Who Knew It Could Freeze in Texas? Part One

Snow covers the ground and the palm trees in San Antonio, Texas.
Snow and ice coat the palm trees in San Antonio, Texas.

At 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning Peggy woke me up again.

“I’m getting cold.”

I mumbled, “Okay” and started the Toyota.

In a few minutes, warm air flowed through the dashboard vents. I wiped the fog off my side window and looked across the Love’s Truck Stop parking lot in Kingsville, Texas. A freezing drizzle glazed the scene around me in ice.

I’ve had some sucky vacations in my day, but this one might top the charts. We had arrived in Corpus Christi on Saturday, February 6th, and it was sunny and beautiful. We’d enjoyed four days of mild weather.

Among other reasons, we’d chosen to stay in Corpus Christi because it was a beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s almost as far south as you can go in Texas, just 165 miles north of the Mexican border.

Surely this would be a safe spot for a month-long escape from our Indiana winter.

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Can We Salvage Anything from This 2020 Train Wreck?

Something positive might emerge from this election fiasco if we can form a national consensus about enforcing transparent procedures.


Voter drops a ballot into the ballot box.
Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

President Trump’s legal battle to contest the election has polarized our country.

Many Trump supporters are convinced the election was stolen, that Democrats played loosey-goosey with mail-in ballots and vote tabulations and rigged the results in Joe Biden’s favor.

Democrats claim that Republicans are trying to “overturn the election.”  Business Insider reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacked Republicans supporting the lawsuits, saying they’re “engaged in election subversion that imperils our democracy.”

The problem is, no one really knows what happened.

You know what you believe based on news reports from media you trust.

I know what I believe based on news reports from media I trust.

But none of us really “know” for a fact if this election was fair or not.

The big problem here is lax enforcement of election rules.

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Why We Should Never Take Election Day for Granted

Today as I left the polling station I was reminded how blessed we are to live in America.

Walking past the voters waiting in line, I observed a cross-section of humanity rarely gathered together in one place at one time.

Old and young, short and tall, thin and wide, high-school dropouts and college grads.

election-day

A lanky bearded baby-boomer, with faded jeans and a headband, waited patiently in line behind a young businessman in a blue suit and tie.

Elderly widows with canes stood alongside young moms with babies. Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites populated the long queue. There was no intimidation, no rowdiness, no disrespect shown to anyone.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; we all gathered together to peacefully share in this most wonderful of American rituals: the opportunity to vote. Continue reading

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A Short Story in Remembrance of a Life Lived for Christ

I am pleased to publish this guest post from my friend Brenda Purcell


During the civil war in Guatemala, Pastor Miguel Cojti was preaching in his church. In the middle of the service, three soldiers came through the doors and pulled Pastor Miguel out of his pulpit.

They proceeded to take him out to a field and said they were going to kill him. They said that it was because he preached that there was a Heaven and a Hell and only by trusting in Jesus would a person be able to live at peace with God.

One of the solders protested and said that there was no Hell, that Hell was here living on this earth and experiencing all that was happening in Guatemala.

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It Really Was Almost This Pathetic

For once I am speechless...

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How Dare You Disagree with Me!

TALK TO THE HAND!

Had I known it would sour a relationship that I treasured, I would never have sent that comment.

But let me back up and give you some quick background…

My wife Peggy and I have known “Jenny” (not her real name) since she was nine years old. For seven years, she and her two sisters were a regular part of our family.

We first met them when their mom was recently divorced and needed help with child care. So Peggy and I picked the girls up after school several days a week and kept them until their mom got home from work.

Over time, we became really fond of those girls. They spent weekends with us about once a month, and several times joined us on short camping vacations at Indiana State Parks. We joked that they were our “part-time daughters.”

We went to their school plays, made birthday cakes for them, and just generally enjoyed the blessings of having some new youngsters in our lives after our two children had sprouted their wings and left our nest empty.

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Memo to My White Brethren: The South Lost. Get Over It.

confederate flag with ban marking

I’ve had the good fortune to be born a white male in the United States of America.

So it’s pretty easy for me to hold fond feelings for this great country that has blessed me with so much opportunity. I love America. I believe this is the best place in the world to live.

Sadly, not everyone living here has shared in my positive experiences.

I’ve never been belittled by racist taunts. My parents were never denied employment or housing for being white. My grandparents were never afraid to vote.

None of my great-grandparents were ever lynched. None of my great-great-grandparents endured the living hell of slavery.
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COVID-19 Cure is Now Worse Than the Disease

Two people in masks behind plastic barrier

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 2,810,000 Americans died in 2017, for an average of 7708 people per day, or one every 11.2 seconds.

Statistics for 2017 show that 647,457 people died of heart disease, making it the #1 killer of Americans.

Cancer of all kinds ran a close second, causing 599,108 deaths that year.

The Top Ten list for 2017 continues: Continue reading

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Why America Needs an Economic Time-out

Photo of James Stewart as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life"

James Stewart as George Bailey

Most of you are familiar with George Bailey, the neighborly president of Bailey Savings & Loan played by James Stewart in the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

George Bailey was generous, helpful, and genuinely concerned for the welfare of his customers – his neighbors – and he helped make Bedford Falls the kind of town where you’d want to raise your family.

Close-up of Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life"

Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter

Surely you also remember the movie’s villain, Mr. Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore), a miserly old grouch who owned most of the rest of Bedford Falls and used the advantages of his wealth to, well, take advantage of people.

Thanks to the unavoidable economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy is facing a tsunami wave of bad debt. So we are getting ready to find out just what kind of lenders we have in the USA these days.

And right now, the financial services industry is looking a lot like Mr. Potter. Continue reading

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Learning to Trust When Life Goes Bust

In light of recent events, I am sharing the all-time most popular post of my blog. This tale of trials and deliverance seems so timely right now. Originally published August 20, 2015.


Please allow me to share my tale of woe.

The past five years have been tough for the Smith family. Lots of unpleasant things have happened to us.

Forgive me if it sounds like I am looking for sympathy…that is not my intent.  But I do believe that this true account of our season of trials provides a great excuse to brag on the Lord a little.

March 2011 – I had my second heart attack (see Another Routine Day in the ER) which maxed out our health insurance out-of-pocket expenses for 2011. (Out-of-pocket maximums that have more than doubled since the implementation of Obamacare, but don’t even get me started on that!)

Summer of 2012 – a dear friend of mine, a very sweet woman whom I had worked with for 12 years, became gravely ill with cancer and had to undergo a year’s worth of chemo, radiation and surgery.

November 2012 – I had emergency gall bladder surgery right after Thanksgiving. I was one sick little puppy before and after that procedure! (See My Birthday Trip to the Emergency Room.)

December 2012 – I had another surgery right before Christmas to remove a small cancerous tumor from my bladder. This surgery was followed by check-ups every three months with an urologist who used a “not-slender-enough-to-suit-me” scope to inspect my bladder and search for any recurrence of the cancer. (I will leave the unpleasant details of these inspection procedures to your imagination.)

Needless to say, we again maxed out our out-of-pocket medical expenses for 2012! Continue reading

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