Monday, January 01, 2024

2023 Year in Review

As has been the case in recent years, 2023 has raced by. I can’t remember if I’ve said this in this blog before, but if so, it is worth repeating. Every lap you make around the sun, you pick up speed.

On the family front this year, we had another granddaughter born early in the year. Children are a blessing of the Lord. It has been a joy to see her grow, along with her other sisters and cousins.

Two of my sons proposed to their girlfriends in 2023. Paton (our fifth child) is marrying this month! (In January). Justin (our fourth) is marrying in June. They have both found nice Christian girls. I’m happy to welcome them into our family. So at the end of 2024 we will have more children married than not. Sarah and Samuel are still at home, for now. Of course, so are Melody and David.

I’m still working from home for the same company. That has been a blessing with the savings of time and gas. Though it has not been without its own challenges, especially in light of another family development. I have lost my dedicated space. My study was taken over by my father-in-law, who has moved in with us. Sheri is working hard to care for him. For now, my desk and workstation is set up in the bedroom. It would be nice to find another working arrangement. But it is what it is for now.

Church is going wonderfully. As I get older, and hopefully more mature, I enjoy the Lord’s Day more and more. The corporate worship of the saints is a blessing. I feel honored when I am given the opportunity to deliver the sermon. I wrapped up a multi-year series on Galatians this year. I started a series on Ephesians that I’m sure will last just as long. It wouldn’t be quite as long if I preached more frequently. I’m sure I could preach more often if I wanted. But I take the preaching of the Word very seriously. So it is a huge time commitment to prepare a sermon. Fitting that in with my employment and family responsibilities is a daunting task. Additionally, I frequently teach Sunday School classes. The latest class I did was on the Attributes of God. The prep time for that class was not intensive, however, as I showed a Steve Lawson video on the subject each week, then facilitated a discussion time. In 2023, I attended the FIRE ( conference in Laurel, Mississippi. It was very good. Plus, those from our church who were in attendance had an ulterior motive instead of being there just for the good messages, and excellent prayer time that we enjoy with other FIRE churches. That motive is to learn how to host one of these conferences ourself. The 2024 FIRE conference will be in Oklahoma City at our church. Just a few years ago the Lord gave us a new, bigger building. We now have the room to host the conference.

Sheri and I were talking the other day and we realized that 2023 marked 40 years that we have known each other. I met her in October 1983 at a homecoming dance at R.L. Turner high school in Carrollton, Texas. We were both freshmen, though not at the same school. I was at her high school with another date. She definitely caught my eye. I managed to find out her last name, and used the trusty white pages to look her number up the following week. The rest is history! We’ve been though a lot together. She is more beautiful today than the day we first met. I love her with a love that has been seasoned over the decades. She is a great blessing in my life.

Monday, January 02, 2023

2022 Year in Review

 Another year is in the books. Probably the most exciting thing about this year is the birth of another grandchild. To protect their privacy, I’ll only say that this is our sixth grandchild and he or she was born sometime in 2022. J There is another on the way for 2023. Having grandchildren is a lot easier than having children! There is an interesting dynamic, though, of still having young kids at home and having grandkids come over to play with them. How to manage teaching my own kids to “baby proof” their rooms is its own challenge. Our youngest still at home is 9. But we have several grandchildren younger than 5 coming over a lot. That is a blessing! It’s great to have the young sounds of laughter and trying to understand the little ones trying to tell me something that I’m just not quite catching.

