Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hope

It's Wednesday morning and I'm sitting here in my office - just finished a small cup of coffee so the morning fuzziness is slowly dissipating. I had a meeting with my manager last night in which he sort of said things need to change... not in a bad way, but that the old processes are not working and I need to come up with new ways of doing things. Check. Got it... not thrilled with the whole thing but that's what work is all about - something you don't necessarily WANT to do, but if it can be managed into a challenge that you kind of you enjoy then... pay me too!

Anyway, there are so many other things going on in my life. A great girlfriend that I have to break off with, disabled son that misses me so much, parents struggling thru a bad marriage AND possible bankruptcy, an ex-spouse and our own teenage children, paying off ALL that debt... there really is so much.

But every once in a while I find that place of peace where I know God is caring for me and despite everything else He's got me covered. It's all going to be okay.

-s2g

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Today's Jade Factor

It's time for a "Today's Jade Factor" sign to be posted outside my door.

What's a Jade Factor sign? Well imagine one of those signs that small shops use to hang on the front door in the middle of the day when the owner steps out - "Will be back at 1pm" or whatever time was needed.

So the Jade Factor sign would be kind of like that, using the face of a clock with numbers 1 thru 12 indicating the appropriate level of jaded attitude.

Let's start with JF no. 1, which means: "I really care about you as an individual and your problem is very important to me. Why don't we take some time to consider it carefully so that no mistake can be made when deciding how to satisfy even the slightest of your desires."

Halfway around the dial is JF no. 6, which means: "The fact that you are a human being is worth noting but I'm struggling with the actual merit of this problem of yours - please disregard the thin smile that is holding up the glazed look in my eyes."

Finally there's JF no. 12: "Go fuck yourself. Do not pause to reconsider. Do not pass Go or collect $200 or even dare to be confused by the silly notion that the sum total of your butchered flesh would be worth more than a half bowl of rejected dog food."

-s2g

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Form

So I guess I should explain how I came here... how I arrived at the place of posting again.

Well... I just felt a need to post my thoughts, especially thoughts that God places on my heart. It's just good to put it down in a manner that forces me to think things thru and organize my thoughts in a logical manner. So here I am.

I guess I need to also clarify that I am in no way abandoning email or other such correspondence. This blog seems to fit, and maybe that's just the purpose of it all.

Okay, I'm reading in Deut and in chapter 4 God is talking to the Israelites about His form. Check it out:

“But be careful! You did not see the LORD's form on the day he spoke to you from the fire at Mount Sinai. So do not corrupt yourselves by making a physical image in any form--whether of a man or a woman, an animal or a bird, a creeping creature or a fish.”

The thing that caught my eye was the part about God’s form. He’s telling the Israelites that He has no form and they are not to take the form of animals and turn it into something to be worshiped.

When I was lonely and seeking God I wanted Him to appear in some sort of form. I needed friends and that would have been nice, but having friends and having God are two separate things. In wanting to draw near to God I asked to see Him – I was looking for His form. But here He tells the Israelites that He doesn’t have a form and not to seek one out.

So along comes Jesus. He’s the “form” of God… the representation of a God who has no form. People saw Jesus and related to him – he was in human form. But Jesus’ form is no longer with us, and in His place we have the Holy Spirit… again, a formless God.

Apparently God does not see “form” as being important or necessary. We want it… He warned the Israelites not to take up gods that had form. And we’ve been left with the Holy Spirit who has no form…

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Back Again

Okay, it was a very brief but wonderful fast… I just needed to go before the Lord and after doing so felt led to honor Him with a fast also.

Tonight – my folks are coming over for Christmas AND my sister’s birthday. They're bringing food from Buy The Bucket which is good... REALLY good. Cathy will be there too, and that should be interesting because my Dad is so resolute against her. But he’s agreed to set aside differences for now, so we’ll see how things go.

I’m at the Hillview site right now waiting for files to copy to a server. It’s quite a mind shift when working at both sites. Hansen Way (my original office) is very casual – people are real friendly and it’s easy to joke around. But Hillview is VERY professional. There have even been incidents of management clamping down on “non-productive” activities such as chatting with a coworker about personal stuff. Whatever… it’s the New Varian. So long as we get that profit sharing check at the end of the year.

-s2g

Monday, December 20, 2004

I Am...

...a huge schmuck.

-s2g

So...

So yesterday I’m putzing around my folks house… didn’t have anything pressing to do except pack to go home and that wouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. It’s about 2pm and my Dad wanders home from the store and decides to trim the roses. And I try to help out when I can so I joined him out there with pruning shears and all – but we’re only out there 5 minutes before he decides he’s finished with that job and starts putting things away… the roses look like hell but that doesn’t bother him. “Let the gardener finish” he says, and I’m thinking maybe he wanted to be alone and didn’t want me around? “Sure” I reply.

