I have a problem with Halloween

While my children were growing up, the family participated on October 31st, but as they grew up, it was simply a dish of candy at the door for ‘Trick-or-Treaters’. Now, I take care of the ‘callers’ and Susan takes care of necessary costumes for Melanie’s youngsters. Every year brings about a new challenge from Duck Dynasty for him to Cartoon Characters for her. This year he will be a soccer star and she will be a kitty kat. Growing up, I was never concerned about Halloween. I had little knowledge of its origin. As I studied history, it became more evident that I would prefer NOT to participate, personally. I recall in the late seventies when there were some very pitiful people who spiked treats with razor blades and needles. I’ve not been comfortable with treats collected since then. It is a good practice to check the candy and whatever carefully and I’m sure parents are doing so. Here, there is a growth in families with children with an increase of ‘callers’ each year. There also is an increase in children from other areas of our city who call. I’ve not had one of these youngsters be disrespectful and that’s a HOOT. I don’t mind that there be few who come to my door since most candy comes in large packages and there’s always some M&Ms or Peanut-butter cups left over.
Perhaps the reason some children choose to not come up our driveway may be due to the deep rumbling bark of MAX and the treble yapping of MattieT,donchaknow. That’s what I get from my box of chocolates and I pray that yours comes home with some safe treats, too. Take Care and most of all, CARE! AMEN

The Builder

We are in awe of magnificent structures. Those who design and build such edifices are honored and lauded above all others. We look to men and women for something to praise. All of this is nothing new. From creation, people idolize people. We are so desperate to find icons among outstanding people that we fail to honor the “Author and Finisher of our Faith”. GOD, alone, is worthy of Praise, yet that has never been the case. We aren’t alone in our ignorance. Even when our LORD was walking this earth healing and loving, those closest to HIM, were doubters most of the time. They felt that JESUS CHRIST should have done more to make their lives less filled with difficulty. We are too much into “Selfies” to see what GOD has provided and just how much HE loves us. In Chronicles, HE says we must do some things that will guarantee HIS Blessings. First, we must accept the Gift of Salvation by BELIEVING in JESUS. Second, We must Humble ourselves and Pray. Finally, we must SEEK HIS FACE and Turn from our wicked ways.(none of which is easy, but it must be possible or HE wouldn’t require it) So, before we fall into the deep, black hole of depression and disappointment, do ourselves a favor by calling upon the ONE GOD who created everything and is able and willing to Heal our Land. That’s what I get from my Box of Chocolates, donchaknow.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

“14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


The Street was a River

Flood waters are in the news. Floods are very dangerous simply because folks are not used to them. We are told not to attempt the crossing of water across roads and bridges, yet we see constant evidence that is ignored. When we were playing at the Tower Theater in Houston, the skies opened up to bless us with over ten inches of rain. The deluge didn’t really get bad until just about time for us to leave for the theater, so off we went in our Camaro. (Camaros will not float) There were a number of overhead bridges between our apartment and Westheimer and we should have been warned by the near flood stage of Braes Bayou, but on we did travel, up until we approached a flooded underpass. A truck came through on the other lane, so I felt it safe to try. We did finally make it through with the water coming in our doors to just below the steering wheel. We managed to get to the parking lot of a small eatery and they were kind enough to afford us coffee and the use of their restrooms to dry off as best we could. We must have looked silly backing into the hand drier and turning slowly to dry as much as possible. I called the theater and was told that only a handful of theater goers had arrived and since Westheimer was accessable by canoe only, the show was cancelled. We waited many hours until the rain slackened and only got back home by following a city bus in its wake. We left home at 6PM and got home the next morning at 6AM. I knew ‘drafting’ a bus was the only way to transverse flooded roadways. That got me home from a high school football game in Austin in the sixties. I think about that night every time I see reports of flooding. The Carolinas have experienced flooding recently, but we seem to miss the most dangerous part here in Charlotte. For that I am most grateful. I pray of those whose life is totally changed by tragedy. I also pray for our police as they face attitudes and threats that prevent them doing their job. I have been raised to believe that ‘all lives matter’ and that includes those who stand in the front line of defense against every threat. How beautiful are the feet of those who do so honorably. AMEN

Perhaps “Tier One Prospects” may not be the best choice

Kevin Sumlin has been praised for his ability to convince the ‘top’ high school footballers to choose my Alma Mater. I failed to see the side-line story since I turned the Ole Miss game off at half-time. It seems to be more than a young man can handle with “Too Much Too Soon”. Football is a team sport, requiring each participant to do their best at their assignment. When things do not go well, they should look to their own responsibility other than blame their team-mates or coaches. I am very disappointed that my Aggies seem to be imploding. It may be due to too much support, too soon in life. A&M has gone above and beyond to provide quality facilities that are superior to many professional complexes. Players have the opportunity to not only enjoy the benefits of such an outstanding program, they have opportunity to grow into upstanding, contributing adults instead of tantrum throwing malcontents. “Come ON,(soon to be a)Man!” That’s what I get from my box of Chocolates, donchaknow. “gigum”, for now.

Click goes the Dial!

