Friday, October 31, 2008

Nano is here almost

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.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Gift spread across time.

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.

Tamed for the Game of Life.

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!!!!!!

168 hour til Nano Wrimo begins again

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.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Glory of God

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 5.

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.
├ůs 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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our life is that of an infant

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.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am in the waiting room, Ding ding....

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.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Transitioning through the Window

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.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Longest 20 miles

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.