Today, I cut into the wrapping paper and made my irregular straight line cut. More like an uncoordinated cutter who strikes at the roll of paper with some abandon to wrap a book that hopefully will become a blessing to one of God's daughters who is struggling with life; yet, she is firmly attached to the bow of His ship. Looking for the anchor to hold firmly in the midst of life's storms. For that is what I am finding out about life and its presence of God. Of how we need to cling to Him and trust Him for whatever storms are brought our way.
Wrapping a package can be an art to some. And the unwrapping of a gift to a child is a rapid ripping and tearing of the package and a quick immersion into the present itself. We are told in scriptures that the ideal faith is that of the faith of a child. To fully immerse him or himself into the journey of God. To be present at Jesus's feet. To be ready to do life with Him.
We are also told in life to unwrap ourselves. To let our true selves emerge when we are gathered in fellowship with one another. To take off the tissue paper in our lives and reveal the fragile beauty that is behind it. The crystal eagle or the crystal ring that is wrapped delicately with care.
For over two-thousand years ago, Mary and Joseph wrapped and cared for Jesus. To take care of Him so that He could change the world. At the time, when Jesus was only a day old, it would be hard to imagine and picture Him changing the world, but that is what He indeed did. He became the seed within each one of us. The seed that is transformed within each one of us to make our world a better place. One person at a time.
So go ahead and cut through the cloth of life. Even if it is ragged, irregular and uncoordinated. For once it is opened, the imperfections won't be remembered. It will be the thought and the concern shown by the givers of the world, all harkening back to the biggest giver of all, Jesus!!!
The performance of the fall season is about to draw to a close. In a few short days, we are going to face the 90 days of winter. Just as the popular book of the 90 minutes in Heaven, we will have 90 days of winter to endure , about 13 weeks. We are going to get a premiere of the winter season this weekend with about 6 to 11 inches of snow. That is what the weather forecasters have mentioned.
The same can pertain to the world of economics. Many of the experts predict one thing and they are altogether wrong the next day. So I am going to take a wait and see approach to the economy. Our president-elect has put together a great team. Hopefully, we will turn the corner. But it is a roller coaster ride right now. yep, 4 r's in a row. for aliteration. Yet, one prediction that did come true is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago as promised in prophecy. And He will return at the end of time.
So, let the curtain go up and I will sit in my seat and watch the performance. And go on stage when needed to move one foot in front of the other. Thank you God that I don't have to do a repeat performance getting blood work in the snow. For I did it when the ground was bare to the pavement.
When I was at the local Greater Bridgeport Symphony's classical concert, "Home for the Holidays", I had this following reflection.
When a composer writes the notes for a composition, that serves as the bed linen for the piece and the lyrics are the covers that we tuck ourselves into. For the notes will survive without the words but when two are wedded together, there is much greater depth.
Feel free to comment on this relationship so I can form added dimensions to this newly formed thought. Thanks.
The snow falls gently on the firs along the Coast of Maine. Through the picture window of our West Southport, Maine house, I see the snowflakes dance and glide through the chill of the evening air. As the snow falls down, they form strings of garland and tinsel that are being strung by the angels above.
The steady curtain of the snow blows through the air and falls on the evergreen firs and to the ground. Covering up the bare ground and leaving behind a fresh coating of snow, gentle to the touch , damp and cool to the fingertips.
The winds whip the snow around the trees as the snow cascades gently off its branches. Hearing a gradual whoosh of the snow falling back to the earth below.
I see the lights strung delicately on the trees set against the backdrop of the darkened ocean. For several winters, my father hung the lights on the evergreen firs which faced the ocean Looking at them through our front picture window, I could see the glistening echo of the faint and steady red and white lights reflecting back at us.
Yet, another memory of the Christmas holiday that I remember is sitting around the warmth of the fire coming from the black wood burning stove and seeing the orange and yellow flames dancing from behind the metal glass doors, As I placed my hands above the stove, I felt its warmth and smelled the aroma of the slowly burning wood placed there by my father and heard the gentle hissing from the steam released from the gentle lapping of the flames.
When I grew up in our family, I believed in anticipation of gifts and enjoyed gathering gifts for my parents and my brother's family as well. Yet, when i contrast my actions to the oral tradition passed down through lessons from church, I see a different picture.
For the magi bore the gifts of frankensence, myrhh and gold. For each magi brought one gift with him on his journey. Back then, there were no malls or e-bay to place one's orders. Gifts were mined from the earth and had an intrinsic value. And an effort was made to gather the gift as well.
I remember one holiday when I packed so many packages that I gathered for the journey that I absorbed myself into the pursuit finding just the right gift for a hobby for each of my family. For my dad, I gave him a golf humor book since he loved to watch and play golf. And for my mom, I got a bird book with bright colorful pages of North American birds, many of which we saw at our bird feeders throughout the years. And for my brother, I gave him an astronomy book since he used to sit out front viewing stars from his telescope when he was younger. And I gave the assortment of holiday cards and calendars put out by the Kennedy Center. And for Erica, my sister-in-law, I gave some horticultural books since she was involved as a master gardener at the University of Minnesota.
Another time that we spent together was when Erica was bearing good news with the pending arrival of my niece and my parent's first grandchild. As we walked through the mall in Minnesota and walked by the windows of the Restoration Hardware with its green and white trim. Seeing children and their parents traipsing around with grins on their faces. We passed by several stores and stopped in to wander through their elaborate holiday displays and listened to the christmas music playing overhead.
Several Christmases later when we gathered in their living room, we saw a video of Abby on that Christmas morning playing with her first tea set , pouring imaginary cups of hot tea to drink with her fuzzy bear and purple moose which she sat in their small tan wooden chairs at the table. Abby wore her red pajamas and enthusiastically spoke to them and jumped up and down as she poured them their tea. She leaned against one of the chairs as she became absorbed in making up stories for her stuffed animals as she gently put the cups against the animal's mouths. And her mom warned Abby, "be careful dear child not to lean too far back to hurt yourself."
In less than two weeks, I look forward to being greeted at the door by my niece, Abby and her mom and my parents. Recapturing the wonder of childhood as we gather around the table once again and to share our Christmas memories. For the five of us to share in the joys of the holiday. Making a good effort to recapture a fragment of time somewhat lost and depositing back to our hearts and souls. To then draw upon memories in the future. And to have time to heal some of the distance that has been created this past year and to reflect on a better year ahead.
Our holiday get together was precious. Abby devoured many of the books that she received and spent countless hours on the couch nestled with many of the books that were given to her by my mom and dad and myself.
She made up stories of some orphans that lived in the Piper shores hotel, unit j303. They consisted of the Small and Little families. As Abby began to conceive of the story , she drew out story board illustrations of what the family members looked like. They each had wings. Then the story began to take form and we heard many chapters of the lives of the characters.
Winter is here. Even though the date on the calendar says autumn, the stores have winter flakes displayed. Yet, one store in town is somewhat confused when it had its store named, Beach Bum Tanning. What a name for a store.
But onto the real meaning. The cradle of Christ represents the innocence of God and His youth. Of the time of Him growing up. I can't ever imagine God growing up. Since He has always been and will always be.
Desolate and Dark.
And the Cross of Christ consumes His innocence momentarily; only to recapture its glory in its Resurrection;. And to be reborn into the cradle of one's heart at one's conversion.
The white falling snow, a blanket over the darkness, a sleep that awakens the maidens.
Thank You Jesus for the power of Words and of being the Word when I can barely sleep.
Oh, I'm alone at times without someone at my side. And without someone to hold and kiss. But God I have you. And you make me complete. Even if I ache within me, with a piece or rib that I felt was taken out when you took that rib out of Adam. But what you have taken out of me, whether it was some skill I was supposed to have, I accept. I can relearn whatever you may need in your kingdom on earth. I thank you, Lord, for making me me. I have a hard times with that. Since I want a perfect world with perfect people. But I am not one of them. Yet, I am thankful for your visit to earth not just on Christmas Eve but on Creation's eve. At the genesis of our new Dawn.
Thanks, Jesus for the power of the Word and of Words. Of how I can dance with you. And give you the Glory of Life.
For the Power of my mama's knees and tongue. Of your strength to push the on button on me. To move about and change the world even at the odd hour of 1am.
And thanks for the winter snow!!! For Winter Words and the Winter Wonderland that you made through the movie, The Holiday, which I watched in its entirety tonight.
Merry Christmas Earth. Wake up and hear His voice and the Angels.
There is a popular song called, How Far Is Heaven. In one sense, it is very far and foreign to many people. And to others like myself, it is very close and right up to my nose and my being. It all is a matter of perspective. More later since I am recovering from having just typed this month of November 50,004 words in total.
A funny incident happened on the Milford Local Woodmont bus this morning. When I boarded the bus and reported that today is Happy Tuesday, I mentioned to Paul that everyone was accounted for. Paul laughed at my comment since he finds my comments to be humorous in a subtle way. It then reminded me of my school days when I sat in the rows of desks. I usually sat near the front in the first few rows. I would enthusiastically say, "Here" when I heard Scott called out by my teacher. Many students were more shy in responding.
