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Monthly Archives: January 2012

The River – Page 3

The River – Page 3

Everyone of them have dry parched lips.  They look thirsty.  So thirsty – parched.
Dying of thirst.  No water in sight.  Alone.

Yet, I am both here – with them – and carrying the canteen.

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You may want to click the links to read from the beginning.
(Page 1  –  Page 2 –  Page 3  –  Page 4  –  Page 5  –  Page 6  –  Epilogue)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Hearing.
It is then I realize the sound.  Or the lack of certain expected sounds, rather.

I hear the water rushing.  I hear the gentle breeze as it winds its way through the trees on the banks, around the pillars of people standing in the river, and across the ripples of the river.  I heard the voice of the girl once I had tasted the river.

I haven’t heard myself though.  In conversing with the girl, it was only her voice I heard – not my own.  Nor do I hear any noise from the multitudes in the river with me now.  With this many people, my expectation would be to hear a cough, or cry, or laugh, or sigh.  With the water rushing past each one I would expect one to falter and splash, or shiver at the least.  Yet not a sound from them.

“See them now?”  It’s the voice of the girl.
Yes, I see them.

“Look familiar?”  She asks… although I still haven’t heard myself answer her first question.
No…  I haven’t seen them before.

“That’s not the familiar I was referring to.”
Why can’t I hear myself?

“You will.  You’ll find your voice…  Look familiar yet?”
No, should they?  Are you hearing my thoughts?  Where are you?

“Not your thoughts, no – you’re speaking.  Don’t worry about where I am.  Worry about yourself – – and them.”
Who are they?  Why worry about them?

“They’re just like you, and that’s why you need to worry about them!  They’re thirsty.  So thirsty – parched.  Dying of thirst.  Remember!?”

She almost sounds angry.  An odd and unexpected reaction to my questions.  I am still adjusting to this new world in which I live – I have no real understanding of what is happening in and around me.  It was not my intention to disturb my new friend.

So in response, I say… or think… or think I say to the girl:
But we are standing in a river.  Water is rushing all around our knees.  How can they be dying of thirst?

“Have you forgotten already?  Just as you were blind, deaf, and numb.  They cannot see it, or hear it, or feel it.  They need someone to show them.  They need someone to tell them.  The need some one to touch them.  Will you?”

“Yes.”
The sound was raspy and garbled at first – odd for a single word to garble.
But I heard it.  My voice.
And so I repeated it, until it was clear.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes!  I will.”

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in The River Story

 

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The River – Page 2

The River – Page 2

“Don’t think about it all yet, for now just observe, adjust, and drink,” she commands, and I comply.
I drink until the skin is empty, then I refill it from the river.  Pure and clean.  I’ve never seen water so clean.  I do not leave the river, I stay knee-deep in it.  Fill, drink, empty.  Repeat until my thirst is quenched.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

You may want to click the links to read from the beginning.
(Page 1  –  Page 2 –  Page 3  –  Page 4  –  Page 5  –  Page 6  –  Epilogue)
____________________________________________________________________________________________

Seeing.
Before I realize it, the girl is gone.  Where did she go?  I do not know.  She left the wine skin with me.  I refill it again.  I look around and really see now.  I see the river flowing, so clear.  I see the banks – so far away, this river is wide.  I have never seen a river so wide.  The light is shining, and I do not understand why it has been this bright for ages and I have not seen it.  Colors are brilliant.  Beams of light refracting off the surface, creating prisms and dancing amoebic shapes.  I am captivated by the sight.

Captivated not just by the beauty.  There is another piece of this vision that arrests my eye – but it’s disturbing.  I wonder how I did not see them before?  People, lots of them.  Standing in the river with me are people – their diversity is commendable.  Men and women.  Old and young.  (Curious though – infants and toddlers don’t exist here.)  Thin, some very thin – emaciated, and others grossly obese.  With every variation in between.  There are those dressed in rags.  There are those dressed in suits that appear custom cut for their frames.  Tall and short.  Long haired and bald.  Every race is represented.  Latino, Asian, native American, white, black – every skin tone is in the river.  It is evident the river does not discriminate; yet, as much as each is an individual, there are a few things that bind these people together.

