do the Vulcan hand salute myself, the meaning might be appropriate, "Live long and prosper.", or maybe the happy go lucky motto from the Lion King, "Hakuna Matata.", and, even though I'm not Italian, "Chiao." rings a bell, or maybe Aloha, Shalom, or one of my favorites from Emeril, "Bam!", but, hopefully not, "Danger, Will Robinson!" At any rate, I leave the workplace knowing I have been blessed from above. One of my favorite closings has always been this one, written by Dale Evans, of Dale and Roy fame, (Rogers).

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.

It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smiling until then.

Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Blog Number: 2,932. That's a wrap from the old blogger ranch. I'll catch back up with you soon from my home office. Finally, I reprint the closing paragraph from my very first blog, published on May 9, 2007: "One final thought in this opening monologue: I know that without God as the foundation of my life through my identity with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be little hope in all the ups and downs encountered in this journey called life." Amen. ....More later. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

“The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on my own performance is a very freeing and joyous experience.” ~ Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love

The crescendo is getting louder and bolder as I approach my next to last day here at the ole blogger ranch. That's right. Today is Tuesday, October 30, 2018, and I am continuing my tip-toe through some nostalgic thoughts as I prepare for this transition. One thing I thank God for is the level of respect shown towards me during my 12 year run here. This has been across the board from here beginning with the front office all the way to the helpers out in the shop. I feel somewhat unworthy of this response, however, I am blown away by it. It has helped to keep me humble as I remember that with respect comes responsibility. A new welder came up to me the other day and said he had heard that I was a super religious person. I told him that I sure hope I am much more than that because I am a believer in Jesus the Christ and He has helped to shape my life. He went on to tell me some about his Church and his experience as a believer. I told him that my life, my testimony, and my walk is not one suitable to be put on a pedestal, however, it is only by the grace of God that any of us can do anything that would bring honor to Him. That, my friend, is what we need, each and every day: Enabling grace. That's what allows us to do anything that will make a difference for time and eternity. Amen.

The wife and I did 2-1/2 laps at the mall this past Saturday morning. That is part of our future plan. It may be a requirement of anyone who retires. I haven't checked the laws but folks like us were mostly what we saw. That walk roughed up my arthritic hips, but, it will get better. That's what I am told. I hope so. I suppose it is the season since folks are beginning to begin seeing me and thinking of Santa Claus. Typically, the older people see it as a novelty and they ask for a new Mercedes or other types of exotic gifts. It is an occupational hazard and it doesn't really bother me. I usually give them one of our souvenir cards and they are always grateful and very gracious in their comments. Mrs. Claus gets a lot of attention. She is a people person and I think they spot that from afar. There were not as many people walking as I've seen before. Maybe they took the weekend off. When I go there to walk I often see those people who are very serious about their business. Some ladies kick up their legs like they are trying out for either the drum major job or perhaps a spot on the Rockettes. Others come by and they use their walking as a way of working on their breathing apparatus. Huffing and puffing. Loud. I point out new stores to the wife. She tells me they have been in the mall for two years or more. I showed her a set of new escalators being installed. She said they have been working on them for months. I'm sure I will catch on soon. In the meantime, if you see me at the mall please don't ask me if I know where anything is. Thank you very much.

In my looking back over the past number of years I would be remiss not to thank those who have participated each day in reading my blog. I know there are those who read it every day. I know that because when the internet is down or there is another type of glitch that keeps me from posting, I do get the inquiries. If my blog isn't there they assume the worst. I remember one day when I worked in the high rise in downtown Houston how I got there early and camped out in the conference room working on a presentation. No one knew where I was. They began to worry. I was missing. They called my wife. She knew I had left at my regular time. After some mild panic and consternation, we got it all sorted out, and, it was nice that folks at least noticed. A lady I know posted on Facebook the other day saying if she passed away, what would be your best memory of her. She asked for her friends to leave these thoughts in the comment section. I've known that person since we were kids, but, I do not participate in those kinds of shenanigans. I must not be the only one because as far as I recall she didn't get even one response. I'm pretty sure this was not what she had in mind. My advice, don't ask. Just me. You may like those kinds of things. If you do, go for it. Have a great rest of the day and be glad if your name is written the Lamb's Book of Life! (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 13, Verse 8). Amen. ...More later.

Monday, October 29, 2018

"When the English language gets in my way, I walk over it." ~ Billy Sunday, Evangelist

Good morning and it sounds good to call it one last time, back-to-work Monday, on this October 29, 2018. I saw this listing on Facebook talking about why English can be so difficult to learn. Some examples were given: ~ The bandage was wound around the wound. ~ The farm was used to produce produce. ~ The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse. ~ We must polish the Polish furniture. ~ He could lead if he would get the lead out. ~ Since there's no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present. ~ A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum. ~ When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. ~ I did not object to the object. ~ The insurance was invalid for the invalid. ~ There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. ~ They were too close to the door to close it. ~ Here are some funny quotes about English being difficult: "Our language is funny – a ‘fat chance’ and a ‘slim chance’ are the same thing." J. Gustav White ~ "If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers." ~ Doug Larson ~ "“If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur." Doug Larson ~ "Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell?" Author Unknown ~ "English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway." Author Unknown ~ "The word ‘good’ has many meanings.  For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man." G. K. Chesterton ~ "Lymph, v.:  to walk with a lisp." Washington Post reader ~ "I like the word ‘indolence.’ It makes my laziness seem classy." Bern Williams ~ "The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘check enclosed.'" Dorothy Parker  ~ "‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence?" George Carlin ~ "England and America are two countries separated by a common language." George Bernard Shaw ~

I know all too well about dangling and mangling when it comes to my use of the King's English. No. I haven't compiled a blooper reel from my blogs but I am sure there's plenty of material to choose from. Some of the things I write that end up being less than clear reflect the disjointed way that I think. I do catch many of them before they hit the finished page, however, there are plenty that slip through the proverbial crack. President George W. Bush, an intelligent man by any number of objective standards, could really get his words twisted in a knot. So much so, his famous mangling of the language became known as Bushisms. (Example: "They misunderestimated me." – Bentonville, Arkansas; November 6, 2000) The news media attempted to use these misspoken words to paint him as being less than bright. Interestingly enough, when President Obama did the same thing they excused his as being simply an honest mistake from someone so brilliant. (Example: "The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings, and inefficiencies to our health care system." and "I have enjoyed campaigning in all 57 states.") You have to love the fact that President George W. was in on the joke. He poked fun at himself for the times when he would venture off the teleprompter and his words became gaffes. Again, both President Bush and President Obama have recorded gaffes that are a part of the official record. Most would know that President Bush had them because of how he was lampooned. However, Google them both and see that I am telling you the truth. I report. You decide.

