Morning Chases Night Away

Even as the night goes unwillingly and it’s darkness clings to the remaining hours not even the fumbling fingers of an old man on a keyboard can withstand lightnesses early arrival. I’ll pay for this later I tell myself but laying claim to these early morning routines allows me the tranquility that only me, the birds, and a few moist worms can enjoy alone for our reprieve.

I have had a hint at the news while waiting for the water to boil for the coffee and I won’t be turning that back on. One of my tasks that awaits me is how to disconnect cable while keeping my landline phone and the internet.

Hope springs eternal is still the mantra with the weather though compared to other parts of our country we really don’t have anything to complain about. Playing with fonts and opening size letters are all I can do to keep my fingers moving. Where did the Tiger go that I had planned to feature in this article. Let me go try and find him.

Protagonist

Writing your protagonist always requires deep thought and consideration, but crafting believable, realistic protagonists who are nothing like you presents unique challenges. Author Donna Levin offers four essential tips to help you work through these challenges.

Most of us, when we start writing fiction, start with a main character who is much like ourselves. It’s natural: the impulse to write often comes from our desire to channel our own experiences and emotions into a story so that everyone can know how we feel.

It’s not only natural, it’s easy. I’ve heard it said, in fact, that all the important characters in a novel represent some part of the novelist herself.

As they say in appellate court decisions, though, “we need not reach that question.” We’re gathered here to discuss how it is one creates a believable character who is nothing like you. Because we want to go beyond what’s easy.

Here are four essential steps for creating a protagonist who is nothing like you, but still very real.

1. Recognize That “Nothing Human is Alien to Me”

This statement is variously attributed, but thanks to the Internet, All-Knowing and All-Wise, we know that it was first said by Publius Terentius Afer, commonly known as Terence, a Roman playwright. After 2,000 years the statement is safely in the public domain, but he does deserve the credit. More to the point, it’s true. And it’s something that we know intuitively. We’ve all felt rage, guilt, pity, adoration, shame.

There’s a paradox here: I’ve said you want to create a character who is nothing like you, and now I’m saying that everyone is like you. We can resolve this by postulating that our conscious minds represent only a small part of who we are. As socialized animals we’ve spent our lives training ourselves to ignore the impulse to walk out of a store with a new iPhone tucked into the waistband of our jeans.

Yet there remain vast, unexplored territories within us wherein lie our understanding of how a mother abandons her children or a man becomes a serial killer. (What I’d really like to know is why people like to read about serial killers so much, but that goes beyond the scope of this essay.)

I recently overheard someone say that she couldn’t understand why people became homeless. But a novelist needs to be able to suspend the judgment she uses in daily life. A writer needs to understand why.

Who believes that Zeus is in charge of thunderbolts? Well, somebody did once upon a time and if your protagonist is an ancient Greek warrior you’d better get out of judgment mode and into his (let’s face it, it was probably a “he”) head. Put yourself in the mind of a person who does not know what we do about how frozen raindrops bump up against each other to create an electric charge. Then you see a lightning strike. What’s a good explanation?

Be brave in the service of your fiction. Writing about a shoplifter won’t make you a shoplifter. Venture to the very edge of the abyss: It’s easier to pull back on an extreme character than to make a character more extreme. You may also be surprised on how little you need to pull back.

Understanding other humans isn’t just about going over to the dark side. It can be equally difficult (especially for some of us) to get in touch with our nobler impulses. What inspires a woman become a nun, a man become a monk? A lawyer to work pro bono?

I hate drama in my personal life. I like routine; I avoid arguments; I don’t spend time with people I don’t like. But in a novel, these qualities make for a really dull character. Fictional characters need to be more driven, obsessed, and passionate than real people. Think Captain Ahab. Would you want him to join your chapter of the PTA? Think Dmitri Karamazov. Would you swipe right if you saw his Tinder profile?

