Thursday, November 30, 2006

Early Childhhod Moves


My kids often talk about how often we have moved and lived in different areas as they were growing up. My parents did not do a lot of moving. They moved from Galva, Illinois to northern WS to an old potato farm. The place had an old barn, a story and half home, 40 acres of timber and 40 acres of tillable grown. Upon moving, dad brought with him his Clydesdale horses to work the farm. I was only 5-6 months old when they moved.

When I started walking, I would always go out to the barn to feed hay to the horses, Ben & Jerry. Once in a while, I would bring a carrot with me, or grab a handful of grass and feed it to them. My dad told me these stories, as I do not recall them. He said that I would approach the barn and whistle for the horses and they usually were tied up in the stall.

One afternoon, I came out, I was 2 going on 3 and I whistled. Dad had just put the horses away, but had not tied or closed the stall, and they came trotting out of the barn to meet me. The barn door was 2 doors wide, and I was standing in the middle of the doors as Ben & Jerry went by me. Dad was trying to run to pull me out of the way, but could not get there in time as Ben and Jerry came thru the door together. They trotted out the door, stopped outside and turned around to reach for the carrots in my hands. When dad reached me, and looked in amazement as neither horse had stepped on me.

That year, the crops did not grow, as the former owners had grown potatoes until the land would not grow anything else and then sold the farm. Dad’s 1st year of crops failed, and he resorted to cutting timber, which he was stopped from doing, as the contract of deed to the place noted he could not harvest the timber to sell. That winter, he worked in town, and managed to save enough dollars to buy more seed and some fertilizer. That spring while he was planting, he saw a white cloud of dust being hurled in the air by the fertilizer sacks. It was just little jimmy, having some fun, but dad was not pleased. He ran over, swatted my butt, and ordered me back to the house. That summer and fall, the crops again sprouted, then withered and died in the fields, except where I had been playing. There corn grew tall and dad knew then he would not be able to hold onto tthe farm as he could not afford that much fertilizer.

That winter, the owner called the loan, and we moved to town, so dad could be closer to work. Those are 2 moves that I do not remember. However, I remember all the rest of them.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Angst Blog Moments

FYI,
Blogger has not been very cooperative of Late. I installed DSL, a firewall, and a couple of other things, and find myself unable to leave a comment at a blogger site. They say they are working on it, whoever "they" is.

But, then on the other hand, this may be your lucky day. LOL

jj

Gathering the Tree


Tis the season and the day after Thanksgiving, when I was just a small fry, it was the custom for my dad and I to fetch the tree home for the holidays. We would usually go to a neighbor’s woodlot, - with permission - and gather up a tree each year.

One year, when I was 10, my dad and I visited with an elderly neighbor across the river, and she said to take a tree out by Gravely Brook. We walked out there, and saw several trees and dad decided he wanted to try a cedar tree, as he liked the smell of them and it would not have needles to shed all over the floor. He picked out a real nice one, and we chopped it down, thru it on top of the car and headed home. Upon arriving home, we set it up in a bucket of sand and watered the sand down. The tree would sit like this for 2-3 days, so it would adjust to the warm temperatures before we would decorate it.

Since we had several cats, we would be careful to cover the sand so they would not use it as a place for pooping and peeing in. A couple of days later, a strong smell of urine permeated the room, and we wondered if we had protected the dirt. We looked and we had, but we also noticed the smell was stronger in the area of the tree. Sniffing the branches, we realized that the tree smelled of urine, and after some research found out this variety of cedar would smell like that. Needless to say, the tree was escorted outside and dad and I went back and picked a balsam for the tree that year.

When I was 14, my dad was in the hospital the month of December and I decided to go it alone. It was snowing that day, the wind was a blowing from the Northeast something fierce, and the drifts were piling up to a point taller than I. Now, this was before my physical growth spurt of 6" one fine summer, so I was still "little". If one would call 5'-6" "little." I bundled up and headed out down our lane, crossed the gravel road which traversed the valley and followed the neighbor’s fence to a wood lot about a mile away, just below the ledge of limestone outcropping. The area had a creek running thru it, with marsh grass along its banks.

By this time the wind and snow had created white out conditions, and it was uphill - really! When saw to the woodlot, I made left hand turn and sought out the evergreen area. Scouring the area in front of me, I spotted a grey form not far in front of me, and when I managed a closer look, found the Xmas tree to take back home. I was not being too choosy today, as any old green tree would do. I cut it down with my trusty hatchet, yes a hatchet! - ghezz, my story - and tied a rope to the base. I then looped the rope around my waist and started back for home.

After struggling a hundred yards, I then noticed that my back trail had all but disappeared, so I headed in the direction to where the fence should be. After some angst moments the fence line was spotted thru the blowing snow, and now the path to the road was assured, and I could see the tree setting in its entire splendor in the living room corner. I dragged that pesky tree for a mile downhill and then uphill and finally made the lane to home. Walking down the country lane, I felt like an explorer returning from a great adventure. The chair beside the wood fire and heat from the pot-bellied stove in the kitchen became my resting place while I sipped hot chocolate.

My socks and pants hung on the back of the chair and steamed as the snow and ice melted off them leaving little puddles on the floor.

The Legend of the Cedar Tree


A long time ago when the Cherokee people were new upon the earth, they thought that life would be much better if there was never any night. They beseeched the Ouga (Creator) that it might be day all the time and that there would be no darkness.

The Creator heard their voices and made the night cease and it was day all the time. Soon, the forest was thick with heavy growth. It became difficult to walk and to find the path. The people toiled in the gardens many long hours trying to keep the weeds pulled from among the corn and other food plants. It got hot, very hot, and continued that way day after long day. The people began to find it difficult to sleep and became short tempered and argued among themselves.