I want to take a moment and comment on the current environment we live in characterized by hate and incivility. These recent mailed explosive devices help illustrate how charged this atmosphere is. The news media in general and Democrats in particular blame President Donald Trump for this development, 100%. I will be the first to say I think he is way too personal in his Tweets and in his criticisms. However, I invite everyone to look at the record. Call up the video evidence. Dozens upon dozens of recorded instances are available that show prominent people on the left spewing hate-filled rants against President Trump, some of them calling for violence, others imagining killing him, others hoping for assassination, and the list goes on and on. Here's one for you: Many of the people in these recorded, venom saturated rants are the very ones pointing the finger at President Trump. Now that is some nerve! I do think the rhetoric is out of hand. On all sides. I'm thankful they have what appears to be 'the suspect' in the bomb mailing incident. He apparently has a long record of criminal and erratic behavior. Then we have the hard to even contemplate killing of innocents at the Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Hate has become rampant in our country. The election is just days away and a lot of posturing is underway by those seeking to blame someone. I had, or at least I tried to have, a discussion the other day with someone who hates President Trump. Literally. They believe he is destroying America. I told them while he was not my candidate I could not in good conscience have voted for the other contender. This person flew into a rage when I said that. They said they would have to hang up because I had made them so angry. See what I mean? We cannot even disagree without it getting out of control. Maybe it's time for everyone to step back and think about where we are today. Everyone. Including me. Thanks for tuning in today. May God bless our country is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Paid Employment From A Biblical Perspective!

Good morning and welcome to the Friday Edition, hot off the presses, on this October 26, 2018. Since I am scheduled to remove my person from the workplace next Wednesday, here's my Friday Flashback offering concerning what it means to be a Christ follower on the job we hold. This was my entire blog written eleven years ago today. I had been working here for nearly a year. This many years later I did feel compelled to update it some since it sounded a wee bit too preachy to me, but, as I often say, it is what it is.

(October 26, 2007) There’s nothing like opening a huge can of worms early on a Friday morning. The subject of a believer’s behavior in conjunction with the work they do or job they perform is been one that I’ve spent endless hours studying and thinking about. There’s a ton of research materials available but most of it indicates we who are Christians are not living it on the job. It seems that most believers end up adapting themselves to a dual morality approach where they apply one set of ethics in the marketplace and another in the home and church. This, sadly, comes as a result of expectations that focus solely on doing whatever it takes including the setting aside of one’s personal values in order to generate profits. When you think about it, that’s really the subtitle of how work is defined in the world.

Believe me, I have wrestled with this issue for years. No doubt even companies that portray themselves as ethical push the envelope all day long while walking a fine line in making sure they do not actually break the law. I remember a fellow I knew for a number of years who was an outspoken Christian in his portrayal of himself. He told everyone about his faith, his work on behalf of his church, and his proud family heritage of faithfulness. However, his approach to business was essentially to do anything and everything it takes in order to make the deal. His answer for this situation was that God knew that a man had to do what a man had to do. He chose not to see the huge disconnect but most people hated dealing with him because they saw the obvious hypocrisy in his talk versus his walk. In fact, they preferred to work with other people who were more ethical in their business dealings even though they had little or nothing to do with any expression of faith towards God.

I’ll just tell you that whether it’s me or you, it is a bad testimony if we are checking our identity as a believer at the door when we come to work. Many think that work came about as a result of the fall of Adam and it is part of the curse. That’s not true. Adam had a job as the caretaker over God's creation before he fell. It involved many different responsibilities. What happened in the fall was that work would no longer be without complications, difficulties, and pain. Now you know how your job came to be complicated, difficult, and painful. See, you learn something new every day. Yet the Bible clearly stakes out a standard for those of us who have jobs and work for pay. It first requires that we be who we are in Christ no matter where we are. This doesn’t mean we go around our workplace thumping a Bible since that would no doubt be distracting and even a misuse of company time. It requires that our allegiance is to God first and then we are to be a faithful servant to the enterprise that pays us. This doesn’t mean we will always work with ethical people because there are plenty who operate on the world’s philosophy. However, we are to quietly do what we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. (see Colossians 3:23) If the time comes when we are called upon to break what we know is our commitment to be faithful to our calling, then we will have to deal with that circumstance and try to find a way to meet the requirement another way. We must always make certain that we are on solid grounds for being concerned about a particular issue, but in the end, if we are required to violate our faith, we must make a decision, and leave the consequences in God’s hands.

That’s easier said than done and I’ve been all over the page in how I’ve handled these types of situations. In fact, I've worked in several situations where I knew I should have taken a stand. Why didn’t I? I thought I had to think about my financial obligations and my family and that was my rationalization at the time. However, the truth is the truth. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills which by the way means He owns it all! He knows how to take care of His own and while it would not have been easy because we are not promised easy, I am fully persuaded He would have made a way for me if I had stood up and been counted for what I knew was right. I can’t go back and change that now and I will tell you how wonderfully blessed I am to now be working in an environment where we are committed to doing business by the Book, God’s Holy Word. This doesn’t mean we or our program is perfect but we try our best to look at our business dealings through the lens of fundamental truths as set forth in God’s word. I can tell you that, thus far, working in this environment has been a rewarding experience for me. I leave you with one thing and that is an encouragement to be the real you in Christ, no matter where you happen to be. The temptation is to throw in the towel even before you are engaged in the conflict. Believe me, it will come but God will be with you. And, remember, we are to be a testimony to those who do not know the Lord. They act the way they do because they have not been changed by His power. We may be the Bible God has given for them to read. And, always remember, these words come from one struggler to another or as I like to remind us all, from one beggar telling others beggars where he found food. For the soul. Have a great weekend and on Monday I’ll try to come up with something not quite so heavy. Amen.   …..More later

Thursday, October 25, 2018

They did what? Could you run that by me, one more time.

Yep. Still at it. Here at the ole blogger ranch. It's Thursday, October 25, 2018, and I send out a huge howdy to everyone tuning in to today's episode. I grew up in the small rural town of Hornbeck, Louisiana. The larger nearby town is Leesville. Recently, they did something that was pretty remarkable. They opened a new location with a renovated city hall. They did. They went all out. They had dignitaries from all around. They cut a ribbon. I admire the fact they repurposed a building. You know, recycling and all of that. The remarkable part? That building was previously one of the longest-running funeral homes in that entire area. That's right. I've been to a number of funeral services in that building. In fact, I conducted my brother's service in that very building. The photo of the pews is where the services were conducted. Up there were the city administrators now have their seats, well, that's where I stood with my brother's coffin where those flowers are. I've already seen some haunting jokes flying around and my guess is they are not even warmed up yet. I am sure when they make decisions that folks question, the ghost stories will come forth. I thought it was interesting for it to be such a lively commencement and dedication of a place where dead people used to stay. I suppose they will all enjoy a good laugh when someone votes to kill a recommendation. Let's just hope there are no strange, unexplained noises afoot.