When you’re up against the wall of your own judgment, and what Terence said isn’t enough, remember that the greatest tool a writer of fiction has is her imagination. Do you love chocolate? Imagine why you might not like chocolate: It’s sticky. It gives you a sugar rush, but then a sugar crash. Are you afraid to fly? Imagine the excitement someone feels when 100 tons of metal leaves the runway and ascends into the sky.

2. Develop Your Character Through Backstory

I find backstory crucial to the development of any character, but when you are creating a character who is significantly different from you, it plays a double role. Not only will you discover the key events and situations of this character’s life that shaped her, but that backstory will launch you in a direction away from yourself.

Obviously, you want to give your protagonist a very different history from your own. If feasible, let him grow up in another part of the country, or another part of the world. The values of our milieus affect us more than we want to know: That was why Scarlett O’Hara didn’t think that owning slaves was the abomination that it was. Or why a Jane Austen heroine had to get married at the end. Why Anna Karenina had to throw herself in front of a train. If your character had an overprotective mother, or an alcoholic father, how would that affect him or her? Did she get a law degree at Harvard or drop out of high school?

There’s no formula for how circumstances will shape someone’s personality in real life, let alone in fiction. You won’t be judged by a team of psychologists if you decide that growing up rich gave your heroine the freedom to pursue her music, instead of making her spoiled and lazy. Either way, knowing about her past will help you both distance yourself from and zero in on who your protagonist is.

Sometimes backstory will become an essential part of your current story. In the movie Monster, the biopic of Aileen Wuornos, the screenwriter dramatized an attack on Aileen, who then has to kill in self-defense. I won’t speak to the accuracy of this depiction, but in the context of the movie it makes Aileen surprisingly sympathetic, at least until she kills a man who only wants to help her.

However, most of the time this backstory is just for you. It can be tempting, after you’ve written fascinating details about a character’s earlier life, to justify its inclusion in your novel. It’s so hard to throw away good writing. Do it anyway.

3. Focus on Distinctive Physical Traits

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where our appearance didn’t matter?

We don’t.

Studies show that the taller a man is, the more money he’s likely to earn. I don’t like to give immediate credence to any study I see, but it’s believable enough as a general rule. Look around any café: what assumptions are you making about the people you see—the woman with the walker, vs the woman with a terrier poking its head out of her purse? And then, how might you challenge those assumptions?

Height, build, and coloring are the easy and obvious aspects of physical description. But don’t stop there. God is in the details: the tattoo; the French manicure; the short upper lip; the one ear that’s slightly higher than the other. Big feet.

From this description, once clear in your head, you can imagine so much more of your protagonist’s inner life. A short, plump woman is going to have a tougher time becoming a ballerina. (Doesn’t mean that she won’t try, and there’s a story there.) And how might Cyrano de Bergerac’s life have been different had he had access to a good plastic surgeon? Much of what’s physical isn’t immediately visible. Allergies? The kind of hand-eye coordination that makes a good tennis player?

Don’t forget age. Not only is the appearance of a 25-year-old different from that of a 40-year-old or a 60-year-old, but their goals, hopes and fears are very different as well.

4. Have a Friend Read an Interim Draft

That may seem a tad obvious, because we all need feedback on our work. But there’s a crucial distinction here.

I strongly discourage writers from sharing their work with friends and family until it’s finished. Even the most well-meaning of those potential readers can’t give you much help, simply because they do know you too well. And even if they’re avid readers, unless they’re also writers and/or editors themselves, they can’t give you technical assistance, such as identifying lapses in point of view or (sadly, all too often) distinguishing between the correct use of “lie” and “lay.”

Rather, although they may not be conscious of it, these good people want to read your work because they’re curious about this “writing a novel” thing you’ve been talking about (and that they may have been thinking about, but haven’t yet tried).

They also want to see if you’ve based a character on them. This is a no-win situation. If they don’t see themselves, they’ll be disappointed. If they do, they’ll still be disappointed, because you won’t have described that character as the wise and generous mentor, or always-there-for-you pal they see themselves as, but rather as a cranky boss or a self-absorbed friend.

