Friday, August 30, 2013


Driving from our home to the church building one evening around sunset I came up over a ridge on Lincoln Drive that overlooks the city of Phoenix. Just as I reached the point where I was looking out over the city, the sun, in all it's glory was sinking behind the city and everything was aglow.



Why is ugly in and beauty out today?

To me, beauty is to be found in:

Flowers at the pulpit during a Sunday service.

Sun shining through the stain glass windows of a church building.

An elderly couple sitting close together holding hands.

A mother or father tenderly holding a child on her/his breast.

Waves breaking on the beach.

Rain drops blowing gently on a window and slowly rolling down.

Sunrise. Sunset.

Spacious skies, purple mountains, amber waves of grain.............


Have we grown tough, weak sighted---unable to see. Or is it true, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and every "Beholder" see things differently?

I hope "your beauty" touches your heart as mine does me. If it does you will feel the presence of God.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Besides baby pictures, one of the first pictures ever taken of me is of me standing in our front yard wearing a baseball cap and with a ball glove on my left hand.

I love all sports. I love ball―baseball, football, basketball.

When I was in elementary school we didn't have Little League. The closest thing to it was the boys from one school would schedule a game with boys at another school across town. And of course, we had neighborhood "gangs" that got together and chose up sides. Sometimes girls were allowed to play.

By the time I reached Jr. High my brother had found me a job in a grocery store. I went to that job immediately after my last afternoon class and never had time to participate in sports.

Graduating college I moved from Abilene, Texas to El Monte, California. Shortly after my move to California the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. They didn't have a baseball stadium and played their games in the huge Los Angeles coliseum. That's where I attended my first and only World Series when the Dodgers played the White Sox in 1959. 

One of the blessings of living in the Los Angeles area was being able to attend games of both the Dodgers and the Angels.

After we moved to Northern California I attended an Oakland A's game one time and I saw the San Francisco Giants play several times at Candlestick Park.

Our son, Allen enjoyed playing baseball when he was young. Once when he was scheduled to pitch a game we were 350 miles away at Malibu attending a Bible Lectureship. We left before the Lectureship was over and drove him home so he wouldn't miss the game. He still has a ball from the game he received for pitching a shutout.

Of course today my favorite team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have won their division five times and the World Series once in 2001.We have been to Chase Field to watch them play several times and we almost never miss a game on television.

"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks........"

You know something, in all the times I have been to ball games, I  have never eaten any Cracker Jacks---in fact I don't remember ever even seeing any Cracker Jacks at a game.

 At a Diamondbacks game on Father's Day 2003


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Five years ago Tech researcher Gartner Inc. reported that 200 million people had given up blogging, more than twice as many as were active.

They also estimated that 3 million new blogs were being launched every month. Daryl Plummer told reporters, "A lot of people have been in and out of this thing. Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

I launched my blog, Musings of A Minister back in 2005. For the first few years I faithfully wrote and posted something every day. I felt guilty if I didn't. I rarely missed a day. But as time went on, like so many others I grew weary. I have faithfully posted my book reviews but not so faithfully the every day "stuff" of life.

There was a time when many blogger friends came to my blog on a regular basis. Time has passed and some of them have passed and quite frankly some have just grown tired of the daily routine. I can't complain because I rarely visit them either.

Some of my blogging friends can no longer be found. They have gone away. Still others are have not taken down their site, they just do not post. Visiting their blog is like visiting a ghost town or a shop that has been closed. There is no sign in the "window" saying "Closed For The Season." They are just nowhere to be found.

I have learned that if you are going to be a good blogger, you have to work at it. You can't expect readers to show up if you don't show up. So, I'm back at it. I'm now writing a series CLIF FROM A TO Z. I'm doing this for two reasons: First of all friends have told me this is what they want. They appreciate the book reviews but what they really want is a peek into my every day life. And the second reason is that the letters of the alphabet serve as a launching pad for ideas.

