Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial weekend . . .

in at 3:30' ish

This is belatedbut I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend. And thanks to all of you who served or gave your loved ones to serve in the defense of our country and for the sake of freedom around the world. As humans, some of us are so quick to point to history and say this group of people were treated unjustly by this other group or that this country was destroyed by this other country during this conflict or war, but how many remember and celebrate the debts owed to them as the result of one group HELPING another group?
Do you remember in American history how many countries came to our aide during our fight for freedom? In more recent history (within the last 100 years), we have helped those same countries that had historically helped us – and some more than once. How about our relationship with Great Britain? Now there is an interesting one.

This same idea applies to other historical issues like the slave trade – Jews, Christians and Muslims - all had a hand in helping slaves gain their freedom. Some participated in their freedom in practical ways like food and protection/hiding while on their way up North. Others fought politically to change laws which would in turn grant slaves more respect and recognition as humans. On an even closer more personal level, think of all of the families which have been a blessing to you and your family over the years - those who have been there for you and helped in a time of great need.

And then all of this ties together when we realize that we are all related as a result of a creative act of God the Father a long time ago. I know that sounds kind of like the hippies philosophy of the 1960’s or a little new “age-ish” but it is true. We may have a lot of time and distance between us, like 4th cousins so many times removed, but we are all still just one big dysfunctional family. We could accomplish so much and have such a wonderful world – and in many respects we do and we have, but we fall so pitifully short of our God given potential. One day, when He returns, we will all see things His way.

We had a very busy but good weekend together as a family. We were able to get a lot of the cleaning around the house type chores accomplished (as a team) which makes it go by faster and is more fun. The kids got to go swimming a lot with their cousins in pawpaws newly re-opened pool. They could not wait for the cover to be taken off!
We went to N.O. to see my Mom, Dad and Aunt Eva, my brother and his family. Carey, my brother’s youngest son, had stayed the weekend with us in B.R. to prepare for his finals this coming week, so we brought him home. He attends Bro. Martin High School – and they are still playing catch up since the Hurricane. . . I’m not going to tell ya’ll why my brother came to B.R. in the first place, cause some of you ladies may be upset with me. He had to ‘help me’ with the rabbits is all I am going to say.
As far as family goes, these are trying times for all of us and it is a blessing to be able to be close enough to get together frequently and draw strength from each other – both here in town and N.O.
Updates and Latest News:

My brother’s friend Danny was diagnosed with lung cancer – in both lungs – last week. The tumors are (I think) about 4 cm. Danny is a work and hunting buddy. We have been knowing Danny since we were in high school, maybe even earlier than that.

My dad’s friend Ronnie, who had been severely injured in an explosion 3 weeks ago, started talking - which is a good sign! Praise God. He told his wife that she did not need to be staying around the Hospital, that he was doing alright. Now is that a classic male response or what?

I continue radiation treatments this week. My marks are fading so I think I will need a ‘touch up’ at the body shop. Over the weekend, I had several crisis points which were very difficult to deal with, I even missed Church as a result. But thank God for a great support group that is so loving and understanding and also for available medicines to help.

The garden is keeping Mrs. Farmer Brown hopping! (or should I say picking). I picked our first regular sized tomato, a large cucumber, blueberries, cherry tomatoes and two ears of corn. A raccoon had dined on a few more ears while we were gone. They never eat the entire ear, so my “ladies” (chickens) get the remains. They just love that treat! And thanks to Paul Stouflette, I now have a huge fertilizer (manure) pile next to the garden and a very clean rabbit hutch. He cleaned it to the dirt, can I tell you! Rabbit pellets are excellent as fertilizer since it does not burn the plants like horse or cow - and believe it or not - it does not really even smell.

In closing (that is my Baptist preacher impersonation), I celebrate the One Who died for our freedom - freedom from sin, fear, hate, selfishness and hell itself, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of Hosts Himself. I celebrate His Life, Death and Resurrection this day and every day. Amen.

out at 4:27 am

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Well, for those of you who don’t know, I had my second radiation treatment today. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes for the treatment once they call you to the back. So far they have been right on time and the staff if very kind and helpful, answering all of my questions. As Robin mentioned in an earlier post, the three “crosses” are used to keep everything “in line” – how about that metaphor?!
The new pain regimen is okay, but we are going to probably have to ‘tinker’ with it in a few days if it does not get better.
The garden is going crazy! We get about 1 pound of green beans every 2nd or 3rd day – and that is with only about 75 feet of row producing right now. We have others coming in, so I don’t know if we are going to be able to eat, store and share it all! The peppers, eggplants and some of the cherry tomatoes are producing fruit which is ripe and ready and the corn is close (evidenced by the fact that the raccoons are sampling an ear here and there!) as well as the cucumbers and slicing tomatoes. The cantaloupes are about 1 inch and one of the 500 lbs pumpkins (there are several smaller ones on the vine) is about as big as a softball. That is it in the picture, along with my other two legged pumpkin!

This weekend needs to be more than just an excuse to ‘fire-up’ the pit. Let’s remember all of those who have paid the price for our rare freedom. . . .

Part III, The Tree

I have been busy over the past few days which explains my lack of posts - the usual kind I should say.
I am going to "post forward" some pictures of the garden and it's goodies. . . Enjoy "The Tree"

In the days following the storm and the subsequent rescue of John, not a whole lot had happened other than the usual day to day stuff. Then, one day I heard some voices. It sounded like they were up on the bank, but out of sight. We sometimes have kids wondering around over in the woods, or trying to catch some fish down in the ditch, but this had the added sound of machinery. I started to get concerned when I saw that big ole’ truck with the long arm on the back – and a crew of men – pop up down a ways from me. They were all combing over the area – along the bank - looking for something. “Oh boy”, I thought, “we might be in for some more clearing fellas”. Nobody said anything. We were all just watching and waiting to see what they were going to do. Then I heard one of them yell to the others, “here it is”, like he had found whatever it was they were looking for – and he was pointing in my general direction. And then it dawned on me, “Fellas, does it look like they are heading straight for me, or am I just being paranoid? “No”, Willow said, “I think you are what they are looking for”. “But why”, I thought to myself?

They continued walking my way and then the truck started moving too. It pulled away out of sight from down the bank and then appeared just above where I sit. Then more guys came pouring over the edge of the bank, which got me concerned. I told the fellas, “well, this might be it – it’s been good knowing you all”. To make it so far, through storms, fires, rescues and holding trash most of my life – and its going to come down to this? They looked a little excited, unlike the usual clearing guys who look all mad and in a hurry. These had shovels and rope and the like. I didn’t see any chain saws, but they did have a few axes. And the one who had yelled, “here it is”, looked like the one who had climbed me to rescue little John last week. This was getting all too strange, was I dreaming? Then the others gathered around and were assessing if they could do “it” or not. “It what”, I thought?

Next thing I know they were wrapping big ropes around my trunk and limbs and running the ropes up to the arm of that big ole’ truck. They started digging all around my roots, and wrapping burlap in spots where they were digging. “What is going on”, I said? “Watch it, that smarts!” I said. That fella just cut one of my roots! “Hey, I only got so many of those you know.” Of course, they can’t hear me. (But he would feel me I had a chance to fall on him). Then the ropes started to tighten up on my limbs and they just kept on digging and pulling and digging and pulling and wrapping and they even cut a few more roots. It was wearing me out and confusing me just as bad. Then I was completely cut free from the ground which I had called home for so many years and was being drug up the side of the bank towards that truck. “Well”, Willow said, “looks like they are taking you, brother”. But for what? Did this have anything to do with John? Do you think they are upset with me? I figured I had done them a favor, if anything. Now once I was pulled up to the top, they loaded me onto the back of that big truck, covered me up and tied me down with even more ropes. This was about the strangest thing I have ever seen.

