Friday, December 31, 2010

A Story Worth Telling

This is a true story and really touched my heart today and I wanted to share it with you. There will not be any names, they aren't important, the message is.

About 5 years ago one of my technicians was on Interstate 95 at exit 145 which is the Gold Rock exit leading you into Rocky Mount, NC. He spotted a gentleman near the exit with his hood raised having car trouble. He felt compelled to offer assistance and discovered quickly that the man's engine has suffered damage and was not repairable where it sat. The man was from Florida and had AAA service and had called for their help. My friend knew that all AAA could do was to transport the vehicle to a location that would perform the repair probably for a large sum of money. He convinced the gentleman that he had a friend with a tow truck and wanted to help him if he would allow it.

Bear in mind this gentleman was not a spiritual person but felt that my friend wanted to genuinely help him so he refused the AAA service and allowed his vehicle to be towed to my friends community where the repairs could be accomplished.

There was a church service going on that evening and an offering was taken up that paid for the repairs which amounted to about $1,200. He was also taken care of at my friends home while his vehicle was being repaired providing him food and rest. The man thanked them and was on his way again.

As I said this was about 5 years ago. This week that gentleman called my friend letting him know that he was flying into this area and wanted to see him, his wife and the other friend who towed his vehicle that day. My friend had no way of knowing what would happen next. You see that gentleman is from a family that is very wealthy. Since that time he has written a book having to do with his salvation and the miracle that happened at exit 145. He brought a box of copies of his book that is the unedited version of the book at the printers at this time. Inside each book he gave my friend and his friend was a check for $1,200 and he made a donation to the church as well.

Before he left he let my friend know that he appreciated so much what was done for him that day 5 years ago. He said that is my friend ever had a problem or his wife or two children to not hesitate to call him and whatever it took to solve his problem he would write a check for it. He is also sending my friend a couple of cases of his book when the printing is done to do with as he pleases. I personally can't wait to read it.

Of course you have to be careful when stopping along a highway these days not knowing what kind of person you may encounter but if you feel a nudging from the Holy Spirit to help someone in distress don't pass up the chance to be a servant.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for our pets that add peace, love and calm to our days especially when the stress level has been really high. All they require in return is our love and they are beyond happy. Of course the first picture is my Rocky who will be 2 next month. He has made a real difference in our home and we love him soooooooooooooo much.
The other dogs pictured are part of my daughter Karen's zoo. She has 3 outside dogs and 1 inside dog as well as 2 cats that have their own room upstairs. Max her oldest cat is 16 and still doing fine. The black dog with the collar is Molly, queen of the house and a real sweetheart.
The kitten at the end is new to our home and is an outside cat that has done really well during our current blizzard. Her name is Lilley.
Have you hugged your pet today? You should, frequently.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Wonderland or Not

Cardinal on our back porch searching for food.
Storage shed and scene along the woods.

Early morning scene looking across the back yard to my mother in law's home.

Accumulation on our porch rail and Beth's car encased in snow.

Beth's car looking pitiful.

Pretty but oh so cold.

Evergreen bearing the weight of the snow.

Parking lot in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Dangerous to walk on.

More of the Roanoke Rapids parking lot.

Will be bad all day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I Escaped

It's 3:45 PM and I just arrived back home by myself with Rocky comfortable in a chair next to me while I update my blog friends.

We made it to Linda's brother's place for her side of the family gathering. Just about everyone was there including ("4 dogs). What time they were not trying to hump each other they were fighting or jumping all over people as they tried to eat in peace. Made me think of our precious Rocky back at home being his usual sweet self and me wishing I was there with him.

The food was great and it was good seeing everyone but I had all the celebration I could stand so Linda agreed to let me escape and she would follow after dessert and knowing her it may be dark before she gets home unless Beth her daughter motivates her quicker.