Each is standing, exactly up to their knees, in the river.  Everyone, regardless of their stature, or position in this odd society is in as deep as the next.  But the most haunting thing about these souls is this:  Each is alone.

Picture came from here: my.opera.com/UrbanOctober/blog/i-walk-alone

As if there were danger or disease to be spread by standing closer – every one, without exception, cannot be reached by another.  With outstretched arms they would not come near touching.  If they were to somehow stretch prostrate on the water’s surface – stretching their legs and arms to cover as much length as possible – they would not come within even feet of connecting with a peer.  Hopelessly alone.

Judging by the glazed expressions, they know they are alone.  All with distant stares, looking lost in thought.  Or maybe just lost.  Their eyes are hollow.  Everyone of them share that look, and their lips are the same as well.  Everyone of them have dry parched lips.  They look thirsty.  So thirsty – parched.  Dying of thirst.  No water in sight.  Alone.

Yet, I am both here – with them – and carrying the canteen.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in The River Story

 

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The River – Page 1

The River – Page 1

The River.  The Girl.  The Canteen.
I’ve been here for years.  Standing in the twilight.  Standing in the whispers.  Standing in solitude.  Being, but not seeing, or hearing, or feeling.  Oblivious to the reality around me.  Seeing only dimly.  Hearing only chaos.  Feeling alone.  Feeling alone and thirsty.  So thirsty – parched.  Dying of thirst.  No water in sight.  Alone.

So thirsty – parched.  Dying of thirst.  Until she tapped my shoulder.  A girl, pretty, I think.  She is thin, not too tall – but not short.  Long red hair.  By long I mean long.  I can only see to her knees and it goes beyond there – perhaps it drags the ground.  With green eyes.  Smiling, showcasing less than perfect teeth.  Smiling and reaching out.  Her hands seem cleaner than any hands I remember seeing.  Fingers that look to be fitted for dancing along piano keys.  Instead she’s clutching a canteen. She handed me the canteen.

Picture taken from here: dleiberg.blogspot.com (Note: I have not read the blog, just saw the picture)

The canteen is old and battered.  In the girl’s hands it is a sharp juxtaposition.  In mine it is nearly camouflaged.  Made of leather, it is worn.  It’s been patched, more than once.  Laces hold the seams in place to prevent its contents from seeping out and going to waste.  Not a canteen, but a wine skin.  A wine skin not carrying an escape from reality.  Perhaps the opposite.  I drink.  In it is water.

Pure and clean.  I’ve never seen water so clean.  The water is clear.  Crystal clear may not describe it right, clearer than crystal.  Transparent is just about accurate.  If it were not for the sound and the feel of it, it may be invisible.

But I see it now.  A whole river of water.  I am standing in its flow.  I can hear it now too – its calming, reassuring voice.  I feel it rushing around my knees. The temperature is just right. Generally rushing river water is cold, springing out of a rocky mountain top or cascading from a melting ice flow, but not this river.  Or… Perhaps it is cold and I’ve just been standing in its grasp so long I have become numb to its icy fingers?

“No,” she says.  The girl is pretty, angelic, and standing in a rushing river – yet it seems natural. “The temperature is just right.  Your senses are awakening.  Life is beginning.  Your vision is clearing.  You will see things as they are for the first time in maybe years.  Your ears are opening and you will hear as never before.  But, best of all you will begin to feel.”  I hear her clearly, but didn’t hear myself ask a question.  Did she read my thoughts?  “Don’t think about it all yet, for now just observe, adjust, and drink,” she commands, and I comply.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This is only the beginning of the story…
I will link the rest of the story here as it is written.
(Page 1  –  Page 2 –  Page 3  –  Page 4  –  Page 5  –  Page 6  –  Epilogue)

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in The River Story

 

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2011: My Year According to Facebook

Here is a review of 2011 according to my most popular Facebook posts.
I couldn’t include all of my favorites, but this hits the highlights…

January

Wow! I wrote that - from my heart... It is in HIM that all things consist!

