Sunday, August 28, 2016

All Right...Last Post here...TDGH is Closed


http://faithandtheunreasonable.blogspot.com/

I am reopening The Daily Ground Hog for reference purposes. If you need to hold me accountable or point out my paranoia or how I hurt you, it will now be possible. Comments will be available for your trolling pleasure. I will not be checking this blog very often as there is a new one. The link for the new one is below. If you really want to know what I was thinking in a particular post, then please email me at:

groundhog001@gmail.com

As you read the closing posts of the blog, please do not misconstrue my thoughts / feelings as final. They are not. I am currently going through a spiritual evolution / revolution right now. It's been rough and will probably continue for awhile. Please be patient with me. Right now I am an unfinished portrait.

If you find that I have offended you, well, a number of things are possible. I may just have hit a truth that hit you square between the eyes...I occasionally hit the target. If I was just being mean, nasty, sarcastic and judgemental, then I apologize. I am often of two minds about things and this will probably continue.

If you find you want more, you will need to go here:   http://faithandtheunreasonable.blogspot.com/

Again, I am a bit of a loose cannon. If you are easily offended or uninitiated in my ways, then perhaps you should avoid it like the plague. Your experience here should have been enough to tell you that.

Anyway, I probably love you or still love you even though I do not act like it sometimes. Please come by the new place and have a look. You will be welcome. The Teacher awaits your arrival. You will not need a hall pass if you're late. Just check in. Later...TDGH

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Dark Side

In "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" there is a scene that takes place aboard the death star between Luke, Darth Vader and the Emperor. Darth has taken his son, Luke, to the Emperor in an effort to convert him to the dark side. It's a scene packed with emotion that I think is lost on many because of the bad acting, the special effects and the movie music.

Luke absolutely hates the dark side of the force. He hates the Empire. He hates the knowledge that his father is Darth Vader, arguably the most evil man in the universe with the exception of the Emperor himself. He wants no part of it, but he also feels compassion for his father amidst all the evil that he has perpetrated and he wants to try and save him, to reignite the dead love in Darth's hearts.

After a light saber (I still want one) duel with his father, where in a rage of anger and hate, he hacks off his father's bionic arm, Luke stands before the Emperor. He is encouraged to embrace the dark side of the force. Feel the hate. Feel the power. And then....then...replace his father at the Emperor's side. All of this is said as Darth is standing by, his saber bearing arm stub still smoldering from the heat of Luke's blade.

In a moment of power and strength of character, Luke bends like a reed. He drops his saber to the floor, looks at the Emperor and says he will never join the dark side - that He is a Jedi like his father before him.

The enraged Emperor then informs the young Jedi that he will die. There is intense, lighting bolt like energy emitted from the Emperor's fingers. It appears that Luke will will die a slow agonizing electrical death. After an eternity of shock therapy is administered to his son, Anakin Skywalker awakens and destroys the Emperor.     

The universe is saved, Darth is saved, Luke is saved. Evil dies. Goodness and love prevail.

Oh that real life was like this. It would be so awesome. But, you know what? It's not.

Evil and good seem to coexist and while there are times that we feel or witness one or the other winning, they both have their days. They both bring advantage and sacrifice. They can both bring pain and pleasure.

I'm kind of tired of both of them. I just want to let them fight it out and continue to do what I'm doing, but usually one or the other, good or evil, will drag you out and force you to dance. So just let me say this.

While I regret ever having left Tatooine, I will never join the dark side.

Like my father and grandfather before me, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Feel the power of that and turn with me now toward Him. From everlasting to everlasting He is GOD.  


Retrospect

I wanna go back. I am going to try. I cannot deal with the freedom. I absolutely hate it. You know what I'm talking bout right?

It has not even been a year since I decided to let some light into my closet and all I can think about is that I want things to go back to the way they were. After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I was better off inside than out. I was better behaved, I was more careful about the things that I wrote, I was less offensive to my brothers and sisters and in some ways, I was more submitted to God. This last one is a big deal. Coming out can be good for some, but for people like me, it just exposes all the other problems that were also in the closet and lets them out to run around for everyone to see.

So I am going back. I am going back to teaching my little class at church, to not bothering anyone else, to going to work every day and taking care of Dad. I will never again discuss the subject. I'm sure I will be able to ignore the elephant in the room again. I did it well for decades.

I have been told that once you're out, you cannot go back. Piffle. I know I can and I will.

I do not like the new Jeff Brady. He is a monster. He has no class. He likes to look under rocks. He's disgusting, mean spirited, uncompassionate and remorseless. He can't leave anything alone without a full investigation. He was better off when he kept everything to himself. He was safer and so was everyone else. Bring the shackles, lock him up and close the door.

Done.

Thanks Lord. It was a bad idea. I should have consulted you more last September and others less. How I allowed myself to be so mislead is beyond me. I am seldom that stupid. I guess I'm getting old and soft headed.

I think I need a vacation. I need to be invisible again. Nothing is more transparent than that.     

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Confessions

When I worked in Cedar Rapids, there was a driver that, when confronted with his performance issues, would say to me, "sorry, your what hurts?" I think it was his way of saying that I seemed to be on the rag.

There are days when I do want to lash out at certain people and I look for reasons to do so. I would like to think I never did that at work. I know I have done it in my personal life. To all of you, I apologize. I repent. I am sorry for separating you from the herd for special treatment. It's cruel and unconscionable. I am without excuse.

Others of you get silence, even when you try to engender conversation. Again, I am sorry. Please be content knowing that I kept my mouth shut. It's not that I don't like you. I probably don't even know you. This usually happens when there is just something about you that I just can't deal with. The problem is mine and not yours (of course).

Forcing the issue has worked for some, but what usually happens is that you will end up in the first camp so you might want to leave it alone.

It all has to do with a mixed bag of mostly pride, judgementalism and insecurity. I am not sure how I got to that last one with the first two, but they do all seem to work together to defeat any civility that I might display. Again, I apologize. I can only hope that the Lord fixes me before death.
____________________________

My mind and spirit are just not right. I found myself wishing today for more misery on someone that was already struggling. I felt no pity for this individual. I just glared at him. I'm always wanting to share my pain with others, so why do I act this way? I just want to complete his misery for him. You would never know that I had been in church today or communed with Jesus. This kind of thing just comes outta the blue with me. Suddenly I am hateful and angry and I have no place to dump it. Thankfully, I did not share my wishes with the individual. Of course I didn't. I do not talk to him.

____________________________

On a higher note, I did have a relaxing talk with an old friend this morning. It was an opportunity to spill some of my lesser ailments. Purging helps make the stuff above go away. I become tolerant and tolerable for awhile. Enough so that I feel guilty about the above behaviors. It gives me hope that one day I will be a real human being and not such a dick.

But I digress.          

I think I need to get back into the Word more deeply. I seem to be better behaved when I have a class to teach. I think it's because I quit focusing on myself as much. This may be the ultimate cure to what ails me. Maybe I need to volunteer full time at an AIDS clinic or something; learn a little sympathy and empathy and service and humanity. Can those things be learned? It might be a stretch for me.

So far, my Sunday has sucked. Quite a turn around from last week. Tomorrow I will be able to bury myself in work. Very little of any of this had to do with church. It's just me. Give me a few minutes. I'm sure it will change into something else.

