Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bits and Pieces

or, Around our Small Town

Stopped at our local cafe, saw the Studie in the parking lot as I left.  This is the Hawk.  As a young man I often drooled over the Hawk line but never purchased one.

A few evenings later, BBBH and I went to the local cinema.  Our single-screen theatre operates seven days a week and we joined the proprietors in celebration of ninety consecutive years in business.  The current patriarch of the family is 86 years of age and has literally worked in this establishment for eighty years.

What was showing?  There is the bill at the bottom left of the page.  Once again Disney has managed to irreparably screw up a fine set of literary characters.  In their defense, though, they only "borrowed" the Dodgson characters.  None of the nearly nonexistent story line had anything whatsoever to do with the original story.  Further defense: special fx.  Otherwise, nothing.

The comedic jeweler's establishment abuts the movie house.  Below is his latest offering.  I'm a little conflicted, or confused, or something because I don't want to set off Her fireworks.  Or perhaps he is thinking along a different line.

The fox? As we left the showing and drove past the courthouse a block away BBBH saw a fox run across the court parking lot.  When she tells me she saw a fox I fully believe it and certainly would not argue with her.  Especially since an on-going argument I once had with her when she told me she saw a "herd of elk" on the roadside.  I missed the sighting then, too, but several weeks later when we passed that spot she said, "See, there are the elk."  And she was right.

The sleek little G6 in front of the Studebaker is ours.  We bought it from the local dealer ten years ago next month.  It has now been driven 25,700 miles.









Sunday, June 26, 2016

Be Still and Listen

The Master of the Universe is the Master of the Rhetorical Question.  To which of these would you think the Lord was expecting an answer?  When the Lord speaks to you in this manner and you do not listen you have a serious problem.  Is that what you want?  Don't answer that!

23 Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God afar off?

24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord.
29 Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord,
“And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?"

--Jeremiah 23

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Conversations with Random People-- Seventeen

BBBH and I boarded the Golden Elevator in the major urban hospital.  We were headed out after a grueling four hours of consultations. A large African-American gentleman stepped in behind us.  He was a tiny bit shorter than I, but of much more robust build.  He was not fat.

BBBH greeted him (there are no strangers in her world) and he responded with a smile.  I was immediately compelled to say, "What a pleasant voice you have; very much in the style of James Earl Jones."

He chuckled and said, "Thank you."

BBBH then asked, "Do you sing?"

"Yes, actually I do.  I sing in a male chorus."

"Wow!  Where do you perform?"

"Various venues around the city.  Mostly in churches."

The door opened on our floor and we all got out of the car.  Then standing in the middle of the hallway the conversation continued with BBBH asking, "Where do you attend church?"

"Calvary Tabernacle at [such and such locale]."

"Are you full-gospel?"

"Indeed I am."

"So am I.  David is Wesleyan."

"Labels don't matter so long as you know Jesus and are serving Him," the Man remarked.

BBBH extended her hand and stated her name.  They shook hands and I extended my hand and stated my name.

As he shook my hand he said, "I am Deacon Hoskins."

The "nice talking with you" and the formalities of departure, and we went our separate ways.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wind. Again

Last night I listened to the forecast: Storm to begin about one a.m.  Severe winds up to eighty miles per hour; much rain, possible hail up to two inches in diameter. tornado watch.

I prayed the Lord would protect the sixty million people who might be under this threat.

I snapped off the tv and went to sleep.  At one o'clock I heard the rain battering the house; BBBH came up and told me to come downstairs.  The next-door-neighbor was going up the street knocking on doors to warn people of "possible 100 mile per hour winds."

To please the Lady I came downstairs, cleaned the oil lamp and trimmed the wick, went to bed.  Sleep?  I think not.  Wind?  Yes, indeed, but nowhere near eighty mph.  Rain?  Bucketsful.

Morning assessment:  No damage on our premises and sixty mile winds gave us lots of rubble a year ago.  However, it was reported that ten miles to the west of us there were winds near 100.

Man, am I tired and sleepy.

A bit over two years ago I posted the following story under the title "Wind."

Wide awake, body desperate for sleep.  The mind kicks into gear.  These words of Jesus impinge themselves upon my consciousness:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: John 3:8a (KJV)

And finally sometime before dawn I slept a bit.  Yet I will have a long morning, nodding and groggy, for I was short-changed of sleep.