A simple truth - Gratitude is a good way to start a year.

Did a TON of work in January... 100+ Hours per week. Why? - I can be an idiot, that's why.

February

Yes... It's hard to keep your mouth shut at some of the trash you see...

Couldn't have said it better myself...

A message from my wife... Maybe I was at a stop light when this was taken.

March

March will be honor your wife month...

Tangled is released & I fall in love all over again...

Me + the wife + the kids(X3) + my mom = A Vacation to remember

April

Yup.

Think of all the things I didn't say.

May

Thank you Harold Camping for a successful FB discussion topic.

I'm not really violent at all...

Try it and see.

Can I get an Amen!?!

June

Sums it up well.

How can you people like this stuff?

She is Daddy's Princess & Mommy's girl - just ask her.

July

Honesty is the best policy.

I'm lucky he didn't arrest me.

August

The day we packed out the church for our Kid’s Crusade…  One of my favorite days of the year!

My wife bought our dog (No - HER dog) a sweater.

Must. Push. Harder...

September

One of my favorites of the whole year...

Get off Facebook and DRIVE!!

A small sample of our trip to Niagara, New Hampshire, and Ohio... I love vacations!

October

That's what Jerry Springer & Dr. Phil are for, not Facebook!

Told you I love vacations!

I'm SO proud of my boy!

A giant.

November

My Lucky Day!!!

I'm not sure I was clear about how much I love my son...

December

Right or wrong --- Action ALWAYS trumps theory.

This is still my most popular blog post... (click it to read it)

Thanks for reading – I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in My Life

 

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Twilight Zone – Episode 2.1

Meet Joe.
There is no one quite like good ol’ Joe.  He is certainly no ordinary Joe.

Joe is rich – perhaps the richest man in the world.  Definitely the richest man in the country.
But, what sets Joe apart more than his riches is his sheer righteousness.  In Joe we do not find the expected pomp, haughtiness, arrogance, ruthless, dispassionate, disdain for those of less means – in fact we find the opposite.

In Joe we find, instead, a man who is passionate about his family.  A man who loves his children and finds ways to keep them in the forefront of his mind even though business, life, and wealth command much of his time.  In Joe we find a man who is compassionate and turns no one in need away.  We find a man who does not scold or lecture the masses for their laziness and ignorance and thereby hordes his wealth.

In Joe we find also a devout man.  A man of such means you would expect to find a self-reliance and self-sufficiency that would tend to exclude God, the Divine, and the Supernatural.  But not Joe.  Joe has an altar of prayer he visits daily – no matter the pressure and demands of the day.

In Joe, we find all we wish humanity to be.  Let us go then…  Let us walk a mile in Joe’s shoes…

“You’re travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop…”
The Twilight Zone

Another Day In Paradise
Joe awakens, well before the sun begins to share its light and warmth.
“Ahhh…  Good morning love,” Joe’s first words of the day – directed at his beautiful wife.  When Joe looks at her he can hardly believe his luck!  What had this woman seen in him all those years ago?  Before the large house, the land purchases, the booming business?  Joe feels truly blessed to have such a stunning woman lock arms with him in the gatherings they attend.  Even after the children were born, she maintained her figure.  If anything, the children seem to added to her radiance!  And to think, Joe wakes up every day of his life to greet this woman with a kiss.  Joe is blessed.

“Too bad I cannot spend my day right here with her,” he thinks to himself.  “Much to do today – but first, before the sun rises and the business starts, I must visit my altar.  My children are having a party today and someone must be sure to pray to our God for them!  Oh! That my children be saved – that is my joy.  They are great kids, but – you never know,these little parties worry me a bit, and it is a dangerous world in which we live – perhaps they have made poor decisions…  As their father, I must protect them.  And none can protect quite like our God.”

