2013 Year In Review

Well 2013 has come and gone so I thought I would just take a quick review of the year for Peculiar Perspective. I received my annual report today from WordPress and it contained some interesting information.

First, if you are reading this thank you. If you have read any of my posts this year thank you. As I mentioned in one of my posts Feedback Is Always Welcome I do appreciate any and all feedback I receive. I can look at numbers to see how many people have clicked on my blog but I really cannot tell how many people have actually read it without your feedback.

Thank you for the feedback you have given me by commenting here in comments, on Facebook and in person and please give me more in 2014 – both good and bad. That is the only way I will learn how I am doing from your perspective. I am still not sure exactly what I am doing with this except expressing some of my thoughts on topics that are of interest to me. I hope some will be interesting to you as well but whether I will ever settle on just one main theme or not I don’t know. Continue reading 2013 Year In Review


Since this is Thanksgiving Week I thought writing about the holiday and some things I am thankful for would be appropriate. I expect this will be the only blog post on that subject this week so it should really stand out…NOT.

Anyway, I talked it over with all three of us (me, myself and I) and that that is what we decided to do.

The reason I distinguish between the Thanksgiving holiday and giving thanks I see those as two uniquely different events that intersect at this time of the year. It is really nothing other than my peculiar perspective at work again I suspect.

Thanksgiving – The Holiday

I don’t expect and have really never seen, except on TV or in the movies, everyone or really any one giving a grand Thanksgiving speech on what they are thankful for over the past year. It just hasn’t happened that way in my experience.

I do enjoy the holiday, getting together with family that we don’t get to see as much as we would like and eating turkey and dumplings and sweet potato (not pumpkin) pie. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving and expect will have more after this week.

If you are expecting secret family recipes here then you will be disappointed. I know of none. My role has always been the consumer in this situation, not the manufacturer. Someone has to do it and it is a role I have practiced for many years. I believe I am pretty good at it. It is one of my callings. How would it make all the cooks feel if there was no one there to eat what they had prepared?

The First Thanksgiving…and a few more

I remember our first Thanksgiving together on my side of the family at Aunt Edna’s. Sharin and I were dating at the time. When it was time to eat I got up to go eat as I had always done. I had not mentioned to Sharin that it was our tradition for all the men to eat first, then the women because I had not given it a second thought. It was how we had always done it so I assumed everyone did it that way. Well, Sharin explained to me later that was not true. We did survive that Thanksgiving and 30+ since that one as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next August. It is one we often talk about at this time of year though.

I have many good memories of Thanksgiving with Sharin’s family. Her mother would be cooking cakes and pies for days and it was always a fun time getting together with the entire Clark family. I miss those a lot. She enjoyed getting ready for Thanksgiving, probably only second to Christmas. We had turkey & dumplings, lemon pie, and later sweet potato pie when she learned that was my favorite. I was, after all, her favorite son-in-law (for those who might not know I was also her only son-in-law).

They were differences in the way our extended families celebrated Thanksgiving but there were also many similarities. Both had turkey, dumplings and lots of desserts. Both included getting together with family and catching up as well as naps in the afternoon before we would go back for leftovers. We had to rest up to get ready to eat again.

I Miss the People

I miss those times because of the people that are no longer with us. We can and will eat regardless of what day it is but it is the people that I miss the most, my parents and grandparents, Sharin’s parents and grandparents. We will see them all again one day but I wish we could see them here this Thursday.

Now, we are at the stage of life where we are excited to have our children who are not living with us come home and spending time with them. That is the highlight of the holidays now for us. The eating is necessary and still very enjoyable but it is secondary. It probably always was but we are now wise enough to realize that truth. We get together with brothers and sisters and their families as we continue to grow. We are expecting to add at least a couple new members next year.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks

The giving thanks part of Thanksgiving is done and having the holiday itself provides an emphasis for all to give thanks. I believe that is a good thing. However, giving thanks should be something we do on the 364 Un-Thanksgiving days every year as well.

Here are some of the things and people I am thankful for

* My Salvation – I thank God for the gift of salvation, sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and to die in my place and then to rise again and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and lives in my heart.

* My family that I have been blessed with – Sharin, Sarah, Amy, Rachel, Thomas and Tyler. To borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey, I am doing much “better than I deserve.” I am thankful for that.

My Family
My family on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom

* Salvation for my family – I know that when we are done passing through this place call planet earth we will see each other again in Heaven. I look forward to seeing parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and others who are already there and then those that will follow after I am gone. This is the hope and promise we have as Christians.

