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On the Move

10 Sep

moveIn a herculean effort to organize things (so I can find them now that my brain is turning to oatmeal), and since Allan Douglas has passed away and we are moving on, I am moving this blog to a new location.

http://DougBittinger.com/thoughts/

All of the content you have come to love here is there.  All of it.  All new posts will go up there, but not here.  I will leave this version (here) up for a while so readers and search engines have a chance to update their bookmarks and links to there.  See you there!

 
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Posted in Uncategorized

 

Hat Man Do – Seeking the Fedora

09 Sep

Doug and his fedora I wear a fedora. No, not a menorah, a fedora: a type of hat — a type of hat that has fallen out of favor with the stylish set among common folk. But it was once a favored hat among most folk, common or stylish. Many of the mountain men depicted on TV and movies wore fedoras. So did gangsters. I think this style of hat captured my fancy first when I saw Indiana Jones. Indy wore a fedora. In fact the brown cloth fedora I wear is an official, licensed Indiana Jones product. Did I order it from some Indiana Jones fan web site or buy it at a fan convention? No; I found it in a discount tool store. One of those Dollar General-like places that buys, at liquidation prices, stuff that regular retail stores haven’t sold and want to be rid of. Even here, they were on close-out sale. Even Tool World wasn’t having much luck moving them.

Marie and I were just browsing: we were in this town for another purpose but had some time and tool stores are fun to explore. My eyes lit up when I saw the display; I’d been looking for a brown fedora for a while now. We’d been in all the local stores that carry clothing, they had a variety of hats, some not bad, but not fedoras. Marie quipped about how many places we had searched for a fedora and here we find them in a tool store. I trotted over and started looking through the selection for one my size.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted in Prattlings

 

I Can Can Apples

08 Sep

Summer is winding down and our canner is getting lots of use.  This time I planned to can the apples as pie filling for quick easy pies this fall, but that went amiss.

This is the first year since we moved in here that we had a decent apple harvest.  I’m pretty sure that has something to do with the 3” thick layer of wood chips I put around the base of the tree last fall.

This year I pulled a market basket full of apples off the tree.  This may have been a little early, but I didn’t want to wait until they were all wormy.  I put them in a big paper bag and let them finish ripening there.  I canned them up yesterday.

canned applesI got nine pints from that basket of apples.  Yes, I can count: one didn’t seal and it’s in the refrigerator.  I probably forgot to wipe the rim.  By the time I got to the canning run it was getting late and Marie would be home soon and I was rushing.

These are just plain apples, no seasoning or fancy stuff done to them.  I figure they’re more versatile that way.  That wasn’t my original plan, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Read the Rest…

 
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Posted in Share the Love

 

OLYMPIC FAITH

07 Sep
Calvin S. Metcalf on     One of the exciting things about the Christian faith is that  it challenges the best that is within us.  It will never let us be satisfied with inferior living.  It reaches into the depths of our inner being with disturbing implications.  There is no way we can look into the face of Jesus and be content with halfhearted devotion.  He calls us away from everything that would make us less than what we can be.  He nudges us toward everything that focuses on our spiritual potential.  He inspires us to consider the high road of what is best for us rather than the low road of what is easiest for us.  Like an Olympic athlete training for perfection our Lord equips us to dream His kind of dreams.  No one expects as much from us and yet comforts us when we miss the mark.
     The tremendous  challenge of being a Christian gives life its greatest sense of purpose.  Without this struggle toward some degree of excellence we would lose ourselves in the monotony of mediocrity.  There is more to us than what we normally accept.  We frequently underestimate our capacity for godliness.  We fail to stretch our humanity because our expectations are too low.   We are created to move onward and upward.  To sense some progress on the journey is a great source of fulfillment.  We have no better gauge of how we are doing than the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  It tells us that “nobody” can be somebody and that anybody can belong to everybody in Christ Jesus.  The process toward achievement keeps us believing there is a place for us in God’s scheme of things.
     Let us, therefore, never minimize the demands of Christianity.  It is harder than any other lifestyle because it brings out the best within us.  If we sentimentalize our faith and turn discipleship into a syrupy ceremony we miss the meaning of commitment and sacrifice.  We must never try to camouflage the cross lest we lose the strength of its dying love.  God gave His best to show us what is best for us.  Indeed His greatest challenge to us is to be baptized with His baptism and to drink from His cup of pain.  In the difficulty of our task we will find His glory as we faithfully pursue His dream for us.
 
