Boys: Precious Little Demons

2 07 2017

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!”

 

Many people have tried, over the years, to explain the meaning of the opening lines of this nursery rhyme. After all, what the heck is a snip? Well, suffice it to say, without any attempt at detailed explanations, it simply refers to the rambunctious nature of the typical little boy. He’s always into something. If not climbing on top of the stove, he’s putting butter on the dog. If not filling his pockets with worms and rocks to take home, he’s flushing toys down the toilet. He’s positively lovable but far from sugar and spice.

 

Now, that said, let me introduce you to my grandson, Cody. Cody just turned two this week so, of course, he’s going through the terrible twos. No, he isn’t just going through the terrible twos; he got a jump on the terrible twos and has been practicing for 6 months now. I think it’s fair to say, he has perfected the terrible twos.

 

But, Cody is the quintessential little boy. He is the kind of child whom you cannot, in fact, you had better not, turn your back on because he spends each waking moment practicing his craft of being a boy.

 

So, when Cody began making routine, unescorted trips up the stairs, my son and daughter-in-law put a child gate across the opening to the stairs. The other day, my son heard Cody call out for him. So, he went to see what mischief Cody had gotten into. It seems Cody was having a hard time negotiating the stair landing from outside the rails. As for me, granddaddy expected no less.

 

God called David a man after His own heart. Well, Cody, like all three of my sons, is my David.

So, pops, how much did you pay for that gate?





Scammers, Con-Men and Thieves, Oh My!

6 11 2016

In this age of scammers and scumbags, who can you trust? Hardly a day goes by we don’t get a phone call from somedna-1 dip-wad with a heavy Middle Eastern accent calling us right out of the blue to help us fix our supposedly ailing computers, or threaten us with arrest because we supposedly owe the IRS some huge sum. It’s made us wary of anyone who calls. Now, I understand that some readers will think I’m not being politically correct because I mentioned someone with a Middle Eastern accent. Well, first of all, I don’t give a fat rat about political correctness and secondly, I dare those readers to deny the truth. If I hear someone saying he had a hard time finding somewhere to “pok his cah,” I can’t help but notice the accent. And, I’m not thinking he’s from Valdosta, Georgia. No, I’m a little more inclined to think he’s from one of the New England states…probably somewhere between Boston and Bangor. So, when I hear a Middle Eastern accent, I can’t help but think, this thief is from the Middle East.

 

So, have you seen the television commercial for Ancestry DNA in which the guy, or guyette, says something like, “I’ve always told everyone I was of German descent; but, when I got my results from Ancestry DNA, I learned there’s not a single cell of German in me. I’ve just always had a hankering for bratwurst and wiener schnitzel. My ancestry is British Isles, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and 5 percent southern Israel. My ancestry has more varieties than a case of Heinz 57.”

 

Here’s the way it works. You send them 99 bucks and they send you a DNA test kit. You return the kit along with a little bit of your spit and, Voila!!, in 6-8 weeks you get a report back with a pie chart describing your genetic ethnicity. I’m not saying it IS one, but could there be an easier scam? I mean how does the recipient know that the pie chart is the real deal and not something made up by Rajesh Jones sitting at a computer in New Delhi, or some out of work criminal politician in Chappaqua, New York?

 

Ancestry seems to be a reliable company, so it is probably legit; but, then, that’s what grandma thought when she sent Sanjay twenty-five $100 gift cards from Target to pay her debt to the IRS.

 

All I’m saying is beware. Shalom, ya’ll!

 





Maybe He’s Smarter Than You Think

21 05 2016

I had to go to Minneapolis this week to speak at a managers’ conference for a large food manufacturer. As many of you are already aware, I fly Delta almost exclusively, unless I’m going abroad and Delta just doesn’t go where I need to be. On this trip, I had a non-stop flight straight to Minneapolis.

When Delta boards an aircraft, they begin with the folks who need a little extra time getting down the jet bridge…those doing the Tim Conway shuffle. I shouldn’t say that because that’ll be me one day. They are followed by those having children under the age of two. As I watched the young parents line up to begin boarding, I thought, oh my goodness! There must be a Parents with Children Under the Age of Two convention in Minneapolis this week. It looked like they just emptied the nursery at Duke Medical Center and all the new parents decided to go, at the same time, to see grandma in Minneapolis; and, on the same flight…MY flight.

