To be insightful means to intuitively grasp things - an "aha!" moment!

About Me

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I am a member of the church of Christ. I have been writing things since I was little. Some have been printed, some posted. I write to teach or encourage; to blow off steam; and for fun! I had my own motorcycle in my 40s; I was a bluegrass music DJ for about 13 years; I've performed some. I am a member of the NRA. In 2003 (age 59), I became high partial legally blind; in 2005, I had to get hearing aids! Franklin Field said: "Poor eyes limit your sight; poor vision limits your deeds". And no kidding, the picture was made April, 2012!

Friday, April 30, 2010

JUST ANOTHER YOUNG MAN

He was just another young man
Who came through the church house door -
Nothing special to look at -
Just a nobody to ignore.
But lucky for him, these Christians
Were the exception to the rule.
They opened their arms and hearts,
Realizing he might be a jewel.
This young man - a bit of a loner -
Didn't fit in with the crowd.
But he prayed from his heart to God,
And he always sang joyfully proud.
He could quote a good bit of the Bible.
He made good comments in class.
He was usually smiling and friendly,
Leaving afterwards, sometimes the last.
He often wore a T-shirt and jeans,
Even when he made a 'talk' at times.
But God doesn't look on outward appearance;
God looks at what's inside.
One Sunday, he wore a suit and a tie,
Spoke clearly, stood straight as a rod.
But off-beat, this young preacher wore sneakers -
Still ... he preached the Word of God.

- by Netagene, written in a few minutes today, Apri 30, 2010, for and about my nephew, who I love dearly -

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CRUMBS from GOD's TABLE

I twisted the meaning of Matthew 15:27 yesterday because I'd rather be called a "crumb" than a "dog", as the verse actually says. I wrote this poem today, using that same verse.

I may not always get what I think that I should.
I may get what I think is mere fluff,
'til I remember that God's blessings still shower me,
And the crumbs from His table's enough.
Moses chose hardship to follow the Lord,
Rather than an Egyptian lifetime of ease (1),
And Daniel, in prison, obeyed God's commands (2),
Knowing it's God, not the king, he should please.
I may think I should be rich in this world's goods,
With a car and a house and fine clothes,
But whatever God gives me, I know will suffice.
I'll accept whatever favor He shows.
Some think they can warm by the devil's fire (3).
Unlike Peter, they think they are tough.
But I'd rather a spot by the Master's side,
'cause the crumbs from His table's enough.
What I think will not matter when I'm finished here.
My "good deeds" will be gone in a puff.
So while here, I'll be thankful for my blessings from God -
Even crumbs from His table's enough.
When life gets hard, and I'm down in the dumps,
Thinking no one has had it so rough,
Then I think of the Christ, who died for my sins,
Then the crumbs from God's table's enough.

1: To some, what Moses chose would have been "crumbs" compared to a life of ease and abundance if he had chosen to stay and be a prince of Egypt, considering that he had been taken as a baby from the river by the king's daughter (Hebrews 11:24-25). 2: Daniel chose to follow the strict Mosaic dietary laws rather than eat the rich food that the king offered him (Daniel 1:10-16; see also Psalm 141:4). 3: Peter chose the easy way out rather than to suffer, though of course he later regretted it, and repented (Mark 14:66-68, Luke 22:54-57).

I also thought of the old Jimmy Dean recitation: "I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed".

- by Netagene, April 27-28, 2010 -

Monday, April 26, 2010

CRUMBS from the MASTER's TABLE

I love the "touche'!" story in Matthew 15, where near the end, the woman says: "Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table".

I'm sure that to some, people such as I, legally blind, and people who may have other physical ailments, are misfits, or - if you will, "crumbs", in that we are not physically attractive or, to use an old-fashioned word: "comely". We may be "crumbs" to some, yet still we are from The Master.

Today was a state holiday, so my workplace was closed. My nephew didn't have to work today either, so he and the granddaughter of a lady where we worship, came over awhile about noon, after having gone to a bookstore earlier. He worked on his truck a little, then we 3 went for burgers.

The young lady is one who might be considered a "crumb" because of some physical problems with which she was born, but think of this: Isaiah 53, in speaking of the Messiah, says: "... he shall grow up as a tender plant ... as a root out of dry ground, he hath no form nor comeliness ... and there is no beauty that we should desire him ..." In other words, The Christ was not handsome; why do we think we should be?