I do enjoy keeping up with family and friends on social media. It's also a good way to share each others' burdens. I have over 600 people on my Facebook. Probably less than 100 are close enough to be called family or friends. However, many of the others are acquaintances and I do enjoy reading their postings as well. I do love seeing all the photos posted. These are the good things. There are some that are not so good. Right now, there are folks constantly being hacked and those doing the hacking send out fake friend requests. There are dozens of carbon copy chain letter like postings floating around. These start out by saying something about it being a test to determine who their real friends are. Those that react in a certain way are guaranteed to be kept on the friends' list. Those that don't risk being cut. Let me just say this about that. I hate those kinds of postings. Another thing that is a good thing but used so much it's overwhelming is the fundraising that has been incorporated into the system. Legitimate crises are posted and connected to a funding utility. That's a good thing. Now they have added ways for people to raise money for causes and to do so on their birthday. Instead of just wishing them a happy birthday, one is encouraged to contribute to their favorite charity. That's a good thing, but, when you have dozens of these showing up every single day, well, like I say, it can be somewhat overwhelming.

Example of 'fake news' that someone might send to their list.
My approach to dealing with the not-so-great stuff? Just skip it. Be good at skipping stuff that does not fit into your range of interests. My sweet mother, God rest her soul, felt like that if someone took the time to send something out, she should at least take the time to read it. Her eyesight was failing but she still did her best to read every posting from personal to political. She could become distressed over something someone copied and sent to her. Often, the thing posted was not based on fact. I would try and check things out for her, but, even when I reported back that it was a hoax or a made up story, it still had an impact. Our pastor recently talked about those who copy and paste things without knowing for certain if they are true. He said it was heartbreaking to know that God-fearing believers are at times participating in the propagation of lies and slander. That may sound harsh but I have found that very thing to be true. These postings fit the person's view of the world, therefore, it sounds right to them, so they forward it to their list. When someone points out the inaccuracies in the posting, well, typically, the poster gets angry and says that it could be true, therefore, they are sticking with the story. Stuff like that does drive me up the wall. I've had people correct statements I have made in my blog. And, I have tried to acknowledge them and correct the erroneous information I shared. Just so you know, I do my best to fact-check my own work. Some opinion related stuff is of my own making, therefore, it comes with the package. You know. Me. Myself. And, I. Thanks for tuning in. Have a great day and may God add His blessings to us all. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” ~ Sam Ewing

By my calculations, as I start this day, I have 6 more working days before I ride off into the sunset. And, today, I will be working with the day set before me, Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Most of the folks now know that I am on my way out. I appreciate those who have shown some real sadness at the thought of me no longer showing up here every day. I'm not sure what to make of it. They either think I am an institution or that I should be in one. I'll not try to answer that one today. Believe me, none of us have that much time. You do know I am kidding. Thinking back on all the different jobs I've had, I still contend the short time I spent as a bricklayer's helper was the most demanding. At the time, in 1965, I had a regular job working alongside the head oiler on all the equipment used to build Toledo Bend Dam. But, we hit a slow period because of too much rain and we were not working a full schedule. A fellow we knew through the local Church offered for me to help him on a contracted house to do the brickwork. I had a young wife to support, therefore, I agreed. It was the most physically demanding work I have ever done. I had to hit the ground running and had little idle time all day long. I mixed the mortar. I carried the brinks. The bricklayer was slinging mud and bricks like there was no tomorrow. He got paid by the job. I did two weeks. It had a huge impression on me. I later cited it as one of the motivating factors for me to take an administrative position working for the US Government. I see that fellow on rare occasions when we visit Louisiana. He doesn't remember nearly killing me, but, he does seem pleased that he was of help in directing my career choices.

I am already camping out some in my office upstairs at home. It will be my new home so to speak. I leave at quitting time on Wednesday, October 31. I start my new job when I climb those stairs on Thursday morning, November 1. I will think about delaying the start of my new job by a day or two, but, right now I think it is best to continue some level of continuity. I also know the wife is thinking about this change because it will impact us all. Her routine. My routine. I remember back in the mid-1990's when I was doing a consulting project. I would work a week in Chicago and then work from my office at home the next week. We had to make a lot of adjustments. I do remember her friends always being disappointed when they found out I was at home that week. Well, excuse me! While I was there they offered me the head job over their information technology group, but, I declined because we didn't want to move to the Chicago area. Plus, the wife's parents were beginning to falter some and we needed to be closer to them. I did go as far as to bring the wife up to Chicago and we looked at houses in the area, but in the end, we stayed put. God provided. He always has provided. I thank Him for His blessings. Now, it's time to turn the page. Within this context, I have no idea what that means but I've seen it used before and thought I would throw it in for good measure.

I will admit that I'm preoccupied with this transition some. Yesterday morning when I got up I saw the wife had the trash out of the can and sitting in the kitchen. That typically means I should put the trash out. I did. The only problem was trash day is today not yesterday. I suppose I was operating on autopilot or auto-suggestion. Twice during the past week, I've missed my turn because in one situation I was talking on the cell phone while driving. Nearly hands-free. On the speakerphone. The other one was at 3:45 a.m. and I must have been thinking about thinking about the future. By the time I realized I had passed my turns, it was too late, and I had to come up with a new flight plan on the fly. Fortunately, it didn't delay be very much, but, it did aggravate me. A little. Not much. Old people. You just have to love us. It's a little late for me to be motivated by a slogan like 'Those who reached the top of the mountain didn't fall there.' I immediately thought the person who put that one up must have seen me climbing on the truck and doing my best impression of Tim Conway impersonating the old, old man. I think the idea has something to do with effort and work. Working hard. Oh well. It won't be long now, which, in case you never heard it, is the same thing the long-tailed cat said in a room full of rocking chairs. Think about it. It will come to you. Enjoy. May God bless. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

“The cure for writer's block is writer's cramp.” ~ Inigo DeLeon

It's a Tuesday kind of day and this one has a gift tag on it saying this, October 23, 2018. I saw this one posted the other day: "I want to have a pinata at my funeral so everyone will be happy. I want it to be filled with bees so everyone will not be too happy." I don't know if that is classified as wry or not, but, it does resonate with me. A little. The famous author J. D. Salinger came up with this one, "Who wants flowers when they die? Nobody!" I know there is a technical difference between wry and dry but that's way too much for me to tackle today. I think sarcasm is somewhere in the root but if it is overplayed it comes across as being hurtful. At any rate, we all can use some Yogisms to get our day started. (Quotes from Hall of Fame Baseball great, Yogi Berra, (1925-2015) ~ "If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." ~ "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical." ~ "He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious." ~ "I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did." ~ "The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase." If you don't like Yogi's observations, that's okay. Different strokes, but, it is good to find something that will bring you a smile. Life is too short. But, you knew that already.

