Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!!!!

Today is a bonus day. An extra day for me to live and enjoy life. We made an extra 6 hours of the earth going around the sun.

I read an agricultural article today about growing seeds. It said one needs loamy soil, sol that is porous and able to absorb nutrients and is somewhat loose. That is where the seeds will not get all full of gook.

The same thing is true of our faith. We need to have the ability to have loamy soil ;that is, to be able to understand and discern the will of God. Which I have not been too good at lately. Since I still have my tendency to go south in my thoughts. If I could only conquer myself of them. Let me be like Jesus who used scripture to combat the devil. I just let the devil come into my ring and play with him and then get stung. I need to invite Jesus into the ring and then work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Glory be to God somehow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weather needing a couch

Couches sure come in handy. Mine has been in my living room for over 20 years. The arm is well worn and the inner fibers can be seen well. Once it was rock hard when one sat on it. When my parents visited it, they commented several times that it was firm. We joked of different ways to make the couch soft. it definitely is soft now.

At times when I am on my commute, I wish that the buses would have a nice recliner or sofa cushion that I could lean against. it is very hard to rise early at 6 am and be out before 6:30. So many attempts at reading and writing are not always made. And my daily musings at times lay beside me on the couch. So at least the ideas of others have a soft spot for their tushes. Yet, it makes it a challenge to have real breathing people on the sofas and chairs. Excuses I make which I wish I did not have to do.

Couches are also used for the psychologists who offer help to others. And the weather in the New York Metropolitan area should sit on the couch and get analysis of why it rains in February instead of snowing. I don't complain ; yet, the white snow looks so nice on the ground. So, I won't complain too much otherwise a joint session with the weather gurus might be in order. Yet, how does one sit down the rainmaker on a couch anyway. I don't know what a rainmaker looks like anyway. Yet, I do know what piles look like.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Academy Awards goes Extraterrestrial

Oh, Yes, today is the 80th birthday of the academy awards. a few months younger than my mom. Yet, she was not invited to the show. I guess no 80 year olds were polled or placed in random drawings.

I was in our church service today and heard an excellent message on God's glory from 2Corninthians 3 which used the historical example of Moses being face to face with Jesus receiving the 10 commandments and having a glow about him. Our associate pastor illustrated the idea of glory to marriage. The man stands at the front of the church and eyes are upon him. His music is playing while he stands there. Now the scene shifts and the music changes and the bride walks through the doors and eyes go to the back of the church and the audience stands looking to the bride and to the groom who is reflecting the radiance of the bride.

The above is not my idea. It comes from Don Hay who is our executive pastor at Trinity. It is good to be reminded of this since we are the bride of Christ. When we get to heaven, we are going to going through those gates. The music of suffering and persecution will have changed to that of joyous celebration of the saints that have gone before us. What we will see now is the faces of loved ones who died before we did. OF those who we heard were martyred and we will see at the center of the room on a throne, God, who created us and the world amongst us. And we will see Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father welcoming us home. Giving us big bear hugs. And we will be singing praises to Him. Like we did today in church somewhat, From whom all blessings flow and To God be the Glory.. great things He has done.

We will be able to join in the dancing with those who have gone before, like Sandy Steadwell who died before her prime from cancer and be able to dance many years from now with Joni when she will be free to walk about the cabin of heaven with no problems at all. Yet for her now it is confinement but also openness to God's grace and provision. And for others who struggle it is the same.

And Glory can be seen tonight at the Oscars with all the stars in their tuxes and gowns. Flowing outfits on red carpet and elaborate jewelry and fashion coordinators. All at the Kodak theatre. But nothing will compare when we get to the Heavenly Oscars which will go on for eternity. Where all will get a trophy and crown to cast down to Jesus' feet to say Thanks for all you have done. Let us roll the carpet out and let the Saints go marching IN!!!!! Let the party begin. Sandy, better get the caterers ready. Glory to Him.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A New Decade emerges.

Ten years ago tomorrow, my mom technically became an orphan. When she lost her mom of over 90 years. I wrote this as a reflection of her and her dedicated view of her family.

In Memory of Mary E. MacKinnon

When I reflect on growing up, I fondly remember the times we went to Grandma's house on 1391 Ruffner Road. Her simple green house with the long hallway that echoed with my footsteps underneath it. And the many times when we would gather around in her dining room overlooking the bay window in front. Sitting in the upholstered chairs and below the rich red velvety carpet. And her flow blue china sitting in the cabinets along the wall.