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Posted in Matters of Faith

 

Gone Mater Hunting

02 Sep

Mater HuntingBlondie n me got up early and went mater hunting this morning. We knowed of a spot where they hang out. We got where we figured they’d be and sure enough: a whole bunch of ‘em just baskin’ in the sun an bein’ lazy.

We crept into the place real quiet like. It was still cool enough they weren’t stirring yet. Maters can be mean, sos ya gotta sneak up on em from down-wind. We’d creep up and reach out slow and easy, then – SNATCH! We’d whip one away quick, break its neck and stuff it in the bag.

Most never knew what hit ‘em, a few though; they put up a tussle. An’ one: I thought that one had me, but Blondie grabbed hold of my pant leg and pulled me back safe.

When we got a bag full we totted ‘em on home. There I fixed up a big pot of boilin water to dunk ‘em in for a short spell: that loosens their hide ya know, so yas don’t waste so much meat gittin it off’n em. We dunked ‘em in the boilin’ water then into cold water, then we could skin ‘em out easy.

Then we cut out their heart: tain’t no good to no one anyhow. An’ split open their belly to scoop out their goopy guts. They ain’t no good neither.

That left us with a good carcass of meat that we chunked up an’ put on ice. We’ll cook all that up tomorrow. We’ll make some mater soup, then can up the rest to use fer soup or stew, or it can be cooked down and used in lots of different ways.

Yessir, mater meat is good eatin’  – an thar ain’t much more fun than a day mater hunting.

 

Recycling Cardboard

01 Sep

At a recent Keep Cocke County Beautiful board meeting, Director Tim Berkel told us that cardboard recycling is one of the most financially beneficial programs in the waste management arena. So we thought we’d look at recycling cardboard this month to see how it’s done and what those old boxes become.

Recycling cardboard is so easy to do that it doesn’t make sense that some people won’t do it. 77% of cardboard is recycled, according to the EPA, so these hold outs are a minority!

There are two types of paper product accepted for recycling cardboard: one is the pasteboard used in packaging food and light-weight consumer products. The other is corrugated cardboard used in shipping containers and packages for larger items like electronics and appliances. 

Preparation for Recycling Cardboard

Typically, no preparation is needed other than flattening the boxes to reduce their volume. If the container included a plastic bag or Styrofoam packing inside, you will want to remove those of course. Boxes that use punched cardboard panels to hold the item in place are fully recyclable. Staples, labels and tape may be left on; the recycling facility will remove those.

Read more…

 
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Posted in Share the Love

 

CHURCH INVALUABLE

31 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on church      In spite of adversaries and critics the church of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to have a redemptive role in contemporary society.  In no way has modern technology diminished the need for this fellowship of faith.  Although our procedures and programs may change, the gospel of grace has an unchanging appeal for all who need love and forgiveness.  While church, by no stretch of the imagination, is a majority effort, it does have a healing effect upon the total community.  Withdraw the church from society and there is a lost dimension of righteousness that is necessary for stability, productivity and progress.
     Church at its best gives the Word of God priority and keeps the Lordship of Christ as a goal for its fellowship.  In no way is there a perfect church.  No one church can claim spiritual superiority over any other church.  Hopefully, each church is a growing, repenting, struggling family of believers who have become church for the glory of God and the service of humankind.
     As church we face the future keenly aware we have no future without Christ.  “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”  The only way we can venture a dream about tomorrow is because we know who holds that tomorrow.  We are secure in His promises and certain in His ability to be with us even to the end of the age.  We move forward in faith not because we are so great, but because we serve a great God.  Our future is in the hands of Him who said, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
     Therefore, we celebrate the church today as a people who are enjoying the spiritual benefits of our predecessors.  Our real challenge is that we pass on this high and holy calling to all those who shall come after us.  From the hands of our spiritual parents we reach forth a hand of hope to our spiritual children. 