So I go on writing. Blogging is a lot like my life. Slowly but surely my dear friends are passing away. As a preacher I officiated at hundreds of funerals. I  have walked a trail of tears all over the beautiful, cemetery hills of Southern California, fertile but final resting places in Northern California and rocky, sandy, well watered oasis where loved ones rest in Arizona.

Many of my friends are gone. But they are not forgotten. The same with bloggers. I am thankful for each one of them who befriended me, read what I wrote, commented on it―encouraged me.

As the Golden Girls would say, THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BREAKFAST is the most important meal of the day. So they say. But it never was for me, until I became an adult, and not even then until I came to my senses.

In my teens I didn't eat much breakfast at all and I was famished by lunch time.

Growing up in Oklahoma and it may have just been a Ditmore tradition, we called the first meal of the day breakfast, the noon meal we called dinner and the evening meal was supper. Dinner and supper were both big meals for us.

Today, I like breakfast but still struggle with what to eat. I would love a big breakfast every morning, but being diabetic that kind of breakfast is not the best thing for me.

I begin my morning with coffee. I usually drink two cups of coffee a day and only in the morning. I don't really like cereal, but I eat it. I get oatmeal from the freezer at Trader Joes and it is really good. My best breakfast is one I make myself. It is a casserole of hash browns, eggs, cheese and sausage. I divide it into small servings, freeze it and then heat a portion in the microwave when I want it.

When we go out for breakfast it's usually to Denny's, 5 & Diner or the café at Deer Valley Airport. Occasionally we treat ourselves and go to Butterfield's.

There are a few places I consider extra special and I love to find an "excuse" to eat there.

THE PLACE is one. They serve a BIG breakfast. I love their big biscuits and gravy and their sausage, eggs and hash browns.

MATT'S BIG BREAKFAST is also special and I have only been there once. Our daughter took us there as part of my Father's Day celebration. The place is small, crowded, and loud but the food is excellent.

OVER EASY also serves a great breakfast. The building is also small but they have a nice patio area which is a good place to eat when the weather cooperates.

It has taken me years to learn it and I'm still working at it, but I now believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. HANDLE WITH CARE!


Friday, August 23, 2013

"The B - I - B - L - E  that's the book for me...."

As a young preacher I often heard children singing those words―at Sunday morning and Wednesday night Bible classes and especially Vacation Bible School.

I can't guarantee it but I strongly believe that if your children grow up being taught from the Bible, they will be good people and live happier lives than if they are not.

For many years the tradition of most Christian churches was to have Bible classes for the entire family on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. In addition to this some churches had Bible classes for children on Sunday morning and evening while the adults listened to sermons. In the summer months there would be two week long Vacation Bible Schools and week long Bible camps.

Many if not most churches have abandoned these traditions and I am sorry.

I believe that many today are growing up ignorant of God's Word and this is sad.

The world we live in today is suffering a grave moral crisis.

As a book reviewer I am often asked to name, next to the Bible, my favorite book. That's another subject I plan to write about in the future. But for now, I have to say, loud and clear:

 THE   B  -   I   -   B   -   L   -   E   THAT'S THE BOOK FOR ME!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The situation comedy, BEWITCHED was on television from 1964 until 1972.

GLADYS KRAVITZ was one of the characters that made my wife and me smile. She watched everything that was going on with her neighbors. We were young and although we had an interest in our neighbors we couldn't identify with her close scrutiny.

Today, some forty years removed from Gladys and her neighborhood interests, we find ourselves being THE BLOCK WATCHERS.

At the entrance into our street there is a sign that has been there for years. It's a sign announcing to all concerned that we have a Neighborhood Block Watch. There is a picture on the sign of a dog in a trench coat.

Elvis and his family are the main ones in our view. Sitting in our family room we see all of their comings and goings. The three boys are men now. One is married and has a family and the other two still live at home.

