THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

HOW I’M GETTING OVER (THE HELL THAT IS 2012)

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If Yer Gonna Be Stoopid,
Ya Gotta Be Tough.   

I found the message immediately above printed on the underside of the beer cap from a bottle of Big Sky I.P.A. Its relationship to the theme of this blog bit is tenuous, but it’s funny, so I decided to start with that ‘cause there ain’t much humor left in Me, Myself, and I. Methinks, Myselfthinks, and Ithinks we’re all laughed-out for now. (We’re also a little concerned that we may be suffering from a multiple personality disorder. Well, I and Myself are, anyway; Me doesn’t think so. But then again, Me always thinks it’s all about him – the selfish son-of-a-bitch!)

2012 – What a year it’s been! With only a few exceptions, everyone I personally know thinks 2012 has been hellish. You can put me on that list too, near the top. Oh, sure, it could be worse - I could be literally starving to death in India - but it’s been pretty bad nonetheless. All year I’ve felt like I was buried alive, upside down in a coffin way too small for me; it's been a black and claustrophobic 8 months.

One part of my problem is that my job of 14+ years has turned into a living nightmare in which all I see for about 44 hours a week are sick and hurting people, welfare addicts, drug-seeking taxi cab passengers, and strangers vomiting into plastic trays. 90% of the people I encounter are more than 100 pounds overweight, and more than 100% of those overweight people have their fat bodies 90% covered in tattoos. (Don’t question my math.)

NO! None of that is exaggeration; it’s the truth, it’s my reality while I’m “on the clock”, and I have my brogue-yakking, Budweiser-swilling, Ireland-born boss to thank for it. He did, however, inspire me recently to compose a limerick which I actually wrote on one of my official work reports. (If anyone in authority ever reads my reports, I’ll get fired. Actually, “fired” is not such a terrible thought – unemployment line here I come – money for nothing and your time is free!)

LIMERICK  FOR  AN  IRISH  BOSS

There once was a man named McPrick

Who pulled off a pretty neat trick:

He brown-nosed his way

Into a job with more pay,

Though he didn’t know his a_s from his di_k.

Yeah, as a person who tries to follow the teachings of Jesus, I know I’m supposed to forgive my Irish boss and all the welfare addicts, drug-seeking taxi cab passengers, and tattooed fatties. But the thing is, although I’ve often said I’m attempting to follow Jesus, I NEVER said I was good at it!

“PEACE ON EARTH begins with peace within yourself.” (Of course, there’s also something to be said for a well-placed bullet.)

I really hate to turn this, my first blog bit in over 3 weeks, into a big, whining sob story but . . . I am. In all honesty, I did not think it was possible for me to reach this depth of depression after having accepted Christ as my Savior on April 6, 1994. I truly believed that something like my personal Great Depression of 1986 was impossible now that I had Jesus in my heart. Well, 2012 is starting to make 1986 look like a walk in the park . . . with balloons and cotton candy!

Yes, peoples, family members, friends, lovers, and enemies, I have been battling dark thoughts – very dark thoughts – almost hourly for about 6 months now. And I gotta tell ya, it’s a little depressing to feel this depressed! (Please, no phone calls or Emails; just send money. How about tens and twenties?)

Fifty-three years old now with no career in sight, no sense of purpose, just this utterly unfulfilled emptiness inside.

Sometimes I feel like giving up
Sometimes I feel so very tired
Sometimes I feel like I've had enough

OK, I need to say something humorous at this point to uplift this sagging blog bit. Uh... well... hmmm... Sorry. I got nuttin’.

Don’t worry ‘bout me though, it ain’t like I’m gonna kill myself (in a painful manner), or go on a shooting spree where my boss works (without plenty of ammo). Alright, that was something close to humorous. Thank you, Jesus!

The only real difference between ‘My Great Depression Of 1986’ and ‘My Great Depression Of 2012’ (other than the fact that 2012 has been even worse) is that instead of listening to David & David’s album ‘Boomtown’ and letting it pull me down deeper...


