Archive for September, 2010

“MEASURE TWICE – CUT ONCE” – UPDATE

September 17, 2010

 

 

 

 

Concerning my previous “Measure Twice – Cut Once” post, I had a revelation during a dream last night.  I am working on a special project for Jansen.  My progress has been slower than I desire, but with working and therapy on my hand, it appears to have been a good thing. 

The construction of the project called for measuring (twice), cutting, and glueing the boards together to achieve the proper measurements.  I have had the boards glued together for some time now and the next step was to again measure the individual parts for the proper size (trimming).

There are twelve individual parts.  With the exception of the four legs and the top, each piece must be trimmed to the exact size of the plans I had drawn.  Pam is in Panhandle, Texas, for her highschool class reunion, so I have more shop time available.  Last night I measured (twice) each piece that needed to be trimmed to size.  Now I will be ready to make the final cut on each part and begin to put everything together.

The plans above are not the plans that I drew, so it is not a picture of  the special project for Sir Jansen of Hurst Castle.  So, Chelsea (MOM), you are not getting a sneak preview.  This picture is just for illustration purposes.

I was excited to make my final cuts tonight and be able to see the end results of the picture I had in my mind.  In my dream last night, the revelation came that I had measured one piece wrong.  Duh!  Your have got to be kidding….I made a wrong measurement.  There are four pieces that have the same measurements for length, but one of the pieces is 3/4″ wider than the others.  I had measured and marked all the pieces the same, so one of the will be 3/4″ short in width if I trim the same amount off each piece.

So, this morning early, I went to the shop and looked back at the plans I had drawn.  Well, my unconscious mind was correct and my conscious mind was wrong.  I realized this morning that I had left off something very important in my original post.  While “measuring twice,” it is necessary to also look at the plans twice.  Now, I will be able to make the proper cuts with my saw.

I am getting anxious for Pam and I to deliver Jansen’s project, but I’m sure that his parents would appreciate a finished project that all the perfectly cut parts to be delivered are assembled.

This is what I wrote on the original post:

Hearing from God is very similar to the title of this post.  When we believe we hear from God, that is the “first measure.”  It is never as misleading as lumber measurements.  But, at the same time, we still need to “measure twice.”  This “second measure”  is checking The Scriptures to see if what you believe you heard lines up with what God says.  Now, if both measures agree, it is time to “cut” or take action with full assurance you are doing the right thing.  The “second measure” is when we depend not on ourselves, but on God’s Word.  Now comes the “fine tuning” as we act in faith and obedience.

So, after my dream last night, I realized that in life we must continue to refer back to God’s plans.  And, we must continually be listening for His instructions and any change in His plan.  Last night in my conscious mind, I was ignoring the project plans.  It is like that in life when our attention is on the world rather than the Spiritual.  Sometime it is much easier to hear from God when our conscious mind is at rest.  Believe what you may, but I believe God kept me from making the wrong cuts tonight.  He also taught me another valuable lesson:  Always be listening for His voice and instructions in order to stay focused on His plans.

 

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“WHO ARE YOU?”

September 16, 2010

Normally I begin each post with a story from the past or maybe from the present, and then end with a short lesson.  For a change of pace I have gone straight to the lesson.  The subject is about the pain we suffer in the everyday walk of life.  There is pain everywhere we look around the world, so I think it is important to learn how to deal with that pain…whatever it is.

Exit Strategy:

 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.—1 Corinthians 10:13

This is the story of Jesus when He had explained He was God.  The people became an angry mob and got Him out where they could throw him off a three-story cliff.

Somehow amidst the screaming, scrambling, fist pumping, and chest beating, Jesus simply walked through the crowd and went about His Father’s business.

The whole commotion was caused by a conflict over Jesus’ identity.  He claimed to be God.  They labeled Him a blasphemer.  Jesus was committed to who He was—not who the crowd was trying to define Him to be.

We must first be committed to who we are, the people God made us to be.  You cannot let pain, or the people and circumstances causing your pain, define you.  If we remain committed to who we are in spite of the pains of life that come our way, we will walk through them and do something significant in the world.

