Now What?

question markI graduated from high school, now what?  Well, I realized I needed a job, but where?  The size of the town, my age, and my education were limited.  I had made a trip to Washington State University in Pullman, to see the campus, but I realized I wasn’t ready for college and did not have the money to go either.  My future education planning is complete in this exchange; MOM: “Do you want to go to college?” STEVE: “No.” MOM: “OK.”  At this point, no one in my family had gone to college, so there weren’t any traditions or history in higher education to go by.

My parents traded my 1960 Volvo for a 1965 Ford Mustang coupe.  It had Twilight Turquoise exterior and white vinyl interior.  It had a 289 cubic inch V8 and a three speed transmission.  Oh, did I love that car.  I slept in the back seat of it the first night, because I was so excited to have something this nice.  It was now my responsibility to take care of.  It represented a change in my life and direction.

I was able to get a job at the local Ford dealership.  They had a gas station in conjunction with the dealership.  I was hired to pump gas, change oil, and wash some of the new cars.  They had a red 1969 Mach 1 fastback with black strips that drove me wild with car lust.  I thought I was doing ok there, until one night; I washed a ’69 LTD coupe with a 390 cubic inch V8.  I was going to put it back in the garage when I punched the accelerator.  After I parked it and was walking back to the gas station office.  I could see I was going to be unemployed fairly soon.  The black tire marks of the burn out were very obvious.  The next day my employment there was ended.

My next job was picking apples at an orchard near Omak, WA.   It was about fifty miles from home and my first venture on my own.  I had a sleeping room that was part of a barracks.  Its size was about 9’x 12′ which was bigger than my bedroom at home.  It had a window, a front door, a cot with an army wool blanket, a 3’x3′ table, one chair, and a wood burning stove.  Bathroom and showers were in a separate building.  In May, it was still chilly in the evenings and early morning.  We had a wood burning stove at home, so I knew how to work it, but there was something wrong with the damper of the wood stove in my room.  I could not keep a fire going and was constantly cold.  It seemed like I was the only worker with a car.  My co-workers were all older than I and apparently chose to spend their money on wine rather than on transportation.  They did not shave or get haircuts either.  Lest you should think I was describing a hippie commune, neigh I am not.  I am describing cheap labor of the down and out.  In the mornings, we would collectively move into the orchard, equipped with tall wooden ladders.  I learned you do not just pull on the apple in a brutish way, but twist the fruit at the stem with finesse to release it into a canvas bag, much like a paper boy’s bag of old.

I wasn’t loving the job, but knew I had to stick it out to provide much needed income.  At the end of one day, after working the orchard, I returned to my sleeping room to find that the mice had opened my Oreo cookie bag and divided them out like cards in a game of poker.  If I was going to eat my Oreo’s, I would have to ante up.  I could tell the deck was against me, so I folded and let them have the cookies.  I spent the next day at a park trying to decide if this job is really what I wanted to do.  I decided I did not want to continue, so reluctantly I went home.

My brother was living in Oklahoma and said I could get a job where he worked.  So at the age of 17, I left home to move to Oklahoma City.  I loaded my Mustang with the few possessions I had and started south.  My parents decided to follow in their car, so my sister and I were in the Mustang having a taste of independence.  I still remember going through Montana.  The sun was shining, all the windows were down, and the radio was turned up.  Brenda and I were having a blast.65 mustang Continue reading

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My Redeemer Is Faithful And True

 

Song Sheet22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.. Psalm 34:22 (NKJV)

 

 I was doing some work and listening to my music, when this song struck me as being very true in my life.  I want to have the faithfulness that the Lord has, but I am aware that  I fail so miserably each and every day.  Some day that will not be true.  Someday we will see Him face to face and be at peace.  Until then, His mercies are new every morning. Continue reading

For Such A Time As This

For-Such-A-Time-As-ThisFor if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

On Wednesday night, I saw my Pastor, Greg Keenen, in the hallway of the church going to the auditorium.  He mentioned a prayer request of someone and said, “Because of what you have gone through, you will know how to pray for him.”  I thought about that statement throughout the next day and was able to verbalize what I already knew – I have a responsibility to share what God has done in my life through cancer.

I have a responsibility to be an example, to show His strength in my life, to speak about His grace and mercy to me. To show Jesus in me.

You may not have had cancer, but something else.  I think you will find the soil dark and rich and ready to grow the seed  in someone else’s life when you speak about how The Lord brought you through that trial.  I’m not talking about quitting your job and being a full time advocate, but as you go through the day take the opportunities to share His goodness.

