Thoughts from the Past


Tonight I reminisce on what God did for Libby and me. This is a writing from January 2015. I had lived in my previous home on two acres of land, but I was getting to where the lawn was a chore and I was looking to move, but what prodded me was God via a notice that my homeowner’s insurance was going to increase significantly because I didn’t have a fire hydrant within a thousand feet of my house. On another note, Libby and I got married in July of 2015. So the following story from then goes. . .

Walking up from my garage this morning elicited new thoughts.  I haven’t moved for 27 years until a month ago.  I have known for years the voice of God and also the open door principle. 

Only slight modification was done on the outside.

I felt the urging some time ago to look at this house Lib and I are now in.  I played with the thought for some time, but placed it off the table.  Then mid-November the prodding came afresh.  I told Lib to let’s take a closer look at this house.  I called the agent and set up a showing.  We found it had been built in 1973.  It is brick and is solid.  It had been mildly updated, but much updating is still needed in the kitchen, dining and hallway.  The doors needed new knobs, but really the whole set of inside doors should be replaced.  The flooring was done with a very cheap grade of laminate wood grain flooring.  The baseboards, quarter round and door facings had been replaced by someone with just enough experience to cut a piece of wood.  They didn’t know much about a measuring tape, though.  The bathroom had been completely overhauled with a new tub and it was very fresh and with functional tub, toilet, cabinet and vanity.  But the walls are not very likeable.  The trim was amateurish.  The flooring was not level and upon inspection we found sometime joists had been attacked by termites, but had been repaired and treated.  There were other floor joists that needed new supports, which I had the owner repair before purchase.  The previous owner had had new double pane windows installed, but two already had that foggy look and I had them fix those as well.

This is what the kitchen looked like before and after except I’ve added a microwave over the stove since this picture was made.

Sounds like I should have walked away from the needs this house has, but here’s what happened.  Lib wanted the house and I did as well for the fact that it has a half-acre yard with a huge unattached garage and paved driveway.  I later found the garage was once a welding shop business by the previous owner.  He and his wife had passed on and the children were selling it as sort of an estate sale.  They, being the owners then, were willing to sell at a giveaway price.  It had been reduced by ten thousand dollars.  All I will say is when I heard the selling price I was astounded to find it well under $100 grand. 

Looking at the state of the house and the state of my previous home didn’t take much for Lib and I to agree to offer whatever the owners were asking.  Problem was the day we looked at it we found there was another interested party.  Problem one.  Yet I felt to go ahead with the offer. 

Later that day I was told to secure the offer I would need to get approved for the loan.  That was not a problem.  The next morning after church Lib and I went to a mortgage loan representative and were approved on the spot.  We stopped by on the way back home to look at the inside of the garage and the realty agent told me then that the other prospective party had declined to place a bid.  Now it was up to Lib and me.

Monday morning was a holiday from work, so I had gone out to get something to eat at the local Piggly Wiggly and decided to stop at my neighbor’s business across the street.  When I asked him was he interested he looked at me like I was pulling his leg and it took several acknowledgements to get him to believe I wasn’t.  He asked me how much and I told him.  On the spot he offered to buy at the price I asked.  Deal.  I’d  made an offer, gotten approved and sold my house in a span of three days.  On the fourth day I was moving out of my house into this house.   I had told Libby when God moves He can move quickly so she should be prepared.   

The provocation to look at this house again was God speaking to me.  Once I looked and spoke what I was hearing, things happened so quickly Libby could not believe it.  Doors opened left and right.  We’ve been in this house paying rent to live here from the middle of November until closing and now for almost a month since closing. 

Surprisingly I do not miss my two acres down the road seven tenths of a mile.  I feel very much at home here.  I’m sitting in my living room tapping this out on my laptop while the Contemporary Christian music channel plays on Pandora, feeling the blessing of God upon this house. 

It’s the little things that count as well, which to some would seem not important and material.  I gave up a 1955 BelAir Chevy when I gave my heart to God in 1977 because I felt Him tell me it was my god.  It was a true statement.  Now all those years later I feel that owning the car I’d always wanted was a gift and now I have a garage to put it in and cover it up so I can take it out and drive it and enjoy it.  And Libby and I do enjoy it with the top down breezing down the highway. 

Still Libby has a nice car and I have yet an old beater of an S10 for hauling stuff around in.  We both have wonderful jobs and I hope to retire the end of this year. 