* My extended family – Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, Out-laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews – too many to try to name but I am thankful for having them all in my life.

* Friends – I am also blessed by many more friends than I deserve both old and new friendships that have just begun this year. Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and allowing me to call you friend.

* Health – I have been blessed so far on this journey called life with good health.

* Job – I am thankful for a job that helps provide for my family that I actually enjoy. I know many do not have jobs in today’s economy and many that do don’t enjoy the jobs they do have.

* Freedom of expression to be able to live, worship, and express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This is something we, as Americans, often do take for granted. If we continue to do that we might wake up one day and realize they no longer exist.

* YOU – If you are reading this I am thankful for YOU for taking the time to stop by here and read the thoughts I assemble here from time to time.

I could go on for quite some time but I think you get the point. I am blessed far beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve. I am thankful for these blessings on Thanksgiving but also on every other day of the year as well.

I am reminded of the old hymn Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done! If you are not familiar with this hymn or if you just want to here it now you can click Guy Penrod and he will sing it for you.

One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes also fits here I think, 

and by far, the most life changing.

Zig Ziglar_Attitude of Gratitude
Zig Ziglar – Attitude of Gratitude ~Ziglar.com

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Un-Thanksgiving too!

Until next time…

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Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further. Continue reading Do You Like the Bible?


I was recently given the opportunity to receive a PDF copy of Emotions by Charles Stanley if I would be willing to read it and write an honest review. I thought about it for about 3 seconds and jumped at that opportunity.  As my tagline says, “I believe there is always more to be learned.” My review is what appears below.


For those who know me you know you would not describe me as being emotional. You would likely describe me as wearing my emotions up my sleeve as I generally don’t express them outwardly very often.

For that reason a book with a title of Emotions is probably not one that I would have thought would be very interesting  based on the title or have caught my eye on the bookshelf of my local book store. This book is not about the “Rah! Rah! Go Team!” expression of emotions but the emotions we all feel and experience but seldom discuss with anyone else because we think we are the only ones experiencing them. Continue reading Emotions

Outrageously Good


The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different. Continue reading Outrageously Good

Speak Life

Maybe I Did Learn Something In Literature Class

If your experience in school is anything like mine was, there were some classes you were required to take because they were part of your core curriculum that you thought or maybe even said, “I will never use this again after I get out of this class.” Does that ring any bells?

Well, the literature classes I was required to take in college such as English Literature and American Literature and maybe a Mythology class or two fit into that category for me. At least I thought they did at the time. You know the ones where you had to read something you didn’t want to read and then interpret it to try to match whatever the instructor thought it meant. I tended to agree with Mr. or Mrs., not sure which, Cliff since I used their notes when available.

Lately though I have been thinking maybe I learned more than I thought I did. I think songwriters today are comparable to the classical literary poets and authors of old studied in school. Maybe I learned to recognize and appreciate artistry when I see or hear it.

If you listen to music on the radio or by other means do you listen to the words of the songs?

I am old-fashioned in that when I get a new release I like to open the CD case and read the lyrics as I listen to the music the first or second time through. As a side note, even if you don’t buy music and get the CD most lyrics can be found online somewhere so you don’t have to buy the CD to be able to read the lyrics.

This ensures I am not mis-hearing any words and helps me to really understand the music. I know the melody and beat of the music is important but the lyrics are just as important, probably more important to me. I am of the old school that believes that what you put into your mind has a lot to do with your mood and outlook on everything you do. If you are listening to negative, degrading words over and over to a beat you will hear them and they will be ingrained in your sub-conscious mind and that will affect your mood and possibly your behavior. You might not even think you are listening to the words, you just like the music, but whether consciously or not your mind is hearing them.

Positive, upbeat is better than negative, explicit

So, whenever possible, I listen to positive, upbeat, encouraging songs. If any music has to have an “Explicit” label on it you will not find it in my catalog of music. I have a similar standard for comedians as well. If you can’t be funny without the vulgar, explicit language then you are just not funny. I wrote about this a while back in Adult? Language.

Because of the way I listen to music a song will often come to mind as I travel through life that speaks to me, encourages me, and makes the journey more enjoyable, or, depending on the situation, bearable.

I will be sharing some of these lyrics from time to time and hope by doing so that someone else might discover the poetry and artistry contained in many of today’s songs in ways you might not have before. It might even introduce you to some new artists that might be an encouragement to you too.

