Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue moon over New Year’s Eve tomorrow night

For the first time since 1990, this Thursday evening, December 31st, the moon on New Year’s Eve will become full for the second time in the month of December. According to folklore, that makes it a blue moon. But don’t expect it to be blue.
It’s sad to say, but I do not recall one single, solitary event from the year 1990. I glanced over the Wikipedia article on the year 1990, and that did not help me. I was 54 years old on New Year’s Eve of 1990 and may have gone to a party. That may have been the year when the fog was scary awful. If that were the case, I sure didn’t notice the full moon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ho Hum

The Weather ChannelI'm thinking that the low so far since we've been in Magnolia Springs has been 20°, which I reported in January of this year. That was a surprise to me when it occurred. However, as you look at the area's record temperatures, it has been known to go much lower than that. I will continue to monitor it by going to Magnolia Springs Weather each day. If you're really interested, you can do the same.

This is my twentieth post about weather and the subject has definitely run its course. At this point, unless there's really something very different to report, I'm going to seek other subjects that are, at least, of interest to me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

An After Christmas Wish

A Cedar Cove Christmas · by Debbie MacomberI received a Christmas book for free recently that I finished reading just as the holidays were ending. This book is part of the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber.

I would love to see one of those movies that comes out at Christmas that is based on this short book. I could just picture this book as a movie all the time I was reading it. I could even imagine the character Linc being played by the guy who plays Raymond's brother on TV.

I suppose it would be classified as a romance novel — fiction for sure, with a good combination of comedy and tragedy, which makes for a very good book or movie. Perhaps this teaser will encourage you to read it as well:

A Cedar Cove Christmas

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Second 2009 Goldilocks Report

This is only the second time you have heard from me this year in regard to the weather. That's probably because we did not think there was anything exceptional about the weather here in the spring, summer or fall. But as far as Goldilocks is concerned, "It's too cold!" That will always be true when the thermometer dips to near freezing or below. You can count on it.

Perhaps we have not mentioned that we have had lots of rain, and now the temp has dipped to one degree above freezing during the night. The brisk winds we had yesterday died down to calm. It's hard to believe, since I'm a Native Texan, that we're actually approaching 13 inches of rain for the month.

We are not sorry about not receiving any type of freezing precip as much of the nation did for this holiday season.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Click on the image above to see this Christmas message.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Gift

Today is Christmas Eve — a very low-key one in our house.

Recycling a story shared two years ago, because it's worth sharing again:

Christmas Eve Gift

Friday, December 18, 2009

Men’s Brain v. Women’s Brain

I have Darlene to thank for the video below. She wanted to be sure I didn't miss it, so she sent it to me twice :-) — and I'm so glad she did.
Men’s Brains v. Women’s Brains

After seeing this, I'm beginning to understand why I have some bulges on my skull. Probably in times past my brain was near the point of exploding :-)

This video, is part of a 4-DVD set entitled Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor, and has a serious side. Or for a third of the price, I also recommend a 2-hour DVD seminar – A Tale of Two Brains.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Freedom for the Stallion

MrTrashCan1's You Tube video introduction:
“How many people knew about The Hues Corporation before their number one hit, Rock The Boat? Well listeners to MOR radio did, because Freedom For The Stallion, from the year before, was their first hit, and while it only hit 69 on Billboard Hot 100, it charted big on Easy Listening.”
I remember it and even had the 45 RPM record. It was a hit as far as I was concerned and I still associate it with Dad’s going home at the age of 61. I was almost 37 when he died. An interesting tidbit about my dad (at least to me) was that I did not know his real name until I saw his will. People called him Bill and W.A., but I'd always assumed his first name was William. His name was Willie Almon Ellington (7/2/1912 - 10/4/1973).

Wouldn’t mind having this song played at my funeral. That’s how much I like it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember ~ Honor ~ Teach

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I am always reminded of my Uncle Matt (M.D. "Matt" Ellington ~ November 28, 1920 – April 13, 2003) on this day. Uncle Matt was there on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

So this year I started looking for a letter M.D. wrote about his experiences that day. I don't know if it was printed by the Star Reporter, but I'm happy Uncle Matt's family was able to locate a copy of the letter he wrote:

MAY 25. 2001

Letter to the Editor

The Sweetwater Reporter
Sweetwater, Texas 79556

Dear Editor:

It occurred to me the other day that this coming December 7th will be the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. There is not too many of us survivors of that day that are still around, so I thought that some of my activities on that day might be of some interest to your readers.

That day certainly was not a day of mirth but some things that happened that day are a laughing matter to me now; they certainly were not funny on December 7, 1941. As a matter of fact, I can't think of anything in my life that are worse than the things I saw that day.

I was born on November 28, 1920 in Sweetwater, Texas. I lived in Sweetwater until 1935, where I worked for The Reporter as a delivery boy and later as a printer's helper. In 1935, we moved to El Paso, where I graduated from Austin High School. Later, I moved to San Diego, California.

Due to a series of circumstances and decisions, too numerous to mention here, I wound up being prime "cannon fodder" for World War II. I was a member of Battery B of the 251 Coast Artillery, which was part of the California National Guard from San Diego. We were an anti aircraft outfit, originally equipped with 3 inch diameter anti aircraft guns. Six hours after the national service act went into effect on September 16, 1940, we were in the U. S. Army.

We stayed in California for a very short time but was ordered to Hawaii, in the fall of 1940. After our arrival in Hawaii we were stationed in a tent city at Fort Ruger, which was near Honolulu. However, about the time that the basic carpentry was finished on Camp Malakole, we were transferred to there. We stayed at Camp Malakole until the war started on December 7, 1941. During that year of peace, being in Hawaii, was fun and there were many things to do to keep us pleasantly occupied.

We had spent quite a bit of time in training and by December 7th, 1941, we were quite proficient with those old 3 inch guns.

There was a rule at Camp Malakole prior to WWII that if one got to the mess hall prior to 8 o'clock on Sundays and other holidays, that they would still be fed. On December 7, 1941, I woke up about 7:20 a.m., shaved and dressed and was on my way to the mess hall when the 1st Sgt. caught me and put me in charge of the regimental garbage haul off detail of the day and I was to report to regimental headquarters right after breakfast. Then I went on to the mess hall. When I was on the porch of the mess hall, I looked over toward Pearl Harbor and observed some anti aircraft bursts and other black smoke. I thought to myself, "Now isn't that just like the Navy to be holding target practice on Sunday morning." Thinking little of it, I went on into the mess hall to breakfast. I was eating a bowl of corn flakes when I heard automatic weapon fire and thought that one of the guards on duty, carrying a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), had accidently fired it. I didn't think much about it and went on eating my corn flakes. A minute or so later, I heard automatic weapon fire again but this time it was accompanied by holes in the mess hall roof. This put me into motion. I ran to the mess hall door just in time to observe dirt being kicked up by bullets and looked up to see the red balls on the bottom of the wings of the aircraft doing the strafing. However, I could not understand how they got there because I felt sure that the Navy was guarding the islands further out than the range of carrier based planes. That can be added to the long list of things people were wrong about on that day.

