A Glutton & A Drunk?

Dear Church,
I love Christ & we are His body so please, may we let Him make us more like Him.

Remember,

Jesus was a friend of sinners.
He was labled by religious people & leaders as a glutton & drunkard, not cause he was but, because he was around people who were (also documented in Luke 7:34).
May we "bless" people rather than spew condemnation, casting judgmental looks, thoughts & words.

John 3:16 we know like the back of our hand. May we read on into verse 17 and be more like Jesus. He said,
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16‭-‬17 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.3.16-17.NLT
 Bless God & bless others.
Think of this acronym:
B.L.E.S.S.

Begin with prayer
Listen to others
Eat with others
Serve others
Share with others
 I got this from,
https://discoverychurch.com/messages/week-3/

A few songs come to my mind. One of those is “More” by Mylon LeFevre:

Thank you friends for reading & considering who we are in Christ, not just as individuals but as His body, His ambassadors.

He>i, beetle

What I Want What I Really Really Want

My peace & joy come from my hope & faith in Christ.

Ocationally you’ll come across the path of a person who renews your trust & faith in humanity.

In the same way if we come to an encounter with Christ our trust & faith in God is renewed.

The Apostle Paul had an encounter with Christ, after Jesus rose from the dead & had already ascended to heaven. At that time Paul was known as as Saul (the Christian Killer). He made it his personal mission to kill anyone who still believed & followed the example Christ had set. As a result he (Saul)

  • went completely blind for a while,
  • was given his sight back
  • Came to faith in Christ (made Him his Lord & Master)
  • was put in prison and
  • wrote many letters (like this one to the Philippines).

What a difference an encounter makes. Saul became Paul and, in time, a complete transformation took place.

For me, each morning, I feel the need to carve out time to just be one on one with The Holy Spirit then I let Him keep on filling me, living in Him & letting Him live through me throughout my day.

There are always distractions & my own short comings:

  • Physically
  • Mentally
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually

But I press on & rely on Him, not my own behavior or merit. It’s all about His abilities, not mine, His grace (giving me what I don’t deserve) & His mercy (not giving me the punishment I do deserve).

Many times I’ll play a song that really helps. Here is one of those:

Anothing thing that helps me is reading & listening to God’s Word. With my cell phone I am able to let God call me so that I can just listen. That sounds strange perhaps but how I do this is through the YouVersion Bible app. on my phone. It has

  • many translations of the Bible
  • Reading plans
  • Audio (ppl. reading it)
  • Studies on topics

I write here in my blog to help me in my walk with Christ & as a means, a mode of transportation, to share my faith with others.

I personally believe that the best way to follow & keep following Christ is to let His Words sink into me.

Getting into the Word of God & letting His Word get into me.

What I want, what I really really want, is to be the type of Christian Romans 12 talks about.

I’ll conclude this article with this recommendation:

Always remember, you aren’t alone.

For more guidance pointing to Christ

click 👉Devotional👈
Or go to: https://bible.com/reading-plans/12581/day/1?segment=0

May God bless & keep us as we walk with Him. God bless you and you, keep blessing God.

Love, with 1st Corinthians 13 type love, beetle

Mom, Dad & Elementary My Dear Tommy (Chapter 1 of Autobiography) r.d.

For Introduction/Preface👈 go here (https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/50-years-in-the-making-intro-to-autobiography-r-d/)

1 word keeps coming to mind as I attempt to write my autobiography. That word is vulnerability.

With that in mind, here we go.

CHAPTER 1

(r.d., unedited)

Although this is an autobiography it’s not just about me it’s really an overall story with deeper meanings much bigger than me.

Let this early footage roll (video of my dad trying to play 8mm home movies from when they first married on up until I turned 8):

Photographic Evidence, sounds like a good band name or at least a working title for something. Perhaps we’ll revisit these videos later, if we can get the “danthin” to work.

MOM, DAD & my Elementary age

Photo of mom & dad 2019

I could, and probably will, write a whole book on just my parents. For this chapter I’m going to try to keep it autobiographical, giving my perspective and their role in my life.

I’m also amazed when I think back to the role I played in their lives. Oh how they, loved, cared for and point blank tolerated me ! ! !

It’s not easy to sit & write an entire autobiography but I think it can be very helpful in discovering who we are, why we are the way we are & how we relate to others.

Sometimes we become who we are because of our parents. Other times people develop into who they are and what they do in spite of how they were raised & the poor example that their parents displayed. In certain cases when a parent is successful in life their children become successful in life. When a parent is abusive many people feel that their offspring will follow suit; however, the child that is neglected or abused could later grow up and mature into a very loving, caring parent that shows healthy physical discipline but without any abusive behavior because they want to be a better parent than what they witnessed first hand as a child. I personally know people who have overcome the odd. Their childhood memories are dark but their future & the future of their children is bright.

Parents set examples for us without even trying. As humans we usually mimic what we see. So, many times our characteristics are inherited, not something we purposefully achieved. Our mannerisms seem to just come naturally. Others will even comment how much we remind them of our mother or father, not just in looks but in our actions or decision making.

For me, both of my patents were great role models & consciously worked on their own lifestyles just as a sculptor works on chiseling something out of a rock. They purposefully took part in building a solid foundation for themselves & didn’t allow negative influences to dictate what they would & wouldn’t partake of. They were also proactive in the lives of their children, purposefully nurturing our nature; Come to think about it, they were extremely positively, active role models in every neighborhood & community in which they were involved.

In the 70’s my mom, like many mothers from that decade, stayed home & took care of the house & household. That is more than a full time job in and of itself. Although she cleaned house, did laundry, made sure we got to school and such my dad also washed dishes, vacuumed, helped with the laundry and was very active with household chores; as well as, working outside in our yard. Each of us kids were responsible for certain tasks too. My sisters would debate the fact that all I did was collect the garbage or clean the base boards while they were assigned many more chores than I. Being the youngest I think many times less responsibility is expected and given because you are “the baby”. Now that I am older & have had 5 children of my own I see that that is often the case. Often children grow faster than our minds allow them too. We find ourselves wanting them to always be our sweet li’l innocent baby and yet sometimes we want them to grow up faster.

Photograph of Dad teaching me to march.

My dad, oh what I can say about my dad! One thing for sure is that he did not sit still very often. Even in his 80’s now (2019 as I write this) he finds it hard to be still and if he does he falls asleep. He has always gone to extremes and he still does. Growing up I don’t remember seeing him just sit. He was always on the go. We had a hammock in the back yard that rotted from lack of use but it was always there for the rare rest he might have taken. In my early childhood it was also rare for him to be away from the house on long extended work trips. Some how he always put in 100% of himself at his job and 100% of himself at home. He started the 1st U.S.O. in St. Augustine, FL (just south of Jacksonville where I live now). As a family we’d get tours of military ships, participate in parades and saw great performers, all part of the U.S.O. work.

Often I’d end up on parade floats dressed as a sailor.

I especially enjoyed the carnival rides brought in for the U.S.O. “pal days” to raise money & awareness for U.S.O. (The United Stated Officer’s Club) for active military men and their families.

Me & Jimmy Marrow (the son of my dad’s co-work Danny Marrow)

I’m packed in there with Jimmy & Ruthy Marrow (Danny’s son & daughter)

This was the only real link between The Salvation Army and The U.S. Army. My dad, formerly a S.A. (Salvation Army) officer, later an A.P. (Air force Police) soldier returned to working for The S.A. uniquely as a liaison between the two different structures/corporations.

