Friday, May 27, 2011


5/27/11 Friday
It’s going to be a 104 plus degree day today. Tomorrow is forecast to hit 106. Worked till the sun went down again yesterday, pushing to get more seed in the ground. Now I’m wondering how this intense heat will affect the seeds I place in the ground, for surface ground temperatures will exceed the air temps, where the sun beats on the ground. Am rushing to get outside this morning so heres some pics

2:00 – I’m in for a break. Boy is it hot. Nothing like a hundred degree wind to suck all the moisture out of you. I know I was sweating but my shirt remained dry. Now that I’m inside, in front of a fan, the shirt is wet, for out there my sweat evaporated before it could get the shirt wet. But it did leave behind salt deposits that are visible.

Oh well. I got sugar snap peas and bush beans planted, in addition to the okra I planted last week. Not nearly as much as I hoped to have in the ground by this time. With God’s grace I’ll get melons planted today. We’ll see. Man, as soon as I come in, slug down a glass of tea, and lay down to let the pain die down, I almost fall asleep. Just tired like it’s the middle of the night. Part of that is the fatigue that goes with the brain injury. Read a statement by Bob Woodward, the network news anchor, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while reporting from Iraq. In it he discussed the issues that come with the brain injury and one of them was this fatigue. He was frustrated that he could no longer put in 18 hour days like before. I sure know what he’s talking about there.

Anyway, I’ll try to stay awake. Cherie found a buyer for the two display cases we have so I loaded them on the truck and she’s delivering them while she runs into town to do laundry. With no income at all every little bit helps. She starts school next week. Can’t remember how long the class is.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chased in by the wind

This is a dust devil on steroids. Sucked the hat off my head despite it being tied with a strap under my chin. Just the start of what turned into a serious sand storm

5/24/11 Tuesday
Cherie’s jury duty didn’t happen. She went in and told me that half of Stanton was there, about 300 people were packed into the courthouse. The two guys who were to be tried were brought into the courtroom for the start of juries being picked. They looked at the crowd and both of them decided to plead guilty, so that was that. Worked out well for we didn’t know how long this would take, one day, one week, ??? Who knows, so it was a relief to not be tied up with the jury duty.

I got out early this morning to work on the farm. Knew it was going to be pretty warm later and wanted to beat the heat. Worked yesterday till it was too dark to see. Things were progressing well till after I stopped to eat lunch. I went back out and started digging trenches to lay the drip tape in but it wasn’t long before the wind kicked up. With the wind comes sand so I put one of the dust masks that Cherie bought for that purpose on. It didn’t take long for things to turn into a major sand storm. Right now I can’t see farther than fifty yards out the window and on occasion that is reduced to about twenty feet. Way too much to work in. The dust mask doesn’t make a difference when your getting your eyes full of sand. So I’m done working outside. That means I finally get a chance to write in my journal.

It’s always a blessing to be able to go into the prisons. There are so many lives there, lives that have been wrecked by drugs, drinking, and all that goes along with those vices. But in the midst of that pain and misery we find bright lights of hope shining in the darkness, and hear wonderful tales of hope and redemption. That is the power and gift of God, to restore what has been lost, to make good out of evil. It’s a story I relate well to, for it’s the story of my life as well. I’m sitting now with my wife, watching as she works on making a quilt. She is my first and third wife, evidence of the power of God to fix what has been broken. To be able to share that power and the love of God is wonderful, kind of like passing on the blessings we have received. With that comes a responsibility though, and we share the burdens with these men, the burdens they carry with them in those prisons, and try our best to help them with that.
When I took this picture you could see the tree. Moments earlier it was not visible due to the sand.

I’ve met some marvelous people in prison. One is working on his PhD in theology, having already got his masters degree. Two weeks ago I met a man who is memorizing the bible. That sounds like quite a feat in and of itself, but when I learned that he just learned how to read recently and is still going to school to learn more it blew me away. He paid people to read the bible to him for years in order to memorize it. Talking with the man is quite unusual as he quotes whole paragraphs from the bible as part of his conversation.