We scurried about doing such foolish things as firing 45 calibre automatic pistols at the strafing planes. About that time, I saw the first sergeant and asked him if I should still report for the garbage haul off detail. He said, "Keep shooting. Those damn things are Jap planes." We did get one 50 calibre machine gun into action but I don't believe that it damaged any of the aircraft. A torpedo plane that had already dropped its torpedoes was strafing us about the time that a fellow with the nickname of "Available Jones" and myself jumped into the back of a truck. "Available" observed the tail gunner on the plane as he shot a couple of holes in the tarp on the truck that we were in and said, "Boy, they have us coming and going." A junior officer ran up to a man firing at the planes with his rifle and yelled, "Do you have authorization to fire on those planes?!" Another fellow started arbitrarily firing his rifle through the roof of one of the barracks. I guess he must have thought that he might hit one of the planes without even seeing it. If anyone even thought of getting the big guns in action, I never heard of it. The big guns were not any good for firing at aircraft as low as those anyway.

After the strafing raid slowed down, some of us started filling sand bags on the beach, where the big guns were set up, thinking that the big guns, where they were set up, might be of some use in case of an infantry invasion across the beach, However, about that time some semblance of order returned to our location and we were ordered to move and re- implace our guns at a spot right near the edge of Pearl Harbor. "Talk about locking the barn door after the horses were gone!" All along the road when we were moving our guns toward Pearl Harbor, people lined up waving and giving us the "V" for Victory sign.

It has been well published what we saw when we got to Pearl Harbor that day and, believe me, none of it was exaggerated. What a mess! And even we didn't realize the extent of the death toll and damage until reports started drifting in, a few days later, and we hadn't even seen Hickam or Wheeler Fields. A few days later, I saw Hickam and Wheeler Fields and they were a mess. We were thoroughly battered on December 7, 1941.

After we had put our big guns in their pre-planned wartime places at Pearl Harbor, we started filling sand bags, laying in ammunition and other things in preparation for a water borne infantry assault from the Japanese. As history tells you, the anticipated assault didn't develop. I don't know how they passed up the opportunity, unless they figured that occupying the Hawaiian islands would spread their ground troops too thin. Either that or they had no idea how badly they would trash us that day. I am certainly glad that it didn’t happen because that surely would have changed the complexion of WWII. Pearl Harbor was an excellent staging area for our later offensive assaults in the Pacific.

After a few days, we decided that the Japanese were not coming back right away so we started cleaning up the mess that resulted from our beating and counting our blessings for the fact that our aircraft carriers were not caught anchored in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. This fact changed the whole tune of the battle for the Pacific. Battle groups were built up around the carrier, instead of the battleship. Come to think of it, the aircraft carrier can be thought of as a battleship having extremely long range artillery, in addition to its many other advantages over the battleship. Carrier battle groups were in the center of our strategy in the battles of the Pacific during WWII.

During the above mentioned lull, among other things, the men of Battery B were allowed to return to Camp Malakole and take care of sending their civilian clothes home or throwing them away because we knew that uniforms would be the order of the day for sometime to come. When I got back to our barracks at Camp Malakole, I walked through the mess hall and there my bowl of corn flakes was still on the table and was swelled up to where at least one bowl height of corn flakes stood above the top of the bowl. I don't know who finally cleaned up that mess because I never got back to it. I never got back to Camp Malakole again during the war and probably never will, even if it is still there.

Early in 1962 the 251st was ordered to Fiji to set up a perimeter defense around one of the air fields that served as a refueling stop for some of the long range flights over the Pacific. From there we went on to several of the war zones in that part of the world.

Truly yours,
M. D. Ellington

The title of this post is the mission of Wreaths Across America, where I first found this interview of a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dancing Lessons

A friend of ours often talks to me about practicing dancing to get ready for the cruise we're going on in January.

With that in mind, I thought our youngest daughter's latest blog post was something that might help. It has two dancing videos on it.

That'll be the day when I can dance like that — maybe when I'm in heaven or in a dream ...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Way Over My Head

Scott Hatfield · MONKEY TRIALSMy nephew is California's premiere science teacher. He is also a Christian who believes that evolution is a fact that blends easily with his faith.

I have very little science education. My one course in high school biology – because I had to take it – is the sum total of my education in science.

Having said that, I'm simply going to refer you to Scott's knowledge, which he articulates so well in Evolution: The Song.

· See the award-winning music video everyone's talking about ·

A Major Award!

Monday, November 30, 2009

We Will Not Forget November 5, 2009

I received a PowerPoint slide show attached to an email recently that brings it home better than any news coverage I've seen of what heroes all our military are.

It was uploaded to YouTube by its author with this information:
This was a PowerPoint show to share with my friends but not all can open PowerPoint files so I created this. I wanted to do what little I could to pay tribute to the 13 fallen heroes of Ft. Hood and the officers that stopped the massacre.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Gift of Christmas Peace

Tami Briggs, Therapeutic Harpist and founder of Musical Reflections, created this movie to bring peace to the holiday season — with beautiful music, wonderful photos, and a lovely message of peace and hope. To learn more, see Musical Reflections.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Revisited ~ O CHRISTmas Tree

Hope you enjoy this one like I did.

Friday, November 27, 2009

O CHRISTmas Tree

Today is the day plans are for putting up our Christmas tree rather than getting out in the crowds of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm still counting my blessings that I don't have to be in any store shopping for Christmas gifts. I had much rather be decorating a tree to get into the spirit of what Christmas is truly about, the birth of the Christ Child.

The video below with all the beautiful Christmas scenes should help you get in the spirit of Christmas.

I love this Charlie Brown Christmas video that gets right to the heart of Christmas:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Talking On The Phone

Count Your Blessings

I wanted to share one of my birthday cards with you. As far as I can remember, this is my first birthday card that was also a Thanksgiving card. Many's the time my birthday has fallen on Thanksgiving Day, and I thought this was an interesting development. If you're unable to read the card as it appears to the left, just click on it and a larger version will appear.