Besides, God looks on US - what we are, not what we look like (1 Samuel 16:7). And thanks to 2 young people, my day was beautiful!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ROOT out of DRY GROUND

Here is one poem from "Root Out of Dry Ground" by Gilbert Morris (copyright 1981). It reminds me of an old Jimmie Davis' song, "The Three Nails" or "Three Rusty Nails", to which you can find the words on line. (Davis was twice Louisiana governor, as well as the musician who wrote "You Are My Sunshine".) Morris, a baptist preacher and college professor who has also written several novels, writes some powerful, thought-provoking poems in this small book.

NAILS

You see this forge? For twenty years I've beat raw material into form;
How many two-edged swords and curving shears
and shields were on this anvil born!
This dagger - look you how the steel is married to the brazen haft
so smoothly that you cannot feel a line where blade slides into shaft!
To do good work has been my pride. I've been a father spawning life,
and this hot forge - my iron bride! -
has given birth to scythe, to lance, to knife!
But - since the day that Jesus died, my heart's been bound in iron bands.
I think of Him - the crucified - I made the nails that pierced His hands!

WET BIRDS!

Some were, almost to the point of being unrecognizable! Once, both a cardinal and a mockingbird were on my feeder the same time earlier today, with the cardinal on the covered, cheap plastic octagon feeder, and the mocker hanging almost upside down on the suet cage. I wish I could take a good picture, but even with zoom, it would not have looked like much through the front porch screen. With the rain, they have flown between the down-pours for the free food, even sitting and feeding some when the rain wasn't hard! Once there was a mockingbird on the suet cage, and a cardinal and 2 sparrows on the feeder at the same time! Lovely!

There have been a lot of sparrows on the feeder, and nuthatches on both the feeder and the suet. A few black birds of some kind and mourning doves have been on the ground, though I can't see them from the porch swing. I see them when they walk from the grass under the feeder to the driveway. Mother bought the double-arm shepherd's crook and the feeder and my sister and nephew put it up for me about a month ago. It is about 15' from where I sit on the porch. I can't see details, even at that distance, but can tell what the larger birds are with only my glasses. I keep a pair of binoculars on the swing.

I missed 2 days of work this week because of the "gold" I wrote about earlier. Most of the week has been sunny and warm but I haven't dared to be outside other than walking to and from the bus. Today has been thunderstorms, including hail the size of marbles this morning. Yes, I was on the porch at the time; it's lighter there than in the house.

Even with the storms, Talladega's NASCAR was to go on today, but a favorite of mine, the big art show (with music and storytelling) in the park downtown between City Hall and the Courthouse, was canceled. Also, the handbell choir, "Embellishments" free spring concert is today in the Birmingham Museum of Arts, also next to the park.

In between the storm cells, the cardinals, mockingbirds, and sparrows have really been feasting on the bird seed and the suet. I've been mostly on the porch, sometimes eating, sometimes tootling on my pennywhistle or wooden flute, or re-reading an old favorite by Gilbert Morris. "Root Out of Dry Ground: Biblical Characterizations in Verse" was copyrighted in 1981. I've given several as gifts.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

FAITH ONLY

The only time those 2 words are used together in the Bible is James 2:24, and they are preceded by "not".

That was the subject of Kevin's sermon tonight, how to be saved, and it's "not by faith only".

Anthony, my sighted neighbor, and I first went to the Golden Corral at 4:30, as the church folks were meeting there for supper. Another friend, Shane, LB like me, got a ride with Steve (our regular preacher) because he lives close to him. I didn't feel like eating, but managed to get down some, not much, but more than I've eaten all day.

I still feel so rotten, and the internet runs so slowly (I have only dial up), that I'm not going to write much now.

I will say that if you realize that the way you were raised is in some way Biblically unsound, then it's a case of who do you want to be loyal to - Christ, or some person's idea of salvation. If any contradicts the Bible (and with so many beliefs, they even contradict each other!), if you have to break with your old beliefs, so be it. I hope that I would have the strength of character to change, if I see myself wrong. (And yes, it has happened to me.) The Bible says (Acts 17:11) that some were more noble than others, because they "searched the scriptures daily, to be sure the things taught were so". Don't take my word, or some famous preacher's word for it, but read and study the Bible yourself.

