Sunday, November 30, 2008

To My Best Friend

If history holds true, today will be a low "hit" day on my blog. That's okay. People are going to church, many of my regular readers will be leading in worship. Bill will be preaching, while his grandson sits and listens (hopefully, he'll be listening). Rick will be sharing from his missionary heart about the love of Jesus for all people. Camey will be hearing her hubby share the Word in a different place, and she will be listening to God's voice and understanding dreams. Heidi will be praising God and celebrating the forgiveness of sins past. Will, Michael, Karma, Bernard, Kath, Haf Dozen, and many others will be sharing Christ in their own gifted ways. Please know that I'll be praying for you as you worship and lead out in worship.

And, if you take the time to stop by to read my blog, I am most thankful. For you to pause long enough to read this, you really touch my heart in a special way.

Today as you read, you'll read about my best friend in the entire world--my wife, Tonya.

It's a special day for us. Today, November 30, we celebrate our anniversary. While the years we've been together are short, they have been wonderful and cherished. They have been enjoyed. They have been memory-makers every day. They have been the best of days. They've been the best of times. They have been days filled with love.

Every year since we married, Tonya and I have traveled somewhere special for our anniversary. Well, that's not quite true. The places haven't always been special, our time together has been what made the trip special. It was always just the two of us. And, that was all we thought we needed.

This year, things are a little different. This year, we have a little one climbing and crawling and exploring and touching and laughing and smiling and loving. So, this year, we'll stay home. We'll just spend time together as a family.

And, I'm thinking, this may just be the most special anniversary that we have had. The focus will be on each other--and the life God brought together. And, in truth, that's all that we should focus on anyway.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart--I love you more than words can say.

Thanks for the joy you brought into my heart. Thanks for the happiness. Thanks for patience. Understanding. Loving. Forgiving.

Thank you for being you.

That's exactly what God knew I needed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pistol Packing Momma

A Harrisburg Pennsylvania woman has sued a sheriff for revoking her concealed-weapons permit after she upset fellow parents by wearing her holstered pistol to her 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game.

Now, is there any reason to wonder why parents don’t want to volunteer to coach or officiate at these kinds of games? Parents now toting guns! Let’s see, I bet the calls go favorably for Mrs. Hain’s daughter! Or else!

Meleanie Hain now alleges in her federal lawsuit that Lebanon County Sheriff Michael DeLeo violated her Second Amendment rights and prosecuted her maliciously when he took away her permit in September.

Mrs. Hain, 30, successfully appealed the revocation last month, although the judge who restored her permit questioned her judgment and said she “scared the devil” out of others who attended the September 11 soccer game. You know, I know what the judge meant. But, he needs to rethink some of his theology, if he believes his statement is true! If only that’s all it took to scare the devil out of people!

Mrs. Hain said last Monday that her baby-sitting service has suffered, her children have been harassed, and she has been ostracized by her neighbors because of DeLeo’s actions. In one instance, she said, a neighbor who saw her in a local store had the manager ask her to leave because she was carrying her handgun.

Did you read that? This woman runs a baby-sitting service? Well, at least they should be safe and well protected as long as she is “packing heat,” unless one of the children accidently got their hands on her gun!

Mrs. Hain is being joined in the lawsuit by her husband, Scott, who contends he has lost his wife’s “companionship, consortium, society, and services” as a result of the harm she has suffered. “Consortium, society, and services”? Is that just a nice legal way of saying “sex”?

So, for the question of the day, should a parent be allowed to wear a holstered gun to soccer games, community events, school functions?

Why? Why not?

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Little Shrimp on the Mall of Life Treadmill

If I were to go out today shopping, this video shows exactly how I would feel!

Good thing I have no plans to go shopping, other than maybe for a Christmas tree!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Snoopy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thanks for regularly stopping by my little blog! I am thankful for each of you!

Enjoy a little Snoopy and the gang.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Does Your Gut Say to You?

I don't know the story behind this photo and maybe that is good. Maybe it would help, I don't know for sure.

I know the picture evokes some strong thoughts within me. What do you think?

Tell me your reaction to this picture.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hello Mr. President!

A confounding Inauguration Day tradition is coming to an end: Handshake Man can’t make it to the celebration on January 20.

President-elect Barack Obama will miss that special greeting experienced by Bill Clinton at his second inauguration and George W. Bush at his first: An overcoated, entirely normal-looking man, whose only security clearance is his beatific smile, steps from the crowd after the swearing-in. He offers the new commander in chief a handshake, a medallion, and a message from God.

The Rev. Richard C. “Rich” Weaver—dubbed Handshake Man by followers of his exploits—has been Washington’s most famous uninvited guest.

Now in his early 60s, Weaver has reached out and touched six presidents. He represented the ultimate man-without-a-ticket, the scourge of the Secret Service and Capitol Police, a hero to gate crashers everywhere.

Now from Southern California, where he lives, he says, “I have decided to not do any more with presidents.”

It was at Bush’s second inauguration in 2005 that the Capitol Police finally got their man. Officers had been ordered to memorize Weaver’s face from pictures, and he was busted at a checkpoint near the House-side entrance to the Capitol. Weaver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful entry and was sentenced to unsupervised probation. He was barred from trying to attend presidential events or entering the Capitol and White House grounds for five years. (I've included his picture above, just in case they don't remember what he looks like from last time around.)

At his sentencing in 2005, he said Secret Service agents told him: “You’re no problem to us, but you’re making us look bad.”

No comment from the Secret Service on whether it will retire Handshake Man's picture from its inaugural security briefings. “We don’t discuss cases of a protective intelligence nature,” spokesman Malcolm Wiley said.

I’ve known a couple of Secret Service agents who worked the White House detail. Trust me. They don’t tolerate being made to look foolish. Not by anyone.

I would recommend that the Handshake Man either keep his distance, or see if Mr. Obama will give him a special pass to be there. Otherwise, he’d best stay home.

Here Spot! Here Spot!

This story comes from Portland, Oregon. (Thank goodness it wasn’t Alabama—it could have been, but I am so thankful that it came from the West Coast this time!)

Henry Marcum loves his 23-year-old son, hunting, and his dog. I’m not too sure on the order of his love, I’m just hoping that’s the order.

You see. Henry Marcum’s dog shot his 23-year-old son this past weekend. I don’t think it was premeditated in any way. I don’t think they forgot to feed the dog before going hunting. I don’t think the son had teased the dog, pulling his ears or tail.

Here’s the way the story unfolded. Marcum says his son, Matthew, was standing in Tillamook Bay at the start of duck-hunting trip when his dog jumped into the boat, setting off a 12-gauge shotgun. The blast blew a hole in the aluminum boat before hitting Marcum, who is recovering from injuries to his legs and buttocks at Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Henry Marcum says he's not angry with the dog, and neither is his son.

The elder Marcum says the Labrador named Drake is a good dog and the shooting is “just one of those things.”

“Just one of those things?” Are you kidding me? Rather than being angry at the dog, and unless the dog has gone through hunter safety classes, who could blame the dog, but why not be angry with the dad? The dad had a fully loaded 12-gauge shotgun sitting in the boat, with no safety on, unattended. And more than likely, dad called the dog into the boat.

Maybe, just maybe, the dad needs to attend hunter safety classes. Either that or increase his son’s life insurance policy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Victory for "Christmas"

Several weeks ago, I featured a blog about a New York State city who had changed the name of their annual Christmas parade, to make it more “inclusive.” Well, their desire for being inclusive really, really, really didn’t work—if you go by numbers of people who attended!