I really like the kinds of cards Creative Communications for the Parish sells and highly recommend them to you.
At most churches I have attended, the congregation sings the Doxology, a song of praise, after collection of the offering —
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavening host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Marlow UMC, where I have been attending church, uses a song I was unfamiliar with for its Doxology. Not only is it a song of praise, but it's also a song of thanksgiving. Below is a long version of the song as performed by Unhindered.
Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son.
And now, let the weak say I am strong; Let the poor say I am rich,
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
Give thanks, give thanks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This blog has posts that run all the way from the subline to the ridiculous. This one falls in the subline category. To me, they sound like I would imagine singing angels sound.

I have John Wiseman to thank for sharing this beautiful video of Libera.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Betcha ...

... I'll be as tall as you one of these days

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Yes, this made me laugh, Mary, and thanks for sending it.

I've been reading, reading, reading – and not blogging – but I couldn't resist sharing this one.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Down To The River To Pray

Marlow, Alabama's historic Fish River ferryI have a unique experience to share, but I also wanted to give you some personal background before I do.

When I was 6 years old, I was scared to death by a “hell fire and brimstone” sermon by a Baptist preacher. Mother had taken me to church because Daddy was working lots of overtime in those World War II days at a big plant near Fort Worth, Texas, where Convair (now General Dynamics) was building big bomber airplanes. This time of my life is still very vivid to me as if it were yesterday.

Truly, I did not want to go to hell when I died, and I knew for sure I was a sinner. Even though Mother was more the churchgoer in those days, she relied on Daddy to tell me the story of Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world. Like I said, I knew I was a sinner condemned to hell.

I was not so sure I should make the decision to trust the sacrificial death of Jesus and his resurrection to save me from my sins, so I made a decision to try to be good for a year and then think about it again. Looking back on it now, I think it was a period when I became certain I could not be totally good on my own and had no choice but to accept Jesus to save me from my sins.

At the age of 7, I did just that, and I've felt saved from my sins ever since.

I tell you this story to make it clear that my family were Baptists, and I followed up that decision with being baptized by immersion (taken under the water in the church baptistry) and raised out of the water with the words of the pastor — raised to walk in newness of life. This was an act of obedience on my part, but I have no thoughts at all that this is what saved me. When I accepted Jesus, that second was when I knew I was saved.

I rocked along until 1959 after Wendell and I had been married before I became a Presbyterian. I knew I wanted to be something other than a Baptist, but I knew it would upset Mother, in particular, if I made the change so I didn't “rock the boat”.

Wendell had been brought up in the Methodist church, but neither of us felt very strongly about which denomination to choose for our church. Eventually, we chose to join a local Presbyterian church. From there on we joined Presbyterian churches until we moved to Meridian in 1978. There I joined the big Methodist church located downtown. When we moved to Jackson in 1981, I joined Wells UMC, and am technically still a member, despite moving from Jackson in 2007.

Marlow UMC

I've studied very little United Methodist doctrine and was surprised to learn that Marlow UMC, which I've been recently attending, has a history of baptizing people in the Fish River. Last Sunday I witnessed four people from one family baptized in the river.

Marlow UMC has an historic connection to the Fish River and has recently begun playing Down To The River To Pray as their opening music at Sunday morning services. You may recognize it from a 2000 film, but I think it's a very old song.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Something Old and Something New

This blog features at least 5 or 6 books I’ve read, which shows that I’ve had more time to read since retirement, and I’m enjoying it immensely. In the past I have not been much of a reader and did not make time for it. Now I’m trying to catch up, which is silly, because I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I want to read for the first time and several I’d like to read again.

My reading of this book came about because I’m participating in a discussion study at Marlow United Methodist Church on Wednesday evenings that uses this book.

Confession time calls for me to tell you that I looked at this study as a way to become better acquainted with the minister, The Reverend Jake Brady, and some of the people at Marlow.

I really want to recommend this book to you for reading. It’s a very short book with a very important purpose — to give the true meaning of a parable most Christians have heard of from The Gospel of St. Luke – Chapter 15.

The Prodigal God
Quoting from the book's jacket:
Newsweek called New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller a "C. S. Lewis for the twenty-first century" in a feature on his first book, The Reason for God. In that book, he offered a rational explanation of why we should believe in God. Now, in The Prodigal God, he uses one of the best-known Christian parables to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation.

Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yes I'm Pointing At You

I can do lots more than that — after all I'm over 15 months old.

Friday, September 25, 2009

GoD and DoG

Wendy and her dog Caspian

I can remember being in a quandary as to how to start my blog. Although I'd intended to begin with my autobiography written in 2005, I've been unable to locate a copy of it.

And with that said, here's how Wendy Francisco began hers:

Here’s me learning to blog...

Last year I shared my theory about beloved pets who have gone home. This video reflects similar thoughts.

GoD and DoG
Written, recorded and animated by Wendy Francisco

I look up and I see God
I look down and see my dog
Simple spelling G-O-D
Same word backwards D-O-G

They would stay with me all day
I’m the one who walks away
But both of them just wait for me
And dance at my return with glee

Both love me no matter what
Divine God and canine mutt
I take it hard each time I fail
But God forgives and dog wags his tail

God thought up and made the dog
Dog reflects a part of God
I’ve seen love from both sides now
It’s everywhere – Amen, Bow Wow

I look up and I see God
I look down and see my dog
And in my human frailty
I can’t match this love for me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deer in the meadow

This is almost like a puzzle —
I suggest you click on the image to view its original size. Look in the center and you can see the deer hiding in the shadows amidst the tall grass.
Deer in the meadow · by rruff67 on flickr

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Computer Tech

At almost 15 months, don't you think it's high time I get on the ball — I mean the mouse and the keyboard?

Sunday, September 13, 2009


A terminally ill man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor replied, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You're a Christian and don't know what's on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing — I know my Master is there and that is enough."
May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly
Where you are meant to be.

I believe that friends are quiet angels
Who lift us to our feet when our wings
Have trouble remembering how to fly.

— Author Unknown

Thanks to Bill and Deede for sending us this inspiring email!

My hubby and I were having a discussion over breakfast this morning, and we concluded there were lots more things we don't know than things we do know.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


A Woman's Book of PrayersI would guess I'm not the only person that reads this little book just about every day. I recommend it to anyone, even though the title indicates it is for women. Its author, Rita F. Snowden, wrote 68 books in her lifetime that were published. I believe it was someone from England who recommended this little book, and I had to go through quite a process to get the one I have been reading for years, which is the seventeenth impression April 1983. Now that I realize she wrote so many books, I want to read all of them.
Today's devotional reading is based on my absolutely favorite scripture of Jesus' words to his disciples at the Last Supper.

