The Origins of Hat Rackley
I could be cute about where hatrackley came from, and accurate to a small extent, and say that the domain name was available. The end.
Not many people call me “Hat” anymore. When I got out of the army, I felt that I had to wear a hat when I was outdoors. It was a habit by then. I felt uncomfortable and a little naked without one. I’ve told the story many times that my grandfather let me borrow a pith helmet while I was mowing his yard. He said that the doctors had said that he wouldn’t be dying of cancer if he’d worn a hat. Okay, he often plowed the fields without a shirt also, but the words of wisdom stuck, reinforced by four years of the army.
One of my favorite hats was my Volks Marching hat. When we were in Germany, we would go out on weekends and walk through the woods with hundreds of our German friends. Okay, they were total strangers, although they often remembered us from previous “marches”. We were given badges or medals for completing the hike. After ten hikes, we got pins for our hats. Ah, I needed a hat for the pin. My German friends said to not get a Tirol, green hat. Those were reserved for the tourists. I needed to get a gray hat with specks of black. Actually, the hat is made from undyed wool. I had to add pins to my hat, not just official pins from the Volks March. When I went somewhere, I got a new pin. I put them all on the hat. Back in the days when people called me “Hat”, they were usually referring to that one, as I was told years later.
“Hat” became “Hats” when I retired the old German hat and started wearing newer ones, many different hats. Not too many people ever called me “Hats”.
When I was working at the NASA project in the early 90s, we had badges that had a space for nicknames. I did not use any nickname, but the long-time NASA guys insisted that I be called by one. I told them about Hat and Hats. That’s when one guy, a total stranger who worked in a different department, asked if I had ever been called “Rack”, my shortened last name. No, that was my Dad’s nickname from his army days during World War II and Korea. Then the guy said, “Hat? Rack? I think Hat Rack fits.” And so it was for the next three years.
Now over twenty years later, the old nicknames have faded.
When I retired, I was unsatisfied with simply fading away, like the nicknames. Since I was forced into retirement, I wrote a lot of Sunday school material. While some of it was simply a catharsis, a lot turned into good research. A lot of my prayers were about how I could sell the material to supplement our income, not thinking that I was financially ready to retire.
Then one day, I was praying. I ran out of things that were on my mind. God sometimes uses those moments of silence to answer our prayers. Maybe not what I had prayed for that day, but He made it clear what the direction was in the short term.
In a way, God was saying, “Don’t worry about selling what you have written. A lot of what you wrote about in the Bible study material was that each follower of Jesus needs to divest himself of the reliance in the trappings of this world and rely more on Jesus. Each Christian needs to really mean it when they say to give us our daily bread. Now, here you are wanting supplemental income. Don’t worry about that. I will provide. Give it away. Publish your writing on a blog. Reach out to people that are searching for answers.”
I replied, “But, if it is published on line, it’s that much harder to turn it into a book. A lot of publishers don’t like previously published works.”
God said, “What part of not worrying and trusting in Me are you not understanding?” A couple of months later, I was reminded of Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Whenever you think you hear God speaking, if it is backed by scripture, you can be sure.
As the days passed, a feeling of calm passed over me that I had not felt in years.
My love of writing had started in middle school. I had always been shot down by my family, although a few friends still remember my old stories. My mother refused to hear me say the words for a long time. Years later, she allowed me to say them, but I had to write the subjects that she dictated to me, not what I wanted to write. I once felt that I had the call to write Sunday school material, but I am a layman. So, I asked my brother to team up with me, since he was an ordained minister. His response was, “You are crazy.” The only words he ever said on the subject. To him, the subject was closed.
My feeling of calm is even greater, knowing that I listened to a God who loves me and gives me strength. My calm and faith in God is also bolstered by the words of Mark Batterson in The Grave Robber when he said, “When it comes to God-ordained dreams, I can almost guarantee that they will take longer and be harder to accomplish than you ever imagined.” I’m living that dream.
I was listening to a Tim Hawkins (Christian Comedian) DVD, That’s the Worst. He had just finished singing a song that had a turn about half way through that was cringe worthy. It was hilarious, but obviously he had gone down the wrong rabbit hole. He said afterwards, “I think God is working in my life… Folks, I don’t know where my songs come from. I hope it’s from God. I just have this weird feeling that it’s not.” Tim Hawkins has glorified God by giving the gift of laughter. I hope to glorify God by writing about the Christian life, sometimes smooth sailing and sometimes rough. The Christian life is always worth it. I have the greatest friend that has ever been known.
You may read something in these blogs that causes you to disagree with my point of view. My remembrance of events may be a little fuzzy, and I may not have it absolutely correct. I may go out into left field at times, but if I give God the glory for everything that I write, it can be used for good.
Some retirees rest, some play golf, some count their money. Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest (published after his death from his writings) that there was no room in the Great Commission for spiritual laziness or spiritual retirement. I will serve the Lord, until He brings me home.
In Isaiah 49, the writer speaks of God calling him from his mother’s womb (Is. 49: 1). It says in Isaiah 49: 6 (sounding a lot like the Great Commission) to take the message to the ends of the earth. In my small way, I pray that God will take these blogs where they are needed to further His kingdom.