 ...I’ve been listening to Gospel music instead, hoping it will Move Me On Up A Little Higher.


No matter how long this dark mood lasts (until it too passes?), or how dismally I've failed to fulfill my potential, I hope, at the least, God will take into consideration that throughout this Great Depression, I never stopped reading His Holy Bible; and I continued praying for myself and others, even though my prayers are no longer of the higher meditative form.

I haven’t thrown God under the bus. (Although, at this point, if the devil has an offer to make, I’d at least hear him out and see what he brings to the table; my soul is available at a bargain basement price.) UNCLE!” Please let me Up, Father. I’ve had enough!

So, how am I getting over this mood? I’m not. But Gospel music has helped a little. Plus, God talks to a friend of mine, and my friend talks back to God. Uh... I mean that in a good way. And it seems that God has somehow, miraculously (and I may mean “miraculously” literally) convinced my friend that I’m not the jackass I often seem to be; that some of my faults can be viewed as strengths. [I thank you, NWB.] Aside from that, I’m sure God The Father will ultimately save me from myself because “I Knew Jesus [in Jerusalem] Before He Was A Superstar”. When you’re in good with His Son, you’re in good with The Father.

A little embarrassing to admit this, but my first real introduction to Gospel music came at Disneyland in the mid-1970s. One of my very favorite attractions was ‘America Sings’. And at the 4:35 mark in ‘America Sings’, a Southern Baptist choir of animatrons (hens, foxes, and frogs) launches into the song ‘Down By The Riverside’. I always LOVED that – it was my favorite song in the entire attraction - but I was still years away from learning that it was called “Gospel singing” and it was a celebration of God’s salvation.