In the Morning

My first thoughts, O God, are of wonder that you have fashioned me for life here – and for fulfilment beyond this earthly life that is mine.

Quicken the hearts of all dear to me, some of whom have forgotten their divine destiny.

Let me live today in the reality of Christ's life here, his death and trimphant resurrection that transforms everything I know:
Let me hold fast to his challenging words;
Let me hold fast to his comforting words;
Let me hold fast to his promised presence, now and till the end of the world.
Bless especially, this day, all who will come to the close of life here; and
All who are closest to them;
All who minister to them, pastors, priests, doctors, nurses, friends;
All at a distance, who receive their news with deep concern.
I rejoice that in your holy purpose life is all of a piece – here and there.


In the Evening

O God, I bless You for all those who have helped me on my way today:
Members of my family and
My loyal friends and
People I scarcely know
Forgive me, if today, I have been only interested in my own affairs, and unmindful of others.
Forgive me, if I have taken things too seriously and forgotten fun and laughter.
Forgive me if I have allowed myself to be over-busy, with no time to 'stand and stare'.

I pray now, for any who have lacked joy this day;
Any who have been without friendship;
Any who have missed the common decencies;
Any who have been without work;
Any blind, deaf, or crippled;
Any without strength of body;
Any wanting the mind's clear light;
Any without a sense of your presence;
Any who look into the future without expectancy.
We are your children amidst the immensities of time, and eternity. Hold us in your keeping.


Daily Reading

John 14:1-6 (English Standard Version)

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepared a place for you? And if I go and prepared a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going."

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cool Bird Loves Ray Charles

Thanks, Barb and Lyn. This made my day!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Retrieving a Toy

Apparently it is okay with Carla if I put her video up on my blog, so here 'tis.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What is the wind trying to tell us?

What is CHAOS versus FRACTAL?

Better yet, what’s the Creator trying to tell us?

As long as I can remember, I have been a seeker of truth.

To help you understand more truth, I recommend The Shack. It is one of the books published by Windblown Media for the “spiritually curious”.

I decided I could not live the righteousness of God on my own when I was seven years old. That made all the difference. From that date forward, although the decision was made out of fear, I have come to know that God is Love.

This book can be quite educational (was for me) if you look up every word you do not understand.

This paragraph on page 201 got my attention:
"Anyway, we all like to cook," added Jesus. "And I enjoy food — a lot. Nothing like a little shaomai, ugali, nipla, or kori bananje to make your taste buds happy. Follow that with some sticky toffee pudding or a tiramisu and hot tea. Yum! It doesn't get any better than that."
I tried to teach kindergartners what the Trinity was one time. Seems like I used a river that could be named as the Trinity River because it is a river made of three rivers coming together. I'm sure they did not understand it, but all kindergartners like to play in water.

There are those who aren't sold at all on this book. I didn't say this was a book of true facts, but I do believe it has a message to consider.

Some of my appreciation of this book can't be explained in so many words, but I really did feel much of it had the ring of truth to me personally and also even agreed with some of my own personal experiences. Read it and see if some of what you read has you wanting to respond YES! or AMEN!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Destroyer!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The only way we'll have a fire in July in Alabama

A Flickr friend took a photo of a warm fire in the fireplace in Minnesota in July. I like photos like these and even did another blog post about a similar fireplace in Texas in 2007:

Toast your toes
The Perpetual Vacationers

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Moon

Google reminded us today that it is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.

It would be impossible to bring up all the references to the moon, so I won't try.

I have chosen one from my youth from the movie Picnic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

The Psalms and The Gospel of John contain some of my favorite scriptures.

Psalms 29:1-2   ·   Psalms 95:6-7   ·   John 4:23-24

In Chapter 25 of Fix Your Eyes on Jesus, Anne Ortlund describes the Glory of God by comparing it to a kaleidoscope.

Hebrews 12:2

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Maggie!

Maggie turned one year old last month. She had a late celebration of this milestone with her paternal grandparents and other relatives in Mamou, Louisiana on July 7.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

I wanted to save this for myself so I could look at it from time to time.

Just click here to enjoy
My Beautiful America

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gonna Show You How To Walk The Dog

Roger gave me one of Run C&W's music CDs, and I was so pleased this morning to find them on YouTube.

Enjoy their silliness.

Monday, June 22, 2009

May You Be Blessed

The email I received from my cousin, Billy Walton, a few days ago caused me to think of many people I wanted to see this and be blessed by it also.

Here's what that email said:
You are about to see something beautiful!

A few years ago Kate Nowak awoke one morning and felt compelled to write the words of a special blessing that she wanted to share with others.

The rest, as they say, is history!
Kate's beautiful words are now shown in this inspirational movie. It's not about religious beliefs — it's about joy, gratitude, kindness and love. And it has inspired millions of people around the world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Igor Stravinsky 1882-1971

Happy Birthday StravinskyGoogle reminded me that today is composer Igor Stravinsky's birthday, and I'm so glad they did. It was very interesting to read about his life and I even found a very special 9 minute video that any music lover will enjoy. It is one of those rare videos where the great Stravinsky conducts his own firebird – the Lullaby Suite at the age of 82. He lived to the age of 88. What I read on his long and very talented and creative life was found on Stravinsky’s Basic Repertoire List on and much more information on Wikipedia’s article on Stravinsky.

Coincidentally ...

Wendell shares a birthday with Stravinsky. Today he turned 74.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time for a Laugh

Thanks for this, Denny.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Good · The Bad · The Ugly

For your viewing and listening pleasure :)

Thanks, Tom & Anita.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pink Calla Lilly Trio

I discovered these elegant flowers growing right here in my own neighborhood:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Live Entertainment

I had initially embedded a Memorial Day video taken at the Flora-Bama. It featured people from 5 to 85, having fun and dancing to Kid Rock's All Summer Long. After cancelling the MySpace account where it was originally posted, I've been unable to find the original video — so here's something similar:

Karaoke at the Magnolia River Bar and Grill · All Summer Long

We took a few photos of the crowd at the Flora-Bama also. You can view them on flickr:

Memorial Day at the Flora-Bama

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mary Cassatt · May 22, 1844 - June 14, 1926

Google reminded me that today is artist Mary Cassatt’s birthday.

I already knew I liked her paintings. Since my art education is lacking, I read Wikipedia’s Mary Cassatt page. Wow! What an artist this woman was and what an interesting life she had.