Well, kudos to Delta. They had the foresight to seat all of these families with their cherubs, together, near the back of the plane. A pox on your house, Delta! You had the audacity to put me right in front of them! Actually, when I entered the plane and saw that I was sitting directly in front of this group, I took it in stride. I really don’t mind sitting near babies, even crying babies. In fact, I feel sympathy for parents traveling with small children. If you are a follower of this blog, you know from past posts this isn’t my first encounter with flying tots. See Coffee, Tea or Screaming Baby. (https://billtaylorcsp.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/coffee-tea-or-screaming-baby/ ) The Lord gave me the gift of being able to tune out crying babies, nagging wives (not mine, of course) and other annoying sounds. Little did I know that one of these ankle biters was about to put me to the test.

Now, this was a Regional Jet, so it wasn’t a very large plane. And, when you put a…well, what DO you call a group of infants and toddlers? If it’s a gaggle of geese, a brood of chicks, a kindle of kittens…must be a bellowing of babies.

I wasn't through telling you about my husband!

I wasn’t through telling you about my husband!

Well, I took my seat beside some lady who appeared to be about my age. Before the air could even escape from my seat cushion, she was talking to me. She was telling me that her husband was supposed to be in my seat, but he did something really stupid. They were on their way to Bozeman, Montana and he had made his own reservations; but, they didn’t discover until the night before, that he had made his reservations on the wrong flight. He was actually on his way to Bozeman via Salt Lake City at that moment. And she didn’t stop there. She went on and on like a square dance caller. Well, as I listened to her non-stop monologue, two thoughts came to my mind. First…she only THINKS her husband made a mistake and accidentally wound up on the wrong plane. He was probably halfway to Salt Lake City thinking about the poor schmuck who got stuck beside his wife. Secondly…where are the cries from all these babies when I need them?

It was about that time the child directly behind me began to wail. And wail. And wail. That gave me the opportunity to put my Bose headphones on and read my book without being too obvious to the lady that I felt we had engaged long enough.

Now, it has been my experience with small babies, that when they cry, eventually, they will begin to tire and go to sleep. Not this child. This six-month old had the endurance of a Kenyan distance runner. Three hours later, as we entered our approach into the Minneapolis airport, this child was still going strong. Her ears were probably hurting-poor baby. But then, a third thought came to mind. In 64 years she will probably be sitting beside a stranger in a plane explaining how her husband accidentally booked himself on the wrong flight. The poor schmuck!





Love Trumps Everything!

26 09 2015

A member of a men’s Bible study group, of which my son is a member, has been struggling with a decision. It seems his nephew is about to get married…to another guy. He loves and wants to honor his nephew by attending the wedding, but is afraid that doing so will cast the appearance that he is supporting the union and a gay life-style.

 

Okay, so here’s my two-cents worth on the subject. I believe we should consider three things when faced with a decision such as this – our own sins, salvation for others, and love.

 

The Stick in My Own Eye

Homosexuality is wrong. It is a sin. It is an abomination to God. This is not opinion, it is fact. (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10) And, gay marriage is an acceptable practice only in a secular society corrupted by Godless lawmakers who would force its Christian citizens to violate their moral principles. While Scripture tells us to obey our government and its laws, (Romans 13: 1-7) God doesn’t expect us to take actions which will violate our moral beliefs. If we refuse to obey government rule, we should expect to pay the penalty…a la Kim Davis. (That’s a story for another post.) But, before we single out gays for their lifestyle, we should ask ourselves:  is their sin any worse than mine? Is a homosexual lifestyle any worse, in the eyes of God, than stealing? Gossiping? Anger? Coveting? Infidelity? Oh, the list just goes on and on and I don’t have an answer for that question. But then, I shouldn’t concern myself with which, or whose, sin is greater. My job, as a Christian, is to try to avoid sinning and leave the judging to God.

