Do Not Be Anxious

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 13, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is multiloquence This noun means, ” Excessive talkativeness or loquaciousness; prolixity.” Great, now I have to look up two more words. “Loquacious” is another word for “full of excessive talk.” “Prolixity” is a form of “prolix,” which means, “marked by or using an excess of words.” So today, you get three words for the price of one! I call that a bargain.

Today is Grandparent’s Day. I always thought this was just another day thought up by Hallmark, but apparently, it has some deeper meaning. Someone named Marian McQuade “instigated a campaign in the early 1970s aimed at highlighting the plight of lonely elderly people in care homes and encouraging grandchildren to take advantage of the wisdom and guidance their grandparents could provide.” So there you go. If you have any grandparents left, show them some love. Listen to their stories. Even better, record their stories! I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had recorded my grandparents talking.

We had a truly amazing time, yesterday! We went down for the lunch buffet at around 11:00 AM. The place we ate had pretty good food, with a very wide variety of types of cuisine. They had Asian, Mexican, Italian, American, and seafood, along with a very large salad bar and dessert bar. The dessert was actually quite good, too, which is rare for buffet places.

After lunch, we all split up to play some more, with plans to meet up at 5:00 PM for dinner. Christi and I played for what must have been close to four hours. I ran out of my “free” $50 bonus money early on, and started using money we had allocated for playing. The winnings ebbed and flowed, as the amounts dwindled. As it got later, we started on a journey to get to the other end of the casino. Winstar is set up in pretty much linear design, with a right angle turn in the middle. Each gaming area is named after a city in the world. Our hotel is on the London end, which is followed by Madrid, and then Rome, which is where the Global Event Center is located. More on that later. At the other end of the casino, is New York City. There is Venice and Cairo in there, somewhere, too. I can’t remember if there are any more cities represented.

We would stop and play a machine, here and there, but really had no good luck. We reached New York and turned around to head back. As we walked, we stumbled on a machine that I had really liked in a previous visit, a Wizard of Oz “Haunted Forest” themed machine. So I sat down to play. I used up what was on the last voucher I had printed, and put $40 more in the machine. On this machine, you could bet with $.40, $.80, $1.20, $2.00, or $4.00. On a whim, I placed a $1.20 bet, and got this “Flying Monkey” feature which randomly places some “wilds” on the playing board. I won a significant amount, getting my total up around $50 or so. Feeling bold, I placed a $4.00 bet, and won only $2.00. I turned around and put that $2.00 back up, and got the Flying Monkeys again. This time, they put a “wild” in all five columns! As the reels stopped turning, the machine started playing this lush orchestral version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and the amount I had won started going up. It stopped at $199 and some change! I had just won $199 on a $2 bet. I cashed out. Total won on that machine, $241 and some change. As I got up, Christi was coming to find me to show me that she had finished up with over $60 winnings on the machine she was playing. We walked away with just over $300.
Winstar vouchers

We met back up with Rachel and Justin at 5:00 PM and went back down to have some dinner. We ate a a place in the London area, called “Chips and Ales.” We didn’t have any ale. But we had some pretty good fish and chips and other stuff. We still had close to two hours before Jim Gaffigan’s show as was to start, so we agreed to meet in front of the Global Event Center at 7:00. I had found out that they would begin seating at 6:30. Since there’s nothing else to do in a casino, we played some more. I pretty much lost $20 during that time, cashing out with forty cents. Christi had put in $40 and finished up with around $11 or so.

The show was really great. I probably would not entertain the idea of going to another one at that venue, however. The place is totally flat (no incline until you’re so far back you couldn’t see, anyway), and they use those portable plain chairs that hook together for seating. What this means is that the chairs are right next to each other. All of us are pretty big people, which makes this type of setting VERY uncomfortable. Added to the fact that this show was sold out, it made things even worse, because there would be someone sitting next to us. However, a few minutes before time for the show to begin, a nice gentleman came over and showed us how to unhook the chairs, so that we could at least spread them out a few inches between us. That brought us some welcome relief. We probably weren’t supposed to do that, but no one official seemed to notice.