Then off we went, to where I don’t know, but it wasn’t long before we stopped and everyone got out. I heard even more higher pitched voices now, all gathered around the truck wanting to see. A big voice boomed out, “now you all go on back inside, you’ll see soon enough.” They untied the cover that was on me and there I was, in the middle of a bunch of houses. Just like flatlander had described. Big ole’ houses and fences too. And I saw cars on the road. Really, am I dreaming? Did some toxic chemical leak into the stream and poison me, making me sick – am I hallucinating? I have heard it said that we dream using things that are already in our minds. Like the one who rescued John, he was in this cause I had gone through a traumatic experience involving him - and the ropes, too. And the houses and fences are all here since flatlander had described it all to me. But how do I explain the pain I felt when them axes were chopping at my roots? Maybe from the years of those clearing guys coming along and cutting on me . . . I don’t know.

Then, we started moving again – backwards – the truck started making a beeping noise and then one of the men yelled “stop”. A few of them jumped onto the back of the truck and started cleaning the trash out of my limbs and trimming off all of the damage I had suffered through the years. They even painted some black colored stuff onto the places they had cut. Boy, was I getting the treatment! They finished untying me from the truck and then I felt the ropes around my trunk and limbs tighten up …….. away I went, up into the air.

As I was slowly turning around and around I got a good view of the place – there were houses everywhere! People, cars – they even had big blue puddles of water in the back of some of the houses. I was heading for a big hole they had dug – and I figured it was for me. This wasn’t turning out to bad after all I’m thinking (At least that is what I am thinking). They put me into this hole, mixed in all kinds of other stuff with the dirt – nice dirt – it was cool and clean, no cans, cigarette butts, bottles or plastic wrap type stuff. They packed the dirt in and watered me real good – and to top it off, they put this nice mulch all around my roots. After that, a couple of the guys tied off my limbs to some stakes in the ground all around me, which made me feel a little more stable. They cleaned all around my new place and moved the truck out.

Then the man that had told everyone to go inside earlier (I knew it was him because I recognized his voice) walked up to me and was just looking at me. As he walked around me checking out the handywork, he had a big ole’ grin on his face and was just mumbling to himself - something – but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He then turned to some of the guys who were still in the yard, one of whom was the guy who had climbed me earlier. He complemented him on the good work he did in finding me. He said, “nothing to it boss, I’m just glad we were able to locate it and get it out of there for you.” Then the boss questioned him, “Frank, do you think it will make it here?” Frank said, “I think so, especially when you consider where it came from - this is paradise compared to that.” Boy, was he ever so right on!”

I still have not figured out the ‘why’. As quick as I thought that, the answer came. The boss turned around and yelled, “okay, ya’ll can come on outside now, we’re finished”. Then all I heard was screaming and excited little people. They all ran up to me and were jumping around holding hands in a big circle. One of them looked a little familiar – it was John! Now I get it! This must be where he lives! And the boss, that must be his dad. Wow. I must really be dreaming now - cause this just cannot be – I ain’t never had anything this good happen to me. Ever!

The more I listened, the more I learned what had happened from before the rescue up to me being moved to my new place. . . . .Wow. . . .I really must be dreaming . . . .

I have one more final entry to "The Tree" story to be finished soon.I hope this is not a bore, but I got to write what I got to write or it just wouldn't be right. Right?

God bless you on this Sacred National Holiday weekend. George

Thursday, May 24, 2007

robin says....

Wow! It has been quite a week. Sunday was a difficult day with George fighting alot of pain. He was finally able to get the doctor and get some adjustment to the pain medication. I went outside and had a heart to heart with our FATHER. Not demanding, not fussing, but letting Him know what was on my heart. I love the Lord. He wants relationship and that is part of it. Read in the Bible, Abraham, Moses, Job, David didn't they all have the heart to hearts with the Father. Sometimes it takes that for us to then gain the right perspective on things. I believe that when we go to the Lord in sincerity even if we are upset HE will NOT turn us away. In the midst of the times when you feel like all heck is breaking loose you can encourage yourself in HIM. He always reminds me that He promised to be the fourth MAN in the fire from the beginning of this thing.

Last Wednesday night I feel as though the LORD imparted to me the GIFT OF FAITH. Not just faith to believe but the GIFT of faith which is the supernatural ability to believe in spite of what the circumstances say. I stand on Psalm 27:13-14 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

And last night at church the Lord led me to Psalm 33:18-22 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Just another thing that God has done. Lately, since an email from our friend Tonya we have been believing God for a SUDDENLY miracle. Just one of those, AND suddenly God did it. Well yesterday Lauren said that last week she found a card lying on the floor at church. Ironically, the card has a lighthouse on it which is what George has here on the blog and the card said The enemy can't do anything about who you are. He just wants to keep you from seeing it! Wait patiently for God's purpose and timing and you will see a Suddenly! Even as I am typing this the Holy Spirit is rising up inside me. Our God is God and He is able.

Also George came home yesterday from meeting with the radiologist. They mapped him out for his radiation treatments. He lifted his shirt to show us his markings and Lauren said, "Look Dad you have three crosses on you. There is one long, large cross right in the center of his abdomen and two smaller crosses on each of his sides. We got all excited and started shouting. George is covered. Some may say Robin you are just looking for God in small, silly details but my response would be, isn't it awesome that our Father wants to communicate to us in the small details of daily, mundane things that happen in our lives. He is always communicating, the key is are we listening. Are we willing to slow down enough to realize, WOW, God you love me enough to line up even the smallest of details to let me know that YOU know where I am and that YOU love me.

Stay the course, keep the faith, don't be swayed by circumstances or reports. We shall believe the report of the Lord.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A moment to brag . . .

God is so good. When I offend Him, He forgives me. When I am ignorant, He gives light and guides me. When I question Him, He listens and understands my frame that I am but dust. When I cry, He cries with me. And when I rejoice, He rejoices with me.

I, without a doubt, have the best wife around. (Now guys, you may be thinking the same thing about your own wife, so in the interest of peace we will agree to disagree). She reminds me of the Proverbs 31 Woman. Here are a few of the verses that come to mind:

Proverbs 31:10-11
10) A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman –
who is he that can find her? She is far more
precious than jewels and her value is far above
rubies or pearls.
11) The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently
And relies on and believes in her securely,
So that he has no lack of honest gain or
No need of dishonest spoil.
12) She comforts, encourages, and does him only
Good as long as there is life within her.

I could go on with the following verses. Please read them if you have not in a long time.

And what more could I say about my kids. They are awesome, like their mother! They don’t just put up with their dad, they love him too. Psalm 127:3-5 has something to say about children.

Children are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be
put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

They have indeed been a reward to us both and to their grandparents and other extended family.

I am heading to my Oncologist today to work out a plan for treatment and also go over some pain control issues. Things have gotten better since this passed weekend, but they can be better I am certain. He has told me that radiation treatments can help in the area of pain since it shrinks the offending tumor(s). Hopefully this will be the case. That will “kill to birds with one stone” so to speak.

I have Part Three of "The Tree" finished, I just wanted to boast in the Lord and also about my wife and kids which He has given to me first. I'll post it later today.


