Sunday, December 31, 2017

We Three Kings

In the Gospel According to Matthew we read, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

Everything we know about these "wise men" is related in the second chapter of this book, they were from the east, they inquired of Herod, "Where is this king born?"  They worshiped the Christ child and presented gifts.  In defiance of Herod's directive, they returned to their own land without returning to Herod.  That's it.  That is what we know.

Yet the imagination of mankind is not satisfied, so a narrative is created over time; names are assigned to the wise men, the number of them being established at three, which, again, we are not told in Matthew's account.  The place of their origin is chosen through speculation-- what else is there to go on? And so three hundred or so years after the event, Helena of Constantinople, mother of the emperor Constantine set out on a quest for the remains of these magi, as they are often called.

Helena reportedly located the very bones she sought, supposedly in Persia.  She had them shipped home to Constantinople.  Through a series of events which you may easily find and read about on the internet, these relics were transferred first to Milan then to Köln  where they abide to this day in the world's largest reliquary just behind the altar in the cathedral.  These three caskets are bound together in perpetuity by ornate gilding and is an important tourist attraction.

Helena has been accorded sainthood.*

Whatever her motives and the likelihood of success in Helena's venture, we are better served by focusing on the motives and actions of the wise men, whatever their number.  They traveled far, they presented their best, and they worshiped the Christ.  Next Saturday is Epiphany, the day we traditionally observe in honor of the visit of the magi to Bethlehem.

No matter the length of our journey or the vicissitudes of life, we, too, must present our best and fall before the Christ in worship and adoration.

The Magi?  Wherever the dust of their bones, may their souls rest in eternal peace.


*This is the same Helena who unearthed the true cross and carted some splinters home with her.


Friday, December 29, 2017

Lifted Paragraph Project -Seven

This paragraph was posted a triad of years ago.  It is reposted here not because of elegance of expression or excellence of writing, but because it expresses a notion about which I am passionate.

"It is my belief that it is the responsibility of the parents to teach the child as it grows and develops that he is not Caesar, and that the world does not exist for the purpose of gratifying his every whim." 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

River of Life -Chapter 2

Lars and Britta stood on the bank of Elv Knockknock holding hands, sadly looking at the desolation of thirsty land.  Lars called for Mette and Marte and soon heard the "Coming!" in the bright cheery voice of a child.

"What are we to do?" asked Lars.

"The Lord has provided thus far.  Surely He will send rain soon."  Britta shivered as the sharp breeze from the north cut through her jacket.  And she glanced up and looked toward the mountains.  But the mountains were not there!  Completely socked in by cloud cover, even the foothills disappeared from view.  Her heart leaped as she exclaimed, "It will snow in the hills this time.  I know it will.  Thank you Heavenly Father!"

"I hope you are right," Lars said doubtfully.  His faith had been tried sorely during the past too many seasons.  The girls joined them and the four walked back to their home as the sun's last rays faded from the sky.

Morning light, Britta sprang from bed and excitedly dressed, pulled on her winter jacket and rushed outside to look to the north.  And what a sight!  The snow-caps on the peaks shone brightly in the morning sun.

The people of the village could talk of nothing else, excitement building, hopes being strengthened by the hour.  As evening fell the mountains and hills again were shrouded in black clouds.  The next morning brought a sight even more wondrous.  Not only the mountain peaks, but the mountains in their entirety and the hogbacks and foot hills were snow covered.  Even the ground beneath their feet was covered with three or four tommes of the lovely white life-giving snow!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Who is this Man

born in Bethlehem? 

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. --Micah 5:5 KJV

Rejoice!



Everlasting.
 He is eternal.
 Ruler
 He is ruler in Israel, and moreover we are told
 his rule extends to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:10  
 Peace 
He is peace between God and man.   
Thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; 
lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Zechariah 9:9

We celebrate this season to welcome the Redeemer into this world.
We welcome you, Lord Jesus, into our hearts and lives.
We welcome the Day your second advent will establish your rule in all the earth!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Classroom Contretemps

or, How Ned Got a "D" in Advanced Placement Maths,
was denied admission to a top-tier college and spent the rest of his life happily pursuing his dreams.


The mid-term exam, Miss Wilson asserted, would count fully one-third on the final grade.  Be prepared!  Of course, Ned was prepared. He was, as he was fond of saying, born ready.

The big morning came and the students discovered that the teacher had written the test on the whiteboard in blue marker.  There were five problems and a forty-minute time allotment.  Ned went to work, scanned each problem and decided to begin with number three.  He also cheerfully worked numbers one, four, and five, leaving number two for last because he thought he saw a trick in it.

When Ned lifted his head to copy problem number two, he discovered that Miss Wilson had erased all her work from the board.  "Ma'am," he said, "I haven't done one of those problems yet, and now it is gone."

"One would think," the teacher said, "that you would have written it down before this; you had plenty of time to do so,"

"Yeah, well.  I left the second one to last, and I still have plenty of time."

"Your failure to be organized is not my crisis."

"Oh, well. Doesn't matter whether I get an "A" or a "C."  It's all the same anyway."

The instructor strode down the aisle, stopped at Ned's desk, and with her marker scrawled a huge "F" on his test paper.  "That's not fair," Ned whined.

"Perhaps it will teach you to get your act together, show a little respect."

"Okay, then, if you can live with yourself, I can live with it," remarked the lad.

"Remove yourself from this room immediately!  Go to Mr. Devon's office; I will meet you there as soon as the bell rings!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

River of Life --Chapter 1

 http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_K0_sETY_dI/U8VH8iqeh0I/AAAAAAAACVk/euIAVxt5avk/w1305-h734-no/20140714_164744.jpg

In a faraway land there is situated at the confluence of two rivers a village, long a habitation of humankind.  On the south extremity of the town the Elv Knickknack debouches into Elv Knockknock.  Generations past a canal was constructed north of the village.  It flows to the east and the southeast to join nature's concourse again as it empties into the Knickknack.  This waterway has provided abundantly for the community and the people developed a thriving agricultural economy.

As the farmers increased production new facilities for processing and shipping goods were developed within the community.  Hundreds of people established happy homes and plied their trades amidst amiable others.  But now the farmland lies sere and parched.  Six years without rain or snow in the mountains to the north has created a drought the likes of which had never been known in all the region roundabout.

Cloud formations would develop over the peaks and the foothills and the people would rejoice, and the winds would blow the clouds on their way before they could release their moisture.  The people would return to their prayers and frayed hopes that relief would soon come.

