Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blowing sand

4/26/11 Tuesday
Been out in the blowing sand, working to get the last 24 tomato plants in. I give!!! It’s gotten too bad to be out in it. Right now visibility is just one light pole away. Can’t see the next one down. It’s coming in spurts, a big blast of wind and sand, followed with a few seconds of “It’s not too bad” but you can see the next wall of sand barreling towards you so you know it won’t last. I should be wearing goggles but even those don’t keep all the sand out of your eyes. So I give up. Besides I have a bad headache coming on and it’s two o’clock, the time of day I usually run out of steam and need to take a nap. It’s always frustrating for me to have a body and mind that operates like an 80 year olds in that it fatigues so easily. I’ve read this is common with brain injuries, and doesn’t go away, obviously as my injury was ten years ago, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

Took aspirin for the headache, a pain pill, the last one for the day as I’m only allowed two of these a day, and am laying down. Later we go to the widows house, where I plan in installing drip irrigation for the tomato plants I put in the ground for her yesterday. It’s always a blessing to go help her out. Cherie and I both enjoy spending time with her.

Falling asleep as I write this so guess it’s nap time whether I like it or not. Here’s a picture of how bad the sand is drifting up by our well. The whole road down to the well, a half mile away, is deep in sand and the truck almost got stuck. This sand is six feet away from the well and getting closer every day. Sure wish I had that front end loader that was on the Massey tractor we just sold, because it’s too much dirt to shovel by hand. Eventually God will provide another one, one that works.

The benifits of brain damage

4/23/11 Saturday
I’m watching the old classic movie, The Ten Commandments right now. Once again I can enjoy the benefits of losing my memory. Odds are that I have seen this movie before, perhaps even several times, but right now I am seeing it as if for the first time. There is nothing familiar about what I see, other than portions from the quick cuts that are often used to advertise it or perhaps shown to honor Charleston Hesston. So I know of the movie, but don’t recall ever seeing it, though the scene where death, like a fog, claims the first born seems familiar.

I’ve written of this phenomenon before, of not remembering movies I know I’ve seen before. The Wizard of Oz is one of them, a movie I saw as if for the first time when I was about 46 years old, two years after I woke from the coma. I was surprised to find that it was a musical. Cherie told me that one of our favorite movies, from our first marriage years ago, was Singing in the Rain. We’ve watched it a few times since we got back together and I still have a hard time remembering it each time though more of it is familiar with repeated viewings. But it’s a neat wonder, a strange and surprising benefit that comes with the brain injury. You got to look for the good in these things, find that which brings joy. It’s late now. I haven’t been doing good at completing posts lately. Working harder on the farm and with that comes a higher level of pain.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Some how, some way

4/22/11 Friday
Found a place that sells drip irrigation stuff a lot cheaper than Lowes and the other stores I’ve been getting it. They are still more expensive than buying online but I don’t have time to wait two weeks for an order to arrive. Busted my butt working on getting the last 100 tomato plants in the ground, but still didn’t finish. Lots of composted manure, straight horse manure, and worm castings to shovel and move. This is the first time I got into the worm stuff. When I opened the door on one of the refrigerators I have lying flat on the ground, full of composting table scraps and worms, I was surprised to see a mouse in the midst of giving birth. They’d found a way inside and had even been pulling insulation out of the sides to make their nest.

Pain level is predictably higher. Pushing a wheelbarrow full of wet dirt and compost through the sand that has blown in requires major effort. Had me huffing and puffing for sure. There is lots of sand that has blown in this year. Having no rain for six months, going on seven, just added to the blowing sand. There are some areas that are a good three feet higher than they were last year. I don’t have what it takes physically to move that much sand. That’s why losing the tractor with the front end loader was such a detriment. Always lots of earth to move and now I must do it by hand with a shovel and wheelbarrow. We are praying and depending on God constantly so you watch, He’ll provide some how, some way.

It’s going to be a hot day so I need to get to work early while it’s still cool. Need to run to Midland and by some more of the cheap connectors used with the drip irrigation. It’ll cost me $12 in gas to make the forty mile round trip to buy five dollars worth of connectors. It would be nice to find a place in Stanton that sold that stuff.

Time’s a wastin so got to go.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

God's provision

4/20/11 Wednesday
That’s as far as I got Monday. Never finished writing about the Kairos event in Lamesa. It was a marvelous time where we could see God move in the hearts of those many would have considered beyond being able to be touched. At least 4 people gave their lives to Christ and many others rededicated their lives, turning away from old lifestyles to a new one.