The scripture quoted here is wrested and wrenched from context, such doings being the sport of many Christians who are too concerned with finding a tidbit in the Bible that seems to support what they want to believe.  But that is another chipmunk running across the trail.  The big game to be pursued here is this.  The third chapter of John recounts the incident in which Nicodemus sought Jesus out by night and asserted that he knew that Jesus was from God.

Jesus outlines precisely what one must do to enter the Kingdom, stating that one must be born not only of flesh, but he must be born again, in the Spirit.

The entire message of salvation is delineated in this chapter.

WOOO.  WOO.  Weee.  The wind still blows. And the truth of Christ's teaching still endures, and shall endure aeons after this wind ceases.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Respect and Love




"All my kids are too smart for their own good.  Sometimes I wish they would dummy up."

I heard that and I knew what she meant.  It does not mean she wants them to quit talking to her; she simply wishes they would quit talking long enough for her to express her feelings or thoughts on the subject.  But, "No-o-o; they know everything."

 I have heard the old saw, "When they are young your children walk on your feet.  When they are older they walk on your heart."

I don't believe for the most part that they intend to walk on your heart.  It is simply a case of being too smart for their own good.  And thoughtless.

May all your familial relationships be bright and fulfilling.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Emancipation Day


Today, June 19, is the holiday, Juneteenth. This celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas, and in Texas it is a legal holiday. Thirty other states recognize the holiday, although they do not require closing of state offices as Texas does.
On June 19 ("Juneteenth"), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which read in part, "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor."  (Texas Handbook on Line)
Juneteenth is a day of jubilation. How about a good old- fashioned picnic in the park? A few fireworks and a band would be in order, too!

Friday, June 17, 2016

What is your future?

"For man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them." 
 Ecclesiastes. 9:12 (NKJV)

No man forsees the future, yet men have since ages past consulted with seers, mediums, necromancers if you will; with Ouija boards, with sacrifices to idols, indeed with sacrifice of money and good sense, have sought to see the future, to look into the package not yet opened.

Silly, silly man.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Smile

A couple of days ago I was on about my aversion to "take it to the next level."  Last night I was reading the newspaper and came across another cliche that sets my teeth on edge.  This one is heard on a daily basis on tv newscasts, *growl* but now it has crept into the print media.  Is there no hope for us?

The offensive line? 

"We reached out to . . . "  Of course we left a message but the source we wished to contact did not return our call.  Smart source, unless someone wants to be misquoted in the press.

Here's an idea, Ms. Reader, or Mr. Reporter as the case may be.  Why don't you "reach out," grasp your throat firmly with your hand and throttle yourself?

Rant over.

have you smiled today?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day


Whether it is historical fact or instructive fable the tale of Betsy Ross and the first American flag is a gem in the repertoire of stories of a new-born nation.;

Old Glory!  Long may she wave.




Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General Washington.  Painting by Edward Percy Moran.

By the way, in this era of sensitivity and warped thinking, here is a message for those who may be "offended" by the display or parading of the American flag.  "Go away.  Go far, far away."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Take it away! Please.

 I wrote this little piece and posted it on STSTT six years ago yesterday.  Maddening as it is, the use of the hated expression has only gotten worse, i.e., more frequent, more pervasive.

You may say take it to the bank, or take it on the chin; take it away! or take five. Take me out to the ballgame. Take your time; take a letter, or take a picture. Take it easy, take me home. Take the A-train, take me to Rio. Take me out to dinner or take me out of the game.

I brought you into the world and I can take you out (Mama said). Take it off! Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

But whatever you do, FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE, DON'T SAY TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Mustard Seed

Consider the Parable of the Mustard Seed.  (Luke 13:18-19, also found in Matthew and Mark)
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Certain elements of this story are more or less universally understood in the same light by most scholars, to wit, Jesus is the sower who planted the seed.  The garden may be representative of the planting of the Christian faith in Israel, that is in God's land.  The seed though exceeding small grows into a great tree.  This suggests that from the beginning of tiny faith something vast and different develops.

In retrospect it is easy to see that from a handful of rag-tag followers has grown a world-encompassing Faith, that is, Christianity. The branches are clearly the limbs which have grown from the main trunk.

