May 31, 2009
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13~The Gift of The Spirit
Fire in the sky a flaming sunset over the Ozarks Holiday Island AR
and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Labels: Scenic Arkansas, scripture
May 28, 2009
In The Midst of Maybe
Misty Summer Morning near Vaugan ARBank Vice President..."Hoku, Im sorry but the fine print in the loan allows us to do what we have to to recover any past due payments, we took what we needed to satisfy the terms of the agreement..."
And with that my future here in Northwest Arkansas has been fast tracked... I heard these words and the amount of money that they took, and realized that I was on borrowed time. I need a miracle, a job and soon. That is a tall order when the official unemployment is 6.5 but really it is thought to be as high at 9.5% because of all of the contracted Walmart labor that has no work and is scratching like everyone else...
It was 5 pm, too late for me to do anything last night. I freaked out went into shock really, sort of like when I realized that my business wasn't going to happen and all of the money sweat and effort that went into that venture out the door. Panic attacks... I went to see Woody and while he was not sympathetic...he wanted half of my savings all along, but still in all he was supportive of my pain, which is serious
I went on to Accountability group where I laid out my problem before the others, it dampened the discussion. I was prayed for and encouraged, but like so often in my life, no one knows quite what to do with Me appreciated all of the praying and words of support...but there is nothing really practical that can be said. I am a month away from homelessness and this gets to people but they aren't sure how to help you.
If I only had a job...any job... I apply and apply and nothing. No call backs, nothing. I feel useless and worthless like all that I have done over the years counts for nothing...
I got home from church and I called everyone, I called my therapist, my friends and emailed my cousin in Houston and my Aunt in Austin. People called me...my Pastor's wife and friend..another friend and Woody who realized that he missed the mark when talking to me and tried to console me...
My therapist called me with some leads one of which was a place called Samaritan House
a ministry of Fellowship Bible Church
one of the areas largest churches. I called just to see what assistance they might have that would help me. I spoke to a case worker that wanted me to come in and have a meal and talk to someone. So I did.
It was food pantry day and people came in to get food. I told the lady "encourager" that food want really what I needed but she asked me to take it anyway as "this is what they did" so I said yes to that. I was surprised later and the quality of the product I received including hygiene products dish soap and paper goods... they even put in something for Abigail. Since I didn't need the shampoo soaps and ladies supplies, I put them out for the food drive today that a local group was collecting for, and added a few things from my own cabinets since I was so enriched by my visit.
But what I really needed I didn't get which is work. Several people took my card took down what I did and that I needed some work now. I also had a chance to talk to a LCSW about my situation.. her comment was that I had all four of life's most difficult challenges on my plate at that moment, ( They are loss of spouse, loss of home, loss of employment, and loss through death...my Aunt Jean passed away this week I was notified just as I pulled into Samaritan House's driveway)...You should only deal with these issues one at a time one a year for the sake of your health. I have been in suffering and grief for so long that my soul is dried up and damaged I am hurting my health, and hurting those around me. I feel doubld over in emotional and sometimes physical pain. My "bleating" is getting annoying to some, and others, especially those in the workplace who feel guilty or shall I say superior to those of us less fortunate...not realizing that they too can suffer the same fate. Lose you job, burn up your savings and find your self sleeping on cardboard. Lots of that in places like Sacramento, Elkhart and sadly my fair Louisville, where unemployment is not going to improve until they get the Ford plant up and running. I am glad that I am here.
I ate the hot meal and talked at length with the volunteer that sat with me. It was left overs from our local Red Lobster... a really fine meal actually, I enjoyed mine heartily. I have never eaten on a soup line before. It was a strange moment. I was dressed for job hunting and the others being served there would stop and sort of stare at me a moment and then ignore me. I looked very out of place. I realized that this was the reverse of how I reacted years ago to those on the lines of our giant food ministry at Hosanna Calvary Chapel. I wondered how all of those people didnt manange when some how I did...That may be the lesson I am needing to learn right now. That its not always within your control to manage your circumstances. Only God can judge that... I gave thanks for the food and resolved to, as a penetential act for my pride and willfullness, to eat there insted of fast food meals on job hunting days when they are open. It is a wiser use of my funds and the fellowship is something that I need just now. Maybe I can overcome my fears by associating with other overcommers, like the single mom that was at the table next to me... or the seinor couple that lives in their car because they are not quite old enough for Social Security. I saw my mother struggle, and deplored her begging for help... now the shoe is on the other foot and I think this is very good for me to consider...
