I checked Google last night and discovered August 14th is the birthday of a number of significant men.
Happy 33rd Birthday wishes to Heisman Trophy winning football player Tim Tebow! I have such admiration for this true man of God.
Happy 70th Birthday wishes to American cartoonist and creator of The Far Side cartoon series Gary Larson! As a cartoonist, The Far Side cartoons are simply my favorite.
Happy 118th Birthday wishes to my Grandpa John Ross! Grandpa Ross passed away a number of years ago at the age of 92? But this true Northern Wisconsin character was always special to me .. as I was born on his birthday.. soooo..
Happy 63rd Birthday wishes to me! I am neither famous or infamous.. but it still is my birthday, and my blog so there.
Now while I am a nobody to most everybody, I am somebody to my wife Mary, my grown kids Curtis, Nathan, and Erin. And my Grandkids Everett 9, Greyleigh 6, Leighton 4, and Reagan 2 think I am somebody, and they ALL are somebody to me. I am even hopeful I am somebody to my daughter in-laws Laura, and Kendra.. even if sometimes I am just somebody who bugs them. But hey, that's the job of this Father in-law. No one told me I had to be a pest.. I just thought it was my duty.
So I am taking a day, today, August 14th to celebrate 63 years that have included watching Tim Tebow play ball, Gary Larson draw toons, Grandpa Ross smoke his pipe, and then 36+ years blessed with the best wife EVER (but don't tell her), three kids I am so proud of, grandkids I love to tiny bits and pieces, and my daughter inlaws to pester and tease.
What else could a man want? Oh I know.
I would want to be the football fan of 13 time NFL champion, and four time Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers which is 4 more than let's say.. the Minnesota Vikings... just sayin'
So BAM.. I have lived a blessed 63 years, Lord Jesus thank you and you can take me anytime.. I am ready to go.
Ok, I got carried away there. Not ready to go, but I am thankful for my 63rd birthday even if it is wrapped in the WORST YEAR EVER 2020. Well, I have to get through 63 in 2020 to get to 64 in 2021.
I pray God blesses your lives with many birthdays, and blessings that make Methuselah envious.
note: I also discovered Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old was also born on August 14th. It's true! You don't believe me? prove me wrong. :)
Jeff (Old Man River) Larson
Today, I am sharing a memory from a couple summers before all things COVID-19 when LIFE began FLASHING before my eyes.
Life Flashing before my eyes..
In 7 short days I have experienced highs and lows, laughter and tears, life and death. I know most of all of us have weeks like this, but last week was my turn.
On Tuesday August 9th my Aunt Marie passed away unexpectedly at the age of 87. She was very special to me, Marie (known as Babe) was loved and will be missed of course by family and friends. We all grieve and are sad for our loss, but celebrate her arrival to Heaven where she is reunited with family, friends, and most importantly JESUS.
This is the paradox of the Christian experience where our existence moves from life on Earth, to death, then to Eternity in Heaven for those who love the Lord.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelations 21:4
Then Friday morning August 10th my long awaited (9+ months) expected third granddaughter Reagan Holland Larson arrived. SHE'S A KEEPER!
This of course is the best kind of news, and holding her the following morning was a perfect healing touch for my grieving heart.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.. Over these same 7 days my wife's family were in town for a reunion. There are six siblings in the Laun family.. ages 83, 82, 79, 77, 60, while my wife is the itsy bitsy BABY at age 57.
All six siblings were here with their spouses along with a smattering of kids and grandkids. Activities included sight seeing, a picnic, paddle boat ride on the Mississippi, and a (heart attack free )baseball game of sorts with players ranging from age 6 through 77.
This was a great time of celebrating family and heritage. All are doing well and actually still like each other. - Who knew families still like each other these days. -
Health of all siblings is good, but if some nefarious sort targeting senior citizens robbed us the highlight of their booty would selling our hearing aides on the black market. The only negative me spending that many days with Mary's family is that I ate waaay too much. I know, I don't have to eat so much, but.. mind your own business.