I can still picture seeing my dad’s shiny shoes & long legs move at the speed of light. I never reached the heights of my dad’s physical physique. He is 6 foot tall and at my talest I am only 5′ 7″. As a child, 2 to 3 feet tall, when I couldn’t move fast enough to keep up he’d always carry me. I remember being carried often so he could get to all the people he wanted to touch base with, places he needed to be & things he desired to accomplish in his own speedy, almost always rushed, time frame of his life. He was very driven & drove us with that same intensity. I even have a vivid recollection of being carried as he walked the Jacksonville Beach in leisure. I can still taste the saltwater on his shoulder as he cradled me or gently draped me over his shoulder like a beach towel.

When not trying to follow my dad I’d be at the feet of my mom. To this day she still remarks how a simple chore like ironing brings her satisfaction. She basked in the sense of accomplishing tasks & the priceless reward of a hard days work at home with & for your family.

There is something to be said about accomplishing thing for the well being of your family.

Both of my parents excelled in that.

In my life the work I enjoyed the most was when I was actually doing something that was directly related to the care of others, especially my own family, my amazing children Kyri, Alexx, Olivia, Madi & Abbey. At certain times of my life I was a stay at home dad. My full time job was not just a job to make money but sweeping the floors at home, changing diapers, getting the laundry & dishes clean, taking my kids to playgrounds or playing with them on the floor, to this day I still treasure that as the best job I ever had.

My parents found satisfaction in living life and they it showed. They knew the importance of a family as a unit.

Although they were in the prime age of their lives in the 60’s they never went to drugs or alcohol for an escape or for pleasure. They took in the simple things and found joy in family. They looked to God as a foundation and built upwards from there.

I just had a flash back to my dad in a hammock in that big back yard in Jacksonville Florida. He did take time to relax & recreate. We had a very big backyard that backed on the Potsburg Creek, which flowed into the St. John’s river in Jacksonville Florida. We even had an area for our own chicken coop. Here is a picture from 1971. I’m with my grandparents on my dad’s side and…a drum.

Our yard spread a pretty far distance from the house, about 2 archers. I was encouraged to get out of the house & venture some distance,

I think my constant banging on anything that resembled a drum had a lot to do with that parental prompting to get out of the house.

We did have to keep an eye out for occasional gators that would find their way out of the creek & onto our land. My dad & I would go on b.b. gun shooting safaris in that backyard. He’d place a milk carton in a tree and a can on the ground some place, challenging me to shoot them on sight as if we were hunting for big game.

Some how he got roofing companies to come and dump their wasted shingles & debris so that the land wouldn’t be all swampy. He had the foresight to fill the land so that we’d have a better foundation that allowed us to walk all the way back to where the water meets the land, also so that the water wouldn’t keep claiming more & more land. He knew if he worked hard enough to keep the creek from eroding the land the value of the property would go up. Until it was filled, solid ground, my dad fashioned bridges over the marshy sections with old doors, an old washing machine & a few odd and end large parts from various appliances so that I really felt like I was deep in the Florida everglades, all without ever leaving our backyard. There were dangers but nothing too extreme. This was in the 70’s, long before we fully understood environmental precautions or any real level of security in protective gear. Many times I’d be barefoot & climb through huge tractor tiers that were half buried. We didn’t wear goggles when shooting the b.b. gun, a helmet when riding our bikes, let alone shin, wrist or elbo guards while skate boarding. We weren’t breaking any rules, it was just part of life. We paid no mind to those type of things. I’m not sure why, it’s not that we were primative there was just a general low level of awareness in health & ecology. This was a decade when many cars didn’t even come with seat belts (funny story about that coming up).

We were sheltered in many ways & watched over probably more than any parent is even able to do in this day and age, after all we are now in the 21st centry, not just a few years later but living in an entire different centry! In some ways there was little awareness to health issues. Doctors were actually saying smoking was good for you. There were t.v. adds stating what brand of cigarettes Doctors preferred. Smoking on air planes, let alone restaurants was totally permitted. I also remember Dune buggy races on the beaches. The average everyday family was even permitted to drive all up and down Jacksonville beach, on the sand! Many would park their oil dripping cars & large diesel trucks on the quick absorbing sand. As kids we’d use the street lights coming on as a signal to come on inside. Meeting strangers, and going in and out of neighbor’s homes, was always welcomed. My cousin Robert, who is close to my age, was reminiscent about an older single man down the street from him in Pennsylvania that he and his 4 siblings would visit regular. They were welcome in his house and they’d hang out. He was a man friend, with no shady or perverted agenda. We knew nothing of molesters or children being kidnapped. It happen but it was rare or just not heard of. Adults would hand out candy, even when it wasn’t Halloween, just to be nice, not to trap kids like in the fictional story of Hansel & Gretel. There were huge organization such as, “The Boy & Girl Scouts of America”, “Boy and Girl’s Clubs”The Y.M.C.A.” and “Y.W.C.A.” (young men’s/women’s Christian Association) whose structure have drastically changed over the past 50 years. There is nothing wrong with change but in the case of some organizations perversion not only entered their structure it was tolerated and in some circumstances conducted by various leaders in certain sects of their corporation. To avoid over priced hotels or pitching a tent when in need of shelter people didn’t go to organizations to just flop, use drugs and be promiscuous they went in need to avoid being homeless. Not even the Church was exempt from the wild fire of human perversions and ungodly passions. I recall The Catholic Church faced accusations of molestation by some of their priest and abuse by some of the nuns. Cults existed, no doubt, but not to the extent of today. Now, I think now more than ever, too many of the righteous have become so self righteous & lost without admitting it and I feel like there are many more wolves in sheep’s clothing. What use to be a sanctuary has become Satan’s playground & no longer a safe place for refuge & divine comfort and guidance. I guess the hypocrisy from Jesus’s day has just matured into a more sophisticated monster that looks appealing on the outside with it’s glitz & glamour but inside is full of the same prideful rotten muck waiting to suck people in, chew them up and spit them back out. Rather than blatantly proclaiming to be a cult some well intended agencies have been corrupted from within its own ranks & structure.

I think too many people prey on others rather than pray for them.

Perhaps is is inevitable that some leaders end up give in to their personal desires rather than abiding to the original desires and mission of the once fully trust worthy groups, let alone a benevolent loving God who desires to watch over and protect mankind. Just a few bad apples end up ruining the once pure motives of trustworthy communities. Rather than being godly & Christ like some think they are God and decide to play God, placing a bad taste in the mouths of people seeking to belong to a wholesome group.

When I was growing up people were victims of a variety of crimes; however we rarely locked our doors and couldn’t fathom a police officer, teacher, minister or neighbor being unjust in any way form or fashion. Grant it I grew up in Florida, before moving just outside of the more metropolitan city of Cleveland Ohio. The area of Jacksonville,where we lived, was far from any metropolitan city or urban community. It wasn’t completely rural, out in the woods or boonies nor was it a subdivision as we saw in the ’80 but there is no question, it is common knowledge and statistics will show that Florida in general makes the headlines with the craziest stories. Now we are faced with headlined such as, “Florida Man…” followed by unimaginable feats that are stranger than fiction. When you do a search it states, “Here is the latest.”, because of the regularity of foolish incomprehensible behaviors. It’s my understanding that, within these past few years, Jacksonville was labeled as having the highest murder rate. It’s no laughing matter but I heard a comedian hit the nail on the head when he sarcastically said, “Florida should change their state motto to…

FLORIDA, where the elderly take salt baths and young people smoke bath salts.