Not many days had passed before the people realized they had made a mistake and, once again, they beseeched the Creator. "Please," they said, "we have made a mistake in asking that it be day all the time. Now we think that it should be night all the time." The Creator paused at this new request and thought that perhaps the people may be right even though all things were created in twos... representing to us day and night, life and death, good and evil, times of plenty and those times of famine. The Creator loved the people and decided to make it night all the time as they had asked.

The day ceased and night fell upon the earth. Soon, the crops stopped growing and it became very cold. The people spent much of their time gathering wood for the fires. They could not see to hunt meat and with no crops growing it was not long before the people were cold, weak, and very hungry. Many of the people died.

Those that remained still living gathered once again to beseech the Creator. "Help us Creator," they cried! "We have made a terrible mistake. You had made the day and the night perfect, and as it should be, from the beginning. We ask that you forgive us and make the day and night as it was before."

Once again the Creator listened to the request of the people. The day and the night became, as the people had asked, as it had been in the beginning. Each day was divided between light and darkness. The weather became more pleasant, and the crops began to grow again. Game was plentiful and the hunting was good. The people had plenty to eat and there was not much sickness. The people treated each other with compassion and respect. It was good to be alive. The people thanked the Creator for their life and for the food they had to eat.

The Creator accepted the gratitude of the people and was glad to see them smiling again. However, during the time of the long days of night, many of the people had died, and the Creator was sorry that they had perished because of the night. The Creator placed their spirits in a newly created tree. This tree was named a-tsi-na tlu-gv {ah-see-na loo-guh} cedar tree.

When you smell the aroma of the cedar tree or gaze upon it standing in the forest, remember that if you are Tsalagi {Cherokee}, you are looking upon your ancestor.

Tradition holds that the wood of the cedar tree holds powerful protective spirits for the Cherokee. Many carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags worn around the neck. It is also placed above the entrances to the house to protect against the entry of evil spirits. A traditional drum would be made from cedar wood.

The Creator did not make the people because of loneliness, but because the Creator wanted to show generosity and love to the people. Accept the blessings and the gifts given and always give thanks for them.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paul Ferrini Weekly Message


Communication is a Sacred Act

Listening takes energy and attention. It takes receptivity to the other person. When we aren’t receptive, we should not try to listen. We should let the other person know that we are not in a receptive state. Conversely, when the other person cannot offer this attention to us, we shouldn’t try to share with him or her.
Communication does not happen by itself. It requires both the speaker and the listener to be present. When both are present fully, it is a sacred act.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Being Thankful

I was going to write a blog on being thankful earlier, but instead did something else. Now after spending the day playing board games with my sons and their families, I will share some of my being thankful items here, if you do not mind.

I am thankful for bills as it means I have a job and creditors trust me, and the Universe provides me with an abundance to share with others.

I am thankful for my family, friends and all the people in my life
I am thankful for my many teachers in life that taught me;
To be loving from the unloving
To be forgiving from the unforgiving
Being nonjudgmental from the judgmental
Compassion from the uncompassionate
Silence from the talkative
Tolerance from the intolerant
Kindness from the unkind
Love from the angry one
Patience from the impatient kind
Acceptance from the judgmental
Being positive from the negative teachers
Faith from the fearful
Honesty from the liars
Charity from the hardhearted
Humility from the self-important
To be open minded from the close minded
To see gifts and opportunities instead of trouble
To see solutions instead of problems

I bless my teachers and thank them for the gifts and opportunities of learning that each and every one of them brings to me.

I am thankful for this moment, as it is the only one that I choose to live in, yesterday is but an illusion and tomorrow is but a dream.

Is it "splitsville" for Santa Bear?

This year Macys' released the latest Santa Bear at their department store with little fanfare, and without Mrs Bear. Immediately rumors started flying and eyebrows started rising with people that have collected the Santa Bears for years. I have purchased the Santa Bear collection on the day after Thanksgiving for my daughter. This year, it was purchased well before the traditional release date, fueling more speculation. They have been a featured couple since 1984, when Dayton's launched the couple onto the public scene. They had been courting privately for several years, when the couple decided to go public.

One collector wondered, "Is the Santa Bear Collection being phased out under the new store owners?"

Another collector commented; "I have heard rumors that Mr. Bear and Mrs. Bear are thinking of ending their relationship. Mrs Bear has gotten tired of always having to spend the holidays in the public arena. She would rather have some private time. All Mr Bear does is work and help others be happy. Since the kids have come along, he is always gone, or working, or just sleeping. He never has anytime for me."

A street person remarked that he heard that Santa Bear felt he made a commitment to his friends and the public and Mrs. Bear knew before hand what she was getting into. If she would rather spend time watching the grass grow, knitting, and sewing, that was her choice. Santa Bear seemed to be saying, "If you're there, you're there, if you're not, then you're not."

Some people wondered if the couple had lost one of the twins, as Santa Bear has only been seen with the son. Where is the other twin? Is she ill, and Mrs Bear stayed home to take care of her?

Meanwhile, the quote from the family is "The marriage is strong, and Mrs. Bear was tired from all the work. Mr. Bear gave Mrs. Bear a vacation and spa retreat on a Caribbean Island. He had sent a colorful limo with a couple of her close female friends to pick up Mrs. Bear as a surprise anniversary gift for a week of relaxation and pampering."

