Welcome to My Autobiography

 

 

Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

 

 

 

Chapter Eighteen

 

The songwriter puts words to his music.

The poet puts music to his words.

 

A Big Frog in a Little Pond

 

††††††††††† As I mentioned earlier, I hadnít given up on the idea of being famous, especially since God was now on my side, helping me. I just had to decide which of the many talents He gave me that I would use to achieve notability.

††††††††††† I could become a Christian actor. After all, I had played Jesus in the Easter drama every year since I was 33. I even played Simeon for my family one Christmas (pictured). I even directed and acted one year. Directing an Easter drama in church is like being a magician without any props. No matter how good you are, youíre greatly handicapped.

††††††††††† And in southern churches itís even more interesting, because all the Hebrew fishermen sound like Jeff Foxworthy.Iím sure thatís where the author of the Cotton Patch Gospel got his idea. If youíve ever been involved with church plays in general, you know how hard it is to find people to play the parts. You always look for plays with as few people as possible. But itís hard to find an Easter drama with few people in it. And as the director, I had to ask God why there had to be twelve disciples. He could have looked into the future and seen the difficulty of getting any church to find twelve or more people who can act, much less, are willing.

††††††††††† One year we had to beg the pastor to play the part of John the Baptist and he didnít have time, in his busy schedule, to learn his lines, so he taped a cue card to his staff. Therefore, he had to wear his glasses to see the card.So, thereís John the Baptist wearing glasses and black dress socks with sandals and a 2x5 index card taped to his staff saying, in a monotone Texas drawl, ďRepent, Ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Ē I would like to put an exclamation point after that, but it wasnít said with that kind of enthusiasm.

††††††††††† On the other hand, maybe I could become a famous Christian songwriter/singer. I had changed the lyrics to all the secular songs I had written, so they were now Christian songs. I even got them copyrighted through the Library of Congress. The little church where we were going let me sing my songs in the services in front of the whole congregation, all 23 people. They applauded me and everything. This was going to be easy. Thank you, Jesus.

†††††††††††

Euphemism or Just a little Church?

 

††††††††††† After Casey was born, our old church split and the pastor, whom I had voted against, left the denomination and took half the congregation with him. We decided to leave the little church, which appeared to be perfectly content being a little church. It seemed the only way they wanted to grow was with more old people who liked things the way they were, which is the way they had always been. People under thirty-five just wanted to stir things up.

 

Stagnant water starts to stink Real Fast

†††††††††††

††††††††††† Anyway, we returned to our old church, after being away for over a year and discovered a lot of bitter Christians. I was having internal conflicts, discovering Christians were just like regular human beings. I guess I just didnít really want to believe it, because that would mean I, too, was not above the everyday failures of the world. That couldnít be. I was now a Christian. I was supposed to be different, at least according to the Bible. We were supposed to be holy. I didnít feel very holy. We were all just acting like a bunch ofÖpeople. (Rom. 12 & I Pet. 1:13-16)

††††††††††† With half the congregation gone, the new/old church needed people to help out in almost every area. Lindi and I started working in childrenís church, since Eric was in there. I lead the music and the kids loved it. I was asked to sing in the big church sometimes. I just knew it was a matter of time until I was asked to put out a CD.

††††††††††† We eventually got a new pastor who was about my age and we became friends. I also became friends with the music minister and he and the pastor got me started writing plays and even musicals. The church, which was beginning to grow again after the split, began performing my plays on special occasions. There were over 200 attendants in the Sunday morning services. ďIĒ had an audience. (It was still about me.)

††††††††††† Since I had very little business in my vacuum cleaner shop and Eric was now in public school and not coming to work with me anymore, I had lots of extra time to write songs and practice my music, but I also began to write my first novel. It was just one more talent for God to use.

††††††††††† Not that I thought, at the time, of becoming a famous author. I started writing because I got tired of the characters, in the books I read, not doing what I wanted them to do. So, I thought, if I write the story, then the characters will do exactly what I wanted them to. In other words, the protagonist, who wanted to become famous, would.

††††††††††† I began to send audio tapes of me singing my songs to already famous Christian artists. Then I waited to see how many of them would want to sing and record my songs and probably even want me to record an album.

††††††††††† And I waited.