Note to self....work on stability.

How is your day going?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ruadh Gu Brath

Ya, that would be Gaelic for "Redheads Forever".

We are the rarest human beings on earth, averaging 2% of the planet's population. The only thing more rare than a redhead is a redhead with blue eyes. Red haired, blue eyed humans constitute about 1% of world population. It takes two recessive genes from two parents to create a red haired, blue eyed child. Most red heads have brown or green gray eyes.

But wait, there's more....

In an effort to figure out what is up with me - I'm kind of a headcase - I know you didn't notice - and if you did, thanks for not saying anything - I have been researching my gene pool to see if I am a biological mess or a just an environmental one. Turns out, the genetic markers for red heads can create a propensity for passion and drama that most never have to endure. Environment only adds to the mix and might be the match that ignites the red headed fires.

And so, inwardly, I burn with one thing or another all the time. Ain't that a bitch! So I write...Here are some facts.

1. Redheads are physically more sensitive to cold and heat. We are more sensitive to physical pain and pleasure. It takes 20% more anesthetic to put a red head below the pain threshold during surgery.

2. Redheads are more sensitive emotionally. We feel the pain and pleasure of relationships more intensely. All the emotions are magnified, sometimes in detrimental ways and sometimes for the good. When we are happy, we are exuberant. When we are sad, we weep and wail. And when we are pissed off, well...let's just say you will know you have a problem.

Less relevant facts...

3. We are more prone to Parkinson's disease.
4. We are more likely to be left handed.
5. We produce our own vitamin D.
6. We are prone to melanoma.
7. We do not go gray with age. Instead, we go from red to faded copper to a rosy gold and then gradually to white.
8. We have less hair than others, but each strand is thicker.
9. Red hair is notoriously difficult to dye, and why would anyone try? (Dude, you're a redhead. You share in the glory of God with Adam and David. Leave it alone.)  
10. We are funnier, angrier, happier, sadder, more sarcastic and sardonic and ironic than others. We are humans like you, but more so. 

Whatever. My personal experience as a redhead is one of repression, vile discrimination, harassment and cruelty. Because we stand out in life at every age, people are envious of us. The world's need for uniformity and conformity and redheadedness do not go together. The result is always conflict. We are misunderstood because we can be emotional and this gets magnified when people refuse to take us seriously or dismiss us. It happens. When it happens, be prepared. Wrath has red hair.

So am I upset about my gene pool? Am I ashamed of being a redheaded, blue eyed, SSA male?

I used to be.

Now? Not so much.

By the grace of God, I am not just saved,  I am one of the most unique human beings on the face of the earth.

The rest of you are just dullards.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Unfinished Business

Relationship and and even friendship are weird things for me. I know many of you, even most of you do those things well and with an ease and confidence that comes from years of healthy interaction with others. Not so with me. It's work for me and I think that because I am work for others. It takes two people to create a relationship or friendship. It requires sharing commonality and difference. It takes patience and endurance. No one is the friend you want them to be and this is probably good because friendship would be so boring without some drama and some displeasure.

With all that said, I believe it is really hard for others to be my friend. I am a weird mix of personality bends and turns that you do not often see in one human being. I am loyal, I can love, I can help. I have been dependable in the few actual relationships I have had. But I am also opinionated, a bit stiff from time to time, somewhat withdrawn even now and sometimes I can just be an outright bitch to people I love as well as others I do not even know.

There have been the few and the brave willing to endure that because they saw something in me that was worth loving and coming to know. If I had an award I could grant, I would give it to you all. I need y'all and I do not know what I would do without you. Many of you have been with me steadily since I started my journey toward becoming a real boy (to quote Pinocchio). At 59 it's a bit late for that, but I needed to get it over with before I died.

In that journey, I have hurt many people that have tried to be my friend. I apparently did that a couple of weeks ago again for the umpteenth time. She had all she could stand and so she walked. For what it's worth, I am OK with that. I understand. Though we have known each other for decades, I am, really an acquired taste that sometimes one will develop a distaste for over time. So be it. I wish her well in all her endeavors. We have a history together that few others would appreciate. I am sure she will always remember it even if it's an angry recollection. I still love her, but I believe it's best we be apart. For now. 

There are others I have hurt right out of the box from our first brief introductory moments. I can think of one young man in particular that pursued me for friendship that I rebuffed several times. The last time we encountered each other one on one, I just walked away. That was maybe three years ago. The place was a public restroom and we were the only ones present. My experience in such places is that men do not talk to each other. He talked to me. Not a crime, but not ordinary public restroom behavior either from my perspective.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I have been 'hit on' more than a few times in such places and I was a bit scared and bewildered. Aside from the fact that I do not make friends easily, I made the assumption that this was what was happening. Again, in my defense, I was scared and bewildered.  I had what I thought were legitimate reasons at the time for walking away. I will not go further with that except to say, that I no longer believe in the legitimacy of those reasons. I do not now believe there was any vile intention. I wish I could fix this. I probably can. We see each other once a week at the same place, though I am sure he is loathe to admit my presence. I am not sure he wants to repair things at this point. Who could blame him? I might yet try. If I get stepped on, I probably have it coming right? If I'm going to be a real, live human being, that's gonna happen, even when it's not my fault. I will just have to deal with the outcome. I am not sure how to do this. Should it be public or private? I don't know. I do know it should not be in the restroom.

I guess my sense of humor is still intact.

There are all kinds of things I could blame my bad behavior on including being a red headed, only child, closet case for decades, but really, it comes down to one thing. I do not love unconditionally as Jesus does. I tend to judge. I assume certain behaviors translate to bad intent. Sometimes that is actually true. Most of the time it is not.  I am always looking at motivations behind actions, especially when people are trying to befriend me.

You know what? Sometimes people don't want anything except to get to know me. Why am I so amazed by that? It might be that I bore myself and I can't imagine why anyone would be interested in that. Whatever. 

My mind is a weird place. I am always on the edge in there because of all the fighting that goes on. It's a wonder my brain is not worn out. It's never quiet in there, even when I am asleep. Last night I dreamed again that raccoons were nibbling me to death. What is that about? I don't know. 

So there it is. Bear with me as I move forward in my life experiment in becoming a human being.


Enough. The deceased equine has been thoroughly assaulted. I am outta here.  
 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Restlessness

"The antidote to restlessness is desperation for God."

My Sunday school teacher tried to explain this to me, but I was not listening. I wanted to reject the simplicity of it so that I did not have to make an application to my life. I said, "so what are you saying? That I don't love God enough?"

I found all kinds of reasons to reject this statement. I mean even Jesus was restless to the point of sweating blood in Gethsemane and no one is closer to God than Jesus right? They are one.

Even so, it has been going through my mind daily, like someone was yelling it at me. I think Someone was yelling it at me. 

I think I know what this means now, at least to me. Karla might tell me I'm wrong again. She is so brave. No one tells me I am wrong :^) I love you dear. I hope you made it to Boston safely. I need you in my life. Odd. You've been there all along. I guess you feel safer now that you know you don't have to marry me. Yes, I laughed out loud right here in Caribou as I typed that.

But I digress

Restlessness IS desperation for God. 