I remember listening to Grandma's stories and the times we were in her family room which overlooked her back yard and seeing and hearing the occasional bird that would fly by and of hearing the wind against the trees.

Of Grandma , in her red apron, standing at the stove, moving gracefully from corner to corner. Making up a fresh batch of muffins or a fresh pot of steaming stew, Many trips taken out of love and dedication for family.

Of the thanksgiving and reunion meals that we would share with all of our cousins and uncles and aunts. And of the times of laughter and advice exchanged during these times.

Of the clock on the wall heading up to the attic and the vast basement below. Where a vigorous dad would do his military exercise routine. Half scaring Grandma. Of the hooked rugs and the fine colorful crystal bowls with the red fish hanging from their sides.

And of our final visit to see Grandma at her home on Halloween weekend to be with her and keep her company when all of her neighborhood would visit. Filling her life with a fullness and less silence.

These are just a few of the memories that I have of spending time at Ruffner Road while we lived in Fairfield. Now it is 10 years later after she died. And I just wanted to share and bring back some of the memories that we shared as a family.

And I see Grandma in you mom and dad every day in your care and concern for Randy and me. And in how you shape life. Of how she gave you the chance to be a mom-in-training as you helped to train our uncles and aunt in growing up to be strong members of our society. As they shaped the lives of others.

And of your time in Hawaii, Mom, when you battled a big spider with your sneaker.

As we visited Grandma through the years, your dedication, Mom and Dad, were steadfast. Even when her support may have waned to you both along with her memory and her aging. The sun set several times;yet, the sun brought some beautiful sunrises as well. Leaving afterglows well into the evenings and the mornings.

Even when it may have felt like a wave at the ocean when it comes into Higgins Beach. Always knowing that a stronger one comes in later. And I see the strength of the waves each day as you tackle and face the problems of life. Looking at the framed view of the ocean anchored by the sea-faring roots as a family.

Being of the Sea and the vastness which lays below. And of the beauty when she intersects with her neighbors, the rocks. And of her friends, the gulls and the seals. Crawling along the edge of the seal island and lumbering up on shore for a rest and some sun. And gracefully plopping back to seas beneath. Gliding effortlessly below.

And I am grateful for how you learned the lessons of your mom and have placed yourselves within the view of a lifetime to allow those memories to permeate every pore of our being. May you be blessed and cheered on by these words.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thankful for the blogosphere.

The NASA astronauts are finishing up their 12 day mission in space and are packing up and heading home from the space station after delivery of a new quarters for the astronauts to work on. They got to live and work in space and be in a different environment as well.
We as believers are also in a different environment, one governed by faith. It is in this environment where we have supplies sent up by the Holy Spirit. Our home is being prepared by Jesus and it is our faith that will bring us Home. Just as previous missions built the home for the astronauts in the station, we also will contribute to that mansion as we send presents ahead to Jesus and build into other lives through prayer, reconciliation, encouragement and peace as just a few things. Or if it is puppetry or carpentry, building the kingdom of God has eternal rewards and consequences. So let us enjoy the Mission that we are on in the blogosphere within the atmosphere of life.
Glory be to God.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The word became flesh

In the battle of the flesh that I experience, the Holy Spirit revealed to me about 16 hours later, the notion that God draws near to us as we draw near to Him as it says in the book of James. I know in my heart that I can say no to temptation whenever it rears its ugly head. Yet, I ignore the warnings and proceed in the playground of my imagination. Frolicking in the fun for the moment and letting it carry me high away. Only to be brought to reality by the convictions of the Holy Spirit later on.

In the battle of our souls, there is a yearning to be drawn close to God and others. When we are born, we do not immediately identify with God. We have to be taught and shown who God is and what He looks like. We can not go to the department or grocery store and say I will have a dozen of God. He is not on the shelf. Yet, He lives in the souls of humankind.

A woman on the bus on the way home from work was talking excitedly of the blessedness of being identified with God. One comment struck me as I chatted a little. She said, "you need to embrace the truth of God and He will draw near to you. Be sure to read the word of God and the Word will become part of your very being.

The epiphany of the connection between man and God came as I reflected on the study that three men from our church participated in on Monday night. It focused on the beginning two chapters in the book of Genesis. In it, Moses who is attributed to being the author of the text, states that The Spirit hovered over the waters in the beginning of creation. And going back to the Gospel of John, John states that the Word was with God and the Word became flesh and made our dwelling among us.