On the job front, I’m still working from home. That has been a huge blessing in and of itself. The commute is from the bedroom to the study. That saves an enormous amount of time and gasoline. This has been somewhat of a “retro” year in that regard as I have learned a new (old) skill of COBOL programming. Our team codes web applications. The front end is written in C#, ASP .NET, with Javascript. That’s what I was hired to do. However, the backend is all in COBOL. Just a few years ago, it was transitioned from the mainframe to a SQL Server system. But with all the existing COBOL in place, it was necessary to find a way to keep all that code. Netcobol was the solution. The entire backend system has been transferred over to that Netcobol approach. There is a lot of work involved in modifying that existing COBOL, either to correct bugs or to accommodate new changes that are needed. And at the same time there aren’t a lot of new college grads rushing to learn COBOL. I turned 54 this year, and I’m happy(?) to say that I’m one of the youngest programmers on my team. I think they hired a couple of guys who are younger than me. But developers for that old language are getting more and more sparse. The nice thing that this has allowed me to do is to have the skill to code the front end and the back end. All the other COBOL developers have to enlist the help of a front end guy if their change needs a tweak to that. All the other C# developers have to enlist the help of a COBOL programmer if they need a back end change. I can take a modification and complete it start to finish on my own, most of the time. There are some SQL stored procedures in place that I need the help of the database team from time to time. But for the actual code I can hold my own pretty well. So anyway, all this has led to a pretty high job satisfaction for me, which is another blessing. I really don’t enjoy the interview process. So if I can stay with the same company for a while, that’s the approach I prefer. In November, I started my fourth consecutive year with this company. I had spent a year working for them earlier in my career, and left, only to return later.

The church is going very well. I am one of the elders at Northwest Bible Church ( I preach from time to time, though our main teaching elder is Alan Conner. I almost made it through the book of Galatians in 2022. But as of the end of the year, I still have a few verses more to cover in chapter 6. Galatians is a very rich epistle. The “nutshell” emphasis in that book is that we are saved by grace, through faith, and not by the works of the law. Or at least not by our own works of the law. We are saved by the works of the law fulfilled by Christ Jesus and imputed to our account by Him. We enjoy an imputed righteousness, not our own. Jarred Yancey is another brother at our church. He and I taught through Pilgrims Progress, Parts 1 and 2 (two back to back classes) this year. If you’ve never read John Bunyan’s classic, this is the year for you to jump into it. It is absolutely magnificent.

On the home front, Justin moved out this year. So we are down to five kids at home. Paton graduated high school. We participate in a homeschool coop. So he got to walk across the stage with that group. Sarah got her driver’s license, and a car. Samuel had a great year doing cross country running. Melody is involved in gymnastics and American Heritage Girls. David is involved in Trail Life USA. I’m serving as the chaplain in our troop and co-teaching the “Mountain Lion” boys, of which David is a member. Of those kids who have already moved out, Brittney and Landon are working full time for themselves now, running a vending route. Michael started as a firefighter at the City of Perry, Oklahoma. Brianna graduated with her Occupational Therapy Assistant program at OCCC. Justin got his associate degree at OCCC as well.

Life continues to go on. The Lord is blessing our family.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

2021 Year in Review

The biggest news on a personal basis for 2021 was that I actually came down with COVID. It was bad enough to land me in the hospital for five days. Thankfully, I appear to be fully recovered. And yet, my cynicism on the outlook of this whole thing is that the government doesn’t want a perfectly good “crisis” to go to waste. The lines of demarcation are being clearly drawn, dividing true conservatives and true liberals, regarding of what’s on their bumper stickers or t-shirts. The liberal party line is “Be vaccinated with every vaccine and booster that Biden, Fauci, and their cronies recommend (mandate???). Wear a useless mask as a sign of your subjugation everywhere you go. Shame those who don’t agree with you.” I have seen that attitude, or at least parts of that attitude in the most unexpected personalities of those close to me this year. It seems that I may have caught a glimpse of what our ancestors may have faced in the War of Northern Aggression when cousins (or even brothers) of a same family found themselves on different sides of the conflict. I hope this division doesn’t devolve into taking up arms. But it seems there are way too many who are willing to give up freedom for a supposed “security,” when that security is fleeting at best.

