Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hard to keep your head up

3/31/10 Wednesday
Yesterday Cherie took a day off work and we attended a conference, that cost us 60 bucks, that we thought was geared to help us learn how to grow and market stuff on the farm. So we sat all day listening to how children are obese and should eat healthy food grown locally, and learned how these people got tons of money from grants to study this. But there is little money to help us build a farm. It’s there but I am having a hard time finding it or getting help accessing it. We listened to Matt complain about not having enough “producers” for his farmer’s market and grew frustrated because we desire and work so hard to be “producers”. Over all it seemed a waste of time and money though we did meet some people who might offer some guidance.

More manure that I'm composting. We had a talk with Alan yesterday. We were worried because he decided not to attend the conference even after we triple checked and paid his way so that raised concerns. It appears that Alan has been letting his fears and worries affect his decision to move out here on the farm. He’s worried we might not get along and would have to leave but more legitimately he’s worried about our finances and ability to pay him. I tried to convey some hope for a future here, that building a farm is an investment in time and labor that will one day pay off but don’t know how well that was received. Alan was, and is for the moment, a bright spot that gave us hope we would be able to achieve something this year. If he chooses to not be a part of it that makes things hard again, it reverts back to just me alone struggling past the paralysis and pain to try and accomplish something.

Last year depression froze me and cost a lot. With my dad’s death I received the small inheritance he was holding from my grandmother’s death forty years previous, and we were able to advance a few steps with it. That’s mostly gone now, spent on a good tractor and then for labor. If I can sell the truck and trailer we bought with it to haul the tractor and stuff back from Ohio, that will help but we haven’t gotten many bites on it. I was going to put an ad in the paper but did what I do every day, forgot. That’s the frustration that comes with a traumatic brain injury. Everyone tells me how they forget too but I don’t think they understand that it’s much worse for me and the reason the government declared me disabled. I hate that, being declared disabled, and hate even more constantly struggling to get something done and not succeeding. And now I am alone again, regarding this farm. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got Cherie, the love of my life, so from that perspective I’m far from alone and in fact blessed, but she works full time and thus pays the bills, so she has her hands very full. I suspect there are some who would delight in my failure and that spurs me to keep going, and I pray that God will deal with them, leave it in His hands. But it’s hard sometimes and I really enjoyed Alan’s company here. It really helped. We started every morning with prayer and a bible study and that’s a great way to start a day.

Enough of that. There’s work to do. I’ve got the dogs for company though Rascal and Trixie are in trouble for chasing the neighbor’s truck when he pulled in. I really need to break them of that. None of the seeds have come up and I worry that the well water has gotten so bad it will poison them. We need rain bad now, to wash the chloride buildup from the well water away. Putting in water filtration and treatment is one of the necessary expenses we have. Sure wish we had some advisors to help us. We’ve contacted many and reached out to friends but haven’t heard much back, though I might have forgotten if they did. I hope depression is not coming back. It’s just hard to keep your head up sometimes. I’ll get to work and try and focus.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Identified flying objects

3/29/10 Monday
It’s predicted to get hot this week with 90 degrees forecast for Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed the cooler weather and am not looking forward to the heat at all, especially with all the work that needs to be done. Now that we’ve run out of cash the jobs before me have become daunting because it’s just me left to do it. I am grateful for the tons of work that we were able to accomplish when I could afford to pay for help but it’s frustrating to look at all there remains to be done. It’s frustrating for Alan as well for he enjoys working for me but can’t work for free. I know he’s been looking at other things he can do for a living. The truck hasn’t seemed to draw a lot of attention from potential buyers and selling it is what I’m counting on at this crucial time. The stock took a dive and Cherie is not keen on selling it. I respect her wishes regarding that and won’t consider selling it till it comes back up in value. But it’s a tight spot to be in because this is a crucial time where getting things planted must happen or it’s too late. Nature isn’t very forgiving.
(Click to enlarge) You can see the piece of steel roof in the fence a few feet from the rolling seat I use. Note how far the tires are scattered and that's just a few of them. There's more outside of the picture.

Speaking of nature, or whatever you call it, I had quite an experience Saturday. I was working on installing the drip irrigation for the wind break trees, which have already suffered from a lack of water, when I heard a sudden very loud racket. Looking up I saw that a dust devil was spinning right over the steel roofing we had taken all day to carefully stack and secure with tarp weighed down by tires and steel beams. It flung tires almost a hundred feet along with the fifty pound beams and two by twelve’s in addition to twenty or thirty steel roofing panels.

The miniature tornado was headed straight for me but veered to the right as I watched. A piece of flying steel coming my way was stopped by some wire fencing about ten feet from me as I held onto my hat watching. The dust devil went on it’s way and everything settled down, kind of. It was a windy day anyway with gusts reaching 60 mph so I rushed to secure things before they ended up in the farmers field next door. I had to do so carefully, watching in case some of the steel panels were flung at me as I stacked more on top in the wind.

(click to enlarge)
You can see in this picture how the steel beams smashed these saw horses and took out some fencing. Sure glad it didn’t get to me.

The old man just called and asked if I could do some work for him. I will despite all that needs to be done here for two reasons. First is that I like to serve, to help others, and second because we can use the extra cash. I still owe Alan for a weeks worth of work and he’s been gracious about it but I’m not comfortable with that. Right is right and I have no intention of taking advantage of him or anyone else for that matter. So it’s a balancing act between my integrity and needs. I choose integrity and know that God honors that. It’s not what you say that marks you as a man or Christian, it’s what you do that speaks out. I know a lot of “talkers” and have no intention of being numbered among them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Path to destrucion, path to life

3/25/10 Thursday
It’s hard to believe the month is almost over already. But that’s how it is with me every month, every week actually. With the short term memory loss the first of the month seems like it happened yesterday. Evidently Alan isn’t coming to work today. I know he talked to me about that but can’t remember exactly what he said. I know he has to do some work at the halfway house to fulfill his obligations there. That plus the fact that I’m unable to pay him until we sell the truck or some stock makes it hard on him in many ways. Regardless, there is work that needs to be done so I’m out there doing it. As always I do the best I can with what I’ve got.

