Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Over Ripe Bananas .25 .LB
(these are the banana workers)
What am I trying to do, guilt you into paying full price for some bananas?
No, I'm just using the banana story to illustrate something I'm sure most of you already know. That for every person who holds the clean end of the stick...(well you know what that leaves)
Also, to try to give a real life example of what each of our choices or actions say about what we really think is going on.
How about the consumer confidence level? Given the uncertain nature of our economy, right now may not be the best time to spend money on new big ticket items or take on long term debt. Many Americans are only spending on necessities and are putting off the"wants" in favor of the "needs." Still others are of the opinion that our current economic cycle is precisely that. That there's little cause for serious concern. To quote a late great elder statesman, one Frank Zappa, who in a song by the same name playfully mocked American people by saying, "It can't happen here!" (please,check it out) What can't happen? That our highly prized way of life could rather suddenly go by the wayside...
It certainly has "happened" to me!
I find it to be the height of coincidence that my situation has so closely paralleled the bigger picture of our country, not only in the last few years but in the years since my birth in 1960. So if you're looking for someone to blame I suppose that'd be me... I witnessed the American family becoming less relevant than the self, providing the proper mindset to embrace the rising drug culture as my "religion" in the 1970's. I was flush with the fashion in the conspicuous eighties, doing my utmost to consume enough "whatever" to keep the wind from whistling through the hole in my soul. It's a lot harder than you think to be tragically hip..
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told you when to run you've missed the starting gun...(Breathe-Pink Floyd)
A great ironic hallmark happened to me in the 1990's, supposedly I was "over the hill" chronologically. But due to my years of drug use I was emotionally still a child in a lot of critical ways. Before this decade was through I had had it all and lost it all, I faced the new millennium sober for the first time in my adult life. I was a 40yr old "Green Banana"
A brave new century, and a new life! which seemed to me to be about putting out fires and exorcising the demons of the past by living "politically correctly" in the present. A plausible theory if you don't start any new fires which can harbor new demons. We all must eventually confront our own frailties and understand our own new limitations. I became old early in February of 06' when I slipped and fell on some wet steps. It was more than my rotator cuff that shattered that groundhog's day morning, it was my invincibility. Sort of like my own personal "twin towers" moment.
They say it's a recession when it happens to someone else, but it's a depression when it happens to you.
My last full time job prior to being a school bus driver ended on 07/07/07...
I was blacklisted in the trucking industry when a former employer lied about me to the driver "advocacy" council, (legally libeled)
By December of last year I was behind on my mortgage and looking to put my home on the market...(I'm still in my home by the grace of God!)
By April my car had been repossessed, (which made me eligible for food stamps) and my pastor provided me with one that was donated to him.
I went "belly up" on my credit cards, owing about 7-8 thousand dollars, I've gotten a lot of phone calls but nothing more than that.
I "survived" for months on money I made selling vegetables I grew, fresh eggs, and stuff I owned that I sold as well as some small odd jobs I took on.
I turned myself in to the authorities in August because I was unable to appear in court on contempt charges related to my child support and spent 10 days in jail, I was deemed too wealthy to receive "free counsel." (I was released on 08/08/08)
Naturally, I had to chuckle when they announced in late November of this year that our country was in a recession.
There's something comical to me about a person seemingly having so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality.
My father passed on last the summer before last, now it's me that doesn't buy green bananas.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I think that in many cases that's exactly what we do...and it doesn't work
Years later, When this same child who has now been labeled a "discipline problem" develops conditions with names like "oppositional defiant disorder" or "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" we scratch our heads and send them off to the psychiatrist for "evaluations," some get the help they need and others don't . Its these kids that don't whom oftentimes, in an attempt to get a need met, become involved with substance abuse, gang's, teen sex, or even just good old fashioned stuff like being disruptive and talking back to teachers. Sadly, conventional wisdom says that the "problem" is best handled by suspensions, expulsions, or other "bullying" techniques, (apparently, there are not enough good school counselors, I know there are many so don't write) And while I'll admit that those techniques are effective on some students, remember...we're talking about kids who have "special needs" here. Kids who have 55 gallon drums of industrial strength pain that are constantly leaking into their psyche, to whom the idea of being suspended as punishment seems laughable or absurd, or even a relief from the daily bludgeoning they receive from peers, principals, and worst of all themselves...It is indeed a very dark place.
Lets fast forward to the rest of their lives...
Looking into the face of this young girl we quickly remind ourselves that circumstances don't have the last word on her life and that sometimes they prepare us for life in special ways.
We can choose to let our circumstances get in the way of what we want to do with our lives, or we can choose not to. This is true, but few of us could summon up the necessary tenacity to see this through...
This is a much more common result of having been failed by every person who was charged with helping to produce a successfully functioning adult... A chronically underachieving person whose life challenges also include the inability to maintain long term relationships with people or hold steady jobs. They're alcoholics, drug addicts,or maybe in prison...why? because when you're young and cute and so vulnerable it's easier to garner compassion and perhaps understanding from people, but as you grow older peoples perception is basically that you ARE your behavior which is patently false. We may be much older but our techniques of self expression are at times much the same as a small child's...it also makes sense that the solution would also be the same. In the life of a child or a young adult the positive influence of even one person in they're lives can make a profound impact. When we practice "understanding" people we validate their feelings instead of beating them up for having them. Learning new more functional ways to get our needs met in this life is what it's all about...it's irrelevant how old they are or...who's child is this?
Monday, November 17, 2008
facts are dispassionate, the truth is compassionate
Facts are said to be "cold and hard"like a prison cell, the truth, will set you free...
just the facts, to tell the truth...
The biggest difference between facts and the truth is in how they're used, I recently heard of a young couple planning to get married...the fact is that at least 50% of marriages result in divorce, especially when the people are under 25yrs old. It takes years to really know what it is that you want out of life or who you really are, people sometimes grow and change a lot in their early twenties. based on these "facts" I would have a hard time being supportive of the idea.