The annual Patchogue, New York, annual parade of boats on a Long Island river that dropped “Christmas” from its name has apparently lost lots of supporters. About 1,000 people showed up Sunday for the Patchogue Boat Parade of Lights. That’s 500 fewer than usually showed up when it was called the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade.

Brookhaven-based fireworks company Fireworks by Grucci dropped its sponsorship after the Greater Patchogue Foundation removed “Christmas” from the parade’s name. The change was made after some residents complained the name wasn’t inclusive enough.

Grucci vice president Philip Butler opposes the secularization of Christmas. His supporters encouraged area residents to stay away from the parade on Patchogue River.

Well, the way I see it, in two years, the inclusiveness of their decision will kill the annual parade and it will be no more. Maybe as it should be! Or, do you think the parade officials will listen to the majority of people and change the name back to what had worked for years?

I’m going to keep watching this and see what happens in the future.

Dropping the name “Christmas” to be inclusive? Give me a break!

Can You "See" Me Now?

A story out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, troubles me. Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned a difficult lesson after he left his cell phone behind at a McDonald’s restaurant. It seems that Mr. Sherman had nude photos of his wife stored on his phone. And, the photos ended up online.

Now he and his wife, Tina, are suing the McDonald’s Corp., the franchise owner and the store manager. The suit was filed Friday and seeks a jury trial and $3 million in damages for suffering, embarrassment, and the cost of having to move to a new home.

The suit says that Phillip Sherman left the phone the Fayetteville store in July and that employees promised to secure it until he returned.

Manager Aaron Brummley declined to comment.

Now, I will say that whoever put the pictures online was wrong. There’s no doubt that they should be dismissed from their job. I have no doubt that the Manager Brummley should apologize for the actions of his employees. But, a lawsuit? Three million dollars? And, a new house?

Give me a break. Did Mr. Sherman ever think that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to store naked pictures of his wife on his phone? Doesn’t he have some responsibility here?

Unfortunately, in America today, few people own up to their own responsibility—it’s always someone else’s fault.

Tell you what Mr. Sherman—free Big Macs for life! Or, how about free salads or ice cream cones? How about free happy meals? And, maybe one of the gifts in the happy meal will be a chain to tie your next cell phone to your belt!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wrong on So Many Levels

This is wrong. It is wrong on so many levels. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You may even be tempted to spit hot coffee onto the screen. Have you be warned adequately? I hope so! Now, just promise me. No matter how painful this is, please watch this video all the way to the end. All the way. Don't turn the sound down. Don't look away. Just watch.

And then, if you can do so without cursing me, please leave a few comments.

Those should be interesting!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Before He Speaks

A regular visitor and commentor on here is Pastor Rick Boyne. Rick's a good guy, even though he pulls for the Oklahoma Sooners--hope he still does after today's football game!

Anyway, Rick posted a great video on his site yesterday! It is absolutely, totally too funny. Go over to his site and watch the video and then come back and watch the video below, produced by the same church. I think you'll like this one as well.

I think Rick and the other pastors you know will agree that there's a lot of truth in these videos.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Waking the Dead

Talk about bad timing! A North Carolina sheriff’s official is apologizing for disturbing a funeral where undercover agents tried to serve an arrest warrant on the dead man’s son—and used a Taser to do so.

The Star-News of Wilmington reports that the incident happened Saturday afternoon as the coffin was being loaded into a hearse. The officers planned to quietly arrest Gladwyn Taft Russ III, but it turned into a scuffle. The 42-year-old Russ was charged with communicating threats against his ex-wife who lives in another state. Officials said he failed to turn himself in as promised.

New Hanover County sheriff’s chief deputy Ed McMahon said the officers’ move backfired in the emotional environment. McMahon said the officers should have waited until after the cemetery service.

What do you think? Did the officers overreact? Should they have waited? Was there a better plan that they could have used?

Some Things are Beyond Description

You know, nothing like this story ever happened to me as a kid. Never. That's good, I know.

It appears that a 27-year-old woman has been arrested on charges of distributing harmful material to a minor after a 14-year-old’s parents found a topless photo of her on his cell phone.

Victoria Ann Chacon, a former middle school teacher, allegedly met the boy at their church, where she was a Sunday school teacher. (The story just gets worse and worse, doesn't it?) Authorities at Somerset Independent School District said they found no evidence of any inappropriate relationships with their students; the 14-year-old attended school elsewhere.

The boy’s parents called police in March after finding racy letters in which Chacon professed her love. The boy initially refused to give a statement about the relationship, the arrest warrant says.

Several months later, the parents found a cell phone with a topless photo of Chacon. The phone was owned by Chacon and the two had been calling one another, according to court documents.
The woman was arrested Tuesday.

Sad, really, it is. This poor boy will be changed by this for the rest of his life. Ms. Chacon, well, there’s nothing good to say about her and the damage she has done. Hopefully, she will seek help through this. And, hopefully, she’s take ownership for her actions and mistakes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Have You Checked Your Inbox?

Sweet Home, Oregon, really isn’t a very sweet place, at least for Janella Spears who is out $400,000 after falling for a well-known Internet scam. Yet, Mrs. Spears says she wasn’t a sucker or an easy mark.

Here’s the story. Janella Spears of Sweet Home says she simply became curious when she received an email promising her $20.5 million if she would only help out a long-lost relative identified as J.B. Spears with a little money up front.

Spears, who is a nursing administrator and CPR teacher, said she mortgaged the house and took a lien out on the family car, and ran through her husband’s retirement account. “The retirement he was dreaming of—cruising and going around and seeing America—is pretty much gone for him right now,” she said. She estimates it will take two years to clear the debt that accumulated in the more than two years she spent sending money to con artists.

Now, get this. Her family and bank officials told her it was all a scam, she said, and begged her to stop, but she persisted because she became obsessed with getting paid.

The scheme is often called the “Nigerian scam” and it’s familiar to many people with email accounts. It still exists and it still works.

Spears first sent $100 through an untraceable wire service as directed by the scammers. Then, more multimillion dollar promises followed so long as she sent more money. The scammers sent Spears official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and the United Nations. President Bush and FBI Director Robert Mueller were also involved, the emails said, and needed her help.

They sent official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and even from the United Nations, saying her payment was “guaranteed.”

But it wasn’t and now Spears is paying the price for her costly lesson.

First of all folks, if you have an extra $400,000 that you can get your hands on, just go ahead and send it to me. You’ve got as much chance of receiving $20 million from me as you do from a long lost friend or relative in Nigeria! Just send it my way, I’ll make sure it goes to a good use. Trust me. I promise. I mean it. I really do. Honest.

Family told her to stop. Friends told her to stop. Bank officials told her to stop. But, she couldn’t. She wouldn’t stop. She had to get rich. She had to get something grand for something little. A huge return on a “small” investment.

I’ll tell you what. The next time I get an email telling me that President Bush or FBI Director Mueller needs my help or I get a letter from the United Nations, I’ll know just what to do with it! Trash it. I won’t think about it. I won’t ponder it. I won’t count my treasure. The email or the letter will go right where it belongs. Either in the delete file or trash can.

Oh, I think I hear my inbox dinging. Could it be from a rich relative overseas?

