Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Trials and Tribulations - 2nd glance

  With the addition of bad news that came from my last follow-up, something occurred to me that had once before crossed my mind. Trials and Tribulations. In the last days we look for trials and who out there doesn't associate tribulation with the end of days. I, like many others, do believe we are in end days but not because of our tribulations--- rather because of other signs. Who among us hasn't had our share of trials and tribulations in ever day life? If you are normal and I would say blessed, you have had your share of these things. For many that will sound a bit crazy, that last sentence, but it is true. I would be the first to admit that an easier life would have been nice, but the trials and tribulations of this life have made me who I am. Right or wrong, I am who I am because of an uneasy life. As short as I fall now, I can't imagine how bad I would be if everything was smooth. You don't here that these days from "preachers" much, they know that the better you feel about yourself the more you will give. But what does the Bible say?

James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

  1 Peter 1: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Romans 5:And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

   Now I could go on and one, there are many other quotes and stories on this subject, but that in and of itself should be enough, suffice to say, more than enough. Make peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reflections on Thanksgiving.

  So today it came to me, well actually that started last night, at how we slowly change. I watched as Denise went OCD from the stress of getting the Thanksgiving meal prepared. There were things that she did in the last 5 or so years, and things mom did. Just like a frog who will set in the water as the temperature slowly rises until he is cooked, so too does life do us. I caught myself playing a role like dad did, something I use to laugh at him for doing and swear I would never, ever be like that.

  Well, this is our 4th Thanksgiving without dad and our 1st without mom. This is also Denise's 1st without her dad... been a tough year. By today I smiled when I reflected back again, weighing my thoughts of then verses now. I remember mom busting her butt, cooking and going crazy while dad, who knew to keep out of mom's way, played the part of go for and sitting up the tables and chairs. Of course that was not so much by his design but mom's design, dad just followed orders. He did so without hesitation and a lot of times without adding his 2 cents in, just followed the orders and made the trips to the store or outside to assist mom. I remember vividly thinking that dad had got this from being in WW2, but I was wrong. His service days probably helped him, I have no service time but I learned to follow orders.  Now different families have different roles and I personally do not believe that one way is better than the other, it is just what a family gets use to and is comfortable with. Around here, women prepared the meal and men followed the orders the women gave to them.

  Back then and really up until I really don't know, I said that I would not be like my dad and my wife would not be like my mom. Now at this time it is time to reflect back to what I said about that frog in the water thing, so I really don't know when or where that line was crossed. Maybe though this year, now at 54, I fully understand things more than I use to, especially since we are now the ones who are old. We are not really old but back when I noticed things like this I was in my 20s so yea, I would have thought me to be a relic back then. My parents, and other adults that helped raise me, I could always see traits that I admired, so please don't misunderstand me on that. The thing is though that I was in fear that one day I would become like my dad and fall into that order taking, mom fearing, role. I was a man and therefore over my woman I thought.

  I looked at my wife as I was not asked to run here or there, well actually a time or two told I was running here or there, but volunteered cheerfully to run. My wife was busting her butt to not only do her charges but also mom's charges now that mom was no longer with us. Our youngest daughter, only one still left at home, was busting her butt helping. At 22 she was also bucking up like a wild horse that has never been tamed, but she was being led and followed. Our oldest daughter asking what she could do to help out even though she lives miles away and had sick kids. My wife didn't want to place more burden on our oldest, guess she remembers us having small kids.

  So today the big event, Thanksgiving was upon us and Denise was wide open but running low on energy. If I did not know here I would probably not know this to watch her go. Her dad had just died and the funeral the day before, she was behind, broken hearted, and tired. I think staying busy kept her mind active and off the pain she was feeling. The pain was still there but at least she got a reprieve from the intensity of it, she was a daddy's girl. I was a momma's boy and I have buried myself in writing and paperwork on he estate and even TV this time, the TV thing... not good. One still grieves and one still hurts, but by not dwelling, one heals in time. Time does not totally heal all wounds but it does help to heal and have a healthy scar more so than an unhealthy one.

