Lord’s Day Hymn

A song written by a brother many, many years ago – over three hundred years ago – that the Lord blessed me to learn in 2006.
He brought it to memory and blessed me tremendously late last week, and continues to use its words to bless me as we begin this week before us and I feel and see the Lord Jesus’ Hand at work in my life personally, and in my family.

***

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.

What can these anxious cares avail thee
These never ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help if thou bewail thee
O’er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.

Be patient and await His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whatever thy Father’s pleasure
And His discerning love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost want are known
To Him who chose us for His own.

God knows full well when time of gladness
Shall be the needful thing for thee.
When He has tried thy soul with sadness
And from all guile has found thee free,
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.

Nor think amid the fiery trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred.
Time passes and much change doth bring
And set a bound to everything.

All are alike before the Highest:
’Tis easy for our God, We know,
To raise thee up, though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low.
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to naught.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Perform thy duties faithfully,
And trust His Word: though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee.
God never yet forsook in need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

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And more trouble

I wonder sometimes why The Lord allows such problems.
My mother, sister, and I are now stuck at an O’Reilly’s Automotive with engine trouble on the family van, and Daddy’s trying to find us after taking the work van to try to get tires (not completed yet).
And we’re here now with crippled vehicles, 1/2 hour from home, exhausted, with more work than we can handle pressing on us each day, and chores still waiting at home.

And what’s the reason?

A satanic attack, maybe? A trial from The Lord?

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A Song for Sunday

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There’s a long black train
Coming down the line
Feeding off the souls that are lost and crying
Tails of sin only evil remains
Watch out brother for that long Black Train

Look to the heavens
You can look to the skies
You can find redemption
Staring back into your eyes
There is protection and there’s peace the same burnin your ticket for that Long Black Train

Cause there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

There’s an engineer on that Long Black Train
Makin you wonder if the ride is worth the pain
He’s just a waitin on your heart to say
Let me ride on that long black train

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

Well I can hear the whistle from a mile away
It sounds so good
But I must stay away
That train is a beauty making everybody stare
But its only destination is the middle of nowhere

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

I said cling to the Father and His Holy Name and don’t go ridin on that black train
Yes watch out brother for that long black train
The devils a drivin that long black train.

Josh Turner

Lessons we learn

A here while back, I will confess, I was very frustrated and angered ~ and sad, and mad, and confused, and worried, and exhausted, and anything else you can say that would mean a very-unhappy-discontent-and-hard-to-get-along-with-individual ~ about my life in general.
I wrote a post during this time that – even more than I knew – exposed my feelings perfectly. I didn’t mean to make myself so open, and have since a little regretted and a little appreciated it, and a very great deal learned from it.

I’ve never sought or desired to be one of those blogger’s whose life is a fairy-tale. So many bloggers I’ve seen only put the cheery, good parts of their lives up for inspection, and when you visit their blogs you get the feeling that these people never have anything wrong, never struggle, never worry, never argue.
I certainly don’t support laying all your problems out for the world to see; just to cry on someone’s shoulder so-to-speak. But I think a certain degree of the real-world is necessary.
I guess this is the writer-side of me talking; the one that likes the reality, the darker characters, the troubled stories.
I just want my blog to be real – show the real, sometimes faithless, jealous, struggling person that I am, instead of always the happy, joyful, full-of-praise part that seems to naturally come out whenever I’m around strangers.
I want people to see that, though I trust in the Lord Jesus and always try to seek Him in my life and depend on Him for Breath and Nourishment in each step of it, there are those times when I just sit and cry and wonder, “What for? What am I doing this for? What’s the purpose? Why!” or “Why do they treat me like this? What have I done?” or “What’s wrong with me?” or a dozen other questions we may ask ourselves in times of pain and trials.
I am human.
Not just a fairy-tale-live-in-a-mushroom-blogger.

So…enough of what the Lord taught me about blogging through A post with a rather different tone.