So there you have it, what a week. Life Flashing before my eyes? .. or as Mufasa from the Lion King explains.. This is the Circle of Life.
This Life is messy, including roller coaster moments wanting you to exit the ride, or 'hurl'. From birth through the family reunions to that day until this ride stops .. this life is a gift from God.
If you don't know Jesus, if you don't have a relationship with God.. now is the time to say YES to Him. Say YES acknowledging Him as savior of your life, and giving Him the proper place in your life. This life is flashing and will be gone before you know it.. then eternity.
I pray we all choose wisely, it matters eternally.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
May God bless each of your lives with joy in your journey. Remember always to love God, enjoy the big and little things of this life, love &care for others with the promise of someday Heaven for those who love Him. Because this life is FLASHING and then in the blink of an eye .. eternity.
update: Now 2 years later and life is still messy but good. My now 2 year old beautiful granddaughter Reagan has a smile that melts me. All my sibling-inlaws are doing well, and God is so good even in this most ugly of years 2020.
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” James 2:2-3
James 2:2-3 This is how it looks for me in Minnesota-->
Let me start by sharing my wife and I attend a church that we really like. It is a friendly congregation represented by all age groups. The worship music is well done, and the preaching is straight from God's word in a manner that is both challenging and easy to listen to. The people are friendly and welcoming even in this season of all things COVID-19.
Next, let me share I am over 5 years sober now after it became apparent I was an alcoholic where drink was becoming a growing compromise in my life (off and on) for about the previous 15 years. It did not ruin life, but I was headed on the wrong road, and my addiction to a buzz was growing and dangerous. I thank God for his healing in this area and for the love and grace of my family.. especially my wife... and of course my God.
I never did attend a recovery program until about a year ago when I attended a Celebrate Recovery program for a few weeks to see if it was right for me at this point in my recovery.
Well, in contrast to my 'good church' where the worship, preaching, and presentation on Sunday's is clean and sharp.. this Celebrate Recovery program is messy.
These are people who are struggling. Some have been sober for 15+ years, others are celebrating not have a drink for 30 days, or less. Some are people who have been in and out of treatment, and/or suffering the consequences of their addictions by losing their drivers license, jobs, or family. Stories of jail-time, and restraining orders were common. Many were in the place where they were not drinking but now dealing with the void in their lives where once was a buzz. This group is a mess, but .. a Beautiful Mess
What makes this group such a beautiful mess is their journey starts and ends with a return to God. Not just a 'higher power' but the only true power, the God of our Bibles. This is our only hope for the alcoholic and ALL of the rest of humanity (aka sinners).
Life not so long ago..
Now after 5+ years of being sober, I look back on my journey to where I am now. I did not realize what a fragile mess I was.
So this all makes me reflect on James 2:1-2. I am ashamed to say I honestly don't like the mess or messy people. I like happy Christians with no deep dark secrets and/or sins. I like the well orchestrated church service and an attractive congregation that looks like .. church people should look? I don't know if I want my church to be messy, even a beautiful mess.
So here I am convicted, and I thank God for this conviction. I now desire to be in the mess, and I will blend nicely as I am a mess. Together we love and support each other. Where one hurts all hurt, and when all rejoice we rejoice together (1 Cor 12:26).
God desires to RESTORE US to become the healthy body of Christ. After church I don't want to be the guy looking past the guy or gal out of place to find my usual friends where I am comfortable. I don't know exactly how this conviction on my heart will play out, but I pray God would speak to me and change me to serve him among the beautiful mess that are the people Jesus would be spending his time with.
May God bless you, care for you today, and use you to serve Him in this very messy world. I pray for revival and restoration in our chaotic 2020 America. I pray His church is sensitive and caring for the beautiful mess inside and outside our church walls.
