04 June 2018

Cats in Heaven

I have been dealing with a heavy heart this past month with the death of our family pet, a lovely beautiful cat named Louise. Her death hit me harder than I ever imagined was possible. She was a sensitive soul. Which made me wonder about souls.

I grew up as a Catholic and as such, I learned that animals have no soul… they just die and disappear. Can this be the truth? After Louise and I let each other into our lives, I can’t accept that there isn’t an afterlife for pets.

How can something filled with such love, that brings such joy have no afterlife? How can I have such a heavy heart and have cried enough tears to fill a bucket, for a creature that has no life?

I’ve looked at different writings and found some thoughts which I found to be quite powerful. The Episcopal Church treats animals with love and respect. Some of the churches have services for your pets, so they can be blessed. Some of the churches will hold funeral services for our fur babies. But do they recognize that animals have souls?

One theologian wrote that animals do have souls. So the first argument to this debate is that Christ came to save the soul of man… not animals. Yes, He did come to do that because man sins… animals do not sin!

Again, I can not believe that this much love means nothing. By nothing, I mean that there is no future to see Louise again. I can’t accept that. Someday, I’ll see that beautiful creature again. She’ll recognize me and meow. She’ll wag her tail, like only she could do, in love when I feed her some treats.

Louise left this world with his favourite toy mouse and a shirt with her mum’s scent. She left this world in the arm’s of my wife, while looking at me. Through it all we cried and made plans on Louise’s life with us after her death.

She is with us physically and spiritually. There hasn’t been one day where I haven’t thought about her and missed her. She was my friend, my child, and a companion. Now, tell me again how this beautiful creature doesn’t have a soul? That this creation of God’s that freely gave love doesn’t have an eternal life. Love lives for all eternity and so will Louise…

07 May 2018

It Is Enough

The 7th Promise of Debtors Anonymous says that we will recognize that there is enough; our resources will be generous and we will share them with others and with DA.

It Is Enough

A full tummy… so nice
energy to get through the day
strength to carry on
it is enough

Security with employment
no darkness with electricity
not cold due to heat
it is enough

Thankful for gifts
ordinary… mundane
nothing spectacular… yet
it is enough

Deep in the hole
bankruptcy a shameful option
instead a new budget
it is enough

Gracious and thankful
nightmares now memories
tears now smiles
it is enough

It worked… out of debt
finally able to give and not take
sharing and helping others
thank you Lord… for giving me enough

30 April 2018

7th Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The 7th Promise of Debtors Anonymous says that we will recognize that there is enough; our resources will be generous and we will share them with others and with DA.

When is enough enough? Is £500 enough? £1,000? Is a 46” TV enough? Or is a TV in every room enough? A car… or two? New Shoes? Again when is enough enough? What I learned when I was deep in debt that I never had enough. As crazy as it sounds I needed more to fill the hole that debt created.

The paradox of it all though was that the hole I created with debt only got bigger, only got deeper when I acquire more stuff. And as the hole got bigger and deeper, I needed to get further in debt trying to satisfy my own needs. To satisfy my materialistic soul.

When I left my previous life at the end of 2009, I left behind a three bedroom home, that I had my own private office in. I left behind a three car garage, two home made ponds, and a little over an acre of land. And of course, a mountain of debt.

I left behind a two year old SUV and drove a 25 year old Cierra Cutlass that had over 200,000 miles on it. I moved in a small one bedroom apartment with a computer, a computer desk and chair, an old TV, a plate, fork, spoon, a pot and pan…. and little else.

The apartment had a couch and that was it. I slept on that couch or on the floor for the first two months that I lived there. I finally purchased a used mattress and it was enough. By then I was used to not having cable TV, so I got rabbit ears and it was enough.

For the first time in my debt filled life I had lost interest in material things. I began taking interest in myself. I went to the dentist and felt great when I smiled. I went to the opticians and got new glasses. These things always took a back seat because taking care of myself never helped fill the hole that material things and debt created.

As I began realizing that I was taking care of myself, it became apparent that my soul hated debt and it hurt my well-being. With taking care of myself and working on eliminating debt I was able to quit smoking.