Then I realized today that God does roll call every morning. Yet, I am almost like those shy students who do not avidly address the teacher but mutter something under their breath.
God does demand my obedience out of love and not out of duty. Just as students are in a class to better their lives and need to be present to learn the material, I need to be present in the classroom of life with God as my teacher so that I can handle the world better when I go out it in it And when given the homework assignment, I will have the tools to complete it successfully.
So, here I am Jesus at your feet to do your will.
Your reluctant and repentant Saint, Scott Row 4 on Planet Earth.
My, how I battled bravely with Mr. plunger and the drano with the bathtub drain. It never would gurgle but water sat stagnantly in the bottom of the tub. I read plenty of literature on the web on green products for the environment for the plaumbing industry. And I even battled the plunger in the middle of aisle 20 in super stop and shop. getting the suction cup off the floor. One such bathroom battle failed when younger when the soap dispenser or game center suctioned to the bathtub wall broke up the tile when it was removed.
Now, after having a professional Family Mechanical plumber come thanks to my imagineers management co. all was solved in less than 3 hours.. Just have to get a plug if I want to take a bath. since the internal plunger is gone after rusting out.
the hidden lesson here is to stay on top of plumbing and don't try it on your own.
And keep the pipes clear for Jesus to flow through you, the reader and listener. To God's still small voice within.
Yes, this is the first week of my writing towards 50 thousand words. I am at about 5-1/2 pages worth out of 50. a little behind the game. But I am having fun with my novel and occassional commentary on the process of writing and life. And recovery from the hangover of 21 months of the national election process. I am glad that it is over. Yet, the job our new president Obama will have is a tough one. Tougher than organizing the community he grew up in. For the communities of the world do not have as clean or clear cut lines. But back to my writing, I continue to bounce towards 8,000 by the end of tomorrow.
And a good way to celebrate it is to sing Happy birthday , Billy Graham for Friday marks his 90th year on earth and George Beverly Shea's 99th. Amazing what God can do with two humble vessels.
In 193 minutes, Nano 2008 starts officially!⁄!!!! Yeah. Yet 50 thousand words is a ton of words to write. I am outlining briefly some of the characters, setting and conflicts. Yet, I do not know this world that I am creating. Last year taking on my challenge was rather easy because I wrote about myself in third person. I knew who Scott was , just expressed through the character, John. In that process, I relived some painful moments in my life. And was able to take and meet that challenge. Yet this year has the election and thanksgiving and a family reunion. All in the same month. But maybe going to the world I create and stepping less throughout my world of news and work will give me a little vacation from the world as I recreate another world with similar struggles of its own. And maybe I will learn some lessons that my characters will discover in the process.
So off to Word War I go!!!!!! Not World War. So you don't have to approach me with arms. Just open arms of encouragement.
On the Hallmark channel, whose theme is make yourself at home, had an excellent movie called the Generation Gap. It drew me into the show because it told the story of a World War II veteran who was private with his story and his grandson who needed reform. And of how the grandfather's nurse became his grandson's friend. And how we need to appreciate the gift of time that we have left with our loved ones no matter how short a time that may be at the moment.
It was a touching story of reconnecting the granddad to the boat that he used to sail with his wife and the restoration of Granddad's 47 chevy for the grandson to enjoy long after the granddad passed on.
It is the passing on of the legacy of our lives that is very important. To take the time to unpeel a level of one's life with another. To earn the chance to hear the story and be inspired by challenges faced from a different generation or a different race.
Looking forward to the future of our country as we learn how to love one another better in the political aisle with all the challenges that have faced us. We have a chance to be governed by the veteran of wars in John McCain and the choice of Palin as a potential first first female vice president or with Barack Obama as the first black president of our nation.
It will be a thrilling opportunity to see how this shapes our country in the years to come.
Remember to thank those who have led before and those who have fought for our country to be where it is today~~~ and to vote on November 4th.
This calm and placid tiger has come out of his cage and looked around at the world and said, "maybe I should straighten out my nuts and berries and hollies and twigs. Make this place a home for once. Move over the dirt and shake things up a little."
Yet, I have two feet and not four as the tiger has. And I lack its fur and its ferocity when faced with a threat in the wild. Yet, I did what I described in my little parable of the tiger, I actually got out the basin and tile cleaner and sprayed it on the toilet and got it cleaned and swished out the bowl and washed my sink and vacuumed and picked up my floor and got rid of some political weeds growing throughout the apartment.
I was having a conversation with an apartment dweller, Margaret, about general things of life. Of how we need to go through closets and weed out. And how even simple chores begin with the single task. I mentioned how I may break my own record with cleaning and cooking and domestic stuff. Yet what it takes is winning the single victory like Michael Phelps did in the summer olympics of 2008 in China. Then followed by races no 2 to 8 to have those 8 gold medals around his neck.
In the same way, I have to put on the suit and dive into my messes and take it one race at a time and do it diligently.
George Leonard in the DVD Mastery said that it takes practice to get things done well and the reliance on a master. For us christians, that master is Jesus; yet, I rarely consult Him for the general advice of daily life. I am sure that He would come alongside me in my doubts on my ability to get the little things done.
Yet, I am glad that I decided to forego the alumni homecoming of Fairfield and a world's fair day at a local school. Instead I ventured on a path I have tried before, but I hope to continue forward since I invested in the furniture polish, comet and toilet bowl cleaner so I can live a fuller life with a better stewardship model.
Thank you Lord that I am out of cage and gentler. Yet I long to go back to that cage at times too and still be a little WILD. ROAR!!!!!!
I can not believe it is only 168 hours til Nano Wrimo starts again on november 1, 2008. Now that I know how it all works. I am looking forward to its start. And I have a chance to have last years edition bound for free for a copy with an opportunity for more. we will see how the nano deal works.
topic to be determined. Ideas are more than welcome to incorporate it into my overall scheme. still to be determined. Can not rewrite my story again. But could do it from a different slant too.
This post is a response to a challenge that I helped to initiate as I shared with my bible study friend Todd. As we were starting to understand the true meaning of Psalm 8, we stopped several times and asked what does that word or phrase really mean. We got through a couple of the verses during our study and began to scratch the surface. Today, I admitted I looked at a 3 minute video on Utube yet Todd so far had 8 pages of notes. So here is my attempt to dig under the surface of Psalm 8 and uncover the richness of its meaning.
When I survey the glory of God, one of my favorite Psalms comes to mind. It is Psalm 8 and it reads like a poem that is suspended from above. It is one of majesty. I am reminded of our executive Pastor's sermon in which he states that Glory is like a bride coming down the aisle to meet her groom who is waiting for her. To take the illustration of the wedding further, it involves getting to know each other, to understand how this new couple will fit into their families well and how values and talents will be nurtured and understood.
In the same way, God from the beginning of time has laid out for Himself the earth as a place for which His redemptive history is going to take place. Through the interactions of storms and trials, God is molding for Himself a people that He will gather together in the most permanent place of heaven that He is going to create for those who love Him.
Now for a more verse for verse analysis of this terrific Psalm 8. In verse one, David the Psalmist writes "O Lord, Our Lord," This signifies David's acknowlegement of God as being his personal God and also as a God for the communities of people who are gathered under His name. His name carries with it His identity. God has been called in the scriptures-God the Provider, God the comforter, The Alpha and the Omega. Each of these could carry with it a signifcant commentary.
David continues in stating in the rest of verse 1, "How Majestic is your name in all the earth." When one looks at the earth, it can appear as a ball when looking at it from the distance from space. When one zooms in on it, one can see the complexities of the earth in a way that can not be measured when looking at the depths of the ocean.
David further states in v. 1, "You have set your glory above the heavens." The heavens are not only the stars and planets live, but it is where black holes exist. Thus, there is no way to measure them exactly. Even if they could be measured, it still inspires within me a sense of awe. I will never be able to reach a planet or star and touch it. Yet God has touched them and made them special.
In verse no. 2, David uses the illustration of children to communicate more clearly how God deals with mankind. In Matthew 11;25 Jesus praises His father for hiding eternal truths within children and not communicating them with the learned and the wise. When one looks at the original nativity story, God appeared through His angels to the shepherds and the magi who traveled a long distance. King David who was writing this psalm worked as a shepherd and understood implications of how messy and dirty being a sheepherder can be. Sheep can wander off and get lost. It also illustrates the character of David in that he was determined in keeping his sheep in order no matter how difficult it became. God is the same way with me in that He does not want me to get off track so He will convict me of my sin as well. But what is great about this Psalm is how God is able to use the ordinary experiences of an ordinary boy before He became King and before he wrote the Psalms. It was these experiences that molded and made King David understand God somewhat better.
God could trust children to understand His precepts since they don't have preconceived notions that adults often have. They do not have agendas to address. They have a simple child-like trust. Paul used a similar idea in 1cor 1:17 where he states that Christ did not send him to preach words with human wisdom since the cross would be empty of its power. Thus when I look at children, I see how they look up to the adults who love them and have a strong sense of hope for the future. They see Jesus as a source of their strength and many studies have shown that the key time to reach people for Christ is when they are children. In 1cor 1:27, God chose foolish and the weak to shame the wise and the strong. This is in stark contrast to what one would consider how one would gain influence. Yet through this very truth, it is how I have experienced God's working power.
