Friday, August 31, 2007

Only Persevere

As we age
We learn to
Say no
To the things
We don't really want to do
When asked.
I don't think
We ever learn
To say no
For things we wish
To accomplish for ourselves.
We keep adding
To the list
Until we attain the goal
Or we give up.
May we never give up;
Only persevere.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shifting Horizons

Ever evolving
We change with the tides
That move us
inexorably
Onward
To a destination
Only dimly seen
On the horizon.
Yet as we gaze
Ahead into the unknown
The shifting mists
Obscure the vision
Until that which we thought
Would be is now
No longer there.
It has been replaced
By something
Unimagined
And yet unfulfilled
But drawing
Us into itself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spiderman, Spiderman...

Now how cool is this...?

Physicists Have Found The Formula For A Spiderman Suit

Science Daily — Physicists have found the formula for a Spiderman suit. Only recently has man come to understand how spiders and geckos effortlessly scuttle up walls and hang from ceilings but it was doubted that this natural form of adhesion would ever be strong enough to hold the weight of real life Peter Parkers.

Recent research concluded that van der Waals forces -- the weak attraction that molecules have for each other when they are brought very close together - are responsible for creepy crawlies' amazing sticking power. It is the tiny hairs on spiders' feet that attract to the molecules of surfaces, even glass, and keep them steady.

This discovery however has been taken one step further by research published Thursday, 30 August, 2007 in the Institute of Physics' Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter to make sticky human suits.

Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person's full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.

Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion.

Pugno said, "There are many interesting applications for our theory, from space exploration and defense, to designing gloves and shoes for window cleaners of big skyscrapers."

The theory is all the more significant because, as with spiders' and geckos' feet, the hooks and hairs are self-cleaning and water-resistant. This means that they will not wear or get clogged by bad weather or dirty surfaces and will be able to withstand some of the harshest habitats on earth, including the deep sea.

Pugno continued, "With the idea for the adhesion now in place, there are a number of other mechanics that need addressing before the Spiderman suit can become a reality. Size-effects on the adhesion strength require further research. Moreover, man's muscles, for example, are different to those of a gecko. We would suffer great muscle fatigue if we tried to stick to a wall for many hours.

"However now that we are this step closer, it may not be long before we are seeing people climbing up the Empire State Building with nothing but sticky shoes and gloves to support them."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Institute of Physics.

Just think, my own Spiderman suit. I wonder where I can get some of that web stuff....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Rising and the Setting Eclipsed

This morning as I drove to work
I watched the setting moon
Eclipsed by earth's shadow
As it sank into the horizon

While in my rear view mirror
I at the same time saw
The glowing ball of orange sun
Rising out of the horizon

I was struck with wonder
At the beauty of the morning
While filled with thoughts
Of primitive man delving

Into the mystery that
Could only leave them wondering
If their world was ending
Only to be born again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fall Into a New School Year

School has started back and the pace of life just stepped it up a notch. Now, it seems a little strange for me to say that because I'm not in school and although my son's activities sometimes throw a little extra into the schedule, it's not bad and I enjoy getting to see him participate. It does seem to create extra demands on my spouse who works in the Central Office for our school system.

I guess really it is just the increase in activity around me that makes it feel like everything is faster -- more hurried. The morning traffic seems heavier. Various school activities place demands on others at work. It is more difficult to schedule things because of conflicts. Oh, well -- that's part of fall!

Fall.
I can't believe that
Footballs are flying,
Corn is drying,
Students are crying
'Cause summer is dying
And I would be lying
If I said I was trying
To keep from sighing
Over the end of summer.

OK. Technically there's still nearly a month left.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Advertisement: Yokes by Jesus

In biblical times plows were pulled by oxen. Usually the oxen were yoked in pairs. Often the pair would consist of an older experienced ox that was well trained to the plow along with a young ox that still needed to learn. One of the keys to the oxen efficiently pulling the plow was the yoke itself. The better that it fit the oxen -- the more comfortably it fit -- the more efficiently they could pull. This was because it was a comfortable fit that allowed the pressure to be evenly distributed without chaffing or galling the animal.

Jesus was a carpenter. Among the many things that he made I'm sure were yokes for oxen. Often farmers would bring their oxen in to the carpenter to be "fitted" for the yoke. Basically, they were custom made to fit the specific animal. Can you imagine how well a Jesus-made yoke would fit? I suspect they were the best made yokes around.