The last streamlet in the bed of the Knockknock ceased flowing and there remained only pools of water here in a deep depression or there in a large hole.  Mette and Marte, tow-headed little girls nine years of age played often along the bottom of the river, noting the bits of life remaining in the pools.  Their favorite little pool contained, so far as they were able to see, but two small fish, each perhaps five or six tomme in length.  The girls were fascinated with the little ichthioids, watching them as they captured insects, snapping them up in the water or leaping for them in the air.  They even named the creatures "Knut" and "Addy."

The hot, dry air was every bit as thirsty as the land, and so it sucked up every drop of moisture it could find lying around.  The pool which was the habitat of Addy and Knut dwindled, grew smaller day by day.  Too soon the fish had little more than a bucketful of water in which to live and the girls were alarmed.  But they knew that there was a large pool where the Knickknack fell from the plateau into the Knockknock.  Clever children fetched a pail and Mette's butterfly net.  It was a mere few minutes work to scoop up half-pailful of water and capture the fish.  They made the trek, perhaps some six or eight steinkast downriver and released Knut and Addy into the pool.

The disturbance of the water attracted the attention of the inhabitants of these environs, one of which was a large bullfrog.  It leaped with a splash into the water.  A big fish, a whiskered fish with a wide mouth, cruised quietly over to check it out.  Food!  Knut, still dazed from the trauma of the journey, was too slow to avoid the gaping maw of the hungry catfish.  Addy was left without a companion.  She quickly hid in the cleft of the rock at the bottom of the pool.  Marte and Mette cried.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Hijinks



Santa has taken over the Little Gem

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Joy Advent Sunday Three

As we study the Advent stories in the first two chapters of Luke and in the second chapter of Matthew we note that joy permeates the account.  Mary visited her cousin Elisabeth to tell her of her pregnancy by the Holy Spirit.  Elisabeth related that as soon as she heard Mary’s voice, the babe within her womb leaped for joy!
 
Upon the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the angels announced to the shepherds that they were bringing good tidings of great joy!  The wise men from the east followed the star.  When it stood over the place where Jesus was, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!
 
How we desire to be filled with joy and peace!  Yet how often it seems we are unable to receive the blessing.  I was prepping the motor home for our excursion into a quiet place.  One of the many tasks is the filling of the water tank.
I placed the hose in the filler pipe and had it running at a good volume. It takes several minutes to complete the fill. I stepped around the rig to tend to another item.  Presently I heard water splashing on the ground.  I went to the hose and found the tank was not taking the water, but allowing it to spill to the earth.  I removed the hose and the tank burped.  I replaced the hose, and in a matter of a few seconds it overflowed again.  Removed hose, tank burped.  I knew the vent tube was plugged but could not imagine why.  I tried again, same result.  After the fifth burp, when I reinserted the hose, a brilliant metallic-blue mud dauber crawled out of the vent tube!  Aha!  She had plugged the pipe.

I set the nozzle to fine-stream, top power and shot the water down the vent tube.  The pipe cleared and the filling process proceeded in a normal fashion.

As I completed this task, I was thinking that in spite of our desire for the joy and peace that the filling of the Holy Spirit brings it is too often the case that our inner being, our tank, in a manner of speaking, is filled with air, trivial and meaningless matters, that must be vented to allow room for the infilling of the Spirit.  Yet we have somehow allowed the wasps of worldly cares to plug the vent.  We hold onto what must be expelled, and thus fail to receive the joy and peace that should be ours.
How to correct the problem?  Our faith in Jesus is the jet-stream that will clear the vent-tube of the soul so that we can receive the joy of the Lord!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Cousin, Cousin

My cousin, Eunice, passed away this fall.  She was the oldest living descendant of Samuel Harvey Morrell, my grandfather.  So now I am the patriarch of the clan, if primogeniture has any bearing.

Once about every third whip stitch a meme pops up on fb reminding us that our cousins were our first friends.  And that may well be true for many people, but not all human experiences are shared by everyone.  There are, for example, those whose parents had no siblings and thus they have no cousins. Or, in my case, I have forty-eight first cousins, some of whom I never met and never will, for some of them are gone now.*

The circumstances of various lives determine friendship and acquaintanceship.  In my case, the parents moved from the community of my nativity when I was but six months old.  Moved a good long way away, too.  Most of my father's siblings either stayed in that locale or moved themselves a good way away to somewhere we weren't.

My mother's people all packed up and moved to California when I was about five years old, and there went that opportunity to develop a "best friend" relationship with any of my maternal cousins.  Over the years I met all those cousins and even developed friendships with some of them.  To this day there are three of them who are facebook friends and another three or four who are "Christmas card" cousins.  But all of them reside on one coast or the other.

During my early years there were three of my dad's siblings with whom we exchanged visits and I came to know their children.  Uncle Wayne and his family even lived in the same town we did during my teen years.  Uncle Ben's son is a fb friend and his sister and I correspond on occasion.

Otherwise the familial relationships were characterized by a cousin whom I met via the expediency of stopping in his town while on a trip several years ago.  When I was met at the door by his wife it was clear that she had little interest in who I was or what I wanted, but she did call her husband to the door.  We made arrangements to meet in a restaurant for supper after BBBH and I checked into a motel.  We met, neither of our wives joined us.

During the course of the visit he remarked, "We Lacys aren't very sociable."

Pretty well summed it up, at least so far as family interactions are concerned.

*Thirty five on Dad's side, 13 on Mama's side.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Reason for the Season

The Cat and the Christ Child

The cat crept into the cave. Stripy, she was, in the daylight.  But now, well past sunset and the settling of darkness, she was as black as any other cat.  The tabby's left ear twitched, cocked over her left shoulder as she heard the rustling in the straw strewn over the floor.  A great ox lying nearby snorted softly as he dropped his head to the ground.  His horn made a clack! as it made contact with the rock.  He exhaled.  His nares vibrated briefly then all was still.

The cat remained motionless.  Long moments dragged slowly by.  In the distance an owl called to its mate.  Then the rustling began again as the mice resumed feeding on the loose grain in the straw.  The cat's right fore paw inched forward, settled softly, then the left paw raised, advanced, soundlessly touched the rock, then pounce!  Her prize in her claw, then between her jaws, she nestled close to the belly of the ox and dropped the mouse.  Stunned and addled but still with a will to live the creature staggered and attempted to run.  But the cat casually reached out, dragged it back.  Again she released it, this time allowing the creature to "get away."  But the cat sprang, recaptured the mouse and lay down again.  She played her cruel game with the small captive for several minutes, but finally tired of it and overcome with hunger she crunched its skull between  her teeth, then dined on her catch.

