Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My mother-in-law made great pickles. At least we thought they were great.

Charlotte made pickles a few times after her mother passed away.

Charlotte likes pickles. I like pickles. Our daughter loves pickles.

Charlotte decided she likes Bubbies' pickles and it's easier to buy pickles than make pickles.

Our daughter likes Bubbies but she likes "Granny pickles" better.

I now make Granny style pickles.

I only make two jars at a time--one for our daughter, one for us.

It's really not hard. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Do you like homemade pickles?


Monday, June 29, 2009

BOOK REVIEW--I HATE PEOPLE by Jonathan Littman & Mark Hershon

Everyone who has ever worked out in public has been irritated with a fellow worker or workers at one time or another. If you say that you haven't, I will suspect you of lying. You may be tolerant. But you're not that tolerant. Be truthful. There are some people you work with that you can't stand. You may not hate them--in fact, you probably don't, but you do get irritated with them.

I Hate People is a workplace self-help book that shows how to identify the corporate clods you dislike the most while giving you the techniques you need to help neutralize them. This book is filled with the real-life methods that business managers and executives use at Fortune 500 companies to overcome the problem people in the workplace. I Hate People is an essential book for those who refuse to let the drones get in their way. It will show you how to outfox the Ten Least Wanted--the underminers, micromanagers, and backstabbers who prowl the corporate minefield.

The main purpose of the book is to help you become a Soloist--one of those bold individuals who dare to work alone or with a few handpicked talented people--while artfully deflecting the rest.

Now, for the things I don't like about this book. I don't like the title. I don't hate it, but I don't like it. I know why the authors chose it. They wanted to get our attention. I don't hate anybody and you probably don't either. But they did get our attention because we do have strong feelings about some people. Another thing I don't like is the use of a few, not many, but a few vulgar words. A strong point could have been made without those words. But again, I know why they used them. This is the way many people in the workplace talk.

Did I work with people who irritated me when I was a Pastor for forty-seven years? Are you kidding? Absolutely! Hate them? Absolutely not!

The front cover of the book states: "Kick loose from the overbearing and underhanded jerks at work and get what you want out of your job." If that's you, then you will want to read this book or give it to someone else who needs it.


The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please. You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments July 17 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).


What horrible things did the doctor say to you Clif?

Dr. Selby said, "Clif, you need to lose some weight."

I thought, "Oh no Doctor, say it ain't so."

My mind immediately rushed ahead to the pool party and cookout at our house this weekend. Hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade strawberry ice cream.

Dr. Selby said, "Just cut back on the carbohydrates."

"Oh no!" I thought about the book my kids gave me for Father's Day. The book is Southern Living Comfort Food. The page I have displayed in the kitchen is chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy.

"Just ten or fifteen pounds would help a lot."

My heart missed a beat or two when I thought ahead to July 11--our 51st anniversary.

"You say, "Ten or fifteen pounds?" "Yea, that's all. That would help big time."

"Oh no, Dr. say it ain't so--or say it's not so!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday morning I posted a book review and giveaway for W. Randall Jones' The Richest Man In Town. Jones visited one hundred towns, found the richest man/woman in town and told their interesting stories.

If you are a Christian you are rich beyond what those one hundred people could ever imagine if they are not Christians. You are children of God and joint heirs with His son Jesus Christ. Read and think about Romans 8:16,17 for just a moment. Smile. And then go out and tell everybody you can how they too can become rich.

Here it is:

Romans 8
For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children.
And since we are his children, we will share his treasures – for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.


BOOK REVIEW--THE RICHEST MAN IN TOWN --The Twelve Commandments of Wealth by W. Randall Jones

You may not really care who is the richest man in your town. But if you are like most people, you are a little curious about just who he might be. You may not discover who that person is in your town by reading The Richest Man In Town but you can discover who that man is in one hundred towns by reading this interesting book.

We are all familiar with the warnings about the love of money. Well this is not a book about loving money. This is a book about successful people and how they are not so different from one another.They all share many of the same traits and follow what the author calls the Twelve Commandments of Wealth: stay hungry (even when you're successful) really do learn more from failing than you may think...absolutely be your own boss, the sooner the better...understand that selling is the key to success...where you live doesn't matter...never retire, and other, more surprising revelations.