††††††††††† I even sent a tape to Dr. James Dobson, because I just knew he would want to interview me.

††††††††††† And I waited.

††††††††††† Steve and Annie Chapman were the only ones who responded. They sent me a really nice rejection letter. I even got Annieís autograph. I should have been happy, but I wasnít.

††††††††††† I discovered something about myself. I donít take rejection well. I later sent out a true story I had written about my stepfatherís grandfather who had been a sheriff in Oklahoma territory. It was a very interesting story but the western magazine rejected it. I got very depressed thinking maybe I wasnít any good, at writing or anything. I had to stop sending things out there for people to dump on. I would just keep doing Godís work and wait for Him to do it for me. After all, He is able to do all things for me who gives him my talents. Isnít that what Philippians 4:13 says?

††††††††††† When I thought I found a publisher who wanted to publish one of my books, it turned out he wanted me to pay for it, and then I would have all these books, which I would have to go out and sell to the bookstores, unsolicited. I felt in my heart, that when itís in Godís plan, not only will the publisher pay to publish and distribute my book, but I will also get an advance. That was my dream and I was sticking to it.

††††††††††† I got discouraged, but I didnít give up. I just changed directions again. I was still painting and was a pretty good artist. I had just been commissioned to paint a wedding portrait and it turned out very good, so I got commissioned to paint the parents, and it got me thinkingÖ

††††††††††† Now, let me stop right here and let you in on a little secret. When I start thinking, things usually happen, just not the things I was thinking would happen, all though, after almost twenty chapters into my life, youíve probably already figured that out. But for those of you who are a little slow, like me, I just thought I would let you know.

††††††††††† I decided to get back into the art show circuit, doing as many art shows as we could afford. Unfortunately, I didnít sell enough to break even, with a few exceptions, but even those werenít much over the break-even line. And overall, I was definitely in the hole.

††††††††††† So, for years, I was writing books, songs, and plays. I was singing and acting. I was doing art shows, even got some one-man shows in a gallery and the Garland Theater Center (twice). But I was still repairing vacuum cleaners for a living.

††††††††††† I thank God for Lindi who stood beside me even when I started thinking. If my schemes got a little too crazy she would stop me and we would have the talk. I would get angry sometimes, but it was because I knew she was right. And since she made more money than I did, I would listen. After all I was spending a lot of our money on my ideas.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† In 1987 I hired a young man to run my vacuum cleaner shop while I went back to work for my aunt and uncle in Plano. After about six months of the business just breaking even (like all my other endeavors) I shut it down. I was right back where I started.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† At the end of July, 1988 Mommy called an ambulance to take Papa to the hospital where he died. I went to see his body where it still lay in the hospital bed. He was just skin and bones. Not even a semblance of the man who used to walk around the house at night in his ghost suit, or shout at the Saturday night wrestlers, or hand out bubble gum to all the children.

††††††††††† I cried some, but just for a while, because I knew Papa was talking again. But now, he was talking to his mother and father and others who had gone before him, but he was also talking to Jesus at the right hand of God.††††

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† A genius is a person who finds that one thing he wants to do,

Then studies and practices until he can do it better

Than anybody else.

Like Big Tex

††††††††††† Many people get angry at others who have attained something they donít have. Iím sure itís because they wish they had it, too, but they donít want to do what it takes to achieve it. That is me. Itís easier to strive for mediocrity.

††††††††††† It takes consistent hours of practice everyday, hard work and/or clever ingenuity to become rich or famous. Very few make it by luck and many do all the hard work and long hours and are still just mediocre. First you find the one thing you want to do, then pretty much give up a normal life of fun and friends. I never could decide what that one thing was that I really wanted to do. Probably, because I knew when I did, then I would have to devote my life to it.

††††††††††† Just being good just isnít good enough if you want the secular world or the Christian world to recognize you. In the realm of the Arts one has to be extremely good or extremely bad to get recognition. The mediocre donít stand a chance.