The scripture I read for our morning devotional that I try to have with Cherie was the one about ten virgins, who were invited to attend the wedding feast. Five had extra flasks of oil for their lamps and five didn’t prepare themselves that way. They all slumbered and slept as they waited for the call and when it came the five unprepared tried unsuccessfully to get oil from the others. They rushed out to buy some and returned to find the door closed. Knocking on it the Bridegroom answered “I do not know you”. How this parable checks my heart. I worry for myself regarding the day I stand before God and work daily to overcome those things in my life that I know He finds unacceptable. But I also have great concern for so many I know, who aren’t worried at all, merrily fulfilling the scripture found just before this parable in Mathew 24.38 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

The next parable Jesus spoke (Mathew 25.14-30) has the same theme, to be not just prepared but working to gain approval. In that one a man gives his servants money before he takes off on a long journey. The type of money named is “Talents” which, while probably not intentional at the writing (Though God, in His complexity, probably knew) works so well, for we all have talents, gifts and abilities God gave us. The man gave these according to each person’s ability, one got five, another two, and the third only got one. The first two invested their talents and doubled the money, and when each presented this to the master he said “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord”. How I want to hear this when I stand before God, and this is the desire of my heart, to please Him.

The last servant, however, is the one I work to not be like. He took his talents and buried them in the ground and when his master returned dug it up and gave it to him saying “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground, Look, there you have what is yours”. His lord answered and said “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

We live in a world where churches have watered everything down, where over the centuries people, having itching ears, have migrated to those who teach an easy message, one that requires less and less sacrifice, and allows more and more of what we find pleasurable and fun. But when I read the words of Jesus, you know, the Son of God who the bible tells me created the world and is God (John 1.1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God) He is clear, not just once but many times, clear that there will be many who expect to make it, to be accepted by God and gain eternal life, but to their surprise and dismay won’t. So it’s clear that the master of deceit, Satan, has pulled the wool over much of the Christian world’s eyes, and in doing so has many taking the broad and easy path to hell. Again it’s the words of Jesus that reveals this. Mathew 7.13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”. In the next sentence Jesus says “Beware of false prophets” warning us of those who preach the easy way.

So on my journey to find and know God this is where I am. I’ve come a long way from the doubts that God even exists but still struggle and search for truth, finding much of what I see to be confusing in the light of what I read in the bible. But I choose to trust in God despite these doubts, which are fading away. So faith is a choice for me right now, but the bible says that faith is a gift from God. My question for you is the one I've had for myself, that is "If there really is a God don't you want to know? and "Don't you want to make sure your on His side?" Fear is a good thing when it's directed correctly. Fear of the law and consequences kept me from doing things that would have had bad repercussions.

It’s time to get back to work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My failure in leadership

3/24/10 Wednesday
Alan won’t be coming to work this morning. He has other things he needs to do and besides that until we sell the truck or trailer we can’t afford to pay him. We already owe him a weeks worth of pay. He is gracious and understanding, and more than willing to continue helping with faith we will eventually pay him, but this places hardships on his shoulders and he has enough on his plate as it is. This is such a critical time on the farm, with so much that needs to be done NOW. So we pray that God will provide, as we always do, and He always does, but it’s tight and uncomfortable. With Alan’s help I have managed to get two plots planted and made headway on preparing other areas. But there is so much more to do. I would like to purchase the Bermuda grass seed we need and get it sowed before it’s too late. That’s the thing about farming, it doesn’t wait till you’re ready.

With Alan not being here this morning I have a chance to catch up on inside stuff, office work that needs to get done along with washing the dishes to help Cherie. Alan gets frustrated as he sees first hand the problems I have because of the brain injury. My inability to plan ahead, or more accurately to remember what I planned, becomes evident during each day. Yesterday I asked what he was working on and he said he was just moving things from one place to another so it would look like he was doing something. That hit me hard as I realized my failings to guide and lead him with regard to working on the farm.
Here's the truck we have for sale. It's a 2001 F450 super duty 7.3 diesel, six speed trans with a PTO, and rated at 15,000 lb GVR so is heavy duty for sure. I'm asking $9,000 but that's negotiable. If you know someone who could use it spread the word.
Alan often helps me by making me think about what I’m doing and what needs to be done. It’s the same old frustration for me, the one I’ve been struggling with ever since I woke from the coma, and one that is common for many of us survivors of TBI. That is the ability to plan and organize my day. A central part of what was taught at the Brain Injury Institute in St. Louis dealt with that and showed how to use lists and stuff to help. There is so much to do here that I bounce from one thing to another without finishing many of the tasks because I forget what I was doing moments before. Remembering that I had at one time simultaneously run two companies that I had built with over a hundred employees only brings home how much I’ve lost ability wise. I don’t care about losing the wealth and prestige at all. That all vanished in the wind and in the process I’ve learned about what has real value in life, that is what I do for God.
The trailer is also for sale. It's a heavy duty equipment trailer with a steel deck that can haul back hoes and pretty much anything you can drive up on it. I don't know what trailers are worth so am asking $2500 based on prices I've seen on other trailers.
Time to get back to work. Cherie’s helping a lot by making lists of things I need to do and then reminding me of them. Without her I’d be more lost.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Start of another week and seeing the vision

3/22/10 Monday
The start of another week. I love every day I am graced to wake up to and view each one as a gift from God. Today will be the first 80 plus degree day we’ve had this year and in true West Texas fashion there was frost on the trucks this morning. That means we will experience a fifty degree rise in temperatures in just a few short hours.

Here are pictures to show what’s been done so far. We’ve planted peas, carrots, several lettuces, spinach, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. And that’s only a start as we are way behind on some of it. Much of the work is in preparing places to plant. The first and main thing actually isn’t something we can eat or sell. It’s called Sudan and is grown as hay and animal feed. We are planting it around every plot because it serves as a wind break, something vitally important. I learned about this from a farmer and did this last year. Sudan grows about five feet tall and is fairly thick stuff that holds up against the wind well. Every place we planted it last year is about seven inches taller from the sand it caught.

This is the latest batch of manure we picked up from the old man. I watered and fertilized it. “WHAT!!! You watered and fertilized POOP?” you might respond. Yep, I did and will continue doing so. Right now this pile is running at 150 degrees inside as the microbes feed on the fertilizer and moisture to turn it into compost. This helps kill weed seeds and some diseases and hastens the process. I’ve got it covered with a tarp now to keep the moisture and heat in.

The grain rye is growing well now that it’s warmed up. We will be mowing it and catching it with the grass catcher on the mower and that will be added to the compost. Doing this greatly amplifies the composting process and adds to the nutrient level. The rest will be disked under and thus enhance the soil. The Elbon rye we grow does many things for the soil. One of them is that it combats certain types of nematodes so that’s a big plus. I think it also combats some kinds of soil diseases too but don’t really remember well. I know that it helps keep the weeds down in that once it’s established the weeds have a harder time getting going.