FOR I have never had prominent offices where I have led people. It has been within a realm of being a servant that I have led others and influenced them. It is from my being faithful to these experiences that I have been able to allow people to reflect over many decades since they first met me as a handicapped teenager. And it is gratifying to hear how the way I have handled my life since has given them hope and admiration. This correlates well to the end of verse no 2 which states that God has silenced the foe and the avenger because of your enemies.
Many theologians and even Jesus himself declares that God is sovereign. He has control over the universe. David had the opportunity when he herded his sheep to look up at the night sky and see how God placed the stars and planets and the moon into place. He realized that it was through the works of His fingers and also from Genesis where God spoke the world into existence. When I look at how the planets are lined up in an exact orbit where we are neither too cold or too hot. In a way where we are able to maintain our existence on the earth.
Then in verse 4, David reflects back to when he was a shepherd boy and sees how God is mindful of man. God took the time and care to create mankind and valued him.
GOD's crowning of Mankind.
In verse 5, King David states declares that humans are lower than heavenly beings of angels yet humans have been crowned with glory and honor. When I reflect on honor, I recall how King David was looking for the remnants of Saul's household and how he could respect them. He discovered Mephoboseth and invited him into his household into a place of honor to spend the rest of his days. Even though David had to flee from Saul many times upon threats of his life. He decided to honor Saul and not harm his reputation by extending a forgiving arm to Miffy who had nowhere to go. And to provide for his future. God did the same thing when Jesus arrived as a child. He offered to the world a chance to live life and be surrounding by constant love and to be invited to the banquet table at the end of ones life at the wedding feast of the lamb.
GOD ARRIVED AS A CHIld through verse 4 in that Christ became a human baby with whom men can identify. God cares deeply for both mankind and Jesus. He brought Jesus to the world to bring mankind back to Him. I recall how Abraham argued in Genesis to save Sodom from its sin and kept arguing with God to give them another chance. Yet, the ultimate chance for man is Jesus; yet, many have rejected Him over the years. But by the faithfulness of the apostles Jesus has brought many people to God even today through the disciples since Jesus ascended into heaven. When the apostles went out, the Jews rejected the Gospel so it was then given to Paul to bring it to the Gentiles. This shows how much God cares for man and is mindful of Him. God always had the history of humans in His mind when He made His plan. He knew men would fail; yet, it deeply grieved God when He sent Jesus to the cross for the redemption of mankind. This truly shows how much He cared and the grief expressed by the son of man, Jesus, as He cried out to God, Why God have you foresaken me shows again how much Jesus cared as well
Verse 6 emphasizes the notion of stewardship. God entrusts men and women to serve Him and take care of what He has made, He trusts them. In my life, it was the same way. When I became a teenager, mom and dad would leave me home alone for several hours as they went to a movie and ate out at an area restaurant. They trusted me with their possessions and their house and checked in several times to make sure all was going along fine. In the beginning God created the world and then created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them a responsibility of naming all the animals and plants. He asked them to be responsible and careful with what God has created for them. The world created by God was meant for them to enjoy and also to reflect who God is by the way they treated the world. As I reflect on how some people have mistreated the earth, it must grieve God with all the ills of pollution and global warming that is going on. Ås God was commenting throughout His creation of the natural world in Genesis, He kept commenting on how it was good and when he came to mankind, He stated that it was VERY GOOD.
As I have several friends who have just recently given birth or are in the process of giving birth, I reflected on what the very basic daily structure and fabric of their lives is like. It starts with the basic feedings and the changings, I remember when my niece was about 6 months old and took a whiff of the formula that was being prepared for Abby. Not the most pleasant aroma. Yet He feeds us and He tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. WE MUST abide to bear much fruit. Yet, I fail on that account to abide sometimes. I can be a dead twig that has no life and detracts from the value of the environment around me.
And then there are the times of diaper duty also. I have never had that duty though.
Yet, when it comes to our christian faith, Jesus still is cleaning us up. We have never been as successfully potty-trained as an infant turned toddler is. That is their prerequisite into preschool. Yet it is good how Jesus cleans us up and makes us ready to serve Him.
So I am glad that Jesus asks us to become like little children. For during that stage in life change happens most rapidly. And great potential exists as well.
Ding. Ding. I get up and pace around. I am waiting for a response behind the window. I don't see any responses yet.
Life is like this vignette. It is hard to grasp what is happening back in the offices and examining rooms. I am having trouble piecing together how God is working in my life and the life of my friends and family.
I know that God is in control. but change is happening very very slowly for me. I guess it is to build patience. But I wish it were to move faster.
So I could see some results.
Lord, build within my heart a sense of patience and a willingness to step out in faith more; It seems as if the experiment with mankind has failed a bit . Yet, God , you have always had this problem with mankind. And I thank you,, Lord, for remedying that problem with Jesus who you put on the cross so we would have direct access to you.
When I was at a reception for a friend's wedding, I saw a wood carved sign with the name of Jesus etched within it. When looking closely at it, It looked like a maze. And I could not recognize what it said. Then when I looked away at a different angle, your name came crystal clear. Lord, Help me to look at all the angles in my life as I approach you and I want your name to come clearer into focus as I search you out in the details of my life.
So that your experiment is successful to those you have entrusted me to minister to.
My parents are approaching the sunset of their lives. The clouds surrounding their lives are being lit very strongly from behind by the sun.
I went on my quarterly vacation Down East to visit with my folks. They are standing strong in the midst of the struggles that they face with their health.
My father is not the strongest in his health. He suffers from a triple whammy. He is about 75 percent deaf, has Parkinson's disease and has medium dementia. While I was growing up, his deafness made it hard for him to adapt to the world and made it difficult for him to enter easily into conversations and relationships.
As I related and interfaced with my dad, my handicaps also came into play. I placed them against the backdrop of my father's struggles. I sometimes wish that the cards were dealt differently. Yet despite my dad's struggles, he has lived a life of these 82 years so far full of adventure.
On the first full day of my vacation with my parents, I set out on a simple five minute errand with my dad to shred some old tax documents in the media. As we walked through the hallway, Dad turned to me and said, "Scott, let's go down the stairs and we will go shred these documents. I thought for a moment and hesitated a little. Yet, I told Dad, " Please be careful and hold on as you go downstairs." After successfully going down the stairs, Dad quickly reached for the metal fire door and it slammed quickly on his hand. Dad did not grimace or scream but showed me his finger gashed open on the top of the right pinkie and we proceeded to the men's room to get some towels. Then we went back upstairs to their apartment and had Mom clean it up with tentacle cream, also known as Neosporin. Mom at first said, "was that from the shredder." Dad said, no, it happened when the door slammed on my finger."
Mom gave me a brief lecture explaining again to me of the rule that they have of not going down the fire stairs and taking the elevator always. I should have picked up on the new rules with signs in various parts of the room which stated, "sit down when getting dressed and signs with rules to remind my dad of everyday rules of life. Mom told me that it is important to reverse the role. Of me being the parent and dad being the son. Something that I have learned to do fairly well as a friend to Gary Davis at church. Yet, it is so hard for me to apply the new rules to my dad. With whom in my life, I have had adventures with since I was a child.
Throughout the weekend, we made a trip across the flying bridge of Piper Shores, their life care community in the heart of Scarborough Maine. We visited the nurse over there and she bandaged my dad's finger with gauze and a bandaid and covered it with a white cotton bandage. Something very visible that everyone found out what happened as Dad recalled it several times.
We made a visit to his doctor Braun for the tetanus shot and it got redressed a couple of times by Nancy, the nurse. She came in with her blue uniform and her portable case of bandaids and ointments. She unwrapped the bandaid and explained how good a job Mom did in getting it stabilized.
My dad and I still played our ongoing gin rummy tournament. Yet, I was called on to be the designated shuffler and dealer of the cards. We pretty much had an even-handed tournament. With each of us winning a couple of games.
On the last night, we went down to the game room and played a round of pool. Yet, in this sport, my 82 year-old dad did not look or act that age. He leaned up against the pool table with his cue behind his back and effortlessly sunk the balls one by one. As I kept putting them on the rack in the wall. One by one. Lining three whole rows. Usually only two have been needed in the past. I had to remove the table brush and place numbers 11 to 14 there while I only managed to sink one in that game. A bit of a skunking. But it was good to see my dad move effortlessly around the table . Periodically, I expressed concern over his finger. yet, Dad flexed it and said it was fine. So despite my losing to my dad, I had a good time sharing this game that we have played for the past 30 years or so.