Having said all that, if you want feedback on this one aspect of your work—that you’ve created a protagonist who is nothing like you—show a draft to someone who knows you and say, “I only want feedback on whether my main character is different from me.” Or be a little disingenuous and say, “I based this character on myself,” and see what their response is. I do know a few writers who say that their partners are their most astute and reliable critics. So, no hate mail on this issue, please.

I’ve thrown a lot of ideas at you. You don’t need to use them all. Use what’s helpful; ignore the rest. Which is a good rule to follow regarding anything you read on the craft of writing.

If I do say so myself.

A Couple of My Best Posts or less.

Here I am trying to find out if one of my ancestors was on the Mayflower, you know Bradford’s, Brewster’s, and I find out my 9th GGF John Thomas Clarke, piloted the darn thing.

Wrong boat.

So the way it comes to me is that when I wake up from a nap in the middle of the day an idea comes to me in an extraordinary way. Today was the little piggy and the next Presidential nominee. The way I see it is that these are no longer days but episodes. Like Seinfeld episodes Season #1 Ep #13 or #54 or whatever episode we are up to. Each episode comes with its own set of characters and carrying ons’ You don’t know what to expect. There is no way a person could cover all the things that go on in these times. Some are good, some not so good, and everything else in between. Some people thrive and some survive and Do Your Own Time and so on and so on. They can stop saying “We’re in this together” 30 million people are unemployed. There’s no way the rich and famous can sing enough, loud enough to make “a together:” out of that. 75,000 have been attributed to have died from the virus, and they ain’t in this together anymore either. So, we are not ALL going to make it, and how we respond to not making it is not for everyone else’s judgment. I’m just getting warmed up but I have to cease now and switch gears. Y’all come back now, ya’ hear.

too good not to share!!

Why not question everything?

Why can you go to Walmart but not Kohl’s? Why the Dollar store and not a mom-and-pop shop? Why can’t you have elective surgery, but you can have an abortion that is elective? Why should you stay inside but yet heat and sunlight kill the virus? Why can’t kids (who are not at risk) play on an outdoor playground, where the sun kills this virus? Why don’t people know that these are “recommendations”, not laws, a law goes through due process? Why is it okay for government officials to get a haircut, but not common citizens? Why the fear, when this virus has a less than 1% death rate? Why have coroners questioned death certificates listed as CV-19? Why are areas like Chicago and NY gearing up for mass va*cc*ination? What makes one person essential and another not? Doesn’t shelter at home; meaning there is a whole population of people, not staying home so we can? Why are they dividing us? How do people not know that we are a Republic, not a democracy? Where has the flu gone? Why are they telling us to mask up after 2 months of lockdown? Why is the CDC saying kids need to be masked when they return to school or attend church when they know cloth masks restrict oxygen? What is this oppression and loss of liberty doing to the mental health of our kids… us? Why have most other death rates dropped since the virus? Why did world leaders meet in China in October 2019? Why are the common people being controlled by the government and no one is controlling the government? Why are hospitals paid more for Covid 19 deaths? Why are some doctors speaking out and then getting silenced? Why did Obama give the Wuhan lab $334 million dollars? What does a computer geek have to do with a pandemic and why does he want 7 billion coronavirus v*ccines? Why ID 2020, Agenda 21, and 2030? Why did the CDC have a job posting for pandemic relief workers in November 2019? Why did Dr. Fauci say in 2017 that the Trump administration would be faced with a ” SURPRISE PANDEMIC ” and then runs the pandemic team? Why are they infringing on Christians’ religious freedoms? Why can 500 people shop at Menards or Home Depot, but we are not allowed to go into our church buildings? I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat, if you’re not asking these questions you should.