The yoke on an ox is a little like a job or career for a man or woman. If it is a good fit they are efficient and effective. If it is a poor fit, they are constantly fighting against it and are frustrated and ineffective.

Each of us is uniquely suited to a particular career or job. That is what we should be doing. When we find that niche we are happy and productive. Often we enter into a career because of the money we will make or because of the expectations of others. We should find and do what we were made for.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."__Matthew 11:28-30

(adapted from our sermon this evening)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Injustice of it All

Weekends
Are for doing all the things
We couldn't get done during the week
Because we were doing all the things we had to do
In order to afford what we wanted/needed to do on the
Weekends.

It's a little like that saying about grand kids --
If I had known how much fun the grand kids were going to be
I would have skipped having kids and gone straight to grandchildren.
The only trouble is that you can't have the grand kids
Until you've gone through
Raising kids.

Is it the reward?
The weekend is the reward for getting through the week;
Grandchildren are the reward for getting through raising the kids.
So, what does it mean
If you have a lousy weekend
Or, you end up raising the grand kids?

That is not the case for me --
But it is for many people.
Is it because they are "paying for their raising?"
Or, because they didn't do much during the week?
Or is it purely chance?

While we are at it,
Why does the rain fall on the just and the unjust?
Why do worthless no-good so-and-so's prosper
And good people struggle?
And just exactly what is the meaning of life?

Why are some of us fortunate enough to be born in the U.S.A.
With tremendous opportunity and often with more than we need
And the majority of the world is living in poverty?
Why are there kids starving in Africa
While restaurants in America throw out tons of uneaten food daily?

Does any of it really matter?
Why are our deepest thoughts always interrupted
By someone saying, "come here, you gotta see this!"
Is there truly justice in the world?
Why is the tea pitcher always empty when I want a glass??!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Random Items

I updated my profile a bit. The only reason I did so is because of the new blogger tool where you can click on the highlighted items and find other bloggers who listed the same things. I'm always looking for new and interesting blogs to read.

My first article was published in the local newspaper today. It was gratifying to see that only the title was changed. However, in the tradition of MSM, the article was posted under a "column" heading that was totally erroneous and misleading. I am taking a chance that the publisher may see this posted (no offence intended) but I was upset about it. I e-mailed her and the editor about my concerns. I think I was reasonably nice in how I expressed my uh, umm, displeasure.

I am reading a book by W.E.B. Griffin called "In Danger's Path; A Novel of the Corps." I am enjoying it immensely. It revolves around the role of the Marine Corps and the OSS during WWII in the Pacific theatre. I'm only about 1/4 of the way into it but it is great so far. I don't recall reading anything by Griffin before but I will certainly read more of his work.

We have been very busy at work which is a good thing. The trouble with busy is that you often don't have time for planning and thinking or for building. Busy is usually a result of responding to someone else's needs. It is reactive, not proactive. Busy happens. But it is often not the most productive time. Productivity is creative. Busy is sometimes just busy.

It looks like my travel schedule is going to become more hectic. This is the season of the year when there are many shows and conferences that I need to attend. It seems like this season is getting longer and longer. It is almost year-round anymore. I get tired of the travel but I enjoy seeing the customers and meeting new prospects. I love trade shows and enjoy working them. It is always interesting to me to find ways to engage potential customers.

School starts next week. My son is enjoying his last few days before the new year begins. I think he is looking forward to it. He is an excellent student -- if he could just get over being a teenager...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mother Goose

My apologies to all of you whose blogs I normally read. I have been a little busy. I will catch up at first opportunity.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. My favorite was:

Multiplication is vexation
Division is as bad
The rule of three perplexes me
And practice drives me mad.

I don't know why I decided to share that but it seemed like a good idea. What was your favorite Nursery Rhyme? Put it in the comments if you feel so led.

Idealism

Testriffic.com
Hat Tip to My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cyclicity

There is a cyclical nature
To almost everything.
We see it in the passing day
And the coming of the spring.

We feel it in our bodies
As we go from young to old.
We see it as the seasons
Change from warm to cold.

It happens in our workplace
When things change from bad to good.
It inhabits every living thing
And is little understood.

