Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's a Miracle

Is anyone else tired of all these stories about seeing Jesus in everything from chicken noodle soup to hairdos? I guess anything is possible but really, enough is enough…………OR IS IT.





Warning
The following post is intended for mature audiences and is meant to be humorous. If you are easily offended, then read no further. Don’t quit in the middle either. That would be like watching half of "It's a Wonderful Life. I saved the best for last.


First it was the amazing vision of Jesus on the cross in an ultra sound. Now it seems that someone found a likeness of Jesus in a Cheetos bag. I really can’t put much stock in either story for several reasons. First off both of these “images” were created by manmade machines. Machines can be programmed to make any image desired so finding a “Devine” image like those isn’t really a Miracle. Secondly, the truth is that neither of these items really looked like Jesus to me. And lastly, why would Jesus show himself in an ultrasound or a Cheetos snack when MY blog is available.

Now if you could find an image like that that wasn’t manmade that would be something to brag about. It would have to be something made from nature without the aid of man or machine. It would have to be something that wasn’t helped along or caused to alter in any way. Well guess what folks. As a visitor to Greg’s General Store today, you get to be the first to hear this breaking story even before it shows up in The National Enquirer, The Sun or The Star. You people are the first to hear about this earth shattering story so sit down and hold on to your hats.


A bag of seed potatoes …….. Five Dollars



Working in the garden …….. Zero Dollars



Finding the “Tater Baby Jesus” in your garden ……… Priceless




It’s true. I found this likeness of the Baby Jesus in my potato patch. I have affectionately named him Tater Baby Jesus or TBJ for short. It may not be the best name but it has to be better than Cheesus which is what they call the Cheetos Jesus. At first I didn’t see it but the more I looked at that little spud and read the other stories of the sightings I began to realize that I had the real thing. Mine is all natural too. There are no artificial ingredients or colors. So now what do I do with him?

I gave it a lot of thought as we drove to work this morning. There are so many options. Just having him strapped into the passenger seat there beside me was of course my first option. I thought about how I could put that bumper sticker on my car saying “Jesus is my copilot” and everyone would be so envious. My next thought was to secretly sell him to the pope. The Pope could actually use him in communion and be giving out the real thing. I thought about leaking the story to the big news papers like The National Enquirer, The Sun or The Star and then putting him on display in my yard and charging money to see him. There is also the ebay option but I would have to open the bidding around a million dollars for a find like this.

All kidding aside, here is what I came up with. First off, this isn’t the Baby Jesus and if you are looking in a bag of chips an ultrasound or a potato patch for Jesus, you are looking in the wrong place. Actually He is there too but you are missing the big picture. The one that gets me is the couple that is looking at the likeness of Jesus in their ultrasound when the real miracle is the baby in the picture. Being able to grow anything without chemicals is a miracle these days so it isn’t what the potato looks like that counts it is the fact that it grew (all natural) and I could eat it if I wanted to. I am not sure what to say about the cheetos Jesus except that Cheetos are like clouds. There are so many shapes and forms that if you look long enough you can find anything you want in them. The other day I saw a cloud that believe it or not, looked like a cloud. As for what I will do with the little spud, a nice beef stew sounds good to me. That is unless anyone out there wants to offer me that million dollars for it.

Have a great day,
Greg

PS Need help finding Jesus? Click here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random acts of kindness

I must be in the giving spirit these days as I seem to be doing lots of things out of the goodness of my heart. It's called a Random Act of Kindness or RAOC for short. I am holding more doors for people, talking more openly with strangers and even giving discounts at the market just because I feel like it. It seems like the more I do it, the better I feel about myself and the more I want to do it. The key though is to do something nice for someone and expect nothing in return. If you do something nice and expect a return then it isn't a RAOC. So my advice for the day is to try it. I am sure you will love the feeling it gives you. Make an effort to do one a day.



Now I need a favor. This doesn't count as your RAOC for the day so get that out of your head. If you look at the top right corner of my blog, you will see a little kitty. Please click on him and vote for my son's cat. He is the black and white one with Homer Simpson leaning on him. (#69) All you have to do is click on the link, click #69, then hit vote and then return to my blog. It's as easy as that and will be greatly appreciatedd. Thanks in advance for your support.



Have a wonderful day,

Greg

Monday, July 28, 2008

The party is over

Well another birthday has come and gone and I am still breathing so I guess that is a good thing. I had a great day. I planned on sleeping in but got up at 5 am anyway. Since I usually get up around 4, that was like sleeping in. I realized that I was out of coffee creamer and I can't drink coffee without it so I decided to go out and buy a cup of coffee.