We have a mixed up and at times a seemingly messed up family. As I heard Dr. Ed Young, pastor at Second Baptist, Houston, say one time, "All families are dysfunctional, just some are more than others." The good news is that families tend to stick together. The photo is of those in our clan who made the journey to Louisiana to support the wife's sister, Dorothy, on her wedding day last month. Dorothy was the matron of honor at our wedding back in December 1964. Her husband then, Charles, he was the one who led the group that made a mess out of my car, including putting stinky cheese in our heating system. Charles went to his reward some five years ago, but, I never let him forget that it was 28 degrees when we were out on the road on our honeymoon trip and we had no choice but to use the heater. We would turn it on as long as we could stand it and then turn it off. Family. We are blessed. The wife's brother Cleon was able to attend Dorothy's big day. He signed our wedding document and has been there for us all throughout all these years. Family. We are blessed. Time and distance have made it more difficult for us to be close like we were many years ago, but, we all carry with us the emblem of who we are and that includes proudly wearing the family identity God has given to us. Family. We are blessed. Amen.

In case you haven't heard, we have an election coming up on November 6. It is called the mid-term election since it falls in the middle of the current President's four year time in office. I know that most campaigns for office are saturated with mud. While we all lament the attack and counter-attack ads that run ad nauseam, there is a reason they run them. Simple. They work! Everybody hates the mudslinging but when it is all said and done, that's still the formula that is effective. I've been around for 72 years. I've been voting in national and local elections since I reached the age of eligibility. I've lived through many emotionally charged political showdowns. Wars and rumors of wars, race relations, welfare, medical care, malfeasance in office, you name it, I've been a voter involved in trying to respond to these, and other, great issues. However, today we have added a new dimension. At least, from my vantage point. That is, the hate-filled and personal threats against individuals holding or running for office along with their supporters. Since I'm reporting this from my viewpoint, I will say this is prevalent in these tumultuous times, especially on the left. Leaders on the left are fomenting hate against those who do not agree with their positions. They are inciting actions that may very well lead to violence. They say they are only exercising their right to protest. However, confronting people and threatening them personally, grabbing their food off the table and throwing it on the floor, chasing them and their families, well, all I can say is this type of MOB MENTALITY will eventually lead to someone having blood on their hands. My point? In our form of government, the vote is sacred. Don't give those who oppose what you stand for a vote for them by not voting your conscience. Don't stay home. Get up and get to the polls and cast your vote. If those who are predicted do stay home this cycle, we could see some cataclysmic outcomes. That's not a scare tactic, that is the reality. May God help us all to be willing to do our duty. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 22, 2018

“Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home — forever.” ~ Gene Perret

It's just me. Not to worry. I don't know if I am harmless, but, pretty close. It's my next to last Monday as I sit here at my well-used workstation on this back to work October 22, 2018. Me counting down the days reminds me of when I worked at the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. It was 1968 and I worked in the public affairs office where we had a steady turn over of drafted individuals who had journalism or broadcasting in their background. At times we would get an individual for their last duty station before their enlistment was up. Talk about a countdown! Many of these were on their way back to a newspaper, a TV station, or radio announcing job. I assisted the Sergeant Major who was responsible for administration. These guys on their way out would come over to my desk every day and ask me to ask them how short they were. When I asked, they would give me a version of something like this: "I'm so short I can barely see over my shoetops." We did have a cadre of officers and non-coms who would typically order them to get back to work. They were so excited. I'm not sure if I am excited about my own countdown, or, perhaps just caught up in the moment. Regardless, the clock is ticking, and it will not be very long before the saying I heard as a kid will come to fruition, "All good things must come to an end, and this is the end, my friend."

Home dialysis system.
I saw a note on social media from a fellow I worked with for many years at the big company. Wes used to drive a commuter van from the suburbs and we also rode together for several years. This week begins a new venture for him and his wife. He must start dialysis to deal with his failing kidneys. He and his wife are going to do this themselves, at home, as a team. While having technology like this is really an amazing modern medical marvel, it is still gut-wrenching to see him have to resort to this treatment option. Back in the early 1980's, he was driving the commuter van the day we were in a head-on collision. It was a drizzly, wet day and the young man who veered his car into our lane was killed instantly. As the driver, my associate folded up the steering wheel and suffered a broken sternum. I was thrown into the windshield and received a lot of cuts on my face along with dozens of shards lodged in my forehead. Others on the van were also injured, fortunately, none seriously. I remember like it was yesterday, Wes and I were standing on the side of the freeway. Shivering. The police and ambulances were arriving. He looked at me. I looked at him. We didn't say a word, but, we reached for each other and gave a hug. We knew that God had brought us through. Wes is a wonderful God-fearing man and my heart and prayers go out to him today.

That posting caught my attention because of our long-term association. And, as a diabetic, kidney related issues are a common malady. He's probably 5 years older than me. We both have enjoyed many blessings in the sojourn God has granted to us. It's another reminder of the frailty we all inherit at birth. We live in a fallen world and our bodies are essentially in decline. Sorry. That's how it works. Solomon had some thoughts on this very subject along with some inspired recommendations. This is taken from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12, Verses 1-13, as rendered in the New Living Translation, "Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, 'Life is not pleasant anymore.' Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly. Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint. Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral. Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 'Everything is meaningless,' says the Teacher, 'completely meaningless.' Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep. But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad." Those words are good for us all to consider, regardless of our age. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, October 19, 2018

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." ~ Pablo Picasso

Good Morning and welcome. Today is Friday, October 19, 2018, and I bid you a happy end to the work week for most and best wishes for us all being able to finish strong. If they do a house to house search looking for a true Astros fan, they will not be identifying me as one. Don't get me wrong. I support them. I want to see them win. But, I know my limitations. When my bedtime comes I know I have to leave it there because otherwise, I will be up into the night fretting over this, that, or the other. I do, however, check things out in the wee hours of the morning when I get up. Not just the score. I get a kick out of reading the play-by-play by those who are on my Facebook as they report what's happening on each throw to the plate. They actually root their team on from their smartphones or tablets, but, often they experience the old ABC Sports moniker, 'The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.' For this year it ended in the agony of defeat, however, it was a tremendous season and a great accomplishment to have a shot at repeating as world champions. As I have mentioned before, we also watch the real-time police show, 'Live PD' when we can. I like to pull up the live Twitter feed and see what other watchers are saying about what they are seeing on the screen. I can tell you without any scientific polling that the police dogs on that show are the most popular stars, hands down. The 'Live PD' nation as it is called, is in love with these dogs. And, they do like to do their own version of play-by-play of all that is happening between the good guys and the bad guys. I read them to the wife and we both get a kick out of them. Yeah. I know. It doesn't take much to entertain old people. Got it, and, thanks for reminding me.