But there is so much more, so much I can’t share. Hopes and fears, questions, sorrows, losses, gains, joy, pain, it’s all there, only amplified by the situations these men face. For us to be there and help in any small way we can, is a privilege. When these men in the prison ask me “How are you doing” while I’m there with them, I honestly say “I’m in prison with you, so I’m doing fine”. They like that and I mean that. I am grateful for the help of others who make it possible to be there. There are fees and costs with the Kairos prison ministry that we simply can’t afford, but God consistently brings forth people who help defray those costs. I never have asked anyone for that but it still happens out of the blue. There are some who seem less than excited about this ministry but I hope to help them understand better the heart of God regarding the those whom society thinks the least of.

Time to go. I need to spend this time, when I’m unable to work outside, doing some writing and bible studies that has been put off for too long now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Short and incomplete

5/6/11 Friday
Seems like it should be Tuesday and it’s already Friday. I’ve been busy and guess that makes time fly by faster. Got another letter from the VA regarding our appeal of their devastating decision to collect from us the veteran’s pension funds I’d received for five years. It’s clear they have no desire to admit making any mistake and look rather for any reason to justify their actions, so the fight goes on. Meantime we suffer, and are exempted from all USDA programs for our farm, along with any other federal program we might apply for.
5/22/11 Sunday
Wow, I looked at the blog and saw that the last entry I made was May 4. In my busy days and the increased prison ministry activity I become unaware of other things, like keeping up my journal. In my mind, with the memory problems, I think I wrote in it just a few days ago, when it’s actually been closer to three weeks.

A thunderstorm that didn't get here. No rain that day.

5/23/11 Monday
Cherie has jury duty this morning. I intend to get out to work on the farm before it gets too hot so this will be short. Hope to fill in the last three weeks soon but history shows that when I go work hard, I hurt bad, and don’t seem to get much writing done, so we’ll see. Things are tight, Cherie will start school soon, so there is no income for the house. I’ve sent out feelers for side jobs with everyone I know but there have been no responses. We’ll trust in God and do the best we can.

What you see is the last entries I've made in my journal. All of them short and incomplete. Oh well, here's some pictures

Flower on our cactus

These lighted display cases are for sale. Best offer. We're selling a lot of stuff, or at least trying too.

Some of the sand dunes that have sprung up in many places as the drought continues. We did get enough rain to soak the top two inches of soil. Everything below that was bone dry and it's all evaporated away now.

The first thousand corn plants have come up and are surviving. Buddy is rushing to help me, as he always does.

Working hard to till while there was some moisture in the ground. This area will have black eyed peas, after I install the drip irrigation tape underground. Spent two days tilling every area we intend to plant. Will be lots of melons, okra, and other things

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

So much to catch up on

another neat mystery plant we found out in the corn field. Plan on transplanting it to where the roses are and seeing if it makes a good ground cover plant.

5/4/11 Wednesday
There is so much to catch up on. I will make the time to do so despite having a full schedule. It seems that there are many distractions lately, things that disrupt my time on this computer and take me away from things I need to do. I got involved in some facebook games to provide a means to communicate with my youngest son but they ended up being time burners and did little to open doors with him, so am eliminating them from my retinue.

Today is a chilly windy day. Been out chopping weeds for three days to prepare the area we will plant corn on. The seeds arrived a few days ago and we just got word that the strawberries and asparagus plants we ordered have been shipped so I must rush to prepare those areas for planting. All of the plants we put in so far seem to be struggling to survive. I suspect that is a result of the well water being so poor. Waiting on the latest test of the water to be finished. Took the sample in last week so it’s probably done now. I’ll need to remember and stop by the water board’s office and get it.