Here’s a picture of the transformer they put in for Alan’s mobile home. It’s a bigger one than he needs because I plan on running the electricity for the barn off of it. Of course that’s when I get around to building a barn. I’ll be picking up more telephone poles as time goes by to use for that purpose. At some point we need to get the rest of the barn in Odessa for that is the rest of the building material I need, but I must wait till we find some cash to do so.

There haven’t really been any serious inquiries regarding the truck so we may be forced to sell the stock. I’m going to print up some flyers and post them around town as well as get permission from the old man to put the truck in front of the old store that is on the interstate. That will help a bunch as there are 26,000 vehicles a day that go by. Just called the old man and he said that would be fine. It holds true with any business that you need money to make money so this lack of cash slows things down. I’d love to find someone willing to be a business partner and help out. It would certainly jump start things but we will work as God provides and He does that well, making sure all our needs are met.

(Click to enlarge) When I look on this farm I can see what is not there, I can see what can, and Lord willing, will be there. Picture in your mind, if you will, these paths covered with dense green Bermuda grass, and you can see what I see. The plan is to have all these pathways I’ve marked, cleared, and packed down, covered with Bermuda. Bermuda I’ve learned is the ideal grass for here. It’s drought tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, plus it handles a lot of traffic well.

Alan’s car broke down, blew a fan belt, so I took him to the auto parts store. I dropped him off at the gas station where his car died after he assured me he could fix it without my help. That was two hours ago and he hasn’t showed up to work yet so I may have to go help him. Just called Alan and he finally got the belt on, after much frustration and if he’s like me a few pointed words.

So it’s time to get back to work. Just wanted to get this posted for y’all cause I know there’s a bunch of you out there who follow. Incidentally, my statcounter shows that there are more people reading this blog than ever before. Thanks for the interest. Gotta go.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Digging up what's buried

3/18/10 Thursday
We’ve been getting lots done. I am both blessed and grateful for Alan being here. He knows we are short on cash till I sell the truck or the stocks inherited from my dad but is working anyway, and working hard. Without him I would be struggling and in reality not keeping up with what must be done to get our crops planted. Last year I got so depressed that pretty much nothing got done. Depression is such an impenetrable wall once it gets to a high level, where even getting out of bed requires effort as you wonder “why bother”. So God, in His mercy, is helping. With the depression I went through last year what I needed most was just for others to encourage me, to simply talk and help me think straight. But this year looks so much brighter and we are encouraged. I have a tractor that works with a disc and plow to use with it so that greatly enhances our ability. Plus we had some funds and were able to buy seeds and other things needed. As soon as I can sell the truck and trailer we’ll have funds needed to buy fertilizer and other essentials, along with badly needed labor. We need to build fences, a chicken coop, extend the garage to provide storage and the greenhouse/work area where we will start seeds and process what we grow. Plus there’s the store building down at the interstate that needs lots of work done to make ready for the farmer’s market.

We’ve been working on setting up the drip irrigation for the 60 wind break trees. That involves digging four hundred feet of trench by hand and hooking up each individual drip emitter. Lots of back breaking work there. I’m used to the pain but it sure got to Alan. He’s unaccustomed to this kind of physical work but you can bet that by the end of the year he’ll be in good shape.

A lot of what we’re doing involves digging up what the wind and sand buried. It’s amazing what has disappeared just since fall of last year. I’ve found hundreds of feet of this black tubing we use for the irrigation that only a small piece was visible. When I started pulling it I discovered there was a whole lot more beneath the surface. There’s a picture of a bicycle that only the front wheel and part of handlebar is visible.

Much of the drip irrigation I put in last year, or the year before, is buried so we are having to uncover it to repair or even know where it goes. As we are able to plant wind break trees over the years, and as they slowly grow to an effective size, this will become less of a problem. In the meantime it’s a constant battle. I’ve learned to create these areas on stilts where we can store things above the ground. This allows the sand to blow under and not build up so bad.

Yesterday I plowed a lot of furrows for the garden. That was an adventure of sorts as I tried to follow where the furrows had been before. The wind, sand, and rain has flattened much of that so it was hard to see. Plus the old furrows were created by hand with the tiller and a hoe so were closer together than works well with the tractor so it kept wanting to slip into the furrow I’d just plowed. When I make the furrows for where we will plant blackeyed peas this year they will be much farter apart.

Alan and I inventoried the seeds we have this morning. Just doing that brings home how much work there is to do. There are almost two pages worth of seeds, and that doesn’t cover the old seeds we have from 2008 and earlier. I am so blessed to have Alan to help and suspect that if I didn’t I would be fighting depression again as I face tasks I’m unable to finish. The words “He needs to get a real job” still ring in my ear as I work to create this farm. That’s the way it is and in fact something most people who strive to create hear, the negative and judgmental spirit that inhabits many. The sad thing is that they don’t even recognize it and think they are giving wise advice. I’ve been reading in the book of Job lately and find a similar thing there. It’s a hard book to comprehend but I’m beginning to see what it says.

There’s work to do so time to go.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A little break to de stress

I’m working on the business plan with the formats or whatever you call it, that SBDC emailed me. It’s frustrating to get so easily confused when it comes to understanding how to use it. I started by deleting where it said “Company name” and typed in Westbrook Farms. But as I proceeded I found that I was deleting the instructions, for instance under Executive Summary where it says “Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business”, and inserting what they requested. I just realized that I can’t do this, I can’t because I won’t remember what it said. So now I understand I need to start a separate page side by side that I fill out.

It’s such a simple thing, at least for most people, but it took me this long to comprehend it and it leaves me feeling stupid. Plus this is the kind of thing that contributes to my brain slowing down, becoming overloaded so to speak. I know what I want to do, just need a little help understanding little things like this, a little guidance. I’ve got a brain filled with the complexities of the business plan but have a hard time figuring out how to do the simple thing like following an outline. It’s so hard to be both smart and stupid at the same time, to be an adult operating with the cognizance of four year old child in some areas. And it’s hard for others to understand this, to comprehend the complexities of a traumatic brain injury when on the outside I appear normal.