America Sings - Happy 4th of July
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Below are videos representing some of the songs I’ve been listening to recently, hoping that the music will save me, even if the The Father and Son team who inspired them are dragging their feet. (Oops! Forgive me, God. Help me, Jesus!)
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First, a group called The Malibooz from an album titled ‘LIVING WATER (The Surfer’s Mass)’. You get a real feel for the sort of world we’re living in when you consider that Lady GagGag and Afro Dogg can become multi-millionaires turning out vacuous disco and rap crap respectively, while the gorgeous music contained on ‘Living Water’ goes uncelebrated:
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Mountains and hills and seas and rivers, bless the Lord
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Benedicite
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Found in letting go
Is where control resides
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Caught A Wave
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Here are a couple of Gospel tunes from the soundtrack of the movie ‘LEAP OF FAITH’. (One of the rare times in this modern age that Hollywood managed to make a movie about God and Christ without mocking Them.)
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I've been lonely, I've been cheated, I've been misunderstood; I've been washed up, I've been put down, and told I'm no good. But with You I belong, 'cause You helped me be strong. There's a change in my life since You came along. 
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John Pagano "Change In My Life" from the film "Leap Of Faith"
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Said, “He who has ears, let him hear”
He told the multitudes
And blessed be the pure of heart
For they shall see The Truth
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Patti LaBelle-Are You Ready For A Miracle ?
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Joel Chernoff is a “Messianic Jew” – that is, a Jew who still values some of the ancient traditions but who also recognizes that Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent to Israel, and who has accepted Salvation through the Blood of The Lamb. I think Joel has a beautifully smooth voice and he means what he sings.
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I Didn't Know (I Was Missing You) Joel Chernoff with lyrics
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Here’s Joel Chernoff in a hard-rocking mood and rejoicing because of promises from God to Israel. There’s bad news for the Muslim extremists: Not only is Islam a false religion and allah a demon, but Israel will NEVER be wiped off the map like they want. (Oh, gee, I sure hope I haven’t offended any assassins from “the religion of peace”. You gonna take me out? By all means, please do!)
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And one mo’ thang: Barack Hussein Obama is a Christian to the same degree that I’m a Muslim. (Has he ever, even once, told the truth about anything? Oh, wait. Yes, he has. He finally came out and told the truth about his support for gay marriage. Good for you, President Marxslim.)
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You tell those Muslims, Joel, you tell ‘em! . . .
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No Weapon Formed
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Saved the best for last. Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen Of Gospel Music”. I recently finished ‘Just Mahalia, Baby’ by Laurraine Goreau, the most disastrously presented biography I’ve ever read. It was written in this terribly tedious Ebonics style and was so poorly edited that it literally contained hundreds of pages of the most mind-numbing minutiae imaginable! The reader will come away from this gigantic book aware of every single time Mahalia had gas, swollen feet, or even thought about calling a doctor. I got to the point where I was wishing Mahalia would just die already so the damned book would come to an end!
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Nevertheless, there was of course some really good information in ‘Just Mahalia, Baby’. (How could there not be when every single moment of Mahalia’s life was chronicled in it?) I found Mahalia right after I found Jesus in 1994. I had gone into a little Christian bookstore that used to be in L.A.’s Westwood Village because I wanted some of that good ol’ Gospel music (like I’d heard in Disneyland’s ‘America Sings’ ride) to go with my newfound Salvation. (Thank you, Jesus!)
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I bought two double-CD boxed sets of Mahalia’s music and was simply blown away. At times, her singing (especially ‘Elijah Rock’ and ‘How I Got Over’) really did bring me to tears – tears of gratitude. Our gratitude: it’s the ONLY thing that we can give to God that He can’t get for Himself.
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Below are some favorite moments excerpted from the book ‘Just Mahalia, Baby’:
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When she was just 14 years old and dirt-poor in New Orleans, Mahalia said that Jesus “told me to open my mouth in His name.”
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I totally believe her, because she obviously had a God-given gift; how could one sing that well without any vocal training, and sing in that manner without any Divine inspiration deep inside of them?
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Anybody heard Mahalia, heard “Hallelujah!” whenever the spirit moved, and that’s the God’s truth.
~ Laurraine Goreau
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Yes, and over the years I also came to recognize on my own that when you find Mahalia starting in with that out-of-sync clapping, she is in the process of being filled by the living Holy Spirit of God; the clapping starts when her cup starts overflowing with the Spirit and it needs to be expressed even beyond her voice.
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Mr. Russell showed up. … He just wanted to tell her again how wonderful she’d been, how remarkable ‘Silent Night’ was; had everybody in church in tears. “How do you do it?” Mahalia fixed the full force of her being on him. “DON’T YOU KNOW?” she said in disgust. This man been around her all this much, and don’t know her singing’s from God.
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Ten days after Martin Luther King Jr. had been killed, Mahalia gave an Easter concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California. In singing the song ‘We Shall Overcome’, on the line “we shall all be free”, something pierced through her voice that exploded the teetering dam and the audience went up! out, over, onto the big stage in a screaming, shouting, crying, hollering, jumping mass. … It was a jubilee. Mahalia was pitched high . . . Weeeeeee shall over – yes!- we’ll overcome! Yes! Lord!”Mahalia was nowhere in this world. Gwen was still playing, tears running down … Yancey and one guard were guiding Mahalia down the long hall to the dressing room. She was still singing, echoes bouncing back on echoes in the narrow corridor … An hour and a half later, calm had come.
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And now my favorite Mahalia Jackson quote. This spoken before an audience in Japan...
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“There have been some very, very intellectual people that have gone around saying ‘God is dead.’ Well, He’s not dead,” said Mahalia, “because I talked to Him this morning.”
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Alright, let’s get on it!
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Mahalia often said that she wasn’t really singing for the audience; she was singing for God. Proof of that can be seen in this first video when she walks away from the microphone and she’s still singing her soul out. Obviously, it had nothing to do with her or those trying to hear her from the audience section; it was “souly” about praising God.
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It’s a fact that a number of people throughout Mahalia’s lifetime reported being healed of serious illnesses, both physical and emotional illnesses, while listening to Mahalia sing. Yes, she had a Divine gift, no doubt about it and no faith required – just listen.
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When Mahalia sings, audiences do more than just listen – they undergo a profoundly moving emotional experience.
~ People Today magazine
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You know, this one’s for the atheists. No one is going to sing like this for cheeseburgers. It’s about spirit and truth, it’s about a living God that created all things. This is the reason she sings, because God has put something special in her heart, and she is happy because of that! Yes, atheist, it’s true. And He loves you! God loves you.
~ Sorrel555; YouTube
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Mahalia Jackson Just A Closer Walk With Thee
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I don’t think this is Mahalia’s best version of ‘Elijah Rock’, although it does rock! (Hopefully this didn’t scare the White folk too much. Ha!) In these next two videos, concentrate on Mahalia’s eyes; when she was overflowing with The Holy Spirit, one can actually detect a strange, unearthly kind of light in her eyes. It’s not just a trick of the stage lighting either, because I’ve seen it over and over again, in live footage and even in still photographs.
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She sings as if it will hurt her if she cant get it out … Her vocal POWER has never been duplicated.
~ Elfeco; YouTube
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...And she was offstage still dancing, skirt hem lifted, head down, eyes closed, face in-drawn with her vision ... a half-shake of her head and Laurraine pulled young Kurt Collien’s arm away: “She’s in the spirit, she has to work it out.”
~ Laurraine Goreau
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Elijah Rock, Shout! Shout!
Elijah Rock, Comin' up, Lord!
~ Mahalia Jackson
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MAHALIA JACKSON Live during European tour late 1960's
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You know I’m gonna sing and never get tired.
~ Mahalia Jackson (song: ‘How I Got Over’)
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Let me sing all day and never get tired.
~ Van Morrison (song: ‘Give Me My Rapture’)
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Saved the best of the best for last. Mahalia Jackson singing ‘HOW I GOT OVER’ in concert. Despite the many visual glitches in the video, it is SO worth watching and listening to.
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In my opinion, this is the most Divinely-inspired vocal performance ever, and hence the most powerful and intense vocal performance of all time! Mahalia’s face is just so beautiful and there’s that unearthly, spiritual light that can be discerned shining in her eyes as this song just pours out of her! When you see Mahalia start in with that odd, non-rhythmic clapping at the four minute and eight second mark (4:08), you know it’s on! Scoot over, baby, ‘cause The Holy Spirit’s drivin’ this Cadillac now. You just ride shotgun and hang on! 
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Mahalia Jackson--How I got over LIVE
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Why did there have to be a heavy cross He was made to bear?
And why did they nail His feet and hands
When His love would have held Him there?
~ Michael Card (1994 song: ‘Why?’)
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Now if I can just ‘Keep My Hand On The Plow’, and if someone will hire me away from my current employer.  Got job?
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Got Jesus? Got God? Got healing? Got peace o’ mind?
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How I’m Getting Over: Great Gospel music, a bottle opener, and multiple 12-ounce doses of medicine. However, I’m keeping my .38 Smith & Wesson revolver loaded and handy just in case those fail me. One way or another, this boy’s goin’ to find his peace of mind, even if that mind winds up sprayed all over one of his bedroom walls like a George Romero movie poster. (Just jesting, Jesus. He'p me, Father!) 
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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13 comments:

  1. Only YOU could break my heart and save me in the same blog post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some good videos here. And I can relate to what you're saying though perhaps not to the same extreme.

    Before you let that job thing go too far think carefully. I definitely relate to what you say about bleak job futures. Here I am pushing 62 with 3 years of no job and over a year and a half with no income. Not sure where I'm heading with this. I don't speak Chinese so I can find a good job and don't speak Spanish well enough to find a bad job. Misguided decisions in my past left me with few useful job specialties. It's a bad time to be unemployed especially when you're in my circumstance which it sounds like you similarly may be. At least I have a wife who's making a good paycheck and has benefits.

    I hope you are exaggerating a good bit, but if not I hope you get out of the funk. It has been an odd year in many ways and sometimes it doesn't look like it will get any less odd.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  3. >I could be literally starving to >death in India

    Not sure that's possible anymore, as all of the US jobs are being offshored there!

    Sorry to hear your 2012 is so bad. It's GOTTA be bad if you're quoting Traffic lyrics!

    Mine started out pretty lousy as well, but I'm down to two weeks left with my employer of 23 years, and on October 1 start a new chapter.

    Life is a fickle thing...

    "There was a time when I was handsome,
    There was a time when I had money to burn"

    Can quickly turn into:

    "Some of this trouble just finds me
    No matter where I turn"

    Hang in there dude...

    Things usually cycle back to at least even!

    "How do you know when it's too late to learn?"

    DiscConnected

    ReplyDelete
  4. FARAWAYEYES, ARLEE BIRD, and DISCCONNECTED ~

    It is my sad duty to inform you all that on Monday, September 3rd, Stephen committed suicide using a raw artichoke, a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup, and a Korean War dog tag. (Don't ask - believe me, you don't want to know!)

    But I thank you for your concern and your love for Stephen.

    Sincerely,
    NAPPY (Stephen's brother)

    ReplyDelete

  5. Stephen,
    My brother in Christ I too have had a tough year though I tend to get down and shake it off rather quickly.
    My coworkers treat me like a piece of trash because I'm their charge nurse, they other charge nurse got removed from the position for his relationship with another of our coworkers. Three of them walk around the unit angry all the time, and it seems as though making my life miserable is their top priority at times. They keep logs of what I do, constantly gripe about everything, and all in all (though I actually love them all dearly) their just miserable to be around. Plus my boss keeps trying to work the other end of it by making me the one who keeps them in line (I have no power to discipline, they know it, and I know it). My boss has it out for a couple of them at the same time, and seems to want to recruit me to do his dirty work. As much as I don't care for their current behavior I also can't be part of some collusive plot to bury them behind the back 40 either. So I have two coworkers I can confide in just to let off some tension when things get real tough (cause talking to God in mid shift might get me fired).

    I found out my son has autism this past spring. He has been in therapy and is to start over 17 hours of weekly therapy next week. I kid you not I cried for weeks after that one. Felt like I should have fought the wife harder on some things, but looking back at it she would have done them anyway. Plus, I will never truly know which potential neuro toxin from where may or may not have done the deed. He has great potential, and things don't look that bad now.

    I now know that I need to go back to school. This is going to cost us more money. My area is getting so over saturated with nurses that not having my bachlors (even though we get paid the same and do the SAME JOB) may put me on the unemployment line. To get this it could cost me 20 grand.

    My brother in law is a dill hole who won't do his part (money he does well, time with his kids he does not) for his kids, and it continually falls in my families lap. His wife is over burdened, which makes her lean more on her sister, mother, and partially myself. What we need to do but shouldn't have to do.

    Due to the nature of this post I will sign it anonymous though you know who I am.

    Br'er

    ReplyDelete
  6. BR'ER ~
    I am truly sorry to learn that your 2012 has also been awful. I think it was in 1985 when I first heard the saying "Life's a bitch, and then you die". For some people, that slogan does not hold true... but I have never personally known any of those people.

    >>...I found out my son has autism this past spring. He has been in therapy and is to start over 17 hours of weekly therapy next week. I kid you not I cried for weeks after that one.

    Brother, my heart goes out to you, and of course it goes without saying that I will pray about this situation.

    Fairly recently I read a book by Nicholas Sparks titled 'Three Weeks With My Brother' - it had been given to me by another friend.

    Sparks is the author of a number of novels that were bestsellers and later made into popular movies, such as 'The Notebook' and 'A Walk To Remember', etc.

    In 'Three Weeks With My Brother' he wrote about his son who had a severe learning disability (based on what you've written here, it was apparently a more drastic challenge than you face with your own son).

    Nevertheless, you might want to borrow that book from the library and read it. The section that dealt with his son's problem and the determination that Sparks showed in facing it and overcoming it really floored me. The book was worth reading for that alone. (I never thought I could have so much respect for a writer of sappy romance novels.)

    Anyway, my Brother, I will pray to our God about you and your son, with the faith that He will help you to deal with the situation.

