It has often been advocated that we should journal our lives because we may fall victim to one of the tragic mind altering diseases. (Some of you may already be laughing, because you think I lost my mind quite sometime ago.) None the less, I thought I'd look in the mirror - granted some objects are closer than they appear - and possibly share my perspective on things.

"She's Still the One"

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I came across the following while reading a book by Roy L. Honeycutt, Jr. titled "Jeremiah: Witness Under Pressure".
When people in another century write the history of this generation, let no one misunderstand:  We will be the ones who are responsible for our situation.  We alone hold the power to alter our circumstances...
Somethings we, as individuals and as a society, have done need to be rewritten.  In fact there are some pages I'd like to highlight and delete - unfortunately that can not be done.  Therefore, I am in a continous process of writing addendum (or is it addendi) for those pages.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm A Sweepstakes Winner!

It was addressed specifically to me and arrived late on the 31st of December.  Without hesitation and in great anticipation, I opened it.  The first paragraph was a typical introduction - "hope you are well", etc - which I very casually scanned before jumping ahead to the second paragraph.  And there it was.

My name, in bold italicized print, preceded the words "you have been awarded the following..."  I stopped reading and jumped to the bottom of the page to see who had signed the letter, but there was no signature only the numbers  2 - 0 - 1 - 2.

I went back up to the place I had stopped reading and continued, "...opportunities, challenges, joys and disappointments, success and failure, lessons to be learned and taught..."  The page continued, "All you have to do in order to claim your award is live each day to the fullest, make wise choices, and trust the spirit."

It was then I realized what the numbers at the bottom of the page meant.  I was being given the year 2012.  The maker of heaven and earth, the designer of human life, the original life giver was providing me with another year.

I pray that my service will be found commendable and that I might be eligible for another award next year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Sunday prior to Thanksgiving 2011 - I teach The Home Builders Sunday School Class at our church and attempt to lead meaningful discussions for this diverse class of 40-somethings.  We talked about the ten lepers who were healed and only one returned to say thanks.  Then we discussed what excuses the nine might have used to justify not returning to say thanks - we had some really interesting thoughts.
1.      Just didn’t have time to say thanks….
2.      Thought someone else would take care of it
3.      Really intended to say thanks but never got around to it
4.      Why should I say thanks…they owed it to me
5.      I’d been asking for this a long time…He knew I was appreciative
6.      I just didn’t know what words to use
7.      Did He think I’d just take it for granted – of course I’m thankful, I just didn’t say anything.
8.      I’m not good with words; I’d rather do something special
9.      It appeared no one else was going to do it either – why should I be the first
We also looked at some thought provoking quotes about gratitude and thankfulness.  Here are a few of those:
·         Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~ G.B. Stern
·         Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie
·         Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel
·         Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley
·         Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it. ~ Ralph Marston
Every Thanksgiving is important to me and as I observed the day with family (and far too much food), I remained thankful for a God of patience and forgiveness, and that with both those characteristics He has chosen to bless me with things too numerous to list.  His storehouse is full and at my disposal if I will be a faithful servant.
"In everything give thanks!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Never Quit

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to throw in the proverbial towel and say, "I can't go on!"?  I would suspect for some, the events leading up to the use of the above phrase involved a project at work, or around the house; might have been associated with the efforts to rehabilitate an unreliable automobile, garden plant, business partner, or, unfortunately for some, a marriage partner.  There are no doubt some who came to use these three words because of events in their faith or worship.  And then there are those who come to this end with their physical and/or mental wellbeing.  I am certainly not in a position to judge any of the above and am so thankful for the life I have been privileged to enjoy.

Sometime during the first century AD, as he most likely sat in a very uncomfortable prison cell, Paul of Tarsus wrote to friends in Corinth.  Paul had probably received word that some of the believers in Corinth were considering the temptation to say "I can't go on".  It is important to understand that Paul was a very educated man and had experienced a great deal in his life, including athletic events of various types.  It was from one of the track competitions which Paul chose to write, Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize?   Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one- [I Cor 9:24 & 25]

In July 2007, Jerry Crowe recounted (as have others) the event which occurred on 05 August 1984 in Los Angeles, CA.  "Anyone who has seen it probably has never forgotten it...a 39-year-old ski instructor who grew up in Switzerland, cut a ghostly figure as she entered the stadium.  Suffering from heat prostration...she limped and lurched around the track, holding her head and alternately stopping and restarting as the crowd groaned. Her left arm flailing at her side, her right leg unbending at the knee, she nevertheless waved off medical assistance, which would have meant her immediate disqualification.  Finally, after navigating the final 400 meters in an agonizing 5 minutes 44 seconds, Gabriela Andersen-Schiess fell into the waiting arms of three medical staffers as she reached the finish line (26 miles, 385 yards) in 37th place, 24 minutes behind winner. 