Writings from the Arbella

Note from the Chase Chronicles – July – October,  1930



“John Winthrop begins his journal of the voyage of the Arbella on
March 29, 1630:

Riding at the Cowes, near the Isle of Wight, in the Arbella, the ship
three hundred and fifty tons whereof Capt. Peter Milbourne was master,
being manned with fifty-two seamen and twenty-eight pieces of ordnance
….. upon conference it was agreed that (in regard it was uncertain
when the rest of the fleet would be ready) these four ships should
consort together; the Arbella to be Admiral, the Talbot Vice-Admiral,
the Ambrose Rear Admiral, and the Jewell a Captain; and accordingly
articles of consortship were drawn between the said captains and
masters.; whereupon Mr. Cradock took leave of us, and our captains
gave him a farewell with four or five shot …… About ten of the
clock we weighed anchor and set sail.

Winthrop tells us that Lady Arbella and the gentlewomen dined in the
great cabin. They slept there also. Besides the Lady Arbella there
were the wives of Phillips, Coddington, Dudley, Bradstreet and Nowell,
and two daughters of Sir Tichard Saltonstall. We know these two
daughters were attended by a maid, because it was reported the maid
“fell down at the grating by the cook room, but the carpenter’s man,
who occasioned her fall unwittingly, caught hold of her with
incredible nimbleness, and saved her; otherwise she had fallen into
the hold.” At least this was the excuse they gave to account for the
close proximity.

The men of quality occupied the round house. They were Governor
Winthrop, Sir Richard Saltonstall Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley,
Coddington, Bradstreet, Nowell, the Reverend George Phillips, and
Charles Fiennes, brother of Lady Arbella.

For seventy-five days the ship sailed westward through gales, cold,
fog and fair weather. Winthrop gives a novel cure for sea-sickness. He
says the wind was north, a stiff gale with fair weather.

In the afternoon less wind, and our people began to grow well again.
Our children and others, that were sick and lay groaning in the
cabins, we fetched out, and having stretched a rope from the steerage
to the mainmast, we made them stand, some on one side and some on the
other, and sway it up and down till they were warm , and by this means
they soon grew well and merry.

A passage across the Atlantic in 1630 was an affair of great
discomfort and suffering. Passengers were confined to narrow quarters,
lived on short rations, and were without the common conveniences of
life.

Recording the events of April 17, Winthrop writes:
This day our captain told me, that our land men were very nasty and
slovenly, and that the gun deck, where they lodged, was so beastly and
noisome with their victuals and beastliness, as would endanger the
health of the ship. Hereupon after prayer, we took order, and
appointed four men to see to it, and to keep that room clean for three
days, and then four others should succeed them, and so forth on.

All the passengers on the Arbella were not saints. On April 3,
Winthrop wrote: After supper, we discovered some notorious lewd
persons of our Company, who in time of our fast had committed theft,
and done other villainies, for which we have caused them to be very
severely punished.

No one on the Arbella could have taken a bath or washed linen during
the trip. The only water for such luxuries was what the ocean
supplied, and the means for heating that was lacking. The ladies who
occupied the great cabin were packed at night like sardines in a box.
In some of the other vessels an epidemic of smallpox broke out, but
the Arbella came through fairly free from illness.

On June 12, 1630, the ship anchored off Salem. Governor Endicott came
on board and took the ladies and gentlemen to the shore. Winthrop
wrote: “We supped with a good venison pasty and good beer and at night
we returned to our ship but some of the women stayed behind. In the
meantime most of our people went on shore, which lay very near us, and
gathered stores of fine strawberries.” How welcome strawberries must
have been to the passengers surfeited with salt meat.”

                                    ____________________


“If he gives you recognition
When your clothes are patched and torn,
If he comes to see and cheer you
When you’re lying sick and worn,
If he takes your hand and lifts you up
When you’re on the downward track,
If he says the same things to your face
That he says behind your back,
If when odds are strong against you
He fights for you to the end;
Bind him tightly to your heart —
For that man is your friend.

(No author named, as usual.)