A few weeks after writing that post, I was still struggling with the same thing.
Of course, our situation had changed, jobs had come and gone (and not at all like I had expected/predicted), and life had changed.
But I was still struggling.
See, I was raised from about nine years old to when I was about twenty, with a family who all stayed at home. We did our schoolwork at home, Daddy worked at home because we would buy a run-down house, live there while he and Mama fixed it up, then in a year or at most two, we would sell it and move on. We never lived in the same place above two years. We’d use the money from the house we sold to buy another house of lesser value, have a little money left over, and then fix up the house we had bought.
None of us dreamed of ever working away from home – even when things got tough, we just prayed and trudged on through. Eventually the house we lived in would sell and we’d move to a new one with money enough to live on and keep the lights going – that was enough for us.
My sister and I didn’t worry about moving, never thought of the pain of leaving our friends, or not being able to be where we loved being anymore. We didn’t go to public school, the only friends we had were each other and our animals. Of course, we did occasionally meet girls our age (at one house I remember this; some girls who lived across the street took to coming over every day and riding bike for a while), but they were never like us, many of them were unbelievers, and we never really got along. So…it didn’t hurt our feelings any to leave these places. It was more an adventure – moving to a new house, seeing our new rooms, the new yards…new everything.
But I’m off the subject.
This constant at-home-ness inbred in me a feeling of place; of belonging. I belonged at home. I dreamt of one day marrying, staying at home caring for the house and little ones, and living on a big farm where my husband’s work was in the fields or cattle yards.
I hated the thought of college. As a young girl my happiest wish was to say I made it through life without the world’s so-necessary education. (I still feel this way.)
But we’ve lived here, at our home, for six years now.
We tried to do the same thing we always did, and sell the house after fixing it up, but due to unforeseen problems (including the economic slump) our house never would sell. We tried for two or three years, and it never would sell.
Of course, that led us to a problem. Our source of income was zip. And we still had as many bills – and more – as when we came here. We had to find a way to make a living somehow. We all fought it for a very long time, but eventually we knew, if we were going to keep our home, we’d have to go out and make a living – away from our beloved farm.

If you have been following my blog for very long, you should remember when my Dad passed his General Contractor’s exam and got his NC Contractor’s license, and then went on to get his SC license as well. That was the beginning of the long road we’re now travelling, becoming contractors for the City here near where we live, renovating low-income homes for the government.
Ever since work started I have kicked and balked against it. Not because I didn’t want to work {who does though? 🙂 } but because I didn’t like how much it changed our lives, and how it seemed to bring us back to our old life – the life we had before we knew the Lord.
(Daddy was a licensed General Contractor years ago and ran a business etc. We were born into that world, and it consumed our family in such a way that I hate all the memories of my earlier years.)
I didn’t want this to drag us back into what we were before.
I still fear this, and pray daily for the Lord’s Hand upon us and upon our work.
But, since my frustrated post of last November 27th, the Lord has been teaching me about my own view of our work, my own out-look on it and on life in general.
I used to think that I embraced change. I thought change meant rearranging your bedroom, eating supper in the living room instead of the dinning room, or washing dishes by hand instead of the dishwasher.
My idea of change was ever so wrong.
I do not take life changes easily – at all.
That I’ve found to my great sorrow. I fight against anything that changes my schedule or my routine, I argue against anything that rearranges my life (not my room), and struggle with anything that takes us away from home.
I still think that home is where I belong; cleaning, cooking, sewing, working with the goats, planting gardens (however poorly), writing.
How can I write when I’m painting!!!
This is where the Lord’s lesson through my November post came to me. It came slowly – ever so slowly.