Monday, May 21, 2007

The Tree, part II

A quick update:
I had a horrible night Saturday and into Sunday. I finally was forced to call the on-call Dr. or continue to suffer. I was most ready, willing and able to be admitted to try and get this pain/burning thing under control. The Doc offered a different way of taking the pain meds. I went along with it and sure enough, about 4 to 6 hours later, I noticed a big difference.
Ronnie had a rough day - they gave him a 50/50 chance of survival - and now they say he has turned around for the better. Praise God, please continue to pray for Ronnie and his wife Bonnie. (For Ronnie's story - see the post dated "May 4, 2007"

Now, back to part II . . .

It took quite a while for a group of the men to get through the tangled mess of limbs and debris. You wonder how some of this stuff gets into the canal. (Grocery baskets, plastic crates, bicycles – enough stuff to pull off a small garage sale!) They finally cleared a pathway to me all the while yelling to the little one (they called him John) that everything was going to be alright. He seemed to calm down the closer they got to him. He was probably in shock from this whole ordeal. By this time the water was down to my lowest limbs, but it was still too deep for them to walk in. They had to work out of the boat to get John down from my upper limbs – which proved to be a difficult task. Working out of the boat, the smallest one of the bunch did the climbing.

[ Philosophical digression (tree style): This was a new experience for me – I’ve never had any man climb into my limbs for peaceful purposes. I guess it all depends on what it is that they deem valuable. When I am in the way, those clearing guys hurriedly lop, chop and move on to the next one. Their time is of the utmost importance, it therefore has value. In this case, John has the value and I am the ONLY tree in this ditch, as far as they are concerned, because I hold “the man”.]

He finally reached John, pulled a knife out of his pocket and carefully cut some of his clothing loose that had 'snagged' him amongst my limbs - or should I say that 'saved' him. Then, he put a life jacket on him, secured him to himself with a harness and began to climb back down to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it, he slipped on the very last limb and fell into the water, but was quickly helped into the boat by the other men. Boy was John screaming now! You know the poor little fellow has had enough of the water by now – he may never want to take a bath after this scenario! They maneuvered the boat around and went back through the path they had created earlier, heading back upstream. They were getting smaller and smaller, slowly disappearing around the curve – and then poof, they were gone…..

“Well”, I said to one of my fellow ditch dwellers, “that made for an interesting 24 hours didn’t it?” He agreed. But then, followed it with a question, “How do you think the little man wound up in that storm water in the first place?” Hmm, I thought long and hard, but anything I would have come up with would be pure speculation. I told him, “I have no idea”. So, I ventured off into something “other than” – to try and take my mind off of the rain storm. Too many lost friends and lost limbs. Some were still with us - or a part of them that is - and some are now lying on their sides – it was a pitiful and painful sight to behold. There was so much destruction in just our small length of canal. But, like every other bad storm or flood (we've even had a fire for that matter) which we’ve had in the past - we just ‘go-back to growing-back’ – that is our motto around here. Hopefully stronger and a lot more wiser than before.

I don’t know what happened or has ever happened above the canal – you know, over and beyond the bank. Now you know something, that is one question I have never asked myself before. How many of us can say we have had an original question which we have never thought to ask ourselves before? I don’t recall any tree down here asking that question. By the time we get old enough – you know – old enough to think we’re old enough to know everything, we just stop asking questions and begin settling into ‘life in the rut’ – or ‘life in the ditch’ in my case. But I wonder what is over there? So I took it upon myself, since there ain’t a whole lot else to do sittin’ in this here ditch, to ask some of those fellows up top what it is they see. The list was fairly short. On the east side, there is not much to see close to the bank other than long stretches of neatly mown grass which lead up to fences, and beyond the fences were houses and streets. On the west side there appears to be nothing but woods. Most of the ‘critters’ we see all hours of the day and night – mostly at night – comes from the west side. "Hmm", I wondered outloud, “I must be a city tree then, since technically I live on the east side of the stream”, to which one of the 'flatlanders' replied, “east or west – you still live in the ditch – stubby! HaHa! (Boy, they just love to get in a good laugh at my expense). They said some of the houses looked taller than most of the trees. Not just tall, but BIG houses. Spread out all over the ground, one after another. They said there were a lot of people, too, moving around outside of these houses. Not all day, mostly a little after sunrise they all get into cars and leave. (I know what cars are – I can see them sometimes crossing a bridge way downstream from me. They look mighty small to me since they are so far away). Then a little before sunset, they all return. That was about it they told me.
Well, maybe I was expecting too much this time. Here goes my conscience, I can hear it now, “Big ole’ stubby come up with a big ole’ idea about ‘what’s going on outside that box’ – well, apparently not much”. Yeah, apparently not much…..

"Hey fellas, I tell you what, that there rescue was the most excitement we’ve had around this stretch of ditch since" ….. wait, that’s right, I ain’t supposed to be talking about it…..yeah, uh, change the subject, remember ‘other than’? uh, let’s see now…….

"Well, that sure is a pretty sunset, now ain’t it? Look at those colors. Yeah, light plays funny ways. I guess it just depends on what your perspective is….Well, my fellow ditch dwellers, I am going to slow things down a bit and get some shut eye. Tomorrow is a new day, and I just can’t wait to see what it has to offer….."

In keeping with Shrek 3, Spider Man 3 and Oceans 13 - to name just a few - I have decided to break this thing up into more than two segments. Actually, the real reason is this - I type so slow and always wind up at 2 am trying to finish. So, here it is 2:10 am - I am going to bed.
Good day and God be with you.
G e o r g e

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Tree, part I

The tree.

Here I sit
. All day, everyday. The traffic, the noise and the trash. Where does it all come from? I don’t know where it comes from, but most of it seems to find its way into my branches – if you could call what I have branches. This all I have ever known my entire life.