I know there are people who think they hurt me because I hurt them, but in reality I can’t be hurt.  The love of God is strong on and in me.  I have forgiven them.  I release them to God.  Libby and I are recognized for our love for each other in our church and we’ve developed new friends and we have become a part of the community of Richlands.  In all the years I’ve lived here I’ve not felt that till we moved into this house just a month ago.  Strange as it may seem, I’d never felt this way. 

Yes, I admit my decisions hurt some people close to me, but I’ve found from other friends and family that their viewpoint was I was not a well man then.  To me I was in a fight for my life.  I knew I was dying and I had to get out of it.  I made only one mistake.  Not having done it sooner. 

So my thought as I walked up from the garage this morning?  It is that I’m “home” for the first time in a long time and I have the love of a woman who truly knows unconditional love and demands nothing of me, but to be myself.  I ask nothing of her other than to not change who she is.  She’s everything I pictured in my early teens when I asked God what my wife would be like.  I can’t marry her as yet because of the liberality with which the judge meted out “punishment” on me in alimony to my previous relationship.  Under the laws of the state of NC I am bound to that, but my heart is unbound in the realm of the spirit and I have all I ever wanted in life and cannot be brought down, not because of me, but by the help and blessings of God am I standing.  That’s my thoughts this morning. 

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, God's Calling, Patience, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Spiritual Investments | Leave a comment

Wow


November is well on now, yet it has been a very eventful month. And not in a good way I might add.

My cousin passed away suddenly on a Sunday morning. She had been dealing with cancer for a few years, but it’s like some lingering type of disease that doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing to take her so suddenly.

Being the Visitation Chaplain for our church has kept me busy. I visit with two of our elderly. I make that sound old, yet I turned sixty nine the 25th of last month. One is eighty two and the other is wheel chair bound. Then there is the young man who had gall bladder surgery, but it has turned bad due to infection. This has caused much concern with him, his wife and children. The most disconcerting thing is the family of the one that was in the hospital for a few weeks passed away last week. My wife and I went to the Memorial Service this past Saturday. He left his wife, two daughters and a son. oodles of grandchildren and great grand children. He was five years younger than me.

I made a post of my FB page that I felt selfish to say I’m blessed with all the sorrow that others are facing. Yet in it all it’s God who works to do as He sees fit and I go on.

I still look to see what others are posting, but I’ve no comments at the moment. It’s not to say I don’t care. I, in fact, do.

Driving a school bus for two schools each day tries my temperance with elementary and middle school students. I had stopped my Zoloft, but I found myself getting more angry than I should. So I’m back to my small dose. The advantage of taking it, I’ve found, is that I’ve learned to depend on my spirit to hear God and discern things more definitively. The reason is that it takes my emotions out of the equation and relies totally on my spiritual being to be in charge.

Last Thursday evening I did something I’ve not done very much in many years. In our small home group setting I prayed for a couple in tongues briefly, but then words of prophesy came to them as the interpretation. I know some folks think that’s. . . well, whatever, but I firmly believe in this form of contact with God. Later in the meeting the subject came up with a teen in the room who had spoken with what I consider authority beyond her years. I asked her had she been baptized in the Holy Ghost and she said no. I explained it to her and asked was she willing to allow this event in her life and she replied with a yes. I laid hands on her and she immediately began speaking in other tongues, but the actuality caught her and she stopped and began to cry. Not a bad cry. I think it kind of scared her. So all in attendance encouraged her to get alone at home and talk to God about it. Sunday morning she went to my wife and said it fully happened to her since that night.

For a while now I’ve felt like an unloaded gun, but since last Thursday evening I think God put some bullets in my chambers. I can feel the presence of God all through my being even at this moment. It’s a really precious thing to know. I feel connected more than I have in a while.

So that’s some of my ramblings for this evening. It’s not much, but just something to let anyone who reads my attempts to convey some thoughts that might help others, here it is.

If you’ve felt alone, empty or otherwise, don’t despise those times. God is nearer than you think.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Christian Mission, God's Calling, Mission Work, Old Age, Patience, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Spiritual Investments | 3 Comments

Stale Perception


This morning a young lady ministered in our morning service to start the October theme of Phobias. Phobias are simplistically a form of unnatural fear.

Part of the explanation was directed into an area I found to explain something I’ve been looking at for some time. I’ve been wanting to understand how to handle or not handle a situation that has been ongoing for over ten years.

