Sunday, November 28, 2010

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.---(Jeremiah 10:23-24)

It's 13 years this month since my beloved and I lost our home. Finances came to a crash all through that year, an audit put us at cliff's edge and the loss of my youth pastorate in November put us over that cliff. We sold everything we could including our home, feeling blessed that we had enough to move to another state and start over.

We're debt free now, a blessing that can all too easily be forgotten until one reads the headlines.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Night Lights are back...

Mattson Lights...

...and those who fall short...

...way short...

---Ugly Christmas

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day...

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
--- George Washington

Hold that family real tight...

Captain Bob...

By Lee DeCovnick

The Grill is our local breakfast cafe. You know, the one in every American town; complete has with a long counter, brown rotating stools, a couple dozens booths with wooden benches, and a mirrored rotating pie display case. They serve tangy barbecue and slaw after 11:30 a.m., and sell 14 different kinds of whole pies including coconut cream and apricot rhubarb.

I ate there when I was ten, with my parents, while I mixed salt and pepper into the water glasses. I ate there with my junior prom date. I ate there waiting for my first child to be delivered at the local hospital. And I ate there Sunday mornings with my wife and my two toddlers. We moved away and much later we returned.

Tuesday, I stopped by the Grill, on a rare mid-week morning off from work. It was packed, a Thanksgiving week crowd full of friends and family from out town. I sat on a couch across from the cash register while waiting for an open seat at the counter, inhaling the familiar emotions from all the customers passing before me.

What first caught my eye were his bony shoulders, protruding from underneath his yellow cardigan sweater. I'm sure he was in his late 70's; rail thin, white hair still cut high and tight, pressed grey slacks and polished black loafers. Sitting at the counter hunched over a cup of coffee, he just stared vacantly straight ahead at the cooking grill. In fact, his eyes rarely moved unless a line cook wandered into his vision. An occasional sip of coffee, but no other movement. I was totally mesmerized by this scene, until an older waitress put her hand on my shoulder and said there was seat open next to Captain Bob.

"Captain Bob?"

"Yes, the gentleman you have been staring at for the past ten minutes."

"Sorry, but....ah.. I was curious." She blinked and finally began to look at me. I glanced at her name badge. "Betty, he seems very focused and yet...vacant, all at the same time." She smiled, looked at her watch and then firmly locked her eyes onto mine.

"Listen honey, Let's see if you can be a friend. But you have to swear to come back tomorrow at the exact same time. Otherwise I'll find you a seat in a booth, ok?"

"Ok.... uh do I-"

"Just start, honey, just start"

I sat down next to Captain Bob. He didn't turn to see who was sitting next to him. Betty took my order of coffee and the number two omelet with toast and hash browns. I leaned toward Captain Bob.

"Captain?" No response.

"Captain Bob?" No response.

"It's going to rain tomorrow....." No response.

I carefully followed Captain Bob's gaze toward the steaming white mound of uncooked hash browns on the grill.

"Do you think the cook used enough oil on this batch?" A full thirty seconds passed. Just as a bird's shadow darkens a page, the swiftest of smiles flitted across his lips.

"He never uses enough." Bob spoke with the gravelly voice of disuse, still staring straight ahead.

"Maybe butter would give the hash browns more flavor?" Again that long, long pause.

"No, butter smokes at a much lower temperature than oil, so you can cook more batches with oil in a shorter amount of time."

I had to push the envelope.

"So Captain, are there any other variables that determine the flavor profiles of these hash browns?" He slowly turned away from the grill and looked intently at my face while his eyes probed deep into my psyche.

"Moisture content of the hash browns varies greatly from batch to batch, depending on the processors' plant, the potato varietals, the brand specifications, and the seasonality of the harvest." And instantly the light went out from his eyes. He turned slowly back toward the grill, focused his vacant stare on the hash browns, and took a sip of coffee.

Betty has been standing next to me with my order in her hand. She put the plate down and placed her hands on mine.

"Honey, that was just wonderful. Captain Bob hasn't spoken like that for over two years. You are a dear friend. I can't wait to tell Emilio about today, he will be thrilled."

"Emilio is his.....?"