I found this book to be practical, unique, and inspiring. It lets you look inside the living rooms of dozens of America's most successful people. If you are a people person and interested in what "makes them tick" then you will love this book. It is filled with many quotes that will motivate and inspire you to be the best you can be.

Every town has one--the richest man or woman, that is. I am curious by nature and when I picked up this book I wanted to know if it said anything about the richest man in Scottsdale, Arizona. It does. I smiled. I was pleased. But I was also interested in the stories behind all the other successful people in the other ninety-nine towns. I think you will be too.


The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please. You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments July 17 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).


Friday, June 26, 2009

I usually just post once a day. However today I find this article by James Robison so timely and powerful that I feel the need to ask you to forget the silly thing I posted this morning and take the time to read this needed article by James.

Fools Cannot Make Wise Decisions
by James Robison

Any time we disagree with God and rebel against truth, we prove
ourselves to be fools. Concerned citizens and Christians must be
wondering if our nation's leadership is capable of making the right
decisions. If true wisdom comes from above, and many within our own
population have not only challenged biblically moral decisions, but
actually mocked them and encouraged laws and judicial action, that
brings into question the strong principles upon which the nation was
established and families strengthened. We have to wonder if any
decisions and policies are going to in fact prove positive and
beneficial over the long term.

Be reminded, that God said through the prophet Isaiah, "Woe to those
who call evil -- good and good -- evil, who substitute darkness for
light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and
sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and
clever in their own sight." 1

We have many people within Washington, the media, and every community
of influence who really think they are smart and yet they are proving
they are anything but smart. The wisest man who ever lived exhorted
every person on this planet, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge
Him and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own
eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil and it will be healing to
your body and refreshment to your bones." 2

Solomon said that we must acknowledge and trust God and not lean on
our own understanding. Paul said that if you do not magnify God in
your life, actions and choices and continually give thanks to Him as
our founders did and as all wise leaders have, you will be darkened in
your understanding and professing yourselves to be wise, you will
become fools. 3 He then went into a clear description of the
incredible extremes to which people would take their physical,
emotional and mental practices and how they would behave. We are
witnessing this today.

Somehow many in the public, although we are told the trend is
changing, have approved the termination of the most innocent, most
helpless lives -- the lives of the unborn. With vicious defense of a
woman's right to terminate a child, these groups boldly take their
stand. They are calling evil "good." There is more compassion
expressed for the life of an animal or, as recently demonstrated, a
fly that President Obama killed in the White House. While crying out
in such ridiculous fashion, the same people disregard the value of a
human life in the womb. All of us understand the need to protect both
the life of the mother and the child, but we must never openly endorse
abortion as an accepted form of birth control or a greater liberty to
live sexually licentious.

We are also openly embracing the practice of confiscating the
productivity of others to accommodate the lack of productivity on the
part of some. If any person came to your home and robbed you and took
your goods or your money and claimed that they were doing it to give
to someone else who had a need, you would still call it robbery and
rightly resist it. But even now our government is in the process (and
watch the momentum grow) of confiscating people's income through what
will be an ever-increasing tax burden, taking what you have and
disbursing it at their will. They will continue to do this until
people stand up against it.

Bear in mind, the people who are going to determine who gets what
others earn will be the very people who are approving abortion on
demand, approving immoral practices and mocking those who believe
there are absolute moral standards. This incredible momentum of
out-of-control "mob rule" is going to determine the policies,
practices and laws that you, your children and grandchildren will live
under. We are foolishly attempting to make all men equal in the most
impure and impractical fashion possible. The God that wants everyone
to have an opportunity if they will put their hand to the plow (and
bear in mind, plow straight ahead with a standard in sight) and really
break up unproductive ground to become productive in every aspect of
life so that they are fruitful and not only taking advantage of
opportunity, but creating opportunities.