Jeff (plenty messy still) Larson
note: Recovery is not just for the alcoholic, it is for everyone that struggles with the very real issues of life. Depression, co-dependency, anger, sex addiction, anxiety/fear, etc. I pray we allow ourselves to be honest, and allow God to restore us from what ever has compromised our lives.
Today in my Minnesota the heat index forecast is 110, with the air temp being around 94. Ok, I know some of you may think that is not hot or humid, but for this very white skinned Norwegian it is HOT. But with this in mind I want to share a great Minnesota summer day from a weekend in 2007.
I remember a perfect Summer Saturday in 2007 .. Sunny, 75 degrees, light breeze, low humidity and I started this day in a perfect way with coffee and the morning paper with my lovely wife Mary.
After this peaceful slow start I was off to my job for the day as an umpire for a 12 yr. and under girls slow pitch softball tournament.
Now on this perfect summer day the games begin at 9:00am. Coaches and parents cheer on their ‘little darlins’ with smiles and encouraging words while the concession stand provides the hot dogs, candy, and pop in a way that gives this day the look of a classic Norman Rockwell painting.
So there you have it.. I am living a life blessed by God on a perfect summer day! Families, sports, summertime food, and I thank God for allowing me to be a part of this. Livin La-Vi-Da-Larson!! Ya-sure u- betcha!
As morning moved to afternoon, and finally evening rolled around it was still a beautiful day. BUT I was on my way to umping 10 games this day to be followed by 7 more on Sunday. The mood and competitive nature of some of the parents and coaches started sliding downhill.
One team in particular that was coached by three ‘gentlemen’ resembling Hell’s Angels (the bikers, not the minions) in both their demeanor and flavor of sportsmanship.
My sunburned body, tired mind and blistered feet are now mumbling over this ‘perfect’ summer day. Perfect summer day? Perfect Summer Day? Why do I have to be outside all day? I am an ‘inside dog’!.. I own a home, and I WANT TO GO TO IT!
Now fast forward to Sunday afternoon, the temperatures are hotter, the breeze is nil, and the humidity is up. So fate finds me umping a very competitive game between two very good teams that goes into extra innings! The joy of summer is back! The parents, kids, and coaches are having the time of their lives with me as the centerpiece enforcing the rules.
But... This Norman Rockwell moment comes crashing to a halt on a very close play at home that I call SAFE! The winning team is exhilarated, while the losing team quickly formed a lynch mob brandishing a hangman's noose created from the belts of parents who were now looking for a tree to STRING ME UP.
This Mob INCLUDES one pretty young mom who walks over to me, points her finger in my face and through her clenched teeth calls me a BLEEPING umpire. For ‘bleeping’ fill in the expletive of your choice.
Just a few short hours later I am welcomed home by my loving wife, my daughter, pizza, a pitcher of ice tea, and a big bottle of ibuprofen. All five are a welcomed sight as this ‘inside dog’ sits in his easy chair with blistered feet up, resting his sunburned body (even my lips are burned), and feeling every bit of my AARP legal existence.
The moral of this story is .. this is a wonderful world God has blessed us with. And a beautiful summer day in Minnesota can be almost Heaven… but 17 games in this Heaven on Earth can be TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.
May God bless and use you this summer in ways that are BEYOND YOUR DREAMS. May the sun be shining, and the sunblock readily available, may your heat index NOT be 110,... and may no one call you a bleeping umpire!
AND remember there is hot and there is HOT!
Jeff (in the AC now) Larson
In my collection of cartoon topics I have boldly cartooned where man should not cartoon.. the topics of dating and marriage. Ok maybe boldly is not the right word .. maybe I foolishly cartoon to a land of THIN ICE.
So walk with me today, but tread lightly because.. HELLO.. the ice is THIN... the water is COLD.. and you will go DOWN.
THIN ICE is found.. where a man..