For the first time, ever, I switched channels this week-end. Call me weak or a weasel or pitty-party-pete, or whatever, but I am totally disenchanted with my Aggies and my Cowboys. I understand the difficulty of the ‘Boys’, but only on offense. When the defense plays like a greased goose, well it’s just too much pain at one time. I have no idea what has become of the Texas Aggies – you know the ones who laid it on Arizona State and battled the Razorbacks to a win. Perhaps they have been too interested in ‘fast’ players other than some Bohanans, Yokums and Floods. Back in ’48, the Mount Pleasant Tigers were trouncing every team that dared to put on helmets. Those young stalwarts from off-the-farm scored above 50 each game. They even whipped Paris Junior College 107-0! They didn’t run the forty in under 5-seconds, but they moved their bulk and those in their way, handily. As I watched that bunch from Ole Miss pound my Ags, I thought, “Where’s OUR Beef?”. And the Cowboys?? “The Best Offensive Line in the NFL” must have missed the flight. I missed the most exciting moment for the Cowboys. It happened on the sidelines. All this disappointment makes one wish to switch over the Masterpiece Theater and attempt to understand what those folks are saying, donchaknow. That’s a better choice. Even if I don’t understand what the folks on PBS are saying, it’s better than watching my teams seem to not know what they’re doing. This I get from my box of chocolates isn’t worth the effort. ‘Tis a Puzzlement.

Who Wrote the GIFT of LOVE?

Love songs have been around for centuries. I believe the first one was sung by Adam when he awakened from his nap and laid eyes on Eve. For decades, my life was filled with music, either performing or playing.  I have warm memories of specific songs or compositions that filled my life for so many years. I do not listen to music much today and I find that rather strange. I have never ‘listened’ to music while driving,  I find that it detracts.  Now that I do not drive, I find it easier and a joy. I have a collection of vocalists, but my list is short. I seem to be attracted to folks of lesser notoriety. I hardly ever miss a Gaither television program or the “Old Time Country Family Reunion”.  I suppose you would say I miss “The Old Songs”. (My Brother-in-Law and Judy are to be thanked for pointing me to RFD channel, donchaknow)  I love the Time-Warner collections of the Golden Years. I played so many of those as a disc jockey, and they linger.  I thought of “The Book of Love”. I copied this from Wikipedia:

The Book of Love” (also titled “(Who Wrote) The Book of Love“) is a rock and roll song, originally by The Monotones. It was written by three members of the group, Warren Davis, George Malone and Charles Patrick, and it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top 100.

Lead singer Charles Patrick heard a Pepsodent toothpaste commercial with the line “wonder where the yellow went”. From there he got the idea for the line, “I wonder, wonder, wonder who, who wrote the book of love”, working it up into a song with Davis and Malone. The “boom” part of the song was a result of a kid kicking a ball against the garage while they were rehearsing. It sounded good, so they added it to the song.

In September 1957, the Monotones recorded “The Book of Love”, which was released on the Mascot label in December that year. The small record company could not cope with its popularity, and it was reissued on Chess Records‘ subsidiary Argo label in February 1958. It attained a Billboard ranking of #5 for pop songs and #3 for R&B in 1958. It also reached #5 in Australia. In the UK, the hit version was a cover by The Mudlarks.”

For those who ‘wonder’, I have the answer.  It was written the moment Innocent Blood was shed for you and for me, on a cross, many years ago. That’s a bunch of Love for a bunch of unworthy folks.  Amen?

…….and the ‘lies’ have it!

It is not my place to sit in judgement of anyone, however since GOD has said that those who are in the seat of authority are there to be respected and honored, I believe since HE has given me freedom of choice, it is my duty to determine what that choice will be. Since no one is without sin (and lying is a sin) it is given that everyone is guilty of lying sometime, but if caught in a lie, it only makes sense that we look at that individual in a totally different light. If the facts prove an untruth(a lie), then we must assume there to be other opportunities for one vying for a position of authority, to ‘bend the truth’ and that can lead to disaster. In order to refrain from bruising the sensibilities of another, I will stop right here, since it would appear that the ‘anothers’ do not share the same assessment. I will only say what comes out of my box of chocolates. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Since the LORD is TRUTH, I can only choose TRUTH, respecting the determination of another, and the ‘lies’ WILL NOT have it! ITPYKIAW, so be it. AMEN