Yes. We seldom see it that way, even us who believe, but that is exactly what it is. We need Him so much all the time, in us, with us and around us, but it's like we ignore Him and move on to whatever because we are restless.

I have been restless. I am currently in that state. I wander around looking for the next thing when I have my Father in heaven who should be the first thing and last thing in my life all the time. He has set me free and put me to service so I should get back to serving.

I would ask, Lord, that you help me to hear You. Show me where to go. I am sometimes so wrapped up in what's going on in my head that I do not see what I should really be doing for you. Make me your hands and your feet. I am ready for an adventure. I will probably still be restless, but it might just be the coffee. I know I will be seeing You in a short time. I want that to be good for both of us. Maybe you can cure me of my spiritual ADHD before I get there. I know I have said this before and even though I know you are here and that you are in my body, I miss You. I am reminded of that curtain in the temple between You and Your priests. I know You are there, that You are just on the other side, that I can talk to You and even feel Your Presence; but I want to see You. I should fear that as a man in a physical body, but for some reason, it seems right that I should be able to walk with my Maker as I have with my earthly parents. Will that day come? Probably not here, but somewhere right?  Until then Lord...Until then. I love You.     

Thanks John and Dawn

I would like to thank my new friends, John and Dawn, for inviting me to lunch yesterday. It was nice to sit down and talk and also meet your family. We should go out next time. I will buy. Yes, I am too lazy to cook for all of you.

Christian friends with the love of God in their hearts and the grace of Jesus in the work of their hands are the best kind of friends. Thanks so much for your hospitality. Us old guys don't get out much so I appreciate it more than you know.

God is in the process of prying open my soul right now. What His purpose may be is anyone's guess. You may not realize it, but you helped Him with that effort. Y'all are good people. See ya at church.     

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I'm Unsettled

Ya, what's new right? I know.

I had kind of an emotional break at the end of our church service today. I have always enjoyed that old 18th century hymn, Amazing Grace, by John Newton. A few years back, Chris Tomlin added what might be considered a chorus to the old standard. The result is in the video in the post prior to this one. This hybrid version is called Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). The words of this added chorus appear here:

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

Words expressed as simple truth just tear me up. If the right music is added, I just cry like a baby. That's what happened to me today. My arms went up in the air (first time ever) and my tears flowed like a water faucet. My face was drenched. I could not stop it. I was weeping with happiness, joy and gratuity to my Lord and my God. The song itself is just so full of truth and this added chorus is so much the last nine months of my life.

My chains are gone and I AM FREE. That creates a rush of emotion in me that few people can appreciate I think.  Since I have spent most of my life trying to extinguish my emotions, especially the softer ones like love, for fear of falling into sin, I have a lot of overdue crying and laughing to get out of the way. I tell you what, it's just a wonder living in my head my head these days.

I have always been a bundle of contradiction. Letting out my secrets has sort of helped me put everything else out there for everyone to see. Ya, I know that some of you did not want to see it, hear it or read about it. I know that you wish I would keep my appetites and my struggles to myself, but I want you to know what it is like to be me. I want you to feel with me as I express it all and know what I have endured alone in my chains for decades. I still have to deal with it. The difference is that I talk about it out loud now and I am looking to you for your love, whoever you may be, to help me heal. Most all of you have responded to me in some Christ-like way and I am so grateful for your mercy, grace and kindness. I need to move forward now, but I'm scared. I do not know what to do with this new found freedom. I am accustomed to living in a spiritual box designed to prevent sin. It never really worked that way, but it was insulation from reality. Now that I'm out of the box and trying to integrate with the Body, I am dealing with many distractions including increased desire for sin.

Freedom is a double edged sword. Very sharp.

So it seems like I have been sitting here staring in amazement at what has happened to me. One day I am shackled down securely and the next day I am standing there looking down at those shackles on the ground no longer attached to my soul. A free man would move on, but I am not sure I have done so. Do I really miss the security of my chains so much?

I should go somewhere....where do freemen go? Disney World? I don't think so.

Someone asked me about my dreams. Ya know what? I don't have any. God needs to give me some...I hope He will. Most of my dreams died when I was 13. It was a long mournful funeral. I nearly died with them. So where do I go? What do I do? I'm gonna be 59 years old here soon. There's not much time left. Does it even matter at this point? Maybe getting me here to this place and time was the point. God wanted to set me free so that I would enjoy heaven more. I can accept that, but I don't feel like I'm quite done here yet either. I suppose I could be wrong about that. It remains to be seen.

I need to find a new life and a way to serve. I enjoy teaching at church, but that is not really a ministry. I suppose there are people that get something out of it all, but really, modern Sunday school, especially for adults, has more to do with fellowship than education or edification. That's unfortunate, but that's what it's come to. It's more important to get your half caff latte at the church coffee shop. And really, who is to say that there is not value in standing around and discussing life with our Christian brethren. Friends are important. I'm just not used to having them...until now.

So now what Lord? I'm free. Let's go somewhere. You will have to show me, drag me, make me go probably, but I need to do something besides the same old, same old. What will it be? Lord, you tell me. I'm not very good with surprises so please be gentle if possible. Maybe I'm not even ready, so let's work on that then. Whatever. Just remember, You were the One that set me free. Thanks Lord. I love You.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Live)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Iowa State Fair Bear Poker

I went to the fair today with one of the Angel's. She picked me up at church and then we did park and ride. That was an interesting process. You drive all the way to Southeast Polk High School and park and then ride all the way back into town on a bus. The buses were nice, clean and air conditioned. They dropped us off at the Dean Ave entrance. It was a day of eating and meeting.  I gnawed my way through two pork chops, a raspberry cider slushy, a 24 oz IPA, some nitro ice cream and a lemonade. The angelic presence had a pork chop, raspberry cider slushy, Guinea grinder, some ice tea, water and nitro ice cream. We also encountered another angel with extended family present plus one police officer in plain clothes with partner. It was a warm day with a breeze, but little humidity.

There were quilts, knives, jellies, jams and hot nuts. I always have trouble resisting hot nuts (insert your own joke here), so I got some. They were delicious. The angelic presence was allergic. I wanted her to try one so I could see what happened, but she was concerned about premature death, so I backed off.   

Speaking of hot nuts, you might recall that I was concerned about my balls hanging too low and maybe even getting bigger. After seeing the super bull and the big boar today, I'm back to feeling like a eunuch. The boar's were so heavy he could not even get up. No sows would be getting molested by him. He just laid there snoring. The bull had no shame though. He was standing and they hung half way to the floor. He really did not look like he would be meeting any heifers later either. He liked having his picture taken. I think he might have been gay. He did ask me where the steers were.

There were lots of very nice 'brownies' at the fair too. The angelic presence was trying to act like she didn't notice them.
   
I only have a couple of pictures to share. In the Conservation Building we ran into this old guy poking a bear. It takes a lot of courage to take on the Bear. You really have to admire him. Then again, he might just be crazy. I've always preferred otter poking. Bears are just a mess.   

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a farmer, a writer, a Christian and an environmentalist. I came across some of his more noteworthy quotes and found them interesting. I do not know much more than this about him, but his words seem wise.