Withholding Judgment

Are you as guilty as I am about jumping to conclusions? I see a homeless person, and at times, I think, "What a bum. If he would just get a job!" Or, if I see someone speeding down the highway, I am quick to pass judgment, hoping they get a ticket over the next hill. Or, I see a mother being distant to her children in the park, and I can often think, "What a bad parent!"

Little may I know that the homeless person was living paycheck to paycheck, and lost his/her job just last week when the employer was found guilty of defrauding the government.

Little may I know that the person speeding is on the way to the hospital after hearing of their child being involved in a car accident.

Or, little may I know that the distant mother with her children may have just been told by her husband that he is leaving.

We are too quick to rush to judgment. More precisely, I am too quick to rush to judgment.

Case in point, I've added a drawing here. My wife, who teaches third grade, sent it to me. It was not from one of her students. But, as we all do, she sent it to me after someone sent it to her. Look carefully at the picture. What do you see?

Okay, what was your first thought? Be honest!

You know what you are really seeing? The mommy works at The Home Depot. She works in the shovel department and people are wanting to buy shovels!

Not quite what we saw to begin with, is it?

Today, be mindful not to judge those around you. God only knows how we are being judged by those who look at us from a distance!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Am I Old Or Just Wiser?

A schoolboy collapsed and went into convulsions after playing a new version of the “World of Warcraft” online computer game for 24 hours straight. The 15-year-old boy and his friends were exploring the “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion pack when he suffered what appeared to be an epileptic seizure, it was reported earlier this week. Now, in total truth, I have no idea what this game is or what the Wrath of Lich is. But, that doesn’t really relate to this story.

“They played all day and all night. Maybe they got a few hours of sleep. They ate a little food and breakfast at their computers,” the boy's father told a newspaper in Sweden.

Doctors told the father that his son’s bodily systems had been disrupted by a combination of sleep deprivation, lack of food, and the prolonged period of concentration playing the game.
The teenager and six friends were reported to have gathered at his home in Laholm, western Sweden, on Saturday to play the updated version of the game, which went on sale Thursday. He collapsed at around 2 p.m. Sunday.

The boy is expected to make a full recovery but his father said he plans on limiting the amount of time his son is allowed to play computer games.

Oh, so many questions here. Now, as a disclaimer, let me say that I love to play video games. My addiction to video games started in college! I played hours and hours of Pac Man and other games in the Student Center at Samford University. Maybe I should have spent less time there and more hours in the library, but I digress!

But, somehow, I always knew my limit playing video games—usually when I ran out of quarters!

Now, how many students have to collapse playing video games before parents know there’s a problem? Seriously! Don’t parents know the dangers of video games or computer usage? Is this a top secret fact that many parents don’t know about? Common on people! If you don’t know this truth, go back and reread this story again. See the dangers!

Then, another question, why was a parent letting their child eat all of his meals at the computer? How healthy can that be?

Folks, left to their own vices, children and teenagers don’t always make the right choices, is that news to anyone? Not all teenagers. Not all children. Not all parents are bad. But, there have been way too many stories like this lately.

Take some time to turn off the computer. Focus on your family. Read a good book. Read a bad book. Listen to some music. Take a walk. Go for a run. Just don’t be controlled by some piece of electronics!

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling All the Way to Jail

Authorities on Florida’s east coast have arrested a man in a wheelchair who they say robbed a credit union on Merritt Island and hid the money in his prosthetic leg. I promise, I’m not making this stuff up!

Brevard County deputies say 45-year-old Christopher Warren Reed was caught Friday afternoon about 10 minutes after they say he robbed Space Coast Credit Union. Reed is a paraplegic who uses a motorized wheelchair. I have to wonder at this point why it took 10 minutes to locate Mr. Reed.

Investigators say he came into the credit union about 4:00 p.m., told a teller he was armed with an explosive, and demanded money. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash—don’t all robbers leave with an undisclosed amount of money?

Mr. Reed told deputies that two people had threatened him with a gun, told him to commit the robbery, and were going to take the money for themselves. He was charged with robbery, grand theft, threatening to use a hoax explosive device, and aggravated assault.

So many questions come to mind here. How did Mr. Reed get away? Did he have a getaway van parked in the handicapped parking spot closest to the bank? Did he simply roll down the sidewalk, heading toward his house? Or, did he simply try to blend in to his surroundings?

I suppose it takes desperation to rob a bank. Or, maybe it takes stupidity. But, someone should remind Mr. Reed that the excuse he offered police has already been used, and if memory serves me correctly, those police officers didn’t believe that crook either!

Well, hopefully the bank got their money back in a timely manner. With our economic downturn, they’ll need all they can get.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can It Be True?

Christmas is only 36 days away! Can that be true?

Let the decorating begin!

The ACLU Comes to the Rescue, Again!

I’m not a big fan of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Well, truth be told, I’m not a fan of the ACLU at all! Most of the time, when I see them taking a case, I know that my opinion of what they are doing will be the exact opposite of what they are saying.

That’s why the following story caught my attention. The ACLU is taking up the case of a southwestern Michigan minister who was sent to prison for warning that a judge could be tortured by God. The ACLU said it asked the state appeals court last week to release the Rev. Edward Pinkney on bail while he appeals a probation violation. Lawyers claim his free-speech rights were trampled in Berrien County.

So far, I’m curious about the case. How about you? Seems like I could appreciate what they are doing in this situation. Oh, but wait. There’s more to the story, as Paul Harvey always tells us.

In 2007, Rev. Pinkney was convicted of paying people to vote in a Benton Harbor election. Did you get that? The good, or not so good, reverend was paying people to vote in an election. Okay, now I’m returning to my normal feelings about the ACLU. Why would they want to defend someone who’s buying votes?

Here’s more. Months later, the reverend wrote an article in a Chicago newspaper saying the judge who handled his case, Alfred Butzbaugh, could be punished by God with curses, fever, and “extreme burning” unless he changed his ways.

Then, in June 2008, another Berrien County judge, Dennis Wiley, sent Rev. Pinkney to prison for three to 10 years after finding that he had violated his probation by making a threat against the judge. “Those are words that would ... put the fear of God into anybody, as a threat that this could happen to them if they do not do what Mr. Pinkney wants him to do, whatever that might be,” Wiley said, according to a transcript.

“To our knowledge, this case marks the first time in modern history that a preacher has been imprisoned for predicting what God might do.” said Michael Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU in Michigan.

Mr. Steinberg might want to check his facts! What about preachers in China, Russia, Thailand, and other countries? What about Christians in various countries in the world who are imprisoned for “preaching” their beliefs in Jesus Christ?” What about Christians in countless Muslim countries? What about students in high schools across America that can no longer wear crosses around their neck or t-shirts sharing a Christian message?

Mr. Steinberg, believers around the world are imprisoned for their beliefs, their love of God, and their sharing the love of Jesus with others. Thousands are martyred each year for the values they hold. Countless millions of Americans can no longer pray at work or school or put up public displays of their faith. Mr. Steinberg, these people are punished, murdered, intimidated, and imprisoned, not for threatening a judge or buying votes, or violating probation, but for their faith in Jesus Christ.

I knew I didn’t like the ACLU.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Operation Smile

Have you smiled today?

I hope so. If not, please keep reading and I promise you a smile will find its way to your face.

So many of us, and I know I am guilty of this as well, take every day blessings for granted. A chipped tooth can be repaired simply enough. A scar can be corrected in a doctor’s office. A mole or spot on our face can be checked and removed as necessary.