Remember a few Thankful Thursdays ago I thanked the Lord for leading me to read Nehemiah? 
Well, this is what I had reference to. 
In Nehemiah, the author has led the remnant into Jerusalem and, despite adversity, they are rebuilding the wall of the city. They toil night and day, weapons in hand, to rebuild the wall of the city of the Lord.
The part the Lord blessed me with was the work of the priests. The most holy segment of the Lord’s people at the time ‘picked up their hammers’ (so to speak! 🙂 and worked with their hands to build the wall of the Lord. 
He spoke to me as I read this. 
If they worked thus, why shouldn’t I?
I’m sure they didn’t like what they did. They didn’t enjoy building that wall. But it was the Lord’s will for their lives at that given moment in time -just like His Will, so it seems, for our lives just now is to work in renovating these homes for the under-privileged. 
I mightn’t think its where I belong – but its where the Lord Jesus has placed me. 
Reading the story of the priests in Nehemiah strengthened me to His Will so much. I realized that life changes, and though it isn’t always easy at first, sometimes these changes are His will. Sometimes the challenges – the things we think are too dangerous – are His intent for us. When we think its against our nature; its according to His nature. 
I still don’t like construction work – I’m a girl, for heaven’s sake! – but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I’ve begun to see the blessings in this work; like I mentioned before. While the goats were kidding K and I didn’t go to work for a whole week – didn’t loose our jobs because of it. If we’re sick, we don’t have to call in sick; we just don’t go. If something happens and we need to be somewhere else, we just all pick up and go – no worrying about the boss. 
There’s still responsibility. We have a deadline to meet. We have work that must be done in a certain length of time. The money isn’t tops, per se. We bid a round sum; none of us are paid by the hour, Carra and I individually don’t get paid, as paying goes. We all work for a common cause, if there’s anything to spare, we two may get some – and it goes immediately to supporting the goats. There’s no hoarding funds in this family. But there’s also no room and board paid to parents either. 
Without forth-pouring our entire financial situation, are you beginning to get a small picture? 
Though I hope one day to make money through my stories, and Carra and I hope one day to have a working farm to support of family(s) through, we still must make money now. 
And since we can’t do it at home (or rather, by selling our home!) anymore, we must go out and make it, in the same profession we were raised in. 
I’d rather do this than be bound to a 9-5 schedule on someone else’s time, doing work I don’t really like to do – getting yelled at each time I send a text, or check-in on facebook because I’m on the clock. 🙂 
Though I don’t like the work, I like it better than anything else I can see just now, and the Lord has created this way for us. 
Like the priests in Nehemiah, He has called us – or me, rather, since I’ve had such a fight against it – to pick up my hammer and accept the change He’s given me in this new time of my life. 
Childhood is over – days of sitting and just writing and playing piano are gone. In my early twenties its time to pick up and ‘move’ in my mind – to a different pasture; where I have to browse instead of just graze around my feet. 
And actually, since Jesus has shown me this, I am more and more enjoying this new life. 
Actually I found myself looking forward to work beginning again after the goats had finished their kidding. I look forward to the weekends when we’re at home, but then I look forward to Mondays – the Lord has given me a set time for writing now; mainly on workdays! I never imagined my writing time would improve through having to be away from home!

I still have my fears. Particularly about this work dragging us back into what we were before. 
Before we had a business, we worked to build that business, and be successful. 
Now, we only have a business because its necessary if we work in the city to have some sort of name to go under. Our business name is Yeshua’s Builders – Yeshua being Hebrew for Joshua, which is Greek for Jesus. We’re working under our Lord’s name. Not building a business, or trying to be successful  Just trying to pay the bills and buy groceries, and goat feed.  
I pray it stays this way. 
Just as I have seen that this bane is actually a blessing from my Jesus for my life personally, may we all see that this work is for Him, not ourselves. Not for the business, not for expanding, not for being contractors, doing good work, or making a name for ourselves. Its for honoring our Jesus, we’re working under His Name. He’s given it to us to make a living by. And that’s all. 
May Jesus bless everyone this beautiful Sunday!

Well….Huh!!!

Well…I have tried.
I’ve wanted to write a blogpost; I truly have. I love keeping a blog, I love praying for a topic, writing a post, getting up pictures.
I tried to write one this morning at six-forty-five or so, I started another at about three-forty this evening. I’ve dug through my pictures, I have thoughts on a subject, I have an idea for the format.
But it just won’t come.
I can’t concentrate, I’m exhausted – not tired, exhausted – and I guess I have one of those terrible cases of the lazy-writer-syndrome. I’m aching all over from the week’s work at the job and from working the goats’ today, my allergies are acting up with this beautiful spring-like weather we’re having, my head hurts, my lips are chaffed from all the wind and are burning like fire, and we still have evening chores to do.
I should be writing in my barn records.
I should be writing some long-over-due letters I’ve been neglecting (for literally months; so much for loving writing!).
I should be working on my story.
I should be practicing piano or violin.
If I’m not going to do any of this writerly/musician type stuff…
I should be planning our garden.
I should be planting our herbs, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, lettuce, celery (which are already very late for getting in here in SC).
I should be cleaning our bathroom.
I should be unloading the dishwasher.
But I just don’t feel like it.
Anyone else ever feel that way?
I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Its one of those beautiful early spring days. Cool enough, with the breeze, to sometimes feel like you need a sweater, but warm enough, in the sun, to sometimes feel like you need to jump in the pond and go for a dip. The sun is coming and going, but the clouds aren’t bright and puffy – they’re more like rain clouds trying to all group together and create a nice storm. 
And its been a beautiful Saturday. 
  • Morning chores (includes feeding, watering, milking, bottle-feeding, checking on sickies, giving hay (and alfalfa), refilling water, straining and pasteurizing milk)
  • A family came to buy a couple kids; stayed about an hour. 
  • Doc came; TB, Brucellosis, and CAE tests done (filling in papers, catching and holding goats, drawing blood and doing the TB prick test on each one) plus sickies looked at and instructions given on care and meds for each.
  • Doc left; instructed meds given, goats let out, electric fence turned on.
  • Bread made (and since punched down, formed into loaves, baked, and frozen)
  • Cajeta cooked (and nearly burned, I should add 🙂 
  • Feta put on (and since cut, stirred, and strained)
  • Ten bales of hay taken down to the barn and stacked
  • Kid disbudded
  • Back home, laundry folded and dishes done. 