Bill and Chris are empty nesters now. A son and daughter are still attending college and their youngest son will leave for college this week.

One house is empty. The Doctors who own it, husband and wife  have moved on up to a two million dollar home in the Paradise Valley area and the house next door is being remodeled for sale.

When Ralph moved into his house he was single. He now has a woman living with him. I don't know if they are married or not. I do know the property looks much better since she moved in.

The other two families both still have children at home attending high school. They are Jewish and don't decorate at Christmas but seem to appreciate the decorations that Bill, Elvis and I put up.

The street cleaner came around yesterday and I mean that literally. We live on a cul-de-sac and he went around the edges one time. Quickly!

Our block is quiet and we like it that way. We watch what goes on but we are not block watchers for preventing crime.  Although I do have a gun. Well, guns really. I don't know if I would get one out if I "smelled trouble." I would probably call 911. Although after hearing many 911 calls on television and listening to the stupidity of the operators I might hesitate to go that route.

I know what you're thinking---"If Clif is as busy as he says he is, how does he find time for all this block watching? He must be bored to death."

I see where you're coming from. I really do. But the truth is I am busy. At least I'm busy for an old, retired man. And I am not bored. A little tired maybe---but not bored.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Give me the old time school. The one where the emphasis was on reading, writing and arithmetic.

As far back as I can remember, reading was one of the important things in my life. Oh no, it was not as important as ice cream, attending a 10 cent movie, or playing. But still it was important. And I have never lost my passion for it.

I was blessed as a child to be given a few LITTLE GOLDEN BOOKS written especially for children. My sister bought them for me and read them to me.

In my first days of school I was introduced to the DICK AND JANE series of books. I loved them.

The elementary school I attended was located next door to the Carnegie Library. I would go there every day after school, look at the books and go home with two or three.

In every city where I have lived we have had wonderful libraries. I have spent countless hours in them.

As a young preacher I lived in the Los Angeles area and was privileged to visit several excellent libraries housed in schools of theology. The Los Angeles area also provided many used book stores where I found some of my very best theology books.

When I retired from preaching I got rid of fifteen cases of religious books. And yet I came home with hundreds that now occupy space on a large, built in book case in our family room and in my study.
I have shelves in a closet loaded with books, four book cases in my study and books on two desks, two night stands and on the floor.

I am an independent book reviewer and work with about a dozen book publishers. I read and review books on my blog.

My daughter has been a voracious reader ever since she was a child. I love that!

Last week I smiled when I read a post from a Face Book friend telling the story about how much her daughter loves to read and showing pictures of her reading. I'm glad. This gives me hope.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It was early evening when we landed in Boston and it was raining. Not just raining―pouring.

The next morning the sun was shining.  We got up early, enjoyed an excellent breakfast and took a train into downtown Boston. Our train ride ended at TD Garden where the famous Boston Celtics play. So we spent some time looking through their gift shop before beginning a city tour.

The first part of the day we rode the tour bus and visited the many interesting and historical places the tour stopped. Later we took on a challenging walking tour of our own. I'm not going to describe all the places we saw and the wonderful places we ate but there were many and I would love to experience it all again.

One cannot, or should not go to Boston and not make a trip to Cambridge and visit Harvard. At the time of our visit our daughter, Carol was at Harvard at The Kennedy School of Government on a study assignment from the state of Arizona. Meeting up with her at the end of her time at the school added extra pleasure to our trip. From that time on we had a personal "tour guide" to drive us from one great experience to another.

We ventured outside of Boston down South to Plymouth and then up North to Rockport and on to New Hampshire and Maine.

Charlotte and I have had the pleasure of traveling to many wonderful, exciting, historical places. Boston and the New England area is close to the top of my favorites list.

In my mind's eye I will always be able to see the wonderful history of this great city. But one contemporary thing I must mention that seems to be every place you look: DUNKIN' DONUTS!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Band Aids are one of the little things in life that many of us take for granted.