Again, in general terms I think those who have lived the past 20 years or more can say that they have seen drastic changes in society in good ways & bad ways regarding crime, safety precautions and health awareness. Maybe it’s because we continue to make such great leaps in news media availability. People are more aware but also more afraid of fraudulent lawsuits or being accused of treating anyone unfair. Either way, sometimes I feel like our awareness has risen to the point of judging almost everyone and everything, having to question all offers and taking every extra precautions possible. We find it strange & unusual when someone is simply nice to the point of us having to questioning what their hidden agenda is. Part of us have a hidden fear that those people must be nuts or just strange when they are trying to simple show genuine sincerity. What once was common acts of kindness are now seen as weird and the act of some perverted individual attempting to taking advantage of our innocence. There is even an official term now describing this, “Catfishing” – as in,

“She/he was being catfished by a cruel prankster”
The definition is to specifically & deliberately lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.
We also now seem to find it necessary to give extra thought of how we word things, most live with an extra amount of concern of being politically correct to the point of expressing an extreme amount of censorship rather than a healthy balance of respectfulness when using our freedom of speech.

There is a line from a song called “Like it, Love it, Need it” that I think gives a good description of the decades we are living in. That line is,

“We’re anti everybody. Call it paranoia. (It goes on to say) I ain’t no judge or jury but I’m prayin’ for ya.” -DcTalk

As I grow older, and some how more wise & mature, I have to say that times were not necessarily better when I was growing up just different. Too often older people disrespect the youth of today simply out of misunderstanding and perhaps because they feel disrespected. Isn’t that what causes turmoil in families, a generation against generations?

Maybe we can uphold things we treasure from our past without insisting & fighting the natural change & on going evolution of mankind. I’d like to not argue over the standard term of evolution (man evolving from an monkey) but recognizing progress & progression, accepting that things change without compromising our own values and standards. As I raise children of my own I pray to The One and only God, with a capital “G”. The One whom I strive to have a personal relationship with. I daily trust that His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. The world in general may not give Him credit but I do & not only because I was raised to.

Something needs to be said here about what I see and experience while visiting my parents now in the year 2019. In certain ways it is like jumping back in time, back when there seemed to be more family values and some how value found in family. I notice bookshelves filled with books, not a tablet or iPod filled with e-books, On top and within the bookshelves are figurines of past Salvation Army leaders sitting next to Santa Clause (St. Nicholas) kneeling at the feeding troth the baby Jesus was placed in. The makeshift cradle is empty, just as empty as the cross. My folks share the same beliefs as I, Jesus grew up, no longer in the cradle. Jesus died on the cross but HE is not still there. We take joy in our faith that He rose and that He’s coming again. Mom was raised Catholic but as the dogmatic lines between Catholicism & Protestants blur and blend so also religion takes a back seat; but in my families case, only to develop a relationship with & through Jesus, The Christ. It’s His standards we try to live by, regardless of what’s going on in this world around us. My life is one that went from just a ritualistic religious attendance of church to getting personal with God one on one. The platform & foundations set for me by my parents has definitely helped.

Now, for the funny story about cars with no seat belts. When I was 2 or 3 I use to stand on the seat right next to my dad as he drove. He’d put his arm around me for security and we’d even pass back and forth a glass bottle of Coke-a-Cola from time to time (share a Coke & a smile). On one such night a police officer who had been following us for a while pulled my dad over & approached the car, shinning his bright flash light inside the car window. My dad slowly rolled down the window (by hand). My dad recalls seeing my big brown eyes being the size of saucers and the white light made my blonde hair shimmer. The police officer broke into boisterous out loud laugh. He explained to my dad that it appeared to him from behind that the adult driver and his date were sharing a bottle of beer. He really thought I was a full grown female. I can imagine his surprise when he saw it was just a father and son sharing a coke.

While in Jacksonville, Fl, just starting school, my dad and I joined “The Indian Guides“. In 2015 apparently they had to change the theme of the group or be dropped from support by the YMCA. All I know is my first hand experience back in the 1970’s. We learned about real Native American Tribes, some of which no longer exists and it was a great way to get fathers and their children to bond with each other and others. We went to a camp out overnight and met regularly to play games and learn a few life skills. I think I gained more social skills through the program than anything else.

As was the tradition for everyone in the ‘tribe’ my dad and I had to come up with good Indian nicknames for us personally. After much thought we came up with our own descriptive Indian names. Are you ready for this?

My dad was Big Frog and I was Little Tadpole.

It fit us perfect. We were like two peas in a pod. Our Halloween costumes were often times something we both wore as a matching theme. I don’t mean that we just look alike, dressing the same in matching outfits, what I mean is one time he was the Jolly Green Giant and I was the little guy called Sprout that were very popular in the commercials advertising canned vegetables back in those days. Another time I got on his shoulders and wore a big long shirt so that it appeared like we were one giant person. I really liked that one because I got to smoke a fake cigar and wear a Derby hat.

Although I was very young I recall our days as a family unit living in Jacksonville, Florida. While on the subject of the costume parties my sister Pauline dressed as an upside down clown, the problem was she had to walk around with shoes on her hands & stretch her arms up in the air above her head for it to work right.

Because my dad ran the USO clubs in Jax & St. Augustine we got to go to dances & all kinds of parties, see live bands and experience all kinds of performers. I recall clearly parades we not only watch but we were participants in. Like I said earlier, my mom worked at home mostly. That in & of itself was a full time job with me not old enough to be in school yet. As I look back I’ve learned from my family that,

As important as a career & being successful at a job is it was social clubs & church activities that helped us make sure we had time to bond with each other and others.

Social clubs still exists in this day and age but with the internet I think they are more virtual than reality; however, people are still drawn to have some type of community, gatherings, meet-ups and fellowship in real life with others they have things in common with.

As a family we always had a very tight relationship but we didn’t keep to ourselves. My dad, being very outspoken and an extrovert made friends with everyone who crossed his path. To this day he still keeps in touch with people he met long before I was even born. I am a lot like him. I spent a lot of time with him. I was close to my mother as well and I spend a lot of time with her during the day but as I said before during those days and time boys who had fathers in the household spent more time with their father and girls spent time with the mother. Divorce was very rare and mixed families or whatever the politically correct term would be for families that didn’t fall under the ‘traditional structure’ (mom, dad & 3.5 children) were just something that we would see on TV modeled by “The Brady Bunch”.

As the 70s ended we started to see more acceptance toward families that were mixed in some way or another. The popular TV sitcom “Different Strokes” was about a single white man who adopted two African American boys. It’s very strange to me now to think how unusual it was back then to see an African-American dating a Caucasian, let alone families with different ethnic backgrounds. Although I didn’t personally see racial issues, in some cases people were very discriminatory in those years. There were riots & even a few businesses in certain U.S. cities that were discriminate toward individuals’ race. I didn’t understand why and I still can’t comprehend any human being regardless of their race, religious beliefs, gender or otherwise being treated unfair, shunned or even physically beaten. I never understood why anybody would be considered a minority. It’s ironic to me to this day how the definition of the word ‘minority’ has changed. It used to just mean that there ‘are not as many’ and that they’re not part of the majority, however, nowadays I think the definition or connotation to being a minority means that you’re treated unfair, regardless of the census count of how many members of any particular race there is.

Living in Florida, where I did seem to come in contact with more white people than anyone one else from another race, my oldest sister’s high school was just starting to integrate by busing other ethnic cultures into the school so all races would be able to intermingle. We were out of the 60’s now and it was time to no longer have things labeled “whites only” and take down the signs claiming “no coloreds allowed”. Being born in 1968 I would never see that ridiculous & moronic behavior in humanity.

