Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 16

I'm going to be out of town and out of touch next week, so there will not be a Thrusday Thirteen from me. I know, I can hear the disappointment running rampant now. The result is that I am going to leave you with a long T13 this week. I don't expect you to get through it the first time, but I suspect that some of you will return to see and hear some of the videos that will be posted below.
My faith is the anchor in my life. I love music in general and I love the music of the Church most of all. The Hymns of the Faith are part of the foundation of the Church. They teach us about God's love, His saving grace, the joy of our salvation, the reason that we have to praise Him. The great Hymns of the Faith are a source of strength, comfort and security during the storms of life. They are a source of joy when we sing them. They are a tool to teach our children Bible verses and about the character of God. They are a great means of sharing the God's mercy and grace with those who have yet to experience it. Hymns give us comfort in times of sorrow and grief. I could probably list a hundred hymns here, but I have chosen thirteen of my favorites. There are some videos as well that I think you may enjoy. So I give you my thirteen favorite hymns in no particular order.
Take your time, come back at your leisure, listen to all of them and let me know which is your favorite. The following songs are brought to you as a result of the power, grace, mercy, love, and glory of Jesus Christ active in the lives of His people. Amen and amen!

1. Amazing Grace - LeAnn Rimes

2. How Great Thou Art - Crystal Lewis

3. Blessed Assurance - The Issacs

4. I'll Fly Away - Kim Hopper/David Phelps

5. Peace in the Valley - Faith Hill

6. Then I Shall Live - Gaither Vocal Band/Signature Sound Quartet

7. Victory In Jesus -Cynthia Clawson/Mike Allen/Joy Gardner

8. There is a Fountain - Selah

9. Power in the Blood - Larie White

10. Because He Lives - Allison Durham Speer

11. Just As I Am - Brian Doerksen

12. It is Well With My Soul - Wesley Pritchard/David Phelps

13. All Hail the Power - Avalon

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pray for Me

I have a close friend who has been diagnosed with ALS. He is 57. He has been battling this disease for about a year now and fight is not going well. Everytime I see him, he is weaker...he has lost more weight, and muscle tone, strength etc. I don't know if he will be with us this time next year. I do know one thing. He is secure in his faith and he knows that the victory over death has already been won. While we may not understand the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can rest in the knowledge that God has prepared a place for us and that we will also share in that victory over death if we have acknowledged Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We have alot of things in common, but we really share a love for gospel music. The other day I determined that this week my Thrusday Thirteen would be dedicated to my friend and share with the world my thirteen favorite hymns. The Hymns of the faith are precious. They remind us of God's love, mercy, and grace toward us. In difficult times hymns give us strength and comfort. Contemporary praise songs serve a purpose and they are good in their own right. However, there is nothing that speaks to the soul like the Hymns of the Faith. Even if you don't know much about religion, or God, or the church, chances are you have heard some of the hymns. It is important that they are passed on to the next generation in the same manner that we share the scriptures, and our life experiences. So, while you are waiting for my Thursday Thirteen, and it will be a long one, here is a song that my friend and I love. It is not a hymn, but it is a request that every Christian should ask of every other Christian...Pray for me.

This group is a favorite of ours. I would ask that you pray for my friend and his family. Ask for God's mercy and grace as they face some very difficult days ahead.

Respectfully requested.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Attitude

"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude." - William James

Ok, so the day didn't start out so great, but I finished stronger than I started. I managed to get my two PhotoShop Elements lessons completed, went to two of the grand daughters basketball games, took a few photos at the games, prepared my Bible Study lesson for tomorrow and managed this post. The day wasn't a complete bust. Like the sign says, it's all a matter of attitude. I think I just altered my day. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was life altering. Next week will be better I promise.

Apathy, I Got Me Some

This is kind of where I'm coming from this morning. I've got several things I need to get done, they're not getting done, and I don't really care.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Light Up My Life

This can't possibly be a good idea!! That is a power cord supported by two flip flops. We fixn' to have us a hot tub!

You've Come a Long Way Baby

A friend sent me this photo today. I suspect it is from the early to mid 60's. Yes sir...give all of your friends unfiltered Camel's this Christmas and see if they're still breathing next Christmas.
Man how times have changed ... and sometimes for the better.

Thursday 13 #15

I got nuthin'. So, when you got nuthin', tell 'em thirteen more useless pieces of information about yourself. Thirteen more things about me that you probably don't know.