Those who never choose to plow and do not have a standard so they can
plow straight are going to share the productivity of those who choose
to do it right, understand the benefits of freedom and take advantage
of the opportunities it affords. The misguided attempt to do what God
in all of His creative genius never did. They are going to remove the
distinctive differences, the beauty of the fact that no two people are
created exactly the same with the exact same abilities, and try to
make everyone the same. This is the philosophy of Karl Marx.

We are gravitating toward an improper and totally twisted concept of
what it means to offer people equal opportunity and not be put down
because of class or race or social standing. Rather than encouraging
people to set their sights high, to reach for the unreachable star
because we know all things are possible to those who believe -- if
they believe the truth. It is wrong to force an unhealthy sense of
equality on an entire society and literally without guns, but through
government, rob those who have in order to give to those who do not
have. Without compassion and a helpful, meaningful connection, we are
simply throwing money at the wall.

When leaders defend what God says is wrong as though it is right, how
can we expect them to make good policies? When they mock those who say
there is a biblical standard, how can we support their man-made
solutions? Betty said to me recently, "The state of our heart will
determine the state of our nation." As Americans and Christians, we
need to take a good, hard look at our hearts.

We are in the process of undermining and destroying everything that
made us great. Is it possible to make wise decisions when you have
decided to call light "darkness" and darkness "light"? When we call
good "evil" and evil "good," we clench our fists in the face of a
loving God and say, "My will be done," rather than, "Thy will be
done." Can our will, apart from God, ever prove to be the right way? I
don't think so. If ever we needed wisdom from above and the ability to
recognize that we will never make the right decisions apart from God's
wisdom, it is now.

James Robison

1. Isaiah 5:20-21
2. Proverbs 3:5
3. Romans 1:21-22


I just came from the Cigna Medical Center.

The nice lady there sold me two huge bottles (three months supply) of diabetic tablets.

I stopped by McDonalds. The nice lady there sold me two biscuits. One plain, one with sausage. The plain one was for Charlotte. She hadn't ordered it. I just thought she should have it. A dietitian told me one time that I probably should never eat sausage. I rationalized and said to myself, "What the hey, I have two big bottles of drugs."

They are saying Michael Jackson may have died from cardiac arrest brought on by too many or the wrong use of drugs.

Drugs are good but they can be used in a bad way and for bad purposes.

I am going outside in a few minutes to do a lot of work again today.

Guess what I will need when I come back in. You're right. Drugs.

(Click here to read my review and win a free copy of How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

We are still waiting for our first monsoon of the season to hit.

It's not that we look forward to them. We just know they are coming. The weatherman says anytime after June 15.

We would like to have the rain without the dust and the strong winds.
What we often get is the strong winds and dust without the rain.
Trees and strong winds do not play well together.

Today I had two trees trimmed and thinned professionally.

I trimmed and thinned one oleander tree all by myself.

We will not be having a guessing game to see if you know which one I did.

Man, I'm tired. I'm sure glad I didn't try to trim all the trees.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

THE RICHEST MAN IN TOWN--The Twelve Commandments of Wealth by W. Randall Jones--Even if you have no desire to be rich you may find this book about the wealthiest residents in 100 different cities to be an interesting summer read.

MY HEART'S DESIRE--A Journey Toward Finding Extravagant Love by Mary Singer Wick. Do you find yourself lamenting over lost loves while meaningful relationships elude you? No matter what your heart desires this story reveals that God loves you, and His plan for your life is good.

I HATE PEOPLE BY Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon--"Kick loose from the overbearing and underhanded jerks at work and get what you want out of your job."

GOOD DAY! The Paul Harvey Story by Paul J. Batura. This is a great read.

THE POWER TO CHANGE TODAY--Simple Secrets to the Satisfied Life by Gregory Dickow. The bold ideas in this book will carry you away from a life of fear, pain, and limitation and bring you toward the unique purpose for which you were born.

I will be reviewing these five books over the next few days and weeks. Should you read each one of them? No and I will not recommend that. I just hope you will read the reviews carefully and decide for yourself. I will be having giveaways for three of them.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(Today's post is a reprint of an article I wrote in 1967 for a devotional magazine Power For Today)

Read 2 Peter 3:8-13

Bible Thought: "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching"
(Luke 12:37).

