Monday, December 31, 2012

Hunkering down over our laptops

Doris and I have spent the day each banging away on our laptops, and tomorrow will be more of the same, as we enjoy this New Year's holiday.

She's working on her PensofTwins website. I'm working on learning how to properly use Open Office (OO) styles so I don't keep trashing my novel as I'm writing it.

Such a sob story. OO trashed my book. Well, let me rephrase that. I did some boneheaded something or other that wound up clobbering the formatting in my new novel, Falcon Down. It was a product of my own ignorance (the boo-boo, not the book). Major league pain-in-the-neck.

So I've spent the day reading the manual for OO, determined to work with the product rather than fighting against it, and I'm setting up styles to format the book properly as I write. This is going to wind up being a valuable use of time, and a good experience, but I am champing at the bit to do more WRITING, not clutzing around with my word-processor. I hope to get back to actually writing more on the story some time tomorrow.

Doris has spent the day working on her website, learning arcane trivia about beginner's level HTML, style-sheets and what-not. She would rather be DRAWING and doing art and photo work. But it's a good experience for her, too, and she is slowly building her website. I love their logo, by the way. Diane designed it. Take a look.

Anyway, I suppose we make quite a pair. Believe me, the nuts don't fall far from the tree, either. When we had the kids here for Christmas it looked like a Dell sales event, with laptops everywhere. What a bunch of geeks.

 But it's been a good day, today, and what we've been working on had to get done, and the holiday has given us a break from the church ministry.

The fruit of Doris' labor can be seen at, and her cards and my book Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix can be purchased from

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh yeah!

My shoulders are sore. My jeans are wet down around the shoes. Kind of cold. But there's a big smile on my face: I've just come in from shoveling SNOW!!! Oh, yeah!

Let me tell you about a picture-perfect day. Actually let's start with last night. We had our entire crew with us for the holidays. What a blessing, what a joy! There've been ten of us at 321 S. Chippewa since last week. Actually, make that 110. Luke and Rory count for about fifty people each; something about the effect Christmas has on little kids.

Anyway, Doris and I've been sleeping on the floor in the basement. She's had the futon, and I've been putting our exercise mats (of P90X fame, a nightmare of the distant past) to good use. No, not exercising! Sleeping!

We had a wonderful Christmas day together yesterday. But  between 10 PM last night and 3 AM this morning, our census went from 110 to 2 (Luke and Rory took their energy and excitement with 'em). Because of the weather, everyone bugged out a bit early. Around 10PM last night, Dani and Erik (kids in tow) took Josh and Abbie to Columbus, trying to beat the storm. The California Cobbs had to catch a flight out of Columbus today. They managed to get the flight time moved up from 4 PM to 7 AM (it was fortunate, too, because their 7 AM aircraft was the last to leave from that gate this morning before they started canceling flights). In any case, they reached their destination (Omaha) safely.

David drove Lauri back to Cincinnatti at 3 AM (she had to open the Starbucks store this morning).

Everyone got out of Dodge while the gittin' was good. So I arose at 6 this morning and had the sun room to myself. Enjoyed a cup of coffee and the last several chapters of Acts while watching the snow.

When my bride got up (much later!) she fixed a great breakfast. Just happen to have a picture of it.

It was a beautiful, relaxing day after an extremely busy Christmas season.

But snow means that someone's got to deal with it, and that someone would not be football momma. My pleasure becomes my problem, so when the white stuff stopped falling out of the sky, I went out to the shed to have a chat with my snowblower.

Unfortunately, my snowblower shared my wife's opinion: if I like snow so much, I can jolly well grab a shovel. It was fixated on not moving out of its warm, dry shed (well, dry anyway), my protestations to the contrary not withstanding.

The cantakerous contraption makes its opinion known through the simple [manifestly rebellious] act of not starting. That's one reason why my shoulders hurt tonight. The other reason would be the ridge of snow that the city plow left in front of my driveway. Someone must have told him that I love snow. That ridge would have done the Sierra Nevada proud. In any case, that stupid snowblower was not about to start up. Dumb machine.

Fortunately, I possess what I call "the nuclear option." No small engine has yet been able to resist this bit of persuasion.

Yep. That's football momma's blow dryer. Please don't tell her it was on the floor. I really don't want to sleep in the basement again on those stupid exercise mats.

Anyway the snowblower started and did its thing, and I shoveled the Sierra Nevada into my yard. And I am sore.

But I still love snow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Mayan Cataclysmic Change to the Earth Day!

The prophecy must have been true! A cataclysmic event has happened! Only, they are about 2016 years off. Hey, close counts, right?

The cataclysmic event that changes everything occurred when Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of sinners, came into the world, lived a perfect life, and absorbed the righteous and just wrath of God for all who would place their faith in Him! And that does change everything!

Friday, December 14, 2012

You never know

Our hearts go out to broken-hearted families in Newtown, Connecticut. There are literally dozens of families who have lost loved ones, close relatives, and dear friends from this terrible tragedy. There are moms and dads, from whom have been robbed dear children.

The loss is staggering, and the aftermath will go on for a long, long time. Many will carry scars from this horrific event until the day they die. Some will not be able to cope.

The question "why?" will soon be explored in the national media. "Root causes" will be sought out. Undoubtedly a combination of reasons will found to explain why Adam Lanza, the alleged shooter, turned the elementary school into a shooting gallery. Maybe he was the victim of bullying. Perhaps he had a psychological disturbance. Some will blame the whole affair on the guns.

I'm quite sure there will be one root cause, the real root cause, that will not be explored in the media. Like the rest of us, Adam Lanza is a sinner. Like ours, his heart is deeply corrupted. Some people fight the evil within them. Some give in to it. Some feed and encourage it. But that deep-rooted, twisted hostility against God and His creatures exists in every human being.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; 
there is no one who does good, not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)

Every human will express his or her own corruption in different ways, but no person is exempt from it. Some will turn their destructiveness on themselves, some upon others, some both. There is an adversary who encourages the destruction. His name is Satan, and of him Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

Two thousand years ago, we turned our destructive rage upon Jesus, screaming, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" And so we did. Not knowing that the Father had planned to redeem the world through the death of His Son, we poured out our hostility against God on His Son, and played right into God's plan of eternal redemption. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

The perfect Man died on the cross in the place of the sinners who nailed Him there, and on the cross He destroyed the bondage of sin, and through the resurrection He destroyed the power of death.There is but one solution to sin, one cure that can defang it, declaw it, and make it a toothless thing, powerless to destroy anymore, and that is faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for my sins, in my place. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Ephesians 2:8)

Christmas is the point in the calendar when the church celebrates the incarnation of Christ, when He took upon Himself the form of man and was born as a helpless babe in a stable in Bethlehem. That birth provides as much hope today as it did then. Christ appeared to conquer death and sin. Jesus is the comfort for those who have lost little ones. He is the one Who gives the hope of eternal life. The solution for sin is imprinted into the nail scars in His hands and feet, and the scars left by the crown of thorns. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . . (Isaiah 49:16)

For the religious these are comforting but empty sentimentalities. For true Christians, these are life-changing truths, these are the words of eternal life. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

I am quite confident that the media will not discover the root cause. They'll probably want to throw more government at it. But I hope that the grieving moms and dads will somehow hear the message through their tears, and find comfort and peace in knowing that the Father lost His Son too, to a murderous crowd. He knows their grief and carries their sorrows. And I hope they will learn that He has, through that horrific death two thousand years ago, secured for them the sure and certain hope of eternal life, through faith in Christ. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. . . (Isaiah 53:4)

You never know when sin will emerge and display its raging destruction through an event like the school shooting in Connecticut. So kiss your kids on the way out the door tomorrow morning, but know that they are in the hands of God. Don't live in fear, live in the faith of the One who loved you and gave Himself for you.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Me? Small business? You're kidding!

I just awoke to a new reality. I have a small business. Me. ME! I haven't got enough business sense to balance my checkbook, but I am a small business man. Well, a tall small business man.

And that means that when the two candidates were talking about small business, they were talking about people like me. I still can't quite get my arms around that fact. 

What on earth are you talking about, Cobb?

I'm talking about the fact that I've got Doorway Press, which published my book, Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix. If that sounds like a rather cosy relationship, it is. My publisher does anything I ask him to do, which is really convenient. But then, on the other hand, I have to answer to my publisher's wife. Wonder how many other authors have to do that?

I've got an Ohio vendor license. I have to file a Schedule C. I've got a business checking account. I've got a handful of web sites. I've even learned what it means to run in the red (I've given away far more copies of OCP than I've sold; let's just put it this way: it hasn't made the New York Times bestseller list, even though its author's wife, and its publisher's wife (odd how that works), thinks it should).

Anyway, I hate business. I can't be a small business man! Wait, let me explain that. I love business and want businesses to be overwhelmingly successful and profitable. I just don't want to be involved with it. I don't mind if you're in bidness. I just don't want to be in bidness myself. But, I am. Oh, brother. Oh, bother.

My business moves along at glacial speed because my real job and ministry is being a pastor. Bidness is just something I do on Mondays, and sometimes late at night. I don't like bidness; I'd rather write. Haven't spun three words together today. Been workin' on Christmas decorations and bidness. Okay, that's not entirely true:  I did write this post. About bidness. Oh, bother!

And my bidness just took the next step. We're now selling on the web: my book, and Doris and Diane's notecards. Check 'em out here. Doris and Diane's website is called At the moment, the only thing there is their logo. But as soon as they get down to bidness, you'll be able to see their drawings.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

First measurable snowfall

I'd like to be the first person in Greenville to report that a snow event has occurred yielding the season's first measurable snowfall. This is important, you see, because . . . , well, because . . . , um, . . . , listen, I shouldn't really have to explain this to you. Everybody knows it's important, right?

I have photographic evidence just in case you missed it. Here, look:

If you look really closely, you can see it.

Actually, I have a better picture of it. Check this out:


In an effort to measure the depth, I got a little closer. If you look carefully, I think you can tell that it would probably come up to an ant's butt, though the ground is not yet fully covered.

But just wait. It will be.

In other news, I've done a re-design to my author website. The pictures that come up on the header, as well as the picture on the "about C H Cobb" page, are from Doris' and my trip to Colorado in 2010. I've also added a "Buy" button, enabling a visitor to purchase a copy of Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix right on my website.

The overhaul of the web site will continue, and I'll be adding additional pictures from our trip to Colorado over time.

I've been making great headway on my Psalm 90 devotional commentary, A Prayer of Moses the man of God, as well as Falcon Down. Both books should be coming out on a late-winter/early-spring time frame.

I've finally convinced Doris to begin marketing her sketches in the form of notecards. Stay tuned: she has a web site (it's under development right now) on which her artwork, and that of her sister, will be displayed. As soon as it's ready, we'll let you know how to find it.

The script for the Caraway Christmas Children's Church production has been re-written, based on an original script by Ron Solomon. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's about three bad guys who try to steal Christmas from Caraway Street. There's a great message to it, packed in with a lot of humor and featuring the Caraway puppets. Anyone want to guess who the three bad guys are? You won't want to miss this, it will be performed in the December 23rd worship service at Bible Fellowship.

Maybe we'll even have snow!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Now what?

I set up my TV trays in front of the television, one for my laptop, the other for necessaries (snacks!). I had my Crunch-Munch. I developed a really cool Excel spreadsheet that would enable me to model possibilities as the vote tallies came in—it even turned the states red or blue to reflect who was winning!

A presidential election is supposed to be all about competing ideas, competing visions for the country. Watching it happen can be a little like watching an Apollo mission: seeing the mighty Saturn V go from the ignition sequence, through the full-power throttle-up, then slowly clearing the gantry, accelerating to where it finally disappears as a smoke-trail in the blue, full of hope and possibility. Or it can be like watching a horrific auto accident in slow motion, as though it was a bad dream.

If you give me the choice between watching an election, or watching the Super Bowl in which the Bronco’s are playing, I’ll pick the political game every time. I love listening to the analysts and watching intelligent people debate opposing positions. I like to watch the numbers come in. It’s like watching 50 competitions go on simultaneously.

So I raced to get my chores done, ran out and voted, then plopped down to watch Fox until the wee hours of the morning.

Only it wasn’t necessary. If I hadn’t been in shock I could have turned my TV off by 10PM, because it was clearly over by then. As it was, I think I was in bed by midnight.

A bad dream. I just watched a nation drive willingly, intentionally, over the cliff and now for the rest of my life I will observe, and be a part of, it’s agonizingly slow free-fall. In my children’s generation, or perhaps my grandchildren’s generation, it will hit the rocks at the bottom.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel, so I’ll save my good news for the end of this post. First, a few observations:
  • The election was not stolen. It was won fair and square. That, at least, is a relief.
  • The election was not close. That too, is a relief, in that it protects the country from useless litigation.
  • November 2012 marks the end of the American Experiment, Part One. What the founders established is no more. The country has reached the tipping point, and has, in fact, tipped. The voters who value financial security and free stuff over liberty and economic opportunity are now the majority, and we’ll never recover from this, on a national scale. A population educated in government, unionized schools lacks the necessary intellectual grid and understanding of history to perceive where the progressives are leading the country.
  • November 2012 marks the beginning of the American Experiment, Part Two. The experiment is this: is a socialist welfare state a sustainable model of governance? Unfortunately, the question resembles a high school chemistry class exercise. No one in high school runs an experiment the outcome of which is not already well-documented and understood. At least, not intentionally; from time to time there are a few explosions and fires from experiments gone awry. Anyway, the results of this new American experiment are already available: statism produces Europe. On one pole of the spectrum of results is Nazi Germany (the “Fatherland”), on the other pole is the Soviet Union (the “Motherland”), and located in the middle is the intellectual political offspring, Europe. Think, Greece. France. Italy. Britain. The one thing the poles and the middle share is that they are all the result of statism, big government. One, big, unhappy family.
  • The progressive vision can be understood by the Obama campaign’s amazingly clear portrayal of Julia, the woman whose hope and help is government. The really distressing thing to me is that this clearly expounded vision is actually attractive to the majority of voting Americans.
  • Conservatism as a national political force is dead. It does not matter that the vote totals were low. We already knew the results of the policies of the incumbent, and the economic track record of the challenger. National conservatism is dead because never, ever, ever, will there be an ideologically pure conservative on the ticket. Some group, some position, some policy will always go unrepresented. Conservatives have displayed that they will hand over the presidency (again) to a socialist rather than vote for a more conservative choice if their particular issue is not represented. It is highly unlikely that social and fiscal conservatives will ever again band together in sufficient numbers to outvote the “my government loves me and cares for me” crowd on a national scale.
  • The GOP will continue under the control of the RINOs, and remain the party of “slightly less big government.”
  • The only hope for conservatism is on a state and local level. Some states will remain conservative, while California, New York, and other progressive-controlled states will hit the rocks at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, and serve as sobering reminders to the rest of the states. It won’t matter on a national scale, but it will at the state level.
  • Business, use of natural resources, and economic opportunity will flood to conservative states. However the federal government will enact regulatory schemes that make it difficult to flee the progressive states. Unions, as an arm of the progressive national government will also work to prevent this. Boeing’s difficulty starting a plant in South Carolina is the evidence that this trend is already happening.
  • In sum, the America of Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Washington is gone and won’t be coming back.
Now here’s the good news for true Christians.
  • As believers, our true citizenship is in a kingdom that is coming. America is our Babylon, folks, not the New Jerusalem. We aren’t in the promised land, we’re in exile.
  • We must continue exercising the political stewardship we have been granted, but we must not pin our hopes on it. We need to take our cues from Jeremiah’s instructions to the captives in Babylon: ‘And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare’ (Jeremiah 29:7, NASB). But Babylon is a place from which God's people were finally delivered, and which was finally destroyed. Babylon provides the figure in Revelation of the doomed city, overthrown by Christ.
  • The election of Barak Obama is the best possible outcome for the church, because it helps us disentangle ourselves from that corrupting confusion which associates “conservative American” with “Christian.” America was founded in a distinctly Western Judeo-Christian milieu. But we are today a secular state more friendly to Islam, Hustler, and Homosexuality than we are to Christianity.
  • The church always has more difficulty handling prosperity than it does persecution and distress. The future America will help us keep our eyes, and our hope, on Christ, not on Babylon and its pretenders.
  • Our role is to help liberals, conservatives, progressives, Democrats, Republicans, homosexuals, prostitutes, the poor, the proud, the addicted and the broken pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as they suffer in a fallen world, pointing them to the one true answer for all people and all time: Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the Cross.
  • Finally, we must model the hope of the resurrection by truly making the resurrection our hope. Our hope is not in a conservative America, nor a small government, nor low taxes, nor economic prosperity. It’s in Christ, and it always has been, no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office.
I took two vacation days to watch this debacle. Thankfully, I got some chores done that made it a worthwhile consumption of time off. And it helped set my thinking straight. All in all worth it, I suppose. I haven't lost my hope; I've regained it. Yeah, it was worth it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's almost time to take your stand as a citizen

You have a privilege and a responsibility if you are a citizen of this great country. The privilege is to vote for the leader of this nation; the responsibility is step into the voting booth as an informed citizen.

Tuesday is the day most of us will exercise that franchise.

I will be pulling the lever for Romney and Ryan, and I won't be holding my nose when I do it. It's not simply a vote against Obama and the socialist vision he represents. It's a vote for what Romney and Ryan represent.

Neither Romney nor Ryan represent the faith to which I suscribe, and Obama certainly does not. But Romney and Ryan will be civic (not religious) leaders, and their view and vision of how an economy works, their concern for the federal debt, their belief in individual responsibility, their belief in religious freedom, their belief in a small, non-intrusive federal government, their position on states rights, and American exceptionalism, and a host of other reasons have convinced me to vote, enthusiastically, for them.

