HOWDY! “Who, ME?!”

REALLY?

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.(Acts 20-24)

I have continued to remind myself (and you) of my life wading upstream and the Grace and Mercy of a Loving God, sustaining me and forgiving me, all at the same time. I am ‘wading’ through whatever I have felt important in my files. So much has been lost over the years. I have nothing but vague memories of the National Tour II that consumed nearly four years. Of my years in Television and Radio, there are scripts and writings, a few photos and an award from Nevada Broadcasters. My bi-vocational service at various churches in Mount Pleasant, Huntsville, Cedar Bayou, Bryan, Pampa, Amarillo and Nevada, covered the major part of my life. The only churches I never served were Catholic, Pentecostal or Church of Christ. I sang for a dozen Texas State Conventions held on the Campus of Texas A&M; Boy Scout Jamborees; announced the Annual Cotton Pageant at A&M for years; Judged beauty contests and worked public address announcements for years. I was blessed with fine young musicians while teaching at Bryan and for a year at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina where we performed a special Christmas concert at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville From the Bryan High School Choir, over a tenure of 14 years, we placed 12 in All State Choir; 148 medal winners in UIL solo competition; 212 members in All Region Choir; won 5 Sweepstakes Trophies in Region III contest; brought home 6 Superior awards and the SFA A Cappella Choir was honored as the “State Honor Choir” in 1964 and “Honor Choir of Region III” in 1971. Couple all this with a great career in broadcasting and a twenty-six city, National Tour of a hit “Broadway” Show…well, you get the picture. It has been my privilege to do my best at blessing lives utilizing the gifts given my by my Father. As time goes by, I can’t but praise God for all the wonderful years of serving, not for any glory on my part, but only to say, “Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow”. I’ve floated on many, for sure. And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Welcome Home!”

Sam and Mattie Austin 119 South Church Mount Pleasant, Texas

This is the last picture I have of my folks, taken while we were on tour break. We had spent a few days painting 119 South Church and had just finished Sunday lunch. This was in the final stages of alzheimer’s disease for my Dad. It was the last time he and I really had a conversation. (Note the cap on the shelf at the left of the photo. It was there for him to wear as he ‘inspected’ our work. The house was my final home base before I left for college and it was the ‘headquarter’s’ for the annual Tabb Reunion where my son and I spent hours cranking Mattie Tabb’s home-made Peach Ice Cream. My parents were solid in belief and open to anyone who graced our door. 119 South Church is a monument to Sam Austin and his integrity. It was completed my senior year by good friends who made up my Dad’s crew on every fine home he built. (Some bear “Texas Historical” markers. Those men worked all day and would come over around 6:30PM to spend three or four hours “helping Sam and Mattie and Jimmy build their home”. It took nearly a year of ‘volunteer’ work and was truly a labor of love. I learned the importance of that and always felt that the opportunities God gave me had that same ingredient of respect and integrity. This house was sold to a lady who had been our maid for years. She and her husband never missed a payment and provided a home for a bunch of her off-springs. It doesn’t look the same today, but it’s still standing and still providing shelter in the storm of life. I will always think of 119 South Church as “Down Home”. A house where Love Lived, donchaknow. Really

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “For The Good….”

Back in my “Talk Radio” days in Vegas, there was a faithful listener named Peabody, who always called in with a gem. The first time we chatted, he said. “For the Good of the Station and all who go forth here, let there by light and compassion and peace and truth.” I never forgot that. All the years I hosted “Talk of the West”, I consciously listened and responded respectfully to my listeners, even when they were somewhat ‘off the wall’. Here are some other tidbits my friend shared:

“The tongue is a very small part of the body, but it can start a fire that consumes everything it touches.” “To understand the other guy, it’s best to listen to what he’s saying'”. “Before you strike out in anger, put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes. It could be that something you did or said just might have made them “too tight”. “Youngsters do some things right, so look for the good things and praise them for it”. “The next time you hold a grudge, hold hands. It will shock to see how communication improves.” “The mess we made today will still be there tomorrow, unless we clean it up tonight”. I miss Peabody. Other than these little gems, all he was interested in was his corn and ‘taters. I bet he was a Deacon in his church, donchaknow. Really.

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “ZAP!”

WOW! Sunday evening, just as the Tiger/Eli/Phil/Tom golf match concluded, our village internet took a lightning hit twice! It felt like it hit our townhouse directly. Fortunately, not, but it surely did feel like it. Television signal remained, but my iPad and computer connection left the building. (I always shut my desktop down whenever there is a chance of an electrical storm, so it wasn’t hit and the television made it, but all outside contact, even my CallCaption was lost. Bummer. So, here it is at 3am and my computer is connected, CallCaption works on my house phone, but I must go through the entire setup again for my iPad. You know when the ‘boom’ and the ‘flash’ occur at the same time, well, you know to duck! That was something, I tell you. Got my attention. Good to be back and still ticking, donchaknow. I see that many businesses are attempting to open. I pray for all of you who are ‘going out’, but I shall continue to stay in for a few weeks. I do plan on attending the SFA Class of ’70 celebration, God Willing, and continue to ‘wade upstream’. (I believe I have been expunged by Facebook, again. Those ‘sneaks’!

