Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Phil and A&E

I've been in a writing mood and was wondering what I could blog about. Thanks to the repressive folks at A&E, I have a blog!

Let me be clear up front. I'm not a huge fan of Duck Dynasty. My oldest son loves it; I can take it or leave it and actually find it to be on the silly side. It smacks of typical reality TV to me. Yes, I'm pleased they show Christian values and prayer but it's simply not my cup of tea.

I have friends and family who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. Yes, I said "chosen." God didn't design a man to be with a man or a woman with a woman, end of story. There's NOTHING at all natural about a man wishing to put his penis into the anus of another man. However, that's not the point of this posting to debate whether homosexuality is something natural or not.

We have a Constitutional right to free speech. Phil Robertson exercised that right. I'm sure from a legal standpoint A&E can suspend him indefinitely from the show for whatever reason they want. However, had Phil came out in support of the homosexual lifestyle this would all be a moot point. He would be heralded as a hero and be given accolades for daring to be different. But because he disagreed with a MINORITY of the population, a vocal minority at that, he's going to be suspended from the show. Bull hockey!

What happened to the right of the straight guy being able to speak his mind? In college classes we're told how we're supposed to respect the "differences" of those around us. Well, it's about high time people start "respecting" my "difference!" I'm tired of being expected to roll over and play dead when I have a dissenting opinion that isn't politically correct.

However you choose to live your life isn't my business. I may disagree and I will pray for you but it isn't my business. However, if I'm asked my opinion of a lifestyle, I will most certainly state my opinion. It's a scary situation when people start being reprimanded for having an opinion. George Orwell certainly comes to mind right now..........

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It matters who you date, Christian single!

13For men of this stamp are sham apostles, dishonest workmen, assuming the garb of Apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder. Satan, their master, can disguise himself as an angel of light. 15It is therefore no great thing for his servants also to disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be in accordance with their actions. (Weymouth New Testament)

When we watch an old cartoon or maybe look at a comic strip, how is Satan displayed? Usually as this comical little guy wearing a red suit, holding a pitchfork and having pointy ears and a tail. Now if Satan came disguised as that no one, I repeat NO ONE, would likely fall for his tricks. Instead he generally comes to us as something or someone that looks good and doesn't hold any appearance of evil. Indeed, the Scripture posted above bears this out. What does this mean for the Christian single?

There are many ways in which Satan might come at a Christian in an effort to entice them but I want to focus on this from an aspect of Christian singles who are seeking God for that someone special in their lives. As someone who's been through a bad marriage which resulted in a divorce, I can tell you first hand what the wrong relationship will do to your walk with Christ. Satan doesn't have just one trick up his sleeve, either.

Too many people have the idea of "missionary dating." Hey, if only I can get him/her to come to church with me, I can change him/her! Yeah, that's all it will take! I had the same idea as a teenager and even dated someone who wasn't a Christian. Now before I go too much further, let me say there's nothing wrong with witnessing to a non-Christian and inviting them to church. Dating them will likely lead to a disaster! A dear friend of mine gave me the illustration once of two people, one standing on the altar and one lying in the floor. The person on the altar is the Christian and the one in the floor the non-Christian. Which is going to be easier, pulling the person up or pulling the Christian down? Same thing will happen if you choose to enter in a relationship with a non-Christian.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing is the person proclaiming themselves a Christian who isn't. This falls into two categories. My pastor is a funeral director and he says that many times when he asks what religion a person was, he gets told "Baptist." That person hasn't darkened a church door in years but they claim themselves of the Christian religion. No pointy fingers here or no judgement passing. That person has to answer to where they stood with God. It's the second one that's much more dangerous to the Christian if they're not careful.

About three years ago, I met a lady online. We had both been a part of Christian Mingle and had a ton of mutual friends in common. We decided to see if there was something "there" between us. She seemed like a dream come true. Church secretary. She helped with the youth in her church and I believe even taught Sunday School some. She explained to me she was waiting for marriage and ANY guy who tried ANYTHING with her was out the door. Yes, sir, sounds great! If it sounds too good to be true.....