“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
 
Sometimes we have to be lost enough to let ourselves be led. We do not understand. We cry out to God for direction. All He says is "follow Me".

“So, friends, every day do something that won't compute ... Give your approval to all you cannot understand ... Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years ... Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts ... Practice resurrection.”

The notion of practicing resurrection is particularly appealing to me.  Living each day anew,  reborn as it were, reaching out in faith even though we may not understand; is that not what Christianity is about? We no longer need to fear the darkness or hopelessness. We are His for eternity. Enjoy what has been given now and look toward what comes after. 

Just A Side Note...


I have nothing to say today, so I think I will just ramble on that men may know I am mad.

I had coffee this morning with two friends from church. It was not planned. I crashed their party. I'm sure it was irritating, but what's a lonely old guy supposed to do? They did not dismiss me as uninvited and I appreciated that and they listened to me opine all my recent travails. They are so kind and sympathetic. Thanks friends!

There are some really hot guys traversing the Hy Vee parking lot today. Must be Fair traffic. I should stop it or park in the back of the lot. It's like sitting at a table with a plate full of brownies when you're on a diet. You can smell them. You know they are delicious. You want one. Well, not 'you' per se, but you know what I mean....really all I wanted was to use the free wi-fi.

Back to the 'brownies' though, it's my belief that we have to bring ourselves right up to the edge of temptation. Then, when we walk away, the sense of victory is overwhelming. It's a reaffirmation of the power given to resist. Some might say I consider the 'brownie' in my mind too much, that my desire is as vile as actually consuming the pastry. Piffle. The Maker of all things made these beautiful 'brownies' in all sizes, shapes and colors. He wanted them to be appreciated. And so I rationalize my 'brownie' gazing as a gift from upon high. Seriously, it's like looking at new cars that you will never buy. Looking is ok. Test driving though...that's another issue.        

An old lady just banged my front bumper with her car door. And if I think she's old, you know she must be old. That always ticks me off, but I can't bring myself to yell at an old lady. Besides, she had her old 'brownie' with her. It might have been her son. He was old too.

Uh oh. Here she comes again...bang. What an old bag. She must think I need a new shade of beige on my red truck. I think she did it on purpose.

I should probably go to work soon. Should be a long day. My 70 year old is gone today. It's just me and the trainee until closing. Could be a long night. You may not know what I'm talking about. It's OK. The trainee is not a 'brownie'. There will be no danger.

Getting Dad to look at his new memory clock is a challenge. He liked it at first, but now he's sure it's wrong most of the time. Interesting dilemma.

Why do people enjoy watching the Olympics so much? It's really just a bunch of hormone cases playing grab ass with each other while trying to gain product endorsements. I will say there has been some fine 'brownie' watching. The wet ones are particularly alluring. I think they do that on purpose just to spite me. I'm sure that's just what the broadcast executives at NBC had in mind. That, and advertising dollars.

But I digress...it's really getting bad. I do it all the time now. I need to go. The 'brownie' quality is dropping off at the Hy Vee.        

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's Not Natural

There are people that are natural introverts and there are some introverts that are made through environmental processes that are different depending on who you are. Some people are born quiet, reflective and thoughtful. They do not like noise and distraction or crowds and some do not even like much physical contact.

I understand this. I have been there and done that so to speak. But I am not a natural introvert. I was made and damn it, I'm kind of mad about it. Kidding....

Growing up, I was a socializer. I could not be shut up.  I was also a fat kid though and I had a considerable vocabulary for my age and it put a lot of the other kids off, especially the other boys. I can remember thinking how dull witted most of them were and that would come out in conversation and sometimes those conversations would not end well. A Cub Scout den meeting could be pure hell for me. I would always end up getting beat on. I think that's where I developed my love of being man handled.

All right. Now I'm embarrassed.

Digression..

Anyway, I got so I would withdraw rather than deal with the inevitable failure of the social waltz. It was just easier. Puberty was not fun either. I was not a very good looking kid, still kind of porky and getting progressively zitty...is that a word? Anyway, kids can be cruel and they were sometimes cruel to me. This is not to say that I was never cruel. I was. Engaging me in a duel of insults was never a good idea. Physically, I had become a bit more intimidating too, so I didn't get beat on as much...I kind of missed it. Even negative attention can be fun.

There was also my pending sexuality and my epilepsy. All of this combined to make a toxic soup of introversion. Mind you, I am not saying that introversion is bad. I would go so far as to say it is wonderful, especially for those of you that come by it naturally, but this was not the case for me. I was someone built for leadership and I was being repressed and forced to introvert because I am bent in so many different ways.

That being said, I continued to shrink away, to withdraw. I segregated myself during the college years. I did socialize with fringe groups. I went to a Christian college. You might not think so, but there were closet cases (like me at the time), drug users, boozers, fornicators and petty thieves. We all hung out together. Partied together. Socialized. We were the rebels. We were not ashamed...well we were...but we did not let on.

I really enjoyed that brief time in my life. I may not have repented properly because of my enjoyment. I don't live that way anymore, but I really do not feel all that bad about it either.

When I moved into the real world, the working world, the adult world and all the fun slowed to a snail's pace as it's supposed to, I began to withdraw again. I worked all the time. I had two jobs for a little over two years. I buried myself in work. I socialized with no one and it went on that way for decades. I just could not bring myself to go through the pain of explaining who I was to anyone. I never had more than one or two close friends and they were seldom where I was. We always communicated by mail or phone. I was a hermit living among millions of other normal people by choice. I had crawled into a hole that I only peeked out of occasionally to see what was going on, hence the ground hog imagery...yes, now you understand. 

Thankfully God came to get me. He is working on getting me out of my hole more often. He had to shuffle me around quite a bit and it has taken years to get me here, but I think it's working. At almost 59 years old, I am feeling alive again. There is still no one to man handle me, but I don't think there is supposed to be. It's been a considerable adventure. Introspection can be both good and bad. I have had both versions.

I'm still not what you would call a social butterfly, but it's getting better. You might have to nudge me a bit to get me to talk, but if I start you might be sorry. Kidding. I try not to be to be too obsessive. I am what I am just like my Father before me. The difference is that I seem to be changing and that is as it should be. My Father does not change and praise His name for that!

So, fear me not. Talk to me even though I might seem distant. I am an adventure in humanity. Broaden your perspective. You might like me. I might try to escape. Don't let me.

Later friends.   

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Fireside Chat

I read in the history books of a time during the second world war when the President of the United States would sit by the fireplace in the White House and discuss world events with the nation he governed via the radio. I am sure it was calming to hear from the leadership in a time of crisis and great sacrifice.

Later, in the mid-seventies, President Jimmy Carter tried it on television. It did not work so well. The vision of him in his cardigan sweater was not calming. It was irritating in the extreme, but he was what we had come to after Nixon; the Republican that was not a republican.  The value of our money was grossly inflated, interest rates were sky high and jobs were becoming scarce. It was the beginning of the end of America's industrial age and Jimmy Carter was unfortunate enough to be President in that time.

Starting out with digression is not good. Sorry...

