My Three Problems

Adrian Rogers’ recent posting hit home with me.  I’ve moaned about loneliness experienced for the first time, here in the Village.  I was awakened with the thought of how that shows that I’ve not allowed MY GOD complete control. As HIS child, Jim Austin will never ‘be alone’.  HE promised to “be with me to the end of time”. Forgive me, LORD. Now, Pastor Rogers hits me with this fact: I only have THREE problems. As a matter of fact, we ALL have only three problems:  sin, sorrow, and death. Sin covers a bunch of reasons. Sorrow includes unhappiness and negativity and death hangs over us all, every second of every day as the inevitable. Our biggest mistake is to surrender to the sin of doubt. Goodness Sakes! Unbelievers live here constantly and for eternity! With JESUS, we have conquered all three!  We must  always be prepared to share the TRUTH of our JOY and ASSURANCE. If anyone cannot know without a doubt, that “It is well with my soul”, because we’ve entered “The Haven of Rest” and “When the Storms of Life are Raging, God is standing by”, then they’d better run to where there’s “Room at the Cross”, donchaknow. We could all stand a bit of assurance from time to time. It’s good to print and paste copies of these three great old Hymns They are on the internet.  That’s what is in My Box of Chocolates.  AMEN

Little Did I Know

Back in my youthful days, I attended many Baptist Summer Camps. I’ve told you about the one in Palestine, Texas where Bobby Dodd of Atlanta, and I vied for the favor of one sweet young lady from Clarksville, Texas. Well, I did some ‘searching’ for Bobby Dodd of Atlanta, Texas, and did I get a shock. That same young man against whom I vied for Laverne’s attention and against whom I pitched a victorious softball game, would become an outstanding athlete and “All-Texas” football star. My breakfast-table-mate, James, mentioned that he had gone to school at Atlanta and was awarded a junior college basketball scholarship AND was Bobby’s team mate. Neither of us was successful in our pursuit of the young lady, but both participated in a single football game on Tiger Field the next year. As I recall, he was busy ripping our defense to shreds and I was involved as solo trumpet with the Tiger Band.  Initially, I had a lack of respect for the Atlanta Rabbits. since Tigers had them for lunch, but this bunch of “hoppers” handed the Black&Gold Boys a minus on the scoreboard. Yes, there was stunned silence in Tiger Stadium the night the Atlanta Rabbits came and the clock dripped zeros, donchaknow.  What’s in a name anyway.  That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN

Comfort Zones

People have their own place of comfort. I have favorite sports and teams; I have a favorite cap; I have a favorite coffee cup; I have a favorite pair of shoes; I have a favorite number of television shows; I have a favorite store for shopping; I have a favorite place to find goodies on the internet; I have a favorite news channel;  I have a favorite restaurant for each  of my favorite “eating outs”; I have a favorite list of desserts; I have a favorite list of movies; I have a favorite list of actors; I have a favorite list of authors; I have a favorite scripture and a number of other verses; I have a number of favorite hymns and I have a favorite chair where I worship and I have my own chair in my room — it’s the only chair in the room, donchaknow. All of these are my own business. They cause no problem, at all – until someone tells me that I must change them.  Them’s Fightin’ Words!  I do not wish to become and ‘old’ person, with ‘old’ habits that drag me down into the black hole of loneliness and the rut of hopelessness. It wasn’t entirely my idea to come to an Independent Living facility, but here I am and here I will most likely remain for the rest of this life. I do not want, and will not surrender to the lure of hermitage. I have seen where that leads.  So, I made a mistake thinking I could ‘kick-start’ my new neighbors here at Colonial Village. I had my own idea of how to do it, but my neighbors don’t take to  change too well.  I was told that I could sit in any chair at meal-time, but after being ‘chased’ out of four, I found one for myself. Yes, I am in a rut at breakfast, but I find different chairs at lunch and supper. I thought it a great idea – and so did management – to form a choral group, but I found that NO ONE Sings. (except on “Happy Birthday”).  I did get a group of folks to agree to put on a performance of Old Time Radio. We’re working on an origanal script of a 1950, “Father Knows Best” to be performed at 7 PM on Sunday, May 15 in our dining room. No admission charge! The choral thing is still TBA. Since no one ‘sings’ except “Happy Birthday”, I am tempted to organize the lunch crowd to sing “Happy Birthday to You”, seventeen-hundred- and- seventy- six times on July Fourth. Age will not beat me. As John Paul Jones said,”D–n the torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead”! I’ll never be licked! Gig’em!  It’s OK to be set in some ways, but leave a bit of wiggle-room for change. That’s what I do and that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.    AMEN