She "slipped up" one morning and suggested we should sleep together when I came to visit. When I called her out on it, well, it was a joke. Bad taste but a joke. Okay, we're human and mistakes happen. Other little things came up here and there but always she had an excuse. Hey, I'll admit it, I had been suckered in by all her smooth talk; I wanted it all to be true. Just like a car that we desperately want and we fail to check under the hood to see what problems there might be. When I finally did meet her in person, the "slip ups" weren't slip ups at all. This self-professed Christian lady did not at all portray the persona she had presented.

Be careful in what you'd doing, Christian singles! The devil would love nothing more than to trip us up. Trust me when I say a miserable relationship/marriage WILL hurt your relationship with God!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas. To do or not to do, that is the question!

I'm a Christmas nut. Many, many moons ago my ex-wife and I decorated our little apartment in October. Shoot, I'm usually listening to Christmas music in August and I'm Walmart's first shopper in the Christmas section when they put it out.

I realize that many say Christmas has pagan origins and we shouldn't celebrate it. If that's your personal conviction, so be it. I would never attempt to shove Christmas down the throat of someone who didn't believe in its celebration. I would also hope that the reverse would be true; I don't wish to have someone condemning me because of my belief that it's alright. I think this comes down to what Paul talked about in the New Testament. He said some believed it okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols and others did not; he said that we must answer to Christ in regards to what we allow or don't allow.

Perhaps some of the Christmas traditions can be traced back to pagan influences. Number one, I've never been a pagan nor was I alive when the traditions were changed! Let me address the common arguments I hear and I will address them as to how I believe.

One thing I've always heard is that Jesus could have not been born on December 25th. You know, I'm not a theologian nor do I know enough about what the climate was during the time of year He was born. I do hear people make the point that it's always other religions honoring their deity on December 25th. I've always heard that Satan has an imitation for everything real. We find variations of Noah's flood in other religions. We find attempts in other religions to have a savior/redeemer. If Satan is the expert in copying Christianity for other religions, why not copy December 25th for these other religions? Again, there's nothing in Scripture to bear this out but it is a thought.

Another thing I hear often is the "Santa Claus myth" and/or how close "Santa" is to "Satan." I'll take this issue one thing at a time. People say that if you tell your kids about Santa that they will find out it's a myth and they'll also believe Christ to be a myth. Okay, I can see that point but I disagree. First of all, I don't, nor have I ever, prayed to Santa. I don't go to the First Pentecostal Church of Santa. I don't read a Bible about Santa. Growing up, I knew what was real and what was fake. I took Santa no more serious than I did Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker. And for the Santa vs. Satan thing, a quick bit of research will fix that. Santa is another word for "saint." We have Santa Monica in California and there's also the Santa Anna winds; I don't hear anyone saying they must be a haven of evil!

Third of all, if Christmas were this huge pagan holiday that we should avoid, why do we have the ACLU fighting tooth and nail attempting to remove nativity scenes from the public square? We're talking the same group who wishes to remove any religious references from the public square including The Ten Commandments and other vestiges of Christianity. If Christmas offends them, it must not be a big pagan holiday, right?

So, here's my take on the subject of Christmas. I'm not worshiping a tree, not at all! What did Christ hang upon when He died for our sins? A tree! The Christmas tree of choice is an evergreen tree, a tree that stays alive year-round. That reminds me of the eternal life I'm promised when I die or go via the rapture. The decorations, well, I don't worship those either. They remind me of the beauty of Heaven. If we read Revelation it describes the Holy City and the beauty of it. The lights remind me that Christ is the light of the world and that we are to project that light to a lost and dying world. It could also remind us of the star that led the Magi to the Christ-child.

If you choose not to celebrate, more power to you; I won't condemn you or call you names. All I ask is the same respect for my choices!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Don't take your health for granted

I have to be desperate these days to go to see the doctor. The thought of paying cash for an office visit since I don't have insurance is frightening. Thankfully the nurse practitioner’s office I use allows a substantial discount for paying up front.  Laying all that aside, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of what happened.

I think a lot of you are familiar with the fact I’ve been dealing with some pain for over a month now, pain I blamed on wrestling with the boys and landing on my elbow. Eventually, the pain began to spread into my arm and shoulder. I even have dealt with shooting pains in my fingers. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

As always, I got weighed and had my vitals took. I showed to have gained about 1 ½ pounds since my last visit way back in February. Considering I was fasting in February and wasn’t on this visit, it shouldn’t have been alarming on that part but it alarms me. I was exercising like crazy earlier in the year, spending a lot of time on the gazelle and/or walking several miles per day. Not good.

