Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The price of being good?

9/15/10 Wednesday
I see it’s been nearly a week since I wrote in this journal. There are pictures that will help me remember what has gone on, and there has been a lot. Going back and looking at the pictures I see some really great ones and remember parts of what I did. I’ll try to write about it. There’s good and some not so good stuff. The not so good we just learned about yesterday. In the mail we got a letter from the treasury department stating that our income tax refund check was seized by the VA for “Payment of a debt”. This is a serious kick in the gut. The “Debt” talked about is in dispute with the VA and has been an ongoing issue for a couple of years now. Our worry is that they will also seize the CRP check we get once a year for the farm. That would be real bad. We depend on that check to pay our property taxes and look forward to it in order to purchase seed and supplies for the next year on the farm, along with clothes and necessary items. Perhaps even an air conditioner? We are careful with every penny, wasting nothing, but if this check is seized it will put us in a serious bind. I had to accept some money from a friend in order to have fuel for the big diesel truck. With my other truck’s transmission out it’s the only thing I have to drive and boy does it suck fuel.
Ben Casey with the seeder I bought at a garage sale. Boy is it a labor saver. It only came with one size template so won't work for many seeds but using tape I made it work well with black eyed peas. Can whip a row out in seconds that otherwise would take almost an hour by hand.

Cherie got paid today so we can pay our bills but there is never much left over after. At times like this my frustration with our “friends” grows. He asked me “Please forgive us” but still they have cut off communication. I so want to tell everything they did, to name names and expose the truth, but have resisted so far. Some of the scriptures and writing posted during this time was inspired by them and they took offense at it. Still waiting for them to follow through on the promise to find a third party and talk this out, but like I told him, we’ll see how important that really is too them, so we wait. I wonder what his definition of forgiveness is? Is it to just forget and pretend everything is ok? Then, have they forgiven us? Because there is still no contact or movement from their camp. Perhaps it’s just a one way street where we are supposed to forgive them and they can go on their jolly way unburdened by the fact that they did anything wrong and in the process hurt us deeply. Meantime we are left out in the cold and wonder what they truly think. Odd enough we have stopped receiving emails and contact with several others who are known by them, they just stopped and in fact have not replied to my repeated emails. Leaves me wondering.
Here's a blessing. Linda knew where we could pick up these fifteen sheets of steel roofing. Each one is 30 foot long and unused. They'd been sitting outside on the ground for quite a while but are galvanized and have no rust. They will go far when it comes to our plans to build a barn and extend the garage. It cost me over a thousand dollars to tear down a "free" barn and get material in much worse shape but doing that helped someone else anyway.

These “friends” were to look at our oil lease and work with an oil company that wants to drill on our land. We’re sitting on top of millions of dollars worth of oil but in the complex world of oil leases, and the greed that exists anytime there’s that kind of money involved, everything is stalemated, or seems to be. But they got greedy. If I don’t hear from them soon I’ll tell the whole story. Meantime we struggle to pay bills and we do without while the help we need to make this a viable income producing working farm lies underneath our feet. And it stays there because those who already have much and live well wanted even more, and wanted it at our expense. Because they couldn’t get what they wanted they now refuse to help us get what we need. But that’s OK. You see God is God and He does get involved in these things. We will put our trust in Him and know that our needs will be supplied. It’s just sad that the “friends” talk about God but it’s the practice that tells the truth. We hope this gets all gets reconciled and everyone ends up better for it, and there is no room for those who talk bad about Christians because of how they act to say anything.

Just talked to the Texas Veteran’s rep on the phone. He asked if Cherie and I could come to the office while he calls the VA but I explained that would require her taking time off her job so he will see if they will talk to him without me present and call back.
We've got thousands of Lady bugs on our peas. That's wonderful as they keep the aphids and other damaging insects in check. Wish they'd do in the squash bugs but we take what we can get.

Meantime, let me tell about the week. As always there is more to do than one person can accomplish on this farm, but I keep trying. But despite that there are people we meet who need help and I do what I can. Now some will probably call me irresponsible for neglecting things here to spend time and energy helping others but that’s what being a real Christian is about, sacrifice for others. When I see someone in need and have the ability to help I don’t have to think about it. But while I do that vegetables are rotting on the vine and weeds encroach back onto cleared areas. I’m sorry, but I must help.

1 John 3.16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

While I may be surrounded by those who find this uncomfortable I don’t live my life seeking comforts but the good of others. So I won’t conform to the “norms” around be but will practice what I believe, even if it costs me. No, I won’t be like everyone else, especially when I don’t think much of how they act. I will work to please the One who’s opinion of me is the only one that matters. Now I know that I often fail in my relationships with others and often fail to meet my own standards, but I don’t fail to keep trying.

Sam, a former employee we had when there were funds for help, and a resident at the Stepping Stone halfway house, had some time off from the oil rig he worked at so volunteered to come help despite the fact that I couldn’t pay him. Linda needed her car taken to get a fuel pump installed and also some work around her place done so while I had Sam with me that’s what we worked on.
Linda and Sam sorting peas. What a blessing it is to have people around we can share things of God with comfortably, on top of the invaluable help.