I am tired right now. Beat and struggling to focus so as to write this and not fall asleep. Just got back from picking up my medications from the VA in Big Spring. These new meds are of a type that can’t be mailed and must be picked up.

Earlier today I picked up Tye, the new resident at Stepping Stone halfway house that is working for me, and we finished the tree job we started yesterday. Saw Bill there, because his neighbor saw me cutting down Bill’s trees and thus I got this second job, so we were next door. Told Bill all about how God had provided for us through his asking me to cut down his trees. “These boots I’m wearing were made possible through the money I earned cutting down your trees. Thank you for that.” I told him. Now, through that, I have this second job, and the money earned will allow me to replace the fuel pump on the tractor, among other things. I explained how God always provides for us, just enough, just in time.
There's the Massey, being hauled away. I sure could make use of the front end loader, but we have bills to pay.

Guess what!!! It happened again. We had just gotten back to the farm with the tree logs from the job when I heard the dogs barking like crazy, as they always do when someone new drives in. It was a dually with a thirty of so foot gooseneck trailer and four guys in it. They got out, I put Rascal and Trixie in the house, and went up to see what they wanted to talk about, figuring they wanted to ask about the diesel truck and trailer we have a for sale sign in. Was surprised to hear them ask about the Massey Ferguson tractor. It’s been broken down and sitting out back for two years now and was the last thing I figured someone would be interested in. I explained the transmission had broken and it’d been parked for a while, but they were still interested. They looked and asked questions so finally the tall guy said “How much do you want for it?”. I said “twelve hundred” doubting they’d want it. “Would you take a thousand cash?” he replied. After thinking about ten seconds I said yes and we had a deal. We’d been taken to the cleaners when we bought it, lied to and deceived, and thus paid way more than the thousand, but it was broken and I couldn’t afford to even fix it so it was a blessing. Cherie has just lost her job and we’re scratching to make ends meet but this is how it works around here. God takes care of us.

I am fighting to not fall asleep. We have church tonight and I want to make it. Cherie’s at a job interview so maybe I’ll turn on the news, that will be on in six minutes, and accidentally take a nap.

Another Kairos

4/18/11 Monday
Boy, I’m tired. Thursday I headed out for Lamesa, where we were having a 4 day Kairos event at the Smith prison unit. I’d never done one here before, only have been involved with Kairos down in Fort Stockton, where I’ve participated in two event so far. Fort Stockton is something like a two and a half hour drive away so the hour drive to Lamesa was nice in comparison. Before I headed to Lamesa I pushed to get the tomato plants in but only got about half of them planted. Here I was thinking I’d bought about a hundred tomato plants and come to find out it was two hundred and twenty five of them. I do a lot better these days, when it comes to the issues that come with the brain injury, but every now and then there are these little surprises that show up. I went out to buy a hundred plants, thought I bought a hundred plants, knew there were twenty five plants to a flat, and knew I bought nine flats, but somewhere in the process it didn’t quite compute in my brain. I get surprised by myself on a regular basis.

They had changed the location where we were to meet but being the new guy meant I was not in the loop and informed of that. Fortunately someone at the Methodist Church was aware of where the group had been moved to and was able to give me directions. I was a few minutes late but there was plenty of time to spare so I didn’t miss anything. This whole thing had come up with a conversation I had with Randy at the church we attend, when he mentioned they might be shorthanded. I said I’d be glad to help out and a few days before it began I got a call from the guy in charge, asking if I’d like to go. “Sure” I replied and he gave me the info on where and when to meet, along with asking if I’d do one of the talks. So I’d never met any of them, thus we were all strangers to each other. But I was welcomed in and soon began to make friends.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Building up, or tearing down?

Smoke from grass fires

4/11/11 Monday
Another week starts. The wind still blows along with the sand it eternally moves around. There was a cold front that came through so it’s a chilly day. I have to stop getting distracted by this internet game I started playing as a way of communicating with my youngest son. Now it’s a time waster and I don’t have time to waste. Still communicate a little through the Farmville game but not through this one.

So much work to do. Cherie helped by making a list for me and I’ve added to that list. Really need to get organized. The world is going downhill fast and it will be biting us soon enough. Probably a lot sooner than most people think. There’s a fire coming folks, a fire that will burn everything that can burn. All mans works will be tested. What can be shaken will be and only those things built on firm foundations will remain. The need and urgency to get this farm going, to put in greenhouses and a rainwater harvesting system, increases every day. With that we see a dramatic increase in self deception, in those who think they are doing fine but aren’t. It always amazes me how blind people can be to themselves, totally unaware of their sin, but it makes me wonder about myself too. Am I blind to things I am doing? There are times I’ve hardened my heart and persisted in an action, knowing it was wrong but determined to continue in it. This is a dangerous place to be. Really dangerous. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of that way is death. That’s a proverb but for some reason the internet bible study tool I use to look up scriptures isn’t working so I can’t say where it is found.
You can see the many types of pepper plants I put in yesterday.