Unfortunately, for too many people around the world, they must simply learn to live with their physical imperfections and deformities.

But recently, Operation Smile went to a Burmese village near Mae Sot district. While there, they fixed many of the longstanding physical problems such as cleft lips and palates. During their ministry in Thailand and Burma, the volunteers contributed their time and services.

“They will have a new life and a bright smile. They won’t have to live with physical abnormalities anymore,” said Busaba Chirathivat who is the senior vice president of Central Retail Corporation, which financed the project.

Operation Smile is a wonderful program, doing great work around the world. Thank you Operation Smile and the countless volunteers who are serving those in need! Keep up the great work.

They Just Keep Showing Up Out of No Where!

The feet are back! Or, should I say, the foot is back!

Several months ago, I featured several blog posts about feet that were turning up along the British Columbia’s coast.

Well, another foot has washed up on British Columbia’s south coast, the seventh to be found on the province’s beaches since August 2007.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Annie Linteau confirmed that human remains were inside a New Balance running shoe spotted Tuesday afternoon. “My first reaction was this was a small size, maybe a woman’s shoe,” said Ken Johnston, who fished the shoe out of the Fraser River off Richmond after his wife spotted it while walking their dog.

One right-foot New Balance running shoe—the only one belonging to a woman—has been found since the first foot was located on Jedidiah Island in Georgia Strait on August 20, 2007. That shoe turned up May 22 on Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, not far from the site of Tuesday’s discovery. All the other feet were found at several sites on or near Georgia Strait, including remains in a shoe found in August in Pysht, Washington, about 30 miles west of Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula.

Police have determined that two of the shoes—found February 8 on Valdez Island and June 16 off Richmond—are a match. DNA testing linked one foot to a depressed man who disappeared in 2007 but the other remains have not been identified.

Authorities say it appears that all of the feet separated naturally from bodies as they decomposed in the water.

I don’t know why I am so fascinated with this story, but I am. Maybe it is like watching a train wreck, you don’t want to look, but you’ve just got to look. I’m really curious about why these feet keep washing ashore. Where are they coming from? Why are there so many bodies in the waters off British Columbia? Who put them there? How did the people die? Is one of the feet from Jimmy Hoffa? How about D.B. Cooper?

Oh, inquiring minds just have to know!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gay Pride or Hate Crime

A woman, holding a cross, recently attended a gay marriage protest to voice her support of the California ban against same sex marriage. While at the protest rally, the older woman was attacked by gay marriage supporters.

Phyllis Burgess showed up at the rally last week carrying a large, Styrofoam cross. She was there to show her belief in traditional marriage.

Within minutes, however, angry protesters swarmed around the Palm Springs resident, yanked the cross from her hands and trampled on it.

Palm Springs police have made no arrests yet, but said they spent time trying to convince Burgess to file charges against some of the demonstrators.

What do you think? Was her freedom of speech trampled upon as well as her cross? Was this a hate crime against her?

Now, if the situation was reversed, and she had trampled upon a gay pride flag, would the national media be casting her action as a hate crime? Where is the national media on this story? Have you even heard about it until now?

Interesting how these stories get buried, isn’t it?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday.

She probably wouldn't want me to tell you how many birthdays she has had.

I don't know why I don't tell you, because my mother and father don't blog. They've never read my blog. Others in my family and associated with the family do read it, but never comment on it. I guess they are like little sponges--they just soak in the good stuff--when the good stuff is here!

Well, my parents never will read my blog. They just aren't into that.

Now, they love to look at Evan's photos online! And, they've gone through dozens of containers of ink and reams of paper printing out those photos from his blog.

Blogging is another matter. I don't think they see the purpose in it. Sometimes, I don't know that I see the point of it either, but my blogging family sure is fun to keep up with!

Even though they don't read my blog, that's not going to stop me from wishing her a happy birthday!

I've already sent a card. And, at some point today, I'll call her and wish her a happy birthday personally. We'll see them around Thanksgiving, so they won't have to go too long without seeing Evan (and you know they'd rather seem him or me and the Mrs.

Oh well, happy birthday Mom! Hope you have a wonderful day. And, for any family members reading this, be sure to tell her I remembered! And, it's on my blog, in case they are interested!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hold the Bacon

A Francis Bacon self-portrait failed to sell at auction in New York this past Wednesday, in what many in the art world says is another sign the souring economy is having a crushing effect on fall season art sales.

Bacon’s 1964 “Study for Self Portrait”—billed as a highlight of Christie’s contemporary art auction—was estimated to take in some $40 million. But when the bidding stopped at $27.4 million the esteemed auction house halted the proceedings, to a chorus of gasps.

Seventy-five contemporary works were on sale Wednesday. Among the most important lots was a Jean-Michel Basquiat painter of a boxer, owned by Metallica co-founder and drummer Lars Ulrich, which fetched just over $13.5 million but short of the record $14.6 million for a Basquiat.

Experts claim that the global financial tsunami has not spared the art market, and sales of impressionist, modern and contemporary works since the fall season kicked off November 3 have been well below previous levels.

The number of unsold works has often exceeded 30 or 40 percent of lots this month, and barring a few notable exceptions the sales prices are on the whole lower than the estimates for the majority of pieces.

I don’t know. Is it just me? Could it be the reason the painting didn’t go for more was the fact that it is absolutely ugly! Who, in their right mind, would want to hang that painting on display? I’d have nightmares if I had to look at that painting all the time!

Okay Mr., Mrs., or Miss “Art Critics”, tell me what you think. Am I missing something here?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Merry What?

You’d better watch out. You’d better not pout. I’m telling you why. Jesus isn’t coming to town! At least not to one American city.

In Washington, D.C., there’s a new Christmas war battling. No, it has nothing to do with the Obama’s arriving in town.

Ads proclaiming, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December.

The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. In lifting lyrics from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square, and the meaning of Christmas.

“We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you,” said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. “Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists, and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion.”

Edwords said the purpose isn’t to argue that God doesn’t exist or change minds about a deity, although “we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.”

There was no debate at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority over whether to take the ad. Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the agency accepts ads that aren’t obscene or pornographic.

What do you think? Should the transit authority have allowed this? Why? Why not?

Can You Hear Me Now?

In a former day and time, I served as a volunteer chaplain/fireman for our local fire department. One of the greatest thrills in serving on the fire department was driving the fire truck. (Did you expect me to say helping people?) However, driving the fire truck was also one of the greatest problems. Well, the truck wasn’t the problem, it was the people who didn’t see or hear the truck coming that was the problem.

Now, I know you’ve seen and heard fire trucks. You know how big they are. How brightly red they are (in most places, yellow in others, even lime green in some places). And how loud they are. Especially when the driver hits the air horn!

I’ll never forget going to an automobile accident one day. I’m driving the big, red, loud fire truck. We’re doing about 60 MPH or so. Down the road, I see a car going very slow. I also can see the driver is moving and grooving to the music she is listening to. And, I also can tell, she has no idea the fire truck is coming up behind her, responding to an emergency call. So, I slow down, my partner in the passenger seat begins going through the various sounds we had on the siren. Some loud. Some really loud. And some almost deafening loud. Yet, she was still unaffected by the fire truck and I couldn’t pass her on the road. She was enjoying her music. And, she was about to be run over by the big, red, loud fire truck with me driving.