Linda bought Rocky what is actually a large brown fabric bag with light colored interior fluffy lining that is I guess supposed to be a bed. I put Rocky in it and placed him on the kitchen chair beside me as I type. He is asleep now and I cannot even see him. Now that is peace folks.

One reason that prompted me to escape was that it started snowing very hard at one time and we were about 25 miles from home and I did not want to get stranded at Junior's house. Now that I am home it can snow all it wants to since I don't have to be back at work until tuesday.

I hope everyone in my growing blog family had a wonderful day today and of course some of my new friends are probably already asleep since they are in Australia or New Zealand or France or England. My friends cover a lot of real estate. Some are experiencing heat waves, some blizzards. Whatever your circumstance I hope this was a very merry Christmas for you and your family. I love the Lord and all this day represents but I am glad this holiday season is behind me so we can get on with life in general and somehow along the way be His representative as we encounter others and not wait until the next December 25th to do it all over again.

An ordinary night

To get an idea of what the actual birth of Christ was really like please read this story that puts it in perspective. Have a very Merry Christmas everyone from my family to yours.
Odie, Linda & Beth

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where's the line for Jesus?

Got an email this morning with a lovely song that I hope all of you will take time to listen to.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for my blog family specifically. I never would have thought back in June that I would be feeling the way I do today about life and Odie. Ordinarily I am a basket case this time of the year but through the helpful words of so many new friends I have met all around this wonderful world I am seeing this season through different eyes.

I have learned that it really doesn't matter what everyone else is doing, thinking or whatever concerning the Christmas season. All I have to be concerned with is what Odie is thinking and let this time of year be a blessing and it is happening. I have reached out to others and in doing so my life is better for it.

But the best part of all is that I intend to make this a life style change and keep doing it all year long so the gift will keep giving. Why stop a good thing?

Thanks to all of you who have helped Odie be a better person and I look so forward to 2011 sharing your adventures along the way. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Facebook like you have never seen it

Click here and see facebook like you have never seen it and so very appropriate for this time of the season. I was blessed and hope you will be too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas with my girls

Definately too cold for this form of recreation.

Hannah, her boy friend Jordan & Matthew

Kaden on the run as usual.

Molly, Queen of the house.

Karen and her baby.

Pam & Rachel

My grandaughter Ashley

Pam hard at work

Hannah & Becca

Rachel & Matt

Linda & Beth trying to get out of the shot.

Backyard with two of the girls.

Gray, Hannah & Jordan

Neat stuff on Karen's kitchen wall

More neat stuff

What a mess when unwrapping starts

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A couple places you need to go

Today was a good day for interesting posts and I felt my friends really needed to see a couple of blogs that really made me feel good today.

First was a site that tells the "real" story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer. It is not what you might expect but needs to be read so you will know the real story expecially at this time of year.

Lastly for today is something you really, really need to listen to. It uses technology that I cannot comprehend but is so beautifully done that you need to see it and share it with your friends. Go here and be amazed by their talent.

Got back a little while ago from the gathering at my daughter Karen's house and it was a wonderful time. All my 3 girls were there as well as my grandchildren. I had my Christmas today so I am set for the new year. Was a really good weekend.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


How many times have I been approached by a family member that has acquired something and it was "just" $10 or it was "only" $10. een I suppose that was said to convince me that it was a bargin that couldn"t be passed up.

Usually the item was not really necessary but we have become a society that constantly has to have more things. I am not totally against having things but if a lot of homes are like mine there are so many things that every flat spot is covered & any storage spaces are overflowing.

I guess that is one of the reasons I chose "The Simple Life" for my blog title. I admit that a lot of what resides at our address is because of me but I would certainly be happier if two thirds of it evaporated tonight.

Brings to mind the orphanage in Russia I have been corresponding with that spends every day without the basic things we take for granted. I guess this is the Christmas that I have had the less fortunate on my mind more so than ever before and we are working on doing better.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Greeting to our soldiers

I don't usually send out Christmas cards by snail mail and prefer to communicate my wishes by email. The other day I was at a friends blog and found an address that you can click on and send a Christmas card to a soldier overseas. I think we should pass the information around and get as many cards as we can headed their way.