They have no idea of how I must examine and review what I see and hear, of how I struggle to insure that I interpret what I hear correctly, and often fail at that. Someone recently told me “You’re a pain in the ass”. They are a friend and I presumed they were joking with me so replied “I know I am” but have been worrying about it ever since, especially after seeing the look on his face when I replied. The problem is I don’t interpret facial expressions well and often totally miss jokes, not getting them at all or even understanding they were a joke. This is common with us survivors of brain injuries, not unusual at all. The comic strip, Doonesbury, now regularly features a character I believe is named Toggle, who received a traumatic brain injury while a soldier in the Iraq or Afghanistan. And does so with an accuracy of the issues we face that I find refreshing and hope to be educational for many, to help them understand and thus not judge.

So it’s back to work time, after I fix a bite to eat for lunch I suppose. At some point I need to return the old man’s trailer but I’m not anxious to go out in the rain to do so. But this little break to write helped me clear my mind and relax the stress some.

Crap in the wind (literally)

3/15/10 Monday
We’re off to a cold start for the week, with the high forecasted as being only 45 degrees or so. Saturday I remembered that I haven’t gone to the old man’s and picked up the manure that he saves for me so grabbed Cherie’s truck to go do so. It clearly has been a while since I’ve done that, clear being illustrated by the mountain of poop waiting for me. The old man came out and suggested I use his trailer, otherwise it would take five or six trips with Cherie’s truck. Fortunately he had a backhoe/frontend loader there and offered to load it up for me. That saved a lot of work and pain but I still had to unload it by hand. By the time I got the first trailer load emptied I was pooped out (Pun intended) and had to take a pain pill and lay down, so that ended my Saturday. There was still plenty more poop left to get and I try my best to fulfill my obligations. Someone we know told me that he does nothing out of compulsion, quoting Paul from the bible where he said “Owe no man anything”. I have a hard time grasping this, or at least understanding where he’s coming from, but I have a hard time understanding lots of things. For me, if I say I’ll do something I feel it’s a reflection on my character and integrity how I follow through and try my best to be a man of my word.

After church yesterday we went to the widow’s house. She had been trying to get her 27 year old grandson, whom she is letting stay with her while he’s going through a break up in his marriage, to mow the lawn for over a week now. She tried to start her lawn mower and do it herself but wasn’t able to get it started. When I heard this I told her I would be over Saturday and mow but forgot all about it. So I remembered Sunday and we went over. Cherie visited while I mowed the lawn and the widow loved having someone to talk to. When I got done we all visited for a while and talked about things of God and her financial mess. It appears that her case was brought to the attention of a higher authority in Met Life, who called her and offered to drop half of the debt, the one they created, and let her make payments on the remainder. That’s a blessing but I feel that Wells Fargo should share in this as they are the ones who told the widow that it was ok to spend the money that had magically appeared in her account.

After we got done visiting I grabbed Cherie’s truck and went to collect the rest of the manure. There was more left than I remembered, but that’s normal as my visual memories are often off. Looking at the pile I had the thought that we could load it in the back of Cherie’s pick up but when the old man came out he took one look and vetoed the idea. Here’s a perfect example of the strange difficulty my mind has judging volumes. Even with the truck sitting next to the pile of poop I couldn’t see that it would have filled her truck overflowing at least four times and had the idea we could get it in one load. It’s so weird to have this anomaly, this glaring evidence of how the brain injury still affects me. That’s why it’s good to have others who can advise me and steer me in the right direction.

You can see the crap flying, and it's not from my vigorous efforts. Poor Cherie was on the receiving end as she took this picture

I brought the loaded trailer back and worked on emptying it for a couple of hours before I had to quit and give my body a break. While doing that a storm rolled in, this time blowing out of the east. It was just wind and sand, no clouds, but the temperatures were dropping and my bones told me there was a change in the barometric pressure so it was pain on top of pain and time to quit. Cherie fixed dinner and I laid down to let the body relax. It was well after dark that I thought I’d better check the weather, because something was obviously coming in. Nuts, It’s going to rain. I was thinking that I would finish unloading the trailer the next day but knowing rain was coming changed all of that. For one thing rain mixed with manure is a nasty situation. It triples the weight and turns it into a gooey mess that either turns into cement of some kind of nasty smelly glue. So I got my headlight on, pulled on the boots, kissed Cherie, and went back out to finish unloading the trailer. That’s farm life, you work when the weather tells you too or despite of it. I was already full of crap from shoveling it in 40 mph winds when it was dry and blowing into my eyes, ears, and hair along with every other crevice it could find. Cherie came out to take a picture and got a face full too when the wind hit it. She’s a tough little girl and such a blessing.

It’s raining out now. We’ve had lots of rain so far this year, and that bodes well for the farmers (me included). Alan called to say he had lots to do so wouldn’t be in till later. I told him to take the day off. He knows we are broke and can’t pay him but wants to help anyway. What a blessing that is and how this meets a need. He will work to pay his lot rent for the mobile home we are planning to move out here so that’s a win win situation for us both. Plus he knows that as this farm grows he can grow with it, so is investing in his future.

I’ve got plenty to do inside, lots of business plan research and writing, along with a bible study I started weeks ago and then neglected. Here’s a picture of yesterday’s sunset. All the blowing sand sure puts a pretty spin on it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Learning what I already knew

3/13/10 Saturday
It’s been busy since the bad slowdown I had Thursday. I pretty much lost a whole day with that one. Alan came out to work yesterday. We’re paying him and the other guy out of Cherie’s paycheck and that puts us in a bind but I desperately need the help. Alan and I got a lot done and as usual I’m paying the price in my body for that. Alan was hurting by the end of the day as well. 14 years in prison without doing a lot of physical work takes a toll on you, but he stuck with it and me all day and I greatly appreciate it.

We prepared these beds to plant the onion sets I bought last week in. The guys had started on them back when the wind storm showed up and blew most of their work away. First on the agenda yesterday was repairing and replacing the drip irrigation system. In the process of working on the beds I got mixed up. Originally the plan was to mix in compost and the Mittleider method pre plant mix of gypsum, Epsom salts, and Borax that I’m adopting. But as we progressed I forgot all about it and when I realized that I told Alan “Any job worth doing is worth doing right” and we then backtracked, removed the drip tape, and started over. Like I’ve mentioned before, every year I must relearn what I learned the year before, and it can be frustrating to repeat old mistakes. But we got it done. Today I plan on planting the onions.

They put the drilling rig up across the highway yesterday. I knew it was coming soon. It’s a different kind of rig from the others I’ve seen, presumably a more modern one. It is certainly quieter than some of the others that have set up near here and that’s good because this is the closest one yet, only fifty yards or so away from our property line.