All the while, 16 hours earlier, all I could wrap my mind around was the flesh and its desires. Yet, at that epiphany, I saw the bridge linking the eternal word becoming flesh. That the flesh has spiritual significance and that the role that God desired for the flesh was to bring Him Glory when it humbly comes under the authority of God.

In later weeks, in Genesis, we will be looking at the serpent in how it tempts Adam and Eve to be like God. Yet, it was God who created Eve out of Adam's side. So mankind must respond to God and not the serpent-no matter how crafty a deception that the snake can slither into our lives. So praise be to our Revealing God.

All kinds of Tired

The end of the week brings about a good deal of tiredness in me. Of having to face the daily grind of 30 connections to and from work for the 5 days of work. Three going and three going home. In the cold and in the heat and in the rain and in the snow. Luckily, this winter has seen the absence of the real cold and the high snows. On the way to work on Thursday morning, it POURED yet, I forgot my umbrella. This weather is so hard to predict of what it is going to do after all. Yet, it does take a toll at times and crashing at the end of the week in slumber is a great relief.
In a sense of word play on the final and 30th link for the week, I thought through various notions of the word tired. How in the beginning of the day, I retire from my bed, get dressed in my daily attire, then retire out the door and onto the daily commute.
It will be great to retire and rest from all of the labors of the years. Will that ever be great. Yet, I will have to wait until that day comes. And I will be glad when it does come.
so here is a little poem based on the roots of the word tired.


Splish splash. All upon the head. Clutching the red Fairfield U. Bag in my hand tight so as not to get the contents drenched. You see, no umbrella over my head. It is safely tucked on the table by my front door. I left it there and forgot to bring it on the journey.

The song rain drops keep falling on my head. And the steady pouring of the droplets on my head as well.
Tired, retired from the day, attired in clothes that have been through sun and snow and rain for the week. And a soul that has been distant and also close to you God all the while you being very present in the very journey of my life, always at my side.

Thanks to you for that Lord.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Being lifted by the Breeze.

At the hockey game tonight in my city of Bridgeport, our R3 Papercraft company spent a few hours watching the Sound Tigers defeat the Lowell Devils. We had two sides of a hospitality suite and the place was loaded with good food from soda, water, chips, dip, wings, veggies and dip and cake and nachos and cheese. It was a fill up your plate, stuff some face and then time to look at the clock and cheer, "Go Sound Tigers." I just could not get any one in on the action. So our debut at the arena was not able to produce a suite sound, but we all had a good time enjoying ourselves.
Plenty of suits walked around making sure we had a good time and hoped we would be back. Not bad being able to spend the full time in the suite and not having to go down to the ice level. A good birds eye view of the action. Hockey is a little slower than the sport of football, but a faster paced game. But with the 2 intermissions, it probably is the same amount of time as a football game.

And the lifting of the breeze occurred when a gentlemen on the ice controlled a remote-controlled blimp with advertising on it for some home contractor outfit. A different way to get a blimp into the arena. And it was also a night where some Nascar Cars were in the arena. yet, I did not seek them out though.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Travel to Paradise.

My family comes from a seafaring heritage with my great grandparents coming from Newfoundland where my grandmother and grandfather were born. And as they came over on the boats to the United States to start a new life, there must have been some salt water from the Coasts that intermingled and came down through the generations into our family's blood. My great grandparents worked as codfishermen off the grandbanks of Newfoundland.
As a result, it seems that our family has had an itch of being true Mainiacs even before we knew it. And thankfully for my parents being at Bates College in Maine, my journey got its great start from there.

My grandmother gave my mom and dad a pearl of wisdom which we have been lucky enough to live by during our time staying on the coast of Maine. She said, "always be sure that when you get a place on the coast, to have the view frame the picture." I have found that there are not that many places where one does not end up getting a fairly good view of the coast. I am biased since our family has had very good luck as in horseshoes in always finding the very best view of the shore. And when my grandmother was with us, she spent several weeks in some of the cottages and house that we had along the shoreline.

Once from the lawn of our house , she was standing with her daughter and a helicopter was passing overhead taking a picture of the house for some promotional purpose and the photographer of the picture showed up several weeks later to present the picture to my parents and as a result the picture is hanging up in the hallway of the living room at Piper Shores, the current life care community that my parents have enjoyed very much.

Whenever I sit in a room, I like glancing around at the various pictures that are hanging on the walls, and as I look at them I imagine the worlds that they represent. And even though I can not walk physically through the pictures, I like recalling the times that I spent at those sights in Maine. For example, our second cottage on the coast sat looking across at two lighthouses. The Hendricks Head lighthouse was seen from the front porch and acted as the view to our side yard.