For your listening pleasure

I love music and that mostly falls into the range of country or bluegrass and I am really more selective and do not like all of either. Some have really made a place in my being over the years and I wanted to share a few with my blog family today.

Since bluegrass and by that I really mean instrumental since most of the songs that are sung by bluegrass groups I don't care for there is one that encompasses so many famous musicians on stage at the same time. This one features Earl Scruggs and his friends doing my all time favorite.

One of the best writers and singers in country that died an early death was Keith Whitley. A song that he made famous is "When you say nothing at all". One of my favoirte female singers, Allison Kraus does a magical version joining with Keith doing his song. Enjoy.

Being a guy one gal that has always made me feel good just seeing her is Lori Morgan who is one of the classiest ladys in country music. This song, Something in Red, is one of her all time best.

Lastly this one comes from even before my time but his unique ability to sing this song is awesome so I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Michael Anthony Where Are You?

I wonder how many are out there that remember the TV program that I loved so much in my younger days. "The Millionaire" was the kind of show that made you dream after seeing Michael Anthony hand a check for one million dollars to individuals that had no idea who he was or why anyone would give you that much money.
Today I was on a friends blog and was invited to pop over to her dad's blog and he posed a question. If I were blessed with unlimited funds and the ability to help anyone, who would that be? Some people responded "me" while others chose a spouse. My response was my oldest daughter. Some years ago her whole world came crashing down when her husband told her he didn't love her any more and was in love with her best friend. Since they were living in his grandfather's house she had to move out and be on her own for the first time in her life. She is a very hard worker but she has struggled constantly and surely could stand a break and I would see to it that she never struggled again.
I have lost track of the number of homes I have had built in various mountain settings with the huge sums of money I have received in my dreams over the years thanks to that program. Of course I also made sure my family was taken care of but most my desires were to make sure I had comfort.
That era had some good times and memories and today one of my favorite ones was brought back to life.

What was I thinking - Part 4

I had heard many times, mostly from the Bible, about lepers and the dreaded disease that was so bad at one time. One of the girls that worked on the compound suggested I go to visit the lepers near the city so I convinced another guy to go as well. It was safe since you have to be around it for a period of time to actually develop the problem.

The residents here had to have a way to support themselves and this group made tiles for floors and walls. The colors were amazing and I was so impressed with how talented they were. It was kind of shocking to see people there with stubs where fingers and toes used to be. Probably the worst sight I saw while in Viet Nam was the man who had a hole in his face where his nose used to be. The specific area was so lovely compared to the city itself. There were palm trees and it was actually on the coast so the shore line was in sight and the beach made it look more like a resort than a leper colony. It made me think so differently after that whenever I would read anywhere and see the word leper.

After I returned from my 30 days at home that meant I only had another 5 months to spend there and then I could go home for good. Spending that extra 5 months over there allowed me to get out of the Army earlier that I would have ordinarily. Those 5 months really went by pretty quickly. I mentioned about not really being in danger which was not entirely true. I also mentioned about hoping that the locals that worked on the compound were loyal to us and didn't try to harm us. Besides the boy I mentioned that was captured while I was away there was also an incident where someone on the way to the mess hall found a trip wire attached to a hand grenade by the LP gas tank behind our mess hall. If that has gone off a lot of guys could have died. Some guys left the country in bad shape due to self inflicted problems like terrible strains of STD from having sex with prostitutes or overindulgence of alcohol. One of my friends, Chuck, was on the roof of our quarters where we had a flat roof for lifting weights or relaxing in the breeze. He was chugging whiskey and walked off the roof onto the cement below and had to airlifted out. Don't know what ever happened to him.