Whats the truth? The truth is that what's impossible with man IS possible with God, when a husband and wife put God first in their marriage He will bless it. a generation ago it wasn't unusual at all for people to get married at 16 or 17 yr's old...those are the ones celebrating their 50th and 60th anniversaries now! Who disregarded the "fact" that at times they were perhaps very unhappy with their spouse in favor of the truth which is that "nobody's perfect" and that we've all done some pretty dumb things...who had the ability to remember what it was that they loved about this person to begin with and hold on to that...and with few exceptions that their lives would definitely be better off WITH this person in them than without them.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "speaking the truth in love?' The term 'truth in love' is actually redundant. You can't have the truth without love. It says in the Bible that God is truth and that God is love. Facts, are most often used to accuse someone, or to discourage someone, are you starting to smell something? who IS the accuser of the brethern? Thats right! our enemy himself, satan...Whats interesting to me about all of this is that when we use the "facts" to tear someone down we ourselves are also left vulnerable to the same attack! This is an area that I know I've screwed up in...why? Because I live in a world of "facts," as critical, and as judgmental and as deadly as a heart attack to a persons Christian walk...So now, it's only the truth that can set me free, the truth in love
Friday, October 10, 2008
I think that there needs to be a drastically different approach to the evangelistic movement here in the U.S. We need to be treated like the spiritually poor people we are! We need to be given a crash course in honesty about ourselves and where we are. If we could somehow strip away all of the "window dressings" and our "prosperity" to reveal the truth perhaps then we might actually be "blessed." If we could lay down our pride long enough to bend a knee before God and cry a few repentant tears we might experience forgiveness. Perhaps if we went through another "great depression" we might rediscover what it means to be thankful, to be dependent, and then, having "gotton over" ourselves...experience the love and blessing our Heavenly Father longs to give us!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It just amazes me how the priorities of a whole society can be so incredibly shallow...
That we, like the Romans, would prefer to sit back and watch these "spectacles," I suppose it's mostly because watching someone else be ridiculed or be challenged in some ridiculous way, somehow makes Us feel less ridiculous.
Hold on friends, before you take that extra Valium... I've got some "good news" too!
Do you remember the other day I was talking about my cars alternator and how it wasn't working right? A couple of days ago I changed the oil and when I pulled the car off of the ramps and parked it I noticed that the battery light on my dash wasn't on! I was skeptical, so I started it up a few times...still off! That turned out to be really important when I went in to do some pre-training for a job I'm trying to land and had to leave before it was light! It was previously unable to keep itself running when the lights were on. I talked with a mechanical friend of mine and he said that sometimes the brushes inside the alternator don't make good contact or something like that...I'm just saying THANK YOU JESUS! thats cool huh?
Here's another "coincidence" way back in 1994 a
guy smashed my windshield. (long story) I get a postcard in the mail from the prosecutor of Greene county telling me to call them and when I do she informs me that this individual has been picked up for another warrant and that this was still on his record as being unpaid. She asked me how much the windshield cost me, we agreed on 150.00$ and either today or tomorrow I'm expecting a check in the mail! GOD IS GOOD! strange is'nt it?
UPDATE! here's the check...received it tonight!
And then, there's this job opportunity I'm pursuing right now. I was interested in being a bus driver with the Couch Mo school district, only to find out that the maintenance man is quitting in October and they're going to need someone there too! Thats a better Job than just being a driver and I'll also make additional money driving for them! Hallelujah!!
So God really is looking out for me! I was talking to a lady yesterday and we both agreed that as bad as things in our economy/nation/world seem right now, we're probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg! It's SO much worse than any of us can even fathom...But are we anxious? are we depressed? NO! why? because we know from Gods word that these things must come to pass, and that like birth pains, these are the signs that our Lord will be coming soon. This worldly system of things is a wash out, we can't do anything to change it! All we can do is be busy here with our heavenly Fathers business of telling as many people about the real "great news" that there is a God! He does love us! He sent His Son to save us from being eternally separated from Him and from our own choice to be cast into torment! Thats whats important right now...don't you agree?
Come go with me to that land over yonder, He s prepared for the pure and the true.
It s a place where sickness and death cannot enter, I m going brother how about you?
Maybe today or maybe tomorrow, He ll return in robes of pure white.
I m packing up now getting my things together, Who knows? It might be tonight...
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Yesterday was NOT a good day for a lot of folks, I saw the former CEO of AIG say that he'd lost about three billion dollars...A lot of people are having to accept the idea that perhaps they'll be working past the time they had planned on retiring. We're all concerned with the current state of the economy, it can get to you if you let it! Yesterday was my birthday, because my mother sent me a check for forty bucks I had the money to put gas in my car, go to West Plains and buy some groceries at Aldi with my food stamps,come home and eat lunch, and then later go to church. I've been having an alternator problem with my car lately. Last night after church it was dark and I had to turn on the lights. A few miles outta town it died on me and I was able to limp it into a turn off beside the road. We (my wife, daughter and I) got out of the car and my wife reached into the backseat to grab the ice cream we had bought in town to go with the cake she had made. I questioned her about that, not wishing for her to carry this melting sack for who knows how long it might take for us to somehow eventually get home, she persisted. We took off walking, it was a beautiful nearly full moon lit night but it was still quite dark. Within five minutes a pickup truck drove by us, stopped...came back and asked if we needed a ride (two women) We all loaded into the truck, girls up front and me in the back. These "Good Samaritans" took us all the way to my house which is located two and a half miles off the paved road down some of the worst roads in Oregon county...I've never been so thankful to anybody! Driving through the blackberry thickets,the lady driving mentioned how much she liked blackberries so when they dropped us off my wife gave her a couple of quarts out of our freezer we had picked last summer. After a few minutes of letting my nerves settle we had my birthday party...the ice cream was still frozen! Then my daughter gave me my present she had made, here are some pictures of the book she made for me...
this is the cover...
We love you when you're sad, (notice she has colored me blue) that's me sitting in my chair.
This is me when I'm mad!
you guessed it! me when I'm happy...about getting a job!
We love you because you're YOU!...yup, I trained this one!