A passer by snorted on hearing this, "Mrs Bear should be out there with Mr. Bear, it is only proper that she help him out, even if it meant grabbing the extra blanket to keep warm in the sleigh. She needed to show she supported her husband in his endeavor and dreams. That is her place!"

Meanwhile, there is "no comment" on the whereabouts of Mrs. Bear.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Gift of Quotations

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
-- Brian Tracy.


Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you thing about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.
-- Norman Vincent Peale.


The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
-- Unknown.

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
-- Thomas Alva Edison.


Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again.
-- Unknown.


God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless.
-- Chester W. Nimitz.


Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
-- Calvin Coolidge.


Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.
-- Robertson Davies.

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.
-- Orison Swett Marden.


Don't get discouraged; it is often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.
-- Unknown.


It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
-- Seneca.

A journey of a thousand miles always begins with one step.
-- Ancient Egyptian Proverb.

The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
-- Unknown.


Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
-- Oliver Goldsmith.


Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
-- Milan Kundera.


It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh.


Try and fail, but don't fail to try.
-- Stephen Kaggwa.


Refuse to compromise what you know to be right for anyone or anything.
-- Brian Tracy.


It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
-- Erma Bombeck.


Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
-- Langston Hughes.


Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
-- Murphy's Law of Disobedience.


Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
-- Old Post Office Motto.

Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.
-- Albert Einstein.


Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.
-- Eddie Rickenbacker.


I laugh in the face of danger... then I hide until it goes away.
-- Xander Harris.

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.
-- Norwegian Proverb.

Reach for the moon, even if you miss you'll be among the stars.
-- Unknown.

The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
-- Unknown.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says... I'll try again tomorrow. -- Mary Anne Redmacher-Hershey

Trust the still, small voice that says, "this might work and I'll try it."
-- Diane Mariechild.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
-- Anais Nin.

Train your head and hands to do, your head and heart to dare.
-- Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.

Courage is a special kind of knowledge; the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.
-- David Ben-Gurion.

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.
-- Dale Carnegie.

Our time is fix'd; and all our days are number'd;
How long, how short, we know not; this we know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.
And wait th' appointed hour, till they're relieved,
Those only are the brave who keep their ground,
And keep it to the last.
-- Blair.

You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.
-- Maya Angelou.

Action is the antidote to despair.
-- Joan Baez.

It's not enough to have a dream, Unless you're willing to pursue it. It's not enough to know what's right, Unless you're strong enough to do it. It's not enough to learn the truth, Unless you also learn to live it. It's not enough to reach for love, Unless you care enough to give it. Men who are resolved to find a way for themselves will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not find them, they will make them.
-- Samuel Smiles.

Defeat isn't bitter if you don't swallow it.
-- Unknown.

Events are less important than our response to them.
-- Unknown.

New ideas pass through three periods: *It can't be done. *It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing *I knew it was a good idea all along!
-- Arthur C. Clarke.

You can't test courage cautiously.
-- Unknown.

To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.
-- Jane Elliot.

All serious daring starts from within. -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
-- Vista M. Kelly.

In Russia all tyrants believe poets to be their worst enemies.
-- Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Don't wait for your ship to come in. Row out to meet it.
-- Unknown.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore.
-- Unknown.

Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
-- Mark Twain

And the trouble is if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
-- Erica Jong.

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.
-- Doug Larson.

Do not go where the path may lead instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt.

To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.
-- Charles Caleb Colton.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
-- Henry Drummond.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What was your Dream?

View of White Bear Lake

I remembered as I was thinking about "Under the Ledge", that when I was in my teens, a dream was to build a house on the wildlife area overlooking the Peshtigo River not far from Harmony, WS. I could sit on the deck and watch the ducks and geese come and go, watch the deer play in the Red pines that I had been planting with my dad for 10 years, and fish in the pond that I was going to build to hold privately stocked fish. I was going to dam a creek and flood a small valley to create the pond. The pond would have been 20' deep at its deepest point. There is a spring in the creek, so the water would have stayed cool also. I would also be retired by the time I hit 40 as I considered that "old" then.

I am slightly older now, but not as old as sand, and this thought of the house on the wildlife area came up. I started thinking about that dream, and where I live now. There is a quest house, a pole barn and the newly remodeled home with a view of the wildlife area. The wildlife area is a large area of marshland between 2 lakes - White Bear Lake and Bald Eagle Lake. There is a wet water creek that runs beside the property into the wildlife area. The other day, I came out to the pole barn, and there were 5 deer munching grass and leaves in the back yard. Every spring ma & pa duck return, they are Mallards, to nest in the fringe of the yard, squirrels are numerous, birds are colorful and of many varied species even the Pileated Woodpecker visits the feeders, and all of it is visible from the screen porch just completed on the house. While the location is different, and the Peshtigo River is hours away, there are a lot of aspects of the earlier dream of 40 years ago and today that are same or similar.

The career path has altered from the high school years, to what is done now. The dream then was to be a forester or forestry engineer and instead the chosen field turned out to be as a carpenter and then a cost estimator.

Now I plan to work until 80 or so, as I want to keep active, it may be part time, or it may be like Jimmy Carter and be involved in a lot of charity work, but the idea is just to keep active.

What was a dream of yours in high school and how has it changed?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What time of day am I?

I Am Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tis a Puzzlement

All historical thinking involves tinkering with the lenses that shine the light of other days into our lives. ~ Richard F. Snow


I have always wondered about Christianity, and how so many people can have so many twists, turns, ideas, fears, and concepts about what is true. We see the monks in undeveloped countries living as hermits without any possessions in service of other people; TV ministries touting about ways to wealth and being a millionaire; folks living in isolated communes; the shakers of men and woman who lived in abstinence; snake handlers in the Appalachians; preachers predicting doom and wrath striking us down; groups drinking poisons to prove their righteousness; and followers of David Koresh and others believing these are the “end times” and all saying that all the others are heretics and wrong in their beliefs. One of the few things in common with all of these groups is they all point to the Bible as their sacred scriptures. This is just confusing.

As children, we learned that the Bible is the Divine Word of God and it will never change. It is the same today, as yesterday, as tomorrow. So who wrote the Bible? For a while, I was married into a family that is evangelical in their faith, and believed that everything in the Bible is precise and true. After all, it is the written Word of God.

For many years this was a core belief that I had accepted for myself, and wondered how science and the Bible could be so at odds. It tis a puzzlement.

Bishop Spong recently wrote “In the ninth decade, Matthew added such details to the growing mythology as the miraculous birth, the heavenly star, the wise men, and the physiological appearances of the raised Jesus. Some five to ten years after Matthew, Luke added to the developing story such parts of our tradition as the shepherds, the swaddling cloths and the appearances of the angels. Later he intensified the physical character of the resurrection until it became resuscitation back into the life of this world, which in turn necessitated his eventual escape from this earth in the story of the cosmic ascension. Still later John identified him with the Word of God spoken in creation. As these mythological layers were laid on top of him, his humanity began to fade. That is where the faith crisis of today emerges. We have begun to strip away the mythology, and as we do we begin to fear that there is nothing under it. So we hesitate and even pretend to believe what, when pressed, we would say we no longer believe. Many of the fundamentalist churches are made up of pretenders who reveal their vulnerability by getting angry whenever they are forced to face the game that they are playing.”

So, what is fact and what is myth? Can we find out? For 1900 years the “smoking gun” lay hidden in the deserts where people buried old documents for fear of life! Then the Nag Hammadi Library was discovered and started to reveal it’s secrets of long ago. The old documents are made of papyrus and show a whole new story of the early Christian era. We often think today’s idea of Christianity is confusing, and radical, but folks this is nothing compared to 2000 years ago. This is where the winners really got to do a rewrite on history.

There are over 5400 copies of the early scriptures of the New Testament, and by copies, it needs to be understood, that these copies are not originals in any form. To be closer in understanding, these copies are copies of copies, of copies, of copies, and of other copies, of still more copies. And within all of these copies, some pieces no bigger than a thumbnail, not one agrees with another copy, except in the smallest of details.

To compound the numerous copies, there are errors in the copies, and some estimates put the number of errors well over 300,000. To put it in context, there are more errors than there are words in the New Testament! Then add to it, there are forgeries, text changes, and text added just where you might think they would turn up.

We have to keep in mind the period we are visiting under this prism of glass. In this period there is a war going on, in Christianity, or should it be called Christianities. The faiths are more diverse, than imaginable, some believe that there are 34 Gods, and others believe 1 exists. You would need a scorecard to keep them all separated. But, the two main sects were the Christians that practiced gnosis and that God is within, and those that believed that God is out there someplace watching over everyone. Under Constantine he was the unseen policeman on every corner. What better way to control a population than by using fear.

In the first hundred years, the apostles, such as Paul, could not be in all places at the same time, so they had letters sent to various areas and churches. Since most people could not read or write, including a lot of scribes, textural errors occurred, or a scribe would change or add to the words to try to clarify something for another church.

Some textural changes can be important for interpretation. For example, the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end at 16:8 with the report that the women fled Jesus’ empty tomb in fear and told no one what they had seen or heard. But later manuscripts append and additional twelve verses onto this chapter. What are those verses added? Here they are:

9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.


One of the reasons sighted for the change, is that a man had to make and proclaim this discovery. It would not look good for a women to be the first in the know.

Are there any other verses added? Yes, There is the famous well known story of the adulterous woman, with the men wanting to stone her to death, and Jesus writing in the sand. Most scholars believe those verses were also added by a scribe. They were not in any earlier copy, but appear later in history.

There are other changes in the text, some small, and some not as large as the preceding ones. Most of the other changes were made to give the appearance of Jesus’ divine nature. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was pictured as being in earnest prayer, and sweating blood. That was to show his Divine nature, but as human. When Jesus went to the temple as a boy, the earlier text said his father and mother came to find him, as they were worried. This was changed to leave out the word “father’ in referencing Joseph, as Jesus’ father was God. There could not be two fathers.

Paul wrote 7 books in the New Testament, and none of them set up a hierarchy in church structure, as he firmly held the belief that Jesus would return in his lifetime. However, a total of 13 are credited to his name, the others being written long after his death. Specifically, Timothy 2, where the church hierarchy is set up and women are subjected to their husbands.

As the war waged on over beliefs, the proto-orthodox church, which means the universal church, or Catholic Church, used the sacred text to aid in stating their case. But the major reason of text alterations, added text, and added books in canon and scripture was to close the doors on gnosis or going within. The church wanted it to be the only “right” belief system and to make gnosis and Gnostics – heresy and destroy this alternate way to God. Many volumes were written to answer Gnostic claims, but the articles by the Gnostics were missing. On the other hand, the Gnostic Christians believed that there was nothing worth dying for on this world. Eventually, the proto-orthodox church was victorious over all the other belief systems, and one of the orders was to go back and rewrite history to give the semblance that everything was as ordained. And I thought spin-doctors were a new phenomenon.

The next step was to give more credibility to this new religion, as they knew that without “roots” it would not take. Since the Jewish books were the only written books of any religion, they decided to tie the two together. Now they had a history, and a resemblance of being there from time beginning.
Now, how far back did they go? Your guess is as good as mine.

In 1963, John F Kennedy was shot, there were camera’s rolling, pictures being snapped, and numerous people as witnesses, and yet with all of this evidence, people still disagree as to what happened.

An author writes a book “A Million Little Pieces” and it becomes knowledge that he made up some things and is chastised on TV and in the press. Are there any parallels? What makes one ‘right” and the other “wrong”?

I can imagine there will always be folks that will disagree with what happened 2000 years ago. However, I do think we all can agree that a great man lived and died, and the truths and lessons he lived were profound and changed the course of history.

The core truths of his life were to love unconditionally, to love God and to not sit in judgment of ones brother. For as we judge and condemn our brother, we judge and condemn ourselves to that same harsh judgment. What we put out to the universe comes back to us. It is all-circular.

For myself, I have come to understand that the New Testament and Bible were written by human hands; with human judgments; human interpretations; and human agendas. There is a lot of wisdom in the books, and it is up to each of us to discern its relevance in our lives.

I have considered myself as a Christian out of a respect for our heritage and a recognition that Jesus taught the universal truths we value. However, I am not Christian as Christianity defines itself today through its dogma.

For further reading;

“Lost Christianities” by Bart D. Ehrman
“Misquoting Jesus” by Bart D. Ehrman
“Why Christianity Must Change or Die” Bishop Spong
“The Gnostic Gospels” Elaine Pagels
“Gnosticism” Stephen A. Hoeller

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Summer Dreams


It was a hot humid summer day as thoughts turned to winters brisk winds. Sitting idly around a table sipping iced tea, several members of my family thought of possibilities and methods to cool down. As a lark, it was suggested that a day of cross-country skiing would be enjoyable and cold. As talk turned to bravado, the webs were spun and before long we were planning an expedition into the Boundary Waters for a little cross-country skiing and snow camping in the following winter. January was to be the targeted month, and the third week as those were the days that it was at the coldest temperature of the winter As the day progressed into the evening we plotted, planned, made lists, and decided who was to take care of which tasks. Now, this was before I knew about personality traits along horoscope lines, and if I did, I would have been aware of potential issues. Lists and Pisceans do not mix well, and Pisceans have a tendency to loose a list as fast as they are given one. Pisceans are dreamers and visionaries. I am a Piscean.

Several times thru the fall, phone calls were made, to remind us of the deal struck on that hot, humid, sweltering July day. The total group consisted of 6, and as the days became shorter, the temperatures dropped, the group became smaller. People were dropping out as fast as ice cubes had melted on that July day. I was even having second thoughts.

The day of reckoning arrived, and the surviving three dreamers met up in Hudson, WS. We quickly double checked our lists, gathered up our gear, and headed north. The evening temps were hovering around 28, and it had just started snowing. As we miles ticked off, the snowfall became heavier, until at times the road became obscured. We hung our heads out the window to eye the side of the road, and no one was talking about turning back. We had struck a deal, and we were not going to be deterred from our goal. We laughed as we drove, and decided we needed coffee and lots of it. Around 2AM, we pulled into Duluth, MN and stopped for that much needed coffee. We were slightly behind schedule considering the slow going of the roads. We were headed for the Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais, and our goal was to start cross-country skiing at the end of the trail to our campsite by early morning. We had a 5-6 hour ski trek to make before we hit the campsite.

As we drove old Hwy 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior, we could hear thru the snowfall the pounding of the waves on the rocks below us. 61 followed the lake, and at points was a shear drop to the lake without any shoulders. The only thing that separated us from the drop was a cable guardrail.

Around 5AM we turned out of Grand Marais, heading west, and the snow was piling up, the snowflakes being as big as boxcars, and the pine bows were along the road were sagging heavily under the weight of the new snow. The picture was an awesome black and white image in the headlights. We often thought we were part of a picture as the trees slowly crept by. Just as the early twilight of the morning had brightened to the day, we arrived at the trails end and a cabin stacked high with snow. We talked for a while with the lone owner and then strapped on our skis and headed out. We snapped some pictures and left the camera in the truck for safety. The sound of the skis on the new fallen snow was the only sound that broke the silence. It was very much like a lovers whisper in ones ear in the middle of the night.

After a couple hours of skiing along the lake, we heard the sounds of wolves in pursuit of some prey. Looking thru the pines in the direction of the howls, we saw a lone deer running ahead of 4 wolves, with 1 in the lead running down the middle of the lake. The sight held us spell bound as we witnessed the wild of nature and we were without the camera!

After another couple of hours of skiing we found our campsite and set up camp, and as we unpacked our gear, we decided we were slightly hungry. We searched all of the backpacks and discovered that food had not made the lists! We had coffee, 2 giant chocolate bars, some nuts, some granola and of course, I had a book! We made our coffee and decided that we were okay. This was not planned as a long trek, just 48 hrs, and we could shorten it and head out the next day instead.

We built a fire, melted snow, and told stories as the snow fell around us. Finally around 10 we decided to bank the fire and head to the tents. We could see the stars and the moonlight on the moonlight on the snow, the air biting at our cheeks, the frost icing up on my beard created a snapshot in my mind for years to come.

Around 2AM, I woke up, and thinking it was because I was cold, decided to do some isometrics in the sleeping bag to warm myself up. Then I heard what had woken me up. The sound was like a high-pitched scream in the night, and very much like a woman's scream of terror. Now, I was awake, and so were Frank and Oscar. After some intense discussion we concluded it was the northern Lynx on the prowl.

