Clippings on various things from my journal

Carl Sandburg said, “There is an eagle inside me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus inside me that wants to wallow in the mud.”

We all get to choose–have to choose!–every day of our lives which it shall be.

(1) Chuck Colson once asked a prisoner on death row if he wanted a television in his cell. “No,” he said. “TV wastes too much time.”

We get to choose–have to choose!–what to do with our time each day.

(2) Thomas Merton said, “There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the ass understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.”

We choose what to do with Jesus.

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Dumb questions and smart-alec answers

This is Super Bowl week ni our part of Planet Earth.  In January 29, 2018’s USA Today, reporter Josh Peter wrote about “infamous Super Bowl” questions which sports reporters have been known to toss to athletes.

During Super Bowl week back in 1994, a reporter asked Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas what got him psyched up for big games.  “I read the newspaper and look at all the stupid questions you all ask,” he answered.

So, Reporter Josh Peter gave us some of his “most infamous” (translation: dumb, dumb, dumb!) questions from Super Bowl weeks in years past….

–“Was it dead mother, blind father or blind mother, dead father?”  The reporter was asking Quarterback Jim Plunkett to clarify the situation of his parents. Correct answer: Plunkett’s mother is blind and alive, his father blind but no longer living.

We read that and wonder what kind of crassness would prompt a normal human to ask such an unthinking question.

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How to read well and fast, and hopefully smart

Or, if you don’t like the title above, try this one: How to read a 500 page book in 30 minutes! And retain 90 percent of what you read!

That’s the come-on which led some of us to pay for the Evelyn Wood speed-reading course some years back.  It was not money well spent in my judgement, although I did discover how a few people in this world manage to pull that off.  (If your experience with that course was better than mine, congratulations.)

A friend who is an editor for a Christian news service suggested that, since I’m a constant reader, I should write a blog on the subject of reading and how to do it faster and better.  As a trained editor, she tends to read critically and thus slower than she’d like.

That hit me like the time another editor asked me for an article on gluttony.  I had consumed three large meals that day.  But I thought, “Who better than me, who knows the subject so well?”  I wrote the article and it’s still circulating the globe in cyberspace.

So, I opened the laptop with that intention.  But first, I decided to put the question to my friends on Facebook.  How to read faster and more effectively.  The answers were many, some helpful and several silly.  For instance, the latter…

–Bob recommended the Jeff Foxworthy method of “reading more gooder fastly.”

–Ken suggested, “Rd onl fw ltrs, dnt dwl on evy wd.  Dnt gv u!”   Someone needs to buy Ken a vowel.

–Luther learned to cut his reading time in one-half, he says, by turning two pages at a time.

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What this place is saying

(from my 1990 journal)

Before I saw her dead and murdered, I enjoyed her yard and ate her mulberries.

For only the third time in my life, I walked by Miss Boshell’s house and stood in her yard the other day.  This time it was Spring.  The yard is rich in green and the daffodils are everywhere.  Mom says those flowers are from the bulbs Miss Boshell herself planted.  Since she’s been dead 39 years, that’s quite a record.  Buttercups–aka jonquils–must be more formidable than they appear.  The trees have been cut down so what was her house-place looks a lot like an open field.

The first time I came here was in late summer around 1950.  I was 10. Mom and several of us stood around in her yard and on the porch visiting.  The simple white frame house was shadowed on all sides by large trees.  The most interesting to us children was the mulberry tree out close to the road.  Its fruit was large and juicy and hung down within reach.  Nearby her muscadine vines competed for our attention.  It was good to be in Miss Boshell’s yard that day.  If the children talked to her at all, I don’t recall.  Mom did that. We had other business.

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Scraps and observations from my clutter

The wonderful Ruth Bell Graham compiled an entire book from the notes and scraps she accumulated from her desks, table tops, old files, etc.  “Legacy of a Pack Rat” is well worth the few bucks you will pay to purchase the book used. I recommend it highly.

Now, to my clutter.

Before tossing it in the trash–the clutter on this table demands I either file it, begin strip-mining operations on it, or discard it, and the latter wins the vote–I thought someone might appreciate these.  Use if you are able.

HENRY KISSINGER once said of U. S. diplomat Richard Holbrook, “If Richard calls you and asks you for something, just say yes. If you say no, you’ll eventually get to yes, but the journey will be very painful.”

That reminds us of the foolishness of resisting the Holy Spirit. “It is hard to kick against the goads,” as the Lord told Saul of Tarsus.

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Did Abraham Lincoln really say that?

“You can’t trust everything you see on the internet these days.”  –Abraham Lincoln.

You get the impression some people find a pithy saying and decide it would carry greater weight if attached to the name of someone important. So, they say Lincoln said it. Or Napoleon. Or Henry Ward Beecher. Or Pogo. Or Charlie Brown.

A magnet on my refrigerator has this one: “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln.

I find myself doubting he said such a thing.  It sounds too bumper-stickerish to have come from our esteemed sixteenth president.

So, with my laptop open, I typed in “Did Lincoln say that?” and got all the sources one could ever require confirming or denying various attributions to Mr. Lincoln.

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“Don’t draw my wrinkles!”

I’ll be sketching a long line of people at a church dinner or community party, and in the course of an hour or two will hear it a dozen times.

“Don’t draw my wrinkles.”

Usually I laugh it off.  “You don’t have any wrinkles.”  Or I tease that “I take the wrinkles from the women and give them to the men.”

Sometimes I say, “Hey, they don’t call me ‘Botox Joe’ for nothing!”

Why do people hate facial wrinkles so much?

Some child called them “crinkles.”

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What my 90-year-old father taught me about life

“Never unprepared.”

The McKeever crest actually claims that as our family motto, going back to somewhere, Ireland or Scotland or both.

I used to laugh at the irony of that.  I mean, what were our people, a bunch of boy scouts?

I’m not laughing any more. My dad taught me how it works.

Carl J. McKeever, the 6th generation descendant of Cornelius “Neil” McKeever who arrived from the old country on the east coast around 1803, was definitely an original. The first-born of an even dozen children, Dad started working inside the coal mines in 1926 when he was 14.  His formal education ended with the seventh grade, but he never stopped growing and learning and being curious.

At the time this happened, I thought this was hilarious.

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Hoisted on one’s own petard. Whatever that means.

I bought three cheap little rubber snakes at Walmart to drop into the tall grass in my front yard to give my grandson a start as he goes by with the mower.

The only one they scared was me.

Son Neil was videoing it as Grant pushed the mower ever closer to the serpents.  Then, at the magic moment, when he saw the snakes, he never batted an eye—but started to push the mower over them, until Neil stopped him.

Later, after I’d taken the snakes into the house, Neil returned them to the front yard and laid them in the flower garden as decorations.  So, next morning when I went to bring in the newspaper, my eye spots the snakes and my nerves jerk before my mind has time to signal that “it’s okay; they’re just rubber.”

I bought them to scare Grant, but the only person they startle is me.

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Pluto, Hubble, and why I believe in Heaven

“You have covered the heavens with your majesty…. When I observe the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You set in place, what is man that You remember him…? Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!” (Psalm 8)

This has been quite a week for science lovers and everyone else.

The New Horizons spacecraft did a fly-by in the area of Pluto traveling at a comfortable 30,800 mph.

And sent back snapshots for our enjoyment.

Pluto is handsome and a little small for his age, but still quite the character.  He’s definitely someone we wanted to know.

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