Nearing the end of our week, Mom asked me to think of several things that I only know of Dad to say at the time he dies. Not something that will be easy. I knew I would be asked. Yet, I am glad that both mom and dad have been around for me for the my entire 45 years of my life. As I am surrounded by the struggles of dad to be reminded to take his parkinsons and dementia medicine and then take the prescribed periods of rest, I find it hard to accept how my dad who was once fairly strong and able to drive and go boating is now dependent on mom as his caregiver. Yet, I look out at the sea with mature eyes. I see its depth and its constancy. I know that the sea will carry on long after all of us are gone. I look out at it and see the image of Homer's painting of an old man in a rowboat as it is leaning towards the ocean. With the man still inside it. It has been hard with these older eyes of mine, to look at the sea with a youthful attitude. Yet, I always look forward to the dose that I get with the sea. And the reminder of the good times that I have shared with my dad on the waterfront. Of the times of going out in the fog while fishing and trusting my dad with my life. And of the times spent fishing under the sun in the quiet. And now I look and see with these mature eyes and heart. And my emotions are tempered by what I see.
At the end of my vacation, I looked down beside our door and saw that the mission was still left uncompleted, but what the supposedly simple five minute errand turned out to be was a life lesson for me to be more careful with my dad and to remind myself to be a loving caregiver calling out warning signs just as a mother chick would do for her brood.
This was no easy trek going on the way home tonight. I had my usual twenty minute wait alongside the curb-waiting for my blue Milford Tranist Bus to pick me up and bring up to the mall in the loop-ty-loop. I made it and missed the connection by a few nanoseconds. Yet, I sauntered down to the local Target in the mall, and I picked up the photos from my 25th High School reunion and the pictures of me alongside Tommy John and of the shots of me doing some pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish 1st pitch.
Yet, I had to wait one whole hour and a quarter to board the bus since the bus originally scheduled for 650pm supposedly had an accident in the rain . I kept thinking I hEARD A BUS pull up ; yet, the anticipated sound of the traffic was otherwise.
As I was about to board the coastal link home, the heavens opened up. I saw off in the not to far distance jagged green and yellow flashes of lightning and a quick flash. My picture was taken again, but it was off center. I did not totally light up this time.
When I boarded my final bus, the third, the fluorescent lights on number 5335 were very bright. I could see the buds of the white bulbs encased in the sheathing of the light and it cast an irridiscent glow on the bus. It was peaceful.
So, I thank you God for the delay of an hour, for I had a really cool bus ride home,
And thanks God for letting me look down at the right moment on the meandering up the driveway to work to find a baby Brown turtle crawling around. I just stopped my walking and observed the creature moving along the pavement. a distant relative of the big boxer turtle I saw several months ago on the other side of the street.
Seeing God in the mundane and ordinariness of life that many people let slip by.
Today I felt the sun against my back and felt a droplet or two of water on my head fall from overhead. I spent today on the bus through my long 4 and a half hour retreat reading a treat of a book written by Sue Monk Kidd. The book is God's Joyful Surprise. It was a good book to get a glimpse of how someone gains intimacy with God.
When I walked to my office from the bus stop, I looked around me and saw the blue sky and green trees with their leaves still on them surrounding our corporate campus of one white building. I heard the sounds of the birds singing. And I enjoyed walking jacektless to work. Yet, when I arrived, some of my coworkers complained of the humidity and the lack of coolness to kill germs around them..
But to me, it was a part of the retreat that I made to not stick my nose into the news and instead to focus on the spiritual side instead. Now, I just have to apply what I learned and let God speak to me.
It was a day to be surrounded by nature and to enjoy a dvd of the Planet Earth series on the role of water on our planet. The second time viewing it.
While it is only about 5 weeks til the election season's completion, for me I am going for another marathon of 50 thousand words. I am not sure what the race's course will look like. But I am looking forward to it. Just have to figure it out between now and the beginning of the gun's sound at 12;00 midnight on November 1st!!!!!
Yes, speaking of marathons requires rigorous training. To keep the mind sharp and have words constantly flowing from the pipes and neurons of the brain. To keep my mind sharp and constant contact with the images and senses and scenes of the world.
For those who do not know this insane race,it pits writers from around the world who go for the literary gold. To place in the goal posts and the nets a sense of victory. Of wild catches that get caught to win ball games.
So Here I go to win that gold. Even in the midst of the presidential race and a race to correct Wall Street.
Back to the theme of handicaps and limitations. All too often I look at my own limitations in my life. I see a huge wall and think , oh this can not be done, Scott. Then I look at God has done-being apart from time and space yet very directly connected to it and involved through the lives of others. His direct communication with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And his communication with Moses as Moses got the 10 commandments -the first and the second draft. Oh, even the drafters of the constitution probably had one or two rewrites before writing it on their parchment.
God even went to great odds to somehow impregnate Mary -something that a great magician such as David Copperfield could not even do. \\ \ Yet this brings me back to this vein of thought that God can do anything as I have seen in my own life. When I first began and have shared in spaces on this blog and in my story of life, God took a little infant who could not walk, talk, or even sit up on his own and placed him into a family of loving parents. Not a perfect family. A family with many flaws like many in this world. Yet, what God did was create a miracle. To grow up a man who helps others and reaches out. Even those this man writing has troubles reaching out at times. Needing times to just rest and chill out. Yet, I look to Jesus who was made perfect , yet had a few traits of humanity such as the need to rest and got restored again.
A close friend has said many times that I should be a minister. Yet, I often look at that potential calling as one where there are many obstacles that I could never reach.. Yet, Lord if you brought life out of nothing in creation and even made your Son through nonconventional means in a conventional process, it comes down to a matter of trust. I just need to trust you to make it happen.
So Lord, I dedicate the rest of my life to somehow being a more effective minister of the Gospel so I can uplift those who are hurting. Even without a title of Rev. For you call your pilgrims to be servants. To do the simple acts of service to a world that is so hurting. That its tears have stained its surface and also reach your ears and heart as well.
Tabby cats are halloween in color and in nature too. We had a calico cat when I was real young and Twinkie as we called her disappeared one morning and never came back to us.
Later on in my life, I had a black and white tabby cat and his name was Tigger. He ran through the house at lickety lick split speed and I enjoyed watching him romp through the house. I had a piece of rope with a little knot at the end, and as I swayed it around over Tigger's head, he would bat it at. Reaching his paws up in the air and jumping to get a grasp of it.
And as I touched the end of the rope when he was done playing with it, it wore his moisture from the licking of the rope
And speaking of the animal kingdom, I made a comment at work to our warehouse manager at work of how his kingdom was doing. then John responded to me, "do you mean you are calling us animals. I said, "not that kind of kingdom, men. I meant a realm. "
A final note of good news. As I was leaving the laundry room, I caught the sock monster as I saw my red sock sitting in the washing machine wet.
This marks the seventh year of our nations thrust onto the world stage with a conflict thrown at us to our front door. to a horror heard on the airwaves, seen on the street corner and heard within the cries of the human heart.
09 11 are two non-consecutive numbers that have struck at our soul. To have a day universally known to all.
Not all were so lucky. but my family was with my cousin and his company getting out alive and the chance to run the marathon home-of which he won. He established his family with his wife with two healthy children.
a remembrance of mine is when I headed back to the bus station from a visit to Boston. My cousin Izzy played a video of her playing the piano singing they are singing our song with the inscribed date of 09-11-01 on the phone. That interplay still causes me to think. Hard to figure out the whole meaning of why such a tragedy would strike us at all.
Yet, we are a high profile country.
But no matter where one stands, May God bless this country and all of our work.
Climbing atop the platform bustling with traffic of passengers going to and fro.
Of tourists with suitcases in hand and with bags brimming with goodies for friends and lovers.
Of the cletched hand of a child within a mother's hand.
Of those trains of thought that we just had within our grasp. of those dreams that could change our world.
Of where those ideas could lead us if we would only listen.
A dominant man once stood among the crowds in Bethlehem and Cana and Capernum and Jerusalem. Taking those trains from above. Going through tunnels of darkness. Emerging into the light. Letting its passengers see a much better way to live.
Of a sunlit sky shining down at the edge of the platform. creating shadows of opportunities for mankind.
Of those rhythymic patterns and echoes etched upon the quilts of time. Marking a passageway for us to travel through.
Of the train in the distance approaching ever so slowly.
Hearing the choo choo of the train as it slows to its stop.
The doors open conductors step out to survey and guide the crowds going in and out of the train.
Slowly heading into the distance as the train goes out of sight becoming smaller yet leaving behind it the plumes of white and black smoke.
The olympics have been going along well and have limited my ability to create posts. I have been watching them from the opening ceremonies, through the dynamic swimming by the American Michael Phelps and the gymnastics anchored by the strength of the american beauties of Shawn Johnson and Nastia Luikin.
Many commentators have brought up the idea of how political the olympic games have become. But for me they can inspire me to become better. to aspire to be someone else. To maybe begin swimming again. Not to reach the prowess of Phelps but maybe to begin something that I dreamt of becoming. Who knows. If taken seriously, it will take a commitment. We will have to see.
Bringing together our nations and each other. Of having one side join the other. Shaking hands before and after the matches are over. To leave the sweat and smiles on the floor-to give it all we have. That is the olympic spirit.
To twirl and to give it our best. To parade through the squares of time and open up a country that had remained closed for a long time. A chance maybe to open some wounds , to patch together stitches that will heal and mend one another through time.