A YOUNG MAN had come with his sleeping bag to see the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Early in the evening he found a spot where he might spend the night. All night the crowds milled around the spot where he had chosen to rest, and so he could not sleep. Then morning came: As the sun began to shine brightly, he could stay awake no longer. In spite of the beat of the drums, and blowing of the bugles, he slept through the parade.

Jesus describes the attitude of the five foolish young women toward his coming. Together with the five wise girls they had gone to meet the bridegroom; but while he delayed, they fell asleep, and when he did return they were unprepared and "the door was shut."

Another attitude is that of the wicked servant who said, "My Lord delayeth his coming," and he began to smite his fellow servants and to eat and drink wiith the drunken.

Like the young man at the parade and these persons described by Jesus, we can become distracted by the things that surround us and fail to be ready for that long awaited day. Are you ready?

Hymn: "There's a Great Day Coming."

O God, help us to hear, like some strong echo that will not die, that word of thine in which we are assured that "he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." In Jesus' name. Amen.
---Clifton L. Ditmore, West Covina, Calif.

(Before you leave today, scroll back down and read my review of John Maxwell's book, HowSuccessful People Think and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy)


Sunday, June 21, 2009


In his splendid book, How Successful People Think, BusinessWeek and New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell reveals eleven essentials for thinking like a success.

How Successful People Think is the perfect, compact read for today's fast-paced world. America's leadership expert John C. Maxwell will teach you how to be more creative and when to question popular thinking. You'll learn how to capture the big picture while focusing your thinking. You'll find out how to tap into your creative potential, develop shared ideas, and derive lessons from the past to better understand the future. With these eleven keys to more effective thinking, you'll clearly see the path to personal success.

"Good thinkers are always in demand. A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss." Maxwell says, "I've studied successful people for forty years, and though the diversity you find among them is astounding. I've found that they are all alike in one way: how they think! That is the one thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful ones. And here's the good news. How successful people think can be learned. If you change your thinking you can change your life!"

This is one of the most power packed books on thinking that I have read in a long time. And the main thing I like about it is that John Maxwell, the former pastor of a large church, is urging the embracing of the kind of thinking that God would approve of. This is good "stuff". This little book is packed with quotes, suggestions and stories that will inspire you to think. I can't recommend this book too strongly. It is a book that needs to be read by teens, young husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, business men and women--everybody. We all need to be better thinkers. Our lives will be blessed and we will bless the lives of others.

Is it any wonder that I want to give you a copy of this book? I am excited to be giving away five copies. I can never understand why everybody that comes to my blog doesn't make a comment and at least have a chance to win. It's absolutely amazing to me. But I know that you, being the thinking person that you are--you are going to leave a comment. I hope you win! Five people definitely will.


The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please. You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments July 13 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Do you have children?

If you do, the one thing you are concerned about more than any other--is their salvation.

I recently reviewed Ken Mansfield's book, Between Wyomings, in which he related a story about his mother's concern for him:

My mom prayed for my brother's and my salvation for three decades. She never judged me for my complete rejection of the gospel nor condemned me for my New Age years. She just kept praying for us. She should have passed on from her illnesses long before she did, but she lived on for her boys. As soon as my brother and I were both saved she passed on shortly afterward. ...There is an old song written by Craig Starret, entitled "Are All the Children In," which says it all when it comes to my mom:

When I'm alone I often think of an old house on the hill
Of a big yard hedged in roses where we ran and played at will
And when the nighttime brought us home hushing our merry din
Mother would look around and ask--are all the children in

Well it's been many a year now and the old house on the hill
No longer has my mother's care and the yard is still so still
But if I listen I can hear it all no matter how long it's been
I seem to hear my mother ask--are all the children in

And I wonder when the curtain falls on that last earthly day
When we say goodbye to all of this to our pain and work and play
When we step across the river where mother so long has been
Will we hear her ask a final time--are all the children in

(Although the theme of this post is about the concern of a mother, I realize that fathers are concerned about their children too. I want to wish all fathers a Happy Father's Day!)