 For some reason the previous paragraph reminded me to mention that I got to go see a Dallas Cowboy football game with my dad this year. I haven’t seen the Cowboys in person since I was a kid. And I really haven’t watched them on TV much at all since then. So, it was a lot of fun, though I didn’t recognize any of the names. In my mind, it should be Roger Staubach as quarterback throwing “hail mary” passes to Drew Pearson or handing off to Tony Dorsett. All the while the watchful coaching eye of Tom Landry wearing his signature derby hat on the sidelines would peer over the field while he forms his strategy. When it was time for defense,  Randy White was the linebacker, while Ed “Too Tall” Jones would block passes from the other team’s quarterback. But those days are long gone. I can’t even remember the names of the current team, except their number 5, “Anger.” And that is just because I was amused at his name. When my dad and I left the stadium in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were beating the team “formerly known as Redskins” (part of the horrendous cancel culture of 2021) 56 to 7.

As I type this blog post (the few days late that it is), it has been almost two years since I began teleworking from home full time. I love this arrangement and hope I never have to return to the office. My job satisfaction has skyrocketed. I love the company I work for, and the people I work with, because we still see each other on the screen each day.

Signing off for now. Most likely, this will be the last post of the year for me. I don’t seem to be keeping up with the blog very regularly at all.

Friday, January 01, 2021

2020 Year in Review

 2020 is certainly a year that no one alive today is likely to forget. Of course the biggest news was the pesky COVID-19 virus that hit our country in March. I’ll speak to that in a few minutes. There have been a few other highlights of this year, some positive rays of light shining on our darkened country. But most of these positive aspects of 2020 have been limited to the personal experience of myself, my family, and my friends, including my church family. Viewing our country as a whole, there hasn’t been much to get very excited about. But for the sake of keeping a positive outlook, I’ll talk about the good things that I appreciate about 2020.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened in 2020 was the birth of our fifth grandchild. Our oldest daughter Brittney gave birth to a little girl. As I mentioned in my 2019 Year in Review, I don’t want to put out too much public information about them because I want to respect my children’s wishes on how much they share publicly. But I will say that she is precious and being a grandfather is a great blessing.

There’s an interesting dynamic in becoming a grandfather to a growing number of grandchildren while still being a father to children at home. It seems as though, most likely, the days of parenting babies and toddlers is over. But there are still challenges in raising children who live at home from the ages of 7 to 19. You’d think I’d have this parenting thing down pat by now, but the longer I parent the more I realize how much I just don’t know. To those, including my children, who may be reading this, just know that I love all my children and I’m doing my best to show that love in the raising of them. To this day I find it very difficult to strike the balance between being too strict and too lenient. Maybe, but I doubt it, I’ll figure it out by the time my youngest flies the coop.

The big news in our church is the acquisition of a new building. It is much larger than our previous building. It is a blessing to have enough space to accommodate everyone in the sanctuary without having to maintain an “overflow” room. There are also a lot more classrooms, making it easier to have several adult Sunday School classes going on at the same time. This Lord’s Day TJ Hooser will be teaching, and I’ll be regularly assisting in, a class on the book of Hebrews. It will be a discussion type of class. It should be good digging into the Word for about 26 weeks. If you are in the Oklahoma City area, I’d love to invite you to visit us. Our website has the address and information about it:

As I mentioned earlier COVID has thrown a wrench into everyday life. One development that has been positive for me personally is that since this thing started to grow in March I have been teleworking every day. This has saved a lot of gas and time and has had the great result of avoiding the red tape and bureaucracy of traveling to and from a military base every day. That was a huge reason I left my contracting job there in 2014. Working from home for the same organization has kept all the benefits while removing the biggest hassle. I don’t expect teleworking to last forever, but when life does return back to quasi normal, maybe a consistent partial teleworking arrangement could be approved.

2020 has seen government overreach unlike I have ever experienced in my lifetime. The whole “mask mandate” thing has been a textbook example of government control. The virus has had just enough truth to prevent it from being viewed as a scam, but the “solution” has been far worse than the virus itself. Our church did online only services for a few weeks, but that did not last long. I think, as elders, we saw the light that some arbitrary virus should not interfere with the worship of our great God. Doing it online is certainly not the same. I’m pretty sure we are committed not to shuttering our doors anymore in the future.