Most of us have had a relationship with these little things since early childhood.

My latest need for one was two days ago when I cut my finger while working outside.

It wasn't a bad cut but I was bleeding like a "stuck pig." That's Okie talk for a lot of blood.

The Band Aid did the job---stopped the bleeding and I went back to work.

Once a month the nurse at Cigna sticks a Band-Aid on my behind.

It's usually has a cartoon character on it and if not she apologizes.

I won't tell you what the monthly injection is for but I'll give you a clue. If you see the Commissioner of Baseball coming my way, let me know.

Band-Aids did not just fall out of the sky. Somebody thought of them. Somebody else said, "You know what, we should make these available to everybody. Maybe that's the way it happened, I don't really know. I don't think the government had anything to do with it or they wouldn't be so ready available.

I was born in 1934 and I think Band-Aids were around way back then. If not, they appeared on the scene shortly there after. I will soon be 79 and I can't ever remember needing a Band-Aid and being told there were none available.

Band-Aids--- little but very helpful in a time of need.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Touching Your World for Jesus
By Rebekah Binkley Montgomery

OVERVIEW: Touching the world for Jesus can happen in the most unlikely ways, and through the most unlikely people. This fun-to-read, nuts-and-bolts guidebook proves you don't have to be perfect to Faithprint, leaving Jesus' lasting impression on the world. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Rebekah Binkley Montgomery has a heart for practical service ministry. Presently Rebekah spearheads numerous private and public outreaches in the US, from hurricane relief to housing rehab to emergency food baskets. She was awarded Kewanee Business and Professional Women's "2009 Woman of the Year." Rebekah is also involved with Clamor de la Barrio (Argentinal), Canaan Orphanage, Pierre Payen Hospital and Clinic (Haiti), and is establishing Haiti's first ever cancer clinic. For her private ministry she is the 2010 recipient of the Beyond Me Award for "humbly modeling a you-first life in a me-first world." She and her husband, John, have been married 40 years. They have three grown-children and three wonderful grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: What can I say? This woman and her book amaze me. Yes, as a preacher for almost fifty years I knew many Christians who were busy touching their world for Jesus. I tried to do that myself. But Rebekah Binkley Montgomery truly goes the "extra mile."

After reading Rebekah's book, one blogger wrote: "I am really inspired by the Faithprint stories. God has been using your ministry to bless my life and ministry." I agree. This book is full of inspiring stories. If you are feeling a little weary in well doing, maybe these stories are just what you need to help you keep on keeping on with good works.

"Faithprints is evangelism let off its leash. It's not a program. It's not a four-step method. Faithprints appear when fallible and imperfect people, via Christ's transformative power, turn human problems into beautiful portraits of Jesus for all to see."

I must admit that a few of Rebekah's stories were a little hard to take. They were raw, a little crude and right out on the cutting edge. But I read and profited from them because I believe they are true. And for some of us, it takes this kind of truth to open our eyes to what's going on around us.

I recommend this book but only if you are serious about wanting to touch your world for Jesus. If you are not, this book may make you a little sick at your stomach. Because you see I don't happen to agree with the words from the back of the book that say this is a fun-to-read book.

(I received this book for free from Leafwood Publishers for an honest review.) 


Riding through the city in a tour bus one of the first things I remember seeing was a huge billboard advertising Coca-Cola. The words on the bottle were in Greek. I learned a little Greek while a student at Abilene Christian. The second thing I remember seeing was the ancient coliseum where the Olympic games were played.

But the most impressive thing, and the pictures locked in my memory are of the Acropolis. What an amazing place.

As I walked around trying to take it all in, the words of the Apostle Paul from Acts 17 kept rambling around in my head. I wondered what his message would be for all the tourist out on that hill and the people living in Athens in 1978. Now as I write this in 2013 I wonder what his message would be today. I have a pretty good idea, but I would like to hear it from him.

Greece is a wonderful country to visit. I hope you get to go there someday.

