NEW EACH DAY
DAILY DEVOTIONALS

THE CHRISTIAN PRESS​

NEW EACH WEEK
WEEKLY COLUMNS

Below the Daily Devotionals
Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths,  April 24, 2017
Angie Land's Heart Matters, April 17, 2017

Guy Sheffield's But Anyway, April 18, 2017


Bronson FFA member earns
second place in competition


Sidney Bray stands with her entry in the Marketing Division of the Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration.

Photo Provided by Jennifer Bray

Published April 24, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
on the Life Page of HardisonInk.com
     GAINESVILLE --
Sidney Bray, a member of FFA at Bronson Middle High School, earned Second Place in the Marketing Division of the Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration in competition held at the University of Florida on Friday (April 21).

 

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     The FFA Career Development Event was titled as "Middle School Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration."
     The Florida FFA Association noted that the Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration contests are designed to "stimulate careful planning, thorough knowledge and the ability to explain, by work and action, the 'how and why' of various horticulture practices.”
     This contest was for active members of a chartered Florida FFA Chapter who are enrolled in grades 6, 7 or 8. Each chapter was allowed to enter one individual/team per category.
     Individual/teams were not allowed to compete in more than one category.
     In this contest, only a table was provided. Participating students had to provide all of the equipment and materials needed for the demonstration, the organization noted.
     Participants were limited to a maximum of 10 minutes and a minimum of seven minutes for the actual demonstration. A time limit of three minutes was allocated for judges to ask questions. A set-up time of five minutes was enforced for all demonstrations. One point was deducted for each 30 seconds over-time or under-time and a maximum of 5 points may be deducted for time infractions, the organization noted.
     There were five divisions. Bray earned second place in Marketing.
     "In Marketing - Operations in preparing vegetables, edible tree nuts, fruits, flowers and ornamental plants for market; to a buyer, or for storage, and in preparing for and exhibiting these horticulture crops. Marketing strategies must be included," the organization noted.
     The other divisions were Production, Consumer Use, Artistic Arrangement Of Horticulture Crops, and Landscaping.
     In regard to philosophy, "The National FFA Organization and Florida FFA Association are dedicated to organizing experiences that will meet the future needs of students while accomplishing the current purposes of agricultural education," the organization noted.
     A 16-page form for contestants shows very thorough and extensive coverage of rules to assure excellence in education and in ethical competitive practices.
     "The primary goal of career and leadership development events is to develop individual college and career readiness skills through personal growth and premier leadership,” the organization noted.
     "Individuals will be challenged to develop critical thinking skills, effective decision making skills, foster teamwork and promote communication while recognizing the value of ethical competition and individual achievement," the organization noted.
     As is noted on the information provided to participants, judges and advisors, the activities in each event:
     ● Include problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills, where appropriate;
     ● Encourage appreciation for diversity by reducing barriers to participation among members;
     ● Develop general leadership and recognize individual and team achievement; and
     ● Promote concentrated focus on future needs of members and society.


Partial scholarships are available
for Cedar Key Arts Center's
Summer Art Program for youths


This is an example of some of the work created last summer by elementary students. 
~
Photo and Information Provided
Published April 22, 2017 at 5:57 p.m.
in the Leisure Page of HardisonInk.com
     CEDAR KEY --
The Cedar Arts Center Summer Art Program will begin on July 10 and end on July 21.

     Registration will begin the first week of May. Registration forms will be available at Cedar Keyhole and at Cedar Key School.
     Certified art teacher Jessie Rothbard is scheduled to be the instructor for the elementary students.
     Students who will attend first through fifth grade for the 2017-18 school year are eligible for this class.  The class will start at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m.  
     The program for the teens will be taught by several artists. Students who will attend sixth through twelfth grades for the next school year are eligible for the teen classes which will be held at 1 p.m. and end at either 3 or 4 p.m. (depending on the class).
     The cost for elementary students is $20 for the entire two weeks. Teens pay $40 to take all the classes or may pay $10 for each individual class.
     Partial scholarships are available through the Arts Center but must be approved by Patty Jett, who may be reached at cell phone number 352-562-6472 or Susan Rosenthal. 
     Individuals who are interested in volunteering are asked to please contact Patty Jett.
    On Friday, July 21, there will be an exhibit of the students’ work. Everyone is invited to attend the exhibit. It is exciting to see the caliber of creativity that is generated during the CKAC Summer Art Program.