The Candy Man

Today is the birthday of one of my granddaughters and is also the birthday of one of the pillars of Harvest Community Church in Charlotte, NC.  Otis Barber passed away  in 2014, but today would be another birthday for this Man of God.  Otis was the father of the Pastor of Harvest Community who was there when to first shovel of dirt was raised twenty-years ago. He and his wife have been faithful and supportive of ‘their’ church for all those years.  When Harvest lost Otis, they lost a prayer-warrior and mighty “Man After GOD’s Own Heart”.  I knew Otis Barber and loved him like a brother. He and I were truly the ‘elders’ of Harvest, but he had me by a few months. Not only was Otis a powerhouse of prayer, he always had a pocket full of candy for our children. I am not sure that there is  a line of youngsters after service now, but those who were will long recall the sweet, sweet Spirit of Otis Barber, the Candy Man of Harvest. The world is a better place because of outstanding men like Otis Barber and his son ‘ain’t so bad’ either.  Otis Barber made GOD smile, everyday.  He walked the walk, donchaknow.  That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.  AMEN


What have I done to deserve this?  I simply cannot understand why this has to happen to me.  I clean my plate. I pick up after myself(some). I drink plenty water. I take my meds. I am kind to elders.  I attend worship regularly.  I study scripture. I write this blog. I do all the ‘right’ things, yet I sin. Why should things work out when all seems to be falling apart?  Why does GOD work in such wondrous ways meeting my needs. I am nothing but retired.  I really have little in MY SAFE. I don’t even drive, nor have a car to do so in. I live alone.  I can’t hear. I can’t breathe too good. I’m old and sometimes feel like it, but with all this, I am Blessed Beyond Measure. I have done nothing to deserve HIS LOVE, excepting accepting the Greatest Gift Man Can Receive. Therefore is my Whyfore for this wade. I have violated some very specific rules, yet GOD has granted, without reservation, MERCY and GRACE. Glory HeeLawzy!  I’ve come a full circle, donchaknow. I was born in a one-room house and now live in one room. It only took me 85-years to complete this circle and through all the dumb mistakes, through all the arrogance of sin, GOD has provided all my needs.  Why would one so thoroughly blessed, drag around looking like I was smelling up all the bad smells? So here I go! Grandly pacing down the hall to breakfast, walker, oxygen and all, without a care in the world. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. Gig’em. AMEN

Are We Serious?

There’s a bunch of talk about money today.  Those who have it and those who have little. Presidential campaigns seem to run on millions. Just ordinary automobiles cost twice what I paid for my first house in the sixties. I just had cable installed and just the thirty-minute installation cost was twice what my retirement pays daily. Hamburgers and coffee kill a ten-dollar bill.  A candy bar costs a dollar and a cell phone can cost as much as a good suit. It takes a wad of dollars to simply live today and that’s scary to a bunch of folks. No wonder there’s a line at the welfare window. What really is scary is that window is slowly closing. Medical care is a “choker” and will soon suffocate most. Yet, the big talk is all about ‘money’.  Pastor Rogers once wrote:

“Have you been complaining about your poverty? Listen, you may not have much money in the bank, but you are immensely wealthy. You’re in the King’s family! “For the Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:16-17.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. “In everything ye are enriched by Him.” 1 Corinthians 1:5.

I want you to remember that you’re a prince, a royal blueblood, if you’re born again. No matter how poor you may be in this world’s eyes, in Jesus Christ, you are rich. You are a child of the King!”