  Tonight, as she lay there asleep on the couch, exhausted, it came across my mind what dad must have felt. Neither of us are as thin as we once were, neither of us are as naive as we use to be, but man was she ever beautiful. I had to be the luckiest man alive. I thought dad was being bossed but he wasn't, he surely understood how blessed he was and rather than following orders was happy to help. He done this not out of duty but out of love and honor and was pleased to be of assistance to mom, whatever she needed him to do. I wondered just how I could have been so wrong for so long, for that matter, how I could not see the transformation in my perspective. Even more, how I could have taken so long to make the change complete. I guess I was a late bloomer, lol.

  So many changes have come about me and most for the better, but I was pretty off track in a lot of things. The thing I have noticed since dad has gone and now that mom has gone is not that I fear being them as I did when I was young. What seems to be boring in our youth eventually becomes stability in our later years. Spontaneous becomes undependable and change becomes undependable. Not completely in all aspects but in many. Trendy people become people of Fads and that becomes material people and eventually can become broke people. I get all that now, but the thing that amazes me the most and caught me off guard is when I looked at her lying there I had one thought. One thing came to mind and tonight I will ask in my prayers that I become that which I once feared I would be, that which I once thought weak. I pray I can be a man that is as my dad was, or at least half the man. That I can, though my actions and words inspire someone to be like me like dad did without ever once thinking he was doing just that. That I can be worthy of the ridicule of youth and the admiration of age. That I never know if I have been so that I can remain humble, and preform the tasks my dad did without fail. In short, that one day I can become a man like my dad.           

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It Ain't Easy

  This I write to a few of my family. Will they read it? Maybe, maybe not, but I write anyway. For once I'm not going to name names, but you all will know of whom I speak. I think though this applies to most at some point or another.

  We have certain ones who appear as though they have changed... again. I'm 54 this year and I have watched this play out time and time again, we all have. I probably look foolish being nice or giving them a chance to change, maybe I am, you decide. You know as well as I that I don't go to church, can have a potty mouth at times. Prowlers come around I handle it, have little use for 911. I stand my ground and do not bend, even a little bit. I do read the Bible quite a lot, and the more I learn the more I find I don't know. What I do know is that it isn't open to interpretation, especially not mine. I consider myself a Christian, maybe not the best one, but one all the same. I'm not much on the dogma that seems to go along with that title, nor was it forced on me, I chose to be.

  I have found that me pointing a finger at wrongs don't help make them right. I found that you can't take a Bible and beat the Hell out of someone with it and make them good. If you scare someone into it that wears off. I believe that saying of everybody gets something different out of it is a load of bull, it is what it is and it says what it says. Part of being a Christian I believe is that you accept Jesus' offer of a new Covenant, thus replacing the old stuff... save for the 10 Commandments. So we start there.

I have tried hard to keep peace within the family. One member that everybody has the hardest time with seems to have changed. Is it real? Who knows, probably not but maybe. I explained my kindness with them as to the persons as this is the hardest part of being a Christian, forgiveness and trying to give them a chance to change. I'll be 54 this year and I have seen this go back and forth since I can remember, but here is the thing. Do they deserve another chance, probably not, but neither did I when I asked God to forgive me and give me a chance to change. I've fallen more than I've stood, crawled more than I've walked, failed everyday in some way... yet He is faithful. I am sure I sound like a broken record by now, but He is patient. As I have read and understood it to be, we are to do the same. I use to think you can fight fire with fire, yet evil cannot be outdone with evil, only good can undo evil. Maybe I will be fooled and looked upon as a fool, if this is a fake change, but I will be known as a fool with a heart. I will be shown as a man with mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and love.

When I face my God, I do so with Jesus as my shield, but that comes with a price. Do not let anybody fool you on this one, it has a price. We are suppose to at least try and follow His lessons, and that ain't easy. We fall and then we get back up, and if you fall one thousand times you get back up one thousand and one times. That is where Grace is your safety net. It isn't an excuse to do wrong but rather a net to catch you and protect you when you do. It has a catch though, that you follow in His examples. You have to forgive to be forgiven. Well, I need forgiveness... every day.     

Thursday, March 20, 2014


  It comes time that the build up is that I need to find relief. I have that "support group" that we hear people say we all need, and we do all need that sooner or later and from time to time. When I was a teenager I had a poster on my wall of a baby Seal that said, "Everybody needs somebody sometime", truer words were never spoken. Thing is, just who do I lean on that doesn't already bear a heavy load close by? Funny, my motto has changed somewhat over the 53 years of my life. It is now, do no harm as well as allow no harm, if possible. 