It's quite a wonderful thing in these times of upheaval and stress and so much hardship to be able to appreciate how truly blessed I am. I'm so thankful to God that He loves me, a broken sinner! and that He not only has my present circumstances under control but my future figured out too! I'm so thankful that he gave me my family my friends and for the love they show me. and lastly, but NOT leastly, for the kindness of strangers!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Allow me to bring this down to a personal level... My current financial situation is not good, I've been out of work for over a year. (stay tuned blog fans, this has recently changed) I've tried a lot of different things during that time to make money but for one reason or another nothing has worked. I have clearly made some bad choices in that time but I've also had some bad breaks. What I have done successfully during that time is to do what I was compelled to do, to tell people the great news that God loves us all, that he wants to heal us, to provide for us, and to spend eternity with us in a perfect place he's prepared for us. So far, I've never missed a meal, still have a roof over my head, a car to drive and gas to put in it! I've been imprisoned, and impoverished, and I can honestly tell you I've never been happier.
Recently I've written some things about the republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings if possible by first of all saying that in no way do I believe that a woman shouldn't work outside the home. This is an issue that is also very close to me right now given my aforementioned circumstances. It's an issue that me and my wife have struggled with recently. My wife homeschools our seven year old daughter, she does all of the housework, attempts to cook and a host of other things in our home. What changed my mind as to her seeking employment outside the home is the basic premise that I started with...what my wife does here is SO much more important than the money that she could make at a job. Being here and doing what she's doing IS what she's supposed to be doing! If the choices that we've made together are selfish and self serving then I wouldn't expect to see Gods provision in them...Our daughter is the most precious gift that God ever entrusted us with, I'd much rather lose everything I have than to give my consent to compromising that most sacred of stewardships. My problem with Palin is that she holds herself up as an example to young women of being able to "have it all" while the pregnancy of her teenage daughter is somehow seen as an acceptable trade-off for her career...And, she wants to be considered a Christian, well okay, I've made my share of bad choices in life and I'll readily admit to them, I've turned from as many of them as I can,I use them as "cautionary tales" to anyone who will or who needs to listen. Sarah Palin is my sister in Christ and I love her, I'm pretty sure I believe in most of the same things that she does. But here we go again, instead of taking the opportunity to use her publicity to caution women about balancing family and work which in my opinion would really be a wonderful thing for her to do...I see her as sweeping it under the rug and once again making winning this election and her career the priority. That seems pretty self serving to me even though she would claim to be a public servant, which is fine, I know who I serve...
- Interesting title, kind of like a supermarket tabloid you just can't help but notice! Are you up for a story? Not too long ago in a land not too far from here I met a man...It was during a period in my life when I needed help...lots of it! That man was a psychologist, and I was in a group therapy setting. This man made a huge impression on me, I often refer to him as having given "emotional birth" to me! He didn't give a RIP about my outward feelings, or if I "liked him" he rolled up his sleeves and dove right into my life casting garbage aside and booting lies until I was naked and bare before everyone! (thats kind-of like birth) He made me admit that my parents had screwed up with me, and that I grew up doubting that they really loved me. He crammed the idea of ME being responsible for my own feelings down my narrow throat, enlightened me to the possibility that "I" based on my perceptions,could control my thoughts,which produce my feelings. I noticed that a lot of people in our group hated him...lol a few of them actually walked out of group when he was on "their case." In the years since then I've never forgotten this man, (obviously) or how his "tough love" worked on me...and I love him still. He spoke the truth in love to me, and it changed my life...he didn't let me squirm away and hide behind some dis-functional lie in my belief system, he pressed on toward the goal, he cared more for my future than my present dis-comfort. Is this just my reminiscing or is there a point to all of this? maybe just this...while there is a time to be gentle and considerate of peoples sensibilities (especially in a therapy setting) I feel that much more is accomplished by confronting peoples objections and excuses directly. Wheather it's psychology or theology it doesn't matter, in theology we typically wait until the spirit opens doors for us to "work" what psychology has taught me is that our behaviors ARE the doors, they are the"cry's for help" we're unable to give words to. They're the outward expressions of inner problems relating to the spirit. Some people will object when it's suggested that the source of their behavior is spirit related and will resist the attempts made to help them...now we can talk about how we're only as sick as the secrets we keep, the lies we believe, the healing power that we embrace, and our bad choices. I would therefore submit to you that because I can "see" a car coming down the street that it has a direct bearing on the decision I make to walk out in the street...why? because I care for my life. If I believed LIES I'd probably walk out into the street and get hit, and be another casualty of this modern life. But the TRUTH shall set you free! Lord, I pray that you would use me as an instrument of thy peace and not the whole orchestra, and a minister of your truth, to set the captives free. help me to know Lord that I am but just a part! That I may plant seeds but it is you that gives the increase, that I may bring the message but it's the Holy Spirit who convicts and changes hearts...amen
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Christmas time seems to be one of the best backdrops for the telling of stories about the true nature of people,both good and bad. Twas the winter of our discontent,the best of times,the worst of times,etc...this is my story,about how I (with Gods help) made it home for Christmas,despite the obstacles/challenges that most people couldn't imagine facing. Making plans when your a truckdriver is an exercise in futility,and the best example of what John Steinbeck meant in his novel "of mice and men",being at the mercy of too many un-forseen variables and high hoops designed for you to jump thru.Knowing all these things full well,I didn't make any plans...other than to get there one way,or the other,by Christmas.My company shuts down on the 21st,and everyone goes home.So on the 20th I was set to deliver my last load of tools to a truck in Indiana which would have worked out well for me to come back west and stop over at "the house",but after a phone call I was informed that after my drop,I was to make a pick up in kentucky that would have to be taken back to the warehouse.The natural answer to this dilema would be to simply call my wife,and have her to pick me up in K.C. (a 6 hour drive) but after inquiring after such,was informed that she had to work (3rd shift) every night until Christmas,making it quite difficult/impossible for her to come and get me.One more thing is that I've got a bunch of gifts here in the truck with me that I've bought...my only clear option seemed to be to call her,and have her meet me on my way back west and collect the gifts,freeing me up to make my way home unencumbered by them.After achieving that objective,I continued in my duty and returned to the warehouse arriving around mid-evening.Before light the next morning I was on my way back the way I had just came toward my home.How?by what mode or method? on foot my friend...I took off walking with only a rolled up rain poncho and a black magic marker. I had to walk about 10 miles on 207th st. until I came to hyw 69 south of Stanley Ks. I scrambled up an embankment to the 4 lane and within minutes was offered a ride with an older gentleman who took me to Harrissonville Mo. next,I was given a ride from the 7/71 jct. on the back of a 1 ton flatbed all the way to Spfd,It was a very cold ride but despite my dis-comfort,I was most content,thankful even...imagine that,when I arrived in Spfd,I was numb in my legs and walking was with a stiff limp.I hobbled over to the McDonalds for the days first nourishment of any kind,and couldn't help but notice how many people were crowding the exit ramps of the highway,panhandlers...I felt some discomfort/embarrassment because I was afraid that I would be mistaken for such because of my cardboard sign that read,"hyw 60 east". I made it back to my hometown by 4:30 that afternoon,an amazing feat in my estimation,and what was most essential was my un-shakable faith in God,and that he was with me,and that he would make my way,as if he longed to express his love for me and show me that nothing can separate me from his love and care...can a man have any more comfort than that? tidings of comfort and joy,comfort and joy...