I can’t remember the name of the “warm-up” comedian, but he was pretty good, telling jokes about old commercials that we grew up with, and how politically incorrect they were. Such as the “Frito Bandito,” the “How about a nice Hawaiian Punch” commercial, and the Armour Hot Dogs jingle with spoke of “fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks; tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox . . .” Anyone in their forties or fifties would have loved those jokes.

Jim Gaffigan did not disappoint. He was hilarious, as always, constantly making fun of himself, without being vulgar or off color at all. He joked about hiking, kids, Disney World, and, to my pleasant surprise, finished the show with his entire “Hot Pocket” routine. It was all great fun. Except for when the possibly drunk person came in to the row right behind us, with only about 15 minutes left in the show and constantly giggled “He’s so funny” while loudly repeating every joke that Jim told, to the person sitting next to him. Ah, well. There’s always something, right? I didn’t let that ruin my good time. The show was fantastic, and we laughed more than we had ever laughed in an hour, before.

After the show, we hit the restrooms, and Justin and Rachel went off in search of snacks and, maybe, coffee. Christi still had that $11 voucher burning a hole in her pocket, so she found a machine just like the one she had won $60 on, earlier. There were two together, so I sat down next to her and put in my forty cent voucher. And another $20. A few minutes later, another $20. Then I got a couple of “Bonus” rounds almost back to back. I cashed out with $60, while Christi went on to cash out with $40. Walking out with $100, we had broken even for the night, which, in casino-speak, is the same thing as winning!


As I type this, this morning, we are roughly $100 up for our trip. And that’s including the $40 I dropped in about 5 minutes, playing Blackjack! Yeah. I don’t think I’ll ever try that again.

We have to check out by 11:00, this morning, after which we will pack up the car, park it somewhere else (it’s in valet parking), and go back to the buffet restaurant for our complimentary brunches. We will likely head back to Denton after that, and then on to home. We still have to get in our grocery shopping after we get home, which is not a great way to finish off an otherwise spectacular weekend!

On September 13, in 122, the construction of Hadrian’s Wall began. In 335, Emperor Constantine consecrated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In 1501, Michelangelo began work on his statue of David. In 1609, Henry Hudson finally reached the river that would later be named after him. In 1788, the Philadelphia Convention set the date for the first presidential election, and New York City was established as the temporary capital of the U.S. In 1898, Hannibal Goodwin patented celluloid photographic film. In 1899, Henry Bliss was the first person in the U.S. to be killed in an auto accident. In 1971, the National Guard, along with state police, stormed Attica to end a prison revolt. In 2001, civilian aircraft flights were resumed in the U.S., following the 9/11 attacks. And, in 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in the Gulf Coast, causing heavy damage to Galveston, Houston, and surrounding areas.

Today’s birthdays include Milton S. Hershey (American confectioner), Arnold Schoenberg (Austrian-born composer), Claudette Colbert (American actress), Bill Monroe (American musician credited with the invention of bluegrass), Roald Dahl (British writer), Mel Torme (American singer), Barbara Bain (American actress), David Clayton-Thomas (Canadian singer, Blood, Sweat & Tears), Peter Cetera (American musician, Chicago), Jacqueline Bisset (British actress), Nell Carter (American actress), Jean Smart (American actress), Anne Geddes (Australian photographer), Dave Mustaine (American musician), Tyler Perry (American filmmaker), Fiona Apple (American singer), Ben Savage (American actor), and Daisuke Matsuzaka (Japanese pitcher, previously Boston Red Sox).

Peter Cetera is a bass player/singer, born on this date in 1944, making him 71 years old today. Egad. His best years were with Chicago as their bass player and one of their singers. He had a relatively dismal solo career, and I have no idea what he is doing today. Here is an early clip of Chicago performing “Dialogue,” with Terry Kath playing guitar and singing, long before he accidentally killed himself.

Leopold Stokowski, Tupac Shakur, George Wallace, Dorothy McQuire, and Ann Richards are among notable deaths on this date.


Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 103:14-16.

For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

(From Solid Joys)

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34

Today’s reading is, “Reasons Not To Worry.”