After returning home, I made ham and cheese biscuits for my family. After breakfast, I worked with some plants in the greenhouse and then put the ribs on the grill. Around 1 pm, my mother in law, brother in law and his wife came over and we had lunch. The ribs were ok but not as good as I hoped they would be but they were still good. The tater salad came out great though and so did the beans. We also had two cakes and both were good.

Anyway, thanks for all the well wishes and visits.

Have a wonderful week,
Greg

Friday, July 25, 2008

Big Party....Everyone is invited.

Isn’t it funny how we view birthdays differently at different points in our lives? I have a birthday coming up this Sunday and I am really looking forward to it. I have plans for my day but before I get to them, let me tell you about some of my more memorable birthdays.

My earliest birthday memory: I used to have a picture of me in a high chair eating my birthday cake but I was sound asleep. It must have been no big deal for me when I was a baby. That picture tells it all. I ate, I drank and I slept. Kind of like I do now. Haha My favorite cake was, and still is German Chocolate. I don’t remember much about those early years. It may have been due to some kind of childhood trauma. I really don’t know. It must have been massive trauma now that I think about it.

My best birthday memory: My fondest birthday memory from my younger years was the time that my father took me out to a restaurant for my birthday. It was just he and I and I think I was about 11 or 12. We went to this little diner on A1A. I got to order whatever I wanted and I chose fried shrimp. Dad knew the waitress and had called ahead and told her it was my birthday. After I finished my dinner she brought out a small cake with a candle on it and everyone in the restaurant sang happy birthday to me. The waitress was very pretty and I was very shy. She gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek and I of course blushed.

My worst Birthday memory: When I was in my teens, all my friends were having birthday parties. They weren’t like the ones these days where you invite everyone in the phone book and the object is to see who can invite the most people. I never wanted one though because our house and yard were such a mess I was embarrassed to have my friends over. I remember one birthday when I made the mistake of telling some friends that our dog had just had puppies. I was out in the back yard which incidentally looked like scene out of Sanford and Son, and I heard voices beside the house. Before I could head them off at the pass, my friends were at the gate. They entered the junk yard, I mean back yard and I was totally humiliated. They came to see the puppies. As soon as I showed them the puppies, I did my best to get them to leave before they saw too much.

My craziest Birthday Memory: When I turned 21, I was in the Navy and going to school in Idaho Falls, Idaho. At the time, I was dating one of the secretaries who was (get this) 34. I know, I know you don’t have to say it. My sister hated it because she was older than her and my mother didn’t think much of it either. That day started out like any other day. At lunch I went to the plant lunch room like I usually did. When I opened the door, I was shocked. The entire lunch room was decorated with big signs saying Happy Birthday and there were ribbons and balloons all over the place. My friend and her friends served everyone cake and ice cream, and they gave me lots of presents. I wonder what ever happened to Karen. At her age, she may be in a nursing home somewhere.

Thirty came and went without much fanfare. Forty was a big one as was 50. Those years between 30 and 50 I really didn’t like birthdays. They were simply a reminder that I was getting older and my youthful days were gone. Now that I am past 50 and I am not saying how much, I am enjoying birthdays again. It isn’t the cake or presents that I look forward to, it’s the fact that I made it through another year. I think if I look back on all my accomplishments I have done pretty well. You would be hard pressed to find very many people that I have affected negatively and I have few enemies.

So here are my plans for my birthday. I am going to get up early and put some ribs on the grill and Get the BBQ going. I am also going to make tater salad and baked beans. I plan on staying home and spending some time by our pool just chilling and relaxing. As for presents, here is a list of the things I need:


Nothing. I really don’t need a thing.

And here is a list of the things I want:

How about a visit from all my blog friends. Since most of you live too far away to come for ribs you can just drop by my blog and say hi. Oh and I want this to be a big party so invite all your friends. The more the merrier. And if you happen to be in the area make sure and tell me and I will put more ribs on. I will be taking pictures of me in my birthday suit, just kidding. However, I will try to snap a few photo’s by the pool and share them with you.

Happy Birthday to me and thanks for coming to my party.

Greg

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Excuses Excuses

I have to tell you, nothing gets my blood boiling faster than someone who always makes excuses. I hear it daily at work. Some people will talk for hours about why they can’t do a job or explaining why a job shouldn’t be theirs when it wouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes to do the job in the first place. I get frustrated and end up simply doing the job myself. I know that is a bad thing to do but to tell the truth, I enjoy working and I hate complaining. I would rather do a little more work myself than have to listen to complaining. That may be why people complain. They know if they complain enough someone else will do the job.