When it all started, like most of us trees do, as little saplings, the sky was the limit – well, almost. Some of us grow to 20 feet tall and then others can reach up to 300 feet tall. It just depends on what species you are. But then, you get older and the fun stops, the storms come, you get beat up on a regular basis by the water and debris floating in the water, friends come and go – mostly go – pollution from neighborhoods and parking lots make their way our way and you come to this realization - ”this sucks”. It ain’t so much how tall you can be, what color your leaves or blossoms are or how big around you can get, but where you are planted. Location, location, location. The guys 50 feet up the bank from me on the flat ground have it made! Man, they are pretty much out of the flood zone and yet they enjoy the benefits of enough water in the dry season. They also have a better view and a much better future for their little ‘acorns’. Most of their acorns hang around pretty close, with a few straying ‘beyond the drip line’. But we both know how some little acorns are – they just have to “see and experience ‘it’ (life) for themselves”! Swoosh! Down the hill and into the ditch they go. We usually never see them again. But mine, likw me, never had that choice. They are given directly to the stream and are probably doomed to live a life - not too much unlike their dad - in some God forsaken place, way downstream. Never to know who they are or where they came from. Just a good ole’ ditch tree – or like the ‘Joneses’ who live a little up stream from me like to be called, ‘canal’ trees. Stream, canal or even bayou - they are all ditches to me. What ever; where ever. All of our fates are basically the same down here. You stay small and insignificant and they leave you alone. If you start to get too big and slow the flow of the ‘canal’ – they just show up and cut you down completely! ‘They’ are man. Or worse, they maim you, leaving you to live a life of misery, with stubby, fat, blunt ended branches - like they have done to me over the years. They like to leave us ‘alive’ - no matter what we look like -since some of us hold the ditch banks together and help prevent erosion. They could care less, for when they leave here they get to go home – and here I am stuck having to live with their ‘work’ – not to mention the ridicule from the tree guys up on top of the bank. They sure can give me a hard time. They call me things like “the stubster” or “blunty” or their favorite one “treetrash”. You are probably wondering why “treetrash”? It’s because I seem to catch every piece of debris that comes with the flow. Plastic bags and the rings from 6 packs seem to have a special affinity for me. Sometimes I favor a sick looking Christmas tree. Sure, Christmas trees live a short life, but oh, what a life! Ah, so what, let them have a little fun on my account. I don’t hold it against them. Ah, so what. Let them high and mighty ‘flat landers’ have a little fun on my account. I don’t hold it against them. I guess this is just my lot in life and I am okay with it. I am comfortable in my own bark. That is something I cannot say for those guys up there.
Then, one day it happened. One of the worst gully washers any of us could remember. At one point, the water level almost completely covered my top branches! Towards noon, the rain finally stopped, which was a good thing, but we also know that more water is coming from all of the other ‘feeder’ ditches, streams and parking lots that drain into our ‘canal’. So, we just have to hope our roots can ‘hang on’ and wait it out until everything starts to settle down. Towards nightfall, a few of us were talking about how glad we were it was going to be over soon when I heard it. An unusual sound it was. Kind of like a cat crying out when it has lost its moma or some strange bird. Then around the curve of the canal, here comes this thing that looks like a miniature version of those things that come and cut us down (or mame us) a few times a year. Man. That’s what it was, a little man. It was floating and thrashing about, grabbing at every little twig which was sticking out above water. It just could not get a hold on those flimsy things- they were breaking off or slipping through its fingers. Then I realized it was heading straight for me. I was sure I could hold it and myself all at the same time. The flow was going very fast - I did lose a lot of dirt around the lower side of my root ball – but since it (the little man) was so small I figured I could handle it. But would it be able to hold onto my stubby branches? [Were it not for it’s own kind, I would have plenty of branches stretching way across the entire canal – pretty flowing branches – but, hey, that is all ‘water under the bridge’ – I have to work with what I’ve got. The only thing I need to be holding onto right now is the dirt within my root zone. Not an old grudge.]
Slam! It was floating as fast as a bird flies when suddenly it hit some of my upper limbs. It became lodged in my old ‘stubbies’ – lucky for it (cause I can’t move anything) these things have come in handy after all! Then it kept on making that screaming noise for almost the entire night. Then, the water started going down a little come sunrise. A little lower, a little lower and then the daylight came full force and really showed the mess our canal was in! Some of my long time tree buddies were gone. The Joneses were no where to be seen and some of the guys on the upper bank had fallen over due to erosion. (‘Stubster’, huh? – no, I didn’t say it, I was just thinkin’ it). There it was, the man thing, still stuck up in my branches way above the ground. What was I supposed to do now? I can’t move. Well, at least it was quiet. I didn’t know if that was good or bad – hopefully it’s just sleeping. I’ve had other things get stuck up in my branches before – dead things like possums or little critters to weak to swim when we would have big rains. They would drown and then wind up ‘all in my business’ for weeks until the buzzards would do me a favor and cart the little carcass off of me. Whew! I sure hope this one is alive and can get down on its own, for no other reason than that, cause I don’t think them buzzards could handle a package that big! And it would take it months to - you know – “decay”.

Well, looky here, there's a little boat coming down our little ole’ canal – if the Joneses could see this now! I bet they are looking for the little man – well, I can’t say a thing – I’ll just have to do like us trees have always done – after having done all to stand, we stand. They are getting mighty close - and sure enough, all the noise they are making is waking up the little man! Whew! Thank goodness! (cause the idea of a ‘carcass’ in my limbs was curling’ my root hairs). Now they have spotted the little man – awe no - here he goes again with that screaming business. Well, it won’t be too much longer till they get him off of me. . . . . .
We will finish stubby's story tomorrow . . . time for bed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Nice weather . . .

This was some unusually cool weather today - and it is supposed to be this way for a few more days. Good. . .

Later in the afternoon, I went out in the yard to get some fresh air and tour the garden. I caught a few bugs/worms for the ladies who always eagerly greet me at the fence line. Do you think I have spoiled them? I gave them the biggest grasshopper they have ever seen. It must have been almost 4 inches long! One of them pecked at it once, stepped back, did it again, then they all jumped on it like a school of piranha fish - minus the teeth. I am going to film them chasing each other around the enclosure one day. It is like watching a horse race except in this one whoever swallows the critter or worm first wins.

Did ya’ll see the story about the turtle and the cat on the news? A turtle escaped from a South African Zoo and was filmed walking through a local domesticated kitties’ territory. The cat was rolling around on his back playing around with the turtle – but the turtle meant business. He bit the cat on the face and then the cat reacted by jumping away from the turtle, only to be pursued and bitten again on the tail. The turtle persisted until the camera was turned off. What a sight.

Earlier today was not too good for me (as far as pain control that is). I had a horrible night Wednesday night – probably the worst in recent memory - and have decided to meet with a pain management doctor ASAP. I am waiting for an appointment time to be set. I told
them that I do not plan on having many more nights like that one if I can at all help it. I spoke with my Oncologist and he recommended this doctor. Now I am not joking when I tell you this doctor’s name – Dr. Joseph Turnipseed. Now that is an easy name to remember, right?

I went to the library the other day and checked out a documentary named “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” produced by Illustra Media. It is one of the most impressive and thorough explanations of the 'Intelligent Design' Theory that I have ever seen. I highly recommend it, especially for kids from 8 to 18. They do not mention God or the Bible one time – they don’t have to – truth is truth. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” is covered in this documentary and is basically debunked. Our kids and their cousins watched it and really liked it. Some great conversations resulted. Since the schools will not cover this type of competitive scientific material, we have to make it available ourselves.

I also checked out “The Gospel of Judas”. I had read portions of this ancient text while in the book store one day. Now this is one controversial document. Not recommended if you are easily confused and do not know your Bible. The National Geographic Society funded this project. Supposedly, this is the story according to Judas. I am not too confident about this one – especially since it contradicts the character and nature of Christ in the other four Gospels. There is not much to hang your hat on with this ‘so-called-gospel’ account.

I need to go and get back on the hot pad and assume the position.
Last day of school!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a good story . . .

Press Release:
Two mountain climbers who were missing for two weeks after embarking on a cross state mountain hike were found. When the two climbers did not check in with family at a designated time they became concerned and officials were notified. One of the hikers was found dead while the other had been found by a local mountain man and brought to a nearby town.

Two climbersSal and Roger- were lifetime friends, since elementary school.
They had gone on a hike in Washington State. One week into the hike, one (Sal) fell to his death while the other (Roger) was seriously injured when a 3 rope bridge they were using to cross a ravine gave way.
Sal was found dead among the rocks below the bridge while Roger was found alive hanging, tangled within the rope of the bridge, and ‘mended up’ by a “hermit” - a Vet (Vietnam medic) named Dan, who has lived in a cabin in the woods by himself for decades and only goes to town a few times a year for supplies. He brought the injured hiker to town for medical attention. Roger eventually returned home from the hospital wearing several casts and bandages along with the grief of losing such a long time friend. He committed to becoming a better person in honor of his friend Sal who had died. This event had a sobering affect on Roger, since they had both walked quite a wild path up until this point.
The surviving hiker, Roger, returned frequently to visit with Dan. During the time they spent together in the woods – those few days while Roger was becoming stable enough to move – they got to know each other. A special relationship formed, beyond the usual “thanks for saving my life” type of relationship. They were generations apart and yet seemed to ‘click’. The news media, talk shows, magazines and even book deals were discussed, but Dan wanted nothing to do with any of it – he only wanted Roger’s friendship, a few letters and the few times a year they would visit. Dan could not afford to travel to Roger’s house, so Roger would go to Dan. And if the truth be told, Roger preferred it that way, he admired what Dan had – peace and quiet with a whole lot less stress - he actually looked forward to their “get togethers”. But over the years, Roger was married, had several kids, became more committed to his family and job – and was just tied up with the ‘things of life’ in general. Roger’s excitement to see Dan cooled to more of a duty to the one who ‘saved his life’ than a friendship. From every 6 weeks or so, Roger’s visits slacked off to more like Easter and Christmas. Dan had now aged and it was showing in more ways than one. He was not going to be able to live in the woods by himself too many more years. Dan did have distant family out of town whom he saw every few years - who had agreed to take care of Dan, albeit through an assisted living/nursing home. It was something the two men had talked about over the years, but never expected to come so soon. Life was passing them both by so fast.