Friday, June 19, 2009

Do you like chilies? No? Well, many people do. And many of those people live here in Arizona and our neighboring New Mexico. I want to tell you about three festivals that will be taking place over in beautiful New Mexico just in case you may be traveling to the Southwest in September.

HATCH VALLEY CHILE FESTIVAL - This exciting festival takes place on Labor Day weekend. Check out this video.  You will find this interesting even if you are not a Chile lover.

SANTA FE WINE & CHILE FESTIVAL - This great festival is September 23-27 this year. Look at this site and advertisement and see if you might be interested. Santa Fe is one of my favorite cities to visit.

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA FIESTA - September 25,26,27 are the big days for this big fiesta. It is in Las Cruces. Take the time to view this site.

Well there you have it. A whole lot of wine and chilies. Are you going to be in the area in September? I know. This is a far cry from the ice cold watermelon I wrote about a few days ago. But oh so good!


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Bill Butterworth is a delightful storyteller. In his book The Short List he talks about life being full of choices and then he tells wonderful, hilarious stories about the four that matter. He introduces the most important character qualities in our lives in the most delightful way. He helps us to sort through the choices of life and select the ones that are truly important.

Bill tells stories about four simple truths from which hundreds of life applications flow. John Jackson, Pastor of Carson Valley Christian Center in Minden, Nevada says, "The basics of life are illustrated in this book with beauty and brevity." Kennenth E. Kemp, creator of LeaderFOCUS commented, "In The Short List, Bill Butterworth draws us in to the earth-linked humanity of ordinary life. We laugh because we feel understood. And then without warning, we well up with emotion because Bill taps into something deep, something rare. And that's when we learn that we've been changed for the better."

Every time Bill Butterworth has spoken at Scottsdale Bible Church in Scottsdale, Arizona where we attend he has left the congregation laughing, motivated, encouraged, educated and inspired. His presentations are brief and leave you wanting more. He writes the same way. Using his trademark blend of humorous stories and scriptural examples, he walks you through the Short List and challenges you to slow down and focus on what really matters--leaving a legacy of lasting significance.

Bill is one of the most sought after communicators in the country today. The author of nearly two dozen books, Bill holds graduate degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and Florida Atlantic University.

Including the discussion guide, this book has only one hundred thirty-seven pages. You sit down to read for awhile and the first thing you know--you are through. Feeling like a kid you want to say, "tell it again." You turn back and re-read some of your favorite pages. There is great value in this book and one that you will want to pass on to friends. At the same time however, you will want to hang onto it to read again and again. It's kind of like that something special that you can't just eat one of. Be forewarned. You may have to buy more than one copy of The Short List.


Rush Springs, Oklahoma is the watermelon capitol of the world.

Ok! So what?

As a kid growing up in Oklahoma I wanted us to be "something" of the world.

And I love watermelon.

When I was young they had what we called "fruit stands" on the main roads leading in and out of town. I guess they were miniature farmer's markets.

I loved it when they would ask, "Want to plug it.? "Sure." They would pull out a big knife, cut a diamond shape in the melon, turn the knife up and with the blunt end of the knife they would knock the "plug" down into the melon a little ways and then pull it out with the point of the blade. They would hold it up for inspection.

Man oh man. I couldn't hardly wait to get that sucker home and split it down the middle.

Late in the summer trucks would drive down our street selling huge melons for fifty cents a piece.

We got melons into our town from around the state and even Texas.

But we always asked, "Is this a Rush Springs melon?"

After all, Rush Springs is the watermelon capitol of the world!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ken Mansfield freely admits that he writes "like a Christian on acid." In his splendid book, Between Wyomings, My God and an iPod on the Open Road he spills his guts about his thirty years in the entertainment business. He recalls an old saying, "If you remember the 60's, then there's a real good chance you weren't there!"

Ken is honest about his life in the entertainment business when he says, "Long periods of being submerged within its abstraction does leave a person with the mind-bends when finally floating up from the depths. Those of us who survive this immersion find our salvation even more precious than some believers--because we have paid for it so dearly. It's not because we are more saved or more loved; it just might be because once we emerge from that degenerate mire, we are startled by the purity we experience through His unconditional love, mercy, and grace. The contrast is rather extreme."