As a family soon we would be moving to Cleveland Ohio and my dad’s main work would be in a downtown area called “Hough” that less than a decade before our arrival had serious race riots take place. Billy Graham went through the neighborhood and with the help of The Salvation Army they built an amazing Community Center (more on that in the next chapter).

Many books, journals & documentation have already been written about the historical down falls, both the devolution & improvement of mankind. For me, here & now, I want to remain on the specific subject of my parents, the examples they set, as well as my engagement with them and their discipline in my life.

My parents sheltered me from many things but they sheltered themselves also. Perhaps much can be said about some dangers of being sheltered but I know now that there are great advantages to building a hedge of protection around one’s self & around your family.

Not that we should block out the needs of others & the world around us but that we can benefit from being on guard, setting up privacy fences, firewalls & focusing on a healthy environment while minding our own business.

If we all would focus on living better rather than pointing out how others are living I think there would be a little more peace in our neighborhoods, schools, churches and even in the world.

We can remove things that are toxic to us & toxic to our families’ well being so that our survival rate has a better chance. Although we may not agree how others live I think it is more important for us to focus on how we live, trust God to make things right & accept the fact that every family is going to be as different as each person in those families. Each person has to choose how they will live their lives. Because we are all different that means there will be sibling rivalry & discord but what I saw growing up was a mom & dad who gave, contributed, to each other, focused on themselves while still caring for us, each other and showing care to those outside our family unit too. They loved themselves enough to recognize that we are all connected & if you care for those around you then your life is better too. They expressed unconditional love to everyone, without adopting the swinger’s lifestyle or the experimental drug faze that was huge in the 60’s & 70’s. I don’t recall my mom or dad bashing other’s lifestyles & habits while at the same time making a conscious decision to live how they wanted to, drug free, alcohol free and monogamous. The TV Sitcom, “All In The Family”, displayed a character named Archey Bunker who was the perfect example of a Bigot. My father would, from time to time, express his intolerance for certain lifestyle choices but when interacting with the community he was always very kind. It was as if at home he felt safe to carry on (rant & rave) about things & certain people that bothered him, rubbed him the wrong way. He just didn’t understand. I think misunderstanding or perhaps not understand at all those who are different is where the real problem with acceptance starts.

Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand -Neil Peart

With this in mind, outside the four walls of our home when engaging with people displaying or participating in lifestyles or behavior he decided were unacceptable he accepted them. He hated lying but he didn’t hate the lair. It wasn’t really a matter of, as some say, “Hate the sin love the sinner.” It was more along the lines of, people are people, we are all participants in things that are perhaps not healthy for us or society, let alone that fit into a relationship with a Holy God, but Christ Himself showed acceptance to all. We read documentation (the Bible) of Jesus, The Christ, not going around singling out every day people’s sin, rather, he is seen often condemning the misconduct of religious leaders who condemned others yet were sinful in other ways. Christ knew they should know better and one sin is not worse than another. It was just as wrong to hate & not accept people in love as it was to blatantly go against any one of The 10 commandments. Even on the cross, dying, Jesus asked The Heavenly Father to forgive those doing this because they didn’t know what they were doing. Without getting too far off the subject I must say that I witnessed my mom & dad following the example Christ set as much as humanly possible, regardless of society & the religious communities stance on what is considered righteous or unrighteous.

As a personal note, in my family, in our household, it was obvious that my dad, in-particularly, couldn’t comprehend how people would commit to same sex relationships but he was able to over look his personal convictions enough to let people be who they chose to be. As I grew up I witnessed people who were very close to us who lived lives as far away as possible from the example that Christ set. For my mom & my dad, although they witnessed people using drugs, even an employee or two who participated in those activities, they did not dismiss, reject, show their disapproval or even fire them if they were still able to do their job well. He see people as people, more than the color of their skin, their lifestyles, their gender or sexual choices. Working for The Salvation Army & attending the Bible based Christian services they offer only enhanced & encouraged this kind of unconditional love. My parents had not only seen people improve their relationship with God & experience God’s grace, love & mercy 1st hand they were an instrumental part in it. I do know that my dad, more than my mom, struggles with cultural differences and certain issues that come to the forefront of society but he alway did his best not to get hung up on those debates knowing that he knew how he needed to live and that God was more than big enough to take on whatever struggles this world and mankind had to offer. Perhaps my mom struggled with issues a bit too but she was no where as near to expressing it as was my dad. It was only within the past few years that my mom has shared with me how different her childhood in Alabama was in contrast with her opinions & faith today. God used my mother many times to calm my dad down when some social issue on morality would raise its ugly head. She took God’s word to heart and would lovingly help my dad remember what Jesus said & did. She still holds true to the teaching of Christ, that we have a plank in our own eye while pointing out a splinter in someone else’s eye. None of us are worthy & without sin enough to throw the first stone at anyone else. Because of their example I came to an understanding 1st hand that selfishness didn’t benefit anyone else & intern led to self-destruction.

In our family we discovered a good, trustworthy moral compass in God’s Word & the teaching of the God man Jesus Christ. My patents both took on the responsibility to show us that compass not just in word but in their deeds, in action, living it out, with no shame, no compromise no reservations.

I still apply the “golden rule”, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ I also raise my children with that mentality rather than encourage revenge.

My father, being a military man & loving that lifestyle & discipline, had a hard time accepting when things were not a certain way but my mom would balance that out and graciously comfort & persuade my dad, if nothing else, to at least “agree to disagree” with us. That gave our family the peace needed to be a functional a family. Dysfunctional Families are common because of the many personalities & lifestyle choices. Blending them is difficult.

Rather than calling our family, or even the U.S.A., a melting pot a tossed salad is a better analogy because with a melting pot all ingredients become one but with a salad each ingredients stands on its owe while still being part of the salad.

It is “together but separate” a real oxymoron of sorts. Each item in a salad is still that item while at the same time still part of the salad as a whole. The carrot is still a carrot. The cucumber is still a cucumber. Each part is still unique and yet part of the whole salad.

We learned to live together, settle arguments, give and take but stay tied by our family binds. As a result we are now an unbreakable bond.

When I look back at my Mom from the stand point of when I was learning to literally walk I mostly recall being on the floor around her feet playing with my hot wheels and plastic, green army men. Being a stay at home mom she wss always there. That was very common in the 70’s along with attending church regularly. We didn’t run around to much, just an occasional trip to the mall but everything revolved around the home and church.

I found out later in life that in the late 70’s my parents had arguments (strong heated discussions) about my mom getting a job outside the home. Most families in the 1970’s were not divorced or separated. It wasn’t unusual to live on a single income provided by the dad’s job and the mom staying home as an actual job of taking care of all the work on the ‘home-front’. Unlike growing up in the 1920’s (when it finally became legal for women to vote) things didn’t seem unfair from my stand point it just made sense for one parent to work outside the home & the other to work inside the home, a balance of chores, tasks and responsibilities.

Also later on in life, when I had my own children, I realized the cost to pay for child care was pretty much what I got paid, if not a big chunk of it, so I stayed at home to care for my children & the house. That was the best job I ever had. All of my children had me taking care of them full time before they started school. Although I’m divorced now I was a stay at home dad while each child was at that preschool age right up until my youngest (Abigail). Unfortunately I was going through a divorce when she (‘Abbey’) was just 2 or 3 but I was there right up until then. My other 4 children had me in the house & taking them to preschool then to elementary school.