So let us celebrate what has been accomplished and also celebrate what happens at the paralympics of those with even greater odds.
Just as Jesus defeated the odds of death and came back to life, so we all can face our odds and come back ahead in the end.
The weather was forecasted to be a heavy thunderstorm. When I left work, it did not appear to be too ominous. Then, an hour later, the heavens opened up and relented upon the earth.
On the way to the bus station, I read a recently purchased book by Anne Lamonte, Bird by Bird, that I picked up at Borders Books in the morning. A book that I meant to read for quite some time but was turned off by one of the chapter titles called, shitty first drafts. As I read and approached the pages, I enjoyed how she relayed how we are to share in our struggles with life and how taking the ordinary events of the day and while we wrap words around our experiences, they emerge with a meaning with which we can share with relatives and friends as a present before they die.
As I approached the downtown Bridgeport Transportation center, the sky was beginning to darken considerably. I was surrounded by a cloud filled sky and as I got off the bus, it began to rain hard. The wind carried the rain rushing through the terminal and past the open spaces and onto the benches and it covered the concrete columns as well.
Some excellent strikes of lightning were thrown as loud claps of thunder were heard. Gaps of time existed between each strike. Creating suspense within the moment. Not knowing which way to turn. Willow, a friend's daughter, says that when it thunders, it is the angels who are bowling strikes, and lightning is like fireworks. What a show that produced for me to see. And a good way to view what is happening on the other side of this world.
I was surrounded by the wires overhead and feared that lightning would strike near where I was standing. I huddled around the concrete columns of the bus station and soon decided to weather out the storm inside the clean glistening white terminal. I saw outside of the floor to ceiling windows the rain that came down heavily in slants. It danced across the pavement as the wind whipped it along. I never saw the rain dance before like that. It almost looked like the incoming tides at a beach moving in rhythmic patterns.
I have recognized from experience that weather turns quickly with these sudden thunderstorms. I chose to quickly dart between the raindrops. As I waited inside the station with a slightly drenched exterior, I was glad to be in shelter as I saw the storm unfold.
everyone was huddled in the bus station along with me, while outside the rain fell in parallel sheets as it danced across the parking lot. I could see outside a few brave people waiting for their buses . I enjoyed watching the storm but I was not sure how long I would need to stay inside. I knew that if I left in the middle of the storm, I would get wet leaving my bus to walk down my street, I would be totally soaked from my head to my toes. Which has happened before with rain of such strength from an earlier morning commute. Being exposed to the weather makes me feel a little uncomfortable and uncertain of my future at times. Being like a tiny dot against the vastness of the sky and the power of God.
Yet, the passengers in the terminal just stood inside and the security guards dressed in their white and blue shirts stood there exchanging pleasantries among the patrons waiting for their next connection. Some passengers wore t-shirts and baseball caps. And they had their umbrellas in their hands as well. Some read their newspapers.
About 30 minutes later, the rain let up and the end of theintermission let me wander back to the show of my commute. I boarded the bus and reflected on this journey . Having participated in a storm which often comes my way but with a newer meaning having participated with it in my mind. I boarded the number 10 bus toward Fairfield Woods, and I took in a few good whifs of the sea air and the fresh scent of this summer rain. Having refreshed the air and sky.
As the lightning struck with the bold and ominous flashes-that zig zagged from the sky, it almost felt that I was having my picture taken by God. Now, God has in His rolodex a picture of me that He can share with His angel friends. Even though He knows what I look like since He created me when I was in my mom's womb, it is a comforting reminder that He knows what I look like and think and feel. But getting the immediacy of that through an image is always important and reassuring.
Thus, this would make an electric recipe if I could only replicate in my own kitchen the following; three strikes of bold lightning, two claps of thunder and a bucket of rain. A little more exciting than my bland combinations of shells, bread crumbs and butter. Yet, I need to take the ordinary flavors and add toppings and spices to make the hot dog in me come to life. That is indeed what Anne Lamont taught me as I read some of her insightful reflections on life as it intersected with her life as a writer. Those ordinary events placed a back drop, a blue screen so to speak to see life in a new and fresh way.
I had a chance to hold a 5 month old child in my arms and feed him his bottle of milk. Having the warmth of him against my chest and his little fingers gripping my big hand and hearing and seeing him squirm as Christian drank his bottle made me feel a little bit like Jesus when He said, "let the little children come unto me." I had my friends place him into and out of my arms since i could not do the heavy lifting. But I am glad that I went to the picnic and had the unexpected chance to be like Jesus.
Also was able to listen to a new person from church and thought to myself If I was Jesus, how would I handle the conversation in the way He would. It is kind of hard for me to come up with comments or questions of what I do or what someone else does in their line of work. Lord, help me to understand how to initiate those conversations with others as to what you would have them be.
Praying for others is easier when I see the real struggle that people go through in their relationships. It hurts when I see a single mom struggling with her child or a friend who struggles with a relationship that they are in. But it feels good to be able to apply and speak what I know by praying it back to HIm who hears me and somehow maybe change the course and trajectory of someone's life.
Even if that struggle means staying up a little past my normal rest time to be able to breathe in a truth of God to their heart when they may need it the most. And to see God work through my friend's life and maybe to bring Jesus more to the center of my friends' lives.
And my friend, Gary Davis, turned 60 this past thursday and we at the church celebrated his special day with a cake and by singing happy birthday to him. So these little ways I am glad that I am able to be like Jesus whether in prayer or just being able to orchestrate a cake or just holding one of your children in my lap with a bottle.
Lord let me be held in your arms for a while. and thanks for that opportunity just to sit over my steaming bowl of Wild rice soup and pour my heart to you for my family. May the Lord bless all who hear and read these words.
As I was listening to Teresa in the office speak of a news bit from this morning, I heard her say that when a relative went to the morgue or funeral home to look at the body, they noticed that there was a mix up. Then they had to exhume the body and go through the process again. I work in a redistribution business selling paper goods and cleaning supplies.
Quickly, I responded that this was a picking error or a wrong item in the bin. My manager asked where the retort came from. It gave a little lift to the office this afternoon and gave me a chuckle as I reflect on how fast my lob back was.
Thanks Lord, for allowing my bus to arrive a little late. It gave me the opportunity to bless an older lady who almost forgot one of her bags of groceries. thanks for allowing me to be there on time so I could be of blessing.
Taking a walk in the woods. Across the mossy lawn of the forest. Crunching along the twigs and the bramble underneath.
Jesus walks in the forest of my soul. The hidden place untouched by man. He walks in the place of honor and valour like that of Robinhood.
yet sin and God don't mix. They are oil and water. They are mutually exclusive. The two will not work together. Like a forest fire out of control. Putting up controlled burns may stop the blaze. But more damage will occur in the process.
Help me Lord to realize that as you walk amid the forest of my soul that you will find green spots. Fresh with lush vegetation. A source of your holiness within me. Help me Lord to be the beacon of light that the world desperately needs to hear about.
May your glory shine forth from this beacon. As i bless others and the world in the process.
Life gets complicated. It should be easier for people to understand how it all works out. Yet, our lives become tangled almost like that of a ball of twine that gets all out of kilter from the many conflicts in our lives.
The Halyards clanking against the mast. Resounding like the constant chattering of the gulls with their clarion calls overhead. Amidst the occasional toots of the foghorns sitting atop the beacons to the Maine Coast in the distance.
Just as the world is a ball when looked at from the distance of outer space. It spins around at a great velocity. Yet, what is amazing around our ball of twine is that it is inhabited by smart and intuitive individuals who have a great capacity of goodness in their hearts.
Ever look into a child's eyes as he sits intently making every effort to untangle the ball of twine. Representing a mystery of how to solve such a betwixting problem. Or trying to put together the five rods of ink in a five way Bic pen to no avail.
Some say that the world spins out of control. But I am glad that this world has its anchors. Anchors are stored on the front of the boat. The wet rope that they are attached to gets coiled up and placed in front of the boat for storage until the next time they are used. This memory brings to mind the many times that my father and I would leave the summer cottage and head out to the Cozy Harbor landing to take a journey out to the Sheepscot Bay. We got our life preservers on and got into the boat and dad rowed us out to our boat moored in the Harbor. Dad tied our rowboat to the Rascal W. and got in and helped me climb over the side of the boat.
I have enjoyed sailing in the motorboat on the Coast of Maine with my father when I was growing up in Maine. Some of the time I got to be the helmsman of the boat. I enjoyed the times when Dad asked me to sit in the driver's seat. As I sat in the blue and white vinyl cushion of the motorboat, I received brief instruction from my Dad on how to operate the lever to move the boat forward. Dad said, "it really is not very hard to operate this Rascal W, Scott. All you do is move the lever forward and get a good firm grip of the wheel. To move her forward, all you do is apply a little pressure to the lever moving it forward. Remember a little push will go a long way with this boat here, Scott."
I did as Dad instructed. As I felt the power of the boat move it forward, I felt excited. Being given control to move something outside of myself forward. The sound of the motor increased and as I looked over the side of the boat, I saw the buoys hung and danced from the side of the boat. Dad went carefully around the boat to stow them inside and went to the bow of the boat to close the window since the wind was whipping around us.
