One of the worst weeks in my life was when I broke two, yes 2, recliners in one week.

My loving wife and I decided that we would go all out for our living room several years ago. We decided to buy a whole new living room suit. When we got to the furniture store my wife eyeballed the first sofa setting by the door. She said, “That’s the couch I want.” We didn’t even know the price of it she just decided she wanted it. I’m sure it was meant to be because they had it setting right next to the front door as we walked in.

Did they know we were coming or something? Did my wife call ahead and tell them we were coming? I don’t think any of those things but it must have been destiny for us to walk into that furniture store that day and the very sofa my wife wanted was right by the door. Of course a good furniture store who prides itself on getting that quota for the month and having good sales has a way of putting the nicer, more expensive furniture right in the window or at the front door. I wouldn’t say it was the most expensive sofa in the store but I did find some nice ones hidden amongst all the others that was a lot cheaper. “We’ve got our couch, now let’s go find some recliners that would match it.” My loving bride said.

Where we used to live we had a rather small living room. We decided before we left the house that the best thing for us to do was to just get a sofa and two recliners. That would be all we would need in that tiny living room. We had determined that if we got a whole living room ensemble we wouldn’t have room to walk around or move. So a sofa and two recliners were it.

As we looked at all the recliners we both had mentioned to the salesperson that we wanted our chairs to match. He was quick to point out a nice overstuffed recliner that would match our sofa perfectly. “And we already have another one in the back just like it. So you won’t have to wait a week or longer to get a matching one from the manufacturer.” He said with a smile.

“Really?” I thought.  Is that the “only” recliner you have in the back that matches all these recliners you have out here on the floor? Reluctantly we agreed and wound up buying the not-so-cheap-overstuffed recliner. He did have a good sales pitch though.

The next day they delivered our new  living room set. The large couch with throw pillows and our overstuffed matching recliners. As the men struggled to move the sofa in first I told them to just set it down and my wife and I would rearrange it how we wanted. Then the two recliners. Them things were so big and overstuffed even the two big guys that brought them up the steps and into the house struggled to get them in. As we contemplated how to move our new furniture around we had come to the realization that we really did have a small, small living room. Very small. Once we got everything situated the best way we could figure out we quickly found out that if we both sat in the recliners and let the footrest out then there would be absolutely no walking room whatsoever. Yes, that’s how small our living room was.

When the home was built back in the mid-70’s furniture wasn’t as large and plush as it is today. So there wasn’t any reason to have an extremely large living room, or any other room for that matter for a modest home.

Not long after we moved to where we live now one of our recliners broke and it was time to toss it. My wife and I found another one that would work perfect. It wasn’t a large overstuffed recliner like the one we had but it was good enough. At least it was a lot cheaper and we did have a much larger den to accommodate our large bulky furniture. I will never forget that fateful day when our other overstuffed recliner decided to let me down…literally.

Picture this in your mind if you will. I got a couple of cookies out of the cookie jar in the kitchen and walked into the den and sat down. When I leaned back in the recliner it just kept going…All the way back. And there I went all the way back to the floor…cookies in hand. I called my wife who was in the kitchen at the time to come and help me up.

Our wonderful black lab knows a few words.  She definitely knows what “ride” means and “bed”. Well, I called for help and she came to check on me lying on my back on the floor in the recliner. She sniffed me in the face to make sure I was alright then she helped…helped herself to my cookies. Took them right out of my hand and laid down in the middle of the floor and proceeded to eat them. My wife came in the den just as she saw Sam, the dog, checking on me and then taking my cookies out of my hand. Now she is almost doubled over laughing, while at the same time asking me if I am alright. Thankfully the recliner was overstuffed so there was no way I would have gotten hurt, except for my pride.

After we took that recliner out, we took our other, cheaper, recliner and put it where the broken one had been. So there we were all sitting around one evening a couple of nights later, talking and watching television and now everyone in the household knows the “only” recliner left in the house has to belong to daddy. I sat down and let the foot rest out, no problems, not until I went to let the footrest down. The wooden handle on the side breaks off right in my hand. Now I’ve got a second broken recliner.  All within a week.

But thanks to my smart, redneck ingenuity, I was able to fix a temporary handle for the footrest. And it works perfect, even today. Yep, now I like to call it my “Redneck Recliner”.

One day I’m going to break down and buy myself another new recliner. Another one of those large, bulky, overstuffed kind. One of those that would make a fat boy like me happy to take a nice long nap in while a game is going on television. But lately since I spend more time in the office writing and my wife usually watches television in the bedroom I think that is something that can wait. At least until I can save up enough money I can go and get that perfect recliner.

Oh, and one more thing. I didn’t tell you how I fixed the handle on the other recliner did I? Let’s just say vise-grip pliers is one the best inventions man has ever made. Especially if you have a broken recliner handle.


Is Your Birthright For Sale?

Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.  (Gen. 25: 31-34 NIV) 

Those of you who have been to church or have grown up in church like myself are quiet familiar with this biblical story of Esau despising his birthright and selling it to his twin brother who was only seconds younger than him.  Esau thought he was going to die of hunger and thirst and Jacob caught him at a moment when he was most vulnerable and took advantage of him to get his birthright from him.  Some people claim that Jacob stole it from him but Esau didn’t have to sell it to his brother, he chose to give it to him for something in return.  Would you believe that a majority of Americans are not using their God-given birthright today? That is the right to vote.

The 26th Amendment was proposed and ratified on March 23, 1971 allowing anyone 18 years of age or older to vote in elections.  It was signed by then President Richard Nixon on July 5, 1971. It was the shortest time in which any proposed amendment had received the number of ratifications needed for adoption as an amendment (Approximately four months).  The majority of the Congress and Senate considered any young adult who turned 18 years old even while still in high school could be responsible enough to cast a ballot for who they believe was the best candidate for an office or position to serve the American people.  At the time they could go to war (Vietnam), fight and kill but they weren’t considered old enough and responsible enough to cast a vote for who they thought were the better Commander-In-Chief to lead them for the next four years.  There were some conflicting reports and statistics of that 1972 election almost all of them agree that around 50 percent or less of the 18 to 20 year old’s actually got out and voted and it had only declined since then until more recent elections.

I remember my high school history teacher teaching us students that we all as Americans have that right.  If you don’t use your God-given privilege to cast your ballot for your choice of candidate that is just like selling your birthright.  Esau despised his  and if we don’t get out and vote then we are despising ours.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears have fallen for the last 200+ years for this right and we all should be proud and honor our fathers of the past and take part in making the decisions for our future.

I’ve heard a lot of people ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” And I am sure there are many who would probably be willing to sell their vote to the highest bidder. Just like Esau who despised his birthright and chose to sell it, they are usually the very first ones to cry foul when things don’t go their way and the laws change.

My birthright is not for sale and in a few more weeks, November 6th, I intend to use it to the best of my ability and choose whom I think will be the best person to lead this great nation for the next four years.  No matter what candidate or party you choose I hope and pray you will use the birthright that was given you as well.

Changes Are Upon Us

I remember an old Elvis Presley movie and song called ‘Change of Habit’. The lyrics started out something like this, “If you’re in old habits, set in your old ways, changes are upon us, these are changing days.” That’s the way it has been for my wife and I these last few months, a change of practically everything.

While we were coming back from our 25th anniversary vacation last December I told her that 2012 was going to be our year. I didn’t know how or what but I just knew it was going to be our year. I reiterated that again to her around January. I just felt like this year was going to be our year. I guess I had enough faith to actually claim it instead of just proclaim it.

The biggest change we’ve encountered thus far this year has been moving. After 25 years of marriage and living in the same location we finally decided it was time to pull up roots and get a change of scenery on the home front. She had lived in the same location a lot longer than me so it was an even bigger change for her. We have looked at homes in the past but we haven’t really been shopping. We came across a home that we both liked, made an offer, won the bid and the next thing we know we were buying a house. Of course I give all praise to God. We both feel like He was the one that had it picked out for us all along and it was time to move on.

Much like Abraham in the Bible when God told him to leave his homeland and family and go to a place that was picked out especially for him and his children as an inheritance forever. (Genesis 12:1)

There wasn’t anything special that I had said or done to win God’s favor except being faithful to Him. I feel like it isn’t what I’ve said or done but what I will be doing. I remember several years ago of an article I had written for a church newspaper titled ‘Just Do It’. Linda and I were working for a very small church nearly fifty miles from where we lived. We would stay all day on Sunday’s and go home that evening. There were several occasions we stayed all day then not a single person would show up for Sunday night service. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t discouraged but Linda was more verbal about it than I was. We were going home on one of those discouraging Sunday evenings as the sun was setting on the horizon. We both couldn’t help but wonder if we were doing the right thing. I told her to look at the beauty of God’s creation as the sun shone through the clouds giving us a very beautiful evening picture on our journey home. That’s when it came to me and I told her “all I want to do is to get to heaven and if this is the way I have to go to get there then I’ll just do it.” Just like the Nike commercial “Just Do It”.

I also knew when it was time to pull up roots from there and move on as well. I knew what I had to do to finish the task I was there for but I also knew after that task was done it was time to move on. There was no denying how I felt at the time. Now Linda tells me she knew it was time for that change for her, for us. I had already been there so I knew how she felt. We had minor, miniscule problems at closing on the home but in the end it all worked out. Now we are in our new home continuing to work on our new change.

Sometime change is good, sometime change isn’t so good. It really pays to know the difference. One thing I have always done was to really pray about it. Whether it’s a home, job, career or car I always prayed about it. Recently a dear friend of mine passed away and I remember one thing that he told me about making decisions. When you do make your decision move on in the direction of your decision and don’t look back with regret. That’s why it really pays to pray first.

We’ll come to many crossroads in life and we’ll have to make a decision whether to turn left or right or just go straight. We know with the direction of this big, momentous change for us and the ones we make tomorrow will be a new journey but the most important thing is we will do it together as we follow God’s guidance and direction in our lives.

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