††††††††††† I believe this principle is the same in the everyday Christian life, too. The ones getting noticed by God are the ones who are extremely good or extremely bad. They may be practicing the True Word of God and leading people to the Lord, or they may be practicing their interpretation of the Word of God and leading people astray. Godís watching both of them. They are not mediocre Christians. (Rev. 3:15-16)

††††††††††† Are you a Christian? Why? Because you believe Jesus is the Son of God? (John 3:16) Thatís good, but is that it? That will get you into heaven, but is that your only goal? Does that make you a Christian? (I John 2:4) You may get into heaven, but then we all have to face Godís judgment. (II Cor. 5:9-10) We canít play with the things of the world and still be the Christian God wants us to be.

††††††††††† I was a mediocre actor, writer, artist, singer, and musician. But worst of all, I was a mediocre Christian. I had been seeking my will in my life, not Godís. I hadnít obeyed God completely in many areas and not at all in some cases where I even lied to myself and God, the two souls in the world who knew it was a lie.

††††††††††† In the mid 90s I believe God was trying to tell me to leave that church again, but this time I didnít want to leave. This church let me sing my songs and put on the plays I had written. God wouldnít tell someone to leave one of His churches, would He? Sure He would. He does it all the time and not always because a church is bad or wrong. Sometimes He just wants you in a different place. Itís not for us to question, but we do. I was rationalizing. I was manipulating God to fit my will instead of letting God manipulate me to His will.

When you donít do what God tells you to do, bad things happen, man!

 

Church in Action-Church Inaction

 

††††††††††† If both sides of an issue are saying the answer is clear, then itís not clear. And if there is no clear answer, then why even discuss it. It seems like meaningless talk. (I Tim. 1:3-7)

††††††††††† Questionable things were starting to happen again in our church, but this time the pastor was my friend and I felt like I could talk to him. He had even told the entire congregation from his pulpit that we should check everything said from any pulpit, including his, with Godís Word. It should line up with the Bible. And if something is from the Old Testament, it should be confirmed by the New Testament, because, ďThatís what we are; a New Covenant Church

††††††††††† When he started preaching that God was going to do a ďnew thingĒ it sounded good and I didnít question it.

††††††††††† Bus loads of the young people in our church had been going to a revival at a church in Florida and I didnít know it at the time, but thatís where the ďnew thingĒ was coming from. I knew something wasnít right when, one Sunday night service as people were going down to the alter for prayer, I saw a teenage girl who was jerking like she had a nerve disorder. I thought she was going to the front for prayer for healing. I found out that God was supposedly doing that to her. He was doing it to people in the Florida church and, now, He was doing this ďnew thingĒ in our church.

††††††††††† Now I was ready to question it. This was new all right. Up to then God had healed people from afflictions. Now He was causing them? I just didnít believe that. I had to talk to the pastor.

††††††††††† From the pulpit he had used the phrase from Isaiah 43:19. This sounded to me like God was talking about the coming of Jesus, so I asked the pastor to show me in the New Testament where God is going to do a ďnew thingĒ after Jesus came to earth to show us how to live and then died for our sins. The pastor talked a lot and it sounded good (He is a very smart man), but he never gave me a chapter and verse in the New Testament, because there are none. The New doesnít back the Old.

††††††††††† I did find a lot of verses that point to the fact that God is not doing a ďnew thing.Ē Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Öthe Father of the heavenly lights, who does not changeÖ(James 1:17b) I the Lord do not change. (Malachi 3:6a) I know Malachi is in the Old Testament, but it is the last book of the Old and the New does back it.

††††††††††† My pastor, my friend, pretty much told me the same thing the former pastor had said, but in a much kinder, much more loving tone. But the end result was the same. Why is it, I was always the one with the problem? It was never the pastor. (Romans 16:17) God had been telling me to get my family out of that church for almost two years and I didnĎt do it. There was a penalty for not obeying earlier, but I was listening now.

††††††††††† It was not only time to find a new church, but perhaps a new denomination. There were churches in that denomination starting to preach that people should dress up in their best attire because in the Old Testament the priest were dressed in their finery to enter the temple. If a person wants to dress up thatís fine, but in the New Testament there is nothing to tell me that people wore anything other than their everyday clothes when they went to church.