The Acropolis hill (acro - edge, polis - city), so called the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world. It is the most significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represent the apogee of artistic development in the 5th century BC. During Perikles' Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It was late in the evening when we slipped off the big ship into a small boat and headed off across the Mediterranean to the city of Alexandria. The leader of our small group had been on many adventures like this and we were eager to go with him.
We had been into the city earlier in the day with a large tourist group. The day had been exciting and educational but nothing like this. The hot and weary day time Alexandria had suddenly become cool and alive. I am almost at a loss for words to describe my feelings while walking the streets of Alexandria at night. I had never seen anything like it. I have been to India since then and was amazed at what I saw. But at that time this was one of the most unique experiences I had ever had.

It was nearing midnight but people were everywhere. Black carriages pulled by a single horse were being driven at top speed up and down the main streets. The sidewalks were crowded and merchants were hawking their goods to anybody they could stop.

After looking at the "stuff" being offered for sale on the sidewalk and in the shops and there being more women than men in the group, we decided to go to a large bazaar. Our leader hailed a taxi and told him we wanted to go to a large bazaar. He immediately took off at a high speed racing up one street and down another until he came to a screeching halt in front of a small shop just like the ones we had been looking into on main street. The leader would talk to him and he would take off again. We did this about three times and finally realized he had no clue. I don't know what was said and how it happened but we eventually wound up way outside of town at an old Mosque. It was so dark you could hardly see your hand in front of your face. We all took off our shoes and slowly moved inside the dark Mosque. I felt strange and out of place and wondered what in the world we were doing there. After a few minutes we put our shoes back on and headed back into the city.

I can look around our home today and see a few of the things we brought home from Alexandria. One thing is called a camel's saddle. It is an Egyptian footstool. It was stuffed with straw that had remnants of cow dung in it. Before we packed it for the journey home I took it apart and threw away the straw. Today it looks good and smells good but it's only value is in memories. Why did I buy it? Why because everybody else was buying one of course. And the price was right. Actually we bought it for our son. We thought he would be intrigued by it. And he was, but he didn't really ever have any place to put it and it wound up in one of our bedroom closets. It has been there all these years.

I'm so glad we made this trip back in 1978 when it was safe to be there. I talked to an Egyptian lady who was a lawyer. She had received her education in the United States. She said when she was in Atlanta, Georgia that she was told it was not safe to walk the streets at night. Think about it. That was in 1978. She was afraid to walk the streets in Atlanta at night but we could walk the streets of Alexandria with no fear at all. Today? Now that's a different matter. I am so thankful that we were able to visit this great place then. I wouldn't want to go there today.

The Pearl Of The Mediterranean

The second largest city in Egypt,  Alexandria  has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambiance and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is only 225 km. from Cairo.
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Graco-Roman Egypt; its status as a beacon of culture is symbolized by Pharos, the legendry lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 
The setting for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Alexandria was also the center of learning in the ancient world, but ancient Alexandria declined, and when Napoleon landed he found a sparsely populated fishing village.
Since the 19th century Alexandria has played a new role, as a focus for Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. This Alexandria has been immortalized by writers such as E.M. Forster and Cavafy. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture; Lawrence Durrell described it as " The capital city of Asiatic Europe, if such a thing could exist".   


Monday, August 12, 2013

My college roommate was a big, jolly guy. He loved to laugh and did a lot of it. But he was also anxious. When he had an anxiety attack he would blow into an empty bag. I never did know what he was anxious about.

The dictionary says this about anxiety: Painful uneasiness of mind over an impending or anticipated ill; state or an instance of being anxious; solicitous desire.

There are many anxious people in this old world. I have statics but I don't have much faith in statics so I won't bother you with them. But without statics we all know there are a lot of anxious people.