Alan just called. He was at the bank and I forgot to sign his paycheck. Nuts. He is going to check and see if I signed Mike’s check too and run out here so I can correct this moment of vacancy.

All the responses I’ve gotten on the truck and trailer so far are from idiots. Seems that you can make money by getting people to click on links so these dips are replying with statements like “Why are you selling so cheap?”, or “is it still for sale?” and when I reply I get a response designed to entice me to click a link. You know, it’s discouraging to see how much deceit is out there now. I was always an easy mark, someone who trusted or believed what others told me. Alan is the same way and has been taken for over a hundred grand in addition to being sold a piece of crap car recently. Now I’m learning that someone who had deigned to be helping us is instead trying to take advantage of us and possibly screw us out of a lot of money. So who can I trust? They smile and tell me how they care but inside they seek to take advantage of us. I was just reading in Job chapter 24 to 27 and see that things haven’t changed much in several thousand years. And Jesus warned us as well, many times, telling that in the last days there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking to devour and take advantage of the weak.

Alan and I went and got a load of telephone poles yesterday. Fortunately they had forgotten to unload the chain saw when we went to Odessa because the poles were too long for the trailer. I cut them in half and that made it manageable. We can get a bunch more and they will be invaluable as with them I can build barns and many other structures as we carve this farm out of the desert.

There’s work to do, always, so I’ve got to go. The pain level is up there but fortunately I have the medication that makes it bearable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blessed to only have it this bad.

This is the neck brace I had when I broke my neck and sustained a brain injury in 1981. The drastic personality change I went through was the reason we got divorced, that and the meddling of lots of people.

9:00 - This is an exceptionally rough morning. Having a major slowdown/petite seizure. Still pushing through best I can. Put for sale sign on the truck and parked it by the road. Look at other things I need to do and just get confused. Will pick a task and do it. There are plants we bought to plant. Some of them dried up so I watered them. It’s windy and cold this morning. The winds blew lots of sand into the protective barriers we built. Hope it won’t hurt the trees. Nothing is easy out here.

1:20 - I’m still slow. Haven’t had it this bad in a long time. Called Cherie to check on something and she could hear it in my voice. Wish I could wave a wand and make it go away. But it doesn’t work like that. So I’ll pray and see. It’s so frustrating. Even thinking of what to write is hard. It’s as if I am drunk but even drunks can think fast. Alan called and asked if I would like him to come out and help. Told him no. Don’t like people seeing me like this. Besides if I have a hard time deciding what to do how can I decide what I need him to do. He’d probably help me figure it out. This sucks. But to look on a bright side, there was a time that everyday was like this, all day long, only way worse. So I am blessed to only have it this bad occasionally.

Suppose this is the way to celebrate Brain Injury Month, Whoopee!!! YeeHaa!!! Am I having fun yet?
Carman kitty just jumped into my lap. Rascal and Trixie are staying close. Gracie cat is on the head of the chair. Animals can tell when things are wrong. I know a professor in Toledo, a fellow TBI survivor, who has a dog trained to detect his seizures.

Traumatic brain injuries treated in Big Spring

Traumatic Brain Injuries Treated in Big Spring

Traumatic Brain Injuries Treated in Big Spring (2-16-10)

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - For soldiers returning home from war, traumatic brain injuries have become an all too familiar problem.

That means the Veterans Affair hospitals have to change their tactics when it comes to treating veterans and the Big Spring VA Hospital is no different.

"But they did some emergency surgery, saved my life, I was with in 15 minutes of dying out there," Glenn McGraw.

35-year-old Glenn McGraw has fought on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan but while he was preparing to go back to the Middle East that a blow to his head during combat training changed his life forever.

"Immediately, I couldn't figure out what was going on, dizzy, like my special stuff was off,"

In 2007, McGraw suffered a massive brain injury, something that's becoming more and more common in the military.

"A sudden impact, then suddenly the brain is propelled against a hard object which is the inter-surface of the skull and it can be side to side or back and forth. So basically it impacts or bruised the brain. It can be so severely that parts of it are fractured, but normally its just bruised bleeding that's involved usually when you have an impact," VA Nurse Practitioner, Lee White, said.

Brain injuries on the battlefield have been around forever, but modern medicine means more soldiers are making it home and seeking care at facilities like the Big Spring VA hospital.

"World War II, Korea and Vietnam, we didn't have the special skills to get those soldiers home, many of them died in the field now. We have actual medical camps set up right their at the front line," White said.

Les White is a nurse practitioner at the Polytrauma Clinic at the VA. He says that because brain injuries can vary so greatly, there is no one size fits all approach for doctors. That is why the Big Spring VA tracks all of their patient's progress and helps guide them through their therapy.

"Its about 18 different symptoms that we look at and it depends on what constellation of symptoms that person has that would determine the treatment and the specialist they would need to go see," White said.

Symptoms of a major brain injury aren't always immediately visible sometime symptoms don't appear for hours or even days that was the case for McGraw.

"Once I was diagnosed, I started treatment, it really affected me more than I expected it to. My balance slightly off, I'd bump in to doors with my left shoulder. Frequently, memory is very difficult thing to remember," McGraw said.

Memory loss and loss of balance seems to be a common long term effects and doctors say they still have lots to learn about the condition.

"Basically, we are in process of learning. How to treat this brain injury, what we have to go on is past history and what we have done in the past is treating the brain injury based on the symptoms the person is presenting with," White said.

McGraw is currently back in school hoping to be a pastor, but his brain injury is always with him. He now keeps his life on a Palm Pilot to help him remember the simple things, most of us take for granted.

"I haven't stopped living my life, I have just adjusted things," McGraw said.

The good news is 95 percent of traumatic brain injuries are mild and soldiers usually recover within a year.

The remaining five percent go into more advanced testing and treatments. Unfortunately those numbers are growing. Doctors say in the last year, they treated 120 vets for brain injuries and they think that number will increase by 50 percent this year.

Taking up a cross

(Click to enlarge) I carved this while recovering from the accident that put me in a coma. A real life changing moment. God, in His love, does whatever it takes to get our attention, like a father disciplining his children no matter how much they rebel and try to ignore Him.

3/11/10 Thursday
It’s a chilly morning. Our funds for help have dried up so I told the guys not to come in and work. Had planned on selling the truck for that but need a truck and trailer to finish my obligation to tear down that barn. I think I’ll put it up for sale anyway and then will have to either borrow or rent a trailer to finish the job with. This morning the brain is not working terribly well so typing is a struggle. There are many questions I have, questions who’s answers I might not like. These have to do with spiritual things mostly, that and peoples hearts. There are some whom I know take delight in every hardship we have, but I am learning to let God take care of that.