So Stripy, sated, slept.

A ruckus arose within the stable.  A pair of human creatures shuffled into the space, one carrying a blazing fagot in one hand as with the other he supported the woman who staggered in and collapsed on the floor.  A donkey followed them.  Then entered a large nondescript dog close on the heels of the ass.  He went to the female human creature and started licking her cheek while the man wedged the torch into a notch in the wall that served as a sconce. The presence of the canine got the attention of the sleeping cat, which started and sprang to her feet.  She scaled the flank of the ox where she settled, thus attaining a full view of the goings-on.  The ox slept on.

Soon there was frantic activity, the man bustling around the woman, the woman writhing and screaming in obvious pain. All the creatures in the stable stirred restlessly, the sheep bleated, and even the ox raised its head and voiced his concern.  Following a protracted episode of heavy breathing and intermittent screams, everything fell silent for a few moments.  Then suddenly the mewling of a new man-child pierced the quiet.

The man patiently worked at cleanup chores, handed the infant to its mother.  Everyone except the man, the woman, and the cat finally went back to sleep.  Then the woman cradled the tiny human creature in the straw the man had laid in a manger. The tabby, her tail erect and switching from side to side drawing esses and zees in the air, left her perch on the ox and sauntered casually toward the small human.  As the cat approached the child, the dog lifted its head, raised itself up on its two forelegs.  The cat made not a sound but gave the canine the evil-eye.  The dog lay back down.  The cat circled the child and we might imagine that she was thinking, "Big deal.  Just another human." Then she went back and snuggled into the warmth of her bovine friend again.

 Which all took place before the gaggle of rough and ragged men began to fill up the space, babbling about a Heavenly Presence that came to them in the fields praising God and telling them that this child  in the stable was The Christ!

The cat was wrong.


Merry Christmas!
and let there be peace, at least between you and me. 

©David W. Lacy 2015


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Joy to the World!

In the spirit of the season of "peace and goodwill," I won't be offended if you wish me "Happy Holidays!" Please don't be offended when I wish you a "Merry Christmas!" Thank you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Still Standing



Today the Old Dame
stumbled, but did not fall

The Old Dame three years ago.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peace Advent Sunday Two

There can be no peace among men until there is peace within the individual.  That peace cannot exist apart from Jesus Christ.

Pascal suggested that there is a God-shaped hole in the heart of everyone and the only thing that can fill it is God.*  This condition developed upon the very first instance of man's disobedience to God's instructions.  "They saw that they were naked." (Genesis 3:7) The righteousness with which man in his original state was clothed fell away immediately upon the commission of the sin of disobedience to the Creator.

Yet God in his infinite love so yearned for reestablishment of fellowship with the Creature that he gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrificial atonement for man's sin. Peace returned to the world through this gift, yet the hole in our hearts can only be filled by accepting the gift.

Seeking frenetically for something to fill the void within is futile, no matter the excitement of the entertainment or the glitter of worldly possessions.

Peace, Jesus said, I leave with you.

Avail yourself of the Peace!

 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  --John 14:7

 *“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Philosophers I Admire, Part 1

.My three ayem ponderings led me to thinking about Doug Marlette and Rev. Will B. Dunn.  This morning I looked back in the archives to see what I had written about these characters.  Is it an irony that this was originally published to String Too Short to Tie on this date, nine years ago?


The philosophy I study on a regular basis depends greatly on, but is not restricted to, the comics. By comics I mean the daily strips, the funnies, that appear in newspapers and that should be read on a regular basis.

The first philosopher I wish to showcase is deceased and his political cartoons and his comic strip are missed. This is Doug Marlette whose comic strip "Kudzu" served as a guiding light for me. The characters in this funny were painted true to life in character and hilarious in their demeanor. While Ida Mae; Nermal; Veranda; and Kudzu, after whom the strip was named, as well as infrequently appearing minor characters all lent panache and vibrancy to the world in which they lived, the real hero of the story was Reverend Will B. Dunn.

Dunn, whether sitting on a hillside studying the stars, or in the pulpit bumbling his way through a sermon or ceremony, always had on a hat and cowboy boots with his trousers tucked into them. His advice column was classic. "Dear Preacher, your biggest problem is you can never admit you're wrong. Disappointed." "Dear Disappointed, I may not always be right, but I am never wrong." Sitting on a hillside with Nermal, Nermal says, "Preacher, do you believe there are alien beings out there?" Dunn replies, "Son, I'm not worried about alien beings out there. I'm worried about the alien beings in here." (Points to his heart.)

The irreverence of his political cartoons often earned him the outpouring of rancor from those whose point of view he skewered. This quote is his response to such attacks.

Those who have attacked my work, whether on the right, the left, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, all seem to experience comic or satirical irreverence as hostility and hate. When all it is, really, is irreverence. Ink on paper is only a thought, an idea. Such people fear ideas. Those who mistake themselves for the God they claim to worship tend to mistake irreverence for blasphemy. --Doug Marlette 1949 - 2007

Douglas Marlette gave of himself not only through his art, but through public service. On his way to a rehearsal of a high school drama club who were preparing to present an onstage "Kudzu," Doug's pickup crashed and he was killed. RIP

Other Marlette posts here and here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

History Lesson

Remember Pearl Harbor
Never forget.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/USS_West_Virginia2.jpg

 USS West Virginia, December 7, 1941
Image: Wikipedia.  Article here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lifted Paragraph Project -Six

from Interactive Post


Clearly, Brooke had been dismissed.  She took the elevator to the sixth floor, walked to her cubicle, thoughts roiling in her mind.  She took the brown paper bag from the bottom desk drawer.  She opened the sack, found the sandwich within.  Brooke had peanut butter and jealous for lunch.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Conversations with Random People -21

We spent a good portion of Monday afternoon on the third floor of a courthouse in a neighboring county.  We were there is support of an acquaintance who was to appear before the court.  The floor was paved in a tessellated octogon/triangle pattern, the overhead skylight a geometric wonder.


As our crew gathered in the hallway, so did others, people with whom we were not acquainted.  The saddest part of the day was watching a parade of young people, some probably not yet out of their teens, passing by in shackles, escorted by a sheriff's deputy and headed to a courtroom.