1. Speaks words he should not speak,
2. Does things or does not do things he should or should not do, and/or
3. Thinks things he should not think. SHE WILL KNOW!
You may say well that is confusing. What I say or don't say.. what I do or don't do, and even what I think could put me THIN ICE? Of course for all men who are in or have been in a relationship with a woman you know the answer is YES, but you may not always know how you got there until you hear the ice cracking.
Even after being married almost 36 years I still find ways to test for thin ice. Sometimes this is by mistake as 'who can understand the mind of the fairer sex'.
side note: Why are women called the fairer sex when guys continue to get in trouble without a definitive list of dos & don'ts, say & don't say.. and thinks. I mean, guys who play sports know the rules, so why isn't that way in marriage? - end of side note -
But back to being married almost 36 years. There are other times where I test the ice and even intentionally step out further on the ice.. knowing it is thin but having a bit of RUSH testing it out. I think I like the feeling of living dangerously.. You know, see how far I can go. But I would not advise this to any man in the first 20 years of marriage .. this is simply too risky. Correction, do not test thin ice in the first 30 years.. ok, don't test it at all, only test thin ice if you consider yourself a professional LIKE ME.
It matters not if you are a slender 125 pound fella or a ' big boned' 350 pounds..Both men and all men of all shapes and sizes know.. THE ICE IS THIN & UNFORGIVING.
There, I have exhausted my words so let me finish out today's blog with a few illustrations. You know they say a picture is worth 1,000 words. So a cartoon should be worth 250-500 words by my estimate.
For more examples of Man Dancing on Thin Ice.. visit my Dating & Marriage page where life imitates art... or is it cartoon imitates life.
May God bless and use each of you today in ways that are beyond your dreams.. even if you wander on THIN ICE.
DISCLAIMER.. This is just a silly post of a fictitious fella BEFORE all things COVID-19. Since then the Glacial reopening of churches in Minnesota has me willing to attend almost any church just short of those that handle.. SNAKES.
IMAGINE there's no COVID ..
it's easy if you try..
No SOCIAL DISTANCE restricts us..
No FAUCI sayin' "yer gonna die!"
IMAGINE all the people ATTENDING CHURCH today..
You may say that I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
when STREAMING CHURCH is done
- John Lennon Worship Band
But I digress.. remember a time when all the churches were open. Fundementalists, Catholics, Lutherans, to Pentecostal and everything in between including a few Name it Claim it Prosperity Gospel venues all doin' their Sunday thang. As the drinking phrase goes.. What's your poison? Ok, poison is not a good analogy, but the point is remember a time where you could go ANYWHERE that fits your denominational bent. Ah, the good ol' days where have they gone?
So onward and forward I go to days of yesteryear (ok, yestermonth) where some guy (not me) does not want to go to church. His attitude and thoughts are captured below..
I could tell this was going to be a very bad day to go to church. Just getting out of bed was tough enough.. and the Sunday paper was calling my name…. “psst fella, over here… read me!” My Social Media apps are calling too with Sunday morning memes and silly cat pictures.. psst, did you see this one. .. and how else am I going to stay informed if I don't get my news from 'friends' posting on Social Media.
AND.. The coffee is brewing, and it called out to me too.. “hey guy, slow down.. it’s Sunday.” So, I listened to the voices.. I grabbed the paper, my smartphone, a BIG cup of coffee.. and I was ready for ..no-action.
Now I am a good Christian man, but sometimes as the leader of our family it is important to declare a family day!.. meaning.. we stay home from church so we can spend time together bonding. Ok, ok.. family day is actually code for I WANT TO STAY HOME AND NOT SHOWER UNTIL NOON… drink a pot of coffee, and read the Sunday funnies, and the sports section.
Well I may be the head of the house, BUT my wife wants no part of 'family day'. She wants to leave the comfort of our home and sing with the other blessed saints at our church. Sing? I don’t like to sing, and I know the people I go to church with, and while they are nice people.. SAINTS they AINT.