Well it finally happened. My new digital camera died just like the first one. Whatever happened to quality control? I guess buying the cheapest one on the market wasn’t a good idea. I want to start taking more 35 mm pictures though so maybe this is the EXCUSE I needed. OOPs I am making excuses here and I really hate that. Does this mean I hate myself? I bet a shrink could have fun with this. I took some recently with this camera but they didn’t turn out well. My camera is a manual one and it will take great photos if you have the settings right. I started taking this roll a while back and forgot what type of film it was. I set the camera on 400 film but when I took the film out, I found out it was 200 film so the pictures are a little dark. Oh no, here I go with EXCUSES again. Let me just show you the pictures before I dig myself into a hole I can’t get out. Here they are. They are Mexican petunias, lemonade day lilies, lantana and Aztec sunflowers. If you like these pictures, check out my son's blog called Wadmalaw Gardens. Enjoy.







Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Reports

Remember the show Hogan’s Heroes? I used to love that show. I loved it when coronel Klink would come in and holler “Report” and Sergeant Schultz would say “All present and accounted for sir” His best line in the show was of course “I know noth----ing” If you never saw the show, Sergeant Schultz was a bumbling idiot and preferred to look the other way instead of causing trouble. I think we all do that from time to time. Isn’t it funny how it was ok to make fun of the Germans back then but now it is considered politically incorrect?

Weather report

Whew, that was a close one. That storm was just off the coast for several days and had the potential for turning into a bad storm. The only thing saving us was some dry air pushing down from the north. It prevented the rain from wrapping around the center of the storm which in turn prevented it from strengthening. All we got was some light wind, a little cooler weather and some much needed rain. The rain ended by Saturday though so we were able to go to the market which brings me to my next report. (Don’t you just love it when things flow along smoothly)

Market report

I guess the big news is our market was rated as the 5th best Farmers Market in the country. Are you impressed? I think part of that is because Charleston is considered one of the friendliest cities in America. We really are friendly or at least most of us are. We must have stepped on someone’s toes though because apparently someone down at the market doesn’t like us. This comes as a big surprise to us too since most of the people are very friendly drop in to visit with us. We even go out of our way not to take anyone else’s business. For instance, there is a guy that only sells banana trees. We have lots of them for sale but we don’t bring them to the market because we don’t want to compete with him. The same goes for herbs. We grew tons of herbs this year but the guy next to us sells herbs so we don’t bring ours. I plan on giving the ones we grew to a friend who owns a local restaurant At least they will be put to good use.

Health report

As some of you know, I have quit taking medications. The only thing I still take is an aspirin a day. That is supposed to thin the blood a little and lower the risk of a heart attack. I think once I lose some weight, I will even quit that. I started a new approach to better health. I now take things like fish oil and antioxidants every day to build up my immune system. I recently had a physical exam and here are the results. My blood pressure is down 10 points. My cholesterol is down another 20 points. My PSA is down and my eyesight is improving. I read somewhere that for some, fish oil may improve sight but I never expected it to happen. I now no longer need reading glasses and my distance vision is improving. If this keeps up, I will soon have x-ray vision.

Food report

With all this good news, there had to be some bad. The biggest improvement I have seen from the fish oil has been my allergies. For the most part, they don’t bother me at all. I do however get stuffed up when I am around fresh cut grass or if the cats get up in my face. Saturday, we decided to order Chinese take out. After eating it, I noticed that my mouth felt a little swollen like I was having an allergy attach. I got to thinking that the only things that recently bothered me were grass and cats and I don’t think they put grass in the General Tso’s Chicken. Hmmmm now I am wondering…….

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out of control

Sorry this isn't my usual upbeat post but I had to get this out. I will return to my usual humerous self very soon. :)

Have you heard the news? President Bush has signed some papers which will allow us to start drilling for oil in Alaska and off many scenic coasts which in turn will relieve the oil crunch. Our gas prices should be dropping any time now. The news hasn’t made it to the gas pumps yet though because I noticed gas prices were up again this morning. Gosh this all sounds too good to be true. Thank God the President came to his senses and allowed the oil companies to start drilling again. He has a heart of gold doing this for the American people.

In the words of Earl Pitts American:
WAKE UP AMERICA

Why now? Why after many years of fighting drilling at home are we now considering this? Could it be that there is a different reason than high gas prices? If they wanted to lower gas prices couldn’t the oil companies just do it? Aren’t they boasting the largest profit margins in history? The answer is YES they do have the largest profits ever and YES they could lower the oil prices. If they wanted to, the oil companies could drop their profit margins to a reasonable figure and they could do it today. But you won’t see that happen. So what makes you think that they will drop prices once they start pulling more oil out of the ground?