The next morning dawned clear and cold. The snow was still falling, and we marveled at the sight. We had our coffee, ate some granola and nuts, and packed up our gear. By mid morning we were skiing across the frozen lake, making excellent time. By mid afternoon we reached the truck, stole the gear and drove to a restaurant in Grand Marais, where we ordered a large dinner to end the day.

Thanksgiving and perception



I found my trip last October to the New England states, besides all of the awesome views, to be highly educational. For years I learned history about Thanksgiving from the books and stories handed down by my parents, as taught in school, and from magazine articles. It was my 1st realization that winners get to do a rewrite of history. After visiting the Plimouth Plantation, I learned some interesting "facts" about Thanksgiving and Plimouth at the 1st Thanksgiving.

For instance, at the 1st Thanksgiving, the Settlers ate and as in the old country did military drills in celebration. They marched in the fields and the Native American Chief upon seeing this from the edge of the woods, brought in Native American men and they just materialized out of the woods into the fields and the settlement. The implication was that, he had many more men than all the Settlers combined and the ones being seen were just a token few to the many he could summon. Also at the 1st Thanksgiving, no Native American women were present, as it was just too dangerous.

In paintings and artists renderings of this period we see a few token Native American men scattered around, but in fact, the Native American men were over 100 at this "feast", and more numerous than all the Settlers at this colony. There were probably 30-40 men in this settlement and the chiefs show of his warriors was obvious. I also learned that while we celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude, for the Native American it is a day of sorrow.

It is all in our perception, and as the facts are revealed we see the what really may have transpired then. With this lesson on history it gave me some fresh insights into this day of being grateful, but also allowed me to view other events in history with an new perception and outlook.

Follow this link to the website of Plimouth Plantation,
interesting what is "history" and what is "fact"

http://www.plimoth.org/learn/history/thanksgiving/fastandthanks.asp

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Anniversary Today

In 2000, on this day, I smoked my last cigarette. I had been smoking 2 packs a day, and decided that it was finally time to quit. I had attempted to quit many times before, but this time, my practicing was over. I went cold turkey and made a new choice each day to not smoke. Sometimes, at first, it was several if not multiple times a day,making that statement and vow, but 6 years later, I am still not smoking.
For today, again, I choose not to smoke.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Karma

You Have Fantastic Karma
You are a kind, sensitive, and giving person.And all your good deeds will pay off - if they haven't already.But you're not so concerned with what you get in return anyway.You have an innate caring nature - and nothing can change that!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Project Magnet

Packers over the Vikings 23 - 17
I grew up in Packer Country and was very pleased to see that the Packers came out on top of the border battle.

Doing a snoopy dance.

This was a project weekend out in far western Minnesota. I left the middle of Friday afternoon with the goal of making Big Stone Lake by 8PM as we had to make a material run to Watertown, South Dakota by 10PM. We needed to pick up the material for a school bus shelter as that was our agenda for Saturday and Sunday. We purchased the material, for a total of 102 dollars, and returned to Western Minnesota by midnight. We had many spirited conversations driving thru the night, and resolved some worldy issues. Just kidding........... but we did talk a lot.

We slept in and managed to get moving mid morning. The winds in the western part of the state can be brutal as they roll off the Rocky Mountains and just pick up speed as they gather momentum across the prairies. Saturday was a brutal day, but dry. We panelized the school bus shelter in a protected area and then loaded it onto a trailer for transporting to the end of the lane.

The shelter was set up in an hour and the oldest grandson, Owen, came out to offer his thanks and how nice it is. He climbed the ladders and said he could see for miles and miles. He could see the many deer hunters in blaze orange walking the fence lines in hopes of rousing a buck from its hiding place. Owen is the oldest being 5 years old. He assisted us by picking up nails and thought about making the bus shelter a "boys only" clubhouse. He concluded that mommys can come in, but not any other girls! Sorry girls, he may reconsider in 10 years though. Simon pointed out to me that is the reason for lots of glass.

Sunday, we had pancakes for breakfast and Simon and I went out to finish the shelter. We installed 3 windows from old salvaged barn windows, and made a barn door with latches for the entrance. The inside features a long bench to accommodate 3 growing boys waiting patiently for a school bus on those blustery cold days of winter.

After the project was completed, I was informed that I am a giant project magnet, as my tendencies are to attract lots of requests for help with projects. Finding a new hobby may not be very much of a challenge at all.

Simon's wife has also decided to open a small business. A very small business as she phrased it.
She is calling it:
Farmhouse Soaps.

More info to follow on Farmhouse Soaps. She has been making natural soaps from scratch for family and friends, and over the last couple of years many requests have been coming in. She thought it might be a good business opportunity and has decided to "go for it. "

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Guard Dog

Often in this world and day we expect something to happen "right now!" or overnight, like at a fast food place. We pull up, place the order, drive thru and expect quick service. But we have learned fast is not exactly healthy for us. It takes practice, patience, work, and intent. So often when I have tried something new, I expected the same results. Now, I would recommend staying the course for at least 40 days. I choose 40 as a number for several reasons. It carries with it mystical qualities amongst others. Noah was a drift for 40 days, Jesus walked the desert for 40 days, and the list goes on. 40 is symbolic with an awakening of the inner spirit, and resurrection of self.

For instance many years ago, I had an opportunity to practice this. I was working with an employer that had a guard dog that was 3/4 German Shepherd and 1/4 wolf. He was trained as an attack dog but washed out of the school as uncontrollable. Being trained as a police attack dog, he was trained to go for the crotch of his target. I was familiar with the dog but kept my distance, and he became MY teacher.

