"Smart Watch/Trash Can Cheating!"

We are on the cusp of another baseball season. Since my elementary school days as a ten-year-old playing on a Little League team, I have loved this sport! However, I have a confession to make. I am now a fan of two major league baseball teams that have been caught cheating! Please allow me to state the obvious at the outset, I do not endorse cheating. It is stupid and unnecessary. It has no place in baseball or life! The Bible is very clear about prohibiting dishonesty of any kind, "You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another" (Leviticus 19:11).

Having stated my disdain for cheating, I now want to explain the conundrum of my dual loyalties. I grew up solely following the St. Louis Cardinals and still give my highest allegiance to those "Birds on the Bat!" This is my default and primary preference! Yet, I am fond of the Houston Astros organization due to my fifteen years of residency in the Great State of Texas. I pastored in th…

The Blessing of Hugs!

My wife, Monique is a regular substitute in our local elementary school. After retiring in 2013, having taught for over 22 years, it is not uncommon for her to average teaching in this same building three or four days a week. She loves what she does and is a familiar face to the students in the first through fourth grade classes! The only class she doesn't choose to teach is kindergarten because they are down on the floor much of the day with their activities. Charlie, our enthusiastic kinder, while disappointed, is looking forward to his Mimi teaching him next year just like she has his sister, Chloe and brother, Danny on several occasions!

As I dropped her off at the front door the other morning, I saw three little girls along with a boy, (probably first or second graders) shouting, "It's Mrs. Keppler!" as they rushed over to give her a group hug! I thought, "Everyone should be so blessed to have this kind of welcoming party to greet them!" Have you ever …

"The Best Laid Plans"

I should know by now to exercise caution in making plans! I had preached a funeral message and was headed to a friend's house to drop him off when I called Monique to say that I would pick up a loaf of fresh bread for our sandwiches and be home in ten minutes. I also shared with her that we could go out to do some shopping after lunch. However, it would be two hours later before we were sitting down to eat and it would be another hour later, as darkness approached, that we would finally get to the department store for that shopping. What happened? An unexpected interruption to my plans... a flat tire!

I was feeling pretty good about my time management that day, but all that boasting evaporated quickly when that sharp object in the roadway cut through my perfectly good right rear tire and  immediately destroyed it upon contact. I don't know how you define luck, but I was about as lucky as they say in Texas as "the guy riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels!" I was a…

"You Respond How You're Trained!"

I was watching TBN, the Christian television station the other evening, and caught an interesting episode of the Mike Rowe show, "Somebody's Gotta Do It!" I have been tuning in to his programs for the past few years. They are informative and entertaining too! This week's show focused on a special program based in Texas that trains first responders to handle a myriad of disasters. The training program is called, "Disaster City!" They mainly target the equipping of fire fighters to handle chemical plant fires, explosions on oil platforms, terrorist bombings and natural disasters.

The key to the training at this 52-acre site in College Station is that they provide realistic simulations that give the emergency responders the best and real life settings for disaster training. Their website says, "The mock community features full-scale, collapsible structures designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage which can be customized for the specific…

Changing the World!

Hot air balloons have been an entertaining fascination for me since Reece and Melissa moved to the Albuquerque area in 2006. Our visits have given us an opportunity to attend the annual International Balloon Fiesta several times. It is the largest hot air ballooning event in the world. There isn't anything to be compared to being on the infield of the park at daybreak for the "Mass Ascension" as hundreds of balloons are launched. Participants are sometimes requested to assist the crew in readying for launch by helping unpack the balloons and gondolas, pulling out the balloon fabric, holding the tie-down ropes, or helping to move the crowd out of the way when they are near launch-time. We have seen traditional balloons that are so colorful and expansive as well as special-shaped balloons that are featured on certain launch days to the delight of children and the young-at-heart. These depict comic, movie and theme-park characters in all shapes and sizes. Every early Octobe…

A New Sweet Shop!

Kids know things! We went out to eat with our pre-teen granddaughter, Chloe, recently to a favorite "all you care-to-eat" restaurant.  At the end of the meal, I noticed that the final plate was missing one of her must have desserts - tapioca pudding. When I asked her why she was passing on it, she diplomatically said, "I was hoping you would take me to a new sweet shop nearby. I have been asking mom to take me, but she said, 'Why don't you ask Poppi!'" (Thanks, Michelle!!) Before I could ask how close we were to it, she already had her phone app open to Google maps and it was giving voice directions!

After the .8-mile car ride, we pulled up to the business with a most inviting name, Oh Icee! Inside we stood gazing at all the items offered and saw a long list of bubble tea blends and another category called, "rolled" ice-cream. None of us had ever sampled either! This was an adventure! So, we decided to order a bubble tea that we soon discovere…

Choosing an Unhurried Pace!

We have just turned the corner on a New Year. I have transitioned to a new desk appointment book and hung a new wall calendar in the kitchen for doctor appointments and Monique's teaching schedule. We even received a unique calendar from our young and gracious server at the local Hibachi Grill and Chinese-American buffet. The latter has found its place on a wall downstairs near my library and sermon files.

The server seemed so proud when she came to bring us the check after our meal the other day and then surprised us with this mystery box labeled with Chinese symbols. I thought at first it might have contained a fresh supply of chop sticks and was glad it didn't because I get a cramp in my hand each time I try to use them!

Upon closer observation, I could see that there were words in English at the bottom of the box indicating that this contained a wall calendar. I was pleasantly surprised by the colorful picture of a snaking dragon-like creature that was depicted on the outs…