This weekend we celebrate Fathers day, and I began thinking on what that meant. It is usually assumed that a child and their fathers had some wonderful close best friend type relationship, which if they did, wonderful, but it doesn‘t always work out that way.

When I think back on when my boys were born, and even during their growing up years, there was no doubt that I loved them, and provided for them as best I could, but in all honesty, my wife was closer too them than I was. They would go talk to her about things that I probably would have either brushed off or maybe been less than helpful on. I will admit, I’m probably less than a “listen and understand” type guy. I will also admit that I was way too often judgmental and hard, on some things. It’s part of my nature I guess! The fact remains, now as I look back, I wish I had been a better father in the areas that I let them down. I watch them both now as they have grown into fine young men with families and children of their own, and see that Use of “Hopefully” (consider revising) they learned something from me that I never really intended to teach them, how to be the type father I was not. They are both much more active in the child rearing process than I was, and I am thankful for that, because they will gain a closeness that I missed.

One Fathers day several years ago, my boys gave me a thin line bible, and it has written in the front of it “Our earthly example of our heavenly Father” . Every time I read that I almost tear up and hang my head with shame because I realize just how far from that, I really was. I love my sons, always have, and always will! My hopes and dreams are that neither of my sons look back in their future and utter the words “I wish I had been a better dad”, and that someday off in their future, their kids will say “Our earthly example of our heavenly Father”, and it is completely true.
With that said, I want to say, Happy Fathers Day boys, and I love you!

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Dec 14/2012 Is today the day we, as a people, change for the better

December 14, 2012. Today is my birthday. This was my main thought when I woke up this morning. As the day progressed, the horrific news hit the airwaves and the net, about the shooting of the kids and adults. Personally, I was too stunned for proper words. That didn’t seem to be the case for all those that want guns banned. Within seconds, all across the nation, the cry arose “ban guns”. I heard cries of, “if this had been a knife, or baseball bat“, or “we should have had our schools on lockdown“, or “we should have metal detectors to protect, and this wouldn’t have happened“.
If I even remotely thought that might stop killings like the one today, I might lift that cry also, but, I watched TV one day, 9/11, and seen over 2,000 people killed, with no gun whatsoever. I’ve also watched as millions of innocent babies, still in the womb, butchered, all for the sake of “my body, my choice”, with no gun whatsoever. I’ve read in history books where people were herded into gas chambers, where no gun whatsoever, killed them. No, gun bans are not the answer.

We call ourselves decent people, and for the most part, we are. Therein lies the problem. We’re decent. We’re not perfect, and some of us, like this guy, and those previously mentioned, are pure evil. We all search for, and point to, something that should be the target of our rage when acts like this occur. We point to inanimate objects like guns, and say “there’s the evil”, or we point to people with bombs strapped to their chest, and say “bombs shouldn’t be allowed”, or “if we were more tolerant of them and their beliefs they wouldn’t hate us so bad”. Some of these things hold grains of truth, but they’re not the real problem. The real problem is us.

Mankind, from the birth of humanity, has had intertwined in our midst, people of natures so infected with sin and hate, nothing will satisfy their desire to hurt. They met out pain and destruction with as little thought as stepping on a bug. We call these type people “evil”. Evil, like most things, doesn’t present its self as such until it’s too late to do much to avoid its presence. Evil generally doesn’t exist in inanimate objects, but those objects are often used by evil people. We need to learn to distinguish between the two, so as to find the real culprit.
Seldom are people “just plain born evil”. Some are but most, through life’s grind, develop into evil actions gradually, but there are some that just wake up one day and evil comes out in full force. You don’t know if you’re standing in a food line with them or not. Most, look no different than your brother, sister, aunt uncle, or cousin, but they’re there, waiting.
We can go through life in fear and hiding, trying to avoid such people, and still, on a regular day, they show up. The answer is not to hide, prepare for protection, or ban objects, or even try to place blame. The answer, is to change the hearts and minds of people. Change comes slow, but change is what’s needed.

   We need to practice what Jesus quoted as the greatest commandment, “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you”. If we did just this one thing, what happened today, would never, ever, happen again. Jesus, can change hearts, but, He can’t do it if no one does, or is allowed, to mention His name. Are you ashamed to mention Jesus?