1. Favorite color; Primary, if you've got red, yellow and blue, you can make every other color in the spectrum.

2. Favorite season: Fall/Autumn. I love the color. I love the crisp air and it's football season.

3. Favorite reality TV show: American Idol. I like the talent and the format. I'm not a fan of the deceit and back biting that takes place on Survivor or Big Brother. If I needed that, I'd surround myself with a bunch of junior high girls.

4. Favorite hobby: Can I have more than one? Well, fishing heads the list. Digital photography is a close second and gaining ground.

5. I know just enough about computers to be dangerous. I can do lots of stuff on one, but when mine breaks, I'm in trouble.

6. Favorite Television Show: CSI NY. CSI is a close second. American Idol jumps to number one when they get to the final twelve contestants.

7. Favorite Actor: Probably Jack Lemmon. He was probably the most versatile actor of his day. I think Tom Hanks is the current version. Robert Redford is a close second because I think Jeremiah Johnson is my all time favorite movie.

8. Favorite Blog: DJSlim's Place. . If you are a fan of American Idol, this is the place to be year round for updates. I spend way too much time here.

9. Favorite Book: The Bible. If you've read much of this blog, you probably could have guessed that. Favorite verse in that book, Jeremiah 33:3, "Call upon the name of the Lord, and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know."

10. Favorite Restaurant: It's a tie, Papadeaux and Cheesecake Factory. We don't have either one of them here, but when I'm in Dallas or Kansas City, I find one of these at least once during my stay.

11. I am an only child and our daughter is an only child. The primary advantage to being an only child is that you learn early in life ways to entertain yourself. We just don't need a lot of people around to make us happy.It does breed a certain amount of independence.

12. Favorite pet: Dogs, Cocker Spaniels to be specific. Black Cocker Spaniels to be exact. I would like to own a Springer Spaniel though. Right now we are without a pet and it's ok. We'll will get another puppy one of these days.

13. Favorite politician: A dead one. That was a little harsh.

I told ya I had nuthin'. If I have nuthin' next week, I just may skip it altogether. Meanwhile, I'll be surfing TT's for ideas. See ya.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Grandma's Feather Bed

Recently a fellow blogger lost her grandmother. It triggered some of the fond memories that I have of my grandmother, who has been gone for over 40 years.
My grandmother and her family settled in Henryetta, Oklahoma prior to statehood when it was still known as Indian Territory. Henryetta is about 45 miles south of Tulsa. My great grandmother's family were charter members of First Baptist Church, Henryetta, Oklahoma which was founded in 1903. Oklahoma didn't become a state until 1907.
My grandfather was a coal miner at the Blackstone Mine which was located between Henryetta and Okmulgee. He died from black lung disease.
I was born in Henryetta in 1946. My parents were married in 1942 and were living with my grandparents when dad was called into the Navy during WWII. My mother stayed with her parents until the war was over and dad came home. Not long after dad came home, nature took it's course and here I am...a first wave "Baby Boomer"!!! I was the first boy in the family for as far back as anyone could remember. Well my grandmother had a younger brother, but I was the first grandchild which made me very special in her eyes.
My parents moved to Tulsa when I started to school. However, since Henryetta was so close, we would visit my grand parents once or twice a month. In the summer I would go and spend two weeks at grandma's house. This usually occurred in August, since I played baseball every summer. August in Oklahoma! 104 degrees in the shade and there is no shade. I hasn't rained since mid June so the dust is ankle deep, but I loved it. One of my fondest memories was making lye soap.
This required a fire, a cast iron kettle, and all day in that August heat. I know now that my grandmother would have much rather made that soap in late September or early October, but her only grandchild was there in August, so we made it in August. Grandma had a feather bed too! Yes sir! If you've ever been in an antique store and seen those iron beds, well, my grandma had one and it had a feather mattress on it. The pillows were goose down made from geese that my father and grandfather shot down on the Canadian River bottom. For you history buffs, this was a place that Belle Star, and Bonnie and Clyde Barrow were known to frequent from time to time. But, I digress. On those hot August nights grandma would get a pan of water, place a small block of ice in it and blow a fan across it. Primitive air conditioning.
My fondest memory though is my grandma's faith in action. In her living room was a rocking chair and a foot stool. Actually, it was called a hassock. It was made from a small cheese barrel. She had upholstered the sides and the lid. She kept her dress patterns in that hassock. I own that item to this day. It doesn't mean anything to anyone but me and here is why. Every night before going to bed my grandmother would pray. She would get up from the rocker, turn off the television set, get on her knees at that hassock and pray. I know that she prayed for her entire family and I am convinced that on her knees, in front of that hassock, she prayed me into God's kingdom. Thanks Grandma.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Am Not Worthy