The Flashback Friday segment talks about Social Security retirement benefits. At the time I wrote this, eleven years ago, I was weighing my options on when to start my retirement benefits. Just so you know, I turned 62 in 2008 and I did begin receiving all my retirement distributions. Here's what I wrote about in October of 2007.~ First Boomer Files For Social Security! I read this week about the lady who was born in early January 1946, identified as the very first baby boomer, and she has now officially applied for her social security benefits to begin at age 62. Wow! That means I am now officially in line. If the estimate is close, it means I’m one of the early boomers with only 79,999, 999 in line after this lady. Eighty million folks. They estimate this massive group will add to the social security rolls to the tune of 10,000 people per day! It reminds me of a joke told by Bob Hope one time. He said that with the Chinese producing a billion people they bound to have been doing something other than playing ping pong. Obviously, the post-WWII baby boom means that we as a nation will now be entering into unchartered waters. I could be a smart aleck about it and send notice to each of the 3.3 workers that support one social security recipient and tell them they to need to work harder and longer hours as we boomers come on the scene. The stats indicate back in 1950 there were 16 workers supporting each recipient. The times they are a changing. I think the current estimate is that with the additional strain on the system, it should be solvent until 2043 and then it will go belly up. That concerns me because I will turn 97 that year. Man, there’s always a catch! ~

Ten years into the official triggering of our retirement benefits, I can say unequivocally that we are blessed to receive what we do. Sure. We both worked and paid into the private and public systems, but, we also know that being able to work, and having the jobs we held, was a provision and blessing from God. Our attitude of gratitude should reflect the sentiment expressed in the children's song:

"So, rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory
Children of the Lord"

What a week! I could give my laundry list of things that happened to us. Things we had to deal with. Challenges we had to face. My list would be impressive. But, I know yours would be also. That's how it goes in the living out of our lives in this fallen world. Our prayer list is crowded as we seek God on behalf of so many in need. He knows. He cares. I leave you with one of my favorite promises from our Creator: Romans 8:35-39 as rendered in the New King James Version (NKJV), "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Lord willing, I will catch back up with you, come next Monday. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

'The Seven Social Sins are: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle." ~ From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925.”

Time. It waits for no one. And, today is no exception. Let's see what we can get done on this Thursday, October 18, 2018. I'm not nearly as committed to that as one might think. But, it is a good way to get the day started and we all do need encouragement. The lyrics to a song often come to mind. ~ If I can help somebody, as I travel along If I can help somebody, with a word or song If I can help somebody, from doing wrong No, my living shall not be in vain ~  Our faith is a personal matter. Between us and God. However, the proving of our faith. The demonstration that we have faith. It is shown in our living. How we live. How we treat others. Our way of living becomes our testimony. Not so much what we say, but, what we do. I saw a meme the other day that caught my attention. It said our character is who we really are. Our reputation is only what others think we are. Another similar sentiment defines character as what we do when no one is looking. Of course, we know that God is always aware. Always. That's why I am so thankful for His mercy. The Psalmist David was given this insight, "As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14) Maybe we didn't do so well yesterday, but, we can get ourselves up and make another run at it today. Amen.

My point? Don't get down and out when you struggle. We all struggle. In fact, as an old preacher friend of mine used to say, "When it comes down to it we are all fellow-strugglers." This comes with the condition we have. The human condition. And, yet, there is a way forward. When the Apostle Paul talked about being able to keep on keeping on, he did so because of the power of Christ living in and through him. ~ "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:10-13) ~ I've always found it interesting in how this passage is handled. Often, it almost seems like only the positives are emphasized. However, that's not what Paul was inspired to communicate. He talks about the strength of Christ giving him contentment when he was in need, down and out, without daily provisions. In other words, handling life, whether in the ups and downs, the mountain tops and the valleys, the good times, the bad, and everything in-between, we can have victory with the power of Christ living in us. Now that, my friend, is an encouragement, and it comes from above. Amen.

The other morning I rolled out of bed a little after 3 a.m. I may have groaned a little since the bones are typically acting up around that time. Suddenly, I heard a sweet voice wafting on the rolling tide from the other side of the bed, "Just think, in a couple of weeks you will no longer have to worry about getting up so early." I wasn't thinking about that at the time, but, if things go according to plan, she is 100% correct. It may have also been some wishful thinking on her part since she typically likes to sleep a little later than yours truly. The aches and pains that come with the territory are not the only wake-up call that beckons me. The thought of my first cup of hot, black, Community Coffee is a factor. I cannot deny it. I usually have my first cup while driving the ole pickup into work. I like my coffee piping hot even though it does present some issues from time to time when I encounter a new pothole. Sloshing. Let me be honest here. When something like that happens I typically am not overflowing with joy. And, the fact that it nearly takes the hide right off of my hand doesn't help too much either. I know what some of you are thinking. Get a cup with a lid on it. That does make a lot of sense. However, I like my cups. The ones I use. And, if I have to spill a little now and then so be it. What about stains on my seats? Yeah. That would be on the list somewhere if I had a list. You are right. Another reason for you to be glad you are not me. See? I've helped someone already today! Take care. See you next time. And, may God add His blessings. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” ― Sigrid Undset, (1882-1949), Author, Nobel prize for literature

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, October 17, 2018. I hope this day finds you well and ready to embrace all that God provides. I told the wife when I was driving home Monday how that I felt numb after having served my notice to leave my employment. It was an odd feeling. I have no doubt whatsoever about it being the right path forward for us, but, comprehending the change itself has been somewhat overwhelming. Meanwhile, we do have to stay focused on taking one day at a time. And, Santa and Mrs. Claus have a half day early bird session in the photography studio this coming Saturday. These are clients who want to get their photos in time for Christmas cards and presents. We will show up to do our best to help make a memory for these families, like the photo above. That one was made a few weeks ago when we met to shoot some promotional photos. Contrary to what many think, this work is both intense and taxing, but, we do love working with the children and the wonderful photographer, Mindy Harmon, and her staff. I did see an article depicting one of our local big box stores removing Halloween merchandise and replacing it with Christmas stuff. That must mean something. I hear you. It comes earlier and earlier every year.

If everything goes according to plan, November 1st will be the first day of my new status in life, 'Officially Retired'. My eldest son has already told me that if I develop bad habits like sleeping until 10 a.m. and things of that sort, he will be making a visit to our home. I told him I didn't think Uncle Arthur (Arthritis) would permit any shenanigans to go on like that. And, if that were to ever happen I no doubt could vividly recall the voice of Paw Paw Mac, standing at our bedroom door, in a gruff growl, "What is wrong with you boys? Y'all are all laid up in the bed like a bunch of dogs." Paw Paw's disciplined life was legendary. His immediate conclusion when someone did something peculiar to his practice was there must be something wrong. I can remember a time or two that he and I went by to fetch my sister's husband to go with us on a planned hunting trip. It was maybe 4 a.m. or a little after. We go to their house and not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. No lights. No movement. Nothing. After a few minutes, we left without him. Later on, when we saw him, Paw Paw would ask what the problem was. I remember him telling my grandfather one time how the reason he didn't get up was because he could hear the wind blowing and he knew it wasn't a good day to go out hunting. Paw Paw didn't buy that and said something about the only wind he heard was the noise of him snoring. It was on days like that when I was sure glad that I had gotten up when I heard Paw Paw making noise in the kitchen. But, who knows? I started to say the Shadow does, but, that would be an old-time radio reference that most would miss.