For your consideration, this song was written by Toby McKeehan, Jamie Moore, and Ryan Stevenson.

Speak Life

Some days life feels perfect, other days it just ain’t workin’ / The good, the bad, the right, the wrong, and everything in between/ It’s crazy, amazing, we can turn a heart through the words we say/ Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life / To the darkest night / Speak life, speak life / When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why / Look into the eyes of the broken hearted / Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love / You speak life

Some days the tongue gets twisted, other days my thoughts just fall apart / I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t / It’s like I’m drowning in the deep / Well, it’s crazy to imagine words from our lips as the arms of compassion / Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say / Raise your thoughts a little higher / Use your words to inspire / Joy will fall like rain when you speak life with the things you say / Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say.

Words like that encourage me and I think they would encourage you too. It is also how I try to use my words. I am not always successful but it is a goal I strive for. This one is not too hard to interpret.

You may or may not have recognized the first author’s name.

He is more popularly known as Toby Mac

Toby Mac - Six Flags - St. Louis - July 24, 2009
Toby Mac – Six Flags – St. Louis – July 24, 2009

and this song comes from his latest release called Eye On It. I am not generally a fan of the hip-hop music genre which is one category his music usually fits into. He started out as a rapper with DC Talk. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert at Six Flags in St. Louis a little over four years ago. I was impressed by the professionalism and artistry of their live show

Toby Mac and DiverseCity – Six Flags – July 24, 2009

as well as the message in the music. There were a few of his earlier songs I did like but I was not really a Toby Mac fan until after this show. My kids were fans and now I was too. I think they were more DC Talk fans though and I am more of a Toby Mac fan.

I became an even bigger fan when I learned he was a father of five and only about 3 years younger than me. I am a father or four. I don’t know about you but when there are things I share in common with others that helps me identify with them more. He is a Christian, husband and father and I am too. We both enjoy good music but that is where the similarities end. I cannot sing, cannot dance or perform in front of thousands of people. However I might one day write a song or two. We’ll see.

This is only one of the songs I really like on this CD. There are many more such as Steal My Show, Eye On It, Unstoppable, Forgiveness and Favorite Song to name a few. If you have never listened to Toby Mac here is your chance. You can go hear and listen to Speak Life now. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe you will find a new artist, author or poet you like too.

Until next time…Speak Life!

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Carried by Angels

Carried by AngelsWhen I decided to read Carried by Angels by Phillip Hatfield I was not sure exactly what to expect. After finishing the book I no longer have to wonder.

A lot in common with the author

I knew he worked for the Ziglar Corporation and that is an endorsement that carries a lot of weight with me. Continue reading Carried by Angels

Yes, No or Not Now

Need to be reminded


Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.


Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.

God, Not Listening?

Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers.  You might be wondering to yourself,

“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”

Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer.  I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.

Could our interpretation be wrong?

The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.


Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.


Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.

Not now

Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.


How do I know what God is saying?


The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.

Don’t be anxious

It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about.  I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.

I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.

Sometimes our prayers change

You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.

Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.

His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013

Sheep are dumb

While reading Dr. Kevin Connors post this morning called “The Lord is My SHEPHERD  this morning I was reminded of a truth from the Bible that is a little bit humorous to me as well as being a good reminder of who we are and who God is.  His post is very thought provoking or convicting depending on how your perspective and I recommend you take a look if you have a few minutes.

Sheep are dumb animals.  They don’t do much thinking of their own and tend to follow the crowd even if the rest of the crowd is walking off the edge of a cliff.  My point is they are not very intelligent creatures.  You might be wondering what this has to do with you or me.  Well, here’s the thing.  We, God’s people, are compared to and called sheep many times in the Bible.

English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh She...
English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh Sheep are not renowned for their intelligence, but these really take the prize for stupidity. But on the other hand, they are most unlikely to escape into the road, and there need be no worry about the bottom falling out of the market for lamb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pause and extra space there was intentional.  Did you get the intended meaning? Sheep are dumb. We are called sheep, so, consequently we are dumb creatures too. This is a little bit humorous to me as I try to not take myself too seriously so I don’t mind being called a sheep.

It is also a very real reminder of just how much we really are like sheep and that we need a shepherd.  Jesus is the shepherd.

If you know Him when you hear him you will know his voice.

I hope you do know Him.  If not, He has a book out that has been a best seller for years.  It is His love letter to you. Get it or open yours and read it.

If you don’t have one you can get one free here at Bible.com for your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can hear His voice and you can know Him too.

The Lord is my Good Shepherd
The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/20/2013