The Little Blog That Could


It has been over two and half years since I first got started with my web blog. Today I want to show you the power of the written word, it truly can travel around the world. Word Press which hosts my website, offers me a daily report of all the countries that access and read my web page. I have a faithful group of individuals that follow my bi-weekly thoughts, and I would love to get input from you on what you like and what you’d offer as advice for my writings. I might also like to take your responses and offer you a humorous or serious perspective on what may be on your mind. So feel free to share. I am most intrigued that I have a nice group in Brazil that reads my website faithfully.

In just the past 30 days, individuals in 41 countries as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have accessed my blog.

Argentina
Austria
Australia
Brazil
Canada
Cape Verde
Columbia
Costa Rica
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
India
Ireland
Indonesia
Italy
Japan
Korea, Republic of
Malaysia
Mexico
Moldavia
New Zealand
Norway
Philippines
Portugal
Romania
Saudi Arabia
Serbia
Slovakia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
Venezuela
Vietnam
and the United States

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting my passion of writing and helping me make new friends. John

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That’s the Good Stuff


A few years ago, country singer Kenny Chesney topped the charts with a song entitled, “The Good Stuff.” It was a reference to going into a bar one time and telling the bartender he wanted the “good stuff.” The wise bartender told him, “If you want the good stuff, you can’t buy it here.” He eluded to the fact that good things are the wonderful things in life that are the most precious. The song tells of young love that grows special over the years and how we should value what is most important.

It was late one summer night outside Burleson, Texas. I had just stopped at my fiancĂ©’s home she shared with two friends just prior to us getting married. It had been a long day. I was the news director of a little radio station KPAR in Granbury, Texas and my days always started early 5 am. It seemed I never could spend enough time with the girl I was going to marry within a few short weeks. As we said our goodnights, she kissed me for luck and I hopped in my Caprice Classic Coupe to head back to my apartment in Keene.

Tonight was no different; I was tired. In fact as my mother used to say, “If my fanny were metal, you could see sparks when I walked” it was dragging. The prairie roads were long and straight and during the daylight hours you could see miles ahead of you with no difficulty. It may have been because the roads were so familiar or maybe I just wanted to get home to my bed; but I was driving far too fast. As I was traveling at 70 miles per hour, a reflection, almost imperceptible could be seen in the road. It looked like it was a pair of eyes belonging to a small animal. I knew it couldn’t be a deer, so I decided to slow down anyway less I splat a cat on my newly washed car.

What started out as a slight slowdown, turned into skidding tires and extreme heart palpitations. The minute reflection I now gazed upon was NOT a small cat, nor was it an animal of any kind. It was a reckless farmer backing up a two ton flat bed truck in the middle of the road; he was doing it without lights. He must have missed his turn. Anger bubbled up inside me as I witnessed this hapless no common sense driver backing up with nary a light or reflector on the truck. The truck was black and every reflector was missing or broken save a small partial piece hanging on by it’s last screw. It was this broken piece the size of a half dollar, that saved my life in a split second. My focus shifted at that very moment on what could have been. That little piece of red, was the sole reason I was later able to walk down the aisle six weeks later to marry my sweetheart.

When you hear me talking about God’s interventions in my life, you will be enlightened. When I talk about my life and the “good stuff”, you’ll now understand better why I refer to it as a reflection.

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“The Best Type of Prayin”


I recall when I was eleven years of age my parents took us on vacation through New Jersey where they had once lived. They fancied a visit with old friends and since we were at their mercy, we had no choice but go along. The house of their friend’s sat in a somewhat rural area and it afforded them space for their teenage son to explore on his motor bike. As much as I wasn’t a fan of motorcycles, I was even less a fan of freckly faced teenagers whose sole purpose in life was to scare the stuffing out of eleven year olds with dare devil stunts.

My brother and sister were the first riders on our new friend’s motor bike, I was last. I remember my siblings telling me after their rides that it was a blast; they lied. Typically a sinister laugh and beady eyes is more a trait of a bad movie villain than an adolescent character flaw. I should have anticipated the next sequence of events because this kid was equal parts Mario Andretti and Evil Knievel. We took off like we were extras in the movie Smokey and the Bandit.

With my arms wrapped around his midsection like Velcro and my heading bouncing around like a bobble head doll, we jettisoned across the rough terrain. I don’t recall whether I screamed like a little girl or if I sounded more like an Ewok in distress; a lot of high pitched grunts. But across hills and dirt mounds, jumps and near wheelies, I quickly learned the concept of prayer. On the rear of that motor bike, I found God and promised Him everything my future held if He would just return me back safely. With the ride over and my adrenalin reverting back to safe levels, I disembarked with legs that felt like Jello. I dropped to my knees, channeled the Pope, and kissed the ground. I had prayed my way out of an insane obstacle course adventure.

Not unlike my own concept of what constituted the best way to pray, three preachers one day stood in the front yard of the church. They began discussing the best positions for prayer. Unnoticed, was a telephone repairman working nearby.
As the conversation became more animated the first one exclaimed, “Kneeling is definitely best.”
“No,” another contended. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven.”
“You’re both wrong,” the third insisted. “The most effective prayer position is lying prostrate, face down on the floor.”
The repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer. Butting in he blurted out, “Hey, fellas,” I don’t mean to interrupt you, “but the best prayin’ I ever did was hangin’ upside down from a telephone pole.”

Isn’t it rather obvious that no matter if you’re alone or just “hanging around”, the best means to make a proper connection with God is following the advice of Nike Shoe’s advertising campaign; “Just Do It”!

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The Mortified Dad


If you didn’t already know it, children are sponges; they absorb everything. When television executives say their programs don’t influence behavior in children, I laugh at their foolishness. If that were the case, why during cartoons do you see tons of commercials for toys and sugar cereals? I don’t think I’m enlightening anyone to the fact that children don’t miss a thing.

Some years ago before my father retired as a pastor, he visited the home of a family who had a very spoiled child. The four year old boy was untamed, undisciplined, and temperamental. My father was paying a dinner visit and as the boy’s parents worked in the kitchen, he was relegated to watching the child. My father is a master with children, they love him. However this one was challenging.

As my father sat on the sofa, the child would run at him with his head down and try to butt my father in the stomach with his head. Each time my father would say NO and push him away, he would start all over again and try harder to be even more obnoxious. Finally on his fourth attempt of being a nuisance, my father took his knuckle and when the child tried to ram him again, he thumped him on top of his head. The little boy stumbled backwards, glared at my father, then ran into his bedroom. Moments later he returned with a toy plastic chain saw. He quickly pulled the string to make the realistic sound of a working chainsaw and promptly tried to saw my father’s arm off for spite. Knowing my Dad, I can only imagine it took all of his reserves not to drop kick this petulant child through the goal posts of life.

When my wife was in the hospital having just given birth to our daughter, my next door neighbor approached my three year old son and me. He said, “If you want, I have some movies that will make you want your wife to come home quicker.” Knowing my neighbors penchant for some movies that featured scantily clad women, I made up a movie title and responded, “Well if your movies are something like “Garage Girls” I’m not interested. He laughed and said, “Yeah, something like that, but I knew you wouldn’t be interested.” Nothing more was said of the incident and it never came up again in conversation for three days. That is until I took my son to church.

As we were entering the door of our little country church, we passed our saintly pastor in the hallway. Just as we were to ascend the stairs to the sanctuary he stopped me and said, “John, as part of the social committee, could you recommend a movie the church family could watch together this weekend?” Instantly as if on cue my son shouts out for all the world to hear, “Yeah, how about garage girls?” My pastor’s face registered absolute shock and at that moment there was not a rock big enough to hide my embarrassment. Looking down at my child I said sternly, “Son, where in the world did you hear that?” I was praying fervently at that moment he wouldn’t blurt out, “YOU”.

That moment became my epiphany on raising children; they really don’t miss a thing. You know, all of us have moments in our lives that test our faith and courage. Taking our children to meet the pastor is one of them.

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