Letters Of Faith

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

Because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18 NASB

Dearly Beloved,

               As we dwell in the Scriptures, we often find there are some key words that continually draw our attention.  “Fear” and “love” are two words, and they are often in juxtaposition to each other, as in our opening verse.

               We do have ample Scripture to give us a good understanding of the meanings of the three Greek words translated as “love” in the new Testament and we have the whole 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians to define agape love for us and to establish it as the primary fruit of the Spirit But we often have to hear from the Holy Spirit what is being said to us with the word “fear.”

Why is this important to us at this time? Because we are hearing expressions from the body of Christ of a fearfulness about the present social-economic situation and the increasing anti-Christian actions here and abroad in spite of all the admonitions in God’s Word to us to not be afraid, such as: “But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’”(Mark 5:36) and, “Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 KJV)

The presence of fear, as the state of being afraid and frightened is real and is increasingly the result of demonic attacks against our faith. I was recently greatly blessed when I heard the testimony of a precious brother in Christ about his demanding the spirit of fear to leave his house and household, and the awesome changes in his family that were evident the next day.  This is a great example of walking in faith, exercising our God-given dominion over Satan and his minions, and taking God literally at His Word.

Being-afraid fear is a faith quencher! The emotional fear of man is a strong man in the enemy’s camp. This spirit is active in many of today’s circles because  of the financial pressure cooker we are all in these days.  Leadership fears contributions will decrease if uncomfortably hard-hitting truths are proclaimed on purity, current social political issues, scriptural views of sexuality, or (God forbid!) divine concepts of giving.  “Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” (John 12:42-43)

This verse exemplifies the spirit of emotional fear-of-man that binds so many church and government leaders today. But the Bible proclaims from cover to cover that God will protect and direct His people who are committed to hearing and obeying Him without fear. “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them for the Lord your God who brought you up from the land Egypt, is with you.” (Deut. 20:1   “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled…” (1 Peter 3:14)

In Fact, the Bible equates being afraid of man’s resistance and opposition to your righteous acts and pronouncements with rebellion against God.  “Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protections has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Num. 14:9)

It is interesting to note that in all of the above scriptures with our word “fear,” the Greek (phobus and derivatives) and the Hebrew (yare and its derivatives)  “fear” are primarily denoted as a real, emotional, frightfulness fear, but also contain the connotation an accompanying sense of respect and reverence in their definitions.

They therefore express a real fear of man along with a basic respect for him., and always with an accompanying and awe and reverence of the God who is reassuring them not to be afraid of man.

               Is this some kind of Christian doubletalk?

               Absolutely not! It is a beautiful example in the written Word of our loving God saying to us that we are to love the sinner while we hate the sin!

               But we still have a problem with grasping God’s use of the word “fear” because by far the most frequent use of “fear” in Scripture is in the consistent encouragement and even command to seek and walk in the “fear of the Lord.” So, we come face-to-face with an apparent contradiction of fear and love.

               The “fear of the Lord” is defined for us as being “clean, enduring forever, …righteous altogether” (Ps19:9). “the beginning of wisdom and knowledge” (Psa 111:10 and Prov 1:7), “to hate evil, pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverted mouth” (Prov. 8:13) “strong confidence…a fountain of life” (Prov. 14:26-27).”God’s treasure” (Isa. 33:6) and His command. “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgement has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Rev. 14:7)

               All these verses use the Hebrew word yare and its derivations to say that fear in the “fear of the Lord” is primarily awesomeness, respect and honor, not frightfulness! So once again we see the need to read Scripture with a both/and understanding of God’s special choice of wording instead of our Westernized either/or approach, because even these words, there is a definite connotation of frightfulness.

Now don’t for a minute think we are saying God says we are never to fear! There are tons of Scriptures that tell us we are to fear (to be afraid) and what we are to fear, like: “Now the dread of the Lord was on all the kingdoms of the lands which were around Judah, so that they did not take war against Jehoshaphat.” (2 Chron 17:10), and: “Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you, be very careful what you do, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.” (2 Chron. 19:7) The Hebrew word translated as “fear” in these Scriptures is pachad, an entirely different word from yare, and the primary denotation of pachad is alarm and dread. And please not that it is not just reserved for use with the heathen but also with God’s people.