So off we go to church leaving my Sunday morning paper and my coffee at home. “goodbye paper! Goodbye coffee!”… We have often traveled this familiar road to that familiar church with a backseat loaded with our darlin’ children who set the mood by bickering and fighting the whole blessed drive to church… which put me SOOO in the mood to worship. NOT! So here I drive on lamenting a ‘family day’ lost.
We arrive at the blessed house of God and are immediately greeted by overzealous handshakers welcoming me like they thought I wanted to be there... instead of drinking coffee with by BFF the Sunday Paper.
In the Fellowship Center they do have coffee.. but it is not STARBUCKS, or even Folgers. I like my coffee strong and black, but my church serves it in the traditional big ALUMINUM DRUM that has been used but not cleaned since the Eisenhower Administration. This is not real coffee, and a couple cups of this brew only makes the service to come only seem more unbearable.
After the formalities of church coffee and donut holes we move to church sanctuary. We have no theater seating at our church but instead use traditional wooden (with no pads) church pews where I sit and pray for a sliver free service. The sanctuary is not really so crowded, but I am a big guy, and the ambiance falls short in comfort to sitting in MY living room drinking MY coffee, and reading MY Sunday paper.. in MY PJs!! scratching myself anywhere I itch… BUT I DIGRESS… again!
The Worship Leader at church is a bit over the top, and his Las Vegas flair certainly is noticeable during his rendition of ‘The King is Coming’.. This only serves to bring the ‘worship wonders’ out of the wood work. I don’t sing so ‘goodr’, and my sense of rhythm is that of a badger with back spasms. IT’S NOT PRETTY… But no worry.. we have all the charismaniacs to make up for me… performing for style points again. We have Bullwinkle, the six-shooter, a lady who appears to have WINGS, and then I have to get the seat behind this guy with the plumbers backside with hands raised high. It is like the Worship Circus has come to town.
Even when the people are not hootin’ and hollerin’ they are peculiar.. AND past Sunday mornings have not been free of controversy. Before the 'The Covid' there was the Great Head-Lice Epidemic of 1994. The Cal Ripken of ushers who should have just taken a sick day instead of infecting and grossing out the parishioners one communion Sunday in 1998. AND .. with regards to our church being full of grace.. well NOT to the repeat offenders.
The offering/guilt plate is of course passed which I with a smirk said..”no thanks, I am trying to cut back on giving.”
My smirk moves to a cringe at the sight of the preacher as he saunters up to the pulpit… armed only with one lapel microphone and the word of God… both which he seems to overuse.
Pastor words and mannerisms are direct, and passionate, but with his zipper accidentally was left wide OPEN that less than holy smirk returns to my face and I PRAY “Dear God please keep me from giggling!” Nothing sounds sillier than a big man giggling at church!
So there you have it. I do hope and pray there are jewels in my crown someday when I get to Heaven because on this day.. I WAS AT CHURCH worshiping with the saints when I wanting to be home worshiping God in my own way with my new VR Church System.
signed some anonymous guy
Now, I must say again. I am not that guy. In fact I was in church today happy to be worshiping with other believers who while respectful of Covid concerns was open. It was refreshing to be back in church.
America is not back to normal, but I pray we are smart, careful, but unafraid as we gather together as we are commanded by scriptures to do.
May God bless you all today even if you resemble the above mentioned anonymous guy.
I was in our master bathroom where around the bathroom vanity there were 29 separate items.. four of which were mine. I have a razor, toothbrush, deodorant, and toothpaste (the toothpaste I share with my wife).. the rest belong to my bride.
Included in the other 25 or so items is a bag of makeup… so in reality the total is much more one sided. BUT.. if I trim my beard and a few whiskers are left around the sink.. the countenance of my bride darkens… but
do I ever complain about ‘OUR’ bathroom vanity covered with a cosmetology collective of spray bottles, brushes, lip STUFF, hair dryers and the like?? <pause>
Oh wait, I guess I am now.. BUT NOT TO HER FACE… so that does not count.