Does this story remind you of anything? You are doing your own thing in life, running your own show, the master of your own destiny and suddenly your apple cart is overturned. You lose something valuable and don’t know what to do. Suddenly you are ‘saved’ from the tangled mess you’ve made. God comes in and changes your life - and replaces that which you’ve lost with Himself. You enjoy close fellowship with the Lord - just you and Him. He walks with you and talks with you. You become actively part of a local fellowship. When the Church doors would open, you would run in. You loved the peace and quiet. Many times you would come early just to sit in the pew. That’s all. Just to sit and soak up the Presence. Then, the things of this life begin to slowly but surely sap your time and energy. Work, family, hobbies, vacations, etc., all conspire to distract you from the One you love so much, robbing you of the peace you so freely enjoyed. But you are still very thankful. Eventually, you’re down to just Easter and Christmas, wondering what to do with God – you think, “certainly there are others around who can do the work”?
Life has passed you by so fast. . . . .

Only if the shoe fits, should you wear it.
G e o r g e.

Last week . . .

This is the last week of school!
Lauren told me she cannot believe she has one year left before she is out of highschool. She can't believe it - how about we can't believe it! "As any parent knows, the time just goes" (watch it Rev. Jessie). One day they can't even hold up their own head - and the next day they are heading off to College.

The test Monday was "okay". It took longer than they expected since the Barium (the juice of the gods - the chaulk gods!) was not moving as fast as they would have liked it to. It did eventually get to where it was supposed to. The part I liked the best was no needles!!!

I wanted to finish up the "pain is such a pain" subject before I get lazy and move on to something else...

Could this be why so many people, whether they would be considered Christian or not, are drawn to and touched by the sufferings of Christ? I think the fact of His innocence, non-violent ways and history of good works (healing diseases and restoring people’s lives, etc.) coupled with the extent and manner in which He was murdered makes people aware of injustice at a new level. Not only injustice, but we also become aware of our capacity (the capacity of the human heart) to imagine and to do horrendous and unspeakable things to each other.
Now had Christ been a murderer, rapist, child molester - and on top of all of that just a downright mean guy – we would have felt little in the area of compassion. However, we would have felt justified in saying that he ‘deserved’ the punishment he received.
1 Peter 2:19

19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under
the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

Could it be that my new ‘purpose’ is to encourage those who are going through similar circumstances? I am certainly not the only one who has walked the road of cancer and cancer treatments. Many suffer the ravages of diseases other than cancer and have a life story of their own.
Suffering many times involves endurance. Some parts of life simply have to be endured – they will not be fun – like when you have to discipline your children. They think they are the only one suffering here when in fact they have the easier part of not having to make a decision other than “not to do it again”. Many times a work day can be so difficult as to cause you to quote scripture or other ancient (or not so ancient) axioms like “keep your nose to the grind stone”, “grin and bare it” or how about the under the breath threat, “they are lucky I have a family to feed or I would have been out of here a long time ago”. These statements are kind of funny but also kind of true.

Running even deeper still, is the ‘enduring’ power of love. Not only to be interpreted as the fact that true, Godly love lasts, but that it is also willing (and able) to go through all manner of things on behalf of the one loved. I Corinthians 13 is the love chapter. It describes love as, “patient, kind, not insisting on it’s own rights or getting it’s own way for it is not self seeking; it takes no account of the evil done to it – it pays no attention to a suffered wrong. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes its way.” Only God Himself could fulfill such an exacting list, but He does tell us to be like Him, right? And He (Jesus) said He would send the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us. So, we can learn to love and grow in love – love for God and for each other. It takes time and energy and mistakes will be made, since we are made ‘from dust’, but God understands our frame. And the neat thing is, He loves us in spite of it.

Scripture says that Jesus learned from the things He suffered.
Hebrews 5:8 8

"Although he was a son, he learned
obedience from what he suffered."

and also

1 Peter 2:21
To this you were called, because Christ
suffered for you, leaving you an example,
that you should follow in his steps.
No matter our age or status in life, we all have room to grow and a lot to learn. The key is to not give up and to keep learing and growing, "following in His steps" - this is all just a big test. Let's make an "A+ 100"!
God be with you. George

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"Pain is such a pain". . .

Pain is such a pain!
This is something that came to me late last night or should I say earlier this morning (3:30 am to about 5:30 am Saturday May 12, 2007). I had attended the American Cancer Society “Relay for Life” 2007 at the State Fairgrounds. It was a blessing to see hundreds of survivors in their purple shirts walking around and talking – living their lives - in spite of what has happened to them. CVT, Hosanna and also Karen’s (from CVT) Church all had booths representing their particular business/organization in the event. Mike and Eva showed up at the event after going to one of Bryan’s baseball game. Jerome Gilliam, Sonja Howell and a lot of people from CVT and Hosanna Church and School all came out. A good time was had by all.

I started wearing out around 10 pm but stayed until a little after midnight. I ate a few pounds of some crawfish, which were equally flavorful as they were hot (spicy). I had to call Robin on the cell phone, since I knew she was on the way to the event from Hosanna’s Senior Graduation, and ask her to pick up a pint of milk - or a fire extinguisher – which ever she found first – so I could put out the fire on my lips, mouth and tongue. Now don’t ask me how hot the corn on the cob and potatoes were! Cause you know.

There was a TV show which proved that Milk is the #1 pain reliever for spicy foods. There were two college guys on this show who tried all of the well known peppers. They started with eating (straight up, whole peppers) the well known 'Jalapeno' and worked their way up to the infamous 'Habanera'. Water, bread, beer, peanuts, etc, were all tried and proven to be less than effective at knocking out the heat of the peppers. Apparently, the receptors on the tongue that relay the sensation of pain are blocked by something in the milk. So, T.V. does pay off after all (sometimes).
By the time I got home and in the bed I was ok, but I woke up an hour later hurting pretty bad with no relief in sight. The pills, the shower, back vibrator and hot pad were all employed. Eventually, a few hours later, control was established. This is when I wrote "Pain is such a pain!". I caught about 30 minutes of sleep after writing. I then got up and fed the little ladies, etc. Oh, by the way, the ladies are spending the night tonight in their newly created "Hotel Don't drop in on us". They are now enjoying triple level perches, with 100 square feet of pure chicken luxury.

This is a perfect seg-way into the main topic I had written about in the wee early morning hours, which is the subject of pain. So, here it goes . . .

“Life would not be so bad, if it didn’t hurt”.

Or could I phrase it this way, “Life could be so much better, if it didn’t hurt”.

Or how about this one, “Without pain, life would not be such a pain”.

Now, this last statement could be interpreted
as meaning, “Without pain, life would not be”.

Life would not be what? Life would not - could not - be experienced.

