I picked up my eyeglasses today, and was surprised to see how much I hadn't been seeing. I was prescribed trifocals about 3 months ago, and then so was Larry not long after. I wasn't going to get the glasses, until Larry urged me. I was quite surprised at the hi-tech quality of the lens. It provides 3 levels of prescription with no lines. I just thought my eyes were blurry. I guess they were blurry and having focusing problems the doctor said. But, it is amazing how the simple tasks of reading at different distances is so much easier.
When one does a thing, it appears good, otherwise one would not write it. Only later comes reflection, and one discards or accepts the thing. Time is the best censor, and patience a most excellent teacher. - Frédéric Chopin
So much truth in the execution of that idea. Chopin is one of my favorite classical pianists, along with Debussy, who was born more than a decade after Chopin died. For me, they both resonate the sounds of water: lakes, streams, and brooks, flowing melodically, yet punctuated and deep with some real essence that can not be defined.
This idea of Chopin's that we judge our actions good, or else we wouldn't have done them holds a lot of water, aye? Only reflection usually reveals the truth of the assessment. We usually need a lot more reflection than we imagined.
The sky seems to have opened up outside; the thunder is rattling the walls, and the rain is pouring lavishly against the roof. But, from where I sit in my recliner, listening to my audio book, and the occasional piano piece, the view is peaceful. It's what I see in my head: the provision and care of God for those who are His, that wraps each piece of our day in peace.
Isaiah 9:6 ...Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Often, we don't see the forest for the trees.
"May you be strengthened with all power... to share in the inheritance of the saints in light... delivered from the domain of darkness... transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption..." Colossians 1:11-14
And, sometimes we can't see the trees in the forest.
I am tired, but finally had enough to eat. I've been grazing all evening since I left the hospital. Then, I went along with the guys to see Dark Knight, just for the snacking opportunity the movies offers. I had not expected to have any interest in the movie, because I didn't like the earlier films. But, that said, I was pleasantly surprised. I not only loved it, but I found it a touchingly true to the original Batman ending to the story. The ending really was incredible! Note the following contains spoilers, so you may want to bail now.
I liked the way Alfred tried to encourage Bruce to "move on" with his life, and to get over the anger. I love the way the orphans were worked into the story. I loved the way the good guys were good. I loved the realism. The scene with the police charging the street near the end, the scenes with Cat Woman, the addition of Robin, the little restaurant scene at the end, and the ending itself was fabulous! I was so sad at first when I thought Batman died. I cried because you can't let an orphan die, yet it seemed such an ending to his life of pain over the loss of his parents, like he had been laid to rest. But, when I realized he was alive, had taken Alfred's advice, I was elated.
More poignant, was the political statements throughout. Ironically, I had seen memes online showing Mitt Romney with a Bane mask, hinting of his past connection with Bain Industry. But, when you watch the movie, Bain is your socialist revolutionary trying to seize the wealth and power from the wealthy and powerful and purportedly spread the wealth around. Yet, it is pointed out in the film that the people do not control the switch to the reactor at all, but Bane does. This is typical of revolutions throughout history in Europe. Take the French Revolution for instance. The scene where the displaced powerful are sentenced without a trial is a mockup of the French Revolution where the same thing was done. And, the whole thing was so much shadow of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
There is a tiny little book by George Orwell called "Animal farm" where the pigs on a farm lead the other animals in a rebellion against the farmer. They kick him out and take over the farm. Then they draft a resolution that all animals are created equal, along with a few rules, such as no animal shall live in a house or sleep in a human bed. In the end, the pigs become just like the humans, living in houses and dominating the other animals, and the rule is appended; "All animals are created equal, BUT some are more equal than others." It illustrates the point that revolutions often remove one tyrant to replace him with another.
I don't know what this country is coming to, or what is going to happen in the next election. We definitely are going through a dark night in our own saga of downgraded credit, recession, unemployment, and economic mayhem. I only know what the history books show about the results of past attempts of socialism. Apparantly, the writers of the Dark Knight have read as much of European history as they have DC Comics.
Tonight, I am praying for some of the needs I have received messages about, from the feedback line and emails. The Podcast is available on the podcast page at: http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or on the player below.