The 2020 presidential election was a mess. Calling it election fraud is an understatement. Trump was winning by a landslide, when in the middle of the night an avalanche of Biden votes came in from six different swing states. As of now, it appears that Biden will take control of the office, and tyranny will grow stronger in America. There is one last bit of hope that Mike Pence will refuse to count the electoral votes of those states where fraud was apparent. But it remains to be seen whether he will have the courage to take such a stand.

I’m going to keep this update short and sweet this year as there are plenty of other opinions on the sad state of affairs in our country. 2021 should be an interesting year to say the least.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

2019 Year in Review

As I sit down on New Year’s Day to type this out I think back on the year that has just passed. On one hand it seems like just yesterday I was writing this for 2018. On the other hand, however, that seems like eternity past.

Back in February of 2019 I had the opportunity to go to an Expository Preaching Conference by Dr. Steven Lawson of One Passion Ministries. ( This was an excellent conference targeted to pastors and elders. I have heard much from Dr. Lawson this year as I have listened to his Men’s Bible Study on the book of Romans. There is a link to that from the website referenced. He also has a mobile app that has the link available. At Northwest Bible Church we have just finished up Dr. Lawson’s series on Foundations of Grace where he shows how the whole Bible teaches the Doctrines of Grace, including Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. I have also enjoyed listening to his Expositor podcast where he shares in about 5 minutes ways to minister to a congregation, primarily through expository preaching.

On the family front, it’s amazing to watch my children continue to grow up. Justin became our fourth homeschool graduate. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, I have been continuing to teach David to read. Paton is continuing to excel at his violin playing. Sarah has been taking piano lessons from a lady in our church, and is making great strides as well. Melody started in American Heritage Girls. ( Paton, Samuel, and David are involved in Trail Life USA. ( I am leading the “Foxes” (the kindergarten age where David participates). It has been fun, but challenging, to lead these youngest of Trailmen. After having hardly ever going camping for most of my life, (We went a handful of times as a family when I was a boy), I have been participating on a mostly monthly basis in campouts for the older Trail Life boys, including Paton and Samuel.

This year I have also been able to enjoy being a grandfather.  I won’t share too many details on my grandchildren’s lives, because I feel it is their parents’ rights to determine how much to share online. I will say, though, that between all three of my married children I have four beautiful grandchildren. It is exciting to watch them grow, and I’m very happy to see my children and their spouses either actively homeschooling, or preparing in that direction as their children approach school age. It’s amazing to see the little “carbon copies” of my own children in my grandchildren. I see that in Brittney’s family and in Michael’s.

This year we got to try our second attempt at keeping chickens.  Someone who was moving away gave us their chicken coop and two hens. Sarah wanted some ducks. So we bought three baby ducklings. Unfortunately, before we had the coop we had them in a cage, and a predator made off completely with one of them, and badly injured another. I never remember feeling so sad to have to kill a bird. But it tugs at the heartstrings of a daddy’s emotions to take the life of his little girl’s pet, even if it was the most ethical thing to do. The poor little duck had a broken leg and was in obvious pain. The last remaining one has acclimated to his two chicken friends. “Joey” is a big healthy duck now. The chickens, even though they are both hens, have been named Melissa and Doug, presumably after the creators of wooden toys that the kids enjoy.