The OLD PATHS

"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls ..." (Jeremiah 6:16).

That was Kevin Clark's theme to his sermon last night. He also used Ecclesiastes 1:9, that there is nothing new under the sun. He is a successful lawyer here in town, but preaches a lot, too.

My afternoon bus was late (so many buses breaking down) but the driver got me to the church house at 6:40, with worship starting at 7. The service was over between 8:15 and 8:30.

Kevin doesn't use any technology, no Power Point, etc. It's simply him and his Bible, and he quotes a lot of it, which is the way to be, and he holds everyone's attention even without using the new technology.

He pointed out that when you hear someone say there's a new way of doing things, maybe of interpreting the Bible, he pointed out that the Bible says that the Holy Spirit spoke to men years ago, but that now the Spirit speaks through the apostles and through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2), and that the Word is settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), and that the Christ has not changed (Hebrews 13:8) ... in other words, the Spirit doesn't speak directly to people today, such as someone saying He gave them a new revelation (which usually contradicts what is written) - things like saying that homosexuality is OK, or that remarriage for any reason is OK, or that it's OK to have instrumental music (as well as vocal music) in worship. Some people in Bible times were being deceived in thinking some people even then had a new revelation. But Paul said (Galations 1:6-10) that even if an angel preached something else, that the angel would be cursed!

(In my own study of other religions, they might start out teaching one thing, then a few years later, change it. One example is that the catholic church claims Peter was the head of that church - he was not, yet according to the Bible, Peter was married - Matthew 8:14, yet they said that the pope and priests have to be celibate.)

As to there being nothing new, think about this: the way we do things change, but people are the same. From the beginning, Satan was a liar; Adam didn't stand up to Eve but let her talk him into doing something he knew God had said "don't"; Cain murdered his brother; both Abram and Sarai laughed at God; Rebekkah showed partiality to one of her sons ... and on and on. Ever since time began, there has been lying, murder, partiality, and so on.

I hope to be able to make it to worship this evening, though, as I wrote about the "gold" dust, I'm fighting sinus trouble.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GOLD!!!

My wonderful 10x16 screened-in front porch, which I had built a year ago, has GOLD dust on it ... ah-CHOO! Oops. Wrong. It's only pollen. I'm not making it to worship tonight. I've been alternating half a bendryl and a generic claritin at night, so that I don't choke or drown in my sleep. Just getting up the last few mornings has been rough. At work, I don't go outside except getting off and on the bus. I went through sinus mess last January and February to the point of finally having to go to the doctor and missing a whole week of work. I love the flowers and trees - God made them so beautiful! - but it will be nice when the pollen dies down. Someone suggested - obviously without thinking - that I sweep the pollen off my porch. Huh? That would stir it up even more! And to slosh the porch with water would probably just make mud! Maybe in a couple of weeks, I can once again sit on my porch swing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MEETINGS of various kinds

Political meetings, advocacy meetings, and religious meetings - I've attended more in the last few years (since becoming LB [legally blind] 6 years ago) than in my life until then. Some have been good or at least interesting, some boring but somewhat useful, some good mostly just for a change of scenery to get away from work or my house.

Shortly after becoming LB, one of the counselors at AIDB (the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind) told me about the National Federation of the Blind. Because it was December, he invited me to the local chapter's Christmas party, and he learned that I played autoharp. He was born totally blind, but plays piano and sings beautifully. A friend and I attended the luncheon party, and I joined in playing some songs. I did join the NFB, then later learned from yet another counselor (from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, a/k/a Voc Rehab or VR) about the American Council of the Blind, which I later joined and continue to be a member of, having dropped out of the NFB. I like the policies of the ACB much better. Regrettably I wasn't a member of the ACB when the national convention was held here in Birmingham.

And I have been part of advocacy meetings regarding our local transit system, and have had several letters printed in The Birmingham News about transit.

I have been invited to attend brain-storming meetings regarding a variety of disabilities. (The "world" considers me "handicapped" or "disabled", though I consider myself mostly "inconvenienced".) A significant one was at the Lakeshore Foundation (which is one link I list on my blog), a fabulous place. I attended one on the property of UAB (U. of Alabama/Birmingham). I attended one at the Alabama Career Center (formerly known as the Alabama Employment Agency). You get the idea. I have learned a lot, some which I could personally use, some which I could pass on to others.