 

 
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Posted in Matters of Faith

 

Absent Internet and Tepid Coffee

26 Aug

I spent the afternoon Thursday packaging up a set of tray tables I’d built to fill an order. It had taken me a long time to build the tables and my client had been very patient with me. It was time to request his payment and process a shipping label. I went to my computer.

No internetI went to PayPal to send my client: Phil, a request for payment. Unable to connect. I checked my network status: connected to LAN, no internet gateway. That usually means the modem has gone wonky and I need to reboot it. I was on my way over to do that when my cellphone rang.

I carry a cellphone as emergency communication between my wife, Marie, and I. No other reason. This had to be Marie – unless it was a wrong number or robo-caller, which does happen from time to time. It was Marie.

She had been trying to call me on our home phone but was getting a “Not available” message. She wanted to let me know that their internet was down at work. That is a big deal since much of the data processing work they do is done over the internet on remote servers. She had heard that a wreck on Highway 25/70 took out some necessary infrastructure and a large area was blacked out and without phone or cable.

By this time I was in the office and could see that the modem was not receiving any signal from Comcast. My problem was external; rebooting won’t help. Cable TV was out too. I am electronically MAROONED!  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted in Prattlings

 

THE PRIVILEGE OF PRAYER

24 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on prayer     Prayer is an awesome aspect of divine fellowship.  In fact, it is the heart and soul of our relationship with God.  Although we communicate with our heavenly Father through Bible study, meditation, songs and worship, it is prayer that defines and undergirds each of these.  Perhaps the greatest privilege of our Christian pilgrimage is prayer.  How blessed we are to be invited by God Himself to sup with Him and He with us.  The availability of God to our sometimes awkward and inconsistent faith staggers the imagination.  Prayer is our access to the heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  Without it, God becomes a distant deity with no invited input into our daily circumstances.
     Prayer is the most personal and private part of our interchange with God.  For this reason, no one can ever keep us from praying.  It cannot be legislated either in or out of our lives.  We can offer our private prayers anywhere and anytime we wish.  It is a matter of desire and need to talk to God.  Our personal conversation with God need not interfere with anyone else’s religious freedom.  God deals with each of us as though we were the only one with whom He converses.
     Jesus made quite a case for private prayer as He elevated the prayer closet over the street corner as a better place to pray.  Of course Jesus did not eliminate public prayer as a part of our conversation with God.  On several occasions He offered beautiful prayers that He apparently wanted others to hear.  Jesus did know, however, that public prayer could get twisted and distorted because of improper motives.  Praying done to impress others with either words or piety did not receive high marks from our Lord. 
     Prayer requests that are made primarily to spread malicious gossip do not serve a compassionate purpose.  Matters that would embarrass and discredit are better left for the privacy of the prayer closet.  Prayer chains are not designed to be hot lines to the latest rumors.  They are sources of intercession for the latest needs which can be discreetly announced.  Prayers that intimidate and subtly boast of our own goodness fit our Lord’s definition of hypocrisy.  Care must be taken that the public aspect of our praying is not weakened by ulterior motives.  
     Prayer, when used for its intended purpose, is nothing short of a miracle.  To think we can talk to God about anything, anywhere, and anytime is super…no, it is supernatural.  This does not mean our petitions will always be granted as we desire, but we are heard, loved and given what God deems best.  Prayer does not always change reality, but it changes us to adjust to reality.  Therefore, pray lovingly without ceasing.

 

 
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Posted in Matters of Faith

 

The Green Thing

19 Aug
green world

via GreenPromise.net

The following tale has made the rounds of the internet in various iterations for quite a while now.  It serves well as a starting point for this discussion:

We Didn’t Have the Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:  Read the rest of this entry »