It affects all our relationships
And it works upon the sea.
It determines all the weather
That sends an ache into my knee.

The cycle of creation
Begun by God above
Keeps ticking just like clockwork
Running on His bounteous love.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Random Observations

The official temperature today was 101.
The forecast was for 97.
My thermometer showed 104 at 3:00 pm.

Hurricane Dean is bearing down on the Yucatan peninsula.
It was earlier projected to possibly hit Texas.
We sent buses from the Panhandle to San Antonio in preparation.

The grass in Central Texas is so lush
That the cattle can't eat enough
To get enough to eat (because of the high water content).

The speculation about ethanol production
Has pushed the price of corn so high
The ethanol plants are losing money.

Some liberal activist has filed a complaint
Against Fred Thompson for campaign violations
And he isn't yet a declared candidate.

Obesity may be catching.
Dogs and cats are overweight.
Children are starving around the world.


Beam me up Scottie!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Antique Sailor

I want to promote a fellow blogger. Antique Sailor just wrote a book about her (a grandmother) voyages sailing around the oceans of this beautiful planet. She has posted a few excerpts on her blog. Let's all encourage her.

Mentoring

The church sermon this morning was on mentoring. Using Paul and Timothy as a pattern, our associate pastor talked about how important mentoring is to both new Christians and to folks going through different life stages -- such as marriage, children, divorce, losing a spouse or parent, and on and on. It caused me to think about some of the mentors in my life.

Some of the early mentors in my life include my father and grandfather, J Cowart, Uil Gunter, Travis Hart, and a couple of uncles. On my writing there is Cotton Lewis. In business there has been Walt Gould, Tom Sehl, Jim Robison, Jim Schwertner, and numerous others. There continue to be spiritual mentors like Bob Civil, David Lowrie, Gayle Bowen, and others in our church.

Most of you who might read this don't know theses people. It doesn't matter. Their influence has a ripple effect -- like dropping a rock into still waters. Their effect on me continues through my impact on others. It is like that for all of us. The lives we touch, and how we affect those around us has a ripple effect throughout the world. Is the effect for good or for bad?

Tonight our church service was held jointly with the Palo Duro Cowboy Church. The PDCC was a ministry outreach of our church to those who are not comfortable in the typical church setting but could be reached through the cowboy culture. The pastor of that church, Shannon Moreland, is a cowboy through and through. He grew up on a ranch and has spent most of his life working on ranches throughout Texas. God has used him in a mighty way to reach into the lives of many young cowboys and their families in this area. It is great to see what is happening with them.

Tonight as part of that service we heard a testimony from the first young man that was baptized in their church. He grew up with alcohol and drugs and as a result spent a little time in jail. The men in the PDCC continued to reach out to him and help him with employment and counseling. He reached bottom about a year ago and realized how badly he needed something different in his life. He realized that only Jesus could save him from himself. His testimony is an amazing example of the power to change lives that comes only from Christ.

The PDCC is an example of mentoring in several ways. 1) Our church is mentoring them and helping them to become established. 2) The mature Christians in that church are mentoring the young men and women who are looking to improve their lives. 3) They are mentoring young men and women like the example above to escape the traps of drugs, alcohol, abuse and crime. They are following the example that Jesus himself set of mentoring the apostles who then spread the gospel. The ripple effect continues today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Toot Your Horn

I was reading in the book of Ezekiel and the following passage jumped out at me.

The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.'" __Ezekiel 33:1-6

The sword is coming and is among us. It is called Islam. Many have been blowing their horn. We should all join them.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fighting Fires vs Focus

Where has the week gone?!? It seems like only yesterday that we were driving home from New Mexico. I guess it seemed to fly by because it was so busy.

On Monday I drove to Kansas to work at our business location there and to meet with a couple of customers. On Wednesday I returned home late and spent yesterday and today at our business location here in the Panhandle. After being off last week (although admittedly I did work some from home part of the time) I had a rather large pile of things that had accumulated while I was out of the office. I have been diligently checking items off of my "to do" list throughout the week and feel that I accomplished quite a lot -- but not everything that I had planned.

That "to do" list is critical to keeping me on task. I spend some time each morning reviewing items from the previous day, adding additional tasks that have popped up, and thinking about priorities so that I can organize my day in a fashion that moves me toward my goals. Without planning, it is easy to become sidetracked into tasks that need to be done, but may not be as important as other things. I rank my tasks according to priority -- I use a modified Franklin-Covey time management system. I always allocate some time for working on long-term projects that are not necessarily "critical" but are important to my long-term goals.