By the time I was born my father had been taken to a mental institution where he remained for the rest of his life. My mother passed away when I was eleven years old. I went to live with one of my sisters and her husband and then later with a brother and his family and then later with another brother before finally going off to college. I don't know just how all of this contributed to me being, what I am going to call serious minded or overly concerned, but I'm sure it did.

Having no one to support me I worked and paid my way through college. When I graduated I immediately took on the responsibility of pastoring a church. Even though the Churches of Christ don't call it that. But believe me―pastoring or not, I did it all.

For almost fifty years I had the responsibility of preaching every week and teaching Bible classes. I shared in the life of every member and shared their joys and sorrows. I married the young and buried the dead. I counseled the depressed, discouraged and bereaved.

I had my first anxiety attack when we left our daughter at college. We left her at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. We have a long relationship with that school, loved it, and wanted her to be there. She wanted to be there!

We were traveling with friends in their camper and had stopped for the night. I woke up on the backside of the small bed. I was hot, tingling all over and felt trapped. It was dark and I panicked trying to get the door to the camper open. Finally, outside walking around in the cool air I began to feel better.

Since then I have had those same feelings on a few occasions. It's always at night. I have learned to immediately go to God in prayer. A few times I have read Scripture, devotional thoughts and prayers for hours. Most of the time I pray, find peace and go back to sleep.

We live in a troubled world. Most of us have "a lot on our plates." We have many things we are concerned about. But we have nothing―absolutely nothing, that God can't handle. So the secret is, and it's not really a secret, we need to always be in the spirit of prayer and know that God will give us rest.


Friday, August 09, 2013

For us three boys it was high adventure. We were driving two hundred miles from Lawton, Oklahoma to Abilene, Texas. Our mission: to visit what we hoped would be our college home and to see a rising star named Elvis Presley. The college was in Abilene. Elvis was in Stamford.

Elvis's career was just getting started. We thought he was wonderful. Abilene Christian had been around for a long time. We liked it immediately. We later learned to love it.

I would like to tell you about Abilene, Texas. But the truth is, I know very little about it. My time in Abilene was spent almost entirely out on the hill where Abilene Christian College, now a University, was located.

My business in Abilene was to learn as much about the Bible as possible and to become a preacher. I didn't learn as much about the Bible as I could have, because like most college students I didn't study as hard as I should have. I did become a preacher. But that's another story for another time.

For me, the heart of Abilene Christian wasn't the Bible Building or "The Bean" as the cafeteria was called―but Mabee dorm. Mabee was home. Mabee was where "the rubber met the road" in real living and learning. It was in the dorm where I met and made friends that have lasted a life time. It was there that I learned the give and take of daily living.

Chapel was a big part of life at ACC. It was required. Attendance was checked. Some students resented being "forced" to attend chapel. I never felt compelled to attend. There were many colleges to attend that didn't have chapel. We could have chosen one of those. Chapel was a good thing.

"The Bean" is another story. I never went there for breakfast. And if for some strange reason I did, they always had creamed eggs―always. I hated the sight of those eggs. So lunch was always something I looked forward to. It wasn't wonderful and the same could be said about dinner but I have always enjoyed eating and the fellowship was fantastic.

In 1957 when it was time for me to graduate, Dr. Frank Pack, one of my favorite Bible Professors wrote me a splendid letter of recommendation for a little church in California and I headed West. Over a span of thirty-two years I preached for three different churches in California. For fifteen years I preached in Phoenix, Arizona. I retired nine years ago. When asked by many where I was moving to upon retirement, I always answered the same: "Move? Why would we move? Arizona is where people come to retire. We are already here."

So many memories of Abilene Christian flood my soul. The one thought that always comes to mind is, that while a student there I thought I had died and gone to heaven.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

This post is the first in a new series for my blog. I'm calling it: Clif From A To Z.

Today I am writing about ARIZONA.

Can you believe that Arizona was not my first thought for A? For a long time, all I could think of was Athens. It was only when I sat down to write, that Arizona came to mind. I can't believe it! I'm fascinated by Athens but Arizona has my heart.

