Saturday, April 29, 2017

Riddle Me This


"For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."

 Proverbs 3:14-18 KJV
 Who is she?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Four-letter Words: C and D

I see today is the day for "C."  The word of choice is:

care.

This four-letter word is sometimes a verb as in "I, [we, they] care for you."  It may also be a noun as in "We placed it in the care of a conservator."

In the first instance the meaning is to attach importance to, or to be concerned for.  In the second it means to provide for the custody of, or the welfare of a person or thing.

This is a good word, not exactly warm and fuzzy, but perhaps that with a bit more steel, more resolve.

At the rate of one word a week this project would require half-year.  So we shall endeavor to "double up," at least on some of the choices.

The second word for this day rhymes with the first one:

dare.

Again, our word may be either a verb or a noun.
dare (v,) " They dare to participate in the pentathlon."  The word in this case indicates courage, boldness, fortitude, on the part of the one who dares.
dare (n.)  "I would not undertake that on a dare."  Our word here is indicative of a challenge.

A great four-letter word is "dare," because we must face up to life's challenges in order to succeed, nay, even to survive!  Dare to do well; dare to choose the right. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Conversation: Not so random

Last evening I was talking on the phone with my brother-in-law who was telling me about his recent hospitalization.  Glenn is 92 years of age, retired military.  Served 22 years in the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne, WWII, German Occupation, Korea.  That's background.  The conversation:

Glenn: I'm lying in bed, flat on my back, lady comes in.

Lady:  How are you?

Glenn:  Why don't you tell me.  I'm in the hospital, for heaven's sake.

Lady:  Would you like for the chaplain to stop by for a visit?

Glenn:  Oh, hell no.  I'm not in the hospital to visit with people I don't know.  I came here to get well.

vanilla:  (laughing my butt off)

Glenn:  It wasn't really that funny.

What

will the morrow bring?


Monday, April 24, 2017

Beauty and Entertainment

I am calling this phase 3 on the project downtown.  The wall is painted and now what?



Beauty is where one finds it.  Nestled against the wall of the jar was the olive with the perfect star.
 A few evenings past we were blessed to view a performance of two real entertainers, Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey.  This show was taped years ago but thanks to "Get TV" we were royally entertained.

Miss Bailey left us years ago; Miss Channing is now 96 years of age.

I believe I mentioned this some years back, but I'm a name dropper, so:  I saw Pearl Bailey in person in 1978.  Did you know that these two ladies played the role of Dolly Levi in the Broadway version of "Hello Dolly"?  Can you name one of the other five who also played that role?  All big-name stars.





 Then there is this.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Worship Choruses



Scriptural admonition to continue writing and singing new worship songs?  What say you?

1 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

 Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people

.For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. 

                                                                                                                   --from Psalm 96 (KJV)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Four-letter Words: B

Today's word is:

best. 
 Best is an adjective, the top-level in the hierarchy good, better, best.

When I was a child I spent many hours lying on the floor, propped on an elbow, with a Sears, Roebuck catalog opened in front of me.  This was the sort of entertainment available to young people of a certain stratum and in a certain time.  No smart phones, no television,  A different world.  But not an unpleasant world.  Wish Book, we called it.

Sears, in its attempt to be all things to all people, offered products of almost every sort and in a wide range of price availability.  For instance, a page might feature a certain item say, electric iron.  Mom certainly needs a replacement for the flatiron she heats on the wood-burning kitchen range now that we have electrical outlets in nearly every room in the house!

Sears has the answer:  A "good" iron, 94 cents; a "better" iron for $1.94; the "best" iron, $2.99.  But even Sears jumped the shark on occasion, for, What's this?  One more "premium" choice at $3.88.
This, of course, begs the question, "When is best not the best?"  Perhaps when someone else makes it?

You get the idea.  Everyone wants the "best."  But in the event the budget will not stretch that far, even our entry-level product is "good."

Our language has developed to cover exigencies when the "best" is not in the cards.  We might say we are "settling" as in fitting our means, yet not keeping up with the Joneses.

There are some things for which second-best is not an option, though.  These would be things not obtainable at retail.  For example, don't settle for second-best when choosing your mate.  Don't settle for less-than-your-best in the performance of a task.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beautification

The pear tree is alive and well.  New blossoms to greet a new season!