The daily "fires" can be a killer if you do not spend time on the things that will prevent the fires from occurring. The best way to describe that is to give an example from my past. In a previous job I was given the task of evaluating an operating distribution warehouse in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I was to determine if it should remain open and if so, how it could be turned around from a loss situation to a profitable one. It was a disaster. The warehouse was disorganized, the products were not in assigned locations, the computer system was not set up to match the warehouse, the inventory was off by several hundred thousand dollars, and the employees had no clue what to do. They were working 14 hour days in survival mode.

The "fires" were to get products out the door to meet the orders that were coming in on a daily basis. The solution was to get the warehouse and computer system in order and the employees properly trained. It took almost 3 months to get everything lined out and functioning on a reasonable basis. Then it was a matter of "trimming" the operation so that it became more efficient. I focused on the most important factor in the situation -- correcting the issues in the warehouse. Piece by piece, as the "operating system" was corrected, the fires began to disappear.

While correcting the warehouse operations I also had to work with the salesmen to adjust how they were working their territories. They were doing everything backward. Without going into detail, we turned the division completely around in less than two years. It went from a loss of approximately $350,000/year to a profit of over $400,000/year in that two year time frame just by re-focusing everyone's efforts.

My point is that when you focus on the deep issues -- the things that will move you toward your goals -- the panic response to daily fires disappears. That doesn't mean the occasional issues won't come up, but they become fewer and much farther between.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Few Books

I keep a log of books that I read. I started doing so a number of years back after reading a book by Louis L'Amour called "Education of a Wandering Man." I decided to try something new here by giving you a sampling of a few of the more enjoyable books that I've read recently. Of course, they are linked back to Amazon so that if you click on a picture and decide to order, I'll get a little tiny credit toward some more reading material. This is just experimental on my part. I'm still "playing" with this blogging thing (heh, heh)!



Einstein by Walter Isaacson was an excellent biography. While addressing the physics that drove Einstein's life, Isaacson presents the material in a readable and understandable manner. I really enjoyed this book.



Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides is not a biography although it centers in many respects on the life of Kit Carson. It covers the period of early settlement in the Southwestern United States including John C. Fremont's march to California as well as the Navajo Wars. This is also one that I would highly recommend.

Doc Holliday is a great biography of Wyatt Earp's "side-kick" by Gary L. Roberts. That's the trouble with legends though. The so-called side-kick was an independent cuss who was a mix of Southern Chivalry, gunfighter, and dentist. This was one that I really enjoyed although I thought that it spent too much ink talking about the Earps. I guess there are some individuals who left a huge footprint but very little documentation of their lives. Doc Holliday was one of them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bone Tired -- Not Usually

Well, I guess I jumped the gun. I knew better. My first article will not come out this week. When they went to put the paper together for the edition that it was to appear in, there was no way to make space for it. I was gratified that it was not edited down to the space requirement and hopefully will eventually run intact. This is all new to me and I'm learning. However, it is like sales. You don't count the sale until the check clears the bank! The lesson is that you're not published until you hold the paper in your hand.

It was hot, Hot, HOT!!! in Kansas the last few days. The temperature was 102 degrees for Monday, Tuesday, and today. I was glad to get back to Texas where it was only 95 degrees. The crops up in Kansas are beginning to show some heat stress where they have inadequate irrigation. That should further add to the price pressure on corn and soybeans which in turn will impact some of the products made from them. It also has an impact on meats and milk products because both corn and soybeans are key animal feed ingredients.

Hermit left a comment on yesterday's post that got me to thinking. He said, "You sure stay busy. Don't you ever just get bone tired of work?" You can read my response in the comments to that post. I guess that I get tired from working (a good kind of tired), but I get more tired when I don't have enough to do. I know that I've talked about retirement, but I see myself busy in retirement. I see myself continuing to work at something -- even if it is just taking care of the lawn and chores around the house. I just can't see myself doing nothing.