I felt love all the way throught the process. I spoke to the head of the Counseling division who felt it was a shame I wasnt working took my resume and said hed work on finding me a place even if it was part time. There are other housing arrangements being discussed as of this writing. I am trying to stay in Fourth Day, do not anticipate tomorrow, because it is not here yet...
And so I sit "in the midst of maybe" not sure exactly what to do next, other than pray, wait, and start to let go of things places and people that are precious to me as another big change may be comming my way. Most of all I need to continue in my quest of learing to trust in a loving God that knows what is going to happen to us and lets nothing happen that is not for our good... I can depend on that...
Labels: Abigail, Faith, Friends, Personal Growth, working
May 25, 2009
A Soldier's Prayer~A Memorial Day Tribute
Lest We Forget - American Cemetery Normandy
The American Battle Monuments Commission administers, operates, and maintains twenty-four permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,917 U.S. War Dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,922 of World War I, 93,245 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War.
The World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is situated on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel in Colleville-sur Mer, France. It is just east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux about one hundred and seventy miles west of Paris.
The cemetery contains the graves of 9,387 American military Dead, most of whom gave their lives during the landings and ensuing operations of World War II.
An S.A.S. Soilder's Prayer
I bring this prayer to You, Lord,
For You alone can give
What one cannot demand from oneself
Give me, Lord,what You have left over
Give me what no one ever asks You for.
I dont ask You for rest,
Whether of soul or body;
I dont ask You for wealth,
Nor for success,
Nor even health perhaps,
That sort of thing You get asked for so much
That You cant have any of it left...
Give me, Lord, what You have left over,
Give me what no one wants from You...
I want insecurity and strife
And I want You to give me these
Once and for all
So that I can be sure of having them always
Since I shall not always have the courage
To ask You for them
Give me Lord what You have left over
Give me what others want nothing to do with
But give me courage too...
And strenght and faith
For You alone can give
What one cannot demand from oneself.
Lieutenant Andre Zirnheld (d. 1941)
Lt. Zirnheld was a college philosophy professor before WWII, in which he served in the British S.A.S.. This prayer was found on his body when he was killed in action in Lybia in 1941
Labels: Catholic, Prayers, Quotable Quotes, Traveling
May 24, 2009
Isaiah 41:1-6,8-13, 17-20~ The Lord Will Deliver His Friend
Mysterious Island Near Kaneohe Oahu Hawaii
Listen to me in silence,
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
Who stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every step?
He gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he.
The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
But you, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Labels: Hawaii, scripture
May 21, 2009
Dont Look Now....
Abigail Valentine in her play pen
Guess who's just arrived!
Actually she will have been here a week or so. Abigail is doing famously well. First, she is a beauty. She is not still long enough for me to get a good picture of her and she needs a groom so she wont look so much like a muskrat.
While she is Annabelle's full sister, and is as sweet natured as her sister was, Abi is just "more" of what Bella was... I sense a great soul in this dog. She is easy to love and easy to do for... I somewhat resented the 3 am potty break the other Abigail needed. Abi is so good that if she cries at night persistantly... she needs to go, and will go right away when we go out. Then we get right back into our respective beds and that is it... She is very good about not crying when she is crated... This little girl will sleep thought the night most nights and has had zero...count em, zero accidents. Pretty amazing when you consider that she is three months old and this is her first week here. Yes I have been home to see that she gets out every few hours, but the difference between her and the first Abigail is like night and day. Hats off to Pam and her training methods
people cant hardly believe it when I tell them...
I also believe that God had a plan. This little girl was waiting for me. All I needed to do was to wait for God to get her ready. She is going to be fine even if I start work next week...she could probably do a whole day in her crate just like Annabelle did and not be bothered too much. I wil admit she does seem to have a touch of a separation issue, she cries and runs about looking for me like a small child that has wandered off in the department store looking for her Mom. She finds me and flings herself up in a sort of reckless abandon... I always cuddle her and tell her how much I love her...
Because I do.
How easy it seems to be for me to give my heart away these days... It seems like the only thing that I have left to give...
May 17, 2009
Psalm 39~ My Hope Is in You
Summer Flowers Riverfront Park Botanical Gardens Louisville Kentucky
I said to myself, "I will watch what I do
and not sin in what I say.