"Nurse and driver. He drives Captain Bob to The Grill every weekday around 10:30 and picks him up after lunch at 1:00. We save the same seat for him. He stares at the menu for more than half an hour, but always ends up pointing at the tuna fish sandwich on sourdough toast, hash browns and cup of coffee. Oh, plenty of folks come by and try to talk to Captain Bob, but you're the only one to get anything back in long time."

"I'm guessing that Captain Bob was not always like this?"

"Heavens no, Captain Bob had a full life for 72 years until this horrible disease started to take him away. I served him lunch for almost 15 years, so I know him pretty well." Betty stared at me a few seconds and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Now you promised me would be here tomorrow. Captain Bob has never remembered anyone more than twice, and then the entire memory of that person is erased, or blocked or whatever happens, forever. So you must be here tomorrow for a second visit, while he still has some notion of who you are."

I went home, called into work and told them I needed to take a personal holiday. No problem.

Wednesday morning I was at The Grill by 10:20, Betty was already there, hustling tables.

Emilio assisted Captain Bob to his stool, handed him a menu and sat down beside him. Emilio was in his late 60's, silver hair and the graceful body of aging athlete. His warm smile and warm eyes were delightfully happy. I sat next to Emilio while Captain Bob went through the menu.

"So, Betty tells me you got quite a response from the Captain?"

"Yes it seems so, .... uh, not Captain Bob, he was actually your captain? In the military?"

"Betty said you were smart. Yes, the captain saved my life in Vietnam more than few times; he actually saved dozens of us with his brains and instincts. He was a very bright man too. So now I pay him back by looking after him every day. After all he gave me the past 35 years with my wife, kids and grandkids. Seems like the right thing to do."

"So, long do I...we... have, if the door opens?" The silence stretched forward.

"Maybe three minutes, probably less."

"Achilles and Odysseus?" Emilio stared at me for long time and smiled.

Captain Bob finished his sandwich and hash browns, and began the vacant stare at the grill. Betty must have told everyone, as the entire café had become quiet. I looked over at her and she just nodded. I turned back to Emilio, and he held up three fingers.

"Captain?" No response.

"Captain Bob?" No response.

"It's going to rain tomorrow....." No response.

I took a deep breath. "Captain, how were the hash browns today?" A faint smile flashed almost at once. Emilio mimed the downward motion of a stopwatch.

"Better than yesterday. Still not enough oil" he rasped, staring straight ahead.

"Captain, Emilio thinks you should look at Betty, she's here standing next to me." He spun around on his stool. "You should say hello to your wife."

Bob's eyes glowed brightly." Ask Betty, did she sell The Grill?"

"No she didn't Captain, its still here and Betty is still running it. Please talk to Betty she's standing right here, next to me." A long pause then Emilio held up one finger.

"Betty? ...Betty..... did Jenny graduate last year?"

"Yes honey, she graduated, got married and she has two kids, one is eight and and the other is five. Do you remember Jeff?"

"He loves baseball, I'd like to see one of his games."

"Jeff's a lawyer in Florida now. He and Cindy have two great kids. I love you honey, so much! What can we do to help you?" A much longer pause as Bob's chest heaves and he began to sob. Emilio holds up a second finger.

"I love.... having lunch ...with you... each day. Emilio, you're looking old my friend...... Betty ....I..uh.... I ... will always love...---" The light in his eyes quickly faded. Captain Bob, tears still streaming down his face, slowly turned back toward the grill and took a sip of coffee.

Thanksgiving truly is family and memories.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Word...1Corinthians 10:25-33, Ephesians 5:15-21...

---Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake...Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

---See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

... with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is.
---(From Listen, by W. S. Merwin)

May you and yours have a blessed holiday season, seeing the hand of God in Christ in all things and at all times...peace, Br'er Shaygetz

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In time for the holidays...

---Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



Thanks to the foresight of our Founding Fathers, I don't have to go through the arduous labor of setting up and tearing down this layout where any Federal funds may go. Wouldn't want the Christmas theme to imply the support of any particular faith.

It's just as well...the oooos and ahhhhs of the old folks and kiddies gets old after awhile and, what's one more day of staring at the walls for Granny and Grand Paw---and---we sure wouldn't want the little nippers to think there's anything else to do besides play on the Wii...

That's as political as I'll get...enough said.

(Pro 22:28) Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Galatians 5:13-25

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AHM HO scale 50 ft. stock car...