Tri-County Area journalist covers
ULA launch thanks to NASA


A mockingbird, the Florida state bird, sits atop a sign in the parking lot of the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) building early Tuesday morning (April 18). The ATX is serving as a temporary credentialing site for media due to the normal location undergoing work.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 21, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.
     CAPE CANAVERAL
– Coverage by HardisonInk.com of the launch of an Atlas V rocket on Tuesday morning (April 18) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is thanks to the professional courtesy extended to the daily news website by the National Aeronautics Space Administration.



The ATX building


A moon shot is seen from the parking lot of the ATX on Tuesday.


Part of the NASA News complex.


     Among the veteran Florida journalists covering this momentous occasion on Tuesday was one from the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Jeff M. Hardison, a native of St. Petersburg, a University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications graduate, and a multiple award-winning weekly and daily Florida journalist who met his wife of almost 30 years when they both lived on the Space Coast, said he was glad to see he was accepted to cover the event.
     “I had a blast,” he said. “I hope Americans understand the importance of endorsing space exploration and the advancement of scientific research for the benefit of humanity, as we join in peace with our friends from other countries.”
     Continuing with a theme of launching into its seventh year, HardisonInk.com was among the media outlets credentialed to cover the Orbital ATK CRS-7 Launch on Tuesday.



In this video, there is the countdown from nine to launch. This view is with zero magnification. The clip then goes to a view of the launch from Cocoa Beach with zero magnification.
Videos by Jeff and Sharon Hardison © April 21, 2017


     This launch is named the S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cargo Delivery Mission to the International Space Station in honor of the late John Herschel Glenn Jr.
     Viewers of this launch who were positioned at many points around the area saw the light from the rocket engines and they then heard the sound of the rocket engine.
     As the rocket climbed into the sky, the delay from soundwaves of its travel seemed even more peculiar than when a jet passes across the sky seen ahead of where it is “heard” to be in the sky. Light is so much faster than soundwaves that even over a few miles the delayed synchronicity can be noticed.
     The roar of the engines from the raw power put forth by the Atlas V rocket provides an unimitable set of moments of excitement for viewers and listeners for many miles away from the site.
     Even people farther downrange from the launch were awestruck by the vertical flying machine on Tuesday.


The VAB as seen from the NASA News Center parking lot.


The VAB as seen from the causeway.


PRE-LAUNCH FUN

     “Jeff M. Hardison, Your request submitted on 3/3/2017 has been Approved.”
     This was the email that put into action everything required for HardisonInk.com to cover the launch of an Atlas V rocket. A room was reserved at a place in the City of Cocoa Beach for three nights in April, after the scrub of a launch date in March.
     Safety and success are paramount to the launch of any rocket.
     The first launch dates were from March 17 through 19.
     As of March 16, NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance (ULA) started targeting the launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station to be at 9 p.m. EDT Friday, March 24.
     An option existed, however, to move the launch earlier to March 23, if the Eastern Range became available.
     The Orbital ATK CRS-7 Launch set for March 24 was delayed.
     Plans to cover that previously slated launch were scrubbed by HardisonInk.com, because it did not happen.
     A later notice from NASA showed April 18 as the new date.
     The April 18 date seemed much more sure-fire. A room was booked for the nights of April 17, 18 and 19.
     As anticipated by Hardison on this round, it was a perfect launch. The weather was excellent. Everything went smooth as silk.
      As for sending the rocket and its cargo into space, all of the machinery and software passed all of the tests to go forward.


A United Launch Alliance facility is viewed from the causeway.