I love full days – at home, of course! 🙂 Its not so fun in town or at the job.

And I especially love them when there’s time left over to sit down and work on my writing/music and do a little blogging. 
But for some reason, I couldn’t seem to come up with a blog post today!
Though, it seems the Lord has given me one despite my writer’s block. This is as well as any, I guess. 
A little complaining, a little content, a little disconcerted, a little happy. 
I should say a lot happy. 🙂 
So much has been done today – things still linger, needing finished, but the biggies are over with.
Especially all that testing on the herd; that’s been a big weight on my mind! We can’t drink our girls’ milk who haven’t been tested until we get the results back. (TB and Brucellosis can both be contracted by humans through drinking contaminated milk). Our older girls were tested last year, they’re due for another test but it’s been safe enough to drink their milk. We’re pretty sure the younger girls are clean (coming from clean herds), but we have to test. Its mandatory in our books! (And will really be once we’re an up-and-running dairy.) It feels so good to have the whole herd – including our buck – finally done. Now…just to pray for the results. 

I think I’ll skiddy off now and maybe we can get chores done in time for K and I to have a quiet evening watching a movie together and sipping tea. 🙂
Orange-blossom tea….

The Broad Road is Doomed to Fail

One of my favorite hymns….
Broad is the road that leads to death,
And thousands walk together there;
But wisdom shows a narrower path,
With here and there a traveler.
“Deny thyself, and take thy cross,”
Is the Redeemer’s great command;
Nature must count her gold but dross,
If she would gain this heav’nly land.
The fearful soul that tires and faints,
And walks the ways of God no more,
Is but esteemed almost a saint,
And makes his own destruction sure.
Lord, let not all my hopes be vain
Create my heart entirely new;
Which hypocrites could ne’er attain,
Which false apostates never knew.
Isaac Watts 1707-09

Monday Meditations

Every morning after I’m a little awake, and have poured my first cup of coffee (smile)
I read in my Lord’s Word. 
I pray as I read, seeking to hear some Word from Him, to glean some 
knowledge and be fed in my spirit for the day ahead. 
Yet, even with my prayer and reading in the mornings, lately I have felt farther from Him than before.
This feeling has been going on for several months. 
I know the cause lies a great deal in my own slackness – my preoccupation with life, my writing,
our work and farm. So often I find myself starving my spirit, pushing my reading
and study to the back shelf – thinking of it as something that takes up time, instead of as something
that makes the rest of my time in a day meaningful and profitable
I know many of you can probably associate with me in these feelings and shortcomings.
This morning I was finishing the last chapter of Luke (my favorite Gospel). 
Up until today, there were no pen marks in the last chapter of Luke in my Bible – though the rest of the 
Book is littered with scribbles and underlining. 
But I was praying this morning and in the story of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the 
road after his resurrections, the Lord opened my eyes to a simple thought that could mean a lot if my 
heart is open and I am not too preoccupied with myself to hear Him. 
Oh that I may be open to His Words!
It is always interesting to me how the disciples did not recognize Jesus. 
They went on talking to Him in verses 15-31 and did not know who He was – even through His 
expounding the Scriptures. It wasn’t until He broke bread to eat it that they saw Who He was.
Then He vanished from their sight. 
But isn’t this sort of like we are?
The Lord Jesus hears our prayers. 
I know I have been praying a lot lately – seeking Him, desiring His Blessings, His nourishing. 
Just like those disciples who were wanting to see Jesus after His resurrection. 
They talked to Him about how they had hoped this Jesus who had died had been the One to 
save Israel. They shared their discouragement and saddness with Him – even telling Him that this was the
third day and they still had not seen Him; they were giving up hope.
Jesus rebuked them – even roughly. 
“Oh fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”
Can you believe they still did not recognize Him? Even after all those years of His rebuking them for 
their unbelief during His time of ministry. 
But isn’t that how we are? 
So caught up with ourselves, our work, our sufferings, our problems 
that we don’t recognize Him – even when He IS working in our lives, IS teaching us, IS drawing us 
closer to Himself everyday through the things He brings us through.
But Jesus still loves us. 
Just like those unbelieving disciples. 
He went in to their house to stay with them, to eat with them. 
He still dwell within us, still lives in us, still gives us our breath. He doesn’t just give up on us. 
He keeps working.
Sometimes He has to break the bread for us to finally recognize His place in our lives. 
I pray I may listen to His rebuke and His expounding the Scriptures.
Let us be more sensitive to our Lord.
Remember His still, small voice. 
This noise and clutter of life is not important.
We must hear His still, small voice.