I have sufficient usable sight that I can usually tell when someone is looking at me and my white cane. Once I was waiting for the fixed route bus, to go home from grocery shopping. Several others were at the bus shelter. A little girl about 5 years old was watching me. I squatted a little to be more on her level, and asked if she wondered about my cane. She, holding onto her mother, said, "Uh-huh". As I began explaining (still mostly on her eye level), and showed how the cane folds up, and that the tip rolls, and that it's to help someone who doesn't see well, not to fall off curbs or bump into things, the others got quiet and listened and watched. When the little girl got onto her bus, she, unprompted, turned to me, waved, and said, "Thank you!"

A week ago, I got invited to attend another meeting. It was to begin at 1:45 in a Department of Justice building downtown, and the visitor was Thomas Perez, the US Assistant Attorney General. I took the day off work and rode the 11:00 fixed route bus to town (rather than scheduling VIP [paratransit). I met a friend (also LB) who'd also taken the day off work and had gone earlier. We walked a few blocks, ate lunch, then walked a couple more blocks to the meeting. We had to show picture ID, put our bag/purse on an x-ray belt thing, and walk through a metal detector. Then a few of us at a time were taken to the meeting room.

I guess about 50 people were there. The first part was so boring that my friend (well, several of my friends were there) dozed off - until one person mentioned transit. People were there in wheelchairs (2 such are lawyers), various stages of mental and emotional and physical problems, some with their drivers, some with their PCA (Personal Care Attendant). You get the idea. Six members of our ACB chapter were there.

I don't know that the meeting accomplished anything, but at least Attorney Perez saw that some of us do care about the situation for us in Birmingham, whether housing for those who need more than home care but do not need a nursing home, to accessible housing with ramps and room enough for wheelchairs, to things as "simple" as a better transit system for those of us who cannot see to drive, but who must have a way to get to work. I know that those of us in attendance who are blind all work full-time, some with Master's degrees.

I've also been invited to the second meeting of an advocacy group concerning vehicles being parked in bus stops. Regrettably I've been unable to attend, partly because "the mind is willing but the body is weak" - I'd like to attend (partly because I've never eaten at Los Amigos, where they meet) but there's other things going on, and physically I am too tired to attend everything; I have to set priorities. Now if I were younger ... sigh!

I'll write about religious meetings in a day or so, as our gospel meeting is this weekend! And I do look forward to it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Library last night

"Muse of Fire" was funny, like they were last year. (Their site is http://www.shakespeareatsloss.org/.) Last night, they did 3 scenes from "Romeo and Juliet". One was a balcony scene (not "the" balcony scene), with Juliet and another girl upstairs, which overlooks the library atrium. Juliet was played by a petite girl with long dark brown hair. Her friend - what shall I call her, was larger, more "buxom". Romeo was played by a slight, fair, blonde-haired young man. (Well, they all looked to be in their 20s or early 30s!) Romeo's 2 friends had darker skin, and were the most athletic of the 5, including one or 2 jumping onto the back of the larger of the 3 men. Because last night was only a practice, they all wore black.

Even though I could not understand near all the speech, it was still funny. The library has hard walls and a lot of huge glass windows, doors, and display cases, so the sound was "bouncy". Muse of Fire does use Shakespeare's words, but because of performing at an old foundry, they adapt the plays and modernize them. Last night, there were some "high fives", and some "dancing" on the floor - I don't know what it's called, but where the man had one or sometimes both hands on the floor, and he was almost horizontal to the floor, moving in circles, etc., jumping up. I could tell that this one young man was very much a dancer.

Of course I also checked out 3 books while I was there. Even though I can again read the newspaper, large print is much easier. I got "The Accidental Tourist" (by Anne Tyler) though I think I read it years ago; "The Rough Rider" by Gilbert Morris (I hope this is a "stand alone" novel; his "Root Out of Dry Ground" is one of my favorites of all time), and one by Belva Plain (another of my favorite authors).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BPL@NIGHT

That's what it's called. The Birmingham Public Library has free events at night sometimes. I've been to several. Most are at the main library, but some are at one of the branches. I attended one last night at a branch, and will attend another tomorrow night downtown. They start at 6:30 and last an hour or little more. Also, the library staff serves such as chips and dip, cookies, juice and coffee, etc.