A United States Air Force facility is viewed from the causeway.
~
DRESS CODE

     Hardison made it to the NASA News Center Building in time to be among the few journalists allowed to view and film the launch from on top of the Vehicle Assembly Building.
     The Vehicle (originally Vertical) Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is a building designed to assemble large space vehicles.
     The building is at Launch Complex 39 at KSC on Merritt Island.
     The VAB is the largest single-story building in the world in regard to cubic-feet of total space. It is 526 feet tall.
     “When I heard the VAB was 500 feet tall,” Hardison, a hobbyist drone pilot, said. “I thought that is as high as the FAA will allow me to fly my drone.”
     The drone could not be flown near NASA or any airport, though, due to FAA rules.
     Unfortunately, although Hardison thought he was being smart by wearing stylish Air Force blue shorts and a white button-down shirt with the HardisonInk.com tag on it, he was advised -- literally at the last minute -- that shorts presented a safety issue.
     “It all worked out,” Hardison said, “I went on a bus to a restricted causeway viewing area. According to what I was told, sparks from welders and other safety hazards in the working area of the VAB cause shorts to be short of being enough coverage for safety. I guess that is how they became named shorts.
     “Given that I return to cover another launch, though,” he continued, “then I have been promised some level of more priority to be up on the VAB roof. I will take care and not short myself from that opportunity in the future. I’m thinking long black pants, a long-sleeve white shirt with a relatively thin black tie. I have seen the pictures of the NASA uniforms of the 1960s. And yes, Marion County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Robert Douglas, I will get a haircut.”
     About 30 to 50 “social media” representatives were in an area on the causeway near the spot reserved for more conventional journalists. This group was comprised of people who post on Facebook and similar outlets.
     Traditional television networks and print media were present at various places.
     “There are four places that other journalists told me about photographing the launch from,” Hardison said. “There is the parking lot for the NASA News Center, on top of the CBS Building, the causeway and the VAB.
     “From what I heard, the VAB is the best,” Hardison said. “A very well-heeled photographer for a relatively strong space-oriented publication said he preferred the causeway that morning because shooting from the VAB would be aiming into the sun.”
     Hardison said that when the United States Air Force launches rockets, it lets some media representatives take shots from a causeway that is closer to the launch pad than the causeway where Hardison was stationed Tuesday.
     “Another journalist from another outlet said there is a lot of wind on top of the VAB too,” Hardison said. “As for me, I think it always works out for the best. I was safe from welder’s sparks. I was farther away from the beating sun of that morning. I was not in with the big herd of journalists. And I was in very pleasant company on the bus, including our bus driver who was very thoughtful.”
     The NASA Office of Communications was very accommodating, Hardison added.
     The representatives from Orbital ATK in the NASA News Center were extremely thoughtful too. This group provided members of the press with a beach bag, a stuffed swan toy, a mission adhesive sticker and a mission patch.
     The stuffed swan was wearing a silver-colored removable cape that had an American flag on it.
     The day before the launch and for about five hours after the launch, NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance provided an extensive amount of resources to show the excellent progress in public-private partnerships to help commercial interests benefit from the space program as this set of missions moves into the future.


Dolphin fins



     Even members of the wildlife community in this reserve were cooperative on Tuesday.
     “I watched a relatively healthy looking pod of dolphins frolicking in the Indian River Lagoon,” Hardison said. “If I had been more attentive to them, I could have created video of at least two jumps where a dolphin completely left the water. Yes, I missed the dolphin launch video shots.”
     The visiting journalist said the sojourn to the east side of Florida was fun and educational.
     Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.


Eight spaces still open
for free caregiver class



Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 6, 2017 at 10:07 a.m.
Updated April 23, 2017 at 10:37 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
Bianca Blackshear of Elder Options hopes to find eight people who want to learn about caring for their loved ones who have health problems from dementia, especially those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
     As of Saturday (April 22), she still had spaces open for the class. Blackshear said she will accept students as late as the day of the start of the first of the seven Tuesdays.
     Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It's the most common cause of dementia, which is a group of brain disorders that results in the loss of intellectual and social skills.
     Blackshear’s area is Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Levy counties to help people through Elder Options, a federally-funded program to help older Americans.
     The program is titled Savvy Caregivers. Blackshear is the instructor who will meet with the first eight people to register for the free educational program that lasts seven weeks for two hours each Tuesday afternoon starting on May 2 from 1 to 3 p.m.
     The classes will be held at Cross City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – 583 N.E. Highway 351 in Cross City– down the road from the Dixie County Courthouse.
     The program is free. To learn more about it or to register, call Blackshear at 352-692-5233.

 


Reduced spay and neuter fees
for pets from animal services
for some people in Levy County

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 18, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2017 at 9:07 a.m.
     BRONSON --
Two different sets of people can save on spay and neuter fees in Levy County now.
     Levy County residents who are 62 years and older, or who have government aid due to low income, are qualified for a new reduced spay and neuter fee in Levy County, according to a Tuesday afternoon (April 18) press release from Levy County Animal Services Administrative Assistant Bridgett Domenico.