In Between Wyomings, Mansfield embarks on an emblematic three-month road trip determined to face off with the good, the bad, and the tragic of his life as a famed music producer to some of the biggest names in music history and personal experiences with icons such as Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison, Andy Williams, Don Ho, Willie Nelson--oh--and an obscure little band called The Beatles.

Ken Mansfield is a splendid story teller. He begins his cross country journey in the little town of Bodega Bay on the northern California coast. As he and his wife travel along listening to music on their ipods he thinks back on his fabulous career and wild but excitiing life. He tells the story of how he gave his life to Christ and how that changed everything--but it wasn't easy. He found Christ but he still had a struggle in finding himself. I like his words close to the end of the book, "How delicious it is when I know in my heart God is all I truly need."


Sales are way up for this top seller in the auto industry.

Hopefully they will not be taken over by the government and the unions.



Monday, June 15, 2009

It's better than ice cold watermelon or ice cream in the summer.

Everybody loves a good story.

How many times have you heard your kids say, "Tell it again."?

I have lost track of the number of times I have sat glued to the television screen watching re-runs of Gone With The Wind, Top Gun, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and many other old movies. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good story.

I love to read the Bible. It's God's story.

You have a story. I have a story. We all have stories.

That's what's going on everyday on our blogs. We are telling our stories.

Does anybody care? Sure they do. I certainly do! That's why I come back day after day.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

We have all heard the expression: "You can either laugh or cry and I had rather laugh." I personally think that laughing and crying are both good for you. This week I feel like laughing. I hope you do too.

This old story has been told so many times by preachers that I don't know if it is true or just another "preacher's story." But regardless, here it is:

A young married couple were having an argument over the wife's misunderstanding of how mechanical things work and her inability to operate them. She told her husband that her father knew more about mechanical things than he did. This really made him mad. About that time she was trying to zip up her dress and the zipper stuck. She yanked as hard as she could and it hung--right between her shoulder blades. She looked in the mirror and saw her husband smiling that smug, superior, condescending smile that absolutely infuriated her. "Got a little mechanical problem?" He said. "I'm sure I don't have the mechanical ability to fix a broken zipper. Why Don't you call your father." He finally came over and released the zipper quite easily , but he couldn't resist running it up and down about ten times just to show her how easy it was. She grabbed her purse and bolted out of the house, determined to get revenge.

That evening when she got back home the garage door was closed and her opener wouldn't open it, so she had to park in the driveway and come in through the side garage door. She saw her husband's waist and legs sticking out from under the car--he obviously was trying to repair something. Here was her golden opportunity. She reached down, grabbed the zipper on his pants, and ran it up and down till it seemed like it was hot. From under the car she heard one startled exclamation, a thump, and then silence.

She marched triumphantly into the house with that same smug, completely satisfied smile on her face that her husband had had that morning. To her absolute astonishment, her husband was standing at the refrigerator getting a drink. "How did you get in here?" She exclaimed. "By the usual method--I walked." "Who's under the car?" "Oh, that's Fred, he came over to help me fix that exhaust leak." (Fred was one of their deacon friends from church.)

When they called his name Fred wouldn't come out from under the car. They finally grabbed his legs and dragged him out. Fred was unconscious. When she had grabbed his zipper, he had been so surprised and excited that he had raised up quickly and hit his head on the car frame.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Years ago while living in California I visited the state capitol when Ronald Reagan was Governor.

He had a jar of Jelly Beans on his desk.

I was intrigued. I started keeping a jar on my desk. I have a jar of Jelly Belly beans on my desk now.


Soon after Ronald Reagan became Governor of California in 1967, he began eating “pectin” jelly beans made by Herman Goelitz Candy Company, in order to help him give up a pipe-smoking habit. When Herman Goelitz’s Jelly Bellies first appeared on the market in 1976, Reagan quickly switched to them.

Three-and-a-half tons of Jelly Bellies were shipped to the White House for the 1981 Inaugural festivities. Blueberry, one of the most popular current flavors, was developed for President Reagan’s inauguration so that there would be red, white and blue jelly beans at the festivities. A jar of Jelly Bellies on the Cabinet table.