I have seen "Joy, the Queen of Clean" (local amateur comedian, who works a full-time day job), "Sam Banana and the Bunch" (local men who used to be in the Warblers', the glee club of one of the high schools; they are as good as Sha Na Na, and as hilarious; I "had" to buy their CD); Muse of Fire (local theatrical troupe who does "guerilla" versions of Shakespeare plays, as well as improv, performing at the historic Sloss Furnaces; I read that in "Julius Caesar, considering the old pig iron furnace facility, the triumvirate rode in, not on horses, but on motorcycles!); Delores Hydock (local but nationally known professional storyteller - one of the best! and yes, I have a couple of her CDs); Carl Winters (the Kalimba King, also excellent - I've seen him twice and bought his CD); "After Class" (trio of hammered dulcimer, guitar, etc., who play a lot of Irish music, as well as a lot of other things - yep, I bought 2 of their CDs - the dulcimer player knew me from somewhere, maybe shortly after I moved here and attended some bluegrass festivals, or because I did a 2 hour bluegrass show on Saturdays on an old AM station); Irene Latham (local lady whose first novel, "Leaving Gee's Bend", was recently published); and more ... You can do a search on any of them, as most have either a web site, or some news article has been written about them.

Last night I heard "Riverboat John" Ferguson, from Huntsville, Alabama, who does Tom Sawyer/Mark Twain things, telling stories, playing music. "Tom Sawyer" is the NEA's "Big Read" this year, so the library is having a lot of events that tie in with Samuel Langhorne Clemons. John has a rich baritone voice, and played banjo last night.

Tomorrow night, "Muse of Fire" will do a bit from "Romeo and Juliet", which will probably be unexpected funny.

Wish you could join me there!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

MUSICIANS' DREAMS

... weaving webs and schemes out of thoughts and rhymes and strums -
Coffee house at night, and around camp fires bright -
The common language of every tongue.
Friendships made - singers trade what's deepest inside their mind.
The intimacy there is beyond compare
With riches of any kind.
Facest glow and the words flow and a hand taps a gentle beat.
Sharing the sounds dissapates all frowns,
And the circle is complete.
Knowing nods, the ambrosia of gods - the singing fades away.
A happy tear with friends so dear -
The end of a perfect day.

- by Netagene, December 21, 1992. This is really what happens in a coffee house or around a campfire late at night. I know! I've been part of it a lot of times! Jules Lee Paulet (a singer/songwriter/producer in Tampa, with whom I performed a few times) tossed out the 2 words: "musicians dreams" just as I was leaving his house late Dec. 21 after we'd practiced some songs. I had the poem "written" within an hour, in my mind, by the time I got home. It was printed in the monthly magazine of the Friends of Florida Folk.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vacation maybe

In a round-about way, I recently learned of somewhere I might decide to go next January. I sometimes take calls at work when someone's vehicle as been damaged on one of the state roads in this area. A lady called in, and I recognized her name. She performs, has some music books in print, and has recorded some music. I asked if she played autoharp. She said she did, and asked if we knew each other. We had never met, but I knew her name. I did not know she lived in Alabama. We have since been in touch by e-mail. She told me that last January was the 7th "autoharp cruise". The travel agent arranges for classes in autoharp and Appalachian dulcimer, mornings on the ship, then afternoons you have time to go ashore awhile, then jam sessions back on board in the evenings. I was told there's usually about 75 in the group. Last January they sailed from Fort Lauderdale to St. Thomas, San Juan, and 2 or 3 other ports, on a Holland America ship. Next January, they will sail from my "2nd home" (Tampa) to Key West, Belize, and 2 or 3 other ports. I am seriously considering going. I figure I'd enjoy that more than the trip I made in 2006 to Hawaii. The agent said she can usually find a cabin-mate for a "single". While we may not room together, she has already put me in email contact with a lady who has been on several of those cruises, who lives in Tampa and, like me, is legally blind. One problem would be getting to Tampa with a suitcase, an autoharp, an Appalachian dulcimer, a tote bag, and a white cane! I do not like to fly, Greyhound is a real pain as well as is crowded and uncomfortable, and Amtrak no longer has a convenient train from here to Tampa. If I decide to go, I'll see about getting a ride with someone and share expenses. Of course having lived in Tampa for years, I have friends where we could leave the car, as well as have a ride to and from the port. It's something to think about!

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