     Levy County Animal Services is offering low cost spay/neuter services through the “For Our Friends the Animals Lost Cost Spay/Neuter Initiative Program,”  Domenico said.
     These low cost services will be made available to residents of Levy County who are of retirement age (older than 62 years) or low income status (determined by eligibility for other types of government aid), she said. Proof of eligibility must be submitted with application, along with a $10 nonrefundable application fee.
     Proof must consist of a photocopy of a Florida Driver’s License showing residence in Levy County, and proof of government aid unless over 62 years of age.
     Prices are listed below in this program:
     Dog spays (up to 75 pounds) - $55.  Pregnant dogs add $10. Dogs over 75 pounds are not eligible.
     Dog neuters (up to 75 pounds) - $40.  Cryptorchid dogs add $15.  Dogs over 75 pounds are not eligible.
     Cat spays - $40.  – Pregnant cats add $10.
     Cat neuters - $25.  Cryptorchid cats add $15.
     Flea control (Capstar) less than 25 pounds add $3.
     Flea control (Capstar) over 25 pounds add $6.
     To read all about Levy County Animal Services' normal fees and to gather other information, clicke HERE.
     To see the Pet Finder listings to see the animals at Levy County Animal Services now, click HERE.


Summer BreakSpot provides
Levy County children
with healthy meals;

Sites needed throughout Levy County
Published April 16, 2017 at 10:07 a.m.
On the Life Page of HardisonInk.com
     LEVY COUNTY --
Summer BreakSpot is part of the national Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in Florida by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

     Eligible sites, including nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, camps, local governments and more, are invited to serve nutritious meals free to all children under the age of 18 during the summer months.
     The School Board of Levy County will be offering free breakfast and lunch to eligible sites Monday through Thursday, starting June 12 through July 20.
     Meals will be available for pick-up from local elementary schools. If you are interested in hosting a program site, the Food Service department will be accepting applications through April 30. Applications may be obtained by calling 352-486-5244, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Supervisors from approved sites are required to attend a two-hour training course to be offered on Thursday, May 4, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the main Levy County School Board meeting room located at 480 Marshburn Drive, in Bronson.
     Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced on Jan. 8 the kickoff of the Summer BreakSpot program, which offers free nutritious meals, recreational fun and educational activities for children 18 and under at more than 3,800 locations statewide during summer.
      “During the school year, many children rely on a nutritious breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Program, and they are at risk of suffering from hunger during the summer break,” Putnam said. “The Summer BreakSpot program bridges the nutrition gap by serving free meals to children 18 years and younger so they can return to school healthy, happy and ready to learn.”
     Last year, the program provided more than 15 million meals, contributing to the 42 percent increase in summer meals the state has seen since the Florida Department of Agriculture took over the school nutrition program in 2012.


CF Levy Campus
launches timber program

Deadline to apply is April 28
Published April 7, 2017 at 4:17 p.m.
on the Life Page of HardisonInk.com
     CHIEFLAND –
The College of Central Florida will launch its new Timber Harvesting Equipment Program on May 8.

     The deadline to apply for the program is Friday, April 28.
     The eight-week noncredit program is designed to increase the number of workforce-ready employees for the timber industry in North Central Florida. 
     Beginning May 8, students will participate in five weeks of classroom instruction followed by three weeks of field instruction with hands-on experience. Upon successful completion, students will earn Master Logger Certification, OSHA 10-hour Certification and CPR Certification and have the opportunity to interview with area logging contractors for immediate employment in the timber harvesting industry.
     The timber program is being offered thanks to support from two grants: an $11,000 Big Bend Region Seed Grant from the Arlington, Virginia-based Conservation Fund and a $200,000 grant from Lyme Timber.




     On Nov. 1, 2010, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com, started. The name was derived from an encounter a decade earlier, where and when a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounds good.
     Since then, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals, and then within a relatively short time, weekly columns. 
     The Rev. Dr. Thomas "Tom" Farmer Jr. of St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Largo retired several years ago from that church, although he appears to continue serving the people by preaching the Gospel at a United Methodist Church in North Florida. He is among the first contributors from way back. There are several other individuals who contributed over the past seven years. There are a lot of daily devotionals pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). I note my appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company. I welcome contributions of daily devotionals.  Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their own original works to hardisonink@gmail.com.

