Sunday, February 28, 2010

Philippians 4

4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (KJV)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Into the Jaws of


We stopped at this roadside "attraction" at the behest of the shoppers among us. The "Jaws" motif in the entryways to curio and beachwear shops in South Texas has been done to death. Or so one would have thought, but here is yet another and newly built shop with the same tired old theme. Oh, wait. This shark is not a pretend-living creature, but merely a sorry replica of what might be skeletal remains, if there were such.

It took me three minutes inside to make a firm decision to announce to the accompanying cadre that I would be waiting outside. Yes, some of them think I'm a buzzkill. Better, though, to wait outside than to kill their joy by my mumbling commentary. Which I would not have been able to withhold.
(Disclaimer: I am well aware that many people, perhaps even you, dear reader, enjoy these places and their wares. I do not begrudge you; please give me the same respect I tender to you.)

While waiting, I 'shot' the dinos shown inside this four-foot chain-link fence, the object of which was clearly not to restrain the dinosaurs, but rather to protect them, for tourists are not to be trusted within armslength of these magnificent creatures.

One year ago today at STSTT.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What's Wrong with This Picture?

As BBBH walked down the beach Sunday afternoon, it occured to me that something was not right about the cute little "Eeyore" presentation on the back of the hoodie. I have been a long-time Eeyore fan, having early on developed an intense dislike for Pooh. And that insipid Christopher Robin is almost as dumb as that stupid bear. But Eeyore. Now there is a connection.

So what is wrong with the picture? He looks HAPPY, for crying out loud. How sappy is that? He clearly has been hanging around way too much with the silly bear. Or he has been infected with a Disney virus. Yecch. Butterflies, yet.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alamo 174 Years Later

Paying respects to Travis, Bowie, Crockett and the 183 other brave souls who made a stand here for their belief in something greater than the self.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clever Dog, Stupid Trick

For fifteen years my nerves were pretty much kept on edge by my companion, Spot. Spot would best be described as "mutt" though his vet graciously put him in the records as "shepherd mix." What kept me on edge was the dog's super-protective attitude with regard to his humans and their property. He would bite. He could trot along side as one rode the bike to town. He would sit quietly beside the parked bicycle and bother no one walking by. Unless they touched the bike. He would sit on the corner of the lawn next to the sidewalk and bother no passersby. Unless they stepped into the yard. Definitely good dog/bad dog.
Sunday dinner was a big deal at our house in this time, and early one Sunday morning, Ellie prepared a Boston cream pie in two beautiful layers and left it on the counter when we went off to church. Upon our arrival home, we discovered in the kitchen and still sitting on the counter a one-layer cake, the filling still intact but the top layer completely gone. The dog did not want to come into the kitchen when he was called!
(I have pictures of Spot, but they are all in old-fashioned albums on shelves back in Indiana.)

We also had a golden retriever who disgraced himself only once, and that was the time he took the Sunday beef roast off the counter. Just too much to resist, I guess. Oh, we were home and caught him before he ate it. Did we eat it? you betcha.

Secondary Roads is conducting a "My Naughty Pet" contest. Hurry over with your entry!
I think I'll enter the "Spot" story.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Texans' Winter

It is pouring rain here in the semi-arid South Texas. We have had an abundance of rain here this winter, which I assume, and fervently hope, is good for the farmers. Because it leaves a lot to be desired so far as Winter Texan activities are concerned. This winter has been so different from the past several that, were it not for the snow and cold, I would almost wish us home. And here's the kicker. We extolled the virtues of winter life in South Texas so loudly and fervently while at home that seven couples who usually wintered in Florida chose to come to Texas instead. On our recommendation, don't forget. Talked to one of them yesterday who said, "not liking Texas so much," and I could only point out that 1) I can't control the weather, and 2) IT IS JUST AS BAD IN FLORIDA THIS YEAR!

And I am still delighted to be where the snow is not. And I still have sufficient grasp of rudimentary arithmetic to understand that the difference between a temperature of 42 and temperature of zero is significant. (It is the difference between a sweatshirt and a down parka.)

Since we are in Texas, we would be particularly remiss if we did not mention that on this date in 1836 began the defense of the Alamo, 13 days of courage, daring, and belief in a cause greater than the self.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hobbes, meet Ginger

the turtle rescue cat.

Ginger is the resident owner of the turtles at the rescue center on South Padre Island. When we visited there yesterday, she had everything under control. Here we see her resting from her labors. She lay comfortably atop the check-out counter in the gift shop. She opened one eye only long enough to see who was rubbing her behind the ear. (Perhaps this human behavior accounts for the thinness of the hair behind the irresistably cute ear that was being discussed in the blogosphere last week thanks to Chuck's observation about Midnight's near-baldness in that area.)

The turtles are well-cared for and the goal is to rehabilitate them to their natural environs following injury or illness. There was one rather large creature who had arrived only the previous day, having probably been run through the machinery in a dredging operation. Hopes are not so high as they are for many others, but he is being treated and medicated for pain.