A Dream

Sullivan, a few years younger than when he begins to tell his story, may have looked a 
great deal like this. 
His life was not an easy one, from the very beginning – before the start of his tale – his days 
were by no means carefree or peaceful.
He began life poor and in the mid 18th century England this was next to death, particularly 
in the streets and shops of London where Sullivan spent his entire adolescence.
Like many a young man his age, he fought hard just to survive – his loyalties to his family 
were strong, his admiration of his Papa was almost idolatry, and the support and protection he was called upon to provide his mother and sister were seen as his life’s joy, not his life’s duties.
But changes happen in life.
They happen in everyone’s lives. 
And they happened in Sullivan’s life.
But instead of allowing these changes to grow and perfect him, he crumbled under them,
and soon found himself on a path that he had never imagined he would take. 
One of crime, theft, murder…and wealth.
A path which could have led to such a portrayal of him as we have above.
“Blast heaven,” I ground out the words, feeling as if my voice was trapped somewhere down inside of me. 

It was light out – too light out. The African sun was pouring into my room from those wide, clear glass windows; each pane was shined to perfection.
I closed my eyes…Abigail had already been in; those drapes were open – wide open.
My head was pounding.
I remembered.
I remembered. Last night.
Groaning aloud I drew my hands from under the thin coverlet that lay over me.
It wasn’t real.
I rubbed my burning eyes.
It wasn’t real. I thought through it all – it was so clouded, so foggy…the whole, awful scene – everything about it. It wasn’t real.
Thank God.
I tossed my bed clothes aside and almost fell out of bed onto the hard plank floor, “Blast,” I caught myself and caught my breath as well. Shaking my head, I looked down – at my waist coat, breeches, stockings….
“To bed with my clothes on,” I murmured, setting myself gingerly on the edge of my mattress and untying my cravat, “Fool.”
I tossed my coat and waistcoat off onto the floor and massaged my aching neck. That light was killing me.
“Willard!” I near choked when I saw him; the older man was seated in the Windsor next my dresser, his arms crossed against his chest, observing me, “Willard, man, what are you doing here?”
“Brought you to bed last night,” he grunted.
I brushed through my disheveled hair with my fingers, “I was wondering,” I shook my head, “What a night.”
My man only grunted again.
I drug myself up and shuffled to the table in the center of my apartment, “You just come in?” I looked over the breakfast tray Abigail had left for me.
“No,” Willard shook his head, “Been here all night.”
I looked at him, rather surprised.
He only shrugged, “Figured I’d better on account of that fever.”
I waved that thought off, “I’m well, Willard – no relapse for me,” I shook my head, “I’m quite well. Thank you for thinking of me, though you didn’t have to sit up all night with me.”
“Yes I did.”
I glanced at him, “Alright,” I nodded, “You did.”
He was silent and I turned back to my breakfast with a slight sigh, “Toast, hard boiled egg, English marmalade,” I replaced the silver cover to my plate, “Nothing more sickening than eggs on a wine-pickled stomach,” I shook my head and poured myself a cup of Abigail’s strong tea, “Or coffee,” I looked at Willard, “Coffee? She knows I like tea in the mornings – what’s wrong with that girl!”
“I told her to bring ya coffee,” Willard responded, “Thought it might do ya better – after what a state you were in last night.”
“Mm…,” I rubbed my throbbing forehead, “Last night,” slumping down in a chair by the table I groaned, “Last night.”
Willard was quiet.
“I think someone drugged it,” I shook my head, “Or either that sherry’s just awful stuff!”
“No one drugged it, Sullivan,” the older man left his chair and joined me at the table, “You’re just fool enough to think you can guzzle a bottle of liqueur and it not effect you.”
“I’m not in a mood for jokes, Willard,” I mumbled, “I only drank two glasses.”