After visiting his place of prayer, Joe heads to his office.  “What a perfect, clear morning,” Joe says to himself.  He allows his mind to start focusing on the herds, “I hear there were to be storms out by the eastern fields this morning – surely my herdsman headed the warnings and drove the sheep in.  No sense in worrying yourself, Joe, It is almost time for the morning reports to begin rolling in.  It’s early, but, when you’re a cattleman, early is all there is – well, early and late!  It seems the herds never rest.”  Joe has these conversations in his head nearly everyday.  Today, like everyday, will be a productive, prosperous day!  Joe is blessed.

The sky is clear, the temperature is perfect, birds are singing.  Light is beginning to peak across the horizon. Stars are beginning to fade.  Twilight has come.

At The Office
At the office everything is in perfect order – just the way Joe keeps it.  All files up to date, the inbox is empty – just the way to start another morning.  Everything is perfect in Joe’s world – until the first report comes in…

“Joe!  Uh, Mr. Joe, sir!  Last night  -” the young man barges into the office, out of breath, dirty, and torn.
“Who are yo- why, you’re Ben, right?  Scott’s boy – what is wrong, is your father okay?”
“Yes – I mean NO!  He is not…  Nothing is right this morning.”
“Calm down, son…  everything will be fine, just calm down and explain what has happened.”
“No sir,”  sobbing now, “last night…  Your cattle, your horses, the entire stable…  gone, all the workers – DAD!  Gone!”
“No?  All gone? How?  Who?”
“A near army of thieves is who – they came in early this morning, the horses were out grazing with the cattle…  When they drove in and hustled them away – before we could stop them!”
“Ben, don’t worry about the livestock – we can replace them; what about our team, our workers, your father – where are they?”
“That’s it, we tried, we fought them off… but there were to many, too well armed – we weren’t prepared for them… All were slain – I would have been to…  Had I not been a coward and ran…  I should be lying there with my father also!”
“Son – don’t talk like that…  If you had not run, if you had not come – I would be sitting here alone – but, now we must act-”

Another haggard man stumbles in, again out of breath.  “Joe!  Boss – I can’t believe it.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“See Ben, here is another that escaped the thieves.”
“Thieves?  No sir, I wish it were that simple – a man-made enemy…”
“Well, what is wrong then boy?  Spit it out.”
“The storm – it was like God’s wrath was raining on us…  And then the lightning – there was no escaping it.  I have no idea how I survived it…”
“Oh, my!  Those are shepherds clothes you’re wearing…  Why, that is you David, isn’t it – I am sorry I didn’t recognize you.  My flocks, what happened?”
“The lightning kept falling – one at a time at first was struck.  Then it seemed we were surrounded by fire – the whole flock was burnt.  The shepherds too – not one was left standing – none but myself.  I am sorry we failed you sir.”
“Foolishness – you did not fail me…  Are the fires out?”
“Yes sir…  The rains fell so hard, it was the oddest thing I have ever seen…”
“And all the shepherds perished – ALL of them?”
“Yes sir…  I, I, I went by each of them to shake them awake… thinking surely they were simply knocked unconscious – but no, not one revived.”
“Okay – we will set to work as soon as possible to gather their remains and give them a proper -”