We went to a Christian concert last night at the church. Unfortunately I could not understand the words, it was kind of garbled by the sound system. When I mentioned that to Cherie she said “Good, I thought it was just me”. The second group came on and things turned into a loud banging rock thing. It caused Cherie to have chest pains and I was unsettled too so we left. Gone are the days of rock and roll for me. I’ve gone to hundreds of concerts but my spirit craves that which settles my soul anymore, that which is soothing and more gentle.

It’s just me for now and there’s lots of work to do so I must get out there and get on it. It will be good because I can pray as I work and need to. I haven’t been getting up and praying early like I was. Because we aren’t burning wood to heat the house right now it’s pretty cold every morning so crawling out from under those warm covers is more of a challenge. What a parable of Christian life that can be, how we tend to choose or find that which is comfortable and avoid that which is not convenient or provides even minor discomfort. Jesus said, in Luke 9:23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”. So I need to be less comfortable and more willing to do what I know I need to do.

The scriptures also say in 2 Timothy 4 .1. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2. preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.
3. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings,
4. and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.
5. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.

I suppose that’s the scripture for the day. While I don’t have the guys here, whom with we always started the day out with a scripture and prayer, I need to do this anyway, on my own.

Have a good day folks, and think of God, who certainly thinks of you and knows your heart.
This is an exceptionally rough morning. Having a major slowdown/petite seizure. Still pushing through best I can. Put for sale sign on the truck and parked it by the road. Look at other things I need to do and just get confused. Will pick a task and do it. There are plants we bought to plant. Some of them dried up so I watered them. It’s windy and cold this morning. The winds blew lots of sand into the protective barriers we built. Hope it won’t hurt the trees. Nothing is easy out here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Brain Injury

3/10/10 Wednesday
I looked at the grant application information and am overwhelmed. Upon closer look I see that it is essentially for next year because the funds aren’t released till October. It is frustrating when I get confused and lost easy, forgetting what I just read or what else I had planned on doing. I could sure use some help getting organized, with both my thoughts and the many things I must do. For that matter just with filing and keeping up with addresses and different pieces of paper.

By the way folks, this is Brain Injury Awareness month!!! It is recognized by the VA and government in general. Here’s a link to the Military Health System, a part of the Department of Defense, site on brain injury and veteran’s issues.

It's blowing

3/10/10 Wednesday
It’s gonna be a windy day, the big West Texas kind of wind that carries away anything not nailed down. Plus it’s kind of cool and that makes the house cold due to the leaky windows so I’ll dress warm for sure. First thing I need to do is go out and make sure things are battened down so I don’t lose important things, or even unimportant things. I am anxious to build a barn/shed, something that we can use to store things in and keep equipment like the tractors out of the weather. Hopefully the material we’re scavenging from Odessa will work well for that.

So today will be an inside day and that is good. There are lots of things I need to do and haven’t gotten to because we’ve been working outside, plus the guys need some supervision in some tasks. Alan’s pretty good but doesn’t quite know what I have in mind and I seem to be limited in my ability to convey it.

The weather is a good thing because otherwise I wouldn’t be focusing on paperwork stuff I’ve been needing to do but neglected. Boy, you can sure hear it howling out there. Time to get to work.
Cherie and I started the day with reading from Roman’s chapter 8. That sure covers a lot of territory but ends with 8:37 in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39.neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
May you be blessed and have a good day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Someone broke into the widow's house

3/9/10 Tuesday
We got back from tearing down the barn in Odessa at 4:30. When I looked at the pictures I figured it was a one day job, but I figured wrong. At least I’m consistent when it comes to my ability to estimate how long it will take me to do something, consistently off. I suppose it’s one area where I’m an optimist because I constantly think I can do a job quicker, and often times better, than reality reveals. I took pictures of it with the phone but don’t know how to download them or anything else. It’s the first time I’ve taken pictures with the phone so it’s all new to me.

We managed to get all the tin, or steel, or whatever you call it, the old metal corrugated stuff, off of the frames. I took the generator I picked up at the Michigan auction to power my hand grinder/cut off tool with the thought of using it to cut the metal used for both the building frame and fencing but it isn’t angle iron like I thought. Nope, much more than that. We will need a cutting torch to dismantle it all and that will be a big job in and of itself. I saw a welding set up so asked the wife if her husband has a cutting torch and he does, but needs gas. They are going on vacation so will be gone a couple of weeks. Hopefully after that we will be able to finish the job. It would provide many of the building materials I need to build a barn.

I told the guys to take tomorrow off as it’s going to be another windy day and we’re about out of money so this will help stretch things out. I plan on selling the truck but need it and the trailer to finish my obligation to tear down the rest of the barn so will have to wait. Kind of a catch 22, need the truck to pay for help and need to pay for help to finish the job and plant the crops. I told the guys to watch and see how God provides. Don’t know where or how but He always takes care of our needs, not our wants. It gets exciting to watch.

I’m beat. Forgot to take my pain medication with me, along with not thinking to pack a lunch, so by the end of the day I was shuffling around again, not able to move fast or well because it hurt too much. But I kept going as best I could. Alan was thoughtful enough to throw my little fold out stool in the truck when we left. He’s been around enough to see how much I need it.

Called the widow. Today is normally the day I go to Midland, poop scoop, and visit her but I was in Odessa tearing down the barn. It seems that Sunday night, around 2:30 in the morning, her dogs woke her up barking. Someone was trying to get in through her back door so she called the police. He went around to the front door and actually got inside the house. She has her grandson staying as his marriage is failing so he was there and the police arrived just as the guy got in. Come to find out he had several warrants and was so drunk he didn’t remember how he got there. It was a relief to hear she didn’t get hurt and that the police got the guy. She decided not to press charges against the kid, who was 23 years old, telling me that he had plenty of problems as it was. The widow is a true Christian in how she lives her life. Odds are I would have not been so nice. But I’m learning and working on it.

Good night all. I’m gonna head to bed and call it a night.

Eating sand

3/9/10 Tuesday
Yesterday was a tough day, weather wise. I had the guys preparing garden plots for planting and bought some Sudan seed to plant as wind barriers around them. The wind wasn’t too bad at first but steadily picked up as the day went on. When they first put in the trees Alan had only placed the wind barriers on the south side to block the then prevailing winds because we were rushed to get all 60 trees planted. Our plans to complete the barriers later were moved up when the winds started coming out of the west. As I watched it whip the little seedlings around I realized that it had to be done now or I would lose them and thus waste the thousand plus dollar investment we had made so far.