It shames me to worry about my future.  As GOD’s child, I have everything I need, PLUS all that I ever will need, PLUS a seat at HIS table, for ETERNITY, now that’s a HOOT, donchaknow!   He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich. That “ye” is “we” who are, and that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.     AMEN



Atlanta Rabbits

It’s sometimes difficult getting information of the experiences of my neighbors. Most will say, “Not much to talk about worth anything”, but with a bit of silent patience,  comes some good stuff.  One of my breakfast ‘mates’ is James.  He spent a time as a bill collector. He was successful, but didn’t really like his job.  James is not a big man, but he has that innate charm and quiet voice that will lure you into a comfort zone of “O-K County”.  Just this week, James was in a ‘chatty’ mood and revealed that he played basketball (even got a scholarship to Junior College) for the Atlanta Rabbits. When I asked him if he knew Bobby Dodd, his eyes lit up.  Bobby and I vied for the attention of a certain Clarksville beauty at a Baptist summer camp in the late 40’s.  James had a bunch of tales about Bobby and Atlanta High School days. My Mount Pleasant Tigers played Atlanta’s Rabbits once when I was in school and Bobby Dodd proceeded to leave our poor defense in tatters. Now, our breakfast conversation is very healthy and James is verbose. Isn’t it good to learn something new, every day?  Isn’t it good to love your neighbors and share good times? It surely is good for me, donchaknow.  GOD is so good to me.  How can I but share HIS Love?  That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.    AMEN

Genius Yawns

I must not know ‘genius’ when I see it. Prince passed away. Prince was an entertainer, but I couldn’t tell his music from Elton John, who probably is a ‘genius’ also. Purple is one of MY favorite colors, but I do not wish to have the “Arch to the West” nor the Texas Tower, nor AT&T stadium, to be purple when I go HOME. Of course, that wouldn’t happen anyhow, but it’s just to make my point. We have men and women who stand dutifully in defense of our great country and when one of them is killed, we wait until some entertainer dies to cover the death, 24-7. Thousands stand in reverence and some simply stand there just to be part of an event. Even FOX NEWS covers the whole thing. But, why do we carry on over the loss of someone, when someone who dies in defense of our liberty or in the ‘line of duty’ against crime, when a man or woman, clean of uppers and downers, passes, we may put a crawl at the bottom of the page while showing thousands standing around someplace? ‘Tis a Puzzlement. I am saddened when anyone dies, but not just because they die, here. I am saddened to think where they woke up. Even though Prince’s spirit may live in the hearts of millions, it simply doesn’t matter if his soul isn’t with GOD. We pay tribute to men rather than obedience to the ONE who created us, in the first place. I am thankful I can write this for public perusal. The Bible says that my days of doing so are numbered. That’s what I think of the ‘value of genius’ and I Yawn. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN


Every morning, if it is a good one,  one of my neighbors, Rudy, is busily resetting tables in our Dining Room. It may be for just an inch or two, but it’s important to clear the area around our breakfast counter for Rudy, even if there is room to begin with. Rudy is very ill, yet he manages to drive his truck and have a friendly response to everyone who speaks to him.  He was in the hospital for a few days recently and it concerned me. Now he is back.  I have watched him as his son visits and it is apparent that he is very proud of him.  Eyes light up and hearts are lifted every time a family member or friend visits here at Colonial Village.  Many of my neighbors have no one to visit.  If I weren’t taken for an intruder, I would like to visit, just for a chat.  It’s funny that we don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore.  Social impact is not always a good thing, donchaknow. It is my suggestion that anyone who has friend or family in a senior facility, make their eyes light up with a simple visit.  I believe GOD smiles just as broadly. I stopped by the table and thanked Rudy’s son for his visit.  That’s the least I can do.  That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.      AMEN

Poo Is Back!

Ron and Poo are neighbors here at the Village. Past the age of 90, both are very special. Ron walks very slowly, bent over a bit, with a constant scowl. Poo follows him, hold on to a belt loop. Once I got the courage to say, “Hi”, and other than his caustic humor they are quite a bit of fun. His sense of humor may rub some wrong, but to me he is refreshing. I offered the narration part in our July Patriotic Concert Rap, but he has determined it too much. Poo and Ron were our ‘King and Queen of Hearts” this past valentine and recently I saw that Ron was coming to dine alone. I usually wait for the third absence before inquiring, and Ron emotionally said, “Poo is pretty sick”. I knew that was serious. We’ve been praying for Ron and Poo and our prayers have been answered. For the past two days, Ron has come into dine with Poo hanging on. I said,”Ron, you look a lot better”, to which he replied, still with his ‘scowl’, “I know, isn’t it great!”. That’s my Ron and precious Poo (who can’t hear it thunder) just smiles. What a Joy they have brought into my life. What ‘Angels’ GOD has placed in my path. What can be more satisfying than this? Place Ron and Poo on your list, OK? OK! And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN