The Pigs and the Scale

by Brent Beasley
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Here’s a little something I wrote this morning in honor of STAAR testing:staar-test
 The farmer wants his pigs to be fat. Of course he does. The fatter the better.
He became concerned when he realized that, even though he fed them all the same, some pigs were fatter than others. The problem, he concluded, was that he wasn’t weighing the pigs enough. So he began to weigh the pigs …a few times a year. Still, while some of the pigs were getting plenty fat, many of them were still skinny or, at least, not fat enough.
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The farmer decided that the best thing to do to solve the problem would be to weigh them again and again throughout the year. So, the farmer invested a lot of his resources in weighing. He developed new types of scales. He began keeping complicated records of the pigs’ weights. He devisedstock-footage-pig-farmer-turning-to-greet-aloof-women a system where he could compare the weights of the pigs not just individually but between each different pen and also based on what color each pig was. All the while, the pigs weren’t getting any fatter. The only thing that seemed to be getting fatter was the wallet of the scale-maker.
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So, the farmer added more weigh-ins. And in the days and weeks leading up to each weigh-in, he held practice weigh-ins for the pigs. One day, the pigs were looking longingly at the food piled up around their pens. “No time to waste sitting around eating,” the farmer said. “I need you to practice weighing. Here are some tips on how to make yourself seem heavier.” The only weigh-in strategy that seemed to help at all was eating a good breakfast.
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But even on the days that one particular group of pigs wasn’t weighing-in or practicing weighing-in, the farmer didn’t like them to eat.3503087839_25f85cfa33_o Pigs are noisy eaters, you know. They might disturb the others who are weighing-in or practicing weighing-in. Besides, there was no one to feed them, anyway. All the workers on the farm were overseeing the weighing of the pigs or the practicing of the weighing of the pigs in some of the other pens, so the pigs that weren’t being weighed or practicing being weighed were herded over to one particular area and told to sit still, be quiet, and wait.
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After the last weigh-in of the year, everybody relaxed. But the pigs wondered, “Why bother to eat now, if we aren’t going to even be weighed anymore?” The farmer told them that the weighing was only to help them get fatter. But the pigs didn’t believe him. They knew that the scale was much more important than the food. They knew that it’s the weighing that makes a pig fatter. They had been taught that well.
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Brent Beasley is Senior Pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He can be reached on facebook by clicking here.
We’d like to thank him for permitting us to post his parable on our blog.
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Jackie Robinson, “42”, and Texas

by Melvin Edwards
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Jackie Robinson had two Texas connections. First, he was court martialed while serving in Fort Hood in Killeen. (He wasjackie-R acquitted, though admittedly “guilty” of refusing to give up his seat on the military bus. He was “Rosa Parks” 10 years before she was.) A couple of years later, he served as the basketball coach at Sam Huston College — now part of Huston-Tillotson University — in Austin.
 
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The first of those Texas connections was barely mentioned in the current movie “42” and the second one wasn’t relevant. Though subtitle of the movie is “The Story of Jackie Robinson,” the entire story of this amazing American would take a series of movies to cover. This one covers just more than Robinson’s rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
 
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I had the privilege of seeing “42” about two weeks before it was released to the general public. The producers had the good sense to invite a number of local youth baseball leagues to screen the movie, so most of the theater was filled with teenage baseball players of all races. This, alone, made the movie a worthwhile project.
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In the film, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey is seeking to add the first black player to a Major League roster and knows it has to be the right player. He wants someone with a college background, a sparkling past, and a Christian belief system. As Harrison Ford’s Rickey character says in the movie: “I’m a Methodist, Robinson is a Methodist, and God is a Methodist.” Theology aside, Rickey’s Christianity heavily influenced his decisions and it was nice to see that portrayed in the movie. feature_jackie
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After Robinson comes in to meet Rickey and to find out the parameters of his responses to the racism he’s sure to face, Robinson assures his new boss that he can handle the task. In one harrowing scene in the movie, the audience is left wondering how he was able to do that.
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Robinson’s wife is played with a quiet grace and strength by Nicole Beharie, but Chadwick Boseman in the lead role steals the show as a man whose restraint won over his enemies and encouraged his few friends to demonstrate their support in public. The famous occasion of teammate’s Pee Wee Reese’s embrace of Robinson on the field is a standout scene in the movie.
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Overall, I’d give this movie high marks for its accuracy and storytelling. I would slightly downgrade the final grade because I thought the antagonists were such buffoons that they could not be seen as dangerous as they really were. Here, they come across as people to be laughed at and dismissed. The world Robinson inhabited meant those racists could carry out any of the hundreds of threats they mailed to him during that season. Luckily for history, that was not case.
 
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You do not have to be a baseball fan to enjoy or understand this movie. It is a simple one of an American hero paving the way and paying the price.
 
 
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Melvin Edwards is a native son of Texas who is the proud father of three daughters and one son. He is a former staff member for our current governor, Rick Perry. He also served as as a speechwriter and legislative liason for our current Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who is currently running for Lt. Governor. Unfortunately, Melvin decided to take a job in the greater Washington DC area and has been regretting that decision ever since. He is a homesick Texan in every sense!
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William Barrett Travis and his Critics

by Julia Robb

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Texas has a problem.

The wimps of this world hate courage.

And because so many intellectuals are wimps, they pour contempt on Texas, on Texas heroes and our history.

Small people tear down big ones, especially when the bigger souls are dead and can’t fight back.

Faced with the Mexican army, those same wimps would run.

I’m going to tell you about our Texas heroes in coming weeks, but this blog is about William Barrett Travis, commander of the Alamo when it fell on March 6, 1836.

Travis was born in South Carolina in 1809 and his family moved to Alabama in 1818. He studied law in an attorney’s office and eventually opened an office of his own in Claiborne, Alabama.travis_wiley_sm

In 1828, Travis married Rosanna Cato. The couple’s son Charles was born in 1829.

Critics accuse Travis of abandoning his family in 1831 and leaving Alabama for Texas because he owed money. These crimes supposedly lessen Travis’s status as a hero.

That’s ridiculous. Men and women leave each other all the time, children or no children. Why should anyone attack Travis’s character because he and his wife separated?

Travis believed another man fathered his unborn daughter, and some still believe Travis killed Rosanna’s alleged lover.

No one, however, has ever been able to prove Travis killed the alleged lover.

True, Travis was several hundred dollars in debt when he left Alabama, but he paid back every cent once his law practice was established in Anahuac, Texas, according to William C. Davis, author of Three Roads to the Alamo.

Anahuac is on the eastern end of Galveston Bay.

Travis later moved to San Felipe de Austin; now just Austin.

Three Roads is carefully footnoted and is the best account of Travis, James Bowie and David Crockett I have ever read.

After resisting the Mexican government with a group of men who called themselves the “war party,” Travis joined the Texas Army.

He was eventually ordered to hold the Alamo.

Some critics believe the men in the Alamo disliked Travis because the volunteers elected Bowie as their commander while the Texas Army regulars followed Travis.

“In reality, Travis was outgoing, gregarious and respected by his peers,” and volunteers just didn’t want to take orders from a regular Army officer, according to Alamo historians, writing at http://www.thealamo.org.alamo-big

It’s widely believed Sam Houston wanted the Alamo destroyed and the defenders got their just deserts because they wouldn’t listen.

No. Houston did question whether it would be better for the Army to retreat, but Gov. Henry Smith did not agree and ordered the Army to hold the Alamo.

Travis was an army officer. He followed orders.

Did David Crockett (he preferred to be called David, not Davy) surrender at the Alamo.

Nobody knows.

According to a letter Houston wrote shortly after the fortress fell, seven men tried to surrender after the Mexicans overran the mission and Santa Anna had them executed.

That was based on information somebody gave Houston at the time.

A Mexican Army officer wrote (or didn’t, it depends on who you believe) that one man surrendered.

I have a soft spot for Travis. He was a good man.