††††††††††† As long as Iím rabbit trailing, let me add this. On the other side of the coin (people will use whichever side fits their agenda) Iíve heard people say they donít tithe because itís not backed up by the New Testament. In Matt. 23:23 Jesus told the Pharisees they should tithe, but they should not neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness. In I Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul tells Godís people to set aside a sum of money in keeping with oneís income. Thatís the tithe. Now, if you still want to say, ďthatís vague,Ē then let me tell you something Jesus said to a rich young man that is not vague. Sell everything you have and give to the poor. (Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22) Iíll tithe.

††††††††††† Personally, I think, if youíre looking for a reason not to give to the Lord, then you probably shouldnít give, since youíre, obviously, not a cheerful giver. (2Corinthians 9:7) But, thatís just my opinion.

 

††††††††††† I found a nondenominational Bible church in Plano that had a Friday night service. They had been having three services on Sunday and had recently moved one of them to Friday night.I had heard the pastor on tape and enjoyed his teaching, but the Friday night service was what attracted me to the church, because I worked Monday through Saturday and with church all day on Sunday I felt like I didnít have a day off. I just had to get past the guilt I felt for a while, being home on Sunday morning working in my yard as my Christian neighbors went to church. (Romans 14)

††††††††††† Lindi was reluctant to leave the old church again. She had a lot of friends there and, Iím sure, she figured we would be back after awhile, anyway. We went as a family to the Friday night Bible church, but then she and the kids continued to go to the old church on Sunday mornings.

††††††††††† It was very awkward for about a year until Lindi finally quit the old church, too. There were rumblings amongst the people again and she, too, was getting sick and tired of the same old stuff. I felt my relief was that we had broken free, but it was actually the fact that we had finally obeyed God and He gave us the feeling of freedom, which was a relief.

††††††††††† God blessed us with a perfect, new home at a perfect price, in a perfect neighborhood. Our old house, of seventeen years, sold (just as it was) two days after we put it on the market, at the price we were asking. God had blessed us immeasurably more than all we had asked or imaginedÖ(Ephesians 3:20) But then, isnít that just like God?

††††††††††† Itís easy to accept His blessings, but sometimes itís hard to accept His Truth. Some people call it, ďfacing reality.Ē Whatever you call it, I had to face it.

 

The truth and reality

Will eventually be digested.

But first they have to be swallowed,

And thatís the hardest part.

It only took me fifty years.

 

††††††††††† At the new church, we had a pastor who wasnít interpreting the Word of God. He was opening it and explaining and teaching. Itís a great church and we were growing in the Lord, but I became a little frog in a big pond. There were talented people in that church who were not only on a professional level, but many of them were professionals, actors, musicians, singers, writers, and artists.

††††††††††† I lied to myself and believed I was as good as they were. I joined the drama department figuring the leaders would be clamoring for my scripts as soon as they saw my talent. I did write several scripts, which they never used. I eventually became very indignant and quit the writing team. I eventually humbled myself and asked them if I could join back up. They took me, but the truth was I wasnít humbled. I wanted to give them another chance to see how good I was. They didnít and I quit again.

I Was Angry (you could see it in my eye)

 

††††††††††† Eventually (or I should say finally) I faced the hard truth and humbled myself before God. And admittedly, it may have been half-hearted at first. But God took the opening and began the process of thawing my frozen, hard heart. (Heís still in process.)

††††††††††† I got before God, just He and I, and asked Him to show me what talent, if any, I really had and to help me develop that talent to the best of His ability, not mine.

††††††††††† Shortly after that the head of the drama dept. contacted me and said the pastor wanted an original poem to go along with a message he would be giving on a particular date. So I wrote a poem and they did not reject it. A lady read my poem with a slide show behind her portraying Godís talents.

 

 

The Sun Knows His Creator

 

God, the Creator, stood before nothing

††††††††††† And with a word created vastness,

††††††††††††††††††††††† And with a breath created life.

Through a tiny hole on the edge of eternity,

††††††††††† A speck of dust, this universe.

The sun knows his creator.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Yet, with praise and thanksgiving it is rife.

††††††††††† Thatís the reason for his praises

††††††††††††††††††††††† Every morning when he rises.

The mountain peak rises up to her maker

††††††††††† Who dressed her in fine hazes,

††††††††††††††††††††††† And adorns her with golden edges.

Each of ten billion celestial lights knows

††††††††††† Exactly why itís there,

††††††††††††††††††††††† To give glory to the King of kings.