Since my fall from grace over ten years ago my family had cut me off from a meaningful relationship with my sons. In the last few months I’ve endeavored to redeem myself with them. Their response is in one daughter-in-laws words “If you were not my husband’s dad I would have nothing to do with you”. Upon a visit with the other son the other daughter-in-law said one word to me over the entire visit. That word was “Hey” in response to my hello. I know my sons are married to these women and they have to live with them. So be it. I beg that they keep the peace in their marriages. I did not go in there to cause a stir that would cause division in their unions. It was hard enough I left their mom.

Granted I was wrong in how I did what I did. During that time I was confused and burnt out from being so busy “doing” and not “being”. My Christian walk failed. My marriage failed. I failed myself. But I don’t walk around blaming anyone or anything for what happened. It happened. It’s gone into the past and it cannot be changed. My former wife and I argued constantly. Situations I found with finances, that at the time she managed, went south and when I inquired, she had no answer nor anything to prove where thousands of dollars went. She had become numb to me and I admitted in court documents to adultery because I sought comfort I could not get at home. Our marriage was done. We both failed. I have my suspicions of where the money went. Let’s just say it wasn’t anywhere in our house, goods or such. It went somewhere else outside our own need, wants or wishes.

My marriage was doomed months before the admitted failing on my part. I had already found money gone and was searching for ways out of my marriage via divorce, but knew money would be a big deal in the parting. I had not even met my cohort in crime, so to speak when this was going on.

Fast forward to today. Phobias. That unnatural fear I had brought me to depression and anxiety attacks. I was experiencing the fall of myself. My foundational self. I had grown up with the idea of once married, always married. That fear broke me. I could no longer bear the burden of it.

I spent time talking to my now wife who came from that incident. When it all came about she came to me and told me if I wanted I was free to go home and fix things. I told her the same. She had left her verbally and emotional abusive husband and I told her to go home if she wanted. After a period of separation we discovered we didn’t meet by accident. People can say what they want, but I spent many days talking to God about it. I argued with God about it. The conclusion was I did the right thing, but I did it the wrong way. I asked God a hundred times a hundred times what was I to do with this woman who had come into my life and all I could hear in return was “You will marry this woman”.

How this Phobia thing came to bear on me came to one thing. My relationship with my sons and their wives can be fixed by God and only God. The title of this post is the answer I came away with this morning. But it can’t be fixed until they refresh their perception of who I am now.

My sons and their wives have not talked to me in depth in ten years and still have the perception of me from of all things, ten years ago. They have no idea of the evolution of my return to God. The changes in me that came about from humbling me through the fears, depression and anxiety I experienced cannot be perceived by them. I came to realize there is a gap of nothing between then and now and they base all they know about me on stale perceptions of who I was once upon a time. Just like bread becoming stale, it isn’t just bad food. It can make you sick. I’m afraid those stale perceptions have sickened them to the point they cannot see me for who I am today. I’m am likely the most sane person they will ever know now. I don’t condemn people for their faults. I’ve suffered enough from my own.

If my now wife reads this she’ll likely say I share too much about myself, but I say what I say because my fall could or can help someone else avoid the pitfalls of things in their own lives. With age comes wisdom unfortunately and it can only be by growing older. The young suffer from wounds that could be avoided if they only sought the wisdom of the older of us who bear the scars of life already.

Stale perceptions can be the death of the holder. That is a fear I now have. I can only pray the ones who hold them can feel the weight of it and put it down and let themselves come to live in the “now” and build a future on that.

Posted in Christian, Divorce, Family, God's Calling, Health, Love, Memories, Old Age, Patience, Ponderings, Prayer, Sadness, Sobering Thoughts, Soulmate, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment, Spiritual Investments | Leave a comment

I Could Be Angry, But I’m an Adult Male


An open door appeared to me for an area of ministry to disciple men. It’s with a major Christian organization. But after one phone call from their representative his words, not mine, are come back and see us in three years. Folks, I’ll be 69 years old in a month. That’s kind of laughable.

Why the statement to come back and see us in three years such a deal breaker? After hanging up with this younger man, I sat there is disbelief. The dis-qualifier was I’d only been in my present church for less than three years. He did ask me why I’d left my last church. I didn’t want to say why. I didn’t feel it was any of their need to know, since it had to do with ministerial indiscretions by the pastor. You can draw you own conclusions, but that doesn’t qualify as a reason to disqualify me for leaving and having been in my new church home for only a year. Oh, one other thing. I had not been directly in oversight of a men’s discipleship ministry.

