Friday, April 24, 2009

another timely devotional ...for me..for sure...

What We Can't See
Marybeth Whalen

"'Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, 'O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.'" II Kings 6:16-17a (NIV)

Have you ever asked God to help you see what He's up to in the spiritual realm?

In II Kings 6:15-17, the prophet Elisha prays for his servant to be able to see beyond his circumstances. They are surrounded by a great army and the odds look to be overwhelmingly against them. He asks God to show the servant what is taking place beyond what the eye can see. The servant's eyes are opened to a supernatural realm and he is able to see the Lord's armies gathered to fight on their behalf. Elisha knew his servant was feeling hopeless and simply needed a different perspective.

We need eyes to see just like that servant did. Make no mistake, we are fighting a war. As Christians, we must suit up every day and face another battle. We have an enemy who wants to defeat us. And some days it seems like he gets the victory. We look around at the failing economy, the fractured families, and the fast pace of our lives and feel that the odds are overwhelmingly against us. We grow weary and feel like giving up.

In those moments we need to stop worrying and pray for a new vision. We need to ask God to change our perspective so that we can look past what we can see to what He is taking care of in the unseen. We need to remember to trust Him and to ask Him to help us see His activity--no matter how overwhelmed and unworthy we may feel. God sees us and He will send help when we need it.

The odds are never stacked against us because God is waging a battle we can't see. I love that He is always fighting on our behalf, even when we don't see it--and especially when we need it the most.
Dear Lord, please help me to remember that You are fighting even when I don't see it. Help me to have a vision for what You do daily on my behalf and not grow discouraged by the battles I face. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

God's faithfulness...

The Father’s Faithfulness
ODB RADIO: Listen Now DOWNLOAD: DownloadREAD: Psalm 107:1-16
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. . . . Great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23
Hudson Taylor, the humble servant of God to China, demonstrated extraordinary trust in God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote:
“Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning. . . . He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all. . . . Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
We may be faint and weary, but our heavenly Father is all-powerful. Our feelings may fluctuate, but He is unchangeable. Even creation itself is a record of His steadfastness. That’s why we can sing these words from a hymn by Thomas Chisholm: “Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
What an encouragement to live for Him! Our strength for the present and hope for the future are not based on the stability of our own perseverance but on the fidelity of God. No matter what our need, we can count on the Father’s faithfulness. —Paul Van Gorder
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!Morning by morning new mercies I see;All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! —Chisholm© Renewal 1951 Hope Publishing.
He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God.

i was just thinking today how the devotional booklet, Our Daily Bread...has been a "staple" in my life since my first year in Bible school...oh so many years was at that time i discovered the truth of taking time each day to be with the Lord, to love him and worship him and learn from Him in His Word.....often when in a hurry...Our Daily Bread is the "least" of my daily time with Him.....and when not in a is a "part" of my time...but mostly it is "always" an important part of my daily devotions! i am so thankful for faithful people who have given us this devotional for so many years....i am sure they will never know, til heaven, the great impact these devotionals have had on this world....

i must admit that i have totally fallen for the online version...which is wonderful....but sometimes i miss just sitting down with the paper copy, inside the front cover of my Bible....always there, month by month... changes the least of us, right???