So, what should I do? I couldn’t stay behind her for the next three miles, going 35 miles an hour. Well, I did what any good driver would do, I laid my foot down on the air horn and let her rip! Well, the female driver just about come out of the hard-topped roof of her car. Fortunately, we didn’t have to stop and help her out of the ditch or anything, but I got the feeling after that experience that she would pay more attention in the future about what was happening behind her!

Well, those days may soon be over for firemen and ambulance drivers. If the story out of Oklahoma catches on.

Soon, even if you can’t hear the siren, you’ll be able to feel when an emergency vehicle is coming. Oklahoma’s largest ambulance company will become the first ambulance service in the nation to outfit its entire fleet with new Howler sirens, designed to emit low-frequency tones that penetrate objects within 200 feet—such as cars—to alert drivers.

The Emergency Medical Services Authority has equipped one ambulance with the new siren and plans to have them installed on all 77 units in Oklahoma within six months. Officials say the sirens are ideal for cutting through a sea of traffic, and give emergency responders another tool to let drivers know an ambulance is heading their way.

So far this year, EMSA vehicles have been involved in 16 intersection accidents, typically caused by an unyielding driver. Fifteen of those times, the ambulances were on a call, said EMSA spokeswoman Tina Wells.

“The most frequent thing motorists say to us is they didn’t see the ambulance coming,” Wells said.

During a demonstration of the new product, two ambulances were parked near each other. A plastic stepladder with three glasses of liquid on top was placed in between the vehicles. The ambulance without the Howler sounded its siren and produced its familiar wail. Then, the Howler, which produced booms that sounded like a 1980s video game played at an earsplitting level. The liquids in the three glasses rippled. Wells jokingly said the new sirens sounded like “a vacuum cleaner on steroids.”

“It’s going to make going through intersections much safer,” said Tulsa Police Officer Mike Avey, who has worked traffic accidents. “People are on their cell phones, people have $1,000 sound systems. You’re going to feel it.”

The new sirens cost less than $400 each, meaning the entire EMSA fleet can be outfitted for less than $40,000, Wells said. “A moderate accident is going to cost $15,000 in body damage alone,” Wells said. “We see the potential for recouping this almost immediately.”

From me! Wow! If I could only be driving one of those things! Now, having just taken a ride in an ambulance last month, I’m thankful for this new technology. Maybe a few minutes of transport time will be shaved off and lives will be saved!

Have you checked your rearview mirror lately?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ugly Is Only Skin Deep

I know. I hear you. I especially hear Heidi groaning over the picture above. Sorry about that. But, to tell the story, you’ve just got to see the picture!

This is a sad tale or is that tail? I guess it could be both. You see, a one-eyed, three-legged dog that won the title of world’s ugliest pooch this summer has died.

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida reports that Gus, a Chinese crested dog, had cancer. He was nine years old.

Gus was rescued from a terrible situation and went on to win the annual World’s Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in northern California.

Gus came from humble origins. According to the fair, his adopted family in Gulfport, Florida, rescued him after learning he was being kept in a crate inside someone’s garage. He had one leg amputated because of a skin tumor and lost an eye in a cat fight.

Now, the best I can tell, the picture above was taken BEFORE Gus’s death; however, knowing how ugly he was in life, could he really look much worse in death? I don’t know. Well, his eyes are open in the picture…hopefully, someone would have closed them if this was taken AFTER his death.

Gus, if there are dogs in heaven, I really hope you go there. You do deserve a new body (if dogs get new bodies, and if they go to heaven). If you do make it to the golden streets, I’ll try to remember to look you up with I get there—I’m quite sure it will be far better than anything you’ve experienced here.

I just hope your new tongue will stay in your new mouth! The tongue hanging out—isn’t a good look! Not even for the world’s ugliest dog.

Tim Robbins vs. New York City

Last week, I featured a story about Tim Robbins, one of my least all time favorite actors, TV or movie personalities, and to be quite frank, human beings.

Now, it’s time for Tim Robbins vs. the city’s Board of Elections—Round 2. And, this one is a real good round. Not for Mr. Robbins. But, for the city! Enjoy.

You will remember that the actor caused a ruckus on election day, when he went to vote at the YMCA on West 14th Street and found his name wasn’t in the poll book. He refused to cast a paper ballot, claiming that paper ballots are often just thrown away and never counted. So, he got a court order to allow him to pull the lever.

Mr. Robbins complained, “This is just one example of how difficult it is to vote in the US.”

Well, not so fast Mr. Robbins. In a letter to Robbins yesterday, the board said he went to the wrong polling place because he’d moved from West 15th Street to West 19th on February 19, 2004, so his voting location changed to West 20th.

Then, the real kicker, the problem wasn’t noticed earlier because he hadn’t voted in recent elections, the board said.

Oh, how appropriate, on so many levels, this is so appropriate! Let’s recount (to borrow a 2000 election term):

1) Tim Robbins caused a ruckus because he couldn’t vote on election day.
2) So, Robbins goes all the way to court to get a court order to allow him to vote.
3) Mr. Robbins says that his problem shows just how difficult it is to vote in America.
4) Now, the truth comes out. Mr. Robbins went to the wrong voting place.
5) Why? Oh, simple. He hasn’t voted in recent elections!
6) Imagine that.
7) Wonder what was so difficult about previous elections? What stopped him from voting in those elections?

I know we should not laugh at other people’s stupidity. But forgive me as I do in this situation!

Some advice Mr. Tim Robbins? Before making a scene and blaming America for being a difficult place to vote, be sure to vote often enough to know where your polling place is! Remember. You can’t blame them for moving the polling place—you are the person who moved! And when you move, most of the time your voting place moves!

I love the rest of this story!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Major James Richards Jr. thought his 22-year Army career was finished when he retired in 1993.

But when the military called, the 60-year-old volunteered for another tour of duty and deployed to Iraq.

Richards, a married father of five with several grandchildren, deployed to Iraq two months ago to become the headquarters company commander for the Fort Bragg-based 44th Medical Command.

“As corny as it may sound ... I wanted to serve the country again, and I felt like I was still mentally and physically in good enough shape to do that,” Richards said in a telephone interview from Iraq.

Richards, of Huntsville, Alabama, started his military career during the Vietnam War and retired at age 45. But when the Army started a program about four years ago to welcome back volunteer retirees in good enough shape to return to active duty, Richards offered to return.

Last fall, the Army called.

Richards took a leave of absence from his job as a contractor for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. He deployed to Iraq on Sept. 7.

“I can honestly say that every day since I’ve come back on active duty, I’ve been excited about being able to put on a uniform again,” he said.

Back home in Alabama, his wife, Angela, said her husband seemed like he needed a new challenge and embraced his latest mission. They have five daughters, a couple of grandsons and four granddaughters. “I am concerned, of course. We are both mature adults and realize things can happen. Things can happen in your house. I just pray for his safety and all the soldiers.”

You know, with so much bad press about the military and the war and whether or not our country supports the war, I am so proud to read this story about Major Richards! What a brave American. What an American hero!

Happy Veteran’s Day to all veterans and active duty personnel. May God bless you with wisdom and safety.

Have You Heard the Word on the Playground?

A laugh is a terrible thing to waste. So, as you watch this video, don't waste a single one!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Wing and a Prayer

I don’t like to fly. Never have. Probably never will. Unfortunately, my job often requires me to fly, and no matter how much I do it, I still don’t like it. So, don’t tell me that it gets better with time—it doesn’t for me. I’m glad if you enjoy flying and can’t get enough of it. For me, if I never fly again, that was still one time too many!