Let’s look at the background. I was heavily involved in a ministry for 30 years as a student for ministry, a teacher, a minister of the Word, Care Pastor, Deacon, Worship musician, and now an ordained minister, along with various ancillary ministries that made that church a vital entity with a sizeable yearly budget that was likely well above any other church in our immediate area. Our pastor was a published author. Fifty of his books were printed in-house and it was one of my duties to see they were kept in print. I’m not going to toot my horn big. I was merely an integral part of a larger entity. The body as a whole. I simply filled my part. Just to note, at least eighteen of his other books were published by a major publishing firm in Pennsylvania

I’m simply saying to the lack of understanding of a younger man, that I’m filled with life experiences he has yet to know. In order for me to recognize God in my life I have to say that He and He alone is responsible for me being where I am today. My response to His calling and knowing my worth in Him plays an important role for me. If not for Him, I am nothing, but in Him I am worthy. I have what it takes and not having been directly in a men’s ministry or not having been in my present church for at least three years does no disqualify me. Please, please, please don’t think me haughty. I know better. I tremble at the thought of being that. I fear that God would have something to say to me about that if I were.

By all rights in my family’s eyes I should have already been dead and gone. But by the grace of God go I. So, I can only take this closed door as not the avenue by which I am to travel in this life.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Christian Mission, church, Family, God's Calling, Old Age, Possibilities, Respect for Life, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment | 1 Comment

What’s Going On?


Lately, things seem to be off kilter. I’m not sure just what it is. But let me start with a bright thought.

Yesterday was my followup with my Urologist. Okay. Don’t get the TMI icon out yet. Give me a second or two of read time.

For about two years I’ve suspected an infection that would come and go with a two week regimen of antibiotics. My PSA number had been slowly rising during this time. When this test is administered it’s usually taken as an indicator of prostate cancer, but I knew better. Normal is less than four, but it had gotten to five. Seriously though, it isn’t a concern until it gets much, much higher. Something more like 20 is a grave concern.

But I’d had a real battle with the symptoms during the last bout and after antibiotics, my FP doc says I needed a specialist. This seemed to take longer to get in with a specialist than I’d hoped since the pain and discomfort was ongoing.

Finally I got in and the tests showed I needed a longer range of antibiotics Cipro was prescribed for a month. when I went back my PSA was down from five to three point eight. It was in the normal range for the first time in over two years.

This concluded that I had been walking around with a low grade infection for the entirety of the past two years. So to be sure I was given another one month regimen of Cipro to kill off any residual bacteria. I’m feeling much better and I feel I am on the way to normal for the first time in a long while.

During this past few moments the title of this post has been on my mind and my wife walks in, sits down and says to me that something is off and has been for a few days. I concurred.

God is doing something for us. My bank account is in the toilet at present and my seemingly not caring attitude should make me astonished. But I’ve learned to put my trust in God and I know something is in the making.

A couple of weeks ago I was installed in the leadership of our church as the designated go to person for visitation. I’m called the Visitation Chaplain. My first week consisted of three visitations. This week one of our members was admitted into a large hospital an hour away and I was prepared to go and was told the family requested no visitors. I was sad to learn this evening he had been on life-support and had succumbed to his illness. His visitation at the funeral home is tomorrow evening, so my wife and I will be there. Such is the world I live in.

Okay. So I took a break in this post, but now to finish.

The season of change is still in the air. I don’t know what it is. Why should I feel this way? I found a door tweaked open only to have it closed. This will be written about in the next post.

But God is indeed making changes.

Posted in Christian, Christian Mission, church, God's Calling, Ponderings, Possibilities, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment | 3 Comments

The Hug


Hugs. I never experienced them growing up. What is a hug? I did a quick research and found there is a list of types of hugs. Namely 11 from one particular place I

The Schumin Web » Phew! The whole place smells like Sharpie…

looked. I didn’t know there were so many. But this isn’t a posting of hugging research. It’s about one in particular.

Once upon a time when I was a teenage, I was out working the farm. I was plowing a field off a short distance from the house when I was signaled to come to the house. It seemed my mom had taken off to somewhere unknown to us. She’d ran away. Why?

In the days and few weeks leading up to this I knew my mom had been dealing with a check my dad was supposed to get in the mail and apparently had, but her story was that she’d misplaced in at someone’s home on her Avon route down a road that had washed out from recent rains. That check was supposed to pay our mortgage for an entire year. That was how my dad had it set up seeing we worked the farm and crops came in during the fall when we made our money.