A gentleman with our group, sixty-ish, unassuming, and garbed in gray shirt and gray dockers introduced himself to me and stated that he was a jail chaplain.  Conversations went on in clusters in the hallway, various people came and went.  I, tired of standing, sat on a nearby chair and simply observed.  People-watching is a fine pastime.  After awhile I noted the chaplain standing to one side contemplating whatever pictures were moving in his head, so l went over to him and

Just to satisfy my curiosity, tell me, what circumstances led to your chaplaincy?
 If I told you, you wouldn't believe it, so I'll tell you anyhow.
Say on; you have further piqued my curiosity.
Ten years ago I was one of these people.  I have done time.  Then in 2009 I met the Lord Jesus Christ and He transformed my life.  I committed myself to follow God's will in all things.  Then one day he spoke to me and said, I want you to start a jail ministry.  I replied, Unhuh.  I don't want to be a minister.  And the Lord said, I don't care what you want.  You will be a minister.  So I started calling at the jail, meeting with those who wanted to talk seriously about their lives and circumstances.  After a time, the sheriff's department called and asked for my clothing sizes.  Oh, no, I said, you are not going to knit me one of those orange suits.  No, we are going to give you a uniform fitting to your position as official chaplain and you will then be granted free passage in the jail at all hours.  So I am a chaplain.
Wow.  That is an amazing story,  God will open doors for those who will obey His calling.
Indeed, he said.  And there is more.  Just a year ago the Lord told me he wanted me to be the pastor of a local church, an old but dying church in the community. (He named the church.)  Oh, no, Lord, not me.  I don't want to be a pastor.  And God said, I don't care what you want.
Seems, I said, the Lord gets His way with you in spite of what you want.
Truth, he said.  There is no bargaining with God.  It is His way or no way.  At any rate, when I took the church they were down to about fifteen souls in attendance.  Less than twelve months later, we are running fifty-five and growing a bit week-by-week.
Another example, I said, of the Lord's faithfulness.  Keep the faith and carry on!

We spoke of many other things, and the wait was not yet over.

More amazing perhaps than the floor or the ceiling is the staircase:







Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hope Advent Sunday One

Fall 1943.  The Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in the morning mail.  Nine-year old Brother gets his hands on it first because he brought the mail in from the postbox.  He is lying on the living room floor engrossed in dreams of what might be when six-year old Sister wanders in and demands to see the new catalog.

Brother, rapt in study of the offerings and wrapped in complete self-interest, denies Sister's request.  She in turn appeals to higher authority and Mama soon advises Brother that he will have to share.  "But," she tells them both, "don't get your hopes set too high.  Study the book and choose carefully.  Here, Sissie.  Saturday you may draw a ring around one, ONE, item with a red crayon.  Buddy, you may draw a ring around one item with a blue crayon.  That's it; then hope for the best."

Saturday morning.  Brother has already made up his mind so he gets the book and quickly circles his choice.  After breakfast, after the table is cleared, after all have gone about their respective chores, Sister takes the book, places it carefully in the center of the dining room table, takes her red crayon and carefully draws a ring around the book!  The table covering is oilcloth, so no permanent damage.  Yet note how much greater the wishes than the hope Sissie was offered!

This catalog is not called "The Wish Book" for nothing.  There is a vast difference between wishes and hope.  For the Hebrew people prior to the time of Christ the hope they harbored in the coming of a Redeemer was grounded in the promises of God.  For centuries they awaited the coming of The Messiah.  God is faithful and we know that He fulfilled his promise in Jesus whom we call The Christ.

 "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  --John 3:16

We observe Advent to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Judea two millennia ago. We are reminded to be ready for the Second Advent!

 " For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" -- I Thessalonians 4:16,17

Jesus said, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man comes."  --Matthew 24:44

We have this hope through faith in Jesus Christ.  Someone once said, "Faith is not believing God can; faith is knowing that He will."  And so it is.  Amen




Friday, December 1, 2017

The Universe and Tinker Toys

Last evening there came together a set of circumstances which resulted in an awesome* experience for vanilla and BBBH.  Circumstances?  a) I had heard during the day that the International Space Station might be viewed at 6:17 p. m.,  b) I just happened to look at the clock at 6:17, and c) it was a perfectly cloudless and dark evening, moon and stars shining brightly.

I ran outside and looked slightly west of north and behold! I spotted the satellite at eleven o'clock as I faced north.  I ran into the house excitedly calling for the Better Half to join me in the yard, which she did.  We watched as the object, brightly reflecting the sunlight which no longer lighted our spot on earth, silently progressed to the northeast and eventually faded from sight.

I stood in awe of the ingenuity of mankind; then I took my eyes from the spot where the ISS disappeared from view and looked around the night sky.  I thought as my .eyes attempted to penetrate the depths of the star-studded skies, "God makes worlds, man makes tinker toys."

*I have come to dislike the word because of its incessant and flippant use, too often applied to something which is in no way awesome.  It has lost its meaning.  But in this instance, I can think of no other word which fits as well, assuming we take it at its true worth.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Provisions and Prosperity

     A few years ago an acquaintance and I had an exchange discussing the sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel.  One of the comments was
 
I think the treasures we have as Christians are laid up in heaven, as Jesus said. From a scriptural standpoint, "the rain shall fall on the just and on the unjust." This says to me that God's riches are not apportioned to the righteous only, but mankind shares in them. As for the portion we are to receive, Jesus said God knows our needs even before we ask. Our needs will be supplied. As for our "wants," perhaps we need to get a rein on that horse. Tough to do though; my spouse tells me "If I want it, then I need it." Well, that may work on me, but I don't believe we deal with our Heavenly Father in that way.

     This Sunday last the pastor's message was based on the same scripture.  Link to sermon notes:

 http://bobwarr.blogspot.com/2017/11/first-things-first.html

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Oink, Splat, Glug

All three of the synoptic gospels relate the encounter of Jesus with the demon-possessed man of Gadara.

Two thousand piggies
ran headlong into the sea.
A fitting bit of justice for the profiteers, purveyors of forbidden flesh.
While it likely Jewish swineherds would not consume the meat
They were willing to profit on its sale to the Romans who thought it good to eat.
There are many little puzzles in this account of the demons and the Master
But they are all solved if one takes the time to think through it carefully for
Haste often leads to disaster.

We will deal with only one facet of the story this morning, the question of who is on the right course and who on the wrong.  There exists a fallacy  in logic named for this situation: the Gadarene swine fallacy.

One must not fallaciously conclude that because a group is in formation it is necessarily on course.  Neither may we assume that because one is out of formation he is also off course.  Though we may not assume he is on course, either.