When you experience pain, you have two response options.  They are both directly related to how you define yourself.

First, you can allow the negative nature of pain caused by rejection, tragedy, or misfortune to define you as weak, as a failure, or as not good enough.  This was Satan’s accusation about Job; this was the claim of the men Jesus faced in the synagogue.  If you choose to allow pain to redefine you in these terms, you will probably not see God’s exit strategy.  Even if someone walked up to you with God’s solution, you wouldn’t believe it would work.  You already have accepted this label of loser.

The second potential response to pain is to define yourself as a courageous victor by identifying yourself as belonging to God.  You can acknowledge that He loves you and has never forgotten you.  You can label yourself as someone who is in the middle of a lesson that involves pain as a tool to sharpen your reliance on the Lord.

If that is who you are, God’s exit strategy will be clearer to you.

Because Jesus knew exactly who He was and was aware of the plan associated with His identity, He knew that death by “cliff crash” was not how He would “go out.”

However, though Jesus took advantage of a divine exit strategy and walked away from the cliff and the mob that screamed blasphemy, He did not walk away from the mob that cried out “Crucify Him!”  (John 19:6).  Being crucified was part of His fulfilling the purpose of His identity.

Knowing who you are will not protect you from every being hurt by pain.  But it will ensure that pain doesn’t only hurt.  It will allow you to take advantage of God’s exit strategy for you.  Remember, even though Jesus died, He still had an exit strategy:  His resurrection.

Are you a child of God, or not?  Did God give you a clear purpose with a plan and all of the necessary preparations made for you to succeed in that plan?  Yes!  Therefore, no matter what pain you experience, hold on to who God made you and look to Him for how to respond.

God is always confident you can find the exit strategy He has for you.  But you have to be willing to look for it and act on it.

God promises never to allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear (1 Cor. 10:13).  If you will make the decision to not allow pain to redefine you.  God’s exit strategy will be staring you in the face.

After all, God does not create an escape route toward failure.  Satan has already taken care of that.  For example, if you want to drink your way out of your problems, that is the devil’s option.

And the devil’s options lead to more pain and self-destruction.

If you are in a painful situation today, do something about defining who you are:  victim or victor.

If you are a victor, God has an exit strategy for you, and all you need to do is walk through it.

Choose a painful situation you are going through and ask yourself, how is my pain trying to redefine me?  Compare that label to who the Bible says Christians are, such as members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), Jesus’ brothers and sisters      (Mark 3:35).  Now, based on your biblical identity, write down how you will respond to the pain.

Dear God, I am Your child.  Please show me how a child who trusts in You with their whole heart would respond to my trial.  Please give me the direction I need.  Help me with my response to pain and align it to me “God identity.”

“AGONY – MISERY UPDATE”

September 14, 2010

Agony - Misery Ft, Knox KY

The original “Agony – Misery” blog was posted on March 30, 2010.  Since that time, there have been 155 views and 5 comments.  People continue to view the post almost daily.  I have often wondered why.  Of the comments, 1 was from my daughter and the other 4 were from men who trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  I was there in 1956-57, one was there in 1955-56, one in 1958, one in 1990 and one in 2000. 

Last night I realized if each viewer had posted a comment, I would have had 150 opportunities.  Did people view the post because they had served in the military, are serving today in the military, they are parents of those currently serving, or were they non-military and just having a bit of “misery and/or agony” in their lives.

What opportunities could I have missed?  If you are former military, I would have had the opportunity to thank you for your service to our country whether in war-time or peace.  I volunteered for the draft in August, 1955, with four of my friends.  I never questioned my obligation to serve my country and was lucky to serve between Korea and Viet Nam.  If you are now on active duty, I could have encouraged you in your sacrifice and pray God’s protection over you at this time.  If you were a parent with a son or daughter training at Fort Knox, I could have joined you in prayer for your family.

It always seems more effective to me when I get encouragement from someone who has previously experienced “agony and misery.”  Maybe there was an opportunity to lift someone’s spirit that had nothing to do with Fort Knox or the military.  Each of us at some time will experience difficult periods and it is through this that we grow.  This experience will qualify us for comforting others in their time of need.  It feel like this is not only an opportunity, but an obligation…just like serving our country.