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"I Choose to Praise You"
Used by permission from Mark Snyder
Written by Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective
Vocals by Helene Immel
Tree Hill Collective’s music may be purchased at:
Do you ever wonder just who is in charge? Tonight's podcast is a look at the story of Elijah calling fire from heaven in 2nd Kings 1:1-17 and how it presents the Almighty God. The Podcast is available on the podcast page at: http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or on the player below.
"I Choose to Praise You"
Used by permission from Mark Snyder
Written by Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective
Vocals by Helene Immel
Tree Hill Collective’s music may be purchased at:
Have you ever loved someone to death? I can remember when my mom brought my baby sister home from the hospital. I loved her to death! I spoiled her beyond belief. I loved her with my whole heart, until it felt like my heart would explode from trying to love her so much. But, my sister is still with me, and I haven't died yet from loving her. I'm sure now that I could have loved her a little bit more."God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled." ~Author Unknown
I have said before that my father left me a legacy… he left me. He left us when I was two, and my mother was pregnant with my middle sister. He abandoned us, and all we knew was that he went to Chicago. As I saw it, my blood is worthless and I have no ancestry to trace. But, time will tell a different story. On July 9, we learned that our father had passed away, from a relative who had heard it from a distant relative who was in town trying to locate us, since we had not had contact with our Dad’s family in more than a decade. We had been taken to visit our grandparents every summer for two weeks until I was 13. Though we enjoyed our visits there, we learned little or nothing about our Father.
We had tried to contact our father for a while, without success. Finally, in 1996, after 30 years absence, he wanted to see me and my sister, and what we had turned out like I guess, and asked to meet us. We met him briefly at a park with our kids who were still young then. I took him a Father's Day card, the only one I had ever given anyone, since it was a few weeks before Father's Day.
When we met him, we realized that the man who had abandoned us all those years ago was now aging, and had apparantly spent much time homeless. He gave us an address, but when I sent a letter later, it was returned address unknown. I tried to contact him through relatives, to no success. So, for the past 16 years, every time I saw the homeless men under the bridges, I thought of him. Whenever it was snowing, I imagined him freezing cold. I figured one day his family might let us know when he died, and we would at least have a grave to visit. I wasn't doing the math. He was 71 when he died. Many of his brothers and sisters are now passed on.
When I heard that he had passed, I thought they had probably found him dead under some bridge. But, after contacting the County office, I learned that he had been in a nursing home there in Chicago for the past 6 years of that time. He died in the nursing home alone. No family or anyone to love. I learned his cause of death from the nursing home, and that he had been in two other nursing homes for another year before that, making a total of seven years off the streets. But, he came to the nursing home with not even a photo in his pocket, and they had provided the clothes he wore.
I had his body flown to Georgia, and I made the funeral arrangements. I learned from the funeral director that his body had gone unclaimed so long, that he had been embalmed by the local medical college students. They were about to cremate him as unclaimed, until I called. Part of me aches over the loss of the Father I never had, a lonely, penny-less old man with no family, and the homelessness he suffered. Yet, part of me is at peace from the knowledge that someone had pity on him in his final years, that now I will have a grave to visit, and now I have been given the bittersweet blessing of being able to lay my father to rest.
So many times, people just don't care for those who are down and out, or who have made bad choices. They don't realize that there go I, but for the grace of God. It is most sad to realize that I would have much rather flown him in alive, rather than dead. I wanted a father, dead or alive. I wasn’t given a choice. I had to settle for dead. I loved him to death. Now, I can only speak to his grave. I just received his birth certificate from Nashville. But, I don't have him. God is our Heavenly Father, and His feelings for us are much the same. God's grace and mercy, are there for each of us. His love for each human being cannot be diminished. But, how many of us have allowed Him to love us. I am so thankful that I will have a grave to visit my Father now. I just wish I could have been there for him in his last years. God works in mysterious ways.
Earlier this year, I met Randy Dueck, and helped him develop a website for his homeless ministry in California. He would appreciate any donations for his wish list for the homeless, if you have a mind to have a look. He delivers tents and survival supplies to the homeless under the Antelope Bridge. I drove through Atlanta, here in Georgia a couple weeks ago, and I saw some tents under the bridges on the Atlanta interstates. The homeless have tents under there now, instead of the cardboard I used to see them sleeping under. That's awesome! Maybe the homeless ministry is spreading.