Nature is a wonderful thing,but it can be scary as well! Recently I found myself in the Sierra Madre mountains at around 7000 ft. of elevation.I've never seen mountains like that before! As wonderful as they are,(awesome and majestic) they scared the hell out of me in an eighteen wheeler. So many things can happen,brakes go out...engines malfunction,tires blow,and when it happens up here,its a long way to the bottom,a very long way,Its also a little unsettling to look out your window and see the vast expanse of un-survivable wilderness,no convenience store in sight,no fast food,(jack rabbits excepted) and to be confronted by your "dependence" on the trappings of modern society.It is diffrent up here,out here,north of yellowstone east of the sierra's,nearly 2 miles above sea level. Another of natures spectacles,that also scared the Bu-jesus out of me,are the Santa Anna winds! I was traveling along,northbound on I-15,early on sunday morning headed for rosamound ca. As I got closer to ontario the winds just became gustier and gustier,they flashed warnings on the overhead signs,"high profile vehicles not advised" but on I went,I can honestly say I've never felt winds like that before! I'm pretty sure that I was on "9" wheels there for a second,thats when I pulled over and took more serious stock of the situation.It's a strange feeling when your truck tilts to about sixty degrees and then slams back down. California is a really interesting place to visit,full of natural wonders,accentuated by what man has done to them.
This is the life of an over the road truck driver. Day in and day out,i'm movin on,or at least trying to!I'm pretty sure that the constant velocity (g-forces) has some sort of negative effect on the human brain.It sure would explain alot of things that I've noticed about truck drivers.As a whole,they're a swell bunch of guys (perhaps in need of a shower) but wow! there are some whose cognitive skills have gone south for the winter and refused to come back.I've seen people with the "thousand mile stare" walking around in a truckstop looking for something,anything...to make the world stop! I want to get off! I feel like I'm still moving..."velocitised" The other day I was listening to a program talking about the shepherds to whom the birth of Christ was announced.They were described as outcasts of society,unable to vote in elections because they were considered too stupid to have an opinion.It was an incredibly lonely occupation,you and the sheep(don't go there),and I realized how much they remind me of truckdrivers.Why did the angels announce the Christ child to shepherds? Considered to be the "dregs" of society? perhaps,like truckdrivers,they were simple men of a contemplative nature,who by society's standards were the lowest caste,but perhaps,spiritualy they ranked somewhat higher.
hello! and welcome to todays installment of "the young and the too late smart" Allow me to pick up the story on thursday the second. Following a wildly succesfull extended run of more than 14,000 miles the time came for me to spend some overdue hometime.As I sat in the dispatch office that morning amusing myself with the spring action of an ink pen,I could'nt help but notice the writing thereon..."your message here" ..."hmm,what is my message?" i wondered to myself. We live in a day and time of fierce competition for our minds,hearts,and money,(dare I say souls) all the more reason to be cautious and selective about what we let in.What might've worked a couple of years ago,now barely merits half a glance.If you find yourself in the buissness of sales,the best we can hope for is one shot.Whereas, my vain imaginings of being a representative of what i believe to be the ultimate in "life insurance" compell me to take that shot. But wait a minute,is'nt that just wrong on at least some level? liken unto Reducing the sales of a multimillion dollar mansion to a flier stuck on a power pole? this was my conflict.Click back to reality,its later in the day and I enter the great mall of the plains to "kill time" I happened to notice what appeared to be a bill (dollar) of some sort laying on a newspaper stand,I knew that it was a come on for something but was drawn to pick it up and when I saw what it was all my inner conflict fell away.A million dollar bill,which around the edges posed the million dollar question,"will you be going to heaven?" So neat was the presentation,so slickly done the pitch,I really felt as though 1.God had spoken to me 2. he wanted me to go ahead with it...so now i'm in the process of it,Halleluiyah!! this is what I was made for,talk about your purpouse driven life! well, now that we're all feeling warm and spiritual,let me tell you what happened when I got home that night at one am in the morning. My wife noticed right off that my truck was missing from the driveway...okay, after inquiring further of my eldest stepson I was informed that his half brother "Job" had in fact taken my truck after being told not to,and had wrecked it on a sharp corner a couple of miles from my house,and consequently been taken to the hospital.there's more to this story,it seems that Job and my wife had recently been having discussions about his life/youth and spiritual choices/directions to which the expected answers were given.can you see the serendipity? after observing the remains of my truck,its obvious he was very lucky to be alive...and by all accounts was shaken up really badly...God, what can I say but I like your style! you're way of dealing with us all as the perfect father!! thats why I,sing and shout it,tell the world about it...how sweet it is being loved by him...so sweet
about all 0f the exciting things that have happened to me in the past couple of weeks, if you read my previous post then you have some idea of what my life is like...by the way,in case you're wondering the crack whore was'nt the one who stole my stuff,that happened at the truck stop the night before as I slept,someone opened my unlocked door and helped themselves. Since then things have been well, "without incident", I've been to the northeast during the peak of the fall foilage,it seems as if the whole state of vermont just waits for this time of year so that it can strut its stuff.I'm from missouri,so its somewhat unsettling to me why? the whole state is like some kind of postcard picture, i kept looking around for car up on blocks maybe,or just one house one might immeadiatly assume was the home of an alchoholic,or some equally challenged individual,but no such thing is to be found! I did have one rather remarkable experience in the state of New York, I was driving along near Jamestown on hyw 87? on my way out of there after doing four drops. Earlier in the day I had heard that the D.O.T. was setting up in the rest areas inspecting