 

My point is, we have all sinned. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

 

Now, before you say, “Well, I haven’t done any of those things!” think about it. Have you ever taken paper or markers from the office supply room to use on your kid’s science project? It may not have seemed like a big deal to you at the time, but that was stealing. Have you spent time on Facebook when you were being paid to do your job instead? If so, you’ve taken time which was not yours to take. And, who hasn’t ever gotten angry at someone who cut them off in traffic or honked because they thought they were driving too slowly? Some people will get angry at me for writing this post and expressing my position on gay marriage. Jesus said we will face judgment if we are angry toward someone without justification. We were all born with a sinful nature and, as a result, none of us is without sin; and, it’s not my place to say that someone else’s sin is worse than mine.

 

Share the Good News

Before he began to follow Jesus, Matthew, like most of the tax collectors in Jesus’ day, was well-known for cheating people out of their money. When Jesus answered Matthew’s dinner invitation, He was joined at the table by several of Matthew’s cohorts, among them were sinners and tax collectors, (Matthew 9: 10-13) He didn’t get up and leave the table. Instead, He saw it as an opportunity to help someone in need of salvation. He was criticized by the Pharisees for associating with known lowlifes and sinners.

 

We should avoid being like the self-righteous Pharisees who were more concerned about their own appearance of holiness than helping others. They were more concerned about trapping Jesus than listening to what He had to say.

 

Christians should be concerned about appearances, but not to the point we neglect our responsibility to share the Good News with those who need to hear it. If you are living in the light in a way that pleases God, then others will see this and will not likely think of you as a supporter of gay marriage just because you attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one. But, so what if they do? There is only One we need to worry about pleasing and He sees what others cannot see…what is in our hearts.

 

Love

“…And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

 

Who is your neighbor? Well, in this context, it is everyone. I like to think I have 7 billion neighbors. I just haven’t gotten around to meeting them all yet.  The Jones’ live next door now but when they sell their house, it may be bought by the Berkowicz family, or the Bashirs. The point is, anyone and everyone is, in the eyes of God, my neighbor and I am commanded to love them. That includes Rosie O’Donnell, Vladimir Putin, Pastor Douglas, Rabbi Abrams, heck, even Barrack Obama. Need I go on? But, it also includes the young man who loves your nephew enough to marry him even though you don’t agree with the union or the lifestyle. As they say, hate the sin but love the sinner. If I choose not to love sinners, that would leave no one for me to love and no one to love me.

 

So, back to my son’s Bible study friend…I believe the right thing to do is to show his nephew, along with his partner, that he loves them both. He need not express his views against the marriage and he should not worry about what others might think. To reject his nephew’s partner will force his nephew into choosing between the two. That will not have a good ending for anyone. Remember, love trumps everything. Everything. If you are trying to show love to someone, anyone, you are pleasing God. He should welcome the son’s partner into the family. After all, they have something in common…they both love the nephew. I think attending the wedding is the right thing to do. If anyone has a problem with that then their time would be better spent polishing their own glass house. But that’s only my two-cents worth.





ABC’s Anti-Family Values

10 08 2015

Anti-Family Marketing

Did you hear the news? Kermit and Miss Piggy are calling it quits. Read on.

 

Dr. James Reason, a leading researcher in human error, developed the “Swiss cheese model” as a way of demonstrating the occurrence of accident causation due to human error. The model holds that in a typical safety system there are errors that occur (unsafe acts and unsafe conditions) and there are defenses to protect employees from those errors. The holes in a slice of Swiss cheese represent latent errors. The cheese between the holes is various defenses such as engineering practices, employee training, established procedures, etc.

 

An event occurs, such as a machine break down. Safe procedures are in place tofeature28 allow workers to safely make the needed repairs. But on this particular day, maintenance is short-handed due to sickness and vacations. The crane needed for the task is out of service. As a result, one person, with limited experience, is performing a task normally performed by two or three workers, and is forced to use a crane not adequate for the job at hand. Because the employee is working alone, steps from the procedure are omitted and an accident occurs. Under normal circumstances, the procedure would not allow this to happen; however, these are not normal circumstances. Holes in the slices of cheese have aligned, rendering the defenses non-existent. The accident opportunity passes through the holes in the cheese and the result is an employee injury. One might say the stars have aligned. Reason says, the cheese has aligned. It’s the perfect storm.