To the instance at hand.  The man possessed, living alone in the tombs, seeing Jesus step ashore, ran to worship him.  He was alone, not in formation, but on course.
The swine, all 2000 of them, into which the dispossessed demons took up residence, in formation ran over a steep declivity, plunged into the sea, and expired.  They may have been on course, but if so, they were on course to destruction.

The rest of the explication is complicated,






Friday, November 24, 2017

Remembering



Ellie
May 1, 1926 - November 24, 1998

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Blessing of Enough

It is time once again to prep the turkey and dressing. I have been advised that this bird is much too scrawny to feed the gang, so I kept him on the premises in an attempt to fatten him up for the next Thanksgiving. Clearly, my efforts have failed.  Again.  (He shows up here on an annual basis, just to tease me, I guess.)

This is one smart old bird. He has figured out that by eating just enough for sustenance and the daily chore of obtaining enough provender against the next day, he has a much better chance of survival.  As, I might add, would we all.

He has so frustrated me that I am tempted to wring his scrawny neck purely as the vengeful treatment he so richly deserves. But I won't; he's become sort of a pet around here.  May I have another slice of that "tofurkey" please?

I wish you enough. Be ye thankful.

Word of the day:  tofurkey, which should never have been coined and for which there never should have been a reason for the coinage.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lifted Paragraph Project-- Five

While entertaining myself by reading some of my old posts, a few paragraphs here and there jumped out and spoke to me.  Bragging.  I like some of these and thought to mention the ones I particularly enjoy.

"Well, Will, I always called him Will, was good to us, handed me his paycheck every week, and never missed a day’s work.  But Will had a wild hair.  I knew this, but he remained steady, always headed to work in the morning, came home at night, turned over the paycheck.  The first two girls graduated high school, got married.  The third girl and Will, Jr graduated together since they were Irish twins less than a year apart and in the same class.  Commencement ceremony over, party at our house to celebrate.  Their Daddy came in, hugged each one of them, told them he loves them dearly.  Turned to me and said, 'Thank you, Ma’am.  You did good, gave me four wonderful children.'  And he walked out the door, took nothing but the clothes he wore, and I’ve not seen him nor heard from him to this day."

Lifted from this story.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Backyard Mechanic




I saw the motto and knew instantly what was being advertised-- brand name and all.

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/mags/PopularMechanics/2-1941/tough.jpgHow long has it been since you saw an ad for piston rings?  Everyone, well, nearly everyone, owns some but no on gives them a second thought.  That is unless he is a combustion engine mechanic by profession.
Back in the. . .  Well, you know, when I was a lad it was not uncommon for the family vehicle to develop a bad habit of belching smoke due to worn piston rings, among possibly other causes.  It was also not uncommon for Pops, or Daddy by whatever moniker he was known in the household to purchase a set of piston rings and a few other things, pull the car under the shade of the elm, and proceed to correct the problem.

This just isn't done anymore.  Isn't necessary, and scarce is the man who has the know-how to accomplish the task.  We resolve our automotive issues in different ways these days.  But here is a brief story, true story, a memory from my kidhood, circa 1945.  Faithful reader Vee will verify or correct the date.

Little sister having been stricken ill was hospitalized and the appendix was removed.  Daddy had a real concern regarding payment of the accompanying medical bills.  I think I remember numbers, but in the interest of correctness in reporting I shall tell the story without naming dollar amounts.

Dad had access to a small amount of cash but not enough to meet the obligation.  A new neighbor recently moved into town had a 1934 Ford sedan he wished to sell.  But the little V-8 engine was afflicted with the problem cited above, along with other foibles.  Father bought the car, pulled it into a garage on the back alley, and disassembled the engine, laying the parts carefully on the workbench.  We were cautioned, nay warned, that to touch, move, knock over, or in any other manner disturb this arrangement was to put our very lives in peril.  Kidding.  Dad did not threaten our lives, but he made it clear that we might wish we were dead if we messed up his work.

He bought piston rings, some bearings, and whatever else he found he needed, cleaned the old engine, rebuilt it and reassembled it.  He sold the car for enough money to recover his investment and pay off the medical bills.

Hastings had nothing on my father who was also "tough but gentle."

Monday, November 13, 2017

Culture in Perfect

Saturday for the second night in a row BBBH and vanilla were out and about.  Started the evening
with an AYCE catfish dinner followed by the theatah.

Our local players, Tipton Community Theater, presented "It's a Wonderful Life."  Who among us did not think "Jimmy Stewart" when we read that title?  Having seen the movie (who hasn't?) I was curious as to just how this tale would be presented on stage.  Not to worry.

The actors and prop managers transported us smoothly and quickly from a humdrum mid-America auditorium to Bedford Falls and we found ourselves absorbed in the affairs and travails of George Bailey and a small New England town.

To add to the pleasure of revisiting the story was the fact that the players on stage were our friends and neighbors some of whom surprised us with their thespian abilities and all of whom acquitted themselves with aplomb, panache, even.

Topped off the evening in the rotunda visiting, congratulating, and high-fiving the actors.

Anticlimax:  Into the FORD and home to FALL into BED.

Sweet.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Leadership Seminar


“If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.” ~ Afghan proverb

Au contraire.  A true leader must have courage-- and be willing to walk alone.
Leadership is a risky business.

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

This was not written by a leader, either.  Leaders don't push.  There are plenty of people in positions of power who are not leaders; they are bulldozers.

Bulldozers are pretty good at tearing things down and leveling stuff out, but they aren't much at constructing.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 11

Armistice declared on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the Year of Our Lord, 1918 to effect the cessation of hostilities in the "war to end all wars". (How has that worked out?)

Anyway, the war, now known as WWI, officially ended the following June upon the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1919, November 11 was declared by President Wilson to be "Armistice Day". It was made a legal holiday by an Act of Congress in 1938. In 1954, the day was declared by an Act of Congress and a Proclamation by President Eisenhower to be "Veterans Day" in honor of all who served in the Armed Forces, since the 'war to end all wars' had failed miserably to accomplish the goal of ending all wars.

The Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 attempted to dump Veterans Day into the "Monday" federal holiday program, and Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25, 1971. It quickly became apparent that the American people would not stand still for this confusing slight to a much respected and honored holiday. Thus, in 1975, President Ford signed an Act of Congress into law which returned the celebration of our Service People to November 11, and since 1978 it has been so observed.

