Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Construction Crew

An Italian, an Irishman and a Chinese fellow are hired at a construction site. The foreman points out a huge pile of sand and says to the Italian guy, "You're in charge of sweeping;"  to the Irishman, "You're in charge of shoveling;" and to the Chinese guy, "And you're in charge of supplies. Now, I have to leave for a little while.  I expect you guys to make a dent in that pile."

So the foreman goes away for a couple of hours, and when he returns, the pile of sand is untouched. He says to the Italian, "Why didn't you sweep any of it?"  The Italian replies, "I didn't have a broom.  You said the Chinese guy was in charge of supplies, but he disappeared and I couldn't find him."

So then the foreman turns to the Irishman and asks why he didn't shovel.  The Irishman replies, "I couldn't get myself a shovel.  You left the Chinese guy in charge of supplies, but I couldn't find him."

The foreman is really ticked off now, and storms off toward the pile of sand looking for the Chinese guy.  Just then, the Chinese guy springs out from a closet and yells:  "SUPPLIES!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

At Christmastime, with all the shopping and baking and gatherings of family and friends, it's easy to forget the true significance of the holiday. A friend of ours likes to say that we need to keep the main thing the main thing. So let's not forget what the main thing is at this season.

Christmas is the time we set aside specifically to remember and celebrate the coming of God into our world as a human baby, born of a human mother but having no human father. God Himself was His Father. That is astounding enough, but the purpose of His coming boggles the mind. God came into our world as a human so that He could offer Himself as the only sacrifice perfect enough to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.

Every other religion in the world involves man trying to reach up to God through his own efforts. Christianity alone understands that man can never be good enough to reach up to God. Our only hope lies in His reaching down to us. And that's exactly what He has done. That's the main thing to keep in mind as we celebrate Christmas.

If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, what better time could there be than right now? All He asks is that we agree with Him that we have fallen short of sinless perfection and are, therefore, unable to earn our way to heaven; that we acknowledge Jesus as the only sacrifice that can pay sin's penalty for us; and that we invite Him to assume His rightful place as the Lord of our lives.

As I close this post, I'd like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and invite you to listen to my very favorite Christmas song, "How Should A King Come."

How should a King come.
Even a child knows the answer of course,
In a coach of gold with a pure white horse.
In the beautiful city in the prime of the day,
And the trumpets should cry and the crowds make way.
And the flags fly high in the morning sun,
And the people all cheer for the sovereign one.
And everyone knows that's the way that it's done.
That's the way that a King should come.

How should a King come.
Even a commoner understands,
He should come for His treasures,
And His houses and lands.
He should dine upon summer strawberries and milk,
And sleep upon bedclothes of satin and silk.
And high on a hill His castle should glow,
With the lights of the city like jewels below.
And everyone knows that's the way that it's done,
That's the way that a King should come.

How should a King come.
On a star filled night into Bethlehem,
Rode a weary woman and a worried man.
And the only sound in the cobblestone street,
Was the shuffle and the ring of their donkey's feet.
And a King lay hid in a virgin's womb,
And there were no crowds to see Him come.
At last in a barn in a manger of hay,
He came and God incarnate lay.

And the angels cried "Glory glory to God."
Earth was silent so heaven rang!
"Glory glory to God."
Men were dumb so the angels sang,
"Glory glory to God,
Peace on earth good will to men,
Glory glory to God.
Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Glory to God. 
Glory in the Highest. 
Glory to God. 
Glory in the Highest. 
Glory to God!

Words by Carol Owens, music by Jimmy Owens / arr. Tom Fettke

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jeff...the Rest of the Story

In recent posts, I've introduced you to Jeff; shared some of his humor; told of the adoption of baby daughter, Darci, by Jeff and Cheri, then of Cheri's death from cancer and of Jeff's subsequently meeting and marrying Beckie. Some of you have noticed and remarked about my use of past tense in talking about Jeff. Now it's time to tell you the rest of the story.

A year and a half after Jeff and Beckie married, four months after Darci's eleventh birthday, and seventeen days before their second Christmas together, Jeff died in an auto accident.

His death obviously hit Beckie and Darci very hard. The radio station, where he served as Operations Manager and on-air personality, reeled. Thousands in the community, who regularly listened to and loved Jeff and his infectious laugh, were stunned and shared in the grief of his family and co-workers.

Sixteen years have passed since then. Beckie is happily remarried. Darci is all grown up, married, and the mother of two. Life goes on.