trucks so I was very leery of being inspected and found in violation. I was close to jamestown,it was later in the evening,maybe 8pm,usually they quit inspecting at dark so I thought I was home free...then I saw it,the flashing yellow lights on the roadside sign,"surely this is some kind of construction warning" I thought,but as I drew closer the startled panic of the words "all trucks must enter" settled onto me.I was trapped,nothing I could do...no ramp to pull off of and "fix it" so with cold resignation I pulled off onto the ramp twoard the man waving his flashlight holding hand at me.What else could I do but accept the fact that I was screwed,perhaps my full cooperation and good attitude would as they had so many times before see me thru,I doubted it. "how're we doing tonight?" "oh,I'm doing fine I guess" "what're you hauling?" "nothing,I'm empty" "well, have a good evening then" that was the extent of it, I hauled out of there on an adrenaline high that would entice any skydiver,or cause a lion tamer to stare curiously in wonder,not yet ready to dip my chip in the "crock of life" I'd just been handed,it just seemed un-real to me. Why did 'nt he at least ask to see my log book? thats S.O.P. basic stuff,you look at the driver,gauge his condition,look at his book,and then if all seems right,you send him on,or if,as was the case here,you're not at all busy,just send him inside anyway for the 3rd degree check,you know,wanted/warrents/unpaid tickets/child support un returned library books,lol really! but he did'nt,so I'm driving down the road thinking, WOW! that could have been a whole weeks salary down the tubes but for some reason which I can't explain I just walked thru the fire without so much as a mark on me...Does the Lord work in mysterious ways? did he know that if I would have been shut down/fined etc...that it might break my spirit? someday I'd like to ask him.
And I think to myself,what a wonderful world! I used to despise people who said stuff like that,I was a very unhappy person and couldn't stand the idea that THEY had something I didn't.I thought that having friends would solve the problem,thats how I started using drugs at age 12.I thought that relationships were what was missing,so I married the first woman who I could get to stay with me,(age 28)then after a couple of years (6) realized what a hollow sham of a relationship i had and got divorced.It wasn't until I went into therapy shortly thereafter that i realized why I was always looking for love outside of myself,and that my feelings were a direct result of how I think and therefore my responsibility.A messed up belief system is like a stinking pile of garbage on your front yard,it stinks,but you sort-of get used to it and after a while you don't really notice it except when your nostrils burn,or someone else points it out.Then you can hardly believe that you 've let this sit there on your yard for all these years stinkin up the place,so you start the work of cleaning it up.Its a nasty job,you can't just use a front-loader to scoop it up into a dumpster,it has to be done by hand.Each piece of garbage examined and condemned.Boy i'm rambling on this am,did'nt mean to tell my life story,but I hardly ever know what I'll write when I sit down.if i've piqued your interest with this story and you want to hear what happened next let me know.it's a wonderful world,(now) but I went thru years of hell!wanna talk about your years of hell? you've come to the right place...lol
Is it really the "root of all evil"? I'm starting to believe that it is. I'm back from my traveling tool trip across south central Wisconsin, I'm still not smoking,(thank you God) and I've been exposed to the wonder of cheese curds.www.carrvallycheese.com(awesome) Don't get me wrong about the money thing,I love money,or rather,what money buys,like cheese curds.Its when money becomes more important than people that evil ensues.Sometimes we do it to ourselves,workaholics spend all their time working while suffering from neglected needs in other areas of they're life. Its pretty sad stuff,men will work overtime hours to provide what they feel are essentials for the family when in reality their presence is more important.Like the song says "for a small piece of paper,it carries a lot of weight". Isn't it really about achieving balance in all areas of your life? Sure,we all must work but how much? We have to play as well or we are in danger of becoming "dull boys", They say that if you love what you do,you'll never work a day in your life,I like that idea! I try to live my life in a purposeful way,doing what I feel compelled to do,trusting in God to lead me to my next "job". I'm still pretty exhausted from my trip,and need to rest so I'll stop here today
Thats what they say about communism,that in theory it seems to work or make sense but in the real world it does'nt. The ideas behind it are sound,equality for everyone right? So whats the rub? Basicly its the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I've been on the road now for about ten or eleven days,working 12-14 hours a day.While at the same time,trying to quit smoking cigarettes.Some of you are laughing out there and I want you to know that I am SO not joking.My circumstances have brought me to the brink of my personal ideology and left me standing here with my finger in the leaking dyke.It has held,I'm still not smoking ...(thank you God) but what a revealing experience as far as finding out if your belief systym is more theory or practice.Its pretty easy to talk about philosophy and ethics in a vacuous environment,but you'll never know if you're boat leaks until you put it into the water,or, what kind of a bailer you are until the waves crash over the side and you find yourself struggling to keep afloat.There have been times over the past couple of weeks when I felt as if I was justified in being angry,short with people,at times just stupid...so I acted out,but afterwards I would consider what had happened,and seek forgiveness or try to reach a new understanding with whoever I needed to with.I've always thought that expressing your feelings in an un-edited way is healthy,I think all feelings are a process,(cognitively we know they are) and that I am best off to go thru it as quickly as possible if the feeling is negative,(one lap around the track and then find the exit ramp) this way I'm not repressing anything,except the desire to make a total ass of myself which is a good thing.I mean...nobodys perfect right? I don't care who you are.or how together you think you're head is.life gives tests and you will fail some of them,others you will pass barely,either way it can be an important learning experience.hopefully I'll be home soon to the relative tranquility of my farm.back to my vacuous environment.
