Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing easy

7/31/14 Thursday
            In my busyness I forgot about this blog again. Had an email from the newspaper that showed someone had accessed an old post and a picture of Rascal when he was a puppy. They track who accesses things because our blog has a link from the papers website. Going back and reading the old posts from 2007 revealed how far I have come regarding the brain injury. At that time I was still having seizures and struggled to understand things or people. I still struggle to understand people and probably always will. What bothers me the most is how many wear their “I’m a Christian” label but seem to not understand what that means. So many have their “God in a box”, a box that fits who they want God to be and allows them to live any way they choose, justifying all the hypocrisy. They choose a god in the box that requires no personal sacrifice and little personal discipline, one that makes them happy and allows them to despise or ignore everything outside of their comfort zone.

            The seizures have been gone for years now. Praise God for that. It was sad to see Rascal as a little puppy right after we got him and Trixie, because he is gone now. The cancer that took him was a horrible experience but we loved him the best we could, making his last months as joyous as possible. We still miss him and so does his sister, Trixie. She hasn’t been the same since. But this is life. There is no life without death and often death brings life. As a follower of Christ I died to my old way of living and all the things that held me bound, but now I am set free, born again, and have a new life to live, one that hopefully shines a light in the darkness that surrounds us.

            Things are going slowly here. Nothing is easy and there are always problems to overcome. The Oasis project is a struggle. Now that I am no longer with A-1 we don’t have a source of income. I hoped to sell trucks we bought at auction but failed to take into account that people can go to a dealer and get financing. Had a few potential buyers ask if I would take payments and I did not want to get into that zoo because if they missed payments I would have to repo or go to court. So despite having good trucks at great prices we haven’t sold any. Someone broke the glass out of the driver’s door of the 2004 F150 we had at the Oasis store on the interstate. They rummaged through the glove compartment and did not take anything.

            So we sit on a potential gold mine with the Oasis store but are having a hard time buying food or gas for the vehicles. It is frustrating. Some have helped us a little with personal needs but the help I really need is to create a business of some kind. We are working with Midland College on a business plan. That is going slow because I still have a hard time organizing and following through on things. Had a friend suggest I get on disability because, to use his words “You are really disabled”. That disturbed me a lot. I sent him an email explaining that if I ever declared myself disabled that would close the door for any kind of a future so would not do so. He did not respond or answer my phone call. That too bothers me, how some of my brothers and sisters in Christ distance themselves because we are in need.

            That’s it for now. Lots to do. We had a rare rain last night so I must get some diesel fuel for the tractor and move dirt while it is wet. Once it dries it becomes hard as a rock. Will work on the cabin spaces at the store and must disc here on the farm. As always I will try to update this blog more often, but history shows I haven’t been good at that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Starting businesses and ministries

I'm digging up this old septic tank. It makes a good metaphor for parts of our life.

5/27/14 Tuesday
            Journaling is a habit I need to reestablish in my life. There are many things happening in our lives and it would be a good idea to keep a record of these events. I sacrificed much to help Harry and Lola at A-1. It brings great sadness to my heart to see how that failed. I told them in the beginning that theirs was a spiritual problem, not so much a business problem. Sure there are business problems but they are the fruit of deeper spiritual issues. I tried, even begged, to find a time they would agree to meet together with me and unite with a simple bible study. It never happened and evidently was not important to them. If it was they would have found some time in their life. At the end they were both screaming at me, calling me a hypocrite, fake Christian, proud, arrogant, and a whole list of things I don’t recall. What is profound in that is the day before I wrote them a letter and stated that, because it would be uncomfortable for them to acknowledge God brought me into their life to help, they would attack my faith. And they did.

            I know there are no accidents in my life, that God has a plan for us, so there are reasons we were placed in their life. One of those reasons I suspect is that the lessons learned will be part of one of the books I am to write. Another is that I believe many of the things Cherie and I have experienced since God restored our marriage are designed to train and prepare us for the future God has mapped out for us. There will be some hard times for sure and we will need all the faith and wisdom we can find.

            Work on the Oasis store is progressing slowly. Partly because I have to learn how to do things like plaster walls and relearn drywall repair. There were people I had lined up to provide labor but drugs and alcohol issues have caused them great personal harm. One went back to Nebraska, where he checked into a drug rehab program. That was good news. We had lost track of him and I got a phone call last week where he let me know he had realized he was in trouble so went back home and got help. That was an answer to prayer. The other person has fallen off the map and did not respond to text asking that he let us know how he is doing. Last I heard he was playing with meth, one of the really scary drugs out there.