There are many reasons I don’t like to fly, I’ll save you from those reasons right now, but the story below gives me pause about how dangerous flying can be. And yes, I know this story is about a pilot of a small plane, and it could never happen on a commercial airliner, but do you really think that will help my irrational fear of flying? Of course not! I’m not going to let it!

It seems that a British pilot last week lost his sight after suffering a stroke mid-flight from Scotland to Essex. The pilot was eventually talked through a safe landing by a crew of Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots sent to his aid.

Jim O’Neill, 65, put out a mayday call after a suspected stroke caused blood to put pressure on his optic nerves, blinding him. A Royal Air Force team was scrambled to guide the two-seat Cessna to safety. (And, since I am afraid of flying—I assume to shoot it down if it became a mass destruction type of weapon.)

With help from air traffic controllers O’Neill managed to land the plane on his fourth attempt.
“I should not be alive. I owe my life—and those of dozens of people I could have crash-landed on — to the RAF. It was terrifying. Suddenly I couldn’t see the dials in front of me.”

RAF Captain Mark Hopkins told the paper, “The royal Air Force has the best pilots and air traffic controllers in the world. This team effort from Linton-on-Ouse lives up to its reputation. Shepherding aircraft in this way is something we do from time to time, but this is a very strange case.”

I hope it is strange! And, I hope they never have to do that again. Especially if I am ever on board a small plane like that with a pilot who has a stroke! Then again, if that were to happen, I’m glad to know they’ve got experience to help talk us down! I just hope they know how to restart a stopped heart—because I have no doubt that would be the case with my heart at that moment!

Crazy Like A Fox, Literally

Last Wednesday night, the youth program at a South Carolina church was interrupted when a fox burst in and attacked three people. Now, you don’t see that happen every day, do you? Thankfully!

The bite victims are now waiting to see whether they’ll need to be treated for rabies after the Wednesday night incident.

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, South Carolina, reported that a woman opened the door of the family life center at Liberty Baptist Church in Inman to lead youth group members to the main building when the fox pounced. The animal jumped on the skirt of Pastor David Duncan’s 20-year-old daughter, Alicia Duncan, and its teeth scratched her legs. Two other people were bitten.

Several people tried to scare the fox outside and had to use metal chairs to hit it. Officials say the animal was hurt when officers arrived and it died shortly thereafter.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control was conducting tests to determine if it was rabid.

There’s a show on TV called “When Animals Go Bad” or something like that. Well, this story probably should find its way to that show!

Well, there’s good news here, I think. Too often, when experiences like this happen, someone in the church will blame the pastor for letting it happen. “If the pastor had done this,” or, “If the pastor had done that, none of this would have happened.” I hate that the pastor’s daughter was bitten, but hopefully, no one will think he caused this incident to take place! Surely that won’t happen. Not with his own daughter being bitten!

Ever had anything like this to take place in your church? Care to share the story with the rest of the blogging world?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prohibition Day

The symbol to the left is call a Prohibition Symbol. Honest, it is! I'm not sure why. Maybe I should have taken the time to research it a little more, but I'm not going to do that today. If any reader wants to take the time to research it and to share with our readers, that would be greatly appreciated. But, for now, just know that it is a prohibition symbol or sign.

The point today is not the meaning behind the symbol. The point today is what I am not going to do. Today, I am not going to spend time on the computer reading blogs or commenting on my own blog. I'm having a "No Computer Day." So, should you feel led to comment here today, please be nice. If you chose not to be nice, I'll simply delete your comment tomorrow. And, the great thing about Sitemeter (that little counter at the bottom right of my page) is that I will know who was being naughty and who was being nice! (And, I'm not above telling Santa!) I think some blog readers forget that every time they log on to a blog site, it is being recorded. I know who visits my site, for the most part, on any given day, all by the IP address left behind.

Well, today is "No Computer Day." It's not a national event, it is just my own personal decision to unplug for the day. I have a terrible habit of staying connected. I don't know what drives me to do that, but I have that urge to keep up, to know what is happening, and to see what others have said.

I made the decision this past week to disconnect more often. I've started by not reading my email at night. After a very frustrating email on Monday night, that literally woke me up at 2:00 AM and would not let me go back to sleep, I decided enough was enough. Well, in truth, I can't blame the email or the person who sent it. The email didn't keep me awake, I allowed the email to keep me awake for most of the night.

I won't do that again! I've told the people I work with not to expect an email reply after I leave in the afternoons. And, I'm telling you here, if you email me after quitting time, you'll hear back from me first thing in the morning.

Now, I'm still going to blog and facebook from home. Those things are not work. They are for fun and relaxation. So, don't be surprised if you comment on my blog at 7:00 PM to see me respond within a few minutes. As my wife grades papers, I'd rather be blogging than to be watching TV.

Just don't expect those things today.

Anyway, it is Sunday.

My computer needs a rest, a day off. Afterall, who even reads blogs on Sunday? I know a few of you do--you are kind of like the group of people who go to Sunday night worship! The cream of the crop! Now, if you are reading this on Monday, you are still good--but the cream rose to the top yesterday! :)

Have a great day today. May the King be real to you in all that you do for Him today!

And, thanks. Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for the sense of family and community when I come here.

I'll be interested to see tomorrow who visited my site today!

Happy Prohibition Sign Day!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Only Makes Sense

Sometimes, you really don’t need to read the entire story to know what happens in the end.

Here’s a case in point.

An airline crew had to use duct tape (duct tape has to be the best invention ever!) to keep a passenger in her seat because they say she became unruly, fighting flight attendants, and grabbing other passengers, forcing the flight to land in North Carolina.

Maria Esther Castillo was due in court this week, charged with resisting arrest and interfering with the operations of a flight crew aboard United Airlines Flight 645, from Puerto Rico to Chicago.

Castillo, 45, struck a flight attendant on the buttocks with the back of her hand during Saturday’s flight, FBI Special Agent Peter Carricato said in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. She also stood and fell onto the head of a blind passenger and later started pulling the person’s hair, the complaint stated.

Ankle cuffs kept slipping off Castillo, so the flight crew and two passengers were forced to use duct tape to keep her in her seat, the complaint states.

Ms. Castillo calmed down as the pilot diverted the flight to Charlotte-Douglass International Airport, but became disruptive again when authorities boarded the plane to remove her, authorities said.

Now, here’s the part you really don’t have to read—I’m sure by now you know the rest of the story. But, humor me, go ahead and read the next paragraph anyway.

The FBI agent said that a passenger saw Castillo having drinks in an airport bar before boarding. She bought another drink on the plane. Flight attendants stopped serving her alcohol because of her behavior, the complaint states.

Was there any doubt what caused the problem? Did you really have to read the words?

I don’t drink. Never have. Never really wanted to. I understand many people do drink and most never have a problem. But, how many times do we read stories just like this, and the cause always seems to be alcohol related.

In my job, I have to fly from time-to-time. The next time you read that I am about to fly, please remind me to pack some duct tape in my bag. You just never know when it might come in handy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Little Explanation Required

An Alaskan motorist who was confronted by a state trooper said he was stunned when the officer told him the car he was driving had been stolen. Charles J. Schultz explained that he was driving his Chevy Cavalier and everything was fine.