I fell out of my routine and being in pain for a couple of months hasn’t helped anything. My blood pressure was up (not dangerous by any means) as was my heart rate. This is NOT good. I’ve been forcing myself to get back on the gazelle lately. I may be sore afterwards but the weight has to come back off and the blood pressure MUST come down. I’m not proud of myself but what good will I do to beat myself up?

Here’s to starting the journey of healthiness again.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Technology and its adverse side effects

In the spirit of "giving credit where credit's due," I have to give credit to a fellow classmate on another campus extension, Jennifer, and (again) Ms. Clark, my public speaking professor at SEMO.

Today was our final day of class for the summer. Our assignment was to give an impromptu speech on a topic given to us at random. Jennifer's topic given to her was technology and she spoke of how modern technology was more of a detriment than a help.

While Jennifer wasn't saying we should go back to the days of Fred Flintstone, she did bring out some very valid points about how modern technology is actually driving us FURTHER from people instead of CLOSER to them.

The December 2011 issue of The Reader's Digest posted an article about the fact manners have gone by the wayside in modern American society. My classmate reiterated some of the things that this issue brought up.

We all love our cell phone. I enjoy the convenience of calling my kids at home or making an important phone call when I'm out. How far we've came from the party line telephone we had in the 1970's!!! While certainly an important tool in our everyday lives, we are so apt to misuse it. How many times have we seen the person walking through the store with a bluetooth earpiece carrying on what almost looks like a one-sided conversation? It's annoying and it's rude.

How about texting and driving? I'm guilty but I'm getting better!!! While it certainly might be considered an act of rudeness by some, it diverts your attention from the road and makes you dangerous. You're an accident waiting to happen! Put up the phone or let someone else drive!

Our beloved Internet. Without it, I wouldn't be sitting here blogging this topic nor would I have been able to hear a fellow student on another campus extension give her speech! Have we perhaps become too dependent upon the Internet? When I graduated in 1992, the Internet was unheard of. If I did a research paper, I had to (gasp!) dig out books and magazines. My last speech I gave was under the determination that I would not use any online sources. I almost got away with it. I wound up giving in and I e-mailed a couple of people I know because I couldn't remember the name of a radio program I needed to cite as a source.

I'm spoiled to my 55" LG TV, I really am!!! I love seeing my beloved Cardinals in high-definition. I sometimes remember how happy I was as a kid when my parents let me watch The Incredible Hulk or The Dukes of Hazzard on the 25" console TV. I would now look at a 25" tube-type TV and laugh, thinking of how far we've came. On the other hand I've admittedly let myself become spoiled and I've defined happiness by the size of a TV screen.

Technology can be a good thing. I'm not suggesting, nor was my classmate, that we should go back to the Stone Age or the Dark Ages. Maybe it's simply time we lay down the phone for a little while or turn off the TV for a bit and get outside. Enjoy God's creation He so generously gave us. Have a conversation with the family without the TV on. We should have the rule over technology and not the other way around.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Modern country radio

Hank Williams, Jr. said in one of his more recent songs that everybody's got a butt and a point of view. I think Bocephus might agree with my point of view-when country radio won't play a living legend such as him, there is a problem. We are talking country music royalty here. His dad turned the country music world topsy-turvy with his proto-rockabilly flavored country in the late 40's and early 50's and Bocephus played the outlaw card pretty well infusing Southern Rock into his music and helping to fuel the outlaw movement. While I'm not the biggest fan of Hank III, he can sing country with the best of them when he's not busy doing some variation of punk rock. I guess country radio has no place for those who do genre-bending, either.

I don't wish to knock those who like the new stuff. I simply have an issue with someone who has to TELL me how country he is. When you have to fake a twang and talk about getting on the hood of your daddy's tractor or you have to beg a girl to "shake it for me," well, there's a problem. The thing is that anytime I've brought it up to friends (particularly female), there's no defense of the lack of talent, it's always about how "hot" the singer is or how they'd drink their bathwater (yes, really!).