Here's what I see reflecting in the mirror on this one.  To receive an OLYMPIC gold medal (or any medal) is an accomplishment to be held in highest regard for the price which the athlete pays is extremely high. However, it wasn't until I began searching for the video clip that I remembered who had won the first modern era women's OLYMPIC marathon - Joan Benoit.  Her victory had, in Paul's words, perished from my memory bank.  But the efforts of Gabriela Andersen-Schiess had become permanent.  In my mind she is a prime example of running to achieve the imperishable. AND,

When it comes to matters of our faith and our family, we should remember that there are some things out there, that although they seem quite glamorously attractive, so many of them are perishable.  We should invest more in our personal faith and in our family.  We may be surprised at the priceless (imperishable) memories and relationships we will achieve.  


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ponder on That

Sherrif Andy Griffith would often make a point to the citizens of Mayberry with the closing words "ponder on that a while."  Recently, DeJuana and I began rehearsals for a fall concert with the Irving Chorale and were introduced to a challenging number titled BEAT, BEAT, DRUMS.  Thanks to the internet search engines and the analysis of Bremen Ray, I now have a better understanding of the text.  As Andy would say - ponder on that.

The words of Walt Whitman's BEAT! BEAT! DRUMS! first appeared in the Boston Daily Evening Transcript in 1861, and although Whitman sounded a call to duty during the early days of the Civil War, these words should speak clearly to our world in this 2K century. 

Whitman was adamant that the absurdity of normalcy was an indicator of problems which needed to be resolved - and required everyone's attention.  He left no section of society untouched as he beckoned the scholar, the religious, the young, and the indifferent.  He challenged those who pursued materialistic gains rather than moral gains and urged the whole of society to reevaluate doing business as usual.

The piece as a whole is a response to inaction. It is unsympathetic to the apathetic nature of society and attempts to inspire passion through beautiful language. Each of its symbols paint a picture of society and asks for each member of society to act and make the sacrifices necessary. (Bremen Ray - 2009)

Just as Whitman contended that everyone should know of the war, we too should be aware of the conflicts at hand.  Ours is not confined to the battles being conducted by military forces or even the struggle that exists with the criminal and ethical elements of society.  We are faced with a decline in patriotism, respect for things sacred, and the care of our neighbor. How long will the sounds of drums and bugles be ignored while we rest upon our laurels, wait for our entitlements, or proclaim "that's not my job"?

BEAT! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows--through doors--burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation;
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet--no happiness must he have now with his bride;
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field or gathering his grain;
So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums--so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities--over the rumble of wheels in the streets:
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? No sleepers must sleep in those beds;
No bargainers' bargains by day--no brokers or speculators--Would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums--you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley--stop for no expostulation;
Mind not the timid--mind not the weeper or prayer;
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man;
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties;
Make even the trestles to shake the dead, where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump, O terrible drums--so loud you bugles blow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wrinkles or Smile Lines?

Times were tough.  Our nation was only a few years removed from the depression.  Hitler was building the Nazi party and it looked as though the USA would soon be involved in a major military conflict over seas.  Times were difficult (not much different from what we are living in today).  People need to laugh, to smile.

It was in the early '40's, Larry Shay, Mark Fisher, and Joe Goodwin composed the tune "When You're Smiling", which was recorded by Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and others.  Just a few years later Allen Funt introduced  a radio show called "Candid Microphone" where a series of theatrical film shorts were played for the enjoyment of those who tuned in.  Within a year, "Candid Camera", a hidden camera/practical joke reality television series, was aired.  I remember many Saturday evenings around the black and white TV set (that's right black and white with Reynolds wrap foil on the antenna, no remote). 

As television programming developed sitcoms became a staple for family humor.  Vaudeville acts became stand up comedy, there were variety show, and even talent search shows - all intended to make the audience laugh and smile.  Interestingly, these shows all managed to be effective without laff trax, special effects and emcee hype or drama.

I remember the old WRR radio station in Dallas hosting a "Library of Laughs" at 9:40 every evening.  I listened to many hours of Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Tim Conway and others when I should have been doing homework.  They made me laugh and smile.

Time changes things and often our smile gets pushed beneath the thoughts of providing for a family, making a deadline for the office project, dealing with other serious matters.  I probably missed some great opportunities to smile by being too preoccupied.

Life is good, despite what the DOW may indicate.  I have my wonderful wife, fantastic children and spouses, and adoreable, smile making grand children.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Worth Viewing

I am continually amazed at the amount of information which is almost instantly available to us.  I recently discovered a web site called TED.com.  There are so many presenters at this site, that just a few years ago one might have had to attend countless seminars and workshops to experience a portion of the material now only key strokes away.  If you've never been there, I encourage you to visit and find your favorite(s).

One that I especially enjoyed is found at www.ted.com/talks/ric-elias.html .