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Joe Stowell

What's In The Name?
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
There are a lot of fun events associated with being a pastor. And while great food at church dinners and getting invited to cool events with people in your church are near the top of the list, there may be nothing that quite compares to sharing some great moments with people — like the birth of babies. But in the joy of it all, there is a problem.
When you arrive at the hospital, you encounter a weary, but thrilled, couple who hand you this tightly wrapped little bundle and then impose on you a serious ethical dilemma. Of course, you are supposed to say, “Oh, my goodness, what a pretty little girl,” or “What a handsome little boy!” The reality is that I’ve never seen a child fresh out that looks anything like handsome or pretty. (Come to think of it, I have seen three really beautiful babies.)
But once I get past the ethical dilemma by saying something like, “My, isn’t she precious,” the conversation ultimately morphs into an easier realm of interaction regarding the child’s name: “What’s the baby’s name?” . . . “That’s a great name. What does it mean?” The answers vary:
“Oh, it’s his grandfather’s name.”
“Her name means ‘Father’s delight’” or,
“We have no idea; we just chose it from a baby book!”
For most of us, names are relatively insignificant. They are easily changed into nicknames and serve basically to distinguish us from Bob or Ted. But if we look at God’s view of names in the same way, we may have trouble understanding what the big deal is about God’s name. Why would He include the importance of His name in His top-10 list of “Thou Shalt Nots”? How could diminishing His name rank up there with murder, stealing, and adultery?
It doesn’t take much digging through the Bible to realize that names are important to God. Think about Genesis, when God was often giving new names to the main characters—Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel. Each change signaled a statement from God about that individual’s character and his or her place in His plan. It wasn’t about God giving a nickname, it was about God assigning identity and worth to these individuals through the meaning of their name.
Most importantly, names are one of God’s key means of revealing His own identity and worth. He reveals His identity when He tells Moses that He is named “Yahweh,” which means, “I Am.” It means that He is eternally existent. He also identifies Himself as “Elohim,” the Almighty God, the God of great power. His names are who He is, not just what we call Him.
God’s names also describe His worth. You may be familiar with names like “Jehovah-Jireh,” meaning that He is the God who will provide. Or “El-Shaddai,” which means that He is completely sufficient. There are, in fact, 210 different names of God throughout Scripture, adding incredible richness and depth to our understanding of God’s identity, worth, and character.
Which is exactly why He takes it so seriously when we degrade His name by using it as though it weren’t sacred and lowering it to mere casual conversation as though it were ordinary. The exclamation, “Oh my God” should be an urgent prayer, not a verbal exclamation point. When we lower the name of God to drag it through a moment of anger or to use it to intimidate or manipulate, we have taken God Himself and lowered Him from His holy position. His name is intrinsically locked into who He is and what He is like. To put it simply, when we hit on His name, we have hit on Him. No wonder He is offended.
So, what’s in a name? If you’re talking about God, the answer is everything!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

daily bread followed by some musings

Thunderstorm Thoughts
ODB RADIO: Listen Now DOWNLOAD: DownloadREAD: Matthew 8:23-27
The God of peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:9
I laugh every time I hear the radio commercial that has a woman shouting to her friend in conversation. She’s trying to talk above the sounds of the thunderstorm in her own head. Ever since a storm damaged part of her home, that’s all she hears because her insurance company isn’t taking care of her claims.
I’ve heard thunderstorms in my head, and maybe you have too. It happens when a tragedy occurs—to us, to someone close to us, or to someone we hear about in the news. Our minds become a tempest of “what if” questions. We focus on all the possible bad outcomes. Our fear, worry, and trust in God fluctuate as we wait, we pray, we grieve, and we wonder what the Lord will do.
It’s natural for us to be fearful in a storm (literal or figurative). The disciples had Jesus right there in the boat with them, yet they were afraid (Matt. 8:23-27). He used the calming of the storm as a lesson to show them who He was—a powerful God who also cares for them.
We wish that Jesus would always calm the storms of our life as He calmed the storm for the disciples that day. But we can find moments of peace when we’re anchored to the truth that He’s in the boat with us and He cares. —Anne Cetas
Fierce drives the storm, but wind and wavesWithin His hand are held,And trusting His omnipotenceMy fears are sweetly quelled. —Brown
To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.

wow! this really touched me today...i have to admit...i have had a lot of "thunderstorms" in my head lately...sometimes they drive me to the brink of pure panic...i guess especially over the political environment as of late...i must scares me..and it scares me to is not a light is a heavy heavy feeling...i KNOW God is with me, watching over me and taking care of my best interest daily, second by second...BUT i don't always FEEL like he is.....i tend to wander down the path of "what if's" and find myself at the brink of a DARK is then that i must snap to attention and "crawl" back to my Saviour...and get that child-like trust back in place!