When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, it was nothing to hear a new song by an old artist. You had George Jones and Johnny Cash who had been around since the 50's and they were still charting well into the 1980's and were getting air time even when country radio was in its pop phase. You also got to hear "oldies" from time to time juxtaposed with the new stuff.

Country radio used to not be afraid to focus attention off the mainstream and play something different. I'm too young to have been around for The Bakersfield Sound but I do know when Countrypolitan/Nashville Sound was all the rage, Buck Owens was doing edgy, gritty, Telecaster driven music that got tons of exposure. Would that happen today? Probably not.

Something changed in the mid-1990's. All of a sudden the older artists were pushed off the radio dial. There's quite a bit of 90's country I like but absent from the dial were George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and many others who put out albums in that era. Johnny Cash's American recordings were considered some of his best work in years and even resulted in a Grammy for one of them but country radio wouldn't touch him. Even Neil Diamond put out a country album (Tennessee Moon) and even he couldn't get airplay.

I know my music isn't mainstream anymore and isn't everyone's cup of tea. I'm not here to bash new country fans. All I'm saying is to expand your horizons. Check out some non-mainstream artists like David Church, Hank III, Shooter Jennings or others. You might find you like it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

If you were arrested for being a Christian........

........would there be enough evidence to convict you?

It's easy to SAY you're a Christian. Do your actions back that up? Do people see a difference in your life, something that makes them want what you've got? If they can't, there's a problem!!!

It seems too many these days want to SAY they're a Christian and there's nothing there to back it up. I once heard a preacher ask the question "what do you do when someone pulls out on you? Do you smile and go on or do you give them the California howdy?" In case you DON'T know what the "California howdy" is, there was a scene in the movie version of The Beverly Hillbillies where the Clampetts were flipped off and they thought it meant "howdy."

Do foul words come out of your mouth? Now I'm not talking about hitting your finger with a hammer and something slips out. I'm talking on a consistent basis here. People do notice these things whether we realize it or not. Those who aren't Christians expect to be able to see a difference.

Do you make sexually explicit comments? The Bible says that no coarse language should be named among Christians. Now there's nothing wrong with private things between spouses but in public by singles? That's a no-no. We shouldn't be taking jokes "below the belt" as Christians.

Does your music reflect what a Christian should listen to? I'm not about to go off on a legalistic bent here. I've heard preachers infer that you can tell how close a person is to God by seeing where their radio is set at. I disagree with that. I have no problem with secular music as long as the message doesn't big dishonor to what God says in His word.

The same thing with TV/movies. Is what we're watching something that's going to bring dishonor to God? Would you watch it if Jesus was there?

I'm not trying to come down on anyone, believe me. I'm far from perfect and have areas I need to work on myself. I don't dare point fingers-I'd have 4 pointing back at me. Just remember that when we name the name of Christ we have a lost and dying out there watching to see if we live up to that name.

An equal playing field or why I'm tired of discrimination

Discrimination isn't a pretty thing when used in the wrong context. Sadly, it has been with us throughout history in one form or another and I am sure it always will be until Christ comes back and sets up His kingdom. Rich against poor. Master against slave. The powerful against the weak.

Discrimination isn't always a bad thing. If someone isn't qualified to do a job, it's okay to discriminate against them and not hire them. You don't want a guy driving a semi-truck that has multiple tickets for speeding and has been convicted of road rage.

The discrimination I speak of that must be stopped is discrimination against white people. Too many seem to have the idea that "whitey" should pay for something done 150+ years ago. Minorities are now given special status when considered for jobs, schooling, etc. In reality, this is also a reverse discrimination of sorts against people that identify as minorities.

Is this what Martin Luther King, Jr. fought and died for? His dream was there would be equality for his descendants, an equality that didn't see them for their skin color. Would Mr. King be in support of quotas? No, I don't believe he would be. I believe he would say that it's still discrimination against the person of color by saying they aren't good enough to get the job or school placement on their own and he would be right.

Jobs or school placements should go to the best candidate, no matter the skin color. Giving it to someone on the basis of their skin color is double discrimination. It's discriminating against someone who is more qualified and it's also telling the person of color they are somehow beneath the white guy and need special treatment to advance.

What would happen if I wanted to start the WAACP? I would be called a racist and hatemonger. However, it's okay for there to be an NAACP!!!