...a pure fantasy creation that, despite its "excess Height" markings, is the same height as any other similar car in the yard.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Lionel HO scale CP Rail "Pac-Man" scheme" GP30... secret to so many of my models..."Buy the ones with boo boos, they'll patch up easy enough."

Just a couple strips of scrap styrene and some paint was all it took to fix this minor flaw...




Purchased with the intent to salvage its mechanism for another, better shell, the patch has me looking for...alas, sigh, groan...another mechanism.

And there lies the rub...

How can this be "The World's Greatest Hobby" if it feeds the beasts of avarice and materialism? I hope never to get caught up in making preparations for clearing out some excessive excesses on eBay...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Word...Jeremiah 3:12-22...

Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me. Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Judges 2:8-23

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.

And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

AHM HO scale integrated cover steel coil car with original review...

From the October '72 Model Railroader magazine...mine still has its original coils, no mean feat for a 40 year old car. Purchased in a lot from an online friend...




Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010...

A salute from one veteran to the rest...

When our Reveille is called, may the first sound we hear on the other side of eternity be,"Well done, good and faithful servant."


TYCO Spirit of '76 C430 in HO scale

...until then, may we do our utmost to ensure family and friends will hear those same words themselves.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Psalm 76

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song of Asaph. In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.

Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?

Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.

Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

LSU 24 Alabama 21...

Nuttin' but love, Nick...just a little gift for you to put in your suitcase when you go to Dallas this December...


Kadee Quality Products, N scale locomotive conversion kits....

...quite possibly the single biggest reason N scale did so well as a new modeling scale, Kadee conversion kits gave serious modelers in that scale reason to pursue making the balky little machines run better, thus saving the scale from the mostly half-hearted attempts offered by manufacturers of the day. However, there were a few good locomotives offered back then...most notably the Con-Cor PA1 pictured on the bottom of this June '71 Model Railroader magazine ad.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Binkley Models HO scale 60' business car kit, MIB...


Found by a true brother in the Lord while out flea marketing. Original retail price back in the 1950s...$5.95.

If you have one true friend in the Lord you are truly blessed, and gestures like this aren't about the thing so much as they are a physical reminder that God has given you someone at your back. You would do well to honestly access whether you have one or not and...if not, why not?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.---(Pro 27:6)

Bachmann HO scale 80 ton three truck shay...


Thursday, November 4, 2010 has been a hard, introspective week...

If it hasn't been seen yet, this blog is not about trains or models. It's about the propagation and exaltation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spreading of His Word through a medium folks will allow in their house...

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.---(1Co 15:3-8)

It is not opinions that man needs: it is Truth. It is not theology: it is God. It is not religion: it is Christ. It is not literature and science; but the knowledge of the free love of God in the gift of His only-begotten Son.

"I know not," says Richard Baxter, "what others think, but for my own part I am ashamed of my stupidity, and wonder at myself that I deal not with my own and others' souls as one that looks for the great day of the Lord; and that I can have room for almost any other thoughts and words; and that such astonishing matters do not wholly absorb my mind. I marvel how I can preach of them slightly and coldly; and how I can let men alone in their sins; and that I do not go to them, and beseech them, for the Lord's sake, to repent, however they may take it, and whatever pain and trouble it should cost me.

"I seldom come out of the pulpit but my conscience smiteth me that I have been no more serious and fervent. It accuseth me not so much for want of ornaments and elegancy, nor for letting fall an unhandsome word; but it asketh me, 'How couldst thou speak of life and death with such a heart? How couldst thou preach of heaven and hell in such a careless, sleepy manner? Dost thou believe what thou sayest? Art thou in earnest, or in jest? How canst thou tell people that sin is such a thing, and that so much misery is upon them and before them, and be no more affected with it? Shouldst thou not weep over such a people, and should not thy tears interrupt thy words? Shouldst thou not cry aloud, and show them their transgressions; and entreat and beseech them as for life and death?' "Truly this is the peal that conscience doth ring in my ears, and yet my drowsy soul will not be awakened. Oh, what a thing is an insensible, hardened heart O Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity and hardheartedness ourselves, or else how shall we be fit instruments of saving others from it? Oh, do that on our souls which thou wouldst use us to do on the souls of others!"
---Horatius Bonar, Words to Winners of Souls

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Psalm 32

A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.