“It Was Nice To See You In Church Yesterday”

The comment was more of a greeting as I had just handed the young lady my pass which authorized me to come to the Learning Center that morning. She was just 3 years younger than me but also a Teacher/employee of a Federal Penitentiary. Her remark was casual almost as if we had met before, but we hadn’t. I had been to many prisons before but not one like this that employed so many women in all facets of their staff. I resisted and refrained from getting familiar with any of the female teachers in the LC. You could almost say I resented them being here. I kid you not, there was Miss Black, Miss White, and Miss Lipscomb. All of them are pretty, yet all of them are different. I had no intention of meeting them or addressing them by their first names. I was in the early years of a yet to be determined sentence for Bank Robbery and did not carry a demeanor that would suggest I am a likable person, in fact, more to the opposite.

My reply was curt and to the point and not meant to further a conversation. Nor was it as casual as her statement had been. “Yeah, I go every Sunday, but I don’t think it’s doing me any good.”

I don’t remember, 50 years later, exactly the order in which that conversation went. What I really want to say is that there was not one iota of a reason in which to suggest that there would even be a reason that I would be writing about this encounter 50 years later. That is half a century later. It is absurd to even consider that an offhand encounter such as that, given the two individuals involved, would merit future acquaintanceship. Maybe if we went Twilight Zone or Hollywood we could come up with a reasonable conclusion but even then whatever script you might come up with would be so extremely unlikely that it would really be a stretch to believe it.

But it did go somewhere. It is not my intention to go over every weave nor describe just how improbable any future might involve us two, but 50 years later here we are, man and wife, parents, grandparents, and fellow followers of Christ. I once gave a talk at Depaul University to a class of future lawyers about criminal justice and how it involved me and my life. My talk was broken into two parts, the first half; where I spent 17 and 1/2 years in over a dozen reformatories, jails, and prisons, and the second half where I was a husband, father, and productive citizen including amongst being an advocate of prison reform. One observant student raised his hand and said “Wait a minute. On the one hand, you’re telling us you lived this life and on the other hand, you lived this other life.” Stretching out his hands to indicate the two different lives, he further stated, “How did you get from here (his left hand) to here,” (his right hand)?

And therein lies the crux of the story, how the implausible became plausible. But even further, how one stated thought could change the world, our worlds, the worlds of our children who we brought into the world, their marriages, their children, and how we can look back at our ancestors who came together in some fashion of their own leading us to today.

World Frog Day

World Frog Day

World Frog Day is celebrated every year on March 20, a chance to consider the world’s most famous tailless amphibian. The star of fairy tales, cartoons, films, and TV shows, the charismatic and clearly photogenic frog accounts for almost all amphibian species. Frogs have been around for more than 200 million years, and although they live in both warm and cold places, most reside in tropical rainforests.

Wet environments suit frogs, whose skin is semi-permeable and susceptible to dehydration. There are thousands of species of frogs, and they come in every imaginable color and shade. And frogs are vocal creatures, known for their croaking. A frog’s call is unique to each species.

This Kermit-like face belongs to a Javan tree frog. Its round, sticky toes and fingers help it maneuver on the twigs and leaves that it calls home. This one may appear to be mugging for the camera, but the tree frog’s bright colors ordinarily provide camouflage in the colorful jungle canopy where it lives. And life, it seems, is a happy one for the Javan tree frog, with a face that is all smile and always camera-ready.

This That And The Other

In every ounce of sanity, I think there is a kernel of insanity. Not too many mind you, just enough to give you balance. If you are too sane you run the risk of lacking the resiliency and grit needed to handle the maniacal mundane of the world. The craziness of this past year has become the norm, we’re getting used to it, expecting it, and walking right on by it.

