ShirtsOffOurBacks, A Save the Tatas PSA

This is a PSA my son made for the Save the Tatas people, a group that raises funds for breast cancer research. If you find this is a worthy cause, please share this with everyone you know. Also, your spouse or loved one needs a new shirt. Why not purchase one from them and help out and pick up one from their site. Not only will you help the research, when they wear it, others will see the advertising and help as well.

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Dating and Teens

Along the dirt road that led to the church, Sarah and George walked, kicking the old can ahead of them as they traveled. The sun lipped over the trees, signifying the coming of a new day, and the arrival of the school bus in just minutes. Near the gate, several other teens had gathered, ready to board the bus and head off to school.

All the teens knew one another. The boys knew the girls and the girls knew the boys, although you never would have noticed from the clumping of the kids.

When the moon crawled over the trees, all the kids began to gather at the social hall, waiting for their turn to party.  George and Sarah were on their last date, three in a row. The hall would be filled with other teens all ready to dance and sing, play games and enjoy all that the adults had planned for them. Friday nights were for them.

“The rules say only three dates in a row and then try someone new.” Sarah took his hand and smiled.

“I just think this is unfair.”

Sarah knew she had no intention of dating him again. He was nice, but she had fulfilled her requirement and wanted to move on.

The hall jumped with people all over the dance floor as they arrived. Being the gentleman, George gathered some food and a couple of drinks and joined Sarah at the table. She was already deep in conversation about the dreamy new guy whose parents had just joined the community. Tommy, Hillary’s date, engaged George in some whimsical conversation about how all the girls’ heads were turned by the new guy.

Bill, the newest of the group, was all that there was to beauty, but very shy. Every time some young lady looked his direction, he found a way to turn his gaze to an empty space. This world was made for him.

The elders knew that dating was a difficult time for the youth.  Some were outgoing and others were simply too shy to interact. For the community to survive, there had to be a good way to integrate the teens and a good way to help them make good choices of the life-partners. The three date rule seemed perfect. Only date the same person three times in a row. Girls had to accept an offer of a date from those that asked. Guys were expected to ask each girl at least once. No one was left out.

The process worked well. Several couples had found their mates and the whole process was as seamless as any project involving teenagers could be.

Michael and Melissa were no exception. They had held to the three date limit until all other suitors were eliminated. Each week, the two found themselves dancing together and having a good time at the Friday social. Saturdays and Sundays they spent in each other’s company. No one would be surprised if they married. After all, it looked like a great fit.

As the party slowed to a crawl, the last slow dance of the evening began. George and Sarah found their way to the dance floor for one last dance and George’s chance to ask to walk her home. Although she declined, the door was left open for further dates, should there be an opportunity. Of course, Michael and Melissa danced the last song together before disappearing out the door for the short walk to Melissa’s house. Her father would be waiting.

George found the right words to ask out Linda, a pretty girl born into the community. Sarah had no trouble finding another date for next weeks’ social. She just smiled and moved along.  The younger kids, too young to date, gathered in groups for the walk home. School news and sports kept the conversation moving as one by one, they dropped off the path at their homes. Another successful Friday night. Next week, the movie night and popcorn.

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The family

Along the dirt road that led to the church, Sarah and George walked, kicking the old can ahead of them as they traveled. The sun lipped over the trees, signifying the coming of a new day, and the arrival of the school bus in just minutes. Near the gate, several other teens had gathered, ready to board the bus and head off to school.

All the teens knew one another. The boys knew the girls and the girls knew the boys, although you never would have noticed from the clumping of the kids.

Friday nights are made for the youth. The recreation hall was filled with young people’s

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New Year. Old Smile. AND, a New Topic.

So, did you miss me? Well, the world got busy. I got lazy, but I never forgot about the faithful few who followed me through the junkyard.

I guess I stopped writing because I found that I had reached the end. I discovered that there was a method to my madness and that the process worked, but the subject only ran that deep. So, I packed my bags and walked along with the knowledge that there had to be more to what I learned than just some quirky people who worship God in an unusual way or in an unusual place. The walk did me good. It cleared my head and allowed me to think more completely.

So, why did God carry me on this trip?

The junkyard was full of great locations to learn how to operate in survival mode. As the process melted into a pile of rubber-cemented information, I found the answer to my question. I was there to build the utopian world, a place where quirky people can come to worship. The Junkyard.

Over the next couple of weeks, months, or possibly days, I am going to write the story of the Junkyard, building a world where we take the best pieces of all this mud and sculpt they perfect society. Well, at least for me. It won’t be everyday. It might take years to get through this, or it may just fall apart.  The thing is that to build this, I have to understand the inner workings of some of the cultures and Christian remnants and how they succeed at Christian life.

I was surprised that I don’t really know much about other denominations and beliefs. I was further surprised to find out a couple of little secrets about why some groups succeed and others fail. No, I’m not the expert. I’m not even close to an expert. But I find that in searching for the truth, I often find the ugly lies that we have been taught as gospel. The big surprise is that often, the old ways succeed better than the new and improved ways.

Anyone wishing to tag along is welcome. Anyone wanting to guest blog is of course welcome to submit.