The workmen are alive and busy as well.  Phase 2 of a downtown beautification project.  Phase 1 was cleaning the old brick wall.  Next step?  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Four-letter Words: A

The "Four-letter Word" series was scheduled to appear on Fridays.  Because I slipped "N" into last Friday's slot we will insert this one on Wednesday in place of the Pineville tales which may resume Monday if the muse favors us with another idea.

For the letter "A" the word I have chosen is:

able.

"Able" is an adjective meaning competent, equal to, prepared to, having the opportunity to, accomplish an end.  To say one is able implies that he is intelligent, skillful, accomplished, or talented.  Able is a powerful word and conveys confidence in the recipient of this descriptor.

Miss Lillian Bateman, my senior English teacher in high school  was given to nautical references, just one of her many fascinating tricks in her repertoire.   Often when she called on me she would favor me thus: "Mr. Lacy, Able Seaman, please explicate on the reading of the previous paragraph."
When she signed my yearbook she addressed me just so.  I think to this day that the lady was making a sincere attempt to educe the confidence she felt I had buried within me.  Other students had their pet designations, but to the best of my recollection I was the only one on whom she bestowed the adjective "able."  BTW there were many kids in that class brighter than I.   Too bad "bright" is not a four-letter word.  Have to look elsewhere for the next post.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Lone Goose


  
The cry of a lone goose pierced the sky, the haunting notes singing the tale of a bird separated from his family.  It was late April.  This Blue had somehow lagged behind, was left behind and now it is plaintively seeking its kind.  As the sun drops behind the horizon, the goose hears  the clucking and cackling of poultry far below as their keeper is spreading grain for the evening feed.  The goose circles, descends.  In a large open yard it espies two dozen or so common chickens.  Though the birds are not its kind, they are birds.  Blue lands on the periphery of the yard and the hens go ballistic.  The goose assumes submissive posture, offers no threat.  The chickens calm down and the goose cautiously walks toward them.  Finally it is close enough to peck at the grain on the ground.  Blue joins the chickens for dinner.

We have seen that Blue has assumed the role of guardian of the property and protector of the flock.  Even the rooster has accepted this interloper as a part of his family and all is well in Birdland.

September comes, as September will.  On a bright clear morning Blue hears a familiar sound approaching from the north.  A flock of its own people-- snow geese!  Nature stirs the whatever within the creature that impels it to rejoin its own kind.  Blue starts down the lane, runs down the lane, flaps its wings and leaps to launch itself into the air!

Blue gets about three goose-heights off the ground, sails a few yards and crashes headlong into the dirt.  The poor bird has been much too-well fed, its body now heavy with surfeit.  Its sole exercise for months has been waddling around the chicken lot; its pinions are atrophied and too weak to support flight.

The flock, hundreds strong, soars overhead while Blue honks a feeble "Good-bye, good-bye."*

 *There is a moral in here somewhere but I shall refrain from pointing it out.  If I could see it, and I did, I know that you can as well.

 Text  ©2017  David W. Lacy

Image By Adrian Pingstone - Self-photographed, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Resurrection Sunday!



"He isn't here! HE is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen." -Matthew


"The resurrection tidings are far and away the most astonishing news to ever break across the tired, old face of this earth." -Gardner C. Taylor

" The Easter resurrection is the ultimate reason why failure and crosses need not intimidate us." -Ed Hird

"It is hard to imagine anything less hopeful than the sight of a burial. When the body of Christ was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new tomb hewn out of the rock, how many who looked on had the faith to hope that inside three days this dead Man would be walking again among men and women, alive forevermore? But so it came to pass. Aaron's rod budded. The leafless tree on which the Savior died sprang into bloom. What had been stark death before became life at the touch of God, and the gallows became the gate to everlasting life.

"One thing the resurrection teaches us is that we must not trust appearances. The leafless tree says by its appearance that there will be no second spring. The body in Joseph's new tomb appears to signify the end of everything for Christ and His disciples. The limp form of a newly-dead believer suggests everlasting defeat. Yet how wrong are all these appearances. The tree will bloom again. Christ arose the third day according to the Scriptures, and the Christian will rise at the shout of the Lord and the voice of the archangel.

"Faith can afford to accept the appearance of defeat, knowing the true believer cannot be defeated finally. 'Because I live, you also will live.' That is the message of Easter. What a blessed message for the whole world if men would only believe it." -Aiden Wilson Tozer



He died that you might be saved. He arose that you might live with Him eternally!

