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.