The wife of my youth is concerned that I will become bored. I mentioned to her that I may take up a hobby. For some reason, we both let out a whoop of a laugh on that one. Like I say, I'm not sure why but we both thought that to be a good one. I might join a support group. How about Procrastinators Anonymous? I'm told I am really good at that one. I could consider collecting things. I read about one fellow who has been collecting belly-button fuzz for years. He is very proud of the several jars he has accumulated. One fellow had back scratchers from all over the world, 675 thus far, and still scratching for more. One fast food fan has collected over 75,000 pieces of McDonald's memorabilia over the years. Another lady has in her collection over 3,500 Dalmations depicted in stuffed toys, paintings, porcelain, you name it. There's a lady who boasts a collection of over 10,000 Winnie the Pool related items. Whatever happened to collecting things like stamps, coins, insects, and stuff like that? I have heard that I already do a pretty decent job collecting my dirty clothes and allowing them to be on display each week. I just thought of a project. Build something to hide them in. Oh, that's right. We already have something. It's called the clothes hamper. That's an odd name. I'm not sure I want to be associated with that one. You do know that I am kidding. I'm sure I will do just fine, even as I find my niche. Even that one sounds a little weird. Enjoy the rest of your day and I'll see what we can find to talk about for tomorrow's edition. Until then, may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” – Ann Landers

It's Tuesday, October 16, 2018, and I'm here to tell you the cold front has blown in with some winds of change. As of yesterday, I served my notice of my intention to retire from this Company where I have camped out just shy of the last twelve years. My meeting with Bro. Ronnie Smith, a dear brother in Christ, friend, and the owner of the Company was sweet bitter. I know. Bittersweet. But, for me, it was more sweet than bitter. God was good to allow us to work together for these past 12 years. I will forever be grateful for all the kindnesses shown towards me while working here. October 31st will be my last day. (Halloween. I hope that doesn't mean I will turn into a pumpkin.) This change will bring to an end my more than 55 years of public employment. I'm 72 now and this will answer one of the most frequent questions I've gotten over the past few years, "Just when are you going to retire?" That 'retire' word is a relative term because I do not see myself as spending my days in the hammock. And, we do have the little matter of 25 scheduled Santa events to take care of. And, we have many other things that need attention as well. I plan, Lord willing, to spend time each day in my upstairs office. I may not be posting my blog quite as early, but, I imagine it will be before some of my readers are up and about. My assessment of my time in the workplace: I've had a good long run. I've been blessed. I've worked with some wonderful people. I've worked on some great projects. God has been good. He is still good and I know He has something for me as I continue my sojourn here. Amen.

There were a lot of factors that went into this decision. And, prayers. And, the mutual consent and encouragement from the wife of my youth. I am looking forward to spending more time with her. I know this will require an adjustment since she is already a very busy lady with all the activities she is involved in. I am also very aware there is no retirement from serving the Lord wherever we happen to find ourselves. The other day I saw a fellow I had not seen in a while. He is a wonderful brother in Christ. He asked if I had retired yet. I told him I had not. He said when I made that decision I needed to let him know because he is a part of the Gideon outreach ministry and they would love for me to join their group. Like I say, there are numerous opportunities and many associated with the local fellowship of believers where we are members. The Santa Enterprise occupies about 45 days each year. I will likely join the wife in the special needs apartment ministry she is a part of. In that ministry, elderly folks with special needs are provided with a time of singing, praying, hearing a Bible lesson, and having fellowship each Monday morning. There may be something I don't even know about. However, one thing is clear, I should stay busy doing what I can until I get further orders. From above. Amen.

I remember talking to a fellow once who was so looking forward to his retirement. He made him a list of all the projects he wanted to get done in and around his home. It was a long list, but, after leaving the workplace, he had a lot of time on his hands. He told me he completed everything on that list in less than three weeks. He was shocked and unprepared to figure out what to do next. I've got a solution to that dilemma. No list. No problem. Just joking. I'm pretty sure we will be walking quite often. Likely in our local shopping mall. It's still open. I know many are closing as folks change from going to a store to doing all they can online. I also order a lot of what we purchase online. I no doubt will be keeping everyone posted on how it goes. After all, that's what my blog pretty much consists of, the unfolding of selected things about the life that God has given to me. I qualified that comment with the word selected. I don't think you could handle some of the stuff. I know I can't. Some have asked how I feel about this transition. I'll let everyone know as soon as I find out. That will require me getting in touch with my inner self. Sometimes, all the lines are busy, but, I will keep trying. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The butterfly was sad to learn why she wasn't invited to the dance. It was a Moth Ball.

Good morning and welcome. The journey continues. This chapter has the following title: Monday, October 15, 2018. If we hit last week's predicted 59 degrees in this area, well, I missed it. However, in all fairness, I did see one morning a 61-degree reading a few minutes past 5 a.m. Since I was at one time a civil service employee working for the federal government, I have the right to use this idiom, "Close enough for government work." I was able to ride into work with my window down and the breeze was refreshing. (We are supposedly going to get another shot of cooler air, today.) I typically would leave our office door open for a couple of hours to air things out a bit, but, some of my colleagues have a serious issue with bugs. And, I will have to admit they do tend to come in when the door is open. But, you knew that already. Speaking of bugs, we use an environmentally friendly pest control service for our home residence. It costs slightly more than others but it mostly gets the job done. Mostly. The wife of my youth at times thinks maybe it is too friendly to the bugs. She doesn't like bugs. Growing up, my grandfather would spray around the outside of our house. I'm pretty sure whatever he used is now banned in every country in the world. It's a wonder I ever had children. (Joking only.) My mom's approach to the inside was the axiom, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." Along with some kind of spray here and there. If my mom saw a roach she would eliminate it immediately but she also felt like she had failed. The wife is angry when she sees one. I try to explain that we live next to a heavily wooded lot and it is overgrown. We enjoy the privacy but it does come with some potential for it sending a few unwelcome visitors our way.

I saw a list of 9 physical changes that come to those blessed to grow older. The list included what happens to the aging heart, the bones, muscles, and joints, the digestive system, the kidney, and urinary tract, brain, and nervous system, eyes, ears, hair, skin, and nails, and, lastly, weight. I will not go into the details which might be depressing to some, however, there is some good news. There are things we can do to help in each of these 'naturally' declining parts of our anatomy. I'll not go into the things we can do because they too might be depressing since they do require action, discipline, and change. For those brave enough, you can find the details by searching for the following internet site: '' Just copy it and put it into your search engine. At 72, I do not have to validate these findings since I have up-close and personal experience with them. I always think about the proverbial 100-year-old who ate anything they wanted to, smoked, and consumed alcohol up until the day they died. That may sound like a plan that works but may I tell us all that instances like that are few and far between. And, I add, don't count on having the same experience. The bottom line for me comes out this way: I could do more, I should do more, and, I hope that I will do more. I know. That 'hope so' is a little weak, but, we all have to start somewhere.