The first thing we need to do is establish the ground rules. The place is fictitious, so my description of the grounds is purely for ease of discussion. If there ever becomes a location like this, the world will have to be modified to fit the layout of the real world. Second, the people are not real. I will make them up, but please understand that the principals we use are real.  Let’s begin.

The cold winter’s frost melted into a cool spring morning. Along the edge of the property, the blackbirds sang and chirped as they foraged for worms and bread crumbs in the grasses over the meadow. Just this past winter, we repaired the barn to store our equipment and store our supplies. The sun glittered on the ripples of the pond over in the pasture. The long run of single wides running down the makeshift road reminded me of the trailer parks in the other side of the mountain, down in the valley where the old wooden church stood. I often wondered if the reason our church was so reminiscent theirs was because we looked so much like them.

The church was our first building, long and narrow with a wooden steeple spiraling against the sky. I wished often we had built a bigger porch at the front. It is hard to gather there when it rains.

On this spring-like day, the kids played in the yard near the cemetery. I loved to watch them play, but the spring air seems to give them more energy and more life. The teens hang around the parking lot waiting for the old folks to leave them to their own services.

The old folks, married and responsible, spent their noon hours talking and laughing, waiting for Sunday dinner to be served in the hall. Some of the ladies and gentlemen busy themselves setting the tables with tea and bread. Others clang dishes in the kitchen. All in a normal Sunday at the Junkyard.

The long walk back to our trailer takes us past the lots being developed that will house the families of our community. Some will have smaller homes with nice kitchens and baths. All will have what they need. Built by the members, with each and every brick laid in place, each stud nailed properly.

Just past the community garden is the swimming pool and hot tub area. Recreation is an important part of being a community. Those that pray together, play together and eat together will stay together.

Having the last trailer on the road placed us next to the office and entrance to the community.  The gate is more than most of us need, but it makes us feel safer at night.  At one end a gate, at the other the church.  The houses working their way around the circle.

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Ever wish you were not the recipient of a message?

Too many times I have thought I would be better off if I didn’t know a piece of information. Today is one of those days.

I do not discount the possibility of never finding the answers to the world’s most troubling questions, but I often find that there are people out there still searching for the answers to questions that were asked and answered many years ago. When I run across this, as I sometimes do, it drives me crazy.

“Hello, Ma’am, but the brake is on the left side and the accelerator is on the right. Removing your foot from the left side and placing it on the right will mean I will only be ten minutes late, not twenty.”

Yes, and that is not the worst. Today, while listening to the most interesting show about the universe and its components, I found myself watching the person talk about eyeballs. well, those complicated pieces of work that sit on our faces and allow us to see the world around us. The argument was that God had done a poor job of designing them with a blind spot in front of us we have to extrapolate. I listened in disbelief as to how the person came to believe God didn’t exist from the point that our eyes are a mistake and poorly designed.

After a few minutes of contemplation, I remembered a discussion about eyes some decades ago and about how nature had created an eye for us that did not need to be submerged in water to cool properly, that the blood vessels and such that needed to be kept cooler than most were located on the surface of our eyes, not behind the retina like those of the sea faring people. I thought nature was pretty ingenious.

What I found amazing was that the human mind extrapolates the vision problem. It corrects for it twice as fast as a computer, well, at least the computers of the eighties. I felt sorry for this person because they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. They let one small detail, which could be explained, cloud their vision and miss the whole miracle of vision. Because of that, the person missed seeing the small detail of God.

In the two hour speech the person gave, I saw several times when God reached out to touch her and she blindly looked away. Healing, coping and living skills were replaced with a blind spot that did not have the extrapolation factor to help them see clearly.

I thought of how often I had been just that blind. Me! A professed Christian who has professed his faith on national and international television had been blinded in one area with little to explain just how that could happen.

It is in the times like this that I must confess that I have crises of faith, times when I can’t see God for staring at the miracles of life. It makes me thankful for that one perfect love that keeps us together. God.

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Too long a break

I don’t believe in making blog posts when I have nothing  to say, so I have not posted lately. Finally the break is over and I wish to ask the small group here a question.

Do you  think it is proper for a couple to live together before they get married?

I’ll reserve my answer until after I hear from some of you. Thanks

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The Banana Republic

First, no links today. Second, if you are in the military, please take a moment and remember all your buddies you haven’t seen in years.

This Sunday, I got an interesting story of a man at one of the local VA hospitals whose ministry is so unique, I had to blog about it. I only wish there was a greater audience so that the world would hear his story.

Anyone who has ever been to a VA hospital knows the drill. Go to the desk, stand in line. Get checked in, sit and wait.  And wait. And wait. Off for the usual vital statistics, then wait. And wait. Rush through the doctor’s visit, and wait to leave.

Get the picture? Well, the subject of our story is the Banana man. He goes to the VA everyday with a bunch of bananas, handing them out to the people waiting. He gives them out with a smile and a touch of understanding. Bananas. For free. In a VA hospital. For free.

It isn’t that a banana will cure the world. It isn’t this man is endowed with special powers. It is a man who remembers is buddies, friends, and strangers as they endure some shamefully slow processes. The end result? A hero is born.

My wish for this year is that banana men pop up all over the country.

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