Dad stood beside me wearing his blue and white boat jacket and his Blue FBI cap given to him from one of the cottagers that Mom and Dad rented to. Dad firmly gripped the side of the window as I looked at me and asked how I was doing. I said ,"I am enjoying this very much, Dad, thanks for giving me this opportunity to sail with you. "
I enjoyed seeing the spume from the wake of the boat coming up alongside the Rascal W. I got to see the coast from an angle as the boat listed to the side at times when I made the turns on the Sheepscot Bay.
For this is the only driving experience going a mile or two that I have experienced. It gave me a sense of freedom where I could travel at an equivalent of twenty miles an hour without feeling out of control like when I tried to take the car for a brief spin in a parking lot once. No lines or restrictions. Seeing the vastness of the ocean in front of me. And the vastness beneath me as well. I was a novice doing this. Yet under the protective eye of my father.
At times, I wish I have more moments with Dad, just he and I being able to be outside on a boat. In life, it can be hard to open up to our true inner feelings. Looking back to when I was a teen, it is good to have those memories. Of times when I can be myself.
I miss those times of sailing the open seas. If I could only have them back when I was young and without a care in the world. Being protected and under the wings of my mom and dad. Oh, even the gulls have had their squabbles on the coast. But they travel back and forth to their gull rock each night and the ryhthms in life have their meaning.
Yet, I was allowed to fly and pull up my anchor and soar. And sometimes allowed to sink. My life has never been easy. But looking at the lives of others through the few decades since I was a teen have given me an appreciation for what life has to offer. It offers us memories to look back and a hope to look forward.
But my views along the journey just like when I was captain have been well worth it.
The flow gets interrupted at times when people live places of employment or even churches. Our church lost its youth minister almost a year ago and has functioned through a well-oiled team. Not being directly on that team of youth, it seems to be going well. I don't have the front office experience in that ministry.
Yet. during my daily ventures at work with several key players out for medical reasons and gaps left behind from departures, the once natural flow is put into question and guessing sometimes happens as to what the once defined roles were. No smooth flow chart exists at times; so, we are called into a struggle to perform better under strenuous circumstances.
This is a lot of what our Christian faith is about. And what the early disciples of Jesus must have felt when their leader, Jesus, left their physical presence and they awaited the promise of the Holy Spirit who would help them. Times of uncertainty and confusion especially a time when the oral tradition was heavily relied upon. And the Written scriptures from the rolls of papyrus and the work of the scribes.
yet, what makes one's productivity flourish is the reliance on the imagination and the strength of character that is within him or her. And the desire to look up and trust in the Lord during the hard and uncertain times.
May these words comfort the reader as well.
Blessed are those who mourn for what once was for they will be comforted.
I was watching an episode of the Army Wives on television tonight. It brought up the idea of heroism. Å soldier was being presented with a medal of honor for his bravery ; yet, he said one of the acts of bravery that does not always get noticed are the units that scour the globe to find the bodies of soldiers who have died in wars and found in all kinds of places. To be brought home and honored with the military funeral and the salutes and the multiple gun salutes.
I also am brought to awareness of how Jesus is acknowledged for His death at communion. We as a congregation celebrate it once a month. We had a visual slide in front of our church with light coming from behind the cross and water gushing out of the cross creating a flow of water. Symbolic of how the release of His blood and spirit brings forth life into our lives.
And when someone repents of their sins, they are brought into His fold . Into the newness of life.
We discussed in both our sunday school discussion of John and in the message of who Jesus is. He claimed identity with the Father. Making Himself equal to God, to divinity. This upset the social order of the time. Putting out threats on His very life. Yet, Jesus had the sustaining power to keep Him going all the way to the cross and to Heaven and into men and women's hearts today.
As we concluded our service, we sang in celebration, Shine Jesus Shine. What a good way to end an hour celebrating who He is. And also a way to remember the effects of fallen soldiers in our time of war. Rewording that song, one could almost say, Shine Troops Shine. For your work is always remembered and will not be forgotten.
Thanks to the combination of Army Wives and The Lord's Supper for providing the fodder for thought today.
Walking along a roadside garden in newtown, friends discussed how corn got its growth. Each kernel grows on top of the other and are fertilized by the one below it. to create a full ear of corn.
The same can be said of how we witness and disciple one another. Allowing ourselves to be in close contact with another's life. To be disciplined to listen to what is being said and to look out at the weather and the conditions around us. To be bold and demonstrative in showing our enthusiasm to others. To be involved in the missions work of the church-on the front lines.
When I first saw the weather, I saw ominous storm clouds that I thought would bring two thunderstorms as I was planning to wander around the Stamford Mall this afternoon. I said I am not going on my venture and headed back home after breakfast and the gym. Took my brief nap and then called my friend, Louis, to say I was available for the pizza bake off to meet some new friends. I am glad that I did because I got to meet many new people and to share my writings with several new people. Did not get to do a read-off with a fellow author who wants to be published. Different system of thoughts. But I am keeping the door open to her so I can have a voice and influence in her life.
Thank you Lord for letting me follow my heart and for giving me a good afternoon and evening and a chance to quickly brush up on pool playing and allowing me to participate in the bake off by my friend's request. God is indeed Good all the time ,
Good Morning America. happy 232nd birthday!!!! A good land to be part of with the free exchange of ideas both left and right.
And a day to celebrate where I got to work on the 4th of July cutting onions at Duchess Family restaurants 25 years ago to this day. A weepy job but one that celebrates those who do the mundane jobs that may not always be appreciated through time. Yes, Ecclesiastes says there is time for weeping and times for joy.
It is a day of journeys also. Went to a friends gathering from church to celebrate the return of one of his missionary son and daughter in laws return and 5 grandchildren from China. A good time to reconnect and hear from both their parents while getting sun on my face and back while looking out at Milford Beach and Charles Island.
We are all part of God's kingdom. We have many spheres of influence that we are involved in. My friends, the Rudds, have spent many years in China on their first term. They have invested their lives in these people. And now are back to invest in the lives of those they left behind. Quick to recall who we are and of the involvement in their friends' lives. Yet, also connected to the Kingdom of God and to the building of the New jerusalem. Of those who will inhabit Heaven. It is their treasures and sacrifice that will be highlighted then.
Thank you Lord for the many Americans who have sacrificed their lives during times of war to make our land and the world safer from our enemies. For the many times right now when soldiers are behind bunkers ready to avoid the next bullet on the way or to cover for a friend for whom the bullet is heading. Thank you Lord for the time that you covered my back for my transgressions. To cover for me when I may not give a rap about for who you are. Even though you are deep within me. I sometimes let you slip through my cracks of my soul. Forgive me.
Waiting rooms can be quite extensive and elaborate. Take the Grand central station. There are wooden benches and pictures on the walls. It can be a little confining at times in the waiting room. With the warning of "Do not Loiter" yet in the Psalm 27, I hear God saying in Verse 14, "WAIT ON THE LORD;BE OF GOOD COURAGE. AND HE WILL STRENGTHEN THINE HEART. AGAIN, HE SAYS, WAIT. WAIT.
YET, i want it Now. I don't like waiting for the future. But, when I do wait, I will see the whole puzzle picture come together and will be glad at the end result. There is so much packed into day no. 2 of the scriptures. Peace and glory to God.
Oh No. Another failure. Another attempt to stay rutted. stuck. Defeated.
Yet, I am glad for Billy Graham's verse in the paper today of Psalm 51:10. It is a rich verse. It states, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me." I did not pursue that verse last night. I pursued and chased pleasure. Going to new places that enthralled me for the moment. But gave me terrible heartburn of the soul. That is what it felt like for me when I emerged from sin. A little like the groaning that Paul talks about.
May I Lord take the reminder and stay on the outside of sin. Knowing it is there. but the pains don't outweigh the rewards for purity. Help me Lord to stay pure.
The psalm is one of confession. Especially for King David when confronted by Nathan of his night with Bathsheba and all that surrounded the cover up of the sin. The progression in the psalm is good of how sin is ever around us. We need those active tenses of what God will do. He will purge us, cleanse us. He will preserve our Holy Spirit. He will uphold us.
And in verse 13, we get to teach transgressors the ways of God. And allow God to cleanse them as well. For we need to bring some more victories to Heaven and trounce the evil one of his schemes.
The very beginning of my life. A time for my parents to understand and discover how to unlock my soul.
to get it to sing and bring Glory to our creator. Times on the floor with the wooden puzzle pieces. To engage my mind into action.
A time when I was nine, when I was enrolled in the discovery center, the new wing at the Henry Viscardi School to learn and gain some wings. Time for slow progress, a time for life to emerge from my soul.
A time of exit and transition to the real world.
A time of conscious awareness of myself to emerge from that cocoon. Times to struggle against that cocoon... breaking free from the confines of the handicapped world. Yet struggling to be accepted into the new world of normality.
Now, as I constantly enter through the gates to discover who I am. To be free to be myself. To be free to be in love with Jesus and the world around me.