I have read Travis’s diary and was charmed by him. He was trying to build a new life in Texas, he was in love, he wanted the best for himself and his country.

Travis had custody of his son and was planning to become a full-time father as soon as the war was over.

Travis wanted the best for Texas.

And he died at his post.

Francisco Antonio Ruiz, San Antonio’s alcalde, reported what he saw in San Antonio in March, 1836. His account was originally published in the Texas Almanac in 1860.

“On the 23rd of February, 1836, at 2 p.m., General Santa Anna entered the city of San Antonio with a part of his army. This he effected without any resistances, the forces under the command of Travis, Bowie and Crockett having on the same day, at 8 a.m. learned that the Mexican army was on the banks of the Medina river, and concentrated in the Alamo.

“In the evening they commenced to exchange fire with guns, and from the 23rd of February to the 6th of March (in which the storming was made by Santa Anna), the roar of artillery and volleys of musketry were constantly heard.

“On the 6th of March at 3 p.m. General Santa Anna at the head of 4000 men, advanced against the Alamo. The infantry, artillery and cavalry had formed about 1000 varas from the walls of said fortress.

“The Mexican army charged and were twice repulsed by the deadly fire of Travis’ artillery, which resembled a constant thunder. At the third charge the Toluca battalion commenced to scale the walls and suffered severely. Out of 800 men, only 130 were left alive.

“When the Mexican army had succeeded in entering the walls, I with Political Chief (Jefe Politico) Don Ramon Musquiz, and other members of the corporation, accompanied the curate Don Refugio de la Garza, who, by Santa Anna’s orders had assembled during the night, at a temporary fortification erected in Potrero street, with the object of attending the wounded.

“As soon as the storming commenced, we crossed the bridge on Commerce street with this object in view, and about 100 yards from the same a party of Mexican dragoons fired upon us and compelled us to fall back on the river to the place occupied before.

“Half an hour had elapsed when Santa Anna sent one of his aides with an order for us to come before him. He directed me to call upon some of the neighbors to come with carts to carry the dead to the cemetery, and also to accompany him, as he was desirous to have Colonels Travis, Bowie and Crockett shown to him.

“On the north battery of the fortress lay the lifeless body of Colonel Travis on the gun carriage shot only in the forehead. Toward the west in a small fort opposite the city we found the body of Colonel Crockett. Colonel Bowie was found dead in his bed in one of the rooms of the south side.”

This I know.

Humans are their best selves when they live for something other than themselves–for others, or a state, or an ideal.

And it’s when we’re willing to die that we shine.

 

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Julia Robb is the author of Scalp Mountain and Saint of the Burning Heart, ebooks for sale at amazon.com. She can be reached at juliarobb.com, juliarobbmar@aol.com, venturegalleries.com, goodreads, pinterest, facebook, twitter, facebook and amazon author pages and probably places she’s never heard of.

Click here to see Julia’s books

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Mark Stuart, master craftsman. www.MarkStuart.us. Click here.

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Look at Texas for a second with me, will you?

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

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Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas with me just for a second.

That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it, they know what it is. It’s Texas.

Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt, and he’ll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup. There is a little bit of Texas in everyone.

Texas is the Alamo. Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom. We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Davy Crockett, and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes. John Wayne paid to do the movie The Alamo himself. That is the Spirit of Texas. Texas is Sam Houston capturing Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana at San Jacinto. Texas has huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National Forests. Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend . Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country. Texas is floating the rivers of the Hill Country on a hot summer day. Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas . Texas is beaches you can drive on and have many memorable bonfires with close friends. Texas is that warm feeling you get when someone asks where you’re from. Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas. Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork . Texas is Mexican foods like nowhere else, not even Mexico . Texas is chicken fried steak and world famous Bar-B-Q. Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Mort Myerson in Dallas, The Ballpark in Arlington, the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the American Airlines Center in Dallas, and the Astrodome (the Reliant Stadium now) in Houston. Texas is larger-than-life legends like Michael DeBakey, Ann Richards, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Gene Autry, Audie Murphy, Tommy Lee Jones, Waylon Jennings, Farrah Fawcett, Janis Joplin, Sandra Bullock, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Eva Longoria Parker, Darrell Royal, ZZ Top, Roger Staubach Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, Howard Hughes, George H. W. Bush, Lyndon B.Johnson, George W . Bush, and let’s not forget GEORGE STRAIT, the Big Bopper, Tex Ritter, George Jones, Clay Walker, Mark Chestnut, and Tracy Byrd to name ONLY a few. Texas has great companies like Valero, Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, EDS and Compaq, Whataburger, Southwest Airlines, Bell Helicopter, and LOCKHEED MARTIN AEROSPACE, Home of the F-16Jet Fighter and the SF Fighter.

And Texas is NASA.

Texas is huge herds of cattle, beautiful horses and miles of crops. Texas is home to the world famous King Ranch. Texas is home to the most amazing sunsets of gold over an empty field. Texas is skies blackened with doves and fields full of deer. Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local high school football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football at the new Cowboy Stadium, and for the Night In Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio. To drive across Texas is to drive 1/3 the way across the United States. Texas has ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities. If it isn’t already in Texas, we probably don’t need it. No one does anything bigger or better than it’s done in Texas. By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. Flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland , California , or Maine , and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Klein Oak High or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height – 20 feet. You know why? Because its the only state that was a Republic before it became a state. Also, being a Texan is as high as being an American down here. Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington, DC.  And we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to! We can become a republic again at any time the voters of Texas choose, and we included these things as part of the deal when we came on. That’s the best part, right there. Texas even has its own power grid!! And don’t even lie to yourself. Did I mention the LIVE music capitol of the world?

If you are a REAL TEXAN, you won’t even need to be told to pass this on..!

GOD BLESS TEXAS

 

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George W. Bush Presidential Library Dedication

by I Am A Texan Staff

 

The George W. Bush Presidential Library will be dedicated on April 25th, expected to be in attendance are all 5 living US presidents, the first time the most exclusive club have met since January of 2009.

Asked about his legacy in an interview with USA Today, President Bush said that he doesn’t really think about it. “There’s no need to defend myself, I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

 

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Last time all 5 Presidents have met (January 2009)

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Display in Library, a poster from a child made after September 11, 2001

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Central Display in Library

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George and Laura share an embrace at the groundbreaking

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George waves during the last three months of his presidency

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A guard stands watch outside the museum

 

Photos from Associated Press

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Yankee Chili Tester

 Author Unknown
Notes from an inexperienced Chili tester named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast: “Recently I was honored to be selected a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon, wht the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides, they told I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted.”
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Here are the scorecards from the event:
CHILI #1: Mike’s Maniac Mobster Chili
Judge One: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge Two: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Frank: Holy cow, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These Texans are crazy.
CHILI #2: Arthur’s Afterburner Chili
Judge One: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.
Judge Two: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Frank: Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.
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CHILI #3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
Judge One: Excellent firehouse chili. Great Kick.
Judge Two: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.
Frank: Call the EPA, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting drain cleaner. Everyone knows the routine by now – get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting stupid from all the beer.
CHILI #4: Bubba’s Black Magic
Judge One: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge Two: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Frank: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it, is it possible to burnout taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills; coyote-ugly gal is starting to look HOT just like this nuclear waste I’m eating. Is chili an aphrodisiac?
CHILI #5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover
Judge One: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge Two: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Frank: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off? It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. To heck with those rednecks!
CHILI #6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety
Judge One: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
Judge Two: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Frank: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous sulfuric flames. I messed in my pants when I farted and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone!
CHILI #7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili
Judge One: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge Two: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
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Frank: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a damn thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava-like turds to match my damn shirt. At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful. Screw it, I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.
CHILI #8: Lester’s Last of the Red-Hot Lover’s Chili
Judge One: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare it’s existence.
Judge Two: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild or hot.
Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it.
Poor Yank, wonder how he’d have reacted to a really hot chili?
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A Message from Big Al
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Dear Mom On the iPhone

Author Unknown

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I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

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Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

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Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

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