  I swore in as the Executor of mom's estate today, actually swore in an oath, one of which I would do no matter what. Me and Megan went to one of the two banks and gave copies where I could manage the estate's business and tomorrow we do the same at the other bank. I do not look forward to doing that. I spent some more time straightening mom's current mail and bills and receipts. Mom kept everything just not exactly in any kind of organization, but I think she knew just which stack something was in, much like my desk was and still is today. I never make it up there long before I have to stop. It feels like I am in mom's personal business, even though I know that is what she would want, still feels weird. I talk to her, sometimes even fuss at her, but always tell her that I miss her. Is she here on earth, I don't think so, but I think they can see us from Heaven. I do not think they can relate to anything negative, God does not allow that. Just as negative energy is an absence of positive, dark the absence of light, so then bad is the absence of good, and when God is, good is all there is.

  I found letters from a "religious group" promising fame, money, health, happiness... if the person would just send in their prayer money. If there was a spin they seem to have it, different in each letter. I think Hell holds a special place for people like this. Funny, mom always wanted me to be a preacher, and those who have heard my mouth would find that funny. Some in the past that have crossed me might think that funny too. I read the scriptures solely from want and personal need, and solely to learn from. Some things I am a slow learner on. I use to wonder how mom could even think such a thing, until I read letters that prey upon the sick, old, weak, and greedy. She had tons of that stuff, the TV is full of those people, and these days it even infects many churches as well. A sweet lie is still a lie, just a little easier to swallow. I could not do that to people, partly out of respect and partly out of fear of God. Be that as it may though one can find a happy medium between too sweet and too sour. One cannot buy or talk their way to Heaven anymore than one can have the Hell scared or beat out of them.

  I do what I must do on her behalf under prying eyes who look from across the street and judge. They mourn with their mouths in public, just as they worship God in public... yet in the secrets they keep secret. Maybe that is why mom picked me. I try and show as little as possible in public yet in the quiet stillness of the night, I am anything but. I give my brokenness and pain and sorrow to the One that it will not do harm each night in prayer. I step not confident, knowing that those who do often slip and fall in the overconfidence. I write these things here because not many people will read them or ever see them, yet writing has served the purpose of healing. Still, I hold back from what I would say. Something I am increasingly becoming worse at in person. I think that for far too long we have stroked each other and ourselves, maybe a little truth is past order. Maybe it is the pain I hide inside and maybe it is the want for a better world, either way, if I set and watch that stuff go one I am not better than the ones that do it. Maybe worse.         

Monday, March 10, 2014

One Of The Last Days

 This really doesn't fit the Throat Cancer Blog but more fits in here. Maybe I will recant more in time to come of mom's last days, maybe not. I've really not had time to grieve, so much to do and it all needs to be done yesterday, plus couldn't break down with Megan already broken. So, this will have to serve as my out for now. Partly though it is my fault because I would not talk with her about such matters as important papers and dying. In my mind that would make her give up and die sooner, in reality I wish I had allowed her to talk freely and listened. Other than getting the Will's location in once, and one other time where her Life Insurance papers were located, and telling me to sell the Office Building... over a course of days and trials to get in those few things, that was it.

  About two days before mom died she was laying there in her Hospital Bed that Hospice provided, she had been bed bound for twenty one days in the hospital at UT, and was for her last fifteen days on this earth at home. But know this, she fought valiantly and died honorably. Being there gives a person so much time to think, so much to think about. A Preacher once told mom that God snatches us up when He gets us close enough to Him to take. It is my belief that He calls the day and the exact time we go home.

  We were sitting there, or at least I was, mom was laying. You could see she was in deep thoughts, deeper than I had seen her before. She looked like she was a million miles away. She looked around the room in her Den where we had the hospital bed set up. You would have to see the stuff mom collected throughout her 85 years, and this room was the least of it. The stuff ranges from cheap to expensive, most in the middle, yet she had hand picked most of it, some though is stuff people gave her for gifts. The cost of things though were displayed no matter, all together, for her most prized things were things people had given her. We measure the worth of anything by the emotions it stirs when we are wise.