Growing the economy “top down”

Our economic success has never come from the top down,” said Obama. “It comes from the middle out. It comes from the bottom up.

You know, I’ve heard this statement, or at least one fairly similar, from the president for over five years now, and I’m always somewhat amazed by it. Now I’m just a poor old country boy, but even I know that that theory won’t hold up under any scrutiny at all.
Like I said, I’m a country boy. I was raised on a farm, and at times we raised crops. During the gathering process, we often put the grain in sacks. In all my years of watching those sacks being filled, not one time, did they fill from the “middle” or the “bottom up”. We often had to feed and water our animals, and we used buckets for the process. Again, not one time, did those buckets miraculously fill themselves from “the middle out”, or, “the bottom up”. In each of the examples I just presented, the “filling up”, came from the top down, in order to even reach, the bottom.

Now I understand that president Obama, not being a country boy, most likely never helped fill a grain sack, or toted a water, or feed bucket, and would be somewhat at a disadvantage on how things get filled up, but to stand in front of Americans and tell us he has a clue on how to “fill up” our bucket of success, comes off as dubious at best.

As a country boy, I’d like to offer my services to president Obama, as a “fill up” czar. I will not charge the American taxpayer one red cent. The process is really quite simple Mr. president. You see, the rich, those evil people you blame for all our financial woes, spend their money to buy things, start companies, invest in other businesses, or just loan out, to make more money. Oh yes, they also pay taxes! For that matter Mr. president, they pay 70% of all the taxes paid, unlike the 40% of Americans that pay nothing, you know, the ones you so proudly claim grows our economy. As they do this, the next guys down the economic ladder, sell them products, work in their companies, borrow the money to improve their homes, and lives in general, all the while, striving to become, you guessed it, “rich”. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, wants to stay at the bottom!

As you can see Mr. president, the economy starts to get filled “from the top down”, not “the middle out“, or “bottom up”.  It takes us all, working in harmony, to grow. Your constant harping on the rich and their “fair share” bunk, does nothing more than disrupt the links that holds us together, or is that your true intent!

I have several friends that own farms, and if it would help you understand growing things, I could see if they might give you a Summer job. If you’re interested in learning, let me know.

Is it time to change the guard

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Have we reached, or are we at least near, the time to go back to how we started, in order to become great again? Our government is no longer our “guard”, but has now become our “overseer”. A lot of our “Creator given rights”, have been taken away by an overbearing government, filled with elitist, that think they have the right, not obligation, to dictate our every move. Maybe it’s time to set the countrys direction on a proper course, with a new, and people oriented guard, as it was designed to be from the start! “Of, for, and by the people”, not government officials. Does America still have the men with the fortitude to say once more, “Give me liberty, or give me death”?

White Chocolate Pretzel Thingies.

Making white chocolate pretzel thingies, instructions:

Melt chocolate bar. Insert pretzels, coating sufficiently to cover pretzel, then shake off excess, placing them on wax paper to cool. Once hardened, eat!

Sounds fairly uncomplicated, right? Well, Huston, we have a problem!

   The instructions in detail, have a bit more hidden things to offer. First order, get a big pan, and fill it with water. Then get a smaller one to fit inside the first one (that you’ve over filled with water). (Okay, no problem, just pour some of the water out!) Then place the second smaller pan inside the larger, water filled one. (Okay, pour out some more water!) Now, place the smaller pan inside the larger one, and drop in the chocolate to be melted. The water in the larger pan, should be a bit higher than the height of the chocolate in the smaller pan. (Okay, add a bit of water back) Next, heat the water, in the larger pan, to just below the boiling point. (Okay, turn the heat down some, it’s boiling!) As the chocolate begins to melt (wait, how come it’s not melting! Okay, turn the heat back up.), and stir constantly till fully melted to a thick syrup consistency (how come it’s not melting that much?). Ah, the instructions say, add some cooking oil one teaspoon at a time, till you get the consistency desired! Okay, add oil and stir. Okay, add some more oil, and stir. Okay, add some more oil, and stir. Okay, add more oil, and stir. Alright!!  Finally we’re starting to melt, and get the desired consistency (good thing, I’m running out of oil)!
   Okay, now here’s where things start to get a bit tricky. Your small pan, with the now melted chocolate, is on the stove, to maintain the heat, and consistency, and your wax paper, is eight feet away on the counter, ready for placement. Okay, no problem! Grab some pretzels and just throw them in the pan, mixing, and coating them there, right on the stove (brilliant!)! (“Okay, now what?) Now all we have to do, is take the pretzel, chocolate filled pan, over to the counter, and fish them out. (Great idea!) (Wait, they’re starting to cool, while still in the pan! Not good!) Take the pan, back to the stove and reheat to desired consistency again. Repeat as often as necessary to get these stupid things done (like as many as eight times)! (These things better be awsome!!!!)