So I put things away too and come inside. I still hadn’t showered or anything and was going to do that when he asks if I want to go to the store with him… okay, that answers the question about wanting to be alone. “Sure” I reply – just let me brush my teeth before we go – it’s only the hardware store and I don’t need to be clean shaven for that…

So we get to the store and he wanders up front, introduces me to a few employees (I don’t make it to the store very often so nobody knows me down there) and we head up to the office upstairs. He putzes around there for 5 minutes and decides he doesn’t want to do anything there either… and I’m beginning to think he wants to do nothing, but needs some safe place to not do it… so then he asks if I want to go over to the mall with him. “Sure” I reply – and we head on out to the truck to drive over to Valley Fair.

So we climb in the truck and spend 10 minutes stuck in traffic in the parking garage at Valley Fair when he decides he would rather go to Santana Row… less crowded over there he says - and I’m thinking maybe not, but… “Sure” I reply – and we find the nearest exit and start out for Santana Row.

So we’re stuck in traffic… lots of traffic… took 15 minutes just to go across the street but once there the parking was surprisingly good… less crowded he’d said, and he was right. But along the way we’re sitting there just chatting, and it felt really good. I mean, I just felt like we could have been sitting on the banks of a lazy river in the countryside, chewing the fat with nothing better to do. And we’re talking about all sorts of things… things he’d never tell others about - relationships he could have had and might possibly still have with other women… he’s trusting me more and more, and I’m the same with him.

So we get to Santana Row and start walking around and I have this wonderful feeling that I don’t get nearly often enough. I mean, I’m at Santana Row in my gardening jeans and funky tennis shoes with a tee-shirt hanging out under an old sweatshirt, beat up baseball cap... I haven’t shaved in 2 days and was lucky enough to remember to brush my teeth before we left – and I really don’t give a damn. There’s all these people dressed their best to impress, fancy shops and expensive stuff – and I’m sure they took a look at us in our yard work motif and wondered where the wagon was that lost a couple of turnips… but I just didn’t care one bit. Cool.

So then he starts telling me about how he and Eldon had planned to come out Santana Row and watch the ladies… good gawd. My father, for crying out loud, and his 70 year old buddy were gonna setup shop at Santana Row and check out the babes… “You gonna rate ‘em?” I ask. “Nah, we just wanted to watch.” Good lord… somehow that thought just busted me up.

So…

-s2g


Sunday, December 19, 2004

God is Good

Well, it has been a day… or the last few days have been a day.

We were at the Schmitz Christmas until 12:30 AM and it was absolutely beautiful. My cousin David was there and he was blazing with the glory of the Lord. We ate piles of food, sang our usual 30 Christmas carols, and exchanged gifts.

And the little ones – they’re just TOO cute. The last thing planned for the evening is opening gifts, and the smallest kids just can’t wait to open their presents. Uncle John and Bettie’s grandson Brandon is barely 3 years old but he was SO EXCITED to finally open presents… it was just the best.

When we started this tradition (back when I was a kid) each child was designated a “god-parent” who would bring a gift each Christmas eve. As us kids grew older we reciprocated so that there was much gift giving. But the “god-parent” thing stopped (because it was a Catholic tradition and most of the family no longer followed Catholic traditions) so new children brought into the family, such as my kids, didn’t have an assigned god-parent. So now there’s a grab bag of presents for anyone who shows up that didn’t get a present… it’s just good

My cousin Kuni was there with husband Todd and their 1 year-old twins… Steve & family were there from Colorado, Rhonda and her husband from Washington, Laura and kids from Idaho, and many of Uncle Bill’s clan from way up by Redding. My cousin Laurie and her husband Brian were so special to me – we sang together and Brian and I can really carry a tune, and Laurie just sat between us and claimed to be in heaven – she’s just the best…

And my cousin David was there – it was so so SO good to see him. He’s in the middle of a tremendous trial – a horrible breakup of his marriage that has his ex-wife accusing him of molesting their children. For a time I didn’t know much more than that because the only news we were getting was from his mom & dad, who were horrified to mention anything about it… very embarrassing. And let me say right up front – you look at David and speak with him for a while and you KNOW there is absolutely no truth to the accusations at all. But what a story he had to tell… when his marriage fell apart and the accusations were made he just went into a 6 month funk… total depression… wouldn’t leave the apartment and just curled up in a corner and zoned out. And it wasn’t until his step-son (who’s in his 20’s and is the *son* of David’s ex-wife) came over and kicked him in the butt and told him he couldn’t just waste away like that. He ALSO told him that his mom had pulled this stunt before by accusing her first husband of the same thing – and the step-son is ready to testify for David in court against his mom about this… absolutely crazy…

So David has a trial coming up in February that needs much prayer. According to Dave he has uncovered a great deal of evidence that counters the accusations and is confident the charges will be thrown out when it all comes to light.