My father’s Funeral was such a bittersweet blessing. We played Amazing Grace, by Chris Tomlin, and Only Grace, by Matthew West. My baby sister’s Pastor spoke and sang. My middle sister’s church provided a grave plot at the church cemetery. Our Father’s surviving brothers and sisters came, and many of our maternal relatives and our family members. We had the service in the chapel, and the headstone (when it is finished) will say: “Our Father.” We chose one with a mountain scene and a deer, to remind us of the Tennessee mountain home of our father in his childhood.
While we were at the funeral, a paternal uncle gave us an envelope. He said our father had been left a share in the inheritance from another brother who had died. He had been unable to locate our father in settling the estate. So, the money would now go to me to split with my sister, since it should pass from our father to us after his death. My share was $200.00. I knew I wanted to use it for something I would remember my father by. So, I decided to buy a piece of my Pastor’s vision. My Pastor, Scott Benefield of Tallapoosa Assembly of God has a vision for living a life of purpose. I decided to spend the 200 dollars purposefully on our church’s Food Pantry, to feed the hungry, in memory of the years my father spent homeless and on the streets. I will always remember that my father did not die alienated and alone for no purpose. His homelessness left me a legacy of love for the homeless, the disenfranchised, the hungry, and the lost. That is an inheritance worth sharing!
"Can't we all just get along?" I remember using those words; wistfully, plaintively, in the early years of my teaching career. I've never been much of a fighter; never had the heart for fighting myself. It's not that I am not stubborn, or passionate enough to stand my ground on an argument. It is really quite the contrary. I usually have chosen one of two routes of defense when attacked. 1. Say something they'll listen to, or 2. Walk away. I don't usually engage in a physical fight.
The few fights I have engaged in were rash moments of insanity where I became enraged enough by pride to say something completely antagonistic enough to someone mean enough to make me regret it. One such fight was in Job Corps, when I was 18 years old. I was a quiet person, and really only interested in graduating with a trade at that time. I left people alone. But, on that one evening, I was not feeling well. It was a Saturday, and I had spent the day in bed curled up under the covers. I got up in a sleepy fog in time for dinner and made my way upstairs to the dining hall, where the line wasn't its usual length, since many students were on leave and off the base for the weekend. As I climbed the stairs, I passed Saundra, a person I only recognized as having seen around. Afterwards, I noticed her looking in my direction in the hallway. Finally, she demanded to know what I was looking at, in language laced with profanity.
I diverted my glance, because I could see she was irate. Really I had not been looking at her at all anyways. But, she continued to hurl the barrage of insults and curse words. I used to have an achilles heel of sorts for being cursed when I was young. I couldn't take it well. (How stupid of me!) And, I was feeling ill anyways. I snapped. I snapped at the only thing I knew about her. "I don't have to take this coming from no 'dyke!'" I snarled. It sounded like it came from someone else's mouth. I was just as shocked as everyone around me. Saundra lifted weights. She looked stronger than most of the guys I knew. But, I wasn't thinking at all... just insulted by the profanity. So, I had stricken back verbally. She suggested we step outside and take care of it. Not to be one to drop an ounce of dignity on the floor in the heat of the moment, I followed her quickly out on the external metal landing and stairway.
Fortunately, someone in the crowd that followed us had the presence of mind to insist we go to the ground floor. My friends and roommates were pleading with me to forget it, and let it go. Saundra took the boxing stance that she knew so well, and waited for me to take the first swing... like a gentleman. I didn't know how to fight. I just knew how to be mad at that moment. I swung my arm wildly, missing by a mile, and then the beating began. Repeatedly, she hammered my face, ears, head, stomach. I kept getting back up, thinking I was going to be able to hit her, but I never touched her. My friends were begging me by this point to just stay on the ground. Finally, my eyes were too swollen to see at all, and San Thomas, a big black girl who I had become friends with on day one at Job Corps picked me up kicking and flailing, and physically carried me to our dorm room. (I was one of only a few white girls there.)