 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 7:47 a.m.

SAFETY IS WITH GOD

Read Psalm 27

     Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
-- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)


     Many illustrious folk have said, “One with God is a majority.” The Bible says the same thing in these words, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And Paul added, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
     David had the same experience, which he revealed in the Twenty-seventh Psalm. He feared no one, because he could say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” His enemies stumbled and fell before him. Even a host encamping about him could not cause his heart to fear. He could maintain his confidence in the very midst of war.
     Well, we can have that same kind of confidence, security, and victory. But there are some conditions to be met. They are mentioned in the text. Here they are:
     “Wait on the Lord.” We must be in prayer before God. We must trust in Him. General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (Sept. 13, 1860 - July 15, 1948) is said to have remarked on one occasion, “Every day I stand at attention before God.” Lift your heart in prayer before the Eternal each day.
     “Be of good courage.” That is the second condition. All true soldiers of Jesus are of good courage, because they derive their strength from the Lord. All Christians are certain of victory because they know that “we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.”
     LORD, help me to take time each day to stand at attention before Thee. Make me a person of courage, so that I may fear no one. Fill my heart with strength, that I may have Thy omnipotent power at my command. Inspire me to be like Jesus, who turned what seemed to be a defeat into a most glorious victory. I make this prayer, in His name. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Aladar Thomas Tomshany (1890-1963)
First Presbyterian Church
Kansas City, Kansas

Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)

 



Outdoor Truths Ministry
By Gary Miller © April 24, 2017 at 6:47 a.m.


     In my area, flea markets are more popular than the mall. On any given Saturday or Sunday cars and trucks will line the highways. They are full of people who are willing to walk down dimly lit paths where vendors sell everything from hamburgers to hardware. The prices at these places are always negotiable and tax is always included – or maybe even disregarded. These places have always given common folk opportunities to take what they have and sell it or trade it for something they want more. It’s as much a gathering place as anything.         When I was young I had a friend who was a wholesale knife dealer. He would always let me know when he came through town so I could meet him and buy his knives. I usually came away with ten or fifteen that I could use for trade bait. In those early years I learned to trade the hard way; usually coming away with something worth less than I paid for it. Since those days I have bought many knives, guns, hardware, and hamburgers at my local flea market. I probably lost a lot of money but gained a lifetime of lessons and memories.
     I recently took my son to a gun and knife show. This atmosphere was familiar to me but not to him. He had never been to a store where the price wasn’t really the price and where the guy selling something was just as interested in buying something. He had a good time. Days like these continue to remind me how important it is for me to pass down some traditions to my children even if those traditions will eventually be lost by a new generation. And some of them need to be. That’s the problem with most of us as we get older; we think tradition is always truth. In fact, sometimes we fight over traditions more than we do truth, especially in our churches. As a result we lose the next generation. Truth is never negotiable. It can stand alone or be housed in a church, castle or correctional institute. It is truth. Its author is God. It does not change. Tradition is negotiable. It is manmade. It can change. And if it hinders people from getting to the truth, it must change.
     Are you building your life on truth or on tradition? Are your greatest convictions based on truth or tradition? The best way to answer these questions may not be to ask yourself but your children. They will either see a truth that is alive and good for all generations or one that has been replaced by the dead traditions of days past.

~
Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.

Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/


Heart Matters
By Angie Land © April 17, 2017 at 7:07 s.m.

     Remember how much you wanted to be picked for the team when you were a
kid? I grew up with a cousin who was great at every sport. He could run faster and kick the ball farther than anyone on our playground. That usually meant he always got to be a captain no matter what we played. I wasn't jealous though. It actually worked out good for me, because when he was captain, I knew I would be one of the first ones chosen for his team. Not because I was a great athlete, but because we were family, and he looked out for me. I just thought he was good enough to play for both of us!
     We all understand the importance of being chosen for the team, for the
job, or by that special person we want to spend the rest of our life with. It makes us feel valuable. In Ephesians 1:4, the Bible gives us clearly the foundation of our worth:
     "For He (God) chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy
 and blameless in His sight."