In the past anytime I passed through Arizona, that's exactly what I wanted to do―pass through, just keep going! I wondered to myself, "Why would anybody want to slow down here, much less live here?"

My ministry in Stockton, California, after twenty years had come to an end. My friend and former Youth Minster in Stockton, Matt Corbin now lived in Phoenix, Arizona. He called me every day just to check in, see how I was doing and to encourage me. And then one day he called to encourage me to consider a church in Phoenix, which I eventually did. That is a story for another time.

Charlotte and I stayed in California until a home we bought could be built and we moved to Scottsdale in August, 1989. We believed then and still do that God wanted us at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church in Phoenix. And maybe that is why we immediately fell in love with the Phoenix area and Arizona. I don't really know. But I do know that we love Arizona.

Hot? Yes! Arizona is hot. People in other parts of the country smile and sometimes laugh out loud when we say, "It's hot, but it's a dry heat." But we don't laugh. Charlotte and I both have lived where it's hot and humid. And we have traveled to many places where it was so humid that it was almost unbearable. So for us, until it gets over 110 we are not bothered that much. Our home is air conditioned, we have a pool in the back yard, the car is air conditioned as is almost everyplace we go.

If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, put it on your Bucket List right now.

There are so many great places to visit that I can't list them all. What I want to talk about is not tourism, but everyday living.

Entertainment? It's all here. Educational opportunities at every turn. Sports teams and events saturate the area. Shopping is fantastic. If you can't find it here, you don't need it.

October is my favorite month in Arizona. And then in the winter months when other parts of the country are snowed in, we are out and about getting sun tans. In the winter if your neighbors go missing. Look for them here. We call them Snow Birds.

The truth is, if I had the money I would love to live in many, many different places for about one year at a time. But I don't have a lot of money. So here I am "stuck" in this wonderful place.

Yesterday a fine, slow rain fell all day. I sat out on the patio and watched the drops falling softly into the pool and watering the lawn and flowers. Today as I look out my window, the sun is shining and the sky is a beautiful blue.

Ah, life is good in Arizona. Maybe I will write about Athens someday. I loved my visit there.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

how to have more money, less stress, financial freedom
By Gordon Bennett Bleil

OVERVIEW: Give Yourself A Raise is a complete how-to-guide for finding more money to reduce the stress in your life and lead you to financial freedom. Suitable for beginners and professionals alike, it will lead you to more contentment about money!

AUTHOR: GORDON BENNETT BLEIL is renowned for his ability to present complicated material so that it becomes simple and understandable. Most recently, he has hosted the radio talk show The path to Financial Freedom and taught training classes for business professionals in personal money management. In Give Yourself A Raise, he draws on his experience as a banker, consultant, professor, and business owner, to bring you simple and practical methods for managing your money.

MY REVIEW: I was impressed to read that this book changed Suzanne Darrow's life. Suzanne is Director of Distance Learning for a major healthcare organization. While, Give Yourself A Raise did bless my life in some ways, I wouldn't say, it changed it―and least not drastically. That is perhaps because I am soon to be seventy-nine years of age and have learned much of what Gordan Bleil writes about. I wish I had read a book like this when I was much younger.

This is a book I recommend for all young people, especially those starting a family. Give Yourself A Raise will help you control impulse spending and that alone is worth the price of the book. It will help eliminate family conflict and help you get out of debt and stay out. By reading this book you will learn spending strategies to stretch your income and maybe best of all, you will learn to stop wasting money.

Bleil reminds us of Merle Travis's song "16 Tons," a hit in 1947:
                 You load 16 tons, what do you get?
                 Another day older and deeper in debt.
                  St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.
                  I owe my soul to the company store.
Simply substitute "Visa," "MasterCard," or some other lender for "company store" and you have today's situation. Yes, this is a needed book. I suggest you get one soon.

(I received this book for free from The Cadence Group for this review.)