I endured a fireside chat of my own last night as a guest of some of the leadership in my church. We gathered in the back yard of the parsonage around a fire. Two pastors, two elders and me. It was a time of reflection for me. It was a time to help them understand me a bit better. And it was a time for me to confess my sin against them and apologize. I did all that. It was necessary for me to do that because, quite frankly, sometimes I just do not know how to talk to people. I would like to blame it on being alone for so long. I really can't do that. It's more like I have said before. When I think I'm right, I lock down. I brush aside all other opinions as irrelevant because I alone have discovered the Truth.

And after all, how can you not just fall down and submit to that? In your heart, you know I'm right.

Monumental arrogance. Yup, that's what it is, that's me. I can completely destroy any truth I may be providing by offending the people I am trying to convince with my superficial snottiness. Yes, I am a bit high maintenance. I am imperious. Thus saith the Ground Hog! So let it be written, so let it be done.  

So this is where I am at today. Where I will be tomorrow is anyone's guess. Please friends, help me with this.

Just let me say this again and in this public venue. I am sorry for some of the things I said and did during our recent disagreement. I over reacted in many ways. I said hurtful things to people that I love and respect. I apologize. I love our church. I love it more than I realized at first. And it is also why I became a bit  indignant. Much of this has to do with this 'vision' I have of what the church should be. I am an idealist, an iconoclast and a restorationist. I want Acts 2:42-47 to be a reality and not just ancient history.

I love you all. I want to teach again in the fall. I will be there for you. Let's do this thing. I hope to see you in class. 0800 comes early on Sunday mornings. Get up anyway. Come on down. We will have a good time. Let's turn some sheep into Priests.    


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dennis Goes to the Neurologist

Dad and I went to see Dr. Hansen this morning at Methodist Hospital. Dr. Hansen is a neurologist that seems well versed in Alzheimer's/Dementia issues. His nursing staff was especially sharp. I enjoyed the visit as much as one can possibly enjoy such a thing and felt strongly that Dr. Hansen was more than capable.

Dad scored a 13 on the MMSE (mini mental state exam). It was his worst yet, but he remained cheerful through the whole thing. The doctor asked him if he had any memory issues. Dad said "no" and asked me if I thought so. I hit that ball right out of the stadium. He did not argue with me once. Praise the Lord. I hope he is finally accepting it. Even if he did, he would probably forget about it. It's a horrendous disease.

I was seeking the answer to two questions; should Dad continue to drive and should he be left home alone?

The doctor checked Dad's physical reflexes, he asked him some judgement questions, he asked me questions about what I have observed and then he gave us his conclusions.

Dr Hansen thinks that the driving privilege should be the last to go. The concern is the effect of the loss of freedom on the patient. He said that safety is seldom the issue with Alzheimer's patients. The real concern is getting lost. And this is true from my observations. Dad's driving skills are intact. His reflexes are good and the doctor proved this to me today. Further to the point, Dad has no traffic tickets, no warnings and he has never been stopped by law enforcement when driving. He is still a good driver.

Dr Hansen also thinks that dad is safe to be at home alone during the day given his answer to the question, "what would you do in a fire?"

So it seems that my philosophy of granting maximum freedom in a familiar environment for as long as possible has been correct. Having purpose, even if it's just mowing the lawn, helps Dad stay focused and the knowledge that he can drive when he wants to or needs to gives him a sense of confidence and independence, even if he does not use it all that much.

Dr Hansen says that Dad has had an unusually good run with his brain disease. The decline has been slow and gentle rather than the hard fast decline that many experience. He advised that this could change at any time and he expects acceleration very soon. The 13 score on the MMSE indicates this.

We are scheduled to go back in February on Groundhog Day to see how things have progressed. Six months is an eternity in Alzheimer's World. I consider it a challenge to keep him going. I know that eventually I will fail. It is the nature of the disease. But for now...Dad will continue to drive - to the dog groomer, to the barber shop, to church and to the lawn mower shop and all those other places he never tells me about. His driving will end on the day he gets lost. He will continue at home with me, until and unless he becomes unmanageable or beyond my skill level for treatment and care.

All of you that have been urging me to ground him and institutionalize him are wrong. It is not time for either of these. I think I will know. My instincts have been correct to this point.

I know that some of you do not see a purpose in my efforts. You are just wrong. He is my Dad. He let me live in his house and fed and clothed me for 18 years and the last 5 of those I was fairly disrespectful. I should be able to put up with this for a while longer. I have not got much of a social life anyway. In my present state, I should not probably have one anyway. This task is actually helping me I think.

You can remind me that I said all this the next time you hear me bitching about it...that will, no doubt, happen shortly. 

I love him, I love y'all. If he says something crazy to you, just smile and go along with it. Please forgive him if he asks about your wife that's been dead for 17 years or your brother that's in jail. Enjoy how happy he is living in his own shrinking reality. I cannot just throw him away or put him into storage because of your lay opinions or even mine. He is God's own and I am in charge of him until God calls him home.

Please pray for him. I am not sure what God's purpose is in this, and I do not have His bigger picture of the situation. May the Lord have mercy on him. The poor guy has to live with me :^)  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Do I Make You Uncomfortable?

Ya...I do make people uncomfortable. I like to talk about things that do not usually come up in polite conversation. It's not because I do not know what is appropriate. It's because 'appropriate' is boring, dishonest and sometime hypocritical. This is not to say that I am not sometimes boring or dishonest or hypocritical. It is to say that I like conversation to be interesting if I am going to take part in it. I also enjoy provoking people to see their reactions. That may be a bit evil. Oh well.


I picked up the habit from an old friend. She was very good at it. It is a way to control the conversation too. Initially I would use it to deflect closer examination of who I was. Now, I do not care about that. It is the advantage of not having many secrets.


When I was younger, everyone and everything made me uncomfortable. I still have days like that, but less of them. I enjoy the difficulty that I and others have with discussing difficult personal matters. It's like removing a splinter from a finger. It feels so much better after it's over and it was definitely worth the process.


I was talking to someone yesterday at church that is a fairly new friend. I'm not sure how she feels about me now though. Her husband suggested that she and I were much alike, that we had much in common. I looked at her and said, "so, you like men too."


It was a priceless moment. I loved it and in that moment, I loved her. She was honest with me. She said I enjoyed making people uncomfortable. She is right. I do. It's a controlling type of behavior, but it is also me paying back the world for making me uncomfortable for decades.


I like it when people take a close look at themselves and me and think, "is this relationship worth the pain it will involve?"


If you are going to love me, it is going to cost you. I am very expensive in terms of patience, tolerance and longsufferance. You will have to decide if it's worth it. Many, many have moved on.


If you care to join me , I think you will find it a rewarding experience. Come and grow with me. Next time you can make me uncomfortable. There will be a bonus if you can make me blush. It's not as hard as you might think. I look forward to it. See ya in church!

This Week In the Ground Hog's Reality

The first thing here is a synchronicity note. I have been seeing little people. The politically incorrect word is 'midget'. I know the Iowa State Fair will start this week, but I do not think any of these little ones are involved in it. There is the whole dwarf tossing thing, but technically, these guys aren't dwarves and I don't think they do that at the fair anyway. It's not what you'd call a growth industry, but it's fun to watch. I always wanted to do that for a United Way fund raiser at work, but the idea never seems to take off.  For one thing, dwarves are hard to find and where do you rent those harnesses?