I landed on that list when I was looking for some humorous material. But, it did get my attention, therefore, if I needed to see it, others may also be in the same situation. I started to say in the same boat but that may be archaic by now. Like me. I occasionally get an inquiry about a word or phrase I have used in my blog. Sorry about that. I do see some of the modern shorthand communications between people much younger than I and I can't for the life of me figure out what they are talking about. And, I am not surprised it works the same way when they read some of my colloquial euphemisms. When it comes to my usage, I am no doubt way past my 'use by' date. I did like the fact that in a listing of what is considered to be literature's greatest paragraphs, those who chose the texts included a mention of one from God, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis Chapter 1: Verses 1-2) I would add that anything from God's Holy Word is superior because it carries with it the power and presence of Almighty God Himself. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, October 12, 2018

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." ~ Marcus Aurelius

If you are able to read this today you are blessed. That's right. Just under 152,000 folks pass from this life on planet earth into eternity each and every day. Now that you are aware of that sobering bit of knowledge, let's all see what we can make out of today, Friday, October 12, 2018. I think it's also appropriate to say if you can read this today, thank the person who taught you how to read, and typically that would be a teacher. We have had a busy time of it of late, but, much of it has involved serving the Lord by serving others. I heard an old preacher the other day talking about these secret disciples. Those who have trusted Christ but they keep it to themselves. He thought that was dangerous because faith typically cannot be hidden. It will show up in how one lives. The kids' song comes to mind, "If you're saved and you know it then your life will surely show it." Amen.

Here's a flashback from October of 2007. "Many of us see heaven as an escape route as opposed to a homecoming. The more we look forward to seeing our Savior it is the more we should realize the importance of making the life He’s given to us here count for time and eternity. Just last week when I went to the doctor I could not believe the traffic. I left in plenty of time to get there early but I ended up barely being on time because I had to wait two or three light changes for each traffic signal for what seemed like an eternity. The doctor told me my blood pressure was up. I told him if he had been riding with me his would have been up also. I told him I had checked my blood pressure earlier and it was fine but the traffic and me nearly being late had caused it to go up. He laughed and said that he treated traffic people not folks who have quiet, sedate lives. So why do I get so uptight about being close on time? I honestly don’t know exactly why but I can hardly tolerate the thought of being late. I know other people who are consistently either right on the exact time or a little late and they never show any signs whatsoever about it bothering them. NOT ME! I like to be at least thirty minutes early to just about any type of appointment I have. I plan around that concept. I check and double check to make sure I will be on time. To me, it’s a respect issue. Then when traffic fails to cooperate, what happens? My blood pressure goes up and I am no longer focused on being the kind of person God wants me to be. Why? I end up being agitated and out of sorts over something I had no control over. Next time I will leave even earlier but that’s no guarantee I will make it on time because there may be an accident or I may have a flat tire. It could be anything. What we all need to do and especially me is to take a deep breath and realize that once we have done what we can do to the best of our ability, then we should not become distressed when things don’t work out. In fact, not working out the way we want it to may put us in a position of opportunity to help someone else or to learn something we need to learn. Seeing everything in life as potentials for ministry is much better than doing the slow burn inside that causes the doctor to raise his eyebrows. We are all put together differently. I don’t really know where I got this punctuality thing but it is part of who I am. The challenge is to see it all within the big picture of God’s sovereign control over all things. And, I could use some help in being more understanding towards those who seem never to make it to anything on time. Yeah, I’m just passing through, but still having to learn lessons each and every day. Here’s hoping that you don’t have one of those blood pressure raising commutes in your journeys today!"

That flashback was another long-winded tome that is likely too much, however, it does make a point that most of us can identify with. I could have edited it and probably reduced it by 50% but then it would not be a real flashback. Having shared that, it is time for me to do a wrap for this week by saying, thanks for tuning in. Don't forget. I am typically at this same station and same place on your internet dial Monday through Friday. Until next time, I do hope you enjoy your Saturday and that Lord's Day Sunday will find us all seeking God along with other believers at the meeting place. May God bless and keep each one. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

File this one under: Random Musings

Somedays it just seems like having made it to a new day is a major accomplishment. This isn't one of those for me, but, I did think it was worth mentioning. Maybe not. We look at the task at hand and it's goal: Make something productive of the day before us, Thursday, October 11, 2018. I would like to break a story that you haven't heard yet. However, I don't really have one, therefore, I will do my usual tip-toeing through whatever it is that comes to mind. That photo was taken in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. That's where I grew up. It didn't include a location, but, it sure reminds me of many of the little creeks we used to visit. One, in particular, Brushy Creek, was within 10 minutes of our homeplace. I used to fish there. Typically, it was for sun perch. I used to hunt squirrels in and around that creek. That's right. We didn't like rodents per se, but, we actually never thought of squirrels as being that, we only thought of them as being smother fried with gravy by our Granny Mac. I know I probably saw a few snakes on that creek. We never thought about it that much. If we did see one, we let them go their way and we continued on our way. We've been conditioned over time to think about a scene like this one as being infested with snakes and all other kinds of danger. So much so, I probably wouldn't have let my grandchildren even think about going to a place like that without close supervision. Yet, my brother would often go there to fish, barefooted. Sometimes I wonder if the shift towards being protective has been of much help to subsequent generations. I really do. What say you?

These are some hate driven times we are living in. The story about a new accuser of Judge Kavanaugh was broken by two reporters for a major magazine. This story could not be verified by anyone including the FBI. Now the two reporters who ran with the account given to them have owned up to the fact they did no investigation of the allegation before publishing it. They went with it because they thought it followed a pattern. Journalists? No verification. No proof whatsoever. Another writer for a mainline TV show bragged "I'm just glad we were able to ruin Kavanaugh's life." She has since expressed regret and called it an inappropriate attempt at sarcastic humor. A professor made this comment regarding the outcome of the confirmation process, "Republican senators supporting Kavanaugh deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps." She shared this gem on Twitter. Then we have the Minnesota teacher who tweeted out this bit of hate, "So who's gonna take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?" She actually wrote 'whose' but I corrected the teacher because it was hard to read. She is on paid leave pending an investigation. This is only a sample of the vitriol that has come to define our discourse today. Interestingly enough, the left-leaning folks always seem very willing to accept the 'just joking' excuse when it is one of their own. I happen to believe these threats are real because they are backed up by the frenzy being whipped up by influential instigators. Some believe this will ultimately end in acts of violence. It could. Let's hope not.

