30 June 2018

Owning Oneself

The 8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will cease to compare ourselves to others;
jealousy and envy will fade.

Owning Oneself

You own what?
Didn’t ask… yet wondered
how did they afford that?
If they can get it…
I can get better
I can get bigger and newer
And most of all more expensive

Still better than you
I’ll have the things to prove it
Stereos, cars, laptops, and notebooks
Yours? New! Mine? Superior!
I’ll give the illusion that everything bought
is owned and is mine
No one will know what I own
is actually owning me

I don’t own that new car… it owns me
monthly payments, insurance and service
working more hours to pay the bill
I don’t own the latest phone or notebook… it owns me
monthly payments have stolen the joy of it all
deep in debt… reality hits
it doesn’t matter what is owned… what matters is what is owed

Now I own myself
With no competition there is no envy
Jealously is a thing of the past
Having no debt is freeing
No longer living a life of stress
No longer paranoid of phone calls or letters
Spiritually awakened to simplicity

8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The 8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will cease to compare ourselves to others; jealousy and envy will fade.

When I was working my way out of debt (over $65,000) I came to believe that the more I owned than the more I was owned. I spent most of my life comparing myself to others. Sadly, not in good ways. Ways that said I was a good dad, or a good husband, or a good friend. Instead, I made comparisons to the cars we owned. Or the stereo, or swimming pool, or whatever… the material comparisons were endless… as was my jealously of what others had.

Life is so freeing when competition fades away. Since I was a child I have loved fish. Tropical fish. I can remember having different aquariums with different fish. Everyone a living community. It was better than anyone else’s that I knew at the time. Nearly 50 years later, I still have fish. On a lot smaller scale. Instead of 55 gallon (2 of them), a 30 gallon, 29, numerous 20’s and 10’s, I have a 75 gallon pond. For an aquarium it would be a rather large fish tank. For a pond, it is rather small. Inside of it are seven goldfish and a carp. Nothing exotic, just a simple family setting for our simple life.

Someone I know has an 800 gallon pond, with over 80 fish… mostly kois that are over 12 inches long. Waterfalls, numerous pumps and filters make his yard a showcase. In my old days, I’d go deep in debt, just to have a better pond than his. Nowadays I’m happy for him. In fact, maybe even excited for him. As for my little pond? I love it. It is a beautiful natural water display with small living creatures enjoying their spacious home.

It comes down to that old thought of the grass always seems greener “over there.” I’m no longer interested in what is “over there,” I love what is right here. No comparisons, no jealously, no envy… just a simple acceptance that things are OK just the way they are.

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