 

Divine Intervention

While not an example of human error, I do believe things fell into place back in 1968 allowing my wife and me to meet during our junior year in high school. Now, here we are 44 years later with three sons, three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

 

Our meeting and subsequent union was not happenstance. It was not just a stroke of fortune that her family came to my hometown simply because her dad got a job transfer. It was, I am convinced, beyond doubt, Divine intervention. Too many things had to happen, in just the right order and at just the right time, to pass off our meeting as luck. It was in God’s plan all along. Moreover, we are a perfect match. We complement each other in every way. Where I am weak, she is strong, and vice versa. Jesus said in the Gospel of Mark at chapter 10, verse 8, “and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

 

Now, that said, I am equally convinced it would be sinful for us to decide to split up. Marriage between a man and a woman is a holy institution. Marriage is only sanctified because God has sanctified it. He has made it a holy bond which is life-long and not to be destroyed. To that end, Jesus said at Mark 10, verse 9, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” God created this union and neither my wife nor I have the right to end it.

 

I understand there are times when, for various reasons, a couple find it necessary to end a marriage. This is less about those who have found themselves in situations, such as infidelity, that make it impossible to continue their relationship, and more about those who see divorce as no more than breaking a contract. More importantly, it’s about sharing family values. It’s about re-enforcing the importance of marriage in the eyes of God and why we, too, should consider it holy. It should be considered a sad occasion when two people decide to call it quits. Divorce is nothing to be taken lightly. Yet fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Celebrities seem to divorce and move on to other marriages like a kid at the fair running from one fun ride to another.

 

Consider the Message to Children

Back to Kermit and Piggy. This past week it was announced that Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were splitting up. First of all, give me a break! These are puppets, for crying out loud! They were created in 1955 by Jim Henson for the purpose of entertaining children. They were introduced on Sesame Street in 1976, again, to entertain children. So, it baffles me why the powers that be at ABC would decide they should announce to the world that the beloved characters should split up.

 

Many children struggle with the divorce of their own parents, and now this. But worse yet, what about the message this silly announcement is sending to young fans world-wide? This short-sighted announcement tells children that infidelity (supposedly, Kermit left Piggy for another pig) and divorce are a normal and inevitable part of life. Divorce is not a family value. It’s quite the opposite… it destroys families. The reason behind this, no doubt, is tied to the fact ABC is re-introducing the Muppets next month and is in hopes this will help their dwindling viewership. They’re losing viewers with rapidity equal to new Hillary scandals. Don’t worry MSNBC, you’re no longer alone at the bottom of the television cesspool. This is no more than irresponsible, money-grubbing, thoughtless, get ratings at any cost, anti-family, secularism. My hope is that people tune out this new Muppets show and kiss your spouse good night.





Internet Recipes…Yech!

17 05 2015

My wife has sworn off Pinterest. Her sole reason for joining was for the recipes; and, while we have tried several, so far we haven’t found one… not a single one, which we both like. In fact, most of them, neither of us has liked. Anytime you get a recipe from social media, be it Pinterest, Facebook or elsewhere, you are at the mercy of the taste of a stranger, and tastes vary as widely as opinions.

 

“Oh, you want a good steak, you need to go to Stinky’s Steaks. It’s over off the Interstate inside Big Roy’s Truck Stop. But if ya go there, be sure to eat outside ‘cause the smell of bug spray inside is strong enough to gag a maggot.”

 

People post their favorite recipes on Pinterest or Facebook and rave about how simple, yet wonderfully delicious, they are. Well, the dish might be good to the poster, but that doesn’t mean others will like it. As I said, it’s a matter of taste.

 

Well, currently, my wife is dealing with some health issues and finds herself in a position of total dependence on me. I do all of the laundry, shopping, and cooking. And, bless her heart, she does everything she can to lessen my burden. One thing she has been doing is scouring social media for recipes she thinks we may like, but particularly, those that will be simple for me to cook.

 

The most recent was a dish that seems to be very popular. It really is easy to prepare. You put boneless chicken breast, green beans and red potatoes in a dish and dust it down with Zesty Italian dressing mix and then drizzle the whole shoot’n match with butter. Then, you throw it in a 350 degree oven for a while.