The same issue would occur if I wanted to become a Congressman and start the Congressional White Caucus. I would be labeled a divisive hate monger, all the while it being okay there is a Congressional BLACK Caucus.

I do watch black-themed channels on TV now and then. Centric shows The A-Team, a show I've always loved. However, if I wanted to start a channel devoted to white people, there would be an outcry of mass hysteria.

Had the KKK been present during this past election intimidating black people, Obama and Holder would be jumping up and down, appointing a special investigator, etc. However, it's okay if it's the Black Panthers attempting to suppress and intimidate white voters and the Justice Department turns and looks the other way, pretending it never happened. Mind you, I do not support the KKK and their shenanigans but the Black Panthers are no better than the KKK.

It's time to level the playing field. It's time to end affirmative action for starters. It does nothing more than humiliate the person of African or Hispanic origin, telling them they are not as good as the white man. It's time to end the calls of racism when the white man stands up for his rights. It's time that we see Reverend King's dream fulfilled.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is he/she "the one?"

I saw this on Facebook in the group "All True Men" and felt it was worth posting:

(((Six Clues to knowing whether he or she is "the one")))

1. "The one" obviously has to be a Christian, if you are a believer and follow of Jesus Christ then you know that "the one" can't be an unbeliever that doesn't share your beliefs regardless of whether they are a "nice person" or not. The bible says that we should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. I will not dwell on this point too long since I will deal with it in other articles about dating non Christians.

2. "The one" has to be someone that you can live with their flaws. People are not perfect and you are not perfect yourself so why demand from other people what you yourself can't deliver. Christian singles often have this unrealistic picture of "the one" some go as far as having a list of the qualities they are looking for but they make no room on that list for flaws because they are looking for a perfect and finished person. The only problem is that that perfect person doesn't exist.

Even the best of us have our flaws and "the one" will have their flaws too. "The One" will have annoying habits, "the one" will get you angry sometimes, "the one" will be insensitive to you sometimes, "the one" might not understand you sometimes; "the one" will definitely make some mistakes. Don't let people's flaws blind you from their overall goodness. If all you ever focus on is the negatives in people then you will never see the good in them and chances are you will never find "the one"

3. "The One" has to accept you even with your mistakes. The person you make allowances for equally has to make allowances for you. Be careful of labeling someone that doesn't accept you for you as "the one" be careful if someone you are dating is constantly trying to change you and force you to change. Be careful if they are always critical of you and your ways.

It is good when someone you are dating wants you to change for the better and motivates you to be the best you can be, but if they are going about it in a critical and controlling way and nothing you do ever seems to be good enough and they think that motivation you is them putting you down so that you can take action or they are always comparing you to other people then I doubt that such a person is "the one"

Remember that in point 2 I said that "the one" is someone that you are ready to live with their flaws. Ask yourself if you are willing to put up with someone who is constantly trying to change you, someone who is always putting you down and comparing you to others and be honest about whether you want to spend the rest of your life with such a person.

4. "The One" is the person you are willing to stick by or the person who is willing to stick by you even after your relationship has been tested. It is easy to think that someone you are in a Christian relationship with is "the one" when everything is going good and everything is perfect. But never measure the strength of your relationship based on when things are good, measure the strength of the relationship based on the challenges you are able to overcome. I can go as far as saying that you don't really have a relationship until that relationship has endured and overcome a test.

In fact one of the things that convinced me that faith was "the one" was after a major challenge we went through in our relationship which was as a result of some mistakes that I made. But she stuck by me despite my mistakes. We were at a point where the relationship was either going to stand or fall and to be honest, it looked like it was going to fall, but guess what? We survived the test and the relationship stood against all the odds. That's when I knew that we had something solid, a relationship that can withstand the storms, it was evident that our foundation was strong because it couldn't be shaken. How can a person like that not be "the one"

5. "The One" is someone that believes in you, someone that believes in your dream and vision, someone that can see gifts and abilities in you that you might not even see in yourself, someone that keeps believing in you and keeps encouraging you even when you stop believing in yourself (that's one of the things that convinced me that Faith was "the one") she saw in me qualities that I didn't even know existed.