Let me just recommend to anyone who reads my post today to search Google Images with the artist’s name. I found a very interesting blog in that process. It’s called the NIBS Blog by Martha B.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alabama Castles

Sheldon CastleVisitors to Fairhope's art center oftentimes stop to see nearby Sheldon Castle tucked away in a secluded corner of Oak Street. Legendary artist and sculptor Craig Sheldon handcrafted this unique landmark over a forty year span of time. Also called Storybook Castle, it may be rented to host weddings, receptions and other events. An equally impressive dwelling next door is home to Sheldon's daughter and her family. Both homes' multi-colored shingle roofs are one example of the many ways recycled products were used in their construction.

See more Storybook Castle photos on flickr

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If I could have the world

I like this song. It's about God's grace looking after us all. Either way you look at it, we are very small and God is very big. Aren't we glad God is on our side?

Follow along with the words below — so nice.

Alison Krauss · In The Palm of Your Hand
If I could have the world and all it owns
A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones
If all the earth were mine to hold
With wealth my only goal

I'd spend my gold on selfish things
Without the love that Your life brings
Just a little bit more is all I'd need
'Til life was torn from me

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees
Your grace provides for me

If I should walk the streets no place to sleep
No faith in promises You keep
I'd have no way to buy my bread
With a bottle for my bed

But if I trust the One who died for me
Who shed His blood to set me free
If I live my life to trust in You
Your grace will see me through

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees

If I could have the world
If I could have the world and all it owns ...

One last thing ~
You have yourself a Happy Birthday today, Charlie!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday: Day of Resurrection

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
In the early hours of that Sabbath morn came a quake and the earth trembled and Jerusalem was troubled. Out of the skies as a lightning shaft came an angel in white raiment to the sepulcher where Jesus Christ lay buried. He rolled away the great stone and the terrified guards fell as if dead.

And then the dawn was still and beautiful. One by one the stars were doused and a morning carved from heaven broke over the countryside.

In great caution and sadness went Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany to the sepulcher to weep once more over their departed Master; perhaps to spread more spices over His body if the stone could be moved. But they were astonished and without words when they saw the stone had been rolled away. Could His body have been stolen away in the night?

Could He now lie in a common grave? The women moved closer and dared to enter. At first they saw nothing. Then a young man whose white garment shattered the tomb's darkness spoke:

"Be not afraid. He is not here, for He is risen as He said."

Frightened, trembling, the women listened. "Go quickly and tell His Disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him."

Quickly the women fled to the house where His Disciples were hiding and spread the news.

"They have taken away The Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid Him!"

Simon Peter and John heard and rushed from the house. John, the younger, came first to the sepulcher and looked past the opening. He saw linen cloth on the ground, but was fearful of entering.

Simon, breathless from his run, arrived and the two Disciples entered the tomb. True, the linens and the white napkin which had been folded around His head were there. And they departed in haste and returned to their house. But Mary lingered and wept. She peered into the sepulcher and saw two angels sitting where His body had been. And they said:

"Woman, why do you weep?"

"Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."

Then she turned to go away and Jesus stood nearby, but she did not know Him.

"Woman," He said, "Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"

But Mary supposed Him to be the gardener and she said:

"Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away."

And Jesus said unto her:


And she rejoiced and cried: "Teacher!"

But He motioned her away and said:

"Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended unto the Father. But go to My Brethren and say to them, 'I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and My God and your God'."

Mary arose and rushed to the Disciples, exclaiming:

"I have seen The Lord!"

The word spread and Matthew told that dazed guards reported the Resurrection to High Priests and Scribes. In hurried counsel with the Elders it was decided to give the guards much money and say unto them: "If questioned, say, 'His Disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept'."

Soon, two friends of Jesus, who had been in the house with His Disciples, journeyed afoot to nearby Emmaus and were talking of events of the past few days in Jerusalem. A shadow fell across their path and they turned to see a stranger. He inquired of their conversation and they told Him the story of Jesus' suffering and the reports of His Resurrection. But of the last, they spoke in doubt.

And then the stranger started from Moses and quoted from all the Prophets in interpreting the Scriptures. Soon they arrived in Emmaus and He sat down with them. The bread was broken!

In astonishment they looked and they knew it was He! And then He vanished. Straightway they returned to Jerusalem and burst into the house of the Disciples, saying: 'The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!"

And while the eleven Disciples heard in wonderment, He appeared in the doorway. One by one He looked at them and then He said: "Peace be unto you." The Disciples were frightened and feared they had seen a spirit. "Why are ye troubled and why do questionings arise in your hearts? See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me having." He lifted His hands and showed them His feet. The scars of crucifixion were still there. He opened his garment and the mark of the spear was on His side.

In joy they still disbelieved, and He asked for meat. And He took it and ate. They believed.

"Peace be unto you. As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosoever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto you. Whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained..."

They believed and went out to carry His gospel into every land. And out of the heaven seemed to come words reminiscent of His baptism: "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased..."

For a musical adapatation of the events of Holy Week, check out this video:

He’s Alive – Don Francisco

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: Day of Suffering

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
The day had come — mockery, insults, the fiction of a legal trial, boundless pain, betrayal, and finally, death on the cross.

It was the day of suffering for Jesus Christ. Dawn was the misty witness on that Friday when Jesus, insulted and slapped in the home of Annas, was bound and led away to the palace of Caiaphas, high priest.

The day's first grief came when Peter, frightened and confused, stoutly denied in Caiaphas' courtyard that he was a Disciple of Christ; that he even knew Him. A distant cock crew and Peter gazed into Jesus' face and remembered His words:

"Before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice."

And Peter stumbled into the streets and wept bitterly, his face hidden in the cloak.

Into the crowded Sanhedrin Jesus, alone now and wrists bound with rope, was shoved to hear perjurers testify before Caiaphas. Two of them swore they had heard Him say in the Temple of God: "I will destroy this temple that is made with hands and in three days I will build another made without hands."

But Jesus answered nothing; nothing until His own words condemned Him in the eyes of these evil schemers.

Caiaphas crooked a finger towards Him and asked: "Art Thou the Son of God?"

And Jesus wrote His own death sentence: "Ye say that I am. I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

Caiaphas triumphantly arose and tore his priestly garments in a deceitful show of rage, shouting:

"Ye have heard the blasphemy. What think ye?"

Death! Death! Death! The halls shook with their verdict. Jesus, exhausted and blindfolded, dried blood still on His cheeks, stood with the guards. A passing Scribe spat on Him. The rabble of servants and guards gleefully followed suit. And then they played blind man's buff--striking Him in His blindness and demanding that He identify His assailants without sight if He were really a prophet.

But they soon tired and Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, for confirmation of His sentence. The Pharisees falsely testified again and Pilate, unwilling to shoulder the responsibility, sent Him to Herod when He told him He was a Galilean. But Jesus was silent before Herod and the mob returned Him to Pilate for final decision.