As the wind increased it did what West Texas wind does, pick up sand. Alan and Mike haven’t really experienced this, at least not out here on the farm where there are plowed fields on all sides and nothing to block the wind. I had other things that needed to get done but this had turned into an immediate and urgent need so I grabbed a hammer and joined them building the barriers. They cut wood from the many fence sections we had been given as I hammered them into place around the trees. Seldom will I work in such an environment, with the sand blowing so aggressively, and I certainly don’t expect my employees to do what I won’t do. But they hung in there with me and in doing so increased my respect and appreciation for them. So we breathed and ate sand till the job got done. It always amazes me, after I spend time working in the sandy wind (as I often must do whether I like it or not) how much sand shows up in the bottom of the bathtub after I take a bath. It gets everywhere and this morning my eyes are still a little gritty with sand caking the corners of my eyes where it has been removed through the wonders of how our bodies are able to clean such contaminants.

When we got done I told the guys to call it a day and that I would go ahead and pay them for a full day despite quitting early. By this time I was done for anyway, with my pain level way up there. When I get to this level the paralysis on the right side becomes clearly evident and both Mike and Alan expressed concern. I explained that this was not unusual, just another part of my day. I tell them, and everyone the subject comes up with, that I consider these difficulties to be the price of my being alive, and that the pain and paralysis are a reminder to me of the consequences of decisions I made. The scriptures say that “a man reaps what he sows” and there’s no doubts about the truth of that. It is through the grace and mercy of God that I live. I know I have grated on some due to the loss of social skills caused by the traumatic brain injury, and due to the up front honesty I express, not hiding my true feelings. But I hope and pray that God will use that and me to open others eyes to themselves and that they learn to truly practice the love of Christ. Here’s the key to life, the key to pleasing God, and it’s pretty clearly spelled out. The problems come when people think they are pleasing God but in truth are deceiving themselves, but to God they are “Clanging cymbals” So read this from 1 Corinthians 13.1. If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2.If I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3.And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4.Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; 5.does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; 6.finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; 7.bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8.Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9.For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10.But when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. 11.When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12.For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13.Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
As the guys worked on creating these rows I was having them put compost in the grooves they made on the tops. But the wind was so strong it blew the compost away. Alan had spent a lot of time planting sudan seed and the wind blew the dirt covering the seeds and then the seeds away despite it being watered.

So I work to love my enemies and also those who choose not to practice what they preach, and pray for them all, that they find God if they don't know Him and if they do that they find a deeper walk with Him.

Be good y'all. We're going to Odessa to tear down a barn.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Off to a start

3/8/10 Monday
We are off to a start. Learned we had much less cash available than we thought so I let the guys know that unless things change I couldn’t guarantee work for them next week. So now we will look at selling the stock we inherited and will get the truck on the market as soon as possible. I must use it tomorrow along with the trailer for the livestock shelter we are tearing down. Selling the truck and trailer has been part of the plan anyway, it just became more important.

Started our morning with a scripture reading and prayer, as we try to always do. Today I read from Luke 6 starting at verse 20. Here it is;

20. Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.
21. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.
22. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake.
23. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
24. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.
25. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.
26. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27. "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28. bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
29. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.
30. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.
31. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
37. "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

These are words we’ve read many times, but it doesn’t matter how much you read them as they still carry the same weight. I told the guys that I still haven’t gotten to the point I live these principles out in every aspect of my life but at least have the comfort of knowing I’m better at it than I was a year ago. I’ve been poor, I’ve gone hungry, and I certainly know what it’s like to have men exclude me, revile me, and cast my name as evil. It’s sad that some of those who exclude me and have little, or perhaps nothing, good to say about me wear the “Christian” label. Sad not just to me but I am sure to Jesus as well, who died for us all that we might be not only free but examples to all the world. So I will love them, pray for them, and try again to reach out to them and ask for forgiveness for whatever it is they hold against me.

Time to go, there’s work to do.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Life here on the farm

3/6/10 Saturday
Time to catch up on life here at the farm and what God has been doing. Today I go for more of the Kairos prison ministry training in preparation to spend three days at one of the prison units talking to a select group of inmates. I’m excited and nervous about it. Not at all sure how well I will handle the stress and worried about having slowdowns while there. But I also know that with my history I can reach some who might otherwise be hard to reach. It is my belief that the only thing that has lasting value on this earth is the lives you touch so I will do this in accordance to that.

The guys got all the trees planted. They were astounded I had planted 90 of them by myself two years ago. Of course I didn’t do as good a job because I didn’t make the wire cages or put up the wood wind blocks, and that contributed to them not making it, that and drought and gophers. The trees cost about a hundred twenty dollars this time and between labor and hardware cloth I’ve got a little over a thousand dollars in getting them planted. We are so grateful that God has provided for us in this and look forward to His provision with the rest of the year. It won’t take long for the inheritance to be gone but it will be money well spent, laying foundations for this farm that will last. It is a great blessing for Alan and Mike, the new guy I just hired since Alan, to be able to work. Mike is 67 years old and also fresh out of prison so for him finding work would be a tough proposition. With me they found someone who has “been there” and has a deep understanding of the problems they face. When my funds run out I will regret greatly no longer being able to keep him employed despite the fact that I have plenty of work to be done. Mike understands that because I am careful to be up front and clear about things. Alan will be moving a mobile home to and living on the farm and instead of paying lot rent will do some work around here.

We’ll be tearing down what a lady called a “barn” Tuesday, providing the weather cooperates. It’s not really a barn but looks more like a livestock shelter but we can certainly use the parts around here. I was just telling Alan how we need to build a barn and Cherie found this on Craig’s list. More timely provision as far as I am concerned.

I went to the Kairos training today. Had to call Dave’s wife and ask where it was because, despite having been there two weeks ago, I couldn’t remember in the vaguest where the church was, or even what it’s name is. Nothing unusual about that, at least not for me. It’s a daily struggle I have, to remember things. Not like senior moments we all have and seem to have more often as we get older but serious memory loss like what church I went to, where it’s at, or even what it looks like. But I accept this as not only the consequences of the decisions I made but as the price of the gift of life I’ve been given.