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Good Neighbor”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if folks were ‘Good Neighbors”? State Farm Insurance Company was “Good Neighbor” for years, but things certainly have changed. I once worked for the “Farm” and during my tenure, I attended a company golf tournament/meeting in Austin. Citizen Band was the thing back then. As I neared Austin, my radio come alive with calls for “Good Neighbor”. That came as a surprise since that was my handle. Lo and behold, there were numerous of us who responded. All agents and all “Good Neighbors”. I always thought Paul’s message to the church of Rome to be appropriate for State Farm: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:2) And now, today’s from Paul: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10) When I was taking care of my insured, I always thought about scriptural reference to being a “Good Neighbor”. I did my very best, donchaknow. Really. Why do you suppose State Farm changed with less emphasis on being a good neighbor? Could it be the focus isn’t on Godliness in business practice any more? No surprise when you think about it. Godliness isn’t the practice anywhere anymore. We live in a time when our own President has to resort to Tweets to get truth out.

What a revolting development! And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Devil’s Division”

Godly thought doesn’t divide a nation, but that’s not modern thinking, is it? Conflict Consumes and Common Sense exits the stage. After all is said and done, what’s left? A House Divided by SIN, period. In his letter to the church in Corinth, Apostle Paul wrote: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.So, here we are in a pandemic, joy has been consumed by a virus and we’re just totally ‘ticked’. Whose fault is it? Who do we truly believe anymore? One thing I know….our elected representatives are at the mercy of ‘public opinion’ and that is most fickle. The more I study our situation, the more I am convinced the “Swamp” is Bureaucracy. The travesty of our times is caused by simple employee malpractice. Why do we allow individuals so much power when ‘appointed’, not ‘elected’. ‘Tis a Puzzlement! So, the division that is detrimental to the common good is that protected by tradition. What we need is a year furlough for 90% of the people behind ‘appointed’ desks.

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Unfathonable!”

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “(Romans 11:33)

Times are tough for so many today.  Knowing God and His Mercy and Grace means everything to me.  I am reminded daily by a background of hymns and praise that makes up the bricks of my life.

 

HOWDY! “She Walks in Beauty”

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”       (Proverbs 31:30)

I know a few of these precious creatures, do you?  If you have found one who would put up with you, Praise God!  Why is it that our eyes seek both charm and beauty everywhere?  As I have aged, I realize them to be fleeting, even after the diabolical ‘face lifts’.  I look at myself and see nothing but sag, wrinkle, blotch, dry skin and flab.  If I was ever an appealing man, it has long disappeared.  I don’t like how I look anymore.  But, back to my original premise.  I never asked the women (2)  with whom I shared years, “Do you fear the Lord?”  I just assumed that to be the case, I guess.  They had charm and beauty for sure and the other, well I just took for granted.  Neither of those plans worked out. After the smoke clears, after the ‘breakup’, I’ve come to realize that divorce is simply “Family Fracture”.  It doesn’t matter that the woman lives for Jesus, there must be the same heart in the man.  Spiritual Maturity comes after hard knocks, but a successful marriage requires Unity in Jesus. Period. Marriage that lasts makes God Smile. Those of you who have persevered  understand that Truth. Praise God for those who have kept ‘keeping on’, for you are the strength and power that has kept God’s Final Judgement at bay. The perfection of years of loving is simply Union of Hearts in Jesus.  Perhaps it is time for another “Family Hug”.  The internet does provide a blessing after all.  And, that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.    AMEN

HOWDY! “Scams”

I must be an easy mark.  I’ve fallen for too many offers that were simply cotton candy, but one thing I do know that is real is TRUTH.  As an elderly person, opportunities come in droves of emails that promise something I would like to have, but all they really want is a way to divest me of what I need. Temptation will try to convince you that one more coin in the slot, one more try at the lottery, one more acceptance of Publishers Clearing House, will pay off.  Something for Nothing is a pipe dream and I do not trust them, but I have ‘bitten’ a few times. I had an “officer” of a bank in Spain email me a year or so ago. It seems that a man of great wealth was killed in a tragic automobile accident leaving no heir and millions of dollars in this bank.  I was discovered to be a distant relative and with no other found, I would be the beneficiary of $28 Million Dollars! This person had the authority to pay me if I would send $2800 in a money order (and not say a word to anyone until the deposit was made in my account.  Really? I reported it as a scam.  And then there was one, a few years back, that sounded legit and I responded.  It was a ‘message’ in Facebook from a friend from long ago.  She was someone I trusted and hadn’t seen in decades.  It was a ‘Grant’ from the government that required simply my email address. According to her message, she “had over $70.000 deposited within 24-hours” and all I had to do was send my mailing address and within hours, I would receive a response from a lady who would have checked a list to see if I qualified for thousands of dollars “Free” money.  I had not heard from this lady for years, so I checked her out in Facebook and there she was with family and friends with whom I was acquainted.  Well, I bit and every response was promising until I was told to send money for ‘legal expense’.  I thought, “UH OH!”, something smells here.  So I chose one of those ‘finder’ offers and sent it in the name of the lady who had sent the information.  It cost me less than $2.00 to find that she had passed away the year before.  Have you ever been ‘taken’?  Join the club.  Of course, all who have known me, with whom I share this will be somewhat disappointed.  Justified!  Yep!  BUT, if those of you who have been told of the Greatest Gift for Mankind that I have been sharing for a long time, have failed to take advantage of it, well, who is being foolish now?  I may be the most gullible man around, but when it comes to my Eternal Soul and Heaven, well I’ve not missed that one, donchaknow.  You?

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.     AMEN