Discoveries bring advancement to mankind to make it a better place. Which emerge from virgin territory. A world with plants and animals and artifacts. To fashion into skyscrapers and nobel peace prizes.
This week, I learned to trust and rely on friends of mine who helped me get from my work to my bus and from the bus to the church. I am thankful for Mark and Todd for their faithfulness in making the time at Vacation Bible School going seamlessly and bring me out of my comfort zone and more into the arena of action in Christian service.
This week, I was pushed to the limit being a mad scientist before fifty children at our annual VBS party at church. We did all kinds of experiments which ranged from mixing various combinations of water, rubbing alcohol, oil and food coloring and salt. All with the beach theme to teach the children five beach be-attitudes. To be obedient, kind, forgiving, bold and believing. This mad scientist performed 5 experiments hands-on. I placed a balled piece of paper inside a cup and submerged it in water. and it came up dry inside. I also did an experiment where I added food coloring to cold and warm water. Then I simulated erosion on a beach set up in a tray. The fourth night was my favorite since I was sitting in front of the children in a small yellow chair. The 4 an 5 year-olds gathered and swarmed around me and watched as I explained the magnet drawing the paper clip around in the sand. During this experiment, I almost felt like Jesus with the children who surrounded Him. On the fifth night, I poured a lot of salt to move a hydrometer higher up in the cup.
These were all simple experiments, but they gave me the opportunity to share Christ with the future generation of the church and make me more comfortable being a member of a team.
When commenting about the week at the famous men's breakfast club at Andro's diner, one of our members asked, "hey, did you inject anything into the kids." I replied, "sorry, I did not. But we did inject them with lots of love and christian be-attitudes. "
Many times in our lives, we are like plants that become very dirty. Yet, at the base of the plant, there is a cluster of roots that when pulled up out of the ground, there are strings and fillaments that clutch onto a rooted ball.
When reflecting on the hurts that some individuals face, the rooted ball sometimes needs to be shaken and at times, it can feel good and refreshing when the soil loosens and falls around our fingers. The armoma of that is very soothing and identifies oneself with the soil in an intimate sense.
We are told in the Holy Bible to abide in Him. Just as the roots abide to the base of the plant. The roots must go down deep. This way we will become well rooted and able to withstand the storms that the enemy will throw our way. We need the stability to withstand them. Whether they are a grade 9 storm or just one that barely hits the surface.
We also need to be flexible as many plants need to bend and go with the flow. We need to be prepared for whatever comes our way. When i left for work, I was not expecting a longer than usual time at my bible study location. But I became flexible and grateful that I had the chance to spend some time writing and encouraging others. And adding to my blog as well. So one never knows what is going to be thrown his or her way when one puts his or her feet to the floor.
Just hoping that a good forest will result as I live out my life.
God causes us many times to be full of grace. At times, in our lives, we have many storms. Raindrops fall into our laps at times which cause us to get a little wet. But during those times, when wet, we may get somewhat cranky. But an hour later, we become dried off and become more thankful.
I was at work today and heard the shocking news over the news that Tim Russert had died. He was such a man of journalism and words and had so many insights into how to live their lives in the world. Now he is gone.
Tributes poured in on the news stations from which he did his work. Music played against the backdrop of the testimonies of others. With the parameter of his dates between two dashes ;1950 to 2008,
On this Friday the 13th bookmarked on the weekend of Father's day, he was sandwiched between his own dad, Big Russ, and his own son, Luke. Testimonies let others know how he is a family man, a man with a strong work ethic and a man with a tremendous faith.
Losses of those who lose their lives lay before us each day. Yet, to see it as someone you have heard or known, it makes the template of death a little too real. I will have to face the number at the other end of the dash. Life is a lot like the 1000 yard dash striving to get ahead and to make something of oneself. But at the end, people will speak of the greatness of the one who lived. Or not. All depending on how they lived their lives.
So to the NBC family and to the world, that is my tribute to the man who I enjoyed listening to when he was on some of the nightly talk shows.
Let me be like him in how I relate to Gary and to my own pop as well. The spitting image of my dad.
Today was a glorious day for pilgrims who follow Jesus in that one of the tres dias disciples was feted with a going away celebrating his life. Craig Mengel was a follower of Jesus and he followed Him. Keeping God first in his life and all the struggles that he faced. So as many said of Chester, the name given by the disease that he faced with courage.
It is a sad day for horse racing fans who hoped that Big Brown was going to win a triple crown. He lost and finished last. No triple crown for him.
As I was chatting with my friend and brother in Christ, Ted, I linked the triple crown of hope and joy and peace. As I was reminded, we are called by Timothy to run the race that is set before us and to do so with perserverence and determination. We all get hoof splits in our life. Enamel and glue may not always make them better. We may limp through life, but it is great to have a wide body of believers to connect to.
This morning as I was sharing with my friend. Dan who is off to Israel this evening to study in seminary of Jesus and architecture. It is an exciting time for him. And to be able to connect with Bill who is involved in local men's ministry and to chat of a possible speaking engagement at my local church.
And I connected with a man who is the son of one of our former pastors and who had my senior pastor when he was our youth pastor. So, it is a small world connected by many believers in our midst.
Henry Nouwen had words of encouragement in one of his devotionals of how people strive for external beauty and acceptance. But we all face our limitations. That indeed takes real courage.. We do have to face our mortality, but the great thing is that God is immortal and we can cloak ourselves with that immortality. So when we are swallowed up by death, its sting is not felt. It becomes our release into the next life. And that is what happened to Craig. He was given a one way ticket to heaven. With its price already paid for. As Bill Carlucici shared this morning, we all must take the bullet for Christ. Being willing to stand up for Him against what the culture pits against us.
At a celebratory service of a christian brother, Craig mengel who faced a terminal disease and even lymphona, he accepted it. He had a strong faith and knew when his time was up. And he smiled through the end. As the children;s song states, we can smile in the storm with Jesus in our boat.
So, get ready to row your boat to help others cross the shore to eternal life. equipping them with the tools they will need.
ANCHORS AWAY. RAISE UP THE ANCHORS AND CROSS SAFELY TO THE SHORE. FOR ONE'S TIME ON LIFE IS UP AND THE LOVE AND TESTIMONY OF OTHERS ARE THE REPLACEMENT FOR THOSE LEFT BEHIND.
And I was blessed to spend time sharing my story with one of Craig's friends as I got a ride up to the service and shared of my struggles and triumphs. And was blessed to have a chat with pastors of a local church in Bridgeport on the way home. All with the confidence and no anxiety that God provides. Jehovah Jirah.
So back to the main point of the encouraging word for the day. Let us throw off all that hinders us from winning the triple crown which will be our rewards in heaven. Let us cast our crowns at the feet of Him as we walk this path of our earthly sufferings ,
De colores to Craig and Amazing grace to all who read these words of comfort and praise.
I got to thinking of the Lord's prayer a little too late this morning. part of it says, "Lead me not into temptation. Deliver me from evil. For thine is the Kingdom. These are not random thoughts at all. It is all about guidance from the Holy Spirit. I need to be constantly aware of the evil one, Satan, who wants to direct me off the path that I am on and onto a slippery slope. I need to someone have my sense of sight opened as it says in the song, Open the Eyes of my Heart. If I do the first in asking not to be led into temptation, then God can hold my hand as I travel my life with Him and then I will be able to see and sense the Kingdom of God.
For Jesus states in the Gospel of Mark, that the Kingdom of God is at hand. I promised myself that I would read some scripture and if I did that and followed the above sequence, I might have had a more peaceful night and not one that I fought against you, Jesus. And I am very sorry, Lord, for the disappointment that I caused you and your angels in my behavior not to follow you but instead the flesh which is corrupted. So, let me look to the nails in your hands and feet instead.
Tonight, we saw several speeches from the candidates looking for their next employment=to govern our free world. On the Road to the White House. Yet, that task will never be easy. And to grasp at that power for a promise of change is a very lofty goal to reach towards. Yet, in life, we are promised a carrot at times , something to make our lives better. Let us hope that what is being promised to us in the campaigns will get delivered. But there are always temptations that will shortchange what happens when compromise and debate are brought onto the table.
In the back story of the lives of the pilgrims that have graced our earth in the search for ultimate truth, a battle has been waged of how to gain ultimate satisfaction.
I agree that entropy or the law of diminishing returns is a tool that the devil uses since we have that fleeting glimpse of satisfaction this one and only time. Yet, as the source of satisfaction draws near, the ultimate target is yanked away. To be chased again. As Solomon said, life is chasing after the wind. He should know since he experienced it first hand.
For being like a child, it is fun for me to exult in simple things in life like going to a listening meeting for the buses=to talk and be around people that experience what I do in riding buses.
And as christians, getting together to identify with life and with one who risked His life so we may live beyond our finite existence on earth. Doing simple things together like coffee hour and communion and blogging and praying.
So let us not forget to get together and exult in the very simple and yet profound of things. Getting to know ourselves, our God and our human potential. Let's go Jesus!!!!!!
Our ultimate ruler on earth and in Heaven. So let us celebrate with open hearts and hands and a pure mind.