I like to stay busy. If I get too still, I usually fall asleep. If I'm not working on something, I have a book in my hand reading, or I'm researching something on the computer, or I'm playing the guitar, or something. I feel like I need to be doing something productive all of the time. Now, I will say that I also spend time thinking and meditating. By meditating, I'm not talking about Zen Buddhism, I'm talking about focusing on a thought or subject or praying and studying scripture. The relaxing, "emptying" techniques that some practice under the guise of Buddhism are dangerous. If you empty your mind, something will enter into it and it won't always be good. Therefore we should focus on good things.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." -- Philippians 4:8-9

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Meetings and Writings

I had a great meeting with a customer this morning. They are planning a trip in which they will be recruiting new customers for their business and working with existing customers. They asked if I would like to go with them to talk about the services that we offer. I jumped on it "in a heartbeat!" What better way to strengthen a customer relationship than to help them build their business. This particular customer is very large and there is a lot of growth potential with them.

We will be doing what we call "producer meetings." These are evening meetings where we invite cattle producers to a meal and presentation. We are planning a week-long trip in which we will put on one of these meetings each night and during the day will meet with individual producers. The large customer that I am working with has a strong base in the areas that we will be traveling to and will be introducing me to their existing customers as well as to prospects.

The service that we provide can be administered at several different points in the production stream. The earlier in the stream that it is done, the greater the potential benefit to all concerned. Our customer is wanting to push the process to the the cow/calf level -- which is the ideal point. In that way, their customer will receive the full benefit of our service as their cattle move through the production cycle. It is a win-win-win proposition.

On a totally different note, I have been asked to start writing a weekly news article for our newspaper. Each Thursday, the paper has an agriculture section and they have asked me to write for that section. The first article will be published this week. It will be a little extra work, but I think well worth it. No, it won't be as Panhandle Poet, it will be under my real name.

One of the things taught by many experts is that it is important to be considered expert in your field -- whatever that might be. One step in becoming an "expert" is to be published as such on items of interest to your business, your customers, and your prospects. I will be attempting to submit some of the articles that I write to trade publications as well as to our local paper. We will see how it works out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Return

Vacations
Are a time
Where we spend
Days getting our minds
Off of work
Only to find
That when we finally
Forget about work
It's time to go back.

Vacations
Are a time
Where we spend
A lot of energy having fun
Only to find
We must return to work
To recover
From all the effort
We put into relaxing.

Vacations
Are a time
Where we leave
The work to be done
By others
Only to find
That it piled up
While we were gone
And awaits our return.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Pair


Look at those idiots from Texas. They drive all over Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado just to take a picture of us!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mountains and History

Raton Pass,
Trinidad,
Coal mines,
Purgatorie River,
Bosque de Oso,
Oil wells,
Stonewall,
Monument Lake,
Cucharras Pass,
Cordova Pass,
Spanish Peaks,
Adobe,
Santa Fe Trail,
Kit Carson,
Charles Bent,
Lucien Maxwell,
Doc Holiday,
Bat Masterson,
Wyatt Earp,
Matador Ranch,
Prairie Land and Cattle,
Mexican Food,
Vermejo Park,
Elk.
The things of this day.

The Land of Enchantment

Howdy from the Land of Enchantment! Brief showers cooled things off nicely yesterday afternoon here in the mountains. It is beautiful.

Mostly yesterday we just drove around looking. We saw a black bear cub, around 150 elk, a coyote, mule deer, and countless antelope. There were even pelicans at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.

Today we're heading up into southern Colorado. Basically we're just scouting around to see what we can find. I enjoy the history and my spouse enjoys the shopping. We both enjoy the wildlife. So, I guess we'll see what turns up.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cow Pasture Golf

The family golf outing is complete with no injuries! Really it wasn't bad. The course was beautiful and the weather moderated somewhat from the last few days. In fact, we are experiencing thunderstorms right now. They were NOT in the forecast.

The course that we played sits in one of the upper arms of Palo Duro Canyon. It is not deep, but a creek winds through the course and there are many, many wild turkey that wander the course. There are also deer in the canyon but we didn't see any today. Several of the turkeys had chicks (I don't know if that is the proper name) following them. The babies were from very small -- maybe 4 inches tall -- up to slightly larger than a pheasant. I believe that it was a bumper crop of young turkeys.

