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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Scrambled Eggs

And so, two falls this week and two concussions. Please forgive me, I am not at my best, though Barbie says I am more softly spoken and co-operative. I will try to visit as many of your postings as I am able. Words are with difficulty coming, and so I again ask your pardon.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
not a smart thing to do,
and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
and that good egg was through.
Myself, I had a fall last week,
then concussed a second time
which makes it painful now to seek
the words to build this rhyme,
but pain, I guess, is part of life
and part of ministry,
and though it cuts just like a knife,
the only tragedy
would be to serve that pain's dark ends
and turn away from you, my friends.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is TREASURE. I will need more than five minutes, but here goes.

Cancer's hard and hurts a lot,
and I can't call this pleasure,
but what God gave and what I've got
is a priceless kind of treasure,
the kind that makes you come awake
to see the sun rise every day
because you know tumours can take
you in death, so far away.
I know full value now, at last
of the small joys brought by life
and these will make my heart stand fast
through the dismal aching strife
because I know each blessing laid
on my heart's how Heaven's made.

 Sylvia's still enjoying that ice cream, and listening to The Killers, with 'Human'.

Are we human, or are we Dancer?

Don't know about you, but I know about ME.



 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Little Things Mean A Lot

 The world is kind of closing in. Can't get down to the workshop now; it hurts my leg too much to walk there.

And how can I have a metastasis in my femur, if I have to look up how to spell the word? That just seems WRONG, somehow, yeah?

But I'm short on breath, too. There are a couple of new chest tumours, visible through the ribs... I'm giving them names, now. These are Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo.

But I am doing what I can, some custom woodwork for Barbie. It's not a lot.

But I have to believe it's worthwhile, for the alternative is abject despair.


I think I've learned to be content
in the Dying Biz;
nothing is important,
or every small thing is.
If we're bound for endless void
what does it matter how we go?
But this thought leaves me quite annoyed,
for in my heart and soul I know
that we are placed here for a reason,
then destined for a better place,
and in this, our earthly season
should be a channel of God's grace
in every little thing we do,
for thus are world and we made new.

The Five Minute Friday prompt for this week is 'complete'. Here goes.

Complete does not describe my days
for there's so much I can't do,
but if I look ahead a ways,
I find complete is really true
in that I have done all I could,
and for the rest there is tomorrow,
or perhaps my word-choice should
be that I'll manage if I borrow
a bit of energy and strength
from the God that pulls the strings,
and I know that at this length
my hope is tied to lesser things
like walking and taking next breath
to put in off, again, my death.

And that's five minutes for a sonnet. On a smartphone. SnOoPyDaNnCe!

You might be expecting a link to the old standard, 'Little Things Mean A Lot' here, but I REALLY don't like that song, so here are the Stones, with 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' instead.

Does look like Sylvia got what she wanted, eh?




 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Song For The Morning

Now, Barb is not a morning person. At. All.

So, recently I woke her with this song...and she smiled.

Wakey, wakey, Jesus Time,
Doo dah, Doo dah,
He will tell you, "You are mine!",
that's what He's gonna say.
He'll guard you all the night,
and walk with you all day.
  is your bestest friend
in each and every way.

One of the most miraculous things I have learned from cancer is this:

If you can't be happy with multiple malignancies, you just can't be happy, period.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is NEED, so here goes...

People say I need a healing,
that I don't deserve to die,
but I have a funny feeling
that no one's asking Why,
because it's an important question,
goes right back to Calvary,
and if I give Ol' God suggestion,
He might turn it back to me,
and say, "You want to be reborn?
A simulacrum of My Son?
If you're sincere, you will be torn,
and in this you'll have just begun
to know the price My dear Lamb paid
when on the rough Cross He was laid."

And that sonnet did take five minutes...on a phone.



 


Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Rainbow At The End Of Time

You realize, ere the end, that good and bad in life are merely acts in a play, and that they have no weight, not measured against God's love.