We have family in the Florida panhandle. Two of them are in law enforcement, therefore, they are in the middle of the fracas brought on by Hurricane Michael. Our prayers go out to them, their families, and to all of those in the path of this significant storm. I haven't been watching but some have commented how the weather reporting entities have backed down some on their reporters holding on for dear life in a 20 MPH wind. I suppose this came as a result of so many of them being exposed in the most recent storms. Most of us just want the facts. We don't feel bad at all when the predicted killer storm turns out to not be as ferocious as thought, however, they seem to somehow want to vindicate their predictions regardless of the outcomes. For them, they had better be careful because there are some 250 million plus cell phones out there capable of capturing real-time footage. They are supposed to be watching for us but we have had to become watchers of the watchers if that makes sense. Sometimes the proverbial fox guarding the hen house comes into play. I'll let you think about that one for a while. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why do we put athletes on a pedestal?

Good morning and welcome. Today is being celebrated as Wednesday, October 9, 2018. Let's all get out there and make the best of it. Amen. I saw where Drew Brees broke the all-time passing yards record in the NFL. Good for him. I didn't see it or any other NFL game since this is our second year to just say no to watching. As the New Orleans Saints quarterback, the folks over in Louisiana are ecstatic about this monumental record. He, by the way, is not from Louisiana. He lives there. He has become an institution of sorts, but, it reminds me of how we tend to adopt professional celebrity athletes as our very own. I follow certain NASCAR drivers. I've never met them. I keep up with them. I am a fan. Back when Jeff Gordon was still actively racing, many people knew that I was a fan of his. They would ask how 'my boy' was doing. In other sports, everything is lovely until the favorite son or daughter is traded to another team. Suddenly, they are no longer the darling. They have joined ranks with an enemy force. I'm just making the observation how funny we are as people, yours truly at the front of the line. Take the Astros. With them winning, folks are crazy to identify with them and often they talk about them individually and their accomplishments like they are a part of their close family. The biggest part of all of this? It sells. Tickets. Merchandise. Mucho! Does anyone know what I did with my Jeff Gordon t-shirt? I'm almost certain it would be too small for me nowadays. Oh well, we continue the journey.

I'm back at work after being off on Tuesday. However, I don't think they will have to retrain me. I did get my lab results from my recent doctor's visit. For the most part, my diabetes is well controlled. There is always a 'however' stuck in there. For me, this typically relates to diet, weight, and exercise. I also received a good report from my eye doctor. With that in hand, I could be patting myself on the back but I know where any and all blessings come from. ABOVE! Therefore, I give God thanks and the glory for the life, the health, and the journey He has given to me. I've said it before and I think we all know about it. If you are feeling down, go sit in the waiting room at any doctor's office. There you will find folks dealing with great challenges. Even at the eye doctor, I saw some people that my heart went out to. One lady was not totally blind but was having to be led by and helped along by a daughter. I'm not saying we look at others worse than ourselves to make us feel better. I am saying that if God gives you the health and strength to carry on, well, He should be thanked for that, and we should not take it for granted. Amen.

We had a big thunder and rain storm last night. Our satellite dish doesn't do well in stormy weather. Come to think about it, it doesn't do well at times for reasons we cannot begin to understand. The end result is what is referred to as a lost signal. This makes keeping up with the TV program somewhat problematic. It can be aggravating but while we might be slightly bothered by it, we don't obsess over it. If that show is that important, which it usually isn't, it can be watched online, or, it will eventually be shown again. The wife and I typically take advantage of these unscheduled interruptions to work on our napping skills. Not that they need a lot of work. When the dish has a problem I typically hear different ideas about why it is out. Trees, a line of sight distortion, wrong placement, and others. Oh well, even in our advanced world where we put a man on the moon, (more than one), we still have issues maintaining communications between a terrestrial link and a celestial electronic box floating around in space. I'm not sure that makes any sense or that I understand it, but, it does at least take a stab at what we typically experience. Life moves on. Take care. Now. You hear? And, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.” ~ Rick Warren, Pastor and Author

Tuesday. Yep. That it is. This one has been id'd as October 9, 2018. The wife and I are concerned citizens. This past Saturday afternoon, we were keeping an eye on the proceedings leading up to the vote for or against Judge Kavanaugh to become our next Supreme Court Justice. My civic inclination was somewhat tested by the fact that I was also watching a NASCAR race and the Astros baseball game. That may have been a good time for me to have paused long enough to thank God for the TV remote because there was a whole lot of channel flipping going on. We were encouraged by the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. The young driver Christopher Bell won the X-Finity NASCAR race, and the Astros won in a very tight pitcher's duel. And, I could be a witness to it all without having to leave the comfort of my well-worn recliner. The wife of my youth would probably add that in addition to channel flipping, she claims I was also able to get in a few quick naps during the afternoon. If I've asked once, I've asked it more than once, "Is this a great country or what?"

I do have my annual ophthalmologist appointment this morning. That's an important examination for anyone who is a diabetic. I have a great doctor who is a top-notch professional and very thorough. She is also a lovely person, a believer in Christ, a wonderful wife, and mother, and very much respected within the clinic where she works. She loves being the eye doctor to Santa Claus and has always made much of it. After I finish with that exam I will be on my way back home to change to get ready to conduct a memorial service for a dear friend's dad who passed away. Her dad was a very beloved man and it will be my honor to do my best to offer God's comfort to those at the service. Don't get the wrong idea. I am not in the business of conducting funerals. I was asked to help and I will do my best, with God's help. Over the years God has arranged it so that I have been given opportunities to serve in this way, therefore, I thank Him for His working in my life to develop me to serve Him in ways I would have never even thought about. We do serve a remarkable God! Amen.

Recently, there was a legitimate security breach on Facebook that supposedly hit 50 million accounts. There is a new one presently making the rounds that is really weird. I don't know all the details but there seems to be a scam on a scam on a scam going on within the Facebook realm. People who think they have been hacked notify everyone they have been even though they haven't been. Like I say, I don't know all the ins and outs of what is happening but I do know that it has created a lot of thrashing forth and back along with much copying and pasting in all directions. In one instance it appeared one individual got a friend request from himself and was puzzled what to do about it. It seemed to be system-wide because I received notices from many folks in my network. It may be a ruse to get people to take their eye off the ball regarding the real threat of real hacking. Who knows what people might be up to? It's been somewhat humorous to watch it sweep through the ranks of users without any evidence that anything has taken place. Suddenly, people have become desirous of protecting themselves from something that isn't real. Perhaps we have finally found the real definition of the well-known phrase, "Much ado about nothing." I decided early on to be an observer and not a participant. Like I say, there could be an ulterior motive behind the faking of a fake scam so I wouldn't advise anyone to let their guard down. Whatever that means. In the meantime, soldier on, and remember that God is in control. Amen. ....More later.