Look at this. Who knew? One of my regular blog reads, and apparently readers, has awarded me the Excellent Blog Award. While I appreciate the thought, I hardly feel worthy of this honor. Of all the blogs I read, mine is the most amateur and least interesting. There are some incredible blogs out there that are filled with knowledge, humor, insight, useful information, and lives filled with excitement. Mine is not one of them. To be honest, I don't know why I started blogging in the first place. I think most of us start out having something on our mind or in our heart that we want to share with anyone who will read. I my case, I started out last April with a couple of posts regarding growing older and a marriage that has stood the test of time. I was attempting to pass on a little knowledge, wisdom and encouragement to those who have not come this far in life just yet. At 61 years of age and closing in on 34 years of marriage to the same person, I realize that I am in the minority. So I thought I would share some of my insight with the world. Now I just share whatever comes to mind.
I do want to thank those who have stopped by and commented. I am honored that you believe this old man's ramblings are worth your time. I will be passing this award along to 10 others in the very near future. Again, thanks to MamaArcher for her thoughtfulness and kindness in awarding me this. Thank you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back to School Night

I have enrolled in an online PhotoShop Elements 5.0 course. It is available through the local community college. I thought I'd give it a try to see how I like the class. If it works out, there are several other digital photography courses I would like to take. If it doesn't work for me, the cost is minimal, so no harm, no foul. And yes, I know Elements 6.0 is available, but the course is for 5.0 so that's what I'm taking. Once I complete the course, I may go ahead and upgrade to 6.0.
There are 12 lessons over a 6 week period with two weeks grace period to wrap everything up and take the final exam. There are options for discussion groups and asking the instructor questions online as well. I think this is going to be interesting. I have always enjoyed photography although I have never gotten truly serious about the pursuit. I mean I have a digital SLR (Nikon D80) and I can take the photos into editing software and remove red eye and crop them, but I can't do some of the cool things that I have seen on other blogs. So here I am, taking a short break from my online class to tell the world what I'm up to. I'll keep you posted.
I know, the photo in this post has nothing to do with the class...I just haven't posted any pics of the grand kids lately. These are the two youngest helping Nana make cookies over the holidays. For a larger image just click on the photo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 14

Last week I listed thirteen people I would like to have met and hung out with. This week I'm going in the opposite direction. So I will give you thirteen people I don't care to meet or spend any time with, in no particular order. I know this will make a few enemies.

1. Richard Nixon: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Nixon was always a rather dark political character and I don't think I need to say much more than that.

2. Joel Osteen: The current imperial potentate of the "health and wealth" gospel. Osteen hasn't preached the true gospel of Jesus Christ in his life. He has simply taken up where his father left off.

3. Hillary Clinton: Hillary is the female equilivant of Richard Nixon. She is a power hungary, dark side politican. She has a hidden agenda that she is not sharing with anyone and she will use any one and any means to get what she wants. Just because she is the first female candidate for president doesn't mean she is the best. Don't make the mistake of making history with the wicked witch of the east.

4. Howard Stern: I have little use for those who abuse the First Amendment. Howard is the poster child of inappropriate conduct. Just because you believe you have the right to say anything you want doesn't mean it's a good idea. There is no social redeeming value in anything associated with his show.

5. Rush Limbaugh: Too far to the right.

6. Al Franken: Too far to the left.

7. Simon Cowell: He may be the most brutally honest judge on American Idol, but there is a sense of arrogance that makes me believe that this is not someone you would find enjoyable company.

8. Michael Moore: His movies have just enough truth in them to spark thoughtful conversations on important issues, but they are also laced with enough half truths and outright lies that it completely undermine his credibility. He is typically no better than the subject of his attack.

9. Ted Kennedy: I don't think Ted believes that there was ever a good political idea spawned outside of the Kennedy clan. He is the epitome of the left wing, liberal, intellectual elitist, and that is the biggest problem within the Democratic party. Chappaquiddick, end of conversation.

10. Paris Hilton: "That's hawt"...NOT. Her fifteen minutes of fame was over three years ago.

11. Steven A. Smith: Quite possibly the most annoying sports columnist, tv host etc. that I know. Only Jim Rhome is even in the same ball park.

12. O.J. Simpson: Talk about going from bad to worse. Here is a train wreck.

13. Anyone who has ever hosted "The View". This is a daily "hen party" that is among the most wasted efforts in television.