I just read in a book about Mental Messiness that what was once said an apple a day keeps a doctor away, has become a doctor a day takes his own life. I over the course of the past 45 years have had two members of our family commit suicide. Many pay attention to their physical well-being using a bicycle and other like apparatuses. But what about our mind, how do we treat our mind? Is there a neurocycle for the maintenance of the mind? Recently in Chicago, 2 police officers have taken their own lives. I dare say that the totality of the damage of the pandemic is far from conclusive when it comes to just counting the deaths. Even the counting of deaths may be causing further damage along with the constant bombardment of negative consequences fall out from the news, and yes, Dr. Fauci. Our minds are delicate instruments and if not handled and managed well they can go haywire and you add tragedy on top of tragedy. Let me just grab a brief paragraph to bring to life why our country’s longevity is NOW trending downward. (The stark reality is that Americans are dying as a result of drug and alcohol-related causes as well as the sobering reality of suicide. So, drugs, alcohol, and depression resulting in suicide are rising at a fast enough rate to offset the increases.) This may not be the medium or time of day to be absorbing this warning but when we don’t stay awake the time will come when like that 3rd segment of society we will be standing there with our hands in the air and saying WHAT HAPPENED?

A lot nearer with each passing day. America cannot sustain a Nation much less an economy where the political divide isn’t even relevant anymore. We have much bigger fish to fry. With each failure to contain people coming from Italy and riding our commuter railways to others leaving cruise ships and infecting our public school systems it won’t be long before wide swaths of our country are walled off under self arrests orders. It’s not the Cyrus that is going to destroy this country it is going to be the mass hysteria that persists endlessly trumpeted by your nightly news. I’ll be pouring over my disaster files and Insurance Policies to make sure everything is in order for our burial. At least I got to see the Cubs win a World Series, however LUCKY they were that year.

I saw a 50° forecast for next week and we broke out the grill and cooked up a mess o’ collard greens, ham hocks, and pigs’ feet. Put that in your forecast. Course I leave that sort of thing for the young folks these days, I just sit on my porch and watch them scurry around, getting all the fixings ready and whatnot. Soon as they bring out the corn on the cob I have to go inside because I only have 7 teeth. Someone suggested that they could scrape off the corn, but then it’s not corn on the cob now is it. Besides people getting all excited about corn now, but did you know, hold on to your socks, there is NO nutritional value to corn whatsoever. Must just taste good, or your thinking at least I am eating my vegetables. If they ever have a broccoli eating contest I have a child I want to put into the competition and she will hand down win no questions asked. Pretty pronto now I have to high tail it over to the Kimbell Center and join less than 100 men for breakfast as we continue to study what it means to be a wise guy, and NO I am not talking about GOODFELLAS kind of wise guys. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ….wiseguy

And Just Like That…It’s 2022

It has been bandied about for some time now that more people die on January 1st than any other day of the year. So, if we wake up tomorrow we have made the cut. In April of 2005 I had what is referenced as a widowmaker heart attack, outside of the hospital. Only 12% of the people who have had a similar experience, make it. There are a number of statistical percentages that I fall under which would make me the unlikely man to survive. I only mention that to explain, yet again, I enjoy God’s favor. It’s not bragging if it’s the truth.

And even if, as I suspect, that Omi kicks Del-phi to the curb, we still have the 3-headed monster in power for at least another year.

But let me not harp on that because we do have that year to make a difference, in our life, someone else’s life and whoever else needs a difference made.

DeMarr DeRosen has just accomplished what I would have to believe is the never before, unheard of accomplishment of hitting 2 buzzer-beaters in 2 consecutive games for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are back, Jack.

Vs. the Pacers

And again

Waiting On The World To Change

Luke 21:25-36 25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

There’s this whole discussion about hope vs. despair. Especially where the future is concerned. Yes, there’s your opinion and my opinion but what does Jesus have to say, and how much do we believe what Jesus has to say. So, let’s just see what Jesus has to say.

27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.

36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”