Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ben

It's now been approx. 1 month since Ben was tragically taken from us.  I've had a lot of lonely hours to contemplate his untimely death.  I wish I could say that I'm ok with him being gone, but there will always be a Ben shaped hole in my heart, just like there is a Bandit shaped hole as well.  I'm not sure you ever completely get over losing a dog, we had to put Bandit down over 5 years ago.  I think what Bandit became and what Ben will become as well is a smile I can't tell anyone about and a tear that no one will completely understand.  I shared some very special moments with my two mutts (Ironically neither were mutts, both were pure breed).  The thing I think some will understand and some won't is that they are both very much alive, they are alive in my mind, where all my memories lay, so even though I won't get to enjoy their presence anymore, I get to enjoy every memory with them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm coming home

There is a famous song that contains the following lyrics:
"I'm coming home, I'm coming home, tell the world I'm coming home, let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday and though my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes, I'm coming home, I'm coming home, tell the world I'm coming home"
I've always liked the imagery of this song, it seems like it has some spiritual applications, but there are flaws in the song.  The song makes it sound like it's all about me, I'm the one doing it, but thats not the truth.  We as humans like to think its all about us, we like to think that we have something to do with the getting there part of it, but we don't.  The bible speaks pretty strongly about this.  It says:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty." Zachariah 4:6
There are other verses, they aren't coming to me right now.  Minus that little part, I really love the imagery of the song.  Seems like a song that God could sing, but with the following changes:
"You're  coming home, You're coming home, tell the world you're coming home, let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday and though my kingdom awaits and I've forgiven your mistakes, you're coming home, you're coming home, tell the world you're coming home"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The West

Nothing seems to emphasize the west more than this picture that I took this morning.

 

DSC 0056

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm going on an adventure

This very famous line penned by J. R. R. Tolkin in his book the Hobbit shows the gayety of an adventure, what I’m feeling right now is the tiredness of the adventure.  My morning started Tuesday morning at 0830EST, and has gone pretty much non-stop since then, with the exception of a few fitful hours of shuteye, I’ve been up since then, this is now pushing 36hr’s, and by the time I actually get into another bed, it will be closer to 42 or so hours. 

That is not to say this hasn’t been an adventure, it has.  I took a bus, a people mover and some long hallways to get to lunch today. LAX is doing some major renovations and their concourses don’t connect anymore, so…they are being connected by bus.  Who knew, runways weren’t only for airplanes, they are for vehicle traffic as well.  They have painted in lines and there is a 4 lane highway going on.  There are signs that I wish I could get a picture of, but they say yield for airplanes.  As if that had to be something you had to actually say.  

The airplane that I’m taking on my last leg is a little commuter airplane that you have to walk out on the tarmac to board, this isn’t the first time, probably won’t be the last either, but its sure not the norm in this tech savvy nation.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Year For God

I remember when I started this blog.  I was told that I really needed to have a blog, because communications with the outside world were going to be more difficult.  I started this blog in  May of 2008, the reason?  I was about to embark on a grand adventure, an adventure that would lead me nearly 6400 miles away from everything I loved and held dear…with the exception of God.  I started this blog to chronicle my year in the Marshall Islands, to tell the story of how a “know-it-all” senior in college was going to teach kids, the story of how a “know-it-all” kid learned more about trusting God.  

I look back on this and realize maybe I haven’t come as far as I think I have.  I have broken down many places, literally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  The first year of this blog showed immense growth with huge mountain top experiences and subterranean valleys not unlike the trench that Majuro was just off (if you don’t understand that reference, look up Challenger Deep).  

When I think about how apropos the title of this blog is, it makes me smile.  The only better name would have been “one day at a time” or “one day for God.”  I’ve just realized over the course of time that we are finite, we have to have beginnings and ends, the only thing is God is infinite, He doesn’t see this as a repeated year, He sees it as a fluid continuum of time.  This time will always have its mountain top experiences and its trench experiences as well, but one thing I have learned is that since time means nothing to him, the ups and downs don’t mean anything to him either.  What matters is the direction, continually, step by step, closer to Him.  

Over the next month I’m going to try and do better about keeping this updated.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fellowship

Today is Saturday, a day that "normal" SDA's go to church.  Lorraine and I are NOT normal.  Its not that I don't enjoy church, its not that I don't feel close to God there, its that sometimes there are far more important things to do.  Today is one of those days.