Physical: From a purely biological / neurological standpoint, without pain receptors, there would be no pleasure receptors since the two are the same thing, just a pathway to the brain to tell you what is going on outside (or inside) of the body. As a result, we would be unable to feel anything. I stand to be corrected, but when the dentist numbs your mouth – it is all numb, not just the pain receptors. [For sure the ‘drool’ receptors are NOT affected because the drool just keeps on coming (lol)].

Emotional: Have you ever heard some one say that they were “numb” following some horrible experience they were a part of or had witnessed? How about when it is said of some infamous person that he or she “has no feelings or heart”. Some people may have so completely shut out their own ability to feel pain themselves, that they can no longer empathize with the suffering of others. Conversely, have you ever noticed how some people who have experienced great pain and suffering are the most empathetic people you have ever met? Is this purely a matter of choice on their part or do some people lack the ability to turn personal pain into empathy? Is this, as I mentioned before, fate, choice, in our DNA or how about this one - could it be a ‘learned’ behavior’ , much like ‘worrying’ can be passed down from one mother to the next, cause you’re not a ‘good mother’ if you do not ‘worry’ all the time.

These are deep questions which I believe can only be answered ‘in part’ on this side of heaven. But I (we) discuss them in an effort to try and understand what, for all intents and purposes, appears to be a senseless, useless waste of time and energy. Just look at how much money is spent on pain killers in the U.S.A. every year. One “expert” was quoted as saying there are 50 million chronic pain sufferers in America alone. You have heard people encouraging others to “talk about it – it will make you feel better”. I have found this to be true. Discussing and writing about my personal physical – and sometime emotional/spiritual – pain does in a way fulfill the “why” part of the equation. Also, knowing that others are actually concerned about your pain / suffering brings relief, even if it is just a little.

Is there a purpose in pain? Purpose is like gold nuggets – it is in there – you just have to dig in and find it. Many times, a fellow sufferer who has been through the same (or similar) circumstances comes along side of you, encouraging you by the very fact that they have successfully traveled the path (or a similar one) that is before you. Or, you hear from others that the way you have dealt with your own pain/suffering has been a testimony to them and has encouraged them, letting them know that they too can make it through to the other side – and especially to let them know that they are not alone in this battle. That is a key tactic of the enemy - to try and make you think that you are alone - and is something that needs to be guarded against.
Paul the apostle said in 2 Corinthians 2:11
in order that Satan might not outwit us.
For we are not unaware of his schemes.

I am going to add more to this 'flow of thought' tomorrow. I need to hit the sack in order to be able to get up tomorrow. Hope to see you all in Chruch tomorrow. If you don't go to mine, find a good one and get started.
Remember Barbara and Don Gerard in prayer please, they are in town for 1 week. But since there are some new developments concerning Barbara's health, they have some new and heavy decisions to consider. Thanks. Also, remember the account set up for them. You can stop by any Capitol One. Any questions, call me.
God Bless - and go and be a blessing. George

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back . . .

Monday I had the upper GI scope (I think it is called an EDG) which showed no ulcers in the stomach or at the anastomosis. The doctor did note chronic bile reflux and possibly gastric motility disorder as a result of the ‘Whipple’ surgery (or PPPD). Apparently the surgery requires the severing of a gastric nerve that is related to stomach contractility and the hunger pains that we feel – well, that I used to feel. I know when I need to eat, but I do not get the hunger pains that I used to prior to surgery. He put me on two more meds in addition to an over the counter fiber product (Benefiber). I have not noticed a huge change in my symptoms other than I cannot remember half of the stuff that went on following the EDG. That is why they tell you to bring a driver to get you home safely. It is almost like you were dreaming all that happened. Everything went smooth, thank God.

I have been on the roller coaster since Monday. I hope the new meds will help because this gets so old – not knowing what condition you’ll be in each morning you wake up - and yet you come to appreciate a brief 2 or 3 hours of feeling good to where you can actually tool around in the yard and get something productive accomplished. I caught myself staring at a guy in his car while he was sitting at a red light as I was coming back from the store today. I was thinking, “He is probably coming home from work, I wonder where he works, if he likes his job, etc.” I found that kind of odd, since I do not recall ever thinking anything like that before. Hmm . . .

I greatly appreciate the comments from you all this week. It is a blessing to know you’ve got my (our) back covered. We are thanking God for what He is doing and what He is going to do in our midst. Jesus is coming to town.

TGIF. Hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

word from Robin....

I wanted to share with all of you about something the Lord has again laid on my heart. EVERYTIME, I go into deep prayer for George crying out for him and his healing, it never fails the Lord speaks quietly to my heart, "would you pray that intensely for those who don't know me. Would you cry out on behalf of the person whose eternity is not secure." In times before I took the exhortation and began praying for the LOST, for those in my life that are not right with God. I have always felt the LORD assuring me that HE has George's back so to speak. I don't want us to stop praying for George but I feel that we need to add a component to our prayers.

Here is the realization I felt the Lord bringing to me this morning. That George's healing is part of a much bigger plan. I know we all believe that but I realize that healing just for the sake of healing is not the entire heart of God. God wants to heal George, but even more than that HE longs for people to make a choice that will affect eternity. I am asking all of you faithful prayer warriors to not only cry out on our behalf but PLEASE cry out for the LOST that the LORD wants to be saved. Over and over in the book of ACTS as the LORD healed it was preceded by many, many turning there hearts over to JESUS. So when you pray for us lift up the LOST just as ferverntly, just as intensely, with the same passion let us cry out for souls that weigh in the balance.

There is more in my heart but I don't have time to express it all now. Maybe more later
I love you all,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Results are in . . .

We met with my Oncologist today. The results are in and show what appears to be a return of the cancer on the head of the pancreas. The prior CT scan showed a ‘fullness’ in this same area, but since it was not a PET scan we could not do a direct comparison. The liver mets noted on previous scans have also grown some. This explains most of the pain I have been experiencing lately. There are some other details less important, but this is the main info we were looking for. The plan is now to have an upper GI scope to make sure there are no ulcers which could be contributing to/causing any of the pain, followed by radiation which will be formed/directed to fit the affected area of the pancreas. He also suggested some other chemo drugs I could take following the radiation.

Point #1:
This is not what we were wanting to hear. This is not what we, like so many of you, were praying for. What did the Angels of the Lord (almost) always preface their appearing with, “Fear not, for the Lord thy God is with thee”. The word fear is mentioned in the King James Version 400 times, New King James 367 and the NIV 260 times. Not all are used in the same context, but you get the picture. Fear is a part of our human nature and God knowing this about us tells us to “fear not”. And why does He say that we do not have to fear? For “I AM is with you”.
When I was a kid, if my dad was with me fear was usually not a problem, “cause no body could beat up my dad”. Do any of you remember thinking like that? Then you get older and your world expands, as does your understanding of that world, and the question of who can beat up who fades. Then life throws some real fear – not imagined fear - at you and you run to your heavenly Father “cause nobody can beat up your daddy” and God says, “Fear not, I Am with you”. Amen.

Point #2:
I posed this question to Robin: “Why do we even pray if what you have been requesting for over a year does not happen?” Now that could be answered in many different ways and I know the answer I would give to others with that same question. But here is what I believe the Lord revealed to me soon after thinking that thought/question:
If you pray for a healing in your body and do not receive that healing, do you stop praying? Of course not! Which is more important, a physical healing or having a living relationship with your Heavenly Father? Prayer is (primarily) about fellowship with God. If your spouse does not give you something you requested do they cease being your spouse? Do you stop talking to them or is the marriage covenant dissolved? Of course not! Therefore, my (and your) relationship with God is of paramount importance. To know God and to be known by Him is the key. Because of what Christ did at the Cross, those who believe now have access to God. Prior to this (in the Old Testament - which means Old 'Covenant'), one had to go to a priest and offer a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Not anymore. I have a new 'covenant' with Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Because of Jesus, I now have access to the Throne room of the King. That is why I continue to pray. The healing is just lagniappe.

