…Not on my Deathbed…

Let my sentence come forth from thy presence…  (KJV)

Only you can say
    that I am innocent,
    because only your eyes
    can see the truth. (CEV)

Psalms 17:2

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Death is right around the corner…maybe not the next corner but it’s surely waiting behind one of them.

Last week, I had a “scare.”  You know the ones…those that make you stare death in the face.  Well, I looked at it and chewed on it a bit, and this was one, of the many conclusions, I came to:  If it be true, I would not tell my estranged christian family.

“Why?” you may ask.  “Is it because you don’t want them to worry?”  No.  In a sense they already worry about me.  I wouldn’t tell them because I don’t want them flocking to my bedside to save me from the pits of hell.

You see…my family misunderstands me, my “lifestyle” and most important my relationship with God.

Here’s just a few things they believe to be true…

  • 1.  Satan has blinded my spiritual eyes.
  • 2.  This blindness has caused me choose the wrong path.
  • 3.  All are born sinners, but none can be born gay.
  • 4.  Therefore, I have “chosen” to be gay.
  • 5.  God has given me over to a reprobate mind.
  • 6.  I was never “truly” saved.
  • 7.  I am on my way to hell.
  • 8.  It is their mission to keep me from hell.
  • 9.  They must not associate with me so that I “will feel ashamed and turn back to the truth.”
  • 10.  By believing the preceding nine, they are loving me, the sinner, but hating the sin.

 

In the past, I’ve always felt  the need to “explain” my position.  Countless times I’ve rehearsed my spill; but I’m far…far beyond that, now.  I’ve realized that no amount of reasoning, no amount of “biblical interpretation” and no amount of scientific evidence would ever be enough to change their minds.  For them it’s either black or white, period…  “The bible says it, I believe it and that settles it.”

When facing someone with this mind-set there is no common ground where with to meet, let alone, to plead one’s case.  I’ve already been “righteously judged and righteously sentenced.”  However, after all these years, my knee-jerk reaction is to explain away the preceding ten.  Perhaps I should do just that in another blog, but that’s not the purpose of this one.

From reading Psalms 17, it seems most likely, David found himself in a similar situation. No, he wasn’t gay…(but his relationship with Jonathan did seem quite intimate)…but he too was misunderstood.  Those closest to David, had passed judgement and stood firm in their belief and would not compromise.

So what did David do…did he try to explain or justify his case?  No, not at all; instead he said this to God,  “Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence.”  or as it is interpreted in the Common English Version, “Only you can say that I am innocent, because only your eyes can see the truth.”  He also writes, “You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me…”

David sought rest in his personal relationship with God, and that is what I must do.  No one can really see my truth.  No one truly knows my heart.  I was alone when God visited me in the darkest of all my nights. So, it is He, who will be my vindicator, and my sentence will come from Him.

Knowing this, does temper the pain of rejection, but it doesn’t take it away.  It’s a burden I struggle with daily, it is the cross I’m called to bear.  Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me…” he didn’t say it would be easy.

This passage and other bible verses, serve to bring comfort but they do “fix” the problem. Scripture, taken from here or taken from there, is not meant to be used as a switch to turn off our suffering.  God never gave us his Word to “make it all better.”  He gave us his Word so we wouldn’t have to walk alone.  He gave us his word to walk with us through  the pain and suffering.  He gave us his word for comfort, but not as a “quick fix.” He gave us his word to be Jesus, until the day we are physically in his presence.

In closing, I’d like to add that my “scare” seems to be just that, a scare. I’m not totally out of the woods, but let’s just say, there are very bright glimmers of hope, that all will be well.

When I do face my death, I want no “christian” at the bedside telling me what I need. I’m going to be holding God’s hand and the hand of the woman I love.  I will have no hand for them…not at my death bed.  (If they can’t hold my hand in life…why would I want them to hold it in death?)

Ultimately all will be known…until then we should all keep our judgments to our-self.

My Prayer:

My God, even… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever…because of Jesus, amen.

(Part of the “Walk Through Psalms” series)

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Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge:

Landscapes:  Below are my entries into Cee’s Landscape Challenge

 

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New York City Skyline from Ellis Island

The above photo was taken from Ellis Island.  I loved the way the lamp posts diminish into the background creating a sense of depth.

 

 

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NYC Times Square

I took this photo when my son and I visited New York City.  Josh is the one with a raincoat on, looking back and upward, in front of the lady with the umbrella.  I tried to use the rule of framing, as Josh is framed by tall buildings on either side.  For some reason this photo reminds of the opening scene of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, when she’s in the “big-city” and she spins around and tosses her hat in the air.  Josh kind of has that same amazed look.

 

 

 

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Sunset at Myrtle Beach SC

I tried to concentrate on the horizon line and the rule of thirds in the photo of a sunset at Myrtle Beach.  I hoped to place the couple in a place within the photograph so they would draw your eye to them first and then traverse “counter-clockwise” up and over the distant pier and then into the clouds above.

 

 

 

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Rainy Day in New England

I took this photo at Rye Beach New Hampshire when cheering a friend who was running in a marathon.  My friend had already passed and I was walking back to my truck when this scene inspired me to capture it.  I love the way the autumn leaves are scattered on the roads pavement and how the lines of the road and direction of the stone wall carries you through this photo.  I also love the pumpkin sitting on the stone wall.  This is one of my favorite pictures for a few reasons:  1.  It’s a misty rainy day.  2.  It’s during my favorite time of the year-Autumn.  3.  I LOVE New England.