Interesting bit of time spent during a wonderful excursion. (Including consumption of cold boiled shrimp this long! =================================================.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sands of the Seashore

Ps. 89:1: I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. 9: Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.
After church this morning we visited the seashore at South Padre Island. Walking on the beach is one of the greatest pleasures of winter in South Texas.

Many biblical references liken vast quantities to the "sands of the seas" for number, that is, without number. The image is staggering, for letting a mere fistful of sand trickle through the fingers evokes an image of number greater than enough. And the thought of the number of handsful of sand on this beach, not to mention beaches everywhere is incomprehensible.

Ps. 118:28: Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
29: O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blogger Block Blurb

Right. If only I had a thought in my head.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. --Genesis 2:7

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. --from Psalm 51

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Le LaLaLa

The A-note to which most musicians tune their instruments oscillates at 440 hertz. As this note has varied by nearly six semitones over time and in different places, the French in 1859 enacted a law to set the pitch at 435 hz. Well, that'll do it. Not right, but it will do it. I mention this not because of any musical ability or knowledge, but simply because today is the anniversary of the promulgation of the French law.

An international treaty in 1939 made A-440 the standard.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Justice Swift and Sure

On February 15, 1933 President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt was giving an impromptu speech from the rear of a car in Miami, Florida. Giuseppe Zangara with a .32 caliber revolver attempted to assassinate Mr. Roosevelt, but instead shot Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak and four other people. Cermak died of his wounds on March 6, 1933. Zangara was executed at Raiford on March 20, 1933.

What ever happened to our system of justice, anyway? There seems to be some reason to believe that ten days on death row makes a lot more sense than ten years there. But what do I know?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Philippians, Chapter One

Pastor Marvin announced that we would study the book of Philippians during the next few weeks.

Philippians was written by Paul while he was imprisoned. Chapter one outlines the relationship Paul had with the believers at Philippi.

In verse 2, we see that grace precedes peace. To the extent that we walk in the Spirit, we become more like Christ..
v. 6: The work God has begun in you will be completed.
v. 7: Paul tells the church that they are partners with him in grace.
v.13: Paul's chains (imprisonment) have served to further the gospel.
v. 18: Rejoice in the preaching of the gospel, no matter the reason for its preaching.

One of the greatest things you can do for your children is to pray for them. God loves to hear the prayers of His children; He wants people to trust Him and let Him lead.

How often do you pray for those who serve God?

Because of Calvary we have a home in heaven. God is faithful to His promises. Salvation is a matter of personal relationship with Christ.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lady Jane

February 12, 1554. Execution of Lady Jane Grey.

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people this day." and therewith she wrung her hands, in which she had her book. And kneeling down she turned to Fackenham (the dean of St Paul's) saying "Shall I say this psalm?" And he said "Yea". Then she said the psalm of Misere mei Deus in English, in most devout manner, to the end. Then she stood up and gave Mistress Tinney her gloves and handkerchief, and her book to Master Bruges, the lieutenant's brother; forthwith, she untied her gown. The hangman went to her to help her therewith; then she desired him to let her alone, and also with her other attire and neckerchief, giving to her a fair handkerchief to knit about her eyes.

The woman was but sixteen years of age.

Lady Jane Grey 1537 - 1554 RIP
Portrait: Artist Unknown
The Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sarah Louise Palin

Sarah Heath Palin was born on February 11, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho. The author of Going Rogue: An American Life (2009), Ms. Palin served for three years as governor of Alaska and was candidate for Vice-President in 2008. If you don't know at least this much about her, you have been living under a rock.

No matter what you think of her personality or her politics, you must recognize that she is somebody. No matter what your opinion may be, I will state that whether or not I agree with her opinions and positions, she has been and is being treated most unfairly by the press and the "liberal establishment." Debating political positions is inappropriate (because we are always right); ad hominem attacks on persons who disagree with you is okay, according to the doctrine these people practice (because if you disagree with us, you're an idiot). Of course, they don't have a monopoly on the technique.

Happy Birthday, Sarah.
Photo: Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Yesterday we went to a "jam" at one of the parks in the area. This is an activity one could engage in nearly every day of the week, as there are dozens of them in the area.
Basically, a bunch of old people bring their instruments and or their voices and regale one another with song. The quality ranges from very good indeed to nerve jangling. We enjoyed it.

These Minnesota gentlemen played
two of the three concertinas present.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

God's Building

Pastor Rasmusson's sermon was based on I Corinthians 3: 9-23.

The church is the people of God. Must be built on the right foundation: Jesus Christ.

We need to be careful when we build. The materials with which we build will be tried by fire. (v. 12) This is the true test of durability.

Proverbs 2 If you receive my words, if you cry out for discernment, you will understand the fear of the Lord. Which is to say, we learn how to live through the study of the Word of God.

