Friday, January 29, 2010

Prepare for the Good Times

It's Friday but Sunday's coming

Sunday morning, I plan on acknowledging to my church the fact that some of them are facing adversity right now. Some have been facing adversity for over a year.

As a preacher, I feel called to urge them to grow close to God, and plan now how they will live for God should he bless them. They cannot be caught off guard. It will not be spiritual. Chances are, in this country, they will someday find the time of blessing again—a time of triumph and success.

Rare is the person in the U. S. that lives and dies and knows only poverty. I know they are out there, and I know they congregate together and form a sad community. We serve them. But this is a small portion of society. And chances are extremely good no one in my audience will be one of them.

My dad’s parents were sharecroppers from 1919 until the 1950s. Then through opportunity, and help from their children, who by then had become adults, built themselves a three bedroom house. For many, it was not comparable by today's standards. They did not have air conditioning and they had no central heating, just space heaters. But, the house was what they wanted and they were happy with it. They started a little factory where they manufactured mattresses. It burned down, so they faced adversity. Then they went into the cattle business. They had some good years and bad years. But, even the bad years were better than the 1930s and 1940s were for them.

Sunday morning, I’m telling my folks that chances are, they are going to have some really good times. When those times come, what will they do with God? What I have seen too many times is a guy makes it professionally—
and then leaves his wife. A wife becomes successful, and she has an affair. A couple sacrifices for years to raise their kids and they succeed---only to leave each other when the nest becomes empty.

Our nation is having severe problems, not because of poverty and depression; it is because of years and years and years of prosperity. As a nation, we have taken God's blessing and created appetites that demand even more.

In II Samuel 5-8, we see David experience triumph. He has walked with God for twenty years of unrelenting crisis, and he has grown stronger with God. Yet, even more incredibly, in these chapters, as David reaches his peak professionally and attains glory, he grows closer to God. I’ve preached many a time on the passages of scripture that warn us to prepare for pain and suffering. Here is a story with a warning applied for us to prepare for—the good times.

Books, Books, Books

Last Saturday, I experienced one of those serendipities that I occasionally enjoy at the public library. They had a bunch of new books available for checkout, so I did—about 10 of them. Saturday night, I mainly skimmed each to see if I want to purchase any in the future.

As for the science books, the one I liked the most was THE LANGUAGE OF LIFE: DNA AND THE REVOLUTION IN PERSONALIZED MEDICINE. It is written by Francis Collins, a geneticists and evangelical Christian, who helped cracked the gene code back in the late 1990s. He writes well for a popular audience. He stretches my thinking—he believes evolution is a gift of God that expresses God’s beauty. He is also a highly respected scientist. This book deals with much of current medical, political, and cultural life.

Jack Valenti completed a robust autobiography shortly before his death entitled THIS TIME, THIS PLACE: MY LIFE IN WAR, THE WHITE HOUSE AND HOLLYWOOD. The White House years fascinated me because of his relationship with Lyndon Johnson. (Valenti was a member of Johnson’s staff.) The Hollywood years are interesting because Valenti facilitated the development of the ratings system: G, PG, M (remember M? Mature audiences only), R and X. This is a quick and easy read.

Ditto that for LITERARY LIFE by Larry McMurtry. I enjoyed, greatly, his first volume of memoirs WALTER BENJAMIN AT THE DAIRY QUEEN--REFLECTIONS AT 60 AND BEYOND. LITERARY LIFE is a shorter book. McMurtry focuses on his books and experiences writing. It is 175 pages long but reads shorter—I finished it in less than a week. I look forward to volume three covering his relationship with Hollywood.

GARFIELD: A BIOGRAPHY, is an update of Allan Peskin’s earlier work on President James Garfield. Garfield was the only preacher elected president. He was assassinated six months into office, a treacherous act, which I hope was not inspired by Garfield’s being a preacher. Little is said about Garfield’s preaching and religion, which is why I wish Jerry Rushford would publish his dissertation on Garfield.

Finally, COUNTEFEIT GODS: THE EMPTY PROMISES OF MONEY, SEX, AND POWER, AND THE ONLY HOPE THAT MATTERS is the newest book by Timothy Keller. I was interested in this book because he is a preacher in New York City and his books sell well. I was surprised at how biblical he is; I figured this would have destroyed his sales. Yet, he has made a connection between scripture and the secular Northeast. I don’t agree with everything, but I would enjoy a more methodical read of the book.

Happy Reading!

Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)

1. Welcome to this world, Cora Elise Smith. I know your parents, missionaries to Peru, Kyle and Larissa, are proud of you.

2. Good grief, I discovered I know a national celebrity. I stumbled upon a story on our own Morgan Ashbreck in the well-respected magazine GUIDEPOSTS. Her story in volleyball, which I have related her last fall, was cited as one of “The Most Inspiring Sports Stories of 2009”. I must emphasize it was not MY version that was picked up by the magazine, but that’s okay. Here is a link:

3. I saw that Apple introduced its new iPad this week. One of the talking heads said something that made me realize: my laptop is now my desktop and my iPhone is now my laptop. Could it be that someday, the iPad will replace my laptop?

4. I predict Brett Favre returns next year to play. The last three seasons, the last pass he threw was intercepted. If he continues to try, someday, his last pass will be completed, or at least fall incomplete.

5. I want to see the documentary JOHNNY CASH’S AMERICA. Sounds fascinating.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thirty Seven Years and Counting

Today, Friday, January 22, 2010, is the thirty-seventh anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Here is a question I cannot get out of my mind:

Of all the babies who have been aborted, with whom would I most be willing to exchange places?

I wonder if Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:12 apply here, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”?

Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt

Some of you may remember Michael Guillen, who was science the Science Correspondent for Good Morning America for a number of years. He also has his PhD and has engaged in intellectual pursuits such as teaching mathematical physics at Cornell University. A few years ago, he wrote the book BRIDGES TO INFINITY, THE HUMAN SIDE OF MATHEMETICS.

In his book, he writes of the well-known philosopher and agnostic Bertrand Russell. In 1959, Russell was in a state of disillusionment and he wrote, "I wanted certainty in the kind of way in which people want religious faith. I thought that certainty is more likely to be found in mathematics than anywhere.... But after some 20 years of arduous toil, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more that I could do in the way of making mathematical knowledge” certain beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Russell was an agnostic, who was studying math to find something that maintained black and white certainty. Yet, even in mathematics, he discovered one cannot find total certainty.

I have discovered in life that God has us cornered. He provides us with just enough revelation that we cannot escape that gnawing sense that He exists. However, He refrains from revealing Himself totally. He still maintains a mysterious element about Himself. Consequently, we will never know all we wish to know. This can drive us to despair, rebellion, or to God.

Happy Anniversary

Sean Fuller shared with me something from a recent issue of Network World magazine. It was a list of the 25 “Geekiest” 25th anniversaries to be celebrated in 2010. I share with you the most interesting ten to me. In 1985, you would have seen the debuts of:

• Commodore offering its Amiga 1000 personal computer, equipped with 256KB of RAM, for only $1595.00 (remember, these are 1985 dollars).
• Apple’s first laster printer for the Mac providing 300 dpi, on sale for $6995.00.
• The first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas.
• New Coke
• The Discovery Channel
• Nintendo
• Microsoft’s’ Windows 1.0.
• And, this is for you, C. J., MACGYVER

It's Friday but Sunday's Coming

My alma mater, the Winnsboro Red Raiders, have never won a state championship in football. My oldest daughter has never known what it was like for the Dallas Cowboys to be Super Bowl champions; she was two when they last won. The greatest coach of the twentieth century, John Wooden, won 10 national championships in NCAA men’s basketball. However, having coached over a period of 30 years, even he spent 20 years not celebrating as champion. The fact is, we are all a bunch of losers. No, I'm just messing with you. But, realistically, much of our life consists of failure. Now, how will we deal with that? I appreciate David’s relationship with God during his time of failure. One section that accentuates David’s experiencing failure is II Samuel 2-4. We, at Shiloh, will look at those chapters Sunday morning.

Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)

1. I saw where James Dobson is beginning a new radio program in March, separate and apart from his program on Focus on the Family, which he will leave in February. Dobson will be joined by his son, Ryan. I like Focus on the Family, but I must admit I think I would rather listen to Dobson on the radio.

2. Here’s an interesting observation from one who scrutinizes our culture, Leonard Sweet, delivered to me by my colleague Charles Smith:

Everyone born after 1973 is a native; everyone born before 1973 is an immigrant.

The point is, those born after ’73 have an intuit understanding of how to operate in this postmodern, technological world. Those of us who were born before ’73 have to study and learn how to function—it is not instinctive to us. And, having lived in a foreign country, I know that no matter how hard you work to adjust and fit in, there will always be a small voice within you reminding you that you are an outsider. Boy, do I feel old!

3. I’m intrigued by an article in this month’s journal FIRST THINGS. Mary Eberstadt writes that in view of Pope Benedict’s announcement last October offering members of the Anglican Church easy transfer of church membership, approximately 1000 Anglican priests and 300 Anglican churches are looking to transfer membership to the Roman Catholic Church. While these numbers will make little impact in the Vatican, they would make yet another contribution to the demise of the Anglican Church.

4. Is there anything crazier to observe than the Conan/Leno/NBC war? I’ve been reading about it for the past few weeks. This is more entertaining than what’s on TV. Let me say this to Shiloh, if you ever want to buy me out for $45 million, I promise I will go away quietly.

5. I would tell who will win this weekend, except for the fact I have not picked anything right this new year! Last week, I did not publically predict Dallas would defeat Minnesota, but I was thinking it. Therefore, I refuse to say who is going to the Super Bowl, or even think it!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

“Embracing God In Trials,” “Time is Filled with Swift Transition,” and

Embracing God In Trials

I admire people who respond well to trials and tribulations. I am so glad we have a holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. I believe, and I am not exaggerating in any way, that he was one of the most important human beings, who ever lived on this planet.

When I was in Argentina, I experienced just a small taste of prejudice. But I did not respond well. I remember when I was studying Aiki Do, I earned a belt and began training those who did not have one as part of my gym time. I had a small group. But because of my accent, and the fact that I did not speak Spanish as well as a native, an older guy inserted himself and began teaching. I did not respond well to that. I felt humiliated. I felt patronized. That was nothing compared to what Martin Luther King and others like him faced.

I had someone tell me that in my home church, years ago when I was a boy, a lady in town who was black began attending. The preacher studied with her husband and he was converted and baptized on a Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, one of the members came, drained the baptistery, and “CLEANED it out,” lest someone white had to be baptized after him. God help that woman.

When I preach something someone disagrees with, I don’t have to worry about physical harm. My family for sure does not. Martin Luther King’s home was firebombed because he taught that whites and blacks should be able to sit anywhere on the bus.

Yet, in spite of all of this, you look at King’s words and how they are rooted in scripture, and how he pulled off the single most difficult Christian act of the twentieth century, responding to racial hatred, violence, oppression, and injustice by living out the words of Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, and you see someone who embraced God in times of trial, rather than reject God.

Sunday morning, our church will look at God’s work in his kingdom and two men’s responses to it when they faced trials. Saul rejected God to the point of suicide. David embraced God:

3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David's two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God (II Sam. 30:3-6 emphasis mine).

May I, and we, embrace God in our times of trials.

Time is Filled with Swift Transition

Monday morning this week, I went to Tyler Junior College and enrolled my oldest daughter in a dual-credit speech class. My daughter, Haleigh, is a junior now. Next year, she will graduate from high school.

All of this took me back to a day a few years ago, when my two oldest daughters were in elementary school. One morning, inspired by an article I read, I took the jar and set it on my desk. I counted the amount of weekends I would have my girls at home before they left for college. I put one penny in that jar for each weekend I would have the girls at home. The jar was a large jar, but I filled it half full.

Since then, at the end of every weekend, I have removed one penny. The pennies now stack up about an inch and a half high; they probably fill only one-eleventh of the jar.

My plan is to remove a penny a week until Abby leaves home and the jar is empty. Then I will begin the process over again for the final years my two youngest children are home. In a sense, this will be a reprieve, because time is flying by.

I am so glad I have engaged in this little exercise. In its own little way, it has served as a marker. All of these years, it has motivated me to squeeze everything I can out of the time I have with my kids. I truly see how our children are with us for such a short period of time.

10 Careers That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago

Speaking of the passage of time, I was fascinated to see a list of 10 careers that did not exist in the year 2000. The following is a list of ten jobs that have evolved over the past decade:

1. Bloggers

2. Community managers or content managers

3. Green funeral directors

4. Interior redesigners

5. Patient advocates

6. Senior move management

7. Social media strategists

8. User experience analyst

9. Video journalists

10. Virtual business service providers.

To read more, click on this link: 1=23000&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=e89a6cfd2f1f4ce993a8b3504fc4d5c9-316868270-wc-6">>1=23000&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=e89a6cfd2f1f4ce993a8b3504fc4d5c9-316868270-wc-6

Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)

1. I saw where 2 million people were within ten miles of the epicenter of that horrible earthquake in Haiti. This is when I am glad that we pay taxes to help people who are suffering, such as those in Haiti right now. God bless the people of Haiti, and God’s speed to our resources and people arriving.

2. Look out! Texas is number one in college basketball.

3. I have been reading two books recently I have enjoyed: LBJ: ARCHITECT OF AMERICAN AMBITION by Randall Bennett Woods and THE REAGAN DIARIES UNABRIDGED: VOLUME 1 JANUARY 1981-OCTOBER 1985. Woods, in LBJ, has new things to say, which I would not have thought possible. I told you last year I had enjoyed reading THE REAGAN DIARIES. However, the version I read was edited. My current book, although covering only a little more than Reagan’s first term, is unabridged. Moreover, I found this hardback version on BOOKCLOSEOUTS.COM for a bargain price.

4. Still have not seen the movie INVICTUS. Maybe I can before it comes out on DVD.

5. Announcing: I have begun a new blog. It will be in addition to this weekly blog, which you are reading now. Unlike this blog, I will post my new blog every morning, Monday-Friday. I am calling it TELL ME A STORY. If you are willing to become a follower, I will send you a story every day. I hope you will find this blog encouraging, inspirational, helpful—or just plain fun. Here is the link:

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rested, Refreshed, and Back

I feel good. I know my adrenaline is running because I have been arising easily this week. Normally, it feels like I've been run over by a herd of buffaloes each morning. I'm not convinced this will last, but it is a sure sign of a good time of vacation.

I always feel fired up for the New Year. This year, I have been processing personal goals, as well as, things I would like to see Shiloh do. My mind has been assimilating the experiences in Spearfish, South Dakota, and I have been convicted of the need of sharing Jesus with people.

I am definitely not satisfied with maintaining status quo. I cannot help but believe that God desires fruit from spiritual and numerical growth.

It is interesting; so much of life is about what we will or will not accept. I absolutely know I will eat today. I know my family will eat. I will not accept anything less.

I don't wake up each morning thinking "Well, if it is God's will I will eat." No, I am convicted to the core it is God's will for me is to eat. Now, I understand that both God and Satan are bigger than I am. There is a spiritual war they are engaged in. Being a pawn of that war, I understand that they both trump my beliefs. If that happens, I will respectfully accept it. But I expect to eat.

I expect shelter for me and my family. I expect a roof over our heads that works, I expect protection from the cold, and I expect our basic survival needs will be met.

If those needs are not met, that is a catastrophe. I will not accept a catastrophe without summarizing the effort to face the challenge. Again, God or Satan can trump my work, but my assumption is my family will be protected from the elements. I will not be satisfied with anything less.

Most Christians are like me in that regard. Why is it in a world in which God values new people coming into the kingdom, I, and we, can remain so satisfied with a lack of spiritual fruit bearing?

A year or two ago, one of our elders noted that when he became an elder, it was as if God had entrusted into his and the other elders’ care, a congregation of 500 people. He thought of the parable of the talents. Jesus noted that the master was pleased when the man took five talents and doubled them. The master was pleased when the man took two talents and doubled them. Jesus noted the master was not pleased with the man who received one talent and maintained it. This elder said he was convicted he could not stand someday before God and hand back a church of the same size. Neither can I.

One of my goals for this year is a holy discontent. I desire to accept nothing less than a multiplying ministry. I want to arrive to that place where my assumption and insistence for people being added to the kingdom is equally as strong as my expectation that my basic needs and my families’ basic needs will be met.
I had the chance to read AMAZING FAITH during the holidays. I have some philosophical disagreements with Bright. Still, I find him a compelling figure in 20th century Christianity. I respect his heart for Jesus and his passion for evangelism.

The book was interesting and an easy read. Clearly the author, Michael Richardson, is sympathetic to his subject. Yet, Richardson’s sympathy does not mar one’s reading experience.

Bill Bright, the mind and inspiration behind Campus Crusade for Christ, made a great impact on the twentieth century. This book reveals the story behind the his life and work.
Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)
1. I think I wrote last month that my 2010 electronic challenge would be transferring my audio tape files to a digital format for my computer. To that end, I purchased the GRACE DIGITAL AUDIO Tape 2 USB. I have been very disappointed. I have spent a number of hours studying and working with the hardware and software because I have found this device not to be user friendly for the layman. Moreover, they offer no resources other than on-line forums to address any problem. With so many variables involved in such a product, I feel resource people should be available to offer personal service. I consider my time to be one of my most valuable resources. This product does not respect the time of the layman. I give it an F.

2. Several of you my age have seen AVATAR and said I need to see it. Thanks for the comments.

3. I wish to tell all of the people in South Dakota, who took my advice and bet on the Texas Longhorns—I’m sorry. Everything played out just as I had envisioned last night in the championship game except for one—I did not imagine Colt McCoy getting hurt on the Longhorn’s fifth offensive play.

4. On the positive side for the Longhorns. I’m sure Mack Brown went to bed last night disappointed for a number of reasons. But when he awoke this morning, he had to be thinking:
a. He almost won the national championship with a true freshman quarterback who played under the worst of circumstances.
b. This is the worst situation this quarterback will ever face. It is all downhill from here.
c. He has a blue chip running back coming to Texas from Cayuga.
d. Much of his excellent defense returns.
e. Will Muschamp returns as defensive coordinator.
Yes, the sun definitely rose for Mack Brown this morning.

5. I am afraid the third time’s a charm—the Eagles will beat the Cowboys.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 1, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us

In Sinclair Lewis's literary classic, BABBIT, Lewis tells the fascinating story of a successful real estate businessman named George Babbitt. Babbitt lived in the fictitious American city of Zenith, in the year 1920. Lewis, who was later to win the Noble Prize for literature, chronicles the ups and downs of the life of Babbitt with a sarcastic eye. And there is much to learn from the life of Babbitt.

One instance in the life of Babbitt that was particularly poignant was when Babbitt decided to attend his 24th anniversary class reunion dinner. Sixty men were present at the dinner including Charles McKelvey, the fabulously successful, millionaire businessman. Remember, 1920 was a year when a million dollars was a million dollars.

At the dinner, Babbitt decided to try recultivate his friendship with Charles McKelvey, their friendship having weakened in the years after college. McKelvey, as you might suspect, was a very popular figure at the dinner. Many of the men crowded around him for the privilege of speaking with such a successful man.

At last George too worked his way into an opportunity to converse with McKelvey and as luck would have it, he was able to sit by him at the dinner. There, George discussed old times and college pranks with McKelvey and at the conclusion of the dinner, insisted it was a pity that the two had drifted so far apart. To remedy the situation, George invited Charles McKelvey and his wife to his house for dinner. McKelvey unenthusiastically agreed to come.

George Babbitt and his wife were ecstatic. At last, they were going to have someone of real social standing in their home. In their hearts, they hoped that the McKelvey's would raise the Babbitt's social standing.

After breaking the date several times, the McKelvey's finally came to dinner, arriving in a chauffeured limousine. The Babbitts had also invited a well-known physician and lawyer to their dinner, hoping to impress the McKelvey's.

Unfortunately, they didn't. The McKelvey's were obviously bored, and to cement the failure of the dinner, found a weak excuse of leaving early. As he and his wife were leaving, Charles McKelvey said that they must have lunch with the Babbitts sometime. But somehow the words seemed hollow.

At night as they were lying in bed, George tried to help his wife feel like the evening had been successful, and their social status would surely be improved. But in one his most moving lines, Lewis writes that George heard his wife "weeping, slowly, without hope."

Sure enough, the invitation never came. But it was during this time that Ed Overbrook, who was also a classmate of Babbitt reentered Babbitt’s life. Overbrook was a failure in life, having an insurance business that was not doing very well. Ever since his college days he had admired Babbitt.

At the class dinner, he had been standing away from the bulk of the group with three other men, who had not done so well with their lives. Babbitt had seen Overbrook over to the side and having pity, used his extroverted traits to engage in a little small talk with Ed. During the conversation, Overbrook insisted that it was a pity that the two had drifted so far apart. To remedy the situation, Overbrook invited Babbitt and his wife to his house for dinner. Babbitt agreed to come, but immediately forgot it.

Ed Overbrook could not forget it and repeatedly called Babbitt trying to nail down a time. Finally, George could not put it off any longer, so he accepted a dinner invitation for two weeks in the future. After all, two weeks seemed like a long time away.

It wasn't, and the closer that dinner date came the more George and his wife viewed it with consternation. Finally, the dreaded day arrived. As the Babbitts were leaving, George said, "Let's make it as short as possible. I think we'll duck out quick. I'll say I have to be at the office extra early tomorrow."

At the dinner were two other families with whom George was not impressed. Using his weak excuse, George and his wife left the dinner early, with George saying as he was leaving that they would need to have lunch together sometime.

As they were driving home, the Babbitts cringed at the thought of having to invite the Overbrooks for dinner. Chief among their concerns was some of their friends might see them. Ultimately, the Babbitts decided to let their invitation slide, and they didn't see the Overbrooks socially again.

Lewis, with this episode, does a marvelous job of presenting to us a parable of a fundamental human problem (at least in the U. S.) The Babbitts were embarrassed by the Overbrooks, and they felt (it was an excuse!) that the Overbrooks would be uncomfortable with them because they were much poorer. But the Babbitts never realized that this was precisely the attitude that the McKelvey's had toward them.

When you think about it, the church is full of people like the Babbitts. People who have hidden agendas to advance their social status, thinking that this will increase their self-worth. Not realizing that all they are doing is engaging in an exercise of pride. The result of all of this is there are many people in the church with hurt feelings (some with broken dreams) and resentment. No wonder we sometimes have great problems with keeping peace in the church.

Jesus talked about this in Luke 14. Why not take some time and read that great chapter?

Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)

1. I had a great reunion with the members of our Cordoba, Argentina team, celebrating the 20th anniversary of our arrival in that great land. Everyone was able to come except for Alan and Cindy Nickson and their son, Scott, and his family. We laughed and shared with each other. We marveled at how crazy we were to think that God would honor our desire to go. In our case, Judy and I had the audacity to travel to churches raising support—six months before we were even engaged! Yet God honored the vision, and we are most profoundly grateful. Until my kids came along, those years in Argentina were the best of my life.

2. Is it just me? I have absolutely no desire to see AVATAR.

3. I had a great time yesterday making a pilgrimage to Winters, Tx, home of the mighty Blizzards. We traveled to Sterling City to watch the varsity girls play in a tournament. They played well and won the game. Their defense was especially good. I coached a lot of those girls when they were in the fifth and sixth grades, and I have a lot of good memories of that experience. It was neat watching them play as high schoolers.

4. I’m finishing up my first two week vacation in a few years. Very relaxing. December has been a remarkable month for me. First, I spent a week in Spearfish, South Dakota—visiting a congregation there—and had a marvelous time. It did not seem like part of my job. Then I worked a week in Tyler. Then, two weeks of vacation. Right now, I’m chillin with Judy’s family. All of this is charging my batteries for 2010. I cannot wait.

5. Remember, I picked the Texas Longhorns to beat Alabama the night they beat Nebraska.

Happy New Year!