Every single drop of water that flows

††††††††††† Gently through the air,

††††††††††††††††††††††† Rains out praises to the Lord and sings

Songs of praises over the earth

††††††††††† To give canyon walls their patina,

††††††††††††††††††††††† As rivers thank God for their very being.

Surfaces of seas and lakes reflect their worth

††††††††††† Into the heavenly arena.

††††††††††††††††††††††† All creation lifts up praises, singing.

Adorations resonate across the valley lines,

††††††††††† And along the edges of many kingdoms.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Even the trees applaud who made them.

Infinity surrounds this life, sewn with threads of time

††††††††††† That will rot away with forever still to come,

††††††††††††††††††††††† And forever still to praise His name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flotsin and Jetsin

My life is an ebb and flow

Of flotsin and jetsin.

I let a little sin creep in

And thereís always a little more

Waiting at the door.

Then I get spiritually liable

And read a little more in my Bible,

Then Iím righteously tall

Until I stumble and fall

Then I crawl to the wall

And pull myself up again.

I cry out to the Lord and pray

ďPlease help me through this day.Ē

And He does.

Then night comes with dreams.

And Godís in control it seems.

Until morning comes in

With flotsin and jetsin.

 

 

 

Old Hippies Never Die

(They just get far-out, man)

 

††††††††††† My life is a project. I have to get up every morning and work on it. And every morning Lindi has to remind me that God is in control. ďOh yea, I forgot.Ē And I really did. And I donít forget everyday. I forget every hour of every day. My memory isnít what it used to be, but itís still pretty bad.

††††††††††† Lindi says Iím having a senior moment, but I know the truth. Iím having a marijuana moment. After all these years Iím still paying the price for bad judgment. Marijuana shot my memory full of holes, and it wasnít that good to begin with. I tell a young person (somebody under thirty), ďYou shouldnít smoke dope.Ē To which they answer, ďOh yea. What does an old guy like you know?Ē To which I answer, ďA lot less than I would if I hadnít smoked dope.Ē

†††††††††† But I canít blame everything on pot. Itís my sinful nature that allows me to forget who God is. I want to do what He tells me to do, but I keep finding something else to do. And it usually isnít something bad in itself. It just distracts me from Him and His Word.

††††††††††† Besides failing Him, Iím failing my family and my friends and even strangers that I meet. He sends people into our lives everyday and weíre supposed to let them see Jesus in us. I donít know about you, but people rarely if ever, see Jesus in me.

††††††††††† After thirty years Iím still repairing vacuum cleaners for a living and I come in contact with dozens of strangers everyday and not just in a passing on the street way. I have personal and verbal contact with them. I have every opportunity in the world to not preach or quote the Word, but show them Jesus with a Smile. Be kind and courteous, care. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Philippians 1:27a)

††††††††††† But Iím still failing the tests everyday. I become angry when they pull up in front of the store and park. They are interrupting me. I secretly want to lock them out. When they come in I get angry if they ask a lot of questions, and God forbid, they should want me to show them how to use something. I have to close my eyes before they come in and ask God to help me be the servant that Iím supposed to be, but they say the wrong thing and I feel the blood rising and my face gets hot and words come out of my James 3 mouth. I hear the words coming out and I want to stop them, but I canít. Some of you are saying I shouldnít be in the retail business with that kind of attitude, but this is where God put me and Iíve got to learn to adapt. (Youíve been there thirty years. Adapt already.)

††††††††††† Itís hard to believe, but I am doing better now than I was. Iíve actually gotten better each year, and have found that if I make myself smile at the customer when they come in, they usually smile back and the whole process has a different quality to it. But God double forbid if they should come in while Iím eating lunch.

††††††††††† The purpose driven life by Rick Warren put me on a guilt trip and I worked hard to let the love of Christ show in my life. Itís not about me. But that lasted about two, maybe three weeks after I completed the book. I guess I just need to keep reading it perpetually. I say that, but I wonít do it.

††††††††††† I come in to work in the mornings and turn my radio on the Christian station and listen to The Word being taught and preached and that certainly helps until someone comes in and interrupts that. Anger is always out there waiting to rear its ugly head, even when Iím in the Word, in fact, probably more so when Iím in the Word.

†††††††††††

Itís like Elevator Music for the Soul

 

††††††††††† Listening to Christian music is soothing, especially worship music, but Iíve got to be honest. After a while, it all starts to sound extremely redundant sounding. It is all so pretty, but it is all so boring. The Christian head-banger music all sounds the same to me. I canít stand gospel quartet music, I guess, because it reminds of when I hated church. Choir music is dull (except for, maybe, the Hallelujah Chorus). And donít even get me started on the Christian pop music.

††††††††††† It seems like I find a musician with great music, but less than great lyrics or I find someone with great lyrics and awful music. Wait a minute. Never mind. That was me. I dropped the music and kept the lyrics. I call it my poetry, but anywayÖ

††††††††††† I think the reason Christian music, as a whole, is so mundane is because it is saying the same things in the same ways. With a book as old as the Bible, everything in there, that can be used in a song, has been used, so the challenge is to say the same old thing in a new and unique way.†† And every once in a great while somebody comes along and meets that challenge. And when I hear it, I keep listening. The Newsboys and Jars of Clay are two of those unique sounds. The unique ones are out there and Iíll find them.

††††††††††† So, to all you Christian poets and lyric writers: Get off the beaten path and keep trying to create new and undreamt of ways of expressing the Word of God to the world. For example: Javelins keep trying to pin me to the wall. (I Samuel 18:11) See? Now thatís what I mean. Someone ought to come up with that one. Oh yea. Someone did; me. I think itís a real sin to bore people to death with Godís living Word.

 

Projecting Projects

†††††††††††

††††††††††† I have found it very easy to become a hypocrite and that usually happens when Iím thinking everybody else is one. And thatís when I catch myself gossiping, judging, and maybe even telling a little white lie. Maybe itís time for some repair work.

††††††††††† The problem with projects is, whatever you make is going to wear out and/or break and whatever you fix is going to wear out and/or break again and youíre going to repair it, rebuild it, or throw it away. And this project we call life is no different, especially if you neglect it and never service it.

††††††††††† If I am determined to do what the Bible tells me to, then I must fight daily, the natural tendencies in me to be a smart aleck, to talk about people and make fun of them, or to ignore them all together, not help people in need (which is everybody I meet, including myself), to get angry and lose my temper, and to basically do what I want to do, instead of what God wants me to do. (I Corinthians 9:27)

††††††††††† Most of you, Iím sure, gave up the old life and never looked back or maybe you never had an old life to let go of. Perhaps you were saved when you were five years old and lived the Christian life ever since and never strayed once. Maybe you even went into the ministry.

††††††††††† But I never completely let go of everything. Some things I let go of and brought back like those souvenirs of the sinful nature of man. And I still allow junk to enter in and it will invariably exit through my mouth. Sight, hearing, touch, and smell are all entry points for sin. The cave with the dragon (the one under your nose) is the exit for sin.

††††††††††† Not everything is wrong for everybody, but if God is telling you to stop something, donít try to deny it or justify it. Just stop it! And most important, when you do stop, donít start it back up again. And if Heís telling you to start doing something, donít just sit there. Get up and do it.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Brain-heads canít stand it when you break things down into simple terms that everyone can understand, but thatís the only way I know. For example: Most depression comes from doing what you know you shouldnít be doing or not doing what you know you should be doing. At least, Iíve found that true in my life.

††††††††††† Projects are hard enough, but if you keep breaking them and having to repair them, then when will you have time to start new projects?

†††††††††††

Real Men Donít Ask for Help - They get Lost

 

††††††††††† After all these years, Iím still just a simple guy. If things get too complicated my eyes just glaze over. Take for instance the computer Iím working on right now. I had to get help (someone younger than me) to figure out how to put in continuing page numbers for each chapter. All I could get them to do was start at 1 every time.

††††††††††† But you know what the most important thing about that last paragraph was for me? I asked for help. When I have a project, I tend to always try to do it all by myself. I donít ask for help except as a last resort, when there is absolutely no other choice. And God is not usually the one I call on to help me.