“Yet – another man is coming?  Ben, David…  let’s go help him in – he is badly hurt.”
As Ben, David, and Joe drag the man in – Joe recognizes him as his chief trade officer, Abraham.  He was supposed to be on the road, instead he was wounded, severely.
“Abraham, tell me – what happened?  Robbers in the way?   What of the armed men that go with you?”
“Joe…  I am so sorry – the entire caravan is lost – the guard was noble against the force…  but – there were three waves of them.  As the first wave hit we were able to drive them back, and when the second came – we did well…  But – the third wave…  They got everything.  We lost everything.  I have barely made it here to let you know…  I am so sorry -”
“Hush, Abraham, stop apologizing; all my men are the best of the best; if anything happened it is because I did not provide the tools you needed; I am sorry – we’ll get you help right away…  Then plan on taking care of the other losses and recover anything possible.”
“Joe, I’ll get Abraham to the infirmary immediately,” David offered, “The Lord knows I need to be seen there myself.”
“Look!  Joe, isn’t that your son’s butler?”
Looking up Joe sees it is true – what business would this man have here…  After the morning Joe is having a dread quickly enters his heart.  Merchandise, cattle, flocks, assets – he can bear the loss; but to lose his hand-picked hired team, and now news from his children’s household…  This can’t be a good sign.  “Hello, what news do you bring from my boy?”
“Oh, master, sir, not out here – in your office, please.  Have a seat…  I cannot bear to bring this news, but there is no one else -”
“Sir, after the morning I am having…  please.  Don’t drag it out – tell me exactly what has happened!”
“Yes sir, I am sorry sir.  Your children…  you knew…  of their gathering -”
“Yes, out with it – are they alright?”
“No, unfortunately sir they are not – none in the house are left alive…”
“NO!”
“I am sorry sir…  as the youngest daughter arrived…  it was the strangest thing ever – I don’t know if it was an earth quake – I’ve never heard of them in these parts – or a tornado – again never here!  But it came – a violent noise, a shaking, everyone was confused – and then the walls caved in…  the ceiling fell, crushed everything, and everyone…  I only made it out because I had just walked outside to see where the noise was coming from —  I am so, so , so sorry sir.”
Tears flowing down the man’s cheeks, Joe replies, “All seems lost…  I must go – please, kind sir, you and Ben call all the others (if there are any) together and begin going through each of the four disaster areas…  recover all the dead and wounded first – we must give their families some peace.  Then begin recovering anything that we possibly can…  I, I must go – I have to visit my altar before going home to my wife… and…  breaking…  this to her –  Please, go – Go now!”

With that they left.  Joe was alone.  Joe never felt this alone.  But he knew, at the altar – strange things can happen there… miraculous things…  and, Joe needs a miracle.

To be continued….
(Loosely taken from Job 1)

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in The Twilight Zone

 

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We Don’t Have Any Rules!

We Don’t Have Any Rules!

The memory is fuzzy because this was several years ago and I wasn’t actually there.

My mom had come to stay at the house while the wife and I escaped to some secluded place for tired moms and dads.  (I wish I could remember where it was, because I do believe we would find our way back again!)  When we returned my mom had a couple experiences to share with us…

The first being that, she thought, maybe we should lighten up on our skinflint ways just a tad as it was affecting our children.  Apparently my mother had left a light on and left the room.  Soon she heard our son, using his most exasperated voice, say:

“Memere – Do you think we own the electric company!?!?”

Yes…  Yes, he said that… to MY mother…
She did go turn the light off.

But the second, is the topic of this post.
My daughter (youngest child at the time) had gone to the refrigerator to get a drink.  I think it was mid-morning – after breakfast but before lunch.
My mother, being a caring memere, asked, “Are you supposed to be getting in there?”
To which my daughter with frustration, hurt feelings, and teary eyes – replied:

“But memere, we don’t HAVE ANY rules here!” 

Personally, I think there had to be other situations the previous night and that morning in which memere’s rules were a bit more restrictive than mom & dad’s rules…  but who knows?

One thing I want to be clear on though – We HAVE rules.
Rules are necessary and good.
We just don’t package them as rules.  We’ve tried to package them as principles.
Kind of how I think God intended it to be done.
It’s more about the “Whys” and the “Hows” than the “Whats” and the “Whens.” – maybe?

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in My Life

 

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Updated: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Aw, yes – craving the Panda!

Here is another installment of –

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles!

January 20, 2012:  It’s been over two weeks – must…  eat…  cookie with paper inside –
Reward yourself with a much deserved gift. (Eat another cookie?)
Your courage will guide your future.
Your hard work is about to pay off.
Listen to friends with an ear to the future. (What’s up with these futuristic fortunes – I want instant gratification.)
You will be happily surprised by a long time friend.

Cwick Cookie Fo' Mo' FZZ...

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Fortune Cookies

 

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