I will curb my tongue
when the ungodly are around me."
But as I stood there in silence-
not even speaking of good things-
the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point.
My thoughts grew hot within me
and began to burn,
igniting a fire of words:
"Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered,
and that my life is fleeing away.
My life is no longer than the width of my hand.
An entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
human existence is but a breath."
We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth for someone else to spend.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
Rescue me from my rebellion,
for even fools mock me when I rebel.
I am silent before you; I won't say a word.
For my punishment is from you.
Please, don't punish me anymore!
I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.
When you discipline people for their sins,
their lives can be crushed like the life of a moth.
Human existence is as frail as breath.
Hear my prayer, O Lord!
Listen to my cries for help!
Don't ignore my tears.
For I am your guest-
a traveler passing through,
as my ancestors were before me.
Spare me so I can smile again
before I am gone and exist no more.
Labels: Louisville, scripture
May 15, 2009
Peaceful Beach Edisto Island South Carolina
I havent said much about what is going on with my life other than the events of the past few weeks... The Walk and going out to meet Abigail. Its not been easy but I am hopeing that the economy is picking up a bit and that maybe I will get settles into a job soon
The position that I had at the apartment complex ended abruptly when a new management company come into power and fired every last one of the staff from the previous management company. I worked through an agency so I thought that I might survive the cut... Doesnt seem to be the case as the new manager hasnt reached out to the agency and I am not allowed to do so. The most frustrating part of this is that I am now less than one week away from being eligible to reopen my unemployment claim. I need to work 21 hours more thats all. So I am prayed for some work this week I really need it, I just got one days work, which turned into enough hours to go to unemployment so we shall see if I get anymore work next week.
I took the 35 hour Property and Casualty insurance class this past week. The material was as dry a bone as I have ever had to chew but the instructor was a gem and I managed to get through the week and retain a large amount of the materiel and actually do better than pass a practice exam. My paperwork has been rejected, so I turned it around and returned it after I got the corrections done. I need to buy the disc so I can take the practice tests and stay sharp
Sunday was Mother's Day, a day I usually ditch as churches are so into this day. Not that I dont think Mothers are heros, they are for the most part. I just feel like I am not a part of the group on that day, sort of a second class member. Not in this church. I think with the large number of seinors, people who have lost their kids and wives...its a hard hard day. So while congrats are given that is about the extent of it... I had a invite to lunch with the pastor and his family, which was a welcome diversion for a tough day. They were exhausted from a whirlwind drive to Pine Bluff to investigate High Schools, measure every inch of the Parsonage they are moving into, and get a tour of this city that is the home town of one of my friends at church who went with them. What a treat for her to get to see her parents and be with friends she will miss as much as I once they move. they got back at 3 am saturday, then worked a yard sale to try to get rid of some of the excess stuff they have. Sunday being a long morning, we just sat and basked in good food and each other's company. It really helped me get through a hard day
Come the next week I was able to secure a few days work at a Walmart Vendor Support Firm. I and three others spent three grueling days trying to call 1500 stores to confirm delivery and set up of a promotional lot of baby formula. It is so difficult to get someone to answer and have the proper information that out of the hundreds of numbers dialed my daily average of compleated stores was 40, pretty low. I found that some states were better at getting the information and others couldnt care less that I was calling from Home Office
My house is a changed place, I went to the Walk a few weeks ago the trees surrounding my house were blooming like nothing I have ever seen before, but once I came home four days later the leaves had all opened up and now I feel like I am living in a tree house surronded by green leaves. My hope is growing along with the leaves. I have got to hang onto it, and pray for God's creative work in my life to come through
May 10, 2009
Jude1:3-25~A Call to Persevere
Against The Sky near centerton AR
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
A Call to Persevere
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.And have mercy on those who doubt;save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Labels: Scenic Arkansas, scripture
May 05, 2009
My Lil' Valentine
My Little Valentine
Known as Susi in the kennel, born on Valentine's Day. I am going to reuse the name Abigail...She seemed to like it! She is a full sister to my Annabelle. Interesting how different she looks, but I see the same eyes, and tiny turned up nose, the crooked little smile...
I drove out in the pouring rain to meet this little girl. She and her sister as well as her two brothers were available to view, and I thought that I was up to sitting with the puppies and seeing how things went. Some grieving puppy parents come out two and three times before they settle on a new friend...