i believe that christians will be tested to their core in the next few years.....and i am guessing that my own panic is because i do not WANT to go down this road...i want life to be simple, uncomplicated, and lovely....i like life THAT way.....but i fear it will not be.....what i need is the child-like faith as i mentioned put my hand into God's hand and follow, trust, and believe. this is easily written, easily said but NOT easily done in most cases! think, in the devotion, above, the disciples had Jesus right there in the boat WITH them...they could touch and feel him...let alone SEE him with their eyes!...they could SPEAK to Him, FACE to FACE! and yet they were scared to death! i have always said as somewhat of a "joke", if you will, that if "only" i could touch Jesus...if only i could SEE Jesus...and these disciples were...with all the "if onlys" and they were still scared! we would like to say to them....YOU IDIOTS! what more could you ask for???...we , in the modern century wish we could have HIM here with us to touch, to speak to, let alone SEE Him....and you had him in the midst of the storm...right there IN THE BOAT ...and YET you panicked!.......

well people.....we are IDIOTS too.......for we have every bit of power, protection, and strength from Jesus as those disciples did, YET we do not trust....and therefore we do not obey... ONE DAY...we shall SEE HIM...FACE to FACE.......oh glorious day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Daily Bread devotional...good!

The Bus Driver
ODB RADIO: Listen Now DOWNLOAD: DownloadREAD: 1 John 4:7-12
Be imitators of God . . . and walk in love. —Ephesians 5:1-2
In the middle of carting 70 pieces of luggage, an electronic piano, and other equipment through airports and on and off a tour bus, it’s easy to wonder, “Why are we doing this?”
Taking 28 teenagers on an 11-day ministry trip to a land across the ocean is not easy. But at the end of the trip our bus driver, who had carted us all over England and Scotland, grabbed the bus microphone and in tears thanked the kids for how wonderful they had been. Then after we got home, he e-mailed us to say how much he appreciated the thank you cards the kids had written to him—many of which contained the gospel.
Although the students ministered to hundreds through song during the trip, perhaps it was the bus driver who most benefited from their Christlikeness. In Ephesians we are told to be imitators of God and to walk in love (Eph. 5:1-2). Others see God in us when we show love to one another (1 John 4:12). The bus driver saw Jesus in the students and told them that they might just convert him to faith in Christ. Maybe it was for this man that we took that trip.
Why do you do what you do? Whose life are you affecting? Sometimes it’s not our target audience that we impact most. Sometimes it’s the bus drivers of the world. —Dave Branon
Lord, may I be a shining lightFor all the world to seeYour goodness and Your love displayedAs You reach out through me. —Sper

Witnessing is not just something a Christian says, but what he is.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the 2009 Easter Egg Hunt!

we had our "annual" egg hunt again this year on the 11th in Heidi's neighborhood. last year we had it in the area around the lake and gazebo, which was beautiful...but it was taken this we ventured to the clubhouse/pool area and claimed our hunting grounds, which actually turned out to be a better place to "hide" the eggs!
the weather was cold and threatening rain...but our spirits were HIGH and we forged on!
the favorite eggs were those with MONEY in them...hmmmm.......a little "young" for money hunger, don't you think??? ha!.......of course, along the way were their silly antics and cute!
we had planned to have a picnic meal, with red checked cloths and ALL...but the weather changed that plan...we ate our picnic lunches in the warmth of Heidi's kitchen......and so goes the plans for the "first" picnic of the year!...

John 3:16

John 3:16

A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many papers. He walked up to a policeman and said, 'Mister, you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you ? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.' The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16, and they will let you in.' So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said, 'John 3:16.' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.' She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off. The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself: John 3:16...I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm. Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry ? ' He said, 'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,' The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat any more. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry boy full. She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 .. I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...I don't understand it but it sure makes a tired boy rested. The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible. She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face. 'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied, 'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it,' She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus.. He sat there and thought: John 3:16 -- don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe. You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either, how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.
John 3:16
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

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my Dad is going to Washington!