The refrigerator we had out in the garage stopped working a year ago. It is used to store seeds and the various chemicals we need for the farm. I still kept them stored in it despite it not working anymore because at least it kept the mice and rats from getting into them. Said a quiet prayer the other day, “God, we need a fridge that works” and the next day got an email from Freecycle. A lady in Big Spring is moving and giving away the fridge she had in the garage. I was the first caller to respond and thus got it. We went yesterday to pick it up. Made a ramp out of three two by sixes, along with a piece of plywood. Cherie and the lady helped me push it up the ramp onto the pickup. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to load it. After carefully driving home I proceeded to roll it down the ramp and two of the two by sixes broke under me, so I fell with the fridge falling with me. Got a bruise on the right leg, which being partially paralyzed is generally numb, so I couldn’t feel any pain. Anyway, we now have a fridge that works so our seeds should store longer and better.

The old fridge is now out with the other ones I use to raise worms in. Won’t be long before it too is full of composting manure and table scraps, and worms. Had to shovel away a lot of sand that had built up around the area before I could place it. There is lots of sand in lots of places that needs to be removed. I am not physically capable of doing all of that. Despite the stronger medications I still must come in and lay down till the pain level drops down to a manageable level.
If you look real hard, you can see the lawn mower that has almost become lost in the blowing sand.

With Cherie no longer working, we now have no source of income at all. We will sell all the stuff that has gathered in the back that we planned on selling anyway. There are old computers, printers, monitors, some furniture, along with a brand new rear end for a dragster that comes with a brake system, rotors, special axles, and other parts for it, all new in the box. I’ve been meaning to sell it for a while but never seem to get around to it. Now that Cherie’s home I’ll be able to get the help organizing and scheduling my day that I so desperately need. There are some other things to sell as well. Some we’ll put on E bay and some on Craigslist, I think. I’ll look for more side jobs that will help us pay the bills, and we will do what we’ve done since we moved to Texas, Trust in the Lord.

I’ve got some writing to do. There’s a letter I’ve been putting off for a while that God has made it clear must be done. I need to write about the Kairos week we just had and post it on the blog we created just for that. There are bible studies that have been neglected, then there are the books. The main one is the one that tells my story, that reveals the life I’ve led and the wonders of God’s hand in it, His mercy and grace where no mercy and grace is deserved. The other is the book on discord. It is basically a treatise on what the bible says regarding how we should all get along, and what happens when we choose not to.

Time to run in and check the mail so I’ll post this and get on my way.

Good to be home

5/2/11 Monday
It’s good to be home. Spent four days down in Fort Stockton, with the Kairos Prison ministry. What a blessing that always is, along with a reminder of the power of God to heal and restore life, in addition to renewing my awareness of the consequences of making wrong choices. Right now I’m in for a moment to lay down and let the back pain ease up before I get back out to work on the farm. I’m hoeing weeds in the area I plan on planting corn. It’s amazing how some of these weeds can grow despite there being no rain out here for going on seven months now. On top of that every weed provides a place for the wind blown sand to settle so they are all covered yet manage to overcome that too.

There has been lots of wind and sand lately and it has totally changed the landscape around here. Almost seems like a return of the dust bowl days. Perhaps we are in for such a disaster as statistically such events happen every fifty to a hundred years. Want to research the dust bowl days online when I get a chance. Fighting off a slowdown right now. Stayed amazingly sharp the entire time we were at Kairos, and I give credit for that to prayer and the grace of God.

Last Wednesday's entry, finally posted

4/27/11 Wednesday
It’s another windy day. This time it’s coming out of the north. Last night, at around midnight, the front blew in. Woke me up when suddenly, the curtains on the open window blew straight up as the wind reversed direction. I rushed to close the window so as to prevent the bedroom from filling with sand.

Now it’s cool. I had to get a flannel shirt on. Tried to go plant the remaining tomatoes but decided it would be a good time to write letters to the inmates at the prison I’ll be spending four days at. Leave for that tomorrow morning so would appreciate those of you who pray to lift us up. The wind’s still blowing but it’s warmed up some so I’m going to try and get those tomatoes planted.