God has been kind to me.   I fail Him daily, but He has been kind and faithful.  I want to tell others about what He has done for me, do you?

To paraphrase Esther -who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom [and gone through what you have gone through] for such a time as this?

Wayne Watson beautifully puts this thought in song –

A Tribute To Audie

Audie
My mother’s maiden name was Barron.  Mom’s father was named Granville and her mother was named Jessie Mae.  Together they had eight children – six girls and two boys.  Mom was second in the birth order and Aunt Audine (Audie) was number four.  I think that Ruby and Audie were pretty much alike and they enjoyed one another.

My grandfather was a farmer, who died when he was forty eight years old from a heart attack.  There was a story that went around for a long time that he died after someone put broken glass in his whiskey bottle and he died as a result of that vengeful act.  I asked my Aunt Billy Ruth about it, at a family reunion and she said, “no, it was just a heart attack.” My grandmother was a homemaker who lived until she was 86.

Jessie Mae was a piece of work.  Continue reading

Thank You to Our Military

militaryI have never been in the military.  In 1970, I was eighteen years old and the draft was coming.  The Vietnam War was in the nightly news.  Thousands of our men and women were being sent to southeast Asia.  As an eighteen year old, high school graduate with a draft status of 1A, I felt I would have been drafted and sent to Vietnam.  I was neither, pro-war or anti-war, I would do my duty if called, but I hoped I wouldn’t be called.  The day before the draft lottery, I almost joined the Air Force, but I did not and took my chances.  Out of a possible 365 (one per each day of the year), my birthday number was 350.  I was safe; I would not have to go.

My father was in the Army and fought in Europe during WWII.  My brother and sister both served in the Navy.  My father-in-law was a Major in the Army Air Corp and served in Europe.   My uncles served in the military.

As a nation, most of our families have a similar story.  Throughout our nation’s history, families have shared their loved ones to protect our country, our families, and our way of life. For this, the members of our armed services deserve our highest respect and gratitude. We must do our best to provide for those who have faced the enemy.

I say Thank You to the 1970 guy whose number was 10, 47, 63, 82, or 106 who went in my place.  I don’t know if you came back home or not, but I’m grateful to you.  You probably never had a parade or someone to pick up your meal ticket, but to you I say “Thank you for your service.  My life has been good because of what you have done or are currently doing.”

I’m just one of many who give thanks to you throughout the year.

My Prayer For America

RLincoln_Memorialomans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

 My prayer:

Thank you Father for the change in our government leadership. There was so many things that were against your principles being done. Our hope is not in Republicans or Democrats, but our hope is in you. I pray that civility will return to all Americans. I pray that laws would be passed that are based upon what is best for the country and not a political party. I pray for statesmen, like our founding fathers. I pray for families to be made stronger, which would result in our communities being stronger. I pray for us to treat others as we would want to be treated, regardless of gender or race. I pray we would once again live within our laws and not ignore certain ones we don’t like. I pray we would be gracious to others as you have been gracious to us. I pray we would recognize the sanctity of life. I pray for dignity for workers and respect for their willingness to help their fellow man in charity. I pray that common sense would be returned to our people. That our thought process will be based upon your Word. I pray in short, that we would be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. In Jesus name, amen.

In Honor Of Miss Carolyn

Carrigans

The first time I met Carl and Carolyn Carrigan was when they came to Graceway Baptist Church, in Oklahoma City for a meeting in the early 1990’s.  They were evangelist who traveled around the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  They had a different ministry than others, in that they would sit up a art board on the streets of New York City, in the ghettos of other major cities, in Belize, in the Philippians, or in Venezuela.  They would gather a crowd through Brother Carl’s art with a message board.

They did not arrive in a Gulfstream jet airplane or in a customized motor couch with chrome wheels and a flashy paint job, they came in a well used motor home with fainted beige paint and a front window curtain that needed to be replaced Continue reading

The Label

T2XLerrie bought me a couple of new shirts on Saturday.  I am always thankful to have a new shirt that might improve my appearance, because I need all the help I can get, but I will always one shirt in particular, that I got several years ago that made a lasting impression.

I was scheduled to visit a contractor in Maryville, Missouri to discuss some projects we had going on. Maryville is in the northwest corner of Missouri, about 100 miles north of Kansas City.  I was to fly into Kansas City and have the contractor pick me up and then drive back to Maryville. Continue reading