We are truly His children, and the role you play in a game of Cops And Robbers gives Him naught but amusement.
 
In facing down the worst of days,
I know now that the honour’s mine
to greet the good and bad with praise,
the rainbow at the end of time.
Dreadful things? They did betide,
side by side with beauty bare,
and now I find no need to hide
from truth’s clean and bracing air
that sweeps around my hilltop place
to clear emotion’s clouds away
and show, at last, with smiling grace
that we’ve been actors in a play
that ends now as the curtain falls,
leaving only foot-light calls.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is 'care', so...

Oh, dear God, please have a care;
I'm asking this because
I feel as though I'm made of air,
and not the man I was
when you set me to this task
(time passed has been so long!).
All you had to do was ask,
and I thought I was strong.
But cancer's road to Calvary,
is rocky, and uphill,
and, dear Lord, it frightens me
that even with the firmest will
exhaustion now cannot be stayed,
and on my knees, I ask your aid.

OK, six minutes, but on a phone...give me a pass?

Still on the phone and can't directly post a video, but I can give you the YouTube link to the Alan Parsons Project's lovely 'Closer To Heaven'. I hope you'll listen, and enjoy.

And,  as always, a couple of pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.



 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Importance Of The Five Food Groups

In my alcohol-and-testesterone-fueled youth, I was fond of saying that the Five Basic Food Groups were beer, pizza, beer, pizza, and...wait for it...beer.

Fast forward to now, and that's about all I can tolerate (alcohol and pancreatic cancer don't mix, but light beer is the only thing that stops the dry heaves, and lets me eat).

I suppose the moral of all this is that God is listening, and enjoys a good laugh.

But I have not tired of pizza, nor of beer.

I mean, who could?

God has thrown me for a loop,
and has, smiling, made it clear
that for me the five food groups:
beer, pizza, beer, pizza and beer.
Such a joke which I had told
when I was strong and I was young,
proud within the rugger-fold
where defiant songs are doing.
I guess the Lord had listened in,
and rubbed His hands in holy glee,
deciding humour was a win
for the clownish likes of me.
I did not put up a fight,
for, by Jove, the Godhead's right!

And since the Five Minute Friday writing prompt this week is 'purpose'...

Sometimes I feel so hopeless,
and it is then I wish
for a senseless porpoise,
a really dumbass fish,
but there is practicality
(for I am no fool),
and in my yard would have to be
a real big swimming pool
where the witless beast could swim,
then offer me advice
on how to turn each loss to win
(now wouldn't that be nice!),
just like thay book I gave my wife,
Rick Warren's "Porpoise-Driven Life".

It took five minutes to write, and I sure figure it shows.

In the absence of music (Blogger won't let me link a video on my phone), here are a couple of things pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.



 




Thursday, September 9, 2021

You Get Discouraged

It's been a rough week, and not to admit to being sometimes discouraged is to give that discouragement a hidden power.
 
There's so much I still want to do,
to hear and feel and see,
but now the worst is coming true,
and there's no escape for me.
There's too much puke and too much. pain,
and I see what now betides;
growths in limbs and lungs and brain,
and my left foot only slides.
Somewhere there was a place for me,
a future and bright shining hope
but faded now's the victory
and above me swings the rope,
noose fashioned by the devil's hand
through years I did not understand.

Now, dear fortunate (?) reader, you get a SECOND sonnet, based upon Five Minute Friday's word prompt for the week, 'rescue'.

It seems to me the movie biz,
if it wants profits big and bold,
should recognize that rescue is
the greatest story ever told.
Gandhi saved a nation;
Maria saved the Captain's heart
from lonely self-immolation
(and tipped the Nazis' apple cart!).
Luke saved that far-off Galaxy
even as Darth Vader's son,
and it really seems to me
John Wayne saved almost everyone.
Wide-eyed surprise this shouldn't bring
for we're rescued by a murdered King.