Before Reagan became President, his Jelly Bellies were supplied by Herman Roland, who lived in Los Angeles, and who was a cousin of the two Goelitz brothers who founded the candy company in 1869. After Reagan moved to the White House, his Jelly Bellies were apparently supplied directly from Goelitz headquarters in the Chicago area.*

President Reagan’s favorite Jelly Belly flavor was licorice.

* From 1978 to 2001 Jelly Bellies were jointly manufactured by two companies, based in northern California and the Chicago area respectively. In 2001 the two companies, Herman Goelitz Candy Company (California) and Goelitz Confectionery Company (Chicago area), combined into one corporation named Jelly Belly Candy Company.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let these words from Isiah 43 flow over you and give you comfort.

I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you,
(for God is a great big God,
though you can't see him or hear him,
he is always with you.
He never takes his eye off you).
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....
Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Every home owner needs one of Homer's all purpose buckets.

I prefer blue but it only comes in orange.

Don't know Homer? Well, neither do I but I think that's his picture on the bucket.

No, I do not receive a commission from Home Depot. I go there fairly often but they don't even know my name.

So run on down there and pick up one of those buckets.

What for?
It's an all purpose bucket!


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

World-class pizza in Phoenix?

Yep! According to the people who decide these things and reported by Martha Stewart in her May issue of Living magazine. The magazine states that Pizzeria Bianco might be one of the world's best pizzerias (yes, including Italy).

Customers fly in from Hollywood and other distant places just to get a pizza made by Chris Bianco. He dazzles patrons with pitch-perfect pies at his cozy restaurant in Phoenix.

Coming to Arizona from California I was expecting great Mexican food--all the great tastes of the Southwest--but not great pizza.

I have written before that Red Devil Pizza is my favorite in this area. I have never been to Pizzeria Bianco. But some day soon, when I have a lot of time, I'm going to put myself in one of those long lines and get a slice of world-class pizza.


Monday, June 08, 2009

My tongue will speak of your
righteousness and of your praises
all day long.
Psalm 5:28

GOD NEVER COMMANDED us to repeatedly verbalize our pain and suffering. He didn't instruct us to go around discussing our negative situations with our friends and neighbors. Instead, God told us to speak constantly of His goodness, to speak of His promises in the morning at the breakfast table,in the evenings around the dinner table, at night before bedtime, continually dwelling on the good things of God.

You could experience a new sense of joy in your home, if you'd simply stop talking about the negative things in your life and begin talking about God's Word. If you are always talking about your problems, don't be surprised if you live in perpetual defeat. Quit speaking words of defeat, and start speaking words of victory. Don't use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change you situation.

(Devotion for June 8 from Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Begins Each Morning)


Saturday, June 06, 2009

John William Smith is one of America's best storytellers. The following is a story of his and the name of one of his books, My Mother Played the Piano. I have edited it for length.
My mother played the piano. She played mostly by ear, I think, but she often looked at the notes too. She played "Red River Valley," "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again," and Mexicali Rose"--but mostly she played church songs.

Sometimes when I came in to get a drink or some needed thing or to ask if I could go farther than normal, she would say, "John, come here and sing this with me." She didn't say it like a command or an order or anything--not like when she said, "Go clean the chicken coop," or "Go hoe the garden." She would just say it like a request or like she would appreciate it as a favor. I usually didn't want to. I was afraid my friends would hear through the open windows--or , worse yet, that they would ask, "What took you so long?" And I would have to say, "I was singing some church songs with my mother."

When I did sing with her you can't imagine how excited she would be when we finished. "Isn't that the prettiest song you ever heard?" She would exclaim. If I thought it was something less that that--I certainly kept it to myself. Sometimes I was so sullen that she would slowly close the book, pat me on the shoulder, and say, "You go on back to your friends, now. We'll do this some other time." I don't know how many times it happened before I noticed that when I went back outside, I didn't hear the piano or singing any more that day.

It wouldn't have cost me much--and it meant so much to her. I look back with regret and tears for my insensitivity.