            One of my big motivations for creating the Oasis is ministry. In fact that is my primary motivation. I have seen and experienced the destruction that comes with substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol or drugs. While at A-1 we had a steady stream of people coming in to work who had addiction issues. There were many who walked from the nearby Salvation Army center, where they stayed due to being homeless. I talked with them and told them about the love of God, how Jesus can set them free of all the things that have them bound. It always breaks your heart to watch people continue down a path that you know has an unhappy ending. You can try and try, throw them a hundred life savers, but it is always their choice in the end. For so many it is the “friends” the crowd they run with that continually entices them to fail and I hope to provide a place of safety, a place that provides direction and protection for them. I understand that many will still choose to not follow the right path but I hope to increase the percentages of those who will choose life over death.

            Stopped by A-1 today and dropped off another invoice for the $7500 in back pay they owe me. It is a sad thing to see the people I tried so hard to help still tied up in bitterness and a love for money that is not healthy. It was uncomfortable to say the least. Lola said “We already have a copy of this invoice” to which I replied that I would bring one by every week. I asked when they intended to pay this and she said they were talking about it, which means very little in reality. I had warned them last week that if there was no action at all I would turn this over to a collection agency. It is almost as if they think that if they ignore a problem it will go away. This is what has gotten them in trouble many times in the past and it cost them several businesses. They let  me know that they are making sure I could not access email and were bringing in an “expert” to provide some kind of internet security. I told them “I am not your enemy” and once again said that if they needed any help with anything to call me.

One of the suppliers they lost due to not paying the bill is Flash Furniture. Flash imports chairs and has really good prices. I had applied to become a  dealer for them in order to be able to sell chairs through A-1. That application was just approved so now that I am no longer working for A-1 we are starting our own chair business. I can get any kind of chair you want. Stacking, folding, church, office, leather, living room, and even Ashley designs. And I can get them at prices that are half of what you would pay in a store. If you need any chairs let me know.

            Still working to get details figured out on the Oasis project. There is much to do for sure. Getting things in order for investors so I am sure I do it all the correct way. I don’t have a background or education for that end of things. Then there are designs for septic systems, cabins, landscaping, and all kinds of things. You can check out that project at Oasis

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A rare event, rain

5/8/14 Thursday
            We had a rare event last night, rain. Not sure how much rain we got but my guess is about a half inch or more. The puddle out in the driveway is pretty big and that is our indicator. The rain gauges I had bought did not hold up to the West Texas weather. Anything plastic does not survive long in this sun and the glass gauge came with a mount that did not hold up in the winds so fell over and broke. This is the first real rain we have had this year. There was some snow early in the year and some light sprinkles that would dampen the top half inch of soil and be evaporated by noon. So I will need to fire up the tractor and disc where I can while the soil is moist and pliable. It will clump up and thus resist blowing away where if I had disced while it was dry all I would do is create loose sand that will blow away. The weeds will spring up with a vengeance now so that will require attention.

            Today I will continue to work on building ramps for Geneva. Not sure what I am doing but will try anyway because she needs them. Took hours to dig out the table saw. My garage has been a repository for stuff for over a year now. The time I devoted to A-1 took so much out of me that by the time I came home there was no energy left and my pain level was often so high it required me to lay down. Now I have lots of catching up to do. This farm has basically sat untouched for a year and now there is much to do in order to plant the melons I hope to get in the ground. Add to that the tremendous amount of work that needs to be done at the Oasis Store project and I have a full plate for sure. Where in there can I find a way to earn a living? To pay the bills? The Oasis will eventually provide that income but the path there will be hard so there will be some big sacrifices required to get there. While I write this the words of a “friend” rise up to bother me. When I had reached out he said I helped him understand Proverbs 26.4 where it says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him. 5 Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes”. He proceeded to unfriend me on facebook but still asks, with what appears to be sincerity, “How are you doing Bob?” and is apparently unaware or unconcerned about how deeply he cut me. I’ve learned to smile and keep going, depending on God, not man. Sure I can use lots of help, simple advice and a word of encouragement go far in days like these. I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding. I know that if I acknowledge God in all my ways He will direct my path.

            Meantime there is still the books to write. That too has been neglected. Seems that I put my whole life on hold to help the owners of A-1 only to be yelled and screamed at in appreciation, along with losing seven or eight thousand dollars in the back pay I sacrificed to insure they paid their bills. Bills that they did not pay anyway. Actually this chapter of our life will also be a chapter in one of the  books so perhaps that is what God had in mind. That book will be titled  “Do You Really Believe?” and discusses our faith, comparing what I see in American churches versus what the bible says and what we find in other parts of the world, where Christians are killed daily for believing that Jesus died for their sins.