The 'rescue' poem took ten minutes to write, but since I'm waiting on a phone with Mongo-sized fingers at 3AM, I hope you'll give me a pass on the 'five minute' bit. Also, the phone's fond of quietly changing my words when I'm not looking. Glories of the Modern Age, yeah?

In the absence of music (Blogger won't let me link a video on my phone), here are a couple of things pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.



 


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Of Frying Pans And Fires

So I had a miraculous healing from a wild sudden illness, with a sustained fever of 107...but the cancer is still here.

Wassup with THAT?

I am tempted to irritation (to put it mildly), but unfortunately I'm a Christian, and there is Scriptural precedent to which I must pay heed...

Lord, I know that I've been graced
with healing, but I can hardly understand
why it seems I have been placed
from fire back to frying pan.
You saved me from that raging fever,
107 should have done me in,
and have no doubt, I'm a believer,
but confidence is getting thin.
And then You say You are my Simon,
the Cyrene to help bear my cross,
the strong and proud Judean lion,
broke to burden, bear my loss
and help me with the fatal load
on the Dolorosa Road.

In the absence of music (Blogger won't let me link a video on my phone), here are a couple of things pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.



 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Yeah, But It's Not Really Me

It's getting just a bit easier to blog using the phone. Either I'm getting smarter or the phone's decided to stoop to my level.

Life, however, is not easier...these tumours hurt, and there's a new one of the chest-wall variety. So much for the summer beach bod.

And that doesn't include the tennis-ball sized lump in my navel. Loose shirts, now.

And yet...

Some, looking at me, say it's time
to lean into a morphine haze,
embrace a gentle and sublime
way to pass these pain-wracked days.
I might partake of smooth-jazz tunes,
doze through a DVD,
but suggesting this assumes
that I'm no longer me.
For good or ill, I'm bred to fight
and in my life stand taller
when on the other side of night,
for me, there lies Valhalla,
where, as holder of the secret knows,
the fight goes on, and strong mead flows.

In the absence of music (Blogger won't let me link a video on my phone), here are a couple of things pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.



 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Gone and Back Again

Oh my, oh my, oh my, oh dear,
my hard drive went away,
and I was therefore filled with fear
that I could not post today.
But Barbie to the rescue came
with a Smart Phone just for me,
so I'm still in the blogging game,
not vanished mystery.
One day computer will return,
but it will take some time,
and this is tech I need to learn...
and it's on Barbie's dime!
I have no complaints at all,
except these keys are REALLY SMALL!

Music by Daniel Boone, 'Beautiful Sunday'.

The video may not load from the phone...



Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Thing God Can't Do

 OK, how could God be lonely? He's got everything, right?

Except...us.

He doesn't have us...we have to give ourselves to Him freely. Otherwise we're puppets.

And it's not OK when we don't give ourselves. He's hurt.

Witness the Garden of Gethsemane...Jesus asked His three closest friends to watch with Him while He prayed...and they fell asleep.

They say that God has got it all,
but as Christ neared His mortal end,
He felt the desperate need to call
upon the love of His best friends.
He went with Peter, John and James,
that while He prayed, watch they might keep;
when he returned, He called their names,
and found they'd fallen fast asleep.
He woke them, and then asked again,
that they might help Him through His trial,
but they couldn't understand His pain,
His sweat of blood, and all the while
He took the cup that would not pass,
they dozed upon the dewy grass.

So there you go. You have a power God doesn't have...the choice to give yourself to Him...

...or not.

What will you do?

This became important to me lately, because while I received a healing from a lethal and sudden illness, the healing didn't apply to cancer...on that front, things are worse.

And God said, "Cancer is your Calvary. The healing...it was Me, being your Simon of Cyrene."

There was a wistfulness in His tone, a hesitancy.

As if He thought that I might respond in anger, and cast Him aside, in anger and disappointment.

I had the power, in that moment, to break His heart, and there was nothing He could do about it.