This brings me to a similar subject .. a ‘WOMAN'S PURSE’.
To me this is much like a Magician’s Hat.. where my wife will ask me for example to get her car keys from her purse for her. I cringe as I know THIS WILL NOT BE EASY.. so with my mouth hanging open, and my brow furrowed I look inside into the unending collection of ‘necessities’.. A LADY'S LABYRINTH of no end!
Even though her purse is very typical in size.. when you look inside it seems to go on forever. I finally closed my eyes, reached in and pulled out a rabbit, but no car keys. She then smirks, reached in her purse without taking her eyes off me and retrieves her keys with a look that said to me “are you blind?”
Another time when looking for a blessed stick of gum I caught a glimpse of what I believe was a secret passage to the Land of Narnia behind her cellphone, tic tacs, and what appeared to be a magnum 44 hand gun.. but I found the gum became distracted and lost sight of this Narnia portal.
Also, there is a third mystery I would like to share..
With my razor, toothbrush, deodorant, and a clean pair of jeans I can be ready for church in less than 15 minutes from shower to starting the car.. while my wife the process is a tad longer.. A REALLY BIG TAD. I mean.. Mary must choose between outfits to wear, and does not use the guy-proven method of preparation which is … wear what is clean OR.. do the quick smell test if we are not sure if that shirt left on the floor the other week is still ok for a little Sunday morning hand raising. Then again, Mary does look and smell better than me... but if it were a race, the safe money is on me.
So what is my spiritual message today? <insert refelctive pause here> Maybe if for no other reason man and woman are meant for each other so.. guys don't go to church dressed like the fella in the above picture.. and men are good for woman to.. umm.. to.. umm.. kill protect the fairer sex from mice and spiders?
That's all I got, I am drawing a blank.
Seriously, may God bless and use each of you today in ways that are beyond your dreams. For you ladies may you find your bathroom vanities whisker free, and your man willing and able to navigate the Estrogen Ocean of your purse without making any comments.
Jeff (Survivor on Estrogen Island) Larson
Lions and Tigers and Bears.. OH MY! The Bible is full of stories and lessons regarding animals and their place in this world.
In Genesis: Adam named the animals, a snake tempted Eve, there was a boat load of animals for Noah, and a few overlooked. Even Pharoah dreamed about..
How about Balaam's Talking Donkey.. before the famous Mr. Ed
Next came the rules regarding sheep and bulls and the proper way to prepare them and not one rule had anything to do with marinating them on a grill. This all led to the Leviticus Livestock Revolt.
Later in the OT Samson plays rough with a Lion, Daniel smirks at a Den full of hungry lions, and Jonah was eaten and spitup by a fish that was on the WILD SIDE 4 SURE.
The New Testament:..starts with sheep as bit players at the birth of Jesus. Some of these wooly creatures were helpful while others had a decidedly baaaa-d attitude
Christ's ministry is marked when the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove at the time he was baptized. This was to the dismay and envy of Vinny the Vulture. Later we find cliff diving pigs.. The prodigal son ate with a large hog named AbraHAM until he returned home to the fatted calf.
The temple was cleared by Jesus of those who were dealing 'birds'. and.. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the city on a donkey which was the envy of all donkey-dom.
The End Times prophesies in the book of Revelation include the 4 horsemen riding on of course 4 horses.
Today: We have cats, dogs, and little birds who can't keep secrets. In Minnesota wildlife includes Mooses and Mosquitoes. If you say Mosquitoes are not animals then you have not been to Minnesota.
In My Life: I have owned many dogs and even a few cats over the years providing us with both goo memories and not so good ones. Right now my wife and I have one rescue dog named Cooper. He must have had a rough life before coming to us because he is a bit wary of men, but we love him quirks and all. He knows in the end he is well cared for. Dare I say.. blessed beyond his doggie dreams.