I laid on the bed for about 3 days, with my ears bleeding and my eyes black and blue. By the time I was coherent again, I learned that Saundra was gone; had been expelled because it turned out she had a problem with thinking people were "looking at her." I was not the first one she had fought for the same reason. I was lucky to have a friend like San who carried me away when I got carried away.
I remember the incident like it was yesterday. For the most part, I try to stay away from people who hurt me. So, I can't really understand why some people fight so much. It just strikes me that sometimes you get the idea that there is this list of people you are expected to hate. And, at times, it is easy to forget who is on the list. It shouldn't be that way. In my book, it is all I can do to hate the people who have wronged me. In most cases, I have forgotten why I didn't like them to start with, since my memory is not what it used to be. I can't keep up with the ones who have wronged someone else. So, to make it easier, awhile back I erased my 'list.' Then I wadded the list up and threw it away. Inadvertently, I have befriended some people who were on the 'lists' of other people I care about. So, when the protests started, I handed them a blank piece of paper, and asked them to give me a list of the people I should hate now, since I no longer have a list. Needless to say, the paper lay there blank and the complaints were silenced.
I haven't gotten lost, or forgotten my passwords, just feeling a little lost inside. On the 9th, I learned my Father passed away. We laid him to rest on the 15th, Sunday. I have a lot on my mind about that, and every time I sit down in front of the keyboard thus far to put it to words, I have fallen into a deep sleep. So, here it is midnight, and once again I have slept the evening away and here is an empty screen.
On the Friday before the funeral, I took my nephews to Build-a-Bear in the Douglasville Arbor Place Mall. The next morning, Timmy sat in my lap and sang with me into the camera on my tablet. He is two years old, and loves to sing. His big brother Thomas is into video games & camera shy but, Timmy is not bashful at all, a camera ham really. At one point in the video included below we had to stop to fix a leaky diaper situation. But, after rehearsing once through, we finished with a pretty good rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves Me. Timmy can't talk more than a few words, but it sounds like he is saying "Jesus loves Daddy's Baby." As you can see at the end, he has no real concept even of names beyond that he is the baby. But, he loves singing and looking at himself on the tablet screen. You can tell when he begins to realize that the screen image is himself.
Rhymes & Songs include:
Hey Diddle Diddle
Jesus Loves Me
Walking through the Douglasville Mall, with my shopping bag sitting on my walker, and Larry beside me, we made our way towards the cinema last night. We had sipped coffee while waiting for the 9:55 showing, and now we still had a few minutes left to take our time.
A young teenage boy approached us pointing at my walker. His name was Zack, and he wanted to know what medical condition was causing me to walk with difficulty. I gave him a simple explanation, a lesion on my spine, transverse myelitis, and he asked if he could pray for me. Looking into his eyes, I could see the kind of faith I knew God uses to work miracles, and it took me by surprise, seeing that I had been engrossed in my doctors' recent diagnoses of a life-time crippling condition that would never get any better. The concurring diagnoses clashed with my faith, and I have written quite a bit about that. When given a choice between believing a doctor's practiced estimate, or my faith in a miracle working Jesus, I choose faith hands down. Doctors are human. Jesus is God.
Zack prayed with us, and I was refreshingly shocked to find he was a Baptist... though I shouldn't have been. Many different denominations believe in healing now. We went on our way, but I haven't forgotten the light in his eyes. He had the love of God in his eyes. And, I haven't forgotten that a complete stranger asked to pray with me. That's a reassuring feeling.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 This verse gives us the idea that God is in control of our central nervous system: the brain, spine, and system of nerve impulses throughout the body. The ancient Hebrews attributed this power of control to the kidneys, as in an essential organ, or the mind of a person. God created our central nervous system. He can heal the spine and repair nerve damage. He can heal paralysis. He covered our internal vital organs in our mother's womb with our skin and external body tissue. There is no part of our human body that is outside His control, and power to heal. I believe in miracles. I'm expecting. I see it with my Father's eyes.
Ever sat in a parked car with the engine idling? That's when the motor is running but you ain't going nowhere. Sometimes our mouth works that way. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36
Just something to think about... we all do it sometimes, don't we?