Forget Waldo! Where is Ed Decker

waldo

Sorry, Waldo, but I have enough trouble trying to keep up with my own location.

A few years back, I had the occasion to argue the Law of the Impenetrability of Matter with a Metro bus. This law is defined as the inability of two bodies of matter to occupy the same space at the same time. When push comes to shove, it is always the softer body of matter that loses in any attempt to defy this law. We were living in North Bend at the time, but the bus nailed me in Issaquah, right across the street from the Fish Hatchery.

After spending the better part of a month in a coma, I eventually rose from the hospital bed minus a lung, barely able to walk and sent home with a mind firmly set toward finally getting to eat actual food and avoiding being anywhere close to a bus for the rest of my life.

My recovery was slow and frustrating..  It started with living life in my bedroom, expanded to the bathroom and finally, my wife would help me downstairs each morning where I spent each day scooting about with my walker. and, I could rest in our downstairs guest room.

Summer turned to early fall and I was now able to make my own latte.’ I could go out on the deck and read the paper. We lived on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington and sitting there basking in the morning sun, watching the river roll by was great.

Then one day, the impossible happened. There were no espresso beans in the latte’ machine.  Fear of ‘No latte’ fell upon me. My wife was 20 miles away in another town, working.  Panic filled my heart.

But wait.  My SUV was parked in the garage and Huxdotter’s drive-thru Latte stand was only a short drive through town. Yes, my doctors, wife and children had all forbidden driving, but the urge and  the terrible need was there. I was a grown man, alone and desperate. I knew what I had to do.

With some huffing and lots of puffing, I worked my way down into the garage and to the driver side door.  With great effort, I lifted myself up and after a long rest, slowly made my way down the winding road to town. In minutes I was ordering a triple shot Grande latte and a pound of espresso beans. I was ruler of my life. I was happy.

It was with glee that I pulled out of the drive-thru and headed home, no one the wiser. Except, I had no idea where I was and didn’t know where I lived. Panic hit!  I thought, “This is ridiculous!” I live in a town with one main road and six side streets.  How could anybody get lost? I recognized nothing except the latte’ stand.

I finished my latte and went back for another one, hoping the ladies would know where I lived. They smiled at me.

Finally, I did the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I called my wife.  Need I tell you what happened when she found out I was driving my SUV on a street where people were? Now, I love my wife and she always looking after me with the very best of intentions. I knew she would be very unhappy about this escaped patient of hers.

She asked me where I was and the street name. She led me all the way home, staying on the phone until I pulled safely into the garage. It was easy doing that. I had left the garage door open.

Seems the doctors later determined I was suffering from Transient Global Amnesia.  It was the end of my driving for a very long time. In fact, my wife collected all my keys, kept them in her purse, and took them to work with her every day. For months, I was a captive in my own home…. At least they kept me in espresso beans!

Months later, she returned my keys. I still got lost now and then but learned that I probably knew where I was going before I left and with my cell phone, a note pad of instructions and a GPS I loathed, I usually worked it out or just stopped someplace nice until someone eventually found me.

All that to tell you about my trip to get a haircut recently. My wife gave me instructions on how to go to a new hair cutting place.  She said it was in a local mall where I often shopped. I drove there and after making the rounds of all the shops, came up blank. Trouble was about to happen. Fear of Global amnesia came upon me. Fear of my wife was even greater.

I finally called her after three rounds through the place, checking every shop, one by one. She said that I was not paying attention. She said that I should not be allowed to drive alone anymore.

I rechecked every shop and gave up and parked.  As I sat there, preparing myself to once more turn in my car keys, I wondered, “what about the actual address of the place.”

I called my wife again and asked her for the street address. After some words regarding transient global amnesia, my age and the value of the car I was driving, she firmly advised me to sit where I was parked until she came to get me. Finally, she relented and gave me the street address.

Miracle of miracles! She had actually sent me to the wrong mall.   I was set free!  I did know where I wasn’t.                             .

The shop was one block west of where I was parked.  Moments later, I was happily awaiting the next empty chair. I had won a small victory. Life for this old man was good again. I was back in control.