There are several honorable mentions that I won't mention, but if I never meet anyone from this list, my life will not be adversely affected.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Thought

Is a "Windbreaker" a light jacket or someone you want to avoid in close quarters?
Just asking.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 13

I was at a complete loss for Thursday 13 idea until I read a few others. The one that sparked my interest was 13 people I would like to have met and hung out with. The possibilities are endless but here is what comes to mind.

1. Jesus Christ: Who wouldn't want to meet, hang out and have conversations with the Savior. If your looking for answers to creation, life, eternal life, etc. here is the person to ask.

2. Paul the Apostle: Author of half the new testament and probably the most prolific speaker and soul winner of his day. Paul had more insight into the truth of the Gospel than anyone.

3. Elanor Rosevelt: I really don't know as much about her as I should, but she is a very interesting person to me.

4. Frank Lloyd Wright: As an architect, FLW would be a great person to hang with. I do know that he was a small man, he was arrogant, and probably a little difficult to befriend, but I think he would be a very interesting person to spend some time with.

5. The architects and master builders of Rome: Look at their designs! They are timeless and we still copy their principles to this day.

6. The architects of the pyramids: Who figured that out? These are absolutely amazing structures and the difficulty of the construction just boggles the mind.

7. Billy Graham: The most prolific evangelist of modern history. I would give anything to spend a few weeks in his presense and learn some of what he knows and understands about God's word.

8. Abraham Lincoln: Perhaps the most respected President in the history of this great nation. I would just like to spend some time in his presence.

9. Winston Churchill: I have always admired his command of the language and his understanding of the world in which he lived.

10. Charles Hadley Spurgeon: Maybe the greatest evangelist since the apostle Paul. I have read numerous sermons by him and his command of the English language is incredible. I get excited every time I read something he has written.

11. Mother Teresa: Her story is very inspiring to me and I think she would be a wonderful woman to sit down and visit with.

12. JFK: I am a child of the 60's. I would like to know the details of the Cuban Missile Crisis, our early involvement in Viet Nam, and his and Bobby's crusade against organized crime. History has shed light on a less than moral private life, but no one can deny his charismatic personality.

13. The Beatles: Again, as a child of the 60's I would like to spend some time with the most influential musical group of the era. Note: Next month we're going to Las Vegas to see the Cirque du Soleil tribute "Summer of Love". It is going to be unbelievable.

That's it. Not very original and not terribly interesting to anyone but me.

Houston, We No Longer Have a Problem

I said that the leak in the sewer line might be worth another post. Well, it just barely is worth discussing any further, but I got nothing else on my mind to write about. I called a plumber, they came out and dug up a very small section of line and made the repair. A joint in the line had come apart. Anyway, they did absolutely minimal damage to the yard. In fact, I've made a bigger mess planting a tree! So, no more leak, no more really green grass in one section of the back yard, and no more soggy ground. Mission accomplished.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ya Gotta Have Heart

I went to the cardiologist this morning for an Echo stress test. This is one of those tests that you should have on an annual basis once you reach the age of 55 or if you have high blood pressure. I happen to qualify on both counts.
Upon arrival at the lab, you take your shirt off and they get out the sensors and stick them all over your torso. Then you lie down on your left side and they take some readings while you are at rest. Next, the doctor comes in, you get up on the tread mill and they walk you until you are at 3.5 miles per hour on a 15 degree incline and your heart rate reaches 160 or explodes...which ever comes first. Finally you lie back down and they take additional readings while your heart is trying to escape the chest cavity and eventually returns to normal. When your breathing finally returns to normal, the doctor pulls out the charts and give you the news.
Yes, I do have a heart (my staff at work might question that conclusion), and it is working normally!!! WOOOOOOOOOHoooooooooo!!!
Yes you do need to lose weight (tell me something I don't already know). If I do lose the weight, it will probably take care of the high blood pressure and high cholesterol (219). Well, it could have been worse. If I pass the test next year, I won't have to do it again for three years! I'm going to start now studying for that exam so I make a much better grade.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

The grand kids have been staying at our house the past three days while their mom recovers from surgery. That means more laundry, more baths, more toilet flushes and generally more water usage. Yesterday I was in the back yard with one of the kids when I noticed an unusually wet spot in the grass. There is no doubt that we have a leak in the sewer line. Something tells me that one of my landscape projects will be reworking part of the back yard after the back hoe is through digging it up. I am not looking forward to the phone call I am going to have to make to the plumber. Well, at least one of the trees has been well watered and fertilized recently.
Stay tuned, I'm sure this will be worth at least one more post.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