I am proud to have served in the army and want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have served and are currently serving.  I ask each viewer of this post, to take time to leave a comment and join me in giving thanks to God for each of those who are currently serving or have served in the past.  Whatever each of us can do for those in “harms-way,” I know will be appreciated.  So to each of those serving, I pray for God’s protection and return them safely to the family and loved ones.

So, I issue a challenge.  Bless someone today!

“PATRIOT DAY”

September 10, 2010

In the United States, Patriot Day occurs on September 11 of each year, designated in memory of the 2,993 killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Most Americans refer to the day as “Nine-Eleven (9/11),”  “September Eleventh,” or some variation thereof.

U. S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 was approved by a vote of 407-0 on October 25, 2001.  It requested that the President designate September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”  President George W.  Bush signed the resolution into law on December 18, 2001.  It is a discretionary day of remembrance.

Initially, the day was called the Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.

On September 4, 2002, President Bush used his authority created by the resolution and proclaimed September 11, 2002 as Patriot Day.

On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U. S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad.  The President also asks Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 A.M. (EDT), the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

United States history reveals that the American people have bonded together in time of disaster and hard times.  On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.  This brought this nation together for a common cause.  There are many times in history, other than war, that the American people have joined together in prayer and action, and just as victory in World War II it brought success.  In the beginning of this nation, the people joined together to gain their freedom from England and the end results was The Constitution of the United States of America.  This was a joint effort of the framers of The Constitution as they were bonded through prayer and thought.  And, without a doubt, that was a great success.

This world was created by God and His plan was for the bonding of people for good and the Glory of God.  Adam and Even were created, they bonded and the result is the population of the world.  From two came billions of people.  So, if we want success in family, business, and all other things, we must bond together under The One and Only God.  It is by prayer and like-minds that success is achieved in all walks of life.  So, join me for a moment of silence on Saturday to honor those died on 9/11.  Add prayer to that silence and good things will happen.

“HOW SIMPLE IS IT TO CHANGE A FLAT TIRE?”

September 9, 2010

 

From the Wisdom Book:

“The smallest

act of kindness is worth

more than the grandest

intention.”

Dad (H. Jackson Brown, Sr.)

When I was growing up, it was pretty simple.  I had all I needed…a flat tire, a lug wrench, and a jack.  The only time I ever ran into trouble was on a Plymouth.  My friend and I had borrowed his brother’s car and had a flat.  It took forever to get the lug nuts off.  We weren’t aware that Plymouth wheels had reverse threads on the lugs.  In other words, when we thought we were loosening the lugs, we were tightening them.  We finally figured out the problem.  The only thing we didn’t figure out was why Plymouth would do such a thing.

I had a great morning at the office today and started home for lunch.  About half way home I heard what sounded like a rock or stick hitting inside the right front wheel well.  Everything seemed okay, so I continued on my way.  After driving about 1/4 mile, my Escalade began to pull to the right.  My tire was almost flat.  I looked on the right shoulder and had very little room to pull over.  There was a large gravel drive on the left, so I pulled across the highway.

Due to my hand surgery in June, I still haven’t regained full strength in the right hand.  Besides, it was pretty hot on the  side of the highway.  So, I called the office and got the telephone number of my “tire” man.  Aren’t cell phones wonderful?  W’hen I called the tire company for road service, their service man had just left on another road call and would not be returning for a couple of hours.  I told them I would attempt to change the tire myself.

It has been years since I changed a tire… except on my lawn tractor.  I thought it would be pretty simple.  WRONG!!!  Now it takes a manual with detail instructions.  I did know where the jack and tool kit was located on my Escalade.  I found the proper section for changing tires in the manual.  Just as I began to read the manual, a man pulled off the highway and offered his help.  We read the instructions and were able to remove the tool kit.  The instructions were not very clear on how to retrieve the jack.  My new helper thought it could be removed one way and I thought exactly the opposite.  I am usually a problem solver and using my logic (not the manual), we were able to get the jack out of the compartment.