There are several great promises in this passage of Scripture. The first is in verse 31-32, telling us that there is no need to be anxious about daily needs, because God knows what we need. We simply need to trust his timing, as he is not ignorant about our needs.

In verse 33, we are told that, if we give our lives to seeking God’s cause, which is his Kingdom, all of these things will be added to us. In other words, if we seek the Lord and his interests above our own, he will provide for us. In my opinion, the cause of the Gospel is the only worthy “cause” on earth to support.

Finally, in verse 34, we are again told to not be anxious, specifically about tomorrow. God will take care of us. As my mother used to tell me, “Don’t borrow trouble.”

Father, I pray for my faith to be stronger, that I might follow these promises and commands, not worrying, trusting that you will provide for me. Help me to selflessly seek your Kingdom and support your cause with my entire being.

I pray for safety as we travel home today. Thank you for giving us a great weekend of fun and relaxation.

Come, Lord Jesus.

My brothers and sisters, try with all your being to shed your anxieties and trust in God’s timing and provision.

Grace and peace, friends.

Stand Out From the Crowd

“The crowd does not take kindly to noncomformity.” “There is nothing more maddening to the mob than a free person.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, September 13, 2014. It’s 56 degrees outside this morning. Mmmmmm. . .

I never got a chance to get that chocolate milk shake yesterday. But today is Defy Superstition Day. I’ll try to find some sidewalk cracks to step on while carrying a black cat under a ladder while breaking a mirror. That should do it.

Yesterday evening was a bit strange. By the time I got home, I had this awful feeling that I was catching a cold (just what I need, right?). I was very tired, and could barely stay awake through the two episodes of House of Cards that we watched on Netflix. We love that show, by the way. I can’t decide whether to love or hate Francis Underwood. So, anyway, I took some NyQuil (or at least CVS’s version of it) and went to bed around 9:00 PM. I finished a book that I have been reading for the last month (Drood, by Dan Simmons) and dropped off to sleep, to not awaken (as far as I know) until around 6:00 AM. I kept sleeping (in spite of Screamer the cat’s incessant yowling) until almost 7:00. I feel much better this morning, no hint, at least at this time, of any “cold” activity.

We received some sad news yesterday. A family that we used to go to church with, back in our South Haltom days, has had a tragedy. The oldest son in the family died suddenly on Thursday night. The preliminary findings are that it was either a heart attack or brain aneurysm. I’m not sure how old he was, but I think he couldn’t have been much more than his early thirties. We are going to take some lunch to their house today, after Christi gets done with her morning run for groceries for us and her mother.

This evening, as usual, we have our Anchor prayer gathering and worship service, beginning at 4:45 (I was told I got the times wrong last weekend). Worship happens at 5:45. If you’re in the area, you are invited to visit us at The Exchange.

(Source: This Day In History)

On this date in 1936, a seventeen-year-old pitcher for the Cleveland Indians struck out seventeen batters, setting a new American League record. That pitcher’s name was Bob Feller. He signed with the Indians when he was sixteen years old, for an autographed baseball and one dollar. My how times have changed!

Feller would go on to retire from the Indians in 1956, having won more games than any other Indians pitcher, and that even with a four year interruption, as he served in the Navy during WWII. In 1957, his jersey number, 19, was the first to be retired by the Indians organization.

Looking at today’s birthdays: Ben Savage, Roald Dahl, Milton S. Hershey, Dave Mustaine, Fiona Apple, Nell Carter, David Clayton Thomas, Jacqueline Bisset, Peter Cetera, Zak Starkey (son of Ringo), Richard Kiel (passed away this week), Claudette Colbert, Mel Torme, Bill Monroe, Jean Smart, Bela Karolyi, Daniel Defoe, Arnold Schoenberg, Barbara Bain, Don Was, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

I’m going to feature three of these, today. Fiona Apple is 37 today, an American singer/songwriter who won a Grammy from her first album, Tidal, in 1996. Here is the video for her song “Paper Bag.”