††††††††††† Our lives are His projects. He started them and He lets us work on them, but when you need help, ask for it. ForÖHe who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

††††††††††† Even when Iím not at work, tests still come my way everyday and I still fail them everyday. Not all of them, but one is too many. Just the other night Lindi and I went to a hockey game and we had three seats, but since Eric didnít go we had an extra seat, into which we put our coats and the free t-shirts they gave away at the door. There was a lady behind us who kept insisting we let her friend sit there so they could talk. And I refused to give up the seat I paid for. It was mine, I tell you, mine. And another test gets failed.

 

††††††††††† Most people over fifty have either fulfilled their dreams, are fulfilling their dreams or have lost their dreams. I am still dreaming.

 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Prov.16:9)

 

††††††††††† I used to believe I would, one day, be rich and famous. Then, as I got older, I would have been happy just making a living being famous. Then I got saved and believed God would help me make a good living being a famous Christian. As I approached fifty I concluded that God was saving fame for my retirement fund.

††††††††††† Now, with age and, hopefully, some wisdom, I am truly content with whatever God allows or doesnít allow.

††††††††††† Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ďNever will I leave you; never will I forsake you.Ē (Heb.13:5)

 

Y2K

††††††††††† Lindiís dad died in February of 2000. He had become rather frail during the past year and wasnít supposed to be out walking alone, but he was a stubborn man (unlike me). One day he decided to walk to a friendís house a few doors down without telling his wife. He, apparently, became dizzy and fell hitting his head on the corner of a concrete wall. He was taken to the hospital where he died a few days later. I donít think he ever did gain consciousness. He was eighty-three years old.

††††††††††† In the spring of 2000, Ken, my stepfather, finally succumbed to sixty years of smoking cigarettes, when his heart literally burst trying to pump blood to his extremities. He was seventy-two. Thatís right. He started smoking when he was twelve.

†††††††††† I enjoyed many years of enlightening conversations with him. I do miss him. I sometimes wonder how my life would have gone if mother had married him instead of the giant. But that wasnít in Godís plan.

††††††††††† Mother lost her house and land after he died and had to go back to work after several years of retirement. But despite all that, her walk with the Lord has become very close, and I believe, after over fifty years, she finally truly forgave Dean, my real father (I think).She has the peace of God in her heart and it shows on her face, which is so much softer looking now. The last brick of that old wall between us is only a memory.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† Mommy died August 10, 2001, two days before her ninety-first birthday and a month before another day that will live in infamy, 9-11.

 

††††††††††† I still enjoy my art, my music, and my writing, but my goal, now, is to please God first, and then, myself. If He wants my work to be recognized, thatís His business, not mine. Lindi still has to remind me every morning, and I donít know why I canít get it and keep it, God is in control.

††††††††††† I donít consider myself a Christian writer. I am a Christian who writes. Iíve written several novels (mostly westerns), some short stories, plays and skits, but my main love is poetry. I go to three poetry readings each month. I enjoy reading mine and listening to others. They have to keep it clean at the venues I go to. In a small way it has become a ministry.

 

People Who Need Jesus

If you raise your children

In total isolation from the secular world,

Will they be able to relate to

††††††††††† People who need Jesus?

 

Jesus is like air.

You canít take Him in and hold him there.

You have to share Him with

††††††††††† People who need Jesus.

 

If you act like your superior

Or just that everyone else is inferior

Then you may be one of those ordinary

††††††††††† People who need Jesus?

 

Do you use your bible like a fist?

Shoving it in peopleís faces saying, ďLook at this.Ē

Then I doubt youíre ever gonna reach those

††††††††††† People who need Jesus.

 

Maybe Iím being judgmental, putting on airs.

A perfect Christian is extremely rare

If not impossible to find, because weíre all

††††††††††† People who need Jesus.

 

So please forgive me my presumptuousness,

Because perfection is a stranger to all of us in this mess.

We just ask and God forgives everyone of us

††††††††††† People who need Jesus.

†††††††††††

†††††††††††

††††††††††† What you believe, will never change the truth. The truth doesnít vary. There is not your truth. There is not my truth. There is only the truth and it never changes. Not then-not now-not ever. The truth will always prevail.

 

Postscript to what I Thought was a Postscript

 

††††††††††† Well, I thought I would be dead by the time I got to the end of this chapter, but Iím still alive. So I guess Iíve got at least one more chapter to write and, God willing, maybe more.

 

Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20