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this is a smilebox card i am sending to my Dad, who is going to go on a bus with fellow veterans to Washington DC, this Saturday! he is so excited! we are truly grateful the Lord has been gracious to allow this opportunity to happen, because of his fragile health condition! please pray for him! we are so proud of him for serving our country!.....most of these men are "up" in years...thus they will be accompanied by nurses, doctors and wheelchairs! i can't wait to see the pictures!

How to Dance in the Rain

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.' I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought,'That is the kind of love I want in my life.'True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

another good one from Joe Stowell!

Let's Hear it for the Rules
“So then, the law is holy… righteous and good.” Romans 7:12
Most of us don’t really like rules. I don’t know why, but deep down inside we have an aversion to people telling us what to do and what not to do. Wanting to dump the rules and “go it on our own” implies that we think we know what is best and that left to ourselves we can manage life in good and productive ways. But you and I both know by experience that this is not always the case.
I wonder if God ever feels like I used to feel as a father. We lived in a neighborhood where the best place to play ball was in the street. One evening, my 5-year-old came to me with his glove and bat slung over his shoulder and said, “Hey, Dad, I’m going to play ball!”
“Where?” I asked, to which he replied, “In the street with my friends.”
Nothing made me happier than seeing my kids have a good time. But the thought of little Joe playing in the street concerned me. So I got down on his eye level and told him that I loved him too much to let him play in the street. “Quite frankly,” I said, “I don’t like to think of your little body getting integrated into the grill of a Mack truck! If you want to have fun playing ball, then get your friends and we’ll pile into the car and go to the park where playing ball is supposed to happen. But you can’t play ball in the street.”
God knows how dangerous Satan’s traffic is. And He is far more interested in our safety than He is in our unbridled pleasure. So, because He loves us, He has given us rules to keep us free from the damage of playing in Satan’s street.
To keep us from the self-destruction of bitterness, He has a rule about forgiving and loving our enemies. To keep us safe from the treachery of dishonesty and deceit, He has told us not to lie and to live instead for what is true. In fact, when you think of it, all of His rules are really for our good. Just take a look at the Ten Commandments. Life works better when we don’t lie to each other, steal from each other, or take each other’s life. We are all better off when we don’t covet each other’s property, sleep with each other’s wives, or gossip and bear false witness against our neighbor. How ridiculous is it that we are trying to put the Ten Commandments in the dumpster in our society? Who’d want to live in the chaos of a world where things like lying, stealing, cheating, sleeping around, greed, and bitterness are the norm? Did I hear you say that we are almost there?
Well, I’m not among those who believe that left to ourselves we can figure out how to do life. God knows we need help and thankfully in His love He blessed us with a few really important rules.
As the psalmist says: Blessed is the person who doesn’t scoff at God’s law! When you delight in the law of the Lord and become “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither,” whatever you do will prosper (Psalm 1:1-3).
Let’s hear it for the rules!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

i give you the current weather report for Canton, Georgia

40.6 °F
33 °F
Dew Point:
25 °F
11.5 mphfrom the WNW

Wind Gust:
11.5 mph
29.95 in (Rising)
10.0 miles
1.6 out of 16
Scattered Clouds 3500 ft
Scattered Clouds 4200 ft
Overcast 6000 ft
(Above Ground Level
dear sun, clouds, rain maker, and all other weather related items.....
i think you quite possibly have your calendar mixed up, please check on this for me, thank you....