Peter Cetera is, unbelievably, 70 years old today. Cetera was lead singer and bass player for Chicago until 1984. He departed the band to pursue a troubled solo career after their album, Chicago 17, arguably the best album in the band’s history. Here is the video for my always and forever favorite song of theirs, “Hard Habit to Break.” It is unfortunate that it is my favorite, because it reminds me of what was probably the most difficult time of my life. But it also reminds me of the beginning of the best time of my life, so that’s okay. 🙂 Oh, for those who don’t know, Peter Cetera is the one with the high voice.

And finally, David Clayton Thomas. He turns 73 years old today, and was the voice of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Here is a clip of one of their great songs, “God Bless the Child.”

I hope you have enjoyed these musical selections as much as I did. 🙂


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Psalm 46:8
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
Psalm 59:9
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Psalm 103:15-16
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Luke 21:33

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
1 Chronicles 16:10
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Psalm 27

Today’s Gospel Reading

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15

If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, these two verses have caused quite a conflict in your life. Out of all of the phrases in the Model Prayer, Jesus chooses this one to backtrack and highlight with further commentary. Not hallowing the Father’s name. Not bringing in the Kingdom. Not daily provision. Not deliverance from the devil. Forgiveness. He seems to be making MY state of forgiveness contingent upon whether or not I forgive others! Doesn’t this go against all of what we believe about grace?? The point is, if we have not received enough grace to forgive others when they “trespass” against us, then we had best not count on receiving God’s forgiveness. Even those words fall far short of what I’m trying to say here. If I cannot forgive my brother, then I cannot claim to have received God’s forgiveness. So if I’m harboring a grudge against anyone, I had best step back and examine my own faith. We must relinquish those feelings! It doesn’t matter who we are holding a grudge against. It doesn’t matter what they have done to us. Hear this well! Jesus thought it important enough to be the only phrase in the Model Prayer to add further commentary to! The bottom line is that we, as Christians, cannot afford to ignore these two verses.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Noncomformity.”

“The crowd does not take kindly to noncomformity.” Haha! That seems like an incredible understatement, does it not? What distracts us the most from our goal of living out of the center of God’s holiness and will for our lives? Could it be the “scorn of our peers?” Do we worry all too much about what others will think about us if we get a little too radical? Unfortunately, there seem to be those who carry that so far as to trample others completely, with no regard, whatsoever, for their feelings. That’s a topic for a different day, though. How much do I fail to do because I fear ridicule? It seems that I would argue, publicly, opinions about my favorite baseball teams before I would defend my devotion to Christ. How wrong is that? “The irony is that the opinions we fear most are not those of people we really respect, yet these very persons influence our lives more than we want to admit.” Now, there’s a statement to really think about! I guess I hadn’t considered that, at all.

When we live “out of the center,” we become liberated Christians. Alfred Camus is quoted as saying, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very act of existence becomes an act of rebellion.” Brennan follows this up by saying, “There is nothing more maddening to the mob than a free person.”

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
1 Corinthians 9:19

Father, help me to be free from the “mob mentality.” And it is sad that, sometimes, this means even rejecting what a large number of well-meaning Christians want me to think or believe. Help me to live out of the center of your holiness and your will for my life. I would desire that my “very act of existence” would be an “act of rebellion.” I desire that because I desire to be yours and yours alone. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Make the life of Christ my life. Make the characteristics of the Beatitudes and the Fruit of the Spirit be the very lifelines of my life. Teach me to be aware of your presence all day, every day.

Father, I pray for this day. We have already been active. I pray that the Knight family will be able to enjoy the lunch we took over for them. I pray for comfort and peace for them at this terrible, unexpected loss on Thursday evening. We cannot even imagine the heartbreak and sadness that they are experiencing. May you draw them very close to you during this time. I pray for us as we continue to take care of the day’s errands and activities. I pray for our worship time this evening, that it will be glorifying to you and that your name will be lifted high. May the Gospel be clear tonight, and may our prayer time exalt your name. Bring us ever closer to you through our worship and through the words that Jacob will speak tonight. Teach us how to glorify you with our finances.


May we all have the faith to stand out from the crowd. And, yes, I do believe that we can collectively accomplish that, because we do not all have to look the same.

Grace and peace, friends.