After this wrangling had gone on for some time it finally came to a head when it became apparent that the missing check had taken a different path than the story presented to the family.

Something had happened in her family upstate that required the amount of money the check was for or there about. She had used it for that, but I’m ahead of myself.

My dad was beside himself with a mortgage to pay and the love of his life missing. It took a couple of days, but his sleuthing about found her hiding out with her sister. With a huge weight lifted dad went to get her and bring her home.

I was out somewhere when he came home with her, but when I came in my mom gave me a hug that about squeezed the life out of me. I knew she was sorry for what she’d done, but as evidence of why came to light we all fully understood and forgiveness was only right. To all of us it was a matter of a major life event that had been averted and we all bound ourselves to see it through. My dad negotiated the loan payment and we were able to meet the need.

But the hug. I was never really hugged while growing up. It was like a given that the family loved one another, but displays of such a thing as a hug was not a part of it. I just toughed it up and figured this was the way life was.

Even when I married the first time my first wife never hugged. In fact she didn’t like being touched. No time. The non-hugging status just carried over from my youth and I thought little of it.

When I divorced I found something that is very important and I’d been deprived of a very important part of life. Human contact. My now wife is a touchy-feelie sort. Not only hugging but holding hands while doing most anything from sitting on the couch watching a movie to walking around while shopping or for just a walk around the neighborhood. People have actually stopped and commented that there should be more of this with couples, to which we agree.

Every night before we go off to sleep, my wife and I will spend what we call, well, hugging time in bed at least. It’s the touching that counts. I’ve learned an important lesson with my wife. Hugging is this to me. It’s a transference of spiritual energy between two souls. I have felt it so many times with my wife. I crave to feel the energy she feeds me through our bodily touch. It’s not sensual. It’s spiritual. She’s a blessing to me in so many ways and the gift of God to me.

But above all the hugs I’ve ever had the most powerful remembrance I have is that hug my mom gave me when she’d returned home. It told me she loved me, she wanted forgiveness. It spoke of not wanting to let such a thing happen again. It begged for me to love her back. I always loved my mom. It never made any difference even with all her shortcomings. That hug left and indelible mark on me for my entire life.

I didn’t know why though until I met my second wife. The hugs I got from my mom afterward and my wife brought me to the knowledge of unconditional love. My mom had no idea how that worked, but my wife did and I covet the hugs I get today. It lets me know I’m loved without regret or condition.

If you don’t hug, please find it within yourself to find out what it means. It brings an intimate connection. On all levels.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Family, Health, Human Touch, Love, Memories, Mental Health, Soulmate, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment | 1 Comment

School and Beyond


I’m a bus driver. Yes. A school bus driver. I load up with middle and elementary school students starting this coming Monday morning for another year. It will be my last year driving. I set a plan to drive only three years. No more. The end of this coming year I will be only a few month shy of three, but the end of the year in 2020 will close out this run for me.

Why would I put a time limit on it? Because I feel God has given me a limit and He has a plan for me during this school year that will broaden and open a door to a ministry He’s prepared for my wife and me.

I have prayed God show me because I feel no indication of what that is or I should say I’ve not seen it before of late. Just as I was coming to a complete loss of what I’m to do He answered me. After all, it’s His timing I have to abide by. My whole life has been molded for these coming day.

My pastor came to me and indicated they want to set me in as a part if not the lead person for the Visitation Ministry for our church. At the same time, when I bought this last motorcycle God showed me something else to coincide with that door. I’ve been stymied by my ease in buying a bigger bike. God showed me something I had not anticipated.

I was conversing with my cousin and found out he is a member of a motorcycle association called Light Keepers, CMA or a chapter of it in his area. He contacted the one in charge of the chapter here locally and I’ve been invited to join. I will attend my first meeting this coming month. I feel there is much to accomplish still in this life and I hope this avenue will offer me that opportunity. In order for me to do this means something deeper. My health has to be tip-top to ride. God has blessed me with that. I rest in it.

What does all this mean? I have no idea in the pin-pointed aspects of it all, but I’m here to serve to the best of my ability. The walk continues.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Christian Mission, church, God's Calling, Harley Davidson owner, Mental Health, Mission Work, Motorcycles, Patience, Ponderings, Possibilities, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Investment | 3 Comments