Monday we used a come along to winch her car up on my trailer. That took about three hours I was told. Don’t remember but believe it cause it was not a fun job. Finally getting it loaded we took it to Midland where someone was going to install this three hundred plus dollar pump at no charge to her. It’s so good to find real Christians who do real things for others. He took a hammer and banged on the bottom of her fuel tank and the darn thing started right up. Sure wish I’d known that trick, we could have drove it here.

At some point before this, don’t remember at all when, I had taken my tractor to Linda’s place on the trailer and disced up her roping arena. The weeds had grown waist high and it was full of rattlesnakes so was dangerous for her to ride her horses in. The ground was rock hard so despite going around it dozens of times there were still weeds up but I got almost all of them. I also took my weed eater that she could use to cut down other weeds.

It was yesterday that Linda and Sam came over to the farm and picked the peas that were drying on the plants. They also picked tomatoes, many of which had rotted on the vines, and ran twine to hold the plants up off the ground. We sorted and shucked peas at Linda’s place and I brought my chain saw to cut some dead wood out of her tree. I forgot to bring oil for the chain so couldn’t finish the job. I’ll do that later. It was a blessing to have their help on the farm, but a little embarrassing too. I’m afraid that people will think me lazy seeing all that doesn’t get done, but I work from morning to night, or until I can’t walk anymore. That happens a lot. There is so much possible with this farm, good money to be made, but it requires more than I can give by myself. God will provide, this I trust and pray for.

While discing Linda’s place I got a flat tire on the tractor. Don’t know what happened but it went flat real quick. Fortunately it’s a front tire and looks like it has a tube in it. That’s fortunate because it will cost much less than one of the big rear tires would. Don’t know how much yet but Sam helped me to remove it from the tractor. I’ll take it in today and see what it will take. Fortunately Cherie got paid today.

With five dogs to feed now, and one of them a growing pup, our dog food doesn’t last very long. It sure is a crowd. The new puppy is named Midnight now, a great suggestion from one of our readers. Wish she lived closer so we could send her a load of veggies. Midnight is getting along well with the others but is aggressive with Ben and Gretchen. Rascal and Trixie let him know who was boss real quick but Ben and Gretchen are both not as able to establish dominance. Ben only has three legs and was run over and Gretchen just seems to be getting old, and I think that litter she had here took a lot out of her. At least they don’t seem to wander as much as they used too.

Here's Cherie with one of Linda's horses. One of the exciting happenings here was Cherie rode a horse for the first time at Linda's. It wasn't this horse but one of the others. Cherie had ridden a horse once before but it was one of those lead around rides and Linda said that doesn't count, not really "Riding" a horse. She did good and the horse behaved surprisingly well. In fact the horse shown tends to bite anyone around and Linda was amazed to see Cherie tickling the side of his face as she talked to him. He had put his head over the top of the fence and craved for more. Eventually I will ride a horse for the first time as well.

The Texas VA rep found our farm. Had to drive around to do it and his GPS thing didn't help at all. He looked at the letter we got in January regarding the VA's claim that I bore responsibility for the whole deal and thus should pay. Couldn't believe what he read because he knows about the brain injury and knows what that means regarding my ability to remember to do things or process information. I'm in much better shape these days than I was then and I still have problems, but not nearly as bad. There are several we've met who sure tried to take advantage of me, counting on my memory problems and cognitive impairment to enable them to pull the wool over my eyes. And then there are the ones who say they understand but don't really try to.


Amy said...

Yep, thieves the lot of them government agencies. I really hope the Texas guy can help you, if not, hopefully steer you to a lawyer that specializes in this type of thing. The IRS should not have given them your refund until the entire thing was sorted out. What crooks!

Loretta said...

All this trouble with the people that were "supposed" to help you makes me remember 1st Timothy 6:10...For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. I think they need to read their bible. Shame on them.

Bob said...

Loretta, it is so sad for us to watch these "friends". They have been so kind to us and done many things to help and bless us. But when it came to real money they changed, or at least seem to in our view. They are worth probably a million dollars and have no lack. The statement was made that because we don't have children we have no need for a legacy and because they have children they deserved the mineral rights more than we do. It was like a kick to the gut. Cherie cried for days. We pray and hope for this to be reconciled but I also know that God will deal with them and it might not be pretty.

Loretta said...

I'm speechless that they would say such a thing! My daddy all ways said the more money a man had, the more he wanted. I believe it.

Bob said...

The real shame of it all is they talk about God and claim to be prophets. But we haven't seen much fruit. We pray for them. They always ended a visit with "We love you guys". It never rang true and one day I asked "What does that mean?" The truth is shown in actions not words.

Bob said...

True love chooses for the highest good of the other over what's good for you. That's a definition of Agape love. True Christian love is one of sacrifice. Jesus said "No greater love is there than this, to lay down your life for your friend" (bob paraphrase)
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.