The only thing that became an issue for me because my mom was at home all the time was that when I did have to step outside for school, church or summer camp I was scared to death & overcome with anxiety. I was obviously oblivious to any tension or financial strain in our household income & the paying of bills but recognized a serious disorder in my mind when forced to step out of the comfort of our home. It was only then that I was really away from the big strong arms of my dad & the tight hugs of my mom. As I write this the reality of that hedge freaks me out. I truly was a home boy, a mama’s boy and always had my hand held. I guess that is because I am the youngest.

I’ll talk about my sisters in the next chapter but I do feel the need to just mention here how often my mom was the referee between us siblings. Pauline was in the age bracket of 8-13 or 14 (elementary & middle school, soon going to start high school) and Collene was 13-18 or 19 (high school & graduation) I was only at the age of 2 years old to about 7 or 8 while we lived in Jacksonville Florida. Pauline & I shared a room but fought like cats & dogs & I’d run to Collene for protection. I was so mean & mischievous at times & because I was the youngest I think my mom would chalk that up as, “He is still learning & he is just the baby of the family.” To this day I’m sure that makes my sisters gag.

Personal note to my sister:

Pauline & Collene, if you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve heard me admit to all this before & you’ve heard my apology but I’m also sure it still makes you gag when you think about how differently we were all treated. I hope that gag can turn into a giggle as we look back at our conduct and misconduct as children.

Not only was I the baby but I was babied a lot too. I do recall getting spanked by my mom but worse than that was the phrase,

“Wait ’til your father gets home!!!”

That has been the long lasting materisl for comedians through the ages because we could identify with it.

Although not abusive his spanking my bottom was a lot harder. Honestly for me, what was worse than the physical spanking was the anticipation that led up to it and ultimately the reality that I had disappointed my parents.

I think sometimes our mother didn’t tell our dad many things in order to keep the peace.

Again,

she was the glue & nails that held our family together peacefully while my dad was more like the walls & floor around us that could only stay intact because of that glue & those nails.

Oh, those nails! My mom had a special technique to her disciplining me while in public. If I acted up she’d casually hold my forearm calmly and unknown to anyone else slowly dig her fingernails into me. The worse I was the deeper they went. It worked. I use to joke about how my mom would spank me at home with what ever object was at hand, her slipper, a kitchen spoon, the vacuum!

As I write about my life & the family I am part of I recognize that what fashioned us together as a home was the combination of the two, not just a mom & a dad but this mom & this dad. In my dad’s 1970’s frame of mind things would only work if he worked a job outside the household & my mom worked inside the home.

It was in 1975 (mid. 1970’s) when my dad got a better job offer & we were planning to move to Ohio (a li’l town called Strongsville). It was there some real mile stones were made. My oldest sister Collene graduated H.S. in Jacksonville and eloped. My sister Pauline was in middle school, about to start high school (grades 9-11) and I was promised a new dog & drum lessons after we moved.

As I mentioned above, being so young I wasn’t fully aware of all the progressions toward adulthood & the responsibility on my family member’s shouldered. My mom’s desire to work a job outside the house was increasing as we (her children) were all attending school and not at home all day. My Grandma (we called, “Gram”) still lived in Philadelphia, then with one of her sisters (Eve) & her nephew (Bill) since her husband (Pop Pop) died. Her adjustments to being a new widow weighed on my dad & it was decided that my mom could go to work and “gram” could live in our home & take care of things there.

So, we left Jacksonville Florida with it’s nice weather, the big backyard, great fishing, our own chickens & USO involvement & we settled into the extreme cold winter conditions of Ohio. It was a new everything for everybody, dad running a huge community center in Cleveland, mom getting a job as a secretary with The Salvation Army divisional head quarters in North East Ohio, a job she was well equipped for having been trained at a tech school. It was a time of new schools for Pauline & I and new to living without our oldest sister Collene in our house for the first time.

Over all when I look back at my parents I see the man my father stood for and the woman behind the man. They supported each other and their children. Life was always more than just a job outside the home. During these years of my infancy & elementary development my Dad was working on getting his Masters Degree in Sociology. I had no idea then of the amount of work that it took, how many bills had to be met but I know now they did it together. They have always had a strong focus on themselves but saw the family unit as part of who they were. If they had not worked as one, although two very different people, I am sure that our family and I personally would have turned out a lot different.

I love the quote,

” Behind every good man is a good woman”

the reality is

“Behind every good man is a woman rolling her eyes.”

Mom made dad & dad made mom & my parents made us, their children. Not just physically giving birth to us but developmentally giving us the tools & a very solid foundation on which to build and stand. Not just literally metaphysically but metaphorically too. My sisters agree that our parent’s determination, dedication & patience made us who we are to this day. We were given that good moral compass & although the world around us fought for which way was up, the real magnetic north would always eventually point the right way. Their faith in us, each other & God almighty was the real key to success, not a better job, being at home, participating in extra activities outside the home, attending church rigorously & religiously. That was all part of life but following Christ, The God-Man, was the foundation & keys to living we each came to know personally.

Over all when I look back I recall fun, good times, with minor shouts of anger followed by joy because we worked it all out. From gags to giggles, what a family.

In our house & lives things were always loud and those responses showed we were alive. Much like unpleasant feed back from a P.A. audio system from time to time, it was proof that this thing is on and working. Fights showed we had spirit, vigor, pep & life. Although I was the youngest and completely oblivious to grown up obstacles I know now it was because of those oppositions new opportunities were provided and life took certain turns in its direction accordingly but one thing, one element, one constant that held consistently, remaining firm without fail, was the foundation that was under our family as a whole.

Life isn’t just about the good weather. There is rain & storms and snow. Mother nature follows the guide of the Father of all creation in order to produce a harvest.

The acclimate weather is just as important as the bright sun shinny days. Storms don’t last forever and may cause what we refer to as a disaster but what God provides is part of a much larger plan. Nature is all about balance. The rain & hurricane wash away debris so things can rebuild. Fires we see as destructive provide the earth with much needed carbon to grow new plants & trees. When autumn comes, followed by winter we see things around us die, only to come back to life in the spring and live all summer long once again.

For everything there is a season. Turn, turn turn (Eccl. 3). Turn the page. The story goes on.

Life goes on we just have to breathe it in among any pollution that may fill the air & ultimately try to have a home that keeps toxic fumes out.

While in this chapter on my parents I’ve reminisced about the first home we lived in when I was first starting my journey in life. I was born in Philadelphia but we moved to Jacksonville Florida about 3 years after my birth. Although I wasn’t exposed to many hard knocks in life I did see a few examples of some people who struggled and we’re very dysfunctional. Simple things like neighbors or people we’d come in contact with through our service in church (part of The Salvation Army).

Li’l things in life were turned into powerful messages & simple things were a grand part in developing me into who I am today. Perhaps I will be getting away from the main subject matter of this chapter (MOM & DAD) but they were my world and an intricate part of everything around me.

Maybe not everything in our life, all the small little experiences, have amazingly huge impact on us but I do think that even the small things matter. The little encounters & events can make a big difference.

Perhaps we remember the catastrophic changes but all the little small things that I can recall are now forming a much larger picture for me and prove to be long lasting impressions that keep my moral compass not only pointing North but grateful for it.

As I move forward I’m like a guy in a rowboat facing backwards. I look back at parts of my life when I was finally old enough to start school. My first two years of school (kindergarten & 1st grade) were there in Jacksonville, Fl.