To all who served our country in the Armed Forces, thank you, thank you. Were it not for your sacrifices, we would be enslaved and impoverished. You stood up for us when we needed you.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hopping to the Hoppers

Yesterday afternoon as I was computering I had a music channel on in the background.  The Hoppers came on, singing "Shoutin' Time in Heaven."  I enjoy Southern Gospel and had heard recordings of the Hoppers but had never seen them in concert.  "I wonder," thought I, "if they are going to be anywhere in our bailiwick anytime soon?"  So I googled them, found their website and checked their tour schedule.

What?  They will be in Tippecanoe, Indiana at 7:00 p.m. November 9, 2017.  Wait!  This is November 9, it is already 3:30 and BBBH is "out and about" which is to say I'd no idea when she would be home.  She came in about 4:15 with a carload of groceries.  As I was transferring the sacks from the car to the kitchen I casually asked, "Would you like to go hear the Hoppers tonight?"  Her response was "Who are the Hoppers and where are they playing?"

"The Hoppers are a Southern Gospel group that I enjoy a lot.  I know that is not your favorite genre, but I like it.  They are singing in Tippecanoe tonight."

"How far away is this Tippecanoe?"

I told her about seventy-five miles straight up 31, take about an hour and a half.

She glanced at the clock, then she said, "You'd have to drive home 75 miles after."  She handed me a can of beans.  "Here, add these to the chili left over from yesterday and heat it."

I did as I was bid still not having a "yes" or a "no."

As we were eating the chili I told her we would have to leave by 5:20.

"Okay.  Anytime you get out of your chair and want to do something. . . "

Thus we pulled the car out of the garage at 5:15 and by 6:50 we had found seats in a very crowded auditorium.  The drive was smooth notwithstanding that 31 is an extremely busy corridor and this at rush hour to boot.

The group started in the mid-fifties as "The Hopper Brothers and Connie."  Today the group is composed of Claude and Connie Hopper, two of their sons, a daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter.  Connie and Claude have some mileage on them, take that however you like.  They put on a wonderful two-hour show!  If you check their schedule on their website you will see that the lifestyle is beyond crazy.  For example, this week Tippecanoe, Indiana November 9, Grove City, Ohio November 10, Houston, Texas November 12, Georgia on the 16th, back to Ohio on the 17th, West Virginia on the 19th.  And they do this by bus. [Gasp]

We were safely home by 10:25 and I was ensconced in my chair with cuppa coffee by 10:30.  Life's good.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Collector or Hoarder?

I have a friend who is a collector of certain artsy items.  These are neither cheap nor tacky, yet he has hundreds of them and will buy more as he finds them.  They have not driven him from his home, for while he has many dozens of them tastefully displayed throughout the house, the vast majority of them are neatly stored in boxes in the garage and attic.  He is a collector, a consumer of fine art.  

I have known a number of people, both men and women, who are hoarders.  These people amass stuff.  Once they acquire an item they cannot rid themselves of it.  These things may have value, they may be useless, but the clutter they create builds to the point that the occupant of the house has mere aisles eighteen inches wide between piles of junk, a path from a kitchen, a bathroom, one to a bedroom.  Papers, books, magazines stacked four feet high, unimaginable and unusable trash everywhere.  If there were a treasure in the lot, the heirs will never find it, for they will simply have the stuff shoveled into dumpsters when the owner dies.  Hoarder.

Oh, by the way.  Neither the stuff of the hoarder nor the collector has any eternal value.  Jesus said, 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  --Matthew 6:19,20

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I Might Have Said

Setting:  A decent restaurant, surrounded by 30 friends, eating good food and engaging in scintillating conversation.

Climax:  BBBH is placing a few morsels in the styrofoam take-home box.

Listen in.

BBBH:  Have to take a goodie home to my doggie.

J (across the table):  People food is not good for dogs.

vanilla (either because he knows everything, or because he rushes to his wife's defense): Dogs are omnivores.  Their digestive systems will handle just about anything ours will handle.  Cats, on the other hand (now he is in the TMI mode) are carnivores and their systems are designed to handle only meats.

J:  I have a friend in Florida who has a beautiful retriever that was not well.  She took the dog to the vet who told her that she should never under any circumstances allow the dog to have people food because it is not good for them.

vanilla:  (Oh, really?  Most people eat people-food that is not good for them, either.  Consider that chocolate cake there on your plate, for instance.)

 [The above is in parentheses because I did not say that, because, in fact, I only thought of it twelve hours later when I should have been sound asleep.  Dang, why does that happen to me?]


Monday, November 6, 2017

A Laborer is Worthy of His Hire

But He Doesn't Have to Have a Plaque.

A few months ago I related a dream I had regarding my "recognition" party at the time of my retirement.  In tiny print I left a footnote indicating that I might someday relate the true story of my recognition by my employer.  Here goes.

I retired in the summer of 1990 following 31 years in public education, 21 of them for the school system from which I retired.  To say the parting was sweet sorrow would miss the mark.  It was sweet to the extent that both the superintendent for whom I worked and I were tickled that our relationship was over, so neither of us was sorrowful.

One year later the superintendent's tenure was ended.  He moved on and I've heard nothing of him since. Our corporation installed a new superintendent.  A couple of months into her tenure she called me on the phone and asked me if I could attend an upcoming school board meeting.

What?

She explained that when she moved into the office she found in her bottom desk drawer a plaque recognizing my years of service, awarded to me by the Board of Education.  The board members, she said, were abashed when they learned of the fate of the token they had ordered for me.

So they presented the thing to me some fifteen months after my service was concluded.

And this story is at once funny, pathetic, laughable, and tear-worthy.  But if you choose tears, don't shed them for me, for in no way am I to be pitied.  And I would never have missed the thing had I never seen it.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;.  Weep, and you weep alone.  --Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Watchman, what of the night?

The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: (from Isaiah 21:11,12 KJV) 
We make no attempt in this little essay to interpret Isaiah's prophecy.  Rather we use this intro to evoke the image of the watchman set upon the watchtower.  His observations will alert the city to any impending danger.  Be alerted.

The Parable

The great city is under siege.  The enemy has surrounded it and encamped beneath its walls, In the darkest hour before the dawn, the cry, "Watchman what of the night?"

"The fires of the enemy before his tents are many, yea, as the stars of the sky.  He is working frantically even in the night hours to assemble his siege engines, to amass stones.  Ladders are being brought before the walls.  Verily, he goes without rest."

The sky lightens ever so little, yet the watchman can now see into the distance, a league beyond the fires of the enemy.  "Watchman what of the night?"