With the debt disappearing and realizing I had enough, I began to see I had more than enough money. So it was time to help others without enough. I donated money to The Salvation Army and felt filled. The hole that was in me disappeared when I gave money for those in need. When I helped others have a happy holiday season I realized it was the best gift I had ever given myself.

Today I don’t own a car. I rely on buses, trains, and shoe leather and I have enough. I don’t travel like I used to, yet I find time to go to the nearest city at least once a month for a night out and I realize that I have enough.

When I stopped trying to compete with others, as well as myself, I realized I had more than enough. I have a roof over my head. I have clean clothes to wear. The heat is on and I am warm. I have a job. And I am loved. I certainly do have more than enough.

29 April 2018

An end to looooonnnng winter nights

I have spent parts or all of the past eight winters in England and the winter of 2018 has been the coldest. It has been the snowiest as well as the windiest winter I have experienced here. I live in the highlands of England, so there is very little protection from the winds.

Going outside to walk to town isn’t that bad. Yes, I do walk north right into the winds but it is all downhill, so it can be a very quick walk. It’s the walk home that is the challenge. The wind is at your back, but going uphill it just takes your breath away.

Granted, it is still very mild compared to the winters I lived in while in Nebraska, yet it has still been a shock. This country doesn’t have road graders so the snow stays where it falls, which really isn’t that bad, as even six inches of snow is usually gone within 48 hours. And the sidewalks? They are never shovelled. The belief is that if you shovel them than you accept responsibility for them. So if someone slips on your shovelled walk than you are responsible. If they fall on an sidewalk that is not shovelled than the town is responsible. Again, it is not that big of a deal because the snow is gone pretty fast.

So what’s a person to do in this type of weather? I started remodelling the loft where we live. When it is done, we will have an upstairs living area for a guest room and just a quiet place, where you can sit back and look out the skylights at the stars. When done, I’ll also have a place to play my Native American Flutes.

I also have been doing the finishing touches on the second edition of Damaged Merchandise, which hopefully will be back in print before summer of 2018. Then it will be back to work on War Zone. In the meantime though, between work for money and work around the home for enjoyment I have been playing around with writing a novel. Everything I have written has been about my personal experiences.

This is just a story. A romantic novel. Well, maybe not romantic. My personal belief is that men can’t do romantic novels justice. This is more of an erotic novel – close to pornographic, but not quite. Whether it is erotic or pornographic, I will say that if I ever finish it and try to publish it, it will be done with a pen name.

Not that I’d be embarrassed by it but rather I just don’t want to try and explain it. It’s just a story. A story that I have seen parts of on the movie screen and parts I have seen in real life. A story about what people would do to keep a roof over their heads.

Some folks would get a second job, but what if a second job is unattainable? Maybe they can help the landlord with doing odd work around the property in lieu of rent. Some folks may resort to prostitution or becoming a nude model. In short, doing just about anything to make more money.

That is the premise of this book. Kind of a “Fifty Shades of Gray” with “The Graduate” thrown in. Again, it may never be finished. It’s just been something to pass away the long winter nights in England.

With spring rapidly approaching, this may sit on the back burner till next winter, yet it has been enlightening trying to write something just from watching TV and seeing what people do to make money or do to try and avoid bill collectors.

26 March 2018

Eloquence And Grace

The one gift I have acquired through the years is seeing beauty in simple things. After I found a Higher Power through sobriety a sunset never looked the same. A sunrise always seems to bring joy and a feeling of rebirth.

I have come close with death. I watched my ex-wife die and be brought back to life. I witness near death myself after complications from heart surgery. While in the hospital during cancer treatment I saw the families of two patients, within minutes of their loved ones death.

Have you ever just watched a pigeon? Constantly searching for food and coming so close to taking a crumb from your fingers… showing trust to a giant… a higher power if you will.

Look at God’s handiwork with every doctor, teacher, and pilot. As well as the plumber and carpenter. All using God’s gifts to help others.

Then look at those creations. Computers, planes, and boats. To earlier times with a carriage, a wheel, and a windmill.