Anyway, on two occasions at two different grocery stores, I have seen them working the Frito Lay displays. They bring their own ladders. It's kind of cute. I keep wanting to suggest to them  that they follow the yellow brick road. That would not be politically correct, but I bet it would get a laugh.

I went to breakfast at Hy Vee this morning. There were people coming out of the restaurant from the church that I go to ready to advise me on the specials. Very kind. I had 3 eggs, bacon, hash browns and an English muffin. There was another dwarf having breakfast in the next booth. I tell you, they are ubiquitous.

Church was a mixed bag yesterday. I was having a lot of guilt over being so damned horny. I am still kind of wired. I am not sure what is going on with me. It's like one last surge of testosterone before old age sets in. I know I have mentioned this before, but I think my testicles are growing. I have complained in the past that they seem to hang lower and lower with age, but I think now that they are actually getting bigger. What is up with that? I don't know, but I tell you what, I am too old to be having another growth spurt.

Yesterday, my Sunday school teacher politely suggested that my problem was not loving Jesus enough. If I only desired God more, I would be better able to deal with being so sorely tempted.

Karla, I love you, but seriously honey, you have no idea. I have been living with this all my life and like Himself, it is a part of me. I know that when I 'burn' He burns with me. It does not make it any easier. This is not an ordinary urge or a temptation or a desire. This is not a mere attitude problem.  This is like trying to deny that I have a right arm or enormous head. It brings new meaning to "deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me."

I do not say these things to piss you off or even to say that you are wrong (though I believe in this case you are). I say them because I need to share my pain with another flesh and blood person that I know loves me (and thanks so much for that Babe!).

More digression.

After church yesterday and out in the church parking lot, I got invited to lunch next Sunday. I am looking forward to it. Ya, I know, that's weird. Me looking forward to socializing. Actually, it's amazing. The church homo, that's actually a bit of an Aspie, gets invited to lunch. That almost never happens, I'm sure. When he says yes, it's a miracle.

Anyway, Dawn and John, I am looking forward to it. You may have to tell me when it's appropriate to leave. Or I could just stay out in the garage if that's OK ;^)

Dawn, you did tell John I was coming right? I guess he knows now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I digress...

I've been trying to re-ingratiate myself with the leadership at church so I can get my 0800 class back in the fall. I think I may be making progress. I have a meeting tomorrow night to discuss it. I am ready to go. Not sure if they are ready for me though.

Tomorrow morning I take Dad to the neurology clinic at Iowa Methodist. I hope to get a better bead on Dad's Alzheimer's / dementia issues. I expect they will order some tests. Dad has created his own reality in some very special ways. He thinks I am two people, that every car that drives past his house has been repainted, that the neighbor down the road is operating a business out of his house that involves the use of Dodge Caravans and the Mexicans steal our apples. The folks on TV talk to him, can hear him and see him.  And you can tell him of the impossibility of all of this, but he does not believe it and he does not believe there is anything wrong with him either.  Denial is not a river in Egypt. Anyway...again, I digress.    

Saturday, two of three Angels and Jeffery are going to the fair. I hope we will see the third Angel at some point during the carnage.

To Eric and Melissa, I hope your escape from Cherry Vale is complete an you are adjusting well to your new home. I pray that you find peace there and that you both continue to minister to those around you as you have always done. It's a new adventure. Jesus will show you the way.

That's what I need Lord. A new adventure. It seems a bit early for eternity with You just yet, but it's looking better all the time. Please watch over Dad today. Bless our church. Please show us the way. Please help me to get over myself and get back to serving You and others as Your servant teacher. Help me to turn Your sheep into Priests. Please make it so. I love you. Now, if you could just turn down my thermostat a bit, I would appreciate it. It's time for us to go to work now.

For you others out there...have a great day.   

Friday, August 5, 2016

NOTWIR..and it's only Friday

NOTWIR is an acronym for News Of The Week In Review. It's from a novel by James Kirkwood. I think the title was "Some Kind Of Hero". He also wrote "P.S. Your Cat is Dead". If you want to read what I was reading back in the 70's, try one of those. My friend, Brian Kirkpatrick, from high school put me on to Kirkwood. Very enjoyable. My opinion. I know. Opinions are like anuses. Everyone has one and they all stink...except mine of course...just got out of the shower. But I digress...as usual.

So this week started poorly. I did not feel good. I was tired and mopey. I fell asleep at work. Bad dreams about being eaten by raccoons. Too cold. Too warm. Blah, Blah, Blah. After some thought, I put my ague down to bad mushrooms on a pizza from Sunday. When I got the mushrooms out of the fridge, I knew they had some age on them, but I used them anyway. The pizza went down nicely, but when it finally made its exit, I felt so much better.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but work has been a bitch this week. I got a new laptop with Windows 10 and a touch screen. Everything seems to be working OK and all my files transferred successfully, but I cannot print worth a shiite if I might be so bold. I receive these large PDF's in email daily that contain the day work from our Cedar Rapids office and they take forever to print. I think it has to do with the age of the copier that I print to. It is not Windows 10 ready. I got an updated printer driver for the new laptop, but that does not seem to matter. I'm thinking maybe the copier needs a driver or a chip set or something. A 40 page document will print at about one page every 5 seconds. That's a lifetime in terms of what is supposed to be a laser printer.

Then there's the drama. It's personal drama. It's "R" rated so you might want to stop right here unless you're used to me and my proclivities. Warm weather makes me horny. I know. Probably too blunt, but it is nonetheless true. I think it's because people dress for the weather. Men will wear gym shorts and a T-shirt. They tend to be nicely tanned with furry legs. I do not seem to care what size, shape, age or color they are. They all fascinate me. It makes me want to pick one, settle down and get married...I know I can't, but such is the fantasy as I sit in the Hy Vee parking lot watching the humanity pass by.

Last night, after work, I went to the Hy Vee in Altoona. I did my shopping. As I was checking out, I could hear it pouring down rain outside. I ended up waiting at the exit with a number of others for the rain to stop before going to the parking lot. About that time, two young guys in gym shorts and tanks in their 20's walked in and they were soaked to the skin from the rain. I think they had been out jogging. Their wet clothes gave perfect outline to their entire bodies. They were beautiful. Absolutely nothing left to the imagination. I smiled. I'm sure I blushed. I did not care. One of them smiled back at me. More blushing. Then they went about their business and I went to the parking lot. I did not care if it was raining. The cold shower helped a bit.

Does writing about this stuff help? Not exactly, but neither does holding it all in. That makes it even worse. I am a man that has no outlet for my desires, my need for the fleshly side of love. My brain and body tells me to go for it. It feels perfectly natural. But my commitment is to Another and He says 'NO".

Everyday I wonder why He made me this way. I know some of you will insist that He did not. I know that He did. How can I not feel the sense of unfairness in it all? Why can I not ask, "why did You make me this way?" There are days when I could just scream it out loud.

Why is this struggle relevant to Him and what am I supposed to take from it all?

"OK mouse, here is your cheese. It's different from everyone else's, so you can't have any. Nonetheless, here it is right in front of you. Don't you dare touch it or I will spring the trap."

Is there another way to look at this? Ya, probably, but when you're horny, it's hard to see the forest for all the men that are in the way. Mixed metaphors. This is what I have been relegated to.