We know someone who quoted “The eye is a window to the soul” as a bible verse but I searched the entire bible, every sentence that uses the word eye, and found it isn’t there. She thinks it is and feels it justifies her “Ability” to look in someone’s eyes and make judgments about who they are and what their faults are. We pray and fear for her, for this haughtiness, this prideful looking for the faults in others, with the ensuing judgments, tears at God’s heart and is so opposite of how He desires for us to live. Plus, when you think you can, and have the right to, look at someone and determine their inner soul and thoughts, you are playing with the occult and opening yourself up to deception. Only God knows the secrets of the heart, and He knows them well. In Mathew 6 Jesus said “22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Here you can see how sand has gathered over and covered some of the soaker hose I have out with the hope of getting some of the Bermuda grass seed to grow. Won't be long you can't see it at all
This doesn’t indicate that we can look into someone’s eyes and see their innermost thoughts, in fact it talks about just the opposite. What you look at, and how you look, determines what’s inside you. There’s a scripture that describes people who’s “Eyes are full of lust” and tells of how that will bring destruction. I can spend my time looking for others faults, instead of looking for what’s good in them, and what I choose to look for, along with why I look for it, fills me with either light or darkness. Thus the eyes are a lamp to the body. Ask yourself, are you spending your time building up, or tearing down, with what you choose to see and the words that ensue.

Nuff said. Too much to do to write so bye

Always just enough, just in time

(Click to enlarge) This is smoke from a grass fire 25 miles away. You can just barely make out the sun through the smoke

4/10/11 Sunday
3:41 – I’m in for a pain break. Planted the rest of the pepper plants we bought after completing putting the drip irrigation that goes to each plant together. The money earned cutting down those trees has allowed me to buy the parts needed for the irrigation system, a badly needed pair of boots (The old ones have a three inch long tear where the leather meets the sole) and three pairs of work jeans. Jeans and boots don’t last a year with me before they are torn and worn through. It’s tight but we are always blessed with just enough, just in time, and thus it was with this chance to earn some money cutting down trees. The guy next door to where I cut the trees down asked if I could cut six of his trees down as well. I gave him a price, he talked to his wife, so I now have an opportunity to earn some more cash. This time I’ll run over to the Stepping Stone ministry and see if any of the guys would like to work with me on this job. That will save me a lot of severe pain and it would allow me to help them out a little too. With the money earned I hope to hire one of them to help me around the farm some. There is always more to do than I can keep up with, especially with these physical limitations I must overcome.

Church was interesting. That’s about all I can say right now. There were some new people who came in, and that’s always a good thing. We pray a lot for the church and the leadership these days. I talked with Cherie about it, ministered to her some and explained why I am there, and why I must stay till God releases me from that. She stayed home this morning because we have a house full of sand from the several days of blowing wind and sand that drives this red dust into every nook and cranny. Yesterday the wind came out of the south so that meant the office got hit especially hard.

I talked to the VA pharmacist about my medication and he said it definitely needs to be adjusted so I went to set up an appointment with my new doctor. It seems I no longer have that new doctor. Saw her once and that was it. The appointment guy said that because I have a new doctor I can’t get in till the end of May, about two months. I figured he was talking about the new doctor I had just seen but when I looked at the appointment sheet yesterday I saw it was a completely different clinic and doctor. Nuts. What Gives? Tomorrow I plan on calling the VA and see if I can get any answers for why this is. Meantime I have this medication that needs to be adjusted and no one to adjust it. Not good.

I was approved to participate at a Kairos ministry that goes to a different prison so that one starts next week. There’s no way we can bake the 42 dozen cookies needed for that but I think they understand that. We’ll have to work hard to cook 42 dozen cookies for the Kairos that comes at the end of the month. Many of the participants pay to have someone, like Stepping Stone Ministries, bake their cookies for them. We can’t afford that but do the best we can. I also have 42 letters to write the inmates and that will be a stretch to get done for this new Kairos I’ll be attending next weekend. Y’all pray for us, Ok?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Ended a rough day

7:00 – It ended up being a rough day. Am having a slow down. Haven’t had one in a long time and this one is unusually bad. Talking is hard to do. Just typing this is hard to do. Got a headache too. Accidentally deleted a whole page of emails. Mixed the drywall mud wrong and lost the whole batch. It was last of it so that ended my working on closet. Hoped to finish it today. Took plants into garage in case it freezes. Calling it a day now. Normally would be out working till dark but not now. Making more mistakes than doing things right. Never made it to the jail or even to get mail. Frustrating to lose this much of a day. But I’m blessed.