Thats right,what? did you think that all I do is sit around all day pontificating,and postulating about stuff? I'm in Wisconsin,with the traveling tool show.Its fun and games for about twelve hours a day. Its a new position for me,sort-of,I drive an 18 wheeler like before,but i work indoors all day trying to help people find the right "tools" for the jobs that they do. It works for me,I like to talk to people(duh) heck,I'll sit here and talk to nobody,there's nobody out there right? I can hear you yawning...anyway,I'm glad to be gainfully employed again,even if it means being away from my chickens,and my family...for a while.They say familiarity breeds contempt,I suppose thats true.but absence makes the heart grow fonder! So, I'm working with people,trying to help them find the tools they need. I could make certain comparisons which would perhaps seem presumptuous like this is what I've been doing anyway. After some careful consideration I realized that what I do is kind of like my daughter Boni,who when we're working around the yard will always want to help us,but being 4 years old,can't do too much. We let her gather sticks though,and place them in a pile.and any other small job she can handle. It makes her feel good and she seems to enjoy it.Thats kind-of how I see myself,I try to help people,but theres only so much I can do.It makes me feel good,and I feel as if I'm contributing in some way.My father God lets me do that,Im not so self-involved that I can't see that. Maybe the important thing is that I'm here,and I'm willing to try my best, I can plant a seed even if I lack the maturity to nurture it into fruition.These are my thoughts for today,can you relate at all? Have you been given a job to do? Showing up is at least 85 percent of it. Mostly I just wanted to post here to let anyone who might be looking for me where I'm at,no messenger here in this motel lobby terminal. I should go now,take a minute or two each day and look around you and smile,and say to yourself,"Gods here"
Welcome,this morning i'm witnessing a very important event in me,and my daughter's life. My daughter's name is Boni Averil Brown, and this morning as she stood there in her new dress and shoes with her backpack on and ready to go, I was moved in a way all parents can relate to. What happened? she was just a little "hoot owl" only yesterday,who would'nt go to sleep till we did. My mind spins randomly thru a thousand memorys,and a thousand possibilities for her future. Its hard to imagine any moment any more signifigant than this,maybe her graduation,or her marriage, I remember my first day of first grade,because my mother took pictures of me coming out at 3:30. Plaid short sleeve shirt,crew cut,but i digress...as I sit here this am I feel much hopefullness,and happiness,but also I am concerned about "what the world is coming to" and what reality my daughter will face. I live in a very rural area that is pretty much ten years behind the times, and while I'm not saying thats such a great thing,it may afford my daughter a chance to live in an environment free of some of the pitfalls of urban life.Where she can just be a child,thats so important for kids and while it may sound redundant (they're kids already) alot of children are robbed of their innocense by the society they must attempt to assimilate into their "belief systym". They learn things at an early age which don't bode well for a young persons sense of identity. Monkey see,monkey do? to some extent,yes.This is the reality they come to accept as normal life. I know that sheltering your children can be somewhat detremental,they grow up to be "rubes" (naive, ignorant) I'd much rather filter what they're exposed to and attempt to help them process it, the problem is we can only do that in a limited way,what we see them see,or what they ask about. Alas, I feel like I'm rambling on, I wish for you a life filled with moments like I had this morn,after all life is just a memory,is'nt it? (sniffs and dabs hanky below his nose,thank you)
One of my favorite Kris Kristofferson songs, Its strange to me how I seem to connect music to every moment possible. I've done it for as long as I can remember. I was born in 1960,and I can remember what year about any song came out by remembering who/what I connected it to,or who it reminds me of. Well , enough about my idiosyncrasies. Its been two days since I've had a smoke. I'm doing really well,but then I always do...for at least a couple of weeks. My problem seems to be my fading enthusiasm for being smoke free. I can go without as long as I want,but after a while its like "whats the point"? I showed the world I could quit! I'm trying to come up with some kind of replacement for smoking,(not another addiction) I think the best one is breathing,deep cleansing breaths. Perhaps I could deal with some of the things I prefer to "pattern interupt" by smoking. Do you know what I mean? Something happens,like my wife yelling, waiting on people, where my standard coping technique is to light up and "go somewhere else". Well, I really don't need a smoke, when I've got an imagination like mine! I like to dream about situations I might find myself in. Meeting people I admire, finding a duffle bag of money beside the road,(ever done that)? It works for me. I can think about things for hours, and feel a kind of rush from it. I've been told that our brains are really dumb. If you make a conscious effort to smile, your brain thinks that you are happy and releases "happy juice" into your brain. Don't take my word for it, ask the next psychiatrist you meet. Theres something universally important about smiling. Like that CSN song "wooden ships" says, If you smile at me,I will understand...because that is something everybody does in the same,language...see I just did it again, sometimes music can be a good source for philosophy,other times it's the absolute worst! My favorite "bad " example is blood sweat and tears song, "you made me so, very happy" fact is you've given yourself permission to feel happy, based on your perceptions of an event/events concerning this person. And as long as you continue to practice this co-dependent behavior you'll end up writing sad songs about how "you've lost,that lovin feelin...whoa that lovin feelin" lol.. what really happened to bill medleys relationship? Very simply,he got tired. Tired of endless "cup filling" behavior,you fill mine,I fill your's," hey, mines not completely full...I got gypped, " therein lies the source of most sad love songs. I think I'll write a song about that, "we were co-dependent lovers,using each other to prop up our wounded ego's, but I couldn't stand to hang around your needy ass night and day. So I took a freakin break,and i tried to bake a cake,but you couldn't get your fingers out of the way." there it is,the un-varnished truth...lol I really don't think it'll be a hit.Well, but I digress (sp?) it's sunday morning, I'm not smoking,I'm very full of joy,I love my friends/family, life is very good,and set to get better (hopefulness) I'm not angry with anyone, don't really care what anyone else thinks of me, if you can't say the same then lets talk mono "e" mono sometime and try to figure out why not. wishing you a great day, ME