Eloquence and Grace

standing tall… proud and alone
a symbol of hard work and perseverance
spinning tales and stories long forgotten
giving us memories of family
and a loving  caring way

simple eloquence… eternal beauty
a melody of time… the windmill constantly singing
spinning… sweet music in the heartland
your distinct sound… our lullaby at night
forever moving… forever working

simpler times… home on the plains
weathered wood or rusted metal
dignified with style… in bitter cold and scorching heat
making the roughest weather serve you
a value… we’ll always treasure

withstanding the test of time
you’ve graced our landscape
and as we walk below you
we wonder how many stories have yet to be told
and how many more memories will be shared

24 March 2018

Capitalism vs Socialism

Having lived and worked in England for the last two years, I believe I can make a comparison between capitalism and socialism based on my experiences in these philosophies, both politically and economically.

This isn’t meant as a political statement, saying one is better than the other. In my opinion, both have some good points as well as their bad points. I’m just speaking as a person who has worked for over 40 years and has grown in my thoughts about what it takes to be a good employee and citizen as well as what it takes to be a good employer and caretaker of the nation.

What I have found to be the most difficult part about working in a socialist society for the last two years is that I’m not entirely working for my own benefit. I don’t mind helping others. I did it in America by donating to the Salvation Army throughout the year, with monetary gifts as well as quality second hand products. In the UK, some of my taxes goes to help others, which again I don’t mind, but the “helping” others get can amount to more than what a full time job offers. So in the end, why work?

The people that work in England – work. Than you have a group that works because they have too, yet they do just the bare minimum and rely on the government to fill in the shortfall. In America, there were two major times in my life where I was unemployed. The first time I ended up homeless. The second time was because of being made redundant.

The first time I didn’t have enough of a work history to get government help. The second time, I was offered classes to help find a job but I never received a penny in unemployment compensation. I didn’t receive food stamps or any help with rent or to help pay the utility bills. In England, I could have had a nice “paycheck” with all the benefits I would have received.

This part of socialism I don’t like. If I work, I should be paid a good wage and it is mine to do with what I want. I shouldn’t have to support those who don’t want to work. If I work to support others, what is the incentive to work? It is a part of American capitalism I agree with. You work to better your life. If that means you have more money than your neighbour than so be it. And vice-versa, if my neighbour has more than you have, it means they have worked for it and have earned it.

The part of capitalism I don’t like is health care. If you have money you can afford insurance, prescriptions, hospital care, doctors, and everything else. If you don’t have the money you won’t be able to take care of yourself medically without some kind of outside help. And to get that help means getting government assistance which is filled with shame and guilt. So people wait as long as they can before seeing a doctor. Sometimes the wait is to long and feeling better is no longer an option.

Years ago America used to offer free breast cancer screenings. It was a great idea to help poor people get checked for cancer for free. The problem was that after being diagnosed with cancer the patients didn’t have the resources to get treatment. So, nothing got done. The person knew they had cancer, yet the government wouldn’t help them without jumping through hoops and sacrificing whatever little they had just for a chance to receive therapy.

Recently I was sent a notice for a free bowel (colon) cancer screening. Everything turned out to be normal and that is the end of it for two years. If there was a problem I would have been sent for a colonoscopy and whatever else needed would be done without anyone asking how you would pay for it.

Something is wrong in a society that judges healthcare with the amount of money you have in your bank and what kind of job you have. Part of my taxes in England go towards health care, not just for me but for those who can’t contribute. This is part of human decency, anything less of being treated as equal we should feel ashamed.

I’ll quit there before I turn this into a political speech...

17 February 2018

Letting Go of the Faith of Fear

The Sixth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that Isolation will give way to fellowship; faith will replace fear.

Letting Go Of The Faith Of Fear

No faith in a future
when life is dead
no faith in a future
without money to cure all ills

no fear with no money
credit cards bring new life
no fear with no money
live for today

no faith and no fear
living in isolation
hiding in the darkness
praying to be alone

won’t answer the phone
won’t open the mail
won’t answer the door
won’t be a part of life

to live without credit
finding faith in oneself
new fears of the unknown
a new life set to begin

confidence built with every payment
worth built with every bill paid
to walk away from isolation
to be free from debt paranoia

free to answer the phone
faith to open the mail
secure enough to open the door
a new life being debt free