Posts

Furniture Store Sheltering!

Image
At the beginning days of the Pandemic, we were being told to shelter in place. After a fierce winter storm, unofficially tagged Uri, recently hit Texans the weekend of Valentine's Day, some Houstonians were sheltering in a furniture store! With the power grid failing and in catastrophic freefall, millions throughout the state found themselves without electricity and clean drinking water for days.  Jim McIngvale, proprietor of Gallery Furniture, a retail home furnishings chain, came to the aid of what he described as "my people!" McIngvale is affectionately known as "Mattress Mack!" Back in the day, when I pastored in southwest Houston, I remembered McIngvale in television commercials where he acted as his own pitchman. He would close every commercial speaking quickly and in an animated way holding some wadded up bills in his hand while shouting, "Gallery Furniture really SAVES YOU MONEY!" "Gallery...SAVES! (to the rescue!). It was memorable! Image

Sufficient Spiritual Cranking Amps

Image
   A  few months ago and before the really cold temperatures of winter, I had two days of issues with my 2015 Buick Lacrosse. On both occasions, the interior audio quit working. I had no sound from the radio, no safety tones in the cabin, and I couldn’t hear the turn signals working. No clicking, songs, and audible warnings about seat belts or doors ajar. These episodes mysteriously disappeared after turning the ignition off and restarting once again. I knew something was wrong, but I thought I would wait until the symptoms didn’t go away. Having grown up in a mechanic’s home, I learned to value maintaining an automobile. But I also knew that it is nearly impossible to solve a car problem if it does not show the symptoms while in the repair shop! 😕 Photo: shop.advanceautoparts.com Several days later we knew we had a big problem! Monique and I were both surprised and amused as we sat in our seats and tried to start the car for a short trip across town. The first thing that happened is

Growing Through Grief

Image
Seeking relief from a steady diet of news programing in the last months, Monique and I have been watching Public Television for the past several weeks on Sunday evening. We have been captivated by Masterpiece Theatre's series, All Creatures Great and Small , based upon the novels of James Herriot. These are about the adventures of Herriot (pen name for James Alfred Wight), a Yorkshire veterinarian who is practicing his craft in rural England during the 1930's. This series is pure, softly-paced, beautifully set and thoroughly entertaining. Galloping Stallion goodfreephotos.com Samuel West, who plays Siegfried Farnon, Herriot's boss and mentor, commented in a recent podcast interview about an especially touching episode in which James has to put down a beautiful race horse. The animal is in great pain because of an inoperable bowel constriction. Others attending the horse are openly reluctant to take such extreme measures because the animal is prized and has great financial v

"The Enemy Is Within!"

Image
Our Internet and cable service was interrupted three and a half hours recently from about 6:20 to 9:40 p.m. By my recollection, this degree of service interruption has never happened in the thirty years we have been with this small rural service provider! I called the company’s customer service line the next morning to inquire as to the reason for this failure of service. The lady politely said that it was due to someone outside of the company accidentally cutting a major fiber optic cable. She told me that it took the cable company all those hours to restore the service.  I explained that while we were retired and this was a minor inconvenience to us, I wondered how those with school aged children dealt with their assignments! I would learn later that our granddaughter did have an assignment due that evening and had to go to her other grandparents in Springfield to get it completed and sent to her teacher on time!  It amused me to hear what the customer service lady did. She simply re

"This Should Not Be Happening!"

Image
Steve Nichols, photographer and producer, WAND News, recently led a group of volunteers in a clean-up project at Lake Decatur. He, along with several other "anglers," had noticed how much plastic and metal container debris was scattered around their favorite fishing holes. Several were complaining that the disregard for the local recreational environment was distressing and shocking. Nichols summarized the sentiments of many during an evening newscast as he made an appeal for change with this strong statement, "This should NOT be happening!" He encouraged all who enjoy fishing at the lake to take a trash bag with them to pick up after themselves and spend some time policing the area for other trash left behind. Ready for Recycling Bin! We have been recycling for several years now. It gives us a measure of consolation that the plastic, paper, aluminum and even the glass we generate can be reprocessed "to see another day of usefulness!" I'm happy to repo

Why Care About Neighbors?

Image
  Logo Credit: purepng.com Could the little town of Nokomis, Illinois, population 2126, be classified as a food desert? It may be soon if their only grocery store is shuttered. Although community leaders have lobbied Kroger, the Cincinnati-based national grocer, to reconsider, the plan is to close the store at the end of January. My heart goes out to these people. My mother was born and grew up in Nokomis. Over the years, I have enjoyed many visits with relatives living there. This closure is problematic because many of the community residents are senior adults who cannot drive the 15-30 miles to nearby groceries stores in Pana, Hillsboro or Vandalia. Meals on Wheels America research notes that 9.7 million seniors face varying degrees of food insecurity. I fear that many of these older adults live in rural communities like Nokomis. They are going to be left without their neighborhood grocers that were a familiar sight during my childhood years.  These small grocery stores dotted small

"There is Grace for This!"

Image
  I learned last week that they are tearing down the old Greer Hospital in Vandalia that was built in 1925. This is where I was born in 1951. For the last years it has served as an annex and professional building adjacent  to the main hospital. This will "pave the way" (literally!) for a parking lot expansion on the property. I first heard of the demolition from my dad and then read around the subject in the local Vandalia paper online. Surprisingly, the news of this change left me feeling a little "nostalgic depressed." Especially when you consider that the house where my ninety-one year-old dad was birthed is still standing! That doesn't seem fair!  Mark Greer Hospital Demolition Photo Credit: Kevin Keppler About three years ago, I remember walking with my grand daughter Chloe from my sister's house near the hospital over to the annex after the Thanksgiving meal that day. I wanted to show her the humble setting of my beginnings and to retell the story pass