Thats right,quitting smoking that is. I've probably quit at least 50 times,sad is'nt it? the truth is that I love to smoke,but it does'nt love me back. And,in keeping with my philosophy of eliminating things in my life "that which does not bless me", I'll give it one more shot. Its funny, I've noticed something about myself,and people as a whole. We hate the things about other people that we hate about ourselves,and love what we love about ourselves.That can be a very insightful thing,I "hate" people who seem to be an authority about something,but when the rubber meets the road...they're nowhere to be found. I kind of feel that way about myself,as far as the smoking thing goes.So, whats my plan? well, I don't quit without help.I'm a definite patch user.I've found that they help alot and I need all I can get.I have to avoid large meals,spicy foods,sweets,alchohol,any mechanical work,(it's busted me before) and of course,STRESS. I'm pretty good at being the observer of my life.Which is to say I remove myself from the first person,to the third person omnipresent. Observing myself,from a position thats more "detatched" and not so intensly involved. Try it sometime,it works with alot of situations you may find emotionaly too intense. I'm not saying to "check out" but to find a calmer place in your head where the big waves are'nt crashing all around you. Thats a bad place to try to deal with stress in,for me anyway. I also ask my Lord Jesus Christ to help me,he's promised to do for us that which we ask in his name,to help us in a time of struggle in which we're trying to purge our lives of sin. I really wanna give God praise this morning for the way he's had my back lately, (he's always had my back I know) but lately i've been in situations where I refused to worry about things,and trusted in him for answers. Guess what? it works...I truly serve an awesome God!! I think people are afraid to trust him, I'm guilty myself. I'm learning to lean on him more though and he's very willing to prove he's there. How neat is that? Maybe I should just forget the other "help" and lean exclusivly on him. I think that God looks for people who are counting on him for BIG things, (its big to me) and I know he wants to help all that I'll let him. I also believe that prayer works. If you should happen to read this do me one huge favor. For a couple of moments would you think about my struggle and send your good intentions? no bs...I've seen it work,and i'm a missourian (show me) so,anyway...thanks in advance,for that, I love you all.
Don't feel as if I'm all that inspired today.I really just wanted to say hey! to all of the new people who might read this. I write what I write for anyone who reads it,strangely enough,that includes me. I can tell you that I feel as though its helped me to witness my journey,and give my testimonial. I'd like to get to know as many people as I can,and to share your stories and revelations, because I get off on it...I need to feel a sense of enthusiasm about my life (passion) its part of what makes life more meaningful for me. I guess I feel alot of empathy for people who are'nt doing this.Its just so good "here" where I'm at,but I've been where you are,and it bites,and its all up to you to change it,theres work involved...but like they say,if you think education is expensive,try ignorance. spend your life wisely, joyfully,open yourself to the potential. O ne affirmation I dwell on is thinking to myself that "my father,who is God,owns the cattle of a thousand hills.and he is ready to supply all of my needs in this moment,and in my future. I know this to be the truth,thank you God".
Are you still with me? Or are your eyes glazed over? Should I pass the plate now? We've all been bombarded with a variety of philosophys and ideologys in our lives. We really don't know what to believe in the face of so much competition for our mind/heart space. I'm a skeptical person myself,and sotimes rather than making a decision about something i'll file it away under "interesting,but not exactly what I believe" There has to be an aspect of it that we find intrinsicly usable and practical in our daily lives. Other people arrive at their conclusions thru conflict or crisisand require only that it brings them peace or comfort. They don't feel any need to understand it beyond just knowing that "it works for me". Is it really working for you,beyond beyond your current time of crisis? Or does the wisdom of uncertainty pay you any daily dividends? I found it hard to stay in either camp for very long. I really felt that in order for me to be to be truly served by my beliefs they had to do both. Is that too much to expect? I found that I was unable to commit to anything that did'nt. To put it simply, my psychology had to agree with my theology. Most people in either camp are diametricly opposed,and there are some aspects of both that I can't abide with. I don't share the viewpoint that people are basicly good,I know diffrent. I don't believe that being homosexual is any greater a sin than what is commited by the people who shun or shame them. I do believe in following Christ and his teachings. I also believe in my responsibility to choose how I perceive events and people,my "ownership" of my thought life. I believe this is what Christ was teaching in Matthew,specificly in chapter 5 verses 39-48 where he talks about turning the other cheek. Now thats thought subjection! Or when he says to love those who hate you and despitefully use you. Boy that sounds tuff! How in the world could we possibly change our perceptions to accomplish that?