6. "The One" Is someone you truly love not someone you are just settling for. People stay in relationships for all sorts of crazy reasons. I will never understand why people end up marrying someone they are not in love with. I will never understand why people go into marriage or stay in a relationship when they know they have doubts about the person they are in the relationship with. It really baffles me.

Remember that I said earlier that faith has a large part to play when determining if someone is "the one". You have to believe it in your heart, you can't afford to be doubtful, because when you are doubtful you will never be content and the grass will always look greener on the other side. There has to be true love, relationships are hard enough when there is true love among two people, it is a complete nightmare when there isn't true love.

I have seen people settle into a so called Christian relationship and even get married to someone they are not really in love with, maybe because the girl got pregnant and they wanted to do "the right thing" or maybe due to immigration problems, or because the guy or girl is rich and they want someone rich who can provide them with material things. Such people are never truly happy in their relationship and such relationships always end up falling apart eventually.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Research is you friend, folks or why I love debunking myths

Let me preface this by saying I do NOT like Barack Obama. I do not like what is going on in our country. I well believe this country could use a change in direction.

I have no problems with facts being presented but I do have a problem with pseudo-facts being passed off as facts or people simply passing off something they saw on Facebook as fact. This does more to discredit the conservative philosophy than anything Barack Obama or the left could ever dream of. Remember, research is your friend.

Some months back I had friends posting that on some particular day in March we were going to be forced to take the "mark of the beast." This was all a part of Obamacare and we were going to be forced to take it by this date. Obamacare has enough issues on its own without us making up things. I have no clue where this comes from nor do I care. It's a myth!!!

Another one that makes the rounds from time to time has a photo of a guillotine on it and a story of FEMA camps we're all going to be forced to live in. They are going to be "reeducation camps" and if we don't go along, we'll be beheaded. Hmm. Would I put FEMA camps past the government? Considering what was done to the Japanese-American population in WWII, no, I wouldn't. On the other hand, this seems to be the territory of hard-line conspiracy theorists who also seem to believe Bush blew up the Twin Towers.

What makes this laughable is the fact they give 72 locations where FEMA camps are at. First and foremost, if these are such ultra-secretive locations, how would the info be available so readily? Secondly, it lists the former site of "Blytheville AFB" as one of the 72 locations and goes on about how there are guard towers out there that are new and other "classic decorations." The funny thing is that I live about 7 miles from there and this is simply not a true statement. It was known as "Eaker AFB" when it was closed in the 1990's, not "Blytheville AFB." It is a thriving business spot now, featuring, a retirement village, a cafe, a daycare and an aeroplex where FedEx and Teleflora land.

I'm honestly not sure what to think about the rumors that Obama has a forged birth certificate. Would I be surprised? No, not really. However, it's still a matter of debate whether or not he is using one. I've seen trusted sites to say that it is legitimate and others to say it isn't. If we're not sure, let's be careful.

To sum things up, President Obama is doing enough on his own to damage this country without anyone having to result to myths and conspiracies. Focus on the facts!!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

His thoughts and ways are not ours.....the thoughts of a homeowner

The Bible says a good man's steps are ordered by the Lord. It also says His ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts.

In 1976, my parents apparently set out to find a house. I don't remember how many houses they looked at or where; I wasn't even three at the time. I do know at some point they decided upon the house I now reside in and call my own. The funny thing is, I never planned on calling it my own.

I grew up out here and in 1983, my father took a job promotion and we moved to Sikeston, MO. My parents tried like crazy to sell the house and wound up renting it out to some people who were apparently intent on trying to destroy it. A TV sitting on cinder blocks in the living room amongst other things. My parents evicted them and decided to move back out here. I still remember the smell of poop that had infiltrated my bedroom closet.

As I grew up, things really didn't change other than my father having a fireplace put in and the carport made into a garage. I still had the "American Dream" of growing up, getting married, having a place of my own, etc. Isn't it funny how life throws us curve balls?

I got married to the lady I thought the love of my life in 1995. I left the old house behind and ventured out on my own, never figuring to return except to visit from time to time. Ahh, but those curve balls!!!

In 1997, just two short years after marrying, finances forced me and a now expanding family back "home." A couple of years later my parents divorced and my father moved off. Here came another curve ball. A letter from The Money Store came in early 2000 (I believe) informing my mother that because my father had declared bankruptcy, they required payoff on the house or her to vacate within 30 days. Thank God it was tax time; I helped her finish paying off the house.