Matthew 6 Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
That is, God will provide if we but seek His righteousness.

Pastor stated that he is amazed at the ignorance of many "church" people concerning their knowledge of God's word.

We need to be people of the Book. To build according to plan, we must read the plan!

The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. (v.19)
One of the characteristics of godliness is humility. We must be given to sacrifice and service.

We need to build with the right motive, that is to further the Kingdom of God.
"You are Christ's and Christ is God's." (vv. 21-23)

Build to God's glory and honor.
The better we know Him, the easier it is to trust, obey and serve.

So walk that your rewards will stand the test of fire!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tenth Anniversary

There's a whole lot of seriousness going on here at "String Too Short to Tie" today. It was exactly ten years ago on this date that the Beloved Beautiful and I said "I do" and needless to say nothing has been the same since.

A woman looks at a man and thinks, "He has potential;" whereas the man looks at the woman and thinks, "She's exactly what I want." And of course he doesn't change and she does, thus warping her concept of what the forever-togetherness is all about, and confounding him as the changes come swiftly. And continuously.

Wait! I said "seriousness" was going on here. And so it is. This is it: I love you, JoAnn, more today than I did the day we were wed. Do we get along perpetually in perfect pleasantry? Is everything harmonious from dawn 'til dusk on a daily basis? Do homing pigeons on a mission roost in the forest? Do pigs have wings?

But every day I awaken to a good day because you are with me. And, of course, because I awaken.

Will we still be together ten years from now? Well, we will if a certain two octogenarians are still breathing in 2020. So long as I can put one foot in front of the other. Until the cows come home and the pigeons roost in the cote.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Perspective on School

Twenty years after the story posted yesterday, we find The Boy is now at the front of the classroom, white shirt, suit and tie, while the elementary students sit in rows facing him, they in the position he was in for so many years. "Why," someone asks, "did you become a teacher if you disliked school so much?" "Because," he replied,"it is my hope to make school better for some kids than I found it to be for myself."

How did that work out?

This is his first class, sixth graders in what was laughingly known as a "self-contained" classroom, a euphmism for "the teacher will be with these kids from eight a.m until 3:45 p.m. with no breaks for either the teacher or the kids."

Recess time: Teach takes the kids to the playground and supervises the activity.

Lunch time: Teach escorts the kids to the cafeteria and eats with them while they ingest their lunches.

Subject matter: the whole ball of wax. If there is to be any "fine arts," Teach handles that, too. (Honesty compels me to state that on Friday afternoon 1:30, a music teacher, shared by all the elementary schools in the county, took the class for thirty minutes.)

The upside: Abundant opportunity for the teacher to get to know the kids and their needs, their weakness and their strengths.

The downside: See "The upside."

Supervision: Teach's first principal said, "Teach to the middle. The bright ones don't need you, the slow ones will tag along as best they can." The principal saw Teach again in April when he decided to observe what was going on, make a recommendation for next year's employment.

Looking back on this experience, The Boy wonders how he decided to make a career of teaching and why he stayed with it for more than three decades. (Because it was the best job in the world.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One More Visit to First Grade

A few days ago we looked at a vignette from the first grade experience. Today is the tale of the coloring book. Not just any coloring book, but The Coloring Book. It was a huge, fat, glorious set of pages just begging to be crayoned. He had received the book on his sixth birthday, and he had still many, many wonderful pages to be artistically completed. (Yeah, I know. Stifled his creativity before it had a chance to grow. And other baloney.)

Anyway, it was a beautiful late summer day and school had been in session perhaps two weeks when The Boy decided to take the wonderful treasure to school. Now, those arriving at school before Teacher came out to gather the children around the flagpole to say the Pledge of Allegiance had to remain on the sidewalk or on the grassy area outside the schoolground itself.

The school was a "primary school" and housed first and second grade only. There was no public kindergarten in those times and in that place. Good heavens, how ever did the kids get an education?

So anyway, the second graders were "kings of the hill," so to speak and the firsters trembled in their very presence. At least some of them did, and the Boy was such an one. You know what happened. The "big kids" started to tease the child with his treasure. "Oh, look, the Baby brought his coworring book," and so on. So the child, crushed and intimidated, threw the book into the grass and PROCEEDED TO SIT ON IT! Dorks do have a way about them, and this elicited even more teasing in the vein of "BWAK, Bwak, buk, buk, buk-- look, the Chicken is trying to hatch his book."

Did I mention that school was not high on the list of the boy's pleasures?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Groundhog Day. Again. Hohum.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Beach Time

Oops, someone with camera in hand caught Mr. and Mrs. Vanilla lounging on the beach.

Stifle your guffaws. Before you hoot too loudly, consider this: this couple portrayed here look pretty good compared to some of the live beach habitues we encounter from time to time. Really, the saggin' and baggin' should not be on such open display. But then, some of the hardbodies should be a bit more modestly attired as well.