Now it was time to read the instructions for removing the spare time from the underside of my vehicle.  Just looking at it, my logic was of no help.  There is a lock on the rear of my vehicle that must be removed to allow access to a tube that goes to the lowering mechanism for my spare.  The extension rods in the tool kit are designed especially for this purpose.  Just as I figured out how to lower the tire, I looked up and a Texas State Trooper had pulled over to render aid.  He turned on all the blinking lights on the patrol car so everyone who passed could see that Jerry was in trouble.  I had the tire on the ground but it was still attached to the underside of the vehicle by a cable.  More reading and pictures.  FINALLY, we were ready to use the jack and lug wrench.

Everything went well after that.  The two other men did all the work removing the damaged tire and installing the spare.  The only real inconvenience I experienced was the loss of my “daily power nap” at lunch.  I went to the tire shop after lunch and turned everything over to them.  I also asked if they could please, please, please figure out how to put the jack and tool kit back where it belonged.

Right in the middle of writing this post my “tire man” called and had my vehicle ready.  Thankfully, I did not need a new tire.  I had hit something that punched a hole in the tire and the noise I heard was when said object came out and hit the fender well.

So:  “How simple is it to change a flat tire?”  Not very!  It is a lot more simple this afternoon than it was during the noon hour.  But, it is still not as simple as when I was younger.

But, I believe you can agree, that I was blessed by two generous men who came to my rescue.  I believe in helping those in need when it is possible.  And I also believe that is the reason those two men came to my rescue.  Maybe in some way I had “paid forward” by a prior act of kindness. 

I was at a highschool baseball playoff game this spring.  Between games, Pam and I were in the parking lot having a sandwich and soft drink.  Pam makes the very best chicken salad sandwich.  As we were enjoying our sandwich I heard the “clicking” sound of someone trying to start their vehicle.  I know the sound very well, so I began walking through the parking lot to find the person in trouble.  It was a teenage boy trying to start his pickup truck.  I asked if he were having trouble and he said he “thought” he had a battery problem.  I told him I “knew” he had a battery problem because of the “clicking” sound.  I always carry jumper cables and try to  be interruptible and available for people with dead batteries.  This is one thing Lyndsey has learned from me, so she also carries jumper cables.  I believe she also knows how to use them.  This young man needed a little instruction from his father.  He knew exactly zero about using jumper cables.   Anyway, I got the teenager’s truck started and he was on his way.

“I expect

to pass through life but once.

If, therefore, there by any kindness

I can show, or any good thing

I can do to any fellow being, let me

do it now, for I shall not

pass this way again.”

William Penn

Helping someone in time of need is just like speaking God’s Word.  There is power in God’s Word and there is power in doing good deeds…and neither comes at a cost.

 

 

 

“HOW TO ENJOY TELEMARKETERS”

September 3, 2010

 

When traveling, I often listen to Carl Hurley on XM’s “Laugh USA.”  For those who are unfamiliar with Carl, he makes you laugh and appreciate life at the same time.  Carl grew up in a two-room cabin in the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky.  He often says, “We lived so far out in the country we had to go towards town to hunt.”  Carl became a tenured professor after he received his doctorate in education.  He is known as “America’s funniest professor!”  I enjoy his ability to take everyday events and everyday people to give laughter to people across the nation.

One day I heard him talking about telemarketers.  In his routine I could only hear his end of the telephone conversation.  The caller asked for his parents and Carl said they weren’t home.  He asked Carl’s age and the response was 10 years old (I think) and weighed 400 pounds.  When asked if anyone else was home, he told the caller that Grandma was in the attic but his parents had told him not to tell anyone.  He said the insurance company thought Grandma had died.  Anyway, Carl talked so long, the telemarketer was worn out and finally hung up.

I take a short “power” nap each day at lunch, except on Tuesday.  Tuesday is what my friend and I call our “accountability day.”  I have been taking these naps for about 40 years.  I also take a Sunday afternoon nap.  After years of telling Pam how refreshing my Sunday naps were, she finally joined me.  Most of my friends are very aware of my Sunday naps and refrain from calling during this time.