Lorraine and I volunteer at a fire department, we spend a considerable amount of time at the department, we feel this is our calling.  Today we didn't go to church, it was camp meeting and thats not something we enjoy.  So...we decided we'd stand by at the station in case there were any calls.  Since the station is a volunteer station, its not always staffed, when we got here today, there was only on person here.

A while after arriving Tim (Mr. Johnson) and his two amazing daughters got here.  I have grown to really appreciate them, they are so well behaved, its a testament to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson's following God's leading, but I digress.  We talked with another FF James Clack and Sammy for a few hours until Lorraine woke up.  About the time that Lorraine woke up, Mrs. Johnson arrived.  Now everyone is talking and enjoying time.  Conversation's are ranging from FD topics to nursing to life in general.

This is a fellowship, this is a group of people that enjoy each other's company and enjoy time spent with them.  This is a time rejuvenation, a time of healing, a time of refreshment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Service...

Emblazoned on the sides of our fire truck is the motto, “We Volunteer Because Your Life Depends On It.”  Its a catchy motto, the idea it portrays is a nice one, for some it might even be correct.  

The question of why do you serve is about as personalized as the minds that pose it.  The altruistic answer is the motto.  I am here, I serve because you depend on me.  Its nothing that I get out of it, its of no benefit to me, it all because of you.  There are probably some that fit into this category, many, probably most, do not.  The other side of the coin is I serve because of what it I can get out of it, completely ME centered.  I can hypothesize or theorize why some serve, why some volunteer, but those are all they would be.  The answer I can give is why I serve.  

As a disclaimer to this thought, my parents modeled service to me my whole life, its probably why I see service the way I do right now.  

In the beginning I served because my parents required me to.  Whether it was ingathering, helping the poor, or some other activity I HATED, they MADE me do it.  They MADE me do it for many years, then they stopped making me.  I had grown into a person that could start to make decisions all on my own, not all ones that my parents approved of, but thats nothing new.  

The next phase of my life came along, I started serving because I was expected to or because thats what all my friends were doing and I didn’t want to be left out.  Building fences at the indian mission and doing community service days spring to mind, service didn’t impact me much further than spending time with my friends, taking weekend trips to fun locations.  

Through the end of high school and most of the way through college my focus on service shifted.  A choir trip to Grand Junction Colorado comes to mind, we were traveling west at sunset on Friday night, for church service’s the next morning.  Our very wise and amazing choir teacher led us in vespers and singing on the bus, the topic if memory serves was service.  Whether it was because of the setting or being around so many AMAZING friends on that trip, the idea of service started to sink in.  

Going to school at Union College in Lincoln Nebraska, I was given the opportunity to be involved in Project Impact.  The school thought service was so important, they canceled school one day a year to devote that day to service.  Forty to fifty sites around Lincoln were picked and students would go and volunteer for the day doing everything from cleaning, to painting, to fixing, to reading…the list goes on.  Again I did it because of friends, this time, it was my sister and her soon to be husband.  As the years went on, that act became second nature, I wanted to be involved with Project Impact.  

In steps Sandy Prindle (Nazario), she flat told me, “Stephen, you need to volunteer as a student missionary in the Marshall Islands.”  I thought it sounded like a pretty cool idea, started down that road…my girlfriend at the time told me that it wasn’t a good idea…what did Stephen do…he caved and decided it really wasn’t Gods will.  As time would have it, we broke up, and my mind drifted to Student Missions.   In 2008-2009 I decided to go to the Marshall Islands and serve God with my “talents.”  That “year for God” (Yes, this is where my blog got its name) was a pivotal year in my life.  It was one of the hardest years of my life.  I came back a changed person, it started being less about my friends doing it, and more about God calling me to do it.  

Coming back from the Marshall Islands, God led me into a career of service, not volunteer, but service.  God then led me to a volunteer career that is another facet of my life of service.  That brings me full circle.  Why am I here, why do I serve?  I serve because God called me here, God place me here, God brought me here.


So do I “Volunteer Because Your Life Depends On It?  You might say its a two way street, I volunteer because it could be your life, or it might be my life that depends on it.