This post has been my participation in Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge.

 

For spooky stories and the paranormal check out my new blog Creepy Reflections.  She’s still a baby but she’s growing a little everyday.

 

 

 

 

“Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge”

Tongues & Tails

Maggie's Kiss

Such a wonderful day!  Corinne-my wife, gets an unexpected kiss from Maggie.  This was taken on a cold winter’s walk at Hampton Beach New Hampshire.

Jonsie sticks out tongue

This is Dr Jones-Jonesie-sitting on the balcony watching our two dogs roughhousing in the snow.  I like to think he’s taunting them because he’s safe and warm while they’re out in the cold.  This photo makes me smile.  I miss that boy, as he’s traversed the rainbow bridge.  I believe he thought himself a dog.  He would always follow us when we took the dogs out for a neighborhood walk.

Whale's Tale

Corinne surprised me with a whale-watch tour, out of Cape Anne, Massachusetts.  I was able to capture this “whale’s-tail” with my cell phone.  Such good memories!

Thank you, Cee, for your challenge.  It was so fun remembering such good times.
Are you into spooky & paranormal?  Check out my other blog, Creepy Reflections!

Go Out with Joy

“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

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Shenandoah Valley

Go “out” with joy and be led “out” with peace

 Sometimes you just need to go out to flourish.

 

Cornmeal Dumplings

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When I have a chance to reminiscence about the south, I always think about some mighty good cooking, and boy, could my mom ever cook!

 If you have a minute, come on with me and lets take a walk down memory’s lane:

“I can still r’member, rite good, them Sundays!  My mama would cook up a big ole supper for all us kids, and for anyone else who’d stopped by.   One things a’certin , my mama’s door was always open, and everyone  who walked through em know’d they were loved.  One of the ways she’d show us her love was feed’n us some mighty good food.    

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Duchess when she had two good eyes

I member one day when the preacher and the visiting, revival preacher came  over’n ta our house to eat some supper.  My mama cooked them turnip greens and cornmeal dumplings.  Well I was sit’n next to the preacher when he dipped his spoon in the bowl for his share.   He must a been familiar with the turnip greens, all right, but guess he’d never seen them cornmeal dumplings before; cause I heard him whisper, rite quiet like, to the other preacher, “Whats is this?”   Then, cause I had good ears back then, I heard the revival preacher whisper back, “…just shut up and eat it.”  Well, I’d never taken a liken to those corn meal dumplings either…so for once, I guess I agreed with the preacher.  

After supper those preachers seemed to be in a real big hurry to leave…something  about hav’n to pray for the revival meet’n that night…guess’n it were’t a’goin so good.  Wells anyway, they get to the car and  my little-ole one-eyed dog hauls off and bites the preacher right on his dern ankle.

My dog’s name was Duchess and she lost her eye cause a neighbor was drive’n too fast on the dirt road.  My dad, fixed Duchess right up by take’n her to the vet, and I loved him so much for doing that.  

Wells, them preachers, got in the car and they’d never did come back for supper.  Guess they’d didn’t like them cornmeal dumplings.”

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Me and mama hang’n clothes on the line

(Disclaimer:  Of course the story above was written tongue in cheek.  Some of it’s true and some of it’s not…but I ain’t a’bout to go tell’n which!)

(Recipe compliments of www.cooks.com)

TURNIP GREENS WITH POT LIQUOR
DUMPLINGS
2 lb. fresh young turnip greens
1/4 lb. salt pork or desired amount of bacon drippings
Salt to taste
Enough water to have 3 c. liquid when done
Dumplings
Clean and wash greens thoroughly. In a 3 quart saucepan combine salt pork, salt and water. Cover pan and bring to simmering. Add washed greens, cover and cook gently until greens are tender. Lift greens from liquid, drain and arrange on serving platter that can be kept warm. Arrange Dumplings as desired on dish with greens; pour liquid over to keep them moist and hot. Serve at once. Yield 3-4 servings.
DUMPLINGS:
1 c. corn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. boiling water
Pot liquor
Combine cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir boiling water into cornmeal mixture and stir to blend well. Using a heaping tablespoon for each portion, shape into balls and place gently in boiling pot liquor from cooked greens. Replace cover; simmer slowly until dumplings are done (20-30 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

 

Visit my other blog Creepy Reflections 

Lucy and Ethel

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Us in Belize

(The following is my response to today’s prompt-Buddy.)

I’m so lucky my best friend is also my wife. We’re far from suave, polished and “high- falutin.”

Nah…that’s not even close to being us.

Paint us goofy, uncoordinated, and great eaters of shoe-leather; as we’ve mastered the art of “opening mouth and inserting foot.”

We’re a whole lot like Lucy and Ethel.

There’s nothing fancy about us.  What you see is what you get-sweatpants, sneakers and faded tees.  We are a simple kind of folk…not needing a lot to be content. We’re happy as larks, if there’s a fire in the fire-place, grilled cheeses in our hand and Seinfeld on our TV.

We’re just a couple of introverts, navigating a rather noisy world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  She’s my partner-in-crime, my buddy, and the other half of me!

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Us in Boston