“Ha!” he pushed my coffee towards me, “After Missy left with that Michael lad of yours you got Lassie to bring ya the sherry again and finished the whole thing off in less than a quarter hour.”
“Oh Lord,” I sat back in my seat, my head in my hands, “I don’t even remember that – I don’t remember anything…anything past…her leaving,” I massaged my aching temples, my neck, “Good Lord.”
Willard uncovered my breakfast, “Eat, Sullivan,” he almost ordered me, “Be good for ya.”
I shook my head, but picked up my fork anyways, “How’s Bennet?” I spoke through a regretted mouthful of nearly cold toast.
“Haven’t seen ‘m this mornin’,” my man responded, “Forbes gave up on waking him last night; he and I managed to get him to bed – in the parlor,” he rested his elbow on the smooth table edge, supporting his wide, chiseled chin with his fist, “No way dragging that man up those steps.”
I half laughed, “He’s a beast,” I shook my head…a beast….
“Blast it, Willard,” I shoved my breakfast aside, “I had the most wretched dream last night – nightmare.”
“Hm?” my man sat up a little in his seat.
I was quiet a moment, listening to the pounding in my skull, “I hate drinking,” I ground out the words.
Willard grunted, “That’s an improvement.”
“I mean it, Willard,” I slumped against the table, “It makes men think and do stupid, stupid things.”
“M-hm,” the older man filled my cup almost to the brim with that thick, black mud everyone knew as coffee, “Wanna’ talk about it?” he asked.
I shook my head, “Its too awful to think about – much less talk about,” I took the cup he held up for me.
“That bad, hm?” those dull grey eyes were watching me.
I took a tiny sip of the coffee and almost gagged, “Yeah,” I gasped, and set the cup aside with more feeling that was necessary – the black muck sloshed out all over the table; but I couldn’t care less. Willard was silent and sat up, resting my elbows on my knees, my head clutched in my hands, “That bad,” there was a slight pause, “Heaven blast it, Willard,” I could not bide those cruel, blurry scenes rising in my mind, “It was the type of dream where you wish you couldv’e stayed around long enough to see yourself kill yourself!”
Willard grunted, but didn’t say anything.
A thoughtful silence – too thoughtful for me – seemed to grip the room for several moments.
“Well!” the older man clapped his knee – shattering my thoughts and my skull at the same time, “Drink your coffee, boy, I’ll get your clothes – got ta’ get yourself together to talk ta Bennet; don’t want ‘m seein’ ya like this.”
“No,” I shook my head, “No….”
And I had to talk to Bennet.
My thoughts…my drink…it had all carried me far enough – too far.
I had to get away. I had to escape.
We had to get back to sea.

After reading this scene do you have any ideas (even imaginations) of what Sullivan could have dreamt,
or what it is that Willard obviously seems to know which his young friend has no idea of?

And set them up to be his gods


“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Sier [Edomites], and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.”
II Chronicals 25:14
This happens so, so often in the records of the Kings of Israel and Judah. So often, when they were secure on their thrones, at peace with the nations around them, and their people happy and content, with no famine, no drought harrying the land, they would be allured to serve other gods. Allured by the rituals and customs of the nations around them, to give up their faith in their own God – the only living God – and to serve gods they could see, touch, even create. 
“Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?” 
II Choronicals 25:15

Today, we can look at these stories and shake our heads in wonder. 
How could they have been so foolish?
King after king, generation after generation. Could they never learn from each other’s mistakes?
Death was the inevitable end for those kings that strayed; wars, disease, and death – often death by murder at the hands of their own men. 
How much we could help those kings if they were alive today!
How much we could teach them, how much we could show them, how much we could lead them to the Perfect Way!
But what of our ownselves?
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:5