Pilate, defending Jesus through hate of Caiaphas, not love, offered Barabbas, an assassin, in exchange for Jesus, but the throng still clamored for His death. So Pilate had Him stripped and arrayed in a purple garment and the soldiers in the courtyard placed a crown of thorns upon His head and a reed in His right hand.

And they spat upon Him and struck Him and mocked Him with: "Hail, King of the Jews!"

And finally Pilate, fearful of the rising tumult, delivered Him unto the mob and washed his hands in water saying: "I am innocent of the blood of this man; see ye to it!"

Down the stony streets Jesus trudged, bearing His own cross. Two thieves followed, also doomed to crucifixion. Sobbing women, old men, dirty children followed the procession with cries of pity. But Jesus urged them not to weep for Him.

No longer could His strength hold. He fell to the street under His cross. He seemed dead; only gasps of breath indicated life.

The Pharisees cast about in the crowd and picked one Simon to lift His cross that the procession might not be delayed. Outside the city's walls--capital punishment was illegal in the city itself--came the tragic, broken Jesus of Nazareth to a place called Golgotha, scene of the crucifixion.

Four soldiers readied Jesus and the two thieves. Ropes under His arms lifted Him to the cross and nails were driven into His hands and feet.

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do..."

And one of the repentant thieves moaned in agony as Jesus comforted him.

"Today shall thou be with me in paradise..."

Away from the howling men, fearful of it all, stood His mother, Mary. To John and Mary, Jesus whispered:

"Woman, behold thy son: son, behold thy mother!"

Midnight darkness came and the sun was obscured. Many fled in fear but some lingered. The parched lips moved again and at the ninth hour He said:

"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Dust and blood coated His lips:

"I thirst..."

And a vile soldier dipped a reed in vinegar and brushed it to His mouth.

"It is finished..."

The body trembled and the lips parted in final agony:

"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit..."

And His head bowed and He gave up the ghost.

Suddenly, told Matthew, an earthquake struck the Temple veil was torn from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks were splintered. Tombs opened and bodies of saints were raised.

The people, in fear and awe, beat their breasts and cried: "Truly, this was the Son of God!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus' words to his disciples at the Last Supper:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

John 14:1-3 NKJV

A number of composers have adapted this reasurring passage to music. My favorite is a hymn arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram. To hear an MP3 sample, visit The Music of Ruth Elaine Schram — once there, scroll briefly through an alphabetical title list to Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, then *Click here to listen*.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

John 14:6 NKJV

Maundy Thursday: Day of Fellowship

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
Thirty pieces of silver were to be His doom before the day's end but Jesus of Nazareth tediously planned Maundy Thursday for last moments of fellowship and prayer with His Disciples.

Not many hours of life remained for Him. He was to be betrayed, given a mock trial and crucified before tomorrow's sunset.

So it was His wish that He should gather for the last time His Disciples, but no worldly goods were His and He had no home for such fellowship. He directed two Disciples to go into Jerusalem and follow a man bearing a pitcher and in his home they would dine.

Many men bore pitchers of water from Shiloh on that day but the Disciples followed the first they saw and it was as He said. Arrangements were made.

In the evening Jesus came and sat with His Disciples for the Lord's Supper and the Passover feast. It was the first day of unleavened bread. To prove His love for those He was soon to leave, Jesus stooped and washed the dusty feet of His Disciples. Protests arose but He said: "Verily, verily I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them."

In His sadness He gave them a new commandment:

"Love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..."

And He took the bread and broke it in prayer and gave it to them, saying:

"This is my body which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me."

And He took a cup and gave thanks and handed it to an Apostle:

"Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many..."

Great lines furrowed His face and He shocked His Disciples when He said:

"Verily, I say unto you that one of you will betray me."

The Disciples searched each other's faces and were sorrowful. They quickly pleaded to know the identity of the betrayer. Judas Iscariot, the 30 pieces of silver even then tightly wrapped on his person, said: "Is it I, Lord?"

In answer, Jesus said: "He it is for whom I shall dip the sop and give it to him."

And Jesus handed the sop to Judas Iscariot. Then He began His farewell conversation with the remaining Disciples who were of heavy hearts.

"Let not your heart be troubled. He who believes in God, believes also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you."

The supper was ended and Jesus took with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane Peter and James and John. He implored them to stay with Him and watch as He prayed. And He fell to the ground and cried to God:

"Father, all things are possible unto Thee; remove this cup from Me!'

But only an angel appeared to give Him strength and in agony he prayed until blood and sweat coursed down His hot cheeks. He wearily arose and walked back to find the three Disciples lost in sleep. Not even His trusted friends could stand watch. He peered down at them and whispered: "Sleep on now and take your rest. Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."

Out of the shadows came Judas Iscariot in the light of lanterns. Swords rattled from scabbards of the motley rabble at his side. For 30 pieces of silver Judas Iscariot was to identify Jesus with a kiss. So he walked straightway to Him and kissed His cheek. And Jesus said: "Friend, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"

The guards rushed forward and Simon Peter drew his sword and slashed an ear off the high priest's servant. Quickly Jesus said: "Suffer ye thus far." And he touched the ear and healed it.

The Disciples fled in confusion and fear and Jesus was led away to the house of Annas. His death sentence neared.

And Judas Iscariot fled into the night and hanged himself.

Let not your heart be troubled. He who believes in God, believes also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday Before Easter: Day of Retirement

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
On Wednesday of His Passion week Jesus of Nazareth sought seclusion in the quiet of friendly Bethany homes.

No record of events of this day in His life is known.

But wicked schemers the troubled Pharisees and Scribes who feared the challenging power of the Son of David, met to plan details of His death.

To openly assassinate Him would bring down the plague of the people. Betrayal and crucifixion was the plan. The right moment had to be found.

To the court of the high priest, Caiaphas, went the plotters to counsel together. The Sanhedrin, supreme council of the capital's ruling chiefs, was crowded with priests who benefited from the Temple's merchandising, Scribes who tended the law and Elders who represented the middle class.

Why did this group seek the death of Jesus?

Greed and personal interests were the underlying causes.

Intertwined in every business in Jerusalem, from the high to the low, was religion. The high priests were beneficiaries of tithes, taxes from Temple trading, food from sacrificial animals and even from payments for first-born infants.

It was their privilege to take from herds and crops. Under the law even the bread on their tables came from Jews who were compelled to give the twenty-fourth part of the bread baked in their homes. They sold animals to be used in sacrificial offerings and formed secret partnerships with the moneychangers.