Sometimes in my mind I can see that old white house with the white curtains moving at the open windows; and through those open windows, I see those nimble fingers moving on the keys, and I hear her voice.
"There's a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

"Come on, John," she coaxes. "It will only take a minute." And in my mind I say "I'm coming Mom," and I rush to her with joy because I know how happy it will make her.

And it is, you know, the most beautiful song I ever heard.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Anyone with half a brain knows that decisions have consequences.

Galatians 6:7 says, "...What a person plants he will harvest."

And yet we continue to blunder along making the same crappy mistakes over and over.

We don't go down the road we know is right. We go down the one we think will make us happy.

*Young couples want financial security and yet spend money like it is going out of style.

*High school students want good grades and be able to get into college but fail to study.

*We say we want to grow spiritually but we never pray, read the Bible or go to church.

*We never  discipline our children but expect them to be well behaved.

If I hear one more person say, "I don't know how I got into this mess," I think I'll scream.

I may scream, "Damn it look at the road you've been on. Where did you think it would lead?"

Anyone with half a brain knows that you reap what you sow.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

BOOK REVIEW --THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PATH--How to get from where you are to where you want to be by Andy Stanley

This is not a self-help book but it is a book that will help anybody who reads it. Stanley is not offering a formula. He doesn't provide you with seven steps. What he does do is bring to your attention a dynamic that is operating in the background of your life and the lives of the people you love. The principle of the path impacts your life every single day. He says, "And like any principle you can leverage it for your benefit or ignore it and reap a harvest of regret."

The principle of the path is: Direction--not intention--determines our destination.

"The direction you are currently traveling--relationally, financially, spiritually, and the list goes on and on--will determine where you end up in each of those respective arenas. This is true regardless of your goals, your dreams, your wishes, or your wants. The principle of the path trumps all those things. Your current direction will determine your destination."

The Principle Of The Path is a book that every young person needs to read. I wish I could have read a book like this sixty years ago, when I was fifteen. I know it would have made a difference in my life and I hope it will make a difference in your life too. But reading the book is just half of the story. You must embrace the principle of the path. Following this path is the key to avoiding regret of all kinds. "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls" Jeremiah 6:16

It's not too late. No matter where you are in life you can profit from reading and following the directions in this book. I recommend it as one of the most practical and helpful books I have read in years.


BREAKFAST: Off the grill. On the patio. By the pool.

A slight, cool breeze was blowing as I hovered over the hash browns and scrabbled eggs on the grill.

The birds were singing in the trees. The billowy clouds hung high in the sky.

I smiled as I bit into a piece of crusty toast.

Does it get any better than this?

Probably! But who needs it? Not me.

They don't call this area Paradise Valley for no reason.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I have gone to Las Vegas for many different reasons.

I spent a week there once preaching in an evangelistic meeting. There are many great Christians there and many churches--large and small.

Over the years I have stayed there in some of the best resort hotels in all the world.

I have been there to shop in some of the finest stores in the world.

The quantity and quality of food in Las Vegas will "blow your mind."

Did I ever go there to sin? No!

I know there is no need. I can do all the sinning I want to right here in Scottsdale. There is no need to make the trip.

Is Las Vegas sin city? Only in the mind of the person calling it that.

Well is there a whole lot of sinning going on there? Yes! Just like there is in Scottsdale.

If you want to stay in one of those nice resorts. Now is the time to go. The prices are unbelievably low.

Just want to sin? Go on over if you want to. But why not just stay around home? It's a lot cheaper.

On second thought. Why not just change your reason for going? That way, what happens in Vegas doesn't have to stay in Vegas. You can come back home bragging about that "mountain" of shrimp and lobster you ate for an unbelievably low price.


Monday, June 01, 2009

The sounds of splishing, splashing, and squealing can be heard from almost every backyard on the cul-de-sac.

We do some splishing and splashing at our house, but very little, if any, squealing.

That all may change very soon. The weatherman says that June 15 is the official date for the beginning of the monsoon season in the big valley.

Charlotte always seems just a little embarrassed by all my squealing.