Towards the end of my tour over there as I neared June of 1970 the danger got closer to us and I will never forget the evening when a morter round went off close enough to throw rocks and debris into our compound. That was too close. So, even though I had made friends with some of the locals and the children at the orphanage, I was ready to get out of there. Even today I often wonder what ever happened to my friends and wish I could go back to Qui Nhon and see first hand how things have changed. I can tell from the internet that Viet Nam is a tourist destination today. I think that is a good thing.

So, arriving back at home for the second time finding my daughter, Pam, is almost 1 year old by then. Quite a change for this guy to take in. I made the transition and got on with my life. Like any marriage it had it good times and rough times. Along the way I had 3 more daughters, one that would only live 5 days back in 1971. Surely there were many times I thought to myself "What were you thinking" but I did have 3 great daughters that I am so proud of even though after 33 years of marriage my wife decided one day (2 days before the World Trade Center disaster) that she had had enough and left leaving me and our youngest who was 17 at the time to fend for ourselves. There has been so many changes in our lives since that time, fortunatly for the good. There is good in everything if you just look for it. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful that I was able to drive to work this morning on clear, dry highways after all the talk about winter weather and 2 hour delays for schools. Sometimes I believe people have more faith in their local weatherman than they do in God. I love it when they are wrong. It may still get messy but at least I am warm and safe in my office. Hope everyone has the best Thursday ever.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What was I thinking - Part 3

Have you ever felt like you were absolutely helpless. That is the way I felt finding out about my wife being pregnant and then I find out that my dad had a throat cancer operation. Too much going on with me out of the picture. It was out of my control so I just took care of business and took one day at a time.

In the section where I worked I was asigned as part of the IG (Inspector General) team which meant I would have to take trips to our 3 class B finance offices in Plaiku, Anke and Tuey Hoa. That usually meant hitch hiking down the coast on a Huey helicopter. Anke was located in a valley between two mountains and because there were snipers we had to approach with caution. It was a small Army prop plane. The pilot would come in high, get to the appropriate place and cut the engine and fall, cutting the engine back on at the right time to come in for a quick landing avoiding a long approach and chances of getting shot at. When we leave the pilot sits at the end of the runway and guns the engine for all it's worth and lets off the brake and almost goes straight up. Quite a ride. During the time I was in Viet Nam (19 months) I kept records and found over one million dollars in errors on military pay records, some in favor of the GI and others in favor of the government. Yes I said over one Million $$.

All military installations in foreign countries usually hire locals to work on compound and hope that they are good and loyal to your cause. There was this small boy maybe 10 to 12 and every morning when he came onto the compound he would salute whoever he met whether they were a PFC or a General. He was everyone's friend. One time when I came back from an asignment at one of our other offices I found out that they had caught him pacing off the distance between our perimeter fence and our movie shack probably to give coordinates for a mortar round to kill some of us. I never saw him again.

You get bored easily when you don't have acutal work to do and some of the Vietnamese girls that worked at our enlisted men's club suggested I go to an orphanage in Qui Nhon. It was operated by Catholic nuns and one or more of the girls would go with me to act as interpreter since the nuns could not speak english. The children were starved for affection and would climb all over me craving attention. Some of them were blonde and had blue eyes and were products of Vietnamese girls and GIs and were outcasts, not wanted by anyone. I visited them every chance I got and when I went home for my 30 day leave after 13 months I got folks in my area interested by posting an article in the local paper about the orphanage. I got so much clothes and can goods that it really touched my heart. I shipped the boxes and when they arrived even my commanding officer went with me to present all the great stuff to the children. It was a glorious day seeing some of the children wearing new clothes for the first time in their lives. More to later. Coming up a leper colony......

What was I thinking - Part 2

Now bear in mind this is an absolutely true story and the wife is my ex at the time of this account. So I had her fly out to Calif. and it was the first time she had ever been on an airplane and had a head cold at the time so it was not pleasant.

