Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Canvas Of Craving

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.

Roto Roooter travels to outer space

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.

Monday, May 26, 2008

At Arlington's Gate

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.


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.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We must be Sold out for Jesus

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~~~~~

God may want me to reach out

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Manna and quail in the wilderness of our lives

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.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Walking on a balance beam with a foot in the air

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!!!!!

Breaking and Entering

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.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Invitation

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,

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.

Hanging on to Jesus

Moving Towards the cross of Christ is never easy in this life. It is entered at the point of our birth when we begin to die daily. No matter what our condition is. It is a path that we take the minute that the rush of cold air hits our moist and damp face while dangling to our mother's chord.

During our steps on our own to the path of Christ, God has an umbilical cord tied to us almost like that of a mother I saw today around her four year old son. That leash is keep us tied so that we will not wander off on our own without having felt the tug of the mom.

We need to face our pain each day and our steps will bring us to the foot of the cross and then we need to look up at it and greet the Son. In the psalms, King David asks us to kiss the Son lest He get angry.

As I look to Jesus dying on the edge of the cross, he had compassion as He looked at the two thieves on either side of Him. He looked out and listened to both of them, one railing insults against Him and the other seeing the condition of his own soul. Knowing that Jesus could only bring him the last minute aloe he desperately needed.

So let us hang onto Jesus as He hangs on for us. Praise be to God and for the way that a Pelegrino, Craig Mengel, lived as a tres dias disciple. You will be missed as one of the seis peligrinos.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A pane into our pain

Opening up emails or the obituary pages is never a pleasant experience when one reads of someone's death. Of a person known briefly. Yet, even as I watch the sorrow and the endurance of a family such as the Mengel family in Westport undergo the death of their father and husband from a rare form of cancer. My Not finding out he was sick until his final night, it brought to me a regret for not reaching out to him. yet, God is allowing me through my words to thread into his relative's lives hope and connection.

Another way to see Craig is as a gardener who is tending his garden. Craig emulated Jesus from the testimony shared by others. And Jesus acts as the gardener in our lives as well. As He prunes the deadness away from us. This garden has to be beautiful for the butterflies to land in. Many times after a person has died, gardens are dedicated in their name. God's servants need to tend the gardens that tend to become full of rocks and weeds scattered from the effects of evil in our lives.

God lived bookmarked between two gardens in His life. First at the garden of Eden where God walked in the cool with Adam and the other garden of Gethsemene where He sat agonizingly looking ahead to the Cross by a cruel death. But He went to where there was life-to the land of Heaven. And He is awaiting for us there. Probably tilling the Garden of Heaven where we will be welcomed in to where there will be no more suffering and the fullness of Him will rest in it as well.

Whoever reads these words, remember not to be afraid to open the panes and look into another person's pain. It can bring us on an adventure of loving others as God loves us. And it will allow us to be the face of God of which the world needs very much.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Joy Luck Club

This month is the annual big read for The Joy Luck Club. In the book, one daughter looks back over her life and sees the importance of replacing her mother's role as the East corner at the Mahong table where it all begins. The East represents a place where the sun rises and the day begins to warm up to the new possibilities.

Just as in the stories of Joy Luck Club, of the moms recalling to their daughters lessons growing up in China as they are now living in the United States, I recall the times that our family gathers around for a family meal and my parents and I reflect back on the early formative years at the Henry Viscardi School. And how it was so important to all of us.

When I was born in the early 60's , man was beginning to face challenges. President John F. Kennedy looked to the skies and challenged our country to fly a man to the moon by the end of the decade. Also during this time, many programs were not present for those with severe handicaps such as mine. Of learning how to fit into the world in an orderly manner. Of not knowing what the next course of treatment was to be. Yet, one golden blessing that I had was the fortitude and insight of my mom and dad who could see into my eyes at birth to see what could be accomplished for me.
A time for both society and our family to creep forward in the uncharted land of medical research of how to treat those with brain abnormalities and physical limitations.

My mom wanted to continue her education and go onto library science. But when I came along and presented the challenges, Mom told me, "this was the greatest gift that I could offer teaching and instilling into you what I have learned. And to continue to volunteer in school libraries as well."

They went to New York to scout out the best place where insight could be found of what to do with me. They met with someone from the Rusk Institute at the recommendation of my pediatrician . Dr. Greenspan reccommended the Viscardi school in Long Island which was just beginning. It would be a very good start for your son, they reassured my parents.