There was a time when I kept getting calls from telemarketers for TV satellite systems.  I have signed up on the National No-Call list, but many telemarketers don’t play by the rules.  I am not the happiest person in the world when I get awaken from my Sunday nap.  For a while it seemed like I received a call every Sunday afternoon.  I had finally had enough!  I thought about how Carl Hurley handled the situation.

One Sunday as I was enjoying a real good nap, the phone rang.  The caller said he wanted to make an appointment to install the satellite system I had purchased.  I asked when I had made this purchase, because I was getting old and my memory was failing me.  I could hear the shock on the other end of the line.  He wasn’t sure how to proceed now.  He told me I had really not made a purchase yet, but he wanted to set an appointment so I could take advantage of this opportunity.  I CHANGED THE SUBJECT!  I told him I was really glad he called because my business had been really slow and I wanted him to come to the office to talk about his retirement planning.  He tried to take back control of the conversation, but I was on a roll and really enjoying myself.  I kept pressing for an appointment with him.  HE HUNG UP!!!

This ended my Sunday afternoon calls for the most part.  It’s been about three years since I have been called anytime about a satellite system.  On most Sundays, we have a very restful nap. 

If you have read my posts, you know I always have a lesson at the end.  Right now I am trying to think of what lesson can be derived from this.  So, I am going to take a break and meditate.

Telemarketers always have the same goal.  They want to make a sale.  First, the satellite system marketer tried to tempt me with an offer.  When that didn’t work, he tried deception saying I had already purchased a system.  The only thing that was accomplished was disturbing my nap.  When I responded rather than reacted, I was back in control and was able to return to my peaceful nap.  This is much the way of satan.  He is roaming the earth to steal from us.  Satan has no power over us.  He can only steal what we allow him to.  Satan’s goal is always the same.  If one temptation doesn’t work, he tries to present it any another way, but his goal is always the same.  He wants to separate us from God and replace our peace with chaos.  If our focus remains on God, satan fails in his attempts.  Just as he did in The Garden of Eden, he always works through deception.

“IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!”

September 2, 2010

 

 

Years ago, when I lived in Port Arthur, a CPA a friend of mine asked me to come over and help him work on his outboard motor.  He assumed I knew something about outboard motors.  He had a problem with the gears in the lower unit.  As we were dismantling the gear box he said he was really glad I knew something about motors.  I told him the same thing.  Duh!!!  Neither of us was an outboard motor mechanic.  We got everything put back together and it looked just like it did before we started.  We never could get the motor started, but while working we got the great idea of going to his fishing camp on the Sabine River near Orange, Texas.  The motor we were working on was a small motor.  He also had a larger motor that was already mounted on his boat.  So, we headed for the fish camp.

We arrived late afternoon with groceries and fishing supplies.  We were going to string some trotlines in the river before dark.  As luck would have it, this motor wouldn’t start either.  But, we now had experience with working on outboard motors….not fixing them, just working on them.  Well, back to the mechanic abilities.  We did get the motor started, and strung and baited our trotlines.  We checked them a few times that night and caught a few catfish.

We checked the trotlines the next day and brought in more fish.  After we loaded the boat on the trailer, we noticed a couple of Cajun men with a homemade hydroplane boat.  They had put their boat in the water and were sitting in the truck bed having a couple of JAX.  This was a small boat and would only hold one person.  One of the men wasn’t interested in riding in this homemade boat anyway.  So, the brave one started the engine and eased away from the shore for a little spin.  He had more motor than he had boat, but it did float and was pretty fast.  He returned to the shore and the two Cajuns had another JAX.  Then the brave one begged his partner to take a spin with him.  There was only one seat, so the second passenger would have to sit on the front deck.  After much begging and a couple more JAX, the fearful one decided to take a spin if the brave one would go real, real slow…so he agreed. 