Monday, April 6, 2009

a very time-appropriate devotion from Daily Bread

Nothing Left But God
ODB RADIO: Listen Now DOWNLOAD: DownloadREAD: 2 Chronicles 20:3-17
Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. —2 Chronicles 20:15
A wise Bible teacher once said, “Sooner or later God will bring self-sufficient people to the place where they have no resource but Him—no strength, no answers, nothing but Him. Without God’s help, they’re sunk.”
He then told of a despairing man who confessed to his pastor, “My life is really in bad shape.” “How bad?” the pastor inquired. Burying his head in his hands, he moaned, “I’ll tell you how bad—all I’ve got left is God.” The pastor’s face lit up. “I’m happy to assure you that a person with nothing left but God has more than enough for great victory!”
In today’s Bible reading, the people of Judah were also in trouble. They admitted their lack of power and wisdom to conquer their foes. All they had left was God! But King Jehoshaphat and the people saw this as reason for hope, not despair. “Our eyes are upon You,” they declared to God (2 Chron. 20:12). And their hope was not disappointed as He fulfilled His promise: “The battle is not yours, but God’s” (v.15).
Are you in a position where all self-sufficiency is gone? As you turn your eyes on the Lord and put your hope in Him, you have God’s reassuring promise that you need nothing more. —Joanie Yoder
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Look full in His wonderful face;And the things of earth will grow strangely dimIn the light of His glory and grace. —Lemmel

When all you have is God, you have all you need.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buster, my grand-dog

meet Buster! he is my grand-dog from the Pete Hixson family! he is spending Spring break with me, while his family spends it on the beach!!!......
this picture was taken a few minutes ago....AFTER he has thoroughly investigated the entire house, and doing laps (about a milliion).....around the house and up and down the stairs....he is finally TIRED!!! he is, at my feet while i am at the computer!....i think he is out for the night! whew!!!
i had to "Buster proof" the whole word, like having a toddler in the house again!!!....i am sure there will be more to come....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Joe Stowell on April Fool's day!

Don't Be an April Fool
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” Psalm 14:1

I’ve had a lot of AF jokes pulled on me, and I must admit that I’ve pulled off a few pretty good ones myself. But one thing I’ve noticed. No one likes being called a fool, much less being made to look like a fool. We like to think of ourselves as savvy, wise, and sharp—not easily tricked or duped. But when we measure ourselves by God’s standards, we might be surprised at how much we deserve the title.

Did you know, for example, that the Bible says we are fools if we . . .

spread slander (Proverbs 10:18);
think we’re right in our own eyes rather than listening to wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15);
reject our father’s discipline (Proverbs 15:5);
delight only in revealing our own mind rather than in understanding (Proverbs 18:2);
are perverse in speech instead of walking in integrity (Proverbs 19:1);
quarrel instead of keeping away from strife (Proverbs 20:3);
always lose our temper (Proverbs 29:11)?
Of course, the ultimate definition of a fool is found in today’s verse. The ultimate fool is one who lives as though “there is no God.” Notice that the verse does not say that a fool says with his mouth “there is no God.” It’s a matter of the heart attitude. In fact it would be quite possible to say with your lips that there is a God but then to have your heart think and act as though God does not factor into your dreams and choices at all. When our heart says that there is a God, we readily obey Him and surrender to His will and ways in our lives. Though it’s not always easy, a God-honoring heart is willing to begin the process of forgiving those who have deeply hurt us; to think of others as more important than ourselves; to choose generosity over greed; and to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.

One of the most penetrating “fool” passages in Scripture is recorded in Luke 12. Jesus told the parable of a rich businessman who had more wealth than he knew what to do with. After signing the papers for corporate expansion (bigger barns), he congratulates himself and decides to throw himself a party. Everyone in his town would have said he was a smashing success. But God had a different take on him: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (v.20). Jesus concluded with the point: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21 ESV). It is indeed foolish to be satisfied with our own wealth and to have given no thought to becoming rich toward God by preparing for eternity, or as Jesus said to become rich toward God by giving our money away to the poor and to those in need (v.33).

When we recognize the rightful place of God in our hearts, our lives are wonderfully transformed to enjoy the rewarding results of wisdom—life from God’s point of view—rather than the embarrassing outcomes of a godless, foolish heart.

I hope you get to pull off a good April Fools’ joke today. In fact, you may even have a good-natured laugh at having one pulled on you. But, while all that is going on, don’t forget to honor God’s will and ways in your heart. Life is too short and too serious to live it as a fool!

by the way....i DO wish you a hearty APRIL FOOL'S Day today...hoping you are fooled royally at least once! a GOOD way, that is.....