This past Christmas of 2018 an 8mm projector was pulled out to play home movies that remarkably endured well over 50 years. Here is what we were able to look back on:


1971 Family Christmas:

1971 (me at age 3) summer vacation:

Jacksonville was a great time for me & my family. It was the last location where we were all in the same house hold, before Collene grew up & out on her own, before Pauline started high school, before my mom worked outside our home, before dad started another career. In the next chapter I’ll talk about my sisters, but for now I wanted to stay fixed on our parents and my early elementary years.

Halloween 1971:

My dad’s involvement with the USO took us from Jacksonville, FL to visits of St. Augustine (where I live now) as he was part of the very first USO in that area.
I don’t personally know a life that was formed by harsh, poor living conditions, poverty or abusive family members. Born in 1968, although there was still conflict over seas in Vietnam & people in other countries were in such pain I knew nothing of that. Unlike my parents who were born and being raised during World War II (1939-1945), The Korean War (1950-1953) & were in their prime during the Vietnam War (1955-1975). I am vastly removed from the time period of my parent’s parents, who survived The Great Depression (1929). It us hard to believe but my grandparents were born & being raised during W.W. I (1914-1918). Sometimes we have to stop our personal pity parties and consider our surroundings, take history into account and truly thank God for what we have & for what we don’t have. If it weren’t for times of war, poverty & unrest we may very well take times of peace, provision and prosperity for granted.

Writing this auto biography has been a real eye opener and I’m humbled. As strange as it may sound I almost feel ashamed by the fortune I’ve been given. It truly puts things into perspective. Our wars, battles & struggles in this day & age are not external conflicts and militant strongholds. No, we are met face to face with internal civil and social warfare daily. In America, too often we can be heard say, “I’m starving!”, just 3 hours after we have had a meal. We are often able to donate money to save animals while children around the world (including the U.S.A.) are literally starving. When I take a honest look at my surroundings growing up, and even to this day I see bickering over a parking space and money being shot into outer space while suicide & petty arguments effect the human race. We seem to be pledging allegiance to the almighty dollar rather than being able to stand in unity as a country, trust the government and even acknowledge God as our creator. Prosperity is a wonderful thing but it also breads contentment to the point of responding with contempt. I ask myself if we’ve become so content & comfortable that we find it easy to simply complain about any and every little thing, nit picking our way through life rather than being able to be truly satisfied & fulfilled? Is apathy, empathy & sympathy a stranger to us because we have all we need & almost everything & anything we want? I see the average American as weary and paranoid, not sure who we can trust and questioning our own talents, skills and abilities all the while feeling proud and boasting of our accomplishments. Long gone are the days of all for one & one for all. I feel like no other time in history has there been such prosperity to the point where even lower class society has more than our history’s middle class ever had. Don’t misunderstand, I am not a political person, nor am I one to complain about the state the United States is in. For me the real challenge is to not take anything for granted and to live, love and ultimately acknowledge God for who He is, all He has done, doing & gonna do. When I am faced with hardship ironically it causes me to search for treasures beyond my financial, physical, mental and emotional means. We’ve never lived in a century with more ways or means of capable communication (t.v., the world wide web, cell phones) and yet our families, government and communities are crumbling for lack of communication. I’m not hoping for persecution and destitution but I do feel the need for a genuine wake-up call. I see a need for a revival, a renewal in our lives that we apply daily not just on special occasions. Shouldn’t the “Christmas spirit” that some act on be an attitude carried out throughout the whole year? When we see simple & random acts of kindness we marvel at the rarity of it. Holding the door, offering your seat, walking someone home or across a street, this type of behavior is not only unusual it is even met with opposition and fear that person doing such things has an ulterior motive or that they are acting as if others are not their equal. For many of us I’m not sure we know & fully appreciate what we have until we no longer have it. Losing our electricity during a storm is the perfect example of this. I heard a comedian talking about how, when they lost their electric he went to put soup in the microwave, watch t.v. fumble around the house occasionally flipping the switches just assuming the electricity would be there. He said humorously, “I was not only grateful to have the electricity when it came back on but my soup was done too.”

Having a first hand witness to 3rd world countries on a few mission trips I’ve been on I’ve seen how people in extreme poverty live. What amazes me the most is their sincerity & joy for life itself, not caught up in the philosophy that, “he with the most toys wins”.

Writing this allows me to examine my own life. I’m so thankful to really comprehension & embrace the understanding of how God ultimately provides for all and sometimes He desires to use those who have the means to share with those who have not. Yes, that is my personal belief (God as the almighty ONE) and I’m concerned for generations following me (my own children Abigail, Madilyn, Olivia, Kyri) who’s biography can’t help but show how prosperity has brought with it glorification of everything but God & a few agencies pleading with the general public to help fight hunger. This generation may know more about how to use modern devices than how to simply pray, rely on God & share what they have. All we own ends up owning us and our financial debit dictates what we are able to afford, do and not do. We are given the opportunity to just, “Charge it!” and we are led further into debit as a nation, let alone individually.

Who would have ever imagined that prosperity could lead us into poverty.

Many of us are living our adult lives spending money that we don’t even have because it’s been given to us with huge interest rates tacked on to the pay back, which seems endless. Student debits are a perfect example of that. When I was a child my parents would tell me, “No, we can’t do this or that or go here or there because we don’t have the money and others are even more poor than we are.” There is no doubt that I need to go back to only spending money I actually have rather than buy into the offers for another credit card that will allow me to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of things, stuff I don’t even need then slam me down with a shoulder full of debit. The use of a “debit” card takes money that is actually in my bank account while the use of a “credit” card means I have a debit to pay. My, how things have been turned upside down. Perhaps we don’t realize it until it happens & some how we believe the lies or are persuaded into this lifestyle. Maybe with age comes wisdom but along with the changes of the years comes confusion not to mention the increase in technical differences.

As I look back at my childhood I find myself longing for simpler times. I’ve heard it said, “why don’t we realize that our golden years are worth more than gold while we are in them?” I think I do. I fully realize we are truly blessed to be alive and God is to be thanked, not only for what He gives but even when He takes things away. Life, for me is bigger than where I’ve been and where I am. The fact is that this life is temporal. Regardless of one’s belief, the faith of an afterlife or not, our physical lives & all we are comes to an end. We are mortal. I cherish it while I’m here but I know, by faith, the best is yet to come.

https://youtu.be/-afDSq7jGgI

That song really typified the generation my oldest children grew up in. My generation were steeped in different values.

There was a time when Police, Pastors, Priests, Presidents were all trusted and could be taken at their word.

Their actions usually matched their words and true intentions; however in my generation’s time there has been a great exposure to hidden deeds of the hypocrite. Our wealth and value should be measured by our values & true character rather than our material possessions.

Another thing I gain in writing this, it gives me time to reflect on the times I grew up in but also take a realistic look at the times I am currently living in. Those on welfare many times have more than some who are still working far into the years of when they planned on being retired. The way we have been raised greatly effects the way we decide to live out our adult lives. As I said at the beginning, sometimes we live the opposite way we lived growing up. I hear people saying they want to give their children what they never had & some buying things they always desired when they were a child. I’m not sure that is the best way to live life. I think being rich and successful can better be measured by a person’s core fibers, how rich they are in character & Spiritual faith. True treasure, that no one can take away, can be stripped down to where a person’s heart is. I believe that God, in the flesh of the man Jesus Christ tells us to seek 1st the kingdom of God and all these things, our needs & more will be given to us. (MATT 6:33)

Not that I grew up as financially rich as some of my friends; but our needs were always met, we had even more than our needs and most importantly I was told & shown the worth that comes in the form of a relationship with God.