Most of you may not know it but Coal prices are up as well. In fact they have more than doubled in the last few years. But there is no shortage of coal. We mine coal here at home. In fact we mine more coal that we can use. So why are coal prices up? It isn’t because of the gas prices. The reason that coal prices are up is because the demand for coal is up in other countries like China. Since China is willing to pay more for coal, we send most of our coal over there. Then if we want coal at home, we have to outbid China so we have to pay more ourselves. China can afford to pay more for coal because they don't have government regulations limiting their emissions. So in a nutshell, the government says we can't pollute but they encourage us to sell coal to China who does pollute. Isn’t this free trade thing great?

Did you know that the oil companies already have wells in place that they aren’t using? So why do we need to drill in other places to get more oil when we can start pumping from existing wells right now? And why are we thinking that by increasing production of oil at home, our gas prices will go down. Are we betting that unlike the coal companies, the oil companies will do the right thing and forgo making more money in favor of helping out the American people. I will take that bet and tell you, that it won’t happen. The only people who will benefit by allowing this local drilling are the people who make money from the sale of oil. That would be people who own large amounts of oil stocks.

Remember what a CEO of a major insurance company recently said when asked about helping people. He said; “We aren’t in business to help people. We are in business to make money” And so are the oil companies. So ask yourself these questions. Who personally would benefit by the oil companies increasing production? And who is allowing these companies to increase production at home? It seems obvious to me. I don’t own any oil stocks. No one in my family ever owned an oil company. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Big business runs the show and we are feeding them by allowing them to drill for oil here and sell it overseas. Prove me wrong oil company CEOs. I dare you.

Don't the Bush's own a lot of oil stock? Hmmmmm Something smells fishy here. No use getting upset about the whole situation. There isn't anything you can do about it. Time to start walking to work.


Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, July 14, 2008

The line FORMS to the left.

Before we get started, I will need each of you to complete form 2008 in it’s entirety. First time visitors only need to complete sections A through F but repeat visitors need to complete the entire form. If your last name starts with the letters A through N, please fill out only the applicable sections. If your last name starts with the letters M through Z complete sections C through V but omit the questions that don’t apply. If you are visiting for the first time but plan on visiting again, you will need to fill out all sections and also complete form 2007. If this is too complicated, you may elect to fill out form 2008 EZ however you will find it just as confusing and end up giving up on that one as well……………

Don’t you just love filling out forms. I love how they are so simple these days and so easy to fill out and understand. Yea right. And what happened to the internet simplifying things? I spent the greater portion of last night trying to fill out some tax forms. Step one was finding the right form. I struggled with step one. You see the form I wanted was part of another form and the title had nothing to do with what I wanted. It was like going to the grocery store to find lawn furniture. Who could argue with that logic. Finally I found what I thought was the right form, and thats when the fun really began.

Page one was all the usual stuff like name, age, address, business name. Business name? Wait I don’t want to start a business. I will just skip over that part. Then there were questions like: Type of business, number of employees etc . Man they are stuck on this business thing. Page one also said to make sure and complete applicable portions of page two but my page two was only instructions for filling out page one. Hmmm is something really wrong here. I went back on line and reprinted the forms and this time I got a page two. On page two, I only needed to complete section A but there were parts of that which I didn’t understand either. I also had numerous blanks and at the bottom of the form, it said that forms with blanks would be rejected. It’s time for the last resort. I hate asking for directions. What can I say, I am a man.

Ok so I call the tax office and guess what I hear? “I’m sorry the number you are trying to reach has been disconnected.” What the heck? No more taxes! Yes Yes Yes? (Wishful thinking on my part.) They gave me a new number so I called it. Now a lady answers and I tell her I need help with a form and she asks a million questions and finally transfers me to another person who can help me. A man answers now and he asks the same million questions and finally I get the answer I am looking for: Sir that’s not the right form. You need to fill out form 2008 EZ. 10 minutes later I finish filling out the form on line and I am again a legal citizen of the USA.

While I was doing all this form searching, I found a form that you fill out to suggest changes to other forms. I wonder if there is a form to fill out to make suggested changes to the form change form. The possibilities here are endless.

Please complete the exit form before you leave.

Have a wonderful day,

Greg

Friday, July 11, 2008

Are you Overloaded?

Do you ever feel like life is getting you down? Like you have so much to do that there is never enough time to get everything done? Like no matter how hard you try, your "to do list" keeps getting longer and longer? Do you feel like this pear tree, with so much to bear that you find yourself breaking? I used to feel like that a lot but now things are getting better. I shed some unwanted and unneeded baggage and things are looking great.