Thanks for coming to my pity party. I do feel a bit better now. I think I will have a late breakfast. No cheese though.        

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Don Juan Quotes - Updated

So what I'm finding is that Don Juan was a fictional character known for his lack of discretion in sexual matters. He was a womanizer and a bit of warrior that "lived" in the 14th century. His story is told by a Spanish playwright in the 15th century. Other writer's like Lord Byron took up the mythology of Don Juan and told other stories about him. Even so, he is never portrayed as a moral man, though he does, from time to time, exhibit sympathy and even empathy in his travails throughout the European world.   

I find all of this interesting because of the quotes I have found attributed to him. He seems wise in the extreme and yet his words seem to be designed for one thing - to seduce. And this is what his character always seems to be about....seducing women, seducing people to bend them to his will even trying to trick God at one point near death. He is much like the Accuser of old in this respect. Mixing truth with a lie has always been the MO of our mutual Adversary.

------------------------------------------

I am finding these quotes from Don Juan more than interesting. I may have to undertake a study.

Self-importance is man's greatest enemy. What weakens him is
feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men.
Self-importance requires that one spend most of one's life offended
by something or someone.

 As long as a man feels that he is the most important thing in
the world, he cannot really appreciate the world around him. He is
like a horse with blinders; all he sees is himself, apart from
everything else.

 The worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and
since that is already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who
have lost everything no longer have anything to fear.

 Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy and vain. To be a warrior one needs to be light and fluid.

 To be angry at people means that one considers their acts to be important. It is imperative to cease to feel that way. The acts of men cannot be important enough to offset our only viable alternative: our unchangeable encounter with infinity.

Caribou Church

I frequent the Caribou coffee shop in Pleasant Hill on most mornings. I have not been in attendance as much as usual this week. I have not been up to it. I've been feeling odd; very tired and sleepy, even after a full night of rest. I'm not sure what's going on. I fell asleep at work yesterday. That was embarrassing. I suppose I should go to the doctor. I really don't want to though. It's my experience that the doctor wants to cure any number of things that are not bothering me, but he never has any answers to stuff like this. I suppose it could be age related or maybe I just need a vacation. Whatever it is, I could use a nap right now.

It's kind of quiet at Caribou this morning. Normally it's a hub of caffeinated chatter that's so loud one can barely hear one's self think. It reminds me of church in some ways. People sitting around drinking coffee and talking about absolutely nothing of import. There are exceptions to this. I have seen tears and arguments. I have heard the police discussing drug busts and drunks. And there is the book club on Thursdays that never seems to have any books with them. There are also days when the place is infested with pastors - some talking shop and others not talking at all. It's a good place to get a cross section of white middle class humanity with the occasional smattering of minority members in the mix. Now that I think about it, I guess I would qualify as a genuine minority in this group. How many gay Christians do you know? Unless you know me, probably none. Jesus knows quite a few of us, but I digress. If He were here, I think He would stop by for a decaf latte and a bag of olives. Middle eastern types seem to enjoy olives.

I suppose you're asking yourself, "What's he talking about? A bag of olives? Since when do olives come in bags?"

I kid you not; this coffee shop has Caribou brand olives in a vacuum packed bag next to the dark chocolate covered coffee beans and biscotti. I told the cashier that I would eat many things with my cappuccino, but olives was not one of them. I really don't like them anyway, but with coffee? Really? I don't think so.       

I'm a bit peckish this morning. Maybe I should go over to the Market Grill and get some scrambled eggs and bacon. That should put me right to sleep eh? It sounds really good though. I love eggs and bacon. There's nothing like freshly cooked chicken embryos and smoked, fried porcine shavings to get you going in the morning. A bowl of cereal just will not cover what I need. Neither will a bag of olives.  

Speaking of food, the Iowa State Fair is coming up next week. I am supposed to attend on the 13th with Jeffery's Angels. I think we will be short one Angel. We will see what happens. I wonder if they will have deep fried olives on a stick? There's a concept. I hope it has not come to that. I'm praying for a cool cloudy day on the 13th.

Time for a refill now as I commune with the Saints at Caribou. Hold the olives please.

Blog Statistics

My blog stats have been off the charts weird this week. It seems that there are certain subjects that can bring all sorts attention. I have been heavily scanned by Russian and US sources and they have been reaching far back into the archives of TDGH. Key words that seem to set off this avalanche of non reading hits seem to be "Trump", "Putin", "terrorism" and "ISIS". These sources do not seem to be nearly as interested in "Hillary" or "sin" or "self righteousness" or "Jesus". When you consider that I have only two subscribers and maybe 15 to 20 regular readers, this is a really odd week.


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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Apparently I'm Tired...

I usually know these things. I guess I have not been closely attending to my bodily needs, not to put too fine a point on it. Yesterday I felt like I was getting the flu. I was achy and sleepy all day. Then last night before bed, I thought I had a fever. I could not get warm even after I got under the covers. Then I fell into this deep paralytic sleep and dreamed I was sleeping outdoors with nothing but a blanket while raccoons and opossums annoyed me; it was like they were scratching me or something. I think it's because the dog was in bed with me. He just got a haircut and I think he was cold too. He looks kind of like a goat now, but I digress.

Anyway, I woke up at about 1230. I got up to pee. Us old guys have to do that. It has something to do with prostate enlargement. The poor thing never gets used anyway. It's probably the size of a grapefruit. Again, I digress.

After that, I returned to bed. I was having trouble getting back to sleep. I think I prayed a bit. I can usually depend on God to put me back to sleep. I think He tires of the annoyance. Then I dozed off again, I slept through my alarm right up to about 0815 AM today.

I feel refreshed, but I also feel like a bit of a layabout. I actually think I could have slept some more, but I didn't. I think I might be depressed. At this point in my life, I do not notice such things. It's weird how that works. Anyway, I feel pretty good right now. We will see how the rest of the day goes.

Take care and I love y'all.   

Monday, August 1, 2016

Understanding God...Like That Will Ever Happen

I really don't understand Him. He baffles me. He wants me to be be holy. He holds up the standard. Then He watches me struggle my way to victory or defeat; to congratulations or repentance.

Does He enjoy the process more than the product? Is bringing His children to full sanctification the great, divine pleasure that is above everything else for Him? I have to wonder.

Having never been a parent, I have not known the joys of raising up a child in the way he should go. I am thinking though, that this is what God is doing for His children as we go through this life. Like every parent, I suppose He wins some and He loses others. I also think that none of us will ever forget Him though we might fail to please Him. How could anyone turn their back on a Father that gave up His own Son for the sake of the other adopted children in the family? There are many that do not believe He even exists or that Jesus Christ is His Son. They believe His Words to be the product of men's imaginations, written only to control behavior. I cannot go there. I have known His love and I want more.

He told Isaiah this:

  Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
  Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
 Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."

I have known His love and I want more. So what is standing in my way? I must be able to sacrifice my short term and often destructive desires to that purpose. It is a hard thing. He knows this. He seems to enjoy the process where I, where we suffer, to seek His favor. 

I have asked Him, I have asked myself, is this not cruel in the extreme? I feel Him smiling at me. I hear Him say, "You'll get over it. Do what is right. I AM here".