Being married we needed a place to call home. The only place I could find was a small apartment owned by this guy who would not be on the government list saying he would rent to anyone. He only wanted caucasions there. This being the case we could not get any government subsistence so the burden was totally on us. Fortunately she had saved a bundle working and living at home with her folks. We ate a lot of beans to make the money stretch.

California was really beautiful with fields of flowers with vivid colors and near Marina, which is where the apartment was. We were also near an area called the 17 mile drive which takes you along the coastline and I still have pictures of that lovely scenery. This adventure lasted from June through the first of October of 1968 when guess what? Real orders for Viet Nam.

We went home to Rocky Mount and got a small apartment while I prepared to leave again, this time for 13 months. I arrived in Viet Nam towards the end of October & was flown in an Army plane to my new home in Qui Nhon which is a coastal city. I was asigned to a quality assurance section of the 13th Finance Corp having the responsibility of auditing military pay records. After I had been there about a week some of us decided we would walk down the street outside of our compound which was secure with a very high fence all around it. The street was thick with mopeds and these 3 wheeled vehicles that operated like a taxi. As we were walking along I felt a tug and suddenly realized one of the Vietnamese guys on a moped or motorcycle had grabbed my watch which had an expansion band and it gave way and he had it so quick he was gone in no time. Learned a good lesson that day that you need the kind of watch band that is leather and buckles on.

I had a Vietnamese lady that took care of my living quarters, washed and ironed my clothes and shined my boots for $9 a month. She also did for other guys so the amount she received was decent for their economy. To iron my clothes she would spread out a blanket on the concrete floor and iron in a squat postion for hours.

Since my unit was the 13th Finance Corp and also the General's compound we were relatively safe from violence. Not a jungle atmosphere. We had an EM (enlisted men's) club where we could get steaks, burgers, etc. and the mess hall had some of the best food I have ever had so my conditons were excellent.

After I had been there just about a month I got a letter from my wife saying she was pregnant. Oh well, it would be a total of 13 month from the time I left until I saw her again, missing the entire pregnancy and finding a rather large daughter who didn't want me around her mama. To be continued......

What was I thinking??

It was back in February of 1968 and I was 20 years old having a good old time in Indianapolis, Indiana stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison Army Finance School. After basic training at Ft. Bragg and being agrivated at Ft. Jackson, SC I was now actually having fun.

School was from 8 to 4 and after that I pretty much could do whatever I wanted to do. So on the weekends I would get a room at YMCA in town and enjoyed being in civilian attire and interacting with people other than soldiers, namely USO girls. Don't get me wrong, they were really nice girls that helped you keep from getting bored by playing board games and even taking us roller skating. Gave me a break from the Army routine.

All was going pretty good until one day I received orders reasigning me to Viet Nam. The dreaded tour. Well, back home I had this girl friend in NC so I broke the news to her and her immediate response was that we should get married. Now bear in mind that I was just 20, stupid, inexperienced and gulible. I fell for it and swallowed it all, hook, line & sinker.

Now of course I was a buck private, without a vehicle. Happens though that I had a cousin stationed there with me that I had never seen that actually lived near where I lived back in NC. Somehow I convinced him to drive me to NC on a (3 day pass) so I could get married. We traveled all night through the mountains of West Virginia and made it home. My dad let me use his car so we hurried over to Tarboro, NC shopping for rings and then tried to line up her preacher to marry us. Turns out he was gone fishing, true story. She attended the Pinetops Baptist Church. Well we had to scramble and found that the Methodist minister was available so we lined him up. My folks met us there along with her mother, since her dad never went to funerals, I mean weddings. The service lasted about 15 minutes and off we went to Rocky Mount, NC about 20 minutes away for the quickest honeymoon on record.