Shamefully, the Temple of God became a bartering post around which was wrapped the very life of Jerusalem. Off the Temple lived the priests and the wealthy. Merchants depended upon the priests and the rich and the millions of pilgrims drawn from over the world to the tainted house of worship.

The poor existed from scraps dropped them by those who desecrated the Temple.

To challenge this violation of God's House came Jesus. His teachings substituted love of man for every mercenary scheme and threatened the continued existence of an infamous network.

Many attempts to trap Him with cunning questions had failed. Jerusalem was crowded with foreigners for the Sacrifice of the Passover and tens of thousands were either listening to or hearing of His teachings. It troubled the Pharisees.

Only Nicodemus arose in the Sanhedrin to attempt defense of Jesus but he was quieted by fearful shouts of others that if He were permitted to continue His teachings and gather great followings, the Romans would come in conquering strength and seize the nation.

Finally, the decision was made. Jesus was to be seized before the Passover. But they were cowardly and still feared the wrath of the people. Many schemes were discussed for the actual murder, but it was decided against assassination on the day of the Passover "lest there be an uproar among the people."

But on the next day came a traitor to solve their problem.

Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Disciples, was to betray his Master for thirty pieces of silver — a modest sum for an avaricious man. It could not have been more than $20.
A small price for a man's life. And no one knows to this day the mystery of Judas Iscariot. We know only:

"Then entered Satan into Judas."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday Before Easter: Day of Controversy

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
It was to be a bitter and full day for Jesus of Nazareth the Tuesday before Easter, last day in His public ministry.

So with the dawn over Bethany He arose, gathered His Disciples and started the day before. Jerusalem was feverish.

It had heard in every house how Jesus drove the wicked from the House of the Lord. The poor rejoiced and left the alleys; leprous beggars lurched toward the Temple ; craftsmen long suffering at the hands of the rich closed their shops.

The courts were overflowing as He walked in one of the porches to begin His teaching. The lame and the poor watched imploringly. The multitude belonged to Jesus that day.

But He was not to be without enemies. In small groups the Pharisees and Scribes who plotted His death filtered into the courtyard. They were haughty sights. Sneering mouths, scorn in their eyes, tilted chins.

Jesus paused and awaited their attack. He knew why they had come. He knew their cunning. Soon one of them shouted: "By what authority do you preach--and who gave this authority?"

Jesus' answer shamed them and the multitude was pleased. "I would ask you a question. If you answer, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John--whence was it? From heaven or from men?"

The Pharisees were shaken. If they answered "from heaven" He would ask "Why did you not believe him?" If they answered "from men" they would be stoned, for the people were persuaded John was a prophet. So they shamefully said: "We know not."

And Jesus said: "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

But again the Pharisees attempted cunning. One asked: "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar? Why pay taxes?"

Jesus deliberated. To have said "no" would have been to command rebellion. To have said "yes" would have belied His own claim to Messiahship. But He knew well of their hypocrisy. He took a coin and said: "What is Caesar's give to Caesar, and what is God's to God."

The Pharisees heard and marveled and left the temple. And the solution Jesus gave has settled for all time the principles underlying it.

Jesus paused for rest on nearby steps and watched the multitude cast money into the treasury. He saw a pauper widow give two mites, the smallest of coins, and knew that her sacrifice was the greatest of all. Their glances met and Jesus was pleased, although He did not speak. Their silence was a tryst for heaven.

The day was long and Jesus was tired. He silenced the Sadducees when questioned on resurrection and then the Pharisees reappeared to plague Him on the law.

"What command is the greatest of the commandments?'' they asked.

"You must love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. There is a second. You must love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The evening came and Jesus wearied. He had told many parables and had attempted to correct many errors. It was then that He met the approach of the proselytes, Greeks who had married into Judaism. They wanted to become disciples of the Lord of Righteousness. They sent a messenger, Philip Bethsaida, accompanied by Andrew.

And Gentile converts were granted the right to worship and praise Christ, even as men of the Gentile world had paid homage to Him in the stable of Bethlehem.

Jesus said unto Philip and Andrew. "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am there shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will the Father honor..."

And Jesus, perhaps the fullest day of His life ended- He had denounced the Pharisees and Scribes, He had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and His own suffering on the cross--returned to the home of Lazarus in Bethany.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday Before Easter: Day of Authority

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
Jesus of Nazareth strode up the dusty Jerusalem street to the Temple of God, flanked by His fervent followers.

On the hilltop the Temple beckoned in deceiving brilliance. But His gentle heart flamed into righteous indignation as He drew near. He saw what He had feared.

Sin had occupied the House of The Lord. Greed was etched in the faces of the moneychangers who ran dirty hands through bowls of silver and copper. Herdsmen hawked their wares in the filth of their flocks. Vendors shouted raucously beside their pigeon coops.

Oxen bellowed against a backdrop of bleating lambs. He stood in scorn and viewed it all. The house of prayer was now a house of Mammon, and moneychangers cheated and lied and became the tools of priests.

No longer could He restrain His scorn. The gentlest of all men seized a knotted rope and lashed his way through the market place. He stung evil backs and upset benches of the moneychangers. Copper and silver coins clattered to the floor and rolled away. Greedy men bawled in astonishment.

Herdsmen stampeded oxen and sheep through the Temple doors and vendors tumbled to the floor beside upset coops. The babble drew others from nearby courtyards and the clamor rose at the sight of this man cleansing the Temple of God.

He stood majestically brandishing His whip and with the last of the moneychangers crawling from the Temple, loudly called after them: "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of robbers and thieves!"

And suddenly the courts were cleared and there was peace.

Soon, in the new quiet of the Temple, there came the blind and the lame. Boys of the neighborhood, possibly choir boys, cautiously slipped in to see this man who had driven evil from holy halls.

The Chief Priests and Scribes of the Pharisees, drawn to the Temple by the act of Jesus of Nazareth, watched incredulously while He healed the afflicted. They frowned uncomfortably when little children cried and joyously shouted: "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

Indignantly the Priests called out to Him: "Do you hear what they say?" And Jesus answered: "Why are they saying this of me? Haven't you read in the Scripture: 'You have drawn praise from the mouths of children and infants?'"

And that silenced the Pharisees. But it taunted them and it was that night that they banded together and conceived the bribing of a betrayer --and the cross. It was a delicate plot to plan, for the people had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and treasured His every word.

On that day Jesus, weary and faint of hunger, walked near Bethany. He saw a fig tree and sought to satisfy His hunger. But the tree was barren of fruit and He grew indignant. He spoke that no more fruit would grow on the tree.

Matthew reported the tree withered at once. John told that when they passed it the next day it had perished. But in any event it could not suffer His ire.