   After due consideration, and two hours of aggravating work, I’ve come to a conclusion!

Although they taste right, and look pretty much like they’re supposed too,I won’t ever do this again! When these are gone, does anybody know someone dumb enough to do this for me next time?  :/

Ageing, my style

   When I was a kid (around six) I thought people in their twenties were old, people in their forties were ancient, and those fifty and older, were pretty well near deaths door. As I reached my teens, I still felt pretty much the same. As I reached my twenties, I forgot about the twenties thing, but still felt pretty much the same, as far as the rest was concerned. As I reached my thirties, I looked back on my teens, and twenties with great memories, but still felt pretty much the same for those older than me. When I reached my forties, I started to look in both directions, age wise. I missed the days of my youth, and the tireless energy I had then, and also, looked at the future with some trepidation, and a fear mixture, but still felt pretty much the same for the older ones. When I hit my fifties, I was still playing some sports (old guys softball), and still had a respectable bit of energy, but I still felt pretty much the same about the older ones. Theeeenn, I hit my sixties! It was then, I decided that there might need to be, at least some, restructuring of my thought process on aging.

   Since, today, I reached the age of 63, I look back on the twenties years as, young, and inexperienced, the thirties as, still young, and somewhat more experienced, the forties as, less young, but still young, and reasonably experienced, the fifties as, older, and well seasoned, but still not old. The sixties, I’m finding out, are pretty much what I thought they were, back when I was six. The rest, are pretty much the same as far as I‘m concerned!

Wonder how I’ll look on the seventies years!!!

Of course, I have to finish my sixties, first!    :/

Christmas morning change.

   As we approach Christmas day, I asked on my Facebook page, for my friends to comment on favorite traditions, or tell of a special memory. I received several responses, with many of the same, yet unique versions, of a typical Christmas day. It brought back memories of the years when my boys were still at home, and some of the special things we did, at our house. Almost every memory brought a smile to my face but one, and this is the story as to why that one didn’t.

   For over twenty years, we all got up early (well,” I” woke “them” up before daylight, as early as 4AM, to be exact) on Christmas morning to “see what Santa” brought. We made them wait, so they could both go see what was under the tree together, while my wife and I watched to see their expressions as they viewed what was there. Most of the time, they were still half asleep, so it took a bit for the adjustment, and I was most often more excited, than they were! After the sleep began to fade, they came alive, and dived in, to find, and open presents. Later my wife’s parents came out for breakfast, and we did the usual flurry of package ripping, amid sounds of Christmas music and laughter. Then, we proceeded to get dressed after a bit, and go to my parents home, for the normal Christmas dinner, followed by, you guessed it, another round of the gift opening, with the same sounds as before. We sat around for a while, digesting the delicious meals prepared by my mother, and just talking. Then around five, we sat off to my wife’s parents for the third huge meal of the day, and then just sat around talking for a while.
   Like I said, this scenario went on, with minor variations, for over twenty years, and I loved every minute of them. Then came something I had never prepared myself for, change! The last Christmas before my youngest son got married, I was going to do my usual thing, but my wife said let them sleep in till they woke up on their own. It like to have broken my heart! I went on and got up, by myself, went into the living room, sat in a chair, and cried for the first time on a Christmas morning, because I knew that Christmas mornings, had just changed, forever.

   This change happened close to twelve years ago, but comes back each year, as if it were yesterday, and on occasion, I still cry. Not because I want back those days, but the feelings of that morning, are still there. Change is hard for us older folks, but it is a reality. My boys, whom I love dearly, and miss a lot, are grown, gone, married, and have kids of their own now, they both live in other distant states, and they’re starting traditions of their own, with their children, which they will find joy in, for many years to come, but, I wonder, if someday, on a future Christmas morning, they will get up, by themselves, sit in a chair, and cry, because, things have just changed forever.