 Mom asked as she was looking around the room, "Why did we do it?" I was a bit caught off guard and I guess distracted with whatever it was I was doing, probably nothing. "Do what?" I asked. "Why did we work all the time. Why did we buy all this stuff and build all this stuff?"  I had regressed back to my thoughts the last minutes of the heart attack as I was laying there. The year long that seemed to never end battle with throat cancer. Those hours upon hours of pain and not being about to move about much. I am reminded of a simple yet sentence I read in the Bible and heard most of my life, "Be still and know that I am God". I hear people say that and think they know what that means, yet they haven't a clue unless they have been in a position of not being able to do anything but that. It reminds me of another thing I hear people say that have led a charmed life, "Use me oh Lord"... yea right, my saying is Oh Lord don't use me, use that idiot that is wanting to be used. I hurt enough already and while I know the saying is God will not allow any more than we can handle to be placed upon us, He gets real close sometimes.

  So anyway, again mom said, "Why did we buy all this and work all the time? It don't make sense."  I said, "No, it don't much sense. I guess we just got caught up in the trap the world sets for us. We placed a lot of time, energy, and money in moth and rust." Mom looked at me and said, "Moth and rust? What are you talking about, moth and rust? I'm talking about this. I smiled and said, "I am too mom. Everything we bought or received or was given that we can touch or set on a shelf is moth and rust. It decays in time like we do, either falling prey to moths or rust. I guess we got sidetracked a bit, but you know, it brought us some pleasure." Mom said, "Well, we didn't drink. Didn't go nowhere really. We worked hard and was honest." She paused as if to remember the past, then looked over and smiled and said, "I guess it did didn't it". I smiled and said, "Yea, and everybody's gotta do something, and we worked... and liked to work, we might have overdone it a bit."  then chuckled.

  She seemed to be at peace with that, and that was the main thing. There is nothing wrong with having things as long as you don't deprive others, are honest, and try and see those in need have to the extent you can help. As long as one does not value things over people and living things, I see no problem with having stuff. One has to know just how much Howard Hughes left behind when he died... all of it. Love, Truth, Kindness, and Faith... that you get to keep. Mom seemed to be at ease some and slowly drifted off to sleep after a long night of being in A Fib, which she still was, but was coming down to normal finally. I looked at her hands, fingers really, something I seldom do. Her fingers were smooth and shiny. It doesn't mean death is here but that it us near, but that doesn't mean they can't go back. I can't explain it but it is something one can see if they know what to look for.

  Without bursting into tears I can't talk about any of this, but I need to vent, so this is how I can get some relief. I must remain strong for everybody else, that is the role I have to play. Just like days when I don't feel I can move I hide it from whomever I run into. If I hurt, as long as I can hide it I do. Mom I have discovered done the same, at least to me she did. I had no idea how much pain she had lived with, she would not let that be known. I'm not sure even the doctors knew until the end.         

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It passes quickly

I direct this mostly at the younger crowd, but older as well. When I was a kid I couldn't wait to graduate and turn 18, funny, right before my 19th birthday I was a dad. I then looked for 21, why I have no idea. It seems when we are young we are always looking at Tomorrow, never Today, so much so we forget to live. I remember distinctly how stupid my parents were and how smart I was. That changes though and either we get dumber or they get smarter as we get older. I'm not sure to date how that works. I could work new devices that they couldn't, had more formal education than they did, and knew everything. I distinctly remember having all the answers yet, I seemed to displace them as I grew older. Oh I would get so mad sometimes at them, especially over "traditions" and ways to act. If I heard once I heard it a thousand times, "Your acting up". "don't act that way", or "Is that any way to act". Occasionally I heard the, "That isn't any way to act " thing.

  Having a daughter so young, I remembered telling mom and dad that I would raise my child different, correct their mistakes and do it right. Guess what, I did raise my girls different, I was more strict on them than I ever lived under. I take it they were much better kids than I was because I remembered the crap I did, and that wasn't going to happen to my kids. Yep boys, one remembers what one did back then and when you have a daughter you do not want a boy coming around like you. But something happens when as you get older, or at least it should. You will look at your child with a new set of eyes, seeing the world differently, and finding a whole new other type of love. As that child grows so does your understanding of the way things look, the way you perceive the world around you. Oddly enough, those people who raised you will look far more intelligent than you once gave them credit. I know full well that there are exceptions to this, and if there is, you have the power to change this and owe it to your child to right the wrong.  For this though I am talking about those who do the normal and right thing.