The Bible says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

We don't always know, in this life, all the ways that God works things out for good in a given situation; but we can often see some of those ways. Jeff's death was no exception.

A few weeks before Jeff and Beckie married, Jeff was motivated to get his affairs in order when a close friend, a man of Jeff's own age and in apparently excellent health, collapsed and died suddenly while jogging with friends.

God had also been at work in choosing a new mom for Darci and giving them time to bond in their mother-daughter relationship before He called Jeff home. And the new mom that He chose was one whose own father had died in an auto accident when she was a little girl.

God also gave Darci a teacher that year, at the Christian school she attended, who had lost her father when she was young and who was able to minister to Darci through her own experience.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

God asks us to trust Him, even when we can't understand what He's doing, knowing that He loves us enough to have sent His Son to pay sin's penalty for us. That's faith.

Jeff had that absolute faith in his Savior. Those of us who share that faith have the assurance that we will meet again one day. Meanwhile, it's fun to imagine Jeff entertaining the heavenly hosts by doing impressions of the apostles.

Jeff's personal motto was, "my life from laughter for HIM."

I'll leave you with another audio clip of Jeff and Char, as poor Char was trying to give a recipe for Mock Chow Mein.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jeff and Beckie...and Edna

One of the many characters that Jeff created was Edna. Edna made weekly appearances on the morning radio show in a Friday segment known as "Ask Edna." She also made promotional appearances for the radio station. For these occasions, Jeff would dress up in full Edna garb. I don't have any photographs of Edna, but following is a photo of an Edna coffee mug, featuring an Edna caricature by Bill Frauhiger:

Edna was a rather large woman because Jeff was...well...a rather large man. (In a conversation with a radio co-host, Jeff once said that he wasn't going to tell Beckie that he had a weight problem until after they were married.)

A couple of months after their wedding, Jeff, dressed as Edna, was involved in a promotional photo shoot for the radio station. Afterward, still wearing his full Edna outfit and using his Edna voice, he thought it would be fun to pay Beckie a visit at her place of work, the hair salon where they had met.

Beckie was at the back of the salon, shampooing the hair of an elderly client, when she heard the commotion as Edna entered the shop, calling out "Where is Beckie? Where's that Beckie that married Jeff C.?" When he had worked his way back to the sink where she was working, she found herself in the awkward position of introducing her client to her husband, who was dressed as a woman unlike any other.

Well, being the competitive person she is, Beckie determined to get even with her practical joker of a husband. So she conspired with Jeff's boss, Char, to call in during an on-air call-in program; but Beckie would pretend that she didn't realize she was on the air.

Following is the audio clip of Beckie's revenge:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jeff...Flowbees Are Good for More Than Haircuts

Jeff was a lover of every new gadget that came out on the market. Home shopping networks and as-seen-on-TV ads proved irresistible to him. So it came as no surprise to anyone who knew him when he purchased a Flowbee Vacuum Haircut System.

If you're not familiar with that product, here is a video clip that I found on YouTube of the Flowbee in action:

Jeff reasoned that he could save money on grooming for Raggs and even on haircuts for himself. Thankfully, I don't think he ever used it on Darci.

After using the Flowbee on his own hair for awhile, Jeff was finally convinced by his co-workers at the radio station that he really should get a professional cut.

There was a small shopping plaza near Jeff's home; and, one day he noticed a hair salon just down from the grocery store he patronized. So he walked in and told the receptionist that he'd like to get a haircut.

As it happened, my niece, Beckie, was a stylist at that particular salon and was the first one with an opening in her schedule for Jeff. Well, he apparently liked that haircut because he came back for more and even began having Beckie cut nine-year-old Darci’s hair. It wasn’t long before it became apparent that Jeff liked more than his haircuts.

Soon Jeff's radio audience was listening to stories of the new love in his life. And the joy that bubbled up from within him was again flowing freely.

Jeff and Beckie were married several months later.

That was one Flowbee that delivered more than a haircut.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Jeff...The Research Team and Louise

I mentioned in the last post that Jeff used a number of different voices in the course of his radio career. He did recognizable impressions of real people, as well as voices and characters created from his imagination; and his imagination knew no bounds. Following is an audio clip of the radio station's "Research Team" wishing a Merry Christmas to all the listeners. (The Research Team was totally a figment of Jeff's imagination, and the voices are all his.)

And there's one more clip I'd like to share today. This was another example of a recipe gone wrong on the noontime cooking show. I hope you enjoy it.

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