Many times our prayers have been or are going to be answered in ways which me may or may not understand. God has a purpose and a plan for my life as well as yours. Whether I am healed on not is something that does matter to me - and I know it matters to God. Jesus never made anyone sick, but He did walk by people everyday on the streets who were sick and yet were not healed. I have always wondered why He didn't heal them? He did not refuse to heal them, so what part did they play in not being healed?
Did they not know Who He was?
Did they know but refuse to believe that a healing was possible for them?
Did they know and believe but just failed to ask out of fear for what others might think?
Did they even know they could ask?
Or, what about this one, "What if I ask and a healing does not happen for me?"
The list of questions could go on and on . . .

I still wonder, "Lord, what part (if any) am I to play in my own healing? Am I, like so many of those You passed by on the streets, missing something?" Is there some detail I have overlooked?
The woman with the 'issue of blood' was sick for over a decade and had spent all that she had on doctors. Now you know she had asked for help from God over and over again but did not receive a healing - until Jesus came to town. . . .

Luke 8:43-48
43 And a woman was there who had been subject to
bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.
44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of
his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all
denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding
and pressing against you."
46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that
power has gone out from me."
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed,
came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of
all the people, she told why she had touched him and
how she had been instantly healed.
48 Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

My Jesus is coming to town folks, don't know just exactly when, but He is coming...

Have a great Tuesday. George

Monday, May 07, 2007

Time . . .

Two more weeks of school left. Time flies by so fast – especially when it comes to the kids. Their progress is easier to mark, kind of like a yard stick. My 43rd birthday is a few months away, Robin’s 42nd is next week and we have been married going on 18 years. My car is going on 12 years old and Lauren is ready to start driving. There are so many other larger, historic land marks too – like the first Irag war, the present Afgan/Iraq war and 9/11. Do you remember this line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”? If you guessed Ronald Reagan, you guessed right.
What is time anyway? Is it just a type of measurement among many other measurements? A way of interpreting our reality is one theory I have. We only get so many trips around the sun, only so many full moons, only so many summers and winters. I can remember, when I was much younger, calculating how many summers I had lived through and how many I had left if I lived to be 80 years old. It almost bums you out if you think about how ‘short lived’ everything is. That is one more proof to me that this life is temporary for a reason. It causes us to ‘look up’ and ask the why questions – it causes us to seek out and to search the deeper things that life has to offer.

Today was pretty good, except for my old 'nemisis' Mr. pain. He tries to keep me from enjoying Church services, family and friends, etc. Sometimes he is successful, at other times he is not. He must be a ‘vagrant’, since he moves around a lot. One minute he may camp out between my shoulder blades, then my lower left abdomen, then around the kidneys – heck, sometimes he must be a magician – since he can be at more than one place at a time! He does serve to remind me that I am in a battle, if that can be considered ‘good’. He also reminds me to pray more often. Like Pastor Don said today, if your faith has not been tested lately - hold on - cause it is coming. Nothing last too long, whether it is good times or bad times. There is a season for everything is so true.

Update: My Dad’s friend Ronny is in ICU still, but breathing on his own. Tomorrow he will have surgery on his left foot to try and save/repair it. He did lose the right leg below the knee. He will also need surgery on his pelvis which was damaged. So, when you pray, remember Ronny and Bonnie.

I get my results tomorrow. I’ll let everyone know something soon.

Prayer: Dr. Hackler, Debbie from CVT, Barbara Gerard (and also their donation account), George (me), my mother Patsy.

Another big week ahead - Go at it in faith.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Prayr request (urgent)

I have an urgent prayer request for one of my dad’s friends (Ronnie) who leases my dad’s marine repair shop. He has been doing this business for years without any major incidents until this morning when an empty gas tank on one of the boats he was working on exploded, almost severing one leg below the knee and his foot on the other leg. My dad said he may lose both the lower leg and the foot as a result. His arms had several broken bones. No apparent major burns or damage to his eyes. He did suffer internal organ damage (colon) due to the pressure of the blast which required an emergency colostomy. The explosion was heard 3 blocks away, according to my dad. Ronnie never lost consciousness throughout this whole ordeal and thankfully there were people on the spot right after this happened who were able to keep him stable until EMS arrived. Ronnie’s wife’s name is Bonnie. Easy to remember, huh? Ronnie & Bonnie. Please remember them in prayer as there have been and will be surgeries to save life and hopefully limb over the next few days. I thank you and I know Ronnie would also thank you.

Bryan twisted or sprained his ankle at the all night youth get together in the Hosanna gym. I got the midnight call and thought – “okay, Lord, give me some good news”, knowing that a call this late is not a “hey what you doing” type of call. I had just said amen after praying with Robin, turned to change shirts and the phone rang. Like they say, it could always be worse. Ain’t that the truth! So I drove over and picked him up and we iced down the ankle. He is in the bed now. I think it will be okay since this is not his first ‘ankle twister rodeo’.

That lightening storm and rain had me going! I have had enough of both to last me a while. My corn plants are all lying on their sides – I’ll have to drop a line between them Saturday and straighten them up a little.

You never know when some tragedy may befall you or a loved one. That is why it is best to first of all have a relationship with God, through Christ, and then to keep it fresh everyday – that way you are prepared for whatever may come your way. Amen.

God Bless. George.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Mountain Man . . .

We had some bad weather come through Thursday afternoon and night. I stayed up reading and writing with one eye and had the other eye on the T.V. weather reports. One of the weather men said there were 2,000 lightening strikes per hour registering on the radar. Wow!!!
Did ya’ll know that Robin brought Rocky (the squirrel) to LSU? They are much better suited to taking care of such critters than I – I feel like he is in good hands and will do well. Honestly, with 21 rabbits (soon to be only 6), 2 cats, 1 dog – oh, and how could I forget my new little ladies – 10 chickens - Rocky was too much added stress and commitment. He required too much at his stage of life. It was interesting while it lasted.

The rain snuck up on me earlier today and the little ladies got a little wet – not soaked, just a little wet. I was running some errands while I felt up to speed and while in Denham Springs picking up some bunny food, the sky fell. I couldn’t get into the store due to the down pour, so I drove into the warehouse – which they did not mind considering the circumstances. They load everything up for you. I cleaned out the ladies cage area and while I was doing that I let them scratch around in the yard. They love to hunt and peck – kind of like how I type. I returned them to their spot on the deck – which is definitely temporary – and made sure they were properly covered this time.
Wil and I are getting together on making a “chicken tractor” which is a movable chicken coop. This allows you to move the ladies to fresh ground for scratching and hunting bugs and prevents the ground/lawn from being “overgrazed” so to speak. An added plus is the natural fertilizer they leave behind.