I used to be like that pear tree. I would try to do more and more and get myself in a fix and before I knew it, I was bogged down with no way out. No matter how I tried, things kept looking bad and I would end up depressed and when all other options were exhausted, I would break down and ask God for help. I would tell God my plan and tell him how I wanted him to make my plan work. Usually it ended up with my plan still failing and me losing faith and giving up on God. I could rationalize that I asked God for help with my plan and I didn’t get the help I wanted so God must not care. You know what I am talking about. Many of you have been there too. Why wasn’t God helping with my plan?




This time last year, I was bogged down with my job. I was working long hours and weekends and never seemed to have any time for myself or my family. I knew I was on the verge of a breakdown and couldn’t last much longer. I asked God for help with making ends meet. What I wanted was some kind of miracle where I would get more money and keep things the way they were. But no money fell from the sky and no offered me that pay raise. However, this job came open and I applied for it. I knew it would mean a huge salary cut and we would have to struggle to make ends meet. I wasn’t sure if it was the right choice but I did it anyway. God wasn’t giving me that answer I wanted but it was the only option for change so I took it.




After giving it some thought, I realized that the problem wasn’t with God it was with me. The problem was that it was MY plan and not necessarily God’s plan. Sometimes the answer isn’t what I want to hear but I know in the end, it is for the better. Long story short, I got the job. We adjusted to the pay cut and found other things to help us out financially. In less than a year, we have adjusted and are better off than before. I now have lots more time to spend with my family. I have so much less stress that I am a different person.





I would love to have all those pears on my tree. The problem is that one tree can’t possibly bear that many pears. Trying to save them all would mean destroying the tree and then there would be no pears at all. I decided to cut back and trim off the excess limbs and pears. I must have cut off 500 hundred pears. They are still good to eat but just a little small. The rest of the pears should now mature properly and the tree will be better off for it.







I think what I got caught up in was this competitive lifestyle that everyone seems to be living these days. We are all getting pushed to achieve, get, do, and save more. The reality of it is that MORE isn’t always the answer. Sometimes LESS is the answer. I am learning to be content with less and listening to what God’s plan for me is instead of trying to make my own plan work and that plan is working.

Have a Blessed Day,
Greg

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who's on first?

I have been working on another post but this came up and I just had to get it off my chest. Remember this old skit. Well what I have to talk about today, reminded me so much of this that I had to post this picture.








About a week ago, I get a phone call from my bank. The man on the phone tells me that their records show that my home owners insurance policy is about to expire and that their records show that I haven’t made any attempt to renew it. After listening to the man, I told him that I would get with my insurance agent and see what was going on. The insurance agent tells me that they are waiting on a check from my bank. (the same one who called me) You see my insurance is paid out of escrow (at the banks request) so the bank was the holdup. So I call the bank back and tell them that the reason I haven’t renewed my policy is because they haven’t sent the check in. The guy looks at my paperwork and says “Oh I do see that it is paid out of escrow so don’t worry about it.” Why didn't he see that in the first place? He then made a note on my account to this effect. (NOT)



A week later, I get another notice from the bank saying that my policy is expired and if I don’t take immediate action they will take money out of my escrow account and purchase insurance for me. Well duh, that’s what you were supposed to do in the first place. So what it boils down to is this;




The bank didn’t pay for my insurance like they were supposed to, so it expired. Since it expired, they are threatening to pay for my insurance if I don’t do something. The sad part is this isn’t the first time this has happened. Now I am wondering if I don’t do anything will they again not pay for my insurance????? It may be time to change banks. What do you think?


I think this has now all been taken care of but who knows. I keep hoping that one of these days they will call me and say.”Mr. C we accidently deposited a million dollars in your account and since we don’t know where it came from, you can just keep it” Now that will never happen but I can dream can't I. Why are all these mistakes always in the banks favor? There is something fishy about that I think.

Have a great day,
Greg

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th everyone


Sorry I haven't posted much lately, but I promise that I will have a good post soon. I had a really great weekend and I am as red as a lobster (sunburned) but feeling good about myself and life itself. I hope everyone had a great Forth of July. The highlight of 4th was when my son dropped one of the roman candles thinking it was done and it wasn't. The next shot went off and almost hit my wife and a friend. Both ladies scrambled just as the next shot bounced off a fence. The final shot ended up in the garden and almost set it on fire. Now that's a good fireworks show. Hope your 4th was just as exciting
Have a wonderful day,
Greg