We Wii

Our daughter had some minor surgery Thursday so Nana and I have had the kids that past three days. It has been great fun, but I'm glad I'm the Papaw and not the dad. I don't have the energy to keep up with four kids every day. This afternoon I took the two oldest home for a few minutes to see their mom. She's doing fine and the kids will a be returned tomorrow after church. Well, my son-in-law got a Wii from his mother for Christmas and this was my first chance to see it up close and personal. I must admit, this is one cool set up.
He (Big Daddy) and Emily (Shuffle) played the bowling game. A little later Emily and I bowled a game. This little seven-year-old rolled a 167!!! I didn't roll a 167. Let's just leave it at that.
The system comes with tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing. The tennis actually seems to provide some aerobic exercise and you don't have to chase a miss hit ball all over creation. I'm thinkin', I need to get me one of these.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thrusday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Intend to do in 2008

I don't know if these count as resolutions because some of them are done deals and some are tasks that I need to get done. Not all of them are self-improvement but they are virtually all achievable.

1. Finish setting up my new computer. I ran into a software issue so I have had to order a new copy of MS Office Professional 2007 before I complete the set-up. That should happen in the next couple of weeks.

2. Build a couple of new flower beds. I need to get some of the landscape stones (200-400) to get this project underway. This may take most of my spring week-ends.

3. Take a PhotoShop Elements class. Actually I am doing this beginning Jan 16. It is an online class from the local community college. If you read this blog very often, you may be subjected to some of my assignments.

4. Lose 100 pounds! Yes, I am going to divest myself of enough weight to make up a small adult human being. I have to keep saying this in order to hold myself accountable.

5. Take the grand kids to Disney World!!! WOOOO Hoooo, this is another done deal. We will be making the reservations later this month. There are four of them ranging from ages 4 to 12. These are the perfect ages for the vacation of a lifetime. I can't wait. Yes, we're taking their parents along as well.

6. Learn more about customizing a blog. I have no idea how to customize the look of a blog like some to the best ones I have seen. I know, I can just use this template and change the colors, but that isn't custom enough for me. We all want a unique identity in the blogosphere don't we?

7. Read the Bible from cover to cover. My grandmother would do this two or three times a year. I have never done it. I need to get started 'cause I've already lost three days.

8. I need to not worry so much about keeping this blog updated. The world will not come to an end if I fail to post two or three times a week. Besides, this doesn't really impact that many people.

9. Do a lot more fishing. I need to get the three younger grand kids involved in this sport. The oldest is already hooked and asks me to take her all of the time. I just need more time. Retirement in a few years will fix that problem...I think.

10. Paint the deck. Actually it will be a semi-transparent stain. It will be one of those spring projects. The honorary Christmas elf will help with that.

11. Go to some minor league baseball games. Springdale, AR wil be the new home of the Arkansas Naturals minor league team. This is always a great source of entertainment.

12. Clear some of the undergrowth from the ravine (green space) behind the house. I need to start this very soon. It is much easier to do when everything is dead.

13. Buy a big screen television set. I've probably made this a higher priority than it needs to be, but I think we're ready for a new source of entertainment. Besides, I can hook up my lap top and have a 50"-65" monitor. WooooHoooo!!

Ok, that's it for now. It took way longer than I anticipated to come up with this and it is not very original, but at least I got my T13 posted.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Fence Full of Grandkids

My wife has a brother and a sister that have grandchildren. This photo represents all of those grandkids in one place. Four of them belong to us. From left to right, the second boy (in dark blue), the second girl (in pink top) the fourth girl (in light blue top) and the "Big 'un" on the end in the gray top. This was taken at my brother-in-law's farm on Christmas day. These photo opportunities don't come along that often. Usually two or three are missing.

Turn Over a New Leaf

Well the New Year is here! So, what am I going to do to make it different than last year? I dunno. I'm not big on resolutions because most of them are not kept past the second week of February. However, I am resolved to improve my health. Don't get me wrong, there are no medical emergencies in my life that I am aware of, I just intend to get much healthier this year.
I wanted to do this in '07 and failed miserably. As a result, I am actually a little angry about the situation and I intend to do something about it. I am overweight....way overweight and that angers me, but in a good way. It angers me into action. I need to be angry for about 100 pounds. You heard me, I need to lose a realitively small person from my body weight. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.