I am learning that this process is a process. Abigail, the first Abigail was a good girl, she just needs a lot more attention than I was going to be able to offer her. Two retiree ladies that share a house have taken her home, and other than her one nasty habit she is doing well. I didnt notice any of this batch of puppies indulging in that, for which I am glad. Poop eating is a sign of stress, which didnt seem present, even thought the puppies have been cooped up for days because of the pouring rain here. The night before there were tornado sightings out in the area, which is about 45 miles west of Fort Smith.
I drove out alone. I dont usually make such long drives this is a 325 mile round tripper. John wasnt wanting to go with me, so I made the choice the drive on my own. Even with the rain I was amazed at how beautiful the countryside. The green of the grass and tree leaves is so bright it jars the eyes. Water flowing down the hillsides and the rocky outcrops along the 540 highway. I plodded along and listened to John Michael Talbot's worship recording... The lightning strikes at key moments made it all seem surreal
I was glad to be alone. I needed to have time to think, time to pray and time to cry a little. I have had a lot to think about this week, lots of change, lots of conviction about areas of my life that I know need work spiritually. Lots of concerns about friends about the future at the church.
I spent 4 hours in the puppy barn. Because the weather has been so bad, the little darlings had been cooped up in the viewing area with blankets and towels to wee on. The smell was pretty intense. Pam didnt want photos taken of the mess, I wish I could show you all what this whole experience is like because it is delightful. She had her cleaning clothes on so she cleaned while I played with puppies. There is nothing like having a swirling mass of little beings that want nothing more than to get your attention... "Pick Me! Pick Me!" as they yip and pull at my shoelaces, and tumble over each other in reckless abandon. I think every child should have this experience once in their life, it is very sweet and wonderful, all of those little faces looking expectantly at me. This is not a puppy mill, but a nursery where the doggies are not caged but have large runs, warm sleeping nests, and safe places to nurse and care for the babies, under the wide Oklahoma sky. See the most recent video here
I decided that I wanted another girl to fuss over... I think that I would feel silly putting bows in the hair of my boy dog...I am so old fashioned. So Pam and I put all of the boys down for a nap...then all of the girls that are on hold, and or sold. This brought my choices down to six. There is a gender bias against the males, and there seem to be more of them born these days at Shih Tzu Heaven
. I dont think it has to do with hair bows, the bias I mean. I think the boys are sweet and cuddly, but the word is that house training is harder... I havent seen that with Pam's boys they all trot outside like champs. I saw seven-eight week olds looking for the pet door. Pretty amazing.
I picked up all of the girls and held each one, I had also looked at older females and pups less than 8 weeks old. The six pups in "day care" were my "finalists"... There was the black with white sister of Annabelle, a bit on the bossy side pushing other pups around and acting like she was the little queen. I was actually on the hunt for her, but she wasnt the right one...I could just tell. There were brown and white pups from different parents...
And there was this little girl that had attached herself to me. She sat by my chair and kept looking up. She was bigger than the others, and would clearly grow larger than the Imperial size I wanted. I did pick her up a few times and put her down again. She stayed by me even pushing other pups away to keep me all to herself... It didnt go unnoticed by yours truly.
I picked her up again and asked about her parents. I think Pam faked not hearing me... I cuddled the pudgy toddler admiring her button eyes and turned up nose. She also has lovely markings of gold on her dark face... After a few more minutes I realized that I was really crazy about this one she was just radiating love and contentment while laying in my arms... When I asked Pam when she would be ready to go home, she said "May 14", and I knew...she was one of Shadow and Taco's babies, one of the Valentine puppies... Annabelle's other full sister and she seemed crazy about me. I said "Well, thats settles it...she is one of the family, and she should go home with me." And so she is as soon as she is ready to leave the nest... no rushing it this time
I remembered looking at her on the computer back in February as I traveled to Birmingham with Linda... after my Beloved had died and thinking that one of these babies would be mine to love. I hope that all goes well this time, and that we will become true companions. I should have her in two weeks... I can hardly wait
Aint Love Grand?
Labels: Abigail, Annabelle, Faith
May 03, 2009
John 3:25-36~ He Must Increase
Peaceful Stream Table Rock Lake near Beaver AR
Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification.And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.He must increase, but I must decrease.”
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Labels: Scenic Arkansas, scripture