    This I know: God could not have selected a better man than you to entrust with the care of an autistic child.

    ~ Stephen
    D-FensDogg of the 'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete

  7. Stephen,
    I appreciate your kind words, and it has taken me awhile but I know God would not give me that which I can't handle. Where I firmly believe I know where this comes from, there are others in my family who believe other wise. At this point it doesn't much matter and dwelling on that which can't be changed would only breed bitterness and resentment. Needless to say that would be silly on my part since I can't confirm for 100% accuracy that I'm right.

    I read my last post and have to tell you I didn't mean to come off so down trodden. This year has had it's share of challenges, but my last post made it sound like I have no joy in my life. I do. Life is hard but I still have the joy of Christ, the joy of family, and the blessing of my son, daughter, and wife. I have met many who have far greater challenges than I do. Not only that but I have read on autism a bit now, and there are a great many of them who have done unbelievable things to better their fellow man. I think (scratch that I know) that I am the one who has to change. God has does spectacular things with men and women the world thought of as worthless, weak, and countless other things. To know my son the way I do he is so innocent, loving, and cherishes everyone around him. He is gracious and loving toward his sister (for a four year old). Autistic or not he is what every father should want in a young son. He has the most important thing he needs to become a great man, a kind and loving heart. With Gods help I have no doubt God can and will do remarkable things through him to bless other people. That said, we will take all the prayers you have coming our way.

    God bless you too my brother, I have some prayers coming your way (actually I have been praying for you anyway).

    Br'er.

    ReplyDelete
  8. BR'ER ~
    What a fantastic attitude and outlook you have. Spoken like a true Christian and a man of great belief in the Power and Wisdom of our loving Creator. With the mind-set you display, I too have no doubt that this situation will work for good and result in joy for many.

    Excellent, excellent comment Brother - it makes me proud to know you and feel honored to be able to pray for you and your family. Yer a good man, Charlie Brown!

    Bless And Be Blessed.

    ~ Stephen (a.k.a. D-FensDogg)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was touched by the sad and courageous comments by the anonymous B'rer. It really makes me step back and appreciate by own blessings, and makes me ashamed for the complaining I have done about my own 2012.

    Thank you for your love of Christ, and for sharing it with us.

    And also, Stephen: thanks so much for the Mahalia vids. She is SOMETHING ELSE!

    ReplyDelete
  10. SigToo ~
    Golf? Oh, man, you’ll NEVER find me on a golf course, for fear of dying in a stupid little hat.


    SHEBOYGANBOY 6 ~
    I hope all of this blog’s readers will remember Br’er and his son in prayer.

    Yeah, Mahalia Jackson – she’s something else alright. I’ll never forget the time I was in my backyard listening to her sing ‘How I Got Over’ through my Walkman’s headphones, and toward the end, when the Holy Spirit just overwhelms her, I found myself on my knees and in tears. Now THAT is some serious spiritual singing!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    ReplyDelete
  11. In contrast, I appreciated immensely every detail the author put in her biography of Mahalia. It gave me the feeling that I knew Mahalia and followed her path, understanding all the obstacles even to the most minute detail. Goreau used tapes to help write the book, which were recorded with Mahalia. It's a wonderful book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely a book worth reading, and I still have my copy with no intention of getting rid of it. But there can be too much of a good thing, and that's how I felt about the book.

      I didn't necessarily want to relive every moment of Mahalia's life with her; just give me the highest and lowest moments and a little of the in-between.

      But my biggest complaint was the "Black" lingo or "ebonics". I didn't mind that at all when the author was directly quoting Mahalia or someone else who truly spoke that way. But she was describing events in that same sort of lingo, as if she as the writer was thinking in that same sort of linguistic style. That was ridiculous and came across as if the author was a "poseur" on the scene.

      Nevertheless though, I'm still glad to have read the book and would recommend it to others, despite the tedious descriptive passages and the unnecessary minutiae.

      There's no question that I felt I knew Mahalia after reading that tome.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete

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