For the next 11 years, I fought my father over the house. He wasn't living here and even said he had no intention of moving back. Every time I would ask about the house, it was met with some excuse of why he couldn't sign it over to me. I had experienced the same thing on my first car, being given every excuse why he couldn't sign it over to me completely and even trying to talk me out of it on the way to finally get the title completely in my name.

Excuse. Excuse. Excuse. He was scared my now ex-wife would try to take my half in a divorce. Oh, he intended to give it to me when he died. He still had excuses after my divorce. I had some troubles over a credit card issue from several years ago. After my ex-wife left, I had to leave my job due to daycare issues. Yes, like the majority of Americans out there, I missed payments and Citibank refused to work with me. I offered to work with them on paying but got a big fat "NO!!!!" The newest excuse was they might try to take the house.

Finally in 2011, the house had gotten to a point it became easier to say what rooms did NOT leak than what ones did. I patched and patched and patched with black tar. It would hold a while and start leaking again. The ultimatum was finally made of either sign over half of the house to me or fix the roof. He finally agreed to give me his half on the condition my mother signed over her half.

In March 2011 I found myself the owner of a home. A home I never expected to live in as an adult. A home that is paid for. No one is going to come and take away the house from me. No bank is going to stick a foreclosure notice on my door. It's a nice feeling to be quite honest. In spite of the fact this house is no longer the house that appraised for $48,000 in the mid-80's, it's still mine and I still love it and the acre of ground it sits on.

We've got a long ways to go. The roof isn't leaking like a strainer anymore and there are brand new screen doors and brand new regular doors on the front and back. The garage has been built in to a storage room though it's far from a pro job. The kitchen floor has been tore back to the sub-floor and had new floor put in. Next is tiling it. I need space and lots of it with three teenagers and a mother being in residence. The foundation needs to be fixed and new windows need to be put in in the worst way. Whenever things go wrong (such as the drain pipe under the sink breaking loose tonight) I keep in mind that it's mine and it's paid for.

Funny how God works, isn't it? He knew those 30 years ago that I would be living here and the house never sold, even in the good housing market of the mid-80's. A good man's steps are truly ordered by Him!!!!

My thoughts on music downloading and sharing

You can blame Brenda (Living Simply Sassy Classy) for this as well as my civics/speech professor, Ms. Lisa Clark at SEMO University. I don't consider myself a "writer" per se, but I do have a lot of thoughts and I find those thoughts coming out in my head as possible topics for speech class.

A topic that has always caught my attention is music downloading. This isn't nearly the big issue it was 10+ years ago when Napster and WinMX were making the rounds and that's due to the fact iTunes and Amazon (among others) have started offering legal downloads. In reality, it is the pirate sites that led to the creation of legal downloads.

There is still the situation, even today, that a myriad of releases have never saw legal download status nor even CD releases. A case in point is Hank Williams, Sr. The man known as the King of Country, a man whose music is still popular today, has a host of albums that have never made it to CD or download. Many of his albums were "overdubbed" in the 1960's when stereo started hitting the market (his recordings were did in mono, straight to disc). The only way to find these is either online or through collectors who have them for sale.

I understand copyright law and the consequences for breaking it. I'm not one to go breaking the law on a frequent basis. I also understand the argument of "too bad" if you can't find an album you're looking for and it doesn't justify downloading it.

Last year, I uploaded a tune from a 1968 Hank Williams album, an album that has never saw the light of day on CD, to YouTube. I ran afoul of Universal Music Group and got flagged for violating copyright law. I challenged it and it was still removed for violating "community standards" and copyright law. I protested to no avail that they should focus their efforts on doing the Williams catalog justice instead of going after a small potatoes guy on YouTube.

I have the same issue with CBS Home Entertainment. They refuse to release seasons 4-9 on DVD. I have quite a few of those shows unedited on VHS. No, I haven't uploaded those to YouTube but it has been tempting at times to do so in an effort to say "look what they're withholding."

In the end, I believe copyright law should be revamped. If you haven't released something to the public after a certain amount of years, individuals should be able to share it.