May God bless each of you this day with good friends, a good church, and dogs that neither chew your slippers or 'dooties' in your house. May your cats be hairball free, and you hamsters content running in those little wheel things... and may we all simply be found to be WILD or DOMESTICATED for Jesus.
Happy Fathers Day to all you dads! It is a fine day and I look forward to it each year to remember my good dad who passed away I believe now 18 years ago... and hopefully to be remembered by my 3 kids for being an OK dad too.
As I share frequently my dad passed away a few years back. While I do miss him I also recognize him as the source of my strange sense of humor, and my quirky personality of what I like to call 'being an introvert trapped in a world full of people.'
For example, a few years back I was joking around with my then 15 year old daughter Erin trying to get a rise out of her. She laughed and said “Dad you are so weird.” I replied.. “Weird like my daughter.” Of course she blamed her odd sense of humor on me since her mom’s sense of humor is more traditional. To console her I said… “You know this strange sense of humor comes from Grandpa Larson.” Then after a short pause while we both nodded.. I spoke again like I was my dad saying.. “Oh sure, blame the dead guy.” Then Erin and I chuckled over me saying that for the next several minutes. So there you have it.. my dad was the guy with a quiet dry sense of humor and irony and is to blame for .. ME.. and my daughter Erin!
I also give him credit for teaching me the art of ‘good natured’ teasing/pestering. Please don’t confuse this with mean spirited or cruel teasing, it was more like.. pestering to get a rise out of someone or a situation but NEVER to disrespect someone or embarrass.
It is the type of good natured needling that friends and family do to show they like each other. Well at least my family does this.
My dad was a kind man with a big heart and an appreciation for the simple pleasures in life. No one ever confused him with being a theologian , philosopher , or a CEO of any corporation except Walter Larson Logging.. BUT everyone knew my dad was a good man, and I knew my dad was proud of me, and believed in me even in my less than bright and shining moments.
So what greater reward can I have on Fathers Day then to know I was blessed with a good father who taught me the important lessons in life about family, friends, and seeing the best in others. If.. IF someday (hopefully today) this would be my legacy for my kids and nothing else.. this too would make me smile.
My dad never left me a fortune to inherit unless he put it in a lunch box and buried it in the woods (and never told me where!), and at my present rate.. my kids are not inheriting much except a hard drive full of cartoons , a hundred or so unsold mosquito and snoahs ark t-shirts, and my kneaded eraser.
BUT.. what I desire to give them is what my dad gave me. A home with love, laughter, good coffee, and good food … and most importantly ‘a personal faith in the God of our Bibles’.
May God bless each of you this Fathers Day. May God provide healing and peace in those hurting relationships, AND love and humble appreciation for those who had or have is so good like me.
Jeff (Father & Grandfather) Larson
If you sneeze, I will politely respond "Bless you." If you sneeze again.. you are on your own as I adhere to a strict one blessing per sneezer rule. This is not negotiable.
But sneeze blessings are not the topic of the day instead a Father’s Blessings, and ultimately God’s blessings. These blessings I want, and like I say often in The Back Pew .. ‘BlESSED beyond my DREAMS’. I want Prayer of Jabez supersized blessings.
It seems just like a chapter ago Isaac was just a boy, but now in Genesis 25 Isaac is all grown up and with his wife Rebecca has twin boys. The first to enter the world was Esau, and right on his heel literally (Ge. 25:25) was Jacob.
These boys were like so many brothers as they were very different from each other. Esau grew up to be a scruffy/hairy outdoors type who loved to hunt. Jacob on the other hand was not scruffy, and liked to hang out in the kitchen with maybe a reputation as a mamma's boy.
The Father's Blessing
Next we are introduced to the power of the Father’s Blessing, and especially the blessings set aside for the first born in this case.. by beating brother Jacob in the 'birth canal dash' was scruffy/hairy Esau.
I am not sure how or why they worked the way they did in the Old Testament, but it seems like the 'Father’s blessing' had the power to make or break the future of the ‘blessee’. It was like winning the family inheritance lottery.. and there were no TAKE BACKS.