One day, I was talking with my foreman, and the dog came thru the door with the owner, and instantly he launched himself at me, barking, growling, and teeth bared. He ripped my pants open from crotch to knee and left teeth marks along the tear. His teeth were dull, as he liked chewing rocks, so it was not a bad wound. The dog backed up and continued barking as I backed out of the area.

Then a couple of days later, it was a repeat performance. The owner was going to cage him, and instead I suggested that he tie him on a short lead and set up a picnic table just out of the chains reach. My goal was to become trusted by the dog, and to trust him. For the next 45 days, I ate my lunch at that table. I always packed a double lunch. I made 2 sandwiches, packed 2 cookies, and double on the snacks. My wife thought I was a nuts, as she would just stay away from the dog. For the 1st week or two, the dog did more growling and barking than anything. I even made sure I came in on the weekends to maintain the contact. As the days melted away, I moved the table closer and eventually the dog was eating at my feet and allowing me to stroke his back.

I was just reading online about Shadow Animal Totems and how some are sent into our lives so that we can confront a fear. Several dogs had bitten me when I was a child, and had developed a fear of large dogs. This dog being my teacher taught me to trust myself, stay the course, to give love and honor to all living creatures. The transformation was awesome to behold.

I have a great story to tell my grandchildren also.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chili Recipe


When I 1st started to learn to cook, chili was easy, some hamburger, kidney beans, onions, tomato ketchup, and tomato paste. Since then, I have graduated up just a little bit, and here is a recipe I found that I like to use. Notice the pumpkin and brown sugar added. It is like getting a Thanksgiving dinner in a bowl.

Anytime Turkey Chili

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1-1/4 hours
Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts)

2/3 cup chopped sweet onions
½ cup chopped green pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-1/2 oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14-1/2 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
½ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed cooked turkey breast*


In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, green pepper, oregano, garlic and cumin in oil until vegetables are tender. Stir in the beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, broth, water, brown sugar, chili powder and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add turkey; heat thru.

Tasty Tip – The chili is a perfect dish to prepare when you are looking for ways to use up the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving

Nutrition Facts; 1 cup equals 241 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 478 sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 25 g protein
Diabetic exchanges; 3 very lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable


*I have substituted cooked/browned turkey burger for the cubed turkey breast.

Perceptions


"Learning the lessons life brings takes a great deal of patience and compassion. We need to realize that it isn’t easy for us to change how we perceive reality. If it was, we wouldn’t need so many lessons. Most of our lessons do not ask us to change ourselves, others or the world. They ask us to change our perception of ourselves, other people, and the world around us. "~ Paul Ferrini

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Storytelling

November is family stories month. The month is dedicated to the telling and saving of family stories. Starting with our biological kinship, the definition of family can also be applied to friends, our religious community, fraternal organizations or other groups with which we share a familial bond. The approaching holiday gatherings can be an ideal time for storytelling.

Here is a story from my past.

Just out of high school, I visited a monastery as a novice for several months. The location is in Lower Michigan and the Episcopal Benedictine Monastery in Three Rivers is the setting. When I 1st arrived there in the middle of the night, I met the Abbot and he said unless I performed some type of miracle, I was to follow orders and not question what had been ordained over the centuries. I was young, and not too rebellious yet, so that was an easy order to follow. The days would start early, and my 1st week there, I was assigned to work in the vegetable gardens. I remember planting seeds for days on end, sunup to sundown. The senior monk in charge thought he had the timing of the crop down to a science, but his aim was not true. We had an abundance of corn to eat the month of August. We had corn for breakfast, lunch, supper, and made numerous gallons of wines from that crop. The whole month of August! Needless to say, the adage to waste not is a prevalent philosophy there.

After the garden was planted, I was assigned to the farm, and that had a Xmas tree farm on it. On hot summer days, we would cut and bale hay, and trim the evergreens on the farm to ready them for selling in the local town. On those hot days, we would ride back to the monastery in the back of the pickup with the wind blowing thru our hair. Then we would go swimming in the lake behind the gated walls of the community. Beside the lake was a lone cabin, where novices would go into retreat at, before taking the monks vows.

Our day would start out with a high mass, meditation, and chanting, then we would head to breakfast of cereals and wine. Around noon we would again assemble before lunch, and chant and pray. Then it was afternoon chores and some recreation, and a quiet time in our rooms, then more chanting and prayers before supper. The evening would end with a vesper service at dusk beofre retiring for the night, which usually was around 11PM. The outside community was not invited in until feast days and then the Sunday morning for service was open to the local community. This would be a high mass service with the Brothers raising their voices in chants and to create a vibration thru the structure. 50-60 male voices was a powerful sound to be heard in Gregorian chants.

Since St. Benedict was a hermit monk, the monastery had very little to do with the community and was totally self sufficient in all things. While the stay there was peaceful and quiet, I instead chose to leave at the end of summer and declined to go into retreat in the monks cabin and thus emerging taking vows.

My 2 Cents

Sense of Urgency
I learned this bit logic over the years, to work with a Sense of Urgency. Working in the field as a carpenter for 25 years, growing up in a rural area aiding farmers tend the fields, I learned quickly to make hay while the sun shined and appreciated working with a sense of urgency. We knew 10 to 15 minutes in advance when an approaching storm would drop it rain onto us, and we stepped up the pace to wrap up details. It never failed us, that once the air cooled, we had limited time to respond.