Jesus told His followers it was but a lesson--that men needed to realize a simple faith, a faith in God which rests on Him alone.

He was trying to tell them that the fig tree was like Jerusalem, which, with its foliage, was magnificent in its welcome on the day of His triumphant Sabbath entry. But, actually, it had not received Him, did not understand His visitation and was as barren as the tree He had spurned.

And then He went to Bethany for a night of quiet.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday

The Immortal Story is an 18-page booklet of newspaperman Felix McKnight's dramatic chronicle of Holy Week. It begins on what is now known as Palm Sunday.

An excerpt appears below.
The Immortal Story

On this day, [over 1900] years ago, the 33-year-old son of an obscure carpenter rode triumphantly astride a restless colt through Jerusalem's gates acclaimed as the prophesied Messiah.

The faithful, thousands of them, tossed their mantles and palm branches on the street's rough stones before the sad-eyed Jesus of Nazareth. And they cried out: "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

The day was magnificent in its beauty. It was April and spring. The Sabbath sun's brilliance sparkled across vineyards and orchards. Velvety blue skies canopied the countryside.

Only a few hours before Jesus had gathered around Him on the nearby Mount of Olives at Bethphage village, His Twelve Disciples. He told them of His fate that He was to be outraged, struck and spit upon and finally put to death.

It seemed incredible to His followers. But Jesus calmed them. Death was to be the promise of a second, and greater, life and His Passion was to insure eternal freedom of man.

So with a beckoning gesture He started His triumphal march upon Jerusalem--a condemned man who thrice had escaped death but who now chose to save mankind.

The crowd swelled as a mad river out of its banks as the procession neared Jerusalem. The faithful, caught in a great moment of hope, slashed palm branches and boughs of myrtle from the forests and waved them high. The din grew and some feared a riot at the gates. The Pharisees, gathered to prepare the Sacrifice of the Passover, hurried to the scene and drew cloaks about troubled faces as they heard the rolling shout: "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

The first Christian legion storming Jerusalem's gates irked the Pharisees and some cried out at this strange Jesus of Nazareth: "Master, rebuke Thy disciples?

But the answer withered them; rang like a challenge of war: "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out!"

Stones? The stones of dusty streets which had twice been hurled at Him in murder attempts. The desert stones which He had refused to turn into loaves of bread upon the dare of His enemy.

The issue was made. On He rode, the trace of a smile on His gentle face as He raised His head slightly to acknowledge the drumming Hosannas.

A tear dropped on His cheek. He was crying softly to Himself; not in self-pity; not for the suffering He would endure; not for the shame He knew he faced; not for the death that awaited Him a few days hence.

No, He sorrowed not for Himself, but for the poor souls who were about to perjure and compromise themselves at the altar of disbelief. Knowing that the Scripture must be fulfilled, that the prophecy must come to pass, He knew they would do just that.

Meanwhile, the Pharisees called hurried councils among the Chief Priests and Scribes to discuss the threat this carpenter's son had brought to their midst. The throngs that tearfully shouted at His heels disturbed them. He was a menace to be destroyed. But Jesus, marching ironically in triumph to His doom, heard only the joyous shouts that pounded over Jerusalem even to the walls of the Temple on the hill; the Temple filled with sin. "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

Tomorrow He would lash from the Temple of God the moneychangers, the bankers, the venders who dared to invade the House of the Lord.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It gets even better

Most of what I learned about Felix McKnight was shared with me by his assistant, Joan Jackson-Phenix, many years after I first read The Immortal Story.

Here's excerpts of what she shared with me in 2003.

Sherry Andrus, our Dallas Chapter president of Executive Women International, forwarded your email concerning Felix McKnight to me. It sounds like a great story and I am anxious to hear it.

I know Mr. McKnight will be pleased to know of your interest. Yes, he is alive and at 93 is still sharper than most at 35! I am sure he would be glad to talk to you. You will find him to be a very interesting, charming man. He is just recovering from pneumonia and is still somewhat short of breath. I spoke with him this morning and told him about your email.

* * *

I spoke with Mr. McKnight tonight. He was very pleased that you had been touched by his writing of The Immortal Story. His mother wanted him to write the story of Jesus and His last days on earth, he did it for her.

Briefly, I will attempt to cover some of the highlights.

Taking a leave of absence from the Dallas Morning News — where at that time Mr. McKnight was city editor — to do research, he began his writings. With the help of a Rabbi, Catholic Priest and his own Protestant Minister, he worked on the project for two full months. The Rabbi, the Priest and his Minister were vital to his research. The Rabbi had a marvelous library, especially on the cities where Jesus had lived and preached. The Catholic Priest and Mr. McKnight's Minister were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful in his research.

The story was printed as a series – both the Dallas Morning News and later the Dallas Times Herald ran it front page just before Easter for a number of years. It was syndicated and carried in 80 major newspapers throughout the world.

Among others, Time Magazine reviewed it (and somewhat with tongue in cheek stated that this story had already been told — by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

The Masonic Lodge joined in and had over a million copies printed and distributed worldwide. I believe it was published in 35 countries (don't quote me on the number, I just know it was a lot).

Mr. McKnight's biography is quite lengthy. He began his career on the San Antonio Light. From there he worked for The Associated Press, covering the New London school explosion where so many children and teachers lost their lives. For 11 years he worked for The Dallas Morning News as City Editor but left the News in 1957 to become Vice President and Editor at The Dallas Times Herald. Later he was promoted to Co-Publisher and Editor. He semi retired in 1975 but remained with The Dallas Times Herald for several years writing editorial columns. He served as President of American Society of Newspaper Editors and, along with 11 other major metropolitan editors, traveled to Russia, met and angered Nakita Kruechev. Soon afterward he wrote a book entitled The Russia I Saw and it, too, received wide distribution.

  • Attended A&M University
  • Was very instrumental in major changes in Dallas
  • A great civic leader
  • A renowned speaker
  • An avid golfer, continues at age 93 as a member of Augusta National
  • Married to Elizabeth "Lib" Terrell McKnight
  • Two daughters, one deceased, 3 grandsons and two great grandchildren
  • Not a rich man but generous to a fault — my EWI scholarship is one indication. I have known him to help and find jobs for young men who came in off the street. He has given other scholarships to different universities.
Mr. McKnight is the finest man I have ever known, and I've met many good men. I was privileged to work for him and with him for nearly 20 years as his personal secretary. Through him I worked with top government and city officials. Though he doesn't know it, he was the father I never knew.

This is about all the information I have on Felix R. McKnight, but I did learn of his death on February 7, 2004 at the age of 93.