The Blessing Plot Thickens
So one day Esau comes in from hunting famished and is met by his brother Jacob. Esau is so desperate for food, that Jacob talks Esau out of his birthright since Esau replies, "what good is my birth right if I die today from starvation."
note: It appears Esau was a great hunter, but a bit of a drama queen.
I don’t know exactly follow how the whole birthright and blessing stuff worked in those days, but I am thinking this birthright transfer should have required a signed agreement witnessed and stamped by a notary public.
ie The first party (Esau) agrees to relinquish his future blessing reserved for the first born to the second party (Jacob) in exchange for one bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.
Esau sign here
Jacob sign here
Notary sign here
Date enter today's date
I am not sure if today this birthright exchange for soup arrangement would hold up even in front of Judge Judy, but in Genesis 25 it set the stage for the Ol' Birthright SWITCHEROO.
Isaac is very old!
As the story continues, their father Isaac is getting very old, he is nearly blind and his health is failing. Isaac recognizing his days on this earth are numbered and so wants to give his blessing to his first born son Esau before he hears Heaven's Angels singing 'Happy Trails to you'. and 'When the Roll is called up Yonder'.
So Isaac asks Esau to hunt, and then fix him some wild game for him and at that time he will give Esau his blessing.
Well, Rebecca overhears this and wants this blessing to got to her favorite son (and kitchen apprentice) Jacob. So while Esau is out hunting, she comes up with a planso simple, so ingenious, but with more than a hint of .. WHAT?
Mom schemes to put animal skins on Jake’s arms to appear hairy like his brother Esau.
As strange as this sounds.. this plan works and Isaac though he was suspicious thought it was Esau, and in the end gives Jacob THE BLESSING OF THE FIRST BORN. The Ol' Birthright SWITCHEROO is complete!
Of course being a cartoonist, and a dog owner I wonder.. WHAT IF the FAMILY DOG wanders on to the scene before the walking talking/lying carpet remnant Jacob and receives the blessing of the first born?
The Dog is hairy, Esau is hairy, and the gggruff voice it could be Esau with a cold. Hmmm.. WHAT IF?
But I digress as no dog wanders in, and Jacob gets the blessing and skips town just before Esau returns from hunting. Esau fixes a fine dinner of wild game along with a bottle of Desert Merlot. He walks into to see dad ready to receive the blessing of the first born WHEN…
It's like Déjà vu all over again for Dad. -The Prophet Yogi Berra
Isaac exclaims.. “Hey, weren’t you just here?... er..aaaa.. didn’t you already come for your blessing?.. I mean.. I mean.. HEY WAIT A MINUTE!”
HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?
This is the moment when the light bulb goes on enough for Isaac’s dim eyes to realize.. HE GAVE THE BLESSING TO THE WRONG SON!
I hate when that happens!
Esau is of course distraught and cries out .. “Bless me too!!.. what about me!!??” In response Isaac hold out his right arm limply and says..
“It’s empty.” no blessing for you, but we have some lovely parting gifts.
Ok he did not say those exact words, but Isaac is very clear .. the blessing of the first born has been given.. given to Jacob. Like a winning lottery ticket, THERE WAS ONLY ONE!..
So this caper of the misplaced blessing is over.. without me understanding the blessings of Isaac, except the fact that there are no take backs. The fact is God did intend for Jacob to be blessed as he continues to bless the descendants of Abraham as promised, through Isaac, and now Jacob to continue the promise of a great nation.
Moral of the story for us today? Be faithful like Abraham so that God can bless and use you as part of his plan. Whether you are the first born, that dreaded middle child (kidding), the baby, or you are adopted.. God loves you, and has a plan to bless & prosper all who love and obey Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I Know The Plans I Have For You' Declares the Lord, 'Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future.
Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
May God find us faithful and full of love for the one true God, and blessed by him in ways that are beyond our dreams.
Jeff (first born) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson