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Eating Habits

FEBRUARY 28, 2022


Eating Habits

When I was younger, I was able to eat what I wanted when I wanted it. As a result, I generated some pretty bad eating habits.

And now that I'm getting older, the problems with those poor eating habits have caught up with me. I started to say are catching up with me, but the truth is that those problems have indeed caught up with me!

You might think I would be concerned about what I'm eating or perhaps how much I'm eating, but the problem really centers around snacking and particularly when I'm eating those snacks.

Late night eating can't be good for me, no matter what I'm eating. I've been able to successfully abandon big lunches and afternoon snacks. However, evenings are a very different thing. Sugary foods and late night eating are my downfalls.

Knowing what I need to do, and doing it, has become the challenge. It's all much easier said than done. After all, I'm in my senior years and supposed to be enjoying life, right? Eating out, eating what I want, and eating when I want are supposed to be part of senior life, right?

Wrong!

I run daily and keep a running log. Both come easy for me and are things to which I am very faithful. Eating well, on the other hand, not so much.

In my running log, I also log my daily weight, which I check and record first thing each morning. So, I'm confronted on a daily basis with yesterday's successes and failures.

And lately, there have been more failures than successes. I feel like the lady who once said she wakes up each day a success and goes to bed each night a failure. I hate to use the word failure, but when I'm failing at something it's time to be honest about it, and to do something about it.

I don't want to be OCD about this, but I don't want to be the proverbial fat husband and dad either. It's time to create some new habits before things get out of hand.

So, here goes!




Archive Update

FEBRUARY 27, 2022


Archive

I was testing my search capability and, just like in other instances, discovered an anomaly. It seems that a search pointing to the current month still points to an archive even though no archive exists for the current month.

No archive exists for the current month because posts from the current month are located in the index file, which happens to be the primary set of posts and the set that comes up whenever the site is visited.

To remedy this problem, I simply built an additional archive file for the current month and will have to add posts for the current month both to the index file and to the archive for the current month. It's one more thing to remember but corrects the misleading message produced by the search feature that pointed people to a current month archive that did not actually exist.

Just one more reason I enjoy building the code for this blog and the challenges associated with fixing website problems, even if they only arise from misleading messages.

SIDE NOTE

P.S. I'm still enjoying using Microsoft Word to spell check my work. It sure has been helpful for spell checking words I didn't know as well as careless spelling mistakes.




Others

FEBRUARY 26, 2022


Others

My memory is horrible! If it's important, it goes somewhere on my calendar. If it's not important, it never really gets registered anywhere. As a result with my short-term memory, it doesn't get remembered either.

There's a real risk in thinking that way. The question becomes, important to whom? Is it important to me or to others and, if to others, isn't there a real possibility that it still should be important to me?

My solution to that is a simple one. If it's important to others, then it goes on my prayer list under the name of the person to whom it is important. And, with that, it also ensures that it remains important to me.

Honestly though, that's still not good enough for me. Why? Because I don't believe it's good enough for God. I believe God wants the cares of others to be important enough to me that they are always on my mind. In the spirit of praying without ceasing, I'm praying (and caring) throughout the day for the needs and cares of others.

My wife and my son and daughter and their respective families provide good examples of what I'm talking about. I want their cares to be my cares and on my mind throughout the day, not just on my physical prayer list. I want those cares to be cared for (and even prayed over) throughout the day and not just reviewed and prayed over once a day.

I've got some work to do on that one.




Evidence

FEBRUARY 25, 2022


Evidence

When I think of evidence I think of a courtroom. I've been in one a few times but I suspect my real image of courtrooms and what goes on in them comes from both movies and TV news.

I think of the prosecuting attorney entering things into evidence. But when I think of that evidence, I keep coming back to Romans 1:20 and the evidence for God.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Scripture calls us to test everything, and hold on to that which is good. For me, that's a simple thing because testing everything seems to be present in my DNA. However, I've also come to realize that test results are sometimes limited and that's where faith still has to kick in. That was and still is a big lesson in my life.

As Christ and His world-wide church are more and more called into question by our ever evolving culture, for me the evidence continues to stack up in Christ's favor. I can say that with all confidence, not because of what I've read or been told, but because of what I've experienced and seen with my own eyes.

Yesterday, I made a visit to the ear doctor. While in the examination room, waiting for the doctor to come in, I looked at the diagrams of the inner ear that were framed and posted on the walls.

There it is! More evidence of our intelligent designer. Add to that the evidence found in manuscripts, archeology, prophecies, and pure statistics, and I'm 100% a believer and follower of Christ, the one and only true God and our intelligent designer.

If I'm looking for evidence, it's there to be found in Jesus Christ.

SIDE NOTE

Just arrived home from a trip to the library with my lovely bride, and wanted to expand on what I wrote earlier this morning. In rereading my post, and especially my comments about the inner ear, I realized just how much more faith it takes to believe that something like hearing came about on a random basis, rather than as a result of something produced by an intelligent designer.

God used a very similar example in my life many years ago to speak to me in a very clear and profound manner. He used the example to bring attention to His presence in my life.

I was on the Boy Scout camp staff for 6 weeks of summer camp and was asked to provide the 'lesson' for the Sunday morning camp staff church service. I shared a story I had read about a farmer who had experienced a very heavy snow with frigid temperatures.

He went out to his barn and found a small covey of birds freezing to death in the snow just outside the barn door. He tried to get the birds to fly into the barn where it was warmer, but with each effort the birds only flew farther away.

Do you see where I'm going with this? I've seen YouTube videos where wild animals need human help and will actually wait patiently when that help is being provided before running or flying to their new-found freedom. Lord, I thank you for helping me to trust in you and to wait patiently on you to remove me from life's snares and provide me with that new-found freedom.




Zig Ziglar

FEBRUARY 24, 2022


Zig

There was a Zig Ziglar quote in my devotion book on today's devotion. I like it!

Growing up, I remember dad making numerous references to Zig Ziglar. It's clear to me that he was a big fan and had some of Zig's books which he passed onto me.

I guess it makes sense since Zig published a lot of books on selling and the art of closing the sale. After all, dad was a salesman.

So anyway, here's the quote:

Don't become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.



Another Busy Day!

FEBRUARY 23, 2022


Busy Day 2

Patty ordered some beautiful deck and pool furniture and it's been trickling in from day to day. The balance of everything showed up on Monday and yesterday (Tuesday) I started assembling everything with some excellent help from my better half.

With half of it done, we were both wiped out. So, we finished up the furniture today and it really looks great! Cutting up all of the boxes everything came in was a very big job.

I've alsol got to put together the fire pit, and despite the heavy box I'm hoping it won't be a big job. Still, I'm saving that for another day that's not quite as busy!

Meanwhile, I've been trimming holly trees so the painters can get to the metal trim in a couple of places up high on the house. Cutting up all of those limbs was another, and somewhat unexpected, big job. The paiting should be a small job, but I'm not one to be climbing tall ladders at the point in life, or at any point for that matter!

With everything else I've done today, I wasn't really feeling like a run but made myself get out and do it anyway. At the start of the run, I felt like I usually do at the end. Yikes!

I'm less than a pound over my goal weight and am thinking about dropping my goal weight another 5 pounds. We'll see...

On the kids front, as of yesterday Jon and Amy are officially homeowners. How exciting for them! And, Josh got the job in Kwajalein so he and Allie and the boys will be exiting Germany and heading that way some time in mid to late spring. How exciting for them too! We hope the Snow family will be headed this way first to spend a week with us before making their way to K-town. That would be awesome!




Microsoft Account

FEBRUARY 22, 2022


Microsoft Account

When I purchased the new PC I'm using, it asked me to enter my Microsoft Account. I've never really seen any benefit from having that account, but decided to be a good lad and look it up on my phone and enter it during the setup.

Well, yesterday I accidentally brought up Microsoft Word and my Microsoft account remembered I own a copy of Word and actually brought it active for me. How cool was that? I certainly wasn't expecting it.

And now, with my new and verified copy of Word, I was once again able to start spell checking my posts. I went back through all of February and then went through all of the posts for the category lists.

At some point, I'll go through the past months and get everything cleaned up. That's been really bugging me as I knew there had to be more than a few misspelled words and even a bit of grammar I could clean up. And both did indeed need some attention.

Never thought I'd hear myself say it but, thank you Microsoft!

SIDE NOTE

Learned something new on my run today. Six of my seven up-hill/down-hill runs are on North / South routes. Only one is an East / West route.

The reason I noticed this oddity is because there was an extremely strong wind coming out of the south today and I was hitting it a lot on my run. It gets pretty brutal when attempting to run an up-hill route against strong winds.

SIDE NOTE 2

Finished spell checking the site. What a grueling exercise. I didn't do a check in the recent posts area since those things will go away in short order. All else has been checked.

Of course I left a few creative words and intentional misspellings in place because I wanted to use them for effect. For example: nerdishly, as in the way a geek might tend to do something.




Grace Unplugged

FEBRUARY 21, 2022


Grace Unplugged

Last night I watched a movie titled Grace Unplugged. It's a Christian based story and one that I enjoyed. Like so many Christian based films, it was lacking in some areas. But, one of the things that really touched me was the fact that I was able to let go of those issues and let God speak to me through it.

As one who has been involved in the world of film making, I know too well the problems (and expense!) associated with a good film. It's no wonder that a big budget film costs many millions of dollars when the lighting guy may spend the better part of a day putting together something special just for one scene.

In my film making exploits, I didn't have the luxury (or to be honest, the knowledge) that comes with a big budget and the years of experience necessary to be involved in that arena and at that level. I suppose that's why I find it easier to look past those expensive problems and see if there's a good story in there somewhere. And, to my surprise, quite often there is.

One thing I've learned with my limited experience is that movie magic can occur with any budget size. You can't create it. It just happens. And, when it does all you can do is hope that you don't get in the way. That's been my experience anyway.

I'm so grateful that there is an up-and-coming film genre for the Christian market. As demand becomes greater, so do the budgets. I'm grateful that very talented people are telling some wonderful stories and I'm grateful for the blessings that are experienced by those of us who are Christians and Christian movie consumers.




Father Cavanaugh

FEBRUARY 20, 2022


Priest

One day I will move on to my heavenly reward. No one knows the time or place, but it has never seemed so real to me as it does now, knowing that God has brought me forward from my years as a young lad and into my senior years.

Like most anyone else I could imagine, I would love to have many more years in this wonderfully blessed life God has provided for me. But, at the same time, I am so grateful to have enjoyed 67 years and all of the experiences a man could ask for - especially so many amazing years with my wonderful soulmate and two incredible children.

I look forward to as many more years as God has set out for me in His plan, but I intend to take things a day at a time, lest I try and control that which cannot be controlled.

On my prayer list, I have written inic which is intended to help God continually remind me that I'm Not In Charge. I often feel like Father Cavanaugh, the Catholic Priest in the movie Rudy, when he says:

In 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.




The Bakery

FEBRUARY 19, 2022


One of my cousins asked for a copy of a picture of Dad's bakery. I was quite surprised to have found several copies in my online storage location and thought I might share them here since I found them.

The picture below shows the decorative front window of the bakery as it looked back in the 1950's and also a 2012 picture of that location in Buckhead, GA.

Bakery 1

The picture below provides a better view of the decorative front window of the bakery, known as DeLoach Home Bakery.

Bakery 2

The final picture below is unfortunately rather small but was taken in the very early 1950's so we have what we have on that one. It shows the inside of the bakery and a picture of dad next to the older fellow from whom he purchased the bakery. Dad told me his name but I cannot recall it. I'll do some digging and see if I can find it.

Bakery 3




Digital Modes

FEBRUARY 18, 2022


FT8 2

I was going after a ham radio contact on FT8 this morning. I read his signal into my system at a -5 which is not bad, so I thought I would chase him. However, by the time he responded his signal was a -21 and I feared we would not be able to confirm our contact. And, I was right. We couldn't and we didn't.

I've read that signal reports in digital modes are less about the transimtting station's power and more about the noise and interference on the receiving end. Still, I've not be able to put 2 + 2 together and figure out exactly what is happening on my end to cause such signal report swings. All I know is that they are indeed happening.

I know we're still in the low point on the sun spot cycle, and I'm aware that the bands have been very good recently, but the changes from day to day are difficult to imagine and even more difficult to explain.

Funny thing is I feel bad when I initiate a contact and can't complete it. I almost feel like I'm telling the other guy that his station is not doing the job, and nothing could be further from the truth. What I know for sure is that 'good' station signal reports are no guarantee that a contact can and will be confirmed.

These digital modes sure do produce strange results and reports with our ever-changing band conditions!




Major Problem

FEBRUARY 17, 2022


Major Problem

I was reading my daily devotion in Regi Campbell's Radical Wisdom and something I read really clicked for me. It said:

Here's a major problem. Mankind has always turned God into a set of rules. God is a someone, not a something.

Wow! God has been working on me for a long time in the area of faith and my need to pursue faith in Him to balance my pursuit of His rules. But, Regi has taken things a step further. He's pointed out a matter of which I needed to be reminded. He's pointed out that there's a difference between a something and a someone.

Lord, I know faith and rules are important, but help me to keep them in perspective and to remember that, first and foremost, it is you I am pursuing.




Awareness

FEBRUARY 16, 2022


Awareness

I was watching YouTube videos last night and couldn't believe how many things have happened of which I was not aware. Pretty surprising!

I'm sure it sounds strange, but there's a lot of things about which I would prefer to remain unaware. Awareness brings with it a burden and it's my perspective that we should be careful about what we watch, hear, and consume.

I mentioned recently the idea we live in the world but are not of it. My thinking is that becoming aware of worldly things places us at risk of being influenced by them.

I'm not saying we should bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich, but I do believe that turning a blind eye to the evils of the world can and will protect us from their potential influences.

I sincerely believe there is a reason that we let our curiosity get the best of us and that we feel we need to be aware and informed of all matters. Even our pursuit of entertainment often places us at risk. Seems innocent on the surface, but often ideas are screaming at us in an effort to gain entry.

I would suggest that some matters are better left unseen, unspoken, and untouched.




Truth

FEBRUARY 15, 2022


Truth

In a spiritual sense, I'm comfortable with my belief in the concept of truth. In a worldly sense, not so much.

The problem as I see it is that while we may not be of this world, we are most certainly in it. And to me, that means I must be able to engage a worldly mindset without being influenced or changed by it.

But, equally important, I must be a discerner lest I react negatively and fail to engage worldly situations just because they are worldly. After all, how can I hope to be salt in this world if I'm not willing engage it.

That's a lot to think about!




Happy Valentine's Day

FEBRUARY 14, 2022


Happy Valentine's Day 2

To my Soulmate:

Today it's all about you. But honestly, in my life every day is all about you.

You are my purpose, my focus, my reason, my aim, my intention, and my goal.

You are my dream and I love you as I have never loved before or since.

Thank you for being you and for allowing me to share in your life.

Happy Valentine's Day my sweet love!




Eating Out

FEBRUARY 13, 2022


Food 2

My mom and dad didn't spend a lot of time instructing me in matters of life. Sure, there were times when they sat down with me and tried to explain things to the best of their ability. But, most of what I learned from them was more by example than with words.

Looking back, I'm amazed at the things I picked up and how I applied them. It all reminds me of a story I once heard about a daughter who cut a roast in half before putting it in the pot and decided to call her mom and ask why her mom taught her to do that. To the daughter's surprise, her mom chuckled and explained that she never owned a pot big enough to hold an entire roast.

That story paints a real picture of so many of the things I learned. It also explains my willingness to apply those things, exactly as I learned them, even when they went beyond my understanding. Eating out provides a great example of what I'm describing and it does so on so many levels.

Growing up, we ate out a lot. It was always a pleasure since we got to choose what we wanted to eat with very few limitations. Eating out kind of trained me to consider what I wanted to eat, right at meal time, and then to indulge that craving as I placed my order.

Dad was on the road a lot and he once told me that being on the road always made him long for a good home-cooked meal. However, we lived off home-cooked food when dad was away and mom always wanted to eat out when dad came home. She wasn't a big fan of cooking or home-cooked meals. As a result, when dad came home, we ate out. And looking back, we ate out a lot.

Holidays always presented an interesting situation. Grocery stores started offering ready to carry out holiday meals and dad was there, front and center, to purchase them and bring them home.

As we got older, dad prepared the meals himself. This was often done with the help of the rotisserie and soft ice cream machines he sold with his business.

Somehow, I had it in my mind that I was doing Patty a favor by taking her out. Little did I realize that Patty preferred to eat at home and I was the one who was receiving the benefit. Sure there were times when Patty wanted to eat out too, but not nearly as often as I was pushing for.

Only now in my senior years, and particularly in recent months, have I been able to see the need to retrain my thinking. Only recently have I been able to see the selfishness inherent in my way of looking at things. How I have been able to impose a culture for so long, based on the way I was raised, and more importantly my selfishness, is truly beyond my understanding.

Perhaps it took a pandemic to help me understand and start me down the right path. Thank you, Lord for opening my eyes.




QSL Cards

FEBRUARY 12, 2022


QSL Cards

One of the cool things about the ham radio hobby is the opportunity to swap QSL cards with the ham radio operators I've contacted. It's a fun way to confirm and verify a contact, and it's a fun way to share pictures with hams and non-hams alike. Not all hams take advantage of this feature, but those of us who do tend to really enjoy seeing those cards come in the mail.

QSL is one of many Q codes in the hobby and gives the operator the ability on CW (morse code) for example to send fewer words and letters when sharing information with a contact.

I started collecting QSL cards back in 1973 when I entered the hobby but unfortunately got rid of them when we moved to Florida in early 2014 and when I thought I would be leaving the hobby. I've been active, once again, in the hobby for the past 7 years but not terribly active in the QSL swapping department.

I recently purchased plastic pages for my cards and placed them in binders to make it easier to save and share them. Currently, I've got about 80 DX cards, (cards from other countries all over the world) and about 100 cards from all over the USA.

I've made contacts in all 50 states but don't believe I have a card from each state. Fortunately, we have LOTW (Lot of the World) and the QRZ websites which are both set up to help hams confirm and verify contacts by matching up submitted data from each operator in the contact.

Pictured above is my QSL card. I've had a lot of fun swapping it for the cards of other hams I've contacted over the years.




On the Scale

FEBRUARY 11, 2022


On the Scale

On the scale? I'm not talking about the one that checks our weight. These days I seem to constantly be on that scale. Perhaps too often.

The scale, or spectrum, I'm referencing has to do with Asperger's or, as of the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Autism.

I'm convinced, as one person put it, that being on the spectrum has always been, and will continue to be, my Super Power. I'm quite happy with the positives it brings to my life and am still learning to deal with the struggles. I bring it up because of what was mentioned in my 365 devotions book on Radical Wisdom written by Regi Campbell.

Earlier in my life, I struggled with anxiety and lived in the Glass Half Empty category of life. But now, in my senior years, I have a strong sense (like I've never had before) of gratefulness and with it, an absence of anxiety. I'm clearly enjoying the peace and power that seem to be inherent in the Glass Half Full category of life.

Some of my family members do this cool exercise each year where they pick a word and focus upon it for the year as a means of bringing it to life in their day to day activities. The first year I heard about that exercise, I chose the word Grateful.

I must confess that I probably chose that word less for my need to focus upon it, and more for its importance in my life at that time. That was several years ago and even though I'm sure I'm missing the whole point of the exercise, I have yet to be able to choose another word.

Thank you, Lord for bringing me to the Glass Half Full side of life.

I am eternally grateful!




Tax Season

FEBRUARY 10, 2022


Tax

Well, I've wrapped up another tax season thanks to my good friend at H&R Block. I can't remember when I started using their services, but I think it was the first or second year I had to start filing my taxes, probably about 45 years ago.

I remember the H&R Block advertisements like they were yesterday. I tested the idea out of how much they might save me by trying to calculate my own taxes and then providing them an opportunity to do the same. It was clear after that exercise that I needed to continue with their services. It was quite a big chunk of change that they saved me, even with having to pay them for their services.

Some years ago, I was much more fiscally active than I am now. My tax guy back then called me his walking tax course. Pretty funny looking back on that, but I'm glad to be living in a much more simple season of life with regard to my taxes.

I've become a big fan of filing online. I found a great H&R Block tax pro when we lived in Pensacola and some 5 years later I'm still utilizing his services long distance via Block's online portal. Uploading my forms and sending messages back and forth has worked out very well for me.

We didn't even have to file in 2020 when we still lived in Florida. The only reason we had to file for the 2021 tax year was because we sold our house and had to inform the IRS of our capital gains, despite not having to pay out for those gains.

I was a bit concerned about our tax guy getting paid in 2020 until he assured me that Block pays him when I don't have to file. As a result, I upload everything and he lets me know I don't have to file. It's become that simple.

I'm also glad that my tax guy expanded his knowledge to include Alabama filing, despite his Pensacola, Florida location. With our move to Alabama, I can now continue to utilize his services for the long-term.




Mikaela Shiffrin

FEBRUARY 09, 2022


Mikaela

Remember those institutions that I mentioned yesterday? The ones that bring us our news? Well, it's bad enough when they get liberal on this conservative, but it's quite another thing when the values they are espousing cut across mine.

Such has been the case with NBC's coverage of the Olympics. To be honest, it's not just NBC. It's most every news organization out there and their need to get ahead no matter the cost to whatever or whomever is being covered.

All too often, our news organizations love to create a good story and when the story doesn't play out the way they thought it would, they love to cover the downsides. And I guess news consumers get caught up in it to the point that these news organizations are left with no alternative but to play up those downsides.

It's been interesting to get on Twitter and see what people think and are saying at a grassroots level. There's a large segment of the audience that thrives on both sides of the story. There are those who are eating up the critical coverage and those who are screaming out against it.

I'd ask how we got here, but its possible I may already know the answer to that question.




Institutions

FEBRUARY 08, 2022


Institutions

Not long ago, I heard a man speaking on television and he was talking about the importance of institutions. I found myself immediately reacting to what he was saying and I had to stop and process my thoughts.

I've suffered spiritual abuse at the hands of spiritual institutions and find it difficult now to trust them. In fact, I don't mind admitting that the kind of abuse I have suffered makes it difficult for me to trust certain types of institutions, including many of the companies I worked for. After all, those institutions are made up of people and people are capable of terrible things.

On the other hand, I recognize that some institutions can be incredibly beneficial and, to me, are worth the potential problems that might be inherent in them. The institution of family comes to mind. However, I don't tend to view family in an institutional sense, but more a spiritual sense, and that may explain why I'm able to function well in that arena and why I place such importance upon it.

Perhaps my disdain for institutions explains why I liked President Trump. He fought political institutions and the institutions that provide our news. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. I relate well with all of that.

In fact, our social media outlets were useful until their institutional nature showed its ugly head in banning our president and other conservatives from 'using' them to get past the news media.

What about Covid-19 and our governmental medical institutions? I'm not talking about hospitals and doctor's offices but rather the government's supposed need to get involved in our decision making process. I guess that's the anti-institutional Libertarian coming out in me. My handyman friend said it best when he told me that he feels essential.




God's Provision

FEBRUARY 07, 2022


God's Provision

At this point in our lives, I thought things were supposed to slow down. Apparently, that's just not the case. God seems to keep me busy, and I'm thinking that's actually a good thing.

I doubt the reader of this post needs a laundry list of all the things God is doing in my life, but suffice to say it's already been a busy morning. Still, it's not been too busy to be a spiritual day as I mentioned yesterday, but there's something truly satisfying about productivity and getting things done on a busy day.

My spiritual mentor in life, Joe Strickland (who has now moved on to heaven and is enjoying his reward with our Lord) used to talk about how wonderful it was to be able to pay his bills each month and what a sense of satisfaction he received from the experience.

I must admit that at that time in my life, I was barely able to pay my bills and was living paycheck to paycheck and captivated by fear that the day might come where I actually could not pay my bills.

Speaking of fear, today's radical wisdom (daily devotion) talks about the idea that Hate is not the opposite of Love but rather Fear is actually the opposite. That's profound and really speaks to me, especially as I'm writing this post.

Some how or another, God had placed in me a supernatural trust that his provision would always be there and just in time. Little did I know God's plan to prosper me and bring to me, in my senior years, that same sense of joy that Joe Strickland had described.

Thank you, Lord for your provision. May I never take it for granted.




Spiritual Day

FEBRUARY 06, 2022


Spiritual Day

Today is Sunday. Our culture tells us it's a spiritual day. But actually, every day is, or should be, a spiritual day. I love this quote:

We're not earthly beings having a spiritual experience, we're spiritual beings having an earthly experience.

I'm grateful that God has pointed me to the two books I'm going through. I've mentioned them before but they have become part of my routine and both help me to ensure each day becomes a spiritual day.

I don't want to wait and hope that happens. I need to pursue God in the start of each day and provide Him an opportunity to make that happen.

Lord, let today and every day be a spiritual day focused upon you!




Scam Proof?

FEBRUARY 05, 2022


Scam

I was absolutely positive I was scam-proof! That was my first problem and clear evidence that I wasn't everything I thought I was. I was far too confident that I could (and would) pick up on any and all scams. Pick up on a scam? Sure! After all, my career involved a highly technical role in the computer arena where scams were presented regularly.

So, how did I fall to such a simple scam? I mean there were plenty of signs to wave me off. How in the world could I have missed so many of them? Even my wife made a serious effort to warn me.

So, I'm going to share the answer right up front here and then I'll fill you in on the back-story. The answer is that I was a man on a mission. I received an email from our laptop security vendor indicating I had been billed $294.98 for an updated subscription to the software. I remember thinking that's a lot of money and I also remember thinking that I had not seen any warning indicating such an upcoming expense.

I have a feeling this is going to be a lengthy post. You might as well get comfortable if you plan to stay with me on this.

I immediately called the phone number on the email. This can't wait I thought. If I don't handle this immediately, the billing is sure to become irreversible. I'm not even using my security software anymore. After all, it's built into the Windows environment, right? I shouldn't have to pay anything anymore and especially not such a large amount!

So, in my rush to recover my money and do anything and everything I needed to do in order to retrieve those funds, let's see how many clues I was able to ignore:

Clue 1: The email was clearly not an official company email.

Clue 2: In my rush to recover my money, I didn't even notice that while the vendor name was legitimate, it wasn't even the vendor I had used.

Clue 3: The guy on the phone was clearly unprofessional and had no concept of customer service. He was out to steal money from me and that's all.

Clue 4: They led me down a rabbit trail of mistakes such that I was only too agreeable to let them take control of my laptop and perform the work for me.

Clue 5: They needed me to type in my laptop pin number.

Clue 6: They had me bring up a command prompt and typed in commands that failed believing I wouldn't notice. When I noticed, they gave me a line and I bit it hook, line, and sinker.

There were many more clues but my emotions had blinded me to all of them!

They needed me to uninstall my bank app on my phone and then run the process from my laptop (where clearly they could see what was going on and which bank I was using.)

They were typing while I was typing and promised me that this could not happen and that they could not see anything I was now doing when it came time to start 'their process.'

They created the appearance of an error that deposited $50,000 in my account. I promise you it looked very legitimate. Then they had the nerve to blame me for the error, which I vehemently denied.

Ready for this one? The guy begged me not to tell anyone about this mistake and that we would clear it up but that I must not tell anyone, not even my wife?!!! He was an incredible actor and convinced me he feared losing his job over this one.

It was nearly time for a doctor appointment I had and I told the guy I would have to call him back and help him get his money out of my account. He insisted that I needed to skip my doctor appointment and help him fix this problem. He said he had a wife and children and did not want to lose his job.

He said I could send an international wire transfer from my bank and that I would need to tell the person at the bank the transfer was for a medical need for a friend. Oddly enough, I was turned off by the lies I was being asked to perpetuate and refused. Cue his ongoing sob-story.

Getting the 'take advantage of the nice guy' picture here? By this time I was pretty upset and just wished I could hang up, turn my computer off, and be done with this mess. The problem was (or so I thought anyway) I still had $50,000 of the company's money in my account. It was then that I thought I must be dealing with a small company that had been hired for things like processing the reimbursement I was seeking. Or, so I thought anyway.

The guy was texting my phone number while I was at the doctor. Fortunately, I had left the phone in the car since I didn't want to be disturbed in the doctor's office.

So, here's the good news. On the way home from the doctor I reinstalled the bank app on my phone and suddenly the $50,000 was not in my account. A call to the bank persuaded me that no such transaction of that amount, or any amount for that matter, had been performed in the last 24 hours.

When I got home and he called, I let him know I was on to him and hung up. Strange thing is that he didn't believe I was on to him and wanted to show me why I still had his money in my account. He called back over and over again and I hung up on him over and over again until I finally blocked his number.

I had to reboot my laptop, disconnect from the internet (since I noticed that they had already, once again, taken control of my laptop) and uninstall the software they had me load so they could take control of things. In fact, they had me enter my pin, which unknown to me enabled them to change it. I din't even know it until I tried to reboot my laptop. I had to go through a process to recover and establish a new pin.

My take-away lesson was that I let the emotions of perceived lost money remove any sense of rational thought. Once I concluded that I had been billed for something, I chased after cancelling a charge (that had not actually been charged) and getting money back (that had not actually been lost.) I was blinded to everything else and willing to let these folks do anything and everything they needed to do to ensure I got money back (that had never been paid out or lost in the first place.)

Looking back there was a myriad of signs pointing to a scam, and how I was ever fooled to that level is beyond my understanding. It looks so obvious in retrospect that it's hard for me to believe I fell for it. I really thought I was Scam Proof!




Back In Germany

FEBRUARY 04, 2022


Allie

Well, we got the word from Allie that she arrived safely in Germany and was picked up at the Stuttgart airport by Josh. She'll be reunited with the grandsons when they get home from school. I'm sure it will be a great time for everyone!

As for here at the homestead, highs aren't slated to get out of the 40's and lows tonight are predicted to be below freezing. Meanwhile, the pool water is right up to the rim with all of the rain we had last night. I suppose there will be time this afternoon to drop that level a bit when the rains move on out.

All of that will happen just in time to get the pool pump back on a night time schedule to avoid a frozen system. Ah, the fun of having a pool in the winter.

I've got a doctor appointment late this morning and other than all of that, it should be back to a more normal scene around here. I received a nice QSL card with a lighthouse on it yesterday from New Hampshire. I've got a return address stamper due in today and will be able to stamp that at some other cards I have to send out.

Perhaps I'll also make some more FT4 and FT8 contacts today.




Back To Germany

FEBRUARY 03, 2022


Allie 3

Well, it doesn't seem like that many days ago that we were just picking up Allie from the Mobile, Alabama Airport after her long flight from Germany. And now we've said our goodbyes and have delivered her back to the airport where she will soon travel via Huston, Texas and Frankfurt, Germany to reunite with her family just outside of Stuttgart, Germany.

The three of us provided a lot of support for the eating establishments in and around the Spanish Fort, Alabama area but it's time to get back to what we tend to call normal around here and that will include lots of Patty's amazing home cooking.

If all goes according to plan, we look forward to hosting the entire Snow family this summer. I'm sure the boys will make good use of the pool, and that may include the big boys. If the ladies don't join us in the pool, I'm sure they will be watching the fun from the comfort of the lounge chairs.

Until then, we'll be wrapping up a cold and windy winter season and looking forward to the arrival of spring. Not far behind will be a yard that will need tending and pool water that will be warming up just in time for the arrival of the entire Snow family.

Can't wait!




Day Nine

FEBRUARY 02, 2022


Allie 10

Day nine! Our last full day with Allie before she returns to her husband and two boys in Germany. I have mixed emotions because it's been a real treat and a blessing to have her here, but I can only imagine the sacrifice that has been provided by Josh, Noah, and Gabe to enable the blessing of having her with us!

Will we miss her? Absolutely! Will we be glad to see her reunited with Josh and the boys? You better believe it!

It sure was good to catch up with her and all that has been going on back in Germany. What an amazing trip they are all on! I can't wait to hear all about the next chapter in their adventure.

It's the same with Jonathan and Amy. Only God could design such an amazing journey for both kids and their respective families. And what a wonderful thing to be in a season of life where we get to be observers. And what an amazing blessing that our kids and their families allow and enable us to watch all that is going on and in some way to be a small part of the excitement.

Here's to one more wonderful day with Allie. Thank you, Josh, Noah, and Gabe for allowing us the incredible blessing of this time together with our daughter!




Day Eight

FEBRUARY 01, 2022


Allie 9

Day eight! Made me think of the old Beatles song, Eight Days a Week. Not sure where that came from but it brings back some great memories of life in Hialeah, Florida many years ago.

Well, we finished up the left-overs last night and enjoyed another movie. I wasn't sure if Allie and Patty would enjoy Desert Dancer as much as I did, but it seems they had the same wonderful experience I had. The movie starts off slow and early on may even seem like it's not worth watching until the end. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a wonderfully touching (and true) story!

As we were departing the front room last night and preparing to head to bed, I told Allie that I was already missing her, even though she hasn't left yet. It was just one of those special moments where God reminded me how much she has blessed us and where I realized that it might be quite a while before we get to see her once again after she leaves on Thursday.

I'm so glad that we've been able to give her our full attention while she's here and that we are in a position to do just that. Thank you, Lord for the amazing blessings you have provided Patty and I via our daughter and our son. May we always be mindful of all that you have done for us in that respect.

Also worth mentioning is the blessing I received from my 52 Hebrew Words book. Today's word was Shalom and I was confident that I already had a pretty good handle on that word. Boy was I wrong!

While we may all know that Shalom represents peace, I was not aware that back in the day peace was considered more important than truth. How can that be I thought? I've always placed such high importance on truth and did not know that Shalom also means being fully unified with God. Wow! Now I understand. What is truth if we are not fully unified with God?

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