To curl up on the couch after taking off my shoes to recline and look out at the ocean in front of me. Just looking out as if I was on the bow of a boat. Seeing lots of blue ocean and blue sky on the horizon. No motion of going up and down as if on the boat, but at times, it almost felt like it with the way the breeze made the boughs of the trees in front of our cottage go swaying by. The sunlight from the ocean sparkled against the gentle waves that were curling up and down along the shore from the distance.

There were days that I spent on the shore enjoying the warm and breezy air. The times that I went out on the front porch and looked out at the ocean that lay before me. Of the times that I would walk through our cottage to see and hear the gulls passing overhead on their passages to their gull rocks.
What must their view look like as they pass by our cottage that is situated high above overlooking the cliffs below. And only fifty feet from the shore, closer than what the regulations allow now.

This escape to Maine for July and August acted as a quiet alternative to a noisy neighborhood of loud pool parties and barking beagles. And it opened up a world for me to enjoy serene moments sitting by the tidal pools and looking into them. Just seeing a tidal pool suspended within the cleft of the rock that has eroded over time. After a slow observation of seeing small fish swimming effortlessly through the small tidal pool. Never before had I heard of such a place . It had been written of long times ago by the likes of our former historical neighbor of Rachel Carson from Dogfish Head, the beach that sat next to Hendricks Head light. My mom guided me by the hand down along the sloping rocks and as we sat at the tidal pool during the break, she explained, "son, this is what we see in the tidal pool." As Mom explained to me the various creatures, I reached in and moved my fingers through the tidal pools to get a good feel of the slimy and smooth texture of the sea kelp and seaweed . That followed with the smooth touch of the shells and the rough coat of the barnacles. The barnacles clung to the sides of the mussell and clam shells that sometimes fell into the tidal pools as the gulls passed by our cottage on their way from take-out. Eating on the go in a very quick and carefree mission.
As Mom explained further, "Son, see here, we have colorful flowers that are growing along in the crevices of the rocks and these rocks have been here longer than we have been alive." The way my mom explained the coast made me appreciate how special and sacred the rocks were that we were standing on. And how such a place can sometimes be taken for granted when looked at from the vast scope and expanse of the Maine coast.

Wherever we have lived in Maine, we have always been able to look at islands whether occupied or as outcroppings of rock that jutted out of the ocean sea. We have been surrounded by lobster pot buoys that floated in the ocean below and have seen the lobstermen pull their traps in the morning. And we have seen the local Southport yacht club youngsters as they were taking their sailing lessons or actually in a meet for their regatta.
I sure wish I could paint or take a better picture of what I have described and have tried many times-never getting an exact duplicate. But looking at various pictures on our walls do bring back some of the emotion and anticipation of what it was like during my travels to Paradise and hope that this was portrayed here as well.

I am real glad that our family has been blessed wherever we have gone in Maine that indeed our view has been framed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Do you see what I see?

A good movie was recommended to me by a friend and I finally watched it a while after it was suggested to me. It was At First Sight of a man who was born blind and how his world was challenged when a woman in her thirties went on a break at a resort and came away with the experience of being truly loved.

I don't want to give away the plot all at once for those who have never seen it. I did learn though a few lessons from this movie. Our perceptions of ourselves and our lives can be defined by our current disabilities and the flaws that we see within ourselves. There can be a benefit to not seeing something before us and sometimes the senses that we don't use all that often such as touch or even the sixth sense of using our hearts make up for what is not visible yet is very visible to someone who lacks the sense of sight.

Faith has a key element in this in that we do not at the moment see Jesus on two feet walking the Holy Land or walking in the midst of us. Yet, we do see a different reality in our faith. We know that we will someday see Him for who He really is. As the scriptures say, what we once saw dimly will be finally revealed in the latter days. We will indeed see the pierced hands and feet and we will see His Glory.

At that moment when our sixth sense is unveiled, we will be able to clearly connect the cradle to the cross. But for now, we are not to doubt and to be tossed from wave to wave as it says in the book of James but as the book of Hebrews states, we are to fix our eyes upon Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith and we are to do so in a way where we do not give up meeting together. So may God have his glory through our adventures in gaining our sixth sense and may we rediscover the senses that we may have neglected. So that we can truly see what Jesus has given us and not just go through the motions of a day.

Taking that risk. For there is no guarantee of tomorrows for all. To take the time to hug and to greet with a full heart like my friend, Gary and to take the time to look at people and see what they are feeling and to develop a better sixth sense in time.