Ladies, this next section is something guys can appreciate a little more than you – maybe - maybe not, so read on:

I am 're-watching' a documentary about a man named Richard Proenneke. Wil Howell had told me about this guy a while back, so he let me borrow the DVD. This man Richard decided, at the age of 51, to move to the Alaskan Northwest territory, build a cabin and live there – which he did – until he was 82 years old! He chose an idyllic site for his cabin, cleared it, put down several inches of gravel which he hauled to the sire himself, cut the trees for logs using all hand tools (starting the Summer before, so the logs would be dry), built the cabin (notched log style) with a moss roof (all hand dug), made a smoke house, a storage house raised up in the air (out of reach of all critters including Grizzly Bears) for storing all of his food and smoked meat, a refrigerator – which was a hole he dug in the ground down to the frost level and lined it with wood and sealed it off with a thick layer of moss, built – it was incredible the things he did with only a dozen or so hand tools. He even built his own chimney, bed, furniture, bowls, spoons, etc. (He reminds me of my brother, who has a woodworking shop – he makes all kinds of stuff out of wood like this man). The weather got down to minus 50 degrees F in the winter. To top it all off, he filmed this whole process of himself, by himself and also captured a lot of footage of the local wildlife/landscape. I guess he just set the camera up and let it roll. It was very inspiring. At the age of 82, he decided the winters were too cold, so he dedicated his Cabin at Twin Lakes to the Lake Clark National Park and moved back to the City.

After it was over, I felt a little saddened knowing that all of the hard work he had put into this project – this dream of his – would soon one day be rotten and forgotten. (Look out Rev. Jessie!). He too would one day be forgotten, as will all of us. The thought, “All good things must come to an end”, came to mind. I read over Ecclesiastes 3 which has a similar philosphical theme. That is such a good book to read.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has
done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for men
than to be happy and do good while they live.
13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find
satisfaction in all his toil-- this is the gift of God.

Verse 13 stuck out after watching the documentary. This guy was happy by himself for all of those years, just enjoying the work of his hands and the natural handiwork of God via nature. We all work to pay our way in life. Hopefully, we get some time to relax and enjoy the works of our hands – as it said, “this is the gift of God, to find satisfaction in our toil. . I remember when I used to be in the lawn and landscape business. I so looked forward to the end of the day when I would get home and clean up, eat a good meal and just relax with the wife and kids, knowing I had “done good”. Or how about when you cut the yard, trim the hedges, etc. and then look back on your work and how good it looks – you just feel good about it – like you’ve accomplished something productive. The same could be said about any task we put our hands to do. Do whatever we do as unto the Lord and with all of our heart. I like verse 12, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. . .” Some of the scenes in this film are so breath taking – the mountains and lakes create and command such an awe and respect. You cannot help but to think about eternity. And to think if this place is this beautiful, how about the One Who created it all? And how about Heaven? Talk about a mind blower. I am going to have to quit. It is 3:12 a.m.

This is Friday. I hope you are finding satisfaction in your work – if not, ask God to help you or ask Him for a different job. Have a productive weekend. Remember, Good conquers evil.
P.S. Please remember to consider the Gerard's donation account idea.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back home . . .

Back home. Thank God. The stay at OLOL was not too bad, but there is no place like home. I am still dealing with the pain on and off all day, which usually worse, almost unbearable at night. Same ole’ song and dance. (Maybe I should start a Blues Band, so I could start "singin' the blues"). We will know more in a few days after the tests have been read and forwarded to my Oncologist.

The garden plants appear to have 'jumped up' a few inches. The bugs are trying their best to get their share, but we are going to see if we can’t put a stop to that behavior. The picture attached is of the earliest planted corn in the front and the succeeding planting towards the back. If you plant is all at once, you get overloaded. So, stagger the plantings every so many weeks so you can have fresh corn over a longer time. The same goes for other vegis, too.

Very Rare Request . . .
I have, and will continue to ask, for prayer for many people through my blog. I know I have been on the receiving end of many of you praying for us. We have also received financial help, food, encouragement and even practical help like rides for our kids and also help around the house like planting trees (thanks again, Randy, Bill and Keith). So, here is something I have never done before on this blog, and don’t know exactly how to do it other than to just lay it out there and ask. I am asking for any of you (hopefully all of you), who feel led, to consider helping this couple that I am going to be speaking of in the next few paragraphs. Please read on. . . .

Many of you may remember Robin’s cousin, Barbara Gerard and her husband Don Gerard. She is Bob’s (my father-in-law) niece. A quick history is that she has had multiple surgeries (and complications from those surgeries) which eventually led to a small bowel transplant years ago. It was either die or have a transplant, which was a very rare and risky type of surgery. She has been on death’s doorstep many, many times and by the grace of God has always seemed to come back strong. Presently, they are both out of state (Nebraska) trying to get her bowel transplant, infections, etc. under control. They have been gone for several months this time. Over the years they have been gone for so many Holidays – I think she has missed at least half of all of the Christmas celebrations due to health problems since this all started.

Of course, every time there is a problem, her husband cannot work. When home, he tries to work as he can, depending on Barbara’s condition at that time. His employer is Simpson Service Center, which is on Florida Blvd. towards the City/Downtown. They have been so good to Don and have allowed him to work when he can without losing his position. This has been going on for almost a decade and has understandably taken its toll on them financially.

I could write pages of how great these two people are– so here is just a little bit. I have known them since I met my wife Robin and they have been nothing but a blessing to us and our kids every time we have gotten together. (They can cook a killer Gumbo!)
Don used to work for Maison Blanche Car Care Center before it closed down years ago. He started out “turning wrenches”, as he puts it, and worked his way up to manager. I can remember how stressful of a time it was on him and the other employees when the company (Maison Blanche) closed down. Many of them lost much of their retirement as a result of the company playing “financial magic” with their 401 k’s, etc. They did them (the employees) wrong and I do not know how they (the company) got away with it. But he got another good job at Simpsons. He helped me tremendously when I was in the lawn/landscape business from 1991 to 1998 through encouragement and advice – he was kind of like a ‘trusted big brother’, who I knew would shoot straight with me. One thing I have always thought about Don is how good of a listener he is. Not too many people I know are like him in that respect. He is a great dad, husband, brother and son. I would say to any one, if you don’t like Don Gerard, you got a problem. And that is the truth.

Barbara and Don have two children, both are now grown and married. Barbara worked for years in order to save up enough money to start her own photography studio. She and Don eventually got this dream off the ground and built a studio on their property. Their backyard had all kinds of wagon wheels, fountains and other things that she used as back drops to create the right shot. She took all of our family/kid pictures throughout the years. Barbara is a very loving mom and wife and cousin. She came from a family of (I think) 13 kids – I stand to be corrected - but they had enough for a football team including the coaches and a water boy. Barbara and Don have always been close to Bob and Gladys. One thing can be said of this couple, the word “lazy” is not in their vocabulary. Barbara and Don have both been a shining example of the good ole’ American work ethic.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. Some close family got together and opened an account in Don’s name at “Capital One”. As for donations, all you have to do is go in or drive through any Capital One branch and let them know you would like to donate into Don Gerard’s account. This goes directly to he and his wife – no middle man or organization is involved. Wouldn’t it be awesome to load up their account and blow their minds with the amount? (Look out Jessie Jackson, I got my rhyme goin’ on now). Seriously, I hope and pray that each of you would consider giving towards this deserving couple. When I think of all of the able bodied people who are ‘sitting on it” and receiving government money, while this couple struggles to keep their head above water, it really chaps me.

So, again, please consider giving. Any amount large or small - $5 or $50 or $500 - would be greatly appreciated by me and I know by them. The scriptures are also very clear about giving, “Give and it shall be given, pressed down and shaken together shall men give unto you” (Jesus). You cannot outgive God! If you have any questions at all, please call me or e-mail.

I am going to try getting back in the bed again. I had to get up and get into a hot shower around 2 a.m. to help try and knock out the back / kidney pain. It worked for the most part. The pills “just ain’t cuttin’ it” for some reason. I know they help, but not completely. So, I figured I would blog a while.
Talk to ya’ll so more later on . . . God Bless. George.

P.S. If those of you who live out of town/state would like to donate, please let me know and we can work out getting it to them.