I will warn all of you investor types if I decide to get serious about golf. I'm sure that it would be a good time to invest in golf ball manufacturing companies. I lost several today and I'm sure that if I played regularly at this particular course that I would lose many more! I don't think any landed in the water, they instead went flying into the brushy creek bottom that looked like something out of Georgia or Louisiana. Those crews up north that have been looking for Sasquatch need to check out this golf course. He may be hiding there and no one would ever know it.

I always thought it was humorous that when I was young -- probably in elementary school, my Dad took up golf. That wasn't the funny part, it was when he made a golf club for my grandfather out of some old scrap metal in Grandpa's barn. They took it and a bucket of golf balls out to the pasture and hit balls off down the hill. I think a couple of my uncles had the chore of shagging the balls and bringing them back. When you talk about cow-pasture golf, I've seen it. I think they also used good clubs to practice hitting balls out in the pasture too, but I always remember that home made club. I think it ended up back in the scrap pile. Grandpa never could see the sense of "chasing those little white balls around the pasture." Needless to say, he didn't take up golf.

My parents are both good golfers. My father shot his age when he was 67 (I think). My mother always consistently knocks it straight down the fairway -- never extremely far, but she always took the shortest distance to the hole. When she played regularly she was a dead-shot with a putter. I can knock the ball a "pretty far piece" but you never know which direction. My short game suffers from lack of practice. I will probably take up golfing someday if I ever decide to retire.

Retiring brings up a whole different subject. The comments on my post a couple of days ago in which I mentioned retirement were somewhat humorous. I appreciate all of them. Ranando, if you read this, I don't think you can retire. What would you do that is different from the lifestyle that you lead now? I don't envy you though, I think God puts each of us in the place that we are in for a purpose. We each have unique challenges that are suited to shaping us into what God would have us to be if we allow Him to do so. For those who are His children, He works daily to mold us as a potter molds the clay. We each are designed by Him to fulfill specific purposes in the places that He puts us. Whatever that place and purpose are, it is an honor to be of service to Him. I wonder if God invented golf or if it was the devil???

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Half Over

My week off is half over and I don't know where the first half went! I've managed to accomplish a few minor projects -- well they were minor to accomplish but a couple of them were very important. I have a couple of long rows of young trees that have not needed supplemental water until this week. The drip lines that I have to irrigate them were in need of repair. One was hit by the neighbor who got a little ambitious with his tractor and shredder and in a different place was hit by a rototiller. The other one was chewed in two by rabbits. Both of them had several broken emitters. I got both of them repaired and in good working order.

The blast furnace was in full force this afternoon. Our temperature topped out at about 101 degrees today and the wind was blowing over 30 mph at times. We went from a beautiful cool, wet summer to a blazing inferno in the past few days. The temperatures are normal for this time of year but they usually are not accompanied by such strong winds. By mid-September it will cool down again. I told someone earlier today that I thought I would invest in a train load of iron ore. I could pile it in the pasture and it would be smelted by the end of the day!

This country has beautiful weather for about 10 months of the year. Those other two months give us a bad reputation though. We usually have one bitterly cold month in the winter and one extremely hot month in the summer. The rest of the year usually isn't too bad. In fact, our average annual high temperature is 72 degrees -- the "ideal" temperature. It's the range that gets you. Fortunately we typically have low humidity.

I plan on golfing tomorrow. It's something that I make it a point to do at least once each year. I wonder if that's why I'm not any good at it. My son likes to golf. This will be a family golfing adventure. I hope I don't hurt anyone!

Fred Thompson Campaign Staffing

The staffing of Fred Thompson's campaign organization continues to clarify with each passing day. Tom Collamore who originally set up Thompson's headquarters was temporarily replaced by Randy Enwright several weeks ago. Spencer Abraham was added to the staff in an advisory capacity a couple of weeks ago and now serves as Campaign Ambassador to "official" Washington. Abraham's inside knowledge of Washington as well as his strong pro-life stance will serve well in that position. Today, Thompson announced the addition of "Bill Lacy, a former strategist for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and Republican National Committee" as his day-to-day campaign manager. I am certain we will continue to see new names come into the fold in an advisory capacity as Thompson continues to "gear-up" for an official announcement which is expected sometime next month.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm With Fred

I'mWithFred

Fred Thompson has re-vamped the campaign site and has some new widgets over there. It is time for everyone to get geared up. We want to be certain to create as much momentum for Fred as possible as he nears a formal announcement that is likely to occur next month. Visit the I'mWithFred site to keep up to speed on his positions, speeches and news on his campaign. I am certain he would appreciate any donations that you wish to make. You can donate from this site by clicking on the widget on my sidebar or by going to the I'mWithFred website.

Retirement???

I'm taking a few days off this week and just being a bum -- well that's probably not an accurate description. I wonder if this is what retirement feels like. Yesterday I worked on a couple of minor projects, did some mowing, bought some parts for a repair job this morning, and then just "piddled" around the house. I played the guitar and the fiddle some and read and took a nap. This morning I got up and completed the repair job that I bought parts for yesterday and then mowed and edged the lawn. I plan on relaxing the rest of the day. I may read, nap, or blog....

Tomorrow I may take on another minor project and then I plan on golfing on Thursday morning. I'm not much of a golfer but it can be enjoyable occasionally. This weekend my son is traveling to Midland, Texas, to "Rock the Desert" which is a 2-plus day Christian music festival. While he is in Midland, my spouse and I plan on heading up to Raton, New Mexico, for the weekend. We've not spent much time in that part of New Mexico. It is usually just an area we pass through on our way elsewhere. I've heard there's some good fishing in the area and I plan on scouting it out. Mainly though, we just plan on relaxing for a couple of days.

Raton is probably the nearest point from us to the mountains. It's only about 3 1/2 hours drive from here. That's not bad. It is close enough that we someday might want to build a small cabin getaway. You never know.

We are expecting high temperatures of 100 degrees or more for the rest of the week. Any projects will need to be done in the mornings and the afternoons will be better spent indoors. I've had my share of working out in the hot sun and wind. If I can avoid it, I will.

Retirement is something
We all work toward
Although it is a point that I think is misnamed.
It is really a time of self reward
Where we decide that it's our time to choose

Just what it is we do each day
Rather than punching someone else's clock.
For many people it is a time to quit
But for others it's opportunity's knock
That starts them on the path

Of their own choosing rather than
Jumping at the whim of a boss.
It is a time to enjoy what you've worked to acquire
Or you will be at a loss
And slowly drift into the nursing home.

I look forward to the change that is signaled
By what we call retirement
Although I will never stop working or
Achieving because I believe we are meant
To be productive as long as we are able.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Into the Furnace

A hot dry wind
Blows across the Plains
Sucking the lifeblood of the prairie
In its searing blast.
The succulence
Of the rain engorged leaves
Is gone and the withered remains
Curl into grayish husks
Of their former selves.
Yet on the horizon
Tower the billowing
Marshmallow shapes of
Cumulus clouds reaching through
The heat blasted hole into the
Cooler air above
Where the hailstones form.
Relief comes at a price.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Anchorage

Family time is always a good time -- or at least it should be if everyone is getting along with each other. That's never really been a problem with my family but I've heard horror stories from other people.

This weekend all of my immediate family were able to be together at my parents house. It makes for a house full of people, but it is good to see everyone. We are fortunate in that we all live fairly close together. It seems though that we don't get together very frequently.

The occasion of our getting together was the annual "celebration" in our home town. I spent the first 20-something years of my life in the same town -- except while I was away at A&M. There is no doubt that I have a home town. My children didn't have that experience. I asked my son what he considered his home town and he replied that he guessed where we live now would be it since we've lived here the longest. He went on to say that he's lived in 7 different towns while growing up and he feels some connection to the last 3 of them. I guess that makes sense just from his age and ability to remember events that occurred in each of those places.

I wonder if the concept of home town is tied to a sense of duration. My mother has lived in the same community her entire life. Her parents came to that community in the 1930's. My father adopted that community when he started his career and has remained there. I suspect he still considers his home town to be the small community in Southwestern Oklahoma where he spent his childhood. But, he has lived where he is now much longer.

Maybe home town is a sense of place associated with childhood. It is a point of formation of our hopes and dreams and experiences. It is a sense of place that endures for no reason other than as an anchor to the dreams of our youth.

It would be interesting to me if any of you readers would like to share what your idea and feelings are regarding your home town. Share the name of the place if you wish and why you consider it your home town. If you have written of your home town before, feel free to link back to any such posts.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Time Warp

Hello from my home town. It is the "annual celebration" time -- sort of an Old Settlers Reunion that has turned into the time when all of the High School classes have their class reunions, etc. The series of events is the same each year with activities each night of the week leading up to the Saturday morning parade and recognition of pioneer families.

Friday night is a dance under the Pavilion on the square. It is a good place to see old friends and acquaintances. The strange thing is, they all get older while I never age. I can't understand it. I must be stuck in a time warp or something.

The other thing that I noticed is that dial-up is slow. I'm posting from my parent's home and their connection is dial-up. Maybe I did walk into a time warp. Everything certainly is slow.....

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Pair of Sixes From Texas

I've been tagged (sigh) by Janie over at Sounding Forth. This one is a little different so I'll play along -- thanks Janie...

The rules..."to find out from as many bloggers as possible just where they'd like to be in the state of Texas if they could choose A Dozen Places. Six of those would be places they've been before; six would be places they've never been."

Six places in Texas where I have been and would like to be right now...

1) Port Aransas fishing -- although this time of year it's a bit warm.
2) San Antonio on the River Walk relaxing at an outdoor cafe.
3) Lake Texhoma fishing -- although this time of year it's a bit warm.
4) San Antonio on the River Walk relaxing at an outdoor cafe (different cafe).
5) Possum Kingdom Lake fishing -- although this time of year it's a bit warm.
6) San Antonio on the River Walk relaxing at an outdoor cafe (yet again, a different cafe).

Six places in Texas where I have never been and would like to go...

1) Toledo Bend Reservoir fishing -- although this time of year it's a bit warm.
2) Lake Fork fishing -- although this time of year it's a bit warm.
3) Running the rapids through Santa Elena Canyon in the Big Bend -- although it's a whole lot too warm this time of year.
4) Hunting mule deer in the Davis Mountains of far West Texas -- wrong time of year.
5) Whitewing dove hunting in McAllen -- wrong time of year.
6) Hiking the Devil's Canyon in southwest Texas -- it is waaaaaaay too hot this time of year!

I guess you can tell that my mind is not on work. In fact, I'm taking next week off.

Part of this Meme is to tag six others to post. I'm not going to do that -- sorry Janie -- but I would encourage all of y'all from Texas, or anywhere else for that matter, to take it upon yourself to post your pair-of-sixes. (Visions of dice and six-guns just popped into my head.) If you do post, put something in the comments here and provide a link back -- it would be appreciated. Y'all Texans especially need to keep this going. A little promo for the Lone Star State is always a good thing. You know there's only two kinds of people in the world -- Texans and those who wish they were.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bob

Bob is a cattleman
That ranches west of town.
He's one of those on whom
You rarely see a frown.

If you need a volunteer
To get a project done
Immediately you think
That Bob is the one

To put in charge because
That's where you normally find
Him. Taking kids to Lions camp
Or doing something kind

For one of the older folks
In town who can't quite
Get around much anymore.
Or if you watch you might

Catch him on a Sunday
Heading to Amarillo
For the prison ministry
Where he's a regular fellow

Sharing with those
Who need someone to care
In a place
Where many won't dare

To be seen. And if
There's a church cookout
He's the one to volunteer
To bring his grill out

And spend all day cooking
So the folks can enjoy
A wonderful meal
Cooked by this good ol' boy.

Yep, Bob's a good friend
Who gets much out of life.
He has a couple of kids
And a loving wife.

He can play the drums
Or ride his "bike" with chrome spokes,
But he seems to be happiest
Helping out other folks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Choices

Choices
Can be difficult
When the way is not clear.

Sometimes
There is no right or wrong --
Only a choice.

In such cases
It is the process we follow
And the reasons behind the choice;

Not necessarily
The choice that we make
Or the path that we take.

God
Is not a God
Of confusion.

God
Is a teacher
Always.

If God
Wants us to follow
A specific path

The way
Will be made clear
In some fashion.

Otherwise
He wants us to grow
Through our choice.

When I was a child my mother would hand me a quarter and let me choose which candy I wanted. The choice was always difficult although there were no wrong choices. There were sometimes things that I was steered away from, but I was always left to choose. The choice was difficult but the reward was great. I always enjoyed the candy. Sometimes I wouldn't open it for hours because I wanted to savor the possession. Sometimes I could hardly wait to tear into it. The choice itself was the teaching/learning experience.
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