Happy Easter!

Pedro, Juan y Maria Magdalen en el sepulcro vacio
Jaime Dominguez Montes

Saturday, April 15, 2017


HAPPY EASTER!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Four-letter Words: N

This is Good Friday.  We kicked off the four-letter word series last week with "L" for "love."  To do this alphabetically, today's post should be "A."  I am unpredictable, however, and we are skipping to the first letter in the second half of the alphabet, "n," and the word is:

nail.

Jesus died the cruelest and most insulting death we can imagine.  We observe Good Friday in commemoration of the sacrifice of His own life to atone for our sins.  He died for us that we might live.

The nails were driven through His hands and feet to hold him to the rood.  Yet it was not the nails that held Him there, but rather His unimaginable love for us that forced him to give His life.  Make no mistake.  His life was not taken from Him, He gave his life.  He cried to the Father, "Not my will, but Thine be done."  He gave all in the will, not of self, but of the Father.

I am thinking as I worship this morning of the thud of the mallet as the nails were driven, the agony of  my Lord, Creator of all things, as he suffocated there on that hill we call Calvary.

The greatest Love of all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Watch Goose and Camaraderie

Darlene: "Ardella came over and told me the cops brought you and Clifton to school this morning.  What happened?  Did he beat on you?"

Darren:  "Not any more than I beat on him!"

Darlene:  "Ooh, I'll get him now!"

Darren: "No you won't.  It is all settled; Clifton and I are good."

And so they were.  The two lads even started hanging out together during lunch time and afternoon recesses.  Darlene was not amused, but she is the loyal sister.  She spent more of her time stirring up difficulties amongst the girls.

One afternoon about two weeks after the fight, Clif (the boys were now "Clif" and "Dare") said, "Come on over to my house.  You can see our chickens and stuff.  And we have a watch goose."

"A what?  A watch goose?"

"Yeah.  We have this goose-- Ma says it's a blue goose-- that came in and started living with the chickens.  He guards them and watches over the place.  No one, but I mean no one, steps foot on our property without a big ruckus from Blue.  He's better than a watch dog.  He'll scare the bejabbers out of you, too, and run you off if you don't stand your ground."  Goose won't let the chickens out of the yard, either.  Haven't had one cross the road since he got here."

"Cool!  But how do I get on your place if the goose attacks me?"

"Oh, he won't attack you if you stand still and make yourself as big as you can--  raise your arms up and spread your feet apart.  He will run toward you honking, but he will stop when he sees how fierce you are.  Then you take two steps toward him.  He will back up two steps.  Then stomp your foot and step toward him again.  He'll turn and run."

And that all happened just so..

While Clif and Dare were checking out the hen house, Louie came out.  "Hey," he said.  "You're the kid that looks just like his sister.  She tried to beat me up.  I oughta clobber you just for being related to her."

"Did beat you up," Darren sassed.

"Why you-- I'll beat you up just because you are a little smart aleck."

"No," interjected Clifton, "you won't.  Dare is my buddy now and you'll have to beat us both up."

"I could do that."

"No, you won't.  Remember, blood is thicker than water, or something like that."

"Yeah, yeah.  Well, have fun."  Louie headed back to the house.

Darren knew a world more about poultry and how he got his eggs for breakfast by the time he left for home.


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Monday, April 10, 2017

Altercation in Pineville

Inevitably the day came.  Darlene had a bad case of the sniffles, a sore throat, and every good excuse to stay home from school.  But Darren had to get ready and head out by himself.  Darren turned the corner at the end of the block, walked the half-block to the alley, and there behind the lilac bush was Clifton lying in wait.

"Ha!  Gotcha!  Where's Miss Piggy?  Piggy-tails, I mean."

And here Darren's "erudition" got him into serious trouble.  For some inexplicable reason his recent reading had been centered around nineteenth century American history.  Nine years old and already looking as though he'd be a lawyer or worse, a politician.  Or both.

"Sir," Darren cried, "I perceive that thou art a foul Whig!"

There was but one word of the sentence that Clifton understood and what he heard was "fowl."  He instantly concluded that he was being called a chicken, or worse depending upon what "whig" meant.