I couldn’t wait to get home and share this joy of finding my barber with my wife. She wasn’t as excited as I thought she would be. I made us both a latte.

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I Sweat the Small Stuff

I’m not sure who said “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  I know some Phd wrote a book or two about it. Usually, I can’t do a thing about the big stuff and wasting my time and energy sweating about the big stuff gets me nothing except indigestion. My wife handles all the big stuff, anyway. It’s the small stuff that keeps my interest.

I wonder where our daily newspaper gets its rubber bands.  When my paper is ‘rubber-banded’ in one, it is always dirty. Do they buy them that way from a used rubber-band place or are they using so much ink that just putting one on gets it all dirty?

I personally like the ones the Post Office uses. They are wider, thicker and almost always new and clean. . I use them around the house for all sorts of things.  I put the newspaper ones in the trash container before I even get  back in the house.

I have never figured out why anyone would enjoy using toilet tissue mounted with the leading sheet under the roll. It makes no sense at all. When the leading sheet is over the top, it is easy to get at. No groping around under the roll, usually mounted in an awkward, hard to reach spot, anyway.

When I’m out at someone else’s home or at a restaurant, I feel compelled to correct any roll that is improperly mounted. It is just something that would nag at me the entire time I am there if I didn’t do that.  I do not tell other people [oops] about that little quirk.

I also find myself often taking a paper towel and wiping down the sink splashes in restaurant and airport restrooms. I just do not understand how some people can be so thoughtless of others.

I don’t like the way some people load dishwashers. When we have guests for dinner, the ladies want to help clean up and I’ve gotten so I wish I could tell them not to. I know better, though.

There are ways to load a dishwasher and ways not to. I have to wait until they leave and reload it. There is a system I doing it right, you know. Gotten so I do most of the cleanup lately.

I always wonder of the bread they put on my table at a restaurant includes the bread from an earlier table that someone else didn’t eat.

I wonder about doctors who make me sit for an hour and a half in the waiting room with sick people ever had to do that themselves.

I read the obituaries every day. I’m Ok if most of the people listed are older than me, but I have a bad day when most are younger. I have come to realize that at my age, I have more descendants now than I have friends. They’re going faster than I like.

My wife said, “Ed, stop worrying about this. Just slow down, you will last longer. And Ed, be nicer to the kids. They will probably be choosing our rest home.”

It annoys me that the streetlights on Ramon Road are the most unsynchronized lights in California. I am convinced that they are designed to force stop me at every single intersection, even when there is no cross traffic.

There must be a hidden device on my car that some sadistic traffic controller has placed there, just hoping I drive on Ramon.  I think he sits there, watching me pull off Highway 10 on his traffic computer and then with cackling joy, pops the red light button at every light I approach.

I have yet to figure out how a golf ball that I hit straight down the fairway can suddenly pick up speed and veer off at a sharp angle, usually ending up hitting a roof  of  a house where the occupant is standing in the yard.  Never a vacant house, where I can quietly sneak by.

I have tried to trick the ball and compensate by aiming at a house, but then it goes exactly where I aimed it. It is demonic.

Sometimes, a little article on an off page in the newspaper stays with me for days. I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating over it.  Here are two that had me awake at 3 AM this morning.

Just the other day, I read that the California Governor, in a cost savings effort, was planning on releasing 6,000 inmates from the state prisons.

In another article, cleverly hidden in a different section of the paper, it was announced that the state will stop its parole monitoring of low-level offenders after their release.

This is being done, in order to reduce the number of parolees returning to prison for violating their parole, because if they aren’t monitoring the parolees, the state will not know if they are violating the terms of their parole.

Does anyone but me, most of the legitimate citizens of California and most of the owners of convenience stores throughout the state feel like these are really, really bad ideas?

 

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Worth it All

He was a tall, lean man; elderly, with a wild thicket of pure white hair. He stood at the front of the small church, tears streaming down his face, hands lifting out and up from his body.

