Turn out the lights the party’s over

   Something happened yesterday at work that I found humorous.  A brief power outage, less than a minute.  However when your in a windowless interior room, it sure is dark.  I did not panic, jump, or scream.  Instead I thought of Don Meredeth also known as Dandy Don.  The famous all pro quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys who become the color commentator of Monday Night Football with announcers Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford.  When Dandy Don thought the game was all but over he would break out in song.  “Turn out the lights the party’s over”  which was a line from a Willie Nelson song.  So I starting singing.  Mercifully the lights came back on rather quickly as I’m not much of a singer.  I had not thought about that Monday Night Football announcing crew for years.  Nor do I break out in song at random moments.  It occurred to me that this is just another example of something I never intended to learn.  Yes Monday Night Football is a fond memory of growing up.  You could say that we grew up together.  But I never intended to learn the words of the song.  So some 30 years later this song just rolls of the tongue the instant the lights go out. Since everyone I was working with that day was under the age of thirty, they must of thought I was just a little nuts. I felt old but still had to laugh.  This just made the work day so much more enjoyable. And that is “The View From Here”.

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The $1.80 Jar

At this evenings’ seven church combined Lenten service, I was to give a special presentation. I shared the story behind my $1.80 jar.  I read the story that moved me to action.  It was about a young family (mom, dad, baby).  The dad had to picked up from work because he became ill.  After a trip to the ER, he was sent home with a Rx.  On the way home the Rx was dropped off at the local pharmacy.  The wife asked that the pharmacy tech to check their insurance card & Rx discount card to see which would be the best savings.  The wife took her husband home then returned to the pharmacy.  The pharmacist told the wife that they were able to get the cost of the Rx down to $40.  The wife apologized and said she only had $18 in the checking account.  She asked the pharmacist what she should do.  The pharmacist said he would call the doctor at the hospital to see if another Rx could work.  The wife went home to care for her husband.  The pharmacy called to tell her a new Rx was ready for her to pick.  When the wife got there, she was told a new Rx was prescribed that only cost $19.80, but she only needed to pay $18.  Not to worry about the other $1.80 because the pharmacy tech that waited on her earlier in the day paid that.  She thank the pharmacist.  She went on to explain to him how hard they were working just to pay the rent, the utilities, provide for their baby, buy a little food, put gas in the car so they could go to work, which didn’t leave much if anything left over.  The wife even wrote a letter to the drug store chain to tell them how grateful she was to these two employees.

This lead me to start my $1.80 jar.  It’s just a quart mason jar that I put $1.80 in every Sunday, that stays at church.  It’s purpose is to help in a time of need, pure & simple.  It can help instantly, no committee meeting or special offering needed.  My favorite way to use the $1.80 jar is by helping our local kidkare project.  Our church sponsors a child but there are more children than sponsors.  So from time to time kidkare will post a need for an unsponsored child.  We have quickly been able to answer some of these needs.  One time I was online when a need was posted for milk money for kindergarten student for the remainder of the school year, done.  Didn’t have to think about it, ask anyone for permission, call a special committee meeting, didn’t have wait for Sunday and ask for a special offering.  I just did it, it was that simple & did it feel good to help.  This jar has made such an impact that we have now given jars to the congregation,  They take them home and just put loose change in them.  If a need arises they can take care of it.  If not, we collect the jars once a year with money going to a predetermined cause.  It could be a building project, a mission project, an educational need, VBS, a local outreach, I think you get the idea.  Our small congregation has brought in over a thousand dollars on average each year we have been doing this.  It is so simple but yet so very powerful.  Seeing so many people looking for small ways that can have such a big impact on other peoples lives is very exciting.  To God be the glory!

After services were over this evening, I had a number of people from other congregations asking questions.  Some even asking if they could do this at their church.  One gentleman was so moved he shook man hand and told me to put it in my jar.  When I looked in my hand it was a $100 dollar bill.  That wasn’t even the best part though.  I had another gentleman tell me that I was such an inspiration.  I don’t think that I have ever been anyone’s inspiration.  If I have been, they neglected to tell me about it.  This is such a weird feeling.  I’m not quite sure how to handle this.  If I could inspire one person maybe I could inspire more?  Is there any obligation to being someones inspiration?  Is my part done now?  Is follow up needed or required?  Should I start seeking out other churches to share the $1.80 jar?  This is all so new to me.  As usual I don’t have the answers, just questions.

And that is the view from here.