Pray for someone in a coma.

First rose of the year. Put a smile on Cherie's face

4/4/11 Monday
We had the window open last night, when the front blew in. It was, I don’t know, maybe three in the morning or something when it hit. Woke us both up right away and despite hurrying to get the window closed we still ended up with a bedroom full of sand. I’m full of sand anyway from working out in the wind yesterday, putting in drip irrigation where we plan on putting tomatoes and other vine type of plants. With the cold front temperatures plummeted, from a high of 97 degrees yesterday to a forecast of only 66 degrees at the warmest today. There’s a chance of a freeze tonight so I’ll have to bring in the plants we bought Saturday. Glad I didn’t get them planted yet.

There is always much on my mind, but these days I can’t share it all till things run their full course. Then I will tell of what God is doing. I’m praying and believing that it will be good news of good overcoming bad, but that depends on the choices someone makes. We all have that right, that privilege, of being able to choose our course in life. And we all reap what we sow so if we choose wrong there is a price to pay, and if we choose right there is a reward to come. Sometimes that reward is evidenced right away but ultimately the grand reward is what we receive on judgment day. I met with a brother for lunch Friday and part of what we discussed was the scripture that talks about laying up treasures in heaven, where moths and rust can not destroy it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily struggle of living, and in the ambition to improve your lot in life, that we lose sight of such long term goals without the immediate rewards.

This will be a good day to work indoors. The plants will have to wait. I’ll water them and try to protect them from the wind till they get put in the ground tomorrow. I’ll “mud” the walls around the edge protectors I put up recently, and then paint them. Got the shelves all cut and painted, and you can see the “Thingies” (A Cherie word used to describe what you don’t know the proper term for) that the shelves will rest on. Gee, one of these days I might actually know what I’m doing. Every day I learn more and these days what I learn sticks around in my brain better.
Here's part of the drip irrigation stuff I'm putting together, in the house where it's not blowing sand.

It’s so nice to see how my brain continues to heal. I still have to relearn what I’ve learned before but it’s not as bad. There was a time where every day was a “new” day, in the sense that I had to start out learning what day it was and learning what I’d learned the day before, so in a way it was starting out with a blank slate every day. It’s great to wake up and know it’s Monday, or whatever day it is, and not have to figure out where I was. If you read back in the early parts of this journal you can see how far I’ve come. I remember (Which in and of itself is a wonder) after Cherie and I got back together, waking up and wondering where I was at, what was this strange apartment, and how did I get here. I literally wandered for several years in that state of constant confusion. How blessed I am, and how grateful for life I remain. I intend to always maintain that gratefulness, to always be reminded of how fragile life is and of how God’s mercy has given me the chance to do things over again, to have a “Do Over” opportunity that most don’t get. Not many are raised from the dead, like I was. I was dead spiritually and physically declared dead at the scene of the accident.

Once I get the mudding thing done I’ll start working on income taxes while it dries. Then I’ll paint it and put the shelves up. After that I’ll install the fold out doors we bought for this. Been putting doing taxes off and can’t keep doing that. Got another tree job today. A lot easier one than I did before. Don’t have to climb or do anything risky. Just drop the trees, cut them up to pieces I can move, load them up and be gone. Planning on doing that Thursday. We could sure use the money. I need to fix or get a new fuel pump for the tractor. Nate said something about putting a new diaphragm in it but I am clueless on how that’s done or where to get one. It’s time to get the tractor running.

That’s it for now. I like to spend two to four hours praying and studying the bible every day but can’t always make the time for it when there is so much to do. Need to visit the Stanton jail and see if the 19 year old who was quarantined because he tried to escape is allowed to see the visiting preacher (that’s me). They wouldn’t let me talk to him last time so we’ll see. He’s the same age I was when I got sent to prison in 1975.

Had to reset my password. Lost all that when this old laptop unplugged itself again. Without the battery working that dumps all the info and this time affected the saved stuff like passwords. Just saw a comment from someone who's relative just sustained a brain injury here in Midland and is in a coma. Will contact them and see how I can help. Pray for her with me. Hadn't looked at this blog or comments since last Tuesday. Time sure can fly some weeks.