I didn't, but that's a story for another time.

Music from Joan Osborne, with One Of Us. (Please click here if your device doesn't display the video.)


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.











Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Unexpected God

 Yes, since the sustained 107 fever thing, I talk with God. Didn't used to, but now He just walks in, makes Himself at home, and we have these conversations.

And they don't always go the way I think they'll go.

Recently, I was thinking how grateful I am for this second chance, to not be the 'old me'.

And God said, "I like the old you."

Huh?

The day before yesterday, the cancer pain's back, especially the metastasis in my right femur, and I'm saying - out loud - "Pain is just weakness being forced from the body."

God blew a Bronx cheer, and then said, "Pain can be a warning, and it's always a byproduct. it's just pain, and being proud of how much you can tolerate is infantile...something like being proud of the smelliest bowel movement."

Oh-kay.

I don't think God likes pain. Recently I was watching the Hillsong Channel, and a preacher said that "Great things are birthed in pain." Behind me I heard a Bronx cheer (God does seem to like those).

I guess maybe He's seen more than enough hurt, and so I don't use my old favourite expressions, like "Blood makes the grass grow green."

Offending the Almighty's a bad idea.

The point of this is that in the past, I really didn't believe people talked to God. I thought they were having conversations in their own heads, perhaps informed by the Almighty, but that's as far as it went.

To be honest, I didn't really pay attention to what they said, tuning them out after "God said to me..."

No more.

Aside from the reality of His Voice (He's got a distinct Chicago accent, in case you were wondering), the deciding 'reality check' for me is that He flat out contradicts things that I say, and for a long time held dear ("Pain is merely weakness being forced from the body.")

A God who backed up my prejudices would be fun, be would also be a little-'g' god.

This dude is willing to fight me (like it's a contest, right?)...He's my Big G God.

Some folks said they talk to God,
and I thought, well, maybe true,
but it sounds to me, like, really odd;
hope I don't cross paths with you.
And then I faced my quiet death,
and I saw the Other Side;
my lungs were filled with Holy Breath,
and I learned how to abide
with a God who talked a lot,
'bout life and death and love and pain,
some things He said, well, I forgot,
but it seems enough remain
that the God I knew and formally respected,
has become Lord of the Unexpected.

The only song I could think of that was about talking is Toby Keith's I Wanna Talk About Me, so here goes. I rather doubt the video could be made in today's cultural climate, which makes it either more worth watching or a good reason to turn my metaphorical picture to the wall. (If your device doesn't play the video, please click here.)


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.













Thursday, July 29, 2021

Miracles and Setbacks

 You think that having experienced a healing miracle, you're golden.

But that's not, and can never be, the case. Even Lazarus had to die.

I survived a sustained fever of 107 with the pre-existing conditions of pancreatic cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and that is miracle enough in itself.

But I wondered...might the cancers have been burned out, too?

For a few days I felt so good, I thought maybe they had.

But now, some of the old symptoms are resurfacing. I'd say it's discouraging, but that seems a bit ungrateful for the miracle I received.

I did receive a miracle, and if its purpose was to return me, alive and in good spirits, to the dire straits of cancer, it's still a miracle, and good enough for me.

I managed to answer the comments from last week's post, and will try to do the same this week...and I was able to visit some of you. Not easy, but y'all are worth it, and I do get lonely.

I thought that past mirac'lous cure,
my trials would surely see their end,
and all that I must now endure
was a body on the mend,
but it does not work this way,
not here, not in mortality,
and malignancies of yesterday
may be yet bound up in me.
I know that Lazarus came forth,
but in the end, he had to die
as all must do who walk the earth,
eyes turned unto the arching sky
in faith of the Elysian plain
where no cancer dare remain.

having used the term 'dire straits' above, what can be more appropriate than to offer Dire Straits, with their iconic Walk Of Life? (Please click here if the video doesn't come up on your device.)

Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.