Earlier that day, I drove to the northern Utah town to speak at this church about Mormonism and its heretical doctrines. I had my notes in order and was ready to explain the unbiblical doctrines of Mormonism to a packed church right in the middle of Mormon country.

After being introduced and welcomed by the pastor, I walked to the podium and scanned the faces of the crowd. After a few minutes of warm-up comments, I turned to my notes and stopped. I knew this was not the message thee people came to hear. They came to hear what was in my heart.

I looked up and began sharing my story, my journey into Mormonism, my life there and my journey out.   At the end of my sharing, I led the congregation in what Christians called an “altar Call” and asked those who had prayed with me and wanted that same peace of Christ and His gift at the cross to come forward.

Now I stood in front of this elderly gentleman with tears flowing down his cheeks. I reached up and took his face in both my hands, feeling his tears run through my fingers. Weeping with him, I cried, “If not one other person ever receives a new life in Christ in all my ministries, you alone are worth it all.”

 I asked him what he was feeling right then. He sobbed, Oh, The Joy, the joy.”

 That was many years ago and I never forgot that man and that night. I found out later that he was a Mormon Temple Worker, one of the most faithful of the faithful, yet heaven reached down and captured his heart. Others went forward that night as well, but sometimes I feel my hands are still wet from his tears.

I think one of the reasons I remember it as though it just happened today is that in some small way, I caught a glimpse of how Jesus must of felt when he died on the cross for you and me. Somehow, I knew he felt that I, personally, was worth it all, just as he felt you, too, were worth it all.

Over the years since, we have ministered to so many thousands who have found freedom from spiritual darkness through Christ and the cross, that it can be easy to put them all together as some sort of ministry statistic, yet each one is as singular to me as was this man and each of you..

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with full awareness and the clear memory of being there during the minutes in time when one of you stepped out of darkness into the light of Christ. These moments fill me with the holiness of Christ’s love for each of us and it continually draws me into a deeper zeal for souls.

That is why I am here, why I cry out to the Lord to be used of Him to reach the lost, why I stay up late in the nights praying over the names and requests that come my way. Why I write to you today, to beg you to not let a single chance go by to be ready to share the Good News of the Gospel.

And pray for me,

that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Eph 6: 19-20

May the Lord richly bless each one of you today.

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Where have all those Bibles Gone?

Bibles are forbidden in schools, all government facilities, military bases and academies; forbidden in some of the countries we defend with the lives of our soldiers. Most court rooms keep a copy for ‘swearing in” people to testify they will tell the truth, while all courts now let the witness affirm they will tell the truth, without swearing on this frightening and unpopular book.

Most churches put the scripture references on big screens and few people tote their bibles there any more. Employees have been told to remove it from their work places and kids have been sent home for reading it at school during free choice reading times.

Are we losing the Bible to Political correctness? Or are we going to stand firm on its use and power? Where is your bible?

We are subject to a government that has done everything in its power to remove the Holy Bible from public life and use. Yet, this act flies in the face of historical evidence of its importance to American life and liberty.

Did You Know That:

Congress formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.

Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words,

 “Give me liberty or give me death.” But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted.  Here is what he actually said: “An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us.  But we shall not fight our battle alone.   There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations.  The battle sir, is not to the strong alone.  Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it almighty God.  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.”

These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Was Patrick Henry a Christian?  You be the judge.  The following year, 1776, he wrote this:

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.”

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well-worn Bible:

“I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.  I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator. “

He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said,

 “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

There is more.  In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution:

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

William Holmes McGuffey was the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963.   President Lincoln called him the “Schoolmaster of the Nation.” Read these words of Mr.  McGuffey:

 “The Christian religion is the religion of our country.  From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe.  On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.  From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures.  For all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636.  In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures:

“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

Yale historian Harry S. Stout’s wrote an article in Christian History magazine titled, “Christianity and the American Revolution”.   Here is what he said about America at the time of the Revolution.