And now to question the most common interpretation of the fowls that "lodge in the branches." Many commentators suggest that the birds are representative of the flocks that seek shelter in the Shadow of the Almighty.  I respectfully disagree.  Refer back to the Parable of the Sower In Matthew 13:19.  Jesus makes it clear that the birds were "the wicked ones." which endeavored to destroy the planting.  Who could this be but the minions of the evil one, doing his bidding?  They shelter in the shadows of the kingdom but are not a part of the kingdom.

Mark quotes Jesus as saying the "mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth."  It is clear that the world despises the Messenger, the message, and those who accept the message and believe on Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 says, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are."

Jesus's parable of the Mustard Seed                 .

Friday, June 10, 2016

We've Done It Again!

For anyone who might be interested, and for the record,  Two days ago I had my second cornea transplant; the first one was done four and one-half years ago.  In that eye I have near-perfect vision.
The specialist advised me that I should not expect that result in this eye due to the trauma suffered this winter.  He did say the vision would be improved, a desirable outcome, but that the pain I have had for weeks would be gone.


Thursday the doctor removed the patch and examined his work.  He pronounced it "good."  I will be treating the eye with solutions until my next visit a week from now.
The pain is gone.  The vision is improved from "blank" to blurry but I can see well enough to navigate across the yard or across a room without bumping into things or stumbling on a step! Would I like it to be better?  Of course, but I am delighted with the vision I have.  Time, and probably glasses, will tell if there is to be more improvement.

 My BBBH guides us up the freeway whilst I recline.  (On my back for 24 hours.)


Almost home.

A huge "Thank you!" to Dr. Robert Deitch, the Midwest Cornea Associates, and Spring Mill Surgery Center and all the kind and concerned staff members that assisted me and the doctor.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Centaurea cyanus

 As I lay in recuperation this winter I dreamed of the "wild flower" garden I had worked so hard to renew and reseed last fall, so anxious to see the results.

I used a mix of perennials and annuals, so I expect no blossoms from the perennials until next season.  I watched the little plantlets come up this Spring.   I thought that an many of them looked like what I call bachelor's buttons and what most folk call corn flowers.


Sure enough.  They grew quite rapidly and soon we had a wonderful "field" of blooms.  I was a bit concerned, though, for they are quite tall and I was afraid they would shade the tiny other stuff below.  But they seem to be progressing well now, so it is simply wait and see.  There are a few other smaller plants in blossom.





 Daisies back closer to the trees.

A little black bug on the pink flower.  Next to it an oriental lily which is in bud.
Pretty as the other flowers are there is also the ubiquitous dandelion.  It is a wild flower, too, you know.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Celebration of Life


locally was scheduled from 1:30 to 3:00 with service to begin at three o'clock.  

I arrived about 2:40 and spoke with the children of the deceased and with my grandchildren.  At five til three I told the lady's daughter I would be staying for the service; then I seated myself with my grandson and his family

3:00 and nothing was happening other than the low murmuring of the people chatting with one another all across the room.  3:01 the funeral director  came into the room, moved a podium and microphone front and a bit right of center, stage right and to my left.  He unfolded a tapestry-style antimacassar over the top of a chair near the wall.  It was lettered

 MINISTER

and there sat the chair, empty.

3:30  I exited the room in favor of the small room because an old man can go only so long without going.  In a few minutes I returned to my seat.

3:46 the minister arrived.   She walked to the casket as shown in the first illustration, perhaps to say a prayer.  She then walked to the podium and started by apologizing for her tardiness, which served to delay the service yet longer.

The message itself was appropriate, scripture Luke 16:19-31. 
 The lady's attire consisted of black slacks and white blouse with a short black sweater, the hem of which fell well above her waist.  The blouse hanging outside the trousers was buttoned cockeyed such that the front left hem was three inches below the right and the collar was hiked higher on one side than on the other. 

Was I distracted from the proper focus of the gathering?
Not really.  I am just very observant and good at multitasking.

RIP  Diane
 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Purity of the Kingdom

Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."  (Matthew 13:33)

I have heard (and read) expositions on this parable of Jesus in which the expositor proposes that it teaches that the Kingdom is as leaven to the world and that the world will ultimately be permeated with the goodness of the Kingdom.