The most significant development for me personally this year has been my employment/career scene. At the beginning of 2017 I was at Dolese. Though every job has its challenges, I had resolved within myself to remain content and stay at Dolese for the long haul. I have had many jobs throughout my working career. I really don’t enjoy the interview process and the onboarding process of a new job. Plus, as I had turned 50 at the end of 2018 I know that job seeking tends to become more of a challenge as the competition is cheaper, and more recently trained at their colleges and universities in the latest technologies. But the Lord had other plans for me in that arena. In March I was laid off from Dolese, along with two other coworkers. I still keep in touch with my favorite manager out there. Incidentally, I was not reporting to him when I was let go. That ended a three year, three month stint at a place that underwent several changes during my brief time there. I found out later that several more of my coworkers were let go. All of this was foreshadowed by the unexpected termination of the CIO back in May of 2018. She was a good leader, and a lady I enjoyed working for. It is sometimes hard to tell what a company is thinking when they get rid of so much of the talent and experience that they possess in such a short time frame. In any case, I wish them well and hope that, despite what I consider foolish choices in purging their workforce, they are able to keep from running this very old and established Oklahoma company into the ground. I enjoyed the experience while it lasted.

On May 1, I started employment at MidFirst bank. MidFirst is a good company. They almost seem “security conscience to a fault.” If you are a customer of MidFirst, you shouldn’t have to worry about viruses infecting their systems, as none of the developers have access to the internet on their work computers. This can make a day in the life of a software developer a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, they did allow me to bring my personal laptop with my hotspot on my cell phone. So, I was able to browse, unhindered, technical websites that helped me to do my job. Probably the most helpful programming site that I like to refer to is  Anyway, in the Lord’s providence a position opened up at Delaware Nation Industries, a contracting company at Tinker Air Force base. This position was with the very same team that I had worked with previously from 2013-2014. When I went to the interview I sat in a room with three former colleagues and friends, along with the manager whom I had not met when I worked there the first time. We worked well together previously, and I knew it would be a good match once again. Though I felt a little remorse serving at MidFirst for only six months, and leaving my coworkers there with a massive project and an aggressive schedule, I hired on with DNI in November 2019. I believe it was September when I interviewed with them. But for a position that I was being hired for, there is quite a process involved prior to employment. My every intention at this point, is to continue in this position as long as I can, for many of the same reasons that I gave earlier. Not to mention that I have a great working relationship with the guys I knew previously. In hind sight, I believe that the position at DNI is a better opportunity than even what I had at Dolese. So, the Lord certainly had His plans that He was working out in my life, though it was difficult to see while walking through it. That is where faith comes into the picture. In the transition from MidFirst to DNI there were some questions regarding health benefits that caused us to explore other options to insure the family. I will say that MidFirst had very good benefits. Later I discovered that the benefits at DNI were actually a bit better than what I was originally led to believe due to a miscommunication early on. Walking through these issues presented their own challenges. All in all, I am satisfied in the way it worked out, and I look forward to pressing on in 2020 to help my new team at DNI to be successful in all our endeavors.

Things continue to go well at Northwest Bible Church. It is an honor to lead God’s people with the other two elders, Alan Conner and Alan Loeffler. I love our congregation. I have witnessed the joys of seeing new families coming to the church, the bittersweet emotions of talking to one of our elderly members just a few days before attending his funeral, rejoicing with the birth of children to our members, and so on. All of these experiences are common to all members in the church. But seeing it all from the perspective of an elder in the church has been a real blessing. As time goes on I more and more appreciate Reformed Theology. Reformed Theology is simply biblical theology. I hope to continue reading more and continuing to grow in faith in 2020.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ten Reasons Why Postmates is Better Than Lyft or Uber

I have recently started delivering food through Postmates. As a former Lyft driver, I want to share with you why this gig is so much better.

1. Listen to whatever you want in your car
Do you like to listen to podcasts? Do you ever listen to things that others may be offended by (think politics or religion)? If you are a Lyft or Uber driver then you want to make your car a welcoming, affirming place for your paying customers. With Postmates, the only “passengers” you ever have are stuff, usually food. I’ve never once played music that I thought the cheeseburger I was transporting enjoyed, even if I didn’t.

2. Personal safety
While it is true that there is some level of risk when making a delivery at someone’s home, this level of risk is much less than carrying someone in your back seat for several miles. Most people you deal with are most likely law abiding citizens. For those few who aren’t, I’d rather spend as little time with them as possible.