AS I said in the other piece last month, I left the one country, the country where I was immersed in the handicapped community. Yet, I never really gave you a good look into that world and how important it was to me.

A community at the Henry Viscardi School where I did not see or find beauty in the everyday. I was immersed in a world of suffering. Yet, at that time, the beauty that I found the constant and steady hand of my mother who roughed up her knees and kept me in the ring of life- boxing and fighting even if what I ultimately wanted was to surrender and call it a day. I recall her lovingly tell me how she often stroked the balls of my feet if I was to take a nap as an infant not wanting to drink or eat. The times when I would sit near the family room closet built by my dad filled with toys such as the yellow giraffe which helped me to gain my balance for walking or the many games of puzzles that mom and I would solve.

When I attended the Viscardi School, I was surrounded by children and adults who used wheelchairs and walkers and crutches and canes to get around. Seeing some people with hemophelia that had to be very careful not to get pricked and bleed. And seeing some who were badly deformed on litters propped up by pillows so that they could read and get ahead.
Some had spina bifida and some had muscular dystrophy. Some of the students were very bright and what they had in brains helped them in what they lacked in brawn. One young woman who my parents got to know well was Linda Wilson who had to use crutches and wear long braces to help her to get around. She used a wheelchair and draped her crutches over the back of it. She was dropped off by her mom at our house as we waited for the small yellow school bus. One time while we waited, we played with my pet turtle and it ended up escaping from where we had it on the family room floor. It was my first chance to interact and understand as an immature youngster how to react to someone with a handicap. Linda ended up graduating from the school with high honors since my mom kept up correspondence to her family during the times when I attended public school.
When I was at the School, I participated in the annual pageants that we would put on being a limb of a tree or an animal. Nothing profound yet those times helped propel me to be one of the leading roles in the sixth grade as the elderly man in his red cardigan sweater. A time when I got applause for what I mastered eight years from when I began to speak.
The classes were very small with 6 to 8 in a classroom where students could obtain individualized instruction as needed.

I periodically reflect back and think on what I lost growing up. A lot of friends that I know have vivid memories from their childhood. Mine are somewhat hazy and faded since I went through much hardship. I don't know if this was to protect me or if it was to help me deepen the appreciation for what I have now. Maybe this is why I keep going back to the early years to better fine tune and immerse myself in it so that I can have a greater influence later on to those who may be waiting for my words to propel them forward in life. To grab the scissors to find the connections between the many worlds that they find in the words.

The phrase Joy luck used in the book frequently expresses the time of when preparation meets opportunity. It represents a golden chance to shine forth a light on rather dark waters. I remember many times in Maine being on the front porch looking into the dark ocean and seeing the beam of light casting across the waters. Luck for me was those times that Mom and I would spend time together after my time in preschool or therapy and we would get out my black and white composition notebook.

To spend some intimate times bonding while doing the mundane, assembling words of similar phonetic sounds. We pored over magazines looking for words which had a sh sound. I would find some such as shoe, shoulder, shelf. i would cut them out and we would paste them into the book.We repeated that with the ca sound with cats and cabs and cabbage leaping out of the pages of magazines into my first word book that we published for ourselves. That helped me gain some hand to eye coordination and a sense of focus that I would need later on in life. And even the love for words and writing that I carry on to this day.
When I am in Maine on a real stormy day and hear the rolling surf pounding against the rocks at Ocean Point, I sense the force and wonder of nature. Maine as my coach helped me to put on those boxing gloves as I climbed over the ropes and into the ring. Ready to take on my opponent. The opponent was formidable to me. yet during the summer sabbaths, I could put the ring behind me and place an aloe template over my body. Almost like walking through an aeroia borrealis in the summer sky. To see the beauty of nature and the beauty of creation. To be in an isolated land, a cocoon where pioneers like Rachel Carson promoted the well being of the shores of our planet Earth. Ripples of rhythym filled the air and sustained the sounds of life that I had to endure for the upcoming year.

Indeed those times spent in nature got me ready for my next bout for the upcoming school year. Nearing the end of those summers were never pleasant since I knew I would face some of the same bullies and never knew how I would handle and react to the pressures of the upcoming days. Yet, I bagged up on so much of the munchies, sleepies and beauty of Maine. And I had the small victories of the past at the School and the milestones that were evident. Giving a sense of confidence and calm during often rocky moments outside of the protective cocoon of the Henry Viscardi School.

These sounds and sights in my life ripple onward and echo back to the days when I searched and assembled the meaning of my life. Finding my place in the world on the Planet Earth.