     Being chosen because of our abilities, our looks, or what we can bring to the table might temporarily make us feel important, but what happens when our abilities start to wane with age or illness and our looks are not what they used to be. What happens when we don't have so much to offer? God chose us for a totally different reason: He loves us, and He has much to offer. Like my cousin picking me for the team, God doesn't choose us because we are the best, but because He is more than enough for anything we lack, and we are valuable to Him.
     This verse tells us that He chose us to be holy. This word does not mean perfect or sinless. It means set apart for a relationship with God for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:10 adds, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do." This is great news! Not only are we chosen, God has something prepared for all of us to do! He has a plan and a purpose for our life that fits us, no matter what our abilities are. This means we don’t have to spend the game sitting on the bench!
     The second part of this verse says that we are to be blameless in His sight. Doesn't that sound good, and yet impossible? "Blameless in His sight" is a reminder that our relationship with God comes only through Christ, who died for our sins and paid the price for them. He did that because we are valuable to Him, and He wants you and me on His team! Because your heart really does matter!
Blessings, Angie
~

     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Heart Matters is a weekly column written by Angie Land, Director of the Family Life Ministries of the Lafayette Baptist Association, where she teaches bible studies, leads marriage and family conferences and offers biblical counseling to individuals, couples and families. Please contact Angie with questions or comments at angieland3@windstream.net.

 


A Friend That Stickes
Closer Than A Brother

By Guy Sheffield © April 11, 2017 at 6:07 p.m.


    Often folks who’ve read a good many of my misadventures are inclined to ask, “How do you remember all that?” Well, truth be told, I often don't, or I try not to. It’s just I’m constantly reminded of my checkered past by my knuckleheaded brother Heath! Heath won’t let me live anything down. He’s always telling something new on me at work. He usually gets big laughs too. I just try to take it in stride, because when he’s through, I go write it all down. With his elephant like memory, I’m hoping to have fresh material on myself for years.
     Recently he’s been on me about that time at Wendy’s. A while back we had stopped there for lunch when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten my wallet. “Oh, how convenient,” Heath remarked. I turned beet red, and my swelling pride almost compelled me to stomp off to the car. Only my hunger constrained me. Heath yanked a wrinkled five dollar bill from his wallet along with three ones. “This ought to cover us. I guess…” he huffed, shaking his head at me. Since certain details of what happened next always seem to be conveniently forgotten by the plaintiff, which shall henceforth be referred to as Knucklehead Heath, I shall take it upon myself to exonerate my good name.
     After the initial joint and binding financial offer was accepted, we continued to confer about other unrelated topics until our turn to order. Therefore, I submit it’s perfectly conceivable that I’d forgotten all about our monetary restrictions by the time the lady asked, “Can I take your order?” Witnesses will testify that after briefly glancing up at the menu, I spoke the following words without the slightest intention of malice, “Give me a double with cheese combo.” Admittedly, I did add, “Oh… and biggie size it.”
     I was quickly alerted to my gross over-orderazation by a sudden burning sensation penetrating the back of my skull. I turned to find Heath’s eyes stabbing me like flames! Under such obvious duress I began to suffer from what I will refer to as “SSS”, or "Sudden Stupidity Syndrome", for I sheepishly added, “Oh, and whatever he wants.” Heath stood there dumbfounded, which in my opinion isn’t all that big of a stretch. I alertly made a quick escape to the drink fountain. With the scant change now left at his disposal, Heath subsequently ordered from the value menu. Needless to say he wasn’t too happy. I could hardly enjoy my meal over the growling of his stomach.
     But anyway- Despite the pending law suit, the teasing, bickering, fighting and eye gouging, deep down I really love Heath. Sure, we may have grown up fighting like two bull sharks in a 55 gallon drum, but I’ll tell you this, we’ve faced many a challenge in this life together, and few gifts the Lord has given me equal the relationship I have with my little brother. He's always been there to talk to, to lean on, and to cry out to in Wendy’s. We're like twins, born six years apart.
     Many folks wonder why Heath would allow me to poke such fun at him in these stories. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because he’s my fellow warrior, gladly willing to play the fool for Christ’s sake, if it might take you even one step closer to discovering the treasure we’ve both found in Jesus. (…and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 KJV)
     Whatever you do, please don’t tell that Knucklehead I said all those gooey things. He’ll be telling off on me at work.

Guy Sheffield's website - But Anyway is located at http://www.butanyway.org/

--UPDATED--
TUESDAY  APRIL 25  7:47 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties




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