3. Tidiness of your car
With Postmates, you want your car to be sanitary. I don’t advocate driving a filthy car. You are carrying food, after all. However, with Lyft or Uber, your car needs to be spotless inside and out, or you risk getting a low rating on their app. I like to have a few books with me lying on the seat. It’s even possible I may have my child’s booster seat in the back. Those would be “no-nos” with a ride sharing service.

4. No need to carry “freebies” with you to give away
In hopes of getting a 5 star rating with Lyft or Uber many drivers will carry water bottles, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and even motion sickness bags for their passengers. The only thing you need to carry with Postmates is the order you have picked up.

5. Rating system
Speaking of “5 star ratings” (in the last point), Postmates has simply a thumbs up or thumbs down on your delivery driver. So unless you really mess up, or you’re dealing with an exceptionally cranky customer, you can pretty well count on getting a thumbs up. Contrast that with Lyft (which I have done in the past). There, if your rating drops below 4.6 you risk getting canned by Lyft. So someone could give you 4 stars, having no problems with your service, but they just have the (correct) attitude that “there’s always room for improvement.” They may not realize that they are hurting their driver when they do that.

6. Age of your car
I drive a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria. For Lyft, your car has to be 12 years old or newer. For Uber it has to be 10 years or newer. I drove for Lyft in 2017. So I barely squeezed in under the limit. I’m not sure if they would have kicked me out in 2018 or not. I stopped before that. But with Postmates, they don’t care. If your city isn’t too spread out they even support you doing deliveries on bicycle or foot. My now 14 year old car is just fine.

7. More consistent earnings
I have been surprised at the demand for Postmates on weekdays. I suppose a lot of people like to have food delivered home on weekdays and like to actually go out in the weekend. In my experience, Postmates seems to be busier on the weekdays than the weekend.

8. No left wing commentary
When I drove for Lyft I received an email from them condemning President Trump’s immigration policy and making it clear that Lyft did not agree with it. Regardless of your position on the policy, why interject it into your business? Why risk alienating conservatives? Here in Oklahoma, conservatives are the majority of your customers.

9. People are quirky, objects are not
When I drove for Lyft it was interesting to read comments from passengers. Some would complain that I was too talkative, some would say I did not talk enough. Some wanted silence. Others wanted music, but none told me their preference while in the car. It was always just left in the feedback. I would grow frustrated trying to please whoever was in my car, not knowing what would please them. Postmates eliminates that frustration.

10. The smells!
I love to enjoy the smell of a container of fajitas in my back seat, or a cheeseburger and fries next to me. Contrast that, however, with the unpredictable smell of passengers with Lyft or Uber. I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. I could always tell when my passenger was a smoker, even though they didn’t smoke in my car. They would reek of cigarettes to the point that I couldn’t wait to drop them off at the their stop. Or you may have a lady who surely used a whole bottle of perfume when she was dressing up to go out. Postmates gets rid of the people smell and leaves you with the soothing aroma of grease. J

If after reading this short article I have convinced you to sign up with Postmates, be sure and use me as a referral. By doing so, you will gain a guaranteed income of $725 for your first 65 deliveries in the Oklahoma City area (your city may differ), and I’ll earn a little bonus of $150. That should perk up your ears, because you’ll have the chance to do the same when you refer your own friends later.

Here’s the link:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Make $725 for your first 65 deliveries in OKC

Postmates is guaranteeing you will make $725 for your first 65 deliveries in the OKC area. The link should work outside the OKC area, but the dollar amount varies according to region. I did this for the first time on Tuesday night of this week. For 5 hours of work I made about $86. Not bad for some extra cash on my own time schedule. Plus, this was my first time. There are some things I have learned since then that should net me more for the same amount of time spent. Anyway, the guarantee is nice because if you make less than that, then Postmates will pay the difference.

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