Which is the only way to gain satisfaction in this life. Otherwise, we are going to be chasin after the wind, baby.
Upon any adventure, we all value to be counted in life. Today, in our nation's political history, we had furor on both sides re the Michigan and Florida primaries and whether votes were going to be counted. A compromise was reached with half receiving a voice.
Using this analogy of canvassing is a perfect way to look at how we crave. We all have a desire to have our needs met and at times, a compromise is our best solution. For me, a desire would be to have unlimited access to what married people have. Yet, God has set a road block and gates for my protection. As He did around the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life. Yet, our mankind has not taken well to the barriers that God has set up and men and women have found ways to go around them.
Another way to look at craving is to view our lives as a canvas that God has set up on an easel. As we listen to Him, He will paint by number colors. When we glorify Him, He will paint a glorious color. Yet, when we sin and miss the mark, God will have to paint that spot RED with His blood to cover our transgression when we confess our sins. Yet, our indescretions in that moment will be turned to white as snow in His eyes, the world may still see that crimson red.
So let us be careful in how we paint our lives. So that His grace abounds. And we will be a glowing testimony for Him through all the generations to come.
Oh, wow. this is the 300th post to triumph. A perfect score of 300 points in bowling. Never achieved by me though. Yet, I did score a perfect game once in bowling on the other end of the spectrum at a big fat zero.
The space shuttle, Discovery, is taking off for some plumbing work to fix a leaky toilet. It is a long journey for a plumber to take. Wonder if they had any training in their NASA classrooms for emergency plumbing. That sure could come in handy. But these astronauts need to be prepared for anything.
At least they have a spare in the form of a toy astronaut if need be.
Happy Memorial Day America; And Afghanistan, and Iraq and Iran and other hot spots in the world. I watched a special on CBS by David Martin on the Arlington National Cemetery. When I was in my early teens, I visited that hallowed landmark of our history. Here is a poem that I have been mulling over in my mind and I dedicate it to the men and women who have served in our country.
AT ARLINGTON''S GATE
A child about to be born stands at his mother's door. 'bout to push through the revolving door. He stands at the threshhold and pushes through struggling valiantly to make it home.
Dependent on his mother's breasts at the start , weaning to full maturity.
Flash forward 18 years and off to fight for his country. He stands on the other side of the world. waiting patiently for the world as he serves the world.
He falls and dies. Dependent he is again on his mother country to bring him home again. to safety. to his mother's arms. this time not in joy but in unconsolable grief. But thanks to his service. He spent his time helping out our country.
But really was it helping at all.
We may not know for many years.
But all I can say as I stand at Arlington's gate seeing the eternal flame. Hearing JFK"s words-"think what you can do for this country"
I sing God Bless the USA And thank my savior Jesus for taking his life so I may live in the Republic of Heaven.
Going to the market to buy t.v. dinners, shampoo and toilet paper and vegetables and granola bars and the like can be very expensive. That cost is nothing to what has been paid for us. We are bought at a high price. Sold out for the King of Kings. And we must be careful to have our faith rooted and grounded in Him.
For a product to be purchased and then shipped at a later time, our company, R3 , has been vigorous in typing in orders for 5 weeks as a promotion for our trade show. I overheard in the background that the inventory orders had to be coded as a backorder.
The idea of a backorder comes to my mind when I think of the supplies of toys such as at thanksgiving. The rush during black friday puts a big demand on the markets and causes items to be put on backorder. That is what happens when items get sold out. So should our faith. It should be sold out ; so that, there is an increase in the competition for us. For more people to follow Jesus. Yet, our cost is that we may get mocked by others or even hurt. But we can gain peace when we know that His order will not be undersold. That He has us by His fingernails and will hold us up even when we start to let Go of God.
For He clung to that old Rugged Cross on Calvary and in the hymn as well.
So Glory be to God. Recognizing that it was at such a great cost that we were bought at auction and redeemed. And the devil got outbid in the process~~~~~
I stayed behind the bars of my apartment staying within the confines of my building on this glorious spring day. The sun shone through my windows and I failed to get outside. I don't know if it was a mood type funk I was in or maybe I just did not want to face the bustle and hustle of another day having faced them for a full week. Maybe it is a just a way for me to charge up my batteries for the coming week. SO help me God in my quietness and my shyness to be more outgoing in a natural way so that I can have more influence on others. Add to my level of influence and expand my territory as the Jabez prayer states.
Last night, I went on an escape. Escape from the anxiety and stress and hurt within my own heart. Of the loneliness that is not always filled by chats with Godly friends.
To a world in cyberspace with images of spandex and silk and of nothing. Of a world where the imagination gets traced away from God to a trajectory that can not be rationally touched. And of regrets lining my day, of not spending time with God and being foolish and care-free in the basics such as not looking both ways on a busy street. Yet, I thank you God for looking out for a rebellious son of yours. Someone who knows how to return home.
One of my friends, Ted, lifted me up and let me know that I should not be as hard on myself. He said that I am one of the best christian soldiers he knows. He amplified my thoughts and concerns that as christians we go through a real tension of faith vs passion. Of comfort vs. Godly action. If we are concerned about faith, we need to look for how God will act in our lives. And passion if not controlled, we take us away from the oasis that God will lead us to.
Reflecting to the 40 years that the Israelites wandered the desert, not the dessert table. The Israelites could have short=circuited the process if they saw how God was meeting their needs. Sure, manna and quail may not have been what they wanted on the menu and the same special every day. Come on, they might say. But, their needs were met. And if they were satisfied with their current state, the wandering may have been less severe.
Lord even though I am single and I look out and see couples having children and having terrific marriages and opportunities for passion, I need to look at how you provide for me a roof over my head, compassionate coworkers like Gilbert who drops me off at my home before 6 and people like Ted that I can talk of the mundane struggles that we go through.
Another Tidbit of wisdom from Ted was that there is a struggle we have for comfort and Godly action. Of when do sit behind the sidelines and when do we get into the ring for the action. Mary and Martha in the New Testament had that struggle as well.
So Lord if Quail and Manna are dropped onto my plate, I will put some parmesan on it and sprinkle some butter and put some parsley on top. And give you thanks. For you are the great provider of my soul. And I will look for you to fill it up and not empty it as my cisterns often do. And let us find a good vegetable to make that a meat potato and vegetable platter.
sky patrol experience and enjoy life surroundings and outlook going through the motions.
The pleasures garnered from the senses. Of the touch that gets received from mother to son. Of the times when it is avoided and shunned to my regret. Getting close at times is awkward for me like getting stuck between a gate and a wall as it is closing in. Of not wanting the contact and at the same time wanting it real bad.
At times, when a woman from church approaches me and wants a hug, I tend to give a brief one and not embrace the idea fully. I don't know why I escape and at times want the contact. As if I was being chased by aliens yet these are my friends and people that i know. I wish that I had the golden key -the answer to unlock this deep mystery for me.
In my mind, it is easy to watch an embrace unfold and to encourage it and get excited by it. Yet when the embrace faces me, I run backwards into an awkward dance. Of not wanting to be foolish and fall backwards.
A tryptic of our lives
In the Furnace of the heart as one writer put it, ideas in a book are like a women's eggs that are waiting to be fertilized.
feel free to add a few thoughts to these and you may be the next featured blogger on my site!!!!!
A thief broke and entered my sacred abode last night. I let him in. It was the usual suspect. I did not have to call in the police or the national guard. I looked at the scene of devastation around me. Nothing turned over or tossed aside. But what was turned over and tossed aside was an intangible. It was the trust that I have in God to supply all of my needs.
At the moment, I felt pity for myself in not having what I think is a God=given right. The chance to have unlimited legal pleasure with a woman who I would call my wife. Yet, God, you have not granted me that wish yet. I wish I knew why God. Yet, maybe it is because as a man with that desire unchecked and maybe not placed under the control of you, if I had my wish granted , I may cause more harm than good.
I think to when you, Jesus, walked and ministered on the earth. In your elected office of Chief Presiding Officer of the King of Kings. At that time, you could have control over all of creation, but what you chose to do is to selectively heal certain people while others suffered and maybe even died. You took into account your omnipotence but balanced it with your finiteness that you existed as a human. You also exercised humility where it was the Lord's power but under control. Hard to put into words. But my point, Lord, is that you worked out your ministry in the dependence on the Father and God and the Father flowed through you as His son. So that the Gospel could be shared and that HIs ministry would continue on earth.
So. let me Lord and let others when a break in and enter has occurred in our lives , look at the source of it and whether we let the devil in on the act. To face it head on and emerge on the other side stronger. Looking at the harm to others and ourselves and not just looking through it. Let me see what I was trying to gain. To get a blessing and birthright ahead of what was promised. Help me not to get the pleasure now but to wait on you , Lord, who has the perfect timing in all of history.
This is a poem that I read from one of my fellow bloggers that I felt was a very good poem which touches on the human condition quite well. May you be blessed by it as well.
A prelude into the poem can be summarized by the idea that we are not to let triumph tease temptation just as we are to let death be not proud.
The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dreams for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon... I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.