That’s when the trooper informed Schultz that he was actually behind the wheel of a Ford Escort.

Police charged Schultz with auto theft, felony driving under the influence and misdemeanor drugs misconduct. And to no one’s surprise, police said the 27-year-old’s blood-alcohol content was .166, more than twice the legal limit.

The whole incident started when Fairbanks police received a report shortly after midnight last Friday that a Ford Escort had been stolen from the parking lot of a gentlemen’s club. An officer spotted the stolen Ford two hours later—with Schultz driving.

Schultz swore he had no memory of taking the wrong vehicle outside the club, according to a criminal complaint.

Let’s see…the incident started at a gentlemen’s club—never been sure why they call it that, no gentlemen would be caught dead in one of those places! It took place after midnight—that’s when my mother and father said most people get into trouble! He was found to have a blood alcohol level of .166, .08 is considered drunk. He was charged with having drugs or drugs misconduct.

Do you really think his swearing he has no memory of the incident taking place will hold up in court? I certainly hope not!

But, this is the new America. Who knows what the outcome will be!

A Dose of Reality

I will admit something to you. I do not like Tim Robbins. Do you know the name? He’s an actor and lives with Susan Sarandon. He won’t marry her, but cohabitates with her. There aren’t many people in the world that I really don’t like, but he ranks at the top of the list.

Why? Well, Mr. Robbins is an actor and well-known liberal activist. And, he always seems to have to have his way—no matter what. And if he doesn’t get his way, the threats start.

Well, apparently, Mr. Robbins didn’t like the way he was treated on election day this year. According to reports, he became enraged when officials at his usual polling location in New York informed him that his name was not on the register. Polling authorities asked him to fill out a provisional ballot instead of using the machine.

But, Mr. Robbins refused. His reasoning? Simple. He said that he doesn’t trust paper or affidavit ballots because “oftentimes those things get lost or thrown away." So he did not submit his and asked to speak to a supervisor.

Next, Mr. Robbins stayed in the voting place and asked to see someone from the Board of Elections. He told the poll workers that he wasn’t going to leave until someone from the Board of Elections came and explained to him why he wasn’t being allowed to vote—why his name had been taken off the voter rolls.”

The supervisor called a police officer called over. At that point, Mr. Robbins screamed, “Are you trying to intimidate me?”

Mr. Robbins wasn’t about to give up so easily. He was so determined to vote, that he went all the way to the City Board of Elections to obtain proof that he was a registered voter.

Here was his reasoning, in his own words: “While I was waiting, according to poll workers, 30 people in the first five hours of voting have been taken off the rolls, so you do the math on that. Six per hour, per district across America…If anything it seems like a random thing, but in randomness there are numbers. And there have been in the past. This is just one example of how difficult it is to vote in the United States.

Well, I’ve got some words of wisdom for Mr. Robbins—try voting in Iran, or Russia, or Venezuela. If he thinks it is so tough here, go somewhere else. I really tire of these Hollywood actors and actresses threatening people because they are so “famous.” The threats ring hollow now. How many times can they threaten that they will leave our country if this or that doesn’t go their way? Go already. Leave. Take your talents and move. If you don’t love the country and our system of governance, so be it—there are plenty of countries that might accept you. See how much your celebrity status gains for you there.

Am I being unfair? Too harsh? Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Political Commentary

Over the last few weeks and months, I have tried to stay away from the political conversation that seems to have eaten Americans alive. I saw no real value in sharing my comments or thoughts. You are smart enough to vote and to figure out who to vote for. You don’t need an Internet blogger to tell you about politics. Or, what you need to do.

Over these months, I have watched carefully some of my favorite blogs as the election took place and then yesterday after it was over. I wanted to see what my blogging friends had to say.

As you have time, look at these sites and read some great words of wisdom.

Heidi is a smart, talented, and passionate young woman who is in love with the Lord, her husband, and her children. Heidi shared some of the greatest words I found about the election and the outcome.

Rick is a great pastor! There is no doubt that he has not only a pastor’s heart, but also an undeniable love of missions. Rick shared great insight about God being on His throne. You can’t go wrong reading what he wrote.

Bill may be the most read blogger friend I have. He puts me to shame on how much he reads and how well versed he is on many levels. Bill stayed completely out of the political discussion before and after the election. On the “day after the election” I was greatly impressed with his choice of posts.

SelahV is one of the greatest writers I read online. Mrs. V., as I like to call her, is a passionate woman who is unafraid to share her heart and life. Don't read her site unless you want honesty.

Kevin always writes from the heart and cuff--never really holding back his thoughts or beliefs. See what Kevin was led to write on the day after.

As I said, take a moment to read over the linked posts. If you care to share a thought with them or me, please feel free to do so.

A Well-Deserved Recognition

Are you familiar with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)?

They are a great organization! And, now their efforts have been recognized. MAF was awarded a 2008 “Passion Award” by the Servant Christian Community Foundation (SCCF) earlier this week for its outstanding commitment to furthering the Gospel.

The prestigious award was presented to MAF during the “Thurman Mitchell Servant Leadership Celebration,” which was held at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

“We are elated to receive this remarkable award,” said Ghislaine Benney, director of development for MAF. “SCCF is committed to helping people give creatively and efficiently. We are thankful for the services they provide, not only for ministries like ours, but to ministries all over the world.”

This marks the seventh year for the Thurman Mitchell Servant Leadership Celebration. The award was named for a beloved Kansas City leader and public figure, Thurman Mitchell, who served as a popular television news reporter for KCTV for two decades. In 1998, he became a full-time pastor and founder of Urban Youth Leadership. He also was an instrumental part of forming the Kansas City Alliance of Urban Ministries.

Connie Hougland, SCCF vice president said, “The real standout about MAF is its commitment to the Gospel—to do whatever it takes—and the resource it is to other ministries. It’s not just about them. It’s about how they partner with other ministries and help and empower others. Being in 27 countries, they also have a broad reach. And their ministry is fiscally responsible.”

Did you read what Ms. Hougland said? “It’s not just about them…” What a great statement to be said about a ministry, any ministry, any Christ follower. “It’s not about you!”

For you see, in truth, what a believer does isn’t about him or her, it is about the King they are following. It isn’t about us!

How I wish that could be said more about each of us. When someone looks at how you live, may those onlookers say, “There’s something different about them! I wonder what it is!” The answer: Jesus! When someone comments about your servant heart and question: “Why do you do what you do? Answer: Jesus! When a neighbor or coworker says, “You don’t live like I do.” Reason: Jesus!

I hope today someone will say: “It’s not about you—it’s all about Jesus!”—and you will take that as a compliment! Because, it will be!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Are Your Plans for the Next Decade or Two?

Okay, I feel much younger now. And, no matter how old you are, the following story will probably make you feel better about your age and abilities as well.

The story is from Tennessee. Ken Mink, a 73-year-old full-time student at Roane State Community College scored two points Monday night in his school’s 93-42 victory over King College’s junior varsity. Mink entered the game with about 16 minutes left in the second half and attempted one shot in about three minutes. Seven minutes later, he went back in the game, was fouled and made two free throws.

“I found myself on the free-throw line 52 years after my last college game,” Mink said. “I said, ‘Just relax and shoot it like you know how to all day long.’ I just floated the shots in there. I’m in the books now. I can relax a little bit.”