It's not a vote for the Republican party. It's a vote for a conservative view of government, economy, and the social life of America. It's been some time since I considered myself a Republican, but I've always owned the label "conservative."

Get out and vote this Tuesday. May God bless, and preserve, America.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fessing up about Sandy

[Amidst all this silliness on my blog, let me say quite seriously that my thoughts and prayers are with those suffering in the Northeast. It appears that the storm was absolutely devastating up there, and it's no laughing matter. These posts are not intended to capitalize on the suffering of others. My mom was exceedingly blessed to have been spared the ravages of this storm, and I am truly thankful. These posts are intended as whimsical, humorous accounts of Doris and my weekend in Virginia, and in no way should be interpreted as callous to the suffering of others.]

True confessions: this trip east never was about Sandy. At least, not until Sandy made it all about Sandy. You see, mom's old HP laptop had gotten kind of slow, barnacle-encrusted, weedy. So, mom asked the kids to select and install a new laptop for her. I was elected the chief laptop setter-upper by my siblings. Consequently, this trip was on the calendar long before Sandy was a butterfly's breath.

As it happens, I just got lucky. Sandy happened to visit the same weekend I did; thus, we got to see one another (from afar, as it turned out).

My big sister says that I am a bad-weather magnet, that I just draw it to me. If that's the case, my bad weather magnet got degaussed last winter. Perhaps I've been "re-gaussed" this winter [is that a word?].

Sandy never did live up to her billing, at least not in Lancaster County, Virginia. Tuesday was a gray, rainy day, little bit of wind, certainly nothing exciting. We took mom out to lunch at Willaby's on the Rappahannock and enjoyed some great seafood.

I finished up the laptop install, and last night said our goodbyes to Rosy the mop dog

This morning we pulled out of Broad Reach about 5:30 AM. It's a long drive anyway, and we weren't sure what we'd find in West Virginia.

I love the drive from Charlottesville west, on Interstate 64 and a short portion on 81. This was just one of the beautiful views from the highway.

As I said, we weren't sure what we'd find in West Virginia. We found snow. It snowed for several hours as we drove through, but it didn't cause any problems for us.

Thankfully the roads themselves were in good shape. Temperature never got below 31 during our drive. We stopped for lunch in Beckley, West Virginia.

So the great Sandy adventure is over, and, for the Cobb clan anyway, all is well. Thank You, Lord.

Parting thoughts: enjoying snow is like eating peanuts. You always want a little more. Just think: snow in October! What wonders does the winter hold in store? Yahoo!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy update #2

Well, maybe Sandy’s not such a wild Virginia woman after all. Here in Broad Reach it’s not been much worse than a long, slow, windy rainstorm. Not yet anyway. I'm thankful for that.


Not being partial to telling fibs, I am really, really, trying to mean what I just said, ‘bout being thankful. I’m mostly thankful. Nearly almost completely thankful. Mostly.

I have heard that Sandy has closed the offices of the Federal Government. Maybe we could convince her to hang around for a while. You know, close the guvmint, save money. Leastwise, that’s what I was thinking until I heard that the Feds were stuffing sandbags with dollar bills (stimulus funds, no doubt), so, maybe not.

Local entertainment in Broad Reach centers on another female character, name of Rosy. This here’s Rosy.


Rosy is like a super-charged, battery-powered, attention-deficit-disordered mop without a handle, mounted on wheels, whose Ritalin you’ve lost on the same day she ate a whole bag of candy.

She’s very playful, and very obedient if you can convince her you really mean it. I’ve not yet been able to convince her.
This is my sweet momma. She rides herd on Rosy, and makes sure I eat my vegetables. Does not seem to matter that I’m 56. Once a mom, always a mom.

This is my big brother. He and Lorraine, a good friend of his, came to be with mom this weekend. Lou and I really enjoy getting together. We’re both working really hard on being thankful that Sandy stayed out to sea and made landfall so far north. You know, birds of a feather, and all that. Lorraine is truly thankful because her house is in a low-lying area of Norfolk and she doesn’t care too much for vacuuming water out of her first floor. Now that I can understand.
Okay, here are the few statistics I can give you. We’ve had slightly over 6” of rain since getting here on Saturday evening. There has been several super-high tides. Check this out below.

 The waterway at the bottom of the picture is a state-maintained highway. All the pilings in the center belong to a dock. We are supposed to have wind gusts approaching 70 miles per hour tonight. I frankly don’t believe it, but the county emergency agency called a couple of hours ago to warn us.

Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia gets a blizzard. Some folks are just lucky, I reckon.