   As one grows so does the perception of views held by your parents, they slowly begin to make sense. The "stupid" rules and ideas once taught to you that you hated, you now begin to see why, and use them yourself. You make plans to do this or that but then something always comes up. We tend to lean toward the Tomorrow thing all over again. I need to see my parents... tomorrow. I need to be with my kids... tomorrow. That is a natural way of life these days, entertainment and even the institutions and employers preach, tomorrow. Please allow me to give you advice that has helped me to have a better life. You don't have to overdo this but for your sake learn what I failed to learn until it was late in the game. Jesus preached Today, and He did so for a reason. Your parents wants to visit, or do something with you.Try Today. Your child wants you to color.... try Today. Tomorrow may never get here, but when it does, it changes to Today. There is no reset button, no replay, no do over... I know, I've looked and it isn't even real. Once you miss an opportunity, it may never come again. Unlike the video games and movies, you get one shot here in this world and if you screw it up there are no repeats, no resets, no make overs.

  As you look upon your child take a moment to stop and think, this is how they look upon you. With joy and wonder, impressed, proud, honored, even fear, fear that they will not do justice to their child. A willingness to share all and give all to this new being. This is how your parents felt too. This new person however you will bump heads with, as you want them to be the best they can be. To be what you are not. To have what you didn't have. To pass down what you have learned. Suddenly I understood better my parents, just as you will. The time passes quickly as you suddenly notice your child is becoming an adult, your parents are old, and you are older yourself. There is a myriad of opportunities to take of things that are priceless and have real worth, moments. The world will tell you to work like a dog and give them all the things you can buy, even the child will also tell you because they've been influenced by the world. Just as you were, just as I was, when we were small.

   Fancy cars depreciate, homes can become wardens as well as prisons, demanding you give more than it's share. Fashion is fleeting and ever changing. Gadgets are "improved" and outdated. Hobbies take all the spare time. Big, costly vacations suck more from living and memories fade. Politics change as one realizes it is a show. Even religion can go way off track and isolate you from your child. But it will not be until later that you realize that the "American Dream" is titled that because you have to be asleep to believe it. Hopefully you will be smarter than I was and awaken quicker. Most of these things, done in moderation aren't bad, thing is, with TV and mass media they tell that you cannot go too far. If you are as I am you soon realize that the first 30 years have been materially good but taxing, and it has all been fleeting as the real wealth slips away. For some things it is too late. So we say Amen, but it is still raining.

  I watched my dad go in a few short years from an independent man to a man who fought to stay that way. His mind knew what he needed to do yet his body would not cooperate. Dad would get frustrated and hateful at times, mad at himself for not being able to do what he knew how to do. Your kids are at the stage you started at, all the answers to life's puzzles, and you become the idiot in their eyes. That seems to be a main theme that Hollywood seems to promote: old people stupid and useless and young people smart and in charge. It you are young and reading this just remember, youth is not forever. I could go into some detailed info on that but you would lose my point and if it intrigues one and you want to know, you'd have to visit my website. Point is, old people got to be old by being smart. Believe me on this, help your parents and be kind to them, patient with them, for one day this will be you... if you are fortunate. 

  Blink and suddenly you have grand kids and are caring for your parents and eventually burying your parents. Then you become that old man or woman that the TV and movies find so funny, making you look dumb, hateful, and completely ignorant. They want the youth to think the old are completely useless. You see that we value everything in this country, cars, furniture, tools... everything but our true assets, people. That will be you one day. So I end with a few points to ponder, knowing this is poorly written. An Indian Chief once said, "It's easy to be brave... at a distance." So think before you say you won't care. There are basically two paths one can take. One where one can follow Jesus' main teachings, or the other which follow a Luciferian path of "Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the law." Be vigilant though, that one sneaks up on you with sayings like "Just Do It", "You Deserve ..." , "Do your own thing", "If it feels good, do it". Bear in mind that like rat poison, lies contain some truth just as deception contains some reality. Make sue there isn't a hook hiding under the bait before you swallow it. Remember that those who came before you paved the way for you to have it better. I have yet to hear anyone say they wish they had been less kind, less respectful, or less loving.