            I need to get out working while it is still nice and cool. Every day there is a big to do list and every day I don’t get it all done. Bye now and we appreciate your prayers.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Unemployed? Nah, I work for the King

5/6/14 Tuesday
            Now that I am “unemployed” I don’t have enough time to do all the things that need to be done. God is great and the path He has for us is seldom easy. Wow! There is so much going on and so much I need to say but little time to even write about it. I just returned from four days of ministry with the Kairos team that went to the Lynaugh prison in Fort Stockton. It is always an honor and privilege to be allowed to serve God anywhere but going to prison is a special time for me because I once was a prisoner in Texas and wore the white uniform they are required to wear. There was a time that I would have never imagined I would be happy to “go to prison” but now it is a joy and a pleasure. There I can give back, take all the bad things I’ve done and experienced in life and use them for good. Plus having “been there and done that” gives me a special bond with the guys and an ability to minister in ways others can’t. I can relate and understand things that are hard for others to comprehend.

            Today I need to make ramps for the widow we serve. Geneva has lost the ability to walk due to a variety of medical things that all attacked her at the same time period. There was a stroke, possible heart attack, allergic reaction to medication, infections, and who knows what else. Please pray for her. She is one of the sweetest people we know and has spent a life helping others, giving of herself sacrificially. God put her in our life years ago when someone said she may have some firewood we could use. I found out she needed lots of help with things like her lawn and fix it stuff around the house, plus she was lonely and would dearly love someone to visit and talk with her. Knowing God orchestrates what seems like chance meetings I understood that He meant for us to be a part of her life.

            The pack rats have done extensive damage to the one pick up we have that still ran. It doesn’t run now and I can’t get it to start. Opened the hood to find this nest. We had put a new flywheel in it along with replacing the starter several times because the bolts holding the starter bend and break. Sounds like that happened again so I must crawl under it to see what is going on. The other two trucks have bad transmissions and my attempts to get a replacement transmission from Ohio, where they cost dramatically less, have not worked out. Seems like the enemy is always there to block our efforts and get in the way.


 This cute baby bunny was there at the store when I was working on painting the signs we put up. It's about the size of my hand.

       God has provided that old store on the interstate we have been praying about for seven or so years now. But it needs lots of work. I need to take a ladder down there so I can fix the roof and do some other stuff but without a truck am unable to do that. Can’t tie a ten foot ladder on the roof of a Toyota Camry. So much of the work I need to do requires a truck so we will pray for God’s provision. Fact is folks that God has placed us in a position that will require a lot of faith. We have no source of income at the moment so no way to pay the bills or buy food. But you watch and see what God does. When all is said and done we won’t be able to say “Look what we did” but will have to say “LOOK WHAT GOD DID”. It’s all about God folks and in these last days we need to better understand that. All of this petty “My idea is better than your idea” stuff needs to go. All of the pride we have needs to be thrown out with the rest of the garbage, because until we humble ourselves before the living God He is unable to use us.

            What are the plans we have for that old store? We want to create a place of ministry that reaches out to all the people who are looked down on and not accepted by the religious people who think they are better than these others. We are looking at some programs that are bible based AA types of outreach, that strive to help people get free of alcohol, drug, and other addictions. Some of them cost money and one requires that the leaders attend training classes so we will do a lot of praying and looking to figure out which will fit best. We may seek some support from area churches for that. This is all new to me, as so much of life has been since I woke from the coma. But I hope to surround myself with good people whose advice I can trust to lead and guide our efforts.

            The other thing we hope to do with that old store is turn it into a new store, a source of income that will provide for our needs as well as helping others who need to find work in a safe environment. Shoot, sitting on the interstate directly at an exit, with an entrance back on the highway a hundred or so feet away, I can make good money selling water and ice. So there is huge potential there but that will have to be another God thing. We don’t have any money or any credit, had been careful to stay debt free and pay cash for what we have. Unfortunately that now works against us because when they run a credit check it is like I am a ghost. So we are praying for God’s provision there too. We will need coolers to hold drinks and stuff in, counters, cash register, tables, shelves, and whatever else a convenience type store needs.

            Then there is the great need for housing in the area we can help with. I hope to put ten cabins on the half acre of land that goes with the store. They can bring in about $2000 a month each renting out by the day to workers that need a place to stay for a short time period. We must first level out the lot and then install underground water, sewage, and electric service for the cabins. Plus we can also provide spaces for RV’s too.

            So there is great potential in that and all these folks coming here for work need some ministry too and that is where the real value is. Got work to do so must run folks. See ya next time and please pray. If you want to be a part of this email or call me. My email address is I won’t post the phone number on the blog because that is not wise but you can ask me for it by email. Bye now.