“Over the span of the colonial era, American ministers delivered approximately 8 million sermons, each lasting one to one-and-a-half hours. The average 70-year-old colonial churchgoer would have listened to some 7,000 sermons in his or her lifetime, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of concentrated listening. This is the number of classroom hours it would take to receive ten separate undergraduate degrees in a modern university, without ever repeating the same course!

 Events were perceived not from the mundane, human vantage point but from God’s. The vast majority of colonists were Reformed or Calvinist, to whom things were not as they might appear at ground level: all events, no matter how mundane or seemingly random, were parts of a larger pattern of meaning, part of God’s providential design.

 The outlines of this pattern were contained in Scripture and interpreted by discerning pastors. – [Today] taxation and representation are political and constitutional issues, having nothing to do with religion. But to eighteenth-century ears, attuned to lifetimes of preaching, the issues were inevitably religious as well.”

Times have changed, the world is different from those days, yet we all have the same hopes and desires, the love of God, family and the freedoms that such a spiritually based birth gave us here in America.

Yes, we are a great nation, but it was earned by the sweat and toil and prayers of men and women like these. Let’s not forget this!

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My Twitter Won’t Tweet

 Things are spiralling out of control. I think I have become lost in a world of electronic madness.

One of my sons informed me this week that my cell phone has become obsolete and I must head down to the Cell Phone store and get a phone that is contemporary with the time.

I pointed out that the fancy Razor/Slim line phone with camera built in that he made me trade my perfectly good flip-top Motorola cell phone for two years ago still works perfectly fine.  Well, except for the camera thing. Never could figure that out.. Even the few times I actually did take pictures I couldn’t figure what to do with them and gave up.

That is except when I would push the wrong button and take a video of the ceiling or my feet.

Seems the issue is that I am unable to text with the tiny little 3 character buttons.  “Hi, son,” would come out looking like, “Gh Qmo.”  My grandkids have even spoken to my wife about Poppa’s crazy text messages.  Give me a break. What ever happened to actually talking on a phone? Isn’t that what they were invented for?

They want me to get one of those Galaxy III phones that you can turn upside down and sideways and has a typewriter keyboard with keys about one-eighth the size of my pinky finger.

One of my four sons is a realtor whose real occupation is fly –fishing. “Way to go, son.”

Or in text language, “Xbz um Io, rmo.”

We were floating the Yakima River in his guide quality drift boat south of Ellensburg, Washington. We were miles from anything remotely resembling civilization.  Rock canyon walls were on either side of us. Bear with me as I try to explain this strange thing.

His “Blackberry” rang.  It was blue and I asked him why it wasn’t called a Blueberry. He shook his head with that ‘dealing with an elder despair’ look I get a lot these days. It was another realtor who called to say that the sellers he represented had agreed to my son’s client’s changes and he had the signed documents in hand.

My son told him to FAX the papers to his office and he would get them signed and Faxed back, to close the deal that morning. A minute later the phone rang and he hit a few buttons and looked over the FAX, now on the Yakima River with us.

He then called his clients and told them he was Faxing the papers to them to sign and asked them to FAX them back to his office.  While he was waiting, he hooked into a fat rainbow and was just releasing this 22 inch beauty as his phone rang again with the signed FAX from his clients.

He called the other realtor and told him he was sending the signed papers back by FAX. The deal was closed. He smiled and just said, “You are a little behind the times, Dad.”

 

I thought about the sixty million dollar a year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a Blackberry that played music, took videos, pictures and communicated with Facebook and Twitter.

I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouse, 10 grandkids and 5 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation.  I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [it’s red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive.  I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Nobles talking to my wife as every one in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me.  Seems I have to take my hearing aid out to use it and got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, “Re-calc-ul-ating” You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then when I would make a right turn instead, it was not good.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GSP lady, at least she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven’t figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden “Paper or Plastic?” every time I check out just knocks me for a loop.

I bought some of those cloth re-usable bags to avoid looking confused but never remember to take them in with me.

Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, “Paper or Plastic?”  I just say, “Doesn’t matter to me. I am bi-sacksual.”  Then it’s their turn to stare at me with a blank look.

Have a nice day

Ed Decker or as the kids call me,

Old Ned

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