2 Corinthians 4-4 In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them. Satan,often referred to as the "father of lies",whose goal it is to deceive the whole world,seeks to accomplish his task thru each and every one of us. Enticing us with what appears to be an easier,quicker, shortcut to all the things that we long for or desire. As with most "shortcuts",the final outcome is usually found lacking. satans number one lie is to convince us that he doesn't actually exist. That we're much too intelligent to believe in all of that sort of stuff.That mindset is satans fertile bottom land. Satan enticed Adam and Eve to eat of the tree so that they would be "Godlike" his game hasn't changed at all. On a basic level its really about control.Control of the world,yourself,and other people. Its a comprehensive deception that encompasses our whole belief systym.Our most closely held beliefs about control are patently false.We may possess the ability to affect the outcome of different situations but its not "real"or absolute,or "that which cannot be threatened".We are constantly confronted with this,things or people or events we believe under our control become "out of control" (a belief systym crash).the only control we should concern ourselves with is the control of our thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10-5 Casting down imaginations,and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. I think the essence of this verse is what i'm trying to express.i'm also talking about the "renewal of the mind" Romans 12-2 And be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Christ. Have you ever thought to yourself,"this is the way things are,I cant't change them,so i'd better learn to accept them" or in another attempt at rationalization,"shit happens"?This is the mindset of man,one that stems from the lie which tells us"you don't really deserve any happiness,or peace,and continuing to struggle is normal,it would be too much to hope for to live life in a joyful way,people who do that are just ignorant". The renewing of our minds means that we have the ability to see life with the "eyes of love",to arrive at diffrent conclusions,subscribe to a diffrent belief systym.Whenever I hear people espouse the hopeless viewpoint,"shit happens", I counter with"when does shit stop happening"?The common answer is,"never". "but it does" I say, "how"? In my mind... I perceive myself as a beloved child of my heavenly father God,Who,as the perfect father,seeks to teach us.The circumstances and events of our lives are nothing less than that attempt. To pursue a relationship with us,while at the same time out of love for us,help us to find our purpose and joy. Seeing your life in this way no longer allows us to see our lives as "shit" but as a divine journey,and the events and circumstances of our lives as the good and perfect will of our father God for our lives. If it walks like "holiness",talks like "holiness",and smells like "holiness" it's probably "holiness", not "shit","maybe we should taste it" (my attempt at humor). many of you are parents,perhaps even of teenagers,whose nature is to re bell against us.What a frustrating experience it is to watch as they"make their own mistakes". There's very little we as parents can do except wait. hopefully,when the rebellion subsides,or they hit the wall, (whichever comes first) we as parents often hear something like this "I don't know whats wrong,every thing is just screwed up,I thought I was doing the right thing but it did'nt turn out like I thought" what a joyous moment in a parents life,because now we know that we have their attention,that they may just listen,and that hopefully,even take our sage advice. Instantly our hearts melt,all past misdeeds forgotten,all that is important is that they have learned something.How much do you want to help that child? Is there any resource you possess that would be withheld?Our heavenly father is no different,(except he never makes mistakes). He's your father too,if you'd let him be, he's concerned for you even though your indifferent towards him.he'd like to help you,but you're in rebellion.He can wait,he's patient.He's not the one living in a "world of shit that keeps happening" Blaming God for our rotten,unfulfilled,joyless lives is also a lie.We made all of the choices,remember?(free will) Of course we made those choices in the context of a dis-functional satan sponsored world where lies are taken as truth.To me, this would seem a hopeless situation,were it not for Ephesians 4-7 Unto every one of us given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. this means that within all of us is a piece of God, of truth,for us to know.That will guide us,and if not ignored,would resonate when turned in the right direction.Is anything I've said caused any resonance?Have you ever heard Gods word and had that feeling of belonging? how foolish we all are to ignore the one thing that can make everything else right,that pearl of great value,that victory over hopelessness and cynicism,that rock for you in the raging sea of your life and the world you live in. Matthew 6-33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God,and all these things shall be added unto you. A meaningful life whose focus is giving instead of taking,a sense of fulfillment and security that cannot be threatened.Victory thru Christ Jesus over over the deceptions of satan which seek to steal our very soul,A true desire for repentance and change in our lives that we've never been able to find within ourselves, a friend,who is closer than a brother,our personal "wonderful counseler" who's office hours never close and who never sends a bill. But there is a catch,oh yes...it requires of us that we realize and confess our current state of depravity blindness,and just basic sinfulness.A realization of our hopeless situation and desperate need of a savior,true repentance,(which means to turn from)and willingness to trust all to him.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Anything that you can invest love into, that grows, is a GREAT investment...I feel as though it's the essence of my life, to find things I can invest myself in and then watch the fruit (or vegetables) that they bear appear.
It's been a great year for potatoes, and broccoli...so cool and moist
and I "loves" me some broccoli...especially in that green rice casserole!
One of my dearest memories of my granny is her making greenbeans and new potatoes for me, and then teaching me how to make them and sending me home with a bag full to cook on my own. It's been a tough year for things like tomatoes, and watermelon, they need the sustained high temperatures to flourish...heres a pic of one of my plants...
Nice huh? It'll bear great big juicy tomatoes that I'll make the worlds best B.L.T's with!
I'd also like to squeeze in some pics of the river I took yesterday, check these out!
and it smelled like heaven...
cool, clear, water!
This was the coolest thing though....this huge spring! when you look into it you see fine gravel being "blown" up from the intense current, like lava from a volcano! and at the mouth where it flows into the river there was this interesting...well, I don't know what to call it...
It looks like a brain...lol, but it's fine mud thats settled over the sediment from the spring.
Okay, so I played hooky from work...(because of the rain) But I had been wanting to go to the river for a while, and boy was I glad i did!
Did I mention that they re-possessed my car the other day? yeah, man I loved that car! it was a subaru "baja" black and silver, the kind with a small pickup bed in the back...but guess what! my pastor loaned me this car to use
Thank God, for a Christian brother like that! what a blessing to me...(and him) it gets great mileage, has over 200k miles on it, and...well, I love it!
Where is your ministry? where do you invest yourself? weather you know it or not your life is a testimony to something. Do you feel a need for more fulfillment in your life? How about your "joy level", find a place where you can "meet God" and let his perfection flow thru you out into the world! Remember, it's not what you go thru...it's HOW you go thru it that determines weather you are "the victor" or not, theres a victory that's been reserved just for you...will you claim it?
Theres something about the month of May, it's kind of the not summer yet but not used to it being spring month...normally here we go from winter to summer but this year WOW! we've probably had 30'' of rain! It's like Spring on steroids...I took these pictures today, I did a small logging job on this rather large farm (over 4000 acres) where there are HUGE tree's. We were mainly just cleaning up some trees that had fallen over a fence and some that had been washed out by the flood.
whattaya think of this bridge? well, luckily we did'nt have to cross it loaded!
most of these are white oak's, which are sometimes used to make "staves" or slats for barrels that they age whiskey in. If you smell white oak when it's being cut it reminds you of where the "flavor" comes from!
This photo did'nt come out very well, the horse was camers shy! but LOOK at that hay field back behind him, A sea of grass, waist high, a windy day... mesmerizing to watch its undulations and flow. This is the part where I get all philosophical and talk about how life is like that too, and how we can't really "see" the wind, but we see the effects of it...which is also an answer I give to people who say "I've never seen God, so how do I know that he exists"? (slick huh?) LOL...
And lastly, this photo of a cow trying to do the "limbo" under the electric fence...