Anyway, Kairos was a blessing. It’s great to see people from all kinds of different churches united for a cause. Catholics and Baptists sitting side by side and putting aside their differences, how refreshing that is. Plus ex convicts and businessmen fellowshipping and eating together without any judgmentalism at all. What a witness to the love of Christ that is and how pleasing to the Lord who died for us all I am sure it is. A far cry from the snide remarks I’ve had on this blog regarding who I am. It’s so good to find those who don’t just talk about Jesus but actually live it. Jesus quoted Isaiah 29.13 when He said “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men.” How I wish for them to return to the Lord in truth, how I pray for them.

Met a man at Kairos who manufactures bacteria. I know that sounds strange but here’s the deal, it’s bacteria that is used to clean up sewage waste spills and is also used in soil to enhance plants abilities to take up nutrients. He said it will help with the chloride build ups we have from the well water and will bring me some at the next Kairos meeting. Too cool, that’s a problem we’ve been worrying about and in fact have talked to extension agents and others about it.

It’s late and I’m tired so good night.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Gotta love it

3/4/10 Thursday
Don’t ya just love kids? Of course children, being children, do childish things. Sometimes they intend to hurt but I’ve got to laugh. On the Thursday Feb 25 post someone had checked the “Funny” box and I wondered in the comment section what someone thought was funny about the dream I have for this farm. Whomever it was responded quickly that if there was a goofy box he/she would have checked it, and of course they did it anonymously. So I was feeling pissy and expressed my thoughts regarding the cowardice of hiding when you throw stones and understand now that calling them a coward, though true, wasn’t a Christlike thing to do. So what do they do? They went down and checked the funny boxes for a bunch of posts. Cracked me right up. Go for it dude. By the way, (I hesitate to say this as whomever might spoil his/her pants) if you check on the little box that displays how many people come and look at the blog it will take you to Statcounter. Statcounter is a service I use which tracks EVERY visitor, tells me what pages they look at, how long they look, where they are from, and records their IP address. So the reality is that no one is anonymous. I just don’t care enough to go through all the names and figure out who it was, though their going through all the posts and checking funny boxes would make it easy. You’re just not that important to me. I’ve got a big God who knows everything about everyone and He takes care of us. So what do I have to worry about? Only myself. I’m the only person who can get in the way of God’s plans and I’m careful not to do it, though I’m sure I slow things down and don’t always help. But too “anonymous”, I love you and am praying for you, that God’s hand touch your life. Like it says in the bible, “If God is for us, who can be against us”

We’re going to tear down a barn, or perhaps livestock shelter would be more accurate, next Tuesday. That is way down in Crane county, near where Alan is buying the mobile home we’ll move onto the farm for him to live in. Things are progressing wonderfully now. What a relief after last year. That was a hard year as I battled serious depression and struggled to do anything, plus my father died. Cherie, seeing how hard it was for me began praying I get some help, and look what happened. Alan was put in my path as I obeyed a nagging urgency to follow through regarding getting involved with Stepping Stone Ministry. See how that works? See how God puts things together? All of the serious doubts I’ve had, concerning even the existence of God, are being put to rest. What a wonder this all is to me, what a wonder my life is since the time I woke from the coma.

So now we pray for forgiveness and reconciliation with those I’ve offended in Stanton, now we pray for God’s hand to touch any hardness of heart that exists there. Actually I really don’t know if anyone has hardened their heart, just presume so and in that I am wrong. When I reached out to someone regarding this it was a most curious conversation. As we talked the individual leaned back in his chair and clapped his shoes together as he looked right at me. I didn’t know if he had itchy feet or what but when he did it again I asked about it. He quoted a scripture found in Mathew 10:14 that says to “Shake the dust off your feet” referring to how people should, or at least are, expressing their rejection of us. This happened four times durring our conversation as he expressed, something. I’m not sure what. When I mentioned that this instruction that Jesus gave to His disciples was specific for those who did not receive and rejected them, it didn’t seem to matter. It says “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town”. We didn’t reject any contact, in fact we eagerly sought conversation and relationship with anyone, so how twisted it is to use that scripture as a justification for what has happened. The primary problem seems to be the journal I keep on the blog, the record I have of my thoughts and perceptions of what did or did not happen. In this journal you will find the joy and acceptance we found in Midland. How I wanted, and still want, to write good things of those few here in Stanton. How I desire to tell the world of the love of Jesus and acceptance found here, and it’s my hope to someday do so. But this journal is simply that, a record of what happens in our life, and to the best of my ability the truth with nothing made up. We have met plenty of good people here and have been wonderfully blessed with great relationships so don’t get me wrong.

What I know is that God takes no pleasure in any division in the body of Christ, that the mainstay of Christianity is summed up in this “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself”. Everything hinges on this so when there is discord it is definitely not what God desires and much of the teaching in the bible is specifically geared to resolving these things and encouraging people to get along and love one another. This is my desire and I was surprised at the resistance to accomplish it, or at least my perception of resistance. I don’t always see things as others do, but that’s why it’s good to talk, to clear the air.

The guys are working hard on the trees. It’s lunch time so I’ll take a break and then must work on the business plan information that UTPB asked for so they can proceed.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Blessings and confusion

3/3/10 Wednesday
There have been blessings and confusion the last few days. I reached out to someone seeking forgiveness and to make right hurts my words have caused and am puzzled by the response. Can’t write too much about it cause when I asked permission to do so was told “No way” and must respect that.

We met with friends of ours for dinner and came away with more questions than answers, due to the stimulation of the conversation that leads me to ponder many things. It’s a good thing, not bad.
Here's a picture of the wire cages we are building to protect the windbreak trees. It cost more to buy the hardware cloth used than the trees cost but after losing all 90 trees we planted before we hope it's money well spent.

Meantime we continue in the blessings God is providing. Alan will become a permanent part of this farm, Lord willing. Today I have another person from the Stepping Stone Ministry who has come out to work. We talked of God, I read a scripture, and we prayed. I shared the wonders of what God has and is doing in Cherie and my life and the new guy shared of his life too. It is good to help others, real good.

As I strive to please God, to live a life I cannot be ashamed of, this scripture in Mathew 25 comes to mind. It’s about Doing, not just talking.

34. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37. "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38. When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39. When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40. "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41. "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44. "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45. "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46. "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

As the guys were digging holes for the 60 trees they started aerial spraying of the fields next to us. NOT GOOD. The wind is blowing the poison right into us. I'm not happy at all and not sure if there is anything we can do. Right now I have a new strange taste in my mouth and suspect it is from the poison they are spraying.