We were considered a typical middle class family. We were not rich by any means but we were not poor either. In comparison with what my grandparents went through we were wealthy but in my opinion

what made us truly rich was the treasures found in the love we had for each other.

It was that love & family ties that truly supported us and allowed us to carry on. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I now realize my hard lessons or hard knocks come from within. My own mental health issues would be the civil wars and times of great depression I’d have to fight and learn some of the harsh facts of life from. Each and every person alive has their own story and if we open up and take the time I believe we can not only learn from our own life lessons but can teach others lessons on how to live.

I remember having extreme anxiety in just attending public school. I was small for my age and that made me an easy target. Being the youngest I had 2 older sisters that showed me that it was goin’ to be okay and that I would grow up too. Until then, unknown to me and others, I had a learning disability & mental health issues that would be revealed to me & others later.

Before I write more specifically about me today & my children I want to spend a little more time on these early days when I was just a child & my parent & sister were a family unit living under the same roof.

_____________________________________

Kindergarten (Jacksonville)

It is embarrassing now to admit but just attending school & simple tasks like buying my lunch in the public school system was a challenge for me, not because I didn’t have the money but because I had not obtained the independent characteristics or confidence to do so. I was filled with fear of the unknown. I never had to do things like that on my own.

Home schooling was not really heard of. When I started Elementary School it was the source of great anxiety for me, I know now it was because my mom was always home & I knew nothing else but her provisions. Although we were involved in group interactions with church gatherings and, as mentioned above, USO dances & bands I was just the little boy who’s parents & older sisters were always by his side. Occasionally at church I’d be separated from family members to attend short Sunday School classes or at the USO Club left alone to sit next to the drum riser, fascinated by the drummer. Even then my sisters or parents were always close by. Perhaps this is common when we are children, to not do things that took us away from our family, all I know is I had extreme separation anxiety long before we knew there was a name for it.

Not far from Jacksonville The Salvation Army has a summer camp, Camp Keystone. During our time in Jax. I was too young to attend it. Even if I had been old enough I don’t think I would have had the ability to fight the home sickness. Later in life when my family moved back to Florida in 1980 it would be the source of great development for me.

There was another summer Camp in Ohio & I attempted to attend it. As we moved to Ohio so also I’ll be moving on now to the next chapter were I’ll share my experiences as Collene moved out and Gram moved in.

Chapter 2 in in the writing process.

Rock That Anger

God’s advice.

Here is a quick look at how Christ, our Rock, responds.

Be angry but do not sin (Eph. 4:6)
Don’t be angry all the time. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
Rejoice always (1st Thess. 5:16).

You, without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7)

Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin ; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.
EPHESIANS 4:26 AMP
https://bible.com/bible/1588/eph.4.26.AMP

When the ‘righteous religious leaders casted insults here is how Christ responded,

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
John 8:7‭-‬10 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.8.7-10.NLT

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger dwells in the heart of fools.
ECCLESIASTES 7:9 AMP
https://bible.com/bible/1588/ecc.7.9.AMP

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 MSG
https://bible.com/bible/97/1th.5.16-18.MSG

D.W.J.D. (Do What Jesus Did).

Dragon Fly’s Die Too (Backyard Tales)

I found this dragon fly on our screen. I got close to take a pic.

She didn’t move. I assumed that she died there sometime last night, clinging to that screen, still holding on, so beautiful, intricate & oh so delicate.

Life is fragile.

Hold on, treasure it.

This life we know will pass; but be of good cheer because all of us, the “whosoever will“, we are offered more.

Here is a short video of bubbles that remind me how this life is just a vapor. We will disappear from this earth; as believers we have hope that is like an anchor, a sure solid foundation that there is more.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

(These aren’t my words they are from God”s word -reference at end)

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.

First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.

Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

(Taken from:
1 Thessalonians 4:13‭-‬18 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/1th.4.13-18.NLT)

Faith is defined perfectly in the book of Hebrews chapter 11:

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

And it is impossible to please God without faith.

Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.(Hebrews 11 mentions several women & men from history who were faithful)All these people died still believing what God had promised them. (Hanging on to Him)

They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.

They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were

looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.

That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.(also see John 14)

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.

By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword.

Their weakness was turned to strength.

They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.Some were jeered at,

and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.

For God had something better in mind for us,

so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 11:1‭, ‬3‭-‬3‭, ‬6‭,‬13‭-‬16‭, ‬32‭-‬34‭, ‬36‭-‬40 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/heb.11.1-40.NLT

So let the world be blurred in comparison to what God has for us.

Reading on, Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

We do this by keeping (fixing) our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Because of the joy awaiting HIM, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.

Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Think of all the hostility HE endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

(Bad things happen to good people but hold on)

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in HIS holiness.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.So take a new grip…

  • take a new grip
  • take a new grip
  • take a new grip

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

  • Mark out
  • Mark out
  • Mark out

Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

  • Work at
  • Work at
  • Work at

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

  • Look after
  • Look after
  • Look after

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.

  • Watch out
  • Watch out
  • Watch out

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:1‭-‬15 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/heb.12.1-15.NLT

As I wrote this all of a sudden the dragon fly woke up. We was just asleep. He wasn’t truly dead. Here is some video I tried to catch of him:

He then continued to struggle, looking to get out of the ‘screened in area’.

Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. –Our screened in area.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:13 AMPhttps://bible.com/bible/1588/1th.4.13.AMP

Those who die in Christ are just asleep for now, rwsting in peace (R.I.P.) and will also rise some day.

Hold on to this hope.

Go steady wiyh God, he will not break up with you. (Romans 8)

Nothing can separate us from Him, not even death, NOTHING.

In Christ, beetle

🎼🎶🎼🎶EXTRA🎶🎼🎶🎼

ZIGGY MARLEY SONG, “DRAGONFLY”:

Snake In The Bed Snake In My Head (Back Yard Tales)

As I went to lay down on the lounger we keep on our back porch, I saw a snake. 🐍!

Why was there a snake on my day bed? Several reasons, just to name a few:

  • It’s outside
  • Holes in our screens
  • The sun comes in there very nicely for him to sun himself (same reason I like it)

I was still shocked and taken back. So what did I do? What was my reaction? How did I react while I was creeped out?

Well, before he could get away, something I hoped would happen sooner than later, I immediately whipped out my phone, took a bunch of pic.s, then shared it on social media.

That is when it really struck me how great it is to have the technology that enables us to do these kind of things but, on the other hand, if we do it obsessively it can have a negative effect.

Taking pic.s & sharing was not going to let my mind escape even though the snake did.

In this “snake situation” just seeing this 6 foot slithering creature gave me the gitters, the heebee jeebees, the….shi~i~i~ivers, as if it was wrapped around my shoulders and I could not get it off of me. I had to tell myself that he was more afraid of me than I was of him.

Once he did slink his way through a tiny gap between the screen & the structure, away from me, I went on to posting and share pictures of him.

The more I Shared & looked at the pic.s I was sending the more the racing thoughts began to overcome me, as if he was still there!

As if images in my own mind were not bad enough for me I willingly and literally held onto this horror by continually looking over the pictures I held in the palm of my hand (on my cell phone).

My point is that it is easy for me to set my mind on things that trouble me.

Then, as I shared with those in the social media world they chimmed in with their thoughts, their experiences, their expressions and info. on what kind of snake it was, the advice to kill it or let it live.

I recognized what knowledgeable advice I consider helpful or harmful to me and to the snake by considering the source, who was it that told me what to do or not do.