"Well Jeff, you're just hearing voices, you're a religious extremist, you're nuts." I get this from unbelieving friends frequently. They want to know why I bother with the struggle. I have come to believe that in struggle there is truth and life and God. I am renewed by both victory and failure because He lives in me and makes that renewal happen. I have not just read about it. It happens to me on a daily basis. It is real and I cannot explain it in any satisfactory way other than I know I am His child and He will NEVER let me go. I would be miserable without Him anyway. 

So Lord, lets do another day. Please drive our mutual adversary back to the Pit. Let's have a day of victory. We can do it together. Just You and me. Thanks.   


Sunday, July 31, 2016

On Forgiving God

As most everyone is aware, Jesus was big on forgiveness. He wants to forgive us and He wants us to forgive each other. When Simon Peter asked Him how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus was very direct. Matthew 18:21, 22 say,

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times."

Then in Luke 23:32-34, Luke writes,

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals - one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Jesus wanted us to forgive, even as He forgives. That's a tall order.

What Jesus never talks about though is forgiving God.

Blasphemy? Did you say that was blasphemy? Yes, I know. God is God. He does not sin. He is not capable of sin or sinning against anyone. Why would He need forgiveness, particularly from one of His creations?

Let me suggest that forgiveness may be required, even when sin is absent. Sin requires forgiveness, but so do misunderstandings, so do people that do the right thing though it may hurt others, so do people who act in ignorance.

Everyday, people are born into the world in various states of difficulty. Like Job, they seemingly suffer for no reason. Everyday natural disasters occur that wreak havoc on families and property. They destroy and they kill.

We sometimes ask, where was God? Where is God? Why does He not do something to stop all this needless suffering?

We do this because we do not understand. We do not get the bigger picture. We cannot see the forest for the trees. We do not have a God's eye view of the reality that He created and how it must work to achieve the maximum benefit. We are not God.

Our failure to fully grock His purpose will oft times make us angry or rebellious or worse, hopeless.

This is when we need to take advantage of what He taught us.

We need to forgive Him.

He is always faithful to forgive us. Why should we be so short sighted as to not accord Him the same privilege simply because we do not understand His purpose?

You may think I am way off base here, but I think there are many, both Christian and otherwise, that need to look to forgiving their creator for perceived injustices or bad creation management. Who are we to critique the Creator of the Universe?

We are in His hands, whether we realize it or not. We are His children. For the sake of family accord, let's forgive what we do not understand and move forward with Him. Someday we may know what we do not know now - or - better yet, we will not care.

Let's enjoy His love and deal with whatever reality we were dealt as best we can. When 'Forever' comes, I think we will all be glad we did.       

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Urban Dictionary Defines "Jeffery"

My thought here is that one should not use the Urban Dictionary when seeking a definition of one's name. I am shocked at what common parlance has relegated me to. "Jeffery" has almost become a swear word. I am really not any of the things below. You may have a different opinion.


Jeffery
A sweet, fuzzy, cuddly, bootylicious teddy bear.
Jeffery has a sweet booty!

Or

Jeffery
kind hearted spirit, who cares about all.
jeffery is someone thats sets something aside in order to help a friend.

Or

Jeffery
A player who likes to smoke weed and have sex a lot. He will be extremely nice until you fall for him then he will act like you never meant a thing to him.
Dude why are you being such a Jeffery?

Or

Jeffery
a drug cocktail in joint form consisting of, weed, angel dust, E, clorox, cocaine, and a few other choice ingredients.

Or

Jeffery
Another word for a 7 1/2 inch penis
Damn!! You got a Jeffery

Or

Jeffery
A romantic loose end that will negatively impact future relationships.

A social satellite that could re-enter your orbit as a dangerous asteroid at any moment.
So I was on a date, and that girl I had that awkward fling with was the bartender at the bar. She's such a Jeffery.

Or

Jeffery
the kind of guy to be cute and cuddly when he's drunk, but when he's sober he's a bastard that will never follow you back on twitter.
"don't be a jeffery right now"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

First Gay President?

James Buchanan was a one term President that served from 1857 to 1861. He was a confirmed politician and bachelor from Pennsylvania. He was briefly engaged to an heiress named Ann Coleman in 1819, but he appears to have been more interested in her money than her person. She committed suicide that same year. The thought of marriage to James must have been too depressing.

James Buchanan, left; J.R. King, right.


Fast forward to Washington.

Historian James W. Loewen has done extensive research into Buchanan’s personal life, and he’s convinced Buchanan was gay.
Loewen is the author of the acclaimed book “Lies Across America,” which examines how historical sites inaccurately portray figures and events in America’s past.
“I’m sure that Buchanan was gay,” Loewen said. “There is clear evidence that he was gay. And since I haven’t seen any evidence that he was heterosexual, I don’t believe he was bisexual.”
According to Loewen, Buchanan shared a residence with William Rufus King, a Democratic senator from Alabama, for several years in Washington, D.C.
Loewen said contemporary records indicate the two men were inseparable, and wags would refer to them as “the Siamese twins.”
Loewen also said Buchanan was “fairly open” about his relationship with King, causing some colleagues to view the men as a couple.
For example, Aaron Brown, a prominent Democrat, writing to Mrs. James K. Polk, referred to King as Buchanan’s “better half,” “his wife” and “Aunt Fancy … rigged out in her best clothes.”
In 1844, when King was appointed minister to France, he wrote Buchanan, “I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation.”
Loewen also said a letter Buchanan wrote to a friend after King went to France shows the depth of his feeling for King.
“I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me,” Buchanan wrote. “I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”

Wow. That's kind of telling. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.

Observations

This observation came by way of my neighbor down the road...

If Hillary Clinton is elected President, it will be the first time in history that two Presidents have slept with each other...probably.

If Donald Trump is elected President, it will be the first time  in history that a billionaire moves into public housing that was recently vacated by a black family.

I'm telling you, whoever wins this, we are in for a long, strange trip. The immediate future is not bright.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Putin and The Donald...Could it Be Love?


According to Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo.com :

Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin's increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there's quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

Looks like a real issue here. American banks shut off the cash to Donald, so he goes to the Russian oligarchs closely tied to Vlad for cash. It makes sense. It makes one heck of a campaign issue for HRC to work. Who owns Trump? We thought no one owned him. Seems the evil empire has their hooks in him.

Don't get me wrong. I have admired Putin for awhile. He is the only one truly fighting ISIS. He is also fighting illegal immigration.  Obama's phony war against terrorism has been useless and he could care less about the invasion taking place stateside. The Caucasian world is under attack from all sides in Europe and the US and Putin is the only one fighting back. We could use that kind of backbone here in the US.

Even so, historically, what has been good for Mother Russia has not necessarily been good for Uncle Sam. It worries me. I'm not happy that HRC is in bed with the neocons and their wars of aggression in the middle east either. The reason all these Muslims are leaving their countries for Europe and the US is because the USA has left their countries in a shambles. As a  former US Secretary of State, Hillary is responsible for much of that mayhem.

In terms of foreign relations, we are screwed whether we get Trump or Clinton. We can't vote against both of them...darn it. Whatever happens, it's gonna be a real mess. Fun times ahead.       

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