Chicken_Vegtables

She enjoyed this dish, but personally, I didn’t care much for it. Actually, that’s an understatement. I like my garlic to play a supporting role and not take center stage. The garlic in the dressing mix was too strong for my taste. It stunk up the house and I find the smell as offensive as the strong taste.

 

A-1 to the Rescue

Back when I was in the Coast Guard, while stationed at Elizabeth City, North Carolina, I learned a valuable lesson…A-1 Steak Sauce can make anything palatable.

 

I had the duty, which meant I had to spend the night on base as a member of the ready C-130 crew. The offerings in the mess hall that evening were slim. Liver! Of all the things I don’t like, liver is near the top of the list; but, that night I was particularly hungry. So, I got a piece of liver and tasted it. It was every bit as bad as I expected it to be. There was a bottle of A-1 on the table, so I gave the liver an A-1 bath and gave it another try. This time, I decided I could eat it. Since then, if there is anything I don’t care for, I’ll put enough A-1 on it to mask the taste and I’m good to go.

 

Well, even though my bean-chicken-potato bake was a simple dish to prepare, I had invested too much in parts and labor to just shove it down the disposal. Besides, I was hungry. I then decided it was A-1 time. Sure enough, it was tasty enough that I was able to clean my plate.

 

Ahhh...My Culinary Hero!

Ahhh…My Culinary Hero!

So, no more Internet recipes for us. But just in case, I’ll keep the A-1 close by.





Wisdom

21 09 2014

At 62, I still don’t consider myself to be an old man; but, I’ve begun to notice that more often, I find myself to be the oldest one in the room. With age comes several things-your memory, like your muscles begins to weaken. You begin to lose, among other things, that perfect eyesight you always enjoyed. But it’s not all bad. If you’ve been paying attention, you realize you have acquired a little bit of wisdom along the way.

In my quiet time lately, I’ve been reading from Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon. What an amazing character. Wouldn’t it be great to have the kind of wisdom that Solomon had? It got me to thinking how great it would be if we were born with the Wisdom of Solomon. But wisdom is not an innate gift we bring into this life. It is something that is acquired over time. We learn, through a lifetime of experiences, good and bad. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes so we don’t repeat those mistakes. Wisdom is cultivated. It’s something we have to work at. We should ask God for wisdom and follow the examples of Jesus.

Well, looking back on my life, I realize there are things I would like to have done differently, but we don’t get do-overs. I can’t go back and correct my mistakes or do things I wish I had done. What I can do, however, is share some things I have learned. That said; I would like to share the following, particularly for my three sons.

  1. Love the Lord. Thank Him every day for your families. Never be afraid to let your wives or kids see you worship.
  2. Pray with your families. Establish a time during which you can share a verse of Scripture and pray together. You are the Spiritual leaders of your families, so lead!
  3. Establish your own quiet time and read Scripture every day. Think about what you read and apply it to your lives. Encourage your families to do likewise.
  4. Be patient with your wives. Savor every minute you have together and love her like the precious jewel she is. She is one of the many gifts God has given you, so value her.
  5. Guard your speech and don’t say hurtful things. You don’t get yesterday back and you can’t re-call your words.
  6. Be patient with your children. Time is a precious and fleeting commodity so enjoy every opportunity you get to spend with them, even when it’s hard to do so. Tomorrow, you’ll be heart-broken when they head off for college and you’ll yearn for the days when they would climb into your lap and give you a big hug. Exercise cautious and appropriate discipline, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Spilled milk is no more than spilled milk. There’s no lesson to be learned from punishing a child for accidentally knocking over a glass.
  7. Make time to do things together as a family. You’re building memories, but more importantly, you’re building relationships, whether going on vacation or just out for pizza.
  8. Take advantage of every opportunity to help others. Each of you has been blessed in so many ways. Use your gifts, your time and your money to help others. Many times you’ll only get one shot. Don’t blow it.

I don’t know that I have told you anything you didn’t already know but, hey, I’m only 62-my wisdom can only go so deep. But, I will say this; a perfect life is one on which you can reflect and have no regrets. Only One has ever had a perfect life. The rest of us can only try harder to grow in wisdom and try our best to minimize and learn from our mistakes. Don’t live to satisfy your own desires but live to please the Spirit (Galatians 6:8). You’ll find a richer and more fulfilling life. With Love, Daddy/Pop