"The morning is coming!  There is,  yes!  There is approaching in the distance a mighty host!  The light breaks!  It is clear.  The King is coming!  The King is coming!  We have nothing now to fear for our redemption is near!"

Keep the Faith

Be of good courage, for the King is coming.  The morning comes, and also the night, for the enemy shall be plunged into everlasting darkness. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Please Fix This Mess

Tomorrow night you need to "fall back."  Yes, that nonsense arrives again.  This is my twice-annually friendly reminder that you need to mess with all the clocks.  Since we suffer from double daylight time (being geographically in the wrong sun-time zone) I wrote this little piece several years ago.  I would not mind the DST nonsense nearly so much if we were properly situated in the scheme of temporal things.

Again, my suggestion.  Perhaps someone will move it forward.  But I doubt it.





Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1

60 Days Until 2018.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Throwback Celebration

For this year's Halloween celebration, let's revisit Uncle Japtha's tale of a certain Halloween on the High Plains, 1924,

Happy Halloween, Mr. Principal
 
Did I tell  you about the time your Daddy and your uncles pranked the principal on Halloween? Well, them boys was sump'n, let me tell you.  Now I don' 'spose your Daddy's ever tole you of the onry-ness a them kids?  Anyways, there was a whole passel 'n'm kids, mostly boys and your pa right in the middle the bunch.  Now one a them boys was just a year older'n your pa, and another'n a year younger.  Whut a trio they made.  No, they warn't no singin', but mischief! Lawd, ha' mercy.

So anyhow there was this October when they was prolly 13, 14, and 15 year ol'.  Halloween a comin.'  Now the principal a the school over there was Ward Livengoodll, he was "livin' good," what with his nice income from the second-best job in the county.  Har! har! Livin' good.  I sometime crack myself up.  Anyway, ol' Ward, he come out here from Indiana, had him a dee-ploma from Oakland Normal School, doncha know.  What was the best job in the county?  Why sheriffin', I reckon.  You got no idee the ways them fellas can line they own pocket.  But that's a tale for another time.  So ol' Livengood marry a sweet thang from over to Terre Haute, and headed West.  Lureen Tuttle, she was, and the only way I would know that is she never cease from tellin' ever' one she meet about "the Tuttles from Terre Haute."

So Principal Livengood got the school over there, an' that school were the centerpiece a McClave. They had just built hit a couple years afore, and it were a two-story brick, three ya count the basement.  Now Livengood drive him a little ol' Model T Ford car, runabout, they call hit.  So anyway, morning of November 1 he walk on over to school-- didn't even notice his car wasn't aside his house, on account he only drove hit to work but rarely.  But he get to school, unlock the building and clumb on up the stairs.  Imagine his surprise when he get to the second floor, and there a settin' in the hallway smack again' his office door is his very own personal Model T!


And do you think that trio and they cohorts had anythin' to do with that?  Not much, they didn't; no more'n hit was them left Fred Sparks's outhouse in the middle George Watt's broom corn field.

© 2013 David W. Lacy



 I resurrect this annually for I have yet to find a better Halloween cartoon.
















This one is pretty good but not limited to Halloween.

Comic: wizard-of-id
2√2b2

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Feast Coming Up!

Not quite up to my all-time favorite Halloween cartoon, but not bad.  Boogity boogity.


2√2b2

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Supper's On

BBBH:  Run over to DG and get a small sour cream.  Hurry!  Everything's ready and the sour cream is all moldy.

vanilla:  On it!

Half-mile to the store, grab the item from the cooler, get in line.  (One register open and there is ALWAYS a line.)  I am lucky, though, or so it seems.  First customer checkout almost complete and only one more between me and her.

She swipes card.  Fail.  Clerk reaches over card reader.  Peckity peck peck peck.  She swipes again.  Nothing.  Peckity peck peck peck.  She inserts card in chip reader.  Fail.

Clerk now leaves station to find manager.  Returns with manager in tow.  Manager, peckity, etc.
Swipe fail.  Manager opens what might be a secret compartment, retrieves screwdriver with strange tip.  She then steps over to the OTHER checkout station, removes card reader from its stand, turns it over, removes back.  Unscrews stuff inside, disconnects cable.  Carries object over to this checkout, lays it on counter.

Now the manager dismounts this card reader from its stand, inverts, etc.  Then she connects the cannibalized gizmo to this cable, reassembles, attaches gizmo to stand.  Then the clerk and the customer proceed to conduct business.  Manager says she will "take customers over here," as she goes to the idle register.

So man in front of me and I move on over.  He has only two items for which he pays cash.  That was quick.  My turn.  Manager rings me up, states tab, I look at empty card reader stand and say, "Oh, can't swipe my card?"

Yes, I did.

But.

I had a ten-spot in my hand.  I thought it was funny, not sure the lady did.  I mean, it was near closing time and she had probably had a long day.

(This scenario took much.  Much.  Longer to play out than it took me to write out this account.)

Tacos were good, tummy is satisfied.  Will check into a little "Walker, Texas Ranger" now.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Giving Meds to Pets

About a decade ago this one made the rounds on the internet.  I found it too funny not to share, and since it is admittedly internet lore, I feel free to steal it so I posted it here seven years ago.  We (BBBH and I) read it again last night.  Much guffawing and gasping for breath  Laugh your head off: we did. 

How To Give A Cat A Pill
1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side
of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to
close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle
cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm,
holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push
pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a
count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of
wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold
front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to
hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth
Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil
wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep
shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for
gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with
head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking
straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1
beer to take taste a way. Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and
remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open
another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on to neck, to
leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill
down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on
hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply
cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus
shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another
shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across
the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving
to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little bastard’s front paws to rear paws with
garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty
pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large
piece of filet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and
pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the
emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm
and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way
home to order new table.

15. Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call
local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

Conversely (and for the sake of completion)…

How To Give A Dog A Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.
2. Toss it in the air

In the interest of full disclosure:  The dog deftly snatches the bacon from the air, eats same.  Later I find the pill on the floor.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Family Altar

I was blessed as a child to live in a home with two devoted Christian parents.
Needless to say it was a different time and in today's world not all families can practice the routine we followed.  But just to be clear: it is important for each family to make time for devotions within the home and insofar as possible that time should include all family members.
Our day started with gathering at the breakfast table where we partook together of God's provisions for the start of our day.  As soon as the dishes were cleared we all sat in the living area for "family altar."
A portion of scripture would be read aloud.  Each member of the family, even the youngest who could read, had a turn at reading. We discussed the verses read, Mama or Daddy leading but all were included and each person was encouraged to offer thoughts or questions.  Then we talked about the things we would address to the Lord in prayer. We all knelt at our respective places and in turn each person would pray aloud.
Following the devotional period the individual family members went about the beginning of his or her daily duties:  Daddy to work, Mother to the kitchen to make preparations for the maintenance of the home and the family's well-being, the children off to school or off to play depending on the age and the season of the year.
Whatever traditions are built and maintained in the home it is my opinion that none is more important to the spiritual health of the family and its members than is the "family altar," a cohesive devotional time.



Image: preparedtoanswer.org

Saturday, October 21, 2017


The donkey will bray.  It is his nature.


I Thistleonians 3:3


Monday, October 16, 2017

Blah

Just read an article about blockchain.  It was full of cryptography, time stamp, hash pointer, distributed ledger, Byzantine fault tolerance, and the like.

Other than a buzzing head, I know precisely what I knew before I read the article.

Have a wonderful 21st century day!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Grasshoppers in the Bible

As I was walking across the backyard, I espied a grasshopper hopping in the grass.  Though the rascals have been in near-plague proportions at times in my life, I seldom see one these days.  My inner Little Boy insisted he have it.  I stooped and grabbed for it, but my outer Little Boy no longer exists, and Hop!  She eluded me.  However, I am much the larger creature, and slow and clumsy as I may be, a couple of steps and a reach enabled me to capture her.

I opened my hand.  There she perched, yellow and brown, perhaps two inches in length.  The insect gazed at me, crawled out onto the second joint of my index finger, pondered her next move for a few moments, then launched herself into the freedom of the air.  She landed a dozen feet away.

Reading the Bible the next morning, I came across a reference to the grasshopper in Amos 7:1 where the creature is characterized as destructive. wreaking havoc on the young crop.  My mind drifted to the much earlier incident  in which the Israelite spies reported back that  "we are as grasshoppers" in our own sight, and in theirs  Here the grasshopper represents insignificance.  (Numbers 13:33)

What other references do we find to the grasshopper?  In Leviticus 11:22 we find that the grasshopper is fit for human consumption, nutrition.  In the Book of Judges, we find the insects represent great multitudes.  (6:5, 7:12)

In Job 39:20, the grasshopper represents timidity.  Isaiah uses the creature, again to represent insignificance. (40:20)  Jeremiah uses the imagery of vast numbers. (46:23)
So scripture gives us that the grasshopper is variously nutrition, timid, insignificant, multitudinous,  and destructive.  And this doesn't even consider the references to locusts.

What is the difference between locusts and grasshoppers?  A lot has been written on the topic, and I am not an entomologist, but I have distilled my reading to this, which satisfies me.  Locusts are simply grasshoppers that have gone into a color-changing and swarming stage in their existence.  You can read about the role of serotonin*click* and all that stuff, if you are so inclined.

Consider this. God used the insignificant grasshopper as a scourge against resistors (think Egyptian ruler), as sustenance for his people and his prophet (John*click* comes to mind), and in numerous instances throughout His Word as simile or metaphor to convey His message.

The Lord who can use such a minor creature can also use you.  The difference is the grasshopper had no choice; you have.

The green grasshopper visited our yard a few years ago.  It was much smaller than the one this story started with.

This is another instance of String Too Short to Tie paying it forward.  Post originally published in 2014.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Poles. Big Poles

Project going on down at the corner-- the erection of humongous tall poles for power lines.  These rascals are probably 30 inches in diameter at the base and the crew buries them eight feet deep in the earth.  You should see the augur that digs the holes!

I came out of the house Wednesday morning to go to the pharmacy.  I was a prisoner on my own property.  The street was blocked 50 feet to the north of my driveway and it was blocked 50 yards to the south!   With all sorts of equipment in the intersection to the south it was clear that my only hope was to run the barricade to the north an use the alternate bridge a quarter-mile to the north.  Removing a couple of traffic cones gave me a pathway wide enough for the car and there we go!


The top picture shows a crane lifting a pole into a vertical position.  The second shot shows a lineman working at the top of a seated pole.  The pulleys that carry the lines are yay big around, quite impressive.  The crews have seated about ten of these and I've no idea how many yet to go.

Snapshots taken from street in front of house.  The project was interrupted  about ten days while the crews were in Florida assisting in the restoration of power following Irma's devastation.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BBBH Celebrates

A lovely evening drive to Bloomers in Anderson.  A nice New York strip for the birthday girl.  The drive home in the dark-- and drizzle-- was without untoward event.  A nice start for her eighty-first year!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Birthday Eve

On the eve of her 80th birthday her kids gathered 'round and BBBH was treated to a Mexican dinner.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Wiener is 15!

Happy birthday, Dog.
 Engaged in his favorite "activity" these days.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Our Walk with God

Let's go back this Sunday morning to a lesson from a few years back-- slightly amended.
 
He hath known thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? --Micah 6:8

This is a rhetorical question, for the answer is contained within it.  The first clause asserts that God knows us, and thus knows what is good for us.  The second clause contains the question, "What does the Lord require?" and finally, the apparently very simple, three-fold set of actions incumbent upon us.


  1. Do justly.  To accomplish this goal, one must first have a sense of justice, then he must have the inclination and will to practice it.  Many people, in my opinion, have a "sense of injustice," by which I mean they recognize the hurts or perceived slights performed by others against them, yet they seem to have a truncated notion of what justice is in their dealings with others.  A "get even" attitude grows readily in this soil.
  2. Love mercy.  Another action required.  It does not tell us to recognize mercy, but to love it.  If we love mercy, we are going to behave in a merciful way; we will practice kindness toward others.
  3. Walk humbly with God.  First, this is a requirement to walk, not to sit, or lie about.  Then we are told with whom to walk; and we are told how to walk-- with humility.  We are clearly not to carry a prideful attitude with respect to our walk with the Lord.
Now this doesn't seem to be so simple, after all.  But it is required.  The additional good news is that there is apparently not a laundry list of further requirements.  Look at the word "but."  The implication is that in doing the three required things we are relieved of the burden of making and following nit-picking rules by which to define a godly walk.

It seems Micah has summed up the law in three requirements: Do, Love, Walk.  Jesus did ii in two, encompassing all the law and Micah's summary:  
  
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  --Matthew 22:37-39

Happy October the first!