My cousin & I make it back to Indiana and what do you think happened. I got more orders recinding the Viet Nam orders. This time for Ft. Ord, California. All that and I am not going to the war zone after all. So here I was, married, a buck private making (less) than $100 a month headed for California & trying to understand how I am going to get her out there and we survive 3,000 miles away from family & friends. More to follow.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maybe you didn't know

Interesting and Unusual Facts in the Bible:

Middle verse in the Bible: Psalm 118:8

It is better to go to the Lord for safety than to trust in mere men.

Between chapters 6 & 7 of Ezra, both Confucius and Buddha died (516-458 B.C.)

Giant who had a bed 13 ft. 6 in. long by 6 ft. wide

Deuteronomy 3:11 "Og, the king of Bashan, was the only Rephaite left. His bed was made out of iron. It was more than 13 ft. long and 6 ft. wide. It is still in the Ammonite city of Rabbah.

Man who used a stone for a pillow

Genesis 28:11 (Jacob) "He reached a certain place and stopped for the night. The sun had already set. He took one of the stones there and placed it under his head. Then he lay down to sleep."

Men lapped water like dogs

Judges 7:5 "So Gideion took the men down to the water. There the Lord spoke to him. He said, "Some men will drink the way dogs do. They will lap up the water with their tongues. Separate them from those who get down on their knees to drink."

The sun travelled backwards

Isaiah 38:8 "The shadow that was made by the sun has gone down ten steps on the stairway of Ahaz. I will make it go back up those ten steps. So the shadow went back up the ten steps it had gone down."

Army of 185,000 destroyed in one night

Isaiah 37:36 "Then the angel of the Lord went into the camp of the Assyrians. He put to death 185,000 soldiers there. The people of Jerusalem got up the next morning. They looked out and saw all the dead bodies."

An army with 700 left handed men

Judges 20:16 "Among all of those men there were 700 who were left-handed. Each of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss."

Sun and moon stood still for a whole day

Joshua 10:13 "So the sun stood still. The moon stopped. They didn't move again until the nation won the battle over its enemies. You can read about it in the book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky. It didn't go down for about a full day."

Women forbidden to wear men's clothing

Deuteronomy 22:5 "A woman must not wear men's clothes. And a man must not wear women's clothes. The Lord your God hates it when anyone does that.

Words Occurring only once in the Bible:

Eternity.....Isaiah 57:15

Reverend....Psalm 111:9

Grandmother...2 Timothy 1:5

Gnat...Matthew 23:24

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts for a monday morning

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain

Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts.
Charles Dickens

Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up
Author Unknown

Don't let what you can't do stop you from what you can do.
John Wooden

One day at a time --this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.
Ida Scott Taylor

Humour is like a frog. If you dissect it, it dies.
Mark Twain

Women need a reason for sex. Men just need a place.
Billy Crystal

Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa?
Bart Simpson

Never take life too seriously. Nobody get out alive anyway.
Author Unknown

Have a great monday everybody.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Are you looking for things to do this season??

Are you looking for neat things to do this season to spread the love and possibly compassion to people that might not be receive from others. My friend over at the mommy rambles has some really good ideas that are not only easy but so great for this time of year.
Be sure to check out the bags for the needy, snow men pops and melted snow men cookies. You will be glad you did.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Party & A Christmas Carol

Last night was the annual Quality Office Equipment Christmas party and as always everyone had a great time. This is a picture of Linda, Beth and our friend Sarah in the Nashville Exchange where we had a wonderful meal and time to be together and fellowship.

They had a good selection of NC wine including Duplin which is our favorite.

After our meal we walked back up the street to the Nash County Cultural Center to watch a performance of "A Christmas Carol" which was wonderfully done.

Scrooge on the left with Tiny Tim in front of him. Everyone thought Tiny Tim was so adorable and did a terrific job.

My employer's daughter, Morgan was in this performance and did a marvelous job and is in the center of this picture holding the basket.

Morgan again.

Tiny Tim

Another scene with Morgan

One of the spirits that visited Schrooge.

Singing and dancing.

Scrooge & Morgan.

Bob Cratchet & Scrooge's nephew.