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National Holidays that are No Longer

What has happened to the National Holiday?  Let’s look at the list of National Holidays for 2013 observed by the federal government, meaning a paid day off for all federal employees.

          New Years Day

          Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday

          Presidents Day

          Memorial Day

          Independence Day

          Labor Day

          Columbus Day

           Veterans Day

           Thanksgiving & day after

            Christmas Eve, Christmas, day after Christmas

Thirteen days total.  Now by definition a holiday is a day set aside to observe a cultural tradition or religious occasion by allowing suspension or reduction of business or work to allow the individual time to celebrate said event.  So one would think if the government is closed for these so called “National Holidays”  all business, industry, educational systems would be closed as well.  Only the essential services would remain operating such as Police, Fire, Ambulance, Hospitals.  Well guess what, you would be wrong.

Many years ago when I was a small boy it was that way, but no more.  I remember when everything was closed on Sundays.  This was due to what was called Blue Laws.  It was a day to go to church, to visit family,  to rest & relax.  We would go to church then head to my grandmothers house for Sunday dinner.  It was a big deal.  I didn’t always want to go, but now I realize how special that time was.  Slowly but surely the Blue Laws began to erode.  I’m not sure but I think it began with restaurants & gas stations, in conjunction with the development of the interstate highway system.  Greed took over from there.  Grocery stores started opening at noon on Sundays.  Then all the other stores started to open from 12-5.  Soon everyone started extending hours on the closing end.  That wasn’t good enough.  So opening hours started to expand.  So over the course of a decade, Sundays just became another work day.  A few states still enforce Blue Laws, but for the majority of states it’s part of history.

The “National Holiday”  has followed a similar path.  It started with the lesser holidays.  Department stores started to have big sales named after whatever holiday it was.  Their reasoning was if the general masses were off, they would come shop at a sale.  So here we go again.  One by one holidays became shopping days.  If department stores were going to be open then the people would need to eat out and put gas in their cars.  Industry soon began to look at the bottom line and determined it was more costly to close down and fire back up than to just keep operating.  So now the working class has No Holiday.  The last two Holidays remaining untouched were Thanksgiving & Christmas.  But that all changed this year.  Retailers rationalized that there were few shopping days until Christmas because Thanksgiving fell latter this year.  The big box stores announced Black Friday Sales starting on Thanksgiving.  Their was an outcry from the public, petitions on behave of employees that would have to sacrifice their holiday, boycotts formed.  These all had no effect on the big box stores as they proceeded to advertise their door buster deals.  Soon the malls jumped on the band wagon along with all the other businesses.  Thanksgiving became a shopping day in 2013.  If that wasn’t bad enough.  The Day after Christmas Sales started on Christmas.  Go figure!  Again the retailers figured if they could get away it at Thanksgiving, they could do it again at Christmas.   The public didn’t even notice or maybe they just didn’t care.

So now there are no HOLIDAYS left (unless you work for the government).  Business & industry operate 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Otherwise know as 24/7/365.   So Greed has won out again.  Only time will tell if 2013 is the beginning of the end of the American family as we know it today.

And that is The View from Here.

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Embarking on a New Journey

I have decided to make “My Voice Heard”.  It may or may not have an impact on anyone, I must try however.  Being lead to blog because of many recent events and emerging trends.  Many emotions have been stirred up, some good, some not so good.  Some background information may help you understand where I’m coming from.  I am a male 50 something born and raised in Indiana of the United States of America.  I am  a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather.  I am college educated but not a graduate.  I love sports, I have participated in organized sports, I am only average maybe a little above average.  I have worked in some form of food service for 30 plus years.  I have been what is termed a local part time pastor of the United Methodist Church since 2003. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor, sometimes dripping with sarcasm.  I am what I would consider the average guy on the street.  If you saw me on the street you probably wouldn’t notice me.  Part of the “Silent Majority”.  I do fear that we are quickly becoming the “Silent Minority”.  Thus, why I feel compelled to start a Blog.  My goal is to keep my blog postings short and to the point.  To make them thought provoking.  I would rather make you think, contemplate, investigate to make up your own mind.  If you agree or disagree is not  the objective.  The objective is to get you to think.  To make you aware so you can make a conscience decision, rather than acting like sheep and following mindlessly.  In the process I may make you laugh, may invoke anger, or some emotion in between.  I have no hidden agenda, topics will be quite random.  Some postings maybe entertaining, some thought provoking, some may challenge your value system.  But in the end I would like make you think by making “My Voice Heard”.

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