He flew with unrestrained fury at his antagonist.  Darren dodged and Clifton overshot his mark.  Both boys turned and the fight began.  I will spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that when Hans Freylingheusen drove up in his police cruiser the boys were rolling in the crushed limestone surface of the alley, both covered with the white powder of the recently-laid material, each flailing at the other, screaming and hollering.  Hans stopped the car, leisurely hoisted himself from the vehicle and ambled over to the combatants.

"Hey!"  Only upon hearing him speak did the boys turn to see a pair of black jack-boots and blue striped trousers beside them.  Only then did the beating and smacking stop.  The officer took a shoulder in each had and lifted the guys to their feet.  "Get in the car.  In the front seat.  You're not under arrest."

They complied and Hans walked around and got into the car as well.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school?"  No answer.  "I asked you a question."

"Yes, sir."  Feebly.  "Yes, sir."  Also feebly.

"Now I am going to drive you over to the station.  You can't show up at school looking like that."  In the locker room each boy was given a towel and washcloth.  "You want to beat each other?"  Freylingheusen said.  "Knock that dust and dirt off each other.  And don't get carried away; the fight is over.  Then get washed up."

Hans got the boys back into the cruiser and drove them to school.  The three of them went up the walk together.  Not in the best interests of Darren and Clifton was the fact that the third-graders were  on the playground.  The officer took the lads to the principal, Miss Garst.  "I hope you will excuse their tardiness.  These boys ran into a bit of difficulty but everything is all right now.  Right, fellas?"

"Right."

 "Right.  Thank you, sir."


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jezebel, Elijah, and the Lord Almighty

Elijah had engaged in a contest with the prophets of Baal, built an altar, made the offering and doused it thoroughly with water, called down fire from God.  The sacrifice, the altar, and the water were consumed.  Elijah slew 400 prophets of Baal.

Jezebel sent word to Elijah that she would do to him as he had done to the prophets.

He ran.

Skipping way ahead (catch up by reading I Kings 19), we hear the Lord telling Elijah, "Go stand on the mountain, for the Lord will pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
 Then the Lord gave Elijah instructions.

How often do we expect the Lord to respond to our prayers in a spectacular way, in a mighty wind, so to speak?  How often do we sit awaiting an earthquake to move us to action?  Neither was the directive of the Lord in the fire, but in a gentle whisper!

Are we attuned to the Lord such that we can hear his whisper?

Do we respond in obeisance and obedience?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Four-letter Words

The term "four-letter words" has painted a huge boatload of English words with a tar brush.  It is true that there is a handful of four-letter words that are scatological, sacrilegious, and disrespectful.  We should know these words in order to avoid using them.  Okay, every twelve-year old boy knows them, anyway, but we need not be stuck in the prepubescent stage of our lives.

Meanwhile there are tens of thousands of perfectly good and useful four-letter words in the English language.  I propose to present a few of these select four-letter words that brighten or enhance our lives and our ability to communicate one with another.  If I have the stamina for it we may go through the alphabet looking for such words.  But meanwhile let us start with the best four-letter word of all:

 love.

As with many English words, this one can function either as a noun or a verb.  This is not a thesaurus or dictionary, nor do I propose to write such for there exists a plethora of such volumes.  We all have a construct of this word and recognize the deep emotional, spiritual, and intellectual power it evokes.
Sad the person who does not experience and receive love.  Even sadder the one who does not practice love toward others.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love."  I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) 

Remember, too, that Jesus summed up the law in two commandments.  Both were to love.  First, God; then our neighbors and ourselves.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pineville Retribution

Clifton was a bully but he was not without a crude and shrewd intelligence.  It did not take long for him to figure out who it was who got him into trouble over the yo-yo incident.  Confronted, Darlene did not deny her involvement.

Clifton:  I will make you sorry!

Darlene: Let's get it on!

Clifton:  All in good time, Baby.

Darlene's blood was about to boil, but she let it pass.

Clifton told his older brother, Louis, about this terrible, awful, mean, wicked girl who kept threatening him.  Louis said, "I can straighten her right out."  Clifton grinned.  "Thanks, Brother."

The Pratt's front doorbell rang shortly after five in the evening.  Mrs. Pratt answered the door to find a large angry woman and a twelve-year old boy standing on the porch.

L. A. Woman: Is this where Darlene lives?

Samantha: Yes. How may I help you?

L.A. W.:  How?  Just look at what that wicked vixen did to my Louie!