Mink, of Knoxville, Tennessee, last played college basketball 52 years ago at Lees College in Jackson, Kentucky. After someone soaped the basketball coach’s office, he lost his spot on the team and was expelled. Mink still says he didn’t do it.

Last year, after shooting baskets at a neighbor’s house, he wrote to several area colleges, and Roane State coach Randy Nesbit agreed to give him a chance. Mink has practiced regularly with the team since school began in August.

So, do you feel better now?

I wonder what I will be doing at 72.

I hope I’m still living, first of all!

Then, I hope I’m still learning! And maturing! And growing! And shooting baskets! Well, I’ve never been very good at basketball. I hope I’m enjoying life as much as Mr. Mink seems to be.

Man's Best Friend?

We have all heard the “man bites dog” stories, but how about a real-life “man marries dog” tale!

This one takes the biscuit, and it could only happen in India.

It took place for real during a traditional Hindu ceremony at a temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The groom in question was a 33-year-old Indian farmer named Selvakumar, and he was wed to a female dog named Selvi. He married his four legged friend to atone for stoning two other dogs to death and stringing them up in a tree 15 years ago.

Selvakumar believed the act cursed him and he had been suffering ever since, he told the Hindustan Times. After he stoned the dogs he said his legs and hands got paralysed, he lost hearing in one ear, and his speech was impaired. With doctors unable to help him, Selvakumar turned to an astrologer who told him he was cursed by the spirits of the dogs he had killed. He could undo the curse only if he married a dog and live with it, the soothsayer warned.

Family members chose a stray female dog that was then bathed and clothed for the wedding occasion. Selvi the bride was brought to the temple by village women and a Hindu priest conducted the ceremony. The paper showed a picture of Selvakumar sitting next to his canine bride, which was adorned in an orange sari and flower garland. The paper said the groom and his family then had a feast, while the dog got a bun.

It was reported that Selvi attempted to make a bolt for it—apparently due to the big crowds—but she was tracked down and returned to her new “husband”.

I guess the story could be worse. He could have married an elephant, or giraffe, or may be a wild boar. Then again, marrying a dog? I never ceased to be amazed at how confused lost people can be—trusting in everything and everyone, but the Living God. May He grant us wisdom in how to better share the good news of salvation with them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Prayer for America

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States wrote the following prayer:

“Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.

“Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our libertires, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.

“Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that throughobedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.

“In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Where Are the Godly Prayers Today?

On the eve of D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on the radio to address the nation. Listen to these powerful words shared from the Commander in Chief on the day before one of the most important military battles the world has ever known:

“My Fellow Americans

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.

“Amen.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944)

Lord, May It Be So

On October 28, 2004, as America approached its last presidential election, Monica N. Rutt, from San Francisco, California, wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Ms. Rutt wrote:

“I find it disturbing that President Bush’s decisions and principles seem to be guided more strongly by his faith than by presidential pragmatism.

“I honor and appreciate people of all faiths, whether they are devout or not. But it troubles me that Mr. Bush stated in the third debate that he receives ‘'calmness in the storms of the presidency’' from his religion. Given the state of affairs in our country and beyond, I only wish I could say the same.”

While Ms. Rutt is disturbed by President Bush’s faith and guidance by his faith, I can only hope the next President will be such a man. Oh Lord, may it be so!

May God Bless America

Well, today is the day. America will decide the next president of our country. We will either elect the first African American man as President or elect the first female Vice-President. Either way, history will be made. Either way, one party will be disappointed, while the other celebrates. Some will know the thrill of victory, others the agony of defeat.

Either way, our country will remain divided after a bitter political contest that has lasted nearly three years. And, my guess is, that before the night is over, someone will predict who the next candidates will be in four years.

But, the greatest news is this: Come Wednesday morning, God will be on His throne, just as He always has been. God will not change come Wednesday. And, God's desire for all of us will remain the same--He will still desire for all of us to come to salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

Listen to the words of our first President, George Washington:

"Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

"And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

"Grant our supplications, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

(George Washington, Written at Newburg, June 8th, 1783, sent to the governors of all the states)

What wise words for America today. May they be so! May our next President be such a person of faith, hope, and integrity!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What's Fair is Fair

Cosmic Cowboy Rides Again

Yesterday, I shared a song with you that I played while employed at Samford University's radio station.

Just for laughs, here's another song that was very popular during those days! I'll be curious if any of you have ever heard the song or can even remember it.

It was quite popular in those days...who knows, maybe the cosmic cowboy will ride again!

Does A Father Ever Know Best?

What do you do with a little boy who will be 9-months old tomorrow? I suppose handcuffs might work. Maybe a straight jacket. Maybe some medicines would be helpful.

Evan is very active! Evan enjoys life and playing and having fun. He especially enjoys playing in the kitchen. I'm not sure why, but he does. The problem with that is that the kitchen is just a little too dangerous for him, even if we have childproofed it. Plus, I can't always see him when he crawls behind the couch into the kitchen.

So, Friday afternoon, I came up with a temporary solution for dealing with Mr. Evan's adventures!

Kind of sad, isn't it? I'm a grown man. I have more than one degree. I'm usually a pretty smart guy. Yet, at 9-months, Evan has just about defeated me already!

And in case you are wondering, my temporary solution only worked for about 5 minutes. After that, he found a way around it!

And then the chase was on again!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Yes, He's Alive!

I went to a small Christian college in Birmingham, Alabama. In my first year there, I had the opportunity to work at the on-campus FM radio station. I believe our signal was actually strong enough to make it completely across the campus--unless it was overcast or fog rolled in.

I really loved working on radio! I had the opportunity to listen to some of the greatest singers and artists of all time! I enjoyed taking requests from friends and fellow students--once I learned that that's what the red blinking light was telling me--someone was calling in a request!

One of the very first songs I played was by Don Francisco.

For old time's sake, enjoy what is probably his greatest hit of all time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Too Soon to Die

This story really breaks my heart. Don Doane belonged to the same bowling team at a Ravenna, Michigan, bowling alley for 45 years.

Just moments after rolling the first perfect 300 game of his life, Doane collapsed onto the floor while high-fiving his Nutt Farm teammates. The 62-year-old Ravenna resident was taken to a local hospital but couldn’t be saved. A medical examiner determined that a heart attack killed Doane.

Jim Nutt spoke with Grand Rapids TV stations WOOD and WZZM about his friend and teammate, who collapsed at the bowling alley. Nutt says Doane won’t be forgotten by his many friends at the Muskegon County bowling alley. They say it’s strange not seeing Doane anymore on league nights.

How terrible that is to be celebrating such an amazing accomplishment, only to die a few minutes later. How sad to be high-fiving your friends and collapse immediately to the floor.

I’ve never heard of Don Doane before and I don’t know any thing more about his medical history or why this heart attack happened as it did. However, speaking from personal experience, let me encourage you to get regular heart checkups. If you have a family history of heart problems or if your job is extremely stressful, don’t even question doing it—just do it! Talk to a cardiologist. Set up the appointment. There’s no good reason to wait—but there are at least four good reasons to see the cardiologist—those would be your four arteries in your heart.

Okay, enough preaching to you. Just don’t wait too long. I’d really like to hear about you running your first marathon or winning a cooking contest or riding a new distance on your bike or seeing the birth of your first grandchild or finding the perfect place to serve God. You can’t do those things if you are dead. Don Doane’s celebration was way too short. Don’t let your celebrations be like that.