They loaded up and moved slowly away from the shore…everything was fine.  After going about thirty feet, the driver gave it full throttle.  The torque turned the boat one way and both Cajuns turned the opposite way.  After they hit the water, the boat flipped and began to sink.  As the boat disappeared, the only thing floating was the gas tank, but soon the weight of the boat and motor pulled in under also.  The river was really deep where the boat sunk.  Both men swam to the shore, walked to the pickup, and opened a couple more JAX while they discussed the situation.  One of them commented on what bad luck they had just experienced.  The other said it could have been worse.  When questioned how it could have been worse, he reminded Cajun #1 that the motor could have been theirs rather than borrowed.

Well , after listening to that conversation, we decided it was time to start for home.

It is not real comforting when you are in a dire situation and you tell yourself  “it could have been worse.”  It is also no help to think it could have been better.  This is a lot like when my “hand” doctor told me I had what I had and it would get no better.  He said surgery was up to me but he could tell me what would happen.  If I didn’t have surgery, my thumb would get more painful as the years pass and I would call him and ask him to do the repair.  When you are in one of these dire situations, it’s time to take action.  I believe it’s better to give thanks to God that things are not any worse.  It is time to pray and address the situation you are in rather than imagine it could have been better or worse.  It is time to ask God to help you out of the place you are in rather than the place you might be.  God knows where you are and He knows how to lift you up.  Now, that is comfort.

 

“PAMLITA’S SALSA”

September 1, 2010

In early summer of 2006 I was reading my Texas Co-Op Power magazine.  It always has some interest articles, recipes, and a schedule of the upcoming events around Texas.  I saw that Waco was having their Eleventh Annual Margarita & Salsa Festival.  It was held at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex for the benefit of The Arthritis Foundation.  They were having contests for the best margarita and salsa.  Also, there were a number of country & western singers, including Pat Green.  I talked Pam into letting me enter her in the salsa making contest because she makes the very, very best.  There were pretty strict rules.  She must prepare her salsa in a certified kitchen or prepare on site. 

We decided to prepare ahead of time due to the long drive to Waco.  We have a friend who owns a restaurant and he allowed Pam to use his kitchen and sent along documentation as appropriate.  She had to prepare 4 gallons of salsa.  Early on Saturday morning we placed the salsa in a cooler and headed to Waco for a summer adventure.

As you can see from the pictures above, Pam always does things with “excellence.”  Not only was her salsa the best, her table was decorated the best.  We had to load all of the necessary decorations for her salsa table.  There were about twenty judge and they worked in pairs.  There were so many contestants it was not possible for each judge to taste test each and every salsa.  Pam was in competition with Mexican restaurants and individuals around the Central Texas area.  She was the only contestant from another area.

When they opened the building to allow the thousands of people in attendance to sample the margaritas and salsa, it was a real mad house.  We furnished the salsa and the festival furnished the tortilla chips.  We ran out of chips twice and the tables near us contributed their chips to our table.  After the judging we had a couple come to our table because they had heard Pamlita’s Salsa was the very best.  They had quite a few samples and agreed.  They discovered something I had known for years.  PAM MAKES THE BEST SALSA!!!!

We had to go out in the heat and listen to the music while waiting for the results of the judging.  Finally, the winners were announced and Pam was awarded second place.  (I had already awarded her first place.)  The judges were wrong, of course, but considering the competition, she did well.  So, it was a very enjoyable adventure for us.  Pam received a check for $250 so she came out pretty well.  The only thing I was out was the usual overnight travel expenses…food, gas, motel, and Starbucks coffee. 

When the next month’s co-op magazine came out, I noticed a Cajun gumbo and waltzing contest in South Texas.  I called Pam and told her I had signed us up.  Not only is she the best salsa maker, but she makes the best every Cajun gumbo.  And, not to be bragging, but were are the best waltzers in this part of the state.  The reason for this is because she taught me the waltz…and we really love it.  For a while she thought I was serious about this new adventure.  I finally confessed that I was only kidding.  She was really disappointed because she was ready for a South Texas adventure.

I mentioned above about Pam doing everything with “excellence.”  Well, that is something that I have learned from her over the years.  Whatever you do, do it with excellence.  This especially holds true when you do something unto  the Lord, do it with “excellence.”  When you do that, God is blessed and so are you.  When you do unto others with “excellence,” they are blessed and that is also pleasing to the Lord.