And there stood Louie, right eye purple and swollen, left cheek raw with claw (?) marks.

Samantha (turning toward the interior of the house):  DARLENE! Come here at once.

Darlene shows up at the door, stands beside her mother, grasping her skirt and looking up, her baby blues all innocence.  Louie's mother looks at this slip of a girl, turns to her son and says, "Is this the girl that beat you up?"

"Yeh, Ma.  That's her."

Ma turned with a roundhouse swing and walloped her son across the cheek.  "You let that little thing beat you up?  I'll show you what it means to get beat up!  Now get to the house. 'Scuse, me, Ma'am.  We'll be getting along now."


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Monday, April 3, 2017

Crime in Pineville

During their first grade year at Pineville Elementary School, Darlene and Darren had been in the same classroom.  At the end of the year their teacher, a very frazzled teacher, advised most firmly that that sort of placement should not be allowed next year.

So it was that the twins had been in different classrooms since.  Clifton, Darren's nemesis, was in the fourth grade classroom with Darlene.  This sunny October morning Sadie, whose birthday was yesterday, brought her new yo-yo which her Aunt Min had given her.  Sadie had already mastered Walking the Dog and putting her toy to "sleep."  On the playground this morning she had even allowed some of her girlfriends to give it a try.  How pretty it was, shiny blue with silver sparklies that fairly danced in the sunlight as it spun up and down its string!

Back in the classroom, Darlene noticed that Sadie had placed her new treasure on the pencil tray of her desk.  Then it was time for math drill.  The five children in Sadie's row were sent to the chalkboard.  The teacher recited the "problems" and monitored the progress of the kiddos.  As it happened, Clifton was at the board, Sadie was at the board, and the yo-yo sparkled in the sunlight, lying there on the desk.

And you know what Darlene did.

That group finished their drill and returned to their desks.  Before Mrs. Lawton could call another group to the front there was heard a piercing shriek in the room.  Sadie had discovered that her yo-yo was missing.

"Yes, Mrs. Lawton, it was right there."  She points to the pencil tray.  "Someone stole my yo-yo!"
[Insert sobs for effect; oh, yes, those were real.]

The investigation is launched.  Emptying of pockets, dumping of desk contents and so on.  Darlene was "clean," of course, but when teacher got to Clifton, Clifton who in all innocence had no cause for alarm, reached into his desk to pull out the rat's nest he kept there and What's this?  The yo-yo was in the first handful of rubble he pulled out.

Mrs. Lawton palmed the toy.  "Clifton, you and I will spend our lunch time together.  Now class, let us get back to work."

"But, Ma'am! I --"

"But me no buts, Young Man!"


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Read the Old Testament

On last Sunday's post, this comment: 
Once again, I puzzle with how to apply OT stories to present day circumstances. But if Brother desires to bestow wealth upon me, I won't worry about application.

I responded:

The application here is simply follow God's lead. Of course, if you wish to share your wealth with your elder brother, that is good, too

 In the wee hours  I became aware of the fact that my answer needs expansion. so this:

It seems to me that the Old Testament provides example after example of the necessity to pursue the will of God.  Those who follow God's leading seem to bask in His approbation.  Those who fail to do so apparently fall into disfavor such that the end results are not pretty.

Beginning in the Garden of Eden we see the forebears, given one simple prohibition, unable or unwilling to abide by the strictures, plunge the entire human race into chaos.

We see Noah accomplish a daunting, even seemingly impossible task.  He is rewarded with life.

Moses rose to worldly prominence, sank to level of murderer and exiled himself from the land, yet at the age of eighty when God called him, he responded.

Saul defies the rules of the Lord and loses everything, including his life.

David is highly favored of the Lord, yet the desire of his life is not granted because of the sin he allowed to creep in..

And so on.



The point that I hope to make is two-fold.  To read the Old Testament is to read the Bible as Jesus knew it, for the OT was the Bible from which he worked and which he often quoted in his ministry.  To read the Bible is not only instructive in the necessity of seeking God's purpose for our lives, it is also laden with fascinating accounts of man's struggles, his relationships with his fellow-man, and his interaction with God.
 
A dear old lady, now deceased, told me she did not like the Old Testament, it is "so bloody," she said.  I submit that whatever blood was shed in the Old Testament was as nothing to the shedding of the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the blood that is necessary and sufficient for our salvation.
 
"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."  --Robert Lowry