A sense of urgency. The feeling that now is the time to get something done, because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. It's a sentiment I suggest you keep in mind when you go to the voting booth. In the next couple of years, our country needs to get something done. We simply can't afford the appalling bickering and time wasting that comes out of Washington. We need honest debate, substantive ideas, and realistic compromise. We need a sense of urgency; we need to get things done! Iraq, energy independence, the health care industry, Social Security, illegal immigration…the list goes on and on. Nothing that can't be solved, but nothing that can be ignored or left to the spin-doctors who are all spinning their webs of deceit and passing the buck to the other person. We are the owners of this country, not the politicians, and we need to send a very clear message that we expect results. Either get to work or get out of the way!

This leads me to an insight. Over the years, working in the construction business, I have noticed that people working together get the job done a lot faster, and turn out a quality product. If someone makes a mistake, it is easily figured out who made it, a lesson is given so next time it does not happen, and then we corrected the mistake and moved on. It was not about blaming someone else, it was about doing what needed to be done now. The sense of urgency.

I now work in an office, and I still carry that sense of urgency with me. But, I have also noticed that some just do not get it. They are too busy covering their butts. They are probably would be politicians, but in business, these people also become expendable in lean times. Our politicians and the ruling party right now has botched up their responsibilities, and while they say polls do not matter, they had better listen up this election. I am a voter, and I am darned pissed off at how this government is being run. They do not seem to know what really matters, aren't willing to learn from their mistakes and their attitude of being self-righteous dudes is appalling. I can attest that the people in Washington would not last a day of a framing crew, and my son Caleb would work them into the ground by noon. They would learn what is meant by work, hustle, and urgency.

Yes, there are challenges ahead, but none of them are insurmountable. All that is needed is to decide to work together, us against the problems and those problems would melt like butter in a hot sizzling black iron skillet. There are storm clouds on the horizon and the cool wind tells me that a major storm is moving in. We can prepare for it with a sense of urgency, or we can get soaked and struck by lightning while we bicker. To me the choice is easy.

I have sent my message out this morning by voting, make sure to get out and have your vote count in the results

Jim

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good News

This is a picture of my middle son Nathann and his wife Jennifer with my granddaughter Grace. They just released last weekend that they are expecting another addition to their family
June 1, 2007

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Grand Canyon, Hermits Rest

These pictures are from my trip to Sedona, AZ., in October. A day trip was made to the Grand Canyon, South Rim. The sights were breath-taking and more pictures will be posted later.

The Welcome Gate to Hermits Rest




Canyon View from Hermits Rest




Canyon View From Hermits Rest Gate



Hermits Rest, the westernmost viewpoint, and the Hermit Trail that descends from it were named for the "hermit" Louis Boucher, a 19th-century French-Canadian prospector who had a number of mining claims and a roughly built home down in the canyon. Canyon views from here include Hermit Rapids and the towering cliffs of the Supai and Redwall formations. The stone building at Hermits Rest sells curios and refreshments and -- more important -- has the only restrooms on Hermit Road.

Tractor Time



Since this is the fall and leaves are in abundant supply, I tend to get in a lot of “tractor time” which in rural terms is riding a tractor tending the fields, mowing, cultivating, plowing, cutting hay, baling hay, and spreading manure. My tractor time at this time of the year is mowing and sweeping the yard for leaves. When younger, this was work where one could do a lot of thinking and contemplate stuff.

Today was I was contemplating a lesson of 40 years in the making. My parents taught me; to always keep an open mind to anything being possible, see the forest for the trees, but also see the trees, to always challenge what you believe, and always go to a contrary source to verify something. If it was absurd, it probably is, if too good to be true, it probably is, and you can make of your life what you want it to be. You are capable of anything your mind can conceive. God helps those that help themselves, and to always help others.

When I was 9, I had a crop garden and sold produce to a grocery store in town. The 1st crop to be harvested was peas, and the earlier you got them to the store, the higher the price. I would plant early and sometimes it would snow on top of the newly planted seeds, but in this particular year, it did, but there was a crop to the market before anyone else. My wallet was loaded with greenbacks.

My parents decided to take us to a fair in central Wisconsin, and I brought along my wallet. Dad suggested instead of carrying it, I leave it in the glove box and he would lock the car, and only take what I wanted to spend. I took 5 dollars and he locked the car. Towards the end of the fair, I wanted to get more money, and dad gave me the keys. Upon opening the glove box, I found the wallet was missing, and I could not figure it out. Dad went to look and he was perplexed, but said someone must have jimmied to lock and taken it.

My dad made his transition 10 years ago and I wanted the tools of his, as they meant a lot to me. He had toolboxes, and really nice ones just loaded with tools. I brought them all home, and started going thru them over the last several years. Last year, as I was going thru one, I found the wallet that I had lost at 9. I was perplexed, but was also very happy, as there were some pictures in it of my sister and I taken from my old camera. Was this the same wallet? My memory says yes, most likely, but it may have been another also. I could argue this out and still not come to a solid conclusion.

The other evening, I heard a comic talking about perceptions and truth. I have found that a lot of times, a good comic will have some wisdom in his words. He was remarking about something that happened 1500 years ago, and how people were lining up on one side or another. He then commented that there can be diverse opinions, just look at the Kennedy assasination and we have film of what actually happened, and we still disagree!

That reminded me that how I view something is entirely up to me. I can choose to see the glass half empty, or half full. Unless you realize the glass is always full. For me, life is easier and I am happier when I choose to look at the positive aspects. My dad had a lot issues from WWII, but at the same time he taught me some really good lessons on how to view life. The wallet brought back a lot of memories of those lessons and I am glad to have the pictures and the reminder to keep a positive outlook on life. That is a priceless gift.