How many things in our personal lives seem to “take over” our relationship with Jesus?
How many times are we “too busy” to study His Word, to pray, to seek Him?
How many times are we “too responsible”? Too responsible to attend to our duties to ourselves, our families, our friends, but neglicet the most important Person in our lives?
How often is He the last priority? 
How often is our place, our position, our need, our desires, put before HIM?
“Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink, or Where withal shall we be clothes? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33

Jesus Himself instructed – nay, commanded us – to take no thought for the barest of necessities in our lives – our food, drink, clothes. 
He commanded us not to concern ourselves with our own physical needs. He wants our energies, our efforts focused on the Father, His Kingdom, His Righteousness. 
And where is the Father’s Kingdom, but within us? Within each believer. 
And Who is the Father’s Righteousness, but the Son Himself – within each believer!
Jesus wants our focus to be on Him, on developing a personal relationship with Him, on nourishing our spirits – not our bodies. On clothing our spirits with His Life – not our physical forms with physical clothes. 
Our needs are in His Hands. 
All these things shall be added unto you.
He wants us to trust Him for them.
But our relationship. Our Life-Blood. Our relationsip with Him is in our hands. We have a choice. We can chose to treasure it, nurture it, feed it – or to kill it, stave it, with our idols
Our idols.
How easy, just like those kings of old, we turn and fall down before our idols. 
Whatever draws us from Him, whatever causes us to neglect our relationship to Him is an idol in our lives. 
Whether these things be needs, necessities – food, drink, clothes; wants – physical things we desire, extra items we want to have; friends we think we need – people we love, our own family, or people we have become friends with, people we feel we need to take time to develop a relationship with; or simply feelings, so subtle, so slight – a need we feel we have for others to respect, appreciate, honor, or love us. 
It does not matter how important these things seem to us. 
It does not matter if they really are important!
If they begin to take a priority in our lives, if they begin to be our focus, a heavy weight on our minds that take us away from Him, and away from our relationship with Him, they need to be re-thought; our own focus re-determined. 
And not just on Sundays. 
Lets not be Sunday Christians and weekday sinners. 
“Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, decieving your ownselves.” 
James 1:22

This is a warning – to me, to us all.
“For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22

“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest My Soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.” 
Jeremiah 6:8


2013 Promotion Efforts for my writing

Well…I think this post’s title sort of tells what this post is about. 🙂
I haven’t been very good about updating here – I feel especially bad about that because I missed the beginning of the New Year!
But I have good news. 🙂
The Lord has richly blessed my writing these first weeks of 2013.

I am praying, praying, praying to have AUL finished by the middle of this year – finished and published.
If all goes well and the Lord blesses, I plan on self-publishing the story through Amazon’s Createspace. I had self-published a smaller version of Part One of AUL last year, through another smaller company, as some of you may already know. But the results were very poor. A friend advised Createspace, as it has clear advantages being a part of Amazon.
I’m prayerfully entering this way this year, with all my energies – as the Lord allows – being bent on getting the story done and published.
A big part of this, I know, will be advertising.
So I am trying to do what I can in that way before the story is actually published.
Could I ask you all for help in this way?
Those of you who are interested, could you share with your friends about these efforts, the story, and its impending publication this year?
I have written out a short pre-publication preview on Createspace this morning.
If as many of you who are interested could take a moment to read it and rate the excerpts I would be so thankful – this will help me so much in the writing, publishing, and advertising in these last stages.

Now…on a less business-like plane. 🙂
2013 has brought other changes to my story, besides the likelihood of completion. 
My mother – who so often listens, very patiently, to my babbling on about my stories 🙂 – suggested some time ago that An Unlikely Love was not a title that really fit the story. 
I’ve thought so as well, but didn’t give much time to it until this morning, when “Slave to Freedom” somehow came to my mind as a very good title. I pray the Lord gave it to me, but thought I would see what everyone thinks of it. 
As you all probably know, the story I am writing is – Lordwilling! – going to be the first of at least 4 or 5 books following this same theme, and involving Sullivan, my main character, and his life at sea. 
I didn’t want to lose the “Unlikely” tone of the series – since everything about Sullivan and his life is unlikely. 🙂
So… for the series title I have prayed about “Unlikely Lives”, as each book in the series will deal with a different character’s life, and the unlikely events built around a piratical career. 
Now…what do you all think about these changes? 
They will be reflected in my pre-publication preview, but aren’t final until the story is published! 🙂
Please remember to visit and rate my preview by following this link! (If it does not work, copy and paste it to your browser’s URL search bar.)