But the zeal for the Lord was simply blazing from him… David said after his step-son “rescued” him that he began to pray and simply turn things over to God. After that people were coming out of the woodwork to help him… the divorce destroyed his finances and he was close to being evicted. Then out of nowhere people started offering to help… random occurrences that could be explained no other way except God interceding with blessings. Before all of this David’s spiritual walk could best be described as a good
Catholic, but now – he’s a staunch witness for God who’ll blow your socks off if given the opportunity. Oh so good… and still so much prayer is needed.

Okay… I had many good talks with cousins asking about my situation. And it’s just so good – they were so supportive in a very good way. Nobody trashed Cathy, nor did I want to trash her… so that was good. But they were all saddened by the news and wanting to encourage me in whatever way they could. My cousin Steve was very direct in recommending counseling, not as a couple, but for me individually. And Sheryl was so good – she was best friends with Cathy many years ago and I was so nervous about how she would react. And yet there was no choosing of sides or petty accusations either way – she just was sad and wanting to comfort and encourage. My cousin Laurie is an inspiration – easily the strongest Christian in our family and she was just plain loving… I’m just so dammed lucky – they were all so very very wonderful.

Okay, I have to take a break – Will’s sleeping next to me while the music channel plays Christmas songs. The kitchen is a disaster – Cathy spent the weekend baking Christmas gifts and ran out of time, so… I've cleaned up quite a bit but there's much more to do - and I have laundry going as well.

One last thing…

It brought tears to my eyes to see you turn to God… if there is anything at all I can give to you ever again, it would be to rediscover the joy of the Lord. I feel the desire for that growing in my heart, but I would so love to see you find the same thing… I’m very concerned about you and want you to be comforted. I can’t do that – but I know He can. So it was great news to read about your trusting Him. Thank you so much – you’ve given me a great gift.

-s2g

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Crap... Get a Life

Wow - after rereading that post about my morning scripture, I gotta get a life. Torn clothing? Good gawd... I mean, I'm not trying to be disrespectful of scripture reading, but torn clothing?!!

Okay, today I sent out a bunch of Christmas cards. First time I've done that and it certainly doesn't prove I'm living on the edge or anything but that was my big accomplishment today. And it felt good... I also sent out two sympathy cards for Aunt Catherine and Aunt Sylvia. Both are in their 70's and discovering wonderful things like secondary cancer in the liver or elevated white blood cell counts. They're great people (all of my mom's family are good) so it was nice to send them a note just saying I was thinking about them.

Tossed and turned all night. Been having trouble sleeping lately and find myself staring at the ceiling around 3am... it's a great time to talk w/God. There are not a lot of other things to do at that hour and I don’t want to get up and wake anyone else up. Eventually I put on my headphones and listen to music until I drop off to sleep. Usually that happens an hour before I have to get up... crap.

There's a big move underway at work and I'm sort of involved. Half our department relocated to a site a little over a mile away. I support them with computer services and so need to be available up there too, which means I now have two offices. Oh boy... this will be interesting. Their first day at the new site is Monday so I gotta be there early to make sure everything goes smoothly. I already hooked up and discovered a kink in the connection, which means a minor adjustment to 20 computers first thing in the morning. And that's not a disaster but I’d rather be aware of something like that than have it catch me by surprise.

All for now... my folks and I are going to the Schmitz family Christmas gathering tonight at Uncle John’s house. Again, this is my mom's family and they're just great people to be around. At the end of the evening you head home with a good feeling in your soul... kind of a blessing in goodness. But I still have presents to wrap so I better hop to it.

-s2g

Just Thoughts

A couple of things from today’s reading...

In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ arrest, the High Priest asks Jesus if He is the Christ. And Jesus affirms that, after which he accuses Jesus of blasphemy and then tears his clothes.

I don’t think the High Priest is supposed to tear his clothing. From my limited knowledge of biblical things, I’m pretty sure I ran across a passage where Moses is instructing the Jews about the tabernacle and it’s care. I think in all of that I remember a passage where the High Priest is instructed to never tear his clothes.

Again, I’m limited in my understanding of this but “tearing” your clothes was a sign of frustration. I don’t think it’s stretching anything to say it could be compared to cursing, another thing that people do out of frustration.

More on tearing clothes… when the soldiers were gambling for Jesus clothing during the crucifixion they made a point of not tearing the clothe to divide it among themselves. It was a seamless garment and as such it had higher value. But here again, Jesus is the great High Priest – and so his clothing is never torn.

On the topic of rewards and whether we “earn” our way into heaven. 1 Corinthians says,

“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, had or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, becaseu the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

Notice a man’s work will be tested and there are “rewards” given for the quality of work. This supports the idea that things are *earned*… slackers in the kingdom will be revealed – their “works” will be shown for what they are missing… yet their salvation is still intact. “…he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

What “works” am I building? Are they made from “gold, silver, and costly stones” and thus able to withstand the purifying fire? Or are they made from “wood, hay, or straw” and having little value beyond the testing flames?