A History of House Calls

After decades of healing of ills wherever they occurred in a around Pittsburgh, PA, Doctor and Mrs. Dick Maley moved next door, three years ago. We didn’t become acquainted for a few months, but then, while walking MAX, Susan and Marie began brief visits. I had seen Dick a few times attempting to walk with his walker, but it wasn’t until I organized a small Gin Rummy game of cards, that we really became acquainted. Dick had a flourishing medical practice for years, specializing in ‘house calls’. That in itself was of interest. He had suffered a massive stroke, had a heart transplant and was just as step above ‘bedridden’. They had a grandson and his family that lived nearby, but for a few neighbor ladies and my Gin buddies, their social life consisted of a weekly trip to Pipi’s Cafe for Bingo. The card games originally were held in our Clubhouse, but when Dick joined, we met at their house. Marie would have a few snacks and drinks and for two-hours-or-so, she could have a break. Unfortunately, all of my players soon had other things to do, so it was just Dick and I left to continue our ‘friendly’ game of cards. I say ‘friendly’, but in actuality, they were very competitive. Dick’s rules evolved, resulting in him winning most hands. Whenever I won a hand, he would accuse me of ‘counting cards’ or being a Vegas ‘card shark’. Of course, neither was correct. I won mostly by luck, certainly not skill. After about a year of ‘Tuesday Cards’, Dick’s health was rapidly deteriorating and he was just not interested very much. Susan and Marie would visit, but since Dick simply slept in his lift-chair, I lost contact. A few months ago, Marie suggested that I come over some, just to visit. I did so once a week, but those visits were usually spent with him dozing. It was obvious that Dr. Dick Maley’s years of healing had taken a heavy toll. He and Marie(who is a nurse, herself) were avid golfers when they lived in Pittsburgh, but here in Charlotte, they played no more, even though we live within a stone’s throw of the Fourth Green of Highland Creek Golf Course. Susan would visit Marie some, and come home to say, “Dick is rapidly going down, you should go over just to say hello”. I did that a few times, but it hurt me to see how truly ill my friend was. Just over a month ago, Dick was placed on Hospice House Calls. A nurse would come three times each week to see to his needs. Two weeks ago, they were coming daily. Ten days ago, Dick fell and Marie called for help from our Firemen. Susan and I couldn’t understand why he was not allowed to move into a Hospice Hospital, but Marie said the medicare experts said he didn’t qualify since he wasn’t in pain. Their children are all in the medical profession and his son from Pittsburg came last week and he must have brought some heat. Yesterday, Marie couldn’t get Dick to respond. She called for medical emergency and along with her step-grandaughter and Hospise nurses, Dick Maley was taken to the Hospice Hospital around 2:00 yesterday afternoon. For days, Marie had pleaded for Hospice to allow Dick to be admitted. She had told us that she knew her husband was dying, but she didn’t want him to die at home. We were relieved for her when I say him taken away in the ambulance. Susan called her and could tell she was relieved to have him finally under hospital care. Just two hours later, Marie called to report my friend and neighbor passed away quietly at four o’clock. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for Dick Maley. He truly gave his life in service to others. My only regret is that after all those hours of playing cards, I had no opportunity to talk about eternal life. I did discover that Marie was raised Catholic and Dick attended a Presbyterian Church as a young man, but all they would say was while others spent time indoors at church, they spent time outdoors enjoying the beauty of a well-groomed golf course. The door to sharing testimony never opened, but I prayed daily for Dick and his family. The only redeeming factor is that my GOD is a Merciful, Loving GOD and in HIS MERCY and GRACE, he has taken my friend home. It is the only hope left. One thing I do know. It makes me more determined to share the HOPE within me, regardless. May GOD forgive my timidity and may GOD be with the Maley family in their time of grief. AMEN

Re-Birth Certificate

I just received my State of North Carolina Identity Card. It serves the same purpose as my Driver’s License. The only exception is that it doesn’t license me to drive. I am now a permanent passenger at the total mercy of the one behind the wheel.(the “one behind the wheel” is who determined my permanency in the passenger seat, donchaknow) Other than my Medicare Card (originally known as my Social Security Card) and this state identity card, my only legal documentation of ‘who I am’ is my Birth Certificate. At the age of 85-years it is barely legible, but if carefully studied, it says I am James Greer Austin, born of Sam Wade Austin and Mattie Tabb Austin, on February 7, 1931 in Titus County, Texas. It has a recording number, a smudged footprint and the signatures of the County Recorder and one Dr. William Broadstreet. It is the only document that proves who I am. I have another record written in the “Book of Life”. This one is much more important than all other identification documents. It has a date on it, but I only recall being six-years-old. It also has my name on it. (I believe that name is chosen by GOD, but that’s just my own thought) My RE-Birth Certificate has a special verification. It has the signature of My LORD JESUS CHRIST! “I’m So Glad, I am Part of the Family of GOD!” HOOOOeeee! How ’bout you? AMEN

Been There, Done That

From the pen of the late Pastor Adrian Rogers:

Faith in Our Great God

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

How do you have faith? You look to Jesus, and faith is produced in your heart.

You don’t have to work up faith.

Suppose I needed to cross the Mississippi River and I wasn’t sure whether the bridge could hold me up or not. I could do one of two things. I could stand on the banks of the Mississippi and try to work up enough courage to make myself believe in that bridge, then timorously walk over that bridge. Or I could look at the semi-trucks traveling across the mighty steel and concrete of that bridge, believe, and boldly walk across in faith! In this case, faith is the by-product of seeing the strength of the bridge itself. In the same way, it’s not great faith in God that you need; it is faith in a great God!

    Attempt something so great in your life today that is doomed to failure unless God be in it.

This explains how you and I enter the unknown opportunity with an inner peace, donchaknow. Talk about a Great GOD and the Power in the BLOOD! WOW!