That social media frenzy wasn’t something people would consider “viral”, effecting the masses, but it was a small virus that only brought me more disturbing thought, not comfort.

Even with the trust worthy advice from a friend who owns the same kind of snake as a pet confirmed that I was not in any danger I STILL FELT UNEASY to say the least, heart rate up, adrenaline coursing thru my body. Oh yeah, freakin’ out!

The only way for me to return to a normal, calm state of mind was to stop fixating on it.

The page this snake put me on was a rampage.

Posting it where others could see it only led my mind further into a frantic panic, even long after the snake was long gone I still pictured it right there next to my lounge chair.

The state my mind was traveling to was the ‘state of confusion’.

My body remained in a fight or flight mode as I layed where the snake had once been. All threats were over and it was a thing of the past yet it still tried to rent a space in the forefront part of my mind right now.

As we create or just view and pursue viral trends, videos, memes and more that others create may we learn to

take our minds off what is viral and put our minds back on what is vital.

The Lord tells us to seek 1st The Kingdom of Heaven (Mt.6:33).

I love a good GOD FIXATION 👈 click for a great song on the subject by classic Christian Rock artists, Petra

May you also be able to set your mind on things that really matter. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus who leads the way.

Dwelling on negative things from our past or a pessimistic perspective of our present can keep us from moving into a better future.

Yes, there are snakes on the playground, in our yards, perhaps even on a chair or bed we’d normally go to for rest & relaxation. In spite of all that, in Christ we can rest assure He bruised, crushed, and danced on the head of the serpent and we are safe in His care.

For another allegory where I wrote figuratively about 👉 Keeping The Creeps Out 👈 click there or cut and pasted the following into your search bar: https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/clothe-filter-screen-snake-in-the-playground/

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Continue reading “Snake In The Bed Snake In My Head (Back Yard Tales)”

Journaling -Private or Public

In this day & age that offers every opportunity to share, share, share on social media perhaps we need to give a li’l more consideration as to what we make public and what we keep private.

This article can stand on its own but it is a continuation of thoughts I shared in an article called👉”Snake In The Bed Snake In My Head“👈click here to go there if you want to read the 1st thought. In summary of that I had taken picture of a snake & shared it on social media. Capturing it that way only enhance the creepy thought of having a snake that close to me.

The initial thought of how technology enables us to share words & photographs went a little deeper so I split it into these two parts.

Social media, and the Internet in general, can be a healthy way to grow & enhance a sense of community for us. It can also enable our unhealthy habits & tendencies too.

Posting pictures, opening up an opportunity for others to give their opinions, looking over, “all things snakey” only encouraged my mind to dwell on that creature.

Although it is fun to share thing, sometimes it’s better to just make some personal notes & move on.

One way I do that is by journaling.

One of my hard back journals I use as a Vent journal. It is for my eyes only. It is there that I feel free to bitch & complain about the manure (fertilizer for future growth) in my life. I don’t hold anything back. I don’t choose my words wisely in fear that anyone else will be offended by what I express.

Sometimes we need to keep some things private. The whole world doesn’t need or want to hear how bad things are for us but my “vent journal” allows for that. I write it & leave it there, not carrying it around with me like luggage & letting it effect my behavior, not continuously dwelling on things that try to weigh me down, weeds that try to choke me out or stunt my growth.

I write this in order to consider what I keep private & what I share publicly.

I’m all for the benifits vulnerability offers but some things really are T.M.I (too much information). It’s up to us to try to edit out what is no one else’s business.

Only we can determine what is worth journaling about at all. I ask myself, “What should I be giving thought to and what could be written & worth sharing?”

I use to keep a Daytimer/daily planner to keep & find important info., appointments, meetings, b-days & other dates I didn’t wanna miss.

Now, as of late, I continue to keep journaling as I’ve done since I was 8 yrs old (since 1976); however, journaling for me is a way, a place where I can think things over, perhaps at times over think things, but always come out the other end having crossed another bridge, making progressive steps forward, documenting somethings & processing other things but always, eventually resolving things in my life.

Don’t over think things; think things over.

Perhaps some of those resolutions can be of help to others, maybe some are best left private & just for me. Either way I share here, toss this out into cyberspace, message in a modem , like a message in a bottle for anyone who may come across it, as you have just now.

There is no doubt that God uses people and that we need to be willing to let Him use us but we are just instruments, we are not the source, God is.

The main point is that as I write it helps me personally work through various things, set my mind on the subjects of my life and give me a place to go but somethings are just person, too private to share & not intended for anyone else.

It is deciding what to keep private or share with the general public that can be difficult.

If you’re interested in journaling or currently keep a journal may this be an encouragement to think of your journal as a place, not a thing or an action, but an actual place that you can go to.

As important as it is to go through & work through issues, events & circumstances, we all need a private place we can go to be alone, self-evaluate, process things without anyone else commenting, putting their two cents worth in (which many times is simple just their opinion that they think is invaluable information).

As we Journal we can acknowledge the snakes, expose them but use a journal as a place to put our minds back at ease, manageable and set back on what really matters.

Key verses: Phil. 4:8-10

Snakes in the playground by Bride:

Time to “Write Right Now” -beetle

Note: I tried writing this post using a tablet for the first time, rather than on my cell phone. Unless I install the wordpress app. on the tablet (which I will do) writing in the gerneral wordpress edit is much more difficult. I went back to using my phone to finish this article.

For what it may be worth to you, thanks for reading.

Poem & Art “Dear Traveling Friend”

Poem :

“Dear Traveling Friend”

Traveling along in life
Sometimes we meet up with strife

But there is more my friend oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend

Trust God as the moments pass by
There is always more than meets the eye
There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend

Look toward heaven and you will see
This life is nothing compared to eternity
There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend

We’re on a long distance run
A sprint is fine & fun
But dear traveling friend, There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend

In just 6 days God created all that would be,
The earth, the sky the sea
So travel often, travel far or near
Never forget adventure is nothing to fear
There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend

God’s beauty surround us
Our job is to notice and not fuss
Take it all in
Glorfy & praise Him
He is The One
Who allows us to drive, ride, row or run
There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend…this is not the end

We share this journey we share this path
He leads to mercy not to wrath
There is more my friend Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend
Dear traveling friend

He traveled too, through time and space
To save the whole world, the human race
Yes He traveled too
Through time for you
He gives us freedom & opportunity too
To travel, travel on through

There is more my friend
Oh so much more dear friend dear traveling friend
Dear traveling friend
Dear dear time traveling friend.

Right Now

Song by Van Hallen, “Right Now”, enjoy the music consider the words. Disclaimer – I don’t condone all that Van Hallen does or stand for but this song & its lyrics will stir your mind :

Now, If you can carve out 15 minutes into your 24 hour day give this guided meditation a try. It sure helped me to be in the present: Future Tripping

(https://encounteringpeace.libsyn.com/future-tripping?utm_source=Nonprofit&utm_campaign=2129077e4c-daily_devo_190809&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d4b541e96b-2129077e4c-82392437)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.118.24.NLT

Do not say what great things you will do tomorrow. You do not know what will happen between now and then.
Proverbs 27:1 EASY
https://bible.com/bible/2079/pro.27.1.EASY

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,
Psalm 95:6‭-‬7 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.95.6-7.NIV

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
Hebrews 3:7‭-‬8‭, ‬13‭-‬15 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.3.7-15.NIV

Now, right now, is the time for Salvation.

Want to read more? Go to: Worry Less