This is in diametric opposition to the use of the term and the symbolism of leaven in the scriptures.  From the earliest recordings through the teachings of Christ, and those of Paul, leaven invariably has been representative of evil.

In that light, therefore, Jesus is teaching us that the kingdom of heaven is subject to this danger: evil concepts or error introduced and mixed in will ultimately permeate the entire church, given the right conditions.

What are those conditions?  Anyone who has ever attempted to bake a loaf of bread or prepare yeast rolls for a major dinner knows that the introduction of the leaven is a critically important step, but that it will not accomplish the mission of permeating every portion of the dough unless the conditions are right.  The temperature of the dough must be exactly right!  And what is that temperature?  It must be lukewarm!

If the dough is set in a cold environment, say the refrigerator, the yeast will not work.  If it is heated to "hot" it will not work.  A lukewarm environment is the only one in which the leaven will permeate the dough.

This fact sheds light on God's warning:   “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3:15, 16)

Consider also that the parable says the woman hid the leaven in the flour.  I think it is not the mission of Christ's disciples to hide the Gospel in the world.

Scripture further teaches me to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  (II Timothy 2:15)

This short story of Jesus is an excellent example of the necessity of "getting it right."

Friday, June 3, 2016

News, Opinion, and the Faded Line

 The Washington Post
I subscribe to The Washington Post online edition.  They keep my inbox filled with the latest news and opinions; or as one might accurately say, opinions and opinions.  But I digress.

This direct from the evening edition, June 2, 2016:


The petty things that people shot each over last month
Average Americans routinely shoot each other over minor annoyances, data show.





One has to wonder how many things an "elite" news source can get wrong in two lines.  The elision of the word "other" in the bold-type headline we can chalk up to typo, i.e., careless error.  But look at the sub-line as an illustration of my "opinion or opinion" shot above.  Ostensibly (just from this slug line) the news is that someone compiled data on shootings in America which found that some (many?) shootings are over "minor annoyances." The clear thrust of the line is that it is the opinion of the writer and, by extension, the publisher that "Average Americans routinely shoot each other."  Parsing that a bit further, it is the opinion of the WaPo that Average Americans are the perpetrators of shootings in our country, but more they engage in such crimes on a routine basis.  Am I the only person who sees anything wrong with this?  Journalists are often the target of politicians.  As the supposed guardians of truth, the vaunted "Fourth Estate" that will serve to keep us informed and free, it is natural that politicians and journalists will come into conflict.  But I fear that in the moral climate of the day it is a toss-up as to which group deserves our respect.  Full disclosure:  Upon the completion of this diatribe I read the article itself.  It was headed by a full-color photograph of a handgun and several hollow-point bullets lying on a table.  The story itself was pretty much what I expected.  Clicking on the bold line above will take you there.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Artist



My Beautiful Beloved painted these portraits.  Oil on canvas board.  She is very talented and goes through stages of artistic expression.  These were done several years ago.

The Artist's eldest son; her granddaughter, Lisa; grandson Kris; her youngest son.
 Center: her eldest sister, Delores.  The artist's favorite painting.  It is an excellent likeness.
Second son, the artist herself in a rendering she does not much like; her late husband and father of her children; her daughter.

 How long ago?  Lisa is now a matron with four children of her own, the eldest sixteen.  Kris is Lisa's older brother.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Maddening

A bit maddening, not life changing.  Well, except for the roses.  Two of our pink roses, two different cultivars, reverted back to the flower of the root stock.  We already had one such bush which we allowed to thrive because the flowers are pretty.  But the need for such roses is somewhat limited and it is safe to say that we are disappointed.

 This was a miniature pink rose which has graced our front walkway for several years.  It has been gorgeous.  Now this.

 This is a cultivar called "Simplicity."  It is a single pink rose most often used for hedges.  Not so pink anymore.  I think there is one branch of the hybrid rose surviving.  Perhaps by ruthless cutting back of the undesired branches I can preserve the plant.  Worth a try?

This is a part of the "mound" in the front yard.  You know mounds.  In the flat, featureless area in which we live, many people build these things in their yards just for the el-evation of it.
Anyway, I think these flowers very pretty though I've no idea what they are called.  I am sure that most gardeners would simply say "weed."  They are quite invasive and have to be controlled by root removal on a regular basis. They do offer these pretty blooms for an extended period of time.

Happy June First!